Monday, January 13, 2014

Stuff about Nidhogg

Nidhogg is a game about an orange guy and a yellow guy, each with fencing foils trying to stab each other in order traversing a fantastical landscape to reach the ultimate goal of offering themselves as a snack to a colossal worm as a crowd watches and cheers with satisfaction.

Why are they doing this and for what? What force in this bizarre world motivates people to compete in this contest of wits and skill so they can face death by giant invertebrate? The promise of life beyond endless combat?

This is the part where imagination comes to play or takes a backseat until someone in Hollywood decides that Nidhogg is fit for celluloid and public viewing.

We could theorize on and on about the deeper meanings of single-colored humans stabbing each other into confetti, but what would be the point? Really? This will tell you enough.

So, go buy it. It's good.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Anyone want to help me start/finish this speech?

It's the ugliest word in the English language, but that's what I see now: Gamers. And you don't want to be a gamer, 'cause gamers are living contradictions! Gamers are full of unfulfilled ambitions! Gamers wax and wane, Gamers love to complain! Gamers love to hear themselves talk but hate to explain! Gamers love being another man's judge and jury! Gamers procrastinate until it's time to worry! Gamers love to be late, Gamers hate to hurry!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Some stuff on DmC I wrote.

So DmC: Devil May Cry is here. I guess the technical name for this would be “Devil May Cry: Devil May Cry.” Kinda like how I call the 2009 Star Trek by “Star Trek: The Star Trek.” I don’t know if this is a review or anything. Just going to say things. Will I cover every possible fine point? Probably not. Will you rip this apart? Pretty sure of it. Will the stuff written here make sense? I don’t know, but here we go.

To start off, I never played the older games (or any others like them) back then because I just never got around to them at the time. I ended up playing them through Christmas last year, so take that as you will. With this being Ninja Theory’s third title ontop of facing adversity and expectation just for association with the brand name alone, there’s already curiosity, hype, disdain, maybe even spite and so many things surrounding this release.

Right to the chase. I like this game. I found it fun for what it was. You may think I'm nuts or "bought off," but this also coming from a man who liked '09 Bionic Commando. So much for that. Anyway, it's far from perfect. There’s a few issues, but overall, it’s a nice DIFFERENT take on the series with some neat ideas. Key word: Different. We already know why and they go far beyond hair color and game mechanics. It’s not trying to be what it was before. Not that what it was before was bad in the first place. It takes of fighting demons to a contemporary setting that’s pretty easy to relate to if you’ve watched They Live and/or V for Vendetta. Some might see it as forced, but there’s a real sense of atmosphere and Ninja Theory, being great at set pieces and art, pulled it off really well here. It is very sinister and unsettling, especially if you’re one that questions things like the media, culture and so forth. And even if the story is a bit off, do most even play the series for that anyway? Not really, but they’re there for people to argue online or make fanfiction material out of. Bottom line is that this is not DMC5. This is DmC. You can feel free to regard it as corporate-sanctioned fanfiction if you want to ignore Dante as a rebellious, directionless youth fighting a demonic world system and not the cocky anime stereotype (1, 3), the mute (2), or the supportive cameo as a cowboy (4).

Considering there are a few trouble spots, I can say it is Ninja Theory’s best playing game they’ve made thus far and they really tried here. Might not mean a lot to some, like saying this is better than DMC2, but it does say something. They still got plenty to learn, but they came quite a ways from Heavenly Sword and Enslaved so far. It’s not too hard to have fun with what is there. Some would say it could be a bit too easy. Maybe even easy to abuse. Could also mean you have to approach it differently due to how style rating works. Now, even with this, I do think the game would’ve benefited from some objects from DMC’s past. Take the controls, for instance. While using Heavenly Sword’s system of style modifiers works as it’s supposed to, offers on the fly versatility and not hard to work with, I can’t help but think it could’ve been outfitted to DMC3/4’s method of operation, like so…

Lock on would’ve been a tremendous help to the game in lots of ways. Taunting would be a perfect fit for the newer, more crass Dante. Everything else would pretty much familiarity to older fans. Of course, control is only skin deep as there are FAR more items at hand. Players thrived on either conquering “Dante Must Die!” or being punished by it. DmC, on the other hand, isn’t exactly a hard game. Sure there were easy modes in past games, but most would pretend those didn’t even exist. The fact that it’s pretty darn easy to SSS takes away quite a bit of the thrill and reward away. Compounding this are the “setpiece” bosses. They are not many, but they deserve mention as these aren’t really fights that threaten you. It’s just smacking the scenery until it dies. Really nice looking scenery, mind you. Thankfully, they’re spread out. Shame because some of these would be great regular stages that lead up to a big fight.

The other HUGE issue has to do with the Angel/Demon setup. In DmC, there are few enemies that can ONLY be damaged by either Angel or Demon weapons. DMC was always about the freedom to fight how you want and exercise your creativity with the arsenal you have. DmC does do this pretty well. Sure you may not have the exotic, more unusual weapons like Pandora, Nevan or Lucifer, but you can do some cool things with what you have and string things nicely…Until the game decides to throw these polarity-specific foes at you. All of your 8 weapon choices are now reduced to 2. So much for creative freedom in combat.

