Bayonetta 2

Ladies and gentlemen, on September 13, 2012, PlatinumGames announced a sequel to the beloved action-packed-hack and slash-videogame Bayonetta!

Yes, I can see you are delighted! But I have more exciting news!

It's an exclusive!

To the Wii-U!

Yeah!

...Wait, what?!

Yes, fellow gamers, it seems that Bayonetta 2 would not be in existence if it hadn't been for Nintendo offering to publish the game, because SEGA (the publisher of the first game) was not interested in the sequel.

Given that Bayonetta sold over 1 million copies (Source) One has to wonder why SEGA was not interested in publishing the sequel. ( Is that figure just too little nowadays? Did they lose money with the first game? )

Although Bayonetta 2 is not being directed by the beloved creator of the franchise, Hideki Kamiya, he will be supervising the sequels's development quite heavily:

". . .While I am not the director of this game, I am still supervising the world, story, characters, etc. in close coordination with Hashimoto, and I have been from the very beginning. You have nothing to work about on that end. And of course, plenty of members from the first Bayonetta are on-board and working hard under the direction of Hashimoto, so I look forward to work every day, coming in and seeing all the progress they have made on the game. With new hardware, we look forward to expanding on the Climax Action of Bayonetta, so sit tight and get ready!"
- Hideki Kamiya (Source)

And if you're worried about a new director taking over Kamiya-san's work and butchering it to death until it's a former shell of it's self (Devil May Cry 2 anyone?), I don't think you have to worry about that. Think of Viewtiful Joe 2, where Kamiya-san was once again not directing a sequel to his game, but where he still had control over the storyline, (Plus, this is PlatinumGames--not Capcom--and they actually care about their staff!)

The only concern I have regarding this exclusive deal is how many Bayonetta fans are actually interested in purchasing a Wii U. I'm a bit worried that perhaps the sequel will have poor sales simply because not enough fans of the franchise will care enough to buy a Wii U. (I don't think there will be enough newcomers to the franchise to make the sequel profitable, instead, I believe the majority of sales will be from returning fans). But maybe because Kamiya-san is directing another Wii-U title, The Wonderful 101 (previously known as P-100), perhaps there will be enough fans of his interested in a Wii-U to give Bayonetta 2 decent sales?

What are your thoughts?

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"DmC" - The reboot of Devil May Cry

After playing Devil May Cry 4, I wasn't looking forward to hear about DMC5 being in the works.  I was hoping that eventually they would decide to leave the DMC franchise alone, because it was entirely clear that Capcom had no idea what direction to take it in. DMC4 was riddled with plot holes, and Capcom was doing their best to not even hint at tying the story to DMC2. The plot has never been a major focus in any DMC game, though, so my disappointment stemmed from the gameplay. Some of the abysmal level design choices (the "dice" mini-game), the very limited amount of weapons, and the small amount of move sets for the main character, Nero, overall contributed to a less-than-stellar experience.

"DmC" the new Devil May Cry  

The "new" Dante.  

The trailer for the new "DmC" introduces us to Dante, whom bears no resemblance to the protagonist of previous games. Aside from wielding pistols that look like Ebony & Ivory, there's nothing that indicates that this is the same character. So why call him Dante? Obviously, Devil May Cry is a franchise name that sells copies no matter what, even DMC2 went on to sell over one million copies, so keeping the franchise name only makes business sense in terms of marketing the game. However, I don't see the point in calling this new character Dante... Unless, they reveal that this actually is the same character with the story taking place back in his "younger days," and if that turns out to be the case, than many fans will be incredibly alienated at the direction the series has taken.

Now, it is definitely too early to make assumptions, after all this is the first trailer for the game, little information is given, and no gameplay has been shown yet. Although if the game plays out anything like the cutscenes, it looks like it will be much slower compared to the combat found in prior games.

That being said, I am highly skeptical. It will be a shock to me if this reboot is actually good. Honestly, I don't see how this won't just turn into another generic action game. I can't really give the developers behind this reboot, Ninja Theory, any benefit of the doubt considering their current track record.  

