Crouch Walking and Alien Isolation

I typically don't care to review games, so I am not going to. Instead, here's what I have to say about Alien Isolation as I play it and have yet to finish it. Crouching. I am tired of crouching. The main threat throughout most of the game is the Alien. In order to avoid this creature whose only form of attack is an inescapable grab that leads to a one-hit-kill is to crouch walk. In short, this lowers the amount of noise you make and also makes you move at about half speed.

I wish there was more emphasis on some other aspect of the game. I would suggest combat, but I don't see how this would work without reworking more enemies into the game, and Aliens Colonial Marines was not received well. Possibly making the game shorter and revolving more around spectacle would have worked, but I digress. All I can say is that I am tired of crouch walking. It makes me slow, bored, and bored. Yeah, twice.

I actually enjoy playing the game at times, but I feel that this games greatest strength is in proving that modern game design cannot replicate the same feelings that movies do. Well, at least this is true in how this game was made. You see, Alien (the movie) was very similar to this game except that it revolved around a crew. You grew attached to the characters, watched them encounter a mysterious threat, then watched them slowly move around their ship in order to survive. In this game, I definitely move around slowly and try to survive against a threat, but it is not very mysterious and I am not attached to any characters. With that said, this game does atmosphere very well and has some decent scares but, again, it does not hit the same notes that the movie did because both had a lot of similar-looking corridors, but only one had the emphasis on characters as well.

Alien Isolation is a good game so far, and I hope it quickly takes some turns I am not expecting. Otherwise, it has the potential to become bogged down in what it tries to do well - atmosphere and supposed tense moments. (I have yet to want to put the game back in my console over all of the other games that are out at the end of 2014.)

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Managing Expections: A tale of downfall and realization

From the very beginning of when Mass Effect 3 was released, a large majority of people were highly anticipating the conclusion of the beloved series. I'll admit that even I was excited, but I knew that to overreact or blow things out of proportion would only lead to disappointment. There's no way anything can live up to the mind's expectations. Is Shepard going to finally kill the reapers? Is Tali going to reveal that her race looks gorgeous? I wonder how every race, and each important character will be addressed in this grand finale. Well, those expectations are what lead to trouble - as I'm sure many people have witnessed.

You know ... this game isn't so bad.

Back when I was younger, I was highly anticipating the release of Halo 2. My mind was convinced that it would far surpass everything I loved about the original Halo. Of course, this was a huge mistake and not just because it didn't improve on everything I had hoped. It was a mistake, because my expectations were set too high, and there was no way I would appreciate the game for what it was - a video game. The story took weird turns, it ended on a cliffhanger, and the multiplayer didn't keep what I loved about the original Halo. Normally, these iterations on mechanics are fine, because change is a good thing. However, with expectations comes stubbornness and a close-minded nature, so I didn't like the game as much as the original and eventually hated it.

I've asked myself, over and over, what caused such a potent dislike for something as simple as a video game. Well, it became obvious that I was hoping for too much. I consider myself a huge Halo fan, but I now understand that whatever happens with what I love about the series is a factor of how much time was given for development, and the developer's/publisher's goals and ambitions (including artistic vision) for what the game is supposed to become.

This obviously isn't the real Commander Shepard. He doesn't have that janky charm that mine does.

If you've read this far into this blog entry, you'd know what I'm getting at - Mass Effect 3. Asking questions, or wondering what's going to happen isn't what causes problems upon game release. My expectations and ideas of what I wanted out of the sequel to Halo are what backfired on me. I now realize that Halo 2 is a pretty damn good game for what it was. Not only did it continue the lore and story of Master Chief in cool ways, but it was also a huge step forward for online gaming in the console space. The fact that the story did not carry forward in ways that I wanted was an issue for me and myself. What I thought about the artistic vision of Bungie was irrelevant and childish, because it was their story to tell, and not mine. Critiquing and speculating are fine, and mean that a game did its job in entertaining (and sometimes even provoking further thought) the player. I'm not going to say when games will be taken seriously as an artistic medium, because I already find them as appealing, if not more appealing, than books and movies. However, if claims are made that games are on the same level, we need to take that next step and treat them as such.


