[This is not my blog post. This blog was written by community member Karutomaru, whose account is currently undergoing difficulties.]
When you play games as much as I do, you start to form a connection to the especially well-developed characters. Over time, that connection almost feels as though theyíre a person in real life, and you start to see that their ideals match your own, and that their actions are not unlike those we take in life. You learn from them, to the point of being role models, as though the games are another parent. I know how that feels. Over the years, I have looked up to different characters and their characteristics that I try and follow to better myself. Each of them has taught me something important I use in my everyday life, and I now take this blog to honor their teachings. This is a list of 15 of Karutomaruís nerdy inspirations. I should point out that one of these is a person in real life. Try to figure out who that is.
For teaching me proper crime and punishment: Magnius.
The axe head of justice has no age restriction, little punk!
For teaching me how to deal with lifeís problems: Cave Johnson
"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back!"
For teaching me that torturing things with no emotions is fun and guilt-free: Hidan
"Now I can finally savor it. Savor the pain caused by your death!"
For showing me what good journalism is: Niijima Haruo
You wouldn't want this information out in public, would you?
For teaching me the power of hate: Mitsunari Ishida
"I will... Kill yoooouuuuuuuu!!!!!"
For teaching me to speak my mind, no matter how harsh or hateful: Jim Sterling
For teaching me good people skills: Nappa
"Well, it's been fun kid. I mean for me. Not for you."
For teaching me the wonders of science: Dr. Insano
"Yes. The cursed life-giving sun. We've finally defeated it! With science!"
For teaching me that sometimes sacrifices must be made in the name of science: Mayuri Kurotsuchi
For showing me what you can do when youíre loaded: Rugal Berstein
He can afford to blow up his house.
For showing me that you can live in a foreign country without fully knowing its language: Fawful
For showing me how to make French toast: the heavy
For showing me that the world is an evil and cruel place in which everything wants to kill you: King Graham.
For teaching me the value of life and the importance of saving others: Hank Freebird
For teaching me a heroís duty, to always do the right thing, and to never give up: Viewtiful Joe
I have learned much from gaming, and I hope I can learn more. People say spending too much time playing games and watching anime can have a negative influence, but mine has brought me nothing but good.
[Note: This is not my blog. This blog was written by community member Karutomaru, whose account is currently undergoing difficulties.]
As Iíve been quick to constantly remind everyone, this generation hasnít exactly been a spectacular follow up to the last one. Last generation we got high quality story-driven content-heavy masterpieces like Resident Evil 4, Tales of Symphonia, Kingdom Hearts, Viewtiful Joe, and Shadow of the Colossus. Yet despite the Wii being significantly stronger than the systems those were on, few games have ever come close to being on their level. Sure, we got some that did, like Madworld, Twilight Princess, and Sengoku Basara, but with our heightened expectations, we havenít gotten as much as we want or deserve.
How many games these days have the cinematic quality of Resident Evil 4 or the open world and length of Tales of Symphonia? Everything is a mission selection, and although that isnít necessarily bad, it doesnít make the games feel quite like an adventure. I started losing my faith in critics too, after the disappointing and overrated Rayman Origins. I just wanted an epic game with tons upon tons upon tons of time, money, and effort shoveled into it like someone discovered a planet made entirely of oil.
Sorry I killed your chicken, but it was looking at me funny.
Still desperate for such a game, I pre-ordered Xenoblade Chronicles (which I simply refer to by its first word), and gleefully anticipated its arrival to North America, despite knowing nothing of the director or the previous ďXenoĒ games. Since critical reception was so off the wall, and after giving it to you all straight with my Rayman Origins review, I feel itís my duty to answer the question ďIs it really as good as most critics say?Ē Read on for the answer.
Youíre probably wondering why this review is so damn late. Well, in addition to the obscene length of the entire game, about 20 hours in, my Wii started acting up, and it took us a week to finally ship the thing to Nintendo for repairs, another week to get it back, and another week to get it to my apartment. You can imagine my heartbreak. After that, summer school started, and that is taking up a lot of my time. It also doesnít help that the game itself is extremely long in itself, but now, I have finally got around to posting this thing.
