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November Games

Busy month in games land, with me managing to complete, play, and buy a bunch of games, and even abandon one for good measure. The 2018 playlist has all but been forgotten. Will review that for 2019 I think, roll some games forward and have a bit of a reshuffle.


Games completed during November

Tesla vs Lovecraft – PS4

Had an absolute blast with this. As you might imagine from the title, Tesla vs Lovecraft doesn’t take itself very seriously. It’s a lovely twin-stick arena shooter in the Robotron style. It’s not as polished as Housemarque’s excellent Nex Machina, but it’s not too far behind.

Rollers of the Realm – PC

I do love a bit of pinball, and couldn’t pass this premise up. It’s a party based RPG, where all the combat and exploration takes place in pinball table-based arenas. The various classes of character are different types of pinball, had a lot of fun playing through this one.

Forza Motorsport 7 – Xbox One

Finally finished the single player championship on this. The patched out all the lootbox trash I complained about previously, and it’s a much better experience for it. The mods remain clunky, hopefully we’ll have it resolved from the beginning when the inevitable Forza Motorsport 8 arrives.


Games abandoned this month

Watch Dogs 2 – PS4

I knew when I bought this, it was a gamble. I don’t generally get on well with open world games, but I’d been enjoying watching Mr. Robot so much that I thought I’d give it a go for the hacker vibe. I managed about 3 hours. Was enjoying the story and how on the nose some of the missions were, but the majority of the game play is everything I find tedious in Grand Theft Auto. Oh well, I tried.


Also played this month

Forza Horizon 4Forza Horizon 4 – Xbox One & PC

Still playing and loving this, looking forward to the first expansion turning up in December.

 

 

Tetris Effect Demo – PSVR

Granted I don’t usually include demos in this round up. Mostly because I don’t play many, but this is something special. An incredible experience in VR, but couldn’t bring myself to pay the asking price of £35 for another copy of Tetris, especially when I already have a substantial queue of VR games to play. Will grab it in a sale I think!

God of War – PS4

Only picked this up this month too, but managed to get on it pretty quickly after I gave up on Watch Dogs.  I’m about 6 hours in I think, and having a great time so far. It’s already the best in the series for me.

Forza Motorsport 5 & 6 – Xbox One

As well as completing the main championship on Forza 7 during November, I also put a bunch of time into these two games. Mostly mopping up Forza Rewards achievements, so that I get more free credits in Forza Horizon 4.


Games picked up during November

Cities Skylines Snowfall – PC

Bought myself this bit of DLC for Cities Skylines, in a bid to convince myself to get round to playing the game properly. I’ve had a bit of a go, but hoping to spend more time on the snow content during December.

 

PlayStation 2 Slim

I’ve never really spent much time with the PS2. It mostly passed me by at the time, as I was too busy playing Dreamcast, GameCube and Xbox. Finally decided to rectify this, and picked up a cheap used console from CeX.

 

Batman Arkham VR – PSVR

Haven’t got round to playing it yet, but I’ve heard so much good stuff about this game, decided to grab it during the Autumn sales. Looking forward to getting on it eventually.

 

Tempest 4000 – PC

Another one from the wishlist, finally grabbed Tempest 4000. I’d have preferred it for PS4 but the price difference was crazy. Great game though!

 

Sphinx and the Cursed Mummy – PC

Loved this back on the original Xbox, picked the PC version up on Steam for the nostalgia hit.

 

DX-Ball 2: 20th Anniversary – PC

Had no idea this was even a thing! I loved DX Ball 1 & 2 way back when (20 years ago apparently!) and this update is just how I remember it. One of my favourite Arkanoid clones.

Pinball FX3 Jurassic World Pack – PC

Took advantage of the steam sale to add a few more tables to my Pinball FX3 collection. These Jurassic Park / World themed ones are excellent.

Forza Horizon 4

October Games

A month without any games completed again. I did manage a fair amount of gaming, but I put the lack of completions down to a combination of playing the new Forza Horizon, and playing games that are much too difficult for me to complete for the latest Maximum Power-Up podcast episode “Run & Gun”. Teehee.


