By DrCLos 3 Comments
After my long hiatus, it is finally time for the return of another hotly anticipated Doctor's Prognosis!
I have been soooooooo busy with cinema stuff which is why I have scarcely been on here. I am in a cla.ss all about the business aspects of film. We form a group of four and must work on preproduction of a script of our choosing. A lot of work but a lot of fun.
I also have a directing cla.ss which was taking up much of my time. I had to choose a scene from a script or play and then cast it, rehearse, and present it live to the cla.ss. So it required a lot of work to set up but it estventually came together.
On top of that, I am taking a cinematography cla.ss which requires taking photos and makng short videos. The hard part is making sure the lighting is correct. Pretty difficult when you don't even want to do lighting work. But it is always good to know every aspect as well as you can.
I have been trying to read everyone's blogs as much as I can and keeping my eye on certain games. We all know which one... more on that later.
As for my gaming habits, I have been neglecting Final Fantasy XII. It's a great game but I guess I find it too involved. Maybe I just don't have time to finish RPGs anymore? Yet I let a close friend of mine talk me into playing Pokemon Platinum. He hooks me up all the time so I am playing it just so he has someone to trade with. Though I doubt he needs me, it's still a fun game to play even today.
Anyway, I have been mostly playing with my 360. Street Fighter IV was awesome and recently finished playing Resident Evil 5 as well so I got reviews for those two. Also downloaded the two map packs for Gears 2. They are much better than I thought they'd be. I really like the level design and playing Horde Mode is a blast with my friends. I highly recommend downloading them if you have Gears 2 and still play it.
Also got some movies I want to review but will have to leave them for next blog because my video game writing is going to take up my blog well enough.
So let's start with some news!
Before getting to the Hands-On, I thought I'd share some news in case you haven't been following this game like I have.
First off is the Collector's Edition. Oh man. I can't wait. Love the look of the Batarang and the Doctor's Journal. Plus I like that if you preorder it with Gamestop, you get an exclusive "Villain Challenge Map." Not really clear what that is exactly but extras are always welcome.
Since I work at Best Buy, I will likely buy the CE with some kind of discount at my store. However, I would rather get it with Gamestop if my friend that works there can hook me up with his discount plus the exclusive download. If not, I will just have to settle for the Best Buy release since I refuse to pay so much. If I didn't get a discount, I probably would end up just getting it with Gamestop though.
Also recently revealed is that Bane is confirmed! Just click on the second pic down. Pretty cool huh?
Anyway, there are some cool videos around and you are missing some cool footage if you haven't checked them out. I guess it's up to me.
Here is the Predator Mode Video. Old video now but figure it's worth revisiting.
And here it is in High Definition.
And the newest video is the Extended Silent Knight Demo. Awesome video that shows off the stealthy gameplay. Can't wait until I can try it out too.
And once again in High Definition.
I had to watch that one several times. Really makes me want this game now.
Batman: Arkham Asylum Hands-On Impressions
You read that right. I got to try out this game. How? Well apparently, the demo has been very quietly sneaking into Targets, Best Buys, and Gamestops provided the Sony rep has been in the store to update the PS3 kiosk. Well my Best Buy did not have it but I kept reading in the forums about this and even saw some pictures. I went to the Target above my Best Buy and sure enough, Arkham Asylum Challenge Room demo!
Unfortunately, the way the demo is set up, you cannot try the Silent Knight demo or a similar stealth demo. Instead, it's a demo to show the player how to fight. It's very simple. Batman is smack dab in the middle of a room and is attacked by a few thugs. Square is for striking, Triangle for counters, Circle for stunning, and X was for dodging (I think). Should have paid a little more attention to that one.
You have access to Batarangs but they are not very effective in this mode. They are fun to throw nonetheless. You can also bring up the Detective Mode HUD but it's kind of useless in this mode. But these things are there to play around with so it makes it feel more complete.
The first wave of thugs were very easy, as I used regular strikes mostly. The addictive part comes when thugs try to attack. A blue lightning bolt appears above their head and you must react with a counter. Batman will catch and counter these attacks even as his back is turned. The whole thing looks very fluid and makes you feel like a real bada$$ as you take down your enemies.
There are 4 rounds of thugs that come at you and each one has more enemies, some with weapons. Getting hit makes Batman stagger as the screen goes somewhat black and white. At the same time, getting hit brings up double vision to make you feel the effects of getting hit. This forces the player to make sure to connect with counters more often.
When more thugs begin appearing, using stun is a good idea so you don't have to deal with so many at once. Because the enemies will surround you and try to beat on you all at once. You can also use the X button to roll out of harm's way and, while I'm not certain it was because I pressed X, I was able to vault over an enemy's back and land a strong kick on another thug behind him. Furthermore, fighting is done somewhat in slow-motion to help you get the timing correctly. Sometimes, the camera would get in very close to give you a better look at some of Batman's bone-crunching moves. Really cool, cinematic stuff.
