Gamers, what do we want?

Gamers, oh gamers. You are harder to please than a seasoned lady. Not once will a gamer be fully pleased, or so we think. Because us gamers, are the most demanding customers ever.

And why is that? Nobody knows. Perhaps the wide variety of options available on the market has turned us into pedanthic bastards (in a good way) who demand only the best of the best available. Or maybe we have grown tired of low quality games receiving more awards than deserved. Or maybe we just want to bitch around.

Truth be told, no developer is safe from our wrath.

Now, was it always like this? Maybe, or maybe not. Perhaps its my mind, telling me that I’m not a kid any more, and that not all games are good, despite what people may say. Pretty much in the same way it tells me that Musou games rock hard.

In my belief, its just the natural way of life. We grow tired of certain stuff, while we grow fond of other. As a kid, FPS games were certainly not my fav genre, in fact, unless you were called Doom, you would not get my attention. As the years passed, and “little me” grew into “little grown me”, I began to enjoy more and more said games, Halo, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, etc. All began to be enjoyable games.

The same happened with online gaming, from completely hating the idea, to completely loving the idea. Though I still say, a great SP experience does not need online multiplayer (Im looking at you Bioshock).

Perhaps the whole deal of what we want is impossible to define. In my case, I grew with games. From a NES to a PS3 I played almost all the consoles available every gen, be it on the console, or on an emulator later on. Games have changed a lot, and its amazing how old formulas and games can still be great today.

Perhaps sometimes developers try to do so much that they push little for the industry. Games like Devil May Cry don’t need Heavy Rain like stories, and vice versa. I believe that some devs are trying to bite more than they can chew off, which leaves us with great games with lacking stories, like Bayonetta, where we have amazing gameplay, but the story tries so hard to be serious at times, that it fails at showing what it does best. Or the usual great story with lacking gameplay, kind of like the first Resistance or Nier.

Perhaps our biggest complaints forced devs to try those models, perhaps we are asking for more than what we should ask. Should we ask for Spielberg to turn Transformers into the next Schindlers List? Or should we let him and Bay make it into what it is? Cheap story with great action scenes?

I believe that we should understand the products for what they are, and understand that sometimes, sacrifices are made, in return for a great experience of gameplay, story, music, etc. Not all games can have the perfect mix of story-gameplay-sound, etc. But they can come close enough. And those that excel at either one of them, should also deserve recognition.

12 Comments

Duck Hunt AR - iOS Review

Developer: InfinityK

Release Date: 03/23/2011

Price: $0.99

Device: iPod Gen IV, iPhone 4 and above

A new week, a new iOS review, or it could have been an smartphone game for android, were they not the same.

So, here comes a re-invention of maybe the best Light Gun game in history. Well, not the best, but one of the fathers of the genre it is.

Duck Hunt was a game for the NES, quite simple indeed. Ducks would go up, shoot, ducks go down. Miss and a dog would laugh at you. Shoot at the dog, nothing happens. The little joys of life indeed. That dog will haunt many gamers lifes again.

So, back to this "remake". Duck Hunt AR is an Augmented Reality game. What does that mean? Well, it means that it uses a camera, found on any iPhone or iPod (Gen IV and above). The game will create a virtual overlay over whatever you are seeing. Later, you will have to aim using the gyroscope.

The game is just as it used to be in the past. You are the hunter, and your trusted hound will dive into the grass, to spook some ducks. These ducks come in 3 kinds, standard blue and red. The ducks vary in both score and speed, making for different levels of difficulty.

You aim by moving the device, its internal gyroscope will do the rest. You will be shooting 8 ducks per stage, and you will only use up to 3 rounds per duck, so time your trigger. After you kill a duck, the game will re-adjust the screen, to calibrate the gyroscope to your position. This will avoid complications in the long term.

The game is quite simple, but still hugely satisfying. The updated graphics is a nice refresh over the many online based “remakes” and marks a nice return of an old classic.

Shoot ducks from your living room.
Start the Conversation

Army of Darkness Defense - iOS Review

Some of us, those old enough most likely, will remember Army of Darkness. A cheesy comedy horror from the early 90's. The main character, was a familiar one, as this movie was actually Evil Dead 3, third movie in a series starring Ashley "Ash" Williams (Bruce Campbell), Smart employee turned demon hunter. There have been some games in the past, and even though you may not know anything about the series, you will have at least heard some of its catchphrases, like Boomstick. 

