Forums

Topic: User Impressions/Reviews Thread

Posts 2,341 to 2,360 of 2,638

RogerRoger

@Ralizah Yeah, I don't remember them being particularly open during the GameCube and Wii years. There were some partnerships they chased during the N64, if I recall correctly, and obviously there was that whole third-party push to try and boost the Wii U early on, but they seem to have learned to play well with others recently, as opposed to trying to force others to play well with them.

Oh, that makes more sense, kinda. Maybe. Ish.

I didn't know that, about older games using pre-rendered elements to hide their shortcomings. That's definitely gonna be a nightmare when upscaling on an emulator, for sure. It must be a tricky thing to get right on a game-by-game basis. When you pop a PSone disc into a PS2 or PS3, you're given a smoothing option which apparently combats texture and geometry warping, but I've always thought it makes my games look worse. I'm sure there are others it helps, but I'm just not playing 'em!

Yeah, I always thought the original GameBoy Advance looked really comfortable, whilst its subsequent iterations most certainly did not. I hope that, if they ever release a "GBA Classic" or something, it's the original size and shape, just with a backlit screen. Depending on the games they include with it, I could see myself reaching for my wallet since, as you say, no third party has ever gotten it quite right.

Although I hasten to add, I'm perfectly happy with my DS Lite and original cartridges! Always worth repeating for fate's sake, as I'm dreading the day it finally craps out on me!

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

Despite marketing claims to be "a home console in your pocket", major multi-platform games always appeared to play it safe on PS Vita. More often than not, the most powerful dedicated handheld ever created found itself sharing a bespoke, downgraded portable version of a blockbuster with its rival, Nintendo's 3DS. Sometimes this was perfectly fine; a unique, well-made companion game could end up enhancing an anticipated release, doubling the available fun at launch (Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate springs to mind) but other times, it felt frustrating to know that, as you poked around sparse environments and chatted to low-poly character models, the hardware you held in your hands was way more capable.

Or was it? Surely, if the Vita was such a powerhouse, it would be easier for developers to just copy the same code over to a cartridge and go for an early lunch, right? And easier means cheaper, too, which would please any big brand publisher looking to capitalise on a lucrative licence. So it begs the question, why didn't the Vita play host to more direct ports of AAA games?

Let's ask Spider-Man. He'll have the answer... or rather the answers, plural.

***

Untitled

Platform: 3DS, DS, PC, PS3, PS Vita (version played), Xbox360, Wii and Wii U
Release Date: June 2012 (most versions) / November 2013 (PS Vita)

***

Because it was never that easy.

Accompanying the reboot movie of the same name, The Amazing Spider-Man game carpet-bombed every available platform in June 2012. The "main" version was developed by Beenox and featured a return to a sprawling New York City sandbox for Spidey to swing around, after the hero's linear outings Shattered Dimensions (2010) and Edge of Time (2011). Nintendo's consoles were unable to cope with their impressive approximation of the Big Apple, however, so Beenox also cut together a limited slice of the game for the Wii and 3DS. They removed the free-roaming map in its entirety, and simply had Spidey selecting the same indoor story missions from a menu in his apartment.

This isn't what the PS Vita would also receive; instead, it would get the "main" version, complete with all the bells and whistles of its HD home console counterparts. Cool, right?!

At the end of 2012, the Wii U was launched and, a couple months later in early 2013, The Amazing Spider-Man showed up for it, this time in full. All the while, the Vita was kept waiting. Sony's second handheld had been available since late 2011 in Japan, and February 2012 worldwide, so where was Spidey? Well, he finally arrived in November 2013, a date which made him seventeen months late to his own party. In the time it took Beenox (and support studio Mercenary Technology) to get The Amazing Spider-Man working on Vita, an entirely new console had come along and gotten itself a port. Yeesh.

***

Because the hardware couldn't handle it.

When I say that the developers got The Amazing Spider-Man "working" on Vita, I'm being generous. For the most part, during the indoor, linear story missions, the game's performance is passable, if a little underwhelming. Objects in the distance are reduced in resolution, making some of the supposedly spectacular rooms an overly-pixelated disappointment, but some light transitional juddering is easy to overlook, and the action flows well enough. It's when you venture out into NYC that things become increasingly difficult to defend (and remember, the inclusion of this playground is what kept Vita Spidey from sharing with his stunted Nintendo siblings on that initial launch date).

Untitled

Blatant object and texture pop-in becomes an inescapable part of Spidey's urban crawl, with pedestrians, traffic, park trees and some other significant geometry flickering in and out of existence in a forty-foot bubble around you. Soar up high and featureless grey skyscrapers all start to blur together, whilst the framerate tanks faster than the 103rd Armoured Lightning Division. It feels like you're trying to play a modern PC game on a Windows 95 machine, and your ability to execute precision moves will be hampered as a result.

Having said that, it's still playable, and none of its technical struggles caused me any progression problems, so perhaps Beenox should be applauded for that, at least. When you find yourself saving a victim from muggers in a back alley, and the Vita is no longer rendering anything beyond a few graffiti-covered walls and hoodie-wearing thugs, things stabilise and almost become smooth, but then back up you swing and the pixelated PowerPoint presentation starts all over again. There were also a small handful of amusing glitches which, despite their impact on immersion, I always kinda enjoy. One of the city's numerous bits of busywork tasks Spidey with picking up sick civilians and carrying them to ad-hoc medical centres dotted around the map, but at a certain point all the tents, ambulances and doctors that comprise said centres just stopped loading for me. The objective icons were still there, though, and still worked, resulting in the unfortunate impression of our Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man being rewarded for dumping these poor people in an abandoned car park and leaving them to die alone. That's how you hero in New York!

***

Because too much needed to be cut anyway.

So yeah, the free-roaming map has all of its varied distractions present and correct. There are 700 comic book pages scattered about to collect, which you'll be prompted to snag as you pass by. Your allies will also alert you to points of interest, which include Oscorp Lab infiltrations to unlock new upgrades and abilities, photo journalist assignments, three different flavours of crimes to interrupt and two types of back-and-forth retrieval. It's plenty to be getting on with, just as you'd expect from a game of its ilk.

Untitled

And yet, despite some whispered claims to the contrary, this isn't the full home console experience; a lot still needed to be cut. A quick comparison of trophy data tells me that, as far as the core game is concerned, I'm missing a pair of boss battles tied to substantial side quests, as well as extra video challenges and races. And then there's the DLC, which had been steadily showing up on other platforms since June 2012 and got itself included on the disc when the Wii U came along. You'd think, after such a long delay, it'd all be part of the Vita version at no extra charge, but alas, think again. No sign of a playable Stan Lee here.

***

Because some design trends just don't work on handheld.

The Amazing Spider-Man is a game of two halves. When you're not trying to keep your sandbox tidy, you're locked into relatively lengthy, linear sections of cinematic stealth-action gameplay. These levels are often divided into sections by checkpoints or quick changes of scenery, but they can still take thirty to forty minutes a piece, especially when bookended by first-person cutscenes packed with exposition. Sometimes, you'll even find yourself leaving a particular building, satisfied with what you've accomplished and ready to roam, only to be pursued by a giant boss which immediately demands your attention.

