Now Playing: August-October 2018

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So I’ve been playing these things called “video games” and I figured I’d tell you about some of them. :D

The Bourne Conspiracy follows the events of The Bourne Identity and adds a bit more to it to lengthen the game. You play just about every major and minor scene from the movie including the big car chase scene. That specific moment, however, is done poorly and is not all that fun. Luckily most of the game is beat-’em-up and shooting style of gameplay. There are opportunities for stealthy takedowns, but it’s not required and is the other part of the game that’s also not done all that well.

Speaking of stealthy gameplay, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Battle Nexus on the Game Boy Advance is much better at it than the above game. It’s also much more enjoyable than TMNT 2 on the main consoles of its time like the PlayStation 2. You have to find crystals throughout the levels, but you have to use each turtle because each have different abilities allowing you to access places the others can’t reach. The difficulty of combat is fairly easy, but it’s welcome in this way since the traversal is what keeps you wanting to play some more.

I finally got around to playing *the* Spider-Man game that gets all the praise since it’s 2004 release and that’s, obviously, Spider-Man 2. The praise is pretty much universally for the swinging abilities and it’s well deserved. But, that’s where it ends, in my opinion. The points needs to progress the story from menial rescues are very repetitive. I also didn’t enjoy most, if any, of the boss battles. I don’t dislike the game. I just wish it was as good as its reputation leads you to believe.

Of the four games I played in these last few months, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the most fun. I liked the first two games quite a bit, and I still like them the most, but this game was a step up from the disappointment of Uncharted 3. Sam is a great companion and Sully’s dry wit is as welcome as always. The overall gameplay isn’t much different and that’s okay. It was good to begin with.

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A Year of Now Playing: March 2017-April 2018

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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

Ninja Commando Masters of Combat

A few more games this time around for the collection. Not all were necessary, but it’s how these things go sometimes.

The first game is very much in that “not necessary” category. I already have Legend of Kay on the PS2. It was one of those games I didn’t know about, but ebbderelict had fun with it as he’d mentioned in his review of the game he did six years ago. As usual I’ve yet to play that one and bought the PS4 rerelease Legend of Kay Anniversary anyway.

In Neo-Geo news, I picked up Garou: Mark of the Wolves and ADK Damashii on PSN when they were on sale for around 50% off. These both are PS2 imports for play on PS4. ADK Damashii is a compilation of five games: Aggressors of Dark Kombat, Ninja Combat, Ninja Commando, Ninja Masters, and Twinkle Star Sprites.

I also bought a recent disc release of Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours by Limited Run Games. This is the first time I’ve shopped with them and I also plan to do so for the rerelease of the Sega CD game Night Trap that they’ve announced is coming soon.

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Finally, I picked up the Harrison Ford movie, The Fugitive and the great 1980s series Cosmos by Carl Sagan. This latter is a DVD set since there hasn’t been a Blu-ray version made as of yet. I also have another DVD on the way of Best of the Best 2. Wayne Newton is fantastically cheesy in this film and I loved it.

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Super Combo of Revenge

Recently I had bought three new games. One was a retail release of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst for the PlayStation 4. The other two were from the PlayStation Network. Those were Fu’un Super Combo, consisting of the fighting games Savage Reign and Kizuna Encounter: Super Tag Battle. This was originally a PS2 compilation released in Japan in 2007.

The final game purchased was Double Dragon II: The Revenge. This is the Hamster emulated arcade game original.

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Hart & Usagi #80: Shadow of Logan

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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)

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Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi

Now Playing: February 2017

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Since I checked in last month with you guys it’s only gotten hotter. It’s February and it’s 71°F as I type this. Unbearable! Despite the fact we’re all going to melt and drown in the rising ocean waters, I’ll try to fill you in on what I was playing recently.

Since last time I had continued to play and subsequently finished Bujingai: The Forsaken City. My thoughts are the same in that it’s a fun action title with a few “huh?” moments. Bujingai comes recommended by me despite it’s faults.

Right after I started to play Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas on the original PlayStation. It was unlike the first Die Hard Trilogy in that it’s not fun. The gameplay is more in the style of Tomb Raider and Duke Nukem: Time To Kill. It doesn’t work here. It’s too easy to die and there weren’t any mid-level checkpoints. Unfinished forever is fine by me. Moving on…

Back on the PlayStation 2, I played around ten levels of Manhunt 2. It was satisfying to sneak around and take out all of these “bad dudes.” What was less exciting was to have to use melee or firearms against enemies that noticed you. Manhunt 2 does have mid-level checkpoints and save points which helped me get as far as I did. However, some levels just required a bit too much on engagement with guns leaving me wondering where all the stealth went. The controls don’t lend themselves to being a shooter and these sections proved that. The game does have some merit so I don’t regret my time with it. It’s just doesn’t deserve any more.

I then dusted off and charged up my PSP for the next game, Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow. I didn’t get far into Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror years ago, but Logan’s Shadow looks to be easier to handle. I’m certainly impressed with the quality of the graphics on display here. Other than that there’s not much to say since I’m still only on the first episode. Wish me luck in seeing this one through.

Game on!

Now Playing: January 2017

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Shortly after I posted about what I played in the latter half of 2016 at the beginning of this month (a week later to be precise), I finished my first game of the new year. It was Watch Dogs.

I enjoyed my time with Watch Dogs more so than it’s reputation would lead you to believe is possible. The story is passé as you’ve probably heard, but since I don’t get caught up in worrying about that I had fun.

Oh and I uploaded ten clips of things I found amusing while I played Watch Dogs. Take a peek at them if you so wish.

With my current game I’m three stages from being finished. It’s Bujingai: The Forsaken City on PlayStation 2. It’s has an enjoyable combat system where you play as a character that was motion captured by singer Gackt.

The problem with the game is figuring out where to go or what exactly to do on some of the stages. Stages range from dead simple straight forward affairs to mind-melting mazes of confusion. Clearly a well-planned out and cohesive game Bujingai is not. To avoid wanting to chuck a controller at the wall, I suggest having a FAQ on hand. I’m playing on Easy to help this out as well.

*****

Finally I have more purchases to tell you about.

Shadow Complex Remastered on PSN was for about $6 on sale so I went for it. Also, I have picked up locally two movies: Big and Enemy at the Gates.

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