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PS4 Sony

Persona 4 Golden

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That’s my second or even third time trying to play Persona 4. It’s not bad or anything, just long.
The only bit that annoys me is the fact that character mouths are not moving.
The premise is that people start to get sucked into their TVs at night, where they have to face their Shadow, the dark self. And if they die, they die in the real world too.

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The problem with the game is same as Persona 3. And honestly, with most shin Megami Tensei games. When your entire combat system is built around exploiting enemy weakness with magic, once you run out of mana, it becomes boring. And since characters are designed to compliment each other, once one character runs out of SP, you may as well end the run. Although SP recovery items seem a little less of a problem than in PS4 version than in the original PS2 release.

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PS4 Sony

Nier Replicant

Completed Nier Replicant.
As I already mentioned, OST of Nier is something else:

Being grown up means mostly you revisit same locations again, and with the Junkyard, I think even twice.
Some of those are better, like the Octopus Girl boss.
https://youtu.be/0dZfR-LhLO0Some of them are meh, like the Wolf boss.
Devola and Popola, the town major and her twin sister, turn out to be evil witches. And everyone turns out to be android, while the Shades are the real humans. This is all explained in a sneaky burst of images at the very end of the game. Not a real surprise, as the subtitle of the remake is “Replicant”. Akin to “The Island”, the plan was for people souls to return into the android “shells” after the pandemic is over, but souls turned into monsters, while shells developed conscience and rejected their owners.
There are 4 more endings, achieved by playing the second half of the game 3 more times, and then the entire game again from the start. But I think I’ll stop there. It’s great the Nier has a sane difficulty: unlike Bayonetta or Revengeance, nor like Souls games, not once I wanted to break my gamepad while playing it for 20 hours. But I played it for 20 hours, and I think that’s quite enough. No amount of post-irony and self-humor about boring dungeons and quest can hide the fact that those are indeed boring.

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PS4 Sony

Nier Replicant

A game makes a timejump 5 years. Timejumps aren’t new: Ocarina of Time pulled it, Breath of Fire 2 pulled it too. But I still respect every game that manages to do it properly. This one does.

Now our hero isn’t a teenager anymore, although that makes him resemble Dante now much more. I was also wondering why the game mentiones that the sword you find are “one-handed”, since they all were one-handed. This is why. As an adult, the protagonist can also weild two-handed swords. Nice.
Emil, the kid that is able to petrify with his stare, discovers that his mansion has a laboratory underneath (another Resident Evil reference), and there his sister, turned into a huge monster, is kept. And he was given his capabilities to stop her. The game perspective switches to 2.5D isometric ARPG-like for a while.

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The siblings merge, Emil receives magic abilities, but now looks like a skeleton, a miniature version of his sister. I always thought that the skeleton on the cover is Grimoir Weiss personified.

With that, Kaine is un-petrified, and the monster she held sealed finally beaten.


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PS4

Nier Replicant

The music in this game is something else, I must admit. Having vocals is not something many games try to pull out.

Bad mouthed Kaine is sure a good comic relief.

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With her, we travel to a Sand City that has thousands of rules. Obviously the dungeon / temple puzzles are also based around following bizarre rules: no jumping in one room, no running or using magic in another.

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And suddenly the game turns into a text adventure.

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And then it mocks Resident Evil with its mansion and keys.

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There we meet and kill Red Book, that doesn’t speak, though, and a boy, Emil, that can petrify with his gaze.

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Then the village gets attacked. This episode is seriously technically impressive, with that huge boss chasing the hero:

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We try to fend it off, but Kaine has to be sacrificed, turned into stone, to seal one of the Shades, and a dark twin of a protagonist appears alongside Grimoire Noir, which we were about to start chasing. Noir explains that it must unite with Weiss to bring Shades upon the world, but Weiss refuses. Still, protagonist gets stabbed, and Yona stolen by the Shadowlord.

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PS4 Sony

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

After beating all three installments, I decided to try and play against human opponents.
First, even though I already paid for the console and the game, I had to subscribe to PS Plus. Without it, the multiplayer just doesn’t work.
And then… there are no opponents. For the whole evening, I had just two matches with a single opponent. That beat me twice. And the lags were abysmal. For the next evening, I had one opponent, that got disconnected after the first match. I have a feeling I won’t be extending my subscription to PS Plus.

