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Lumines: Electronic Symphony - Review.
System Wars is a fun place, first the 3DS was doomed now the Vita is also doomed, it's doom, doom, dooooooooomed!
Suprisingly though while everyone is shouting about the death of Sony and all things Sony related, the PS-Vita is still here and it's still releasing games doomed or not. I picked up the early "Collectors" edition of the PS-Vita and knew that one game deserved my attention first and foremost. Touch my Katamari....no, that's for another day when it's actually available for purchase!
No, ladies and gentlemen of System Wars I speak of Lumines.
Now you may be tempted at first glance to say Lumines: Electronic Symphony looks just like any other lumines game on the surface, so whats so special about this one?
The answer: Nothing really, the game is what it is, a Lumines games you can't monkey around with the core mechanics a great deal without destroying the delicate balance of a really smooth puzzle game experience. Although... as much as I say it's the same a swath of new features come to the game and none of them detract from the overall experience and at best add a new layer of depth to the game.
For any poor soul who hasn't ever played Lumines I'll break it down for you as easilly as I can.
You start with a large grid to place 2x2 blocks that fall from the top of your screen ala Tetris(If you haven't played Tetris...GTFO), each block can have 2 different colours in a variation layouts. Your goal is to make at solid squares out of these blocks combining 4 or more in a square shape, check the image below for an example of a combination of blocks.
Simple enough right? Well here comes the tricky part while you are playing a "Timeline" sweep through your screen clearing away the blocks you have combined, getting as large a combo as possible before the timeline sweeps them away is essential to getting a high score so some risk/reward mechanics are in place to reward you for making larger combos for risking the inevitable "Crap I missed the timeline" block screwup that will occur.
The game hinges on it's "Skins" to deliver a unique experience unavailable in other puzzlers each level has it's own speed, tone, background, and music that plays out with your actions on screen. That's about it for the basics of the game I'll return to the new one now.
While it may be more of the same for some, the new skins and music alone are worth the price of admission taking your through a musical journey while you bend your mind solving your blocky tower. The standard mode "Voyage" takes you through a musical adventure holding a variaty of skins to unlock and being the main mode of the game, there is no "Winning" the game as when you reach the end it will just loop to the first track (There are around 20 skins in the main mode) One thing players familliar to the series will pick up on is that if you loose, the game gives you a chance to wipe your score but continue playing on instead of having to fight your way back to the skin you really wanted to unlock, a welcome feature for sure but takes a bit of the fun out of unlocking all the skins through sheer skill.
Among other modes you have a "World block" that will count all the blocks players around the world have cleared and if enough players contribute you get a exp reward at the end of the day...did I mention the exp system? Unlocking avatars (Little players on the side of your screen mainly for flare in the old games) happens as you play through the game gaining exp for clearing blocks and high scores, they have more of a higher purpose in this game that I will touch on later.
While there is no puzzle mode this time around, the stopwatch makes a comeback clearing as many blocks as you can in a set ammount of time and those looking for a real challenge will take on "Master mode" trying to clear a set ammount of blocks in a progresively faster pace. Of course Vs makes a return as well being able to challenge friends of Ad-hoc (no net play).
The two big additions that can be game changers to the game is the introduction of the "Shuffle block" and "Avatar skills". The powerblock makes it's return acting much like previous games allowing you to clear large swaths of like coloured blocks if they are touching eachother.
a new type of powerblock emerges that at first glance will ruin your day the "Shuffle" block will randomly change any and all blocks that are conected to it and early in the game will murder your precisely planned combos. It's usefullness only shines in the later stages of the game when you end with mountains of blocks near the top of the screen having a shuffle block "Randomize" your stacks of unmatched blocks can lead to having whole massive areas of the screen cleared out, saved my bacon a few times. The second big addition the "Avatar skills" are each avatar has a special skill to use in Voyage and Vs mode, they can range from being able to spawn your next block as a powerblock or shuffle block for beginers to more advanced abillities like holding blocks on the top of your screen for longer or pausing the timeline to allow for massive combos.
