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Archive for January, 2013

I hope you’ll forgive my fanboyism this time again but Blizzard just released the opening cinematic to Heart of the Swarm. Let’s just say that with my recent commitment to improving at Sc2 this couldn’t have come at a better moment.

Gotta hand it to Blizzard, they know how to make a good video.

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Eleven games, around 130 hours and many many dead zombies later, I have completed all the Resident Evil games of the main series plus the Chronicles games (lightgun games). Of course I had a few moments where I was wondering what exactly I was doing but it’s been a fun experience overall and it taught me a lot about running other marathons of the same type (Final Fantasy I’m looking at you).

Overall, RE is a series of surprising quality. Even the title I found to be the worst, RE5, is pretty good when you compare it to other games who came out around the same time as it did. For a series which started out as an homage to B-movie horror, it did an impressive job of creating a memorable story that still continues to this day.

Not only that but it contributed to video games in general by popularizing a new genre of gaming not once but twice. First by making Survival horror games popular and then by making third person shooters a reality. Add on top of this all the other games and series that RE inspired and I think it’s safe to say that Resident Evil ranks up there with Zelda and Mario as far as the impact it had on the video game industry.

But like every big series, RE has it downs and weird experiments and it’s worth talking about them. Many players have been questioning the direction the series is taking lately as well as some thinly veiled attempts at cashing in on the name by Capcom. Some designers who worked on the series have echoed these concerns and have said that by constantly trying to reinvent itself RE might be losing the essence of what made it great.

The series is at its worst when…

When it tries to be a shooter. Simple as that. Sure there’s argument to be made about the games needing more zombies or less monsters or …. but really, when you look at the complaints and the poor reviews it’s always about a part that featured lots of shooting and little survival. RE6 reviled Chris campaign is a shinning example of this as they made it a shooter and everyone hated it.

The series is at its best when…

They stick closer to the survival horror genre. I don’t mean by that old mechanics, fancy door opening sequences and not being able to move and shoot. I mean limited ammo, dangerous enemies and making every fight a decision between killing the zombie and wasting resources or trying to sneak past it. Proof that it works is RE: Revelations where the game stayed closer to the Survival horror genre while staying modern and it was a resounding success

The best and the worst

I won’t surprise you by repeating myself and saying RE5 was the worst game of the series. Too much shooting, not enough surviving.

The best however is a tie between RE2 and Revelations. I suppose I should give the title to RE2 but Revelations really impressed me so I’m putting both of them up there. RE2 had that perfect blend of story and survival horror and Revelations showed us what Survival horror could be like in recent games and proved it wasn’t an antiquated concept.

So I’ll end this with a message to the Capcom staff working on RE7. Guys, please listen to you fans and critics, you proved you cold do a modern survival horror game so please stick to that. Survival horror is not about having the scariest monsters, it’s about having to make hard choices with the limited resources you have. It’s about making a zombie scary because he’ll take seven bullets to take down and you only have six.

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I did it! After years of research and many dead Bothans I found a way to handle multiple MMOs without feeling guilty about playing one more than the other. It’s really simple and I’m a bit ashamed to say I didn’t think about it before but here I am.

Simply, I play WoW when I’m tired and don’t want to think too much and I hop into The Secret World when I feel like challenging myself a bit more. In effect in end-up playing way more WoW than TSW but that’s mainly because I get real tired during the week and I want to relax in the evenings most of the time.

It may sound simple but I never managed it before because of a simple reason… I was raiding. See when I was raiding my reasoning was always “I feel like doing exploration achievements tonight! Let’s do that! Wait… I should spend that hour trying to get that weapon instead… it would help out get that dps to down the new boss…”.

And I’d end up not doing what I really felt like and forcing myself to do stuff I didn’t really want to. Seriously, how many of us have scrapped fun times on alts in favor of working on mains? I know I did… often…

And you know what? I enjoy myself a lot more now that I can play just whatever the hell I want when I want to. If I want to challenge myself I got the Secret World… if I don’t I can go dig up artefacts for half an hour while drinking awesome fancy tea. It’s really up to me.

I’ll leave you with some homework. Every night you login into your favorite MMO take a note of what you at first wanted to do and what you ended up doing. I’ll leave the conclusions up to you but I do hope you’re doing what you want most of the time.

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My quest to finish all the games in my backlog continues and I’ve only just now started playing Rage, the latest game from Id software, creators of the legendary Doom games. To be frank, I had very low expectations for this title because the reviews at the time of its launch ranged from poor to murderous. I figured it would be a mindless shooter that I’d finish rapidly and that would be it…. boy did I get a surprise.

I’ll start by addressing the critics. Yes, this game is more or less a rip-off of Borderlands with a somewhat more serious tone, I agree that the story and setting are not really original and I agree that it’s not a revolutionary game like Doom was. Hint for the critics, games like Doom come once or twice every decade so…

But if you forget about Doom and reinventing gaming for a moment, this is an awesome game where it counts. It got excellent gameplay that handles really well and the graphics/animations are a notch above what I’m used to see in shooters.

I’m not finished with it yet and maybe I’ll grow tired of it by the end but right now I’m enjoying it a lot and I feel kinda sad that I missed out on it earlier because of critics… If you ever see it on sale on Steam, do give it a shot.

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My challenge for 2013

It’s no secret that I like hard games. Not those that are hard because of bugs or poor gameplay but those that are designed to be challenging. With my Resident Evil marathon over which included a few hard games I find myself looking for a new challenge.

I thought about doing a Final Fantasy marathon but quite honestly I don’t think I could survive it. Not only is there a lot of games but the time each need would probably drive me nuts before the end. Maybe someday I will but the Final Fantasy marathon won’t be happening soon. Besides the Final Fantasy games are not that hard to begin with.

The solution presented itself to me last week and it doesn’t seem to be going away so I think I’m going to go ahead with it.

My challenge for 2013 is to be better at Starcraft 2. Simple as that.

Long time readers know that it’s not first attempt at this and that I stopped the previous times after getting real discouraged. It is my hope however that I learned from my previous mistakes and that I will do better this time.

First order of business is defining that goal further because being better at Starcraft 2 is such a vague thing and can change depending on the person. I’ve thought long and hard about this and there’s really two things I want to achieve.

First and most important I want to be able to play a ladder game without being stressed out. I tend to get super stressed out when I play ladder and that needs to go away. It might not seem directly related to improving but  I know that playing stressed out is not helping my game and that if I improve some it will help be less stressed.

Second I want to get to Platinum league. I need a concrete goal to achieve and I think that is a reasonable one. Back when the game launched I got to gold with protoss but since then the skill level has increased tremendously and getting to platinum would be a way to tell I improved.

So that’s my game challenge for 2013. Instead of beating a computer I’ll try to be better at defeating other human players. I’ll be doing updates from time to time here to let you guys know how it’s going.

 

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