Regarding union request PM directed to me
Please, stop sending me Union request unless it's:
1) accompanied with a written formal request from the sender
2) making me a founding officer
3) any other special reasons that makes my invitation specific (in which case it is usually accompanied by a formal request)
If this is not one of the above (therefore most likely a spam), I may take extreme measures such as deleting the violator from my friends list.
- The Hollywood debut project for the director of ever-praised Oldboy, Park Chan Wook directs supposedly one of the most praised unproduced script of 2010. Chronicling a teenage girl, India (played by Mia Wasikowska), who is spiraling down the unsettling realities and family issues with the arrival of his uncle to her house after her father's death, this film is looking like it's probably going to be a classic Oscar-bait. It is also looking like it will be absolutely thrilling to watch, just like Park's previous works such as Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, and Joint Security Area.
Sadly, this isn't a film about vampires, but you can experience the director's take on that genre in Thirst.
- Another Korean director's Hollywood Debut, this time the director of what I think is the best crime drama of 21st century, Memories of Murder, and also the best monster movie of 21st century, the Host, Bong Joon Ho seeks to prove his ingenuity in the land of dreams with a quite dreamless movie. Set in the near future where the earth has entered the ice age and only people that have survived the catastrophe are sheltered in an always-moving train, the film will surely be an interest to many fans of apocalyptic world, and is likely to grasp them with Bong's unparalleled attention-to-detail directing methods.
This film, based on the French comic of the same name (or it is when translated to English), is featuring an all-star cast with Chris Evans (Captain America), Song Kang Ho (Memories of Murder, The Host), Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt etc.
The Last Stand
- The last of Korean trio who are debuting in Hollywood this year, The Last Stand a pure-action focused popcorn movie featuring none other than the Governator himself. Directed by Kim Ji Woon, the director of A Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad and The Weird, A Tale of Two Sisters, and last but not least, I Saw the Devil, it follows the old US sheriff taking his last stand against fleeing Mexican cartel with FBI agents on their tail. It is corny, it's cheesy, it is 80's and it looks hella fun.
It is also the motion picture event signalling the return of Arnie back as the main gunner, and with Kim Ji Woon's, quite frankly, unmatched action cinematography and choreography (just watch The Good, The Bad, and The Weird and A Bittersweet Life), this movie is sure to please lots of people.
Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- The second chapter of the Hobbit trilogy will focus on the fall of Dol Guldur, the refuge place of Dark Lord Sauron and the fortress of the Witchking of Angmar. It will also likely to see the Bilbo's encounter of the titular Smaug as well. I have not watched the Unexpected Journey yet, but seeing how it is Peter Jackson, and seeing how Hobbit actually gets more epic around the half way point, I have no doubt this will deliver, setting up a nice closure in the inevitable Battle of Five Armies.
And I always liked the Dol Guldur stories and Moria stories in appendixes.
- Matthew Vaughn's acclaimed satirical hero movie Kick-ass is getting a sequel, and this time the stakes are higher. Jim carrey leads the cast into battle against Red Mist (reborn as the Mother Fvcker), while Chloe Moretz deals with the terrifying horror that is high school. It still remains to be seen whether the change of director will result in a favourable outcome, but it still is Kick-ass as we remember it, it seems, and well, it looks Kick-ass.
My only gripe would be that Chloe Moretz got taller.
The Great Gatsby
- A sure Oscar-bait based on the classic inter-war era novel of same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby is yet another quest for Leonardo DiCaprio to find himself in the Oscar nominees selection. Let us hope that this is the one that wins him that Oscar he has deserved so many times before. Also featuring the adorable Cary Mulligan (Shame, An Education, and Drive) as Daisy, one can only hope that this is the film that finally does the justice to its classic source material.
At the very list, it looks like it will be a fine feast for your eyes with very authentic portrayal of lavish 20's America.
- I really liked Red. It wasn't just because half of it was shot in Toronto, but the whole premise was interesting. The way I see it, it is like Expendables, but infinitely better in every fvcking way. It was genuinely funny, well-acted, had amicable characters, and overall, Helen Mirren shooting big guns. Can you think of any 60-year-old atress that looks this awesome while shooting guns. No, you can't, because there isn't any. That is why Red is awesome, and that is also the reason why Red 2 will be, inevitably, awesome.
The film also features my person favourite, Byung-Hun Lee (A Bittersweet Life, I Saw the Devil, The Good The Bad The Weird). It is about time he gets a proper role in Hollywood movie; he was the only good part in G. I. Joe, but still, it's G. I. Joe. This guy needs a better recognition, and here is hoping that Red 2 will provide that.
- The remake of perhaps the best Korean film ever made, this thriller sets an average man, kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, to find his captors and his intentions in five days, only to be imprisoned again if fails. Directed by Spike Lee (Inside Man, Malcolm X), it seems it will follow the story of its original 2003 film of same name, but it is not clear whether the ending, which is considered arguably the best twist ever to be presented on screen, will remain the same. However, it is Oldboy, and I myself quite liked Spike Lee with his Malcolm X and Inside Man, so I remain optimistic.
Sadly, I don't think it will have the octopus scene.
- Giant aliens. Giant Robots. Giant robots fighting giant aliens. Guillermo Del Toro. Guillermo fvcking Del Toro. B-movie vibe.
I want this movie yesterday.
- A Pixar movie. Enough said.
I actually watched Brave again yesterday, this time, more properly. And it wasn't as bad as I thought it was at first. In fact, I liked it more than Cars! And Bugs Life! It was quite frankly, great! My faith has been restored.
- Undoubtedly low on pretty much everyone's radar, this new Brad Pitt movie will be directed by none other than Ridcley Scott (Blade Runner, American Gangster, Gladiator), and will be written by perhaps the best contemporary American writer, Cormac McCarthy (the author of The Road, No Country for Old Men). The movie is also an all-star cast, starting with Brad Pitt, Michael Fassebender (Shame, X-Men First Class), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men, Skyfall), Cameron Diaz, and Penelope Cruz.
