Tag Archives: Sega Saturn

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.

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.

 

 

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.

All-Time Top 5 Fighting Games

Another Top 5, these are getting harder to decide on, but if @swooper_d over on twitter can manage a top 30 then I don’t really have any excuses not to do this one.

In reverse order as usual, and where I’ve put down the platform for each game, that’s just where I played the game most or currently. Many of these are available on other systems.


5) Street Fighter V – PS4

If this list was just on the strength of the actual gameplay sitting side by side with an evenly matched mate, then this would be comfortably way out in front. Unfortunately though, Capcom made some poor decisions around the original release of Street Fighter V, and although they have made numerous sizeable content updates, the game remains lacking for single player; and online is brutal if you’re not at least semi-pro.

4) Marvel vs Capcom 2 – DC

Was tricky to decide which of the ‘versus’ series from Capcom to include, as there are so many great ones. This is probably the one I spent the most time with, and has an incredible roster of playable characters.

 

3) Virtua Fighter 2 & 5 – Saturn & Xbox 360

Cheating here but I’m including both Virtua Fighter 2 and 5 in this list as I couldn’t decide which I liked more. It’s really impressive how well the Saturn port of Virtua Fighter 2 holds up though. When I want to play some Virtua Fighter, it’s one of these two games I reach for, and it’s decided based on whichever is closest.

2) Injustice 2 – PS4

Even I’m surprised by how high this sits. However, if Street Fighter V was an excecise in how not to release a mainstream fighting game, Injustice 2 is a masterclass in how it should be done. Builds on the great DC Fanservice of the first game with another fun story mode, then adds the ‘multiverse’ content and introduces a gear chasing mechanic like Diablo. Don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time playing any fighting game on my own. This is also handsdown the best Mortal Kombat game. (Fight me, ideally on one of these games) That said Mortal Kombat XL is pretty solid fun too.

1) Ultra Street Fighter IV – PS4 & PC

Street Fighter V wouldn’t have been anywhere near as disappointing if they hadn’t been following up the stellar work that had been done on this. Easily the best experience I’ve had all round with a fighting game, right down to the well delivered net play and matchmaking. I’ve gone with Ultra, as that’s what I mostly play now, but I have owned each iteration of SFIV and in my experience whichever you have access to is worth playing.


Honourable Mentions:

Skull Girls – PC & PS4

Some of the artwork is dubious and cringey, but this is a joy to play. Embracing the familiar 6 button layout of Street Fighter, this feels instantly familar and very polished.

 

Fighters Megamix – Saturn

A real slice of Sega Fanservice, basically a mashup of Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers, fans were rewarded with unlockable characters from SEGA properties such as Sonic, Virtua Cop, and even the car from Daytona. This is excellent fun to play, and I’d probably rate it higher if I’d spent more time with the Fighting Vipers series.

Tekken Tag Tournament – PS2

The Tekken series has always been entertaining, but has never felt as balanced as other fighters. Particularly when compared to the Street Fighter or Virtua Fighter games. This is the game I had the most fun with. I picked up the sequel for PS3 in a sale but haven’t really got round to checking it out.

Street Fighter Alpha 3 – DC & Saturn

It’s a tough shout as to whether I’d go with Alpha 2 or 3, as I probably spent more time with the second game first time round. However, 3 is very much my go to these days, particularly now I have access to the excellent Japan only Saturn port.

Vampire Savior – Saturn & PS3

In an alternate reality, Capcom abandoned Street Fighter and carried on making games in the Vampire / Darkstalkers series. 🙁
At least some of the characters live on in the Capcom vs games, but I’d really like another. Ideally a Street Fighter IV style reboot for the series.

 

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.

June Gaming

No major completions this month, but a couple that I’m counting anyway, because it’s my blog. 🙂


Games completed during June

TRIHAYWBFRFYH – PC

A 20 minute indie game / experience, this was quite odd but not entirely uninteresting. The music is excellent, and it utilises audio recordings of excerpts from Lovecraft stories for atmosphere. It’s free, so worth a look if you’re interested.

