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 Podcast #41: ++Good PS4

podcast41

In this episode of the Hart & Usagi Podcast, we welcome back Georgie and, for as a first-time guest, one of the hosts from ++Good Games podcast it’s Anthony!

Our main topic for discussion is our experiences with the recently released PlayStation 4. We also speak on games we’ve played as of late along with a couple of news items.

Strap one on ’cause it’s time to jam with the Hart & Usagi Podcast.

TOPICS:
* Sega 3DS 3D titles
* Killzone: Shadow Fall
* Kirby’s Dream Land 2
* Sleeping Dogs
* Doom
* Shadow Hearts
* Saints Row Twitter contest
* PlayStation 4 experiences
* Windows & Linux
* Pre-orders open for God of War Collection on Vita
* Persona 5 is Just the Beginning: Atlus Goes Persona Crazy
* Save The Last Christmas (For Me)
* Meeting Rob Van Dam
* Pacific Blue

Listen or Download (2:19:14)
New RSS Feed
Hart & Usagi Podcast at the Internet Archive
Matt: @HartKnight | HartKnight’s Archive
Mike: @usagi704 | WP blog
Georgie: @guuthulhu | Squiddy Fun Times
Anthony: @24bitAJE | ++Good Games

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#HartandUsagiPodcast

2012 Award Winners (Part 1)

I somehow came up with 17 award categories. A few of them are joking around and others are serious. In this first part it will feature more of the former. Enjoy.

CRAPPY SHOOTERS I HAVEN’T PLAYED BUT ARE STILL CRAPPY
007 Legends
Battleship
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
WINNER: Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified

Promises of greatness fell flat for these games (expect for Battleship which was obvious crap from the beginning). 007 Legends ended up not being for Bond fans or shooter fans and Medal of Honor had nothing authentic going for it despite the desperate pleas from its developer. The newest Call of Duty on the PlayStation Vita gets this award for promising a great CoD experience at E3 and being nothing of the sort. Other strikes against it include selling at full price and being included with a system bundle. Stay away from this one.

hart12-crappy-shooter

OVERHYPED
Journey
Asura’s Wrath
Fez
WINNER: The Walking Dead

A lot of love gets thrown in the specific direction of these four games. Other than Fez, there’s little actual gaming to be had in these titles. Story is great and all, but the game part of a video game really should come first. I know you’re probably already typing up a comment to prove me wrong, but please don’t bother.

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WORST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Alien Storm
Growl
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA)
WINNER: Golden Axe III

I did have a little bit of fun with these games. Growl was decent, but the Vince Russo style swerve at the end with the final boss being some kind of alien was pretty stupid. Alien Storm on the Genesis wasn’t very exciting at all and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on GBA (based on the 2003 show) was somewhat frustrating. However the classically bad Golden Axe III still remains worst of its respective series.

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MOST DISAPPOINTING GAME
Need For Speed: Most Wanted
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GBA)
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
WINNER: Prince of Persia Revelations

All were disappointing in their own right, but Price of Persia Revelations was the most disappointing. It took one of my favorite games, Warrior Within, and added extra areas to traverse. Sounds great until to see the worse graphics for these areas and how they weren’t as well thought out as the main part of the game. Because of this I don’t expect the new parts of Prince of Persia: Rival Swords to be good either.

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CRAP GAME OF THE YEAR
Prototype
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Batman Forever
WINNER: Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures

As impossible as Prototype, Batman Forever, or Medal of Honor: European Assault felt at different times, Indiana Jones’ Greatest Adventures on the Super Nintendo was the most impossibly crap game I played all year. I couldn’t pass the first level and I never felt it would clue me in as to how after trying for an hour. Screw this game.

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FAVORITE GUILTY PLEASURE
Fighting Force
Beyond Oasis (Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection)
Mortal Kombat (Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection – PSN)
WINNER: Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES)

I’m always had Mortal Kombat as a guilty pleasure of mine. Fighting Force is another which I played through several times this year. I didn’t give it much of a chance to warm up to it before Usagi704 tackled it. Beyond Oasis was a fun Zelda-style romp on the Genesis. The SNES version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, however, gets this award for being more competently fun than it has much right to be. Thanks for that Natsume.

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BEST SCORE CHASER
Metal Slug Advance
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
WINNER: Super Hang-On

My favorite game to get a high score in and then try and best it was a close race between Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and Super Hang-On. Before last year I never seriously tried to play any Tony Hawk game. The original was fun, but I do see why Pro Skater 2 is seen as one of the best in the series.

