Tag Archives: videogames

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.

 

 

 

RetroPie Project

This month I managed to complete a project I’ve wanted to do for quite some time. I picked up a Raspberry Pi back in February, installed RetroPie and was enjoying it just hooked up to my TV with my old Xbox 360 Hori EX2 Joystick.

I had seen various projects online involving fitting a Raspberry Pi into an existing, or specially built, arcade stick enclosure. This way you have a portable system that just hooks up to power and a screen, and you’re ready to play. Having worked a little bit with customising a stick for my PS4 previously, I figured I’d give it a go.

In deciding on a colour scheme, I was inspired by this classic Namco Playstation Arcade Stick. I am pleased with how mine has turned out.

Components used:

  • 6x fire buttons – Went with the screw in version of the same buttons I used in my PS4 stick. SANWA OBSN-30 Screw in buttons
  • Start and credit feed buttons – These are the smaller buttons at the top. Although I usually prefer SANWA parts, I went with Seimitsu for these because I wanted the translucent yellow. SEIMITSU PS-14-DN-K 24MM Screw in buttons
  • 2x Side buttons – spare originals taken from my Venom PS4 stick, decent enough for function buttons and I like that being a darker colour they look unobtrusive.
  • Ball Top Joystick – Again I went with the same stick I used in my PS4 one, have been very happy with that. SANWA JLF-TP-8YT Ball Top Joystick
  • USB encoder – I got this from Amazon, mostly because I wanted it next day. Seems pretty good so far. Reyann Zero Delay Arcade USB Encoder
  • Enclosure – Out of stock at my supplier of choice, so I imported one from China. It’s the same as this, with two extra button holes in the side. BLACK EMPTY FIGHT STICK CASE
  • 64gb flash drive – Got this one based on size and speed, but I’ve since learned it runs hot, will need to keep an eye on that. SanDisk Ultra Fit 64GB
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse – Had these already, the USB receiver for it is tiny, so it’s very convenient to keep installed.
  • Panel mount ports – I just grabbed short extension leads for USB, Micro USB and HDMI from eBay. Only the USB one has proper panel screw fittings, I figure I’ll just glue them in place.

Installation

I originally had the power and HDMI cables plugged directly into the Pi, routed through small holes in the rear of the case. However I wanted to be able to easily detach the cables for storage, so decided to mount power and HDMI ports to the case, along with a USB port for hooking up a second controller. Unfortunately I’m impatient; rather than order some decent attachments for my dremel I only had the couple that came with it. I ended up using a small drill bit to cut the holes, which is why they look hideous. I’m going to glue the ports in place more neatly later, so I’ll tidy the holes up at the same time.

 

I did briefly look into building the enclosure myself (or getting my Dad involved), but found these pre-cut boxes were so cheap that it wasn’t worth the effort. Almost didn’t get the one with the side button holes, glad I did though, it’s quite nice to have them for hot keys etc.

The RetroPie software is installed on a 16GB SD card, then it’s setup to load roms from the 64GB USB drive. I find this setup preferable to using a larger SD card. Flash drives seem less prone to data corruption as well as being cheaper and generally easier to work with. Now it’s all set up though, I just use WiFi if I want to add any games or change anything I can’t do from within the RetroPie software.

We’re done, for now…

On the whole it was quite straight forward, and gives me confidence for possible future projects. I’ve also got a Pi Zero W from my birthday that I’m still deciding what to do with…

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!

 

March Gaming

This month we are mostly just pleased to see the end of Shoppe Keep.


Games completed in March

Shoppe Keep – PS4

Hurrah! Great addictive fun for the first 12 hours. A tedious, but sadly still addictive grind after that. I’m calling it complete as I have all but one trophy collected after 25 hours gameplay. To get the last one would take another 60+ hours of just maintaining the status quo. Nope.

