Retaining

deadliest-warrior

Bravo’s series Deadliest Warrior got me thinking about all the great games over the years featuring ninjas, from the classic System 3 game The Last Ninja to various beat ‘em ups. But there is one series I am not a fan of – Ninja Gaiden. It’s just one of several similar games on the way.

I am not a fan of the “dojo game”, the genre typified by Devil May Cry and the God of War series (which is making its way to PS3, along with HD versions of the first two games). However, let me make it clear from the start I am not saying that they are “bad” games – I’m saying that they are not my cup of tea. That’s down to two main factors – the difficulty level and the button combos.

I do not see the challenge in mastering 100-button combos and posting a video on YouTube about it. One of the biggest problems seems to be balance. There is a fine line between rewarding high levels of skill and letting the player get through the game. Too often it seems easier to button bash than to time and execute moves, particularly when the combos rely on exacting timing. And hacking your way through wave after wave of the same enemy soon loses its appeal.

Then there are the puzzles – they rarely progress between simple switches or moving something from A to B. A sequence from the original God of War highlights why Nintendo’s new Demo-play feature (designed to give tips as you play) could work. And if you have not played God of War, consider this next piece a spoiler. A room with a gate can only be left by activating the large pressure pad in the middle of the room, which opens the gate for a short time when Kratos stands on it. But there is no way to get past the gate before it closes again (since you have moved off the pad). The answer is hidden in your inventory – the head of Medusa can be used to turn an enemy to stone, making it easier to kill. Freezing an enemy on the pad lets you get past the gate, but it wasn’t immediately apparent to me and I spent several minutes before the idea dawned on me. If Demo-play can highlight an area of screen or give a clue by suggesting you look in your inventory, it could help guide players through such a puzzle rather than relying on an online guide.

The most promising of this new wave of dojo games looks to be Bayonetta from Platinum Games. The team were responsible for bonkers PS2 beat ‘em up God Hand and the more recent Madworld on Wii, and with a heroine whose hair is a weapon it seems they are trying something different again. But will it get good reviews and sales to match? It seems unlikely, given the competition, and that could be disappointing and discouraging for a team that dares to be different.

 

Motivational Monday: Boss Battles

Trustworthiness demotivational poster
Trustworthiness demotivational poster

Motivational Monday: Boss Battles

Remember those crappy action movies of the 90’s where the good guy would have to plow through hundreds of bad guys and then fight some super tough lieutenant  of the leader only to find out the leader himself was a complete pushover?  That just pissed me off because I always felt if you led a group of bad asses then you better be a really bad ass. Thank goodness in most video games the boss is pretty tough though it is true that some games did have a pretty weak final boss, Fable 2 comes to mind. Also for the most part there was an earlier end boss that was harder to beat than the final boss.

However, what makes final bosses cool is the intro, the setup. These fights should feel final, the curtain has been drawn and it’s just you versus him, her or it. There are many games that have captured this pretty well.

Final Fantasy 7: Sephiroth

I get it, a lot of people are tired of the FF7 talk, but you have to give them credit for presenting the final Sephiroth fight in a grand manner. Sure, Final Fantasy has used angel themed bosses many times, but the mix of the long intro, the orchestra music and his presentation makes you feel like this is it. Unfortunately, with just a few items it is incredibly easy to not only beat Sephiroth, but to neutralize almost all of his attacks, but hey how about that cool music.

God of War: Ares

Don’t you hate it when your father doesn’t acknowledge your accomplishments? While the build up to this specific fight wasn’t as epic as some of the others the fact remains that you are going up against the God of War. After opening Pandora’s Box and going all “E-nuck-chuck” it’s battle time.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – Dracula (Richter)

Dracula is just too cool. I mean he knows even if he’s killed he will be back and ever though Richter has been tearing a hole through his castle to get to him he’s just chilling on his thrown having a drink. He doesn’t even want to fight. Hell he didn’t want to wake up it was those damn presents that woke him.

