Monthly Archives: March 2014

I Caved for Infamous

I’ve been an avid gamer for many years. I got my first console, a Megadrive (or Genesis to some) for my 13th birthday nearly 22 years ago and fell in love with the weird blue hedgehog that came with it. I must have played that game a dozen times, and hated that damn water level ever single time.

Over the years, I picked up a Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2, Xbox, Xbox360, Dreamcast, Gamecube and PS3. When the new consoles were released I was initially hesitant. It took me a while to go from Xbox/PS2 to their counterparts too, and I was determined to wait a year for the PS4 to release games I wanted before looking into getting one.

Well I managed nearly 4 mths.

My PS4 and copy of Infamous: Second Son arrived on Friday and I’ve spent the last weekend getting to grips with my new shiny toy. Here are my thoughts.

 

This picture doesn’t really do it justice. Nor does it let you know just how much dust it attracts. Answer: all of it.

PS4

I quite like it. It looks nice and sleek and it nowhere near as heavy as I’d expected. Also no powerbrick, which considering the power this thing can chuck out is nothing short of amazing.

The controller is lovely. Like, really lovely. It’s a huge leap from the PS3 one and up there with the 360 controller in terms of comfort and use. The touch pad is a bit of an odd inclusion, but it works pretty well on the games I’ve used it for. Also the light bar is pretty cool and I like how it changes colour depending on what game you’re playing/doing with the PS4.

The OS is lovely. It’s very streamlined and looks great. It’s basically one long bar where all of your games go. You can drop down on any game and look at more information about it or change settings, and there are also the same thing for your TV apps and the like. Your PS profile and trophies are all on the same level too, and it’s all very easy to navigate. Although I do have a few concerns about how it’s going to be in a few years time when you’ve got loads of games. Also some of the menus aren’t as logical to find things as you may expect.

Frankly it’s an amazing system and I’m glad I picked on up, but systems are nothing without games, so here are the few I have.

 

I don’t know the person this profile belongs to. The magic of Google.

Flower

I got his for free because I already own it. I love Flower, it’s relaxing, fun and beautiful to watch. Even more so on the PS4. Also, I can sit there with my kids and play it, something I don’t really get to do with most of the games I pick up. Well worth the time to play.

 

It’s just a wonderful experience to play.

Zen Pinball 2

I’m awful at pinball games, but I continue to play them. Maybe in the hope that one day I won’t suck quite so badly. Again it’s free for people who have it already. It’s also bloody good fun and looks great.

 

Resogun

I played this for half hour, had no idea what the hell I was doing, but loved every second. It’s mad and beautiful and really does show off some pretty impressive graphics. I get the feeling it’s also a bit of a time sink to get any good at it.

 

Not sure what’s happening, but I’m not sure it matters.

I did get a couple of other PS+ games (which is probably the best thing to happen to any console ever), but I haven’t played any of them yet. I did however get a few full-priced games to go along with it.

 

Injustice

Being a fan of comics, and also of the last Mortal Kombat game, anything made by the same developer in the DC universe was always going to get a look. It doesn’t exactly show off the power of the PS4, but it doesn’t look awful by any means. It’s a decent fighting game with a huge amount of single-player content, something the likes of Capcom could take note off. So far I’ve played a bit of the story mode, which is madness, but a lot of fun and with some great character moments, and Star Labs, which are sort of mini missions for you to complete. Well worth the money.

 

I really have no idea what The Flash is trying to do, but I don’t think The Matrix is a valid form of defense against Deathstroke.

Thief

Okay, first of all a confession to make. I love the old Thief games. Thief 2 is one of my favourite games of all time and Deadly Shadows has Shalebride Cradle, one of the scariest and best levels of any game ever. What I’m saying is that this game had high expectations. And while the reviews certainly don’t show this as being a great game, there are very good parts to it. Removing all of the player hand-holding crap and playing it like the old Thief games, staying in shadows, watching guards and waiting for the right moment; it feels a lot like the games of old. This is not a game for people who have no patience, and it certainly isn’t a game for everyone, but for those of you who like to hide in the shadows and watch as you plot your next move, this might just be for you. Personally, I really enjoyed the few hours I’ve played.

 

Water arrows are the lifeblood of this game. You’ll learn to love them.

 

Infamous: Second Son

The game that came with the PS4. I enjoyed the previous Infamous games quite a bit and was looking forward to this one, and it didn’t disappoint. To start with, it is stunning. In places it’s drop-dead gorgeous, especially when after a few hours you unlock new powers to go alongside your Smoke abilities, as combat starts to get more intense.

It plays great too, the combat and exploration side of things work brilliantly.

Story wise, it’s okay. Some of the characters are more interesting than others, but on the whole it’s not going to worry The Last of Us or anything like that. To be fair, I think in future Sucker Punch need to re-think the morality system, which is just a bit dull. Maybe they should go a more Mass Effect style of being either a full-on good-guy or a bad-ass. The evil route doesn’t really seem to fit with Delsin’s personality, but then I haven’t played that much being the badguy so maybe it gets better.