With that said, I was quite amazed at the fun in besting a friend’s time in Super Hang-On via PSN. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the arcades of old. Now I want to see Outrun!

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BEST SHOOTER
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
Max Payne
WINNER: Half-Life 2: Episode Two

I think you could say that these four games were fairly unique when they initially were released. Maybe not so much for the winner, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, but the variety of environments along with the strong gameplay of Half-Life 2 to begin with pushes it to the top.

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BEST BEAT-‘EM-UP
Darksiders
X-Men
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game
WINNER: Yakuza 2

While I was disappointed with the overall story of Yakuza 2 as opposed to its previous entry, I did find enough to enjoy along the way to stay entertained. I ultimately can’t be totally down on a game which allows for a Heat move to pick an opponent up and throw him into a glass display case.

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Thanks for reading. Part 2 of my awards are up next.

Games Finished In 2012

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The list below shows every game that I finished in 2012. The total number comes to 51. That’s up 11 from 2011.

1. Metal Slug Advance (GBA) – 1/11
2. Batman Forever (SNES) – 1/14
3. Riot Zone (VC) – 1/15
4. Mortal Kombat via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 1/30
5. Darksiders (PS3) – 2/14
6. Daxter (PSP) – 2/19
7. Super Street Fighter II (SNES) – 2/24
8. Max Payne (PS2) – 2/27
9. Contra (NES) – 3/6
10. Fighting Force (PS) – 3/7
11. Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (PS2) – 3/22
12. Medal of Honor: European Assault (PS2) – 3/26
13. X-Men (PSN) – 4/4
14. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (GBA) – 4/10
15. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA) – 4/12
16. Assassin’s Creed II (PS3) – 4/17
17. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne (PS2) – 4/30
18. Yakuza 2 (PS2) – 6/1
19. Super Hang-On (PSN) – 6/14
20. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (PS3) – 6/23
21. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within via Prince of Persia Trilogy (PS3) – 7/1
22. Prince of Persia: Revelations (PSP) – 7/21
23. Beyond Oasis via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 7/24
24. Neo Contra (PS2) – 7/25
25. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (PS) – 7/30
26. Tetris DS (DS) – 8/6
27. Tetris DX (GBC) – 8/8
28. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (PS) – 8/17
29. Rise to Honor (PS2) – 8/19
30. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile (PSN) – 8/22
31. Half-Life 2: Episode Two via The Orange Box (PS3) – 8/29
32. Mortal Kombat II via Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection (PSN) – 9/4
33. Mortal Kombat II (SNES) – 9/5
34. Devil May Cry via Devil May Cry HD Collection (PS3) – 9/7
35. Crash Commando (PSN) – 9/14
36. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES) – 9/23
37. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (FC) – 9/24
38. Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth (VC) – 10/5
39. Marvel Super Heroes via Marvel vs. Capcom Origins (PSN) – 10/10
40. Alien Storm via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PS3) – 10/17
41. Streets of Rage 2 (PSN) – 10/27
42. Growl via Taito Legends 2 (PS2) – 10/30
43. Contra (FC) – 11/1
44. Prototype (PS3) – 11/16
45. Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) – 11/22
46. Burnout 3: Takedown (PS2) – 12/2
47. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow via Castlevania Double Pack (GBA) – 12/7
48. Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition (PS3) – 12/8
49. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (SNES) – 12/10
50. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest (NES) – 12/13
51. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (PS3) – 12/18

August, September, and December proved to be the best months for beating games with 6 in total for each with a monthly average of 4.25.

When it comes to earning those fancy trophies, I was able to earn 207 last year. One of them was a platinum from Assassin’s Creed II in April.

Now Playing: June 2012

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This month’s Now Playing consists of five games. Let’s get to them.

Upon going back and seeing what I wrote during the month, I only did this one blog post. In it I mentioned my improvement of my times in Survival and Time Attack of Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival. I did a get a few times even better. Allow me to list them now.

vs. 30
Was 2:39:92 and now 2:08:79

vs. 50
Was 5:15:98 and now 4:32:82

vs. 100
Was 11:41:92 and now 11:25:95

vs. Shin Akuma
Was 12:78 and now 11:03

vs. All
Was 4:21:06 and now 3:51:43

In other arcade style action I played Super Hang-On and Alien Crush doing fairly well for myself as you can read about in the previous post linked above.

