Janky Ass Arizona Sunshine

This is not a review.  OK. Maybe it is. Kinda.

Fuck this game.  I hate this game.  No I don’t.  I play the campaign over and over but the game wants me to hate it.  Playing with the Move™ controllers can be done but it is just annoying moving. You’ll bump into invisible walls, you’ll have trouble turning around and get stuck clipping to a wall, you’ll open a drawer or a door and awkwardly maneuver your way around them. It’s all manageable but it is a pain in the ass.

The ONLY saving grace is the fact that you can dual-wield weapons. Mini-shotgun in your left hand, uzi in your right… LET’S DO THIS! … It is poss— oh hang on, I’m stuck on a corner.  Now I gotta back up to turn around and… Ok.. I’m good. LET’S DO THIS!

Playing Arizona Sunshine with the Move™ controllers, oddly enough isn’t the ideal way to play this game.  PS Aim™ is the way to go.  There is an entire mode dedicated to holding two handed weapons as opposed to dual-wielding.  So instead of pistols, there’s rifles, instead of the one handed shotgun, they are two handed, no more heavy magnums, just straight up assault rifles.  This game only works because traversing through the environment is much less a pain in the ass.

This game should’ve been semi on-rails with the wands, anyways.  The game progresses almost in a straight line with deviations being tiny.  Using the Aim definitely works but you lose twin-fisted bad-assery.

The absolute best thing Arizona Sunshine ever does is send you into the mines.  It is fantastic. Oddly enough and almost divine comedy ironic, this sequence is best experienced with the janky ass Move™ controllers.   You’re going to be moving slow and methodical because it is dark, so, it almost works. ALMOST.

You have one hand holding the flashlight and the other with the gun and you just TLC Creep (ask your parents) through the mines, flinching at every groan.  The muzzle flash illuminates your environment briefly, you see a Fred (that’s what the dickhead protagonist calls them) and you put a slug through its brain.   This whole sequence is basically perfect.  It is one of the few sequences in the game where you actually feel vulnerable.

As much as this game says you will scavenge for ammo and food… you probably wont have to after the mid point.  You will have a lot of ammo and you can just go guns akimbo alllllllllllll the way up to the finale.  The level in the mines makes you feel vulnerable because you REALLY have trouble seeing in the dark, even with the flashlight.

Finally Horde mode is garbage with the Move controllers so avoid that unless you are really comfortable.  I don’t have much experience with Horde mode because it was really claustrophobic and I think I’d much rather do that co-op with a friend.

To be honest, I’m glad I own Arizona Sunshine, but I’m disappointed that I bought it. It definitely wasn’t as long as I was expecting and had some fun sequences but it being so linear and short was a letdown. Given that Move is a limiting control system, I find Horde Mode too constricting to even feel comfortable playing.  Maybe if the game was $29.99.

Games like Resident Evil 7 and the upcoming Skyrim VR prove that you really don’t have to dumb games down for VR.  Arizona Sunshine is a simple zombie shooter when it doesn’t need to be. There is more puzzle solving and exploration going on while you creep through the mines than you do mowing down Fred after Fred after Fred simply hitting checkpoint after checkpoint after checkpoint.

Ultimately, this game isn’t terrible.  I have had a lot of fun playing it and I’m sure I’ll run through the campaign a few more times… WITH THE AIM!.  I just wish Horde Mode would let me stretch my legs a little further and the controls with the Move were a little more intuitive.

J
@IamFN2K
PSN/XBL: IamFN2K
IamFN2K@gmail.com

 

 

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Mortal Blitz (PSVR): Stumbling into fun

Anybody who has been inside the PSVR section of the PSN Store has bound to have seen Mortal Blitz at one point.  If you need to refresh your memory, this is the store icon.

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I bet you remember it now.  More specifically, you remember that mascot.  Her name is Rachael, by the way and she doesn’t need your judgement right now because lives are at stake. Anyways…

Every time I saw that mascot, I kept thinking; “What the fuck is up with her battle attire?” and then my Gamer-self takes over; “Shut up, Jay. It’s Fantasyland!”

I decide to buy it.  If I’m disappointed, nobody has to know and it isn’t too expensive. Why not? There aren’t a ton of VR titles available so I decided to pick it up.  Here’s what I thought.

Mortal Blitz is one of those stationary Move™ controller games where you teleport around.  The game is essentially point and shoot for the first three stages.  What makes this game fun is the Bulletstorm-esque tether you have to pull dazed enemies towards you (in slow motion) and unload on them for a nifty multiplier that gives you bonus health and points.