All in all Lumines: Electronic Symphony delivers on the most important aspect of the series...the music, entrancing and beatifull is all I can say one has to experience it (Headphones people) to get the full effect. The game feels like your interacting with art at times instead of playing a full blown game it's easy to get almost entranced in block solving letting the world melt around you.
Forget Uncharted and Little deviants, Lumines should have been the pack-in game for this system. Sure it makes next to no use of the touch screen (you can swipe blocks with your finger but once the game actually picks up pace it would be impossible to use touch controls) or any of the systems other features, but what it does best is display the superior display of the PSV to the max with vibrant colours and crisp design. This is hands down the best instalment of the Lumines series to date, the only thing I miss is being able to challenge a (Ifuriatingly hard) AI opponent a small niggle in the best experience I have had with the PSV and probably one of the best games out for the system as it stands.
Puzzle fans rejoice, the king is back and better than ever.
Want to hear more of my reviews? Let me know and I'll start posting my System Wars Magazine Articles on my blog as well.
Good evening System Wars today I felt like injecting a bit of awesome into the forums today in the form of a good debate thread.
Now we all know that the generation of motion controls is now here...*Even if it's not even a new generation of consoles" The Wii has flashed a giant red panic light in the competitors offices, in response both have pushed to create *or at least push ahead* there own movement oriented peripherals and experiences. The three giants have 3 totally different ways about going about the world of motion controls, lets have a look at the 3 ideologies shall we?
Nintendo: Wii did it first!"Fully integrated 100%"
Nintendo is the first to bring motion controls to the market, and the sole reason we see all 3 big guns jumping into the motion controller race. Fact is without Nintendo flaring interest it is highly unlikely that we would see motion controls until at least the next generation, Kinect and Move would be a mere afterthought of MS and Sony's R&D departments. The question for Ninetndo is why go motion controls in the first place?
Nintendo was generally reeling from it's failure the past two generations, profits were down and many whispers were abound that Nintendo might be going the way of Sega as it had no other way to recoup it's losses than risk another Console release that arguably all but the most loyal would touch with a 10 foot poll! Then Nintendo brought the Nintendo DS to the field, this gaming monster still dominates all markets today and shrugs off any competitors with it's massive foothold and firm grasp of it's loyal portable fanbase. The DS alone was what funded the Wii and was also a key player behind the reasoning of the Wii's general marketing and design. The Nintendo DS was as unconventional as could be...Touchscreen gaming? dual screens? What is this madness! But it is what brought Nintendo back from the brink of destruction and these far out ideals would carry on to it's bigger brother the Wii.
Conceptually the Wii is a weak system compared to the others, this is due to Nintendo focus ALL of it's assets on developing the Wii motion controller. When the Wii hit the market everyone was surprised at not just how well it sold, but who was buying it. Nintendo had grabbed the crowd that Sony had fought hard to get even a small piece of last generation with the PS2...the had The Casuals! Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, they may have not known how it worked but like the Furby and Elmo of years past...they had to have it.
Now that the history is out of the way, lets get to the meat and bones of it.
Nintendo for the most part has supported the motion control 100% *give or take a few games that don't support it at all* Every game you play on the wii requires the use of the motion controller, especially titles developed by Nintendo have motion controls at the core of mostly every single game created. This has garnered them a slightly bad rap with the Hardcore gamers who allowed Nintendo to survive this long to even get the Wii to be born, Nintendo has stated that they are not just focusing on the casual gamers but the hardcore as well. Hardcore titles are still few and far between for Nintendo, and developers outside of Nintendo developing anything for the hardcore gamers is even more sparse, but who can blame them many games that have tried to appeal to the gamer crowd have fallen flat on there face on the Wii. Not a single game from the top 15 best selling Wii games is not developed by Nintendo, and again even farther down there are few games that are not Nintendo branded games. Even the Wii motion+ as been genrally shunned by the developing community and seemingly Nintendo itself, the Motion+ seems like a afterthought to adress the hardcore gamers complaints but fell on deaf ears in the end.