Rez Infinite VR – PSVR

This is one of those essential games, that I just never got around to playing despite owning several times over. This month however, I took the plunge and jumped straight into it in VR. I haven’t tried the new Area X yet, but played the full main game in one sitting. An absolute gem, and a real VR showcase.


Also played during March

Armed Police Batrider – PC (MAME)

Played quite a bit of this as part of a high score challenge for an online league. I don’t usually include those games on here, but I really enjoyed Batrider, and want to remind myself to come back to it again.

 

Batman: The Enemy Within – PS4

I’m three episodes into this, and the 5th and final episode has now been released so I expect I’ll wrap this up in April. Really enjoying this series, and it’s great that it has its own storyline, and is able to divert enough from the comics that things are still surprising.

All the Castlevania – Almost Everything

Trying to fill some gaps in the Castlevania series that I haven’t played before, I’ve been dabbling in a lot of this lately. I’ve specifically been focusing on Portrait of Ruin and Lords of Shadow, but trying to get a good feel of them all. I have only previously completed Symphony of the Night and Dawn of Sorrow, so there are plenty of gaps.


March pickups

Wipeout VR! – PSVR

Not a proper pickup since I already owned the game, but the VR patch for the Omega Collection finally came out at the end of March. I’ve played about an hour, and it is absolutely superb. Might be the best experience I’ve had in VR yet.

Otherwise I haven’t picked up too much this month, aside from buying a few Castlevania games as mentioned above.

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

Gears-of-War-4-01-HD

  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.

    starcraft_2_legacy_of_the_void___custom_steam_icon_by_execrutr-da8qm0v

  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.

    1BQuVPr

  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…

    Wolfenstein-II-01-HD

  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.

    myst3

  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.

    nQzKegx

  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.

    Quantum-Break-01-HD

  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.

    download

  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.

    30th

  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.

December Gaming

Probably should have posted this before doing my top 5 of the year, but I only completed one game during December that came out in 2017, and it wasn’t going to make my top 5. At least I should wrap it up before the games I want to play in 2018 post, and happily acknowledge that I managed to complete at least one game every month last year.

Hurrah.


Games completed during December
header (6) Doki Doki Literature Club – PC

This game is frankly bizarre, and to talk about it is to spoil it. It is free to play though, so if you have any interest at all, it’s worth grabbing and trying. The first hour is absolute dross though, so prepare to force yourself through that. (Unless you like Visual Novel Dating Sims I guess, they might all be like this). After an hour or so the game takes a major twist, and from then on it’s excellent.

header-9-1Batman Arkham Origins: Cold, Cold Heart – PC

I intended to go back to this and just play through some of the side missions I passed by on my first play through, but then discovered I owned this piece of DLC I had never tried. Glad I took the time to correct that though. The DLC still ticked the festive box I was aiming for when I picked the game up as something to play during December, although unlike the main game it’s set on New Year’s Eve, rather than Christmas Eve. Although Origins is probably the weakest Batman game in the Arkham series, this is the best bit of story DLC for any of them. I am now tempted to pick up the “Return to Arkham” remastering of the first two games, and play them again.

retro_review_christmas_nights_into_dreams_titleChristmas Nights – Xbox 360 / XB1 BC

Compulsory to play over Christmas, although little more than a demo, it’s an absolute joy and can’t help but make me feel festive.

 

 


Also played in December

header (1)Worms WMD – PS4

Always great to be able to get this out for some local multiplayer, so much fun. Also makes me happy that it has little Santa hats for the Worms to wear.

main_imageDirt Rally VR – PSVR

Grabbed this in a sale, as what seems to be the best option for a racing game on VR. (At least until the Wipeout patch). It looks amazing, feels great to play, and I didn’t experience too much motion sickness. Only felt a bit ill the third time I rolled my car down a hill, fortunately that properly broke my car and I was forced to retire. More practice needed!

PSVRUntil Dawn: Rush of Blood and Thumper – PSVR

Spent a bit more time with these now I have my own headset. Both are amazing games, I’m working through an ‘Insane’ play through of Until Dawn, and maybe one day I’ll manage a normal completion of Thumper too.

