Is Dragonís Crown really that controversial of a game? What, exactly, is wrong with the art style? Sitting here and listening to TotalBiscuitís podcast, Iím stunned. Iíve seen coverage of the game on Destructoid, but I didnít realize how bad the public image was.
For starters, I havenít been the most accepting of people online. I typically over-react to situations and condemn developers for their indiscretions. Even this past weekend, I expressed how I was happy that Phil Fish was leaving the games industry.
Still, when I donít have a problem with the sexual depiction of women in a game, you should probably come to the conclusion that nothing is wrong with the art style. I donít care if you find fault with it, but I donít really see the point.
Itís like weíre shouting at our own problems. In the past, Iíve typically lambasted things like Street Fighter and Dead or Alive because of how scantily clad the women are. The real issue; there were no women in my life to talk to.
About the only complaint I can hold up is unfair difficulty curves. Sometimes games just do not teach the player well enough. They Bleed Pixels is an example of such. The first 4 worlds have a steady increase in difficulty, but the last level is maddening.
Regardless, I think we, as adults, need to grow up a bit. Most of the debates come from how insensitive the depiction of women is and how they might traumatize our children. Since we have the power to buy product, you can simply not buy the product.
Thatís a startling revelation, I know. I truly believe, though, that weíre projecting our own failings onto gaming. There is always going to be a game that truly sucks, but if the only problem you can find in a game is how bad the art style is, why are you complaining so much?
Itís a valid complaint and I accept it as the reason you may not enjoy something, but itís not the sole factor for deeming something as bad. Just because you disagree with something doesnít mean itís objectively bad.
My time watching Game Grumps has taught me more about how to view gaming. I even wrote a piece that focused on some aspects of Dust: An Elysian Tail that ruined the game for me. My opinion wasnít based in hatred or even subjectivity.
When you can tangibly call out a feature of a game instead of relying on pure emotion, it feels great. Itís much better than throwing stones at self-conflict. Obviously your own investment counts for a lot, but Iím tired of reading opinions where the only negative is how uninvested someone is.
So, this blog is unfocused and probably totally off base. Regardless, Iím fed up with spreading hate and seeing hate. I just want us, as a global community, to stop being so entitled and righteous. Sometimes, we just need to have fun.
I may be completely unable to have fun, but dammit if Iím not going to spread cheer around!
I also must add, I donít mind the Polygon review of Dragonís Crown, which sparked the debate on the podcast. The reviewer, [font=Calibri]Danielle Riendeau, doesnít focus on the supposed ďsexismĒ. Itís just a minor thing that conveys her opinion to like-minded people. Just find another review to agree with![/font]
On Twitter today, Phil Fish of Polytron has confirmed that Fez 2 will be canceled. This comes right off the heels of a debate that Fish was having with Marcus Beer from GameTrailers "Annoyed Gamer" segment.
A series of high-school quality insults were thrown back and forth before Fish tweeted, "im done. FEZ II is cancelled. goodbye." This isn't the first time that Fish's mouth has gotten him into trouble.
In the past, Fish was cited as claiming that Japanese games suck. He later clarified that modern Japanese games was what me meant, still doing no good for his public image.
There are also tweets where Fish has insulted fans after they made some snide remarks about the original Fez not being released yet.
My person two cents: I think Fish should cancel the game and disappear. He constantly is making the games industry look like some childish playground with ridiculous antics like this. I understand if he wants to voice his opinion, but instead of throwing a literal temper tantrum, why not act like an adult?
A few hundred thousand people have handed money over to Polytron in support of Fez. The fans are the ones who made you famous and helped you climb out of the rut that was the 5 year development cycle for your only game. Instead of acting high and mighty, I think it's time you were cut down to size.
If I never hear another thing from Fish again, then honestly my life might be better. It's hard to remain optimistic about gaming when imbeciles like him spout off without thinking.
I was a bit busy at SGC this weekend. Not intent to sit on my ass and enjoy everything, I got some interviews about upcoming games! These were posted to a site I'm contributing to, Gamer's Association.
Since they deal with upcoming games, though, I figured I'd post them here as well. You guys are more than welcome to check out Gamer's Association. We'd appreciate some more views.
