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27th December 2019: Bring Out Your Dead... Pool

Hot on the heels of a Marvel 3rd person action game comes another Marvel 3rd person action game. This time it was the Deadpool PS3 game's time to take the spotlight, but could I get the same kind of enjoyment out it that I did from the Spider-Man PS4 game?
Well, no. Not really.

I picked this up on my recent ebay console game shopping spree, and in the process contradicted my original assumption that The Last Of Us would be the final PS3 game I'd ever buy. Part of me wishes I'd left the whole game well alone, as I found there were more things wrong with it than right. But even with its flaws, it was not bad enough to stop me playing through it, so I guess that's something, right?

The main problem here was the gameplay itself, which kind of sucks for what is essentially a 3rd person brawler. The characters, the Marvel universe, the humour and the bat-shit crazy fourth wall breaking things that go on were all enjoyable. But when the fighting itself proves to be the annoying part, then the game has a problem.

True, some of these issues I think were down to the console itself. The frame rate, which at its highest and most stable was only 30fps, kept tanking at many points, especially when lots of enemies were on screen. This made the already sluggish combat seem even more so. It didn't help that the only melee weapons in the game which seemed to do any decent damage were the hammers, which were the slowest weapons to swing and made the fighting seem even more dull and boring.

There was also an issue with the counter attack mechanic. This is because both counter and dodge were bound to the same button, so many times I'd be attempting to dodge away but Deadpool would instead counter attack a villain that was about to attack him. Well fair enough, you might think, but when this refusal to dodge out of the way leaves the character open to an attack from another villain nearby then it starts to get annoying. And it's even worse than that as the counter attack animation is in slow motion, making the combat seem even slower and less responsive.
It annoyed me. Let's put it that way.

Another frustrating thing about the combat, which to be fair was a problem I also had with Spider-Man, was that the game seemed to think it knew where you wanted the camera to point. As soon as a fight would break out, the camera would start rotating all around like it was under the control of some tiny director living inside the console, trying to get the right angle for his next action movie. Well, it's not exactly easy to keep control of the camera when the thumb needed to operate the right stick is trying to press the action buttons.

The X-Men Legends PS2 games were also included in my shopping spree, after Scoob informed me he no longer owns them. When I borrowed them from him back in the day, I finished the first one but never went all the way through the second. My original plan was to continue the Marvel console love and plough into that sequel, but that can definitely wait for now. When I look back at the games I've finished this year, all but one have been games I've played with a controller. And the other one was a simple point-and-click. I think I just want to get away from that input device for a while. It's really starting to grate on me.

Well you never know unless you try

Well you never know unless you try

Purile humour incoming

Purile humour incoming

Making a clone Sinister dance

Making a clone Sinister dance

Tacos!

Tacos!

Rogue has a little too much Deadpool in her

Rogue has a little too much Deadpool in her

Literally dancing with Death

Literally dancing with Death

17th January 2017: The Aptly Named

I've never really been into console gaming, especially these last few years, but about a year ago I saw The Last Of Us for PS3 really cheap on ebay so went for it. I figured it would be worth a play through, as it has garnered huge amounts of praise amongst the gaming community. As I only really bought it because it is considered a "must play", and the PS3 is really old now, it's quite likely it is the last PS3 game I will ever buy. It seemed right, considering its name.

It's rare I get into games when first picking them up, and this was no different. I quickly started to stuggle with all the stealth sections, which I've never been a fan of in any game, and only played it for a couple of hours before something else got my attention. It took until a couple of weeks ago for me to remember I needed to finish it.

Though I continued to hate all the sneaking around, I still can't aim for shit using a contoller, and there were a host of little things wrong with it, overall it was a really good experience and I'm glad I played it.

The game is set 20 years after a global outbreak of a fungal infection which turned most people into mindless zombie-like creatures. With the world now in a state of total shit, you play as Joel, a man tasked with the job of escorting a young girl named Ellie across the country, to hopefully find a lab to create a vaccine from her incredible immunity to the infection. Along the way you have to fight through a horde of infected citizens, as well as deal with other people who will either help or hinder. Usually hinder.

Though the story was fairly formulaic, it was the characters that made this enjoyable. It was interesting that even the main characters were not really "good" guys. Cool and badass they may be, but these people were pretty much assholes, even Ellie. I guess that's what would happen after the apocalypse.

As stated, I had a lot of problems with the game. Firstly, the initial load time was insanely long. Not really an issue once you were in it, but still.
The frame rate also tanked a bunch of times, especially when I was near water. That poor old PS3 hardware really wasn't meant for a game like this.
I found out near the end, when I tried to save scum for the first time, that manual saves do not work. The game just reloads right back to the last autosave point. So I have absolutely no idea why there's even a manual save option.
And probably my biggest bugbear was how the game's mechanics, particularly the listening mechanic, would change throughout the game. Sometimes I could listen and hear enemies all around me, but other times it wouldn't let me. There seemed to be invisible sound barriers at many locations that I had to step through in order to hear anything on the other side. Annoying.