Captain Spirit – PS4

Yes it’s sort of a demo, but it works as a standalone episode in the Life is Strange universe. Very much enjoyed playing this, and going back to make sure I’d ticked off the full to-do list.

 


Also played this month

Gears of War 4 – Xbox One

Finally made a start on this campaign in co-op with my buddy. Really enjoying it so far, think we’re just starting the 3rd Act.

 

VR Worlds – PSVR

After scaring myself silly on some other VR experiences, I finally got round to playing some of the games on here. The London Heist in particular is really enjoyable, but the shark attack experience didn’t do much to calm my heart rate.

Trackmania Turbo – PS4

A free game with PS Plus, I originally just had a quick go and moved on. Mate text me to point out he’d been and smashed all my times though, and I’ve had to go back and try to regain a bit of my honour.

Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed – Xbox 1 / 360 BC

Another free one, this time from Games with Gold. I’ve played a bunch of this on other platforms, but it’s still a great game, so have been playing it fresh.


June Pickups

The Division – PS4

Picked up this (and the next two games in this list) in a 3 for 2 offer at Game. All 3 are games I was interested in when they came out, but concerned I might not enjoy them based on past experiences.

Watch Dogs 2 – PS4

Generally I don’t get on with open world games, and I didn’t enjoy the first Watch Dogs. However, I’ve heard that this one is much better, and having been watching Mr. Robot lately, I’m interested in the themes. Hack the Planet indeed.

Resident Evil VII – PSVR

Don’t really like standard Resident Evil games, but at some point I knew I was going to need to get this to try in VR. Have played the first half an hour, it’s terrifying, and I’m still working up the courage to try again…

Resident Evil IV – PC

When I tell people I don’t like Resident Evil, they tell me to play this one. So I shall.

 

Cuphead – Xbox One

Finally! Gave up waiting for a significant price drop and just grabbed it. Everything you’ve heard is true. It looks incredible, and it’s far too difficult for me.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 – PS4

Not sure how much I’ll play this, have owned it a couple of times before and kind of bounced off. It was cheap though, and I do like the roster.

Mouse – Sega Saturn

Sadly mine didn’t come with the mouse mat from the picture. Treated myself to one of these in order to best experience the Saturn version of Riven. Discovered after purchasing that a bunch of the Saturn light gun games support it, which finally gives me a half decent way to play those on my modern TV. Result.

 

 

Retrogamer Magazine & 8bitdo Controller

Retrogamer magazine have an offer where you can currently subscribe to 6 issues of the mag for £26 and get one of these controllers for free. The controllers generally cost more than that on their own, so I went for it. They’re Bluetooth and it should work nicely with my RetroPi setup.

 

 

 

February Gaming

Just a couple of completions this month, I was going to include ‘Shoppe Keep’ as I thought I was ready to stop playing it, but apparently not. This month I also attended Play Expo in Blackpool, so there are a couple of bits from that to mention.


Games completed during February

halo2vistaHalo 2: Master Chief Collection – Xbox One

A fair few months in the works, my buddy and I finally cleared this in co-op. Great fun, but disappointed by the lack of a final Warthog level that I’d come to expect from Halo finales. Onto Gears of War 4 next!

wEWQWhat Remains of Edith Finch? – PS4

Initial similarities with Gone Home are pretty strong, but there are significant gameplay mechanics that move this slightly away from the ‘walking simulator’ standard. Great story and some pretty dramatic moments. Like Gone Home it’s about a 2 hour play-through, and definitely best experienced in one sitting. It’s worth mentioning that it does have some fairly sensitive subject matter too. It deals with death and loss, so maybe tread lightly if you’re concerned. I can imagine a couple of parts being quite brutal, although I think they actually handle it pretty well.


Also played during February

Power Drift – Arcade & Saturn

Managed to play the full hydraulic Arcade Machine version of this at Play Expo, a machine I’ve wanted to try forever. As such it got me back on the Saturn version, such a great game, and one I’d always choose to play over Outrun. Sorry.

header (1)Shoppe Keep – PS4

I have put too many hours into this. I need to stop.

