11:16 AM on 04.30.2015
Can you believe it? Video games aren't always happy. As great as they can be, the industry surrounding them is a big hunk of doody (that'd be an interesting direction for Activision to take) a lot of the time. Hell, even the community can be particularly toxic and, in the age of The Internet, it's sometimes very hard to escape when we just wanna tweet at or IM our friends/family or maybe watch some hilarious John Oliver skits on YouTube.
I once made a quirky "unboxing" video of Battlefield: Bad Company around when that released and I had comment after comment peeved at the audacity of someone being unfunny. I'm very sure your time isn't so precious that wasting just a few short minutes of it is worth that very nasty comment.
In these 7-8 years, things haven't changed at all. If anything, it's gotten worse. Ugh.
We all love Donut Drake. But, if he were real, imagine the struggle.
I no longer believe this is a natural transitional phase. The Internet simply gives far too many opportunities for assholes to be assholes. Until we have the perfect set of tools in place to avoid as much as of this terrible behavior as possible, the Internet will continue being a double-edged sword.
Whenever that day comes, it'll probably be a while. This is why it'll do you a lot of good to keep positive, you idiot. Here's a few things to remind you how this industry can be as often awesome as it is woeful, from your friendly neighborhood husbando strongman (I really should take down that awkward picture of me in the top right)
The Butthole Surfers were once in a video game
Recently, I was reminded of this and I couldn't help but smile. A rush of nostalgia swept over me and I had to dig deeper. So, much of my time spent listening to music these past couple weeks has been spent listening to their Independent Worm Saloon and Electriclarryland albums. Now aren't those just fantastic album titles?
They're sort of punk/post-rock (whatever that means), though not always. They can do very soft traditional rock and as well as some other odd experimental nonsense. They aren't one-trick ponies. I do tend to fall in love with bands that have a clear groove, but who aren't afraid to try something new every now and again. Even if it's just to flex their ability as musicians.
The original studio cut, naturally, is considerably better.
Your body must be ready for My Brother's Wife.
Blizzard eventually fixed Diablo 3 and it's now a really fine game
While launch-day woes are, sadly, now almost commonplace amongst online-centric titles, it's probably safe to say that nothing has been quite as bad as what happened with either Diablo 3 or SimCity. Not only were there awful connection issues, but their online-only requirements were completely arbitrary and did much more harm to loyal consumers than strongarmed justice to those scurvy pirates.
EA took off the online-only requirements for SimCity some time ago, but SimCity has remained (from what I hear) a very mediocre experience. What did Blizzard do, though? They removed the Auction House that was crippling the very notion of the game's genre, they provided offline play through the very awesome console ports, and, to top it all off, they also have been carefully patching in smaller fixes and new content on a regular basic. To this day, new stuff is being added and that's pretty swell.
Should they provide offline play for PC players? Yes. Seriously. But, to say that Blizzard hasn't been trying would be plain untrue. Over this past year or so, Blizzard has restored a large handful of my faith in AAA gaming and I really hope we see more actions like these being taken by publishers/developers in the coming months/years. Their upcoming titles don't look too shabby either.
Jim Sterling is on the case
Oh no! Steam's run amuck! There is so much shit to trudge through on a daily basis! Where's all the good games? What the hell is this?! There's no executable file! WHERE'S MY MONEY BACK?! What ever will we do?!
What little curation Steam's Greenlight and Early Access pages have gotten is likely thanks to our former D-toid contributor Jim Fucking Sterling Son. He's still going at it with his (now completely indie) Jimquisition series, but lately he's found a new calling in his YouTube LP's. These videos have led to many opening their eyes to not only Steam's lackluster services but the potential for indie game developers to be just as bad as (if not worse than) some in the AAA market.
The pitty parties and grudges these developers can hold never cease to amaze me. That they can so willfully exploit the good graces of the indie community pisses me off. That they remain ignorant of the basics of game design and do little outside purchasing assets to use in their cobbled together messes to sell for upwards for 10-20 dollars is astounding.
However, that we have a rather large (heh) saving grace within such a cesspool is at least slightly reassuring.
I had to stop typing to watch this wonderful stage play yet again.
If Valve ever get their head out of their asses in regards to Greenlight and Early Access, you'll know who to thank. Jim rightly deserves a pully for all the hard work he's done to make sure the games industry is just a little bit less crappy.
The Zelda Rap
I couldn't have done any better myself.
We're in a time where dreadfully imperfect and/or underdog games can be a success
Now, this is the part of the Internet that makes me very very happy.
Back when, if a game wasn't being commercialized, it needed good reviews. If it wasn't getting good reviews, then you'd need all the luck you could get if you wanted your hard work to pay off. This was the sad truth of game development once upon a time and without easy access to the world at large or at least some sort of magical video distrubution network, there was no way to tell if it was best to ignore the bad press and take the plunge. Whatever gems you may have found were mostly up to chance and likely still so many gems lay dead in generations past.
These days? The people love Deadly Premonition, despite it's initially lackluster reviews. Indie releases can easily sell in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. Hell, Minecraft, a game (that was far from finished, mind you) that gained it's popularity through literally nothing but word of mouth and YouTube, has gone on to be one of the most successful video games of all time! Nevermind all that, it's just now so much easier to find games to look forward to and then enjoy that would have otherwise drifted way under your radar.
And it's all thanks to the Internet and digital distrubution.
This shit here is even getting a movie!
I would have never fallen so deeply in love with horror games. Games that focused on experimentation or pure storytelling, I would have scoffed at. And, most of all to me, considering their niche appeal, I don't know if I would have ever picked up a Shin Megami Tensei game had one of my e-friends never decided to play Persona 4's Like A Dream Come True over our online game of Left 4 Dead (I used to have a video of this moment up on YT, but I guess I deleted it) and now it's probably my favorite franchise of games.
Digital distrubution, specifically, doing away with the middleman has opened up all sorts of wonderful doors for video games and the industry wouldn't be anywhere near as exciting without it. I do love my physical releases, but I can't ignore all the good the Internet and digital releases have done for gaming as a whole.
Check this out...
The right commentator can make even the shittiest of games entertaining
If you've been around Destructoid here or there for some time, you'll probably know I'm a huge fan of Cr1TiKaL. To describe him in as concisely of a way as possible, he has the mind of a scholar but the mouth of a sailor (and a heart of pure gold). Tasteful buzzwords like 'nipples', 'asscheeks', and 'anus' sprinkled amongst such colorful commentary as:
"Is this some type of ancient bigfoot mummifaction ritual... or are these two bigfeet just warming up for an assing competition?"
"If getting attacked by trees made your nipples cold, my nipples would have achieved absolute zero."
"Of course I don't make it over when I really need to, so now I have to watch this cat get clobbered by the forbidden anus of a sunken ship again."
"Where did he go? How did he escape if he was unconcious? What was he doing up here? So many questions, but there is only one logical answer: The airvents through the party and, just then, he was receiving a blowjob from the airvents as a souvenier."
And delivered in the manner they're delivered in fills me with such profound joy.
As easy as it is to assume the contrary, YouTube LP's aren't all panderish hoots and hollers. If Cr1TiKaL isn't your style, I've also been recently enjoying Cox and Credor's Outlast playthrough and especially Retsuparue's Darkseed 2 post-commentary. All worth a laugh or two in case you're in the mood for settling into an afternoon of YouTube marathoning.
Clefable with pancakes
Might be the cuddliest thing you see all week.
Miracle Of Sound
When I haven't been listening to The Butthole Surfers, I've been listening to Miracle Of Sound. He's been around for quite some time and he's one hell of a musician. He's also a huge nerd like us all here, so most of his music pertains to video games. I don't always gel with his lyrics or vocals, but he's amazingly talented nonetheless. Tackling a plethora of genres and with solid results, sometimes even outdoing a game's original soundtrack.
Speaking of which, A Dog's Life, I love everything about. I first listened to it outside the context of the above video via Spotify and even then I knew it had to have been about The Wolf Among Us. It's a fittingly grim, synth-centric track that really makes me wanna replay the game despite my ho-hum feelings on the actual playing of it.
One of his more interesting tracks, to be sure.
Unrelated to video games, he recently released a really fucking awesome heavy metal album that you should definitely give a listen if you're into that sort of thing.
Butt jiggle physics
There is seriously not enough of this.
The latest Mario Kart 8 DLC turned out splendidly
3 new characters, 4 new vehicles, and a whopping 8 tracks together in one pack for just 8 dollars? Why not round it up to 10? Charge 15-20 like everyone else? Exclude DLC from the season pass? Wait WHAT?! 200cc difficultly across all cups... FOR FREE?! What do you think you are DOING Nintendo?! Think of all the EA, WB, Capcom, Activision, and Ubsoft execs that would have literally killed for DLC this good but would have valued so much higher! No wonder the Wii U is so deep in the hole!
Nintendo may be behind the times a bit, but is that so bad when you consider what is now generally "with it"? Fuck no. It's depressing to say, but I love that I can actually count on Nintendo to give almost zero fucks about pre-orders (for better or for worse), to provide me with a working game at launch, and to put out post-launch content that entices rather than gouges or exploits. They haven't yet taken the piss and I really hope that trend continues. Continues to provide another example of DLC done right. Companies like Nintendo, CD Projekt Red, Bethesda, and Rockstar (at least when it comes to single player) know what's up.
From personal experience thus far, I really love Super Bell Subway. Straightforward though multi-layered tracks are typically amongst my favorites (my favorite of the previous DLC pack was easily the Excitebike track). I also don't remember Ribbon Road being so awesome! Guess because I never realized drifting was an essential strategy in Mario Kart until I got MK7 (doh!). And the music that plays after the finish line on the Animal Crossing track? So lovely. So, so lovely. The music, in general, they have put so much work into. They went above and beyond with these DLC's.
It's now very hard to pick anyone but Isabelle. I have her riding on Dry Bowser's bike with humongous tires and it's just adorable.
On the horizon...
What at first looked tremendously dull now seems so incredible to me. Fallout + Arkham + vehicular combat? I want it THIS much!
I absolutely love the Rockstar Developer Diary approach to gameplay showcases. It shows confidence in the company's work and gives me a good idea of what the experience will be like without seeking alternative sources of information. Catchy, minute-long, cinematic montages are cool and all, but that tells me so little about the actual game part of your fucking video game. Sequel or not, I wanna see some goddamn gameplay!
SMT x Fire Emblem (Illusory Relevations #FE)
HOLY SHIT IT'S ALIVE! It's back with a new stupid working title that I hope will be changed considerably before it's localization, but YEAH WOO IT'S ALIVE!
Like many have said, it is not at all what I was expecting from this "SMT x Fire Emblem" concept. I expected something much darker. Something more in-line with SMT proper than Persona. Actually, Persona isn't even this poppy. This trailer came straight out of left field and I didn't even think it could possibly be this "SMT x Fire Emblem" until I saw the title splash.
With that said, it does still look absolutely gorgeous and I thoroughly dig the music. To that, perhaps looks can be deceiving. Maybe they handpicked the lighter elements of the game to draw in more of the casual crowd. Who knows? I just wanna try it for myself already! Nevermind Routine, SOMA, or Narcosis, this has been the true test of patience!
Oh hey! Speaking of which, almost 2 years ago, this video released showing off indie horror title Routine and it got me monumentally excited!
Since then, we've heard so little about it and it's making me paranoid. Not to say the developers haven't been keeping up with the updates as their last one was as recent as last month, but that last one was not until about 6-7 months of complete silence. For a game that looks as good as this, that is so painful! Same goes for the aforementioned Narcosis and SOMA, two other excellent-looking indie horror titles that we hear so little about and so slowly.
That's one of the advantages of the indie scene, I suppose. That you can take as much as time as you need to make sure your group's vision is met. Surprisingly, these games don't seem to have lost much relevance since their debuts, so I guess they really know how to get people staying interested with what little they do eventually show.
Man, I don't even know if my computer will be up for the task. I have the worst luck with PC gaming, even with my "gaming" notebook that released just a few short years ago. At least SOMA will supposedly have a PS4 port.
Zelda Wii U
The promise of a new 3D Zelda, alone, is enough to warrant hype from me. Nintendo seems to have learned from it's mistakes with Skyward Sword and it's resounding successes with A Link Between Worlds and is, ideally, about to grace us with the best Zelda to date! All that could assure my purhcase any further would be talks of Midna as a returning companion character.
Heck, I think a mere cameo or easter egg would be enough for me.
While what little direct footage we've seen of the upcoming Zelda title looks incredibly rough and almost completely void of anything at all interesting, I trust Nintendo to iron all of that out in time for a true reveal and it will be amazing.
It's been too long since I've last watched this trailer. I'm tearing up with joy just hearing those first few seconds of music! IT'S GOING TO BE SO BEAUTIFUL! ;A;
I probably talk too much about Shin Megami Tensei. Namely, Persona. But, I can't help it. They're such powerful games in both story and gameplay. I hadn't even scratched the surface of Persona 4 and my hype for it was unreal. I was floored by it's quality and since then I have been completely entranced by much of the franchise otherwise. They have the perfect balance of story and gameplay, with the mechanics around said story and gameplay being tremendously solid. Witnessing the new stories that Persona 5 will provide as well as getting a feel for how it evolves the gameplay will be a defining moment for me as a gamer.
