2013 Review inc Game of the Year

Looking back at my 2012 end of year review I managed to stick to my routine of watching less TV/Movies & enjoy gaming more this year. I also predicted last year that 2013 was going to be an amazing year for gaming thanks to my back catalogue, I did not manage to complete all the games I mention but compared to the 10 completed in 2012 I managed to complete a staggering 28 games !!

Scribblenauts Remix (iOS)
Uncharted 2 (PS3)
Skyrim (360)
Halo 4 (360)
Rolando (iOS)
New Star Soccer (iOS)
Little Inferno (iOS)
Ni No Kuni (PS3)
Borderlands 2 (360)
Fifa 13 (360)
Tomb Raider (360)
Lego City Undercover (WiiU)
Journey (PS3)
Clash of Clans (iOS)
Walking Dead (XBLA)
Forza Horizon (360)
Bastion (XBLA)
Walking Dead 400 Days (XBLA)
Red Dead Redemption (360)
Uncharted 3 (PS3)
The Last of Us (PS3)
Dead Space (360)
Mass Effect (360)
Spec Ops The Line (PS3)
Gears of War - Judgement (360)
XCom - Enemy Unknown (PS3)
Remember Me (PS3)
Assassin's Creed 4 (PS4)

Some of these games were truly an amazing experience & it was very difficult for me to choose a game of the year because there were so many great games that I had played from Skyrim, Ni No Kuni, Tomb Raider the amazingly fun Lego City Undercover to the beautiful Journey, Walking Dead, Last of Us, X-Com & Assassin's Creed 4. But above these all it was Red Dead Redemption that was my game of the year. I have always loved watching western movies from the classic John Wayne, Clint Eastwood's to the modern Tombstone, & 310 to Yuma. Rockstar gave gamers the chance to realise their love for the western genre in Red Dead Redemption & what an action packed gun touting adventure it was, like many others I look forward to the next game in the series..

Splurge wise it was a complete failure and I quote "I am really going to try and spend as little as possible this year on gaming, I will not be buying any of the new consoles on release & have no desire for a Wii U. With my iOS stack of games, back catalogue of 360/PS3 games & steam pile of shame I think I am spoilt for choice" I don't need to say any more apart from the fact that "I AM WEAK"

2014 Predictions then I plan to continue delving into my back catalogue especially to complete Deus Ex HR, Mass Effect 2/3 & the Bioshock games but my main focus will obviously be on the PS4 & waiting for the new games like Destiny, The Division, Watch_Dogs, Mad Max, The Order & hopefully Fallout 4. From the hardware I own the PC & the Vita have been neglected quite a bit so hopefully in 2014 I hope to at least complete a few games on each.

Happy new year !!


Lost Cities - Lost Cities Master

Finally completed all the single player challenges to become a Lost Cities Master.

The last challenge of not having a single card in the discard pile prove especially difficult especially against the CPU player.


Devils Attorney - Completed

Max finally got to his last case, I won't spoil the game but just to say that it is very tough & you will need to carefully think about which powers to use & when. After winning the case you get to choose your ending. I tend to spend most of my time on iOS playing multiplayer games so it is good to sit back and enjoy a single player experience.


Assassins Creed 4 - Completed

The past few years, Assassin Creed games have been Christmas gaming for me & this year AC4 did not disappoint with a swash buckling pirate adventure. It is the Journey of Edward Kenway from a man leaving England looking to make riches whatever the damage he may cause to eventually finding a purpose & a meaning to his life.

I did not enjoy the ship battles in AC3 but in this game they have been redesigned & you have full control of your Jackdaw. All the weapons are available with easy access from he mortar, fire barrels & heavy shot. Once you have damaged an enemy ship enough you get the option to board which then involves you killing a certain number of the enemy crew & other small tasks depending on the ship. The option to repair your Jackdaw after a boarding is an easy way to avoid your ship getting destroyed when taking on a fleet.

There are so many side quests in the game from Assassin contracts, Mayan puzzles, Treasure Maps, Underwater wrecks, Kenway's Fleet mini game & much much more that you can very easily get distracted from the main quest. I managed to complete most of these with only a few shipwrecks left to explore, on the world map you can also collect animus fragments & chests but these don't really reward you much in the game & I had begin to tire of the 'gotta collect them all' gameplay.

Playing the game on the PS4 with all it's hardware prowess really made the experience that much more enjoyable & the share ability allowed me to take screenshots & create videos with ease.

