Tag Archives: PS4

All-Time Top 5 Racing Games

Racing games are still amongst my favourite game genres, despite my general apathy towards cars in real life. I’ve approached this list in my usual way, taking into account nostalgia and enjoyment. There was the normal amount of ‘almost made it’ games, so they’ll follow at the end.

Reverse order, as ever:

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5) Forza Motorsport 7 (Xbox One)

This very nearly didn’t make the list at all, and I strongly considered using an earlier entry. Once you’re in a race, I’m of the opinion that there is no better ‘realistic’ racing to be had than Forza 7. They’ve also improved the single player career mode to make it much more interesting than the last few iterations, 5 and 6 particularly were so very stale in that regard. However, in their ongoing bid to cash in on every possible additional revenue stream, the lootboxes, mods and pointless ‘Driver Outfits’ have made much of the experience incredibly tedious. Coupled with huge load times, this stuff grates even more. So annoying, because ‘in race’ it’s superb and looks stunning. Argh.

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4) Rage Racer (PlayStation)

Could easily have been any of the original PlayStation era Ridge Racer series, but this is the one I still choose to go back to now. I think Ridge Racer Type 4 is almost certainly the better game, but I just didn’t spend as much time with it. The art style of Rage Racer is really distinctive, and stands out against other racers not just in the series but across the 32 bit era.

Sadly I never got on with any of the Ridge Racer’s post PS1, and mostly just pretend the series ended with Type 4.

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3) Sega Rally (SEGA Saturn)

I still remember when I first saw Sega Rally running on my Saturn. It was the first time it really felt like I had ‘Arcade quality’ games at home, and also when I really started getting into Racing Games. Before the Saturn & PlayStation appeared, the racing games I liked tended to be of the top down variety, i.e. Micro Machines, Super Sprint. I always found it difficult to really get into the ‘driving into the screen’ style of racing games, even classics like Outrun, because I couldn’t escape the feeling that the car was staying still and the track was rushing towards me. Once polygons arrived, this was mostly mitigated for me, and I’ve never looked back.

Sega Rally remains an absolute joy to play, and it’s a testament to the quality of the game that many otherwise forgotten arcades around the country, manage to have a functioning Sega Rally twin cabinet amongst their gambling machines, and that it still draws in players.

 

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2) WipEout Omega Collection (PS4)

While the demise of Studio Liverpool has made it very unlikely we’ll get a true new Wipeout game, their last few releases had been refining content from earlier in the series. This latest collection put together by new developers is a masterpiece, and pretty much essential for a PS4 owner. All the content from the PS3 and Vita games, remastered to be a full 60 fps at 1080p. It’s gorgeous, and just as fun as it ever was. This month should see them release a free VR patch, which makes the entire game playable in PSVR. I can’t wait.

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1) Forza Horizon 3 (Xbox One)

When the original Forza Horizon first appeared, I really wasn’t convinced. I was much more into Forza Motorsport 4. This changed when I got my Xbox One though, I picked up Forza Horizon 2 and fell in love. It has the polish of the Motorsport games, but is just so much more fun, and easier to play in short bursts. I find I can play for half an hour in the morning before work, and make good progress in events. Horizon 3 was even better, giving an all new map and it didn’t hurt that when it arrived it was the best looking game on the console. The 2 DLC packs, Blizzard Mountain & Hot Wheels, are also outstanding and pretty much essential.

While this third game in the series is comfortably my favourite, what I like about  Forza Horizon is that the maps are so different, it is still worth playing the earlier games. I’m hoping they follow their own pattern, and release Forza Horizon 4 this year.


Other mentions:

Mario Kart (DS & Wii) – This probably would have made my list if I’d been making it a few years ago. Although the series would likely be in my top 10, I have drifted away a bit. I adored the DS and Wii versions, and put many hours into multiplayer on both. However, 7 was a bit of a disappointment on the 3DS, and I’m yet to own either a Wii U or Switch to spend time with 8. Maybe that’ll change in the future, but neither console is on my radar yet.

