The Sly Collection (Part 2 – 12/11/2017)

I started playing Sucker Punch’s The Sly Collection, remastered for the PlayStation 3. I’ve made it to episode three, “Vicious Voodoo” and completed the “Sunset Snake Eyes” area (Spoilers Ahead). 

  1. High Class Heist:  I like how in this area there are spoofs of famous statues and paintings, such as having Raleigh as The Thinker or Atlas, or a frog Mona Lisa or the Birth of Venus. Actually, the Birth of Venus was pretty surprising given that it’s a bit risky.
  2. 174378-sly-cooper-and-the-thievius-raccoonus-playstation-2-screenshotBentley and Sly: The dialog exchanges between Bentley and Sly are pretty funny. In Cunning Disguise there was a pretty funny exchange over the merits of using a barrel as protection and disguise despite its unsanitary drawbacks. In another area, you have Bentley’s high tech speak and Sly breaking it down into very simple terms, much to Bentley’s chagrin. Or even the fact that Bentley was surprised that Sly was able to successfully turn of the generator in Raleigh’s area.
  3. Gunboat Graveyard: I really enjoyed this area and being able to climb among the wrecked boats, derelict planes and destroyed submarines. Clearly, Raleigh and his crew work really hard, judging by all the vessels that they have.
  4. Varied Gameplay: I had forgotten a trend of platformers on the PS1 and PS2 was to have varied gameplay segments in their game, and Sly Cooper is no different. There is a little submarine area where you are shooting treasure-stealing crabs. There is also an area where you have to shoot at enemies while Murray attempts to grab a key, which was okay. Finally, there was the requisite racing level. At the Dog Track was just a horrendous racing level. Your car is so much slower compared to the other cars it’s just ridiculous. 
  5. Raleigh: This boss battle was pretty fun and had you running around different platforms while a bloated up Raleigh tries to squash you. About the only challenging part of this boss battle was when Raleigh spins in a circle with his tongue out. Took me a try to get the jumping down on that part.
  6. Mesa City: I really loved the look of this place, especially the entry level. Seeing the Southwestern desert and mesas in the background was extremely well-done and I thought they made effective use of shades of purple. Adding a junkyard motif, with broken and teetering vehicles was also a great touch.
  7. hqdefaultSunset Snake Eyes: This episode has a nice nod to a classic cartoon troop that sees a hyperactive and aggressive dog on a chain chasing after you and then getting snapped back by a chain around their neck. I also love how they have a surprised look on their faces when it happens. All the drool coming out when they’re chasing you is also a nice touch.
  8. Boneyard Casino: Wow, is this area a giant liability. What kind of casino has whole areas partially submerged in water? Who would play in that area? Also, what’s the deal with all of the electric lines swinging around and electrifying the water? Mugshots’ insurance must be through the roof!
  9. Two to Tango: I absolutely loved this level that had Sly jumping around the rooftops while Carmelita is trying to shoot him with her stun gun. This level did a much better job of mixing up the gameplay than did the previous racing or shooting levels. Hopefully there are more of these later on.
  10. Muggshot: This also was a pretty fun boss battle and I love how after hitting the mirrors and causing his guns to melt, Muggshot gets pretty upset that his guns have been broken. It was a nice humorous touch. 

Early Impression: 8.0/10.0

Trophies Earned: “Programmers Can Do Anything;” “Take it Slow;” “Nimble Like a Thief;” “Coin Sucker;” “Frog Legs;” “Pug Gambling;” “Top of the Morning;” “Freeze, You’re It;” “French Bulldog Style;” “Waterlogged;” “Now Ya See Me;” “Giving the Dog a Bone;” and “Bayou Lily.”

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The Sly Collection (Part 1 – 12/10/2017)

I started playing Sucker Punch’s The Sly Collection, remastered for the PlayStation 3. I’ve made it to episode one, “Tide of Terror” and completed the “Into the Machine” area (Spoilers Ahead).

