I have a video game collection; my favs are listed below.
I got into gaming when I was 5yo when I got a Nintendo for my bday
Currently playing FFXIII
I am 25yo male
:) Square, Enix, Square-Enix, Atlus, and Capcom are my LIFE.
I'll let my collection do the talking,
I actually own all of these games
I wish I had a hell of a lot more
Final Fantasy Anthology (5 + 6)
Final Fantasy Chronicles (4 + Chrono Trigger)
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy IX
Tales of Destiny
Tales of Destiny II
The Legend of Dragoon
Resident Evil 1
Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 3
Parasite Eve 2
Mega Man Legends
Mega Man Legends II
Star Ocean Second Story
Legend of Legaia
Breath of Fire III
Breath of Fire IV
Brave Fencer Musashi
Lunar Silver Star Story Complete
Wild Arms II
Dark Cloud II
Dawn of Mana
Breath of Fire V (Dragon Quarter)
Dragon Quest VIII
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X-2
Final Fantasy XII
Growlanser (Heritage of War)
Kingdom Hearts II
La Pucelle Tactics
Legaia Dual Saga (Legend of Legaia II)
Resident Evil Code Veronia X
Resident Evil 4
Samurai Legend Musashi
Shadow of the Colussus
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga
Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga II
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner II
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona III
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona III: Fes
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
Star Ocean III
Tales of Legendia
Tales of Abyss
Valkyrie Profile II
Wild Arms Alter Code F
Wild Arms III
Wild Arms IV
Wild Armss V
Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core
Star Ocean First Departure
Star Ocean Second Evolution
Final Fantasy Tactics
Valkyrie Profile Lenneth
Wild Arms XF
Tales of Symphonia
Skies of Arcadia Legends
Resident Evil Zero
Zelda Collectors Edition (Zelda 1 and 2 from Nintendo) (Ocarana of Time and Majoras Mask from N64)
Zelda Wind Waker
Baten Kaitos Origins
Super Mario Galaxy
Smash Bros Brawl
Resident Evil, Umbrella Chronicles
Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age: Awakening
Resonance of Fate
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Fallout 3 (GOTYE)
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
Star Ocean: The Last Hope
3D Dot Heroes
Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition
Super Street Fighter IV
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Dead to Rights: Retribution
Dead Rising 2
Soul Calibur IV
Final Fantasy XIII
Dantes Inferno: Divine Edition
Stuff I don't Have...That I neeeeddd!!!!
(too expensive to track down, or not yet out)
Persona II (psp holidays 2011)
Magna Carta Crimson Stigma (360)
Lost Odyssey (360)
Fable II (360)
Mana Khemia II (PS2)
Disgaea III (PS3)
The 3rd Birthday (PSP)
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (DS)
Arc the Lad Collection (PS1)(PSN)
Alundra (1+2) (ps1)(PSN)
Baten Kaitos (gamecube)
Eternal Sonata (ps3)
The World Ends with you (ds)
Lunar Eternal Blue Complete (ps1)
Eternal Poison (ps2)
Tales of Symphonia II (wii)
Ar Tonelico II (ps2)
Final Fantasy Vs XIII (Ps3)
Final Fantasy Agito XIII (PSP)
Games that Don't exist, that I would LOVE to see
New Lufia III
New Breath of Fire VI
Remakes of Dragon Quest series for PSP
Remakes of Tales of Destiny for PSP
Remakes of Arc the Lad for PSP
Remake of Nocturne for PSP
Remake of FFVII with better graphics ONLY, nothing else updated (I can dream)
New Legend of Dragoon
New Legend of Legaia
Xenogears II, (fuck xenosaga, they screwed that shit up good, you wouldn't know if you didnt play xenogears you dumb bitch) or Update with better graphics
Im sure I can think of more later.....
Also, you name it, I have it when it comes to ROMS / Emulation
for all good RPGS on (atari, gameboy, snes, nes, sega, etc)
Wish I had originals, but to track them down would be ridiculous.
I have a few ps1 games in roms too, that I don't have in real life
You need to play Shining games, and Lufia games IMMEDIATELY or die :)
Radical Dreamers... omg amazing if you can find the translated game
Mystic Quest, Illusion of Gaia, Terranigma, Mana Games, Earthbound Series,
Ogre Battle, Secret of Evermore, Soul Blazer, Tales of Phantasia, theres more
but I can't remember
If you haven't figured it out,
im a little more old school
I love my rpg's, a few fighting games, and my survival horror.
Umm hit me up if you wanna :)
********I know this is a wall of text, but this is a research paper after all. Thought it could be interesting to some of you.*********
The goal of this research is to inform the reader about an abnormal psychological condition called video game dependency. Though it is not currently rated as a psychological disorder by the primary diagnostic medium of psychiatrists known as the DSM-IV-TR, it will be my goal to argue why it should be classified as one. In order to do this I will compare video game dependency to similar disorders which are already classified in the DSM-IV-TR, inform the reader of symptoms associated with video game dependency, illustrate how they hinder a normal lifestyle, and mention risk factors for the disorder.
In recent years games have become more interactive, and more realistic then they have ever been before. All of the modern game consoles, and of course PC’s are able to get online, and with advances in high speed internet: communication with other players, uploading of complex graphics, and catchy in game music becomes immediately accessible. “[R]ealism can impact one’s internal state because the unrealistic video games may appear ‘‘cartoonish’’ to players, because the events could never really happen. The impact of perceived realism has been shown to moderate the effect between exposure to violence in children’s media and aggressive behavior.” (Barlett 215)
What constitutes normal from abnormal behavior are four factors. The first of these four factors is called deviance. Deviance is measured with regard to norms, which are society’s rules for proper conduct. The second is distress. Is the behavior causing a physiological change such as elevated heart rate, mania, panic, or shaking? The third is dysfunction. Does the afflicted person obsess? Are they distracted from work, and other important daily functioning such as school or hygiene? The most prevalent of the four is danger. Is the abnormal functioning causing poor diet, anger, thoughts of suicide or murder? A person with video game dependency will shows signs of risk factors in all four places to look for abnormal functioning. “VGD is accompanied by increased levels of psychological and social stress in the form of lower school achievement, increased truancy, reduced sleep time, limited leisure activities, and increased thoughts of committing suicide.” (Thomas 269)
The difference between someone who uses video games as a coping mechanism by means of escapism versus someone who is dependent on playing video games is quite different. A dependant player is one who will disregard responsibilities, and/or relationships to play a game, and will often obsess about playing and lie about how often they actually are playing, where video game play used as a coping mechanism can be merely for the purpose of a temporary escape, which can be more adaptive than other negative forms of coping.
