Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Tau's Top 5 Games of 2014

God damn!  It's finally 2015 and I think we have an exciting year ahead for us.  It's been really hard to put out any content recently since New Year is an extremely busy time.  However, I should have a significant increase to my free time in the 2015 so now is a good time to get started on producing all sorts of stuff! 

So let's kick things off with my top 5 games of 2014!  To clarify, I'm only picking off games featured on the list on the right hand side of the page.  There were a ton of great games this year and I'm aware that there are a lot of fantastic titles I didn't get to play due to restraints of time and money so don't freak out if YOUR favorite game isn't on the list.

5) Transistor

Made by the same dudes who gave us Bastion, Transistor was one of those games I had a lot of excitement for prior to release.  While I felt it wasn't quite as good as Bastion, Transistor was fun, stylish and rather challenging if you wanted it to be.

The gameplay was smooth, the music was awesome and it was just about the right length.  I had a few issues with it and the story didn't really pull me in all that well but I had a damn good time fighting the Process through Cloudbank.

4) Dark Souls 2

I loved Dark Souls 2, it was fucking fantastic.  It only comes in at number 4 since I didn't feel it was QUITE as good as Dark Souls for various reasons but it had me hooked really hard from start to finish nonetheless.

While Dark Souls 2 was extremely fun some of the changes made to the game play stripped away part of the challenge that I loved so much which soured me to it a little.  Also the world and over arching plot didn't feel as epic to me as the first game did.  That could be just me but I felt that DS1 had a lot more character than the sequel.

However, these are only little problems that I have and don't ruin the fun of a generally superb game.

3)  Hatsune Miku Project Diva F2nd

Yeah yeah, roll your eyes and call me a weaboo or whatever but I don't give a fuck because this game is AWESOME!  A great rhythm game with a really good selection of great Hatsune Miku (and others) songs.

If you aren't into poppy Japanese music then maybe this game isn't for you but if you don't mind it then there's a really fun game here.  It was also made considerably harder than the 1st one but I really enjoyed the fact that I'm not just breezing through all the songs on extreme like I did before.

It's the kind of game that I keep coming back to.  If I have a spare few minutes to kill I can just load it up and play a song or two then put it down again.  Would recommend for any Vita owner.

2) Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight was so fucking cool, it took ideas from a bunch of different games and just smashed them together and the result is magical.  There's not really all that much to say about Shovel Knight other than it's fucking good and you should go play it.  Fun, challenging, looks great and has a awesome soundtrack, it's the kind of game that everyone should at least try.

1)  South Park: The Stick of Truth

So here it is, my game of 2014.  While it was simplistic in its RPG elements, it made up for with it's character and humor.  The game is really fun to play and it's not just a weak excuse to re-run old South Park jokes for 8 to 10 hours.

While there are plenty of little nods to the show and its long history, Stick of Truth has so much to offer on its own.  I've not genuinely been this tickled by a video game in a long LOOONG time and some moments in the game had me hitting the pause button.

Even if you aren't familiar with South Park I still think you could get a lot out of it.  It's a really fun game with a ton of shit to do and if you go for 100% you'll be at it for a pretty fair amount of time.

I got it during a Steam sale but it's one of the only games I've experienced in a long time worthy of it's full asking price.

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So that's my top 5 for the year.  There's a lot of games that I didn't get round to playing that may have made the list like This War of Mine and Grimrock 2 but I'm gonna be catching up with them pretty soon.

So while you're waiting for the 2015 releases to get going, go play these 5 games, you'll be more than entertained.



Monday, 29 December 2014

South Park: The Stick of Truth

This game got a lot of praise and was talked about rather highly upon its release.  This usually makes me far more harsh on a game and it's a bad habit because it can have a habit of ruining a title for me.  However, South Park is one of those games that easily lives up to all its praise and it's absolutely worth playing.

The game revolves around a "new kid" who comes to South Park and he is quickly swept up in some kind of LARP, Dungeons and Dragons type thing being run by the cast of the show.  While all this is going on, some kind of terrible government plot is happening and it is up to you and your friends to stop it.  The story to this game is essentially one big episode of the show converted into a simple RPG game so fans of the show will know what to expect from the game plot wise.

Game play wise, I find Stick of Truth to be a little lacking.  It's an extremely simple RPG with some Mario RPG esque timing things attached to the various attacks to make them hit harder or apply an effect.  I played as a Mage and found all the combat to be stupidly easy to the point where my buddy character was completely pointless.

That said though, while Stick's game play is very simplistic it makes up for by having tons of character and being genuinely funny.  There are many little nods to old episodes of the show while also having a ton of it's own humor.  It has been a long time since I genuinely laughed out loud playing a video game but a few of the moments had me hitting the pause button so I could get my shit together.

There's also a hell of a lot to do in this game.  There are tons of side quests and things to collect.  If you are a perfectionist then you will definitely get quite a significant amount of play time out of this game.  Not to mention that there are 4 playable classes (warrior, mage, thief and Jew) that all have their own unique skill sets.  The animations on some of the attacks alone warrant multiple playthroughs and have a pretty big effect on how you tackle certain situations.

I could talk for fucking ages about how good the game is and why you'd probably love it but I'd be here all day if I did that.  It would be easier to say that if you are a fan of South Park then you absolutely WILL like this game.  If you're not familiar with South Park then this isn't a good place to start but there is enough for a newcomer to enjoy too.  If you don't like South Park or you're looking for a deeper RPG experience, then you're clearly an idiot looking in the wrong place. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Hopes For Next Year

With Christmas happening tomorrow and new year right around the corner, I thought I'd express a couple of my hopes for gaming in the year 2015.

1)  Next Gen Gets Interesting

The PS4 and Xbox One have been out for a good while now and I still have very little interest in either.  With Ys8 and Persona 5 along with a couple of others being announced I have some reason to be at least a little bit interested in PS4 but I'm really hoping that there will be more than just big name sequels in the near future.  I'm really looking forward to some new IP and I'm crossing my fingers that something will get released that's going to blow my goddamn mind.

2)  Less Bullshit

This one probably won't happen because bullshit makes money for publishers but I can dream.  Less crappy DLC, less day 1 drama, less glitchy and unfinished bullshit.  I'm hoping that at some point in the next year publishers will have some kind of epiphany and think "oh, maybe we should stop fucking customers up the asshole all the time" and there will be a lot less to be angry about.

3) Less Drama

There was a lot of drama this year.  Gamergate is still ongoing and people can't seem to shut up about misogyny, harassment, doxing and all sorts of other stupid bullshit.  I'm glad something like Gamergate exists to put shitty journalists on the spot but I think everyone would be better off if the drama in general just stopped.
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I'd say that about sums up my top 3 wishes for gaming in 2015.  Let's hope it'll be fun! 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Euro Truck Simulator 2 Roundup

The 24 hour marathon of Euro Truck Simulator 2 was completed last weekend so I thought I'd say some stuff about what went down.  The marathon was both a great success and a huge failure but that aside it was a surprisingly good time.

First I want to say a couple of things about the game itself.  I found Euro Truck Simulator 2 to be a surprisingly good game.  I thought it would be nothing but driving round Europe in a truck and while that does make up about 90% of the game there's a bunch of other stuff about running a delivery business.  You can buy your own trucks, hire people, set up garages round Europe and all sorts of other cool stuff that make the game quite enjoyable.  To be brutally honest, if I wasn't playing it for such a long period of time, it would be the kind of game that would be fun to play on a lazy Sunday afternoon or something.

