Dead Space 2

Dead-Space-2_LIMITED_US_ESRB_PS3Date Completed: May 9th, 2016

I pre-ordered Dead Space 2 because the PS3 ‘Limited Edition’ included a free copy of Dead Space Extraction and I was lead to believe that supply of ‘Limited Edition’ versions would be ‘Limited’.  According to Wikipedia launch date was January 25th, 2011 so I’ve been sitting on this game for over 5 years.  The current price on eBay for the ‘Limited’ version is between 5-10 dollars, or roughly a 92% discount.  Since performing this calculation I’ve been wondering what kinds of things my 2011 self would have done with that money if I’d waited to buy the game until I was ready to play it.  I think the honest answer is that I would have blown it all on some random junk on eBay and my life wouldn’t be any different than it is now but I suppose we’ll never know for sure.

Unfortunately the release of the Dead Space games coincided with the arrival of children in the family so I’ve been unable to play Mature games with any regularity for many years now.  I played Dead Space 2 in short spurts for over 5 months sneaking time whenever my wife went to bed early or the kids happened to be elsewhere.  Most sessions were about an hour long which was usually enough to complete a chapter (of which there are 15) although some chapters took longer.

I don’t play many games that are especially gory so I was a bit shocked at first when I started the game.  When your main character dies the animation is as horrifying as possible.  Rarely if ever was my head still attached to my body after an encounter with necromorphs (Space Zombies).  Some of the evil space zombies cause you to vomit yourself to death, detonate your body into half-a-dozen pieces or simply impale you multiple times just for the fun of it.  I was a bit uncomfortable with the level of gore at first but eventually I became desensitized and began to find the extended death scenes more irritating that horrifying.  I died A LOT and some of the death animations are quite long.  If I suspected that I was on a collision course with a lengthy death animation scene I would often find a way to kill myself quickly so I wouldn’t be forced to see myself slowly mutilated.

I was constantly out of ammo and health through the entire game.  In one memorable scene I had 4 bullets to kill six enemies and no way to restore an earlier save point.  Getting through this section alone may have doubled my total play time.  After slogging through about half the game I resorted to using a walkthrough so I could find all of the hidden diamond semi-conductors ($$$) and buy some ammo.

Dead Space 2’s gameplay isn’t particularly unique or mind blowing but it is fun.  What I’ve always enjoyed most about this series is how your character appears to be going slowly insane while plowing through a story full of wacky cultists and space zombies.  Dead Space 2 builds on the story of the first game in a very satisfying way and while I don’t consider this to be one of my ‘go-to’ genres I really enjoyed the game.

The last thing I want to mention is that I think I triggered a bug in the final shootout and somehow managed to beat the game when I should have died.  I replayed that last battle many, many times because I rushed the last chapter and didn’t have enough health or ammo left at the end of it to make a decent go of it.  I decided one more try and then I’d give up for the night and re-load my previous save and then something weird happened and suddenly the credits were rolling.  It may not be the normal way to beat the game, but I’ll take it!

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  18 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Third-Person Shooter

 

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Mega Man 9

Megaman9coverDate Completed: July 28th, 2016

I don’t remember when Mega Man 9 came out but I do remember that it came out before trophies were a requirement for the PS3 and it did not support them.  I had hopes that they might be patched in after the fact but that never materialized.

I’ve played enough Mega Man games to know how they play out but this one is different.  IT IS HARD!  All Mega Man games are challenging but this one seemed to be unusually unforgiving.  I played the game all the way to Dr. Wily’s stage and eventually I got to a part that I couldn’t get past no matter how hard I tried.  Being stuck is no fun, so I took a half-decade break from my save game.

My two sons have been getting interested in Mega Man games.  All of the previous 6 NES titles still hold up as fantastic games and I was surprised to see that my younger son was even able to play his way to some of the bosses.  My older boy purchased the Mega Man Collection for his 2DS and my younger son has been playing Mega Man virtual console releases wherever he can.  With all of the Mega Manning going on in the house I decided that maybe it was time to go back to my old save file and finally finish the game.

I had forgotten everything about Mega Man 9 in the several years since I had played it, fortunately YouTube walkthroughs quickly reacquainted me with all the tricks I needed to get past the parts that I had been stuck on in the past.  It took a few tries (and a lot of energy tanks) but success!  I finally righted a great wrong and my save file is no longer incomplete.