The first interview is with Cassie Chui. She is a level designer for Electronic Super Joy. I really enjoyed my time with the game and even handed some cash over to her for her hard work.
When I saw Craig, I knew I had to chat about the upcoming AVGN Adventures. I like that he gave me a sneak peek of things to come, as well.
All in all, this SGC was definitely a lot better than the previous years. Getting indie devs to come down and showcase their works was a fantastic idea. If this becomes a recurring thing for Screwattack, I'll gladly attend every convention they host.
Sexy and video games are just two things that seem to fail together. I cannot claim that I havenít been aroused by a digital temptress, but more often than not, sexy in gaming just falls flat. For the worst possible example of it, look no further than ďHeavy Rain.Ē
Regardless of my disdain for the aforementioned title, I find myself turned on by the ideas and thoughts present in gaming more than the physical characters. The reason for this is that I tend to shift a characterís abilities on to people I know in real life.
I recently began playing ďThe Last Story.Ē Iíll save my criticism of that for another day. Still, one character in particular has captured my interest. One of your party members is a foul mouthed, loud, angry, drunken, strong, bisexual woman by the name of Syrenne (Seiren in the original Japanese script). These traits epitomize the last girl I thought I was in love with.
As I play through the game more, I keep thinking of that girl. Syrenne comes on the screen and Iím mesmerized by the positive thoughts I had with this girl. I feel sorry for hurting her and want to reverse my misdeeds simply because I realize how wonderfully charming she is. Iím aroused by her and its all thanks to this damn game!
But the game itself is not really doing anything to be ďsexyĒ to me. Sure, Syrenne is fairly attractive and is obviously dressed in such a manner to appeal to horny imbeciles like me, but she also has a personality that is incredibly realistic. Now if only she played video games and had brown hair, the transformation would be complete.
She's the one on the left...
Another game I finished late last year, ďLollipop Chainsaw,Ē starred a young, beautiful, quirky, blonde bombshell of a character that had a punk charm and some strong verbal skills. Well, I happened to work with someone like that for the better portion of two years.
Sure, I saw the short skirt, the ridiculous excuse for a bra and the vivacious and limber moveset, but I wasnít picturing Juliet Starling. No, that wonderful girl from work was where my mind drifted. Why would I want pixels (despite how tempting they are) when the real thing was mere feet away from me?
As far as situations go, I donít think video games have really nailed it yet. The most effecting women in games for me are the ones written with pure fantasy in mind; the romance that blossoms in a fairytale manner or where the guy gets the girl after many trials and tribulations.
Film just gives a much more realistic look at interpersonal relationships. I hate to say that, but the quality of storytelling in gaming just isnít on the same level. To me, games are much better at tackling the atrocities of war or giving players a sense of adventure and meaning. Film and literature is better at capturing love and introspective thoughts.
My honest to goodness favorite romance in a game has to be between Link and Ilia in ďLegend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.Ē Link never utters a word and Ilia is never portrayed as anything vulgar or mean. The game focuses more on her attention to Link and how his strength pulls them through. There is even a scene in the game that humanizes Link by tempting him with dark power.
It certainly isnít as strong as the bond that ďIcoĒ forms or even as emotional as many of the Final Fantasy relationships, but the thread between Link and Ilia is so pure and simple. It just makes me happy seeing them together.
I canít say that video games lack the ability to be sexy. Any form of media can take a sexual idea and spin it into a sexual fantasy that tantalizes the right mind. For me, though, I want my sexual visions to be more realistic. Iím still a virgin and Iím pretty much set on the path to being alone. If I keep myself in pure fantasy land, Iím never going to switch roads into reality.
Sadly, I view almost everything through idealized lenses. I have no doubt that at one point in my life video games will be the only thing that I find sexy. It doesnít help that more and more games are beginning to explore sex in a more realistic and mature fashion. Sure, something like ďSeduce MeĒ may be a stupid little point and click, but it definitely doesnít tackle sex with a pre-teen kind of view.
Weíre also starting to me a surge of women in the games industry taking the reigns behind projects and lending their own voices and values to scripts. I fully believe that female characters in the not so distant future will be properly written and wholly attractive.
