Tag Archives: Nintendo

February Games

Nintendo Digital Sale – May 2019

Nintendo are currently (in Europe at least) running an extensive digital sale on Switch and 3DS games on the European eShop, until 23rd May 2019. While scrolling through the list of 130+ discounted titles, I noticed the majority of the best offers were on games I already played through on other systems.

In this post I’m going to point out the games I think are worth picking up for Switch, but will include which format I originally played the game on for context / disclaimer in case the Switch port turns out to be terrible.

Standout titles

These are games I’ve already played elsewhere but heartily recommend on Switch if they have previously passed you by.

Abzû

An underwater adventure, something like a cross between Ecco the Dolphin and Journey. It’s beautiful, atmospheric and a delight to experience.

Version played: PS4 (April 2017)


Inside & Limbo

I’ve lumped these two together as I did when I included them in my top 5 horror games, despite them being separate purchases on the store. They’re puzzle/platformer games, where you’re uncovering a story that is pretty open to interpretation, while trying to avoid traps. If you’re only going to get one of them, I’d suggest picking up Limbo first.

Version played: Vita (Limbo) & PS4 (Inside)


Oxenfree

I almost missed this one myself. The title really doesn’t give anything away does it? Oxenfree is an excellent adventure game. It has a bit of a Science Fiction theme, and in parts is genuinely creepy. The writing is pretty good, and I found the dialogue system to be really engaging. Particularly worth a look if you like classic adventure games like Monkey Island and Broken Sword.

Version played: Xbox One (October 2017)


Tesla vs Lovecraft

My only complaint for Tesla vs Lovecraft, is that it isn’t Nex Machina, Housemarque’s masterpiece in the same genre. However, TvL is still a really competent Twin-Stick Shmup, in the style of Robotron 2084 and Smash TV. I was tempted to pick this up and play it again on Switch, but then remembered I still have a couple of difficulty settings to beat on PS4, so I should go back to that instead.

If the idea of fighting off a variety of Lovecraftian horrors using a selection of “Tesla-esque” electric weaponry appeals to you at all, then this is an easy recommend.

Version played: PS4 (November 2018)


Velocity 2X

Futurlab’s Velocity series started out as a Playstation Mini for the PSP and Vita. The first of those games I was really interested in. It was then followed up with a full release in Velocity Ultra for the Vita and PS3, and later we received this sequel, Velocity 2X. I played all 3 of these games on my Vita, and they are amongst the best games on the system.

On the surface, the Velocity games look like typical 2D Space Shooters, however with the teleportation mechanic and focus on speed running, there are also significant puzzle elements to the game play. Velocity 2X added platforming sections to the game, but these still play very similar to the ship sections, thanks to maintaining the teleportation element.

The music in the Velocity games is also incredible, one of very few I’ve ever bought the sound track for.

Version played: Vita


Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap

This remake of the incredible Wonder Boy 3: The Dragon’s Trap from the SEGA Master System, was also my top game of 2017. An absolute masterclass in how to do a remake/remaster.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is one of my favourite games of all time, expect it to feature prominently when I get round to listing my All-Time Metroidvania games. While I played this on PS4, the Switch seems like a good home for it, as I probably did 40% of the game using my Vita to remote play from my garden.

Version played: PS4 (May 2017)


Worms W.M.D.

The Worms series placed highly when I looked at my favourite local multiplayer games, and if anything I’m more certain that Worms W.M.D. is the best iteration of the game. It’s at least as good as Worms Armageddon, my previous favourite. Given the Switch trying to position itself as the local multiplayer system of choice, Worms is a perfect fit here.

Version played: PS4


Wulverblade

Okay I haven’t actually finished this, but I have played it quite a bit. Wulverblade is a brawler in the style of Golden Axe, although it goes more in favour of “brutal historic combat” rather than the fantasy magic & dragons of Golden Axe. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am friends with the developer so may be carrying some bias, however I still very much recommend Wulverblade, and other people I’ve introduced it to have also enjoyed it.

Version played: PS4 & Steam (January 2018)


Worth a look

A few other titles I’ve played elsewhere that are worth looking at if they appeal to you, but are perhaps not going to be for everyone. “Your mileage may vary” as they say.

Another World

I find it quite hard to recommend Another World in 2019. This remaster was very polished when I played it on the Vita, but I feel like 90% of my enjoyment was based on my fond memory of playing it on the Mega Drive back in the day. If you have nostalgia for that, this is a worthy purchase. The game play hasn’t aged well though in my opinion.

