Sunday, May 26, 2013

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, final thoughts

Well, I've finished GTA: Chinatown Wars, and I have to say that despite being fun, it still hasn't sold me on open-world gameplay. After the main story is over I don't feel much need to explore the city seeking 100% completion. Spider-Man 3 had this same problem, the only good thing about it was the web-swinging and acrobatics, and in this the only memorable thing is the driving and the hi-jacking of cars. The combat is annoying, and I'm still convinced that the busted mechanics are broken, police should not be able to yank you out of your car, or bust you when you're on foot, shooting at them. One time I was busted after jumping out of the car and killing the cops around me, while I was on my feet! One of the missions requires you to raise $5000 and give it to your uncle, and I did that, but since your safe is just decoration, I was left running around the city with it. Unfortunately I got busted for some reason along the way a few too many times and had to raise the money all over again. You see, I got pretty bored waiting for the next mission to appear so I decided to run around the city doing stuff, but I wound up getting busted just as I was about to triple my money selling drugs and got $6000 of narcotics seized. If I'm bribing the cops to get out of jail why don't they let me keep my guns and drugs when I leave? Anyways, this is probably the last GTA game I'm going to play, since they're all pretty much the same as far as I know. Aside from that since the DS doesn't have analog anything accelerate and reverse are assigned to the face buttons and brake to R. That's fine for the brake (Except when you're trying to target a specific thing when driving and you wind up stopping instead), but for the gas it means that if you're going across the city trying not to attract attention you might accidentally ram into a police-car and gain a wanted-level, which is especially annoying if you are on a mission that requires you to not have a wanted-level to finish it. Also, the default settings only have bottom-screen displays for body-armor and radar, so I had to go into the settings and change it so I could compare where I actually was to where the radar said I needed to be. I can't help but feel that the game would have benefited from not using the touchscreen as much as it did, you can't just press A to select something, you need to touch it. Same goes for hijacking cars, most of the time I just got into a car, got out of it, and got back in, wanted-lever be damned because I didn't want to have to deal with the touchscreen. I'm typically the first to promote motion-control and portable gaming but the DS works best when using either the touchscreen or the buttons, not both, and not both at the same time, like this game does. weapons like molotovs, grenades, and flash-grenades require you to touch the screen and aim them. It takes a lot of getting used to and this would work on the iPhone, but not on the DS where the touchscreen isn't displaying the game and functioning as the controller as well. On top of that the aiming is pretty bad, but that's made up for by enemy AI being pretty badly programmed and sometimes practically walking into your line of fire. This doesn't mean that the AI is totally dumb, a lot of missions where you fight mobs of enemies wind up being tough as nails since they use flanking tactics. After beating the game I restarted and made it up to a weapons-training mission where you are given a pistol with unlimited ammo. After leaving the site and jacking a car I went around the city with attack and accelerate held down. Unfortunately I wasn't able to gain a wanted-level because despite there being a load of crime in Liberty City there are very few cops around it at the beginning of the game. Speaking of hard to find stuff, I never even went to the Liberty City Gun Club, despite them telling me that they had new weapons all the time. All in all GTA:CW is fine, it's not too replayable and doesn't interest me after I finish it. I give it a 6.2* rating.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bad news and regular news

Apparently the Xbox ONE requires additional payment to play used games. If this is true, then Microsoft might as well not even BOTHER releasing the Xbox ONE. Also, the new Thief game is being developed for Windows, PS4, and Xbox ONE. Square Enix, why no Mac, PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii U version? Call of Duty Ghosts is being released for all of those platforms (Minus MAC).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Xbox One

I just checked out the GameStop Facebook page and guess what? The new Xbox is called "Xbox One!"
Is it just me, or does thing thing look BIGGER than the original Xbox? Speaking of which, some people call the Xbox "Xbox 1", instead of Xbox, or "Original Xbox" for the same reason that the PlayStation is called psOne or PS1 or PSX. You may remember from my Xbox 720 article a few pictures, the one on the upper-right of the below picture evokes a prototype of this particular Xbox.... Thing.
So the controller is a needless re-design of the Xbox 360 controller, it looks like it could fit about ten HDDs inside it, and I'm guessing the iPod dock-looking thing is the improved Kinect, the only question remaining is whether it will play used games, and is there always-on DRM? Questions should be answered sometime between now and Christmas. Here's a quote from the Xbox One website:

