Talkin' About Deadly Premonition - Part Two: Combat

This is part two in my attempt to write the most extensive in-depth look at Deadly Premonition that has ever or will ever exist. This ???(I'm thinking about ten?)-part series will explore every aspect of the game I can think of, and hopefully document every thought I have had about this video game over the past four years. (Part One is here)It is recommended that you have a very basic knowledge of the game first, as I am in far too deep to try to explain basic facts about the game. It's rambly, it's thought-provoking, it's silly, at times it's downright nonsensical: it's me talkin' about Deadly Premonition.

Deadly Premonition is a game that would probably have been better without combat. It's hard for me to say something like that about my favourite game, but it's true. The combat in this game had a few interesting ideas, but was generally a mundane, simple mechanic used to extend the game's length and give the player a bit more to do while investigating crime scenes. This part will be more tongue-in-cheek than Part One, because as a whole, I don't think the combat in Deadly Premonition is good.

I once said to myself that Deadly Premonition's combat would be perfect for H.E.A.T.: The Video Game, if it were to exist. Now, I've only seen H.E.A.T. once, and I don't remember a whole lot of it, but from what I do remember there is a lot of bullets being shot, and very few people getting hit with bullets. I first noticed this connection while standing in the hotel lobby, (a common place to find yourself near the beginning or end of a Deadly Premonition session) firing SMG bullets around the room whimsically. In Deadly Premonition, unlike other shooting video games, there is no reticle on the screen for where you are going to shoot. Guns have a laser sight, but it doesn't actually shop up on objects in the world, so you generally have no idea where you are shooting. The only time the game gives feedback to where you are aiming is when you have your laser on an enemy. This means that you have almost no idea where you are aiming unless you have already aimed at the place where you want to aim. This is incredibly silly. In terms of playing a shooting video game, it makes it hard to do. In terms of making you feel like Val Kilmer, it does a pretty good job.

This does not mean that the combat in Deadly Premonition is very difficult. Despite your character having restricted movement while aiming, and the aforementioned reticle ridiculousness, the combat is pretty simple. You sprint away from enemies, turn around, and then shoot bullets at them until they die. There are three enemy types in the game: Melee guys, Shoot-y guys, and weird wall-crawling Ring ladies. The ring-ladies we will get to later; for now, we will focus on the other enemies, which make up 80-90% of the combat scenarios in the game. The enemies have basically no AI to speak of; they just run at you with their weapons, or stand in one spot and try to shoot you. The most dynamic aspect of the combat is when sometimes there are exploding barrels. The dynamic here is that you shoot the barrels and they explode. Then everybody dies. It's pretty exciting.

The way the enemies get more difficult throughout the game is that they take more bullets to kill. That is the only way. Deadly Premonition takes bullet-sponges to an entirely new level. The average enemy about 3/4 through a playthrough on "Normal" difficulty takes approx. 30 shots to the head from an SMG. I'm no scientist, but I'm not actually sure that many bullets can fit into a human head. This may seem like a poor experience, and in some ways it is, but there are two key features that make even the most mundane enemy encounter in Deadly Premonition interesting. The first is that when enemies are hit with headshots it puts them into a stumble-backwards animation. This animation has zero priority, meaning that when you get many headshots in quick succession, such as from a rapid-fire SMG, the animation just repeats the first ten-or-so frames over and over in a loop of head-cocking, neck-snapping action. The second great feature is that whenever a headshot is landed, Francis York Morgan, the player character, utters an exclamation. These, too, have no priority, so when you are landing multiple headshots quickly, you will get a monologue that goes as follows: "Great, great, amazing, headshot, amazing, great, great, headshot, amazing, amazing, headshot, great." These two factors lead to hours upon hours of entertainment.

About halfway through the game, you start encountering a new enemy. At first, this leads to a rush of excitement; finally, the monotony of shooting the same dudes forever is over. Soon, this turns to feelings of resentment, as this new enemy is actually 110x more tedious than anything you have yet experienced. This enemy, of course, is the notorious Wall-Crawling Ring Lady. The Wall-Crawling Ring Lady, as the name suggests, crawls on walls (and the ceiling). She also has long hair like the Ring Lady. When you approach an area with a WCRL, walls are constructed ahead and behind you, limiting your combat area. WCRLs only show up in hallways; they also show up in every hallway. Whenever you walk into a hallway with no boxes in it, you know a WCRL is about to show up. It is the worst feeling; they are the worst. WCRLs are not hard. There is a very simple pattern to beating them; it is just time-consuming and soul-crushing. There are two weapons that make the fights bearable. If you have these two weapons, the fights will be tolerable. If you did not have these weapons and beat the game, I am honestly very impressed by your dedication. If you did not have these weapons and did not beat the game, I understand. It's okay. You didn't know. How were you to know that Keith Ingram's guitar is the key to beating the WCRLs?Yes, that's right; his guitar. It takes two hits to defeat them, while most other weapons take at least ten. The other weapon, a clear second best, is the flame-thrower. While it pales in comparison to the guitar, it is at least better than most things. (The grass-cutter is also pretty good, if I recall correctly.)