OK! Now to talk about the marathon.  I mentioned that it was a huge failure so I'll get the negative stuff out of the way first.  The only reason I say it was a huge failure is because I didn't make it to the end of the 24 hour period.  This was mainly due to the fact that I put up an incentive to start boozing while playing and do a bit of virtual drunk driving (don't ever do it for real folks!).  I've done two 24 hour marathons before this and made it to the end just fine but this marathon taught me that going 24 hours while drunk is basically impossible, at least for me.  A combination of being drunk, tired and pissed off with my constant failure at the game itself caused me to throw in the towel.  Luckily I struck up a deal with the original donator for the incentive and paid a punishment donation for each missing hour (£50)

Which then leads me nicely into the huge success part of the marathon.  First I'd like to give a big thank you to everyone who watched and an even bigger thank you to everyone who donated.  If it wasn't for the support of all the viewers it would have been unbearable torture.  The marathon raised £330 for the Alzheimer's Society which makes it, if memory serves, the most donated for marathon yet!

So once again, huge thank yous to all you wonderful people who dropped in and supported.  Big shout outs to my buddy who sat behind me for a significant part of the marathon to keep my sane.  I hope you all continue to support Identity Gaming and the Alzheimer's Society! 

I'm planning a little mini marathon to make up for the lost time and I'm thinking of an idea for the next 24 hour marathon, this time with no booze.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Removing Hatred is Dumb

A while ago a did a post about the game Hatred, which can be found here.  If you don't want to read it, then it basically says that while I didn't like the look of it, it didn't deserve to be banned or changed just because you are "offended" by it.

So the story is that Hatred was on Steam Greenlight and it had a bunch of thumbs up before Valve came along and pulled the plug.  They said they didn't want that shit on their store and it will not be made available on Steam.  Since then people have been getting all uppity about it and I wanted to address 3 things.

1)  It's not Censorship

This is a word that has been flying around my twitter and other places regarding the topic of the game being pulled and I can't help but feel some people have forgotten what the word censorship means.  Censorship is the SUPPRESSION of speech, public communication or what have you by people in authority.

Steam and Valve are not some major authority figure in gaming that decide what does and does not get released, they are a business.  That business has decided that a game like Hatred is not something they want in their store and have decided not to make it available as a result.  They are well within their rights to do that.  Now, weather or not they are buckling to pressure from a vocal minority of Social Justice retards is another discussion entirely but Hatred isn't being censored.

Just because it's not available on Steam doesn't mean it won't be available somewhere else.  Nobody (that I have seen) at the time writing this article is attempting to stop the production and sale of Hatred, they just want people to ignore it.

Censorship is the outright banning of a game like Rule of Rose in Europe, this is just business people making decisions and whiny idiots on the internet.

2) Removing the game is actually a dumb move

I never gave a flying fuck about Hatred really.  I saw the trailer and saw how 2Edgy4Me it was and how shit  the game play looked and decided just just ignore it and not think about it.  If Steam had let it get released to their store, the interested parties would have bought it and then everyone else would have ignored it or not known about it.

But no, you couldn't leave it alone could you?  Now you've made a big deal about it and given the game a lot of publicity but on top of that you've made it all taboo too.  It's like if someone puts a big fat flashing red button in front of you that says "DO NOT TOUCH" and nothing else.  Of COURSE a little part of you is going to want to touch it and see what the fuck happens, that's just human goddamn nature.

Hell, even I'm now more interested in purchasing hatred because of this event.  In my head it's like "Jesus, if it's too bad for Steam, a platform with games like Postal and Hotline Miami I just gotta see it now".  Thanks to Steam pulling the game off Greenlight I'm now filled with this perverse sense of curiosity and providing that it doesn't cost too much I could totally see myself buying it now.

3)  Hatred is nothing new

Why are people so bothered?  I mentioned Postal in the above section and that is a similar kind of game that got a similar kind of reaction.  But look at Postal now, it's pretty obscure and your average gamer probably won't know anything about it.  It's got infamy, sure, but there is a HUGE group of people who just know it as "that violent game that stirred some shit back in the day" and nothing more.

Let's not forget that a lot of people like to kill lazy afternoons with games like GTA.  But these lazy afternoons are not usually spent doing missions, oh no, they are spent putting in a cheat for all the guns and then murdering every single person in sight.  Man, woman, police officer, faceless tosser behind a car wheel, it doesn't matter, they are going to die for your entertainment.  I've done it, you've probably done it and a lot of people that I know have done it.  Getting pleasure from watching little pixel people die on a TV does not make you a terrible person and if you believe the opposite then you are a fucking idiot.

But I know why people are offended, it's because people WANT to be offended.  They want an excuse to have a nice little rage and get on their high horse about how good a person they are and how shitty a person the creators of Hatred are.  Being offended at a game like Hatred makes people feel good because they don't have to worry about dissenting opinions.  If someone says "well I quite like the look of that", you have an excuse to call them a shitty person, act holier-than-thou and have a majority of people agree with you.  These people are fucking morons and if I could slap you through my internet connection, I would.

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Hatred still looks shit but I guarantee there's a lot more people looking forward to seeing what the fuss is about now that you've hyped it up this much.  Just leave it alone, let it fall into obscurity and go find something that makes you happy.  It's not hard, for fucks sake.

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EDIT 17/12/2014:  I've discovered that Hatred has been brought back to Steam Greenlight.  That's cool and all but people are still moaning about it.  They still don't realise that talking about it so much is what's getting people interested.  Just shut the fuck up already!



Monday, 15 December 2014

Bloody Christmas

I like Christmas, it's a fun time.  It doesn't matter if you're spending time with your family or shopping around for gifts, there's just a nice atmosphere around during this time of year that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.

Despite that however, there's one part of Christmas that makes me want to just give the middle finger right into Santa Clauses big fat fucking face. 

First comes the sales.  Sales are great because it means I can buy all that shit I wanted earlier in the year for considerably less money.  All those games that I didn't get a chance to play because I had to pay bills or do real life shit with I can now afford without feeling guilty about it.  This is a good thing but because I'm an idiot I buy way too much and all I end up doing is adding a great number of titles to my backlog.

Of course, I'm not just buying video games for myself, I'm buying my family gifts too because I can't just selfishly spend all my money on myself, right?  That's fine, I enjoy putting a smile on people's faces but this leads to a post Christmas broke-as-fuck period.  This means that all the games that come out in January I now can't afford because I'm re-building my fortunes after the Christmas gift rush, so I end up on just missing more shit.

Then to put the icing on the cake, I spend all my time playing games like Isaac and DotA so all those games that I so hastily bought in the sale don't get played anyway.  A few years of this has been part of the reason my backlog is so mind numbingly huge.

Let's be honest though, I wouldn't have it any other way

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Silent Hill

It's kind of criminal that I've not made this post sooner.  All the speed runs I do, all the time I've spent talking about the latest entries in the series and how shit they are.  Hell, I've even talked about the fucking PLAY NOVEL more than I have the actual game, so it's about time Silent Hill got some love.

I picked the PAL box art for the post picture because the American box art is shit.  Even the Japanese box art is better and that's just a tile wall with a little bit of blood on it.

Silent Hill is one of those games that basically everyone with even a passing interest in the medium of video games is aware of.  It's one of the big grand daddies of the horror genre and is famous for being WAY scarier than any of the other survival horror games.  Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark and all that stuff were kind of scary, but Silent Hill was the first instance I ever saw anyone put down a controller and be like "whoa man, this shit..."

