Hi. My name is Blake. I like games and shit. I study at university... writing and that jazz, though you probably couldn't tell it. Ok, shit you want to know.
Favourite Games: Dark Souls, Resident Evil 4, Timesplitters 2, Silent Hill 2, Ape Escape, Banjo Kazooie.
Favourite Movies: Cabin in the Woods, Shaun of the Dead, Clerks, Fight Club, Machete, Dr Horribles Sing Along Blog.
Favourite TV Shows: Breaking Bad, Community, Arrested Development, Parks And Recreation, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Garth Marenghi's Dark Place, Black Books, The IT Crowd, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood, South Park etc.
Favourite Bands: Maudlin of the Well, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Clouddead, Dalek, Smashing Pumpkins, Eminem, Cynic, Porcupine Tree, Ne Obliviscaris, Die Antwoord, Opeth.
Well, I'm finally getting around to part 2. For my destructoid readers, it's only been a couple of days since I posted the original blog, but for my 1-up readers? It's been about 2 months. I did start to write this ages ago, but I kept changing my mind about what my top 10 games actually were. But now I've narrowed it down, and picked a definitive list of games I know will stay in here for quite some time. Also, I'm finally bored enough to actually write this fucker. Also, since some of these descriptions were getting quite long I decided to split the blog up again, just to make reading easier for you lazy cockbites. So without further ado, I bring to you MARSHAL!!!!!! Ok... If you read on I promise to never make an Eminem reference ever again...
10: Batman: Arkham Asylum: Before I start, yes this picture is from the Grant Morrison/Dave McKean masterpiece, but it's certainly a hell of a lot better than the dross that passed for the game's cover. Hell, I'd prefer a picture of a pair of shemale testicles over the crap they put on there. I almost didn't buy the game because it looked like shit. I thought, great, another in the long line of games that won't serve justice to my second favourite fictional character (First being Jesus), and will probably tarnish his name even further. Even better, they're using my favourite of his comics, and there is no way a mainstream video game could do it justice, unless it was designed by the team behind Silent Hill 3. Oh how wrong I was.
The team chose wisely to have Arkham Asylum become just a setting, and have little connection to the tone of the comic. There are still horror elements in the game, and even psychological aspects, but this is an entirely beast, and that's not a bad thing. While I would have liked more doubt in Batman's sanity, his wondering whether walking into Arkham Asylum "would feel like home," I was genuinely impressed with the overall feel of the game. Arkham Asylum felt right as a setting. The villains were well characterised and the voice acting was phenomenal. They got the atmosphere, the look, and sound of Batman right, however it would all be worth nothing if the gameplay wasn't up to scratch.
Well, the game got that right also, and for the first time in a batman game, you used a mix of stealth, combat, and detective deduction to make your way through the game, and each single element of that mix was satisfying in itself. The stealth made your heart race as you eliminated each character one by one, inducing fear into the remaining ones as they witnessed their victims fall. The combat was visceral and brutal without the need for gore. The puzzles tested your mind without being too hard. This was a true batman game, and I'm going erect just thinking about it.
9. Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2: The Playstation and nintendo 64 were the first consoles I owned. My uncle owned the sega mega drive, and my mum owned the snes. So a playstation was like a birthday present. The first games I remember playing on it were Abe's Exoddus, Resident Evil, and this. Since I was 8 (My uncle used the console more than me, hence why I had all these games I probably shouldn't have) Abe's fart jokes appealed to me, but the puzzles didn't, and while I was a fan of horror even at that young age (thank you R.L. Stine) Resident evil was far too serious and hard for me to play. So this was the game for me.
This game is so high up because not only was it a great game, but it also shaped my early teen life. The music I heard shaped my music tastes, causing me to get into bands such as Papa Roach, Rage Against the Machine, and Millencolin. That in turn had a profound effect on my music tastes now, because Papa Roach and RATM led me into Nu metal, post grunge, and hip hop; which then led Progressive rock and metal (thank you tool), which then lead to all types of metal, which lead me to get into a certain band called maudlin of the well that made me a fan of everytype of music. Also, the Pixies fit somewhere in there. They're important too.
This game didn't just shape my music tastes though, It shaped my early teen personality. I started to actually skate (until I injured my back) and fit in with the outcasts, who tried their hardest not to be mainstream. My clothes were Element and Girl (the brand, not feminine clothing) Merch, and yeah, I just kind of sunk into a skater/punk clique. Then I changed dramatically, obviously, but that's another story. It's amazing how much a game can change your life though, hey?
Anyway, not only did this game change my life dramatically, it also was just a great game. It felt great to combo, and was easy to pick up, hard to master. But most of all, it was just fun.
8. Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus: This 2d platforming gem was originally introduced to me when I was 8. My grandmother adored the puzzles and platforming (my grandmother is quite young, only 35 years older than me (she was 19 when she had mum (mum was 16 when she had me (omg there are too many brackets)))), but I originally fell in love with the game because of the farts. The fact that you could fart in the game was amusing to my 8 year old mind. The fact that you could possess your farts and use them to explode enemies was fucking amazing. Seriously, how many games let you do that? Now I find that sort of humour a bit on the nose (see what I did there?), however I still replay this game every so often. Why? The same reason as my grand mother.
See, this game is one of the most brain numbing games I've played, and the fact that the game is all about communication over violence makes it better. In a medium where you're constantly put in the shoes of a mass murdering fuckwit, it was nice to play as someone who used violence as a last resort. I mean you could murder everyone in your wake, but that defeated much of the challenge and purpose of the game. You were a saviour, not a savage.
Then there's the sheer amount of variety in the game. You could possess enemies with guns to murder other enemies with guns, you entered a rollcage car thing, you defused mines, ran away from wildlife, summoned spirits, possessed farts, solved logic puzzles with the aid of your fellow Mudokkons, participated in stealth sequences, and navigated tricky platforming sections. And I haven't even mentioned the quirky motherfuckers that inhabited the world. It was, and still is a truly unique game, and nothing quite compares to it. You should play this game!
7. Jak II: Renegade: I seem to be the only person who remembers when Naughty Dog made games, not shitty Indiana Jones fan fiction with terrible gunplay and god awful platforming and managing to get 10's across the board just by being incredibly polished. Oh... it's a platform exclusive... that explains it then. The Uncharted series dumbfounded me, because the Jak and Daxter series nailed both platforming and while not having amazing at gunplay, were still better than the dross in Uncharted. Anyway, we're here to talk about good games, so I'll stop talking about Uncharted. If you want to hear more about it, look over to my Top 10 Most Overrated Games blog, or read Joss Whedon's 10 year old Indiana Jones fan fiction.
Anyway, this game is brilliant, and along with Ratchet and Clank, showed that mascot platformers could be for adults as well as children. The game took the amazing platforming and seamless, no loading screen world, and made it into an open world, with guns and car jacking. They turned it into a dark disney version of Grand Theft Auto, and it was phenomenal. The Scifi world had hover cars, hover boards, and some of the best platforming in the business. The humour is mostly intelligent and the characters were incredibly quirky.
I've finished this game about 6 times, especially since it was a version of GTA I could play at dads, and more than that, it was actually good, it felt unique even if it did take a lot from Ratchet and Clank, and it leads me to ask one question: Why is Nintendo the only ones who do Mascot Platformers now?
Put simply: Fuck Mario. Fuck Kirby. Fuck any 3D platformer ever released because Jak 2 had them beat. Naughty Dog, go back to doing what you do best, and leave the bland, unimaginative shooters to Epic and Bungie.
Portal 2: Wow. Last year was an amazing year for games. This is the second game released last year to be included in my top 20, and there's one more coming. Also, the day Valve release a bad game will be a sad day for all.
See, the Portal games would be amazing just for their mindbending puzzles and phenomenal physics. The dark humour is just the icing on the... donut? Ah, now I remember why I can't play the first game anymore. YOU BASTARDS RUINED IT!!! If I hear one more of you anal bunny raping cum guzzlers say the words cake in the sames sentence as the word lie... well lets just say your testicals will put into a blender and you will be forced to drink it. Seriously, I have the same problem with the Monty Python films. Things are funnier the less you hear of them, and references aren't clever if they aren't part of a homage or parody, you're just stealing other peoples jokes, you talentless, kiddy fiddling cunts!
Ok, rant over. This is the main reason I prefer the second game over the perfect first game. It hasn't been ruined. The second game's humour is broader, but that doesn't make it any more intelligent. It still has that brilliantly dark humour, and now with the addition of wheatley, it has a farcical, more straightforward humour that is still brilliant in it's own right. The puzzles? Well, they aren't as good as the original, which I suppose will happen if you're trying to reach out to a wider audience. The Co-op section's puzzles are phenomenal, but I don't like co-op in puzzle games. It defeats the purpose. I want to figure shit out on my own, not have some more intelligent prick, or someone who's played it before solve them for me! Thank god for the dowloadable puzzles though. Regardless of the puzzling difficulty, however, we just don't get many games that are genuinely funny, or even remotely intelligent. It's also a point in the favour of non-violent video games. Not all AAA games need to be extraordinarily violent, and this game proves it.
There. That's part 2. Tune in whenever I can be bothered to make the next one. Now go do something productive. Ah, who am I kidding. You're on a gaming website. You don't know the meaning of the word, do you?
Human beings tend to have a morbid obsession with death, and it's evident in every part of our lives. It's our biggest fear, the reason for religion, the basis of all medical science, and our biggest source of entertainment. In movies and video games, the greatest form of revenge is the murder of those who have wronged you. In the entertainment industry, that is justice. It can't be achieved without death. A love and fear of death is engraved into our species, so much so, that we cannot be separated. What does this mean for us? Does this make us evil, or sick and twisted? Well no. It makes us curious. It makes us human, our wanting to understand the unknown, life's greatest mystery. There are many myths out there like this, and I'm going to give you my opinion on them, because my opinion is awesome.
