General Video Games Discussion

Been taking my time with Ghost of Tsushima, exploring the world and doing side quests. It’s like a blend of Assassin’s Creed and Red Dead Redemption 2, but with its own identity. And right now I’m enjoying it more than both. Recommended.

Good to hear, I’ve heard mostly good things and I loved RDR2 so if it’s better than that, that’s saying something. And when say better than Assassins Creed, all of them? I’d say 2 are classics and Black Flag is one of my favorite games ever. After that and AC2 the Assassins Creed games range from pretty good to outright awful.

Not sure if it’s necessarily better, but right now I’m enjoying it more. I’ve played AC and RDR games to death, and Ghost of Tsushima offers a fresh perspective on that familiar template. The Japanese component plays a large part in that.

In other news, the Xbox games showcase was…a thing. The only thing that really, truly was exciting was the announcement of how Xbox Game Pass will work in next-gen, essentially being the netflix of video games. Outside of that, and despite Microsoft having a large number of first party studios that include the likes of Obsidian and Ninja Theory, their output was fairly mundane. It’s always the case with Microsoft. They have no interesting exclusives past Forza and Halo. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is excellent, but already out on Xbox One. Hellblade 2 looks interesting (and is the most Sony-like exclusive). Everwild seems interesting, but coming from Rare, that’s unfortunately not very inspiring. The game is reminiscent of Kena: Bridge of Spirits for PS4/PS5, but Kena looks far better. Strange to think that the Rare of today is the same company that made Goldeneye 007 for N64. MS have ruined them. Lastly, there was Halo Infinite, which may just be the last gasp for Halo. 343’s ouput has been underwhelming, to say the least. They’ve ranged from decent (Halo 4) to outright garbage (Halo: Master Chief Collection). With Halo 5’s campaign and marketing debacle, Halo Infinite seems like a last ditch attempt to cash-in on the Halo name and with visuals that would have been ugly during the Xbox 360 era, it seems like 343 are banking on the games-as-a-service model to save Halo. 343 Industries says they have no plans on making Halo 7 and it really seems mostly because they are trying to kill the franchise with Halo 6.

Finished RE5. On the whole, probably not as good an experience as RE4 was, but at the same time I did appreciate them bringing much of what had come pre-RE4 to something of a close. Didn’t particularly care for the stretch of game in the caves, which felt a bit too “Uncharted” for an RE game, but the rest of it is pretty good.

Given what I know of RE6 and where they’re going with RE8, it’s definitely time for some of the other characters to get some time as the protagonist moving forward. Chris Redfield serves as a playable protagonist in 5 of the 10 mainline games and simply appears in 7 of the 11, if you include the upcoming VILLAGE. I would definitely be up for seeing Sheva returning in an upcoming game.

Probably headed to RE0 next, as Revelations 2 will, apparently, take some time to ship according to Amazon.

RE5 is good, but not great. More than any previous Resident Evil, it relied on graphics and set pieces to sell itself. I do like RE5, even though, it is clearly an action game and not a horror one. Chris Redfield is as boring as ever and definitely seems to have taken a bunch of steroids since Code Veronica. The African setting is unique and a refreshing change of pace. Ultimately, the game is great basically until the end in the volcano. Punching a boulder, smh. I also agree that Chris needs to take a seat for awhile. Having him in the last 4 (including RE8) mainline games makes him very much overexposed. Here’s hoping RE9 will be a Jill/Claire game, but that is obviously a fantasy.

IMO, RE0 has a great introduction with the train sequence, but then is pretty mundane after that. Ultimately being a forgettable entry despite 2 very likable leads. RE6 is the game with the biggest identity crisis in the series. It’s the classic jack-of-all-trades, master of none. It has 2 great campaigns, a so-so one, and an outright terrible one (Chris’s). That said, it’s lasting legacy will be leading to the semi-reboot of the series with RE7 and the RE2/RE3 remakes.

Final Fantasy VII Remake 9/10

Final Fantasy VII is one of, if not, the greatest video game of all time (IMO), blocky 1997 graphics and all. So, to say that FFVIIRemake, both succeeds in living up to the original and carving out its own identity, is a testament to how excellent FF7’s story is and the incredibly talented team at Square Enix. The story only covers about 15% of the original game, taking place entirely in Midgar. New side quests, cinematics, and voice acting help to extend the runtime to 30-40 hours. The improved visuals and voice acting really help to make these characters more fully realized. Graphically, the game is exceptional…mostly. There is texture pop-in and some of the side quest NPCs have lower polygon counts. It can be distracting, but not the end of the world (I did play on the base model PS4, but I’ve heard this problem exists with PS4 Pro too). Where the game really excels is in its new combat. The game somewhat retains the active time battle mechanic from the original, but updates it for 2020 and it works surprisingly well. The characters and enemies are no longer stationary, forcing you to use the environment to your advantage. Switching between the characters is done at the press of a button or you can stay with one character and issue commands to the others. It sounds complicated, but is very intuitive to control. IMO, the game’s biggest deficiency is in the side quests. They don’t really do much to add to the story and are really just there to pad out out the runtime. The game is fairly linear (a problem with post-PS2 Final Fantasys), but that linearity does help with the story-telling, which I won’t go into because, yes there are spoilers for a remake of a 23 year old game.

