Thursday, March 9, 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn, Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Horizon Zero Dawn

  • The game that made me buy a PS4 Pro.  
  • This is the best looking/performing game that I've ever played.  It's truly amazing and gorgeous at 1080P or 4K.   Sometimes I just sit and look at the beautiful landscape in awe.  
  • All of the hype is well warranted and the developers delivered on what they promised.
  • The combat is fun and dynamic, you need to survey your surroundings and decide what is the best way to take down some of the coolest beasts in video games.    Your weapon arsenal is large which gives you multiple ways to attack any situation. 
  • The story is very good as well and I've read it actually has a satisfying ending.
  • The world building is also exceptional as you really want to know what happened to our society that caused this new civilization.  
  • The only issue I have is that it came out the same week as Zelda.   

Zelda;  Breath of the Wild  (This could take some time)

  • If you told me I would be playing a WiiU game at 720P over a new PS4 game at 4K I would think you were crazy. 
  • Apparently I'm crazy.  
  • I'm not sure what magic Nintendo has but the developers had something up there sleeves the whole time. 
  • This is Nintendo's first open world game and they nailed it, and is probably the best open world game ever made. 
  • The subtitle to the game is Breath of the Wild and it's that first word that sums up what makes this world great. 
  • In every open world game there are tons of stuff to do, but what if you just sat back and did nothing and just let the world Breathe for a bit.  
  • When you do this in Zelda, something about the world just feels alive and like it's a real place.  The way the wind interacts with the grass and trees, the way the insects come and go, the way the animals interact, everything just feel right.  The physics in the world help create this life like environment.  
  • Also the sound direction is great as well.  It's not noisy or boisterous but has subtle sounds that make the world come alive.  I was talking to a person with bells around their neck and as they moved you could barely hear them ring just like I would expect in real life.  Once again it's hard to explain but it just feels right. 

  • The game runs at 720P so it's not a graphical powerhouse, but at times it looks amazing.  Some of the sunsets I've seen are incredible. 
  • While it does carry over quite a few things from the older Zelda's that make it feel a bit dated, the one thing it doesn't do is give you a long tutorial and explain every detail.  The game starts with a guy showing you 4 places to go and that's about it.  It's up to you to figure out how to get there, which makes the start to the game a bit difficult.  
  • You have about 6 abilities that you learn in the first couple of hours and you use them throughout the rest of the game to complete all the puzzles and dungeons.  You have everything at your disposal at the beginning, no more finding certain equipment that lets you access different areas. 
  • You can climb anything as long as you have stamina to do so.  There is no pre-set ledges or paths, it's up to you on how you want to get to the top.  If it starts raining though it will make the surface slick so you will have a hard time climbing or be stuck waiting for the rain to subside.  
  • The combat can be difficult as the enemies are no slouches and you can easily die with one hit from some enemies, I've died around 10 times in combat. It does have degradable weapons which is divisive.  If you like to have one weapon and use that all the time then you will not like this at all.  The weapons break pretty quickly on enemies so you will have different weapons in your inventory that you will be switching to.  I found it to be cool as each weapon feels different so it keeps combat dynamic.  

  • The game has surprised me multiple times. 
  • The first time I encountered a lightening storm, I was running around and it showed me that the lightening was getting ready to strike me so I tried to get to somewhere I could hide but I didn't make it and got hit and died.  This happened again and I was wondering what I could do to avoid this.  Well I didn't notice that I had equipped my metal sword and shield which was attracting the lightening, I took that off and I could run without worry. 
  •  In combat I was dropping bombs as I was running away from enemies and then blowing them up as they ran by it.  I came across a different enemy and tried the same tactic and he kicked the bomb back at me which caused me to blow my self up. 
  • I was paragliding down from a building and saw my horse down below and thought maybe I could land on my horse and sure enough got close to him and I mounted my horse.  
  • You can use your shield as a sled and slide down huge mountains.  
  • Knock an enemies weapon out of their hand and they react and run around trying to find another one to attack you with. 
  • There is just so much little stuff to find, I've heard one guy say after 85 hours he is still finding new things and new ways to interact with the environment. 
  • I did have the Switch pre-ordered but cancelled because there was only one game to play on it. 
  • The WiiU version runs pretty well, there are some frame-rate issues in some areas but overall it runs fine. I am using a pro controller but some puzzles require the gamepad to use its motion capabilities so that is a bit of a pain to get that out.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

