Blogging is hard, part deux.

•03/23/2010 • Leave a Comment

Sooooo, it’s been a long time since my last post, and honestly, I blame video games.

Ironic right?

I have been playing a LOT of God of War III (awesome) and Final Fantasy XIII (got awesome).

I was supposed to be writing about them, but honestly, I just haven’t had the time or energy. It’s either work, looking for work or school.

So let me do a quick recap.

God of War III started strong and rocked face until the end. I’ve heard numerous people here and there say that the game kind of fizzles after about 4-5 hours, but those people are just ants at a picnic.

Yep, slightly effeminate, Family Guy reference.

Honestly, I didn’t feel it. Every boss I fought made me grab the edge of my seat, every new weapon or ability I got was ridiculously awesome, and useful and although I will admit that the story kind of took a weird “after-school special” close to the end, it still was a fairly solid end to the God of War trilogy.

This is the first God of War that I loved every weapon. I never even touched the other weapons in GoW I and GoW II but in this game, I honestly had to maintain some self-control to keep using the Blades of Exile, instead of switching to the one of the other three pretty awesome weapons.

I particularly liked Hades’s claws, as summoning souls of things you’ve fought was pretty cool. You can kick the crap out of a Satyr by using the Medusa summon, and just stoning them.

Again, I felt that the story took some odd turns close to the end, but honestly, it’s a really small qualm considering the epicness that was going on around you. My question is, how would YOU have ended it had you the choice?

And of course, the graphics were mind blowing. The graphics looked better than most MOVIES that use CG. Avatar, get the hell out.

All and all, it deserves its high praise and 10 out of 10s. Anyone who “didn’t like this game” is just trying to be rebellious, because this game has something everyone can love (booooobs!)

Now on to Final Fantasy XIII.

It took 30 hours to become non-linear. Whoa.

Other than that, the battles system has grown on me. Honestly, it’s so complex, but at the same time really, really simple. Now, it can become very out of your control, like Final Fantasy XII, but at least in this game, you have to do something, otherwise you’ll get your ass handed to you by later bosses and even trash mobs.

I definitely get my face stomped by Behemoths on Pulse unless I’m really on my Paradigms and attacks. Honestly, the battle system is fairly involved, but you have to be careful. You should definitely use a class you’re comfortable with. I tried to use my Sahz to buff one time, and I definitely got very confused and almost died.

It’s better to set up your characters as if you would play them, and then pick the character of the three that you are most comfortable with. That way, your AI companions will play almost identically to what you would do, but you don’t have to worry about screwing up because stuff is going too fast.

So what am I saying? I like the battle system. I really do, it’s a welcome change.

And no, the storyline is not confusing, it’s really simple.

Cocoon misunderstands Pulse. Pulse and Cocoon are very similar, and now you have to either destroy Cocoon, or save Cocoon. That’s yet to be determined, we shall see.

Other than that, lots of Super Street Fighter IV stuff coming soon, as there is a TON of new stuff, and awesome videos.

Sooooo, I’m back. Hopefully.

Please read.

Thanks.

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It’s time to oil up!

•03/10/2010 • Leave a Comment

Soooo, a new trailer for the final character in Super Street Fighter IV is up.

At first, I wasn’t on board with the “oil,” Hakan thing… but after watching the trailer… he’s hiiiilaaaarious.

I like it.

Some people are taking it waaaay too seriously. They say it’s “not realistic.”

Yes, this coming from a game where people shoot FIREBALLS out of their palms. Right.

Choose for yourself. Either way, I am SUPER hyped.

In other gaming news, I picked up Final Fantasy XIII, so I’ll be talking about that soon.

Preliminary thoughts? I like it, but there are a few things they could have NOT done. I’ll go more into that later.

Meme Monday

•03/01/2010 • Leave a Comment

I know, it’s been a while, but this one is just too good to pass up.

Especially since I have a PS3 Slim, and the trophy/internal clock bug apparently doesn’t affect me!

If you haven’t heard, older PS3s are unable to connect to the PSN network, and apparently might corrupt any trophies received after March 1st.

For more info, check here: Teh BLOG!

Either way, it makes for an epic comeback to MEME MONDAY!

Todays meme is brought to you by Downfall/Hitler (please note, might not be work safe).

Personally, I would check out all of the rest of this meme, as there are some really funny ones, many pertaining to gaming. But today, we have one that is actually about the PS3 error.

