My Gaming Landscape [October 22, 2013]

This is going to be quick as I didn't play very many games this past week simply because I was busy with work and work took extra long due to me still being a little sick. I played a little bit of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of TIme 3D but not much. It was mostly me finding heart pieces and gold skulltula and going through the Lost Woods. Seriously, over the week I played about two hours. Not much at all.

I also decided to play Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver on the PC. I bought it a while ago on Steam with the second game and Defiance but never played it. I had actually played it on the PSone back in the day but only for like a half an hour or something. There's this part early on with a lake that you have to jump across. That's the extent that I remember from playing it before. However, now I'm playing it and I'm having a love-hate relationship with it. This is one of those games where it's really easy to get lost and not have any idea what to do. However, the atmosphere of the game and the lore in the story, they freakin' nailed it. It's soooo good! I made two videos of me playing it and put it up on my YouTube channel. One is up now, the other will be ready by Thursday. I'm going to continue playing it but I'm still of two minds about it because I tried to play some more of it yesterday but I got stuck and this is the seventh time or so that's happened.

Finally, I played more Pokémon X. I actually just started playing again yesterday since I think last Tuesday. I am in Luminose City now and I got a Bulbasaur which I renamed BallsAreSore because that's what my mother calls Bulbasaur. I leveled up my Fenniken to Braixen (which is named Firefox FYI because I'm "creative") and almost all my Pokémon are level 10 or higher. I actually started focusing on the new Pokémon Amie feature and now Firefox gets more EXP in battles. I'm going to try and focus on this part of the game now since I'm at a point where I'm going to be grinding and getting all my Pokémon to level 15, except for BallsAreSore since he evolves into Ivysaur at level 16. So yeah. Pokémon is still fun after all these years.

That's everything I've been playing. So what about you!?

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Sonic the Hedgehog and the Inertia Problem

So I'm watching the Giant Bomb Quick Look of Sonic Lost World. It's coming out at the end of the month and as a big Sonic fan, I wanted to check out the latest in the series since I wouldn't be able to play it since I don't have a Wii U. Almost immediately, I noticed an issue with the gameplay that has plagued Sonic game for some time now: inertia. When Sonic runs and jumps and you let go of the analog stick or d-pad, Sonic loses the forward momentum he had while running way too quickly.

One of the main problems that many people have with the recent Sonic games is the issue that Sonic doesn't "feel" right as you control him. What I think the issue boils down to is the physics. The physics with Sonic are completely unrealistic in the new games. It's not even believable from a cartoon perspective. Not that Sonic had realistic physics but it did have physics based in reality.

In the old Genesis Sonic games, Sonic didn't speed away as soon as you started moving and couldn't reach full speed just from running normal. It took time and full speed could only be reached from a downward slope or a speed pad. Also, the kind of speed you got from running as opposed to being curled up in a ball is different. Being in a ball made Sonic feel more loose while on foot had a sense of resistence to it. In recent games, it's much easier to gain full speed and there's only one kind of speed. The problem with this is there's no attention to traction in the recent Sonic games, making it difficult to control and providing no distinction between running and rolling.

When Sonic runs and cuts left and right, the control is very loose and you lose that feeling of control. Sonic should curve left and right more as you can't normally move that quickly to the left and right if you're running on your feet. You have too much traction on your feet to be able to do that. Sonic could if he's curled up into a ball as he then controls more like something on wheels but not on foot. When someone is running and wants turn left, right or even around, they run in a U shape in order to do it. Sonic should do the same. Other way is if you want to cut in a different direction quickly, you need to reposition your feet in the direction you want to go. This can be achieved with a little hop or a quick stop. Either way, there's a brief moment where you're not moving at all. That moment would be enough to gain your bearings and know what direction you're going.

Finally, the issue I mentioned at the beginning of the post. For some reason, Sonic loses forward momentum when you change direction in mid-air. Now this is unrealistic and there's no real realistic way to fix this. In real life, if you jump in one direction, that's the direction you're going. You can't change it in midair. However, in previous Sonic games and in Mario games as a matter of fact, you could change the direction you're going but only to an extent. Forward momentum from when you jumped is still taken into consideration and if you're going fast, you can only slow down your approach in midair, not change the direction entirely.