Unfortunately once a person learns how to maladaptively cope with their problems by playing video games; it is easy for it to become habitual, as is any other form of coping because it is easier oftentimes to mask our pain then to deal with it directly. Behavioral psychologists would argue that because players are getting rewarded for playing video games that they would seek to continually perpetuate the reward, which would lead to more game play especially in times of increased stress.
There may be other underlying problems in a person who chooses to escape from their problems by playing video games. Using harmful coping mechanisms such as avoidance of real life problems by escaping into the world of video games over time can prove to be more and more harmful over time. Medication may not be necessary from a psychodynamic point of view but a person might be originally drawn to video games as a means from escaping reality, and thusly represses the harmful thoughts and feelings that drew them into the game to begin with. These repressed thoughts and feelings could be building up inside of them, and could lead to psychological disorders such as video game disorder in the future while they are running from reality.
“Video games can satisfy a wide number of individual psychological needs and, because of their interactive structures, give rise to an intense experience of gratification in the user.” (Thomas 269) Maladaptive coping, however, occurs when a gamer uses the immense freedom in a video game as means of escape from aspects of their real life, or their personality which they are not happy with; and when you can hide the traits about yourself which you do not like by creating a character who is strong, versus actually being weak, dependant, or unattractive person; it is easy to see the appeal of throwing away an identity you perceive as being less interesting, in lieu of becoming a hero who saves the world, and always gets the girl.
“[I]t is logical to suggest that one reason some individuals spend more time playing the game is to avoid face-to-face social situations in which they may lack the proper skills to foster good relationships. Furthermore, if the individual were rejected in these situations, it would likely cause them distress … the individuals may seek social connections in a safer environment: the environment of MMORPG guilds. This is evident when players become better friends with their online guild mates than with their “real-life” friends.” (Peters 482)
MMORPG’s are an especially high risk type of video game play. The world’s most popular MMORPG is called World of Warcraft, often referred to as WOW. “World of Warcraft is an extremely popular MMORPG with over 9 million players worldwide at the time of this writing … guild members typically are required by their guild leaders to spend at minimum of 20 hours a week playing the game.” (Peters 481)
To be classified as video game dependant a gamer must play on average of four or more hours per day, and having a minimum of 20 hours of game play per week certainly brings this population close to that number. There are even help based communities online such as www.wowdetox.com where there are over fifty-thousand testimonials of ex-players of the game about how it was negatively affecting their life. Another popular community is called www.gamerwidow.com which seeks to help couples through the jaws of video game dependency. “[U]sers of role-playing games were significantly more addicted than users of other games , that MMORPG users had a tendency to spend much more time playing than non-MMORPG players , and that there was a positive correlation between the amount of time spent playing an MMORPG game and the likelihood of problematic usage of the game .” (Pauline 121)
“What separates RPGs from other character-driven entertainment media is this internalization and psychological merging of a player’s and a character’s mind” (Lewis 515) In MMORPGs “the player must decide a character’s race, its species, history, heritage, and philosophy.” (Young 357) Psychologically, whether the player is aware of it or not, at the very beginning, they are creating an avatar which will more prominently bring out perceived positive aspects of their personality, while simultaneously hiding negative parts of their personality.
“[T]he relevance of interactive entertainment media as leisure time activity has grown considerably both for youths and adults … computer ownership among adolescents’ ages 12 to 19 increased from 35% to 71% from 1998 to 2008, and ownership of gaming consoles increased from 23% to 45%.” (Thomas 269) “2.8% are classified as being at risk and 1.7% as being dependent on video games. Mainly boys are affected: 4.7% of them are at risk and 3% are dependent. (Thomas 272)
Video game dependency is very similar to a DSM-IV-TR disorder underneath the heading of impulse control disorders known as pathological gambling. “[V]ideo games in their very conception show a structural similarity to gambling and, as a consequence, are suspected of bearing a similar psychotropic dependency risk for some people.” (Thomas 269) Because these two disorders are so similar with regard to their symptoms, it seems as though video game dependency should be more heavily researched with regard to putting it into the DSM-IV-TR. “People with this disorder cannot walk away from a bet, and are restless and irritable if gambling is denied them … and the gambling continues even in the face of financial, social, and health problems.” (Comer 520)
People affected by pathological dependencies like video game dependency and gambling typically demonstrate several behaviors which progressively get worse with time as dependency reaches its peak. “People with these impulse-control disorders (such as pathological gambling) fail to resist an impulse, drive, or temptation to perform acts.” (Comer 520) First the afflicted person will show problems limiting their use; the usage will then become compulsive and in a worst case scenario will result in life-damaging consequences, such as the loss of a relationship or a job due to the inability of the afflicted person having no motivation to do anything other than play video games.
“[P]laying video games activates the basal ganglia portion of the brain, the region that releases dopamine … The problem is that release means there is less dopamine available when the child needs to perform other, less enjoyable tasks, such as homework.” (Costa 55) Video game dependants are repeatedly triggering a dopamine release when playing games, and over long periods of time they are conditioning themselves to only have this release while playing games, which leads to lower levels of production of dopamine during times when they need it in other aspects of their life.
This accounts for their obsessive desire to play the games, and difficulty focusing on other tasks such as school and work, allowing them to only be happy when they return to play the game again and again. “People no longer judge their behavior against acceptable personal or social standards for “normal” amounts of game play and no longer apply self-reactive influences, such as self-administered rewards for moderating consumption or indulging feelings of guilt for excessive play.” (Lee 634)
Video games can also be an expensive hobby, and just like other forms of dependency all sense of reason goes out the window when the newest, greatest, and latest game or expansion to a current game is released. For example, those who play WOW pay $15 per month to keep their account active, and those who have been with the game since the beginning have paid up to $40 for their original software, not to mention the expansions, strategy guides, and gaming accessories associated with the game, and this is only one game for the pc. Think of the multiple consoles with exclusive software, the controllers, cooling systems, and expanded hard drives. Video game dependents are going to find any way financially to keep their MMORPG accounts active, and the newest games off the shelf and in their hands, letting more important expenditures fall to the wayside.
