GOTY Top Ten 2012

Another year checked off, and a whole bunch of games played through, it's time to pick favourites yet again. While it always feels like gaming has off-years, 2012 on the surface seems that way, but there were still some excellent games that came out this year (although a few games that I was hoping to be good turned out to sour me quite a bit in the process). Here's run off the list, shall we?

10. Journey

It's not often a game like this gets onto my "best of" list by the end of the year, mostly because I feel like gameplay takes a back-seat to this audio-visual experience designers intend for you to experience. However, Journey was quite something to it, realistically it's just a 90-minute exercise of walking forwards, with an interesting multiplayer idea thrown in there, but I felt it deserved a spot here, as it's a game I feel everyone should play atleast once in their lives, even if they probably won't end up enjoying it as much as others, myself included. It's a hell of a 90-minute ride, I'll tell you that much.

9. Hotline Miami

I'd been avoiding Hotline Miami for awhile after it's release, but a friend practically demanded that I hurry up with whatever the hell I was playing at the time and trek through it. So I did. Hotline Miami is an incredibly weird game just glancing at it from the surface, but when you jump into the game, you fall face-first into a twitch-based, acid-trip of a game with a fucking PHENOMENAL soundtrack guiding you through it's small corridors, making sure to kill guys as fast as you can before you die, or even if you do die, just pressing a button and being right back in the action. If it wasn't so weird, it would probably sell more copies, but it'd also risk losing some of the elements that make it such a crazy experience along the way.

8. Binary Domain

Let's get the largest criticism out of the way, ok? It's a Gears of War clone. It's pretty competent at it, but if you're tired of cover-based 3rd person shooters, then maybe you'd find yourself discouraged from trying Binary Domain. It's a shame though, because the characters, story and little details sprinkled within Binary Domain are the reason I'd recommend you see it through. Big Bo certainly approves.

7. Tekken Tag Tournament 2

I had a fighting game take my nr. 7 spot last year, and as luck would have it, the nr. 7 spot would be yet again reserved for a fighting game this year. Tekken Tag 2 is the most fun I've had with a fighting game all year. It's Tekken in the best way possible. Modes are a bit spartan and there's no real story-mode (although there is an arcade mode where everyone gets an intro and outro), but as someone who's always ended up enjoying the gameplay and intricacies to Tekken, this game does not disappoint.

6. Borderlands 2

Oh hey, it's "More"-der..lands...or something. Anyway, Borderlands 2 is the most traditional sequel I've seen released this year. It alleviates some of the criticisms from the first Borderlands game, feels like the environments are more varied, the world is more alive, and there are weirder weapon combinations out there to screw around with. There's not much to say about it in regards to story and all that jazz (it's kinda eh), but hey, the basic gameplay is still really fun, and that's pretty much all that matters here.

5. Sleeping Dogs

This game was very almost a sequel in the True Crime franchise. What an absolute waste that would've been (although realistically it would've been a bigger surprise I suppose, since this game is actually good). Sleeping Dogs is the open-world game this year to take that sweet hole left by the GTA series, and it does a great job at filling that gap. I genuinely don't really have any complaints about the mechanics in Sleeping Dogs, besides the chase sequences (I don't like 'em), the game feels very well thought out and I had a blast unleashing my inner child on the streets of Hong Kong, action hijacking vehicles while in pursuit, starting fights with random civilians or even just adding a teaspoon of chaos to the mundane lives of the A.I in Sleeping Dogs (you're welcome, fellas!).

4. The Walking Dead

In a year where I feel like there are no good stories in gaming this year, along comes Telltale Games to fix that in a jiffy. As someone who has no investment in the show or comic book this game's fiction is based on, I grew to understand the world of TWD and I absolutely love what designers Jake Rodkin and Sean Vanaman did in regards to characters and their development, aswell as putting the player in as conflicting situations as possible just to screw with the player and their moral compass. There were 2 moments in TWD that genuinely had tears dripping from my eyes, it just goes to show that proper attention paid to developing the world and story of a game can mean alot to the player. It would be higher on this list but the sad fact is that the actual game elements are a little hamstrung in TWD, which with a bit more gameplay to it could've easily have been my GOTY 2012 for sure (it still wins Story of the Year though, so that counts, right?).

3. Dishonored

What a delightful game. Inspired by the likes of Deus Ex and Thief, Dishonored is an incredibly well-crafted modern-day equivalent of a stealth game. The combat and movement feel tight, the atmosphere and visuals of the game look fantastic and I honestly really appreciate any game that allows me to get through the entire game without killing a single living soul. Y'all should play it, I absolutely recommend it (unless you've never played Deus Ex/Thief in which case: what the hell is wrong with you?).

2. XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I remember hearing about an XCOM reboot a few years back, and I was excited at the prospect. To my horror, it turned out they wanted to make Bioshock, but with the XCOM name attached to it. I still have no clue what has happened to that project in particular, but you have no idea how many screams of joy were had when I learned the ineffable Firaxis was tasked with making a "true" re-imagining of the classic XCOM franchise. TL;DR - It's a fucking great game, it is everything I expected it to be, and some more. The only reason this game wasn't my GOTY 2012 is because of the rampant amount of bugs the game is riddled with (mind you this is mostly due to me playing on a console, not the PC, but still), which prevents it from taking it home this year. Still play it though, or else realize how terrible your taste in games is.

1. Far Cry 3

If you're shocked that FC3 is my GOTY, don't worry: I'm shocked too. I thought the first FC was an interesting looking game, it certainly did things that were pretty unheard of at the time, but I've never been a fan of Crytek's gameplay mechanics. They make beautiful worlds, they just bore me supremely. FC2 is a game I have the utmost respect for, purely because it was a high-budget shooter that was unlike every single FPS out there at the time. The problem is that FC2 as a game had way too many issues for me to deal with, I believe the specific wording I used to describe it is "It's like a AAA version of STALKER, but shit", and I still stand by that. FC3 however takes inspiration from both the first game and second game, and creates a game world I absolutely adored to be in, from running from checkpoint to checkpoint capturing outposts, to hunting wild animals for their skins, to going out in the world and ACTUALLY enjoying collecting those stupid little collectibles so many open-world games feel like littering their worlds with. It was an absolute blast, only let down by an interesting story premise that completely shoots itself in the foot in the end.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about games that truly truly saddened me over the course of the year. I haven't numbered any of these as I feel it's kinda irrelevant, but I will share thoughts (and perhaps my aggravation) about these games.

Most disappointing games of 2012

Max Payne 3

I've seen people say they really liked MP3, but I just can't get into it. I feel like it was this game that made me realize just how much I hate the writing of the Houser brothers. This game just lost what I liked about Max Payne and Max Payne 2, it doesn't have the Remedy touch to it. I've seen people say "oh it feels just fine to me, dunno what you're on about", but I dunno, I just can't accept this game for what it is. Call it Randy Painymous the Third and alot of elements that bother me would disappear, but then again, the gameplay started feeling a little stale after a while, and I think the writing in general just isn't great.

