Checkpoint: Phantom Pain Edition

Metal Gear Solid is back. Or is it? I think everyone will agree that this isn’t like any other Metal Gear game before it and it is categorically a better playing game. 90 minute cutscenes? I haven’t seen anything like that. I’ve collected a lot of plants and soldiers though. It’s Peace Walker 2.0 or — more cynically — it’s what Peace Walker would have been if it wasn’t restricted by the PlayStation Portable.

I’ve put in about 20 hours and yet I’m still less than 10% done the game. I’m still playing it like a regular Metal Gear game and trying to stealth my way through everything. I’m not letting myself go hog wild with all the options available to me. I don’t need to play stealthily all the time (it’s only the proper missions that are graded) but I can’t help it. I just shot my way out of a facility for the first time after realizing that these Side Ops aren’t graded whatsoever.

Old habits die hard

It’s easily the best playing Metal Gear game but based on these early missions, we’ve lost a bit of Metal Gear’s signature traits. The gameplay wackiness is still there but I miss the Huh?’s.

Metal Gear Skylake

I just watched the Super Mario Maker Overview trailer and was reminded that the game debuts on September 11. I had no idea. I thought this was an October title. With Super Mario Maker and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s release dates sneaking up on me, I decided to take an inventory of my upcoming 2015 games and what’s coming out and when.

  • Sept. 1 – Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4)
  • Sept. 11 – Super Mario Maker (Wii U)
  • Oct. 27 – Halo 5: Guardians (X1)
  • Nov. 6 – Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PS4) *
  • Nov. 17 – Star Wars: Battlefront (PS4) *

* – Digital

So there isn’t as much as I thought. It’s the holiday so there’s plenty of shoot bang titles to stave off the cold. Call of Duty: Black Ops III is a giant question mark for me though. It didn’t have the best showings at the tradeshows. The upcoming beta this week will ultimately decide the game’s fate methinks. Then again, my brother and I enjoy our co-op shooter campaigns which BLOPS3 has.

We’ll see.

The Skylake Is Falling?

So Skylake is here. It’s been a couple of weeks since the reviews for Intel’s latest “tock” release were posted online. The results are a little weird. On one hand, instruction per clock performance improved ever so slightly over the previous generation for general computing but seemingly took a hit in gaming scenarios.

The switch to DDR4 won’t move the needle for performance over DDR3 right now but it will lower power consumption. I thought there’s a premium over DDR3 modules but a quick glance at sees both DDR3 and DDR4 16GB kits priced at $150 each.

By far the most attractive prospect of upgrading to Skylake platform is the accompanying Z170 chipset. With the new 26 lane Flex-IO hub, motherboard manufacturers can provide more USB 3.0, SATA or PCI-e ports than ever. More ports are welcomed. Faster ports are also welcomed and some Z170 motherboards will feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports that will offer up to 10 Gbps transfer rates.

With all the goodies in hand so far, there’s actually more to come. Intel’s first Skylake CPUs only come in two flavors: the i7-6700K and i5-6600K. The motherboard situation isn’t great either with only Z170 chipsets based ones on the market. I’m not big on CPU overclocking these days so the K-series CPUs and Z-series motherboards a bit overkill. Not to mention that the ITX options are scant. In the end, I’d wait for the rest of Skylake to launch because while promising this all seems very premature on Intel’s part.


Checkpoint: Wimbledon 2015 Edition

I consider Roger Federer the greatest of all time but he’s “over the hump”. He doesn’t have the consistency that we’re used to seeing and seems to spray his shots wide more these days. I don’t expect him to win majors anymore but I expect him to get into the quarters in most if not all the tournaments that he enters. And yet he’s surprising me with his second place ranking in the world and currently in the thick of it with Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

Novak is an unbreakable wall and yet somehow Roger managed to eke out a tie break from him. If this quality of play keeps up this could end up being one of the all time great matches of this tournament.

Thank goodness I was in the frame of mind to watch it. It’s been a restless few weeks.

I finished Batman: Arkham Knight. I liked it and I’m considering going back to mop up the remaining content to see what the Riddler has in store for me.

I finally checked out Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. It’s easily the best playing Metal Gear Solid to date but hearing the voice of Kiefer Sutherland instead of David Hayter was weird. I didn’t spend the time to replay or explore as I usually do. I didn’t even play as stealthy. I wrapped up this “prologue” within an hour and came away optimistic for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain later this year.

Then I played The Stanley Parable for an hour or so. With that, I couldn’t help but replay it several times to soak up the different paths and endings. What a novel game!

TGS 2014: Back with a Revengeance

posted in: Game News 0

Tokyo Game Show 2014 looks like a return to form. Lots of quality gameplay trailers and announcements from the likes of Square Enix, Capcom and Sony. And to think I was about to head over to the land or the rising sun as well.

Be warned. Most of the trailers are in Japanese but you don’t need to understand the language to appreciate the quality of their productions.

Welcome back, Tokyo Game Show.


  • Final Fantasy XIII trilogy coming to Steam. FFXIII on Oct. 9th. Entire trilogy by Spring 2015 (via Press Release)
  • Tetsuya Nomura no longer directing Final Fantasy XV (via Press Release)


Bloodborne (PS4)
Release date: February 6, 2015

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