Category Archives: Games

Final Fantasy XV – Finally Popped my Final Fantasy Cherry

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Says 33hrs on the certificate I got on completing the game (cute). That’s doing a few side missions, but I did more of them in the beginning of the game than towards the end (IE: there are a billion more quests left for me to do in the game).

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Cindy’s hot, got bolt on boobs, and is your Regalia’s mechanic. She ends up upgrading the Regalia so it can fly, and man, after not being allowed to drive for the entire game (it’s auto pilot), being able to fly post game is NUTS and makes me wonder why I couldn’t fly from the start (and that the games developers are crazy and I love it!)

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Post game activities, flying around the gorgeous world in the Regalia.

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As much as I hate the crazy auto pilot driving, it was also so strangely relaxing and enjoyable in a watching post race rendered vids of a race in Gran Turismo kinda way.

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I’m gonna miss you bros. It’s been emotional. Sunsets were awesome in the game, and the game really makes you fear night which I thought was a cool touch.

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Speaking of darkness, the Pitioss Ruins. The most hardcore platforming puzzle shit I’ve ever done, those who know know! Massive high 5 to anyone who completed the fucker!

I’ve never played a Final Fantasy game. As much as I love most Japanese culture, I’m not into the pink and cutesy girly Anime stuff which is how I’ve always looked at Final Fantasy. A billion people out there can’t be wrong though, and their latest game (which was in development for 10 years!) had me intrigued as it’s an open-world JRPG (music to my ears) where you play a character who has 3 close mates who set about on an American style road trip.

It’s trippy as all hell as it’s so Japanese, but the world is so Nevada. I love the world LOTS. I love all the silly fetch quests too. I really enjoyed playing with my 3 bros along side me, so much so that in later missions when I was separated from them I missed them. The cheesey music got to me in to me in the end, the lore did too (the open world gameplay to the lore specific bits are so juxtaposed it’s almost like 2 different worlds, but it still worked for me). It’s a road trip but you don’t get to drive, or do anything much in this game really. Driving is like teleporting, and you can beat all enemies by mashing a button, or if you’re too lazy to do that just hold the button down. Yup. Final Fantasy is an EASY game. It’s like a movie game, but I hear people complaining more than ever that it’s just too hard, and maybe that’s why I like it, because if it was any easier it would be ridiculous.

Having said that. I finished the game and got into the story more than the gameplay. Basically everyone dies. They make you fall in love with people, then they kill everyone then you kill yourself. I had a gut feeling that this was what Final Fantasy was all about; LOSS, and yup, it’s a pretty fucked up story, but it’s a really fun game! Again, love the juxtaposition, it’s truly unique.

PS: Once you finish the main story you can return to the open world, from there you can do post game activities and one of them is the Pitioss Ruins, a secret dungeon that you have to fly to (you car can be modified to fly, it’s actually pretty damn epic!), it’s only marked with a tiny yellow line on the map, and that yellow line is a runway. The runway is so short I crashed out a few times trying to land (super frustrating as this game has LONG load times!), and once I landed I had to wait until night for the secret door to open. Then I was thrust into the most hardcore platforming game I’ve ever played, made super hardcore because there’s a sever gumminess to Final Fantasy XV’s character control.

Push your controller forward and your character takes 3 steps forward, this makes it nearly impossible to do precision jumping/tightroping in puzzle like environments, but one evil fucker at Square Enix designed this monster of a maze, and it took me almost 5 hours to complete (in the end I had to use an online guide too). Amazing a game can be so easy all you do is press a button to win it, but then you have this thing… it’s crazy! You go through the pain to complete the dungeon to get lots of loot, but one pice in particular which lets Noctis, your character auto-dodge enemy attacks (as if the game wasn’t easy enough as it is!!!).

The crazy thing is that once I checked out the guide, and read the comments below the guide video, I read that a fair few people also struggled with the dungeon, and also spent 4-5 hours in there, then on completion, and resurfacing they hopped into their Regalia (our flying car) only to crash on take-off as the landing strip is too short, losing all 5 hours of gameplay and all items looted in the dungeon. Holy FUCK that would make me rage SO damn hard! I’m SO glad I read the comments and made sure to save straight after completing the dungeon (I even paid to get the car towed to the garage rather than even attempting to fly off the strip!).

PPS: Steam has a HUGE sale on right now and pretty much every single game I’ve got on the wishlist is half price now, or even less. I ended up pulling the trigger on Borderlands 2, which should be Co-Op fun with Ved, and also Dark Souls 3 to fuck my life.

