Posts Tagged ‘pc’

Best of 2017: Top 15 Games

Here we are. Time to count down my favourite videogames from a truly phenomenonal year for the medium (The best in ten years?). There are some games on this list that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone even remotely interested, but the real measure of 2017 is the games that don’t make the list because I just didn’t have time to get into them. And no, I don’t just mean games other people liked but didn’t really grab me. I’m talking Horizon Zero Dawn, Cuphead, Yakuza Zero, Steamworld Dig 2, Night in the Woods, Tales of Berseria, Golf Story, Gang Beasts. Games that in any other year I would have been all over. Games I’ve already seen on many other top ten lists across the internet.

Part of this can probably be attributed to my conscious decision not to ignore good games on the 3DS as long as they were coming out. I clocked nearly 200 hours of combined 2017 playtime on my 3DS according to its activity log – mostly on trains and buses – and if it weren’t for the Nintendo Switch overshadowing it on every big site and YouTube channel I would have been shocked that I wasn’t seeing some of these 3DS games on more people’s lists. Of course, the Switch was still a thing, so there are more Switch games on this page than on any other console. The rest of the numbers are made up by some delightfully surprising indie and triple-A games gripping enough to help me temporarily forget about all the other games I could be playing. What an insane year.

A game qualifies for the list if I play it for over five hours or finish it. You’ll see the platform on which I played each game in parentheses next to its title.

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VR BEST OF 2017 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Intriguing, but strange. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

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15. ARMS (NS)

Major new IPs from Nintendo are rarer than a PC without Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds installed, so it’s a big deal when one comes along. Following in the spiritual footsteps of 2015’s Splatoon, ARMS is an attempt by Nintendo to refresh what players can expect from a fighting game, in much the same way that Splatoon injected new life into the shooter genre. Taking stylistic cues from Blizzard’s Overwatch in the character design department and infusing these designs with Nintendo wackiness, ARMS is a charming game with deceptive mechanical depth and phenomenonal 1v1 duel multiplayer. Though the rest of its modes are inherently less deep and the game’s single player mode is basic at best, ARMS is my pick for most improved game of the year post-launch, with extra incentives, modes and characters now part of the package. And let’s not forget that theme song, which slots right in alongside Nintendo’s catchiest first-party tunes. ARMS should not be overlooked by anyone buying a Switch.

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Best of 2016: Top 15 Games

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Now for the home stretch.

2016 was ultimately a much better year for videogames than it might currently feel like it was. No really, I mean it. Some of the latter-year triple-A releases may have failed to hit the mark with large enough audiences, and the pacing of the videogame release schedule in general was super weird (What on earth happened to the trend set over the last couple of years that June/July/August can be a smart period to release games? Why was Ubisoft the only company releasing anything big in the first three months of the year?). Yet when you look at a list of all the titles that hit over this bizarre 12-month period, there’s a hell of a lot of quality there. The indie and JRPG scenes in particular had phenomenonal 2016s, multiple games with years upon years of hype delivered on at least some of it, and there were plenty of surprising hits that came seemingly out of nowhere. Welcome to this countdown of my favourite 15 videogames of 2016.

The letters in parentheses after each title indicates where I played that game.

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VR BEST OF 2016 DISCLAIMER
This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Fun, but strange. Respectful disagreement is very welcome.
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15. ReCore (XBO)

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At the start of the year I might have expected I’d soon play a 2016 game with 3D platformer collect-a-thon roots, but never would I have thought I’d find it inside that Xbox-exclusive Keiji Inafune/Armature game announced at last year’s E3. It turns out that ReCore is more of a platformer at heart than any retail 3D action game released this decade, and its airborne control mechanics feel wonderful. It also packs a massive world that encourages exploration and plenty of colour-coded shooting boss battles that aren’t afraid to get difficult, with customisable robots thrown in for good measure. Some confusingly restrictive systems and a lack of environmental variety may weigh it down as it plods through its latter stages, but ReCore is still one of the year’s most pleasant surprises for me.

