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Archive for the ‘Console gaming’ Category


Yesterday I stumbled on an article on Talk Amongst Yourselves arguing that all games should have a difficulty setting to allows all kinds of players, read here casual with little time, could complete all the games and not be locked out of experiencing a game because they can’t get through it. The author argues that by doing so, game companies will gain by having more customers for their games and everyone wins.  If this sounds familiars it’s because it’s the same old casual vs hardcore debate we’ve been having with MMOs for years.

Once upon a time I might have agreed with him but now I think that’s a load of crap. Games don’t and shouldn’t have to cater to every audience out there. Not only is it very hard and time consuming to adjust a game for multiple difficulty settings but you run the very real risk of killing the experience that you’re trying to deliver with your game. The TAY article author uses Bloodborne and completion numbers as indicators that a large number of players don’t get to complete the game and in a way, wasted their time and money on a game that was too hard for them which, according to the author, probably left them frustrated.

And then he drops the killer argument, if they add an easy mode it doesn’t deprive the others of anything, they just don’t have to use it, so everyone wins! Game sells more, player finish the game, happiness all around!

It’s not about finishing the game

So let’s talk about Bloodborne which is the main focus of the article and ask ourselves what makes it and by extension the Soul’s series such beloved games. It’s not the story, which you can entirely miss, not the combat which is better handled in many other games, the graphics are nice but not the best so what is it? Could it be the difficulty? Are all Bloodborne players masochists who enjoy being killed over and over? Maybe a few but not all of us.

What makes a game like Bloodborne, or any game for that matter, great is the experience it gives the player. With Bloodborne, the experience it aims to deliver is to make you feel like you’re fighting against desperate, even unfair odds. That victory will only achieved through sweat, tears and outsmarting the opposition. It makes uncovering the story feels special because you have to go out of your way to find the clues and use your head to put the pieces together. It’s about learning to enjoy failing, and then trying again.

That is what Bloodborne is about and its difficulty is the core mechanic it uses to deliver that experience. If you lower it, you are essentially killing the experience and you’re just playing a mostly bland action rpg.

So when the reviewer complains about the game being too difficult and not being able to experience the game he’s in fact getting the perfect Bloodborne experience. He might not like it and that’s his choice but not all game have to be for everyone and that’s fine. Just like I didn’t like Undertale experience, I have to admit it was a well done game. Likewise, you can not enjoy Bloodborne but that doesn’t mean the game should change to suit your tastes.

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Quick gaming update

Oh hello everyone!

Sorry for the recent quiet but work has been insane as of late and since I tend to do most of my blogging at work during quieter moments it has not been working out lately. Twitter has been a good source of quick entertainment but no real time for blogging until right now so I’m taking 15 minutes and doing a grab bag post of recent happenings.

On the FF14 front I put crafting on ice while I leveled my archer/bard to get Quelling strikes. I have three levels to go now so I’m nearly done with that and after that I’ll probably head back to crafting until Heavensward hit or I could always take Bard to 50… who knows?

I had an urge to play Swtor last weekend. That urge lasted just long enough to get me through Ajunta Pall tomb. My inner dialogue during that experience was along the lines of “I could do this in FF14 and it would be better”. Also the cash shop all over the place is still annoying as hell.

Between FF sessions I’m playing lots of Bloodborne which I’m enjoying a lot. I’m trying to do the game as spoiler-less as I can and while there was a few slipups, overall I haven’t been spoiled too much. I managed defeat Rom the vacuous spider yesterday and now the game has gone into truly weird mode. Love it.

I’ll keep this short for now because I can see the end of this rare moment of quiet. Hope you all have a great week!

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Resident Evil: Revelations 2
System: PS3, PS4, PSVita, PC, Xbox360, Xbox One
Release date: February 24th, 2015 (Playstation version)

A bit over two years ago I embarked on a gaming marathon to complete the whole of the Resident Evil series following the sequence of events as they happened in the series. You can find my adventures through the eleven games on this blog by checking the posts tagged Console Gaming.

Now that a new game is out, it’s time to add a new entry to the marathon.

Previously on Resident Evil

Last time we stepped in the RE universe, things were pretty much a mess. Wesker, the series main supervillain has been defeated but now there’s a few madmen running around with viruses creating chaos all over the world.  Revelations 1 and RE6 dealt with such threats and so does Revelations 2. The zombie poo hit the fan and it’s up to you to uncover what happened and save the day from a new megalomaniac, which happens to be Albert Wesker daughter (no huge spoilers here). So with her and Jake Wesker from RE6 we’re now up to two Wesker kids which honestly feel weird given what we knew of the dad. In fact I would not be surprised at all if we learn in later games that there’ cloning shenanigans at work here.

When last I reviewed the series, I was saying how the series needs a new villain to fill in the gap left by Wesker death and the way things are headed now I would not be surprised if they took the route of cloning the man and bringing him back to life. I sincerely hope they do not go that way since it’s feels like an easy out but still, the series needs to find a new antagonist to go up against.  In any case, the next game needs to get things really moving again.

Edit: So I might have gotten the relationship between Alex and Albert Wesker wrong. They are not father / daugther but siblings according to the RE wikia. Still I’ve seen some debate on the topic so it might be one of these lost in translations things. 

But what about the rest?

Story is all good and nice but it’s not the only part of a game after all. I can’t comment much on the episodic format because I waited till it was all out to play it but the chapter structure worked well to tell the story so I think the format has merit in this case.

