Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Saddest Moments in Gaming

IMPORTANT: The list contains spoilers for Half-Life 2 Episode 2, The Walking Dead series by TellTale, as well as potential spoilers for Mass Effect 3 and Heavy Rain (however, these last two are player determinate).

As many gamers can attest, games sometimes pull at our heartstrings, whether the emotions be extreme happiness or sadness. We all have our personal favorites, or whatever you'd like to call them, so here are a few of mine (please feel free to share yours as well).


Half-Life 2 Epi. 2, Eli Vance's Death - I started playing HL when 2 was released on the Xbox, I fell in love instantly and become a dedicated fan (not enough to play the first, but whatever). I played through all of Episode. 2 numerous times and when I heard it was being ported AND included Episode 2, I nearly lost it.


After hours upon hours of me being, literally, enthralled with the characters (namely Alyx and her father, Eli) and story, I was "treated" to a most heart-wrenching scene.


It was a GREAT way to end the Episode, a great cliff-hanger and I wish Valve would go to Kindergarten so we could FINALLY count to 3 and continue Gordon and Alyx's story as they hunt for this killer, and save the world and all that.


Mass Effect 3, Tali's Suicide - Tali was my 'love interest' for as long as I can remember, I don't know why, just something about her was quite attractive. I always had her on my squad and did everything I could to make her happy, always talked to her between missions and pretty much advanced the story JUST to talk to her about more crap. 


When we retrieved 'Legion' (of 'We are NOT Legion' fame) and had to pick between the Geth and Quarian, I never knew the severity of my actions, as it resulted in Tali's breakdown, her refusal to go on with living after witnessing the (essential) extinction of her species. No matter how close a bond Shepard and her shared, it wasn't enough to give her a reason to keep on going.


The Walking Dead Season 2 Epi. 1, Omid's Death -  The Walking Dead is known for its sudden and somewhat explainable habit of killing off people right as the show starts, who would have thought the game would follow so closely to that rule. As the season kicks off, you see Clem has regrouped with Omid and Christa, who is also quite pregnant. Omid and Christa go to clean up in one restroom while Clem uses the other nearby restroom, and gets in to some trouble.


So how does Omid die, a Walker, a group or thugs? No, a careless Clem leaves her gun on the counter and has it picked up by a passing stranger who ends up accidentally shooting Omid in the chest, killing him in seconds which alerts Christa who sees this and immediately breaks down in tears, killing the person who shot Omid with no hesitation. The game advances several months later and we see Clem and Christa together in the woods, but Christa does not have the baby, leading one to speculate what happened. With so much death, one can only wonder how Christa has managed to keep on going.


The Walking Dead Season 1, Clementine - No she didn't die, but the whole damn game is kind of sad for her, the end only more so. She's lost her parents and the only person who she would consider a father figure is now dead (or zombifed if you're an evil jerk who left Lee to suffer) and Clem is left to wander alone (granted we know she EVENTUALLY finds Omid and Christa, assumedly shortly after the events with Lee, but we can only speculate that). The look on her face at the end makes me want to die, or jump in to the TV and hug her, either one.



Heavy Rain, Ethan's Death(s), All of them.... The whole game really - Heavy Rain is an amazing game, the first one I got and Plat'ed when I got my PS3, it was an amazing expierence that I wish existed more in the gaming world. Sure, it wasn't a heavily action oriented game like God of War, Halo or even The Walking Dead (yeah, I just said The Walking Dead is more actiony than this game), but that's not why we played it. It was STORY DRIVEN, something most games forgo for said action content. So what made this game so damn sad? Well, if you're not a parent, you will NEVER understand the pain that Ethan suffers, even if you are, you still will never have to (or hopefully never have to) suffer the pain of having your child taken from you, the lengths he goes to save his son....

- Drives into oncoming freeway traffic and go 5 miles in 3 minutes (you do the math, I don;t want to)
- Traverse electrified power lines after crawling through a tunnel of broken glass
- Cut off your finger
- Kill someone
- Drink a vial of poison that will kill you in an hour, the ultimate sacrifice

Even after all this, there is no guarantee you'll save your son.

I could TRY to explain the potential sadness that can unfold, but I'll just provide videos, this game has the potential to make you very depressed and just be done with everything.