Of course, it is very possible that you can make it through the game and never find the guitar, the flamethrower, the grass-cutter, the laser sword, the RPG, the chainsaw, the infinite wrench, or even the infinite-ammo versions of the four core weapons. In fact, I'd say this is the largest detractor in the entire game. The best, most time-saving, and frankly, the most interesting and fun weapons in the game are hidden in side-quests, many of which aren't available until a significant amount of time into the game. If you aren't exploring and doing side-quests as you go, the combat quickly becomes unbearable, especially when the enemies suck up finite amounts of ammo very quickly. I generally don't like to advise people too much on how they should play a game, but I would strongly suggest looking at a guide and finding out how to obtain these weapons when you play the game. Saying this is a large negative to the game is weird for me. Personally, finding the weapons was fun and satisfying for me, as I did not know where they were or what they did until I found them. But if you flip this around, the experience of not obtaining these makes the game significantly more tedious, and extends the least interesting parts of the game to an even more sizable chunk than they already are.

The main time you will find yourself in combat is during investigative missions, mostly involving the exploration of recent crime-scenes. During these sequences, York enters what is described as the "Other World"; basically, everything goes all spooky and zombies come out of the ground. There is an "Other World" version of every area in the game, and it is never explained whether these are a real concept or all going on York's head. The way they treat the environments is interesting at times; certain innocuous rooms will be given creepy undertones just by a few minor changes. For example, in the police station, the equipment room: usually packed with a rack of coats and shelves of policing supplies, is refurbished with racks of the killer's notorious Raincoat, and shelves of murder supplies. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay of walking through these environments is marred by the poor combat, and inane puzzles.

Every once in a while, these sequences are interrupted by the Raincoat Killer, forcing York to either hide, or run away as fast as he can. These two sequences are actually pretty cool ideas, but neither are executed as strongly as they could have been. The hiding sequences are as simple as walking to a hiding spot and hitting A to hide, and then pressing another button to hold your breath. The tension in these scenes is rather evocative of a horror movie, as the Raincoat Killer will walk around the room, including right in front of your location, before getting frustrated and leaving. Because of the style of the game, they come across as goofy, but it is an idea that could be well executed in a more horror-focused game. The chase sequences, on the other hand, are purely goofy. The player is forced to rattle the control stick back-and-forth to make York run, while doing minor quick time events to jump obstacles. These look silly, because the game is controlling how York turns and moves, and often you will find yourself tapping a button maniacally to move a box out of your way, when it could have easily just been stepped around. During these sequences, the game changes into a splitscreen mode to show the first-person view of the Raincoat Killer chasing you. It's a neat idea, but you never end up looking over at it, since you are too focused on the other screen, trying to not die.

Enemies don't only show up during pre-set missions though. Every night, Greenvale turns weird and evil, causing the enemies to crawl out of the ground and attack you. While driving, this is not an issue, as the enemies tend to spawn about three feet in front of your vehicle, and then die immediately upon impact. But it does discourage you from exploring the world on foot, which I think is both clever and maybe a misstep. Mechanically, it provides a perfect time for your character to sleep, which is an important thing you have to do. However, I do think it would have been nice to more easily explore Greenvale at night. My favourite time to walk around my neighbourhood is at night; everything is quiet, and the world seems to be all-but-stopped. It's a great time to see what everything really looks like, behind all the stuff that is always happening. I would have loved to do the same in Deadly Premonition, but alas, it was not to be.

Now that we've covered the least interesting part of Deadly Premonition, it is time to move on to the real meat and potatoes. Next week, I will begin discussing the story, the characters, and the game world. This will take multiple parts, and is the main portion of this series. I will explore how the story is told, how the characters are introduced and developed, how the world encourages the aforementioned exploration, the enigma that is Francis York Morgan, the use of cut-scenes, the un-use of cut-scenes, and a whole lot more. I am trying my best to have this all fit together cohesively, without a lot of backtracking and traveling back-and-forth between ideas, but it is very difficult. I will probably end up doing another part about exploration as well, as even now I have thought of plenty of things I forgot to mention in Part 1. Stay tuned!

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Talkin' About Deadly Premonition - Part One: Driving and Exploring

Edit: This is part one of a ???-part series on Deadly Premonition. This is an in-depth look at the game; my attempt to explain why I find the game so interesting, and a catalogue of all the strange thoughts I have had about the game over the past four years.

Writing about contentious games is tough because it's difficult to avoid spending the whole time responding to external sources. Generally, writing about these sorts of games ends up being either antagonistic (like Jim Sterling), or very defensive. There are people who leap to respond to every criticism, saying "No, you just don't get it!", and there are people who accept the criticisms and say "Yeah, it sucks; it's the worst, but I like it". Neither of these feel very worthwhile to me, so I am going to attempt during this piece of writing to not respond to others, but instead explain my own very personal and very cool opinions on this very cool game, Deadly Premonition, by Swery and the fellows at Access Games.

I have now been thinking about Deadly Premonition for three years. For most of those three years I have had the idea of writing something about the game, but never before have I felt like I could find the words. I was finally inspired by the latest Bombin' the AM where Patrick and Danielle discuss games that are difficult to make sentences about, but how satisfying it can be when you do finally find a way to express your opinion. When I used to discuss Deadly Premonition with my friends, the best I could come up with was "You drive past a lake! And it feels like driving past a lake! You're like, driving! It's in Washington!" While these sentences do, in fact, pretty much sum up why I like Deadly Premonition, it takes a bit more to turn them into something that human people can understand.

I live in a suburb of Vancouver, about five minutes away from the border between BC and Washington state. I've lived here my whole life! And I absolutely love this area of the world. I love the big trees; I love the open roads; I love wooden houses and fish and the ocean and everything. Media that take place in the Pacific Northwest speak to me like no other thing. Obviously, I adore Twin Peaks (which I actually watched after playing Deadly Premonition) and I even liked Alan Wake. Before playing Deadly Premonition, I had no idea how much I would enjoy playing something that feels so close to home. But it's not just the fact that it is the place near to me that makes it cool. Deadly Premonition does a better job of evoking a sense of place than most other games I've played. The graphics are unintentionally low-fidelity, but as you drive past the environments, the individual objects, which look bad on their own, blend together into a backdrop that creates a fantastic atmosphere. This is what I mean when I talk about driving past a lake. It really feels like driving past a lake! And you're like, driving! In Washington!

