It involves giant machines.
Horizon: Zero Dawn captivated me from the minute I inserted the game disc into the PS4; with a world as immersive and big as Horizon’s world is, I had a fun time just roaming around it and I loved sightseeing the many environments in Horizon. This is an open-world game that is done the right way and I feel like it’s ahead of the curve in comparison to other open-world games.
On top of the environment being breathtaking, the game is just a ton of fun to play. One of my favorite things about Horizon is the variety in which the machines appear in this world; no two machines are the same and Guerrilla Games has done a great job at creating these beasts in which Aloy fights throughout the story mode. My personal favorite machine enemy is the Stormbird; they’re a major pain to deal with but they just look awesome and menacing upon arrival within the story mode.
The story within Horizon is a major talking point simply because at the end of the day, stories do drive gamers to be engaged with the game as a whole. One reason why The Last of Us was so beloved is because of the characters and the overall premise of the story mode. Because of The Last of Us and games such as Uncharted, people expect a grand story that might rival something as seen in a movie; don’t expect that with Horizon: Zero Dawn. While I love the story mode and Aloy, the main character in this game, Horizon is more beloved for its great gameplay and the overall setting within Aloy’s world. I don’t necessarily find any problem with this simply because if one plays a Mario game, they’re not playing it for the story mode; it’s a Mario game, after all. I’d apply this same logic to Horizon. While it attempts to give players a great story, it’s not one game I’d point out and say, “ya know, Horizon was one of the best experiences story-wise” because I would be lying.
Overall, I still love Horizon and feel like that this is a huge step forward for Guerrilla Games. I love Aloy, I love the world that she partakes in, and I just feel like this is a game that everybody should try to play at some point before 2017 is over. I recommend Horizon: Zero Dawn and I feel like this game has GOTY potential written all over it. While the story is not its strength, everything else that’s packed into Horizon: Zero Dawn kept me occupied and entertained for hours on end. We need more games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and so far, this would be my personal favorite game of 2017.
Why does this keep happening?
Street Fighter V isn’t a game that has been shy of criticism; their latest character reveal is no different. The newest addition to the Season 2 cast of characters is Abigail, a character from the Final Fight series.
Final Fight characters are no strangers to the Street Fighter series but this is the best Capcom can do? Season 2 has been a huge let down compared to Season 1. I have a huge issue with Season 1 and 2 DLC characters simply because they should already be in the game but that’s another issue entirely. The main issue here is, if they wanted to add a character like Abigail to the SFV roster, why not just give us Hugo? Why not bring back Dudley instead of saying, “this is our new character” with the addition of Ed. I get the mindset of Capcom and there’s only so much they can do before a character is just a “copy” of another character. Hell, Ryu and Ken have been in the series since the first game but everybody views Ken as an American Ryu.
What disappoints me most about Season 2 is that all of these DLC characters kind of stink. Minus Akuma and Kolin, Season 1 wipes the floor with Season 2 DLC characters; in Season 1, we were granted a pretty nice batch of characters from previous games. With Season 2 DLC characters just about over, I hope that Capcom can get over this hiccup and produce something worthwhile in time for Season 3 DLC. The game has faced a ton of criticism and I can’t say I blame many people for not holding back their complaints with how Street Fighter V has been handled over the course of a year.
Spider-Man: Homecoming has just added an enormous amount of pressure to the Spider-Man video game that fans expect to see on the PS4 in the coming months. This isn’t a knock on Homecoming per se but because of how successful the movie was, critically and financially, the new Spider-Man game must deliver big time for us to care. Anything less than great will be disappointing to hardcore fans, as well as the casual Spider-Man fan.
