If there was one thing that I could probably be accused of after a year long gaming session for the sake of this blog, it's simple to identify. One could easily say that if anything, I tend to like games too much. Not that I'm obsessed with games or sacrifice normal human activities or interactions in favor of playing games. No, I mean it in the sense that I find too many positives in games, talk too highly of sub-par games and generally just enjoy playing all types of games. I'm quick to defend a game that most reviewers hate, and usually end up critiquing harsh critiques of games.
Why am I like this? Mainly because I think all games deserve a chance, and if you lower expectations and hype from all games and just sit down and play them, you can usually find something to enjoy, even in the worst games. Sure, I totally understand feeling ripped off when you pay full price for a game and it turns out to be horrible, but when you buy a game, you are already interested in the first place, so why not just try to enjoy it?
The problem with our culture in this day and age is a mixture of game reviewers, retail stores over hyping new releases and more specifically, the Internet in general. If we weren't so locked in to Internet news sites and blogs and various other outlets, and didn't consumer so much information about games years before they are even released, the hype for games wouldn't be so great, thus making it harder for games to live up to expectations. We expect the best from every single game we play, and when something isn't perfect or what we expect, we generally overreact and spend more time picking out the flaws in games than we spend enjoying the good things.
Remember as kids when we would get one or two games a year? Maybe not all of us, but for me, that was the case for sure. A new game was treat and something to be cherished, especially in the NES days. And when we got a new game, we loved that game, no matter how bad it was. We would play the worst games over and over again, because that's all we had to play. Sure, we might be mad at our parents or grandparents for buying the worst of the worst, but we would still play those games. Now, we buy multiple games at a time, which means we have more to play. Add in the likes of RedBox, Gamefly and digital marketplaces, and we have never had more options for how we play games. The more options we have, the less enjoyment we find in the games we play, overall. Just a hypothesis, but I don't see how it can be any other way.
With that being said, my little girl and I rented a game to try out and play from the nearest RedBox, only because there wasn't any good movies to rent from it. She loves watching Adventure Time, and quite honestly, it is one of my guilty pleasures as well. With that, we decided to check out Adventure Time: Explore The Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!, a fairly new release that I just haven't had time for. I've had my eye on the game since it was announced earlier in the year, but with everything else going on in this amazing year of gaming, it fell off the radar. Until now, of course.
The game itself is okay, at best. It's a dungeon crawler, much like Diablo, but in the Adventure Time universe. It's fun seeing all the characters and familiar styles used in the game, as even the normal cartoon voice actors were brought on to make the experience an extension of the universe. Sure, it gets repetitive and while the story is quirky in typical Adventure Time fashion, it's not the best looking or well designed game.
You know what I liked best about the game, however? I loved the fact that my five year old daughter loved it, despite not really being good at it. She didn't care. She was familiar with the characters and she loved every bit of it.
Like I said, there's a silver lining on every black rain cloud. Would I buy this game for full retail price? Not a chance after playing a little bit of it. But for one night, for a couple of bucks, my daughter and I had a great time. That's all the counts, right?
One good deed deserves another, as they say, right? Well, that's exactly why I chose to play the game I did for this blog entry. You see, a little while ago, I wrote about Puppeteer, which I praised highly, and even boasted about how fantastic it was on some podcasts. Well, my buddy Ben was highly intrigued by the game, especially so that he could play it with his boys, as it is a fantastic game for all ages to enjoy. Because of that, we met up one fateful day so i could lend him the game, since I was done with it and the only reason I would keep playing it would be going back for missed trophies.
The last thing I wanted to do was trophy hunt, with two new consoles and other various new games just around the corner. With my backlog and everything else going on, trophy hunting wasn't beneficial to me in any way, despite how much I loved Puppeteer. I would love to go back and play it through again, but I'm afraid playing it simply for trophies would knock some shine off of it for me. Maybe not, though, but regardless, I just couldn't do it.
So I passed it off to Ben to let him enjoy it. At the time, I didn't need anything in return, as I told you how much was on my plate already and coming up. But recently, I found out he was done with a game that I was extremely interested in, and so, he returned the favor by letting me borrow it from him, since he was done with it and all.
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes has been a game I've wanted to play and write about since it came out several weeks back. But I held off on getting it for any current systems, because I had my eye on the PS4 version of the game. I did actually pick up a copy of the game for the PS4 version, but because of Amazon having some "difficulties" with my orders recently, I didn't actually get the game in time to make it part of my PS4 week. That's okay, though, as there are still a few days left in the year, I thought.
