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1:02 PM on 07.29.2009

Pixelvista: Knights in the Nightmare. And yes, this is LONG.

Welcome everyone, to my semi-daily rantview: Pixelvista. Pixelvista is where I will be sort of reviewing games, but not to the extent of a review. More so, giving impressions of it but at the same time finalizing the opinion with detailed justification. So welcome to Pixelvista: The Art of the Gaming Horizon.

I know I really half-assed it with my Knights in the Nightmare "post". For those who have been waiting for it, I present to you Pixelvista Vol.1: Knights in the Nightmare.

Publisher: ATLUS USA
Developer: Sting Inc

Knights in the Nightmare, is without a doubt, one of the the most elegant, beautiful and innovative games that I've ever played. Outside of the classic, The World Ends With You, no other DS game has come close to providing such a fresh, innovative experience and taking complete advantage of the system's hardware until now.

KitN is the result of when you toss real time strategy RPG, bullet hell shump, tic tac toe and a slot machine in a blender. Sounds complicated, right? Not really. Knights opens up with a tutorial that's about an hour or so long to teach you the necessary steps of playing the game. However, in this Pixelvista entry, it will not take that long. I will do my absolutely best to explain this game in words.

As Episode IV, of the Dept. Heaven series that was preceded with Riviera: The Promised Land and Yggdra Union, which were both released on the GBA and PSP, you take control of a wisp, a flying spirit that has the ability to possess things, more specifically, your units. The game is divided up between the touch screen and the top screen. You use the stylus to control the wisp on the battlefield, possessing units at will. Before each battle turn, you will have a predetermined number of units to set in preselected slots. The units are Warriors, Lance Knights, Priestess, Wizards, Archers, Hermits and Duelists. Each unit has different attack properties. For example, the Warrior can only face northwest and northeast, and the Hermit can only face southwest and southeast. You have quite a bit of strategy here when placing your units.

Once your units are set, you equip up to 4 items. Weapons are class dependent as expected, and you also obtain in the game, key items. Key items are items used to recruit new knights for your roster(the game has up to 100 to recruit) Recruiting new knights is a definite must.

Now here come's the really confusing parts.

Once all units and items are set into battle, it begins. You have something called an Encounter Reel. Think a slot machine. It appears before each battle(sans the first turn) and allows you to "strategically" place where your enemies will and what they will be. The objective of the game is to defeat the enemies and score KILL horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in the FOR VICTORY table that appears on the top of the screen in battle.

Every time you defeat an enemy, KILL is crossed off on the table. Once you defeat all enemies that turn, the turn ends and you go back to the Encounter Reel and select more enemies.

Knights attack and move dependent on the order of the universe. Law, in blue, and Chaos, in red. In battle you have the ability to switch between Law and Chaos at anytime. Most weapons can only be used in either or, but some weapons have the ability to be used in both, but with different effects. For example, the Lance Knight on his or her horse, will attack with a lance stab in Law, but when charging and attacking in Chaos, he or she will move forward two spaces and attack. Law and Chaos bring an unprecedented amount of depth to an already deep game, so you will have to plan strategically accordingly based upon your units and enemy situation.

The actual gameplay you ask? Oh yeah, of course. Using the touch screen to control the wisp, you float around the battlefield, possessing your units at will. You can do ordinary attacks and special attacks by selecting them and holding, which begins charging. Once you've finished charging, they will attack enemies and obstacles in their attack range. However to do a special attack, grabbing of the item in the 4 slots is required, then dragged onto the unit, then charging. Using charged special attacks take up MP. You have up to 9 MP you can store. Every time you attack an enemy, gems and materials will come out. Gems restore your MP and materials are used to strengthen weapons to make them stronger.

Enemies attack by shooting bullets and other things. Most of the time the screen is littered with so much stuff, it gets really ridiculous. So not only do you have to attack with your Knights, you have to dodge bullets as well. Every time you are hit, your units will lose Vitality and time will go down. You have 60 seconds per turn to defeat the enemies. If you fail to do so, enemies will gradually recover health(ESPECIALLY during boss battles) and you have X amount of turns to achieve victory. Depending on how many enemies you fight and how large the board is, you can get up to 16 turns down to about 4.

If you win the battle, you gain EXP. and items, which are used to level up your knights, and make your weapons stronger. Your weapons however, have a set amount of Duration. So of course, use it too many times and "break". So you really have to use your items wisely.