  1. 150815-Sly_Cooper_and_the_Thievius_Raccoonus_(USA)-1Graphics: Sly’s cel-shaded graphics have been remasted and are looking really good with 720p resolution. Sly Cooper makes use of Sucker Punch’s proprietary engine, SPACKLE (Sucker Punch Animation and Character Kinematics Life Engine). SPACKLE, when combined with the animated pieces in between the gameplay, really creates a game that has the look and feel of an afternoon cartoon from the ’90s.
  2. Collectibles: This game is definitely a product of its time and way back when collectibles were big. Unlike most games during that era, Sly manages to show restraint. Outside of keys and bottles, the only other collectible is coins, which function as giving you an extra hit after collecting a hundred of them.
  3. Story: The basic premise of this game is that Sly, along with his teammates Bentley and Murray, are on a quest to revenge Sly’s father and take back his family’s heirloom, the Thievius Racoonus, a book containing the Cooper family’s thieving techniques, which was stolen by the Fiendish Five. 
  4. One Hit: It’s been a while since I’ve played a game that was one hit and your done and that took some getting used to, especially when it comes to some mistimed jumps. Luckily this game isn’t too hard thus far and seems pretty forgiving when it comes to checkpoints.
  5. Deaths: I’m loving how the death animations are very cartoon-like, such as falling off the edge and Sly giving a little slug. It’s a very nice addition to the overall cartoon feel to the game.
  6. Stealth: Thus far, the stealth hasn’t really been much of the gameplay. Outside of sneaking past some searchlights, every enemy I’ve encountered has involved a direct fight with no stealth option available. A bit disappointing, but hopefully it will play a bigger part as the game progresses.
  7. Sneaking: I love the little notes that play as you sneak around, pretty much the same noise a character in a cartoon makes, which really adds to the overall cartoon feel to the game. I also like how Sly flattens himself against the wall and inches his way around it.
  8. Safes: I’m liking the fact that you unlock abilities via breaking into safes and recovering a page of the Thievius Racoonus. Although why a three digit combination is distributed among so many bottles makes zero since. Oh well, at least it gives a rationale and motivation to collect the bottles. Also having Sly leave a calling card in the safe is a nice touch.
  9. maxresdefaultEpisode Intro: I loved the intro to the Tide of Terror episode and it does a great job of introducing the episodes boss, Sir Raleigh, who is basically a bored aristocrat frog who has turned to a life piracy. Not exactly a dastardly villain, but he fits in with the overall tone of the game.
  10. Voice Acting: So far the voice acting has been extremely good, especially Bentley and Sly, which is a nice treat for a game this old, because extremely bad voice acting was still more the norm. Hopefully this trend continues throughout the game.

Early Impression: 8.0/10.0

Trophies Earned: “Sucker Punch,” “Coin Collector,”  “Foxy Lady,” “Learn the Ropes,” “Coin Recycler,” “Coins, Coins Everywhere,” “Bottle Hoarder,” and “Dive Bomb.”

 

 

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (12/10/2017 – Final)

Here are my final thoughts on Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (spoilers ahead).

Positives:

  1. Graphics: Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is a great looking game and a lot of the locals are teeming with details–from the hellish landscape of Brume Tower to the glistening sunset on the water of Majula and . The game does a great job with lighting effects as well and it cool watching your shadow flicker off of different surfaces as the lighting changes.
  2. Combat: Dark Souls II offers you a bountiful number of paths towards developing your character, whether you want a big tank of a character that is all strength and being able to take a hit or a mage that casts mighty spells, this game has you covered.
  3. Bosses: For the most part, all of the bosses in Dark Souls II have an epic feel to them and they do a good job of challenging you. I don’t think any of them are cheap or unfair, but some are definitely on the challenging side. All of them are cool looking and impressive.
  4. Lore: This game is teeming with lore, from the character you interact with to the objects you find in the game. The world of Drangleic is filled with opportunities to find out more about the world around you.
  5. Voice Acting: While there isn’t a whole lot of it in the game, it is all pretty good and none stand out was being particularly bad. Although it is really hard to understand Aldia is saying. 
  6. Atmosphere/Level Design: Dark Souls II does an excellent job of blending lighting, visuals, and sounds to create some of the most atmospheric levels in gaming, such as Earthen Peak, Undead Keep and the Black Gulch.
  7. Soundtrack: There isn’t a robust soundtrack, but by using it sparingly, Dark Souls II makes effective use of it to create emotions in the player–such as entering into the Drangon’s Sanctum with its creepy hymn or adding to the overall tone of a boss battle.

