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

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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)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

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!

Purchase Stats 2016

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The following stats are for all of my video game purchases throughout 2016.

Total number of games: 30
Amount bought decreased by 10 from 2015.

18 PS4 (60%)
DMC
Hotline Miami
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood
Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
Batman: Arkham Knight
Bloodborne
Far Cry 4
Just Cause 3
Wolfenstein: The New Order
Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Cruse
Transformers: Devastation
Grand Theft Auto V
Ratchet & Clank
Dark Souls III
Doom
Mafia III
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Wild Guns Reloaded

1 PSP (4%)
Kamen Rider Chou Climax Heroes

4 PS3 (13%)
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation
Yakuza 5
Far Cry Compilation
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Danger of the Ooze

2 PC (7%)
The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match
Strife

5 GBA (16%)
Island Xtreme Stunts
Stuntman
SSX Tricky
American Dragon: Jake Long – Rise of the Huntsclan
Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams

1 MISC.
SNES Capcom Soldier Pad

******

I also bought myself one last game in the final week of 2016 which is included in the stats above. It’s Nastume’s Wild Guns Reloaded!

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Now Playing: April 2016

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Since I never did a Now Playing article for either February or March thanks to my PC being out of commission, I figured I’d do one for April.

Why a week sooner than I’d usually aim to do it? This is because I don’t see myself having much time or interest in gaming in the coming weeks. My free time is more spent these days watching movies or TV. I feel it doesn’t do me any good to tell myself I’m going to play a game later on knowing I’m probably not going to bother. It’s a pointless expectation to have if my interest isn’t there when the time comes.

Now don’t take me as one of those “I’m done with gaming” types. That’s preposterous. It’s much more along the lines of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” things. Time away from playing games will ultimately help me get more excited to play them.

In these last two months I did play and beat Jak 3 (PS2) and Uncharted 3 via the Uncharted Collection on PS4. The former was fun until the final boss. Trying to shoot specific spots without any sort of auto aim in a vehicle that only shoots straight ahead is not what I call fun. The latter was fun and Drake was a wonderfully voiced character as always, but the constant big set piece escapes from crumbling structures got old very, very fast.

I also played some of the RPG Star Ocean: First Departure on PSP. It was fun for about 5 hours and, as usual, I lost interest. Rarely does an RPG keep me entertained these days.

I do want to eventually finish The Legend of Kage 2 (DS) and Bully (PS2), but those will have to wait until my gaming mojo returns.

In the meantime, I’ve watched A Clockwork Orange and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. The scenes you usually see about the movie are from the beginning section and that never convinced me to watch it. However, a breakdown of the movie via Renegade Cut showed me other parts of the film making it much more intriguing. This is something you simply cannot accomplish for me by avoiding spoilers as the Internet community would have you believe.

A Clockwork Orange was an excellent piece on society’s view on criminal punishment and rehabilitation. In that regardless of debt paid while incarcerated the victims still want a piece of payback for themselves. It’s actually quite sad and makes Alex, the main character, sympathetic by the end. At the end, though, it seems as if Alex reverts back to his old ways. Is this the case or am I reading more into it than is there?

Finally, I’ll leave you with my new acquisition of Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. Thanks for reading!

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Back With A Revengenance!

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I’m back. My new PC is up and running “gud” so it’s time to get back to business.

In the coming weeks you’ll get new episodes of both the Hart & Usagi and Space Suplex podcasts. Along with that I’ll also be coming soon with an update on my gaming progress (or lack of it, as the case may be). This update will focus on the purchases I’ve made during the weeks of downtime.

First up is new games!

I picked up Hotline Miami on the PlayStation Network for just $2.00. It gave me versions for the PS3, PS4, and Vita. Of Wolfenstein I got a local copy of The Old Blood. I would’ve had The New Order at the same time, but the case was broken and Best Buy didn’t have an copies to replace it. A new PSP was acquired too. This was a third import of the Kamen Rider Climax Heroes series entitled Kamen Rider Chou Climax Heroes.

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Onto newly bought movies!

I picked up Boyz n the Hood soon after seeing Straight Outta Compton in the theater last year, which I also bought. Both are very good and worth seeing.

Usagi704 improved his collection with a Steelbook of Casino as did I with For Your Eyes Only. I took the older version of the former film off of him for a bargain bin price.

On DVD is how I original saw The Mechanic (1972). It was on one of those very cheap three film sets on one disc deals. I upgraded to a stand-alone Blu-ray for ultimate in picture quality along with extras like my beloved commentary.

Other movies I got were: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, The Legend of Billie Jean, Air Force One, and Samurai Pizza Cats (a 52 episode cartoon show).

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Hart & Usagi #74: Because of Jean Reno

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The Hart & Usagi Podcast is here and we talk about Duke Nukem 3D’s anniversary, what our perfect Sega 3D Classics Collection would look like, adorable Detective Pikachu, the end of GameTrailers, and more!

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

NEWS:
* As Duke Nukem 3D Turns 20, Co-Creator Shares His Original Notes
* Duke Nukem Voice Actor Turned Down Job for Top GOP Presidential Candidate
* New Detective Pikachu Details Reveal He Sucks at Being Pikachu
* Volition Does a Solid for Fans and Game Preservation by Releasing Saints Row Undercover Prototype
* Former Burnout Devs Making an Explosive Golf Game and It Looks Ridiculous
* Sega 3D Classics Collection Has Some New Faces, But It’s Missing Old Favorites Too
* Sony tried to trademark ‘Let’s Play,’ failed miserably
* Videogame-To-Movie Hack Uwe Boll Retires
* Poll: Are retailers still enforcing their ‘no M rated games sold to minors’ policy?
* MLG Acquired by Activision Blizzard to Create “the ESPN of eSports”
* GameTrailers closed
* New Onimusha Discussions “Happening at High Levels,” Says Yoshinori Ono
* Hatred developer reveals ‘IS Defense’

Listen or Download (1:02:29)

Subscribe: RSS | iTunes

Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive

Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive

Mike: @usagi704 | Domain of Usagi704

@HartandUsagi