 

Wulverblade-previewWulverblade – PS4

As with Shoppe Keep, this was one of my pick ups last month. I haven’t made a lot of progress, but managed to put a couple of hours into the Campaign on my own, and also play some arcade co-op. With 2 players it’s everything I loved about Golden Axe, such a great brawler.


February Pickups

Raspberry Pi 3

Finally pulled the trigger on getting one of these. I think it was the C64 Mini that made me do it. I had one of those pre-ordered over on Amazon for about £30 more than the cost of the Raspberry Pi. I saw sense, and cancelled the pre-order in favour of building a RetroPi system. Having a great time tinkering with it and playing a few games. Hoping to build it into a self-contained Arcade Stick that I can just hook up to the TV and play. We’ll see.

PuyoPuyoTetrisLogoPuyo Puyo Tetris – PC

This is the third time I’ve bought this game, but the digital Steam release was much cheaper than the others, and I’m hoping to play a bit online. Maybe I’ll even get a bit better at Puyo. If you like puzzle games like Tetris at all, I can’t recommend this enough, although this port isn’t as polished as the console ones, so maybe start there if you have the systems for it.

Hori Arcade Stick – Sega Saturn

The only thing I bought from the traders at Play Expo, I finally got an Arcade Stick for my Saturn. Really pleased with this, has a great weight to it, and the parts all feel good and responsive. Very much enjoying getting back to my shmups and fighting games on there now.

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.

All-Time Top 5 Racing Games

Racing games are still amongst my favourite game genres, despite my general apathy towards cars in real life. I’ve approached this list in my usual way, taking into account nostalgia and enjoyment. There was the normal amount of ‘almost made it’ games, so they’ll follow at the end.

Reverse order, as ever:

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5) Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One)

This very nearly didn’t make the list at all, and I strongly considered using an earlier entry. Once you’re in a race, I’m of the opinion that there is no better ‘realistic’ racing to be had than Forza 7. They’ve also improved the single player career mode to make it much more interesting than the last few iterations, 5 and 6 particularly were so very stale in that regard. However, in their ongoing bid to cash in on every possible additional revenue stream, the lootboxes, mods and pointless ‘Driver Outfits’ have made much of the experience incredibly tedious. Coupled with huge load times, this stuff grates even more. So annoying, because ‘in race’ it’s superb and looks stunning. Argh.

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4) Rage Racer (PlayStation)

Could easily have been any of the original PlayStation era Ridge Racer series, but this is the one I still choose to go back to now. I think Ridge Racer Type 4 is almost certainly the better game, but I just didn’t spend as much time with it. The art style of Rage Racer is really distinctive, and stands out against other racers not just in the series but across the 32 bit era.

Sadly I never got on with any of the Ridge Racer’s post PS1, and mostly just pretend the series ended with Type 4.

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3) Sega Rally (SEGA Saturn)

I still remember when I first saw Sega Rally running on my Saturn. It was the first time it really felt like I had ‘Arcade quality’ games at home, and also when I really started getting into Racing Games. Before the Saturn & PlayStation appeared, the racing games I liked tended to be of the top down variety, i.e. Micro Machines, Super Sprint. I always found it difficult to really get into the ‘driving into the screen’ style of racing games, even classics like Outrun, because I couldn’t escape the feeling that the car was staying still and the track was rushing towards me. Once polygons arrived, this was mostly mitigated for me, and I’ve never looked back.

Sega Rally remains an absolute joy to play, and it’s a testament to the quality of the game that many otherwise forgotten arcades around the country, manage to have a functioning Sega Rally twin cabinet amongst their gambling machines, and that it still draws in players.

 

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2) WipEout Omega Collection (PS4)

While the demise of Studio Liverpool has made it very unlikely we’ll get a true new Wipeout game, their last few releases had been refining content from earlier in the series. This latest collection put together by new developers is a masterpiece, and pretty much essential for a PS4 owner. All the content from the PS3 and Vita games, remastered to be a full 60 fps at 1080p. It’s gorgeous, and just as fun as it ever was. This month should see them release a free VR patch, which makes the entire game playable in PSVR. I can’t wait.