The demo definitely wasn't perfect either as the camera kind of got into some weird postitions. But this was few and far between. And it only happened when it got up close while I was in the middle of a move in slow-mo so it didn't affect my fighting. Hopefully it doesn't get in the way in the real game either.
I am cautiously optimistic as I really liked what I played. however it is important to know that it was only one gameplay aspect and one fraction of the entire game. It's like trying to judge a Zelda game based on fighting waves of Octorocks. It's just not enough. Hopefully Rocksteady can add more difficulty and variety to the finished game. I'm hoping they release a stealth demo next. Hopefully on XBL and PSN so I can try it many times in my own home. So far I am impressed and look forward to more.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is currently expected for a June release for $59.99 with the Collector's Edition going for $99.99. No official date has been given but keep your eyes peeled.
Street Fighter IV Review
After so much time, Capcom can finally count to 4! And I bet some people did not even know there was a 3.
Taking place between Street Fighter II and Street Fighter III, Street Fighter IV features the cla.ssic characters so many grew to love from SF2, stereotypes and all.
New to the series are Rufus, a stereotypical nerdy American male that also taught himself Kung Fu through correspondence mail; Crimson Viper, the kind of girl I see a lot around my town (Hollywood) where she resembles a hard-working business lady but still tries to be girly (but she's really a butt-kicking agent); Abel, a French mixed martial artist; and El Fuerte, a Mexican luchador who also happens to be a cook. Even Gouken, Ryu and Ken's long-lost master and brother to Akuma (correct me if I am wrong) is included this time. And after years of EGM messing with our minds.
All the new characters are actually fun to use but can be difficult to master. Viper has a lot of fakes that are difficult to pull off but is extremely deadly in the right hands.
El Fuerte is also difficult to use. Fuerte is extremely fast but can't dish out damage so well. You will have to fake out your opponent and mix up your attacks to beat them. Furthermore, his Ultra is very difficult to land.
Ultras are a new staple to the series as well. As you take damage, the Ultra Meter fills up. Once you have enough energy in the Ultra Meter, you can unleash a powerful attack similar to a Super. Ultras usually do a lot of damage though, and the trade-off is leaving yourself wide open if you miss.
Another new edition are Focus Attacks. This new move takes place of Parries which were a staple of SF3. Focus Attacks act a lot like parries. Using a FA lets you block an attack and immediately counter with your own. If you charge it long enough by holding down the MK and MP buttons, your attack becomes unblockable. Theya re much easier to execute than parries were. Parries required precise timing and execution depending on when you got hit and from where. But FAs only need to be held down until you are hit. You simply let go of MK+MP after getting hit to counterattack.
FA also can't be abused as much as parries were in SF3 because each successful FA takes away a little health. Your health does regenerate as long as you don't get hit. But if you do, you will lose extra health along with the health lost from using the FA. So it forces the player to use it more strategically.
Focus Attacks are also more versatile than just using them as a replacement for parries. You can dash out of them by double tapping forward or backward. This is great for baiting your opponent to attack and to set up combos. It's also a nice escape in case you guess wrong and try to FA an attack that never came. So Focus Attacks are a welcome addition as they help alleviate the problems players had with parries as they are much easier to execute and are versatile enough for the hardcore players to get a kick out of them.
As for what else is returning, Supers and EX attacks are back again. The Super Meter is divided into segments. The whole meter can be used to execute the Super while the segments can be used for EX attacks (beefed up versions of special attacks). Part of the strategy will involve when to use Supers, EX attacks, and combining these old aspects with the new Focus Attacks and Ultras.
Also returning are a select group of characters from older Street Fighter games. Rose, Cammy, and Dan (among others) are welcome additions to roster, though you must unlock them.
The game definitely feels like Street Fighter, however, it feels a bit slower than previous games in the series. Despite that, it feels great and the controls are responsive. I had little trouble playing using only my 360 d-pad, to my surprise. Joysticks will give you an edge but skill will always win. My Balrog can attest to that. Just ask the myriad Ken players.
One of the only negatives is the final boss, Seth. He is actually quite easy once you know his patterns and understand how the CPU uses him. However, Seth can be very cheap and frustrating to the new player. He is extremely quick, has Dhalsim's stretch arms, Guile's Sonic Boom, Dragon Punches, Zangief's SPD, and an easy-to-jump-into Ultra that will annoy the heck out of you. He can teleport too. When he knocks you down, he teleports several times and will either dragon punch you (if you jump near him) or SPD you (if you are on teh ground near him). It is difficult to get away from him once you are knocked down. If there is any silver lining, it's that he can't resurrect like Gill could. Thank God!
