Friday, January 11, 2013

One of the bigest arguements in the video gaming community is to buy games new or used. I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of each side; this is a blog, not an editorial. I will tell you that I am for the selling of used games, forever and ever, amen. Course there won't be used games when everthing goes digital in the near future, but as of right now when you can get physical disks or cartridges, I almost always buy used.
Yeah, I know, the developers don't get money for used games. I'm not trying stick it to them. I will buy new games if they are a reasonable price, which for me is 5 to 20 dollars. There will be snowball fights in hell before I ever pay 60 dollars for a video game, no matter how wonderful a game is. Besides, wait long enough and the price will go down. I can wait, I am a patient man. (Not really, I just wanted to type the proceeding sentence, it looks cool.)
So, used games. Since I am frugal (or a cheapskate, depending on your view) I have many, many more games than if I paid full price for them. Of course, many of them I've barely played, but that's beside the point. I think. Plus I will buy games that have gotten horrible reviews to see for myself if they are indeed that horrible. Games like Duke Nukem Forever and Legendary can be viewed from an entirely different angle if you pay only 5 for them used instead of 60. For the record, I'm kinda liking both these games, but again, I paid only 5...also, I am very easily entertained.
Don't even get me started on DLC. Yes, you can choose whether or not to buy it, but the fact remains you are paying extra for stuff that should be on the disk in the first place. Point being, DLC makes me a little annoyed at the developers for doing this, which edges me ever closer to buying used games.
Which side do you fall? Am I being an asshat for mostly buying used?

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Monday, January 7, 2013

Blood on my (virtual) hands

In the early 90's I owned a little console called the Turbografx 16. It was not nearly as well known as the Super Nintendo or the Sega Genesis, but it was a nice little console with a handfull of good games. One of those games was Splatterhouse.
Of course I owned and played the game. It was pretty grotesque at the time. You play a character who plays a Jason wannabe, wearing a "terror mask", punching, kicking and chopping various monsters that come at you. You moved to the right, the monsters came at you from the left. You also had to avoid varoius sharp, pointy things.
Pretty standard stuff for the time. But what wasn't was the various bloody body parts and hanging corpses, and the strong horror vibe that permeated the game. Much different from the cutesy platformers that dominated the market at the time. There were also gruesome, imaginative bosses to fight at the end each level.
Of course, I loved the game to death. I played it a lot, even though it was a hard as nails game.  Two sequels followed, but I never played them. My TG 16 unfortunately got broken, and unable to find another one, I sold off the games, including Splatterhouse. I missed the game.
Fast forward about 20 years, and Splatterhouse returns from the dead. I was elated to hear about the game, and even though it did not get great reviews, I still wanted to get my hands on the game. Recently I did, and of cours, I love it.
Of course with the the technology today, the game is much more robust. There is still a terror mask (that talks!) and you play a muslebound character that pummels monsters into goo. But there is much more than that:incredible graphics, heavy metal background music (yes!), dozens of moves you can unlock the more blood you spill, an actual storyline, and you can unlock all three previous Splaterhouse games.
The game is ultra violent, and lots of blood is spilled, but it's so over the top that it's almost cartoonish, and all the violence is perpetrated on monsters that are trying to kill you. Fortunately, you have a Wolverine caliber healing ability that the mask you which makes you hard to kill.
Still, this M rated game is very definately not for kids. There is a lot of profanity (mostly from the terror mask, although it has a lot of hilarious one-liners), lots of blood, of course, and even some nudity. But don't most horror movies have those?
Survival horror is all well and good, but sometimes it's nice to kick a little monster ass. Splatterhouse is back, baby, and I couldn't be happier.

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Got a PSP and some games to go with it

Although I have gotten a XBox 360 and love the thing to death, I have also been lucky enough to aquire a PSP 3000, which I also love. Bought used, of course. Thing is, it's harder to find PSP games than I thought. A lot of Gamestops have stopped selling anything related to the PSP, and although you can still find DS games at most other chain stores, these same stores don't sell PSP games. I didn't realize that at the time I got the PSP...oops.
Fortunately, I have found a bunch of good games for the handheld. Some of them are as follows:
Kingdom Hearts:Birth By Sleep-yet another entry in the increasing convoluted Kingdom Hearts saga, this is a great looking and great playing action RPG. (But c'mon, SquareEnix, where is Kingdom Hearts 3 already?)
The 3rd Birthday-The third entry in the Parasite Eve series, this game is very different from the first two plays like a third person shooter, but with some very interesting ideas added.
Alien Syndrome-Basically a dungeon hack and slash with aliens and guns instead of swords and monsters, but it works really well.
Untold Legends:The Warriors Code-a more typical dungeon hack and slasher. Nothing wrong with that.
Dantes Inferno-it may be a God of War clone , but it's a GOOD God of War clone.
Darkstalkers Chronicle:The Chaos Tower-all three Darkstalkers 2D fighting games on one disk. Sweet.
Killzone:Liberation-a top down shooter instead of a first person shooter? I thought it wouldn't be any good at first...then I played it. I was wrong.
Kingdom of Paradise: Kingdom of Wha? This is a hidden gem, an action RPG with a very cool fighting system.
Crisis Core:Final Fantasy VII-holy crap, this game is on a handheld? A great game for anyone who loves FF VII (as I do), and a great action RPG in general.
God of War:Chains of Olympus-a GOW game on the PSP. Nuff said.
Lord of Arcana:basically Monster Hunter. Not a bad thing at all.
Resistance:Retribution-I have not played any of the PS3 trilogy, but OMG this game is awesome!
Pursuit Force:Extreme Justice-the sequel to..well, Pursuit Force. Silly name, great game.
Full Auto 2:Battlelines-racing cars+weapons=fun.
Gradius Collection-5 game emulations of the classic arcade series. Shmup bliss.
Patapon-a very surreal rhythm/strategy/action game mash-up. Works really well, though.
Ratchet and Clank:Size Matters-the dynamic duo on a handheld.  Like the other games in the series, great stuff.
I will probably review several of these games in future blogs. You have been warned.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

