2019 Game of the Year!

2019 is almost over. HOLY… $#*%!!! It was an ‘interesting’ year for games. I played a lot of games throughout this year but not many that were actually released this year. I’ll run down a quick list of games I played and a quick thought or two about them but I’m only going to award games released from the year proper.

Without further ado let’s look at my games of 2019…

In no particular order:

  • Totally Accurate Battle Simulator – This is a wacky and hilarious game that is still in pre-release but I would recommend it for a good time.
  • Tap Titans 2 – It was worth it to just waste a little time on my phone but it got boring after a while.
  • Boderlands: Game of the Year Edition – It was fun to play a few hours of an old game that held up with some remastering work.
  • Mutant Year Zero: A Road to Eden – Liked the story but hated the combat just because it was so brutal.
  • Into the Breach – A brilliant game that I can see why people were so up on it when it first released.
  • Wolfenstein: The New Order and The New Colossus – Fun shooter games that really were entertaining in ways I find hard to explain.
  • The Turing Test – Great puzzle game and pretty good story.
  • Blazing Chrome – A fun kickback to side scrolling shooters but hard for me to stick with and enjoy.
  • LEGO Batman 2 – These games are simply fun to play and act as a good palate cleanser between other games.
  • Recore – I was actually enjoying this for a good bit and then it got so tedious I abandoned it.
  • Tacoma – Good use of environment and story telling but seemed to miss on the ending.
  • Shadow Warrior 2 – It was funny with his idiotic dialogue and was fun to play.
  • What Remains of Edith Finch – Very good game and I would highly recommend it.
  • The Wolf Among Us – Great way to reuse fable characters and I hope they make a sequel but I won’t go waiting on it.
  • Destiny 2 – I played a lot of the Season of the Undying and enjoyed everything except for how they ended it.
  • Life is Strange 2 – It’s a good game but I hate that they have drug it out so long with the episode releases.

Incomplete… Crackdown 3

I just started playing it and haven’t finished it. So far the controls are bad. The graphics are ok as well as the story. If it had not been part of Game Pass I would not have even played this game.

Also Incomplete… Blair Witch

I also did not finish this game after several hours in. I liked the environment and most of the gameplay. The framerate was not good on my pc even after turning everything down in the video settings. I quit when the combat started because it was bad.

The Hotest of Messes… Anthem

It boggles my mind how bad this game was when it came out and the state that it is still in. This was EA’s flagship game for the year and it was seen by many to be their answer to Destiny. The game did not play well and it was buggy. On top of that it was uninteresting. I have EA Access on Xbox One so I had up to ten hours to try it out. I made it through about half of that time and walked away from the game. It was glitchy, which has been somewhat fixed, but the story was boring and the game play just didn’t feel good. It’s sad to think about the expectations that this game had on it versus the results. The fact that it is already part of the EA Access vault is telling that EA can’t just drop support but also can’t get people to buy it and the only way to get people playing it to give away access to it. I still haven’t played since it was added to the vault and I truly don’t plan to either.

Staring into the… Void Bastards

It was a novel concept to make a shooter that was run based. I didn’t much care for the run based aspect and felt like it screwed you into playing the same part of the game over and over. That’s not to say it was bad but rather it just wasn’t something I wanted to play. Others really took to the game and enjoyed it, good for them.

Hoping for More but Getting Less… The Outer Worlds

I really didn’t have an interest in this game and honestly would not have played it if it had not been included in Game Pass. It felt like it was well built but it also felt like a game I just didn’t care about. The shooting worked well but somehow felt weak. Melee combat felt better but more risky. The story seemed a bit confused and after a while I didn’t quite get what I was supposed to be doing or why. After ten plus hours I turned it off never to return and I’m ok with that.

A Little Too Daunting… Dauntless

Basically you go around hunting monsters to get parts and such. It was fun for a bit but the endless loop of going on a hunt just seemed mundane.  Going through the exact same environments to kill the same monsters over and over just wasn’t my jam. The game worked well and ran well on every platform I played it on but overall it was just dis-interesting to me. I hope other people keep playing and enjoying it.

