Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Retro Halloween Horror - Part 2

Yesterday we looked at some good retro games to play this Halloween from the 8 and 16-bit generations, so today we're going to take the next step into the 32-bit and more modern generation. Let's start with a great puzzle game for the Neo Geo.

 

Nightmare in the Dark was released in 2000 for the Neo Geo MVS arcade system by SNK. You play as a gravedigger who finds graves that have been desecrated and you attempt to stop more damage from being done. You attack by using your lantern, swing it at your enemies which causes small balls of fire to fall in front of you. Initially it stuns the enemy, but if you keep hitting them consecutively the enemy will envelope into a large ball of fire, which you can wield and throw. This ball of fire acts as a bowling ball and will keep carrying on, knocking out enemies in it's path until it hits the wall. The gameplay is rather simple, yet it's difficult once you get past the first few handful of levels. Very addictive gameplay. 

 

I love a good light gun game and while House of the Dead may be the first light gun game Saturn owners think of when it's spooky outside, I decided to go w/ Crypt Killer instead. In this game you are a crypt raider of sorts going through six different levels. You get to chose with level you want to take at the end of each level so it helps add to the replayability. Along the way you'll face skeletons, mummies, lizard people and more. The game was also released on the original Playstation, but I have more light gun shooters on the Saturn so I went with this one. Beware though, it can be pricey however you can opt for the Japanese release, Henry Explorers and save a little money.

 

I never got into Resident Evil when it first debuted on the original Playstation, however for some reason I gave Parasite Eve a chance and I'm glad that I did! The game plays a lot like RE, including the tank controls, but once you get used to navigating the character you'll find yourself immersed in the eerie atmosphere. The visuals, including the cut scenes that help advance the story are beautiful, as is the soundtrack. I don't see this game get mentioned much on the various retro sites or YouTube channels I visit and I don't know why. This is a very heavy story based game, but that just helped me get more and more into the game. If you've never played it, you need to give it a try.

 

Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler's Green for the original Xbox was released in late 2005 by Brainbox games and published by Groove games. I only included this game on the list because I'm a huge George Romero fan and this game is based off of the movie of the same name. Let me say that this game isn't all that great as far as first person shooters go. The controls are sluggish, the visuals are muddy and the zombies are way too hard to kill. You can get the shotgun right off the bat, but it seems to be nearly useless. I stuck with the game and I enjoyed it, but I had to look past it's many flaws. Had I not been a big fan of the zombie genre then perhaps I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much? The game is tough and I was only able to beat it by finding some hidden book towards the end of the game that taught my character king-fu moves where I could easily take down the dead. Yeah, it's as stupid as it sounds. Like I said, this game was panned by both critics and fans alike, but it's not completely broken. Fits the Halloween season quite well and if you ask me, the "story" in the game is better than the actual movie is based upon.

 

Another light gun shooter on the list? You betcha! I am a big fan of Namco's Time Crisis series so when I saw they made another light gun game I had to give it a try. If the name of the game does explain why I've included this on the list then I don't know what to tell you. The game plays a lot like the Time Crisis games, better enjoyed with a second player in my opinion. If you have a PS2, a GunCon 2 and a CRT television, then you owe it to yourself to pick up this game.


Hmm, how can I describe Blood Drive for the Xbox 360 (and PS3)? Let's just say it's Twisted Metal or Vigilante 8 with zombies. If that description isn't enough to get you playing this game then I need to check you for a pulse. This is your standard vehicular combat game with upgradeable vehicles to chose from, bloody zombie kills and a rocking soundtrack. The game doesn't take itself too serious though as the PA announcer and characters you'll hear during the game sound silly and say dumb things. I guess it just helps add that bit of campiness that fits the horror genre. It's been awhile since I've sat down with this one, but I think I may have to play a round or two tonight!

