Archive for the Games 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 VIII: Village Complete!

Posted in Blog, Games, Resident Evil, Reviews on May 27, 2021 by slateman

After a 10-hour journey, my first playthrough of Resident Evil VIII is complete. I mention ‘first’ because I have already mapped out subsequent runs: collectibles, a speedrun, infinite ammo preparations, trophy cleanup and so forth. It’s important because while I did not like RE: Village quite as much as several of its predecessors, the franchise’s post-game roadmap is often just as fun and rewarding as its first experience the game run.

It’s hands-down one of my favorite things in gaming: enjoy the game spoiler-free and fresh before returning to dissect it entirely and finally powering through it with an absurd arsenal and beating it in a fraction of its original duration. Village took me only 10 hours – and that included scouring every corner and exploring every nook and cranny. I’m not sure where it sits among my traditional first-run times, but it felt about right.

Unfortunately, it felt far less cohesive than other Resident Evil installments. I realize people are less fond of VII’s second half, but I quite enjoyed that game throughout. The broken-up nature of each individual area left the latter half of this game as a substantially-different experience than the first half. The crumbling village at the steps of the elegant castle were my favorite areas of the entire game. The house of dolls has ruffled feathers of many but I found only slight unease at the environment. Heisenberg’s stronghold was my least-favorite but longest section of the whole European adventure.

From a narrative standpoint, it’s hard to find fault – this is Resident Evil after all! However, the main nemesis, Mother Miranda, was absent in all but name until the end and the most-used foe Heisenberg, was generally pretty weak. Gigantoid Lady Dimitrescu and her daughters were my favorite creations, sadly relegated to the opening hours. The other boss had a great section, the Bloodborne-inspired windmills and crumbling houses and his hideous design was quite disgusting indeed.

As a total package it felt short of prior installments, but removing said comparisons, it presented a fantastic experience with ample post-game offerings. Contrasting to a title like the original The Last Of Us which had a far superior tale but which I never wanted to revisit – one wonders what the better game really is? Like everything else, that truly depends on what you’re looking for in this medium.

This post comes several weeks after its original publication date and in the time since, I went back to do a collectibles run followed by a speedrun. The hard-mode run (Village Of Shadows) was marred by an annoying-as-heck boss battle with Heisenberg. Coupled with Ratchet & Clank’s release and my impending move, that playthrough was shelved and I likely won’t revisit it. On the plus side, the subsequent playthroughs were rather enjoyable, particularly with infinite weapons and my opinion of the game grew – enough to place it as #6 on my list of favorite mainline Resident Evil games. For now, here is my usual gallery of spoiler-filled snapshots.







Resident Evil VIIlage: So Excited

Posted in Blog, Games, Resident Evil on April 24, 2021 by slateman

Resident Evil Remake in 2002, Resident Evil 4 in 2005 and Resident Evil VII in 2017. All were my games of the year and that doesn’t even include Resident Evil 5 which, were it not for that underappreciated Uncharted 2, probably would’ve won as well. It goes without saying that the eighth numbered installment is high on my radar of 2021 releases. After the first half-hour demo, I’m already sold – though I was buying this day one either way. Tomorrow will be the second timed demo and I endeavor to check it out. Again, it doesn’t matter; I’m buying it when it comes out in two weeks.

It’s one of those intimate relationships with a franchise you have when you get to my age. My experience with the franchise dates back 25 years – to when I was a mere 20 years old. In that time, it’s moved up to #4 on my best gaming franchises lists. In the end, REVIII is gonna be great. If all goes well, I’ll beat it in standard form before progressing to a speedrun. Of course, we’ll see, but I’m tremendously excited about this release.

Valfaris: Running & Gunning – METAL Style!

Posted in Blog, Games on April 17, 2021 by slateman

I’ve been keeping Valfaris on the backburner despite it checking a lot of the boxes of games I like. This old-school-style, side-scrolling 2D run-and-gun action game presents a stiff challenge to go with its retro-inspired look. While you genuinely know what you’re getting into here – an ultra-violent Contra clone at heart, the game’s soundtrack simply makes you want to tear into more foes after each disappointing death. I’m only a few hours in, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the consistent influx of power-ups, the satisfaction of improving and the pulsing rhythms of metal blaring in mine ears. This is definitely not one to sleep on and despite its high difficulty, it’s entertained me a great deal so far!

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!!!!

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.

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.

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

PSVR: This Truly Is A Step Forward

Posted in Blog, Games on January 14, 2021 by slateman

Virtual Reality is something everyone would like, but it would be nice if their neighbor got it first – you know – just to check it out. I’ve been curious but, like countless others, the high price tag kept me far away. That is, until my daughter convinced my wife to get me one for Christmas. Long story short? I’m totally and utterly convinced.

Let’s get the bad out of the way first as there are absolutely downsides. The mess of wires is something my wife is not fond of and setting up is a routine of many specifics working both in harmony and in tandem. The visuals certainly take a hit in VR and the glasses fog up rather easily, though this is just an inconvenience that clears up quickly. Motion sickness is not something unique to Sony’s VR unit, but it can be jarring and difficult to work through.

Okay, with my gripes aired for all to see, what remains is simply extraordinary. Without hands-on experience, the true extent of VR’s punch can never be appreciated. It just can’t. The fact that your brain believes what it’s seeing is something that cannot be conveyed. When enormous setpieces pop up in Astro Bot or when a bullet flies at your head in Superhot VR or your car flies through the air in Trackmania Turbo, you are utterly convinced it’s reality – and all the joy and elation come alongside of it. Genuine fear, thrilling elation, nervous dodging – it doesn’t matter if the visuals are realistic or cartoony, the experience is an unbridled delight.

I’ve pondered these things more and more as my decades have passed and I find myself always returning to the concept of novelty. With so much really just being iterations of the same thing, so rarely are things truly new. I keep trying to think back to when something I’ve played was this impressive. A quick peek of Game Of The Year lists show that Shadow Of Mordor had the nemesis system back in 2014. Portal 2 was rather brilliant in 2011. How many others were sequels? Or sequels of sequels???

Is it possible that VR is the biggest step forward since sprites moved into the 3D realm? I hardly think that’s an overexaggeration. On the downside, I wonder if there’s enough of a flow of games to keep it a viable platform moving forward, but with a few new games in my library, I have a wide variety of experiences:

  • Astro Bot Rescue Mission
  • Superhot VR
  • Blood & Truth
  • Everybody’s Golf VR
  • Wipeout Omega Collection
  • Trackmania Turbo
  • Star Wars: Squadrons
  • Iron Man

What a great roster of titles. Moss, Rez Infinite and Tetris Effect are on the ‘to-buy’ list alongside a few others, With a few more out there, I look forward to a promising future of the platform with support continuing until at least a successor is announced.

Makaimura Returns / Ghosts ‘N Goblins Resurrection

Posted in Artwork, Best / Worst, Blog, Games on December 12, 2020 by slateman

I’ll admit I’m disappointed it’s currently at Switch exclusive, but I’m psyched Capcom has revisited this classic series. The stages are familiar but the visuals are outstanding and this new piece of art is simply remarkable. Here’s hoping for a Playstation port (along with Hades, please!)