Archive for the 'Games' Category

28
Jun
14

Red Steel 2, Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Red Steel 2

The medieval Japanese/Old West Tommy gun is my favorite piece of historical weaponry.

This game includes a Wii gimmick in which it promises 1:1 movement, and all you have to do is attach a pricey peripheral device to your Wiimote. If you didn’t think the Wii was gimmicky enough, well, this just takes it to a whole new level. But to be honest, the Wii Motion Plus device does improve the function of the Wiimote quite a bit. The original Red Steel was a train wreck of massive proportions. The biggest problem with it was that the sword fighting sequences were clunky and unresponsive. They made the game frustrating and unnecessarily difficult. This issue is completely gone thanks to the Wii Motion Plus. The sword fighting works quite well, and it is responsive to the angle and velocity of your movements. That translates to the screen, where you can make diagonal, horizontal, or vertical cuts, and the power of your attack corresponds to how hard you swing the Wiimote. All in all, this worked out well. But what about the actual game?
Red Steel 2 is a first person shooter where you take control of a samurai/gunslinger in a fictional setting that is a combination of Future Old West and Feudal Japan. You traipse the desert with your six shooter and rifle, but go in for sword fights when enemies get too close for comfort. The graphics taken on a cartoony, cel-shaded quality, that mostly works given the ludicrous setting. The game is mostly fun. It has numerous objectives for you to complete, many of which are optional. The bad guys offer an appropriate level of difficulty, although a couple of enemy types were a bit too hard. There is a big variety of combat moves you can learn, which add to the fun, and also offers a level of strategy in the sword fights. You don’t have to slash away wildly if you don’t want to, although that’s what I usually ended up doing.  My biggest complaints were these: first, the setting is monotonous (the desert) and gets boring after the first few hours of gameplay, second, apart from the new moves you can learn there isn’t a lot of depth or replay value. Overall, though, Red Steel 2 was a win for the Wii. It won’t be added to the pantheon of greatest games of all time, but it is certainly worth playing at least once.
Verdict: Average
Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Tentacle rape!

Time for another Wii game review, and this one has a few superficial similarities to the one I reviewed above. This also features heavy doses of sword combat and takes place in feudal Japan. Apart from that, these games don’t really have all that much in common. Muramasa is a side-scrolling action/adventure game that is light on strategy and heavy on button mashing. There are two storylines, one belonging to a male and a female character. The characters cross paths a couple of times, but for the most part each story is self-contained. With each character you start out weak, fight through hordes of bad guys, get stronger, level up, and buy new and more powerful swords. You keep three swords on you at all times. There is actually some strategy involved in knowing which swords to carry. You can switch between swords at any point during a battle, but some swords are better for certain things than others. Some are slow but powerful, some weak but quick, and each has a special move associated with it. The swords have “life meters” too, so overuse will lead to them breaking. There is a huge sinking feeling when you are in the midst of a hellacious battle with three broken swords. Muramasa is a hell of a lot of fun. You travel through various regions of ancient Japan, each more beautifully rendered than the last. The graphics are animated, and made to vaguely resemble the artwork of ancient Japan. Enemies come from Japanese folklore, as well. Honestly, though, the story is more of an afterthought. The fun really comes from exploring the different areas, killing bad guys, and crafting new swords. While it is a button-masher, the game’s fighting system is intuitive and fluid. The game never becomes bogged down in repetition. It is blast from beginning to end.
Verdict: Good
16
Nov
13

The Last Story, L.A. Noire

The Last Story

Will The Last Story have a million sequels just like Final Fantasy?

I was really excited when this game got licensed for North American release. At first, Nintendo of America stated they had “no plans” to release this RPG in the U.S. even after it was a big hit in Japan and Europe. Great idea, guys. Let’s not release a game that was critically acclaimed, a financial success, and created by the same person who created the Final Fantasy series. Sure, Nintendo, you’re right, that shit’s not gonna sell at all.
Anyway, Nintendo of America finally pulled their heads out of their asses and released The Last Story for the Wii in late 2012. Now, I’ve long since given up on the Final Fantasy franchise. It has too rigidly adhered to extremely outdated JRPG tropes. Final Fantasy IX was the last game in the series I enjoyed, and my personal favorite was Final Fantasy VI. Final Fantasy X can still suck it.
02
Nov
12

Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade Chronicles logo.