 

This is the only game on the list from my collection that I've yet to play. I know, I know...what's wrong with me. I bought it not that long ago once it hit $20 and it ended up on my shelf and forgotten about shortly later. A month or so ago when I got the idea for these posts, I started to comb through my game library to re-play certain games. When I came across this one I was all jazzed to sit down and play...and then a certain PS4 exclusive super-hero game came out and I found myself immersed in that world. Halloween may come and go before I sit down and experience this new Resident Evil, but it's one that I really look forward to playing...with the lights on of course!

 

This is another game that I was late to experience, but once I finally sat down to play I was instantly hooked. Calling this a game is being generous. I like to think of it as a interactive movie more than a traditional video game. You take control of a group of college students that are at their friend's mountain home, reuniting one year after twin sisters have gone missing. What makes this game stand out so much to me are the characters. Yes you have your generic horror movie characters, but instead of watching them make stupid decisions that lead to their death, you get to make those choices now! Everything you do effects the overall story of the game, which will bring you back to play through time and time again. The characters are voiced by and modeled after some good actors and actresses, such as Hayden Panettiere (Heroes, Nashville), Brett Dalton (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot). You get to control all of the different characters at different times during the game and the object is simple...keep everyone alive Until Dawn. Easier than it sounds. I've played through this game about 3 times now and I still have yet to get everyone out alive. It's partly because of the quick time events. If you aren't a fan of quick time events then you may want to steer clear of this game. However if you can tolerate them then you'll most likely find yourself wrapped up in this game. It's super cheap and it's available in the PSN store so there isn't any excuse to not give it a try.

And with that it's time for me to bow out as the trick or treat kids are already starting to come. Hopefully between yesterday's list and today's list you found a new game or two to try out. Thanks for stopping by. Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Retro Halloween Horror - Part 1

I've neglected slowing this particular blog some love as of late (like most of 2018!) and with Halloween quickly approaching this week I thought it would be fun to make my own "Top Ten" style list of some of my favorite retro horror style video games.

While there are a lot more games I could add to these lists, I've tried to pick out games from my own collection that maybe aren't as widely known about, or at least played, but fit the theme. I've tried my best to stay away from some of the obvious candidates, however there may be a few games that sneaked onto the list that you'll be familiar with.

I've also decided to break up the list into two different posts, starting with games from the 8 and 16-bit generation. Look for another post tomorrow that contains games from the 32-bit era including a few modern games.

Let's get started shall we? Let me preface this with these games aren't ranked in any kind of order as I enjoy all of them too much to assign a ranking too.

 

The tough as nails Ghouls 'n Ghosts is often overlooked on the Sega Master System platform, however that is criminal as this version of the game is very impressive. While it won't surpass it's "big brother" version on the Genesis/Mega Drive, this 8-bit version features some impressive graphics. The soundtrack isn't too shabby either and most importantly the controls are good. It's still a tough game to master and complete, however it's the better of the two games in the franchise when it comes to the 8-bit platform.

 

This great Castlevania inspired game sadly wasn't available for the Master System in the US, however this European version of the game plays just fine on US hardware. I feel there was a time where this game flew under a lot of gamers radar, however now it's existence is more widely known. The game may look and play a lot like Castlevania, but unless you're not a fan of the classic Konami franchise then you'll find this to be a good thing. The gameplay is pretty solid and it's a lot of fun. This was one of the first Master System games I purchased for my collection years ago and it remains one of my favorites to play, not just at Halloween.

 

If you're a fan of video game pinball, then you're probably familiar with Alien Crush and Devil's Crush games that were available for the TurboGrafx-16 and PC Engine systems. However it seems that not as many people knew of the third game in the "crush" family, Jaki's Crush. Made exclusively for the Super Famicom in 1992, this game features more of the same great pinball formula. Scrolling table, eerie atmosphere and addictive gameplay. I purchased a boxed copy of this game years ago when it was dirt cheap, but the price seems to have increased a bit since then...perhaps it's because of it's exposure on popular YouTube shows like GameSack? Either way, if you're a fan of digital pinball games, you need to try this one.

