Condemned Thoughts Part 1.

I bought "Condemned Criminal Origins" for $4 at GameStop the other day. I had heard some good things about it, that it was a pretty good horror game. But I really am not at all enjoying that game.

The controls are really sluggish, and that might be intentional to make the game feel more realistic, but all it does is make navigating the environments tedious. Especially when most of the environments looks very similar, and give you little indication as to where you're supposed to go.

And their attempts to make the game have a realistic feel and look are very hit or miss. The buildings you're in for most of the game look dilapidated and like a place where horrible murders would actually take place. And the textures look really good. Even by more modern standards, the walls, lighting, and attention to detail are all fantastic.

But all that is irrelevant when the game has literally some of the worst character models I have seen on the 360. I know it's a nearly six year old game at this point, but when the environments and lighting effects are as good as they are here, the character models look even worse than they might actually be. And seem like they were the last thing to be rushed out of the door.

The game also suffers from poor UI. Button prompts look cheap, and completely separate from the setting and tone of the game. I feel the same issue applies to your health and stamina meters. Since the game is going for a serious tone, having such a cartoony user interface is a huge shame. Since it takes me out of the game. I'm constantly being reminded that I'm playing a game, I'm never allowed to be enveloped into the setting and horror the game attempts to bring.

And that's another issue I have, this was sold to me as a horror game, and I checked several different sources to confirm that this is a horror game.

Condemned is known as a "Psychological Horror" game. And I really don't know how well it hits that target.

The way the game started was way more intriguing than the game actually is. You're thrown into a crime-scene to investigate the killer who sets people up with the mannequins. Which was really creepy. The detail put in was outstanding. And I was extremely excited to continue, since I've heard rumors of the mannequin sequence.

But, directly after you finish investigating the scene, you get thrown into the combat.

And the combat has to be my biggest problem with the game. Combat has never been great in horror games, but the combat in Condemned seems really out of place to me. And entirely removed from the horror portion of the game. You start detecting crazy murderers, and looking over creepy crime scenes. Then you have to beat drug-addicts with pipes. Which by itself might be okay, but drug addicts yelling aren't scary. Not once playing this game have I been legitimately scared to go around a corner. Knowing that I'll have to fight another bum holding a 2X4 is just plain boring. And the combat is outright frustrating to me. Maybe I'm just really bad at it. But when the guard animation takes at least a half second, to a full second to come out, and the enemies will stop attacking when you're blocking, it just seems like really bad design. Especially when most enemies kill you with about three or four hits. And enemies attacking fast, and repeatedly, combined with sluggish blocking and attacking animations, make for combat that I cannot bring myself to remotely enjoy.

A few other issues I've had, are that enemies look kind of kooky. They'll run around swinging their arms and moving their legs in a very dated way. Which is obviously just a problem with the game being as old as it is. But that doesn't excuse those being the enemies in a horror game. I'm supposed to be frightened of these cartoon characters that are constantly reminding me that I'm playing a game.

The voice acting is pretty minimalist, it's mostly angry guys yelling curse words, or generic tough cop talk. But when talking to a killer face to face, it just gets a little funky. The acting isn't necessarily bad, but that it just seems out of place.

Those are just a few of my thoughts from the first three hours of the game, I'm going to keep playing, and maybe I'll get used to the dated controls, or maybe it'll mix up it's attempts to be scary. But right now, I have been left with some very negative feelings towards Condemned.

Let me know, am I missing something with the combat? Am I the only one who has a problem with it? Is it as poorly designed as it first appears?

1 Comments

League of Legends: Sleep by Birth.

So over the last week or so, I've been playing a little League of Legends. And I have to say, I'm not really enjoying it that much. Unless I'm playing with people I know, or people who communicate (which is super rare), it's almost completely unenjoyable. I feel like winning is almost entirely devoid of strategy at the entry level. It's just luck of the draw, whether you'll get a team full of people who sit at the base the entire game, or a team of people who have a basic understanding of how to move a mouse.

I found some enjoyment in the game when I was playing with one group, we would communicate, tell each other when the enemy was attacking each route, and when we needed to recall. It was enjoyable, and the strategy felt like it came from us, and less from the game being designed to be strategic. But after a few games of fun, we parted ways, and I was stuck in a game of people sitting idle for the duration. Which really is a shame, because if my friends remotely liked the game, it would be pretty fun.

