Shadow of the Colossus, 10 Years Later

During the PlayStation 2’s era, I wasn’t quite as committed to gaming as I grew to be during the PS3 era.  I was easily distracted from whatever game I was playing by whatever the next game I wanted to play was.  If I could get my hands on that “more interesting” game, I did and left behind what I was currently playing, for good.

That’s why I barely started what is now considered one of the greatest games ever made, Shadow of the Colossus.  I got the game via trade probably 6 months after its October 2005 release.  Once I started it, I got to the part where you ride Argo (the game’s horse and sole companion) and that was it.  I maybe made it 15 minutes into the game and then something else stole my attention.

I can’t remember what it was that distracted me, but something did and I just never got back to SotC.  Thankfully, HD Remasters become rather popular and SotC made it to the PS3 with some uprez’d textures and a widescreen format.  I picked the game up off the PSN store for $5 and was determined to play it… but I never did.  I’m not sure what my excuse was this time around.

Fast forward to 2015 and I had the idea that it was time to finally play this game so I could sell off my PS3 and move on to my life with the PS4.  Not only did I finally play and beat SotC, it sparked a bit of a PS3 renaissance for me.  Now I’m backtracking and replaying some of my PS3 favorites as well as a few I’ve missed, but that’s not the point. Continue reading

Lifeline Is the Best Mobile Game I’ve Played and All I Did Was Read

T81yZ3ICI’ve been a gamer for 90% of my 33 years on this earth.  I kind of hate to say it, but I am a “hardcore” gamer.  I hate to say it, because I don’t really think gamers need to be split into groups.  That said, my gaming history has left me not all that interested in the mobile phone/tablet space other than for some mindless games to pass a few minutes here and there.  Self-identifying as a hardcore gamer has not left me a snob, however.  I understand and appreciate the casual space that mobile has monopolized and I think it’s great that there are games for everyone, but I just never saw myself truly loving a game or a game’s story on mobile.  When I’ve been able to play things like The Last of Us, Journey and Enslaved on my various PlayStation consoles, I never felt like a mobile game would rope me in and make me want to finish it.

Then I had a few days with Lifeline. Continue reading

OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood Review (PS4/Vita)

I still remember all the way back to 1999, that first time I played Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.  It was on a demo disk from some random magazine and it was only the first level of the later released full game.  I played that level 1,000 times over and then played it some more.  When the full game hit, I spent more hours playing than I may have spent on any other game that generation.

I loved the series so much I was even willing to try anything that had the same formula and was released by Activision.  I even played Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer (spoiler alert, it was not good).

Somewhere along the way Tony Hawk and Activision let the series get fatigued, which is a polite way of saying they kept coming out with games and they kept getting worse and worse.  Eventually the Skate series came during last generation and took everything Tony Hawk’s games were doing wrong and made them right.  Tony Hawk responded with “Ride”, then “Shred” which introduced yet another plastic piece of junk for your living room to go with all those instruments you weren’t playing anymore (but you might be breaking out again, because… Rock Bank 4).  Another spoiler alert, these games were bad, too.

All of this is significant for 2 reasons.  First, there hasn’t been a skateboarding game worth playing since Skate 3, all the way back in 2010 (God, that’s longer than I thought, come back Skate!).  Since I missed out on OlliOlli’s first iteration I can’t count that, but if it’s anything like OlliOlli 2, we now have our skateboarding game that is more than worth playing.  Second reason.  OlliOlli has made me feel the same thing I felt the first time I played the first Tony Hawk and Skate games.  It’s hard, addictive and my eyes hurt because I play it for too long, but it is everything I could want in a skateboarding game. Continue reading

Far Cry 4 (PS4) Review

Far Cry 3 was a really interesting experience for me.  That game had so many flaws in its story and characters that, if the gameplay wasn’t as fun as it was, would have rendered the game unplayable for me.

On one hand, you had Vaas, who might be one of the best bad guys to ever grace a video game.  Between his look, the voice acting and the ability to sync his face to his words (so few games do this well that it’s obvious when it happens) he hit on all cylinders.  He was roughly 10% of the story and died way too early.  That’s the bad part.

Then you have the other hand.  The main character who you played as was a giant, flaming douchebag.  There isn’t any way around it.  Your goal, within the context of the story, was to save your friends.  All massive douches as well.

There is a portion of the game where you are trying to save a friend by sniping from a distance as he runs for safety.  When you get to him, after he was being shot at and had explosions going off all around him, his first words to you are “Whoa, dude!  Nice tat!”   Exhibit A on why these were some of the worst protagonists, ever.  Continue reading

Should You Play… Magus (PS3)

Magus is a game that doesn’t need to exist, probably shouldn’t, but does. If you watch the teaser trailer, you can tell this game takes itself seriously. Very seriously. Between the music which gives the feel of grandeur to the inclusion of slow motion on a character model that should probably never, ever be given a slow motion view due to its really poor graphical quality (unless we’re time traveling back to 1996, then it’s pretty cool), you can tell the gamemakers were very intent and tried their best to make a game people would love in a game world that we were to have found awe.

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The Worst Things About the Best Games

As a gamer, you start your gaming life not caring about the ins and outs of why you are doing whatever it is you are doing in that game in front of you.  You shoot first and probably never ask questions.  You pull potato chips out of garbage bins because… you need the scientifically proven healing power they provide, right?  As you grow older, you keep playing these games but eventually things will trickle into the back of your mind.  What is my motivation for the character I am playing?  Why am I killing so many people?  Better yet… why does the overload of this video game world have so many people willing to run out of rooms and die for him or her?

At the end of the day, none of those things really matter.  We will keep playing and always accept so many of the tropes and inconsistencies video games are subject to.  Let’s face it, if you want to continue to enjoy gaming into your adult life, you just have to live with it.  There are so many games that make so little sense when you pick and prod at them, but some of these games are still not only good games, but great games.  As I’ve grown older I’ve become far more analytically of the games I play.  Here are some of my personal favorites with some of the massive issues I perceive to be within them.

Note there are major spoilers in here.  If you haven’t played the game, skip the paragraph.

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Bioshock (PS3) – Review

As a somewhat frugal gamer, I did a ton of research and waited for all of the next gen systems to have at least a year under their belt. After much deliberation and internal arguments, I went with the PS3. You may think this is a bizarre way to start a review, but here is why it is/was relevant. When deciding what system to purchase, I desperately wanted to play Bioshock. I love FPS games, read all of the positive things about it, stared at screenshots and ended up fascinated by it. My PC couldn’t handle it and I only had enough money for one system. As bad as I wanted to play it, I went with the PS3 and just hoped that I’d be able to get my hands on Bioshock one way or another. Well, my patience paid off. Roughly a year after the game was released to rave reviews on the X-Box 360 and PC, PS3 owners finally got their hands on one of gaming’s recent marvels.

Bioshock is one of the most creative, innovative games that I have ever had the pleasure of playing. The world that is created is original in its design and inhabitants. There is nothing here that has been seen in a video game before.

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