Well, then I caught wind that Ben had the Vita version, and instantly, I wanted to play that version first, especially for the blog. Why, you ask? It's simple, really. The console version of the game is massive and open-world, which means I would be able to get little progress in, especially with my attention being all over the place. The Vita version (along with the 3DS version) are stripped down games, which are completely linear and compiled into chapters, not just a large, open-world hub. It is a very streamlined gaming experience, which all LEGO games that have come to console and handheld have been like. It's a tried and true formula, and it works.
The reason I was so interested in it, I shamefully have to admit, is for the trophies. Usually, the Platinum trophies in these games are far and above easier to obtain than the console versions. Sure, you have to put in the legwork and beat the game, then do some grinding, but once you get going on it, the task isn't nearly as dubious as it would be on the console version. Truth is, I have never even come close to getting a Platinum trophy on a PS3 LEGO game, but all of them I have played for the Vita, I've got no problem.
So there you have it. I gave up Puppeteer to prevent myself from trophy hunting, only to borrow LEGO Marvel Super Heroes with the sole intention to trophy hunt. I'm skipping over the story and everything, mainly so I can experience it all on the PS4 when I get to it. But for now, it's just me and the trophies for the Vita version.
Thanks, Ben. I'm glad you seemed to like Puppeteer as much as I did, but just know, you are an enabler in my sick addiction to trophies. Hope you can live with yourself.
So first thing is first. No, I didn't do an entire, full, 7-day week for the Xbox One launch. I only did six days, because well, there were only six games I had and/or wanted to play for the system. I suppose I could have gave the Xbox Fitness program a chance, but despite downloading it, I know nothing about it. Plus, who wants to work out with a fitness game on Thanksgiving anyway?
Because of a lack of games to play, I only did six days for Xbox One. Deal with it. It has nothing to do with me favoring PS4 over the X1, or my underlying lack of commitment to the Microsoft platform. Think what you will, but I gave Microsoft and the Xbox One system every bit of attention as I did the PS4 before it. I just couldn't justify spending any more money on games I had little to no interest in.
Another thing people seem to want to know, as I have been asked quite a bit actually, is after playing and experiencing both systems first hand, is which system do I like more? Honestly, it's a hard question to answer, as both systems offer completely different experiences, functions and features that make them individual and hard to compare to one another. There are things that the PS4 does well that the Xbox One is lacking on, and vice versa. Also, because I have been spending so much time just playing games and writing for this blog, that there are still things I have yet to even try out on both consoles, like recording, sharing and streaming.
The biggest take away I have from almost two weeks of playing and writing about the two different brand new consoles is simple. I am super thankful for being able to get both new systems and enjoy them, as I realize how fortunate I am to be able to do so. Also, I am thankful that gaming is so popular, and that my life-long hobby has grown and continued to keep me entertained, enthralled and delighted after all these years.
Also, I'm thankful that there are so many different choices for gamers out there, as no matter what you are in to, there continues to be something new and exciting for you to enjoy.
Lastly, I am thankful that games like Tearaway continue to be made, as studios like Media Molecule aren't afraid to go against the grain and make games that are fun and whimsical, unique and bursting of personality. They aren't concerned with creating the most graphically powerful game, but instead insist on making great looking games in the style that they are.
In Tearaway, the entire game is made in paper-craft, which is a slight difference from the Little Big Planet games they are famous for. The thing about the game, however, is that the paper-craft art style isn't just for looks, but rather the entire focus of the game. Because the entire game is made of paper, essentially, it is able to showcase the unique features of the PS Vita system. It utilizes both cameras, the gyroscope and especially the rear touch pad. I could go on and on about how everything works in the game, but that would ruin a lot of the fun within it, as discovering it yourself adds to the charm.
I will tell you this, however. You, the player of the game, is an important part of the game, as you are essentially inside the game you are playing. Tearaway revolves around you, and it isn't until the end where you realize just how deep the seemingly shallow story goes. The ending will take you by surprise, in the best and most powerful way.
Overall, this is easily one of if not the best Vita game I have played all year. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to experience this game, especially on a day where we should all have so much to be thankful for.
