State of Play


gamingWell it’s obvious we live in a really amazing time for video games.. i’m in the fortunate position to own three games consoles; the Xbox One X , PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch … and even though I’m not a PS4 player these days (I mostly use it for Netflix on YouTube), I find plenty to turn to via my Xbox and Switch.  The games I’ve been playing lately including still diving in and out of The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild (clocked over 200hrs on that masterpiece so far) as well as persevering with Pokémon Let’s Go and to a smaller extent Super Smash Bros Ultimate.  As far as newer games are concerned I’ve been playing Metro Exodus after recently completing Metro Last Light (highly recommended), Exodus has some of the best graphics I’ve seen for a while on Xbox One X which really shows off the system in its full 4K glory, and is a solid survival shooter that has strong echoes of the legendary Half Life 2 due to a focus on story and characterisation as well as polished gameplay.

Devil May Cry 5

I’ve also recently started playing Devil May Cry 5, the latest entry in a series I’ve always been fond of even though I’ve only really ever played the first game … but I did play the seriously misunderstood spin-off DMC Devil May Cry a while back on the Xbox 360 which I consider an underrated gem.  I’m also still occasionally dipping into Red Dead Redemption 2 which whilst a very good game and real showcase for the Xbox One X, fails to fully hold my interest as much as other games can do.  I’m not entirely sure why this is because it’s really well done and they’ve re-created the Wild West superbly, but I think it’s that open-world freedom which, with exceptions, I find turned off by. In most regards when it comes to games I much prefer a straightforward linear narrative with occasional side quests and secrets thrown in, if a game has any chance of holding my interest.

I think regardless of what system you prefer, what games you play there is something for everyone available at the moment. It’s to the point that sometimes there’s a too much choice and it’s more a case of a lack of time or lack of money preventing me from playing some of these titles … but if I choose wisely I can stumble upon some real gems and get some great experiences in this hobby I enjoy almost as much as movies.

Craig.

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Console exclusivity strikes again!


Super-Street-Fighter

Well have been reading this weekend about the somewhat unexpected announcement of Street Fighter V, and the fact it will be exclusive to PlayStation 4 and PC when it’s released.  Now I like Street Fighter and think it’s a good win for PS4, as their exclusives have been a bit lacking – but it’s also a series that has a very niche following.  I can’t play it online for getting my arse handed to me, and well beyond the art style it has very little to offer single player gamers (especially SF IV).  So not too peeved as an XB1 owner.  I intend to finally get a PS4 next year, but until then I’m happy with the games XB1 has, including exclusives like Sunset Overdrive and Quantum Break.

Now what does annoy me is that the huge backlash Microsoft and Crystal Dynamics got when they announced Tomb Raider would be a (timed) exclusive for their console, so far doesn’t seem to be happening with this announcement – showing how biased towards Sony the industry has got for a company whose last console was a bit over a slow burner – why the love?  why the unabashed support for it? 

Competition and exclusivity is good though, keeps things interesting, sells consoles but bias and fan boy outrage and backlash does not – get a grip people and just enjoy the games!

Street Fighter IV impressions


I have always loved fighting games.  Theres something classic about the relieving of the stresses and strains of life by beating seven shades of S*** out of some games character on screen, that no other gaming style comes close to.  Street Fighter has always been one of the biggest names in the industry, but had lost its way in recent years due to countless unimaginative spin-offs from the legendary Street Fighter II with the exemplary Alpha series to the downright bizarre Puzzle Fighter and Pocket Fighter titles.

Yet after sitting in the shadow of the acclaimed Virtua Fighter series or the fan-favourite Tekken, now was as good a time as any to step back into the ring and reclaim its crown.  Street Fighter IV stays true to the game’s formula whilst re-imagining it with vastly improved 3D graphics, and a more friendly control system that allows even novices to pull off amazing moves, whilst still leaving plenty of intricacies for experts to get to grips with.  The on-line mode is very well implemented (something that has always been hit and miss in fighting games), with a great medal and battle points system.  Of course facing experienced players if you are a novices like me, will mean plenty of embarrassing defeats, but there is enough depth in the offline single player modes to hone your skills before facing the world … something I recommend.

streetfighter

So I am glad Street Fighter is back, it’s never looked so good, and although still not as easy to get to grips with as Tekken, has enough personality and entertainment to keep me coming back for a while yet.

Resident Evil 5 impressions


Picked this up last Thursday and have got to grips with it a fair bit.  I have been a long time fan of the Resi franchise ever since it was the main reason I picked up a Playstation all those years back to play Resi 2 and fall head over heels in love.  On the Dreamcast I played and nearly completed (if the damn thing hadn’t busted on me) RE: Code Veronica, and then onto the Gamecube where the remake of Resi 1 wowed me all over again. 

resident-evil-5-01

This game is closely modelled on the Resident Evil revamp that was part 4, where voodoo Spanish zombies replaced the generic undead and new life was given to the whole franchise, along with a new, cooler over the shoulder view point making the game more action-based than before.  This game takes that formula and sets it in Africa with voodoo Africans and possessed villagers to do battle with and now a new partner in the shape of Sheva, a tough African marine out to lend a hand.  OK, this idea was kinda introduced in Resident Evil Zero on the Gamecube, but as nobody really played that, what the hell – and here you can go on XBOX Live and get a buddy to control Sheva for a whole new experience than what you get in single player.

Gone are the type-writer save points (it now regularly auto saves), and there’s no meeting up with a wierd cloaked figure to buy items (which I do miss, to be honest) as every new chapter or new load of the game gives the opportunity to buy from an item shop before playing.  The awkward item management is still there, but this is small potatoes when everything else is so finely tuned.

Quality stuff.

Gaming goodness!!


At the end of this week I hope to be in gaming heaven with the long awaited release of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.  After a hiatus of playing games following the XMAS gaming boom where I completed both Gears Of War 2, Mirrors Edge, played a fair bit of Far Cry 2 (which is a great game regardless), I now intend (touch wood) to get back into some hardcore gaming, what with the imminent release of Resident Evil 5 in March, and I must add, have played the demo (download it now!!) and it kicks all sorts of ass.  Familiar yes, but still tha-shit.

So look out for opinions on both games in the coming weeks.