Games abandoned during October

Dead Space – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

I give up. After hinting about it last month, I still haven’t picked this up again since. I made it to Chapter 5 or something, further than any of my previous attempts. It’s disappointing because the story and atmosphere of Dead Space are superb and very much my kind of thing. I just don’t enjoy the gameplay enough, time to let it go and make room for something else. Maybe one of the many FPS games from my backlog.


Played this month

Forza Horizon 4 – XB1 & PC

Pretty much all I’ve played this month aside from podcast research. The game is a masterpiece. Consider it my new All-Time Favourite Racer. I’m also very much enjoying playing it on both PC and Xbox One depending on where I am in the house. Still plenty to do, and I haven’t even taken it online at all yet.


Games picked up during October

Shadow Warrior 2 – PC

Pretty sure this was free on the humble store or Good Old Games as part of a promotion. Really enjoyed the first one, as well as the original game first time round. Looking forward to maybe playing this one day. Perhaps if I finish the first one…

ToeJam & Earl – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

This is a port of the two Mega Drive games. Grabbed them in a sale just for the convienience of having them on the Xbox One as well.

 

Fighting Vipers – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

A game that mostly passed me by on the SEGA Saturn, I picked this edition up just to spend a bit of time with it, if only to better appreciate the Fighting Vipers side of the Fighters Megamix roster.

 

Virtua Fighter 2 – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

Have played this to death ever since first getting a Saturn back in the day, but after confirming its place in my All-Time Top 5 fighting games, I thought I’d get it for the Xbox while I was buying Fighting Vipers, because why not.

Halo Wars: DE – PC

I think the people over at Steam who decide which games to put on sale had read my last blog post. This popped up for a bargain price, and I’m excited to give an RTS set in the Halo Universe a proper go with keyboard & mouse controls.

 

 

All-Time Top 5 Real Time Strategy (RTS) Games

Before I’d even had chance to finish my Top 5 Fighting games ; @swooper_d had managed to convince me I needed to do this list too. Depending on the kind of RTS games you’re used to, there are going to be plenty of notable absences here. My Top 5 are all of the ‘build base, smash opponent variety’ because that’s what I like.

The Top 5 are also all PC games, which is pretty much the only acceptable place to play RTS games, with a notable exception picked up in the ‘honourable mentions’ at the end.


5) Age of Empires 2

War Elephants. I had so much fun playing Age of Empires 2 online with friends, and most of that fun involved being Persia and creating War Elephants. Not sure I ever won any matches, but it was a great time. It got a bit of a ‘HD’ re-release on Steam a little while back. I almost convinced a few people to play but they took one look at the dated interface and gave up!

4) Red Alert 3

Possibly the most “over the top” of the series, I just find this game highly amusing to play. It doesn’t quite recapture the joy of the original Red Alert, but it holds up much better to play now. The presentation, audio and cut scenes are all so very slick and it has a great campaign for co-operative play with a buddy. Now my favourite Command & Conquer game.

3) StarCraft 2

I was late to the StarCraft party, never really played the original game outside of a few skirmishes, and at the time it felt very similar to a game I was also dabbling with, Dark Reign. StarCraft 2 though, came along when the RTS scene had become a bit stale. This game is stunning, and although I’ve barely touched the multiplayer (mostly out of fear) the single player campaign and story is superb.

2) Total Annihilation

The most satisying in scale RTS game I have ever played, battles on Total Annihilation always felt epic. Right down to having in game maps that were so big you needed 128mb of RAM (imagine it) just to play them. The scale was spiritually superceeded by the Supreme Commander and Plantetary Annihilation games, but none have really recaptured the actual fun of the original. I should also shout out the PC Zone cover discs that used to include user created content for games at the time. (Wasn’t quite so easy to just grab such things from the internet back then.) Extra maps and units for Total Annihilation were regular features and greatly added to the enjoyment of the game.

