hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

FRESH MEAT  
|   FROM OUR COMMUNITY BLOGS

mgspada's blog


7:35 PM on 02.21.2011

MC Wateva and Brett McCabe Interview Dan Silvers of Lantana Games



For those of you that don't know, which is most of you since I don't post to this lovely community nearly as much as I'd like to, I have a hip-hop comedy act known as MC Wateva. I portray an incredibly ignorant youth who raps and waxes hip-hopic on the world around him. Occasionally I have taken the opportunity to bring MC Wateva off the microphone and onto the, uh, microphone, well, not rapping. Yeah.

Anyhow, my friend Brett McCabe of The Early Show with Niki and Sarah and I got together and interviewed Dan Silvers of Lantana Games, a Boston area indie game developer, about his company, their products, and their future. It's a fun little interview that, while I distract the shit out of him, contains a pretty solid discussion about indie gaming and game development. Check it out!

[embed]194730:36504[/embed]   read


8:24 PM on 11.02.2010

Entering the WWE Universe: A SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 Review


Since there is no official Destructoid review of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 up yet, I’m going to sneak right in there and drop this unofficial review in to whet the appetites of the probably three wrestling fans in the Dtoid community! LET’S DO THIS THING.

I became a wrestling fan fairly late in the game, as far as my age group goes. I first saw the WWE (WWF at the time) with WrestleMania XIV. At the age of 11, my immediate instinct was “GAY,” but within minutes I was hooked on the drama and excitement. While I stayed faithful during the Attitude Era of the late 90s and early 2000s, my interest waned in the middle of the decade, only to skyrocket back up around late 2006. Now a full-fledged adult wrestling fan (I even host my own wrestling podcast!) in a day where wrestling is rated TV-PG and has lost the blood, sex, and profanity that made it so popular with me in the first place, I have in my hands WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011.

Wrestling games were a mixed bag back in the day, but ever since THQ decided to go the yearly installment route that made legitimate s   read


5:39 PM on 10.25.2010

A Call for More Seasonal Games!


Months ago, when I first heard of Double Fine Productions’ Costume Quest, I kind of overlooked it. I don’t know why; it’s something I tend to do from time to hear about an amazing game but completely blow it off, only to randomly get hyped up months later. A few weeks ago, I saw an ad for it on the Xbox 360 dashboard and decided to look into it fo' realsies this time. Once I found out that the game was basically about being a kid on Halloween, I was instantly entranced.

I love Halloween. I loved it as a kid, and somehow, as an adult, I love it more since I’ve gained the ability to construct incredible costumes and show them off in the Halloween mecca of Salem, Massachusetts every year. But Halloween is something that’s never really been featured in any videogames (at least any that I can think of). Which, of course, led me down a wild path that led me to we need more seasonal videogames.

What do I mean by seasonal videogames? I mean games that are meant to be played at a certain time of year, to get you in the mood for a holiday or a season. Movies are one thing that certainly have it. Halloween h   read


9:13 PM on 02.17.2010

Thoughts, years later, on Half-Life 2 and Episodes One and Two



It’s absolutely ridiculous just how much people talk about Valve’s FPS masterpiece Half-Life 2, especially close to six years after the game’s release. Not in a bad way, of course, but just how it’s basically the standard for so many things in games: storytelling, character development, gameplay, physics, art and design, the list goes on. And, until very very recently, I had only played a small sliver of Half-Life 2, and never touched the episodes. And here I am, six years later, finally typing out my thoughts on this legendary and hugely important game.

While I had played the original Half-Life here or there having been exposed to and subsequently blown away in early 2000, I never truly realized how important the series was until I was first exposed to Half-Life 2 back in late 2004, just a month or so after its release. My friend had bought it for his newly souped-up PC, and I couldn’t wait to see how its visuals looked. It was then that I was blown away by not just the graphics, but everything else. The way the story was told, the way it flowed, the atmosphere of City 17; I was absolutely floored. We stayed up for hours, until he made it to Ravenholm, where we both were absolutely terrified and promptly shut it off, to play another day.

We never did.

