Games Worth Talking About – 2017

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**Just a little foreword: I’m going to be releasing a series of articles about games that I’ve played this year that are really special (to me, at least). I’m slow to write these, with everything else that’s going on in life, but I hope that you enjoy it and will continue to check back for future installments. – RW**


I have fond memories of the Resident Evil series. I’ll never forget the first time that I played the original, it was unlike anything I’d ever played before and sparked a love for survival-horror games, a love that still exists today. When Resident Evil 7 was announced, I was excited to learn that the series was going to go back to the survival-horror roots of the original games. Could this be the return to form that we’ve been waiting for? Yes, yes it is.

The premise starts simple enough with Ethan Winters searching for his missing wife, Mia, and drops us right at the gate of her last known whereabouts, the Baker family plantation. What follows is a 10-15 hour journey through the Baker’s frightening plantation trying to find Mia and get out, but we all know that things are never that easy.

The game is filled with the Resident Evil staples such as mixing herbs, first aid spray, safe rooms and a focus on exploration and inventory management and improves on the old by sporting a new first-person perspective, which adds a terrifying new immersion to the game.

The setting of this game is the best since Resident Evil 4. The plantation keeps you on the edge of your seat as it creaks and moans all throughout its dark, cramped hallways and corridors. Exploring the house takes the series back to its early days as you consult your map to determine which doors are locked and which areas haven’t been explored.

While you spend the majority of the game exploring, combat comes into play more and more as you progress through the game. The monsters that you encounter are more in line with the enemies from the most recent entries of the series, consisting mostly of goo monsters rather than the zombies and hunters from the earlier games. However, the most terrifying of all enemies you face are the Baker family themselves. The family is straight out of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre film with Jack, the sadistic father, Marguerite, the lunatic mother, Lucas, the trap obsessed son, and the creepy grandmother who shows up in random spots just to stare at you from her wheelchair. Every encounter with them is tense, creepy and fantastic.

For me, the highlight of the game was the VHS tapes. Once found, you can place them in a VHS player and play through events that happened in the past, such as a group of ghost hunters investigating the Baker house, Mia as she’s being chased by Marguerite and a “Birthday!” tape that is too good to spoil.

All in all, the game is really fantastic and should be played by anyone who is a fan of survival horror games. I hope that Capcom continues with this style going forward and that the next game keeps the claustrophobic feel of this game.

Why does Nintendo Hate Their Fans? (Update)

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The SNES Classic…Already a name that has become infamous. With nearly two months before being released and its already causing quite a stir. I was unfortunately one of the many surprised fans that received a pre-order message from Walmart a few weeks ago. Only to receive the cancellation notice nearly a week later.  Here I was thinking I was on the Up and Up, me and a few buddies already started to make plans for a old school gaming night.

Now lets be clear, I know this is not Nintendo’s fault. The blame clearly falls on Walmart’s shoulders. And they dont plan on doing anything to try to make this situation better.Nintendo has come out this week and stated that they will be making “Significantly more SNES Classic’s” this time around and continuing production till the end of the Year. Lets hope that this is true, I’d love to see one in every retail store piled high so that scalpers have no way to make dirty money.

In preparation I have signed up for all of the text alerts and the many retail notifications out there. I will chronicling my Journey in trying to retrieve one of them over the next few weeks, Hopefully it will be a short story. I have also taken a small hiatus from writing due to the Summer and all the many things going on, but plan to start a few new series Including “Hidden Gems” and “Games that never were”.

Cheers!

 

N64 Classic, Future Wish List

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I am SUPER excited about the the SNES Classic, pre-orders should start anytime now and then the madness will begin. I feel like someone at Nintendo decided to read my blog at some point and read that Nintendo fans love retro. Or maybe they just saw the success of the NES Classic as a great opportunity to make some cash flow, whatever the case Im excited.

That being said if Nintendo decides to make this a trend we can expect that a N64 Classic will make an arrival sometime in the next year and a half. So for fun I decided to make my N64 Classic Wishlist of the 10+ games I believe are must haves in no particular order.

10) Resident Evil 2

This was my first entry into the Resident Evil franchise, It was also one of the first Horror games I ever played. Its laughable to look at it now and think it ever spooked me out. This one is definitely a Classic, despite its terrible controls.

9) Star Wars:Rogue Squadron

Not only one of my favorite flight games on the 64 but also one of the best Star Wars games. It was a fantastic Idea that gave me a real sense of what it would be like to drop into a X Wing and take it to the Empire.

 

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8)Mario Kart 64

Truely bigger and better than the SNES version, Mario kart64 was best enjoyed with friends on the couch.

7) Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time

My 2nd favorite Zelda game and first entry to move to 3D came out swinging. I remember getting this game with my console and I was just amazed by the graphics and scope of the world and its bosses.