 

Musya, the classic Japanese tale of horror has a great ring to it, doesn't it? While this game may not be high on everyone's list, I thought it was worth including. The Super Famicom exclusive Majyuuou (King of Demons) may be the better of the two horror themed side scrolling action games, but since I don't own Majyuuou I'll stick with Musya. The game was released in 1992 by Seta and while the game has it's share of faults, it's still a fun game to play. The visuals are one of the best parts of the game as the creatures you'll combat are well designed and have a creepy vibe. Controls are a little stiff, making the game tough to play at times. Overall though the dark and creepy atmosphere lend themselves to making an appearance on this list. It may not be the best game in the SNES library, but still worth giving a try if you've never played it before.

 

Undeadline is a port of the 1989 MSX2 game. It was ported exclusively to the Sega Mega Drive in 1991 by Palsoft and was never released outside of Japan. Some may question why I'd include this shmup on the list when there are so many other games that I could have gone with. Well for starters, I love shmups and this is my list! Seriously though, the game fits the Halloween motif pretty well as you fight all sorts of scary monsters. Undeadline offers a unique style of vertically scrolling shooting action and I find it refreshing. The original Japanese Mega Drive version of the game can fetch quite a pretty penny on the secondary market these days so I'm happy to stick with my Genesis reproduction version.

 

How can I make a list like this and not include Castlevania: Bloodlines? While I've never been as good as Bloodlines as I am other games in the series, I've always thought the franchise's one and only outing on the Sega Genesis was fantastic. Perhaps the different characters you can choose from with their own distinct attacks that made this game stand out, or perhaps the beautiful orchestrated musical score? Bloodlines is truly a gem in the Castlevania series and one that I don't mind re-visiting often.

 

Now here is a game that I'm betting may have flown under your radar. Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ has to be one the best video game names out there! I first discovered this game at my local Game Stop and picked it up, 1) for the cover art and 2) it was a $20 budget title. I had no idea how difficult to find it had become until years later. The game is a vertically scrolling shooter where you control Little Red Riding Hood on the lower screen of your Nintendo DS. Using your stylus, you slide her along the bottom of the screen, while holding in one of the face buttons to shoot your enemies. As you can tell from the video, it doesn't take itself too serious, but that's part of the charm. This game is fun to play, but hard to master. I've never been all that great at it myself, but it's one of the few DS games that I return to when I find myself traveling and want to take some games on the go.

 

One of my absolute favorite games hands down to play anytime of the year, but especially during Halloween is Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. I'm so glad that this game is more readily available now as when I first learned about the game I had to track down a used PC Engine Duo system, not to mention fork out a little over $100 for the original game. While I don't regret my decision, I am looking forward to replaying this game as part of the new Castlevania collection made available on the PS4. What is there not to like about this game...say other than it's difficulty? Rondo of Blood is a return to the classic Castlevania gameplay, featuring great graphics and animated cut scenes, new enemy designs and one of the best video game soundtracks from it's era. Rondo of Blood is one of the crown jewels in the Castlevania family and deserves to be played no matter the time of year.

Come back tomorrow for round 2 of my retro Halloween Horror fun!

Friday, October 19, 2018

CustomGameCases.com - A Review

If you are like me and take pride in how you display your collection, then you may have heard of or used CustomGameCases.com before. A lot of people are fine with just shelving their loose games on a shelf and calling it a day, but my game room is out in the open on the lower level of my home and I want the game shelves to look as nice and clean as possible. Enter custom cases.

I've printed my own DVD covers for Sega CD, Sega Saturn and Sega Dreamcast games in the past and even did several Game Boy Advance covers for old DS cases, but this is my first time branching out and wanting to case my loose NES and SNES game library. I had heard good things of Custom Game Cases before, especially in the forums over at The Cover Project so I decided to place an order earlier this year.

