PSN ID: judah_jones
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time
Games at Launch: Assassins Creed 4, Killzone, Resogun
Only got a chance to quickly try it out last night since xbox live was down for me for awhile. So far so good but what really threw me off was the removal on the launcher camera freeze. I would rely on that freeze to help me buffer in some of my moves when I would tag in my partner. Now with the lack of the launcher freeze, its much shorter window to pull the same thing off. I understand why it was done but I'm pretty bummed about it as the freeze was a great help, as least for me. I don't know if the patch itself will bring in new players directly, but I think it will make the matches flow better and look more exciting, and bring more people in (or back in) that way.
@miva2: I'll be damned, you are 100% correct there is a dodge move. The irony is that it is surpring clunky (compared to Raiden's other moves). Certainly not necessary (for the demo anyway). Thanks for pointing it out. I think the will bring in to more PG fans. There are alot of Metal Gear fans who will hopefully check this out for curiosity's sake at the least, and while it takes skill to chain everything together for a slick sequence it doesnt require any crazy finger gymnastics like say a Devil may cry to do something that looks cool. Here's hoping!
@JohnLocke: I admit I did the same thing the first time I fought the boss. I was going into blade mode and chopping and wondering why it wasnt working too. The parry action functions as a block if you do it too early: It will stop the attack but you dont get a quick first step to retaliate. The lock on helps alot because then you know which direction to press the stick and button for a parry.
So the demo of Metal Gear Rising finally hit live the other day and finally got a chance to try it out after putting the kid to sleep. I had prepared myself beforehand by replaying a couple of Bayonetta levels to get me back into the platinum games swing of things.
So first off, visually. The setting looks good but not especially great: the demo is set in your standard non-descript eastern European/Russian town, conveniently devoid of inhabitants. However one thing I notice that Platinum games does incredibly well is flourish: their calling card is the distortion effect used whenever something like sword or staff is swung very fast: They are masters of using that ripple in the visual field to actively convey quick movement (Go on and check it out in Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Anarchy Reigns). All that's missing is the light saber SWOOOOSH sound). Swords crackle and enemies satisfyingly cut into pieces with sprays of blood/cybergoo. This Raiden is a far cry from the whiny-emo protagonist of Sons of Liberty, and that creepy skeletal lower jaw of his only cements that.
Control wise, the design both familiar and new. The Blade mode sword mechanic controls similarly to dead island's melee, and is just as as satisfying. The tutorial level gives a good show of the basics of it but miss one detail that i found critical to the mechanic. When you aim which way you want to slash, you are actually only aiming the backwards wind up motion, you can just let go of the stick and Raiden will follow all the way through in a straight line. I initially thought you literally aimed the wind up motion and then threw the stick forward to follow through. This comes into play when you have to slash specific areas/angles of a target. I found it tough to aim with a manual follow through, and realizing that I didn't have to worry about it was a definite plus. It is a ton of fun though especially when you get into parries and literally slice enemies into pieces (more on that later). And while you can slice random boxes, crates, cars, lamposts etc (which is oddly cathartic), there are limits to what you can cut. I guessing for the demo there is no limit to the blade mode timer but it does feel a little overpowered at times. It does have a function outside of shits and slicing giggles: As you filet your hapless foe you will expose their nanospines which replenish raidens health completely. Again not sure if that is just for demo puposes as makes it quicte difficult to die.
You have the standard light and heavy melee attacks which create combos. Raiden moves with the signature Japanese I'm-rocking-heavy-ass-armor-but-I-move-like-a-feather fluidity. The only thing that looks and moves a little clunky is his jumping animation, but as i quickly learned 99% of the time you wont be jumping anyway. You have a dash, but thats more of a misnomer: you do move faster, but it function more akin to Assassin's Creed traversal mechanic: with it engaged you automatically climb walls and jump. Only thing I couldn't figure out is if it counted as a "sneak". You can sneak up on enemies to perform one hit kills and it boots you score and the end of each encounter (when spotted they gain exclamation points and make the iconic metal gear solid alert sound, nice), but I found it more fun to just run around slicing and dicing. What is very different is the blocking mechanic, or lack thereof. You dont hold a button to block, instead you push toward the enemy and X. This activates a block that stops everything from RPG shots to kicks from those weird ass moo-ing bipedal enemies (I understand they come from Guns of the Patriots). The rub is when you do it right before you get hit, you execute a parry that repels the attack, and leaves the enemy wide open and a QTE. Nail that, and you get a brief cinematic of Raiden going HAM on the poor sap and an extended(?) blade mode session, usually whilst in the middle of the air at a crazy angle. technically you are then supposed to surgically slice the enemy to get their spine and end the sequence, but I STRONGLY RECOMMEND (my emphasis, not Platinum's) you instead go crazy with the sword slicing. Just like in Fruit Ninja/Veggie Samurai, the ultimate satisfaction is tons of wild swipes turning your target into an exploding of blob of mist and finely diced body parts. it never gets old. However to get all that goodness you have to get used to not having a dedicated block or dodge button. I got used the the parry motion, but i wonder in the full game when you are getting attacked by ,multiple enemies how bad the lack of a dodge will be. You can lock onto a single target with RB (this is imperative against the miniboss at the end of the demo who moves very quickly) and it tends to choose the right enemy to focus on (unlke in Anarchy reigns), but I see a potentially huge window for cheap off screen shots from enemies. fortunately there is none of that in the demo.
