Archive for the ‘Xbox One’ Category

The Games of Not-2018

2018 felt a little different to me in terms of the way I used my free time on videogames. For whatever reason – be it a less intense schedule of new releases that interested me, weariness of the same old drop-everything-to-play-the-new-thing habits, finally acquiring a decent gaming PC, or a combination of all three – I was somehow more OK with the idea of putting time into older games this year. So I feel like it wouldn’t be a full representation of my 2018 in videogames if I didn’t jot down some quick thoughts on them. I also figured I’d include remasters or re-releases on this page too, just to take some heat off the main list.

I’ve listed the games roughly in the order I played them this year. I’ve also listed either the most prominent initial release version of each game or, where relevant, the version I owned or played back in the day instead. Then on the line underneath I’ve noted the version I played in 2018. Stop looking at me like that, I have to catalogue these things properly.

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Pokemon Crystal Version

GBC Release: 2001
3DS Virtual Console Release: 2018
How much I played: Start to finish including Kanto, 25+ hrs

I was super-vulnerable to this release when it hit the 3DS eShop in late Jan. There wasn’t much else to play and I was about to head off on a coastal family holiday. The rest I wrote down in its own separate post which you can read here.

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Final Fantasy XIII

PS3 Release: 2010
Steam Release: 2014
How much I played: The first ten chapters and some messing around in Chapter 11 makes 30+ hrs

Not gonna even try to hide it – seeing this game run in forced 4K on some YouTube video last year was a huge percentage of the reason the dominoes fell and I finally invested in a gaming laptop. After a discussion with a friend about whether FF XIII really did look better than XV in parts or whether that was just our memory of it, I had to jump back in after a decade and it turns out that, despite a truly, ridiculously awful port job, the game’s astonishing art direction sings in higher resolutions. I did play more than half of the game again, hoping to dive into a proper thousands-of-words retrospective, but the gaming calendar moves fast. Near the end of the year Microsoft gave the XIII trilogy a huge Xbox One X-supported backwards compatibility push, so who knows, maybe Square has more plans for a re-release or something. Either way, I will write that post one day. I will.

 

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Replaying Conker’s Bad Fur Day on Xbox One X in One Day – A Reloaded Report

That’s a mouthful.

I come to you on this day, in this year where I seem unable to play anything but old games, with another old game. This time, in an attempt to force some words onto the keyboard, I do so in the form of a self-imposed challenge.

The day? April 23rd. I’ve given myself 24 hours, knowing that I have another day off afterwards to sleep in if this gets out of hand.

The idea? To play the Nintendo 64’s Conker’s Bad Fur Day – one of my all-time favourite videogames – in a format I have never experienced before and under a time limit in keeping with the game’s theme.

The inspiration? The release of original Xbox remake Conker: Live & Reloaded on the Xbox One family of systems in mid-April this year, meaning I finally get to play it after fifteen years of unresolved jealousy at original Xbox owners and the odd serving of sour grapes.

The goal? To see how it holds up, naturally, but also to try my hand at a stream-of-consciousness style of writing.

Let’s do this.


Pre-Challenge The download size of the game was a little heftier than I was expecting at roughly 5GB, but I really have no point of reference for original Xbox stuff. Those fancy character fur shaders must have been mighty space-heavy back in 2005. There is the matter of all the recently-released backwards compatible Xbox games running at 16x their original pixel count on Xbox One X, but to my knowledge there wasn’t a lot of texture replacing going on, so the file size wouldn’t have been inflated all that much. Anyway, I had to wait more than I had initially budgeted time for. Alas.

Pre-Challenge The main selling point of the Bad Fur Day remake when it first launched, apart from the graphical improvements, was the entirely fresh Xbox Live-supported multiplayer. Sadly Microsoft hasn’t re-launched any servers to coincide with these new OG Xbox titles (why would they?) but the game supports a mode against AI bots, so I decided to give it a quick spin before the day of the main run. Scrolling through all the maps and character classes hurt just a tiny bit, because the whole shebang looks like exactly the kind of thing I would have loved to play in its heyday.

Class-based, objective-heavy gameplay in the mid-2000s a la the original Star Wars Battlefront (which is also releasing via backwards compatibility this month) would have been incredible, especially given the artistic similarity to the already excellent and well-worn splitscreen modes of the N64 BFD. This new multiplayer suite even has a story from the looks of things! But I could never justify buying an Xbox just for one game (or two, maybe, counting Halo: Combat Evolved). If I had been five years older, though…

05:49 In the game, Conker starts bleary-eyed and hungover, and while I figured a heavy night of drinking might not be wise before this challenge, starting early was always going to be the way to go. Immersion is one thing, but there’s also the matter of time and its perpetually short supply. Truth be told, I made my brother do this challenge a few years ago with the N64 original, and while he had never finished the game before that day, he also wasn’t pausing frequently to write about his thoughts, and he went rather definitively into the A.M of the following day. I’m not big on binge gaming in general, usually needing to get up and do something else after two or three consecutive hours, so I expect to face some motivation challenges over the course of this day. It’s too early to boil the kettle and wake the house up so I splash my face with some new icy face gel product, grab my brand-relevant Sea of Thieves Xbox controller, and get stuck in.

