Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mediocre RPG crap-a-thon: The Awakening

What makes an RPG mediocre or downright terrible? Sure, everyone knows of the classics RPG games such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy, Grandia, or Pokemon. These games feature great game-play mechanics,fantastic music, and/or a great story. In the late 90's and early 2000's RPGs were everywhere thanks to the popularity of Final Fantasy VII on the Playstation. Some of these RPG's were pretty good and others were atrocious. I was 10 years old when I started to love RPGs and I would play any game I could get so quality didn't really bother me as long as it had basic RPG elements. It was during this age that I completed some really awful RPG's such as Beyond the Beyond and Quest 64 to name a few.

This got me thinking about the question I posed above and I decided to get help from a few friends who thankfully volunteered to play RPGs that were considered either mediocre or abysmal according to various media sites. I will chronicle some of their experience as well as get feedback about the games they are forced to tolerate. So we picked a total of 12 games we have access to from all generations of gaming. Justin Belding, Tamel Edwards, and I will each get 4 games to play and we must play all 4 games and finish at least 2 of them with some exceptions to that rule (games marked with a *). We rolled a 20 sided dice to choose the games and the results are as follows:

Breath of Fire 4

Final Fantasy 4: The After Years
Beyond the Beyond*
Super Ninja Boy

Wild Arms 2
More meh....
Granstream Saga
Lufia: Fortress Of Doom *
Blue Dragon

Infinite Undiscovery
Final Fantasy 2
Saga Frontier 2
Quest 64*
I spent $90 on this turd...

Games marked a * are considered either exceptionally bad or time consuming so if either of us chooses to finish one of these games then I consider the quota for completed games met. I still want each game to be experienced for a quick synopsis. I will capture some gameplay with commentary for certain games in the future. This will be a somewhat long project but I want to just examine certain things about what makes a game enjoyable or detestable. Can we  find a hidden gem? Appreciate what a game developer was trying to do? I hope to find out some common threads or interesting ideas about games in general from this experiment.

Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rise From Your Grave!

Wow, it's been nearly three years since either Steve or I posted something here. I will attribute it to a combination of life and laziness. I moved into my apartment which has cut down on my ability to purchase new releases and I am also going back to school to improve my writing proficiency. My goal is to at least have two to three posts a week on the site.

The gaming landscape has changed so much in three years... or has it? Steve's last post focused on Call of Duty (COD): Modern Warfare 3 which in my opinion was a step back from it's predecessor COD: Black Ops. Nearly three years later, we've had two COD games released with a third game coming this November.

We've entered a new generation of gaming with 3 new systems and it's safe to say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Xbox One and the PS4 will both be the high end go to machines for big action games, first person shooters, and sports games. There is a new emphasis on indie titles which I am actually excited for. The Wii U is the place to go for the Nintendo classics such as Mario and Zelda. Nintendo's new Wii U gamepad with a screen hasn't caught on fire like the Wii controller and Nintendo has yet to find a killer app that shows the new controllers potential. I hope to own at least two of these consoles in the near future to post my impressions on them.

As for what I will be posting in the near future. I am going to take a look at video game music and what it means to me and why it is important. I am also going to post a little experiment with three mediocre RPG's randomly selected and played by my two roommates and I. We each will get one of these RPG's which we will play from start to finish and I want to know what went wrong with these games as for me there is nothing worse than a mediocre RPG. Until next time readers....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Trailer and Poll

If you haven't caught it already, check out this cool but hilarious Call of Duty "There's a Soldier in All of Us" trailer. And also take note of what the NBA lockout has done to our precious basketball players.
After you're done take some time and answer our poll:
Will you purchase Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 at launch?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer #1 breakdown and thoughts

The trailer for Grand Theft Auto V is out and already has fans buzzing about what's in the horizon. What Grand Theft Auto IV did for New York, the same can be said for Grand Theft Auto V and Los Angles. Although I didn't note it on the site (or anywhere else) I had feeling the series was heading towards the west coast for the next chapter. I was thinking San Andreas but Los Santos was a second choice, naturally (IGN confirms it is San Andreas) . On the graphics side, the game looks gorgeous. Definitely a step above Grand Theft Auto IV but we'll have a true comparison when the game is released. Here are a couple of things I picked up from the trailer.