Army of Darkness Defense is a sort of casual Tower Defense. You are not building anything to survive, but you have to summon allies to help you repel enemy troops, avoiding Deadites from stealing the Necronomicon from you. The gameplay is quite simple as well. You will only be able to move back and forth, Ash will attack automatically once an enemy is close enough. At first, you will only be able to use his shotgun, or Boomstick. But later on, you will be able to access the Iron glove and the all dandy chainsaw, a trademark in the series.

 What will enhance gameplay is the fact that you will have access to different skills, and troops. All of this can be upgraded after each wave using the gathered gold. This will help you defeat the 50 waves of the game. Though most of the early levels can be done with Ash alone as the game is not that tough. Later levels though require strategy, high equipment level and such unless you want to be stepped over. 

The game will make us face different kind of Deadites, though only the 2 bosses from stages 45 and 50 are recognizable. The other enemies are skeletons and wizards. The skeletons will go improving along the waves, so that they include helmets, shields, spears, etc. The pattern of a wave is similar to Plants vs Zombies. You will have a wave "meter" above the screen, and an mark. The mark points to the time when more enemies will appear. Later stages have up to 2 critical marks making levels more complex. You will lose if Ash dies, or if the enemies steal the Necronomicon.

Army of Darkness is a nice little game, currently free found on the app store. The game as most good TD's, is entertaining, and will hold your attention for longer than healthy, though that is not a bad thing for us gamers!

 Bruce Campbell again as Ash!
Start the Conversation

Resistance 3 Preview

Resistance Fall of Man, a game released on 2006 alongside the PlayStation 3 was one of the bigger reasons I had to buy the PS3. Aside from "at the time" exclusives like Devil May Cry or Final Fantasy, Resistance caught my eye from the moment I layed them on it. Being an old time FPS gamer, I went through most games in the genre, that includes Halo.

As I have come to accept, the genre is currently at its peak, and what we are experiencing is the splitting of the genre itself, into specific sub-genres. Halo and Resistance belong to an Old school genre, kind of arcade oriented with bullet sponge enemies, while Battlefield goes more to the realistic side of the field, and Call of Duty stands in the middle.

Resistance FoM turned out to be a vanilla game, great for a release title, and with some techs behind it that were definitively "Next Gen Proof", like the individual pieces of the hedgehog grenade being traceable on screen real time. The game had a nice story that was its biggest asset. 2 years after the firts, Insomniac gave us perhaps one of the best FPS of the gen, as well as one of the most overlooked ones.

Resistance 2 set a new bar for FPS, and created a mode that is currently available in many FPS. The Co-op campaign. This mode was later added to games as Halo, Call of Duty, Gears of War and even as the "Onslaught" on Bad Company 2. Though it was a little bit different on each game, the original still managed to be one of the best modes.

So, here we are, 5 years after the debut of the original game, and Resistance 3 is about to be released soon to our consoles this September. The game will be much darker in tone, much more violent and will have a bigger push on the "realism" against its predecesors. The demo, currently accesible to us, mortal beings is being delivered along a vanilla action sci-fi movie, called Battle LA. Its not a bad movie, if like me, you enjoy B-Movies a lot, so go for it!.

As for the demo, its a standard control demo, no Move support if somebody wanted to test their "Sharpshooter" on it. The section is the one we have seen the most, or most of the time. Both Malikov and Capelli. The main character this time will be Capelli, for obvious reasons explained on the second game, Hale is not accessible. this time. The story is that of a survivor, Capelli no longer a Sentinel as he was discharged after the events of the second game, he got married and had a son. Capelli is recruited some time after this by Malikov, to go to the Big Apple and finish synthesizing a vaccine against the chimeran virus.

Among on of their many trips across the USA, we find ourselves on Whitesburg, Missouri. The Chimeras have taken over the world, and not only has the climate change, the world itself is changing. Rivers have flooded the cities, and weird structures cover the fields, mangling with the remnants of human race. There is ice where a warm weather should have been felt now as well. And the skies have changed. The Chimeras have changed Earth to their liking.

Capelli and Malikov take on a boat trip across the sunken city. Along the way, we will see many Chimeran pods, with leapers running around. Among the many things we will see, we can find a dead Leviathan, better known in Resistance 2. The demo takes its time to really start, showing us the changes done to the world, and introducing us to a "new" weapon, the fire fueled shotgun. This is just the regular weapon, with fire based ammo. Many more of this kind of tricks are expected to appear along the game.