Worst Ending:


Second Worst Ending:

Third Worst Ending:


Another one, I couldn't find a short version, but yeah, really sucks:

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Future of Silent Hill




So I've been playing older Xbox 360 games I have yet to finish and one of those is Silent Hill: Downpour. I love Silent Hill and just did some random Google'ing and became curious if another was in the works. Upon looking at the Silent Hill Wikia, I came across Silent Hill 9 (generic name) and saw that it was indeed a planned title, but that the Producer was also none other than Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear fame. The following quote was also provided:

Honestly, I'm kind of a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror movies, so I’m not confident I can do it. At the same time, there’s a certain type of horror that only people who are scared of can create, so maybe it’s something I can do.
That said, I think Silent Hill has a certain atmosphere. I think it has to continue, and I’d love to help it continue, and if I can help by supervising or lending the technology of the FOX Engine, then I’d love to participate in that respect.
So that got me thinking, what type of shenanigans would Kojima incorporate in the Silent Hill franchise were he to take over for a few games? I'd love to see a few nods to Metal Gear (maybe something like a cutscene where the player hides in a box to avoid being seen by the antagonist (i.e. pyramid head or whoever), or a few old magazines that have Naked Snake (or any Snake) on the cover, something simple). As long as he didn't flood the game with MGS references, I'd love it.

Oh, and another thing, Kojima MUST bring his composers, I didn't HATE David Licht but Korn was a terrible choice for Downpour, I'd prefer Akira to come back, but I doubt he'd be interested.

Anyways, just a few ramblings. :3

Friday, April 18, 2014

Must Play Games of Last Gen

I'm pretty late on this ship, but thought I'd do it regardless. This list contains 3 of MY personal must play games of the Xbox/PS3/Wii gen. You are more than welcome to contribute to this list, as I know there are many different tastes out there.



Wii

Super Smash Bros. Brawl - No Nintendo collection would be complete, or logical for that matter, without that gen Smash Bros game. They allow for the best of friends to claw at each other's throats, criticize each other's sexual prowess and talk smack about the other's mother, all in good faith and no (permanent) damage.

Mario Kart - For the same reasons as Smash Bros, expect instead of punches and slashes, you use turtle shells and lightning bolts. It's a lot less dangerous, no whipping Wii-motes around, hitting someone in the eyes and/or killing a cat with your insane motions.

Zelda: Skyward Sword - Why? It's a Zelda game, all* Zelda games are instant GOLD. This one takes you waaaaay back to the very beginning, the origins of the Zelda series, who Ganon really is and why the hell each game has the same, but at the same time different, characters. Plus there's no Tingle (that guy is creepy).

See, creepy.
*with the exceptions of those Phillip CD-i games and the like, those are terrible


PS3

Heavy Rain - While some hesitate to call this a game due to it's high level of cutscenes and simplistic interactions with the characters and environments, I found this to be a highly enjoyable game with enjoyable characters, great writing and an amazing story. Some things were left out, sure, but the game is pretty fun when you realize how the stories of all 4 characters tie together (esp at the end). If you've a kid, it makes this game so much more emotional than it has the right to be. Oh, and Press X to Jason!



Journey/Flower - These two games (which are part of a three game bundle) are amazing works of art, they have some of the best graphics I've seen on a (then) current gen console. Journey is an epic game that has no real story, opting to leave it up to the players interpretation. Wander through the desert, go under water and climb mountains for no real reason? Why not?

Flower is its equal in art, with no real story (other than you playing as a flower petal) you just waft through the world, collecting more petals and bringing out the beauty in nature (aww). Why is it so much fun? I have no idea, it just looks amazing, that's good enough for me.


Xbox 360

BioShock - This was an amazing game that made an equally amazing trilogy. The story is vague at first and then slowly opens you up to a world of pure imagination (cue little orange guys singing). A city beneath the waves, where no man is hindered by the stigmas of the world above. Sounds cool, right? It is, until you realize that the city has gone to hell and is run by meth addict like folks who want to crack your skull open like a vulture and a turtle. Oh, and don't forget the big ass dudes in scuba gear (I mean really, are they man or machine?) protecting the 'innocent' little girls (hint, don't go near them, unless you want a drill to the face, or worse, up your butt :/)

Dead Rising - Sure, zombies are 'played out' or 'the norm', but does that make Dead Rising any less fun? NO. Playing as a photographer (who has covered wars, I might add) and trapped in a Mall with everything at your disposal, how can you NOT have fun? Oh, and don't forget the hapless 'survivors' and batshit crazy psychos who've taken the end of the world scenario as a chance to strip you down and tie you to a pole while they throw stuff at you and take pictures. FUUUUUN.