Xenoblade tells the story of Shulk, a young boy living in one of many colonies built on top of a giant called Bionis, which has been frozen in place following a battle with its mechanical rival, Mechonis. 16 years prior to the gameís events, there had been a war between the residents of Bionis, the Homs, and the residents of Mechonis, the Mechons, in which a hero named Dunban used a legendary blade called the Monado to wipe out the rest of the mechanical jerks. Or so they thought. The mechons seem to have returned, and are now attacking various colonies and civilizations throughout Bionis, and after one particular event early on, Shulk and his friend Reyn start traveling the world to get revenge on the mechon and stop them from hurting any more people.
Xenobladeís story is very much structured like a shonen series, most notably One Piece. Like Luffy, Shulk travels to various areas in his world, solves peopleís problems, and defeats climactic bosses before moving on to another area, having new friends join his crew along the way. This is not a bad thing in the least. I love the narrative format. The way this is presented is like the game is telling multiple stories in one, which donít even need to be simplified. The game takes its time in establishing characters and plot points using many long cutscenes, which I know some anti-cutscene gamers are bothered by, but they play a large role in making the story memorable.
There are two kinds of cutscenes in Xenoblade: the kind in which everyone stands around talking by way of flapping their gums like puppets, and the more technically efficient kind that uses excellent camera and motion capture work to make them epic and memorable, like Resident Evil 4. Even better, they all use the gameís engine, meaning that whatever outfit a character is wearing appears in the cutscenes as well, keeping a consistency not possible with pre-rendered cutscenes. But despite never going the pre-rendered route, the cutscenes still are able to show off huge areas with tons of moving characters without ever dropping its framerate. Thatís quite an accomplishment more developers need to learn from.
Also like Resident Evil 4, the voice acting is very good. Even though all these British actors arenít known names like most quality North American localizations, they all fit their characters very well. The humans always sound like real people rather than the fantastical/hammy voices you hear in games like Tales of Symphonia or Sengoku Basara (Except maybe Reyn). Those voices are left to the faced Mechon and Nopon, which are just as gloriously inhuman and odd as they look.
But even if you donít like the English track, you can switch to the Japanese track anytime. Unlike the English one, the Japanese track is comprised of various well-known voice actors, including voice acting god Norio Wakamoto, the voice of Cell, the Emperor of Britannia, Nobunaga Oda, and Deus Ex Machina (In Mirai Nikki). No matter which language you play it on, however, it will always feel natural. They donít edit any animations for the dub, and thereís nary a hint of lip-lock. However, should you choose to go with the Japanese track, keep in mind the subtitles are from the English dub, so they tend to be inaccurate from time to time, but not often.
Xenobladeís gameplay helps the game truly feel like an interactive adventure. Every area is huge, expansive, and lovingly detailed. Grass, waterfalls, buildings, and people all populate Bionisí many environments. Even the creatures in Xenoblade seem to avert the problem many other JRPGs have when needing variety.
Though there are some monsters that are merely color-swapped versions of each other, the way theyíre colored makes them look more like they adapted to the environment around them, giving more of a sense of being a different breed rather than a half-assed palette-swap (like dogs and their fur).
And each area isnít just inhabited by monsters that should be at the same level as you at a certain point. There are slightly stronger boss monsters with special names, tiny innocent monsters that mean you no harm, and gigantic level 90 monsters that look like they could easily step on you. They all give you different ways to approach them based on their attention style, with some attacking what they hear, what they see, or just ignore you unless aggravated. The monsters along with the NPCs and environmental detail make Bionis come alive and easy to get lost in. Many times when youíre outside, you can see the neighboring world, Mechonis, at different angles. At one point in particular, when youíre on Mechonisí severed arm, you can travel to one of its fingertips and see the whole thing, staring in awe at how puny everything youíve been traveling on looks in comparison. The giants are so insanely gigantic youíre like tiny fleas, and the game lets you know it.