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NIOH – Done and loved it

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“The Demon King Revealed” is the final (and best) mission in the game and is my go to farming mission when I need to gather more amrita to level up.

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Love that my character gets rendered into the cut scenes ( in whatever it is I chose to wear and wield/shoot).

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My end game stats.

I’ve finally finished NIOH, and man it was awesome, so much so that I even kept on playing into New Game+ and I’m the one who’s starting to help other players level up now at shrines.

I’ll just leave some punchy afterthoughts:

Positives:
– The lore. Man, Japan.

– The orchestral soundtrack is so deep; juxtaposing demonic rumbling loops to zen tranquility on stage screens helps to set the tone so well I had to leave it on (I usually turn music off in games).

– “The Demon King Revealed” mission is so good I’ve played it daily since finishing the game, also “The Iga Escape” mission makes all your Ninja fantasies come true.

– Just when you think you’re done, the game gives you more and more sub-missions. Easy 100 hours (can’t be sure as PS4 doesn’t track your game time… silly I know). That’s being a completionist though (yup that’s me!).

– Best melee action game I’ve ever played as the stances and combos give you so much more than just button mashing. Feels good to play but not as connected to the controller as “The Surge” (which felt SO good).

– Hardcore RPG (more complex than most RPG games I’ve played) but totally intuitive. The game is so well paced. When you spend amrita on levelling up, or gold at the blacksmith post mission you’re always left with a little bit within reach of the next upgrade, so in you go again and again. It’s super addictive!

– Summoning visitors at shrines for help, or helping others (and never knowing what mission or stage within a mission they need help with) is a huge part of the game for me. I prefer playing NIOH with a companion than without (the missions with NPC companions are absolutely awesome too!).

Negatives:
– Just can’t get over low res textures/graphics on the PS4. I really really wish this game came out on PC.

– There’s no “base” or “home” and I wish there was.

– I would have loved this game even more if I could create my own character.

– It’s awesome that you can re-skin any piece of armour or weapon in the game at any time, but the thumbnail previews are so small, a live preview would really make dress-ups more fun.

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Nioh

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Sadly Nioh is for PS4 only, that means jaggy low res graphics! Such a shame, this game would look amazing with high res textures on PC.

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Love the loading screen lore, the cinematics and illustrated movies too.

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Japan (the map).

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One really cool thing you can do at the blacksmith is change every bit of your appearance to any other piece of gear you’ve looted in the game, both armour and weapons too so you can pretty much make William look however you want, from heavy Samurai gear to Ninja outfits (I’m wearing medium Samurai Warrior armour but my character looks like a Ninja atm).

weapons
How mad is my rifle! I’m right at home with more and more different RPG’s now and I’ve really taken to Nioh’s interface, the whole lot of it; crafting, re-calibrating, merging gear, distributing skill points for opening skill trees, etc. Nioh is pretty hardcore and has the works.

I really really enjoyed playing The Surge, so much so played a complete 2nd new game+ playthrough. I now feel content and I’m well and truly done with the game, which makes me feel sad so I thought I’d look into other games in the same genre; namely Dark Souls, Dark Souls 3, Nioh and Lords of the Fallen (which was made by Deck13 the same guys who made The Surge).

I spent some time researching Dark Souls. I’d say it’s 50/50 out there between fans of the original verses the last. The original seems to suffer from clunky mechanics, which wouldn’t fly after playing The Surge (I loved how connected the action felt) and issues with Windows 10. Dark Souls 3 seems like the obvious choice, but I’ve been waiting for a Steam sale to pull the trigger on that.

I did some research into Lords of the Fallen as I figured it would share a lot in common with The Surge as it’s made by the same team. The reviews suggest it’s a little too easy to complete, and recent reviews suggest that gameplay isn’t as tight as The Surge, so I’ve put this game on the wishlist for a Steam sale too.

That leaves Nioh, a game which many compare to Dark Souls but suggest it’s even more brutal, and where the others are rooted in the Lord of the Rings style realm, Nioh differs in that it’s SO Japan (SO GOOD!).

The game follows the adventures of William (based on real historic figure William Adams, the first legit non-Japanese Samurai who forever changed Japan) and is loosely based off the Sengoku period, when Japan was in the midst of war prior to the ascension of the Tokugawa shogunate (so rad as this brings back recent Japan trip memories!).