The issues with Sonic Lost World are nothing new in the Sonic franchise but I thought I would point out the issues that have haunted the series since Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast. These are the issues that need to be fixed for the Sonic series to truly return to its glory days.

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My Gaming Landscape [October 10, 2013]

Sorry my Gaming Landscape for the week is late but I've been sick with the flu since last Friday. The upside to this is I got to play a lot of games this week. I continued playing Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning but I only played it twice this past week. I've noticed that I'm having a hard time sitting down and playing the game for multiple sessions. I think it's because most of the game is essentially busy work and side quests. Even the story missions play out like the side quests. The quests are fun and the combat make them enjoyable but it makes the game less engaging. I'm going to continue to play it but only occasionally.

I wanted something else to play on my 3DS so I bought The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Ocarina of Time is easily my favorite Zelda game, though I haven't played that many Zelda games to a long extent. I've gone through the first dungeon and talked to Zelda and even got the song from the Lost Woods but I haven't played it since last Friday because I bought Pokémon X when it came out Saturday. I haven't played a Pokémon game since Leaf Green in 2005 but I was surprised by how similar X is to Leaf Green. I've currently only gotten the first gym badge as I've mostly been grinding and leveling up all my Pokémon, of which I have around 15.

I tried some demos, namely Beyond: Two Souls, The Wolf Among Us, and the Battlefield 4 beta. Beyond is not a good game. It's a game that has a linear story but wants to trick you into thinking it doesn't. It does this by making you make choices that don't actually have any real consequence, fail proof sequences and a storyline that jumps around in time for no cohesive reason. I was a fan of Indigo Prophecy but this is just not good. Certainly more style than substance.

The Wolf Among Us on the other hand is a game with a similar approach to gameplay but it manages to do it in a compelling way. The Wolf Among Us has great characters, exciting action sequences and mechanics that make sense in regards to the action on screen. One thing however is I played it on the Xbox 360 and there were multiple frame rate issues so I recommend picking this game up on the PC. As for the Battlefield 4 beta, I loaded it up and played for 15 minutes. I realized that it was exactly the same title as Battlefield 3 and quit.

Really quick, I played some Angry Birds while laying in bed sick and I played a little bit of GTA V and Online. I played as Trevor and bought some properties and all of the guns, and clothes I could get and did a few arms trafficking missions. Then I went online and tried to do two missions. I did a deathmatch with only one other guy and won and failed to get anyone to do a race with me. Then I quit. This is why I don't like Online games!

Finally, I popped in the Prince of Persia Trilogy into my PS3 and started playing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time HD. I loved this game back in the day and it's still really good. However, this HD version is not well done. The graphics, while better, lack any kind of polish. The sound also sounds off at times and somehow in the distance. Finally, the AI seems to have gotten dumber. I was fighting a group of enemies and one of them just went in the corner and started walking around in circles. Still, there's nothing broken about the game and I'm still enjoying it. I'm about halfway in after playing for just under three hours.

Promotions! This week I'm just going to just list them.

Whew! Okay. So what did you play this past week?

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Why Wii U When 3DS?

So I'm not going to get a Wii U as previously planned. There were several reasons for this decision. The delay of Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Rayman Legends being just as good on other platforms, and realizing that some of the games I wanted for the system, like Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Bros U and Lego City Undercover, just aren't worth it. I'm aiming for my birthday in March now.

I'm not upset about this though because something I realized is why spend all this money on a Wii U and games for it when I have a 3DS XL with only three games to play? Yes, although I got a 3DS XL earlier this year, I haven't bought a game for it since then. So I decided to rectify that. I bought The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D through the Nintendo eShop and I plan to get Pokemon X and Y. I'm not sure which one to get though. I was leaning towards Y but now I'm thinking X.

Regardless, I've decided to focus on playing the games I have that I haven't played (like Far Cry 3 and Max Payne 3) and getting new releases for my 3DS, as my library for it is lacking. I only have the aforementioned Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land, and Fire Emblem: Awakening. Off the top of my head of games to get for the 3DS are Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor Overclocked, Kid Icarus Uprising, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Star Fox 64 3D, Tales of the Abyss, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Having said that, are there any games that I'm missing? Are there some gems in the 3DS library that aren't talked about much that deserve attention?

