Last Week’s Gaming – March 30th, 2020

Tokaido

Finally, back to a Board Game heavy week!

It’s been a week. Last week was my second week of working from home, with more to come. Getting into a rhythm with has been a challenge, but Rabbit and I are up for the challenge!

This week has also seen the debut of a new format for the site – videos! At the moment, I am restricting this to some Talking Tech and digital game content. It’s still new to me, and I have some more kinks to work out. Let me know what you think about it!

But enough site stuff, onto what I got to play this week!

I finally got Marvel Champions to the table, and Alpal and I had a lot of fun playing it. I have played the Arkham Horror LCG, and Alpal has played the Lord of the Rings version. While fun, I have mixed feelings about Marvel Champions.

If you have played any trading/living card games before, the basics of Marvel Champions are easy to pick up. Engine building with the starter packs made sense, and we had a lot of fun.

But then it ended. There was no build-up, the game just ended. I knew we were getting close, and I had a couple of lucky card draws. We won, which was great, but I completely invalidated everything Alpal was planning while winning the game.

I will see if Rabbit wants to play and see if the same thing happens. But now that I finally have broken out Marvel Champions, I can’t wait to get into it for a formal review.

Marvel Champions
Near the start of the game. Not much was happening, and we got to keep Rhino's plans under control 🙂

Another Alpal surprise game, Rabbit Rally is another HABA gem that flew right below my radar.

If you don’t know about HABA games, they are simple games mainly targeted at younger players. Just because it’s aimed at kids rarely limits my enjoyment of these games though.

The idea of Rabbit Rally is simple. You play as a rabbit, and you want to reach an island first to get the legendary ‘golden carrot’ you can see growing there.

The catch? There is a stretch of water between you and the island. Each turn, you roll a die which shows a different coloured plank. Each plank is a different length, and you have to place a stone where you think the plank can reach. If the plank reaches, you progress! If you fall short, you miss a turn. 🙁

Silly and fun, Rabbit Rally was a great palate cleanser after the longer Marvel Champions. If you play with younger players, keep an eye out for Rabbit Rally, and let me know if you would like a more in-depth review.

Rabbit Rally
Simple components, straightforward play. If you want to have some silly fun, play with physical obstacles like putting cups in the way!

The last special from Alpal was Walking in Burano. When I saw the EmpororS4 badge, I was excited to give it a try.

The premise is straightforward – build a section of housing in line with the standards of Burano, Venice. Known for its colourful housing, this means you need to create a row of five houses of the same colour, but not having the same colour in two homes in a row.

Now, being colourblind, I appreciated the symbols on the houses that allowed me to tell the colours apart quickly. What I had trouble with was differences in the art like the pot plants and flowers.

I had to concentrate on tiny graphics on cards about a quarter of the size of a standard poker-sized card. The card sizes chosen for Walking in Burano help keep the size of your play area down, but the tiny details are used in end game bonus scoring.

Walking in Burano is a fun collection game, but if you have trouble with colours or focusing on tiny details, might give you some trouble.

Walking in Burano
I finished my little area 🙂 But I could have made better scoring choices with larger cards

Tokaido – Physical, Steam, Google Play, Apple Store

I have spoken about Tokaido a couple of times in the past, and last week I even did my first review cross gameplay video!

Everything I spoke about in my review, I would say again now. A great relaxing game that still has strategic elements, if you use Android jump in for free on the Google Play store now!

Keep in mind Namiji is coming to shelves later this year, which uses the same basic mechanics as Tokaido, but takes you on a very different journey.

Tokaido
Tokaido is beautiful both in the physical and digital form

Control – PS4

The story is insane and twists and turns with the paranormal backstory. I have really enjoyed playing Control, and I can’t wait to talk about it more in my review at the end of the week!

My fourth finished video game for the year! Now I am toying with completing it for the Platinum. I probably will, Control is fantastic. I am also deciding if I should try finishing the new Foundation DLC before Resident Evil 3 comes out April 3.

Control
The game takes a strange turn near the end of the story, turning you into a new office worker

Doom Eternal – Steam

But what do I think about Doom Eternal? Well, this was my first video experiment! Check out my first impressions here for more details.

When Doom 2016 came out, I instantly fell in love. While it was different from ‘my’ Doom back in the day, that quick and satisfying arcade-style gameplay was still very much intact.

Rip and Tear. What else can I say about Doom Eternal?

Doom Eternal First Impressions
Check out my first recording experiment and see Doom Eternal in all it's glory

What about you?  I hope you got some great games in.  Or are you looking forward to a new one?  Let me know!  Shout out on Facebook or @JohnHQLD me on Twitter!