Version played: Vita


Darkest Dungeons

The second “Lovecraftian” game on this list, Darkest Dungeon is another game that is hard to recommend. I did discuss my thoughts about this game on the Lovecraft episode of the Maximum Power Up podcast, but basically, it’s just brutally difficult. It’s important to appreciate before you start that the game isn’t really about completing dungeons and gathering loot.

It’s much more about the physical and psychological toll on those adventures going into the dungeons and facing eldritch horrors. You’ll die. A lot.

It’s 10/10 for capturing the essence of despair and futility of H.P. Lovecraft’s works, but I’m still not sure if it is fun.

Version played: Vita


Dimension Drive

An enjoyable shmup with a unique element in that you’re playing in two play-fields at once. The only reason I’m not straight up recommending this in the list above, is that I simply haven’t spent enough time with it. I have very much enjoyed what I’ve played so far.

Version played: PC


GRIP

For both this, and Dimension Drive above, I won codes for these games on Twitter. I’ve played a bit of GRIP on PS4 now, and while in some ways it does capture the fun of Rollcage from the original PlayStation, it hasn’t completely nailed it. Even in this sale it remains a more expensive ask than other, better, games on the list. Hmm.

Version played: PS4


Pang Adventures

I loved Pang (also known as Pomping World or Buster Bros depending which version you played) back on the Amiga and PlayStation. This modern release captures the classic game play, and if you’re a fan, it’s easy to recommend this. Doesn’t really do anything new, but it’s pretty cheap. Does tend to feel a bit “mobile game” though, which I found quite jarring playing on the Xbox One, but may be less of an issue on the Switch.

Version played: Xbox One


Yooka-Laylee

I was quite enjoying this on my PS4, but when it first came out some issues with the camera meant it kept making me nauseous, and I couldn’t play for more than half an hour or so at the time. I understand this was fixed in a later patch, and shouldn’t be present in the Switch version. Unfortunately I never went back to it to find out though, so for now it’s gone back into the PS4 backlog.

Version played: PS4


Also consider

Lastly, these are the ones I’m thinking of picking up myself, haven’t played them yet so can’t vouch for quality, but this is why I’m interested.

Horizon Chase Turbo

I’m on the fence about this, heard lots of positive comments but not entirely sure it’s for me.


Pocket Rumble

I have now bought this, although still not played it as my Switch is still a dedicated Hollow Knight device. I really like what they’re trying to do in channeling the aesthetic of the fighting games on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. I loved those games, and miss having them around. While I still don’t really consider the Switch a handheld system, I’m hoping that in portable mode it’ll give me some nostalgia of that glorious console.


Sundered: Eldritch Edition

Only reason I haven’t bought this already is that I’m 40 hours into a different Metroidvania in Hollow Knight, so it’s likely to be a while before I want to jump into a new one. It is Lovecraftian again though so I might crack before the sale ends.

2019 in Games

A quick glance over the 2018 post shows an almost complete failure to stick to the plan. I’ll just have a quick review of the few I did play from the list, then come up with a new list for 2019. I’m going to roll some forward, but still give it a refresh.


Played in 2018

1. Gears of War 4 – Xbox One

I think I’m slightly less than half way through this now, playing in co-op with my usual Gears & Halo buddy. Pretty sure we’ll wrap it up in 2019, and hopefully make a start on something else. Maybe Halo 3.

2. Skies of Arcadia Legends – Game Cube

I made a start on this, but wasn’t really in the mood. I’ve dropped it back into the ‘one day’ pile, and will consider it again at some point when I’m in the mood for an epic JRPG.

3. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – PS4

Hurrah, a game from the list I played and completed during 2018! Loved it too. I think the next game, Wolfenstein: Young Blood, has the potential to be really good too, but I don’t expect I’ll get to it this year.


10 games for 2019

1. Super Metroid – Wii / SNES

One I’ve rolled forwards from last year. I think it was a bit soon after finishing Axiom Verge (and playing so much Castlevania for the podcast) to play this last year, but I think we’re getting there.

2. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void – PC

Another one carried over from 2018’s list. I know I’ll be hooked once I make a start but I just need to be in the mood for an RTS. I did already buy the remastered original game though, so I’ve got that to look forward to as well at some point.

3. Riven – Saturn

I scrapped this from a previous list due to difficulties getting it to run well on PC. All the MYST games have recently been re-released digitally, and may well now run much smoother. However, I picked up a mouse for my Saturn last year, so I have scraped Myst III from the list for now, and reinstated the Saturn version of Riven. Excellent.

4. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow – GBA

Enough time has passed since the Castlevania episode, I think I’ll get to this soon. Good to have a handheld title on the list too.

