Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Final Thoughts - Rogue Legacy [PlayStation Vita]

Title: Rogue Legacy
Genre: 2D rogue-lite
Developer: Cellar Door Games
Publisher: Cellar Door Games
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Platform played on: PlayStation Vita
Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Windows PC, Xbox One
Completion Status: I have completed the campaign
Trophy Status: 23 of 30

Rogue Legacy was a PlayStation Plus game that I played on PlayStation Vita and I have gone from start to end minus the extra optional bosses which are too tough for me to beat. I have wanted to play it for awhile now and I lucked out and got a chance to play it while it was on PlayStation Plus.

You are the descendant of a family bloodline who has spent their life trying to get to the end of a castle that through some magic is ever changing. Your goal is to do what your ancestors failed to do and make it to the end of the castle. In the event that you fail and die, one of your three offspring will inherit your fortune (gold collected by you) and they will continue your legacy.

With the gold collected, you will be able to spend it on stats (damage increase, hp increase, mp increase, etc), skills (extra jump, extra dash, life leech, magic leech, etc), weapon and armor. Make sure to spend all that you can because the doorman to the castle will charge you admission which happens to be all the gold that you have on you so you will start at 0.

Rinse and repeat until you get to the end of the game. The castle is broken down into 4 areas which have a predefined difficulty level but you may not happen upon them in difficulty order. Generally, the darkness is south, forest is east, tower is north, and you start in the castle area.

The gameplay loop is simple but works well, you pick an offspring, collect as much gold as you can, die, spend all your money on stats, skills, weapon, and armor, and try to get as far as you can again. In each area, there is a boss, you will need to defeat all four bosses before you can reach the last boss. Once you have beat the boss, the boss is always defeated, so you don’t have to worry about beating all the bosses in one go.

Just to make the game a little bit difficult, your offspring may have deficiencies that make the game a little bit harder/easier or have visual changes to your game. For example, you would have dwarfism which makes you short, however, it unlocks areas where you cannot reach if you are normal or giant sized. Or you can have colour blindness and everything is black and white but otherwise doesn't change gameplay. Along with this, your offspring are broken into one of several classes such as the knight or the mage or even dragon (yes, dragon).

The gameplay itself is simple 2D platformer where you jump, attack, and you have potions and fountains and such to heal as you progress through the level. I won’t go into details but it works and plays well and I don’t get frustrated with losing due to poor controls.

After I got into the swing of things, the game plays really well and I thought that it was a really good game and if you watch a gameplay video, you will have an idea of how it will play and you will know what you are getting into.

Even though I did not pay directly for the game, if you haven’t played it, I could easily suggest this game for most people.

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on Life is Strange for PlayStation 4.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Final Thoughts - Rollers of the Realm

Title: Rollers of the Realm
Genre: Pinball RPG
Developer: Phantom Compass
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: November 18, 2014
Platform played on: PlayStation Vita
Available on: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Windows PC
Completion Status: I have completed the campaign
Trophy Status: 14 of 31

For regular pinball fans, I think this is a good evolution of the genre. If you take away the point panels and added enemies that you need to beat, and the limitation of one table and have the ability to traverse multiple tables, you have a good idea of what Rollers of the Realm is.

Rollers of the Realm adds RPG and story elements to pinball. The story is pretty forgettable, however, the RPG elements make it an interesting experience. As you progress through the game, you will gain new allies that will have unique pinball abilities to them. For example, one has the multi-ball ability where you multiple into three balls, one shoots arrows when it is near enemies so that you don't need to directly hit an enemy to do damage and one heals your paddles is just a sample of the characters you get to play as. Yes, heal your paddles, your paddles will take damage from enemy attacks on your paddles and when they do, they shorten until they disappear, so it is in your best interest to heal periodically.

Aside from abilities, you collect coins as you progress and you use those coins to unlock more characters or purchase equipment for them to make their abilities stronger, happen more frequently, among other skills to make them stronger. This somewhat forces you to focus on certain characters since coins is not something that you collect easily.

Another element that is added is multiple tables. Physical pinball tables are limited to one table, the one that you see, however, this one has multiple where you would traverse from one table to another which adds a new level to pinball (which I first experienced playing Devil Crash on PC Engine). It is a small change, but a welcome one in my mind. I play Zen Pinball and while it is fun, I lose interest in the score chasing aspect fairly quickly and I don't like how sometimes I don't know what I need to do to unlock the next area of a table. The goal of Rollers of the Realm tables are usually pretty simple, defeat all the enemies on the board and move onto the next area.

