Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Overload and Elite Dangerous

Overload

  • This game is a spiritual successor to the old Descent games that I loved back in the day.  
  • I got out my HOTAS setup, which I haven't used in years, and wow is this game fun.  I'm still learning the controls so I'm dying a lot. You can play with a kb/m and do much better but it's not the same feeling you get with actual plane controls.  
  • Once you throw on the VR headset the game goes to another level. The VR implementation is perfect and you feel like you are piloting a real ship.  
  • I have gotten a bit queasy at times, but I think that's due to me using the HOTAS and not having the controls down pat.  When things get hectic I am not sure of my controls so I'm flying erratic and my eyes are not sure where to focus.  
  • The game has a 15 level singe player campaign, challenge modes, and mutiplayer so there is a lot of content for the $30 asking price.
  • https://youtu.be/lKuILmzw6H8

Elite Dangerous

  • Since I already had my HOTAS out for Overload I decided to get ED and give it a spin.
  • The games are vastly different, Overload is fast and in your face while ED is just you alone is space trying to learn how to pilot a space ship without blowing yourself up. 
  • The game is complicated and will take some time to learn, but you feel like you are actually learning how to fly a space ship.  
  • The game of course supports VR and once again the VR mode is a better way to play.  
  • In Non-VR mode you have menus on the left and right that come up by button presses, in VR when you look to the left or right the menu's automatically appear. You can also target anything by just looking at it instead of having to aim your ship at the object.
  • The first time you exit hyperspace and come to a screeching halt in front of a sun is awesome. 
  • I played the first night and had a great time and didn't have many issues, I mostly had to look at how the actions were mapped to my controls.
  • The next day I found out about VoiceAttack and HCS Voice Pack modules.  They allow you to control your ships functions with your voice. The Voice Pack gives you a virtual AI that you  communicate with and they are voiced by sci-fi actors and I had to chose William Shatner.  He has over 1500 lines of dialog it makes the game super immersive and the ship much easier to control.  
  • The main issue i have is navigating the map to find  out where I need to go so I'll look up some tutorials for that. 
  • I really wish they would make a new Star Wars Tie Fighter game.  


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Samsung CHG90, Beat Saber, Sim Rig

Samsung CHG90 Monitor

Overview

  • Curved 49" at 32:9 resolution.  It's a beast.
  • I really need to stop buying monitors.  

Good

  • The monitor is huge and luckily it fit on my Obutto monitor stand after 3 unsuccessful attempts of trying to install it on the bracket upside down.
  • I had triple screens awhile back, but never liked the bezels and all the wires associated with the setup.  So now I have basically the same thing with just 2 wires.  
  • I mainly bought it for my racing rig and it works perfect for racing games as it looks like a windshield.  
  • Playing FPS games on it is awesome as well, but it can be a bit disorientating at first since the screen is so large, it takes some time to get used to. 
  • The curved screen makes sense for a PC monitor because I sit close and the whole screen is in my peripheral vision that it sometimes feels a bit like VR.  
  • It is only 3840x1080P so it's not the sharpest resolution, but it does support HDR and 144Hz.

Bad

  • It supposedly has the same QLED panel as their new Samsung TV's but it can't compare to my OLED.  The blacks are nowhere close to being pure darkness.
  • Surprisingly most games do support the resolution, but some of the UI elements can't be moved so like in Pillars of Eternity the character tabs are on the far left corner which makes them tough to use. 

Beat Saber

Overview

  • VR Music Rhythm game with Light Sabers. 
  • Did I mention Light Sabers? 

Good

  • The game play is simple but extremely fun, this is a game that wouldn't work without VR.  
  • You have two light sabers that are red and blue, colored squares with an arrow come down a lane towards you that shows you which way to slice the block in half and which light saber to use.
  • The amount of force you use to slice the block determines your point score so it encourages you to go crazy.
  • The music is written specifically for the game so it actually feels like a dance once you start getting to the higher difficulties.
  • The game is a great way to workout.  After playing about 3 songs I was starting to sweat and after 30 minutes I was curious how many calories I had burnt.

Bad

  • Game is in early access so there is only 10 songs currently. 
  • When you swing the light sabers around they don't sound like the ones from Star Wars. 
  • You will sweat so dress appropriately.  

Racing Sim Rig





Friday, May 4, 2018

God of War

Overview

  • I've finished all but one of the God of War games twice so I'm a pretty big fan of the franchise and it's unbelievable how good this game is. . 