I'm trying to stay realstic. Thing is, I can't always tell if I'm doing just that or not. That's how much Persona has meant to me. If Persona 3 and 4 and even Catherine (to an extent) are anything to go by, I'm going to be in heaven once this baby releases. I sincerely hope it meets my expectations.
So, how is it that you keep positive? Play your favorite games? Plug your ears, shut your eyes, scream, and pretend everything is just fine? Clobber yourself with a blunt object until the bad men stop? What's are some good things you'd like to share with me? It can be anything!
8:00 PM on 04.23.2015
TheDustinThomas' recent flea market finds inspired me to do some more finding of my own. Though, my only real secret is my local anitque gaming shop. I've made no "secret" of that. I average a good load of stuff everytime I visit as I hold with me a very unstrict shopping ruleset:
1.) Is it cool? Buy it.
2.) Is it great? Buy it.
3.) Anyone have a problem with that? Buy them something nice.
If I want it and it's not outlandish in price, I may just get it. I mean pretty much fucking anything I'll potentially get.
A 3-year old Street Fighter novelty drink? Why, who could pass up the chance?!
I've also made no secret of my love of Shin Megami Tensei, so I'm very happy to have snatched up a few things related to the franchise recently. Before a short while ago, I only ever owned the LE of SMTIV, but now... I have more. More is always awesome. Unless you're talking about something awful like sneezes or spiders.
Above are some soundtracks. The two Persona ones are specialities as they're actually the "Reincarnation" albums which remixed, extended, and/or reworked various tracks from Persona 3 and 4. Will we see the same for Persona 5? We can only hope. God, I hope.
Also, like the original soundtracks, they're very veeeeeeery good.
Gotta say, Boo might be my new favorite plushie. He's always been one of my favorite Mario baddies, next to Dry Bones and Shy Guy. All of them likely very misunderstood characters. Like me, man. Dry Bones has already died once and is just trying to live as best as you can as bones without muscle, Shy Guy has let his anxieties get the best of him, and Boo just likes to kid around.
Mario's just never in the mood. He's got some fresh cake to get.
Now we're getting into the especially great stuff.
The art was a piece I originally bought off an artist at last year's Alamo City Comic-Con. In retrospect, they were sort of impulse buys considering their cheap price (10-20 bucks, depending on the size), but my mum brought up the idea of framing them. Never would I have thought to do that, but if I was going to frame any of them it was definitely going to be the Zelda one.
And it came out pretty amazing! A weathered gold frame with regal red matting, it fits the piece perfectly! I couldn't have asked for a better job.
I'll probably commission a real good Midna piece at this upcoming Comic-Con. Dark blue frame. Oh, that would be sweet.
Now we come to the crux of this post: A LOT of PSP stuff I got today. Also, El Shaddai and Murdered: Soul Suspect. Been meaning to get both of those for some time.
Ever since realizing that I was a real stickler for physical copies of my favorite games (sometimes on multiple platforms) and that the PSN's PSP selection just wasn't always going to cut it, I've been wanting to purchase an actual PSP. I did used to own one during it's first couple or so years, but even then I barely played it. I have fond memories of some early PSP shooter that I can't remember the name of and Midnight Club 3, but that's about it. Now, we're about to forge some new fond memories!
I've already found myself playing several rounds of Crazy Taxi. Couldn't help it! It's been far too long since I've played that gem. It's got some sound sync issues with the voice overs and the framerate is only a somewhat smooth 30-45fps as opposed to the original's 60, but it's all pretty much there. Such a great, great game.
In case you can't see the picture well:
Dead Head Fred - A humorous-looking platformer, possibly in the same vein as MediEvil. Also, if it's anything like Right Said Fred, it's going to be at least pretty solid.
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite - I don't care if I don't like Monster Hunter (haven't given it enough of a chance), this game is a classic and I'm going to at least try it.
Star Wars: Battlefront II - I was hearing some good things about the PSP ports of Battlefront, so I plunged. New Battlefront hype also helped.
Practical Intelligence Quotient 2 - ... yeah. I have no idea either. It did look interesting, though. Seems like a puzzle game.
Crazi Taxi: Fare Wars - I used to love the PS2 and arcade releases so goddamn much so this was a no-brainer.
Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition - I remember this being a surprisingly excellent port. Actually sort of amazing they fit such a content-packed, 3D experience onto an UMD.
Also, I swear I'm done with amiibos.
Dirty barnacles. You are foul, Nintendo. Foul.
Also, here's some other pictures I took today:
My neighborhood as vented through Silent Hill.
A frog looking for a very big penis.
7:37 AM on 04.20.2015
For some cocking reason, during my wee lad stages, JRPG's never grabbed me like the many shooters, racers, and platformers that made up most of my gaming time. I don't remember being particularly picky as even splassics like Wizard Of Oz for the SNES got plenty of attention from me and I even regularly played Vegas Stakes, which was nothing but virtual gambling.
I was fucking 8. Loving slots and roulette. Whatever! Yet, games like Final Fantasy, Legend of Dragoon, or Chrono Trigger, I barely even knew of. Well, I did play a tremendous amount of Pokemon, but who didn't? All those others, I completely ignored.
During the PS2 era, despite the many classics of said era and my tastes maturing, this only changed ever so slightly. I played hours and hours of Final Fantasy X, Star Ocean: TTEOT, and Kingdom Hearts, but I never finished them. I had the free time and persistance to do so, but they were always dropped in favor of games of similar length, such as GTA: San Andreas, that I happened to fall more in line with.
These days, on the other hand, there aren't many games I'll flat out refuse to try and the Internet has proved to be paramount in that newfound passion for video gaming. I've found love in the survival horror genre, Flower is one of my favorite games of all time, I actually sort of dig Dear Esther, and I've been dabbling in just about any JRPG I can get my hands on.
Here's the kicker: I still can't finish a single one.
With an exception...
It's been a while since I've felt truly passionate about what I'm writing about. Even my music blogs can sometimes be more trouble than they're worth, for as much as I may absolutely love video game music and music in general. But, this? Ever since delving into Persona 4: Golden around the time it released, I have been absorbing myself in the universe of Shin Megami Tensei and have been, for the most part, consistently enthralled. It might very well now be my favorite franchise of games, so I've been dying to give it some critical attention at length.
Yes. Shin Megami Tensei, whether it be mainline or it's many (and I do mean many) spinoffs, has remained almost literally the only JRPG franchise that has kept me engaged for the long haul since becoming an adult. There's always something about any other that makes me groan and, subsequently, quit. It's not even that SMT is always amazing. It most definitely is not. ATLUS just seems to know not to dick around when you're crafting an experience that isn't going to end anytime soon.
As I type this, SMT: Strange Journey is stuck in my 3DS on Sleep Mode, with nearly 20 happy hours of play put into it and I still cannot wait to see what's just around the next bend. Yet, most JRPG's struggle to hold my interest for even 2 or 3 hours. Weird, no?
Allow me to make a few points.
You see that world before you? Looks pretty snazzy, don't it? Too bad I never got to really explore it before I completely lost my patience with what is supposedly one of the greatest JRPG's of the last generation, Ni No Kuni.
Go on and say I'm crazy, but I was just not having what Ni No Kuni was having. Sure, it has excellent gameplay, great ideas, and beautiful visuals/art, but even ignoring it's awfully-presented story brimming with incredibly annoying characters (Drippy being the one I actually enjoyed) it's got some reprehensible issues with it's pacing and tutorials.
You see that, now? You will know this game's battle system and world mechanics like the back of your hand before you're through just dipping your feet because this game will refuse to shut up with some of the most patronizing and intrusive tutorials I've ever had to slug through. If I had a brick for every time I said "Yeah, I get it." or "Wow, fuck off already.", given some hired help and a little glue, I'd be able to construct an entire apartment complex.
I'm am serious. Not 3-25 seconds (I counted) of gameplay outside combat before hitting your first town (which can take a while) goes by without either banal dialogue or a thoroughly useless tutorial propping up. Even when I had hit that first town, I was still trying to be convinced that this mother/son story was a real tear-jerker when, so early into the game, there is no real reason for me to care about any of it. The mother had all of 5 minutes (if that) of screentime before she died and I'm supposed to feel sorry for this protagonist who I've also barely gotten to know.
To say that it was overplayed would be an understatement.
Essentially, what the story in the beginning amounted to was "A mother has died, which is an inherent fictional tragedy. Look! Those are tears he is crying. That is also sad, because they are tears and he's just a kid. Ahhh. This is such a powerful story". You know who else writes like that?
I didn't feel as if I was playing a game, moreso doing homework while momentarily getting distracted by something far more fun and interesting.
Who dies early in SMT? Fodder for a death count. Unknown soldiers. And they don't beat you over the head with it either. These deaths add early tension and intrigue, not EMOSHUN.
When you are made to care about someone's death, it's fucking tragic. For anyone who's gone down the Chaos path in SMTIV, you know exactly what I mean. It's heavy. It's heartbreaking. Even if you weren't that big a fan of this particular character, there is something to be said in the gruesome way that they die and especially considering all you had been through with them.
Not even Persona is at all laden with tutorials. Just like SMT proper, they hand you the basics in a concise manner and then leave the rest to you. Hell, your initial fights in Persona offer no tutorials at all! You know why? There's not exactly a whole lot left to the imagination when your only options are a single attack, no magic, no ability to escape, and a single target.
If this were Ni No Kuni, you can bet your sweet bippy that these fights would make damn sure that you understood that whatever menu selection was highlighted was what was going to shift into a new menu when you pressed 'X', that "Attack" was where your "attacks" were, etc. They'd probably even make sure you remembered what the function for moving around your character outside combat was so that you could smoothly transition into another series of tutorials in the next fight.
This is what's called respecting the player's intelligence. If I feel as if I'm being treated like an idiot, simply put, I'm not gonna be on good terms with either the game or it's developers. Many other games are the victim of terrible tutorials, but at least those end much quicker than Ni No Kuni's and while Ni No Kuni might be more mechanically complicated than a lot of games, there are intuitive ways of teaching a player your game, no matter how complicated, without burdening them with text.
You're artists, not manufacturers. Get creative.
You might've noticed that I haven't once complained about the very idea of focusing on a game's story rather than it's gameplay. That seems to be a common misconception whenever I make complaints not just about Ni No Kuni, but any game of it's kind. No. That isn't my problem. Remember that I said I actually liked Dear Esther (despite it's pretension)? My focus simply lies in how a game's story and gameplay are presented to me.
For it's first several hours, Persona 4 is mostly story. However, story and gameplay are delivered with a clear consistency, there are little tutorials, there is build-up rather than senseless/anxious prodding of your humanity, and complimenting all that is a general quality that is incredibly solid.
Ni No Kuni lacks all of that. All the more painful is that it would be just fine, juvenile storytelling aside, had the developers known not to take the piss out of their own ideas.
A little more talk and a lot less action
This isn't actually something I have a big issue with (now), but it has been something I've found myself occasionally irking over since Pokemon Black/White and how SMT handles it is simply preferable.
You see, in Pokemon Black/White, like in every substantial Pokemon entry, there is a "Team" antagonist. A group of jerks that are out to do jerk things in Poke'Land. Here, they are called "Team Plasma". For some time, they are made out to be basically the Pokemon world's answer to PETA. However, it is later revealed that their push for Poke'quality was but a front for tricking the not-jerks into releasing their Pokemon in an attempt to thin out potential resistance.
A masterful plot, to be sure! But, no matter their ulterior motives, this canonical concern over Pokemon "enslavement" got me thinking that, ya know... yeah. Pokemon is essentially cockfighting. All those years spent playfully butting into other trainers and Pokemon for friends, XP, and glory was given new perspective and, for a long while, it made me feel very guilty for wanting to continue with the franchise.
I know it's sounds stupid. I get it. "It's just a game". That would be reasonable, had Team Plasma never been a thing. I can continue pretending what I'm doing in a game is all on the up and up and loosely justifiable so long as said game doesn't then try to tell me that maybe what I'm doing is, realistically, pretty terrible.
At that point, fantasy and reality collide in the most unpleasant of ways. While an interesting idea and an adorable satire on the radical side of PETA, Team Plasma doesn't lend well to the universe of Pokemon. In fact, it blows it wide open.
Thankfully, after a little while, I've gotten over it and will happily play even Black or White to it's conclusion. Still, for these past few years, I haven't been able to play Pokemon with as purely innocent of a mind as I was once able to.
In SMT proper, as well as in Persona 1 and 2, you aquire demons/personas by conversing with them. Consolidating them according to their personal tastes or morals will usually start things off, though sometimes they will extend a helping hand before you even have a chance to select "Talk". Typically, that's not the case as you usually must negotiate after the aforementioned conversation in order to officially win their favor. This could mean paying them, granting them an item from your inventory, letting them pummel you right quick, etc.
Assuming it all goes well, they will then usually end up your allies from there on out.
I use words like "usually" quite a lot here because the system is very unpredictable. Demons/personas may just take what they get from you and leave, they may refuse to talk to you, their stances aren't even always the same. You only have vague hints to work off of, such as their visual attire, how they answer to previous questions, the manner in which they speak, their fighting styles, etc. Though, as I've said, this sometimes isn't enough.