OLED 4kTV, Resident Evil 7, Metal Gear Revengeance, Ryse:Son of Rome

OLED 4KTV

  • Wow! Amazing! Unbelievable! Crisp! Awesome! Colorful! Bright! 3D! HDR! Can you believe how black that is?
  • Now that that's out of the way. 
  • I've been debating getting an OLED TV for quite some time.  While I do love my projector and the large screen there is just something about the graphical pop that you get from a back-lit screen that I really like.   I have a Plasma TV which has a great picture with a good black levels, but it was very heavy and did use a lot of electricity.
  • The minute I hooked this TV up I knew it was going to be awesome.  It has a screen saver that shoots fireworks and in my dark room it looked like they were coming out of thin air. When nothing is on the screen I can't even tell it's in the room.  The black level is amazing.
  • My PC is very far away from my receiver and TV and one of my cables doesn't support the bandwidth needed for 4K so I was playing at 1080P for most of the time and that content looked fantastic up-scaled to 4k.  
  • I did get a curved 2016 model because it has 3D which is being left out of the 2017 models and I'm not sure why.  3D on this set is amazing everything is so colorful and crisp.  It uses passive technology so the glasses are like sunglasses, very light and not as dark as the active glasses. 
  • I tried about 20 games this weekend and each one looked incredible.  It amazing how much a difference the absolute black level can make.
  • I also tried out the HDR mode and it's great as well.  It's hard to explain, but the effect is jaw dropping. I wish I would have waited to play RE7 on this TV.  
  • The Tv is super thin as well about the width of my iPhone 6 and weighs about 50 pounds and it fit perfectly on my stand. 
  • I do have one issue and that is the edges has a silver trim which at times does reflect the light on the screen so I need to find something to cover that up.  
  • Another issue is with my Comcast X1 box,when I enable HDMI deep color the box will not connect to the TV. I was able to work around this issue by connecting my receiver to the Xbox One and watch it that way.  Comcast does have a 4k box that I need to upgrade to.  
  • If you have the money then I do suggest getting an OLED TV, it has the best picture that I've ever seen.  

Resident Evil 7

  • The last couple of Resident Evil games were really just action games with little to no survival horror elements.  While I did enjoy those games I did miss the uneasy feeling the original and RE4 gave me. 
  • Resident Evil 7 returns to it's survival horror roots, at least for the first 10 hours.  There were times I had to quit the game just to calm down and relax.  
  • The beginning hours are the best when you are sneaking around an old decrepit house with really no way to defend yourself. You see some really crazy stuff and it's very effective for setting the unsettling mood of the game. 
  • The game did scare me on several occasions and it did limit the use of jump scares which I liked.
  • A couple of the "boss" fights seemed to go on a bit too long but other than that on the normal setting the game felt balanced.
  • My main issue with the game is with the last 2 hours.  It sort of goes away from horror and returns to just action.  They try to make it tense by having you fight in tight quarters but it's the same enemies you've been fighting the whole game and they aren't varied enough.  
  • Overall this was a fantastic game that I finished in a week and highly recommend.  I will definitely play again in VR once the Sony exclusivity ends. 

Metal Gear Revengeance

  • Bought the game 4 years ago, just now finished it.
  • An awesome hack and slash game in the Metal Gear Universe.
  • Cutting up enemies in hundreds of pieces never gets old.
  • The cut-scenes are amazing with some great graphics.
  • Probably took over 100 screenshots.
  • Crazy dialog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5QM1iovDVM
  • The final boss was extremely frustrating and I almost quit without beating him.  I looked online and did find out the trick that I was missing and once I tried that it was better.  