Porsche Challenge & Rally Cross (PlayStation) – I have great memories of both of these, and on nostalgia alone they’d probably be in my top 5. However, when I started drafting this list, I went back and played a bit of Porsche Challenge, and unlike Rage Racer & SEGA Rally, it hasn’t aged well at all. Borderline unplayable, I was too scared to go try Rally Cross.

Drive Club (PS4) – I have no doubt that this is now a great game. It was admittedly a mess at launch, but the developers worked on it with frequent updates and it is now a very polished racer. Until Forza Horizon 3 came along it was the best looking racing game I’d ever played. Unfortunately I find it too difficult, and was unable to make too much progress. I got quite a bit more mileage out of the Motorbikes expansion, but just not prepared to put in the extra time to improve. Ultimately Forza Horizon and Motorsport series are better games and I’d sooner spend more time with those.

 

 

 

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Top 5 Games 2017

That time again to look back over the last twelve months and highlight my favourite games of the year. I was surprised to find that there are two remakes / remasters on this list, and that all of my top five were on the PS4 (although only two are exclusive to the platform). I have this time stuck closely to the brief, and all 5 were released in 2017. If I had decided to include all the games I’d played this year, we’d probably have Panzer Dragoon Saga on this list, but otherwise I think the line up would be pretty similar.


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5)  Everybody’s Golf – PS4

A series that I’ve had a passing interest in since the original PlayStation, the first time I put a lot of time into it in single player was on the Vita. That game was a joy and I still revisit it when travelling. This latest version is delightful, I’m really enjoying playing through the career mode and the multiplayer is great fun both online and locally.

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4) WipEout Omega Collection – PS4

The first of two remasters on the list, WipEout Omega Collection is slightly bittersweet. After the closing of Studio Liverpool by Sony, a proper new WipEout seems unlikely at best. However, if this is to be the last game for the franchise, it’s a truly fitting finale. Containing all the content from the PS3 and Vita games (the Vita edition itself was something of a remastering of content from the PSP games), but running at a crisp 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. An absolutely essential PS4 release. This could be a system seller all on its own, and apparently we’re getting a free update in first quarter 2018 to make the whole thing playable in PSVR.

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3) Injustice 2 – PS4

If Street Fighter V was a demonstration of how not to make a fighting game interesting to the casual single player, Injustice 2 is a shining example of how it can be done. The first Injustice game was a complete surprise, a great fighting game with the DC licence being previously unheard of. It’s interesting that the Marvel licence had a run of great fighting games, that seems to have ended with the mediocre Marvel vs Capcom Infinite. Perhaps the universe only has room for one of them to be good at a time.

Injustice 2 built on the success of the first game, and despite my initial doubts about the gear system, it turned out to be a stroke of genius. I’m presently addicted to farming xp for all the characters, and chasing the loot in a Diablo-esque manner. While lootboxes are the bane of so many modern games, Injustice 2 throws so many of them at you via its Multiverse events, I’ve never felt pressured to spend any real money on micro-transactions and am regularly opening 50+ boxes of shiny new tat for my heroes.

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2) Nex Machina – PS4

Since releasing Nex Machina (and Matterfall, which I bought but haven’t really got round to playing yet) the developers, Housemarque, have announced that they’re leaving the genre behind, and won’t be making any more of these Arcade style experiences. I am fascinated to see what they do next, as the quality of their output cannot be denied. I’ll certainly miss their arcade games though. Nex Machina stands alongside Resogun as one of the best games on the PS4, and deserved to sell much better than it did.

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1) WonderBoy: The Dragon’s Trap – PS4

It’s possible I’ll be alone in placing a remake as my Game of the Year, but this was a real highlight of 2017 for me. The new benchmark for remakes, this smashed all my expectations. WonderBoy 3 was one of my favourite games back on the Master System, and this update was clearly produced by people who loved it at least as much as I did. I adore the new art, and it sounds great too. The fact that you can also play with any combination of old or new graphics, sound & music is also delightful. (I played much of it with modern graphics and music, and those classic sound fx).

