Monday, December 5, 2016

Firewatch Review

When I first began playing Firewatch I wasn't sure it was going to keep my attention. The opening was filled with onscreen dialog similar to that of old soundless movies. And I nearly put the game away for a later date. And had it not been for its setting in the Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming I think I would've put it away. Boy am I glad I didn't. In fact the setting of a fictional area within Shoshone NF was what drew my interest to the game. Kinda like rooting for the home team even if you don't like the home team.

Firewatch is a first-person, story-driven mystery. It was developed by Campo Santo and published by Campo Santo and Panic. On February 9, 2016 is became available for Linux, Windows, OS X, and PS4. Later, in September 2016 Xbox One players were able to play.

You play as Henry, a man who is trying to avoid a difficult past relationship and start anew. Henry is a new fire lookout in a fictional setting in Wyoming. You engage in dialog with Delilah via radio. And it's in the dialog that the game shines. At times serious, mysterious, and sarcastic. But it is always engaging and easily holds the attention of the player. It's almost like a good mystery book in its depth of character and twists.

Fun Factor: Firewatch is certainly engaging enough as a story-driven game to keep the fun going. Even with limited gameplay the game is a wonderful getaway for several hours. FF is 8 of 10.

Replay Factor: Firewatch has plenty of dialog options to warrant a second or even third pass through. And a few secrets are hidden that I easily missed. The adoption of a turtle for example. Firewatch is almost completely devoid of wildlife, which is strange given its setting. RF is 7 of 10.

Story Factor: the story in Firewatch is wonderful, although a bit slow at the beginning. But this is attributed to the fashion of gameplay in the first ten minutes. Once beyond the long beginning reading the player must do the story is fascinating and enjoyable with fully relatable and well rounded characters. And the mystery itself has plenty of possibilities for gamer engagement. SF is 8 of 10.

Imagery Factor: now again I don't separate out the quality or even design of the imagery, rather I use the fully imagery immersion to make the determination in the score. Firewatch possess wonderful imagery, from the forest to shadows to darkness. IF is a 6 of 10.

Overall Factor: a summation of all the scores given against all the scores available. Firewatch scores a 29 of 40. Firewatch losses ground due to lack of forest sounds and minimal gameplay. With the addition of sounds and more complex puzzles, Firewatch could easily score a 35 of 40.

Firewatch is definitely a game to play. Even if you prefer high octane games like DOOM or Uncharted, the story in Firewatch is more than enough to keep you entertained for several hours on a rainy afternoon. It easily makes it into my top 5 games played this year.
(Firewatch gets 5 bonus points for mentioning actual towns and cities in Wyoming.)

The playlist for Firewatch

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Dear Esther: Landmark Edition

I'm not even sure where to start with Dear Esther: Landmark Edition. Normally I would give a little background information followed by a breakdown of the game as I responded to it. The trouble with Dear Esther is it isn't much of a game in terms of gameplay. Quite honestly there isn't any gameplay—walk, zoom, and look is it. But there is one thing Dear Esther does well and I'll get to that in a moment. 

Dear Esther was developed by The Chinese Room and published in 2008 as a free to play mod. Then republished in 2012 for PC and Mac and 2013 for Linux by The Chinese Room. And published by Curved Digital for PS4 and Xbox 1in 2016. It's a first-person, story-driven game. Sort of. At least in terms of story-driven. 

Throughout the game a narrator appears and maps out the history of a killed spouse to the audience via letters written by the husband of the deceased. The letters loosely imply the character’s wife was killed in an auto accident, but it's soon muddled by some back story of other island inhabitants, and the drunk driver. 

The story of the prior inhabitants and the death of the character’s wife soon becomes white noise, though.  And I found it to have been disruptive more than inclusive, and the reason why is because of what the game does exceptionally. 

Dear Esther: Landmark Edition is a visual orgasm. The images are so real and lifelike, and the environment so believable, I quickly found myself shivering with the gusts of wind, hunching my shoulders over against the sea spray, and the chill of the caves that are explored within the game. At one point you explore a wrecked and decayed ship. As you walk through you feel immersed in the ribs of the broken ship and the emptiness of its cavity. 

Although the game had a completely immersive environment, I could easily see people putting the game down and never returning to it, and that's in spite of its incredibly short story (I finished the game in an hour and twenty minutes, which could've easily been an hour had I not stopped for screenshots). 

I would be hard pressed to say the game has replay qualities. One time through is more than enough. So be sure to take all the screenshots the first time. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Why NBA2K17 Is A Worse Release Than No Man's Sky

As many people are well aware of the complete mess that followed the release of No Man’s Sky, I am going to explain why it isn’t the worse game release this year. That dubious title belongs to NBA2K17. To be fair, I’m ONLY referring to the MyCareer game mode in 2K. I have no experience with online games with other users, but from what I’ve gathered from players who do play online with other humans the problems there are just as troublesome.