Oh, If Only… Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Image via starwars.com

I had little expectations of this game but such high hopes. The story and how it was told was very good but two things held the game back in my mind. 1.) The technical issues with how poorly it ran. There were times when the framerate was in the single digits. Several times I got stuck against a wall and couldn’t even see the fight I was supposed to be in. 2.) The combat was bad. I could never get the timing on the parry and dodges even after putting it on the easiest level. Had the game ran better this might have been my GOTY.

Not Quite There… The Division 2

As much as I loved and played the original game, this one did not hold up as well. I played regularly for the first few months and then trailed off. When I went back it still felt like it was not balanced properly and I could get mowed down by random enemies. Even though I bought the higher end package I never went and played out the additional story missions just because it didn’t seem to matter. With Underground and Survival never coming back this game it was good but just fell flat.

Life of the… Afterparty

This was a short but clever game. Making your way through hell to out party the devil is a good enough concept but the game pulls it off in very entertaining way with some subtle twists and turns throughout it. Highly recommended since it is fairly short but very entertaining.

Greasing the… Gears 5

Image via news.xbox.com

It wasn’t the best Gears game ever but it also wasn’t the worst. I loved the combat and the environments. Even most of the story was good, failing only at the end. Also, that skif was fun at first then became more a nuisance. It left the door open for the next game and  it felt incomplete because of it. Overall, I enjoyed the game but felt like it still had issues.

In Closing…

This year in games surely felt odd to me. There were no releases that I felt were truly great in any way. Gears 5 is a game that I don’t have any enthusiasm for after finishing it but yet here it is winning game of the year. It was good but not great. I had higher hopes for Star War Jedi: Fallen Order but the technical issues and my struggles with the combat were just too much to make it higher on the list. The one game I just didn’t get to that I really wish I had was Control. With the performance issues it had at launch time I just never looped back to it after they had a chance to improve things.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Review

Image via starwars.com

I had such high hopes but low expectations. This game comes in closer to the latter.

Cal Kestis is a former Jedi padawan that has been in hiding for several years after the execution of Order 66. He reveals his connection to the Force and subsequently  has to run for his life. He meets up with the crew of the Mantis and they team up to try to restore the Jedi Order. It won’t be easy since the Imperial group of Inquisitors will be chasing them trying to finish what they started… killing all of the Jedis.

Things I Liked…

The story and characters of the game are the key point of interest in this game. Everything they do to slowly reveal Cal’s background and how they tie that to relearning his connection to the Force was very good. The story was well paced and remained interesting and intriguing until the end. No spoilers but… the very end of the game took off in a direction that was somewhat unexpected but very pleasing.

Things I Disliked…

Then there are all the problems and boy howdy. I played the game on a launch Xbox One and it was not a good experience. However, it sounds like some of the problems I had weren”t unique. The most obvious problem was the frame rate issue. At any point, whether in combat or in a cut scene, the frame rate could nose dive into the single digits making the game not only unenjoyable but also unplayable. As pretty as the environment was it still looked washed out and the drawn-in of textures was annoyingly noticeable. Then there was the combat. Even after dumbing it down to the lowest level it was still broken and no fun. No matter what I tried I could not get a grasp on the parry and dodge techniques making the combat frustrating. Add to it the fact that you could get stuck in a stun-lock situation with one enemy effectively knocking you out of combat.

When It’s All Said and Done…

This was a game that had a legitimate chance to be a good Star Wars game and not just a good game. The fact that the game runs so poorly this late into the console generation dumbfounds me. What ruined this game was strictly technical in my mind. Would it have been great if it ran perfectly and the combat didn’t suck? No, it would have been much better but still not great.

In the end, I liked the story but wouldn’t recommend the game unless you can get it on the cheap. A full $60 is too much for the game but maybe the $25-ish area would be ok.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Gears 5 – Review

Image via news.xbox.com

It was a lot like Gears of War but it also wasn’t.

The follow up to Gears of War 4, Gears 5 picks back up with the same crew. This time they are trying to find answers about Kait’s past. Their quest takes them to many places many places but also leads to many more questions. The story takes Kait and the rest of the Gears to a battle that none of them were prepared for.