3de1c108c46be0894bb939bd9dd922b99e69628aOvercooked! – Xbox One

Found time for a bit more local multiplayer, this time it was for an evening of ‘Overcooked’. Given the season we tackled the Festive DLC first, and then went back to try and progress the main game. The three of us are definitely improving, but we need more practice. And chef’s hats.

Gaming in June

Games completed during June

Almost went the full month without completing anything, but a couple of clears at the end of the month saved me from a duck.


maxresdefaultNex Machina – PS4

Bit of a cheat this, since I’ll still be playing it for some time to come. I did however manage a 1CC on Rookie difficulty. Now working on Experienced. The game is a masterpiece, does for Robotron 2084 what Resogun did for Defender. Housemarque continue to be one of my favourite developers.


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

Cleared the Story. Was planning on holding off on buying this one, until a GOTY edition was released with all the DLC. I hate the fighting game model of buying extra characters for a full price game. (See Killer Instinct for how to do that right.) Too many of my friends were playing though, and I caved. Glad I bought it though as it is fantastic.


Also played & picked up in June

wipeout-omega-collection-listing-thumb-us-03dec16Wipeout Omega Collection – PS4

Not sure how I’ve managed to get worse at this, but the collection is great value. Basically the content from Wipeout HD & the Fury expansion on PS3, and Wipeout 2048 on the Vita, but all running at a swish 1080p 60fps. It’s gorgeous. Although I still hold out some hope that the franchise will be resurrected despite Studio Liverpool’s demise, if this was to be the last release, it does at least do the series justice.


crash-bandicoot-trilogy-trailerCrash Bandicoot: N-Sane Trilogy – PS4

Much like the Wipeout Collection, this is another compilation of older content. This time collecting and remaking all 3 classic Crash Bandicoot games from the original PlayStation. Also like the Wipeout Collection, it looks great, and is rock hard. I’m having a bit of a nightmare with it to be honest, but I’ll stick with it for a bit longer!


Retired in June

MordorMiddle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – Xbox One

After 4 and a half hours of gameplay, I’m giving this the boot. Although the combat feels satisfying in a Batman Arkham sort of way, that’s where the enjoyment ended for me. Found it impossible to care about the story or the endless Orcs, despite the renowned ‘Nemesis’ system. All the work felt like ‘busy work’ to me. Happy to accept that it might just be me on this one though, since it seems almost universally popular. Still not really a fan of open world games, and they need to be something special to draw me in.

All-Time Top 5 Arcade Puzzle Games

A good arcade puzzler is second only to a fighting game for a bit of 2-player versus. Like those fighting games, I’m not much good at these either (although I’m not entirely terrible at Bust-a-Move/Puzzle Bobble). That doesn’t stop me giving them a go though, and I like to play a variety so at least I’m not always losing in the same way.

Here we have my Top 5, in reverse order as usual. Many of these games came out on a multitude of platforms, I’ve just put the versions I play in the title.

5) Zoo Cube (GC & GBA)
A bit neglected as I hardly ever manage to play it with anyone, largely because no one else seems to have heard about it. I enjoy the GameCube version, but have probably spent more time with it on the Gameboy Advance. It’s pretty unique as a puzzler, with falling shapes coming towards your cube from 6 directions, and you having to rotate the cube to match the abstract animal shapes appropriately. The GameCube version supports 4-player, but I’ve never found myself in a room with 4 people who knew how to play…

4) Baku Baku Animal (Saturn)
The second animal themed puzzler on this list, Baku Baku Animal does at least follow a more familiar pattern. Blocks containing animal heads or food stuffs fall from the sky, match the animal to its food to clear the blocks and send more blocks to your opponent. Bright, cheerful and very SEGA!

3) Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (Saturn, PS3, PSP)
Recognisable characters from Capcom’s Street Fighter and Darkstalkers games line up to puzzle each other to death. Big combos on the gem matching front see your character giving the opponent a bit of a kicking in the middle of the screen. If you like the art style of this one, it’s worth also picking up Pocket Fighter, which is a 1 on 1 fighting game in the Street Fighter style, featuring the Puzzle Fighter versions of these characters.

2) Bust-a-Move 2 / Puzzle Bobble 2 (Saturn and anything else I get my hands on)
This held the top spot for a very long time, and may well claw it back in time. The Puzzle Bobble franchise is iconic, often imitated never bettered. Taking it’s characters and design from the Bubble Bobble series, the game is a joy. Fire coloured bubbles up the screen, matching 3 or more of the same colour in order to make them disappear, the more you get rid of at once the more you send over to your opponent to ruin their day. Or more often, you slightly miss your shot, frantically try to repair the damage your own ineptitude has caused while your opponent gleefully sends over more bubbles to add to your ever descending wall.

1) Puyo Puyo Tetris (PS4)
Probably cheating slightly, this is exceptional value given that along with the crazy Puyo Tetris mode (where you’re matching Puyos and making Tetris lines), it also includes arguably the finest versions of both Puyo Puyo and Tetris standalones too. The genius stroke here is when you play a versus match up, each player decides what to play. When competing with my girlfriend, I generally play Tetris against her Puyo Puyo, which gives me an almost fighting chance before my inevitable demise.

Although Puyo Puyo Tetris is still a Japanese only release, it is well worth importing. The menus are all in Japanese but there are plenty of excellent fan-translations online to help you navigate them, and even translations for the entire story mode should you be that way inclined.

Other mentions:
Dr Mario and Columns both almost made the list. Dr Mario missed out because I am entirely useless at it to the point of not enjoying myself even trying. Columns would have made the list if I was working just on childhood memories, it just doesn’t hold up today.

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.

My setup

Ten reasons I own: A Gaming PC

Rounding off this set of posts for the time being, I thought I’d look my gaming PC. Obviously there are many benefits of a PC in terms of media and productivity, but I’m going to just look at gaming, after all I could get the other functions from a basic laptop for a fraction of the cost.

 

I’d also like to briefly address the heinous term “PC Master Race”. The implications of “Master Race” alone should be enough to make most people feel uncomfortable, but even taking it as a ‘light-hearted’ joke, it still stinks of the elitism that annoys the hell out of me in any ‘fandom’. PC gaming is rarely as straightforward as many would have you believe, and for everyone who preaches the wonders of Steam and how everything just works, there is someone else stuck in driver/windows/intermittent fault hell. I love gaming on my PC, but entirely understand anyone who prefers to just stick to consoles.

Anyway, on with the list.

          1. Real Time Strategy (RTS)
            A genre that remains painful to play on a controller, the real home for these is the PC. These games entirely capture the childhood enjoyment of playing toy soldiers. There are so many great series; Warcraft, Starcraft, Command & Conquer, Age of Empires, Empire Earth, Dawn of War. All favourites, despite my complete failure to be any good at them.I’m also going to throw general strategy games in here, games I do enjoy but don’t play often, they only really feel ‘right’ in a PC environment.  Things like Settlers, Civilization, City Building sims etc.
          2. Blizzard
            The developer probably responsible for most of my play time overall and filled with a genius approach to promoting their own other games from within each title. Although they dabble with console releases, they always feel best to me on the PC. Diablo 3 is awesome on the modern consoles for couch co-op, but if I’m going to play online with friends, I still turn to the PC.Blizzard do an outstanding job of making me want to play all their games, all the time. Even the month I spent playing Hearthstone started because I just wanted to get 3 wins to unlock a mount in a different game. Heroes of the Storm & Hearthstone both managed to convince me to play genres I otherwise had no interest in. Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 get regular play from me and even though I’m well out of World of Warcraft, I still go back for a few weeks for each expansion. I’ve just put down my pre-order for Overwatch, and yes I’ll be playing the PC version.
          3. First Person Shooter (FPS)
            My one time favourite genre, these days I have more of a love/hate relationship with it. As much as I love the Halo games and I’ve had a lot of fun with Destiny, whenever I sit at my desk to play a FPS online, it feels like coming home. Keyboard and Mouse controls being best for FPS is almost a cliché at this point, I’m sure there are plenty of skilled players who have never used anything other than a twin stick control pad. My love pretty much peaked with Quake 3 Arena, I dabble with whatever else my friends are playing, but I still go back to Quake Live for the Deathmatch fix.
          4. Shmups, emulators & rotating monitors
            Thanks to some great steam ports, I can play a lot of the best shmups on my PC. Although there are some great console ones still exclusive to modern consoles, the PC still has an overall edge. A rotating monitor arm gives me access to TATE mode to play vertical shmups like Raiden as they are intended, and coupled with my arcade stick I get a solid experience that could only really be improved by building a full Arcade Cabinet. Add to this the abundance of emulators (accepting the morally grey area of sourcing ROMs) and you get the ability to play the greatest shmups from arcade and console history, easily justifying PC ownership for a shmup fan.

