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7:06 PM on 08.10.2015

My Gaming Landscape [August 10th, 2015]

MGL

Welcome to the new Gaming Landscape! In the past, I used these blog posts not just to talk about the games I’ve been playing but to chronicle and keep track of what I had been playing. However, that has become constraining as sometimes I don’t have much to say about some of the games I’ve been playing. This is why I stopped writing these for a few months now. What’s more is my initial thoughts on a game are usually on my Twitter account now (follow me @Colorwind, FYI). For this reason, I thought at first to end the Gaming Landscape series. However, I realized that there’s a need to a longer form of casual discussion about video games. I think that’s why this series has done fairly well to begin with. So for that reason, I decided to keep the name but with a different format. These posts will now talk about my thoughts and feelings on games and the industry as a whole as I seem to be perceiving them at the moment. This will surely bring up games I’ve been playing as well but this will no longer be the focus. I won’t even break up the post by games anymore. So with that in mind, enjoy the new Gaming Landscape!

The main reason why I brought back My Gaming Landscape is because of something that has happened to me this whole summer. I’ve been in a gaming rut. For some reason, ever since E3 of this year, I’ve been playing mostly nothing but bad games or games that didn’t hold my interest. It started with the Uncharted series, which I wrote a highly controversial blog about. I didn’t like playing that series at all and only ended up beating the first game, although I got close to the end of the second.

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What the hell is this? Why did Naughty Dog think this is what their platformer series needed?

After that, I played The Jak Trilogy. I liked the first game, though I didn’t think it was anything amazing. However, after that, I didn’t like the second or third games. I found the second game to be tedious and confused, as if Naughty Dog didn’t know what kind of game they were trying to make. Jak 3 just wound up boring me and it didn’t help that most of the game, or at least the two or so hours I played of it, consisted mostly of the worst aspect of Jak 2: the driving. The controls were a bit better than they were in the second game but I think the only reason they felt better was because you were driving hover bikes anymore.

Around this time, I was also trying to play Fallout 3 on stream but nothing really compelled me to come back to it after an initial stream. I was initially hyped to play it because of the announcement of Fallout 4 and the gameplay shown at E3. But that didn’t last. Same goes for Dishonored, which I popped in for the first time. After all this, I had a bit of luck with playing the Crash series on the original PlayStation. The first game hasn’t aged well but Crash 2, Crash 3, and Crash Team Racing are still fun games. Playing through the original Metroid was also a lot a fun and I wrote a review for it as a result.

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Sonic, why?

The real thing that has hampered me is the games I’ve recently reviewed for Middle of Nowhere Gaming. First was Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. I knew it was going to be bad before playing it but the game ultimately was more boring than bad. Honestly, it was the best game I reviewed overall. Next was Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition, which was so goddamn tedious since there’s “new” campaigns for all of the new playable characters which are exact copies of the original game’s campaign, right down to the backtracking. Finally, I just finished a review of Legend of Kay Anniversary and I’ll just say that it hasn’t aged well. At all.

Other games I’ve been trying to get into but have been stopped for whatever reason are Final Fantasy X HD, Tales of Vesperia, Metro 2033, and Devil May Cry 1 for the DMC Diaries series I’m doing. Even some games that I’ve kind of gotten into, such as Gears of War 2 and Rocket League, haven’t sucked me in enough to keep playing them. It doesn’t help that there hasn’t been too many games coming out recently that have peaked my interest. Also, for some reason, there are some games, like Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture, that I know nothing about.

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One bad or uninteresting game after another, like clockwork.

I think I need to go back to a game that I know I like to get me out of this rut. I know that I’ve been in the mood for something a bit laid back mechanically and during long periods of relaxation, like the summer, I like to play long games. So I think I should play an RPG and I did try that with Final Fantasy X HD and Tales of Vesperia. However, I got stuck on a boss. So instead, I think I’m going to finally do something I’ve wanted to do for some time now.

The first RPG I ever played and the one that got me into the genre was Final Fantasy VII. However, I’ve never actually beaten it. See, when I was first going through the game, my save file was corrupted after parachuting back into Midgar. I’ve never been able to go back to the game and play it seriously because, man, that still burns me to this day. However, I loved playing that game and maybe now it’s time to finally do it. I own the game on Steam and it’s just been sitting there. I don’t have to worry about corrupted data that’s to the Steam Cloud, and it’s a game that I know I like but haven’t beaten.

So wish me luck on Final Fantasy VII. Hopefully, this will be what I need to pull me out of this rut. Have you ever been in a gaming rut, where nothing you’re playing is good or holding your interest? Did you like the new Gaming Landscape format? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section and check out my blog colorwynd.wordpress.com for more posts on games, music, movies and more. Peace and Love, Gamers and Players! Colorwind out.

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11:34 AM on 07.27.2015

The DMC Diaries–Part 6

DMC Diaries 6

It’s been awhile but here’s a new entry in the DMC Diaries for Missions 10 and 11!

A lot of the Devil May Cry games have these maze levels where you need to leave the level through the right exit or else the area will just repeat itself. These are never done well and they always feel needless. Of course , the first game is no exception and Mission 10 has you following this orb thing that shows you which path to take. There’s enemies along the way and it’s fairly harmless. However, the camera angles once again had to at least screw me up once. As I entered the second area with these flying enemies, I tried to move forward to avoid a diving attack and the camera switches angles really quick. This makes me run backwards instead, letting the diving attack hit me back through the way I just came from. This resets the whole path. Bullshit.

I basically decide to avoid all the enemies on the path if I can and just follow the sphere out of there. I make it through to an area with two spider enemies that I take out fairly easily with my Devil Trigger ability. I pick up a Holy Water in the grass on the left and end the mission. After getting some upgrades, I start Mission 11 and immediately there’s this big flying asshole attacking me. I’m not having too much of a problem with him except that he keeps knocking me down this hole that’s inexplicably near the middle of the room. Each time he does it, the fight is reset and he gains all his health back. He does this three times and I only barely beat him because he gets a couple of hits in before knocking me into the hole again and I don’t regain my health. As a result, he almost kills me through sheer attrition and resetting the match for him.

After I defeat him, I go in the hole and kill some more enemies for a blue orb fragment and to collect a item I need to move on. I go around collecting some items and red orbs around the main room as well, including yet another blue orb fragment. I go into the next room and activate a boss fight with the Gargoyle dude again. This fight is a lot more frustrating than the last due to one stupid reason: the camera angles. This area has so many different camera angles and they are constantly switching. This means I can see where the hell this guy is! Luckily, I have my Devil Trigger lightning bolt ability but even with that, I almost die because he’ll sometimes teleport somewhere I can’t see him and shoot energy blasts at me. The fight takes forever so when I win and use an item to open the door, I end my session.

So that was my latest impressions of Devil May Cry. Not the most positive experience and I’m being reminded as to why this game pissed me off so much before. It’s a shame since my opinion was more positive last time. Be sure to check for the next DMC Diaries. Peace and Love, Gamers and Players! Colorwind out.

Originally posted on colorwynd.wordpress.com

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7:29 PM on 07.23.2015

Game Pitch: Primal Rage: New Urth

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This is an idea that I’ve been sitting on for some time now. I’ve always wondered what a new Primal Rage would look like and after thinking about this for what feels like a year, I’ve come up with a relatively simple idea, mostly due to one factor: the game needs to be a reimagining of the first game.

