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3:09 PM on 09.07.2014

Digging Inside: Persona 5 TGS Trailer

Digging Inside is a new feature where we take the newest trailers and try to find any clues of hidden info for upcoming games. The first installment of Digging Inside will be for the recently announced Persona 5 Tokyo Game Show trailer that was released on Monday.

Persona games since Persona 3, begins with a new transfer student arriving at to their new school. The first cutscene seems it will follow the same way Persona 3 and Persona 4 started.

1train

Then they showed off of what appears to be headline news. After looking around to see what the headlines was about, I found out it was about bullying problems, a death in some kind of room, dangerous driving incidents, falsified evidence, tax raises, and people going on rampages. It’s a rough translation, but it seems to fit with the world of Persona, especially Persona 3.

2Letters

After that, we get our first look of the new protagonist of Persona 5. If it’s anything like Persona 3 and Persona 4, then we would get to choose our names.

3Persona5MC

The three key Persona Team developers are revealed. They are Katsura Hashino Game Director. He directed Persona 3, Catherine, Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, and Persona 4: Golden.

4Persona5Director

Shigenori Soejima is the art director, his work includes, all the Persona games, Devil Summoner, Catherine, and Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne.

5Persona5CharacterDesigner

At last there is Shoji Meguro, the music producer and composer. He’s done music for both the Persona series and the Shin Megami Tensei series.

7Persona5Music

It’s also worth noting that the chains that appear in their names are breaking apart signifying freedom. The ball and chain seems to be a running theme to Persona 5 as they also had them in the very first Persona 5 teaser. Also, the way the ball is animated could clue us in on what the game will look like. Catherine used the Gamebryo engine, which was also used for Fallout 3 and Rocksmith 2014, but Atlus have said that they are using a new in-house engine for Persona 5.

8BrokenChains

As with every Persona game, Persona 5 will carry on the tradition of having the game set in a school. Along with a new protagonist, it will also feature a brand new high school. It’s hard to tell what it is, but judging from the high school’s logo, the new school is called Shujin Shield High School. All I’m getting from that is the shield and the two “S” joined together. I could, and most likely, be way off, it’s just speculation though. The protagonist also has a pin that says 2 on it. It is likely the high school grade he is in. This is similar to what Persona 4 had on their school uniforms.

9School

The other schools that were featured in the Persona series are:

St. Hermelin High School - Persona

9aHermelin

Seven Sisters High - Persona 2

9bSeven

Gekkoukan High - Persona 3

9cGekkoukan

 

Yasogami High - Persona 4

9dYasogami

Unlike the setting of Persona 3 and Persona 4, Persona 5 looks to be part of a massive city similar of Tokyo, and just like Persona 3 and Persona 4, it will be a fake city based off a real one.

13Demon

But unlike Persona 3 and Persona 4, the mystery starts up quickly as everyone stops as they stand as if they are frozen. This is when we get the first new logo for Persona 5.

PersonaV

And the protagonist seems to be the only one moving looking at disbelief that nothing is as it seems. As he looks around, he starts seeing an unknown identity covered in blue flame coming towards him.

11Frozen
13Demon

The last shot of the trailer shows a zoomed up shot of the protagonist eyes as his glasses reveals a closer look of the creature in question. It could be his starting persona or another persona-user using their personas. Considering that this is set in the real world, there is a good chance that Evokers, which was prominent in Persona 3, is back. Evokers are a gun shaped like device that will summon your persona via shooting yourself in the head. If they are making Persona 5 different from the past Persona games, then they are likely to find something else to summon your personas instead of Evokers from Persona 3 and Tarot Cards from Persona 4.

 

14Glasses

This is grasping at straws, and don’t know if it means anything, but because of the use of red for Persona 5, I think it’s at least worth mentioning. There seems to be a group of characters in the background, and they could be unannounced characters for Persona 5. It’s grasping, so it could be nothing.

16GraspingStraws

Persona 5 is coming to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 in Japan in 2015. It’s unknown if North America will come out in 2015 or in 2016. I just hope for a worldwide release.

12ReleaseWindow

 For more stories please check out MiddleOfNowhereGaming.com

  read


7:21 PM on 06.07.2014

Top 5 impossible E3 games.

E3 is just days away and the game announcements have been rolling by. Games include Far Cry 3, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Persona Q, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and more are expected to be at E3 this year. And while all those games seems like it's going to be sure fire hits, what about games that I would love to see at E3 that seems impossible? 

I am not talking about games that we know is coming, but know little about like Persona 5 or Kingdom Hearts III. Games like The Last Guardian and Half Life 3 will not be on the list also because we know they are coming, maybe, most likely coming. For now, it is too soon to tell if they will make an appearance. I would love to see these games being made, but I know that they will not be made unless developers know we want them.

DINO CRISIS REBOOT

In its final few years, the PlayStation came out with Dino Crisis. Dino Crisis was a game created by Shinji Mikami, the creator of the Resident Evil franchise. Dino Crisis was a big hit when it was released back in 1999, so much so that it spawned two sequels. Dino Crisis 2 took what Dino Crisis had, but made it more action packed. Personally, the movement the characters had in Dino Crisis was too slow for a game like that. It might have worked better with zombies, but when you put fast moving dinosaurs in the mix, you would need to move fast. Then there was Dino Crisis 3 from 2003 for the Xbox. The game was set in space and it did not have real dinosaurs, but mutated lizards. The game was so bad that it killed the franchise. Two years later Mikami would release Resident Evil 4 and changed the way third person shooters are played. The over the shoulder camera Resident Evil 4 introduced would have been perfect for a Dino Crisis game. You can move quicker, your aim was better, and its close up camera would keep the tension going. I would love to see Dino Crisis come back in a big way.