Speaking of driving, Deadly Premonition is the greatest driving simulator of all time. (And I've played like 40 hours of Euro Truck Simulator 2. (In reality, I'd say they're probably tied, but it sounds better to just say Deadly Premonition is the Greatest of all time.)) I played this game first before I knew how to drive. I have since learned to drive, and I have to say that it feels very similar to playing Deadly Premonition, though obviously not in a mechanical sense. The cars in Deadly Premonition (of which there are about 20 to unlock, each being a copy of the vehicle a character in the game drives, and each with their own theme song) control like slippery snakes. Technically, they all control differently, but none of them facilitate driving like a rational human being. However, they all have windshield wipers, turn indicators, and a built-in GPS, which is awesome. Also, mirrors that seem functional, but on close inspection, are not. Of course, the only way to notice any of this is to drive in first-person mode, which obviously I did for the whole game because I am a smart guy. The game defaults to that, and the car models are very poor and don't interact with the ground that well, so it's best to stay inside instead of switching to third-person. In first-person mode, the game allows you to move your head around (sadly without TrackIR support) and look outside the windows. It is from this perspective that the game's environments look best, as it is difficult to see the details. Just like when driving a real car, it's best to look ahead, but sometimes you will find your eyes wandering over to the side and then bam, you've struck an oncoming vehicle and losing honour.

Driving erratically is easy to do in Deadly Premonition, but not fully supported, as is evidenced by the speed limit enforced in your car. This is probably there because of some weird bug that occurs when you drive fast, but I prefer to believe it was an intentional restriction to force you to drive the town slowly and really understand it. In a similar vein, the map in the game is difficult to understand at first, as you can not rotate it, or zoom out very far. I enjoyed the way this forced me to learn the town, and for my last twenty hours or so, I only checked the map to find out locations of NPCs, not to find my way around. There is technically a fast-travel mechanic in the game, but the only way to get it is to do a certain quest that gives you the item. I did the quest, because I did all the quests, but I never used the item. I preferred to drive everywhere. It was very relaxing.

The game takes place in a fictional logging town called Greenvale, which used to be quite populated, but then was vacated when the main logging business was shut down by protests. Because of this, the town is very big, but very empty. There are no random civilians that walk the streets, and few random cars that you see driving along the roads with you. Inside buildings, you will sometimes see weird faceless people, but most of the time the only people you will see are the thirty-or-so characters that are associated with the main story of the game. One of the remarkable things about the game is that all of these characters have regular schedules, and can be found wandering around town and doing jobs throughout the day. They all have routines, and if you follow one in your car, you will find that they are actually going somewhere, instead of just driving around aimlessly.

This ambient character development is probably the strongest facet of Deadly Premonition. It is the one thing in the game that I would actively suggest developers look at and think about, a lot. This is a way of telling stories and interacting with characters that is entirely exclusive to the world of video games, and has amazing potential for story-telling. In Deadly Premonition, you will see a character drive across the town just to have dinner with another character, when you had no idea previously that they ever interacted. There are a lot of things that are never explicitly described to you by the game, but are learned just by observing what they do. This is brilliant! You feel like you are actively participating in the process of learning about the characters and understanding the underlying workings of the town. In a more traditional game-y mechanic, each character also has one or more side-quests that you can do for them to reveal something about their character. These, while less interesting than the open-world mechanics, are well-done, and give the world a large amount of character. The town is interconnected in ways you would not expect, and exploring and learning about these are the main appeal of the game.

This is part one of a somewhere-between-two-and-a-thousand-part series about Deadly Premonition. In the next part, I will talk about the least-loved aspect of the game: Combat. I will also probably talk about seven-to-ten other things. I tend to get a bit rambly when discussing this game. I have a lot to say about it!

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Reasons Why 2010 Was The Best Year of Video Games of All Time

Sometimes, people need reasons to believe things that they should already believe. There are people in this world put here to provide those reasons. This list is a list that shows why video games were the best in 2010 and 2010 had the best video games.