But if the attention to detail doesnít make you love Xenobladeís world, the freedom will. Itís full of wide open spaces, mountains to climb, rivers to swim across, and secret areas to find, in which you can jump around on any terrain that isnít too high or steep. There are almost no invisible walls. Even better, each area is streamed, which means the only loading time youíll need to wait for will be to prepare the area youíre exploring and thatís it. The game has an incredible draw distance, allowing breathtaking visuals at far distances that show off the beauty of each areaís design (like the aforementioned fingertip), only further reminded me of what a Wii game can do with enough time, money, and effort put into it. In fact, the gameís requirement to constantly load at practically all times is likely the reason my Wii needed to be repaired, so I suggest not playing for too long at one time.
To top it all off, thereís a day and night system you can control yourself. Though time passes by Ocarina of Time-style, you can open up your menu and change it to any time you want, which youíll want to do if there are monsters or NPCs that only show up at a certain time. Personally, I used it to immerse myself further by changing the in-game clock to the closest hour my real-time clock was on, but beyond that, it only saw use during side quests. Itís a neat feature though, and the difference between day and night drastically changes the mood and music.
But as much as I adore the enormity of Xenobladeís world, it makes me wish there were a means of transportation other than walking. Thereís a fast travel system that lets you instantly go to landmarks you discover, which is very time-saving, but between landmarks there are still really long distances. Other RPGs have had faster means of travel. Tales of Symphonia had Noishe and the Rheiards, Final Fantasy had the Chocobos and airships, but all Xenoblade has is your own two feet, with the exception of a couple story points where the party takes flying airships to a new area. Couldnít someone lend us a hovering motorcycle or something? I suppose something like that would be difficult to implement with how steep the terrain gets, and it would make you pass by all the pretty scenery, but I still feel like something could be done to make the longer hikes less tiring.
As for the music, itís done by Yoko Shimomura; the goddess of gaming music. Every area in the game has brilliant, catchy orchestral tracks perfectly fitting the tone of the situation. Thereís little else to say beyond that, as music is something that can be difficult to judge. Itís excellent gaming orchestra that accompanies the excellent visuals. That said, I donít think itís Yokoís best work. The music isnít anywhere near as good nor quite as varied as Kingdom Hearts, and even Sengoku Basara has a better soundtrack overall. While great and memorable, itís not one of the game soundtracks Iím begging to be released on CD. Itís good enough just being in the game.
Combat is easy enough to understand and less complicated than some of the other RPGs out there. You target an enemy, and if youíre within range, your character automatically attacks them. Using the control pad, you select the special moves to use with different effects and uses. After using a special move, you must wait for it to recharge, with the exception of everyoneís unique moves, which require successful attacks to recharge.
A lot of the depth in the gameís combat is pre-preparation in putting on appropriate armor, leveling up special moves, equipping a good set of special moves, and setting bonuses for affinities (relationship values raised by fighting together and giving gifts.) During combat, thereís a focus on keeping track of where everything is. Itís important to know where your allies are, as you need to be next to them to revive or encourage them, and itís important to know who your enemy is attacking so you can make sure they attack who you want them to. At the same time you need to make sure everyoneís health is fine, and their morale, which affects their attack rate.
The gameís primary gameplay gimmick is its future visions mechanic. When someone on Shulkís team is about to be fatally or devastatingly hurt, the game gives you a preview of what attack the opponent is going to use on who, and in how many seconds theyíll do it. If you find a way to prevent it, such as telling the member to guard or healing them, the future will change. Thankfully it doesnít simply replay the vision when you change the future. Instead, it simply changes a window at the top of the screen that gives you the attack details, and that changes with the future.