The movie follows a Southern lawyer slowly spiraling down the life as he finds himself involved in a drug trafficking, and knowing Ridley Scott's previous work on American Gangster, no doubt this will be an amazing film.
The Berlin File
- A Korean espionage film directed by Ryoo Seung-Wan, the film follows a North Korean spy (Ha Jung-Woo, Chaser) and his wife (Gianna Jun, My Sassy Girl, The Thieves) in Berlin being hunted by both a South Korean spy and a North Korean assassin.
This seems to be the first proper Korean blockbuster of 2013, and everything from the cast to the director seems reasonable. Its premise seems a bit too much been-there-done-that, but at the very least, it should be better than that dreadful Tower, which is nothing more than a blatant rip-off of 1974's Towering Inferno.
2Jan 13Bioshock Infinite
I have not finished Bioshock. I am definitely not a fan of the horror atmosphere, and I feel Bioshock has some elements of that present. But the fact I actually played and enjoyed the portions I have played and am willing to play later, that is saying something. What is great about Bioshock Infinite is that it doesn't have the gritty, dark, unsettling atmosphere, and instead replaces it with equally unsettling yet also very open and bright outdoors. The gunplay seems more improved this time around, the awesome rollercoaster-infused level design looks so fresh, I just cannot wait to experience how the genius minds at Irrational Games managed to pull this seemingly daunting task.
Grand Theft Auto V
My experience with Grand Theft Auto IV was not pretty. I spent good 40 hours on that thing, more than most of the games I played this gen, but I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I should have. Game was praised almost endlessly, but to me, it was just all flash and lacking in substance. The city looked real, but didn't feel real at all; the mission designs were poor; the gunplay was mediocre; some controls were overly frustrating. But I did enjoy The Ballad of Gay Tony. I also enjoyed Red Dead Redemption as well. I felt that over the years, Rockstar has dealt with the issues I had with GTA IV by improving the said problems on the games they developed after the original GTA IV. In that sense, I do not doubt GTA V will deliver.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Platinum Games is possibly my favourite game developer of this gen. Vanquish is amazing. Bayonetta is amazing. MadWorld was, at least for me, very enjoyable. Looking at Revengeance, I feel it will not be some run-of-the-mill stylish action game that seems to be plaguing the industry nowadays. Seeing how it is Platinum, there is little doubt that the game will have loose controls and gameplay. Down with the haters, I say. This game looks far better than that tech demo Kojima's team made that looked interesting at best, and lost at worst.
Total War: Rome II
Rome Total War is my favourite RTS of all time. There is no competition. I have sunk so many hours in that thing, it's beyond ridiculous. I love the time period, I loved how tight the gameplay was, and I loved how addicting the empire management was. And with all the improvements made over almost a decade, from Empire to Shogun 2, Rome II looks like it will be a robust strategic experience.
Company of Heroes 2
I have not played Company of Heroes yet (it has been sitting in my Steam library for quite some time now). But Relic has made one of my favourite franchises, Dawn of War series. And seeing the praise I heard from the original Company of Heroes, I have no doubt that Relic will produce an amazing game.
Here is hoping that this game succeeds commercially, and THQ does not go out of business. Dawn of War 3 is in much need, as well as Homeworld 3, or a space RTS that plays like Homeworld based on Battlefleet Gothic.
This game, I have been following it for quite some time now. It just had its Kickstarter campaign successfully, and the development seems to be making progress once again. Basically, this game is a zombie survival role playing game. Before you go "ugh another zombie game", it's not about fighting zombies. It's about surviving the zombie apocalypse. Think of it as The Walking Dead, but an RPG. Day Z, but as an old school CRPG. It's more about the distrust and interaction between the survivors.
It is also made by DoubleBear Productions. You might not know them because Dead State is their first game. The company was opened by a guy named Brian Mitsoda. You might recognize this guy, he's the dude who wrote the freaking Vampire the Masquarade: Bloodlines. The rest of the team are also from Troika (Arcanum, VtM:Bloodlines) and Obsidian, which in turn consists from guys who worked at Black Isle Studio.
Hotline Miami 2
Hotline Miami was my game of the year. Hotline Miami 2 is going to be like more Hotline Miami, and looking at how perfect that game was gameplay-wise, I am all for this. Hopefully they will make the game more stable this time.
God of War Ascension
God of War III to me was a disappointment. Last E3 gameplay video seemed promising, it felt like it was going back to its God of War II roots with better puzzle, so I will see how this goes. Let us be completely honest to ourselves: God of War combat is flashy at best, it is the level and puzzle design that really make it unique compared to other games from gameplay perspective. Focusing too much on combat and not much on puzzle is not the road a God of War game should be taking.
Gears of War Judgment
I will have to see how much I like Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3. I did like Gears of War 1, so I do not think this game will be all that bad, but seeing how developer changed and Cliffy B is no longer involved, we will have to see.
26Nov 12My autumn sale report:
Machinarium: Complete Edition (GOG)
Uplink: Hacker Elite (GOG)
Alan Wake: American Nightmare (GOG)
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - Sith Lords
To the Moon
SimCity 4 Rush Hour
Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III War Chiefs
Age of Empires III Asian Dynasties
Thief: Deadly Shadows
Hotline Miami (gift from Arach)
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods and Kings
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods and Kings (bought as a gift for my little cousin)
Mount and Blade: Warband (bought as a gift for Timmy)
Mount and Blade: Warband (bought as a gift for Techno)
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway
Dustforce + Soundtrack
Nexus: The Jupiter Incident
Dustforce is truly heaven.
Every janitor should be this awesome.