One game I forgot to update you on was Yakuza 2. I ended up finishing it on the first day of this month with 20 hours and 19 minutes of game time.

The game overall felt too easy and this was probably because I chose Easy to begin with. I was afraid of the fights against bosses since I remember having such a frustrating time with them in the first game. I also was a bit disappointed in the story itself. It didn’t pull me in as the first game’s did. This doesn’t mean you should stay away from this sequel since it’s definitely a step up from the previous entry. I think I just hyped myself up too much for it. All in all, it’s still a great brawler.

Another fantastic game I finally got around to playing was Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. Last time in the blog post linked to above, I mentioned my problem with the difficulty spike on the Mission 6 boss. Once I passed it the game settled down and got back to the business of fun.

One thing I really liked about this game was how more slower paced it was versus all of the Western style shooters. It’s definitely not afraid to say “Hey, I’m an Eastern shooter.” I hate it when Japanese developers try to make a Western style game like with Quantum Theory. Stick to what you’re good at.

My total game time was 7 hours and 35 minutes. I also played some multiplayer against Usagi704 and hope to play some more against Madtyger and her crew soon. I’m relying on them since nobody’s playing Lost Planet online anymore.

Thanks for reading, folks! Have a good one!

The Green Eye Buzz Kill

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Hey there everybody! I haven’t posted about my gaming exploits in almost three weeks. It’s time to get on that.

The last time we talked I had listed what my best times were in Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival on the GBA in Survival and Time Attack modes. I improved a few of them and shall list them below.

vs. 30
Was 2:55:45 and now 2:39:92

4 Boss (Balrog, Vega, Sagat, M. Bison)
Was 53:52 and now 46:66

vs. Shin Akuma
Was 13:82 and now 12:78

vs. Ryu, Ken, Shin Akuma
Was 46:89 and now 38:73

vs. All
Was 4:41:62 and now 4:21:06

During this past week I purchased the arcade version of Super Hang-On on PSN. You can set scores in the original arcade mode or set times on a leaderboard in the Trials mode. The latter I’ve been playing a bit to best Usagi704. At first I did, but he’s since improved on a couple of the tracks. My current times set are as follows.

3:19.08 (Beginner)
5:50.75 (Junior)
8:39.27 (Senior)
11:51.37 (Expert)
30:01.30 (World – all four tracks strung together.)

On Sunday I played some of Alien Crush and managed to set a second place score on the PS3 scoreboard of 65,040,600.

The main game I’m playing at the moment is Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. I’m currently at the Green Eye boss fight of Mission 6 with three hours logged so far. Up until now it’s been quite fun despite the deliberately paced combat. I say “up until now” because I’ve tried to pass the fight with Green Eye several times to no avail. It was really frustrating to a point where I had to stop playing and get my mind on something else (like writing this blog post).

In Lost Planet your, what the game calls, T-Eng drains over time. When you take damage this energy drains faster to automatically heal you. If it runs out then you will simply have less than full health when hit. Getting more isn’t usually a problem.

When in this fight with Green Eye this mech (called a VS) you’re in drains T-Eng much faster when using its abilities like hovering and dashing. This shouldn’t be a problem, but becomes one when the rules are changed. If T-Eng hits zero the game automatically ejects you from the VS and you die.

This isn’t consistent with any previous time my T-Eng displayed zeros on the HUD. It effectively makes my T-Eng equal to health, but isn’t not like the VS I’m in for this boss fight doesn’t have its own health meter because it does. You can now probably see why I was highly annoyed at this game.

LP1 still a fun experience outside of this buzz kill.

Until next time game on!

Little To No Purchases

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It’s something of a surprise since it doesn’t happen very often, but I’ve gone one month without a single game purchase. I’ve certainly added games to my wish list in the meantime like God Hand and more recent releases like Moon Diver. Along with the games below I also added a third Game Boy Advance SP to the collection in early February. I have a feeling these 16 games are still more than most have bought this year or maybe I’m just being a bit cocky. :P

January:
Prince of Persia Trilogy HD (PS3 import)

February:
Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PSN)
Shatter (PSN)
Peggle (PSN)
Burnout 2: Point of Impact (PS2)
Run Saber (SNES)
X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (GBA)
Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced (GBA)
RayCrisis: Series Termination (PS)
Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero (DS)

March:
The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return (WII)
Gradius Collection (PSP)
Yakuza 4 (PS3)
Tetris (PSN)
Super Hang-On (GEN)
Kamen Rider Climax Heroes OOO (PSP import)