Happy Monday Duders - Skynyrd, Scary Games, and Molyneux 02/09/15

Amazed by how well those lyrics fit into this weeks theme.
Amazed by how well those lyrics fit into this weeks theme.

Ooh, ooh that smell

Can't you smell that smell?

Ooh, ooh that smell

The smell of death surrounds you.

[Insert Cool Intro Title]

I had to allow prominent southern rockers and personal favorite of Dan Ryckert’s, “Lynyrd Skynyrd” to welcome all of you to HORROR week on Happy Monday Duders. I am glad some of you decided to join me on my trek through what I love in gaming this month and the horror genre is one of those things. Last week I talked about how I traced my love of scary games back to the original Metroid where the atmosphere pulled you into the game in a way that I hadn't been up to that point. After that I moved on to games that are more closely associated with the genre like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and others that popped up (good or bad) during the PS1 era.

Carpenter, the G.O.A.T
Carpenter, the G.O.A.T

I haven’t played many horror games over the last few years so most of my experience dates back to between 1996 and 2005 so while I will talk about a few of my personal favorites that I played a bit of last week there's also a couple of newer games that I picked up recently. When I saw that the “horror' genre was a thing in gaming the PS1 era was upon us and as a huge fan of scary movies with my favorite being the Halloween series, along with George Romero’s earlier work, some of the Alien films, and spotty entries in the Friday the 13th franchise I was excited to see how it translated into video games. As you can tell from my film choices I am not particularly adventurous as it relates to what I like but I know that I’m not super into the extreme gore sub-class so I mostly stick to, and re-watch, what I discovered and really appreciated as a teenager.

I’ll give a swift rundown of my favorite horror games then jump into the breakdown of what I played last week. First I could not make a horror blog without mentioning how awesome Resident Evil used to be and let all of you know that my absolute favorite game of the series and the genre is Resident Evil 2. I feel that it perfected what the first game did and added even more atmosphere with the police station and the constant threat of the Tyrant on your tail as you progress. I love it and while I have enjoyed some of the RE games that have released since, to me, none of them have been able to match the enjoyment that I personally had while playing through 2.

Pyramid Head messed up my part.
Pyramid Head messed up my part.

Next in line is Silent Hill 2; it seems that many people will refer to this one when stating their preferred Silent Hill game and I am no different. Universally adored by critics and fans Silent Hill 2 had excellent characters, an amazing soundtrack/sound design, and it was startlingly creepy in the best ways. I know I mentioned the overall soundtrack but I have to give a little more time to just how amazing the theme of Silent Hill is, it is chilling and so fitting for the series, and could very well be one of the greatest in gaming history. Also, before I move on I want to give a little attention to how much I enjoyed playing Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on the Wii, it did some of the most innovative stuff with a Wii Remote that was ever done on the system so I highly recommend playing it if you can find a copy on the cheap somewhere. It is a cool pseudo adventure game that will keep you guessing throughout.

1. Dying Light

THOUGHTS: I had some lukewarm feelings about this before I actually played it but I wanted to at least give it a chance because despite the myriad of technical issues that Dead Island had I still had a fun time playing around 20 hours of it. After playing nearly that many of Dying Light over the last 7 days I can say that it is a much better game in nearly every way over Dead Island in my opinion. The movement and parkour element are easy to adjust to and while combat doesn’t feel great I feel like the use of traps that can take out a large number of zombies in quick succession add depth and another viable option to defeating a crowd of enemies. I think the transition and changes in design from daytime to nighttime are better in thought than in actual execution because I had a better time running around during the day and exploring instead of being forced to run and hide more at night; so I found myself finding a safe house and just resting up until morning a lot just so I could get back to the stuff that I wanted to do more of.

VERDICT: There are still issues present in Dying Light but it is a much tighter experience than Dead Island was; so if you liked that and are looking for an improved version then I will say definitely try Dying Light.

2. Alien Isolation

My favorite thing about Alien Isolation so far.
My favorite thing about Alien Isolation so far.

THOUGHTS: I wish I could say more about this game but I didn’t get a chance to put enough time into it this week after spending most of it playing Dying Light. As I mention in the intro to this blog I am a fan of the Alien movie franchise with the first being, by far, my favorite so it is nice to be able to explore a game that has that exact same aesthetic. I played roughly 3 hours and had a better time just walking around and checking out the green lighting and CRT’s than anything else that I did. I have had a couple of encounters with the Alien and the synthetic Working Joe’s and after hearing that the game can take 18-22 hours to complete the story I don’t think I will ever finish it.

VERDICT: I will definitely play more of this but I’m not sure that I will be able to finish it even as an enormous fan of the film series. I love being able to explore the ship and I feel a little burnt out on the gameplay after just 4 hours so I can’t imagine how I will feel after multiplying that by 5. The Creative Assembly created a game artistically worthy of the Alien franchise and while I cannot definitively say that it overstays its welcome until I play more but as of right now that seems likely based on the estimations I have seen regarding the time commitment to complete it.