Maladaptive forms of thinking self justify that this new game will be able to take you back to the “best” gaming experience you had, and because of this underlying thought you may decide that even though it isn’t particularly economical to spend $60 on a new video game, your conscious thought process is overridden by the underlying unconscious thought pattern which seeks it. “[T]heir self-regulation becomes deficient and self-regulatory functions of judgment process and self-reactive influence cease to moderate their gaming behavior.” (Lee 634)
Gamers are forever seeking the first high they had with the medium that submersed their consciousness into a fantasy world that overrode their sense of worry or anxiety about the real world. Interestingly enough a whole different subset of senses of worry and anxiety can occur when one becomes highly involved in a world of gaming as well. With regard to violent video game play several studies have been done to attempt to determine if such play increases aggression in the user.
An author of one such article suggests “[i]t is possible, for example that the correlation between game-play and behavior reflects backwards causation; aggressive people may be attracted to computer games.” (Chumbley 309) I do not agree with this information, as there are higher sample size studies with regard to the study of elevated levels of aggression while playing violent video games; however this study only uses 33 participants, which is barely statistically relevant, as N (population) must be <=31 to be considered so.
A larger sample study of 295 suggests “exposure to violent games increased the acceptance of physical aggression as a conflict-solving strategy as reflected in the normative beliefs measure.” (Moller and Krahe 86) Being a video game player myself, I can definitely attest to higher levels of frustration, and physiological response (increased heart rate, perspiration) while playing violent or non-violent video games…especially if I am not achieving the goals I set out to accomplish, or am losing badly to an online opponent. Anyone who has heard voice chat over Halo can attest to this as well.
A new layer of psychological disorders originating from media over usage in the DSM-IV needs to be developed. “Like other forms of potentially addictive computer use, VGD has not been clinically accepted so far. In 2007, the application to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association was still assessed negatively with the note that the database for such a step was not yet sufficiently secured.” (Thomas 270)
Once finalized criteria by which the disorder can be diagnosed have been agreed upon research and funding would increase in order to find a cure. Some interesting research that has been made to attempt to qualify terminology by means of creating a diagnosis is as follows: “[P]roblem video game use could be distinguished on the basis of (i) preoccupation with and craving for playing video games, negative emotional reactions to the abstinence from playing, and loss of control over playing; and (ii) various detrimental consequences of playing video games.” (Pauline 121)
Unfortunately there are no current ways to diagnose a media derived psychological problem such as video game dependency at this current point in time, but the first step in the battle to help gamers get off the proverbial sauce is to establish some grounds by which their psychological problems can be identified, and to create methods of therapy to help dependant gamers whether that be by dealing with the psychological issues which drove them to using video games as a coping mechanism, or perhaps a biological chemical imbalance which requires medication to moderate.
In conclusion, video games are now a source of entertainment for people of all ages and backgrounds, and compromise a huge percentage of our society. It is important for us to research their affect on human psychology in more depth. By classifying video game dependency as a legitimate disorder in the DSM-IV-TR psychologists would be more encouraged to study these effects, and create meaningful therapy to help combat the disorder / prevent it from occurring.
Barlett, Christopher P., and Christopher Rodeheffer. "Effects of realism on extended violent and nonviolent video game play on aggressive thoughts, feelings, and physiological arousal." Aggressive Behavior 35.3 (2009): 213-224. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Chumbley, Justin, and Mark Griffiths. "Affect and the Computer Game Player: The Effect of Gender, Personality, and Game Reinforcement Structure on Affective Responses to Computer Game-Play." CyberPsychology & Behavior 9.3 (2006): 308-316. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.
Comer, Ronald J. Abnormal Psychology. 7th ed. New York: Worth, 2010. Print.
Costa, Dan. "Turn It Off, Kids!" PC Magazine 24 Apr. 2007: 55. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.
Lee, Doohwang, and Robert LaRose. "A Socio-Cognitive Model of Video Game Usage." Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 51.4 (2007): 632-650. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Lewis, Melissa L., René Weber, and Nicholas David Bowman. "“They May Be Pixels, But They're MY Pixels:” Developing a Metric of Character Attachment in Role-Playing Video Games." CyberPsychology & Behavior 11.4 (2008): 515-518. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Möller, Ingrid, and Barbara Krahé. "Exposure to violent video games and aggression in German adolescents: a longitudinal analysis." Aggressive Behavior 35.1 (2009): 75-89. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 May 2011.
Pauline Fenech, et al. "Recognizing problem video game use." Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 44.2 (2010): 120-128. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Peters, Christopher S., and L. Alvin Malesky Jr. "Problematic Usage Among Highly-Engaged Players of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games." CyberPsychology & Behavior 11.4 (2008): 481-484. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Thomas M, et al. "Prevalence and Risk Factors of Video Game Dependency in Adolescence: Results of a German Nationwide Survey." CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 13.3 (2010): 269-277. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Young, Kimberly. "Understanding Online Gaming Addiction and Treatment Issues for Adolescents." American Journal of Family Therapy 37.5 (2009): 355-372. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
*The next time I play a video game though, I am looking for an interesting plot. Here is a work of fiction that could be equivalent of perhaps some internal dialogue of a main character? Anyways...
Chapter One: The Inner Sanctum
I wish I could tell you that this was eventually going to get easier, but as you know the memories of other pain that you have carried with you are still present. My biggest regret is the tightness you feel in your chest every single time you take a breath. I know how much you love to run, but that subtle something has been keeping you from being able to do your best.
I used to think that you didn't have a soul, because I have seen how hard you have tried to kill any form of empathy for those you feel are trodden upon. I know that this is only because the weight you carry around is often times too heavy to carry by yourself. Yet you continue to do so anyway; perhaps it makes you feel as though you are a martyr? I wonder if this is somehow a mechanism by which you punish yourself?
