Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (on the Vita)

MGS3 vita

Shortly before the release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I decided I wanted to try to catch up on Metal Gear. I purchased Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater on the Vita, and figured it would be a good of place as any to start.

Snake Eater was released on the Playstation 2 in 2004 and the HD Collection came to the Vita in 2012. My last experience with Metal Gear was with Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance on the Xbox, however I remember very little about the game other than the underwater section being frustratingly difficult.

I had hoped that Snake Eater would shed some light on what is happening in The Phantom Pain, but so far I’m more confused than ever. The story so far (in both games) comes across as comically absurd, and I’m not sure whether to laugh or shake my head most of the time.

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What I can say for sure is that the game looks great on the Vita. The game also controls well and makes good use of the Vita’s touch screen (it’s especially easy to change weapons), however I’ve run into quite a few camera issues. While sneaking in the grass the camera switches to first person and I can’t seem to find any way to see what’s going on around me. I just have to wing it and hope no enemies are looking when I emerge from the grass. I’ve changed the camera settings in the options but it doesn’t seem to change anything at all. Maybe I’m just doing something wrong, but so far this is making the stealth aspect of the game extremely frustrating.

I haven’t gotten too far into the game yet (I’ve only just started Operation Snake Eater) but its absurdity so far has me wanting to see just how crazy it gets as the story advances. The hard part is decided whether I want to focus my time on Snake Eater or The Phantom Pain primarily. MGSV is much more enjoyable to play, so that’s probably where I’ll spend most of my time for now.

 

 

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Final Fantasy X HD: Just getting started

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I’ve been slowly making my way through Final Fantasy X HD on the Vita recently. Final Fantasy X was actually my first Final Fantasy game, back in high school (I first rented it from Blockbuster in 2004). I fell in love with the game almost immediately and it took me most of the summer to finish but I enjoyed every moment of it. I was blown away by the characters, the music, the world, it was all unlike anything I had ever experienced before.

So far my return to Spira has been enjoyable. The Vita makes for a great platform to experience Final Fantasy X on. It’s great to pick up and play in small spurts here and there, and yet once you start it’s hard to put down. The game looks very crisp on the display, and the HD upgrade is pleasant to look at.

Last night I made it to two of the first challenges in Finaly Fantasy X, the rapid fire encounters with both Sin and Sinspawn Echuilles.

final fantsy x HD sin

The cutscenes before and after the Sin encounter are incredibly good looking (they were mind blowing back on the PS2) on the Vita. I forgot just how darn good FFX looked at times. The battle with Sin was easier than I remembered it being, I just pecked away at Sin with Lulu and Wakka while Tidus slashed away at the Sinspawn. I finished the fight without any real trouble.

Without anytime for a breather you’re thrown right into the Sinspawn Echuilles fight, which is actually a bit more challenging than the Sin fight.

Sinspawn Echuilles Final Fantasy X HD

You’re only given Tidus and Wakka during the fight, and Echuilles presented me with my first KO situation (I suffered a few KO’s during the fight but made it through without a complete wipe!). The fight was the first exciting encounter of the game, however with some tactical thinking it didn’t go too horribly. I had Tidus cast Cheer while Wakka used his Dark Attack which saved me from most of the Drain Touch attacks. His Blender attack, however, left me in some critical health situations that I barely escaped. Fortunately I made it through the fight to be greeted with some more scenes featuring Sin’s destructive power.

I made it into Kilika and hit up the Sphere Grid before saving and calling it a night.

Final Fantasy X HD spehere grid

I remember the Sphere Grid being quite confusing at first, but eventually it became an almost addictive leveling system. Being able to see all of the ways you could power up your characters made me want to grind away and try to get as powerful as I could. I do wish the Sphere Grid would take advantage of the Vita’s touchscreen as I feel like touch would be the ideal way to navigate the grid, but it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it again.

I’m looking forward to making some more progress in Final Fantasy X over the next couple of weeks.

Finally got a Vita!

Playstation Vita Borderlands bundle

This weekend I finally got around to picking up a Playstation Vita. I had been thinking about it for awhile, especially after I bought a PS TV and started playing Final Fantasy X HD and Persona 4 Golden on it. I felt like those games would play much better in a mobile environment as I never really had the motivation to boot up the PS TV. I finally took the plunge and picked up the Borderlands 2 bundle for $199 at GameStop (they accept Google Wallet by the way!).

Playstation vita borderlands bundle contents

The bundle comes with a voucher for Borderlands 2 (and its DLC) and an 8GB Vita memory card. 8GB isn’t very much, especially if you’re going to be downloading games, but my PS TV also came with a 8GB card so for now I’m using that and will throw in the new card when I want to download more games.