The thing is, this kind of game design doesn't suit the pace of on-the-go gaming. Whether thanks to a train pulling into your station or a low battery notification, it's never ideal to interrupt a chapter of semi-decent storytelling mid-stride and come back to it hours later. I always play my handheld consoles in short bursts (no matter my actual location or schedule) and therefore found it jarring to keep picking up, putting down and picking up again something which I was supposed to be immersed in for hours at a time.

Untitled

The irony is that, in spite of the game's atrocious performance when Spidey is out and about, patrolling the mean streets of New York and checking optional objectives off of your to-do list makes for an absolutely ideal handheld gaming activity. You can spend a couple minutes breaking a police deadlock, or waste sixty of 'em rounding up every last detention facility escapee. It's the perfect gameplay template for those who enjoy the flexibility of a portable PlayStation, so I can at least understand why the attempt was made, irrespective of the results. Almost makes me feel sorry for any Spider-Man fan stuck on 3DS without a virtual city to carry around a real one (and yeah, I say "almost" because, thanks to that specific omission, their version of the game probably ran way better).

***

Because it was a waste of gimmicks.

Yeah, I know I complained when Killzone: Mercenary managed to shoehorn every single one of the Vita's party pieces into its campaign, but I also kinda respected it for doing so; being an exclusive, it had to be a showcase for the hardware, after all. The problem with porting a game from elsewhere is that there's a danger any sudden implementation of the touchscreen, camera or gyroscopic sensor is gonna seem obligatory at best, and could be annoyingly obtrusive at worst. Imagine my shock, then, when I realised that The Amazing Spider-Man was entirely devoid of such gimmickry... well, not quite entirely, but it might as well be. During the photo journalist assignments, you can aim Spidey's camera with motion controls, and focus its lens by pinching the front screen, but additional button inputs are readily available, too.

This might seem like a point in the game's favour, and I'd argue that it is, but I'd also argue that it betrays the Vita's awkward place in gaming history. Without spending extra to develop a bespoke Vita version, what unique selling point did the console offer these multi-platform titles? If you could replicate most of a PS3 game, and more people had a PS3 already anyway, why bother with both? Would customers really double-dip for the convenience of portability? From a business perspective, it's kinda doubtful, and it's not like the Vita's sales numbers were encouraging penny-pinching publishers to take the risk regardless.

***

All of the above was a lot of conjecture on my part; none of it should be taken as a serious, de facto answer as to why more AAA games weren't ported to PS Vita wholesale. We all know better than to expect licence-milking industry executives to be bothered by such trivial questions as "Is the game any good?" and "Does it run well?" but I found it an interesting thought experiment to write up after having played such a rare case study, and I hope you've found it equally interesting to read.

Untitled

The biggest problem is that, on balance, I reckon The Amazing Spider-Man is a good game. It separates itself from the movie by telling a conjectural follow-up story and, in a surprising example of licencing limitations actually being of benefit, isn't constrained by the expectation to authentically replicate any famous faces or voices; instead, Beenox simply adopts some of the aesthetics and backstory to put their own self-contained spin on a sandbox Spidey adventure. As much as I kinda liked The Amazing Spider-Man movie, I forgot all about it when playing this game, swinging around as giant killer robots rampaged through Central Park and mutated monsters mucked about in the sewers. The stealth mechanics are snappy, brawls use a competent copy of Rocksteady's counter-based combat system from Batman: Arkham Asylum, and some of the boss battles were appropriately epic.

And honestly, I don't even regret getting it for my Vita, as opposed to tracking down the (considerably cheaper) PS3 version. Not least because I can now caution any curious webhead who happens to be crawling past in preparation for a trip down memory lane.

Get the game. Enjoy the game.

Just do so on one of the platforms it was originally designed for.

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

mookysam

@RogerRoger Ouch, well done for suffering through The Amazing Spider-Man so we don't have to! It's a shame when a game is so ill-suited to a system, and doubly a shame because you note that it is a good game - but only if played on the PS3 or Xbox 360. I always thought it was strange when the Vita got ports of 3DS games (such as the LEGO titles), rather than ports of home console versions, but perhaps this proves a fascinating study as to why. If a publisher has to fund a third, bespoke version of a game for a system with a limited install base, the economics don't really make sense.

The Vita's issues were manifold, really. I adore the thing and still use it often, but I look at the types of games I play on it and realise that none of them particularly exploit its power or feature set. Game design "suited for handhelds" was something Nintendo perfected a long time ago, with a lot of companies wisely following suit, so for Beenox to think very long missions were a good idea here is a little odd.
In gaming generally there's nothing more frustrating than losing flow, whether it's a whopping great console RPG or a little handheld game. Stopping and starting through long sections of gameplay is a surefire way to irritate people, so it certainly sounds like Spider-Man would have benefitted from having smaller, more digestible missions.

I guess the idea that that the Vita was a portable PS3 was always a fallacy, with the system instead occupying an awkward, undefined midway point between the PS2 and PS3. It could occasionally handle bespoke home-console ports, but it needed time, care, and attention: all things that many publishers were unwilling to provide. And then if the game sold poorly it reinforced the decision not to bother. It's difficult to comprehend why there was such a massive delay compared to the other versions, as the ship must have well and truly sailed at that point, probably into an iceberg, but all I can think is that the Vita wasn't viewed as anywhere near a priority. It begs the question: why did Activison release this at all?

Fab read as always, and I do enjoy these more vicious pieces!

Black Lives Matter
Trans rights are human rights

Ralizah

@RogerRoger I like the format of this piece! It creates a unique rhythm that I liked, and engages the curiosity of the reader.

The Vita was a curious beast. Exclusives optimized for the hardware like Gravity Rush were genuinely impressive at the time, showing off visuals and game design that simply weren't possible on the 3DS. On the other hand, ports like this just sort of highlighted the gulf in specs between it and home consoles at the time. It sort of shares that in common with the Switch, where you'll go back and forth between: "I can't believe a game that looks like this is running on a portable console!" and "I... can't believe they tried to get a game that looks like this running on a portable console."

I take your point about it not being a particularly good game to play in short bursts, but I guess I just never really thought of my handhelds as systems to play in short bursts between other activities. I mean, they can be, and that's a massive part of the appeal, but, for me, the allure was always more about being liberated from the tether of a television. Being able to take a game anywhere with me makes it more intimate.

The actual open-worlding sounds... painful. It would probably have been better off as a higher-resolution, higher fps take on the 3DS version. Most games that released on both platforms were usually far better experiences on Vita (despite my open preference for Nintendo's handheld, there were a few games where I looked at the 3DS version of a game and thought: "Nah, I'm pulling out the Vita for this one").

