A Year of Now Playing: March 2017-April 2018

nowplaying0418

It’s been a long time since I’ve typed up a Now Playing blog entry. My last edition was published at the end of February 2017.

At the time I was in the middle of playing Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow on the PSP. I don’t remember much from the game other than getting to a point where Logan was on a lift riding it up with enemy forces raining fire down upon him. I didn’t know how I’d ever pass this area so I moved onto another game. I did enjoy the game much more than its prequel, Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror, but eventually I’d had my fill of the black ops stuff.

Remember Split/Second? It’s that Disney published racing game where you triggered explosions (and some other things) to try and wreck your opponents on your way to victory. It was a welcome game during that Burnout series drought. It doesn’t surpass that best ever racing series, but it was still engaging it a similar destructive way.

Another game that went unfinished was Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny. This PSP entry introduced Kratos as a guest character to the roster. This was released in between the pair of PSP God of War titles. A lot of his abilities from the GoW games up to that point were included. I spent most of my time in the trials challenge mode. This would help in learning the character of your choice. I’m not the biggest fan of 3D fighting games in general so I played this more out of curiosity.

Mafia III‘s early trailers had my interest with the protagonist in Lincoln Clay in 1960s Louisiana. It had promise is how the game handled Clay’s dealing with racism, but it never does much of anything with it other than allow for a few slurs here and there to be spoken by some of the non-playable characters. It’s ultimately a GTA-style clone of an open world game, but thankfully it was quite good at that.

I know Shadow of the Colossus gets talked about with glowing praise, but it didn’t take long for me to realize this wasn’t a game for me. In a similar way, but where nobody praises it, I can say the same thing about ActRaiser 2.

Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run and Crash: Mind Over Mutant, both on the PlayStation 2, are another pair of unfinished games. I can’t remember exactly what the reason I playing them was. It might have been the game freezing up or a particularly difficult section I didn’t want to deal with.

I had downloaded the Trine trilogy off of the PlayStation Network for my PS4 and played through Trine: Enchanted Edition. It was as I remembered from playing the original version’s demo back on the PS3. It was fun to find uses for each of the three character’s abilities.

For an over-the-top third-person shooter that’s a lot of dumb fun, I suggest helping Fifty get back a diamond encrusted skull in 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand. Don’t forget to jump dat big ass ramp!

Onto some Game Boy Advance beat-’em-up action I played River City Ransom EX. This is a slightly updated look to the original game on the NES. The main difference is that you can save your progress to an extent. It doesn’t save were you left off just your character’s stats and items. Regardless, I’d get to River City High as normal, but no boss shows up to fight as they should so I couldn’t progress onward. I remember this being my problem on the NES too.

Sega Arcade Gallery has four ports of Sega arcade games. Two of them are some of my favorites: OutRun and Super Hang-On. These two games are surprisingly well done. While you’re definitely better off playing a version on a bigger screen, the GBA isn’t the worst. For the controls it’s done quite good. The A and B buttons are accelerate and brake, respectively. L and R handle the boost in Super Hang-On and the shifting in OutRun. I finished both of these along with the next game.

That game is also on the GBA and it’s Power Rangers Ninja Storm. It’s a very one-note kids game and not fun enough for even one play-through, but at least I did that. There’s only very slight differences in a few level given which set of Rangers you choose at the beginning. It’s definitely not worth a second go-around to see anything you missed. Not bad just very mundane.

For all of you who enjoy The Revenge of Shinobi on the Genesis, be prepared for an awful 2002 game on the GBA also called The Revenge of Shinobi. It doesn’t amaze with its graphics. It also didn’t keep me very long because of the release of Burnout Paradise Remastered.

On Burnout, I said in my previous post that it was still fun to go back to after much time has passed. What I didn’t mention was that it was my first platinum trophy in six years and my ninth one in total. It’s the first platinum I’ve earned on the PS4 just as the original version of the game was my first on the PS3. All nine trophies can be viewed here.

The most recent game completed was Red Faction: Armageddon. I found myself having fun destroying structures and then repairing them. I had to tell myself to move on because I was doing that too often. It probably wouldn’t have taken 10 hours to beat if I had trucked on through. There’s a new game plus mode, but being a typical action game as it is I didn’t feel the need to replay it.

Currently I just started Yakuza 4. Hopefully it won’t take me until May 2019 to tell you about it. ;)

Once again, thanks for reading. Catch me on the podcasts!