Modern day equivalent of a Knight?

I decided to make this a blog post, because I might ramble a lot.

My question is: is there a modern day version of a medieval knight? I'm not talking only titles, but also the way they are portrayed to have functioned in combat and what they fought for. There is a certain connotation with knights and chivalry that is not shared by the term "warrior". A knight is supposed to defend the weak and defenseless and are usually chosen to become knights during childhood. A knight was something that many wanted to attain, but not everyone was offered the chance. When I think of a Knight, I think of someone in heavy armor and close range weapons that fights to defend the weak, and honor their king/country.

Off the top of my head, I think Riot Cop. Mainly because they are part of law enforcement, and because they use armor and a shield. *EDITED*

I know that in some ways some knights started becoming affiliated with religious themes and it branched off into another form of a knight - the paladin. It works too, but religion does not necessarily have to be a factor since the defense of the weak and defenseless works just fine. Also, no magic as we are not talking Diablo 2 or World of Warcraft.

So, is there still a modern day equivalent of the medieval knight? Or has it pretty much died with the invention of firearms/central governments? If I pick a knight in an RPG, is there an equivalent in a shooter?

This is just a random thought that I thought was kind of weird, so it seemed appropriate to post.


Best Overall OST - Persona 3 (FES) vs Persona 4

I've played both of these games. They both have some pretty spectacular songs. Now, I'm a pretty big nut when it comes to songs in games. I like listening to them in game and then out of the game to see how it sounds both ways. This is just a personal labor of love, but I'm going to break the songs into categories and then describe/rate them. I will link the songs to their respective youtube pages, but I hope it doesn't count as youtube spam if I describe what I do/don't like about them after the fact. I will also pick personal winners from each category followed by an overall best OST at the end. (I don't really rate the lyrics, because they are kind of all over the place)

Feel free to choose your own if you like!

Best Opening Theme Song

  • Burn My Dread (P3) - This song is really catchy and sets up the tone to a point. It's really just a kick-ass song, and also sets a tone of desperation and despair.
  • Persona 3 FES Opening Theme - ***SOME SPOILERS*** This song starts off setting a better mood than the first one. It then gets pretty wild in JPOP fashion, but still keeps that jazzy feel. I feel that the beginning sets the moody tone in a game that focuses on capturing a dark tone centered around death.
  • Persona 4 Opening Theme - This song hooked me from the very beginning. It has a seriously catchy jingle, but then goes into a smooth pop song that's really easy to listen to. It manages to keep themes of mellow, relaxing times and mystery/noire.

WINNER - Persona 3 FES Opening Theme.

This was the hardest category for me, because each of the songs were so damn good. It's hard, because the tone difference in Persona 3 to Persona 3 is a big one. But I feel that the FES Theme starts capturing the desperation felt all throughout the game, then introduces the need to fight back with the Japanese tough guy rap, and then leads to some jazzy music which goes well with the high school music throughout the game. It also manages to capture it all in under two minutes.

Best Battle Music

  • Mass Destruction (P3) - The jazz intro to this song is extremely well done and a nice primer for battle. The Japanese tough guy rapping (pokemon show style) is okay, but the part after that, "oooh yeah, baby baby" is probably the best and catchiest part. It doesn't really say straight out "Okay you're fighting now", but still pumps you up in the same way.
  • Reach out to the Truth (P4) - This song straight out, unlike the previous, says "Okay, fighting time!". The electric guitars evoke that tone, but the melodic fun tunes in the background, as well as the silly Japanese school girl rapping, still make it fun.


This is also a hard category, because each song does its job but in different ways. Both are great and silly in their own ways. Sorry if this category felt like a waste of time, but I just can't make a decision on this one.

Best Suspicious Theme

  • The Voice Someone Calls (P3) - This is a very moody, somewhat melodramatic song that evokes mystery and suspense.
  • Who's There (P4) - This song is a prime example of doing exactly what the name suggests. It really does make you ask, "Who's There?". The little piano part ends at just the right time before it can get irritating. The later part is a great follow up to the piano jingle that seems right out of a mystery cartoon.

