Archive for the Best / Worst Category

Resident Evil: Ranking The Mainline Entries

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Lists, Resident Evil on June 14, 2021 by slateman

I’ve already discussed my completion statistics on the franchise but with Resident Evil 8 in my rear-view mirror, I thought it time to reflect on all the mainline entries and how they stack up against one another. As I stacked these and went through my personal history, there were some surprising upsets, if you will. Ultimately, however, I felt confident in my final hierarchy and while these could very well change, as of today, I’m quite happy with my results.

Foregoing any further ado, let’s leap into this list: ranking the nine mainline Resident Evil titles.

#9) Resident Evil 0

# Of Times Beaten: ZERO

Of all nine entries, this is the one I never completed. The dated mechanics, ‘meh’ storyline, banal characters and backtracking all just made this game a chore. I recall where I bailed too – I left some mandatory item somewhere because of the traditional inventory system and couldn’t remember how to get back. Quality-of-life fixes like we see in modern titles were nowhere to be seen.

I didn’t like it, I didn’t finish it and I have no regrets about not revisiting it. Let’s move along.

#8) Resident Evil 6

# Of Times Beaten: One

The Good: Leon’s story is pretty good and Chris’s is remotely positive.

The Bad: Jake’s is uninspired and Ada’s just dragged on.

Since I played these in order of my perceived quality, the game started out OK and just decayed into a chore. If I remember correctly, I only powered through Ada’s campaign just to say I beat it, over two years later.

Due to my sheer love of the franchise, I purchased the PS4 remaster but never really dove back in. Perhaps one day – if only for Leon’s campaign.

#7) Resident Evil 3


# Of Times Beaten: Three

I’m talking about the remake here and not the original as I never played Nemesis back in the day. The main gripe many had with 3make was its brevity – certainly a valid point. However, the game itself was just fantastic otherwise and unlike RE8, return to it I did – several times! My best run clocked in at 97 minutes, simply the perfect length for a one-sitting speedrun.

Sure, it’s campy but the game looked great and had the trademark powerful feel to guns and I quite liked it indeed.

Resident Evil 3: Completion Stats

#6) Resident Evil 8: Village

# Of Times Beaten: Three

Having just beaten this, it’s startling to see such a good game rank so low on this list. As always in lists such as these, it looks worse than it is.

On the upside, this game looks fantastic, feels wonderful and has virtually every element of a good RE game that I love. However, it felt scattered, possibly due to the Covid-inspired development cycle it endured. House Beneviento was not as impressive to me as it was to so many others. Moreau’s level, while cool-looking, wasn’t spectacular and thus, speedruns of those two levels felt like a chore. I did return for a collectible run, then a speedrun and then a Village Of Shadows (hardest difficulty) run, but Heisenberg’s BS fight left me annoyed and I simply abandoned it.

While the game took some of the best elements of RE4, I felt it missed the mark in many others. The village was my favorite part followed by Castle Dimetrescu leaving the second half (or latter 2/3rds even) less phenomenal IMO.

Resident Evil 8: Complation Stats
First Run: 10:11.51 Speedrun: 2:35.26

#5) Resident Evil 2


# Of Times Beaten: Two (+ Two 1998 version)

This list is now getting into the difficult-to-rank range. I played RE2 at launch in 1998 and at its relaunch almost 20 years later. The original was impressive and marked the first RE game I beat. The remake was equally impressive, utilizing Capcom’s RE Engine for a visually stunning re-envisioning. While I never beat the second campaign, the title was a spectacular return to form after RE7’s first-person vantage and the change in focus over the many years after RE4.

However, as good as it was, some would say #5 is far too low on this list. Much like RE8, I’ve never felt the compelling urge to dive back in for collectibles or a speedrun, something the next entries on this list.

Resident Evil 2: Completion Stats

#4) Resident Evil VII: Biohazard


# Of Times Beaten: Two

7 better than 2? I dare say, “yes,” emphatically. And here’s why…

While RE2 was a tremendous game in both its releases, neither was as powerful to me as RE7’s newness. The first-person perspective and new protagonist, the escape from Raccoon City and familiar faces were all welcome changes, but it was the decaying house and ambience that proved the most poignant. That the opening 30 minutes shocked the hell out of me, surprising given the series’ history. The fact that the entire game is playable in VR only exacerbates the discomfort and potency of the franchise’s ambience.

While the second half lost some of its luster, it didn’t stop me from getting every trophy but the hardest difficulty one (I couldn’t beat Mia, I think I could’ve done the rest of the game were I able to!) and then penning a speedrun guide on the title. Whereas RE2 was more of the same – only bigger and better, RE7 was a huge overhaul and a more impressive experience for me personally.

