Cyberphile

the love of all things electronic.

What’cha Playin’? 12/12/16 — December 12, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 12/12/16

Over the weekend I was able to play a bit of Final Fantasy XV, though I didn’t make any story progress. Like usual, I pretty much just did side quests before getting frustrated at a specific fishing quest.

I played a ton of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, and got all of the trophies in it, though I’m still missing a few gallery items somehow. I’m not sure how to unlock them all, but I definitely want to. I’m hoping they’re just unlockable through normal play and that I’ll get them all with time.

Lastly, I started System Shock: Enhanced Edition, which is the first game in the series with enhanced controls and graphics. I’m actually really liking it thus far, I’ve made it through the entire first area, which is pretty huge, actually. In the year 2072, you play as a skilled hacker who hacks into a space station owned by the Trioptimum Corporation who makes high tech interfaces for human use, among other things. Instead of being punished for his crimes, a man states he can clear the hacker’s name, if he agrees to hack into SHODAN, the space station’s AI, and that the hacker will also be awarded with a military-grade interface. The hacker agrees, does his job, and then gets the interface surgically installed, which requires a 6 month recovery coma. After 6 months, the hacker wakes up to find everyone gone, the place overrun with cyborgs and mutants, with SHODAN having plans on wiping out the Earth. It’s up to the hacker to figure out how to stop SHODAN. It feels very BioShock-esque, which makes sense, seeing as Looking Glass Studios worked with Irrational (of BioShock fame) to release System Shock 2. Seems to me that Irrational picked up some tricks from their time with Looking Glass.

At any rate, it’s a good thing, because I feel the game has aged pretty well, aside from the crazy menu navigation. The story bits are told through audio logs you can find scattered around the ship, and messages from characters such as SHODAN. The game plays kind of like an exploration-shooter, almost like DOOM but with an inventory system and more complex puzzles, like hacking and the weird, Rez-style cyberspace you have to mess around in to unlock doors and things. It’s a really unique amalgamation of gameplay, but it works really well and is pretty fun once you get the hang of it. Enemies can be kind of tough, but you can find plenty of healing items if you scour every nook and cranny and play cautiously.

The atmosphere is fantastic. SHODAN is a fantastic villian thus far, whenever her creepy cybernetic face pops up saying things like “Go any farther and I will kill you”, it sends shivers down my spine. I’m really digging the cyberpunk setting, and I think I feel a new genre of games I want to play…

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Doin’? – 10/17/16 — October 17, 2016

What’cha Doin’? – 10/17/16

So, this weekend offered me some free time, so I took every opportunity to enjoy myself. I beat BioShock on Survivor difficulty; a feat I’ve never accomplished before, so I was proud of that. It honestly wasn’t too bad. It’s pretty normal for BioShock titles to be tougher in the beginning and Survivor mode was no exception. I then beat the challenge room DLC for BioShock, and nabbed all of those trophies, so I can now say that BioShock is 100% complete for me. The challenge rooms were neat and made you think in a new way, which I really liked.

I’m now working on the Protector Trials DLC for BioShock 2; I have them all done except two bonus trials, and I have to say, I’m a really big fan of this DLC. You pretty much are given an area from the story that’s been fixed up into an arena, and you have to protect your Little Sister through a gathering session for a decent amount of time. The twist is that each area is a challenge, restricting you to certain weapons and Plasmids, so it’s kind of like a puzzle. The longer she gathers unhindered by Splicers, the more Adam you get. If you get an A or A+, you get one to three stars, and those stars unlock scrapped animations and concept art and stuff like that. It’s really cool. Once I clear those last two rooms, I can consider BioShock 2 100% complete too. Then it’s on to 1999 mode in Infinite.

In Final Fantasy Tactics, I’m starting to fill up my party with story characters. I think I’m only two or three battles away from the next chapter.

Finally, I finished Cowboy Bebop this weekend. What a great show. Despite having the ending already spoiled for me, it still hit me really hard; that last scene is really beautiful. What makes Cowboy Bebop especially great, to me, is the characters. All of the characters are believable, and each episode that gives you back story for them only gives you a bit at a time, result in you wanting to watch more to learn about the characters, but you end up really appreciating the stand alone episodes too. Episode 23, Brain Scratch, was probably my favorite stand alone episode in the series, and I was surprised how hard Hard Luck Woman (I think episode 24) hit me as well. What a great series with great characters. I’m going to watch the movie next. Honestly, it’s just a well rounded series. The music is great and jazzy, the characters are believable, lovable, and avoid being tropey for the most part, and I really felt like I was a member of the Bebop by the end of the show. Have I mentioned the interactions between the characters? So good. If you haven’t seen Cowboy Bebop, you’re missing out.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Playin’? 10/14/16 — October 14, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 10/14/16