Once you have learned the little nicks of the game, you will encounter some Grims. This are the most basic of the Chimeran army, and just like in the past, Grims strength comes not in individual power, but in numbers. A few shots will suffice, and you will be able to test the new burning system, as well as see some corpses explode. The most important part is that Insomniac decided to bring back the health bar, which makes this section a more tense one. Under current FPS standards, health regen make this sections tense, but only for a while. In Resistance 3, failure during such pieces means you will later find yourself in problems.

The gameplay is quick, frenetic but controlled. You may get gang-banged from all sides from time to time, which requires quick reflexes or at least for you to pay attention to the surrounds. The demo makes quick work of this by adding an infinite regen on the back of the boat.

The demo includes some of the most familiar guns in the series, as the Auger and the Bullseye make a comeback. We get to see their new designs and feels. And this is where Resistance 3 shines from its past entries, but also may turn gamers away. Guns have been given a more realistic feel. This is because humans have turned into scavengers, and are modifying guns by themselves. So don't expect the Bullseye to fire blue rounds. Instead, it will fill like an assault rifle. Though its special secondary fire will still be available. Same for the Auger and the many guns in the game. Insomniac does a great job on bringing the guns, down to Earth.

The demo continues in what appears to be a desperate attempt to escape the location. Chimeras attacking from multiple sides, though weak, their numbers start to take a toll on both Capelli and the boat. Finally, when one thinks it has escaped, a big hulking Goliath appears. The couple tries to avoid its sight, slowly drifting away.

The Long Legs Chimera, a half robot half monster.

You are found by the Goliath a bit later, and you have to escape. Though its just a sequence, there is a feeling of urgency on it. You try to make it out alive, and since the enviroment is so nicely done, you get the feeling that you are not on a on rails sequence.

Finally you meet the new enemy of the game, the Long Legs (or shanks). This Chimeras are fast, agile and can jump, and I mean they can jump, Space Jam style. After a few bouts with this guys, don’t worry, they are easy, you are suddenly surrounded by 3 Goliaths. This marks the ending of the demo.

Its a nice preview of the game. You can get an idea of the graphical changes done to the series, turning for a more mature context. Its gritty, dusty and durty. You are a survivor, and thats what the game pushes for. The sound department helps into making this a more solid concept. Everything sounds rusty, grizzly and just raw. No longer do we have those “pium” sounds from our guns. Now its a rough sound, similar to traditional bullets. It sets a mood of decay for the game.

Resistance 3 is looking nice, its going to return to the FPS genre basics in some aspects, the return of the life bar will certainly be a major factor in this, making the game increasingly difficult, and allowing for extremely painful sections. Insomniac is holding no strings here, as the guns will be customizable to some extenct, ala Ratchet and Clank series. Capelli was not that great of a character during Resistance 2, maybe this time, we will get a new character thats more interesting and not as shallow as before.

You can expect a copy of Resistance 3 this September!

Questions will be answered for those interested :)

Start the Conversation

Relationships. Being Appart.

Well, its been a long time since I last posted something on this blog. And I DO mean a long time. But lately, I've felt the urge to express myself a little bit more. Maybe because the person I love is visiting her family, so I spend more time "alone". So, maybe, we can talk about that? Or I can give my impression on the subject.
 
So, having someone to love is wonderful. I can't begin to express how my life improved since I met her. And by improve, I do mean a lot. It's funny, how can a person can change us so much. Don't you think so? Life feels better, at least, that's what happens in my case. What about you lovers out there?  Do you feel happy? Fulfilled? As if life could not be any better?
 
When you have a couple, you start doing more things, and the time you are not with that person, seems to last forever. I know, the worst time of my day are my 9 hours of work. After that, even if things are terrible, seeing her face just makes me happy. It lifts the weight of the world, and I can just rest. It's like magic. It's instant. Just seeing her smile, holding her, even if we are doing house chores, or doing a work for her university, it does not matter. 
 
But, now comes my problem, my life shatters when we are apart. She lives in another state, so, last week, she went back to visit her family. And even though I kind of forced her to go, a big part of me did not want that. Call me selfish, but being without her feels weird. As if I'm empty. We do talk a lot, during my work time we use sms and messenger. And at night, we use video calls with Skype, which helps shorten our distance. But we both miss the feeling of being together. Its funny, but sometimes, you feel like in one of those romantic movies, and you start to learn that some of those corny or cheezy words, start floating around you, and involuntarily you say them. 
 
Being apart is hard, I must say that. And I DO mean hard. So, what do you guys and girls think? Are you in a relationship? Have you been apart for 2 or more weeks? How did you feel about it?  
 