I wrote about Knack for my first week with my PS4 series, specifically with how much I liked and enjoyed the game despite the criticism and overall negative outlook on it by the journalism community, which of course filtered down to the gamers, keeping many away from the game because of the review score. For reasons I just didn't understand, most reviewers just didn't like Knack, or at least didn't want to give it the credit it deserved for the great things it did. It's unfortunate, but thankfully, with my blog right here, I was able to enlighten and open some eyes and maybe convinced some people to go with their gut instead of what reviewers felt, and try the game.
Well, I can't help but feel like Microsoft has a game falling under the same hardships as Sony did with Knack. Ryse: Son of Rome has been one of those titles highly regarded and hyped up since the announcement of its existence several months ago, as it was clear that Microsoft would be leaning heavy on the gladiatorial combat game to carry their console-exclusive launch line-up. As the release got closer, however, the journalism community began to sour on the game, complaining about being repetitive, and ... well, not many other complaints really. That stigma that it was developing already was making reviewers nervous, and effectively keeping consumers wary of a Day 1 purchase.
Let's get this clear right off the bat. Yes, it is repetitious, especially in the beginning. But it's also pertinent to remember that this game is trying to showcase the Roman empire with some historical accuracy, which means it's trying to make the combat as realistic as possible. You don't use magic or crazy unrealistic weapons. You are equipped with weapons you would find in the time period, which for better or worse, didn't have a lot of diversity in their design.
The game is also very linear, as you battle your way through a pre-established path, not leaving you much chance for exploration. They never set out to make an open world gladiator game, but rather tell a flushed out story about a fierce warrior fighting for everything he believe in. With such a powerful story, especially one where the cut-scenes are absolutely gorgeous, I feel no need to wander off or do random side quests. The pacing of the game how it is laid out is perfect, and to knock the game for what it is and not trying to be more than that is a shame.
So yes, it is repetitive at the start. You only have a couple of moves at your disposal to use in order to dispatch enemies, but the more you fight and the more blood is spilled on the battlefield, the more you can upgrade your warrior to learn different attacks, executions and abilities. The game rewards you for continuing your journey, and I have no qualms with that. It really doesn't feel much different than other button-mashing brawler games, especially considering all the details the game is trying to showcase.
Oh, and this game is beautiful. Aside from the thousands of zombies on the screen at once in Dead Rising 3, or the individual beard hairs on basketball players in NBA 2K14, this game is quite the showcase for what "next-gen" technology is capable of, which is scary considering this is just the beginning for this generation of consoles.
Long story short, if Ryse: Son of Rome caught your interest at all, and you backed off because of the reviews, then you are missing out. If you can play it in any capacity, you need to do so. Don't let those always-negative game reviewers keep you from pursing your gut feelings. Allow this measly blogger to convince you to ignore them and play what you want, because you want to. That's what gaming is all about.
So when I got my Xbox One, I had this weird feeling that the launch line-up for games was pretty weak. I couldn't get passed how few retail games I wanted to buy when I picked up my system, and how it seemed like I would be relying on the XBLA to supply me with games to play on the new console.
What I wasn't thinking about at the time, which had to be pointed out to me, was that because I got so many games for the PS4 that were cross-platform, that when looking for Xbox One games to get, the selection seemed a lot more limited than it actually was. Despite my own Jedi mind tricks on myself, I also have to point blame to Microsoft for launching after the PS4, because for everyone who took the plunge and bought both systems, they hindered themselves on game sales as the opportunity to buy "next=gen" games came a week earlier on the PS4. Sure, some gamers would still buy some of those games on the Xbox One because that would be their system of choice, just as how the PS4 is my system of choice, but either way, it's lost dollars however you want to slice it.
Anyway, because I wasn't buying a bunch of retail games for the Xbox One, I did want to jump in to the XBLA games more so than I normally would. I am kind of disappointed that Sony knew how to bring attention to the PSN buy giving away two, quality games for free while Microsoft refuses to give it's uses anything worthwhile at all, and nothing for early Xbox One adopters.
Well, one of the games I decided to try out was LocoCycle, which I have heard a lot about for what feels like forever now, but seemed to lose it's own hype once it was close to release. I had actually forgotten all about it until I was browsing the store, and thankfully Microsoft decided to give it a featured spot on the main page.
The main reason why I was even interested in this game at all was because it was developed by Twisted Pixel, the development team responsible for 'Splosion Man, Ms. 'Splosion man and quite possibly the best Kinect game available, The Gunstringer. Truth be told, 'Splosion Man was the first XBLA game I ever bought, and I loved every bit of it. Back then, I was hesitant to jump in to the downloadable game market, but the premise of the game was just too compelling to pass up.
