I need a vacation (A trip through the Silent Hill series) Part 1

    Hello! Welcome fellow bombers to "I need a vacation" my cleverly named blog post about Silent Hill! Over the past month I have been trying to catch up this series, one I missed because when I was young even the sight of a Silent Hill game gave me chills. However, a few years have passed and I've decided to man up, pick up the HD collection and dive into the world of  "Silent Hill". So in theory I will be posting these as I continue on through the series and try to share my opinions and thoughts about the game (and also for your personal enjoyment).I should mention that I actually beat SH2 about a week ago and  just finished Silent Hill 3 about one hour ago so I'm gonna start there and eventually catch up to where I am in homecoming ( which is stuck because I cant get a grasp on the damn combat!) and end with Downpour (which I haven't touched)  I will mostly be mentioning the "highlights" of my playthrough about SH2 and 3.
 
Lets begin    
LAST THING:There be spoils of spoilers ahead

                                                                                                         Play music while reading for best effect!
 
         

SILENT HILL 2

    
James Sunderland
  
 
 Silent Hill 2 is one of the scariest, if not, THE scariest game I have ever played. Not because the enemy in that corner jumps out and grabs you, but the anticipation the game builds of your inevitable demise. Whoever thought that giving a warning when enemies are near would actually make things more terrifying, its genius. 
 
As I ran down the hill to make my way to the town, the growls of some creature in the fog already started to make my heart-rate climb ( which happened quite a bit during my playthrough). I then got to meet Angela, a seemingly ordinary girl but I knew thing weren't right with her. Anyway, after a brief chat I started to venture further into the fog, and then I reached the infamous town of Silent Hill.  At this point, I already started to question whether I even wanted to g
 This a bad time?
o through with this, I can see barely 5 feet in front of me and many of the roads are... well missing. Its quickly apparent that James isn't all there, I mean he is looking for his wife who has been dead for three years due to an unknown illness. At this point I ran into my first obstacle, a very fuzzy shadow that is accompanied by a trail of blood, naturally I tried my best to NOT go that way but of course I was eventually funneled into following the trial. This turns out to be what I can only assume is a human trapped inside a straight jacket made of flesh, the first appearance of this thing was quite a shock but I didn't feel the terror I had originally imagined I would. That is until the thing fell on the ground, let out a strange, terrifying screech, then took off on its belly only to haunt me everywhere I went. 
 
From this point on, I feared the sound these damn things made and the radio white noise they created. Everytime I heard the radio I constantly turned 360 degrees to figure out where the hell this "thing" was and what exactly it is. Skipping ahead to the apartments.. good lord almighty this is where everything it the fan for me. At this point I had little health, and no flashlight. Trying to maneuver through the dark, long hallways of the abandoned building stressed me out to no end. The radio is constantly buzzing, James is constantly breathing thanks to my endless sprinting and all I have is a damn pipe to defend myself. Every door I check I'm actually hoping is locked, which would be followed by me saying "pheww". Of course some of these doors had to open and what was in there... most of the time nothing other than a few supplies.  This is what makes the few jump scares and overall atmosphere terrifying.  Everything tends to look grimy, dirty, and overall nasty but most of the time thats all there is. Most of the horror happens in your mind and what could be behind that counter. To say the least, finally grabbing the flashlight which triggered the mannequin behind it to move caused me to actually drop my controller. So much build up and tension actually made me let my guard down, and I sure as hell paid for it. I finally meet Laura, a snobby little girl who has a nag for making my life a lot more difficult than it really should be. She is the fly that is always buzzing in your ear and doesn't stop, annoying little girl.
 Ah good a lig...OH GOD!
 

Fast forward a bit, I have found a pistol (which was followed with yet another phew) and I'm heading back to the first main puzzle which involved the clock. and then there he is... just standing there. Pyramid Head. He does nothing. He stands behind the bars just looking at James, taunting him and me. Pyramid Head is one of  the most iconic thing in the Silent Hill series and I still wasn't prepared for my first meeting. The fact that he doesn't move a single muscle scared the hell outta me so I continued on hoping that he would just leave me alone. This leads me to a door where I was greeted by the loud sound of a tv with white noise and a dead body in front of it (foreshadowing anyone?) This mixed with the brilliant music made me save and wait to continue another night.   
What.The.Fuckkk 
 I picked up the next day to meet Eddie, who tells me he didn't kill the man in the kitchen, crushed by the fridge. I was not convinced and tried to stay as far away from him as I could. Later, I met Maria who looks a lot like James's wife but is clearly not the same person... and she seems to be real interested in James (strange). She decides to tag along and go through this hell together, not a bad idea and I felt some comfort of her being there. 
 
