So I finished "999" and that was some experience.

There are few experiences in games that I have experienced as profound as "Nine Persons, Nine Hours, Nine Doors." I ordered a copy of the game over the Christmas break to see what all the fuss was about. It actually seemed like my kind of game, but the fact that it was on the DS and my current living set up doesn't make portable gaming very comfortable, was but only one factor in the small list of reason why I might have stopped playing this game. Still, at twenty dollars on Amazon, it felt like a gamble I could live with. I started playing the game last Monday afternoon. It was calm, dark, and rainy, and seemed like the proper mood to fit the subject matter that, I had heard, is at hand in this game. Intending only to give it a try, with no expectation to see through with it, I began what proved to be a very long journey through one of the most intriguing stories I've ever experienced (err, read) in a video game. I would play the game, intending to just play a little portion and before I knew it, hours had gone by, as I was hunched over and absorbed into this story the whole time. I finished the game twice, trying to hit all the requirements to get the "True Ending" that everyone had touted as a key factor in getting the most out of the story and spent hours yesterday afternoon, finishing up the "Safe" ending in anticipation to see this story through. I sat down, last night, after playing for hours in the day, to fast forward through the earlier parts of the story to get to the area I needed to continue on through the "true" conclusion of the game, but I did what I didn't expect, I continued onward and turned what was meant to be a few minutes or so, into nearly six hours, as the story continued it's grip on my mind and I just had to see it through. So many elements were going through my head, as I was just enraptured with the constant flow of information that would illuminate the plot even deeper. I would look at my clock and try to skim through some dialog and read it as fast as I could, since my new semester was beginning today and yet, I couldn't tear myself away from it. I just had to see it through and see what was going to happen, so I persevered; with my hand over the L (I think it was that button) trigger, speeding up the dialog and my nerves both on edge, as I went through the story and my 3DSs' battery was put to the test, I went against all external distraction (or as best I could) and finished the game's "True Ending" this morning (at around 4am) and found it to be one of the most impressive uses of a story in video games, I had ever experienced. I'd be hard pressed to get into the details and explain further why this game effected me so deeply, but I can't do that and I would just say, I recommend giving it a try. It may not be for you, but this is a game, I believe, is justified and deserving of all its praise.

"... and yes, I am spending my free time today pouring over internet wiki's and discussion boards trying to piece together and make sense of what I experienced in the end. Trying to make sure I had all the information correct and reading everyone's theories on the game's conclusion. An activity I rarely do with even my most beloved games."

"... and yes, I just received my package from Amazon today with my copy of Virtues Last Reward for the PSVita. You can count me a new-found follower and fan of this series."

"... thank you Giant Bomb community for bringing this game to the attention of others and me. I greatly appreciate experiencing such a great game that I may not have even played in the first place."

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Is there such a thing as "Kojima Overload"?

I have never really been interested in the idea of revisiting old favorites of my past. When I was younger I would go back and load up the final save in some of my favorite games, to once again, experience the ending. As I have gotten older, I no longer really have that desire. Don't get me wrong, I love the games of my youth and the games that defined why I love gaming. With that said though, I just don't feel like going back and playing through a game that I have played through before. Maybe it's because I am older and time is... you know, a serious thing now.

Thus I find it very interesting and unexpected that I am revisiting the Metal Gear Solid series. These games are pretty much near and dear to my heart, and while I (for reasons that may seem obvious from the above) have never really been into the whole "HD Collection" thing that has been taking the current gaming market by storm, I recently received an unexpected gift in the form of the MGS HD Collection. I much appreciated it and did find myself loading up MGS2 and giving it a whirl. Maybe it's the way the game has transferred quite well to high-resolutions or maybe I actually did enjoy replaying the game, but something lit a fire in me and I found myself playing through MGS2, MGS3 and even loading up MGS for the original Playstation. Suffice it to say that the last three weeks have been quite eventful, as my free time has been absorbed into this franchise, all over again. I find myself playing them most of the night, even when I know that I have a busy day ahead.

Now, we have come to the finale... the big conclusion; Metal Gear Solid 4, which is the game that I argue to be the best in the series. I have been very excited to play this one, now that the other games are fresh in my mind. As I finished MGS yesterday, I noticed something slight near the end and was very apparent at the beginning of MGS4. I believe I have come down with, something I refer to as "Kojima Overload". Don't get me wrong, I play these games for the story. I have always been on board with this franchise and have been enthralled with the story and characters, as they are near and dear to my heart. With that said though, I realize three weeks of these games is a little too much. Maybe I need to take a week off or some kind of short break and stop smell the roses per se. Then start back up MGS4, and replay the opening. It's just that the moment the game starts, and after a slight bit, my head is killing me. I love the exposition... the story... the feel... but it's a little too much at the moment and I need a break damn it! OK, I know I need to calm down. Still, have you ever experienced something like this with a franchise you hold dear? Who knows, maybe I am just tired and I'll load it back up and love ever second tomorrow, but as it stands, I might want to wait a little bit, so the game can impact me the way I was wanting, and that I remember years ago.

Wait a minute, what am I saying? I am going out of town in a few days, of course I need to take a break!

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These HD games have spoiled me!

I recently went to PAX East and picked up a copy of Xenoblade: Chronicles whilst I was there. I've heard nothing but glowing things about the game and couldn't wait to give it a try. I sat down the weekend and cracked the game open and put the disk into my Wii, to find myself bewildered and offput. Not by the content of the game or it's quality. The hour or so I spend with it was quite engaging and I want to see what happens to these characters and their journey.

That is... if I can get passed the graphics.

I know this is an age old problem and the arguments for or against it were years passed. Still, as someone who hasn't turned on their Wii in a long... long, long time, I have to say that this HD generation has spoiled me greatly. I love pleasing visuals, but I have never been such to the point that graphics would teter me from playing a great game. I am not in this case either, but the graphics the Wii are capable of are far below that of current games and even in the case of Xenoblade, where the game is the penicle of what the Wii is capable of... it's still hard to look at really. Maybe these HD games have gotten the better of me. I will still play the game, most definitely, because graphics aren't enought to deter me from a great story and interesting gameplay. Both of which, so far, seem to be engrained in Xenoblade. With that said though, I have the feeling that I will be rubbing my terrible eyes constantly through the games massive story.

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