For me personally, despite not loving Spider-Man like I used to, I want to see the character done justice. This applies to video games, movies, cartoons, comics, and so on. Tom Holland and Marvel have given Spider-Man a breath of new life for the better and for the worse. The good news is, the last two times we have seen Spidey on the big screen, he hasn’t let us down. Personally, I still have a love for the first two Sam Raimi Spidey films but Spidey’s brief appearance in Captain America: Civil War started this trend of Spidey being great again. In Civil War, Holland stole the show when he appeared on the screen; this continued in the solo Spidey film, Spider-Man: Homecoming. I had fun again watching a solo Spider-Man film and despite Iron Man being prominent in this film quite a bit, it was still Spidey’s movie at the end of the day.
But why does this matter? It matters because gamers expect a Spidey game to be quality just like the product we have received with Homecoming. A great Spider-Man game is definitely possible considering how many people loved Spider-Man 2 for the original Xbox and for the PS2. I can’t even imagine how many hours I spent in NYC just swinging around as Spider-Man; as a kid, I cherished this. The Batman: Arkham games gave me a similar feeling; I loved flying around Arkham City as Batman and patrolling the streets; it was a ton of fun. I’m not saying the new Spider-Man game will be on par with those Batman games but that’s the bar that has been set; because of how great those games were, the Spider-Man game is being heavily compared to those Arkham games with how they are set up.
This trailer gives us an in-depth look at what to expect with the newest Spidey game. The game looks like a ton of fun, the world is beautiful, and it looks like the game plays well. I also heard talks that the city players can swing around in is enormous; this makes me giddy for this new game. The hope is that this new Spider-Man game will satisfy Spider-Man fans everywhere. The ball is in Insomniac’s court; if they deliver, they will make a lot of fans happy and ecstatic to play a new Spider-Man game.
I hope I am one of those fans.
Over this past weekend, the return of that bandicoot is a nostalgia trip for anyone who is a fan of the original PlayStation games. That’s right, Crash is back and if you haven’t been living under a rock, fans are ecstatic that he has returned to the PS4 with the release of Crash Bandicoot: N’Sane Trilogy.
Crash Bandicoot was a great game to jump back into and despite it being challenging at times, I really enjoyed replaying the original game. I’m just about done Cortex Strikes Back and I gotta say, I haven’t had this much fun replaying a game series in quite some time. Sure, it can be frustrating at times and the mechanics are wonky sometimes but for forty dollars, I couldn’t not give this trilogy a purchase. Much like the Donkey Kong games, the levels themselves are the real challenge as one keeps playing but the boss fights are unique and all are interesting in their own way. While some of the boss fights aren’t that hard, each boss has their own persona and this makes the boss fights at least memorable to an extent.
The amount of polish and graphical touch-ups that this game has received are breathtaking. The Crash games have been polished to the max and even the soundtracks of these games have been touched up which makes the experience that much better for people like me. I geek out over video game OST’s, so hearing the remastered version of a classic tune gives me joy even today. While none of the tunes quite have the nostalgic quality of something like Aquatic Ambience, the Crash games have pretty good soundtracks that immerse the player into Crash’s world.
I also had the pleasure of picking up Kingdom Hearts 1.5 over this past month and ran through the first game. I still haven’t completed everything there is to do in that game, besides beat the game, but I am currently in the process of farming to reach level 100. Much like Crash, I had a great time replaying this game and on the alternative, this game was much easier to jump back into. Boss battles against people like Hades and Clayton seemed much easier but I don’t really have any negative things to say about the first Kingdom Hearts game; it’s one of my favorite games of all-time.
Here’s hoping that the power of nostalgia can bring back one of PlayStation’s original mascots.
Is there anything else to say?
Captain Marvel being playable in a video game is a guaranteed selling point for me, well, until I actually played the demo for Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite. The game demo that dropped at E3 this year is basically unplayable. Infinite feels like a rushed game and that’s just going off of what they’ve done to Chun-Li. I found it very odd how Capcom, who are usually pretty great with character animations, messed up Chun so badly since she looks pretty awesome in Street Fighter V. Moving away from that, MvC is just not a very well done game and it’s not fun compared to any of the other fighters I have been playing this past year. The game feels very dated, the roster looks to be very thin so far, and minus a few moments, I was just playing this game to play it.