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PS4 Sony

Nier Replicant

Story wise, there are two siblings, one of which, Yonah, is sick with some curse. Her brother finds a talking White Book, that is supposed to heal her, if he finds the Black Book. This is all set in a post apocalyptic world that fell into Middle Ages
I tried to play the original Nier back in the day on Xbox360. The English version protagonist was a middle aged man, Yonah father. Then when the remake came out I discovered that in the Japanese version it was always Yonah’s brother, a teenager.
Most interesting part of the game is the camera work. Usually it’s just a free 3rd person view. But sometimes it would switch to a sidescroller, or a top down view.
The gameplay is quite boring, that’s why I dropped it the first time. It’s a mix of ARPG and slasher mechanics. It’s interesting though, that the game has some selfawareness. At one point, Weiss asks the hero what he thinks about the stupid errands everyone gives him. At another point, the hero asks why a girl he meets is wearing just a lingerie: a common fantasy trope for sure.

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PSX Sony

Need for Speed High Stakes (PSX)

Impressed that the upgrades actually alter the car looks a bit:

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It’s nice that until the final tournament, you don’t have to grind money at all. It’s just all natural progression. For the final tournament that requires 500K cars though, you will have to grind a bit. Here’s the funny part, though. You can either do the Grand Touring Competition tournament for a 100K prize, or the International Supercar Series tournament for a 175K prize. But, the second tournament is much, much harder: the cars like Lamborghini Diablo SV and Ferrari F50 are very prone to losing control, and quite a few tracks have rain conditions, which only worsens the situation. This tournament is not fun. At all. Instead, you can literally cruise through the first tournament on the Ferrari 550, and get what you want with less effort, and less real-time.
The last tournament takes place on a completely new set of tracks. And although McLaren F1 GTR is a beauty to behold, PSX aesthetics aside, and a pleasure to drive, I feel like this tournament requires to much planning for me to care.

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PSX Sony

Need for Speed High Stakes (PSX)

PSX version of High Stakes misses quite a lot compared to PC version. There’s no cockpit view. The weather effects are almost non existing. Just 4 leagues and no modes besides Tournament. So, it’s a High Stakes without the “High Stakes”.
But it has a few advantages as well. First, lighting is surprisingly better than on PC. Especially lens flares. And upgrades actually make a difference in this version, making it more playable that the brutal PC version.

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PC Gaming PSX Sony

Need for Speed High Stakes

I fondly remember Need for Speed 4 from my childhood. I had a friend who was really good at this game, unlocked all the cars, while I always was terrible at racing games, so I didn’t even manage to complete the first tournament race.
So, I decided to revisit it. And it is still brutal. You need to pay entrance fee for most tournaments. You car gets damaged and needs repairs. To compete in eponymous “High Stakes” race, where you stake your car against opponents, you need an extra car.
At first I thought that upgrades, tucked away in one of the menus, will help. But it’s quite pointless, since opponent cars are upgraded as well.
Some of the tracks are extrucicating. With 8 laps, they take 15 minutes of real time. And this is before modern racing features such as time rewind and guidelines.

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PS4 Sony

Diablo 4

Changed my build to be more poison and traps oriented. That gives me a bit more satisfaction and smugness, as you can win before enemy even knows it: neat feature shows you if the enemy will eventually die from your poison or not.
After reaching level 35, “orange” drop rate improves a lot. Funny though that those legendaries still get quickly outpaces with the yellow-rare drops. The main difference between “rare” and “legendary” being either effect when player is hit or some bonus to cooldowns. Strange that rares have some unique names, but “oranges” are often just generic “bumpy helm of greater might”.
Strangely, they managed to screw up the fight with Andariel. Andariel, the treat of Diablo 2, the sight of her monstrous body! Now, you barely see her. Seriously, it’s a shotout fight. She shots at you from across the screen, then dies. I’m not even sure what she looks like.

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By level 43 or so I finally got a horse. A horse makes traveling easier, and feels a bit like Legend of Zelda with its “boost carrots”. Here you can also gallop it 3 times in a row. Anyway, since all monsters are basically the same, horse allows speeding up by them, which is great.