But even if they did like it, we'd never be on at the same time. The games last upwards of twenty minutes. Which for my schedule, is much less than conducive to playing more than a single game. I can enjoy games like Street Fighter, because matches last about two minutes. And if friends happen to be on at that time, then we can play a few rounds before one of us has to leave. It's a game I can play to what I feel is a fulfilling amount, then move on. But with LoL, I can't keep playing, and I never know when a match will end. Sometimes they'll stretch out for a long time, others they'll be a complete wash. The whole feel of playing random games is off for me. I never felt like I won or lost due to out-thinking the other team. We just happened to have people who actually played the game. And this sounds like all I'm doing is complaining about the game, but that's not it. I actually like the game quite a bit. But there's no way I can play it like this. I can continue playing Street Fighter in short bursts, but LoL is too long-winded, and seemingly luck based for me to be able to continue.

To summarize: I like League of Legends, but I just can't bring myself to keep playing it. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to find some people to play with. But for now, the game will sit there lonely, next to the recycle bin, just waiting for the day when I get tired of seeing it. And decide to uninstall. I guess the recycle bin would just be there as a reminder that it can be removed, and less that it has anything to do with deleting the game. No idea why I bothered writing that bit.

6 Comments

One Piece: Funimation Travesty.

To preface this, I've been a huge fan of One Piece, even back from the 4kids days. When I got older, I moved onto the Sub, and slowly realized all Funimation, and to a degree, all English voice actors, are kind of terrible. They're just not believable in any Anime I've seen. I've heard a lot of good Videogame voice acting, primarily when it's not trying to be wacky. Like a lot of Anime does. But the reason I have personal issues with English Dubs, is that I know that's not how people speak. I'll use One Piece as an example, since it's one of the two Animes I remotely care about. The Japanese voices in One Piece, probably sound re-goddamn-diculous to a native speaker of the language. But as just some idiot foreigner, I have no barometer for what a Japanese person sounds like in average conversation. As far as I can tell, people just yell every sentence seemingly at random. So I can't very well tell if the acting is good or bad. But with English dubs, I already know that that isn't how people talk. People don't yell stuff randomly, and speak in Cartoon voices in English. I know that, because I speak it on a daily basis. I can tell when English voices A. Don't fit a character, and B. Aren't acted well. Which makes Dubs virtually unwatchable to me.

Now, let's move on to why Funimation in particular is bad at localizing Anime. I guess my main issue, would be that they use the same actors, for almost every series they get the license to. It's literally impossible to watch a funimation dub without hearing multiple voices from Dragon Ball Z. Which is at least understandable, since Anime isn't the most profitable business in America. But the problem with it, is that they don't act differently. They play every character exactly the same, there's no difference even in their tone of voice. If you listen to Christopher Sabat, he sounds exactly the same in every role. And rarely does he fit any character. Which, is really a major issue, when they don't even bother to get new actors to fit characters.

Whenever I have this discussion with anyone, they say that the Funi-dub of One Piece is great, and that the creator "Hand-picked the cast". Which brings me to a couple reasons why that argument in its favor makes no sense.

1. Eichiro Oda (The Creator of One Piece) doe not speak English, so he wouldn't be able to properly judge English Acting.

2. "Hand-Picking" is completely irrelevant when he's picking actors from a pool of twenty. His choice would just boil down to tonally which of the twenty actors he feels matches best. Not that he watched a bunch of different series' and picked actors from them.

Now, I don't want to sound like I think Funimation is all bad, and a lot of these issues are completely understandable. Since like I said, Anime isn't the big business in the colonies that it is over in the Japans. So a lot of the time, they simply can't afford to hire new actors regularly, or obtain licenses as fast as would be preferable. But these reasonable problems aren't enough to excuse lazy work. Over half of the main cast in One Piece is voiced by Dragon Ball actors, which I shouldn't have to tell you, isn't a good ratio of recycled actors.

And now One Piece itself; Some of the bigger issues with the Funi-dub, is that their big marketing push, was that it it's closer to the original than the 4Kids version was. Which, while it's true that it is vastly more faithful to the original than the amount that was censored in the 4Kids version. They still change a majority of the lines characters say. Watching episodes side-by-side like I've been doing, you can tell just how much is changed. Most lines in an episode are unnecessarily different. Nami had a line in the original that was "I wonder what's going on over there" as she was sneaking away from an action sequence. That line was then changed to "Looks like somebody's rocking the boat". Which I again should not need to tell you how just plain retarded that is.