The game itself spans over 30 levels, over 100 items to buy, and 10 different character pinballs to collect and play as. The reviews are a bit inconsistent and I think it has to do with expectation. I found that the game itself is quite fun, however, getting coins to upgrade your characters is a big grind and I eventually gave up on it. I did complete the campaign, however, I felt like I had no reason to go back to it and immediately deleted it from my Vita shortly after to free up space for my next game.

It's a worth a try if you find it on sale, it is only around $10 now which isn't bad.

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on Rogue Legacy for PlayStation Vita.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Final Thoughts - Apotheon [PlayStation 4]

Title: Apotheon
Genre: 2D action adventure (metroidvania-like)
Developer: Alientrap
Publisher: Alientrap
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Platform played on: PlayStation 4
Available on: PlayStation 4, Windows PC
Completion Status: I have completed the campaign
Trophy Status: 14 of 31

This was one that I thought looked really cool and it was actually free for PlayStation Plus users when it released and I was excited to play it, however I did not get a chance until much later in the year since I didn't get my PlayStation 4 until Black Friday 2015.

This is one of those games where my expectations were not meant. When I saw it, I thought it would be like God of War in 2D and it ended up being God of War and Demon Souls in a metroidvania setting. The initial draw of me and probably most players was the art style. Its art is based on Greek pottery and it is consistently like this throughout.

My initial draw is where my interest ended with this game. I thought the game has a very unique art style and while that is great, the game actually seems very simple for me. Combat is with weapons that you pick up and you have to time when to swing in order to hit your enemy. You will need to time your blocks and attacks based on what your enemy is doing and what enemy type they are. While I don't have an issue with this design, the problem that I have is that all weapons have durability. Once upon a time, I would have thought that weapon durability is such a cool idea, now, not so much. Since your weapons all have durability, when you pick up a rare weapon only to have it eventually break is really disappointing to see. When you are fighting tougher enemies and bosses, having your weapons break is just frustrating. As an aside, when your weapon breaks, it disappears as if it never existed, so I found that I would save my rare weapons at the beginning and not really caring for them later on. It meant that every time I found something rare, I would be happy for a second and then realize that I shouldn't get attached to it since it'll eventually break like everything else.

Weapons types are many, you get throwing javalins, swords, spears and more. I don't really have too much to say about them. They work, however, weapon durability breaks it for me (literally).

Exploration is like other metroidvania style games. There will be areas that you can see but cannot visit until you have a particular item (usually a key). I found that for the ones that I did unlock, it wasn't really worth the effort since you are usually rewarded with weapons (which break).

Somehow this game seemed to have reviewed well, however, with how simple and unrewarding the combat is, I'm surprised that I actually completed the game. If the game wasn't free, I would have a hard time suggesting this to anyone. Have a look at some gameplay videos to get an idea of what the combat is like. If it looks like your cup of tea, go for it but know that it is played that way throughout the game. Weapon durability, while disappointing probably was there for balancing purposes but when you are rewarded with a rare weapon that will eventually break, it seems to defeat the purpose of the reward to begin with. Honestly, I don't think I can recommend this one based on my playthrough.

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on Rollers of the Realm for PlayStation Vita.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Final Thoughts - The Swindle [PlayStation 4 / PlayStation Vita]

Title: The Swindle
Genre: 2D roguelike stealth platformer
Developer: Size Five Games, Curve Digital
Publisher: Size Five Games, Curve Digital
Release Date: July 27, 2015
Platform played on: PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita
Completion Status: I have completed the campaign
Trophy Status: 10 of 15

I saw the game through a Let's Play and I thought it was worth giving it a try when it was on sale. It is a cross-buy game where you will get to play it on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita with your purchase.

Originally, I started playing the game on PlayStation Vita and while it works fine, after I played it on PlayStation 4, I knew that it was meant for PlayStation 4. It has shorter load times, the text is actually readable and overall, it was a smoother experience. I am not saying that the PlayStation Vita is a bad choice, but if you had to choose between the two, I would say that PlayStation 4 is the way to go.

Subtitled A Steam Punk Cybercrime Caper, the Swindle's story is a simple one, in 100 days, Scotland Yard will activate their AI system which will track down all robbers. You as a gang of robbers must stop this from happening. Each day is a heist, where you as a robber must break into houses, casinos, banks, warehouses, etc in order to get money to unlock new areas with Scotland Yard being the final location. The money that you get allows you to unlock abilities such as hacking computers, EMPs, remote denotations, among other skills. The skills are valuable and you must consider what you unlock, in what order.

Each heist that you take counts as 1 day. If you succeed, fail, or die, they all count as one day, so you need to be careful with how you go through a level. As a bonus, if you are successful in your heist and achieve 80%+ of the money available on the heist, you get a bonus to your multiplier which gives you even more money after you complete this level and future levels. Note that you lose the multiplier as soon as your robber dies, so there is a lot of reward for keeping alive.