Back in January I placed an order for a 2 NES cases, 2 SNES cases, 1 N64 case and 1 Game Boy Color case. The GBC case was for an import game where they would have to build the cover so I knew it would take additional time, but I had no idea just how long it would take.

Fast forward to May of this year and I still didn't have anything from my order in hand. I sent in a few emails via their website asking for an update and eventually I got half of my order in the mail. While I appreciated the gesture, the lack of communication was frustrating to say the least. I was told that the vertical SNES and N64 artwork I had requested was still being built and was pretty far down in the que. I was also asked if I follow them on Instagram (which at the time I didn't even use Instagram) as they did post an update there that included my custom GBC cover/case. I asked if I could substitute those SNES & N64 cases with NES cases for different games and they did get me two cases out pretty quick...however they didn't ship my GBC case! Several emails went back and forth before they finally shipped my GBC case...which arrived earlier this week.




The case turned out beautifully. I've owned this loose cart of  Ketto Transformers Beast Wars: Beast Senshi Saikyo Ketteisen for several years now, acquired for fairly cheap in a Yahoo! Japan auction. I've never seen a boxed copy so having a case made was the next best thing. 


As you can see, these cases are made by Custom Game Cases themselves and specifically made for Game Boy games. In addition to Game Boy, Atari Lynx carts fit in the case great too. There is a place on the left to securely hold an instruction booklet, but as you can see that is something that my copy of the game is lacking.

Over all I LOVE these cases. At $4.00 each they won't break the bank, however shipping will...more on that later. I don't have enough room on my shelves to case my whole loose Game Boy collection, but these are so nice I may have to case some of my favorite games.



I also decided to try one of their NES cases. I've previously tried a Bit Box that Stone Age Gamer offers, but found them to be too bulky and I worried about how they would hold up in the future. These cases are very sturdy and bout the same size as your typical Sega Genesis case. The quality of the printed insert is good and mimics the original box art perfectly.

I like how the spine is laid out, with the black block at the top w/ the Nintendo Entertainment System logo. I've seen designs that leave this off and stay more true to the box art, but I love how uniform these cases look side by side on my shelf.


Similar to the Game Boy cases, the cart fits snuggly in the case on the right side. The left side has two tabs that will hold the instruction booklet securely in place. When closed, the case snaps together tight and will keep out dust or other contaminants.



The only SNES case that I was able to get with vertical artwork was for my Musya game. I'm not sure why I chose this particular game to get cased first, but it turned out beautifully. I like the vertical artwork over the original horizontal layout, simply for the fact that the spines match the NES cases. 


The interior of the SNES case is nearly identical to the NES case, only with the cartridge area shaped differently. I did find out that the cart only snaps in with the cart's spine label facing to the right as shown.

A few pros and cons regarding the cases and my first ordering experience with Custom Game Cases:

PROS:
  • Fantastic quality in both the cases and the prints. At $4 each the cases are affordable.
  • To save on money you can also order a blank case and print your own cover.
  • Great selection of covers available for selection.

CONS:
  • Shipping. I don't know how they base their shipping, but to ship 6 NES cases to my home is about $18! In my opinion they could use the flat rate shipping products from USPS, or just use normal USPS Priority mail and ship for less. The shipping is one reason I've not placed my second order yet.
  • Communication is lacking. They need a better way of communicating with their customers. I understand it takes time to build custom covers, but keep the customer in the loop - don't leave them hanging!
  • Not all cover art is readily available. I originally purchased a N64 case for Star Soldier: Vanishing Earth and requested the vertical artwork. I was told much later that the artwork had to be made and my order was like 19th in line...basically it wouldn't be ready anytime soon. I wish they wouldn't give the option between vertical and horizontal if they aren't ready to be printed.
I don't know if this business is the primary business for the owners or if it's more of a side project, but they seem to have a lot of orders coming through at all times that I wonder if more hired help would benefit them. As frustrated as I was that my initial order took 9 months to be completed, I do plan on placing smaller orders to case my loose NES collection. After that I'll move onto SNES and maybe N64. I'm not a fan of the Universal Game Cases so I'd like to get rid of the N64 cases I have...but it'll take a lot of time, money and patience going through these guys. Recommended, but be ready for delays.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Tomy Mini Nintendo Capsules