Leveling up items is by the use of materials gain in battle. When you level up your items, the damange percentage gets larger and you gain something called Rush Count. Rush Count is a table of 3 columns with random numbers. Depending on the number hit combo you do in battle, a special condition will come up in battle. So for example, if you had a Nameless Bow with a rush count of 44, if you were to do an attack that landed in 44 hits, you would enable whatever that Rush Count special ability is. Making weapons is also a game, as every time you upgrade your weapon, the trust level will go down. If you fail to upgrade the weapon, the duration will go down by 1, and if you keep doing it, obviously it will break. This is especially so for the rare and powerful weapons, which have like a duration of 3 by default. I've had a lot of weapons break on me because of this, so be careful.

You can also transoul units into another one. By sacrificing a unit into another one, the maximum level they can be leveled up to will increase, however dependent on the unit being sacrificed their L.I.(Law) and C.I.(Chaos, these two factors determine how strong they will be in the order) will variable. Also, the race of the unit will determine if the transoul will be successful or a failure. As stated earlier, there are 100 Knights to recruit in the game, so you have a large amount of options.

The game's story is very well done. This will be spoiler free, of course. Everything at the beginning is really disconnected, but as you play, everything will start to make sense. The art design is very well done, like most Sting games. The UI never feels cluttered, but "full", with tons of detail appearing on the screen at once. The audio is superb with nice classical "medieval" style tunes, and subtle, simple but very clear voice acting. The game is very linear with the story telling. There is no overworld to roam, everything plays out in scenes, and is very pacing. Knights has 9 different endings, and even though I don't know how to get them, I would assume they would be based upon your actions in the game. When you complete the game, there is a new game plus option where items and knights only appear in this mode, and you have the option to play the game again through a brand new storyline with a different point of view.

Knights in the Nightmare is a tremendous game in a small little package. It's a shame that most people outside of those who know about the game will play this marvelous wonder of a game. The gameplay is fresh, new and innovative, the storyline is great, the productions are superb, and if you have a copy of Yggdra Union for the GBA, plug it in your GBA slot for some surprises. Knights is hands down my favorite DS game of all time(for right now anyway), and I would totally recommend it. I hope I explained the game very well, as it's really difficult to elaborate on a lot of things, especially in a game as deep as this. I hope you all enjoyed this volume of Pixelvista.   read

12:08 AM on 07.10.2009

Going to NYC today. Any awesome game related places I should check out?

Fill me in. After a long time of planning, I'm finally going to visit the Big Apple, 3 AM today. Obviously the first place of importance is Nintendo World, Times Square and the like. We'll just be there for a day and I don't know what to really expect or go to in a short period of time. I know this isn't much of a cblog less a "forum" topic, but I just want to know any awesome places I should check out on the first run before I go back a second time next month.

Serious and witty/sarcastic response are welcome.

And for those of you wanting a REAL Knights in the Nightmare c-blog, give me another week. I'm pretty far into the game and it's safe to say I'm at a point where I can finally make impressions on it.   read

12:06 AM on 07.02.2009

Knights in the Nightmare maybe the best Nintendo DS game I've ever played.

Yeah I said it.   read

2:31 AM on 06.05.2009

Metroid: Other M-Speculation...ASSEMBLE~

Now chances are that your mind has been blown away by this hell of a surprise Nintendo and Team Ninja gave us. Some us find it enjoyable-others not so much. But I'm not here to talk about that.

No. I'm here to talk about what the name means, and how it can by synonym to all things Metroid.

Nintendo has confirmed this game to be set between Super and Fusion. We already see Adam and a young Samus at the Galactic Federation HQ. Flashbacks of her fighting Mother Brain are seen, alongside mysterious women and a black guy who no one remembers.

The title, Other M, is supposed to represent a variety of themes in this game. It isn't solitary-it's a multitude ot metaphorical meanings. And on top of that, everyone's saying if you rearranged it, it spells Mother. Here's a list of things that I've come up with that could possibly be represented.

The loss of Samus's mother during the Ridley raid when she was younger.
The Metroid larva that Samus found at the end of Metroid II that saved Samus's life because it saw her as it's "mother'.
The realization of her not having a mother, in physical form, but to the spiritual aspect of the Chozo upbringing in a motherly state.
Perhaps Samus gives birth to a bunch of genetic clones in that Body Arms place in the trailer, or uses the Chozo technology in her suit to mother their technology.

On top of that, how did they secure a vaccine from the Metroid larva in Fusion? They had to get it somehow-maybe the Metroid that saved Samus's life wasn't dead after all. There are a lot of unexplained answers in the Metroid timeline. I know it's a bit too early to speculate based on the trailer, but hopefully this game will answer them all.

because it's that fucking awesome   read

10:01 AM on 05.11.2009

Where are we in the gaming evolution?