The plot involves Harry Mason on his quest through Silent Hill to rescue his daughter.  Not too long after the game starts you get caught up in all sorts of shit involving demons, shifts into a nightmare and a satanic cult.  I'm not going to go into any length about the story because there are people who have dedicated significant amount of time picking apart this games wonderful plot and if I did it in this post it would be way WAYYYYY too fucking long.

The game uses the old tank control scheme that games like Resident Evil used, except it was a little more developed.  For example, readying your weapon didn't lock you to the floor and you were free to maneuver with your gun drawn or big fuck off pipe ready to swing.  This made melee combat an actual option whereas other games in the genre, locking yourself in place to slice at something was guaranteed death for the player.

The game also had a ton of replay value since there was a few secret weapons to unlock and an extra ending to be acquired upon fulfilling certain conditions in a New Game +.  The game also had 4 normal endings so that's at least 5 playthroughs where you will end up with something different after the final boss has been toppled. 

I mean, I could talk about this game for fucking hours, it's just that good.  If I tried to go through every single goddamn thing that I enjoyed about Silent Hill then this post would be really goddamn long and I don't think anyone wants to read thousands of words of gush.   So instead, just go and play the fucking thing.  Dig it out of a closet, borrow it off a friend, buy it off PSN, I don't care how you play it just fucking play it.  The new Silent Hill games are all shit so if you've never experienced it before and you want to see just how strong a start this series had, get on it ASAP.

Silent Hill's 1,2 and 3 are THE BEST horror games to date, bar none, fight me.

Just in case, if you're interested in seeing my current fastest speed run (39:39 IGT) then the video is below.



Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Costume Quest

Costume Quest is one of those games that has been sat in my Steam library for a long LONG time.  I have no idea when it was added and I don't even remember buying it.  Recently I decided to actually try out the damn thing and while it was fun at first, the game wasn't all that good.

The premise is very simple.  There are two children who have just moved to a new neighbourhood and it's Halloween.  When you go out trick or treating, you stumble across monsters stealing candy and your sibling is kidnapped by an evil witch.  Deciding that you don't take too kindly to your brother or sister being taken away and worrying for the future of everyone's candy, you take it upon yourself to stop the evil witch and her army of Grubbins.

Game play wise, Costume Quest is baby's first RPG.  Everything is super simple with small maps and easy enemies.  At first the game looks impressive because upon entering combat you transform into a much more impressive version of whatever shitty kids costume you have on but once the visual novelty dies off the game becomes boring.  Each level, of which there are only 3, has you wandering around trick or treating houses.  When you finish trick or treating a gate opens, you fight a boss and then move on.  There are some other side quests but they don't vary from area to area and the rewards usually aren't worth it.

The game is also stupidly unbalanced.  For the whole game I used the same 3 costumes and never once considered changing.  The enemies don't ever vary themselves and blocking their attacks Paper Mario style is stupidly easy.  The bosses are actually easier than the regular encounters because in a normal fight it's your team vs 2 or 3 while for a boss its 3v1.  The bosses aren't strong enough on their own to be any kind of threat and the first costume you get has a stupidly strong area attack that does a damage over time that makes short work of everything else.

Luckily, the game isn't very long and you could polish it off in 2 or 3 short sessions.  For me, that was 2 sessions too long.  The game also has some other story called Grubbins on Ice except I was so bored by the end of the original I think it'll be a long time before I ever muster enough motivation to play through more of this boring, uninspired crap.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Bug Princess Duel

So one night I was looking through the app store for weird shit to try out when I came across this thing for FREE! It blew my goddamn mind.

For those who aren't in the know, Bug Princess became fairly notorious on the internet for having "the hardest boss in all of video games" in this video.

The game featured in this video is a Japanese shmup called Mushihime Sama (or Bug Princess in English) and recently a phone version of the game was released for free.

The phone version is basically the first game scaled down to work on a mobile device.  It also comes with all these weird leveling systems that are a bit shit but it doesn't really tarnish the overall experience.  There's also a multiplayer mode where you can connect with a friend or random to compete for score and whoever has the highest score at the end steals the other persons rewards, it's pretty cool.  The leader boards also offer prizes for people who rank high up at the end of every week so there are lots of chances to get the games various currencies without actually spending a penny.

Last time I played a shmup on a mobile device it controlled like complete bollocks but this one actually plays pretty well.  There's a dedicated area at the bottom of the screen for moving yourself around but moving out of it doesn't prevent you from controlling your character.  There are two transparent buttons on the side that let you switch between the shot mode and beam mode for you ship as well as use your bombs.  Each character also has a unique skill that can be used by double tapping the screen which is a nice little touch since the ability comes online quite often.

It's not exactly what I'd call a perfect shmup and I imagine a lot of people who are hardcore on the genre may turn their nose up at something like this.  However, for me and my long train commutes to work, Bug Princess Duel is a nice little change from all the match 3/monster breeding puzzle games on the app store.  If you're looking for a quick dose of shmuppy goodness for your train rides or to kill time with, the Bug Princess is pretty good considering it costs 0 money.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Big Collections Can Be A Problem

I love going video game shopping, it's great.  Doesn't matter if it's for the latest titles or retro stuff, I could spend hours perusing games, admiring their box/cartridge art and discovering new things. 

So not only do I love playing video games but I also love collecting them and because I've been gaming since the age of 4, my collection has grown to a pretty sizable number.  This is great because I now have so much to choose from.  When I want to play a game I have a great deal of genres and games from across the ages to pick from.  However, a big collection does come with a few problems.

The first is having TOO much choice.  If I'm not feeling anything specific, let's say I just want to play AN RPG, then it sometimes becomes stupidly hard to pick.  I can spend hours looking through all my games or scrolling up and down my steam list and have a really hard time just finding one to settle on.  I've had quite a fair few lazy weekends or days off work consumed by just scanning my collection looking for that one thing to play.  Then eventually when I do find the game I want to play, I've spent so much time deciding that I don't have all that much time left in my day to actually play it.  It's a terrible feeling and I've had to make a habit out of planning what to play next in advance.

The second problem is repeat buying.  I've had a few times where I've come back from the game shop with a "new" game only to find that I already owned it.  I did this about 3 or 4 times in the UK with Diablo and I nearly did it the other day with Arc the Lad on PS1.  I buy things, shelf them and then forget that I own them.

The final problem is the never ending backlog but I've touched on this a few times already so I don't think I need to say much more about that one.

The good news is that my stupid purchasing habits means I'm about to update the prize page! Hooray!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

November Retro Haul

I've mentioned it a few times on this blog already but I have just moved into a new job and because of this the money I had last month was rather limited so I didn't have a lot of dosh to do retro shopping with.  I did do a little bit but not enough to warrant a video so the November retro haul will be done as a written post with a few pretty pictures.

The first game I purchased last month was Brain Lord on Super Famicom.  I have no idea wtf this is since, according to Wikipedia, it was never released in the EU.  I've not had a chance to play it yet but judging from a quick Google search and look at the back of the box it's some kind of action RPG that bears some similarities to Zelda.  Once I get round to playing I'll be sure to talk a little more about it but until then it'll just be another one of those obscure boxed games I bought for next to no money.

