My illustrious gaming career began on my grandmother's Windows 3.1 PC, a relic even when I was using it. On it, I played such classics as SkiFree, solitaire, and crappy DOS Star Trek games. As time passed, my tastes (and hardware) changed, and I fell in love with numerous RTSes, Isometric RPGs, and crappy Winddows '95 Star Trek games. For a few cold, harsh years, my game purchases all but ceased, and were limited to yearly installments of EA's NHL series. However, about three years ago, I met my then (and current!) girlfriend, who introduced me to the wonders of love, sex, and Resident Evil 4. She also made me play WWE Crush Hour, but I've forgiven her for that. What was once a passing interest in games evolved into an all-out addiction, and I now own every current generation console, and a collection of about 200 games. Though some have described my excessive gaming habits as "dehabilitating," I assure you that they are only mildly so.
To fans of games, it's rare to hear developers share honest opinions. In the very business-oriented climate of the industry, the individuals responisble for the development and promotion of games are all but required to describe their games as amazing, groundbreaking pieces of art. However, the wonders of E3 (and more importantly, alcohol) lossened the lips of some big names in the games business this past week. As such, I implore you all to give a listen to the following two podcasts. The first, at IGN, is an interview with Oddworld creator Lorne Lanning, which can be found here (you don't need an Insider subscription to listen, FYI). The man is a tremendously slick speaker, and shares facts and history about both his games and the industry as a whole that will be of great interest to fans. Additionally, Lanning pries a silent admission out of the IGN editors interviewing him that, in order to appease publishers, they haven't been as critical of some games as they should have been.
The second podcast that I highly reccommend is the 3-hour long 1UP Yours E3 wrapup show. Though I haven't even finished listening myself, already it's featured talk of double-ended dildos at GDC, a great, honest interview with LittleBigPlanet's lead designer (who hints at a collaboration with Ico designed Fumido Ueda), and bonus rambling by Dennis Dyack. Though it's not as informative as the IGN podcast, it's certainly still interesting. Give them a listen, and tell me what you think.
Among the flurry of Microsoft-related leaks that appeared yesterday was news of a new superhero action game, titled Powers and Titans. Though most reports lacked any details on the game, Gamasutra is reporting that Buffy/Angel/Firefly creator Joss Whedon will be providing "input" on it. I imagine that there's quite a large cross-section of fans of both Firefly and video games (Dtoid's own Reverend Anthony included, if his weekly mentions of the show on Podtoid and MGS4 review are any indication), so I pose this question: would you buy a superhero game by Joss Whedon? The man certainly knows the genre, having just wrapped up a much acclaimed run on Astonishing X-Men. Do you think his writing would translate well to a different medium?
People, do not download the Turning Point: Fall of Liberty Demo that just went up on Xbox Live. If you do, you will find only the horrific precursor to what is sure to be, and this is no exaggeration, the worst game the Xbox 360 will ever see. I have no fucking idea why Codemasters would ever actually create a demo, and show people what a massive piece of shit the game is. Anyone who plays it will most definitely never, ever look upon it again, much less buy it. Some of the problems:
-the game uses the Unreal 3 engine, at least according to the logo when it boots up. How the helll you would ever realize this without the logo is beyond me. This game is oh so ugly. So very, very ugly. This would be a shitty looking PS2 game.
-the game's story and premise is introduced not with a cutscene, but with a 10 second blurb of text on a black background.
-you are some random ass construction worker (I know this only because you start out in a construction site, there's no actual spoken dialogue), and yet the Nazis have decided to send waves and waves of enemies after you for no apparent reason.
-you walk with all the speed of a crippled zombie. Until you activate sprint mode, of course, in which you move at almost 1.3 times your normal speed! (Seriously, I didn't realize I was actually sprinting until like the third time I did it).
-hot shit it's ugly!
That's all I got. My limited vocabulary combined with sleep depravation can't do justice to how bad this game is. Truly, the Hour of Victory and Turok demos were masterpieces compared to this.
Oh well, at least my fre Undertow download is sweet!
I recently finished playing Heavenly Sword, and I have to say, the game was absolutely beautiful. Stunning, in fact. The facial animation was incredible, far superior to that found in any other game (yes, even to the Half-Life 2 Episodes and Mass Effect). The performances of the voice actors were among the best to ever be heard in a video game, rivaled only by Bioshock's team of Andrew Ryan and Atlas in terms of quality. The game's score was one of the best of the year, making use of more exotic sounding instruments to sound original, not like the typical John Williams impersonations composers seem so fond of using in video games. The environments looked great, the character designs were neat, and the story, while somewhat underdeveloped because of the game's short length, was still strong (and if you watch the animated episodes the disc, you'll see just how deep it could have been). So, what's the problem? When you actually have to play the game, it turns into a fucking nightmare.
I won't go in depth about what's wrong with the gameplay. If you're reading this, you've undoubtedly read the many reviews which have already done so. It should suffice to say that the different combat stances are underused, the enemies aren't varied enough (there are literally only like 4 different types), the arena-style battles are tiresome, you can button mash your way through the whole game, and that stupid, broken Sixaxis aftertouch shit is used pretty much every ten minutes. So, what could the solution have been to all these problems? How could the game have improved, and in my opinion, improved exponentially? Simple, I say! It should have been turned into an RPG.
This game was begging to be turned into one. More emphasis could have been put on the game's strong points, it's characters, story, and storytelling. Instead of just getting new combos for the sword as you progress through the game, you could unlock more powerful attacks by leveling up, and focus on leveling up one of your stances to become an expert at it. The repetitive enemies would be less noticeable, since that's pretty much a given in RPGs. Instead of switching to a different character with a different control scheme in the middle of the game, you could just have Kai in your party from the get-go. Between the setting, the characters, and the story, this game would have been a perfect fit for an epic RPG. Instead, it was a mediocre action game, and that's a huge disappointment. I'd love to see a second Heavenly Sword, and I hope one is made: I just hope that it's in a different genre.