Monday, January 28, 2013

Three Features That Every Game Should Have But Don't

Feature One: Fully Customizable Controls

How many times have you played a game and found yourself wishing that a button on the controller did something other than what it was assigned by the developers? Ya, we all have. And that's when you check the control options to see what default control schemes they have available to use. Many times, there's one that is exactly what you were hoping for. Many other times, however, there is not. And in my experience, the  latter scenario happens as many times as does the former, if not more. So I pose a question: Why no custom controls? I'd say 5% of the games released allow the user to map the controls as they see fit (this percentage is definitely higher for PC games than it is for console games but I am talking about console games here) and all I can think is why? In what way does it harm anyone to allow the user to map the controls exactly as they would have them? If you ask me, it's nothing but positive outcomes ahead if they just start implementing this change.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Metal Gear Rising Demo Impressions (And Tips)

PlatinumGames released a demo for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance today and while the game is clearly brilliant the demo was a huge misstep that I suspect is going to cost PlatinumGames a lot of sales. Right off the bat I am going to tell you something that the demo itself does not (much to its own detriment): You can dodge back with X+A (360) or X+S (PS3) and if you add in a direction you do a dodge slash.

How can you release a demo with a tutorial that does NOT tell you how to dodge?


How about not telling the player that the game contains very useful combos utilizing directional inputs?


How about the fact that you can heal (B (360) or Circle (PS3) when prompted during Blade Mode)? The demo never mentions that?


It might not have been so bad if perhaps the demo wasn't REALLY hard on Normal difficulty (compared to most games released these days). They throw you into a few REALLY intense fights in the demo and you get very little in the way of practise or instruction beforehand. This is a mistake that is going to cost PG and it's a shame because having spent some time with the demo (yes, I beat it, and yes, I died several times) I can say that the combat in this game is freaking brilliant. It's incredibly different than many other hack n slash games, with a myriad of complexities that are unfortunately not immediately apparent. It manages to be  both very challenging and yet totally fair.....when you figure out how to properly play the damn thing. The demo really does not do a very good job letting you know much.

So, to any prospective players, remember these few things:

-You can heal (B (360) or Circle (PS3) when prompted during Blade Mode).
-Experiment with button input timing.
-It's hard. You will die. You learn by dying, so don't give up so easily; the game is worth it, trust me.
-You can dodge back with X+A (360) or X+S (PS3) and if you add in a direction you do a dodge slash.
-You can cancel the flying kick (Jump then strong attack when in Ninja Run mode) into a stealth attack.
-Towards, towards weak attack is a launcher
-There are also away, towards weak/strong moves as well as a towards, towards weak one (all powerful)
-Use the lock on during every fight. Forget trying to adjust the camera during fights.
-The game WANTS you to use Blade Mode, so USE it. Especially on large enemies.

There's more I am forgetting and there's also more I am sure I do not yet know. This is a game that requires effort, thought, practise and patience, just like all of the best hack n slash games. And, like those, I can guarantee that there is going to be a small community of extremely dedicated and adept players who will be putting out some incredible gameplay/combo videos over the coming years. And, just as true as that is, there will also be a large group of people who played the demo, got their ass kicked and shut the game off, forever writing it off as a bad game. I find that to be unfortunate. However, what I find to be even more unfortunate is that PlatinumGames is going to cause a lot of that themselves with a very underwhelming and insufficiently explanatory demo.

I really hope this incredibly talented development studio can iron out their issues and earn the sales I think they deserve.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Next Chapter Of My Life Is Underway

Bon Giorno

How are you doing? Well I hope :) I myself am doing quite well. I mean, not specifically at the moment (lots of pain related to my Crohn's disease) but overall I am doing GREAT, and the recent events in my life which constitute this newfound contentment are the subject of this latest blog post. I might work some in towards the end of this but I cannot guarantee it, so if you're a regular reader hoping to read something that pertains to the main topics covered in this blog I want to warn you right now that this post may offer you nothing of note and as such you may want to simply turn back and return when I post the next update. So, that preamble/warning aside, what exactly has been happening in my life lately that has made me so happy?

Let's go through the list, shall we?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Halo 4: A Non Shooter Fan's Initial Impressions

As any of my readers would know, I am no longer much of a shooter fan. Gone are the days and nights soaked in blood and filled with the acrid smoke of grenades gone boom. Most of my video game playtime consists of me playing XBLA games and RPG's (right now I am playing Code of Princess on the 3DS). When I do play shooters, they are almost always 3rd person rather than first, and also not shooters in the sense of the word I use (think Gears of War or Vanquish). The ones I play are more in the vein of Dead Space and Resident Evil. Action horror games, basically. Those and OLD SCHOOL shooters aka shmups like Geometry Wars and Score Rush.

However, there are those times (usually herbally ameliorated) that I find myself playing a shooter. Usually one of the COD games with friends. Or, in the case of the last few days, some Halo 4 co-op campaign. These sessions are usually fairly fun but inevitably result in a rapid onset of absolute boredom.

Not last night.