into The Darkness

I've been wanting to play The Darkness for a long time, and finally have the chance. I'm a fan of the comic the game is based on, and although there are some (unavoidable) differences, I've played a couple hours in and can sum it up in one word.
The level of detail in the graphics is incredible. I feel like I am in the game world, and not just a pair of floating hands (and occasional tentacles and serpent heads). The voice acting is top notch, the music is phenominal, the story is interesting and mature, and not in that blood and naked girls sort of way.
The meat of the game, the gunplay and use of Darkness powers, is done very well. I have yet to aquire some of the cooler abilities, but still feel like a badass. But you can't just go in guns blazing and rely on your Darkness powers, as light is your enemy and will drain you, while shadows are your friend.
Looking forward to playing more of this great game. Anyone else played The Darkness?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Broken, Beaten, Scarred

     It's not been a very good several weeks. I won't get into the details, all I will say is that very bad things have happened recently. Christmas day was a welcome respite, a very nice respite, but the darkness has fallen again. Speaking of which, it's the time of year where it gets dark at 4 pm. LOVE that.>sarcasm<
      Depression, cold, darkness. It's at times like this that I'm glad I have videogames to play. To be able to be another person, in another world, for a little while. Of course one cannot truly be immersed in video games, to play for long hours at a time and truly lose sense of self. No matter how bad things get, I have to deal with the real world.
     I would like to believe that instead of binge drinking or taking several forms of drugs, my self medication is video games, as it probably is for many others. I fully believe that excessive game playing can be very detrimental, as bad as booze or drugs. If video games take over your life, then you are an addict and need help.
     Immersing yourself in a book or movie is a wonderful way to get away from how truly bad life can be. Videogames are special in that you can be the hero, perhaps even save the world. That can make anyone feel better, at least for little while.
     Plus, headshots can be so cathartic.
    By the way, the title refers to a Metallica song, which I believe is about no matter how much life beats you down, you won't give up without a fight.    

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Keep it simple, stupid

In my day, games were simple. Simple graphics, simple gameplay. Of course, they had to be, by necessity. Back then video games were in their infancy (although some say they still are.) But for the most part, the games were still fun. Well, a lot were.

Nowadays, games have to contain everything but the kitchen sink. A playtime of at least 40 hours, multiplayer, achievements or trophies, voice acting, state of the art graphics and sound, and a novel length story. Granted, new games cost 60 dollars this generation, but back in the day Nintendo games could cost up to 40 dollars. That's just 20 dollars cheaper than games today, minus, well, just about everything the bloated games of today have.

It seems like gamers today, especially this generation, are asking for more, more, more in thier games. Enjoyment and fun have taken a back seat to how much is crammed into the game. Game reviewers are notorious for this, knocking a game if it doesn't have this, that, or the other damn thing.

Call me old-fashioned, but gamers today expect too much from their games. There is a difference between games that are simply bad and games that people hate because they don't have "robust" multiplayer. What matters is if a game is enjoyable to play, and people seem to be losing sight of this. I've seen games that were good but simple in concept lose to huge open world games where you can do 300 boring things. But hey, open world! So many inane things you can do!

Simple can be fun. Too bad so many people have forgotten this.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Two Sides of the Horror Coin, Part 2:Eternal Darkness:Sanity's Requiem

Imagine a game that combines Resident Evil (prior to RE 5) with the stories of HP Lovecraft. Sounds cool, right? Well, Eternal Darkness:Sanity's Requiem is even better than that. One of the very few M Rated games for the Gamecube, Eternal Darkness:Sanity's Requiem (one of the best videogame titles ever, IMHO), is a horror game that transends space and time to weave an engrossing story. That's not hyperbol; the story extends over thousands of years and takes place all over the world. It begins in the present day (well, the year 2000, but close enough). Alexandra Roivas gets a call that her grandfather has been gruesomely murdered in a locked room (poor guy lost his head) and goes to his estate in Rhode Island in order to help the police find out who, or what, killed him. Exploring the mansion in order to find any clues, she comes upon the Book of Eternal Darkness. Reading it, the book tells the tragic stories of several people who have come in contact with the book and their horrible fates. Some of the pages have been torn from the book, and Alexandra finds them as she explores the mansion. The characters in the stories, all of whom you you control as their tale unfolds, are touched by a supernatural evil. And soon, Alexandra finds that she may be the only one able to stop the coming darkness and the destuction of mankind... I don't want to say much about Eternal Darkness' story, except to say that it is excellent and genuinely terrifying. You will fight gruesome horrors (the RE influence) and steadily lose your mind as you do so (the Lovecraft influence), There is much more, but again, I don't want to give anything away. The sanity meter and what happens as your sanity drains away has been been much hyped about, and it is a cool concept. Basically, the game will screw with your mind; at one point, I thought I had accidentally deleted my saved game and was actually pissed about it, until I realized that, yes, the game was screwing with me. The fact that I actually believed it for a moment is a testament as to just how imgenius this game is. The graphics are unifomaly excellent, and help draw you into the game world. The music, too, is very well done,. Very eerie, as it should be. Throughout the course of the game you will also learn magic spells that will give an edge against the coming evil, and believe me, you will need them. If you like horror games at all, I strongly recommend Eternal Darkness. Hell, if you like good games, you should play this. Just try not to be too might lose your mind forever. Oh, the horror, the horror....