Also, and this goes for nearly every game developer, stop putting shitty bosses in games. If you have to whittle away a health bar or have some massive difficulty spike, it’s not good game design. In fact I can’t remember the last good boss I played against. Bosses are not meant to be dull or frustrating when the rest of the game is so much fun. Stop doing it.

Over all, it’s great fun, it’s not going to change your mind if you don’t already like the games as a lot of the improvements are small ones (the shards are now fun to find), but if you’re a fan of the franchise or genre, then you’ll love it. Also… pretty.

 

However pretty this looks, it’s nothing compared to seeing the game running.

So, while I wasn’t going to get a PS4 for a while, I’m glad I did. It’s a great console with some good games and the potential to do some amazing things. The next few years should be a very interesting time indeed.

The Story Behind the Hellequin Chronicles

I’ve got a guest post over on SF Signal today about how the use of Flashbacks shaped the Hellequin Chronicles stories, and where that idea came from.

 

Click the cover to go see.

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

Infamous Reign Sale

Right now, Infamous Reign: A Hellequin Novella is only 0.99c (79p). Click the links below to go get yourself a copy.

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Infamous-Reign

In late 15th century England, two young princes are given over by Merlin to the protection of their uncle, King Richard III. They soon vanish from sight, igniting tales of their demise at Richard’s hand and breeding unrest throughout the land.

Nathanial Garrett, also known as Hellequin, is sent to London to decipher fact from rumor and uncovers a plot to replace the king. But his investigation quickly becomes personal when he learns that an old nemesis is involved. He soon finds himself racing against time to rescue the boys before their fate, and the fate of all England, is sealed in blood.

Infamous Reign is a novella in the Bestselling Hellequin Chronicles series, mixing gritty and action-packed historical fantasy with ancient mythology.

 

Reviews:

LizLovesBooks

“As usual Mr McHugh weaves a magical tale blending myth, legend, history and fantasy with terrific effect. Taking the story of “The Princes in the Tower” as a backdrop and putting Nate Garret bang at the centre of it, this is a beautifully fast paced action driven instalment in Nate’s story.

If you are a fan of this series this will certainly wet the appetite for the next book. If you have yet to dip your toes into Nate’s world this is a gorgeous little taster for you that will have you rushing out to get the rest.”

BittenByBooks.com 

“Infamous Reign would make a great introduction to the Hellequin series. There is enough backstory to see where Nate came from and where he is going, who he is as a character, and why he deserves his own following in the urban fantasy genre. Nate is a hero that can carry a fantasy novel with no problem, be it short or long, urban or historical fantasy. Bring on more Hellequin adventures, Steve McHugh.”

 

 

Chat and Win 2

The interview on Bittenbybooks.com is now live and therefor if anyone has any questions about the books or writing, or anything really, feel free to pop on over and ask. You might even win the competition.

 

Click on the cover to go.

 

With Silent Screams small

A Chance to Chat and Win

Today is the day that I have an interview and web chat with Bitten by Books. It starts at Noon Central US time (5pm UK). You can win a copy of Crimes Against Magic and an Amazon gift certificate by coming over.

Here’s the link for the giveaway.

Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions about the books or writing in general, feel free to pop over and ask.

Click the cover for the link to the webchat when it goes live. 

With Silent Screams small

Competition and Chat

On wed this week (12th March) at 12pm central time USA (so about 5pm in the UK), I’ll be at Bitten by Books for an Interview, competition and chat. Anyone clicking the below link will get extra chances to win a $25 amazon gift certificate and a copy of Crimes Against Magic.

 

http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=74479

 

If you want to come along and ask me anything about the books, where the series is going, characters or anything else, then pop over and say hi.

 

My Superpower – Skiffy and Fanty

Me again. This time with a link to a blog post I did for skiffyandfanty.com, about my superpower. It’s was a lot of fun to write. As per usual, click the cover.

 

McHugh_Crimes_Against_Magic_cvr_FINAL

Liz Wilkins Interviews Me

Yep, another day and another guest post. Today I’ve got an interview on Liz Wilkins blog, who recently did a fantastic review for With Silent Screams, where she said;

 

“This is definitely a set of books that has grown in stature since its humble beginnings as Nate and the mythology surrounding him has grown, developed and taken on a life of its own. So, all in all a terrific 3rd book in a series that is now absolutely one of my favourites in the Urban Fantasy stakes alongside Felix Castor and Alex Verus. Possibly not for the faint hearted but if you like your Urban fantasy absolutely Urban and fantastical these will probably bring great satisfaction.”

 

Click the cover to go take a read.

 

With Silent Screams small

Blog Tour Post – Top 10 Heroes and Villains

And I’m back, twice in one day. This time I’ve got a top 10 heroes and villains over on A TiffyFit’s Reading Corner.
It was hard figuring out only 5 heroes and 5 villains, so I’m going to post the other half on my blog in a week or so. In the meantime, go check it out. As per usual, click the cover.

 

With Silent Screams small

 

 

Blog Tour Post – Character

For the next week or so, I’ve got a few posts going on in a blog tour. The first one is today over at Kelsey’s Book corner and is about getting characters to be believable.

 

Click on the cover to go have a read. Oh, also, you can win one of 3 signed copies of With Silent Screams, I should have mentioned that bit earlier.

 

With Silent Screams small