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Get KE3N

It’s almost time for yet another annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, which still seems to bring the goods again and again even in today’s leak-heavy internet age. This year, instead of the customary five press conferences, we have eight to take our sleeping hours away. EIGHT. Like, eight of them. If you plan to watch them all, best of luck to you. What a treat, though!

Once again for those Sydneysiders and Melbournians (etc) who are keen to watch any of the conferences but can’t be bothered looking up and cross-referencing time zones to work out when they have to get up, I’ve written them up right here, so look no further.

All times are in AEST.
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12noon JUNE 15TH
BETHESDA

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: The recently released console versions of The Elder Scrolls Online, the long-awaited Doom reboot, plenty of information on the juggernaut that is Fallout 4.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: Dishonored 2 would be very nice indeed.
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2:30am JUNE 16TH
MICROSOFT

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: Single player gameplay debuts for what could potentially be the best line-up of console exclusives this holiday season – Forza 6, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Remastered Gears of War and Halo 5: Guardians. Not to mention the reveal of Rare’s next big game.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: Specifics on Quantum Break‘s release plans, a significant slice of attention towards awesome indie titles like Cuphead and Inside.
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6am JUNE 16TH
EA

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, the first official gameplay showings from Mirrors Edge: CatalystStar Wars Battlefront and the new Criterion extreme sports game, the shape of the new Mass Effect, sports games aplenty.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: The other Star Wars game. The one Amy Hennig is working on.

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8am JUNE 16TH
UBISOFT

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: The normal serving of Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance footage, more info on The Division and Rainbow Six Siege, some as-yet unknown surprise that will inevitably get everyone talking about how cool it could be.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: Same as last year – a new Rayman game, or the reappearance of Beyond Good & Evil 2.

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11am JUNE 16TH
SONY

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: Project Morpheus, the insane success of the PS4, Uncharted 4, Drawn to Death, Tearaway Unfolded, new Destiny stuff, lots and lots of juicy third party/indie partnerships.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: Persona 5 please. Lots more indies on Vita, too. And seriously, where is Gravity Rush 2?

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2am JUNE 17TH
NINTENDO
(via “Digital Event”)

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: Always the toughest to predict, but surely at least the new Star Fox game for Wii U, plenty of new amiibos, that leaked Hyrule Warriors 3DS port, the next main Pokemon game, Splatoon DLC plans, Mario Maker.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: It’s about time for a new Metroid game. Also, please please please let that Paper Mario rumour be true…

NOTE: Nintendo is doing their normal thing again and spreading their content out over the length of E3. These additional times might be useful for Nintendo fans:

12:40am June 15th: Dedicated Super Smash Bros for Wii U / 3DS “New Content Approaching” Live Stream

8am June 15th: Nintendo World Championships 25th anniversary edition

June 17th-19th (schedule TBC): “Treehouse Live @ E3” Presentations

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3am JUNE 17TH
SQUARE ENIX

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: A solid chunk devoted to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the unveiling of the long-teased new Hitman game, my potential game of the year Just Cause 3, some Heavensward: Final Fantasy XIV mentions, that new online robot shooter Figure Heads.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: With the confirmed lack of Final Fantasy XV at E3 this year, surely there’s some big Kingdom Hearts 3 stuff to show?

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10am JUNE 17TH
PC GAMING SHOW (Presented by AMD and PCGamer)

THEY WILL TALK ABOUT: Plenty of tech talk, Epic’s highly anticipated Fortnight, who knows what else? It’s the longest and most diverse conference on the schedule, so let’s hope it’s also one of the most exciting.
I HOPE THEY TALK ABOUT: Overwatch, Overwatch and more Overwatch. Come on, Blizzard, let’s get the whole world hyped.

Why I’ve Decided to Give Up All Other Games and Just Play League of Legends

My dear friends, I am tired.

I’m tired of videogame release after videogame release, all vying for my attention and my increasingly dwindling pool of time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last several hectic months of my life, it’s that there is such a thing as spreading yourself too thin. If you play too many games, regardless of your good intentions, it becomes near impossible to do justice to any of them.