3. Resident Evil 2

Quality Control has always been spotty at Umbrella.
Quality Control has always been spotty at Umbrella.

THOUGHTS: I stated in the opening that this is my favorite game in the horror genre so I decided to play a bit of it on Thursday to see if it holds up because it had been 5 years or more since I've done that and we're nearing 20 years since the first time I finished it in 1997. I'm getting old. The controls are a relic and a product of the era that the game was first released in so if you can stomach playing with “tank controls” and seeing some muddy textures then I feel like you could play through and really enjoy RE2 today.

VERDICT: What are you doing with your life if you haven’t at least played a little of this yet? Also, don’t tell me if you were born after this came out because you will only make me feel older than I already do. As successful as the remaster of RE1 has seemingly been I hope Capcom realizes that it could make a ton of money by putting some effort into doing a remake of 2.

4. The Evil Within

THOUGHTS: Yep. I borrowed my cousin’s copy of this for the PS4 to play a bit of it since the Mikami connection is there and seeing as how he is one of the most recognizable figures in the horror genre and the guy who created Resident Evil. The similarities in design are immediately evident when you start playing Evil Within but I am in the same situation with this that I was with Alien Isolation in that I haven’t played a ton of it yet but with close to the same amount of time in both I will say that I enjoyed and am more likely to return to Alien than this. The gore is cranked up to 10 (which is a turn off for me even in horror movies) and the combat, specifically; the gun-play just feels bad.

VERDICT: I didn't have a lot of fun with it. I hoped when I saw this game announced that it would be a return to form for Mikami in going back to his roots in survival horror but it just feels disjointed. I would like to want to play more of it but there wasn't enough in the story or gameplay that makes me want to play anymore to find out if it gets any better.

THE WEEK AHEAD

SOULS!!!!

Yep. Week 3 of things I fell in love with in gaming will be all about one series; Souls. I have played an insane amount of hours of all three currently released games and plan to return to Dark Souls 2 to play through the DLC that has been released so far after having played around 150 hours of the base game last year. You will learn how I went from absolutely hating Demon’s Souls (going as far as quitting it after 5 hours and not returning to it for years) to coming to the realization of how to play Dark Souls the right way and then returning to Demon’s Souls with a new appreciation of how it was designed.

I want to play the game just inserting this picture in here.
I want to play the game just inserting this picture in here.

I am extremely excited to talk about this topic because this is easily my favorite series from the last generation of gaming so this list is pretty easy to put together but here is what I plan to play in the week ahead.

· Dark Souls 2 DLC

· Dark Souls

· Demon’s Souls

OPINION TIME

Godus and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Kickstarter:

I had a different topic to talk about which I will probably shelve for a future installment of the blog but I noticed something when I was checking out Twitter earlier this morning; everyone is super upset with Godus.

Attempting a
Attempting a "Memory Charm"

Godus was a return to the God Game genre for industry veteran and notorious over-promiser Peter Molyneux. A Kickstarter was launched in 2012 and the game met its goal of $732,510.00 just 2 days before it was to have ended. However, it was revealed by developer 22 Cans that despite meeting that funding amount the team are having trouble living up to what was initially professed. This, as you would expect, has not went over too well with people who either backed the game or gaming journalists with everyone from Jim Sterling to Giant Bomb’s own Alex Navarro weighing in on either the game or Molyneux himself.

I’m not sure how many people were hotly anticipating the release of Godus but at least the idea of Peter Molyneux returning to do a game similar to Populous, which was a game that I played a bit of a number of years ago and enjoyed, was at least a little bit cool. I hadn't been keeping up with the development of the game and had nearly forgotten about it altogether until the news that there was trouble dropped today. I feel bad for the developer honestly, 22 Cans according to reports have been working on this game for the last couple of years without Molyneux who moved on in mid to late 2013 to work on another project. In late January it was revealed by a designer on Godus that it will not be able to deliver on some of the features that were promised in the Kickstarter campaign.

While the game is unquestionably in distress this very well could be the final straw in gamer’s eyes for Molyneux. He persistently over-promises and rarely delivers on the lofty expectations that he helps to set for his own projects. Any goodwill that he built up through the 80’s and 90’s has been overshadowed and we all now take everything he says with a grain of salt. I was a fan of the Fable games and thought Black and White was a neat idea but maybe it is time for the man himself to come to the realization that less is more as it relates to letting the public know what he’s trying to create before he has even created it.

COMMENT REQUEST OF THE WEEK

What is the scariest moment you have ever experienced in a game?

The views and comments on the blog from last week were awesome to see and I want to continue to make this thing grow, into what, I have no idea yet and unlike Peter Molyneux I will not make lofty promises that I can’t keep. BURN!

Thanks so much for reading and have a very Happy Monday Duders!!!!

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