A lot of stuff happened since my last blog

Sorry that I haven't blogged in a week but I was in Germany on holiday last week and only got back late on Saturday. It was a great trip and me and my friends went to to see Foo Fighters which was awesome and may be the best live show I have ever been at. Too much stuff happened on the holiday to mention it here, the big stuff happened when I got back.

I had ordered a copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution before I left and it was waiting for me when I got home. I played the 1st hour and went to bed. The next day I played another hour and my PS3 froze or so I thought, I get up to check it and there was a flashing red light. This wasn't a good sign so I turn it off and on again but it keeps doing this. One phone call to Sony tells me that a competent has failed and it will cost me £100 to replace. Having just come back from Holiday I don't have the money for this.

So the next day I went to a game store and traded in like 15 games and got £140 trade credit for them. So I used this to get a 160GB PS3 which came with a free game of choice so I got the Killzone 3 collectors edition because I haven't played it yet and this only cost me £40. Even better I got £35 on my reward card so Resistance 3 should cost me £5 at most.

So out of a shit situation I did pretty well getting a PS3 for next to nothing, hope this one doesn't break


Shadows of the Damned is one of the best games this year

I finished Shadows of the Damned last night and I loved near enough every moment of it, can't wait for Suda 51 to bring out his next game.

He gets right what most games get wrong, a final boss that is actually fun and unique and doesn't grind you down with cheap moves. But I guess I expected as much saying that No More Heroes is pretty much a game made out of boss fights.

In a previous post I already talked about why the game is so awesome but I'm not going to act like it's perfect because there is definitely a couple of problems. The biggest problem would be the checkpoints which aren't great and is made worse by unskipable cutscences. The other problem I had was a weird sound glitch that made me have to reboot the game to fix it and a strange glitch where it reset a puzzle after I died and I had to restart the act because I couldn't go back and do the puzzle again.

But don't let these weird glitches put you off because I know a couple of other people who played the game and never ran into these problems. I would give the game a 9 because it nails everything that it was trying to do and we could do with more people in the industry with the creativity of Suda 51


Shadows of the Damned is such a gamers game

I have played through the first couple of acts of Shadows of the Damned and that game knows it is a game and plays up that aspect so well. Guess I wouldn't expect anything less from Suda 51 because he is the master of this.

I love how the game bothers to explain all the dumb game mechanics you get in most games like exploding barrels, in this game they are there because the demons need somewhere to put light. Also weak spots on bosses are because the demon's need human hearts to operate.

But that is only one reason why this game is awesome, there is also the Suda 51 crazy design that means that you get bosses who piss darkness into a fountain and another one that shouts "Fuckkkk yoouuu!" at you while you are trying to kill it. There is more ideas in one act of this game than most competent western third person games have in their whole game.

But Suda 51 has always nailed the aesthetic but it is usually the actual game design where it falls apart but this is not the case this time. Because he has got his old pal Shinji Mikami to do the game design so you get RE4 style controls expect you can move and shot which means that that you get solid gameplay while you experience all the craziness that Suda 51 has to show you.

The final part that makes this game awesome is the soundtrack that kicks all kind of ass, it is done by the same guy who done the Silent Hill soundtracks and it has some of the creepy atmosphere of those games soundtrack but he also knows when to shred when it's needed, just like the menu screen you get after the tutorial.

I only played the game for 5 hours and it is my 2nd favourite game this year just behind Portal 2. Also this game is prove that the Japanese games industry is not dying but that it is doing more interesting and innovative things than the western industry is doing


Catherine is flawed but still a must play for everyone

I finished Catherine last night, not going to spoil the story but here is a SPOILER WARNING!!! just in case musings count as spoilers.

The game kind of goes JRPG crazy at the end, I don't know why I didn't expect it because it is made by the persona team. But there is a part 2 hours before the actual ending where it should end but just keeps going. But even with this I did enjoy the ending that I got and it tied everything up nicely.

I don't think less of the game because of where it ended up because I will remember the journey of the game rather than the ending when I think back on it. Like I said it's flawed and most of that has to do with the block puzzles and some of the story beats near the end but I would rather play a flawed (but still great game) that is trying something new and interesting over a competent 8 out of 10 shooter any day.

