By MooseyMcMan 25 Comments
If you remember, I recently wrote a blog about the games that I had been playing to catch up on all the free PlayStation Plus games I hadn't gotten around to playing. And now that we're almost done with August (geez, where does the time go?), I have another month's worth of PS+ games to write about. Well, excluding any that are Vita only, given that I don't have a Vita.
Road Not Taken.
This is a grid and turned based game where you move a character around through somewhat randomly created (I think) levels while managing some sort of stamina type meter, and apparently there is some sort of permanence to death. Almost as if it was like the game Rogue, from back in the day. In all seriousness, I would not call this game a roguelike, but I do think it has more in common with actual roguelikes than most of the games out there today that people call roguelikes, but I'm going to stop saying roguelike now.
Anyway, the goal is to wander around in the woods trying to save children and not die. This is done by picking things up, and throwing them at other things. This is where my issues with the game begin, because I do like the cutesy art style. Anyway, when you push the pick things up button, you pick up everything that is in a square adjacent to you, except diagonals. Then you can carry these things with you, or throw them. The problem is that there's no "put down" button, and there's no way to be more specific with what you pick up. It's all or nothing with those squares around you. And it didn't take long for those two things to put me off from this game, especially since I wasn't super interested in it to begin with.
I'm going to be honest, this is both the game of this group that I played the least, and enjoyed the least. That's why I didn't write a ton about it.
Judgment: Not my thing, will likely never play again.
I do like that guy's beard, though.
I'm not really sure how to describe this game, aside from getting into the nitty gritty details (which I will). Part of me wants to call it interesting, but another part of me thinks it's super generic and not interesting at all. But I'll get to that.
First I'm going to get the technical side of things out of the way. Yes, I know I played the PS3 version. Yes, I played Crysis 1 on PS3 as well, and I have not played Crysis 2. Yes, I know the PC version looks and runs substantially better. I don't have a PC that can run games, and this was free. Also, this game is kind of a dark and blurry mess on the PS3. And it has frame rate troubles. It's still playable, and I would appreciate if you didn't make any PC master race comments, because I would have a high end gaming PC if I could afford one. Okay? Good, now I can get to the actual game.
I really liked the first Crysis, because I really like stealth games, and games that let me spend time scoping out areas and planning my way through them. That's why I'm so excited for The Phantom Pain, and Crysis had a lot of spots where I could do just that. Now, that doesn't mean I'm great at these games, or that I am able to execute on my plans when I try to go through with them, but I at least enjoy the scoping out and planning portion.
Crysis 3 is not a "scope out and plan" type of game. There's a few reasons for this.
The level design.
The way tagging works.
This game is really easy.
Okay, the level design. Now, this isn't a completely linear game, it's not something where you just run in a straight line and shoot things. There are definitely times where there's multiple ways to tackle objectives, but there aren't many. Most of the encounters in this game involve entering a room/area with some enemies, and a clearly marked spot where you have to get to and either keep moving, or hold the Square Button on something and then keep moving. Anyway, most of the areas aren't really big or wide enough to feel like something where I need to just go prone on a hill (there is no prone in this one, by the way) and scope out dudes for ten minutes before moving in.
But this brings me to the second problem, how tagging works in this game. Now, to be clear, I played this game on the difficulty that looked like it was the equivalent of Normal (the game defaults to the easiest one), so maybe this is different on the higher ones. Anyway, in most games with tagging, you need to get line of sight to tag an enemy. It creates a risk reward thing, where you get the reward of being able to track the enemy through walls, but you have to risk being seen to do it. That's the kind of thing that I love about stealth games, risking being detected for some sort of advantage over the enemy. It creates a thrill as I just narrowly avoid being seen a split second after I tag an enemy.
Crysis 3 doesn't have any of that because you can just tag enemies through walls, and from insanely large distances. It's not like you have to be ten feet away, you can tag any enemy in the "encounter area," for lack of a better word. It completely removes anything resembling risk, because all I had to do was just turn on the visor, and hover it over the enemy markers for a few seconds and then all the enemies were marked.