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Negatives:

  1. Story: There is a total lack of a narrative in this game. While there is a deep lore-filled world, there is no narrative driving the adventure. You are a cursed undead seeking to cure your curse….and that’s it. Also, the ending sucked big time.
  2. Clipping Issues: There are a lot of clipping issues in this game. Enemies weapons going through walls, floors, etc. or them going into walls themselves. Then there’s the issue of arrows getting stuck in midair because the game thinks there’s a wall there.
  3. Combat: While I think there are a lot of positives to the combat, when it comes to bosses it really seemed that most of the time the game really just wanted you to roll out of the way, which really made it seem like most of the other attributes kind of pointless. 

Final Verdict: 8.0/10.0

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (12/09/2017 – part 14)

I continued playing Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (Spoilers ahead).

  1. Fume Knight: Finally beat this bastard. Took me like forty tries, but he finally went down. What a pain in the ass.
  2. maxresdefaultBurnt Ivory King: Speaking of pain in the ass, this boss battle was just brutal. Having to get through all of his knights and the survive his onslaught was not easy. I don’t think he took as many tries as the Fume Knight, but it was pretty damn close. 
  3. Sir Alonne: Compared to the Fume Knight, this guy was a piece of cake—got him in just one try. However, the arena in which you fight him is drop dead gorgeous, with it’s highly polished floor and arches in the background with a view of the sunset.
  4. Shulva Sanctum City: I think this area was the least favorite of the DLC areas. Although the hymn in the Dragon’s Sanctum was pretty cool. The ghost knights were a pain in the ass though.
  5. Elana, the Squalid Queen: This is the only boss that I was truly disappointed in. When you first encounter her contemplating a dragon relief and she turns around and tells you that you will rot you think that you’re going to be into a big, epic battle, but she comes off as pretty generic.
  6. Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon: This was an awesome battle and having to dive out of the way as Sinh comes swooping in with its flames was just so damn cool. It also took me like three different weapons to beat this monster, because they all got worn down and were on the verge of breaking. Definitely made up for the disappointment that was Elana. 
  7. Darklurker: This was another hard boss for me, especially when it split into two. It took me quite a number of tries, but I was able to take it down. Kind of sucked that every time I wanted to challenge it I had to give up a human effigy. 
  8. Sinh_FlyingVendrick: I think this king might have been the easiest boss of them all, mainly because he has such a limited move set that is really easy to dodge. Now, he definitely hits hard with said moves, but I think he only hit me a couple of times during the whole fight. Thank you giant souls!
  9. Throne of Want: Surprisingly, I didn’t have any problems with these bosses and was able to beat the Watcher and Defender on the first go. Nashandra was a pretty cool looking boss and her fingering her scythe right at the start of the battle was cool, but she really just reminded me of Elana—accept with the whole curse aspect to it. Aldia was an okay boss, but kind of a disappointment for an end of game boss. Also, why are the NPC summons so damn stupid that they kept attacking him when he was on fire? Every single time.
  10. Ending: The ending to this game sucked and was a major disappointment for me.

Early Impression: 7.5/10.0

Trophies Earned: Vendrick, Selfless Giver, Curious Map, The Heir

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (12/05/2017 – part 13)

I continued playing Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (Spoilers ahead).

