All About IndianaPwns39
Leave it to Resident Evil to once again convince me to buy a system. I bought a Gamecube back in the day because of the Resident Evil remake, and the eventual release of Resident Evil 4. So here I am, with another Nintendo product and Resident Evil being the main reason I picked it up.
I have to say, Resident Evil Revelations (or Revelaitons as it so says on the side of the box) is one hell of a game. It looks gorgeous for a handheld, the animations are top notch, and the gameplay is excellent. There are a few issues I've found so far, though. The dodge mechanic is iffy, and shooting while strafing can be a pain due to the single analog stick. Not sure how the Circle Pad attachment works, but it might iron out the issue. Honestly though, if they stuck with thiscontrol scheme for Resident Evil 6 I'd be satisfied. Although given Revelation's awesome atmosphere and Capcom actually incorporating survival horror elements back into the franchise, Revelations might be my favorite RE game of the year (which is ridiculous to say, but there are a lot of them being released in 2012)
Although Nintendo and Resident Evil isn't the only deja vu I've had since I got the 3DS. When I bought the Gamecube, I ended up getting a lot of great games for the system that remain some of my all time favorites, such as Metroid Prime or Wind Waker. Now, the 3DS library isn't that huge, but I never owned a DS and there are quite a few great games for that system. Oddly, I can't go to a random store and just browse games. Most of the stuff on display at say, Walmart, is simple shovelware crap. Out of the 50+ titles they had, I think 3 interested me. Now if I go onto Amazon and browse the bestsellers, that number jumps way higher than I thought it would have been. I also found out that's where the JRPG has been hiding this generation...
So I bought Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia right away, and I think I've played it more than Resident Evil since I got it in the mail. It's awesome, and much more difficult than Symphony of the Night ever was, which is a huge plus. All around great game, and even though it's critically praised I'm a bit sad it's considered under the radar. I also picked up Pokemon White, and I haven't played a Pokemon since Gold/Silver back on the Gameboy Color. Looking to grab Okamiden, the Professor Layton games, and maybe a few JRPGs, although I have no idea where to start on those... any other DS suggestions are happily welcome.
Finally, I picked up Ocarina of Time 3D. I felt that I had to, although I haven't gotten around to playing it yet. Love the game, but I don't want to get involved with Zelda when I want to finish Resident Evil, Castlevania, and I'm just finishing up Metal Gear Solid 3 on my PS3. First time I've ever played that game, and it definitely met all the hype, though that's a completely different story.
Music is rather overlooked in games. Ok, maybe it isn't as ignored as I think it is but for the most part when you think of music in games you think of the Super Mario Bros. theme song and the Final Fantasy victory music. Music in the gaming industry has the ability to be amazing, and even though the year isn't over I figured it would be fun to make one of those obnoxious lists showcasing my favorite scores and which ones I'm looking forward to. I haven't been able to play everything though so there might be some glaring omissions. I heard The Witcher 2's soundtrack was great but I haven't been able to play that one yet, but I digress.
Spoiler warning:I'll share my favorite songs via Youtube, and while I won't spoil anything for these relatively new games Youtube commenters won't be as kind.
5. Crysis 2
Hans Zimmer has quite the resume. Creating music for films such as Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight, and Inception, it really says a lot that the Crysis 2 soundtrack ranks highly in his resume. Giving him all the credit isn't fair, as he technically only wrote the main theme. Lorne Balfe, who works at Remote Control Productions (owned by Zimmer) created the rest. The main theme is recycled a lot throughout the game, however, and it works amazingly well setting a bleak, desperate tone that just fits an overwhelming alien invasion. Unfortunately, the script and story of Crysis 2 itself wasn't enough to compliment this amazing score, which is just a shame.
Listen to "Insertion" here.
4. Alice: Madness Returns
So, the soundtrack in Alice: Madness Returns is subtle and serves as mostly ambience to the game. It's never "epic" or in-your-face with the music, and that's a plus here. The music that is in the game is as bleak and depressing as the world you explore throughout the game. The music can be eerily pretty, and psychotic beauty is probably the best way to describe the tone Madness Returns was going for.
The introduction theme is here.
3. Killzone 3
Joris De Man's score for Killzone 2 was the first video game to win the Ivor Novello Award, which is a big deal. You may not have heard of the award before, but it's a prestigious honor that's been around since 1955 and never recognized video game music before hand. The follow up to that milestone-creating soundtrack in Killzone 3 is amazing, if only tarnished by the fact that the music doesn't quite compliment the overall tone of the game like Killzone 2 did. Like Crysis 2, the soundtrack for Killzone 3 is sweeping and emotional, but the story presented in the game itself didn't do enough to really give reason for such an amazing soundtrack.
