Renegade Ops, Closure, and just a fraction of Just Cause 2!

So, in my continuing quest to get as much out of the three months of PlayStation Plus that I bought, I've been continuing to play video games. And since I have nothing better to do (or at least nothing better that I want to do), I'm writing this here now.

First things first, when last I wrote, I mentioned that I was excited to play Just cause 2. And play Just Cause 2 I did! The last I checked (which was a day or two ago), my play time was up to 19 and a half-ish hours. Aside from a few, minor issues, I really like it. It's fun and ridiculous in all the right ways. At this point even people who haven't played the game know about the ridiculousness of the game play, but even the "story" stuff in it is silly and dumb. Most of the voice actors have some sort of ridiculous/borderline offensive accent, and the story...Well, I can't really comment on the story. Why? Because despite being almost twenty hours into the game, I only did the first two story missions that the game makes you do before you can go out and do whatever you want.

The game is structured in such a way that you need to do side stuff, like missions for the three factions in the game, before you can do the next story mission. But I decided to use my usual method of playing games like this. And that is doing side stuff until I run out or get bored with it. And neither has happened yet, but there's still literally hundreds of things left to do (or arguably thousands). The game is set on a fictional island nation (or, to be more accurate, a small nation comprised of numerous islands). And within this nation there are 368 (I think) "settlements." These range from small villages with nothing in them but a few collectibles (which can be used for things like upgrading weapons or health) to large and heavily guarded military bases with lots of stuff to blow up (and collectibles). The game keeps track of which ones gets completed (ie, blow up and collect everything that can be blown up or collected). And at this point I feel like I should go and complete all of them, because why not?

For the most part, this structure is great, because it allows for an easy way to know where you've already found everything there is to be found. But the problem is that not all collectibles in the game are within settlements. Some of them (the ones used to get cash from the factions) are marked on the map, but the aforementioned ones used for upgrades are not. And there is a finite amount of each type in the game, so people obsessed with 100%-ing the game could be driven mad by this. However, it's a small complaint.

What isn't a small complaint is how the game handles health. Unlike most game protagonists these days, Rico (the game's protagonist) doesn't have fully regenerating health. Some of it will come back, but not all. This wouldn't be a big issue if the game was mad easy, or if there were health packs everywhere, but neither is true. The game isn't especially difficult, but the health packs are extremely rare. Aside from gas stations, I've yet to find something in the game that reliably has them. A lot of the military bases will have one, but it's still lead to a lot of cases where if the health had come back fully, I wouldn't have died. I suppose the counter argument is that I should just play better, and that's true. But I do hope that Just Cause the Third has fully regenerating health.

Not much else to say about it at the moment. I do love that in the game Rico can survive a fall from any height if you just grapple the ground (or a roof) before he hits it. Somehow the action of grappling it and the grapple pulling him in faster causes him to survive where he would have otherwise died. Or maybe it's just something the developers didn't notice, or think was worth changing. It's the silly things like that that make me love Just Cause 2. I'll be continuing to play that one for a while, though I will be switching it out for other games every once in a while.

And speaking of games made by Avalanche Studios, I also played Renegade Ops. I have beaten Renegade Ops, and I even played a level of it in co-op (via the internet). Like Just Cause 2, aside from a few small issues, I liked it a whole lot. The "feel" of the vehicles was nice, and the game has plenty of explosions. It's challenging, but not too challenging. The story is ridiculous, especially ending. I won't say what it is, but man, is it great.

So far as issues, well, I found that as I played the game, which often involved me careening around the levels like a madman, I got stuck in stuff. Like the trees at the edge of the playable area, or behind fences. And as a result I'd then have to wait for the game to un-stick me and put me somewhere else. That's little more than an annoyance (and one caused by my recklessness), but I did die a few times because of it. The enemies don't bother to stop attacking, so that just leaves me as a sitting duck, and thus death ensues.

And speaking of death, the biggest issue I have is that when you die, you lose and power-ups you found. Everything from machine gun upgrades to the secondary weapon you have. I don't even need to explain how that would be annoying.

That's about all I have to say about Renegade Ops without going into a detailed analysis of how it's played, and I'm not going to do that. GB had plenty of coverage of it if you honestly don't know anything about it. I played it, I enjoyed it, but I probably won't play much more of it.

