The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Yeah, I know, it’s about time I get to this. I’d always been wanting to play it, but just didn’t get around to it when it came out, and then the continuous release of other things I wanted to play kept pushing it back. But I finally got around to playing it this week — better late than never — and yes, I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far. I’m only about 3-4 hours in I think, which yes, is a drop in the bucket for a game like this, but I think it’s given me a good taste of the overall experience, and I quite like it. I think having watched the Noclip documentary episodes on the game have even helped me better appreciate what I’m seeing and experiencing — I wasn’t really worried about spoilers, since I’ve already forgotten anything story-related that was said in those episodes. With all the games I still want to play, I can’t really say if I’ll be able to finish it, but I am looking forward to playing it a bunch over the coming weeks.

Uncharted: Lost Legacy

This is such a terrific game. I’ve played through all of the Uncharted games, and I think this is my favorite one so far. Even though it’s shorter (I think I played through it in about 7-8 hours) it felt just right to me, and it means that I got to play it pretty much from start-to-finish in one day, which was a great way to take in the whole adventure. I think the two leads are really great — I like them more than Nathan Drake — and the overall adventure was just so much fun, and it felt to me like there was more exploration than in the typical Uncharted game, which is my favorite part of the play experience. The setting was also great, with some stunning and intricate levels and maps. And just like in Uncharted 4, I really loved all of the jeep driving sequences. Can’t recommend this enough.

Prey

Well, I’m sad to say I’m just not into this game. I was excited to play it, knowing how well it was received (and hearing a lot of friends say good things about it), but I had a play session of about an hour and a half, and didn’t like my time with it at all. The setting is cool, but the one thing I didn’t realize is that this game is more on the horror side, which  I don’t particularly like to experience — I love watching horror movies, but horror games simply stress the hell out of me, and it’s not an extended experience I like to have. Even worse for me, this (at least what I experienced so far) is more about jump scares, which I find to be the worse. Add to that combat that I found to be extremely frustrating — and yes, I realize that it must get better as you find and develop more weaponry, but I don’t find myself wanting to explore this game anymore. I was planning on giving at another try, but I just never found myself in the mood to do so, and knowing how many other games I have waiting for me, I realized, why am I forcing myself to play this? It’s not for me, and that’s fine.

Bound

I remember being interested in this game when it originally came out, but I never got around to playing it. It’s one of the games on offer as part of this month’s PlayStation Plus free games, which was the push I needed, and what a joy it was to play. I played it in two sessions on the same day (probably 2-3 hours of play time overall), and it felt just right. The visuals are just astoundingly beautiful, and I really dug the movement of the character you control — dancing along the platforms, and to push away enemy energies. There was one section that I felt was broken — a sort of elevator platform that you activate by jumping on walls, that took me like 30 tries, even though I never encountered anything challenging like that elsewhere in the game. It’s definitely worth taking the time to play though and experience.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

Here’s the background on where I find myself with the series: I fell in love with the series with the Ezio trilogy, which were the high points for me, then enjoyed III mostly because of the setting, but was already starting to feel AC fatigue, and by the time Black Flag came out, as much I was enjoying playing it (especially the ship stuff), the fatigue took over, to a point where I didn’t finish it, and I pretty much skipped Unity and Syndicate (I played a bit of Unity this past year). So the first thing that got me interested in the series again was the setting of Egypt — the Roman/Egyptian era that is used in the game is pretty much my favorite historical setting (and I say this as a History major), and so I was very excited to explore that world. Then, when I started playing, I was a bit shocked at how much the game sucked me in — I finished the “story” part of the game (because you can keep playing after, with still tons of things to do post-“ending”) in about 30 hours, in less than a week, with two consecutive Saturdays of 8/9-hour play sessions. On top of the setting, what really got me addicted is the new levelling system and skill tree, which gives more purpose to doing side missions because you want to level up — to be able to deal with more advanced (level-wise) parts fo the map, and also to unlock new abilities. The side missions were also for the most part more interesting than in the past, and I had a lot more fun with the combat than in previous games — although I still sometimes had trouble dealing with swarms of enemies that surrounded me. But man, what a great game — they made the right changes to get me interested in the series again, and I really hope that these new RPG elements are here to stay. I’d say Origins is my new favorite AC game.