There is a pretty noticeable flaw in this mechanic, however, and I feel itís one the developers really should have seen. The visions only show the attack hitting one character, even if said attack has a very wide area and will actually hurt everyone around it. It gives no indication of whether or not it will hit any other party members, so if you do something like sacrifice health to heal your ally to survive the attack, the game might pull a dick move and kill you in the process, which is bad, because if you donít have enough in your party gauge when your character dies, you automatically lose.
As a whole, the combat makes it feel like Iím some sort of manager, having to make sure everyone is doing their job, and picking up the slack when theyíre KOíd. While that may sound like a bad thing, the mental stimulation is actually quite satisfying, and the battle dialogue, while repetitive at times, is varied and fun to listen to, especially the small post-battle conversations that can take place between specific party members, which encourage you to experiment with different combinations of characters.
It might sound like monotonous busywork on paper, but Xenobladeís combat is actually really frantic. All the flashy attack animations, monsters that can enter the fray, and everyone calling their attacks alongside the music make for a big ball of violence you really have to pay attention to to succeed. Of course, if youíre not a high enough level, all your work is futile, which is one of Xenobladeís biggest problems.
You see, if you fight an enemy thatís only 4 or 5 levels higher than yours, rather than overcome the odds and use your skills and mind to defeat it, it becomes unbeatable. Fight a monster like that, and, suddenly, none of your characters can hit the broad side of a barn. Almost every attack will miss and you wonít be able to execute ANY of your best strategies. Yet, if you level up a little more, even by just 1 or 2, suddenly your attacks almost always hit. Itís like stronger enemies have some kind of invisible barrier that MAKE your attacks miss even when THE WEAPON MODELS CONNECT WITH THE MONSTER, and that barrier can only be bypassed if youíre a high enough level. This problem happens quite often very late into the game, when the difficulty starts spiking thanks to overpowered bosses. It makes the game feel like it rewards more time-consuming grinding than player skill, and that is never a good thing. Itís the reason I donít play MMOs often.
Prepare for rape.
If the last paragraph wasnít any indication, youíre probably going to want to break away from the story to level up, either by killing monsters (naturally), or doing the many many many side quests the game has to offer. The side quests are a great way to give you something to do while youíre not strong enough to proceed in the story, and I appreciate that they all have unique dialogue to give plausible reasons to do them, but ultimately the majority of the side quests simply ask you to kill a certain number of monsters or collect a certain number of a specific item. Some of them seem easy when you hear the request, but it seems once you start a quest looking for a specific item, that item suddenly becomes scarce, and you spend almost an hour wandering around looking for it.
Because of this, on my travels, I ignored the simple quests unless I knew I could complete them on the way. The ones I primarily took were ones that asked for unusual errands or for me to kill a unique named monster (think of them as minibosses), but even then I ran into half-hour tedium. As is the problems with most MMOs, the sidequests can get really vague in where youíre supposed to go. For example, one asked me to kill a monster near the Windmill Pavilion in Makna Forest. First, I had to explore the forest and find the pavilion, then, after much searching, I finally found the monster, but it was a fourth of a mile NORTH of the windmill pavilion! Not near it!
Still, despite some griping, when Xenoblade Chronicles is good, itís extremely good, and the weak sidequests and BS leveling up are only minor setbacks in what is truly one of the greatest games I have ever played, and thatís partly because itís also one of the longest games Iíve ever played. Xenoblade took me about 72 hours to beat, and Iíd estimate maybe 5 of those hours were spent on sidequests (not at one time, of course).
Let me put it this way: Remember how in Okami, Orochi seemed like he would be the final boss, but it turned out that was only the first third of the game? And remember Tales of Symphoniaís shocking revelation that made you question everything you had done and thought? Xenoblade plays both of those cards, and doesnít even need any padding to stretch out a 67 hour story, aside from mechonis, which our own Jim Sterling mentioned in his review (even then it picks up right afterwards). Itís an epic adventure full of twists and turns, character development, action, great heroes, great villains, and Riki.
