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    Assassin's Creed III: Liberation (VITA)    by   jp       (Mar 24th, 2017 at 14:27:45)

    I hadn't played this in months. Almost a year, perhaps? I booted it up the other day, I couldn't remember how to play it at all (not for traversing the world, but for combat) and, after too many failed attempts at a mission I realized that, well...I just wasn't up for it anymore. There was no easy way to for me to practice/relearn either (I couldn't even pull up a list of all the moves and stuff).

    That being said, I do remember a bit of frustration with combat and my general lack of understanding of what to press, when, and how. I guess I was able to fumble through before but not anymore?

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    Velocity Ultra (VITA)    by   jp       (Mar 22nd, 2017 at 19:15:37)

    I don't often play 2D space shooters - I'm just not that good at them, but I have been wondering what design innovation looks like in this space. Most of what I've heard has to do with what sound like hyper-specialized combo/score systems and variations of Ikaruga's mode-switching (where you change modes and thus become vulnerable or invulnerable to certain kinds of enemies/bullets).

    Velocity Ultra does add something I hadn't quite seen before (not saying it's new, just that it's new to me): backtracking in a 2D space shooter. It's kind of surprising how this affects the pacing and level of intensity of a shooter. Though, to be fair, this isn't a super intense game either - you're normally flying around slowly (you can boost to go faster), there aren't that many enemies, and it's more about navigating the space because you can also teleport. Tap somewhere on the screen and your ship teleports there. I'm not sure you can use it in combat effectively - but it's mostly about warping into secret areas or warping forward because there's an impassable barrier in front of you.

    Anyways, a few levels ago (I'm about halfway through at this point, 23/50?) a new type of teleporting was introduced. You can press triangle to "drop" a warp spot and then, once you've moved past it, you can bring up the map, select your warp spot and warp back to that spot. Most levels now require that you do it because they have branching paths (and you need to explore both) as well as targets you need to destroy in a particular order that is not the order in which they appear (so you might have to destroy "1" and then warp back to destroy "2" and so on). There's lots of these and there also often interconnected ('cause there are numbers and also colors - the most I've had in a level so far was three colors and each with numbers up to 9 - I think. There was a LOT of backtracking).

    I'm not entirely sold on the idea, but it is fresh and it does work. I'm just not sure that it's made the game more compelling...but maybe I've only seen the "simple" levels?

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    Earth Defense Force 4.1 (PS4)    by   jp       (Mar 20th, 2017 at 18:54:29)

    I got this for the couch co-op and my first impression is that this is THE SAME game as before. The same. I think the destruction animations might be more detailed/sophisticated and you can jump a bit higher...but other than that it seems like exactly the same game.

    I'm not sure how I feel about this.

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    Spyro: Hidden Legacy (DS)    by   jp       (Mar 20th, 2017 at 18:51:20)

    I played a bunch of the Spyro games back in the day on the Playstation, and since then I've played Skylanders which are sort-of Spyro games? Anyways, I was curious about the handheld version and I wasn't too sure what it would be like (didn't even bother looking at the back of the box, if I recall): would it be a sidescrolling platformer? 3D platforming (like the original games)? Something else entirely?

    From the intro, I'm guessing that my questions are dumb questions because it feels very much like a sequel. The game starts with a bunch of characters essentially saying goodbye and taking off. My guess is that they're all the buddies you met in the previous game?

    The game is an isometric platform RPG game...and I've had a terrible time so far. Mostly because it is really awkward to move Spyro around AND jump. And there's a fair amount of "miss this jump and die" sections. The jumping is so bad that at times I've jumped, landed and then gotten stuck (can't move). The only way to get unstuck is to jump again (in place), and then you can move... I've also had a fair number of jumps where I land the jump. I see Spyro land. And then he dies. Infuriating!

    The RPG parts seem interesting, there's lots of little quests, you get experience, you level up, and then you get new abilities from some senior dragonfolk. I'm guessing that the abilities make you better in combat and also let you access previously inaccesible areas. Curiously, there's even "draw stuff on the touchscreen" abilities!

    I've reached level 3 and I'm done. I collected enough gems to fill my "bag", and there's no way for me to spend/use the gems (there is a shop but it's closed - presumably it will open up at some point...but I can't be bothered really).

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    Hidden Folks (iPd)    by   jp       (Mar 18th, 2017 at 22:22:29)

    I got this because I was intrigued, wanted to show it in experimental games class, and thought the art looked nice. It's a very slow-paced take it all in and poke around kind of game. Having just finished a few hidden object games on the DS, this one fits right in. The main difference here is that this game has a lot more going on in terms of little micro-interactions and animations, the art is super cartoony and cute, least so far, it's visually less interesting for some reason? I'm not sure if it's the lack of color, or what seems like not all that much variation in characters? Where's Waldo is super dense, the artist has a strong style, but it always feels like things aren't the same in a Waldo book. This game doesn't quite get there. So far. For all I know there's a lot of different areas to come? I've only done a few of the jungle ones...and really, the monkeys and people all look mostly the same...