While this unpredictability can occasionally prove annoying given the level of challenge SMT provides and the necessity of aquiring as many allies as possible, most of the time it's very satisfying and crafts a believable world where otherwordly and intelligent creatures live and fight alongside or against humans. Whereas Pokemon, by comparison, is, ironically, far more brutal and contrived.
It makes plunging the world into total chaos, destroying it entirely, instilling God's law, somewhere in-between, etc. with a clear concious a whole lot easier.
Skill over outside reliance
In stark contrast to Ni No Kuni, Rogue Galaxy was an equally as vibrant experience that I was finding myself very much enjoying from the onset. Aspects lovingly reminescent of the original Star Wars trilogy and action-RPG concepts that were actually somewhat creative rather than derivative of many other JRPG's, there was something immediately likeable about the whole thing.
Collecting and crafting new equipment was also insanely addictive, your allies were fun and humerous (despite some dodgy voice acting here or there), there were multiple playable characters almost from the get-go, the combat had as much flair as it did fun... there were so many things to love about the game.
Until I realized exactly why it was I was finding the combat so "satisfying".
Considering how cheap these things are, the game seems balanced not around the combat, but around your ability to grind as many potions as possible.
Once I began to feel as if the game was becoming a little too difficult, I began to reevaluate my strategies around blocking more rather than using it as an afterthought. This gave me a chance to observe just how the AI was doing without my assistance and, wow, they're fucking idiots.
"THIS is why I'm loosing potions and revives so quickly?!", I asked myself. I've seen the AI literally stand perfectly still for seconds, doing nothing, leaving themselves open for a critical blow. Given the real-time aspect of the combat and the inability to pause and closely observe the battlefield (camera controls are switched off while paused), there is no intuitive way of making sure your allies are making use of their most basic functions like they should be.
You can change characters at almost any time, yes, but this will only alleviate so much frustration. The "Team Commands" also don't do a terrible amount. "Stand Back" is telling them to do nothing while clumsily running away and only sometimes blocking, "All-Out" will have them using potions and revives automatically (they at least do that pretty well), "Focus on the same target" I swear doesn't even fucking work, etc.
The last boss I fought was the final straw. He has a far-reaching insta-kill attack which, naturally, requires having a few revives on hand. You can't be playing all 3 party members at the same time, so somebody is likely going to die and that somebody might very well be the main protagonist who is the only person on the team that has the tools required to allow damage from other teammates to be done to the boss.
Smart. Really smart.
In SMT, items are often used as last-minute resorts. In combat, if you have the right team, you'll hardly ever need to use them except for those rare instances. Not only that, but using potions on a consistent basis will require a lot of money. Money better spent on the Compedium, gear, upgrades, etc.
There are attributes that will negate some attacks completely, send damage back, convert the damage into health, or simply resist certain attacks. You can also have your own insta-kill attacks, as ineffective as they may often be. All the while, the games are still very challenging and you will only make it out alive if you know exactly what it is you are doing even at times you are convinced you absolutely "got it".
Early on, the games may even outright hand you plenty of healing items or even a healer demon/persona. Before long, observant players will have it become clear that healing attributes are far more useful than simple potions and that's when you start experimenting with Fusion. You may even want to keep some demons/personas in your inventory for the sole purpose of using their skills outside combat (which is a thing you can totally do) to heal your party.
Building an A-Team of perfect warriors for every occasion or grinding items. Which sounds more fun to you?
I'm not going to pretend that items are completely useless in SMT or that they aren't sometimes just about required, but at least 95% of the time it all comes down to healers and how efficient you are at maxing out your parties. That, to me, is significantly more satisfying and actually makes me feel as if I'm accomplishing something rather than letting an item so easily obtained do all the work for me.
In regards to SMT's own "Team Commands", many seem to think Persona 3 before Portable was, at times, almost unplayable because the AI was inable to follow up on said commands.
If I'm being frank, I don't think these people knew how to use them all that well because in my 50+ hours of Persona 3: FES (granted, this is only maybe halfway through), I only had Yukari make a single mistake in healing me rather than a weakened teammate. Could higher difficulties (I was on Normal) exaccerbate this minor issue? I don't doubt it, but I, personally, never found them to be detrimental in the slightest. Each command drastically changed each member's strategy and, 99% of the time, they did what I expected of them. Whether it was guarding, buffs/debuffs, exploiting weaknesses, whatever.
But, hey, there is always Portable.
Now, this one? This one hurts. It really hurts. But, I gotta say... I had to quit Final Fantasy IX.
It wasn't because it was bad. Lord, no. For it's first 15-20 hours, it was sheer quality. The charming characters, the gorgeous settings, the great music, the story, the solid combat... I was so convinced that I was going to finally finish a Final Fantasy game, be able to talk about it with fellow fans, and maybe even read our Ben Davis' Experience Points piece on it.
Final Fantasy IX was shaping up to be one of the greatest games I had ever played, but I, sadly, just couldn't take the immense amount of grinding required to experience the game's best aspects.
Whereas Rogue Galaxy relied on potions to get you through even some run of the mill fights, Final Fantasy IX simply makes it all too easy for that to become how you get yourself through fights despite it's lack of challenge.
At the point that I was at, in a very short amount of time, I am able to casually obtain plenty of "gil". Enough gil, in fact, to suit up with the latest gear, some extra niceties, as well as a whopping 99 potions and still have maybe 10,000-20,000 gil leftover. For the uninitiated, that is a lot. I had way more gil than I knew what to do with and my enemies stood no chance against both my supply of potions and my various healing spells.
To make matters worse, combat in Final Fantasy IX is simplified to a fault. Besides gratuitous healing outside combat, my strategy was the same attack for every character and for just about every fight. Even most boss fights had a certain air of predictability to them. "Instead of using this attack with this character at all times, I'll have to occasionally use this one." like it was no big deal.
Lack of difficulty and monotony do not go well hand in hand. I can play a game for it's artistry or story, but not when it's 50-100+ hours long. After some time, the actual act of playing can quickly become a burden when I'm not getting any meaningful feedback from the game. Pointless battles, long treks on-foot, etc.
If I could skip the gameplay of Final Fantasy IX, I most definitely would.
Boss fights in SMT? Hollllyyyyyy shit. You better believe they matter.
SMTIV, in particular, has some of the most legitimately frightening or intimidating boss fights I've ever witnessed. Merkabah, Lilith, Lucifer, Pluto, Asmodeus, etc. and even if you are fully-prepared with tons of items, the best demons, and the best skills, things will only go so easy as long as you have an exact strategy in mind and even then you can be surprised.
Personally, playing for stats and memorizing the objective best party to use for every fight is no fun. So, I usually get members that I'm presuming I'll need and then I pick out who I happen to be feeling that playthrough. So, I'm only making it even more challenging for myself. Heh.
"I want that one. I like him."
I also just have a really terrible memory. So that helps.
While there might be some grinding to do in these games, it never gets old because of it's perfect level of challenge. It may look easy, it may even feel easy, but just wait until you either make just a single mistake or are thrown just one curveball. Momentum is suddenly in the enemy's court and you have to think fast.
The battles themselves also stay interesting as exploiting an enemy's weakness is of the utmost importance. The exact fashion in how these systems play out varies from game to game, but, at their core, it remains the same: Know what attacks work best for which enemy. Don't do that and fights will either last much much longer (wasting HP, MP, items, and lots of time) or you'll die very quickly. Demons/personas aren't Pokemon where their attributes are often front and center. Just because an enemy can fly, doesn't mean it's weak against "zio" attacks. Though some do have obvious weaknesses, most do not.
Not only are you always on your feet, but your strategies must differ from fight to fight. All of this accomplished with very simple mechanics rather than branching rulesets, weird deviations, or randomness (... not that there's anything wrong with that).
SMT does so much with so little and that's something I've always appreciated in any medium. Perfectionists have a lot on their plate if they want to be the very best you can possibly be at these games, all the while casuals have both strict rules yet plenty of freedom in how they can act within said rules.
God, I love this franchise.
I didn't think this blog would be quite this long, but there it is. Words, man.
I still have plenty more JRPG's to try. Final Fantasy XII has been fairly impressive (awkward acting aside), but I've only played a few hours. Wild Arms 4 is also in my collection and that should prove interesting as people seem pretty polarized about the changes that came from the staples of 1-3. I should also give Tales of Xillia a second try.
Oh and I've been meaning to play Valkyria Chronicles for a loooooooooooong time. I bet that's at least decent. Maybe even worth a complete run. And Xenoblade! That was pretty good. But, again, I only did get in a few hours. Stuff like Xenoblade and Final Fantasy XII were games I was playing back when I had nowhere near the moxy to complete games I have now or had when I was much younger.
But, as of now, my point stands. There are so many JRPG's that I just cannot gel with and, somehow, it all comes back to SMT.
And while we're at it...
Such fucking good music!
5:11 AM on 04.16.2015
GTAV remains probably my favorite GTA ever. It's the first GTA that has it all. Not just a good story, not just a wonderful open world, not just a plethora of content to delve into, but incredibly solid mechanics as well. It's been interesting seeing R* evolve from GTAIV to GTAV. Everything, from that to Red Dead Redemption to Max Payne 3 (the shooting is practically ripped wholesale from MP3), was leading up to what is rightly considered by some to be their opus.
I wonder if we'll see that happen with Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End? Combining what the developer has all but nailed with Uncharted and the freedom in combat and powerhouse storytelling of The Last Of Us. Also, Crash and/or Jak will be relegated to clothing unlockables, so they'll be there too.
Right now, though, we're at the PC port of GTAV. What comes with it besides stupidly awesome graphics potential? Well, modding support for one thing! Also, a handy dandy video editor. As somebody who's been in the machinima scene (by "scene", I mean my room in my old apartment with a crappy handicam) for years and is still interested in the medium, this is particularly exciting.
I've spent a couple hours with it by now and it is, no surprise, pretty damn nice.
So, what can you create?
Not literally anything, but if you set your mind to something cool or fancy rather than anything especially ambitious, I'm 95% sure you can do it!
I'm honestly surprised that they've allowed access to the radio tracks for optional audio additions. Not every track, mind you, which is likely because of re-licensing issues, but more than enough for sure. Unfortunately, though, The Next Episode is not one of them. Same goes for I Want It That Way. Dangnabbit!
In about 20 minutes, I was able to conjure this cute little test project:
When I discovered you could animate from camera to camera, I knew I'd be able to eventually pull off some real neat stuff. I mean, I'm no director... but, I suppose that's what Director's Mode is for!
No, it's not. That was a stupid thing to say.
I decided to get slightly more inspired with my second piece by using the video editor's Director Mode, which allows you to use specific characters from across almost the entire campaign and more! Me? I chose an Altruist member. Because naturally.
You casually unlock more characters to pick from as you get further into the game, which is a nice way to entice people to keep returning to this specific facet of the video editor. Not only that, but you can actually free roam with whatever character you choose! You can't take your weapons with you (though characters can have weapons according to their personalities), but you can at least get some quick laughs by playing as Jimmy frollicking around on a scooter like we know he would given the chance.
I have just one more so far, which is easily the most comprehensive of the bunch.
This was where I started to fiddle with all that I could. Camera effects, tasty transitions, multiple music tracks, combining more than one recorded clip, etc. What resulted was something I think is pretty respectable. Not anywhere near as quality as that first video by 8-Bit Bastard, but I'd proudly set it alongside the rest of my better works (of which, there are very few).
As far as the actual game goes, the port is damn solid. Even with my poopy notebook, with everything turned down to the lowest they'll go (minus resolution) it runs @45-60 fps and with visual quality akin to the original PS3/360 release. That is way way better than I thought I'd be able to handle it. I didn't even think I could run it at all!
I don't see me playing the game a third time, though. Not this version. For sure, though, when I get a better computer. To me, I'll gladly take the PS4/Xbone's up in visuals and a clear 30 fps over going from that to PS3/360 quality and a somewhat smooth 60 fps. A big part of the charm of GTA is it's open world and I'll take whatever I can to make it look more beautiful without sacrificing too much of the performance.
Haven't dabbled at all in Online as I'm not a fan of general online play unless it's co-op or a Nintendo title (Mario Kart 8 is a fantastic online game, especially without any mics and those humble Mii avatars).
I can see myself getting a lot out of this. Even if I never ever beat another campaign mission, these 60 bucks will, before long, have been worth it.
Do you have any videos you've made with the video editor? Show them to me! NOW!
8:43 AM on 04.01.2015
Today's Nintendo Direct won't broadcast until the very latest hour possible, being 5pm my time. That's practically several days away. I could take so many naps before then. I could eat so many meats and play so much Playstation 2. Which I will do, but still.
Is today anymore special than normal, though? Why am I so excited? It's April fucking Fools. This is the perfect chance for them to announce something like so totally fake, but then they're like NOPE REAL PLEASE UNDERSTAND AND GET EXCITED! Everyone collectively poops their pants and wanks one out real quick.
Nintendo has presented on April Fools before. But, that was just a "mini" Direct that happened to fall on the usual days Nintendo decides to do these Directs. Today may also happen to fall on one of said usual days, but THIS IS REALER THAN THAT ONE BEFORE! This is going to be a hardcore as fuck presentation, not some dainty "mini" Direct.