Well, I’ve successfully made it through most of Fort Frolic on Survivor mode in BioShock, and I’m pretty happy about that. I’m not having too much trouble, but it still can be rough from time to time. My go to combo for annoying enemies is the Winter Blast -> Headshot combo, and it seems to work out pretty well for enemies that can take you out quickly in survivor mode; namely Houdini Splicers. I need a better strategy for dealing with Big Daddies, as currently, they take a ton of ammunition to dispatch. I’m hoping I’ll have the time this weekend to finish off Survivor mode.

In Final Fantasy Tactics, my team is now: Squire, Priest, Mediator, Wizard, and Archer, though I believe a change is soon in order, as I think I may decide to fill my team with the special characters you run into throughout the main story. We’ll see.

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These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Doin’? 10/13/16 — October 13, 2016

What’cha Doin’? 10/13/16

Nothing too terribly exciting. I’ve been working on my rollerblading, but I definitely need either fix my posture, stretch more, strengthen some of my unused muscles, or probably a combination, as my lower back is pretty sore from the whole ordeal. Well, in due time.

I’m also making decent progress in BioShock on Survivor difficulty. I’m definitely better than I used to be, as I’m a decent way into Neptune’s Bounty with relatively little difficulty. I’ve even been able to take down 2 of the 3 Rosie Big Daddies in the area, which can be pretty rough early in the game, especially on higher difficulties, many suggest coming back to this area later. It’s definitely a challenge, more so than any I’ve had in the BioShock series thus far.

Lastly, I’ve been playing a little bit of N, that old free flash ninja game. You play as a ninja who can only run, jump, wall jump, and slide down walls. One hit from an enemy or falling too far will cause you to die and you’ll have to start the stage over. The game is broken down into episodes, with 5 stages in each. To clear the episode, you’ll have to beat all 5 stages. You start with 90 seconds to do so, but stages have gold that you can collect to extend your time. Clearing a stage involves unlocking a door by finding a switch, then going through that door. Often times, there will be barricades that you’ll have to find other switches for. It’s really fun, a great time waster, and really low on a PC’s resources. Check it out.

Did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Playin’? 10/10/16 — October 10, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 10/10/16

Happy Columbus Day, Americans! Let’s celebrate by walking into someone’s house and telling them they have to leave because we live there now!

At any rate, over the weekend I finished my Drill and Plasmids only run of BioShock 2 on hard. It was good fun, and as I got more powered up, it became really easy, especially with all the tonics I got, enhancing my run.

Then, also over the weekend, I beat BioShock Infinite again on hard mode, thus unlocking the hardest mode: 1999 mode. I also took the time to do so with a guide so I could collect all the things I missed in my first run.

I also made it to chapter 2 in Final Fantasy Tactics. Right now I have a Squire (Ramza), a Priest, a Lancer, a Black Mage, and an Archer. We’ll see where I decide to go from here with that. In my play of Final Fantasy Tactics, I was thinking… FFT would make a fantastic TV show or movie or something. The characters are so strong, it would be great in nearly any medium as well, I think.

My next objective is to beat BioShock 1 on Survivor mode. I may decide to try it with the Wrench and Plasmids only, but I imagine it’ll be pretty tough either way; I never could beat survivor mode back when I played it on PS3. So, we’ll see.

Did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

BioShock Infinite Review (BioShock: The Collection) — October 4, 2016

BioShock Infinite Review (BioShock: The Collection)

My BioShock Infinite review is now live. You can read the full review from the Review page, or by clicking here.

Also, did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

Here’s the bottom line if you don’t have time to read the full review:

Pros

  • The best gunplay of the series.
  • An interesting story.
  • Great characters and interactions, especially the dialogue between the two main characters.
  • New, interesting mechanics.
  • Fantastic DLC.

Cons

  • A number of steps back from the “BioShock formula” of gameplay and mechanics.
  • A less interesting city than Rapture with no real reason to be in the sky.

Final Score: 8/10

Again, BioShock Infinite is by no means a bad game, it just doesn’t quite live up to the BioShock name the way previous installments did, in my opinion. Infinite is still a great game with and engaging story and characters, and ultimately, deserves a play.

BioShock 2 – Upgraded to BGE — October 3, 2016

BioShock 2 – Upgraded to BGE

For the first time in Cyberphile history, a game I have previously reviewed has received an upgrade from the Reviews page to the list of Best Games Ever. BioShock 2 truly deserves its title. You can read the full review from the Best Games Ever list, or by clicking here. I’ve made a few small changes to the page, but it’s more or less the same as the review.

