664th played so far

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up
Platform: Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Incognito Entertainment/SCE Santa Monica Studio
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

I’ve simultaneously wanted to play this game and was dreading to do so. Warhawk is a multiplayer shooter, with no singleplayer mode or content. That makes it harder to review, especially as the game is already a decade old, so there might not be as many players around.

Besides, as I’m playing, I’m home alone, so nobody to play with. I just hope I can get something out of it.

Our Thoughts

So yeah, my experience was a bit limited as I didn’t play online that much. At the same time, that was fine, as these shooters aren’t as much my thing anyway.

The game plays on multiple levels – ground, with vehicles, planes or the titular Warhawk – the coolest part of the game. You fly around and bomb things with plenty of weapons and options. It’s a decent challenge with plenty of options and it’s in the title – it’s meant to be the exciting option!

Beyond that, the game is a decent shooter/flight sim, but I suspect that you need to get into the strategy to really enjoy it. I guess I didn’t get enough into that, nor did I really care to.

#327 Wave Race 64

Posted: 14th January 2018 by Jeroen in Games
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663rd played so far

Genre: Racing
Platform: Nintendo 64
Year of Release: 1996
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo

Sure, we have plenty of racing games – early on it was an easy genre for multiplayer, and it’s something people still love – but few take place on the water and I swear even less use jet skis – googling it, this is the only notable one that does, with only Diddy Kong Racing offering something slightly similar.

At this point in time, Mario Kart and F-Zero were the big Nintendo racing franchise. This doesn’t quite seem like either, but it will be interesting to see where it leads to.

Our Thoughts

While the answer isn’t quite that it’s somewhere in between, it neither has the cartoonish feel of Mario Kart or the speed of F-Zero. Instead, there’s some sense of realism, but also a loose race that lets you get on with things without requiring a lot of practice early on, something Nintendo clearly does well.

You’ll easily score more than enough stars from your early races to keep going for a while, but the difficulty ramps up well enough that you have to stay on top of things and improve if you want to keep going. It’s well done and becomes a lot of fun.

Water is quite difficult to represent well in games and was even harder two decades ago. This game does it well – perhaps not with perfect physics, but it looks good and realistic enough. It’s quite impressive, needed for a game that relies so much on water, but done better here.

Final Thoughts

Wave Race 64 is an interesting racing game – not too high intensity, but with plenty of challenges in keeping up with the track and making it through the game.

It looks decent, too, with enough focus on the water to make it feel right. Sure, it’s not realistic, but so close enough that the game feels right.

#113 Spindizzy

Posted: 10th January 2018 by Jeroen in Games
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662nd played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1986
Developer: Electric Dreams Software
Publisher: Electric Dreams Software/Activision

Spindizzy looks interesting. It uses the isometric perspective that’s quite popular in these days, but doesn’t use the human characters moving around and mostly looks like a version of Marble Madness. It’s not exactly that – instead it’s more of an exploration game like Knight Lore – and plenty others that I honestly haven’t been putting off, really – in how you explore an area.

Our Thoughts

Spindizzy is a big game, with loads of puzzles. There’s large, multi-screen mazes that make heavy use of moving between height levels and other tricks like it. There’s a lot to see and I feel like I only scratched the surface.

The downside is that I didn’t really manage to come to grip with the controls. The game heavily riffs on Marble Madness and the controls and physics are taken from this game. However, where that game relied on short, reflex based levels, here you are meant to solve more complicated puzzles and deal with longer stretches of precise movement. The focus is different and because of that, I struggled to see a lot – as always, I’m happy for Youtube.

This is even more because the game contains some really cool ideas and it’s a great one for its time that works out quite well. It’s a decent look and there are a lot of things the game manages to do with it that show how much everything in this genre had evolved compared to the references I mentioned earlier. It’s just a shame that the basics, the controls, are ones that are too hard for me to pick up for a casual session.

#363 R-Type Delta

Posted: 6th January 2018 by Jeroen in Games
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661st played so far

Genre: Shoot-Em Up
Platform: Playstation 1
Year of Release: 1998
Developer: Irem
Publisher: Irem/Agetec/Sony

Today we go back to the world of R-Type, a side-scrolling shooter that is more or less just that. It was decent, incredibly difficult but with really good bosses… assuming you reached them.

We’ve now reached the fourth game in the series, made for the Playstation and so focused on something to play at home, which would hopefully rebalance the game to make it more playable.

Our Thoughts

So this game is still difficult, but the solution is, well, pretty much like how I played the original R-Type: the game gives you a lot more continues than you see anywhere else, hence giving you a lot more chances to make it through the game. You still hit a wall, but as you can push through, you get to develop more strategies. Obviously, earlier sections become easier as you play them more, so you get further. It seems like a good middleground between difficult and accessible, even if it is still fairly time consuming.