The first thing I noticed was the dog at the beginning of the trailer. Does that mean we're going to see stray dogs moping around neighborhoods? Will there finally be a K9 unit in Grand Theft Auto? If you can kill these dogs, how upset will PETA be? Also in that same scene with the dog I noticed a surfboard by the life house which could mean we finally can surf or have the ability to rescue people in the water. It could be a lifeguard subgame. And speaking of subgames, it looks like Golf and hiking/mountain climbing could be there too. Again maybe not only subgames but the ability to scale mountains, surf the waves, interact in the water could be new experiences within the GTA universe.

Secondly, I must be a genius or Rockstar Games can read my mind because I asked for verticality and I got verticality! The trailer highlighted three different instances of planes zooming by, and I can tell we have much more in store! Hopefully we can revisit skydiving from an incredible altitude. Dude.

Lastly, we see a group of gentleman wearing bug exterminator uniforms and brandishing firearms. Either the store must have some really big bugs or they plan on raiding it. This scene could be entirely self-contained or/and it could be the ability to rob stores and banks (just like I wished for!). Once again everything is just speculation based on the brief trailer but I'm excited to uncover what else Grand Theft Auto V has to offer. Stay Tuned.

Grand Theft Auto V Trailer

Without further ado,the trailer to Greand Theft Auto V:

Don't forget to vote in our GTA V poll and let us know how much you enjoyed (or didn't) the the trailer.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grand Theft Auto V Wishlist

On October 25, Rockstar finally confirmed that they are working on the next installment of their blockbuster franchise: Grand Theft Auto V. I don't know about everyone else but I am highly excited. Though Grand Theft Auto IV wasn't as expansive as San Andreas, it was still a fine game that had plenty of room for improvement. Before the trailer is released on November 2, here are V (get it?) things I would love to see in the next Grand Thedft Auto.

1. More Verticality
Sure, we had the helicopter in GTA IV but coming from San Andreas where we had planes, we could parachute and/or skydive from said plane, you kind of miss that instant method of reaching the skies. Hopefully GTA V expands on these ideas of past and encourages the player to jump from the furthest peak in the city!

2. Better friends system
I like the idea of having friends in GTA IV, I just do not like trying to maintain their friendship while I'm running over pedestrians. I always felt like the friends and girlfriends system was like a modern age Tamagochi. Hopefully in GTA V we'll see something, maybe something like Facebook perhaps?

3. Co-op missions
You know what's better than causing mayhem in these fictional cities? Doing it with a buddy. GTA IV finally introduced online play to the series, but it would be nice to have some dedicated missions for 2 or more players. It be great to this mode included in the future.

4. Expanded Bank Heist
My favorite mission in GTA IV involved a bank heist, it would be awesome if they included this as a gameplay feature. So after you're tired of doing odd-jobs for a mob boss in exchange of vital information to move the storyline along, you can rob bank for some extra cash

5. Better customization options

If there is one thing San Andreas did was made you feel like you had to total control over your character and vehicles. GTA IV does the same on a smaller scale but San Andreas gave you so many clothing options, hairstyles, etc. You always had multiple ways of creating the character you see fit. I'd love for this to return in the latest installment.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Red Faction Guerilla (Xbox 360)

I've never had the chance to play the predecessors of Red Faction Guerilla, which is the third game in the Red Faction franchise. The only thing I knew about the original and its sequel was that they were first person shooters with destructible environments. Like literally, you can destroy any structure within in the game, an aspect that helped the game stand out from the rest of the first-person shooter pack. But that's where my knowledge about the games end. Luckily for Red Faction Guerilla you don't really need to play the other games to enjoy this one-becauase it's such a fun game in its own right.