Now, with LocoCycle, the team has taken everything they learned over the years to put together a very interesting, unique game. The gameplay is constantly transitioning from one type of game to another, seamlessly I might add. Just when you get used to a driving game, it tossed you right into a shooter. From there, you might go to a brawler or some other type of game, but either way, you really have no idea what you're going to be playing from one minute to the next.
There is also an interwoven live-action short film within the game, which breaks up the over-the-top gameplay with a fun and entertaining little movie, that is almost more ridiculous than the game itself. Fortunately, the game never takes itself seriously, and seems to be self aware more so than it lets on. There are hints of mild racism revolving around the Hispanic mechanic of IRIS, the talking bike, which some people in the journalism community has taken offense to. But if anything, it just feels juvenile, not intentionally offensive. While you have to imagine the development team didn't set out to be racist in anyway, I could understand how some people could be sensitive to it.
Regardless, I have had a good time playing this game, more so than I thought I would, but as much as I hoped to. So far I have been plenty entertained with the XBLA options offered up for the launch of the Xbox One, although I can't help but feel taken advantage of instead of appreciated like I did with Sony.
Take notes, Microsoft. If you want to stay competitive in this arms race, especially in the digital download independent games arms race, look at what Sony is doing with the PSN.
When I was talking about the XBLA marketplace, with it being really hard to find games that aren't featured or given a spotlight to catch buyers attention on the main page of the store, I was talking about this game. For some reason, Microsoft decided that despite it being a launch title for the Xbox One market, they weren't going to help promote it at all, burying it deep within the search pages of the store, making it almost impossible for browsers looking for new games to stumble across it.
And that's a shame.
Of all the non-retail downloadable titles, Powerstar Golf might be the shining star of them all. While it doesn't showcase the graphical and processing power of the new console like other games might, that shouldn't diminish the value and overall charm of this game. Apparently it was originally designed as a 360 game, but Microsoft decided to hold off on it and push it to the Xbox One, of course with some more polish to class it up a bit I;m sure.
I'm glad they decided to hold on to it, because if it had been a 360 release, I wouldn't have touched it, like most other games on the 360. But being on a new new system on launch day, I made it a point to check it out. You know, once I found it in the store of course.
Once you start playing the game, it's impossible not to make comparisons to the other popular arcade-style gold game that can be found on Sony platforms, most recently on the Vita. Hot Shots Golf is a great game and has dominated the market-share for this genre. But with the emergence of Powerstar Golf, now, hopefully they two competing franchises can push each other into making the best product possible.
I really like arcade golf games for the simple fact of how over the top unrealistic they are. Tiger Woods golf games are fun, but almost too realistic, and are usually more stressful then they need to be. Just like real golf! With games like Powerstar Golf, however, I never feel rushed, or stressed or anxious to be perfect. I just get up to the ball and mash it and hope for the best.
Sure, there is a considerable amount of skill and strategy involved with this game, just like any other golf game. But the simplicity and ease of which anyone can just jump into a round makes the game very approachable by golf fans and gamers alike. In this new franchise, there is an added RPG style element to the development of your characters, as everything you do on the course nets you XP that goes to upgrading your golfer. Throughout the round, random challenges will pop up left and right, giving you a hefty payday of XP when and if you complete them while playing. And if you don't, there is no penalty, so no worries there.
The characters themselves are over the top and come with their own set of special abilities, and the option to select different caddies that have their own personalities and ways to contribute is a nice touch. Most everything in the game is interchangeable, which adds a level of depth unseen in a lot downloadable-only titles.
Granted, this isn't the best launch game you will play, but you will be hard pressed to find a better one within the XBLA marketplace. Especially since you can't find anything easily anyway.
With the release of the Xbox One, Microsoft decided to try a few new and different things in the way they market and sell games. Sure, they released a slew of full-priced retail games at launch, but they also offered up a handful of XBLA titles for their new system, as a way to draw gamers in to their marketplace and prove to skeptics that they too, like Sony, are serious about the independent and arcade game titles.