5. Fable Anniversary

Picked this up a while ago and keep forgetting I’ve got it. I loved the second and third games but have somehow never played the original. This may be the year I sort that out!

6. Indigo Prophecy: Fahrenheit – PS4

Really intended to get to this last year, having bought the same game repeatedly and never played it.

7. Marvel’s Spider-man – PS4

The only game on my list that I don’t own already, I plan to buy this once I finish God of War. Hopefully won’t be too much longer on that. Comparisons between this Spider-man game and the Batman Arkham games are reassuring.

8. Quantum Break – Xbox One

Also from last year, I’m still looking forward to playing this.

9. The Last Express – PC

Last one on the list that I’ve brought with me from last year. Gotta have a train game!

10. The Witcher 3: Game of the Year – Xbox One

Only just picked this up during December. Not sure if I’ll take to it, but I plan on at least giving it a go during 2019.


2019 releases I’m looking forward too

This section was a bit of a washout last year, with only the Street Fighter Anniversary collection really catching my attention. Metro Exodus should be out in 2019 though, so I’ve kept it on the list for this year. Given the demise of Telltale, it’s unlikely Wolf Among Us 2 will ever appear.

1. Metro Exodus – PS4

I’m still worried that a shift to open world may ruin the tight experiences of the first two games, but I really like this world so I’m trying to be optimistic. Will keep an eye on the reviews before picking it up though.

2. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – PS4

I’m all in for this spiritual Castlevania sequel, hoping it lives up to the promise.

3. Doom Eternal – PS4

The previous game was a masterpiece, really looking forward to more of the same. Early footage has been promising.

4. Warcraft III: Reforged – PC

As you may imagine from my All-Time Top 5 RTS Games post, I’m pretty excited for this. I’m hoping to replay the full campaign again, and with a bit of luck, maybe play some multiplayer too.

5. Animal Crossing – Switch

Yeah I know. If one game can sell me a new Nintendo system though it’s a proper Animal Crossing game. Will see how the game looks when it comes out, but this is probably the only thing that could sell me a Switch at this point.

December Gaming

December Games

Well I did manage to finish one more game during December to close out the year, and also picked up a bunch more. Oops.

Completed this month

Yoku's Island Express

Yoku’s Island Express – Xbox One

I was originally going to skip this one. Although I was interested in the premise, the demo felt like a poor Ori & the Blind Forest knock off. However, back in October I started preparations for a pinball related podcast we were due to record towards the end of 2018. Due to scheduling conflicts, we have put this episode back to early 2019. I saw the retail version of this cheap in a sale and thought I could squeeze in some playtime before the recording, and talk about it good or bad on the podcast. I’m glad I gave it another chance though, it was a real joy to play. The pinball mechanics really come into their own as the game progresses.


Also played this month

Still in love with my GameBoy

Solar Striker – GameBoy

I was playing this in a high score challenge, a bit disappointed that I didn’t manage to complete it in one credit, but I put in some respectable performances all the same. Really enjoyable to be playing this on my backlit modded GameBoy, rather than needing to use an emulator.


Forza Horizon 4: Fortune Island – Xbox One

The first expansion for Forza Horizon 4 arrived in December. I haven’t had a lot of time with it yet, but first impressions are good. Looking forward to getting into it properly in January.


Pick-ups during December

One of the best prize bundles ever

Super Bomberman R Goodie Box – PS4

I was lucky enough to win this on Twitter. The game is a pretty solid Bomberman, although some of the timing seems a bit off compared to previous versions and may take a bit of getting used to. As well as a copy of the game, the box had some really good stuff. Three T-Shirts, a beanie hat, stickers, a poster and the box itself is really nice.


Pang Adventures – Xbox One

Had my eye on this for a while, and it appeared in the Winter sale for a couple of quid. Hopefully it’s as good as the original games.


Pinball Gold Pack – PC

Another one I’d got on my wishlist waiting for a sale. I paid £2.40 for this pack on Good Old Games, containing 20 tables from the old school pinball classics: Pinball Dreams 1 and 2, Pinball Illusions and Pinball Fantasies/Pinball Mania. These are the DOS versions which aren’t as highly regarded as they were on the Amiga, but still some solid pinball.


Jazz Jackrabbit 2 – PC

Another pick up from Good Old Games. Although I did have this already, it was based on a dubious copy I’d acquired many years ago, and I’m glad to have it join my digital library. For more info on the game, do checkout the Run N Gun episode of the Maximum Power Up podcast, where I try to convince my suspicious co-hosts to play it.