Resident Evil VII: Completion Stats

#3) Resident Evil


# Of Times Beaten: Three?

Oh, the classic! Now, I didn’t beat this PS1 game originally, though I played through most of it before having to return it to a friend. I also failed to complete it when it was remade on the Gamecube as the game was too terrifying. I certainly beat it on the PS4, however, and followed it up with several additional runs.

The revamped title retains much of the old-school feel while functioning so much better. After completing the game, I’m certain I returned for a speedrun. Though I haven’t returned to it since, nostalgia ekes into my opinion of this game. Coupled with quality-of-life fixes, I found this game the perfect blend of old and new. Unfortunately, it’s not my favorite entry in the franchise despite my long history with the game.

Resident Evil: Completion Stats

#2) Resident Evil 4

# Of Times Beaten: At least six

My expectations were a bit low for RE4 when it was announced as a Gamecube exclusive. After a few minutes, however, all those concerns were dashed when I first faced the chainsaw-wielding man and experienced the grotesque death that followed. In fact, this moment joined those damn dogs in the original title among my favorite moments in gaming history. In the end, I’ve played this game on the Gamecube, PS2, Wii, PS3 and PS4 – a true testament to my opinion of it. And let’s face it, the impending VR game, if it comes to the PS5 and its upcoming VR unit, will mark the sixth time I play this.

As for why I’ve played the game so much, it just had a fantastic blend of pure action, ammo restriction, a little Ashley hand-holding which upped the tension remarkably and a fantastic setting. The setpieces are intense, the firepower is immense and the runthroughs are rewarding. However, not fantastic enough to land at #1 on this list.

RE4: PS3 Stats RE4: PS4 Stats

#1) Resident Evil 5


# Of Times Beaten: At least seven

Now this is an unpopular opinion, but my playtime is my evidence. While I played RE4 on more platforms, I spent way more time with the rock-punching Chris and sexy Sheva than fair-haired Leon and his babysitting pal Ashley. The game’s save system ranked you by each chapter and allowed for quick sessions and continuous improvement. I played the co-op game twice with other humans and loved the mix of secrets, powerful weapons and traditional RE nonsense.

My original stats from the PS3 game show that it’s the only Resident Evil I platinumed/100%ed. I S-ranked almost the entire game and clocked in a full 60 hours – before playing it all again on the Xbox 360 and again on the PS4. Perhaps one day I’ll revisit it and its luster will have faded. But as of 2021, it remains my favorite RE experience and thus lies atop the heap as my favorite title in the illustrious franchise.

Resident Evil Trophy Progress

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, High Scores/Accomplishments, Resident Evil on May 3, 2021 by slateman

This image is equal parts cool and pathetic. Here’s my PSNProfiles collection of Resident Evil games. Of course, this only catalogues the Playstation 3 and onwards – but even still, this is a hefty list! My curiosity was borne out of me purchasing Resident Evil Revelations (Again!) As it was only on the PS3 (well, and several other platforms), I knew I could never play it on modern PS consoles. One drunk, $8 click later and it was mine (Again!) In the light of Resident Evil VIII coming out soon, I wanted to see what my history looked like visually. Well, for better or worse, here it is! From my first platinum (RE5) to now…that’s a lotta RE!

In all? 375 trophies across 17 games.

[Note] This has been updated with RE8 statistics. Stuck on Heisenberg on Village Of Shadows difficulty. Yeah…think I’m done with this game!

New 5×5 Record! Sub-5 Minutes!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, High Scores/Accomplishments on March 25, 2021 by slateman

I haven’t really tried for a 5×5 record in ages. I purchased my ShengShou way back in 2012 and promptly broke my record. However, while the puzzle itself is pretty good, I only rarely returned to try to break my just-over-five-minutes standard.

For Christmas, I made a massive order of puzzles. I got like a dozen or something and among them were three magnetic puzzles: a 3×3, 4×4 and 5×5. Now, I’ve already proclaimed my love for these last month when I broke my four-year-old 4×4 record getting my very-first sub-two-minute solve. Today, with some extra time on my hands, I figured I’d take a stab at the 5×5, a puzzle I haven’t improved time on in eight-and-a-half years.

The stickerless, magnetic ShengShou is a great puzzle. It never locks up, those magnets help tidy up those quick turns and it cuts like a dream, so I’m rarely ever stuck between layers. My first solve was almost 5:30 – not too bad with no practice and my second was 5:07, a mere five seconds off my record. Solve #3 was it: my first sub-five-minute 5×5! Clocking in at 4:51, I beat my old record by 11 seconds!