The grammar kind of sucks, and he misspelled unbelievable, but it’s still pretty funny:

If capturing a Little Sister is wrong…

•02/23/2010 • Leave a Comment

I don’t wanna be right…

Sooooo, I beat Bioshock 2, which means I congratulated myself by playing some Bioshock 2 multiplayer… and though, it’s not Modern Warfare 2, it’s still quite a bit of fun.

I walked into my “apartment,” threw on my suit and mask, spun my cane, and jumped into a Free For All match.

It was insane.

There is a lot going on, but unfortunately, I felt that the game boiled down to “I saw you first, you die now.” You COULD say the same about other FPS games, such as Modern Warfare 2… but something about this just felt amateurish. It was fun to play around with plasmids. As I thought it would be, freezing someone is pretty fun.

I was having fun, but wasn’t really convinced. I leveled up, got a new plasmid (Aero Dash, a great plasmid) and it started getting a bit better. Aero Dash is just plain awesome, as it always seems that the new people just never could keep up with me as I dashed pass them. The plasmid is supposed to be aimed at a person, as it stuns them a bit… but it just works so well as a evasive maneuver.

I was enjoying myself, but then I tried the “Team Deathmatch” of Bioshock 2, Civil War.

Not as fun to be honest.

It felt like I was getting ganged up on more here, then in Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer, and it just wasn’t as easy to get a firm footing in the matches.

So I went back to FFA, and then the random Big Daddy suit appeared in the level. I jumped down, Aero Dashed, and grabbed that bitch.

Let’s just say, my score jumped up by about 100 after I grabbed the suit.

Now, one would think that the Big Daddy suit would make the game unfair, but honestly, it’s not bad at all. It appears only about 2-3 times a match, and it appears randomly. Once a Big Daddy, you still need to know how to aim, and use strategies, as when you take damage as a Big Daddy, it doesn’t regenerate. Also, he’s a little bit slow and you have no access to your plasmids, but as strong as you are, this is only fair.

It’s fun, but not game breaking. But of course, people just seem to be kind of stupid when online. Instead of helping each other briefly to take down the Big Daddy, then proceed to murder each other, they will attack each other and help the person in the Big Daddy suit clean up.

Oh well.

The true gem in these multiplayer games was the one called “Capture the Little Sister.”

A combination of “King of Hill” and “Capture the Flag,” the objective of this game is to grab the Little Sister in the level and hold her for as long as you can. The first person to reach 3 minutes, or to have the most time at the end of the round wins.

Simple. And fun. A LOT of fun.

See, now the game is not about killing (though there is still a liberal amount of that) but more about strategy. Since I know how many people act online in these games, i.e. they just want to kill other people, I’ve been able to dominate this game pretty hard.

One of my favorite things to do is watch the Little Sister in the middle of map, as a bunch of people are fighting each other to get to her. Once they’ve all been weakened, and one of them grabs her… I launch my grenade launcher, Aero Dash in, grab her, and run like hell.

Did I mention Aero Dash? Once you grab the Little Sister, you aren’t allowed to use your weapon anymore (as your hand is full with the Little Sister) so you can only use your plasmid.

Aero Dash is AMAZING for this. I literally use up all of my EVE to dash away from my pursuers, then swing around to a vending machine and grab more EVE (of course, watching for hacked vending machines.)

It’s an amazing feeling to be winning in this game, as you are always being chased (unless you play against dumb people who just feel like killing each other all day.)

It’s to the point that I ignore most other people, and focus on the person with the Little Sister. And once I grab her, I keep moving, and Aero Dash when anyone gets too close. It’s win win.

If I don’t have the Little Sister, but I’m in a hefty lead, sometimes I just stay alive, watching who has the Little Sister. Doing some quick math, if I’m at about 1:30 to 2 minutes, and the person who currently has the Little Sister isn’t in second place, I just sit and watch. It’s not until that person gets into second place, or the person in second place obtains the Little Sister, do I aggressively go after that person. This allows the time to wind down, and allows me to still win, even if I don’t have the Little Sister by the end of the game.

‘Cuz science is power!

It might be because I win a lot, but the game is just pure fun. Seeing people blow each other up to get the Little Sister is hilarious, and there’s a very satisfying feeling of getting away from pursuers, and then sitting in a corner, raising the time by a ton. I actually sat in a stairwell for about 2 of my 3 minutes, wondering why I wasn’t being shot at.

I haven’t tried any of the area capture games, nor any of the other team games, but if any of them are as exhilarating as “Capture the Little Sister” then I’ll have to give them a shot.

Holier than thou…

•02/18/2010 • Leave a Comment

I bought Dante’s Inferno.