Kudos for sticking with it, though! There is, perhaps, something to be gained from experiencing a wildly technically inferior version of a game that everyone else avoids. There can't have been very many people who played through the late Vita port of a licensed Spider-Man game. You're one of the few humans in this world who gets to carry the hidden knowledge of what such an experience is like firsthand: take pride in that unique suffering!

...

Great piece, as always. And the screenshots look... well, very illuminating. How'd you capture them?

Edited on by Ralizah

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@mookysam Thank you! Although thinking about it, my cautionary tale would only be of real use to the most determined of webheads, as the game (along with all of the Spidey games published by They Who Must Not Be Named) got de-listed a while back, and is difficult to track down as a result.

Yeah, it was the LEGO games I was primarily thinking about back there. Like I said, those weren't too much of a problem for me, because it meant I got two different versions of something I was looking forward to, and could play them back-to-back without fear of identical repetition. It's still odd, though, because the Vita was supposed to be capable of so much more, and it shines a light on some of Sony's marketing hype for the machine when you realise that, actually, it fared better when presenting lesser versions of a game well, rather than greater versions of a game badly. I do love my Vita, always have, but you're absolutely right about it being an "awkward, undefined midway point" of a console, bless its heart.

And yes, I think you've just identified one of the major reasons why the Vita wasn't more successful; its third-party library was either safe and underwhelming, or pushing the console's capability beyond its comfort zone, and neither approach sold well enough to justify continued investment and refinement. I mean, there are some brands that transcend quality and top the charts regardless, and Spidey's certainly one of 'em, so for him to arrive so late and fall so flat says it all, really.

Thanks again for reading, and glad you enjoyed some of my savage honesty!

***

@Ralizah My thanks! Yeah, I've reviewed a couple of open-world Spidey games before, and wanted to take a different approach this time, so I'm grateful for the feedback. Parts of it ended up being an analysis of the Vita itself more than anything, which I enjoyed thinking about.

Gravity Rush is on my "must replay this year" list because, whilst I remember really enjoying the experience, its details are hazy. It's gonna be interesting comparing the different approaches to making a game succeed on the Vita, rather than just trying to make it work. And yes, I've seen a lot of discussion drawing parallels between the Vita and the Switch (just before posting, I went back and edited one of the opening lines in the above, because I initially called the Vita "the most powerful handheld ever created" without acknowledging how the Switch has blurred the distinction in recent years). I guess The Amazing Spider-Man is kinda like the Vita's answer to The Witcher III on Switch, which I recall you reviewed a while back, astounded that the game even runs on the hardware at all, let alone how well (or badly).

That's a nice way of looking at handheld gaming. Honestly, despite it being true that I only play them in shorter bursts, I was trying to be a bit objective with that point, because I'm super-precious about my handhelds, and they never leave my apartment. I still think that it would've been better had Beenox broken up the long, linear story missions into smaller chunks, simply because it'd then be a matter of player choice to complete one, two or seven of 'em in a single session.

And, er... "pride", yes, let's use that word!

It's the flaw in my curiosity about such things; when I was reading about the game and realised it'd been ported to Vita, I was all, "How would that work? Would it even be playable?!" and watching clips on YouTube didn't answer every question I had, so in that instant it became inevitable that I'd end up playing it for myself someday. I've learned to surrender to such moments!

The Vita has a hidden screenshot function. You press the PS button and Start at the same time, and it takes a snapshot of the screen, saving it to the console's Photo app. There are then multiple ways to get them off the flippin' thing, and all of 'em are needlessly complicated, but it's doable. Let's just say that my PC's Vita screenshot folder will never be as extensive as my PS4 or PS5 ones!

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

@RogerRoger When the device a game is on ends up heavily influencing the experience, for better or worse, you kinda can't treat the software as if it's abstracted from the machine it's running on. Anyway, I'm a big fan of talking about games in terms of their historical context, which includes the devices that host them.

Haha, I saw that 'most powerful dedicated handheld line' and couldn't resist thinking: "Well, axtually, the Switch Lite is a dedicated handheld and is also way more powerful," but I get where you're coming from. A dedicated handheld that was only a dedicated handheld and not a budget revision of a device marketed as a home console by Nintendo. But yeah, one can recall the other easily, as both carried the flame of hosting home console-esque experiences on a handheld device.

Given it's Gravity Rush 2's fifth anniversary, I'm actually mulling over playing both games again on my PS4. I never fully beat Gravity Rush Remastered, and I'd love to get the platinum trophy for both games. As much as I love the series, I always felt a little betrayed that Sony moved development of the sequel over to the PS4, but now I'm just sad that it's gone and we'll never get another Japan Studio game again.

Oh, totally, I'm a big fan of 'portable-friendly' game design, even on home consoles. Certainly on any device that can be used away from the house, as some people really do use it as a way to pass the time on buses and such. Personally, I'm too self-conscious to play video games in public, but I've also always been a person who's borderline neurotic on that front with everything. It's become a running joke in my household that I must be 'hiding something' because I close my laptop when anyone's walking nearby and practically break out in a cold sweat any time someone asks to use a device of mine.

I've become a bigger fan over the years of playing games on... shall we say... sub-optimal platforms at times. Partially as a check on any tendency toward performance snobbery that might possess me, and also out of pure curiosity. Everyone knows Resident Evil 2 ran fine on a PS1, but how much more fascinating is it that the game was ported to the N64, despite the vastly different storage capabilities of that system's cartridges? Ditto with Witcher 3 on Switch, and Spider-Man and Resident Evil Revelations 2 on Vita.

I feel so stupid for asking. I literally have thousands of screenshots in my Vita's image gallery. I guess, since I just never bother exporting those pictures to my PC these days, I kinda... didn't think about the fact that you could do that.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah That's a good point. I also noticed that we have very few Vita reviews in this topic, so I figured it'd be helpful to talk a little about the console in conjunction with its games. I don't feel the need to give context about the PS4's capabilities, for example, because it's kind of a given that everybody here has one and knows what it can (and can't) do!

Darn, I forgot about the Switch Lite! [hangs head in shame] Although...

Ralizah wrote:

A dedicated handheld that was only a dedicated handheld and not a budget revision of a device marketed as a home console by Nintendo.

...thank you for effectively demonstrating that there's a limit to how specific you can make a description before it becomes too unwieldy!

I very nearly grabbed Gravity Rush Remastered instead of planning to replay the Vita original, but my desire to spend more time with my Vita this year stopped me (and yes, it stings that A: the Vita lost a great exclusive and then B: we lost Japan Studio entirely). That being said, if I have enough fun, I can totally see myself grabbing Gravity Rush 2 at some point, as I've never played it before. If you do end up giving them a second shot, I'd love to read your thoughts. No pressure, mind!

Same. I think I tried playing my PSP on a train once, but I got really self-conscious and uncomfortable, so didn't make much progress on... oh, it must've been a Star Wars game (because hi, I'm RogerRoger). I also don't like sharing my tech either, although I'm at a slight advantage given that I live alone. Nobody can see me fastidiously clean my Vita after every single session, even if I was only using it for ten minutes and didn't have to touch the screen. As a fan of cinematic games, I do appreciate longer sequences that hold my attention, but do agree that it's better when things can be broken up into smaller chunks, without shattering immersion. Life always seems to roll on around us regardless!