Pinball FX 2 VR – PSVR

Yet more pinball! I already own all these tables in my Pinball FX3 collection on PC, however I have been meaning to get the VR version for a while. At this point the PSVR library is better than many consoles.


Witcher 3: GotY – Xbox One

This was a bit of a panic buy when I got an email from Microsoft saying I had £16 of credit that was going to expire in January. There wasn’t anything else I fancied in the Winter Sale so I plumped for finally picking up The Witcher 3. I have been interested in it for a while, as I enjoy the Witcher novels, but I’m not sure how I’ll get on with the open world. Now we’ll find out!


Sega Power Stick – Mega Drive

A surprise bargain I just saw in the windows of my local CeX. This is the stick I used to have for the Mega Drive before I sold my previous collection. Delighted to get it again, and it’s already improving some of my scores. Would still like to pick up a 6 button version, but it’s not really necessary for shmups.


Darius Burst Chronicles DLC – PS4

Probably a bit of a mistake since I’ve barely spent any time with the full game, I grabbed the Cave and SEGA DLC packs for this as they were on sale. Hopefully I’ll try those out at some point at least.

August Games

Well, had to happen eventually, but I managed a month without completing anything. This month does a have a new section though. Enter “Abandoned”. Games I was intending on completing that I gave up on.


Games abandoned during August

Wario Blast – Game Boy

Was very much enjoying replaying this on my shiny new Game Boy. Thought it was going to be a relatively straight forward completion to tick off. Not so, the last boss is an ass. I’ve watched videos of people doing it in less than a minute, but the timings are painful. Have given up, I think when I beat it back in the day it was in local co-op on my friends Super Game Boy. Maybe I’ll try again one day.

Here They Lie – PSVR

This was a free game on Playstation Plus, and I was looking forward to checking it out with my headset. The game starts off really interesting and very creepy. Unfortunately it also gave me the worst motion sickness I’ve had from VR yet. After about 20 minutes I had to give up, I had been enoying the game though so continued in 2D. Sadly what was an interesting experience in VR, was very ‘middle of the road’ without it. Glad I didn’t buy this.


Also played this month

90s FPS Games – PC

Following last month’s PC Upgrade, I’ve been making the most of my new hardware, by using it to play games I played back in the ’90s. This mostly involved finding modern engines for them, to add higher resolutions, improved lighting etc.  Played around with Doom, Heretic, Hexen, Hexen 2 and of course Quake 1 and 2.

Star Trek Bridge Crew – PSVR

A big part of the reason I picked up my headset in the first place, I finally got around to playing this online with a buddy. It was excellent, and I’m looking forward to our continuing adventures. Hopefully with another crew member if we can work the timings out.

Virtua Cop – SEGA Saturn

Spent a bit of time with this using the mouse I picked up earlier this year. It’s not as satisfying as a light gun would be, but is much more playable than using a pad. Nice to be able to play these old shooters at all.

 

 


August Pickups

Quake Champions: DLC Pack – PC

The Champions Pack DLC went on sale for £13, and I’d already put enough time into the game that I was happy to buy it. The pass unlocks all the current champions as well as any more that get added. I’ve also been doing much better in the game since I found out how to properly set up my mouse sensitivity & DPI settings for FPS games. I’m still playing a few rounds pretty much everyday.

Game Boy stuff

I went up to London for the Play Expo event this month. As usual I didn’t have much on my shopping list, but was pleased to pick up some games I wanted and a slipcase for my new Game Boy.

handheld game console

July Gaming

Another small indie completion this month, along with a bigger title I’ve been playing for a while.


Games completed during July

The Static Speaks My Name – PC

Another free indie game, I think I originally heard good things about this on a podcast. It almost has something mildly interesting to say about loneliness, mental health & death, but nothing too profound. Narrowly avoids disappearing up its own behind, but only if you don’t read the comments on Steam.

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus – PS4

Not quite as great an experience as The New Order, but still a really good game. Very much enjoyed the story and shooting Nazis is always fun. It’s pretty tough though, a few frustrating parts almost spoil the experience in places. I’ve only finished the main campaign so far, time will tell if I put any more time into it.


Also played this month

Quake Champions – PC

Still in early access, I won a code for this from Twitter or somewhere. It has some frustrating trappings of the Free 2 Play model, but aside from the Champions which you can buy with a one off purchase, it’s pretty much just cosmetics in the loot system. It is great fun to play already though, and still fairly sparse in modes. I’ve been playing quite a bit, but struggling to climb the scoreboards on the solo instagib queue. Yet to decide if I just need practice to regain my Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament era skills, or if I’m just old and the required reaction times are far behind me.