Fable - While not TECHNICALLY an Xbox 360 game, who cares, get the whole series now that they are all on Xbox. The games premise is amazing, be a hero (or not), control who you are and have at it. Wanna kick chickens? Do it. Kill villages and render the area uninhabitable (or at least uninhabited)? Why not. The game is amazing in its own right, no matter which one you play, the humor is great (gargoyles, gnomes, remember those things?) and it's just an enjoyable series all around.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grave: Open World Survival Horror



You may want to check out Grave (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2129301589/grave-open-world-survival-horror). It's being made for the Xbox One, and PC and you can get some 'swag' if you're interested in contributing.



Anyways, here's the info provided by the designers (there's plenty of screen shots, vids and even a rough demo at the kickstarter url):

We've just announced Xbox One support! Anyone who backs in the $25 tier or above will be eligible for selecting a copy on Xbox One. Keep on the lookout for more console announcements! We can say more once our dealings proceed.



Grave is an open-world, surrealist-inspired, procedural survival horror experience. Our goal is to provide a much needed update to the survival horror formula, injecting it with the tension and fear of modern horror games while still retaining the strategy and survival elements of classic genre staples. The game is being Developed in the Unity game engine, and we are hoping to push the graphical fidelity to its limit.


Features:

Reinventing survival horror - The player can take action when frightening moments occur, but has to use strategy to find the right tool for the right job. This isn't just about stockpiling or storing inventory items.

Light fights the darkness - Instead of guns or knives, your weapons are entirely light-based. Many of the creatures in Grave react to light, each in unique ways. Whether tossing a flashbang or igniting a puddle of gasoline, Grave presents many options for dealing with encounters.



Ever-changing world inspired by surrealist art -  Not just a visual, the world changes and rearranges itself during play. Each passing night offers a change to the experience.

Full story progression - Not just a rogue-like or survival experience, Grave features a full story with multiple acts, strange characters and many unique elements taking advantage of the surreal setting
Developed for Windows, Mac and Linux, with Oculus Rift support where available.




In Grave, like in a many horror experiences, the player is vulnerable. Frightening creatures mount persistent attacks with each passing night, and many dynamic and procedural elements are employed to keep the experience from being predictable. The game features many unique creature types and items to employ, with effective strategy being crucial for survival.


Day and Night

Because Grave has a day and night progression, the game takes on a different feel for each time of day. During daytime, Grave is primarily an exploration and fortification experience.

Players can explore new regions that have cropped up during the night, gather resources and prepare for the dangers that await them in the darkness. The emotions connected to the rise and fall of the sun each day are crucial to the experience of Grave.




Dynamic Choices

Grave is a game about choice and divergence. Almost every item, creature or location in Grave has at least two ways of interacting with it, to suit the gamer's play-style and desired experience.

Those who are interested in tense action can arm themselves with defensive weapons and trek out into the night. The more cautious player might fortify themselves in a safe place and attempt to wait out the night. Some may like exploring the many strange landscapes of Grave, while others will be very goal oriented and only stop when their supplies run short. It is important for the experience of Grave to be dynamic and fluctuating, so that the game presents unique opportunities at ever turn.


Unpredictability

In Grave, our goal is to do everything we can to keep the player reactive and the experience fresh.  If you think waiting out the night is always the best idea, you run the risk of not finding useful items that appear in the fleeting locations that exist each day. Every enemy and situation requires new reactions, and we are using procedural/random systems to keep the experience exciting.






Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gaming Interview w/ Vince Vega

Thanks for joining us for this week’s Gamer Interview; today we're here with Vince Vega who has graciously volunteered to be our first interviewie. So, without further ado, let's jump right in to these questions.



Leo: How long have you been gaming? When did you first start? What console did you start on?

Vince: My first real console was the PS2 in 2004. But my first gaming device was a Namco Ms. Pack-Man Plug & Play with 5 TV games. My guess is that I have been gaming for over 12 years.

Leo: Do others in your family game, maybe a little bro/sis, a significant other, parents, gramps?

Vince: My little brother and father both game.

Leo: I love it when a family can come together over gaming. :)

What do your family and friends have to say about your gaming? Are they terribly against it, like mine are/continue to be? Or do they just not care?

Vince: Most of my family games and the ones who don’t, don’t care.

Leo: If you don’t mind me asking, where do you call residence (state/country is fine, or a link to Google Maps with your coors, either or, just saying)?

Vince: Illinois.