 Lets skip ahead to the hospital.  I knew what was waiting for me in there, I just knew it. Them nurses. I stood in front of the door, maybe I've gone far enough in the Silent Hill series, this is as good as any to stop and enjoying cuddling with bunnies. But no, I trudged into the hospital very aware I was gonna be in for a hard time. I was not wrong, not only are those nurses terrifying, they are damn well everywhere. This is the first transition you get to the other world and wow, I thought things looked shitty in the normal world! This consisted of me running as fast as I could checking every door nook and crany to just get out of this nightmare. Well this didn't pay off when I quickly scurried to the rooftop. I was shocked to see an angry pyramid head who surprised me from behind freaking the hell out of me and pushing me off the roof into the mentally insane wing of the hospital. Getting up I wandered over to the elevator to continue forward. I gotta say though, the "gameshow" thing in the elevator made me laugh and brightened the mood even though the questions I was supposed to answer were extremely morbid. The last event of the hospital was James watching Maria, a nearly identical match to his wife being stabbed through the chest by pyramid head (I hate that guy!)  You could just see in James's face that he wasn't only watching Maria die, but watching his wife die again. At this point James is still holding together but the town has been grinding his morale down every second he's there, inch by inch.  
Can I just sit down and wait for somebody to rescue me? 

 Jumping ahead once more brings me to the scariest part of the game, the prison. Wow, I have never had such a hard time continuing a game in my life. As soon as you enter this area, there is a constant banging on the doors. Where is it coming from, who is making the noise, why is it making the noise?  There is stress everywhere I go in the prison with that noise never truly going away. I notice that I have now found a door that the sound is originating from. I slowly enter and I am surprised to see... nothing. As I walk slowly checking each cell with the little light I had, I then hear a deep horrifying voice saying "Ritual, Ritual". I stood up turned off my ps3 and went to bed. I can't describe how I felt when I heard this mysterious voice of a creature (or person) I can't even see. It was horrifying. I picked back up and this time made it all the way through the cell block still terrified of the sound this thing made. Lastly, I made it to the gallows. This is constant noises of something but I got what I needed and left with absolutely no conflict. Again, tension builds and decreases with no crescendo to speak of. It keeps you guessing every second you play.
 
We then find ourseleves in a giant maze that involves James constantly jumping down holes he can't see the bottom of (brave,brave man) This is where things get very twisted as we eventually find out that Maria is trapped at the bottom. At this point, James has barely a hair of sanity left in him, and he seems to notice it crumbling around him. In the HD collection he is voiced by Troy Baker who really brought me to like and believe the James character, and made it all the more agonizing to watch him suffer. In the maze we also find out about Angelas past of being abused and raped by her father as well as Eddies past of being bullied (but still says he would never hurt anyone). Lastly, before we exit the maze I was treated to a boss fight with Eddie, who happens to be a crazed manic himself (who knew?)
Hmm... yes this is a good idea to continue forward
  
Lastly, after rowing across the lake, we reach the "Lakeview Hotel" and the final stretch of the game. We find out the fate of Angela who cant get over what happened during her childhood which leads into a rather depressing cutscene of her waling up burning staircase which we can assume she kills herself at. From the start I knew it would end tragically for her, I thought I would be able to do something and was a bit upset I couldn't. Now, just before we are introduced to another "otherworld sequence" we find out the twist of the game.
 We find out that James himself killed is wife, honestly I was surprised by this revelation but I had a feeling that this was the fate of her all along. I also assume that the town is punishing him by making him watch is "wife" meaning Maria die over and over again. 
 
  We see this happen again as we are forced to battle TWO pyramid heads! After then follow down a very long hallway which introduces some very interesting dialogue between James and his significant other. Finally, we run into the final boss which is another interpretation of Maria. After the fight, James is basically forced to yet again murder his wife to finish the game which is pretty damn depressing.  
One day I will find the meaning of this...
 
I got the "Leave" ending which I felt OK about but I was hoping maybe for a bit more closer. However, Silent Hill is built on the mystery it creates so overall I was ok with the ending I received. 
 
Silent Hill 2 is a truly fantastic game maybe even a masterpiece, and a terrifying one at that. Like I said, I was tensed up nearly the whole time I wandered the town of Silent Hill and for good reason. Every step forward was harder than the previous to take and the hairs on my arm never really relaxed until the PS3 was turned off.
 
NEXT UP: 
Silent hill 3 
 
I hope you guys enjoy the read, if there is anyway to improve it please let me know. Oh and excuse some of the errors, it is now 1 in the morning here and I'm exhausted! 
 