Everyone likes to bitch and moan about shit they played a thousand years ago being remade to today's technology. Remakes after remakes, sequel after sequel. Playing video games used to be an underground thing back in the 90s; Either you played games or you didn't, simple as that. There were no such things as "casual" gamers and "hardcore" gamers. Blasphemy, is what I call it. Video games have tremendously received a lot more double-edged praise over the past 10 or so years, but really only to expand their audience. Unless video games are a trend in today's minimalist society(yeah I said it), alongside stupid shit like iPods, Blackberries and whatever else the fuck morons are buying subconsciously because "it's the hottest thing", video games won't last very long. Why? Companies are focusing more on mainstream ideas and focusing on HD technology. Motherfuckers wanted better graphics, well look, we have them, but in sacrifice longer development times and one or POSSIBLE two iterations of a game per console. We're talking about how back in 16-bit days Square used to churn out RPGs on the SNES like butter. Now due to HD compromising and production standards, we get a possible ONE or TWO good games from them, mixed in with a bunch of half-assed attempts at a game. When we first saw the next-generation hardware, followed by "target renderings" and "bullshots", we were fooled that our favorite games we knew and love would be "totally awesome" in high definition. Man, were we proven wrong. I would say that the last golden age of gaming exists in the 128-bit era with the Playstation 2, GameCube and Xbox. Development times were shorter, and no one was really about "remaking" anything or rebooting franchises, per se. We've come to the age of gaming where everyone's running out of ideas, rehashing old game blueprints because saying "X game from 1970 something would look good right about now, we could make money off of it" is a totally great idea. Before the flames come, I do know that the media works like that. We see it all the time in movies and television shows, but in video games you can only do it so much without it getting old and stale.

The Nintendo DSi is a prime example of this. Now I love Nintendo, they've done a lot of great things but made a lot of mistakes in the past. The Nintendo DS is a great handheld and I don't believe there will ever be another one to surpass it[cue PSP fanboys], however the DSi is just a waste of time and money. Not saying it's a bad handheld, but 40 bucks for a marginal upgrade? Really? They could have at least made the screens widescreen or something. The online DSi shop looks a mess, the cameras really aren't needed, and the web browser still sucks ass. There's a larger screen, and better button firm, but that's about it. Nintendo should've went back to the cutting room floor with this, unless you don't already own a DS, there's no point of buying one. It's even become a thing with Nintendo, where they have to follow stupid trends such as this now. Now, thanks to the iPod Touch and PSP, they believe they NEED to have a handheld with multimedia capabilities. What happened to their motto of just being about games, and not about the latter?

Over the past few years, with every original idea comes about 10 sequels and remakes and reboots. I can name a lot of great original games, that game companies that are cult classics but due to the mainstream audience not accepting them, will never see the light of day ever again. Games such as Okami and Eternal Darkness come to mind. Rehashing a video game is like rehashing a good movie; it was great the first time until you see the remake and realize how many faults the original had, but because the rehash doesn't capture the spirit of the original, you enjoy the remake but have mixed feelings towards it, and despite the gap in production quality over the years, you would prefer the original.

Now don't get me wrong, there are SOME games that do deserve to be remade for today's generation. But once again, our standards are set too high these days. When the first trailer for Devil May Cry 4 was shown, everyone was stoked. When the final product came out, it was disappointing and doesn't even come close to holding a candle to 1 and 3. What is the missing substance here? Are development studios taking HD for granted and skimping out on the actual gameplay, using the illusion of "better graphics equals everything"? Or is it because we've played it all before, but now it's just under a fresh coat of paint?

Nostalgia ensues on a lot, and I've come to realize a lot of people are replaying classic consoles again such as the Dreamcast, PS2, Sega Saturn and SNES. Although it's quite sad that we've come so far in technology in gaming that we have to take a step back to play the games we really enjoy, even for a brief moment. The Wii's Virtual Console alone is a selling point. If my Wii weren't broken right now, despite me owning a 360, I could easily slide into a 20 hour session of Super Mario World or A Link to the Past right now. No questions asked. 2D never ages, but 3D will always age. I wonder what's up with that?

I suppose to close this off I'm just going to say it's really difficult to get excited about games anymore. Action Game 7 or Remake of a Remake 3 just doesn't cut it. They were cool back in the day, but now everyone is doing it. Whenever I see originality that isn't just a trend, I will be there.   read

5:02 PM on 05.03.2009

Had a blast this weekend at the Baltimore NARP! also, Linux

Thanks for the great time everyone! I don't remember all of your names, but AgentMoo, Cowzilla, Topher, Andy(keener, my main n-word), Blindsidedork,girl from NYDtoid Narp, Shi, the guy who's name starts with an S[edit: Samtt] who's birthday was today, the awesome Mame arcade guy, and of course, Hito for of course letting us bums into his wonderful house playing his awesome video games. I still WOWed at his collection of toys upstairs. Nerdgasm, I know.

