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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Pick 5: Favorite Open World Games

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It has been several years since this Pick 5 feature has been seen around, but here it is. As the title states this one will be about my favorite open world games. The games in this genre include whole franchises and single titles of other series. We’ll be seeing a little of both in this Pick 5. Time to get this started.

ASSASSIN’S CREED II
The initial game in the series was a bit basic, but the concept was solid. Despite being a bit repetitive and, yes, sadly boring at times, there was potential. This was realized in the sequel–this game–Assassin’s Creed II. With a much better story and an excellent protagonist in Ezio, ACII became an instant favorite to many gamers. Once I got around to playing it a few years ago, it was almost overwhelming how many different things there’s to do in the game. I’ve since played through its sequels Brotherhood, Revelations, and I’m currently at the beginning of Assassin’s Creed III. I can easily say that Assassin’s Creed II is still my favorite. Obtaining a platinum trophy doesn’t hurt my fondness for the game either.

BURNOUT PARADISE
Ah, yes. The racing series to end all racing series for me. When Acclaim was publishing the first two games I didn’t even know Burnout existed. Granted this was at a time when I was exclusively playing the Smackdown series of wrestling games. It wasn’t until EA published the amazing entry Burnout 3: Takedown that I got my first taste of the high octane action of Criterion Games’ pedigree. The idea of all of this awesomeness in an open world sounded too good to be true. Thankfully sometimes the “too good” does become a reality. Burnout Paradise was this reality. It’s easily my most played game of the 7th generation of gaming consoles. At around 500 hours of total gameplay time with everything absolutely completed (including the platinum trophy), this game comes highly recommended to arcade-style racing game fans.

RED FACTION: GUERRILLA
A series that started on the PC as a first-person shooter with destructible walls. It was pretty unique for the time. The initial two games eventually saw releases on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. I did play the demo of the first game and was impressed, but I never did bother with the whole thing. It wasn’t until Red Faction went to a third-person perspective in the open world genre with Guerrilla. They took the destructibility to a whole new level with entire structures being able to be brought down with a simple melee weapon knocking out the support beams. Overall a worth while and fun time I’d say.

SLEEPING DOGS
Originally a True Crime game subtitled Hong Kong, Sleeping Dogs eventually saw the light of day when it was released after delays and even a cancellation. I was never a fan of the True Crime games and I might have never given this middle-of-the-road title a chance if it hadn’t been renamed. I’m glad it was giving a second life as I enjoyed its open world action quite a bit. The hand-to-hand combat was well done and the context sensitive executions were a great way to spice things up. Think of Sleeping Dogs as Grand Theft Auto in the far east and you’ll get the picture.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK: ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION
A majority of Incredible Hulk games don’t let you truly rampage as Bruce Banner’s alter ego like so many Spider-Man games allow you to be Spidey. This release on the 6th generation of gaming consoles does let you do exactly that. You get to HULK SMASH as much as you want with tons of moves able to be unlocked. The graphics aren’t the best even by PS2 and Xbox standards, but they’re serviceable. And besides you won’t care all that much when you’re having a blast throwing cars at enemies and toppling destructible buildings. Nothing feels as good as dropping a huge green elbow from the top of a skyscraper down upon a helpless military tank!

Rivals On Fire

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I recently found two games for $20 each at a local Walmart. One I’ve been wanting since it’s release, Sleeping Dogs, and the other I decided against, but thought it was a decent price for in Red Faction: Armageddon. RivalShadeX would disagree with my assessment of the price for the latter game since he got it for $5.99, but at least I had stripesonfire back me up. XD

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Games Finished In 2010

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2010. The total number comes to 44 across 12 systems. That’s down three from 2009.

1. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA) – 1/22
2. Borderlands (PS3) – 2/10
3. Space Invaders Extreme (PSP) – 2/28
4. Gekirindan (PS2) via Taito Legends 2 – 3/6
5. God of War II (PS3) via God of War Collection – 3/11
6. Donkey Kong (NES) via Virtual Console – 4/4
7. Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil (PS2) – 4/11
8. Final Fight One (GBA) – 4/12
9. Final Fight (PS3) via Final Fight: Double Impact – 4/17
10. Magic Sword (PS3) via Final Fight: Double Impact – 4/17
11. Gungrave (PS2) – 4/18
12. Twisted Metal III (PS) – 4/22
13. Final Fight (PSP) via Capcom Classic Collection Remixed – 4/26
14. Hammerin’ Hero (PSP) – 5/6
15. Burnout Legends (PSP) – 5/11
16. VR Troopers (GEN) – 5/13
17. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES) – 5/14
18. Sly 2: Band of Thieves (PS2) – 5/30
19. Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight (WII) – 6/10
20. Prince of Persia: The Fallen King (DS) – 6/11
21. Red Faction: Guerrilla (PS3) – 7/10
22. Double Dragon II (GB) – 7/12
23. Mirror’s Edge (PS3) – 7/20
24. Alien Crush (TG-16) via Virtual Console – 7/25
25. Riot Zone (TG-16) via Virtual Console – 8/10
26. Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – The Director’s Cut (DS) – 8/15
27. God of War III (PS3) – 8/16
28. Mortal Kombat (SNES) – 8/20
29. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3) – 9/13
30. Mortal Kombat (GEN) – 9/18
31. Sonic Adventure DX (GC) – 10/1
32. Power Blade (NES) – 10/11
33. Splatterhouse (TG-16) via Virtual Console – 10/18
34. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES) – 10/27
35. WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role (PS) – 11/6
36. God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP) – 11/11
37. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PS2) – 11/18
38. Metroid: Other M (WII) – 11/23
39. Geometry Wars: Galaxies (DS) – 12/3
40. Bruce Lee: Return of the Legend (GBA) – 12/5
41. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (DS) – 12/12
42. X-Men (PS3) – 12/17
43. Final Fight 3 (SNES) – 12/26
44. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (PS3) – 12/31

The PlayStation 3 saw the most finished games appear on its platform with a total of 10. The runner-up with 6 was the Wii.

April proved to be the best month for beating games with 8 in total with a monthly average of 3.6.

When it comes to earning those fancy trophies, I was able to earn 268 last year. Three of them were platinums from Borderlands (February), God of War II (March), and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (September).

Now Playing: July 2010

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Here’s a summary of what I’ve been playing for about the last month.

I put the breaks on continuing with Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 because it required more perfection than I think I have. When power went out for around 12 hours two weeks ago I started up Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars on DS. Point-and-click adventure games aren’t usually my thing, but this is definitely a good one. A risk that was well worth taking to try it out.

I bought, played, and finished Red Faction: Guerrilla. It comes recommended if you find it at a discount. In the same vain I also got Double Dragon II and beat it on one life on the Hard difficulty the very next day after receiving it in the mail.

When it comes to the nostalgic pinball game Alien Crush from the Virtual Console, I’ve still yet to better my top score of almost 8.7 million points.

Mirror’s Edge was the third and final game finished this time around. I’m currently still playing it, but doing so in the Time Trial mode. It’s exactly what I like about the game (the platforming) without the awful combat. I’m far from a genius in knowing the best route to take for the best times. I just enjoy trying to best DuncanR2N’s times. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. It’s about 50/50. I normally get pretty close even if my run doesn’t work out. Five more trophies were obtained via this awesome mode!

I’m thinking of going back to one of two games I left unfinished back in the first quarter of this year. It’s either X-Men Origins: Wolverine or God of War III. I’m still not decided on which it’ll be. Maybe some of you fine folks can persuade me one way or the other.