Destiny 2

I guess I have a long and weird relationship with Destiny — and interestingly, I’m writing this after just finishing to read the chapter on the making of Destiny in the excellent Blood, Sweat, and Pixels book. I remember being excited for it before it came out, and enjoying that first Alpha. Then the game came out and after playing through the “story,” I pretty much stopped — I wasn’t into the grind that was on offer. Then, a year later, I decided to get back into it, hearing that a lot of improvement had been made (following the release of the two DLC expansions) and got sucked in. In the end, it’s the game I’ve put in the most hours ever (not a crazy amount like a lot of dedicated Destiny players, but I’m pretty sure it’s the only game I’ve ever put in 100+ hours of playtime). But following the release of The Taken King, for which I was really excited, a couple of months after I think, I did grow tired of playing the same missions and strikes over-and-over again, and stopped playing. I came back when the Rise of Iron expansion came out, but it didn’t really grab me, and I barely played after finishing the new story missions. So here we are with Destiny 2, which I finally started playing a few days ago. The first thing I realized when I was playing it is just how much I still enjoy this gameplay — the action is fast and furious and the guns feel right. It’s also a sci-fi world I quite like — sure, the story in the first game wasn’t very well told, but it was still a world I found interesting, especially its aesthetics. I think I’m currently midway in the new campaign, and I am enjoying it. I do have a feeling that I won’t last very long once I get to the post-story part of the game. I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’ve heard from a few of my friends who are very dedicated Destiny players who have told me that they stopped playing because of issues with the handing out of loot. But for now, I’m having a blast playing, and the story this time is actually pretty easy to follow, and has some fun moments. I think if I was to bring up one thing I find a bit disappointing is that I would have liked to encounter new enemy races, instead of the same ol’ enemies we’ve  already faced a million times.

Batman: The Telltale Series

I’ve played the majority of Telltale games, but in recent years have definitely started feeling Telltale fatigue. I think the last one I played was their Game of Thrones game, which I did quite like, but I played it well after it was released. I’d heard good things about their Batman game, and so finally got to check it out this week, and I’ve found myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I’ve played through the first 3 episodes (of 5), pretty much playing an episode a night, and I really can’t wait to finish the whole thing. The story is really interesting, and the game looks pretty damn good when played on a PS4 — I know there’s always a lot of criticism for their engine, with a lot of their games having serious issues on some platforms, but this one has been a smooth experience for me. I also like the Batman-y things they’ve done to spice up the gameplay, with the detective sequences, and it’s pretty interesting/shocking to see how they’ve taken liberties with what we’re used to seeing in the Batman universe (the way certain characters are usually portrayed). It’s made me want to play the Guardians of the Galaxy game too, although I think I’d rather wait for all episodes to be out before I play through it. My wish is still for Telltale to make a James Bond game though.

Just Cause 3

I started playing this over the past week — it’s part of this month’s PlayStation Plus offerings, which was finally the excuse I needed to get around to playing it, but it is in fact something I’d been wanting to play since it came out (almost two years ago now, man). I found Just Cause 2 to be pretty fun, but the game in this genre that I really loved was Mercenaries 2, and that’s what it really reminds me of. I’ve played a few hours now, and I am having a lot of fun with it — sure, it’s dumb fun, but sometimes that’s what you want, to just move around a giant map and make shit go boom. It can be a bit janky at times — I’ve experiences slowdowns quite a few times when there’s a lot of action on the screen — and I do find it frustrating sometimes when I’m in the process of liberating a town, and it takes me forever to find that last element or two that you need to destroy to complete it. I can’t really say if it’s going to keep me engaged enough to get to the end, but for now I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Final Fantasy XV

A few weeks ago I finally got around to playing this, renting it from our studio’s game library. I played about 20 hours (was at Chapter 10) before having to return it. I liked it enough that I do want to rent it again to finish it, but it’s definitely far from being a phenomenal game for me. It took me quite a few hours before really finding the fun — I found the early hours to be a chore when it came to travelling, and I’m just not a fan of the combat system, finding it to be too chaotic, to a point where I never feel like I’m in full control of what’s going on (I’d prefer some sort of menu-based combat system). Also, although the interactions between the main characters can be fun, I don’t like their design at all, and that kinda turns me off. But, despite all that, it’s an absolutely gorgeous game, and I loved being in that world, and discovering it bit by bit (and the travelling does get much easier eventually).

No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky just isn’t for me. I finally gave it a try this past week, and although my first night of playing (over a couple of hours) was pretty engaging, when I sat down the following evening to play some more, and I realized that I was just entering in a loop of going to a planet to gather resources (an activity I don’t find to be particularly fun) to then sell them and progress, I just didn’t want to play anymore. I still think it’s a neat game, and I dig the art direction and the idea behind it, and it’s quite possible that it gets much more interesting once you progress more, but I just couldn’t convince myself to care enough to get back into the act of gathering resources in order to progress.