I have been wrong a lot in this relationship that we have had over the years. I have felt the darkness seeping through the cracks, as light does from an illuminated room one would glance at while in a dark hallway. Through the years I have seen you take on many a persona; wearing masks only you could wear so well. Perhaps that is why you see through people so easily, and I know it to be so that your thoughts on this matter are firmly held in place to keep people at a distance.
You have done nothing but focus on the past. Yet somehow I have seen you move forward from everything that has happened, as though it doesn't bother you a single bit. Of course anyone who has been let into your interconnected web of deceit, sees right through one mask and into another. It is why you prefer contact with people in the manner that you carry yourself; one on one.
There is a light at the end of this weary tunnel though, and I have seen that glimpse of happiness dance in your eyes. As though you knew something all along that you have even left me unaware of. I suppose that is the price one has to pay once they have been bestowed upon the curse of being ones own puppeteer. A dismal fool with no attachment to anything at all, not even ones own body. Perhaps that is why you never sleep?
I can see you there sitting across the room, looking deeply into nothingness; having a conversation with the spirits in the room. Whispering your lament into the world, haunted by what you have become in order to fulfill some kind of mysterious vendetta. Some would say that you are self destructive, but I know in fact the very opposite to be true. You are the master of what you convey, and there is never even the slightest of deviations in your actions.
Plotting to sever all ties with anything that has any form of ability to hurt your frightened inner child. I know that if I had the ability to look into your mind I would see him sitting there. His red eyes aglow, looking absolutely vulnerable with an enticed desire lurking just beneath the surface. You have coddled this child, and made him akin to everything he could have ever wanted, and unfortunately he has grown spoiled. He rejects the very fabric of any space time that could lead him into any form of conclusion or consequence.
This is the true you. The you who is waiting in darkness for a glimpse of happiness, and when that feeling goes away, there is nothing left but time to grow impatient. The need for one more illusion from your logical self, one without absolute judgement, the kind of judgement that comes from within; internalized by some form of logical code of morality which is absent from true justice.
I have seen you walk a very fine line between insanity, and sanity, and I have seen you make the same decision an innumerable amount of times; to stay in control. It is that hard edged underlying fact that makes you the predictable venomous creature you have become. Satiated only by this internalization, this slow replay of memories on your own private slide projector, injesting and injecting the memories of only the good. Yet inside of that beast lives another, which feeds only on the direct opposite emotions that your inner child has grown to feed off of.
The entity that lives inside of him craves only destruction and despair, which is the consequence of his naivety. That naivety of course being directly correlated to the content of the material which has sustained him. These supposed people in your past who have eventually surpassed how much you hate yourself with some form of love that has been created. A love that bursts freely from those that care about you and still do, one that has learned to be rejected. For I fear that the very darkness in humanity lies in this convoluted pandora's box of emotional torture. Once attained this insanity seeks out something more, what can I have that is better now that I think I have had the very best?
Why is it that your inner child has been corrupted by that which you thought would become the only thing that could save him? As I have just explained to you, beknownst to your ability to block out anything that could potentially stop the cycle of distance, and hatred that you have inflicted upon yourself, there is only one true way to end this.
It is not by becoming the dark desire in the heart of the child that lies within your subconcious. Even though you have nothing but that thought consume you at any given moment. That little itch in the back of your skull which has been burried so deeply that not even I can go there to let him free.
No, this is not a mistake which can be cured by the letting of blood. It is time to go back to that haunted place in your past. It is time to let your inner child understand that what has been done to him cannot be explained. Not everything happens for a reason. Perhaps then, such a glimpse of who he would have become should he have not been locked away for all that time in his own amusement park of masochism.
All you need is the key. It has been placed nearby on the table in the same room where you look at yourself with nothing but hate and contempt. Yes, right there in the music box. The temptation of what could have been is too strong to resist, and I know you cannot deny that.
Maybe that is why you have made this final decision. One that I have been trying to stop you from doing ever since that child has seen nothing but forced imagery of fluffy bunnies underneath a magic rainbow. One that you can only make yourself.
It is time. I am going to relinquish this control over you, I will not udder another sound, another manipulative projection of myself onto you. I am merely showing you what it is that you must do if you wish to escape.
The consequences of this action of course though will only be able to be inflicted upon the new self. The self that you perhaps have wished to become. Or perhaps a monster lying in wait to destroy everything that self could have been. This is the true secret you hid the key from your true conciousness. Those two hearts that beat within you, the one of light, and the one of darkness. Which will succeed in taking over?
No matter. It has already been done, and a new voice is starting to manifest itself. Goodbye, I have done everything I could for the old you. Now you are left with only me.
Disclaimer: This blog is NOT video game related so much as a story of my life, and how video games got me through the toughest times in it. Its kind of long, so for your listening pleasure while you read:
Most of you do not know me, and probably never will so I feel that I can be a little bit more honest in this outlet, then more accountable forms of social networking, you know, the ones that have a big fat picture of yourself on the frontpage, and your long lost 3rd cousin comments on everything you post for no reason? I have been going through a lot of trials and tribulations in my life recently, and as always video games have been my way to escape, a coping mechanism that gets me through lifes hard times.
I recently brought about my own demise at a job I hated at a Fortune 100 Insurance Company. I made a fairly good amount of money, and was more than able to support myself, but the stress was quite literally eating me alive. Selling property and casualty insurance (Home, Auto, Personal Umbrella, Boat, etc) was a very demanding and lucrative job, that I grew to hate, and thusly I decided to break one of the company policies on purpose until I eventually found myself in the unemployment line.
Why did I do this you ask?
Firstly, to cope with the stressful quota of how many sales I needed to produce, and the plethora of assholes I had to deal with in 36 different states, I started needing a high level of "Me" time. So much so that it was interfering with my real life. In order to escape from a job I hated, I would get home from work, and immediately fire up the PS3, and start playing games. Because I made a pretty reasonable amount of money, over the years it is safe to say that I have roughly spent over 10k on video games. I am not turning this into bragging rights, I am simply informing you of this so you have an idea of how much I love video games, and how much time they consume.