Then Half-Life 2 came out for the Xbox in 2005. Since my PC couldn’t handle Half-Life 2, that was my only chance to finally get my hands back on the game that struck such a chord with me a year prior. I received it for Christmas of that year, and played the game that same day. I absolutely loved every second of it and, experiencing it a second time, and on my own, was even more in love than before.

Then I made it to Ravenholm, where I was absolutely terrified and promptly shut it off, to play another day.

I never did.

Then in early 2007 I got a brand new PC for school. Having gone to school for game art and design, I needed a powerful machine to run all the different programs I needed. To celebrate my new purchase, I decided to pick up a game to try out my new machine. The game? The very game I already owned: Half-Life 2. Figuring the graphics and PC controls warranted my restarting of the game, I installed it, played for about 20 minutes, and then realized I had a ton of console games to finish first and would come back to it later.

You know what happened.

Then The Orange Box came out in autumn 2007. Finally, a definitive collection, featuring Episodes One and Two and, of course, Portal, which looked amazing. I plowed through Portal the day I got the game, then started Half-Life 2, this time determined to go through everything. I made it to Ravenholm, where I was absolutely terrified and promptly shut it off, to play another day.

God damn it.

Ravenholm was so terrifying, so absolutely frightening, that the thought of going back to play it scared the hell out of me. So having tried the game so many different times, I came to realize it was never meant to be.

And then I let a coworker and friend of mine borrow the Orange Box a few months ago. Every week he would come in to work and talk about how awesome it was, how amazing it was. That, in addition to months and years about hearing all I let myself miss out on from this site and the podcasts and just the entire gaming world, I realized this time, I had to do it. I had to discipline myself, and not take the Orange Box out of my 360 until I was finished.

I started Half-Life 2 on Christmas Day of 2009, and finished Half-Life 2: Episode Two on February 16, 2010. Yes, it was just a wee bit of peer-pressure that broke me years after the fact. Having gone through almost the entire experience years after these games came out, and having played dozens of games inspired by or blatantly ripping off the game, the following are my thoughts on Half-Life 2 and Half-Life 2: Episodes One and Two, really really late.

And it should be pretty obvious that there are going to be full-blown SPOILERS below.



What Blew Me Away

Obviously, a whole lot blew me away, but it really was the storytelling, from beginning to end, that nailed me. I have played a ton of first person games with the silent protagonist, but it is only Half-Life 2 that really made me feel like I was in the shoes of the player. I really felt like I was Gordon Freeman, that I was in that world and that everything I did 100% mattered. And especially during the combat-free, story-heavy segments. Being talked to by these lifelike, expressive characters really made it feel like I was there. Every single person in the opening segment in City 17 set the game up for such an incredible, indescribable atmosphere, full of darkness, depression, and that one small sliver of hope.

The opening, since I’ve experienced it about 900 times, still manages to be incredible every single time. From the slow-paced initial exploration of City 17 and your introduction to Dr. Breen on the giant video screen, all the way until you are chased by the Combine and saved by Alyx, is just little moment after little moment that will stick with me forever. The tic-tac-toe board, the see-saw, tossing televisions and chairs out the window, and of course tossing the can at the Combine soldier, are all these tiny little details that made the game world feel alive.

But once you get into combat and start shooting everything in your way, it’s a whole different level of wonder and excitement. The smart AI of the Combine soldiers, the explosions, the breaking boxes and falling objects, it felt like the whole world was after me and that I had to be pretty damn important if they’re going all out against one man. The very basic but very user-friendly guns provided the perfect generic template for an FPS weapon selection. The assault rifle for when I needed to take down tons of guys, the shotgun for going after the zombies, and the pistol for when things got desperate. Every weapon had a purpose, everything designed with so many specific instances in mind.

And the vehicles made me feel the same way. Controlling unbelievably smoothly whether on water or on land, and providing for some thrilling moments whether you are taking it slow or speeding away from an onslaught of enemies, the vehicular sections in the game were actually something to enjoy and not dread as in most games. That feeling when I first got to start shooting in the airboat was one of pure joy, like things were finally on an even playing field.