The second game I bought this month was Baroque on the Sega Saturn.  It was a little annoying to get this home and then remember that I hadn't changed the watch battery in the system so I can't fucking save.  Anyway Baroque is a rougelike for the Sega Saturn that was remade for the PS2 and Wii in 2008.  The idea is that each time you die various things change and you have to meet various conditions before each death in order to advance the plot.  It's an interesting game but a total pain in the arse to play in Japanese thanks to dialogue that's hard for even native Japanese speakers to understand.  It's one of those games I'm going to spend a long winter afternoon off work with slowly plodding through and translating all the weird shit.

I've never played Chocobo Mysterious Dungeon 2 so there isn't an awful lot I know about it.  I remember playing one quite a while ago on the Wii that was a rougelike but I'm not sure if this one is the same kind of thing.  The older Chocobo dungeon games have always interested me since as far as I know they weren't released in Europe and I've never really had a chance to play them. 


So that's it for this month and with Christmas right round the corner I don't think I'm going to have all that much money to do a lot of shopping in December either.  Once the holiday season is over though I'm going to be trawling the retro shops hard so expect some big hauls in the new year!




Monday, 1 December 2014

As The Gods Say (神さまの言うとおり)

Damn, I've not made a post in a few days thanks to quite a busy weekend of doing stuff with the wife and streaming.  One of the things that I did with the wife that kept me away from making posts was popping down to a cinema to see a new movie!


神さまの言うとおり or "As the Gods Say" for those of you who don't read Japanese is a "horror" movie directed by Takeshi Miike and based off a Manga of the same name.  I put the word horror in inverted commas because it's not so much a horror movie and it's more of a Death Game movie, but I'm not sure if I said "Death Game" movie people would know what I'm on about.  If you're unsure what I mean by "Death Game", just think about Battle Royale and you'll probably understand what I mean.

The story is about a group of high school students who get caught up in a number of deadly games conducted by Gods taking the form of fairly innocent icons of Japanese culture.  For example, the movie opens up with the scene in the above picture where a group of students have to play "Red Light, Green Light" with a Daruma (traditionally a symbol of good luck) sat on the front desk.  If you're unfamiliar with "Red Light, Green Light" the idea is that the person who is "it" turns round during a green light and can turn at any time and exclaim "Red Light!".  If you are caught moving during a red light, then you lose and have to start over.  In this movie however, if the Daruma catches you moving then your head explodes and you die.

A small group of students survive this opening scene and move on to play a variety of other children's games each with their own deadly twist.  Each game is quite gripping because the solution for the characters to win and move on isn't immediately obvious and you never know what dirty trick the enemies are going to play next to kill off a few more members of the cast.

I greatly enjoyed this movie but I have to say that I've not read the manga so I'm not entirely sure about how it stacks up to the original story.  A long time ago I saw a movie adaptation of another manga called Gantz that was changed so drastically it just pissed me off more than anything else.  Maybe fans of the manga wouldn't enjoy the movie as much as someone going in with no prior knowledge of the source material.

I had a number of nitpicks with the film but it didn't ruin the overall experience and I would totally recommend this movie.  I'm hunting down the manga to see how it compares (which can be read in English if you know where to look) and I'm sure one day a version with subtitles will be uploaded somewhere for all you non-Japanese speakers.  

When that day comes, watch this movie.  It's bloody good fun.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Transformers: Human Alliance

I'm not a massive fan of Transformers and I never have been.  When I was a child it was something I had a mild interest in because big robots fighting is cool but I was never heavily into it.  However I really hated the movies so I have no idea why I bothered to climb in this giant yellow machine and insert 100 yen but I'm quite glad that I did.

I hear a lot of people slagging off Micheal Bay because all his movies are just explosion montages but if there's anything one of his movies translates well to, it's a arcade rail shooter.  I have no idea what the story is to this game because I would just mash the start key to get to the action and the action is good.

If you have no idea what these theatre cabinets are like inside, they have a big screen with 2 guns in front of it on a pivot.  You sit down in the big seat and move the gun around the screen blasting stuff.  Occasionally the game might ask you to hit the start button for a QTE but these moments are few and far between in most games that use this style of cabinet.

The game play is simple; there's a bunch of Deceptacons on screen and you have to shoot the fuck out of 'em.  When you have shot enough of them, a boss appears and you shoot the fuck out of him until he dies.  The action scenes are cool and it's fun to watch when your Transformer buddy jumps into the action and starts kicking things to death with your covering fire.

The last rail shooter I played for any amount of time in an arcade was Dark Escape 3D and my problem with that game is that there is so much downtime watching dirty corridors as the game attempts to build atmosphere but Transformers is the exact opposite of that.  There is very little downtime from actually shooting things and if you're not shooting things you are watching things explode, it's great.

It has its fair share of bullshit moments that you could never see coming the first time round but I'm not going to dock points for it because that's the nature of these kinds of games, they are out to take as much money as they can.  However the game isn't very long and I beat it on a handful of spare change so it's bullshit factor is actually pretty low compared to a lot of other games in the genre.

I know arcades in the west are mostly dead but if you ever see this game in a cinema or bowling alley, give it a go.  It's a fun way to kill an hour and it's way better than any of those shitty movies.

Friday, 21 November 2014

It's Not Called PSX

This pisses me off way more than it should but goddamnit, every time I see it I get pangs of rage.

The above console, as most of you reading this post probably know, is the Playstation.  It was a system released in Japan in 1994 and kicked off a great line of gaming systems that has stuck with us to this very day. 

There was a redesign for the original Playstation, here's a picture
This was released in 2000 and was called the PSOne.  It sold like hotcakes and even had some funky LCD screen thing that looked pretty cool but I never saw anyone actually using it.

Now, there are people who have plenty of fond memories with the original Playstation hardware and rightly so since it has a plethora of awesome games.  However, there are people who refer to this console in conversation as the "PSX" and this is fucking retarded.  At no point in time were any of these commercially available systems called the "PSX", it's just some stupid shit that people use because they think it sounds cool.

There is a reason that people use it though, it just happens to be a fantastically fucking stupid one.  PSX was the code name given to the system during it's development, according to a quick Google search.  Calling the PS1 the PSX would be like referring the the Gamecube as the Dolphin or the Wii as the Revolution.  People don't do that because it's stupid to do so.  I've heard it argued that there was a Magazine called PSX or something but that doesn't fly either because then you'd be talking about the magazine, not the fucking system.

There does exist a machine, made by Sony, called the PSX though, check it out.

It was released in Japan only in 2003 and was a digital video recorder with a fully integrated PS2 inside.  THAT is a PSX and it's the only thing that's ever officially been called a PSX and therefore, it's the only thing that should be referred to as a PSX.

I know I'm being pedantic about this whole thing but whatever.  The Playstation is NOT called a PSX and I can't help but feel that anyone who calls it that is a bit of an idiot.



Thursday, 20 November 2014

Technology Makes Me Feel Old

I'm 24 years old and I feel bad saying that I feel old.  I have friends who are in their 30s and beyond who would scoff at the idea of me saying I feel old but I don't give a shit, I feel old.

I started gaming when I was 4 with the Sega Megadrive and I got into my gaming history right away taking an interest in old home computers (with proper floppy discs) and older systems before eventually moving onto the more modern stuff.  It's only been 20 years since I started this grand hobby which really isn't all that much time except technology moves so fucking fast that it's much easier to be aware of your own age if you're into things such as games or computers.