The following is an extremely difficult thing to type, because for the longest time, I have always considered the god of gamingís bloody masterpiece Madworld to be the greatest game of this generation, but that changes nowÖ
Xenoblade is the greatest game of this generation!
Xenoblade is exactly what I was looking for. Itís like the Resident Evil 4 of this generation. The time, money, and effort put into Xenoblade is unlike any other Wii game before it. It is truly a masterpiece of the modern age that I canít recommend enough. A few poor design decisions and preferences canít work to the full detriment of a game that has both a large open world and an excellent story to go along with it. I give Xenoblade Chronicles a 9.5 out of 10. The highest score I have ever given on Destructoid. Congratulations Xenoblade Chronicles. You beat out Madworld. Fucking Madworld! Do you have any idea what that means? You beat out the god of gaming!Maybe just by a hair, but still!
And now Iím doing it all over again in Japanese. Unless Last Story crosses infinity twice, Xenoblade is my Game of the Year.
[Note: This is not my blog post. This blog was written by community member Karutomaru, whose account is currently undergoing difficulties.]
Seeing The Avengers reminded me of why I love crossovers in media so much. When the storylines of different continuities converge, the result can be an epic conflict in which fans of each party involved go out satisfied. There are a number of factors that make crossovers so much more engrossing in the grand scheme of things, whether itís a movie like The Avengers or a game like Tatsunoko vs. Capcom or Dissidia: Final Fantasy, and these factors are fairly easy to understand when you think about them.
Ready-Made Backstory. In a crossover, backstory isnít really needed. Characters have already been established in their own series. This means there can be less time spent on exposition and more on the interactions between the characters, which is the heart of a good crossover. When youíre seeing a crossover and you know a lot about only one of the characters represented, then, assuming the writing is competent, you know as much about the others as he/she/it does, and what is told about them may be all they need to know for the crossover at hand.
Broad Demographic. Properties are crossing over. The fans of each one will like it for the representations of their favorites. The more series there are being crossed over, the more appeal there is. If I were a cynical man and thought that every company is in it for the money, Iíd say that crossovers give them exactly that with such a wide range of fandom. Itís as simple as that.
Widening Demographic. If youíre going into a crossover because one or a few of your favorite characters are in it, youíll probably know very little about the guys theyíre spending time with. Since the backstory and explanations are all in their continuity, thereís a good chance youíll be inclined to read about them to understand them better, and if it interests you, you might become a fan. I only gave the series Hunter X Hunter a look because it was one of the many shonen manga represented in the epic crossover game Jump Ultimate Stars. Now, Hunter X Hunter is one of my favorite manga of all time, and I own 5 volumes.
Believe it or not, it took this game to make me interested into Street Fighter.
Together We Are Unstoppable. Having everyoneís favorite characters from their favorite series fight each other is a fun way to settle childish disputes over who is better, but when the characters set aside their differences and work toward a common goal, there is peace among the fanboys. When characters team up, and they all get their fair share of epic moments in an action crossover, thereís (probably) no longer a dispute over who is better, because they all are. I made my own crossover scenario in Jump Ultimate Stars, when I had Yugi, Goku, Luffy, Naruto, Yoh, Jotaro, and Yusuke in one deck to fight Dio, Hao, Frieza, Orochimaru, and Kaiba in the other. It didnít matter whether I favor one over the others. They all contributed to something bigger. And by ďsomething biggerĒ, I mean a fight full of ki blasts, burst streams (ďwhite lightningĒ in English), steam rollers, and shadow clones. Which leads me to my next point.
Variety. With different characters coming from different series and different character designers, they are often very unique from each other. This gives people who know nothing about any of the series more choices as to who they like most. Take The Avengers, for example. For favorite choices, you have a sarcastic rich guy in a powered suit, an athletic and heroic guy with a boomerang shield, the Norse god of thunder who flies around with his hammer, a ludicrously accurate bowman, and a raging monster with the strength to beat down giant robots with his bare fists. Assuming you didnít go into the theatre to watch an epic drama starring Michael Crawford, youíre bound to take a liking to one of them.
