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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mario Kart 8: All-Stars Transformed It Is Not

There are very few games that are hotly anticipated by many for the Wii U but one of those titles finally saw a release just yesterday: Mario Kart 8. I myself had been salivating over the game's many trailers and after the long, cruel wait, I must say that the game ended up feeling somewhat underwhelming. The game looks nice but the overall visuals are not very consistent. I am still in awe every single time I race around Sunshine Airport with those colorful, gigantic flying airplanes showing up everywhere along the track, but then I get to the ice/desert-themed tracks and everything suddenly becomes uninspired. The whole "anti-gravity" mechanics where the kart's tires are flipped over to their sides and become magnetized doesn't add much for its really there to add some flair to the way that the racing tracks are laid out - some ended up being very impressive indeed where you are racing vertically up high before turning around into a vertical drop where you can see the entirety of the track. After the incredible job that Sega and Sumo Digital had done on Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed that I played on the Personal Computer, I just feel obligated to say that Mario Kart 8 is the inferior product. I am definitely not saying that MK8 is a bad game. It's just not that masterpiece Nintendo game that I was expecting to get and it is unfortunate that Transformed had already set a new high standard for the kart racing genre that will take a lot to supersede it. It doesn't help that the online mode is currently experiencing disconnect issues that normally happens after a race and while waiting for a previous race to be over when I first joined a room. Several of the broadcasters on twitch.tv were experiencing this issue as well. I am sure that the technical difficulties will be addressed but I must say that I am a bit disappointed. And what's up with that flat 2D main menu? It looks so lazy.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 3 out of 5

Don't cry, Peach. Maybe things will be better in Mario Kart 9?


Friday, May 30, 2014

Returning to the State of Decay with Lifeline

The second expansion for State of Decay entitled Lifeline was just released today by Undead Labs both for the Personal Computer via Steam as well as the X-Box 360. The story-driven original release was indeed promising but a little rough for me while the open-ended first expansion, Breakdown, truly molded the game into something a little more cohesive and enjoyable. Lifeline is a story-based expansion to the game where you start off with controlling a group of military personnel who are struggling to survive the zombie apocalypse around the city of Danforth, an entirely new location. From the 2-3 hours I have spent on the Steam version, the game doesn't bring any new features with it though the universal "Rucks in Trucks" update that allows you to store things into the trunks of vehicles makes resource gathering less of a chore. Though I would like the gameplay design to be similar to Breakdown, I still find Lifeline enjoyable thus far. Everything feels familiar yet new and if you are a fan of State of Decay, it will be easy to get yourself into the groove of things here. I will post a review of the expansion once I have spent a lot more time with it.

A doomed city. Does it foreshadow our own demise?

Monday, May 26, 2014

April 2014 Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the  month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.

OVERALL BREAKDOWN:


Total Games Played: 22


This Month's Inductees:


Total Inductions: 29

Games Played 05/19/2014 - 05/25/2014

- 05/19/2014 -
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - PC

- 05/20/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/21/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/22/2014 -
F-Zero X - Wii
Ironclad - Wii
League of Legends - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/23/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/24/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4

- 05/25/2014 -
Bejeweled 3 - PC
Dota 2 - PC
Ikaruga - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box


Screenshot of the Week:

The frame rate drops in this Wii Virtual Console version are really bad.
Lost is the constant 60 fps from the Nintendo 64 release. What a shame.
F-Zero X (Nintendo Wii)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Too Many Skylanders?

I was moving my Skylanders figurines around last night and I realized that my Skylanders collection has grown quite large in such a short period of time. With many interesting games being released on Steam recently, it made me wonder if I have been focusing too much on these Skylanders. Yes, Skylanders Swap Force indeed brought much needed life to my PlayStation 4 but at what cost? Today, 5 more Skylanders are added to the cast and one of them happened to be the last Swap Force character, Doom Stone:

Don't get stoned, get Doom Stone!

Then it hit me: Yes, it's all been worth it. It takes something like Doom Stone, who is such a masculine, handsome little Skylander and the figurine itself is beautiful to behold, to remind me that my love for these things is real. The Greek-infusion makes for an interesting character design and I look forward to play him in the game. It's going to be hard to stop me from pursuing more of these Skylanders in the future but it is important for me to remind myself that I need to balance things out when it comes to my other gaming interests as I go.