I also find it very disheartening that Capcom seemed to have no problem closing down Clover Studio, yet they are so pleased to have acquired Blue Castle. Clover Studio was filled with amazingly talented people, some of whom made the company who they are today. Why is Capcom so willing to give their key franchises to developers who have had mediocre success thus far? Is it only because Ninja Theory is a western developer?   

 All we can do is wait to see how this reboot turns out. Whether it turns out to be good or bad, it seems to be a radical departure from the franchise as we know it.    

    Hideki Kamiya. *Not an actual quote, but you know he's probably thinking it!*

I will end this post with some tweets from Hideki Kamiya (his words bolded and in quotations)

  • "Whatever." RT @ Solivagant @ PG_kamiya #DmC, by Ninja Theory? Do you think they will "evolve" the action game from your Bayonetta standard?

  • "I've been sad since Dante left me." RT @nss_13_ @PG_kamiya It's sad to see what you started turn this way

  • "I believe so." RT @fatimahelsayed @PG_kamiya Will there be a Bayonetta 2? ありがとう!

  •  "I miss him, too..." RT @nss_13_ @PG_kamiya I miss the Dante you made 

  • "I love you all." RT @brukaoru @PG_kamiya You are awesome! I love your work. <3

(Did you read that last one?! OMG! He totally replied to me! *squeal*) 

      (P.S. - The new Dante wishes he had these good looks!) 
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Remaking Final Fantasy VII

Remaking Final Fantasy VII

My thoughts on a remake of the beloved JRPG of 1997.     
 Cloud from FFVII PS3 Tech Demo
  
I remember the first time I saw the PS3 tech demo of Final Fantasy VII, during E3 2005. Embarrassingly I admit, I didn't even see the entire video until later on because I was so excited I was jumping and screaming around the house, until of course I realized it was just a demonstration to show off the power of the PS3.

As excited I was at the prospect a few years ago, now I am not entirely sure I want a remake anymore.   
 

Why do we need a remake?

Many fans wish that Square-Enix would stop focusing on remakes and instead focus on new games. However, it's no surprise to anyone to hear that the popularity of Final Fantasy games has declined over the years. It's difficult to try to keep past fans interested in the franchise and yet garner new customers.

With less fans and the higher cost of producing games compared to ten years ago, it's no wonder that Square-Enix rather make remakes (or spin-offs) that are guaranteed to sell than risk producing new games.

 I've heard many people say they have given up on future games in the Final Fantasy franchise, not liking the direction the franchise has taken. Still, many have been begging for a remake of FFVII for a long time. 

   

How will it be made?

A remake of FFVII can not just be a graphical update, although that in itself would be amazing. Everything needs to be re-hauled: The battle system (I don't think keeping turn-based combat would be considered by Square-Enix), dialogue, and changes to the overall world are just some of the aspects that have to be updated.  
  
 Final Fantasy VII's Materia System.
The big question is how many changes have to be made?  
  • Will the materia system still be in place?  
  • W ill the amount of summons still remain or will there be more focus on making certain summons more powerful and discarding others?  
  • Will character's be customized to suit whichever the need players want or will a job system dictate what area characters emphasis (such as medics)? 

Obviously game developers want to create games that will take the least amount of time to produce while investing enough time to make sure those games will sell (not counting 3D Realm's Duke Nukem Forever and Valve's Half-Life 2: Episode 3). The estimated time to work on a remake that would be the same-quality as Final Fantasy XIII, according to Yoshinori Kitase, "would take as much as three or four times longer than the three and a half years it has taken to put this Final Fantasy together! So it's looking pretty unrealistic to happen!" He went on to say that part of the reason  XIII was more linear than previous games was due to the time it took to produce the graphics (Source: http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3178056).

So this brings up another issue: How linear would it turn out to be? Part of VII's charm was being able to explore different places throughout the game. Square-Enix will want to save time in production and will surely abandon some side-quests.  Important side-quests such as obtaining Yuffie and Vincent could easily become a main part of the game. But what about mini-games? Will the Gold Saucer still retain the amount of features it has? 