Overall, I just had an absolute blast with Final Fantasy VII Remake. The game is gorgeous, the characters feel just as real, if not moreso, than in the original game. The game’s environmental theme is as relevant today as in the late '90s. The new combat system works extremely well, making fights, especially boss fights, feel fresh and incredibly fun. The music is excellent. Despite, the texture pop-in/low-res NPCs and the monotonous side quests, the game is just so much fun and I can’t wait for Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 2.

Finished RE: Revelations 2.

Loved the atmosphere of the game. For perhaps the first time, there were some genuinely creepy moments as well as some where I was genuinely tense for where things might be headed. Always nice to see some of the more neglected characters like Claire and, especially, Barry get some time in the spotlight. Really liked the dual narratives, even if the reveal of the villain and some of the plot beats didn’t quite work all that well. Could have used a bit more of a conclusion, however, although I do realize that I got the “bad” ending and that the other one might have had a bit more happening in it to bring the story to a bit more closure.

Well, now, in a couple of days, on to the much reviled RE6.

New Bond Game coming soon

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IOI emailed me yesterday about a mystery announcement- I was not expecting it be THAT!!

Though, oddly, it seems inevitable…

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Recently went through the Tomb Raider reboot series again. I personally love all 3 games. Crystal Dynamics has done an excellent job with Tomb Raider ever since they began with the series back in 06 with Tomb Raider Legend (still my favorite Tomb Raider game). Going back through the Uncharted series and am finally playing the games on Crushing difficulty (PS4 versions).

Unrelated, I came across something interesting today. A small team of modders created a patch for Goldeneye 007 based on Goldfinger. The game is really well done and can be downloaded for free. However, to play on an N64 you need an Everdrive 64 game pack. They can be expensive (>$200). So I’ll get one eventually. But, until then, here is a link. What do you guys think?

Made quick work of Resident Evil Village. The raves that this game is getting are quite unwarranted, I would say. The gameplay itself is OK, although there are sparse few moments scattered through this game that feel like something that should take the Resident Evil name. On the whole, though, this is a game of stale ideas, a mishmash of ideas from other RE games that, frankly, did them better. We’ve got the village and inventory system from RE4. Check. The action-heavy gameplay of RE6? Check. The monster that stalks you for part of the game, ala RE2, RE3, and RE7? Check.

This is also a poorly written RE game to boot. I won’t spoil anything, but suffice to say that Chris Redfield’s motivation and actions in this game don’t make a lick of sense. Just using common sense on his part would have prevented much of what happens in the game from happening, and at times it’s glaring, especially towards the end.

The end of the game, while having some genuinely great moments, crashes and burns for the most part, with some repetitive plot devices.

Summary

And then there’s that post-credits scene that is bound to irritate fans of the long-neglected original RE characters not named Chris Redfield.

All in all, REVillage is a solid enough game from a gameplay perspective, if you’re not looking for a return to horror like RE7 was, although it takes the franchise in a direction that I think will irritate quite a few fans of the original slate of games and characters.

Also have been working on Batman: Arkham Knight, which I had put down to begin on Village. Another disappointment of a game, I must say. Far too much of the Batmobile, and the story is an absolute mess. It’s hard to think that this game came from the same franchise that gave us the brilliant Arkham Asylum and Arkham Asylum.

And lastly, picked up Mass Effect Legendary Edition and have been working my way through the first game for the past day or so. This is a brilliant update of the original game. Some truly impressive work by Bioware in remastering this game for the modern age.

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I’m also working through RE Village. I broke my personal rule for always defaulting the PlayStation version of multi-plat games and got the PC version for ray-tracing. BIG MISTAKE, the PC version is another poorly optimized port and this makes my mistake doubly stupid as the PS4/PS5 were the lead dev platforms. I’ll leave more of my thoughts until I finish.

Batman Arkham Knight is a gorgeous game…and not much else. The story is pretty lame and the fact the very much dead Joker plays such a big role in the game is disappointing. The bat mobile is problematic because most the game revolves around it and it very much seems to be breaking Batman’s no killing rule. Honestly, Arkham Origins has aged much better than Arkham Knight.

After RE Village, I will be making my way through Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition on PS4. Sleeping Dogs is one o the most underrated games of the PS3/360 era and one I wish would’ve garnered enough of a following to get a sequel. After that, I will be going through the entire Yakuza series.

I also just finished GTA IV for the first time. Not sure why I never beat it before. It has a more serious story, but one that is ultimately better than GTA V.

Lea Seydoux will be returning in Death Stranding 2. Death Stranding is one of the strangest games I’ve ever played. Though it has connections to the Bond series as it features both Lea Seydoux and Mads Mikkelson. Kojima has said, himself, that much of his work has been influenced by the James Bond series. Metal Gear Solid 3, specifically, is structured almost like a Bond movie, EVA has been called the Bond girl of the game, and it even has a PTS and main title sequence.

I totally get what you mean about Red Dead Redemption II — Arthur Morgan’s story is a rollercoaster of emotions. Control sounds intriguing too; Remedy always nails that eerie, connected universe vibe. As for me, I’ve been diving into some classics to unwind, especially solitaire and other card games. They’re perfect for chilling out after a long day. If you haven’t tried them, they’re great for those moments when you just want to relax without diving into a big storyline. Breath of the Wild is on my list too! Can’t wait to see what everyone else is playing these days.

Control is brilliant! I bought other Remedy games entirely because i loved that game so much.