Good

  • Kratos as a character in the past games was really one dimensional.  He was a true anti-hero and basically had one emotion, Anger, that drove him through all of the games.
  • In this game they really strove to define Kratos' character through the interactions with his son.  He realizes the anger from the past games was a curse and wants his son to not follow in his footsteps. 
  • Kratos' son could have been a hindrance,  but I enjoyed the banter between the characters and the game does a good job of making the father/son dynamic feel natural.   He is also important in combat as you can give him simple commands that can make a difference in battle. 
  • The director of the game spent a couple of years away from gaming to work with some well known movie directors and it really shows in the cinematics and the storytelling. Kratos grew up.  
  • The whole game is played from a perspective right behind Kratos with no cuts.  In previous games the camera would zoom out and show the massive spectacles of the game world and just how small the character we were playing was.  
  • This camera is personal and it feels like you are on this journey with him.  The game world still has those huge vistas and architecture you just get to experience it form a different perspective that reinforces how small yet powerful you are compared to the rest of the world.  
  • It's the best looking game I've ever played.  The amount of detail in the world and just on Kratos' beard is amazing. I am playing at 4K with HDR in resolution mode and haven't noticed any frame rate drops and it's just awesome.
  • The camera makes combat feel completely different but somehow familiar. 
  • Being right behind the main character makes combat feel visceral and intense.  When you perform a takedown of an enemy it's brutal and in your face. 
  • You have to be mindful of enemies outside your field of view and the game does a great job of using the characters around you to inform you when you are about to be attacked. It feels natural and very few times have I got hit from behind without knowing it's coming.
  • You can tell the influence of Dark Souls, as each combat encounter is meaningful and the strategy of who to take out first is needed in the higher difficulties.  One type of enemy you meet I'm not sure how to take out yet. 
  • The animation and sound of throwing your axe is amazing,  it's just fun to throw it and hit different objects to see what happens.
  • The story is entertaining and the cast of characters you meet are all fleshed out and you get to know some of the reasons and motivations of the characters and that really helps make the world feel real.  
  • The world is huge and each place you visit has secrets and puzzles that have unique solutions that I want to try and solve.  

Bad

  • One character uses some foul language a couple of times which I have could have done without.  
  • The different enemy types have their own kill animations and I wish there was a bit more variation on those. 

Cool Moments

  • Rowing in a boat across this huge lake and taking in the scenery while listening to the lore of the world.  
  • When you play the game watch out for some of the small character animations, especially when you are getting in/out of a boat.  These are really cool and may be missed by a lot of gamers.  They are subtle but really add to the game and the world they are creating.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Xbox One X, BC, Far Cry 5

Xbox One X

Well I caved and bought an Xbox One X which I told myself I wasn't going to buy since all first party Microsoft games come out on Windows so there really wasn't a need for it.  Then two weeks ago they announced the new backwards compatibility games coming out and some with 4K enhancements and one special game was on the list.

So I bought an Xbox One X for backwards compatibility?   Really??? 

That's the question I've been asking myself since I bought it.  I did buy it from Toy's R Us during it's big going out of business sale.  Which the sale is really a big lie.  The ad says up to 30% off and I have yet to see anything that was marked that much off, mostly 10% and a few 15%.   I saved $25. 

Most of the time when you go back and play older games your memories of the game are always better then what the actual game really is.  When you think about older games, somehow your mind puts a new coat of paint on the graphics and then when you do play it again, woof, it's tough to stomach. 

So far the games I've tested with the new 4K enhancements work great and at least the graphics part does mesh with my memories of the game and it's just some of the mechanics that feel old. 

Another reason I bought it was because the sequel to the game I was excited for isn't coming to PC anytime soon or maybe at all. 


Red Dead Redemption

​Red Dead never got a PC release and I've been wanting to play through it again since the sequel is coming out this year. ​It was backwards compatible on the regular Xbox One and when I tried it months ago it did look a bit better and ran smoother but it still felt like an older game. 

The IT guys at Microsoft are geniuses and it's amazing what they have accomplished with the 4K emulation on the Xbox One X.   Red Dead looks amazing, everything is crisp and clean and it almost looks like a game made in this generation.  All the details that were in the game when it initially released, you can finally see and appreciate them. 

The movement of the main character also feels better than before, this is maybe a placebo effect but the controls don't feel as sluggish as I remember them.  There is some pop in when you are on your horse, but other than that everything runs great and it's a joy to be able to replay that game again. 


SSX 3

This is an original Xbox game and it runs at 4K and it looks and plays great. I played a ton of this game when it originally came out and sliding down the mountain brought back a ton of memories.  This and SSX Tricky are the best SSX games, they don't make these kind of game much anymore and when they do they aren't that great. Didn't know how much I missed DJ Automica. 