As gaming stands now, though, I do not find it particularly sexy. I have more respect for sexual content in gaming now than I ever used to, but I still honestly just do not get it (both literally and figuratively).
So, that ďSpec Ops: The LineĒ was quite the game, right?........Right?.......Ugh, sometimes I hate being me.
Just the other day, I finished my journey through Dubai in what seems to be record time; 5 hours. I played on the hardest default setting, otherwise known as Suicide Mission. This game was far from that.
While I found the narrative very ambitious and intriguing, ďSpec Ops: The LineĒ seems to run at breakneck speed through all of its high points. I mean, in the first hour alone, I conquered 5 of the games 15 chapters. They get considerably longer after that point, but I hadnít even realized how little time I had spent.
I have no problem with games being short, but I just feel a little short changed here. This game was touted as having a very deep and complex narrative and most of the anecdotes Iíve heard from gamers are how affecting they felt the games ďdecisionĒ scenes were. I saw them so close together; I donít even know how the hell Iím supposed to think.
This contrasts with ďHotline Miami,Ē another game that brings up questions of violence and does so in an even shorter time span than Spec Ops. I managed to plunk through that little gem in about 3 and a half hours, but the pacing worked much better.
Some missions gave some breathing room in terms of combat and there was even a break from the constant murder for a stealth mission (even if that level was a little crappy). Hotline wasnít a constant bloodbath and it worked to make me more interested in the combat and plotline.
Spec Ops, though, doesnít give you a single minute to reflect on anything. Even the cutscenes arenít that long, with the longest probably being around 6 minutes. You simply deal with a firefight, walk to the next room and repeat. When a decision comes up, you make it in a snap fashion and then proceed to shoot some more.
I canít say I was disappointed with the game (and I got it for dirt cheap, so how could I truly be?), but I feel like it would have been a greater story if I was just given more time to explore it. Let me sink in the details of the gameís world, let me reflect on my awful actions and give me periods that help build character instead of pushing me directly into the action.
One of the best moments in ďUncharted 2Ē comes during chapter 16. After practically non-stop action, Drake finds himself stranded in Nepal. The only task for the chapter is to walk around and soak in the sights. This gives you ample time to think about how you arrived at this location and reflect on what Drake has gone through.
NaughtyDog understood that packing a game with minute to minute firefights would sully the experience and leave the gamer wishing for a break. While you donít want to have too much time dedicated to simply doing nothing, even just the smallest amount of leisure or padding can create a sense of relieve and a desire to continue.
For all the flack the Zelda series may get for sidequests and lack of innovation, the padding in that series really drives home the desire to press on. The early games in the series (namely Zelda 1 and 2) suffer because there is nothing else to do. You simply proceed with quest or you donít play the game. Without any break of alternate activity, the quest feels longwinded (even being only an hour!).
This is completely related to saving the Princess...trust me!
So honestly, while I wonít deem a game of lower quality because itís short, some titles need extra game time to justify their existence. I canít sit here and whole-heartedly recommend ďSpec Ops: The LineĒ because I feel like itís incomplete. Itís too damn short and leaves too much unexplained.
If I only simply had more time to feel the anguish that Captain Martin Walker was going through, maybe Iíd be in love with the game. As it stands, itís a very ambitious experiment, but one that ultimately doesnít feel as impactful due to a sense of being rushed.
InspiredbyMagnalon and his constant destruction of entire game series, Iíve decided to finally jump in the fray and represent a series that is often overlooked: Professor Layton. You probably wouldnít expect someone like me to enjoy Layton games (I often go for shooters), but Iíve been smitten with the series for awhile now.
Sadly, though, Iíve only ever finished 1 game. I own all 4 DS titles and will be acquiring the 3DS sequel in short order. Still, what better way to send off the year then by beating a game that has become a Christmas tradition for me?
Why Professor Layton?
Why Layton at this point in the year? Quite honestly, I lost power a few days ago and just turned on my 3DS. I had left the games out on my desk as a reminder to eventually finish them, but nothing spurred me toward my quest.
Iíve done every Zelda last year, all three Deus Ex games, the 3 main entry Quake games with their expansions and a crap ton of Mario games this year: why was Layton eluding me? I really cannot say.