1) WarCraft 3

No surprise if you’ve read my top 5 games of all time post, but WarCraft 3 remains my favourite ever RTS. As per my original post, this is still the only RTS game where I completed the whole campaign. I even managed to complete the campaign from the expansion, The Frozen Throne. I’m now two thirds through StarCraft 2 though so as soon as I settle down to play Legacy of the Void, I’ll have managed to finish two, like some kind of superhuman. WarCraft 3 is both my favourite multiplayer RTS as well as my favourite campaign, and yes also responsible for the many years of my life that went into World of Warcraft. I patiently await a true WarCraft 4.


Honourable Mentions and also-rans:

Command & Conquer: Red Alert – PS1 & PC

The first RTS that made me really pay attention. The original Command & Conquer never really grabbed me in the same way as Red Alert did. Thankfully a Playstation mouse made the console version viable and with the use of a link cable many head to head skirmishes took place on there. It was still best on PC though, and I had many a late night playing 3 player LAN games.

Dawn of War II

While I definitely had fun playing co-op Dawn of War 2, the lack of base-building was a real disappointment for me. The small numbers of units were a bit underwhelming too. I think I would have got more out of it if I cared for the licence, but one space marine is much the same as another…

Empire Earth

Making up in scale what it lacked in polish, Empire Earth was an entertaining idea. With battles spanning 500,000 years, the battles were all about the arms race and choosing the right time to attack. Make a mistake and you could be sending your men armed with bow & arrows to fight robots with laser guns. The game was otherwise pretty clunky, and the sequels didn’t quite manage to become essential, but at it’s core this is a great RTS for a battle with friends.

Age of Mythology

I really loved the theme for this, and after playing so much Age of Empires 2 I thought it would be the new go-to. None of my AoE 2 friends picked it up though, and I bounced off the single player campaign. Oh what could have been… As with AoE 2 I have picked up the HD re-release on Steam, so maybe it’ll still get some love one day.

Total Annihilation: Kingdoms

Much like Age of Mythology, I was really looking forward to a follow up for Total Annihilation. However this came out, and I just couldn’t get on with it. No one else I knew bought it either, so it was forgotten.

Halo Wars

The premise of this really appealed to me, but I had no desire to play on console when it came out on Xbox 360. I did have some joy playing Command & Conquer 3 on there, but soon gave way to frustration a few missions in when you needed to do anything even slightly fiddly. However, as Halo Wars and it’s sequel are now available on Xbox One with “Play Anywhere” I intend to pick them up at some point to play on PC, properly.

September Games

Returned to winning ways with a minor completion this month. I need to revisit the list of games I meant to play this year though, since I appear to have gone wildly off track. Haven’t given up on any during September, but I fear for Dead Space. If I don’t wrap that up during October I might have to write it off.


Games completed during September

Marvel vs Capcom Infinite – PS4

I picked this up during September, had a bit of a craving to play some Capcom fighting games (as will be evident from the below playlist). I had ignored this when it first came out due to the poor reception it received. While it’s a far cry from Capcom at their best, it is decent enough if you can pick it up cheap. I got it for around £14 with the 6 DLC characters. I played through the story mode on a day off and quite enjoyed it, not as much as the recent Injustice & Mortal Kombat games, but still an entertaining diversion.


Also played this month

X-Men vs Street Fighter – SEGA Saturn

One of the best crossover fighters, really enjoyed playing a bit of this again. Although the Juggernaut & Zangief team admittedly gave me quite the headache!

 

Street Fighter V – PS4

Seemed a recent patch reset my progress in the new Arcade modes on here, so I had to start over. I’ve now redone the first two. If I manage to do all 6 of them, I might count this as another completion.

Destiny 2 – PS4

A free game with PS Plus during September, I was pleased to be able to give this ago. I’ve played the first hour or so to get to the main hub so I could play with people, but haven’t yet felt the urge to go back to it. Felt a lot like playing the first one to be honest.


Games picked up during September

Tesla vs Lovecraft – PS4

Been waiting for this to pop up in a sale for a while, think it was around £4. As will be evident if you’ve listened to the recent Maximum Power-Up Podcast (or if you’ve met me…) I am always up for a game with a Lovecraftian influence, and also partial to a twin-stick shooter. I’ve put a couple of hours into Tesla vs Lovecraft now, and have been enjoying it. The game plays a lot like Nex Machina, although it’s not quite as deep / polished as that (not much is though).