Another issue that most don't seem to notice, is that they kept the changed name of the fruit Luffy ate, and by extension, the name of all of his attacks. In the original; it was "Gomo Gomu" which translates directly to "Rubber". So by eating the Rubber fruit, he became a rubber-man. But the 4Kids changed it for American audiences to "Gum Gum", which only makes a slight amount of sense, since I guess gum stretches. But the logic behind that isn't my issue with it. My issue is that it didn't need changed. It's a Japanese series brought to English, by that same logic, "Zoro" shouldn't have the same name, it's too Japanese. It should be changed to something Americans can relate to. Like Bill, or Steven. It's entirely pointless to change that, but not other equally Asian names and words. Zoro uses a sword style called "Santoryu", which "San" means "Three" and "Toryu" means "Dragon Slayer" when translated directly, but in Sword fighting, it's used as the base title of any sword style. So he uses a three sword style. Does any of that sound as simple as Gomu meaning rubber?

Another problem, is that Funimation will hire women to do adult male voices. Which the Japanese do, but like I said, Americans have no barometer for what the Japanese sound like. But it's easy for us to immediately recognize a male character as being voices by a woman trying to sound like a young guy.

I also have a large issue with their fans attitude towards it all. They act as though Funimation is the second coming of Christ; At the slightest mention of Funimation not producing the highest caliber of product, they act as though you're personally attack them. And that you obviously live in your parents basement, jerkin' it to RapeLay all day.

Another huge problem is that most of it seems unnecessary. If Funimation just focused on subbing Anime, they'd not only produce content faster, there'd be much lower overhead, meaning they could not only make it faster, but they could also make a lot more of it. They'd take quite a few jobs from people, but they'd create possibly more jobs by hiring talented people to put subtitles on each series. If you look at the higher quality subtitle work on Anime, they use specialized fonts for specific characters. They create special fonts and implement them, all in their free time. Because they love Anime that much. There are only a few reasons I can think of that would stop Funimation from seeing this is a better business plan. 1. Channels like Cartoon Network won't air something in a foreign language. 2. Their fan-base is largely 12-17 age group, and that whole demographic is shockingly close-minded, and surprisingly xenophobic.

Other than that, it's cheaper. Would encourage kids to read more often, and at an accelerated pace. Faster to produce content. A majority of the work is already done. It makes way more sense, purely from a business point of views.

Here I'm going to like a couple videos showing the key differences in the voice quality.

While neither of these sound particularly great, nor would I want to listen to it on my iPod. The Funimation version sounds just out of place. And the bad singing is much more noticeable than in the Japanese version.

Here, the Funimation version isn't terrible, but it's markedly different, and lacks a certain impact. And due to changed dialog, the character interactions leading up to this point, made a lot of it less important in the dub. But I will commend the voice-actress for Luffy here. She managed to convey some minor amount of emotion in her voice. But that's another issue, whenever she's just talking, or even doing a generic attack, she sounds like she doesn't give a shit about doing it. That she would rather be somewhere else, and that this whole thing is stupid.

There's an example of the bland voice-work done for the vast majority of the series.

Regardless of how I feel about Funimation, and this dub, One Piece is still awesome.

34 Comments

From Dusk Till Dawnguard. Pt. 1.

I've only played a couple hours of the new DLC, about an hour on each side. and I have a couple thoughts.

SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BIT OF THE VAMPIRE SIDE: What you get the Vampire Lord ability, you're told to use the powers given to you in order to level said abilities up. But the first place you're sent, is a tight cramped ruin. And since you're forced into a third-person perspective, it makes it way too hard to control and aim with your bad-ass vampire lord. And you're even too tall to fit through several parts of the dungeon, even in the walking form, I found myself having to switch back to Human form rather often.

Some of the other things I've noticed in the first little while of each side: The Crossbow is bad-fucking-ass. The Vampire Lord form and abilities are all really cool. But overall I'm not seeing anything that's worth the steep $20 price tag. But that's just my first impression. I also felt that they handled the obtainment of the quest better than in any of their other games. In Fallout just having it pup-up the moment you start it up feels a little disconnected from the game. And I found it just way too hard to actually find any DLC quests in Oblivion. In Dawnguard, you walk near any guard in any town, and they just say "Blah blah blah Vampire Huntin' done be goin' down up in them there mountains!".

I'll be giving more thoughts once I've finished each side, since obviously everyone cares what I have to say about something all actual professionals will be doing the same thing, only a hundred times better.