The last thing that I really liked about the demo is that this is a Platinum game, have no doubts about it. Only this time they have the entire lore of Metal gear lore from which to draw from and create weird enemies, zany characters, and their signature oddball humor. Plus it still has the Metal gear standby of optional codec conversations, And most importantly the game is just flat out fun. I immediately pre-ordered after i played through it a bunch of times, and hope thats lots of other people do too.
I tend to pick female characters because I find my preferred genres of games (action/ fighting) are often feel very masculine in their design (hugely muscled enemies/protagonists, hot fembot female secondary characters) I find it more interesting to try and turn that on its head with a female lead character if that's a possibility. In western style RPGs I'll usually do a playthrough of both genders, with the female avatar being the evil badass and the male avatar being the Jesus-like pacifist (both being fun in their own way). The only exception is when I play JRPGs, those protagonists are androgynous enough as is, I tend to stick to the male side in those.
Judah Jones, Xbox 360.
Just finished the white side of the campaign and starting on the black side, want to unlock all the characters and abilities before I attempt online. Hopefully there's still the remnants of an online community by the time I get there.
I was reading a funny thread on Reddit the other day. The question was posed: Those of you in a relationship with a twin: Are you physically attracted to the other?
While the responses to the question were hilarious in their own right, it got me thinking of my relationship with Just Cause 2 and Far cry 3. I think of them as fraternal twins, very similar in style and nature (tropical islands, open world, various factions, exploration, unlockable weapons/abilities and the joy of random chaos). For me Just Cause 2 is the twin i'm in a relationship with, and Far Cry 3 her sister. Obviously there are some fundamental differences as you dig down further, but at least on the surface, you would think i you greatly enjoyed one, you would surely dig the other? (also this makes it apparent that i have never dated twins).
And that's my dilemma. i greatly enjoyed Just Cause 2. was able to get into the swing of it really quickly, it just clicked and I was attaching boats to jet planes and blowing up enemy camps in no time. I quickly saw what everyone was talking about. I am finding that i am forcing myself to keep playing Far Cry 3. Admittedly I haven't gotten very far in it, in fact i haven't even done the second story mission, but that's because i figured I should go out and hunt to craft the bigger holsters, larger ammo packs, etc to be better prepared. And that's where I am hitting the wall. The starting weapons, though looking cool with snazzy paint jobs are weak, inaccurate and loud. this makes hunting clumsy at best: for skittish animals I'm just shooting everywhere but the target despite aiming down ironsights due to my lack of steadyness and stealth; for larger animals I am furiously backpedaling and spraying and praying with peashooters. Also, in terms of humans JC2 and FC3 suffer from the same hated gaming Achilles heel: Endlessly respawning enemies. To give FC3 credit, its not as infuriating as in JC2 where they just spawn and spawn till you invariably die or flee (this tunred me off the game completely towards the end). In FC3 you can turn off alarm boxes, and more importantly you can dive into the underbrush to hide. But too often i'll run for cover into the jungle, and be quickly torn apart by a tiger, pack of wild dogs, or panther. At least those enemies are very localized and more importantly, visible. the worst are the fucking komodo dragons. They slink low to the ground so are difficult to spot, roll in packs, and only emit a low hiss (unlike dogs which bark, tigers/panthers/bears that roar to announce themselves) Also, once they bite, you continuously lose heath for a short time, but that time stacks with multiple bites. Just nasty fuckers all around. Anyway, to try and prevent this i try to plan out a stealthy plan of attack. But it can get to be very slow and meticulous, particularly since the only silent weapon i have is a regular bow, and I'm having trouble with the weird arc of the regular arrows. I do realize that I have to level up more to get silencers for the guns, and apparently down the line as you level up your abilities you become this crazy powerful death dealing jungle man. Furthermore, I still have plenty of radio towers to open up, which will give better access to goodies, and drugs to ingest. And I do see the potential of a ton of fun. i think i was just dissapointed that it didnt hit me out of the gate as fast as everyone else apparently. I plan to do a couple of story missions, hopefully then I'll be in better position to explore a bit more.
