Thursday, 27 November 2014
I hear a lot of people slagging off Micheal Bay because all his movies are just explosion montages but if there's anything one of his movies translates well to, it's a arcade rail shooter. I have no idea what the story is to this game because I would just mash the start key to get to the action and the action is good.
If you have no idea what these theatre cabinets are like inside, they have a big screen with 2 guns in front of it on a pivot. You sit down in the big seat and move the gun around the screen blasting stuff. Occasionally the game might ask you to hit the start button for a QTE but these moments are few and far between in most games that use this style of cabinet.
The game play is simple; there's a bunch of Deceptacons on screen and you have to shoot the fuck out of 'em. When you have shot enough of them, a boss appears and you shoot the fuck out of him until he dies. The action scenes are cool and it's fun to watch when your Transformer buddy jumps into the action and starts kicking things to death with your covering fire.
The last rail shooter I played for any amount of time in an arcade was Dark Escape 3D and my problem with that game is that there is so much downtime watching dirty corridors as the game attempts to build atmosphere but Transformers is the exact opposite of that. There is very little downtime from actually shooting things and if you're not shooting things you are watching things explode, it's great.
It has its fair share of bullshit moments that you could never see coming the first time round but I'm not going to dock points for it because that's the nature of these kinds of games, they are out to take as much money as they can. However the game isn't very long and I beat it on a handful of spare change so it's bullshit factor is actually pretty low compared to a lot of other games in the genre.
I know arcades in the west are mostly dead but if you ever see this game in a cinema or bowling alley, give it a go. It's a fun way to kill an hour and it's way better than any of those shitty movies.
Tuesday, 25 November 2014
Friday, 21 November 2014
The above console, as most of you reading this post probably know, is the Playstation. It was a system released in Japan in 1994 and kicked off a great line of gaming systems that has stuck with us to this very day.
There was a redesign for the original Playstation, here's a picture
Now, there are people who have plenty of fond memories with the original Playstation hardware and rightly so since it has a plethora of awesome games. However, there are people who refer to this console in conversation as the "PSX" and this is fucking retarded. At no point in time were any of these commercially available systems called the "PSX", it's just some stupid shit that people use because they think it sounds cool.
There is a reason that people use it though, it just happens to be a fantastically fucking stupid one. PSX was the code name given to the system during it's development, according to a quick Google search. Calling the PS1 the PSX would be like referring the the Gamecube as the Dolphin or the Wii as the Revolution. People don't do that because it's stupid to do so. I've heard it argued that there was a Magazine called PSX or something but that doesn't fly either because then you'd be talking about the magazine, not the fucking system.
There does exist a machine, made by Sony, called the PSX though, check it out.
I know I'm being pedantic about this whole thing but whatever. The Playstation is NOT called a PSX and I can't help but feel that anyone who calls it that is a bit of an idiot.
Thursday, 20 November 2014
I started gaming when I was 4 with the Sega Megadrive and I got into my gaming history right away taking an interest in old home computers (with proper floppy discs) and older systems before eventually moving onto the more modern stuff. It's only been 20 years since I started this grand hobby which really isn't all that much time except technology moves so fucking fast that it's much easier to be aware of your own age if you're into things such as games or computers.
It doesn't feel like all that long ago I was sat at home being absolutely awestruck by 2D games such as Sonic the Hedgehog or Donkey Kong Country 2. But before I knew it I was sitting in front of my computer watching trailers with my friend for the DS, a PORTABLE system that had fucking 3D graphics and that blew my god damn mind. Now look at where we stand, graphics out the wazoo and games that can be bought and downloaded off the Internet in just a few clicks. Portable systems that have not only stupidly good visuals but fancy gimmicks such as touch screens and AR cards to make anime girls dance across your desk space.
I think a lot of people take technology for granted but if you stop and think about it, it makes you feel really fucking old. I still remember when playing a game on the Internet was a big fucking deal, it was an event back then. The idea of being able to play with someone who wasn't directly sat next to me made my head spin. Nowadays being online is no biggie and a lot of games won't function or have features locked out if you don't have a constant Internet connection.
It's not just games either, if you think about anything electronic it'll give you that sense of age. I work as a teacher and I was doing a lesson using a DVD. It then struck me that all of my students wouldn't have a fucking clue what a VHS tape is. I remember back when I was doing my A-Levels (which doesn't feel so long ago) and getting excited when the teacher would break out those old black tapes because it meant I could goof off for a bit. I'm sure that same feeling is happening to today's students but it's when a teacher whips out a DVD rather than those old black rectangles.