19Nov 12Last week, I had this great opportunity to visit my home country (Canada, no I don't consider South Korea to be my home country anymore even though I was born there because, well, I lived most of what I would consider significant years of my life in Canada) for a week, and I happened to be on a Delta plane. While US customs and their paranoid homeland security laws forced us to stay in motherf*cking Detroit of all places one night, I did get to see tons of movies on Delta, which seemed to have absolutely horrendous amount of feature films available on-demand on their international flight.
I decided to watch action movies only, movies with not much depth and that provides instant gratification, because, to be honest, I don't consider international flights to be the best environment for movie experience, and I don't soak up enough essence in a bad environment.
Also I have bad ears for some English accents, and plane is quite noisy. And some movies I didn't want to miss a single word (ie. Children of Man). So, my selections should be overall, pretty insignificant, but here they are nonetheless.
- I already had watched Avengers in theatres prior to watching it again during this flight, and I can confirm that I really like this movie. If there is one redeeming factor about Thor, it is that it serves as a trailer for this movie. I'm a fan of Joss Whedon, and I frankly loved how he handled the characters so well. The story is fairly predictable, but so are most of super hero movies anyway, and the focus of Avengers lies not with its story, but with its storytelling; Tony Stark finally gets lines that are genuinely funny, for example. The action scenes are shot well, and surprisingly tense, and some scenes are out there to take a fresh take on the tried-and-true action movie cliches, and it's a joy to watch. Here is to Mr. Whedon who has done what was seemingly impossible: an enjoyable super hero movie with 7 main characters, all balanced and characterized properly.
Act of Valor
- This movie was better than I thought. Then again, I didn't expect much from it. But for a low-budget movie, it was not a bad movie.
The problem was that it had potential to be so much more. Right from the start, the movie oozes with authenticity. The beginning speech at the beach never feels dramatic, it just sounds like an actual speech of real American soldiers (and it should be since they are actually American soldiers) and not some melodramatic crap, and the action scenes, especially in South America, are top-notch. The film feels so authentic to the point that it sometimes feels like a documentary. And that's a good thing for a movie like this: it was aspiring to be the most authentic movie.
Then comes the problems. First of all, acting is off. It's understandable, these guys aren't real actors, but real soldiers, and when they do action scenes, they do it perfectly, but they just don't pull off the emotional part very well. I'm not sure if it's just how the film was edited or the dialogues, but if they retained that feel of authenticity with these parts (maybe director could have gone with the more documentary-esque cinematography), it would have been great. However, I did very much like the performance of the guy called Senior, he's just chill as hell.
And the movie itself takes too much cues from modern military shooters. Some first-person shots are genuinely great, but the last battle just yells out Call of Duty/Medal of Honor to the point that I am uncomfortable. I felt that making those action scenes like some video games are just not doing the guys at SEALs enough justice. And this is from someone who never liked American military interventions. Also more and more, there are way too many explosions to the point it felt like Call of Duty.
Overall, it's a shame that this movie was not as good as it could be. Probably the editing done by US Pentagon has something to do with it, but still.
- Now, the movie's original novel, written by the same guy who wrote "Tarzan", is the granddaddy of all space operas/fantasy saving princess and whatnot. This includes Star Wars. Also includes Avatar. Problem is, the original work was published in 1912. If anyone has trouble remembering when that is, it's exactly 100 years from the current year of 2012, and before the First World War (1914-1918). This book, originally published as "Princess of Mars" has been an inspiration for sh*tload of space operas and fantasy stories over the last century, and it has finally been made into a movie. The problem is, its offsprings already dominate the modern generation, and frankly, it's now out of place.
It is not a bad movie. Compared to Stanton's other works (freaking Finding Nemo and goddamn Wall-E), it does lack the charm, but nevertheless, it's not a bad movie. It's actually pretty good. As a time killer, it serves its job well, and overall, it's a good flick. The problem is, it's out of time. And what's even worse, you can't really blame anyone. Now that is just tragic.
Little off-topic, but interesting casting: three actors who played major roles in HBO's excellent ROME are all in here, albeit one of them lending just her voice. Also the main character of The Wire is one of the antagonist. Also one of my favourite actor Mark Strong leaves strong impression as usual. Good to see (and hear) all these great actors.
- For some reason, I really didn't find it all that intense. Maybe it was because I was trying to fend off a ridiculously big Sarranid army that got angry at me for capturing their sultan. But still, the whole premise was fresh, but I felt liked I was watching a non-Pixar 3D animation by Disney. I even liked Car. But Brave.... never captured me. Merida is cute, that's all.
This is a saddening movie for a Pixar fan, especially after Car 2. Pixar isn't what it used to be. It's a good sign that Dreamworks has been making genuinely good movies since Kung Fu Panda, and Despicable Me was an absolutely pleasant surprise, but Pixar needs to get themselves together. Brave is not bad. It's good. Hell, I would even go as far as great. But as a Pixar movie, it's not that good.
I will watch this again. Like I said, I was playing Mount and Blade at the same time (and was quite sleepy), so my second viewing may reveal many goodies I most likely have missed.
- The only reason I watched this is because of how hot Olivia Wilde looked on the theatrical poster. That was the only reason. I never watched the original Tron and I had (and have) no intention of watching it. I didn't even know what it was about.
Did I like it? Yes, but probably because of having little to no expectation. It is a good flick. Its story is not exceptional, but I never expected it to be anyway.
But it did have an astounding aesthetics. That couldn't be ignored. It may not be the best looking CGI ever, but it is definitely one of the most artistic in years. It's a feast in your eyes (in more way than one), and that's about it. But what it does, the visual aesthetics, it delivers. Whether or not you think a movie can stand on its own with just the artistic aesthetics, that is something each viewers will have to decide for themselves.
As for me, I liked it because Olivia Wilde was hot.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
- Another movie I did not even expect to be good. Well surprise. I actually liked it.