SF x Tekken – PC

I used to own a retail version of this, but think I gave it away in a disappointed huff. However, I really wanted to play it again so picked up a Steam Code for a couple of quid. It is a fun game, but the micro-transaction pushing gem system is a travesty and pretty much spoils the whole thing. As a bit of a bonus, the fix I had to install to make it run properly on Windows 10 also unlocked all the extra characters, which was nice.

Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Ed. – XB1 / PC

I originally pre-ordered the standard retail edition of this. Forza Horizon 3 being my favourite racer of all time, I felt confident about a pre-order. However, after the recent upgrade to my PC I really wanted to be able to play it on there as well. Once the demo came out, I played it a bit on both the Xbox and PC, and took the plunge. Cancelled my ‘xbox one only’ physical pre-order and started shopping around for a good deal on the ‘cross-buy’ digital edition. I managed to upsell myself to the Ultimate Edition, thanks to finding a discounted code online, so I’ve been able to start playing the game a few days early.

Capcom Beat ’em Up Bundle – PS4

This appeared out of nowhere. Didn’t see any news about it ahead of release, but was a day one purchase when I saw the line up. Seven of Capcom’s Arcade Brawlers, two of which have never previously had home versions. Looking forward to playing some of these in local co-op.

April Games

In which we mostly just played hundreds of hours of Castlevania.


Games completed during April

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin – Nintendo DS

Only finished one game this month, but it’s a great one. One of the best Castlevania games, thoroughly enjoyed this. Might be a while before I seriously tackle another Metroidvania one though. Need a bit of a vania break!


Also played this month

More Castlevania – Everything

This month I was invited onto the Maximum Power Up podcast, to talk about Castlevania. I started this during March, and played very little else for most of April, as I strove to fill the gaps in my knowledge of the series. You can listen to the Castlevania episode featuring yours truly here.

Sega Dreamcast

I’ve just started spending some quality time with my Dreamcast, and also with an emulator on my PC, as my console is getting a bit temperamental. Might have to pick up another.

 

Forza 7 – Xbox One

Yes I’ve gone back to this. The game is still frustrating, I really hate the ‘mod’ system and ‘prize crates’ but the racing is very satisfying, and it has been a nice change of pace from all that Castlevania.

 


April Pickups

Slay the Spire – PC (Steam, early access)

Not directly a pick up, but a steam gift this month from one of my friends. I’ve spent a little time with Slay the Spire now. It’s an excellent deckbuilder card game / rpg hybrid.

Panzer Dragoon Orta – Xbox One (Xbox BC)

The one game I’ve been hoping for since Microsoft announced a selection of classic Xbox games would be added to Backwards Compatibility on Xbox One. Support was finally added this month, and I grabbed it from the Xbox Store. I’ve had a few goes, and it’s glorious. Tough though!

 

January Gaming

2018 is off to a pretty respectable start, chalking up three completions, on three different systems. Granted 2 of them were games started last year, but it’s all progress. Nothing ticked off the 2018 goals yet, but I’ve started one, so we’re all good.


Games Completed During January

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

Pleased to finally finish this, although I had hoped to wrap it up in December. It was pretty enjoyable as Point and Click’s go, but I’m not going to be in a hurry to play more of this series until I’ve cleared some others in the genre from the backlog. If the idea of Sherlock Holmes investigating mysteries in the Cthulhu Mythos appeals to you, I’d also recommend the compilation of short stories, “Shadows Over Baker Street.”

headerAxiom Verge – Vita

Very satisfying to get properly stuck into a game again on my Vita. This has been an absolute blast and is the main reason I’m finally planning to get to Super Metroid. Axiom Verge is perfect on a handheld, and is definitely the way I’d recommend it be played. I believe there is also a Switch version if that’s your thing.

headerLife is Strange: Before the Storm – PS4

I wasn’t expecting too much from this, given how much I loved the first game. I had doubts once I heard it was being done by a different studio, and that as a prequel it didn’t even include the main character. I shouldn’t have worried though, this is a great game in its own right. It’s not quite as emotionally heavy hitting as the first game, but it still has plenty of moments. Once you reach the end, if you’ve played the original game, the context of already knowing what happens after the events of “Before the Storm” hits all the harder.