Just for those, a nice picture of us :p Sorry for the quality, its from a cell phone 

 I love you!
26 Comments

Modern Warfare 2, my opinion after finishing the game!

 I just wanted to tell you guys that I finished the MW 2 campaign a few minutes ago in Veteran. Ive also played some online matches and Spec Ops rounds in Split, so Im here to answer questions to those interested in this.

Be it an stupid doubt, questions about the graphics, weapons, missions or so. Feel free to ask.

And no, Im not lying.

You can check my trophies down here. The campaign missing trophies are due to a glitch of the game, which I supposse should be solved a few days after release.

(no trophies yet, the PSN site does not show it for some reason, yet I still have the numbers and %. Weeeeeirrrrddd!)

So, let me tell you a couple of things about the game and its modes, though it may be redundant to some.

The Main Menu has 3 options:

Spec Ops

Campaign

Multiplayer.

When choosing Spec Ops, you are first told that it its best to finish the Campaign first. This is because the missions are on maps of the campaign (though not all of them are). The missions are divided into different Teams, that are unlocked as you move forward. Each team has its own set of missions, and each mission can snatch up to 3 Stars. Stars are used to unlock new teams and trophies. This can be done both offline solo, split screen, and online.

Then comes the campaign, its not long. Beating it in Vet took me 8 hours, maybe 10 if it does not count my continuos deaths in some missions. The story starts slow, but around 60% it picks up. The layout is similar to CoD 4, you go switching between marines and SAS, though here they are a different team which I wont spoil.

The Multiplayer has 3 modes, Online, Split Screen and Lan Party. The last 2 are self explanatory. And the first is our good old fashion multi!. This time around, its leagues better than in the past. The maps are good, and weapons are more balanced than in the past. You can now win titles and icons like in Street Fighter IV, which is great, since you are continuosly unlocking stuff. The streaks abilities are nice, but don worry, you wont see a Nuke in every match, in fact, you will rarely see a nuke, unless playing against complete dumb players as myself xD

Anyway, Im trying to keep this short. So, Im gonna point a couple of details

  • The graphics are seriously bad, I mean, some textures are really, really lame, but, its CoD, who cares. Besides, the fps is great, though when there is a lot of particles it may drop (havent checked the 360 version yet, but I will do so ASAP)
  • The music is amazing, and really fits the game, and sets the mood.
  • Lots of intense fights, but none feel as cheap as in past CoD games.
  • I think that there are no longer "infinite respawning" enemies, as in many sections, I advanced after killing everyone, except in the ones you have to defend a target for an X amount of time where they are infinite.
  • Guns feel nice, the new additions as the Heart Sensor, and Heat Vision are cool and provide new ways of playing.
  • The Breach function is really cool, wait and see it for yourself
  • The game is hard, but not punishing. CoD 4 was way tougher than this boy.
  • The online works flawlessly right now by console standards. Lag is very low, though a 100ms ping standard is kind of lame.
  • The new online maps are less grenade-spammable which is also nice.
  • Spec Ops is really fun. You have a lot of missions, including a "horde" like mode, Breach, secure the target, rescue hostages, kill everyone, and races in snowbikes.
  • 2 player split screen in spec ops is a lot of fun, and its nice to do it as a team.
  • The airport mission CAN be skipped, in fact, you are told about this "intense" section as soon as you put the disc, and are given the choice to NEVER EVER see it. Though I recommend doing it. As I finished it I had a knot on my throat, but it was worth it. It shows how cruel war is
  • Many vehicle sections this time, and I mean it, but they are nice and cool.
  • Lots of guns, and different kinds.

For starters, I think its a great game, and a good candidate for GOTY but its flaws in my opinion keep it away from it. Still, its a great 9!

17 Comments

Performance over Graphics? or Graphics over Performance?

 

This is an old time dilemma in the gaming world. And I want to be the first to say, and please dont feel offended, that we gamers are many times big fat idiots (notice how I included myself).Perhaps, PC gamers are more accostumed to this "battle", since we have to decide what to do. Shall we improve the graphics and lower the FPS, or increase the FPS by lowering the graphics? A really hard question, that can only be adapted to our liking in PCs, but for consoles, oh boy, thats different.

So, lets start with a tiny bit of history, or more likely quick briefing.

There is one thing that has been selling games over the past 20 years, and that thing is graphics. The big breakthrough of the NES was its 8 bit graphics, moving from the bland squares in the Atari, to some really detailed sprites like in Super Mario Bros for example. We later moved on to the SNES era, with an even better graphic system, and normally, the fights of that time are depending if the Sega or the Nintendo had the best looking version of certain games.

