Welcome to my blog! I'm Martin. I live in the city of the . My first game was for . After that it was to the , for some , some , and some , and so on. I got a (my first game there was the HORRENDOUS adaptation of which was a really crappy knockoff), then a , , , , and . My boring Twitter page lives here.
Warning: you may not give a shit about the following words.
Ever tried to watch a video of an M-rated game? You've all seen the familiar message, "Please enter your age" or something like that. So now I'm 17 years old, and I can purchase M-rated games, assuming the ESRB hasn't upended its ratings system. But this causes a funny problem with most age gates, seeing as I'm not 18. Why? The existence of the AO rating. AO games are 18+, as I'm sure you're aware. There have been twenty-five games in the fifteen year history of the ESRB that have received this rating. So I go to the God of War 3 site. Or to watch a video on GameTrailers. (these are the two things that come first to mind, although there are plenty of other examples) And before, I've been just scrolling down to 1900 and hitting "enter", and that works fine. But now that I can purchase these games by myself, I decided, just for fun, to see if my real age works. And so I put in my age. What do I get? This message.
So...what am I supposed to do? Putting my year of birth in as 1992 instead of 1993 doesn't deliver this message. But the game is rated M, not AO. I can purchase this game, but I cannot watch videos of the game? How does this make sense? Why does this occur? I realize most people don't bother to put in their actual year of birth, but I'm trying to figure out why age gates are set to 18 and not 17 for games that can be purchased by people who are 17. I'll leave it to the comments, half of which I expect to be either "So what?" or "Waaaaah" or "Wait until you're 18" but, still, I want to know what somebody else thinks about this.
Oh, and the God of War I and II websites? The age gate is set to 17.
Assembled entirely from recent ESRB ratings summaries.
A bicycle can be used to jump over a baby
they are zombie-like and infected with a parasite
Clear away the clutter from a bed-slab, unzip a future-blouse
Paradise cannot mean straddling felled tree trunks in dental-floss thongs
Japanese samurai, elderly spear fighters, modern American samurai, Bushido-type
but parents and consumers may still want to know,
similar to the close-up clinch and disarm moves,
something to save a young girl from a mysterious, magical disease.
blood covers the entire floor of some rooms;
Try to survive the city of Shanghai as it collapses around you.
The camera often lingers,
as battery power runs out, the icon starts to shrink—a sad face appears.
This is going to be a short post since I haven't updated in a while. I bought Mass Effect 2 after giving the original another try. I got stuck on one section because the Mako controls were awful. AWFUL. I beat the game (but my save file didn't show up in ME2 so I have to start a new game). I won't do a review since it's received unanimous praise and anything I would say would be piling on (I learned my lesson after Braid with that) so suffice it to say that it's an incredible achievement in terms of storytelling and gameplay, and even in sequels (It's up there with HL2 in terms of not being shit compared to the original, but actually improving).
This is my first blog post since August '08. Why the lapse? Many boring and complicated reasons are to blame, but the tl;dr version is that I forgot about it. My last post, a Braid review, got 8 comments, most of which were whining that there'd already been so much praise for Braid that it was pointless to have another all-positive review. So, I'll only review a game now if I think I've got something to add. Anyway, this is going to be a weekly series unless I don't have time to write something. I'll write and post whatever my mind can spit out after midnight, since I'm up anyway. I'll start with a look at some releases and what I think of them. If it sucks, I can blame it on the fact that these go up around 1 am.
So. 2010. In gaming. This is one of the most saturated video game release seasons in many recent years. Let's take a look at the games that matter, because you don't really care about the bargain bin crap like Vancouver 2010. This is filtered with my judgment, so I'll probably have omitted something you consider to be a major release.
Bayonetta PS3, X360
Army of Two: The 40th Day PS3, X360, PSP
Mass Effect 2 Win, X360
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle Wii
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Win
Dante's Inferno PS3, PSP, X360
BioShock 2 Win, X360, PS3
Heavy Rain PS3
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction Win, X360
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Win, X360, PS3
Final Fantasy XIII PS3, X360
Just Cause 2 Win, X360, PS3
Let's go down the list, shall we?
