Category: Feature

Any kind of post that is unique to GameLuv.

Video Game actors cheat sheet

The first video game actor I remember becoming a fan of is Raphael Sbarge. His character in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Carth Onasi, was a slight crush for me and his voice acting played a great role in that. I never tried to find out who the actor was until I watched Shawn playing Mass Effect and heard that voice as Kaidan Alenko. That was also what got me interested in trying a game I might not have tried otherwise. Since then I look up all the video game actors I like. I follow them on social media if they have one and I follow them from game to game. Part of the problem is, my memory is getting worse for some trivial things like who played who in a video game, which in part may be because the face I put with the voice is not their own.

I kept thinking I should make myself a cheat sheet and I figured I would post it here in case anyone else finds it interesting, so bare with me for how selective I am about who is listed. If I have incorrect info please let me know. This will be on-going as I move through games. I will try to keep it alphabetical by actor’s first name for now. I am also breaking this up into multiple pages, so check the page links at the bottom to see the rest.

Ali Hillis: Liara T’Soni of Mass effect Series, Scout Lace Harding in Dragon Age Inquisition, Lightning Farron in various Final Fantasy games & much more. IMDB

(more…)

Everything I played in 2018: October – December

Everything I played in 2018: October - December

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, closing out the year with Q4: October through December or The Fallening.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

October

Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (SNES)
After spending all that time with Breath of the Wild I decided I should at least attempt Everyone’s Favorite Zelda, A Link to the Past. The grandeur of the experience may be lost on me at this age because it didn’t stick for long. It also had some pretty steep competition in October…

Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4) 📅
The foregone conclusion that this would be just like GTAV — an endlessly engaging world of emergent and entertaining possibilities — pretty quickly flew right out of the window. The story and related missions contain some of the most boring video game tropes I’ve ever experienced. The only saving grace is the detailed world and the personality of Arthur Morgan.

Like Breath of the Wild, I ignored much of the game’s diversions as I set out to explore the amazingly detailed and gorgeous world. Ambient encounters and Stranger Missions pepper the landscape and they were more memorable to me than anything that happened with the actual plot. Along the way I was mostly able to play the game the way I felt Arthur would’ve lived, especially given the turn in his third act. I only wish they’d given him a way to ride off into his own sunset and ignore the story. At launch, Red Dead Online was also a major letdown.

Also played in October: Just a little GTA Online (PS4), Rime (PS4), XCOM 2 (PS4)

 

November

Slamscape (PS1)
November was largely eaten up by Red Dead Redemption 2, holiday gatherings, and taking care of our new house, but I also squeezed in some time with this peculiar PlayStation game. It’s extremely odd and a little confounding but it has one interesting hook: all of the action taking place around you builds a unique soundtrack. Firing on enemies, dropping traps, and picking up “sparks” all add a satisfying musical component to the game.

Also played in November: City Crisis (PS2), Pilotwings Resort 3D (3DS)

 

December

Wave Race 64 (N64)
When sick, people crave comfort food. When I was recovering from a diverticulitis episode I was craving a comfort game. Something old and familiar to take my mind off of work, the house, and all the uncomfortable pain of life. Wave Race is my comfort game and it was great loading it up for the first time in a number of years.

The water physics is still better than anything before or since. It’s so much more than just the surface you’re racing across, it’s part of the course and the undulations can be both unexpected and predictable depending on your timing. It can make as big a difference as opening up a shortcut or unexpectedly push you through a corner without slowing down. It doesn’t take long for me to blast through the game nowadays but it’s a solid punch of nostalgia that still makes me smile.

Intelligent Qube (PS1)
I’ve always loved Intelligent Qube’s style, music, and gameplay but I don’t think I’ve ever stuck with it for more than 3 or 4 stages until 2018. I finally kept at it this time and made it all the way to the secret Final Stage where my dreams of completion were ultimately dashed against its ridiculous challenge. Well, I came as far as I’ve ever been so I’m still counting it as a triumph!

Beetle Adventure Racing (N64)
Here’s another triumph! I’ve been trying, off and on, for the better part of 20 years to unlock this game’s final course. But the only way to even see it is to take the lead in the game’s most challenging championship and conquer the five tracks before it. In 2018 I finally had the gumption to stick to it and after a few days of trying, I’d done it. I took a few victory laps to check out the course’s numerous shortcuts before kicking this one off the ol’ video game bucket list.

Earth Defense Force 5 (PS4) 📅
EDF! EDF!! This totally mostly fresh EDF experience remixes the things we love while adding new layers to both its progression system and (quite literally) to its giant insect aliens. Layers of chitinous skin now explode off of ants, spiders, and even robots to reveal charred innards while painting the environments in vibrant colors a la Splatoon! It’s a small improvement compared to other modern games but it adds so much to the impact of culling these armies of opponents.