My name is Dan and I am a gay 25 year old male, who has a life partner, and after seven years in sales jobs of many kinds, all at good companies, and making more money and getting more recognition than most people get in a lifetime, I decided no more. I have no formal education to speak of other than what I learned in High School, which I was convinced was a complete waste of my time. As a child my teachers wanted to pull me out of primary school and have me immediately start taking college level courses. Being in third grade, and after having read several books on the psychological ramifications of what happens to the social lives of those who decide to make those kinds of decisions, I decided that I would stay with my peers in order to have a more normal life.
From left to right. Josh (my fiancee, myself, and some girl we met in Cancun)
Unfortunately my life was anything but. As a child my parents fought constantly. I was a mediator in a world of chaos that my pre adolescent mind could not absorb, and thusly many of my talents have gone to waste. Everything I have done in my life has been about running away from my past, and the biggest reason I let myself fail at my current job was in order to stop the cycle of hiding from what could potentially be a successful career in a field where I can actually help people.
My father was an abusive man, who indulged in many illegal activities. His father was never in his life: The moment his father found out he had become one, he ran. My dad never so much as recieved a birthday card from that man. My father's mother was tired of raising children by herself, and started to focus on her own life, and her new boyfriend which would ultimately eventually become her husband. Together they decided that my fathers psychological problems were too inconvienient, and they placed him in a Psychiatric facility from the time he was 14 until he was 18 years old. When he got out, he had no education, and no realistic understanding of society.
This is the only picture of my dad I could find, there are literally no pictures of us together that I can find.
He committed petty crimes, and was eventually sent to prison until he was 24. When he got out he married my mother, and one year after their marriage, I became the first born into a terrible situation. My father drank heavily to cope with the stress of his job that he hated, and could not overcome the terrible things that happened to him while institutionalized. Frankly, I never understood why my mother married him, as she had come from a very well to do family. My mother told me that he would lock himself alone in his room for days and not talk to her.
When I was 18 I came out as a homosexual, and my father started focusing his abusive behaivor from my mother to myself. I tried to continue living at home, but the stress of wondering if my father was going to kill me in my sleep, which he often threatened, lead me down a very dark path. So I lived on and off with my boyfriend, friends, and family members to avoid coming home as much as possible. I was suicidal, and to get away from my insane family I worked full time while attending a local community college. On top of all of this madness, I happen to have severe asthma, and as anyone who has that knows, adding insane amounts of stress caused from family problems, having to work to support yourself at the age of 18, and attempting to go to college simultaniously does not lead to a healthy combination.
Eventually I started getting sick all the time. I failed a semester of college, I lost both of my jobs, and having no medical insurance because my father cut me off the moment he found out I was gay, I racked up quite a bit of debt. After six months of having major complications that almost killed me, I decided I couldn't "have it all." I decided that the responsible thing to do was work my ass off and pay back the money I owed to various hospitals, and doctors. This unfortunately meant I would no longer attend college, and for my own sanity, I decided to move out of my parents house permanently, which was a huge defeat to myself as I felt I was the only person protecting my mother from my father.
Being raised in the manner I was, I never realized what a normal childhood was, and I felt extremely guilty moving away and getting a real job. I worked my way to the top of every job I had very quickly, and the moment I had an obsticle I would find a better job that paid more money. After living on my own for a year I was promoted to a manager at a retail company, and was asked to move to Michigan to run a new store that was being built. To cope with the guilt of leaving my family I would occasionally drink, but since my father was an alcoholic and most of his rage in my opinion stemmed from that fact, I decided to focus my free time in a more constructive manner.
Brandon: A kid I used to mentor in Big Brothers, Big Sisters After School Program
Having moved away from everyone I knew, I played a lot of video games to kill my free time, as well as spending lots of time with my Siberian Husky, and dating, and working. My health improved drastically. Honestly as I look back on how insane my life has been there has always been one constant, video games. From the moment I had conciousness I was playing Atari. For my fifth birthday I got a Nintendo, which practically raised me. Nintendo lead to Super Nintendo, Sega, Playstation, Playstation 2, PSP, Computer Games, and Playstation 3. My games of choice being RPG's, particularly JRPG's where the characters rose above difficult situations and eventually toppled the corrupt governments that controlled their fragile existance and saved the world.
I consider myself very lucky that I never used drugs or other means to escape from my cruel reality.
In March of 2009 my father passed away. The recession was in full swing and I left a very profitable operation that I was running in Michigan to move back home and support my Mother, and help put her life back together after 25 years of marriage to my father that made her a codependant mess. I took the first job I could find, and for the first time in my life I worked at a job where no matter what I did, I could not make the profit books balance, and after only 3 months, I was fired. Which is why you should NEVER ever work for a failing jewelry store in a fledgling economy.
My dog Kiba
While I was unemployed I wrote a 250 page book entitled "The Missing Piece" about my experiences with my father, which I have yet to look into publishing. I will most likely not do anything with it until my Mother passes away, as she harbors many delusions. Having no viable source of income other than 350$ / week that I got from unemployment, and having recently moved back to Chicago I could not sustain my independent existance any longer. While I was in Michigan I dated a great guy that I fell in love with, and after only being with me for six months he made the difficult decision to uproot his life and move to Chicago with me. We both currently live with my mother and her boyfriend at this point in time.
After being unemployed for 3 months I found the job that I mentioned at the beginning, and worked there for a year. All that time due to economic circumstances I decided not to move out, just incase there was a double dip in the recession that could have left me jobless again, and having no source of income and a lease in Chicago is a death warrant for your credit. Having worked there for a year, I came to the relevation that I hated all the jobs I had ever done, because the only reason I ever did them was out of necessity. My Mom told me that I could quit my job, and that she would help pay for school with some of the money she got when my father passed away. So as of last month my evil plan of getting fired at my job succeeded, and am in limbo waiting for Unemployment to notify me if my benefits have been approved.
Just incase you ran out of music:
I plan on getting a part time job, and collecting my unemployment benefits until they expire. I quit college with only needing 20 more credit hours to attain my associates in Science. On Jan 10th, 2010 I will be back to attending school full time, and with the 15 credit hours I am taking this semester, and one or two summer courses I will be transfering my Associates degree to a four year institution and will be finishing what I started when I was 18 years old. At this current point in time I plan on going into Pre-Medicine.
