PS4 Update

It's been a while since my last post so an update on what I have been doing on the PS4.

I completed Batman Arkham Knight & started Uncharted 4 which I could not put down. Amazing experience that I completed within a week (It probably helped that I was off work that week so had more time to game).

Then I started playing Ratchet & Clank which is just like playing a cartoon, lovely graphics. I & the boys are still working our way through the Trackmania Turbo & have completed the first set of tracks. I even managed to get my first Trackmaster which Mohsin went and beat on his next turn.

Looking forward to E3 & brilliant news about X-Com 2 coming to consoles.

Never Ending Games

I've decided to quit playing Clash Royale & Galaxy of Heroes. The grind in Clash Royale was just too much & the constant needs for character shards or shortage of gold/materials in Galaxy of Heroes was just beginning to bore.

I also did not see an end point for either game which is the main reason I stopped I'm not a fan of never ending games.

Give me a good campaign I can enjoy & by all means add a multi-player section that I can dabble in but once I am done with the campaign I am usually finished with the game.

I am sure time plays a huge part is this because the older I get the gaming time I have seems to decrease. I've only managed 2 hours this week playing Helldivers with the Claptrap Boys which by the way is a fun co-op game.

Need to find some time to finish off Batman, I'm at a difficult driving section near the end which I have tried on a few occasions & just cannot complete.

I'll leave you Limahl


Batman Arkham Knight – New Game



I had quite a few choices on what to play next after completing MGSV but I decided to go for Batman Arkham Knight, the final game in the Rocksteady trilogy.

Firstly I like that is has a difficulty mode setting so I went straight for easy to save on any rsi pains during the long fight sequences. I've played a fair bit already just not had time to blog about it, there are tons of side missions from the riddler challenges, murder investigations to rescuing firemen.

I wasn't sure how the batmobile would be used but it is implemented pretty well & enjoyable to drive around & complete various challenges. The main campaign so far is about Scarecrow & other villains who have teamed up to take over the city. There are some very good story sequences which I won't spoil but I am enjoying the game very much.



Batman (MD): COMPLETED!

This used to be one of my favourite Mega Drive games, not least because of the tiny Sunsoft box it came in, but over the years time has not been so kind and it isn’t as good as I remember it being.

Batman
You’re going down, I’m yellin’ timber.
Batman
That’s how it starts, but later there’s running and screaming.

Part of the problem I’ll say upfront: I totally forgot, until the final level where I did it by accident, that it was possible to double-jump. This afforded Batman a bit more height, a bit more distance, and the ability to damage baddies on contact as he somersaults into them. The other problems were things that have worn me down in more recent years, like bosses that require you to repeat the same action, in exactly the same way, over and over again and leaps of faith. Or grapples of faith, on some of the levels – there’s no way of knowing if you’ll grapple up into a baddie or some spikes until it’s too late. And there’s a SuckySuck(TM) bit, only made worse by the repetitive boss fights. The batmobile and batwing levels should have broken up the mostly dull platforming sections, but the former was way too long and easy, and the latter way too hard and frustrating.

Click to view slideshow.

I suppose not all games I loved when I can younger can still stand up these days, unfortunately.

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Batman Returns (Lynx): COMPLETED!

 What a pile of utter tripe. A game that on the face of it looks a bit like the original Batman on the Megadrive (which was actually pretty good), but is actually nothing of the sort.

 In this game, Batman moves from left to right failing to avoid enemies and their attacks because it impossible to dodge them all. Sometimes he’ll fall in a hole because of this, and it’ll be Game Over. That’s right – you have a single life, and if you fall in a hole it’s instant death and you start the entire game all over again. Utter nonsense.

 You can’t even bide your time and take baddies out when you’re able to avoid their guns or bombs or rockets or whatever, as they constantly respawn and crowd you. The game is impossible.

Thankfully, there’s a level skip cheat that I employed to save having to play the whole thing again every time I died. I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned it’s a missing Continue option.

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Batman: Arkham Knight: Harley Quinn Story Pack (PS4): COMPLETED!

_t__PS4share_httpt.cok0DVWyGVjiThat’s a mouthful, innit? In fact, it almost takes longer to say the title of this post than it does to complete this story DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight.