Making Cell playable just shattered the game balance into a million pieces.
Something For Everyone. The most obvious and most important factor of all for the consumers is similar to my last subject. This falls somewhere between having a broad demographic and variety, but this is more a matter of how things feel in practice. You see, when you have a favorite series in a crossover while everyone else has theirs, it gives you a sense of individuality, and makes that character feel more special to you. Like you and the fictional character share some sort of bond. I felt that individuality when I played Tatsunoko vs. Capcom for the first time with my friends. Everyone had their own set of two characters they mainly used because of past connections to them. One of my friends used Karas with Kajin no Soki, because he has the Karas series on DVD and is a fan of Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams. One of the girls, a watcher of Gatchaman (Battle of the Planets) as a child, used Ken and Jun. I, Viewtiful Joeís #1 fan, chose Viewtiful Joe and Yatterman, because Iíd seen quite a bit of Yatterman and liked it (partly because it wasnít unlike Viewtiful Joe). I would have chosen Frank instead of Yatterman, because I loved Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop, but we hadnít unlocked him yet.
So, with all these reasons in consideration, why are there so many crossovers that should be made, but have not been? Why hasnít Sengoku Basara crossed over with Samurai Warriors? Why hasnít The Flash crossed over with Spider Man? And why havenít the Elite Beat Agents and Ouedan cheer squad officially gotten their own crossover game? These questions are some of the great mysteries of life. Itís nigh impossible to figure out what goes through the heads of the people in charge. I do know one thing though: Everyone loves a good crossover.
[Note: This is not my blog post. This blog was written by community member Karutomaru, whose account is currently undergoing difficulties.]
In recent years, there has been very little in Nintendo gaming to get hyped over. With most companies being unambitious and/or half-assing their games (Ubisoft), and the ones that ARENíT forgetting to advertise them, itís difficult to jump up and down with excitement expecting a new high-quality release. 2009 was probably the year with the most hype in this generation, with the releases of a number of hotly anticipated Wii games, two of which I bought as soon as I could. The first was the heavily marketed best game on the Wii, Madworld, and the second: Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, the sequel to 2007ís Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles was one of the first Wii games I ever got for my birthday. I wasnít as big a Resident Evil fan as I turned into, having only played Resident Evil 4 before that, and since I read that Umbrella Chronicles was a retelling of 3 Resident Evil games and it filled a gap in the timeline, I figured Iíd get caught up on the storyline and have a fun rail shooter at the same time. The end product was a fun, albeit flawed game. My Umbrella Chronicles save file is clocked at over 100 hours, and I keep going back to it, so thereís no way in hell you can say it was disappointing for me. My problem was, based off of what I had seen online of the original games, it wasnít anywhere near as good as it could or should have been.
For one thing, almost everything was reused from previous games in the series, with Resident Evil 3ís portion taking assets from the Resident Evil Outbreak games on the PS2, and cutting out the entire subplot with Umbrellasí special agent Nikolai Gionvaef. The Resident Evil 0 section took out the subplot with Wesker, Birkin, and the young form of the main antagonist that kept popping up, and the original Resident Evil section omitted Barry and took out the subplot with Lisa Trevor (for Chris and Jill, anyway). Even more disappointing was the exclusion of Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica, which are considered 2 of the best games in the series.
There wasnít a whole lot of originality or scares either. There were only 3 new monsters made exclusively for the game, the music was off-putting, and the graphics lacked the atmosphere and detail the original gamesí had. It was fun overall, and certainly had enough redeeming values to let it stand on its own, but there was an unsettling number of things Capcom seemed to have dropped the ball on, and it left me wanting more.
"There's a bee on your nose... Don't move."