The original story of Primal Rage was a massive meteor strike destroyed civilization and in the aftermath, seven creatures hibernating in the earth’s crust awake and battle for control of the planet. The new story would be similar but with more detail and with a different aftermath:

In 2112, Earth is at the height of its global warming problem. The ozone layer around the planet has been nearly dissolved and scientists are desperate to find a way to reverse the damage done. One day, a meteor shower heads towards Earth and breaks through the ozone layer. Without the atmosphere to burn them up before reaching the surface, mankind is devastated by the shower, which destroys major metropolitan cities, farms, and various areas all around the world. However, it also awakens ancient beasts and monsters from the Earth’s core long thought to be extinct millions of years ago or purely fictional. These creatures start terrorizing mankind, as well as fighting amongst themselves. This winds up splitting humanity up into two camps: those who wish to serve the beasts and those who want to fight them. Those who want to fight them create man-made organisms and robots to combat the creatures. While this is happening, scientists have found a solution to the global warming problem. However, it requires a high surge of power which can only come from the creatures from the core. Can the man-made creatures defeat and capture the beasts or will they destroy civilization and conquer the planet as the New Urth?

The new plot does not have civilization destroyed from the start, though they are devastated. This allows for a plot featuring man versus beast and for more destructible stages since these fights will take place in areas still populated by man and therefore, with buildings and structures to fight among. The game will be in 2D and the stages will be interactable, allowing you to grab things and hurt your opponent with them, as well as slam them against items and structures. The following stages will be included:

  • Metropolitan: a city with a vast population, numerous skyscraper buildings, and a lot of cars on the road. Fighters can slam their opponents into the buildings in the background, and pick up and throw cars. Characters can be impaled on the point of one of the buildings in the background as a stage execution.
  • Plantation: a vast area with crops planted with various farmers equipment, such as tractors and crop dusters, in the background that can be used.
  • Village Island: a primitive village with a volcano in the background. Characters can be thrown onto the huts in the background. Characters can be thrown into the volcano for a stage execution.
  • Desolation Beach: beach near a pier during a rainy day. Various attractions such as arcade machines, ferris wheels, and food stands can be grabbed and thrown, and characters can be knocked into the pier’s supports until it collapses.
  • Endless Desert: desert with rolling hills and a sand whirlpool in the background. Sand can be kicked to disable fighters briefly. Characters can be knocked into the whirlpool as a stage execution.
  • Greenwich Township: outdoor area with small shopping centers. Lampposts can be thrown.
  • Capitalism Center: shopping mall with an open center. Various store signs, statues and other items can be interacted with.
  • New Urth Jungle: a forest / jungle area with numerous trees, vines, and shrubbery. Trees can be knocked into, vines can be swung from, and branches can be thrown. Characters can be impaled on a fallen tree in the background as a stage execution.
  • Discarded Ruins: grassy area with stone ruins in the background. Some stones can be thrown. Characters can be slammed against others.
  • Forgotten Cave: a dank cave filled with rocks, stalagmites, and stalactites. Characters can be skewered on the stalagmites and stalactites as a stage execution.
  • Frozen Crust Mountain: a flat surface on top of a mountain. Snow can be kicked to disable fighters briefly. Characters can be thrown off the mountain as a stage execution.
  • Sea Excursion: aboard an aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean. Planes, and icebergs floating by can be grabbed and thrown. Characters can be knocked into the ocean for a stage execution. Sharks will attack the fighter before they are ripped in half by a giant kraken.

The game will have four attack buttons, split up into two high attacks and two low attacks. Special and Super Moves will be available and will be done in Mortal Kombat style. Fatalities will also be available and will be called executions. Depending on the fighter, they will use their arms or head for high attacks, and legs or tails for low attacks. Combos will not be the focus and in this way will resemble Street Fighter IV in gameplay, relying more on pokes, spacing, and fundamentals. However, combat will be faster, much like Mortal Kombat X. There will be 20 characters to choose from in total, all of which will be available at the beginning:

  1. Sauron: a tyrannosaurus rex resurrected after the meteor shower. This beast doesn’t seem to have any desires to conquer the planet or destroy humanity. It’s sole purpose seems to be to feed and is the most animalistic of the beasts.
  2. Blizzard: a giant gorilla who was unfrozen from the mountains after the meteor shower. He wishes to rule over the other beasts and enslave humanity so that he can recreate Urth according to his vision.
  3. Diablo: a dragon unearthed by the meteor shower. He wants to destroy the planet in its entirety and lives only to cause pain and suffering. If successful, he’ll transform Urth into a living hell.
  4. Chaos: a giant baboon who was brought back by the meteor shower. He wishes destroy the other beasts so he can rule mankind. Chaos is the crudest of the beasts and wants only to rule mankind for self-serving and childish reasons.
  5. Armadon: a bipedal triceratops brought back to life by the meteor shower. He aspires to capture the other beasts in order to study them. A scholar, he wants to examine them for his experiments to better understand how the meteor resurrected them.
  6. Talon: a raptor resurrected by the meteor shower. She wants to capture humans as food for her babies, whom she believes to have been resurrected as well. However, she has yet to find them. (I know Talon was male in the original. I changed that.)
  7. Vertigo: a cobra with four legs brought back by the meteor shower. She feeds off of brain waves and wishes to enslave all of humanity through mind control.
  8. Monolith: a giant wooly mammoth brought back by the meteor shower. He wishes to destroy all man-made creations, which he has deemed evil and destructive, in order to save the planet.
  9. Trident: a King Ghidora like monster resurrected by the meteor shower. It’s three heads are torn between helping the other beasts, helping mankind, and indifference. This makes Trident the wild card in the fight between humanity and beasts.
  10. Covert: a giant mantis thought to have been brought back by the meteor shower but her re-emergence is a mystery. She hasn’t attacked cities or the other beasts yet. Instead she has been living quietly in the jungle until the man-made creatures were loose. As a result, her motives are unknown.
  11. Crush: a giant golem resurrected by mankind. Israeli scientists bring to life an old primitive statue from an old Israeli ruin. He wishes to save mankind from the beasts.
  12. Fury: a giant sabre tooth tiger genetically created by mankind. The result of a genetic experiment with sabre tooth fossils, Sabre sees himself as a freak of nature and has aligned himself with no one.
  13. Felizia: a giant Eurasian wolf mutated by mankind. German scientists grew and control Felizia with electric circuits implants in its brain. She is being controlled to help mankind.
  14. Macca: a giant snap turtle mutated by mankind. Italian scientists grew and trained Macca in order to help mankind’s fight with the beasts. Macca has a playful attitude and sees this fight as a game.
  15. Residue: a failed experiment by French scientists. Scientists attempted to enlarge a normal man to gigantic proportions but in addition to growth, his skin mutated to be extra porous. This caused his body to be covered in moss. He now fights for mankind, hoping that scientists can find a cure.
  16. Kurtis: a giant rat created by Spanish scientists. Driven mad by his transformation, he is an unreliable ally in the fight against the beasts.
  17. T38 Mach 2:  a robot created by American scientists. It’s programmed to help mankind.
  18. Dreadnought: a mech created by Japanese scientists. Piloted by Gorou Fujimoto, he is to assist the fight for mankind.
  19. Thelonius: a centaur recreated by mankind. Greek scientists used computer reconstruction to create a centaur from mythology. He helps mankind due to the promise that others of his species can be created as well.
  20. Shockwave: a giant crab created by mankind. Australian scientists mutated a normal Fiddler crab into a giant. She fights for mankind but her commitment seems less than reliable.

The game will feature Ladder, Time Attack, Training, and Practice modes offline and ranked, player, tournament, and spectator modes online. As you play and win online, you will gain more followers. This will eventually unlock new skins and color palettes. Going through each character in Ladder mode will unlock their endings. Covert will serve as the final boss.