You play as Harley Quinn, who is ordered by The Penguin to infiltrate Blüdhaven Police Department and rescue Poison Ivy. Why, isn’t clear: Penguin says it’s what Scarecrow wants. Since Ivy is instrumental in taking down Scarecrow in the main story (oh, spoilers, sorry) this doesn’t really make sense. Whatever.

Harley obviously has no Batsuit and her gadgets are limited to an exploding jack-in-the-box and a snare. The former is used twice to blow up walls like Batman’s gel, and the latter is completely unnecessary. She’s also got laughing gas that replaces the smoke bomb. And a baseball bat, for some eye-watering takedowns.

_t__PS4share_httpt.coaVfYdjUp5jUnlike Batman’s quiet approach, picking off foes one at a time, Harley seems to make as much noise as possible. Thankfully, for her, the police officers she has to take down are idiots and don’t pose a threat. She can’t grapple to vantage points, but she can jump around like a cat, to much the same effect. All the while talking smack and sometimes chatting to her original “Harleen Quinzel” psyche, which still lurks within and tries to tell her to Do The Right Thing. She doesn’t.

Sadly, this schizophrenia is never explored enough because after a handful of fights, a few Predator-style rooms, and a Nightwing smackdown, that’s it. It’s the end. Half an hour is your lot. If I’d paid money for this, I’d be annoyed. It could have been so much more, but instead teases a new game mode and then ends. Bah.

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Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4): COMPLETED!

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150927215726Just a few hours into Batman: Arkham Knight, you’re tasked with taking the Batmobile up onto a roof and effectively making it jump from roof to roof to reach an electrical panel or something. It’s utterly ridiculous, and is not what you’d expect the Batmobile, what with it being a car and everything, is for. This did not bode well for the rest of the game.

Thankfully for all concerned, that was it. Sure, there were a few car-based acrobatics later on, but those – such as lowering it down the wall of a giant fan shaft – seemed to fit. By that point in the story, a lot of things had happened that just made you accept the things the Goddamn Batmobile does. That, and it’s a tank that scurries around like a spider. Oh yes.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150914223231Gritty and weighty like previous Arkham games, but bigger in scope than the rest put together, going into Arkham Knight was a torn experience. As great as Arkham City was, it was too big, too dispersed and less focussed than Arkham Asylum. The core was the same, but fragmented over a wide area. More Batman, on a current gen console especially, was something to look forward too. The nagging doubt it would be spread even more thinly was a worry. Do you remember how many times you visited the same damn steelworks before, despite having a massive city to play in? Aside from Riddler trophies, much of Arkham City was empty. Not so here, which was a relief.

In common with past Bat-outings, the story progresses through set pieces: detective sections, brawls, predator takedowns, boss ba…oh wait. No boss battles? Perhaps Rocksteady realised those in City were almost universally rubbish and ditched them. You still have to confront and defeat major foes, but by other means instead. It actually works well and you don’t miss them.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150919212246

As you work towards taking down the Arkham Knight himself (finding his true identity along the way – I’d guessed very early, but there is a massive signpost if you hadn’t before I did) and Scarecrow, the usual Batman events I’ve mentioned pop up. In addition there are now tank battles. The Batmobile, impossibly, is used to take out the Knight’s army of drones, rocket launchers, cannons, helicopters and what appear to be mechs. Of course it is. Surprisingly, these battles are actually a lot of fun, and there’s an entire side quest devoted solely to them. In fact, almost every one-off task in the main game has a side quest full of that sort of event. Take down a watchtower (Assassin’s Creed Borgia style), and there’s a load more if you want. Like detective work? Why not find out why a load of bodies are literally hanging around Gotham. And so on.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150912211226These seemingly optional side quests, however, are not. In all, there are 14 or so of them, with many terminating in the capture of a major Batman foe (Penguin, Two-Face, etc.). Once you’ve finished the main story in the game, it turns out you haven’t actually finished the main story at all – you have to complete at least 7 of these “optional” questlines to do that. It felt a bit of a cop-out, frankly. They’re mostly fun to do of course, some more than others, but it was disappointing to finally overcome Scarecrow only to be unable to finish the game because some lesser crimes haven’t been resolved.

That’s the structure of the game, but how does it actually play? Gloriously. The combat is meaty. The driving is a welcome addition. Wiping out an entire room of armed guards without a single one spotting you is a fantastic as it ever was. Soaring over the city is never less than stunning. Batman’s array of gadgets are a joy to wield and integrating his car into some of the combat is a masterstroke. Gotham feels so much more alive than in previous Arkham titles, with something happening on every corner and car chases going on all the time – which you can assist in, should you choose.