That level of power kept coming back throughout the whole game. It was constantly, for me anyways, a complete back and forth of feeling super weak and super powerful. I would always get into a big firefight and waste every single shot, feeling terrified and vulnerable after. No weapons, no health, I treaded with caution every step of the way. Avoiding confrontation, playing it smart, once I finally made it to a stash of weapons and health I was right back on the offensive. The game never let me feel too strong for too long, or too weak. They toyed with my emotions just right.

However, if you want to talk emotion, you’ve got to bring up Alyx Vance. Known to many as one of the strongest characters in any game, Alyx wasn’t someone who I really hit it off with at first. While I thought she was quite friendly and enjoyed her company, especially seeing her interact with her father, Eli, and Dog, I never really got why people praised her so much.

It wasn’t until Episode One, where she and Dog pull me out of the rubble, that I began to feel a real connection. It was then that I felt we were in this together, and we needed to help each other out to make it out alive. And then, of course, she busts out the classic “Zombine” line and I instantly saw her as a real person, a human as vulnerable and alive as I am, that is not just there to make my life easier, but to fight for the same thing as me. From that point on, I always made sure to work WITH her, and not just have her there as a prop. I would even go out of my way to protect her in especially heated firefights, like the Hunter assault on the house in Episode Two.

Which is another great thing about these games: Valve designed the entire game with my own sanity in mind. Very rarely were there moments where I felt like Valve was being a dick to me. Whether it was the crates with unlimited rockets for gunship fights, the replenishing help in the Strider assault in Episode Two, or the constant flow of conveniently placed supply boxes loaded with just what I needed at that point in time, it always seemed like Valve tried to make my life easier without making the game easier.

The best part about all this? The fact that Alyx was with me for huge chunks of the game, and almost always took care of herself. She didn’t have a health meter to worry about, she didn’t have limited ammo, and she never needed a single supply from me. She did her own thing, was completely responsible, never got in my way, and never once in the entire game did I feel like I was in the middle of an escort mission. She held her own, we got each other’s backs, and the entire game was amazing as a result.

I have to say, though, that my favorite parts of the entire experience were whenever I was just hanging out. Even a moment of brief down time in a hangout was a huge relief, and seeing the humble gratitude of every soldier and resistance member along the way actually made me feel like what I was doing made a difference. But I just loved that first meeting with Dr. Kleiner and Eli. Getting to stand there and be a part of the story instead of watching the story really made the game feel like IT was telling the story, not cutscenes. Seeing Alyx interact with Eli, seeing Dr. Kleiner bicker with Dr. Magnusson, or seeing the heart-wrenching and slightly comical interactions of that one resistance couple spread throughout the game always made me feel like I was a part of the world, something very few games can accomplish.

Can I also say just how much I love Vortigaunts? They are the nicest, sweetest, friendliest race ever and I wish they were real. Their charming manner of speech and nonstop barrage of compliments makes me want a real-life alien ego stroker to follow me around all day.

So to wrap up what I absolutely loved, let me just name off a bunch of moments in the game that will stick with me forever: First entering City 17, first getting your HEV suit and crowbar back, driving around in the airboat, playing fetch with Dog, the first time you cut a zombie in half with a sawblade, dropping a car on a group of zombies, lighting a bunch of zombies on fire, avoiding the sand to prevent antlion attacks, having antlions attack all of your enemies, the ride through the Citadel, the pure power of the souped-up gravity gun, getting tossed by Dog in the car into the Citadel, Ravenholm 2.0 in Episode One, the Left 4 Dead-esque elevator wait, seeing Dr. Kleiner on the giant video screens for the first time, dodging the Strider to get to the train, watching the Citadel explode from the train, seeing Alyx use the gravity gun, the fear, horror and sadness of the Hunter’s sudden attack on Alyx, the antlion assault, being chased by the glow-in-the-dark guardian, avoiding the autoguns, watching Dog make the save and destroy the Strider, the first time the G-Man is referenced by Eli, fighting to shut the silo, hearing the references to Aperture Science, the satisfaction of destroying the last Strider, the joy of seeing the rocket launch, and of course, the utter heartbreak of watching Eli die right in front of you and Alyx.



