On review scores, exclusives, and Nintendo

Review Scores

There are a few things that I have always found strange in gaming reviews, mainly how many sites come up with their score. In some cases the confusion stems from a review that either notes several flaws then receives a "9.5" or something to that effect. Other times reviewers will barely or not at all critique the game; they'll basically just describe what it is, much like a high school english essay that lacks an argument except the conclusion is a sudden 5/5.

It has come to be something I expect whenever I check out metacritic just out of curiosity. It has forced me to rely on a few certain sites that I feel give me a real look at what the game is offering.

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I and many others don't see metacritic scores as a good evaluation of a game, but I do often check it just to see what the scoring consensus seems to be. I could be completely off base here in noticing a huge decline in scoring this year. Which has me asking, have reviewers started realizing that a game doesn't have to be a 9/10 or 5/5 in order to be considered good or even great? Or has it simply been that this year is a weaker year for game releases, perhaps a more disappointing one for games that were hyped?

I'd like to think it's the former, when I see games like Shadows of Mordor, which seems to be widely considered a top game of the year candidate receive reviews mostly in the 80% spectrum (once again according to the ever unreliable source of Metacritic). I'm seeing this as maybe a movement toward a more realistic grading scheme where 5/10 is something completely average or derivative and adds nothing new to gaming or the genre it's in, while a 6/10 or 7/10 would be something that certain people may enjoy quite a bit, but reading the review can show just who it would appeal to. Most importantly a 10/10 would be near impossible to achieve as this would actually mean a game is without any flaws in any way. That's a spectrum I'd love to see game reviews head towards in the future and hope that's the current direction.

Exclusives and Nintendo

As the year has almost come to a close and many of the big games have been released or are about to be, it also means a chance for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to display their exclusives from this year in hopes to bolster system sales.

Sony has been the big seller so far and they really came out of the gates this year with InFamous: Second Son (as well as First Light), LittleBigPlanet 3 and uh... The Last of us Remastered... Killzone, I guess?

Microsoft wanted to show everyone that the Xbox One had the best games out there with Sunset Overdrive, Halo: Master Chief Collection (is that working properly yet?), Project Spark (that came out, right?), Forza Horizon 2, Titanfall (available on PC), the other Forza, and Dead Rising 3 (available on PC).

Okay, I'm getting at something with all this snark... Let's take a look at the Wii U:

Super Smash Bros, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, NES remix 2 and Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

Now let's take a look at the Wii U exclusives from last year:

Super Mario 3D World, NES Remix, Wind Waker HD, The Wonderful 101, New Super Mario U (with the superior Luigi standalone), Lego City: Undercover, Pikmin 3, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, ZombiU, and Nintendoland.

ho ho ho...?
ho ho ho...?

Do you see my point at all? The Wii U came out a year ahead of time with many complaining that the lineup was weak. In my opinion, that's a pretty good lookin year especially in comparison to what the Xbox One and PS4 have offered us early adopters so far. A lot of people aren't looking for Nintendo style games anymore they want their realistic and gritty atmosphere that you can only get with LittleBigPlanet 3 and... Project Spark... Let's be real, they want the blood and they want to shoot things, primarily.

So what really hurt Nintendo? Releasing a year early, those poor first year sales hindered any hope of third party support. I mean Watch Dogs is just getting released now for fucks sakes. Besides Platinum every non-Nintendo affiliated studio has put them on the back burner which we saw quite quickly with Rayman Legends. There's certainly a possibility that this still may have happened because of the lower graphic capabilities, but there seemed to be a lot more promise from 3rd parties before release that evaporated after the shaky launch sales. I feel Nintendo certainly has the greatest lineup of exclusives, but it seems it's too late for them to hang with heavyweights after that early launch.

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Why Metal Gear Solid is technically a bad stealth game. (unfinished)

It's no secret that Metal Gear Solid is a huge series influential in the stealth genre as well as games in general due to its highly cinematic nature. Noted recently by the trailer for The Phantom Pain having a number of well known names in game design and Hollywood essentially circle jerking about how great and ingenious Metal Gear Solid and its creator Hideo Kojima is.

There's absolutely no doubt that these games are cinematic and by all intents and purposes I was blown away by the cinematic elements in Guns of the Patriots, and had no problem with it containing little gameplay in comparison to the vast amounts of story telling.

The first game received high praise being called a master piece and other such things, and as a pure game I still believe it is in the best in the series because it actually gives you an understanding on how to sneak around without being detected. It may be a little too easy with its isometric angle and being able to see enemy view range. What you'll notice that as we moved on in years with Snake and buck naked Raiden, the gameplay didn't really feel all that different. It's still virtually the same controls bolstered by some new mechanics here and there. Hiding in tall grass in Snake Eater or the camo suit cop-out in Guns of the Patriots being chief among these. I call the camo suit a cop out due to the fact that it tries to cover up its flaws by letting you just lie still and have that be considered hiding.