Far Cry 5

Thoughts after playing 8 hours, so so.  I've bought all the Far Cry games and enjoyed them, but only finished Far Cry and Far Cry 3.  They made some small changes to the formula, but it still is the same game as the others. 

I enjoy the game when I'm playing it, but nothing about it makes me think about the game once I'm done.  The story was portrayed in the trailers as something special, but it's like all the others, over the top characters giving you monologues that are serious then you go on a mission to collect bull parts for the testes festival.  The enemy AI is pretty bad and inconsistent so some fights are exciting while others are trivial.  Also your AI companions could use a profanity filter. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Review

​​
2017 - What a year for gaming.  So many great games came out this year it was really hard to decide what games to spend your time on. Even though I haven't been posting as much as I'd like, I did finish over 30 games this year so I've been pretty busy at least playing games. 

Games I loved but didn't like the Sequels

  • Shadow of War 
    • A game that actually added too much content which made the game very convoluted and it just couldn't keep my interest. 
    • Way too many Orc bosses to fight, they just keep showing up. 
  • Wolfenstein 2
    • The story was excellent and a very fun ride but the combat didn't live up to the highs of the story.
    • I had to lower the difficulty to easy just to make that part of the game enjoyable.  

Game I thought was overlooked

  • Prey
    • A truly hidden gem.
    • Exploring a vast space station was exhilarating and I loved all the detail they were able to cram into one location.  So much to do and see with many secrets.   
    • They did misstep a bit with the constant combat that you had to partake in but overall I loved the experience and hope for a sequel. 

Game that made me not want to Open doors

  • Resident Evil 7
    • What a great game and a fresh take on a series that had grown a bit stale.
    • Hopefully the VR version will come to PC in January.  Can't wait.....to not open doors again. 

Game that made me prefer to use Headphones over my Sound System.

  • Hellblade
    • The sound was phenomenal and I think successfully conveyed what it feels like to have mental illness. 
    • With headphones you really believe people are right beside you whispering in your ear.  A good sound system really can't replicate that as well. 

Game I Spent the Most Time Playing

  • Rocket League
    • Over 1250 hours over 2 years.  Wow that number is staggering. ​

​Game I took the most Screenshots ​

  • ​Horizon Zero Dawn
    • So many beautiful scenes throughout the game.
    • A true HDR Showcase.  ​

​Game I Played but Shouldn't Have​

  • ​SouthPark: The Fractured But Whole​
    • The subtitle pretty much sums up that argument

​​G​ame where I had a smile on my face the whole time

  • ​Super Mario Oddysee
    • Every level was a joy to play
    • All the different characters/objects you could play as was staggering.

​Game where I got lost in the world

  • ​Zelda: Breath of the Wild
    • The physics of the world really made the game stand out.​  Rolling down a hill after getting hit by an enemy.​
    • Constantly rewarded for exploring.  Never went looking somewhere and came back empty handed.

​Game that had the best DLC​

  • Witcher 3: Heart of Stone
    • Great excuse to get back into the Witcher Universe
    • A great story that kept me entertained the whole 12 hours.

Game I loved but had to refund it

  • Cuphead
    • Too hard.
    • Please release an easier mode so I can enjoy the game. 

​Game I tried to love but just couldn't​

  • NieR:Automata
    • Tried multiple times but just didn't click.
    • The open world was just so boring and most of the combat just not fun.  

Game I did the stupidest stuff in

  • PlayerUnknowns: Battlgrounds
    • Why why did I jump out of a moving jeep. 
    • Spend 20 minutes picking up guns and equipment then last 3 seconds in an actual gunfight.

Game that made me buy a Fightstick

  • Injustice 2
    • A great fighting game that is easy to get into
    • Perfect single player mode that keeps encouraging you to play everyday.

Games that just won't go away

  • Skyrim
    • Can't believe I bought the Switch version
  • Fallout 4
    • New play through
    • 50 mods and counting.

Games I played most with Friends

  • Divinity Original Sin 2
    • Didn't quite finish but put in over 30 hours.
    • Good times.
  • Rocket League
    • Too many to count.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Quickhits - Super Maion Odyssey, Evil Within 2, South Park, COD WW2, Shadow of War


Super Mario Odyssey

  • I defeated Bowser, sorry for the spoiler, after 8 hours of play but there are tons and tons of stuff still left to do.
  • Really good Mario game that has has huge levels filled with secrets and hidden passages that encourages exploring so you are not just playing through level after level. 
  • You can feel they looked at the design of Zelda and infused it into Mario and it works.  
  • The hat mechanic, where you can transform into just about everything, is really cool.  I'm not sure how they keep finding new ways to improve Mario games, it's pretty amazing.  

