Ouch

Happy Weekend TAY!

My condolences to those who are back at school, I hope you made a good dent in your backlog over the summer. It is still summer vacation for a couple of weeks here, so my family and I have a little more time for doing nothing.

Doing nothing has been a theme for me for the past few weeks. *old man rant incoming* I have a stress fracture in my foot which prevents me from walking very much and makes doing things around the house a little painful. This foot issue had me walking weirdly, which caused the bad disc in my back to flare up, and the poor posture from my back problem caused the nerve impingement in my shoulder to reappear. Fun!

The bright side is that this resulted in lots of sitting on my ass...playing video games. Thanks to spikespeigel for covering for me last week while I was down with my foot problem and last minute changes to how my kid was getting home from his grandparents.

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At least being hobbled allowed me to finish up Rage almost two weeks ago and I couldn’t have had a better time. Well...the ending of Rage still sucks, but the journey is simply brilliant. One of the best features of Rage on PC is the seamless ability to go from the Xbox One controller to mouse and keyboard.

I love playing with the mouse and keyboard for first-person-shooters, but the vehicle component in Rage is almost 50% of the game and works so much better with a controller. Being able to seamlessly switch from the mouse and keyboard to the controller in Rage is one of the best experiences on PC. Most games make you stick with only one control scheme and often don’t let you jump to different controller setups. If they do let you switch, there is often menus to sift through or painful transitions when activating different devices. With Rage, it was amazing to be able to use exactly the devices I wanted to use at exactly the moment I wanted to use them.

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Rage is now part of Xbox Game Pass if you subscribe. I don’t know what the 360 version was like, but I’d highly recommend checking it out. If you own it on PC and haven’t played it since your last hardware upgrades, now is the time to replay it before the sequel comes.

After Rage was completed, I started (and finished) Enslaved: Odyssey To The West. Wow! What a gem!

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Be sure to use Kinja’s enlargement tool on this image (if your browser supports it) to see the incredible detail of this 8-year-old game.

Enslaved was one of those titles that slipped through the cracks for me. I really enjoyed Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword on the PS3 but it has been 10 years since I played that, so Ninja Theory wasn’t on my mind. With all the love you TAYters had for Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Ninja Theory, Enslaved finally found its way to me.

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I loved it. The production values are insane and the game still looks incredible. The PC version can run at 4K and 60fps (or higher), but from the videos I’ve seen, the 360 and PS3 versions have excellent visuals as well. If Namco doesn’t hold the rights to the game, Microsoft would do well to port the PC version to the Xbox One and run it at 4K@60fps.

If you haven’t played Enslaved, think Uncharted-style exploration (and shooting) with hack-and-slash melee combat. It doesn’t have a deep control scheme (even less involved than Heavenly Sword), but if you enjoy a nice flowing beat-’em-up, you’ll likely have fun with this one. I played the game on the highest difficulty and made it through without a frustrating amount of deaths and loved almost every second of the game.

The main characters are voiced and mo-capped by Lindsey Shaw (Pretty Little Liars, etc) and Andy Serkis (everything plus Gollum) and the results are staggering. I’m usually not one who plays games seeking stories, but I was taken aback by how well this one was told. I’m looking forward to Hellblade and DmC when I have a chance; it is 2 for 2 with Ninja Theory for me so far.

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And now I’m on to Aliens: Colonial Marines because sometimes you have to stick your nose in shit to remember how good the flowers smell.

Well...ok...to be fair...so far I’m actually liking the game. I’ve installed a mod that is supposed to improve the game in many ways, though I don’t know what it looked like originally so I can’t speak to what the mod actually fixes. I also used the recently discovered fix to correct a typo that vastly improves the game’s terrible AI which added to the hatred of this title. (well I’m sure that Alien: Colonial Marines being synonymous with faked E3 footage didn’t help either.)

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Colonial Marines looks alright and plays alright at the moment. It is no Alien: Isolation (best game ever if you hadn’t heard), but I’m having a good time. Mind you, I went in with such low expectations that it would be hard to disappoint me at this point. I’m sure the sound effects from the movies alone are enough to carry me through. Though, the opening cutscene looked like something that belongs on the original PlayStation.

I’m having a game night with my son Saturday night and we are going to start The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, so I’m somewhat excited about that. I’m not a huge Zelda fan, but it sounds like this one might be more up my alley. I imagine some Rocket League and other things will be on the menu as well. It was easier when my son was younger and passed out at 5 am during these all-night sessions, but now I struggle to keep up with him. At least 8 am is the cutoff.

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So, what are you playing this weekend?