Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Currently Playing: Episode 2

Week of 9.10.13-9.17.13
Games include:  Assassin’s Creed III and Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

This week on Currently Playing we will take a quick look at Assassin’s Creed III (ACIII) and Dead Rising 2: Case Zero (DR2 Case Zero).  As I mentioned last week on Currently Playing: Ep 1 I didn’t get a ton of gaming in.
            The first game I played was ACIII.  This one I have been playing off and on for a while now and I finally put the last nail in the coffin on last Tuesday by completing the last section on sequence 12 (which is the last one in the Main Story line) and doing the couple of epilogue missions.  I won’t go into much detail on this game except to say that I really liked it.  Being American the setting was familiar to me as was the history itself.  One of my favorite sequences was the Boston Tea Party.

Helping dump that tax heavy tea into the sea.
I liked how the story started out with Connor’s (the main character) father taking the lead and putting the player in the position of trying to figure out how the story will progress from a white Englishman until you play as Native American Connor. I enjoyed the sections in the modern day setting that involved combat as they showed how much the Animus aids the player in the memory sequences with all that nice heads up display information.

Waging war with the Aquila... Here I come Jackdaw
My favorite parts of the game were the naval and privateer missions aboard the Aquila.  Even though these were very scripted event, the ship to ship combat left me aching for more.  That is why I am excited for Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.  As this is the last game in the Miles Desmond story arc it is definitely worth the play if you played previous Assassin’s Creed games. I give the game a score of 4/5.
The other game I played was DR2: Case Zero, which is the prologue to Dead Rising 2 and came as a standalone Downloadable Content (DLC), which I was able to pick up for free last month from Xbox Live’s Free Games with Gold program when I got Dead Rising 2 through the same program.  Case Zero was short, sweet and self-contained.  There was some benefit beyond additional story to Dead Rising 2, in the form of your character level (up to level 5) carries over to Dead Rising 2 when you play that as the follow-up. The game helped give a short introduction to the gameplay of Dead Rising 2. Case Zero had the time constraints like Dead Rising 1 and 2.  I am not a huge fan of time constraints.  I am more of a stop and smell the roses kind of guy.  I don’t like missing content because I was exploring the world.  However this game was short enough that time wasn’t overly pressing. This was a good thing. Dead Rising 3 will not feature these time constraints unless you play on Nightmare Mode.  I like the idea that I will be able to enjoy DR3 at my own pace.
Without time being off the essense I will actually have time to kill more of these guys. 
  The majority of DR2: Case Zero is spent gathering parts for a motorcycle and rescuing survivors.  You surprisingly don’t get that much time to kill zombies but rather just run past them to keep up a brisk rescue schedule.  By the way the wheel you buy for your bike must not fit because the handling on the motorcycle is terrible.  But in reality this is probably due to poor gameplay rather than your in game mechanical ability. I still give the game a 3/5.  Fun and short.

Here is the bike being build to ride off in escape.

I needed some short games and these fit the bill.  Just to be clear I was just finishing up ACIII.  Assassin’s Creed III is by no means a short game.  On a side not, open world games tend to take me a while as I easily get distracted enjoying the world rather than just powering through the main story line.
Next week on Currently Playing come check out my playtime with Grand Theft Auto 5.  What did you think of these games?  Sound off below.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Grand Theft Auto 5 Launches Tomorrow

Grand Theft Auto 5 is almost here.  In about sixteen short hours I will be playing my copy of GTA 5. If you are looking to find out some more information about the game to get you through the day you can check out a few reviews that were just posted this morning.  Here is a review from IGN and one from Gamespot.  IGN game the game a 10/10 and Gamespot gave a 9/10.  I have yet to read either of them as I will digest them later today when I get some from time.  But for now enjoy.

Update:  Here is a review from Inside Gaming over at Machinima and OXM UK.  Both sites gave 10/10 for GTA V.  And here is the one from Game Informer that gave the game a 9.75/10. That about raps up all the sites I check daily for my gaming news. Once we get our hands on it let me know what you think.  I will also be covering GTA 5 next week in Currently Playing Ep. 3.  For an overview of all the reviews check out Metacritic.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Currently Playing: Episode 1

Week of 3.9.13-10.9.13 
Games include: Saints Row 4, Magic 2013, and Torchlight II

                This is the first episode of Currently Playing and I hope to keep a pace of one episode a week even if it's short.  In these articles I will lay down an overview of games I played in the previous week.  I think I will consider a week Tuesday to Tuesday since, being in the U.S., our games come out on Tuesdays.  This should allow me to sum up some hands on with a game that releases the week before.

