Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Way of the samurai 3

It started with a random youtube search for gameplay videos of a samurai game. I wasn't impressed much, but i was aching for a decent beat'em-up so i put it on the list.

But this game is so much more. Way of the samurai 3 is truly a game about being a samurai, about the uncertainty of life, about self-improvement ( grinding comes to mind, but in a good way ) and last but not least - about skill. I've read all sorts of reviews on the net and most of them highly polarised. I can only speak for myself and for me it was truly captivating since I'm a fan of the samurai lore and I've got tons of anime and movies to prove it. My guess is the game appeals only to a certain group of people who share my interests.

Since the very beginning, i was plunged into a game with no commands list and didn't even know where to go, so I read the entire game manual (okay , only the english section). But the manual does not cover all of it, it just gives you a glance just enough to make you curious. There's a classic RPG vibe to the game progress, better weapons and more skills used in combos, weapon parts for customizing weapons and also a pleasant surprise - The difficulty. It is a great challenge if you're a no-walkthrough kinda player like myself and this game really offered a rejuvenation to my gamer self. The commands are relatively easy to get used to and you'll be having fun in no time.

Another thing that impressed me was the variety of endings. Truly an open perspective to the part of the world described in the storyline with all of the key figures having an influence in the overall outcome. I've rarely felt that I have that kind of impact of the things to come in any game. Ever. And yeah, the number is 21. 21 different endings.

If you're into swords and warrior codes and are up for a challenge, I strongly recommend Way of the samurai 3.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Assassin's Creed 2

Yeah, an(other) old one. What can I say, I guess I'm one of those guys that really gets his TODO Stack done. :)

I've never played an Assassin's Creed game so this was my first one in the series. The storyline is relatively captivating and slowly exposes the gameplay elements as you go. As for the storyline theme, I don't buy that Templar/Assassin shit in the first place so it's kind of a "Immerse Player Spell - Fail", but the game offers plenty of gameplay to compensate.

The Old Cities are very well translated into the game world, I looked it up a huge part of the buildings actually resemble the monuments that exist in the real world ( 10 points to Italy for monument conservation ), and I must add they look pretty awesome.

The gameplay offers a standard rogue scenario - Infiltrate, assassinate and in several occasions fight. What the game really shines is the usability of the interface. It's my first game of this kind and in 30 minutes I was already feeling like home. Excellent mapping of buttons-actions, extremely user friendly which is essential in this stealth like games that demand split-second actions. The equipment upgrade is also well done, though I didn't notice some drastical improvement over the initial weapon/armor sets in the actual gameplay.

The variety of missions tends to get repetitive, especially if you are a nitpicker and you finish every sidequest (like I am), but it's not to the extent of let's say Prototype.

All in all, it's fun and I asume it's more if you're into that Templar lore.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

I rate thee ...

How do you rate games? How can you express your own personal opinion and yet , retain the objectivism?
Well for me, the answer is obvious, I isolate myself from the collective hive of gamers and make my own judgement. I don't really care about other reviews and though I still read them for informative reasons, I always make an effort for them not to influence my decission.

Anyways, I started this post with a different but yet related point in mind.
I've noticed that when I play games I get bored by them. Yeah, "Thanks Cpt. Obvious" you'd say, but wait. How does that relate to grading a specific game title? Let's take a look at this graph.

For me it's the classic scenario. As I play I become more and more interested, till I reach some climax point and then I gradually become bored of the game. That's fine and it's pretty normal, because only unintelegent creatures laugh many times at the same joke and get excited by the same gameplay. Yeah , them and shooter-lovers (or they are the same ?!) :). Anyway, I look at the graph i ask myself :

WHEN do i form an opinion of the game ?
If the game is extremely enjoyable the first half , and then I become extremely bored, do I rate only the fun part or do I make some kind of median of all the fun I had ?
How exactly does the boring part influence my final judgement ?