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    GameLog hopes to be a site where gamers such as yourself keep track of the games that they are currently playing. A GameLog is basically a record of a game you started playing. If it's open, you still consider yourself to be playing the game. If it's closed, you finished playing the game. (it doesn't matter if you got bored, frustrated,etc.) You can also attach short comments to each of your games or even maintain a diary (with more detailed entries) for that game. Call it a weblog of game playing activity if you will.

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    4 : jp's Spyro: Hidden Legacy (DS)
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    Apotheon (PC)    by   dkirschner

    Great style, fun combat, pissed off Hera. Looking to be a good one. ------------ Excellent game. Combat is hella fun. Story turned out to be decent only.
    most recent entry:   Friday 8 July, 2016
    Apotheon is an excellent 2d action/action-RPG/metroidvania game from, and I was surprised, the same devs who made Capsized. I really didn't like Capsized. But, I see similarities in the movement and combat here. Apotheon's loose, sort of floaty movement works well. You pick up a lot of different weapons of several types (spear, sword, club, ranged...) and generally swing it wildly while moving back and forth and jumping up and down. You've got to actually connect the weapon to the enemy for a hit, so for example, you'll miss a lot because enemies will hug you. Solution? Jump up and swing downward, switch to a dagger (which hits right up close), roll away and then attack, etc. The fighting can be pretty hectic, and it's definitely a lot of fun, kept me thoroughly entertained.

    There are also a ton of items, including bombs, potions, "bone dust" that summons skeletal warriors to fight with you, and all manner of special items that permanently enhance attack speed, amount of health and armor restored, etc. Consumable items are created via a simple crafting system. Weapons and armor and other things can be purchased from a few vendors (though I never purchased anything except recipes to make potions), and you can upgrade your skills with each weapon type at a trainer. It is really expensive to upgrade weapons all the way! I think they can all go up to level 4, though I only leveled them to 3 (and one to 2 only).

    Despite the hectic combat, the game is easy on standard difficulty. You could definitely bump it up to the other option it gives you. I died maybe twice during the whole game, though I did *almost* die a lot. Once your health hits 0 or 1, you get like a second chance kind of thing. If you get hit one more time, you'll die, but I almost always had time to drink a health potion, of which you will never run out.

    Enemy types don't vary too much, and you could probably criticize Apotheon for lacking some diversity in combat. I mean, the weapons really aren't *that* different from each other. And the enemies are mostly just humanoids with the same weapons you have. Sometimes you fight a large cyclops, or a wolf, or an underground demon thing. Some enemies fly near the end of the game. Boss fights were pretty fun. My favorite was (I forget which god--oh yea, this is very God of War-ish. You kill all the gods of Olympus for revenge) the one where you mount a horse and chase after the god to try and kill him on horseback. You never ride a horse otherwise in the game, but it was fun, so I sort of wonder why they didn't incorporate it more.

    One great thing about Apotheon is the exploration and incentive to do so. There are all sorts of hidden hallways, floors you can destroy with bombs, doors you can pick with locks. You can collect tons of cool weapons, even some rare items granting permanent bonuses, and the best, upgrade armor for free. Usually you would purchase armor upgrades like you would purchase weapon skill upgrades, but there are these special lockboxes hidden around that sometimes contain armor upgrades. You feel really lucky and accomplished when you find one. There are also various doors where you need a specific key or item to pass, as well as hidden quests you can find that will give you some instruction or puzzle to solve, such as assassinating 5 people that Hermes was supposed to kill but didn't, or following clues to a sunken treasure in Poseidon's realm, or hunting three unique animals and then finding the doors that their trophies unlock. It's great stuff, and I poked around in all the nooks and crannies looking for secrets.

    As mentioned, you will kill god after god as you obtain their items and powers. Each god's realm is unique, and this was a huge strength of the game that kept things from feeling repetitive. You'll have quite different types of objectives in each realm. My favorites were the more puzzle-oriented ones for the most part. There was one with these three concentric rotating structures, and you have to make your way to three different doors (one in each structure) as they rotate. It was a nice platforming challenge. In another, you had to use ranged weapons to hit switches (some of which you couldn't even see) throughout the level to open doors. It was like taking a ton of trick shots and practicing aim, very cool. In another, you've got to raise water levels to navigate the level, while fending off mermen. Really really liked the level designs and varied objectives.

    Finally, one must praise the clay pottery art style which is absolutely beautiful and looks fantastic in motion. The music is also perfect, rising with the action, drums pounding for boss battles. I don't know what else to say except the visuals and audio are damn near perfect.

    So, really fun game. Some people disliked the controls and/or combat, but I liked them. Great exploration, lots of secrets, decent story, recommended.

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