So while I donít really have a clear motive on why Layton finally got lucky, I just know that Iím happy to be playing them after having the games hang around my house. I always felt bad since I asked my mom to get them for me and just let them sit around.
See, as Iíve become older, Iíve demanded that my mother stop lavishing me with gifts and boil it down to a single thing each year. For Christmas, since Layton happens to release later in the year, I just ask her to grab me that.
Thankfully Iíve been able to pay it forward this year as I currently have money. My mom is now the proud owner of a red 3DS XL and itís all thanks to me! I hope thatís one of the best birthdayís sheís ever had; living with me is a nightmare unto itself.
Professor Layton And the Curious Village [Nintendo DS Ė Owned]
I actually did manage to beat this one when it originally launched. I was studying in Florida to become a Chemist (hahahaha) and I was having troubles with my ďfriendsĒ at the time. While Iíve come to miss them, they definitely werenít offering words of advice with my depression or school work.
Regardless, I was able to shut myself away in my dorm and power through some puzzles. The first thing I remember about Layton, though, are the FMVs. I was blown away at how good looking those cutscenes were in the DS screen. How did Level-5 even manage to compress these videos down so well?
Then comes the puzzles. There are just so many of them (130 to be exact). I took this game with me everyone. In class, over to friendís houses, out to eat; I couldnít be separated from it. It was fun having some of my friends come up with solutions with me and us all being completely wrong.
As I replayed it, I missed a lot of that community element, but I really got sucked up in the story again. I love a good mystery and Layton certainly provides that. The characters arenít insanely deep, but they do provide chuckles. I still laugh at how stupid Luke sounds saying Professor.
I managed to beat the game in about half of my previous time, too. I am going by the save file, but 11 hours and 30 minutes was knocked down to 6 hours flat. Thatís not too bad!
Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box [Nintendo DS Ė Owned]
I really prefer the Japanese name to this (Pandoraís Box!), but Diabolical also sounds pretty intimidating. Now, I have actually played this, but I never managed to finish it. At the time in my life when the game came out, I just couldnít muster up the strength to sit through a DS title.
That usually happens to me at the end of a consoleís life-span. When Shadow of the Colossus originally came out, I wouldnít be caught dead playing it as I was ready to move onto the 360. PS2 was a distant memory for me.
Iíve since changed my views on that matter, but obviously not before this Layton game came out. What do I remember about the short span I played? WellÖthe graphics were nicer. It also took place at night!
I was having fun with it, but I think I just got stumped somewhere and turned it off. I was heading to my uncleís house for Christmas dinner, I believe, and my aunt was terribly ill at the time. I didnít want to waste any precious seconds playing some game when she was so close to death.
JustÖ.wow. I really missed a damn good game. Strange thing is, though, my save file was actually around 70% done. I had sunk 6 hours and 48 minutes into the game with around 68 puzzles solved. Holy shit! I remembered a fair chunk of them, too.
For starters, the presentation is just ace. The cutscenes come back with a vengeance and are much better. The lip synching is tighter and the animation is just stronger. There are also some text segments that are fully voiced and itís just much easier to get sucked into the plot.
The plot is also a bit more heartwarming. I am not afraid to admit this, but I shed a few tears at the end. I was just so overwhelmed with the realization that comes during the conclusion. Makes you think about your own life, too.
Gameplay wise, though, this one is strong and weak. For starters, there is much better variety in the puzzles. Youíre almost always doing something new and exciting and most of them actually have something to do with the plot. Most, I must mention.
While the game boasts around 153 puzzles, I think that number isnít quite right. One puzzle about mid-way through the game tasks you with moving a chess piece around a board and hitting each square once. You then do this againÖand againÖ.and again.
There also happen to be a few more puzzles that each have 4 levels. Claiming to contain over 150 puzzles is kind of false when you just come up with one idea and repeat it with variations.
Still, I actually like this one more than the first game. Itís story is stronger and the length is pretty damn good (took me about 10 and a half hours!). Just like in the first title, there are DLC puzzles and a crap ton of unlockables, so Iíd recommend this to everyone.