Who knows what they might cook up?
Zelda Wii U has been delayed, many of the Wii U's other bigger announced titles either don't have a solid 2015 release date or are missing in action, and Devil's Third looks like crap. After the Wii U's amazing 2014 run, Nintendo must still have some tricks up their sleeves. All that momentum can't just magically dissipate immediately into 2015, right?
We have Splatoon and Yoshi's Wolly World and that's about it. Two games I don't have a terrible amount of interest in. Therefore, Nintendo MUST have more to show me! What about that new working title Starfox? That could be officially announced and released this year. They've been supposedly developing it for quite some time.
And what about those "leaks"? Should we even get into those? I'm a wild speculator and have a habit of getting my hopes up. Same goes for you cheeky nympths.
But, a new Paper Mario would get me reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally excited.
Well, fuck that too. We can ignore these "leaks", but that doesn't mean I can't personally hope for more than what we've gotten before during these Directs. If you've only ever payed especially close attention to the more exciting Directs, remember that many of them don't announce much or even anything at all. I do have my wishes, though, that I'm holding close because nobody else has told me they might happen. Yet.
Pokemon SoulSilver and HeartGold on the Wii U Virtual Console? *orgasm*
ZombiU getting a sequel? 95% not happenin', but that would be pretty fucking cool.
A Midna amiibo? 99.999% not happenin', because Nintendo hates me.
A Wii U shop app for Nintendo apparel/toys/accesories? Meager possibility, but I would absolutely love that.
ATLUS is supposedly going to be featured in some form. They retwattered news of today's Direct, afterall. With that, we could see some news of the upcoming Devil Survivor 2: Break Record, the rumored Attack on Titan localization, or maybe Persona 5 will be announced for Wii U.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Hah. Heh.
We'd see remakes of the first two mainline SMT titles before that. Compiled in a convenient bundle on 3DS for 20 dollars, physical release and all. Which would also be fucking awesome.
If there is, yet again, no more information on SMT x FE, I'm well-prepared with the following gif in response:
Because, boy howdy, am I tired of waiting.
What are you personally hoping for? How disappointing will it be? What am I doing with my life?
4:14 PM on 03.30.2015
No longer do have I an opportunity to just talk about video game music. With Spotify now having released on both the PS3 and PS4, I can finally talk a little bit about that music that you here in those un-video gamey things like movies, TV shows, commercials, and your phone.
Not so subtle dig at mobile gaming. I'm such a stinker.
God, I love this fucking album.
You know I love talking about video game music. As are gameplay mechanics, cutscenes, the art, UI, etc. music is one of the many tools in the toolbox of a developer in order to create the experience they want to. Whether it's love, freedom, sadness, anger, whatever. Music (or general sound design), when implemented just right, can accentuate these emotions and you feel far more than you would have otherwise.
More conventional expressions of music are real great too. I mean, just because you're not jumping over lava pits or defeating a rambunctious boss to The Tubes' "She's A Beauty", doesn't mean it's not an excellent song. Sometimes people even turn off a game's soundtrack in favor of music such as this. Why? I think they just like pretending they know better.
But, I get it. We're all like that sometimes. I've even gone through the trouble of creating 5 short playlists themed around 5 Playstation hits that I happen to enjoy like everyone else does for whenever you or I get in an especially self-important mood.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Whenever I played Inquisition, a lot of my time was spent exploring every inch that I could of the wonderfully-crafted locales. Not just for the sidequests or collectables, but to simply lose myself and take in the sights. You need to relax, grind some materials, and hunt some wildlife? I think you might also need this playlist.
Ghost B.C. - "Ghuleh / Zombie Queen" (It does eventually ramp up, but even then it's largely appropriate.)
College and Electric Youth - "A Real Hero" (Don't tell me this isn't your ideal hero song.)
Borderlands 2 + The Pre-Sequel
A lot of the Borderlands franchise takes place within barren environments. Deserts, icy tundras, swamps, etc. Fighting around these parts is not a heavy metal ride. It's concentrated, therapeutic, slightly edgy. The following playlist encompasses that perfectly, if I do say so myself. Lots of echoing acoustics, mellow distortion, with added spice here or there.
Caveman - "Today" (Sadly, not on YouTube. Easily my favorite of the bunch at the moment.)
Boy Dylan - "The Man In Me" (I don't know. I can somehow imagine this along to a cute, humorous trailer for The Handsome Collection or something.)
Dr. John - "Right Place Wrong Time" (Pretty damn funky compared to everything else here, but it somehow fits with your usual Borderlands action.)
You know exactly what to expect from this one. Whearas Borderlands combat takes up a beer and a cozy backseat, Diablo is frantic, demonic, and generally epic. This calls for intensity. Balls to the wall, ass to mouth, eyes to your unrelenting foes, with weapon in hand and a frightening battle call (yes, all at the same time). Grow some hair, 'cause it's time to get heavy!
David Lee Roth - "Just A Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody" (I'm just being a dick here, but I do find the idea of playing Diablo along to this kind of hilarious.)
There's not a terrible amount of video games quite as obnoxiously cute and upbeat as LittleBigPlanet. If a kitten were a video game, it'd be something like this. Heck, the characters of LBP3 would make for a fine line of pet playthings. Everything is so damn happy. I'm in such a good mood now, because of this playlist. Thank you, me!
Prince - "Partyman" (Not the original, but it gets the point across. Get the real deal on Spotify!)
Eiffel 65 - "My Console" (The song's basically a glorified Playstation ad!)
Pharrell Williams - "Happy" (Because, well, duh!)
inFAMOUS: Second Son + First Light
Nothing too incredibly ambitious here. I went all 90's for this one, the Seatle music scene both an inspiration for Delsin and Fetch's characters and the game's soundtrack. The ambient echoes during the casual strolls through the open world hit me so well in my pleasure center. Hopefully this last little playlist compliments them just fine.
Signing off! What games are you finding yourself playing on your Playstations? Any music you like to chug along to whilst doing so?
5:19 AM on 03.28.2015
We are nearing the end of March. Both you and I are wondering why the heck I'm writing this now rather than at least a couple months back. Well, I have a very simple answer for that: "........."
Can I have some time to think, please?!
I... have no real good reason.
On the upside, it gave me an opportunity to perfectly structure in a whole category that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to fit in and realize that there actually isn't that much I've been looking forward to. That's great for my backlog, which I've continued neglecting like a bad memory. Literally dozens, maybe hundreds, of games long and I'm not getting any younger.
Oh and the Hadron Collider still scares the fuck out of me. Will we all be at the mercy of an ever-expanding black hole that swallows all on Earth and some distance beyond in a matter of a days, all in the name of scientific curiosity? Maybe, and I have a life to live! I have a legacy to keep! I've never tried English chocolate! But, most importantly, I've got video games to play!
Persona 4: Golden
As much as I may praise my adoration for the Shin Megami Tensei franchise of games (and you'll see a lot throughout this blog), I have yet to finish any but SMTIV. Just about every single one is a very long experience and I haven't been doing well with sticking with games that aren't even a third their length(s). I've never had a patient bone in my slightly chunky body, but, lately, I've been trying to change that.
A short while ago, I asked myself "It's never not awkward when I talk to myself, but don't you think you should at least try to finish a few of these considering how much you've enjoyed them thus far?". "Sure, me.", I said back. "That makes a lot of sense.".
When I first played Golden, my first time with any SMT game, I was in love with everything about it. I had not been so obsessed over a video game probably since GTA: San Andreas. The colors, the story and characters, the gameplay, the soundtrack... oh god, the soundtrack.
That I only managed to clock in 18-20 hours when I've easily made it almost 60 for both SMTIV and Persona 3: FES is very peculiar. But, when I return, I'll finally be able to talk at length about it with fellow fans. Something I've wanted to do for so long. That I've mananged to somehow avoid spoilers despite my many Google searches and being apart of the largest SMT fan group on Facebook is also surprising.
Final Fantasy IX
This is one I'm actually playing right now! So far, it's splendid. One of those "motherfuckin' adventure" games. Every setting thus far has captivated me in some way, the characters are (despite some occasionally dull writing) lovable, it rewards exploration, and the soundtrack is excellent.
I should've featured this one in my previous music blog.
There's a loooooot of story, though. Normally, I wouldn't sit through so much text unless it were especially awesome, but the world and what joy there is to be had with the characters are pulling me along just fine so far. Just hit the hidden city of Cleyra, so I probably still have a very long journey ahead of me.
The reliance on potions and Pheonix Downs is also a little questionable. But, generally, I'm really enjoying it. Heck, I may just finish it to see how Vivi's character turns out. The little guy definitely needs some love.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey
As I mentioned within the parenthesis above, there's going to be a lot of SMT stuff here.
More than Nocturne or even FES or Golden, I'm excited to start up and (hopefully) finish Strange Journey. Several times, I've had it mentioned by reputable folks as the SMTIV before SMTIV. That it could've very well been a numbered sequel considering it's size, scale, and quality. Since becoming aware of it, it's always seemed the most tantalizing of the PS2/DS era, though I've laxed on it in favor of the more widely-appreciated titles.
I'm absolutely giddy in anticipation for it's boss fights (is it any wonder why the franchise houses many of my most favorite enemy designs?), the soundtrack, the dreadful atmosphere, all of it!
I have almost no idea what to expect from Killer7, which isn't common for me. Whenever there's a game I want, typically, I at least have a rough idea of how it's going to play. With Killer7, it's totally up in the air. I bought it "because it's Suda", who hasn't always provided me with awesome experiences but, rather, memorable ones. Had I finished the original No More Heroes instead of venturing forth with (the vastly superior) No More Heroes 2, I probably would be looking back on it fondly despite it's wonkyness.
I think it's a... shooter? I've also heard it's on-rails? But, to what extent? How thrilling!
And what's up with that art and the crazy characters? Suda. That's what's up with them.
Alien: Isolation (Nightmare Mode)
While I may have beaten and greatly enjoyed Alien: Isolation once already on Hard, it's semi-recent (and free) "Nightmare" update has me interested in giving it a second playthrough way sooner than I had intended.
The supplies density on Hard, while scarce, still wasn't as scarce as I would have liked. Flamethrower fuel was in a surprising abundance and, at times, I was (given my status) wasting supplies for grenades and health packs just to be able to pick up more of those same supplies. There's only so much that can be done to keep the xeno at bay and repeat strategies, often times, don't work within a single section, but all that extra shit I had packin' definitely softened some of the welcomed tension.
Would be nice if the more supplies you had, the slower you became.
Speaking of the xeno, it's even more creepy stalky on Nightmare. Brokenly so? I wouldn't put it past the developers to do as such as it was already about as hard as I'd imagine it could be, but we'll have to see. Perhaps it's heightened senses will make the backtracking and walking sections a little more exciting.
I say "contender", but there's no chance that I won't at least enjoy Persona 5 on some level. Worst case scenario, it has an excellent soundtrack (if the music from the latest trailer is any indication), it's tried something new for once since Persona 3, and the main protagonist shall prove to be great doujin fodder.
Best case scenario? It's the most brilliant JRPG ever.
I love that it's still turn-based. That was probably my biggest worry considering the rise of action RPG gameplay. You'd think developers had suddenly decided that turn-based combat was inherently flawed or something. As much as I wouldn't have blamed ATLUS for pulling such a stunt, I'm very glad they didn't. To add to that, while the characters do feel formulaic (docile protag, dudebro partner, angsty female, animal companion), their "Dark Hour" alter egos might lift them up from average to some of the franchise's best.
And the new visual style and more dynamic presentation? There's so much greatness to digest from it and it might not even come out this year! But, oh, please do. Be my guest.
Another one that may not release this year, but I hope it does. Actually, I'm paranoid it won't even release at all despite it's recent coverage. It just... feels like one of those games. It's already gone through a reworking since it's origins as a PS3 PS Move title, so who knows what the future holds.
As is, though, I'm hoping for this to be the Heavy Rain that we all thought we'd get. Ya know, with actors who spoke with natural accents, a story that wasn't filled with plotholes, and from the minds of folks that aren't obnoxious in their self-importance. It's similarity to Quantic Dream's Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain is uncanny, right down to the 3D exploration, QTE's, and it's focus on pure graphical prowess and storytelling.
Contrary to popular opinion around some circles of the gaming community, I don't mind a game like this every now and then and I hope Until Dawn does it right.
Devil May Cry 4: Special Edition
When this was announced alongside DmC: Devil May Cry's Definitive Edition, I was pleasantly surprised, casually interested, and very happy for those much bigger fans of the franchise than I. After it's latest trailer, though, I'm incredibly psyched to play it.
Between you and me, I think Devil May Cry only got good once DMC3 released. 1's "soft" lock was 100x more egregious than DmC's and it's fixed camera angles did not lend well to the fast-paced action gameplay. 2 fixed some of that, but was outstandingly dull otherwise. 3? 3 was fucking awesome. There's no argument to be had there. It's awesome. And DmC I quite liked. But, I have zero opinions of 4.
5 playable characters is what's getting my attention, nevermind the great-looking combat. That's some insane variety/replayability! The more tasteful characterization, coming off of some recent time with DmC, helps a bunch as well.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night!