With Xbox One, games are so lifelike, you’ll swear
they’re real. Immerse yourself in cinematic worlds
with characters that are more human than ever.
And reach into television, sports, music, and even
the web in ways you never imagined possible.
So? Games are already lifelike enough! You can't improve too much over the PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360 before all that hardware just comes back to the bitwars, a whole bunch of wasted power in one place, a focus on making the games LOOK good as opposed to BEING good. Pandora's Tower is in 480p and it's a good game, it also looks pretty nice. We can't push graphics technology any further without starting to lose miles SOMEWHERE along the line! The hardware of the last gen was perfectly adequate, full 1080p is perfectly fine, the PS3 and Xbox 360 both proved that you can have human-looking 3D rendered characters on their hardware, the reality of this is that there's too much hype over graphics technology, just as during the bitwars there was too much hype over the bits in the CPU. All in all I'm gonna stick with the current gen for now and let the prices drop a few hundred dollars before I consider buying one of the eighth generation consoles, or even SEVENTH generation consoles (I'm looking directly at YOU Sony). It doesn't even look like they fixed the controller ergonomics. The Xbox 360 controller is pretty good, but it could have been designed a LITTLE bit better
Image credits gamestop facebook page and Xbox720 news

Monday, May 20, 2013

Resident Evil Revelations HD release tomorrow

SAN MATEO, Calif. —May 20, 2013 — Capcom, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today confirmed that Resident Evil®Revelations releases tomorrow, May 21 across North America and May 24 for European territories.  Available at retail for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft®, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, Windows® PC and Nintendo’s Wii U™ console, the title will also be available to download digitally starting tomorrow via the PlayStation®Network Store, Nintendo eShop and Steam, with a Games On Demand version for the Xbox 360 to follow.
The critically acclaimed survival horror title takes players back to events that took place between  Resident Evil®4  and  Resident Evil®5, revealing the truth about the T-Abyss virus.  Featuring series favorites Jill Valentine and Chris Redfield, the action begins on board a supposedly abandoned cruise ship, the ‘Queen Zenobia,’ then moves to the mainland and the devastated city of Terragrigia. With limited ammo and weapons available, the race is on to survive the terrors that unfold.
Complete with high quality HD visuals, enhanced lighting effects and an immersive sound experience, the fear that was originally brought to players inResident Evil Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS™ system returns redefined for home consoles.  Furthermore, the home console version delivers added content that includes a terrifying new enemy - the Wall Blister, extra Infernal Mode difficulty level and improvements to Raid Mode such as new weapons, skill sets, and the added opportunity to play as Hunk and mysterious blonde Rachael.  First introduced in the original version of the game, Raid Mode is an online co-op or offline solo mode where players level up their characters and earn weapon upgrades as they face hordes of enemies across a variety of missions.
Gamers will be able to further their Resident Evil Revelations experience with the release of game add-on content. Weapon upgrades for each of the playable characters will be available to purchase in two separate packs – ‘Resistance Set’ and ‘Enhancement Set.’ Each pack will contain six upgrades that can be purchased for 160 Microsoft Points or $1.99 / €1.99 beginning on June 4. Beginning June 11 two additional characters will be available for players’ use in Raid Mode- ‘Rachael Ooze,’ the infected mutation of the mysterious blonde; and a female version of series favorite Hunk, known only as ‘Lady Hunk.’  Each character can be purchased for 240 Microsoft Points or $2.99 / €2.99 and will complement a full roster of existing Raid Modecharacters. Finally, weapon upgrades for Jill Valentine, Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat will be available from June 18 and priced individually at 80 Microsoft Points or $0.99/€0.99.
Unfortunately I'm only able to afford the 3DS version. Hopefully I can get ahold of it soon

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pandora's Tower: Until I Return To Your Side, first impressions