What Pissed Me Off

If you’re still reading this, allow me to break it down into a much smaller section of what pissed me off.

Basically any time I got truly frustrated with the game was because I am a terrible and impatient videogame player. I avoid conflict at all costs, do my best to conserve ammunition and health, and freak out if I get low on either. I am constantly too afraid to just go out there and take an enemy down, so any part of the game involving Striders really made me angry. That bit in Episode One where you’ve got to attack all the Striders while hiding under rubble made me want to blow up the world. It was very frustrating to conserve rocket launcher ammo and take out the Striders without dying when I was low on health. Again, all my fault for letting myself both get my ass kicked and not notice the section with the rocket crate, but I was still pretty miffed.

The massive ending sequence taking on the army of Striders also made me really mad. The sawmill got destroyed almost instantly, so my Magnusson device supply was gone for one of the main areas of the battle. The Hunters were too large in numbers, too fast and vicious, difficult to kill, and always destroyed my Magnussons. Of course this was all the result of my own impatience and desire to just destroy the Striders instantly, but again, it still made me really angry. I eventually just ended up waiting for the Striders to come to me so I could destroy them at the last minute while resistance members hit the Hunters with their rocket launchers, but even then the frustration still stood.

As far as story-related issues, I kind of hated the fact that there were like four voices totals for all the soldiers. I understand it was probably difficult to get a ton of different voices and lines recorded, but I still frequently had a Metal Gear style ? over my head any time I heard a familiar voice or saw a familiar face. Strangely, though, hearing those familiar voices across the game eventually ended up giving me a warm feeling of safety once I heard them enough.

I also hated the amount of people walking backwards while facing me, and I hated the SKIPPING backwards even more. Again, I completely understand the design reasoning behind it as well as the realism reasoning, but it irked me in a weird way.

And finally, I noticed a bit into Episode One that the game started to get a tad on the formulaic side. Namely the formula of 1) Something happens or something is needed, 2) I have to go make the thing not happen or fetch what I need in what seems to be an easy way, 3) The easy way goes horribly wrong and I either fall or get ambushed and end up having to go through an elaborate process to finish my task, and 4) Do what I need to do, and find a second route back that takes me about ten seconds. While I appreciate part 4 for the simplicity and lack of backtracking, there were so many instances where something simple turned into something ridiculous. I understand it wouldn’t be a game and there would be nothing interesting to do without it, but it was getting to a point where I would be told to do something and say to myself, “This is NOT going to be as easy as they make it sound.” I ended up constantly waiting for elevators to crash or soldiers to pop up out of nowhere, and most of the time I would be right.



TL; DR

It’s pretty obvious that there is a LOT more good to say about this game than bad. And it’s pretty obvious that I absolutely loved (almost) every second of this one game/two episode experience. For a game that is, at its youngest, three years old and six years old at its oldest, to hold up and wow me more than most major releases of 2009 and 2010 is a huge testament to the brilliant minds over at Valve. They have crafted a well-paced, well-designed, and absolutely remarkable experience of storytelling, gameplay, and pure excitement that deserves every single shred of critical acclaim.

Finally, after all this time, I completely understand why whenever people discuss storytelling through gameplay, games as art, or just what makes excellent game design, the first game out of anyone’s mouth is Half-Life 2.   read


7:07 PM on 05.05.2009

ToeJam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron: Stop the Hate!



I’ve noticed throughout my years of internetting that a lot of people have a soft, cushy spot in their heart, in the exact shape of ToeJam and Earl for the Sega Genesis. I’ve also noticed that there is no room in these hearts for its sequel, ToeJam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron. And I say BACK OFF. Having been one of my favorite games of the Genesis days, and a game I still play with relative frequency (most recently last week), I am here to let you all know that it is just as good as the original…just different.