Also Played in January

PuyoPuyoTetrisLogoPuyo Puyo Tetris – PS4

After mentioning this earlier in the month in my Local Multiplayer blog post, I managed to play some of this in the 3 player mode. We played a variety of game types, and it was excellent. Too early to say if it would have made the top 5, but it is a great contender.

Wolfenstein-II-01-HDWolfenstein 2: The New Colossus – PS4

I got this for Christmas, and have made a start on the campaign. Early signs are that it’s just as fun as Wolfenstein: The New Order, and the story is already compelling, but it does seem a bit harder. I shall continue.


January Pickups & Purchases 

Blood-Bowl-2Blood Bowl 2: Legendary Edition – PS4

Despite already owning the first Blood Bowl game on PC, where I’ve only completed one match, I decided I wanted to give this another go. Mostly because some of my other friends have picked it up, so it could be great for multiplayer. Also though, I’ve now had a couple of games of the physical board game, and enjoyed it enough to pick up my own team. I bought a team of 12 elves, which took me approximately 8 hours to build, as they are much more complicated models than the other races available so far, and also because I don’t generally get involved in building minis for anything.

ryqmMYST IV – PC

Now I have a play through of Myst 3 planned for this year, it seemed a good time to address the one gap in my collection for the Myst series. This was also prompted by watching Lewis Clark over on Twitter replaying MYST and getting excited by the extended universe. Also thanks to Lewis for pointing out that the 32 bit console versions of Riven are quite playable. I’m now considering playing Riven on my Saturn, having previously given up on the PC version due to bugs.

header (1)Shoppe Keep – PS4

This is a bit leftfield. I went to a video game quiz night in Brighton, hosted by the team at Eurogamer. We had a great time, but didn’t actually do very well. Everyone who took part won a game in a lucky dip though, and I won a physical copy of this. Had no idea what to expect, but I immediately put a couple of hours into it. I can see me sticking with it for a while.

Wulverblade-previewWulverblade – PS4

Been waiting for this for a long time. I am friends with the creator so I had promised I’d pick it up on day one anyway, but it really is fantastic. The gameplay is a very satisfying Golden Axe style brawler, polished with a great art style, some strong voice work, and plenty of history. Definitely an easy recommendation if you enjoy Golden Axe, Streets of Rage etc.

maxresdefault (1)More Storage Space

This month I took advantage of a couple of Amazon sales & promotional codes to upgrade the storage on both my Xbox One & PC. Back when I wrote this post about upgrading console hard drives on a budget, 1 TB was plenty for my Xbox One. I’ve now replaced the external 500GB drive with a nice 2TB, giving me much more to play with, and means I can stop shuffling my installed games every time a new Games with Gold release appears.

Similarly, my Steam folder on my PC passed the 1TB install size a while back. I picked up a 3TB drive which I have just assigned to that. Next upgrade will be the dreaded CPU, Mainboard & RAM combo, so I need to start planning / saving for that.

 

All-Time Top 5 Local Multiplayer Games

While I’m very much a fan of online multiplayer in games, some of the finest experiences  to be had in videogames are with friends in the same room. For this list I’m focusing on the very best of these titles (according to the very scientific method of “these are the ones I like most”).

With the exception of number 4 on this list, I’ve picked franchises here, where there are multiple versions in the series available with (usually) the same core gameplay. Feel free to interpret it as your favourite version in each case. I’ve also avoided 2 player games, but will concede that a winner stays on approach to games like Street Fighter also takes some beating. (ahem)


SI_Wii_MarioKartWii_image1600w

5) Mario Kart

I think depending on nostalgia, which version of Mario Kart you’d choose for this will vary. Personally the Wii version (providing actual controllers are available and no one has to use the heinous motion wheel) was my favourite for a long time. I can see how Mario Kart 8 may hold the crown for many now, but I don’t own the hardware for it, and have no immediate plans to purchase any. These days my go-to would be the best Mario Kart, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. (This is obviously very surprising coming from me).