Yet the Wii sells millions of units, and until recent years had trouble keeping the systems on the shelves of retailers worldwide, with success like this coming from a position of looming doom who can argue Nintendo has got it right? The question is will this strategy carry over to the next generation of systems or will the casual gamers who are not akin to being loyal to anything move onto the competitions shiner and higher tech offerings?
Microsoft: Hardcore...who?"Fully integrated...in the future"
Microsoft has launched the largest ad campaign for a peripheral in gaming history, with next to no regard to caring how the hardcore gamers that brought it from a dud last generation into one of the two consoles competing for hardcore gamer attention.
Kinect previously known as porject Natal has until recently been marred by bad press for being a bit overzealous yet under delivering to the press. Milo? Fake video, and stage demos where African gentlemen were asked to wear white gloves for no apparent reason? Yeah they didn't have it working well enough to read every ones hands yet, but tried to show it off anyways. Every join in the body? well...you couldn't sit down nor does it read finger gestures.
News like this painted Microsoft as a fool while developing the Kinect, and now they are pulling out all the stops to slam that bad press into a small corner while buying out huge add campaigns on banner adds, TV, Concerts, Oprah, Just Beiber, and a slew of general marketing to make it like the bad press never existed, but how is Kinect as a device?
Kinect while in infancy has generally delivered on it's technical promises, as far as testimonials claim the lag is tolerable and it reads your movements as accurately as advertised. The big flaw is that without precise movement reading such as hand gestures or more exact controls the Kinect is doomed to be for casual audiences only. Hardcore gamers don't want the inaccuracy of the human machine to be oriented into there gameplay experience in general unless it's impact is minimal at best. Can a Human aim with pinpoint accuracy as they can in CoD, Killzone, or Halo? No, even the simulated wobbliness of the hands is a tenth of what a real person would be like trying to aim an invisible gun, or even a analog of a real gun. Humans are imperfect, where as hardcore games need very tight, perfected controls. Programing for such massive variants in movements makes it a time consuming job to make sure when someone uppercuts, he is not launching a fireball instead, fighting games will be capsulized in this aspect taking out many of the challenges gamers have come to appreciate in there games.
Is it a challenge when everyone can do it? Gamers spend days/weeks/months sometimes perfecting the art of launching that spiral uppercut into a cancle knee bomb, the complete lack of controller input makes these hard to do actions impossible to program yet keep the entry level slightly above grade schooler. Kinects lack of input and variable motion inputs paints it to have little to do with the audience that mainly purchased the machine. Will Microsoft get the casuals that the Wii has? or will Microsoft somehow appeal to it's current fanbase in some way? We wont know for sure yet, but so far Microsoft doesn't seem too intent on funding many Hardcore Kinect games.
Sony: It's here if you want it."Optionally supported"
Sony has taken the same road they have with peripherals in the past, and it was a successful one with the Eyetoy, make it available, let people know about it and let nature takes it's course.
Sony is one of few companies to ever release peripherals this late in the game and see some form of success in the market, While America and Japan may not have been big fans of the Eyetoy, Europe went insane over it. Games like Singstar are Sony's bread and butter product to this day in the European countries, on release day all of Europe can be heard rocking out and singing bad Karaoke songs. Sony grabbed up a large number of casuals due to this approach in the PS2 era largely because they were uncontested, no one had a singstar game, and even this generation attempts to emulate it by Microsoft have been shoddy as best.
The Eyetoy was a massive winner, despite the fact it may be unknown in these parts it still rakes in cash for Sony. How will the PS Move fair now that they are not the first boys in the yard with the similar toy? Sony seems to be taking the exact same approach to the PS Move that they did with the Eye, it's there if you want it and sure we are going to support it...but not everything is going to need Move to function. The lack of massive advertising, and a smaller but wittier campaign clearly paint Sony as cautiously optimistic about the Moves chances to succeed.
