Get Ready to Fly…

Last night I managed a couple of hours on Midway’s 2008 wrestling game, TNA: Impact! on the Xbox 360. I was hoping to write a blog about my experiences today, but unfortunately work and life have got in the way and so I’ll only have time to share a couple of things which stood out for me.

The first is non gaming related and is the fact that the game has reminded me just how good TNA was back in 2008 and how, at the time, they were being touted as a genuine threat to WWE, (although probably never a serious threat, but nethertheless a solid no. 2 company. *sniggers* no. 2.).

I mean, just look at the roster:

Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Booker T, Sting, Scott Steiner, Jay Lethal, Motor City Machine Guns, James Storm, Robert Roode, Eric Young, LAX, Christian Cage, Team 3-D

This roster contains Hall of Famers, (WWE, not TNA’s tin pot version), World Champions and some of the greatest wrestlers of all time. What a line up!

In the words of AJ Styles – phenomenal!

Secondly, the game cheats. By match 4 of the storyline, despite consistently delivering more power hits, counters, power moves, kicks and so on, I lost each and every time I tried. It did not help that when I was pinned, the 3 count was quicker than Earl Hebner’s count for the Montreal Screwjob on red bull and that when I was pinning my opponent, it was slower than the download time for Gears of War 4 using a 3G dongle.

Lastly, there was a funny, blink and you miss it moment. One of the headlines in a newspaper article read:

“LAX arrested at Los Angeles Airport for Copyright Infringement”

Brilliant! I did have a little chuckle at that, but alas, it was probably the only thing I enjoyed about the game. But more on that later…

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Rasslin’ Games

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Generic non-WWE Photo so I don’t get sued for large sums of money by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

This Sunday is Wrestlemania, which means a couple of things.  Firstly, I’ve had to book Monday off work as due to being based in the UK, it does not finish until around 5.30am and for some strange reason, my company objects to me turning up smelling of stale lager, covered in Cheetos and wearing spandex, (I’ll never get the hang of this working malarkey!).

And lastly, gaming takes a back seat as I frantically try to catch up on the Raw and Smackdown Live! episodes which have been slowly filling up the Sky+ box since the Royal Rumble in January.

Or at least it usually takes a back seat; this year, I thought I’d try something different.

Despite being an avid fan of the old rasslin’, I’ve never really played any wrestling games.  I have an early memory of playing WWF Superstars back in the early 90s and frantically mashing the buttons in an attempt to perform a leg drop, (this was back in the day when a leg drop was a finisher; how times have changed!), but usually managing to getting my self suplexed and pinned to a count of 3 each and every time.

I also have a vague memory of playing TNA: Impact! on the XBox 360, in which you play the role of up and coming wrestler, Suicide, (a made up character at the time, but then would  go on to become an actual character in TNA), who would start in the indys and then work his way up to the main roster of TNA, (which today would actually be a demotion from the indys!).

I must have become desensitised to the name ‘Suicide’ as I’ve just realised that it’s probably a bit inappropriate as a character name in a game, designed with all ages in mind!  Thankfully ‘Overdose’, ‘Hose from Exhaust’ and ‘Toaster in Bath’ never quite made it into the game.

Recently I also got a wrestling game as part of Nintendo Switch Online called, imaginatively, ‘Pro Wrestling’, in which you mash the buttons solidly for 30 seconds and get beaten, (or at least that’s how I think it’s played).

I think I’ve even got a Raw vs Smackdown on the Wii, but I’ve never managed to play it as it’s wrapped up in this cellophane thing and is about no. 159 on my list of games to play.

But all this got me thinking; what better way to build up towards this weekend’s Wrestlemania, than to play a few of the old Wrestling games?

And so that’s my plan this week, dig out some old wrestling games, give them a blast and share my tales of launching joypads!

Oh it’s real!  It’s damn real!

 

I’m Your Venus

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Venus is here somewhere, I think… Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Pexels.com

Happy Monday and welcome to Launches Joypad, not so much a review blog anymore, but the everyday ramblings of a gamer short on fuse, short on talent.  Like my tagline says; so I actually didn’t need to write this bit; oh well, on with the blog!

And so yet another weekend flies by and we’re staring down the barrel of Monday who currently has me up against the wall demanding my dinner money and making me eat my own pencils.  Unfortunately due to the sunny weather and a patio dirtier than a drunk Rugby player’s joke telling, I spent most of the weekend with Mr. Karcher rather than gaming.

Still, Friday night I did manage to squeeze in some more Assassins Creed: Origins and I have to say I’m absolutely loving this return to form game from Ubisoft.  The stealth element seems to have taken a back seat and replaced with a more RPG, combat style of gameplay.

This probably annoyed the AC purists, but for someone like me who is absolutely dog dirt at stealth games, this was a welcome relief.