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A Borderlands Retrospective

Rolling on to the entertaining thoughts of tehdr4g0n, an accomplished medical practitioner with fiery opinions and a blog you can check out at the bottom of this page!

—Written by tehdr4g0n—

—Edited/formatted by Vagrantesque—

Before I begin this article in earnest, I’d like to thank Ryan for featuring me on his blog. In doing so, the man shows a remarkable degree of courage, considering my usual style. With this in mind, I’ve toned things down a little.

So, on to the actual content of the article. With the recent release of Borderlands: The Handsome Collection, this seems as good a time as any to take a look at the Borderlands franchise as a whole. In other words, strap yourselves in because I’m about to talk about three Borderlands games, and various aspects of each. Full disclosure, I’m going to talk about my own experience and thoughts on each game, so there won’t be any philosophical discourse on this article. It’s just going to be my experience and opinion on each instalment in one of my favourite franchises of all time.

Borderlands

The original Borderlands game, released in 2009, was adventurous and different. For any whose memories of the time are hazy, this was the year of Uncharted 2; the auspicious first release of Dragon Age: Origins; James Cameron wowing the world with pretty trees and blue aliens in Avatar; and me curled in a little ball trying to ignore the calamity that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Yes, more stuff happened, no I’m not going to name them all. That was just off the top of my head.

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Destiny Day One Impressions

Yes, the Nintendo stuff is coming. I’m trying to space out seven countdown posts over a few weeks.

So I just finished up an 8 hour long session with Destiny, Activision and Bungie’s gigantic videogame project that launched today pretty much worldwide. I very rarely play any game for that long in a single day, especially not a brand new one, so I feel like if I don’t write something about it I will be rather uncomfortable with myself. I played the whole time in a fire team with two friends, which if I understand correctly is the way the developers intended, and I’ve just hit Level 10 (half of the level cap) as a Warlock class. I hadn’t played the beta beforehand. I’m unlikely to ever write a review for such a gigantic, expandable title, so here are my scattershot, knee jerk thoughts on the game so far:
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WHAT I LIKE

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Dedicated Australian servers that haven’t yet crashed on me. That’s a fantastic start to any online-heavy game, let alone an online-only one. Installation and start-up were relatively painless. Bravo Bungie.

Gunplay. Most of Destiny‘s weapons feel really, really good to use, even if some aren’t all that effective. I’m particularly partial to fusion rifles and their concentrated laser barrage of destruction.

Visuals. Game’s damn purdy on PS4.

Mmm, moon rocks.

Mmm, moon rocks.

The game’s User Interface. Have you seen how clean Destiny‘s menus look? All big numbers and minimalist icons and right angles. Delicious. There isn’t a lot of unnecessary fat to be found anywhere.

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Game Review: Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes

Oh why not? Let’s do another one.

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Platform:
PS3, PS4, 360, XBO
Developer:
Konami
Rating: MA15+
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Big Boss has been through a lot.

Big Boss has been through a LOT by now.

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Entree is served.

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Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the kind of entertainment product that confuses on so many levels, and yet is so rewarding to experience, that it just had to have come out of Japan. A hideously overpriced mini-prequel to the ambitious upcoming game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Ground Zeroes confounds and delights in near-equal measure, leaving me both eager to experience the full-blown upcoming game and happy to leave this one behind.

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Updated PS4 Impressions

Infamous is almost here!

PS4_4cont

Not pictured: Game that actually uses 4 controllers.

I’ve already had my PS4 for a tick over three months, which is a little difficult to believe, and have been spending a decent amount of time with it. The console has more games and features than it did when I first wrote about it on this blog and it’s about to get arguably its first bona fide “next-gen” exclusive title, Infamous: Second Son, so here’s how I feel about the console now. Just don’t ask me about the Xbox One, because I’ve barely touched mine since Christmas (outside of the excellent Titanfall beta of course).

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My Titanfall Beta Impressions

Shortly after it went live (in closed form) on February 14th, I dived into the very exciting beta version of Respawn Entertainment’s upcoming Xbox One pseudo-exclusive Titanfall and played quite a bit of it. Since then it has moved into open status and then finished up entirely. If you didn’t have a chance to play it or simply feel like reading about a different perspective on the whirlwind week, read on.
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MOTION FLOW

The first thing I noticed when I got started in the Titanfall beta was the immense focus on constant movement. Titanfall thrives on ensuring that every action flows easily into another action and it is this, rather than the presence of Titans per se, that defines the game. At least half of every match (much more if you’re me) is spent outside of a Titan, but that part of the experience doesn’t feel like a standard FPS might, due mostly to the ability to “wall-run” and double jump with the aid of a jetpack-style implement. Sure, you can stay low and take people on at street level as a Titan-less pilot, but that puts you at a tremendous disadvantage should you meet one. Verticality is the name of the game and going up is easy. Once you get the hang of the airborne movement mechanics, which are all about just one button and a sense of timing, the feeling is awesome. Comparing it to the action of anime series Attack on Titan yields more than just name-based similarities.
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