Changing Retro

Posted on Dec 15th 2015 at 08:00:00 AM by (wildbil52)
Posted under Games, Steam Games, Xbox One

As a father of two boys under 2 years old, it isn't always easy to find time for gaming but I have played some great games this year.

I apologize for the quality of the pics, I took them off screen and they didn't all come out as nice as they look on my TV Sad

When I say "this year," I don't mean games that were released this year, though some were. I mean games that I played this year.  Let's jump right in with the Dark Knight.

Batman: Arkham Knight

When I first heard about a new Batman game from Rocksteady, the group behind Arkam Asylum and Arkham City, I was very excited.  Arkham Origins is just not a very good game, so I was eager to see what the original developer would do with their final Batman game; they didn't disappoint.  Every time a great open world game comes out, you see lots of quotes like "this game is everything that is great about open world games," which is a concise way of saying that there are a ton of very fun things to do at any time.  Barring the facial expressions (or lack thereof) and janky character movement during cut scenes , Arkham Knight is one of the best looking games on whichever console you decide to play it on. 

The most noticeable addition to Arkham Knight, compared to previous games in the series, is the ability to drive the Batmobile.  Driving Batman's signature vehicle looks and feels great; switching to combat mode takes just a little getting used to. Since every other driving game since the inception of analog triggers has used the left trigger for braking, you will definitely go into combat modeabout a hundred times (until you get the controls down) when you mean to use the brakes.  I was really impressed with how great the strafing combat mode is in the Batmobile.  Basically, when you hold the left trigger, the Batmobile goes into a tank mode where you can strafe with the left analog stick and fire your cannon with the right trigger.  This is useful for clearing out enemies, but more often is used when the game requires you to fight a number of tank drones without leaving a pre-defined area.  Since you can detect where the enemies are aiming and you are equipped with a "boost" mechanism that allows you to quickly move in any one direction, it makes for some fantastic close calls when 5 or 6 drones are locked onto you.  The other thing that never gets old is driving the Batmobile at full speed and then launching out of it to glide to wherever your bat heart desires.  I can't stress this enough: upgrade the skill that launches you out of the Batmobile to the max level as early as possible.

I could go on and on about Arkham Knight.  It's easily the best game in the series.  It's hard to talk about the story without giving anything away.  I'll just say that while the story isn't as gripping as Asylum or City during the first act, the story picks up significantly in the second and third.  There are tons of people who say they saw some of the twists coming, but I like being surprised so I never look for them.  By letting the story come to me, I am able to experience the story the designers wanted me to experience.  There are some great and very well known Batman moments that are captured very well and there are a few surprise guests that make very welcome, though in some cases (Hush) very brief, appearances.  It's rare that I 100% a game, since I typically stop playing when I am done having fun; I don't chase the number.  However, I wanted to do everything that this game had to offer.  After I completed the game to 100%, I even started a New Game Plus.  I just didn't want it to end.

I should mention that the PC version has been basically broken since release and despite several patches, PC users are still complaining of very poor 3D performance and numerous bugs.  PCs are great, but unfortunatly, the PC version of this game cannot be recommended.

Sunset Overdrive

This game is fantastic.  The first Insomniac game on a non-Sony console, Sunset Overdrive is a huge, colorful, self-aware, and absurdly fun game. 

When this game was first announced, I'd say it was a 5/10 on my interest meter.  It was a maybe, possibly could be cool, but let's wait and see type of game.  When I saw the first playable footage (at whatever expo it was shown at), I'd say my interest actually went down to a 4/10.  The problem wasn't that the game wasn't good, it just didn't demo well at expo.  Once the reviews started coming in and it was getting 9's and 9.5's, I decided to give it a serious look, and by serious look I mean I added it to my Birthday/Christmas list.  My wonderful in-laws bought the game for me (Thanks Kathy and Jim!), and it was the first game I played when I was completely finished with Assassin's Creed IV.  I'll be honest, it took me a little while to go gaga for this game.  The trick is to do 3 things at the same time:

1-ALWAYS be moving
2-NEVER be on the ground
3-Choose the right weapon for the situation

It takes a little time to get comfortable enough with the environmental cues to NEVER touch the ground, but once it clicks, the experience is really unlike any other that I can think of.  At first, you are just bouncing on cars and grinding on cables and building edges.  After a while, you realize that EVERYTHING in the world can be traversed as long as you engage it in the correct way.  Walls can not only be run on, but you can round corners, both interior and exterior corners, with the tap of a button.  It isn't just cars you can bounce on..Umbrellas, rooftop exhaust fans, and balloons are also sources of extra height.  The finishing touch is about 3-4 hours in, when you receive the Air Dash move.  By tapping the right bumper, you can now dash straight forward avoiding potential falls and extending your "no ground touch" streak.