If you don't recognize this creepy little guy, well he's the "Spider-Demon" from Closure! Don't know what Closure is? Well, here's a handy Quick Look GB did! I'll give a brief explanation anyway. The concept of the game is that the only things that exist are the things that are lit, and everything in the darkness ceases to exist. Thus, the game revolves around manipulating and moving light sources to get through environments (to a door, which may or may not be locked, depending on the level). And for the most part, the game does a really good job of crafting fun and puzzling puzzles in these levels.

There is one problem I have, and much like the other problems I've mentioned today, it's largely my own fault. It's very easy to mess up a lot of the puzzles in the game. It's easy to move a light just a little too far and then a key or a box falls into oblivion, and you have to restart the whole thing and do it all over. Thankfully restarting is as simple as hitting the Select button, and the game (with its 2D sprites) resets instantly. If there was any sort of delay for loading, the game could have been much more infuriating. And a related problem is that since most of the puzzles in the game are somewhat complex and feature multiple parts, it's easy to get into a mindset where you reset because you messed something up, and you are so focused on the second or third part of a puzzle that you make a stupid mistake on the first part, and then you have to start all over again. But, as I said, that's all user error.

Well, not all user error. There is a certain amount of physics going on in the game. For example, if you push a box off a ledge, how it lands is dependent on the physics of the game. That means that, in certain cases, the box might land perfectly find 90% of the time. But in that other 10%, it'll box just the wrong way and fall down to oblivion, and you have to start all over because the game didn't "work right." Thankfully that didn't happen very often, but it happened enough that I feel like it was worth mentioning here.

The art style is great, both well done and appropriately creepy and dark. As is the soundtrack, which may be the best part of the game. Speaking of which, I feel like I should point out that (aside from a few people listed as Q&A), this game was made by three people. One guy did the programming and design work, another guy did the art (and "additional design"), and a third guy did the music and sound effects. So what I'm saying is that if you like buying games made by small numbers of people to help the "independent scene," then buy this game. It's on sale until Tuesday on PSN (I want to say it's only on PSN, but I can't confirm that), and I'd say it's probably worth the $10 (or $7 for PlayStation Plus users). Maybe a little pricey at the usual $15, but not too pricey. It's decently long, as it took me a few hours to beat.

And that's not all! But that's all I'm saying for now. This post is long enough as it is, and I will do up another one in the near future to talk about the other games I've been playing. But I will leave you with one last goofy picture, and since I already used one of Nolan North, here is the six time reigning Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Champion, Joey Chestnut:

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Posted by MooseyMcMan

So, in my continuing quest to get as much out of the three months of PlayStation Plus that I bought, I've been continuing to play video games. And since I have nothing better to do (or at least nothing better that I want to do), I'm writing this here now.

First things first, when last I wrote, I mentioned that I was excited to play Just cause 2. And play Just Cause 2 I did! The last I checked (which was a day or two ago), my play time was up to 19 and a half-ish hours. Aside from a few, minor issues, I really like it. It's fun and ridiculous in all the right ways. At this point even people who haven't played the game know about the ridiculousness of the game play, but even the "story" stuff in it is silly and dumb. Most of the voice actors have some sort of ridiculous/borderline offensive accent, and the story...Well, I can't really comment on the story. Why? Because despite being almost twenty hours into the game, I only did the first two story missions that the game makes you do before you can go out and do whatever you want.

The game is structured in such a way that you need to do side stuff, like missions for the three factions in the game, before you can do the next story mission. But I decided to use my usual method of playing games like this. And that is doing side stuff until I run out or get bored with it. And neither has happened yet, but there's still literally hundreds of things left to do (or arguably thousands). The game is set on a fictional island nation (or, to be more accurate, a small nation comprised of numerous islands). And within this nation there are 368 (I think) "settlements." These range from small villages with nothing in them but a few collectibles (which can be used for things like upgrading weapons or health) to large and heavily guarded military bases with lots of stuff to blow up (and collectibles). The game keeps track of which ones gets completed (ie, blow up and collect everything that can be blown up or collected). And at this point I feel like I should go and complete all of them, because why not?

For the most part, this structure is great, because it allows for an easy way to know where you've already found everything there is to be found. But the problem is that not all collectibles in the game are within settlements. Some of them (the ones used to get cash from the factions) are marked on the map, but the aforementioned ones used for upgrades are not. And there is a finite amount of each type in the game, so people obsessed with 100%-ing the game could be driven mad by this. However, it's a small complaint.