Ryse: Son of Rome

  • Another game that I bought 4 years ago and finally finished.
  • The graphics were amazing at the time and they still hold up, 
  • The combat was pretty fun, but it could have used a bit more variety.  
  • They have an action system kinda like the Doom melee kills but the prompts are a bit slower which does hamper the fluidity of the combat.
  • The game was a fun diversion and the store was interesting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dishonored 2, Resident Evil 7 Demo, Steam API, Oculus Touch

Dishonored 2

  • I finished my second play through of the first Dishonored and all the DLC and it was amazing.  Highly recommend.  
  • I was a bit worried that I might have a bit of stealth fatigue but I am hooked on D2 just like it's predecessor.  
  • Each area is huge with a ton of secrets and lore to find that it is a bit overwhelming.  I've read some reviews saying that it took them 8 hours to beat.  I'm not even half way through and I've got over 13 hours so if you really want to get absorbed by the world you can.
  • I am playing through as Corvo initially.  I wanted to see the story through his stealthy eyes first then go back and kill everyone with Emily so the game will be different my second time through.  
  • They have improved just about everything in this game except for the load times.  They are about 3-4 seconds longer.  
  • The game is a blast and just fun to play.  Highly recommended as well.  

Resident Evil 7 Demo

  • They have changed the formula once again and now it's a first person single player survival horror game.
  • Yes the horror word is in bold for a reason.   Just opening a door is scary.  When you press the button the door comes ajar a bit letting you see a bit in the room, then you advance and it opens up.  Man the times I didn't want to open a door. 
  • Another time in the demo once you perform a certain action you see a bad guy walk past an open door in front of you.  Well I got bold and said to myself well I'm just going to run at him and see how he kills me.  I know it's coming so nothing to be scared of.  I had this mindset and in the middle of the run something fell in front of me and my heart fluttered for a bit.  It got me.  
  • If the game wasn't scary enough the whole game can be played entirely in VR, unfortunately it's exclusive to PSVR for some time so I won't be able to try that out for awhile.  
  • I think the demo is available on every platform so give it a shot if you dare. 


Steam API - They have been making a ton of enhancements to the Steam API especially for hardware.

  • Xbox Controller Remapping
    • You can remap your Xbox controllers like the Steam controllers.  Any button can be remapped to another or even the keyboard and mouse.  This is a huge deal. 
    • A pet peeve of mine is that most games have quick saves, but on a controller it takes multiple button presses so it's not that quick.  With this feature I can now remap the back button so that if I hold it down for 2 seconds it will perform the necessary button presses for me automatically.  This is made even easier if a game supports the keyboard as it will just mimic the quick save key.  Not sure why devs never did this for us before.  
    • I also used this for the Witcher 3 so that I could setup the controller to auto cast spells.  Before I had to hit a button to bring up a menu then select my spell then another to cast it which made changing between them tedious. Now I just hit the d-pad direction and boom my spell is cast.
  • Native support for PS4 Controllers
    • Steam now supports PS4 controllers, just connect them to you PC and it will work in any game without other software.
    • You can remap your buttons just like the Xbox Controllers
  • Native support for almost any other controller.
    • Have an old old controller that you just loved but can't use in any game?  Now you can connect it to your PC and boom. 

Oculus Touch

  • The controllers feel awesome and have made me get back into VR gaming.  
  • They also add in a second sensor so that you now have a semi room scale VR.  You can purchase another sensor for $80 which will give you full room scale. but since you have to plug the sensors into your PC via USB it's a bit cumbersome. 
  • The VIVE still has the best room scale VR experience, but the weight and comfort of the headset is bothersome to me so I prefer the Rift.
  • I took the RIFT down to my parents house for our Christmas dinner and everyone of my family members loved the experience.  They were amazed with the tech and asked how much it costs, then the questions stopped. 
  • My favorite game is VR Sports challenge, it's basically a mini-game collection but it's awesome.
  • The football game makes you feel like  a quarterback.  It's simple in design but it just feels right.  From snapping the ball, to reading the receivers routes, dodging incoming tackles, making a quick throw, and finally making the catch.   It all adds up to a great experience.
  • In the hockey game you play as the goalie and it's just as fun as the football game.  
  • SuperHot is another great game.  Like in the origianl game time only moves when you move and it's a perfect fit for VR.  You feel like you are in a Matrix movie.  You are dodging bullets, cutting bullets in half with a knife, hitting guns from peoples hands catching it in midair and then blowing them away.  It's amazing.  






