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cup of cocoa's blog

3:25 PM on 02.13.2009

F.E.A.R. 2 Impressions

I have spent about one and a half hour with the shooter and I am a bit cloven. Before I try to describe it I'd first like to say that I love the first game. It is atmospheric, fast, and bloody beautiful while delivering a a story about "the mother of the apocalypse" - aka Alma, a lonely girl who likes to hug the intestines out of people.

I played the first game on the PC, as well as its so called expansion packs who were bland and boring compared to the game they were built on. And I think it is that, among other things that feels out of place when I now play the sequel on the XBOX360.

The gameplay, the run-and-gun, style of FPS that made the first one a grand game has returned. You got your standard weapons and the slow-mo time ability so you can move up close and personal to deliver a shotogun shell to the back of the skull while passing through the face. Its not refreshing but very satisfying.

One of the big qualms of the first game were the level design (some people though so at least, I think it was suiting to the game itself so I didn't complain) and I has become a bit better - by those criteria, a bit cramped I think some times.

And the introductions big final: Alma - or the "fear" part of F.E.A.R.2 Well, I didn't crap myself while playing the first one, so the second game does nothing for in that department. I however like how it lends into the atmosphere in the first game, why fix something that ain't broken?

I suggest that this "don't fix..." attitude is maybe what is lacking in this game. It is nearly the exact game I fell in love with those years ago. The engine is the exact same, the gameplay likewise and the bells and whistles of how one tries to scare the living daylights out of the gamer are the same.

Yet - I still like it. The console version, the one I played, feels cramped and the controls a bit misplaced when you quickly need to flip up your shoot gun. Also I have noticed that a new enemy, a Sadoko like, wall jumping, asshole that "twitches" towards you, are hard to kill since it needs a pretty precise shoot to hit.

I suppose I should try the PC version, which probably redeems the "cramped" feeling, awkward controls, and the distant thought that the game is a bit dated for its time.

Concluding: A solid game. Does what one could reasonable expect since cleaning up after the expansion packs takes time to say the least. Slow-mo gun play and creepy girls that fucks around in your head is still fun, but you walk away, feeling a bit hollow, since it could probably been more - whatever that means.   read

3:53 PM on 02.12.2009

Flower Impressions

Flower is the latest to come out of thatgamecompany - the creators of flow. I had expected a nearly meditative experience of color, music and ambiance of the sounds of nature.

Shortest way to say this is, yes. It is simple and yet complex when you try to understand what it does to you - which the following is trying to capture in some way.

The Playstation Blog announced its Spring Fever, and I can understand how they hatched that idea. Since gameplay revolves around soaring over gray, saddened fields, resurrecting them a bit each time your petals touch the budding flowers - the impression of spring time overtaking the winter is tangible to say the least.

There is nothing special about the mechanics of the game itself but it rather boils down to emotional response it gives you. My illustration of the coming of spring gives you a sense of satisfaction each time a gray field explodes into a vibrant and lively green. And as there is nothing apart from the grass, the blowers, the sky and the soothing music you don't get distracted. Instead, the experience is reflective and you get absorb how well the illusion delivers.

To stop blowing wind, and just spiral upwards over the hills and into the brighter sunlight grants you dream like sensation.

The "game" is, as far as I am able to discern, a reflective, nearly meditative pause from the surrounding world. No objective apart from gilding from budding flower to budding flower. No distractions. There is no over-emphasis as such, apart from the petal thing, so instead aesthetics and interaction melts into one.

It is hard to describe and give impressions to a game that relies only on your own overall emotional response and reflection on whether you like it or not as you play it. There is not reduction into parts were you still can usefully analyze it.

Since it cost me 70 SEK, which is your $9.99 (I think), I see no reason why not to spend some time and explore the game yourself. It should in any case be much more useful then these lines of texts.   read

7:55 PM on 02.08.2009

Wii and Metroids (No BAAW this time around)

To cover up my pathetic excuse for a last blogpost, I will post this as a excuse and discuss something more worthwhile: Metroid Prime 3: Corruption!

First though: I now got a Wii. Bought of a cousin of mine and spent 45 minutes with a cotton clean stick (I got no idea of what they are called in English but you normally clean your ears with them) to get the brown-black sticky sweat goo of the Wii-motes before firing it up with Mario Galaxy.

I did own a Wii once before, when Zelda was the new and cool thing (and the only thing) but sold it and I haven't even checked through the ocean of games to it since. Now on the other hand I need to wade through it find the pearls. One of them is Metroid Prime 3. I love this game.