NEW IP FROM NAUGHTY DOG

Naughty Dog has gone on the record to say that they are in the very early stages of making a new IP for the PlayStation 4, but the chances of releasing information about the game is near impossible. Naughty Dog has a good track record of keeping things close to the chest until they are ready to show off the new game. In the past, Naughty Dog had Crash Bandicoot for the original PlayStation, Jak and Daxter for the PlayStation 2, and the Uncharted series for the PlayStation 3. When The Last of Us came out last year for the PlayStation 3, it broke the mold of what they used to do when there was a new console. Uncharted 4 is expected to be shown off this year at E3, and there are talks of a The Last of Us 2 being announced. Considering their track record, I have no doubt that those games will be less than amazing, but something new from Naughty Dog would shake E3. I do not expect that to happen. There have been rumors of a Jak 4 game, but the chance of seeing a new Jak and Daxter game, if it is happening, will not be revealed until next E3.

ALAN WAKE 2

As Remedy works on their new IP for Xbox One, Quantum Break, I hope there is a small group of artists working on a sequel to one of my most favorite games of the last generation, Alan Wake. While it would make sense for Remedy to focus primarily on Quantum Break, just something about Alan Wake 2 would make me happy. The thing about Remedy this year for E3 is that they had recently said that Quantum break would not be shown at this year's E3; instead, they are going to show off more about Quantum Break at Gamescom this August. Remedy may not put out many games, but the games they have released have all been fantastic. Max Payne to Alane Wake, Remedy is one of my favorite developers right now. I am looking forward to Quantum Break, but an Alan Wake 2 would make me ecstatic.

WAYFORWARD DARKWING DUCK GAME.

WayForward had made the great DuckTales: Re-mastered last year, and I hope they do the same with the Darkwing Duck game. I did try not to put a possible Darkwing Duck game in here because it seems so easy for me to pick a Darkwing Duck game. I just want a Darkwing Duck game, and WayForward seems to be the one to create one. If they put all the effort to a Darkwing Duck game like the one they did with DuckTales, then I would happy. Great animation movement, new puzzles, a bigger story, and if at all possible the original cast would return. Having Jim Cummings returning as Darkwing Duck and Negaduck would have sold me on the game alone. A new Darkwing Duck game would definitely be a highlight of the show for me.

A 24 GAME MADE BY ROCKSTAR

What better way to have a good 24 game than having Rockstar making one. I thought the old 24 game for the PlayStation 2 was OK, but I knew that given to the right developers, they could do something special. Rockstar seems that they can do something special with 24. Rockstar has been known to get Grade A talent for their Grand Theft Auto games like Michael Madsen, Ray Liotta, and James Woods. It would be easy for them to use the cast of 24, like Keifer Sutherland, to come back to play their respective roles. They can either create a non-canon story or have a story based before the events of Season One. The only time Jack Bauer worked for CTU between seasons was between Day 2 and Day 3, and that was covered in the 24: The Game for the PlayStation 2. I would like to see a non-canon story written by Rockstar. The game can be set in real time just like the show and you would have 24 hours, in real world time, to stop terrorist threats.


Those are five games where I would love to see at E3, but I know that is not possible. E3 is going to be an exciting time this year as the new consoles have been released and the new games are coming in. If 2007 has shown us, 2015 will be an absolute monster when it comes to the new games. Early 2015 alone make this Year of the Next Generation of gaming.   read


9:14 PM on 05.17.2014

InFamous: Second Son Review

In 2009, Sucker Punch Productions released Infamous for the PlayStation 3. At the time, the PlayStation 3 was in a need of a killer app to play. While Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was great games for the system. A game to help sales of the PlayStation 3 was rare. The original Infamous was one of the first must plays of the system. Now, with the release of the PlayStation 4, Sucker Punch hopes to do it again with Infamous: Second Son.

In Infamous: Second Son you play as Delsin Rowe, a tagger in a small town, in Washington. After an accident, he discovers that he has the ability to absorb powers through other conduits. As he tries to control his power, he comes across the head of the D.U.P and now, in order to save his friends, he must go into Seattle, Washington to try to bring the leader down. Infamous: Second Son is the best story in the series. Delsin is a likeable character who shows more emotion than Cole McGrath does. Once again, Troy Baker, who plays Delsin Rowe, shows why he is the best in the industry. Not only that, but the entire cast is excellent. I always felt I knew about these characters, and once you learn more about them in a comic book style fashion, the line between good and evil becomes blurry. There is no black and white here. It is fitting because the reputation system is back. You can be either a True Hero or Infamous. I completed the game on True Hero and it gave me powers that felt that being a True Hero made the game a bit easier. In my second play through, I am playing as Infamous and it seems harder. Maybe it is just me, but it is something I noticed.



The gameplay is what you would expect out of an Infamous game, and they do not do anything drastic, but having multiple powers does mix things up a bit. The problem is that each power is pretty much the same. If you want to be evil, stay with the smoke power. If you want to be good, stick with Neon. Being good with the Neon power feels that the Neon power is a little too overpowered, but considering that, you will usually be surrounded I was never bothered with it. There are other powers, but by the time you get to the last two, you will be entrusted of the smoke and neon, that you will not want to spend time with the others. It does not help that once the game is over, you cannot play the game again with your new acquired abilities. With the new powers, they do have the ability to run up walls. Because of this, the climbing of buildings is not as precise as it once did. There will be instances where you would fall because you did not jump properly. 

