Triple-A Gaming Feast

Happy Weekend TAY!

Wow, what a week of awesome gaming. I had a rare week of no commitments and lots of downtime. I am weaning myself off caffeine and diet pop, so I haven’t had the motivation to do a whole lot more than to park my butt on the couch and game. At least I was able to trade one addiction for another.

Last weekend I was finally able to finish off Super Mario Galaxy. I still have the post game challenges which I may go back and pick at over time, but I finished off all the vanilla galaxies and the story. I’ve written in past weeks about how great this game is and how much I recommend everyone play it, so I won’t rehash all that again. Suffice it to say that I think this is the best game Nintendo has made (not having played the sequel) and the Dolphin emulator really brings to the forefront that Nintendo could maybe do better to become just a software company and abandon the hardware. Hopefully Miitomo will really wake up Nintendo to the fact that their audience is much bigger and eager on other hardware platforms.

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After Super Mario Galaxy I was finally able to give my new PS4 it’s first real run. I chose The Order: 1866 as my first game and I’m sure glad I did.

The Order: 1866 is a fantastic showpiece for the PS4 hardware. Visually striking and packed with loads of tech to show off the power of the platform. As someone that has a relatively hefty PC, I think The Order: 1866 makes a great argument for the value packed inside that PS4 chassis.

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I don’t read a lot of reviews so that I avoid spoilers, but I know The Order: 1866 was bashed fairly hard. Honestly, I’m not sure what the complaints were about. Yeah, it is a little short, but it was as long as it needed to be without feeling at all padded. Maybe at $70 when it was first released it was a little harder to swallow, but at the $20 it set me back from PSN I was more than satisfied.

The other complaint I heard thrown around was directed towards the storytelling. I can’t for the life of me understand this, I thought the story was fantastic. I had read complaints that the story didn’t deal well with the supernatural content. I completely disagree with this and I think it dealt with it better than most games. This wasn’t the story of the origin of The Order, this also wasn’t the story of the rise of the lycans. This was the story of Sir Galahad at a turning point in his life.

I think the world-building and storytelling were exceptional in that you were drawn into a universe already up and running. You were brought up to speed in this alternate history through excellent writing and acting. The lycans were treated as a matter of course for the world and I felt the storytelling made extremely smart choices as to how it treated the supernatural content. It all felt authentic and, considering the fantasy you are involved in, I was able to accept all of it without finding any faults because every aspect was delivered in very believable detail (they even explained the regenerating health in a marvelous way). I loved the world and the characters; I would be very happy to revisit that universe in a sequel.

My only personal complaint about The Order: 1886 was the difficulty. I played on Hard with the auto-aiming off and still found the game too easy overall. I had to replay a couple of sections here and there, but it wasn’t hard like Hard should be.

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With The Order: 1886 done, I still wanted to give the PS4 more of a run. I thought about picking up inFamous: Second Son but then realized I never played the Festival Of Blood DLC for inFamous 2 on PS3. So, I figured I should start with that.

I loved the inFamous games on PS3. I’d argue it is one of the best engines on the system and a wonderful treat to control as a player. Festival Of Blood uses the map and engine from inFamous 2 but the vampiric twist to the story offers a whole host of new abilities and gameplay.

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Festival Of Blood was a great vampire experience and maybe offers a better take on vampire gameplay than many of the other vampire games out there. The story also backs up the game well and doesn’t end up feeling like just some hokey re-skin of inFamous 2.

Festival Of Blood ended up being of good length for DLC and highly polished. If you haven’t played it and enjoyed inFamous 2 I would highly recommend checking it out. It makes me eager to grab inFamous: Second Son at a later date for the PS4.

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So, if you are counting, that’s three games I polished off last week. All triple-A gaming and all immensely satisfying.

My next task was to give my Steam Controller it’s first run. I had a lot of trouble picking something I wanted to play that would also maybe work well with the Steam Controller. The list of games with native Steam Controller support is very small and none of them appealed to me at the time. I finally chose Batman: Arkham Origins (which is supported, though not natively) and that ended up being a bad choice.

I enjoyed the previous two Arkham games that Rocksteady wowed the world with. Even though Rocksteady didn’t helm this one, their influence is all over it. Feeling much like Arkham City it was nice to slip back into the slick and fluid movement of Batman.

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The Steam Controller did not add to the experience though. I think much of the issue is with the face buttons on the Steam Controller being packed really tightly together. I had misgivings about the spacing of the buttons before playing with the controller, but it definitely didn’t work for me with Batman. It was way too easy to hit the wrong button with how quickly you need to move between them. Maybe that would improve with more exposure, but they are awfully damned close together.

The other issue was with the camera controls. I tried a variety of profiles for Arkham Origins for the Steam Controller and found nothing that felt nearly as useful as the camera control with an analog stick. I don’t think this is a good example of a game for the Steam Controller and I switched to an Xbox One controller and didn’t look back.

I’m playing Arkham Origins on Hard and it took me a little while to get up to snuff with it. It was even kicking my ass in the opening training. It is still just as likely to kill me in a big fight and the bosses have been wonderfully tough. With my in-game upgrades it has lessened the chance of death somewhat, but I still have to be fairly cautious about dying. This is how hard difficulties should be.

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We pick up our new car on Saturday so I’ll be busy with that all weekend getting used to all the new tech and learning all the ins-and-outs of the vehicle. If I get any free time to myself it will be knee-deep in Batman: Arkham Origins. Hopefully my family will have some time to rock out with Rock Band 4, though there is a new Minecraft: Story Mode episode my son is dying to play. Maybe we’ll be able to fit it all in.

So what are you playing this weekend?