All too often I’d try to sneak around in earlier AC games only to knock over a vase or tread on a cat and alert every single guard in a 100 miles radius to my presence.  Arse handed to me, joypad launched, start the whole mission again.  And again.  And again.

However, whilst the gameplay suits me, there is another problem that does seem to come with all AAA games these days:

TIME!

According to my Xbox profile, I’ve played the game for 25hrs 25mins and I’ve opened up about one-third of the map!

The game is big, really big, in fact I think I could probably build a time machine, travel back to ancient Egypt and help build the pyramids in the time it’s going to take me to actually complete this game!

So I’ve decided to move to Venus.  It may have an average temperature of 462C, which is a bit sticky, I grant you, (and reminds me, I must pack my shorts), but it does benefit from the fact that one day equals 243 Earth days.

With a bit of luck, after moving to Venus, I should be able to finish this game within a month.  Maybe 2…

 

Is This Thing Still On?

when will you return signage
Photo by P C on Pexels.com

Testing testing, 1,2,3.

So it’s been around 6 months since my last blog and that’s not entirely been by accident.  I got to a point last year when writing a blog seemed like a chore and the amount of time I wasted trying to write a review, would be better spent actually playing the darn game I was reviewing.

So I thought I’d take a time out, truth be told, I wasn’t blogging regularly anyway and I was still struggling to find an identity for this blog.  I couldn’t agree on a theme, subject or context and the whole thing, to be frank, was as disappointing as Fallout 76, (and whilst I’m here, I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so!  The stink from that game will take several brillo pads and bleach sessions to get rid of!).

So here we are today and whilst I’m still unsure what to write about, I do know one thing I will try to avoid from now on.

Straight reviews!

So many bloggers already do this and are absolutely brilliant, knowledgable and interesting and I simply can not compete with that.  In fact, I tried to do that and I got to the point where I was boring myself, let alone the reader and I spent so long worrying about the content, I forget to do the most important thing.

Enjoy playing the damn game!

So for 6 months I’ve been struggling with what actually this should be and it turns out, the answer has been staring me in the face from day 1.

My tagline has always been, “The everyday ramblings of a gamer short on fuse, short on talent.”, and that’s it, that’s exactly what my blog should be.

And so it’s time to start blogging again, but this time it’ll just be my incoherent mumblings over a game I’m rubbish at and which will probably make me want to launch my joypad!

The weekend is fast upon us and Assassin’s Creed: Origins awaits me.  Let’s do this!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

The new update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection has landed and it’s a whopping 73GB, (yowser!). If you’ve got a broadband speed as slow as mine, then I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to playing this in the spring. Those who only have a 500GB HDD will also have to make the agonising decision about which game to delete to make room, (bye bye Dead Rising 4).

So after the mammoth update and after 2 hours of Halo CE gameplay, here’s 5 things that I’ve learned so far from the 73GB Update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

No.5: I didn’t have to delete Dead Rising 4 after all

It turns out that once the download hits around the 5% mark, you can go to the main menu and then select which updates you wish to download. So if Halo 3 is your bag, then no need to download Halos 1 thru 4, just select Halo 3 and off you go, (well, off you go after another 1hr or so of updates!). What a great idea and I hope that other studios latch onto this and offer a ‘partial’ download rather than having to download the entire before play can begin, (I’m looking at you Gears Of War 4 and all 100GB. No you’re not ‘Ready to Play’ after downloading 20GB, you really, really are not).

No.4: OMG look at that 4K goodness

The original collection and the updated graphics, lights and textures for Halo CE already looked really good, after the update they look jaw droppingly beautiful. OK so for the cut scenes not a lot of work seems to have been done, but there are noticeable higher details in, for example, the cloth of the uniforms. It’s when you start playing the game that you notice that the already bright colours, now require sun glasses, the detail on the grunts are amazing, (if you’re unfamiliar to the series, these are creatures, not farts) and the motion feels silky smooth. For me, an already stunning looking game has got even better.

No. 3: I still keep flipping between original game and updated game

I can’t help it, it’s a habit, I really enjoy seeing how the game used to look on the original Xbox version compared to how it looks today. I wish more remastered games would do this as it is genuinely interesting to see how far games have come in 15+ years.

No. 2: So far load times are still slow

One of the promises from the update was that load times would improve. Now looking in more detail I think this is in relation to Multiplayer, not Single Player campaigns, (I don’t do multiplayer, so I can’t say if that’s improved or not). For what it’s worth, load times between chapters in Single Player campaign still feels very slow and a cup of tea can easily be made in between. Sometimes there’s even time to bake some biscuits to go with it.

No. 1: It doesn’t make you a better player

Sorry, but if you’re a bit crap at FPS like me, then the update has not brought anything to the table to make you better!

