Saturday, January 04, 2014

[PS4] Call of Duty: Ghosts Campaign Review + Thoughts

Well, I finished Call of Duty: Ghosts on Hardened last night and it was actually pretty fun. I'm not sure why people were so down on it. Sure, I can understand that it was a step down from the BLOPS series but it had its moments. It felt more like the early CoD campaigns where the missions were a bit more direct and the story was a bit less convoluted. I think fans who liked the series before MW2 would enjoy it quite a bit.

Story - Contains spoilers so skip it if you care.

Story was pretty simple with a good smattering of wild missions. The story of the brothers was not bad and had a semi-good set up for why they were involved. You do play as other random characters from time to time but just like BLOPS, you played primarily as one character and stayed with the same couple of guys so it wasn't super confusing. Also, Riley (the dog) wasn't in the game much. He disappears after the first couple of missions and then suddenly joins you back for a dumb escort mission. A real waste considering how much they got the internet to hype the canine so much. I can only imagine they didn't think Riley would be so popular but it's the internet and they like digital dogs. Maybe the next game will do a better job.

The reason for the war wasn't explained very clearly though. The setting is scary as hell if you're an American but other than that, we're not told why the Federation wants to crush us or where your allies are in all of this. So while the war is much more protracted and larger scale than the previous games, the fact that the USA seems alone in this war was a bit stupid. The ending bugged the hell outta me. Rorke surviving a bullet to the chest PLUS managing to kidnap Logan to be brainwashed made ZERO sense within the context of the story. Not only did it undermine the awesome feel of completing the mission at the end but it was a very clumsy set up for a possible sequel. I did not like it at all. Why did you guys do that?

Anyway, some missions were better than others. I really enjoyed the stealth missions and all missions where you had to creep around. They were well scripted and had really great pacing and tension. I really didn't mind just following a dude around while trying to avoid guys.The one underwater and infiltrating the base as enemy soldiers were some highlights. The shoot out in space was unexpected and awesome as hell. I'm not sure how they'll outdo that in later installments. I mean, how could you beat that?


The missions were your typical follow-the-leader and shooting most guys or creeping your way to the objective. It was pretty entertaining for the most part. My major gripe is that this game suffers like most past CoD games where there's a few choke points. The enemies near the end were ridiculously accurate and will kill you instantly even after you spawned back sometimes. I can understand making the them tougher but restarting a couple of times from some random dude who suddenly decides to target me only while my buddy is next to him is very annoying. The first 2/3 of the game felt well balanced even on Hardened but the last 1/3 did piss me off a few times. It wasn't as bad as some previous CoD games though. I'm also happy I didn't encounter any spots where infinite respawning enemies occured. Good on ya devs. We don't need that shit in these games. The AI is alright but a bit brain dead at times for both sides. I know I'm the hero but at least put some effort into the suppressive fire.

Anyway, even with my complaints, the missions were still relatively entertaining. Riley was highly underused tho. He had a cool mechanic that was abandoned after the initial 1/3 of the game. So much potential! Boo.


The CoD engine definitely looks dated now. It doesn't look super great even on the PS4. There were some impressive destruction but the overall look was a bit muddy in spots and I saw jaggies in the distance for most objects. Even with all the minor enhancements to the PS4's visuals, it looked last gen. Here's hoping the next game uses a brand new engine. The framerate held up really well for the most part so that's a plus.

The audio is just as impressive as the other games. Some really great surround and the bass was also great during major explosions. The voice-over was great as well. It's your typical soldiers yelling at each other but they were good at it. Even when the visuals disappointed me, I could rely on the audio.

Overall Thoughts

Game was still fun and had an entertaining story. It doesn't beat out the MW games with its over-the-topness nor did it beat the BLOPS games with its storytelling but it was still good. Certain missions could've been better and the ending should've been changed. But overall, I was satisfied with it. Well worth checking out if you're a fan of the previous CoD single player campaigns.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

LiK's Top 20 Games of 2013 & Other Mentions

I haven't had a chance to play everything that came out in 2013 but here's a list of 20 games I completed and enjoyed in no particular order.