Mass Effect 3

This year the internet was drama'd out with shit to say about Mass Effect 3, but if you ask me, it's not the ending that sours folks. ME3 suffers from the same problem alot of games in a franchise do, specifically ones that are part of trilogies: it just feels rushed. Mass Effect 1 was not an amazing game, but it was certainly ambitious. Mass Effect 2 sacrified that ambition to create a very solid and polished experience as a result. Mass Effect 3 feels like it isn't going for either, it feels like someone at Bioware really wanted to have things go somewhere, have plot-threads tied properly, but someone at EA (not making accusations, just a hunch) told them they had 18-24 months to make a damn sequel, and they should hurry up with it. There are still some incredible moments in ME3 I feel, as a fan, but it's a shame there are alot of moments that don't really go anywhere. On the plus side, I really like their take on horde mode, it's very fun.

Resident Evil 6

I don't understand this hubris Capcom has been gathering since the start of the "HD generation", but Resident Evil 6 feels like it has recieved the biggest hit as a result of that hubris building up at Capcom. Sure it's got a 20 hour campaign, but it's not very fun. I chastised RE5 for feeling too much like Capcom desperately clinging onto RE4 and trying to copy that as closely as possible, but on the flip-side, we get RE6 which adds a bunch of new mechanics that all don't feel very well thought out. I genuinely feel like if I were to ask the designers "who thought the pill system was a good idea?" and poked around enough, I feel like I'd get back an answer of "I dunno, felt cool to me". This is a terrible thing to say since jobs will be on the line over this, but I'm fucking GLAD RE6 tanked ratings-wise, maybe it'll finally serve as a wake-up call Capcom needs, otherwise that company is going the way of THQ in the next 5 years if they keep this up.

Assassin's Creed 3

Y'know, I feel like Ubisoft would be focusing all their efforts into making sure their biggest selling current franchise would get a proper new iteration, but hey, what do I know about game development? AC 3 feels like a game where development duties felt even more divied up between the 18 million satellite studios Ubisoft has running. The quickest way of determining what is flawed about AC 3 is comparing it to AC 2. It spends ALOT less time building up characters, the world feels weirdly small and ALOT of the buildings and other environments are flat-out copy-pasted onto the environment, also the mission design isn't very good or well thought-out at all. People will have varying levels of success with it, but I dare anyone tell me how memorable any of the missions in AC 3 are (bar the prologue one, that one was actually well-done).

Diablo 3

Y'know, for a company with such a rabid fanbase and such an unbelieveable pedigree, I don't understand why I didn't enjoy D3 that much. Maybe it's the fact that I don't like playing that game by myself (I know it's always been known as a huge co-op series, but sometimes, I seriously just wanna enjoy games and take my time with them, and at other times, my friends aren't available), maybe it's the fact that the higher difficulties are locked up requiring you to consecutively beat the game on each difficulty before unlocking the higher one, maybe it's the fact that PvP was not in the game and (I believe) is still not in the game, or maybe it's the fact that after recieving INCREDIBLE AMOUNTS of scorn for their proposed DRM solution, Blizzard refused to change it which resulted in the first 4-5 days of that game being out being a complete fucking nightmare. 7-8 years of development well spent, Blizzard. Seriously good job on that. And I don't understand the people flagrantly defending this game, I really don't. Here's my advice: For a 3rd of the price you'd have to spend on D3, go buy Torchlight II instead. Have fun.

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Better Late Than Never! My Top Ten for 2011!

So I've been meaning to write this for a while now, but kinda kept getting side-tracked all the the damn time. I'm finally gonna sit down and finish this darn thing! I'll be making a general top ten along with games that almost made the cut. If there's anything else I feel should be mentioned, I'll drop a line about that aswell.

10. Infamous 2

There's always that expectation that the sequel to something has to be bigger, crazier, more spectacular. InFamous 2 kinda wants lightning to strike twice in some ways (I feel like wordplay makes this more readable), because it doesn't really step up that much from the first game. There are more ways to travel the open world and Cole gets a few new powers aswell as "alternative" versions of all of his main types. The overall quality just seems to be the first game however, with a new coat of paint. You still have 3 enemy factions, all the same general enemy types to fight against, and 3 islands which unlock at certain story intervals. I enjoyed my time with InFamous 2, so much so that I finished it twice, but it certainly doesn't feel as exciting as the first game did sadly, which is why I probably agree with Brad Shoemaker's 4/5 review for it that he gave. It just seems like they maybe had grander ideas, but they would've taken atleast 8-12 more months to implement and their deadline was closing in fast. The story overall is a bit more "eh" and there were little things that seem like they weren't properly implemented (example is that there seems to be little ambient sound while running around the city, no real chatter from civilians, car sounds or anything). It still takes Nr.10 for me, but sadly it could've been higher.

9.Trine 2

Notice that number over there next to the name? There'll be quite a few of those since this year was yet another "year of the sequel" in terms of games. Trine 2 shares quite a few things that I said about InFamous 2. It's not really a grander experience, just kinda more of the same. This time around, it seems like they focused more on the visual and audio experience. Visually it's an amazing looking game, with certain moments where you just wanna take a second and have a long look at it all. The soundtrack is pretty good, with there being a few stand-out tracks that I just couldn't get out of my head. Gameplay is basically the same, the wizard seems like he was changed the most, and even that wasn't all that different. This is the first game Frozenbyte have done that has online play, and the netcode seems pretty decent. Trine 2 sadly is the kinda game that you finish once and there's not much reason to replay it other than to grab any collection related achievements. It's a shame, cause I feel like a level editor could do wonders, or atleast some kinda challenge modes. If it ever ends up on a Steam sale, I'd highly recommend dropping some money on it, even with it's general 4 hour playtime and low replay value.

8.Bastion

Bastion is a well-made game. I've heard people try to say it's kinda like Secret of Mana, but that's pretty much down to it being an Action-RPG played from a top-down perspective. It's a really enjoyable experience though. The narration done over the game while you're playing it can be pretty take-it-or-leave-it to some, but I liked it. The combat is very responsive, and the combat arenas they optionally let you take part in are a good place to give your skills a shot and earn some extra experience and money. It's a cute looking game with some interesting storytelling (they give backstory on the world during your travels through levels, and even in the combat arenas), and the music and sound design is top-notch. Bastion is probably the best downloadable game of 2011, well worth the 15$ they're asking for it via XBLA and PC/Steam.

