Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

March 31, 2014

5 MORE Superpowers That Would Make Awesome(ish) Games

It’s probably worth mentioning that my brother got a PS4.  Weeks ago.

This would be the part where I’d say “funny story, actually”, but there’s really not that much to it.  He just came into my room one day and said, “Hey, what’s up?  I ordered a PS4.  It’ll be here on Monday.”  I’m pretty sure I spent more time staring at him in disbelief than he did on the conversation -- and certainly more than he spent trying to win me over.  I mean, can you blame me?  You just have to love the logic on display here; apparently there’s no better time to buy a PS4 than before it even has one game worth owning.

That’s not hyperbole, by the way.  He was so desperate to have something to justify his purpose that he ended up downloading indie games -- which for one reason or another he can’t stand -- and grabbed a copy of Battlefield 4…a game he already had on the PC.  He even admitted that he caved and bought the game; I think that was the first time in years I’d seen him express shame.

Thankfully, he may have gotten his justification with Infamous: Second Son.  I certainly hope so, at least; as I’ve said, it’s not as if I think the PS4 will be pointless forever.  And indeed, I’ll gladly welcome this new superhero game as the title that makes a case for the PS4.  And beyond that, somewhere down the line, I’m going to play it for myself; I want to see if it’s got the juice, and ISN’T just earning praise because it stands tall amidst a barren wasteland of games.

In the meantime?  Let’s keep playing the hypothetical game.

March 27, 2014

5 Superpowers That Would Make Awesome(ish) Games

No matter your opinion and biases, can we all just agree that there are too many guns in video games these days?

Look, I know what the deal is.  Video games define themselves by having the player interact with the systems built in.  The programming creates a means for expression that’s almost magical -- and almost since their inception, the one way games have done that in a way no other medium can is through combat.  Conflict.  How you can overcome enemies is an art form in its own right…and that art form is threatened when devs just shout “GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNS!” and move on.  

Now, it’s true that how you shoot a gun can be given its fair share of flair and style, but there are two problems: A) that would require a level of -- for lack of a better term -- fidelity that wouldn’t fit DA PLAN, and B) guns take all the guesswork out of combat by nature, especially in a game.  You aim and pull the trigger.  There’s a reason why guns are the weapon of choice in, you know, wars, but something romantic has been lost along the way.

Which brings us (however briefly) to Infamous.

March 24, 2014

On Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

I finally started playing Ni no Kuni in earnest.  Finally. 

The game has been out for more than a year, earned its fair share of praise, has been touted semi-recently for reaching the “1.1 million sold” milestone (1.7 with Japanese DS sales, but either way makes for a much more respectable number than the “we JUST started making a profit” Tomb Raider 2013), and manages to prove pretty handily that the JRPG is not only possible in the HD generation, but proves that the genre at large isn’t a broken model.  It’s just been proven by certain companies how easy it is to get it wrong.

For one reason or another, I’d only just started picking away at it in the past few months.  Blame DmC for that (I certainly will); it was my expectation that I could clear that game fairly quickly and get back to something good, but one thing led to another, and here we are -- with me lagging well behind the gaming populace.  That’s a mistake I’m willing to rectify, to the point where I’m about ready to REFUSE playing anything else -- barring the occasional multiplayer game -- before I finish it.  And while I don’t know how much farther/longer I have to go, I can say with plenty of confidence that there’s a reason this game has earned the praise it has -- and why I’m so very thankful it exists.

But it’s not for the reason you think.

March 21, 2014

On Sailor Moon and Housekeeping

Not Sailor Moon doing housekeeping, mind.  I think it’s important to make that distinction from the get-go.  Also, get ready for a post that’s more two-faced than Two Face.

Let’s start with some talk about the blog.  I’ve been thinking about this for a little while now, and I’ve come to a decision: from this post on, I’m going to tone down the output.  Or to put it a different way, for the time being there aren’t going to be as many posts as there have been for the past few months.  Two reasons for this: 1) There’s stuff that I want/need to work on, and I can get through that faster if I don’t have to engage in my usual verbal spews quite as often.  And 2) I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but in the interest of comfortably welcoming back I Hraet You I want to tweak the scheduling a little.

So here’s what I’m going to try.  From here on, posts are going to go up on Mondays and Thursdays.  I’m not going to stick to schedules or planned posts for now; whatever goes up goes up (dealwithit.gif).  Granted I’ve already got some stuff all written up, but I want to hold off on it for a bit.  I want to make sure I get it exactly right.  Besides, once I Hraet You chapters pop up again, I can see what happens when story posts and whatever-the-crap posts upload on the same day (albeit at different times).  It could work.  Might not.  We’ll see.