The Wii doesn’t get a lot of love, especially amongst self-described “core gamers.” What is a core gamer? A core gamer is someone who owns an XBOX 360 and/or PS3 and only plays games that are First-Person Shooters or have the words “Call”, “Duty”, “Medal”, “Honor”, “Counter”, “Strike”, “Halo”, or “Battlefield” in the title. Core gamers do not play adventure, puzzle, RPG, party, stealth, fighting, or rhythm games. Another important part of being a core gamer is constantly posting on the Internet about how terrible Nintendo is and how each system is a giant piece of crap, without actually owning one of their systems or playing any of their games.

Core gamers have derided Xenoblade Chronicles as a piece of trash because: 1) It’s on the Wii, 2) It doesn’t have high-definition graphics, 3) umm, 4) …

It’s a strange argument to make as core gamers don’t play RPGs in the first place, but let’s not get too technical. Half the fun of being a core gamer is shouting grammatically incorrect obscenities on the Internet about games they’ve never played.

Continue reading ‘Xenoblade Chronicles’

10
Aug
12

Every Quest in Oblivion

Here’s a rundown of every quest in the game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Part One: Obtaining the Quest

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Hello, adventurer! I have a quest for you if you are interested.

You: [yes] / [OK] / [sure]

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: You are! That’s great. When would you like to begin?

You: [immediately] / [now] / [as soon as possible]

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Well, I need you to go into the Cave of the Fart-Smellers and kill everyone inside. Do you think you can handle that?

You: [of course] / [absolutely] / [nope, but I'll try anyway]

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Excellent. I’ll be standing in this one spot all day every day until you get back.

Get ready to see plenty of guys like this giving you the same quest over and over again.

Part Two: Playing the Quest

This is the part where you walk ten thousand miles to get to the location of the cave marked on your map. Basically, this is every quest in Oblivion. You must always go somewhere and kill everything there. But sometimes they do change things up a bit. The quest can take place in the following locations:

  • A cave
  • An abandoned underground castle.
  • An abandoned underground monastery.
  • An underground grotto.
  • An old mine.

And they don’t always make you go there just to kill things. Sometimes the mission objectives are different. Here is a sampling:

  • Kill everyone in the cave.
  • Kill everyone in the cave with the help of a useless ally.
  • Kill everyone in the cave and retrieve an item.
  • Kill everyone in the cave and rescue a useless ally.

And who you kill can vary a lot, offering a refreshing bit of diversity.

  • Humans
  • Trolls
  • Undead creatures
  • Humanoid Demons
  • Vampires

As you can see there is quite a variety of things to do in this game. In one quest you might be sent to a cave to kill some undead creatures, while in a completely different quest you might be sent to an abandoned underground castle to kill some humans and retrieve an ancient artifact! The possibilities are really endless. It’s mind-boggling to think about how Bethesda crafted such a diverse and unique game. Every quest is so original, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Each adventure makes you feel as if you’re playing a new game time and time again. And the medieval fantasy setting, I can’t recall ever seeing that in an RPG before!

Killing the Fart-Smellers.

Part Three: Completing the Quest

You return to Town X and find that Doucherton the Rat-Faced lied to you, and he is not standing where he said he would be. A quick check of the time shows it is 2:00 AM. So, you decide to wait until morning. Doucherton the Rat-Faced returned to his spot at exactly 9:00 AM. He doesn’t have a job or any discernible interests so he spends most of his time just standing in this exact spot. You approach him, and he speaks to you. It’s funny because his voice sounds exactly like the voices of several of the bad guys you recently killed. But no matter…

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: How’s it going?

You: I completed the quest you gave me.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Have you done what I asked of you?

You: I just said that I did.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Oh, that’s fantastic!

You: ……

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Well, thanks for killing all those guys. They won’t be bothering us any more.

You: ……

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Now, about that reward I offered. You probably don’t really want it.

You: Actually, I do want it.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: I was hoping you killed all those people out of the goodness of your heart.

You: No, I could really use that reward.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Well then, here you go. Don’t go spending it all in one place!

*Doucherton the Rat-Faced hands you 25 gold pieces. You scowl back at him.*

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: If you ever want to come back and see me again, I won’t have anything interesting to say!

Now, you hear a little drumroll and a message flashes across the screen: The Quest of the Indiscriminate Killings Completed. But you notice that you didn’t level up. Oh that’s right, Oblivion doesn’t use experience points in the same way that every other RPG ever made does. You have to build up specific predetermined skills (such as Talking, Fighting, and Jumping — you know, skills that are really important) and once those get high enough, you can level up. But you can’t just immediately level up. No, you have to find the nearest town with a bed and sleep. If you’re in the middle of a quest, that’s too fucking bad, you’ll just have to wait.