Now, keeping alive is a bit of an issue while I was playing through the game. The controls work well, however, there were a lot of times where it seemed like I made the jump correctly, however I still died, or when I thought I hit the enemy, by somehow they hit me instead. You eventually get used to the quirks of the game, they aren't really deal breakers, however, if they tightened up the controls, it would be a fantastic game.

Since this is a roguelike game, all the levels are randomly generated and you get a different level each time. This is both good and bad. The bad is that sometimes, the levels that are generated just aren't designed in a way that you can get all the money or pass enemies without having skills and abilities that you would get later in the game. It is frustrating since you want to get all the money in the level but you can't due to how it was generated. The flip side is, if you get a bad level once, you can also get good levels where everything works to your advantage and you are in and out of the level with all the money with ease. With the roguelike nature, the levels are fairly short and you can complete most of them in under 10 minutes in the later levels and under 5 minutes in the earlier levels. These short levels make it perfect for short bursts or long playthroughs.

I thought the game was fun until the end when it is REALLY REALLY hard. I must have played the last level over 50 times before I beat it. The issue is, since it is randomly generated, if you did well once, you may not in the future. It also works the other way where a bad level this time may mean a good level next time.

Overall, while it seemed well reviewed by publications, user scores are a bit lower and I tend to agree with the users more than the publications on this one. If the controls were a bit better and if the randomly generated levels had a bit more restrictions, I think overall it would have been a much better game. Take a look at some YouTube videos and see if you like what you see before diving into this one.

Come back next Wednesday for my Final Thoughts on  Apotheon for PlayStation 4.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Month in Review - January 2016

During Black Friday 2015 I picked up a PlayStation 4 and I finally got a chance to catch up on the massive log of PlayStation Plus games.

Here are the games that I played in January 2016:

Samurai Warriors 4 for PlayStation 4
I only played the first one and due to how infrequent these came out and if I remember correctly that one of them only came out on the Wii (which I never owned), I finally got to play this series again on PlayStation 4. Hack and slash game where you can kill thousands of enemies in ONE battle. There are minor changes from what I recall from the original. Chronicle mode is new where you create your own character and create your own destiny. It was fun while it lasted for me. I'm not sure I will go back to it. I found that I didn't really create that much for the characters back story after reading a few.

Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China for PlayStation 4
I walked into this with an open mind thinking that since it looked like mark of the ninja it would be good and it turned out to be okay. Not up to my expectations based on what I expected but it isn't bad. Story really isn't there to add to the assassins creed lore though so I'm not sure why the title was shoehorned into it.

The Swindle for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita
I played this on the vita primarily and after trying it on ps4, I think I will keep my experience there if possible. It is like mark of the ninja but you are a robber. In 100 days Scotland yard will complete an AI that will be able to stop all robbers and it is your job to stop it from happening. The game is fun, each day is a heist if you pass or fail. If you die a new robber continues where you left off. I have completed the game, unfortunately, there isn't much to do afterwards.

Life is Strange for PlayStation 4
3D adventure game where you are a teenage girl going through the stereotypical issues like friends, bullies, school, personal life, etc. However, you discover that you have the ability to turn back time in the event that something bad happens or you selected the wrong answer. For example, if you are hiding in the closet of your friends and you see that they are being harassed by their father do you stay in the closet or come out and try to protect them? All of your choices have an effect on what happens in the future, for example, I watered my plant too many times and now it died. It seems like an interesting game. I'm in chapter 3 of 5 and while I heard a lot of great things about this title, enough that it is on the game of the year lists, I don't know if I would praise it as highly as others have.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number for PlayStation Vita
I got this on sale because I enjoyed the original and I should have listened to the comments about the issue with this game. Fundamentally it controls the same, however, all the rooms are larger. The problem is that this means that there are possible enemies that you cannot see with guns down the hall or room or area. They tried to make the areas more interesting by putting you in giant buildings or shipyards, but due to the size of the rooms, it means that I die more and often due to me not being able to see the enemy before they shoot me. The story component definitely seems like a step up from the original game, so I will probably at least complete it for that part of the game.

February is a surprisingly filled month. Gravity Rush Remastered, Not A Hero, XCOM 2, Firewatch, Valkyria Chronicles Remaster, Far Cry Primal, Street Fighter 5 among others. Street Fighter 5 is my get for the month and while I will get it, I'm disappointed to hear that story mode isn't shipping with the game. But I do recall having a lot of fun with my friends when Street Fighter 4 came out and I'm sure it'll be good. Apart from SF5, I'll be completing some of the games mentioned above and start some others that I have purchased but haven't started yet (I have a lot of those).

Come back on March 1, 2016 to read about my February Month in Review.