The Ubisoft formula (main quest will added pointless filler collectibles) being applied to almost all of their releases like the AC, Far Cry & upcoming Watch_Dogs is getting very predictable but where do excel is in the main quest & relevant storyline which is why I expect that next Christmas I will be playing the next assassin creed game in the series.


Assassin's Creed 4 - Ahoy !!

I am sailing across the Bahamas with the crew singing “Drunken Sailor”, looking through my spyglass I see a Spanish Brig in the distance which is carrying some Metal. Full speed ahead to chase it down, I fire off the chase cannons to grab it’s attention & launch a few chain shots at the mast. Pull up alongside & pummel it with two shots from the broadside cannons. Time to board but before I do a quick use of the swivel gun to take out some soldiers, then swing across for some sword based combat. Defeating the crew I send the Brig to join my fleet & return to the Jackdaw.

Ubisoft have jam packed this game with side missions, collectibles, assassin contracts, hunting & treasure maps that I have not progressed much in the main story. I have spent the majority of my time just looking at the map picking a location & sailing to that destination whilst getting distracted along the way by many ship battles to loot materials required for upgrading the Jackdaw or getting another ship to join my fleet. Kenways Fleet is a mini game which has you controlling a fleet of ships to send to various locations across the oceans. You mainly sell goods to gain money but you will also discover various items like treasure maps, ornaments & new routes The companion app that comes with this game you can use to control your fleet, check your treasure map & whilst playing the game doubles up nicely with a game world map.

Through the main mission the game slowly introduces tutorials explaining a new distraction for you, I have not yet taken on any of the various forts on the world map or any harpooning. I also do not know what else the game has hidden to surprise me with but for now I am just happy being a pirate. The Jolly Roger is waving in the wind, time to drink back some rum & set sail for my next adventure.


Letterpress - Blue

Replay link

I managed to take over the whole board in a recent game against Arkham. I used Jochta's advice and went for the corners early on working my way round to eventually take over the whole board.


Lost Cities - Coin Cards

When playing against the CPU in Lost Cities there are various goals the game sets for you to try and get. I have been stuck on level 6 for quite a while now trying to complete the top goal of 'winning a game playing at least 6 coins cards'.

I completed that goal today winning the match by playing seven coin cards.

To complete this goal depends on what cards you get drawn at the start of the game, I was lucky to get two red coin cards & a blue to start the match.

Finally beating the CPU 72 to -9


Killzone Shadow Fall - Multi-player

I have decided to leave Dishonored for now & concentrate on playing something on the PS4 (guilt trip), my first attempt at Killzone multi-player was awful because I did not know what I was doing or the controls. I always seem to play better in FPS games when I am a support class. Helping to revive downed team-mates & focus on playing a more careful role with getting kill assists. Our team won & I managed to get 3rd in the scoreboard.

Will look at starting the single player campaign & hopefully getting more practice on the on-line modes with huricanepilot.


Playstation 4 - Greatness Awaits

Next to the television I have a small blue bag, inside this bag you will find a PSOne (baby white) with Metal Gear Solid & Front Mission 3. This bag also has a second larger pocket which has a PS2 Slim and a collection of games including Simpsons Hit & Run. Under the TV I have three shelves & on the bottom shelf you will find my one & only Playstation 3 console (original edition) & the only retail game you will find on my shelf is Metal Gear Solid 4 everything else is installed on the hard drive.

I sold my US Super Nintendo console with 18 to 20 games inc lots of RPGs to CEX in London to purchase an import Jap Playstation 1 with Ridge Racer & Tekken on release. The PS1 was my only console that I purchased on release & introduced me to some of my best gaming years with the likes of Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy 7, Front Mission 2, Parasite Eve, Tomb Raider, Xenogears, Suikoden, Final Fantasy Tactics, Castlevania - Symphony of the night, Gran Turisimo & I could go on for ever. It was for me one of the greatest consoles ever made (only pipped by the GBA Micro & the US SNES I owned).

I am not sure if it is Sony's excellent E3 showing or the recent games I have completed on the PS3 (Journey, Last of Us) but somewhere in the last six months I have found my love again for the Playstation brand. The PS3 was totally neglected because the 360 became the default console for gaming in the last five years, thanks mainly to it's controller & live experience. I was wavering quite a bit about my PS4 pre-order but finally decided to stick & Martin delivered my PS4 on Friday at 17:03.