Red Faction Guerilla is an open-world third-person shooter set in a futuristic Mars. Like all future societies, their world is an oppressed one where the "man" (EDF) is coming down on the hard and has made them their slaves. Honestly, Red Faction Guerilla's story is the weakest point of the game. Graphics are great, characters are designed (enemies look a bit generic though) well and environments are fully realized, really leaving an impression. Despite Mars being barren, the towns in RFG look and feel believable but the story and characterizations are as weak and the structures you're eventually going to destroy. You have a generic-modern day ceaser-shaven reluctant hero who is thrust into a war between rebels and the "man" (I should call them EDF but the man sounds cool) and he meets a girl and they fight the this war to try and liberate Mars. Story is through told through voice messages via intercom and to progress the story along between different towns, Volition, Inc provided their audience with some crudely animated CGI cutscenes which look like it was done with the original Toy Story engine. In game graphics are fine but these CGI cutscenes are grainy and worse, boring. Thankfully, the gameplay is the opposite.

Being an open-world game, naturally you'll be acquiring vehicles to reach designated key points. The game is broken up into six towns and your goal is to decrease the EDF control in each to advance to the next. In each town, you'll have mission-based objectives such as destroying certain buildings, destroy all the enemies, following vehicles to their destinations, and helping out the rebels fight against the EDF. After completing each mission, EDF control decreases and the amount of townsfolk who will fight alongside of you increases. Just how will you be taking down these colossal buildings you ask? Well not by your bare hands. The game equips you at all times with a sledgehammer, which will more than likely be your primary tool in taking out enemies and destroying destructible structures. Not that the other weapons are useless (especially the handy Nano Rifle and bombs), but from my experience the sledgehammer was great because it required no ammo and for the enemies if you can dodge and weave your way around their line of fire and you can lay the smack down on their…well you know. And let me tell you, knocking enemies around with the hammer is gratifying!

Other weapons include bombs, rifles, pistols and other advanced makeshift tools of destruction. Weapons such as assault rifles and pistols are standard fare and should be used to take out enemies troops on the ground or in vehicles. You’ll also find two types of rocket launchers, weapons that fire saw blades or electrify and others down the line. The latter weapons are more effective in taking down structures throughout the game. Taking down buildings also provides you with currency so you can upgrade yourself and weapons, so you have incentive to the mayhem. The game also grants you a multitude of vehicles at your disposal. Vehicles come in different class such as light, medium and heavy. You’ll also find some vehicles with turrets. There are so many ways to decimate buildings, the act the never gets old, especially taking a structure down while enemies are still in the them. While destroying buildings and releasing EDF control, you also have to keep the town morale up by not killing civilians which is not too much of a pain, except when the AI for these rebels get in front of your vehicle or can’t learn escape a collapsing building. The single-player mode plenty of run-and-gun action as well as the demolition aspect, which will keep you engaged and entertain for hours.

In addition to the single-player campaign, Volition, Inc also added multiplayer. It comes with the by the books deathmatch but unique to RFG is Wrecking Crew where you have to destroy structures (surprise, surprise) within a time limit. Even with its unique power-ups, this mode feels more like an afterthought and it’s the destructivity of the environment which gives Red Faction its engagement and hook. If you took all the positive aspects that I listed and removed them from them game, what you would have is a very sub-par third-person shooter and that’s the level of quality of the multiplayer mode.

Red Faction Guerilla doesn’t turn the shooter genre over its head at all, but simply because of its gimmick, it gives you something more than just shooting baddies. The game can last you around the 20-hour mark which is more than enough enjoyment. If you’re looking for a solid shooter this may not be for you, but for those looking for an action game that does something a little bit different and can ignore the snooze-fest of a story Red Faction Guerilla is good game to fill those shoes.