For those not fully aware of the situation with No Man’s Sky, I suggest you look up all the nastiness surrounding the game. For me, I didn’t find the game to be all that entertaining. There simply wasn’t enough accomplishment to justify all the grinding to reach accomplishments. A vicious cycle of bad, bad, bad. For many other gamers who had followed the extended timeline of NMS (all along their expectations growing exponentially with each video release) the game failed miserably to meet perceived promises. Many consumers of NMS railed endlessly about how they believed the game was falsely advertised. Again, I wasn’t aboard the hype-train so I can’t make a reasonable comment about the game being guilty of false advertisement. In addition to the “false advertisement” the game dropped with several glitches and bugs, some involved the pre-order goodies. And as the world bore down on NMS, the game developers went dark. This only fueled the fire and suddenly it seemed as though the purchasers of No Man’s Sky were on a witch-hunt. But...there is a game release that has been far worse.

I’ll share some of my gaming experience with the NBA2K franchise so you all can get a better feel, and ultimately decide if I have the qualifications to explain all that has been and is wrong with NBA2K17.

I started playing the NBA2K franchise with the NBA2K16 release. I picked up 2K16 a month  or two before the release of 2K17 to get a feel for the game. The storyline in 2K16 was terrible but the gameplay seemed to be good. Buying the game late, I didn’t have to suffer with all the glitches and bugs that apparently hampered the game upon it’s release. Now, hold onto that statement as you are about to see a pattern develop. Anyway, I enjoyed 2K16 enough to download 2K17 Prelude, which was an enormous waste of time—thankfully it was free. And 2K17 had some significant changes over the previous year’s release. A new shot meter and new player archetypes, which I’ll discuss a bit later. Some new play-calling functions that aren’t even worth the effort to figure out. And a new storyline, which up to that point, was far better than the 2K16 release. So, overall a step forward. But then the other shoe drops.

And this is where shit gets real.

I’ll begin with the new player archetypes. Now again, this review relates to the MyCareer mode. When starting a new MyCareer you are prompted to pick a player position, point guard, small forward, center, whatever. Then you are forced to pick an archetype. And at first blush it seems like a good idea. I can pick a playmaker point guard or a slasher small forward. Maybe a post up power forward. But this initially great idea quickly turns into a player who ends up constrained to the archetype. I’ll use the slasher archetype as an example. According to 2K a slasher is a player who excels at making layups and dunks, can shoot off the dribble, and has some reasonable skill as a post player. A slasher can’t shoot threes, can’t make plays for others, and is only a marginal midrange shooter. Now, I’m not sure how they came up with the qualities for each archetype but they obviously never watched Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen play. Yes, Jordan was a drive-the-lane first player, but he was excellent off the dribble and in the midrange. And he proved in the finals he could shoot the three by making ten in a game. And although Pippen wasn’t as consistent a scorer as Jordan, he was a great player with all of Jordan’s abilities plus a great playmaker. And the slasher archetype isn’t a top flight defender. Again, I refer to Jordan and Pippen. There are several archetypes available and I could easily find players who clearly fit the mold but are also excellent at the positions 2K believes they aren’t. Flaw number one, but only a minor annoyance.

The real trouble, and a major annoyance, is the game play. It’s supposedly smoother and allows for more user control, specifically for dribble moves. In previous versions the dribble moves were animations the game picked for you based on a series of circumstances. But I can assure you the gameplay, if it is indeed smoother, is bogged way down by animation locks. It constantly feels like the player is locked into an animation. And some of the animations don’t even look right. Often players appear to be “skating” to a spot or “skating” instead of dribbling. Skating as in on ice. But those are things you can get used to with a little gritting of the teeth. But the actual gameplay isn’t something that can be ignored…

Upon release the game default during transition offense was to rebound and give it to any player to start the break. This seldom happens in the NBA. You have a point guard for a reason. But that never mattered because the AI doesn’t know how to run transition offense. The basic premise of fastbreak offense is to get quick, easy baskets from high-percentage shots. How is this done? Start backward from the rim. It’s well documented that the closer to the basket you are the higher the chances of scoring points. But I’ll allow for leeway here and go with taking shots within the paint—twelve-foot shots or less. But at the launch of 2K17 all shooters not with the ball went straight to the corner three shooting area. This negates the high-percentage shot. It also prevents an outnumbered situation, which is also a major factor in transition offense. Easy buckets, high-percentage shots, outnumbered situations, and/or mismatches. So if you are on a 3 on 2 break and two guys set up at the three point line the fastbreak is squashed because it’s now a 2 on 1 transition defense situation. Sure you could dish it out and hope someone drains an open three but the odds are slim. And the longer the shot, the longer the rebound, and suddenly you went from a fastbreak to poor transition defense. Of course the thought is to put more threes in the the game because that’s the way the NBA game is shifting. And yes that’s true, but not in a fastbreak scenario. If there is an outnumbered situation in the painted area, that’s where the ball will go. If it’s a 2 on 2 in the paint and a trailer on the three point line you may see a kick out to the shooter. As a player, I wouldn’t have ever done that. Take your chances near the basket.