This game is probably going to be the last Wii release in the US. Wouldn't have been had they taken less time to release it here.
All I have to say about the release date is it's about bloody time, I've been waiting two years for an American release, and I practically gave up until I saw it on the GameStop schedule for April. It's a rare thing that a game gets released in the PAL territories before the NTSC ones. You'd think that when they got it localized for Europe they would have had the North America version close behind (Especially since the PAL version has the option for 50/60Hz), but XSeed and Nintendo must have had something up their sleeve. By now everyone who wanted the game has probably imported a PAL Wii and a PAL copy of the game because everyone has the money to do that except me. Anyways, on to the review. Pandora's Tower is a combination Action-Adventure/Action RPG, and during gameplay it reminds me of The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, and Resident Evil of all things. I've heard about gameplay in God of War, and it sounds similar to this, but I've never played God of War so I wouldn't know. The plot is this: You name is Aeron and your girlfriend, Elena is suffering from a curse that is causing her to turn into a beast. You make it to the thirteen towers and, with the help of your sword and a chain-whip, (Which is where I get the Castlevania comparison from) harvest beast-flesh to help break the curse. Now, before I get into the rest of the gameplay I am going to address something: Why is there no GameCube controller support? I know some Wii's don't have to ports but for those of us that DO have them they should have included GC support. The main reason I don't own a Classic Controller Pro is because all the games I would use it on (Goldeneye Reloaded, Super Smash Bros Brawl, etc) use the GameCube controller as well, which I already own three of, so it'd be moot point for me to buy a Classic Controller Pro and exactly the reason why I passed it up the last time the local junk-shop had a few. It's not like the Warm-Swapping for Banjo Kazooie/Tooie on the N64 where certain consoles wouldn't be able to access certain features, or even the psOne which doesn't let you use the system-link cables or the SEGA Genesis Model 3 which removed MegaCD and 32X compatibility, or the GBA Micro which removed native GBC/GB backwards compatibility, or the DS, which did the same, or the 3DS and DSi, which removed GameBoy support all together, we're talking about REMOVING A CONTROLLER PORT here! Come to think of it, they shouldn't have made that particular hardware revision in the first place! This is outrageous, if something uses the Classic Controller it can use the GameCube one, it's as simple as that. Anyways, it doesn't make too extensive use of the motion controls which is fine. They throw it in every once and a while, and it actually flows quite nicely. The controls are unique, and take some getting used to, but after a while it's pretty good. The cutscenes are usually CGI, but for certain ones it's FMV, and it works a whole lot better than the cutscenes for Final Fantasy X, which should have all been FMV. The lip-sync is a bit off at times, but like Metal Gear Solid 2/3, it's not as intrusive as it was in Final Fantasy X. The graphics are beautiful, the areas expansive, and the boss-fights are varied and intense.
Now, let's refer to interactions between Aeron and Elena. You're limited to "Chat", "Give gifts", "Request Translation" "Give Flesh", or "Talk about specific thing that got brought up earlier". Since most of the actual gameplay takes place in the towers your interaction with Elena, while needed and emotionally compelling, will typically fall second to trying to save her from the curse (At least for me anyways). I would have liked to have the options to help her with things around the observatory, (which is where you live) text translation, preparing food, cleaning up, making clothes, harvesting vegetables, staying up late if she wakes up in the night, and even showing her that no matter what happens, you'll still love her. The interaction feels too simplistic, and because of that, a bit of a chore, despite feeling compelled to do so. Like I said, most of your time is spent in the towers, and you have a limited span before you have to return to the observatory and feed Elena servant beast-flesh to postpone the transformation (Which is where I get the Legend of Zelda comparison since this is similar to the time-system in Majora's Mask). Since this is pivotal to the games multiple endings you would think that it would be easy to return to her, but since there's no minimap, only a menu-map, the rooms become a bit hard to navigate, and since they're so huge it takes up a lot of time to get back to the entrance from where you are. There is a way to skip all this, but the means with which to do this are limited, and are best saved for when it's down to the wire for time. Fortunately when you beat a boss it transports you directly to the Observatory, but because of the time-limit and because the longer you spend in the towers affects the couples Affinity eventually you're pressed to complete it quickly and make multiple trips. So far I've mainly finished the towers in two trips, but I'm only on the fourth tower so far. Another comparison to Zelda is the theme of the towers. The first is nature, the second is air, the third is water, and the fourth is fire. Anyone who's played Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, or Skyward Sword can tell you that sounds similar to the themes of the typical dungeons in a Zelda game. Now, I've avoided all plot summaries and everything pertaining to the story of the game so that my reactions can be chronicled in my LP of the game, and to keep the game from being spoiled. My Final Fantasy comparison stems from the camera-system, and that's pretty much it. Now, around the towers you can find text-logs that tell you about the history of the towers and give you hints. Because of those, as well as some other things that will become apparent to those who play the game, I draw comparisons to Resident Evil, which has had those in pretty much every game. I can't go much further without delving into spoilers, which I REALLY don't want to do, since the game should unfold its story for itself. Suffice to say that there's something sinister going on, which anyone can deduce from the fact that the entire plot of the game is you trying to cure your cursed girlfriend and stop her from turning into a beast.
All in all, I really like this game. It's a fitting swan-song for the Wii if it is the last game released for it. The GameCube had Twilight Princess, The Dreamcast had Karou, and the Wii has Pandora's Tower. I'm gonna finish it, but I like to take breaks from games at times. I'm currently re-shooting a playthrough of Sonic Adventure and shooting an Ultimate DooM LP as well, but the back and forth mix of the games helps keep me from getting bored with any one game. See you next week, I finished GTA Chinatown Wars last night, and I'm ready to write down my final thoughts!
Image credit Wikipedia.
One more thing, the release schedule could have been a whole lot closer together if the Wii was region-free like the DS, PS3, PSP, and Xbox 360