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My Gaming Landscape [October 8, 2013]

I'm back to my multiple titles way so lets get started. First off, I played some more Grand Theft Auto V, including Grand Theft Auto Online. Like everyone else I had trouble getting online but Thursday night, I was finally able to play a stable-ish session...and I didn't care for it. Online feels half baked to me as the missions are very interesting, and the fun I did have in Online could have been had offline without all the connection issues. That said, I know that they having released all the content that's supposed to be included, like making your own jobs and heists so I think I'll come back to it once everything is resolved, released and stable. As for GTA V proper, it's fun but I think I'm ready to move on. I've beaten the story mode, gotten all the way up to 91% completed and play the game for 68 hours. I've had my fill for now.

I played Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning next on the PS3. I've only played a little bit as I'm focusing on something else right now but it's a very fun game. I've sunk in around 6-7 hours and I like the missions they give me. Combat is enjoyable too. It has a lot of variety and flexibility thanks to all the buttons allocated for attacking. Presentation-wise is where the game begins to falter. The art design is good but there's clipping and really rough edges and ugly menus so that leaves much to be desired. Also, moving around feels unnatural, like your either moving too slow or too fast. It's still a fun game, and its problems are most likely the result of a small budget or a rushed time frame. Kingdoms of Amalur feels like a combination of World of Warcraft and an Elder Scrolls game. So you'll always have a stockpile of missions but also free movement. I recommend it, it's a lot of fun and it's free on the PS3 right now if you have PlayStation Plus!

I have never beaten The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. So I got started on that and loaded it up on my Wii. I haven't gotten far, I finished the first area where you save Zelda, found the elder and made it into the first dungeon and then stopped there. So far, I'm having fun but haven't seen what the big deal is about this game. In all fairness, I'm not a big Zelda guy, but I enjoy the games, though I have trouble completing them. I need to play more of that before I have a legitimate opinion.

Finally, I played Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate on the 3DS. I'm almost done with the game, literally being in the last stretch of the game. Seriously, it'll take me like an hour to finish. This game is frustrating. It's not bad, it's not good. The best way to describe it is frustrating. I'm writing a review for this game so I'm not going to say much but I will say that the upcoming HD remake of this game HAS to be better. It just has to be.

Promotion time! You can follow me on Twitter, Raptr, IGN, and Giant Bomb as Colorwind and on Tumblr and Instagram as Colorwynd. Also Google+ but I don't know the name on there so just click on the link. On YouTube, I do lets play videos called Colorwind Plays and Colorwind Beats. As you can imagine, Colorwind Plays is me just popping in a game, whether I know it or not, and playing and Colorwind Beats is when I play a game all the way through. Right now, I'm doing playthroughs of Batman Arkham Asylum, and Deadpool, a Colorwind Plays video on Chuck Rock for the Genesis, and my second Colorwind Plays video on Dead Space. That was going to be a full playthrough but I think I'm stopping because I'm a huge coward and I'm scared. You can find that under Colorwind as well.

Finally, I manage a site called Gaming Precision so go check that out. This past week, my GP Picks feature went up on Friday and I recommended four games, only one of which was new since there were almost no good new games. I also host the site's podcast and the new episode went up on Thursday so check that out. We talk about Nintendo Direct news, GTA V, and more! Alright, that's everything! So what have you been playing this past week?

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The Fall of 2013

The final quarter of 2013 is upon us and this is the time when a massive glut of video games are released. Not only are there a lot of games released now but typically the best publishers have to offer is released around this time. Now, while I don't doubt that games like Watch Dogs and Pokemon X and Y will be great, I've noticed a change this year. There's actually not that many games I want to play this quarter. Off the top of my head is the aforementioned Watch Dogs and Pokemon X and Y, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, but that's about it. Sure there are games like Beyond: Two Souls, Batman Arkham Origins and Phoenix Wright Dual Destinies that look good but I don't really feel like I have to run out and get them. Oh and I know about Assassin's Creed IV, Battlefield 4, and Call of Duty: Ghosts but I just don't care about those games. They come out annually and I just don't care anymore.