I'm not all that old, deep down I know that, but fuck if being into games and electronics doesn't make you feel your age.
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
First the met incentives. I was hoping to do the Euro Truck Marathon last month but I was starting at a new job JUST as that incentive got met. My plan was to do the marathon during my training in Tokyo but because of my shitty hotel Internet I wasn't able to pull it off. The other two incentives were to eat something stupidly spicy while streaming and to tell an embarrassing yet apparently hilarious story about my exchange year. My original plan was to do the other two incentives as part of the marathon but people have been waiting for so long I'm going to speed things along.
The embarrassing story, I'm hoping, will be recorded this Sunday and uploaded on the Monday. I have some buddies coming over for drinks, one of whom was with me on my exchange year, so we're going to jump on the mic and get that tale told. If we're too drunk I'll record it solo and hopefully get it uploaded sometime in the coming week.
For the spice incentive I need to buy the stuff for me to eat on stream and the unfortunate thing about starting a new job is that I have to spend some time being extremely poor. That said payday is rather soon so once my money drops I'll head down to the store, buy the stuff and consume it on the following stream. I'll be announcing it when I go live so you're going to have to keep an eye on the social media stuff to find out when it's happening.
The Euro Truck marathon will be held some time at the end of December. I'll put a more concrete date up on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow once I confirm my New Year break with my work.
Finally, in December I'm hoping that maybe people will get into the Christmas spirit of giving and donate something to the charity. To try and push you guys along I'll be producing a new play through for YouTube as well as doing another little mini speed run marathon on stream. I'll play 5 games back to back, without stopping and hopefully be able to finish in less than 6 or 7 hours. Also, I'll be adding some prize raffles for Xmas so if you want a chance to win some festive prizes get donating.
Don't forget about all the other stuff on the side bar and I'll try and add some more too! Thanks for the continued support! read more
Monday, 17 November 2014
Sunday, 16 November 2014
The story follows a detective called Ronan who in his younger years was a bit of a criminal. Thanks to some forging of paperwork from his brother he managed to get a job with the police and put his life back on track. Ronan is working the case of a serial killer in the city of Salem (yeah, I know) and at the very start of the game he is thrown out of a 3 story window and then shot to death by the killer himself. Ronan however lingers in the real world as a ghost which pisses him off because he was hoping to join his dead wife but he can't do that until he resolves his business with the serial killer he's been after for so long.
Gameplay in Murdered: Soul Suspect has you exploring environments, looking for clues and picking up other collectable crap that fleshes out the back story as well as Ronan's character. Every area is about the same. You watch a cutscene, find a bunch of clues, watch another cutscene and then progress to the next area. Between areas there are a few side quests to do but they feel a bit pointless and don't really reward you with anything. As you look for clues there's some kind of badge ranking system but as far as I'm aware it doesn't actually have any bearing on anything. I've not looked it up but I'm pretty sure there aren't a multitude of endings you can get by playing the game in certain ways.
The one part of this game that pissed me off was the demons. Demons are these sausage looking things that spawn usually when you're trying to escape an area or progress to some key plot element. The idea is that if they see you they will chase you and suck your soul until you die. You can hide inside these spirit things if you get caught and escaping the demons is not hard at all. If you can sneak up behind them you can execute them and most of the demons are so easy to execute that they serve as nothing more than a minor annoyance rather than anything else. I guess they were put in to build tension but the effect falls flat.
There are many aspects to this game like the demons and the aforementioned badge system that makes the game feel like a lot of shit was cut. Like they had plans to do some much more with various parts of the designed but had to drop it for time constraints or whatever.
That said, I did enjoy Soul Suspect but I'd find it hard to recommend to another person. It's story, while predictable and a bit silly kept me interested enough for me to play it through to the end and I did like Ronan as a character. There are a number of little niggles regarding the plot and the mechanics of the ghost world but that's just a case of me reading way too much into things. If you can grab it on a sale, I'd say go for it, it's not that long and it'll kill a few lazy afternoons. It doesn't quite stack up to Ghost Trick but good enough for now.