While moving from point to point, it is wise to utilize the cover mechanics given to you. If you can physically put yourself behind an in-game object, that’s probably the wisest choice because enemies charge in and bombard you with bullets. While in cover, you can utilize a bit of blind fire to take care of pesky heavily armored soldiers.

The last two stages are where the game shines a bit more.  Are you ready to get physical? Cover only helps out so much now.  You’re going to have to enter the Matrix™ and channel your inner Neo because you’re going to now have to dodge projectiles.  Get ready to lean and duck, Baby!

You’ll need to find a nice groove to survive the later stages or else you’ll end up getting roasted. There are four other weapons that pop up along the way but once you deplete their ammo, they are gone until you find them again.  You’ll come across shotguns, miniguns and rocket launchers to spice things up.

Once you are finished (or before you start) the campaign, there are 50 training missions for you to tackle.  You will probably crush the first 30 and then want to rip your eyes out at some point during the last 10. But… still fun.

You could easily spend a dozen hours or so simply playing the campaign on repeat.  It’s just silly fun with nothing huge at stake other than messing up a potential high score.  I’ve completed all 50 training stages and I’m midway through my 3rd run of the campaign so this little game does have replay value in it.  Additionally, the developer made an in-game promise that updates would also have additional gameplay content at some point so … fingers crossed.

But as you play Mortal Blitz… one question will always haunt you.

“What the fuck is up with her battle attire?” “Shut up, J! It’s Fantasyland.”

J
@IamFN2K
IamFN2K@gmail.com

Special Delivery (PSVR) is all about avoiding Death

First thing: Ask yourself; “Did I play this game without the PS Aim controller?” If the answer is “Yes. I played this game without the PS Aim controller.”, then either play it with the PS Aim controller or kill yourself.

Having said that, I wish to make it absolutely crystal clear that this game should only be played with the PS Aim controller until something can be done to improve the throwing arc linked to the Dualshock 4 controller, which is absolute garbage.

Second thing: There need to be some sort of accessibility controls to move using the control sticks instead of leaning to one side or the other.

Now that I’ve gotten the prerequisites out of the way..

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Welcome to Special Delivery (Stealth Paper Boy VR), an arcade style game where you play as a newspaper delivery-person with short hair and a baseball cap.  The goal is to deliver your stash of papers to all the subscribers before you die.

Look, we can pretend that getting hit by a car or sucked up into a tornado is all fun and games but we need to be honest… you’re dodging death at every turn on your paper run. A stray dog starts chasing you as a rogue protester forces you to detour in the path of a tornado as a building collapses.  That’s when you see it… Death, complete with scythe and hoodie.  Death is on your ass Paper-kid. DEATH IS ON YOUR ASS!

Avoiding getting killed is a little difficult.  I recommend going slow.  Ride the brake and stick to the sidewalk.  You will die.  OH YES! YOU WILL DIE! Touching anything, kills you (except picking up newspapers) so avoid touching anything.  OH, did you hit that fire hydrant? Well don’t let the water touch you because you will die.  It is difficult staying alive.

If you manage to avoid the obstacles and deliver enough papers the first week, your reward is a ridiculously hard “boss battle” and a route expansion for another week with more death chasing your ass!

The key, is getting good enough to survive long enough to deliver enough papers.  The key to getting good is the PS Aim controller which allows for more control.  Do you have the PS Aim controller and need another game to use it on now that you’re done with Farpoint? I can recommend that you give this a shot.  $9.99 is definitely a fair price if you’re willing to put in enough effort needed to develop the basic skills needed to complete each level.

Yes the game is tough but it is rewarding.  Cheating Death always is.

J

Farpoint/PS Aim Controller Review

Farpoint is half a game at the maximum length. So short that I was going to simply write my first impressions of the game but I said “Meh, let’s see what happens next.” *Roll credits.* “And I’m done here.”

I’d argue that Rush of Blood would take around the same amount of time to complete and that game is on rails.  What I’m trying to say is that Farpoint is short.  Really… short.  8 levels, I think? The first one is mostly orientation/tutorial/introductory stuff, the next are pretty easy as you get used to the freedom of movement. Then around level 5 or 6, that is as difficult as the game will get and either you’re crushing it or you’re moving through at a reasonable pace.  The levels are not very big but they are designed well enough that the action doesn’t feel too claustrophobic or expansive.  The whole thing is simply over before it can even get going.