Reasons Why 2010 Was The Best Year of Video Games of All Time

1. Deadly Premonition Just by being released during 2010, this game automatically makes 2010 The Best Year Of Video Games Of All Time. In fact, it makes the 2000s the Best Decade Of All Time In General just by purely existing. Sometimes, you find a game that is so purely excellent that it makes all other games seem better just by sharing the medium with it. Deadly Premonition is that game, and also that movie, and also that album. It makes Art better.
2. Vanquish Wow! This game would also singlehandedly make 2010 The Best Year Of Video Games Of All Time, except it doesn't even have to! Vanquish took third-person shooters, a genre stuck in the mud, and gave it Rocket Boots, allowing it to fly from the dreaded claws of mediocrity into the sky of being one of the best games ever. Thanks, Vanquish, you truly are the Best Third-Person Shooter Of All Time.
3. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty If you like e-Sports, or V-Sports, or Sports Electronica, you already know that Starcraft II is one of The Best Video Games Ever Of All Time. If you need proof, you just need to watch that time when Squirtle Archon-toileted Mvp’s battlecruisers in the GSL finals, and then you need to watch all of Squirtle’s games ever because he is the Best Starcraft II Player of Being My Favourite. If this game had a campaign, it would probably be swell also.
4. Nier Most people don’t really know Nier, including many people who played it. It’s a game where it changes from being a Really Great Game to one of The Best Video Games Ever Of All Time after you have beat it the first time. The second playthrough is the video game equivalent of being really great. It almost made me think video games were cool.
5. Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood Assassin’s Creed 2 made assassinating into a rock party. Brotherhood took this party and made it so you could buy a lot of stuff. Like, drinks, and kazoos. As it turns out, buying stuff is the key to video games, and owning banks is the video game equivalent of eating a nice steak. Also you can sit on top of buildings.
6. Picross 3D Picross 3D is the Greatest Picross Video Game Of All Time. I would know, I have 3-starred every puzzle on two separate profiles. That is not a brag, that is just me telling you how good at Picross 3D I am. Knocking bricks, painting bricks; these things are the essence of video games. This game is my home. I love it.
7. Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Man, this game is boss!!! If you’ve ever wondered why your life isn’t where you want it to be, it’s probably because you have not been appreciating this video game enough! Move over, Pacman, and Ms Pacman, and Pac Man Championship Edition, there is a new video game in town and it likes to call itself Double Xtreme and it is here to Kick Your Face.
8. Red Dead Redemption Cowboys are nature’s way of saying that we are not as cool as cowboys. Rockstar appreciates nature. This game is really really cool. Undead Nightmare was not as cool. That was unfortunate. It’s a good thing this list is not about 2010 having the Best Red Dead Redemption DLC Of All Time.
9. Limbo Children are the future of video games. This game attempts to bring children into the video game experience, by making a game that finally stars them! Little Timothy goes searching through the woods looking for his sister, with only his glowing demon eyes to help him. Good luck Timmy!
10. Super Meat Boy This game is the Most Visceral Video Game Of All Time other than Bioshock. It’s very hard, just like my smile when I play it. What a game.
11. Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent Ahh, to be back in Minnesota again. The joys of partaking in the pleasurous joys of the Twin Cities. We could even watch a Twins game. But wait, we could also solve puzzles in this video game equivalent of a boiled egg done just right! This game is why PCs even still exist.
12. Alan Wake If you like the Pacific Northwest, then we are buddies. Alan Wake buddies, that is! Also, regular buddies! Alan Wake takes flashlighting your way through rural Washington to a whole ‘nother level. I don’t really know what the story meant.
13. VVVVVV The soundtrack to VVVVVV is actually the Best Video Game Of All Time. The game is pretty good also, but the soundtrack outshines it like it is the Sun and the game is the Sun’s little brother. The VVVVVV soundtrack is so versatile and lovable that you can do almost anything while listening to it. That includes playing VVVVVV.
14. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Bad Company 2 made Bad Company 1 look like a prequel. Of all the modern military shooters that have been released, Bad Company 2 features the coolest shooting with guns of all them. I like to play this game.
15. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West British people sometimes deserve recognition for more than making good television. In this case, they made a very good video game. I usually don’t like video games where the player-character is named Monkey, but I make an exception for this game.
16. Super Mario Galaxy 2 I have never played this game, but I’ve also never played the Mona Lisa and I still recognize that as one of the best poems ever.
17. Halo: Reach This game is near the bottom because it doesn’t feature the 2010 Style that makes all the other video games feel like 2010. This game feels like 2011 because it is the future of video games. In 26 years, you will look back at Halo: Reach, and be all “Wow, that game influenced every video game to come after until eventually video games became the way they are today.”
18. Super Street Fighter IV Street Fighter IV made fighting games fighting games again. This game made fighting games Super again. Juri kicks fireballs.
19. Mass Effect 2 This game is important, but it is on the bottom of the list because I am still bitter that they did not let us ride around on the moon like they did in the first game.

2010 transcended years. 2010 is the Best Decade of Video Games of All Time.

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Hello, I am the Future of E-sports

Hello, everyone.

You may know me as supermike6, but I prefer the name "The Future of e-Sports", for today I have cemented my place in the upper echelon of competitive video game players. While it may seem crazy to know that someone you talk to on these very forums happens to be one of the best, you must face the fact that this is indeed a reality. Because, I'll have you know,

I AM THE THE 9TH HIGHEST RANKED DEADLY PREMONITION PLAYER IN THE WORLD

Yes, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT.

I AM THE MOTHERFUCKING 9TH BEST DEADLY PREMONITION PLAYER EVER

You can check for yourself if you wish, my Xbox Gamertag is Mikus606.

Guys,

I'm pretty proud of myself. And I know you are proud of me too. I will go out there and represent Giant Bomb as I work my way up to become the greatest. When the Deadly Premonition fansites interview me, I will be sure to send a heartfelt thanks to all the people here who have supported me in this endeavor. It's been a long journey, and it's not quite over, but I have made it to the Top 10, and that's pretty fucking sick.

Thank you.

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Girl's Generation - An Album Review

Hello, I'm going to review an album. It's gonna be pretty sick, you should read this.

Okay, so So Nyu Shi Dae is a Korean pop band who is popular in Korea, but they also have fans all across the world. This includes me! I am a fan! Now, Girl's Generation should not be confused with Girl's Generation, which was their debut album. This is not that! The one I am talking about is their first Japanese album. These two albums have different songs. They are also in different languages. This is important (?)

Now, you may be thinking, "Hey, what's up?" Well, not much is up really. I'm writing an album review. I think it's going pretty well.
 