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4) Overcooked

Kind of hoping this gets to become a franchise in the future. Overcooked is also the only primarily co-operative title in the list, although the rage it can inspire does sometimes make you feel otherwise. When things are going well though, you do feel unstoppable. At making burgers.

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3) Micro Machines

I’m torn on this one for a favourite between Turbo Tournament on the Mega Drive, or V3 on the PlayStation. I’d also accept Mashed on PS2 / Xbox. A pity the recent reboot took some missteps really, as we’re well overdue for some quality racing in this style.

header (1)

2) Worms

There are seemingly hundreds of entries in this series, and after Worms World Party, they were mostly sub-par. Things started to improve with the Xbox Live Arcade versions, Worms and Worms 2:Armageddon. Though it was when Battlegrounds / Clan Wars came along that I really started recommending it again, and now with Worms W.M.D. they truly have made a return to form. It’s at least as good as as the classics, and personally I think it might be my favourite. Mostly on the strength of the Dub-step Gun, wub wub.

 

Sega Saturn Joy

1) Bomberman

As with Worms, I suspect there are more bad Bomberman games than good ones. However, the good ones really are great. My personal favourite version is the Saturn one, as evidenced by its appearance in my All-Time Top 5 Games. Bomberman remains the very best game to play with friends, and I want a new one.


Multiplayer titles that almost made it:

Everybody’s Golf

This really was close to making it, I imagine you could also include the Mario Golf games in this section. Everybody’s Golf is a gem of a game. I’m sure many people would give it a miss based just on an apathy for the sport, but it really is worth checking out. It’s a satisfying single player experience, but excels in the entertainment stakes once you throw a few friends into the mix.

Halo 3

Although I still enjoy the Halo series, and am currently playing through the Master Chief Collection in co-op, my time with the competitive multiplayer seems to have passed. However, where Halo 3 really shined was when you had 4 players in your lounge, playing online with other randoms. It was absolute carnage and I loved it. I’ve got dibs on driving the Warthog.

Puyo Puyo Tetris & ZooCube

Both of these puzzle games are superb fun (see another top 5!), but unfortunately I haven’t managed to get 4 people who like them into a room together to try the local multiplayer. I can see how they could make the list in principle, but have yet to try them out. Since I wrote about this previously, it is now available as a European release on PS4 and Switch, so definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.


Just a few more multiplayer games to mention…

Party Games

They don’t quite fit into the context of my original list, but with the right group of people, SingStar and to a lesser extent Just Dance, are highly entertaining games to break out at parties. For a more subdued but no less amusing experience, the Buzz series and more recently the Jackbox titles where people play along using their mobile phones, are definitely worth checking out. Sony seem to have begun to embrace this idea, with games in their ‘PlayLink’ series using this model of mobile phone as controller.

Goldeneye?

I expect many people would put Goldeneye into a Top 5 of this category. I get it for the nostalgia, but it’s pretty much unplayable now, so let it rest in peace.

What about Smash Bros?

No.

November Games

Only one real completion in November, but I’m going to throw a second in on a technicality. Well it is my blog.


Games completed this month

Nights into Dreams – Xbox 360 / XB1 BC

Although I did play through this last year on Steam, Nights was recently added to the free Games with Gold on Xbox, so I sat down to clear the main story with both characters in order to unlock Christmas Nights, ready to play over the holidays.

injustice-2-listing-thumb-01-ps4-us-06jun16Injustice 2 (again) – PS4

Yes, I’ve counted Injustice 2 before, when I first cleared the story mode. I’ve put a lot of hours into this during November though, and thought I’d record another couple of milestones. Firstly I went back and cleared the alternative choices in the story mode that I couldn’t do on my original play-through (unfortunately this meant siding with Superman, urgh). This month I also cleared the arcade mode in the multiverse with every character to unlock all their unique endings. I’m aiming to get every character to level 20, albeit with the AI doing a lot of the grinding. In this manner I’ve been using remote play on my Vita to play the game as almost a Superhero management sim, so I still gain XP / loot and contribute to my guild’s progress, when I don’t have time to break out my arcade stick.