They sure know how to make these guys individually varied and special.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Steam In-Home Streaming: iOS It!

Valve officially released the In-Home Streaming feature for Steam today, a function that seems to be quite useless for me. I tried to think of a situation when I would want to play my Steam games when I am not in my Game Room but still in the house and I couldn't find one. I mean, if the spouse wanted to force me to watch a television show in the living room, I don't think that doing remote gaming is going to cut it because I was supposed to be watching. I guess this feature would be good during a major diarrhea and one is stuck on the toilet for a while. But you know what? Valve needs to just push this a little further to make it more attractive. Why not allow a Steam application to be downloaded on say, the iPad and allow the Steam Controller to work with the iPad. Now that's a game changer. They could even distribute that app to the PlayStation 4, Wii U, and the X-Box One and put those consoles to shame by making people play Steam games on them if they happen to have their PCs and consoles on separate displays because they don't know that the PC can be hooked up to the big high definition display - yes, there are still plenty of people like that out there today.

Notice the stereotypical main PC with a small monitor and the remote one with a big display.
Stop with your misleading "Living Room" agenda, Valve. It's rather disgusting.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Games Played 05/12/2014 - 05/18/2014

- 05/12/2014 -
Full Mojo Rampage - PC
Wildstar Beta - PC

- 05/13/2014 -
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition - PlayStation 4
League of Legends - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/14/2014 -
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition - PlayStation 4
League of Legends - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/15/2014 -
BattleBlock Theater - PC
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - PC
Fearless Fantasy - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/16/2014 -
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition - PlayStation 4
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - PC
League of Legends - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/17/2014 -
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition - PlayStation 4
League of Legends - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4

- 05/18/2014 -
Danmaku Unlimited 2 - PC
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - PC
League of Legends - PC
Volgarr the Viking - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box


Screenshot of the Week:

Vikings can't jump very well...
Volgarr the Viking (Personal Computer)

Skylanders Figurines: Extra Function #10

Bookends.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Skylanders Figurines: Extra Function #9

Thumpy bank for piggy bank overflows.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Skylanders Figurines: Extra Function #7

Low-powered night light.

LIVE Gold Downgrade: A New X-Box Innovation

For the first time since the introduction of the X-Box LIVE Gold membership in 2005, Microsoft has finally done something smart. Starting sometime in June, the Gold membership is no longer required for users to access a number of NON-GAMING apps like Twitch.tv and Netflix. I have been harping about this ever since I left the service many asteroids ago and it's finally happening! Will Microsoft continue to do the right thing and fatally stab Sony in their now exposed neck with a long-sword by removing LIVE Gold requirement for online multiplayer, a mode that is supposed to be free on these consoles anyway like it is on the Wii U as well as the Personal Computer, specifically, Steam, and thus leaving Sony in an awkward position? We all know Microsoft is getting desperate because they are even launching a Kinect-less X-Box One: Let's face it, the Kinect camera is so non-essential that most just use it as a cam when streaming to Twitch. So Microsoft should really consider shaking things up with something more drastic: Like the free online multiplayer! If they were to launch X-Box Forever like I suggested, they would have been dominating the industry by now...

"X-Box, record that!" He said is his favorite Kinect feature.
Well, on the PlayStation 4, all I have to do is press a button? Click here to watch the full vid.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dynasty Warriors 8 PC: A Case of NBA 2K14

Oh what a disappointment. Today was supposed to be a glorious, glorious day with the arrival of Tecmo Koei's  Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition on Steam but instead, it became a day of lie and deceit. Despite sharing the same title from the PlayStation 4 release of the game, the Steam release is merely just a port of the PlayStation 3 build without all the fancy new lighting, intricate character model improvements, and bumped up textures of the PS4 version. You would think that it would be easier for them to port from the PS4 build. What a monumental failure. Perhaps this is why they are so willing to release this mighty game from the legendary series on Steam?

Ready to go blind? Click here to see the horrifying screenshots from this version of the game.


Update Note: 11:42pm - As you may know from the above paragraph, I was very distraught that Tecmo Koei failed to capitalize on the PC to empower a PS4 port of the game. The spouse noticed my utter disappointment and offered to assist me in getting the PS4 version of the game to make me feel better. The pain is still there though but this helps a lot honey! I love you.

Oh well, at least my PS4 will get even more play time now that I have this game.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Skylanders Figurines: Extra Function #6

Letter opener.