7.Mortal Kombat

For the Nr.7 spot, It was gonna be either MvC3 or MK that would take it, and looking back, I decided on Mortal Kombat. I think MvC3 was a pretty good game, and I won't even hold the whole UMvC3 debacle against it, but stacking it up against MK9, it falls a bit short. Mortal Kombat is probably one of the few fighting games with an actually interesting story (as ridiculous as it is at points), and the amount of singleplayer content they throw at you is really gracious. There's the story mode where you play 3-4 fights as specific characters during certain key points, a general arcade mode with 9-10 fights with separate endings for every character, a challenge tower which is certainly inspired by Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast, which has 300 challenges which range from straightforward "beat this character" challenges to "we've edited this model to have a teddy bear, and there's dialogue where she wants to give it to you as a gift and you're not interested, kick her ass". There are also 4 minigames and a random mode which sets randomly picked status effects both negative and positive on you and the guy you're fighting against. It's silly, and I love it. The fighting system is pretty simplistic, which I'm sure people will look at and go "LOL ONLY LIKE 6 ATTACKS, CASUAL GAME LOLOLOL", but in actuality, it's all about knowing when to use your specific attacks. It just ends up making it easier for people to get into it and get good at it with the way it works. Put into perspective, I've played over 20 hours of both MvC3 and MK9, and I still have no clue how to be good at MvC other than watching youtube videos of people doing combos, whereas I learned everything I know about fighting in MK9 just by playing that game. Overall, I've thrown over 45 hours into MK9, and as someone who's never been big on MK stuff in the past, I'm really excited to see what Netherrealm do next. They've got me onboard at this point.

6. Saints Row: The Third

Saints Row: The Third is silly and a bit random, but it's not "spork" random, if you catch my drift. It all starts with the character creator where you can make an incredibly monstrosity, or just a normal dude or dudette (and give either a male/female voiceover, whichever suits you) and all the voiceover options are really well done. It's impressive, because it kinda shames other open-world games by making your custom character feel like a character, instead of a walking XYZ that doesn't really fit in with anything else (well, maybe if you make Dr.Manhattan that changes, but eh, he might totally fit in, who knows). It's a game about controlled chaos, and it does a pretty good job with it. The jokes are good, the characters are well-done, it seems like other open-world games have a huge bar set for them. The problem with Saints Row: The Third kinda shows up here aswell though. The "open-world" is not the part of this game that's amazing. Running around starting random rampages only goes a short distance in this game, and you can also 100% the whole game in about 12-15 hours, which goes to show that Saints Row sacrifices the general openness of sandbox games by focusing on the specifics more. Even if that criticism holds it back a bit, I'm very impressed by Saints Row: The Third, because for a game as silly as it is and has been marketed as, there were moments that had some magic to 'em (an example is where you ride with Pierce and "What I Got" by Sublime starts playing). If there's anything to take away from SR:TT, it's that sandbox games can have alot of personality to them, developers just need to figure ways to implement it into 'em.

5. Uncharted 3

Being the sequel to Uncharted 2 wasn't an easy task for Naughty Dog, because how do you step it up against a game that went above and beyond the game it was a sequel to? Uncharted 3 aims to be just as good as the 2nd game, in hopes that it doesn't get brought up against it. The end result is a game that is still really good, but you know you've already played it once before. It seems like Uncharted 3 could have been so much more if ND didn't have around 80 of their people working on The Last of Us while Uncharted 3 was still in development. A few other issues popping up such as Cutter (a really great new companion character) having to be cut about 2/3rds out of the story because the performance capture actor was busy filming The Hobbit are a real big shame. For anyone that hasn't play Uncharted 2, 3 will seem like an incredible game still, so it's not all that bad. Just a shame that for all the fans out there, it just seems like they made a by-the-numbers sequel to the last one.

4. Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 is where action-horror needs to look to for inspiration. The last game borrowed heavily from RE4 and built on that to create a good western-style game in it's own right, but Dead Space 2 steps it up in just the right amounts and manages to keep the pace moving from beginning to end. Visually it looks great, the controls feel very responsive and the enemies can be tricky and speedy little bastards to deal with. There are a few moments near the end of the game that can end up being a bit annoying, but it's all forgivable considering just how great the game plays. Visceral have proven themselves a very capable team, and I hope they keep it up on future projects. I should also add that DS2 was the 2nd game this year that I ended up playing twice, just because I was so hooked by it when I was playing it. It's a shame that they kinda screwed up the multiplayer mode, my initial opinion was that if they modeled it after Left 4 Dead, it could've been pretty good, but it seems like they managed to fumble it just enough to where it ended up a "week of release" multiplayer mode to play. The singleplayer is where the meat is at, and that's incredible however, so Dead Space 2 is well worth the money if you haven't played it yet.

3. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

They did it. They actually managed to do it. Square-Enix Montreal managed to create a game in the style of the original Deus Ex, which in this day and age seems to be a very difficult task to pull off. I don't know if there's a specific term for it, but I've always called it "non-linear linear gameplay" in that you have specific objectives you always need to take care of, but the way you take care of it is all down to you. The game will run you about 20 hours which is pretty sizable (not to mention I did 2 playthroughs of it), and the story and writing is pretty well handled.There are a few quirks in the gameplay at some points and the voiceacting ranges from good to god-awful, but these are minor complaints in the grand scheme of things. Now one issue however, is that this game has obligatory boss fights, which sadly are not very well implemented. They basically force you to brute force through the bosses, and if you played a fully stealth-based character, then you will end up restarting a checkpoint OVER and OVER and OVER again. I was really impressed with that SE Montreal did here, and knowing they're also doing Thief 4, I can't wait to see how that'll turn out!

2. Batman: Arkham City

There's not too much to say about Arkham City. It's Arkham Asylum with more notable characters from Batman's rogues gallery, a bigger open-world element and a few new gadgets for Batman himself. It still has the amazing combat system, it looks great, it has some suitable music and the writing is probably on-par with current Batman comics. Rocksteady seem to have gone crazy with the Riddler stuff this time around, with there being well over 400 collectables, and WB have gone DLC crazy, with over a dozen different pieces of DLC for the game, ranging from challenge mode characters to outfits for them and Batman. Besides the kinda disgusting amount of DLC that WB threw at this game, there's a sizable amount of content in the base game for anyone interested in shelling out for it.

1. TES: Skyrim

I found myself wondering wheter Skyrim "deserved" to be my Nr.1 on this list. Not only did the same suffer from a huge list of bugs around launch (some of which are still afflicting people), but the PS3 version also suffered a devastating technical issue, where saves with long playtimes were suffering slowdown and increased stability issues for people (apparently the latest patch fixed most of it). Skyrim just seems like an irresponsible Nr.1 for alot of reasons. However...It is still an incredible game. Around launch, I played 80 hours of Skyrim, I was glued to my PC as I traveled the world, doing side-quests and leveling up, grabbing loot and gear from all around the world and becoming an unbeatable god among men in that game. There's something about getting into Skyrim, and managing to waste several hours without even realizing it. I've seen people with over 200 hours already spent on the game, and with the way the Skyrim Creation Kit is integrated with the Steam Workshop and the things being released through that, I feel that the long-term for Skyrim will certainly last a while. It's kinda incredible to see Bethesda go from this small-time RPG super-nerd studio to one of the biggest names in the industry. I certainly think there's a lot devs can take away from Skyrim, as long as it isn't the bugs! So there you have it, my Nr.1 (and probably alot of other people's Nr.1 aswell), it may not come out with this victory without scandal, but to say it does not deserve any praise is certainly being unfair towards it.