I’m being harsh on myself, I’m normally OK if you can squeeze the left trigger and aim a bit, but Halo does not support this and I always forget and end up wasting a grenade! I’ve never really got whether headshots make any difference or not as I still seem to go through rounds and rounds of ammo before dispatching a grunt, (again, I don’t mean farting!). But that’s OK, because with a game looking so beautiful, easy to pick up and genuinely exciting, getting my arse kicked by The Covenant is a small price to pay.

If you’ve got the room on you HDD and enjoyed Halo: The Master Chief Collection, then I recommend downloading the update, you won’t be disappointed.

Infamous: Second Son

Infamous

The game which has launched my Joypad this week is Sucker Punch’s 2014 PS4 exclusive, Infamous: Second Son. I seem to remember this was a launch day game as well, but I opted for Watchdogs instead. In hindsight that was a mistake for 2 reasons, 1) It got delayed and did not release at launch, meaning I had no game to play on launch day, (I would just like to say thanks to Ubisoft for this and I really enjoyed looking at my £350 piece of plastic). 2) It sucked balls.

So after a 4 year wait, I finally managed to get my mitts on the game and the best part is, thanks to Sony PS Plus free games last September, is was free (I love you Sony and want to give you a big kiss). But was it worth the wait?

Infamous is set in a world in which some humans have started to gain special powers, (and are known as Conduits. I had the conduits once, but thankfully it cleared up after a few days), the protagonist, Delsin Rowe, has the ability to take on the special power of any Conduit he touches. Think Peter Petrelli from Heroes, but with a less wonky mouth.

Not everyone is happy about this, least all the Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P.) whose aim is to imprison the Conduits and to keep them out of society. The main b’stard is a Conduit called Augustine who has the ability to make concrete, (out of thin air I mean, I’m not suggesting she carries some cement, sand, gravel, water and a mixer around with her. That’s not a special power, that’s a small building company).

Set mainly in Seattle, you follow Delsin, learn new powers, wrestle control of the city from the D.U.P. and ultimately confront Augustine.

The game itself is visually stunning. It’s hard to believe this is a 4 year old game and the colours, textures and details are all of a high quality. Both the powers and the city contain a lot of neon colours and they look beautiful, kind of like an explosion in a Skittles factory. When it rains, you find yourself transfixed at the water textures and the level of detail going into the water droplets and puddles, (this is definitely due to the high quality of the detail and not that chocolate brownie I brought back from that café in Amsterdam). The city itself feels populated, vibrant and alive.

The gameplay actually feels a lot like Saints Row IV. The running at high speed, climbing and jumping over buildings and constant battles with alien like creatures is very similar to the adventure in Stillwater and way more fun than Gat Out of Hell, (but to be fair, watching already dried paint not dry, is way more fun than Gat Out of Hell). It also has a smattering of Jet Set Radio / Sunset Overdrive to it, but Infamous definitely feels like a solid game in it’s own right and not a poor copy of these other classics.

If I have one criticism, it all gets a little bit repetitive. As you clear the city district by district, the battles are the same, the side missions are all similar and there is a distinct feeling of deja-vu. That combined with a distinct feeling of deja-vu and it can get a bit monotonous.

That being said, the boss battles can be challenging and do keep you invested in the game, although once you learn the ‘key’ to defeating the bosses, this can become a bit easy.

Overall though, this is a fun game that does not take itself too seriously and looks stunning. Well worth the price tag of free! If you were lucky enough to put this in your library back in September last year, but have not got round to playing it, then I recommend doing so as it’ll keep you entertained for a few hours and is not too taxing.

Also it’s one of those games where a 100% completion is very possible and in less than 20 hours of game time. So far GTA IV is my only 100% completed game, (and I swear, if I see another pigeon..), am I about to finish my 2nd? Stay tuned!

I’m Melting!

The UK earlier this morning

At the moment in the UK it’s hot, really hot, McDonald’s Apple Pie filling hot and it’s been like this for several weeks now. As I write this, we have gone 54 days without any significant rain and this week the temp has not got below 30C during the week and 20C at night. Outlook for the rest of the week? Hotter with a significant chance of Colin resembling the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.

So why am I boring you with a weather update? I suspect some of you who live outside of the UK regard 30C as a pleasant spring morning and may be wondering what all the fuss about. Well unfortunately we are just not built to survive these sorts of temperatures for a prolonged period. We are used to drizzle with a fresh northerly wind, max temp 18C. Anything hotter and we stop functioning and that is what has happened to me.

When the simple action of picking up a remote, switching on the TV, picking up a joypad, switching on a console and choosing a game to play, results in melting like a nazi from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, you know it’s probably a better idea to go outside in a vain effort to cool down. Unfortunately there’s an awful lot of beer gardens out there…

So this is more of an update as to why I’ve not been blogging recently. I have struggled to ‘launch’ launches joypad, but so far that’s been due to being indecisive and trying to work out how I want to approach it.

However, for now I’m struggling to leave the beer garden and as it’s my round next, I’ll probably stay for a bit longer…

* hic *