The main reason people talk so much smack is that this game is nothing like the awesome original. The first game, released in 1991, featured some very unique gameplay. Randomly generated levels from a top-down viewpoint, funky powerups (rocket skates, Icarus wings, hell yeah.), funny characters, and a fun soundtrack all helped compliment this bizarre Genesis classic. In it, you play as ToeJam and Earl, two aliens from Funkotron that crash land on Earth. All you’ve got to do is avoid the wild Earthlings, grab the ten pieces of your destroyed ship, and head home. To progress through the levels, you must use presents that you find scattered throughout the randomly generated levels, avoid the Earthlings (the only form of combat was through a temporary powerup of tomatoes), grab your ship part, and head up an elevator to the next level. The experience was different every time, even in terms of how many levels you play, as some levels did not feature a ship piece. Plus, it featured two player co-op for the entire experience! It was (and still is) fresh, original, and extraordinarily fun.

The sequel came along two years later (1928, I think. I don’t know. What’s 1991 + 2? Forget it, I’ll figure it out myself), and it was a drastic departure. A side-scrolling action-platformer, this game was nothing like the original. And people today look back on it and scoff. It did take away a lot of what made the original so amazing, but at the same time it was still its own experience and extremely fun and enjoyable in its own right.

Upon returning to Funkotron, ToeJam and Earl discover that many Earthlings managed to stow away on their ship. And the presence of the Earthlings has made the great Funkopotomus, Lamont, lose his, and in return the planet’s, funk. ToeJam and Earl made this mess, they must clean it up: bottle up all the Earthlings and send them back where they came from!

A truly fun, funny, and bizarre story, it is told through a series of 2D levels packed with secrets, great dialogue, and one of my all-time favorite video game soundtracks. Allow me to break down why this game is awesome:



1. It’s super 90s.
Everything from the attitude to the dialogue to the music to the way the characters dress to the friggin’ font, this game screams 90s. Now I may be one who hates decade-specific nostalgia (suck it, VH1), but I’ll be damned if this game doesn’t make me want to return to 1993. Everything’s so laid back, so cool, so Generation X. The color palette especially just gives off that 90s vibe.


2. The soundtrack is funk-tastic.
The soundtrack is just amazing. A very funky, fresh street sound that makes it feel more like you are just hanging out in these levels than rushing through. It’s all very relaxed, but it’s so goddamn catchy that I kind of want to start a ToeJam and Earl cover band. There’s even an eight-song mini-soundtrack featuring full jazz/funk versions of a majority of the game’s tracks. And yes, I listen to it rather frequently. Check out my personal favorite, Lewanda’s Love:

[embed]131095:19108[/embed]




3. The co-op is a blast, especially for a 2D sidescroller
ToeJam and Earl are best friends on an adventure, and playing this game with a friend enforces that even further. Featuring two player co-op (player one is ToeJam, player two is Earl), you and a pal can plow through the whole game together, bottling up Earthlings and sending them back to Ol' Blue and Green. Now, a lot of 2D sidescrollers mess up the co-op (Sonic 2, I am performing a full on death stare in your direction), but ToeJam and Earl 2 does it right. If one of you goes too far or tries to go back, you get smushed up against the side of the screen. You’ve got to stay on screen together, and it works. And if you somehow lose your buddy, just press start and you’ll magically appear with your chum.

There’s a few really great little things that make me love the game’s co-op. One is the bubbles. There are bubbles you can stand on top of and ride to otherwise unreachable areas throughout the game, where you need to keep your balance or slide off. With another player, he gets on your shoulders, and you both need to maintain your balances at the same time. Chaotic fun. There’s also a way to share health. If one of you is running low, you can hit up your buddy and both can press down at the same time. The result? A HIGH FIVE that evens out both partners’ health. A HIGH FIVE. Awesome.

And my favorite bit: at random moments throughout the game, ToeJam and Earl will have very brief conversations. Nothing special, but just a reminder that these two are just hanging out, having a good old fashioned adventure. For example:

Earl: “I have to go to the bathroom.”
ToeJam: “I thought I told you to go before we left.”

Or,

Earl: “Achoo.”
ToeJam: “Gesundheit.”

Again, nothing special, but it appearing at completely random times really just makes the experience that much better.