The album opens with a song named "Mr Taxi". As you can see, they are all wearing outfits that are the same colours as taxis. You see, these girls are clever. They know about taxis. They also know how to dance. Um, so this song is, like, good. I like to listen to it. Occasionally it makes me want to dance. That is a good thing! I like to dance. The next song, Genie, also makes me want to dance, but less so. Why? I'm not really sure. I guess this means it is not as good. Sorry, Genie. After Genie, there is a song called "you-aholic". I will forgive this terrible name because only two of the nine members are well-versed in the ways of English-speaking. This song is pretty friggin' meh. It's basically just super filler. That's okay with me! They can't all be winners after all.



The next song is Run Devil Run, which by some crazy craziness has also been sung by Kesha. How? Why? These are questions with answers. These answers are not relevant right now though. The key is that I like this song too. I also like this one. And this one. Heck, I like every song on this album. Yes, 70% of them are just filler, but at least they are sung by pretty ladies. That's really good enough for me.

In conclusion, I just wrote an album review of this album. I'm not sure why. Maybe you know? Please tell me. I would like to know.

Final Score: 12/5

It's like perfect times two plus two. That's really good.

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A Thing About Things

HELLO AND WELCOME TO THIS THING

 
Hi! This is a thing that I am writing, because I am one of those people who likes writing things. There's not much more to it than that. A lot of people like doing weekly blog things, but I don't think I'm consistent enough to do that, so I'll just call this a "periodical" thing that may or may not ever happen again. I've written blogs in the past, but since then I have realized two things:
 
-  People love pictures 
- People also love headers. 
 
So, I will be trying to incorporate those into whatever this is, because I base my self-worth on how many people look at my writing, even if they don't read it. Oh yeah, this thing is about games. I should have mentioned that. 
 

YAY VIDEO GAMES

 
 Due to the recent Steam sale, I have bought some video games! I have also been given a couple games because it was my birthday last week. I'm going to write about these games now!  
  
BIT.TRIP RUNNER 
 
How do you like bold underlined italics? Pretty snazzy, right? BIT.TRIP Runner is a video game where you run and get gold and shit. It's sick as hell! I feel like this is the
RAINBOWS 
 perfect game for Gaijin Software, since the pace of the game is constant and determined by the game, due to the fact that the running is automatic. This means that every jump is perfectly timed to the beat, which makes the game sound awesome as well as looking awesome. I don't know about anyone else, but I've always wanted to leave a trail of rainbow wherever I go. My only issue with the game is that it can be super unforgiving, since one missed jump will always send you back to the start. It's understandable, since the whole game is about getting into a groove, and restarting the whole level is better than just continuing in the middle with all the music fucked up. I give this game four stars out of six!
 
 
BIT.TRIP BEAT 
 
 This is not the hard part!
Woah, two BIT.TRIP games! What a coincidence; it's almost as if there was some sort of franchise sale on Steam where you could get both games for $5! In this one, you  don't run as much as the last one! In fact, you don't run at all! You beat! Beat the levels, that is! Except in my case, where you don't beat the levels because they are too difficult. The first level is cool as heck, but in the second level there are just so many colours and so many blinky things and effects that I would often lost track and then have a seizure. If you're unaware, this game is like single-player Pong, but instead of making an extremely boring game, they added a musical component to it that makes it actually fun to play. As some one who enjoys listening to things, it really appeals to me, and I will go back and hopefully try to beat the second level at some point. I give it three stars out of five! 
 
 
TERRARIA 
 
I was going to go in alphabetical order, but I just realized that I already screwed that all up, so I'm just going to skip straight to Terraria! My friend describes Terraria as "Minecraft for hipsters", which is kinda funny but also not particularly accurate. As many people have mentioned, Terraria is more about fighting monsters and shit than building things. Though, where I'm at in the game, I don't have good enough armour or weapons to fight bosses (also, I'm too scared!) so I have just been mining a lot. 
treeeeeeeeees
A lot! It's strangely satisfying to just keep digging farther and farther underground and find new things. You have to set up torches and platforms so you can get back up to the top, which makes it feel like you're building some sort of underground city just for yourself and evil monsters. (Just a thought, maybe it's kind of weird that the two things I feel make up a city are torches and platforms. Remind me not to play Sim City ever.) It's good fun! It's certainly not bad fun! Eight stars out of seven!
 
 
 
 GARRY'S MOD  
 
Is this even a game? I don't know. I attached a bunch of thrusters to a fountain and then I made it fly around. Ten stars out of five!   
 

THE END

 
Karma Chameleon for me was one of those songs that I knew the general gist of but had never explicitly listened to. That all changed this week, when I watched the music video about a hundred times and realized I want to become a cross-dresser. 

  
  
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Yesterday I Played Solar 2 Instead of Sleeping

Spoiler Warning: You should buy this game.

So, the other day I was sitting around on the street with my buddies drinking peach punch when I saw some fat kid trying to ride a scooter. I turned to my friends and said, "Man, I want to play a space universe simulator game that's way more arcade-y than Universe Sandbox." My friends all called me crazy! So, I went on my favourite video games website, Giant Bomb Dot Com, and found a quick look for Solar 2! "My my my," I said, "This looks like the thing for me."

 I heard that people like images, so here you go.

(None of that actually happened.)

So, Solar 2. It's on Steam right now, if you want to buy it. It's like nine bucks. Also, it is awesome! Basically, you play as an asteroid, and you try to become bigger and bigger until you become a black hole and suck up the whole world. "But wait," says the imaginary man in my head, "That only takes about thirty or forty minutes to do! What the heck do I do after that?" Well Jim, don't worry. Solar 2 has this all under control.