Monday, November 28, 2016

Titan Fall 2, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Rock Band Rivals, Dishonored

Titan Fall 2

  • Good
    • Single Player Campaign is really fun although a bit short.  There are some cool ideas in the campaign but they only show up for one level then onto something else.
    • The movement and shooting feels great in and out of the Titan.  The game sometimes feels like a platformer when you play as a pilot.
    • More weapons and upgrades in the multiplayer so it "should" keep players playing longer.
  • Bad
    • Released along side Battlefield 1 and Call of Duty Infinite Warfare so sales are not that great.  
    • Since it didn't sell well the game made fade quickly which is a shame.  

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

  • Good
    • A campaign where I can actually follow the story.
    • The space vehicle combat is actually pretty good, it's basic but feels good.
    • Releases with Call of Duty 4 Remastered.
  • Bad
    • After playing Titanfall 2 the movement speed just feels slow.
    • Multiplayer feels like Black ops 3.
  • Call of Duty 4 Remastered
    • All Ghillied Up in true HD.
    • Multiplayer is simplified which feels nice after so many iterations added so much clutter. 

Rock Band 3: Rivals

  • They finally released the legacy adapter so that I could connect my drums to the Xbox one. 
  • Added a cool rockumentary campaign mode that is pretty funny. 
  • Now you can setup bands so that you can compete against others asynchronously, the online real time modes are coming later this year.  
  • Found a way to batch download all my older DLC which saved me hours of work, over 1000 songs.  

Dishonored 2

  • There were some performance issues at release that have since been fixed but I've been replaying the first Dishonored.
  • The first go around was all stealth now I'm a killing machine and the game does change based on how you play so I am interested to see how things play out.
  • I added a mod that makes dismemberment even more gruesome so when I chop or shoot a guy body pieces are everywhere.

Notable Releases - Final Fantasy makes it's return with number 15, tempted but may wait for a price drop, same for Watchdogs 2. 


PC
Cities: Skylines Natural Disaster DLC expansion
The Crew Calling All Units
The Crew Ultimate Edition
Darksiders: Warmastered Edition
Pinball FX VR (Vive, Rift)
Steep
Watch Dogs 2

Xbox One

Final Fantasy XV
Steep

PS4
Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink
Final Fantasy XV
Pinball FX2 VR (PSVR)
Steep
Steins;Gate 0

3DS

Super Mario Maker

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mafia 3, Shadow Warrior 2, Battlefield One

Mafia 3

  • Good
    • The excellent story is presented like a TV documentary which is a fresh take on an open world game.   
    • Great facial animations really bring out the virtual actors performances.  
    • The atmosphere of the world really puts you in the late 1960's.  Everything feels authentic.  
    • Fantastic soundtrack.
    • Combat feels good and the brutal take downs are awesome.  
    • As with all open world games there are some physics bugs which can be pretty hilarious. 
    • Tons of collectibles including Playboys so be careful whose watching when you open them.  
  • Bad
    • Game play can feel repetitive.  The side quests are not varied enough. Go kill a guy or steal a car and drive to location. 
    • Graphics are a mixed bag.  Most of the graphics are OK just don't look up at the sky.
    • The AI can be pretty bad.  I've had instances where the guys are just standing against a wall. Other times though they will flank so it's hit or miss.  
  • Final Thoughts
    • The story is what is really keeping me playing the game as I want to see how it progresses.
    • If you like open world games then you should give this a try.  