After plugging the console in and upgrading the system firmware to 1.51 it was time to play the games. I purchased Killzone, AC4, & digital downloads of Resogun, Contrast & Flower.

The controller is lovely, the triggers are much better which was my biggest gripe with the PS3 controller. The battery life however is poor, I managed about four hours, hopefully in a future firmware update an option to turn off the controller light will improve the battery life. The touchscreen section of the controller is nice & on Killzone you use it to control your robot companion.

I tried the camera with the Playroom software, the kids enjoyed flicking robots around & drawing items on the phone to flick to the tv screen. The camera is really useful when using twitch to stream gaming you can use the inbuilt microphone to talk to you followers which is much better than the rubbish ear-set supplied (I have ordered an over the head set).

The games then, Killzone is the obvious graphical showcase & does look amazing, it is a generic shooter like so many but at least it looks lovely. Resogun is the main game I have been spending time with, it is the PS4's answer to Geometry Wars & is amazingly good fun. I love the various special effect, explosions & all at a blistering fast pace. Abbas played the Fifa 14 demo & is currently playing AC4 which uses the touch pad to control the game map.

Remote play works very well on the Vita, I tested Killzone & Resogun with no slowdown that I noticed. On-line gameplay of Resogun with HurricanePilot, I created a chat party which he joined & then he sent me an invite from the game, all of which worked well but with the occasional slowdown not sure if that was due to the PSN servers, internet connection or the game?

At £350+ (inc cost of the games) it is an expensive purchase which I mainly made because I wanted to play the multi-platform games like AC4, Watch_Dogs & Destiny on the most powerful console. This time next year we will start to see more games being released only on PS4/XB1 hopefully in the next few days news of a new Fallout 4 would be awesome.

For me however Greatness Awaits in playing Assassins Creed 4 over xmas.


Lost Cities - New High Score - 149 !!

Totally smashed my previous Lost Cities high score of 95 with 149 on a game against Luffers.

Getting two +20 bonus points on the Blue & Yellow helped & concentrating on just three colours to maximise the score.

I can't see me beating 149 for a long time.

GTAV - Racing or in my case crashing

I stupidly decided to take part in the RLLMUK GTA V Race League. It was as expected a difficult start I find the cars just pinball around when you crash & this is where I lose a lot of positions. I'm much better with bikes although I do occasionally hit the traffic. Having not done many races, knowing the track layout takes a while to learn, currently there is a limited option on the races so I started off poorly finishing 8th, 9th or DNF but came back with a 6th & a close 5th finish just pipping Saint at the last race. Points are only awarded to the top 6 finishers so thankfully I got a few points on the board.

With the PS4 arriving soon I won't get much chance to practice before next week's meeting but hopefully the experience of the tracks will help me out to try and get a few more 5th or 6th place finishes. I now also know that to fire rockets you need to press the left click on the stick so at least I can now shoot these Mario Kart style.


New Logo - Destiny

I could not carry on looking at the Watch_Dogs logo without getting annoyed that it was delayed & not released for the PS4 launch. So time for a change & there is a game I am more interested in than Watch_Dogs & that is Bungie's Destiny (at least until we get confirmation of Fallout 4). I'm not sure I will get it on release, I've been stung by Batman Arkham Origins which is still not fixed (I have now sold the game).

Dishonored - Chaos

Chaos is the system Dishonored uses to determine the decisions the characters make for you in the game. Kill more people you have a high chaos level resulting in more negative effects & vice versa. I've only realised this after completing the High Overseer mission. I don't really want to start the game again so will continue playing the remaining missions trying to get a low chaos level to balance out the earlier missions.

If I had the time I would carry on playing the way I am & then play the game again assuming it has a new game plus option to go for the low chaos ending.


PS4 - One week to go

Words with Friends - Making up your own rules

Just when I started to get bored with the game Becky came up with a brilliant suggestion about playing your own rules.

So for the first game we went with an easy you must only play a four letter word. It's difficult than I first thought & I had to skip a few turns because I had nothing to play. Becky forget a few times & played a different length word for which  she got penalised & I forced her to miss a turn :)

I won the game & the next game is three characters or less?!


Carcassonne - Largest completed city

In a recent game against Kerumba I completed my largest city so far with 75 points :)


Dishonored - Runes & Bone Charms

During my new game post I wrote "I keep wishing for a Splinter Cell style radar to show me where enemies are". Runes are what give you supernatural abilities, after a visit by the outsider & session on how to use Blink (teleport distances) I used my first collected rune to unlock 'Dark Vision' which lets me see any person or animal & their sight zone.