Ok, so this isn’t a final boss fight per say but is was to represent the end of the previous Castlevania and honestly whenever you go up against Dracula it’s a final boss fight.

P.S. I love his laugh while when he disappears.

Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts – Final boss

This is why I don’t wear my suit of golden armor while writing it just slows me down too much. You have to appreciate an accommodating boss that gives you platforms to jump on to help kill him. What was the grand setup for this boss fight you might ask? Well you had to beat the entire game again to get to him so that’s a cry inducing setup if I ever saw one.

P.S. He looks like Papa Smurf on steroids.

Silent Hill: Final Boss

It’s the power of the womb with that crazy woman with the Mother Teresa scarf on. At the time I thought the cinematic’s for Silent Hill was so cool and now the dialog and voice acting just makes me a sad panda. I love how the cop stands there with her gun pointed for like five minutes before yelling “freeze” then somehow she flies onto her back.

The setup is slow, as slow as the bottle flying through the air, but the point is you finally get to punch someone’s face in for putting you in this nightmare. Then she turns into the man-bat form the Batman cartoons and its battle time.

Super Mario Bros. 2 – Wart

First things first, would you really jump in the mouth of a headless eagle after beating it down? We know a few things about Wart. One, he likes platforms. Two, he likes organ pipes that spit out vegetables. Three, he has nasty acid reflux disease.

Why would you stand in a room with a machine that pumps out things that can kill you? That would be like me keeping a swimming pool of peanut butter next to my bed so I can roll out and into it in the morning and kill myself.

Poor Wart was a bad design from the start being a mix between Bowser and Kermit the frog, but I liked the ending even though it was just all a dream. See, that’s what happens when you OD on mushrooms.

Oh there will be a part 2

There are a ton of awesome boss fights and we promise to get to them. In the meantime if you have an opinion on an awesome boss fight let us know and we will profile it.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 2nd 2010

vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros
vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros

Hey, its election time and you have the awesome choice between spineless yes men and tea baggers, why not skip all that and play some video games instead. Okay, fine. MTV told me to rock the vote so how about you game the vote. While you are out picking up these games stop over at your local voting station and get your democracy on.

God of War: The Ghost of Sparta

I have a love hate relationship with the PlayStation portable. I like the games and all, but why all the remakes and such like Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve being PSP only? Oh, well in GOW Sparta we follow the events of our hero between the story from GOW 1 and GOW2. This story takes place during Kratos visit to Atlantis and if it wasn’t sunk before we now know how it got that way. The game is the second to find its way onto the PSP and has all the brutality it did before and stunning visuals to boot. One thing we know for sure, he really dislikes King Midas.

Golden Eye 007 – Wii

Hey, pop quiz, how do you get people to keep playing the Wii, answer, you remake games that were awesome on previous consoles. Yes, my Wii hate runs read, but my love for Golden Eye never dies. It was one the best console shooters of all time and even ranks up high for all-time best FPS shooters. Now those of you with the Wii gathering dust have a reason to celebrate as a remake of this classic is coming to you Nov 2nd.

Now the game is new meaning new graphics and even a new bond as you play as Daniel Craig, but all the classic gameplay that made it great is still there. You can still decide how you want to finish missions going in Rambo style or playing it like Bond really would being stealthy and cool. Multiplayer is back with a four person split screen tons of modes and support for the Wii and classic remote, nunchuk and even the zapper. Will I be buying a Wii to play this, no. Will I get my friend to buy it and camp his house, yes.

What about the Kinect Games?

Yeah, about that, as I said this list is for games I would buy and this week these two are the only ones I would consider. However there is also the new Sonic Free Riders and Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 that look good. However, I need to be a little more hash and this week you only get two from me. Next, week we will be back for our countdown to black Friday report so stay tuned and until then keep the spending to a minimum.

Games Coming Out September 2010 for PC

Civilization 5 pre-release picture
Civilization 5 pre-release image

Games Coming Out September 2010 for PC by Honorabili

August had some nice releases but September looks like a heavy month for PC gaming as well!