The one surprise for me is the use of the PlayStation 4 touchpad. If the touchpad were used in future games this smart, then the new touchpad would add a new small layer of games. The slightest swipe of the touchpad did what I wanted it to do, and it soon became second nature. The motion control, once again, cannot be said. The motion controls are used for tagging up buildings with spray paint. The way you spray paint is awkward, and I cannot help to think that using the touch pad would have been better.



Despite all the small flaws Infamous: Second Son has, it is the best in the series. With the new system, there is a question of what can the system do. Thankfully, Infamous: Second Son looks stunning. The characters move in a believable way and the city looks alive. Unfortunately, Delsin has the ability to auto lock on characters when he is using melee, but when he does this it is likely you would hit someone you didn’t want to hit. If you want to play as a True Hero, try to avoid melee as much as possible. Infamous: Second Son looks alive, but it does not feel alive. The civilians will comment on you and walk around, but that is all they do. The D.U.P makes up for this. If there is any D.U.P around and you use your power for anything, they will attack you. It is a bit improvement over the first two games where the enemies will shoot you on sight. 

The good news is that Infamous: Second Son is the most polish open world games I have seen. For being an open world game, there is an inevitability for a few glitches, but I never saw anything game breaking. I fell in the water and fell off the world, but I was back to shore as if I didn’t die, and a car was standing straight up with half of it in the road. The frame rate is inconsistent though. Most of the time it runs at 30FPS, but sometimes when there isn’t a lot on screen, the game will go higher. It actually looks amazing when this happens, but I can see why someone would be bothered by it. Since the launch, Super Punch has patched so it will stay at 30fps. The only time where it would drop 30 is when you do a clean sweep move in a tightly packed area, but that is only for a few seconds.



Do not let the YouTube clips fool you, Second Son is stunning to look at, and it plays great. Infamous: Second Son is the best in the series. It does not do anything new, but it does offer what the PlayStation 4 can do. With interesting characters, a good story, solid controls, with great graphics the game is perfect for the new system. If you happen to have a PlayStation 4, Infamous: Second Son is worth checking out.   read


7:41 PM on 05.04.2014

Persona 3 vs Persona 4

It took a while, but I finally finished Persona 3: FES. What I found while listening to the end credits song was how fantastic the game is. The first JRPG game I ever played was Final Fantasy VII when it was first released for the PlayStation in 1997. I didn't like the random encounters or the turn based nature of the battles. There has been a few Turn Based Games I played long the way as The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age and South Park: The Stick of Truth, the latter being an excellent game, but a couple of years ago I decided to download Persona 3: FES to check it out. It was always something I heard great things about, and I felt like I should at least try it. I got around 30 hours where I became stuck on a boss, and one thing let to another Persona 3: FES was something in my backlog for nearly 2 years. Now, a few weeks ago I finally finished the game and I can't sing praises enough about it. It really deserves its place as one of the best PlayStation 2 games.






Then there was news that Persona 4 was coming to the PlayStation Store as PlayStation Classics. I was close to beating Persona 3 when the news hit, but I knew that I would want to play it as soon as possible. When I finished Persona 3 I found myself watching Persona 4: The Animation. I did this because I didn't think that I would play Persona 4 anytime soon. I am not a big fan of anime that much, I'll watch it, but only if someone tells me it's worth watching. Persona 4: The Animation turned out to be something I didn't expect. Hilarous. I was expecting a great story and characters, because that was what Persona 3 had, but I wasn't expecting something so funny. While I would prefer people to play Persona 4, I can say that if you can't play the game, at least watch Persona 4: The Animation. It's a common question among Persona fans, which is better, Persona 3 or Persona 4? At almost 140 hours between them, I will tell you what I think is the best one.

CHARACTERS

The characters of Persona 3 starts off as genaric, as you continue your school year at Gekkoukan High. You will know each character fairly well. Once the main characters arrive at the dorm at the start the game he, or she if you play Persona 3 Portable, meets two characters that you will spend a lot of time with. Yukari Takeba and Mitsuru Kirijo. Yukari is the same grade as you and Mitsuru Kirijo is a senior. You would have never known that Mitsuru was a student by the way she carries herself. She's confident, kind, and at times authoritative. Yukari is almost the same way, but she can lose her temper sometimes, but at the end of the day, she means well. There are other characters like Akihiko Sanada who is confident and always striving for better. Junpei Iori, the comic-relief, is kind, funny, but can't always think ahead. That nearly gets him killed a couple of times. There are other characters in Persona 3, but I won't delve into anymore due to the fact that the story helps bring these characters together.



The characters of Persona 4 are fantastic. By the end of both game and The Animation, it felt like I know these people as they were my friends. Chie Satanaka is strong, stubborn, and quick in her feet. Yosuke Hanamura is clumsy but caring. Yukiko Amagi is fair, silent, and kind hearted. Nanako Dojima is the heart of Persona 4. Much like Persona 3, the other characters in Persona 4 are drawn into the story. If I would have to say, Persona 4 has the better characters.


STORY

The Story of Persona 3 follows the main character as he tries to fight shadows along with some of his classmates. The shadows come out every night at midnight, and at midnight there is a hidden hour. SEES, Special Extracurricular Extermination Squad, calls this The Dark Hour. Most of Persona 3 has its story beats in every full moon. There are times where life outside the Dark Hour will take center stage as the game allows for character development. You learn about the accident that started in 1999 and how to defeat shadows. Persona 3 has a much darker storyline instead of the lighter tones of Persona 4. You do have to grind and create social links, and that is where most of the story takes place. Once you notice that a full moon is coming, it's a race to see what happens next.