To develop my point: It does everything right. To uses about any trick the Wii has to offer from the control scheme - point-and-aim with the Wii-mote to the fantastic mix of music and visuals to accommodate the furious run-and-gun gameplay.

What I should point out though that it is a very classic FPS experience as such. It doesn't innovate beyond the controls and the Metroid specific gameplay elements like the Morph-Ball. It begs the question is it needed?

Like a good bunch of games as of late, no - no need to redefine and experiment to deliver a solid, memorable, lengthy and well made game that I consider a defining title for the Wii.

Count me as a bit anal on the point but it needs to be said that two things bothered me slightly: Lock-on times and the flimsiness of it and also the annoying backtracking you need to do from time to time. The latter works more smoothly on a 2d plane but less so in 3d.

How about that? A "clog" post that is neither bitchy, inconsistent or logically flawed in any very apprent manner. Being a bit less sarcastic though, I apologize for the craptastic last post and subsequent comments. :(   read

5:35 PM on 01.26.2009

RE5... *sigh*... Let's pop is sucker like acne...

I have never been a Resident Evil fan of some sort. Granted I also thought that RE4 - and all games since the first, sucks balls.The game play is stale, uninspired and repetitive. A fan, also a friend of mine, has answered that the awkward controls and repetitive gameplay is a reason for you to feel panic and get the adrenaline pumping. That theory fails - mainly as there are different kinds of panic so there are a difference between panic you get from situation itself, and what you get when the god damn controls are stale, slow and responsive like a barrel of retarded simians.

RE5 then, it must better, you might tell me. It's not. Capcom have however done a fantastic work with the graphics and the polish on textures. Yet, the content is the same. The god damn flood... Africans with tentacle heads... The controls are back, slow, unresponsive and inaccurate. How about the zombie blasting? After playing Left 4 Dead one might think that more zombie slaughter would be hard not to like... but there is no feeling when you pound a shootgun shell in the couple of them. They just fall over and "bubble away" - just like fucking Zelda, sans the cartoon smoke. Get up close and personal and stab them with the knife... nothing, you get a small "splash" of blood but no other discernible effect - lackbuster to say the least.

About Sheva, I say this, give her a grenade and she will yelp "THANKS PARTNER!". Also, this Chris character couldn't curb stomp a fucking kitten.   read

8:07 PM on 01.22.2009

Level of Difficulty

I have been playing Gears of War 2 with a friend for hours each evening at Insane difficulty. Considering that I have done this with Halo 3 and other games I have begun to draw upon some interesting observations.

Consider how one may make the experience more challenging. We got the simple ways of boosting the health of enemies, boosting weapon damage, making you weaker, doing less damage etc.

And then consider how you sit for half an hour, emptying clip after clip of an assault rifle into a couple of Covenant Brutes, you get to notice that any fuck up your side will mangle you. Also, any glitch and bug, any fuck up on the side of the designers need will also kill you. And this presents a a second level of difficulty of - you are handicapped, the enemy boosted to Godlike levels, and now you are also fighting every little miss, every little lazy bit of code the programmers left untouched during debug and play testing.

This puts you, as a gamer at some disadvantage, apart from the chosen handicap. And what can you do to amend this? Well nothing apart from filing bug reports and complain. It can also serve as a better way to judge the character of game and how robust it actually is.

Regardless, though, I howl like god damn banshee when a grub spawns beside me and procedures to kill me by mere touching.   read

2:19 PM on 01.07.2009

God damn Cyber Elves!

Since I got my DS I asked about games and advice in a previous post - and now I got myself a R4 device. The first thing ,appart from stabbing a kitten and mauling a old women with it's dead carcass (R4 is for thieves and hoodlums, dog!) I loaded up Mega Man Zero 2.

Since I enjoyed the firsta games, played on a shitty laptop a good couple of years back, I gave it run for it's money.

In the first game I gace little notice to the Cyber Elf system which sounded like a retarded and roundabout way of healing Zero in combat. But.. I missed the point of it - a grim lesson to learn.

I spanked the first 4 bosses of MMZ2 after countless hours of just hacking away at the bastards - only having the fucking Z-sabre and buster maxed as my tools. Frustration growing I thought: "How the fuck am I going to be able to beat the rest of the game if this goes on?!"

I didn't - my last resort seemed to be to load up a cheat of sorts but I changed my mind and read away in a guide and came across the cyber elves and their purpose - I cringed.

Fuckers - how about guiding stupid people like me to understand that a elf that says: "I give you health now and then!" means "I will permanently add 4 bars to your health meter." or that "I help you defy gravity!" does not mean "I'm like the purple Yoshi in SMW!".