After a mess up and another 5:something time, the stars aligned and…OMFG??!! 4:12.93! That is fifty seconds better than the record which stood since October of 2012. FIFTY SECONDS! I don’t even know what to say! Beating this would require some serious dedication but, like the 4×4 before it, I’ve accomplished what I’ve always wanted to: a sub-five. The four-minute finish line feels way too far off. I think next up will be a new 6×6. Still rocking the V-Cube 6 I bought in August of 2011. Urgh.

Final Fantasy VII Remake – Revisited

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games with tags on March 6, 2021 by slateman

One JRPG down – another to go? And to think…I bought this game on launch day way back in 1997. Remember it vividly too. Bought in the morning alongside the strategy guide. Then had school and work all day before I could even play. It was my first Final Fantasy game and, really, my introduction to JRPGs. Dunno if I’ll have the fortitude (=patience) to complete this game but hey… 1) it’s free and 2) the music will be nostalgic-lane for me. Let’s go!!!!

Einherjer: North Star – Disappointing

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music, Reviews on March 6, 2021 by slateman

My first spins of Einherjer’s latest record were underwhelming, but we all know that happens from time to time. It takes a few plays to really sink in and become the classic album it endeavors to be. However, while this isn’t uncommon, subsequent plays only reaffirmed my dismay.

The band’s breakup following 2003’s AotY contender, Blot was succeeded by a reformed union and 2011’s Norrøn, a solid, if flawed, record. With diminished expectations, I proclaimed the follow-up, Av Oss, For Oss, 2014’s Album of the Year. The pristine blend of viking, retro rock and melodicism, it was well deserving of that year’s crown.

Unfortunately, its follow-up, 2018’s Norrøne Spor left me with a tinge of disappointment. It’s hardly unfair – the successor to an AotY record is always held to a higher standard than any ol’ record. Thus, 20201’s arrival of North Star theoretically should be held to a somewhat-reduced level of scrutiny! Even with that, this new record only issues forth several memorable songs to mingle with its entirely-forgettable ones. To contrast with Av Oss, For Oss, this new record’s closer is simply unlistenable to mine ears. A few songs are worthwhile, but the true test is by re-listening to the back catalogue.

I’m not even talking classic Einherjer here. I listened to the last one – the so-so Norrøne Spor had some real bangers and ones I’ll return to. Both Spre Vingene and Døden Tar Ingen Fangar are catchy, riffy and metal-as-fuck. Moving backwards more, my aforementioned AotY still stands up, with memorable sections, headbangy choruses and viking-up-the-ass atittude.

Unfortunately, this new one only has a few I might ever wish to return to: The Blood And The Iron, Higher Fire and maybe one or two others. It’s heart-breaking and makes me wonder if the truly great album from Einherjer is the exception, not the norm. *shrug*. AotY this is not. :(

Ys IX Completed! Thoughts Within

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Ys on March 6, 2021 by slateman

I’ve now completed the campaign in Ys IX: Monstrum Nox and also cleaned up some trophies in the process. The game was wonderful and certainly resides among my favorite entries in the storied franchise. Now is the time to look back and reflect on the good, the bad and the in between.

The story itself was just OK, with a main villain only really showing up in the last act. Convoluted as expected, I didn’t care much for the twists they introduced later on and things felt a bit drawn out in the late game. Alternately, the cast of characters were as fun as they were cliché and my son remembered everyone’s names: both normal and Monstrum variants.

Exploration was, for the most part, quite fun and I do like how they mixed things up with the city of Balduq. However, with the game being front-loaded with city adventure, it left a number of areas to the back half which felt a bit uninspired, almost as if they were just add-ons. A more equal distribution would have given the game a more cohesive feel. The gameplay itself is the real winner, with gifts allowing for easy traversal and fun exploration. It’s going to be hard to go back to prior entries given how good adventuring felt. Combat itself was a mix – it was fun and rewarding, but it was also a chaotic mash-fest on normal difficulty. The game was a bit easier than traditional entries on the standard setting but that was no downside for me as I prefer the experience over the challenge.

On the sound front, Falcom rarely disappoints. While sound effects themselves feel ages old now (Ys Seven is over a decade old and sounds are the same in some cases), the entire game had a good, punchy sound, particularly with headphones on. The big question is the soundtrack. As a collector of Falcom Sound Team JDK’s work, this is another phenomenal entry. Some songs were stuck in my head for days with upbeat, metal riffs offset by melodic piano and symphonic entries. You can’t go wrong with an Ys soundtrack and I quite enjoyed my time with this one.