Once again, Persona 4 wins this round just simply by having more school events. While Persona 3 had a few events, they are nothing compared to the events in Persona 4. This makes the character development feel more natural and real. The story of Persona 4 starts with a murder of a local newscaster and from then on, it delves into a new place called The TV World. It doesn't have a name like as the Tartarus in Persona 3, but since you can enter the world through a TV, the characters just call it the TV world. Game game is not afraid to stop the main thread altogether and allow you to visit the city for a couple of days. The main story is you, the new transfer student, tries to solve the murder of the newscaster. Like Persona 3, the game takes place a whole year, but not like Persona 3, the time is better developed.

GAMEPLAY

They both feature turn based combat, but I would have to give this one a tie because the Tartarus is a much interesting place than The TV World. The TV world manifests into whoever goes inside. This does allow for some great dungeons, but you would need to grind your characters much more in Persona 4 unlike in Persona 3. In Persona 3 when you were inside Tartarus it always felt that you were always moving forward, even when you hit a gate that blocks your path. You were always moving. In Persona 4, that feeling is barely there. Most dungeons have about 6 to 10 levels, but they feel more narrow in Persona 4 while Persona 3 is more open. 



In Persona 3, you only control your character and no one else. You can assign commands to your members, but whatever they do after that is all on them. This does get frustrating at times, but for the most part the AI does a pretty good job on doing what they are told and handling their own. In Persona 4, you have complete control over the characters. When controlling them it feels more impactful when they are down. When Persona 3 Portable for the PlayStation Portable, they used the same combat as they did in Persona 4. When it comes to the gameplay for both games, they have positives and negatives. What matters is that no matter what you choose, you will get a great game out of them. 



There is a reason why Persona 3 and Persona 4 has a strong cult following. With great gameplay, characters, story, and stupidly addicting music, the Persona series is a game that I wish that I played sooner. It may take a little bit longer for Persona 5 comes out, but once it does, I'll be there waiting to grabbing my copy. Persona, you had made me a small fan of turn based JRPGs.   read


5:52 PM on 03.16.2014

Changes of Development

I am not sure on who started it, but my first encounter of development change started with the reveal of the PlayStation 3. With the announcement of the PlayStation 3, they showed off a trailer to Killzone 2 at E3 2005. The trailer Sony showed off was to show the capabilities of the new PlayStation system. It was met with skepticism because it looked better than anything the Xbox 360 was coming out with their system. The hype the trailer garnered made Killzone 2 the game to look forward to for the new Sony system. In 2009, Killzone 2 is released for the PlayStation 3. Did it look like that infamous E3 trailer from 2005? No. It looked good, but nowhere as good as was promised.




Nearly nine years later, we are still dealing with the aftermath of the promises of E3. One of the biggest controversies of the past few weeks has been the new trailer to Watch Dogs. The first time Watch Dog is announced 2 years ago, the game looked stunning. People wondered if this was next gen or PC. All signs pointed to PC because the next generation of gaming systems was not announced yet. Now, as we finally know the release date in a form of a new trailer. What showed off at E3 and the latest trailer is completely different. Personally, I do not see the big deal is. The game still looks good and we do not know if that was last gen or current gen. Too many factors need to take account of before damning the game without playing it. Watch Dogs and Killzone 2 is not the only game to change. 

If you watched all the trailers of South Park: The Stick of Truth it was expected that a character, most likely the player, would grow as big as a building and the town of South Park would have been in ruin. While a few places did end up being destroyed, it was not as it was in the trailers that were released. Sometimes changes come in the most subtle ways. The first time The Last of Us gameplay were shown off it had a different HUD compared to the retail copy of the game. Probably the biggest change from announcement to retail was Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Lines lost, scenes change, and Snake’s apparent suicide never came to past. While there was a golden hue in the game, in the final game had a grey look to it. If you watch the 15-minute announcement trailer and see gameplay footage now, it is apparent that things no doubly change.




While other developers like to show off what they are working on, the worst offender is Gearbox Studio with their Aliens: Colonial Marines game. Not only did it not look like it would be an amazing game, they showed off the same footage all the way to release day lying to everyone. While I do not mind a graphical downgrade or upgrade, but showing off gameplay that is not even in the game weeks before the game releases is a good way to lose the trust of everyone. While Dark Souls II, South Park: The Stick of Truth, The Last of Us, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and Killzone 2 all looked different compared to what was first announced at least they did not lie about the gameplay.

No matter the game, there will always be changes during development. While developers should be careful about what they should show and what not to show, we also need to know that a game will look completely different from their announcement. As great as The Witcher 3 looks, it is entirely possible for it to look different when it is released next year. The same goes for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain whenever that comes out, and any other game that is announced in the future.

What I would like publishers to do is do not announce a game so early. I understand that you would want to build hype in a new game, but sometimes that will backfire as your developers continue working on it. What we need to do is take everything with a grain of salt and hope that the finished product has good gameplay. If the game does not have good gameplay then all that pretty graphics does not mean a thing. This is just scratching the surface of changes developers go through when making a game. Half Life 2, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and many more go through changes when going through development.   read


11:21 PM on 02.19.2014

The Last of Us: Left Behind Review

I think it is easy to say that The Last of Us was the best game of the year. After winning so many awards for the game, Naughty Dog is in a streak again. It must have been difficult to match what we come to expect for the first ever story DLC for Naughty Dog. Story has always been the bread and butter for Naughty Dog and this time they have proven why they are some of the best developers around. The Last of Us: Left Behind is the culmination of Naughty Dog’s work for The Last of Us. Left Behind is somber, thrilling, and a bit emotional journey that gives us more of an insight about who Ellie is. What we have seen in the trailers is just half of the story, which to ruin it now would ruin the surprise. I would just say that it does nothing to devalue what we have learned about Ellie in the original game, in fact Left Behind makes her an even better character than before. It is required to complete The Last of Us before jumping into Left Behind, with that in mind, I will not be spoiling both The Last of Us and Left Behind.

