My Gaming Landscape [January 11th, 2016]

Happy New Year! I played a lot of games over my holiday break, mostly because I didn’t worry about finishing anything. I just played whatever I felt like playing at that moment. I also bought several games, so let’s get into it. My Gaming Landscape consisted of Battlefield 3, Shadow Complex Remastered, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the Humble SNK Bundle, Metal Slug 3, Sonic Adventure 2, Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore, Unreal Tournament (alpha), Resogun, Guilty Gear Xrd –Sign-, Far Cry 2, Gone Home, Spec Ops: The Line, Sonic Generations, Sonic 3D Blast, Grand Theft Auto IV, Super Amazing Wagon Adventure, Beyond Good and Evil HD, Skullgirls, Ultra Street Fighter IV, Costume Quest, Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, The Walking Dead, BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend, Suikoden II, Dragon Age: Origins, and Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.

Before my break, I started up Battlefield 3 because I wanted to see if I could get into a military shooter. Games like Call of Duty are not my jam but I don’t hate them so I thought I’d give a similar game a chance and I have Battlefield 3 on my PS3 thanks to PlayStation Plus. The single player campaign was boring and predictably over the top (stop a dude from blowing up New York with a nuclear bomb after he has already blown up Paris) but the multiplayer was actually pretty fun. I wasn’t that good and I got a message from some troll telling me I was worthless, but I got better as I played. I actually was learning, something I never got from playing any of the Call of Duty games. I had my fill once I got to level five, I think, but I actually had a lot of fun with Battlefield 3 and I will come back to it. I do have the game on PC so maybe I should play that version next time.

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My last review of 2015 for Middle of Nowhere Gaming was for Shadow Complex Remastered. So I played that in a weekend (that game is really short) and made not only a written review, but a video review. For my thoughts on the game, please go read / watch that, but to summarize, that game is super fun but the PC version is borked. After playing those two games, I start up The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on my 360 to kick off my holiday break. I never completed it despite have started it up several times so I wanted to finally beat it. It was not to be. I started up the game, made a new character, but after four hours of playing, I wasn’t happy with my character. So I restarted the game with a new character and had fun for about nine hours until a quest I was doing glitched out, preventing me from completing it. I rolled back a few hours to my last hard save and kept playing until I got bored just roaming around looking for something interesting to do. I think the game is a bit too open ended and some more direction would be helpful. I’ve never completed a Bethesda RPG before and I’m thinking I never will now.

I bought the SNK Humble Bundle in preparation for my new fighting game videos that I’m making now on my YouTube account. I tried out a few of the games included real quick before playing through Metal Slug 3. That game is still a ton of fun for like an hour. It’s a perfect drunk game with friends if you want to do something real quick. The PC version is fine but I do wish the menus and such were a bit more polished. I played Sonic Adventure 2 next. Sonic and Shadow’s levels are still mostly great, Tails and Eggman’s levels are alright, and Knuckles and Rogue’s levels are tedious. I didn’t finish it completely though. I just went through the Hero and Dark sides and stopped before the Last Story. Next, I bought Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore, which was on sale on the PlayStation Store because I remembered having fun with this version of DOA back in the day. Time has not been kind to that game (or that series in general). Free movement was not a thing in that game. I completely forgot that. The game feels extremely antiquated as a result so I quickly moved on.

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Since I had to download Epic Games’ PC client for Shadow Complex Remastered, I checked out what else the client had and downloaded the new Unreal Tournament alpha. I totally forgot that Unreal Tournament was coming back. I had a lot of fun with that game but I started having trouble with finding games without bots and my PC can’t run the game in 60fps unless all the settings are turned down. I enjoyed myself though so I’ll play it whenever I upgrade my PC. I downloaded Resogun from the PlayStation Store on my PS3 since it was free for awhile. It was fine but it didn’t really grab me after a couple of levels. Maybe another time. I bought Guilty Gear Xrd –Sign- on Steam, once again for my YouTube channel and played that for a bit before hopping online and playing some matches, which you can see here. Xrd is arguably my favorite in the series as the games before were too complicated for me to get into. Xrd is still more complicated than most fighting games but I can grasp it more easily than the previous games. Ranked matches are kind of screwy on the PC version, though.