The action scenes are serviceable, the story makes sense for the most part (which is what I expect from movies like these anyway), and I really did not feel like it takes itself seriously. There were emotional scenes here and there, but they lasted short (or so I remember), and overall, it was a fun flick. Nothing more, nothing less.
Of course it won't be as good as the currently-on-theatres Lincoln by Steven Spielberg, but just thinking of this massive axe wielding president is a good distraction. And that's what all we ever expect from these movies. That's all what the producers and directors want us to ever expect from it. And does it deliver? For the most part.
- Feels like Phantom Menace without the Star Wars charm.
And that does not mean I enjoyed it.
31Oct 12According to my trusty Giantbomb list, I currently have 304 game under my ownership. How many have I actually played them? Surprisingly many. How many have I actually finished them? Unsurprisingly, not many.
I blame this on my mother and Steam.
Games I'm actually playing are: Pokemon White 2, Mount and Blade: Warband, and occasional dose of Pokemon Black
Bold ones are the ones I really feel guilty for not having finished yet.
Games I have started, but need to finish:
Bayonetta (on PS3 or 360, have both versions, probably will go for 360)
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2
God of War Chains of Olympus
Sakura Taisen 3
Hatsune Miku Project DIVA 2nd (I think. I still need to unlock some stuff IIRC)
Valkyria Chronicles II (now that I have my PSP running, I really need to get back on this)
Final Fantasy XIII
Record of Agarest War
Okami (want to play it, but don't remember the story, but I don't want to do that Mr. Orange segment again)
Muramasa: The Demon Blade
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (I KNOW I AM ASHAMED)
The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition (Includes OoT, MM, Zelda 1 and 2)
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons (Don't think cartridge works now though)
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Time (same with this)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Got this BEFORE THIS CENTURY STARTED. Still haven't finished)
Demon's Souls (Stuck in 4-1)
Metroid Prime Trilogy (now that I am actually into Metroid games, this is on my top list to play once I get my Wii back)
No More Hereos 2 (stuck with the biker boss)
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Battlefield: Bad Company
Tales of Symphonia
Little King's Story
Super Mario Sunshine
The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Shadow of Rome
Shadow of Colossus (I have the PS3 version as well now)
Resident Evil 4
Mario Kart Wii
Armoured Core: For Answer
Goldeneye 007 (remake on Wii)
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (both on PC and 360)
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Star Wars Battlefront II
Batman Arkham Asylum
Far Cry 2
Sid Meier's Civilization V (I did finish few games, but I really should play more of this)
NHL12 (Vancouver Canucks at least should win an imaginary 2013-14 season in a game...)
Medieval II Total War (someday, I will absolutely crush Milan to the point they are wiped off from the earth)
ICO (and SOTC)
Super Mario Galaxy
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Star Wars: Dark Forces
Gears of War
Crackdown (actually, I shouldn't finish this, this game isn't very good)
Forza Motorsports 4
The World Ends With You
LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Halo 2 (I need this. Like right now.)
Super Mario 3D Land (not really backlog, I play time to time, need to finish Special Worlds)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (I am a terrible person)
Mario Kart 7
Kid Icarus: Uprising
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusde (in a stalemate in the campaign)
Heroes of Might and Magic V
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Fable: The Lost Chapters
Full Spectrum Warrior
RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 (finish up this park I was making)
Battlefield 2 (should play more, I mean)
Games I haven't even started:
Sakura Taisen 1 (for some reason doesn't work on my PS2 -_-)
Sakura Taisen 5 episode 0
Sakura Taisen 5 (for some reason doesn't work on my PS2)
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (need to get Path of Radiance first)
Kingdom Hearts 2 (I keep forgetting that I actually have these two games -_-)
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Dragon Age Origins: Awakening
Little Big Planet
Rabbids Go Home
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Just Cause 2
Company of Heroes
Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor
Tropico 3: Absolute Power
Rome: Total War - Barbarian Invasion
Rome: Total War - Alexander
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
Medieval II Total War - Kingdoms
Dungeons and Dragons: Dragonshard
Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone
Balduer's Gate: Tales of the Sword Coast
Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn (I'm such a terrible person)
Balduer's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal
Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter
Icewind Dale II
Icewind Dale II: Adventure Pack
The Temple of the Elemental Evil
Neverwinter Nights: Shadow of Undertide
Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of Underdark
Neverwinter Nights: Kingmaker
Dark Souls (even bought at launch and still wrapped!!)
Max Payne 2: Fall of Max Payne
Empire Total War
Napoleon Total War
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction
X3: Terran Conflict
X3: Albion Prelude
Total War: Shgoun 2
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces 2
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Mysteries of Sith
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
Star Wars Jedi Knight III: Jedi Academy
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Gears of War 2
Halo 3: ODST
Gears of War 3
Red Steel 2
MGS Collection - Peace Walker
Tales of Vesperia
Project Gotham Racing 4
Kingdom Under Fire: Crusades
Batman Arkham City
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
World in Conflict
World in Conflict: Soviet Assault
Tom Clancy's Endwar
DEFCON: Everybody Dies
Saints Row: The Third
Europa Universalis III
Europa Universalis III: In Nomine
Europa Universalis III: Heir to the Throne
Europa Universalis III: Napoleon's Ambition
Europa Universalis III: Divine Winds
Hearts of Iron III
Hearts of Iron III: Semper Fi
Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland
Crusader Kings II
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Soulstorm
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Chaos Rising
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution
Heroes of Might and Magic V: Tribes of the East
Heroes of Might and Magic V: Hammers of Fate
Sins of a Solar Empire
Sins of a Solar Empire: Entrenchment
Sins of a Solar Empire: Diplomacy
Sid Meier's Civilization IV
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Swords
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Galactic Civilizations II
Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar
Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of Arnor
Star Wars Empire at War
Star Wars Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammers
King's Bounty: Armored Princess
King's Bounty: Crossworlds
King's Bounty: The Legend
Titan Quest: Immortal Throne
Rayman 2: The Great Escape
Beyond Good and Evil
Machinarium: Complete Edition
Uplink: Hacker Elite
Alan Wake: American Nightmare
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - Sith Lords
To the Moon
SimCity 4 Rush Hour
Age of Empires III
Age of Empires III War Chiefs
Age of Empires III Asian Dynasties
Thief: Deadly Shadows
Sid Meier's Civilization V: Gods and Kings
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30
Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood
Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway
Nexus: The Jupiter Incident
And there are a lot of games I started second playthrough and haven't finished that. Valkyria Chronicles being one.