LOST IN A WORLD

It is stunning to see a DLC this polish. The game looks just as amazing as it does in the base game. There is weird hair movement and a disappearing object, but nothing to ruin the experience or break the game. The Last of Us has some of the best presentation the last console generation, and Left Behind is no different. While there are only two main characters in this DLC, Ashley Johnson, and newcomer to the series Yaani King, they both deliver excellent performances.  It is just like playing a lost chapter of The Last of Us saga. In fact, you can easily play this DLC alongside The Last of Us and not miss a beat. 

There was one thing that irked me about this DLC is that, just like the base game, Ellie cannot take much a beating. In the original game, I understood the story beat, and what needed to happen. When it came to the story, it was a fantastic beat, playing that section however was not as much fun. It only takes a few shots to bring her down. Even on normal on the base game, the winter section felt there was a difficulty spike in the game. Left Behind does it again. It was my only gripe in the original base game, and it is my only gripe in Left Behind. It is a bit nitpicking, but it goes to show just how excellent this DLC is. 

Thankfully, in the 2 hours it takes to complete this, you are not in danger that often. Something does change the combat dynamic, but it happens in the final act. If Naughty Dog ever makes a Last of Us 2, this is something that has to be in the game. Story rules here, and the story is excellent. Not only do we learn more about Ellie, we learn more about her friend Riley. Much like Ellie in the base game if Riley were not a great strong character, this DLC would have fallen apart.  

THAT HAS TAKEN SO MUCH

Without revealing too much of The Last of Us: Left Behind. Naughty Dog is a winning streak when it comes to the last generation of games. From Uncharted to Left Behind, Naughty Dog is showing to other developers what happens when you trust your fans, your developers, and your games. For being their first story DLC, it puts other story DLCs to shame. While others like to add epilogues to their games, Naughty Dog creates a prologue that does not damper the original release. If you have the Season Pass, you would be wise to download and play it. If not, the 14.99 maybe steep for some even when there is no upgrades whatsoever; it should not deter you away on playing a DLC masterpiece that Naughty Dog has created.   read


10:57 AM on 02.09.2014

One Step Closer to Masochism

I do not consider myself as a masochist. I like to play games for fun, and while I do like to play games on harder difficulties sometimes, most of the time it is not worth it. Very few games on the higher difficulty change the game considerably and make you rethink all you have learned from a past play through. Not a lot of games can be hard and fair at the same time. When a game is hard, it is for all the wrong reasons. Difficulty now a days rely on enemies having more health, while you have less. It is a false sense of difficulty that does not really change anything. 

A few weeks ago, I played BioShock: Infinite on hard and for the most part it was even better than playing it on normal. The way you have to use your vigors and guns to make the most out of a situation was exciting and thrilling. For the most part BioShock Infinite on hard was great, that was until the final act. From the Lady Comstock sequence to the end, the game became less fun and more frustrating. I cannot imagine what 1999 mode is like.

Other games I ended up playing on hard was Uncharted 2. Playing that game on hard was also thrilling, but it suffered from the lazy design of stronger enemies, weak player. The last game I played that had an amazing hard difficulty level was Alan Wake. I played that game on Nightmare mode, the hardest difficulty the game has, and it was a much better experience. While they still do that lazy design on health, you could never tell. What made it great was the fact that batteries and ammo was more scarce than on normal mode. Running away whenever you can became the only option and it made each encounter more exciting.

THE ONES THAT WAS CLOSE

There were a couple of games that made me feel like I was becoming a gaming masochist. The first one was Super Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy is a platforming masterpiece. Every death is your fault and you will die a lot. To make matters worse is that after you complete a stage it will run through all your lives. It is possible that you can see hundreds of Meat Boys running the same stage repeatedly dying at every inch of the stage. I kept playing this hard game. I die and instantaneously get back to the start in a never-ending cycle. I even got most of the Dark World stages where it gets harder. I never completed Super Meat Boy because my Xbox 360 broke.

Another game that almost made me a gaming masochist was Bayonetta. Bayonetta is a hack and slash game in the vein of Devil May Cry. It is a challenging game that tests your reflexes and the situations you are put in are over the top ridiculous. Once you know most of the basic dodge move, the game can be a blast and chaotic experience. The one scene that still gets to me that I will never forget was the Space Harrier sequence. In the time up to this point in Bayonetta, the game had been a challenging blast. It was a flaw move in Bayonetta’s part and the only weak spot in the game.

A MASOCHIST BEST FRIEND

Then there is Dark Souls. The game is hard, sickening hard. I nearly quit a few times due to the rage that the game was bringing out on me. I kept on playing and my original plan was that after I beaten Dark Souls that I would quit. I knew that the game would only get harder from there and there was no reason for me to continue. Therefore, I downloaded Metro: Last Light to play, but Dark Souls was sitting there. I decided to play a bit of Dark Souls on New Game Plus and see how far I would go before it officially breaks me. I knew that Dark Souls would break me eventually, and it finally did during the Nito fight. When a game gets too hard, I stop and do it later or just quit all together. I wanted to quit Dark Souls, but the game has had a hold of me that very few games have. I had to get rid of it, and so I did. I did not want the risk of breaking a controller, TV, or the console. However, for some godforsaken reason, I love it. 