And there’s more. This game flaw pertains to both set offense and transition offense. The AI simply isn’t coded well enough to understand the player position on the court or mismatches. I can’t count how many times my big man is in perfect position at the rim, the defender under the basket, and upon receiving a pass for an easy score, the big man passes back out. This leads to the extremely flawed offensive three-second violation. Of course there is more going on within the painted area to cause a three-second violation. The AI is coded to prevent the player from traveling through the paint. This includes apparent holding from the defender. In one game I played during a baseline inbound play, the screener for the offense stayed inside the paint for 7 seconds. No call. A similar situation occurs during transition offense. It appears that the code is written in a way that once a certain amount of time has elapsed transition offense becomes set-offense, and this is accurate for the most part. When it isn’t accurate is during a wide open, uncontested shot being passed out. The AI simply doesn't take advantage of the opportunity. Instead it goes into set-offense mode, which can lead to a three-second call.

Still more. The shot-meter and Relentless Finisher bug. When the game was released it came with another bug or two. For some players the shot meter wouldn’t complete its cycle, forcing missed shots. The Relentless Finisher badge, which was designed to help boost the chances of making contested shots going to the basket, was also buggy. This badge was especially important to the slashers since layups and dunks were the main offensive attribute. See, the game grades you on you shot selection and shot timing. I’m sure you can deduce where this is going. If your shot meter doesn’t work, your shot timing will be off. The Relentless Finisher fuck-up would charge layups with poor shot choice. Poor shot selections impact your teammate score, which affects your game salary. At this point I’m certain that the game developers have never played basketball or watched basketball, or didn’t send the game to game testers who played or watched basketball.

Let’s go to the hot fixes. These were small patches designed to improve gameplay a little bit. Something they could download while you were playing the game. So, the braintrust at 2K decided that the best way to help players enjoy their fucked-up game was to apply a bandaid. Instead of actually fixing the shot meter issue, they made three-pointers easier. So somehow boosting three-point success percentage to the 80 plus-make mark was going to repair the disgruntled consumers. Of course it was two months later before they finally got around to fixing the Relentless Finisher badge. And when they did that they also “fixed” the fast break offense. Sure, they went from three pointers to no transition offense at all. And they practically patched the three pointer out of the game unless your player archetype is designed to shoot threes.

And these aren’t even all the problems. How about the magnetic defense or the player speed issue or the servers or the moving screen or that every patch and hot-fix isn’t an adjustment, it’s a complete one-eighty. I could go on and on but this post is already too long.

The most disturbing part of this is that developer Visual Concepts has been making this game for seventeen years. How the hell do these major game issues fall through the cracks? Visual Concepts and 2K Sports aren’t Hello Games. A person can expect an indie game to have flaws, but a big-time institution like 2K? Give me a break.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Life is Strange First Impressions

Life is Strange First Impressions

Welcome to LittleWatt Gameplay, a blog dedicated to gaming. Ranging from first impressions to game reviews and a bunch of stuff in between. I’ll be sharing my first impressions of Life is Strange for the Xbox One.
I was browsing in Best Buy when I first came across this game. It might have even been mentioned by a friend but I can't recall for sure. Anyway, I grabbed the box and read the little blurb on the back. A young girl with the ability to rewind time. She saves someone and then must face the consequences of her actions. And this is throughout the game as each decision can affect the way things play out.
After an hour or so of play, I find myself more and more drawn into the game. There's a girl missing and a bunch of people connected to the girl, which leads to a huge suspect list. The more I play the more clues come to the surface. And, as one might expect, some of the potential perpetrators are simply too obvious for me to take as a serious suspect in the disappearance of a young art student. And there's an equal amount of suspects who are not obvious choices as kidnappers (and potentially murderers, although I don't know if the missing girl is dead yet) who I must take a closer look at.
The story is full of typical teenage drama surrounded by a mysterious disappearance and the introduction of an FNG (fucking new girl) not unlike many stories available we’ve all read about or watched in movies or television or even been an active participant.
Keep an eye out for my gameplay videos on YouTube as I unravel the mystery.