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6) Super Smash Bros

Who would have thought that a mash up beat em up of some of Nintendo’s greatest characters could be so fun. This was another couch game that only got more chaotic when a new controller was added. Link and Samus were my go to characters everytime.

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5)Mario Party

Speaking of games best played with 4 players, Mario party was a game that could end friendships and start you down the page of vengeance.

 

4)Golden Eye 007

This game had so much going for it. Attached to a fantastic 007 movie, it was without a doubt the best first person shooter on a console up until that point. The multiplayer would entertain for hours and the Single player missions were well thought out and each one very unique.

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3) Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

Some people may disagree with me on this but Majoras mask had alot to offer. Many people simply skipped over this title due to the “Rinse, Repeat” repetitiveness of the story. But I think every Zelda fan should play through it. I have several friends that played it for the first time on the 3DS remake and fell in love.

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2)Mario 64

to this day, this game is still one of the best platformer games ever made in my opinion. It transitioned to the 3D mechanic and still managed to retain all of the traits that make a Mario game instant Classics.

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1)StarFox 64

I could hardly believe my eyes playing this for the first time. The improvement in graphics from SNES to N64 was staggering. It had so many secrets that could lead you down various paths to new planets and bosses. Another one of those games you would learn about on the School Bus!

Im Interested to hear what your list would be, sound off in the comments below,

 

Prey, Prey and Prey 2

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Its June 2017, Im sitting on the couch across from my wife about to start a game that shares a name with one I played in similar fashion almost 11 years before. And something seems vaguely familiar, almost like deja Vu.

So lets start with where it all began, Its 2006 on a Friday night, I just got home from renting a new game from Blockbuster called Prey for the Xbox360. Im waiting for my Girlfriend to get to my house so I decide to pop it in and see what it looks like on my Magnavox tube television. Its Important to point out that, at this point in my relationship with my Girlfriend, she was very much still dating my “representative” as a friend of mine calls it. Basically she only knew about the sides of me I wanted her to know about. And me playing a lot of games was not something she knew about me. I didn’t want it to affect my cool points I had amassed over the previous months of dating her. Next thing I know I had been playing for close to 15 mins and my door opens up and my Girl friend waltz’s in. What happened next shocked me, she asked what I was playing and began to watch. So instead of going out to see what kind of trouble we could get into we stayed in my bedroom and played Prey for an Hour or maybe longer. I remember before she left her telling me not to get to far because she wanted to know what happened next in the story.

Now Im happy to report that I lost no cool points that night and 11 years later my Girlfriend is now my amazing wife. And while she is sitting near by she is much less Interested in the new Prey. Let me start by saying I was super bummed when I heard that Prey 2 was officially cancelled. Prey 1 ended with a cliff hanger and a assumption that there would be a sequel. At E3 2011 we were given our first look at what this game would look like in the form of a beautiful CG cut-scene filmed in the same style as Mirrors edge or the first Amazing Spider-man Trailer

I remember being blown away by the notion of being a Space Bounty hunter in the Prey expanded universe. The trailer even connected the dots of the old game and showed the main antagonist would be a character that survived a plane crash into the Sphere from the first game. Even the gameplay appeared to have evolved far past the Doom and Wolfenstein esque style of the first game. From the game-play footage it was described as a Cover based shooter in the open world environment known as Exodus. It featured 20 new gadgets and nearly 40 upgrades to let you customize your Bounty Hunter to your play style. In interviews with former Human Head Studio employees it was revealed to have a very interesting plot with an ending very similar to Bioshock Infinite it terms of scope.

After years in Development Hell, it was revealed by Bethesda Vice president that the game was subsequently canceled citing that, “It was a game we believed in, but we never felt that it got to where it needed to be – we never saw a path to success if we finished it”

Fast Forward to 2017 and here I am playing a spiritual successor to a game that brought me some fond memories. It really feels like this game didn’t try to find a way to ground its self to the already established universe that the original Prey layed out.  And Im actually releaved that they didn’t. It has its take own the ever popular alternate history. Its unique in its story telling, and I loved that they went a completely different direction when dealing with the gameplay and setting. Instead of the bustling cities filled with a wide variety of Alien species you are treated with a seemingly  abandon space station alone with an Alien nemesis that has the ability to morph into inanimate objects.

In alot of ways it reminds me of some older games from last generation, that is in no means a disrespect, Actually if anything its a compliment. It feels like it takes influences from several games like Bioshock, Condemned  series, Dead space and even HalfLife 2. Im currently 6 hours in and absolutely loving it. If you enjoy games that are suspenseful, feature Unique weapons, and exploration then this game is for you. It constantly loves to remind you the that each mission has more than one way to accomplish the objective and that your decisions bear weight on how the game plays out and even help decide what ending your going to get when you do finally beat it.

In any case its been nice to take a trip down memory lane with a game franchise that I hope will be around for many years to come.