As I grow older, It's only natural to raise my interest threshold, so basically this graph answers my question of "Why i don't finish my games, anymore?". :) When I rate a game, I always take the "boring part" into consideration to a .. let's say 2 point extent. So basically that means if a 10.0 title gets repetitive and boring after 50% of the game progress, I'd rate it 8.0 cause it still delivers a blast just not during the entire game. So, this means that that same game, will get the same treatment as the one who offers an 8.0 experience throughout it's entire walkthrough. 2 Points for consistence, that's not perfect, but that's how I roll. :)

Also , this poses another question :
What's the ideal duration of a game ?
How long do the game need to last , to keep you interested and make you enjoy youreself?

Well I can't answer myself that question, since I guess it's pretty subjective and in deep corelation with the reason I started to play. Sometimes it's a quickie, sometimes it's a desire for long and immersive experience (OMG , the double meanings :). Just as long as they're a perfect match, my want and the game's give.

What about you ?
How do you rate games in terms of the fun you had ?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gemini Rue

When i first saw this i screamed so hard that every jedi must've heard the disturbance in the force . As i watched the trailer all the King's quests , Police quests ,Indiana Jones's flashed before my eyes . Finally an old school adventure game!

Gemini Rue is as good as it gets , with the recent trend of re-making the older series (monkey island per se) into hi-def copies , truly a great refreshment of the if not extinct then slowly dying out genre. Classic point and click interface and cartoony drawn scenery spiced up with a pixelating touch make up for a truly nostalgic visuals .

Which kinda reminds me that Adventure games back then were all about storyline and intellectual challenges. What better way to integrate these two than a detective story. Here's when the action kicks in. At first i was skeptic about the action segments , but they do not ruin the gameplay at all they're just the right amount needed to break up the adventure stereotype. IMHO they're relatively easy and straightforward.

But , nostalgic atmosphere aside what i really liked about this one was the "game over" screen. Yes , it's so old school that you can actually die (and reload game). Sure , there is autosave feature so that you don't have to replay the game from the start , but it felt kinda nice.

All in all , If you ever get that craving for old school stuff , here's your portion.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Living together - The poll

Since i recently started living together with my gf, we took a poll to see what do we enjoy doing together, and the results i got were great (as I expected :) .

1. Watching movies with friends
2. Watching SF Movies / Co-op gaming / Movies and sex .

Friends, please come visit.
Game developers, please make more co-op games.

Let the movies and games begin. :)
Also, sex. :P

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A gamer's lament

I was trying to describe the feeling that was missing since i started gaming. You know , the thing that you barely find in today's games. Leigh Alexander gave me the answer.

"It was enough to pique our imaginations—hey, maybe that's it. The imagination. The more "realistic" games have gotten, the more "lifelike" they've strived to be, the less room they leave for our imaginations." Full article here

Read her blog . I know I will.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Hard Corps : Uprising

I remember the days when i used to skip school just to hang around for hours in the local arcade. Watching all sorts of games come, take my lunch money and leave, I have to say my favorites were the platformers. The old school platformers with hand drawn graphics and 3 lives.

Hard Corps : Uprising was a pleasant sight for my nostalgic eyes , and just recently I spent my daily lunch money to get it :). I mean, 2d platformer, tons of explosions and lasers, anime artwork, Local Co-op, yup - the whole package. Although I've read reviews saying that it's kinda hard, but IMHO it's just about right to be challenging and yet rewarding. Most of the time when you encounter new areas you can easily manage, but the mini bosses require a bit of skill and adapting, but that curve is not too steep.

The artwork is superb , all sort of scenery will definitely keep you interested , and there's an awesome background-to-game-area transgression of various elements that not just looks visually impressive , but it also integrates well in the action segments.

The co-op is truly a rare commodity these days, but I'm impressed of how many of the PSN games have it. Thumbs up. Hard Corps is definitely multiplies the fun with the number of players, so grab someone and tape his hands to the controller. Or find someone online. I'll leave it up to you. :)

They could've added the other 2 characters in the base game pack, but if you get them, it's a money well spent. Specially the Sayuri chick, she brings some sword slicing to the table and makes it even more awesome.