Solar 2 is a sandbox game in SPACE! That means that there is a lot you can do! After you bash your asteroid against enough other asteroids until you become a planet, you can grow life on your planet! You can't control your life directly; it just kind of makes space ships and they fly around shooting everything near you. When you're trying to collect asteroids, this is annoying because they shoot all your asteroids, but when you are trying to shoot aliens, this is helpful! As your life kills things, it levels up and becomes more and more badass. At this point, you can go around killing everything you see, or you can suck up enough asteroids to become a star!

 This picture has 5 stars; take from that what you will.

Now, being a star is where shit gets real. As a star, you can have several planets orbit around you, and all those planets can have life. This means you have a ton of little space ships flying around your system ready to fuck up anything that tries to mess with you. (The only problem with that is that the space ships have very bad pilots, meaning they will run into your planets if you move your system too quickly. That must be pretty fucking embarrassing for a pilot, running into a planet. Though, it is pretty funny to watch.) It seems like as you get bigger and more powerful, the game would get a lot easier. That is not so! As you progress, there is just more and more to manage, as all your planets need to suck up asteroids to become bigger, while also avoiding asteroids that are about to hit them. And then, if one of your planets becomes a star, then you can have two stars and ten friggin' planets to manage! That is a lot.

But, if just making big shit and running around aimlessly  isn't your thing, you are crazy you have other options in Solar 2! There are also missions you can take on, and while these may not seem awesome at first (I didn't do any of them for my first 2 hours of play), they are actually pretty fun if you don't feel like just fucking around as a planet anymore. The Steam achievements, while a weird thing to call out, are actually pretty cool and encourage you to do some fun stuff, so check those out too. That is, only when you are done becoming a large star and then holding down the left arrow key until you collect like eight planets and then crash into a bigger system. Because you should do that first, it's pretty fun.

In conclusion, Solar 2 is a good fun game and you should buy it unless you hate fun.

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A Thing about Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

 Hey! I'm Mike Blackwell. About three weeks ago, I decided I wanted to write something about Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. But, it turned out I really didn't have much to say about it! So I decided to just write and keep writing until something interested came out. Well, nothing did. I'm not going to go back and re-read and/or edit this, so you can enjoy for yourself the ridiculous ramblings of a man who can't decide what he really wants to say. I hope you enjoy this piece, and all the broken analogies and broken dreams included within. Also I think I should mention that on top of all that it's actually not finished and ends rather abruptly. I would attempt to finish it but that would involve figuring where it was actually going in the first place.

I both love and hate Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. That's not actually true, but I felt it was the best way to start this. I'm not very good at coming up with intros it seems. Anyways, I really like Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, or AssBro as I will now be calling it. To me, this is a game based purely on things that don't mean anything. AssBro is Progress Quest but with gameplay. Now, how can that be, you may ask. Obviously, the nearest to a Progress-Quest-but-actually-a-game would have to be World of Warcraft. Well, that's true. That's also not true.

You see, to someone out there, World of Warcraft means something. Actually, to a lot of people out there, World of Warcraft means something. While World of Warcraft is basically a game about grinding, there is an element of showing people the shit you've got, and being like "Hey my shit is a higher number so I'm better." In that way, it goes beyond Progress Quest. Yes, it has a lot of the same trappings: the leveling up, the collection of spells, etc, but it means more. On the other hand, AssBro means nothing. Absolutely nothing. When you kill a dude and get better armour in WoW, you can kill better dudes easier. That is a thing you get. In AssBro, you don't get that. You run around and buy shops and collect flags, all so that your number (the percentage in the Stats screen) can go up. Yes, you get better armour/weapons out of this. But they don't play nearly as large of a role as they do in WoW.

I've spent twenty hours playing AssBro. I haven't beat it yet. To be honest, I don't really want to beat it. Not because I'm one of those "Man, whenever I beat a game I'll never come back to it" people, but just because I don't particularly care about the story missions anymore. I just like climbing around and getting treasure. I have bought every shop, and the armour and weapons are the best I could get. I just like treasure. I like flags. I don't even care about the percentage number. In fact, I take back all the shit I said about Progress Quest.

This game is more like walking in a park. You feel like you're getting something done, but in actuality all you're really doing is walking around. You're not even trying to get anywhere really. But you feel better afterwards. I don't actually know if this is the mentality of people who walk in parks. I personally am not much of a guy who walks in a park. But if I did, I know I would probably feel better afterwards. All you've really done is walk around in a circle, but you feel like you've bettered yourself as a person because you walked around outside and got some fresh air. Of course, I don't get fresh air from playing AssBro. I get flags, which are almost as good.

I don't like the story missions in AssBro. I think you might have been able to tell this by what I have written so far. To me, this game isn't about that. The story missions are like if someone put up a bunch of walls in my park to set up a very specific path. And then they had a squirrel walk around between these walls. I have to follow the squirrel without the squirrel seeing me, because if this squirrel sees me then I have to go back to the start. But, being a squirrel, it doesn't really know where its going and likes to stop and turn around a lot, causing me to change my position or get caught. And then after a certain amount of time, I have to try to chase the squirrel. This is hard, because the squirrel is faster than me, but at an arbitrary point someone I can't see shoots the squirrel to let me catch up. And sometimes when I chase the squirrel I'm on a horse. Okay, I think I lost this analogy somewhere.