It doesn't feel like all that long ago I was sat at home being absolutely awestruck by 2D games such as Sonic the Hedgehog or Donkey Kong Country 2.  But before I knew it I was sitting in front of my computer watching trailers with my friend for the DS, a PORTABLE system that had fucking 3D graphics and that blew my god damn mind.  Now look at where we stand, graphics out the wazoo and games that can be bought and downloaded off the Internet in just a few clicks.  Portable systems that have not only stupidly good visuals but fancy gimmicks such as touch screens and AR cards to make anime girls dance across your desk space.

I think a lot of people take technology for granted but if you stop and think about it, it makes you feel really fucking old.  I still remember when playing a game on the Internet was a big fucking deal, it was an event back then.  The idea of being able to play with someone who wasn't directly sat next to me made my head spin.  Nowadays being online is no biggie and a lot of games won't function or have features locked out if you don't have a constant Internet connection.

It's not just games either, if you think about anything electronic it'll give you that sense of age.  I work as a teacher and I was doing a lesson using a DVD.  It then struck me that all of my students wouldn't have a fucking clue what a VHS tape is.  I remember back when I was doing my A-Levels (which doesn't feel so long ago) and getting excited when the teacher would break out those old black tapes because it meant I could goof off for a bit.  I'm sure that same feeling is happening to today's students but it's when a teacher whips out a DVD rather than those old black rectangles.

I'm not all that old, deep down I know that, but fuck if being into games and electronics doesn't make you feel your age.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Regarding The Euro Truck Marathon, Other Incentives and December

For a while there's been 3 donation incentives that were met and I have not yet fulfilled.  I've making this post to let you all know that I've not forgotten and things are in the pipeline.

First the met incentives.  I was hoping to do the Euro Truck Marathon last month but I was starting at a new job JUST as that incentive got met.  My plan was to do the marathon during my training in Tokyo but because of my shitty hotel Internet I wasn't able to pull it off.  The other two incentives were to eat something stupidly spicy while streaming and to tell an embarrassing yet apparently hilarious story about my exchange year.  My original plan was to do the other two incentives as part of the marathon but people have been waiting for so long I'm going to speed things along.

The embarrassing story, I'm hoping, will be recorded this Sunday and uploaded on the Monday.  I have some buddies coming over for drinks, one of whom was with me on my exchange year, so we're going to jump on the mic and get that tale told.  If we're too drunk I'll record it solo and hopefully get it uploaded sometime in the coming week.

For the spice incentive I need to buy the stuff for me to eat on stream and the unfortunate thing about starting a new job is that I have to spend some time being extremely poor.  That said payday is rather soon so once my money drops I'll head down to the store, buy the stuff and consume it on the following stream.  I'll be announcing it when I go live so you're going to have to keep an eye on the social media stuff to find out when it's happening.

The Euro Truck marathon will be held some time at the end of December.  I'll put a more concrete date up on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow once I confirm my New Year break with my work.

Finally, in December I'm hoping that maybe people will get into the Christmas spirit of giving and donate something to the charity.  To try and push you guys along I'll be producing a new play through for YouTube as well as doing another little mini speed run marathon on stream.  I'll play 5 games back to back, without stopping and hopefully be able to finish in less than 6 or 7 hours.  Also, I'll be adding some prize raffles for Xmas so if you want a chance to win some festive prizes get donating.

Don't forget about all the other stuff on the side bar and I'll try and add some more too!  Thanks for the continued support! read more

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Murdered: Soul Suspect

A long long time ago on the DS there was a game called Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.  It was a puzzle game about a guy who had been killed but remained in the real world as a ghost and the player had to solve his own murder.  Murdered: Soul Suspect, despite its silly name has a similar premise and that got me excited and while I personally enjoyed the game, I feel that it was lacking.

The story follows a detective called Ronan who in his younger years was a bit of a criminal.  Thanks to some forging of paperwork from his brother he managed to get a job with the police and put his life back on track.  Ronan is working the case of a serial killer in the city of Salem (yeah, I know) and at the very start of the game he is thrown out of a 3 story window and then shot to death by the killer himself.  Ronan however lingers in the real world as a ghost which pisses him off because he was hoping to join his dead wife but he can't do that until he resolves his business with the serial killer he's been after for so long.

Gameplay in Murdered: Soul Suspect has you exploring environments, looking for clues and picking up other collectable crap that fleshes out the back story as well as Ronan's character.  Every area is about the same.  You watch a cutscene, find a bunch of clues, watch another cutscene and then progress to the next area.  Between areas there are a few side quests to do but they feel a bit pointless and don't really reward you with anything.  As you look for clues there's some kind of badge ranking system but as far as I'm aware it doesn't actually have any bearing on anything.  I've not looked it up but I'm pretty sure there aren't a multitude of endings you can get by playing the game in certain ways.

The one part of this game that pissed me off was the demons.  Demons are these sausage looking things that spawn usually when you're trying to escape an area or progress to some key plot element.  The idea is that if they see you they will chase you and suck your soul until you die.  You can hide inside these spirit things if you get caught and escaping the demons is not hard at all.  If you can sneak up behind them you can execute them and most of the demons are so easy to execute that they serve as nothing more than a minor annoyance rather than anything else.  I guess they were put in to build tension but the effect falls flat.

There are many aspects to this game like the demons and the aforementioned badge system that makes the game feel like a lot of shit was cut.  Like they had plans to do some much more with various parts of the designed but had to drop it for time constraints or whatever.

That said, I did enjoy Soul Suspect but I'd find it hard to recommend to another person.  It's story, while predictable and a bit silly kept me interested enough for me to play it through to the end and I did like Ronan as a character.  There are a number of little niggles regarding the plot and the mechanics of the ghost world but that's just a case of me reading way too much into things.  If you can grab it on a sale, I'd say go for it, it's not that long and it'll kill a few lazy afternoons.  It doesn't quite stack up to Ghost Trick but good enough for now.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

New Glitchy Games are NOT OK!

I've probably said it once on this blog before but I'm going to say it again because it keeps happening and it pisses me off.

Recently Assassin's Creed Unity got released and the first things I see about the game aren't launch trailers or reviews or people hyping up the game.  No, what I see are a number of articles talking about just how fucking buggy the game is.  There's even a video on YouTube I watched on my commute home called "Glitch in the Animus" or something, showing all the buggy shit in action.  Paying customers aren't happy with the current state of the game either with it weighing in at 4.6 on Metacritic.  I know that's not really the best way to judge anything but it's clear to see that people are pissed and apparently for good reason.

What I don't understand is that they've been making these games since fucking 2007 and judging from the ones I've played there isn't too much drastically different from each title.  I'm not a developer and I have no idea about coding, so forgive me if I sound stupid, but one would think that if you keep using the same shit to produce these games that it would get more stable, not less, right?  I know open world games tend to have quite a few bugs with them but judging from what I'm reading on the net, AC: Unity is just taking the piss.

Now I've not played AC: Unity yet and I don't think I will for a long time but what I'm about to say applies to any game really.  If you're going to release a game, especially one that's part of a popular series and you expect people to pay full price, make sure it's fucking finished.  At a very basic level, make sure that the player is able to play and enjoy the game without being dragged out of the experience because they fell through the world or NPCs are spazzing out weirdly all over the map or whatever.  Make sure to release a game that doesn't frustrate people by having a significant amount of slowdown or crashing issues or anything like that because we're paying a lot of money for this shit at launch, it better fucking work.