Bayonetta I liked the demo, I liked Devil May Cry. I'll probably play this in the very near future. Verdict: Army of Two...2 Never played the original, but I'll give this a try. Verdict: Mass Effect 2 Played the original, hated it. Yes, I did. I think I played the levels in the wrong order. I thought the combat was seriously flawed and the difficulty curve had strange spikes. It looked pretty good, and the voice acting was top-notch, and I usually love what BioWare does (KOTOR! Jade Empire!) but it just didn't agree with me. Verdict: MAG I've played SOCOM before, and I never really got into it. I'm not really a huge fan of "simulation" games (I loathed Gran Turismo and the sequels) and it wasn't really my style. Zipper Interactive has talent, but they don't make the sort of shooter I like to play. I don't even have my PlayStation anymore, so I couldn't play it if I wanted to. But I don't. Verdict: No More Heroes 2 Seriously, what can I say? I've played every one of Suda's games, and even if I didn't love them, I admired their uniqueness. Even that horrible looking one in the hotel. I didn't really like Killer7, but I loved the originality in its ideas. The original was great, so I'll get it. Verdict: STALKER 2 I never played the original. I heard great things about it, though. It sounded very similar in tone to a lot of other shooters I've played (and loved) like F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2, but I'm not certain that I'll play this one. Verdict: Dante's Inferno Weird and awful ad campaign aside, I'm not playing this one. The demo plays exactly like God of War. Believe me, it does. If I wanted to play that, I'd play that. What's worse, they're using the book to justify sticking in silly, over-the-top depictions of hell. Whether or not the gameplay is solid (it's not really) depends on how good God of War was, since any knockoff has to start at the original. Verdict: Bioshock 2 A thousand times yes. Verdict: Splinter Cell Another game I hated that others loved was Splinter Cell. It was good to a point, but then the difficulty became impossible and I lost interest. I own Pandora Tomorrow, and I'll take a look at that soon. I might check it out if a good demo comes out, though. Verdict: Battlefield 2 For the millionth time: never played the original, will check out the sequel since I always intended to play this but never found the time. Verdict: Final Fantasy XIII I know there are people frothing at the mouth for this. I played XII for about 10 hours before it started to get on my nerves. I'll try this as well, if not only to solidify my disdain for JRPGs. I always start with an open mind. I hope it's good. Verdict: Just Cause 2 I actually did play the original...at the VGXpo a few years ago (which I'm still beating myself up about for skipping this year since Nintendo showed up). I liked it, but it wasn't terribly engaging. Scores were mixed to mediocre. I'll skip.Verdict:
The first time I started this game, I said "Wow." you see a beautifully drawn world, with a style all its own. The backgrounds are pieces of art that have been given life. The clouds billow and shimmer. The colors undulate peacefully against the soft, beautiful music that one wants to listen to for hours. No two pieces are the same, and each area has its own. There were so many things I loved about this game that it's almost difficult to put anything into words as I try to type them all at once.
The controls were fantastically designed, and they work very, very well. The mechanics of twisting time are implemented perfectly. Sometimes, though, you will try to move when time is a factor (which it always is in this game *badum-tish*) and you will pause for a second as your character looks up or down, which does nothing (which I also liked, since it shows how far your control over the character goes). But as the game is, if you do something wrong, at the touch of a button, you can easily rewind, whether a few milliseconds or a few minutes, and simply try again.
The puzzles. My god. These are some of the best puzzles that I have ever seen. The solutions are all revealed by logic, rather than some stupid method of trial and error (although the very first example of this, in the first area, is the only puzzle in the game that can be solved this way, if you are lucky). This game trains you to think outside the box for solutions that are innovative and you would have never thought of, had you not been forced to sit and think, since you cannot reach Closure (capitalized since there is a 60 point achievement waiting for players at the end of the game, a very nice touch, with that name). This is truly one of the few games in history that actually rewards gamers who use their heads rather than their trigger fingers. These puzzles are very difficult, but it's hard to measure that here. In terms of time to complete them, then yes, they do normally take a while to figure out. But the solutions are, every single one, right in front of you, the kind of ones that make you smack yourself on the forehead and say, "I never thought of that!"
The story is mature, ripped from Mario but retooled for an older generation, and lengthened a lot. The story itself, like the game, is non-linearly revealed, with the beginning of the game coming at the end. This game will turn you inside out before it drops your chin to the floor, and that happens before the climax.
The fourth level, in particular, is a shining example of a good idea put to great use. As you move forwards and backwards, time will move with you. This creates some sticky situations where, once more, a bit of thinking will set you right soon enough. I loved the first stage of this especially, "Jumpman" simply for the odd nostalgic value of playing through the first Donkey Kong stage in a way-past-nonlinear manner.
The final level, played after all 5 other stages, is brilliant.
The final level is fittingly called "Braid" and it is one of the crowning achievements in game development up to this point in history, in my opinion. I wish I could tell you about it, but it has to be seen to be believed, and I'm not going to ruin it for you. The story after that gets a bit convoluted in my opinion, but this doesn't mar my enjoyment of this game.
Yeah, there's little replay value, but I think that for the sheer depth and density of gameplay here (like a diamond) it's worth the price.
Fuck the price. Get 15 dollars. Hell, go buy a 360 if you don't have one, or go to a friend's house. Play this game. An absolute must-have, in my opinion. Definitely one of the best games of the year, if not simply the one of the best on XBLA by far.