I have now collected quite a few runes & have unlocked Dark Vision stage 2, Vitality, Agility & Shadow Kill which turns unaware foes to ash (this is useful because it means I do not need to hide bodies).

Another collectible in the game are Bone Charms these grant you an effect when activated. I have quite a few of these like River Affinity which increases my swimming speed.

I have not played the Thief games by (Looking Glass/Eidos) but I imagine that Dishonored borrows quite a bit from that series? I have not said much about the storyline, you are Corvo a bodyguard to the Empress & after she is attacked & killed you are sent to prison. You then obviously escape the prison & set out to avenge the death of the Empress whilst also finding her daughter.

GTAV - Survival

I've finally found my favourite mode in GTA online. Survival mode is just like gears of war horde mode where wave of enemies come & attack. You get ten seconds in between waves to run around & pick up health/ammo.

I think you need to be at level 15 to unlock the mode but I was playing with Hakk & Gus who are in the mid twenties. My character is still on level 13 but after a good session yesterday evening in which I also won my first race on motorbikes, parachuted a faceplant into the ground & just missed out on a 2nd place finish in a mini race, I earned 16K.

Thanks to RLLMUK I also now understand what I was doing wrong with the Simeon car quests. I was taking them to my garage to run away from the cops & that would put a tracker on them, not sure if you can remove trackers or not? Will check when next online.

Who needs to worry about next gen consoles when current gen is so much fun.


Lost Cities - New High Score

New high score at the weekend against Arkham24601, 95 points.

Also taking this opportunity to gloat a recent win against Luffers with a difference of +105 !!


Song Pop - Video Games

My daughter wanted me to start playing Song Pop with her again so I returned to find over 1500 coins waiting to be used. There are now lots of new categories to purchase. I was very happy to find a video games category & on my first attempt & I got all five correct :)


Letterpress - Winning strategy

I've recently returned to playing Letterpress & I am off to a good start winning nine games on the trot. I've taken a lot of advice from Jochta's recent post on UGVM.

Control corners.
Always put an S on a word if there is one.
Variants like _ed and _er are counted as different words.
Look for endings like _ing.
Once you have control of the important letters and a corner build out into the board and take off unused letters one or two at a time to limit your opponent.
Leave Q to the end if there's no U as you know your opponents can only play QI or QIS with it.
Try and play an anagram (or nearly) of your opponents previous word.
Never leave common letters uncoloured with a close score as your opponent will almost certainly be able to polish them off. 


New Game - Dishonored

Got bored of playing GTAV online, so I played a few hours of Dishonored yesterday, I only really wanted to install the game but ended up getting sucked in, the mirrors edge style viewpoint takes a while to get familiar.

The stealth-based gameplay is very enjoyable but I keep wishing for a Splinter Cell style radar to show me where enemies are, I need to get better at hiding behind obstacles & peeking out to see where the enemies are? I could of course go charging in & attack but the stealth is so much more enjoyable.

In other news fourth time lucky for my PS4 pre-order with a Killzone bundle from Sainsbury’s on order, wobblegate is getting discussed quite a bit & the white light of death has been reported on a few consoles. Glad the US are getting their machines early so they can beta test the machine in case of any issues.


GTA V - $500K Stimulus Package

Apart from the UGVM PMG session I have not really touched the game. I'm still thinking about if I should play the single player or not but for now I am ignoring that & focusing on just the online part of the game.

Thanks to the $500K stimulus package from Rockstar, I went shopping for an apartment & purchased 3 Atla St, Apt 57 Downtown Los Santos, Los Santos for $223K.

It also comes with a 10 car garage which I have started to fill up already.

I did not want to venture into the online world without really getting to know the controls & have a good feel for the game. So I started an invite only mode which is essentially a private mode (this is initiated from the single player section of the game, by pressing start & going to online).

I have done a few single player missions which reward you with a bit of cash & some experience points. Simeon keeps sending me text messages on vehicles he wants me to get for him but when I get these vehicle's I am not sure where to deliver them? I need to practice more on how to best evade cops. At the moment I am driving back to my garage & that seems to get the cops of my back.

Not quite sure what else there is to do, certainly not much for the single player so will venture out into the online world to fail miserably at racing, crash when flying a plane or helicopter & miss all the checkpoints when doing a parachute jump.