Knowing that I beaten something in a game this hard gave me a feeling I never felt before, pride. When I beat a game on a harder difficulty, I am relieved that I will never play this mode again, and yet here I was playing Dark Souls on a harder difficulty mode. When I started to play Metro: Last Light I debated if I wanted to play the game on hard mode. I never did that before because most of the time I play games on normal. Sometimes, depending on the game, I play it on easy to enjoy the story. I ended up picking normal because if I wanted to play a hard game I would play Dark Souls, or continue my Hard Mode run on Max Payne 3.

My love\hate relationship with Dark Souls is something I never thought I would have in a game. I both love and hate the difficulty. After beating Dark Souls, my anticipation of Dark Souls 2 rose higher than before. I know it is going to be harder and I would not have wanted it any other way.   read


8:17 PM on 12.17.2013

Top Five Games of the Year

THE LAST OF US

If I had to rank these games, The Last of Us would be number one. The wizards at Naughty Dog prove once again why they are one of the gaming elite. The game is brutal and dark while delivering on a story that has real emotional weight. Joel, Ellie, and the rest of the cast has a believably that feels real and you can grow attach to them. It is not often that a game comes along that changes what is to be expected and The Last of Us is unlike anything you will ever play this year.



GRAND THEFT AUTO V

How do you top Grand Theft Auto IV? By making it better, longer, and bigger. Rockstar has made their biggest games to date and the care they have for their big franchise shows it. Having three main protagonists that you can switch between them at almost any time is a stroke of genius at Rockstar’s part. This may seem like a Greatest Hits of the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but that would lessen the work Rockstar did to Grand Theft Auto V. Fun, unapologetic, and full of verity, Grand Theft Auto has actually surpass San Andreas as my favorite of the series.



TOMB RAIDER

It was a bit of a risk to reboot Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider is one of those games that everyone one knows whether they play games or not. Now in 2013 Crystal Dynamics has taken the series to a bright, bold future. Unlike the past games where you play as Lara Croft archaeologist extraordinaire, you play her in the most brutal and rough games she has ever been to. Unlike the past Tomb Raider games and the Uncharted series, you see ever bruise, cut, and pain as she tries to survive in an undiscovered island. The game play is strong and you actually feel the power of the weapons at hand. It does not have the best story, but making a more human Lara Croft makes up for it. With any luck, a great new version of an existing franchise is born.



SPLINTER CELL: BLACKLIST

While some games claim they have freedom of choice, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is one of the few that truly has it. You can play the same mission repeatedly and still have new ways to complete objectives. You can shoot everything in sight, or you can sneak past everyone with them none the wiser. Upgrades carry over and you can expand on your tactics. The original Splinter Cell wanted you to sneak past everyone with a little freedom of what you can do. Conviction wanted you to kill everyone with little freedom you can do. Blacklist is the first true Splinter Cell where they found the perfect balance between the two.



SAINTS ROW IV

Not a lot of games can do over the top right. Sometimes it does not feel like they are truly pushing it, or they feel forced. Saints Row IV is over the top done right. While most games tries to be serious all the time and fails doing so, Saints Row IV is smart enough to know what it is. It knows it is stupid and is not afraid to make fun of that fact. The fact that Saints Row has reached this level of absurdity is impressive. Great, fun characters, an outstanding main villain, and a story that is actually good. The promises Saints Row the Third had is finally realized here. I do not want to miss a thing indeed.

  read


1:45 AM on 11.15.2013

Top Five PlayStation 3 Games

Today Sony released their new console of this new generation with the PlayStation 4. As gamers get their new system and look beyond what is coming, I am going through my top five favorite PlayStation 3 games. These are my opinion and mine alone. The PlayStation 3 had a rocky start, but as games started to come out, it became what it is now. A great system that has some of the very best this generation has offered. As with any list I make, these are not ranked.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima must have stressed out over Metal Gear Solid 4. Released in 2008, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was one of the very first to show what the system can really do and it became a showcase of the system since. Taking place nine years after the events of Metal Gear Solid for the original PlayStation, Snake, Otacon, and the rest of the series characters tries to take down The Patriots. This was the finale story of Solid Snake and what transpires is one of the best games of this generation. While I do consider Metal Gear Solid 3 as the best of the series, Metal Gear Solid 4 is a close second. Freedom of choice, great boss battles, and a story that concludes nearly 50 years of Metal Gear Lore gave Solid Snake the swan song he deserves. With Metal Gear Solid V coming, it is going to be difficult to top this.



Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

When Uncharted 2: Among Thieves came out in 2009 it became THE PlayStation 3 game. Even now, it is the best-reviewed game of this generation. A sequel to 2007 Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, it follows Nathan Drake as he searches for a mythical stone against a War Lord. The game is fast, fun, and has great characters. Uncharted 2 made Naughty Dog and Nolan North a household name. The train sequence is still one of the most fun stage in all of gaming. Not even Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception matches the sheer brilliance of Uncharted 2. With Uncharted 4 just announced, it will be interesting to see what the Uncharted games looks like on PlayStation 4.