I am a disgusting person. No doubt about that. I am ashamed.
29Oct 12I recently got into watching gameplay videos on Youtube again (since I really don't have any machine to properly play HD games right now), and one thing I did realized was how the storytelling through watching those game videos did not really feel different compared to the time I was actually playing them. Maybe it was because I have already played them and the experience reinforced through the viewing experience, but in the end, I could not let go of the thinking that watching cutscenes on Youtube really did not have much different feel compared to watching cutscenes during the actual gameplay.
Now, video games are under the broader category of entertainment media. This broad umbrella of cultural exploration contains other branches such as books, movies, TV shows, comics, documentaries, and god-knows-why, anime, etc. They are considered entertainment medium precisely because they provide entertainment. That can be through Michael-Bay-style blow-up-everything-and-hope-people-like-it to Dostoyepsky's in-depth look at life. As to which is better, that is entirely subjective. After all, everyone enjoys different kinds of entertainment. Some movies may have good action but does a poor job with story. Some books are incredibly difficult to read but have an unparalleled story. In the end, they all provide some sort of entertainment, and it eventually comes down to the individual audiences as to which form of entertainment they like.
However, what is and should be clear is that all of these "branches" have their own set of strengths and weaknesses compared to their siblings. And this becomes more apparent in a medium's way of handling stories.
It is my opinion that any form of entertainment media can have exceptionally good story. There is just no question about it. The quality of story itself is not and should not be determined by what form it is. What can matter, however, is the storytelling and what kind of story is more suitable to the storytelling of a certain medium. That, I believe, is rarely subjective, and mostly an universal understanding.
Let us take Watchmen as example. That series is the pinnacle of storytelling in comics. And it does so by emphasizing what comic does best; every panel is carefully constructed in a way that it means something. Then there is the movie version, which I actually quite liked. But was Watchmen a story that is fit to be a movie. Well, that is debatable. Some scenes were genuinely cool, it did have that nice cold-war-depressing atmosphere, but Watchmen really wasn't an action comic, but the movie was in a way forced to have some action scenes. Now it is possible to make Watchmen movie without actions, then again, you have to sit around for 3 depressing hours watching super heroes in tights without punching anybody. That is in a way, restriction of films: audiences of film are in a restricted environment (at least in theatres) where they have to watch the whole thing on one sitting. That is why when books or some other media translates to a movie, a lot of contents have to be cut out and the pacing has to be completely redone.
So, when we take this problem in to gaming industry, where the issue is much more apparent nowadays, we can see what is wrong with storytelling in games. In a nutshell, the problem is that mainstream games nowadays are far too relying on movies as their example of storytelling. And in a way, you can't really blame them, because the film industry used to be the biggest entertainment industry before gaming took over. What films do have while games don't is the amount of history and the subsequent formula for creating a well-paced storytelling. It is only natural that the game developers look to films as their model for making their story and deciding on how to approach the telling of the actual thing. Gaming really hasn't been around for too long, and if we limit its history to the point where the serious storytelling was actually needed, its history is even shorter. Combined with that, and the rapidly expanding industry, the way games work makes it near impossible to focus on storytelling alone. Because, in the end, where a game really matters is in the gameplay. Story can afffect the experience, yes, but not many games with great stories with bad gameplay end up being someone's favourite game, while on the other hand, it is very much possible to have a movie with very weak special effects and bad performances but with a significantly better story being someone's favourite film.
But video games are still entertainment media, and as far as I am concerned, all, and I mean all media are capable of delivering a solid story in a storytelling style that fits the medium in which it is presented. No one can argue that games cannot have a good story, because, hey, how will you do it exactly? The only reason it pales in comparison to other mediums in terms of stories is not because of the medium's own structural problem, but rather its short history making the developers oblivious to the techniques on how to successfully make a great game story and present them well. Therefore it is my firmest belief that games can indeed have great stories that matters; and to some extent, they have, with Planescape Torment as the brightest example.
What the gaming industry needs to do is to escape from the shadow of film influence. Games don't need to be like films, and in many cases, shouldn't be like films in first place. While many may find similarities between the two mediums, the differences are much clearer. The way the two are structured makes it impossible and, quite frankly, wrong to imitate each other.
Games are an interactive media. That is the most distinctive aspect of the medium compared to its other siblings. That interactivity grants the developers a tool of unprecedented scale when it comes to storytelling. In a way, it is a double-edged sword because it can turn out absolutely lackluster and not something that the developers have wanted in first place. But the interactivity does provide great deal of strengths. Immersion is one of them: essentially, when you are playing an RPG or FPS, you are in a role of a single character. While the movies have to go to a great distances to have its audience relate to its main character, games are much easier because the gamers are already the character they need to relate to, if done right. Then there is the absolute freedom of choice. You cannot employ branching storylines in other mediums, at least traditionally. Video game is the only medium where it is accepted as a genuinely good thing to do. And this leads to complete randomness in what the players can experience.