Games that didn't make the cut

Portal 2/L.A Noire

The reason I'm bundling these two together is because they both share the same basic flaw. They both exhibit great writing, sound, visuals and are mechanically very sound games, the gameplay kinda seems to be the most uninteresting thing about both of these games. I wanted to advance in Portal 2 because I wanted to hear more great soundclips from GLADOS, Cave Johnson and Wheatley, I wanted to advance in L.A Noire because I wanted to see how the plot unfolded. It's a shame that sadly the gameplay wasn't the thing that drew me to either game that much. I don't think there's anything "wrong" with the gameplay either, there is nothing that would scare anyone off, it just isn't exciting enough sadly. I'm sure there are alot of GOTY lists that have these games in them, and they certainly deserve to be praised, but my mentality just states that games need to have their fundamental center be just as good as the wrapping around it, because otherwise there would be nothing that states that these 2 games have to be just that, they could probably both be great films or other forms of media.

Catherine

Y'know, I have alot of respect for the Persona team at Atlus. Persona 3 and 4 have some fun RPG gameplay wrapped around some terrific writing, and they stand toe-to-toe with some of the best JRPGs out there because of that. So it's a shame that Catherine doesn't really do all that great a job knowing the pedigree behind it. There's some pretty good writing behind it, and some people do enjoy the main puzzle-game aspect to it, but having heard all I need to about the game, it just strikes me as an experiment which might've worked for some, but left a bad taste for others. I don't think that team needs to make Persona all their lives, so I hope they do try something new yet again, and I hope they manage to pull it off better next time. Catherine was an alright game, it's a shame it didn't try to excel at anything.

Dark Souls

I've seen quite a few people put Dark Souls on their list, and I can see where they're coming from. Sadly I'm not that kinda guy when it comes to videogames. I certainly don't miss the old days where games outright punished you for not knowing what's coming up next. I do appreciate From Software for making something like that, because for as niche as it is, it has found a strong audience who love every bit of it, and I feel alot of developers wouldn't go out of their way to make a game that appeals to such a specific audience.

There were also quite a few games I missed out on this year, including The Witcher 2 and Battlefield 3, so hopefully I'll indulge in those sometime in 2012, along with all the games coming out in 2012 aswell. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!

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Satisfied With Frustration

  
So i got Demon’s Souls the other day. Before i go into the details of my enjoyment of that game, i’d like to mention that taking advantage of the PS3′s region-free aspect came to bite me in the ass. The funny thing here is that while my current-gen system has no problem digesting NTSC content, my old-ass TV has other plans. Basically, my game is in Black & White, a problem i haven’t suffered from since like 2004. Good stuff.


 Like this, but more Grey and Black.

Demon’s Souls is a pretty enjoyable game. It’s a “sword-and-sorcery” style 3rd person RPG which basically plays like a slicker-moving Monster Hunter, which i’m all for. One thing i always found kinda frustrating about MH was the fact that almost every single animation in that game was so drawn out, and the key reason for many of the times i ended up dying in that game.


 3 and a half years from now, that lance will hit someone.

Demon’s Souls, while being a bit more ruthless with some aspects, feels much more fair on that aspect, which ends up with me coming to the conclusion that “if i die in Demon’s Souls, it really is just my own fault isn’t it?”. Thinking back to 9/10 of the deaths i’ve had, the problem came from me being careless and underestimating what exactly the enemy can do to me if i let him get to me.

In these situations, the problem isn’t “I’M NOT FUCKING NOSTRADAMUS, I CAN’T PREDICT WHAT WILL HAPPEN 4 SECONDS FROM NOW WHEN MY FUCKING ATTACK HITS”, more just a case of “shoulda pressed the O button, or…y’know, not tried to fisticuff a fucking 8-foot suit of armor with a lance”.

So the base gameplay is very skill-based combat, which feels pretty great when you’re dodging the shit out of enemy attacks and whacking them with that pickaxe you picked up a while back, or just bashing them with that tower shield of yours. You pick up enemies “Souls” which is essentialy the stuff you use to raise stat points and buy items and equipment.

 One of these days, i'll be as beastly as this guy.

The major risk element is that there is no “Soul Bank”, so picture that you want a new car, but you’re missing like a 1000$ and there’s no other way of getting that money other than getting next week’s paycheck. In this universe, banks don’t exist and you’re not smart enough to just leave it somewhere safe, so you carry everything you monetarily own in your back pocket.

The first thug to get a lucky shot at you and drop you will essentialy have just robbed you of everything you own. You now see why this game has a track record of inducing fury within individuals who get caught in it’s path.


 Not Pictured: Dude getting mugged by a skeleton.

Visually, other than my “colorblind” status, the game looks pretty good and runs alright for the most part. Watching a dragon make a sweeping run at you and torch an entire bridge full of dudes and random scenery looks pretty damn hot (i can’t resist making cheap puns ;>).

The online interaction aspect of the game is “interesting”, to say the least. Essentialy imagine “Ghost Mode” from racing games, but in an MMORPG world. You see pre-scripted messages that players can drop for you, and if someone’s died nearby where you currently are, you get to walk up to their bloodstains and witness their last few seconds alive. There is also a co-op system, but i think it’s limited to both being only 2 players, also both players need to have not yet finished the boss of that level (i suppose it promotes not power-leveling people).

The game feels like if you’re into it’s mechanics (which i’m really digging), there’s tons of replay value to some degree, playing around with the different classes, trying out strategies on enemies…or do what i’ve been trying to do…fists only run.

What else have i gotten down to?:

-Made it to disc 2 of Chrono Cross, ending seems in sight.

-Very close to the end of Deus Ex, from the sounds of it.

-Played a bunch of League of Legends, having fun winning, not enjoying losing .

-Started watching Detective Conan with a friend of mine, really enjoying it, and we’re both gonna watch all the way from episode 1 up to the latest…which is like 2 weeks worth of episodes in “me” terms.

Take it easy, i’m owt.

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Time Travelin' and Gibson Hackin' - LoZ:WW, Summer Wars and GWLtT

So i recently decided i'd dive back into Wind Waker after taking a break for like a week or so, and managed to finish it in 2 sittings lasting about 6-7 hours total, also figured i'd watch the Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Summer Wars since a friend reccomended both to me, and i guess i'll break it down.
 

Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Some of you might've read my post about Ocarina of Time i did a while back, after that i decided i'd play either Majora's Mask or Wind Waker after that, but i played Metroid Prime for a while and then kinda took a break from the Gamecube.
 
I've started up Wind Waker a couple of times before, but i've usually never really made it far and i haven't really gone back. This time i decided i'd go all the way, and i was pleasantly suprised. The game looks simply stunning (especially on my non-HD tv ;D ), alongside my playing of Metroid Prime made me realize that Nintendo and their 2nd parties (some of them atleast) managed to make a very strong push for an art direction that helped their games age better than their previous attempts (atleast i feel that way).
 