WINNER - Who's There

This one was tough, because while I'd like to listen to "The Voice Someone Calls" more than Who's There outside of the game, "Who's There" better exemplifies mystery and asks more of a question. The other song tends to evoke more sorrow than mystery at times.

Best Dungeon Music

  • Tartarus Block 4 (P3) - Persona 3 is an interesting case when it comes to the dungeon music. Each floor of the huge dungeon that you go through in the entire game adds a little bit more to the overall song. Floor 1 will start slow and by Floor 4 it starts feeling like it will by the end. It's cool, but I didn't really notice the changes as much as I did when I listened to the songs outside of the game.
  • Castle (P4) - This is the song to the first dungeon you go through in the game. It mixes the romantic tones that the castle stands for, but also hits the "hey, let's finish this" feeling that you get while exploring it.
  • Sauna (P4) - This song sounds nothing like how I'd imagine a sauna would sound like. However, it matches the exact sounds I'd think of if I and a group of people were invading a shady-looking sauna killing shadow monsters and trying to rescue someone. A kickass song!

WINNER - Sauna

This song is just a blast. It makes you want to kick down each door and kill every shadow in the joint! It also has that shady feel that matches the weird nature of actually going in there in the first place. Plus, it reminds me of Streets of Rage 2, and you can't really top that.

Best Fun Song (Huge Category!)

  • -----
  • During the Test (P3) - I believe this song actually does play when you're taking midterms. It is definitely pretty easy going and great test taking music. I don't know, I just really like this song. Bring on the Jazz!
  • Iwatodai Station (P3) - This song actually plays when you enter the dorm. It's so damn catchy and oozes that jazzy style that is Persona 3. "Dance! While I put you in a Trance!". Done.
  • Joy (P3) - This song, I think, plays right when you're walking to school listening to the gossiping students. It's either this one or Afternoon Break, but they are both great, jazzy contrasts to the drearier music and tones found in the rest of the game.
  • Polonian Mall (P3) - This song plays when you're shopping for items. It's, again, another catchy song, but it really does feel like the kind of song you'd hear in a department store.
  • Want to be Close (P3) - this category is so damn big. Damn you Persona 3 for your catchy-ass music...and thank you.
  • New Days (P4) - FINALLY a Persona 4 song. This one is catchy, but simple. It has that department store sound. Maybe even an elevator song. Still, it's a nice, relaxing song.
  • Your Affection (P4) - This song get's great when the singing starts. It's mellow but has a nice beat that makes you bob your head. I wish there were more songs like this in Persona 4.
  • Heartbeat, Heartbreak (P4) - Another catchy song that has a nice 'singing to the beat' style. Again, need more songs like this!

WINNER - Persona 3...wins...everything in this category...ugh.

ECLIPSES! Persona 4 definitely had some catchy songs, but Persona 3 just has too many! I had to go back and delete some, because the list was huge. They are all amazing and lovable, and I just can't get over how many there are! WOW. In the end, we're all winners, because both games have some terrific, fun songs.

Best Slow Song

  • Living with Determination (P3) - This is a nice piano song. It has that sad tone, but also a touch of happiness and the ability to overcome. A nice piece this one is - Yoda?
  • Memories of the School (P3) - This is a nice song to reminisce with. It really does match the title.
  • Tranquility (P3) - A great slow version of a song already on the OST. It's a little faster than most, but I still like it and it's still relaxing.
  • Traumerei (P4) - This is an amazing song that everyone should listen to. I'm a huge fan of the piano. Persona 4 definitely doesn't have as many good slow songs as Persona 3, but it really doesn't need them after this song. So much heart.
  • EDITED IN: Maiya (P3) - Thanks to the person who posted asking why this wasn't in there. It probably should be, it's great.

WINNER - Traumerei

Just listen to the song. It's amazing. Category. Over.

Best End Boss Music

  • The Battle for Everyone's Souls (P3) - A really hard hitting song. It's, well, it's just hardcore. Rock out and save the world! That's pretty much what it's evoking.
  • The Almighty (P4) - Persona 4 also has songs like The Genesis and others, but this one fits well as a final boss battle as well. I like it.