4. The game is funny and has a great personality.
I don’t mean it has a great personality in that it’s fat and ugly but you’d still bang it because it’s cool, I mean the game has its own identity and personality to it. The writing is awesome. Little interactions between characters, such as ringing someone’s doorbell or encountering one of the many NPCs that litter the game environments (a rarity for a lot of sidescrollers), show that both characters have a definite personality and that Funkotron is alive and well with an array of interesting individuals.

And the Earthlings are a great satire of our own society. There’s a fat rich woman with annoying and vicious poodles that bite you, a buff asshole on a jackhammer that prevents you from moving, a yuppie that takes pictures of you with a blinding and debilitating flash, and THE BOOGEYMAN. A little purple dude that comes in and out of visibility, yelling “HEAP BOOGEY BOOGEY BOOGEY” and scaring the hell out of you, draining some health. Then there’s the nude man in a cardboard box that slings mud at you, the annoying bratty children, the duck on a magic carpet, some little shit floating on balloons and shooting spitballs at you, a fairy that throws laughing dust at you, and a douchebag cow ghost that possesses you and makes you moo. I mean, what the hell is NOT to love about these enemies?


5. It’s just a really good time.
It may not have randomly generated levels, or too many interesting power-ups, but this is a hell of an experience. The level design is outstanding, as the levels are filled with enough secrets to fill up 50 copies of LocoRoco, fighting enemies never gets too frustrating, and there’s even a dancing/memorization mini-game to take part in. But let us not forget the…



6. HYPERFUNK ZONE!
Yes, the greatest bonus stage ever. I want to retire there. Crazy colors, funky patterns, presents galore, you turn into squiggles, and it yells HYPERFUNK ZONE whenever you enter it.


So I suppose I’ll shut up now. For everyone that gave this game a hard time when it came out, or rolls their eyes at how this game isn’t the original with better graphics, go download this bad boy on the Virtual Console. Or not download the ROM. I won’t not tell…no one… … ?

Seriously, play ToeJam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron. Give it one more shot. It’s a really fun game and does not deserve all the hatred. Now it’s time to go pack my bags, I’m off to the HYPERFUNK ZONE!   read


8:37 PM on 11.10.2008

Banjo-Kazooie XBLA now available!! If you have the code.



So yeah. If you happen to have your preorder bonus code for Banjo-Kazooie on Xbox Live Arcade, you can download that shit RIGHT NOW! Or, if you are me, 2 hours ago.

GameStops have been giving them out for about a week now, and some have run out, so if you preordered Nuts and Bolts and have yet to get your card....well, good luck. You may not get one.

But for those of you with the cards, hit up Xbox Live right this second and you will get your reward!

And yes, the game looks absolutely fantastic in HD.   read


5:34 PM on 11.03.2008

First person shooters: The character is a gun. Really?



I work for a small online games retailer in Waltham, Massachusetts. I work with many people who play video games. There is one kid in particular, though, I'll call him...Keith. His favorite game of all time is Grand Theft Auto IV. He plays the online multiplayer from when he gets home at 5pm, until he goes to bed at 2am. And on weekends? He plays it from the moment he gets up until the moment he goes to bed. I am not exaggerating at all. He is hardcore about that game.

We talk games all the time, to make the day go by. I'll talk once in a while of my exploits on Call of Duty 4 over Xbox Live, or how fantastic games like BioShock or Portal are. I'm not a huge shooter fan, honestly. The three I mentioned are pretty much all I've played in the last two years or so. But what happens when I mention them? He flips his lid!

"First person shooters are so fuckin' dumb. You have to be a retard to like them," he'll say. I can kind of respect that. Some people get motion sickness, or some people find the genre to have way too many generic titles to really sift through and find the truly outstanding ones.
"Why?" I would ask.
"Because the character is a gun. It's a fuckin' gun. That's so stupid! Why would I want to play as a gun?"
"But you aren't playing as a gun. You are playing from the perspective of a character. You see what they see."
"No you aren't! You're playing as a gun! No personality, you can't even see anybody. You just see the gun. Why would I play as a gun? I don't get it."
"But you're missing out on some of the best stories ever told in games! BioShock is so incredibly immersive and beautifully done and--"
"Nope. That game sucks. You're a gun, it's dumb."
"But you're not a gun! You are a man who ends up in this abandoned underwater society and you find out how the place fell apart and--"
"No you don't, you're playing as a gun. You're an idiot for liking those games."