GAMEPLAY STATS FROM SELECT TITLES:
* Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow – Ep. 6, Part 5
* Split/Second – Ep. 12; 3215 credits; 22 trophies
* Mafia III – 41 trophies
* Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run – Mission 10: Derailed
* Crash: Mind Over Mutant – 4h59m; 27%
* Trine: Enchanted Edition – Skill XP 316; HP XP: 271; 17 trophies
* Sega Arcade Gallery: OutRun – Score: 17,414,040
* Sega Arcade Gallery: Super Hang-On – Score: 1,383,970
* Burnout Paradise Remastered – 42h; 100%; 92 trophies (Platinum!)
* Red Faction: Armageddon – 10h26m; 100%; 29 trophies

Advertisements

Hart & Usagi #80: Shadow of Logan

podcast80

Episode 80 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast is here! We chat about a variety of topics like the Nintendo Switch, recently played Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow, E3 now being open to the public, and more.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Nintendo Switch Battery Life and Play Modes Confirmed
* Splatoon 2 Announced for Nintendo Switch, Due for Release This Summer
* Nintendo Switch Controllers Prices and Details
* Ultra Street Fighter 2 Announced for Switch, Has New Characters and Mode
* King of Fighters ’98, Metal Slug 3 and More Neo Geo Games Coming To Switch
* Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Dated for Xbox One/PC, Physical Xbox One/PS4 Versions Coming
* Yakuza 0 Review Roundup
* Trump’s proposed trade tariff could impact the price of consoles, games in the US
* Trump’s Travel Policy: Video Game Industry Group Responds
* PS4 Patch 4.50’s Boost Mode Improves Games That Aren’t Pro-Enabled
* E3 is open to the public this year, 15,000 tickets go on sale Monday
* Steam Greenlight Is Dead, Long Live Steam Direct
* Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter Crossover Game Sounds Unlikely, But Not Ruled Out
* Nioh DLC And Free Updates Detailed
* Crash Bandicoot Trilogy Remaster May Not Be PS4 Exclusive
* Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow

Listen or Download (1:19:38)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

Hart & Usagi #79: Thanks a lot, Microsoft!

podcast79

Episode 79 of the Hart & Usagi Podcast is here! We chat about a variety of topics like the Scalebound cancellation, our playthrough of Shadow of the Colossus, quality of Nintendo’s Virtual Console service over the years, and more.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS:
* Recent games played
* Microsoft Cancelling Platinum Games’ Xbox One Exclusive, Scalebound
* Yakuza: Kiyami, Yakuza 6 announced
* First Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite Gameplay Trailer Shows Power of Infinity Stones
* Parappa, Wipeout, Crash Bandicoot Getting PS4 Upgrades
* Nintendo Switch Will Play GameCube Games via Virtual Console [Report]
* Hackers Crack the NES Mini To Add More Games Via USB
* Ex-SNK Devs Develop New Fighting Game for… Super Nintendo
* The King of Fighters XIV Holiday Promo and Graphical Update Announced
* Double Dragon 4’s Gameplay Looks Unbelievably Old School
* Beyond the NES Classic Edition: Super NES, Genesis, And More
* Game-Rave TV Ep. 81 & 82: PlayStation Classic Console – Part 1 & Part 2

Listen or Download (1:32:38)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

RE: E3 2016 Reactions

re-e3-2016-reactions

Below are my thoughts on @ebbderelict’sE3 2016 Reactions” blog post.

• I own a number of Spider-Man games, but I’ve only really played Ultimate. Of course, Insomniac helming this new entry does seem promising.
• So much VR talk these days. It’s like the days of motion controls and stereoscopic 3D in gaming. I feel the need to be against it simply because it feels like it’s being forced on me. Utter crap, I say.
• I only played a little bit of the first Resident Evil. Despite that I have an appreciation of that game because of how much of an impact it had on the industry. I haven’t had any interest beyond that.
• I’m the same. I just want to read reviews of The Last Guardian. There’s nothing more they can really show.
• As I mentioned on the podcast, I don’t understand exactly how the Crash Bandicoot games can be legit remasters. You’d think it’d look particularly bad at a higher resolution than the original game releases. I’m fine with being proven wrong, but it feels simply like too much like a Halo Anniversary style of “remaster.”

Hart & Usagi #76: E3 2016

podcast76

On this episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast we chat about a variety of news and announcements from the E3 event this year.

Enjoy and remember to subscribe via RSS or iTunes and follow the Hart & Usagi Podcast on Twitter!