After playing Umbrella Chronicles for a few dozen hours, I started my usual wishful thinking about what an improved sequel to it could be like. I imagined it would cover the two games Umbrella Chronicles forgot without abridging them quite so much, didnít reuse assets from other last generation games, pushed the Wiiís graphical capabilities, and finally let me shoot Gís grotesque red eyeball at point blank range. A couple of years later, Capcom, being the excellent customer-serving company that they are, seemed to answer my thoughts when they announced Darkside Chronicles in 2009.
You gonna eat that?
The first time I heard about Darkside Chronicles was in Nintendo Power, when they simply announced that the then-untitled game was a sequel to Umbrella Chronicles with scenarios that covered Resident Evil 2, Code Veronica, and an original story with Leon in South America. Most people would probably want to know more before getting excited, but that was all that was needed to convince me to want that game.
You see, to fill in the gap left by Umbrella Chronicles, I bought a copy of Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica X (both of which I happened to come across). While they were great games that stood the test of time, their jagged, blocky graphics couldnít hold a candle to anything today. I was hyped to see how great they could both look with a fresh coat of modern-day graphics paint. I figured it would look much like Umbrella Chronicles, which had nice new models for the gravedigger and Nemesis, but when I saw the first few screenshots, I was blown away.
One of them.
In a Nintendo Power preview, the gameís producer said they had created the best looking game on the Wii. And my audible reaction was ďDamn right you did!Ē It was astonishing. The textures, the lighting, and the character models were all flawless. It was leaps and bounds better than how Umbrella Chronicles looked, and Leonís Resident Evil 4 look was being used, as though this was the definitive way to experience the story consistently with the rest of the Resident Evil series in the modern day. But by far the best part was getting to see some of the classic monsters that now actually looked as scary as their designs meant for them to look. Compare how drastically upgraded these old Resident Evil enemies look with Darkside Chroniclesí revamped models.
But the eye candy and nostalgia was only the beginning. Through various online sources and a Nintendo Power preview that came later, I learned about the alternate costumes, details on the new story that gave a history between Leon and Krauser, and the new soundtracks consisting of re-recordings of the old games and some new ones.
In addition to that, the preview videos online let me see the game in motion for the first time, and, while the facial animations outside the pre-rendered scenes (which are the greatest I have ever seen) were robotic vertical lip movement, everything else was just as great as I imagined it. Headshots blew off upper jaws with visceral explosions of blood, the area lit up with every pistol shot, and the sound combined with the graphics and shaky camera made it creepy and unsettling, as Resident Evil should be.
This was a game I HAD to own, and I was in luck. The game came out on November 17, 5 days before my birthday. Regretfully, I didnít pre-order it and missed out on the kickass pre-order bonus because I had some hopes someone would get it for me. They didnít, so I rushed out to get it myself afterwards, I made a huge dent in someoneís van backing out of the driveway, my soul cracked, I cried for hours, and I didnít try to go to the store to get it until hours later. The accident and the purchase of the game are two things that burn that day into my mind.
So, after months of anticipation, all that pain, and all my high expectations, did the final product please me?
Everything I wanted in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles was there. The plentiful gorgeous pre-rendered cutscenes, the in-game graphics that looked almost as great, the voice acting from Resident Evil 4ís actors, a better voice actor for Steve, the destructible environments, and an original story far better than its predecessorís. Each story was longer and more detailed, and there were even more bonuses than advertized. In addition to the two costume sets I saw before, there was a set of Leon and Krauserís RE4 outfits, and my favorite, Leon and Krauserís Hawaiian shirts with sunglasses and wristwatches. In addition, several features absent from Umbrella Chronicles were present, including audio recording files, a cutscene viewer, and a character model viewer for staring in admiration at the level of detail they all possess.
The back of his jacket says "Axe Monster". I wonder why.
It wasnít perfect, of course. No matter how good a game is, Iíll always find something to complain about unless itís Viewtiful Joe. I think they cut too much out of the Code Veronicaís story, and, though there were far more original monster designs than Umbrella Chronicles, I felt it could have used a few more. None of these complaints made the game any less of a blast, of course.