So yeah, if you were there, leave a comment! I wanna add you all to my D-Toid list and Xbox Live list. I had a shitload of fun meeting you all, and no, there's no chance I will get better at Power Stone 2. But I will kick Hito's ass at that puzzle game on of these days. Magical Drop, was it? Yeah Hito, better watch out. You got competition son!

On this note I'm out. Sexy Beach 3 FTW, Pterodactyl porn FTL.

what is this I don't even   read

11:43 AM on 04.30.2009

I'm feeling pretty fucking lazy.

I woke up earlier to go to CVS to buy something. I ask the retard manager there if this was something he would recommend but instead I received a half-assed response because he fucking fails at life. He then thought I was probably trying to steal. Whatever, I bought what I needed and went home.

I get in the house, take a warm bath and after I got out, I've been under the covers with my laptop ever since. Reading all the game news and flame wars between idiots about the 360 Elite's RRoD probability, combined with the gentle soothing aura of me being underneath the covers had put me in a 30 something minute sleep. I wake up and realized I still haven't purchased the full versions of Banjo-Tooie and Virtual On yet, but they're downloaded to my 360 as trials. Fuck. I'm also hungry but not THAT hungry. I was contemplating on fixing eggs and toast with jelly but now I'm just like "fuck it", and I think I'll stay under the covers a bit while longer. I'd be fucking pissed if someone woke me up from this dream resort. Decapitations and uncensored chainsaw deaths would just be the beginning.

Oh, and I watched some YouTube vid of Dead Rising on the Wii. Looks horrible and I would be fucking embarrassed to play that piece of shit. That was clearly a pity game, Capcom. Fuck you, the Wii doesn't need your pity.

By the way, anyone download Outrun Arcade? It's a fantastic game. Everytime I play it, it feels like I'm at some sunny beach arcade or some shit. The gameplay is great and the music is 90's fantastic. I love Sega AM2. They make all of my retarded heavily saturated 60 fps dreams come true. AfterBurner Climax on XBLA! I demand it now!

Follow me on Twitter-oh wait I don't have one. I don't think I could stand to push F5 all day like a retard.

9:44- just woke up
9:45-getting out of the bed now
9:45:1-thinking what to type next
9:45:9-phew, barely made the last millisecond

I'll be at the Baltimore NARP this weekend. I'll be wearing a Metroid shirt, because bitches don't know about Samus.

Metroid All Day Son   read

2:02 AM on 03.24.2009

Tips of how your ass can get better at RE5's Mercenaries.

Resident Evil 5's "The Mercenaries" mode is great fun. It's awesome fun even, picking a character and blasting hordes of infected creatures and scoring big. Hell, I would have to say it's even better than RE4's Mercs. 8 stages with 4 characters with different costume and weapon setups equals infinite re-playability.

Now I'm writing this because I'm seeing and hearing a mass bunch of people bitch and moan about this mode being too difficult. Like most Capcom games, it requires patience, timing and memorization. You can't just expect to hop blindly into a level and expect to get a SS Rank. Unless you're me, but unfortunately in your case, you're not.So here are some tips and tricks to help you land triple figure high scores and beat those pesky Asian players once and for all.

And if you think I'm joking about that, check the leaderboards.. LAND OF THE RISING SUN.

The most important thing in Mercs always is choosing a right character for the job. Chris, Jill, Sheva and Wesker all have their strengths and weaknesses. Chris is your default character with firepower with shotguns and grenade launchers, Sheva is more of a rifle, longbow and machine gun type of gal, Jill relies heavy on weak weaponry and melee attacks(and she moves slightly faster than the others), and Wesker is pretty much instant death to all who stands in his way. Usually on first level runs, you'd want to pick a character you're the most comfortable with. Don't expect to get an A, S or SS rank your first time through; take the time out to locate everything. Time bonuses, combo time bonuses and the different "regions" enemies spawn in. Each level has 149 enemies to spawn and 1 chicken(except for Mines which apparently has 2 chickens). The game can spawn demi-bosses in two ways:

A. Randomly, or when the game has spawned enough enemies to bombard you with a boss
B. When you kill X amount of enemies, where X being the variable qualification the game requires

Unlike the main game, bosses follow you everywhere you go. So that means on Public Assembly, the Executioner WILL jump up to where ever you are, even on the bus and other seemingly inaccessible places he couldn't reach you in the campaign. Bosses once defeated, drop a health item. Green and red herbs, and first aid sprays randomly. If you're going to defeat a boss, make sure you keep chaining enemies around it. Even though the boss can kill you with one hit and put you in a dying state, as long as you keep your distance you can easily chain the boss with a combo, especially if you're using a high powered weapon character.