Before you ask, WHERE IS THE [INSERT NAME] GAME? Well, I haven't had a chance to play or finish any of them so they're probably excluded. I can only play so many games at a time. Sometimes things in life get in my way and yes, it pisses me off.

Dead Space 3 - While it's the worst game in the trilogy, it had its moments. The combat was still fun and the graphics were gorgeous. I didn't like where the story went but it was still fun to play through. The coop stuff was forced and really ruined my enjoyment of the game simply because I couldn't experience those levels solo. 

BioShock Infinite - Fun game with some pretty mind-blowing moments that stayed with me well past after I had finished the game. The ending made my jaw drop. Playing around with the Vigor combinations was fun and I enjoyed the world and music. I do have to admit that Normal mode is the way to go. Playing on Hard or 1999 Mode was more of a chore than fun. I also recommend playing on PC over the consoles. The graphics look way better.

Ryse - Really fun game with a great story. Cutting guys down never got old and I really liked the overall feel of the combat. Very satisfying. Marius is one of the most badass characters in a video game. I was really surprised how much I liked the game.

Metal Gear Rising - Another winner from Platinum Games. I can't believe it only took them one year to make it. Really fun combat with some ridiculous moments. Raiden has been redeemed and the final boss was hilarious. The music for the bosses were excellent as well. The level design was pretty bland but the combat was great.

Tomb Raider - What a great reboot for the series. Really fun combat and the traversal was also enjoyable. There were some really great set pieces with lots of exciting parts. Of course the only disappointment was the lack of actual tombs to raid. You got a few and they were short as hell. Still, I'm really looking forward to the next game in the series.

The Last of Us - ONE OF THE BEST STORIES IN GAMES. Yup, don't argue with me. While the plot isn't anything truly original, the presentation and performances were incredible. The stealth/combat was enjoyable and challenging. Traversal could've been better but I really liked the world and characters. Naughty Dog really went above and beyond how good a video game's cinematic presentation could be. It's a pretty gorgeous game too.

Grand Theft Auto V - Best in the series. Driving is actually fun and the missions weren't frustrating like the older games. Checkpoints made a big difference. This is also one of the funniest games this year. While Michael and Franklin were the same ol' dudes you'd expect in the series, Trevor was awesome and really well realized. A psychopath you can actually like. The Americana parodies continue to shine although I hope the next game does something more original with its premise. It's a bit tired at this point.

Beyond: Two Souls - Another winner from David Cage. I really liked Jodie and her story. The characters were all very likeable and interesting. I really enjoyed the quiet moments and slice of life that were sprinkled throughout the game. The action parts were fun to play but I felt it wasn't really necessary for the story. While the gameplay could've been better, I felt it was the best playing of Cage's games so far. I'm excited to see what he does next on more powerful consoles.

Resogun - Excellent shooter. Really fun and addictive and the graphics are dazzling. Music is also top notch. What a nice gift for PS+ users for the PS4 launch.

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag - Great game that redeemed the series for me. ACIII was a bit of a trainwreck but ACIV fixes it in both story and gameplay. The missions and ship battles are MUCH better and less frustrating. I also loved the lore they added to the real world. Really cool stuff for longtime fans to chew on. I didn't think it was possible to save the story after ACIII but they did it and it goes into some new directions. I can't wait to see where the series goes next. The major bummer is how broken the Uplay features are if you have more than 100 friends. Fix yo shit, Ubi.

DmC - Super fun and looked gorgeous on the PC. Performance was rock solid and super stable. The game was a quite challenging and I liked the story. There were some really nice looking levels and fun boss designs. They managed to do a good job rebooting the series with its own feel and rules. This game also has one of the best and most creative looking bosses I've ever experienced. 