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Why Metal Gear Solid is technically a bad stealth game.

It's no secret that Metal Gear Solid is a huge series influential in the stealth genre as well as games in general due to its highly cinematic nature. Noted recently by the trailer for The Phantom Pain displaying a number of well known names in game design and Hollywood essentially circle jerking about how great and ingenious Metal Gear Solid and its creator Hideo Kojima is.

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Are we all becoming allergic to fun?

After many years spent in chat rooms and forums dealing with games it has become evidently clear to me that game enthusiasts who frequent said forums and chat rooms have become in lack of a better way to put it, allergic to fun. There is a large majority of "gamers" who now look for a certain level of sophistication in games which is fine, but it seems like more and more they are no longer willing to embrace the silly and fun games, so they are now in decline. I am talking about games like Bayonetta and more recently Shadows of the Damned, which embraces B movies and silly juvenile humor in an extremely self aware way. Playing through this game has made me realize just how much I missed games that don't take themselves super seriously and hell don't even mind making a few dick jokes along the way (minus Duke Nukem, which is also allergic to fun). Pretty much this is me saying embrace the silly fun B movie games, that way we can be refreshed with more of them rather than be graced with the occasional Suda 51 trip.

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Going on Vacation

I'm on my way to Hawaii tomorrow morning, with no phone or anything that can really browse the web well.  To be honest I am actually kind of excited for the 10 hours combined of plane and airport time just catch up on my handheld gaming and to hopefully street pass some people for the first time. Here are the games I am bringing:

3DS/DS games:

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Super Street Fight IV (3DS)
Ghost Recon: Shadow Warrior (3DS)
Lego Star Wars 3: The Clone Wars (3DS)
Final Fantasy IV (DS)
The Legend Of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS)
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS)

I have a PSP, but I really don't feel the need to bring it along, but maybe I will.

I thought I would just post a little update of what I'm doing I am currently working on my next review/blog thing that I have been calling Going Back, my last/first one was Persona 3 (read it here).  The game I am currently working my way through is The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a stipulation that I've decided to make myself do before I can say I have finished it is get it 100% complete meaning all masks and items.  I am not very far into it yet just finished the first temple, but I can say that I am
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enjoying it for  the most part so far.  I have also decided that my next game for this will be Deus Ex, a game I bought a long time ago and never really got around to playing.

I'm also kind of excited at the prospect of all the Whiskey Media content I will have to catch up on upon my return. Anyways, I will be back in just over a week, check you all later.

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Going Back: Persona 3

     This is my first in what I am hoping will be many installments of what I am calling, Going Back which is pretty much just me going back to games that are older and considered to be great, but I either never got around to beating them or just couldn't get into them when I initially purchased them.  I am just going to talk about my experience and really whether or not I enjoyed my time with the game.  My 1st installment is Persona 3 a very beloved game and franchise especially by the community here.  Before I begin I just want to say for this particular game I bought it when it first came out and just couldn't get into it and granted that was about 4 years ago which to some people may not seem like very long, but being born in 92 that is a 14 year old trying to play vs now an 18 year old playing through it.  I think I was just interested in it back then because it was rated M and these characters summon crazy creature by shooting themselves.  It can go without saying that I appreciated it much more now than I ever could back  then. 

 Many hours spent talking to this man.
 Many hours spent talking to this man.


    When I first played persona back in 2007 I didn't really have any interest in a game like Persona 3 and although i had liked many RPGs and JRPGS at the time the way this game had presented itself to me, the pre-teen that I was made me almost lose interest immediately.  My clearest memory of playing back then was seeing that when I was in tartarus and doing a bit of grinding my companions got tired, not being able to hang out in a dungeon and grind for as long as I felt like was pretty much the final straw to me back then and I never touched the game again, and I didn't really even see any of the story or social link aspects of it.