I’m literally being educated in the art of Japanese weapons and Samurai armour. I’ve even been introduced to Hattori Hanzo and I’m smashing Yokai with a Kusarigama!

Progress has been slow but I love to grind. You can’t get to the recommended levels by just completing the main missions and side missions, it’s true RNG/RPG so I’ve needed to grind pretty hard in order to play more comfortably.

I’ve had more than a few “I quit” moments. Like most I almost quit early on as the 2nd Boss battle in Nioh with Hino-enma was sadistic (those who know know!!!). It’s so wild that a game introduces new players to the hardest boss in the game on the 2nd level. I’d say a huge percentage of people who bought this game would have returned it/given up before getting to enjoy the rest of the game!

Update: I’m 2 stages away from the end, each new section of the map has been way more hardcore than the last and I’ve just about had enough of the massive boss fights so I’m calling a tie out to maybe re-visit some older parts of the map before finishing my first playthrough.

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The Surge was fucking amazing!

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My guy.

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My end game character. If you fight right, you get to keep the bits of armour from the enemies you come across so there’s lots of styles and stats to choose from, each piece can be upgraded to level 5. If you wear a matching set you get a special bonus. It’s all very Division!

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RPG goodness.

I bought The Surge on my B’Day (May 16th, check my review below). I’ve been chipping away at it since. No other game I’ve ever played in my life has made me want to rage quit more than this game. It’s got to be the hardest game I’ve ever played!

There are 4 big bosses in the game and I couldn’t get past the 3rd boss for days. During those days I watched a lot of videos. On the 3rd day I watched other guys on Youtube play past the boss only to see them die over and over on the next level (which was, like the last level, a billion times harder than the level before). I decided that I’d not put myself through the pain and rather stop playing here, BUT! I gave it one last push and fucking hell I beat the bastard!

I farmed hard on the new level in order to build up my character (so as to make it easier for the final boss) and when I got there I died at least 20 times before beating him. Wasn’t as bad as the 3rd Boss, but it was damn bad and it makes me realise this game is torture but I’m such a sucker for this kinda shit!

SO stoked to have finished the game (especially that the game has no difficulty settings, nor glitches or console cheats). The ending sequence was great and made up for the lack of story throughout the game (it was all action baby!). Super smart level designs and I really appreciated the sound design (but I had to turn the music off for boss fights in order to pass them, the intense music was killing me!). Really loved the super intuitive and fairly deep RPG elements of the game. You can really build up your character how you like to play, and for me that was tanky as fuck with a heavy hard hitting weapon.

PS: When you finish the game your save file becomes “New Game+” and the game start over but with a whole bunch of new surprises (I’ve only just loaded in; you get to keep your gear and the first guy you fight feels like fighting another player/PVP!). Very very cool. I’m more than satisfied.

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The Surge – Happy B’Day to me

42!!! I had a huge breakfast at The Pool Cafe with Mum in the morning and spent the rest of the day gaming and avoiding calls to go out. Under the radar is just my style when it comes to birthdays!!!

2 games were released May 16th. “Injustice 2″, one very polished Mortal Kombat style beat’em up featuring Superheroes and another called “The Surge”. Had to buy at least one of them and since I’ve been eyeing Dark Souls 3 (everyone’s comparing this game to it) I thought why the hell not.

I love it how every game I buy now I just go: Full Screen, 4K, Ultra! So so good! This game features low res textures throughout, but I love the art style, which feels low tech grungy and very Fallout 4 as you’re in a mech suit at all times.

39 hours in and I now truly understand what Dark Souls is all about. It’s about dying… LOTS! The RPG elements are great so far (I’m killing things over and over just to gear up before progressing) and the map makes you go a long way out only to give you a very quick alternative way back to base (surprising and welcoming each time).

The first boss was a bitch but the 2nd boss took the cake and had me crying in frustration as I died at least 30+ times before beating it. The 3rd boss made me quit, then watch tutorial vids on tips to pass. I’m on the 4th boss now and I’ve just about had enough! I know what to do… but I just can’t get past him! The maps/world is starting to get all samey and my research tells me there’s only one more boss to go after this one I can’t pass, so if that’s it then I have to say yup. The Surge got me good. 100% would recommend. Trailer above, some screen grabs to come!

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

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4K goodness. A screen grab from the super detailed and crazy windy opening scene.

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Style is bang on.