The Dragon’s Trap gameplay holds up as well today as it did back then, and this is hands down the best game of 2017 for me. A triumph.

November Games

Only one real completion in November, but I’m going to throw a second in on a technicality. Well it is my blog.


Games completed this month

header (2)Nights into Dreams – Xbox 360 / XB1 BC

Although I did play through this last year on Steam, Nights was recently added to the free Games with Gold on Xbox, so I sat down to clear the main story with both characters in order to unlock Christmas Nights, ready to play over the holidays.

injustice-2-listing-thumb-01-ps4-us-06jun16Injustice 2 (again) – PS4

Yes, I’ve counted Injustice 2 before, when I first cleared the story mode. I’ve put a lot of hours into this during November though, and thought I’d record another couple of milestones. Firstly I went back and cleared the alternative choices in the story mode that I couldn’t do on my original play-through (unfortunately this meant siding with Superman, urgh). This month I also cleared the arcade mode in the multiverse with every character to unlock all their unique endings. I’m aiming to get every character to level 20, albeit with the AI doing a lot of the grinding. In this manner I’ve been using remote play on my Vita to play the game as almost a Superhero management sim, so I still gain XP / loot and contribute to my guild’s progress, when I don’t have time to break out my arcade stick.


Also played in November

headerAxiom Verge – Vita

I had been waiting for a deal on the Vita version of Axiom Verge, as although the Steam version was often available for very cheap, it seemed more suited to handheld play. I’m glad I waited as it is excellent on the Vita, and a great game all round. I’m probably around half way through, although my progress has been somewhat derailed by using my vita for Injustice 2. I’m going about this a bit backwards, as I never really got into any of the 2D Metroid games, but playing Axiom Verge has definitely bumped Super Metroid further up my “to play” list.

everybodys-golf-1_1Everybody’s Golf – PS4

This game is a joy. I played a fair amount of Everybody’s Golf back on the Vita, and am thoroughly enjoying this new version. It’s perfect for a quick game, with a round of golf taking around 10 – 15 minutes.

38923-Punisher,_The_(Europe)-1459753927The Punisher – Mega Drive

Safe to say I’m a late comer to this port, but this year I discovered it is one of the best brawlers on the Mega Drive. Playing in co-op with my partner, we’re yet to beat it, but we are getting there! One or the other of us has made it to the Kingpin each time, but I think we’ll need to get there together (and with some spare lives!) if we’re going to beat him.

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

Still playing this, about 70% of the way through. Hopefully I’ll be able to tick it off in December, I seem to have too many games on the go again!

 


November Pick Ups

PSVRPlaystation VR

I almost made it through the whole Black Friday / Cyber Monday farce unscathed. The only bit of hardware I was keen to pick up was the PSVR headset, as I wrote about after trying it in August. Before the sales started I set myself a hard limit, if I could get the Headset alone for less than £200, I’d bite. I already owned some games, the camera and move controllers, so I wasn’t interested in a bundle. The sales included some very impressive bundle deals, which rapidly sold out everywhere, but nothing on the standalone headset.

That was until I discovered that Amazon had a blanket 20% off all of their Amazon Warehouse deals. In the end I picked up a ‘like new’ headset for £191. I’m very pleased with it, the outer packaging was ripped, but inside everything was mint, with all the protective plastic film still in place. So far I’ve mostly been playing the games I talked about in August, but hopefully my library will increase a bit over Christmas. Particularly keen to get Star Trek, a racing game, Rez Infinite and a few smaller titles like Batman, VR Worlds, and probably the VR addon for Super Stardust HD.

All-Time Top 5 Horror Games

There is probably going to be some poetic licence on the genre here, but they are all games I consider to be either horror or that I at least found scary. Given the topic of the list, it’ll probably be surprising that there are no Resident Evil or Silent Hill games here, but I’ve never been much of a fan. I love the idea of them, and the stories intrigue me, but the gameplay is just so tedious. Too much backtracking, and survival horror staples of things like limited ammo are much more annoying when you also have to deal with truly frightful camera angles and controls. Disclaimer here is that I’m yet to properly play Resident Evil 4, or try Silent Hill 2. I’ve heard enough about both to think I might enjoy those ones, so do intend to give them a go.