  1. Frozen Eleum Loyce: Pretty cool looking place. Not sure why a massive castle would be built in what looks like a massive ice field. Seriously, there’s like nothing but ice and snow all around. I like how while running around outside your armor becomes coated in frost. Also, how some areas can get pretty difficult to see due to the foggy conditions.
  2. DSII-DLC3-01-Frozen_Eleum_Loyce.0.0Rampart Stray Dog: These little bastards can be hard to see at times. They totally blend in with the snow and stone from a distance.
  3. White Cloaks: What’s the deal with the people in white just hanging out in the snow? I know they are alive because I accidentally hit one while fighting a Rampart Soldier and she screamed. Why aren’t they taking cover inside the buildings? There’s quite a few of them too.
  4. Invisible Walls: A downside to this game is that your arrows get snagged on invisible walls way too often–and sometimes you aren’t even close to a wall. Pretty lame that this is still a thing.
  5. Aava, the King’s Pet: My what a big ass tiger you are. I swear, the bosses on the DLC levels seem way harder than the bosses in the main game. They hit hard and seem to take very little damage. Took a few tries, but I finally kill this monster!
  6. Alsanna the Silent Oracle: Nice, she took out the storm and it looks like all those frozen chests are now unfrozen.
  7. Burnt Ivory King: Okay, this boss is off the hook. I made it past all the knights, which was hard given that I was by myself, with the exception of one knight looking guy who got killed pretty quick. And then the King showed up with more knights and I got slaughtered.
  8. Frozen Hedgehog: Stumbled across some frozen hedgehogs, what a pain in the ass when they start rolling around.
  9. ds2-avaWhite Cloaks 2: Okay, so those little bastards come alive after speaking to oracle and will sneak up on your ass and shank you.
  10. Maldron: Okay, this little bastard tricked me into doing the greeting sign and then backstabbed me—and then he ran away!

Early Impression: 8.0/10.0

Trophies Earned: None

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (12/02/2017 – part 12)

I continued playing Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (Spoilers ahead).

  1. Brume Tower: I thought the Iron Keep was a pretty hellish looking place, but it’s got nothing on this area. Everything is draped in volcanic ash, with bodies laying around covered in ash–very Pompeii-like. Far below you can see just a landscape covered in molten lava and red-hot rocks. A very barren place.
  2. 2638590-acrevdark_souls_ii_gamespot_103Barrel Carrier: These guys have to have the worst job ever. Why are they carrying the barrels? It doesn’t look like they have any particular destination in mind, but just aimlessly wandering around. Also, those barrels look heavy because they cause them to stumble around. Fire and explosive powder filled barrels don’t mix. 
  3. Ashen Crawlers: So, these weird things crawl around the ground, covered in what looked to be soot. I was really surprised when one jumped at me and even more surprised when one caught on fire and then decided to blow up.
  4. Possessed Armors: Man these guys are a pain in the ass. They keep resurrecting until you are able to take out the ashen idols. Unfortunately you often times have to go through them to get to the idols! And they are pretty good at aiming with that damn bow too.
  5. Aged Feather: Really wish I had known earlier on that this item was reusable. Very useful being able to go back to the bonfire and not have to worry about running out of homeward bone.
  6. Iron Warrior: Surprisingly a tricky enemy, considering it has no head. The lava that comes spewing it out of its sides makes it a bit hard to dodge. 
  7. Estus Flask: Yeah! I found another shard. Total is now up to 12, which I guess is the maximum level.
  8. Havel’s Armor: Stumbled across Havel’s Armor after having gone back to some previous areas to clean them up and check areas that I might not have been able to access earlier.
  9. 050571Clipping Issues: One of the downsides to this game is the fact that enemy attacks are not hindered by walls. Nothing quite sucks you out of the atmosphere of a game than have a big club come sailing though a solid stone wall. Also can be pretty cheap at times, especially considering that your attacks are hindered by walls.
  10. Fume Knight: Wow, this knight has consistently kicked my ass. I can usually get him down to a quarter health, but once he goes flame on things go downhill pretty quickly. I think I’m going to have to level up some more and come back later.

Early Impression: 8.0/10.0

Trophies Earned: Covenant of Ancients, Holder of the Fort  

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (11/29/2017 – part 11)

I continued playing Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (Spoilers ahead).