I’ve heard of Deus Ex, a game released in 2000 (for a little while when I’d google Deus, Deus Ex would rock up, that’s way before Deus took off!). I’ve always been into first person shooters and I love cyberpunk-themed worlds. Not so massive on stealth type games as I do like to gun, but the main thing I never liked about the Deus Ex franchise was the look of Adam Jensen, the main character. It’s like not liking an Actor in a movie. To me he looks stiff, like Neo but so not, and generally just trying too hard. With every new game release the character never changed so I never bothered to pick up the game until now.

I decided to play the most recent 2016 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and was instantly thrown into a vibrant detailed world with impressive graphics, turbulent windy environment (which sadly doesn’t impress again after the initial scene) with tons of litter everywhere for me to pick up and interact with. It’s not open world, feels it at first but the world feels smaller as the game goes on. There’s a crafting system which I didn’t use at all, the main guts is in how you upgrade your character’s body augmentations, some of which will make or break the way you can get in and out of spaces, and this game offers you even more ways than Prey does.

My playthrough was 27hrs start to end doing a fair few of the side missions. I’m still not into the main character and thus didn’t get into much of the rather simple story (delivered with stiff cut-scenes). Prague/the world is awesome and I liked the general gameplay feel and how effective each upgrade I invested in worked. Although it’s a stealth game I still did 50/50 stealth and attack and I think I got the best of both worlds (IE: satisfaction from sneaking around in vents to avoid enemies to get to point A, or blasting my way direct to point A).

Gun play wasn’t amazing, the guns just didn’t feel powerful, but hey Deus Ex isn’t primarily a shooter. The ending was a let down as it’s a cliff hanger to a part B DLC, one which I didn’t pay for and glad I haven’t to be honest. Am I a Deus Ex fan? Nope. Really enjoyed the game, but kinda knew it wasn’t for me, still isn’t and it’s primarily because I have to play Adam Jensen.

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Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines completed

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Back in LA.

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Malkavian love!

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I didn’t think I would, but I made it to the end!

I wrote my previous post about this old (2004) game on the plane on the way to Japan (click here to check it out). I’ve been playing it on and off since and I’ve just finished my first playthrough. Loved it! The combat mechanics are shocking though, and I ended up using the console to use God mode more than a few times just to get past bosses and finish the story (which is as excellent as everyone says it is).

It feels good to play homage to games which paved the way for other games I love so much today. I’m sure I’ll dig up a few more classics to play in future.

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Prey PS4

prey
In the mail yesterday!

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No character customisation but hey I get to play as me! An Asian guy with facial hair! WHOO!

I love Bethesda games, and this game is made by Arkane Studios, the same people that made Dishonored 2 (you can instantly tell by the retro art deco style fonts and UI). I didn’t get into Dishonored 2, but I’m loving the solitary sci-fi game world of Prey MUCH more.

I remember watching the Prey preview at E3 a year ago, at the time I didn’t think much of the graphical style (I’m really hungry for high res textures and more realism lately!). A few more previews since and I’ve not changed my mind much, but giving it a spin last night changed everything!

The game has a fear in the dark/Alien and art deco retro/future Bioshock kinda vibe and reminds me of many sci-fi films where solitary and paranoia are the main themes. I’m a guy (almost chose the girl but didn’t! Always a hard choice for me with games) trapped on space station with hostile aliens and I need to find a way off.

I’m playing Prey on PS4. For the first few minutes (during the intro) I was already wishing I was on PC as the PS4 just can’t render buildings in vast outdoor scenes without jaggy edges! But before long I was hooked in the world and story. I’ve already died a billion times. The game sure isn’t easy in normal mode early on in the game and resources are actually pretty damn scarce right now. I’m roaming around on 20% health most of the time!

I’m into it. Right now I’m stuck and there aren’t any guides out there yet to help out (game officially comes out today!). Looks like I’ll have to use my brains instead of cheating!

EDIT: I finished the game on PS4 and loved it so much I bought it for the PC too! My review is up on Zen Blog: http://www.zengarage.com.au/2017/05/prey-2017-game-review-pc-ps4/

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In search for the best Batman & Transformers games out there

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Original G1 Optimus Prime packaging. As a kid I’d stare at the art on the back of this box for hours.