Buying this game reminded me why you just have to ignore a lot of those “experts” who think they know a game, for whatever reason they think they’re qualified to talk ill of it.

I thouroughly enjoyed myself with this game.

First of all, yes, it is very, very, VERY similar to God of War. Hell, Dante even jumps along the clinging walls the same as Kratos does.

Is that bad?

Hell no (pun intended)!

Why wouldn’t you want to be compared to God of War? God of War was/is amazing!

And look, nothing is ever going to compare to God of War 3… seriously, you just have to accept that fact. Any game that comes out in March will be dwarfed by God of War 3, so no need to even try there. The gaming apocalypse will be upon us just because of God of War 3.

Either way, this game is a lot of fun, has a very good storyline (I don’t care what you say, it’s simple, effective, and intriguing) and is just genuinely a solid title.

Dante is a flawed hero, much like the numerous epic heroes that have come and gone throughout the ages. You want to sort of empathize with him, as it is his one true love that’s been taken away from him, but… at the same time, you learn something a little later that makes you wonder “what else is behind this story?”

Even looking past all of that awesome, the set pieces in this game are amazing and the worlds are detailed, really giving you a sense of depth to hell. There was nothing cooler than having King Minos yell out “HERESY!” or “FRAUD!” to the damned souls, as you’re racing to confront him.

I loved the Lust theme… well, basically I loved every theme. Each of the fights along the way made you really feel like you were in the area you were supposed to be in. You don’t know how pissed I was in some of the Anger fights. Each of the enemies were perfect for the area they were representing. It was uncanny how much thought went into these representations.

There is some pretty awesome move animations as well, and you really feel the heaviness of  all these enemies coming down on you, standing in your way.

This is really important, as you don’t want to feel too badass as you’re descending hell. These demons are here to rock your face, and you should be a little afraid. But don’t worry, you’re pretty badass yourself, so it’s a whole lot of baddassery in one area.

There are some extremely creepy moments. Again, I won’t spoil anything for you, except for maybe the unbaptized babies. Yes, there are unbaptized babies in this game and well… it’s crazy, you just have to see it for yourself.

I’ve heard it’s repetitive… and I don’t believe that. If this is repetitive, than God of War was repetitive too! A few puzzles, battle a few enemies, rinse and repeat. That’s an action game! I think it’s kept fresh by the new enemies introduced to you at each level.

A little advice though, don’t put the game on the hardest difficulty right off the bat… this game is actually fairly hard. I thought I was some bigshot action gamer, who could take on the denizens of hell first time through on hellish, and let me just say, I almost broke quite a few things in my abode.

It almost became frustrating, but I eventually was able to beat each section, each boss, and I felt AMAZING after I did so. There was that feeling, that feeling I used to have with games, that stuff wasn’t just handed to me. I had to figure out the bosses, figure out their weaknesses, and to do that I had to die in the process. But once I got it, I felt awesome when I beat the boss, and was rewarded with an extremely gruesome context finish.

I will admit though, I failed at the end. Satan is just too hard on hellish for a guy like me, so I had to drop him down to normal. With all of my upgrades saved though, I think I’ll try it again on hellish and see if I can beat him.

The problem is, he takes some really precise dodging. Let’s just say, tornadoes have never been so frustrating.

Now there is some negatives. Although I said it wasn’t repetitive above, that’s because I really enjoy certain repetitive elements. On the lower levels of hell, you will fight a LOT of the same enemies. Just a fair warning. Also, I felt some of the mechanics were just stupid, such as falling off a cliff while mid grab… though to be fair, you can exploit grabs, since you take no damage while you begin and end the grab animation.

I love this game. It’s a fresh take on an action game, it has a good story, good fighting mechanic, and is just a fun romp through Hell. As the night progressed, I couldn’t wait to get deeper and deeper into hell.

Besides all that, you are FIGHTING OFF HELL! That in itself is just cool, you are literally taking on the blackest forces of darkness there is, the most evil of the evil, and you get to look cool while doing it.

After a few months of a gaming lull, just sitting around playing Modern Warfare 2, my gaming spirit is back! I’m super excited now to play these two games, I can’t wait to get home and see what’s next in Bioshock 2 and replay Dante’s Inferno, and that’s exactly the feeling I love about gaming, and I’m slowly getting it back.

Thank you EA and 2K, for making two fantastic games!

And of course, having two games you love helps when you’re writing, oh, let’s saaaay… a gaming blog?