Every time you play FTL: Faster Than Light, you experience different story from the one before. While it may have the lack of directions that makes movies so compelling in first place, you cannot really say the complete freedom in what you do is necessarily a "bad way" of storytelling. If the game is good, it evokes imagination. You are not being told the story, but you are living it, and that is an experience no other medium can possibly achieve. And that is the strength of storytelling in gaming. That is also why so many games, especially RPGs, are so keen on making a well-structured lore, and have the players essentially play around in that story-wise, because well-made lore stimulates more imagination.
But the problem is that not a lot of gaming developers are actually getting that.
Now, I am not saying scripted events or cutscenes are bad. Actually, they can help immensely with storytelling. Sometimes, you do need some sort of scripted events or cutscenes to get more clarity on a situation, or just to give the world more character. But when you start telling your entire story through cutscenes or scripted events, then you get a problem. Now you are being told of the story, not living it. And while that is not necessarily bad in other mediums, for they can present them in far more effective way, in gaming, it just doesn't work. It just can't. The cutscenes have their limits, and unless it is something so awfully shocking, the cutscenes rarely remain in your head. Consider this: would you be more likely to remember a cutscene where your character shoots your friend to save your girlfriend, or an actual gameplay segment where you have to literally shoot (click your left mouse or press the right trigger) your friend or your girlfriend yourself. If you have any kind of logic, it would be the latter. That is because you are now completely in the game carrying out the segment yourself. It is not your character that is in the dilemma, it is you, the player, actually trying to decide which way is morally better, therefore, not only sharing your character's tragedy, but actually feeling it yourself.
That is why I hate Metal Gear Solid 4's way of storytelling. It was hour-long cutscenes everywhere. You are constantly being told what the story is in a fashion even film lovers would find exhausting. On the other hand, the last fist-fight with Liquid Ocelot was a very good example of doing it right because it had you playing the story.
Modern Warfare 2 had a segment called No Russian. While I do think the missions was completely unnecessary and much too forced (when you didn't skip it), I also do think it was the step in a right direction. You are not shown the bad guys doing bad things, you yourself did the bad thing. And that is why it was so shocking. Compare that to Modern Warfare 3's truck bombing sequence. You get no control of the guy you are controlling whatsoever. In fact, you don't even know who the f*ck he or his family are. You are shown, you are being told of what the hell is going on. Making them first person view does not change the fact you are being shown the goddamn plot point.
More extreme example would be Mount and Blade. I recently started the game and this game does not hold your hand. And I do not mean it is technically hard game to play (it is), but how it just pushes you into this big continent for you to explore without giving much direction. You can do pretty much anything, and there are no set goals. You can be a mercenary hero, a wealthy trader, a noble lord, and even a goddamn king. After playing it for a while, I started a new character, named Jacqueline, and set my goals instead. I had her character past set as a daughter of an improverished noble, and set her motive for her adventure as a personal revenge. Now, the game does not give you any person to kill (in fact, you can't really kill a named NPCs in this game, as far as I know), but I decided to set my own target anyway. This is the kind of imagination that you get from games. You don't set things yourself in movies or books, you are instead told who is the main character and what he is like. In games, you don't have to do that and that results in a very interesting stories.
Another thing you need to consider is that movies are 2 to 3 hours long when games are usually (and should be) much longer than that. Moreover, movies are meant to be watched entirely on one sitting, while games are not. This means you need to break up pacing differently compared to movies. Games drag on longer, and therefore, should have longer stories with slower-paced storytelling. This is completely opposite of movies, and when games imitate movies like this, the pacing gets in the way, resulting in a game that is significantly shorter than it should be.
Moreover, games have gameplay segments. These are segments where you actually play games. If you employ the classic film approach in storytelling, you cannot tell a story during these segments. So once a game imitates movies, it breaks up plot points, put them all in a cutscene or a heavily scripted events, and between them put some gameplay segments with no story in mind. The problem with this approach is that now you have story that is not flowing. Imagine watching Scarface, and every 10 minutes there is a long segment of Tony Montana shooting shotguns around mindlessly. That just does not wor in movies. But if you want to make a game like a movie, that is the only way it works. And it is bad. A really awful way of telling a story. No matter how excellent a game's story is, if it is told that way, the players will be constantly bothered by explosions and killings. Now, if it is a game that focuses on delivering action, it is okay. In fact, it is the prefered way of handling story because now you don't have to care about moral dilemma when blowing up aliens. But if a game is pretty serious about its story, things start to deteriorate.
Let us look at GTA IV as an example. Niko is a very complex character. He is troubled man from Serbia, betrayed by his friend, bitter, trying to help his f*cknut cousin, and is actually somewhat kind-hearted. He is also the worst mass murderer in the American history, because it seems like he loves going on a rampage killing people when he is bored. This kind of discrepancy is causes problems. GTA IV had a great story, it really did, but it also forces the player to murder hundreds, and quite frankly, Niko isn't a character that would do such a thing. Even if you don't go on a rampage, you will still stack up an impressive bodycount in the missions alone. That is because this is a game that you need to kill people. And since it is a game, the number of people you have to kill is multiplied because the more you kill, the missions become longer, and sizable missions usually mean a well-paced game. Is it a well-paced story? Not necessarily. It goes to the point where one can understand and feel for the characters much more when you actually just watch the cutscenes instead. And that is, to some degrees, very problematic way of handling a storytelling in games.
Audiologs are one of way of handling it, but it still feels much to forced as you are being told the story. The best way for a game to tell a story there fore comes down to actually letting the player handle things. Story needs to carry out not between the missions, but during the missions themselves. The more freedom you take away from players in a single player campaign, the more the game becomes are cheap knock-off of something it can never be. For the love of God, please let games be games. If we want to watch dumb explosions, we will go watching whatever Hollywood crap is on right now in the theatres. Games are called an interactive media for a reason. Let it stay that way, and, for God's sake please, let it grow that way. Do away with these movie-like bandwagon nonsense. It is cool to have them once in a while, but if the developers do not stop imitating movies instead of trying to discover what games can do to tell a story, this medium will never mature. So I ask again. Please.