Thursday, 13 November 2014
Recently Assassin's Creed Unity got released and the first things I see about the game aren't launch trailers or reviews or people hyping up the game. No, what I see are a number of articles talking about just how fucking buggy the game is. There's even a video on YouTube I watched on my commute home called "Glitch in the Animus" or something, showing all the buggy shit in action. Paying customers aren't happy with the current state of the game either with it weighing in at 4.6 on Metacritic. I know that's not really the best way to judge anything but it's clear to see that people are pissed and apparently for good reason.
What I don't understand is that they've been making these games since fucking 2007 and judging from the ones I've played there isn't too much drastically different from each title. I'm not a developer and I have no idea about coding, so forgive me if I sound stupid, but one would think that if you keep using the same shit to produce these games that it would get more stable, not less, right? I know open world games tend to have quite a few bugs with them but judging from what I'm reading on the net, AC: Unity is just taking the piss.
Now I've not played AC: Unity yet and I don't think I will for a long time but what I'm about to say applies to any game really. If you're going to release a game, especially one that's part of a popular series and you expect people to pay full price, make sure it's fucking finished. At a very basic level, make sure that the player is able to play and enjoy the game without being dragged out of the experience because they fell through the world or NPCs are spazzing out weirdly all over the map or whatever. Make sure to release a game that doesn't frustrate people by having a significant amount of slowdown or crashing issues or anything like that because we're paying a lot of money for this shit at launch, it better fucking work.
I hate this fucking attitude of the modern game industry of "release now, fix later" because by the time "later" rolls around I'm already pissed off and have shelved your shitty game. Almost every game has glitches to some degree, no body's perfect, but they shouldn't be this prevalent from day 1. Just look at fucking Ocarina of Time, that game is glitch crazy but when I was playing it for the first time back in the day, I didn't notice any of them, the game worked flawlessly. Now, when I buy a new game, I have to cross my fingers and hope that it isn't so infested with bugs that I have to wait for a patch or whatever.
I'm using AC: Unity as an example because it's the newest one out, but there are plenty of games that I have played and thought to myself "this simply wasn't finished or tested properly". I don't give a shit that game development is hard, if you want my money, produce a quality product you wankers.
Still sore about Silent Hill: HD Collection.
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
Anyway thanks to my wife and her friends I was introduced to some REAL escape type games being hosted around Japan by a company called Scrap (http://realdgame.jp/).
The idea is simple, there is some kind of plot laid out before all the attendees at the start of the event, then people must solve a number of puzzles and reach the end within a set time limit. The one we went to was being hosted at a place called Monkey Park near Nagoya
The first few puzzles were laughably easy but by the time you reach stage 3 things start to get complicated and me and my group were stumped. We weren't the only ones though as the vast majority of people attending the event had to take the walk of shame back to their seats at the start when the timer was done. The winners were paraded out and applauded but you would be surprised at just how few people it was in comparison to the number of attendees.
The problem isn't so much the puzzles themselves, given enough time to think over them I think anyone could work them out but park navigation and time limit make things extremely difficult. Also a lot of the puzzles require a pretty decent knowledge of Japanese, so if you're a visiting tourist looking for a fun day out then maybe this isn't quite for you. It's also a little expensive (around 4000 yen for a ticket) but if you can get a decent group of friends together for it then it's a really enjoyable way to spend an evening.
At the end of the event I was given a pamphlet for all upcoming escape games hosted by the same company. Right slap in the middle of the thing was an advert for a Biohazard (Resident Evil) themed escape game going down at some point in Osaka's Universal Studios theme park. I absolutely plan to attend that and I'll try and take some non-spoilerific pictures when I do.
Saturday, 8 November 2014
The Binding of Isaac is a rougelike game about a small child trying to escape from his mother killing him. You must make your way through a randomly generated dungeon picking up items and killing enemies with your tears. Like most games in the genre, permadeath is a large part of the game so if you die then you have to start all over again with everything reset to its starting values. As you play and have successful runs, you start to unlock stuff like characters, challenges, items, locations and much much more.
Basically, if you were a fan of the first Binding of Isaac it's essentially more of the same thing. It's basically another expansion back disguised as a full game but the amount of additional content and fixes to certain things is so huge that it's absolutely worth the price of admission.
The Binding of Isaac is one of those games that just eats your fucking time without you even realising it. You'll fire it up thinking "oh I'll just have a quick run or 2" and then 6 hours later your still playing it with absolutely no signs of stopping. While the game doesn't contain any multi player features, if you have a group of friends to share stories of your successes or complete bullshit deaths the game becomes even more fun because everyone has their own unique story about some shit that happened to them.