If you told fans of Shin Megami Tensei around the time Persona 3 was achieving it's success that we'd eventually come around to playing a rhythm game based around it's music with franchise characters dancing around like J-pop idols, they'd probably slap you across the noggin, think about it for a second, and then throw you money because that's an amazing idea.
While I'm more of a fan of Persona 3's darker and more mellow soundtrack, Persona 4's is definitely excellent in it's own right and more suitable for a poppy rhythm game. These are some of the only sorts of games I'm especially good at and I could see myself pouring many hours into it. Changing outfits, perfecting my scores, ogling at the overbearing adorableness, etc.
The official soundtrack remixes, too. I am going to absolutely salivate over them.
Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Uncharted 1 and 2 are easily amongst my favorite games of the last generation, with Uncharted 3 still nestled somewhere snug within "games I would play again". They continuously have made me feel like the badass treasure hunter I needed to be in order to find myself out of all of these wonderful and spectacular scenarios set across the globe, in places I wish I could be in right this moment.
I've also always gotten a real kick out of the characterization of Drake and Sully, in particular. Bosum buddies, teacher and pupil, always providing great banter. Excellent performances all-around as well and I'm deeply interested in seeing how they evolve both the characters and performances after the insane levels of success The Last Of Us has garnered.
In both gameplay and story, they've supposedly taken cues from their previous efforts in order to push what it means to be an Uncharted game. No doubt the most ambitious entry to come and, like it or not, it's going to be something special.
Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
Say what you will about Gearbox, but they have got it nailed down to a science with Borderlands at this point. A science I can most assuredly get behind.
I loved the original Borderlands, but since Borderlands 2, it hasn't been easy to go back. It's objectively better in so many respects and I found myself pouring well over 100 hours into it over the course of just one short month and that's with going to college 3-4 days a week. After then, I accumulated another 50+ in just the DLC. And I beat the campaign three times.
Being able to now conveniently play it and The Pre-Sequel on my nice television and in 1080p/60fps is going to be pure heaven. I'm not sure if I'd ever stop.
While all you raspcallions are busy playing Bloodborne, probably even idling it next to you as you read this, I've told myself that it's something I could probably hold off on for another couple months or so. It really does pain me, but I've been trying my best to prioritize my gaming habits and my backlog + Borderlands are just slightly above Bloodborne's excellency.
Guess if I had been able to finish a single Souls game, I'd be that much more excited to play it RIGHT NOW, but, as it stands, I simply respect the franchise a great deal.
It's game design is brilliant, it's art is fantastic, and it's approach to storytelling is refreshing, but my frustration with the difficulty (which is all on me) has always resulted in me putting it down in favor of something more my level. I love a good challenge, but I usually save that for repeat playthroughs. The Last Of Us? Soared majestically through that on Grounded. Call of Duty 4? It was tough, but I did eventually concur Veteran. The Souls games? They're Very Hard/Dante Must Die/Impossible/Fuck You Fuck You Fuck You by default.
Bloodborne, though, I could see myself finishing with it's focus on more offensive tactics. I've heard some claim it's more challenging, some say it's less so, but, either way, perhaps the switch up in gameplay will push me forward to it's end. I really hope so.
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
I actually played through the first episode of Revelations 2 when it released, to give myself an idea of whether the full retail package was going to be worth it. For 5 bucks, I got what was the best Resident Evil experience I had gotten since RE4, as well as a pretty fun and extensive Raid Mode.
It faithfully brought back the tension and darkness of the older RE's while retaining a more RE4-focused approach to combat design which RE5, RE6, and even occasionally the original Revelations seemed to carelessly butcher with little worthwhile upsides. Though, what I found in Revelations 2's first episode was exactly what I had been looking for the franchise to return to for so long: controls and enemy encounters that worked solidly in tangent and supply scarcity that forced me to act while on the edge of my seat.
This return to form, I hope is carried on throughout it's entire 6 episode campaign. If it can do that, perhaps there's hope for this franchise yet.
There are so many swell looking indie games releasing these days, that it's impossible to keep track of them all. If it weren't for PS+, I'd be completely skipping out on quite a few that I'd likely really enjoy.
While Grow Home doesn't seem to be blowing minds on any level, it looks to lovingly bring back that mascot adventure charm of so many 90's titles that some now attempt to tackle with very mixed results. Thankfully, though, it has received generally very positive feedback and our former chungus-in-chief Jim Sterling's YouTube looksee of it convinced me I needed it in my life as well.
Cute, funny, bright, innocently fun. Something to break up how I will be spending most of my video game playing this year.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
Whenever Zelda has failed to impress me, I always try to give it a second chance because I adore the franchise's concepts and lore so much. If I could imagine the perfect video game, it'd probably be a lot like a Zelda game. Sprawling overworlds and perilous dungeons, a huge arsenal of exciting tools and weapons, expressive characters, vibrant motifs, charming music, I could go on.
At it's best, I can think of no better way to be spending an afternoon. Thing is, it's so rarely been at it's best for me. Minus Twilight Princess and Wind Waker, my impressions have been all over the place and that goes especially for Majora's Mask. I've gone at length about why I couldn't enjoy it, but, basically, it was a nasty combination of dull and confusing. Lots of running around, waiting, running around... more running...
I don't think I fought a single enemy during my time with it nor was I captivated with it's characters outside that brief moment with The Happy Mask Salesman. It's visuals haven't aged too well either.
This all brings me 'round to the recent 3DS update. It looks wonderful, some of it's encounters have been altered, and it's progression has been updated to feel much less vague or arbitrary. I already know I love Majora's Mask's art and mechanics, it's just how it was all put together in the original release that turned me off from continuing too far past it's beginning sections.
I wouldn't be surprised to find Majora's Mask as suddenly my new favorite Zelda game. At the same time, more than any other game on this list, I'm concerned about how I will take it. It's times like these that remind me that, as a critic, going into a game can be very exciting in so many ways beyond what can be gathered from it's surface level merit. I have a point of reference, a game I could very possibly love or still hate...
Please. Please be awesome.
So, how have y'all been enjoying 2015 in gaming so far? What are some games you're looking forward to?
9:51 AM on 03.21.2015
Man. It's getting harder and harder to fit in these titles.
Drop the bass!
Welcome to a third edition of this series of blogs, which have consistently remained some of my most-loved works. I'm glad somebody around this foul meat closet called Destructoid is able to successfully school you chumps in bloody awesome video game music! Life simply does not exist without the sounds that it makes. Unless you're deaf.
For this iteration, I tried to be as varied and far-reaching as I possibly could be while not going overboard and without doing extensive research on the many MANY games I have yet to play. As a result, I feel this has been my best music blog yet and I haven't even begun to write the captions! I won't put a dollar amount on the chance as I do not wish to sink into a crippling gambling addiction, but I predict you will also love it.
If only because I promise to send you cookies if you do.
Armed and Dangerous - Bagpipe Theme
Probably half the reason this is on here is because I feel dreadfully sorry for Armed and Dangerous. It wasn't a game that I loved, I haven't even played it since the early 00's, but I did really like it. Though, not many have even so much as played the thing as evidenced by it's lack of relevance in my many Interwebz searches.
It's soundtrack has almost no pressence on YouTube, making it even hard to feature here. But, of the three songs I could find, this one's my favorite. In the context of the game's lackluster legacy, it's like an uplifting though somber eulogy. Slow and echoing percussion, bagpipes ringing out, flutes and bells providing the backup, it's all very pretty and... so sad. These are the feelings that I feel when I think about Armed and Dangerous. It's like I am the only one who still utters that name and even I don't have an Xbox that will play the copy that I still own after all these years.
May the world be forgiven for giving you so little in return for your unique, Monty Python-esque take on the third-person shooter genre. You had all the makings of a cult classic, but I suppose only so many can be salvaged from falling into a deep obscurity. RIP, you poor, poor bastard.
Super Smash Bros 3DS/Wii U - "Airman Stage"
You can tell just from the soundtrack that whoever is involved with these games must really care about what they're doing. Fanservice doesn't get much better than Super Smash Bros.
I have no trouble just using the 3DS version of the latest iteration as a Nintendo music compilation CD of sorts. Heck, it was even intended to work as such (granted, amidst it's many other features). Just go to the music player, accumulate a few favorites if you want, flip a switch or two, go into Sleep Mode, enjoy. It's so wonderful. Adding to it is that most, if not all, the tracks are faithfully recreated using modern tech and instruments while still being given a fresh spin.
I can no longer go back to many of the original recordings without feeling just a tad underwhelmed now. Just listen to that righteous guitar and mighty synth on Airman Stage! It's a goshdanged masterpiece. One of those songs that is just as good on it's second loop as it was on it's first.
Nintendo has been really knocking it out of the park with their music lately. Between Smash Bros, Super Mario 3D World, and Mario Kart 8, my anticipation for what they have in store next is higher than mine for how the next Persona soundtrack ends up and that means a lot coming from me.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories - "Hell Frozen Rain"
A franchise laden with more ambience and noise than conventional music, Silent Hill does boast it's share of vocal tracks as well. Probably most famously is Silent Hill 4's Room Of Angel, a brilliant song that I.. am not featuring. Too easy! Instead, here's something from an even more underrated Silent Hill game: Shattered Memories.
Same composer, same vocalist, entirely different sound. One of those songs I'd describe as "drifting". Everything plays so firmly entwined with one another, there's hardly ever a break, and the beat is both steady and easy. It doesn't change much, but it's varied enough and solid as hell nonetheless. Something that I could relax to while still taking note of some standout elements throughout.
From what I've heard from her, I also really enjoy the vocalist. A lovely, soulful voice that does a lot to make the songs she's featured in more than they are.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle - "N.M.H. Outer Rim Remix"
Originally, I had chosen to use the music from the Man the Meat mini-game. It was the one I was most familiar with and I love both the mini-game and manning meat, but it felt just a tad silly singling out that one considering the dozens of other more interesting tracks that likely don't get quite as much attention.
Some artists manage it flawlessly and with little trouble, but let's not understate the talent required to successfully blend multiple genres within a single song (let alone across multiple songs). In what reminds me of something heard from the band Phish, not only do we have elements of blues and psychedelic rock, but heavy metal as well. The technicality on display is confident and impressive, yet often subtle. Crazy solos and chuggy note rhythms seemlessly bleed from light chords and saxes, making this a deliciously well-rounded track.
GTAIII - "See Through You"
Near the cusp of a new millenium, GTAIII made a canonball splash and changed literally everything about everything. Black became white, planes drove and cars flew, your grandparents retroactively did not exist, and video games finally became fun!
Now they all suck again and I eat myself to sleep in a dark room, playing old vinyls of Otis Redding.
In GTAIII, like every other GTA, were these really nice radio stations that spanned from electronica to pop to reggae and also some people that talked a lot (Fernando was my favorite). But, unlike most GTA's, a lot of GTAIII's radio music was actually completely original. Including "See Through You" by phony band Frankie Fame. They certainly had me fooled! Almost this entire time, I thought this "Frankie Fame" was a real band that faded into obscurity, somehow, shortly after being featured in one of the most popular video games of all time.
That's how legit this sounds. A standout and catchy guitar riff, the bubbly yet sexy vocals, the bass, the overall production value, every little touch suits 90's alternative rock perfectly. Nothing about it screams satirical or fake, it sounds astoundingly genuine. I mean, 2000/2001 wasn't too far off from the 90's so I suppose that made it easier to get into that zone, but it's still impressive that something which could've easily been a classic for it's time was simply made to fill slots within some fake radio station.
Destiny - "Cabal Stomp"
Oh, boy. Destiny is in your 'toid feed again and we're gonna talk about it!
You wanna talk about why it was so tremendously disappointing? I bet you do, but no. You wanna talk about Destructoid's unending coverage of a game literally nobody cares about? I bet you fucking do, but it's not that either. Instead, can we just talk about something happy for once in regards to Destiny? Like, let's at least admit the game has one hell of a soundtrack.
No particular track stands out, for me, on said soundtrack quite like Cabal Stomp. The slow, heavy, menacing rhythm capsulizing the Cabal's intimidating visage, it served as a perfect companion piece to the gameplay during that first fight on Mars.
It takes a lot for me to play in awe of the synergy of combat, music, challenge, visuals, everything. Everything was aligned perfectly during this moment and it's one of the many reasons I actually look back on Destiny's campaign with fondness, some formulaic elements and terribly lacking story aside.
VVVVVV - "Presenting VVVVVV"
Whenever I have to say "VVVVVV" in real-life conversation, I clinch my cheeks just a bit. Sometimes, I end up saying something like "VVVv-.. vfvvffFUCK..." because I'm not only having to repeat "V" quickly in succession, but I'm simultaneously having to keep track of how many V's I'm blurting out.
Frustrating. Am I the only one? Or do I need some speech classes?
No. You're weird.
Anyway. Writing at such a slow tempo and with such simplistic instrumentation, it's easy for a track like this to end up sounding boring. Thankfully, through to it's very end, new elements, lines, and melodies are introduced to keep things interesting and those "V" whispers make for some... stimulating percussion. Soft stimulation, though. I don't have a boner or anything. But, now that I've thought about having a boner, I have one.
Dammit. Where's the ice water?