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Here’s a preview of my review for BioShock 2:

BioShock 2 had some big (daddy) boots to fill after the first BioShock. BioShock was amazing, and well worthy of the Best Games Ever List. Well, how does 2 hold up in comparison? (Note: This is coming from the BioShock Collection for PS4, so the multiplayer aspect is missing from this review.)

Pretty dang good, actually. BioShock 2 takes all of the things that made the first BioShock great, and made it better and more streamlined, with the exception of the story, if you ask me. While there were some pretty tense moments, nothing quite beats the big reveal in the first BioShock.

What’cha Doin’? 9/30/16 — September 30, 2016

What’cha Doin’? 9/30/16

I actually have a good bit of stuff to say about what I’ve been up to, as I’ve been dabbling a little bit in a couple of things.

Firstly, I beat BioShock Infinite’s main story last night. It was a really good. I’d argue that it was better than BioShock 2, but not quite as good as BioShock 1, but pretty close. I think the villians in BioShock 1 were better than those in Infinite, but the two protagonists of Infinite are fantastic. There were a couple of scenes near the end that I thought were phenomenal, and one of the last few areas where things get super creepy (or maybe just unsettling) was probably my favorite area in the whole game. At any rate, I’m playing the Burial at Sea add-on content, and I’ll write up a proper review for Infinite once I finish that.

Secondly, I finally got around to downloading Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, also known as Higurashi When They Cry, also known as When They Cry. When They Cry is one of my favorite anime, so I wanted to play the original visual novel that it came from. I’m still really early in the game, but if you’re unfamiliar with When They Cry, it’s a sort of horror/thriller visual novel about a boy from the city who moves into the very small and close-knit town of Hinamizawa, deep in the countryside. Everything seems fine until our hero Keiichi Maebara discovers that every year on a certain day, one person dies, and another disappears. Keiichi then tries to figure out what’s going on in Hinamizawa.

Finally, I’ve been plugging through Cowboy Bebop at a decent rate, I’m at episode 5 or 6 or so. I’ve been enjoying it so far, even more so than the last time I watched, as I think I’m paying just a little more attention this time, so I’m picking up on things I missed last time. I’m interested in seeing where it goes from here.

Did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

These “What’cha Doin’?” posts are designed to spark discussion, so feel free to post in the comments what you’ve been playin’, watchin’, or listenin’ to lately.

What’cha Playin’? 9/27/16 – BioShock Infinite — September 27, 2016

What’cha Playin’? 9/27/16 – BioShock Infinite

As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’ve been chugging through the BioShock series. I’m now on to Infinite, and I have to say, it’s pretty cool. I’m sad that you don’t get to keep all of your weapons and instead have to swap with whatever you find, removing the attachment I had for my weapons in previous BioShocks, but the super smooth gun play and mechanics make up for it. I also prefer the creepy and downtrodden atmosphere of Rapture to Columbia, but the two main characters and their personalities make up for that as well. At first I wasn’t a big fan of Elizabeth, as she seemed like your stereotypical Disney princess, but as I progress, it seems there is more to her than meets the eye. It’s different than the BioShock I’m used to, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I played a bit of System Shock 2, and BioShock seemed like a departure from that, while Infinite seems like a departure from BioShock, and, again, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m interested to see where it goes from here.

BioShock 2 Review — September 26, 2016

BioShock 2 Review

My BioShock 2 review is now live. You can read the full review from the Review page, or by clicking here.

Also, did you know that Cyberphile has a Facebook page? Feel free to swing by and get our new posts in your newsfeed.

Here’s the bottom line if you don’t have time to read the full review:

Pros

  • Beautiful yet disturbing environment.
  • Improved upon gameplay and exploration and ease swapping weapons/plasmids.
  • Hacking is so much better it gets its own category in Pros.
  • Great story, if a bit lesser than the game that preceded it.
  • Minerva’s Den DLC is really well done too.

Cons

  • The sometimes tedious activity of gathering Adam almost seems like a forced way to draw more play time out of the game, and takes away from the overall exploration.
  • The need to be continuously compared to BioShock 1.

Final Score: 9.5/10

Ultimately, BioShock 2 is a fantastic game, but it cannot stand alone. Without the amazing set up that the first game provided for it, it would certainly fall short. That said, BioShock 2 is still great and a fantastic entry in the series. Maybe after another playthrough or two I’ll revise this review and slap it on the list of Best Games Ever, but for now, it receives a solid review, deserving of this great game.