Also played in November

headerAxiom Verge – Vita

I had been waiting for a deal on the Vita version of Axiom Verge, as although the Steam version was often available for very cheap, it seemed more suited to handheld play. I’m glad I waited as it is excellent on the Vita, and a great game all round. I’m probably around half way through, although my progress has been somewhat derailed by using my vita for Injustice 2. I’m going about this a bit backwards, as I never really got into any of the 2D Metroid games, but playing Axiom Verge has definitely bumped Super Metroid further up my “to play” list.

everybodys-golf-1_1Everybody’s Golf – PS4

This game is a joy. I played a fair amount of Everybody’s Golf back on the Vita, and am thoroughly enjoying this new version. It’s perfect for a quick game, with a round of golf taking around 10 – 15 minutes.

38923-Punisher,_The_(Europe)-1459753927The Punisher – Mega Drive

Safe to say I’m a late comer to this port, but this year I discovered it is one of the best brawlers on the Mega Drive. Playing in co-op with my partner, we’re yet to beat it, but we are getting there! One or the other of us has made it to the Kingpin each time, but I think we’ll need to get there together (and with some spare lives!) if we’re going to beat him.

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

Still playing this, about 70% of the way through. Hopefully I’ll be able to tick it off in December, I seem to have too many games on the go again!

 


November Pick Ups

PSVRPlaystation VR

I almost made it through the whole Black Friday / Cyber Monday farce unscathed. The only bit of hardware I was keen to pick up was the PSVR headset, as I wrote about after trying it in August. Before the sales started I set myself a hard limit, if I could get the Headset alone for less than £200, I’d bite. I already owned some games, the camera and move controllers, so I wasn’t interested in a bundle. The sales included some very impressive bundle deals, which rapidly sold out everywhere, but nothing on the standalone headset.

That was until I discovered that Amazon had a blanket 20% off all of their Amazon Warehouse deals. In the end I picked up a ‘like new’ headset for £191. I’m very pleased with it, the outer packaging was ripped, but inside everything was mint, with all the protective plastic film still in place. So far I’ve mostly been playing the games I talked about in August, but hopefully my library will increase a bit over Christmas. Particularly keen to get Star Trek, a racing game, Rez Infinite and a few smaller titles like Batman, VR Worlds, and probably the VR addon for Super Stardust HD.

2017 in Games

Looking at the year ahead, I thought I’d make plans for another attempt to tackle some of the gaming backlog.  I failed entirely last year at making a dent in those titles I’d planned to play, although I did attempt a few that I gave up on.

The games I did manage to complete in 2016 were:

  • Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox One)
  • Walking Dead S1 & S2 (S1 on XBox One and S2 on PS4)
  • Life is Strange (PS4)
  • Wolf Among Us (Xbox One)
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4)
  • Alan Wake (Xbox One – X360 Backwards Compatibility)
  • Doom (PS4)

I’m pleased I managed to even finish this many, considering my penchant for games tourism, and that I spent most of 2016 playing Overwatch, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, Diablo 3 and a couple of months of WoW: Legion. (Blizzard can you hear me?)

For 2017 I’m planning a slightly different approach.  I’ve chosen 9 games I intend to play through the year from my collection (or recent releases I’ll be pick up when I’m ready to play), and a further 3 that may get released during 2017 which I expect to demand my attention. As ever the goal for the list is to help me decide what to play next, instead of doing the usual “stare blankly at my steam library for an hour then give up and go to bed”.

Here’s the front 9:

  1. Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)

I’m about 18% through this already, like with the second game I’ll just keep playing till I decide I’m finished. (Who has time for 100% on an open world game?)

  1. Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4 or PC)

One I haven’t bought yet, but will pick it up on sale when I’m ready to play. I loved the last game, but heard the Xbox One version of Rise has some issues, so will pick up the more recent PS4 or PC port.

  1. Riven (with a possible play-through of realMYST first) (PC)

Has been on the backlog for 100 years or so, I really want to get back into this world.