And finally a game I went to eBay for was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: Radical Rescue. I had this game around the time it came out, but I never played it all that much. The game’s level layout seems to be Metroid/Castlevania like (or as the cool kids like to call it today, “Metroidvania”).

eStarland has it going for around $15 cart only, but I was able to get it off of a first time seller for just $6. With this purchase done I only have five games left to get to for the Game Boy before I have all I want for the platform.

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Welcome To A Free Mars

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GAME PROGRESS
Ten days after starting up my newly acquired copy of Red Faction: Guerrilla I have finished it. It took a total of 18 hours and 16 minutes where in I died 11 times. In the first ten hours I was averaging one death per hour of play. Once I started to mind my health meter more it became easier to stay alive (and the added armor upgrades didn’t hurt things either).

I haven’t played any multiplayer matches yet and I don’t know if I will.

This was a quality game that I had very little problems with and while I don’t consider it worth the full price it came out at it was a great deal at the $15 I paid for it.

Red Faction: Guerrilla becomes game #21 finished for 2010.

BIRTHDAY BLU-RAYS
I’m not one to buy just any movie on DVD or Blu-ray. I used to be like that around ten years ago. I sold a bunch of them off in several packs on eBay awhile back. Now I only buy movies that I know I want to keep which makes for purchases of such things very rare for me. Two things that must be included on the disc are a widescreen version of the film and at least one interesting commentary track.

Well for my birthday last week I got the original 1984 version of The Karate Kid and an extended cut of Taken from 2008. Both of which were written by Robert Mark Kamen as I just found out.

When I originally watched these two films I rated both of them 4 out of 5 (with no half-points).

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WII SHOP CHANNEL
I’ve relented my stance on not purchasing any downloadable games on the Wii. The reason being, which I found out from my brother, is that you can backup your games onto an SD card. Plus because I also got a b-day points card I looked into what was available. Not to my surprise there wasn’t a whole lot, but I did find some I’d like to play.

For Virtual Console games I didn’t bother with the systems that I actually have. I’ll just get those games for the original system. Here’s the list I came up with.

Alien Crush (TG-16)
Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth (WiiWare)
Contra Rebirth (WiiWare)
Devil’s Crush (TG-16)
Gate of Thunder (TG-16)
Gradius Rebirth (WiiWare)
Ninja Gaiden (Arcade)
Riot Zone (TG-16)
Splatterhouse (TG-16)

If you have any additional suggestions please feel free to mention them in the comments section.

This Is The Badlands

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I figured I’d start off this blog entry by clearing up my “Games Finished In 2010” list. On June 30, I retroactively added Prince of Persia: The Fallen King to the list as the 20th game beat on June 11. I did this because of that stopping point I experienced at 70% into the game. In doing so I also removed Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. While terribly difficult, I suspect the game is still doable. I just won’t be trying now to defeat it. I’ve gotten my fill of that game for the moment.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post of a week ago, I’ve started playing Red Faction: Guerrilla. It’s one of those typical open world games where you spend a lot of time playing in one session, but accomplish very little. It also felt that way to me when I played Grand Theft Auto IV, Mercenaries 2, Saints Row 2, and to a lesser extent Infamous. I think it has a lot to do with all of the running around from place to place with so much you can do that it makes it easy to get side tracked.

Of course the highlight of the game is how destructible everything is and it’s definitely a blast. Just taking your axe to everything and anyone is great. Doing so gets me killed more often than I’d like and this is because I’m simply not paying attention to my health bar at the top of the screen.

I’m currently roaming around the Badlands and Oasis areas with 8 hours and 48 minutes of playtime logged so far.

Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars has been a lot more entertaining than I expected it to be. Not because it isn’t considered a good game, but because I’m not usually into the point-and-click adventure games. I’m glad I got it for the DS as this type of game works perfectly on the platform.

With 3 hours and 30 minutes of the game played my progress is about a third of the way through.

Lastly, I bought a black PS2 memory card a couple of days ago in case I ever need it. I assume that with as many PS2 games as I have it’ll come in handy.

That about does it for me. Until next time, you guys take it easy. :)