Unfortunately, when you browse the XBLA store, you are shown page after page of tiles, featuring all the games that Microsoft deemed important enough to catch your eye and demand your attention - and more importantly, your money. If Microsoft didn't determine a game to be important enough or hyped enough, you can't find it on the marketplace page. They don't even have a list of all games available to download, that I have found at least. If you are looking for a game that isn't "featured," you have to use the search function. That in itself is fine and dandy, especially if you know what you are looking for specifically. But for the common Xbox One owners who aren't browsing video game news websites and such on a regular basis, who isn't in tun with the newest and coolest games, they will never find and discover games that aren't Microsoft-loved. This is a sad and scary thought for independent developers, unless they are in good with Microsoft and can get prime advertising space in the store.
One of the games that is featured on the store's home page is Killer Instinct, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone considering they have been leaning on the return of this franchise to hype the launch of the console since they announced it at E3. Make no mistake about it, however, that Killer Instinct is no small, independent game, but rather a long, established franchise worthy of the Microsoft spotlight. Besides, Killer Instinct was a game they wanted to try a new type of payment plan for.
You see, you can download the game for free. Just go to the store, hit download and it's all yours, free of charge. Don't get too excited, though, as while you get the whole game for free, you only get one character to play as. Essentially, you are downloading a demo, albeit an elaborate one. They want you to try out the game, hope that you like it enough to pay for more, and bet on you buying the character pack, which gives you the other five characters and the promise of two more to come.
Yes, this game only features eight characters. A stark difference from most fighting games, although when you think about it, the fewer amount of characters might give the player more of an opportunity to try and master each character. The balance for all characters could be awesome as well, as each one could have different traits and abilities, instead of a huge roster having several similar characters.
Of course, I haven't actually gave them any money yet. While I have enjoyed what I played so far, I simply have way too many games to play and enjoy before I spend time and money on, of all things, a fighting game. We all know how I feel about fighting games.
Anyway, I like the idea that Microsoft has for this payment system for this game, and it's intriguing to speculate what else they can do with ideas similar to this one. My only concern at this point is how they plan on marketing the independent games to grace their new platform. Will they continue to allow smaller games fall into the cracks of their marketplace? Let's hope not.
When I made the decision to buy both of the new consoles that were launching within a week of each other, I really had to do some soul searching about why I wanted both systems, and more specifically, if I could justify getting an Xbox One. Considering how far removed I have been from Microsoft consoles, it seemed hard for me to explain at first why I wouldn't just go the PS4 route. If anything, it seemed like, if anything, I wanted the new Xbox because it was new and shiny, and no other reason.
Thankfully, the only person I really had to justify my purchase to was myself. Unfortunately, I am my own worse critic and deterrent from doing foolish things in life, which means the only person I had to convince was also the hardest person as well.
My biggest issue I was debating with myself was what games I would play on the Xbox One, other than the Microsoft exclusives, of course. Because I had completely turned to Sony to play all the multi-platform games, I would need to make a compromise with myself, change my habits or just admit that the Xbox One would be a system to play exclusives on, and that's it. After some serious soul searching, I decided that I would give up sports games on PlayStation, and use the Xbox One for them.
The only real reason for that decision is that the way I figure it, if I am using my PS4 for all the big, really cool games, I'm not going to have time to use the same machine to play the random sports games that I pick up from here on out. Granted, the PS4 will still be my baseball console, thanks to the Sony exclusive The Show being so awesome, but other than that, sports was a genre I was willing to give up and hand over to the Xbox One. Initially, I also thought first person shooters, like the Call of Duty franchise, but that idea fizzled when I decided to go with Ghosts on the PS4.
So with that, one of my day one purchases for the glorious Xbox One was NBA 2K14. Simply put, I love this franchise, all the way back to the Dreamcast days when I played it over at my friends house. Back then, gamers had a legitimate dilemma on their hands, however, since NBA Live was another great basketball franchise. Over the years, however, the 2K franchise started to pull away from its competition, which eventually led to two big moments in the arms race for basketball video game supremacy.
The NBA Live franchise fell on its face, as EA all but conceited victory to 2K Sports. A scheduled Live game was delayed, delayed again and then flat out cancelled, and despite the constant rumors, just kept absent. Around the same time as the NBA Live franchise flop, 2K managed to do the unthinkable and secure Michael Jordan's likeness for their newest game. This was huge because MJ was extremely resistant to being featured in NBA licensed video games. With the inclusion of His Airness and the disappearance of the competition, NBA 2K was set to be king of the mountain.