Now then.  Let’s gab about Sailor Moon.

March 19, 2014

How Much Should We Trust Reviews?

Now here’s a vaguely interesting question.

A few weeks back, The Escapist’s esteemed webcomic Critical Miss made a strip about what it would be like if car reviewers were treated like game reviewers.  It had hilarious results, as you’d expect.  I suspect that part of what made it so funny was that there was more than a little truth behind it; the comments sections of many, many, many reviews have turned out…well, let’s call it “poorly” and leave it at that. 

It should go without saying, but it seems like there’s a pretty big gulf between the reviewer and the consumer (and if anything, that gulf has gotten bigger).  This isn’t just an issue related to video games, either.  Rate a movie too high, and there’s backlash.  Rate a movie too low, and there’s backlash.  I’d bet that reviews can be outright cast aside, at least in the case of my brother; despite Resident Evil 6 earning a 3 out of 10 from Destructoid -- and similar low scores elsewhere, and being bad enough to eventually make several Worst of the Year lists, he made a mad dash to grab a copy.  It didn’t end well.

As always, this isn’t exactly an issue that can be sorted out with one all-encompassing answer.  But there are at least a few things I can say on the subject.  Just don’t give me a low score for my opinion.  It’ll break my heart.

March 17, 2014

Guilty Gear is obviously brilliant.

Note the title.  Prepare yourself for some truth-bombs.

As of this post, there’s only been one 100% new playable character announced for the latest title in the franchise, Guilty Gear Xrd: Bedman.  He was introduced in a blacked-out silhouette at first -- much like the better part of the BlazBlue cast when it was first making the rounds -- but based on the shape alone, nobody could really get a good idea of just what future players would be in for.  Or if not “nobody”, then me, at least.  And then when he was actually revealed…it didn’t answer ANY questions.  How do you respond to a character that looks like this

Fortunately, gameplay videos have been there to answer the vital questions -- or just demand further questions, but at least now there’s something to go by.  As if taking inspiration from Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, most of Bedman’s fighting comes from him using his nightmarish robotic bed to carve up opponents (with his supers being more than a little terrifying).  What really sets him apart from the rest of the cast, though, is his ability to repeat his last attack via a phantom double -- so apparently if you do an E. Honda-style sumo splash, you can input a command and have the ghost do the same attack.  There’s no telling how effective that’ll be in the game’s run (i.e. if Bedman has what it takes to become top-tier, or if he’ll invoke the spirit of “losing at the character select screen”), but if nothing else he’s one of the nuttiest fighters I’ve seen yet.

But he’s still got nothing on Zappa -- a character from one of the earlier games, naturally (and one that’ll likely appear in future versions of Xrd).  But that’s to be expected from a franchise that’s as blatantly genius as this one.

March 14, 2014

I Hraet You, Donkey Kong

How much stock do you put into the phrase “history repeats itself”?

I’ve never exactly held it up as mankind’s one and only truth, but there have been times where it’s come to mind…whether I like it or not.  Case in point: last year I had the misfortune of playing DmC, a completely-unnecessary and gutless reboot to a beloved, stylized franchise -- with said reboot missing the point of the original in exchange for layer after layer of stupidity and bad decisions.  Cut to the present day, and I find myself forced to watch RoboCop… a completely-unnecessary and gutless reboot to a beloved, stylized franchise -- with said reboot missing the point of the original in exchange for layer after layer of stupidity and bad decisions.

If history really does repeat itself (and that’s suspect, considering that one of my nightmares was a game, and the other was a movie), then that means that I’m due for an analogue to Metal Gear Rising.  I have no problems naming it as my 2013 Game of the Year -- even if The Wonderful 101 could have taken that spot if not for Rising’s presence -- and I feel like I can count on Raiden’s game to offer up plenty of good examples to create by.  But that was then, and this is now.  So is there a game that can rival last year’s winner?  There just might be; in terms of the timeframe and quality, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze makes a VERY strong argument for itself.

There are just two problems.  First?  I’ll gladly acknowledge that DK’s latest is amazing -- but I have no idea how to approach it yet.

Second?  If this post is supposed to invoke the spirit of posts past, then I should talk a bit about I Hraet You -- and a certain issue I may have dive-bombed into.