Final Fantasy IX - "Ice Cavern"
Maybe we can find some here!
Casual Status Confirmed: Of the many FF's out there, I have only played the numbered sequels since first playing X around when that came out. And I haven't finished a single one. Want to, but haven't.
That I just barely missed Final Fantasy IX is tragic. I can't tell you how many times I've read or have been directly told that it was easily the best of the bunch. I have it on my Vita to play soon enough as I've been trying to delve into my backlog of JRPG's lately, but, until then, I wanted to at least give it's soundtrack some credit. I just knew I'd find some really awesome stuff within it's whopping 4+ hours of music. I've always held Final Fantasy in high regards when it came to it's soundtracks and art direction, even when the games themselves were piss poor.
Going through it's soundtrack, I was pretty consistently impressed, but it was so hard to nail down a favorite. While that is a sign of a great soundtrack, naturally, I couldn't pick all of them. So, I finally decided to go with one that seemed to stand out from the rest. The most interesting one. That one is Ice Cavern.
Within seconds, the marimba began tingling the pleasure sector of my brain. Then jutting chords happen for some reason and there's now a flute. Then back to the marimba. Triangle solos? This is too good. Now we have cymbals that come in for a few measures, to just suddenly stop. I was smiling almost the entire way through.
Thinking about it, the marimba is such an underrated instrument. Much like a piano, amazing things can be done with it given the right talent and lots of sticks with big balls on the end of them. A quick search of "marimba" on YouTube will bring up some awesome results. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Of course, Ice Cavern isn't quite beautiful. It's just really interesting.
Syndicate - "Syndicate (Skrillex)"
EA's Syndicate reboot and dubstep, all in one post?!
As far as I'm concerned, there can exist good dubstep. As long as the track doesn't rely too heavily on predictable patterns and goes easy enough on the warped drops and simply uses them to mix up the composition here or there, I think the genre has it's merits. Some artists can do some really neat, catchy things with sampling.
Don't get me wrong. There's a lot of crappy dubstep (or "brostep", as some may refer to this stuff as not real "dubstep") that people somehow find totally awesome which makes me feel like an old guy telling this generation of teens and young adults to get off his proverbial lawn, but I do find some of it worthwhile. In fact, I think Skrillex's Bangarang EP is, for the most part, pretty damn awesome and his rendition of this track from Syndicate is all-around nice as well. Those bass rides in-between the wubs in that first chorus... you know like 'em.
Well, maybe you don't. So, if you're not into this sort of thing, check out the other remixes and see about those. They're much more in line with conventional electronica and are just as good.
Dragon Age: Inquisition - "I Am The One"
For a while, I was so obsessed with this song that I attempted to tab it out myself and cover it. That is something I don't even normally have the patience for with songs that most beginners could figure out within minutes. But, I loved the song so much and I wanted to feel every one of those beautiful notes and chords ring through the callouses on my fingers as I quietly butchered it with my terrible singing voice.
Origins has it's own version of this wonderful song and it's definitely great in it's own right, but acoustics (and clear English) speak to me so much more. The soft guitar harmonizing with the vocals every step of the way is precious and the reverb implies the performer's (as a character) importance in not just the present but future. Forgotten tales brought to us through the words and music of a bard which bring hope, inspire others to take up the responsibility of protecting their family and home, spread messages, or provide harmless entertainment.
This track encompasses that classic role with style and grace, as well as concision.
Killer7 - "(｀曲´)"
Apparently, "(｀曲´)" means "song" or "tune" in Japanese. Well, heh, it ain't wrong. That is exactly what we got here. Probably the least offensive track name of all time. It also looks like an angry man with his hands clawed to hs sides.
A couple or so months ago, I had been exposed to Shadows of the Damned. Missteps aside, that was such a fun game that I needed to complete my Suda collection which had, before then, consisted of just Lollipop Chainsaw and Black Knight Sword. I bought not only both NMH's, but Killer Is Dead and Killer7. I had to actually hunt down both NMH's between a couple GameStops and Killer7 took me to my local antique gaming shop. That, in hindsight, meager work paid off and they are now all mine!
I still have not played Killer7, but I absolutely cannot wait. Until then, I'm gonna keep bouncing between several choice songs off it's soundtrack. Mostly this one and "Russian Roulette". I'm always tickled to hear any use of a theremin (one of the music world's most unconventional, yet super neat, music devices) and "(｀曲´)" uses one for it's entire fronting melody! Such a unique sound. Satisfyingly gloomy, with some backing ambience, rounded out with a simple, slow drum beat. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus - "Main Theme (8-bit)"
Tell me that isn't one of the most intense, awesome bit tracks you've ever heard.
Not only did Into the Nexus succeed as a proper return to form after several ho-hum experiments, but it graced you with this amazing piece upon completing it. You wanna talk about ending on a high note, this had me at the edge of my chair and clamoring for a YT rip. I even had to put a request out to someone who had already ripped the original theme. I needed it. Thankfully, they obliged and I was able to quickly enjoy this through the convenience of my personal computer.
This song is concerned with one thing only: pumping you the fuck up! Even the breakdown is poppy as hell and loaded with crazy vibrato. Those wacked out scales and sweeps, the tension-building lick rides, it's all so overwhelming and I love it.
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth - "Light the Fire Up in the Night (P3)"
You know I had to include a Persona track. I will keep including them until everyone here loves what I loves! I even almost included a track from Catherine just to show off even more of that based Meguro, but it barely missed the cut.
In my almost 20 hours with Shadow of the Labyrinth, this song has not gotten old. Not in the slightest. It's literally the only battle theme you hear outside the POE's or boss fights (at least so far), yet I'm always excited to hear it. I swear I'm not just a raving Meguro fanboy, I just happen to think his battle themes lend so well to the action!
Ah! Nevermind. I have to fangasm just a tad. Lotus Juice is such an excellent rapper. That subtle drum fill harmonizing his ".. next corner posin' for reporters." line gets me everytime. Also, "I keep it dazzle!" is just *muah* beautiful! *muah* *muah* Perfect! I assure you nothing was lost in translation there. Not one bit!
What a high-energy track. May very well be my favorite Persona battle theme.
Dark Souls - "Seath the Scaleless"
I wish I could play with you, Dark Souls. But, I really can't. I just can't. I can appreciate your splendid game design, your storytelling, and music, but I refuse to put myself through another death. You have taken my confidence, had it for a snack, and told me to "Fuck off, boy!" one too many times. So much abuse from a single video game.
And here's where all the jerks start clamoring that it's not that hard.
Naturally, I never made it to Seath the Scaleless. Whoever he is. Apparently, he's a dragon. That sounds nice. His music is pretty frightening, though. Like a real dragon would be.
Souls' soundtracks seem to have this reoccurring theme of really intimidating chorus liners. I thought the intro track to Demon's Souls sounded so odd, but somehow alluring. I don't know how they write that stuff, but they do it well. Seath the Scaleless' track is just as strangely quality. Borderline wankery, but there's still this cohesiveness that keeps it from feeling nothing but strange. There's a lot going on with it, but that only serves to make it more varied and interesting.
Guacamelee - "Forest Del Chivo (Living)"
Guacamelee's soundtrack definitely has it's own thing going. I think mixing Spanish instrumentation with electronica elements sounds so goddamned cool. I could listen to it all day, but the more I do, the more I wanna stop writing this blog and just play the game (I was so close to finishing it on my first few sessions)! If I wanna keep nursing through this damned backlog the way I need to be doing or even finish this here thing up, though, discipline is in order.
But, man. I really do wanna be playing it right now. One of the gaming market's most treasured titles of this past generation, and for good reason. It is an excellent Metroidvania with gorgeous visuals, lots of luchador spice, as well as a surprising amount of video game and le funneh meme references.
Nintendo 3DS System - "Mii Maker"
I'm not sure why I never thought of including a track from either the actual 3DS or Vita systems before now because I've always been surpremely impressed with how much effort they put into music that had no right to be as good as it was.
Before the Wii Shop Channel, I never thought it'd be possible to find such quality music hidden within a video game platform's settings or it's home screen or anything like that. No. For me, back in the day, it was either nothing, ambience, or just some cute jingles here or there. Now? We have set bars that I never knew needed setting, but here we are.
Makes me wanna customize stupid, ugly Mii's all day long. So pleasant sounding. That it's not only uplifting and, well, there at all, but technically impressive is really something else. I can never stare at a quiet console screen the same way anymore. Either I have to willingly turn off the music or I'm wondering where the heck the music is.
Omikron: The Nomad Soul - "New Angels of Promise"
Alright! I finally get to talk about this one.
If you aren't interested in playing this game after watching that video, sci-fi must not be your thing. Imagine The Fifth Element, but with a stupid plot and as a video game. That's sort of redundant, but that should give you a rough idea of Omikron. Really, the entire game is stupid. But, it's so gloriously stupid. From what I've played, I've had more fun with it than most games I've beaten in the past couple years. Just strolling about the open city is a blast.
If you weren't already aware, this was actually David Cage's first foray into video games. All the way from 1999. And, believe it or not, it's a video game! In fact, maybe too much video game. 3D exploration sections, 2D fighting sections, and first-person shooting somehow all mix, conexist, and make... this. Omikron, ladies and gentlemen.
Oh yeah. You can also watch David Bowie concerts. In the game. Like, honest-to-goodness David Bowie. He did some music for the game, including this theme track which I can't get enough of. The percussion is so damn good, Bowie's vocals are so infectious, the way the guitar and bass mesh during that verse hook warms my heart, etc. I have zero complaints.
Bowie actually rerecorded the song for his Hours album, which I can't say I prefer. Generally, it sounds a bit too cleaned up from the original cut and a lot of the awesome percussion has been downgraded. But, I could still take either one and be happy.
Jumping Flash! - "World 4-3"
This is another one of the games on this list I've yet to play, but someone had suggested I look it up when I was asking around for some swell video game music from the 80's-90's (I mostly stick to the easy pickins of that era like anything Rare or Nintendo).
I love how in literally every note of that melody, what sounds like a queefy little laser blast can be heard. It's cute, yet everything else about the track sounds so powerful. It's a nice contrast which keeps me replaying it over and over.
DmC: Devil May Cry - "Never Surrender"
Fuck. Here comes yet another can of worms I probably don't want being opened.
I'm ready to admit the original release of DmC had a lot of underwhelming elements when it came to it's mechanics, but it was still a very fun spectacle fighter and with amazing level design throughout most of the experience. Seriously. It's difficult to think back to the last time when a developer, making a game like DmC, had put this much care into just how you moved about the world and how lovely it all looked.
The soundtrack may also not be everyone's cup of tea, but I personally enjoyed that as well. "Never Surrender" being the first track you hear just before the gameplay begins, it was very effective at hyping me up to finally start some demon-killing. I'm not too sure about those depressive lyrics, but that pulsing bass is heavy as fuck. I could replay just that first part again and again, reminiscing the sync with that gnarly little scene where New Dante is flying through his trailer butt-naked trying to dress himself. That was great.
I'd love a good pounding from New Dante. Oomph.
Parappa the Rapper - "Instructor Mooselini's Car Rap"
Alright, let's be real here: this song sucks. A lot. Sucks like a vaccuum in the heart of a tornado.
The repetition alone...
... DRIVES me insane!
Ahahahahaha. But, really. This song sucks. But, I do love it. Somehow. It's bumpin', unbearably catchy, and the video above helps a great deal. Actually, if it weren't for Parappa's charming visuals, I probably wouldn't have included this.
Then again... I can't help but dance and sing along. Help me.
Super Crate Box - "Construction Yard"
If you own a Vita and don't own Super Crate Box, you are missing out on some of the most fun you can possibly get out of that little port machine. It's like the original Mario Bros arcade game, but with guns! Which is like Woah Dave, but without the hot potato mechanics.
Conveniently, the pause music is featured towards the end of the cut of "Construction Yard" provided by the artist's Bandcamp and I originally was going to feature that! I couldn't find it separately on YouTube or Bandcamp, so we're now here with something maybe even better. Two for the slot of one! It's like the Battletoads pause music, but boopier.
The higher-pitched notes harmonizing with the "bwaaaoooooh" effect of the chords makes for one quirky sound. Almost sort of gives the track a laid back sense of humor, which the game itself certainly does have. The octive bass rides also sound swell along to it all.
Hyrule Warriors - "Psychostorm"
Jesus, what an amazingly fun game. Nevermind Smash Bros, Nintendo in general know how to provide some real top-tier fanservice. I'd like to assume my fondness for Minda hasn't clouded my judgment, but take that for what you will. I think Hyrule Warriors is one of the best games of 2014.
As amazing as some of the soundtrack's remixes are, I don't think that's giving enough credit to the many completely original scores that are almost as (if not as) good. "Psychostorm", not only sporting an awesome name, in particular, brings about images of charging headstrong into a large, epic battle. That is totally Dynasty Warriors/Hyrule Warriors. In fact, that's all they are.
Heavy church organs, heavy bass, heavy percussion, heavy all-around. Much like my cat who's probably nearing a hearty 20 pounds, if not already passed. I do not know how she is still alive.
Metal Arms: Glitch in the System - "Clean Up/Unwelcome Home"
Another one of those games I really wish I were playing right now, listening to the soundtrack. Gah! Must control myself. I'm almost done!