July Pickups

PC Upgrade!

This bundle from overlockers.co.uk had been tempting me for a little while, when I realised I’d had my current CPU/Mainboard/RAM combo since 2012 I decided it was time for an upgrade. CPU is an AMD Ryzen 2600 and I plumped a little extra to double the RAM up to 16GB. It came with a free 250GB SSD, so that’s now in place as my new system drive.

I’m delighted with it, nice boost to performance and I think my old CPU was holding back the GTX 970 graphics card I got last year.

Elder Scrolls Online – PC

A few friends and I decided to give this a go now you don’t need a subscription. We’ve only played a couple of hours so far but it seems pretty nice. Might help me hold off trying out the new World of Warcraft expansion for a bit longer too.

Sonic Mania Plus – Xbox One

A surprise gift from my sister, seems she pre-ordered it back in May for my birthday and never told me, so it just turned up unannounced on release day. Was a perfect surprise as all the people talking about it on Twitter were tempting me into buying it myself. I’ve had a little go so far, it is as good as they say.

EZ-Flash Omega – Game Boy Advance

I’ve been in the market for a good flash card solution for the Game Boy Advance for a while. The EverDrive looked tempting but very pricey, and has an annoying oversize shell that wouldn’t fit flush in either my Game Boy Micro or Nintendo DS. A friend tipped me off to this though, and it’s perfect. Performance is close to the EverDrive, has interchangable shells so it’ll fit flush in either machine (I’ve gone with the DS one, and I think I’ll sell the Game Boy Micro on) and it cost less than a third of the price of the EverDrive.

Fable Anniversary – Xbox One (Xbox BC)

Finally picked this up in the Xbox Summer Sale. Never played the original Fable, but loved 2 & 3 back on the Xbox 360. Looking forward to finally checking out this version.

 

Custom Back-lit Nintendo Game Boy

I went up to NERG in July, and as well as generally having a great time with friends, I also picked up this beauty from the traders. It didn’t have the light fitted but I fell in love with the colour scheme and it was super cheap (they even threw in a copy of Tetris). Joe Bleeps was kind enough to fit the back light for me for a very reasonable fee.

The finished article is gorgeous, and now I’m going to pick up a few of the games I enjoyed as a nipper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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)


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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.

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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.

2018 in Games

As I did this at the start of 2017, I thought I’d do a similar post for 2018. I’ll take a quick look back at 2017, followed by 10 games I’d like to play during 2018 (a mixture of old ones from the Backlog and some newer releases), and then end with a list of games announced for 2018 that I’m looking forward to (or at least interested in).


2017 Round-up

I am delighted with how much gaming progress I made in 2017, managing to complete 36 games. These included 6 of the 9 I originally planned to play for the year. Of those that I didn’t finish:

  1. Gears of War 4 – Xbox One
    I’ve carried this one forward to play in 2018. Simply because I’ll be playing it with my buddy in co-op, and we’ve got a play through of Halo 2 on the go that we need to finish first!
  2. Riven – PC
    I did mention this on the blog, but I had some absolute nightmares trying to get this to run without frequent crashes, and ultimately gave up. I did play through RealMYST during 2017 though, and I’ve put Myst 3 onto my list for 2018.
  3. Banjo-Tooie – Xbox One Rare Replay (N64)
    I retired this in the end because I just wasn’t enjoying it. I still believe Banjo Kazooie is a great game, but the sequel, not so much.

I have found the website “How Long to Beat” to be very helpful in focusing on what I want to play, and used it through the year to keep track of my progress. My Profile is here and I like how it shows what I’m currently playing, what I’ve completed already, and my custom tab is set to show the 2018 goal list that I’ll breakdown below.


10 Games I hope to play during 2018

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  1. Gears of War 4 – Xbox One (rolled over from 2017)

    As above, this is my one carry over from last year’s list, and is next in line once my buddy and I finish Halo 2.

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  2. StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void – PC

    I really enjoyed playing through Heart of the Swarm last year, and have been meaning to get round to this for a while. I think if I do beat this one, I might pick up the remaster of the original StarCraft to play.

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  3. Skies of Arcadia Legends – Game Cube / Wii

    As I mentioned in my Japanese RPG post last year, this is one I’ve always fancied. Putting it on this list means I will most likely get round to giving it a go! (Won’t be ruling out giving up before the end though, we’ll see)

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  4. Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy – PS4

    I think this is the third time I’ve bought this game, and still never played it. 2018 will be the year!

