Tough Love, Dark Souls Style

I am honestly surprised that I even bought Dark Souls. Normally I would shy away from a game that is specifically known for being extremely difficult, but with all the bewildering good press that both it and its predecessor have gotten I kinda wanted to get in on the action. And you know what? I like it.

There is something about not being told anything specific about its mechanics, or how to proceed in this nearly open world that gives me a genuine sense of discovery. I mean, Ive gone into some games cold, usually old PC games and left feeling frustrated and unsatisfied that Im doing something wrong and cant seem to make any progress. Yet, even though Dark Souls has occasionally frustrating I know that if I can just make it to the next bonfire, or maybe grind out just a few more souls, or try that boss just one more time Im usually able to push through it and move on to something else totally new and alien. I have nothing against easy, breezy, games that seem nearly set on a linear path, but there is just an awesome feeling of achievement that I was able to figure out where to go or what to do with not much more than a few cryptic messages on the floor.

Of course its not all pleasant. The flip side of that coin is I have no idea what weapons I should upgrade, what spells are worthwhile, or what is the "normal" path I should be taking so as to not run into some giant dragon that is going to stomp me into the ground repeatedly while I mutter to myself "what am I doing wrong?" Sometimes all this freedom lets me run into some dead ends until I figure out there was another door to open or another stairway hidden in a room leading to a much easier route. Kinda makes me crazy wondering if this style of game is a refreshing change or maybe my time would be better spent finishing some other games where I know what the hell I am doing. But... maybe finishing Assassin's Creed Brotherhood can wait for another week. ;)


Homemade TGS videos, yum yum

I put up some terrible iPhone videos on YouTube, of course with TGS a few days old now the videos are kinda obsolete since you can probably find better quality ones on the internets by now.
Still disappointed I didn't get a chance to play Dragons Dogma or Skyrim.;_uri=%2F≷=JP&rdm;=4nyrj9wt8#/my_videos



And there it went, TGS 011. It seems like it was way too short, but then again I probably spent a majority of it in lines or wandering in a daze of dehydration trying not to touch any of the sweaty Japanese nerds there. Id like to say that it was awesome, but seeing as how I only got my hands on about 6 or so games and not being able to comprehend any of the media conferences or guest panels on the stages does but a bit of a damper on my enjoyment. No no, it wasnt horrible or anything! Just that I can see why PAX is held in such high reverence by some, im glad I got this once in a lifetime experience to know that I probably wouldnt go to TGS again.

Now for the games I was able to play!

Battle Block Theater: This game is the usual mix of adorable and insanity that comes with any Behemoth production. Its a pretty unique co-op experience, playing one-off levels with a friend you may or may not kill over and over again trying to get gems open the end of the level. You can definitely see some inspiration by those little PDA game levels from Alien Hominid in this game. Lots of crazy environmental hazards (water, lasers, spikes, etc) and new unique situations where helping your partner across an area can net you secret extra gems for a better grade. I dont know if collecting more stuff (gems, yarn balls) gets you more unlockable weapons or character heads, but probably a good chance of that seeing as how there were lots of faces and ways to customize your character. I loved Behemoth's other games so I am of course excited for this one. Cant wait for the full game!

Asura's Wrath: They had posters for this outside the show and I remember seeing the trailer for this a while back thinking "this is the sort of over-the-top madness that makes me love 3D action games" aka Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. While it IS crazy the mechanics were pretty disappointing. There were 2 types of demos here, Fight an airship thing and Mr Giant Buddha and Fight a boss on the moon with a million foot long sword. I got the sword boss one, cool. Fine. Stoked. Well after some story exposition in Japanese (my friend tells me I wasnt missing much, just normal "HAHA I AM A AWESOME BOSS TOUGH GUY" talk about not being able to defeat him) You fight this guy who sort of, kind of, looks like your main character in a one on one fight on the Moon. Pretty basic stuff, wait for him to attack, jump away, Mash B to combo because your Y heavy spin attack knocks him down doing less hits and maybe less damage(?). Its hard to tell if you are doing anything right because there was no life bar for the boss. Attack enough to enter Burst Mode for scripted QTE of you beating him up. Its not over! Now he has a sword and dodge his laser slashes until, again, do enough crummy combos to enter Burst Mode, QTE, pressing Y at the right time or mashing B to punch him lots. Kinda lame there is no dodge or block button, just jump away. Also pretty sparse on the sound front, or maybe they didnt have the music cranked very high. Really lame fights, however you do end up getting thrown into space and being stabbed with a sword so long it goes THROUGH THE ENTIRE EARTH!!! The other demo I watched was a kind of on-rails portion where you run along the ground shooting an airship until you blow it up, then fight a giant buddha, killing his minions by mashing B (literally just saw a dude hammer B as fast as he could) for combos til Buddha swoops in every once in a while til you do enough damage to initiate another QTE to enter Burst Mode (seeing a theme here?) and beating him. Course he gets GIANT SIZED and hits you with his finger, more QTEs, end of demo. Really a game I thought could be cool ended up feeling real mediocre. A third rate God Of War/Devil May Cry. No upgrades from what I saw, nor deep combat system.

