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)

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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!

New Releases 2010: May 23-June 5

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Let me just say that this month has proven to be nuts when it comes to new game releases. It’s one of those “I want them all,” but you decidedly know that won’t be possible unless you can spare a few hundred dollars.

As far as the latter half of May goes, Blur and Soldner-X 2 both look interesting. I wasn’t all that taken in by the demo for ModNation Racers. The steering of the karts was very loose. Much more so than I’d like. I’m also not a fan of drifting being on a button. I’d prefer it as a technique that’s learned over time.

I suspect that Super Mario Galaxy 2 will be the one game wanted more than all others. So I guess my question to you is which game will you possibly get to accompany SMG2?

NEW GAMES FOR THE WEEK OF 5/23
Blur (PS3, PC, X360)
Metal Torrent (DS)
ModNation Racers (PS3, PSP)
Soldner-X 2: Final Prototype (PS3)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (WII)
Tetris Party Deluxe (WII, DS)
UFC 2010 Undisputed (PS3, X360)

NEW GAMES FOR THE WEEK OF 5/30
Alpha Protocol (PS3, PC, X360)
Backbreaker (PS3, X360)
Green Day: Rock Band (PS3, X360)
Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow (PS2)
The Sims 3: Ambitions (PC, MAC)

Castlevania – Personal Best

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CHEAP GAMES
While going around the usual local shops over the weekend, I was able to find Alter Echo and Dead to Rights both for the PS2 fairly cheap at $12 total.

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CASTLEVANIA
On the gaming side of the weekend, I did a quick play of the NES classic Castlevania. I’m not very good at the game, but I have remembered some of the tips that Coach Usagi gave out awhile back. With those I was able to obtain a personal best of getting just inside the castle of the last level (stage 17 from in-game HUD).

I think I just may finish this game one of these days.

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OTHER OS
In a bit of news, the older PS3 models (like the one I have) will have the “Install Other OS” function removed via an update in two days time. Sony’s claim is that the system will be more secure without it. I think it’s mainly because 99% of PS3 owners don’t use it and that it will bring the non-slim models in line with the slim models that already don’t have this function.

All in all I doubt many will miss it.

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SYPHON FILTER: DARK MIRROR
I haven’t had much luck getting any further than Episode 2, Part 3 of Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror. This section is more lengthly than the previous parts. I’ve also noticed that more action heavy scenes are kind of a problem for the way the character moves/controls. Otherwise I still like the game’s pace.

GOD OF WAR III
It’s been two weeks since the release of God of War III and I’ve had little time to play it. I plan on changing that this week. After yesterday’s progress I’m currently at the Grand Vestibule save point just after having finished off Hermes.

Time: 3 hours and 43 minutes
Trophies: 10 / 36 (28%)

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Stealthy Shoot-’em-ups

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I’ve been putting up new blog entries quite a bit lately, but it has been two weeks since I’ve mentioned how the current game playing has been going. Well, allow me to rectify that situation right now.

SYPHON FILTER: DARK MIRROR
This was the game that won the most votes when it was up against Prince of Persia Revelations, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice, and Space Invaders Extreme for the next game I’d play.

I’ve been pretty slow at playing it, but I really like it so far. The controls are easy to remember and well done on the PSP system despite how much was crammed on there. It also lends itself well to portable play with sections of levels that are pretty short at only a few minutes long.

The only time I had a problem was when I needed to kill the two enemies in the air duct to protect the NPC that was helping me. I initially thought that I had to find a way up there, but instead I just had to shoot them though the duct.

SPACE INVADERS EXTREME
To accompany the sneaking/shooting/spy stuff, I decided to play Space Invaders Extreme as well. After a few days I managed to finish it (#3 for 2010) with a score of 4,045,610 and a rank of B.

INTERGALACTIC SHMUPPRECIATION MONTH
I’ve been wanting to play some more of the shoot-’em-up genre and this ISM thing was suddenly upon me last Monday. I preceded to make an inventory list of all of those types of games I had. With the number of compilations I own, there ended up being 70+ that I can choose from. I’ve played four so far.

*Star Soldier (NES)
*Chariot (Three Wonders via Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2)
*Gekirindan (Taito Legends 2)
*Gun & Frontier (Taito Legends 2)

I enjoyed Gekirindan the most so far and even made it the fourth game finished for this year.

THE NINJA WARRIORS
Lastly, I must point out the fantastic current episode of the Happy Video Game Nerd where this game was the focus of the praise it truly deserves.

I don’t own it yet, but I did play Usagi704’s import Super Famicom copy last May and bested this overlooked classic beat-’em-up. Even the music is terrific.

Until next time, you guys take it easy. :)

Next I Will Play: Extreme PSP Edition Results

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The results are in on what game I’ll be playing next. After tallying up the votes from GameSpot and Gametrailers the game to play will be Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror!

6 – Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror
3 – Prince of Persia Revelations
2 – Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice
1 – Space Invaders Extreme

I also sometimes like having a more casual game on the side and I’m going to add Space Invaders Extreme to the mix.

Thanks again for your help!