One last thing, Dante’s Inferno will have a DLC that, get this… will add co-op into the fray! It also adds new moves, new costumes and new enemies! You can’t beat that.

If EA continues to back Dante’s Inferno, I’m seeing some pretty killer DLC in the near future!

Little Sisters and Serial Killers

•02/13/2010 • Leave a Comment

So, thanks to Mr. TheNiz… I have Bioshock 2!

Great present.

Really great present.

I’m thoroughly enjoying this game so far, so let me jump into the things I don’t like about it right off the bat. It’s veeeeery similar to the first one, maybe a little too much so.

That’s it.

No really, that’s it!

The story is just as engaging, the atmosphere is just as dark, moody and crazy as the first, the Splicers are back and unstable, with a few new ones thrown in here and there, and Big Daddies are just as bone crushing and stompy as before. Honestly, to sit there and say “Oh, I don’t like Bioshock 2 because it didn’t change the fantastic formula that it had in Bioshock ” is stupid. Very stupid.

But they DID add stuff to mix it up. First of all, you play as Delta, the original prototype Big Daddy. This makes for some great additions, such as being able to simultaneously use your Plasmids and your gun. It also allows you to use a drill similar to what the Bouncer uses. And this is an awesome drill.

Normally, I don’t like melee, I feel it’s very ineffective in most games, and is just a secondary thought. But this drill truly is amazing, and becomes even more so once you upgrade it a bit and use the electric Plasmid. Don’t even get me started with what happens when you get the Big Daddy rush.

I was also impressed on how they used controller vibrations, sound, and general ambiance to really put you in the Big Daddy’s shoes. I get the feeling I’m this big, hulking organic machine as I’m walking around, and it helps that when I take damage, I grunt like a Big Daddy. The metallic sound of bullets hitting my helmet is so realistic, and I really think this attention to detail is amazing.

As Delta, you can also adopt Little Sisters, basically by taking them away from their Big Daddy. But when you disturb the natural process of harvesting ADAM, you get a nasty surprise. It doesn’t make Big Sister very happy when you mess with her Little Sisters.

And you don’t want her mad, Big Sister is a BEAST!

She flips around, runs along the wall, uses Plasmids, and Big Daddy rushes you all while attempting to stomp you to death. Basically, she is a tough cookie to crack. The first time I fought her I was caught unaware, and almost lost, pretty hard.

Her glowing red eyes are very unnerving. Her shriek really shakes you up, and it makes her feel like she is stronger than a Big Daddy, which is saying a lot, because Big Daddy is scary.

All this, along with another power struggle story of Sophia Lamb and Adam Ryan, which has somehow spilled over into the new Rapture, and has something to do with you and your “daughter,” Eleanor.

Is Eleanor your real daughter? Was she the “first” Little Sister? What does all that have to do with Sophia?

Not to spoil it for you, but the opening of the game leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and really makes you want to know more. Because of this, I’ve found myself doing exactly what I did with the first Bioshock. I start playing, and I can’t stop.

There are a few other things that 2K added that really makes this a peak of the series.

Hacking is much easier now. Instead of the long puzzle mini-game of Bioshock, you now have a needle that slides back and fourth in a color coded window. You have to stop the needle over a green area, or blue area if you want the bonus, to proceed to the next hack. If you hit a white area, you take damage, and if you hit an orange area, you set off attack drones. Depending on the difficulty of the thing being hacked, you might have to do this four or five times.

This all happens in real time, which adds a layer to the strategy (as it is unwise to hack while being attacked, as I found out in the hardest way possible).

They also improved researching! Instead of just taking a picture of something as it attacks you, you now set a camera rolling on a subject, and then begin fighting it as you normally would. As you fight the enemy, you gain research knowledge of the target, and either unlock new abilities, or increase the damage against this enemy.

Researching wasn’t my favorite part of the first Bioshock, but this way of doing it is a nice compromise. Although I feel like I have to keep the camera out all the time, it’s not as intrusive as it was in the first one.

So my take on Bioshock 2? A must if you bought and loved the first one. Even if that’s not the case, if Bioshock looks interesting to you, then I advise getting started now. Bioshock was a fairly long game, and I’m sure Bioshock 2 is as well.

Once I finish the single player, I will be trying out the infamous multiplayer. I’m a bit excited about this, as what’s more fun than setting other players on fire.

Nothing, that’s what.

In other news, Heavy Rain!

After downloading the demo last night, I sat down not knowing what to expect.

I’d heard a lot about Heavy Rain, and the idea seemed supremely interesting, but I was worried about it keeping my interest.