It’s still punishing, but at least you get to more bosses faster. I always feel like these are the most interesting part of these games – more than just dealing with enemies you learn to beat, there’s something unique and cool about them. It doesn’t always pay off, but here it feels like it mostly does. It pays off, and that’s great.

The game looks good too, and that helps. There are some of the PS1 era jaggy edges, sure, but it mostly hides it well and it makes it all fit together well. The futuristic looks help, smoother with some detail in background where it can be textured. It’s pretty effective and becomes its own treat to see new things.

Final Thoughts

I had a decent feeling about this game – the later shooters always feel more fun to play than the old ones that dominated gaming early on and feels like an improvement without sacrificing its difficulty.

#277 Killer Instinct

Posted: 2nd January 2018 by Jeroen in Games
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660th played so far

Genre: Fighting
Platform: Arcade/SNES
Year of Release: 1994
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Midway/Rare/Nintendo

While I had the Rare Replay disc out, this came up, so it felt like a good game to pick up next. I’ve had a couple of Killer something fighting and shooting games on the list.

Of course a lot of the research I went for shows the new game, so I can’t say I feel quite as prepared, but we need to see where it leads.

Our Thoughts

Considering the age of this game, I felt it looked very good. The graphics worked well, seemed very natural and it was quite pleasant to look at. And I lead with that because I have to start somewhere.

I felt that Killer Instinct was a bit too difficult, at least for a game to play at home. Orchid was the first fighter I went against – you do as most characters – and I didn’t really beat them, I mostly got to fight others by switching to her and others who didn’t have her first. It’s a real shame – possibly an arcade holdover, but on this disc I didn’t have the difficulty adjustment options other games allow for.

I understand that there are combos that will help, I couldn’t learn any of them and didn’t see any in the documentation. Range also made a big difference, and I guess one where I lost a lot – if you can lock people in at a distance, you have a far easier time.

Final Thoughts

I can see where this game is good and how it would fit in, but after Virtua Fighter, this doesn’t provide anything special. There are some copycat feature – Mortal Kombat would have provided some inspiration there -and the game looks fine, but I didn’t really see anything that really felt special to me.

#408 Jet Force Gemini

Posted: 29th December 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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659th played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: Nintendo 64
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Rare

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned our Rare Replay purchase before, which is perfect for this blog as well as easier access to a bunch of classics. I dug it out today for a random game, although we’ll have a follow up from the same disk soon after.

Here, we get a 3D third person shooter originally for the Nintendo 64, and it shows in the screenshots I’ve seen. Beyond that, I’m expecting more standard action adventure work.

Our Thoughts

The graphics for these games are always a bit risky – trying to look realistic in the late nineties can quickly lead to muddy textures that blend together. This game tries to give more than that – at times intentionally looking alien with its colours – but they’re still not sharp or strong. It just didn’t always work.

So the game itself is sort of a shooter, sort of a platformer, but it doesn’t work for either. The controls feel really floaty, but the main issue is with aiming and moving your viewpoint. What we’re often used to is that moving your point of view ‘sticks’ – that makes it easier to aim because you know where you’re at. Here, however, your viewpoint snaps back if you move back, which makes it more difficult to aim and adjust your aim as you’re moving or the opponent is moving. It made it a lot more difficult than it needed to be and really made the machine gun’s random shots far more powerful than pistol precision. I wonder whether this was a compromise choice because of the platforming elements, but it feels like it shouldn’t need to be.

While there are some interesting ideas here, the marrying of 3D platformers like Banjo Kazooie that made Rare big in this era with the shooter elements doesn’t work perfectly and it diminishes both parts. There’s some neat ideas with the setting, with there being these aliens worlds, but it doesn’t work quite as well for me and I’d rather play the games that do manage it, even if that is because they focus.

#735 Virtua Fighter 5

Posted: 26th December 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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658th played so far

Genre: Fighting
Platform: Arcade/Playstation 3/Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Sega AM2
Publisher: Sega

The Virtua Fighter series, as we saw with the first game, is a series that, for me, still feels like it introduced 3D fighting and created far more open arenas.

Quite some time on, we’re now at the fifth iteration – the most recent, but in true fighting game style, often adjusted. With it having been around for over a decade, redone a few times, I hope it will hold in comparions to the others.

Our Thoughts

Virtua Fighter 5 was a good fighter. It feels slower paced than other fighters, but that works because the game feels more deliberate. It’s been a good way to get into the fighter anyway, and it did for me – I got into the quest single player mode and while it certainly didn’t have a deep story, it was a nice way to interact with the fights in what felt like lower stakes than most other vs AI modes – it doesn’t have to be difficult if you get loads of fights.

The fights themselves are really enjoyable. The environments are varied and make a difference in the fight. Most importantly, there are a bunch of effects in them that make them more visually interesting and include more. There is still a limited area to fight in – ending out of the ring, where you can, does cause a loss (something I believe isn’t in earlier games – I recall moving around a lot before).