Games Played 05/05/2014 - 05/11/2014

- 05/05/2014 -
Aquapazza: Aquaplus Dream Match - PlayStation 3
Ginga Force - X-Box 360
Kirby: Triple Deluxe - 3DS

- 05/06/2014 -
Aquapazza: Aquaplus Dream Match - PlayStation 3
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - PlayStation 3
Kirby: Triple Deluxe - 3DS
League of Legends - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/07/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward - Vita

- 05/08/2014 -
Asphalt 8: Airborne - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/09/2014 -
Kinectimals Unleashed - PC
Kirby: Triple Deluxe - 3DS
Project Spark Beta - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/10/2014 -
Ikaruga - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 05/11/2014 -
Full Mojo Rampage - PC
Super Mario World - Wii U
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box


Screenshot of the Week:

That ricocheting spiky block is not cool whatsoever.
Full Mojo Rampage (Personal Computer)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Random Game Room Moment

I am beginning to use Steam Big Picture mode more and more frequently.
I love the way it showcases screenshots with comments. Classy and stylish.

Friday, May 9, 2014

I Spy a... Goatee?!

Ever since I got the Skylanders Swap Force for the PlayStation 4 last month, I have been in love with not just the game, but the figurines themselves. I adore the game's character designs with each Skylanders being unique compared to one another but I just noticed a design blunder with one of Skylanders... And that unfortunate Skylander is a member of the Swap Force nontheless: Spy Rise!

Shave it off! Shave it off!

Why would a robot need a goatee?

I just got this guy yesterday and all this time when looking at the pictures of the figurine, I always thought that the not-so-dirty then dark triangle on his chin was just a part of the helmet wrapped around his head. Imagine my horror when I realized that it was actually a goatee! It's official. Spy Rise is definitely the most unattractive Skylanders and the whole goatee thing definitely doesn't make sense when you look at the entire Skylanders line up as a whole because it's facial hair for the sake of facial hair on a being that doesn't even grow hair. It makes sense that Grilla Drilla has a beard because he's a gorilla and that Boom Jet has stubbles because he's like a chipmunk or something but this?! They really don't have to create supposedly adult looking Skylander to get adults playing the game. We all want our Skylanders to be cute, adorable, and cool. Goatees are not cool. It could be worse though. At least they didn't go with a soul patch!

Random Game Room Moment

Skylanders Figurines: Extra Function #4

Jumbo pet harasser.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Skylanders Figurines: Extra Function #3

Figurine babysitter.

Dynasty Warriors 8: XL on the Steam Page!

I have been checking every day ever since I heard that Tecmo Koei's Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition would be released this month and this morning, the game is finally officially listed on Steam with a $49.99 price tag and the definitive May 13th release date, complete with fake reviews of the Personal Computer version - Valve needs to stop developers from posting reviews of the console versions of games being released on Steam. Yeah, that's $10 more than my preferred game price but this game is definitely an exception and anyone who cares about Personal Computer gaming should support this release. Strangely, the pre-order is still not available yet for us to secure our copies immediately! This feeling of Xtreme excitement for a game's release is rare for me but the Dynasty Warriors series always has that special place in my heart!

The series has finally been Steampowered. Welcome home!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

Games Played 04/28/2014 - 05/04/2014

- 04/28/2014 -
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4

- 04/29/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Metal Slug 3 - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 04/30/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Resogun - PlayStation 4
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/01/2014 -
League of Legends - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/02/2014 -
Kirby: Triple Deluxe - 3DS
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box

- 05/03/2014 -
Diablo III: Reaper of Souls - PC
Kirby: Triple Deluxe - 3DS
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4

- 05/04/2014 -
Cabela's Big Game Hunter Pro Hunts - PC
Kirby: Triple Deluxe - 3DS
League of Legends - PC
Skylanders Swap Force - PlayStation 4
Yourself!Fitness - X-Box


Screenshot of the Week:

Ouch!
Cabela's Big Game Hunter Pro hunts (Personal Computer)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Xillia 2: Higher and Higher

When the "Collector's Edition" of Tales of Xillia was released last year, it retailed at a crazy $99.99 price. Then jus recently, Namco Bandai Games up the ante by offering the "Collector's Edition" of Dark Souls II for the consoles for $119.99. Thanks to you, fellow fanatics, they have now have the confidence to offer you the "Collector's Edition" of the upcoming Tales of Xillia 2 for $129.99! We all know where this is going. Eventually, you will see one of these special releases by them priced at $200. And the scary thing about it? The crazies will still get them!