And that is my idea for a new Primal Rage. What do you think? Is it a good idea, a bad idea? Would you like to see Primal Rage make a return? Let me know in the comment section. Peace and Love, Gamers and Players! Colorwind out.

(image by conceptibot)

Originally posted on colorwynd.wordpress.com

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8:30 PM on 07.21.2015

The Resurgence of JRPGs?

I write for an independent video game journalism site called Middle of Nowhere Gaming and most of the news stories I’ve been writing recently have been announcements of rereleases of Japanese role playing games. Grandia II, Tales of Symphonia, Odin Sphere, Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, all these games are being re-released in the future. There’s also newer JRPGs coming out in the near future, such as Bravely Second, Fire Emblem Fates, Star Ocean 5: Integrity and Faithlessness, and Tales of Zestiria. Needless to say, I’ve had JRPGs on the mind and I just bought Tales of Vesperia on the 360 right now. I’ve honestly not heard this much about JRPGs since the early 2000s, except for that time when Microsoft kept publishing JRPGs on the 360 to appeal to Japanese audiences. Remember that? They had Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey. Also, Infinite Undiscovery and The Last Remnant were 360 exclusives.

Anyways, I’ve noticed this trend and I’m quite in favor in it. I was introduced to JRPGs in the early 2000s by my buddy Don and I went crazy for them back then. I bought anything and everything in the genre. SaGa Frontier, Legend of Mana, Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits, Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy Anthology, you name it. However, that mostly died down with the 7th generation, with few exceptions (shout out to Eternal Sonata). Because of that, I missed a lot of JRPGs in the 7th generation and the end of the 6th generation. However, since the success of Bravely Default and Ni No Kuni, this surge of JRPG releases has happened and I’m excited again to play and replay a lot of JRPGs. I just started a Final Fantasy X playthrough, I played Kingdom Hearts 1.5 earlier this year, and I’ll probably start Tales of Vesperia as soon as I’m done with this blog.

There is one drawback to all these JRPGs coming out. One of the sad things about me is I have a lot of trouble finishing RPGs. The reason is mostly due to me going crazy on the genre. I got all these JRPGs and therefore, couldn’t finish any of them. To this day, the list of JRPGs I’ve finished is small. Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy X, Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, I think there’s others. So if anything, this resurgence of JRPGs is just going to expand my backlog. But that’s okay. I love the genre so bring it on! I’m gonna go play Tales of Vesperia! Oh wait. It has to download first. Shit!

Originally posted on colorwynd.wordpress.com

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2:13 PM on 07.18.2015

Discussing: Introduced by Emulation

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I wrote a review for Metroid after replaying it recently on my NES. This was the first time I had played through the game in five years or so, when I first got my NES copy. However, the first time I played Metroid was via an NES emulator back in the early 2000s. And not only was it my first time playing the first Metroid, it was my first time playing any Metroid game. It’s the game that got me into the series. After playing it, I got Metroid Fusion and Metroid: First Mission for my GBA and rented Metroid Prime for my GameCube. I didn’t like Prime then but that’s another story that I’ve already told.

The point I want to make is I got into the Metroid series thanks to emulation. And it’s not the only one. The first Zelda game I played was Ocarina of Time but I didn’t like it. However, after I learned about emulation, I gave the first Legend of Zelda a try and I really liked it. That was the game that got me into the series. I gave Ocarina of Time another try and ended up quite enjoying it. I played a lot of RPGs for the first time via emulation, such as Secret of Mana, Final Fantasy IV, and Chrono Trigger. Basically, because of emulation, I was introduced to a lot more games than I had been before.

I’ve been gaming since I was six, which was in 1993. I’ve enjoyed a lot of games on my NES, SNES, Genesis, and beyond, but there were a lot of games and franchises that I missed because for whatever reason, I didn’t see them where I lived. The Legend of Zelda games were not in the rental stores I went to, nor were any of the Metroid games, Star Fox games, Phantasy Star games, or really any RPGs. They had plenty of Mario, Sonic, Donkey Kong, and fighting games though. So I only heard of these games later and thanks to the internet and emulation was I able to learn of and try these games out.

Because of this, I hold emulation in high regard. As a means to introduce older games to new gamers or to those who missed it in a convenient way. It’s similar to Spotify with music, as someone who is curious can look up Elton John or The Rolling Stones and check out their music and see if they like it. Both have a means to educate people on important releases in their respective mediums, regardless of how old it may be, and perhaps make them a fan. For example, that’s why I sought out an original NES copy of Metroid. I wanted to play it on the original console, with an original NES controller.

So have you ever been introduced to a game or a series through emulation? Do you think emulation is a good way to be introduced to older games? Why or why not? Let me know in the comment section. Peace and Love, gamers and players! Colorwind out.

Originally posted on colorwynd.wordpress.com

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6:40 PM on 07.17.2015

Colorwind Reviews Metroid – Pre-Metroidvania

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As I trekked back across Brinstar and Norfair to make my way from Ridley’s hideout to Kraid’s, it dawned on me how much backtracking I was doing. I had spent so much time getting the energy tank placed in front of a fake floor and the missile tank in a room after an impossible jump, and now I was walking all the way to the other side of the map, just to get to the next area. Yet at the same time, I enjoyed jumping over all the same pits, and shooting all the same enemies. Why? Because I wanted to see what the area I was headed to would have and traversing the area before it would prep me with energy and missile tanks. It’s that feeling of exploration and preparation that keeps the feeling of tedium away, something the series has done very well even in its inaugural entry. Despite feeling a bit passé in retrospect, the originalMetroid is still a classic that holds up well to this day.

Genre: Action-Adventure, Metroidvania

Developer: Nintendo R&D1, Intelligent Systems

Publisher: Nintendo

Platforms: Nintendo Entertainment System (played), Game Boy Advance, Wii Virtual Console, 3DS Virtual Console, Wii U Virtual Console

Release Dates: 1987-08 (NES), 2004-08-10 (GBA), 2007-08-13 (Wii VC), 2012-03-01 (3DS VC), 2013-07-11 (Wii U VC)

From the moment you are dropped into the world of Metroid, you are given freedom unlike any other game at the time. The fact that you actually need to walk to the left first to get your first new ability shows that this game is different from the others. Even platformers today and most other games in the Metroidvania genre don’t do this. From there, you are introduced to the structure of the game, which consists of vertical hallways that introduce you to horizontal rooms as well as hidden pathways found by blowing up destructible blocks in the ceilings, floors and walls. All of this is connected and aside from some pathways that are blocked until you find the corresponding upgrade, it is all available to you to explore. None of it discourages you to go there with a difficulty spike or an arbitrary reason. It’s a true open world that rewards you for looking around and seeing what’s there.

Once you realize this, you’ll become engrossed with exploring the world. You’ll start bombing any floor that looks suspicious, check every path you come across, and jump and shoot across rooms just to see what the next area will have. And what’s great about all of this is there’s always something for you to find. A new platforming challenge or new enemies to defeat or perhaps a new upgrade. It’s a big game, especially for the NES, and that’s probably why some areas are aesthetically similar. Some are even straight copies of other rooms, down to the enemy placement. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes, some areas are less interesting than others. This also means that you will get lost more often than you should. This would have been fixed if the game had a map but this is one of the few games in the series with no navigation whatsoever. I recommend playing the game with a map, preferably without all the upgrades marked down, unless you want to cheat / some help.

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Go to the left first!