1: Watching Explicit Horror Movies Like a Serbian Film or Martyrs makes you sick and twisted: This is one of the ones I hear most, especially from the older generations. They don't get the fascination with films like Saw, Hostel, or Irreversible, and chalk it up to our being morbid, sick and twisted. In reality, however, it is the opposite. I find these films far less sadistic than say: Indiana Jones, James Bond, or any other film where the "Good Guy" butchers hundreds of people before a cheering crowd. Those films glorify violence. They get you to cheer for the most violent person in the film, and they desensatise you to the violence. They make it acceptable. Films like A Serbian Film show you what violence is. They show you the pain, they show you how fucked up it all is, and have a message. The message is: "See that? The guy whose genitals we just mashed up then forced him to eat? That's fucked up. Don't do that!" What's the message of Machete (well, apart from intestines being a convenient transport from floor to floor)? That violence is cool. That it's awesome to be a mass murdering psychopath.
Still, I think it's important to to realise that the vast majority of us understand that this violence is unacceptable. We aren't psychopaths. We find fake violence to be fun, but we understand that there are repurcussions for death, which is where my second point comes in.
Violent Video Games Turn Us Into Mass Murdering Psychopaths: Well, maybe watching the trailer for Dead Space 3, listening to someone trying to tell me that Gears of War isn't putrid vile we should shoot into the sun... maybe those could turn me into a mass murdering psychopath. Gameplay, however is different. Unless I'm playing a cover based shooter in which run is the same button as the cover system (which is all of them) and when I'm trying to run away from a grenade and I get locked to a wall. Or game developers thinking that we lack the basic intelligence to take cover by our fucking selves... ok, gameplay could lead me to be a killer. That's poor, frustrating gameplay, however, not the violence itself. You see, most people hate someone. They think "you know what? I could shoot that fucker. I could ram a pencil down that cunts nose, then slam his head into a table." But you see, most of us are well rounded enough to realise there are repercussions for said psychotic rage. You go to jail, you make people sad, you have to think of a long winded excuse to tell the dry cleaner... the point is, we don't do it. The murderers who use video games as an excuse? They'd be fucking psychotic without it! You see, video games are an excuse, much like the devil made me do it. It's a poor excuse at that. "Oh video games are what I used to practice for my murders." Come on, they could use chopping up vegetables as an excuse for fuck sake!
OMG! BAN THIS DEMORALISING FILTH!
My point is that without video games, we would still have mass murdering psychopaths. Video games cannot be a crux to blame mental illness or bad parenting. That's really all I have to say on this matter.
Well, this blog turned out to be a lot longer than I originally intended, so I'll exclude the other points I had. I'll save them for another blog maybe. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my article. Please don't use it as an excuse to murder anyone!
Procrastination is a fun thing. When I should be writing an essay about moral relativity, I instead opted to do a top 20 favorite games thing. And because I'm lazy, I've decided to split it into two parts, just so I can I can do the other half later. And because I'm even lazier, I'm not even going to bother with a decent introduction. It's a top 20 games thing. Get over it.
20. Spec Ops: The Line: I know this game is quite recent release, but it's one of those games I know will stick with me. The game is fucked up, and if you know me, dark and depressing is kind of my thing. The game is a commentary of other games like call of duty or gears of war, and judges you harshly for playing it like those games. There is an instance that rips off the COD 4 missile bit that's like an absolute gut punch when you find out what you've done. I'm not going to ruin it for you, but you may need to shower after. I sat their, mouth agape at that scene. I was like: Fuck you modern warfare, this is how you do a shock scene! However it doesn't end there. The game sends you on a spiral into depression, madness and guilt. Even the loading credits start to taunt you, with lines like: "Do you still feel like a hero?" "Collateral damage can be acceptable if the gain is worth it. How much are you and your team mates worth?" and my personal favourite: "The U.S. Army does not condone shooting unarmed civilians. Why should you care. This isn't real." The game has real emotional weight, and it's own genericism helps the point it's making. Overall, I just adore this game, and it's an experience I'll remember for quite some time.
19. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec: You'll find quite a few ps2 games in this list, and the reason is simple: It was the major console around when I was in highschool. I didn't belong to the richest family, so I couldn't afford the seventh generation of consoles until I got my own job at the end of 2010. Yeah, I had a massive backlog of games to catch up on, but we'll get to that later. On top of not having a great deal of money, I also had to contend with my parents being Jehovah's Witnesses, meaning NO VIOLENT VIDEO GAMES! That ruled out quite a few, although I'd still play games like God of War and Resident Evil when I went to my grandmothers house. Due to those circumstances, I had a very limited range of games I could play on a regular basis, and one that got quite frequently played was Gran Turismo 3.