If you have a dedicated game room, you may be like me where you like to adorn your room or shelves with video game related toys and knick knacks. You've probably seen these red toy capsules at your local Target or other retail store in your area. When I came across a few that were on clearance I finally took the plunge and bought one out of sheer curiosity.


I believe the MSRP on these capsules is $5.99 and for that price I just wasn't willing to give one a try. Clearance price of $2? Sure, why not. After all, I had the chance of landing a cool Famicom controller I could put on my keychain.


At least with this wave, there were 5 different controllers randomly packaged inside the capsule. The classic Famicom, Super Famicom, N64, Wii and Wii w/ Motion Plus controllers. I was really hoping for either the Famicom or Super Famicom myself. Instead, I was lucky enough to pull the...


The Wii controller. At least I got the black controller w/ Motion Plus. Despite it not being the controller I was hoping for, it's actually not that bad. The level of detail put into it is quite well. The clear translucent A button can actually be depressed. The is a hole in the top of the controller and I initially thought that maybe there was an LED bulb inside...but it's hollow. None the less, it's still a neat little Nintendo branded item to place on my Nintendo gaming shelf. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Retro Store Visit: Matt's Game Exchange

I first learned of Matt's Game Exchange when I picked up managing a few locations for my company in Greensboro, NC. I have visited the store a few times and made a few purchases over the last year or so, but I never thought to do one of these retro store visit type posts. I'm not sure when I last visited the store (I'm going to guess sometime in the fall of 2017) so these pictures are probably outdated now, but I've got them sitting on my laptop's hard drive so why not share them?


This particular store is located at 2924 West Gate City Blvd., Suite A in Greensboro, NC. The store isn't that far of I-40 and it's pretty easy to get in and out of. The store is located in a strip mall and is a rather large store. So large in fact that their shelves help create a smaller shopping area, while the rest of the store is used for storage (?). They never seem to have huge inventory of games, but their selection is pretty varied and they seem to have a good flow of trade ins.


Most of the higher end (i.e. expensive) games are kept in the glass cases over near the register, but that doesn't mean there aren't some good games out on the shelves. The first section of games that you can easily browse is their NES section. Here you can see a decent amount of loose NES carts as well as a few boxed games. Looks like I spy a few boxed SNES games too.


I swear everyone's SNES section these days seems to be filled with the same sports and low budget titles. I don't remember anything in this section standing out to me...though I have been know to buying a baseball game if I find one I don't already own.


Below the SNES section was their Genesis selection. A good bit of boxed games, something I'm always glad to see. I'll buy those cheap priced boxed Genesis games sometimes just for the clamshell case. I believe I purchased Double Dragon 3 from this location in one of my previous visits. Plenty of loose carts on the shelves below, but I rarely even look at those.


My guess is now that Hyperkin has released their Retron 77 that old Atari 2600 carts may start moving a little faster. Their selection was small, but they had a few decent games for just a few bucks each. Crystal Castles anyone?


The next section over contained GameCube games. This is one system I'd like to have more games for, but it's getting harder for me to find games that want and aren't priced too high.


Playstation 2 was the next section and I was surprised to see that it barely filled up the 4 foot section it was given. Usually finding PS2 games isn't hard. At least their selection (on this visit) wasn't all sports titles.


If I thought the PS2 selection was sparse, check out how bare the Xbox 360 section was during this visit! Either they have been moving a lot of 360 games or people just weren't trading them in.