                For the first episode I have a fair bit to say due to the fact that last week was a very good productive week in gaming for me.  And by a good week in gaming I mean my wife was out of town so I had unsupervised time to play more hours than I should.

                To start off, I was a little over half way through Saints Row IV by the time that Tuesday rolled around. I powered through and completed the game late Thursday night.  The ending was fairly easy to see coming but it concluded well.  There is one surprise which doesn't seem to have anything to do with the end but was quite ridiculous, which I suppose fits in with the absurdity of Saints Row games. 

                The subtle and not so subtle references to the Matrix universe was my favorite part of the whole game.  From the very first escape from the first simulation world by defeating the town sheriff, who was very much a copy of Agent Smith, to running naked from my fluid cell to be rescued on my new ship while Haddaway's "What is Love" played on the ship's radio.  I also enjoyed following the white rabbit and the training program because of its Matrix feel.  My favorite nod to the Matrix was leaping  into a Warden's chest and bursting out of him as I absorbed his powers ala Neo bursting out and absorbing Agent Smith. 

Dive into the soul of the Warden

                I like the superpowers though I could not fly (only glide) nor could my powers contend well while I was being mobbed.  Every time I got hit it would interrupt my action (like super stomp or super jump) so I could never pull off that sweet fight scene where Neo takes on hundreds of copies of Agent Smith and explodes out from under their dog pile.
Bodies flying everywhere.  It never happens like this in Saints Row IV unless you keep the enemy at a distance.

                On the side of non Matrix references all the romance cutscenes were brilliant and my favorite had to be the one with my male character and Ben King.  I also enjoy the short snippets of an argument between my character, Kinzie, and Keith David (the Vice President)about a mech suit.  My character was utterly convinced it was a robot while Kinzie ( the computer chick) said it was power armor and all the while the VP tried to explain the difference between the two. 

                I play a male character with a British accent so for some reason him completely not believing the mech suit is anything but a robot is very funny.  I also get a kick that my British sounding Saint is President of the United States and actively bags on two of his crew for being MI-6.  In case you don't get the humour to be President of the United States you have to be born in the U.S. and MI-6 is the British equivalent to the C.I.A stateside.  That about raps up my summary of Saints Row IV.  It was a very fun game but it didn't have a lot of depth to it.  I give the game a score of 3/5. See my Score Guide post for further details on my score system. 

                The second game I played and only briefly mind you was Magic The Gathering:  Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013.  I only played a few hands in the campaign mode and I thought it was decent enough.  Since I got the game free from Games with Gold it was worth the try.  I will have to play some more as I don't really know any of the cards or what they do but from what I did play I'll give the game a score of 2/5 unless you are into Magic the card game, then by all means carry on.

                The last game I played which took up the bulk of my weekend was a co-op journey, with my best friend Cob, into Torchlight II.  Originally our plans were to delve into espionage with the co-op on Splinter Cell Blacklist, but due to my inability to procure a copy of this game we settled on playing Torchlight II.  I had yet to play this game while Cob has a level 100 character which is the highest level in the game.  The game is as Cob described a blatant rip off of Diablo II.  This may be off putting to some, but seeing as Diablo II was one of our favorite games growing up being a rip off is a good thing. 

My Outlander and his pet Parker the Badger

                We made it through Act I and Act II.  I don't know how far into Act III we are.  the game plays very similar to Diablo II and I like that.  They have made very smart improvements to the game that don't change the core play style but rather just make the games better to play.  Such as easier use of hot keys and potion use.  Also there are a ton of improvements to inventory.  You still have blocks of inventory but one item equals one block unlike Diablo where a spear was six blocks in your very limited inventory.

Terrible space options. Diablo II

Easy to mange and lots of room. Torchlight II

                Then in Torchlight II there is a separate inventory for consumables so they aren't clogging up your inventory.  The best addition was a pet with inventory space of their own and the ability to be sent back to town to vendor trash loot for you so that you can loot everything and not worry about going back to town all the time.  In Torchlight II there is a shared stash which is nice and this was also added to Diablo III so meh.  Anyway the game is fun if you like  Diablo II you will like Torchlight II.  I give the game a score of 4/5.   
                As I said big week of gaming for me which is not the norm.  Next week on Currently Playing may be a little sparse but expect Episode 3 to be a good one as I dive head long into Grand Theft Auto 5.