When I first bought the game my brother-in-law once remarked that ‘they’ should make more games like the classic NES games that we all know and love.  I’m happy to say that in the years since we’ve seen lots of classically styled games get released and classic gaming has a bright future ahead of it.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  ??
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Action

Puppeteer

81F1bAGK1aL._SL1500_Date Completed: March 13th, 2016

Puppeteer is one of the many games that I owned on disc that Sony made available for FREE to Playstation Plus subscribers before I got around to playing it.  It often seems that there isn’t much of a point to paying for Playstation games anymore.  Between Steam sales, Humble Bundle and Playstation Plus I own more games than I’ll ever have time to play in my lifetime.  Fortunately most of them are crap and I don’t want to play them. But I digress.

Puppeteer is definitely not crap.  I was immediately struck by the high production values and melodramatic story.  The characters are instantly likable and the presentation is absolutely fantastic.  The entire game presents itself as a puppet show and the scenery appears as sets in a play.  The story is a suitably over-the-top fairy tale and was very enjoyable for myself and my children.

You play the role of Kutaro, a headless puppet intent on overthrowing the rule of the Moon Bear King and reclaiming his head.  Kutaro has stolen Calibrus, the Moon Bear King’s magical scissors that are the only weapon strong enough to defeat the Moon Bear King’s generals and return peace to the Solar System.

The game tells a very entertaining story and my kids very much enjoyed watching it.  Since Kutaro is headless he has to find various objects in the game (such as bats or gingerbread houses) that can function as heads and each of these objects has a short description on the collection page.  My younger son insisted that we revisit the list of heads after each level so he could see the collection and watch the head actions.

The only problem with Puppeteer is that the gameplay itself is a bit lacking.  The difficulty level makes me feel like it was targeted towards a younger audience, but the complexity of the controls (nearly every button is used for something) was far too advanced for my kids (ages 7 and 5) to be able to play on their own.  The gameplay isn’t boring, but it’s not terribly interesting either.

The game consists of 7 Acts that each contains 3 scenes.  Each scene is about 30 minutes long, and the game automatically saves between scenes.  This was a bit of an inconvenience because I didn’t know how the save the game and I usually sat down to play it right before dinner when I didn’t have enough time to complete a scene.  It took me 4 tries to finish the first scene but after that I knew not to play unless we had at least an hour free.

Overall I enjoyed the game a lot.  It’s a memorable experience with high production values and I was able to enjoy it with the whole family.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length:  10 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Platformer / Action

 

 

 

Dead Space : Extraction

Date Completed: January 13th, 2016

I originally played Dead Space : Extraction when it came out for the Wii.  I’d been tricked into buying the Wii ‘Zapper’ peripheral by Nintendo’s clever marketing scheme and I wanted at least one game that used it.  I was surprised that I ended up enjoying the game and when the PS3 version came packed in with Dead Space 2 for free I couldn’t pass up the deal.

The PS3 version is identical to the Wii version except for an upgraded resolution.  This doesn’t end up making the game look a whole lot different because all of the models and textures remain the same as they were in the Wii version.  The game also uses the Playstation Move controllers instead of the Wii controller but controlling the game felt the same assuming I had a decent calibration.  Finding a good spot to place the PS3 camera was always awkward but I finally found a box and a chair that put the camera at the right height.

I played most of the missions alone but I did manage to badger my sister into playing a few missions while she was staying at my house over the Christmas holiday.  My sister’s only statement was “Gross.  I wont’ be playing this again”.  I was also able to talk my wife into playing a level and she expressed similar sentiments.  Rated M games aren’t for everyone.  Needless to say I didn’t play this one when the kids were up.

The game consists of about 10 levels, each takes about 30-45 minutes to complete.  Voice acting isn’t always top notch, and the character models were meant for an older system but the story is decent and the game play is fun.  It’s worth a look, unless you’re one of those anti-rail shooter people.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 7/10
Length:  ~5 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Rail Shooter

Beatles : Rock Band

51LEdQGTGULDate Completed: December 20th, 2015

I happened across my copy of Beatles : Rock Band and said “Does anyone want to play this?”  That’s when all the trouble began.

Both boys wanted to play the drums because, hey drumsticks.  None of my kids have the dexterity to play ‘for real’ yet so I took the batteries out of the drum and tried giving them one stick each.  Several bruised eyeballs later I gave both sticks to my older son and tried to sell my younger boy on playing solo guitar.

