Tag Archives: PlayStation

Amplitude Review

Let me tell you a story about how addictive Amplitude is: The first time I played my plan was to make it through the tutorial and the first level before turning it off as my girlfriend and I were going to watch The Green Mile that night. I ended up playing “one more level” until 2am, well after she had decided to go to bed. I still haven’t seen The Green Mile, and I am a terrible boyfriend, but I got some pretty sweet scores on Amplitude. Swings and roundabouts.

Amplitude is just pure, addictive fun.

Amplitude comes from Harmonix, those guys that had everybody and their Mum jumping around the living room clicking and clacking on the insanely popular ‘Baby’s First Guitar’ in the 2000s. Now imagine that, but instead of playing the notes on a guitar, you’re shooting them from a spaceship. Hopefully this doesn’t make everyone think they’re a good pilot or something.

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A reboot (if you can call it that) of the original FreQuency/Amplitude games on the PS2, this new version of Amplitude has been given a fresh lick of paint for the current generation PlayStation, and that’s pretty much it. It’s very much the same game from 13 years ago, and that’s not a bad thing. The controls are responsive and the gameplay is satisfyingly rewarding, especially on the fast paced higher difficulties. Each song has multiple lanes representing each instrument, and you have to jump between them and keep as many instruments playing for as long as you can. Since getting the game I haven’t really been able to put it down, and I’ve noticed myself making significant progress through songs I couldn’t dream about finishing a few days ago. Kind of like getting better at an instrument. There have been a few times I’ve said aloud to myself “Did you fucking see that?!” after pulling off an insane roll of notes without expecting to. And yes, I did fucking see that.

The game is split into two modes: Quickplay and Campaign. In Quickplay, you can play the songs you’ve unlocked again and again in an effort to perfect them and rack up some high scores. You can also battle with up to four friends in local multiplayer, using various stage altering and ship damaging power ups to mess with your opponents in an effort to hit more notes than they do. My time with the multiplayer hasn’t been as extensive as I’d like due to it being local only and me not having many friends, but the one match I did play with my reluctant girlfriend seemed like it could be fun if I was playing with someone who cared even a little bit so that’s a plus.

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The Campaign mode is the means to unlocking more songs for Quickplay. There is also a story to the campaign, told over the course of 15 songs through lyrics, menus and voice-overs. A playable concept album. Now, I’m a sucker for concept albums, and the songs telling the stories range from good to amazing, but I don’t think a video game is the best way to consume the medium. Fortunately, the songs work really well as individual stages. There aren’t really any bad tracks in the game. Of course, that’s completely subjective, but I’ve found myself loving the fast paced, sludgey, electronic tracks and having the slower, catchier, more melodic tracks stuck in my head for most of the day. The campaign versions of the songs also contain more obstacles than their Quickplay counterparts. There are Multiplier Barriers which will let you through without damage if you match the 2x, 3x or 4x requirement, which is a fun and fair challenge. In the final level, however, there is a blur effect that goes over the whole screen that kind of makes it feel a little unfair, especially on the hardest song of the Campaign. For an effect that is only used once, in one quarter of one song, it felt a little cheap and unnecessary.

Aside from the main campaign tracks, which are all composed in-house by the talented people at Harmonix, there are also a number of bonus tracks to unlock for you to slave over in Quickplay, featuring guest appearances from notable indie game composers, including Danny Baranowski (Super Meat Boy), Jim Guthrie (Sword & Sorcery), and Darren Korb (Bastion) among others. There are also songs from various Kickstarter backers of the game which I thought was a nice touch. The songs they’ve provided are pretty good too, so that helps. Unfortunately, there aren’t any licensed tracks in the game. After my initial playthrough of the campaign, I couldn’t stop thinking of all the songs I’d love to see in future DLC for the game. It’s a Harmonix game, so obviously there will be some brilliant licensed additions in the near future. I can’t wait.

Oh.

All in all, Amplitude is a thoroughly enjoyable game and well worth the £15.99 price mark. I know it’s going to keep me entertained for hours on end as I try to beat my own score and others’ over and over again. The music is mostly fantastic, even if the lack of licensed tracks is a little disappointing. If you like electronic music, leaderboard battles and concept albums, you should seriously consider buying Amplitude today.

 Verdict:

4 stars

Great

Platinum Quest: How Fallout 4 Stopped Me Earning It’s Platinum Trophy

This post contains mild location spoilers for Fallout 4. 