So, we now reach the era where cartridges died, with the N64, fighting the PlayStation. The PS introduced the discs format (though they were not the first, they were the most succesful so far). Nintendo introduced full 3D games. Sony tried to do the same, but many games could not handle that much power, since the PS was lacking it. So, we saw the beginning of the battle of the devs, to either reduce the performance for better graphics, or reduce the graphics for better performance.

Since the PS/N64 days were times when 3D was strong and good, its hard to judge it, but some things we can remember, games like Zelda that had some stutters. Resident Evil with it Bitmaps as scenarios, and so on. Depending on what they were looking for, sacrifices were already being made.

Then, we have the DC/Xbox/PS2/NGC era. Now, here, we really did see this thing strongly. Lets take for example Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner; perhaps, one of the best looking PS2 games, and one of the best mecha games. ZoE 2, did a lot of amazing things. For starters, we could have many enemies on screen at once. Some destructible objects left a lot of particles when, duh, destructed. All this new quirks, hurted the game performance, with many fps's drops. Specially during the big battle scene.

Or lets go with God of War, we played the games, we loved the games, but we cant say that they were flawless. Graphically speaking, the team at Santa Monica did an amazing job, pulling so much potential from a console like the PS2. But, for doing so, we got lots of screen tearing (its even worser in the second game where the vistas are bigger) and many drops in the level of fps.

On the Xbox side, we got the Doom 3 port, which made many cuts on its graphical side to not only fit the console, but also run properly on it.

So, to make things shorter, lets skip the past era and lets go to the current era, the infamous "Next Gen" (yep, people still call it like that).

I will eliminate the Wii from this part since I dont have many Wii games, and the ones I have, with the exception of the Umbrella Chronicles all run marvelously.

So, PS3 and 360. First, Im not comparing any console here, to say "Yo, this one is da bomb". Nah, leave that stuff to the folks over at System Wars. I just prefer gaming and playing games like in the old days where internet was not popular and we could avoid all the nasty fanboyism.

So. I will analize them toghether.

PS3 and 360 are both powerhouses in terms of "potential" power. Specially the PS3 as many devs have said. But, this power comes with some drawbacks. For example, the PS2 could output faces with the same details as the current gen ones, but the thing was, that the whole machine was working to achieve that. Both PS3 and 360 can do images with the same quality as a maxed Crysis. But this means that the whole console is working on achieving this image.

So, a developers job is to take that potential, and start doing cuts. Decide what is more important given the game and work on that.

For example, games like BlazBlue need to run at 60fps. Why? Because they are games where each frame counts towars a victory. The same for games like Devil May Cry. The higher the fps count, the better. Stutters in this games can mean that the game is broken severely and could cause many headaches for us players.

So what do devs do to achieve this? They cut on other things. For example, Draw Distance, FoV, texture quality, polygons, etc. Whatever works on enhancing the game performance.

Of course, that after some years, devs know much more about the console and can squeeze it much better, but the basics still apply.

So, now, a game that drew many controversy last year. Resistance 2 and Halo 3 (this last one on 2007). Both games are not graphical marvels. Quite the contrary if you were to count the texture quality or the resolution. But why is this?

In both games, the graphical quality was not dropped only to increase the performance, but it also helped in creating more things.

Better Draw Distance. Seriously, the DD in R2 is breathtaking. Better lightning, just look at the light and shadow changes in Halo 3, Bungie really did a nice job there. Consistan fps rate, both games do this perfectly. And for example, in Resistance, you can have over 30 enemies, on screen at once, all shooting bombing, etc and no drops on the fps department.
 
Other games, like Uncharted or Gears of War, prefer to have an fps rate that can vary sometimes, aside from screen tearing and texture pop up. But in exchange, you get a game that looks like a Michaelangelo. So, a sacrifice in performance, enhances the graphical output. The same with games like GTA, Age of Empires and such. 
 
We cannot expect Crysis level graphics on every game. Or that every PS3 game from now on will look like Uncharted 2 and every 360 game will look like Gears of War 2. Its basic development and basic management.

So, after this, you may ask yourself. What is this guy point? Well, its simple, we cant judge a game for how many polygons it has, for how detailed its textures are, etc. Games are a result of many variables (DD, FoV, fps, etc) factorized. So, when we say: Resistance 2/ Halo 3 looks like turd, we should take into account all the other things they have that no other game had back then, or even now. How many FPS of the same caliber as R2 do you know that can run online with 60 guys firing Pulse Guns all the time with no drops?