WINNER - The Battle for Everyone's Souls

It's an epic song that matches the proportions and what's at stake in the last fight. The game has so much emotion and dread throughout that the hard rock sounds are perfect for finally facing the last boss.

Best Ending Song

  • Memories of You (P3) - A great way of saying, "Hey you did it. You saved everyone". Also allows the player to reminisce on everything that's happened.
  • Never More (P4) - A feel good song that matches how the game ends. It definitely matches the tone of the game.


Both songs are representative of how the games played out. They both had drastically different tones and themes, and both songs matched them.

The End

Thanks for reading through if you did. I spent a lot of time picking out and listening to the very best songs from each game over and over again. I love the soundtracks to both games as well as the games themselves. This was mainly for myself as a reflection of both games, but feel free to listen to or give your favorite Persona songs. Again, thanks for spending the time on this, because I spent a long time on this as well. (If there are any mistakes made, please contact me via PM. Thank You.)

My Overall Winner - Persona 3. The category that pushed it ahead was the fun song one. Even then, it just barely won. It's just that the tone of the game switches between drastic and dreadful to peaceful and wanting. Persona 4 is still amazing, and these are two of my favorite OSTs of all time.


Game of the Year 2011 Awards: Biggest Breath of Fresh Air

Winner: Catherine

I kind of wish I got the 360 box art, but this is good too.

Countless shooters and action games have been released this year forming a sea of sequel after sequel. While a lot of the sequels were actually worthwhile, it's not uncommon to want something new and fresh. Catherine was exactly that. The puzzles and intriguing storyline captured me for the moment and saw me playing though the game in under 4 play sessions. While the story got real Japanese right around the end-mark, it's hard to write it off just because of that.

I'll admit that I haven't touched Catherine (no pun intended) since I finished it way earlier this year. I kept telling myself that I'd eventually go back to it and complete the various challenges and extras, but I haven't. It's around this time of year to ask yourself why you haven't gone back to these games, and I've come to the conclusion that it was just because of the onslaught of different games coming out this year. I still plan to go back and finish it up even though it could have had a great story around the time that the twist occurred. Unfortunately, the writers must have thought that it had been done before too many times, and decided to go off the rails with the story. It works, could have been better, but doesn't stop the puzzle gameplay from being the most unique style of story and game I've played this year.


Game of the Year 2011 Awards: Most Disappointing Game

TIE: Dark Souls/Skyrim

Yeah, I think a tie is totally acceptable for this category. Both games were disappointing to me for different reasons.

Let's start with Dark Souls. I bought Dark Souls and was enjoying the way the game started. The problem that I had started to rear it's ugly head a few hours in. Specifically, I stopped enjoying the game when it started opening up into a semi-open-world game. Dark Souls is frustrating enough as it is with the general combat, but the addition of backtracking and eventually getting lost became a real bummer. Add on top of that the limitation of health items for no apparent reasons than to just make the game harder soured me even more on the whole experience.

However, I think the biggest reason I didn't like Dark Souls much at all was, because it didn't hit the same nostalgic feel that Demon's Souls did. Demon's Souls was an unforgiving RPG that had an old school 'Mario' level 1-1 structure to the progression whereas Dark Souls feels like it's trying just a little too hard to be what Demon's souls was, but with the addition of newer, more arbitrary changes.

Skyrim doesn't deserve the space for it's own picture.

Next, Skyrim upset and disappointed me for a very different reason. The game did not work properly at times, and eventually didn't work at all! Sure, I purchased the Playstation 3 version which is probably not a great decision, but they never showed it and apparently had little to no faith in the PS3 version anyways. The game broke down at around 25 to 30 hours in, and never ran the same again.

Constant hiccups, pausing, and framerate problems prevented me from enjoying the game ever again. It was probably the biggest waste of money this year. I became infuriated when I found that it wasn't just a faulty disc problem or something that I could have prevented, and found that a large portion of PS3 users were having the same problem. Then, I gritted my teeth even more when I learned that the 360 or PC versions did not suffer from these problems and ran extremely smoothly. The last draw had to be when the patch notes listed the PS3 issue as 'occassional' and then did not fix the problem in the slightest. This one probably pissed me off a lot more than Dark Souls, but when the game was working it was pretty good.