Thanks for reading! 
 
Sackman Jones 
My visual signature 
 
 
If you enjoyed this, here is the link to part 2, featuring Silent Hill 3. 
If you enjoyed this, here is the link to part 3, featuring Silent Hill Homecoming.
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Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City final thoughts

I just posted a review but I wanted to add just a quick few thoughts about the final hours of the game. 
 

  • The game ends very quickly and its definitely for the worst. 
 
  • The Leon segment is kinda cool but also very contrived 
 
  • Boss fights continue to be a hassle 
 
  • There is a ton of great nostalgia near the end of the game 
 
  • Hunters suck ass. 
 
  • A.I still sucks ass. 
 
  • Blowing apart zombies and taking them as meat shields is pretty entertaining 
  
Read my review if you want it more in depth but the quick version is the game is actually pretty entertaining but mostly for RE fans. Its a hard sell at 60 or even 40 to anyone else. If you have any questions just leave them here or on my review. I hope this helps you in your decision =)
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My Second Impression of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

First off, If you haven't read my first blog click here.  I will be expanding on what I said previously. This is based completely on the PS3 version of the game. I just wanted to write this due to the crazy range of the reviews and a lot of people being on the fence about it. Lets begin
 
    So I have played a bunch more of the single player but I actually restarted the game on a harder difficulty because normal is pretty easy even alone. For some reason I'm getting a bit more fun out of the game do to it being more challenging but maybe thats just how I like my games (played ME3 on hardcore and played Dark Souls).  So the story seems to being going... kinda nowhere. Since I recently played and enjoyed RE2 its kinda cool to make these little references like "Oh thats why the city has no power", this also supports my idea that you need to be a massive RE fan to enjoy this game. All the classes seem different but I'm mainly sticking with the "assault" class because she has an ability to have unlimited ammo for a short time.  
 
     I would like to add that ammo is still an unfortunate issue, when things get really tense and you only have your pistol, it sucks having to run and find it.  Iv'e also discovered the only dodge move is while your sprinting you press X to do this awkward dive thing that doesn't really do anything. Also YOU SHOULD TOTALLY LOOK AT THE MANUAL OF THIS GAME.  Its like a real manual in 2012!!! I figured out that there are 3 variations on the melee.  After you stagger an enemy you have 3 options, pressing X, Triangle or Circle. X simply pushes an enemy to the ground and head stomps them. or if your close to a wall slams their head into that.  Triangle does each characters "special attack" which can be interesting sometimes.  The "scientist" of the group actually sticks a chemical in an enemy that attracts any zombies in the area and is quite useful.  Lastly holding circle down will grab an enemy as a meat shield.  This can seem silly but it is useful in firefights and I believe it also protects against some zombie attacks. 
 
    The combat has gotten a bit crazy, fighting spec ops, zombies, and occasionally lickers at the same time is kinda nuts and awesome.  You can cause spec ops to bleed out which attracts basically all infected to him which is a good strategy to keep the pressure off you. My biggest complaint though is even on normal the humans are bullet sponges, its pretty insane how many bullets these dudes can take.  I understand lickers and zombies but people? Come on. Anyway, I finally had my first boss fight kinda sorta and it was awwwwwffffuuuuulll.  Basically a man stands in a window and shoots his sniper at you and it takes waaaaayyyy to long to actually beat him and move on.  Its extremely tedious and pretty boring.  It doesn't help that after 2 or 3 shots some of the guns become insanely inaccurate.  I have gotten used to the cover system but its still hit or miss. I really don't get why they thought an "auto-cover system" was a good idea.  A.I is still abysmal on your side and spec ops dudes aren't much better. I can say I have gotten used to the shooting mechanic and I feel a little better about it but its still......off.  Probably my biggest complaint about the controls is the way you pick up weapons and revive people.  It is EXTREMELY easy to grab a weapon.  All you have to do is tap the X button and the problem lies where you need to revive a team member which requires you to hold down the X button.  Countless times I have simply picked up a weapon instead of reviving the member I was trying to. To make things worse, that weapon is replaced by your old one so you physically need to find a different position to revive them. Its really annoying and could have been easily solved by changing one button prompt. 
 