Until tomorrow,

JohnHQLD

Doom Eternal First Impressions – I made a video!

Doom Eternal First Impressions

Doom Eternal has the tag line ‘Rip and Tear’. I play ‘Sticky Bomb and Pray’!

So I have had some start/stop video experiments that I have shared in the past. Today, there is another 🙂 Rather than try to write up how I feel about Doom Eternal, I thought I would do a video of my Early Impressions!

My plan was to play 15-20 minutes of a game for the first time, and give my live first impressions and reactions. What do you know – even with prep, that didn’t work out quite as well as I hoped! Doom Eternal’s soundtrack in particular turned out to be a challenge. Life finds a way indeed! 🙂

You can watch the video below, expand it up to full screen and all the usual stuff. You can also go over to my YouTube page at https://www.youtube.com/johnhqldplaysgames if you have trouble casting or want to leave a like/dislike and a comment. Feedback is appreciated!

So today, let me introduce you to my first ‘First Impressions’ game video, where I sit back and enjoy Doom Eternal 😀

Slightly Extended Impressions

Once I had played through the above, I was actually a little sad that I stopped recording. Not that I wanted to make a longer video, but because I found out I was only a little distance from another really cool secret!

I discovered another secret only a few minutes after finishing up my Thoughts in the video. And this secret had me grinning like crazy!

Doom Eternal has cheat codes that you can find in the secret areas!

Doom Eternal Cheat Codes Found
This is such a great idea. And I had my original Doom collection on such disks!

I haven’t tried messing around with them yet, but I think these are a great idea. Plenty of times I would fire up the original DOS Doom games, throw on invincibility and all guns, and just blast away for a bit on fun for a little while.

Doom Eternal is going to let me do the same thing, and use these overpowered features to let you explore the map more as well!

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

E3 2019 – My picks for most excited news!

How’s that wallet feel? Mine is tensing up, but it’s not complaining. Yet.

Day one is done. So many announcements and things that I am looking forward to. There were only a few things I saw that I was ‘Meh’ about, but a lot of things were largely classified as ‘keep an eye on’.

But the things that got me excited and thinking the most? Well, they are below 🙂

Cyberpunk 2077

I used to play Cyberpunk back in the day. A pen and paper RPG, it was a great escape and showed me that sci-fi and fantasy are basically the same things.  Yes, they are, you know it’s true.

A year ago, I wrote a piece asking the Australian Film and Literature Classification Board to let me play Cyberpunk 2077. Drugs and other mature things are ingrained in this universe, and they have the power to refuse the game classification.

None of this has changed. What has changed is we know Cyberpunk 2077 releases April 16th, 2020. And it has Keanu Reeves. Yes, I have already preordered it on GoG.com.

XBOX Game Pass PC and Game Pass Ultimate

Last year I bought a second hand XBOX One S to play games I had missed with Game Pass. Last weekend, I bought a new XBOX One S because it was purple.

I haven’t had the time to really sit and play the games I have wanted to, but that is changing. Void Bastards has gotten some play time, and will be getting more this week probably. $10 a month for access to over 100 games? It’s a good deal. XBOX Gold? Not so much, as I am not playing multiplayer or really want to buy new games at a discount.

This may be the best sales idea Microsoft has ever had

But now, I can keep my XBOX Game Pass, have access to a bunch more games on PC, and have Gold and the 4 free games a month for $15 a month? Yes, I am already signed up.

Doom Eternal

I know Doom’s popularity is primarily from multiplayer, but the single-player campaign from the 2016 reboot was so much fun and felt just like the original Doom.

Doom Eternal, the new sequel, seems to be taking a new twist. Run around and blow up everything with a huge array of funky weapons? Yep, that’s still there.

But now apparently you (as Doomguy obviously) have got the attention of the heavens. Angelic combat, anyone?

Doom is not a subtle series, and I hope they keep this up. Either way, more Doom coming November 22nd, 2019.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

OK, it will just be the first ‘episode’, but we now have a release date for this long teased Square Enix favourite.

The new trailer shows even more Final Fantasy XV style combat, but by itself that doesn’t worry me. As I have said before, I am not one of the people asking for a straight remaster, so I am looking forward to seeing what Square Enix has done.

And I will find out March 3rd, 2020. Luckily it is the first ‘episode’ – Bloodlines 2 and Cyberpunk are right in this same time frame!