It's a shame that Bethesda doesn't seem to give a damn about reaching the same level of quality on the PS3 and, instead, ships out whatever they have when the 360 version is completed. I learned my lesson for making such a dumb purchasing decision and will never buy a Bethesda game ever again without extensive research of every single version available. Fuck you Bethesda.


Game of the Year 2011 Awards: Best Return to Form

Why is Sub-Zero always being beat up by Scorpion?

Winner: Mortal Kombat

Mortal Kombat was a highly anticipated title, and not just to me apparently. A lot more people showed up for MK this time around, and the game did not disappoint. Sure, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe made a lot of changes to what MK was doing at that point, and some of that still carried over to this newest Mortal Kombat game. Still, this title finally brought the series back to 2D and made projectiles matter again.

It wasn't just the overdone, ridiculous fatalities, or the hefty load of modes available to play that won me over, but just how much the game played like the older 2D games from the past. In addition, every character that had ever truly mattered was included in some form or another with multiple costumes (Kostumes?) and awesome looking moves. I suppose my only complaint would be the lack of a simple way to fight one on one with the computer in a versus mode, but that didn't stop me from unlocking nearly everything and seeing nearly everything there was in Mortal Kombat.


I just sniper a guy in a HELICOPTER!

This game still never fails to surprise and excite me! So, to get the story started, I was playing RUSH on Damavand (?) Peak and we pushed the enemy back to the base jumping section. Having crashed the last one because of the stupid street lights, I decided to just jump. I jumped and landed on a roof where I was immediately bombarded by this stupid helicopter pilot. He was circling and shooting at me. It must have taken me about 6-7 shots, but I zoomed in and shot him right on the side of the head!

Needless to say, it was a pretty epic moment. I keep finding cool things in this game as I've heard people saying about Skyrim. There are just so many things that can go wrong/right, like people crashing helicopters, that it just feels so fresh every time. I loved Bad Company 2, and probably will like it just a little more for a while longer, but Battlefield 3 is definitely keeping the crazy coming. And you just gotta laugh the unskilled pilots off when they ram you into a tree, because they gotta learn somehow.

EDIT: It wouldn't let me post this in the BF3 forum. Sorry. And I didn't spell 'sniped' right, great. Awesome thread all around.


Diving back into DCUO (a returning member's lengthy perspective)

So, I payed for DCUO when it first came out. I payed for about ... half a year? Well, somewhere between three months and half a year. Now that that's out of the way, I think I'll give my perspective on it after quitting it while content was very stagnant, to a now free to play and more content rich game.

There are three levels of membership from best to worst: Legendary, Premium, and Free. You can become a premium member if you spend $5 or more on the game. Legendary access is still at $15 a month.

The Good

DC Universe Online has always had a great combat system. I still have not played such a seamless blend of RPG mechanics and fluid/fast combat in an MMO. The leveling up process is very enjoyable for those that have some sort of knowledge of DC comics characters and fiction, and it is actually very speedy. You could probably level up and hit max level between 1-2 days if you tried ... for better or for worse. Anyways, let's take a look at the changes:

  • Free membership members get to play the game for free, and get updates/balance changes like everyone else.
  • Free members also have a fair, but reduced, number of item slots, character slots (2), bank slots, can join but not create leagues, and get a free vault ticket per week (raffle ticket basically)
  • Premium members who, like me, have returned to DCUO after paying for a while get updated perks like more bank, character, and item slots.
  • Premium members also receive a vault ticket every 3 days.

For the most part, this stuff is awesome. The extra content they have added is welcome, and necessary because the level cap is still a very low 30. It's great that free members can level up and communicate with higher level characters, and that they have given extra benefits to people who have supported their game in the past. Now for ...

The Bad

The transition to free-to-play is not without some rough edges, as well as some seemingly disgusting changes.