    I didn't touch on the sound or graphics last time so I will give a brief description about those.  The music is strange, the menu music is like mixed with RE5 and dubstepishy music.  I don't think it sounds terrible but its not great.  Other than that I barely notice the music except when moonlight sonata was playing (which scratch that good ole nostalgia). Gun effects sound muffled and bad, the pistol sounds a bit better but its very lacking.  I think melee sounds ok with the slicing of zombies but other than that sound effects aren't good.  Graphics look OK.  Character models look pretty good and zombies come apart pretty nicely.  For the must part close-quarter kills looks good with the occasional visual glitch.  I read a lot of reviews saying there is no atmosphere and I'd say there is a bit but its nothing to write home about.  The environments look ok I guess.  Fire and grenades look like totally fucking garbage though.  They just look fucking terrible and they don't have any sort of punch (thanks to bad sound effect design). To sum up, this is no Resident Evil 5 graphically. 
 
Overall: 
 
I'd say Im enjoying the game more than I previously was on my last write up.  Given I knew this was not a traditional resident evil game by any stretch.  I'd still mostly recommend this to hardcore RE fans only, and it might still be a stretch for 60 bones but I'm feeling a bit better about my purchase after last night.  My next write up will probably be a review of the and right now it would still stand at a 3/5 
 
If you have any other specific questions, feel free to leave me some and I will answer them when I can =).  I hope this is helping my fellow bombers on deciding this purchase

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My first impressions of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

So I just got done playing Raccoon City for probably 2 1/2 hours or so (1 hour campaign, 1 1/2 multiplayer)and I know a lot of people are on the fence about the game due to the reviews. So here are my first impressions. Know that I am a HUGE Resident Evil fan so that already makes this game a bit better for me personally.  OK here we go. 
 
First off, the game starts with you fighting a lot of Special Forces, this is not exactly fun. Their A.I is... well lacking to say the least. They tend to just run right by you on occasion and can be really annoying if they catch you in a melee loop. Also the auto-cover system makes this kinda meh also.  It works probably 70% of the time, but sometimes it seems like you should be able to take cover and you just cant.  I haven't had any trouble getting sucked onto walls because you kinda need to be running right at it, but I can see how it can happen. Finally near the end of my first hour I got to start fighting some zombies and ran into a shit ton of lickers. I gotta say this felt pretty tense and I started to enjoy myself.  With the horde of zombies and bow's around, this is what I picture umbrella going through during the Raccoon City incident. 
 
Lets move on to the combat.  The shooting feels a bit awkward, and it doesn't help that a lot of the guns become really inaccurate if you don't shoot in 3 shot bursts.  I know it seems like this is ok but trust me, it gets kind of annoying especially when your getting swarmed.  Also in cover you sometimes cannot aim which is just utter nonsense. I should also add that I haven't really relied on cover so take that for what you will.  On a positive note the way the side-arm can be handled is quite unique and interesting.  For PS3 if you run out of ammo on a clip you can simply press (and hold)  L2 and your character automatically pulls out their sidearm and aims to the closest target and then you just need to shoot.  You can also control this a bit by pointing the way to aim if the auto lock isn't where you want it. Of course if you just tap L2 you can just switch to the pistol and aim as you please.  Speaking of ammo, you seem to run out.... like a lot and need to scavenge for some.  There tends to be plenty scattered around but in the heat of combat it can be a pain.  There is where melee comes in.  I think its kind of cool much like the side arm stuff, simply press circle and push the left stick where you want to swing.  You have 360 degree control and it has a nice tactile feel to it.  You can also finish enemies off by press X after you have hit an enemy quite a bit. 
Overall the combat feels solid enough, and there are tons of guns and perks to unlock for each specific character. Its not great but it gets the job done. 
 
Finally multiplayer, my biggest surprise 
 
I didn't expect to enjoy any of the multiplayer at all, but I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The 2 modes I played were Survive and Heroes. Survive is when two teams need to head to a heli pad and hold it off until the chopper arrives. What makes it interesting is there are 8 people playing and only 4 seats on the chopper (which gives you a decent xp bonus if you get in)  This leads to the ending of the match to be quite hectic and awesome (and sometimes a bit stupid since it takes a while to climb into the helicopter). Heroes is an interesting take on team deathmatch. Each person starts with a Main hero or villian (Leon, hunk, Claire etc...) and that is the only time the hero is alive.  Once a hero dies that person then turns into one of the generic solider classes to help support their hero and kill the other. Once the 4 heroes on one side are killed the game is over. 
 
So overall, being a huge Resident Evil fan helps this game a lot (seeing hunters and lickers makes me go nuts because of nostalgia).  Like I said I'm pretty early in but I have had some fun times, but more why the hell did my a.i partner run right into that tripmine times.  Multiplayer seems like it could actually turn out good if they fix some of the connection and lag issues. There is a solid amount of perks and weapons to unlock to keep ya going and if you have friends playing with you in the story or competitive it makes the game much more entertaining. 
So far I'd give the game a 3/5 

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