Devil's Attorney - Better Call Saul

Devil's Attorney is a freebie I picked up off the App Store at the weekend with no in-app purchases or adverts. It's very well made & has a great intro song, you play an attorney who is at the start of his career & takes on cases to gain money. You can then use this moment to upgrade your apartment, which is turn boosts your skills.

When you take a case the game then goes turn-based & let you use your action points to play any of the skills you have & choose either the opposing attorney, witness or evidence to attack. I love the humour in the game, the turn based action is very enjoyable. Using the money you earn to purchase items for your apartment will increase either your Materialism, Decadence or Vanity unlocking new skills you can use in the courtroom.


Remember Me - Completed

The last few chapters of the game give you a few unexpected story twists which I liked, equally there a few boss fights that will make you really stop & think about what strategy or s-pressen skills to use. The last boss fight proving very difficult with it's three stages took me a few attempts before I figured it out.

Remember Me vs Batman Arkham Origins and most gamers would choose Batman but what Remember Me does well is that it works with no issues at all. No bugs, crashes or corrupted saves. I'm still waiting for WB Games to confirm they have fixed the corrupted save issue before I attempt to play the game again.

With my PS4 pre-order now cancelled (Yes!! I have changed my mind again) I have the next 12 months to start working on my current backlog & look at the games I have missed this generation that I really should play. Next on the list though is a return to Fallout New Vegas & Old World Blues DLC.


Champ Man - Premier League

Off to a bad start in the premier league losing my first three games, I tried pre-season to sign a few players without breaking my wage limit of 20K but the first three results left me with no choice but to go and splash out my transfers funds & break my wage limit.

The three players I signed were goalkeeper Sepe (83), leftback Sini (87) & striker Dybala (88) my target for the season is to avoid relegation. Hopefully with the three players signed I can survive until the January transfer window.


Champ Man - Championship

A strong finish to the season winning 10 games on a trot secured the Championship title now I need to buy a few more players to strengthen the squad especially my goalkeeper, leftback & a decent striker.

Oxford back where they belong in the top flight.

On a side note the ticker tape shows that Liverpool won the premiership title. Hopefully that will become true this year.


Remember Me - Johnny Greenteeth

This game has quite a few boss fights, each requiring a different strategy. Johnny Greenteeth is a tough fight because of all the extra leapers he summons.

The best way to defeat him is to use your S-Pressens skills, first go with Logic Bomb to take out the leapers & then quickly switch to Sensen DOS to stun the remaining leapers if any & Johnny. Then go for Sensen Fury & pummel Johnny.

You will need to use the above strategy a few times before you initiate Johnny's destruct sequence.

I always pause the game by pressing select to modify my combos depending on if I need healing or to recharge my S-Pressens.


Champ Man - Europa League

I was distracted for a while by Scurvy Scallywags & Pocket Mine (I really need to start creating posts of games I've given up playing, maybe a new trash category) but I've now given up on both of those games & returned back to Champ Man. Oxford are now in the championship & thanks to the FA Cup win also the Europa League.

Europe is tough & my team of 65 to 75 rated players were just not enough to compete. The highlight was one home win against FC Shalke but we ended up finishing bottom of the group.

Now the focus is to ensure a challenge for promotion.


8 Ball Pool - Tournament Winner

Tournament mode in 8 Ball Pool has you complete knockout style to reach the final.

After a few attempts I managed to get to the final & win

The game does offer a vs mode with friends but you need to be online together at the same time to play, tweet me if you fancy a game.


Halo 3 - Monster MVP

 With the recent freebie of Halo 3 on games of old on the 360 my youngest son the MONSTER has been using my gold account over the half term week to rack up the stats.

He was very chuffed that he managed to get a MVP on a recent deathmatch.

I could only dream of being that good my reactions times are snail pace so I tend to avoid all online shooters.


8 Ball Pool - Clear the table

Recently I have been playing 8 Ball Pool by Miniclip mainly with the boys or online random matches.

There is no asynchronous mode so if you fancy a game send me a tweet so we can agree a time to be online together.

Anyhow I managed to clear the table from the break without the other player getting a single shot.



Champ Man - FA Cup Winners

I've not played Champ Man for a long time & last left it gearing up for a FA Cup Final against Chelsea.

A bad start with Mata scoring in the 4th minute but 2 goals before half time & some solid defending 2nd half gave Oxford the FA Cup win.