So I started the demo, and was already impressed by the level of detail. This is movie quality graphics. The storyline has something to do with you trying to find a serial killer called “The Origami Killer,” which in the trailer is shown as being a very intricate storyline.

It was the little things that really sold me in this game. You use the left stick to look around and point your character in the right direction, while using R2 to walk. As you turn, your character turns his or her head… and this in itself is amazing! It looks so realistic when you turn to look one way, and as you continue to press your character in a certain direction, he or she will move in that direction! It’s genius, it looks so natural, that it really does look like you are controlling a movie.

Most of the game is context sensitive, so you’re basically pressing buttons to make your character execute an action. Normally, you get choices. You can also see what your character is thinking, which is a great way to get hints on what to do next.

My favorite section was with the detective and the prostitute with a dead son (killed by the Origami killer I assume). Everything is pretty straight forward, until you go to leave. As you leave, you are hit with an asthma attack, which makes you stop. You see a guy walk into the prostitutes room, a guy that doesn’t really look like he’s up to much good. She seems to know him, but also seems agitated that he’s there.

The most impressive part is when you get into a fight with this guy. Again, the fight is context sensitive, so you have to press buttons, fairly quickly, whenever you are prompted too. The part I LOVED about this is that the instructions come up very quickly as the two men struggle. There is a FIGHT going on as you’re pressing these buttons, and your correct input, or incorrect input, or late inputs, are affecting the outcome of the fight.

It was really, really cool. The whole time, I felt the tension of a life and death fight, because if I screwed up too much, I would be dead.

I eventually won, and let out a sigh of relief… and this was just one small section of the game.

It made me feel as if it didn’t matter if I messed up, but I would have to deal with the consequences, say, of getting the crap beat out of me, and possibly killed. It felt tangible, and it felt as if I wouldn’t want to go back and try again no matter the outcome. The replay value on that is astronomical!

The icing on the cake? In the full game, if you get a character killed, it’s not game over! It affects the storyline, but death is possible. This is some real heavy gaming going on.

The demo was a bit glitchy, but hopefully the full version will be set.

I’m looking forward to Heavy Rain. As I said in this post, this year is shaping up to be amazing in gaming.

Final Fantasy VII remake… is complicated?

•02/11/2010 • Leave a Comment

Hey there gamers and gamettes!

Niz here.

I know it has been some time since my last post. Things got crazy over the holidays and new games have found their way into my PS3, so I’ve been very distracted. But now I’m back and newly inspired by an article I read the other day on GameInformer.com.

The article is about a Final Fantasy VII remake that we were teased with ever since the inception of the PS3:

Apparently, this is not in Square Enix’s grand schemes.

So in the article, a representative from Square Enix explains that the game assets would not fit properly into todays next-gen style of gameplay and that remaking the graphics would “take an enormous time.”

Hmmm…

The graphics excuse is total BS. They’ve already proven that they can do it based on the graphics in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. If that wasn’t enough, the cut scenes in Crisis Core for the PSP are rendered just as nicely as the graphics in Advent Children are.

So, “the graphics would be too hard to remake” is a very, very thin excuse. I mean, with both Advent Children and Crisis Core, they already have the character models for every single main character that they could possibly need. I’m sure they are sitting on a shelf somewhere, in an office or vault, begging to be used in a GOOD game.

Notice the use of “good” there. It leads me to my next point. Final Fantasy has been slipping lately!

Come on you know it’s true.

Ever since X, (and some would even argue since IX) the series’ quality hasn’t been up to snuff. Tidus was the most whiney main character EVER! And XII just didn’t have the same “Final Fantasy” that past games I’ve enjoyed had. Square is thinking that XIII will swoop in, and save the day… but fans are already timidly testing the waters.

I think it just boils down to a matter of pride on Square’s part. They don’t want to come to the realization that their flagship franchise is starting to flounder and they don’t want to have to fall back on a remake.

However I say… why not?

It’s done in the movie industry all the time. Movies that were made years ago get a face lift with modern effects and graphics, and no one complains about it. For instance, King Kong, Dawn of the Dead, The Magnificent Seven, Oceans Eleven, and even Scarface (Don’t believe me? Look it up!) are all remakes. And there are some pretty friggin’ good remakes in there too.

So Square Enix, do not be ashamed to fall back on old ideas. You would not be the first and you would not be the last.

Honestly, you would have millions of fan boys (myself included) flocking to stores to pre-order multiple copies of Final Fantasy VII, special editions and all that.

Please Square… tease us no longer and answer the call of the faithful followers.