Use the invincibility frames to your advantage. Picking up items, going through doors, and climbing ladders put you in a state of "HAHA YOU CAN'T HIT ME" for a brief period of time. It even works on bosses; so right before the Executioner slams down the axe on you, pick up an item and he won't hit you. Depending on the area you're in, the behaviors of enemies act differently and independently. Sometimes the enemies will surround you, grabbing you and leaving you open for pure ownage. This can totally mess up your combo since you barely have time and you have to keep moving to keep the chain going.

The first thing you should usually do when the mission starts is to just gather all the Time Bonuses as soon as possible. Doing this will give you precious time to hunt for combo bonuses and gather weapons and healing items, without the worrysome of running out of time. You can find time bonuses of 30, 60 and 90 seconds respectively, and you can get a 5 second bonus of killing an enemy with a melee attack. If you're playing Duo mode, have one person find time, and the other combos. Shin Oni and I managed to pull a 90 something combo streak on Public Assembly by doing this, easily managing time and enemy disposal very well.

Speaking of enemy disposal, don't camp. Each map has different regions enemies spawn in, so hanging around one area for a long time will get you nowhere. Constantly move around and have at least one enemy hanging around so in case your combo meter starts flashing, you can kill it and usually more enemies will spawn at your location. This is good for laying down proximity mines. Proximity mines can be your best friend, since you don't have to be around to kill enemies. The feeling of getting an instant 10 combo while being on the other side of the map is indescribable.

When climbing ladders, jumping, or doing an action with a long string of animation, do a quick reload. That consists of going into your menu and just combining your ammo into your weapon, giving you a reload without the time consuming animation. This will totally save your ass when fighting a large horde of enemies and bosses. Learn how to multi-task and also ready whatever item you want to use after the action animation. So if you want to use an herb, quickly memorize where it is in your menu and access it through your menu. Also d-pad shortcuts are your best friends.

Stock accordingly. The most important type of grenades are the flash ones. There's nothing more that sucks ass than being on a 73 combo streak, killing a Majini only for it to spawn a parasite out of it's head, killing your combo. And those clamshell parasites are the worst. One hit dying state move is gay. Flash grenades get the job done.

That's pretty much it. RE5's Mercs takes a lot more time to develop skill than it's predecessor. Unless you're naturally gifted at such things like this, it'll take you more than a few tries to get all 8 maps down and all character strategies figured out. I would recommend playing Solo, then playing with a friend to practice.

And no, Sheva's revealing outfits will not help you score more points. Even thought it's great eye candy. :D   read

3:25 PM on 03.23.2009

I loved Resident Evil 5. But here's a list of things I think could've been made better.

Resident Evil 5 was an incredible game. Sure it just took what RE4 started and didn't really expand on the formula, but it took the engine and made it into a phenomenal experience. OK, OK, so it's just RE4HD. But still it was a great game. Being human and having an opinion, here's a list of things that I personally think could have made the game better and a lot more memorable than being "just a sequel":

1. They should have kept the mirage effect. Well ok, it's still there with the reapers(shoot any part of their body and they release a game that makes mirages of themselves), but if the whole game had that effect, be it the Las Plagas had attached that to about every enemy in the game(or the ones that make sense at least), the atmosphere would've been a lot more dreadful to progress though. You wouldn't be able to tell what is real and what's not, leaving your own fate in despair.

2. The marshlands were creepy areas to traverse, but they could have been even more eerie at night. Let's face it, having this installment of Resident Evil in the daylight was a bad idea. Well, it really wasn't a bad idea when they attached all of those unique ideas onto it(dehydration, mirages, adjusting eyes to sunlight), but when Capcom scrapped those ideas, they took the scary along with it. The marshlands are a prime example; massive crocodiles in the water, an ancient tribe trying to kill you, and voodoo and shaman shit everywhere. I could only imagine seeing the crocodile's glowing red eyes in the water at night, and the tribal's glowing bright red eyes in the darkness. You wouldn't know where they would be coming from, with your only source of light being your weaponry. Same thing with the temple. Even though those are my 2 favorite parts in the game, they were a totally missed importunity with suspense and terror.