By the way, I think this game is fantastic but… moving on.

The plot revolves around two plucky young explorers named Eva Tyson and Grant Moon. (I think those are the names.) These two are on a space expedition when of course, shit hits the fan. I must note the exceptional voice work of Laura Bailey who crushes every single scene she is in.  Her character alone is the only reason I cared about anything going on anywhere at any time.  Grant Moon is a wimp that couldn’t learn how to fire a gun so Eva could rest her legs ONE TIME? — Anyways, chivalry is dead and Grant Moon is a dick.   Where was I?

Eva and Grant are sucked up through a wormhole and moments later, you are too.  The rest of the game is about finding these two.  As you make your way through the alien landscape, you will come across holograms you scan to advance the plot and with them comes Laura Bailey and her excellent voice work.  However, every scan is little more than “Here’s debris. I’ll keep following it.”  After some levels, you’re treated with an actual cut-scene where you remain static in the environment and you watch it play out. During these scenes, spoiling nothing, it is important to pay attention to time.  Then two levels later, the game is over.  Right at the moment where the game’s story turns into one worth telling, the game just ends with two major cliffhangers that could easily be tied up with one additional level or another few to make the game longer and FINALLY have compelling storytelling.  I guess they are saving it for the sequel but (and I am definitely not a developer) make it twice as long, guys.

To make matters worse, you are introduced to a third character you know you’ll probably meet, and when you do, she’s a … brat. She’s just so… rude! I know it is just a character but without the player character she cannot achieve her goal so it is just absolutely ridiculous she’d be such a … brat! That’s all I can really say without spoiling anything.

OK, so the game is short and the plot is just slow exposition until a double cliffhanger explodes your face. What makes it fantastic.

Shooting stuff.

Without VR. This game is an extended tech demo from 2006. As a shooter it could not hold up to anything without VR.  The firefights in VR change the entire experience.  Having the feeling of being in the middle of a battle and mimicking the gestures required to survive give you a completely newfound set of feelings of accomplishment.  The new set of battlefield awareness needed in an exchange is fulfilling when executed properly.   For the most part, enemies will spawn in front of you and advance towards you. In those instances, it is better to pick your shots and pick off small fast enemies first and work up to the larger ones.  However, though some of the sheer chaos that can happen, you may find enemies above, in front and beside you all at the same time. Without VR, that situation would take a bunch of fancy thumbstick maneuvering to navigate but with VR and the PS Aim controller you have just over 180 degrees of rotation to gesture towards within moments.

There are five weapons; an assault rifle, shotgun, precision rifle, plasma rifle and spike launcher.  You can only carry two at a time and you will only come across weapons randomly so make sure you like a weapon before you swap one out.  All but one weapon has a secondary function. The assault rifle fires homing rockets locked on to your laser.  The shotgun fires grenades.  The plasma rifle as an energy shield and the spike launcher can detonate embedded spikes.  The real genius of the secondary fire button is that it is located below the scan button so be careful of which one you hit inside and outside of battle. You’re not trying to scan your enemies or blow up holograms.

This game is a lot of fun as a pack-in to the PS Aim controller. Marketing Farpoint as a full on game is almost misleading. It is a great title to pack-in with a new peripheral.  Calling it a Triple-A title suggests VR games need to be shorter, easier and involve less production value than something like Borderlands or FarCry when they don’t.  *Cough*Resident Evil 7*Cough* (Side note: Resident Evil 7 needs PS Aim support NOW)

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The PS Aim controller is great.  It is light without feeling cheap or awkward in my hands.  Every button on the controller except the PS and R1 buttons are intuitive and easy to find when I am wearing the PSVR headset.  The R2 trigger provides enough resistance so you wont accidentally pull the trigger but not too much that it takes any more effort than pressing a button. What was excellent was the fact that Farpoint knew where the gun was in the space so I could do things like hold it outstretched around a (virtual) corner or over a (virtual) rock and hit my target.  It was a completely rewarding blindfire experience.

I definitely enjoyed my time with this game despite any shortcomings and hope to see a broader,  larger scoped sequel with twice as much shooting and deeper storytelling.  I would definitely recommend this to anybody who likes arcade shooters or anybody who is sick of saving damsels in distress.
Metrics:
3.5 Supernova-Wormholes out of 5
1 and a half thumbs up your pooper.
7/10
The Jaded Gamer
Farpoint (2017)
Deveoloper: Impulse Gear