This is the second time in my life that I have had a substancial block of free time, as I was solely responsible for taking care of myself up until this point, thusly giving me more free time to write and play video games, and though I originally started playing games to run away from my life, they now serve as a healthy use of my time in conjunction with working, school, writing, volunteering, and my very fulfilling relationship with my soon to be husband (if all goes well Civil Unions for same sex marriages will be legal in IL in July of 2011) and my dog Kiba, both who have gotten me through an equal number of hardships.
From left to right
Cousin Mike, Fiancee Josh, Me, Brother Jake, and Brother Pat
...and this time, they are not merely an escape mechanism to avoid how terrible my life is. They have evolved into what I consider a constructive use of my time as I don't really watch television - at least it is slightly more engaging.
In conclusion the purpose of this particular piece of writing is to say goodbye to my old self, the one who worked at jobs he hated because he had to, and get a little bit more personal and involved with the Destructoid community.
Final Fantasy Vs XIII is part of a 3 game series of which the games pretty much have nothing to do with one another. Of this 3 part series included in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series is the already released FFXIII, FF Vs XIII (the topic of todays discussion) and FF Agito XIII (psp). The game was originally planned to be utilized on the PS2 medium, but was later scrapped to instead release it on PS3 due to the fact that the visual effects would not have achieved the desired effect on an older medium. Which is part of the reason this game has been hyped so much (the project was supposedly started in 2006), and why we have yet to see it.
As most of you already know this game is supposed to have extreme action elements and the programming for the fighting sequences is being handled by the department that did Kingdom Hearts. There has also been whispering that some 3rd party shooting will be implemented into the battle system as well. My guess is that they are first testing the marketing for their new programming regarding the "shooter" aspect of RPG style in The 3rd Birthday. (of which I have also done a hype article on, since that game is almost completed and it seems is in the marketing / sales part of development slated for release most likely late Q1 of 2011.) Below is a really crappy 33 second video of some leaked gameplay, apparantly they are keeping the lid shut tight on this one!
Beyond what I have mentioned above, Square-Enix has been very hush hush regarding the battle system, though numerous trailers detailing the plot have definitely been released on YouTube. One thing that I have particularly noticed, and something that I have been screaming for is a darker themed plot. Director Tetsuya Nomura wants to create CGI battles that have the level of EPIC that is found in FF VII: Advent Children. He has also said (another thing I love if you read my rant on why modern RPG's suck balls) is that there is going to be a real transversable world map. Goodbye to the linearity of FF XIII, thank god. If I had one more piece of garbage (which I would have to say is every FF game from X on to XIII) I was going to drop Square-Enix like a hot potato. Considering they completely ruined one of my favorite series (Star Ocean: The Last Hope) If you have played that game then you know what I am talking about with regard for the first 3 games in the series which were all masterpieces in my opinion.
I have also heard that the world map is going to be HUGE. How huge can only be speculated, but at least you will not be traveling on foot as vechicles will be included for your transportation needs. Expect Airships, Chocobos, Cars, etc. I think this is an important advancement to the game, it removes the linearity of XIII, which most people criticized (especially me, just read my review on XIII) I for one can't wait to have a world as big as Oblivion, that isn't so annoying because you have the ability to travel quickly. At least in my head that is how this game is going to turn out.
Apparantly the game is also going to be seamless with little loading, so I am guessing this is going to be a "must-install" title. Which I definitely have no problem with. The world map is apparantly going to have enemies that are on screen which you can avoid, and will combine that feature with a random battle sequence, so expect to be ambused, while avoiding enemies. This sounds like an interesting combination that I have never heard of before, so hopefully it turns out good, and not too annoying with fighting every 3 damn seconds. They are reimplementing "cutscenes on delivery" basically meaning that while walking around, your cutscenes are going to seamlessly cut in while you are traveling. Hopefully they do a better job of this, then they did with FF XIII. That game had WAY too many story breaks, to reveal non relevant aspects of the story to you, when you simply don't care. I myself literally skipped most of the scenes in that game. Hope was a baby, Snow was a douche bag on a never ending quest to save his girlfriend, and Lightning was basically Cloud as a woman, with no personality, and a mega bitch... Sorry, I got a little off topic there.
From what I have heard director Tetsuya Nomura say so far, the object is to make everything as realistic as possible. The main focus seems to be on the two main characters Noctis and Stella. The plotline is seemingly going to be a "Romeo and Juliet" situation from what I have seen and heard. A fun fact is that Noctis will apparantly have eye color changes which are significant to his personality. I am hoping for Limit Breaks people!!! One could only dare to dream the return of some materia like magic / summon system. If the summons resemble anything like FFX to their more current titles I may just have to jump off a cliff as those summons have ALL been useless.
Noctis is apparantly not going to be just another "Silent Protagonist" to which I must reply THANK GOD. The silent protagonist only works in games where you "choose your own adventure" and by that I mean you choose to be good or bad, and your ending in the game is reliant upon the choices you make. In my opinion there has not been a strong personality main character since FFVII with Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris, and their love triangle. So it is nice to see that they are pulling from previous unadulterated proven success, rather than try and create another concept game that is likely to fall flat on its face with regard to staying power. I have a good feeling that this game is going to be a cult hit that surpasses or is second only to FFVII. I would also like to point out that as far as other characters are concerned there has been little information out on them, but I am guessing the blonde one with the gun is going to be named Cid, just a hunch.
Plot wise Noctis is said to be heir (I have heard him called a King, and a Prince) to a dynasty which is the sole protector of the Crystals. Noctis will be able to utilize his powers from the crystal to teleport, use telekenesis, move at quick speeds, and utilize mayn different kinds of weaponry. (This is another plus to me, as it becomes boring that certain characters are only proficient with one kind of weapon, this intrigues me greatly) Noctis's character / plot inspiration have been directly derived from Japans modern day mafia. So again, expect a darker plot line, and expect some not so easily drawn lines between good and evil.
The other main character's name is Stella. From what I have seen so far Noctis and Stella are enemies, but it is my deeply held suspicion that this is going to be a Romeo and Juliet derivation where they eventually fall in love. Director Tetsuya Nomura has also mentioned that her character is going to be "the first of her kind" in any FF game. This makes me curious to think that perhaps she will be a lesbian, or a long lost sister, or that maybe there will be no Romeo and Juliet type story, I am of course just speculating. From what I have seen so far I am expecting the unexpected, so hopefully my thesis will be proven wrong. Below is the english translation of why I think this is going the route of Romeo and Juliet, along with the extended trailer. Obviously the visuals and music are great so far, hopefully they can be consistant with the rest of the game.
