Ok, so, my favorite game of last year was Nier, because it was so unique; not in the combat, necessarily (though they do shift between perspectives like it was going out of style) but the storytelling... very very sad game. Didn't get a lot of very good press, though, because the combat could be considered boring by some (it was at times), some of the side quests were monsters (also true). Alpha Protocol was another one that was slightly busted in spots, but the story telling was phenomenal and the characters were hella rad. Deadly Premonition! sure, that game is straight up busted, but you can hardly say it wasn't unique.
This year, though, there hasn't been that game, nor does it look like there will be that game, looking at the releases. I mean, Radiant Historia would certainly fit the bill... but I got really burned out, some bad design choices plus the combat drained me to the point where I didn't even finish the dang thing, so it doesn't especially count (for me). E.Y.E., maybe, but the awesome parts about that game aren't necessarily the story telling. Honestly the most unique at this point is Witcher 2, and that's really only because of the choice before the second act. and looking at the releases list, I really don't see anything that'll be super unique in terms of story telling, so looks like I'm going to have to wait until 2012 for that; Metro: Last Light, Prey 2 looks like it could have some interesting story beats, Far Cry 3 if only for that awesome trailer (though I'll probably be dissappointed), Last Guardian...
I dunno, am I just crazy? (some people probably do think me crazy for liking AP and Nier as much as I do, but WHATEVER)
Ok, so, that is a very decisive statement, and one that is likely to attract people saying "HELLO DID YOU PLAY DEAD MONEY" (yes I did), and I'm not necessarily talking about gameplay, because base fallout 3 or new vegas has boring combat anyway. What I'm talking about, obviously, is story stuff. Even fallout 3 was VASTLY improved by point lookout, because BASE fallout 3 had terrible fucking quests (that is, again, my opinion, fallout 3 stalwarts go away) I really enjoyed point lookout in fact. I loved New Vegas, loved it to pieces, thought it was great all around, but the DLC has included one of the most interesting quests I've ever played in a game, EVER. and how it will all come to a head in the last one, Lonesome Road. and it's all about this guy:
this man's name is Ulysses! this is a picture from the collector's edition card set. it proves that yes, you can still have dreads IN THE FUTURE. post-apocalyptic dreads. Also if you've played all the DLC you might already know this so you can skip ahead if you want, because this is KINDA long! also, this does have DLC spoilers, so... go buy the DLC?
ok, so, if you haven't played fallout new vegas, you play as a courier who gets a job to deliver a platinum chip to the strip,but matthew perry shoots you in the head. you wake up, yadda yadda, tutorial, and you set off in your quest down to Primm. Primm is where the impetus of the DLC really kicks off. You meet this guy from the Mojave Express, your courier company, and he mentions how weird the job you were on was. He talks about how there were 6 people, all carrying different things, all sent to different places, and then he mentions how one guy cancelled. so you ask him about the guy, and he mentions how he got this "look" when he saw your name on the courier list, and it's implied that he might have thought you were dead, because he asked if your name was for real. dude said yep, you were still around, and he quit the job just like that and told him to give the job to you. Now, there's a lot of speculation about if he knew what the chip was or whatever, but he calls you Courier six, so I dunno. I don't think it really matters though.
A few more clues point to this guy. There's a ranch out near Nipton, that's called wolfhorn ranch in the english version, but in the german, italian and french versions it's all variations of Ulysses' camp. There's this sweet unique cleaver there, but all we know is that he was once a bighorner rancher, but he disappeared. There's also another area with a bunch of writing referencing the last DLC (the divide, lonesome road, you can go home courier, etc) but WHATEVS. That's pretty much all there is, in reference to him in the base game.
so, dead money's the first DLC, and there's references a plenty in it. The base of it is that Father Elijah, the former leader of the Mojave Brotherhood of Steel (who ran the fuck away after the NCR bumrushed Helios ONE), is trying to get inside the Sierra Madre casino, where there is supposed to be a bunch of cool shit inside or something (all I found were gold bars, really), and he has put a collar on you and your posse to make sure you obey him.the start is when you gather up your posse (dog/god, Dean Domino and Christine). now, the game tries to be survival horror but kinda fails when you learn how to kill the ghost people (who are weirdoes in weird armor that can't die unless you sever a limb) but Elijah mentions how he got all this cool stuff (the Holorifle, the bomb collars, other cool shit) from this place called the big Empty, and that's where you go in Old World Blues, but that's not the point of the blog is it?
Christine loses her voice once you get her. It's revealed that Dean fucked with her voice to get inside the Sierra Madre vault, and it was necessary but whatever. Once she does wake up, though, she mentions how she met this other courier who mentioned you, and this courier is obviously Ulysses, as she mentions she meets him at the big empty! and once you deal with Elijah, both Christine's and Dog/God's ending references a battle at the divide: "The Divide, where the two messengers, the two couriers, fight beneath an ancient flag, at the edge of the world." and Dog/God's ending: "For a long time he does not think about the Courier, until he hears about the battle at the Divide between the two couriers, and prays for the Courier's safety." so yeah, they are quite blatantly setting it up. Of course, Christine's ending can almost be considered saying that the two couriers are fighting together, under the old American flag, against something; no one knows yet, but Lonesome Road's coming out in august so we'll know pretty soon I'd wager.
not much involving Ulysses here, really. Only two main points of interest. Joshua Graham (the burned man) mentions that he was expecting another courier, whom he mentions as a member of Caesar's Legion, who was going to try and kill him apparently. This could mean that Ulysses was once a member of Caesar's Legion, but since Graham explicitly mentions that he doesn't pay attention to Mojave affairs, this would have been something like 4 years ago, so Ulysses probably quit by that point. And another point with Graham, if you speech check him, you can ask about how they survived the first assault on Hoover Dam. The NCR done whipped the legion's ass, and they probably would have pushed them out of the fort if not for the major disaster at the Divide. he mentions that the NCR can't use that path anymore, and have to go north, which is why the legion was able to regroup.
OLD WORLD BLOOZ
This is where (obviously, since it's number 3 of 4) most of the references are. Ok, in OWB, your vital organs (well, heart brain and spine) get taken about by supremely hilarious think tanks. They task you to get some shit and stop Dr. Mobius, so yeah! but if you explore, you'll notice a lot of places have the American Commonwealth flag on it, (the star in the middle with the surrounding 12) which is taken to be Ulysses' mark. There's a few points of interest; in the X-17 Meteorological Research Station, there's a map of the Divide, and near Y-0 Research Station, they mention a disastrous experiment that went on in the Divide, near a place called Hopeville (bad name for a town in my opinion, but I'm not from the post apocalypse). Also, Elijah was there too, and he mentions (in a journal page) the Courier being there, as well as that woman (Christine).
Biggest haul, however, are two logs left in Ulysses' point by, well, Ulysses. In the first one, Christine and Ulysses are arguing. They talk about the brotherhood, because Ulysses' wanted to meet with them, to see if they were "the last chance for the Mojave" but says they're obsessed with the wrong bits of history. Christine responds with "yeah, so says the man with the old world flag on his back". He says he's looking for some people to lead the Mojave, but mentions the Bear (NCR) and the Bull (legion) having no future, and then he says this: "America sleeps. And until it's dead, I carry it. Just like I carried you. More than hope. Belief. There's voices here in the Big Empty, I want to talk to them. Not like your Elijah did. Got questions. Want to hear history give its answer." which I supremely enjoy, and raises even more questions. The second one, Ulysses tells Christine that Elijah's going to the Sierra Madre, and that he'll probably die there. Christine still wants to go, and Ulysses wont change her mind, stating that he knows what it means to track someone you got history with, and she mentions "that Courier?" and he says that he wants to give a message to HIM/HER, tell the courier to go down the road of the divide, and see what happens. she says there's nothing there, and he counters with "Nothing there? Like the Big Empty? The Sierra Madre? No, the Old World sleeps there, sure as the flag I carry. The Courier knows the way. And at the Divide, [her/he] and I - there, we'll have an ending to things." this obviously means that the courier and Ulysses have history together, of some kind at least. all of this stuff was in an optional little cave that's really annoying to get to as well!
Ok, so, I typed up a bunch of WORDZ but I haven't yet explained why I'm so excited for Lonesome Road, really. Three reasons. First, is that I like how they laid down the beginnings of the DLC story with the old man in Primm, and built on that in all 3 DLC's so far; it's a continuing story, which is a superb idea for both story building reasons and money building reasons (people will want to find out what happens next after all). the second is I like the idea of the Courier having this personal story built around her (I played a girl fuck off). Even in base new vegas, there's only a couple things that show the courier was a person before the story of new vegas happens (she went to New Reno and saw Bruce Isaac, she was a courier, etc) and this is getting me super excited to find out what the hell she did. and the third is I like the idea of America sleeping, which I really really hope DOESN'T mean the Enclave, that would be a copout; that was resolved in Arcade's personal quest. so hopefully you understand my position and if you don't agree than you can, well, I dunno, post about how you don't agree I guess.