                Have you played any of these games?  What did you think of them.  Feel free to comment below.   See you next week on Currently Playing.

Score Guide

                 This is the Score Guide from my score system that I am putting on games that I am playing.  Now take a look at the scale.  

  1. This game is crap.  It is not even worth your time or money. (I don't expect to see many if any games that I play receive this score.)
  2. Intriguing enough to try but not a game I would recommend to others to play.
  3. A fun game that may lack depth.  Worth a rental but not worth buying.
  4. Definitely give this game a try but wait until it's cheap to actually buy.
  5. Must play.  Why haven't you bought it yet?
                 As you can see the scale doesn't necessarily reflect if a game is good or bad rather just if you should play it, rent it or buy it.  So as to say even if a game gets a two doesn't mean the game was bad I just wouldn't buy it or rent it and it wasn't so great as to go tell others that they should either.  However mind you this doesn't say that you shouldn't play a game that gets a score of two it can still be a good game.  The games to avoid will be a game with a score of one.  

                Hopefully you can see where I am going with this score guide.  May be it's not very clear but I wanted something simple that could easily apply to any games I play.  If you are confused or have comments let me know below. 


On a side note even though I rent games, any games that I do buy I only buy new.  I like to support the developers and publishers of my favorite games.  I do not like to by used and I am against getting ripped off by trading my games back in for someone else to buy used. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

XBOX ONE Releases Friday November 22, 2013

               Okay so this is old news and everyone should know this date by now as it was announced a week ago.  But I had a late start with my blog so I am going to repeat the news anyway.  Xbox One releasing 11-22-13 or 22.11.13 for those that date that way with come out exactly eight years after the Xbox 360 to the day no less.  Wow, eight years of Xbox 360 and Microsoft has said they will support the system for another THREE years.  Eleven years is a long cycle for a system. 

                I have been waiting a long while to finally hear the announcement for the release date of the Xbox One and now it's finally here, presented last week in a nonchalant morning video post, but whatever. I guess I get that Microsoft was waiting until they Xbox One was ready to be in the full production mode.  And I do think that Microsoft  managing their pre-order allocations will be a good move to have a successful launch.

                 I remember the Xbox 360 launch.  My best friend and I didn't get our Xbox 360's until January 1, 2006.  I specifically remember this date due to the fact that we left a New Years Eve party to go put in for a drawing at our Wal-mart for a chance to get to purchase the Xbox 360.  We brought my dad and my girlfriend so we could get four draws so we didn't get shafted with the Xbox 360 Core.  What a terrible model.  Even the 20 GB doesn't seem very great now but at least it had a hard drive.  And memory ports.  After my Xbox 360 console and hard drive fried I got a Xbox 360 Slim 250 GB and I looked for a good five minutes for the memory ports to pop in all that I had left from my old console onto the new one before realizing they didn't include the memory ports onto the new Slim model.  Not cool Microsoft especially since the original Xbox didn't have powered USB ports.   Compatibility issues abound but I managed.    
Benefits of the Slim
Smaller, good
Actually cools, good
Doesn't make so much damned noise, good
No annoying memory ports, good, wait WTF! who thought that we should do away with memory ports

                Anyway with the launch date announced I can finally finalize some pre-orders and figure out a final set of games I'll be getting.  I will go into detail on the launch games I am getting in a latter post. 

State of the Hegemony

                I have been gaming for most of my life starting out on family friends' Atari, Nintendo(NES) and Sega Genesis until I got my very own Super Nintendo.  This is a story similar to many others of my generation, and while gaming is a massive part of who I am, I still remember that games of those days of ol' could not harness my very active imagination.  Imagination and make believe games outside may be a thing of the past but that is a topic for another time. 
My Humble Beginnings

                Basically I am a passionate gamer and an enthusiastic blogger.  I have penned several game specific blogs that fizzle out as my interest/time for a specific game dries up.  So I am starting this more general blog about gaming as the primary focus and who knows there may be other content as well.  But STILL mainly gaming, focusing on Xbox 360 and Xbox One games.  Then I will sprinkle in some PC stuff as well with the possibility of some tablet game talk as smartglass and companion apps gear up this fall.

My Near-ish Future of Gaming
                Life for me is busy, busy, busy right now so we will have to see what kind of frequency these posts will come out at.  Some posts will be long and some short and sweet.  Anyway read, enjoy and comment.