Monday, March 16, 2015

They just don't make them like they used to. Or do they?

Over the last few months,  I have been steadily picking up cheap games for the PS3 knowing that my window for getting them is steadily closing.

Now that I have a couple of Move controllers, I picked up the Time Crisis Razing Storm disc (2010, Namco) that also includes the other Namco light gun shooters Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates. It was only nine bucks, and that's only three bucks a game! I had passed on Time Crisis 4 when it originally came out in 2007 because I didn't have a PS3 yet and it wasn't the sort of game that I was inclined to pick up a system for. Time Crisis 4 and Deadstorm Pirates are rock-solid arcade ports, but there's not much in the way of extras. Razing Storm has a variety of extra modes and a campaign mode that requires a more difficult control scheme and the Move Navigation controller. The two Time Crisis games are very consistent with the rest of the series, and the Deadstorm Pirates game is still a lot of fun despite simpler mechanics and no cover system.

Also in the light gun genre, I picked up House of the Dead:Overkill (2009, SEGA/Headstrong). It does a good job of making you think you're watching some sort of grindhouse film, including visual artifacts and poorly edited dialogue. It also has the second highest profanity count of any video game currently in existence, only because Mafia 2 (2010, 2K Czech) dethroned it. The game is still fun, and since the overall writing is well crafted, the profanity bothers me less than the nature of the swearing in something like Mad World where it just seemed like it was shoehorned in. In terms of the campy nature of the game, the only things that's even in its class is Lollipop Chainsaw.

Overall, the Move controllers work really well for light gun games - I even find them more reliable than the Wii's Wiimotes. I was hoping to complete my light gun trifecta with Capcom's Chronicles HD Collection, but I haven't run across a copy yet. I was also hoping that there would be Move support added to the HD version of the survival horror classic Resident Evil 4 on PS3, but there isn't. RE5 is the only one, since the control scheme in RE6 is too complicated for the Move.

It is nice to know that the PS4 supports the use of the Move controllers, although it does not support the use of the PS3 camera with them. So, you have to get a  new camera but the controllers are fine. (I'm not there yet, so it's not really a concern.)

So what have I been playing besides old light gun games? I went back to revisit the Sony in-house franchise God of War. I didn't realize at the time how revolutionary this game would be, how much it would raise the bar for voice actors and production costs for many of the games that followed. It is big, dramatic, and violent, but the writing is interesting, the framing of the imagery very cinematic, and the acting is on par with anything that Hollywood throws out there. Most of the saga can be had on the PS3 for $19.99 - if you get it, make sure you buy a new copy. The God of War:Saga discs have GOW1&2 on the first disk, 3 on the second, and the conversions of the two handheld games (Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta as a download code. The older games have been re-rendered, which makes them look nice and shiny again because the game is running at the right resolution for newer TV's.  You can tell the difference with the cutscenes that have not been re-rendered, looking rather fuzzy and not as nice as you remember it looking. There's one more God of War game for PS3 - the multiplayer game Ascension, which I picked up for $7.50 when GameStop put a bunch of copies on a weekend flash sale. While I have played neither of the handheld games before, nor had I played Ascension, I am going to play everything in release order, even if that means re-playing 1, 2, and 3 because frankly they're some of the best games I've ever played.

Another important tip: If you had a save game for the standalone version of God of War 3, and you put in the God of War 3 disk from God of War:Saga, there is a substantial chance that the game will never make it to the menu screen and just stall out on a black screen before making it to the menu. There are some people that have old PS3's that can't play Saga or Ascension because of disk mastering issues and have battled with their retailer trying to get another disk, but that was not my issue. In my case, all I had to do was erase my old incompatible save files and GOW3 then came up just fine.

With all of this nostalgic ultra-violence on my screen, you have to wonder what my kids are playing - turns out that my older son has been playing a lot of WiiU Smash Bros, and more often than not my younger son has been playing Sengoku Basara Utage. (Not bad for a kid that can't read very much Japanese.)

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