            Hori Fighting Stick EX2 – 360

          5. Controller options
            For many games the Keyboard & Mouse can be considered almost perfect, particularly the previously mentioned RTS and FPS genres. For those other games there is a seemingly never ending amount of choice. Personally I keep a USB Xbox 360 Control pad and Arcade Stick around for the majority of appropriate titles. I am considering adding a flight stick soon and getting involved in Elite Dangerous and replaying some classic Descent and Tie Fighter.
          6. Multiplayer
            While Xbox Live and PSN both do the matchmaking, parties and voice chat stuff perfectly well, it still feels to me like the PC has the edge. There is a lot to be said for the simplicity of the console options, but the choice and flexibility of systems on PC suits me better, whether using group Skype calls, or other platforms such as Curse or Ventrilo. There is also much better support for setting up private servers, and customising them appropriately.
          7. In-home streaming & Steamlink
            Relatively new to me, but since connecting a second PC in the lounge I’ve found Steam in-home streaming to be excellent.  Those games suited to a big screen and the sofa with a controller, i.e. platformers are a natural fit. The steam link hardware makes this an option for people without a second PC with a low cost of entry.
          8. Cost of games & persistent libraries
            Steam’s sales and sites selling bundles of games for a ‘pay-what-you-want’ system have led to a really low cost for PC games, making it very inexpensive to build up a (frankly ridiculous) library. It’s also important to note that unlike the console generation cycle, these games remain accessible with each upgrade. Although there is often some tinkering to get older games to run on each new version of windows, your library stays with you. Steps are sometimes taken via the console manufacturers to attempt to address this, at least for one generation, i.e. Xbox One backwards compatibility having limited support for Xbox 360 games. However it is more common for them to just make you re-buy the same game again, isn’t it Nintendo?
          9. Modding community
            Another well know advantage, is the availability of user created mods and patches for games. This is widespread and a huge bonus in so many areas. Entire genres have come out of mods for other games, Tower Defence and MOBA’s such as DOTA have their origins in user mods (for Warcraft 3 I believe…)Often mods are released for older games to take advantage of developments in hardware, with entire new engines added. Games like Doom, Quake, S.T.A.L.K.E.R and so many others benefit from this kind of thing. The closest parallel for consoles is generally the ‘HD Remaster’ which in many cases is still good, but disappointingly tends to involve re-buying the game again.
          10. Performance
            I have to put this in really, but yes, mid to high-end PC hardware is capable of outperforming consoles, and frequently has the best version of cross-platform releases where they take advantage of that hardware. Although it is important to note that this isn’t always the case, I’m looking at you Arkham Knight, and every big release currently on the Windows 10 store. Things like Killer Instinct, Quantum Break & Gears of War are all suffering issues, most seem to have been introduced by the distribution model though, and are good versions when you can get them working!