You see, what I love most about this game is that it puts RPG elements into the racing genre. Races and you are rewarded with loot, you can "enhance" your car, you save up your money to buy cars and buy more parts for your car and unlock new races. It takes the most annoying part of an RPG: The Grind, and adds it to maximum effect. This game will last you a lifetime if you want to play every race, and probably six or seven lifetimes if you want to unlock everything the game has to offer. The cars all handle realistically, and the circuits are both well conceived and challenging. There is only one downfall to the game, and it's something that plagues the entire series as a whole: The AI are among the dumbest I've seen in a video game. They are incredibly poor.
In the long run, however, this simply doesn't matter, because this is by far the pinnacle of the series, and moreover, the closest to perfection the racing genre has ever been.
18. Civilisation 5: I'm not a huge fan of the RTS genre, however that's no fault of it's own. I'm just not quick enough, or devoted enough to learn all the hotkeys required to win a match. I do, however, adore the strategical element, and that's why turn based strategy games appeal to me.
The first game in the series I played was Civ 4, which is an amazing game, but not really a good starting place for newbies. I played it of course, but I could never really grasp what I had to be doing. Then Civ 5 came out and changed all of that. It taught me everything I needed to know instead of just assuming. It took me by the hand and showed me the basics and I never looked back. Now can play this game adequately, I adore it. I adore the multiple different ways of victory. I adore the plethora of game making decisions you must make, and I adore how damn addictive it is. I have stayed up until 5 o'clock the next morning, saying to myself the whole time: "Just one more turn, just one more turn."
The AI is slightly more hellbent on war this time around, however, when you play against friends, that's when this game really shines. Making an alliance with a friend and pretending you're going for a science victory and then double crossing him and attacking his capital city is a thrill second to none.To me, this game brings back better times of playing board games with friends, games like Settlers of Katahn or risk, but on a much, much larger scale. I adore the hell out of this game, and it is something I will continually play for now until death. Or at least the next game.
17. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Where to begin? This game is, quite frankly, amazing. This game uses the source engine, and is based off the table rpg of the same name. It is, to me, everything a plot driven RPG should be. Using Deus ex style gameplay, this is a game where every character is intriguing, every choice has real consequence, and leveling up feels fulfilling.
What I truly love about the game, however, is how it just runs with it's theme. You're a vampire, you feed, you seduce, you die in daylight etc. It makes vampires cool again. And this game is fucking dark too. It tackles themes of incest, rape, schitzophrenia and many other uncomfortable themes that I haven't seen discussed in a video game for quite some time.
Unfortunately, there are many, many faults with this game. The combat is kind of shit until you're a higher level, the game is broken unless you patch it, and the graphics are pretty bland even for their time. However, if you can look as that, you will find an amazing experience of storytelling and choice that will stay with you for quite some time.
16. Minecraft: Many games forget one important aspect gameplay: A players imagination is infinitely more powerful than anything you can create. True, there are times when we as players want a rigidly linear game to take us in with it's breath taking story, but every so often we just want to do whatever the hell we want. Minecraft is the best tool around for that.
Minecraft is the best tool for our imagination, because we must work for it. It makes your diamond skull lair with lava eyes so much more rewarding when you have to work for it yourself. On top of the digging and woodcutting, you must survive. You can die by lava, monsters, drowning and starvation, and nearly every death is a significant loss thanks to item loss. Every single block of it you earned, and it adds to the feeling of accomplishment.
What really elevated this game from great to top 20 worthy, however, is the modding community. The game is so much sweeter with automated doors, quarries and the infinite of depth these amazing modders have added. This is one of those games that truly deserves the phenomenon status it's given. Oh, and this game got my mum into gaming. It gets points for that.
15. Fallout 3: This may come as a shock to some of you who have read my past blogs, but I don't actually hate Bethesda. I adored Morrowind, enjoyed Oblivion, and absolutely love what they have done with the Fallout series. The only reason I hate on Skyrim so much is that in 2011 the game is only slightly better than Oblivion, and it has a very similar world to it. I'd be ok with that, however it has nothing to remedy the situation. Fallout 3 has a lot of the same problems Skyrim has, including poor combat, being buggy as hell etc. What Fallout does, however, is redeem itself by being in an insanely interesting world, with rich characters and lots of moral dilemmas.
Fallout 3 is one of those games that just can't be replicated. The style: 1950's ideals and decor merged with lasers, computers, and robots: All blown to hell. It is quite a funny game, with pop culture references, dark irony and wit abounding, but at the same time it is haunting, isolated, and desolate. The towns and cities feel like a group of survivors huddled together to survive.
The game is filled with memorable moments, such as the megaton bomb, the first time you meat a ghoul, and first laying your eyes on Rivet City. This is simply a game that cannot be missed, and to me, the pinnacle of Bethesda games.
14. Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal: Remember how I said I wasn't allowed to play violent games due to my parents being Jehovahs Witnesses? Yeah, like all human beings, my dad is a hypocrite. "Oh no," he'll say, "we can't watch Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings because they have magic in them, and magic is the work of the demons..." Yet his favourite movie of all time is Shrek. "Oh no! We can't buy the Dark Knight on Dvd because it was too violent," yet he owns the Alien Boxset, and recently went to see Prometheus and adored it. Simarly, while he wouldn't allow me to play games like Halo or Killzone, he thinks violence is totally acceptable if it's animated, and/or cell shaded. Ah... ignorance is bliss...
...Especially because this, and two other games on the list I got away with playing for this reason, are effing amazing!
Ratchet and Clank 3 is a young boys dream. Forget Call of Duty or Battlefield with their realistic weapons. Young boys don't want to shoot bullets, they want to shoot lava. They want guns that turn their enemies into sheep, and they want to be reduced to hysterics while doing it.
The game has a depth to it most other games of this genre don't. There are side missions, 2D levels, guns that level up and an insane amount of variety. One second you're jumping on ledges and shooting bad guys, the next you're in a freaking space ship, then you're in a gladiator arena, and then you're a giant clank fighting another mech inside a city, with skyscrapers crumbling all around you. Also, this games has an amazing use of new game plus, because that is te only way your guns can upgrade to full capacity... and upgrade they do...
To summarise, this is the second best platforming game available on the PS2.
13. Planescape: Torment: For those of you who've played this game, you don't need any reason for this game to be in this list. You may need a reason for it being so relatively low in the list, but hey, this is my list, my opinion, and you can go fuck off. Is he gone? Good. Fucking asshole. Anyway, this game is wonderfully written, witty as hell, completely unique, and most importantly: Not a fucking D&D clone.
Finally, a game that isn't just Tolkien fan fiction (which is incidentally why I don't read a lot of fantasy outside of Clive Barker George R.R. Martin. Btw, if anyone knows of any good ORIGINAL fantasy novels, please let me know.) The game has a lot of written dialogue, and not a great deal of action. You can get through a lot of the game without killing anything if you use your wits. The combat is decently done though, if you feel like missing the oppurtunity to be original in the game and want to be a homocidal fuckwit.
Another cool thing in this game is that you are immortal. If you die, you awaken again, which can lead to some very cool experimentation later on. Your party is an eclectic mix of awesome, and the world the story inhabits is so unique and intriguing that you'll probably never want to play a borefest like Skyrim ever again. Although why you're still playing that game, I'll never understand...
12. Timesplitters 2: Remember what I said about Ratchet and Clank about my father being a hypocrite and what-not? Well I was allowed to play this game because it was cell shaded and therefore was more cartoony, which somehow made it less violent. Anyway, this will probably be the topic of a completely different bog, so I won't get too much into the hypocrisy of the way violence is portrayed in the media, and how people view it. Anyway...
All you really need to know about this game is that it is made by free radical, which include a group of the guys who worked on Goldeneye. That's right, fucking Goldeneye. Is this game better than Goldeneye? Yes, in every single way possible. For starters, this game was made on the PS2, so A) it had a decent controller, and it actually worked well, and B) graphically stll holds up today, although I think the cell shading has a lot to do with that. Another point in it's favor is that the game is just a lot more fun. It is over the top, it involves time travelling and has fucking MONKEYS!!!! Also, as an added bonus, you aren't playing as one of the worst James Bond's ever to grace our screens. Also, this has an absolutely amazing tribute to Goldeneye's Dam level.
Now, this is an arcade shooter through and through. Like Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, this game has the brilliant longevity tool of adding extra missions to later difficulties, although it also goes one further. It adds a challenge mode and an arcade mode with such activities as collecting bananas as a monkey, shooting the heads off zombies, or throwing bricks through windows.
Ok, all we've touched on so far is the single player. This game is the best multiplayer shooter ever made. With modes such as Virus Mode, Vampire, Shrink etc, and has levels set in a UFO hangar, in a hospital, and in 1920's gangster inhabited chicago. Also, you can choose a range of characters, from a zombie, to an alien, to a monkey, to a clown etc... this game is just insane fun. Crytek, I know you've bought Free Radical. If you make Timesplitters 4, you can have my sister. And my car. And my girlfriend. And my shoes.
11. Skate 3: I love skateboarding games. I have since I first played THPS1. By the time Tony Hawks Underground 2 came out, and I could get twenty million points in a single combo without cheats, I decided that the old formula needed to be done away with, and something more realistic and challenging to come in. Then came the Skate series. Skate 3 is by far the best in the series, balancing fun and realism quite well.
One thing you should know is that I'm stll playing this game. I'm stll making video montages of my successful stunts, most hilarious bails, and random tomfoolery. I'm still skating, and I'm still enjoying this game as much as I was when I first played it.