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  5. Super Metroid – SNES / Wii

    A testament to how much I’ve been enjoying Axiom Verge, I intend to finally give this game a proper go. Although I do still need to finish off Axiom Verge first…

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  6. Wolfenstein 2: New Colossus – PS4

    Wolfenstein: The New Order was one of the best First Person Shooters I’ve played in a long time, and have been looking forward to this sequel for a while. Fortunately a copy turned up for Christmas this year, so I’ve got this on the ready-to-play pile.

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  7. Myst 3: Exile – PC

    Working my way through all the Myst games has always been on the agenda, but got derailed last year thanks to the difficulties I had getting Riven to work properly. Hopefully as I play more the modern releases, I’ll leave those issues behind me, and I’ll be able to play Myst 3 without issue.

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  8. Broken Sword 5: The Serpents Curse – Vita

    I loved the first two Broken Sword games, but haven’t played any since. Middling reviews of 3 and 4 meant they largely passed me by, but I have heard good things about number 5. The Vita version was free with PS Plus recently, and feels like a good way to play it.

     

  9. The Last Express – PC

    A classic adventure game I’ve heard great things about but never got round to playing. I grabbed it on Steam a while back, and am looking forward to giving it a go. It’s also set on a train, which is a nice bonus.

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  10. Quantum Break – Xbox One

    This seems to have received mixed reviews, but I am intrigued enough by the premise to be looking forward to seeing for myself. As with Wolfenstein 2 above, I also received this for Christmas so we’re good to go.


Releases I’m looking forward to…

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  1. The Inpatient – PSVR

    This new horror game from Supermassive Games really has me interested. It’s another VR title set in the Until Dawn universe. I have really enjoyed the first two Until Dawn games, and Rush of Blood is one of the best games I’ve played in VR. I’m very keen to see what they do with this one.

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  2. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition – PS4

    Although I think this is getting a new retail release, it’s a bit of a cheat me putting this on here since I think I’ll be getting the main ‘Arcade Edition’ content as a free patch for my original retail copy. (It’s possible the retail one might include DLC characters that I won’t get, but I literally only use Ken anyway…) I’m mostly interested to see if this patch finally redeems the utter shambles of the original release or not.

     

  3. Vampyr – PS4

    I don’t really know much about this, other than it’s from the people who created Life is Strange, one of the best games I played last year. That game was so good that I was always going to be interested in whatever they did next.

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  4. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection – PS4

    Still plenty of time for Capcom to stuff this right up, but on paper it currently looks amazing. A collection of twelve 2D Street Fighter games from the original side scroller up to Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. Online play is being included for Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting, Super Street Fighter 2: Turbo, Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Street Fighter 3: Third Strike. If they avoid any major blunders, I anticipate getting a lot of hours out of this one!

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  5. Wolf Among Us Season 2 – Xbox One

    The original game is still one of the best Telltale Games, and I’m eager for more story in the Fables universe. They really, really, really need to give the engine an overhaul/replacement though.

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  6. Metro Exodus – PS4

    A bit cautious about this one. Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light are both outstanding (as evidenced by their appearance in my Top 5 Horror Games list). However, as I mentioned on that previous post, Exodus seems to be moving towards that bane of modern gaming (no not loot boxes, the other one), an open world environment. I’m hoping I’ll be proven wrong, but a big part of what made the first two games so good was their focused gameplay and claustrophobic environments.

All-time Top 5 JRPGs (wot I’ve played…)

Yeah a bit of a cheat this one, as I’ve only properly played 5 Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs) so that’ll be why your favourite isn’t in the list… I have tried to play plenty, but never got more than 2 hours into anything other than these 5.

I have really enjoyed the ones I have played (well the top 3 anyway) so I wouldn’t rule out playing more in the future. Anyway, on with the countdown!

Number 5 – Final Fantasy VII (PSX)

headerMy first JRPG, and apparently, the first one many of my friends played too. This game was a major event back in a high school, and for a while it seemed everyone was playing FFVII. I was quite enjoying it, albeit a departure from my usual choice of game. I do remember that trying to navigate the world map while also dealing with random encounters tested my patience, but the whole thing collapsed when my memory card corrupted around 20 hours in. I appreciate in the grand scheme of things, 20 hours isn’t very long, but that was pretty huge for me at the time, and certainly more than I’d be happy to play over.

I pretty much swore off the genre after this, and it would be quite a few years before I was to try them again.