3. I really wanted to explore the Kijuju town more. The earlier trailers depicted Chris walking through alleyways and open areas of the town. There were areas in the trailer that never showed up in the actual game, with the only "big" area of the village being the Public Assembly area. The game does have a reasonable amount of backstreets, alleyways and buildings to explore, but it felt too small compared to RE4's village, which was massive on comparison. And what happened to the villagers using a rope to bring down the bus in the Public Assembly area? It was in the trailer, but I guess they took it out.

4. I would've liked to had seen more B.O.W.'s. The Licker Betas were a great comeback, but that's really about it. The enemies in the game were cool(I love the designs of the Plagas parasites, U-8 and the bat-thing), but they were too far in between. Uroboros was really repetitive, and I know it's the theme of the game, but fighting it 4 times(counting the Wesker fight) is overdoing it. RE4 had more varied boss battles, and 5's just are quite as memorable. Who doesn't remember fighting U3 in the cages in midair, only to escape cliffside and thinking you killed it, only for it to climb back up the cliff and kill you?

5. The Merchant was awesome. That's all I have to say.

6. Even though this RE was more canonical than 4 was(take away Leon, Ada and Wesker and you wouldn't think that was a Resident Evil), Capcom still left open plotholes. We see the head of Umbrella after all of these years, where the virus comes from, and the Doomsday project mentioned in various RE's in full effect here, but at the same time, the Las Plagas nonsense still sets center stage here. It's never explained how it got to Africa. And where the hell did Tricell come from? It's once again yet another pharmaceutical company to battle, in which I'm going to assume will be the antagonist corporation for RE6 and beyond. They could have done more with Jill, and I'm assuming that Sheva is now part of the main character party, so I expect to see her in later games.

7. The machine gun wielding Majini. Jesus Christ. I tolerated that, but Capcom, never do that shit again. Chapter 5-2 to the end of the game really kill the suspense mood by having us fight those things. And thanks to them, I personally don't like playing those chapters unless I have to. It's like my feelings with the Island on RE4. The village and castle was great, but the Island just sucked serious balls and totally didn't make ANY sense.

That's pretty much it. Past those flaws I found RE5 to be a great game. I didn't bitch about the controls because it's not intended to be a "Gears of War" or whatever(in fact RE4 inspired that game). I played with Type A controls with the control speed on Fastest so it was easily accessible. I just wish Capcom could have stuffed in a bit more content before sealing the deal. The game has a lot of replay value, that's for sure. I'm sure there's going to be a lot of downloadable content in the future, as a lot of side quests are missing akin to Assignment Ada and Separate Ways. Even though the game suffers from copypasta, I find myself hopelessly addicted to it, and jumping in and out of games after you complete it is just fun.   read

11:03 PM on 03.11.2009

Resident Evil 5 is easy? I think not.[spoilers]

After playing with Shin Oni yesterday in some Resident Evil 5 offline co-op(he managed to pick it up early from an import/dosmestic) store, I have to say, Resident Evil 5 is not as easy as one make it seems.

Shin decided to drop by, to give me a quick sample, which later on became a meal, of what was to come to me come Friday. Anxiously inserting the game into my 360, the game I've waited 3 years for, and the main reason why I bought a 360(or a next generation console in general), had finally arrived.

We enabled co-op mode and set the difficulty to Veteran. Mind you that there's a difficulty after that, Professional, that is unlocked once you have beaten the game. Once we started up the game, our hellbound journey through Africa began.

Skip past cutscenes, we gather our equipment, only to be surrounded by a huge mob of Majini. Here I am, trying to fight them, and Shin is just like "turn around and run fool". After dying(by the way I am a RE vet, but this totally threw me off guard), we restart the scene again and manage to escape.

I'm just going to make a long story short; to those who have said RE5 was really easy and ammo was plentiful, you are dead wrong. Throughout the game, Shin and I struggled, yes and I mean, struggled to find ammo for our weapons. The Majini came from all sides, through dark alleyways, caves, mines, and oil refineries. There were barrels everywhere, yes, but they were mainly filled with gold. We struggled to find herbs and first aid sprays, having to sell out precious weapons for a few hundred just to buy a few sprays.

There were so many "we are fucked" moments that I can't even count them all. From being ambushed, to no remorse from the game as a chainsaw wielding maniac came our way while we scourged for the littlest bit of ammo. Every piece of ammo we found counted. Majini took about 7-8 handgun bullets to the face, about 4-5 with a shotgun, and about 30 with Machine Guns. Grenades helped, but not as planned, they only slowed them down. And the minibosses? Forget about it. Once we made it to the Marshlands, the Tribal Majini we encountered there were faster, stronger, more agile, than the ones found in the village. They leaped into their air with their spears, wielding grenade infused bows, firing at will. Shin and I struggled to gather as many herbs and ammo as we can.