For me, there's an element of "Well, I've got all these consoles, so I might as well use 'em!" alongside that same curiosity you describe. With regards these third-party, multi-platform licenced games, I try to avoid duplicates of truly identical titles; it's one thing if you've got a PS3 game and its DS counterpart, because they're gonna have to be totally different gameplay experiences, but when you go from a late-gen PS2 game to its slightly-fuzzier-but-otherwise-identical PSP port I find that there's less to be learned, no matter how impressive some of the technicalities might be. But yeah, the bigger the difference in hardware, the more interesting some versions become. I had no idea Resident Evil 2 made it to the N64, for example! How'd they manage that?! Now I'm gonna have to look up a comparison on YouTube!

Don't feel stupid; because it's a hidden function, I always forget that the Vita can take screenshots, too. You can't export them to a PC any more, either, not unless you've still got the old media management proprietary program installed, and even then it might not work. I had to connect my Vita to my PS3, copy them over, and then use a USB to get them from my PS3 to my PC. Phew!

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

LtSarge

Mass Effect Andromeda (PS4) - Review

Untitled

The Mass Effect series is a Sci-Fi action RPG about exploring planets, befriending alien races and saving the universe from destruction. It’s an extremely beloved franchise, mainly thanks to its trilogy of titles where your choices matter and they carry over to the next game as well as a vast cast of memorable characters. However, today we’ll be looking at the series’ latest entry, Andromeda, which wasn’t received particularly well when it launched in 2017 due to many technical issues. The question is then, how well does this game hold up years later?

Untitled

Unlike the previous games, this one doesn’t take place in the Milky Way galaxy, but instead in Andromeda. The alien species of Milky Way have joined together to create a project called “The Initiative” where the purpose is to explore a new galaxy. You’ll be playing as Ryder, either male or female, who later on becomes the Pathfinder. The goal of the Pathfinder is to find new planets for The Initiative residents to settle on. When you arrive to Andromeda, you’ll learn that the trip has taken over 600 years, the majority of the residents are still in cryo-sleep and you’ve encountered a hostile alien race. On top of this, you’re forced to land on a planet which you thought was habitable based on prior research but apparently is not. Your job then is to find a way to fight back against this new alien species and restore the previously thought habitable planets to a better state.

The reasons behind leaving isn’t actually explained in the main story but instead through unlocking fragments of your AI companion’s memories as you progress through the game. As a Pathfinder, you have an AI implanted in you in order to perform tasks that a regular human isn’t able to do. That’s how you’ll be able to restore the planets as they all contain so called Remnant technology that is able to terraform the planets and the only way to access the technology is through your AI companion.

Throughout your journey, you’ll meet several characters that will join your team. To begin with, you have two human teammates, Liam and Cora, that were with you as you arrived in Andromeda. Later on you’ll befriend Vetra; a turian, Drack; a krogan, Peebee; an asari, and lastly Jaal; who’s an angara, one of the new alien species that you’ve discovered in this galaxy. Contrary to the previous games, you have a much smaller crew overall and besides your teammates, there are also Kallo and Suvi; the pilots, Gil; the engineer and Lexi; the doctor. Because of how small your crew is this time around, it’s been very easy forming strong bonds with them and at the end of the game, you’ve basically become a family.

Untitled

This is the one of the key improvements from the main trilogy that makes Andromeda stand out to me. The games used to constantly introduce new characters and that made it hard for me to become attached to everyone. Andromeda focuses on fewer characters and ultimately the results turns out much better. Add the fact that you can spend over 60 hours playing this game, doing epic story missions, memorable loyalty missions with your teammates and general side quests that genuinely felt meaningful, and you’ll be spending a lot of time getting to know your friends.

Untitled

This brings me to my next point, which is that this game does an outstanding job of feeding information to you about your teammates in a natural way. This mostly happens through chatter, which occurs when you’re out exploring planets in your Nomad vehicle or on your spaceship the Tempest. Your teammates will constantly have new things to talk about and as you pair them with other members, they will have different things to say. This aspect truly brings the game to life and makes for a more immersive experience.

Speaking of planets, another thing this game did a better job at compared to its predecessors was making huge open worlds that were more detailed and filled with meaningful things to do. That’s always been something the previous titles haven’t been able to achieve. After all, the series is all about exploring a galaxy with different planets, which gives you the expectation that there will be massive areas to explore. They tried doing this in the first Mass Effect, but the planets were mostly empty. That’s not the case at all in Andromeda and I can say that I absolutely loved exploring the open worlds in this game. As you progress through the story, you’ll discover planets with different biomes such as desert, ice, jungle and bog. You’ll be able to help out the inhabitants with various missions, clear our enemy bases, and ultimately restore the planets to a better state.

Untitled

One thing that’s impressed me is the game design. There are five primary planets that you’ll explore and at first you’d think they’ll all be massive in scope. The first two planets are, but then you get to the third one and you realise that it’s very small. So small that you don’t need a vehicle to traverse it, you can just walk around. That’s something that I appreciate as it’s such a breath of fresh air compared to sticking to a strict formula. Because the last two planets are also fairly large in size, so I was very glad to see that they made the third one small. And I’ve also noticed other great aspects of the game design. Throughout the game, you’ll be restoring the planet by connecting Remnant structures. At first you do this by solving Sudoku puzzles (which I absolutely adore!) but later on you don’t need to do anything other than activate them with the push of a button. In the final phase of restoring the planet, you’ll gain access to a Vault and here you’ll have to do different things each time in order to clear them. Again, I just like the fact that the game doesn’t follow a strict level of design of forcing you to do the same thing over and over. It kept my playthrough interesting from beginning to end.

Untitled

Subsequently, I just loved being a Pathfinder in this game compared to a Spectre in the previous ones. Each time you build a new outpost on a planet or rescuing an alien species, you'll be praised by your leaders. Because the work you're doing is actually meaningful: you're contributing to the survival of your people. That's why I find the missions and the side quests in this game to be more satisfying in general compared to the main trilogy. Getting constant praise in this game for all the work I've done as a Pathfinder just motivates me even more to keep playing.

Moving on to the gameplay side of things, once again, it’s a vast improvement compared to the predecessors. The series has always been a cover-based shooter with limited movement and that’s something that I didn’t really like. However, Andromeda has added the ability to jump, hover and dash, and those three things alone make the gameplay so much better. You’re allowed to move around more freely, which makes battles more dynamic. On top of this, you’re also able to hotkey three weapon abilities to the shoulder buttons. Since I decided to focus on a biotics build, I had powers such as singularity, shockwave and charge mapped and all of this combined made for some truly exhilarating battles, which I will demonstrate below:

Another thing worth mentioning is that this time around, you don’t choose a class from the beginning and stick with it until the end of the game, like in the previous titles. Instead, you have access to all of them at any time and depending on which areas you decide to spend your skill points on, you’ll increase the rank of that class, granting you more powerful stats. So as I previously mentioned, I went with a biotics build, which enabled me to level up the Adept class that specialises in biotics. At any time though I can switch to another one, for example Vanguard, and use it instead. In other words, you can focus on multiple classes and there’s even an option to switch classes during battles. This is a huge change for the series’ formula and a most welcoming one for people who want more choices in terms of combat styles.