Of course there is online play. You can play ranked or player matches. It can sometimes be difficult to find someone to play with. And ranked matches can be frustrating if losers keep disconnecting. I never had anyone disconnect from me but I played Balrog in my ranked matches. I think playing as a shoto like Akuma or Ken will get more DCs but that's just an educated guess. Ranked matches do seem to have mostly shotos. Overall, play the player matches instead. You will get more variety and you can try out different characters without worrying about losing matches and points.
Many are asking for matches similar to older XBL SF games. Before, you could have a room with a few players and the loser would get replaced with another player in the room. The point was to emulate the arcade feel where players watch and quarter up. However, lag probably would prevent this from taking place in this newest game. Especially since the game is more graphic intensive than previous SF games.
One glaring omission, however, is anykind of tournament mode. So many fighting games have a mode like this. It is true though that you can have plenty of fun just playing online but the lack of a tournament mode does hurt since it's such a staple of the genre. Hopefully Capcom remedies this in the future.
Also adding to replayability is the challenge mode. You have survival matches where you must defeat a certain amount of enemies sometimes with various stipulations (such as no super moves or being unable to see the opponent's health bar), and time trials where you must defeat a certain amount of enemies in a time limit (also sometimes with stipulations). Also available are Trial Modes for each character. If you are up to the challenge, and maybe a masochist, you can try out your hand at these challenging trials. The first few are always easy as you just need to execute special moves and basic combos. But the later ones require some extremely precise timing. Great for hardcore players but prepare to be frustrated with some of these challenges.
Street Fighter has come a long way since the days of Street Fighter II. Street Fighter IV, despite it's negatives, is a deep and engaging fighting game that will keep you busy for a long time. If this is a sign of things to come from Capcom then sign me up. I give Street Fighter IV a 9 out of 10.
Resident Evil Review
Resident Evil is series that has come a long way since its inception on the first PlayStation. RE4 was a groundbreaking game in the series and took the series in a new direction. The question was, could Capcom strike gold again with RE5?
It keeps the same over-the-shoulder gameplay that RE4 had the controls are also largely the same, though you do have some options on how you prefer to play. But RE5 does try some new things. What's new is the co-op nature of the gameplay. Furthermore, it has become more of a run-and-gun type of game. Something similar to Gears of War.
Now I know some people don't like the comparison to Gears of War. But it is difficult to escape that comparison because RE5 is so adamant about using gameplay elements from that series. Late in the game there is even a cover system. It works pretty well, but the gameplay just isn't as fast and intuitive as Gears of War. But one thing they did right was keeping Chris and Sheva together where Gears 2 was so adamant about splitting you up and putting you in so many vehicles.
Getting back to controls, RE5 is steadfast in keeping things status quo. The truth is, RE4 was revolutionary for its time. But after games like Gears of War have taken that formula and improved it so much, RE5 fails to keep up with the times. It was like playing a clunkier version of Gears. You still can't shoot while you move and ammo can still be a problem at times.
Furthermore, the story just doesn't impress as well as previous games. I have never played a RE game where I wouldn't watch the game being played just to see the story. They always drew me in. This time it just falls a little flat.
Now this game is not horrible. It can be a blast playing with a friend. I played the whole game with friends because trying to play alone got boring very quickly. It has lots of cool, large bosses to kill and a lot of varied environments (though they do seem random).
Another big positive is its replayability. Collecting money to unlock better weapons and upgrade them is a great gameplay element. Unlocking unlimited ammo for one of the magnums can make it easier to take on the task of finishing the game on hard mode. If you're a masochist, you can try the hardest mode which kills you if you get attacked just once. Talk about insane!
RE5 also has a Mercenaries mode where you have a limited amount of time to kill as many enemies as possible. Racking up combos and attaining more time is part of the challenge. It can get hectic and is a fun addition.
RE5 also has tons of unlockables. Lots of figurines to unlock which are a lot like the trophies from Smash Bros., except a lot scarier. As mentioned, tons of weapons to unlock and completists may want to attempt to get the unlimited rocket launcher. Of course, there are cool outfits to buy for our heroes as well as visual filters so the game looks like some old scary movie. RE fans will have their hands full unlocking everything so it definitely has longevity.
Resident Evil 5 definitely isn't perfect. But it is fun enough for fans to waste time away with some friends. The question is, will you find it fun enough to go through unlocking everything after you finish the story mode? I give Resident Evil 5 a 7.5 out of 10.
Cosplayer of the Blog
Will not be seen tonight because I am tired and a little under the weather. Blah! I finally get some more free time and I feel sick. Sorry but I am too tired to find something to post today. It will return next time though. I promise.
Oh what the heck. Here's an oldie to tide you over.
I love her too.
Anyway I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend and Spring Break.
See you next time!