Ok, so, I've enjoyed plenty of Mil shooters in my time; I played a smattering of BC2, I have about 30 hours of black ops clocked on steam, but... Why are there still fans of this style of shooter? Haven't they been done to death? I'm more excited for Overstrike, or Far Cry 3, way more excited, than BF3 and MW3 (and i have a good enough computer to play BF3, so shut up) There's only so much you can do with that tired, old genre. I watched the MW3 trailer during the microsoft presser, and while it had a lot of quick, "exciting" camera shots and world war, it's still generic looking. I then watched the BF3, and that looked even more boring! and I even saw some of the multiplayer and it looked pretty much the same. Like, do men love war and the military that much? and I know other PC gamers are excited for BF3 for purely "WOW THIS GAME IS COMPUTER FOCUSED" reasons, but why should that matter? (I am a PC gamer myself)
Sci-fi shooters are pretty boring too, but at least there's an easy way to spice those ones up (you ever play the precursors? that's a pretty cool sci-fi stalker-esque game) I really don't see how military shooters can progress anymore. THOUGHTS?
Ok, so, first things first: I don't think Fallout 3 is a bad game, it's a fine game. I have heard many people, however, say that fallout 3 was BETTER than new vegas, and I literally can't think of a reason why anyone would prefer 3 to new vegas, besides these 3:
1. WAH WAH BUGS UNOPTIMIZED WAH
This is one, but i can only see it if you haven't played new vegas since like the 2nd week it came out. The patches largely fixed most of the problems that could be fixed (Bethesda's engine is garbage, obviously) So yeah if you guys stopped playing it because of bugs and prefer fallout 3 to it... IT'S FIXED.
2. Nostalgia! or REVERSE NOSTALGIA OH NO
Obviously Fallout 3 was something new at the time (As I have mentioned before, Fallout 1 and 2 were not the same types of games) and the concept was cool that people did everything in there (even though a lot of the quests were stinkers) and you got bored of the concept by the time new vegas rolled around. If you're this person, well, I'm not going to be able to say anything to convince you, but let it be known that you guys missed a far superior game.
3. OBSIDIAN SUCKS/I HATE GOOD WRITING/WAH IM A BIG CRYING BABY IN THIS ANALOGY
ok so I could only think of 2, so please tell me, unless you think the writing in F3 is better then in that case... nah, just kidding. I hope people don't think that :/
Ok, so this game was put out by Atlus, and while it wasn't solely developed by them, they had a lot of influence on the story and stuff so it peaked my attention right away. Now, after about 6 hours or so, wanna give some starting thoughts. Mild spoilers I guess if you wanna go in completely clean I suppose?
1. Story is really good so far, and main character is awesome. Now, this was billed as being time travel, but that's kinda not the main point. It's actually more reminiscent of Chrono Cross than Chrono Trigger. You get this book, the white chronicle, from your fantasy CIA boss, and after you almost die you are transported to Historia, which is where the story is laid out in some graph-like fashion. You have two histories going side by side; standard history and alternate history, all stemming from one decision (whether you stay part of the fantasy CIA or go with your big bro Rosch's brigade). Now, instead of just choosing one side to go down and forgetting about the other, sometimes you will need information that you can only get in the other history to help you out on this one, for example: there's a border you need to cross, and you don't have passports. You meet up with a traveling band of performers, and they agree to sneak you in, but you get caught since you're not the same race (they're these weird beastmen dudes) and you don't know any tricks. So you go back to the other history, where a soldier named Kiel knows how to SWORD DANCE (which does not translate into regular swordsmanship, much to his chagrin) but you learn a bit, and you go back to the other history where you show off to the border guard, who lets you pass. Sometimes it can be a little weird in what you need to actually DO, but I like the system.
Main character is great though. Instead of being a silent protagonist, He's a calm, somewhat distant spy who knows how to act and how to behave in certain situations. He does not act like an idiot while other party members debate on what they should do, and he even gets things before the other people in your party for once! O: The first time he learns of the book's power, he mentions how it's probably really dangerous and that people shouldn't have the power to go back in time. Which is correct, of course, but it's pretty refreshing to hear a main character say that.