Wind Waker makes use of Cel-Shading and a more 'drawn' style to help the world around look alot more colourful and to make all the character much more expressive, this is especially the case with Link, who has never been one for talking (unless you count bad cartoons and CD-I games), comes off as a great character with just the way he reacts at times. The gameplay feels much more simplified both in the sense of the dungeon exploration, sidequests and combat. This isn't just me saying that the game is 'easy', more like...it's less 'annoying'. I feel it helps smooth out the gameplay, and perhaps it makes it a much shorter gameplay experience, but the sailing more than makes up for that with padding up the wazoo ;).
 
The basic story progression is that Boy wakes up, finds out it's his birthday (who forgets their own birthday?!), and gets to wear some cosplay ge...i mean 'traditional' outfit that all boys of a certain age need to wear when the time comes. He then ends up in some situation that ends up in his sister getting kidnapped, and him bailing her out of it. From there we have failed sneaking missions, boats that talk, and the Wind Waker!. What's a Wind Waker?  
 
It's a conductor's rod. Yep, exciting isn't it?! (Personally, it does it's job, but the Ocarina is still alot cooler an instrument than a stick used to guide the orchestra). So he uses his talking boat, and his Magic Stick to get 3 magical orbs, and then after that he's gonna go disturb the dead, and then he powers up the Master Sword and goes fucks Ganondorf's shit up. The End.
 
All Said and Done, Wind Waker is a wonderful and charming game, and it's certainly a great starter game if you wanna see what the Zelda series is all about. It's polished and improved itself down to a fine point, and there are some negatives to it, like the sailing and perhaps it's quite lacking when it comes to not doing the main quest, and having to keep switching the wind all the time (even with the warp spell) can get quite irritating. Wind Waker is an A-Grade effort on part by Nintendo, and even though the Main Platform games have kept the old, more-realistic looking artstyle, the handheld games seem to have found their definitive style, which i think is appropriate for the tone it evokes. 
 
Rating 5/5 (Kevin Bacon out of Kevin Bacon)

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

So what happens when you take a teenage girl, give her the ability to time travel, and let her go wild with it? Probably something completely chaotic and absolutely messed up, but in this case, you get this film i suppose.
 
 
So yea, Makoto, the main character isn't exactly having the best day, when she happens to have a near-death experience, where she discovers that she can 'leap' through time to any point in the past. She for the most part thinks small when it comes to using it (including being able to sing karaoke for 10 hours in a row), but later in the film she gets her head in gear and helps a couple of people out, when she learns that helping others feels pretty nice. The film is a pretty fun feelgood film for the first hour, but then takes a bit of a dramatic turn, which then leads to a bit of a left-field 3rd act, which i'm not gonna really talk about, but let's just say that i feel that while the film ended just fine and it wasn't 'bad', i thought it dragged the rest of the film down a bit.
 
I think the Main Character of Makoto is a pretty fun individual, inside she's really just a kid and you can definently see this at times, but she knows what she needs to do to set things right in the end. She ends up causing trouble for other people over the course of the film with her actions, but you can tell she means no harm and feels guilty for her actions. I think the drawing style is a pretty nice sight for the eyes and in general most of the characters have 'character' in them, even the ones that don't really feature that often. It's a pretty great film overall, it kinda makes the point that no matter how a situation turns out, there's always consequences behind every choice we make in life. 
 
 Rating 4/5 (Earl Boen out of Kevin Bacon)


Summer Wars

And here's a film that manages to use the Internet to bring people together, but not in ridiculous arguments about websites or talking mess about this or that. No, here's a tale about people coming together to beat up Computer Viruses.
 
 We kick off with an introduction to 'OZ', a virtual infrastructure that's basically if the Internet was an MMO and everything was connected to one unified system. It talks about creating your 'Avatar', how you can access the different parts of OZ, and how even big corporations make use of it to conduct everyday business. Then we meet Kenji, who along with his friend work as Moderators for OZ, who are invited by Natsuki to come help her family prepare for her grandmother's 90th birthday. Because only one is allowed to come, an unseen Rock-Paper-Scissors game decides that Kenji gets to head out, and soon it becomes apparent that he's there for a bit more than just manual labour. We get to meet the family (most of it), and after some introductions, we end up in a situation where it seems OZ has been hacked and Kenji's been suspected of commiting the deed. And that's only the first 30 minutes or so of the film, the next hour and 15 minutes is a back-and-forth series of events transpiring and getting wilder and wilder, and ends with everyone coming together to finish off the evil A.I that's taken over the whole system. 
 
I feel that the film was trying to kinda hint at just how much we all rely on the Infrastructure of the Virtual world for our everyday lives, everything from our bank accounts to government systems to Emergency Response Systems, it all runs through 'OZ' which ends up in what i'm assuming is people kinda looking down going 'Why did we think it was a good idea to link all this to one system?'. It also has the whole family coming together and helping eachother through this troubled time and keeping eachother's backs covered.
 
I think Kenji comes off as a wimp-a-lot at times, but he's got his head in the right place and he helps organize efforts which yield in quite a few strings being pulled (supercomputers and Military-Grade Mobile Radar Devices for example). Natsuki is...a bit of a girl at times (no offense, but if you've seen the film, you get what i mean right?), but to her credit, she's the only one giving her uncle a chance when everyone else has already figured he's just a giant jerk (he kinda is), which in the end plays into events a bit, also..she's plays a helluva game of Koi-Koi. We also have Kazuma, who apparentaly is their version of fatal1ty or something like that, a shy kid who spends most of his days playing OZ or training his Shaolin Kung-Fu. Wabisuke, the estranged Uncle that's a jerk for the most part, and kinda the reason everything happend, but he comes around in the end when he finally realizes what's going on. And lastly we have Grandma Sakae, a sweet old lady who's full of heart throughout the whole film, and essentialy the catalyst that brought everything so close together in the end.
 
Rating 5/5 (Kevin Bacon out of Kevin Bacon)

 
 

Some Notes

 
  • Master Sword is a really generic name, yet we all hold a special regard for it nonetheless.
  • Makoto, whenever she 'rolled' into the past, were quite possibly some of the best moments i had with TGWLTT.
  • Someone really should've thought things through before they decided to allow a virtual infrastructure access to pretty much anything it could ever desire.
 
 
I also wanna mention spazmaster666, who did a pretty good write up for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and is going to do one for Summer Wars as well apparentaly..keep on truckin'.
 
So yea, all in all, quality stuff. You should check all of 'em out if you haven't yet.
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Ghiblithon and My Thoughts on the Films

So recently, i took it upon myself to check out all the Studio Ghibli films, as i've kinda been in the mood for some animated films i suppose (i also checked out Ghost in the Shell, and got Girl who Leapt through time and Summer Wars). The only film i'd seen of them previous to now was Grave of the Fireflies, which i guess i'll talk about aswell.
 
So i guess i'll kinda describe what i thought about them, not spending too much time on each individual film. Ofcourse i'll be kinda explaining what i took away from these films, and you might not necessarily feel the same way, but feel free to tell me your own thoughts in the comments.
 
 

 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

 
It starts off with a pretty atmospheric scene, where there's not much talking going on so much as you just kinda take in the visuals for a couple of minutes before the film actually kicks off. The story is all about this Apocalypse which ends up with the world being infested by a toxic jungle called the Sea of Decay, which is home to some pretty nasty insects. I thought it was a pretty good film, and it has this message about how Man constantly tries to take control of everything, and about how we depend on Nature for our very survival.
 
 

Laputa: Castle in the Sky

 
Girl foils capture attempt by two different parties, meets boy, and from there on they both engage in a series of trials involving dodging pirates, men in suits, and discovering more than a few things that are out of the ordinary. In what i later dawned upon, this is really one of the only Ghibli films where you have a definite 'villain' in some sense. It pretty much just tries to state that you probably shouldn't try to be a power hungry individual, and that perhaps dead civilizations should stay that way.
 

My Neighbor Totoro

 
A story about a family moving to an old house, and about 2 sisters who discover a special friend on their excursions around the neighbourhood. Totoro to me seems to relate to the imagination power of a child, and the bond that family shares. It's a real feelgood film, and when i found out that it was a double-feature paired with this next film...it kinda worried me.
 
 

Grave of the Fireflies

 
Grave of the Fireflies is one of the few films that has made me cry while watching it, it's a war film about a brother and sister who need to try to survive in post-nuke Japan. It displays the lengths one will go for another, and how when things get desperate, it's every man for himself at some point. It tries to portray the fact that War is bad because of the collateral damage involved in it. This film was also shown as a double feature along with Totoro  which leaves me thinking 'when people were done with the showing, did they leave happy or depressed?'.
 
 

Kiki's Delivery Service

 
Kiki's Delivery Service is quite possibly one of the best films i've ever seen, it's my Nr.1 Ghibli film, and i think i could watch repeatedly without getting bothered. It's a charming story that follows a 13-year old little girl as she goes on her apprenticeship as a witch. One quality of the film i really love is that there is no sense of urgency, no force working against her, no love interest. It's just us watching this character develop as she keeps going. The ending is perhaps the only real bit where she gets kinda rushed into action, but other than that. it's just a stellar film, with a great atmosphere around the town where she takes residence, and a real enjoyable cast of characters that she interacts with, including her pet cat Jiji. The film essentialy is about maturing, and being at a phase where we doubt ourselves, and we're confused about what we should be doing. But in the end, we realize needs be done and we move forwards to perhaps better understanding ourselves and others.
 
 

Only Yesterday

 
A bit of a departure from other Ghibli films, this one is rooted into a realistic setting in which Taeko (the main character), talks about her childhood and some of it's highs and lows, all the while discussing topics about life with other characters in the present. There is a very set pacing with this film, and perhaps it isn't the most interesting to alot of people, but if you're the type that enjoys hearing other people having conversations, then you might like this one. In the end, the film to me kinda felt like it was about looking back at the past with a smile realising that despite all the mistakes we made, life turned out alright enough. The end also kinda made this point about making decisions, and making sure that you had no regrets when considering them.
 
 

Porco Rosso

 
If you've ever used the expression 'When Pigs Fly...', this film might be just for you. It's about a guy who mysteriously got turned into a pig, and now he's a bounty hunter, patrolling the skies over the Adriatic sea. He ends up making quite a few people mad, which ends up with his plane trashed, and thus the film picks up some steam as he rebuilds his plane, comes to trust his 'partner', challenges the man who shot him down and then some. The film ends a bit abruptly, but is otherwise a pretty fun children's film and it's got a pretty nice looking depiction of Pre-WWII Italy. I'm not too sure if the film had any real theme behind it, but i suppose, fittingly, the main character is a bit pig-headed, prefering to work alone and not really being open with anyone.
 
 

Pom Poko

 
What can i really say about this film? It's pretty fucking insane at times. It's essentialy about Tanuki (raccoons) who are trying to stop people from destroying their homes and building a city on top by sabotaging their efforts through the use of their shapeshifting abilities. The film gets really fucking akward at times i find, and i would like to imagine that the animators really just wanted to draw as much random shit as they could in 120 minutes, and thus this film was made. But then again, i suppose it has this message about how yet again, we fuck up nature, Tanuki are troublemakers, and that Foxes are dirtbags. Also, Tanuki Genitals can be used as weapons apparentaly.
 
 

Whisper of the Heart

 
The 2nd film i really fell in love with, Whisper of the Heart is essentialy a love-story about a bookwormish, curious teenage girl, and a boy who lives in a bit of an eccentric environment and who also likes making violins. It manages to make Romance actually look....well...Romantic. It follows on films like Kiki's with the whole 'maturing' theme going on, seeing as the main character Shizuku, while originally appearing sorta distant originally, really comes to take a liking for Seiji, going to some lengths for him when it seems like she might never see him again. It's just a nice film about love, in a way that doesn't make me wanna stop watching it.
 
 

Princess Mononoke

 
 Now i've heard quite alot about this film, not really about the details, but just that alot of people seem to have seen this film at some point or another, and i suppose people really like what it's about. It's essentialy about this guy who gets infected from a wild animal attack, and he tries to find the spirit of the forest to plead for his life. As he makes his move there, he meets an Ironworks town run by a somewhat sinister woman by the name of Eboshi, who in a way is responsible for him getting infected. He also meets a young woman who acts as a priestess of the forest, and apparentaly has been causing the town problems for some time. Eventually, events unfold which lead to plenty of blood being spilled and the world quite possibly being destroyed, that is..until our heroes save the day and all is right again. The film has this theme about how *sigh* yet again...we're destroying nature and we should probably not be doing that. It's an alright film, but it just doesn't vibe that well with me, i guess i just can't get behind it that much (i guess it's just a sign of me liking Ghibli's more child-oriented films more over the more mature ones).
 
 

My Neighbors the Yamadas

 
Y'know, if this film wasn't an hour and 40 minutes...it could be pretty nice. It's got a unique artstyle unlike anything the studio's done before, and the plot is really just about the everyday life of the Yamada family. The problem is that this film really feels like a series of 5 minute shorts duct-taped into a really long film, and the relative lack of a real plot in this film is a bit detrimental if i'm perfectly honest here. The end result is just boring i feel, about 35 minutes in i couldn't focus on the film anymore, but i eventually watched it all just for good measure.
 
 

Spirited Away

 
Spirited Away is quite nice. It's about this chick named Chihiro who gets in way over her head for the sake of saving her folks from trouble, but because of it, you end up experiencing a visually very unique and also very colourful world that she ends up interacting with. Witches with Big Head Mode on, Giant Baby's, Slime Monsters, Old men with Arachnid-Like Bodies etc. Chihiro steps up to quite a few situations and decides to help out, and in the end helps out her parents and manages to escape this place she's ended up in. I got the sense that the film was largely about finding ourselves, and knowing who we really are.
 