3 Comments

League of Legends.

I've decided to give League of Legends a shot, does anyone have any tips for someone who has never even touched this type of game ever? And by "This type of game", I mean any kind of Real time strategy game of any kind. I read a little bit about it, and it sounded fun, so I figured I'd give it a shit.

I looked at the character list, and I liked the little mummy guy "Amumu", the little fishman guy "Fizz", and that gamble guy with the cards. How hard/good are these characters? I have no idea what I'm even remotely doing, I just though they looked like cool characters, so I figured I'd give them a shit. Let me know what characters would be good for the most beginner of beginners. I mostly play fighting games, and whenever someone asks me about a game, I always tell them to learn the Ryu of the game. In Street Fighter, you should learn Ryu first, since if you can learn to use him, most of his moves will apply to other characters. So who is the Ryu of LoL? The most basic character for me to get a handle on.

20 Comments

3DS XL Thoughts.

As a person who recently purchased a 3DS, I am not at all upset by the announcement of the larger screened system. I'm actually pretty excited for it. Several people I talked to about the XL, were already calling it stupid for being a huge version of a portable system, but the way I look at it, is that it's like TransFARing. In that I can put Animal crossing in on my XL, but then put it in my smaller 3DS when I have to leave. That of course would be the ideal situation, but I never find myself in a situation where I need portable games to be portable. Especially on the 3DS. Usually when playing a "Portable" game, I'm just watching TV, or waiting for everyone I'm with to get ready to leave. I never actually end up playing any games when I'm out of the house. It's too much of a hassle to carry even the smallest systems.The idea of having a bigger screen, with the circle-pad being further away from the L-Button, sound amazing. Playing through Mario and Zelda on the regular 3DS was fine, but when sitting on my couch, it felt a little too small for me.

I'm probably going to get a 3DS XL along with New Super Mario Bros 2. And I plan on keeping my old 3DS, I'll probably let a cheap friend borrow it. But yeah, what do you think about the XL? Is it cool? Is it just a stupid thing that makes the Circle-pad pro useless? Or is it both?

20 Comments

Ocarina of Time final thoughts.

I finished Ocarina of Time. Still a pretty good game. Doesn't hold up as well as I'd hoped, and it definitely doesn't hold up nearly as well as Majora's Mask. I played through MM last year with a friend, and found that the game got better with time. As an adult I was able to appreciate the difficulty of the dungeons and time limit much more than I was able to as a kid. I still loved the game when it first came out, but I found a lot of it confusing, and too difficult to keep track of. I found that everything in the game worked together to make the game better as a whole. It had little to no fluff, and still has the best story in any Zelda game.

If you hated Majora's Mask when it first came out, give it another shot, it might surprise you.

4 Comments

Ocarina of Time thoughts 1.

I've been playing through Ocarina of Time 3D, and it is not nearly as challenging as I remember. The water temple was not really that hard, and people keep acting like it's the hardest thing ever. I know it's one of those things now, that people think makes them legit hardcore gamers. But the temple itself isn't that hard. I was thinking that they might have made it easier for the 3DS, so I went back and played it on the virtual console, and it was the same,.

Why do people feel the need to associate themselves with videogames, even when they don't actually play games? I just don't understand why people think it makes them cool to have at one point played games. My sister is a good example, she bought herself a Resident Evil shirt, even though she has never even played one of the games. Which isn't really a bad thing, I just don't see the point in pretending to be into something you're obviously not.

Another point, is that people I know who don't play games, call themselves "gamers" and complain about how Gamestop give "us gamers" a bad name. I don't think there needs to be labels like gamer, or anything like that, what does it even mean? Someone who plays games? My eleven months old nephew has held my fightstick during a Street Fighter match, is he a gamer baby?

Which brings me to another annoyance: Why do people give their babies things that represent their own interests? Babies aren't a goddamn billboard, give them clothes. I don't need to see a fucking NES controller on your baby, that doesn't make me think you're a hardcore gamer, that just makes me think you're an idiot. Children's clothes are getting increasingly inappropriate, not just with of overt sexuality, but with the branding. I see friends buying Star Wars baby clothes for three to four times as much as a normal shirt, all because they think it makes their baby cool. Guess what, your baby isn't a goddamn star wars fan, he/she doesn't even know what it is, stop spending fifteen bucks on absolutely nothing!

I guess I'll cut my Zelda thoughts off there.

48 Comments