Number 4 – Bravely Default (3DS)

BravelyDefault-810x449I gave this a go when struggling to find something other than Animal Crossing or Mario Kart to play on my 3DS. Discussions about it described a game with a similar feel to Final Fantasy VII which made me think perhaps I’d enjoy it. I was aware of the “outrage” at the changes made for the Western release from the anti video game censorship crowd, but they all seemed like changes for the better to me, so figured I’d give it a go.

I mostly enjoyed the game for maybe 18 hours. The story was nonsense and even with the localisation there was a a sufficient creepy ‘ick’ factor that never quite went away. (I think it was hard to distance from the fact that these characters were originally written to be 15 years old). However, the gameplay mechanics were fun, and I liked the ‘job’ system in building my party. It all got a bit grindy and dull though, and I just lost the will to come back to it.

Number 3 – Lost Odyssey (Xbox 360)

landscape-1481743951-lost-odysseyA game I played mostly by chance, got a bargain on release without knowing anything about it and fired it up just to see what it was. I was blown away by the graphics, it was easily the best looking game I’d seen so far on a console, and at first was just playing to admire the aesthetics. I got sucked in though, and it became the first JRPG I ever saw through to completion. The story was ridiculous, which I suspect may be an essential criteria for a JRPG, and the costume designs left me questioning the usefulness of such armor in a swordfight.

I really liked the combat though, and the timing based boost you could give to your attacks was surprisingly satisfying. I sometimes think I might replay this, but then I laugh at the thought of me replaying anything, never mind a 40+ hour epic, and the impulse goes away.

Number 2 – Panzer Dragoon Saga (Sega Saturn)

Panzer-Dragoon-SagaOnly played through this for the first time last month, and I am amazed how well it has held up. I was a big fan of Panzer Dragoon and Panzer Dragoon Zwei first time round on the Saturn, and this is doubtless the main reason I took to Saga the way I did. The art style was consistent with the previous games, and immediately felt like a comfortable return to that world.

The shift to turn-based combat was a concern before I started, I didn’t know how the previous rail-shooter style would translate. I need not have worried, the combat is superb, with the two basic attacks being lifted straight out of the other games to feel instantly familiar. The need to constantly keep re-positioning around the enemies and the bonus to attack speed granted for attacking as you move ensures that the combat remains engaging.

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I found the controls in general to be very well done, particularly in the parts where you’re navigating the world on your dragon. When revisiting early 3D games you often have to make allowances for the controls and/or camera, but I can honestly say I had no issues with either.

While the story here is no exception to my understanding of the JRPG norm, I did find myself happily reading all the subtitles and enjoying the many cut-scenes. This extra flavour for the world is a big part of why I’ve gone back to playing the original games, and why I’m optimistic that I might even beat them this time round.

Number 1 – Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360)

Eternal-Sonata-810x456Or, the one time I liked cel-shaded graphics.

I know about as much about JRPGs on the whole as I do Classical Music. The only composer I really like is Chopin, so the premise of this game immediately had me intrigued. The game is set inside a dream Frédéric Chopin has while he dies of Tuberculosis. Yeah. We’re well set up for another nonsense story, but this one did really hook me.

Until Eternal Sonata, I always found cel-shading to be a bit of a novelty. It’s such a perfect fit for making the whole game feel like an elaborate cartoon. It’s joyful, twee and yet manages to be interestingly educational at the same time, as along with the story cut-scenes it also has video history lessons relating to Chopin’s life. (From reading some commentary these weren’t to everyone’s taste, but I loved it)

The music in the game is obviously Chopin influenced, and accordingly spectacular. There are very few game soundtracks I listen to outside of playing the games, but the 4 disc album produced for this is still a staple on my iPod.

I remain annoyed the PS3 release afterwards had extra content, as I didn’t want to start over from the beginning after I completed it on the 360. I think I’d happily replay it now though if it was given a refresh for the modern consoles.

I’ve heard plenty of critique about Eternal Sonata, more than one person declare it “the worst JRPG I ever played”. I take some amusement from this, as it seems likely that as a generalisation, I can still say I don’t like JRPGs, and perhaps I like the ones I do because they are outliers within the genre.

What next?

I remain open to suggestions from anyone who can suggest games I might like based on what I’ve written above. I’ll be honest though and say there is next to no chance of me playing anything 16-bit or earlier.

I am thinking of playing Skies of Arcadia Legends, it always sort of appealed to me on Dreamcast, and now I’ve got the GameCube version which I’ve heard is generally an improvement.