Still, mostly a decent game and well worth a play through.

Tangling with the infected

Tangling with the infected

The main characters look ahead

The main characters look ahead

Renee from 24 makes her last stand

Renee from 24 makes her last stand

You are not Spider-Man, Joel

You are not Spider-Man, Joel

Bill gets his chopper out

Bill gets his chopper out

Ellie doesn't like Bill

Ellie doesn't like Bill

Ellie graduates to badass

Ellie graduates to badass

Joel gets a love bite

Joel gets a love bite

That's a lot of infected coming this way

That's a lot of infected coming this way

And the creepy weirdo award goes to... this guy

And the creepy weirdo award goes to... this guy

Lining up the shot

Lining up the shot

Yeah, they all say that

Yeah, they all say that

Save the girl or save the world? What would you decide?

Save the girl or save the world? What would you decide?

10th February 2014: Arkham Origins Done (Sort Of)

I don't have many games on my PS3, as I bought it primarily to be a Blu-ray player, but without doubt the best games I own for it are Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, both of which I played through twice, fully completing not only the stories but also all the secrets and riddles.

And so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into Arkham Origins. I patiently waited a few months to pick it up, as not only are new console games too expensive, I also wanted some serious patching to be done, after reading how many bugs were in the game at launch.
Unfortunately, even though a patch was available when I installed it, I still came across bugs and errors left and right as I struggled through the mess that Warner Brothers had turned this once fine series into. Here's just some of the bugs I can remember. Check these out:

But bugs for me were not the main problem with this game. There were things that Warner Brothers changed (from Rocksteady's original two games) that I really didn't enjoy. Like I had with the previous games, I originally planned to finish this game to 100% completion and not just finish the campaign, so whenever I could solve a puzzle, collect datafiles, or destroy cameras, I would. I frequently broke away from the main story to complete side missions, do training in the Batcave, or do glide drills, knowing all would probably be required.
However, just 27% through the game, I gave up and decided to just finish the main story. Travelling around the city had become a total ball ache. So many enemies with guns and sniper rifles lined the rooftops that I couldn't go gliding down a single street without being shot at. The snipers could even seemingly see me (and in some cases shoot me) through solid brick.
Gunmen weren't only a problem when moving round the city, either. Just like Arkham City did compared to Arkham Asylum, this game once again greatly increased the amount of stealth missions. Sneaking around trying to take out one gunman at a time is not what I wanna do in a freaking beat 'em up game. I wanna plough fists first into a mob of enemies and wail on them 'til my knuckles bleed.

But there was very little joy in terms of close combat here. Not only were there not enough close combat fights in the game, but WB seem to have changed the AI of the enemies to make the fights very frustrating. The enemies always seemed to attack one after another in a continual sequence, forcing me to counter repeatedly. If I broke away from countering to throw an attack of my own, the enemy who was next scheduled to attack me would be free to clobber me as I attacked my target. I found this forced me into a very defensive mindset, at least until I had unlocked a few upgrades and started to unlock the special takedown moves. It was just not a very fun game to play all round.

And then, even after deciding to just finish the main story and ignore the rest of the game, I was still left disappointed. Because up to that point I'd concentrated just as much on finishing side quests as I had the main campaign, I assumed I was still a considerable distance away from the end of the story. Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. All I had left to do from that point was defeat Firefly at the bridge, then take out Bane and the Joker at Blackgate Prison, and the campaign was over. By far the shortest storyline of all three games.

I only hope the rumours about Rocksteady returning to make the next game in the series are true.

29th December 2012: Recounting The Fantasies

For many months I've been meaning to waffle on about my travels through the different Final Fantasy games I've played over the years, much like I did with WoW a while ago. And finally, I've got my ass together and sorted it out. For no reason whatsoever. Don't ask how I remember all this shit.

I originally got Final Fantasy VII for Christmas 1997 from my folks. They had originally bought me Soulblade, but a few days before Christmas they discovered I'd already got that one, and FF7 was their last minute replacement on the advice of someone who worked in the store. Good on that bloke, whoever it was.
Now at the time I knew absolutely nothing about Final Fantasy. I'd never even heard the name. All previous games had been on Nintendo, and back then, much like now, I felt (somewhat irrational I'll admit) hatred towards those consoles. I always felt their marketing strategy and their games were skewed too young for me.
The first time I tried to play it I got to the first scorpion boss and got slaughtered. I had absolutely no idea what the hell was going on. A few days later when the whole Christmas stuff had stopped stuffing, I gave it another go and soon got quite into it.