Sony also seems keen on appealing to it's current player base when advertising the Move, it is implied that it can do more than Kinect could ever do for us...does it? What does Move bring that Nintendo failed to deliver years ago? Move has far more accuracy out of the box than the Wiimote does due to the motion+ being added on as an afterthought, HD graphics while not part of the controler add to the experience that the Wii could never offer. What does Move give us that Kinect can't? Simply put it gives us more control, while you may not need a controler for Kinect, the lack of one is a massive hinderance to the experience and using a controler as a stand in doesn't seem natural while the Move is designed to be controler you move with your body, instead of the controler being your body.
Will Sony ultimatly suceed with us gamers in pushing the Move? with there softhanded aproach with the peripheral they are dangerously on the edge of not giving the peripheral the support it needs to get it off the ground and will end up as wasted potential. While still not a precise as a standard controler, the buttons and more options give us gamers more reason to use it over Kinect and allow developers to integrate challenging scenarios that may use skill instead of blind gesturing. The Move echos many points of the Wii but it's marketing aim and improoved tech could push it to a new level, doubtfully though will it even garner half the attention the Wiimote ever would despite being superior.
So System wars where do you think the Motion Generation will take us? are we destined to have motion controler the new norm, such as dual analog has been the standard it is today? Or will gamers resist too hard and make companies revert to more familliar controlers next generation. On the flip side of the coin what if our resistance is futile, will casual gamers be keen on the two new controlers proping up the motion generation and hardcore gaming dissapear even farther into the backround of gaming culture than it has this generation allready?
Let me know your thoughts on the situation...and yes PC you can talk too, you just don't have any swanky popular motion devices I could guestimate on, other than Mind control being in THE WORLD OF TOMORROW!!!!!
Lets start off with a brief look at the evolution of the Resident Evil series. *have not transfered my photoshop to new computer so bear with me scavenging google photos.
Sweet Home: 1989
Why post this in a Resident Evil post? Well in many terms this was the game that inspired the entire Resident Evil series to begin.
Any BIG Resident Evil fan knows about Sweet Home (except you...). It's a survival horror released by CAPCOM for the NES... I was just wondering if any body on FC has actually BEAT Sweet Home...
If you haven't played Sweet Home, and you're a fan of survival-horror and RPGs, you must play this ****c!
Another fact about Sweet Home... Has anybody ever heard of Resident Evil 3.5? It's what Resident Evil 4 was origionaly going to be, but was scrapped; it was also known as the Hooked Man Version. RE:3.5 bares a striking resemblence to the origional Sweet Home, being that 3.5 took place in a mansion that turns haunted. You also fight evil dolls in both..
It's such a shame that Resident Evil 4 went from This.
Creepy Atmospheric game holding more true to the series prior.
Leon: I'm supposed to be scared of masses of fast not-zombies? I'm sorry Genado, I was too busy Dropkicking you in the face to be afraid!
Capcom brought the Survival Horror Genre to homes acrost the world with Sweet home and followed it up with this gem.
Original:1996 Directors cut:1997 DualShock:1997 REmake:2002 Wiimake:2008 "Not counting multiple other delayed releases and remake on multiple platforms included a Gameboycolor remake that was scrapped due to poor quality control" This game has been Re-released large scale at least 5 times!
The standard that all Survival Horror games would be held to for years and years to come, they established how Resident Evil would conduct itself for many itterations to come.
-Ultra Cheesy dialogue riddled with one liners
-Controls that would remain a mainstead of the series even far into the future, known in the present day as "Tank Controls"
-Static Camera angles in almost all scenarios creating a creepy atmosphere when you can hear enemies but can't lean your camera to find them.