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon - What a surprise. Ubi did a great job with the hilarious story and moments. They took a great game like FC3 and managed to make it more fun. I would've liked more variety in spots but I still enjoyed it. I can't wait to see what they can do in this universe with a full retail release. This is old school 80's/90's parody humor that I can agree with.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger - Another surprise from Ubi. Really super fun and the story is great. The narration and moments were really clever. But man, the gunplay was super satisfying and carried the game really well. I definitely want more in this universe. We need more gritty Western games in general and this game delivers.

Deadpool - Yea, I liked it. The jokes were stupid and childish but they made me laugh. Nolan North did a great job with the script. There were some moments where I laughed pretty hard. The gameplay could've been faster and better but it was fine for what it was. I sorta wish they went further with its craziness and settings but it was still pretty good overall. Tough final boss but man it was still fun.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons - A really nice modern fairy tale game that has some unique gameplay elements involving its control scheme. The story has some cool moments. While I wish some levels were longer or more fleshed out, it was still a pretty satisfying experience. 

The Stanley Parable - Hilarious. So many great moments that will fuck with your head. It's extremely clever and hits too close to home sometimes. Well worth playing. Don't forget to check out the demo which is self-contained and just as good in its own right.

The Wolf Among Us Ep 1 - Fantastic. Telltale has really improved with its presentation and gameplay. Some really shocking moments has me intrigued. If you enjoyed their Walking Dead games, check this out pronto.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies - Welcome back Phoenix and friends. This was a nice return for the series. Some really fun new characters and twists. While the localization and jokes weren't quite as biting or clever as past games, it was still pretty good. Not a fan of the typos that kept popping up but whatever. Athena is an awesome new character and the music was outstanding. The DLC case was also fantastic. The new 3D visuals were awesome and managed to match or improve upon their 2D designs. Great looking game. I highly recommend longtime fans check it out. Newbies may enjoy it too.

Project X Zone - I didn't expect to enjoy this game as much as I did. The music is great and the fan service was fun. Story was blah but the gameplay was simple and fast. It was very addictive and oddly satisfying. I think fans of the various franchises and IPs will want to check it out. Crazy game as expected from company crossovers.

Saints Row IV - Fun, hilarious and just crazy to play through. The superpowers are a lot of fun and how they connect this game to the previous game was kinda genius. I loved all the characters and while most of the siderequests wee meh, the Loyalty Missions were well done. I can't wait to see where this series goes after this.

Other Mentions

Worst game I tried playing:
Rise of the Triad HD - There has been no other game I played in 2013 that made me want to quit more after the first level than this one. I did not enjoy the old school gameplay nor the shitty presentation. The opening comic cutscene was long and boring. You'd think they would try to make it more exciting for a game like this. I may give it a chance again in the future but not right now.

Most surprising, addictive and fun:
Dead Rising 3 - FANTASTIC. I just finished in 2014 so I had to mention it here. What a great game. The story and gameplay was fun and silly and the overall presentation was well done. I was blown away by the amount of zombies on screen and the combo weapons were ridiculous. I loved how they connected this game's story to the previous games. DR vets are gonna love it. Best in series and all the improvements to the game make it better and way less frustrating than the previous games. 

Shittiest online retailer of the forever: 
Digital River - These guys are used by almost every major game publisher for their online stores and they're shit. Their online account system is confusing, phone CSRs are useless and looking up your orders is a chore. I wish more companies would use someone else. Buying from any online shop that uses them is a goddamn headache.

Best online retailers:
Amazon, GMG and Steam - Without one or the other, PC gamers like me may not see the great deals we've been getting all year long. Chances are, if you want a deep discount, you'll find one from them (if you're patient). I also love when they price-match each other or try to outdo the other. Competition is good and PC gamers are benefiting from it. 

Best single sale:
Target's B2G1 - What a damn good deal for PS4 games and other video games in general. Not only did Target help out Sony but they also forced Amazon to match their sale for a day. Who wins? We do.

Okay, this is what I've had in my mind. I'll try to complete more games in my backlog soon. 2013 was a pretty crappy year IRL and I really didn't enjoy it too well. I was busy for all the wrong reasons and so many things annoyed me. Hopefully 2014 will be better and I hope for a brighter future. Thanks for reading.