Thought so. So, that would be it. Judge a book by its content, not by its cover.

24 Comments

Are we as gamers getting more stupid?

ARE WE AS GAMERS GETTING MORE STUPID? OR ARE DEVELOPERS NOT TAKING US SERIOUSLY?
 
Speed read on the bottom 

This is a question I've been asking myself for the past 3 years. Am I getting smarter as I grow, or are games just being more simply done? In other words, easier?. 
As I game, I go back and forth between those ideas, as I find games challenging, easy, pathetic or just hard in the wrong way.  There are cases that represent all those ideas, but back in the day, when I started with the Atari 2600/5200, games where hard, because it required some "path" to be memorized. As we moved to the NES era, games evolved, including random patterns, but still featuring a path to be learned. Now, once the SNES/ Genesis era began, we saw games that were completely new, games that were hard in the good way, that required a deeper participation from the gamer in the product.
This can be seen in the SNES era The Legend of Zelda games, or in the SNES Metroids, and Castlevania. And lets not mention Super Mario RPG (Nintendo, WHERE IS MY DS or WII REMAKE??) or Final Fantasy (though this did not reached the states normally until Sony took the franchise) or Bahamut Lagoon?.
 
Later on came the PSX and the N64 (my most beloved console). With them, we received true 3D, at least from Nintendo's side, and started seing games that were not only challenging, but also required lots of thought, and showed true hard work on their end. For example, the early Tomb Raider's, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (who doesn't remember the dreaded Water Temple?) or Resident Evil many puzzles?. Even the first Dino Crisis, with its ID card keys (To think that I realised near the "Watergate" ID that the ID letter was also the first letter of the password).  Or Metal Gear Solid, with its multiple paths, and Vagrant Story with its crafting and combo system (man, I wish I did not used fakes as a kid, but originals were not available here at that time)
During this era, games began using also something called AI, a completely new thing, but this was just seen in few games. Who doesn't remember the first 3D Mario? Super Mario 64? The best 3D Mario ever. Mario Sunshine was a joke, and despite the charm of Super Mario Galaxy, its so easy that my 5 year old cousin could collect all the stars with no trouble (though I had to point her in the right direction a couple of times, she is a kid after all). Super Mario 64 mixed both amazing graphics, with complex level design that would require a certain amount of skill to complete the level, specially if going for the hidden stars, or the 8 Red coins challenge. And how about the Magic Carpet level? Who did not die repeteadly in that stage?.
Or how about Ocarina of Time. In Ocarina, being hit by an enemy was something common, even in the amazing Wind Waker. But, despite the graphical upgrade, and the art (my favourite) in Twilight Princess, it fails to represent a challenge during the whole game. You know that the game is easy, when you can beat Ganon without using a single potion. 
Few games evolved well from this era. 
 
During the PS2/NGC/XBX era, games evolved again, now having a more than solid AI system. With more randomness in their answers to your presence. But also, it was the birth of the new era of Beat Them Up, now called Hack & Slash with Devil May Cry (seriously, it would make your butt cry), Ninja Gaiden and of course, God of War. Both Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry featured simple puzzles with deep combat system. Ninja Gaiden revolved around combos and structure, attack, defend and counter. Devil May Cry started as a Resident Evil spin off (you had to aim first in Devil May Cry, though this was dropped for DMC 2 and 3). And God of War mixed simple combos structures with a rich story, amazing graphics, music and relatively complex puzzles. 
But, not only this games appeared, games as Halo, Call of Duty and Doom 3 also showed their lovely faces in this era. This games presented a challenge to us, the gamer. The first 2 had good AIs for the time (specially Halo 2). Doom 3 changed its ways, and now featured a text based story (all those PDA's), a more horror survival setting and gameplay, and really, really hard bosses (except the final Cyberdemon). 
On a different side, we got the Shin Megami Tensei saga finally to the US (not considering the first 2 Persona in PSX). Games as Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga really challenged the player, as reaching a point required lots of work, both strategically as mental. Persona games are a little bit easier than those 2, but show the same great system in work. 
Metal Gear Solid also evolved, now featuring an amazing AI (unless you are one of those bitches who like exploiting the few blind points and glitches). 
 