Basically I went on a hunt for elves to make Zero the bad ass killing machine he is - I took me 2 more hours to beat the game after that - adding up how I searched for the more elusive elves.
It's a good game - but just the point of not guiding people like me who expect people to be stupid, like myself, is frustrating. The finaly point - that the game actually PUNISHES you, robbing you of some of the special weapons of the games, just because you upgrade, is a bit to sadistic even for a Mega Man game.

Now I'm loading up Phoenix Wright before I try MMZ3 which is said to contain a certain amount of gigantic robots that speak like Hulk.   read

11:34 AM on 12.23.2008

So I got a DS... now what?

I got myself a DS in a... well Christmas gift of sorts. At the moment I am playing Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney wile having Portrait of Ruin lying beside it.

What I ask now is what good games are there? I am planing to get Chrono Trigger because I haven't played that in ages. I am also eyeballing some decent platform shooter thingy - like Megaman...

Any suggestions please?   read

2:18 PM on 12.18.2008

Games of Christmas Past

This is a retrospect blog post, if you donít like to read about other peoples old game experiences - GTFO. :)

Without putting words in other peoples mouths I am quite sure that many of us here at some time, got a game, of some kind, at Christmas.

So I thought that I could chronicle my experience of the past, the present and the future of this said event and maybe conclude something about how things have changed.

One of my strongest memories is of the Christmas 2000, when I got, burned and obviously pirated, a copy of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace for the PC. Here in Sweden we get our presents on the eve of Christmas eve, however my parents thought it was a good move to give us something to shut me and my sisters up during the day. So on that morning I got myself this wonderful game.

Like most things, when view in a more sensible retrospect know that experiences of the past is likely best to be an experiences of the past, not replaying old games, watching movies of questionable quality and so on.

But for me, being in the seventh grade, deprived of games, this was awesome. For once my fatherís PC, equipped with a Voodoo 2 PCI card with 12 megs of VRAM, strangled under the load of the game, and my thumbs - rooted to plastic of a crappy gamepad that was jacked up to PC, cramped from time to time as I strained to get Obi-wan's and Qui-gon's jumps correct.

I think it was the same year I saw Star Wars Episode I at the cinemas, walking out hailing it as the best thing since caffeine in soda. So it was only natural that I would enjoy the experience of running around jabbing a badly modeled lightsabre at droids. I realize now that what was thoroughly enjoyable was not the game in it self, but how close I came to being the same heroes I watched on the screen.

Games do need a specific amount of personal imagination so that you may emerge yourself in the experience - even more importantly, the suspension of belief - to ignore bad design and technical glitches. Iíd say that some of this have got itself a bit of a beating during the years as one finally got a broadband connection and devoured games like nothing.

I have the same disc, stored into a battered jewel case, lying in a box in my parents basement (ďThe Graveyard of Children's MemoriesĒ) and I can say that I will never play it again. Somethings, like games, are probably best to be kept stored in a box, in your memory so that you one night, may sit and reminisce about a time that in some ways formed you and that you love.

This is a call to all of you, better keep those memories then try to, after so many years, to enjoy games of your youth and past like you did then. I know that some of your already know this and take it to heart, but on the other hand - many judge old games by the criteria of the present.   read

11:16 AM on 12.11.2008

I need to share this...

I just... no this... hahahah....

Just read it...

This is what happens when a fundamentalist christian conviction is combined with technology. This is the very definition of insanity!

To quote from a comment by the writer of the post: "The simple fact is that Iran is using Linux to further itís anti-American nuclear missile program. How else would they have the technological power to build a nuclear missile - they stole it!"   read

4:51 PM on 12.09.2008

In the company of sadists - regarding Last Remnant

Contains SPOILERS... sort of...

Those familiar with Last Remnant have noticed how unevenly the game plays. I am very new to the concept of forced side questing to be able to come even close to beat one of the bosses or "battles" the game offers on disc 2. Leveling to beat a boss is not unusual - rather a principle in the industry, yet when you are, for the first time, facing players with a new battle system you should go a bit easy.

Plowing through 5 side quests, clocking in around 2 hours, I got one fucking "battle level". The absurdity of this game compared to its strenghts makes me almost want to beat the disc into the wall. Tetusya Nomura better bring versus XIII to me soon before I declare our relationship over. There will be name calling, weeping and throwing of cuttlery - but if she's not the one I fell in love with anymore, we will be better off taking seperate paths.

Also, the "Gates of Hell" should be ranked among one of the most asholish game design moves of 2008.   read

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