So far I’m enjoying using the Vita. It feels good in the hands, it’s not too heavy and the screen looks pretty darn good! The system also produces a decent amount of sound and it sounds pretty good when using the speakers.

Playstation Vita

The UI definitely navigates better using the touch screen when compared to navigating it on the PS TV, so that’s a plus, but I still think the Playstation UI is pretty ugly.

As of right now I own Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, Persona 4 Golden, Borderlands 2 and MLB The Show 15 (which I bought in the store as a redeemable voucher only because it was $19.99 at GameStop and $40 on the Playstation store). The only game I’ve played so far is Final Fantasy X, but it plays great on the Vita. It’s nice to pick up and play for a bit here and there and will be great for my bus trip next week.

Playstation Vita update

I’ve been browsing the store and nothing else is really popping out at me. I had often heard that Vita support is pretty subpar, but hopefully I’ll find some more things to check out. I’m thinking about picking up Metal Gear Solid HD collection as the only MGS game I’ve actually finished is MGS2 on the 360. Do these games play well on the Vita?

Do you have any recommendations for must own Vita / classic games? Let me know please!

Playstation TV (first impressions)

So today, on a whim, I decided to buy a Playstation TV. Heck, I didn’t even know the thing existed until I spotted it at the Bx, and it was $40 off, so I figured why not check it out!

Playstation TV bundle

 

The interface is pretty nice, though parts of it feel outdated. It’s nice to be able to see your PSN friends list, trophies and messages from the device, even if you don’t own a Playstation console (as I no longer do). There aren’t very many apps available for it (Netflix and other entertainment services are notably missing), but I already have a Chromecast in the bedroom anyway.

Playstation TV interface

I was initially under the impression that using PS Now on the Playstation TV would work just like it does on the PS4, in that for $20 a month you’d have unlimited access to the library of over 100 PS3 games available on the service. Sony doesn’t make it very clear, but as of right now you CANNOT use the PS Now subscription service on the PS TV. Well technically you can, but only if you actually sign up for PS Now using a PS4.

It’s downright crazy, that you can use the full featured version of PS Now on a Playstation TV just by signing up on a PS4 first, but if you download the app on the Playstation TV without a PS4 you’re only able to rent the games. This isn’t made clear on the product packaging or the PS Now website (at least not immediately clear, after some digging it explains you can only sign up for the service on a PS4).

That said, I went ahead and rented The Last of Us for $7.99 for 7 days. Running off WiFi in the bedroom the Playstation TV passed the streaming test and let me hop into the game. I also re-upped my Playstation Plus (I used to have a PS3) and was able to import my cloud save from the last time I played The Last of Us (the process isn’t necessarily easy to figure out at first).

The Last of Us playstation TV

Once I jumped into the game I was surprised at how good it looked. I have 50mbps cable that taps out at 47mbps over WiFi according to Speedtest.net. There was seemingly no lag in the controls at all, which was awesome! I’m sure there’s some sort of delay, but I can’t notice it at all. I only played for a few minutes but didn’t see any drops in quality while playing.

I initially wasn’t aware that the Playstation TV could read PS Vita cartridges, so once I found that out I looked up the list of compatible games and picked up Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD and Persona 4 Golden for the Vita. I’ve never played a Persona game, but since I’ve been playing Shin Megami Tensei IV on the 2DS I’ve been interested in checking out Persona.

final fantasy x hd persona 4 golden vita

I threw in the Final Fantasy X cartridge and it loaded quite quickly. The game looks better than it did on the PS2 (as far as I can tell), but still looks aged so far. Nevertheless, it’s just awesome to be playing it again! I’m excited to dig deeper into the game.

final fantasy x HD playstation tv

final fantasy x hd playstation tv

It’s also worth noting that if you’re a Playstation Plus member you’ll be able to download any PS Vita games that are in your library (and compatible with the device) to the 8GB SD card included with the device.

So far I’m pretty impressed with the Playstation TV. It’s lightweight and small which makes for a nice addition to the bedroom that doesn’t take up much space. It’ll also be great for traveling, especially once PS Now subscriptions are available on the device (they’re coming, eventually). You’ll be able to toss a small device in your laptop bag and set up anywhere with a TV and a decent internet connection and have over 100 games available to you.

playstation tv

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I’m looking forward to experiencing some Vita games I would have otherwise never gotten to play (such as Persona 4). I’m a tad upset that PS Now subscriptions aren’t currently available, but hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.