Rebirth takes sharing the stories to a whole new level though because now you can share your dungeon seed with another person and they can re-live your run for themselves. When you pause the game you are given a 6 character code that you can pass on to someone else and when they input it they will be given the exact same dungeon you were in. However playing with a seed doesn't count towards unlocks or anything like that but you can still challenge each other if you feel like you had a particularly tough time.
If you aren't already in on the whole Isaac thing, go and buy the game right fucking now. I'm serious, just close this window, fire up steam and fucking buy it. Binding of Isaac is some of the most fun I've had with any indie game ever and it's the kind of game basically everyone can enjoy.
Thursday, 6 November 2014
1. Point n' Clicker
Out of the 3 I'm about to talk about, I feel that this one has died the saddest of deaths. These games are awesome because they are challenging and a lot of them had pretty good stories to boot which made solving that puzzle running on moon logic all the more sweeter. Games such as Monkey Island, Beneath a Steel Sky and I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream are all spoken of fondly by fans but there hasn't really been any new games in the genre for a long time. The closest we came in my recent memory was a PC game called Anna but that ran on so much moon logic that I kind of dampened the whole experience.
Unfortunately, these genre has kind of been ruined by people making games that LOOK like point and click games but actually aren't games at all. Games such as Gone Home and The Stanley Parable are all talked about sort of in the same was as a point and click, except they have no game play to speak of and aren't really much more than that.
It's kind of sad that the most excited anyone has been for anything in this genre is a remake of Grim Fandango. That game is awesome but the levels of hype people have for a remake they have played a long time ago in a genre that doesn't lend itself well to re playability, speaks volumes.
2. Side Scrolling Beat-em-up
This genre didn't really die as much as it just faded out of the mainstream and replaced with bombastic combat games like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry. The hack n slash's of the now are awesome, no doubt, but I miss the simplicity of something like Final Fight or Streets of Rage and just being able to kick back and not worry about crazy combo chains or anything like that.
There have been some attempts to keep it alive with that Scott Pilgrim game and Double Dragon Neon but these are so few and far between it's not enough to satisfy and quite frankly they don't quite stack up to the classics.
3. The Dungeon Crawler
Back in the day, if you wanted to make any kind of progress in these games then you had to get some graph paper and get your cartographer skills on. I can imagine people wouldn't like this because they don't want to have to play a video game with a pen and paper on hand, but for me this was part of the appeal. It's like you're ACTUALLY on the adventure, making your own maps and making your own notes in order to survive the hardships of the dungeon. If you get lost or forget key locations that's because YOU weren't thorough enough as an adventurer and you only really have yourself to blame. The other thing I find appealing about these games is that they are usually fucking rock solid hard and I'm attracted to stupidly high challenge like moth to a flame.
Recent titles have included things like Etrian Odyssey, Shin Megami Tensei 4 and Legend of Grimrock but these only really serve to keep the genre afloat except the new school stuff doesn't really have the same kind of appeal as the old school. A lot of these games have either simplified or automatic mapping and they just aren't as hard as the old stuff. The ONLY game that gave me what I really wanted was The Dark Spire on DS but that was only 1 game released fucking ages ago, which is a damn shame.
I need these genre to bust my balls a little more, you know?
Anyway that's all for now, three genres that I feel need a little more love. Maybe I'm being unreasonable or weird or whatever but that's just how I feel. Not that modern main stream genres are bad or anything like that but some of the littler guys would get a little more love.
Tuesday, 4 November 2014
So I decided at that point to actually take a look, "how bad could it be?" I thought. Well it's pretty bad, the game play trailer depicts some dude stepping out of his house and gunning down a bunch of innocents. The action is occasionally split up with scenes of him gruesomely executing some poor person in some terrible way and there's a little bit at the start where he gives some speech about how much he hates the world.
I don't like the look of Hatred but not because it offends me or anything stupid like that, it just looks shit. From what I could gather, game play wise, it just looks like Hotline Miami but with all the challenge and charm taken out. Also the game fucking REEKS of trying too hard. It's obviously lacking in certain aspects so it's relying entirely on shock value to draw you in but really it just feels like something an extremely angsty 16 year old would produce.