Aion: Assault on Balaurea, September 7 2010

The anticipated expansion is released, which will appease this game’s many fans. Click here to see all our articles regarding this game.

R.U.S.E., September 7 2010

Interesting concept behind an RTS where you can deceive your enemy with imaginary armies. Let’s see how it does considering most people are still playing Starcraft 2.

Amnesia The Dark Descent, September 8 2010

The date had gotten pushed back for this game. Click here to see what I had to say about it last month.

The Patrician 4, September 14 2010

I used to play a lot of The Patrician on Amiga. It was a great sea-faring times trade and city management simulator. Check this one out if you’re into that sort of thing. ;-]

Civilization 5, September 21 2010

Whereas the release of Starcraft 2 was the apocalypse for Korea, this game is the same for me… Prepare for my disappearance as we will see yet another masterpiece in wargaming history.

F1 2010, September 21

Although I will be playing Civilization 5, this immersive Formula 1 game is being released the same day by Codemasters. It’s next on my list after Civ 5!

Final Fantasy XIV, September 22 (Collector’s Edition) and 30 (normal version) 2010

Another epic Final Fantasy… Let’s see how this one does. Click here for details as to what you will get with each copy.

Darksiders, September 23 2010

Looks like yet another God of War clone to me… If you buy it through Steam they give you Titan Quest Gold, a game we like to make fun of.

Front Mission Evolved, September 28 2010

Since MechWarrior is dead in the water, this game will pick up the slack in the meantime.

Dead Rising 2, September 28

This is one of those retardedly fun games that involves zombies and lots and lots of gore. Always a winner!

H.A.W.X. 2, September 30 2010

H.A.W.X. 1 has a special place in my heart and it’s probably the funnest game I played in December 2009. I look forward to this action packed sequel! Make more!

Video Game Art Is In The Eye of The Beholder

Mario Art
Mario Art

There has been quite a debacle in the media entertainment industry on whether video games are considered art and/or show any valued relevance that can make the player look back and reflect the actions undertaken in the game towards their own life. When curiously looking into Edvard Munch’s work The Scream, soothingly listening to a symphony composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or choking up reading Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls, there is one thing in common they all share. They are considered art and evoke emotion within the willing participant viewer. Video games have been labeled as a media outlet that in its current state is incapable of causing an expressive movement in the partaker of this virtual journey.I, for one, disagree.

Art has been defined in a wide aspect and it’s meaning is subject to those who interpret it. The film American Beauty has a scene where one of the characters was commenting on the beauty of a plastic bag caught in the wind, wisping above the drab concrete pavement and what this meaningless occurrence meant to him. If a plastic bag swaying malevolently in the wind is considered art than the freedom expressed in the level editor for Little Big Planet should be considered a masterpiece. Given a set amount of tools, a gamer is handed his emblematic paintbrush and pallet and left with free domain to create a level or Sack Boy in any way they please. Sure this does not sound like something on the level an artist would have to deal with but I must interject. We are all given the same colors and brushes but chances most likely are one would be unable to paint the Mona Lisa or sculpt “David”. They could be replicated but never to same preciseness of the original. The ability to take what is already there and construct it into something new and inexplicable and projecting it as a physical manifestation of thought and creativity is art.

Sometimes, physicality is not enough merit to consider a form of entertainment media as a source of art. What about the ability to portray controversy? The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger portrayed sexuality, a copious use of vulgarity, and a truer depiction of teenage angst at the time of its published date. The uproar caused this book to be considered controversial and yet is considered art for its ability to stir up emotions in the reader. If controversy is needed to be part of the art in-crowd than Grand Theft Auto should be ringleader. The ability to sleep with a hooker and than murder her only to reclaim your money, snipe an old woman crossing the street, shout absurd profanities, and go on highway speed chases with the police is the staple for the GTA series. Many claim it glamorizes moral degradation to gamers and imbues them with a violent sociopathic personality. Last I checked, The Catcher in the Rye wasn’t claimed responsible for over five deaths and multiple occurrences of other real life crimes.