Meanwhile, over 150 new weapons are doled out to each of the 4 classes and picking up duplicates now results in upgraded variations. For the Air Raider class who has a diverse arsenal of guns, airstrikes, turrets, and vehicles, these changes are huge. We’re now about 40 hours into the game, nearing the end of our first playthrough of the 110 story missions and still loving every big, dumb, explosive second of it!

Age of Empires II HD (PC)
I picked this up alongside Europa Universalis IV to play with a new-found friend but AoE is definitely more my scale of strategic combat. AoE2 isn’t quite as appealing as the long-defunct Age of Empires Online, but it is just as satisfying to build up a civilization and overwhelm the enemy factions with swarms of military units. This music is killer too!

Also played in December: Katamari Damacy REROLL (Switch), OnRrush (PS4), The Iconoclasts (PS4), The Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis)


Read ’em All

Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December

Everything I played in 2018: July – September

Everything I played in 2018: July - September

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, moving ahead with Q3: July through September or The Nope-too-hot-for-Outsides.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

July

Bust A Move Dance Summit 2001 (PS2)
I played through the original Bust A Move games a few more times but the big achievement of the summer was finally tracking down a copy of the PlayStation 2 sequel that I had never laid hands on. Literally laid hands; I also found a pair of “clap controllers” that were made specifically for the game and they work like soft DDR pads for your hands.

You tap, slap, and smack the palms and backs of your hands instead of jamming on controller buttons. It worked well enough to have fun and after an initial tepid reaction the game’s dancers and songs really grew on me. I’m really happy to have finally found the game and controllers, and complete the series collection in 2018.

Elevator Action Deluxe (PS3)
I’ve had my eye on this game for a while but really only because I wish it was Elevator Action Returns from the Saturn. It was on sale for $5 and I expected it wouldn’t get any cheaper again so I finally jumped on it. It’s a decent little abstraction on the arcade original’s gameplay but I didn’t hang with it for long.

Also played in July: Tons more GTA Online (PS4)

 

August

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch)
The best thing about BotW was subverting all the things it wanted me to do. Cooking, crafting, hunting, fishing, fighting, riding horses, and even questing for NPCs. I hardly engaged with any of it, and actually thought a lot of it was rubbish. Instead I simply set out to explore the world, fill in my map — and most surprisingly of all — roleplay as Vegan Link. It’s totally possible and made for a far more interesting challenge than those puzzle shrines.

Despite ignoring most of the gameplay I still look back on my time with it fondly because unlike so many open world games, BotW actually let me explore. And explore, I did. The Switch says I spent about 95 hours with the game across August and September.

Also played in August: Mafia 3 (PS4)

 

September

Sparkle 2 (PS4)
Hey, didn’t you just read I spent most of two months and nearly 100 hours on Breath of the Wild? I didn’t play much else in September but I did check out Sparkle 2 for free as a PlayStation Plus offering. It’s a fun Zuma clone with some satisfying power-ups. Katy completed everything the game had to offer but I only stuck with it through a few dozen stages.


Read ’em All

Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December

Everything I played in 2018: April – June

Everything I played in 2018: April - June

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time, continuing with Q2: April through June or The Rainy Season.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

April

Starlit Adventures (PS4) 📅
A colorful and fun, free-to-play puzzler. It was a nice little diversion for a few hours until I hit the please-pay-for-better-scores paywall.

April was Retro Month! (PlayStation 1 & 2)
After my Dad picked up a free CRT TV I went a little heavy on old PlayStation games. I softmodded my PS2 and ripped all of the Bust A Move rhythm games to the hard drive. Muscle memory and nostalgia fueled me through all four Bust A Move games (U.S. and Japanese versions) and I also squeezed in an hour with Runabout.

I picked up a copy of Pitfall 3D from a friend on Instagram and finally gave the game all the attention it deserved… which wasn’t a lot. Like Contra, I couldn’t hang without a cheat code to give me more lives but I *did* physically get through the entire game. Ultimately, it wasn’t that memorable outside of Bruce Campbell’s one-liners but I’m glad I finally saw it through.

Finally, with Ace Combat 7 looming in the distance (and Ace Combat Infinity officially dead by this point) I set out to run through the entire series. In April I managed to play Air Combat for the very first time outside of demo discs. Coming from the arcades, it’s fairly plain and straightforward but they sure blew it out for Ace Combat 2. It might be my favorite entry in the series and establishes most of the style and feel of future titles.

Also played in April: Mad Max (PS4), Q*bert: Rebooted (PS4), Trackmania Turbo (PS4)

 

May

Ace Combat 4 (PS2)
I skipped Ace Combat 3 on my marathon because the U.S. version was stripped of most of the story content and I didn’t have the time to figure out the English fan patch that was recently released. Instead, I jumped to Ace 4, probably the tops of the series for me with outrageous speed and missions that have brought me to tears, seriously.

Ace Combat 5 (PS2)
Ace 5 was another one that was all new to me. I’ve had it for years but maybe I needed a little more time between Ace 4 and 5 because I just had to look up a mission list to separate the two. Nevertheless, it was more solid flying and shooting with even more anime sci-fi layered on top of its real-world planes.

