This Sword is Degrading…

It was an offhand comment on the superb Later Levels GameBlast Stream two weeks ago (Well done again!) about my dislike of QTE’s that got my thinking about game features that rub me up the wrong way. Surprisingly it isn’t the aforementioned QTE that bothers me the most. I can’t say that I’ve ever been sold a game on the promise of QTE; let’s face it, “NOW FEATURING QUICK TIME EVENTS!” isn’t the kind of thing that makes it in to the clipart rosettes featured in game box-art. Having said that, there are times when it is at least ‘functional‘ as a method of player interaction if not fireworks-in-the-sky-amazing. What does almost universally annoy me is weapon degradation; at best I tolerate it, at worst it will make me stop playing. With this convoluted train of thought in mind I decided to pick apart what I dislike about this increasingly common feature, but more importantly try to understand why designers feel the need to include it. Continue reading “This Sword is Degrading…”

Editorial: March – Late

My vacation of the week before last rolled in to a pretty intense work week with two days of travelling to meetings before I could even begin to work out what had been happening whilst I’d been away. Couple that with a few other bits and pieces that have been going on and … well… what I’m trying to say is that I missed both last week’s regular post and the Friday slot for this editorial…

… and yeah, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. This whole blogging malarkey is a hobby so having an off week doesn’t really bother anyone but me from a content creator point of view. From a personal point of view however it’s a little frustrating that I couldn’t find an appropriate time for a hobby, and that’s nobody’s fault; it’s just the way that things fall sometimes.

On top of this I’m also down on community engagement; I know loads of great posts have been going up in the past few weeks but I’ve been out of the rhythm of reading them. Continue reading “Editorial: March – Late”

Apex Legends: A Mythical Geometric Vetrex

… and then a few weeks ago Apex Legends landed without any warning and made lots of people go “Waaahhhh!” – So why was that?

I originally wrote a whole dull paragraph here about my chequered past with PU:BG and Fortnite:BR, but that was far too long and can be summarised by saying:

“I like the concept of Battle Royale games, but I’m just not very good at them” 

That’s not to say that skill or ultimate placement correspond to fun, but playing a game that you can’t feel improvement or just generally show up to be an extra notch on someone else’s frag counter is rarely a rewarding experience. I want to feel as though I can at least hold my own, so my infatuation with both of the above titles gradually tarnished until I gave up and uninstalled them. Then Apex Legends showed up (apparently having something to do with Titanfall) and I got sucked back in to that Battle Royale play-loop; firstly out of curiosity but sticking around because it turns out it is actually fun. Continue reading “Apex Legends: A Mythical Geometric Vetrex”

Backlog: Embracing the Beast

… as I find myself in a post-Resident-Evil-2-Remake-World I’m floundering a little for another game to get stuck in to. The RE2Make has taken up a big chunk of my gaming enthusiasm recently from the pre-release streaming of the original, writing a number of Resi-Related pieces, and finally running through the various scenarios of the actual release. I think I’m at a point where I’m happy to put it down for a while; sure, I haven’t yet completed the 4th survivor, but for me that was never a big attraction (even on my well-worn disks of the original) and now I just don’t have the patience to work out the best strategy through each area looking for that elusive perfect run. So what now?

Well, it seems like a fitting coincidence that the wordsmiths of LaterLevels and LividLightning have announced that this is the official #LoveYourBacklog week 2019. It’s a week to embrace the unplayed titles on that ol’ waiting list in an effort to transform what is often considered a negative in to a celebration of your gaming passion. Continue reading “Backlog: Embracing the Beast”

Resident Evil 2: The Resident Evil 2 Perspective

Spoiler Warning & a Disclaimer: This article contains discussion of Resident Evil 2 (Remake, 2019) including plot spoilers… it also contains the uninhibited ramblings of my Original Resident Evil 2 fanboy brain compartment. Please note that I do consider the remake to be a darn fine game and excellent re-imagining of the original.

The Resident Evil 2 Remake…

Henceforth known as the Re2Make… not to be confused with the REMake referring to the GameCube version of the original, or the HD remaster of that game the REMakeHD….

… is excellent!

It handles the original content with the care that such a widely beloved title deserves whilst managing to be an enriched journey back to that RPD Police Station. I have been captivated by the new experience; to see these locations brought back to life in such chilling ways, to see the characters grown though excellent writing and acting, and to see the genre of survival horror so clearly the core of the gameplay has been a delight. It’s difficult to shortlist highpoints of the experience as such a fan of the original: That first rainsoaked approach to the Police Station was jaw dropping, the Lickers (undoubtedly my favourite enemy in the series) are terrifying, The original locations that have been recreated are full to the brim with detail and atmosphere are beautiful…. yes, it’s quite the experience all round. As a full package it does something I almost thought impossible; it pleases old fans, new fans, and total newcomers. Continue reading “Resident Evil 2: The Resident Evil 2 Perspective”

Editorial: February 2019 – Downstream

Wow! I’ve really hit the ground running this year with a crazy busy time blogging; I managed to fit in two bonus blog posts (but more about those later) along with following through on my promise last month to do some streaming.

The original idea was that I wanted to have one more revisit of Resident Evil 2 (PS1) before the remake landed last week and as it’s a game I know *ahem* pretty well I thought it would be nice to invite people along for the ride by streaming the event. Now, I have streamed in the past, most notably my dive in to Jurassic Park: Trespasser, but this felt a little different as I wanted to actually add some value with my narration rather than just laughing at the weird-legged dinosaurs. The goal was to share why I love this game so much and hopefully provide a few interesting crumbs of trivia along the way. I also managed to stream from the original hardware; yes, the stream featured my original copy of the game, original PS1, original controller, and even the original memory card that I dedicated to this game. Technically it was a little bit fiddly to set up and I discovered in a test (luckily) that you couldn’t stream the piracy warning stream without the whole thing falling over (I never worked out if this was OBS or the cheap USB capture device I picked up). Continue reading “Editorial: February 2019 – Downstream”

The Rise & Fall of My Team Fortress 2 Career

I may have bought Valve’s Orange Box for entirely different reasons, but I got the most mileage out of the inclusion of Valve’s standalone sequel to what was originally a Quake mod; Team Fortress 2. Honestly, the phrase “Most Mileage” is a bit of an understatement. With my current Steam playtime for TF2 reading 905 hours it sits proudly at the top of the heap of most total time I’ve ever spent playing a game… by some way. I consider a game above 20 hours playtime to be a big investment of single player effort and even games that have seen a good wedge of multiplayer rarely break in to triple figures. For a game that’s such a significant slice in my gaming past, it’s kind of strange that I haven’t mentioned it a whole lot before.

Of course that 905 hours was accumulated over years, but those years overlapped some of the trickier ones that I’ve had to face personally and, whilst I’m not going to go into all of those details, my own development and the game’s ongoing development come together to tell a story of my relationship with the eternal conflict between Red an Blu (and of course the Announcer who, like a puppet master, controlled us all). Continue reading “The Rise & Fall of My Team Fortress 2 Career”