And then there's the cloak, which feels a lot more overpowered than it did in Crysis 1, and goes a long way toward my feeling like this game is super easy. The other part of that is the bow, which has one hit kills on almost all enemies without draining the cloak's energy meter. Shooting guns while cloaked doesn't immediately disable the cloak, but it does drain the meter A LOT. See, that's a system balanced to make it challenging. The bow, however, doesn't drain the meter at all, of it is does, it's so small that I didn't notice. And like I said, the bow is a one hit kill against most enemies, so the game just turns into this thing where I'm crouching around cloaked and shooting guys with arrows. You can't hold a ton of arrows at once (9 regular ones, and 3 each of the specialty arrows (two different explosive types and electric)), but you can retrieve standard arrows after they're shot, and there's a lot of arrow refill crates in the game.
I didn't really find the other arrow types very useful. The electric ones can be shot into water to electrocute nearby enemies, but I often found that with my terrible aim (which probably has something to do with the fact that I turned the aiming reticle off in the options, because I usually do that in first person shooters when the option is there) meant that I wouldn't get the arrow close enough to the multiple enemies in the water, and only get a couple of them. So it was easier just to use regular arrows. As for the explosive ones, one of them has a timed detonation thingy that was useful sometimes, and the other exploded in mid air, which could be useful. But I was never really sure what would make it explode, like if it did when it got near an enemy or something. I'm not sure if the game didn't explain that, or if I just wasn't paying attention.
Even without the bow and cloak stuff (supplemented by a simple upgrade system that lets you choose between multiple load outs, but I just stuck with one the whole game that I unlocked early because it made my cloak better), this is still an easy game. I never tried to reload the game and try again if I failed to be stealthy, I just pulled out a gun and started shooting (oh, I will say, I really like the animation when the bow is pulled out). And with the Maximum Armor mode, most shootouts weren't tough. Which isn't to say that I never died, because I did a handful of times (more so if you count the not well designed final boss), but it's still an easy game.
At least on the difficulty that I thought was normal, I'm sure it gets harder on the higher settings.
Oh, and the game has a story too, but none of it is really worth talking about. I think the voice acting is all right, and the game has some good facial capture (though not a ton of it), but the writing kinda drove me a little nuts. See, this game HAD to have been written/localized/whatever in not-America, because of the grammar. Okay, there's this evil organization in the game called CELL, but it's always referred to with plural words like "are." You know, the way British people talk, not the way that Americans talk. It was one thing hear Psycho, a British character say that, but Prophet, the dude you play as who is American? I dunno, it just kinda drove me up the wall. This is America, damn it, and we refer to organizations as singular entities! IS! IS IS IS!
That's about all I have to say about Crysis 3. OH WAIT. The game has really good music. I know, I'm surprised too. It even has a SNES game style BGM player. I mean, it's not good in the sense where it has a really good main theme that I started humming, but good in the sense that it sounds like a well produced Hollywood blockbuster dramatic movie orchestrated soundtrack. Also, there's some great enemy dialog in the game like, "That means you, asshole" and usage of the word, "hella."
Judgment: Completed, will never play again.
I wish the PS3 version looked like this.
It's a walking simulator, I dunno, enough said.
Judgment: Walking simulator.
I played Fez to completion on the Xbox 360 back in 2012 when it first came out, and I liked it a lot back then. I haven't played too much of the PS4 version, but I might play some more. Still seems like Fez, and I still think Fez is a game you should absolutely play. I'm not even going to mention Phil Fish beyond this sentence, so please don't bring it up in the comments, I don't want to have to lock my own stupid blog because of ne'er-do-wells.
Judgment: Still Fez.
I tweeted this picture from my PS4 specifically to have a screenshot from the PS4 version.
Proteus for real this time.
Sorry, I thought that this would make for a funny joke, but hell if I know if it actually was. Anyway, Proteus is weird. HELLA weird. I mean, this is both a game that has no objectives, and yet has a definite ending. And sure, I'll call it a game, because it does have an ending, and thus a way to "win." My definition of what makes a "game" a "game" is the ability to either win or lose, but not necessarily both.
So, the game play here consists of just wandering around during the day, with nothing to really do except look at weird stuff like pink trees and odd shapes that move around like they were animals while the game makes some weird music and other sounds play. Then, at night, there's these big spinny things of little white particles that start to make time accelerate when you get near them. I thought that was pretty cool, but when you get into a little circle in it, the screen fades and comes back in another season. The game starts in spring, and moves on to winter, at which point some weird stuff I won't spoil happens and then it ends.
Proteus is weird. But I didn't dislike it. I'm glad it exists, but I never would have paid any amount of money for it, at least not in my current situation where I don't have a job.
Judgment: It's okay, but not really my thing.