I hate this fucking attitude of the modern game industry of "release now, fix later" because by the time "later" rolls around I'm already pissed off and have shelved your shitty game.  Almost every game has glitches to some degree, no body's perfect, but they shouldn't be this prevalent from day 1.  Just look at fucking Ocarina of Time, that game is glitch crazy but when I was playing it for the first time back in the day, I didn't notice any of them, the game worked flawlessly.  Now, when I buy a new game, I have to cross my fingers and hope that it isn't so infested with bugs that I have to wait for a patch or whatever.

I'm using AC: Unity as an example because it's the newest one out, but there are plenty of games that I have played and thought to myself "this simply wasn't finished or tested properly".  I don't give a shit that game development is hard, if you want my money, produce a quality product you wankers.

Still sore about Silent Hill: HD Collection.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Japan Escape Games

Escape the room games like the one featured on the top of this post have been a thing for a good while.  Most of them are made in flash and they are the kind of games that I can never be bothered to spend much time with because I'd rather be playing something....not flash.

Anyway thanks to my wife and her friends I was introduced to some REAL escape type games being hosted around Japan by a company called Scrap (http://realdgame.jp/). 

The idea is simple, there is some kind of plot laid out before all the attendees at the start of the event, then people must solve a number of puzzles and reach the end within a set time limit.  The one we went to was being hosted at a place called Monkey Park near Nagoya

The thing was laid out over the whole park and the first puzzle presented was a cryptic display of where all the other puzzles were.  There were 4 big puzzles in all which had a number of smaller puzzles inside them that you had to figure out in order to get the answer to progress to the next section.  We were also given a 70 minute time limit to get everything done so if you can't do it in that time then tough shit, game over.

The first few puzzles were laughably easy but by the time you reach stage 3 things start to get complicated and me and my group were stumped.  We weren't the only ones though as the vast majority of people attending the event had to take the walk of shame back to their seats at the start when the timer was done.  The winners were paraded out and applauded but you would be surprised at just how few people it was in comparison to the number of attendees.

The problem isn't so much the puzzles themselves, given enough time to think over them I think anyone could work them out but park navigation and time limit make things extremely difficult.  Also a lot of the puzzles require a pretty decent knowledge of Japanese, so if you're a visiting tourist looking for a fun day out then maybe this isn't quite for you.   It's also a little expensive (around 4000 yen for a ticket) but if you can get a decent group of friends together for it then it's a really enjoyable way to spend an evening.

At the end of the event I was given a pamphlet for all upcoming escape games hosted by the same company.  Right slap in the middle of the thing was an advert for a Biohazard (Resident Evil) themed escape game going down at some point in Osaka's Universal Studios theme park.  I absolutely plan to attend that and I'll try and take some non-spoilerific pictures when I do.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

The Binding of Isaac was one of the first games I wrote about on this blog way back when and recently a new version came out and it's fucking fantastic!  BoI:Rebirth is one of the ONLY games I have pre loaded off steam in years so that should be a good indication of just how good it is.

The Binding of Isaac is a rougelike game about a small child trying to escape from his mother killing him.  You must make your way through a randomly generated dungeon picking up items and killing enemies with your tears.  Like most games in the genre, permadeath is a large part of the game so if you die then you have to start all over again with everything reset to its starting values.  As you play and have successful runs, you start to unlock stuff like characters, challenges, items, locations and much much more. 

Basically, if you were a fan of the first Binding of Isaac it's essentially more of the same thing.  It's basically another expansion back disguised as a full game but the amount of additional content and fixes to certain things is so huge that it's absolutely worth the price of admission.

The Binding of Isaac is one of those games that just eats your fucking time without you even realising it.  You'll fire it up thinking "oh I'll just have a quick run or 2" and then 6 hours later your still playing it with absolutely no signs of stopping.  While the game doesn't contain any multi player features, if you have a group of friends to share stories of your successes or complete bullshit deaths the game becomes even more fun because everyone has their own unique story about some shit that happened to them.

Rebirth takes sharing the stories to a whole new level though because now you can share your dungeon seed with another person and they can re-live your run for themselves.  When you pause the game you are given a 6 character code that you can pass on to someone else and when they input it they will be given the exact same dungeon you were in.  However playing with a seed doesn't count towards unlocks or anything like that but you can still challenge each other if you feel like you had a particularly tough time.

If you aren't already in on the whole Isaac thing, go and buy the game right fucking now.  I'm serious, just close this window, fire up steam and fucking buy it.  Binding of Isaac is some of the most fun I've had with any indie game ever and it's the kind of game basically everyone can enjoy.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

3 Genres That Need A Comeback

Gaming has changed over the years in both many good ways and a few bad ways.  One of the things that has changed a lot since the days of old are the kind of genres prevalent and the industry right now and this is kind of to be expected.  That said, there are a few genres that were popular back then that aren't so popular right now and I feel it's a bit of a shame.  So I'm going to talk about 3 genres of games that I feel need a little bit more love.  I'm sure no one will listen but I just want to talk fondly about some types of games that I love.

1.  Point n' Clicker

Out of the 3 I'm about to talk about, I feel that this one has died the saddest of deaths.  These games are awesome because they are challenging and a lot of them had pretty good stories to boot which made solving that puzzle running on moon logic all the more sweeter.  Games such as Monkey Island, Beneath a Steel Sky and I Have No Mouth But I Must Scream are all spoken of fondly by fans but there hasn't really been any new games in the genre for a long time.  The closest we came in my recent memory was a PC game called Anna but that ran on so much moon logic that I kind of dampened the whole experience.

Unfortunately, these genre has kind of been ruined by people making games that LOOK like point and click games but actually aren't games at all.  Games such as Gone Home and The Stanley Parable are all talked about sort of in the same was as a point and click, except they have no game play to speak of and aren't really much more than that. 

It's kind of sad that the most excited anyone has been for anything in this genre is a remake of Grim Fandango.  That game is awesome but the levels of hype people have for a remake they have played a long time ago in a genre that doesn't lend itself well to re playability, speaks volumes.

2.  Side Scrolling Beat-em-up

Often mistakenly called fighting games by a few people, Beat-Em-Ups were super popular back in the day.  They were perfect for arcades and the home console ports of these games were perfect for when you had a couple of friends over and just wanted to beat the shit out of lots of dudes.

This genre didn't really die as much as it just faded out of the mainstream and replaced with bombastic combat games like Bayonetta and Devil May Cry.  The hack n slash's of the now are awesome, no doubt, but I miss the simplicity of something like Final Fight or Streets of Rage and just being able to kick back and not worry about crazy combo chains or anything like that.

There have been some attempts to keep it alive with that Scott Pilgrim game and Double Dragon Neon but these are so few and far between it's not enough to satisfy and quite frankly they don't quite stack up to the classics.

3. The Dungeon Crawler

This is another genre that isn't completely dead but is so niche that I haven't found a single other person who I can talk with at length about games in the genre.  I feel like this genre has been pushed aside in favor of a myriad of rouge like games which isn't necessarily a bad thing but I wish the classic dungeon crawl would get more love.

Back in the day, if you wanted to make any kind of progress in these games then you had to get some graph paper and get your cartographer skills on.  I can imagine people wouldn't like this because they don't want to have to play a video game with a pen and paper on hand, but for me this was part of the appeal.  It's like you're ACTUALLY on the adventure, making your own maps and making your own notes in order to survive the hardships of the dungeon.  If you get lost or forget key locations that's because YOU weren't thorough enough as an adventurer and you only really have yourself to blame.  The other thing I find appealing about these games is that they are usually fucking rock solid hard and I'm attracted to stupidly high challenge like moth to a flame.

