Tag Archives: Xbox 360

Forza Horizon 4

October Games

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


Games abandoned during October

Dead Space – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

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


Played this month

Forza Horizon 4 – XB1 & PC

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


Games picked up during October

Shadow Warrior 2 – PC

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

ToeJam & Earl – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

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

 

Fighting Vipers – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

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

 

Virtua Fighter 2 – Xbox 360 / Xbox One

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

Halo Wars: DE – PC

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

 

 

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

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

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


5) Age of Empires 2

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

4) Red Alert 3

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

3) StarCraft 2

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

2) Total Annihilation

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

1) WarCraft 3

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


Honourable Mentions and also-rans:

Command & Conquer: Red Alert – PS1 & PC

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

Dawn of War II

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

Empire Earth

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

Age of Mythology

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

Total Annihilation: Kingdoms

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

Halo Wars

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

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

November Games

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


Games completed this month

Nights into Dreams – Xbox 360 / XB1 BC

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

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

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


Also played in November

headerAxiom Verge – Vita

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

everybodys-golf-1_1Everybody’s Golf – PS4

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

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

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

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

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

 


November Pick Ups

PSVRPlaystation VR

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

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

All-Time Top 5 Horror Games

There is probably going to be some poetic licence on the genre here, but they are all games I consider to be either horror or that I at least found scary. Given the topic of the list, it’ll probably be surprising that there are no Resident Evil or Silent Hill games here, but I’ve never been much of a fan. I love the idea of them, and the stories intrigue me, but the gameplay is just so tedious. Too much backtracking, and survival horror staples of things like limited ammo are much more annoying when you also have to deal with truly frightful camera angles and controls. Disclaimer here is that I’m yet to properly play Resident Evil 4, or try Silent Hill 2. I’ve heard enough about both to think I might enjoy those ones, so do intend to give them a go.

Other games missing are those that lean heavily on the ‘hide in the cupboard until the monster goes away’ mechanic (Alien Isolation & Amnesia, I’m looking at you). As I mentioned in my comments on The Evil Within, this doesn’t do anything for me either. Those aside, I’ll also include the usual list of ‘almost made it’ titles at the end.

5) Alan Wake (Xbox 360 / XB1 BC)

top 5 horror gamesAbsolutely should just be called “Stephen King” the game, the influences are blinding. Incredibly atmospheric and an absorbing story. The combat was fiddly, but became manageable enough with perseverance. I found I’d got zero patience to go back to that style when I attempted to play the DLC however, but the game itself deserves its place on this list.


4) Until Dawn (PS4)

top 5 horror games

Completely took me back to that period of horror movies when everything was Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer. The game play is pretty much a Telltale Game with jump scares and more QTEs, but it works well to deliver an entertaining story. The whole thing is about 8 hours long which I managed to play in one sitting. I’d highly recommend playing it that way if you can find the time.


3) Limbo & Inside (Vita & PS4)

top 5 horror gamesCheating a bit and lumping these two together. The gameplay mechanics are near enough identical, and although the stories are different, even they have similarities. I played Limbo entirely on my Vita, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the handheld. I was a bit disappointed Inside didn’t come to Vita, as I would definitely have played it that way as well. Some of the most atmospheric 2D platforming I’ve ever experienced. Something about the storytelling & gameplay evokes “Another World”, if you haven’t played either of these are definitely worth checking out.


2) Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox 360)

steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_370687669_previewOne of the first games I played on the 360, this was a very pleasant surprise. It’s the only game I’ve played that really did a good job of Melee combat in a first person view. It’s also the only game in this list that I had to stop playing and turn all the lights on for a break when it got too much. I didn’t get very far with the sequel, but I’d like to give it another try if it comes to backwards compatibility on the Xbox One.


1) Metro Redux (PS4)

Metro-2033-Redux-Shows-Up-in-the-Steam-for-Linux-Database-456826-2My favourite horror game(s), and would probably also appear on a top 5 FPS games list. I’m cheating again as this is two games, and I played the remasters on PS4. I took a break in between playing the two games to read the first novel, Metro 2033 (the book the games are based on), and was completely immersed in that world, I was dreaming of those tunnels for months. I’ve since read a couple more in the series, and I’m cautiously excited about a new game. The new game appears to be leaning towards an open world style however, so I’m not holding my breath.


Other mentions:

The first two that almost made it, are both games I played over the last few months. Oxenfree & Murdered: Soul Suspect. Also should drop in a mention for the House of the Dead series, and by extension the Resident Evil Chronicles games. I really like these, but as light gun games I can’t say I find them scary and they’d feel out of place in the list for me. The following are games I highly rate or had promise, but for one reason or another I’ve never played them through to completion, so I disqualified them from consideration for the top 5. They are:

Eternal Darkness (Gamecube)

eternal_darkness__sanity_s_requiem___steam_grid_by_theeverygameproject-d8d5k2rI’m hoping to go back and replay this, as I’m sure it would be in the top 5 if I’d actually completed it. Sadly I was heavily into a playthrough on my Wii when I got my first Xbox 360, by the time the novelty of the new console had worn off and I tried going back to finish Eternal Darkness, I couldn’t remember anything that was going on in my save. It is highly regarded by most people who have played it, and rightly so.


Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (PC)

headerReally wanted to love this, the theme and tension of the first hour or so are amazing. Unfortunately I don’t know if that continues for the rest of the game, as it was ridiculously unstable, and I abandoned it after about the 20th game-breaking bug.


Ecco the Dolphin (Mega Drive)

header (1)No I’m not kidding, this game is terrifying! Watched my sister complete it once, but playing it myself it gets too much once I get to Open Ocean. *shudder*

 


Dead Space (PC / Xbox 360)

header (2)

I’ve started this about 3 times, each time enjoying myself but for some reason not going back to it. It does seem really good, so I keep it on my backlog, for one more try.