Leo: If you don't mind me asking again, what kind of work do you do in Illinois?

Vince: Self-employed, so just about anything that I need to get done.

Leo: Ahh the comfort of self-employment, wish I could set my own hours.

How long have you been self-employed?

Vince: About 4 years

Leo: What other hobbies do you enjoy?

Vince: I like reading and writing. I also play the Saxophone.

Leo: Are you an achievements hunter? Or do you game for fun?

Vince: A mix of both. I like to get achievements, but I primarily game for enjoyment.

Leo: What’s your favorite game of all time on any console? What makes it special?

Vince: That is like choosing between children. There are so many good games. I think it would be a tie between Mass Effect 2 and Star Wars Battlefront 2. If I really had to choose between the two I think I might go for Mass Effect 2. The story is just amazing. It is written very well.

Leo: I agree, really loved Mass Effect 2, especially Legion, just wish he was in it for longer.

Do you remember the first game you played? What’s your fondest memory of it?

Vince: The first game that I ever played was probably Solitaire. It was the only game that I knew was on the computer. I remember being so excited when the cards would fly all over the screen.

Leo: Haha, I hated Solitaire, I was more of a Minesweeper guy myself.

If you were in a terrible accident, and had to have only one game in your console/system of choice, what do you want it to be (assuming that no one wants to take care of you, nor can you afford a housemaid, sad right?)?

Vince: I can’t play digital games? Ok, I guess it would have to be Star Wars Battlefront 2.

Leo: If you could make any game, what type of game would you design, what would the story be? Genre?

Vince: I would love a game like Oregon Trail, but you were a captain of a ship that has to sail to the “New World”.

Leo: Oregon Trail was an amazing game, still is in fact.

Do you have any particular gaming pet peeves?

Vince: I hate Multiplayer Achievements.

Leo: Any upcoming games (any system) that you’re looking forward to?

Vince: Just about every game that has been announced for Xbox One this year. Star Wars Battlefront 3, ESO, Watch_Dogs, the list goes on and on.

Leo: Let me know how you like ESO, I've been interested, but dropping the $60 on it is a risky move for something I may not like and can’t sell.

If you could have any videogame character come to life to be your ‘BFF’, who would you select and why?

Vince: Tali’Zorah Vas Normandy. I just love her personality. She is clumsy and innocent, yet she can step up to the plate and be a strong leader.

Leo: I love Tali, she was my love interest in Mass Effect… (spoiler) until I replayed 2 and got her killed…. And when she killed herself in Mass Effect 3…. Sad times those were....

Without thinking, most antagonizing game, GO!

Vince: Kerbal Space Program

Leo: Worst online gaming experience; please do share it with us….

Vince: Playing Black Ops 1 Zombies with my old Zombies group. Every time we got good weapons and were set up to last a long time the game would just start lagging to the point where at least one of us would die.

Leo: Do you prefer single player or multi-player?

Vince: I don’t think I prefer one over the other. It all depends on how I feel. I may feel like playing some zombies now and later I want to stop the Reapers.

Leo: Reapers are a great threat to humanity. *nods*

Do you have a favorite group of friends you like to play with? Or are you a lone wolf?

Vince: Typically I am a lone wolf.

Leo: What consoles do you own?

Vince: PS2, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One. I briefly had a PS4, but gave it to a family member who could use it more.

Leo: Have you ever had a game you really looked forward to that you were disappointed in when it finally arrived?

Vince: Kind of with Halo 4, but that was because my friends at the time over hyped it to the point where it could never live up to the expectations that they set.

Leo: I really liked Halo 4, I don’t tend to listen to any hype though, so that probably helped.

Tell us about your gaming set-up.

Vince: I have the main TV with my 360 and X1 connected to it and another TV with the Wii. A closet with my games and a desk with a PC. All in a spare room.





Favorite 360 game?

Mass Effect 2


Favorite non-360 game?

Star Wars The Old Republic


Least favorite game?

Goblin Commander


Favorite game developer?

BioWare or Ubisoft, I can’t decide.


Favorite game weapon?

Dead Space 2 Hand Cannon


Most hated game enemy?

The Humpback Whale from Assassin’s Creed 4.


Favorite game character?

Shepherd from Mass Effect


Favorite game sidekick?

Cortana


Favorite game ending?

Mass Effect 3


Most hated game ending?

Battlefield 3


Favorite game music?

Mass Effect 2/3, and Ezio’s Family from Assassin’s Creed 2