In terms of music, the series really isn’t known for its soundtrack as there are barely any standout tracks to begin with. The only song I remember from the trilogy is the “Uncharted Worlds” theme that you hear when navigating the systems. There is a theme like it in Andromeda, but I didn’t find it as memorable.

One thing I’d like to close off with before the verdict is this game’s messaging. The most important thing this game teaches you throughout your playthrough is to respect and befriend all kinds of species (the real world analogy being the different human ethnicities). This was true of the original trilogy as well, but the fact that you arrive to a new galaxy together with other species and then discover a new species that’s already cautious of other ones due to a poor encounter with a previous one emphasises this aspect even more. As a human, we’re helping out other species we arrived with because we’re in this together, so it doesn’t matter what you look like or who you are. If an asari and a human are in danger, I wouldn’t simply choose to save the human just because I’m a human. Everyone is treated as an equal. And then showing the new species that not all species are bad shows that we can form strong bonds despite all the bad stuff that’s happened. I just love this game’s messaging, it teaches you this so naturally that it absolutely doesn’t feel forced and because you’re spending so much time with the game, it just grows on you. I feel like if there ever was a cure for racism, this game would be it. I’d just let those kinds of people play this game and see how their view of the world changes.

Untitled

So as an overall package, I found Mass Effect Andromeda to be the best game in the series. While I didn’t like the story as much as in Mass Effect 3, the game delivers much improved character interactions, more open worlds with lots of things to do in them and a massively improved gameplay system. It took me 66 hours to complete the story and the majority of the side quests. You could easily finish it in 20-30 hours, but I highly encourage you to spend more time with it. Because unlike the previous Mass Effect games, which would only take around 30 hours to complete, you can spend more time getting to know the characters better and the world around you in general. That has always been something I’ve wanted to do more of in the series, so I’m glad that Andromeda is much longer than its predecessors. Some games just get more appealing to play if they take a long time to complete (Persona, Trails of Cold Steel, Mass Effect and so on).

To round off this review, I’d like to show a clip of one of my favourite moments in this game and hopefully you’ll get a better idea for why I love it so much.

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

Th3solution

@LtSarge Nice review and appropriate since the EA Play is on sale, and I was considering subscribing to 3 months with the thought of trying to get through the Mass Effect trilogy again and maybe even finally try Andromeda.

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

————————

Forum Megapoll 2020 - Best Video Game Box Art: Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Special Edition

Ralizah

@LtSarge Outstanding write-up and screenshots! This is definitely one I've heard a few people say wasn't as bad as its reputation suggested for years now, so it's definitely going on my to-play list after I play through the remastered trilogy.

I guess the flipside of that is that ME Andromeda has been perpetually cheap for years, so finding a copy to add to my PS4 backlog shouldn't be difficult at all.

I'm glad to hear they spruced up the planet exploration with some variety. While the planet exploration was a cool idea in ME1, you're right that it always landed you on the same patch of samey wasteland with an enemy encampment to explore. They should have improved on this system in ME2, but instead they opted for the lame minigame where you scanned planets to collect resources.

Will absolutely be adding this to my eventual to-play list for when I clear through the remastered trilogy.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Bentleyma

@LtSarge Good review! Just the video of the bar fight alone makes me want to replay it!

Life is like a box of chocolates... I don't have a box of chocolates either.

PSN: Bentleyma-

RogerRoger

@LtSarge That's a cracking Mass Effect: Andromeda review up there! Great use of screenshots throughout, as well, and I enjoyed seeing your others over in the screenshot topic, too!

Glad to see your bond with your shipmates didn't wear thin, and that you've come away enamoured with the connections your Ryder forged with them. Andromeda has some amazing support characters who all faced an uphill struggle in the wake of an entire trilogy of favourites, so in my opinion they did an even better job making them so endearing so quickly. I also agree that the role of Pathfinder is more interesting than that of Spectre. Don't get me wrong, it was fun to be a free agent, zipping about and making galaxy-wide political decisions with a gun, but the complexities of the Pathfinder role are more fluid and open to interpretation. After all, you're the alien this time around, and colonialism is a tricky subject. I did feel some of the major choices were designed to generate artificial tension, but then I've always felt that about BioWare games; still, the one where you could either destroy the kett facility with all the angara inside or leave it standing to free them felt particularly stupid. Same with some of the romance options, which were equally frustrating for different reasons.

My only other problem with Andromeda is its soundtrack, which you also addressed. Outside of that gorgeous main menu theme, the whole thing felt generic and forgettable, or was just straight-up M.I.A. at times. I've come to expect better from John Paesano (although I gather it was a collaborative score, which'd make sense). It's funny that you should share the bar fight scene as a story highlight, because that's one I specifically felt could've used a bit more punch (pun semi-intended) so, back when I had more free time and no backlog to speak of, I played around with it in SHAREfactory to satisfy my nerdy curiosity.

You really got to grips with everything the gameplay had to offer, especially in terms of all those fancy combat abilities! That first clip is almost unrecognisable to me, as I'm one of those boring people who picks a pistol and stands way back, going for headshots. I don't think I've ever been a biotic in any Mass Effect game before, so I'm in awe of those who can warp around a battlefield, doing what you did there!

Anyway, like I said, excellent review and real glad you connected with Andromeda as much as you did, as it's criminally underrated and definitely overshadowed by its launch catastrophe. Calling it the best Mass Effect game is high praise indeed and, even if I don't personally agree with that sentiment, I can totally see where you're coming from! Fingers crossed for Mass Effect 4 now, eh?!

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

LtSarge

Apologies for the late replies everyone. I haven't been in the mood to talk about the game the last few days due to fatigue after having spent so many hours playing it as well as writing the review.

@Th3solution Thank you! I think you could probably play through the entire trilogy in three months for sure, so go for it! If you have the time to play Andromeda as well, then that's just icing on the cake!

@Ralizah Thanks! Yeah, in the back of my mind, I've always thought this was going to be a good game despite what others have said. Because the main complaints have always been about launch issues, but it's been five years since the game launched so surely they've polished it since then. And while I did encounter several bugs, the majority of my 60+ hours with the game was experienced without any issues. Some may not remember this, but even Mass Effect 2 had numerous bugs. I vividly remember getting stuck on one planet and not being able to progress, so I had to revert to a previous save file.