March 12, 2014

D.O.X. is Dead #4: Destiny and Beauty

Okay, so we’re at installment number four.  Let’s do something a little different.  Here’s a very brief recap/summary of what’s been talked about so far.  But let’s do it with style, and invoke the spirit of Kamen Rider OOO.  Sing along if you know the words.  Or the five-second phrase at the start of an episode.  Or, you know, just speak.  Don’t sing.  I feel like this conversation’s gone off the rails, so let’s get to it…with the proper thirty-second music, of course.

These three things happened last time on D.O.X. is Dead! 

Firstly, the ghost-centric story and its multiple versions are revealed -- along with the concepts and key event at its core!

Secondly, the two lead characters, Arc Siegel and Kaylee Hazlett, are discussed at length -- with one of the old version’s greatest faults made clear!

And thirdly, the setting is analyzed, and its expansion made clear…along with the corruption system that informs the plot!

Okay, that’ll do it.  By the way, you can probably close that video earlier.  Unless you actually like the music.  In fact, just go bookmark it so you can listen to it whenever you want.  It’ll be fun.  Or do the smart thing and throw your computer out the window so you can rid yourself of that nonsense once and for all.

Still here?  Great.   Now let’s begin in earnest.

March 10, 2014

So The Last of Us is getting a movie.

First question: why?

Second question: how come?

Third question: did you catch that vague Simpsons allusion?

March 7, 2014

RE: Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Well.  Here’s an interesting situation.

Some weeks back my brother picked up an old copy of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, presumably so he and our buddy could stumble through its co-op between beatdowns in PlayStation All-Stars or Smash Bros. Brawl.  It’s hard to say how far they’ve gotten in their little campaign, but what I’ve seen thus far has been something like watching two penguins on banana peels try to save America from terrorists -- hilariously inept to the point of becoming boringly commonplace at times, but a spectacle all the same.  I wouldn’t say I’d try the co-op for myself, but I’m glad those two had their fun with it.

It should go without saying, but my jam would be the single-player aspect.  And indeed, I was simultaneously interested in and worried by the prospect of trying Blacklist solo.  Its E3 showings turned me off for all the obvious reasons, but for the sake of trying to get out of my comfort zone and giving something with the Tom Clancy brand the benefit of the doubt, I decided it would be stupid of me to give it the cold shoulder just because it didn’t have the requisite full use of the color spectrum.  So I gave it a try.

And as I was playing it, a question suddenly popped into my head: who is this game for?

March 5, 2014

What’s Your Favorite Movie?

That sounds like the dumbest question over, but I bet that half the people reading this will struggle to come up with an answer.  Call it a hunch.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on this blog for a while, you may have noticed that a while back, I did a post naming my top ten favorite movies.  If you’re not in the mood to check the link, I’ll save you the trouble and say it’s a list that includes some smart movies, and some movies so unapologetically stupid that they almost warp back into being brilliant.  Let it be known that I’m no hoity-toity elitist.  As evidenced by my use of the phrase “hoity-toity”.

In any case, one of the reasons why a blog like this exists is so I can try and figure out what a story does that makes it work.  It’s true that I’m just as likely to find something that doesn’t work, and have to spend time with that nonsense, but it goes without saying that I prefer “proving the case” of something good.  It’s something done for readers’ benefit, but it’s also something for my benefit, too.  If I can understand WHY I liked something besides visceral thrills, then I’d wager that I’m more likely to incorporate those good elements into my writing, and my stories.  I’m already starting to see it take form in my writing adventures…even if that does demand a complete annihilation of years of work.

But like the title says, this post isn’t about me.  This is about you.

March 3, 2014

Let's discuss Attack on Titan (Part 2).

You know, it’s not very often that I think that something I’ve written is actually any good, especially given that I’m sharing a conceptual space -- and also a planet -- with people far better than me.  But every once in a while, when all the planets have aligned, things really come together.

This is one of those times.

I’m going to go ahead and spoil something for you right here.  Not for Attack on Titan or The Walking Dead -- though THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR BOTH, SO WATCH OUT -- but for this post in general.  If nothing else, you should probably read the last point (number 8) I have on this list.  You can consider it more than just a summation, or rattling off complaints.  It’s a culmination.  And it’s something that’s well worth reading.  Maybe.

Well, you’re here for one reason or another, so, hey, why the hell not?  Let’s get to it.

But first, who's up for a little moe moe action?

Don't worry.  It'll be over soon.