I love me some pixels and retro games from the 16-Bit era and I miss the arcades of early 90's. Recently bought a PS3 followed by a 360 but I tend not to keep up with new releases, instead I often play older games I missed out on. Lately it's been hard though. Gamefly just keeps sending me games, and I keep beating them =)
Dragon Age: Origins
Rainbow Six: Las Vegas 2
Zombie Shooter 2
Shadow of the Colossus
Metal Gear Solid
Thief 2:The Metal Age
River City Ransom
Castlevania:Symphony of the Night
Secret of Mana
System Shock 2
Final Fantasy III(j6)
Baldur's Gate 2
Zelda: Link to the Past
LONG WINDED INTRO I POSTED IN THE FORUMS
Love this site, and the people involved in making it great. Its nice to have a gaming news blog that lets me curse unchecked when I fucking need to! I feel fortunate to be a part of such a great community. I became a big fan of the site when I stumbled across RetroforceGo! and fell in love with retro games all over again listening to others share their memories of the early glory days of gaming. Yeah, I'm an "old timer" that dislikes online console nonsense, misses the arcades and the fact that 2D games still take a back seat to 3D (the uprising is coming, I swear it!) but allow me to tell you how I came to be the gamer I am today.
I'm 27 and grew up on Nintendo and PC Gaming. Basically when my brother would have the TV to game I would be killing Nazis in Wolfenstein 3D or mapping out dungeons for Eye of the Beholder. When the SNES was released, the same pattern was repeated only with Doom and Lands of Lore in the mix. Throw in some Warcarft and Duke Nukem and I was two mouse clicks away from being addicted to PC gaming for life. Thankfully my brother was gracious enough to have a life so I could waste mine on our consoles when he had things to do, lol.
Back then every Friday it was almost an unspoken tradition to ride our bikes to Video Action down the block and rent a game for the weekend. Good lord we rented some terrible Nintendo games, but hey, we hadn't played them yet, so we had to try them. Home Alone and Cliffhanger would teach me otherwise.
I, like many, was duped by Nintendo with the 64. What a piece of shit system! At least I got to play Zelda and I did beat Turok (3D pitfall jumps and all). Mario 64 and F-Zero round out the few games I actually enjoyed on that system. PC games filled A LOT of my time then. Baldurs Gate, Thief, Tie Fighter, Diablo, Half-Life, Jagged Alliance, Mechwarrior 2, Warcraft 2, Starcraft, Hexen, Counter-Strike, etc. It wasn't until I convinced my brother that he had to get a Playstation for Final Fantasy 7 that I truly became a console junkie.
Getting a PS2 was a no brainer for me in high school. How could I not after devoting countless hours to my PS1 with games like Resident Evil 1 & 2, Alundra, Bushido Blade, FF8, FFTactics, Wild Arms, BoF3, Vagrant Story, Syphon Filter, Grandia, Silent Hill, Castlevania:SotN, Metal Gear Solid... I mean, sweet Jesus there were A LOT of great games for Playstation. Yeah they look old and busted now but back then they were amazing. So PS2 was just the next natural step up.
I PC gamed a lot more after that, heh. For some reason the PS2 console couldn't hold my attention past the obvious choices like GTA3/VC/SA and MGS2 & 3. Probably had more to do with my upgraded PC and the fact that PC games had a lot more appeal to me during the PS2's life cycle. Morrowind, Fallout 1 & 2, Diablo 2, Half-Life 2, Farcry, Deus Ex, Thief 3, Warcraft 3, Call of Duty, Gothic 1 & 2, Oblivion and then... World of Warcraft. Above all other reasons I find myself so behind on games, its because of WoW. That and around the time of WoW's release I started dating girls. I am now 3 years clean from WoW and am a better gamer for it. Only a few years clean from women, and also a better gamer for it, lol.
These days I'm catching up on games I missed. After two failed engagements and finally graduating from college with a BA I find I have LOTS of free on my hands but I'm loving every second of it. You realize how much you really take for granted when your freedom is limited for a time, and then given back to you.
RetroforceGo introduced me in to a new genre of games - SHMUPs!! I never get tired of some arcade shooting action. Can you yell DO DON PACHI!?! I can and do when I'm drunk and shooting spaceships in droves, muwhaha!
Bought a Gamecube for Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime. Then there was Ikaruga. I suck at it but man do I love playing that game. I plan on getting through Windwaker one of these days, but that damned jail sequence at the beginning really pissed me off.
Bought a PS3 for GTAIV because I knew MGS4 would be out soon and I'd have to have that as well. The 360 came soon after I realized games like Castle Crashers, Braid, Crackdown, Dead Rising and various SHMUPs needed my attention. Games like Dead Dishwasher Samurai still make me happy about my 360 purchase. Doubt I'll ever buy a Wii, though the new Punch Out was a lot of fun.
My DS begs for my attention as I attempt to play Piano for the first time ever. I also love reading fantasy novels from R.A. Salvatore and George R.R. Martin, watching movies and GOOD anime as well. I'm really in to TV shows like Dexter, House MD, and Sons of Anarchy as well as good independent pro wrestling like Ring of Honor and real sports like the NFL. Greenbay Packers 4 life! There just isn't enough hours in a day. Man, it is a great time to be a young nerd these days.