Well, with the new systems came the rebirth of the NBA Live franchise, but from everything I hear and have seen from the game, it is a sub-par return the dance. As far as the 2K franchise is concerned, however, they moved on from Jordan and finally let The King sit atop their throne. Lebron James is the cover athlete, and despite my personal dislike for him, I have to admit it is well deserved.
Anyway, the game is awesome. The players look amazing, with the graphical power of the new system showing off how awesome it is. You can see individual drops of sweat, muscle definition and skin tones are spot on, and even facial hair is astonishing, as you can see all the different hairs in beards. It't quite amazing.
The controls of the game feel a lot more realistic as well, as there is a lot of resistance and a solid weight behind the movements of the players you are controlling. Everything else is great as well, from the commentary pulling real-life stats from the internet to interject to the teams playing, to the coaches animations and even the reactions of the players are fun to watch. Never before has a basketball game felt so realistic to the point of almost forgetting you are playing and not just watching. If this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what these new systems are capable, it's going to be a great generation.
Well, I did it. I made it through my first week with my PlayStation 4, and oh, what a marvelous week it was. It should be quite clear to everyone reading this blog that the PS3 was my system of choice over the last year, and has been since I first got it almost two years ago. Before then, I was strictly Xbox 360 when it came to the big, multi-platform games.
Of course, my first love will always Nintendo platforms, but in the battle of supremacy for everything else not Nintendo related, Xbox 360 was my go-to console until the PS3 came into my life. After that happened, I all but forgot about the 360, except when it was needed for this blog or games with my kids. That wasn't to say anything negative about the 360, but I think because I spent so much time with it for so long, the PS3 was the new, shiny toy in my life. So naturally, I wanted to play with it the most.
Besides, I thought trophies were way cooler than achievement points, so that's a thing I guess.
Anyway, with both new systems coming out back to back, it would seem obvious that I would gravitate towards the PS4, right? Well, thankfully I wasn't in a position where I would have to decide between either one of the "next-gen" consoles, as I was able to get both new systems on launch day. And of course, in the interest of fairness, since I did a full week of PS4 games to commemorate the launch of the PS4, it was only fitting that I do a full week dedicated to the launch of the Xbox One. So where shall we start? How about we start from the beginning, about 12 years ago.
In 2001, the original Xbox was released. Before it came out, I was unsure about the new system, as Microsoft was new to the world of console gaming. I was skeptical about how it would preform and if it would even have a chance standing next to gaming titans Nintendo and Sony. Of course, I had only read about the Xbox, and while some things seemed interesting about it, I was having a hard time figuring out what about the system would make it worth my attention, and at the time, worth my precious money. You see, I was turning 18 just a week after the launch of the Xbox, and while I had graduated high school, I wasn't exactly walking around with an admirable bank account balance.
On a whim, pretty much the day before, I decided that I was going to spoil myself and pick up an Xbox on the release day. So my buddy from across the street and I left first thing in the morning, before we headed off to school, in hopes of picking up an Xbox. We went to three or four stores and saw nothing but lines outside them, all full of people waiting for the launch of the Xbox. For some reason, I was caught off guard by this, as I didn't expect the excitement for this unproven gaming system to be so high. Eventually, we took a chance and drove to the mall, where they had three different gaming stores. We walked right in to the closest game store to the entrance of the mall, and low and behold, there was an entire display of newly released Xbox's. I bought one, and also got three free games with the purchase of it, one of which was Halo.
From that point forward, I was all about the Xbox.
Skip ahead to the launch of the Xbox One, and this time around, 12 years later, things went a little bit different. For one, I was buying two new consoles a week apart, and fortunately, they weren't breaking the bank. Secondly, I knew better than to think I could to just walk in to a store on launch day and pick up an Xbox One, so of course, I pre-ordered it the very first chance I got to do so. A few things were very similar though as well.
A buddy of mine came over first thing in the morning, and we got the store right after it opened, so we wouldn't have to wait longer than needed. I also bought three games while I was picking up the system, although they weren't free this time, as Microsoft has enough notoriety in the industry to not have to give away games for free to early adopters.
After we got our systems, we went back to my place, where he had brought over his TV, and we set up a two-man LAN party. While we weren't linked directly to each other systems, we were using the same Internet network, so it counts. After we unboxed our systems, downloaded the mandatory system update and installed the game we wanted to co-op first, it was time to game. And game we did. All day. And it was awesome.