As a long time fan of the series I was looking forward to this game but tried to keep my expectations tempered. I expected the game to be much more like Gears of War 4 and much less like the original trilogy but not nearly as bad as Judgement. At least it accomplished that.

Things I Liked…

I played this game primarily on PC but my console heathen background meant I was playing with a controller and not keyboard and mouse. Even with that it was a beautiful game with rich looking environments. Even the Gears’ suit had an insane amount of detail. The game-play felt as good as ever. I had forgotten how satisfying it was to chainsaw an enemy in half. The guns still felt good and hit like you would expect them. There were many times I grabbed and used the boomshot just because it feels so satisfying when you can take out multiple enemies in one shot.

Things I Disliked…

For a chapter or two I switched to playing on my launch Xbox One there was a stark difference. On the PC version were there were intricate details there were now just muddy blurs. I didn’t expect near the same level of graphics but the drop off was far more dramatic than I thought it would be. Also, as lush and intricate as the environment was it was a brilliant back drop to a dull story. Not only did it  not feel like it did much, there were times when I felt like I was doing bust work. The skif was a neat idea and fun at first but then it became boring and over-used. As pretty as the scenes were you were just passing through them for the most part. I did some of the side stuff but it just felt like I was spending time spending time going from place to place to shoot bad guys for little or no reward.

When It’s All Said and Done…

I want to recommend the game but… I’m not sure I can. Since I have Game Pass Ultimate I had access to it, early even, so it felt like a zero cost. If I had not had Game Pass I was planning on buying it and when I think about that I think I might have been let down just a bit. There were times when I was having fun and truly enjoying it. That is balanced against the times were I felt like it was making me drive the skif all over hell’s creation for no good reason. The Horde mode was ok but didn’t pull me in like in the past. The Escape mode is a hot mess of three people going in three different directions, don’t recommend if you do not have a squad of three.

When the game had you doing Gears of War stuff like plowing through enemies it felt good. When it was trying to give you an open world experience like side missions and driving the skif it felt bad.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Wolfenstein: The New Order – Review

Image via wikipedia.org

I might be five years late to this game but damn was this good.

B.J. Blazkowicz is back and he’s at his old game of killing Nazis. In an alternate time line type of narrative, Blazkowicz is fighting for the Allies against the Nazis but things are not going well. He is part of a final assault to stop the Nazi war machine but things go poorly and Blazkowicz is gravely injured. Over the course of fourteen years, he has had time to heal but the Nazis have continued their campaign to take over the world. When Blazkowicz is ready to take action the world if very different from what he remembers but one thing remains the same… killing Nazis.

Things I Liked…

Playing on the Xbox One may not have been the ideal experience but I felt that overall the game ran well. I experienced zero technical issues but the game only looked okay, not great. The story was really what kept me playing. Seeing where they took the Blazkowicz character was interesting and made me invest my time in the game willingly. There are light puzzle elements that were a nice sidebar to the first-person bloodbath of the shooter side of the game.

Things I Disliked…

The biggest issue I had with the game was the combat and to say that for an FPS game is bad. It felt sloppy and over the top at times. The aiming was “not great” even after adjusting some of the controls. Some encounters in the game were more grueling than I was interested in dealing with. Scores of enemies come at you with a vengeance and ammo seemed more scare that it should have been. At times I was finding tons of health pack but I had no ammo to shoot with which was frustrating. At about 60% through the game I dumbed it down to easy just so I could get through it and finish the story.

When It’s All Said and Done…

The score I would give to this game is probably a three and a half out of five. The story was fun but the gameplay drug down the overall enjoyment of the game. Technically it was ok but it just didn’t do anything that stood out. The game’s story really “swung for the fence” at moments and I felt like it hit them well.

For me, the moment of the game came at the very end. When the credits started to roll and the music started I was floored. I picked up on the song about two lines into it and it felt like a perfect fit. How they turned a Chris Isaak song into a melancholy, downtrodden tune from a up-tempo  sad song was wonderful.

From the game – Melissa Hollick

From the album Forever Blue – Chris Isaak

 

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Review

Image via cnet.com

Let’s be honest, a lot of other people liked this game better than I did.