Since I wasn’t going to cross off Oblivion off the backlog list, I decided to try to get Far Cry 2 off the list. Once again, it wasn’t meant to be but this time it was because that game is irritating. I kept dying on the first mission I accepted after going through the tutorial missions and it was because my GODDAMN GUN KEPT JAMMING! I understand that the gun jamming is meant to make the game more realistic but it’s just annoying with the frequency it happens. It makes the game tedious and so I just stopped playing it. Luckily, I had more luck with Gone Home. It’s been sitting in my Steam Library for so long so I loaded it up and completed it in two sittings. That game is so good! I love the atmosphere and the setting in that game. I was compelled to search every inch of every room, usually with some reservations since the house the game takes place in is huge and old and the storm outside makes the whole situation unsettling. It’s not a game for everyone, as some will just see a walking simulator and not an adventure game, but if it is something you can get into, go play it now. It was just released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 too!

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Next on the back log was Spec Ops: The Line. I have a lot of thoughts on this game. My overall thoughts on the game is that it’s…fine. It’s a good game; if you can get it for cheap, you should play it. That being said, this game has a lot of problems. First the gameplay. Playing on the PC, having so many commands mapped to the spacebar is strange. The controls in general are uncomfortable with just strange choices for buttons. I reconfigured them to be more to my liking but they never felt instinctual. Most of the game is run and shoot, with little to change the gameplay but the shooting is responsive and enjoyable. Then there’s the story. Everyone talks about how great the story is and I will at least say that I can appreciate developer Yager trying something like this in the first play, especially in a video game market with over the top stories like in COD. However, the story is not nearly as smart as it thinks it is. *SPOILERS BEGIN HERE* If all or most of the game were delusions of your character, then who is shooting at you the whole game? Did you at any point kill civilians? Who strung up people’s corpses from the overpasses? Who killed your partners? You didn’t do any of that. At worst, this is a sad story of a soldier who tried to do the right thing but went crazy in the process. However, the story tries to shape it as if this is all your character’s fault and that’s just bullshit. When I had to decide whether to kill myself or not, and then surrender or attack, it was an easy decision to make. Maybe I have a strong sense of right and wrong, but the game did not convey this struggle well at all. *SPOILERS END HERE*

Moving on, I bought Sonic Generations on Steam because I always wanted to see that game run in 60fps. It looks gorgeous and played up until the second to last boss fight since it started to glitch out. Homing attack didn’t want to work. I loaded up Sonic 3D Blast on my Saturn and beat that because I don’t care what anyone says; that game is fun. Got all the Chaos Emeralds too. I struggled to get Grand Theft Auto IV working properly on my PC but the frame rate refuses to stay stable so I broke down and bought it on the 360 since it was on sale. Played it a bit before moving on. I loaded up Super Amazing Wagon Adventure on Steam and had fun for a half an hour or so before I grew bored with it. I unlocked a few new wagons but I don’t think the gameplay is entertaining enough to warrant playing through it multiple times. I tried Beyond Good and Evil HD since I got it via PlayStation Plus and I had fun but it didn’t grab me at the moment. It’s a lot more action oriented than I thought it would be. I thought the picture taking was much more of a bigger part of the game.

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I bought Skullgirls on PC, once again for my fighting game videos. Got all the DLC too, though I’ve only played it for a bit. Same goes for Ultra Street Fighter IV, though I didn’t get all the DLC. I bought Costume Quest because I’ve heard a lot about it and I like Double Fine’s games for the most part. I haven’t loaded it up yet though. I bought Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga on the 360 since it was on sale and I was in the mood for Star Wars, what with the new movie coming out. It’s still in my opinion the best Lego game and I mostly jumped around playing different levels in the six movies. I replayed the first episode of The Walking Dead before putting it down because I wasn’t in the mood to be depressed. I also bought BlazBlue: ChronoPhantasma Extend on the PS3 via the PlayStation Store since it was on sale. I didn’t know an updated version of this game had been released so I was happy to get it, though I’ve only tested it out and played through the Arcade mode with Noel.

I bought Suikoden II via the PlayStation Store as it was on sale and played for seven hours before moving on. That game is very interesting. It was not what I thought it would be. The strategy elements are a nice change of pace from the standard RPG fare. The characters are colorful and well designed too. However, the graphics, even for the time, look pretty dated. It makes me wonder if the game was created on a small budget. I still enjoyed it though and I only stopped playing because at this point I was growing weary of RPGs. I loaded up Dragon Age: Origins real quick since I got it from PlayStation Plus but I still don’t like that game. Finally, I loaded up Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood on PC because I was in the mood for an Assassin’s Creed game but with a new Assassin’s Creed Chronicles game coming out this week, I might try that instead. We will see.

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That was my Gaming Landscape. I definitely won’t be playing as many games now since I’m back to work. Now I want to hear from you. What did you play this holiday? Did you get any games as a present or from the numerous sales available? Let me know in the comments. Peace and Love, Gamers and Players! Colorwind out.

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