Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Game Diary.

Freedom Wars.  I've actually been playing Freedom Wars on my Vita, and it feels downright odd to be playing something akin to a triple-A release on the thing.

This is why I bought the Vita, of course.  Because it could handle games like Gravity Rush and Uncharted: Golden Abyss and Freedom Wars - but the platform's lackluster sales in North America ensure the only high-production-value releases come from Japan, where it's doing quite well, thank you very much.

Freedom Wars was the Vita's last big exclusive.  It dropped in late 2014 to decent reviews, had a lot of players for a while, and now we've all but forgotten it.  I picked it up on the sale a week or two ago, and it is... satisfying.  So far.  It's nice-looking, its dystopia is smotheringly bleak, and it's incredibly stylish.

I was stumbling my way through Act 2 of Broken Age, but its puzzles had just become too damned obtuse, and I had turned to a walkthrough more often than I care to admit.  This was not, I decided, how the game should be enjoyed, so I zipped out to the Vita's home screen and browsed through my recent acquisitions... ah... Freedom Wars.

I'd almost forgotten I'd snagged it, and now I don't want to stop playing it.

Like everyone else in the world (it seems), I'm also playing The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.  It's... solid.  Some of it is downright excellent. Yes, the world is huge and rich and yes, it feels pretty badass to ride into town with the severed head of a griffin dangling from your saddle - but it is, unfortunately, the next RPG I'm playing after Bloodborne.

It's certainly not a ten out of ten, no matter what GameSpot has to say on the subject - and it just... does not quite seize upon my imagination.  It has its moments.

Ooh, y'know what I found out today?  I don't have to upload PS4 screens to Twitter to save them!  I can, finally - fiiinally - just pop a USB drive into my PS4 and pull lossless screens directly from the system.

Seriously.  I cannot tell you how much the artefacting on the Twitter shares has annoyed me over the last two years.  To a blogger this is a serious boon.

Here, have some lossless Bloodborne screens.  In fact, direct feed Bloodborne screens for everyone!

Even with the UI in there, this is my favorite screenshot.

Also in the Good News category,

17-Bit's Skulls of the Shogun will finally land on PS4 on June 2nd.  Fiiinally.

17-Bit (who are, currently, hard at work on Galak-Z) had been pretty quiet about the game's PS4 release, for a while.  It was "coming soon" last spring, and we hadn't heard much since - I kind of assumed it had slipped into NeverComingLand, like the Vita version of Mercenary Kings.

...which reminds me, I should bug Tribute Games about the Vita version of Mercenary Kings.  One moment...

Okay, bugged.

Also in good news is Skulls of the Shogun will be free to PS+ members when it launches!  Woo!  Along with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (not bad!), Super Exploding Zoo (which I was already interested in) and Futuridium EP Deluxe for PS4 and Vita, and two games for PS3 but who cares about PS3 any more.

Not me.  Unless we're talking about Dragon's Crown.


  1. That's too bad, I'm absolutely enthralled by the witcher. I mean the "bloody" baron alone is the most interesting character I've met in a game since... shit, since Garrus! He's a bastard but never, ever, a TOTAL bastard.

    And have you met the crones yet? They're the best witches I've ever seeeeeen, man! One of their eyes is just a puffy spider egg nest.

    1. No, I'm still wandering around the Bloody Baron's zone, checkin out question marks on the map. I'll come back to it - and I think it'll become more engaging to me as I let it play more of its hand. I hope.

  2. I work in coffee, and one of the things we do when tasting for the purpose of making major buying decisions, is place coffee in a certain order... the order you taste coffee in dramatically impacts your perception of every coffee on the table. We don't put radically dissimilar coffees together too closely so that neither suffers by comparison.

    Sometimes I wonder if every game you play after one of your all-time favorites (here, I'm thinking of Bloodborne, Dragon's Crown, Mark of the Ninja, etc.) is doomed to be "meh" at best. A game that might, on it's own, and away from the afterglow of a game you've immersed yourself deeply in for weeks on end in, actually shine brightly.

    Like, I wonder if The Witcher 3 would have been better for you if it came out in January.

    1. I one hundred percent think it would have. This phenomenon is absolutely real - after Don't Starve, most of the games I played for months felt wholly inconsequential when compared to the impact my decisions had in that game. Another good example is Darksiders and Bayonetta in 2010.

      "Folks who've put a lot of time into Bayonetta, and then try Darksiders find Darksiders' combat unwieldly. The whole thing feels clunky - as if the game doesn't want them to enjoy themselves. They do not have the same experience as someone who went straight into Darksiders. (Well duh - Darksiders is everything and the kitchen sink - of course its combat won't be perfect.)

      For myself, who beat Darksiders and then went into Bayonetta, I found I had a hard time getting engaged in Bayonetta, because in Bayonetta there is only one thing to do - combat. The experience felt a little... I want to say "small," because I wanted more puzzles, more exploration, more character development (and better-looking cutscenes)."