The last PS+ game I'm writing about here, and also the most surprising. I was expecting to play this game, and come out totally disgusted by the art, and bored by the game, given that I generally don't like this sort of sort-of-side-scrolling-but-not-restricted-to-a-2D-plane beat'em'up. Instead I was only somewhat displeased with the art, and think it's pretty fun.
But I'll cover the art first. Yeah, there's some stuff in here that's pretty gross. Just, super over-sexualized women that I almost want to say is parody, but hell, I don't know. But if you're not playing as a sorceress (giant bouncing breasts) or an amazon (thong butt pointed at the screen at all times), the stuff isn't too prevalent. It still comes up, with characters like the witch-merchant in town, or a nude mermaid who has a human butt during one of the mission, but it's not too prevalent. Not that I think games shouldn't have scantily clad characters or nudity in them, this just feels kinda gross (and also it's the kind of nudity where they don't actually show anything because it's a T rated game and everyone knows that breasts (but only the nipples), vaginas, and penises will damage the youth of today far more than violence and killing will, but that's a discussion for another day).
That said, the rest of the art in the game is fantastic, tons of detail, and some of it is really beautiful. And to the game's credit, some of the male classes are equally overly done in terms of body proportions. Conversely, there isn't a male character with a giant flopping penis bulging out of his pants like in something like Mount Your Friends, so I'm still going to say the over-sexualized art leans toward the women.
I played as a wizard, which seemed like an interesting class, and ended up being pretty fun. Like many video game wizards, this one only has a limited amount of a magic meter with which to cast spells, and managing that is a heavy component of playing that character. Circle Button attacks use magic, but holding the Square Button refills it, and there are skills that can be acquired (through spending skill points that you get from leveling up and completing quests) that will allow Square Button attacks to refill the meter, killing enemies to refill the meter, and maybe something else that I don't remember off hand. Anyway, it's a neat system that forces you in and out of combat occasionally to refill the meter. A lot more depth and strategy than I would have expected from a beat'em'up. I have not played any of the other classes, so I can't comment on how those play.
Well, I could make a few vague comments, because while I haven't played online with other people, this is a co-op game, and the game has a feature to allow for some AI companions. While in dungeons (though, calling them dungeons is a little weird when there's no over-world, just a small town with some shops and stuff), there are often piles of bones that can be collected. Once back in town, a preacher man can resurrect them (for a fee), and then that adventurer can accompany you on quests. And I've been using this feature, which may have unbalanced the game. I was having some difficulty early on (though the respawn system in there meant I didn't lose any progress, just in game money), but having a bunch of guys with me makes it kinda easy. And it can sometimes make the screen a mess when there's a bunch of enemies and I can't tell what's going on, but whatever!
I haven't finished Dragon's Crown, but I did get about five and a half or six hours in, and I'll probably go back for more. Just...not when my dad is around. See, despite being an adult who graduated from college last year, I'm still unemployed and living with my dad, and since we have a 60" HDTV, of course I play the games on that. But I'm not going to even risk playing Dragon's Crown when he's around and potentially have the, "Yeah, I know, Japan, and also this was free don't complain" discussion.
Judgment: Pretty good, will likely play more.
Then again, I haven't touched any of the games from the last PlayStation Plus Catch Up that I said I was going to, so who knows?!
Anyway, is there anything else I want to write about? Well, I keep playing more Mario Kart 8, but nothing really to say there, at least without this turning into a rant about how much trouble I've been having with beating the staff ghosts in the game. I did create a new racer/vehicle combo that I came up with a suitable name for, though. I call it...The Gerstmann!
Still haven't done any work on my book in months, which is continuing to bother me, but I can't bring myself to actually work on it. One of these days, I'll get back to it. Hopefully. It'll drive me mad if I don't.
Speaking of mad things, I've spent far too much time on the Miiverse lately. It's...a strange place. Lawless in a way I wouldn't expect something run by Nintendo to be. Lots of drawings of scantily clad women, characters kissing each other, etc. Way more homosexuality than I expected. I'll think I'll stop there, I've seen things I wish I could forget. Like this:
I did not draw that. My drawing ability is more along the lines of this:
I know I have a good thing going where I've done a blog every week for the last month-ish, but I'm not sure I can keep that going. Not really anything new or different on the horizon. I could try to write something about my insane time in the Miiverse, but I also feel like spending more time there will destroy me. Who knows?!
Update: My latest Miiverse drawing: