Date Completed: January 14th, 2018
Most of the content that has come out for the Playstation VR would be better understood as ‘experiences’ rather than games. I was hoping that Farpoint VR might be something different – something fantastic. The game came out in May 2017 as part of a bundle with the Aim controller and the total bundle price wasn’t much more than the price of a normal game. I decided to wait for the reviews to make any purchase decisions and the reviews were very disappointing. I decided that even with poor reviews I was interested in the game if it came as part of the controller bundle. Sadly they sold out of the controller bundle and I didn’t see it in stock again FOR SIX MONTHS. There were even rumors that the bundle had been discontinued. Shortly before Christmas 2017 I started seeing it show up online again but my budget for the month had already been blown several times over so I didn’t buy it. Luckily I received some cash for Christmas and I noticed the bundle had gone on-sale at the local Walmart for 10$ cheaper than anywhere else. I snatched it up immediately.
I started playing the game and immediately got motion sick. This was a surprise to me because I had played the Doom demo in VR and hadn’t experienced any major issues and Farpoint VR isn’t anywhere near as frantic a game. I was only able to play in 5 minute intervals at first. I started reading up on VR sickness online and found that ginger supplements were recommended as well as pointing a fan at yourself. I set up a series of fans in my game room and made myself tea with ginger oil my wife had supplied before each play session and surprisingly it worked. It didn’t completely eliminate motion sickness but I was able to complete the game with minimal discomfort.
The game is a first person shooter but movement is restricted in most directions by the game’s ‘Comfort Controls’. I didn’t try changing the default comfort settings because of my early issues with motion sickness but it appears you can play the game with a more traditional range of motion. There is a minimal story to the game but mostly it involves exploring an Alien world and killing what you find there. Since movement is restricted the game itself ends up being very linear. You mostly walk down corridors with very few twists and turns. The story unfolds as you explore via a series of hologram flashbacks. The story is very basic and while it does have a few interesting parts overall I’d call it forgettable.
With only a few basic enemy types, linear exploration and a ‘meh’ story you’d think I wouldn’t have enjoyed the game but much like other VR titles the VR makes it fun. Combat felt realistic (especially with the Aim controller) and while movement was linear the sense of immersion into the environment helped with the enjoyment factor. If this game wasn’t in VR I would not recommend it, but I think my pre-purchase impression was correct. If you can get it bundled with the Aim controller it’s totally worth it.
- Is it fun: Yes
- Score: 6/10
- Length: 6-8 hours
- System: Playstation 4
- Genre: First-Person Shooter / VR
Date Completed: June 3rd, 2017
I was bored one day and my son was bugging me so I sat him down and I said “I’m going to show you Portal”. We sat down together and played through the entire first game. He LOVED IT. Most of the humor was over his head (He’s 6) but he thought the teleportation mechanic was the Bee’s Knees. For the next several months he kept telling me how he was going to invent his own Portal gun and all of the usefully comical things he would do with it. My favorite was that he’d make a Portal directly into his Stomach so he could feed himself without chewing (More time for Video Games I presume). He also asked what would happen if he jumped into the Portal into his own stomach which isn’t a problem I was prepared to think through. After we finished the game he asked if he could play so I set him up with Portal 2 on my PS3 and he worked his way through the first 14 test rooms or so before getting distracted by something else.
Portal is a fantastic game and still holds up 10 years later. Highly recommended!
- Is it fun: Yes
- Score: 9/10
- Length: ~3 hours
- System: PC
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
Date Completed: July 8th, 2017
I thought this would be a fun game to play with my kids. In spite of the goofy premise we had all enjoyed playing Triforce Heroes together and this game appeared to offer a similar dynamic. Sadly it fell short on that account.
The game includes download play so you only need a single cartridge for multiple players but what they don’t tell you is that download play only works for the ‘Blast-Ball’ mode and not the main story. So this ended up being a mostly single player experience.
I actually enjoyed the level design and found it to be better than I expected. Not award winning but the detail was pretty good for a game of this type. It’s clear the game was meant to be played by multiple players – some of the areas have four distinct wings that were clearly meant to be cleared by four distinct individuals. I tried playing online and they were a lot more fun with randoms than playing alone. Unfortunately it was hard to find partners online. I seemed to have the best luck around 6-8 PM.
Missions were about 10-30 minutes each if I was playing alone. This time could be cut drastically if I was playing online.
The only other thing I could mention is that neither of my boys were able to manage the controls. I didn’t find any of the control options particularly intuitive which is especially strange since I thought first-person shooter controls were basically a solved problem in 2017.
Overall the game wasn’t awful but wasn’t especially memorable either. I think it would have been a lot of fun as a local multiplayer game but without download play the cost of entry is just too high.
- Is it fun: Yes
- Score: 5/10
- Length: ~10 hours
- System: 3DS
- Genre: First-Person Shooter, Co-op
Date Completed: February 4th, 2017
Firewatch is more of an experience than a game. Its similar to the game ‘Journey’ where it tells a story, and any spoilers to that story could potentially ruin it. I’m going to stay away from spoilers, and instead focus on all of the things I did wrong while playing Firewatch.
Firewatch tells the story of a dude who watches for fires in Colorado wilderness. When I started Firewatch I wasn’t sure what kind of game it was going to be. Was it silly? Was it scary? Something else? I didn’t know what to do or what kinds of interactions with the game world would be allowed so I tried stuff. The first thing I did was pick up the bottle of dish soap from my watch tower and go for a hike. Once I got out into the wilderness I felt bad about littering so I ended up carrying that bottle of dish soap around for an entire day. This was super inconvenient because I had to set the soap down every time I wanted to consult my map ( which required both hands to be free ).
My soap and I enjoying the sunset.
The other thing that really pissed me off about this game was the sound the electric generator made. When the game started up the first thing I noticed was the constant grinding sound of an electric generator. I found the generator outside my watch tower and tried to shut it off but this wasn’t allowed. Sometimes the generator would power down and I’d have a few precious minutes of silence but it would always start up again. For some dumb reason the generator sound followed me through the entire park. I’d be miles away from my watch tower and I could still hear it! I began to wonder if it was a clue to the plot – maybe my character was in a hospital room hooked up to some machine and the whole game was a hallucination of some kind? Maybe it was a bug in the game? Either way it was super irritating. You know what the worst part was? After I turned the game off for the night I could still hear the noise!!! This was the moment I began to suspect something was amiss…
Yeah…so it turns out that the kids had shoved a pencil into the pencil sharpener on the windowsill behind me. It’s about at ear-level when I am sitting down and I was wearing headphones while playing and couldn’t tell it wasn’t part of the game. It would run for a few minutes before shutting down on it’s own and eventually restarting. Darn kids.
I would have played the game straight through except after 11PM I figured I should go to bed or I’d be in a mood the next day. Overall a great game although the kind you only get to play once. After experiencing the story there isn’t any reason to visit this game again. Except maybe to find those turtles.
- Is it fun: Yes
- Score: 7/10
- Length: 3-4 hours
- System: Playstation 4
- Genre: First Person / Thriller