The Playstation 3 section however had a few more games to chose from. Nothing that grabbed my attention, but I wasn't a huge fan of the PS3.



Their Xbox One and PS4 sections were filled in a little more. Decent selection from what I can remember, but I usually look for more retro stuff when I visit these type stores.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any pictures of their display cases, but they had some great retro games under the glass. Everything from NES to TurboGrafx. I enjoyed talking to the guys that worked in the store. They were courteous and I could tell that they knew their stuff. It also seemed as if this particular location was smaller than the the store located in Florence, SC. I haven't visited that location, but I'll have to try and swing by there on my next trip down to Myrtle Beach.

Overall the store is pretty cool, but like with many retro stores you may not find necessarily what you're looking for on your first visit. Stores like this you have to visit often and be ready to jump on that "rare" game when you find it as the inventory is constantly changing. Their prices overall are about what you'd expect to find in a brick & mortar retro game store. Not super cheap, but not quite eBay prices either. If you're ever in the Greensboro area or just passing through, you oughta stop in and give them a whirl.

You can find Matt's Game Exchange online or check out their Facebook pages for more information.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

PlayStation Days of Play



Well so much for getting this post out on time!! When Sony rolled out their Days of Play campaign Father's Day weekend this year, it officially marked my 1 year anniversary as a PS4 owner. Why is this a big deal? Well for me, I haven't had much of a relationship w/ Sony or the PlayStation brand.

Last year when Sony first unveiled the gold PS4, I contemplated purchasing the gold console. Not because it was gold or limited, but for the fact that it was a good deal. Last year, 2017, the gold PS4 retailed for $249.99 and contained a 1 TB HD as opposed to the 500 GB HD that most consoles at retail currently had. There were a few games that had caught my eye from time to time in my Game Informer magazine and it just seemed as it the PS4 had the "edge" over the Xbox One that I also owned. As much as I loved my Xbox 360, my love for Microsoft's platform was waning and I needed to do something about it.

I ended up grabbing the gold PS4 as a Father's Day / early birthday gift to myself. I started building my library slowly with Ratchet & Clank as my first purchase. I was a huge fan of the series on the PS2 so I knew that was a safe place to begin. Once I finished I wasn't sure where to go next. Thankfully with the PS4 being out for several years there were no shortages of games for me to try. I grabbed a few games from a GameStop during one of their better sales events and I tried The Last of Us Remastered Edition next. I did a post at the beginning of 2018 as I was just getting into the game and after I finished it, I was hooked. While I enjoyed playing the Dead Rising games on my Xbox One, I was falling in love w/ the PS4 after playing just a few games.

Ever since Sony threw their name into the home video game console wars, I've always had a luke warm reception to the PlayStation brand. I have always been a Nintendo fan (and closet Sega fan) so when the PS1 was announced, I was still firmly in Nintendo's camp. It wasn't until the first PlayStation was remolded as the PSOne that I bought my first PlayStation console. I waited a good number of years before jumping onto the PS2 bandwagon. I had bought the original Xbox over the PS2 so it took me awhile to get acclimated w/ the PS2's library. As I mentioned before, the Ratchet & Clank became my go to franchise and the games I played the most. I mostly skipped over the PS3 era because of my love for the 360. I have a PS3, but it rarely gets used these days. Hopefully that paints a decent enough picture of why I was a little hesitant in buying a PS4, but let me tell you one year later it's a decision that I do NOT regret!

Most of my modern gaming has been back and forth between the PS4 and the Nintendo Switch. I've enjoyed picking up some of the Limited Run exclusives as well as some of the exclusives from PlayAsia.com for my PS4. I still game on some of my retro consoles as well, but when it comes to modern gaming I have found my two favorite platforms. Microsoft as fallen behind in this modern gaming era (at least for me) and I'm not sure what it'll take for me to buy a new game on release date. Maybe this upcoming Halo game they teased at E3 will draw me back in for awhile, but right night I just can't see my Xbox One getting much use. Currently I'm finishing up the DLC for Horizon Zero Dawn, a game that I have loved every minute of. I find it a little ironic too that this was one of the games that was featured in last year's Days of Play and I knew nothing of the game. Thanks to my public library of all places, I rented HZD a few months ago and instantly fell in love with the story and gameplay.