Ultimately, it was a fantastic and entertaining romp. The PS5’s load times were almost nothing – often two seconds but maxing out at around five – which made the entire experience so much better. I may revisit this brief post to expand upon my thoughts, but for now it’s just a brief overview with a hefty dose of spoiler-filled images below.

New 4×4 Record! Sub-2 Minutes!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Cubing, High Scores/Accomplishments on March 1, 2021 by slateman

I haven’t done any speed solving in quite some time, but after ordering a treasure trove of puzzles for Christmas, I was enjoying my 4×4 MoYu Meilong and its magnets. I realized just how quickly it turned and I thought a new record could be in sight. After an impressive 2:04 – an eight-second improvement on my existing personal best, I busted out my very first sub-2-minute run! Clocking in at 1:54.10, this was my first new record in over a year. I am certain I could improve upon it – but I don’t feel any burning need to do so. The 2-minute threshold is satisfying enough! Pretty psyched and this year marks my 10-year cubing anniversary.

Ys IX – Returning To Adol!

Posted in Best / Worst, Games, Ys on February 15, 2021 by slateman

I recently updated Game Completion Lists with one of my favorite series ever: Ys. As I purchased the ninth numbered installment (but hardly #10 overall), the Italian store clerk had to go into the back to retrieve a copy as it was not present on store shelves. He commented on how I was the first person to come in to purchase the game – and it had been out over a week at that stage.

But I don’t particularly care that the series remains a niche franchise. It’s still simply fantastic. Unfortunately, the game’s early hours left me longing – as it felt like a double-A Playstation 2 game. I didn’t care for the characters as quickly as I had in prior installments. But as my fifth hour passed, I realized this game surpassed the gameplay of all past entries. New skills opened up higher areas and the game became less flat than ever. Additionally, I’ve been playing most Ys games in the last 10-15 years on handhelds. Sure, I played Ys Origins on the PS4 – but that was a port of an older title. On the big screen, this game isn’t the prettiest, but the PS5 gives me super-fast load times and the series’ soundtrack is traditional in its excellence.

As I struggle with actually completing Ys games, it remains to be seen if Ys IX will retain my gaming gaze. For now, however, I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

15 Years Of Scrobbles

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Lists, Music, Personal on February 10, 2021 by slateman

I started using Last.FM back in 2005 and in the 15+ years since, it’s consistently been part of my music-playing experience. Though numbers from before then are omitted, as are hundreds from the old iPod days, I’ve still clocked in almost 80,000 plays and today I’m sharing my top-10 most-played bands. It’s no surprise that Moonsorrow sits atop the heap – they did just recently become my favorite-band ever! This means the entries go as follows:

Finland – Finland – Sweden – Norway – Finland – Sweden – USA – Finland – Norway – Sweden.

Remarkable. Oh, and Slayer sits comfortably at #11. All my stats can be found here.

Playstation: Top Games 2020

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Personal on February 7, 2021 by slateman

Two items with which to preface this post. First, on my stats page, it says I (*ahem* my kids) played 64 hours of Bugsnax but yet that doesn’t sit in my top-three as shown here. Second – yes – that’s Skyrim as my #1 game of the year. Wow.

I love stats and despite their complete inaccuracy, I don’t care. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla shows about 55 hours on my PS4 and then another 55 on my PS5. Don’t know how Sony tabulates their math, but it’s simply wrong. Ultimately, however, my return to Skyrim was a wondrous affair, as I mentioned several months back. The merger of pandemic lockdown and a somewhat-family-friendly game meant I totally enjoyed diving back in and getting much farther than I did nearly a decade ago. I will admit that the 60fps mod on the PS5 gives me a bit of a tickle to re-return…but for now, my backlog is far too large to do such a thing.

The Elder Scrolls was supplanted by Far Cry 5, a not-so-family-friendly game which was as much fun as its predecessors. I’ll say, I’m fairly certain my leader for 2021 is Immortals: Fenyx Rising. I suppose I could check my PS5 to find out.

Some more final stats: I earned almost 800 trophies, topping 2019’s 536 – though I had 16 platinums that year thanks to the Vita and its shovelware library. Additionally, it claims I played 974 hours compared to 2019’s 351. I have a feeling that last year’s number is a bit shy of the real one – though I did move from Sweden to Italy in 2019.

2020 vs 2019