Everything in this game is interactive in some way, every area of this game is fun to skate in. Sure, some of the challenges are ridiculously hard, but they can be overlooked for the sheer amount of fun you can have, as Skating in this game is the most natural and fun it has ever been in a video game.
Hall of Meat is the best it has ever been, it's hilarious and more fun then self mutilation has ever been in the past.
However, the best part of this game is not the challenges, it's dicking around. It's seeing what would happen if you jumped off a building onto a hundred boxes, or running and jump kicking an old man down a flight of stairs, seeing if you can bail in an erotic position on a pedestrian, or whether you can recreate your favourite slapstick viral videos.
Well, that's it for this half of my top 20. Tune in whenever I can be bothered doing the next one.
In todays games, female characters have all the personality of a brick. They have one purpose: To satisfy perverted young men. And that would be wholly appropriate if you were writing characters for Leisure Suit Larry. Unfortunately, we are not, and this line of thinking is present in most video games. Look at the Witcher 2, where all the main characters are well characterised, deep and flawed. Except for Triss, who is a big titted badass who ultimately needs a big, white haired mutant to come and save her. What is this, the fucking 1920's?
I'm not going to lie: I like boobs as much as the next guy. I don't in anyway deny their appeal. However, women are far more. Before they had rights, they were a powerful motivator, as ignorant males like myself built shit, thought stuff, and did stuff to impress them. Because of women, we got shit done. Now women have rights, and they are starting to do shit themselves. Which is great, because the more they do, the less I have to. If I sit on my ass and play video games and watch buffy while my girlfriend fixes my car and mows the lawn, I'm helping feminism along.
But the thing that most developers don't realise is that women are people. They aren't some mysterious creature that breathes fire and hormones. They are humans, with drives, desires and motives, like anyone else. Developers seem to understand that women today get shit done, but they don't undertand the depth of those characters.
Female Characters generally fall into these categories: Badasses, Damsels in distress, objects, or completely dependent on men to do everything. Now, these women most certainly exist in real life, but they aren't all there is. There many many different variations, and it's up to developers to realise this.
I've been beating this particular horse to death lately, but half life 2 is a game that actually has a real female charater in the form of Alyx Vance. She is a complex emotional character who is flawed, and scared witless a lot of the time, but still presses on out of sheer desperation. She is neither dependant on males, nor is she a complete badass. She seems optimistic a lot of the time, but still gets down. She is a real person, and probably the most relatable character in the series.
Other than that, I can think of very few. Heavy Rain characterised it's female characters decently, but then went back on it by showing us their tits at every possible turn. Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines has some amazingly strong characterisation, both male and female, and is a great game that everyone should play. However, strongly characterised females are still largely absent from the gaming world, and I thnk thats a bit of a shame, because I find their personalities infinitely more interesting than their ignorant male companions.
As a side note: For those of you who want pictures: Fuck off. I'm used to the 1up way of doing things, where you click insert image and the image appears, with some customisation options. I haven't learnt BB Code yet, so everytime I insert an image here, and preview the blog, it just gives me the code I inputted. I use BB over at Metalstorm, so maybe it's just a different layout i need to get used to. Not knocking the site, the community here seems much better than 1up, and the articles are more varied and interesting. There, rant over.
I often disagree with gaming sites like this one. I don't often
complain, because game reviewing is subjective, and the only time I have complained is if a game that is flawed in so many different was gets a 10... However, there are a lot of games that get high marks or are widely adored that I don't think deserve that praise. Here are 10 of them.
10. Bioshock: Number ten on this list is a controversial pick, and a hard one, since I quite like this game. However, the ratings this game received made it out to be nearly floorless. The game was met with univesal acclaim for it's unique theme's and setting, which it deserves. However, this game is still immensely flawed. The shooting mechanic's are iffy, and the pacing is all over the place. Pacing is a key aspect of all videogames, especially story driven ones. The "Critically Acclaimed Story" takes the saw approach: Shit story, pile on suspense, and add a twist at the end. The gameplay basically consists of the player walking for a bit, shooting people, then running into a collapsed or closed door, and collecting stuff to help open it. What the game has going for it is the writing, something that it pulls off remarkably well. However, that alone isn't enough for the game to receive the incredibly strong praise it received.
9. GTA IV: I seem to be the only one who remembers when Grand Theft Auto was a stupidly fun satire of Suburban America, where sexual innuendo, outlandish weapons and vehicles were what the series was all about. Grand Theft Auto remembers the satirical aspect, but somehow misses the whole "fun" aspect. The game is overwhelming sombre, even though half the time it can't decide what tone it wants to have. Some of the cutscenes are whacky and hilarious, and some completely contradict the tone. 90 percent of the missions seem to be about delivering stuff, and when the game finally does give you a fun mission, you have your fucking cousin call to ask if you want to play darts.