Monday, August 29, 2016

No Man's Sky Review

Welcome to LittleWatt Gameplay. I'll be reviewing No Man’s Sky in this post. The review will be several categories with a 0-10 rating in each category. The numbers will be tallied up at the end for the overall rating.
My how my feelings have changed from my initial thoughts post to this review. But first a little about the game. No Man’s Sky was developed by Hello Games, a small indie group from the UK. It's a single player exploration and survival game based in a procedurally generated universe where our own solar system doesn't appear.
Fun Factor: This is the hardest category for me to rate. I hate to say this game isn't fun. But at the same time I can't say this game is barrels of fun, either. No Man’s Sky is a game with a limited audience. That being said, I'm not convinced anyone but severely hardcore fans will find this game overly fun. Scored 3 of 10.
Replay Factor: Once the game’s primary goal is completed, which is apparently reaching the center of the universe or galaxy (something that isn't quite clear even though the two aren't synonymous with each other), I would be hard pressed to say the game is replay-able. The mundane, and often arduous, tasks would forfeit any desire to start over and try it again. I would be surprised if even the hardcore fans would start again. Scored 1 of 10.
Story Factor: Well there isn't much story. The game allows you to learn other languages but that isn't really what I would consider story. This game is completely about an individual exploring planets and moons and mining necessary consumables to survive. Even the alien interactions are solely for the purpose of reaching a goal. Scored 1 of 10.
Imagery Factor: Now this is where the game shines. Although much of the imagery in the game is the same, regardless of what planet you're on, the images never get too old. During my gameplay, I found the images amazing even though they were rather cartoonish. I found myself fascinated by the color schemes, the blues were amazing, the greens were lively, and the images of each planet’s atmospheres were inspiring. No matter how gloomy the planet was, if you found a cave filled with colors, you felt immediately warmed. Scored 6 of 10.
Overall Factor: The score here won't be great. That isn't to say the game is as bad as the score, though. I tried to base each score only on its respective merits, and in doing so, the cumulative result will mark the game much lower than it really is. I do believe there will be a special group of consumers who find the game breathtakingly amazing. And for those people this review will be blasphemy. But I'm not writing this review to please any one person or groups of people. Scored 2.75 of 10.
Last Minute Gripes: The game lacks any kind of real action. Sure there are moments you have to blast some predators or angry drones. And at times fighting off pirates is a must. Maybe even engaging in a full space battle is an option, but it's relatively limited. The opening to the game was incredibly long and drawn out, and this alone could have easily turned players off the game. That's not to say other games don't have long openings, but the opening to No Man’s Sky just felt excessive. Maybe it's because you are so alone, which is kinda the point. The game aims for you to feel small and insignificant, and for that it does a magnificent job. Unfortunately for me that vast emptiness was more than I could tolerate and I've shelved the game. But since it does make you feel small so well, I'm going to give the game rating two extra bonus points. Score it 4.75 of 10.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Welcome to the LittleWatt Gameplay blog. This is where I preview, review, and share other thoughts in the gaming world. For this post I'm going to opine about my biggest gripe with gamers. 

It seems as though any time people don't find video games to their liking they go on a tirade about the game. And one thing that always comes up in said tirade is a rather weak justification why the game is bad. There is some comment about “the game is so repetitive” or “it's the same thing over and over again.” And there has been a lot if this gripe surrounding the recent release of the much-anticipated No Man’s Sky. And, yes, most of the game revolves around repeating the same mundane tasks to reach goals to start over again with the same mundane tasks to reach goals to start over again…

I respond to this type of complaining two ways, generally. One, all games are repetitive. This is especially true with shooter games and sports games. Shoot a bunch of adversaries, move to the next stage, shoot more adversaries. Wash, rinse, repeat. And sports games are simple enough to be self-explanatory. In fact many of my all-time favorite games are nothing more than the equivalent to Groundhog Day with Bill Murray. 

The second type of response I give to gamers who growl and snarl over how repetitive a game is: If you can develop and produce a better game then do it. It's always easier to gripe about someone else's product than admit to yourself that you couldn't do any better. Let's face it, if you were that brilliant, you would be developing the best—non-repetitive—game ever made. And you would be laughing all the way to the bank. 

If you don't like a game, that's fine. Not every person is going to like every game. That's why there are several different genres of games available. Developers and producers understand they have a specific customer base and they target that base. But don't use the excuse that a game is repetitive. Life is also repetitive. Get over it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Dying Light Initial Thoughts

Welcome to LittleWatt Gameplay. Several weeks ago I was asked what game I had played that with the best story. I believe my response was something to similar to “I don’t know that I have ever played a game with a story or storyline. I mean where is the story in Madden Football or Gran Turismo? There isn’t one. And I suppose games like Metal Gear Solid and Tomb Raider 1, 2, 3, had some story to it but not much. And I’m certain Resistance: Fall of Man had a story but I wasn’t interested in doing anything in that game other than shoot the chimera and get to the end.
I recently finished DOOM (the 2016 release) and found it had a fairly decent story in it even if it was easily glossed over or dismissed altogether. The story had to be read, which easily slowed the game down from its balls-to-the-wall gameplay. Who wants to slow down to read anyway? It would be easy for me to argue DOOM had the best story in any game I’ve ever played.
But that isn’t true anymore. Although, I’ve put several hours into Dying Light, I’m still only fifteen percent finished with the game. Now I’m not certain if all the side missions are included in the game completion percentage, and if they aren’t, then the game will move along quickly as I’ve only done a few main story missions. Compare that to seven or eight side missions or quests. Hell, I’ve even done a scene for a movie with some film director whose camera I tracked down during a side mission. And I have to say splattering forty zombies with a double barrel shotgun in under two minutes (I think) was great fun (I had forty-four seconds remaining).
Even though all that zombie killing is great fun, and gets even better once the player levels up and the weapons can be modified into serious zombie destroying tools, the story behind the game is equally good. There are some real-life politics and stereotyping in the game. Some high drama and backstabbing. And the commentary of the main character is wonderfully clever and witty. And the thing is, all the quests or side-missions are key into unravelling the entire story.
Initially, I found the controls to be complicated and not well thought out. But I was also coming off hours and hours of DOOM where all the controls had become second nature, and they were also fairly standard controls. But now that I’ve put more hours into Dying Light the controls are easily to handle and don’t feel nearly as cumbersome. (And with the acquisition with the grappling hook everything thing has become just a bit easier—you’ll need to be survivor level twelve to receive the grappling hook.)
During the night missions, stealth plays a major factor in succeeding. Again with the grappling hook night missions will become far easier. During my first night mission, I was killed in short order but have successfully survived the night four times without even being noticed. Still, the stress level goes up quite a bit during the night, armed with the massively destructive double-barrel shotgun or not. (All those hours spent looting, accomplishing side missions, stealing airdrops from thieves, unlocking all the safe houses,and killing zombies will level you up quick enough to get specialty weapons. But you can craft one of the best weapons in the game right away—the Molotov cocktails. These bottles of flaming liquid will dispatch nearly all enemies, and multiple enemies, with little to no effort. One Molotov is good for a least six dead zombies all at once so long as they are grouped together. Nothing works as efficiently.

