Sunday, October 4, 2015

Games in 2015: Fall


My favorite season is here at last! I remember the difficulty getting used to waking up early again. Plus, there was that crabbiness towards my cheerful older brother who woke me up for school; he had usually worked through summer and didn't really sleep in. Fall brings those crisp cold mornings where it's sunny, and the plants are all coated in dew, and your sense of smell is heightened...and there's always the awesome apples and hot drinks. Fall rules! When the rain ramps up, it'll only add to it being prime game season. Halo 5, Starwars Battlefront, Rainbow Six are a few games that are coming just around the corner! Attacking my backlog is going rather well:

September

This month's first game was Bastion. I saw the dev's booth (SuperGiant Games) at PAX, and several people told me I needed to play it. Boy, was this one of the best gaming experiences of 2015. This is a brawler game with a level-up system that is quite addictive. The game is pretty, gameplay is simple, and it is narrated up to the moment of everything you do. Problem is, you'll start talkin like the narrator after a spell. Bastion is a short commitment, cheap, and an awesome treat. 5/5 for enjoyment.

Dumbly-named Billy Yoder about to get chomp'd.
I finished off the Telltale Jurassic Park games, beating Episode 4. The biggest pain in the ass is one of the last fights, which has a 2 minute unskippable dialogue scene that I went through 20 times, just to fail the poorly-timed button sequences. Other than that crappy sequence, this game had some neat puzzles - there's a part where you're trapped underground and have to compare your teammates' screens with a map, combing over details as you decide how to escape these creepy creatures. If I had to have a point system, I'd say this game had an overall enjoyment of 2/5.

Yeah...I don't really...got anything.

Doki-Doki Universe is a totally random hand drawn game where you, a robot, visit different planets to learn how to be 'human.' The thing is that you learn emotions and behaviors through animals and aliens, in addition to homo sapiens. The game is bizarre, and pretty much talk to x, get item y, bring it back to x. It was a quick 7-hour 100% trophy hunt. I can't say it was boring, but it was far from the best thing I've ever played, and the art style reminded me of Katamari Damacy, which is one of my favorite games ever made. I actually read most of the dialogue of this game, and would give it a 4/5 because it's short.

On Xbox One, some free-to-play puzzle game called Frozen Free Fall has taken up my mornings. This game feels like a franchise cash-in, but still has solid gameplay. You have to reach a target score or eliminate certain blocks with either a time limit or move limit. You get a certain amount of times to fail, and if you fail 5 times, you have to either wait a few hours or purchase them. The achievements are still obtainable, but it's very much designed to be frustrating. Levels are 50/50 for randomly generated tiles and fixed ones. If you play a level decently and lose, you'll have a strong chance of repeating that loss because of this. I was too caught up in the game to try exiting to the main menu to reset the tiles. Enjoyment is a 2/5 for being pay-to-win. I love gem-matching puzzle games, and their arbitrary limits to gameplay keep this from being an easy 5/5.

GET HIS AyuSS!
I also started a second quest on Murdered: Soul Suspect. I wanted to get all collectibles, see more stories, and show my girlfriend this game that's as much fun to observe as it is to play. The cutscenes are well-done, and there are certain collectibles which lead to great voice-over stories. The patchwork of collectible guides has me with no less than 8 tabs open in Chrome, which is obnoxious. This game is a solid 5/5 for enjoyability. Even better if you're not looking for all of the collectibles.

October

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is pret-ty different! The game has a very nonlinear progression, as well as a time limit, and improving your character is done through completing missions. This doesn't cut out grinding, though, as some missions require collecting a certain amount of items from killing monsters. I REALLY like the game so far (check out my separate review), but the FFs have gotten pretty pretentious, always talking about God and divinity...what happened to espers and emperors? They're pretty, and the art direction is probably the best 3d rendering of rich 2d anime come to 'life' I've ever seen, but I miss the 4- and 5-party FF teams that you'd take into battle - SquareEnix has shrunk the party for 8 games now.

November

There 'e is!
Turkey, stuffing, Martinelli's, overeating, forced smiles and Black Friday. That about sum it up? NO! Because November 2015 saw some pretty fucking huge news: Xbox One brought backwards compatibility to the mix, and my library grew by a whopping 10 games! One of these that I dove right into was Plants vs Zombies. I love tower defense games, and this game makes me laugh. The grand zombie with glasses in his boxers who gets pissed if you rip his newspaper? Yeah, that shit's funny as hell. 5/5 for enjoyment, price, and short time investment.

I also spent a lot of time with Crimson Dragon...I'm at the last handful of achievements for that one. This game is a spiritual successor to the 90's Panzer Dragoon games; your character is on top of a dragon, shooting at various enemies as they fly at or by you. Crimson Dragon is a lot less about the rider and his mount, and more that you are a nameless soldier in a larger war.

The story is really superfluous, and an example that studios should really quit the shit on shoehorning story into games that don't need it. Maddox has a lot to say about that. What I understood about the story is that there's a virus that makes animals crazy, and you're fighting it by killing the crazy animals. The gameplay: use one stick to move the dragon up, down, left and right, and the other to move your reticle. You have two weapons, and your dragons have different elements that do more and less damage to certain enemies. The game is very pretty, and I played for 1-2 hours each setting, despite some levels only being 3 minutes long. As you beat levels, your dragons level up, so that's a nice mechanic. I like Crimson Dragon a lot, for it's great graphics, scope of achievements, and focus on accurate shooting. 5/5 for price, graphics, and really fun gameplay.
The three characters whom you won't give a shit about, cause the dragons are way cooler!

November 17th and onwards was mostly about one game, though. Star Wars Battlefront is authentic. At first, this game's graphics are merely nice, and definitely not the sharpest or most detailed you've seen on the newest generation. That is, however, until you consider the size of the maps. A map, which loads in about 15 seconds, might take 2 minutes of sprinting to cross. Also, the terrain, characters and vehicles don't really have degrees of detail: I'm pretty sure they're always in full detail. So, considering that you play these GIANT maps with 40 players, it's easy to understand how this game is utilizing dat processor. The sound effects are top notch, and the music is taken directly from the original trilogy. Gameplay is so incredibly addicting, with standard FPS modes like capture this and deliver that, but then there's Heroes vs Villains. In this mode, you are a team of 6, and 3 of you are the lead characters from Star Wars: Han, Leia and Luke vs Vader, Palpatine, and Boba Fett. Every other round, you spawn as one of these heroes, so everyone gets a chance. The round is over when all 3 from one team are killed. When you're not a hero, you're the generic rebel or imperial force that you play in the main FPS game.

There's also the vehicle combat. Currently, you can only be a tie fighter or interceptor, x-wing or a-wing, but I can only guess that other canon ships will be available in further DLC. Every time you play, you get credits and xp to unlock weapons, upgrades and costumes, which adds to the crack batch that this game is. I've injured my back and neck simply from playing this game too much; that's how good it is! (Or maybe, how dumb I am.) 5/5.

Now it's December. Here comes winter!!!

FFXV DLC: F MINUS and other stuff