8. Uncharted 3: Here is a seriously flawed game that received a perfect 10 in many gaming publications, including IGN, OPSM etc.
Now while I get that a 10 doesn't neccessarily signify perfection, it does signify the pinnacle of gaming. Uncharted 3 is far from the pinnacle of gaming. It has a substandard plot, even by video game standards, with some admittedly interesting characters, humorous lines and amazing set pieces. But the actual game part is lacking. The gunplay feels terrible and unresponsive, the climbing is incredibly linear, and you often can't tell which bit of scenery you can and can't climb. The hand to hand combat is punch until he does, then counter with no real challenge... until the end where the difficulty is all about you having a picture perfect memory of where all the enemies are... Seriously? This is the pinnacle of gaming? This is a fucking grade c film pretending to be a game. And the only reason it got such good reviews is because it's a console exclusive.
7: Halo Reach: Speaking of exclusives titles that fanboys will cum over now matter how ballocks they are: Halo Reach. Now, every criticism I have aimed at this game I could aim at the series as a whole, but the first two games were actually innovative, the first game showing us how console shooters can be done, and the second game for really bringing online multiplayer to consoles. After that... well the series doesn't have that much going for it. It still clings to the archaic designs of the original, with similar controls and philosophies (you know gun sights? Yeah, they are useful...). However, Halo is often highly regarded for it's story, which is also not very good. But my major problem with this game, is that it has terrible pacing. In the first level you're thrown into massive fire fight after massive firefight. Give us a few enemies to pick off before we start getting swarmed, Halo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This game series continues to get covered in gamers collective jizz when really, it's nothing more than elementary sci fi plot with terrible pacing and decent gunplay. It also gets an extremely dishonorable mention for popularising the regenerating health mechanic, which is the second worst decision ever.
6. World of Warcraft: With the amount of people who bang on about this game you'd think it was actually decent. The gameplay is dreadfully dull, and nowhere is this more apparent than the combat. You take it in turns hitting the other person till one of them falls over. There's no skill or strategy involved. The game world is tedious, and it often feels more like a secod job than a game. I guess a lot of fault lies in the genre, but still, this is a game that damn sure does not deserve the amount of praise it gets.
5. Gears of War: Remember when action games were adrenaline filled fun? Remember you'd be running around, guns blazing, bullets flying thick and fast from everywhere, and you had to think on your feet? Well, those days are gone, due to this game. After gears of war introduced the cover mechanic, fast, frantic shooting action was a relic of the past. Instead, we sat behind walls, while the enemies sat behind walls, and we each waited for the other to stick their heads up in a retarded game of whack a mole. The biggest gimmick of gears of war: The chainsaw lancer, is rendered all but useless due to the fact that you're rarely close enough to an enemy to use it unless you're playing in easy difficulty. However, my main gripe with this is that it's bland. Sure, some of the set pieces are great, but once you get past that, it's a kind of samey game with lots of samey coloured environments.
4. Assassin's Creed (series): The first Assassin's Creed game was incredibly overhyped, so when it turned out to be a lackluster game, a fair few people were understandably disappointed. Sure, the climbing and exploring fun, and the swordplay was ok, but the game got too repetitive too fast, and never quite delivered on all of it's problems. Then the second game came out, and changed all of that. It was actually a good game, everything the first game promised to be. Sure, it took out some good elements from the first game, like studying your victim, but it was still an enjoyable action game. Then something terrible happened. The game caught "Activision fever" wherein they would recreate the same game every year and expect us to fork out cash for it. The kept the same characters, timeline, moves, etc. and the only thing that really changed were small details like graphics, or the additiion of extra henchmen or silly minigames. Yet reviewers and the masses still adore these titles for some reason. Like call of duty, one of these games is amazing, and the rest are copies trying to replicate it's success. Assassin's Creed 2 is like Diablo, and the rest of the games are like torchlight. Except the first one, which is like Fate.
3. Mass Effect (Series): When Mass Effect first came along, it was an interesting little hybrid of rpg and gears of war clone. It was like KOTOR and GOW had a baby, and the baby mostly took after the fathers side, because the gunplay was pretty appalling, while the story and roleplaying side of things were good. When Mass Effect 2 came along, KOTOR must have run off with another woman and abandoned him, because almost all the RPG elements were abandoned, and the series turned into a GOW clone with a text based adventure attached. That's ok though, because the story was still ok, right? Out came Mass Effect 3, which furthered the GOW clone motiff with text adventure, but they forgot to make the one thing the series had going for it at this point: Story, a valid concern. You see kids, the thing about stories is that it's the end that sticks in your mind, and with an ending like this, it stuck in your mind, but for all the wrong reasons. Now, I don't mind that, I certainly wasn't going to be an entitled little bitch and protest. What I dislike about the game is how acclaimed it is: Simply for the story. The shooting is shit house, and the choices are forced illusions. Sure the universe is expansive and cool and all, but this is a game, not a movie, something that critics these days seem to forget.