Other games missing are those that lean heavily on the ‘hide in the cupboard until the monster goes away’ mechanic (Alien Isolation & Amnesia, I’m looking at you). As I mentioned in my comments on The Evil Within, this doesn’t do anything for me either. Those aside, I’ll also include the usual list of ‘almost made it’ titles at the end.

5) Alan Wake (Xbox 360 / XB1 BC)

bNmnGBgAbsolutely should just be called “Stephen King” the game, the influences are blinding. Incredibly atmospheric and an absorbing story. The combat was fiddly, but became manageable enough with perseverance. I found I’d got zero patience to go back to that style when I attempted to play the DLC however, but the game itself deserves its place on this list.


4) Until Dawn (PS4)

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Completely took me back to that period of horror movies when everything was Scream or I Know What You Did Last Summer. The game play is pretty much a Telltale Game with jump scares and more QTEs, but it works well to deliver an entertaining story. The whole thing is about 8 hours long which I managed to play in one sitting. I’d highly recommend playing it that way if you can find the time.


3) Limbo & Inside (Vita & PS4)

ALi-1-460x215Cheating a bit and lumping these two together. The gameplay mechanics are near enough identical, and although the stories are different, even they have similarities. I played Limbo entirely on my Vita, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had on the handheld. I was a bit disappointed Inside didn’t come to Vita, as I would definitely have played it that way as well. Some of the most atmospheric 2D platforming I’ve ever experienced. Something about the storytelling & gameplay evokes “Another World”, if you haven’t played either of these are definitely worth checking out.


2) Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox 360)

steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_370687669_previewOne of the first games I played on the 360, this was a very pleasant surprise. It’s the only game I’ve played that really did a good job of Melee combat in a first person view. It’s also the only game in this list that I had to stop playing and turn all the lights on for a break when it got too much. I didn’t get very far with the sequel, but I’d like to give it another try if it comes to backwards compatibility on the Xbox One.


1) Metro Redux (PS4)

Metro-2033-Redux-Shows-Up-in-the-Steam-for-Linux-Database-456826-2My favourite horror game(s), and would probably also appear on a top 5 FPS games list. I’m cheating again as this is two games, and I played the remasters on PS4. I took a break in between playing the two games to read the first novel, Metro 2033 (the book the games are based on), and was completely immersed in that world, I was dreaming of those tunnels for months. I’ve since read a couple more in the series, and I’m cautiously excited about a new game. The new game appears to be leaning towards an open world style however, so I’m not holding my breath.


Other mentions:

The first two that almost made it, are both games I played over the last few months. Oxenfree & Murdered: Soul Suspect. Also should drop in a mention for the House of the Dead series, and also by extension the Resident Evil Chronicles games. I really like these, but as light gun games I can’t say I find them scary and they’d feel out of place in the list for me. The following are games I highly rate or had promise, but for one reason or another I’ve never played them through to completion, so I disqualified them from consideration for the top 5. They are:

Eternal Darkness (Gamecube)

eternal_darkness__sanity_s_requiem___steam_grid_by_theeverygameproject-d8d5k2rI’m hoping to go back and replay this, as I’m sure it would be in the top 5 if I’d actually completed it. Sadly I was heavily into a playthrough on my Wii when I got my first Xbox 360, by the time the novelty of the new console had worn off and I tried going back to finish Eternal Darkness, I couldn’t remember anything that was going on in my save. It is highly regarded by most people who have played it, and rightly so.


Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (PC)

headerReally wanted to love this, the theme and tension of the first hour or so are amazing. Unfortunately I don’t know if that continues for the rest of the game, as it was ridiculously unstable, and I abandoned it after about the 20th game breaking bug.