Speaking of upgrades, the world is littered with three types of upgrades: power items, energy tanks, and missile tanks. These all give you items that will help you live longer and destroy enemies, such as the Varia Suit, which cuts damage dealt to you in half, the Ice Beam, which allows you to freeze enemies , or the various missile tanks, which gives you missiles and increases your maximum ammo capacity. All of these upgrades are helpful and some are required to traverse on. Some are actually pretty cool like the Screw Attack, which helps make the game a lot easier. However, the inability to use both the Wave Beam and Ice Beam is disappointing. I don’t even bother with the Wave Beam as a result.

Frustratingly, some of the upgrades are extremely hard to pick up. The aforementioned upgrades in the intro are some of the hardest ones to get and it’s for arbitrary reasons. Failing to get these on the first try results in you falling down a pit, requiring you to go back up to where they are for another try. There are other upgrades with similar frustrating requirements and it just feels difficult for the sake of it.

Jumping in Metroid does not feel like more traditional platformers. You don’t have the kind of tight control you do with Mario. You have a floaty jump that isn’t bad but sometimes feels a bit awkward to control. The physics take some getting used to and I found myself rocking the d-pad left and right trying to aim myself to land on the platform. Luckily, holding and letting go of the jump button will direct how high you jump, and, although it takes some getting used to, you have two types of jumps, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.

Metroid-10

See this situation here? You’re basically screwed.

The game definitely looks sparse nowadays. There’s a lot of blank space and black backgrounds, giving the game an empty look. Some designs are a bit hard to make out and the color palette leaves much to be desired. However, this helps give the game a foreign feel and the game looks fine for an NES title. The soundtrack is equality minimalistic, with few tracks and a couple of them being a few carefully placed bloops and bleeps. Nonetheless, there are definitely some notable melodies here, such as the main world theme and the jingle that plays when you find an upgrade. Story-wise, there’s not much said here. You are Samus Aran, a space bounty hunter tasked to defeat Mother Brain, the leader of the space pirates based on Planet Zebeth (later changed to Zebes), and destroy the Metroids, an alien life form the space pirates plan to multiply and weaponize. The story is serviceable but there isn’t the expansive lore that later games would have. Luckily, Samus is memorable thanks to a great design and the basic idea of “go kill aliens” is motivation enough to play the game.

There are definitely some aspects of Metroid that feel antiquated, especially if you’ve played other Metroid games or games in the genre. However, it’s also amazing how much of the formula is intact here and done in an enjoyable way even today. Metroid is an absolute milestone in gaming that has lost little of its luster almost 30 years later. I thoroughly enjoyed the five hours it took to complete it (got all the upgrades too!). Pick it up, jump into Samus’ boots and play her first adventure. Oh yeah, Samus is a woman. SPOILERS!

FINAL RATING

4

Originally posted on colorwynd.wordpress.com

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5:08 PM on 06.23.2015

Unplayable: The Uncharted Trilogy

UnchartedTrilogy

I typically write about more positive things or write with a more positive slant. However, I do occasionally write about a game that I rage over. Skate, Devil May Cry, SoulCalibur V, etc. I tried in the past to write a calm impressions piece about these games but I usually just end up ranting. So I’m going to embrace that and reintroduce a feature idea I had tried before: Unplayable. Unplayable will be me talking about games I hate and why I hate them. I’m sure a lot of the games I wind up hating will be controversial but venting is healthy sometimes. So without further waiting, here’s the first subject for the re-launch of Unplayable: the Uncharted trilogy.

I loaded up the Uncharted series after E3 so I get more hyped for Uncharted 4. I think the game is beautiful, and I like the characters, even if they are just action movie trope characters. I like the set pieces I get to play in. I mean, that part in Uncharted 2 where you’re jumping from truck to truck? Awesome! The section in Uncharted 3 where you’re escaping from the mansion as it’s burning down? So good! However, all of this doesn’t matter because I soon found out that I can’t stand this series for two reasons: screwy animations and FUCK AWFUL controls.

Now I know all of you are going to attack me for calling one of the most precious franchises on the PlayStation unplayable but hear me out. First off, let’s talk about those animations. When Nathan Drake jumps to something from standing, sometimes it looks smooth and sometimes it looks like he’s clipping or teleporting to where he needs to be. It’s even worst when he’s jumping from ledge to ledge. Climbing never looks smooth; it always looks weird. Now looks aren’t everything but it does affect gameplay. Which leads into my main issue with Uncharted: the controls.

OH MY GOD, WHO APPROVED THESE CONTROLS!? THREE TIMES!? Let’s start with the control issues with platforming. Like I said, the animations aren’t smooth and are never consistent. Part of the reason for this is because the jumping is not consistent. Tapping or holding the jump button doesn’t affect the type of jump Nathan does, which is fine but the problem is that Nathan does have different kinds of jumps. You just don’t have control over what jump you do. Sometimes Nate will do a little hop jump and sometimes he’ll launch himself like a roman warrior. The same can be said when climbing and jumping from ledge to ledge and it’s even worst because it affects the path you can take.

Sometimes you don’t think you’ll make a jump but thanks to the animations clipping or teleporting you, you somehow do. Sometimes there will be a ledge that you think you can reach but you can’t because the game wants you to go a different way instead. The game usually won’t even let you try it and fail. As in the game just won’t listen to you and despite you mashing the buttons, the game just won’t respond. It makes the jump button feel more like the jump suggestion button than an actual action you can control. Of course, this also makes for severely imprecise platforming. Mario, Nathan is not. Hell, he’s not even Crash Bandicoot, which is weird since Naughty Dog made that game too, therefore showing that they can make good platforming mechanics.

The next issue is a minor one: the camera. Unless there is a cinematic camera angle the game wants to show, it doesn’t follow Nate very well. That means that you need to control the camera yourself most if not all of the time and that’s an innovation that had been invented by the time the first game in the series. The other games in the series don’t really fix this either so there’s no excuse for this really. Also, there are moments where the camera will fix itself on some cinematic angle and I can’t see where I’m going as a result. Fuck your cinematic bullshit if it affects the gameplay!

Next is the melee combat. In Uncharted 1 and 2, melee combat is basically a glorified quick time event. All the fights are pre-rendered animations where you just mash square and triangle in the first game and just mash square until a prompt appears to press triangle in the second game. I mean, I don’t need the melee combat to be super impressive since I know it’s not the focus of the game but Sonic Boom has more options for you in combat. Uncharted 3 kind of fixes this by including some ideas from the Batman Arkham series but it’s not great. I do appreciate combat not being so QTE-lite in 3 though. Oh and real quick, sixaxis grenade aiming in Uncharted 1 sucks. Luckily it’s not in Uncharted 2 and 3.

Finally, the cover system. WHO THE FUCK THOUGHT MAPPING THE DODGE MECHANIC TO THE COVER MECHANIC WAS A GOOD IDEA!? Why would you tie one mechanic that is supposed to improve your mobility with another mechanic that’s supposed to limit your mobility? I’m always rolling around when I want to go into cover and vice versa. It has killed me multiple times, especially with the aiming mechanics being fairly mediocre, and it PISSES ME OFF! This is flat out broken and I can’t believe no one has catch this. It’s not like pressing circle and a direction equals dodging and pressing circle and leaving the thumbstick neutral equals cover. That doesn’t work. I tested it.