The sequel that is a prequel, Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in the time line before the story of the much revered Red Dead Redemption. The main story is based around the adventures of Arthur Morgan as we works as the second hand man of Dutch van der Linde. The Van der Linde gang finds itself on hard times and running from an attempted score in the town of Blackwater that went awry. Living much as nomads, the gang must keep moving to avoid the law and Pinkertons. As they move they must also try to make a living by either doing good or bad things.

Having only played less than five hours of the original Red Dead Redemption and without a nostalgia for that game this game was a new experience to me for the most part. There were things about this game that I really loved and enjoyed. Conversely, the things I dislike about the game I came to loathe and those things truly tainted my thoughts and feelings about the overall game.

Things I Liked…

The game is beautiful on a technical level. I played on a launch edition of the Xbox One and there were issues of draw-in of objects but all-in-all the game is still gorgeous. Everywhere you look there is something detailed and amazing. Look up to the sky and you could see the sun shining bright through the clouds or the twinkle of stars through a night-time drizzly haze. The draw-in issues were so minimal that it barely mattered to me but that was because everything else looked fantastic. The level of detail that the characters and environment had was astounding. Looking at a character and seeing their freckles or looking at a banister and seeing the grain of the wood gave the game a weight of realism. Then there are all the sounds. The clop of the horses, patter of the rain, clack of a gun’s hammer… all made the game more immersive. Then layer the music on top of it all, marvelous.

Cinematic camera???

Things I Disliked…

Of all the things the game did, I’m left with feeling that it just didn’t respect my time. The game is wide and deep in that there are many things to do and are robustly built. That turns out to be a blessing and a curse. When I was trying to get through the story, I felt constantly inundated by side story material that I didn’t necessarily want to do. I’d be trying to get to a town to do what I thought was a story mission only to get interrupted by riders approaching me then opening fire for reasons I never understand. What I did to trigger this, other than being at a place at a certain time, still eludes me. It felt as though there were just too many things to do and manage. Hunting, which I did little of… trapping(?) which I did none of(not sure this was a thing you can do or not)… strangers, there were so many I just lost interest… robberies, that I avoided doing… and the list goes on. It is great that they had all these in the game and did them well but it became overwhelming and frustrating while just trying to progress in the game. The limited fast travel system meant ride your horse most of the time to go anywhere which felt like a further misuse of time. Then there is the gun play that is horrible, frankly. It had what I can only describe as a wonk and wobble that I could find no control adjustment to make it feel much better than barely playable much less ok.

When It’s All Said and Done…

If I were asked to rate this game… three out of five stars. Let me explain. The environment and story of this game made me want to keep playing. I loved seeing the world and going through it. There were times I wish I had the time just to go around and look. I wanted to explore but I just don’t have the time. That’s not a problem with the game but it became a problem with my experience with it. As well as they developed everything you can do in this game it felt like a burden at times just to move forward and disappointing to not be able to play out scenarios they present you.

What makes the game for me is the story. Again, I didn’t play the first game significantly and don’t have that as an attachment. I found Arthur Morgan to be one of the most empathetic characters I have ever played. Going through the game, I found myself making decisions based on the thought in my head of ‘I just want things to work out for this guy and it be good’. All the time knowing it would not because of the foreshadowing presented I knew what his outcome would be.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

2018 Game of the Year!

Image via imgflip.com

2018 was a solid year for those of us that play video games. Looking back at 2017, however, I didn’t play as many new releases. There were some major releases that I had no interest in, like Black Ops 4, Battlefield V, Fallout 76, and many others, so I didn’t play them. I also spent a good part of the year playing older games, mostly XCOM and XCOM 2.

Most of the games I played this year I enjoyed. When I did enjoyed them I spent a good amount of time playing them. When I didn’t care for them I was done with them as soon as I hit a point of contentment. For those that I just didn’t like at all, their time was short lived in my gaming queue.

Let’s look at the games of 2018…

Missing: Life is Strange 2

Image via steampowered.com

The prelude, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit released back in June. Then the first episode of Life is Strange 2 released in September. Having played both of these and enjoying them I would love to put Life is Strange 2 on my GOTY list but I can’t. We don’t even have a release date for the second episode, much less episodes 3, 4, and 5. My hope is that they are polishing these episodes up but my fears are that they are making major changes because of the feedback from the first episode.