Keep in mind though that you're still scanning planets for XP, minerals and so on in Andromeda. But I rarely felt the need to do that. While I do want them to remove this aspect of the series in future entries, I think it's needed for the increased immersion, i.e. you're exploring many systems with planets in them.

But yeah, definitely give this game a go after you've finished the trilogy. Would love to hear other people's thoughts on it after giving it a proper try.

@Bentleyma Thank you! And yeah, I couldn't believe they actually had a scene like that in this game. It just made me love it even more!

@RogerRoger Thanks, I appreciate the kind words!

Yeah, it doesn't really make sense to want to kill everyone inside just to destroy the facility. After all, the whole goal is to defeat the kett, so what's the point in destroying the facility if they won't be around to use it? Saving the angara lives is more important. One choice though that made me feel bad was during the mission to save the salarian ark and you had to choose between Drack's scouts or the salarian Pathfinder. My reasoning was that this whole mission was about saving the salarians, so of course I was going to save every last one of them. I didn't even know Drack had scouts on board until the last minute. When I made my choice, he pretty much hated me for a while and even brought up how I chose the salarians when I did his loyalty mission (which was a nice attention to detail). But either way, I would've had either Drack or Kallo be mad at me depending on my choice, so it didn't really matter. Pick your poison and all that. But at least I got all the Pathfinders together (even if the salarians would've just appointed a new Pathfinder).

I actually really enjoyed romancing Peebee and seeing her character grow throughout my playthrough. Even though I don't know what it's like romancing the others, I get the feeling that she has one of the best character developments among your teammates. At first she was simply with us so that she could continue her research since we were looking into the Remnants anyway. Towards the end, she saw us as her family and she finally managed to open up to a close relationship with somebody else, even though she was afraid of letting somebody into her life again. It was just so nice seeing all of this develop during my playthrough.

Haha, that's a really good video and fitting music to that scene! I agree, the game desperately needed more music but I feel like that's true of the entire series anyway. Hopefully they'll focus more on this aspect in the next game!

Up until ME3, I've only used the Soldier class throughout the series because I preferred keeping the gameplay simple. However, by that point, I desperately needed some changes to combat and so I decided to give biotics a try. It was seriously so much fun, it's basically like having superpowers and I highly enjoyed using them in both ME3 and Andromeda. I can't imagine playing through Andromeda without biotics, it would've been so boring for me.

Something that I just now realised is, maybe I've been playing a lot of these games wrong by not choosing the "superpower class". Another series that comes to mind is Borderlands, which also has classes. I've also always used the soldier class there but after having played through the Mass Effect series, maybe the push I need to finally finish Borderlands 2 (as it's one of my New Years resolutions) is restarting it one last time and choosing the class with superpowers instead. You've definitely given me some things to contemplate on now after this discussion!

Edited on by LtSarge

LtSarge

RogerRoger

@LtSarge When I reached that decision regarding the kett facility, I literally yelled "Has nobody ever heard of a time bomb before?!" Just plant some charges around key structural supports, wait until everybody has been evacuated, and then detonate them. It's frustratingly simple!

That other choice you mention was handled much better, I agree, and there was value in going back and seeing how both paths played out. Like with everything, Andromeda got plenty right to balance out the stuff it got wrong, the romances being another case in point. I'm glad you found Peebee's romance well-written and packed with proper character development, and I've heard similarly good things about a few of the others, but unfortunately my choices had serious issues at launch, ones that either went ignored or got eventually fixed in updates that took far, far too long to arrive. I respect how difficult it must be to get such a detailed, multi-faceted game consistently right across the board, but it made me feel less important as a fan and gamer, which sucked. Anyway, I've ranted about it plenty before, so let's stay positive!

Seeing that you used to play the same way I do, and reading you rave about embracing the biotic abilities and their impact on the combat mechanics, makes me wonder whether I should try mixing things up in future playthroughs. I'd stop short of saying that I've played the games "wrong" (BioWare games are all about personal choice, after all) but I certainly haven't experienced everything they have to offer, thanks to my habit of repeating most decisions and sticking to "my" version of the game. I hope that Mass Effect 4 retains the basic gameplay feel from Andromeda, because it's one of the aspects of the game they nailed, for sure. In the meantime, best of luck with Borderlands 2 there!

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

RogerRoger

Untitled

Platform: PC, PS3, PS Vita (version played), Wii U and Xbox360
Release Date: October 2012

***

Developed by acclaimed British studio Criterion Games, Burnout Paradise is an open-world arcade street racer with an emphasis on freedom and social connectivity. Players can roam around in whichever vehicle they prefer, triggering a range of races and other events by approaching certain points of interest and performing a burnout. Victory can be achieved by driving well, but is guaranteed to the aggressive, as takedowns of fellow racers are rewarded. Across the fictional Paradise City, brightly-coloured billboards beg to be smashed, whilst driving through garages will instantly repair your car and refill its nitro. All the while, your stats are tracked and uploaded for other players to compare and compete with.

Oh, sorry, my bad. Got confused there for a second. Let me start over.

Developed by acclaimed British studio Criterion Games, Need for Speed: Most Wanted is an open-world arcade street racer with an emphasis on freedom and social connectivity. Players can roam around in whichever vehicle they prefer, triggering a range of races and other events by approaching certain points of interest and performing a burnout. Victory can be achieved by driving well, but is guaranteed to the aggressive, as takedowns of fellow racers are rewarded. Across the fictional Fairhaven City, brightly-coloured billboards beg to be smashed, whilst driving through garages will instantly repair your car and refill its nitro. All the while, your stats are tracked and uploaded for other players to compare and compete with.

Phew! Almost reviewed the wrong game there! Boy, that would've been embarrassing!

Untitled

Deliberate facetiousness aside, I suffered a permanent state of déjà vu during my eight-odd hours playing (and don't get me wrong, thoroughly enjoying) this second incarnation of the Most Wanted subtitle, but it really is just Burnout Paradise again, only this time with licenced cars and a soundtrack that's slightly less out-of-date. Considering that both games were released so close together, I'm genuinely surprised more wasn't done to give Most Wanted a unique personality of its own. I mean, there's an oft-overlooked truth in the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" but this just feels silly, particularly when you realise that EA, the publisher in both cases, was seemingly happy to risk diluting both brands by replicating the same experience so quickly and so blatantly. Then again, they're also the wheelbarrow of cash behind most annual sports games, so maybe I shouldn't scrutinise that point too closely.

Perhaps it's my fault for playing offline. Most Wanted places heavy emphasis on social integration, even moreso than its predecessor, and I imagine most of its fun would come from teaming up with friends, beating their records and working together to unlock all available cars. As it stands for solitary folk, driving around Fairhaven City in a bunch of beautiful polar bear assassins still feels wicked cool, but the lack of a story beyond "beat these ten other street racers and become the most infamous of them all" makes Most Wanted the kind of game you play until you've had your fill of it, rather than a journey with a definitive end point. I might've made it to the top of the Most Wanted list, but I only needed to drive 30% of the game's vehicles in order to do so, and yet I still feel qualified enough to write this review.