Dying Light is a must play game for anyone interested in first-person, zombie, horror, or survival games. And it has a wonderful story to boot.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

No Man's Sky Initial Thoughts

Welcome to LittleWatt Gameplay. Quite possibly the biggest game for PlayStation 4 for 2016 has been released and I'll share my initial thoughts about No Man’s Sky.

No Man’s Sky is a space exploration and discovery game developed by Hello Games. It's a procedurally generated game, which means something that I'm not sure I fully understand. Here's a link to help explain it.

I'm not going to get into graphics and gameplay and all that jazz with this initial thoughts post. But I can say the game runs smooth and the images can be fascinating.

I open the game as a crash-landed space explorer to my best guess. There isn't any story so far so I'm only able to piece together what I've experienced. My first job is to repair my busted ship—which for me is a similar looking machine to the X-wing fighter. I have to search the area to find repair items. The items aren't hard to find (once I got the handle on it) but they're vast distances away from the crash site. I'm armed with a multi-tool, which looks a lot like a toy blaster I had as a kid. The kind you pulled the trigger on and sparks shot out the top or sides. And I'm inside a protective suit that needs various repairs during my sojourn for organic materials and various items from the periodic table.

My character is all alone aside from the plants and various creatures on the planet. (There is an element of creepiness during the exploration because anything can appear at any time). And these drones that are sometimes friendly and sometimes not, which may have to do with me destroying a couple.

The game is open world to the extreme, which for all intents and purposes, is all new for me. I'm not convinced I'll enjoy the game yet. Perhaps when I finally get off my initial planet and into space it'll improve. And there will certainly be more aspects to No Man’s Sky once I get further into the game, but my big concern will be my attention span for the game as it unfolds rather slowly for me.

And although this game may eventually be one I could easily place on a shelf and forget about, I do believe it'll be a big success for Hello Games, PlayStation, and gamers all over the world. And perhaps beyond.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

DOOM Review

Welcome to LittleWatt Gameplay. I've now completed my first game since I began this blog. So that means it's time to write my first review. The review will be scaled from zero to ten in several categories. Here's some history of DOOM

I line up the shot!
DOOM, a first-person shooter, was first released on December 10, 1993 by id Software. Although it wasn't the first, first-person shooter it did remake the genre with heavy violence and gore and 3D graphics to IBM-compatible computers. Do you all remember IBM-compatible computers? DOOM II: Hell on Earth was released in 1994, which was followed by addition releases from that same engine, and Final DOOM released in 1996. In 1997 DOOM 64 would be released followed by a several year hiatus. In 2004 a prequel of the first DOOM as released but with all new technology. All of the previous versions of DOOM would have secondary releases except Final DOOM. There are books, comics books, and a movie based on DOOM. All in all, a successful institution. 
The newest version of the game, titled DOOM, was released on May 13, 2016. And that is what this review will be covering. I haven't played many first-person shooters so I won't have much history to compare DOOM and other games in the genre. This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version. 

I'll be rating the game in different categories with a scale from 1 to 10. 

Fun Factor: wow this game was a hoot. It moved quickly and the interest stayed up. And I stayed up late many nights playing the game. That being said, I'm scoring DOOM an 8 of 10. 

Replay Factor: I often returned to previous missions to complete missed challenges, work on weapon mastery, or discover missed secrets. I found myself enjoying the game as much when I repeated a level as I did when I first played the level. I mean pulling a demon’s arms off under the influence of the Berserk power up or hacking a demon in half with a chainsaw never gets old. Again an 8 of 10. 

Story Factor: I found rating this a bit more difficult. The story in DOOM is there and it's a good story. But the story isn't easy to follow with the multiple ways it unfolds. At times there was the magnificent demon voice narrating a story during the trips to hell. Other times Samuel Hayden told a story. But most of the story was developed with the Data Logs, which could easily be glossed over or ignored altogether. Understandably, DOOM is designed for high RPM fun and too much story would lug the engine, but at the same time I felt like the story needed to be more forced. Certainly the artifacts picked up in hell don't take away from the energy of the game. A similar design needed to be employed for the rest of the story. Say, for instance, Olivia tells the story of the demons and Hayden discusses Mars and the work done on Mars. For story factor DOOM receives a 6 of 10. 