  1. th.jpgIlluminated Corpse: Man, these guys blend in with the rocky outcroppings of Dragon Aerie really well. I got nailed several times by one. At first it was like, man, these guys are weak and not causing any damage, but then I realized they are causing corrosive damage and breaking my damn weapons and armor.
  2. Dragon: While the big red dragons in the Dragon Aerie look impressive they were incredibly easy to snipe with a bow and arrow from afar. Also, what’s the deal with the fact that they can’t fly, but do a little hover thing? They’re dragons! They should be soaring like all the other ones in the area.
  3. Dragon Statues: These things are weird. They move with your movements and shift colors from like red to a gold-ish color that makes them look like statues. At least they don’t attack you–although the way they jump around makes it seem like they would 
  4. Bridge: So I lured a couple of the statue things onto the bridge, but something happened to the bridge, a dragon for some reason attacked the bridge, destroying it and sending us all plunging to our deaths.
  5. Drakekeepers: I swear these guys have a ton of stamina, especially the mace one, because it seems like he just keeps attacking and attacking without pause or very little pause.
  6. Old Chasm: I’m really digging the dark purple that my armor has been shaded to while in here. I wish you could keep that color outside of the chasm as well!
  7. Old Chasm: Speaking of the Old Chasm, I had to look up how to get out of the area. While, I had a feeling the foggy pit might be an exit or another area, I sure and hell was going to risk dying and having to do the area again at the cost of a human effigy, so I looked it up online.
  8. Ancient Dragon: The ancient dragon is damn massive. Pretty sure he can’t fly–given that his wings look all tattered. So glad I didn’t have to fight it.
  9. serdce_tumanaMemory of Vammar: There’s a giant in this area that keeps falling on its ass. I don’t know if it is a glitch or not, but every time it got up it would just fall over again. Very weird.
  10. Memory of Vammar: It’s kind of weird that you are able to get items out of a memory. Also, if this Vammar’s memory, am I in areas where Vammar had previously been? If he did participate in the battle along the way, how is this part of his memory? A bit confusing.

Early Impression: 8.5/10.0

Trophies Earned: Sanguinary Covenant, Protector Covenant, Ancient Dragon, Gesture Maestro, Gathering of Exiles, Smith for Life, Reflections on Disembodiment, Garrulous Miser 

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (11/27/2017 – part 10)

I continued playing Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (Spoilers ahead).

  1. 16_dark_souls_2Aldia’s Keep Acid Pit: There’s the two lion looking things looked in this massive cage filled with acid that corrodes your equipment. They’re pretty easy pickings, but it’s a pain when they drop an item and you have to strip off all your equipment to go in and get it. Also, there’s a hole in the ceiling and the room that above that hole is filled with all kinds of dead creatures piled up and waiting to be pushed through that hall.
  2. Gargoyle: I don’t know what it is about gargoyles in this game, but on the whole they’ve been pretty easy for me. In the hall of Aldia’s Keep there’s a gargoyle that will basically keep running at the door and trying to fit through, allowing you to pluck it off with arrows. 
  3. Trolls: There’s like three trolls in this area and it never gets tiring sneaking up behind one and shooting it in the ass with an arrow. Also their big, jiggle bellies when they run after you.
  4. Basilisks: I find the basilisks in this game more adorable than threatening. I think it is because of their super large bug eyes. 
  5. Backstab: A well-timed backstab in this game is a thing of beauty–especially when it is to one of those damn dark invaders who like to roll around like crazy.
  6. Dragon Acolytes: I love hitting these guys right as they are desperately trying to heal themselves with a lifegem.
  7. Petrified Dragon Bone: These little guys are like gold. Must find. Must upgrade Dragonrider Shield and Bow!
  8. Basilisk 1Corpses: Those corpses that chase you and when they hit the ground cause you to go flying are annoying.
  9. Crystal Lizards: Upon chasing one of those lizards trying to kill it, I accidentally whacked a sleeping dragon, unbeknownst to me, and turned around just in time to get a face full of fire.
  10. Dragon Aerie: Okay, so this place is counting destroyed dragon eggs… that can’t be good. I hope that doesn’t lead to all those dragons flying overhead attacking.