Untitled

To their credit, Criterion appear to have crafted all those cars to perfection. It might be an arcade racer, but each set of wheels handles exactly as you'd expect its real-world counterpart to handle. Switching from a graceful supercar to a twitchy hot hatch can be unexpectedly jarring the first time, and an effort has been made to represent a wide range of vehicle types, with pick-up trucks allowed to lumber around off-road tracks and the terrifying Ariel Atom spending most of its time on long, straight highways. None of the engine noises sounded recycled, either, with the Bugatti Veyron's distinctive voice preserved alongside various V6, V8 and V12 roars from the likes of Aston Martin, Chevrolet, Ford, Lamborghini and Porsche.

Rather than revel in their detail, however, you get these abstract little vignettes at the start of each event, some of which get properly weird (thankfully, they're skippable). Each make and model comes with a to-do list of five challenges; one easy, two medium and two hard. Completing these earns modifications for said vehicle, ranging from lighter bodywork to re-inflatable tyres, which you can apply anytime via the in-game EasyDrive menu, accessed via the D-Pad whilst out and about. You'll also earn SP (swap the S for an X and you'll get the idea) and, when you hit certain thresholds, you'll be invited to take on and takedown the next rung of the Most Wanted ladder. Rinse, repeat, roll credits.

The events themselves are as good as street racing can get, which naturally means they become bloody annoying after the sixth time of smashing into a slow-moving NPC SUV who just happened to be changing lanes (without indicating!) mere meters from the finish line. Circuit Races and Sprint Races will be your bread and butter, whilst Speed Runs task you with trying to maintain a high average speed on a point-to-point route, and Ambush Races want you to escape a police dragnet as quickly as possible, by any means necessary. Speaking of the police, they're already a presence during most of the events, intervening in races by setting up roadblocks and deploying spike traps (which is when those aforementioned re-inflatable tyres will come in handy) as well as chasing you down and attempting to PIT you. They're not the most persistent or direct of threats, but my kneejerk attempts to avoid them still resulted in a fair few crashes.

Untitled

Since I'm not super-comfortable with the vilification of law enforcement anyway, I focused on races which didn't immediately start with a high Heat level, and this allowed me to notice the outrageous rubber-banding employed by Criterion for... well, for whatever reason developers employ it. I can't think of a good one, so found myself getting frustrated more often than not, after my tactical efforts to hamper the progress of my fellow racers were rendered all for naught by a handful of teleporting map icons. It was also noticeable up close and personal; even a few feet in front of me, rivals would trundle along, happy to careen into walls and whatnot, but as soon as I overtook them, they became lightspeed examples of perfect precision. Grr.

Despite the game's obvious attempts to cheat me, I kept going, and my enthusiasm stayed strong enough to carry me to the most natural conclusion Most Wanted has for loners. This was partly thanks to the novelty factor (I don't play many racers) but also thanks to the Vita version's performance. Flying in the face of my previous conclusions regarding the console's multi-platform fate, Criterion clearly didn't consider catering to handheld fans beneath them, and ensured that this portable port launched alongside its big brothers in fine form. Some graphical flourish has been sacrificed in favour of a steady 30fps, and resolution blurring can make oncoming traffic tough to spot when travelling at breakneck speeds, but it's still pretty enough, and is always very, very playable. There's no object or texture pop-in, and lighting looks great throughout the map's steady day-night cycle. Loading times are brief, too, even when opting to jump to another car on the other side of the city. From a technical perspective, it's an unquestionable triumph on Vita, and doesn't leave me feeling like I've played some kind of "lesser" version.

Untitled

And that makes all the difference because, had I played this on PS3, I think I would've come away feeling a bit disappointed. It wouldn't have been doing anything new or interesting for me, and I would've felt like I'd wasted my time and money, because I've played Burnout Paradise. Twice, in fact. Had the PS3 original, traded it in, and then picked up the PS4 remaster a couple of years later. Sufficed to say, I'd done the whole "sandbox street racing" thing already.

But I'd never been able to do it away from my television before. Need for Speed: Most Wanted might only be Burnout Paradise all over again but, on Vita, it's a Burnout Paradise which you can carry around in your pocket and, in place of its own identity, that gives it real value.

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

@RogerRoger Great piece! A lot of people don't seem to understand the sentiment, but some games are just far more impressive experiences on handhelds vs home consoles, even when they're technically lesser experiences in terms of raw specs. There's just something exhilarating about playing a game away from the TV that didn't feel like it should have been possible. Particularly years back when the Vita was still alive and handheld gaming platforms still had dedicated libraries.

I've never played Burnout Paradise, so maybe this game would feel less samey to me. It's great to hear it performs well on Vita, though, and mostly holds up as a technical showcase on the system. I imagine that the game probably looks great shrunk down on a small OLED screen.

You've really been on a kick with these Vita games lately! There's an unfortunate lack of Vita reviews, so I'm actually a fan. Have any other games on the system lined up?

RogerRoger wrote:

in a bunch of beautiful polar bear assassins

Polar bear... assassins?

RogerRoger wrote:

Since I'm not super-comfortable with the vilification of law enforcement anyway

I get the sense 2020 would've been particularly rough for you if you'd been an American.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

Yeah, as much as I didn't necessarily need Most Wanted in my collection, given that I'd played Burnout Paradise twice before, its handheld status and impressive Vita performance really did make all the difference, in a way I might've dismissed before. Normally I'd opt for the home console version if given the choice, but my recent rediscovery of my Vita and my desire to broaden the types of games I have for it helped; that, and I kinda wanted something to prove my downbeat analysis of The Amazing Spider-Man wrong, as I felt bad for dunking on the Vita when it probably wasn't its fault. They're two very different games, and I'm sure Fairhaven City would look kinda rubbish if viewed from an elevated perspective all at once, but at least Criterion managed to prove that the hardware was at least capable of a like-for-like experience.

If you've never played Burnout Paradise before and like the sound of Most Wanted, then know that it's still available via the Vita's PS Store (for much cheaper than a physical copy fetches on eBay, since most physical Vita games have become overpriced collector's items nowadays) and that servers for its deep online integration are still running, provided you're prepared to open an EA Origin account.

The whole "polar bear assassins" thing was my esoteric way of briefly acknowledging the awful environmental impact such supercars have in reality, but was clearly way more esoteric than it needed to be. My apologies for any confusion!

Oh, and if I were American, I get the sense my view of law enforcement would be very different. I don't mean any offence by that, and shouldn't judge from a distance, but... well, yeah.

I'm gonna be taking a short break from my Vita, as I've neglected The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles for far too long, and I have another old Spidey game to play as well, but I should be back before long because I'm planning to replay Gravity Rush, Tearaway and Uncharted: Golden Abyss at some point this year, in order to fulfil one of my 2022 resolutions. Knowing me, unless something goes terribly wrong, I'll probably end up writing reviews for each of 'em, so watch this space!