I don't know what game I'll jump into next. It may not be a console exclusive, but it will be on the PS4. Perhaps I'll visit the Resident Evil universe (haven't played a RE game since RE2 on the N64!) or I try to find a reasonably priced Far Cry 5? I'm still juggling a few other games at the moment, but whatever path I take next with my PS4 I'm assured it'll be a fun ride.


I was surprised to see that this year's Days of Play exclusive PS4 console jumped $50. If anything I thought the price may have dropped if not stayed at $249.99. I wasn't wild with the new design so I'm glad I grabbed the gaudy gold edition last year. My only grip was that I just paid $39.99 for the deluxe version of Horizon Zero Dawn and then it winds up being $20 as part of this sale!

Looking forward I have my eye on the new Spider-Man game coming. I don't buy many games new anymore these days (for many reasons), however this may be a day one purchase for me. I feel like I've come a long way in a short time with Sony and the PS4 has really helped renew my interest in the PS brand and the company as a whole. Not sure what lies ahead w/ their next console, but for now I'm loving my "new" PS4.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Initial Thoughts: Horizon Zero Dawn (Playstation 4)

My two daughters love to read and my family takes frequent trips to the public library for them to restock on books. Not too long ago my wife informed me that the library started to carry video games for modern consoles (Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One). My first trip to see what they had wasn't all that successful, ended up w/ Street Fighter II for the Switch. However last weekend I was pleased with the larger selection. They had several games for the Switch that interested me (Disgaea 5 on the Switch), one of the Forza racing games for the Xbox One and something else on the PS4 that I can't quite put my finger on at this time. I went home with Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite for the Xbox One and Horizon Zero Dawn for the PS4. I'm not a huge fighting game fan, but the Marvel vs. games usually are good. Horizon Zero Dawn was just one of those games that I've heard a little about, but never looked too much into it. Unfortunately for me it was a full week later before I had time to sit down to play. Good thing I get to keep both games for 2 weeks!

This weekend I finally had a chance to jump into Horizon Zero Dawn. I knew of the game, but really hadn't looked into the game. I watched a Facebook friend livestream some gameplay, but that's about it. When I first started the game, I really didn't know what to expect. I was a little surprised to find out I started playing the game as a young Aloy. I knew the game would be a big budget cinematic story and the story itself had to be set up. However I thought it was a little on the sluggish side starting out. Now that I've played a good 12-15 hours I now see why the beginning was necessary as it helps advance the story that much better. I was expecting combat right out the gate, but instead I was given a lot of story and a little exploration.


I knew that I needed to give this game time and I'm glad that I was patience as I am marveled by everything about the game. Of course the visuals are absolutely stunning and pleasing to the eye, but the musical score also fits the atmosphere as well. The voice acting for the most part is top notch and the story is something I actually like.

I've leveled up my character to level 16 thus far and have enjoyed every hour. I'm still getting used to the combat, but part of that is I'm not as familiar w/ a Playstation controller as I am other controllers. For the most part the controls and combat are very intuitive, however I don't like the jumping/scaling/climbing system. That's a very small complaint as overall the game is magnificent. I kinda hated I didn't pay this game any attention until now it's so good. I will most likely purchase the new version of the game that contains the DLC pack as I hate that I have to return the game to the library next weekend.


I haven't played many AAA PS4 titles, but I can see why this game has sold so well. I look forward to advancing the story and eventually getting to the aforementioned DLC as well. If you are a fan of open world style games with a action RPG element, then this game is for you. Then again, I'm sure most of you reading this have already discovered what I'm just discovering for myself.