As of right now this game is exclusive to the PS3, but talks of porting to the 360 have been in play. I assume it will be released for PS3 solely, and ported later if the game sells well enough. Also according to Square-Enix the game has no 2011 date set, though I am fairly certain that it will be a Q1 2012 release. I don't know about you but I am extremely excited for this game, and if you find any new information please let me know!!! The basic plot synopsis from the video above is that Noctis and Stella are the only two capable of utilizing the crystals power, hence the runes that appear behind them when they are about to do battle. They are the only two people to have seen the "light' which makes me think they could somehow be related. Though there is apparantly a third Unknown person who may have this power as well. An official meeting regarding the development of the games will be held by Square-Enix on Jan 11, 2011 so there should be some more news regarding this topis soon.
If you are bored while you are reading this review, go ahead and listen to this song, as it is apparantly going to be the headlining song in the game (fast forward the first 20 seconds, as they are silent for whatever unholy reason):
Alright, I know it is way too early to be tackling this particular topic. But unfortunately I have seen one too many juicy screenshots, and trailers for this PSP game which currently doesn't have a release date. According to Square-Enix as of Sept 27th 2010, the game is 80-90% complete. So I have taken it upon myself to find out as much information as I possibly can, and try to sort out the lies from the truth. Here is the official trailer:
I am just happy that it has now been offically put onto Square's website. With development being so close to completion, I am hoping to see this game by March of 2011. This is probably not realistic, but I have been hearing rumors going through the grapevine about this game for years. Though I must admit most of them were just made up by me, because I loved the first two games on Playstation.
Before I dive headfirst into the new game, I will be giving you some information about the first two games, just incase you haven't heard anything about them. Keep in mind that these games were inspired from a book written in Japan which was later made into a movie also.
Also because I use the word Mitochondria several times in this article, I have decided to describe exactly what that is. It is a cellular organism that is usually described as "the power plant of the cell" because it generates ATP. I could go further into depth, but if you have had basic Biology classes you should know what that means. Furthermore Mitochondria is also responsible for cell signaling, cellular differentiation, cell death, as well as the control of the cell cycle and cell growth. Which explains why Aya Brea doesn't age much, and has superhuman abilities since her body has control over the actions of her own Mitochondria. In the 3rd birthday she will technically be 39 years old, making her a cougar!
Parasite Eve: Released on 9.10.1998 for Playstation. (This portion contains spoilers)
I remember when I first purchased the game. Not many people I knew at the time had heard anything about it, but it was the first game by Square that looked to be in direct competition with Resident Evil. The best way I can describe the first game is that it was Resident Evil with gun customization and RPG elements. The main character Aya Brea, who was 25 in the first game, awakened to her mitochondrial supremacy due to a kidney transplant she recieved from her twin sister when she was a child. While on a date in NYC she encounters a woman who is able to control mitochondria in other people, and causes them to spontaneously combust at Carnegie Hall. Having awakened to her powers due to the incident Aya now posesses a wide range of biological powers which allow her to heal herself, move more quickly, and light opponents on fire, as well as complete surrrender to her ultimate self which transforms her into a furious psychopath that can decimate a room in mere seconds.
Due also to the mitochondrial manipulation of her surroundings, insects and animals evolve spontaniously as well and become mindless murderers that are the puppets of Eve. The other recipient of Maya's (Aya's sister) organs Melissa is the oprah singer that Aya has come to see at Carnegie. Maya was thought to have died, but appears in the ex-game as an opponent which must be destroyed. Here is an example of Melissa (Eve once liberated from her human form) using living tissue from people she has murdered by melting their bodies with the energy released from their mitochondria, and using it to bring inanimate objects to life:
Parasite Eve II: Released on 09.12.2000 for Playstation (*more spoilers)
Eve from the first game has been destroyed. Aya now takes a government job cleaning up the remnants of the mitochondria influenced creatures that have apparantly started breeding and spreading in the years following the incident at NYC. She now responds to the threats of these creatures with hopes to destroy them. Unfortunately as people who abuse science always do, they created a shelter for these creatures and did various experiements on them, which lead to the start of these mitochondrian creatures taking human form as well in an attempt to forcibly evolve humanity. It was also one of the first games I had seen with a naughty shower scene depicted below.
Attempting to recreate Aya's dna, they create a daughter verson of her also named Eve, who eventually becomes an evil winged spawn of Satan that you must destroy to bring back to sanity. Depending on actions you take throughout the game you could achieve one of several endings. In the end Aya raises Eve as her sister since she had grown up quite fast due to the nature of rapid growth those exposed to the mitochondria dna. In the end the government covers up the existance of the insanity that happened due to the wake of the NYC incident in the first game, and you don't really learn to much about what has happened.
The 3rd Birthday: (* again spoilers)
So far I have only learned several interesting things about the game. One of those being that you can apparantly unlock a Lightning costume from FFXIII, here is some crappy fan art:
The action (see trailer above) in battle has now been evolved for Aya to use an ability which allows her mitochondria to take over another body temporairly which is useful for sucessful vantage points in battle, and I am guessing to exploit weaknesses. Looking at the trailer the bosses are going to be bigger, badder, and the action in the game is going to be more seamless / smooth with the ability to change bodies. As with the other games there will be a variety of weapons (handguns, assult rifles, etc) and it appear, this ability is called overdrive. She will retain her ability called Liberate from the first game as well, though it has not been mentioned if there is any transformation associated with this ability.
There is also going to be the addition of vechicles. (Tank, Helicopter) It is also interesting to see that the storyline is going to be kept alive, as this was one of the most interesting aspects about the game. Battle is not dissimilar to the previous games, but as you can imagine the first two games played similarly to the first Resident Evil games, with this one looking like it is going to play more like RE5 just with mitochondrial powers. The game also will be taking place back in NYC like the first game. Interestingly enough in battle Aya's clothes are apparantly ripped off as she takes damage. Its ok because she is sexy. Below is a shorter version of the same trailer in english. Hopefully that can answer a few of your questions that I couldn't.