2. Battle system's pretty unique.
The battle system is turned based, as per usual, but it's done like I aint never seen before. The enemies are laid out in a 3x3 square. You can push, pull enemies into different squares, and even the same square, where you will do damage to multiple enemies. and you can rearrange your turns, so sometimes you'll have this:
Enemy Party Member 1 Enemy Party Member 2 Party Member 3
now enemies reset being in the same square during their turn, but party member one can switch his turn with the enemy down below him, which will give the enemy his turn, but allows all the party members to attack in turn, which means a bigger combo which means MORE MONEY. No random battles either, you run into enemies on the field, and if you hit them with your sword (sometimes it takes a few hits) and they'll get stunned, and you'll go into battle with 4 turns, which, if you utilize the grid effectively, you can kill the majority of them before the even start. Sometimes it's kinda easy for them to get the hit on you, though :/
3. not everything's great, though!
There are a few problems. As I mentioned earlier, the logic they want you to follow can be kinda hard to figure at times, and sometimes you'll accidentally skip to a time where you need to watch a few cutscenes before getting to the part where you'll change things. There is a fast skip button, but that isn't fast enough for things like the ... that pops up quite a bit. Some enemies don't actually move at all, which is kinda missing the point, and from what I've seen and heard so far, there is a distinct lack of enemy art (mostly recolors the more you go through, especially army dudes) and some of the character art is kinda... a little too anime, maybe? That dude on the bottom right of the box art is supposed to be a mercenary for crying out loud
It's pretty sweet though, so hopefully you pick it up, as it seems not a lot of people here have :P
Ok, so about 2 months ago, I beat Resonance of Fate; the story was a little silly and dumb, but it was still a great game. After beating the main story, I went into the super secret dungeon NEVERLAND, which just happens to be an amusement park (no MJ jokes please). Secret dungeon is hard as hell the first time; I beat the main story at level 80, and by the time I beat the final boss of Neverland, I was like 180. So the game is all done and dusted.
Then I got into my head to play it again, sweeping up all the achivements. But I barely put any time into my second playthrough. I just spent my time, in my previous save, GRINDING IN NEVERLAND DESPITE THE FACT THAT I BEAT THE SECRET BOSS ALREADY. The battle system isn't even that fucking complex to warrant such playing, and I've probably seen every single animation a million times, but I still PLAY IT. I've beaten that final neverland boss like 5 times by now, and I still keep playing!
HELP! also has this ever happened to you? I don't mean "yeah I kept playing CoD" or something, because that has an online component. Played a single player game over and over despite beating everything in it?
This game is well made, and I suppose it's an alright candidate for GOTY (better than RDR by a country mile, for sure) But man...
I played the game in march or whatever, and enjoyed myself immensely. Played two separate times, in fact. I have spent the time since then thinking if it was really as good as everyone else was saying, and I decided to go back in to another playthrough. I have since played Alpha Protocol 3 whole times, which while not as impressive (AP only takes 8-12 hours for a playthrough, after all) definitely speaks to that game's strengths. I go ahead and started it up today, and I can't fucking take the dialogue. I can spend minutes thinking of what I want to say! what the fuck is that shit? I know for a fact that Miranda and Jacob would rather get off the Cerberus training facility, but I had to get dinner so I left it sitting for a minute or two. I can go play something on my PS2 or 360 and they would just continue to stare. Alpha Protocol makes you choose quickly and sometimes you pick the wrong choices. and why should I have to investigate? in Alpha Protocol, anything that was felt to need a whole dialogue tree, it got one; the less important facts would be on Dossiers and the mission briefing. Obviously I don't have to investigate, but not doing so might cost me valuable "paragon/renegade" points; which is the worst part of the ME2 dialogue. Why the fuck do I need these stupid points to act like a badass/act like a saint? All it does is support sticking to one side over the other, which I may not want: sometimes I might feel the need to be paragon or whatever, but I CANT. that dialogue is locked out from me because I have spent the game saying renegade things. In AP, you get 3 main dialogue options, and sometimes a 4th: Suave/Professional/Aggressive, but I can always choose one over the other if I want to.
ME2 might be the better GAME, but man I don't think I could play it again.