NEWS:
* PlayStation 4.5
* Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
* Mighty No. 9 Sequel Discussed by Inafune
* Titanfall 2 Single-Player Campaign Confirmed, See It In Action
* Titanfall 2 Has a $250 Collector’s Edition
* Quake Champions
* Doom Getting Unto The Evil DLC, SnapMap Free Updates Coming
* New Wolfenstein Game Possibly Teased At Bethesda E3 2016 Conference
* Tekken 7 Announced for Xbox One and PC in Early 2017
* Microsoft Announces Project Scorpio Console
* God of War Revealed for PS4 at E3 2016
* The Last Guardian Release Date Finally Revealed, Watch New Gameplay Trailer
* Resident Evil 7 Biohazard Announced, Watch First Trailer
* Crash Bandicoot Games Being Remastered for PS4
* Ratchet & Clank Dev Making New Spider-Man Game for PS4
* Platinum Games’ PS4-Exclusive Nier: Automata Gets Delayed

Listen or Download (50:26)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

Hart & Usagi Podcast #45: A Landfill of Myths

podcast45

We’re back at you with dose number 45 of the Hart and Usagi Podcast. Off the top I let you know of our new Twitter account for the show. It’s @HartandUsagi! So please do follow for updates and notifications on episode releases.

As for the rest of this episode, Usagi704 and I give our thoughts on various topics. We reminisce about the Game Boy which recently turned 25, Adam Sessler leaving video game coverage for other interests of his, the infamous Atari landfill, and much, much more!

NEWS/TOPICS:
* Games recently played
* A Legendary Brotherhood
* In Tangier the Parade Bar is closed….
* Are Video Gamers Athletes?
* Mozilla CEO resigns, opposition to gay marriage drew fire
* Xbox One’s Kinect is “unnecessary” and “a joke,” Molyneux says
* The Game Boy Legacy: A 25th Anniversary Celebration
* Sony Suddenly Makes Almost Every PlayStation Classic and PSP Game Downloadable and Playable on PS Vita
* The Gaming Historian – The Atari Landfill Myth
* Turtle Rock community manager let go after Donald Sterling Twitter remarks
* Net Neutrality R.I.P. (1969 – 2014)
* Think The Cassette Tape Is Dead? Then Why Did Sony Just Squeeze 185TB Of Data Onto One?

Listen or Download (1:46:08)
Subscribe
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog

hartandusagi2015-v-light2

@HartandUsagi

Now Playing: January 2013

nowplaying0113

The first game I finished for the new year, and two days in at that, was Double Dragon Neon. I was very excited for this game when it was released back in September. Sadly, I may have just waited too long to play it. I didn’t have as much fun with the game as I was hoping for.

It’s not a bad game by any means. I know it sounds like I’m apologizing for it, but I do think it was my inability to master the controls as well as I wanted to which made for a more aggravating time. The key is to activate Gleam as often as possible by performing split-second dodges of enemy attacks to be able to deal out at least double damage.

Everything else was enjoyable about the game. The graphics give that ’80s vibe and the music, redone and new, are fantastic. Skullmageddon is a fun and funny villain and his one-liners will stick with you. Now where’s my promised online co-op?

It should come to no surprise that I played another version of Street Fighter II. It’s Champion Edition on the TG-16 to be exact via the Virtual Console. It became finished game number two.

SFII CE here is another typical 16-bit port of what you’d see at the time. Compared to others on the SNES or Genesis it looks close though there are a few missing elements like the foreground fence on Zangief’s stage as an example. Otherwise the controls are tight and the sound effects sound as you’d hope for. However, the music itself is quite bad and shows why this should’ve been a CD based game. All the stage music is much less than desirable ranging from tolerable (Zangief’s stage) to don’t-choose-that-stage garbage (Sagat’s stage). It’s not hard to still recommend the SNES version, SFII Turbo, over all other 16-bit ports.

The last time I played a Crash Bandicoot game was the third PS1 game, Warped, in 2009. After the PS1 era the series saw a number of developers make titles for it. One of those studios was Vicarious Visions and the game was Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced on the Game Boy Advance.

This game, other than being in 2D, is very much mimicking the Naughty Dog titles. The sounds effects are carried over and the graphics are as close to its 3D counterpart as one might expect.

I always fancied myself as a small fan of the Crash Bandicoot games, but I think I’ve finally realized that maybe this isn’t the case. Even when I played Crash Bandicoot: Warped, it always felt like the difficulty was either too easy or spiked too hard in many instances. I didn’t ever feel there was a good middle ground. This second GBA title doesn’t change things in this regard. In fact, it might have made them worse with the new ideas for some of the levels.

If you’re more of a fan of the Crash games, then you might find N-Tranced to be fun, but other than Crash of the Titans in the future, I’m probably done.

THIS MONTH’S GAMING STATS:
* Double Dragon Neon – #1 finished; 4h35m
* Street Fighter II: Champion Edition – #2 finished; 6h35m
* Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced – Lv. 19; 39%