 Screenshot of Gold Saucer's Entrance.
Minor Spoiler for FFXIII Ahead:
In Final Fantasy XIII, players have to go through an amusement park during the game, at first I thought maybe there would be some mini-games to play or maybe a ride or two, but it turns out that there was nothing to do except move the story forward by seeing some Chocobos and then leaving and never coming back again. Just imagine this being done to VII's Gold Saucer, where the only feature playable would be the fighting arena because of a story event taking place there. There would be no roller coast ride, no betting on Chocobo races, no feeding Mog to get him a mate, no theater that makes Cloud get on stage and let's players choose to kiss the dragon instead of his date... The list goes on!

At one time, Square-Enix said they did not want to make a remake unless they could get most of the staff from the original game to work on it. Yet, I'm sure they've  been paying attention to the amount of fans who would be interested in a remake and I don't think they'll wait to get original team members back before they go to work on it. If the original staff could all be acquired again, then I would be all for a remake without many doubts if it would be good or not. At this point, I don't think it's a matter of if there will be a remake but when it will be made and how long it'll take to produce.  

No matter how good a remake of Final Fantasy VII is, the end result will be that some people will hate it, others will love it, and maybe some will just find it to be okay. The main question for fans of the original is if Square-Enix will ruin the world of FFVII? Mixed feelings about Advent Children, Crisis Core and negative reactions to Dirge of Cerberus have already indicated that fans won't be very accepting to the story line of Final Fantasy VII being tampered with.    
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Viewtiful Joe & Viewtiful Joe 2 - One Minute Reviews

2 videos in 1 blog, a double whammy, two birds with one stone --  Uh, I think you get the idea...

  

    
  

Note: I'm still trying to find the right percentage of volume to use with my voice over and the background music. I think the music is a little too low (or my voice-over too loud) in the VJ review. I tried to balance it more in the VJ2 review.  My apologies if it's too loud.      

    
 Go-Go Santa Hat!

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays everyone!
  
Hope you get stuff you want... unless you don't want presents and you're a really good person who is not interested in materialistic things... :S 
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The Effects of Video Games: Aggressive Behaviors and Violence

For my Psychology class, I had to write a research paper and give a five-minute presentation to the class highlighting some of my findings. My teacher did not require us to do a visual presentation, but I decided to do one because I think it's much easier to convey information that way... 

[Credit: Random images found through Google Images.] 
For slide six -- Crime victims per 1,000 citizens -- I said the following out loud (the information was taken from this article, written by former MIT professor and American scholar, Henry Jenkins):
  •  Researchers find that people serving time for violent crimes typically consume less media before committing their crimes than the average person in the general population. 
  • While it's true that young offenders who have committed school shootings in America have also been game players, young people in general are more likely to be gamers — 90 percent of boys and 40 percent of girls play. The overwhelming majority of kids who play do NOT commit antisocial acts. According to a 2001 U.S. Surgeon General's report, the strongest risk factors for school shootings centered on mental stability and the quality of home life, not media exposure.
My teacher said it was a good presentation, so I'm assuming he gave me the total points allotted for the presentation part. Now I just have to wait two weeks to find out what my grade is for my paper. :P 
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Resident Evil 5 Review


[---^What do you think of the banner? Yay/Nay/Redundant? Make more for future blogs? I was inspired by SuperMooseman's banners on his own blogs. :> --- ]

Video Review:

Sorry if the audio is a little too loud... Hope you all enjoy the ending, the audio clips are from Resident Evil and Resident Evil 4. The song that plays was created by a song generator at http://www.sr.se/P1/src/sing/index.htm. It's a little hard to tell what it's saying, but the lyrics are: "You are the master of unlocking..." I know it's really lame, but what do you expect from me? :P

  


Text-Version of Review:

Resident Evil 5
Publisher:
Capcom
Developer: Capcom
1-2 Players.
ESRB Rating: M for Mature, recommended for ages 17 or older.