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PS4 Sony

Street Fighter 3

Now I’ve beaten all three versions of Street Fighter 3 with Yun. The easiest is probably 2nd Impact, as Gill is not even the last boss (Yun’s brother, Yang is), and he doesn’t have the nasty resurrect.

You can also see how the game becomes more “barebone”, as new characters are added. First background quality degrades with 2nd Impact, then with 3rd Strike there are no win screens anymore.

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PS4 Sony

Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

I’ve been trying to “get” Street Fighter 3 3rd Strike many times, maybe since 2004 when it was first emulated. But it took me an hour in a real arcade to finally start to understand it.
The 30th Anniversary Collection is probably the best version for a couple of reasons. First, it has a training mode, something most of the original games lacked.
And I’m actually impressed by its “arcade” filter, which turned out to be pretty close to the real arcade.

The character I picked this time is Yun. Not because he’s considered one of the strongest characters by the experts: I’m too dumb to use his juggling abilities. But because his basic attacks are very strong.

This time I even managed to beat Gill. The boss has a nasty ability to ressurect himself with full health, if he has a full meter when downed. Even if you manage to survive his comeback, he usually wins with a timer. So, I won with a timer as well 😝

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PS4 Sony

Diablo 4

Something I didn’t expect is that I’d have the most success with Rogue, out of the three classes I tried until now. Rogue has the same concept of two weapons slots the barbarian has, but in her case it’s for ranged and dual-wield set of weapons.
The class mechanics are what you’d expect: homing arrows, barrage of arrows, imbuing arrows with elements. But with her I didn’t die once yet. With barbarian: many times.
I’m at level 24, ending of Act I, and I’m seeing an “orange” item for the first time just now. How times have changed since Diablo 3…
Are we dealing with a dysfunctional family again? I think we’re dealing with dysfunctional family again. First we had Adria who sacrificed her daughter.

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Now we have Lilith and that Angel who killed his son the goth-necromancer because anger management and prophecies, and now mommy is angry.

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Seeing Vigo as Knight Penitent after playing Blasphemous is… strange. I’m not sure if the reference is intentional, but it is quite obvious.

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PS4 Sony

Diablo 4

They certainly took a lot from MMORPGs. Diablo 3 was mostly linear. Here, every village has a bunch of quests for you. And since everything is leveling up with you anyway, it doesn’t matter much which village you start with.

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Interesting aspect of playing as the barbarian is that your weapon mastery grows with use, not with your level. That’s different from any other Diablo game I remember, where everything, and I mean everything, was tied to your character leveling up.
I of course build a Whirlwind barbarian. Luckily, this skill is available as soon as level 3. And in the meantime, it’s a lot of fun, mowing hordes on mobs.

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Surprising that the first area is very Slavic. Less surprising after the success of Witcher, of course, but still, names like Fedor, and areas like Zeleny Lowlands or enemies like Volkodlak.

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PS4 Sony

Diablo 4

After another 45 minute wait for yet another 4GB patch that should have been downloaded in 15 minutes, I finally launched the game.
It does feel a lot like Path of Exile, which I always found incredibly boring. When the skill tree has a search button. At least characters wear pants, though.
I usually play as Crusader/Paladin, but for the lack of such, decided to give Necromancer a try. Nice that they give you 4 skeletons right away. No need to slowly build your army anymore, it seems.

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The main mechanic from Diablo 3 remained the same: use Signature Skill to build Essence, use other skills to kill everyone, repeat. Better than spamming a single skill from Path of Exile, I guess.
Then, I decided to give a Barbarian a try, and strangely, I enjoying it much more than I’d expect. Funny thing about Barbarian is that she had 4 weapon slots. One for bludgeoning two handed, one for slashing two handed, and two for dual-wield weapons. And her skills work in such a way that she uses the right weapon for each job.

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PS4 Sony

Diablo 4

 

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What I like about console versions of Diablo 3 is that they work completely offline, both on Switch and PS4. No such luck with Diablo 4, unfortunately.
The game won’t even show menu without internet connection.
So, I had to download latest system firmware.
Then I had to set up PSN account.
Then download 12GB update.
I wasted an hour, and didn’t play Diablo 4 at all this evening.