An incredibly rare outside battle.

Part Four: The Next Quest

Jizz-Hands the Furious: Hello, adventurer! I have a quest for you if you are interested.

You: This seems really familiar. And why is your voice the same as Doucherton the Rat-Faced?

Jizz-Hands the Furious: You are! That’s great. When would you like to begin?

You: But I didn’t say I would do it yet.

Jizz-Hands the Furious: Well, I need you to go into the Abandoned Underground Castle of the Attention-Whores and kill everyone inside. Do you think you can handle that?

You: Goddammit.

Repeat ad nauseum.

Of course, this very same criticism could be leveled at every video game ever made. Overall, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion can be a lot of fun. Just don’t expect a lot of variation throughout your 40 hours of questing. It is, without a doubt, the most underground game of all time.

Verdict: Average

I’m glad Pumpkinhead made the transition from film to games so well.

14
May
12

Red Dead Redemption Can Go to Hell

Marston takes careful aim at some crows.

Before you jump to the bottom of the page and post a comment about how I’m an ignorant twat, let me preface this entire post with a statement: I enjoyed Red Dead Redemption. But that doesn’t mean it’s immune from my rage for all its failings. And let me tell you, it had a lot of shit that pissed me off.

Video games where you get to play as a cowboy are few and far between. I’m not sure why the western genre for games never really took off, but they can be a lot of fun. I suppose the mouth-breathers feel it’s more important to buy a new version of Madden every year, so developers are constantly tied up copying last year’s football garbage into a new game. That precludes them from making new games with western motifs.

I’ve always enjoyed the western genre of film. The Good The Bad and The Ugly, True Grit, and Tombstone, just to name a few, are movies I can watch over and over again. There’s just something exciting about getting to live vicariously through those gunslingers. Besides, the whole genre boils down to just being a badass. And how could anyone not like a film genre dedicated to badasses?

Continue reading ‘Red Dead Redemption Can Go to Hell’

11
Mar
12

Things I Hate About Assassin’s Creed II and Metal Gear Solid (AKA Invincible Final Boss Syndrome)

I’ve played and completed Metal Gear Solid four times (twice for Playstation, twice for Gamecube). That is precisely three times more than I’ve completed any other game. I’m not sure what it is about that game that keeps on bringing me back. I suppose I like the meta stuff like finding Meryl’s codec frequency on the game box and switching controller ports to beat Psycho Mantis’ telepathy. Hiding in boxes, distracting guards, and catching a cold were small touches that went a long way to show me they put a lot of time and thought into the game. Despite my enjoyment of the game, every time I play it, I get super pissed off. For all the ingenuity and all the things it does well, it does just as many things horribly wrong. Here’s a short list:

  1. Radar doesn’t work while hiding under tables – What the fuck?
  2. Cut scenes are way too fucking long.
  3. Codec conversations are way too fucking long.
  4. Fake stealth.
  5. Shoot bosses in the face with 20 stinger missiles and they still survive.
  6. Top-down camera makes it impossible to see anything.
  7. The controls are completely fucked.

For it’s time, 1998, this was a landmark game. It was the first major video game that was like an interactive movie. And not one of those “interactive movies” like NightTrap where you watch a video reel of scantily clad girls and click a button every now and then. No, this was like you were the main character of some crazy espionage/action/anime film. The story really came to life, and the characters were intriguing and three-dimensional. It did things that no other game had done before. Plus, it was pretty fun. Continue reading ‘Things I Hate About Assassin’s Creed II and Metal Gear Solid (AKA Invincible Final Boss Syndrome)’

04
Nov
11

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Twilight Princess game cover

Since I live in a perpetual timewarp and am unable to play/listen/watch/read anything recent, I typically spend my time playing catch-up, going through all the last-gen video games and movies that have been out on DVD for at least 3 years. That being said, I recently completed The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Nintendo Wii. Instead of writing a typical review, I thought it would be more fun to type up my thoughts during my playthrough of the game.

  • Ordon Village – Oh great, another Zelda game that starts out using a sleepy village as a tutorial. I got to do all kinds of exciting things like talking to people, walking around, getting lost, learning how to herd goats, learning how to catch goats, and fishing. Fishing was the most annoying thing in the game. The motion controls really fuck it up and make it nearly impossible. I had to read three walkthoughs before I found one that actually explained how to physically manage the controls. Other than the two required fishing parts of the game, I never fished again. What a waste of time. When do I get the sword, anyway?  Continue reading ‘The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess’



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