For a long time, the Resident Evil franchise had been a perfect example of what the survival-horror genre was. With fixed camera angles, "tank-like" controls and grotesque enemies, scares were easy to be found. With the release of Resident Evil 4, not only were most of these features discarded, but the focus was now shifted to provide more action rather than scary elements. The perspective for playable characters was changed to an over-the-shoulder view, something that would go on to influence many other games. Four years later, Resident Evil 5 has released, compromised of the same core gameplay that was introduced in RE4. Although it lacks innovation and modern-day advancements, RE5 has a good amount of offerings to set it apart from it's predecessor.

After the fallout of the Umbrella Corporation, Bio-Organic weapons started appearing on the black market. Terrorists, guerrilla fighters and unstable state governments were now able to obtain those weapons. With the threat of another incident like Raccoon City, the Global Pharmaceutical Consortium created the BSAA (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) to neutralize bio terrorist hot spots. Chris Redfield, an operative of the BSAA, learned of an upcoming bioweapons deal taking place in Africa and requested permission to participate in the operation. Once he arrived, he became partners with another BSAA agent, Sheva Alomar.

Starting the game in single-player, players control Chris Redfield. In cooperative gameplay, one player plays as Chris or Sheva. For solo play, the artificial intelligence of the partner is decent. Obviously, it won't be nearly as accurate as playing with another human being, but for the most part it does a reasonable job defending itself as well as providing aid when players are low on health. Players can command their partner to attack or cover at any time, as well as trade weapons and items with each other. Most locations will have a number of enemies that must be taken out before one is able to progress forward and some areas will feature puzzle-esque sequences that require players to work together with their partner to solve them.

The inventory system seems like a nice upgrade from having to select from a menu while the game pauses as was the case in previous games, but in actuality it can also become a hindrance. While being able to quickly select from four different slots on the fly is good, it can make players vulnerable to attacks when trying to select from a different slot in the middle of battle.

Boss battles in the game seem to be toned down in difficulty compared to some of the grand battles that have appeared in the franchise before. There's little strategy needed to defeat a boss when most of them have glowing weak points that are very prominent and noticeable. All the boss fights feel very underwhelming.

While some sound effects in the game were carried over from RE4 (which is a bit lazy on Capcom's part), the voice acting and presentation are very good. The graphics are also very impressive. Each new area is very detailed and expansive, obviously stemming from high production values. Character models also look fantastic.

The ability to play online co-op is by far the best feature. Being able to play with a friend and help each other take down multiple enemies really boosts the fun factor for the game. Players can easily enter into a friend's current progression in the campaign and also leave just as quickly. In addition to the campaign, the Mercenaries mini-game that is unlocked after completing the campaign once can also be played solo or in co-op. Mercenaries pits players against enemies that continue to appear with the goal of achieving the best score possible until the time counter reaches zero.

Like Resident Evil 4, there really isn't much of a plot in the game, but information collected throughout give more insight to the overall storyline and events that lead up to the current circumstances in the game. Some of the choices made with the plot points may be seen as a poor choice with longtime Resident Evil fans.

For newcomers to the series the controls may be difficult to get used to, so much in fact, that it may be the deciding factor of whether one can enjoy the game or not. Relying on an old configuration and not a modern day control scheme may not be difficult for series veterans, but for people who have gotten accustomed to the controls of other shooters, it may be prove to be more than frustrating.

Resident Evil 5 is certainly not trying to be innovative, it merely builds upon the same formula of it's predecessor. Although there could have been enhancements made to make the game more playable and more modern with today's standards in shooters, it's a solid game on it's own. In a lot of ways, RE5 falls short of outdoing the previous game. It lacks some of the tension and atmospheric elements that made Resident Evil 4 enjoyable. It's also unfortunate that boss battles aren't very difficult and that the story is somewhat disappointing, but it's core gameplay still remains engaging. Having co-op may be a good enough reason to justify the game's very existence, but even the solo campaign is worthwhile. Although it may forever live in the shadow of RE4, it has more than established itself in today's market.

This review is based on the 360 version. The game is also available on the PlayStation 3.


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Special note: In the review, I mention the fact that the glowing weak points on bosses are annoying, but that didn't bother me for bosses in Lost Planet. The difference being that Lost Planet is an original game, but implementing this into a game that's part of a big franchise that has never had it before bothers me. I don't know... Maybe I'm just crazy.
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