Well, well, well ... it's certainly been a long while since my last blog here at GameSpot. Obviously much has changed with the site since its revamp over two years ago. I am yet to fully explore but most of the features that were "lost" even a year ago are now back. So there is much to commend, even if the return to a level of normalcy took a long time; albeit comments on blogs still seem to be lost. It is therefore possible I might start writing reviews again ... I have posted the odd short review or comment at videogamegeek.com (VGG) but probably need to write more fulsome reviews as in the past, rather than just the occasional rating (which still seem to end up linked to the wrong gaming device!).
My VGG reviews, including some reworked ones from GameSpot after the website change, can be found here
and summary comments here
These short zeitgeist comments may in turn be re-worked into GameSpot reviews in due course.
In my last post, just over a year ago, I was raving about Skyrim. I played it exclusively for a few months and really enjoyed my immersion in it but eventually a need for a change of scenery took over. I have as yet not returned to Spec Ops, though was enjoying it, but I'm yet to put Bioshock disc back in the PS3 console. We did however buy Enemy Front when PSN was having a sale ... well it was worth the few dollars it cost us but we didn't play it for long; no surprises there I guess. BUT I will definitely be returning to Skyrim and my virtual houses and family over the Christmas break to continue the various quests ... it remains my firm favourite game for a desert island (power supply permitting).
I haven't, truth be told, played any PC games in the last year, being now a PS3 (only) console player ... I never expected this to happen, but it did. The sheer simplicity of installing and playing, yes even my thumbs are now one with the controller, make gaming so much easier than PC. Yes, yes, I know the graphics clarity and depth will never equal those on a PC with the latest graphics card, etc, etc ... but I also know I'll never have to scour the net or support sites to get the game to actually install and/or play. Also, surprisingly for me, I actually have played some games on ... multiplayer, mainly adversarial shooters, yes, shock horror ... and enjoyed the experience, more shock horror! Again it is all so simple via PSN and I believe safer than on via PC ... see my 3 January 2009 blog (http://www.gamespot.com/profile/blog/hazards-of-online-play/25604787/) for a previous PC-based MP experience.
So since November 2014 I have played a large number of games, mostly to completion and some others, like Skyrim, Oblivion and Dragon Age Origins, to a lesser degree but enough to appreciate them. PSN trophy trackers, such as that at psnprofiles provide a great way to track games played and progress made: http://psnprofiles.com/Perth_2008/log
Games played to completion (including score / rating out of 10) or lesser degree (tba), all on PS3, over my hiatus from GameSpot include:
|IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (SP only)||7.0/10|
|Birds of Steel (SP & MP)||8.5/10 (best of the WWII console air sims, by far)|
|Spec Ops: The Line||tba|
|Testament of Sherlock Holmes||tba|
|Skyrim: Legendary Edition||tba (but probably 9+/10, excellent time passer)|
|Oblivion: 5th Anniversary Edition||tba|
|Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition||tba|
|Homefront (SP only, MP "dead")||6.5/10 (good premise, poor execution)|
|Medal of Honor Warfighter (SP & MP)||7.5/10 (a lot of breaching)|
|Enemy Front (PSN download version)||tba|
|Call of Duty 3 (SP & MP)||8.0/10 (classic WWII COD)|
|Ghost Recon Future Soldier (SP & MP)||tba|
|Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (SP & Co-Op)||7.5/10 (preferred to PC version)|
|Assassin's Creed III (SP & MP)||8.5/10|
|Assassin's Creed III - King Washington DLC||7.5/10|
|Battlefield 3 (SP & MP)||8.5/10|
|Medal of Honor 2010 (MP)||8.0/10 (a real world shooter so different to recent COD games)|
|Apache Air Assault (SP only)||tba (a game that is hard even in "Training" difficulty)|
|Ace Combat: Infinity (free to play PSN MP game)||7.5/10 (still play twice daily)|
|Ace Combat: Assault Horizon||tba|
|Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (SP & Co-Op)||7.0/10 (not a fan of the "hand held camera" visual style)|
|Far Cry 2 (currently playing)||tba (not bad for an early "open world" game)|
|Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition (SP & DLC only)||9.5/10 (Sniper Elite goes "open world", well almost)|
|Sniper Elite V2 GOTY (SP only)||9.0/10 (multiple paths from A to B, excellent)|
|Dishonored (currently playing)||tba (much to like in this stealth oriented game)|
|COD4 Modern Warfare (currently replaying on PS3)||tba (9.0/10 on PC in 2010)|
All up I have garnered 870 PSN trophies so far, yet still only two platinum, but not bad considering I only started serious PS3 gaming in mid-2013 (after using my son's PS3 earlier that year). This year I obviously went through a bit of a flying / air combat simulator phase, including MP modes, this after playing IL-2 Sturmovik 1946 on PC but only ever against bots and an FPS multiplayer phase as well. I don't see myself as a PSN trophy completionist (my son however is a Platinum chaser) but sometimes the trophies focus too much on MP, which nowadays I don't mind occasionally, but it's not my preferred play mode. Also many trophies rely on "collectibles" which can be fun to track down but not always if it means replaying missions ... but ultimately I find these scavenger hunts a bit tedious. So I still play pretty much the same way as in my PC days ... focused on the narrative and efficient mission completion and if the odd trophy "pops", well that's a bonus.