It must also be said that the voice acting is fantastic, especially Mark Hamill as The Joker: Yes, that’s a spoiler. No, Joker is still dead. Yes, that is confusing. There’s a scene where Mr J does his karaoke routine which is hilarious and grim in a way only Mr J can be. The game is so, so, Batman. Even with Alfred’s “Gordon’s alive?!” quote.

Being so, so Batman in every way does mean that Batman’s allies are pretty sidelined. Robin is constantly told to stay out of it and Batman reluctantly lets Nightwing actually do something as long as it’s nothing to do with the main story. Oracle is central to the plot, but Catwoman is now tucked away in a Riddler sub-story. Scarecrow is playing on Batman’s only fear – that revealing his identity will hurt his “family”, but in trying to protect his friends Bruce is only getting them in more trouble. Silly Bruce. Much of the game would have been avoided if he’d accepted help when offered. Still, that’s Batman for you.

With the story complete and enough side quests mopped up to see the ending, there was a little sadness. Rocksteady have already said this is their last Batman game, and as the end credit roll the montage of moments from all three Arkham games (Rocksteady don’t consider Origins or Blackgate canon it seems) retell the trilogy. It’s been a long road, but that’s it. No more Batman to look forward to from that corner, and it’s hard to see how any other Batman game can be as Goddamn Batman as Arkham Knight was. Arkham Asylum was purer, but Knight was truly an epic sendoff.

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Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4): COMPLETED!

Cyborg_is_just_Mega_Man__innit.__t__PS4share_httpt.coxYawU3SQbuWell this was a surprise. The Mortal Kombat series left me cold after UMK3, and although this isn’t technically a Mortal Kombat title, it clearly is a Mortal Kombat game. It’s the same team, it’s a fighting game, it’s a followup to Mortal Kombat vs DC, and it’s even got Scorpion in it. And I enjoyed it.

Man_or_Aquaman.__t__PS4share_httpt.co6XyPVpBgTTThere’s little depth to the fighting, and in many ways the fights just seemed like the gaps between the story in single player mode, but something made me want to keep playing to the end. I liked how you’d flit from character to character as the story progressed too. Perhaps this is how more recent MK games have done things anyway, but it’s way better than the standard “tower of fighters” of old. It forces you to play as roughly half the roster as well, including some I’d never have picked through choice (Aquaman? LOLZ) who turned out better than expected in many cases.

I don’t think I’ll bother with multiplayer (I did try to play online, but I was alone), but the free PS+ rental was well worth  a story mode playthrough.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Gold_toiletYou know pretty much what to expect with a Lego game. You know there’s a series of levels with fixed characters and loads of secrets you can’t get see or access, some sort of hub world with more secrets you can’t see or access, a lot of silliness, and approximately two thirds of the game locked off until you’ve finished the story.

Then it’s back to the earlier levels with new characters and abilities you didn’t have previously to attempt Free Play mode in order to find some of those secrets and unlock even more characters and abilities, mopping up minikits and red and gold bricks along the way. Usually a third run of the game is then necessary too.

Check_out_Daft_Punk_s_new_single_if_you_get_the_chance._Sound_of_the_summer.Lego Batman 3 doesn’t deviate from these blueprints set out in so many previous Lego titles. It refines them, modifies them, expands on them, but the structure is ultimately the same. You’d think, after playing what must be almost a thousand Lego games, I’d be bored of the formula and seen everything Travellers Tales have to offer, but no – they keep coming up with more addictive and playable titles.

Green_Loontern_The main improvement over Lego Batman 2 is the massively increased roster of characters. Even in Story Mode, you get to play as most of the Justice League (but not Hawkman – there’s a running joke about him being trapped under the Hall of Justice), a pile of villains, several Lanterns of assorted colours, and more. Once you start unlocking more characters, you realise there are hundreds of them, including Daffy Duck as the Green Loontern, 60s Batman TV series characters, and even Kevin Smith. Travellers Tales have also fixed one of the main complaints with previous Lego Batman titles – cycling through all the various suits for the characters. Now, most of the time, standing where the suit is needed and pressing A will swap you to the correct costume automatically – very useful!