I have two guitar peripherals, one from Guitar Hero and one that came with Rock Band.  My younger boy seemed to think that the Rock Band guitar was alive and possessed by some malevolent force.  He wanted MY guitar, which I refused to give him since mine was the only one with batteries in it.  There was no way I could take them out without him noticing.  We started up a song over the sounds of his protests and began to play.

My wife sat with my 1-year-old daughter on her lap and tried to sing into the microphone loud enough to override the whining, crying and joyful babbling coming from my three children.  Eventually my daughter wandered off and walked into the range of my older son with the drumsticks and got whacked.  While my wife was consoling her my younger son gave up his guitar and took the microphone and we began to lose badly.

I’m not sure why we kept at it, but we did and before long we got to the credit roll.  It turns out that when we moved into our new house we made it about 90% of the way through the game and then quit playing.  Next time we’ll know better than to play Rock Band as a family.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 3/10
Length: 3 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Rhythm

Beyond Good and Evil HD

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Date Completed : December 20th, 2015

I can’t recall the first time I heard about ‘Beyond Good and Evil’, but I’m sure it was well after it was originally released for the GameCube.  I can’t recall any of the specifics of what I’d heard, but I was left with the impression that the game was of the highest quality.  A number of years ago a friend of mine was burgled and the thieves stole all of his gaming consoles but left all of his games.  Since he didn’t have the means to play them any longer he gave me all of his old GameCube games including a copy of Beyond Good and Evil.  Rather than spend hundreds of hours playing old games I ended up listing all of the games on eBay and I was surprised to discover that Beyond Good and Evil was still selling for quite a bit of money.  I made quite a hefty profit off of the sale and ended up feeling bad enough to buy my friend a T-Shirt with some (but not all 😉) of the profits.  This only proved to solidify my long-held assumption that this was amongst the greatest games ever made.

Uncle Pey'j

The pig that always shows up in screenshots of the game.

The game had been built up in my mind for many years and when I saw that an HD remake became available for the PS3 I bought it.  Like many of the PS3 games that I’ve purchased digitally it eventually became available for free via Playstation Plus.  One might wonder why anyone ever bothers to buy software at all.  But I digress.

City

Walking around the City

You may have guessed that there was no way my expectations for this game would be fulfilled.  I was expecting the greatest game ever made and what I played was a rather average third-person action game.  You play the role of the character Jade who runs an orphanage with her pig buddy Pey’j.  After the orphanage is attacked by some aliens Jade and Pey’j join up with some freedom fighters who believe that the local government is in cahoots with the alien aggressors.  There is very little fighting involved in this game.  Your role is primarily to explore, infiltrate and photograph evidence of wrongdoing.  Periodically you are required to fight however these portions of the game popped up so infrequently that for about half of the game I forgot that you have the ability to charge an attack (which was required to get past a later area, had to look it up on GameFaqs).

I have a hard time pointing out anything that was particularly good.  ‘Solidly Average’ would be a good way to sum up my experience with this game (and all games I’ve ever played that were published by Ubisoft, now that I think of it).  In fact, this may be the most average video game ever made.  I enjoyed the game, but I definitely won’t be playing it again or recommending it to anybody.  There are a lot of better games available.  If the rumored sequel ever comes out I’ll check the reviews before I consider buying it.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 5/10
Length: 10 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Action

Dead Space : Ignition

Dead_Space_Ignition_CoverartDate Completed : December 11th, 2015

I don’t remember the chain of events that led me to download Dead Space Ignition but it’s been sitting unplayed on my PS3 for YEARS.  When you hover over the icon for it the volume of the music that plays is double the volume of any other game I have loaded on my console.  When I’m trying to be quiet it’s a constant source of irritation.  I would have deleted it long ago but I knew completing it added some sort of bonus to Dead Space 2 ( which I have yet to play ) so I put off deleting it.

Dead Space Ignition has various cut-scenes drawn in a partially animated comic book art style that are strung together with 3 different types of mini-games.  One of the mini-games reminded me of the light-cycle races in Tron and it was the only one that required any skill.  The other two were puzzle games that were mildly amusing, but not particularly challenging.

I knew there would be something inappropriate (Language, Violence or something) for the kids so I waited until I was home alone (It’s taken years but it finally happened!) and I beat the game in a little over an hour.  The story was OK but not fantastic.  The bonus appears to have been some sort of outfit which I probably could have done without.  Oh well, at least I can delete it now.  On to Dead Space 2!!!!

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 5/10
Length:  2 hours
System: Playstation 3
Genre: Puzzle