The term “video games” is a funny old phase. Personally, the staff here at Power Up Gaming prefer to call them “interactive computer processes”. We also prefer the taste of Pepsi Max to Coke Zero, but we’re universally renowned for our odd tastes. Regardless, here are our experiences with interactive computer processes from the last seven days.
I’m not shy to admit that sometimes I will download some truly awful games from the App store. This week I downloaded probably the worst game, and biggest rip off I have ever encountered. Being a massive fan of Mean Girls, I wanted to try out the Mean Girls: Senior Year ‘Episodes’ game. I don’t even want to call this a game because it was absolute tripe. You go through choosing your responses to the storyline, dressing up your avatar etc. but there comes a point in Episodes where you have to purchase the bonus currency ,otherwise you just cannot get the good outcomes. For example, if I wanted to get more popular at school for the election, I had to go on a date with Micah – which was going to cost me 15 stars. The game gives you 5 at the start and there are no ways to gain any more from completing levels. Not to mention the ticket pass cooldown. It takes 4 hours to get one pass, and they cap at 2. So you have to wait 8 hours to play 2 episodes. It’s awful. I’m ashamed of myself for even talking about it here, and so with that said let’s move on.
I’ve also been playing Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward this week. I re-subbed to the game after about 4 months of break. I always do this, take a huge break and then come back shocked that there have been updates and that I’m so far behind with my gear/levels/story. I’m a filthy casual who will binge play it for a couple of months until the current sub runs out and then leave it for about the same length of time. That said, this is still a super fun game to play, and constant updates means that there is always something to do, that there’s always new content to clear, new things to gather, new craft recipes, occasionally some new classes and jobs to level, and more gear to grind your ass off for. I’ve been enjoying it, and look forward to running my sub out, then leaving it to gather dust again soon!
This week I have been trying out the Beta for Grand Kingdom, a tactical JRPG for the PS4. If you like turn-based games, this game has that in spades. The battles are turn-based, moving around the map is turn-based, the whole damn system is turn-based! That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as moving from one objective to another requires a certain amount of strategy. To reach your objective on the map you have a certain number of action points, and once these run out, your party is too tired to continue. Getting into fights also takes action points, so you can’t just grind endlessly and you’re forced to choose your battles carefully. In this aspect, Grand Kingdom looks quite promising, but here’s hoping they do something about the frustrating dialogue before the full release in June.
In other news, it seems that someone mentions Rocket League every week on this article, and this week it’s my turn. I tried out the Hoops DLC, but after being so used to aiming my shots at the floor, I can’t angle my shots high enough to slot them in the hoop. I love the idea, and kudos to Psyonix for supporting this game and giving out free DLC for their game almost a year later, but I quickly went back to standard 3v3 maps and found myself in my element once more. It’s still a great game to dip back into, and I’m sure it will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
My week in video games can best be summed up by one word: failure. Repeated failure, I might add.
This week, I dipped my rosy cheeks right between the buttocks of one of the PS4’s most unassumingly soul-crushing titles, Galak-Z: The Dimensional. Like a formidable siren, Galak-Z will lull you starry eyed with its impeccable visual front, only to promptly pulverise you under the pressure of its crushing difficultly level.
The assorted space-nasties that lie in wait for you are each helmed by a relentlessly intelligent enemy AI system. They’re quick, they learn and they will consistently outmanoeuvre you. Fortunately, it’s hard to hate Galak-Z for long. Galak-Z also happens to be a heartfelt obituary to all the childhoods lost to a diet of anime and arcade cabinets. When I look at Galak-Z, I feel totally spoilt. 17-BIT have successfully and consistently collated a veritable feast for the eyes. Whether it’s the VCR-styled pause screen, beautiful hand-drawn artwork, cheese-stuffed dialogue or the ever-present action-cam that is centred on our protagonist, Galak-Z never fails to give me something to smile about. The attention to detail is relentlessly satisfying.
When it comes to games, nothing turns me off like an absurdly punishing difficulty level. But, when it comes to Galak-Z, I just can’t help coming back again and again for my next serving of failure.
I started playing Bioshock: Infinite on Tuesday. Yeah, I know I’m late, but it’s not entirely my fault. I bought the game years ago when it went on sale, but after the first 10 minutes of playing, my head started to hurt. At the time, my PC didn’t have the best components, so I figured I would need to upgrade before playing it again. Tuesday, I researched it and figured out how to tweak the Field of View of the game. Once I did that, it was way better, and now I’m loving the game.
For the past 5 months, I’ve really been trying to improve my FPS skills, working on my aim, and challenging myself to be stealthy when it counts instead of just running in like Duke Nukem all the time. Bioshock: Infinite really urges the player to “take time to smell the roses”. This is NOT a game you rush through. During the first few gunfights, I found myself reverting back to old habits, emptying the magazine of my Broadsider pistol within seconds, and dying soon after. Death was constant, but also enlightening. Eventually, I realized that this game encourages you to think before you just start shooting, and after awhile, I started making smarter decisions. For instance, if the gunfight took place in a wide open area, I dropped the shotgun and grabbed the Huntsman Carbine. While extremely powerful, the shotgun simply didn’t have the range I needed, forcing me to once again get up close and personal. With the Carbine equipped, kneeling behind cover and aiming down the sites, I strategically picked off my targets, conserving ammo and health. This, in conjunction with using the right Vigors at the right time, made the game a lot more interesting.
This game touches on everything from race, to religion, to politics, and it does so unbelievably well. The script places you in a time period of racial segregation, social unrest, and political tyranny. The depth and symbolism of the characters is undeniably intelligent and well-written. I seriously applaud the writers, and once I beat it, it’s getting an immediate 2nd run-through.
So it’s back to Total War: Rome II for me this week. After my repeated failed campaigns as the Germanic Marcomanni barbarians, I decided to get away from it all. I went somewhere I could think without having to fend off attacks from four directions at once. I went British.
My plucky Iceni tribe made short work of their neighbours, but convincing any of them to join me without simply rolling over them (earning me the snazzy title of British Confederation) proved a real chore. After my armies had killed all their soldiers and sacked their only settlement a few times, the last free cities of the British Isles finally relented. But of course, this being Total War, that was only the beginning.
My approach this time has been uncharacteristically diplomatic, aforementioned pillaging notwithstanding. I’m actually allied with one of the Roman factions and their client states, instead of trying to fight the whole world. While I have little to fear from enemies at the moment, it may end up being civil mismanagement that does my confederation in once and for all. Some overambitious building on my part without enough fishing and farmland led to a sudden and severe dearth of food across the entire empire, which in the space of just a few turns led to massive unrest and whittled my finest armies down to almost nothing. Mercifully, nobody have the means or vision to attack while we were so weakened, and so the British invasion can resume once we’ve all filled up on tea and biscuits.