Then...the tribal leaders came.

These huge guys with elephant tusks on with giant staffs come chasing after us. Once you're hit by one of them, you're pretty much screwed. Shin and I died about 10 or more times in that area alone, and about 15+ times in just about every chapter and chapter checkpoint.

The game is still survival. While it may not be survival horror in the sense of shit coming out of doors and hallways, it still has that classic Resident Evil feel to it. There were so many heart pacing moments I had where it was either life or death, herb or reload, and wondering where my partner, Shin, was at. We bound to stay close together at all times, and the brief times where we had to separate were dreadful and uneasy.

After reading previews, I don't see where the hell these people have got this "its a walk in the park" and "ammo was everywhere" bullshit from. From what I've played so far(we made it into Chapter 4), this game is not easy, at all, period. It's more nerve wrecking, suspenseful and dreadful more-so than all of the Resident Evils before it. And you know what? I loved every minute of it.   read

10:43 PM on 02.06.2009

Some pretty accurate Resident Evil 5 predictions[spoilers probably]

I'm so pumped for Resident Evil 5 that I'm constantly playing the demo everyday and watching the trailers almost the same; so if you're a true Resident Evil fan at heart, feel free to read what I think, are some of my predictions with the story and how it may turn out. Please note that the following speculation I have gathered and gone all fan-giddy with have mainly come from places pieces together from different trailers. Well enjoy.

So who is the girl in the bird mask?

That's quite of hard question to answer, but I personally think it's Jill. By piecing together some lines thrown out from Wesker such as "We last met in the Spencer Estate" to telling Chris "Your partner has arrived. I'll give you time to..catch up" sort of states the obvious. Sure Sheva maybe Chris' partner in this game, but she's pretty much with you all the time. So what other partner could it be? Also if you look closely while Bird-Girl is fighting, they flash the Jill Valentine gravestone frame for a quick second. This makes me come to believe that the woman we saw inside the tube is Jill Valentine, going through some type of experiment to make her super-powerful or something. Why does Wesker want her? Is it obviously going to be part of some elaborate plan? Well, duh. It's Resident Evil.

It was all a setup. Really?

With the scenes with various members of the BSAA rushing in somewhere(can't remember where), to Chris' line something or another of it being all a setup, makes me think that the BSAA is all a setup by Wesker himself. Soldiers dropping like flies and getting infected like there's no tomorrow. Perhaps the BSAA is a cover for Wesker's plan to revive Umbrella, and by having a group of elite soldiers fall for the ol' bait and switch(we saw this with S.T.A.R.S. at the Spencer Estate), it seems that Wesker is once again the master at creating false organizations for the sake of his own experiments. There's also going about on the RE5 official website where the message "Sheva Knew" can be seen in the background.

The Las Plagas T-Virus. Wait, what?

In Resident Evil 4, it was stated that the Las Plagas was in no way related to the T-Virus at all, and Ada was playing a double agent role, pretending to help Wesker but at the same time retrieving a sample for the company that she's really working for. Now in 5, we have a parasite that pretty much is the Las Plagas, but under a different name and form. Infected people grow tentacles out of their head, parasitic bat-like creatures fly out of their bodies, normal animals such as alligators and dogs are mutated beyond size and growing additional body parts(the dogs splits their heads into two different ones). If Capcom has done the story right(in this case I'm pretty sure they tried to sum it up), Kijuju(the game's location) is supposed to be the origin of the T-Virus deep underground and the original starting point for Umbrella(as seen in the trailer with Chris wiping off the dirt to reveal an Umbrella logo). Also shown in that scene are flowers with spores coming out of them, differentiating itself somewhat from the fossilized state the Las Plagas were in. It seems that Umbrella has extracted these spores into a vaccine and with scientific technology, it evolved into many viruses such as the T, G, and Progenitor Virus(which is the plot device for RE5). However while the incident in Raccoon City might have mutated it's hosts on it's own regards, it failed to correctly dominate human test subjects as they were instantly killed and "zombified". While the Las Plagas went through multiple stages of growth inside of a human host, the T-Virus barely did anything but make them flesh hungry. The only human subjects close to resembling those of the Las Plagas would be the Tyrants, whom grew massive arms, tentacles of death and pretty much almost close to be invincible. There isn't really much I can say here, but I hope Capcom can explain all of this, as it's very confusing and to be quite honest, I don't even see how the hell this "parasite" relates to the Umbrella distributed viruses in the first place, especially if RE4 was just a "side story" and had nothing to do with Umbrella, at all.