I finally rage quit after all of these problems decided to come together all at once. I was playing Uncharted 2 and I was near the end at the monastery. There was a enemy behind a turret gun and I needed to go around and ambush them from the side. I was doing so well. I took out the dudes along the way and had managed to get to where they were without them noticing me. I decide to blow them all up with a grenade so I snap into cover behind this structural beam and the camera freaks out. I struggle to fix the camera but I can’t. So I decide to go up the stairs I came down from and throw it from there. However, Nate is just refusing to climb the stairs, despite me having hopped over it before to get to the beam. So then I decided to snap into cover on the beam but from a different side. I have now been in this room for a minute and a half, still unnoticed. However, instead of snapping into cover, Nate rolls, right in front of the group of guys. They noticed me immediately, shoot me with shotguns and I’m almost immediately dead in two shots. Fuck. This. Game.

I’ve had stuff like this happen to me throughout the trilogy, not just the second game. It makes the game just beyond frustrating and not for the right reasons. I like the story, I like the graphics, I like the music, and I even like the gameplay in theory. However, the controls are just horrendous and the animations are just bad. Maybe if Naughty Dog fixed their games, I would enjoy them but as they are now, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception are Unplayable. Peace and Love, gamers and players. Try to be nice in the comments.

Originally posted on my blog: colorwynd.wordpress.com

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2:13 PM on 06.05.2015

Discussing: Polygon’s Race Problem in Games

Polygon, ever the popular cat on the internet, recently published an opinion piece by Tauriq Moosa. I won’t be explaining the article in its entirety here so I suggest you click the link in the previous sentence and read it yourself before reading this reaction post. That said, I will say that the post dealt with the subject of video games not being inclusive towards various races, focusing only on Caucasian characters for the most part. What’s more is the article decided to use The Witcher: Wild Hunt as its focal point. Polygon has the bad reputation to publish articles and videos whose purpose is to rile up anger and controversy, not for the sake of creating discussion on well deserved topics but for more traffic on their sites. I mention this because I am not one of those people who think this. The reason being that I haven’t read Polygon or watched their videos in the past and despite my experience with the video games industry, including now four years as a blogger, critic, journalist, editorialist, and video creator in the field, I have managed to mostly keep Polygon out of my radar. I’ve only now started to read the site and this is the first opinion piece that I’ve read from the site. So I don’t have the expectations those who have been reading Polygon for awhile would have. Therefore, my reaction to this article is coming from someone with no previous bias towards Polygon and can be seen as a completely fresh opinion to this article and this article alone.

That being said, I definitely see why Polygon has the reputation they do, if this one article is representative of the content they publish. I want to point out that I do actually see the point Tauriq Moosa is trying to make here. To say that a multitude of races are represented in video games would be false. Many video games suffer from a lack of racial diversity. Hell, a lot of us are tired of every protagonist in major releases being white males with shaved haircuts and antihero dispositions. I will even go as far as to agree with the article in regards to its mention of the situation with Rust, the survival game that now features various ethnicities without the option to choose which one you play. Some of the players of Rust have expressed disappointment with the creator’s decision to randomize your character’s race. I find this to be offensive as playing as a white character is expected but playing as a person of color is “forced politics”, according to one user on Steam. At best, this is shallow thinking as it comes from someone only thinking of their own existence. At worst, this is blatantly racist as it assumes that the mere recognition of someone with a different skin tone from their own exist solely as a political statement. I’m willing to grant that the lack of a choice is disappointing as I like to sometimes play as different ethnicities and genders in game for the sake of variety. However, I see it as no more a lack of choice than when a game has you choose from a pre-set cast of characters to choose from, such as in Dead Island or Left 4 Dead, which is to say it’s just a decision from a development standpoint.

Concerning the rest of the article that mentions Witcher 3, which is to say most of it, I have to say that while I can see the sentiment being expressed, it mostly shoots itself in the foot. First things first, I have not playedWitcher 3 because…well, my computer can’t run it and I don’t have either of the new consoles. However, I do know that the game takes place in a fantasy world based on Slavic mythology. Therefore, in order to be historically accurate with the people described in the mythology, the humans in the game are all white or specifically Slavic. This means a game that has little to no racial diversity with its human population. Okay, fair enough. This is all true. However, Moosa mentions that the industry is not an equal playing field, as games featuring other ethnicities are nonexistent. The tales told in games are often “white stories” or stories featuring exclusively white people. One solution to this is apparently race-bending, or casting other ethnicities to play a role often played by a different ethnicity. “White-washing,” or when white people are used instead of other ethnicities in roles that didn’t call for a white person, was also mentioned and this was used to explain why race-bending and white-washing are not the same. However, the article failed to mention that neither is particularly better. Sure, race-bending grants racial diversity where it normally wouldn’t be but it doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of someone of that ethnicity.

Take Witcher 3. The problem with this is the world is written with Slavic mythology and people in mind, meaning their culture, mannerisms, and social hierarchy in mind. The world is not our own and is not beholden to the same social faux pas and controversies. I won’t get into whether or not the different species in the game equate to different races in our world as I feel like I would have to had played the game in order to accurately comment on that but I do know this. All ethnicities should be treated equal but not because we are all the same. All ethnicities have different beliefs, traditions, and stories of their own. We all are different but should be treated with the an equal amount of respect and understanding. So even if you don’t buy into the argument of the game being historically accurate to the Slavic mythology, race-bending does not actually solve your racial diversity issue in this game. To place a Puerto Rican in the role of a traditionally white role would not take into consideration the differences that character would now experience due to their race. You would have to take into account not only how that character would react to the world around them, but how the world would react to that character. The same could be said if you change a male character to a female, a poor character rich, and a young character old. This is exacerbated with characters with smaller roles such as NPCs, as the world IS their characteristic. The NPCs you see in, say, the first Assassin’s Creed game have only one character trait: being Arabic. If you were to replace some or all of them with Asian people, they would still act like they were Arabic unless you changed the world, and in turn the game, significantly. Therefore, changing their ethnicity has no real representation of the race. It literally would just be a palette swap. It’s essentially affirmative action: racial diversity for the sake of it, regardless of the accuracy of the racial representation.

Going back to the subject of the lack of racial diversity, this is the main issue I have with the article as the core issue Moosa has with Witcher 3 is with what isn’t there rather than what is. Like I said before, the game isn’t very racially diverse, as per the Slavic mythology. However, it doesn’t seem like it was trying to be. Developer CD Projekt RED is based in Poland, a country part of the Slavic race of people, and for what they know in their homeland, Witcher 3 is accurate to their culture and environment. Sure, they could have broaden their horizons to the rest of the world but that’s not the story they were trying to tell. Our world is not the world the developers were trying to depict in the game and our world’s racial issues are not Witcher 3’s cross to bear. While it’s true that racial diversity is sorely needed in video games, no one game is solely the catalyst of this problem unless the originally planned world was changed to feature a mostly or fully white population. I can understand having this game be the latest example of the lack of diversity in games with others complementing this point, but why is it that Witcher 3 needs to be inclusive when other games aren’t? There are a lot of other games with mostly Caucasian populations that aren’t even mentioned here despite the fact that it would have strengthened this article’s argument. Moosa’s lack of other examples to support his theory may not seem like a big deal but I would compare this lack of examples with Moosa’s complaint with white reviewers not mentioning the lack of diversity in Witcher 3. I understand the need to point out that this game is another that doesn’t tell the story of a different ethnicity but I don’t see how that is an issue with it that could be corrected. So why just attack this game? Perhaps it’s because it was the most egregious culprit in Moosa’s mind or maybe he hadn’t played any other games recently he could pull examples from organically. Of course, the other possibility is the reputation that Polygon has. What better way to gain some traffic for your site than to put up an article about your and the internet’s favorite game right now and call it racist and a defining example of the video game industry as a whole’s problem with race?