But, how many of those sagas got the same results during this era?
If you played Daggerfall or any old The Elder Scrolls, you will realize that the only good thing in Oblivion is the fast travel option. Fallout 3 is an insult to Fallout players. 
Halo 3 is a joke compared to Halo and Halo 2 in terms of difficulty. Call of Duty 4-5-6 are still using Call of Duty 2 engine and the enemies still dont have AIs. Super Mario Galaxy is easy as it can be, Super Smash Bros Brawl has no challenge, where is my new Giga Bowser challenge?? I seriously dont see it here. Resident Evil 5 only problem is the mediocre AI for Sheva in PRO, the rest is very easy. Prince of Persia? Devil May Cry 4? They all lost the challenge they had in the past.
 
Few games kepted their challenge. Fire Emblem is one of them, Metal Gear Solid 4 is another, also GTA IV and Ninja Gaiden. We can add some new IP's to the mix, but the truth is that many games have lost the challenge they used to present when they were conceived. Resident Evil: Code Veronica on DC was the last true Resident Evil that appeared, where are games as Shenmue? Once we get a game with a more than amazing story as Yakuza, nobody buys it.
Gameplay has become so important that many things that make a game are forgotten in the middle. Games as Wolverine that would have gotten a 6 with luck in the past are now scoring well over 7. Games that show no depth in any way, no such thing as a puzzle, or challenge, or even worse, story. 
It seems that today, blood, gore and foul language is what is needed to be succesful. 
 
Long gone are the days where a game was the sum of its parts, and that having great gameplay was not enough.
 
EDIT:
As it seems that many are missing the point here, be it because they read it partly, or just because I may have expressed myself unproperly (after all, english is not my nathal tongue, and I keep this blog as a way to practice it so it doesnt rust) I will sum up some concepts below for those who want to speed read it.
- Current Gen games are amazing, I never said anything about them being bad, or that NES-PS2 era being better. All I said is that in many franchises, the evolution cutted most things that made them what they were in the past.
- There is no need to point out the few games that really accopmplish degrees of uniqueness in this era, because I most likely have played and loved them (as Valkyria or Bioshock or Afrika)
- The change in difficulty does not come only from an interface being redone, its a big group of things. Zelda games never required much Combat skill after all, yet the puzzles were amazing. And later enemies had a tendency to be more harmfull, and dungeos had more threats than in TP. I still prefer TP (took me over 40 hours for my first finish due to the huge amount of things to do and explore), as it is in my opinion, the best depiction of Hyrule that Ive seen. Though I would have liked Nintendo using MP3 and not Midi's for their music. 
- Fallout 3 falls under the same category as Resident Evil. The new ones are not bad games, they are just not like their source material. Fallout 3 lost the level grinding and most RPG elements (Really, Bethesda Idea of level caping, and growing enemies is plain stupid imo). Resident Evil was stripped from its Survival Horror elements in 4, recovering some survival elements in 5. But it lost all the deduction that the player had to put on the game, all the puzzles. Where Resident Evil 4 has only a handful of them, Resident Evil 5 has none. Thats my complaint on their change of difficulty.
- I think that what many are thinking, is that the change in difficulty, only means stronger enemies and bosses, but that is not it. Difficulty is made from a wide arrange of things, enemies are just one part of it. Level design and puzzles are what concerns me, and that IS something that is being lost little by little. I fully understand what some of you mean, that games can be more accessible. Heck, I cant play an RPG nowadays unless I decide to go to bed late at night (since I work almost all day long I dont get many gaming hours) and many modern games are covered in checkpoints, or close save points. But that is not my complaint, who in his righteous mind would want to start a game all over again when he turns it over or dies? I know I dont.
- I repeat just for those with a weak mind, I LOVE THE CURRENT GEN, and possibly, even more than past gens. Why? Because my idea of a game is the mix of this 3 things: Story (world design also included here), Music (sound effects also included here) and Characters, and many current games have great stories (for their genres) with reach worlds to explore, or just do what I normally do, sit and admire getting lost in thought in an Afrikan Savanah in Far Cry 2, getting lost in a battlefied while using a mech in Killzone 2, or just saying WTF in Crysis after seing your first morning lights from the sun at max settings in DX10. By Music I mean both the soundtrack, and the sounds of the game. And normally they tend to go hand by hand. As catchy as they may have been, I would rather listen to the Black Mages "Fight over Big Bridge" version than listening to the midi thing in FF V. And I rather have the variety of sounds found in games as Metal Gear Solid 4 (seriously, turn the 7.1 one, and its amazing what Hideo has done) or the ambient noices from battlefields found in Killzone 2, Halo 3, Call of Duty 4 or Gears of War rather than the old, not so "nice" "ratatata" etc found in old FPS's.
58 Comments

Just got a DSL!!