Early Impression: 8.5/10.0

Trophies Earned: None

 

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (11/26/2017 – part 9)

I continued playing Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (Spoilers ahead).

  1. Demon of Song: This boss was pretty easy, but damn was it creepy looking. Basically a giant frog with a skull and hands in its mouth. Damn creepy indeed.
  2. demon-of-songImperious Knight: Definitely an appropriate name for this knight. Not sure if wielding two giant shields is the most effective offensive technique though. Also, good thing that they are slow and lumbering. 
  3. Grave Warden Agdayne: So, this dude warned me not to carry a light, which I wasn’t, but there was a torch zombie walking around. Apparently, that also counts and the guy went crazy, along with his guards. It took me quite sometime to make it past them.
  4. Zombies:  The zombies that come out of the ground in the Undead Crypt area really sound like they are throwing up when they first get out of the ground. 
  5. Velstadt, the Royal Aegis: So, I thought this guy was going to be a bigger pain than he actually turned out to be. His great hammer strikes didn’t take off nearly as much stamina as I thought they would.
  6. King Vendrick: So this is the mighty king, some big ass guy who stripped off all of his clothes and is walking aimlessly in circles dragging his big sword behind him?
  7. Drangleic: Are the people of Drangleic giants? Or are the royalty? Because the queen I came across was a giant and Vendrick is also pretty damn big. If they are all giants then the ladders are pretty useless for them.
  8. thAldia’s Keep: Upon entering the keep there is a very impressive and massive dragon skeleton looming over the entrance area. Very, very cool.
  9. Guardian Dragon: Cool looking dragon, but surprisingly very easy–once I got the rhythm down on avoiding its fire.
  10. Dragon Aerie: The view upon first entering this area is fantastic, with its cloud draped mountains in the background and a forest far, far below and giant columns of rock jetting up to the sky. One of the more gorgeous areas of the game and a nice change from the dank and dark pit that was the Undead Crypt.

Early Impression: 8.5/10.0

Trophies Earned: King’s Ring

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (11/23/2017 – part 8)

I continued playing Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (Spoilers ahead).

  1. 0b9af8663810178a91c6ebea9711fcd6_LDrangleic Castle: Sadly, it took me way longer than I would like to admit to figure out how to get into the castle. I was like why does there seem to be an infinite amount of knights running out of the side hall.
  2. Ruin Sentinel: I was definitely bummed to find a bunch of these guys hiding behind five doors in a room in the castle.
  3. Statues: So had to creep through the castle, shooting every statue with an arrow to determine whether or not it was a real statue. 
  4. Twin Dragonriders: I think I got lucky on this boss, because one of them seemed to get stuck in a corner somehow, because he would not move out of that area. I have to say it made this fight a whole lot easier.
  5. Gargoyle: There’s a gargoyle near the top of the castle that for some reason if you don’t drop all the way down onto the roof will come alive and then proceed to walk off the roof and kill itself. Super easy souls right there.
  6. Looking Glass Knight: Damn was this guy imposing. Also, his hits just knocked a ton off of my stamina bar when I blocked them. Also, shooting enemies out of his shield was not fun for me.
  7. Shrine of Amana: This is a visually awesome level. Looking down at the torch lights reflecting in the shallow water and seeing the light filter through some giant roots over head was really cool. Also, hearing the eerie song of the Milfanito added a nice ambience to the who level.
  8. Shrine of Amana Water: So I stupidly assumed that all the water area was shallow and plunged to my death. 
  9. SotFS_LGKnightAmana Aberration: These guys are just cool looking, crawling along the bottom of the water, licking the ground. When they are producing lights they are so easy to find. However, when they are dark they are a pain in the ass and seem to pop out of the water at the most inopportune times. Also, they seem to get all excited about the torch.
  10. Dragonrider Shield: I’m really digging this shield. Up to know, I’ve been pretty disappointed with most of the boss weapon options you can trade for, but this shield has been getting the job done. 

Early Impression: 8.5/10.0

Trophies Earned: Abysmal Covenant, Looking Glass Knight.