Oddly enough, the real problem isn’t what is excluded from Witcher 3 but what is excluded outside of it. Inclusion of other races doesn’t mean the exclusion of white races. Just because “white stories” are what are predominantly told doesn’t mean other stories from other ethnicities cannot be. Representation of one ethnicity doesn’t mean the misrepresentation of another. The problem isn’t with “white stories” being told; the problem is other ethnicities’ stories are not being told. We need more stories from other races rather than other races in white stories. We need Mexican, Indian, African, etc. stories alongside white stories, as well as stories with mixed races and cultures. The problem with representation is it’s comparative. Nicki Minaj got a lot of heat for her single “Anaconda” because it was viewed as shameful to women. She and some of her fans claimed that it was actually a feminist statement as she was in control of her sexuality. However, because there is so much sexuality in music today, the statement is muddled when compared to everything around it to the point that it’s perceived to be the opposite of its intended purpose. Witcher 3 is only racist when compared to other games that also don’t feature other ethnicities. It’s guilty by association and that’s not a fair verdict. It’s important to give light to the misrepresented but don’t place blame on the represented as a result. Do not blame the existing for the nonexistent. Instead, look to why other non “white stories” are not being told. Blame the publisher that didn’t green light the game based around Indian culture. Blame the developers who decided not to proceed with their vision of a game with a Brazilian protagonist. Blame the gamer who was going to buy Rust but didn’t want “to take the chance of playing a black character.”

In summation, my theory is that Moosa’s intentions are well intended and he appears to have the pedigree to back that up. Regardless, his article is misguided and has too many ill-conceived boogeymen and solutions to be credibly appreciated as a whole. Since I know this will be a question, I’ll let you know my ethnicity since while it may influence my position on this matter, it does not invalidate it. I am of Mexican descent and was born and have lived in the United States my whole life. What do you think of Polygon’s “Colorblind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and Gaming’s Race Problem” article? Where do you fall on the issue of race in video games? Let me know in the comments section and if you like my work, check out my blog on Wordpress. Peace and Love, gamers and players! Colorwind out.

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10:44 AM on 11.06.2014

Colorwind Reacts: Nintendo Direct 11-6-14

nintendo-direct-smash-pokemonI watched Nintendo Direct yesterday, my first one in awhile. I like the Nintendo Direct format but I prefer the normal format as oppose to the more special ones they’ve been doing recently on Hyrule Warriors and Smash Bros and such. Overall, I think the presentation was okay, with little to get me excited about but there are a couple of things I would like to talk about, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Splatoon.

N3DS_TheLegendofZeldaMajorasMask3D_Logo_BlackThe Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

I’ve recently blogged about my opinions about the Legend of Zelda series and how they’ve changed once I started playing them in a different way. Here’s the before link and the after link. One of the most recommended titles I’ve gotten as a result of these two articles was Majora’s Mask. My problem with that game is the constant time restriction, as arbitrary time limits are a pet peeve of mine in video games. However, I’ve been willing to give it another shot and with the announcement of a port for the Nintendo 3DS, I think this is the perfect way to do that. I knew that Zelda fans have been asking for a Majora’s Mask remake for awhile now (three years I think?) so I’m glad that this game is coming. Also, that moon looks even more creepy than before.

1402595968-8_copia_jpg_960x540_crop_upscale_q85Splatoon

Ever since Splatoon was announced at E3, it has been the most exciting game for me from Nintendo. It’s the kind of game that out of Nintendo’s comfort zone and it’s just refreshing to see a new IP from Nintendo. The video showed some more gameplay as well as announcing a single player mode and it all looked really fun. The paint roller weapon is a cool idea and the octopus enemies is an interesting idea. I wonder if there’s going to come up with a recognizable character for this game. I hope they have some kind of bot match as I don’t really play online that much. Surfing as squids and jumping huge parts of the map looks really fun and I’m eager to try this game out.

That’s pretty much all of my thoughts on this Nintendo Direct. Nothing else really grabbed my attention. Let me know what you thought of the latest Nintendo Direct in the comments section. Peace and Love, Gamers and Players! Colorwind Out!

monste-hunter-mario-600x337

Oh and those Mario and Luigi cat monsters in Monster Hunter 4? No. That’s just creepy. I know Nintendo’s been giving out their characters for other games but that was the line. Nope. Nope. NOPE!

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4:04 PM on 11.05.2014

5ive: Best Twisted Metal Games

Twisted_Metal_game_covers

Remember Twisted Metal? It was the premiere franchise in the vehicular combat genre. The exploits of Sweet Tooth and the other drivers at the behest of contest holder Calypso built an interesting lore as well as a fun game. And what a fun game it was! Blasting cars with missiles, jumping ramps, blowing up buildings, pushing cars off of skyscrapers! It’s was pure carnal entertainment and I love every entry in the series. There have been a total of eight games (and three ports) in the franchise and as a big fan of the series, I thought a list of the best games in the franchise would be in order. So jump in your car and hook up missile launchers to it because here are the 5ive Best Twisted Metal Games!

Twisted Metal 4-35. Twisted Metal 4

One of the most divisive games in the franchise is actually one of the most overlooked. A different take on the Twisted Metal lore, this game has Calypso cast out by Sweet Tooth as head of the Twisted Metal contest and his power now coming from a ring with millions of souls. As a result, a lot of characters and cars from the previous games are not here, which put off a lot of fans. However, the new cast is wacky and fun and there’s some interesting new vehicle ideas. There are more cars in this game than in any of the other Twisted Metal games (22) and if that’s not enough, there’s a create a car feature! Gameplay wise, it uses the same engine and physics as Twisted Metal III but is improved. It doesn’t take forever to flip over a car anymore and the game feels faster. Overall, it may be a bit different from the other games and is definitely not a good introduction to the franchise but it’s a fun interpretation and if you’ve never played this game but have played other Twisted Metal games, you should give this one a shot.

Twisted_Metal_screenshot4. Twisted Metal: Small Brawl

I don’t think a lot of people played this game. I, on the other hand, pre-ordered it. Twisted Metal: Small Brawl was the last game in the series on the original PlayStation and offers another different twist on the franchise. In this game, all the cars are remote controlled and the drivers, as well as Calypso, are kids. The gameplay is exactly the same as before and uses the same engine as the first two Twisted Metal games but it has a few ideas taken from Twisted Metal: Black, such as slightly faster gameplay, and a few control changes. The level design is great and has you battling in sandboxes, mini golf courses, tree houses, and football fields. Small Brawl feels like a return to the Twisted Metal 2 style of the game, which at this point was not present in Twisted Metal III and 4. The main problem with this game is it feels like just another Twisted Metal game, with the kiddy gimmick not being memorable enough to differentiate it in a substantial way. However, if you’re a fan of the first two Twisted Metal games, you should pick this up.

twisted-metal-head-on-200503180331486393. Twisted Metal: Head On

Head On is the official sequel to Twisted Metal 2 and it’s awesome! Taking lessons learned from Twisted Metal: Black, Head On returns to the more cartoony style of Twisted Metal 2 but speeds things up a lot! You’ll be speeding around, shooting missiles and careening around corners and the controls have never felt better. The level design is also extremely well done, as there are many peaks and hills and hidden power ups in creative areas. Unfortunately, none of the maps are memorable except for maybe the first stage in the baseball field and some of them feel like rehashes of previous Twisted Metal games. The power ups in this game have been made more powerful as homing missiles have better lock on, freezing lasts longer, and the energy meter lasts longer than before., which some people may or may not like. Regardless, this is an amazing entry in the series that everyone should play. I will recommend that you play the PS2 version as it has more content (including finished content for a canceled sequel to Twisted Metal: Black) and the PSP version has you change weapons with the Triangle button, which is a little awkward.