Hot Mess – Metal Gear: Survive

Image via xbox.com

Not only a bad Metal Gear game but also a bad survival game. I don’t play many, if any, survival games but this one just felt like there was always one too many mechanics punishing you and not allowing you to have any fun with the game. The fact that it uses the Metal Gear name and assets makes it feel incredulous. Konami seems to want to make money on people’s nostalgia with things like this game and pachinko machines rather than continuing the franchise properly. The most positive thing I can say about this game is that I only wasted $3 dollars renting it rather than buying it at full price.

Dishonorable Mention – Battletech

Image via steampowered.com

Having not played a Battletech game for some years, I was happy to see this game come out… that was until I played it. The game play is solid and I even got in to the story somewhat. However, I could not get over the fact of the game’s inability to explain itself. After playing over 12 hours I could not get a grasp on what I was doing or how I was supposed to do it. For example, I would equip my mech with a machine gun but I never got a chance to use it. I know I had equipped ammo but was there something I was missing? Wrong chassis? Wrong power source? Was I too far from the target? Was I too close to the target? I don’t know. If there would have been a tutorial or some other in-game explanation of how everything worked I think I would have not only liked this game better but stuck with it longer.

What A Let Down – Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Image via xbox.com

The problem was not that the game was bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. The problem is that it felt like more of the first two games. The graphics were about the same and mechanically the game wasn’t much different than its predecessors. My biggest issue with the game was the story. Lara Croft continues to be a character that it is hard, if not impossible to empathize with. The player is supposed to feel bad that Lara is in such desperate times but when she becomes an all out blazing murderer it is hard to feel bad. With this being the third game of the series, it is even more of a mystery how you still can’t feel bad for Lara and she still isn’t a Tomb Raider.

Too Much, Cowboy – Red Dead Redemption 2

Image via cnet.com

The game is good but suffers under the weight of its own density. I loved the characters and environment. There a number of characters to meet and conversations to be had. At first it was great but then it felt overwhelming. Trying to manage what each of them were saying and where it fell into the world became daunting. When you add in all the inventory, crafting, and health systems, it quickly became a management-sim rather than a cowboy game. What got to me most was all the side missions and how they interrupted the main story. I would be trying to play through the story only to have a side mission come up and I could do nothing but complete it just to try to get back to the task at hand of playing the story. Don’t get me started on the gun play, it’s horrible. The things I liked about the game I really liked, the things I hated I really hated.

Fun with Holes – Donut County

Image via theverge.com

Short. Sweet. Fun as hell. It took only a few hours to play the entire game but I loved every minute of it. I even went back to replay a few of the chapters and chase some of the challenges. The humor was off mark intentionally but always funny and kept me laughing while I played.

Nearly the Best – Marvel’s Spider-Man

Image via playstation.com

This game does whatever a spider can. It looks great, even on an original PS4. It plays great, tons of fun just to swing around.  On top of all that the story holds up. I’m not saying it is an all time great story but for a video adaptation of comic it is good. Where Red Dead Redemption 2 drew me relentlessly to side content, this game allowed me to play it when or if I wanted. I found times I would mainline story quests and other times I would go from side quests to side quests but at my discretion, not the game’s.

The Very Best of 2018 – God of War

Image via playstation.com

I said it when I reviewed the game but I’ll say it again, I never thought that a God of War game would even be in a discussion of games in 2018 much less be great. Not only is it great, it’s my top game of 2018. Congratulations!

When this game was first announced I kind of wrote it off. I had played a few of the original games and wasn’t too impressed. The idea of bringing the series back had no appeal to me. However, as various outlets starting showing the game and talking about it I became interested. It looked much different than the previous games and boy is it ever! This game is a continuation of the story line but the environment and game play feel completely new. At first the game felt like the same button-smashy type of game God of War games always were but once I learned a few techniques, like dodging, blocking, and parrying, combat felt completely different. Add to that the depth of story this game hit. The blend of Greek and Norse mythology was not only clever but well composed. By the end of the story not only did I love this game I wanted a sequel.

In Closing…

There you have it, the game I never knew I wanted became the game I loved the best. I will say that it seems as though I missed a lot of games this year(Detroit: Become Human, Far Cry 5, Hitman 2, to name a few)  but there aren’t any  on this list that I feel compelled to play at this point and I’m comfortable making this list without them. Many others will probably have a different list than mine and I’m fine with that. I’m certain a lot of other people liked Red Dead Redemption 2 better than I did but that’s ok.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Review

Image via xbox.com

Unsurprising, that is about the best I can say for this game.

Lara Croft is once again on the trail of adventure. Trinity is still at large and trying to take over the world, again. This adventure takes Lara to South America to meet up with old and new friends and foes alike.

This is the third game in this reboot of the the series and unfortunately the story is just as mailed in as the first two. The setting may have changed but it is more of the same half-hearted and short-sheeted emotional misses that plagued the other games. Every attempt to make Lara empathetical falls short especially when she is then put into a scenario that the she must directly murder all in site.  Case in point, in the story a character close to Lara is reported dead and she then goes on a murderous rampage to avenge this person. Then when the person turns up alive the moment is summed up with a brief sigh and the game goes on. The emotional weight that should have been in this moment is poured onto the floor like water and trampled on giving no way to make Lara more relatable.

It is a shame that the story falls short when the game works well on a technical level. The environments are lush and beautiful even on an original PS4. Whether you are in the depths of the jungle or swimming underwater there is great detail in everything around you. The only issue on a technical level was that sometimes when trying to interact with an object as prompted it didn’t always work correctly. If you walk around a little bit and try again things would work.

The fact that this is the third entry of the series is what makes it disappointing. It seems that the first two games weren’t the building blocks they should have been. Shadow of the Tomb Raider comes off as a carbon copy of all the same issues that the first two games had. The aesthetics of the game do little to make up for the shortcomings of the characters. It’s fun to run around in the jungle and solve puzzles but in the end Lara Croft comes off a character that there is no reason to care about.  The attempts make a connection to Lara’s plight are poorly balanced against the moments when she mows down foes at will.

It’s an ok game but could have been much more. It was good enough that I got to over 80% completion but I also don’t feel any desire to replay this game again. This would be one of those games that if asked I would tell people it is worth playing but not buying, a great game to rent not to buy.

 

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tPaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Marvel’s Spider-Man – Review

Image via playstation.com

Like swinging? No, not the kind that involves other people. The kind that has you tethering yourself to buildings and flying through the air. Then there is a game you should play.

The story in Marvel’s Spider-Man is set in a stage where Spider-Man is already Spider-Man. The story doesn’t cover how or when he got his powers. In fact it is set in a time when he has already defeated several foes and incarcerated them in The Raft. It also picks up after Peter Parker and MJ Watson were a thing and they are currently separated. Parker finds himself in the employ of Otto Octavius and they a poised upon a true breakthrough in their research. Of course, as all hero stories go, things don’t go well.

The story portrayed in this game is possibly one of the best in a comic based video game or movie. Even if you are not familiar with the Spider-Man or DC comic lore, this story can be followed and enjoyed. There are the comic-like moments when you are fighting a twenty-foot mask but there are also the real-life moments when you have to make a terrible choice. Both of these moments had weight even though in different ways. The weave of heart, mayhem and resolution are well done. The struggle that Parker has with being himself, whether that be Peter or Spider-Man, is ever present but never over bearing.

Some of the best parts in the game, on a technical level, are the sights and sounds. Even running on an original PS4 this game plays and looks great. As you swing through the environment it never seems to lose detail. The game perhaps had frame rate issues less than five time throughout the entire play-through and most if not all of the drops came while transitioning into or out of a cut-scene. The sounds work both to compliment and add the game. When Spider-Man shoots a web it sounds good but on top of that all his quips have enough variety they don’t get old or over-used.