Imagery Factor: I considered breaking this category into several but chose against it since this category is rather subjective. Sure there are obvious differences in last generation console and current generation, and even current generation compared to PC games. So I felt it best to keep concepts like graphics and images and real life modeling and soundtrack in one category. For DOOM, the imagery factor is high—8 of 10. The soundtrack was perfect, high octane and aggressive, which fit exactly with DOOM. There are several sections in the game where the imagery was so life-like it can easily be passed off as real. The smoke and fire and explosive barrels are all images that appear real not game. And I could easily peruse my gameplay videos and literally take hundreds of incredible stills. Other things like Samuel Hayden's size was subtle imagery. And Olivia’s degradation in the game as she slowly fails to accomplish her promises. And several of the gruesome images in the game tell a subtle story. One of which we would expect when dealing with demons and hell. 

Overall Factor: This is an accumulation of all the category ratings added together with category totals and averaged out. DOOM gets an above average score with a 7.5 of 10. 

Last Minute Gripes: I didn't include this in the main review because it didn't play a significant enough part to be included. Although the game never locked up on me, it did have a glitch or bug or something in one level where the mission challenges weren't being recorded. This forced me to complete the mission and restart. Ultimately this didn't have a detrimental impact on my game goals and was only a minimal annoyance. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Dying Light Fitness Challenge

Welcome to LittleWatt Gameplay. I hope you're enjoying the blog and the videos of my gameplay on YouTube. 

For August I'm focusing on Dying Light and will be finishing up DOOM. Also of note No Man’s Sky will be out on August 9. I haven't decided if I'll do videos for that yet. But enough of all that business, let's get to the challenge. 

In Dying Light there's a focus on parkour. And for those who don't know what parkour is I hope I'll help you understand what it is. Perhaps some history first. 

Here's a little information on parkour. And if you go by the simple textbook definition you'll be able to find suitable obstacles to use. http://www.wfpf.com/parkour/

No I don't expect people to launch themselves off rooftops or do flying somersaults over vehicles traveling at 40 miles per hour. I mean that shit is just nuts. There's a fine line between brave and idiotic. I wouldn't expect people to climb a fence like Jackie Chan, either. But I do think there are some simple parkour things people can do safely and get in a great workout. Find a balance beam at a local park or walk the curbing along the sidewalk. Climb a jungle gym. Do pull-ups on the monkey bars. Vault a park bench. I have a skateboard park where I live and it gets no use whatsoever so I'll be doing some parkour something or other there. 

Now I'm definitely not a parkour-er and won't claim to be. I won't be doing any cat grabs and muscle-ups any time soon. My strength to weight ratio leans way too much on the weight side. Still that doesn't mean I can't try. And who knows maybe by September 1 I'll be able to do cat grabs and muscle ups. 

So here's the challenge. Three days a week do twenty-five minutes of parkour outside. Being outside is important. Or check a local gym for parkour classes. Now I understand it's August so be sure you exercise safely. Drink plenty of water and take it slow. Going balls to the wall is a good way to get injured. At least until you get better. Then you can speed it up and drink more water. I expect everyone will be sore after the first time since it isn't something most people do. But go and have fun. And get healthier to boot. 

Now go out and have fun. Most importantly be safe! 

Friday, July 29, 2016

August 2016 Game Giveaway

Welcome back to LittleWatt Gameplay. I hope you're enjoying my content. And as always leave a comment and subscribe. Now to get to the meat of this post. 

I've thought for a bit about doing a giveaway and decided I would do a game giveaway—via gift card—and equal to a new game release for the month of August. Now before you think this is a total freebie there are rules you must follow to be entered. 

During the month of August I'll be focusing my gameplay videos on Dying Light on PS4. I may release other videos but for this giveaway you must follow the rules I've written below for Dying Light

Rule number one: You must be a subscriber to my YouTube channel—I will confirm you're a subscriber. Sorry guys and gals but that's part of why I'm doing a giveaway. Growing my channel is important to me. 

Rule number two: You must leave a comment on every Dying Light video in August in the YouTube comment section about the video you just watched, comments not in YouTube will NOT be counted. And...I will be leaving a question within each video itself that you will need to answer as well. I may ask a follow-up question to assure you've watched the video and not just copied previous commenters’ remarks. Liking the video isn't required but it may add to your chances. 

Yes, the rules are difficult and are designed that way on purpose. I want people who subscribe to be a part of my channel and not there just to add numbers. 

The results will be tallied in September. For those who follow the rules your names will be written down on paper and drawn from a container by a different individual. And the winner will be announced by 14 September 2016. 

Start by subscribing to my YouTube Channel

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Up and Coming: No Man's Sky

Welcome back to LittleWatt Gameplay. This blog is dedicated to gaming topics I'm interested in as well as game reviews and Let's Play video content. 

I'm going to start a series of blogs about upcoming games that I'm interested in and will likely be playing in the future. And for the first post I'm going to tackle No Man’s Sky

The most interesting part about my curiosity for No Man's Sky is I'm not the kind of person who would ever consider space travel. I mean it's great and fascinating to learn and to see. But as for actual space travel...That's for someone else. You won't be finding me on Mars planting potatoes or on the Moon doing whatever they might do there. So the question becomes why, Glen, are you intrigued by this game? 

I'm not sure I can even answer that coherently but I'll share a few thoughts anyway. But first a bit about No Man’s Sky. 