However, as for people complaining about this game and calling for it to be banned or whatever, you people are fucking morons. Sure, the game looks like shit and it's tasteless as all hell but it does have a right to exist. You can't just live in a bubble the whole fucking time and demand that anything that even remotely upsets you be wiped from the face of the earth. The developers of this game do have a right to make it and if there does exist an audience for this kind of game, or if it does turn out to be really good (HA!) then it will be successful. If it's a shit game that no one wants to play, it'll bomb and chances are that it'll be a good while before anyone wants to try another shock value project like this again.
If you don't like it then just don't play it. No one is going to FORCE you to play Hatred and you whinging about it to be censored just to suit your taste is as equally pathetic as the games tasteless content. Let the people who just want some senseless violence have it and let the people with a sense of morbid curiosity for a game like this indulge and waste a few bucks. You can go on playing the games YOU like and Hatred will have no bearing on that at all.
It's the kind of game that will fall into obscurity a month or two after launch and only a handful of people will ever mention it again. Like Postal. So shut up and just enjoy your own fucking stuff rather than trying to police peoples tastes and interests.
Sunday, 2 November 2014
If you can't be arsed to watch the video or if I didn't mention it, Dreadout is a horror game based on Indonesian ghost stories so if nothing else we have quite a unique setting. I've played plenty of horror games based on Japanese folk tales or the more American style of horror of something terrible trying to cut you into little bits, but I know fuck all about Indonesian folk stories and ghosts so that alone was enough to draw me in.
The game starts out with a group of high school students and their teaching getting lost somewhere in Indonesia where they stumble across some kind of deserted town. The curious school kids run inside to explore and eventually come across an old school. The silent protagonist and her friend stay outside while her buddies go exploring and when they return one person's gone missing. Upon reentering to search, ghostly shit starts happening and the game begins for real.
Before I talk about the game play I HAVE to talk about the graphics because they suck to a degree that is actually shocking. If you have ever seen any games on the Xbox Live Arcade indie thing, it LOOKS like that. The characters just look fucking weird when moving and the environments look like something from an early PS2 game or worse. I'm aware it's a small indie developer working with what they can but they are terrible to the point where even someone like me, who cares very little for fancy graphics, had to raise and eyebrow and say "oh god".
The best way to describe Dreadout would be poor mans Project Zero (Fatal Frame). You walk around the school, solve puzzles and every so often you'll encounter a ghost which you must photo to death with your camera phone. At lost of the ghosts, however, won't die with camera power alone and you must solve a little puzzle or 2 to figure out how to off them once and for all. The camera is also used for a number of puzzles so it's a little more than just a weapon to fend of the nasties.
Combat is a big problem in this game though because it sucks a massive dick. There isn't much "real" combat as such and most ghosts are easy enough to stun away or flat out kill just by keeping a good distance and snapping when the little damage indicator comes up. There is one boss fight though which takes the absolute piss and almost ruins everything. The boss fight involves you being stuck in a small room with a ghost that you can't see without the camera being readied and once it takes a certain amount of damage it starts to frenzy. When it's mad, you have exactly ONE chance to snap it for damage otherwise it will stun lock you to death and there is fuck all you can do about it.
This leads to the games next big problem which is death. When you die, you don't get a simple game over or anything like that, you get sent to limbo. Limbo is a black screen with a big white thing at the other end that you run into in order to revive. The first time you die, the white thing is really close but each subsequent death makes it move further and further away. This becomes a pain 2 or 3 deaths in because you just want to try the fucking boss again but now you have to wait so that the developer can give you tips for things you already know or thank you for buying the game, which they could have fucking done in the credits. It's just obnoxious.
The other complaint I have about this game is that it's too fucking short. I was expecting a little more since a great deal of time passed between the demo and the final release and the two are totally different. Granted, the second act of the game is being provided as a free update but the game is like £15 on Steam and for a title this short and budget looking, £15 is a little steep.
To sum up, disappointment is what I feel for Dreadout. The Indonesian folklore setting was enough to get me excited for the game back when the demo and the demo was fun enough for me to want to buy the full thing. The full game however, is a mess of shitty puzzles and shitty combat and only takes a couple hours (if that) to beat. That said, I'm still looking forward to act 2 because I'm hoping that they will learn from the mistakes of this one and make the next act much better.
I can't recommend Dreadout while act 1 is still the only thing available since it's pricy for what it is, a bit crap and very short. If you see it in a steam sale for 75% off or something, absolutely grab it but until then you can play any of the much better horror games on Steam.