 

The Cat Returns

 
A film that i can only for better or worse describe as 'absolutely Kawaii'. The film just talks about this girl who ends up saving a cat from being run over, and this resulting in her making contact with the Cat Kingdom apparentaly. The Film is sort of a successor to Whisper of the Heart, due to the presence of 2 characters from the previous film playing very major roles. Essentialy, it's a fairy tale about forced bridehood, chivalry, and...oh yea. Cats. It's a pretty damn good film (atleast if you choose to give in to your inner 8-year old, and accept it as a film top to bottom made for kids).
 
 

Howl's Moving Castle

 
I think Howl's is pretty alright, the first hour or so anyway is a pretty good film, but after that..it starts getting weird with the plot. Perhaps i just didn't catch the metaphors, but would i be wrong in saying that i'm not the only one who was left a bit confused by the last half hour or so of the film. Maybe i need to watch the english version of it along with something like Mononoke. I think Sophie's a pretty great character, but i feel that Howl's just a bit of a jerk...he does have a scene where he messes up his shampoos and summons the 'spirits of blackness' or whatever cause he's throwing a massive fit.
 
 

Tales from Earthsea

 
There's only 1 word i need to describe for this film: Boring. I'm not about to say it's a badly made film or that there's nothing of value in it, but to me, just everything about the film was so boring and uninteresting and it really felt like it dragged on soooooooo long. Perhaps knowing about the Reference Material would've gotten me a bit more interested (and perhaps would've also clued me in on Howl's had i read the original book on that) in what was going on, but otherwise the film just felt kinda generic and had nothing really going for it i feel.
 
 

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

 
Ponyo starts off a bit weird as it seems like the film tries to establish some kind of plot early on, but that kinda turns out to be a ruse about 40 minutes in, and the rest of the film is essentialy just 2 kids having fun. In the end, there is this thing about loving Ponyo for who she really is, but other than that, the film feels like some of their other previous works where the focus is on the characters and the environments and not so much any necessary plot points. It's a pretty sweet film, and with that Ghiblithon is done...until The Borrower Arrietty ofcourse.
 
tl;dr version - Most of these films are pretty good, might wanna check 'em out if you haven't.
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In the year 2097.....One Must Fall....

So there's a little story behind this, let me tell all you wee little lads & lassies about the events that transpired that eventually conspired me to write this blog post.
 
 

It was a Friday, Noon, it was snowy and cold outside and i had some warm socks on....

 
When a friend of mine showed me this site called Jam Legend, which is like a Java/Flash based GH clone which has a community feature built into it yadda yadda yadda (it's interesting, you should check it out if you're into that kinda stuff), and one of the songs that someone had uploaded was a fully instrumental cover of the One Must Fall 2097 Main Theme song, which has been stuck in my head for years now. After playing the song a few times, i decided to grab DOSBOX and grab the game online since it's been declared freeware for a while now.
 
 
After Fiddling with DOSBOX for about 10 minutes, i finally got into game where i set up all my stuff and jumped into tournament mode. And playing that game earlier...took me back to 1999 (the game came out in 1994, but don't tell 7-year old me that). The basic game is just a SF/MK inspired fighter featuring people in 50-foot robots fighting for the crowds. 
 
Caaan You Diiiiig Iiiiiit?
There's a standard 1-Player mode which is just arcade mode basically, then there's also 2-player (cause any fighter that doesn't have multiplayer has missed the point kinda) and the mode i like most, the tournament mode, which is kinda like 'story' mode, expect there really isn't a story to follow, unless there's something written up on the manual that isn't mentioned in-game. Tournament mode has you creating a character and starting out fighting in ranked matches in different tournaments in an attempt to (what i assume the goal is) reach the last tournament, where you have to beat the final #1 ranked fighter, in his teched out giant mech. You get money from every match you win, which you use to upgrade your characters Speed, Strength and Stamina, and buy stronger armor and legs/arms which make you attack faster and do more damage. 
 
Another big feature of OMF:2097 is that almost every level has an environmental hazard like High Voltage Walls, or Fighter Jets randomly shooting at you. The Music is also quite good, i don't really remember anything other than the title theme too vividly, but the soundtrack's quite good, some nice MIDI tunes for your ears if you're looking for that.
 Talkin' Reckless before the fight.

 
I guess all in all, i just wanted to say that One Must Fall is one of my favourite memories from a by-gone age. 
 
That last sentence in itself is top-to-bottom absolute wank-hattery at it's finest. I mean, i'm not even old enough to 'remember' this game (i was about 2 years old when it came out :] ), but does that really matter? In any case, it's a good game, perhaps you'll try it and you won't like it, maybe it's just the nostalgia in me talking, but i think it's quite good. If i ever get the chance, i should ask Mr. J.Rea what he thinks of it if he's played it.
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Lost in Time: I Actually Finished Ocarina Of Time!

Before i start, i'm gonna predict what the responses are gonna be like :
 
''lolwut/lulwut/lolwet/lolweiner/any variation''
''Fucking Noob, Took you long enough lol''
''oh wow dood ur not evn a real gamer how u nt fish zelda till now?!!''
''Zelda is Overrated''
''Nintendo is Overrated''
''[Insert Other Zelda Title] is better''
''your blog is shit compared to my blog''
 
So with that out of the way (P.S i know atleast one of the people who's gonna end up looking at this will have one of the above thoughts in his head, don't deny it now ;] ), let's begin.
 
 

Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time

Don't know how many of you have maybe heard of this super obscure game (it's totally not obscure, just to make it clear for those who have no idea of the concept of satire), but i started playing through it again recently. I was listening to some tunes when i was reminded of OoT, and i decided to bring a TV into my room with my GC, and play Ocarina of Time on the bonus disc i got with Wind Waker. I have played the game before, but i believe it was in like 2001-2002 and i made it past the Fire Temple as adult link, but for some reason i just kinda stopped.
 
 
The game is awesome, but it's not perfect. However, perfection in anything, much less a video game is probably impossible to find, and i'd consider Ocarina Of Time one of the best games of all time, as a game itself, and for the influence it had for games afterwards. Infact, it's kinda funny how 1998 was this big turning point for video games, where games could be 'cinematic'. On the PC side we had Half-Life and Grim Fandango, on the Playstation we had Metal Gear Solid and Xenogears and finally on the N64 we had The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. Big games which as we all know, have had a huge impact on gaming, as you've all either played one or more of these games, or successors to them, literally, or spiritually.
 