20Oct 12Long time has passed since Microsoft Game Studios was actually a reliable name in PC gaming world. Now, when they think of Microsoft, they think of XBOX, they think of Halo, they think of Kinect, and they think about, well, not much else.
But there was time when Microsoft was great PC game developer. In fact, they were so great that people actually loved them. They would create games that we can only dream about nowadays. However, those games are long gone.
To me, Microsoft is like Activision in PC gaming. It is a bold claim, since the OS where PC games run on is from Microsoft, but other than that, Microsoft, more specifically Microsoft Game Studios, has been displeasing PC gamers for a long time.
I find your lack of PC love disturbing, MS
Now Activision, I don't hate them for milking Call of Duty every year. Sure, I think every iteration could use a little more inspiration other than from its predecessor and Michael Bay, but Call of Duty right now is doing what the first Call of Duty was intending to do from the very start; arcade shooter with film-like presentation, with equally arcade-y multiplayer. What really pisses me off about Activision is the ruining of so many franchises that used to be great before their Minus Hand touched them. Let's start with Tony Hawk: Do you guys remember Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2? It was f*cking awesome. I actually almost failed a grade during my elementary school because of that game. Then there is Guitar Hero. That game was actually great game until Guitar Hero 2, which was when Activision started to milk the hell out of it and the developer Harmonix just couldn't handle anymore so they went to EA and make Rock Band. Then there is little known Raven Software. You know what they made? First, Hexen. Then Star Wars Jedi Outcast. Original Soldier of Fortune games. X-Men Legends. And recently, Singularity. They were all good games, and as time passed on, Activision kind of forgot to market them to the gamers. Now they are stuck making Call of Duty map packs. Brilliant! And don't even get me started on Bizarre.
Killing this is as low as killing a rabbit. For no reason at all.
So what I mean by disliking Microsoft like how I dislike Activision is not with milking, but with forgetting their past franchises and running them down to f*cking oblivion (and few other things). And in an era where Steam has re-vitalized PC gaming, Microsoft still doesn't get what they have right now and focus on mediocre games on mediocre system (it's a goddamn 7 year old machine, for Christ's sake) using mediocre peripheral.
So here are more specific reasons as to why I, as a PC gamer, just can't bring myself to love Microsoft Game Studios like I did before
So many good old franchises, all forgotten
Age of Empires. Age of Mythology. Black & White. MechWarrior. Rise of Nations. Freelancer. Zoo Tycoon.
These are PC franchise that Microsoft owns. I didn't include Shadowrun or Perfect Dark even though they would be absolutely amazing on PC because they really aren't PC-only franchise. As for the quality of those above games, don't even f*cking get me started. Age of Empire and Mythology needs no explanation (and sadly the developer Ensemble got closed after being forced to make a f*cking console RTS), Black & White is the last great franchise Peter Molyneux managed to make, Rise of Nations a god-damn dope, Zoo Tycoon has motherf*cking dinosaurs, and Freelancer..... OHHH FREELANCER. SOOOO GOOOOOOD.
This was like, so goddamn f*cking good just.... OMGGG
Where are they now? Age of Empires is now an MMO with not even half the production value of AoE3. Mythology vanished into thin air. So did Black & White, and Peter Molyneux gave us the wonderful Fable 3. MechWarrior is an MMO as well. Rise of Nations developer is in the goddamn Kingdom of Amalur fiasco, Zoo Tycoon also vanished, and Freelancer died along with the open-world space sim genre (until very recently).
Microsoft has genuinely great game franchises that is fondly remembered by PC gamers, who probably will be willing to open their wallet for a good reboot or a sequel of those franchises. I'm not kidding. I would sell my f*cking XBOX for another Freelancer (provided that it isn't on 360) or Rise of Nations.
But Micrsoft continues to ignore this. They do not understand that they may have a potentially loyal and massive fanbase in PC gaming just waiting to be awoken. But they are not touching it. They may be thinking "oh no, those PC gamers might not play our 360 and Halo if we give them what they want!".Well f*cking great news for you guys, those PC gamers don't care about your Halo or 360 in first place.
Above: average console-hatin' PC gamer
The bigger problem is, they have forgotten all about it to the point that there really is no reason to even wish them making sequels to any of those games. What's worse, they aren't even selling the IPs so other talented developers can make them! Why! What the f*ck seriously!
But that is not the worst part.....
So many good old franchises, all forgotten.... even in Digital Distribution Services
That's right. You can't get any of those games on any DD services possible. And you can bet your ass that it's difficult to find a new, working retail copy of any of those games nowadays. You can't even buy them in Windows Live Market. There are 3 games on Steam published by Microsoft and they are Microsoft Flight, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, and Fable Lost Chapters. There are no Microsoft games on GoG.com, despite the studio's many "good old games".
Some of us don't even care about getting new sequels for those old games. In fact, who knows, they might even somehow make Zoo Tycoon an abysmal console-only Kinect title, if they are ever interested in making a sequel for it. But the problem is, they don't seem to be even slightly interested in putting those old games, good old games that PC gamers truly loved, on digital distribution services, which rarely require any substantial fees anyway. You don't need marketing, you don't even need to make the discs, and you don't even need to engage in business negotiations with third party if they are putting those games on their own motherf*cking sevices.
So what's the problem? I would say they are suffering the same syndrome as SEGA seems to be having: namely, the We-Don't-F*cking-Want-Your-Money Syndrome.
Yeah... This doesn't work with Microsoft. Rich bastards
Games For Windows Live, AKA Grotesque F*cked-up Whore-sucking Loser
Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. Sh*t. SH*T. JUST EAT MY LIVER OR SOMETHING.