tm261002. Twisted Metal 2: World Tour

The second game in the series is still arguably the best game in the series and the main reason I think that is the case is the level design and the cars. Twisted Metal 2 has the most memorable levels in the franchise. Those who enjoy Twisted Metal will remember taking down an opponent by trapping them on a piece of ice in Antarctica and seeing them fall to their doom or taking down the Eifel Tower in Paris. Even Los Angeles is a memorable first stage as it allows you to get used to a lot of enemies on a flat plain or a hilly plane like the streets. The cars themselves are some of the most diverse in the franchise’s history and the pluses and minuses to each are quite different. The gameplay feels a bit slow nowadays but the weapons were cool, the cars control well and the action was still hectic. Twisted Metal 2 also introduced Calypso as we remember him as today. It’s the game everyone remembers from the franchise and with good reason. However, there is one more, from the mind of series mascot Sweet Tooth…

150906-Twisted_Metal_-_Black_(USA)-21. Twisted Metal: Black

Dark, dreary, demented, and disturbing. Twisted Metal: Black is this and much more. This Twisted Metal contest features insane asylum patients and each of the combatants are damaged people with horrible backstories. Twisted Metal has always had a crazy cast of characters but never has that mattered more than in Twisted Metal: Black. Playing as Crazy 8, who’s missing his eyes and tongue or Mr. Grimm, who was driven to Cannibalism in the Vietnam War; it gives you urgency to play them. It’s a dark connection to make but it’s appropriate in this dark game. The gameplay marks the first time Twisted Metal has been in 60 frames per second and it shows. Combat is frantic, fast, and extremely exhilarating. Levels are comprised of dreary junkyards, cities, arenas, and rooftops. Although they’re not as memorable as before, the levels are huge and there’s still a lot of secret things to do (such as shooting down a plane that’s circling the battlefield). Twisted Metal: Black is the most realized idea for a Twisted Metal game ever. Even today, each of the character’s stories are chilling and the gameplay is the best the franchise has ever had.


And there we go! 5ive of the best Twisted Metal games Sony has to offer! Go buy a PS2, pick up all these games, and have a Twisted Metal marathon! So what are your favorite Twisted Metal games? Have any ideas for future topics for 5ive? Let me know in the comment section. This is still a new feature idea for myself so any feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading! Peace and Love, gamers and players! Colorwind out!

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11:00 AM on 11.03.2014

Discussing: Calypso in Twisted Metal 2012

CalypsoI’m a big fan of the Twisted Metal series and one of my favorite aspects was the backstory behind the competition. Specifically I loved Calypso, the holder of the competition and possessor of great power which allowed him to grant the victor of the Twisted Metal competition one wish, no matter how outlandish. A new Twisted Metal title was released a couple of years ago and I recently played it and wrote a review on it. However, after completing that review, there was a chunk of that review I removed because it discussed one issue I had with the game that contained spoilers. Also, it didn’t really affect the quality of the game other than me personally disliking a change in the lore as a Twisted Metal fan. Therefore, I would like to discuss it here briefly and get some feedback from fellow Twisted Metal fans and newbies alike. So here’s your warning right now: there will be SPOILERS on the story mode of Twisted Metal 2012 in this post!

In the latest Twisted Metal game, Calypso is holding another Twisted Metal competition, same as always. However, there seems to be debate amongst the populous as to whether the competition even exists. This marks a major change to the lore of the series. The world in previous games was aware of the Twisted Metal competition and were victims of the ensuing chaos it created. What’s more is they were aware of Calypso, who was an ordinary man with extraordinary powers and as such, was still vulnerable to death and arrest despite being hard to reach, kind of like a mob boss. In this game, Calypso is a demon - or possibly just the devil himself - who feeds on the souls of those who die in the Twisted Metal competition, including the combatants, and will silence anyone who tries to expose the Twisted Metal competition.

4085152-twisted-metal-calypsoThis is definitely a different take on the series as it creates this more sinister aspect to Calypso that is different to the previous representations of him. Calypso used to be a almost cartoon style purveyor of carnage, who saw his Twisted Metal competition as a work of art and all the destruction it caused as a necessary evil that ultimately helped society. Also, while he often liked to turn the victor’s wish against them unless it shared his dark sense of humor, he was not infallible and there were instances where the tables had been turned against him. Now Calypso is now a full blown villain who personally benefits from the destruction the Twisted Metal competition creates as well as from turning the victor’s wish against them because he now does it all for the souls he collects. He’s more powerful than ever and it makes him nearly invincible.

I don’t really like this change. The world not being aware of the Twisted Metal competition feels too unbelievable, especially considering that Calypso creates battlegrounds in LA and New York, among other well populated locations. Calypso himself is now the head of Calypso Industries, which makes him a businessman and an obvious villain as everything from romance novels to children’s movies have a CEO or owner of a conglomerate as a main antagonist. It just feels lazy and Calypso before, while weaker, was a more interesting character. I will admit that the actual premise is not bad and the cutscenes in the game help show the vision they had for the story and character. However, if the original Calypso had a company and had started collecting souls (kind of like he did in Twisted Metal 4, though that was weird too), it would have been more interesting. I don’t think the new Calypso is bad. I just think he could have been better.


So what do you think of the new Calypso? What about the new premise of Twisted Metal? I know that Twisted Metal 2012 was not a success or a failure and a sequel is probably unlikely but would you like to see the story in 2012 continued, the original story returned or something completely new? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Until next time, Peace and Love, Gamers and Players. Colorwind out!

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11:04 AM on 10.30.2014

Colorwind Reviews Twisted Metal (2012) - Your Wish is Granted.

  • twistedmetalVehicular Combat
  • Developed by Eat Sleep Play, SCE Santa Monica Studios
  • Published by Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Available on PlayStation 3 [played]
  • Released on 2012-02-14 (PS3)

The original Twisted Metal gave birth to the vehicular combat genre. A wacky yet dark cast of characters would do battle on the streets of Los Angeles with cars equipped with missiles, machine guns and more for a chance to meet the enigmatic Calypso, who would grant them one wish, no matter how extravagant or impossible. It was a wonderfully fast paced and destructive experience that I loved and with six sequels already under its belt, the series has now gotten a reboot with a new story and a new faction concept. While the concept and mechanics that made the series successful are still engaging and exhilarating to play, some of the new ideas unfortunately fall flat.

Title Analysis


468px-Calypso.bmpCalypso, the head of Calypso Industries, is holding a Twisted Metal contest. Same as every year. The winner will meet Calypso and have one wish granted to them, whatever it is their heart desire. Story mode tells the tale of Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm, and Dollface, as well as Calypso and the Twisted Metal competition itself. Their stories are demented and gruesomely entertaining, as the people in this contest are unhinged to say the least. However, unlike other Twisted Metal games, there are only three characters in this game, making the story woefully short, and the reveal about Calypso and the contest is quite different from previous games in the series, which will put off some longtime fans of the series. You don’t even get to choose which character you play as first, which is unfortunate as the first story is ultimately the strongest.

Regardless of the complaints with the actual content of the story, the presentation of the story and the game in general are top notch. The stories are all told through stylized live action cutscenes that clearly drew influence from movies like 300 and Sin City but from a more horror-themed perspective. The cutscenes all look really nice and are well acted, especially the voice acting. Graphically, the game runs at a solid 60 fps and the environments are huge with bright warm colors sprinkled across the mostly dark, cold colored landscapes. Unfortunately, while the cars and environments have a lot of detail to them, a lot of the textures are muddy and low res. Twisted Metal 2012 displays in 720p and it seems that the game is actually a bit more graphically ambitious than the PS3 can handle.