In February my work mate had a week off and finished the game. When he came back he proceeded to give me loads of spoilers. Twat. Learning these spoilers did not help me at all, as my attention was already waning as I tried to get through the bloody annoying Northern continent, which I hated that first time through. I pretty much went off the game until another workmate picked it up a while later. The guy who'd finished it reckoned this other guy would finish it before me, so I got stuck back in. I finally made it passed that icy wasteland and wouldn't you know, I started liking it again. Maybe it was because Aerith was no longer in it (she annoyed me back then, even though I find her quite adorable now). Even after that, it took me quite a while to finish it. But it was ace to play, and I absolutely loved the story. Still do.

I remember it was about 2am when I first finished it. I intended to get near the end and save it, but I went a bit too far and stumbled into the very long end fight, leaving me no choice but to push through it or I'd lose a lot of work I'd already done. Was a bit tired.

In July 99 I started playing it again after buying the big strategy book. I got through it loads faster and easier and really enjoyed the game and story even more, and did loads of work on the mini games in the Gold Saucer picking up extra shite.

In Feb 2000 I ventured into my 2nd Final Fantasy game when I bought #8 for the PC. I guess like any game there were some things that were better than the one before and some things that were worse. I liked being able to junction different GFs (summons) on different characters to create different combos, but I hated having to draw magics and the boost system was a bore. Story wise it was ok, but I generally dislike anything that deals with any kind of time travel. And this game was full of it, in its own way.

I remember I got to the fight with Adel on disc 4, but couldn't beat her due to not having enough magic drawn and being a little underlevelled. So in August I started again with more determination, and finished it pretty easily in October. Really got a good feeling at the end.

In Jan 2001 I picked up FF7 again, this time for the PC. It was so much better going through it this time, with better graphics and much faster load times. Though I remember there was a weird upside-down graphics bug that needed fixing first. Odd. I was intending to really build up the characters to try a pop at one or both of the big two WEAPONs, but like a tit I missed the vital ribbon from the Temple Of The Ancients, so I never really tried the WEAPON fights and just finished it again.

I decided not to get FF9 as it was not going to be released on PC, and I had enjoyed 7 & 8 so much more on PC than on the PS1. However, in May 2002 I borrowed it from the Scoob. It took a lot of getting into and I struggled through disc 1. This game started toying with what seems to be the current trend of completely limiting what you can do in the game compared to 7 & 8. In this one, they stopped you from customising the party magics and summons the way you could before, as only certain spells and summons could be used by certain characters, and I didn't really like that. Still, it's nowhere near as restrictive as the current games.

I didn't touch it again til early 03 when I started to get into it a bit more. As I was nearing the end of this game in March I got into a chat with Mr. Krig about number 8, as he could remember all the weird names I'd called my GFs. I couldn't help but reload my #8 late game save and finish it again.

In April I finished number 9, not long after finally starting to get really into it. The ending was pretty cool and long, but I would have liked to have seen more of it fully rendered rather than with in game graphics. I did not however grasp the point of Necron's arrival out of the blue at the end. Sure, why not just throw in a big bad guy who up to that point had had absolutely no mention in the entire rest of the game? Sounds like a completely obvious plan. Not. I also didn't like how getting onto the last disc stopped you from going into all the towns around the world for some reason. Strange decisions.

At some point in late 2004 I once more started playing number 8, again with the intent of taking on the big bad WEAPON. I'd got all my junctions worked out in advance and was gonna level up to full, draw all the magics in the world, and nail that big bastard. I think I'd just got onto disc 2 when I had to reformat my computer for some reason. I don't know why, but I've never re-installed the game. I still have the saves, but just have not touched them since. I'm weird.

Over the next couple of years I borrowed number 10 from the Scoob twice, but both times I only played it for about 20 mins. I just did not like it at all for some reason.

I did not touch the franchise again until Jan 2011 when I bought number 13 dirt cheap. I played this for a while, until the point where I escaped Cocoon and made it down to the other planet. It was at this time I decided to throw the damn thing out of the window. The game up to that point had been extremely linear, and I'd been hoping the new planet would bring more freedom, exploration, and a world map or something, but I got none of that. I just didn't like it at all. Other problems were the paradigm system, which pissed me off no end, having to constantly switch just to throw a couple of heals in, and the fact you had to build up the chain bar thing, in order to stagger an enemy and do any real damage. Switching paradigms would often upset your rhythm as you tried to build that gauge, making battles last loads longer than necessary. Also, you couldn't select or even control your whole party. Fracking rediculous. It's just too far removed from the first couple of games I played and really liked.
I watched the rest of the story on the Youtubes, and pretty much gave up on the series.

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