2. The Elder's Scrolls: Skyrim: Continuing in the Bethesda tradition, this is a fantasy RPG that offers an immensely immersive world, that is truly immense in size. However, that's all it really nails. The exploration is great, sure, but the combat is atrocious, the quests are repetitive and the story boring pathetic shit. And I haven't even touched the bit about this game being a broken sordid mess of bugs and glitches. This is ok on the glorious pc, where you can mod the shit out of this game so that it looks like bethesda never ever touched it, but on consoles it's a different story. I first played this game on my PS3, and it was ok to begin with. However, after about 10 hours, the game began to run like a slideshow, all the time. I couldn't access quests, or finish the main questline. It was a nightmare. Anyway, my point is that a completely broken game, with shithouse mechanics should excused because it does one thing well, especially when other games, such as Alpha Protocol, get scorned by critics for having the same problems.
1. Call of Duty: "Clap clap for captain obvious. How did we know you were going to choose Call of Duty, the most reviled game among console gamers?" You say. Well, while it is an obvious choice, I am putting it here for another reason. This game gets slandered too much. While I agree making the same game over and over again is wrong, and the business ethic's of Activision are atrocious, like Assassin's Creed, if you only play one of these games, it's ok. Actually, it's brilliant. These are some of the best shooters on the market. Ok, that's because the vast majority of shooters are shit enough to make this vile piece of mundane shit look good... ok, I can't do it. I'm a follower. I hate this game as much as you do. Don't judge me. These games are shit.
So there you have it. My top 10 list. If you feel the need to voice your opinions, please fuck off and remember that your opinions are wrong.
Fuck you IT staff, with your nine hour internet maintenance. Thanks to you I am in a state of unsufferable boredom, with very little to do. Which kind of disturbs me to be honest, because the internet being down should be a temporary setback. However, atm, this means that I can't submit my assignment, I can't start another assignment, I can't read my ebooks, I can't access my movie collection because it's on the network for sharing, and I can't play any of my steam games because it's decided that it won't start offline mode without the internet; and as much as I love the irony of that last one, it is frustrating nonetheless. Social interaction is currently out of the question, as most of the friends I actually want to talk to are at class, and I can't go to class, because the class I should be at now is internet studies. Jesus.
So anyway, I thought I might share with you my idea of a game that will never ever get published, because the gaming industry is a bunch of conservative cunts, who get nervous if you hint at anything more serious in theme than shooting things. Anyway, here's to wishful thinking.
Before I start, as much of a shock as this may come to you, seeing my appalling gramatical skills on here, I am actually an aspiring Author/Journalist. The reason for my shit grammar on here? It's a blog. Seriously. I'm not trying to change the world with this, I'm merely presenting my thoughts the way I think them most of the time. So if they come out incoherent and unstructured, that's because they are.
Anyway, this started as a novel, and slowly evolved into a game concept. The game is called Power of the Gods! (Working title.)
Basically, this game is a satire of religion and politics, which imagines each set of religious deities as a seperate empire. The story is simple: In recent times, Christianity is declining in popularity in recent years, and the rest of the religious entities around the world are fighting to decide who will be the next major religion, or "world power." You take the side of the Greek Gods, and play as their lackey: Hercules. It is your job to sabotage them, through smear campaigns, manipulation, vandalism, theft, and all that fun stuff.
You're job also entails more than that. It involvwes keeping the press from knowing certain going ons, getting your fellow gods to behave, and making sure information about strip club visits aren't leaked.
The game plays out like an adventure rpg, in that a lot of the game involves character interaction and puzzles, although there will be combat, it's not a main feature. It's not an open world, though there will be explorable hubs, similar to Deus Ex. I want multiple ways to tackle each situation, but I want the main emphasis to be on biting satire and humor.
The characters themselves represent what they are, for instance, the god of war (Ares, not Kratos) is an arrogant, racist and misogynist pig who doesn't care about anyone but himself, The God of Death is disgusting, vile, and repulsive, yet people have a morbid fascination with him.
The humor of the game will make or break it, naturally, so when I finish the first level on rpg maker I'll show you and let you decide for yourself. However, I'm trying to do like a South Park style humor, mixing low brow humour with satire, however not as low brow as South Park can get. There will be shock lines. For instance, Hades is a necropheliac, which leads to a group of people abusing him, and Hades trying to defend himself. They say: "You're not evil? YOU HAVE SEX WITH DEAD PEOPLE!" His response? "They're dead, they can't feel anything." There will also be video game references, where Ares is told to shape up or ship out, Zeus points to a picture of Kratos and says: "He has the ratings you know." Stuff like that.
Now, I have no illusions this game will ever get signed, and if it did, it'd be nothing short of a miracle. However, this is just a hobby of mine. So tell me what you think!