Everything about this track, minus the percussion, suitably, sounds like it's being sampled from some sort of machine. Malfunctioning engies, radars, distorted fax machines... at least that's how my mind imagines this song playing out. I sometimes have fun that way, thinking up music videos for certain songs.
Also, it goes without saying, but this was totally the Podtoid theme for a good while. That simultaneously makes it much worse and much better.
Rayman Legends - "Mariachi Madness"
Everyone always seems to focus on the rhythm stages of Legends, all the while the rest of the soundtrack should be winning awards left and right. But, there is something special about said rhythm stages and their music. They stick out from the rest of the game, so we can't help but talk about them. At least it's not Castle Rock for the upteenth time, eh?
I've never been amibitious enough to tackle a genre-switch with any of my own covers I attempt. It's really hard to nail, let alone flawlessly. You have to have inside and out knowledge of not only the genre of the original, but the genre it's being switched up into. Yet, Rayman Legends does exactly that. Masterful and, honestly, can bring a tear to my eye. It's that good. I can't think of anything I would add to it, they thought of everything. This could be my favorite track off this entire list.
There's nothing much quite as wholesome as a good mariachi band. Perhaps barbershop quartets (hey, also a genre-switch cover!). Or bacon buffets.
Gauntlet III: The Final Quest (Amiga) - (mostly) EVERYTHING!
For the coup de grace, I've decided to do something a little different. I want you to listen to every one of these five tracks because they desperately require your ears!
Considering it's age, this soundtrack is bloody stupendous. Mindblowing, even. When I was frantically trying to search up soundtracks to include from this era, I never thought I'd be finding anything like this. It's technically marvelous, atmospheric, impressively varied, so many great things. This honestly could be reworked today, right down to every last detail and with zero changes, and still work perfectly. Possibly fitted to an Etrian Odyssey or non-Persona SMT soundtrack.
I could go on about each individual track, but that would take up way too much space. The whole thing is just awesome. I had no idea of it's existence until mere days ago and now it's one of my favorites. I only wish we could be graced with the entire ripped soundtrack as well as a proper loop of that last song.
As always, let me see some of your favorite video game tracks!
1:17 PM on 03.08.2015
A short while ago, I was taken by Occams' blog about some of his totally radical statues. I wanted to show off too! ... but what, exactly? While I don't have but perhaps 1 or 2 things amidst all the crap in my room that comes anywhere close to that Occams level of raditude (seriously, dat SH nurse), I thought maybe I could at least do something a little different and detail sheer quantity.
Because I have a lot of crap.
That's my room. Well, the more exciting half of my room. That's where most of my crap calls home and where I have my personal time. Video games, masturbating, masturbating, thinking about life, masturbating, organizing my porn folders, video games, masturbating, etc.
You may be already able to tell (how can you not?), but just from looking at that first shelf you might be thinking how the hell am I going to fit anymore crap in that room of mine? I've already resorted to grouping collectables that don't belong with other collectables (OCD kickin' in) and propping up stuff on the carpet...
I have a line of owls, btw. It's like cocaine, but with less cocaine and more owls.
How many owls do you have? Probably none. I have 12.
I have too much crap.
Getting into amiibos was a bad idea as it forced me to rethink how I had arranged everything in my room. I mean, getting into picking up anything else for display is a bad idea at this point, but, nonetheless, those confounded amiibos were the tipping point.
Adding anything else bigger than a tube of chapstick means moving that there, opening up space for this thing, facing my Finn figure this way so that it now looks like he's staring down Noble Team, stacking my games within a different unit, it goes on. I love finding all sorts of rare/cool gaming/general nerd doodads (especially since discovering a local antique gaming shop), but my poor nerd cave is close to completely full. Building mounted shelves may have to be a thing in the near future. Where will it end?
Also, pardon the stream of dust shooting from Kirby's innocent little lovehole.
With all that said, how about we get on with the show, eh?
Above are a few of my somewhat old gaming mags I like to keep around. Weird I've kept the RE5 one unopened all this time, but it's probably better that way. Not because it holds more value in perfect condition, but fuck RE5. You stay where you are, you naughty boy. Sonic Unleashed, Dragon Age: Origins, Guitar Hero: Metallica... much less awful. So, I'm sorry you all must suffer for RE5's sins.
The Chaos Theory and Fallout 3 ones? I actually bought those second-hand from that antique gaming shop I mentioned several lines ago. Chaos Theory because it's one of my favorite games and Fallout 3 because, well, it's fucking Fallout 3.
I have more, of course. I used to be really into Xbox before recent years.
Speaking of Xbox and being into it and stuff, I was more specifically into Halo back in the day. Second only to all my Nintendo crap, I have a lot of Halo crap. Somewhere in this house is a framed Halo 3 picture (not just a poster, I'm talking a quality print) I got at Blockbuster. Thank you, Blockbuster, but I can't find that picture right now.
Remember the disappointment that came with this near life-sized helmet when we realized we couldn't wear it? I will never forget that pain. Midnight launch of Halo 3, got my Legendary Edtion, opened it up to try it on and be the Mastered Chief, exclaimed "It's no use!" and several people still in line let out an audible groan.
It's okay bros. It's still a quality display.
But, naturally, my favorite piece of Halo crap is the Noble Team statue that came with that awfully expensive Halo: Reach Legendary Edition. But, for $150 (?), you did get your money's worth. It's quite the display and some real awesome detail, but what I love about Reach's biggest bundle is that it's absolutely packed with tons of Halo lore memorabilia. Character notes/journals, security cam stills, a UNSC patch, etc.
Those are the kind of bundles I like. The kind of bundles that seem to have fallen out of style as of late. About 95-99 percent of those 150 bucks went towards physical goodies that the franchise's biggest fans would no doubt get a kick out of. Not golden weapon skins or priority access to online servers (I'm still peeved about that, EA). Same goes for the Dead Rising 2: Zombrex Edition I gots. A pen shaped like a syringe + bandaid, a 40-50 page artbook, a giant Zombrex ad, etc.
Still have the box it all came in (seen under the corner table in the first pic). Haven't opened it since the unboxing and didn't feel like breaking that streak just to show off it's contents, but, trust me, it's a lot.
My combat knife signed by Steve Downes (Master Chief) and Jen Taylor (Cortana) would be my favorite Halo thang if the knife weren't just something I happened to have on-hand when I was asked what I wanted them to sign at last year's Comic-Con.
The other signed crap I have is considerably more appropriate. Also see: awesome.
(Hey! I'm getting pretty good at these segways thus far.)
Here, is a slip of Dragonball Z Season 4 signed by Sean Schemmel. Known for voicing none other than Goku! Sadly, he didn't sign it in person, so not quite that awesome. But, still awesome. On the other hand, I had to purchase the entirity of DBZ on Blu-ray at one of PAX South's vendors in order to get it so it's at least valuable!
They also gave me one of the seasons for free. How nice. Still was outlandishly expensive.
Now, this is what I'm talkin' about! One of my favorite games signed by one of the most prolific and talented voice actors in the biz, Troy Baker.
Oh Troy-senpai <3
Planning on going back to Comic-Con this coming September so I'm hoping to gather up some more cool signed swag.
The only non-gaming crap I absolutely love collecting is Domo-kun crap. He's a popular corporate mascot in Japan or something. I don't know. I just think he's visually endearing. He's also been pretty good with keeping my PS2 safe from my cat.
It's been a while since I've found one (available in the US) I don't yet have. Sad times.
These three Gen 6 Pokemon plushies are all very recent gets. Of any of my collectables, these are probably the sorts I need to worry about the most. Not only are they huge, but they aren't exactly built to stand upright. I don't want any napping on my nice shelves, so I always have to do surgical repositioning of their limbs (lots of screaming is involved on both sides) to make them stand upright.
I may've even unintentionally given Chespin a vagina during his process.
Thankfully, my Mario plushies didn't need much work. They knew their place. Even if Magikoopa seems to be in a constant state of shock.
The last of my Mario plushies, a cute little Shyguy, stands right in the middle of my DS/3DS collection. On the most right is my Puppycat plushie, which is easily my favorite of my many plushies. It has a bell that really bells! It's also very firm, which makes it great for cuddling. It's the perfect plushie and, no, you can't have it.
Hanging in the middle are my PAX South Friday pass, a Miku Hatsune necklace/pendant, and a Companion Cube stocking that a local artist did two Christmases ago for that local gaming antique shop. It really is the place to be. They can hook you up with all sorts of crap.
Some more local treasures are these pixel cut-outs I got at Comic-Con. Leonardo Mega Man was too great to pass up. I could take or leave Joker, but Leonardo needed a combatant. Frustrating that they always seem to be fighting when I'm just trying to pick out a Blu-ray to watch.
Cyndaquil because he's easily a top 10 Pokemon.
Oh, fuck. More crap I managed to fill my crap heap up with thanks to Comic-Con! Mostly still local, sans the Master Chief Collection poster that was also signed by Downes and Taylor. I especially need to get that Link X Ganon one framed and hung.
You may've noticed this handsome Brute Splicer fella definitely looking handsome next to my Reach statue some pics ago. Another recent get and, once again, thanks to my local antique gaming shop. For it's quality, that it was only 20 bucks is a pretty splendid deal!
By now, I probably should mention that the name of said shop is called Game Over Videogames. I think they're only stationed in Texas, but they do have a site you can browse and order from. Love those retro gaming color schemes. They have Virtual Boys, ROB's, Atari's, even Odyssey's! I've been meaning to try and snatch up a Gameboy Micro from them for a while, if possible.
I do have a few things, beside games, that I've kept with me for a long time. Such as this Guitar Hero II Xplorer that is in deseperate need of a clean. If only I could get it properly synced up with the game, I'd be in heaven.
I think I got that Indigo League DVD collection a couple years ago, but my other Pokemon medias (there's more than what's shown) and THAT DERE KIRBEH are old as fuck. You probably won't ever find me trying to watch them again, but I do keep the VHS's around to stare at. Juuuuust in case, we still somehow have one of those DVD/VHS combo players in the other upstairs room.
If I had the patience, I'd try to find my VHS of Donkey Kong Country: The Legend of the Crystal Coconut I know I must still have. What a riot that show was. Seriously, actually watch that. The movie, in particular, had some genuinely great musicals.
Next to my SNES/N64 games and likely a handful of Pokemon cards, these posters are the oldest things in my collection. From all the way back in 2000, I got them at a little place practically hidden away in a dark corner inside one of our malls that, some years later, became the spot where I would buy my chains and saggy clothes because I thought I could pull off dressing "gangster" at one point in high school.
That was a weird phase. I was probably the only person who dressed that way that was also heavily into Smash Mouth. Thankfully, no pictures exist of me from that era. I swear I'm not lying!
It goes without saying that that little patch of good ol' American consumerism changed quite a bit since purchasing those posters. I wonder if it's even still there at all.
Oh yeah. And these. I also have these. 14 year-old Pokemon Bandaids.
MORE LIKE GOTTA PATCH 'EM ALL, AMIRITE?!
There are some games I'm proud to say that I own, like a week-1 copy of Xenoblade Chronicles and that wonderful, little, short-lived piece of RE pisstory that is "Revelaitons".
And, being a huge Shin Megami Tensei fan, I'm also proud to own a Voltron sword of physical copies of these:
And to close up, I give you my ultimate shame:
Tiger Electronics presents... Big the Cat fishing.
I'll see you all in Hell.
1:14 PM on 03.03.2015
Only semi-related, but I also found this. So adorable!
All it took was a single well done piece to send me on a manic search for literally every great Persona 5 fan do-up I could find. I didn't think I'd ever do a blog like this, even for as huge a fan of Persona as I am, but... here we are. I need to vent my findings as my search was, indeed, very fruitful. So much so, in fact, I'm gonna have to properly organize shit into categories and shit. Even if Persona 5 has yet to have even been given a finalized release date, that doesn't stop the franchise's biggest and most talented fans from creating some really wonderful works with what material they have.
For the record, I'm not here to out-art Dream or Hoff.
But, then again, maybe I am.
I should also mention that I am very very strict about what I consider truly great pieces of art. I'm not even an artist myself, but the tiniest of details can really get to me. An eye that's just a bit off, a chin that's too big (I see a surprising amount of those), awkward poses, watermarks, obvious references, etc. I give some leeway when it comes to having a unique art style, but something about me absolutely hates that one thing that makes the piece imperfect.
So, I guess expect some pretty awesome stuff. Everything's really fucking legit here. (sources, where applicable, in the captions)
Courtesy of our own Benny Disco!
No words needed.
Ring the fucking bell.
Sexy (oh boy, here we go)
It goes without saying, but you should post some too!
9:09 AM on 03.01.2015
[Vidja Ramble is a quick little experiment I wanna try. I'm in a good mood and feel amibitious enough to begin an original series of blogs. Well, nothing is original anymore. Rather, I'm blissfully unaware of anything like this, so, for now, I've got somethin' goin' for me! So, indulge me in my video game rambling, as this is a potential series where I do nothing but jot down my immediate thoughts. Minor filters, of course. I have a pretty active imagination. Anyway... crap, I'm already rambling. Quick! Indulge me!]