The game itself leans more toward the classic survival horror side of the series and the game is stronger for it. I did find myself scrounging ammo and avoiding fights to preserve resources and that’s the way a survival horror game should work. I also liked that the story was more self-contained and didn’t deal with world ending cataclysm.

Grahics and controls are standard for the genre so nothing really to write about but they do the job well enough so nothing really to complain about.

Overall, it’s a fun game that won’t blow anyone’s mind but does the job by entertaining us for a few hours, something a lot of games seems to have issues accomplishing lately.

Toward RE7 ?

So the big question is whether or not we’re getting a RE7. The story certainly seems to be headed in that direction but it’s hard to say with the current game line-up shuffling at Capcom. I have the nagging feeling they’re headed toward resurrecting main villain Wesker and I hope they don’t. As for the style of the game, I still stand by my previous comments that the series does better when it sticks closer to it’s survival horror roots and Revelations 2 only proves that point.

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All is quiet on the MMO front lately. I’m barely playing WoW at the moment and most of my MMO time (which is not a lot) is reserved for The Secret World. Still love the game but I’m taking my time since I don’t want to run out of content too soon.

Most of my gaming time at this moment is directed at making a dent in my single player game backlog and keeping my schedule clear for Heart of the Swam releasing soon (5 days!).  So here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

  • Dark Souls: Finished it yesterday just in time to begin Castlevania: Lords of Shadow-Miror of Fate (long name FTW). Once all is said and done, I clocked around 70 hours over three characters. I found Dark Souls to be more difficult than Demon Souls but also better done. Highly recommend it if you want to challenge yourself for real.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow-Miror of Fate: I’m a fan of Castlevania… a fanboi even. I nearly have all the games including a few rare ones so a new entry in the series meant an automatic buy. So far it’s been a fun experience despite some reviewers complaints.
  • Xenoblade: I was in the mood for an Jrpg and this one came recommended. I have no idea how far in I am at this point but it’s been an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

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The other day I stumbled upon this article from the Penny-Arcade Report where the author explained to us what might be looming ahead of us in regards to companies tailoring cash shops to extort ever more money from us. It’s food for thoughts and I highly recommend you go read the article in question. To sum up, it seems some companies are thinking about displaying different prices to the user based on our buying habits.

Easy example, people in North America (more fortunate) pay more for DLC than people in more impoverished countries. By the way that is a real example. Many companies price their games differently based on where you love. Starcraft 2 for example costed around 60$ in the US, was going for less than 20$ in Asia and was even free in Korea. This is nothing new in itself…

What’s new is that there might be changes in price depending not on where you live but also your buying habits. Example, if you buy a lot of Cartel Packs, then the price of the Packs could be raised since EA knows you’ll be buying them anyway.

Some people will say that such a move would drive people away cause we would figure out what was going on and it would create customer backlash…. but companies can be creative when they need to. Let’s say an MMO drop boxes that you can loot but to open them you have to buy keys. Same prices for the keys for everyone so it’s fair right? But what if the rate at which the drop boxes dropped changed based on much keys you have bought in the past?

Instead of changing the price of item what if they made it so the more you spend the more opportunities to spend the game puts in front of you? Way more sneaky but it would have the same effect as rising the prices….

I’m not panicking yet… but it’s definitively something I’ll keep an eye on… food for thoughts…

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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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Resident Evil 6
System: XBox 360, PS3, PC(March 22, 2013)
Release date: October 2, 2012

And we are coming to the end of the marathon, I’m pretty sure you guys must be sick of it by now but cheer up, we are nearly done with Resident Evil.

So once again I will be disagreeing with the common wisdom. Many reviewers and fans have been very harsh with this but I liked it. A lot in fact. Don’t get me wrong, as far as gameplay goes it’s pretty average but I think they had a solid story going on and one that bodes well for the future of the game.

A tale of four tales

RE6 tale is told through the eyes of 4 different storylines that you will have to complete in order to get the full experience. Some reviewers hated it but I liked it so I won’t comment too much on whether or not that was a good idea, I’ll let everyone judge for themselves.

RE6 tells the story of the C-Virus, another offshot of the original Umbrella research, this time based off the original Progenitor Virus. To make things simple the C-Virus effects depend a lot on how it is spread. It can be a gas which turns people into good ol zombies or it can be injected in which case you turn into a super human freak but seem to retain most of your human intelligence.

Umbrella is no more but evil congressman are using the C-Virus to scare the pants off everyone in order to “wake up” america… a classic scenario if you’re to believe fiction in general. Seems every so often a patriot needs to threaten the world to raise some funding. But as with all evil plans, one of the evil minions is even eviler (is that a word?) and decides to simply try to destroy the planet.

So our intrepid heroes, old ones and new ones, each tackle the new threat and meet each other along the way to share in the good times. In the end the world is saved but not without wiping off two cities and killing millions of people.

So… anything special?

RE6 is fun in itself. It’s feels sorta like RE4 in the sense that at first the story didn’t seem to connect much but the following games built on it. Likewise, I think RE6 setup a lot of elements for future games but what exactly it’s hard to say right now.  More than anything I think the series needs a new good villain but we’ll see if they manage.

The future

I’ll be doing one more post about where I think the series is headed, what worked and what didn’t. I think the series is at a crossroads of sorts and I hope they will take the right path.

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