Rage: Whoa, Western FPSs at TGS! So Rage is coming out in a few weeks, but I wanted to check it out. There wasnt a demo so much as "start a new game, play for 15 min" which was kinda lame because story cutscenes and world exposition took up a little more than half that time. Also I wondered why they asked if I knew any Japanese while in line. Why do I need to know Japanese? This is id here people, run around, L1 aims, R1 shoots mutants, right? Wrong! Lots of dialogue in Japanese. You wake up from cryo-stasis, find out the world as you know it is gone from nuclear war. You are ambushed when you walk the desert by a mutant and saved by a friendly guy who gives you a ride to town in his buggy, talking about the world as it is now I assume on your way there. Lots of texture pop-ins on the PS3. Definitely a game meant for PCs. Everything in game has a dirty desert Borderland/Mac Max-ish look. He takes you to a small town, talks a bunch, gives you a quest (again, assuming) and then you can pick up a gun on his desk. You drive an ATV out of his garage to the first "dungeon" of the game. Loads up a cave with lots of mutants inside. First feeling on the shooting: my god is the PS3 analog sticks sensitive. The pistol has a nice heft to it though, sounds beefy through the headphones and kills mutants in 2-3 hits. Holding down L2 you can select up to 4 different guns (or least has only 4 slots) and 4 different ammos. Only the fists and pistol with 1 ammo is available. You get knocked out and captured by a mutant and it looks like you are dying, BUT I guess you can defibrillate yourself? Minigame of pressing L2 and R2 in positions where you fill up a meter for your heart and then both you and the mutant are electrified, leaving you alive, the mutant less so. Walking down some more tunnels picking up ammo, food, books, and playing cards for whatever reason when I am talked to in Japanese and the other 3 demo players leave. Guess thats my cue. Looks ok, very Borderlands as I mentioned before, but didnt blow me away. Looks alright though, especially if I was going to borrow or pick up cheap.

Mass Effect 3: Again, didnt expect to see this here. Since I couldnt play Battlefield 3 (dang "reservation tickets" for whatever reason) I hopped in this extremely short 30 minute line. Right off the bat, looks and plays a lot like Mass Effect 2. A lot. You get a bunch of points to distribute to your squad (Garrus and Liara) giving them the usual biotic and engineering upgrades that split one of two ways. I chose Sentinel class as thats what Ive played in the previous two games the most, boosted my hit points and throw a lot and had to get right into it because the demo timer was ticking. So theres a Krogan female being held for whatever reason and its up to your team and Mordin to get her out and to Wrex before Cerberus agents take her or kill her. Theres only a little bit of introduction to this mission before you are running around gunning down these Cerberus guys who are possibly indoctrinated. The only dialogue is pretty much one or two lines in between fire fights, I guess we are trying to save the Krogans to help us fight the Reapers. So its the same run around corridors and rooms you expect, shooting dudes, hitting switches, until a huge mech comes crashing down from the skies. Blowing it up ended the demo unfortunately, I was hoping for some dialogue trees or a renagade action! Well it wasnt bad, just nothing unexpected.

Space Marine: Its already out, but they didnt have it on base so might as well see it in person. It was pretty funny that it wasnt really on display so much as it was tucked away in a small kiosk with some Korean MMOs to show off some fancy PCs. Much like the Quick Look its Captain Titus on his way to destroy the giant gun murdering hundreds of orks on the way. I love it, so crazy, so bloody, so... space marine-y. I really want to grab this when the BX has it.