I’ve played a LOT of games growing up; Atari, C64, Megadrive, Playstation, Mac & PC. I can’t recall any good Batman games though, and I’ve only played one Transformers game (2004 on PS2) so I’ve been on the hunt for the best Batman game out there, and the best Transformers games out there. Being a child of the 80’s (born in 75) I grew up on Transformers. I watched it every morning before school, I’d get Transformers toys from my parents when they came back from overseas business trips to Japan and Hong Kong every year and I’d get Transformer toys every birthday and Christmas too. I watched the Transformer animated movie in the cinema with my Dad (who slept through the whole thing). I literally had hundreds of robots and I still own and proudly display my original Takara made Generation 1 (G1) Transformers.

Batman I got into a little later in high school through reading DC Comics. I was a huge 2000AD fan (Judge Dredd) and DC released a Judge Dredd vs. Batman issue which I had to buy. Batman was pretty damn dark in that comic, so I dug up the darker Vertigo Batman comics and bought a fair few back in the day. The first (89) Hollywood film wasn’t so painful as Jack Nicholson made for an awesome Joker and I was a Kim Basinger fan, but Keaton as Batman? COME ON!!! Then I think everything after that turned to shit until Christian Bale (2005).

I put a call out on Facebook for suggestions and I got plenty! In the end I’ve narrowed down my choices to Batman: Arkham Knight & Transformers: Generations.


Batman: Arkham Knight.

This game came out in 2015. It got pretty damn good reviews on console, but they released such a bad PC port that the game was unplayable… until now! #justmyluck Now 2 years later the PC port has been patched and the game runs super smooth on the Zen PC. The graphics look great. Gotham looks awesome! It’s always night and it’s always raining too. Perfecto! The game world feels like the best bits of the better later Batman movies, and some of the darker earlier DC Batman mixed in.

It’s new school but somehow still manages to feel old school, which I really like. Batman is way overpowered in fist fights but so he should be! Just perching high up and gliding over Gotham City is worth the $20 price alone. You get to drive the Batmobile in the game too, and apparently there’s so much Batmobile gameplay in the game that it polarised gamers down the centre. I personally don’t mind it so much so far, but I’m only 15% into the game, and man it already feels like I’ve done at least 3 times more than that so I’m impressed at how big this game feels so far.


Transformers: Devastation.

There’s been a fair few Transformers games but I’ve only played Transformers on the PS2 back in 2004. I remember that being an AWESOME game. The art was a bit too cute for my liking (with the robots looking more like mini bots), but it had an open world feeling, sound was on point, transforming was fun and the boss scene with Tidal Wave literally blew my socks off. It was the first time I felt scale in a game, and is still one of the best boss fights I’ve ever experienced to date in a game because of it.

I’ve been searching for something G1 and I’ve found it. Transformers: Devastation (2015) which brings back the G1 Transformers big time. The developers even went as far as hiring the original voice talent from the cartoons I watched growing up as a kid! Add to that being able to play as Grimlock and the game being 80% off on Steam for $10, how could I not buy and play this game?! Just bought it and gave it a quick spin, it’s SUPER arcade styles with frantic action and pace. I’m actually really enjoying it! I’ll most likely give some final thoughts on both games at some point (or not as I’m quite happy with both purchases!).

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Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – Review

Nier: Automata left me a little frustrated. I do think the replayability of the game is conceptually interesting, but I just rage quit a few too many times half way through the 2nd playthrough. Ultimately the gameplay and graphics killed it for me, and the story, nor the soundtrack (I had the music on for the 2nd playthrough) just didn’t grab me, full stop really.

I’ve had a review copy of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood gathering dust around my lounge room for a year now. Initially I couldn’t install it on Ved’s PC because it didn’t have a DVD drive. I ended up getting an external with the Zen PC build so I finally got around to installing the game yesterday and finished it today (more a DLC, it’s super super super short!).

Published, and sent to me by Bethesda (so you know it’s going to be good!). It’s made by MachineGames, but I had a feeling it was going to look, feel and play like Doom, which it did! But what it did even better than Doom was take me back. I soon realised this game was made for me, for Bethesda fans and most importantly for other oldies who played the original another lifetime ago.

Fast gameplay, BJ, dual wielding guns (silly but it’s OG!) and something I didn’t expect, stealth, which was actually quite fun (not at all serious as the AI couldn’t detect dead bodies). Over the top Bethesda Easter Eggs and references to the original Wolfenstein are dropped throughout the game; even a simulator of the original game within the game! Loved it’s world more than Doom’s SCI-FI world, and it kills Metro in every way. I was shocked it ended so quickly, definitely left me wanting more.

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