Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini, Parerga and Paralipomena by Arthur Schopenhauer, and Grimm's Fairy Tales. All three are very enjoyable (Grimm's Fairy Tales mostly because many of the tales are so absurd, poorly written and/or violent that you can't help but laugh).
Icemael's forum posts
@theacidskull: It was extremely disappointing. Resident Evil 4, God Hand and Vanquish are some of my favourite games of all time, and I was expecting something of that caliber.
Still, it's not a bad game. I enjoyed it well enough, and some parts of it are very cool. But it's not something I would go around recommending to people.
The presentation was really excellent aside from the environment transitions. The different environments just didn't feel naturally connected or related... and they weren't supposed to, but a coherent world is always more enjoyable than one that feels disjointed. But the individual environments were gorgeous, the lighting was fantastic, the black bars added a feeling of oppression and claustrophobia, and I really liked the slight swaying of the camera during walking. Great sound design, too. Very atmospheric game. And the locked ward might be the coolest save area in video games.
What I had an issue with was the combat. As far as third-person shooters go, this is about as barebones as it gets. For movement there's just walking and sprinting -- no dodge rolls, no cover system, no jumps, no anything. For melee there's just regular swings, no combos or any of the context-sensitive stuff from recent Resident Evil games. Weapons are your standard video game loadout minus assault rifle/submachine gun (I guess there's the crossbow, but it's not that interesting a weapon). And the enemies are basically just Ganados/Manjinis, except without any Plagas popping out of heads. Aside from certain sequences, like the fights with the spider woman or the parts where you have to cross the water, there is absolutely nothing mechanically interesting going on. This would be disappointing enough on its own, but when you consider who this game is coming from it's even worse.
Good: More colourful than the first game, more enemy variety. Most of what was great about the first game is there.
Bad: Loki is unbearable, combat is visually messy in a way that fairly often makes it hard to tell what's going on (can't recall ever having that issue in the first game), the enemy designs aren't as cool as in the first game, the pacing is inferior, flying battles are lame since from a functional standpoint they do little more than restrict your movement options, Umbran Climax looks cool but you're practically invincible during it which is a bit boring, the selection of weapons is overall slightly worse than in the original (no shotguns, the flamethrowers aren't as cool as Durga, the new whip doesn't look or feel nearly as satisfying as the old one even though it is more useful, no ice skates -- you can skate on the chainsaws but they're not nearly as fast -- etc.), and the game never gets as crazy as the most climactic parts of the first one (boss fights in particular don't feel nearly as spectacular). Also, going from having all of the moves, weapons and accessories in the first Bayonetta to being forced to purchase basic shit like the stinger all over again feels kind of crippling.
It's just not as good as the first one. Still, I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm definitely going to go through it again on Infinite Climax.
@legion_: Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world because it is so common in adults, and especially the elderly. Cancer in children is very rare and isn't something any parent should sit around worrying about, and it's still a far bigger problem than school shootings. 'How is it that in the self proclaimed "greatest country in the world", parents can't send their kids to school without fear of them getting killed?' -- this is absolutely sensationalism and paranoia, and nothing else.
Not to mention that there's another huge difference between shootings and cancer, namely that there's no argument against more effective cancer treatments, whereas there is most definitely an argument against restrictive gun laws. There's an argument for them, too, but "about 25 people a year die in school shootings" is not it and adds nothing whatsoever of value to that discussion.
This is just sensationalism and paranoia. The idea that parents can't send their kids to school without fear of them getting shot to death because about 25 people/year in a country of well over 300 million get killed in school shootings is ridiculous. I did a quick, rough calculation, and the risk of a US child getting cancer is about 160 times higher than the risk of that same child getting shot in a school shooting. The risk of that child dying of cancer is 30 times higher. Perhaps parents should sit at home worrying that their children might get leukemia.
I don't see why the idea that it's a stylistic choice is so absurd. I haven't played the game yet but from what I've seen and from what I'm hearing there's definitely both an aesthetic and a mechanical argument for it. And it's not like the developers are some random hacks. Even if we were to ignore that Mikami has made some of the best, most influential games of all time, and that he is by all accounts the type of director who passionately pursues a vision, are we really going to accuse the man who made God Hand of being obsessed with maximizing technical performance to the point of choosing to intentionally damage the experience over, say, lowering the polygon count a bit?
I finished it today. It's easily one of the best games I've ever played. The sound design is by far the best I've seen in a video game, the visuals are out of this world (they've nailed the look of the movies: the lighting and the attention to detail are unbelievable, and the alien is intimidating as fuck), and it's relentlessly tense -- partly because of the presentation, but also because you're so vulnerable and because the enemies are so good at spotting you (for instance, unlike in many other stealth games, peeking around a corner is an actual risk as enemies can see your exposed head). It reminds me a bit of the Souls games in that there's nothing that's especially difficult: the game just forces you to be careful, take things slow and pay attention (to what you hear as much as to what you see), and has no qualms about immediately fucking you over if you start being the least bit careless. The AI works so well, too, and makes for some fantastic unscripted moments, like when human enemies attack you and the noise attracts the alien, who drops down out of a vent and takes them out as you're cowering under some table, hoping it won't find you as well. Or when you're sitting in a vent with your motion tracker out, waiting for the xenomorph to leave the area outside so you can exit, and then you hear some loud clanking and suddenly you're being pulled away by the alien, who heard the tracker's beeps and entered the vent to get you.
The only things that hurt the immersion are the cutscenes, the part where you play as the dude finding the alien ship (the part itself is good, it's just jarring to suddenly be pulled out of Amanda's perspective) and the HUD (it's minimal but never completely fades away). They should've gone with Dead Space's no-HUD, no cutscene approach.
Aside from that I can't really think of any complaints. It's a masterpiece.
Developers are continuing to make great games and people who are into games are continuing to play them. That, in the end, is what actually matters when it comes to the subject of video games. Everything else, whether it's lack of journalistic integrity, or people pushing their worthless political or moral views, or losers sending death threats or whatever, is secondary. The video game industry will continue unperturbed and in six months this ridiculous conflict (which will dissolve rather than resolve, because -- and this is fortunate -- there is quite frankly no possibility that either side will "win") will be forgotten.
This farce is ultimately neither interesting nor important and there is no good reason to waste one's time arguing with the clowns on either side (and it is a waste: if you think you will actually make a difference, you are every bit as deranged as whoever's sending syringes to journalists, or that self-confessed man-hater, or any of the other mentally unstable people involved in this spectacle -- take your pick) when one could be spending that time enjoying the excellent Alien: Isolation or one of the other cool games coming out right about now.
A prominent role of moral judgments in a review (of a game, or a movie, or a book etc.) is a sure sign that the critic is incapable of proper aesthetic judgments. "Bayonetta sucks because sexualizing women is wrong" is about as valuable a criticism as "Bayonetta sucks because it blasphemes against the church and our lord" or "Bayonetta sucks because it is fun, and worldly pleasures must be avoided" -- none of these have any place in quality criticism, and all of them should produce the same response in a sensible reader: namely laughter and ridicule.