I saw that apparantly Aya is in a wedding dress in the trailer, and it makes me wonder if she is going to marry Kyle Madigan who saved her life in the 2nd game:
A few screenshots for your pleasure:
And of course the CGI clips:
BTW: If you find any new information please let me know, as I am a die hard fan of the series!!!
Firstly I would like to say that I have not played any other Castlevania game in a very long time. Though I must say despite the few things wrong with this game, there is very much to be said about what has been done right.
Gabriel the main character is a tormented soul on a quest to bring back a dead loved one. To do so he needs to assemble three pieces of the God Mask. Each piece of the mask is guarded by a Lord of Shadow. These Lords of Shadow include the king of Lycans, the Queen of Vampires, and Death himself. Along with the destruction of these bastards, you receive relics which help you on your quest. The weaponry, magic, sub weapons, and upgrades are all very interesting to me, and in any other genre of game I have not found anything this interesting / refreshing as of late. Each chapter takes you across Europe, and across many stunning visuals in places that look so real, you wish you could schedule a vacation to the middle ages. Before each level there is a description of what Gabriel is going through, what he must do next, and most importantly WHY. Without ruining too much of the plot, I happily must say this is a game made for the older generation with its darker plot (bringing the dead back to life, a corrupt brotherhood of god following warriors, etc)
Weaponry / Relics:
Part of what makes this game so great is the innovative weapon the Combat Cross which is basically a retractable chain whip for which you will find many enhancements. You will have the ability to get a spiked chain whip, over the basic version in order to help saw down some of your obstacles. You will also get a hook shot type component where you will be able to do some difficult jumps, as well as a vampire stake hidden in the bottom of the Combat Cross, which also helps you navigate through the game.
You get both Light Magic, and Dark Magic. Light Magic, quite simply acts as a Life Siphon. It does not enhance the damage of your weapon, but heals a portion of your life for every hit of the whip you cause to someone else. Dark Magic basically just enhances the damage capability of the weapon.
The sub weapons you will come across are as follows:
Silver Daggers: Good for those pesky Lycans
Holy Water: No better way to destroy Vampires, or Undead creatures
Fairies: Good for confusing your opponents
Dark Crystal: Summons an evil naked she bitch whirlwind of destruction that kills / heavily damages
All of this in combination with the following relics:
Dark Gauntlet: Moves obsticles / causes heavy damage with uppercuts, tremors, and combos
Greaves: Run faster to jump bigger distances
Wings: Double Jump.
All of the relics and sub weapons can be combined with Magic to create a seemingly endless supply of battle tactics, and combo moves which are learned with experience, which makes the battle more fun. It also allows you to try many different ways to kill your opponents the best, which you will need on the higher difficulties / to beat challenges / and if you are just plain bored of the same hack and slash routine. There are also several different enemies you can ride (Huge Spider, Troll etc) to get past certain barricades.
There are several levels within a chapter, and each of these levels has some form of goal. Some are to just get from point a to point b, while others require a bit of strategy. Others still will have puzzles (not so annoying that you can't eventually figure out) and interesting mini games. All in all it mixes up mini games, battle, plot, and satisfying different schemes of environments, and obstacles. Some levels will require you to climb dizzying heights, while others focus on killing bosses. The great thing about the bosses is that you can't simply use the same tactics to kill them. They require button presses to strip off their armor, destroy their magic seals, throw their projectiles back at them, or just plain ride on their back into weak looking walls.
Art / Music:
Few games deserve recognition in this area, but the music fits the theme of the game. The landscapes look real, and don't replay themselves. You are going to be in the deepest darkest winter, eerie castles, lush forests, abstract demonized hell holes, deserts with sinking mud, mountainous regions, and many other interesting locales. You just have to see it to understand.
Everything I listed above, is what I consider to be the pro's of this game, following this point will be considered areas of improvement. Below is some of the music I enjoyed taken directly from the game.
You have no control over the camera angle, which I suspect is because of the beautiful landscapes, and the detail they possess. You either get linear and perfect camera angles, or non-linear and terrible camera angles with art this good, and while the camera can be a challenge at times, it always knows to focus on your enemies, but sometimes if you don't know what to look for you can easily get lost in a level and not know where to go.
Once you get the ability to double jump, and run I have noticed in earlier levels where you originally did not have this capability you can sometimes get stuck in parts of the floor near areas where you need to jump, or though the sky looks limitless, you are hitting your head on nothing, or though the areas with water look limitless, you can only go so far. They definitely take something away from the experience.
These little assholes steal all your upgrades, relics, and capability of using magic to play hide and seek with you. They anger me to no end. Luckily they only appear a few times.
If you can get around the sometimes frustrating camera, and glitches that occur with this game, and your desire to throw your controller through your flat screen when a Chupacabra steals your mother trucking Mojo, then I have to say this is a fantastic game with much to offer.
Gameplay: 8 (several glitches)
Music: 9 (sometimes gets repetitive)
Visuals: 9 (looks kind of choppy with an HDMI cable)
Combat: 10 (excellent variety, multiple difficulties, challenges, and bosses await you)
Story: 9 (dark adult themed religious morality driven plot line)
All in all I would have to give it an 8.5 / 10. It is a solid game with a couple of problems. I wish it had more interactivity though, like the kind found in inFamous (you could choose your moral compass) or some form of online play. (the chess game would be fun) or perhaps a duel system, or any upgrades to the game of any kind (costumes) on PSN, which is where I am forcibly removing a half point from the above scoring structure. Below is a video of one of the final battle.
I hope you enjoy it, and if you were on the fence let me know why and perhaps I can help you make up your mind one way or the other based on what you are looking for in a game / your perceptions of what you think it is. Because there are definitely lots of cliffsides to climb, many puzzles to solve, many bosses to fight, many buttons to mash, and many battles / bosses to destroy which all have weaknesses, and require tact, and strategy (unless you are playing on easy, or are opting out of the puzzles, which you very well can do, but if you are a trophy collector like me, then you will be horrified to find the difficulty level get exponentially harder, and the challenges become progressively more hair pullingly annoying. At least you can always reload from your last checkpoint which will save you hours)