This game handles the stuff all games do poorly (relationships, love and sex) and does it so fantastically that it will be the standard to hold all other games that tackle these themes against. I would give the game a 8 despite my problems with it because it dares to do something new and original and is so close to greatness but just short of the mark. Still a must play for any gamer


Catherine's puzzles get real hard real fast

I thought I was going through Catherine at a good speed with only a couple puzzles here and there that stumped me but I got to the 7th night last night and the puzzles there really test you.

Some of them I would spend 30 mins on before figuring it out but when I did I thought the design was quite clever. At least my award at the end was a cool anime cutscence

On what I think is the last night now and I hope it doesn't get much harder so I finish the game today


Catherine is great, everyone should play it

I played Catherine for a good 6 hours yesterday and I'm onto the 6th night and I have to say that the story is awesome and so well told. Also the block puzzles are more enjoyable than I thought they would be despite the problems I have with them.

This is because for me at times I felt that I was just doing puzzles so that I can get to the next story part instead of enjoying them. I'm decent at puzzle games but sometimes I don't know what I'm meant to do on the boss stages and keep dying until I figure it out. This is even with playing the game on Easy (which everyone playing this game should do to enjoy it). But like I said the block puzzles are still enjoyable and I enjoy figuring them out and getting to top and thinking "how did I just do that?". There is also enough variety to keep things interesting throughout each of the stages.

But the reason I think the game is great is the story which is awesome and so well told and your actions actually have a big effect on the story. Like for example talking to people in the bar to help them out because if you don't they may end up dead. All the characters are so fleshed out to the point that you get really interested in the stories your friends are telling you as well as the other people in the bar. I don't want to talk too much about the story because that would be spoiling the biggest reason to play this game but rest assured that it's fantastic and you have enough choice in what happens so that you don't feel like a bystander.

Something has to be said for how excellent the games visuals are, the anime style is unlike anything you have seen in any other game and it's so crisp and beautiful. Even better are the anime cutscenes which are done by studio 4oc and although there aren't many of them, the ones that are there look as good if not better than any of their past animation.

Finally part of the package that makes Catherine so great is the stellar job on the production side that Atlus always seems to excel at. The voice acting may be the best dub work I have ever heard in a game. Also the soundtrack which is mostly remixes of classic songs is amazing and you get it free with any version of the game and trust me that you may end up listening to the songs on repeat because of how good they are.

From what I have played so far I would give the game a 8 and not the 9 Colin gave it because I think the everything on the story and production side is so well executed but the puzzle aspect is fine if nothing mind blowing.

Going to try power through and beat it today because I really can't wait to see what happens in the story


Alice Madness Returns is a great game but not without problems

I finished Alice Madness returns yesterday and I think it was a great game but every complaint levelled against it in reviews are spot on.

But they didn't annoy me as much, yes the chapters go on for a hour too long but they also ended just before I would get bored. Yes there is a lot of levers to pull but the puzzles are all well done and kept me interested.

It must be said that I played the game mostly for the art and I think it done that stuff fantastically and coupled it with solid combat and well executed platforming. It's just a shame that the levels weren't better paced and a hour shorter because it could have been amazing.

But that said it is still worth a look if you are in it for the art, if not you may run into the same problems that other reviewers had with the game. Personally I would score the game a 8/10

Finally got my copy of Catherine in the mail yesterday, I have only played that for a couple of hours so don't have a strong enough views on that game yet to talk about what I think of it. I will update tomorrow with my thoughts


Alice Madness Returns is worth a look

I played the 1st hour of Alice Madness Returns and at this point I like it quite a bit more than the IGN reviewer did. Granted I haven't finished a chapter yet and I heard that they drag on an hour longer than they should.

But from what I have played so far, the art style and everything else that goes with the production is fantastic. Also the actual gameplay is solid with the platforming being pretty logical and all the combat packs a punch and feels responsive.

Only problem I have had with the combat so far is trying to focus on a target when using the peeper grinder but it could just be my analogue sticks because they are very loose because it's the same pad that I have used since I got my PS3.

A more obvious problem is with the typical Unreal engine jank that you get get, like texture pop in and textures on the floor just going crazy sometimes during cut scenes.

But I can overlook these problems because the art and world are so interesting and the gameplay is solid enough that I want to keep going to see the next crazy thing the game has to show me. At the moment I would give the game a 8


Anybody got game suggestions

I just finished Vanquish and Ocarina of Time yesterday and now have no games to play. I have imported Catherine but it won't be here until the end of this week at earliest.

  So if anyone can tell me a games that I need to check out until Catherine arrives it would be much appreciated, got nothing to do these days so something to pass the time would be good.