Console updating/upgrading ... entering the next gen
The dilemma we will shortly face, and the subject of a mini-rant, is that my son feels the need to upgrade to PS4 at Christmas (yup, guess what "Santa" is buying). I guess it’s OK as he has almost worn out most of the PS3 games he plays, mainly endless rounds of FPS MP games. Lately it's Destiny he is into, which he felt was lame when he initially got it but now it's apparently much improved ... that said, as an observer, FPS games with players jumping around in the air (including COD Advanced Warfare another of his favourites) leave me cold. Anyway I think for him it's the instant gratification MP matches bring and while he recently started Tomb Raider (2013) and Sniper Elite III SP campaigns he inevitably gets invited to MP matches ... he is rather good at it.
No my son's gaming habits are not my rant topic ... I'm actually annoyed that Sony did not make the effort to make the PS4 backwards compatible to PS3 at least, and maybe PS2. By accounts Microsoft XBox One is (largely) backwards compatible, via a software emulator program I believe, surely Sony could also do this ... it would make it easier for people to transition to the new console without fear of making the existing PS3 library of games obsolete. Obviously this is not a new issue, it happens every time a console system is updated ... I guess that's why I stuck with PC games for so long (despite the other issues mentioned above). That said, I would face the same issues on PC … my Windows XP computer is limited (largely) to games published in 2010 and earlier, though this is mainly due to the graphics driver, which was excellent “at the time”, alas no longer.
So to play the newest games at the best (or better) graphical resolution we now have to invest in a PS4, as the PS3 versions of some games are rather poor (judging by comments, for example, about Shadow of Mordor when initially released). It is sad that this is what seems to happen when it is no doubt fixable ... I'm sure many would happily pay an extra 10-20% in console purchase price knowing the older titles could still be played. What I’m saying is that I would be an early adopter and happily transition much earlier to success next-gen Playstaion model IF they were backwards compatible. Being older I prefer smoother rather than abrupt transitions (a bit like how I felt when GameSpot changed its look and functionality in October 2013). Well the battle against Gen-Y continues ...
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Since drafting the last two paragraphs we have bought our son a new Playstation 4 with four recent releases (Shadows of Mordor, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Fallout 4 and COD Black Ops III … guess which one he’s already playing!). Yup, Sony has yet again made money with its console upgrading methodology.
Still the son is smiling as he’s “finally caught up” with his friends who were early PS4 adopters (or who were not locked into PS3, due to a large number of owned but still unplayed games, as we were).
So, not conceding total victory to Sony I will soldier on with my as yet unplayed PS3 titles ... in fact last night I pulled COD 4 Modern Warfare (PS3) off the shelf … a trip down memory lane … I had ranked it a 9.0/10 “way back” in 2010. Ah yes, I recall the enemy AI’s grenade spam techniques … interesting after playing so many newer shooters to deal with multiple enemies without a cover system! Alas no PSN trophies for COD 4 MW, but a great modern FPS game it remains.
Well, not sure when I’ll be blogging here again but until then, may all your games be good games!