Capcom needs to get it together. Street Fighter V, while I love it, was an incomplete mess and Capcom’s track record as of late has been pretty terrible in terms of thinking about the consumer. Why do I have to grind extensively to get a character like Guile in my Street Fighter V? Even worse, Capcom has been falling in love with microtransactions, which is a thorn in the side for consumers. I’m hoping that this doesn’t happen with MvC: Infinite.
I hate to see a game get delayed but this game deserves a big-time delay. While many gamers hate the word “delay,” in this instance, a delay would not be the end of the world. In fact, a delay would benefit both parties dramatically in the long run.
At the end of the day, the video game industry is a business and compared to when I was a kid, the industry has exploded in terms of financial profits and gains. Despite my rose tinted glasses, gaming has become better than ever before and there is a market for just about every game in today’s industry. Love sports games? EA and 2K Sports have you covered. Love single player experiences with rich storylines and characters? Naughty Dog is probably for you. Love the classics such as Mario and Donkey Kong? Say no more; you know what company I’m talking about. In a recent interview, Naughty Dog implied that their recent game, “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy,” is not the end for the Uncharted series. Well, this is not surprising to me at all; case in point with the title I’ve chosen for my most recent blog post.
For Naughty Dog, they literally have no reason to discontinue making Uncharted games minus the whole, “we want to make new stories with new characters” spiel that many companies feed the consumer. But why stop making these games if they print money? Just take a look at Nintendo and how they do business: how many more years of Mario can the average gamer put up with? Well, with Super Mario Odyssey coming soon, gamers can’t get enough of that plumber apparently. I’m not blaming companies like Nintendo or Naughty Dog for cashing-in on these games because that’s what fans love and it benefits both parties. The game studios make the money, the consumer is (usually) happy, and everybody goes about their day with a smile on their face. My main concern, which isn’t really even a big concern right now, is how is this effecting gaming as a whole? Despite this question constantly popping up regarding what we would consider “blockbuster games” such as Mario, new IP’s are constantly being produced despite dealing with the same properties we’re accustomed to seeing. Sony has been pretty good about new IP’s as of late and so has Nintendo surprisingly.
One of my favorite games this generation is pictured above: Horizon Zero Dawn. This game was just a ton of fun to play, the combat was great, and I was immersed within Aloy’s world. The best part about this game was that it was new and it was fresh; it was something I hadn’t seen before. I wasn’t just playing Super Mario 27 or Halo 14, I was playing something brand new; it was not entirely original but it something I really enjoyed playing and it wasn’t just the same old game.
Am I going to buy the new Uncharted featuring Chloe Frazier and the return of Uncharted 4 antagonist, Nadine Ross? Of course because I already have it pre-ordered. My recent blog post is more of a rant/ramble simply because I don’t personally have a disdain for seeing a game series last for twenty or more years such as Mario has. I actually find it very impressive that even after twenty or more years, Mario is still printing money with every new game. It just goes to show how powerful nostalgia is but it also shows how dedicated the fans become when it comes to these franchises.
If you’d like to entertain discussion, drop a comment regarding the state of gaming at this moment in time. Am I reading too much into this? Probably but I’d like to hear some thoughts, if possible. Thanks for reading!
One of my favorite games from 2014 is also my personal game of the show; The Evil Within was a big surprise for me when I played it three years ago and to see it get a sequel makes me pretty happy. The first game was so weird and eerie but that’s what I loved about it. I also feel like the sequel can touch on more of the lore within this franchise and I want to know more about our hero personally. In the first game, we didn’t really get a sense of what this character was about and to be honest, the protagonist was so boring that it was one of the only hiccups in the game for me personally. I feel like The Evil Within 2 can be even better than the first game but we’ll just have to wait and see for now.
Honorable mentions go to Super Mario Odyssey, Wolfenstein 2, and the return of someone familiar.