Starting up Killzone 3, you think you might be getting ready to play an FPS with a personal, emotional connection to what's going on. That doesn't happen, but nonetheless "And Ever We Fight On" remains a beautiful track, you can hear that here.
2. Infamous 2
The great thing about Infamous 2's soundtrack is that it's hard to find a single song that previews the rest of the soundtrack accordingly. While composer Jim Dooley's sound is clear throughout, particularly his work with strings, there are several different tones song to song. Some are subtle, slow moving, using quiet piano keys to express the song while others are vibrant, attention grabbing songs designed for set pieces when things get going. One thing is for sure though, it's never typical. It always sounds different, even when it has to hit that hard, epic feel like a summer blockbuster. Jim Dooley makes it his own.
Akira Yamaoka is best known for his work in the Silent Hill franchise. He wrote the music for virtually every Silent Hill game put out. In fact, he was pretty much the only good thing about Origins and Homecoming, but that's besides the point. When you write music for games almost exclusively, it's a big deal when he's featured as part of the dream team who created Shadows of the Damned. The music in Shadows fits perfectly with the utterly bizarre nature of the game and ranges from quiet ambience, to horror-esque clashing, to fast acoustic guitar strings, to blazing metal... to even elevator music during the load screen. The mix of action, horror, and humor get a soundtrack that has just as much action, horror, and humor, and Akira Yamaoka might be the only person capable of doing that.
The (long) pre-order sound theme is here
Honorable (or Dishonorable) Mentions to:
Portal 2, GlaDOS' Want You Gone being a rather catchy credits song akin to Still Alive at the end of the original game.
Also, Duke Nukem Forever's soundtrack wasn't bad, exactly. Hell you can argue that the opening sequence where it plays a newer version of Duke Nukem 3D's theme was the best part of the game. However, there's a screeching, annoying guitar during the load times. It wouldn't have been a problem if the load times didn't take forever and you had to hear that high pitched screech over and over.
Titles to Look Forward To
3. Assassin's Creed: Revelations
Jesper Kyd did the soundtracks for the three Assassin's Creed games prior and has been confirmed to do Revelations. Considering with each soundtrack Kyd grows and expands on the themes he already created, it's safe to say Revelations will have an excellent score.
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Morrowind and Oblvion had grand scores that went along with whatever you were up to in the game. Given the track record, one could assume Bethesda would drop the ambience in Fallout 3 and return to the tone of Elder Scrolls with Skyrim. Upon watching the recent, 40-minute demo at Quakecon yes, the music is looking to be as awesome as ever.
1. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
The Halo theme is kind of like the gaming equivalent of the Star Wars theme. Average gamers just recognize it. While Martin O'Donnell, the composer of each and every Halo game prior, isn't helming this title the music he wrote for the first Halo is being orchestrated. O'Donnell didn't use an actual orchestra until Halo 3, and while many of the themes were redone for that game it should be interesting to see how the original music translates, completely untouched but performed with real instruments. The original soundtrack was amazing, so hopefully it will be taken care of properly and showcased just as well.
I have a habit of reading old reviews and cringing. There are some things I dislike when reading other player reviews, even if I mark them helpful there are just methods that don't fit my particular tastes. When I look back and read my review for games such as Halo 3 or Oblivion, I did two things I hate:
1. I wrote the reviews in the first person. I said what I liked and how I felt and reading those, it just looks like me, me, and me. Which is fine, I have nothing against the style, but gunning for some irony here it just isn't me.
2. I constantly compare the games to their predecessors. Halo 2 did that, Morrowind did this.
I'm happy to say I've stopped referring to myself in more recent reviews and began focusing on the task at hand. Unfortunately, I haven't quite dropped the whole predecessor talk. In fact, I think I've been doing it more recently. The first couple paragraphs in my Dead Space 2 review make me cringe (seriously, I didn't need to give that long of a history lesson) and in my Infamous 2 review I consistently bring up the first game. I love talking about games and their histories, comparing sequels to the originals and seeing how it all evolves, but it's unnecessary in a review, I think.
In my Socom 4 review, however, I don't talk about any previous Socom game or MAG and I think the review benefits from that. There's a good reason why I avoided that topic too: I never played any of those games. I think it would help if I sort of removed my knowledge on past titles when reviewing a sequel, appropriately referencing them of course, but no more history lessons.
I'm going to write a review for Duke Nukem Forever and Alice: Madness Returns shortly so this will prove interesting to me. See if I can write them naturally without wanting to talk about how insanely disappointing the one is compared to the original (you can guess which one).