Being able to feel something emotionally towards a story is one thing many people are able to relate towards their own lives. The feeling of regret and the inability to mend past mistakes is a strong focal point in the novel Atonement by Ian McEwan where a young girl attempts to atone for a past accusation she commits which effectively ruins the lives of two people. Making right from a past wrong is a common relevant instance in the lives of people. It is easy after reading such a powerful work of literature that the reader would be able to look back on the misdeeds of their past and think of ways to remedy them. In the God of War series, Kratos is not only seeking absolute vengeance but also atonement for the mistaken murders of his wife and child. This is the main focus point of the series and shows just how far one man would go for redemption even against a pantheon of gods. Stories in some games have a deep meaning that goes beyond traveling from point A to point B. There is actual character development and the ability to relate to a theme that vaguely resembles the willingness of someone in real life.

Video games in their current state may be considered primitive art but they are art nonetheless. There are moments, stories, visual inspirations, and music many people will not forget. No one will forget the feeling that stir up when they hear the Final Fantasy intro music, the desperations of Cole from Infamous to save the people and a city that hates him, and the beauty painted in Okami. I could go on and on with citing examples of how gaming fits the definition of art but that would take a book’s length of words. The industry may be far from being considered comparable to Leonardo da Vinci but it is still in its current shape and form artistic.

I Want This Motherf#$^in’ 3D Out of My Motherf%$@in’ Games!

3D Blood Gaming
3D Blood Gaming

I’m one of those guys that can look at a piece of technology and already label its longevity either positively or negatively. For example, I don’t see Tablet PCs going anywhere for real household use. It plays a useful role in business for IT professionals but I don’t see Little Annie and her brother Marcus finding any pivotal use in one three years from now. The practicality of tablets being used every day is nil, in my opinion. My disgust for tablets and their strong marketing push is dwarfed, however, by the tsunami of shit encompassing visual media in the form of 3D. Never have I seen such a strong push in new media as I have for 3D. As a matter of fact, I think aside from the use of motion sensor technology, E3’s main hailstorm of shit pellets came from the boisterous and unrelenting gimmick of 3D in games. I know a lot of people are now looking forward to wearing fake sunglasses indoors so they can feel like a member of the Cure while playing Gran Turismo in their sweaty Ed Hardy shirts. Good job! You’re still a douche.

When I saw Avatar was being marketed as a 3D movie I was fine with that because it said from the get-go that it was slating to be a 3D movie. It was specifically made to enhance this experience and there wasn’t enough 3D in movies around that time. Then this “Fern Gully” rip off got huge and popular and now every movie that was made for 2D is quickly adding a 3D experience. I admit though, I am a bit of a hypocrite and have seen plenty of movies in 3D since then. Alice in Wonderland had to have been the worst use of the technology thus far next to Toy Story 3 (was there even anything popping out in this movie?). I constantly vow to myself to never buy a 3D movie ticket, a 3D television, and now a 3D video game.

Do they really need to push 3D into household use? Isn’t it bad enough it already strains your eyes in the theater. If I wanted shit to come flying at me I’d go outside and have someone throw a rock at my face. There’s no need for the Blades of Athena to swirl and twirl by the nape of my nose while Kratos dismembers a God. A grenade shooting shrapnel near my eye in Call of Duty won’t enhance my experience. The last thing I want in a video game is to pause the game and drool at the beauty of the objects hovering around me (in certain viewing angles only please!). One cannot even begin to fathom the strain put onto a gamer’s eyes after a 4-5 hour Halo binge. 3D does not increase the experience of anything. It isn’t stimulating whatsoever and doesn’t need to be put into interactive media. It is a gimmick of smoke and mirrors. It’s like showing your friend what happens when you put a Mentos in Diet Coke. Sure it’s cool the first 4 bottles then you realize things get pricey and it isn’t as cool past the third bottle. I hope this addition to gaming ends as swiftly as the Virtual Game Boy.