The weapons are pretty hilarious and extremely varied.  There are the standard pistols, shotguns, and rocket launchers, but they all have interesting themed twists.  There are guns that shoot fireworks to set large areas of enemies ablaze, guns that shoot out other guns that hover on balloons and shoot enemies in the area automatically, and.......guns that shoot exploding teddy bears, records, and acid spewing toy mascots??  Yup, those are all in there, plus more.  The best part is that as silly as each weapon is, different enemies require different tactics.  You won't just pick a powerful weapon or two and stick with them, you will be constantly changing weapons, many times using more than 3 or 4 guns in a single fight. 

At it's core, Sunset Overdrive is a crazy fun time no matter how you decide to play it, as long as you nail the traversal.  Also, top notch, laugh out loud writing is never a bad thing.  They do move in herds.

Fallout 4

Was there any doubt?  The game that many of have been waiting for since completing Point Lookout is finally here and it doesn't disappoint.

What can you say about Fallout 4 that hasn't already been said?  You know what the game is about.  After all, War (war) never changes.  I found the opening sequence of Fallout 4 to be particularly touching.  It really deserves to be watched a few times to appreciate the humanity of the sequence.  Once you emerge from Vault 111, you are free to explore the world as you see fit.  You will most likely return to your home, which is just a stone's throw away.

Sanctuary Hills is just the first of many settlements that you can nurture and grow into a thriving town for a number of interesting benefits.  It's also the location where you meet your first of many companions, your old robot butler Codsworth.  Companions vary in their usefulness, but the ability to take an AI controlled companion with you is a welcome addition.  While companions were a feature of Fallout 3, they were few and far between and could be killed.  Companions in Fallout 4 cannot be killed, only incapacitated.  They aren't always great fighters, but they increase the amount of loot you can haul and that's always a welcome bonus.  Speaking of loot, the Minecraft-like scrapping system changes EVERYTHING.  No longer is the world filled with worthless garbage that you have to sift through to find anything of value.  EVERYTHING in the world has value now as junk that can be scrapped for parts to make weapons, grenades, chems, improve your settlements, and more.

Another interesting change is in the perk system.  In Fallout 3 you chose your SPECIAL stats, and that was it.  You couldn't modify them unless you found extremely rare bobbleheads out in the world.  There was also a hard level cap in Fallout 3Fallout 4 not only has no level cap, but when you level up, you can choose a perk OR permanently increase a SPECIAL stat.  This gives the player much more room to experiment when selecting SPECIAL stats as the old way allowed the possibility to seriously handicap yourself for a good part of the game.  Now if you need a SPECIAL boost, it's just a level up away.

The game is absolutely enormous.  For a little while when I first started, I would scan from one side of the map to the other and I thought, "Well, it's not really that big."  And now here I am, over 25 hours into the game, I've opened up a bunch of locations throughout the map but it's barely 20% discovered.  It's not just the overwork that makes the game so big, it's the many locations that have big areas to explore, loot, craft, and fight your way back to what's left of your family.  I'd like to talk more about Fallout 4, but I'm going to go play more Fallout 4.

That's it for me

I really didn't play a ton this year, but what I played I liked a lot.  Too bad XCOM 2 was delayed until next year, I had hoped to be playing that by now.  You'll also notice that one of my most anticipated games from E3, Rainbow Six Siege is missing from this list; I haven't played it yet.  For a game with no single player component and one that requires a semi regular team to play with, I just couldn't commit to it.  It's a shame.  However, I'm sure I'll find something else to play in this big, big backlog.

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I had completely forgotten about Sunset Overdrive until you said something, Bil.  That may have to do with my console of choice (PC), but I am surprised.  The freedom of movement that the demo teased more than piqued my interest.

As much as people whose opinions I respect praise Fallout 4 I just can't down my own feelings.  On one hand I love big, open, and buggy environments to immerse myself in.  On the other hand I really don't know if I like the idea of the vault-nurturing aspect.  Don't get me wrong, I will end of getting it, but a certain game with grappling hooks, wing suits, and parachutes will no doubt draw in my moolaa first.  And I need to play New Vegas (or so I am told).
Love the "homebrew" edition of Fallout 4 up there, bud.
Fallout 4!  I can't seem to get enough of this game.  I am at the point where I have to screw over one of the factions, level 64, 13 power armors, tons of pretty well developed settlements.  I am busily trying to do as much sidequests as I can before some of them are gone when I piss off a faction or two, or three.

Most likely note the save game, and do each different faction going back to my current save to try each one.  This should save me a LOT of time I think.

Sunset Overdrive looks awesome!  I don't have an XBone, but when I do get one, I will be sure to pick up that title.

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Like many of the people who visit this site, I am a lifelong gamer who loves and appreciates classic gaming as well as the current generation. When I started collecting games, I realized that some of the stories of my collecting might be interesting, educational, or just plain funny. The stories that I share here are meant to entertain as well as inform and they are all 100% true, which is why I include pictures.

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