So, let me ask you all this: Do you ever feel like you are playing as a gun in a first person shooter? Are there FPSes where the immersion is just not there and you think you're just playing as a gun? Or do some people just not understand that there is more than one way to see your character in a game?

UPDATE: As of January of 2009, he has turned around out of the blue. After tons of begging and pleading for him to play CoD4, Left 4 Dead, and other outstanding shooters, he has embraced the first person perspective. He now has replaced GTA IV with CoD:WaW as his game of choice every day, and frequently plays L4D when myself and others are online to play it with him.   read


6:13 PM on 08.25.2008

Instant Replay: Metal Gear Solid 2



I think it takes a lot for me to go back to a game. Unfortunately, I am the type that picks up a new game, plays around with it, and then OH SNAP! A new game comes out. Time to grab that new game, and let's forget about that other thing I was playing. I've probably only beaten about 30% of my collection, maybe only 3% of which I've COMPLETED. That's not a lot. Sure, it gives me time to play other games and experience a lot more than others, but at the same time I'm sure I'm missing out on a lot.

So what exactly is it that keeps me coming back to Metal Gear Solid 2? A game that many people take steamy dumps on for its pseudo-philosophical storyline, overly dramatic voice acting, predictable and linear gameplay, and the question, "Do you remember what day it is tomorrow?" I'll tell you what: the stuff I just mentioned.

I don't care what anyone says. Philosophical or not, the story has made me think about life. The game makes me contemplate the passing on of information, and has made me realize just how much more important that is than passing on genes. Genes get all screwy in the process, and if you keep going down in history, your own genes are but the most minute fraction of the sexy 6033 AD supergenes of our descendants. So it made me think: kids are annoying, lame, and a huge waste of money. Why not create something incredible to pass on, something that keeps my name alive forever?

All that stuff aside, though, the game does so many amazing things with its story and gameplay that keep me coming back for more. I want to relive, over and over, what I feel are some of gaming's best moments. That original mindrape when you first see Raiden still gets to me. Remembering how I felt the first time I felt betrayed, and going through the game remembering how I grew to love Raiden as a character, how he was needed to tell the story the way producer Hideo Kojima saw fit. I want to relive the amazing scene when the tanker sinks, I want to relive the fight against the Metal Gears, I want to relive the emotional moment when the usually emotionless Snake embraces Otacon, something a man with a beard like Snake never does. So many moments that made me feel SOMETHING, moments that stay in my memory as clear as day.

And if the story doesn't keep me coming back, there's nothing like classic stealth action. MGS2 improved upon everything its predecessor did that made it amazing. It felt like the perfect, ultimate Metal Gear experience. Figuring out enemy patterns and planning out a route to not get caught is still thrilling after having played through the game over ten times, and the feeling of me vomiting all over my controller when I get caught never goes away. I don't care how mechanical and linear MGS2 is, I don't care that there's pretty much only one or two ways to do any given task in the game. There's something about the way the game is set up and the way that everything comes together so brilliantly that makes me never, ever want to stop playing this game.

What brings it all together is the overall experience, and how no game has ever matched it. When have you ever had an established hero, a character you fell in love with, and then watch them go on to assist you for another game while you're stuck as someone completely different? The huge risk that Kojima took by taking Solid Snake out of the spotlight for a while before thrusting him back just to the side of it is something I cannot recall any other man in Kojima's shoes doing. It took massive balls and is still a risk he does not regret. By not only doing that, but turning everything you thought you knew about the real and fictional world on its head, is something few games do, and even fewer do well, it makes MGS2 an experience that is unmatched, seven years later.

I think what makes the perfect game is gameplay that keeps you coming back and keeps you entertained, a story that makes you think as well as react emotionally, and an experience that cannot be duplicated in any way, shape or form. And if a game is perfect in your eyes, you're going to want to play it again and again, regardless of how many copies of Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts or Left 4 Dead are headed your way.

And believe me, I love me some Banjo.   read


  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -