Author: ShawnS

Of 2017: The Most Played Games

Of 2017: The Most Played Games

Remember when video games used to show you all the data they had on your playtime? Just like Google and Facebook though, developers have decided to hide all those juicy stats over the last few years making this a hard category to research for 2017.

No Man’s Sky doesn’t have a counter on PlayStation 4 but I know without a doubt that it’s Number One on this list for me. There is nothing more engrossing than planet after planet of procedurally generated solitude. Sometimes that solitude is trying to kill you and sometimes it’s just a bunch of rocks that need names. That was captivating enough but I picked up the game just as its base-building and vehicle expansions released. It was a perfect time to deep-dive into the game’s rejuvenated reddit community and I even dragged Cazz back to the game where we spent a few weeks alternating livestreams of our latest findings. Once I picked it up No Man’s Sky in March is practically all I played between March and June which must’ve accounted for well over 100 hours.

What happened in June that dragged me away? Crossout! The game also lacks a counter but thanks to its daily grind the free-to-player, multiplayer battle-builder sucked up a ton of time through August. Believe me, there’s more to say about the game but that’ll come in tomorrow’s post.

 

Finally, a game with an hour-counter! Even after 81 hours with Final Fantasy XV I can’t tell you if I like it. Illogical anime bullshit and a confounding combat system grated on my nerves but somehow it won me over in the end. The camaraderie of the four characters — cliche and overwrought as they all are — combined with all the Final Fantasy trappings, and thrown into an open world game produced a combination that I couldn’t stop playing. And that’s not including the hours of supplementary content I soaked up like Kingsglaive, Brotherhood, A King’s Tale, Moonlit Melodies, and loads of subreddit theory-crafting.

I could probably tell you how many hours I spent with another Square Enix RPG in 2017 but I made the hardcore decision in NieR: Automata that erased my save file. As best I recall it was around 40 hours though. I’m happy that so many more people discovered Yoko Taro’s brand of weirdness but Automata didn’t hold a candle to the original NieR for me. I enjoyed its major twists and surprises but it didn’t propel me to go back through the game for all 26 endings and 100% completion.

Of 2017: The Game Music

Of 2017: The Game Music

Once again my 2017 picks for video game music are posted over on Original Sound Version but I’ll give you a quick tease here. Just like my “Game of the Year” selection for 2017, my picks for “Soundtrack” and “Arrangement Album of the Year” turned out to be pretty surprising, even to myself.

I’m not a big fan of orchestral or symphonic music anymore, preferring chiptunes, big beats, pounding EDM, and especially challenging experimental stuff. Those stipulations coupled with my disinterest in most of 2017’s big releases meant I had a pretty small pool to pull from but my final selection fully aligns.

I couldn’t make this tiny post without embedding some kind of music so here’s one of my other picks for 2017 original game music: the surprisingly diverse, yet tiny soundtrack to
The Franz Kafka Videogame

“Arrangement Album of the Year” was equally hard to nail down but for different reasons. Remixes and underrated Bandcamp releases are what I specialize in covering over on OSV. For 2017 I had tons of albums to consider and had a hard time narrowing it down to just three: a winner, runner up, and a special mention.

Check out my full post on OSV if you’re intrigued.

Of 2017: The YouTube Stats

Of 2017: The YouTube Stats

Like the number of games I played in 2017 I also uploaded fewer videos to YouTube than in years past: 121 to be exact. Fortunately, every other metric was on the increase. Despite the lack of activity my videos got another 540,000 views in 2017 and a ridiculous 1.3 million minutes were spent watching and listening to things I recorded.

While there are still some bad eggs out there who want to spew their hate and vanish, the interactions on my channel have been mostly positive lately. Just over 4,500 Likes far outweighed the 220 Dislikes, and of the 763 comments I only remember a few being flippant, negative, or confrontational. There was actually some good discussion of delisted games and video game preservation that I’m glad I had in 2017!

The most watched videos largely remained the same as years past: That Battletanx commercial got another 53,495 views. The first installment of my Body Harvest playthrough had another 11,178 viewers. And of course, lots of my old Speed Racer uploads were watched (and rewatched) hundreds of thousands of times.

 

There were also some satisfying shake-ups in the roster for 2017. Metal Gear fans really love the song “Koi no Yokushiryoku”. I uploaded it in 2015 alongside The Phantom Pain’s release but it continues to get more views and comments than any other track from the game. In 2017 it was watched 32,473 more times, over half of its total views.