  • Premium members cannot trade cash with other players, and free members cannot trade at all. (This is really weird sectioning off part of the economy to even the free members. I understand that free members should not be getting crazy cool loot, but not even being able to trade money makes this next part even worse.)
  • Free members do not get to use the auction house, mail items or cash, and have a maximum cash limit of 1500. Premium members have a limit of 2000 and can only trade/mail items. (Not only is this crazy, because repairs for high level or mid level content cost more than that, but they are also allowing players to collect more than the limit and storing the 'extra' earnings in an escrow account. In order to withdraw funds from the escrow accounts, players need to pay real money. This does not increase the maximum limit, but only withdraws cash to say 10k or 25k and any more cash collected is added to escrow again. Also, the auction house is virtually unusable as of now, because almost anything useful is more than 2000 by a long shot. Pretty despicable.)
  • Free and Premium members have chat limitations. For example, Free members can only send 6 text messages per 30 seconds. Premium members - same thing but have proximity chat enabled. (I'm assuming group chat (voice) is enable for all, but what is the point on this limitation for anyone? It doesn't really stop gold farmers, or annoying people, and only hinders the necessary communication factor in a game like this.)

I understand that the whole business model is to cause people to want to pay for the game. Microtransactions, limitations, and more are supposed to make people want to pay a little extra for a cool thing. However, they have created a lot of hate by taking necessary things and placing ridiculous restrictions on them. Their business model not only makes players want to go Pay to Play, but it almost forces them. With crazy limitations on money and items, there is an even larger step to being successful in the endgame. Look at it this way, a stack of 5 or so health potions at max level is $900! That is nearly half of the currency cap for Premium members let alone free members!

DCUO has really great mechanics, but it's not exactly free to play as of now. Instead of having players pay for cosmetic or fun things, they are required to pay for things that are necessary to having a balanced experience in the game. I hope they address some of these concerns in the future, because I really want to get back into DCUO, but they are making it a very challenging experience at the supposed free entry point. I suppose no free to play game is ever really free to play, but I should feel compelled to pay for extra things in a game like this and not forced.


First Impressions of Uncharted 3 and more.

So, let's start off with the things I like:

  • I like how they flesh out the characters.
  • The cinematic presentation is top-notch.
  • The cooperative multiplayer is really well done and challenging.
  • The competitive multiplayer can be fun at at times.
  • Mostly I just really like the characters and the dialog between them.

Now the things I don't like:

  • I don't like how linear the campaign is.
  • I don't like the climbing, and how narrow the room for exploration is.
  • The camera can be annoying sometimes.
  • The guns feel a little too loose making aiming more of a chore than in 2.
  • The difficulty can spike dramatically in some spots.
  • Some of the enemies are just designed to be bullet sponges and that is bullshit.
  • The hand to hand combat is improved yet you can be shot from someone in the distance and die. wtf is that shit?

I'm going to break, because there is just too much to make a bullet list out of and it'd be shorter if I just wrote a few sentences. First, I think the game has very high cinematic and presentation values. The way everything looks, and moves is appropriate when you look at it. However, I find that the gameplay aspects are probably some of the most unforgiving and unpolished that I've played in such a highly anticipated game of all time.

Falling from a ledge and dying from a 10 foot drop is ridiculous and comical at best. Being killed while engaged in close combat by someone way off in the distance is just not fun. Enemies pour from entry points on the map with no end in sight making certain areas feel like survival mode maps. Enemies with armor feel like cheap makeshift challenges that are more frustrating, bullet-sponge enemies than anything else. It just feels that there is little overall thought into the way the enemies react to your shots, and their overall A.I. They are more of a nuisance than a fun enemy to fight is basically what I'm getting at.

I love the story and dialog between the characters, but the game plays like a kiddie ride with the only high points being the random banter between the characters or the cutscenes. I just wish the combat or traversal was a little more refined and left more options to the player. The Modern Warfare campaign style is getting old really quickly, and I feel that Uncharted 2 mastered the formula, but it's becoming a victim of it's own design in almost every single way. What should have been improvements are still nagging issues. It's becoming more and more apparent with each level that the game has many different batshit crazy moments and breathtaking environmental design/graphics, but they end up feeling like narrow paths to the different arenas where you're forced along to fight the next group of soulless enemies over and over again.

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