Ecco the Dolphin (Mega Drive)

header (1)No I’m not kidding, this game is terrifying! Watched my sister complete it once, but playing it myself it gets too much once I get to Open Ocean. *shudder*

 


Dead Space (PC / Xbox 360)

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I’ve started this about 3 times, each time enjoying myself but for some reason not going back to it. It does seem really good, so I keep it on my backlog, for one more try.

 


 

Gaming in October

October Gaming

Only 2 games completed, and one of those barely counts. Decent amount of games played though, so here we go.


Games completed this month

oxenfreeOxen Free – Xbox One

This was an absolute joy, and although I’d heard positive things, I had no idea what it was about (or even what kind of game it was). Turns out it’s a creepy little adventure game, and well worth your time.

header (3)The Beginners Guide – PC

This is one of those games that I heard great things about, and after playing it I was left wondering why. Some mild existential stuff going on, but it’s mostly just drivel. Only finished it as it took about 80 minutes, and by the time I’d finished hoping it was going to improve, it ended.


Also played in October

2018-porsche-911-gt2-rs-on-the-cover-of-forza-motorsport-7_100609564_mForza Motorsport 7 – Xbox One

Not entirely sure how I feel about this. The Career mode is easily the best it has been since Forza 2 or 3, later games in the series became so very stale. However it has also tripled down on heinous micro-transactions. Plenty has been written about the mods & loot crate systems elsewhere, but for my two cents: the mods are an annoying distraction at best, and the loot boxes (and by extension the pointless driver clothes that you only see when your avatar is loitering in menus) are completely out of place and soil the the rest of the game. Once in a race, it’s the best serious racer I’ve ever played, but the mods and loot box systems are absolute trash. Hence Forza 7 manages to also be both my favourite and least favourite Forza Motorsport game yet. Urgh. Roll on Horizon 4 and let’s hope they don’t ruin this one with sleazy cash grabs.

header (5)Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened – PC

I’ve somehow got loads of these Sherlock Holmes games across my various digital libraries, and never played any. Decided to start here with the Lovecraftian influenced Awakened, as it seemed appropriate for Halloween and who doesn’t like a bit of Cthulhu? I’m enjoying it and certainly expect to get to the end. Not sure if I’ll play any others from the series though.

header (6)Doki Doki Literature Club – PC

My experiences with visual novels haven’t been great. The two I’ve attempted previously lasted barely half an hour each. The first left me mildly traumatised as I discovered it was some kind of horror porn (this was about 20 years ago and the internet is a scary place kids), and the second was the frankly bizarre Hatoful Boyfriend. People raved about Hatoful Boyfriend but the characters were just too annoying for me to get far enough to find any story. At any rate I’ve decided to give this one a go, given the promise of some fourth wall breaking psychological horror. Jury is out.

header (7)Sky Force Anniversary – Vita

Passable shmup on the Vita, not blowing me away but it was free on PS Plus, and entertaining enough to play a few lives when hungover. Fully expecting to get bored of this before I get anywhere near the end, but I might give it a bit longer.


Retired / Thrown in the Sea* this month

header (4)The Evil Within – Xbox One

Buying this was a mistake really. Found it in a charity shop for a couple of quid and should have left it there. The gameplay is pure Resident Evil / Silent Hill with added Amnesia style hiding in cupboards. Not a fan of any of those tropes and I lasted less than an hour before I turned it off. The second time I climbed into the obviously person sized locker in a room to successfully evade a massive chap with a chainsaw (or something else sharp), my suspension of disbelief collapsed. Your mileage may vary.

*Not actually thrown in the sea…

October pick ups

Grabbed a couple of games in the Halloween sales that I’ve been meaning to play for a while…

fjNzEHqVampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines – PC

Not sure how I’ll take to this, but heard so much good stuff, it was certainly worth a punt for £3. As written about previously my RPG tolerance is generally low, but I can sometimes overcome that with a good setting.

 

3082597-indigoFahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy – PS4

Think this is the third time I’ve bought Fahrenheit. Had it previously for Xbox & PC, but don’t seem to own either anymore and never got round to playing it. Maybe this time…

September in Gaming

Decent amount of games played and completed this month, almost a return to form.


