December 2014 - Videogaming

Video games, video games, video games. 

Fall and early winter is that time of year when all of the blockbuster games come out. There have been some decent games that have come out this fall, but I feel that 2014 overall has been a bit of a lackluster year for gaming. I definitely have played less games this past year, and I am not entirely sure if it is due to the selection of games out or if it has to do with my available time. 

I put a lot of time in at the end of the summer and through the early part of this fall playing Pikmin 3. That game is quite good, but it had one of the most frustrating ending levels I have ever played in any game. I seriously almost did not make it through that game simply due to the ending. 

Just prior to Thanksgiving I also took advantage of a sale over at target and picked up three games; Sunset Overdrive, Shadow of Morodr and Bayonetta 2. 

I had a lot of fun playing Sunset Overdrive. It was a great looking game that had that goofy, over the top mayhem that is reminiscent of the first Crackdown. I beat the single player mode, but I hope to put in a little bit more time playing the multiplayer and getting all of the collectibles. There is a good, mindless sort of fun about the game that really hits well. 

I also started playing Bayonetta 2 over the past couple of weeks. I enjoyed the first game, but this second one really nails the over the top Japanese aesthetic and action along with overt sexuality, subtle and not so subtle puns and crazy fight sequences. The game is fast, smooth and really does look quite gorgeous. For anyone who thinks the Wii U doesn't have games, they really need to look at the releases for 2014 that Nintendo has put out. It really is a stellar system right now. 

Finally I started playing Shadow of Mordor just a couple of weeks ago. That game is straight up an Assassin's Creed clone, right down to the map. I have only put in a few hours so far, but I can't say I am hooked. People online seem to really love this game and many have it as their game of the year. The nemesis system, with the orcs is cool, but the game has not captured me. The opening couple of hours are difficult since the tutorials are almost non-existent. What little information it does put across the screen for you disappears too quickly. The text in the game is also incredibly small and if you are sitting any more than four feet from your TV you simply cannot read it. 

I hear it gets better and I am planning on still playing it. I sort of found myself this weekend though falling back into a game that has to be my game of the year if simply for the hours I have put into it. Titanfall. 

I have played over eighty hours of that game since its release last March. A took a break for a few months as if burned itself out, but Microsoft had it on sale for $12 over the Thanksgiving holiday. I booted it up again this weekend and it is as fun as ever. I am probably going to see myself playing that for another few weeks over the holiday break as well. 


Pikmin 3 is a Darn Good Game

I haven't been playing my Wii U much lately. I have been trying my hardest to try and get some time into Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate on the console. I have spent the better part of the past month though just getting frustrated with that game. I wanted to try and like it. I was in the mood for something very "Japanese feeling", but I just couldn't get myself to like it. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing most of the time and I unfortunately found most of the combat pretty boring. 

My lack of interest in that game had me not really wanting to pickup the Wii U for a while. I finally had to give in and I am thankful I did. I should have thrown the towel in on that game weeks ago and I opened up Pikmin 3 that I downloaded with the purchase of Mario Kart 8. Now Pikmin is quite a good game. It is what I would call the perfect "laid back" experience that Nintendo does so well. The game is calming with very subtle music and design elements.  Tension in the game is mostly low and the payoff really comes from wandering around the world looking for fruit for your ship. 

It has also been the best game to utilize the Wii U's gamepad so far. Not only does it make good use of the map functinality, but the Wii U's pad acts as a communicator device which pays off really well. It is definitely worth the pickup. 

May 2014 Video Gaming

This spring so far has been a pretty fun time for video games. It has been my sort of go to stress relief after I come home from work. I have been playing quite a bit of Titanfall since its launch back in March. The game is basically just Call of Duty, but the formula still works and it remains fun to jump in and play and hour or two. There has been quite a bit of complaints from some people online about the value of the game for online only. I never quite understood the issues with those arguments. People spend $60 on COD all the time without touching the single player at all. A new map pack is coming out in a couple of weeks that I am looking forward to play. 

I also picked up Super Mario 3D World a few weeks ago for the Wii. That is a gorgeous looking game and if anyone had an qualms about the Wii U producing some good looking games, just look to the Nintendo products for it. It is your standard Mario game in many respects and has all the fun you expect there. I have liked playing it in short bursts of 30-45 minutes, which seems to get me through 2-3 levels before I hit a road block. If you are trying to be a completionist and collect all the stars, the game can be quite challenging.  Mario Kart 8 is coming out at the end of this month and I am really looking forward to that. All of the video and screenshots that have been coming out so far make the game look quite phenomenal. 

I have also been slowing still chipping away at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning on my Xbox 360. That is another really pretty game, and it fills my sort of mindless RPG niche at the moment. I wouldn't say that it is a great game by any stretch, but the fight mechanics are solid enough to keep me going and the world is just too pretty not to look at. I thing that drags the game down a bit for me is all of the sidequests, which all come across as a bit meaningless. They all feel like sidequests from an MMO and they are extremely numerous. Overall it is worth playing if anyone comes across it.