-Limited Ammunition for anything stronger than a pistol "Personally I would often find myself with 20 magnum rounds and a million shotgun shells at the end of the game because I was too paranoid to ever USE my good weapons for fear of not having the ammo when I needed it"
-4th dimensional storage boxes that you could transfer items from across the game and in certain itterations continents did not stop these "Storage chests" from having your trusty Ruby medalion from prisson island warp to Antarctica with you.
-Limited saves via items used to save.
-Referances to a certain female protaganist becoming a sandwitch.
This and so many more staples can be found throughout Resident Evil from the first game to the lauded Code Veronica.
Resident Evil brought us what movies had been showing us for ages before it, RE was ****c B-Zombie horror films condensed onto a disc and fully in the players control. Players would play the game by advancing through a generally large branching area, with locked doors and blocked passages abound players would be funnled through in a linear fashion until the aquired the keys and tools to access the rest of the area that was innacessable before backtracking through familliar areas before.
The big twist is that you were almost never safe, you could walk down the same hallway after blasting the zombies out of there not 10 minutes ago and once you got the diamond key, a door decides to burst open flooding the area once again with dangerous ghouls and other badies.
The constant sense of dread and not knowing what awaits you around the next corner, only the knowledge of a zombies slowly shuffeling towards you knawing away at the back of your mind created more "Jump scares" than I think even Capcom intended in it's auidence.
The game also featured 2 storylines that played in most of the same areas, with minor to major differences depending on who you were playing, ranging from as subtle as other characters just not being around at certain times to as major as a character meeting his untimly demise in a totally different fashion at a totally different point of the game.
Resident Evil: The foodchain of Richard.
Unfortunatly for Richard it's a lose lose situation, although I guess the snake would be the better way to go because of poison instead of shark teeth killing you...but hey who am I to judge?
Throughout the entire game ammo is not something you just stroll along and find laying everywhere, even handgun ammunition your weakest weapon next to the laughable knife "Might as well lay down on a silver platter and holler for the zombies to come eat you if your going to try wasting time killing ANYTHING with the knife" was pretty rare. Many enemies also required a sizeable ammount of ammunition to dispatch them, and many were numerous and ammunition would be eaten rather fast finding yourself having blown away 5 zombies in the past open room that you could have just dodged them, with no ammunition against the 2 hunters stalking you down a narrow hallway. The game was amazing at creating a atmosphere of dread, from the creepy music, to the bloody atmospheres and corpses laying everywhere just waiting to spring to life and take a chunk out of you "Hell sometimes they would just wait for you to walk on them like un-living landmines".
The whole concept in itself creates the perfect storm of fear as well. Zombies themselves generate alot of fear as due to them being such a symbol to people even today. an infectious dissease that will turn you into one of them even after death you are doomed to wander the earth searching for sustenance of those you once held dear kind of thing puts willies into most. The meer fact that there could be millions of them...slowly shuffeling down your own back ally clawing at your doors, windows, under a bed, in a closet. of all the ****c mythical monsters zombies seem to be the most believable considering they are usually created of human design in even most but the oldest of legends.
Not only did the series proliferate zombies perfectly as the unstopable all consuming mass, but they also brought forward Bio-Weapons, monsters custom made to serve one purpose "Kill", and a manajery of mutaded animals and insects...hell even plants were up and around jonesing for your blood. Nothing was safe from the virus and the whole world was against you in a sense that nowhere was safe for you, the only option was to survive and escape the horror.
Resident Evil set this all up so well the original game has sold some 2.7 million copies alone and for a early on playstation game thats pretty respectable figures.
"It seems I have wandered a tad from the subject and may reformat this post to match taking out parts of the speach to make a more accurate "Chronology" of the series and add the other stuff in at a more appropriate time, lest I have the first games paragraph be 10x longer than the other games. I will continue this some other time any suggestion or problems you see with my logic can be sent in comment or PM form"
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Jun 4, 2013 12:32 am GMTJynxzor joined the union Pedal to Metal
May 14, 2013 8:01 pm GMTJynxzor posted in the topic RE: Revelation putting the horror back into Survival Horror on the System Wars board