Tag Archives: xbox

December Gaming

December Games

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

Completed this month

Yoku's Island Express

Yoku’s Island Express – Xbox One

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


Also played this month

Still in love with my GameBoy

Solar Striker – GameBoy

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


Forza Horizon 4: Fortune Island – Xbox One

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


Pick-ups during December

One of the best prize bundles ever

Super Bomberman R Goodie Box – PS4

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


Pang Adventures – Xbox One

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


Pinball Gold Pack – PC

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


Jazz Jackrabbit 2 – PC

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


Pinball FX 2 VR – PSVR

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


Witcher 3: GotY – Xbox One

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


Sega Power Stick – Mega Drive

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


Darius Burst Chronicles DLC – PS4

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

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.

handheld game console

July Gaming

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


Games completed during July

The Static Speaks My Name – PC

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

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus – PS4

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


Also played this month

Quake Champions – PC

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


July Pickups

PC Upgrade!

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

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

Elder Scrolls Online – PC

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

Sonic Mania Plus – Xbox One

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

EZ-Flash Omega – Game Boy Advance

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

Fable Anniversary – Xbox One (Xbox BC)

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

 

Custom Back-lit Nintendo Game Boy

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

January Gaming

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


Games Completed During January

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

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

headerAxiom Verge – Vita

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

headerLife is Strange: Before the Storm – PS4

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


Also Played in January

PuyoPuyoTetrisLogoPuyo Puyo Tetris – PS4

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

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

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


January Pickups & Purchases 

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

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

ryqmMYST IV – PC

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

header (1)Shoppe Keep – PS4

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

Wulverblade-previewWulverblade – PS4

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

maxresdefault (1)More Storage Space

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

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

 

All-Time Top 5 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:

2018-porsche-911-gt2-rs-on-the-cover-of-forza-motorsport-7_100609564_m

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.

ePSXe 2014-09-08 19-40-41-69

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.

steam_grid_view___sega_rally_championship_by_animesuperfan48-d8qecfa

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.

 

wipeout-omega-collection-listing-thumb-us-03dec16

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.

 

 

 

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.

 


 

July Gaming

Games completed during July

Another light month with a couple of late completions keeping me on a roll.

hotd4feature

House of the Dead 4 – PS3

Dusted off the PS Move controllers and gun holders to play this properly with my partner. We cleared it with one credit to spare, I’m still not sure how I feel about the Uzi as a main gun, but it is definitely easier on your trigger finger!


c7d69af8-3256-42fb-9585-10b30aa1cbb6 Forza Horizon 2: Fast & Furious – XB1

This standalone DLC for FH2 was originally available for free before going up to its regular price of £7.99. Unfortunately I missed the free window before I got my Xbox One, and my general dislike for the Fast & Furious licence put me off handing over the cash. However, in a recent sale it was available for < £2, so I took the plunge. Ultimately it’s just more Forza Horizon 2, enjoyable enough with the added bonus of having Ludacris in the role of the announcer. Also this is the first Forza content I’ve managed to 100% for achievements & Forza Rewards, so that’s something at least.


Also played / picked up in July

header (1) Half Life 2: Episode One – PC

I’ve had this in my Steam library pretty much forever, and never got round to playing it. To be fair I was about 10 years late to playing Half Life 2, so whatever. I think I’m about 2 hours into this, give or take, so probably about 50% completion. I hadn’t really paid any attention to this when it came out, so I’ve been presently surprised that it was less of a shooter than the main game, and more of a physics puzzler. Hopefully I’ll wrap it up soon so I can tick it off my list in August.


Thumper – PS4Thumper-11-HD

A game that I had filed away as something to look at if I ever get PSVR, I had heard increasingly good things about it on several podcasts. It was on sale on the PS Store so I decided to give it a go. It’s kind of like the old Vib Ribbon game on the original PlayStation, albeit from a 3D viewpoint. Enjoyed it so far, but it is tough. Looks and sounds incredible though, hoping to get a chance to try it in VR.


Retired in July

headerAssault Android Cactus – PC

In keeping with a previous promise to myself that I would stop playing games when they were no longer fun, I’ve decided to shelve this. Assault Android Cactus is a great twin-stick shooter, but I’ve been stuck on the last boss for ages getting increasingly frustrated. Now I’m playing Nex Machina, I’ve got no desire to persist with this.