So, I own a PS4 and a PS Vita. They’re how I play my games. I used to play on Xbox 360, but I was never into Achievements. I’d usually play a game to the end of the main story then be done with it.

Something changed.

Once I went all in with PlayStation, something about Trophies grabbed me and I can’t explain it. Maybe because they’re shiny? Maybe because it’s not just a “score.” I don’t know. But they got me good. I now find myself playing games for Trophies first and foremost, and I kind of enjoy it.

If a game comes out and I really like it, chances are I’m going to try and Platinum it. This year I’ve achieved the Platinum Trophy in Batman: Arkham Knight and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (which is no joke, let me tell you) among other smaller titles. It gives me a great feeling of accomplishment to know I’ve beaten a game the most it can possibly be beaten, so it’s no surprise I’m currently trying to Platinum Fallout 4.

Looking at Fallout 4‘s Trophy list, it doesn’t look too difficult. Most of them seem like they would be achieved naturally over time. There’s a couple of story based trophies that require some strategic saving, but other than that there’s not much here that would require you to use a guide or anything.

Two of Fallout 4‘s Trophies revolve around the collection of Bobbleheads. One of them is achieved at 10 Bobbleheads collected and the other at 20. Very achievable.

I’m writing this today to tell you about how Fallout 4 fucked me out of those Trophies.

I occasionally work night shifts, and one of the perks of that is getting to stay up all night the night before my shift and play video games for like 12 hours without feeling like a fucking loser. I usually save my bigger Trophy hunting campaigns for these occasions, and collecting the remaining eight Bobbleheads I needed for part two of the Trophy seemed achievable in one of these sessions.

I could not have been more wrong.

It started off unremarkable enough. For quickness, I opened up an online guide and started chipping away. “Go to this location, it’s in this room.” Easy enough. This will be a piece of cake.

I collected three Bobbleheads (bringing my count to 15) before disaster struck.

There’s a location on the map called “Malden Middle School.” Underneath the school, past the basement, is the entrance to Vault 75. Using a Bobblehead location guide I made my way there, blissfully unaware of the fucking headache that awaited me.

Upon entering Vault 75 I was greeted by two Synth enemies who started raining lasers on me. I quickly dispatched them and made my way to the elevator. The elevator TO HELL.

The guide stated that once you entered Vault 75 you would be greeted by Gunners, Fallout‘s mercenary outfit, and the faction you didn’t side with in the main story. They would be fighting among themselves and with you. I was tasked with killing everybody, and making my way to the back of Vault 75 where I should have encountered a Gunner Commander, who had a keycard that would give me access to the rest of the Vault, where the Bobblehead was located.

There was no Gunner Commander. After scouring the scene for about 30 minutes, looting every dead thing there was to loot and even reloading a save before I had entered the Vault, I took to the internet. After a quick Google search, I found out that this was a bug that people were encountering, seemingly at random.

A bug. In a Bethesda game. That locked you out of 100% completion. Surely not?

Most of the solutions I found online involved console commands, but as mentioned earlier, I was playing on PS4 where no such luxury is afforded. I was tasked with finding an alternative solution.

After discussing it with a friend, he told me to wait 30 in-game days for the enemies inside Vault 75 to respawn so I could try again. My character slept for 30 days. 30 fucking days of rest. 30 minutes of my actual life spent watching a fictional character sleep. I set off for Vault 75 again, and repeated my initial murdering spree. Still nothing.

I was left with no choice. As I was playing through the game I made alternate saves so I could earn the Trophies in all of the game’s branching story paths. I sucked it up and loaded a save from around eight hours ago. I set off on my own personal Groundhog Day yet again, and yet again there was no Gunner Commander in sight.

“Luckily” for me I had made about four of these alternate saves in my quest to see all possible story options, so I loaded up an older one.

The result was the same.

I was down to my last alternate save. The save I made 20 hours ago. The save I made before I acquired my beloved Super Sledge. The save I made when me and my Power Armour were mere acquaintances and not life partners.  The save I made at level 21. The save I made when I had two out of twenty Bobbleheads.

The Gunner Commander appeared.

Initially elated that I finally had access to the rest of Vault 75, and in turn the Bobblehead that had evaded capture for what felt like days, the celebration soon ended when I realised the severity of the situation.

I now had three Bobbleheads. I went from 15 to three. I would have to collect the ones I had already collected again, and then the other five I had yet to find. Not to mention I was far weaker than I was in my main save. I had dropped 26 levels and all my weapons were terrible.