The Amazon.com pre-order page. It's not like I can use that figurine on my Portal of Power...

As I have mentioned many times in the past, it is not okay to pay that standard $59.99 for a new game to begin with but the blame is on the consumers who keep empowering these developers/publishers to keep charging higher and higher prices. Of course they would hike up the price if people continue buying because I would do the same thing they are doing to get myself filthy rich. I can see why a lot of developers hate direct digital distribution because they surely gain even more money by selling something so cheap to make at that crazy price.

Steam Rules All... Dynasty Warriors Edition!

Remember early last month when I almost inducted Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition for the PlayStation 4 but opted for Skylanders Swap Force instead? Well, apparently just 7 days after I discovered that the Personal Computer version of the game is being released in Japan in May 2014, Tecmo Koei announced that it will also be coming to both US and EU this month! It will immediately be a part of my Steam library as soon as it's out:

How could I have missed this important announcement?

Wow! Just wow! With even the PS4 version of this game struggling to provide a smooth 60 frames per second gameplay, I sure hope that this port will finally provide us Dynasty Warriors fans with such orgasmic deliciousness that we all know the PC platform can provide. Tecmo Koei has definitely seen the light and you know that when they can, they will release more games on the PC. Please make sure to support the crap out of this game when it comes out to continue to show them that the PC gamers are their primary target audience. And you know that any game that they publish for the PlayStation 4 and X-Box One should easily get a PC version but I am hopeful that they will revisit their past titles and work to get those ported to Steam for some huge profit.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Skylanders Will Own Your Body & Mind

This is just a courtesy warning for those of you who haven't played any of the Skylanders games and are thinking about getting involved: Think carefully. Think very, very carefully before you invest because ever since I welcomed Skylanders Swap Force into my Game Library, it seems like I have been prioritizing too much on the figurine accumulation over everything else. Yes, even over Steam games. It's quite maddening. Sometimes, I feel like I would get more mileage from getting actual games instead of these figurines but then when I look at these figurines and hold them in my hand as I place them onto the Portal of Power before seeing the Skylanders come to life inside the television screen, I feel like it was worth the sacrifice. What is it about these Skylanders that make them so irresistible? Well, for one, they are very well designed, each with their own unique abilities and personalities.  Secondly, the figurines themselves are well constructed. Be careful when buying online because you won't be able to ensure that there are no coloring problems and scratches on them but when those imperfections don't exist, they look so very adorable. Thirdly, the Swap Force magnets: It's addicting to pull those swap-able Skylanders apart then mixing and matching them as they easily snap in place thanks to the powerful magnets attached to each halves. Lastly, the game itself with its action role playing game roots where you level up your characters and abilities. There are just plenty of things to do beyond the scope of the story mode which in itself is easily and joyfully replayable.

Just today, I got 4 more Skylanders figurines. Click here to view a list of my Skylanders figurines.

What I am trying to say is this: Skylanders Swap Force is a very good game but sometimes it feels like a trap - there's a reason why the next game is called Trap Team - that snares you in with no way of escape. It will sometimes make you question yourself with the decisions you made to keep feeding the game with more and more figurines but since you do get something in physical form (it helps that they look nice), you find it easy to forgive yourself. What an interesting experience. If only I could find a local co-op partner... Well, that would probably make my obsession over the game worse than it already is.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 5 out of 5

Yourself!Fitness: The Body Remembers

So I started using Yourself!Fitness for the X-Box again and it's been close to 2 weeks since my return and earlier today, I went through the game's "Physical Challenge" - a test that is presented after every 9 sessions that the game uses to make proper adjustments to my exercise routine. The result looks good so far:

3 pounds lost in 1+ weeks. That's good, right?

Of course, I could already see that initial result by simply looking at my waist and noticing the shrinking love handles. I know that it will be months before I can fit in those old pants again but the most interesting thing about my return to Maya hell is that my body has already started adjusting my food intake. When I first used the program many, many years ago, it took a while before that happened but now, I am already getting hungry quicker and consuming too much will me sick. So yeah, keep giving it to me Maya! I believe in you!