Games completed this month

headerMurdered: Soul Suspect – Xbox One

This has been in my backlog for a while. I had a couple of days sick in September, where I was stuck on the couch, but couldn’t bring myself to play any of my usual games. This turned out to be just the right pace. It’s only slightly more involved than a Telltale Game, but it ticks along nicely. Has a good story, and includes several interesting game mechanics. Did leave me wanting to watch the Salem TV series though…

custom-disc-labels-for-the-saturn-panzer-dragoon-gamesPanzer Dragoon – Sega Saturn

I’ve technically been playing this on and off for years, as I originally had it with my Saturn the first time round. This month I fired it up just to test my machine because another game was crashing a lot and I wanted to make sure it was the game not the console. However, I managed to clear the game for the first time ever, which was very pleasing! Might crack on and see if I can beat Panzer Dragoon Zwei next.
Ori & the Blind Forest: DE – Xbox Oneheader (1)

A fun and adorable little metroidvania (yeah I like the term, sue me). I’ve mostly really enjoyed this, although the ‘temple escape’ sections are frustrating. No interest in going for a 100% completion, but still an easy game to recommend.

507156bc-fa81-4f82-b487-5c69ad1c671eForza Motorsport 6 – Xbox One

Just in time for the release of Forza Motorsport 7, I managed to clear the Career mode of 6. I’ll probably to continue to play this on and off, and I’m also dabbling with Forza 5 since it appeared in the free Games with Gold, and as with the Horizon games, it’s good to contribute to my Forza Rewards level.


Also played in September

ChildOfEden_HeaderChild of Eden – PS3

After last month’s fun with PSVR using the move controllers, I decided to stick with them and revisit this. Still in no danger of completing it, but it remains fun. Pretty similar in gameplay to Panzer Dragoon so I may keep coming back to it. Also reminded me that I should at some point play Rez properly…

header (2)Pinball FX3 – PC / PS4 / Xbox One

Had a little trouble getting my PlayStation & Xbox tables imported, but on PC via Steam the update was seamless. Really like the new polish, and have spent a bit of time with some of my Marvel tables again. PC version is lovely to play on my vertical screen too.

August Games – VR Edition

Aside from falling down a Hearthstone well, I managed a very limited amount of gaming during August. However, at the end of the month I went out to visit friends in The Netherlands, and put in some time with their PSVR setup. Thankfully I managed to complete one of the games too.

The cost of VR is still prohibitive to me, but these games have convinced me enough that I would buy a PSVR set given a significant price drop.


Games completed this month

rush-of-bloodUntil Dawn: Rush of Blood – PS4 / PSVR

I’ve always been a fan of the on-rails lightgun shooter (see this post for more) and this is quite possibly the finest example I’ve ever played. It’s also the first time I’ve found dual wielding guns to shoot independent targets to be really functional.

I’m not entirely sure how it fits with the main Until Dawn game, but the horror setting works really well. Plenty of jump scares and modern horror tropes, I’d love to spend some more time with this one. Although I did manage to complete the game on the normal difficulty, I’d like to try and tackle some of the more challenging modes.


Also played in August

K2aCRhlStar Trek Bridge Commander – PS4 / PSVR

Nerdy as hell, and obviously not going to appeal to everyone, but this is one of the finest gaming experiences I’ve ever had. I played as the engineer with 3 random strangers online, it was great fun to be in the iconic environment of a Star Trek bridge. The scope for how great this would be with 3 friends who also enjoy Star Trek is huge.

maxresdefaultPolybius – PS4 / PSVR

This is one of my own games, not sure how I missed writing about it in my blog post when I bought it on release in May. It’s an excellent new shooter from Llamasoft, and I already found it to be enjoyable just playing on my TV. On VR the experience is something else though, and a really pure gaming experience.

Thumper-11-HDThumper – PS4 / PSVR

Much like with Polybius, this is a game I already own. I wrote about it last month but got to play it for the first time in VR. This is clearly the best way to experience the game, and I found I quickly got passed the place I had been struggling with when playing on my TV.