Chasing dudes on horses in this game kind of sucks. Chasing dudes not on horses in this game kind of sucks too. The climbing controls work perfectly well, if you are not trying to get anywhere specific. If you say, "I want to get on top of that building over there", then you can get on top of that building over there with relative ease. But if you say, "I want to get on top of that very specific platform right now because that is where the race marker is", then it doesn't work as well.

These are the very definition of loose controls. In fact, I barely want to call them "controls". I never really feel like I'm in full control of Ezio. I'm just a navigator. I tell him where he should be going, and he figures out the rest. All I am there for is to look at the map and point out where the treasure is, then hold in a direction. Sometimes Ezio will fuck up. That's okay, he's only human. While most of the time he jumps off the buildings waving his arms in the way on the way to certain death (sorry, "desynchronization") I rarely feel it's my fault. But I don't really get frustrated by it either. That's a lie. I have gotten very frustrated at this game in the past. But, I have realized since that I shouldn't, and so I don't.

There are some story missions that are good. I'll give them that. While most of them are the "follow this man until we tell you to kill him and then kill him", a few of them stand out. Mainly the ones that involve sneaking past a bunch of guards to get to a place. These can be pretty cool, even though I'm really terrible at them. Sometimes, they let me fuck up and get away with it. Sometimes they don't. I prefer it when they do.

From my perspective of Ezio, he seems like the kind of dude who is stealthy only as a formality. I know (and he knows) that he can just jump out and kill as these fools if he wants, because he often does. I get a weird sense of pleasure when I fall off a building and am spotted by a guard who I then have to kill to make them shut up. I don't like it when I fall off a building and am spotted by a guard which causes me to restart the mission. This may be because I am no good at not falling off buildings. And by "may be", I mean is.

Since writing that last paragraph I have left and beat the game. This is necessary information (I think). I'm going to talk about the end of the game now, so if you don't want to hear about it then you should probably get the heck out. Actually, I'm not going to talk about the end of the game yet, you can stay. Not for long though.

Anyways, as I was doing the third (fourth?) last mission in the game, I got distracted. Not by laundry or something like, but by another thing in the game. This is awesome. At least, I think this is awesome. Well, what happened was awesome. So, I was doing the mission where I was climbing around the Castel St. Angelo (that may or may not be it's name, I am not going to check) trying to catch Cesare. I was climbing out of a window when I realized: wait, I am really close to the top if this castle, I could climb to the top and get to the Borgia flag there right now. And I did.

That was my favourite moment of any game this year. And last year. Maybe ever? I haven't decided yet (and I never will). (Future Note: I have since experienced an even better moment in Deadly Premonition, but we won't get into that now) I climbed to the top of this castle, right up to the very top; the highest point in the whole game. Then I looked around, and I was like daaaamn. Just looking at the city: all the places I had been; all the buildings I had climbed up, and conversely fallen off later. I was moved. This wasn't a story moment. This wasn't a game taking me down a pre-determined path and then flashing back to all the things it had told me to do. This was me looking back on what I had done. The city looked so much smaller from up there. No, it wasn't that impressive, visually speaking. It was just cool. I stayed up there for about five minutes, and then I went down and completed the game.

The end of the game was dumb. No, not the very end, because as soon as you start playing as Desmond it becomes cool again. But the last couple of missions where you play as Ezio are dumb. Dumb awesome. From a "Hey, I'm designing a cool game" standpoint, I don't think they are very good. But, they ended up being really cool. Well, for me they did. The key to these missions (SPOILERS HERE) is that you now have the Apple of Eden, and you can use it to turn soldiers against each other. There are a bunch of guards, and you have to kill a couple specific ones. Now, what I did was just immediately call in all my assassin friends, infect everyone with "Hey, let's kill eachother" juice, and then just walk around and watch as the area turned into a giant clusterfuck of killing. Eventually, the dudes I wanted to die would die, and then the mission would be done.

Hey! Back in Sane Town again. Actually I think I might have overstated the craziness of this article, because while scrolling down in order to write this outro I saw some bits that I remember really enjoying writing. So that's a thing. Thank you and Good Night!
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I ordered Deadly Premonition (And it made me realize something)

I have just ordered Deadly Premonition from Amazon. I think this action really epitomizes the direction my gaming has taken in the last year or so. I started last year as a video game player who liked the same things as most of you. I would always read tons of reviews before getting games, and tended to like the things everyone else liked, and hate the games everyone else hated. I was careful with my money because I didn't want to waste it on a bad game. But, over the last year I have changed. I have started to see games less as a product to buy, and more of an experience.  

  Yes, I am well aware I sound like a crazy hippy man, but I have been inspired in the last year to check out more cult favourites, and more games that I would have just overlooked in the past. I used to love writing reviews, but lately I have changed. Reviews are too product-oriented, too mainstream and "correct" for me. As in, they critique the framerate and the particulars of the story, when all I really like to look at is whether I enjoy the game or not. I don't like nit-picking games. If I wanted to review a game right now, I would have two possible scores: "I enjoyed it" and "I didn't enjoy it".  
 
I am also well aware that according to a lot of people, Deadly Premonition is "a bad game", but I have stopped listening to them by now. I've seen the whole ER, I've heard plenty of people complaining about the game, and I still want to buy it. I know I might get frustrated, but I really don't mind at this point. Swery has struck me as such an honest creator, and someone who is willing to do weird-ass things with his game. I respect that, and I want to play what he has made myself.  
 
I no longer want to buy every game that comes out. I no longer just want a game with consistently good shooting and a mediocre story. I want games that are special in some way. I don't care if they're given a 1-star rating or a 5-star. And I really can't tell if this is a sign of maturity or immaturity. Maybe this is just my form of a teenage rebellious phase. But all I know, is that I just bought Deadly Premonition, and that sure is something.