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PS4 Sony

Order 1886

Completed Order 1886.

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The story is told in such a way that the characters have all the context, and don’t try to explain anything to the player. “In medias res”? Which is good in terms of storytelling, but leaves me with a feeling of missing something.
Oh, there are not just werewolves but also vampires. Oh, Lord Hastings that we protected half of the game from rebels is actually a vampire. He’s Jack the Ripper that was mentioned at the start of the game. And the United India Company tries to ship vampires to USA.
Why? I don’t know. Usually those gaps are filled by Codex, but there’s none here.

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Surprisingly, I didn’t find the game short and the ending lacking. Yes, it doesn’t wrap much of anything, and it’s a shame we won’t get to see the sequel. But then sequels rarely stand up for expectations anyway. Just ask Assassin’s Creed.
Alistair, the commander of the Knights, turns out to be a werewolf. Interesting that he refers to Lord Hastings as “my breed”, meaning that in this universe vampires and werewolves are somewhat related.
Lord Chancellor knew that fact, but he was unable to kill a child. Instead, he tasks Galahad to do that for him.
I must say this all doesn’t make sense, stories about people that live for hundreds of years rarely do. For example Lafayette is clearly meant to be the historical figure, as he “seen two Revolutions”, and is “the most American Frenchman I know”. But that would mean he’s 86 years old with the look of 30, and that is without the Grail powers, as he’s knighted during the events of the game. Unless of course the American and French revolution happened in this reality around 1860.
We end up with Galahad and Tesla on the run, and martial law declared in London.
It’s now clear who helped Tesla get Galahad out of Thames. It credits he just appears as “misterious man”. Presumably it could be either Arthur himself, or Bots, one of Arthur’s knights, as Ravi mentions him, although saying that he may not be alive after all. But that would explain why Ravi has the same sword design and bottle as other knights.

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PS4 Sony

Order 1886

Don’t get me wrong, it’s cute. It’s just not the masterpiece everyone claimed for it to be. Being exclusive doesn’t make a game into a masterpiece, you see.
Fighting werewolves in a steampunk version of Victorian London is a nice enough idea. But on top of that they put Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. At first I thought some of the characters were sharing the names. But it turns out they are supposed to be those knights, having lived for hundreds of years. Then there are historical figures, such as Nicola Tesla, that of course supplies us with new weapons.

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Gameplaywise, it’s a cover-shooter. But at least the enemies are not as beefy as in Gear of War, and they respect headshots somewhat, so shooting is actually quite satisfying.

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There is a strange mechanic for such a game to examine different objects. Something I’d expect in an adventure, but not in a shooter. Maybe just a way to flex.

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Or “gun porn”, as you can also rotate some of the new guns that way.

I got excited when I reciver the Lewis machine gun. But it turned out to be a strange contraption that requires you to spray enemies with termite, then ignite them.

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The voice acting and cinematography are superb. To have a direct quote from Resident Evil was surprising.

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Turns out the knightly names are codenames, and each Knight has also a first and last name. So Perceval is Sebastien Malory (Thomas Malory was the author of Le Morte d’Arthur). And when Sebastien dies in the explosion, Lafayette inherits his codename of Perceval. And they live for hundreds of years due to the Holy Grail they have.

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PS4 Sony

PlayStation 4

I for one forgot how noisy PS4 is while installing games, and that it takes fucking 10-15 minutes to install one.
Another thing I didn’t knew and it blew my mind… You can’t just connect any Bluetooth headset to PS4. It needs to be “supported”. Out of the 3 I own, none are, are neigther of them are cheap.
You can always connect your bluetooth headphones to TV, of course. But it’s ironic that Sony claims they don’t support A2DP because those have a lag, but running A2DP through TV will have even more lag, which is fine.

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PS4 Sony

PlayStation 4 gambit

I got so annoyed by the fact that I got myself an unhackable PS4 Pro that I found a PS4 9.00 on eBay and bought it.
The seller didn’t lie, it was indeed 9.00 firmware, and he even was kind enough to ship the hackingUSB with it.
So now I have two PS4s, one of them hacked. And a bunch of cheap PS4 games on top of that.