2114702-169_twisted_metal_cutscene_ps3_021412_sweet_tooth_intro

Twisted Metal’s soundtrack is full of licensed hard rock and classic rock tracks as well as original compositions. Driving around blasting other drivers while Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55” plays feels a bit surreal but cool nonetheless. However, if you want your own music, there is an option to change to a custom soundtrack via files on your PS3 hard drive. The sound effects are effective in expressing the insanity onscreen but still miss the visceral feel that this game could have had, as car crashes and such don’t feel as impactful as they could. From a technical standpoint, it should be noted that load times in this game can be kind of long, especially when you first load up the game. In fact, this game does have a tendency of getting stuck while connecting to the online servers.

Twisted Metal plays a lot like the previous games in the series. You drive a car equip with various weapons and use them to destroy the other cars in the battleground. However, different in this version is the idea of factions. As I mentioned before, there are only three characters in this game. As such, when you play Challenge mode or Multiplayer, you will pick either Sweet Tooth’s Clowns faction, Mr. Grimm’s Skulls faction, Dollface’s Dolls faction, or the Preacher’s Holy Men faction, who is a character from the story mode. You then pick a car each with their own stats and special weapons that can also be customize with decals, paint jobs and sidearm weapons. Characters are no longer bound to their cars so Dollface can drive Sweet Tooth’s ice cream truck if she wants. I’m not a big fan of this change from a story perspective, but from a gameplay perspective, this doesn’t change the gameplay too much except for some weapons being fired by either the driver or a henchmen riding shotgun.

229Once you’ve picked your faction and car, you are thrown into a warzone, shooting missiles at other combatants, crashing through buildings, and speeding across roads at break neck speeds with little to no regard for self preservation. The action is frantic, and at first, you may think that you don’t have the reflexes and skill to survive even a minute. This overwhelming chaos can be intimidating and the overly complicated controls don’t help. Widely used maneuver commands and special attacks are done in unintuitive ways. Even after playing through the story mode, I still was forgetting how to do things. Clearly the developers ran out of buttons to do commands with so thankfully, there is a tutorial mode that show how to do commands, as well as how to play the various multiplayer modes.

As convoluted as the controls are, once you do get the hang of them, you’ll find that Twisted Metal 2012 makes you feel like a badass. This is thanks to the concept of the gameplay being easy to grasp: shoot the other cars until they explode. You soon will be sliding around corners, jumping over barriers and blasting unsuspecting drivers. The maps add to the enjoyment as they are expansive and have various pickups that give the game a level playing field similar to Unreal Tournament. And of course there are the destructible environments. It’s awesome to careen through a supermarket, or completely destroy a house or even a entire building, even if some buildings aren’t destructible and it can be difficult to distinguish which ones can and can’t. Ultimately, this is arguably the most visceral Twisted Metal has ever been.

twistedmetal9

When playing by yourself, you’ll be in either the Story Mode or Challenge mode. Story Mode is the story-driven mode that uses a six match format for each character, each of which have special stipulations such as staying within a safe zone, the use of garages to switch out cars, or racing the other cars to a certain finishing area or objective. Challenge Mode allows you to play against AI bots on any map for a one off match. There are three different battle types, and eight maps to choose from, as well as an option to play in smaller sections of the maps. The different objectives in Story mode do help diversify the combat and it’s enjoyable to replay the missions for high ranked medals and unique experiences. However, Challenge mode is ultimately the most enjoyable when you want to play by yourself with no frills or special conditions.

Unfortunately, one of the most troubling issues with the single player aspect of Twisted Metal 2012 is the AI. The AI tends to attack you exclusively if you are in a certain radius, going so far as to make their way to you without attacking anyone else. I did several tests to make sure of this and its disappointing that the AI was designed in this way. It really puts a damper on the experience when playing Twisted Metal by yourself. Another problem are the boss fights in Story mode. They’re way too long and are way too convoluted. The Iron Maiden fight is particularly bad and I found myself raging, just begging for it to be over. I mean, nine different sections? Really? Who’s the masochist who designed this? I WANT NAMES!

Ironmaiden

Unfortunately, I was unable to test out the local multiplayer or the LAN play and was only able to play three matches of Deathmatch online as there are not that many people playing this game online anymore. However, there are seven modes to choose from online, experience points can be earned to unlock cars for use online, and there are various options to filter and change your matches. From my time online, the matches I did have were responsive with no lag and no connection errors. Although I was no where as good as those I played online with, I really enjoyed the experience as a lot of the AI issues and story mode concerns were wiped away. No glitchy AI preying on only me, no disappointing story arcs, no convoluted bosses. Just pure Twisted Metal mayhem at its finest!

It’s then I realized that the main issue with Twisted Metal 2012 is that while the main concept is still a lot of fun, the game itself doesn’t seem to know that. At every turn, the offline game seems determined to distract you from that core experience as if it wasn’t enough. All the extra stuff makes the game feel like it wasn’t confident enough in its roots and it’s a shame. It makes for a game that’s weighed down by unnecessary baggage. The strength of this game is really its multiplayer as all the baggage is stripped away for a more pure experience. Too bad there’s almost no one online…

Completion Evaluation


maxresdefault (1)For nearly every match you finish in the story mode, you are rewarded with either a new sidearm, a new special attack, or a new car. Finishing the story mode in normal and hard difficulties will earn you new decals, while Twisted difficulty earns you a laser pistol sidearm. However, if you are good enough to finish Story Mode in the Twisted Difficulty with all Gold medals, you’ll earn the Warthog car, which looks like it did in Twisted Metal Black. Other than that, that’s it for in-game content. However, due to the nature of story mode, you need to really enjoy what the Story mode has to offer. The struggle that would be involved in dealing with the prejudice AI just gives me shivers and threatens to put an ugly scar on my love for this franchise.

Add on the trophies in this game, which has you playing a lot of multiplayer – something that’s becoming more and more difficult to do – and completing the story mode without dying (!) and this is definitely one of the more difficult games to Platinum. To be fair, there isn’t a lot of actual objectives to complete, just ones that take a lot of time but Twisted Metal 2012 is still a hard game to complete and should only be done by the most hardcore completionists or those who really enjoy this game.

Consumer Report


maxresdefault (2)Finishing the story mode will take you around five hours, which isn’t that much. Therefore, the value of Twisted Metal 2012 depends on how much you value multiplayer. However, as of October 2014, not that many people are playing this game online and most of the match types are Deathmatch. Therefore, your purchase will REALLY depend on whether you have a friend to play with you. Also, Twisted Metal 2012 requires an online pass, that must be bought separately for $10 if you buy it used or rent it. That’s a lot of caveats for a game at full price. Luckily, Twisted Metal can be bought for $20 on the PSN store and I got my physical copy for $20 at Walmart. I would recommend renting this game to see if you like it, but if you do decide to buy it, spend no more than $20.

The Verdict


Twisted Metal 2012 has a lot of great aspects to it but fails to fully embrace the simplistic fun the series is known for. What’s here is still a good representation of what makes the game fun but is hampered with convoluted controls, frustrating challenge, and little content that only serves to dissuade newcomers from getting on board. This is not a bad game; this isn’t even a bad Twisted Metal game. I’m still playing it as I’ve been able to find the fun this title has to offer. However, this is one of the lesser titles in the franchise and it does miss that special something that made this series great.

Games 3.5

Do Not Platinum  Rent

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