Then there's some games that are coming out on next gen consoles. I won't be getting a PS4, Xbox One or Wii U so those don't count for me. But that's a problem too because for me there's essentially Killzone: Shadow Fall, Killer Instinct (out of sheer morbid curiosity), and Super Mario 3D World, none of which I'm dying to play. There is Sonic Lost World, since I'm a huge Sonic fan, but that's one game. The point I'm getting at is there's a distinct lack of awesome titles coming out this Fall. Two years ago, there was so many good games, it was too much! Rayman Origins, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Dark Souls, Batman Arkham City, Saints Row: The Third, Sonic Generations, Uncharted 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, it was crazy! Now, there's around three or four games.

My guess is this is due to the new console coming out. They must be stockpiling or taking extra time to work on their upcoming games, which I'm fine with. I'm even okay with not having that many new games to play this fall as I can whittle down my vast backlog of games. However, I do miss that feeling of all of these great games coming out and getting excited at all the fun I could have. How do you feel though? Do you think this fall lineup of games is weak compared to recent years?

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My Gaming Landscape [October 1, 2013]

I finished Grand Theft Auto V this past week. I'm so glad I picked the ending I did because I looked up the other endings and they are bullshit. Honestly the endings for GTA V are not good, any of them really but there is a clear answer as to which to go for. I won't spoil it, though I'll probably write something about it later. That said, I'm still playing it, buying properties and looking for the collectables. I've already got all of the spaceship parts and I'm going to work on Stunt Jumps next. I'm focusing on Franklin for now. I haven't tried GTA Online yet though. Probably later today.

Besides that, I played Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate. I'm still not enjoying myself that much but it's still a competent game. The main problem is the combat is not very engaging. Animations are kind of clunky and you're essentially doing the same two combos over and over. Also, while I know backtracking is a big part of Castlevania, in this game it's not worth while and for very hollow reasons. The platforming feels weird too. I'll be giving a full review once I finish it.

That's what I've been playing! Now for some promotion. Check out my YouTube channel for gaming videos, check out my latest entry for The Indie Cafe where I talk about Papers Please, the latest edition of GP Picks is also up, and finally The Gaming Precision Podcast #5 is up and it's funny as hell! So what have you been playing?

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My Gaming Landscape [September 24, 2013]

This week, I played some Deadpool and Batman Arkham Asylum for my video series of those two, be sure to check them out at youtube.com/colorwind but my whole week was really all about Grand Theft Auto V. I've been playing it nearly every day for hours each. I've put in over 30 hours and I can't get enough. I haven't been this addicted to a Grand Theft Auto game since San Andreas. I love the world, I like the characters, and the missions are much more interesting this time. The controls feel good, if not perfect, and there's just so much to do! This is going to be a short one since I already did an impressions piece on Gaming Precision but yeah, I've been playing GTA V ALL WEEK!

Now for some promotion. I have the aforementioned Grand Theft Auto V Impressions, an editorial on why thatgamecompany conveys emotion better than any other developer out there now, hands on coverage of day one and day two of the Tokyo Game Show, and my weekly GP Picks feature where my recommendations are pretty easy to figure out. So what have you been playing this past week?

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What Should I Get With My Wii U?

In a previous post, I asked whether or not I should get a Wii U. I've decided to get one in about two and a half weeks, as that is when I'll have the money. However, I'm getting conflicted as to what games I should get. I have a short list in mind but I don't know which I should pursue and which I shouldn't. So I thought I'd get some input as to what to get. Here's the list.

  • New Super Mario Bros U
  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2
  • Lego City Undercover
  • Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
  • Pikmin 3
  • Rayman Legends
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
  • Chasing Aurora
  • Little Inferno
  • Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition
  • Mutant Mudds Deluxe
  • Ducktails Remastered
  • Pokemon Rumble U
  • Earthbound
  • Breath of Fire II

If the game isn't listed here then either I'm not interested (ZombiU) or it won't be out by the time I get the Wii U (Sonic Lost World). So out of all these games, the one I'll probably automatically get is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD since I'll be getting that bundle. Other than that, I would like to get two more retail games and possibly a few eShop titles since those are cheaper. Let me know in the comments what you all think I should pick up.