Gold_toiletSadly, the open world of Gotham City is absent, replaced with several small hubs: the Batcave, the Hall of Justice, the Watchtower, some Lantern homeworlds, the Moon, and so on. Although there’s a lot to do, probably as much as in Gotham overall, it’s not as impressive. I realise they couldn’t just stick Gotham in there again, but why not Metropolis or Coast City? The latter especially makes sense given the Green Lantern-focussed story.

Oh yes! The story! At the end of Batman 2, Brainiac was en-route to Earth, and in Batman 3 he nears it and starts turning cities into bottle cities and then shrinks the entire planet. Several of the early levels are then set in these cities which as well as being shrunk, are entirely constructed from Lego (which is borrowed from The Lego Movie The Game of The Lego Movie: Lego The Movie Lego Game). Brainiac has used the combined power of all seven coloured Power Batteries to do this, and it’s up to The Justice League, who, teaming up with DCs Most Wanted Villains (And Cheetah), have to reverse the damage and defeat Brainiac.

Lego_Batman_60s_TV_series_set_As always, the game is filled with humour. The dialogue is funny, and a lot of the “background action” with other characters doing stuff while you’re supposed to be paying attention to the foreground action is not to be missed. There are loads of nice touches that make you chuckle too, for example the character select screen. Hover over Batman and you can hear him singing “Nanananananananana Batman!”, but do the same over other characters and…  “Nanananananananana Plastic Man!” and “Nanananananananana Cheetah!”. Every level also has an Adam West minifigure that needs rescuing, with plenty of cheesy puns and one-liners from him (the actual Adam West providing the voice too) as he awaits your assistance.

Some_days_you_just_can_t_get_rid_of_a_bomb_The best bit is a bonus level accessed from the trophy room in the Batcave. There’s a Lego set of Bruce Wayne’s manor office from the 60s TV show, complete with bust you punch to reveal batpoles behind – just like in the series. Pop down the poles and you’re suddenly in a Lego episode of Batman from that era, complete with comic book cut scenes and biffs and zonks as you fight. Adam West narrates the short plot, and most of the TV series baddies make an appearance. Even The Joker has badly applied white make-up over the top of a barely hidden moustache – just like Cesar Romaro did, famously because he refused to shave it off for the part. Batman and run around carrying a bomb, as a callback to the film of the series, and naturally, the level ends in a dance number. Of course.

The_RiddlerThere’s a lot to like in the game, and although it has the usual Lego game bugs (I broke one scripted sequence, and I managed to get stuck behind scenery twice), it’s definitely one of the best of the series. I’ve completed about 30% of it so far, but have barely touched Free Play mode, so I’ll be a while yet!

Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate (3DS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_ndjhn4svpf1svmpf2o1_400On the one hand, this is a perfectly serviceable Metroidvania style game with meaty Batman Arkham type combat and a story to follow on from the Arkham Origins game. On the other hand, it’s a 2D game that tries to fit into a 3D space, with the plane you’re on frequently changing and disorientating you, and a map that serves to confuse as much as direct.

Detective Mode returns, but is rarely sufficient to show where to go or what items are “suspicious” enough to blow up or hit with a batarang. No, you have to hold a “soft” button on the touch screen and scan the area for things. The entire game turned into move along a screen, scan the entire screen, repeat, with puzzles or fights taking a back seat.

tumblr_ndplntadjb1svmpf2o1_400Sometimes even scanning stuff isn’t enough. A rusty hatch is described as “may break off its hinges with enough force”. Which do you use? Your batclaw to pull it down? Your explosive gel to blow it off? No – your batarang. Obviously. Later, another similarly described hatch needs gel instead. Another time, the claw. Or a fan, which is “possible to stop with explosive”, only you actually need the second gel upgrade. It makes you wonder if you’re doing it wrong, or if you just don’t have the right tool yet.

tumblr_ndploeotfz1svmpf2o1_400Overall, though, it was fun. The actual game bits proper, and some of the boss fights, are excellent. The hacking sections and complicated level layouts were not. Oh, and the bit you have to do after beating the last of the three main foes? Meaning you have to run round pretty much the whole map again? That wasn’t great. Perhaps if a bit more time had been spent trimming the fat, even if it meant cutting the length of the (already pretty short) game down a bit, that may have helped. As it is, it was well worth the reduced entry fee, but with hindsight I’m glad I didn’t pay full price.