  1. Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm (PC)

I originally had Starcraft 2 on this list with the intention of finally finishing the campaign I started in 2013. However I went back to it this week and discovered I was 4/5 of the way through. I knuckled down and finished it, and while my enthusiasm is up I’m gonna try to play this first expansion. (Have already bought the other expansion so might as well crack on!)

  1. Telltale Batman (PS4)

I’ve made a small start on this, enjoying it so far. I’ve kind of gone a little cold on the Telltale model lately so I’m hoping this drags me back in.

  1. Murdered Soul Suspect (Xbox One)

This one originally passed me by, but I’ve since heard good things that have made me want to play, so I’m gonna give it a go. It helps that it was free on Xbox Games with Gold.

  1. Gears of War 4 (Xbox One)

Another one I haven’t bought yet, I’m planning on playing it co-op with my buddy (Hi Ross!) when we’ve played through 1 or 2 of the Halo games on the Master Chief Collection first.

  1. Banjo Tooie (Xbox One/N64 – Rare Replay)

One from the backlog. I will go back and see this through, dammit.

  1. Spec Ops: The Line (PC)

Another I’m intrigued about through listening to other people. Seems really interesting for a shooter and it’s about time I played some of these bargains I’ve acquired on Steam.

Games I’ll buy and play if they actually come out this year…

  1. Life is Strange 2

I adored the first one, hoping the sequel is as good if not better. Also hoping for another great soundtrack.

  1. Yooka-Laylee

This looks to be a great spiritual successor to Banjo & Kazooie, but I do think there’s a good chance we won’t see it till 2018…

  1. Sonic Mania (maybe Project Sonic 2017 as well if it isn’t dire)

I’m all in for Sonic Mania, the trailers look great, I can’t wait.  I’m sceptical about Project Sonic, but it sounds like it’s following the Generations model, and that was a decent enough game so fingers crossed!

As well as the games above I expect to still be playing the usual suspects throughout the year:

  • Overwatch
  • Hearthstone
  • Diablo 3
  • Healthy dose of shmups
  • Whatever multiplayer my friends drag me into

It will be interesting to look back in 12 months and see how my year in gaming turned out, but I’m optimistic I’ll get through at least a few of these. Maybe.

Upgrading modern console storage on a budget

If like me you’ve got entry level versions of both the Xbox One and PS4, then you’re probably running out of space on those 500gb drives.  There are many guides online on how easy it is to replace the internal hard drive on a PS4 and similarly how easy it is to add external storage to your Xbox One.

There are also numerous links to External USB Hard drives that are easy to open up and remove the drive ready to use in a PS4.  The natural extension of this applies if you have both consoles and wish to upgrade the storage in each machine as cheaply as possible while still getting a decent drive.

First of all I purchased this drive*, various other sites recommend that the 2014 and 2015 editions are suitable for opening up. I took a punt on the 2016 version and am happy to report that this works fine too.  Opening the case was just a matter of patience, took about 10 minutes working around the seam with a blade and then easing it open with a small screwdriver.  There are little clips all the way round.

Once you’ve got the hard drive out, you can follow the guide here for the process to upgrade your PS4.  A little note, when you get to Step 5 and need to reinstall the software, the most obvious download on the linked page will only give you the ‘update’ version of the firmware (it’s around 250mb), this won’t work.  What you need to do is scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on “Perform a new installation of the system software”, Step 2 of these instructions has a new Download link which will give you the full upgrade file, (around 950mb so you know you’ve got the right one).  Once you’ve got that you can follow the rest of the steps to install it on your new drive.

When you’ve got the old 500mb drive from your PS4, you can put that into the enclosure your new one came in, and hook that up via the included USB lead to your Xbox One.  There are helpfully USB ports on the back of the machine so you can keep this tidy.  Once connected your Xbox will ask if you wish to format it to use for games storage, hit yes and once the format is complete it’ll be ready for use.

2TB PS4 and a 1TB Xbox One for < £70.  Bargain.

Note you don’t get the full advertised amounts of storage space, this is partly because some of it is reserved for system use and partly because of how data storage volumes are recorded, but you already knew that, right?

*Affiliate links, I will receive commission if you purchase