Recent titles have included things like Etrian Odyssey, Shin Megami Tensei 4 and Legend of Grimrock but these only really serve to keep the genre afloat except the new school stuff doesn't really have the same kind of appeal as the old school.  A lot of these games have either simplified or automatic mapping and they just aren't as hard as the old stuff.  The ONLY game that gave me what I really wanted was The Dark Spire on DS but that was only 1 game released fucking ages ago, which is a damn shame.

I need these genre to bust my balls a little more, you know?

----

Anyway that's all for now, three genres that I feel need a little more love.  Maybe I'm being unreasonable or weird or whatever but that's just how I feel.  Not that modern main stream genres are bad or anything like that but some of the littler guys would get a little more love.


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

On Hatred

Hatred is a game I've been largely ignoring.  I caught a quick glance at it back when it was first announced and then I just stopped caring until today.  I caught wind of an online petition made by some guy whom I can't remember the name of threatening the developers with all sorts of horrible crap unless they take down the game and apologise.

So I decided at that point to actually take a look, "how bad could it be?" I thought.  Well it's pretty bad, the game play trailer depicts some dude stepping out of his house and gunning down a bunch of innocents.  The action is occasionally split up with scenes of him gruesomely executing some poor person in some terrible way and there's a little bit at the start where he gives some speech about how much he hates the world.

I don't like the look of Hatred but not because it offends me or anything stupid like that, it just looks shit.  From what I could gather, game play wise, it just looks like Hotline Miami but with all the challenge and charm taken out. Also the game fucking REEKS of trying too hard.  It's obviously lacking in certain aspects so it's relying entirely on shock value to draw you in but really it just feels like something an extremely angsty 16 year old would produce.

However, as for people complaining about this game and calling for it to be banned or whatever, you people are fucking morons.  Sure, the game looks like shit and it's tasteless as all hell but it does have a right to exist.  You can't just live in a bubble the whole fucking time and demand that anything that even remotely upsets you be wiped from the face of the earth.  The developers of this game do have a right to make it and if there does exist an audience for this kind of game, or if it does turn out to be really good (HA!) then it will be successful.  If it's a shit game that no one wants to play, it'll bomb and chances are that it'll be a good while before anyone wants to try another shock value project like this again.

If you don't like it then just don't play it.  No one is going to FORCE you to play Hatred and you whinging about it to be censored just to suit your taste is as equally pathetic as the games tasteless content.  Let the people who just want some senseless violence have it and let the people with a sense of morbid curiosity for a game like this indulge and waste a few bucks.  You can go on playing the games YOU like and Hatred will have no bearing on that at all.

It's the kind of game that will fall into obscurity a month or two after launch and only a handful of people will ever mention it again.  Like Postal.  So shut up and just enjoy your own fucking stuff rather than trying to police peoples tastes and interests. 


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Dreadout

A long while ago I tried a demo of a game called Dreadout

Well the full game has finally been released and thanks to the Steam Halloween sale I was able to nab a copy and give the full version a whirl. 

If you can't be arsed to watch the video or if I didn't mention it, Dreadout is a horror game based on Indonesian ghost stories so if nothing else we have quite a unique setting.  I've played plenty of horror games based on Japanese folk tales or the more American style of horror of something terrible trying to cut you into little bits, but I know fuck all about Indonesian folk stories and ghosts so that alone was enough to draw me in.

The game starts out with a group of high school students and their teaching getting lost somewhere in Indonesia where they stumble across some kind of deserted town.  The curious school kids run inside to explore and eventually come across an old school.  The silent protagonist and her friend stay outside while her buddies go exploring and when they return one person's gone missing.  Upon reentering to search, ghostly shit starts happening and the game begins for real.

Before I talk about the game play I HAVE to talk about the graphics because they suck to a degree that is actually shocking.  If you have ever seen any games on the Xbox Live Arcade indie thing, it LOOKS like that.  The characters just look fucking weird when moving and the environments look like something from an early PS2 game or worse.  I'm aware it's a small indie developer working with what they can but they are terrible to the point where even someone like me, who cares very little for fancy graphics, had to raise and eyebrow and say "oh god".

The best way to describe Dreadout would be poor mans Project Zero (Fatal Frame).  You walk around the school, solve puzzles and every so often you'll encounter a ghost which you must photo to death with your camera phone.  At lost of the ghosts, however, won't die with camera power alone and you must solve a little puzzle or 2 to figure out how to off them once and for all.  The camera is also used for a number of puzzles so it's a little more than just a weapon to fend of the nasties.

Combat is a big problem in this game though because it sucks a massive dick.  There isn't much "real" combat as such and most ghosts are easy enough to stun away or flat out kill just by keeping a good distance and snapping when the little damage indicator comes up.  There is one boss fight though which takes the absolute piss and almost ruins everything.  The boss fight involves you being stuck in a small room with a ghost that you can't see without the camera being readied and once it takes a certain amount of damage it starts to frenzy.  When it's mad, you have exactly ONE chance to snap it for damage otherwise it will stun lock you to death and there is fuck all you can do about it.

This leads to the games next big problem which is death.  When you die, you don't get a simple game over or anything like that, you get sent to limbo.  Limbo is a black screen with a big white thing at the other end that you run into in order to revive.  The first time you die, the white thing is really close but each subsequent death makes it move further and further away.  This becomes a pain 2 or 3 deaths in because you just want to try the fucking boss again but now you have to wait so that the developer can give you tips for things you already know or thank you for buying the game, which they could have fucking done in the credits.  It's just obnoxious.

The other complaint I have about this game is that it's too fucking short.  I was expecting a little more since a great deal of time passed between the demo and the final release and the two are totally different.  Granted, the second act of the game is being provided as a free update but the game is like £15 on Steam and for a title this short and budget looking, £15 is a little steep.

To sum up, disappointment is what I feel for Dreadout.  The Indonesian folklore setting was enough to get me excited for the game back when the demo and the demo was fun enough for me to want to buy the full thing.  The full game however, is a mess of shitty puzzles and shitty combat and only takes a couple hours (if that) to beat.  That said, I'm still looking forward to act 2 because I'm hoping that they will learn from the mistakes of this one and make the next act much better.

I can't recommend Dreadout while act 1 is still the only thing available since it's pricy for what it is, a bit crap and very short.  If you see it in a steam sale for 75% off or something, absolutely grab it but until then you can play any of the much better horror games on Steam. 

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Too Much Drama In Western Games Industry

I want to come clean about something.  Ever since it started, I've been silently following the #GamerGate story pretty closely.  I'm not going to talk about that whole thing at any length because it's the kind of interest controversy that I don't want to get myself in.  If you give a shit about what some nobody on a blog has to say about the whole thing, then make a request with a charity donation because I've already received nasty emails for making certain, unrelated tweets and I can't be arsed potentially getting anymore.

#GamerGate had me thinking though that there is WAYYYY too much fucking drama in the western games industry.  Every time there's a new game or someone writes an article it's always surrounded in some kind of fucking drama and it's rather tiring.

A while back there was some promotional content released for the upcoming Hotline Miami 2 but any excitement I had was dashed by a number of idiots on the internet crying about a certain scene and how it offended them.  More recently, Bayonetta 2 came out recently and while press surrounding the game is positive I can't help but trip over a number of articles crying about how the game is "sexist" or whatever stupid uneducated bullshit they are trying to peddle for clicks.