There’s other stuff like texture popups due to the Unreal engine (not that bad on 360), framerate hiccups during cutscenes (yet hardly in-game?), more design choices (i.e. gold orbs are pretty much pointless) and some glitches. I’m trying not to be too mean as I did like this game, but not mentioning these would be a disservice.

Devil May Cry: Devil May Cry took a tremendous chance as most remakes of a well-established series would do. It fumbled quite a bit on execution, but I was happy in the end. I had my fun with DmC. I see a lot of potential, despite the damage that has been done either by game design or by PR leading up to release. I respect that DmC is itself on its own terms and some things are better that way. Was it needed? Maybe. Maybe not. But it happened and we have to deal. Could it have been better? Yes. Could it have barrowed a few other DMC design staples that would’ve helped it? I’m sure, but would it still be itself if it did? With that, should it have been its own new IP? That will go on for ages to come. Hard to say as there’s that fine line with remakes of being true to form and being its own beast. Is there sequel potential or things that can be taken away to make a game in the future? Definitely.

All in all, if you have an open mind, it wouldn’t hurt to give DmC a spin at least. You might not like everything about it, but not really the abomination that angry internet fans make it out to be nor is it a flowery masterpiece. Call it a beautiful mess, that’s not a complete mess, perhaps. It doesn’t change the fact that the original games will always be around so nothing is being replaced or anything. It’s not like DmC Dante has erased his previous selves from anything. In fact, it just gave me some fanfiction ideas where DmC Dante and DMC1 Dante...I should just stop here.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Indie Problem

So I'm reading up on Fez finally being released after 5 years in development and Phil Fish's harsh words towards Japanese gaming. What makes me wonder is that Fez does not really seem to stand out among other independent titles like it really. Nothing strange to mainstream titles, which now makes me beg the question of whether independent games are becoming guilty of the same crimes that most accuse bigger budget titles of.

Now, don't get me wrong. I support the effort of smaller developers that stand apart from the AAA club of game development. More variety (or over-saturation, depending how you look at it) doesn't always hurt, yet many indie games sometimes seem to get this free pass from players just for the fact that's it's "alternative" or "artsy" even though many are cut from the same mold at the end of the day. Whether it's regurgitating endless waves of zombies or spewing internet references, there really is no difference. One side leans more on shooting things in dark subdued realism while the other would prefer to run around in an M.C Esher-esque staircase labyrinth.

The main draw to Fez seems to be the controversy behind it and the long time it took to emerge. Hmmm....Kinda sounds like that other game that took Forever to be made. Again. What is the difference?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

On the ground

So I was watching a new video uploaded to YouTube on one of my most favorite obscure fighting games, Daraku Tenshi, otherwise known as The Fallen Angels. It's a very different kind of 2D fighter not only for its time of release in 1998, but even still very much not like most fighters today. The focus of the video is to highlight a recent discovery about the game. Certain attacks that hit downed opponents for additional damage, another feature more common among 3D fighting games.

What strikes me about this that most of the attacks that hit on the floor look like they would be used to hit someone prone, even though not completely intentional within game mechanics. Perhaps one of those unknown mysteries of this cult (and unfinished) title of whether this was planned from the outset or a case of digital serendipity.

I may write more on this game later on. For now, here's some video of the game in action. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Time's up

So I'm following Street Fighter x Tekken and lots of people are complaining that time outs happen rather often. For the sake of getting to the point, I'm not going to go into why this happening at the early stages of the game's competitive life, but rather, it gave me an idea. What if there was a fighter where time will ALWAYS run out no matter what? Sounds weird, I know, but I'll do my best to explain.

First off, here's Fighter's Destiny on the N64. It uses a different system for victory conditions instead of kill the other person X amount of times that's almost other fighter in existence. Fighter's Destiny uses a point system that is awarded for certain actions like ringing the opponent out wins one point or a "Special KO" would be five points. After every successful score, fighter's return to starting position and this continues until the first player scores the winning amount of points. Again, I only want to focus on the victory conditions, not the game's mechanics or quality. (which I would like to cover another time perhaps)

Okay, we got that. Now, back to the thought of what if time in a fighting game always ran out. That would be the point: To score more points before time is up. Much like in amateur wrestling but without the pinfalls that end a match immediately. Of course, we don't want match length to drag on and kill the excitement and intensity of a good fight, so how long is paramount. Rounds could be optional, but again, keeping interest is the key factor just in any game. And before anyone says anything, yes, I noticed the clock is disabled in the match video above, but at the same time, the point system can function just fine with a deciding amount.

Chances are, most would think that, more "realistic" types of settings like Fighter's Destiny are more suited for a fighting game would be perhaps be better suited for this kind of system as more sport than fight to the death. Most 3D fighters tend to lend more to the realism thing most of the time or combat sports games based of MMA, boxing and the like. But could such a system work for fighters where you throw fire from your hands, dive headfirst into someone's ribcage or teleport about the arena? Most would probably say no without even half a second of thought for too many reasons to list right now, but just as with any new or different ideas/mechanics/whatever there's always going to be hesitation and of course the bottom line: Will it sell?

There's plenty other directions where this can go such as the escapist fantasy vs. immersing realism debate in gaming and what not, but I'll stop here for now.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Why this called 'House of Random' pt. 1

Okay, you're probably wondering what exactly is this thing about? Well, I'm still trying to get the hang of doing this regularly so to live up to the title of this post, here's a video of me eating taffy for now.