So I’m done.

Not with games per se, but with playing so very many games. The Final Fantasies, Legend of Zeldas and Call of Duties of the world will hardly miss me if I leave them in my past in order to focus on new horizons. New and insanely popular horizons. Yes, the world’s most played game is calling my name, and its name, of course, is League of Legends.

I may only have dabbled in the game in the past, but what I have played is enough to convince me that I’m making the right call here. There just isn’t a more replayable game out there – it just flat-out doesn’t exist. Every game of LoL is different, and though it’s surprisingly easy to get your head around at first, its sheer, near-bottomless depth, constantly shifting metagame and regular content updates have made it one of the biggest eSports on the planet. And, i mean, have you seen an official League of Legends eSports broadcast? They are so polished I sometimes can’t tell whether I’m watching a traditional sporting presentation or not.

It’s bananas, yo.

I’m not saying I’ll ever be any good at the game, but I’m starting to see what all the hype is about, and it’s just about time to take the plunge. Faced with less free time than I’ve ever had in my life before, League of Legends offers me what other games cannot – an experience that never truly ends, but can be enjoyed in bite-sized pieces. 27 million daily players cannot be wrong.

See you online.

 

How To Get Even More Free Stuff on Playstation Plus

 

If you have a current Playstation games console (specifically a PS3, PS4 and/or PS Vita) and a connection to the internet, you really should have some kind of subscription to Sony’s Playstation Plus service. It just makes too much sense (and is alos kinda necessary to play most online-capable games on PS4). If you’re skeptical or in the dark about its benefits, read this post I wrote a while back, when it was offering less free stuff than it was now. If it still doesn’t appeal to you, that’s OK. But if it does, then you either have a PS Plus account, or you’re planning to grab a subscription soon. Either way, read on.

Most PS Plus subscribers do not quite realise the extent of what they’re able to access with their membership. If you have just a Playstation 3, for example, you may only be downloading one or two free PS3 games as they become available each month, doing so directly from your PS3 and going along your merry way. And that’s fine. Except you could be getting more.

Allow me to suggest a new way to peruse your monthly free game offerings on PS Plus – a way that is faster, more convenient and leaves you with more games than simply doing it via your console of choice. It may seem obvious to some but I remain astounded by the number of Playstation gamers I meet who are completely unaware of the option. This was first pointed out to me by Delaney of the Mega Ultra Blast Cast (Had to mention that or he would probably complain).
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New Experiences, Served Steamed

When it comes to videogames, I’ve always been a console guy. In terms of priorities when choosing how I want to play games, it has always been handhelds first, then home consoles. PC games have rarely, if ever, featured at all. That’s just the way it is. Real Time Strategy titles and MOBAs aren’t my thing and just about every other worthwhile title that comes to PC also hits the home console market in due time. Less hassle. Increasingly often, they also come to the Playstation Vita, which is an even better place to play them if you ask me. And yet late last year, I finally got a Steam account and bought a game on PC.

Why, you may ask? The short answer is Samurai Gunn, a four-player pixelated brawler I knew would eventually come to PS4 in the long run but just looked so good that I downloaded it through Steam anyway. Countless hours of ridiculous fun with friends followed, but Samurai Gunn just isn’t all that great to play solo and my Steam account was looking a little bare. So I picked up a $50 retail Steam voucher and decided to dive into some of the low-tech PC games I had seen on the big-name Game of the Year lists last year. That $50 bought me the following three games, with precisely three cents to spare. Here are my brief thoughts on them:

The Stanley Parable

The Stanley Parable is the kind of game that could probably only work on PC. A first person experience that both is and isn’t a game, The Stanley Parable digs its self-aware tendrils into every crevice of the gamer’s specifically-trained brain and dances around gleefully. Its designers evidently anticipated just about every possible way the average player would attempt to outsmart it, up to and including editing bits of the game’s code, which just shows another level of attention to detail. To say any more would be to ruin some of the game’s appeal, but I will mention that no game has ever made me feel so foolish for being so dedicated to the endless chase of Trophies /Achievements etc.

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