Welcome to Kijuju my friend, I hope you enjoy your stay

All Resident Evil games never take place in the same area for too long. Resident Evil went from Spencer Estate, to Residence, back to Spencer Estate again then finally the Lab. Resident Evil 4 went from the Village, to the Castle, to the Island. So far we've seen Chris and Sheva battle it out in humid, dry villages and towns, in a factory like facility, on a bridges, in a desert and in some underground caves what looks like to have some type of castle underneath or something. Newer trailers have shown Chris and Wesker duking it out in a mansion-like area, and a really massive laboratory. Perhaps this is where the "traditional" Resident Evil comes in, replacing the explosive action sequences with "creepy dark atmospheres". Either way, the game's scenario looks like it will translate smoothly through these environments, and while I'm disappointed Capcom took away the heat and humidity effects(Chris needing to adjust his eyes to see, seeing mirages of enemies), I'm sure Capcom will throw some suspense surprises here and there to keep us all on our toes.   read

1:44 AM on 12.16.2008

Prince of Persia. Eh?

I have a lot to talk about, but I don't want to focus on just one particular subject. So I'm just going to do a daily rant of what's been going in my [gaming] life.

Prince of Persia: You Can't Die Edition

Now I'm a sucker for platformers. Be it collecting junk or scaling heights upon heights just to reach the top, I love it all(well most of it), so I decided to pick up Prince of Persia. Ignoring all reviews both positive and negative, I popped this game into my 360, and I was certain that this was the first 3D Prince of Persia game I've ever played and owned. If you're asking, yes I have skipped the last-gen trilogy. Why? I don't know, and I love these types of games. Same goes with Tomb Raider. I guess the older you get, the more expanded your mind gets and perceives a wider pool of games. Oh, and I'm 22, if that helps.

After watching a few cutscenes and being introduced to the new Prince and that magical chick, I wander off into the gloomy land, practicing platforming skills and combat. See, the thing is, Prince of Persia is one of those games where you can't "love" it within a few hours. It just sort of...grows on you. The first hour or two I really despised the "sticky" motion of the Prince(a bit delay before jumping just to name an example) and the invisible context sensitive button combat, but after awhile, I managed to get the flow of things. Once I had seen how the game really worked with the smooth animation transition between jumping from ledge to pillar, sliding down well, slides and swinging on poles, Prince of Persia really grasped me in gameplay mechanics. However, there were still a few negative things being shoved down my throat that I later on accepted.

Why must in this Prince of Persia, is that it forces you to collect these little "Light Seeds" to progress through the game? Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind collecting things(I thank Banjo for that), but it's like the only way Ubisoft wanted you to see the colorful worlds after you purified them was to collect stuff. That's really bad game design. Growing up with platform style games since the 80s, I've always had high tolerance when it comes to frustrating areas to tackle. I usually accomplish them anyway, so to say the whole "not dying" thing not being a big deal is actually true. I'd rather just respawn at area before I died, than to see a YOU DIED screen only to ask me something the game could have done itself. I know there are a lot of criticisms when it comes to this, and I can only say that it's up to the player to decide that the Prince's death being false can either take away from the challenge of the game, or make the game flow a lot more smoothly so you can make easier, smarter decisions. I'll take the latter.

The game flows so repetitive and predictable, yet I'm hooked on exploring these temples and worlds and such, only to fight a boss, purify the grounds and collect shiny things. I love the acrobatics and wall running and minor puzzle solving, but this game could have been so much better if they dropped the collecting bit. That Elika chick needs new powers to help the Prince. Gotcha. But couldn't that have been easily be obtained through story telling and just visiting the main temple, fighting a boss or opening a treasure chest? I'd rather have the game's worlds already be purified so that way I can only explore them once and move on, or twice with a new power. The light seeds collecting is an abundance and hinders down fluid exploration.

Prince of Persia also gives a really good illusion of danger. To be quite frank, there is no real danger. You rarely fight any enemies, the Corruption goo stuff is only there to hinder your platforming progress, and most importantly, you can't die.

I totally understand Ubisoft's direction with the not dying bit. It makes sense. For one, it can cut down on load times. Two, having Elika or whatever her name is grab you to drop you back at the last "land checkpoint" really helps the game's platforming elements flow very well, and three, they have seem to wanted Prince of Persia cater towards casual gamers.

Outside of the few nitpicks, I found Prince of Persia to be a very fun game. I just find it weird for the game's "natural" world to be so colorful and vibrant, could also be so empty and lonesome. But I'm supposing that's the theme of the game. If Ubisoft plans to continue this PoP's saga, I hope they take away the mandatory collectathons and enhance on the open world with smarter decisions in story and area progression, and most important of all: give the game an equal amount of substance to it's beautiful style.   read

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