I'm listening to Podtoid Episode 258 as I'm trying think up something to talk about.
Boogerman should make a comeback. I've been thinking about this for a wh- dammit, Jim. You talk so much. I love you, but... I can't be bothered to pause the audiio. Shut it for a second.
Can you hear me?
Anyway. Boogerman should make a comeback. For mostly selfish curiousity. I want to put people behind the wheel of a thousands of dollars project to bring back Boogerman just for me. Even though I probably don't actually want it that badly. Is that bad? You probably have a wish like, don't ya?
I wish I could stop thinking about Boogerman now.
Persona 4: Golden. That is a fucking awesome game. Yosuke is cute. Naoto is cute. Chie is hawt. I swear I won't think about masturbating. Damn. Well, back to thinking about the game. It's awesome. I wanna be playing it right now, but I'm busy playing another Persona game: Persona Q. It's also awesome. I've probably spent a combined time of approximately an hour amongst these first 17-18 configuring my party. It's so hard not to just simply choose an all Persona 4 cast along with my Persona 3 MC because they're the most new to me in both Q and 4, seeing as how I only got so far into 4.
Is Teddie really this much of a self-loving perv further ways into 4? It makes for some exciting fantasies, but I'm indifferent to it otherwise. Yeah, the fantasies thing. Even though Teddie's human form doesn't have a specified age, I'm just a tad creeped out I find him so strikingly adorable.
Hold on. This is turning into an honest-to-goodness blog here. This is not what I was going for at all. Different topic.
This is hard.
Video games. C'mon. Video games.
Nintendo! Yes. Nintendo. They make good stuff. Mario, including. Well, of fucking course. Do I have anymore thrilling conversation? How about that Kirby is cute? Oh yeah. Real original. Go me.
I'm absolutely terrified of using my Wii U. I've mentioned this before, but I don't think it likes me. The Wii U hivemind. It doesn't like me. I've lost so goddamn many Gamepads. 2 is a lot. AND THEY DONT' SELL THEM SEPERATELY. I keep having to deal with Nintendo customer support and they still have no idea what Error Code 185-3000 or something means.
Where did I put my warranty for my last Wii U? ... oh god. Wait. It's all on computers. That's right. Shit, but where did I buy it? Gamestop? Which Gamestop? Oh no. What have I done? I'm not shelling out anymore money on replacement Nintendo products. It's getting old. Why can't you be NORMAL, Nintendo? Normal controller. Normal console. Normal!
I mean, be creative and colorful and kiddy. But, be like everyone else at the same time!
I sometimes have to knock myself. I don't make sense sometimes.
Well, I'm thirsty. Is that because I've been thinking so much? I haven't thought this much in a long time. Does that mean my brain is thirsty? I haven't exerted any physical strength outside my arms/hands/fingers. I almost spelt fingers as figures. The brain's a muscle, so I guess that makes sense. It's tired.
Why do you only get wiser with new information? Couldn't you just think about the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until you got more intelligent like grinding in an RPG? That would be so cool. But, I'd have so much time to think about stupid shit that I'd be OP and for all the wrong reasons.
"You cheated!", cries Hawking. "That's not fair!", exclaims... what are some more science guys? Who's that black guy? ....ffffffffuck. Almost had it. There was a funny image of him on a train with someone calling him a dork or something.
No, that's not also Steven Hawking. "J" something?
And who was the universe guy? Billions and billions. Fuck.
Looking at my video games shelf now.......................................................................................... XIII has a cool art style.......................................................... Ty the Tasmanian Tiger was somehow a thing CRIKEY because Australia people say stuff like that............................................................... why did I buy Bejeweled 3 for the DS?.................................................................................... Wow, I am never actually going to buy Disney Infinity and yet I have 4 of those confounded figurines.
I think I just wanna play Persona Q now.
No. Nevermind. I read through what I had and it's not good enough. I really don't think this is a good idea. Hell, I don't even know when to stop. How would I know? This is candid blogging right here. So embarassing. I'm at the mercy of my busy mind.
Run boy run. This world is not meant for you. Run boy run. That just came onto my Spotify. That song from one of Dying Light's trailers. Such a good song.
Yeah, I officially think about masturbating way too much.
4:46 AM on 02.28.2015
Pre-rolls are far too often simply gameplay montages, story montages better suited experiencing along with the actual game, or sometimes just tiny bits of trailers you may've seen many times before even considering your purchase along with some extra title flashes like "GOOD AND ALSO BAD" ... "WHICH PATH WILL YOU CHOOSE?". They often do very little to excite, but who could blame them? It's just those few extra moments before you hit the main menu. Who gives a freak about those?
Me. Me do.
I grew up with games that got you excited even before I could change the brightness to an extent that, in no way, reflected how the prompts told me I should tone said brightness. I have turned it all the way down and that first image is still clear as day! Oh and where is the awesome butt rock?
Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut
Embrassingly enough, this was the best segway I could come up with. This pre-roll is about half campaign footage, which I specifically decried above! However, it's in the way they edited it together with the other half and how they synced it to one of the greatest theme tunes ever by kind of famous Sonic band (that's pretty much what they are) Crush-40 that gets me excited. It was works like this that influenced my passion for video-making.
If this doesn't give you chills, acquire a shittier taste in music and maybe things will work out.
Why Sonic Adventure DX, specifically? More high definition-y and the logo is nicer. It's that kind of remastering that we, in our 8th generation of gaming, can appreciate!
Mortal Kombat: Deception
The PS2/Xbox/Gamecube (Dreamcast?) era is chock full of excellent pre-rolls. Though, looking back, many of which impressed on a visual level rather than one artistic (we were easier to please back then). But, sometimes, they did more than show off the latest CG technology.
Remember the fight between Qui Gon/Obi Wan and Darth Maul in Episode One? One of the few great parts of that film? There's something about a 2 on 1 fight that really gets me (clearly others as well) especially engrossed in the action. Even better when it's featuring characters dear to me despite my extreme inability to play fighting games to this very day. With the way I fight, you'd think these characters were total dorks.
Who's gonna win?! Is Raiden at a disadvantage or is he an absolute tank? Holy crap, he now has the upper hand! He really is a tank! Oh.. oh no! Raiden, get up! You're the protagonist! But, wait... now Quanchi and Tsung are fighting? WUT?! Now all three team up against a sudden "dragon king"? The excitement never stops.
The coreography is occasionally a little Shatner-esque, but it's endearing all the same.
Donkey Kong Country
Oh my lanta. Did you see that? That's the tip top of the original arcade Donkey Kong stage! I never noticed that! Fitting, of course, given Cranky is canonically (yes, Donkey Kong has canon) that same Kong that started it all.
The SNES was my first console experience, all the way back in 1994. Even though I was just 3 or 4 years old, I distinctly remember walking out of Toys 'R' Us hugging a Donkey Kong Country/SNES bundle in my little arms... which would soon be given to my aunt and not me. I guess she really wanted me and my cousins to come visit as much as possible and, ya know what, it worked. Clever girl.
I would always indulge myself in this short little animation. I chuckled a bit each time I saw it. It made me almost wish it would continue onwards like a full-fledged cartoon. Come 1997 (in the US), FOX Kids was the place to see exactly that and...
... well, the games are still great.
Oh, what joy Brutal Legend could've been had it knew what to do with itself. Grandpappy of metal, Ozzy Osbourne, couldn't even save it (God, such fantastic models and animation). One day, perhaps we'll see a fully-realized Brutal Legend from Tim Schafer and co. that impresses gamers and heavy metal fans alike. Until then, let's try to best enjoy what we have, eh?
Partly, the game's pre-roll. Unlike many others, it's actually live action! And starring Jack Black! That brother is always a good watch. Energy and passion ooze from all his best work, even if some may be tired of his antics by now. For all the missteps Brutal Legend took, it's cast and story were not amongst them. Setting up said story directly addressing the player towards a legendary tale hidden within an ancient metal vinyl was brilliant and fit the tone of the game perfectly.
That it was all done in a single, continuous shot helps it stand even further out from the rest. It's such a crime that projects like Brutal Legend are so rare.
So many of those arcade cabinets I could never afford to play as much as I wanted to
For as priviledged as I was growing up, it wasn't easy asking my mother for even several dollars to play a video game similar to the video games I could just be playing at home. Even my very naive, spoiled, young brain knew it was stupid, so I would mostly stare into those screens for minutes on end and often pretending that I was playing rather than the computer.
Yes, they weren't much more than simple gameplay montages, but arcades were so far-removed from playing video games on your consoles or portable devices. Not only was it a wholly different experience, but they needed those lazy pre-rolls and that thumping music to get you to stop at their cabinet rather than that Pacman one for the eleventy-billionith time. I so wanted to play them, but I, at the same time, couldn't be bothered. Their pre-rolls, though, were my windows into those worlds.
From Cruis'n World, The House of the Dead, The Avengers, Jurassic Park, Pole Position, that weird light gun game Aerosmith put out, and so many more. I loved them all, yet I had hardly ever pressed start.
Persona 4: Golden
I think anyone with an OLED Vita and Persona 4: Golden will agree with me here: Golden's intro is absolutely gorgeous! Trust me, this "480p" video does not do it justice at all.
The animation is pretty alright, but the visuals are so poppy and vibrant that it's almost impossible not to want to sit there and watch them flow by each and every time you start up the game. I shouldn't even need to mention the music given that Persona music is almost always some of the best in gaming, but Shadow World compliments the visuals perfectly. It's killing me, the happiness.
I don't take kindly to those that can't at least crack a smile from this. You don't like it? Baloney. You keep watching it until you do. You know what creature is least known for smiling? Fish. You are a fish. Stop being a fish, you fish.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Vice City was probably the first PC game I got really into. My computer back then wasn't much, but it could at least play things like Vice City, WoW or Half-Life 2. Taking advantage of this, hours were spent roaming through Vice City and absorbing it's wonderful setting. More than the gameplay, story, or even the music, I remember the blurring neon as I passed by at night and the sun shining against my hawaiian button-up and assault weaponry during the day.
And sniping the moon. That was cool. Oh and hopping to get around, on-foot, in style.
The game's pre-roll captures Vice City from all it's best angles while set to an oh so lovely tune clearly riffing off of Jan Hammer's classic Miami Vice theme. It never ceases to draw me into that fantasy 1980's, where everything is flashy, sexy, fast, and dangerously fun. I can't wait for GTA's eventual return to Vice City. It's just gotta happen.
Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
DBZ is pretty exciting when it's distilled down into a minute and a half of actual fighting rather than several episodes of grunting, backtalk, and powering up before some fighting and then we get half an episode of comic relief from Hercule and the other half Goku is learning to drive because haha he can't drive.
Seriously, I loved DBZ and still do to this very day. I'd say it was my favorite anime if I had seen more anime than DBZ, several episodes of a show here or there and a few films. At one point, I was also really into the Budokai series of DBZ fighters. Next to being Spider-Man, I really wanted to be a saiyan! With me and my blonde hair, I was always sort of half a super saiyan... just without the Galick Guns or the Kamehamehas. Thankfully, Budoaki 1, 2, and 3 were great opportunities to taste what it might be like to be in control of these amazing powers. Sporting faithful visuals and cinematic presentation along with tons of fighters, they were incredibly hard to put down.
The intro to Budokai 3, in particular, I don't remember skipping too often. These days, the music alone keeps me invested. That slide, vibrato-centric guitar melody embodying that warm nostalgia I so crave whenever I think about stuff like DBZ, the PS2 and my many evenings spent alone playing it. Budokai is all three of those things in one sweet package.
Super Smash Brothers
C'mon. I'll give you some leeway on Persona 4: Golden and it's infectiously upbeat pre-roll, but you're not about to tell me this doesn't get you way too excited to play Smash Brothers. Those classic sound effects, every cut aims to please, all escalating into the characters clashing with a critical strike and that uproarious narration:
"SUPER! SMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASH BROTHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRSSSSSS!"
What more is there to say? It's, like, objectively one of the best.
Onimusha 3: Demon Siege
Speaking of some of the best, we have finally come to end with the big daddy of video game pre-rolls: Onimusha 3.
To this day, the CG here has barely aged at all. For a game that released over a decade ago (don't pretend you don't feel old now), that is a beyond tremendous achievement. Sure, most of the facial capture is just a little awkward and the sparse liquid effects look rather cheap, but everything else is top notch. You'd be forgiven for thinking this was a product of the 7th generation.
The coreography, unlike what's seen in the Mortal Kombat: Deception opening, hasn't aged much either. It's actually some of the best mo-cap I've ever seen. Back in the day? Not only did I love it, but I found it so mesmerizing. I'm watching a high quality film here, ma! Look at those slick moves and that pro swordplay! Wide-eyed, I could not bare to look away. That I had a whole game to enjoy after such a display was unbelievable because I was already getting my allowance's worth.
Combining jaw-dropping CG with excellent art and top-tier mo-cap, as well as considering it's age, it's easily the most impressive video game opening I've seen. At this point, I'm starting to feel that nothing will ever top it. Nothing. Ever.
What are some of your favorite pre-rolls/openings? Show them to me! I really wanted to list the original Borderlands', but I was reminded it didn't show up until a new game was initiated. Shame. Don't get intros and openings mixed up like I did!