 
There's no point in me talking much about the game, but i will mention the 'big' things about that game that i liked : 
  • The exploration/Collection aspect of the game is amazingly fun, by the time i had finished the game, i had about 70 golden skulltulas and almost every item you could collect by the end of the game (i didn't have the 50 arrow quiver or the bigger bomb bags).
  • The fishing minigame alone is something i could see myself booting the game up for, just to play it (it took me like 4-5 minutes to get that 19 pounder!).
  • As far as dungeons went, my favourites were probably the Shadow Temple and the Spirit Temple.
  • Traveling the overworld has this almost tranquil feeling at times, with the nice music setting the pace, riding on your horse, just kicking back, looking for Big Poes to hunt down and bottle up.
  • The music, which is probably the most key part of the game, is simply amazing and albeit it sounds a bit basic on the N64 sound chip, it had me humming and chiming along to it for most of the game.
 
Now for the things i didn't so much like :
  • The Water Temple alone is a huge headache for me. It's not so much 'difficult' as someone pointed out to me, but it's more that you have to visit the menu alot in the dungeon, and i don't know if this is the case with the N64 version, but on the GC disc which just runs the game in an emulator basically, it takes like a second to get into a menu, then i gotta equip/un-equip the boots, then i go out of the menu, which takes about a second to load. It's just super annoying, and from what i hear, other Zelda games have tweaked it so you can have equipment on a toggle button just like items.
  • The Gerudo Fortress. If There ever was a game that DID NOT NEED a stealth section, it's this game. It's the prime example of why games where stealth is your only option, and 'one-strike-your-out' logic applies, are not fun. Now i know there's a stealth section in Zelda's castle near the beggining, but it was a bit more manageable and shorter compared to this.
  • Some of the Control is a bit off, it's one of those games that reminds you why having camera control is taken as such a given these days (the developers have said they didn't want to really give you much camera control for 'cinematic' reasons) and there are times where i messed up and usually if it's my fault, i'll concede to that, but here it just felt like the game was at fault sometimes.
 
For a game that (in some regard) is for a younger audience, there are some deep messages in that game (atleast i think there are). I find that Young Link is like a child (not that he already is :P) who lives a generally care-free life, but future responsibility is placed on him, and people tell him how 'big things' will happen to him. I'm sure some of you have parents who are trying to (or have already) push you towards greater things, and prepare you for a grand future, which almost feels planned out. He also looks at the world as a colourful, (for the most part) peaceful place and has a sort of childish ignorance to the people around him.
 
By that regard, when Link pulls out the Master Sword and goes forward 7 years, all of a sudden he's old enough to assume his responsibilities, and his view of the world has changed both in his understanding of it and ofcourse literally because Ganondorf is a big stinking jerk. Also, there are Great Fairies, that are barely clothed and have big knockers.
 
So that's pretty much all i have to say about it at the moment, thanks in advance if you read through all of this, even if you don't agree with it. I'm probably going to look at Majora's Mask, but Zelda Fatigue has kicked in, so i'll be taking a break from that for like a week, and i'm playing through Metroid Prime right now, which i'll probably write something about aswell, cause that game is pretty darn good.
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Still Checking out what i've missed.

Getting to Level 60 in Mass Effect 1, Finishing Persona 3, Dragon Age, Playing Through Oblivion Again. There's also a bunch of Console Stuff that i haven't gotten a chance to play, but i might check out later in the year.
 
Still looking forward to all that's new, but i've got plenty on my plate that i need to finish as is.

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I'm feeling very blue for 2010

I don't mean it that way (or did i?). But there has been some Blueness related to my recent doings, so i might aswell dump it on all of you while i'm at it.
 

Avatar (The Last 3D-Bender)

Well, i went and saw James Cameron's latest Blockbuster, and i didn't come away dissapointed, but not exactly amazed at the same time. It does a decent job with it's story, but it does nothing new in terms of story-telling, it just tells a classic story in it's own little terms and world. I'll just whittle it mostly down with Bullet Points (everyone loves bullet points!)
 
  • The CG stuff looks pretty good, there are some neat 3D effects they have in place, and i thought the start of the film awed me the most when it came to showing off all that fancy hardware.
  • The Na'vi, they didn't exactly convince me when they showed 'strong' emotion, but i really did find a reason to root for them in the film, not just for the sake of the narrative. They got the job done, albeit awkwardly.
  • James Cameron still knows how to make some powerful action scenes, most of them revolving around the second half of the film. There's one in particular i really wanna mention, but i feel it'd spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.
  • Plot is quite predictable, but it didn't hurt the movie, didn't exactly make it seem like quite the revolution some people make it out to be though. If you don't throw too much thought into all of it, you can accept it for what it is and let it guide you through the almost 3-hour long film.
  • I get the feeling that seeing it in Theatres, in 3D, Full Surround Audio and all that jazz is what made it quite an enjoyable film to watch, i don't think it'll convert that action as well into Blu-Ray/DVD (Unless you have a mad Home Theatre set-up)
 
If i'd rate the film, i wanna give it 4 out of 5, but i feel that it loses .5 just cause i really don't think that experience will carry over to Home Viewing.  So i guess i'm saying 3.5 out of 5 for Avatar. Take my Advice: Go see it in theatres now if you really wanna see it, don't hold off. Also of note, it says wonders of the film when after seeing it, i really wanted to jump back into that universe (i almost thought about getting the game, but realized it probably isn't worth it's price of admission).
 
 

Mass Effect (Embrace Eternity!)

So i picked up the original Mass Effect somewhere during December, I'd had played it earlier this year, but wasn't really too into it at the time. Mass Effect 2 was on the way, so i figured i'd give it another go, and to my suprise i quite like that game alot, so much so that i've played 3 runs of it, and plan for a 4th to get level 60. Also there's blue people in Mass Effect (incase you wondered).
 
  • The Writers at Bioware either come up with new ideas constantly, or they've always wanted to re-create Star Wars in their own image, as Mass Effect (and alot of other Bioware games that aren't licensed) is jam-packed with Races, Planets, Technology, Terminology and masses of other things. It's really quite good stuff, and considering this was only the first in a series of 3 (or so they say), that's quite alot to take in (in a good way).
  • The Combat felt a bit janky and stale after my first run was done, but then i picked a Biotic (first run was Soldier), and man...I'll just say this: Don't just play Soldier. You'd be missing out. (Combat is still a bit janky, but i'll forgive it)
  • The Renegade/Paragon stuff feels pretty good, it's much less a case of straight up 'I'm Evil/I'm a Pussy' choices, or atleast it manages to give a damn good illusion that it isn't (My main character was morally very Grey, as he did enjoy punching people and watching evil space tenctacle monsters die).
  • The Mako controls pretty badly, but it's something you (have to) get used to. The last Mako segment alone almost made me lose my mind the first time i played it.
 
Overall, Mass Effect is a pretty good game, and considering i've played through it 3 times, that says quite alot already. I'd probably rate it a 4-4.5, it's not quite perfect, but with some more polish and tweaks, it could well be.
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Been There, Done That

Been playing Mass Effect (finished it twice, might go in for another go!), Last Remnant, Finished Borderlands in Coop with a friend (finished it solo a while back), Playing through Persona 3 and then onto Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga. Also been playing Devil Survivor, Bowser's inside Story on the DS and i still need to finish Dragon Age on PC.

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