Shadow Warrior 2

  • Good
    • Lo Wang is back and has some great but crude dialog.  
    • Awesome melee combat and gun play that has the pace and movement of Doom.  
    • Ton and tons of loot.  The game feels a bit like Diablo/Borderlands as enemies will drop gems that you can equip on over 70 weapons.  You can also combine unused gems into greater gems. 
    • Each weapon looks unique with their own animations.  You carry 8 at a time and it's fun to try different combinations.
    • Each area is huge with a ton of secrets to find.  There is also some randomization in the levels so you will see different things if you revisit an area. 
    • 4 player co-op through the whole 12 hour campaign. 
    • No DRM so no issues playing at launch.  
  • Bad
    • The first game was a linear shooter with a great and funny story.  This game is more open world with a quest system so you have a main hub which has shops and NPCs that give you missions and you teleport to different areas to complete them.  It doesn't have the same feeling as the first game. 
    • Could use a bit more enemy variety and a couple of more areas to explore.
  • Final Thoughts
    • The game is good for what it is I just wanted a true sequel to the first game. 

Battlefield One

  • Good
    • Haven't had any issues playing even at the midnight pre-launch.
    • I really like the WWI setting as it does give a break from all the modern warfare games from the past couple of years.
    • The weapons and systems are pretty simple but are still tons of fun.  
    • The war tapes audio is back with some great sound effects.  
    • They removed the browser interface.  You now launch the game like normal.  
    • Yelled "Jump out!" while flying an airplane with Chad as the gunner 2 seconds before crashing into a mountain. We both died.
  • Bad
    • It's still Battlefield so you will die, respawn, run to your target, then get killed by a sniper. Repeat.
    • When you die you have to hit space to respawn, not sure why it just doesn't take you to the menu automatically.
    • No hardcore servers yet so it seems my enemies are bullet sponges while I die in 1 shot. 
  • Final Thoughts
    • If you like Battlefield then no reason to not get the game at release as there are no real issues at this time, but that could change when the game fully releases Thursday. 


Monday, October 3, 2016

Forza Horizon 3, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Bioshock Remaster

Forza Horizon 3

  • An Xbox Anywhere title, buy digitally from the Xbox/Windows store and you can play on Xbox one and PC and you saves carry over.  The Xbox one version runs perfectly but the PC version has some issues.  
  • The game has some really bad stuttering so I can't run the game at more than 30 fps, if I try 60 it will randomly dip to 48 or lower which is bothersome.   Luckily at 30fps the game does feel fine so it's not that big of an issue.
  • My wheel wasn't fully supported until a few days ago, which was fixed in a Windows update, but the FFB is pretty weak.  I do have the Xbox One hub for my wheel so I can play connecting that way and it feels great I just can't rebind the buttons which I really need to do.  I downloaded Forza Apex and the FFB on that feels great so there is an issue with the implementation on FH.
  • Even with those issues the game is amazing, the world they have created is really fun to drive in and the amount of cars is astounding.
  • The game looks incredible, from the details in the cars to the rain effects everything about the graphics is amazing, the sky is the best sky I've ever seen in a game.
  • Another A+ is the sound design. The game has some great radio stations but I've turned them off for now just so I can hear the car engines.  Shifting through gears is an audible sensation.  I enjoy each new car that I unlock.  
  • There is a ton of content in the game, I've put in 8 hours and have only uncovered about a 1/4th of the map.   
  • I think the game does have some rubber banding AI but in this type of game it's expected as they want to make each race exciting. I haven't found it aggravating, you don't have to come in 1st in order to progress which is nice.
  • I like the rivals racing as you compete against your friends in basically time trials. Their times can be pretty difficult to beat especially since I am playing at an increased difficulty.  All the assists are off, simulation steering, and manual with clutch so there is a lot going on during a race.   
  • You can play through the whole campaign in co-op which would be a ton of fun but so far none of my friends are playing.
  • If you like car games then you should definitely pick this up.   


Deus Ex Mankind Divided
​​

  • Finished the main campaign at around 28 hours.
  • Apparently I missed one of the best side missions in the game so I may go back to an earlier save and try to play that.
  • One of the great things about this game is the amount of ways to approach each situation.
  • If you need to get into a room you could hack the door when no one is looking, find a guard that has a key card and take him out silently and grab the card, or move a heavy object that is blocking a vent that enters into the room.
  • The game lets you spec your character so that you could use any number of these methods and I actually wish I had limited myself to only one.  
  • The environment they provide for you to explore may not have the largest map size, but it's very detailed and has a ton of intricacies.  If I made myself only use vents to enter rooms then I would have to explore the world in different ways in order to find where they are hidden, which would make the role playing more immersive. 
  • I did play through using non-lethal attacks so I didn't get to mess around with many of the cool perks and weapons the game provides so I may play through again to see how that holds up.
  • I do recommend the game, it is the 2nd game in a trilogy so there are a ton of questions left unanswered.  I would suggest you play the first game before going in although they do have a video that sums up the previous game but both games are worth playing.  