The Evil Within 2

  • Finished the game at around 25 hours.
  • A great horror action game from the maker of Resident Evil 4.
  • This has a lot more action than the previous game so it does feel quite a bit different which I'm so-so on.
  • The action is good but I miss some of the horror aspects of the first game.
  • You do see some pretty crazy stuff. 

South Park; The Fractured But Whole

  • ​Nobody should play this game and everyone should play this game.
  • If you are into South Park then it's a no brainier.  It's a 15 hour South Park episode. 
  • They did change the combat from the first game and I really liked it.  It was grid based and had some decent strategy built in that made the fights fun.
  • You are able to mix and match your party and they had dialog for all the different combinations, it's amazing how much content is in the game.  
  • Be prepared to be offended.

​Call of Duty WW2​

  • Rented and beat the campaign in about 6 hours.
  • The WW2 setting didn't feel restrictive and I did like going back to basically guns and grenades.  The last couple of games had a ton of options and gadgets that could be overwhelming.
  • The story was decent but I wish they did a bit more to show the camaraderie of the team to make the story have more of an impact.

Shadow of War

  • Put about 20 hours into the game and not even halfway through.
  • I have mixed feelings.  I really liked the first game and they expanded on every aspect for the sequel, but there is just so much that it's overwhelming and seems to have lost some of it's magic.
  • The Nemesis systems is still great and enjoyable.
  • Loot boxes.  Ugh.





Monday, September 11, 2017

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, Batman Arkham VR

Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (What is going on?)

  • Overview
    • 3rd Person Action Adventure game with a main character suffering from Psychosis. 
  • Good
    • It's visually stunning.  
    • The facial graphics and animation are the best I've seen.  The camera is always close to the character and there are many moments you just watch her face and an easily see how she her emotions of being tormented by psychosis 
    • The game uses binaural sound and it's amazing hopefully other games start using this technology. 
    • This type of recording mimics how you hear in the real world so even with a pair of cheap headphones you can pinpoint the exact location of the sound being made.  Headphones is a must.  
    • Since the game is about psychosis one of the main symptoms is hearing voices and the game does an awesome job of trying to convey that feeling.  
    • The game is set during the Norse\Viking times and I liked each environment, it did remind me some of the Viking TV show. 
    •  I also like the lore of the time and the game has a ton of interesting stories. 
  • Bad
    • The combat was great at first but near the end it became very repetitive and fights took far too long,  This may have been intentional to showcase her symptoms, but it was bothersome to me.
    • Some of the puzzles were vague and I had to watch a video a couple of times for the solution which was usually something I missed in the environment. 
    • Un-Intuitive beam controls.  Walking across a beam you push the direction you are falling to correct yourself.  I thought opposite which caused 4 deaths.  
  • Cool Experience
    • The whole game is a cool experience.  From the visuals to the sound it's captivating all the way thorugh and unlike any game I've played before.  Recommendation:  High. 

Uncharted: Lost Legacy (Lara Croft who?)

  • Overview
    • If you like the Uncharted series you will like this game. 
  • Good
    • Still feels like Uncharted even without Nathan Drake.
    • Once again the graphics are amazing with some breathtaking views.  I took about 50 photos.
    • The photo mode is insane.  There are so many options that you could spend hours creating the perfect photo. 
    • The mix of exploration and combat felt perfect in this game.  There weren't waves and waves of bullet sponge enemies. 
    • The story and characters are once again top notch with some great voice acting. 
    • Only $40.  
  • Bad
    • A couple of the puzzles can be a bit tricky and I had to look a couple up because I missed something in the environment.  
  • Cool Experiences
    • In Photo mode you can give Chloe different facial animations and the results are hilarious.  
    • Just standing on top of a mountain overlooking the landscape.  Unbelievable. 


Batman Arkham VR (I'm Batman)

  • Overview
    • You are Batman in VR.  Awesome. 
  • Good
    • You are Batman. 
    • The story mode has you doing some detective work which actually worked very well.  I would like a whole VR game of just being a detective. 
    • In some games they have extras where you can see the character models and usually it's lame but in VR it's awesome.   You can get up close and personal with a ton of characters from the Batman lore. The Joker and Killer Croc being highlights. 
    • Available on PS4VR and PC VR headsets. 
  • Bad
    • The game is pretty short with the story mode taking about an hour.   There are Riddler challenges to complete after the story which adds a couple of more hours. 
    • No combat just detective sequences.  
  • Cool Experiences
    • Putting on all the Batman gear and then seeing yourself in the mirror, makes you feel like Batman.....well until you realize you can make gestures with your hands and then it just turns silly.
    • You are Batman