The Last of Us

While Grand Theft Auto V came out this year along with The Last of Us, I would have to say that The Last of Us is the better game. It further proves how brilliant Naughty Dog is with its fantastic story and characters. The Stealth Horror game gave something that most survival horror games in consoles has been lacking, atmosphere. Troy Baker became the new Nolan North overnight. The Last of Us is one of those games you have to play to truly appreciate what it does. Not only is it the best of the PlayStation 3, but the best game of the year. 



Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time

Since the PlayStation 2 days, the Ratchet and Clank series has been a Sony Marvel, with great characters, weapons, story, and worlds. The Ratchet and Clank series reached its high with A Crack in Time. A Crack in Time delves deeper into the history of the Lombaxes and Clank. It features the return of characters like Dr. Nefarious and Captain Quark, while having new characters like Alister Azimuth. I would like to see a game that has Alister Azimuth has the main character. Insomniac Games was in top form and everything they learned from the past Ratchet and Clank games is fully realized here. It has great action moments for Ratchet and great puzzles and platforming for Clank. Along with Going Commando for the PlayStation 2, A Crack in Time is the best Ratchet and Clank game. 



God of War III


The God of War series has always been a showcase of what the Sony systems can do and God of War 3 is no exception. Since the first God of War in 2005, it has been one of Sony’s biggest franchises. When God of War II for the PlayStation 2 ended, a few months after the PlayStation 3 launched, fans has been waiting to see what God of War III would look like on the new system. Their hopes was not in vain as God of War III, even to this day, is one of the best looking games of the system. While it does not do anything new in terms of gameplay, its story and puzzles is some of the best of the series. The final fight against Zeus is one of this generation’s best boss fights. God of War III is a technical marvel that only the PlayStation 3 can do.



That was my picks of my most favorite PlayStation 3 games. It took a few years, but when PlayStation 3 finally hit its stride, it went in strong. Next week, the day the Xbox One launches, I shall post my most favorite Xbox 360 exclusives.   read


10:55 PM on 11.02.2013

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly Review

Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly has a reputation of being one of the scariest games ever made. It is right up there with Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill 2. Released in 2003 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Fatal Frame 2 kind of lives up the hype. You play as one of two twin sisters, Mayu and Mio, as they try to escape a lost village and investage on what happened to the residents there. The atmosphere and setting is chilling and it makes use of the haunted feel of the game. As great as the setting is, each area can feel the same and it can become frustratingly easy to get lost in as you try to find the next objective. The atmosphere loses some of its power because of this, but the scares never lose its power and if you happen to let your guard down that is when the ghosts will appear. There are a number of types of ghosts that you will see. Some will lead you to your next destination, and others that will attack you. It does not happen often, but there will be a couple of times where a certain ghost will kill you in the slightest touch. You can defend yourself with the Camera Obscura. This camera will allow you to take photos of the ghosts you will meet in the game.



When you take a picture of a ghost, you will exercise them. The better the picture, the better the damage, and the higher points you will get. You can upgrade your camera by using sprit orbs and the points you have earned. The camera is fixed and the control feels like Resident Evil. The camera rarely becomes a problem. If you use the camera, it switches to a first person where you can move around in.

The story and the game are dark. At first, you will read about this ritual, but as you continue the game, you will learn more about the cultish village and the reason behind the ritual. Murder, suicides, human sacrifice, and the power of twins are heavy themes in Fatal Frame 2. Grim stuff only gets darker as you continue. The grim tone comes to life thanks to its excellent sound design. The voice acting of the twins and ghosts are chilling. The wind, music, and the footsteps will leave you uneasy. I would not call Fatal Frame 2 a survival horror, but it is pure horror. Fatal Frame 2 is more effective than most survival horror games that have come out in the past few years on consoles.



One of the most important aspects of horror is pacing. This is where the game slightly veers of course. It is very easy to get lost and it breaks the flow of the game. Worst yet, there is this section near the end of Fatal Frame 2 where you need to find puzzles pieces. This blatant use of padding never did any good in games. It would not be so bad if they send you to a new area, but you have to go to the same places over again. Fatal Frame 2 has a lot of backtracking, more so than Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill. You will enter the same three houses two to three times just to find that key or map to continue. By either key or diary, there is always something to find, so exploration is a big factor into Fatal Frame 2. The puzzles are well made but you have a time or move limit to them. You can ignore them because nothing happens and if you do manage to fail the puzzles you can do it again with the pieces back to where it was.

Fatal Frame 2: The Crimson Butterfly is a good game. It may not be as good as Resident Evil 2 or Silent Hill, but it is far creepier and sometimes scarier than those games. If horror is your thing, then give Fatal Frame 2 a shot.   read


1:49 AM on 10.15.2013

Multiplayer: The Future

No one likes buying sixty-dollar games that will only last six hours or less. You get the game and beat it that day. Some people would not mind the six-hour game because it is something that they do in their spare time, and depending on their lifestyle, they might not get a lot of time. So getting short game gives them a chance to finish a game. I fall on the latter; I can complete a game in one day. When I finished Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, it took me about eight hours or so to complete it. I was playing all day and I enjoyed most of it. The ships section is a series low. To some people it can take a week or a month to complete a game like that. To make sure that consumers are getting more bang for their buck, developers would include a multiplayer aspect of the game. Some games thrive on single player, some game excel at multiplayer. The main reason I see why multiplayer is added into the games is that the single player has very little replay value. I can play games multiple times, but having that incentive to continue playing makes it that much better. It is why Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of the best games of this generation.