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

RogerRoger wrote:

Yeah, as much as I didn't necessarily need Most Wanted in my collection, given that I'd played Burnout Paradise twice before, its handheld status and impressive Vita performance really did make all the difference, in a way I might've dismissed before. Normally I'd opt for the home console version if given the choice, but my recent rediscovery of my Vita and my desire to broaden the types of games I have for it helped; that, and I kinda wanted something to prove my downbeat analysis of The Amazing Spider-Man wrong, as I felt bad for dunking on the Vita when it probably wasn't its fault. They're two very different games, and I'm sure Fairhaven City would look kinda rubbish if viewed from an elevated perspective all at once, but at least Criterion managed to prove that the hardware was at least capable of a like-for-like experience.

Handheld consoles can really be made to sing, but they usually require a decent amount of effort and optimization when it comes to home console ports. A big reason you stopped seeing that as much with a lot of Vita ports, IMO, is because the culture of multi-platform game development that became standard during the seventh gen made developers less eager to create bespoke ports of their games.

RogerRoger wrote:

If you've never played Burnout Paradise before and like the sound of Most Wanted, then know that it's still available via the Vita's PS Store (for much cheaper than a physical copy fetches on eBay, since most physical Vita games have become overpriced collector's items nowadays) and that servers for its deep online integration are still running, provided you're prepared to open an EA Origin account.

I gotta say, I really wish I'd gone physical with the Vita! It was just so tempting to d/l games on it, though.

I guess the good thing is that, now that I've hacked my Vita, I can use a MicroSD card to expand my storage and have my entire library on the console all the time.

RogerRoger wrote:

Oh, and if I were American, I get the sense my view of law enforcement would be very different. I don't mean any offence by that, and shouldn't judge from a distance, but... well, yeah.

Fair enough. Like virtually every other social and political institution in this country, the way law enforcement is handled is in need of drastic reform that it won't get for generations, if ever.

RogerRoger wrote:

I'm gonna be taking a short break from my Vita, as I've neglected The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles for far too long, and I have another old Spidey game to play as well, but I should be back before long because I'm planning to replay Gravity Rush, Tearaway and Uncharted: Golden Abyss at some point this year, in order to fulfil one of my 2022 resolutions. Knowing me, unless something goes terribly wrong, I'll probably end up writing reviews for each of 'em, so watch this space!

I recall you started TGAA1, and got at least two cases in, I believe?

You know, I don't think I ever realized just how many Spider-Man games there were out there.

I loved Gravity Rush, liked Golden Abyss, and wanted to like (but really, really didn't) Tearaway, so it'll be interesting to get your perspective on those games.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

RogerRoger

@Ralizah That's absolutely true. Not to mention the vast install base for Nintendo's family of DS and 3DS consoles, which made bespoke versions or ports a surer bet (and then you had the unique design of those consoles as well, meaning developers often had to start from scratch and think differently anyway). With the Vita, since it was technically capable of hosting a straightforward, somewhat downgraded port of a PS360 game, I think the demand for innovation and attention was definitely lacking.

Yeah, I don't mean for this to come across like a boast, but I'm real proud of my physical Vita games. It's not my biggest collection, but it's one I think of incredibly fondly.

Untitled

I've got a couple of digital downloads as well (relatively small stuff, like Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock, CounterSpy, Grim Fandango Remastered and Super Star Wars, as well as a handful of PSP games I double-dipped out of curiosity) but, because I haven't tinkered with the hardware, I'm within arm's length of my 14Gb memory card's limit. All this talk of turning off the Vita's PS Store makes me nervous to start deleting things, otherwise I might've been tempted by the Sly Cooper series, as well as tactical shooter Unit 13. Then I really would have everything for the console that I'd ever been even mildly curious about, albeit not all accessible at once. Despite your regret regarding physical games, it must be real nice (and convenient) to have such an extensive library at your fingertips! From what I understand, the Vita's raw power can become real special when hacked and modified.

Our public services share that same need for drastic reform, but the dynamic (and therefore the debate) is slightly different because we don't weaponise our police. There is an element of "we only ever hear about the bad apples" which can overshadow the genuine day-to-day heroism of law enforcement, but that's the price you pay for a free press, and it's a price worth paying to keep it that way. Anyway, that's a weighty and delicate conversation for another time, place and topic, methinks!

I actually managed to finish the third case in Adventures, so I presume that I'll be returning to the charred remains of a stagecoach, to figure out who was trapped within. Might be sooner than I'd expected, as well, as this Spidey game seems quite short. If you start counting from his famous PSone adventure in 2000, Spider-Man has headlined seventeen games, and many of them boasted bespoke handheld versions, too. I thought I could be selective, but there's something I find addictively comforting about (almost) all of 'em, so I've surrendered to the idea that I'll end up playing the lot.

Your reaction to Gravity Rush doesn't surprise me, but that's real interesting (and unfortunate) to hear you disliked Tearaway so much! Thanks for continuing to read and reply to my reviews, and I'm glad you're interested in more. I'll try and pull out all the stops for future Vita pieces, then!

"We want different things, Crosshair. That doesn't mean that we have to be enemies."

PSN: GDS_2421
Making It So Since 1987

Ralizah

@RogerRoger I do think we've arrived at the point where most companies simply wouldn't develop much for something like the NDS if it was around today. You saw that shift with the 3DS, frankly. While it had a pretty massive library of amazing exclusives, the sheer scope of its software lineup was still pretty vastly reduced from the NDS before it, and the biggest reason for that is that NDS launched before the seventh gen took off, and 3DS arrived at the tail end of that generation.

And, you're right, the Vita being a pretty beefy handheld at the time would've tempted companies to do as little as possible to adapt their games to the hardware. This is probably the biggest way in which the "portable PS3" reputation it had worked against it.

My regret is most born out of the loss of the resell value for those games. In terms of user-friendliness, digital is a million times easier on Vita. I went with one of those insanely expensive 32GB cards when I first got the system, and then, a year or two ago, hacked the system, installed custom firmware, and replaced it with a 400GB MicroSD card. Lemme tell you: you'll never, ever run out of space with one of those. The sheer amount of stuff you can do on a hacked unit is pretty astonishing, honestly, even if you don't delve into the obviously illegal piracy side of the equation. The biggest appeal to me, for example, was that I was able to complement all of the PS Classics I bought on PSN with rips of my own PS1 collection, turning the Vita into a true portable PS1.

I actually do own 5 or so physical Vita games, tbf. It's obviously not as nice as your collection, though, which you clearly love deeply.

The third case in Adventures is probably a top five case for me in the entire series. It actually went to places that I was a little disappointed Farewell, My Turnabout in the second game shied away from, and was incredibly memorable as a result.

Yeah, it'd be fitting for you to own Spider-Man's entire video game career, I think.

I expected to enjoy Tearaway a lot, honestly, so I was a little floored by how boring I ended up finding it. Pity, too, since it's a great showpiece for the system's capabilities.

Ralizah

PSN: Ralizah

Please login or sign up to reply to this topic