I don’t know how, but I did it. I managed it. I collected 20 Bobbleheads and the Trophy popped, but I was done. I’d had enough.

I currently have five Trophies left. Four of them are very achievable, they just take time. The fifth is the dreaded “Benevolent Leader” Trophy, which is achieved when you reach 100 happiness in a large settlement, seemingly without rhyme or reason.

I can’t face doing it. I’m seriously tired of the fear that this game will fall apart like a shoddily constructed car while it’s driving 100mph down the motorway, killing me, my progress, and everyone I love.

I need to take a break.

I might go back, eventually, but right now I need to play something else. Something lighter. Something quick to digest.

I still love you, Fallout 4, but I think we should see other people for a while. It’ll be a long time before I’m able to trust again.

PlayStation Vita Will Never Die.

I bought my PS Vita through impulse, and I have no regrets.

When I got my Vita, Sony was marketing it as an accessory to the PlayStation 4. A device through which I could continue killing people in Battlefield whilst taking a shit. Having recently picked up a PlayStation 4 this, alone, sold me. Not until I had the Vita in my hands did I realise what a marvelous piece of kit it actually is, and how many games I had at my fingertips.

Whoever tells you the Vita has no games is an uninformed liar, and you should reevaluate who you surround yourself with. Do you really want to be friends with a liar? Nobody wants to be friends with a liar.

Initially the Vita was marketed as a portable gaming system that could play console quality games, and for the most part this is true. Unfortunately, due to poor sales because of poor choices on Sony’s part (I’m looking at you, memory cards) their first party studios seem to have turned their backs on the Vita, but there are hundreds of games coming out on Vita. Tons of big games.

Okay, most of the AAA titles are coming out of Japan (Toukiden 2Attack on Titan) and a lot of them are independent offerings (Super Meat Boy, Abe’s Odyssey: New ‘n’ Tasty) but they are games, nonetheless. And most of the aforementioned games are good games.

The Vita is a lean, mean, indie machine and indie isn’t a dirty word! If Japanese RPGs or visual novels aren’t your style, the diverse library of independent titles should satiate your appetite.

But we’re looking too far into the future. Forget about upcoming titles for a second, let’s look back on the titles that are already out.

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Games like Gravity Rush are what the Vita does best. A sort of semi-open world game, with interesting mechanics and likable characters in an episodic story. I have never played a game like Gravity Rush. It is truly unique and I would say it is one of my favourite games based on the movement mechanics alone.

Uncharted: Golden Abyss took that “console quality” tag, and ran with it. Golden Abyss may have made some questionable choices with it’s mechanics, like holding the back camera up to the light (urgh) but nobody can deny that the game would look at home on a PlayStation 3. It did what it set out to do and the results are amazing.

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is literally a PlayStation 3 game that runs on Vita. Okay, the graphics have taken a bit of a knock, but you don’t get more “console quality” than an actual console game.

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Killzone: Mercenary is another great example of a game that lived up to that “console quality” expectation. The game looks great, and feels like a modern console shooter. Shooters are the 3D platformers of the modern era. It’s what the masses want, and Killzone: Mercenary gives it to them.

And that’s just a few (of the few…) console quality titles we were promised. There are more out there, and there are more still to come.

There’s also the slew of fantastic indie titles. There are literally hundreds of the little bastards. Okay, you can play them on other platforms, but most of these titles are best played on Vita. Some of them just click. Games like Rogue LegacyLuftrausersHotline MiamiOlliOlli and Shovel Knight, to name a few, are right at home on the little handheld that could.

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It doesn’t end there though! When I was younger, playing my PlayStation in my bedroom and my Mum would tell me that it was time to do something that wasn’t sitting in my bedroom playing PlayStation, I yearned for some kind of magical GameBoy-like device that would let me play PlayStation on the go, in the back of my Mum’s car, or at my Aunt’s house, or on the toilet. That now exists, and it’s name is PlayStation Vita.

The little guy has access to a bunch of PSOne Classics that can be downloaded directly from the PlayStation Store. My childhood dream has literally come true!

In addition to that, there are a number of PlayStation 2 era HD Collections on Vita, that run and look better on the little guy than they ever did on their native console, with an exception or two, but lets not get bogged down in negativity here. This is a post about opening your heart to positivity, and not letting go of a dying loved one.

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The PlayStation Vita is a fantastic little machine, and I firmly believe that anybody that says otherwise has never used one. The Vita’s following is so hardcore because the people who own them fucking believe in them.

Vita will never die, because we will not let it die.