Darkside Chronicles got the honor of being the very first game I ever reviewed on Destructoid, where I gave it a 9 out of 10, and continue to reference it whenever I talk about how good a Wii game can look and feel with enough time, money, and effort.
Also the crocodile's top half doesn't blow off like in the original, but now I'm just nitpicking.
From my observation, it seems the most popular blogs are the ones that are introspective or tragic; something I expect to see from other entries in the current Bloggers Wanted. I just know there are going to be blog posts about how someone got hyped for a game, only to find out that the advertising lied to them or mislead them, and they were left disappointed. That is not the case here. Capcom hyped up Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles as one of the best games on the Wii that any Resident Evil fan could love to death, and that is exactly what they delivered.
After Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Activision pretty much ďaxedĒ the Guitar Hero game franchise, at least for a while. I think the reason for this is that, simply put, Guitar Hero ran out of material. All the best songs in rock history have already been put into their games, and there was very little left to make to make more of the games appealing. That is the primary reason a lot of people think that Guitar Hero canít go on at this point, but I think there is something more than can be made from it. True, the Guitar Hero games have sucked the music industry dry, but there is still another medium that has had decades of music collected over the years they have yet to use, and itís one Iím sure weíre all more than familiar with.
ÖÖ.. Iím talking about gaming. Duy.
Since the NES days, gaming has had its own instrumental medleys and songs to go along with their games, especially as technology advanced and allowed for full bands to perform them. An entire Guitar Hero game could be built from all the various gaming tunes from throughout the years. There are plenty of modern-day game soundtracks that already use guitars to their full extent, and guitar-heavy rock remixes of retro games are fairly commonplace online, so making a game centered around such tracks seems entirely plausible.
There are several examples to specify. Imagine playing a guitar controller to something like The House of the Dead: Overkill (instrumental-only for some, of course, to keep a T rating) or a guitar variation of the Banjo-Kazooie theme. They could even try putting some of the songs from Left 4 Dead 2 in there, or the King of Fighters. They could practically make a standalone Guitar Hero game for soundtracks from Sonic the Hedgehog. In fact, game songs like this have already been done. People have already made guitar versions of different game songs online using the custom song creator in Guitar Hero: World Tour (including the aforementioned Banjo-Kazooie song), and there was an official DLC track of the Halo theme before that. Theyíre perfectly capable of rendering these songs into playable tracks.
Of course, if such a game were to concentrate entire around songs from gaming, they should theme the entire gameís aesthetics around it as well. They could allow for avatar accessories from different games like a Mario cap, a TF2 Scoutís headset, or even some of those impossibly ridiculous clothes from Kingdom Hearts (of course, considering the significant lack of guitar in Kingdom Heartsí soundtrack, that may not work). All the stages could take place in various game-based venues as well. Players could play to Still Alive with Glados in an Aperture Science stage, or guitar duel Bowser in his castle with a musical collaboration of different Bowser castle themes (he plays tennis, soccer, and go-karts, so whatís stopping him?). The same could be said for classic villain Rugal Bernstein. I would pay the entry fee alone just for the crazy awesome opportunity to guitar duel Rugal on the Black Noah to this. And what about Castlevania? Hyrule Castle ? Movieland? The possibilities are endless.
There is something Activision would have to do in order to make a game like this work, however. Since game music is most often instrumental, Guitar Hero would have to start living up to its name, stop copying rock band, and go back to being all about the axe. Naturally, a lot of licensing would also be required. Getting all those copyrighted characters and song titles wouldnít be easy or cheap, but considering Activision swims in money like Scrooge Mc Duck at this point, that shouldnít be too big an issue. And itís not like there isnít an audience for a game such as this. With a diverse enough tracklist and features, this game-centric Guitar Hero game could appeal to every gamer there is. They could even get away with DLC by selling track packs for specific games so that the fans can play them, and few people would take issue. I ask you, is there a single Dtoider who would dare be against such a game? If so, speak up in the comments so that we may banish you. I kid, of course. Nobody deserves to be banned.