Final Thoughts

Virtua Fighter 5 was a fun, strong fighter that was easier to keep up with than most. I didn’t find as decent a story mode, but the quest mode did provide with a better, interesting way of exploring the fights. It’s probably not as good when you’re more experienced, but for me it really worked.

657th played so far

Genre: Action/Role-Playing
Platform: Playstation 1
Year of Release: 2000
Developer: Square
Publisher: Square/Square Electronic Arts

So today, we’ve got an action RPG as another random pick. It’s obviously a more time consuming option that comes up. With that said, Vagrant Story isn”t a game I had heard of before this list. It looks like it fits into the mass of other RPG series Square created around this time, with Threads of Fate coming to mind as another example. What will make this stand out?

Our Thoughts

Aside from a minor introduction, it seems like Vagrant Story is a long, big dungeon crawl. That’s not too bad, especially as the areas seem well designed, but it makes me wonder where the story goes.

So what you get is a decent action RPG that you explore screen by isometric screen. I struggled a bit with the controls and when to attack, but it’s interesting. On the other hand, it adds a decent mechanic through risk, where big attacks reduce your concentration and make you take more damage, creating an interesting trade off of how much you attack.

There’s a decent development system as well to learn through using them, while magic is learned from books you need to use once. It’s a decent way of doing it.

Final Thoughts

Vagrant Story is a decent game with an interesting setup, but most of it doesn’t feel that memorable now. The story is pretty simple and more an excuse than anything. There’s some nice ideas, but I’m not sure it has much that hasn’t been done elsewhere, sadly.

#592 Mashed

Posted: 17th December 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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656th played so far

Genre: Racing
Platform: Playstation 2/Xbox/PC
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: Supersonic Software
Publisher: Empire Interactive

Mashed is another racing game. Third person, at what looks like an over the shoulder perspective – something that seem rarer, most games that I can think of in the genre are either from inside the car or in an almost “over the shoulder” near to the car perspective. Having the distance from your car should make for an interesting change, especially as the title implies and promises a lot more crashes than other games.

Our Thoughts

The basic concept of this game is pretty good, a racing game that isn’t really about finishing laps the fastest, but instead focuses on gaining the lead on your opponents, pulling ahead repeatedly, if necessary by throwing them off bridges and out of your way. The challenge certainly feels different and removes any excuse for rubberbanding.

Still, though, the game doesn’t feel entirely fair, and a lot of that comes from the camera. Zooming in and out, there are several times where I lost overview – I couldn’t see where I was, at times actually lost sight of my car. It meant I fell off ledges several times because of what felt like the camera being against me.

So you win by getting far enough ahead of your opponent, but it doesn’t seem to have been just distance – or if it is the distance differed, as I had wins and losses at different distances. The game doesn’t seem to communicate anything about this or another part of the rules surrounding winning, which just made the game feel unfair.

The driving itself wasn’t as great either. Maybe plaing the PC version is to blame, as it can mess with the controls, but I couldn’t get there with the game, unfortunately.

Final Thoughts

Mashed is an interesting concept that works well with the right players, controllers and setup, but it was a bit too inconsistent for me to constantly enjoy the game. I didn’t hate it, but there were a few places that were just too frustrating, even when the game didn’t force it by making it 3v1. There’s some decent weapon systems though – I guess that’s the nice touch, when applicable.

#638 Animal Crossing: Wild World

Posted: 13th December 2017 by Jeroen in Games
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655th played so far

Genre: Life Simulation
Platform: DS
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Publisher: Nintendo

So we’ve reached our second jump into the world of Animal Crossing, after playing the first game. In the mean time, we have also played Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the series’ 3DS entry, and so Wild World lands at the middle point between these two experiences.

Our Thoughts

For Wild World, I must admit I struggle with what to use as my reference point. Compared to the original game, plenty of things seem to have changed, but New Leaf is my real Animal Crossing touchstone, the one I played most, and it has more to it than Wild World, absorbing all its new features and adding its own. It’s trickier for it to compare.

On its own, the game is its charming self, building a house under dubious circumstances while decorating, helping out characters and living out your life. It sounds a bit more boring and sure, it’s not a high action game, but there’s something quite relaxing about it, an extra place that becomes your home, celebrates your birthday and so on.

There are some nice distractions while you do so, though – fishing, buying and selling, collecting and decorating. It sustains play and gives you a reason to come back each day while not forcing too much of an investment. The game adds a bunch of these, and streamlines some from the first game, but it really is down to some incremental improvements.

Final Thoughts

The Animal Crossing is ideal for handhelds, really, a game to immerse yourself in for bits at a time, without requiring a big commitment. It works out well here, with plenty to do without ever being overwhelming. It’s a fun diversion, in a second life, and now set on a platform that’s great for it.