What doesn’t feel good in the game are some of the systems, mostly the combat and upgrade systems. The game borrows a lot from the Batman Arkham games but the combat doesn’t feel as good or precise. Batman is a bigger physically so his punches and kicks should have more weight but with Spider-Man’s enhanced strength it still felt like he was a light hitter. On top of that, punching and dodging felt to have a slip where they didn’t always work as intended. Perhaps more egregious is the fact that the equipment and suit upgrades are locked behind completing in world activities. What makes it so punishing is that certain upgrades require currency earned from different events, for example R&D quests reward Research Tokens but TaskMaster challenges  award Challenge Tokens. If the R&D quests have been completed but you want an upgrade that requires Challenge Tokens you simply don’t have access to them until you complete those challenges.

The game is very good but held back from being great. For myself the upgrade system being tied to activities was a huge negative. Many of the TaskMaster challenges were just ways to push the player’s skill at challenge that just aren’t useful in playing the game. Other tasks just felt like busy-time activities to stretch the game out. Add in the fact that many of the encounters lack any variance. It comes down to go to a place, beat up a bunch of guys, then beat a few more waves of guys. Enemy variety becomes cosmetic at times, for example a man in a business suit with blue whips versus a convict in a jump suit with red whips.

Even with that said, I did reach over 90% completion of this game just because it is so fun to play. My feeling is that the story and game play make the game but the systems and combat slips took away from enjoying the game more. Highly recommend the game but caution that it could have been better.

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tPaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

Brad is not back yet. Hang in there, bud.

As for myself, I’ve had a mixed work schedule of nightshifts and dayshifts. So if I start slurring my words don’t go thinking I was day drinking. It’s just a lack of sleep.

Image via steamcommunity.com

Remember when I said I needed a break from this game? Well, that didn’t last long. After buying the DLC I jumped right back into the game. I’m finding the new enemies even more daunting and relentless than the originals. It also reals like the game runs better in that the graphics are smoother but the game seems somehow even more glitchy. There are even more physic problems of walls apparently not being walls since enemies constantly shoot and run threw them.

Even with the technical issues, I’m in for another run through this game. They added a lot of content and things to do which makes it interesting to play again already.

I finished the campaign. It was ok. It felt like another mediocre Call of Duty campaign. Not too much to say about it other than that.

Image via store.steampowered.com

After putting hours into this campaign, I have absolutely no idea what is going on. The previous game’s campaign at least some cohesion to it that this one sorely lacks. There are so many jumps of who is working with or against who that I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be thinking. In a way it feels like different people wrote different parts of this game and never talked to each other then in the end somebody blindly stitched them together into this calico tapestry of a game.

If I’m not playing any games this weekend, I’ll be sleeping.

What about you, folks? Any gaming plans this weekend?

dudewantshisrug-profile
Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

It’s the Freakin’ Weekend! What are You Playing?

Friday! Video games! Let’s talk!

Brad is still out and miss him. Let’s all wish him well.

Hopefully the holiday was good for all. It was way too hot in my part of the world to do much. It was probably above 90 by noon. I stayed indoors all day and listened to the fireworks since I didn’t even try to go outside to see them.

Image via steamcommunity.com

I finished the game! XCOM 2 is finally in the finished pile! It was a long, arduous journey but I made it.  There were at least three separate occasions when I thought the game was over, expected to see the final cutscene, only to have it throw more at me to do. The final mission was likely the most stressful part of the game. No spoilers but if you get towards the end, make sure all your best soldiers are healed and available, just saying.

The War of the Chosen DLC was on sale in the PlayStation store and I purchased it. I will not be playing it for some time, however. That last mission took a lot out of my mental capacity as far as gaming goes and I’d like to play something different before diving into another play-through.

Image via store.steampowered.com

At about two hours long, this game was a nice little introduction to what is coming in Life is Strange 2. It is much like the other Life is Strange games not only with its graphics and controls but also the story. Since it is so short I won’t go into any details but would encourage anyone to play it. After all, it is very short and free.

What better way to step away from XCOM 2 than to play a Call of Duty campaign, right? I figured these two games will be nothing like each other and so far I’m right. I’ve never played CoD BLOPS since the original was first released and the third game is currently free on PSPlus so somehow my warped mind put together that I should pull my PS3 out of storage and play BLOPS 2. Yeah, I don’t get it either but that’s what I’m doing.

What about you, folks? Any gaming plans this weekend?

dudewantshisrug-profile
Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.