All these issues that keep coming out of the western press about violence, sexism and other stupid shit just pisses me off.  Why can't I play a game with a sexy woman and just appreciate it for being a damn good brawler?  Why can't I just play something horrifically violent and just have fun killing dudes in a virtual world and not have someone claim that I'm a serial killer waiting to happen?  Whenever I read articles on websites about games that I enjoy, I get the impression that I'm not allowed to have fun unless I feel some kind of sense of shame or self disgust for finding said games enjoyable.

There's a lot less of this drama and PC crap in Japan though.  Granted I don't follow either regions gaming press all that closely but all I ever see out of the Japanese press is a celebration of a games release.  It can be a game about big tit ninjas or killing millions of dudes and as long as it's fun to play then it will be talked about favourably.   I find that Japanese people care a lot less about the various -isms or worrying about if X, Y, Z game is going to cause the next mass murder, they just ask "is it fun or not?" and go from there.

I'm not saying western games are bad or anything like that, just that western releases always come with a lot more baggage than Japanese ones, which is sad really.



Tuesday, 28 October 2014

I Miss Quirky Peripherals

My post yesterday evening about rail shooters got me thinking about video game console peripherals and just how boring they have become in the modern age.  We have stuff like the Kinect, the PS4s pad thing but I only seem to ever come across people complaining about those.

I mean what the fuck happened to every console having a gun.  Back in the day, every motherfucker and it's dog had a goddamn gun in order to play all those arcade rail shooter ports.  The Wii kinda had a gun thing going on but that was nothing more than slotting your remote into a hunk of plastic.  I want shit like the Sega Saturn Predator back.  It was fucking heavy as shit, lit up when you fired it and it was fucking big.  You knew that when you got that motherfucker out the draw, shit was going to go down.

Back then, developers were always trying to do interesting shit with their systems and giving you interesting ways to play.  NiGHTS on the Saturn saw the release of a "3D" controller which looked kind of like an arcade stick and was designed to make playing that game a bit easier or something.  The Dreamcast had a fishing rod for use with Sega Bass Fishing but also worked with Soul Calibre so you could swing it around like a sword.  This resulted in getting smashed by someone with a controller but it was fun nonetheless.  Nintendo were famous for their weird fucking peripherals such as ROB the Robot for the NES and the Game Boy Transfer Pack back when Pokemon Stadium came out which blew peoples fucking minds back then

Sure, they were gimmicky and the number of compatible games was kind of low but the point is that a lot of the time they were fun to use.  I spent HOURS playing ports of rail shooters and HOURS with the fucking DC fishing rod just because it was a novel way to play.

With modern systems, a lot of the shit is built in or has been done before a long time ago and it worked better (Kinect and Eye Toy for example).  Things like touch screens were novel back when the DS was new but in 2014, a touch screen on a modern device is fucking standard.  The closest thing we have to a proper interesting peripheral is the Occulus Rift or any other VR headset thing.  That thing is pushing boundaries and giving people a chance to experience games in a way they never have before which is awesome.

It also makes the console a bit more interesting I think.  I'm constantly finding weird bits and bobs in the retro stores around Japan and sometimes I have no idea what the fuck they would ever be used for.  40 years from now when people are going around retro stores for PS3s or whatever, there isn't going to be anything all that interesting to find in a junk box because aside from the standard console/controller/cables/games there wasn't really much else to fuck about with.

I know it's mainly a problem with technology being what it is and the need for all this quirky bullshit being reduced to basically zero but I'm sure the creative minds in the games industry could come up with SOMETHING that would make me want to play their game based on the method of input alone like they did back then. 

Maybe one day.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Arcade Rail Shooters Need A Comeback

This weekend I was hanging out in a few game centres with some friends and while they were off playing the UFO catchers and other assorted nonsense I decided to jump on a couple of rail shooters. 

The first thing I played was Silent Hill arcade which I ended up pumping a few coins into in order to play to completion. 

I like this game quite a bit and it's one of the only Silent Hill spin off games that doesn't piss me off.  It's a solid rail shooter that's fun to play despite being a little slow at times and it's got just the right amount of fankwank.  The final stage is complete BS but then again these games are designed to eat your money so it's to be expected.

After that I jumped on some kind of Transformers rail shooter that was super fun to play, looked amazing and was bombastic as fuck.  The movies suck but I think they work way better as a mindless arcade rail shooter so I don't regret dropping a couple hundred yen into that machine.

The last game I played was Silent Scope: Bone Eater

I've not played a Silent Scope game since the Dreamcast days and boy it sure has changed.  Bone Eater is a 3D futuristic sniping game with an awesome sit down style cabinet and it has a little fan that blows wind in your face as the character jumps around buildings just for that added immersion.  It's tough as nails but good lord is it fun.

I wish there were more of these shooting games.  Back in the day games like House of the Dead and Time Crisis ruled the arcades but now I barely see them any more.  Hopping on one of these either solo or with a friend is one of the most fun experiences ever and it's a shame that they are such a dying breed.

I'll talk about each of these games in much more detail at a later date so watch this space if you want to see me gush about arcade rail shooters.


Friday, 24 October 2014

I Don't Get Sports Games

I like to play basically every single genre of games, I don't care if it's a military FPS or a swords and sorcery RPG, it's all good to me.  However there is one genre of game that I tend to stay quite far away from and that's sports games.

I am not a sportsman and I tend to stay away from sports in real life too.  Sure, I don't mind playing a little bit of something from time to time with a few friends for the sake of getting some good exercise, but I have no interest whatsoever in professional sports and the people involved in them.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that sports games or real sports suck, their just not my cup of tea.

But even with that in mind, sports video games fucking baffle me.  They baffle me in two ways in particular and I'm going to outline them in the hopes that someone will stumble across this post and explain the fascination to me.

The first way is the very concept itself of a sports game.  I understand something like a racing game, because the idea of someone going out and buying a vehicle capable of competitive racing is just too much.  However I don't understand things like Football (soccer) games or any other sports games because their isn't really any reason you couldn't go outside with a bunch of friends and play some.  I've never once in my life met a lonely football fan.  Every single person who has an interest in football usually has a group of friends that could go to a park or field and have a game of football.  Same goes for something like Tennis, ESPECIALLY if you live in the UK where tennis balls and rackets are cheap as shit.  Just buy some basic equipment, go to a park and play some fucking tennis instead of sitting on your couch doing it.  Something like Hockey might be a little harder, but generally speaking wouldn't it be better to just go and play the real thing rather then shelling out all this money just to play a video game version of something that would be better to do for real?

The other thing about sports games is that they are just a fucking rip off.  Every goddamn year there's a new Fifa or Pro Evolution game and people go fucking nuts for it.  I understand it when Konami releases a new IIDX game every year because there's new music on it and it's an arcade game.  Doesn't matter if it's IIDX 21 or IIDX 22, it's going to cost 100 yen to play.  But are sports games for things like tennis, football, American football, hockey, basketball etc. really that different from game to game?  What do they even fucking change? The rosters to reflect the teams? Who gives a shit?  In my head, what you're paying for when you buy Fifa 15 is Fifa 14 but with a few names changed round and maybe a shitty PS4 controller or Kinect gimmick.

Like I said, I don't think they suck per se, I just don't get them.  I'm sure there must be SOMETHING to these games otherwise companies like EA wouldn't be able to milk them for so much money every year.  Still though, when I see a game getting yearly sequels I roll my eyes, but when sports fans get yearly sequels it's cause for celebration.  What gives?