No Man’s Sky is developed and produced by a small indie studio in the UK—Hello Games. Now they've developed and produced other games but I've not played any of them. The game is an exploration, survival, first-person game with 18 quintillion, ten to the eighteenth power, or 18 with with 18 zeros, planets. A staggering number. So basically you could play the game your entire life and never run into another player even though other players are there and may only be in the next star system. And in each one of these planets there is an ecosystem—if you don't know what an ecosystem is, well I can't help you—specific to that planet. Or the shorter version is infinite possibilities. 

The scope of this game is staggering. Consider all the information people know about our own real life universe, which is around 4%, and now think about a completely unknown universe created in No Man’s Sky. 

You can close your mouth now. 

So yeah I'm ready to explore. 

There's another facet to this game that will be relatively new to me as well. The open-world aspect. Nearly all of my gaming has been a linear style. Get your objective and accomplish said objective. Move onto another objective and finish that one. You get the picture. 

So going from mostly structured objectives to you pick your path sorta thing will be quite different. And this is one reason I recently acquired Fallout 4, another open world game. But that's for another post. 

Now on to the nerdy, real-life science part of why the game is so profoundly intriguing. 

Space travel and humans in space. Space to humans is exceedingly dangerous. This is a major reason humans aren't on Mars currently. There's no guarantee they would survive the trip if it went perfectly. Solar radiation and cosmic radiation would surely kill them during the five month trip. And that doesn't take into account the trip back. 

For life, Earth is a safe place, but Earth will apparently not appear in the game. But with 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets available an earth-like or nearly exact replica of earth is entirely possible. And let's face it, the game is based off earth-related physics and chemistry and knowledge, although the developers have added other elements, which could throw a monkey in the wrench. 

But in No Man’s Sky we get to explore space safely from our homes. And that is the essence of video games. Although games aren't on the level of books, we do get to be someone else in another place or time or universe. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Xbox One First Impressions

The most glaring impression is the size of the machine. It could easily be a doppelgänger for an early 80s VCR. This thing is massive. The only game console I can recall matching—and maybe exceeding—the overall dimensions is the first PS3 with its big domed cover. I'm fairly certain the Xbox One could be a foundation brick for a large building. Without getting out a tape measure, it's easily two-plus inches wider and deeper than the PS4. I have no idea why it's so massive. I'm going to speculate the size might have something to do with heat. And if that's true I wonder what will happen with the Xbox One S with the power supply inside the case. 

When comparing it to the PS4, the Xbox operation seems to be more complicated, but it is a Microsoft product so that's easily explained away. And PlayStation Plus is the clear winner over Xbox Live Gold. PlayStation is also the winner in the setup procedures. I had to hard reset my Xbox One three times before it would recognize the fancy Dusk Shadow controller. And let's not mention Xbox isn't using Bluetooth for its controllers. Major strike against it. With PlayStation controller syncing just turn on the machine with the controller attached to charging cable and you're off and running. As for controller feel, I don't have enough time with Xbox to make a good comparison. 

The last impression for now is network. The Xbox One is a bandwidth hog. I simply can't do anything else while it's downloading. With the PS4 I'm free to do other Internet stuff. 

Okay one more thing. Backwards compatibility. This is something PlayStation has done in the past and I loved the fact it was compatible with previous generation games. Now it's all but nonexistent. The Xbox people are making games backward compatible. A major plus for Microsoft. 

I will have a follow up post once I get more time with the Xbox. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

DOOM Playlist

This is where you can find all my DOOM gameplay videos posted to YouTube. I've learned through trial and error and still have some tweaking before I like where I'm at with the videos. Please stay patient with me as I am learning the craft. Some of the videos are repeats as I moved up from the PS4 video capture to a capture device. I redid the second and third video in the series and renamed them with "episode" instead of "part." All the videos with now be titled with "episode" from now on.

Thanks for watching and for the support.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Gaming History

Welcome back to LittleWatt Gameplay. I thought I would share a little gaming history. And hopefully you'll respond with a little gaming history of yourself too. 

Although, I can't pinpoint exactly the first video game I played, I believe it was either Missile Control or Space Invaders, I can recall what system I played on. It was a Commodore 64.  

After the Commodore 64 came the Atari. With games like Pac-Man and Q-bert and Asteroids. One button and one control stick. The games were so simple back then and I managed to find hours of entertainment. Now it takes an hour just to figure out all the controls and buttons. 

I continued to improve consoles as they came out. The Super NES was one the entire family enjoyed with classics as Super Mario Bros and Duck Hunt to Tecmo Bowl and Mike Tyson’s Punch-out. I branched off and also bought a Sega Genesis. Sonic and Madden Football being favorites. I eventually upgraded my Sega with the 32-bit spaceship thingy. Not sure it did anything but look like it did something. 

Of course the major change came with the PlayStation. It was a huge event and major leap in gaming. Black CDs and game storage. Of course Crash Bandicoot and the Tomb Raider games. Madden Football was only to get bigger and bigger. Let's not forget Metal Gear Solid. It was one of the Tomb Raider games I participated in a co-op mode of sorts. I shared time playing the game with my sister. She did most of the work; I only relieved her when she got stuck and frustrated. 