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Resident Evil 4

Finished playing this game, and I'm sorry it's over.

Resident Evil 4 is hands down the best Resident Evil game I've played so far, it's better than REmake and 0, 3 is great but it can't stand up to a full 3D behind the back perspective, 2 is fine but again, the engine for 4 would make the entire series prior to 4 better, and DO NOT get me started on the stark contrast between Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil: (Insert any number of ports and versions here), there's no comparison, Resident Evil 4 is the best Resident Evil game I've played so far, and it's cross-platform, so you can pick it up for practically every console, GameCube, Wii, PC, PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360 (No DreamCast or original Xbox version unfortunately, the DC was discontinued by then and who knows why there wasn't an Xbox port). I played through the PS2 version for my channel, I'd have liked to get ahold of the Wii version, but unfortunately I wasn't able to. I'll do a short video on the PC version though, or maybe even a full playthrough if I can get the right stuff together.
The story is simple, you play as Leon S Kennedy, one of the protagonists of Resident Evil 2 six years after the events of RE2. Now employed with the secret-service, he has been given the task of rescuing the presidents daughter, Ashley Graham, from her kidnappers somewhere in Spain.
I was going to question why they only sent one guy with a pistol and a knife to rescue the President's daughter and not an entire platoon of marines, but it really doesn't matter. There are very few plot contradictions, and it's easy to follow, plus you don't need to have played any other Resident Evil game since they summarized the circumstances leading up to the game in the beginning and kept the references to other Resident Evil games to a minimum. I recommend that if you only ever play one Resident Evil game, make it this one. It's cathartic, it's easy to learn, but hard to master, it's got a decent amount of replay value, and unlike killing palate-swaps in RPGs no matter how many enemies I killed it never got old, and was usually pretty intense, all things I like in a game. It's not scary though, except if an enemy shows up that you weren't expecting (Which happened once, but once was enough to completely freak me out). The QTEs are sometimes annoying, there was one sequence where the timing is sometimes hard to follow, but they're usually implemented pretty well. The graphics are fine, they're standard for sixth-generation, but if you really feel the need to have HD, there's always the Resident Evil HD Dual Pack, but nowadays a PS2 is pretty cheap, and the game itself can also be picked up for pretty cheap, so if you want to play the game on a budget you're pretty much fine if you get a PS2 and RE4. I can't speak for the price of the other versions, I picked up the PC version for two bucks though, so I'm guessing the game is old enough and common enough that it's cheap no matter what console you want to pick it up for, and it's a good thing to have at least one game out there that's common, cheap, and good. Capcom did a good job on this game, and in some alternate universe this game might have been the only Resident Evil game, maybe called "Resident Evil: Lone Assualt". With a few tweaks to the cutscenes it could have had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the Resident Evil series. *Laughs* Funny thing, they went from having a game that was completely unrelated to Resident Evil (Devil May Cry) as RE4 to having a game that was only MOSTLY unrelated to Resident Evil as RE4, and I'm pretty sure there's a Street Fighter 2010 joke in there somewhere. Both published candidates for Resident Evil 4 were both good and both could have had their own series all together. The controls work perfectly, I wasn't able to find any bugs, and every scenario is survivable with some ingenuity and the right positioning. There are some minor complaints about the menu to be had though, Capcom assigned "Map" to Triangle, and Circle and Square both let you pull a 180 turn or run, when circle could have easily been "Switch guns". One thing I'm going to criticize, and this doesn't mean I don't like the game, is the lack of a fully customizeable control scheme. What if I want R3 to issue orders to Ashley, R2 to fire my guns, R1 to aim, L3 to run/turn, L2 to slash with the knife, L1 to bring the knife out, Square to swap guns, Select for the map, and X for action? The default control-scheme requires you to take your index-finger off of R1 if you're running and want to move the camera, which makes you move your middle-finger onto R1 if an enemy if near and you want to fire a gun, which wouldn't happen if they let you customize the controls beyond the two default ones, the second of which makes absolutely no sense, pressing R1 to bring out the gun you have equipped, and then L1 to bring out the knife is an unnecessary step that just adds time to bringing out the knife, which means you could be attacked in the process of taking out your knfe, why would they have that as an option, but not a completely customizeable control-scheme?. That's probably not an issue with the PC version, but then again PC games tend to have too many hotkeys, so who knows. Also, after a quick attempt at customizing the gamepad controls (I have a PS3 controller hooked up to my PC) I found that the PC version does not recognize L3 and R3 as buttons. That's not a big issue, but I really don't like having to configure Joytokey for every game I want to play.
All in all I liked Resident Evil 4, and I'm gonna give it a 10.0* rating. It's nearly perfect.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pandora's Tower