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My Gaming Landscape [September 17, 2013]

I tried to play some more of Bayonetta but I cannot get into that game. I finished all the way up to Chapter 2 (which is more like Chapter 4 since there's two prologue levels) and I just don't like the constant interruptions for cutscenes, the convoluted mess of a storyline and the only okay combat. The combat is actually okay but I found myself dying a lot simply because I can't tell what's going on with some much stuff on screen at once. To me, Bayonetta is a game that's style over substance. I've also come to the conclusion that I just don't like Platinum Games. I've played Madworld, Vanquish, Anarchy Reigns, and I didn't like any of them. The only exception is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which I wasn't crazy about but I did like. So I sold my copy on eBay and moving on.

Next I played a little bit of Battlefield 3. I did a few levels of the campaign, up to the part where they found the portable WMDs. That game is also meh, at least the campaign. That last level with the WMDs at the end was pretty good, with some good action and level structure but the others have been okay at best and downright boring at worse. The flying level in particular was so dull, I kept yawning while I played it. I've never been much for multiplayer but I hear that is where BF3 excels so maybe I should jump into that more. I've already tried it but was pretty lost.

After Bayonetta and BF3, I had no idea what to play and just cleared my PS3 hard drive and decided to start off relatively fresh. I wrote a blog about that so check it out. I thought to myself what do I like to play the most? I decided the answer was independent games. The Xbox Live Arcade was the main reason I was mostly a Xbox 360 gamer for most of the generation. So I decided to pop in the Journey Collector's Edition that was just sitting on my shelf. I played and finished flOw, Flower, and Journey and those are three of the best games I have ever played.

flOw is so simple and pristine in its design and gameplay. Though I did get a little frustrated at a couple of moments, I love how each organism has different traits and how easy going the pace of the game is. Flower might be my favorite of the three as I love the feeling of positivity I get from that game. The graphics are simply beautiful and the art design really makes that stand out. The feeling of empowerment from the last level is so invigorating and gives a sense of release in the most joyous way. Finally, Journey made me care for the companion I had in the game and I would wait if he fell behind and could tell when he was helping me along, all without any headset or conventional means of communication. At the end of the game, I'm not ashamed to say that I started to cry. That game, with all you went through and how it culminates, hit me so hard, not through sadness or even happiness, but through just the realization of what I had experience, overcame me and i started to cry. I even cried a second time after going through it a second time, even harder in fact.

At some point, I started getting this desire, this itch to play some old N64 games so I downloaded an emulator and started playing Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. I always end up playing Super Mario 64 for one reason or another and this was my excuse this year. I've already "beaten" Super Mario 64 in that I got to the ending. 71 stars. I'll get the rest maybe later. In Mario Kart 64, I've completed the 50 cc and half of the 100 cc. These are games I know so much that they're a lot like comfort food, familiar and safe. I did a video for Mario Kart 64 that will go up tomorrow so check that out.

After finishing the Journey Collector's Edition, I decided to play something completed different and opted for Sleeping Dogs. I have it on PC and PS3 so I installed the PS3 version and started a new game. I haven't played much but I did last year on the PC and liked it though I couldn't get into it due to other games, namely Darksiders II. I don't know if I'll get into though for two reasons. First is Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate for the 3DS. I got it from Gamefly and plan to play it for review. So far, I think it's okay. Combat is pretty basic but it works just fine. Levels so far have been really bland and everything kinda looks the same. Also, why is Simon Belmont Scottish? Is that a thing I don't know about? I'm asking because that really took me back. Still, I want to complete it so I can write the review for Gaming Precision. The other reason is I'm currently downloading Grand Theft Auto V. Yeah.

Finally, I recorded some footage of me playing Deadpool and that video went up yesterday so check that out. Now, in a little shameless promotion, I'm going to pimp out some work that has gone up on the site I manage, Gaming Precision. First, the site's podcast, which I host, went up last Thursday. We talked about our first gaming experiences, the announcements from Sony before the Tokyo Game Show, including the PS Vita TV and more. Next is my GP Picks feature I post every Friday. I recommended four games, including a swine-filled game, a FPS worth playing on the go, a platformer you got by the strings, and the return of a crossover title. Finally is a editorial a new writer on the site, BJ, wrote on the storytelling potential for video games. It's a really good read so be sure to check it out, comment and give your opinion on the matter.

That's everything for me this week! What have you been playing these past seven days?

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