What isn't a small complaint is how the game handles health. Unlike most game protagonists these days, Rico (the game's protagonist) doesn't have fully regenerating health. Some of it will come back, but not all. This wouldn't be a big issue if the game was mad easy, or if there were health packs everywhere, but neither is true. The game isn't especially difficult, but the health packs are extremely rare. Aside from gas stations, I've yet to find something in the game that reliably has them. A lot of the military bases will have one, but it's still lead to a lot of cases where if the health had come back fully, I wouldn't have died. I suppose the counter argument is that I should just play better, and that's true. But I do hope that Just Cause the Third has fully regenerating health.

Not much else to say about it at the moment. I do love that in the game Rico can survive a fall from any height if you just grapple the ground (or a roof) before he hits it. Somehow the action of grappling it and the grapple pulling him in faster causes him to survive where he would have otherwise died. Or maybe it's just something the developers didn't notice, or think was worth changing. It's the silly things like that that make me love Just Cause 2. I'll be continuing to play that one for a while, though I will be switching it out for other games every once in a while.

And speaking of games made by Avalanche Studios, I also played Renegade Ops. I have beaten Renegade Ops, and I even played a level of it in co-op (via the internet). Like Just Cause 2, aside from a few small issues, I liked it a whole lot. The "feel" of the vehicles was nice, and the game has plenty of explosions. It's challenging, but not too challenging. The story is ridiculous, especially ending. I won't say what it is, but man, is it great.

So far as issues, well, I found that as I played the game, which often involved me careening around the levels like a madman, I got stuck in stuff. Like the trees at the edge of the playable area, or behind fences. And as a result I'd then have to wait for the game to un-stick me and put me somewhere else. That's little more than an annoyance (and one caused by my recklessness), but I did die a few times because of it. The enemies don't bother to stop attacking, so that just leaves me as a sitting duck, and thus death ensues.

And speaking of death, the biggest issue I have is that when you die, you lose and power-ups you found. Everything from machine gun upgrades to the secondary weapon you have. I don't even need to explain how that would be annoying.

That's about all I have to say about Renegade Ops without going into a detailed analysis of how it's played, and I'm not going to do that. GB had plenty of coverage of it if you honestly don't know anything about it. I played it, I enjoyed it, but I probably won't play much more of it.

If you don't recognize this creepy little guy, well he's the "Spider-Demon" from Closure! Don't know what Closure is? Well, here's a handy Quick Look GB did! I'll give a brief explanation anyway. The concept of the game is that the only things that exist are the things that are lit, and everything in the darkness ceases to exist. Thus, the game revolves around manipulating and moving light sources to get through environments (to a door, which may or may not be locked, depending on the level). And for the most part, the game does a really good job of crafting fun and puzzling puzzles in these levels.

There is one problem I have, and much like the other problems I've mentioned today, it's largely my own fault. It's very easy to mess up a lot of the puzzles in the game. It's easy to move a light just a little too far and then a key or a box falls into oblivion, and you have to restart the whole thing and do it all over. Thankfully restarting is as simple as hitting the Select button, and the game (with its 2D sprites) resets instantly. If there was any sort of delay for loading, the game could have been much more infuriating. And a related problem is that since most of the puzzles in the game are somewhat complex and feature multiple parts, it's easy to get into a mindset where you reset because you messed something up, and you are so focused on the second or third part of a puzzle that you make a stupid mistake on the first part, and then you have to start all over again. But, as I said, that's all user error.

Well, not all user error. There is a certain amount of physics going on in the game. For example, if you push a box off a ledge, how it lands is dependent on the physics of the game. That means that, in certain cases, the box might land perfectly find 90% of the time. But in that other 10%, it'll box just the wrong way and fall down to oblivion, and you have to start all over because the game didn't "work right." Thankfully that didn't happen very often, but it happened enough that I feel like it was worth mentioning here.

The art style is great, both well done and appropriately creepy and dark. As is the soundtrack, which may be the best part of the game. Speaking of which, I feel like I should point out that (aside from a few people listed as Q&A), this game was made by three people. One guy did the programming and design work, another guy did the art (and "additional design"), and a third guy did the music and sound effects. So what I'm saying is that if you like buying games made by small numbers of people to help the "independent scene," then buy this game. It's on sale until Tuesday on PSN (I want to say it's only on PSN, but I can't confirm that), and I'd say it's probably worth the $10 (or $7 for PlayStation Plus users). Maybe a little pricey at the usual $15, but not too pricey. It's decently long, as it took me a few hours to beat.

And that's not all! But that's all I'm saying for now. This post is long enough as it is, and I will do up another one in the near future to talk about the other games I've been playing. But I will leave you with one last goofy picture, and since I already used one of Nolan North, here is the six time reigning Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Champion, Joey Chestnut:

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