Professor Layton and the Unwound Future [Nintendo DS Ė Owned]
I know the name is different in Japan againÖThatís honestly it. I have not the faintest idea of what this game entails. It follows Luke and Layton solving puzzles. Sounds fine to me.
Iíve heard reviews claim itís the best of the first trilogy of titles. Apparently the puzzles really come together or something. Iím not quite sure. I just know that if it has another great story, then Iím game to waste countless hours on it.
Oh, as the box informs me, there are at least 165 puzzles. Weíve effectively added half another game on top of the original.
So, Iím a bit indifferent. This was a great game with a long playtime (about 12 hours!) and I was blown away at the story in parts, but there is just something off. It doesnít feel like the soul of a Layton game is there. Everything gets so larger than life that Iím not sure what to think.
We have time travel coming into the equation (even though that later gets debunkedÖand then reinstated) and there are an insane amount of FMVs peppered throughout the story. The plus side is that there is also more voice acting during the text sections.
The polish is just through the roof and there are some very clever ideas that integrate puzzles directly into the story. There also happens to be crap where youíll look at a flight of stairs and Layton will say, ďThis reminds me of a puzzle.Ē
At the same time, I was just more interested in seeing the plotline finish then actually tackling most of the puzzles. I just love the acting and writing, even if this story falters a bit, so I think thatís probably a negative to people who enjoy the puzzles more. Now I understand how a Layton movie would work out.
Regardless, this was a very good game. Iím not sorry I played it and itís probably my favorite of the first three, but there definitely seems to be a small drop in overall cohesion. Whereas the first two games kept things quick and often made puzzles feel organic, this one just throws everything and the kitchen sink into the mix.
I mean, how many games have you played where two Londonís exist at once and one gets decimated? YeahÖI canít name a single one. I did shed tears at the end, though. So itís definitely powerful under the right circumstances.
Professor Layton and the Last Specter [Nintendo DS Ė Owned]
While I know nothing of the main game, I do know that this DS entry comes with an Animal Crossing style mini-game called ďLondon Life.Ē That sounds pretty killer to me. I doubt it has ď100 hoursĒ of content, but I could see myself wasting time with it until ďAnimal Crossing: New LeafĒ comes out.
Regardless, Iíve heard this entry is fairly lackluster in terms of what Layton is. There are puzzles abound, but they never push farther than the other 3 games. Itís like a retreading of ideas (something Nintendo is glorious at!).
I do know that, canonically speaking, this is a prequel to the entire series. This game details the first time that Layton met his apprentice, Luke. I suppose that makes sense as the two seem acquainted during the beginning of Curious Village. Whatever, I just want more puzzles.
Well, itís not my favorite in the series, but ďThe Last SpecterĒ is a very solid game. Like I mentioned with the last game, though, Iím far more interested in the plot line. This game tones down the main puzzles, though, giving you more extras instead of just bloating the campaign with needless padding.
The ending is completely amazing, though. While pretty much none of the puzzles flow directly with the plot, the ending has a series of 8 puzzles that all deal with exactly whatís going on. Itís very thrilling.
Thereís even a section where you get to play as Laytonís new assistant, Emmy. I find it strange that a third character in introduced in the prequel trilogy and never mentioned in the original games, but sheís actually not so bad.
Thereís almost an over abundance of cutscenes, though. I definitely love them, but considering the plot is shorter (Only 11 hours this time), it seems like practically half of it is spent watching.
Most of the puzzles are also incredibly safe. What I mean is, there arenít a whole lot of fresh ideas presented during the course of the new mystery. Lots of slider puzzles, marble jumping and a cool little pseudo-puzzle story wrap-up thing. Still, nothing 100% fresh.
Whatever the flaws are, I did like this game. The Layton stories are very well written, even if they are completely far fetched at this point. Iím eager to see what the movie holds, since Iím far more invested in the character of Layton instead of his actual puzzles.
Oh, and London Life is boring. Itís Animal Crossing without the funny, circle shaped people.
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva [DVD, Blu-Ray]
This is the first film in the series. While I technically canít play it, I would like to watch it to get a full understanding of the series story. The movie is a flashback that takes place after the events of Last Specter. The flashback occurs during the downtime between Curious Village and Diabolical BoxÖThat honestly makes no sense.
