Monthly Pick-Ups: August 2014

Wii U Deluxe Console
My beautiful wife asked me to come out to the car and help her bring in the groceries. When she opened the trunk, my brain took a second to register that there wasn’t any groceries at all, but a Wii U sitting in there with several games! It was the biggest birthday surprise since she bought me Batman: Arkham Asylum when it first came out (a game I was planning on skipping simply because Batman games aren’t typically quality). I have a great PC and a PlayStation 4 for my “hardcore gaming”. But for fun, adventurous games that you can’t get on my other systems, the Wii U fills that void.

The Miiverse is a really nice Nintendo innovation. It’s a social network for Wii U users to share quick messages about certain games. The first time I died on New Super Mario Bros. U, a couple of messages popped up showing people’s frustration for the level I just died in. When I beat an area or do a challenge, I can post my accomplishment for others to view.

The gamepad is nice to have, but I still prefer the classic controllers. It’s not that the screen is bad (in fact, the screen’s very low latency and looks fantastic), it’s just something Nintendo could have left out and opted for better hardware to compete with Sony and Microsoft. I think they’re finally waking up to the idea that they need to cater to the more hardcore gaming crowd than the casual crowd, going by what Shigeru Miyamoto recently said about casuals.

Oculus Rift DK2
This is something I’ve wanted since they first announced VR on the PC. This is the kind of thing I’ve desired back when I first saw The Lawnmower Man, and went to Six Flags Over Texas to see a VR machine first-hand.

I received mine a week ago, and I’m in love with it. It didn’t take long to set up, drivers and all. The first thing I noticed after strapping it to my head is that when you’re looking at objects, the 3D is amazing. It works, which is more than I can say for most other 3D visuals in media. Even on my 3DS, it looks like I’m peaking through a window rather than seeing things jump at my face.

Almost ever game/demo has ran smooth without stuttering. Quake II was almost like a new game again. It takes a minute to get used to running as fast as you do in Quake, but once you do it’s amazing to examine nook and cranny that you’ve seen several times before. I haven’t been able to enjoy Half-Life 2 due to stuttering, but it’s too early to give up. The problem with Oculus juddering is that when you’re captivated into a game, your head movement needs to be accurate or else if feels like your eyes are glitching. Now almost immediately after playing Half-Life 2, I get nausea and have to quit playing on my PC for a few hours.

I’ve played a lot of demos so far. The best demo I’ve played so far has been a mixture of Ocean Rift and Titans of Space. Ocean Rift scared the heck out of me (not a fan of sharks), and Titans of Space is just an easy-going experience to show how small you are in the universe. Seeing the Sun next to a supergiant like the VY Canis Majoris really paints that picture.

If I had to really give a downside with my Oculus experience, it has to be the smell of the foam or the glue on the foam. I’m not really sure which it is, but I hope to find a way to remove the odor. It brings about nausea more than even the juddering. Riftmax (a virtual theater to play YouTube or Twitch) is one of my favorite experiences. But it quickly turns sickening due to the odor.

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
This is one of the reasons I wanted a Wii U. Mario Kart isn’t my favorite series. I’ve only been a fan of Mario Kart 64 before I tried out 8. What made me want this was playing Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on Steam with my friends. It was the first time since Mario Kart 64 that I felt kart racing was fun.

This has been something I’ve played every other day since purchase. I haven’t tried the online because I’ve been busy racing my wife while trying to unlock everything. I still think Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed has been a better overall experience, but Mario Kart 8 is only closely behind. Nothing in particular is wrong with it though.

What’s really great is the quality of the DLC coming out. Link in a kart. An F-Zero track. Nintendo is basically churning out a Mario & All-Stars Kart game similar to what SEGA has done.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
I absolutely loved Donkey Kong Country Returns on the original Wii. Not only did it have great gameplay, graphics, and music, but the game was difficult. Tropical Freeze is easier so far, but it feels much more like the original Donkey Kong Country than DKC Returns did. But like most of the Wii U games I have, I haven’t put a lot of time into them due to time constraints. I’ve only had the system close to two weeks now. So there’s really not a lot of comments on the game.

Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
I wanted to beat New Super Mario Bros. U before going too far into this game. I’ve only beaten the first world. It’s a much bigger and better version of Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS/2DS. Only now I can be a cat and have a friend play with me. Much like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, I haven’t invested enough time. I can only comment that the level designs are wonderful so far, and the graphics are stunning. Nintendo is really good in their art direction. I expect to review this after completing it.

New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U (Wii U)
This was the first game I tried out on my Wii U, and it’s a lot more fun than the previous New Super Mario entries in my opinion. It looks beautiful, but it also is pretty challenging compared to the previous entries. It looks pretty short, as confirmed by a friend, but I still find this to be a good overall package. The multiplayer has been great. It’s fun picking up my wife’s character and running her through an area she finds too tough. Or just lobbing her off the side of a platform to her doom.

Wii Sports Club (Wii U digital download)
I didn’t pay for this, but I have it. I tried it out, and it’s Wii Sports. That’s a good thing. This time it goes online and has a much better presentation. I haven’t taken the time to play too long, just sample everything. Since it was free, I’m impressed. I’m hoping to pick up bowling again and waste nights honing my bowling skills.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (PS4)
I knew this game would be a blast, but I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I already have. I’ve had the game for about 48-hours now, and 10 of those hours have been playing this. This is the most enjoyable experience I’ve had in multiplayer this entire generation so far, and I’m glad it’s finally arrived on the PlayStation 4.

The amount of customization is great. Every class has a large selection of costumes to pick from and characters to unlock. Instead of just being a Peashooter, you can be a frozen Peashooter with different abilities related to your costume. I’m a fan of in-game unlockables. This is definitely my type of game.

I think there’s a fair balance for casual and hardcore gamers alike. There’s modes specific for casuals who want to get used to the game before venturing into something more challenging like Gardens and Graveyards, the equivalent to Battlefield’s Rush mode. And if you’re not interested in competitive modes, there’s a survival mode in which you work as a team to defend a garden against hordes of various Team Zombie.

inFAMOUS: First Light (PS4 digital download)
I’ve already completed the game (it’s short – around 3-4 hours short). I’m actually on my way to earning a Platinum trophy after I complete a few more challenges in the arena. I wasn’t a huge fan of inFAMOUS: Second Son. I thought it was a decent game that looked beautiful, but felt very mediocre as an open world game. It suffers from what the Assassin’s Creed series suffers from which is being an open world game, but doing repetitive tasks to complete the game at 100%.

First Light does improve on this aspect. Instead of roaming a giant representation of Seattle, you’re taking on one area doing almost the same thing. What makes it better is it’s one area. By the time you’re tired of collecting illuminated floating lights, you’re done collecting them. The biggest improvements are the challenges and the abilities that protagonist, Fletch, can do.

I’ll try and actually review this stand-alone game soon. I haven’t done a lot of reviewing this year, but I’m hoping to change that soon.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 – Episode 5 (PS3 digital download)
I haven’t completed this yet (I just started it), but I can tell it’s going to end tragically. The characters are a bit too content right now. I’ve previously had a few comments about where TellTale Games has been heading. They’re now more a visual “choose your own adventure” novels rather than adventure games. This is probably due to them having too many projects for such a small team. Because of this, this season has been a hit or miss. It runs better than the original and the overall story is good, but the choices don’t really effect the story that much. It just feels like I’ve been choosing different dialog scripts rather than playing a game. But it is what it is. The “game” is still good and a relaxing experience to watch while eating dinner.

Hotline Miami (PS4 digital download)
I think I’ve said enough about how amazing this game is.

Road Not Taken (PS4 digital download)
This was a free indie game for Plus members in August so I gave it a shot. It’s a puzzle game that’s actually pretty fun. You live in a town that requires you to “think of the children” by saving them in a forest full of danger. Why the children are allowed to wander off every year into this forest is beyond me. You build relationships with town folk by giving them gifts and in turn, they give you items to help you complete the puzzles. I’ve only invested a couple of hours into it, but I can tell it’s going to be one of the better puzzle games I’ve played this year. I might even finish it!

Other pick-ups include: Metro: Last Light (Steam), Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Wii U), Dragon’s Crown (Vita digital download), Metrico (Vita digital download), Super Mario Bros. 2 (Wii U digital download), Proteus (PS3/Vita digital download), LittleBigPlanet 3 Beta (PS4 digital download)

About DryvBy

Posted on August 31, 2014, in Monthly Pick-Ups and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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