 

1) Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)

When the original Forza Horizon first appeared, I really wasn’t convinced. I was much more into Forza Motorsport 4. This changed when I got my Xbox One though, I picked up Forza Horizon 2 and fell in love. It has the polish of the Motorsport games, but is just so much more fun, and easier to play in short bursts. I find I can play for half an hour in the morning before work, and make good progress in events. Horizon 3 was even better, giving an all new map and it didn’t hurt that when it arrived it was the best looking game on the console. The 2 DLC packs, Blizzard Mountain & Hot Wheels, are also outstanding and pretty much essential.

While this third game in the series is comfortably my favourite, what I like about  Forza Horizon is that the maps are so different, it is still worth playing the earlier games. I’m hoping they follow their own pattern, and release Forza Horizon 4 this year.


Other mentions:

Mario Kart (DS & Wii) – This probably would have made my list if I’d been making it a few years ago. Although the series would likely be in my top 10, I have drifted away a bit. I adored the DS and Wii versions, and put many hours into multiplayer on both. However, 7 was a bit of a disappointment on the 3DS, and I’m yet to own either a Wii U or Switch to spend time with 8. Maybe that’ll change in the future, but neither console is on my radar yet.

Porsche Challenge & Rally Cross (PlayStation) – I have great memories of both of these, and on nostalgia alone they’d probably be in my top 5. However, when I started drafting this list, I went back and played a bit of Porsche Challenge, and unlike Rage Racer & SEGA Rally, it hasn’t aged well at all. Borderline unplayable, I was too scared to go try Rally Cross.

Drive Club (PS4) – I have no doubt that this is now a great game. It was admittedly a mess at launch, but the developers worked on it with frequent updates and it is now a very polished racer. Until Forza Horizon 3 came along it was the best looking racing game I’d ever played. Unfortunately I find it too difficult, and was unable to make too much progress. I got quite a bit more mileage out of the Motorbikes expansion, but just not prepared to put in the extra time to improve. Ultimately Forza Horizon and Motorsport series are better games and I’d sooner spend more time with those.

 

 

 

September in Gaming

Decent amount of games played and completed this month, almost a return to form.


Games completed this month

headerMurdered: Soul Suspect – Xbox One

This has been in my backlog for a while. I had a couple of days sick in September, where I was stuck on the couch, but couldn’t bring myself to play any of my usual games. This turned out to be just the right pace. It’s only slightly more involved than a Telltale Game, but it ticks along nicely. Has a good story, and includes several interesting game mechanics. Did leave me wanting to watch the Salem TV series though…

custom-disc-labels-for-the-saturn-panzer-dragoon-gamesPanzer Dragoon – Sega Saturn

I’ve technically been playing this on and off for years, as I originally had it with my Saturn the first time round. This month I fired it up just to test my machine because another game was crashing a lot and I wanted to make sure it was the game not the console. However, I managed to clear the game for the first time ever, which was very pleasing! Might crack on and see if I can beat Panzer Dragoon Zwei next.
Ori & the Blind Forest: DE – Xbox Oneheader (1)

A fun and adorable little metroidvania (yeah I like the term, sue me). I’ve mostly really enjoyed this, although the ‘temple escape’ sections are frustrating. No interest in going for a 100% completion, but still an easy game to recommend.

507156bc-fa81-4f82-b487-5c69ad1c671eForza Motorsport 6 – Xbox One

Just in time for the release of Forza Motorsport 7, I managed to clear the Career mode of 6. I’ll probably to continue to play this on and off, and I’m also dabbling with Forza 5 since it appeared in the free Games with Gold, and as with the Horizon games, it’s good to contribute to my Forza Rewards level.


Also played in September

ChildOfEden_HeaderChild of Eden – PS3

After last month’s fun with PSVR using the move controllers, I decided to stick with them and revisit this. Still in no danger of completing it, but it remains fun. Pretty similar in gameplay to Panzer Dragoon so I may keep coming back to it. Also reminded me that I should at some point play Rez properly…

Pinball FX3 – PC / PS4 / Xbox One

Had a little trouble getting my PlayStation & Xbox tables imported, but on PC via Steam the update was seamless. Really like the new polish, and have spent a bit of time with some of my Marvel tables again. PC version is lovely to play on my vertical screen too.