Bioshock Remastered

  • Really excited to play through the series again but a ton of issues with the PC version have kept me away.
  • I owned all 3 games so I did get the update free but I'm still shocked at how poor the remaster was done.
  • To enable 5.1 surround sound you have to edit an .ini file which is crazy as the original game had a menu option for that.
  • The game has objects that disappear when I get close to them and some of the textures are flashing.  
  • They are supposed to be releasing some fixes for the PC version soon. 
  • I hear the console versions are better but they are missing some graphical elements that the older game had, but if you've never played you most likely won't care.  
  • They did include some cool commentary about the making of the game which I want to see so hopelfully they can get the issues fixed.  
  • I really like the Bioshock series and wish they did a better job at restoring the first 2 games. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Benq XR3501, Doom, Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

Benq XR3501


  • As if I didn't have enough monitors I went and bought a new one, this time it's curved.  Does it really make a difference? 
  • So first the specs
  • Massive 35 inch ultra widescreen.  
  • 2000R curve radius the most curved monitor made.
  • 144hz Refresh Rate
  • AMVA screen  
  • 2560x1080 Resolution


  • The two main reasons for purchasing the new monitor were the curvature ratio and the 144hz. 
  • I wasn't sure what to expect from a curved monitor as it seemed to be a gimmick but after playing for awhile I really think it adds a great deal to the experience.  
  • I don't think I'd say the same thing about a curved TV since you are sitting pretty far away from those but on a monitor where you are sitting really close where the whole screen is in your peripheral vision I feel more immersed in the games.
  • The amount of curve the monitor has makes it feel like I have a triple monitor setup.  I have seen a video with these in triple screen an it's amazing.  
  • The other reason is the 144hz which means that I can run games up to 144 fps which is really a game changer.  
  • Sure my eyes really can't see the difference between 144fps and 60fps but somehow I can feel the difference.  Just moving the mouse cursor around the windows desktop feels so smooth and responsive it really is impressive.  
  • Playing FPS and racing games at 144fps or even 100fps feels amazing and like whole new experiences. 
  • The only "downside" to the monitor is that it is a 1080P screen and not 2 or 4K.  This comment is the most prevalent I've seen on forums but I don't think any of those have actually seen the monitor in person. 
  • I don't find the resolution bad at all, I do have a 2k monitor and it does present a very sharp picture but I find I like the fps smoothness more than the resolution.
  • If the monitor were 2K then I would have trouble getting it to run at the higher frame rates so I think they made the right decision for the current graphic cards.  
  • The monitor also doesn't have G-sync but so far I haven't seen any screen tearing when running over 100fps so to me it's not necessary. 
  • Overall I am really impressed with this monitor and have no reservations about recommending this monitor to friends. Now I just need a 144hz projector.  

Doom

  • I finally finished the game late last week and played the last 3 levels on the new monitor and I am going to have to go back and replay it again.  Not only because of the new monitor but because the game is just so good.  
  • This game is already fast but at 144hz it's silky smooth and just amazing.  One of the best experiences I've had gaming this year.
  • The game held up all the way through and I can't wait for the sequel.  

Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

  • Since I got the new monitor I've been going back and playing some FPS games that I've never finished.  
  • For some reason this game never felt right using a controller, I always had a hard time aiming at enemies.
  • The game is limited to 60fps however so I didn't get the smoothness I wanted but it worked so much better with a keyboard and mouse.  
  • This game was broken into two different acts with the first focused on stealth and the latter focused on destruction and zombies.
  • The stealth was implemented pretty well. but it did wear on me after awhile so I'm glad the second section had more fighting.  
  • The game was pretty good but I thought the New Order was much better.

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