BEFORE THE HATE


You can sink hours into the game’s multiplayer, but the multiplayer has to be good enough to go through all that. There is a reason by Battlefield and Call of Duty is as big as they are when it comes to multiplayer. The developers, Dice and Infinity Ward/Treyarch respectively, take their time to perfect what they had created. As they are working long hours into the night, making great multiplayer experiences other developers look at that success and try to put a multiplayer component where it does not belong. Tomb Raider and God of War Ascension come to mind. Tomb Raider is one of the most underrated games of this year. God of War Ascension was one of the most disappointing and it was clear that most of the staff was focusing their time with the multiplayer than the single player. Tomb Raider had the opposite; it had a great single player while the multiplayer is mediocre. If there was more focus on the single player of God of War Ascension, then I felt like it can sit beside the original trilogy as one of the best action games around.


Some games does not need multiplayer, but other games do. The Call of Duty has been a juggernaut since the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007. Apart from having a fun single player, Modern Warfare had a great multiplayer. Since then the primary focus on the Call of Duty franchise is its multiplayer. The same could be said about Battlefield. They had their big multiplayer brake in 2004 from Battlefield 2 for the PC. Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo are some of the biggest multiplayer games of this generation.


SOLO OR WITH A FRIEND


Next month will mark the arrival of the new systems, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and there will be a new line up of games to play. The Division, Destiny, and Deep Down will be multiplayer only; I can only hope that they will do what Borderlands and Left 4 Dead did allow for solo play. They should have offline modes where you can play whenever you feel like. No matter if you are online or not. The rocky start of Grand Theft Auto Online showed us that online will take a hit with that many people playing. It can be so bad that you cannot play it or worse losing your character progression and never getting it back. With everyone trying to play the new game, even if it is solo, every online only game is going to have a rough start. Even MMOs like World of Warcraft and Everquest had rough moments, even more so when expansion packs came out.


If games had single player the player can learn the game without fear of doing something that will upset a teammate. Alternatively, if the severs are down they can still play the game. If you are like me and do not play online, you can still have all the fun on single player mode. I played Co-Op on Borderlands 2 and had a lot of fun with it, which same feeling of fun was still there for the single player. I would not want to pay seventy for a game that might not work sometimes. At least with single player offline, I can play whenever I feel like it. As the years go by, I can see that there is going to be many games coming out that will have online only. I hope that single player games will not and co-exist with each other. With Grand Theft Auto V grossing a billion dollars and the excitement over Kingdom Hearts III, I do not think single player modes will die out.   read


3:34 AM on 09.10.2013

Gaming Wishes: Darkwing Duck

I think it is safe to say that everyone wants a Darkwing Duck game, and why not? The setting alone has the potential to be good. You have likely heard this version before, but a Darkwing Duck game that plays like the Batman Arkham series. This would be excellent, but the thing with Darkwing Duck is that he is not much of a fighter. What would it take to make a great Darkwing Duck game? With the success of DuckTales remastered, I think it would be smart to release a remake of the NES game first. This would set up Darkwing Duck to those that did not grow up watching the show. Then, if successful, I think it would be time to tackle the big objective of a great game. Make St. Canard open world. The world of St. Canard is big in itself. In the center of St. Canard has towering buildings that the entire area will see. This would allow for some great missions. If it were up to me, the start of the game would start small. The S.H.U.S.H organization has a new invention that would detect crime happing at that exact moment. This would allow Darkwing Duck to go the crime scene to try to stop the crime or investigate what happened. This would allow for puzzles for Darkwing to solve. He will use the gadgets he made at his disposal; this is where the Arkham influence would kick in.



I AM THE STORY THAT GOES NOWHERE

My story would be that the Fearsome Five would steal S.H.U.S.H’s invention and Darkwing has to stop them before using this device for their own schemes. Each of the Fearsome Five will have missions that are based on that villain. Megavolt will have missions based on the power of the City, The Liquidator would deal with the water and shops, Quackerjack would deal with the objects mostly toys, Bushroot will deal with the plants. Negaduck will overview all of the schemes. This is until the real Negaduck comes to town. I have heard that one of the episodes that was being planned was the Galvanized Negaduck would come and Darkwing and Negaduck would force to work together. This would be an excellent episode and this would come in the start of the game. The Fearsome Five will not be the only villains in the game. A side story will have Steelbeak and Taurus Bulba team up to try to stop Darkwing Duck.



I AM THE VOICE THAT HAUNTS YOUR DREAMS

Because of the nature of the show, the game will not be as violent as the Arkham games, but it will have some action in it. What comes to mind is Stranger’s Wrath. You go around the open world St. Canard and you tag up criminals. Instead of getting money for each criminal you capture, you will get fame. The harder to catch a criminal, the better the fame. The downside is that if you do damage to the city, the less fame you will get. Darkwing Duck’s need of fame has always been a driving force of why he dons a mask. This will not be a game where you need X amount of fame to go to a story mission, but the better the fame, the easier the story missions will be. Considering that he also has Gosalyn and Launchpad at his side, this could lead to some co-op. While having a playable Launchpad could be a bit tricky, he could be a side character that gives you items via palate drops. Gosalyn could easily be Quiverwing Quack and that would be the co-op missions. 



I AM DARKWING DUCK

I do not want this to be dark and moody like in the Arkham games. The reason why Arkham games works like that because it fits with the tone of Batman. In Darkwing Duck, I would like a more colorful world. The hardest part about this game is getting the voices. I would love to see everyone come back as his or her respective roles, assuming they are still alive. The one thing that must happen is that Jim Cummings must return as Darkwing Duck and Negaduck.

What I want out of a Darkwing Duck game is something that is fun and stays true to the original series.   read


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