So I've started playing Pandora's Tower, the first part should be uploaded by tonight or tomorrow morning.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Need For Speed: Most Wanted '05, first impressions.

This is a pretty good racing game, and it controls pretty good.
The game has impressive graphics for a sixth generation game, and the controls work. Since the PS2 doesn't have analog triggers, accelerate and reverse were mapped to the right analog stick, and it works out pretty good. My first complaint is the police start pursuit even if your behind them, and not in their  line of sight. But that's a programming issue, and nothing that detracts from the game itself. As of yet I haven't been busted, and the game is pretty fun, if a little repetitive. Since this was back in EA's heyday it's pretty good.The FMV's are nice-looking and the car-damage seems pretty realistic, but I've occasionally had problems with the steering if I've been pinned against something, which just goes to show that I need to learn how to use the camera-system better. Another thing is that if you beat a black-lister you're not guaranteed their car if you win, you have to win at a game of chance that can either give you something good or something useless depending on the current circumstances, even though I'm pretty sure that they get yours if you lose (Especially since the entire plot of the game is you getting your car back from a black-list guy who cheated you out of it. Another thing, the game could have as easily been called "Need For Speed: The Blacklist" as Most Wanted because of the prominence of The Blacklist in the game. The "Knockout" races have fairly arbitrary rules as to when someone is knocked out, and they're not all that fun. Also, I'm not sure I want to find out what happens when the fire meter on the mini-map fills up (I'm pretty sure it's a damage meter, and if so, why can't you fix it when you go back to your safehouse?)
So far, I really like it, the only issue is an issue with the PS2 itself, the inability to let you install custom soundtracks on the HDD makes for a lack of music that YOU want to listen to and just a bunch of stuff that EA thought would fit, and some, but not all of it doesn't fit my tastes.
Since I'm still uploading my other LPs the footage of me playing it won't get out for a while, so check out my channnel in a few days for gameplay footage. In the meantime I've got other playthroughs to be had on that channel too, still haven't finished uploading Resident Evil/Biohazard 4 yet, and I've got complete playthroughs of Metal gear Solid and MGS2 as well. See ya next week!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Injustice: Gods Among Us, first impressions

So I managed to play some Injustice last Wednesday.
I was only able to play one round as Batman, but from what I can tell it's a fun game. The controls take a bit to get used to, and the control on both the d-pad and joystick is pretty decent. I played the Xbox 360 version myself, and only against human players in the same room. From what I can tell the game is pretty well balanced, although it's no KoF98. The graphics are stunning, the costume degradation is pretty good, and the scenery usage works. I can't say much else, other than it's a good game so far. I haven't played Mortal Kombat 9, so I don't know how it compares to that, but as I was watching a match between Green Arrow and Deathstroke I noticed that Green Arrow's moveset is similar to that of Pit's from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He's got an attack where he slashes with his bow, one where he spins it, and of course he can shoot arrows. Injustice is on my list of good games I want to pick up someday, and I'd like to LP it for my channel, but numerous factors (RRoDed Xbox 360 and lack of cash to spend on this game) prevent me from doing so at the moment. All in all, I like Injustice: Gods Among Us, I'd like to get some more play-time in on it sometime soon so I can see how all the characters feel.