(Warning - long winded rant draws near, no spoilers though)
I loved Heavenly Sword... like I loved Kill Bill. It was B movie material except with an amazing soundtrack. You'll find plenty of over the top nonsense with outlandish plots and characters. The spectacularly gory martial arts violence was a massive delight for me! The main character, Nariko, is probably the most drop dead gorgeous female video game character to ever walk the virtual earth. Its just not even fair that they can make a perfect female of such stunning beauty and then give her the perfect voice along with her facial animations. (English accents... Mmmmm)
She is beautiful, its just too bad she couldn't have been in a better game
Speaking of facial expressions, this game says much more without words. For once in a game I'm seeing real emotion on ever inch of a characters face, its crazy. GTA IV did this well too but Heavenly Sword takes it to a whole new level. I remember when Valve first did stuff like that with G-Man in Half-Life 2. Heavenly Sword makes G-Man look 8 bit in comparison to facial detail. Better still they have the guy who did Gollum for the LotR movies as the main bad guy. He brings life to the lead villain of the game in such a way that only he could. Well acted, well timed, with funny little one liners mixed in for variety.
The levels have this amazing art to them too with huge sweeping vista's of waterfalls and sunsets that are just spectacular.
Being able to beat three shades of shit out a lot of baddies never gets old for me. As long as there is always a healthy dose of blood and options in attacks. Nariko has more moves and combos than I could count with her three different stances plus the ability to switch mid attack to mix up the array of offense provides for some VERY satisfying results. I made kills with moves I didn't even know existed. It made Kratos look almost gimped by comparison. ALMOST.
I never once had a problem with the controls except for the shit brained idea of having the player waggle the controller when knocked flying in the air so she can pull off another amazing move. Fuck your waggle Sony! Last time I checked, the buttons on controllers still work. Fucking use them. Pretty much gave up on that move, making it a goal not to get knocked silly.
Grace and beauty flying through the air just tearing shit up. This is obviously the best part of the game, and its as impressive as watching TonyJaa tear through people.
But alas, all of the above is tarnished by the following faults...
Gameplay... dear God what were they thinking? The sections that will put you up against 50 baddies you can tear through to your delight in an good old fashioned beat down are tons of fun. I want more of that! I wanted more blood, more action. The fighting is so sweet! I wanted to watch Nariko twist and turn all day long while sending spouts of blood and bodies flying in every direction. Thats not what I got. Instead I got to spend 40 minutes firing a cannon at some catapults using the siaxis motion controller... while being timed. Not so cool. In fact, it was fucking awful. And if that wasn't bad enough, their are sections after that which has you playing as a different character with a crossbow and nothing else. Enter the obligatory frustration with the motion controller. I don't want to spend hours fine tuning motion control with flying obstacles. I really don't. If I wanted that, I'd buy a Wii.
And how the hell is she able to make arrows fly like that anyway? Mind control? Is she the Revolver Ocelot meets Psycho Mantis of medieval times with curving arrows?! Fun character but she left me with a feeling of - Huh?
When I am given the most stunning combat action since the first time I played Devil May Cry, the last thing I want to do is play mini-games with motion controls. *sigh* Soooo much potential but Sony just had to show of their motion controller. Good for you guys. Have a cookie you rip off douche bags. The whole game is like that. You'll have one level that is just bad ass and has you singing praises for the game and then it will turn around and slap you in the face the next. The pacing is all wrong.
The puzzles involve... you guessed it, throwing stuff with motion controls. This I didn't mind as much. Puzzles are what puzzles are. Pushing blocks in God of War wasn't really ground breaking material either, but lets face it, the puzzles aren't there to challenge you really. If I want that I'll play Alundra or Lolo's Adventure. The puzzles are there to break up the action, give you a breather... but it fails in this game because there isn't enough action as it is!
Also - Quick Time Events. FUCKING DIE! Thank you God of War for giving us something great so other companies can try it in every game possible and fail miserably. There is so much intense and very quick action going on in HS that you can't help but watch the action in awe, so when it pops the "press this button" it takes a second to realize, "Oh shit! QTE!" and by then its too late. You seriously need split second reaction for them or you fail. I found the trick to them though, look through the screen. Try it, let everything going on screen blur out and just focus your mind on looking through the one point on the screen. When the button pops on screen you will recognize it immediately. Thats what I had to do in order to pass some of the QTE's. Which sucked balls because I wanted to watch the amazing action! And we're talking Legolas taking down a Elephant type of material. Real grade A in your face cinematic action playing out and I had to instead focus on pressing a fucking button. GARH! Good thing that the QTE's are not random, so you can memorize the buttons that will pop at least.
Why oh why am I STILL being forced to rewatch cutscenes after failing a level. "I just saw this, lets move on. I need to practice this level. Ahhhh for fucks sake, do I need to hear this shit again?" I thought this is Next Gen. I thought we moved past this.
And let me just get downright mean for a second here while I'm at it. I watched the behind the scenes making of where everyone and their mother drooled over the graphics and motion mapping and it became clear to me... these people don't look like they play a lot of games. They look like a lot of overworked programmers and art designers. These fucking people probably never even played their own game. I mean, it took them 4 years to make a game that I can beat in two sit downs (7 hours total). Not sure if thats because they had no dev kit to work with the PS3 at the time or what but I hope their next game can focus more on the GAMEPLAY content and not the "oooh, did you see that pixel shading? OMG Motion Capture! The colors! Wow! This is amazing! We need more graphical power, where is the PS4?!"
They spent so much time focusing on the wrong things in my opinion. Yes, the game looks beautiful (See the above screen shots) but what does that matter if the game sucks overall? How can you make fighting that spectacular and not have more? I don't get it.
Alright, enough rambling, I think you get the picture. Overall this game is best treated like a popcorn movie. Take in its flaws and try to have fun where you can. Don't worry if it gets frustrating as its not a long game, and your bound to kick some serious ass eventually even if it is against a VERY predictable boss fight. This beautifully flawed game needs more ACTION and less GIMMICKS.