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Persona 3 FES Endurance Run (Part 29)

 This is going to be a much shorter update than my last, but there is good reason. Normally, when we have a session where not very many noteworthy things happen I wait until we play again before I write the update. But this time, I know for a fact that our next session will have a lot for us to write about, which means the update would either be too long or I'd just forget to write all the stuff that happened this session. So, with that said, here we go!

You know how I just said, we didn't get much done? Well, that was kind of a lie because we totally maxed out our S.Links with two separate people! We only boned one of them though! The one we didn't bone was Drunk Monk. It has taken us literally forever to make it to Rank 10 with Drunk Monk, mostly because we have never had a Persona of the right Arcana to make it go quicker. So, it's kind of a big thing in a weird way that his S.Link is now over. In fact, looking back on it, we started this S.Link in our second week of playing this game! That was late August, and now four fucking months later we are finishing this S.Link. That is absolutely nuts. Anyways, the private investigator he hired found his family for him, so he has decided to go meet his family and beg for their forgiveness. To do this though, he has to get up and walk out of the club, something we had not seen him do ever. It was so weird watching him walk, having exclusively seen him sitting for all this time. He's a lot thinner than I expected.

Speaking of thin, we also Rank 10'd it up with Chihiro! Guess what, we boned. Just like we boned every other chick we have gotten to 10 with (which to be fair, is only two, so they could have changed the pattern without me being that surprised). But I'm getting ahead of myself here, because more stuff happened before we boned! Less interesting stuff, that involves less sex. What happened was Mitsuru called Chihiro and us to the Student Council Office to investigate about the money. Mitsuru told us that she knew Chihiro didn't steal it, but wanted to have a private meeting with us (by us, I mean our character alone, not our character and Chihiro) anyways just for kicks. Chihiro got all jealous about that and was like, "Get away you bitch whore" and ran away to confront the teacher and prove her innocence totally (which I guess would prevent the meeting between Mitsuru and our character. Apparently Chihiro doesn't quite understand that we live in the same dorm as Mitsuru, and could totally just meet with her anyways, and probably already would have if we were so inclined).

So, Chihiro confronted the teacher, and he revealed that he had spent all the money on a taxi ride, but didn't tell anyone because he was embarrassed. Mitsuru got pissed about this and wanted to sue the teacher, but Chihiro didn't want to, because this ordeal had let us and her become a lot closer. (Full Disclosure: I don't know if she actually said that (I honestly don't remember), but it sounds like something she would say, doesn't it?) Then, she took us to her house when her mom was at work and we totally did it. Or at least, I like to think that we did.

We also hung out with Aigis some more! It seems that her whole arc is going to involve this grandma lady and her cat, and she's going to learn how to become more human from these experiences. Mewlie (the cat we found for the lady before) has run away again, but the lady believes that it won't come back this time because it has gone off to go die. How sad! Now this lady is all alone. Well, except for her grandson, but he's a dick. We saw him being an asshole to grandma lady, so Aigis went over and tried to start some business with him. He responded by trying to ask her out, but she didn't really get it and then the dude left. I feel now is a good time to say that I feel whoever did Aigis' robot voice did a really good job. She still sounds robotic, but she sounds a lot more human than Fuuka.

We had another opportunity to hang out with Aigis as well, but this was outside of S.Linking. It all started off with our character going to his "Future Consultation" which is when you have a chat with your teacher about your future. The game asked us if we were going to college or not and then the teacher spouted some vague, ambiguous nonsense that didn't relate to our answer because they didn't want to record two separate bits just for this stupid consultation. Anyways, once we were done that, the teacher sent us to find Aigis for her consultation. Now, this raises some key questions. First, something that Levi pointed out, is the question of what order is this teacher conducting these interviews in? How would there be any kind of list where our name comes up right before Aigis'? Unless our name was Aardvark, this seems impossible. Also, we end up finding Aigis on the school roof. So, does that mean this is happening after school? How do they know all the kids will stay at the school instead of just leaving? Or is everyone else in the classroom and Aigis just snuck out because she's a rebel? So many questions.

Anyways, while we were up there we had a touching moment with Aigis where she realized she has become a lot more human, but will still never be fully human. I'm guessing this was probably in the original Persona 3, which lacked the Aigis Social Link, because in this version the whole conversation seems a bit redundant. Yeah, we totally know you want to be human, we've got to Rank 8 with you.

When we got home from that, it seemed like a normal night, with everyone just sitting around the dorm doing nothing. So, we did as we normally do, which is talk to everyone and see what nonsense comes out of their mouth. But, for some reason all anyone could talk about was Koromaru (AKA Dogmund), and how we should feed him a lot so he is ready for the battle. I read this as some sort of hint that we would need Koromaru to defeat the Final Boss, but Levi disagreed just thinking that the game was trying to be weird. I could not be persuaded though, and insisted we should go to Tartarus to level up Dogmund since he's about twenty levels lower than us. We started doing this, took fifteen minutes to raise him three levels, and then got bored of fighting and left. You can't really blame us, we've been fighting in Tartarus for so long that spending more time grinding in there just to level up some character based on a retarded hint is just too much for us now. So, if that was a hint, then we fucking failed and now we're never going to beat the game. But I still stand by my decision to leave!

Wow, that was actually a lot longer than I expected. Well, since I have become so skilled at writing so much about so little, prepare for a million word update next time when stuff actually happens! See you next time! Bye!    

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