Top 5 Light Gun Games – (Playable on a HDTV…)

A favourite genre of mine growing up, my love for light gun games started with the SMS port of Operation Wolf. A genre most at home in the arcade, the home ports ran right through the various consoles over the years, peaking in the 32bit era, then almost dying out when we all (well not all but you know what I mean) started ditching those giant CRT screens for nice new flat ones.

For me the greatest thing to come out of the whole ‘motion control’ run started by the Wii, was those developers using the Wii pointers and Playstation Move controllers to bring back the Light Gun shooter. The Playstation 3 also had a couple of other gun peripherals, but the decent games are either PSMove compatible or exclusive. This list is simply my top 5 of the games to be played on these systems, then I’ll round it out with a summary of the others I know of for the gen. I think a follow up post might cover my favourites from the CRT days.

So in reverse order:

5) Dead Storm Pirates (PS3)
The least deep (haha) of the games in this list, it’s a no frills port of the arcade game, but it is still great fun to play with a friend. I believe you can get it on its own from the PSN store, but it is also included on the disc with the PS Move version of Time Crisis Razing Storm (more on that at the end) which is now picked up very cheaply.

4) Resident Evil Chronicles HD Collection (PS3)
A double pack containing HD updates of Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles from the Wii. Probably not worth getting again if you did complete them on the Wii, but if you’re coming at it fresh, then this is the version to go for. These are actually my favourite Resident Evil games, I always preferred the story to the game play of the main series, and my favourite memories of the early games is still watching other people play rather than playing myself. Be warned though, these are pretty tough!

3) Dead Space Extraction (PS3)
Ported from the Wii version, everything seems pretty much the same, but the graphics have had the usual polish. I understand it’s a prequel to the main Dead Space trilogy, but I still haven’t got round to playing those…

2) Ghost Squad (Wii)
Most of the Wii gun games made it to PS3, where Sony’s console received superior versions. However Ghost Squad was never ported, and is now the sole reason I still keep a Wii hooked up. It’s a port of the SEGA arcade game, and for me as close as they’ve got to recapturing the magic of Virtua Cop. A whole host of unlockables has me regularly going back to this, and it’s always a joy to play with a friend.

1) House of the Dead Overkill (Wii & PS3)
This is superb and quite possibly my favourite Light Gun game of all time. The soundtrack is amazing, some really funky tunes. The writing is often genuinely amusing too, although the dialogue is definitely not for children. The PS3 version has an extra level, supports 3D TV’s and also hilariously anaglyph 3D, shipping with a couple of pairs of the old red & blue 3D glasses. I originally played it through on the Wii, but switched to PS3 when that came out. It’s definitely better played on PS3, but both versions are solid.

Also worth mentioning is the excellent Typing of the Dead Overkill which came out on Steam. This is a typing game using all the levels from the House of the Dead Overkill, in the same way that the original Typing of the Dead on Dreamcast was based on House of the Dead 2.

I never got round to picking up gun attachments for my Wii, and happily play Wii games with just the naked wiimotes, on PS3 however I can recommend the official pistol grip attachments shown in the photo, they do make a difference.

Other mentions:
The Shoot (PS3) – Feels a bit like a tech demo, but it’s mildly entertaining. Worth grabbing for the £1 or £2 it can be found for now.

House of the Dead 2 & 3 (Wii) and House of the Dead 3 & 4 (PS3) – Really good ports of the arcade games, annoyingly HotD 2 never got ported to PS3, but it’s nice to be able to play it on Wii and not worry about finding room for a CRT to hook up a dreamcast…

Time Crisis Razing Storm & Time Crisis 4 (PS3) – Razing Storm is dreadful. However, Time Crisis 4 is a nice arcade game, and this disc also containing Dead Storm Pirates makes it pretty good value just for the two other games.

Link Crossbow Trainer (Wii) – Originally bundled with the bizarre official lightgun attachment for the Wii, this is a surprisingly fun short game. It’s good to play but I’d put that plastic attachment in the bin straight away. Pistol grips are the only way to go if you do want a gun style holder.

Gunblade NY & LA Machineguns (Wii) – I still haven’t played this, they weren’t great arcade games, so I haven’t bothered picking up this double pack of the ports, but may still grab them at some point.

Mad Dog McCree Gunslinger Pack (Wii) – This is a triple pack of the ‘classic’ FMV games, the first two games are also available on the PS3. They’re very hard to recommend as they really haven’t aged well. The Nostalgia is strong though, and I loved the first game with the gun back on the CDi…

You may have noticed that I haven’t included Child of Eden in the list, despite it being in the photo. While still a “Rail Shooter”, it’s not quite the same, having more in common with Rez and the Panzer Dragoon games. Perhaps a blog for another day.