My rumination over the Chip Fusing system in NieR: Automata also got 8,891 views. When we went on vacation in March I found a Jambo! Safari machine in our Walt Disney World resort and filmed it for posterity. I was happy to play the game again and to see its been a consistently viewed pair of uploads, getting a total of 3,973 views through 2017.

Most of my efforts on YouTube have focused on music lately but I hope to get back to playthroughs and some more Just Checkin’ videos in 2018. Lord knows that backlog just keeps growing!

Thanks for all the views, Likes, and generally nice comments in 2017!

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for December 20th

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for December 20th

It’s December 20th and the PlayStation Store has some holiday week presents for you! Let’s take a look:

Demos & Betas
The biggest freebie of the week is the return of the Monster Hunter: World beta with three increasingly challenging monsters to hunt and online multiplayer to check out. You can grab it now but the game will only be live from December 22nd through the 26th. Once you’re exhausted from all that monster hunting Artifex Mundi has a free trial of Lost Grimoires 2: Shard of Mystery to chill you out with another hidden object game.

Right up there with Monster Hunter: World is the HITMAN Holiday Pack which is what you want to grab in order to play the entire Paris mission for free! It’s only available for a limited time and will get you 3 story missions, 20 escalation contracts, 40 challenges, and 20 trophies. If you’re sold on the game after that you can rest assured that your save progress from the free version will make the jump to the full game.

Add-Ons
Beat-crushing music game SUPERBEAT: XONiC has a rare set of free songs this week (Vertical Horizon and Expressive Air 06) to go along with the dozens of paid songs already released. Minecraft is celebrating its 4th birthday on PlayStation platforms with a pack of celebratory skins for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and PlayStation 4. Free-to-play block-based MMO, TROVE, has a couple goodies as well with the Arctic Arcanicer Weapon Style and a Tiny T-Rex. Finally, there’s a lavishly detailed set of chess pieces for Chess Ultra that resemble the famous Moai statues of Rapa Nui.

Themes & Avatars
Lastly, here’s a couple of new and free ways to decorate your PlayStation: the LocoRoco 2 Remastered – Free Avatar Set provides 14 colorful icons while PSVR game Shooty Fruity offers two colorful PS4 themes of its own in Luscious Lemon and Melon Mayhem.

Go forth and grab, and have a great holiday week everybody!

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for December 13th

It’s Free! on PlayStation Store for December 13th

It was slim pickings last week but for December 13th there’s quite a bit of free stuff to be had on the PlayStation Store! Let’s go:

Demos
If you recently picked up a newer, cheaper PlayStation VR headset and are looking for something free, grab The Last Guardian VR Demo. Hopefully Trico isn’t as spastic as in the full game or you’re likely to be virtually squished. ARIKA’s back with a new entry in the EX series, Fighting EX Layer, and there’s a free beta demo that you can play now through Christmas Day, the 25th. If you missed picking up The Evil Within 2 on a Black Friday sale you can at least check out a chunk of it now for free with this demo. Likewise, if Square Enix’s Lost Sphear has you intrigued you can grab a demo of it now too.

Add-ons
The cream of the crop for add-on content this week has to be Resident Evil 7’s free “Not a Hero” DLC. Mainstay hunk, Chris Redfield, appears in the expansion fighting “new enemies and cruel traps” and probably spending way less time hiding under things than in the main game. Also high on the list of freebies is the Carnivals and Legends add-on for Pinball FX3 bringing two unique tables to the game.

For PlayStation Plus subscribers there are a pair of bonus packs for both SMITE and Star Trek Online while everyone gets a bundle of free elixirs in Tokyo Xanadu eX+.Lastly, Capcom’s released a SHAREfactory theme for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite that adds a handy visual package for your on-console video editing needs.

Avatars & Themes
If you like the looks of Ubisoft’s mysterious VR experience, Transference, you can grab a free cyberpunk-esque Avatar image this week. And continuing the peace offering from EA, there are two free Star Wars Battlefront II themes to decorate your PlayStation 4 Home Screen with, if you need a reminder of your seething rage.

Odds & Ends
If the cold weather has you huddled around your PlayStation 4 for warmth, here are a couple of not-free things that might help lift your spirits. Aqua TV is a tried-and-true aquarium screensaver with a bunch of goofy customization options. It’s not free but on sale for PlayStation Plus members at $6.99. Best of all is this sunny, pixely Windjammers theme for $2. I don’t even like the game but that art is undeniably cheery!

*All titles are for North America unless specifically noted.
Availability probably varies wildly depending on your region.