     It is scary to think about how much I have changed over the past 4 years not just in how I play games, but just everything about me.  With this change along with a craving for a long deep RPG, Persona 3 seemed like a great choice, and I was right.  It is hard for me to put in words just how much I enjoyed this game, in fact I don't think I have ever felt so attached to a game besides my nostalgic views of games like Ocarina of Time.  In the beginning the game is tough to understand because the social links are the best part of the day and to do a lot of them you must get your 3 attributes up: courage, academics, and charm.  The only way to get these attributes up in quick manner is to do things at night like karaoke, but night is also the time to go to tartarus and grind.  For a while I had put more focus on the grinding then the attributes and this was my one big with regret with my play-through, although, I eventually learned you only need to go a couple days a week i had already missed many months of time that could have been spent improving my attributes and what not.  This is regretful since I did not get everyone to the
Yeah, you do a lot of this.
Yeah, you do a lot of this.
max social link, which I guess is the reason that they offer a new game +, which is something I am seriously considering doing.  The fact that I am willing to go through that huge game right after I played speaks just to how good this game is and how it managed to make feel emotionally attached to it supporting cast of characters.  I did eventually get into a routine of what to do everyday until I got my my attributes to max and still got a decent amount of linking done.  As far as the combat goes it is fairly standard turn based Pokemon style combat which worked just fine, although, the lack of direct control over your party at times frustrating it wasn't the worst and it is a problem they addressed in the next game.  Fusing was something that I generally enjoyed even though most of the time it was kind of a shot in the dark when deciding what persona would fuse well, this is something that is already well documented in the Endurance Run of Persona 4.  The overall darkness of the story was welcome to me and the turn the game takes in the last couple of months is completely unexpected even though pacing becomes kind of iffy at that point, it did not matter since I was completely enthralled at that point.  So in the last couple months preparing for the final battle I just said "Fuck It" and decided I would level my guy to 99 just for the sake of it and it didn't take very long after finding out the absolutely Armageddon combination spell with Lucifer and Satan in combination with Lucifers victory cry passive trait leveling became very fast.  I kind of regret in someways going to the max level since it bumps your HP and Sp to 999, needless to say I found the final encounters to be no issue at all whatsoever.  The final cut-scene and epilogue though where satisfying enough and I am trying not spoil too much of anything, but I got choked up at the end/epilogue this is the first time to my knowledge that a game
Death. Watch out for this fucker.
Death. Watch out for this fucker.
has hit any chord with me emotionally and that's why I am glad I went back to this game and got to experience that.  I will remember Persona 3 just as fondly as the games of my childhood and am surprised to hear myself saying this, but I can easily call this one of my favorite games of all time.  It is crazy to say this, but I spent so much time with this game and now that I am done I think I may actually miss it.

Just a recap of what I finished with in the game:
Playtime: 92 hours
Attrtibutes Maxed
Level 99
Highest Persona: Lucifer level 99
Max Social Links: Fool, Magician, Empress, Lovers, Chariot, Hermit, Hanged Man, Death, Devil, Star, Sun, and Judgement
Main Party:  Akihiko,  Mitsuru, and Junpei

I hope this was something worth reading and as far what the next game I will play is, all I am going to say is that I think I am going to back to the N64 for it.  If you're interested in looking at some other possible games that I may play I do have list of backlog games, although, it needs to be updated quite a bit still.  If you want to suggest an obscure game feel free to do so in the comments or PM me, either is fine.  
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My Decent into Madness via Starcraft 2

I am about to descend into madness here I bought SC2 when it came out and never really touched it because I never had the time to play it.  So today I though I would just jump into the online since I played a shitload of the original and brood war.  Well needless to say I've been getting worked it feels as if I have never played this game before.  Using terran like I did in the original has been brutal so I've made the natural change to Protoss the noob friendly race as i understand and am still getting my shit wrecked.  I feel so incompetent at a series that I once was able to play pretty damn good if i remember correctly which is as you would expect infuriating . SO Now from this day onward I vow to rigoursly play Starcraft 2 until I become competent, this will likely be the end of me so I bid you all farewell.

6 Comments

A Journey through Titan Quest

I just bought the Titan Quest Gold pack on steam for no particular reason other than to get some clicking action. I was think about doing something along the line of an Endurance Run while playing through it, right now I'm just looking for suggestions on what I should do, how I should do it, should I do a different game and would you guys be at all interested?

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Moon

I watched Moon again a few nights ago and I must say this movie is better than any of the movies nominated for best picture at the Oscars and Sam Rockwell Performance is one of the most memorable performances since Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange, you guys have any thoughts about this movie getting no credit from academy?

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She Wants Revenge

So I dont know if any of you folks have heard of the band She Wants Revenge, if not  watch video below.

  
Okay so that's She Wants Revenge, now its pretty much bluntley obvious that these guys are ripping off  Joy Division.  To me its pretty clear that these guys are trying to do what Interpol and Editors do, but it just seems like like Interpol kind of draws inspiration from Bands like Joy Division where as She Wants Revenge is trying to just copy them.  For the most part I actually like it everything is pretty good except for the lyrics which seem less joy division more like some pretentious emo band (30 seconds to mars), anyway I'm interested to see what you guys have to say about it.
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