So finished Max Payne 3 on PC last night. Second time through but again, much more fun with keyboard and mouse. looking forward to trying out the new york minute mode, but that will have to wait as the steam backlog is calling me.
Picked up Sine Mora for the grand total of $2(!) I mean it is an indie game and what not, but almost felt like robbery at that price. Not complaining though. I've never been one for bullet hell games, but having polished off super stardust delta I've found i rather enjoy the act of being a tiny ship shooting at bigger things, go figure. Sine Mora seemed to be a critical darling, and at 2 bucks who cares. Anyway the game has a really pretty visual style. Almost like Talespin X Starfox x Max payne Bullet time. The humannoid animal protagonists are pretty neat too, my favorite being the grizzled man Bison pilot with the eye patch Surprising mount of cursing in too, but I would expect nothing less for a game that has the grasshopper name stamped on it. Though mind you, I've also only got past the first level because the game is hard as balls. Not unfairly, but it doesn't use the standard Contra-like get-hit-once-and-die model: its all time based: You start with a set amount of time that counts down, and as you kill enemies it increases, and whenever you get it it goes down. At fist the game seems to easy because of the abundance of stuff onscreen to shoot; the abundant enemies provide tons of time that in turn gives the equivalent of a massive life bar. the catch is that after the first level you ditch the wide open skies and plentiful enemies for an underground/underwater setting where the enemies are much more sporadic and hanging rocks and walls to crash into are plentiful. Then killing enemies takes on a huge importance because if you keep bumping int stuff the time penalty is much more significant than getting shot, and you can just make it up by shooting the occasional rock worm. Its is fair though, and to help you out you can slow down time as well. Its funny to think that no game thought to use the time mechanic in such a frenetic game genre such as this, Sine Mora does it very intelligently, giving you enough power to make you feel like you have a serious upperhand when the reality is that no, you will die and you will die a lot. interestingly its also out on Vita, and I think that's a perfect fit for its bite sized gaming chunks and that pretty OLED screen. Gets me hyped for Murumasa's blade when that comes out on Vita later this year (hopefully).
But the real game that has my full attention now is Of Orcs and Men. I admit I hadnt heard of this game until Vinny did a quick look on it last year. Seemed to tick all my boxes: Gritty realistic fantasy setting like the Witcher 2, real time strategy combat a la Dragon Age origins, and a refreshing take on probably the most played out tropes in fantasy, orcs and goblins. To have them be the heroes and humans be the assholes that you fight against is great to experience the voice acting is surprisingly good: the protagonists have believable chemistry, and there a great sense of dark humor throughout (again much like the Witcher 2) These definitely aren't the Orcs of warhammer or the goblin sappers of Warcraft. the combat is worth mentioning too as its sort of a hybrid of Dragon age origins and Mass effect. Dragon age as in you have enemies of different tiers and types whom you have to prioritize and focus on or they will wipe the floor with you, but its not as intricate with programing behious types with modifiers. Like Mass effect you slow time and queue up command you want the characters to perform. Where it gets interesting is that each other two protagonists are very different, with Arkhail being the tank and Styx being the dps/ranged/(de)buffer character. You control both simultaneously in real time, and can flip back and forth at any moment, combat or not. Its a little confusing at first, but it soon becomes second nature and you start to develop plans of attack where they play off of each other. My favorite example is to have Arkail yell to attract enemies to him, then have styx stab them in the back causing bleeding and weakening their armor, have akhail hit them with a wind up punch, and have Styx pelt them with poisoned throwing knives. Something as convoluted as that is very easy to to do, and the fact that you can slow down time add or subtract to the action queue on the fly give the battles a very dynamic feel. Add that each character has 3 separate skill trees that you develop as you wish to play and it all becomes a combat micromanager's dream. Compare to say Dragon Age where i would spend literally hours tinkering with my characters action queues to have them synergize with each other, only to go into battle and have it immediately fall apart. in this game that system is very stripped down, and keeping it to a max of 4 actions keeps it fluid and not locked into a course of action that looks great on paper but is worthless in practice. Supposedly the game is difficult but checking on a few forum posts recommended focusing on health upgrades and crafting upgrades for your gear and i can see how much of a help that is. Certainly doesnt take away from the challenge of the enemies, particularly once you start fighting groups of fully armored knights. Prioritizing is everything at that point. i'm actually interested to see how long and deep the story goes. its a linear game, but there are optional sidequests with rewards to do, and actually i think its was a smart design decision to keep it that way. The pacing is good and you always know where to go next. As i get older I don't always have the time to wander until i stumble upon the answer. So far very much living up to expectations!
Use your keyboard!
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