Honestly, why bother with this? Well, I love the animation in the FMVs, so Iím sure there will be something I can enjoy out of this film. Iíve heard that itís actually quite good, so why can the harm be? I really canít fathom how puzzle solving works as a film, though.
HmÖ..I donít really know what to say. Iíve been more interested in the plot lines of Layton games for the last few and then this movie failed to produce a decent plot. Like most anime video game adaptations, the script focuses too much on including every character without actually understanding why they work.
One character from the prequel trilogy, Inspector Grosky, does absolutely nothing with the narrative other than provide his famous line, ďI AM GROSKY OF THE YARD!Ē Itís infuriating. Emmy, too, has no relevance in this movie, despite being introduced and fleshed out fairly well in the ďLast Specter.Ē
Even with these problems, though, the film is an okay watch. As far as game to movie adaptations, Iíd say this is easily the best. The humor is lighthearted, the film has some fun action scenes and the integration of puzzles into a different medium works very well.
The animation is also exceptionally beautiful. I was awestruck at how the Layton universe looks in fullscreen HD. I really would like Level-5 to develop something for the Wii U, now!
Particular mention needs to go to the soundtrack, as well. All of the themes are done by a full orchestra and they sound wonderful. Itís great hearing the tunebox theme and even the puzzle time theme come to life. The main theme is used far too often, but it is very loud, bombastic and high octane, so Iíll let it slide.
So, would I recommend this to the casual anime fan? Eh, not really. The film, on its own merits, isnít worth a watch. For those interested in Layton, Iíd almost say to skip it, too. But, just seeing Layton in a full movie and gasping at the animation can provide some joy to viewers.
So, whatever. Take the good, take the bad, put it togetherÖblah blah. Not too bad.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask [Nintendo 3DS]
The first 3D entry in the series and a launch title in Japan for the 3DS, Miracle Mask is supposed to be aÖfairly typical Layton game. Oh well. Iíve heard that regardless of how comfortable this title is with the series legacy, it does make for some quality entertainment.
Iím not sure how I feel about the characters finally being rendered in 3D, but I donít really have much to complain about. If the only detractor is that the graphics look weird, then I think Iíll be okay.
I do also know that this game had a full year of DLC. Thatís right, some crazy bullshit like THQ promised with Saints Row, but for free and actually decent! Since the game has only been out for a week or so, I think only 14-21 puzzles are available in the US. By the time I get to this game, hopefully there will be a sizeable amount for me to comment on.
I donít know why people called this a typical Layton game. For starters, itís the first game in the series to not focus solely on puzzles. There is an extended sequence that plays out similar to Zelda and itís amazing.
Also, the changes made to the way one interacts with the world are incredibly welcome. While I donít mind the old games, it was frustrating to be looking for hint coins and just tapping everything imaginable. Now you can simply scroll over items of interest and a little magnifying glass will highlight if you can click there.
Also, the graphics are incredible. With the 3D effect on, this game just pops off the screen. The colors are vibrant, the added depth makes the world feel huge and alive and the character models (now in place of the old sprites) animate like Wind Waker. Itís wonderful.
The variety in the puzzles is also stepped up, which is surprising considering there are less puzzles here than every game since the first. You do get a few repeats (I guess making cats and penguins jump is just too good to pass up), but for the most part, every puzzle is unique.
The story is also very touching, delving into a time when Layton was younger and dealing with the passing of close friends. I cried again, but considering how depressing this series tends to be getting, I donít think Iíll ever stop. Iím really not sure why Layton hasnít killed himself or how he remains so jovial.
So, Iíd say this one is close to the top of the list. If I had to rank the games, Iíd go: Unwound, Miracle, Diabolical, Spector and Curious. Funny, seeing as how the only game Iíve finished twice is Curious Village.
So while Layton isnít exactly the biggest hitter that Nintendo has up its sleeve, Iíve been a fan of the series for years now. Itís sad that Iíve actually only completed 1 game, but that will soon change. Since no one seems to give this series any coverage, Iíll be the harbinger of progress for Destructoid!
Hopefully Iíve gotten a few of you to pick up your DSí and get cracking on some mind benders! If not, then at least youíve read my thoughts on this wonderful little series.