Well, in my pursue to own every console this gen (partly because Im a working man as of now) Ive decided that it was time to have a DS join the party that my PS3, Wii and PSP were having (and my PC).
Its a nice console, I had to buy a DS Lite for the GBA slot since I have many GBA games that I play when I travel.
Its a nice console, though its kind of sad when you have on one hand a PSP 2k graphically and musically speaking. Still, Nintendo does have some amazing games that I just can let pass me. Reason why I also bought a Wii.

My new DS Lite Final Fantasy III and Pokemon Pearl


Though, just to make a point, games as Boom Blox are not my kind of games so you could say that I bought the Wii for like 10 or less games. Mostly sequels to NGC games xD.
Anyway, Im a happy gamer now, I will buy a 360 later this year, gotta play Star Ocean 4 and Ace Combat 6!!!!!.  I had one, but it RROD on me.
Anyway, by this year end, I will be a FULL FLEDGED MANTICORE!!!!!
Yay for me I guess. Though I say, Yay for The Almighty Dollar!
Start the Conversation

My new TV Set Up.

Finally I could make the change to HD, having suffered all this months with some games that I had to leave unfinished due to bad "text" on them, I can now pick them up again and finish them. I bought a Bravia 32" TV, which also supports Full HD, or 1080p. Its goregeous, and has 2 sockets of everything, escept for antena and VGA.

caption
caption
caption
caption












It is true what people says, once you see how they are in HD, you cant go back. And its not the same as the ones that you see in the stores, because this time its in your room or Living Room or kitchen or wherever you want to put it. The biggest improvement comes from textures. Things that could not be noticed before are now as clear as sun light. For example, when I picked up Eternal Sonata, the grass was "plain" looking, it was the old, green mass of texture with no special detail, but now in HD, its a whole different  tale, it has texture in the grass and it looks wonderful.
There is another advantage that I found, specially in Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (Which I have to call the best looking game ever, including Crysis).  The thing I noticed is that my FoV (Field of View) drastically increased. I no longer had to move the camera to see the rear view mirror and I could see more of the inside of the car, as well as better textures, less Jags and better lights and colouring.
The other game that got completely changed was Lair. Yeah, I know most of you hate it, even though you havent played it. Lair was one of the first to come with Native 1080p and at that resolution, it looks more than beatiful. Given the scale of the levels, some graphical things can be forgiven as the low res foot soldiers and such. But the dragon models are gorgeous, the detail on them, aside from the animations as the wings moving from the wind (flapping), the veins, the different layers of colouring in each dragon variant, etc. Lair was a solid 7, and got to 8 thanks to the Dragon Update which included Analog Support. The best part of the game though has to be its sound track. Its just impressive.
The next game I will be mentioning is my favourite JRPG of this gen, Valkyria Chronicles. Despite what many think, Valkyria has more than impressive sales, placing it as one of the top 5 most selled S-JRPGs in history with its close to 300.000 units sold. Even the Disgaea saga is less popular with an average of 180.000 (yes, even the PS2 versions). The game looked great in SD, with lovely graphics and art direction. The CANVAS engine really does a great job (I cant believe people think that a Wii could pull this, fanboys should really check their tongues some times) Anyway, the game was gorgeous, but once I changed to HD (around chapter 6) I found myself against a whole different thing. It was impressive, everything looked beautifull, though some things in the stages are really cheap, the rest overflows with quality, lovely graphics, excelent choice of colours, the animations and attention to details, etc. Valkyria Chronicles is a genre changer, much as what Halo did for the console FPS genre, and what Super Mario 64 did for console platformers, Valkyria is the new standard for Strategy J-RPGs.
I tried the rest of my colection, as well as some Demos, to see how "different" they where, and in most cases it was really noticeable, but in others not that much, such as the case with Turok (dont blame me, I love the franchise, and I actually liked the game, as long as it was me, my knife and a Dino) and NFS Carbon (really crap, but I bought it really cheap at a time that I needed a racing game aside from Motorstorm.
PS2 and PS1 games look great. PS1 games get a facelift at 1080p thanks to the upscaling tools in the console, making things look cleaner, most PS2 games look great at 1080p also, but for some reason, Yakuza 2, despite having 16:9 and Progressive Scan support looks like crap, which still intrigues me considering that games whithout 480p as Final Fantasy XII look amazing.



7 Comments
  • 19 results
  • 1
  • 2