Unfortunately, this is as far as the Ace Combat playthrough made it. I still have Ace Combat 0, 6, and Assault Horizon to get through before Ace 7 hits!

State of Decay 2 (Xbox One) 📅
With a laptop unable to run the game, I returned to the Xbox One for the first time in years! State of Decay 2 brought more and more of what I loved about the original and I spent nearly 60 hours slaying, upgrading, and managing my little communes of survivors. It didn’t hook me nearly as much as the first game but it’s well recommended in my book!

Also played in May:Banished (PC), Mercenaries (Xbox)

 

June

XCOM 2 (PS4)
As much as I have loved XCOM, all the changes that I saw in XCOM 2 rubbed me the wrong way. It also launched with a lot of bugs so I put it out of mind until it was literally given to me as part of PlayStation Plus in June. I begrudgingly started it up but even without the highly acclaimed War of the Chosen expansion I was quickly hooked.

The classic tension and expletive-inducing A.I. had my nerves on edge, and the Quick Load button at the ready. There’s still some janky edges but I was having a great time in the early Summer wrangling my ragtag band of survivors. It just got put on hold once Katy lured me back to…

Grand Theft Auto Online (PS4)
Who needs stressful and genius strategy when you can run simple missions ad nauseum to watch meters fill up!? Katy and I ventured back into GTA Online for most of the Summer and it was a blast: playing with friends, discovering all the systems that Rockstar has added over the years, and causing mayhem for the NPCs of Los Santos. It was a load of fun and a game we’ll probably dip back into again in 2019.

Also played in June: Trials Fusion (PS4)


Read ’em All

Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December

Everything I played in 2018: January – March

Everything I played in 2018: January - March

Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.

It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time starting with Q1: January through March or The Wintering Months.

P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.

 

January

Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)
I came back for the tombs and exploration. But I was put off by how identical the gameplay was to ‘Shadow’ while at the same time adding another couple hundred piles of scrap, animal carcasses, weapon upgrades, and assorted trinkets to track down. From the very start of 2018 I was feeling SO over all of that.

The Italian Job (PS2)
I got this in a haul of PlayStation 2 games and finally gave it a shot. All these years I’d been ignoring it because of its movie tie-in but it turned out to be a fun arcade frolic a la Top Gear Dare Devil or GTI Club.

Ace Combat Infinity (PS3)
With its impending demise looming just a few months away, I was going hard on ACI early in 2018. The missions, the music, and the ridiculously gargantuan tech tree continued to enthrall me as I recorded as much of the game as possible for posterity.

Crossout (PS4)
2017’s unexpected Most Fun Game still had its hooks in me early in the new year but it was waning. Most dedicated players were using builds I didn’t find fun so I unofficially retired from the game, probably to focus more on Ace Combat Infinity.

Also played in January:  Dying Light (PS4), Disneyland Adventures (Xbox One), Tomb Raider (PS1)

 

February

X-COM: UFO Enemy Defense (PC, GOG)
While Giant Bomb continued their exploits with the newer Enemy Within expansion I went back, all the way back! The original X-COM is assuredly one tough turkey! Like, being-killed-coming-down-the-ramp-of-the-dropship tough. I only made it 6-8 hours in but I really enjoyed how hardcore it was, and finally seeing where the inspiration for Enemy Unknown/Within came from.

Contra Hard Corps (Genesis)
When Giant Bomb gets into a game I like, I have to run through it ahead of them. I never paid Hard Corps a lot of mind but delving into it now I found it as wild and unique as its Genesis counterpart, Castlevania: Bloodlines. New respect for that soundtrack too!

Metal Gear Survive (PS4) 📅
Here’s my first 2018 release and the game I *think* I spent the most time with all year. I was worried the game would be light on content and while it wasn’t nearly quite as sparse as I’d feared, it did leave something to be desired. Nevertheless, the survival was real and fueled me through more than 100 hours of exploring The Dust, crafting, and scouring for resources, and generally exploring the game’s world.

I finally got into the co-op mode and spent another 30 hours horsing around with kids from my Friends list and generally having a blast. The grinding for upgrades was daunting though and by late March I’d pretty much had my fill.

Also played in February: Zoo Keeper (DS), Dynasty Warriors 9 (PS4)

 

March

Don’t Bite Me Bro (PS4)
In my write-up I summed it up as “Mini” Gear Survive and the rest of my intro serves just as well here: Don’t Bite Me Bro! boils down the crafting, scavenging, farming, base-building, and tower defense of Survive’s single player campaign into such a surprisingly tiny and satisfying package.

Also played in March: WarioLand 4 (Game Boy Advance), Mario Pinball Land (Game Boy Advance)


Read ’em All

Q1: January – March ~ Q2: April through June
Q3: July through September ~ Q4: October through December