Archive for December, 2017

Games I’ve Missed In 2017

Posted in Blog, Games, Lists on December 17, 2017 by slateman

With the imminent arrival of Best of 2017 lists, it’s a good time to look at what I didn’t get a chance to play. Since my end-of-year chronicles are inevitably incomplete, I wanted to see which have eluded me that are the year’s best (or potential best). Some of these I’m not too worried about missing. Others very well could be this year’s GotY.

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

While I did play a portion of this game, I didn’t get too far. I got stuck and wasn’t impressed like the rest of humanity was. Taking pictures of the world truly doesn’t interest me. The visuals were just obscured by fog and I grew tired of getting new swords all the time. It’s one of those things where I know I should play it. Perhaps when I get a Switch, though it doesn’t appear to look much better than the Wii U version.

Super Mario Odyssey

Speaking of the Switch, a new Mario! Since naming it my favorite game series ever and after cataloguing my recent Mario runs, this is simply a must-play game. I don’t know when or how…but I will play this. Could it be 2017’s GotY? I may not know for a few years!

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

I only just played through the first Wolfenstein reboot this year but I quite enjoyed it. The game was pretty standard but it was done rather well. There’s very little chance this could be the best of the year, but I sure as hell want to try this out!

Nier: Automata

What is this even about? *Shrug* I just know that it’s being praised. It sounds like a game worth playing.

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War

After naming the original my favorite of 2014, it surprises me how little interest I have in this one. The game got good reviews and the third-person action genre is easily one of my favorites. Given the frequency of PSN’s sales, this one will eventually be pretty cheap and this one will be played, probably sooner than the new Mario.

Notable Mentions

I’m curious to try Star Wars Battlefront II and Call Of Duty: WWII, though neither is too compelling. Games I have played will come next!

Street Fighter: 30th Anniversary Collection Thoughts

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Street Fighter on December 11, 2017 by slateman

It’s finally been announced. The highly-anticipated 30th-Anniversary collection of SF games is now known. Containing (takes breath), Street Fighter, all five main iterations of SFII games, and a trio each from SF Zero/Alpha and SFIII, it’s a behemoth package with a dozen arcade titles. Four of those titles will be online with lobbies and both ranked and casual matches. In addition, we’re looking at art galleries, a sprite viewer which looks kick-ass, game-release details and a full timeline of the series. There will be a music player and even save states for its single-player modes. It sounds absolutely incredible and is one of those day-one purchases you knew you’d make before you knew it existed. The trailer, as well as the SFV:AE intro and the Sakura reveal, plus the full season 3 roster was one of the hypest (most hype?) deliveries in recent memory. And then you add that magnificent Capcom Cup finale – the losers bracket comeback by MenaRD over the legendary Tokida. It was simply marvelous.

But…

There are few things to consider here. The main thing is that these are arcade versions and not console ports. As exciting as “arcade perfect” may be, that means there may be no training, no special modes like World Tour, no Dramatic Mode. When compared to home translations of the past, these games may feel very bare-bones. I’ll say, I expect some sort of training mode out of it all, but that wasn’t mentioned in the trailer.

A second thing is that we don’t know precisely which version of each game will be made available. When you look back at SFZ: Fighter’s Generation (Alpha Anthology in the west), we had all three Zero titles alongside alternate versions, all with dip switches changing arcade board revisions. I really don’t know if this 30th Anniversary collection will entertain this attention to detail. Of course, since SFZ:FG/SFAA already had “arcade perfect” games, my fears of a very basic translation may be unfounded. But with that unclear, we simply don’t know just which version of each game to expect. Might we see the arcade SFZ2A upon which the home version of Alpha 2 Gold was based? Could Tien Gouki be playable like he was in the DC port of SSFIIX? Or is it just a basic final-revision title for each?

But enough of all these worries! Let’s look at some basic facts. There are twelve games in this package. SFIII:NG and 2I have only been ported over once, to the Dreamcast nearly 20 years ago. While they were usurped by the far-superior and all-inclusive SFIII:3S, this gives everyone the chance to play these integral parts of SF history. This also makes Zero 2, my favorite Street Fighter game of all time, available for the first time in over a decade. We can surely expect the usual filters to make it look less shitty than usual on my 55″ 4K TV. There will be wallpapers for all games. There are surely trophies and achievements which may be like the arcade ports of the last few years (SFIII:3SOE, Vampire/Darkstalkers:Resurrection, MVC:O). Everyone gets to try the original SF that I played in arcades as a pimply-faced 12-year-old. SFZ3 will be playable online for the very first time! This is just insane: a fanboy’s dream. And this fanboy cannot wait for May to arrive.

Uncharted: Lost Legacy – Why Writing Matters

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Uncharted on December 4, 2017 by slateman

As I play through Uncharted: Lost Legacy, I find myself enjoying yet another UC romp with all the ingredients of a great game. The action is fun, the vistas are beautiful, the setpieces are impressive. It also shipped at a budget price, fair for its shortened campaign, and I got it on sale for even cheaper.

However, it is just yet another Uncharted. To be fair, it’s simply an expansion that ended up being a lot larger than anyone really thought, so it fits right in with what it intended to be. But as the gorgeous game goes on, there’s little we haven’t done before. The only difference is now we’re controlling Chloe. Ah yes, the dirty Chloe who we first saw doing the tango with our hero Nathan several games ago. She is coupled with Nadine who was a mostly-forgettable character in last year’s Game of the Year, UC4.

While the game never strove to be UC5, what we’re greeted with is an entirely-competent title which draws strength from its namesake’s heritage. But what is easily the game’s greatest accomplishment is the chemistry between our two heroines. Much like Sully’s relationship with Drake, it feels as if there’s a lot going on here and with each chapter unfolding, more is revealed about their backstories. The dynamics between the two bounces between sarcasm, humor, anger and the bantering feels right at home in an Uncharted tale. The story itself, well, that’s nothing particularly noteworthy, mainly because we have done all these things before. Retread or not, Naughty Dog has once again crafted a game that is solid in virtually every way, that looks and controls beautifully and has a duo I genuinely care to hear about. This can’t be heralded as a triumph but only because its legacy has already paved that trail.

Like UC4 and The Last Of Us before it, the developers have shown their ability to weave a narrative that is both serious and aloof. Though the gameplay has worn itself a little thin over this past decade, it’s certain the studio will have great tales ahead and I, for one, cannot wait to indulge!