Project Scarlett and the cloud

This is an area I am not so much excited for, as keeping an eye on. Microsoft’s cloud gaming service turns your XBOX One into a local server – essentially download the game locally. Not a bad idea, but a new packaging on an existing idea.

The next gen console though. Hardware wise, Scarlett and the PS5 (if that’s what they call it) sound the same – new hardware with early access to PCI-E 5 technology to use ridiculous amounts of bandwidth internally.

So the gauntlet is thrown, Sony.

Tech upgrades aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but people balked at the price of the XBOX One X. These new consoles either have to be crazy expensive (comparatively), or the respective companies will be making a massive loss on initial sales – much more than previous generations.

Who is going to buy this straight away? Early adopters and mega fans sure, but for the first time possibly the PC gaming ‘master class’ that has previously snubbed consoles.

The number of people that dropped around AUD$1,500 – 2,000 for the Nvidia 20×0 series before the specs were even confirmed was ridiculous. Having early access to new storage tech and the apparent blazing load times, this is a key area where PC players cite that PC beats consoles.

I am not saying that console gaming is about to make PC gaming obsolete or anything like that.  But the market for people who will throw massive amounts of money because a single number marks it as ‘the best’ has grown significantly, and I am wondering if the traditional console war is finally on the way out.

Want to play old games? Depending on your platform, you can buy them again, have some backwards compatibility or streaming. If you are lucky enough to be in an area that PlayStation Now exists. (Yes, shots fired. Stop advertising things to me you know I can’t access Sony!).

Want to play new games without expensive hardware? Stream them. You will need the internet that only about 8 countries in the world can provide, but there is no doubt that streaming content is the future.

Hardware wise, the XBOX and PlayStations are basically identical these days (yes there are differences, but they are now AMD computers with different tweaks in a broad sense). Nintendo has always done its own thing, and look at the success of the Switch.

But now more than ever before, the content is what the war is about, not the hardware. On the PC, Epic has paid for exclusive deals on big titles to woo people over. Microsoft has made it all but a no brainer for people to just hand over $15 a month, and look how much Netflix makes from the same deal. Sony is still as stubborn as ever in its ways, but that might give Microsoft an advantage.

I don’t think the end goal for hardware like Scarlett and PS5 is as focused on getting hardware to the masses anymore. That will be handled by streaming onto comparatively lower spec machines.

But that goal is still probably 5-10 years away. If you want to play the new games and don’t have access to streaming, these high-end machines could put gaming out of your reach.

It will be an interesting 12 months to see what Sony and Microsoft do about all this.

Until next time,

JohnHQLD

Doom Eternal has me looking forward to another fun time

Doom Eternal

Probably my favourite Bethesda announcement during their presentation looks like Hell on Earth

I remember playing the original Doom way too much.  I mean WAY too much.  I remember finishing Episode 1 on Ultra Violence in about 11 minutes.  OK so to today’s speedrunners that wasn’t anything special, but in 1994 it was a heated competition between myself and a student named Willy for the particular crown.

Flash forward to 2016, and DOOM is released.  I had a steam voucher, and I was hearing OK things, so I loaded it up.  My mental process was something along the lines of the following:

Metal music.  Fells like Doom I guess.  It’s definitely very pretty in a hellspawn mass murder kind of way.  Strange start, but ahh right there is the armour.  Nice touch.  Shooty shooty.  Glory kills?  Wow, that’s too much fun!  And here is the end of the level.  Yeah, this is pretty cool.  Wait what is this lever?  Secret doors!  Yes, this is just like… Wait… The secret is a Doom level!  LMAO!

Then I look up, and it’s been 7 hours, I have almost finished the campaign, and I need to shower for work.

Doom 2016 Cyberdemon
The Cyberdemons look a little different to what I remember from the 90's

A little while later, I was upgrading my PC and had a mate bring his PC over so I could install my old graphics card in his rig (upgrade for him, and I was happy it found a new home).  Asked him if he had anything ‘pretty’ to see the improvement in graphics, and brought him DOOM on the spot when he said not really.

DOOM is by no means the greatest game ever.  It pushed few technical boundaries.  But it was so much fun – something that had been lost in a lot of modern shooters.  I never got into the multiplayer (big surprise) but I randomly reinstall it and play through a few levels for a bit of mindless fun.

So during yesterday’s Bethesda E3 presentation, this little gem caught my eye.

It is really only news that it’s coming, and I have to wait until August and Quakecon for more news.  But I can wait.  There is a sequel coming, and if the formula stays about the same, I will be enjoying every second of it 😀

Until next time,

JohnHQLD