With the PS2 I shifted (pun intended) away from platform and puzzle games to racing simulation and racing games and football, both Madden and NCAA Football. But not all racing games or all football games. I didn't branch out beyond the Gran Turismo series for simulators and I stayed with Need for Speed: Most Wanted. I simply didn't enjoy other racing games. And, admit it, Madden football has been the go-to football game. But way more than half of my game time was in Gran Turismo, and when GT4 came out, I spent hours upon hours racing. I completed all the races, some dozens of times, and all the side events. And to this day, I think GT4 was the best game in the series for putting time behind the wheel, which is something I have—a racing wheel. GT4 had the most laps and most races out of the box in the series. And if I had to pick what game I would love remastered for the PS4 it would be Gran Turismo 4. And racing is still a major part of my game time. 

As for NFS: Most Wanted, I enjoyed the shit out of that game. I restarted the campaign over and over again. And I even co-oped a campaign with my little brother. He didn't have the racing skill so he did all the cop chases and I did all the races. And even though it was arcady racing there was a proper racing line and my hours playing GT3 and GT4 helped finding those lines. Unfortunately, the NFS series has yet to match the entertainment of the first Most Wanted. 

When the PS3 came out, Gran Turismo 5 was a long wait, and that's when I returned to first-person shooter games with the iconic Resistance: Fall of Man as well as the uber-fun Motorstorm. But, I continued racing GT4 on the PS2, and once EA worked out all their Madden issues for the new PS3, I stuck with football. 

Gran Turismo 5 was a big disappointment for me with the overall lack of laps and races available within the game. Everything was pushed to online play, which is something I don't do. I completed one race online, and just as I was making my move out of the slipstream, the racer in front slammed on his brakes and wrecked me. He refused to lose, and I refused to race against other humans again. And I still don't. 

On to the PS4. I had the console for a year before, I actually bought a game for it. The console came with The Last of Us, a game I still haven't played. Slowly I added games to my library, hoping Gran Turismo would be out, but here it is 2016, and no game yet. 

Still, I collected games for the PS4 only to return to the PS3 again and again. What finally grabbed me was MLB The Show 15, a game I've put hours into. I played MVP Baseball years before and enjoyed it, but football was my game so it fizzled away. And MLB The Show has also slipped away with bug-filled MLB The Show 16

But, things have picked up with the PS4 now. I spend lots of time on DOOM, and am anxious to start playing Dying Light, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, The Last of Us, and the Uncharted series. 

So, that's where I'm at now. I intend on building a gaming PC to add to my PS4. And hopefully building my YouTube gameplay channel. Do me a favor and look me up on YouTube. Here's my latest video:

How about you? 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

DOOM Guy Challenge

Welcome back to LittleWatt Gaming. 

In an effort to accomplish a couple of goals this month, I'm creating a challenge. One of the goals is to build up my YouTube channel and the other goal is to become more healthy physically. So here's the challenge:

For every like I receive on my DOOM gameplay videos I add a minute to my daily exercise, which now stands at twenty minutes. For every comment on the video, I'll add ninety seconds, and for every share, I'll add three minutes. For each new subscriber, I'll add five minutes. 

Obviously, I'm not going to rely on these little perks to become more physically fit, but it'll add some encouragement to me personally to see others interested in my videos. 

I'll be willing to try suggested workouts from any comments left on the video posts. 

I'm going to tag this as #doomguychallenge. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

DOOM Intro

This is my first ever game capture video. And I'll admit it was harder than I thought. I'm not much into to talking, especially by myself and basically to myself. I find it easier to talk when someone is asking me a question. I had been a guest on a couple radio shows previously and I don't recall be nervous or self-conscious during those interviews. But for whatever reason I was both of those for this gameplay recording. I'm hoping it'll get better as I finish more videos. 

Anyway, on to DOOM Part 1. This is a basic intro to the game. You get a weapon and fight some demons. Find a new weapon and fight new demons along with the old demons. Some of the story is also coming out during the first video. 

Thanks for watching and please hit the Like button. 

If there is anything you would like me to talk about during the gameplay, leave the suggestion in the comments section. 


Hello and welcome to LittleWatt Gameplay. This blog is dedicated to gameplay walkthrough and video game reviews. I might also have an interview occasionally and conduct a poll here and there. 

The origin of LittleWatt goes back years. Before cell phones people used CB radios to communicate on the go. With CB radios a person needed what was referred to as a “handle.” Basically the same thing as a log-on name or user ID. And my handle was LittleWatt.

I never used it because I was given the handle when I was just a boy, and by the time I was old enough to scour the CB bands, bag phones were already popular, which would soon be replaced with the first cellular phones. 

So where does LittleWatt come from? The initials in my first and middle name. G. E. I imagine General Electric still makes light bulbs but I'm guessing most folks now think of GE as the maker a large turbines for hydroelectric plants and jet engines. But at the time I received my CB handle, GE was the name in lightbulbs. So add the wattage associated with light bulbs—60 watt, 25 watt, 100 watt—and my young age (4 years old) you get Little Watt.