The first game we played together was Dead Rising 3. Before we could co-op, though, we each had to get through the first chapters individually, which was fun and weird at the same time, watching two separate games take place at the same time, showing the same thing on a few seconds apart. Once we finally got into a co-op game, however, it was on.
We had a blast running around, destroying hoards of zombies with every kind of weapon, tool and random object imaginable. At one point, when I found a clothing store, I dressed my character in daisy dukes shorts and a cut-off shirt. He didn't see what I had done until I walked out of the store, and he just burst into laughter. Talk about comedic relief.
The best part of our gaming session happened later on, however. On the screen popped up a prompt to clear all the zombies away from a survivor nearby. My friend was closer and immediately ran over to start hacking and slashing away at the undead. Me, not knowing where he was in his quest to clear out the zombies, hopped in a muscle car and sped over to the location. Once I saw the survivor was up on a roof of a house and the zombies were just gathered around the yard, I made the decision to just plow my way through the flesh-eating crowd. I took out every zombie with one pass before crashing into a wall. The best part? My friend had no idea what was going on, and from his perspective, all he saw was his character slashing away at a zombie, and the next moment, I'm speeding by, narrowly avoiding him and clearing out the pack.
It was awesome. It wasn't just the moment that was awesome though, but rather the whole day. It was fun playing games with someone else, which as you should know, I try to avoid as much as possible. Maybe it was just the excitement in the air, but I genuinely had a good time playing. What a great way to start the week of Xbox One.
To round out my first week with my PS4, I decided to play one of my newest favorites franchises, which I only recently discovered about a year ago. As I was talking about with my Killzone write-up, sometimes it is hard to dive in to a franchise after missing several games before your plunge, but it's then that you have to decide whether to start from the beginning and catch up first, or just start with the newest.
Well, last year when the ridiculously hyped Assassin's Creed III came out, I had to check it out and see what the series was all about. I knew about the previous Assassin's Creed games, as many people had tried to get me in to them before, but nothing about the games ever grabbed me. As bad and narrow-minded as it may sound or come across, the setting for the Assassin's Creed games turned me off, as Europe just didn't do anything for me in context with what the game series was all about. But once AC III was shown to feature American History around the time of the revolution, coupled with the Native American folklore and perspective of the main character, I knew AC III was a game for me.
I didn't know at the time whether or not the series would be up my alley or not, but I didn't care or worry about the franchise as a whole. But after playing the game to near 100% completion, and even buying in to the added DLC stories that I actually wrote about for this blog way back in the second month of this year long project, I knew I was hooked on the series forever.
Actually, forever is a long time. Let's just say, until they do me wrong, I'm all in.
So when Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag was initially released, I was so tempted to pick it up. Naturally, PS3 was my go-to system for all the biggest and best games, which is what I was considering getting the game for. But with only a few weeks wait until the PS4 launch and subsequently, AC IV along with it on launch day, I decided to hold off for a couple of weeks. It was a hard decision, because I was overly anxious to get back into the franchise and play what appeared to be an awesome pirate game, but alas, I held out. At one point I even considered the upgrade program, where you buy the game for the PS3, and then when you get your PS4, you can digitally upgrade to the PS4 for ten bucks more. Ultimately, though, I knew I wouldn't get enough playtime in with AC IV before the new console came out to justify the extra money for the upgrade plan. So I waited.
I'm glad I did, because while I would have enjoyed it on the PS3 I'm sure, it is quite clear that this game was built for the new consoles. It is breathtakingly gorgeous, in every aspect. It's almost scary how beautiful this game is, and I can easily say the wait was worth it. Unfortunately, this is the type of game that demands your full attention in order to fully enjoy the experience, so I question how much time I will put in to this game for the time being, at least with all the other games I have to play and this blog to maintain.
I can not wait for what's to come with this game, however, and see how this new franchise to me will continue to strengthen it's bond with me. For now, however, I need to step away from the PS4 for a brief moment, as another console is on the horizon to grace this year long blog project of mine.
Overall, my first week with the PS4 was a magical one, as I feel it delivered everything promised to me as a Day One adopter of the system. It has it's quirks and kinks to work out, but overall, the first week with it was a smooth transition into the next-gen for Sony consoles. If this is the lowest point for this system, as is the case for launches with every new system, then we as gamers and owners of PS4s have a lot to look forward to in the years ahead.
But first, the Xbox One launch is upon us.
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Games played for project : 365