Metaphoric representation of GFWL
In all seriousness, thank you very much for f*cking us PC gamers, Microsoft. Oh and I heard there is this new OS coming out that gives us sh*tty gaming environment. Brilliant!
20Mar 12For $130 + tax. 4GB edition. New.
Games I have:
- Gears of War
- Gears of War 2
- Lost Odyssey
- Fable 2
Games I will get:
- Halo CE Anniversary
- Halo 2
- Halo 3
- Halo 3 ODST
- Halo Reach
- Gears of War 3
- Tales of Vesperia
Steam ID: funsohng
Origin ID: funsohng
Gamespot ID: funsohng
13Mar 12I may write a full review down the road, but as with all my reviews, since they are far better written than, say IGN, and longer than most of EDGE reviews, it totally depends on how much I'm willing to sit down in front of computer writing.
- I liked gunplay in ME2, it wasn't the best thing in the world, but it was competent. But the powers were what really made the combat fresh on top of the gunplay. And ME3 is definitely better
- Combat is a bit faster too, and level design is a bit better, however little the difference is.
- Infiltrator is still kicking ass, but sadly not many synthetic opponents you can AI Hack. And no Dominate! Sad.
- Shotguns are actually not sh*t.
- More guns definitely make the combat more interesting. Love Raptor or scoped assault rifle.
- And you don't get weapon limitations like ME2! Replaced with weight system, which you can work around to fit your tactic of choice.
- ME2 had 12 squadmates, and ME3 has 7 squadmates. And no, I don't like having less squadmates.
- Enemies archtypes are increased, and the behaviours are vastly improved. Enemy AI still isn't something you would call excellent, but now the enemies coordinate each other.
- ex. Marauder gives armours to Cannibal, Cannibal eats its dead ally to regain health, etc
- All in all, if you liked ME2's combat, you will have a blast with this one
Rest of the gameplay
- Finally gets to visit 3 Council species' homeworld (kinda)! But none of them are hub worlds.
- In fact, you only get Citadel as a hub. Really disappointing.
- Fetch quests are still boring, and scanning isn't really improved either. It's changed, but not a step forward, but a step sideways.
- Journal is absolute sh*t. I have no idea which genius idea was it to make the Journal absolutely useless for quest tracking.
- How RPG (customizable) is this? If you didn't like ME1 or ME2 for lack of RPG-ness, you won't like ME3.
- However, if you liked ME2 but wanted more RPG-ness like ME1, ME3 is for you.
- ME3's RPG aspect is more expansive than ME2, but also bit more streamlined than ME1.
- Considering ME1 needed some streamlining anyway, it's a good thing. The customizations is easy to understand and actually matters this time. It's an evolution of ME2's system with hint of ME1 aspects sprinkled throughout.
- Don't kid yourself thinking it's a deep RPG experience, because it isn't, but it still is quite effective for those who want some meaningful customization without sacrificing bulk of time trying to hassle themselves with overwhelmingly various stats.
- There are pretty much 4 sections in the game: Prologue, Conflict #1, Conflict #2, The Finale.
- Prologue is a bit out of nowhere. Could've been better if started before the Reaper attack on Earth.
- Conflict #1 and Conflict #2 are amazing and emotional. Depending on choices, they reveal insights to the most interesting characters in the series, especially Conflict #1. Definitely high points of the game
- The first part of Finale (I mean from Thessia) is great. The second part of it is also great. Last ten minutes aren't great.
- The ending's theme is perfectly fine. The problem is it was executed badly.
- Also, I think I should tell you your decisions throughout the game does not affect the ending much.
- But they do impact to a significant degree in Conflict #1 and Conflict #2.
- The dialogues are step down definitely.
- I don't know how many times they use the line "No offense..... None taken." It's just annoying. I mean, who still says "none taken" nowadays.
- You will start hating kids after playing this game. GoW3 was ruined because of Pandora and her stupid hope, and now ME3.
- Javik (The Prothean from DLC) gives a big insight to the main storyline. Kinda shame since the mission he gives is so sh*tty that I have no idea how it got 10 bucks price tag. Without the cutscenes, it's shorter and more lame than a single bronze multiplayer session.
- Definitely suffers from Deux Ex Machina cliche. But the problem is, if they actually had Javik in the main game and have him integrated closely to the storyline, it could have been remedied to a significant degree. I just had to facepalm
- Overall, it's inconsistent. It has one of the best moments of the series, but also has the most wtf moments of the series as well. It feels like some parts were written by people who don't know wtf is going on.
- Still better than most of other stories like, say, Uncharted or, LA Noire.
- James Vega suffers from the traditional early-human-squadmate syndrome. Just like Kaiden, Ashley, Jacob, and Miranda (ok, maybe not Miranda, but she's still b*tchy at first), James is mildly interesting at best, and ignorable at worst
- Still far better than Kaiden or Ashley at least because of his playful personality.
- The new secretary isn't as awesome as Kelly
- Something awesome happens to EDI that will please both the fans of Tricia Helfer and Joker.
- Liara, Garrus, and Tali are back as squadmates.
- Javik is very very very interesting character for those who love the lore
- Engineer Donnelly and Daniels are also back, and that's a good thing
- Diana Allers (Jessica Chobot) looks ugly and sounds bad.
- Because it's the closure, some of the character's motivations are bit unclear unless you read the spin-off materials.
- All your ME2 squadmates are back in some form, with few of them being more important than others, and some of them make the most memorable segments of the game.
- Overall, ME2 had better characters. Really. In fact, ME3 doesn't really have many new characters to speak of.
- Oh, there was this new guy called Kai Leng (might be familiar to those who read comics and novels), and he's horribly annoying.
- Great. I like it. And I rarely like multiplayers.
- The game almost forces you to constantly use your power and weapon in conjunction.
- Importance of team work is there.
- I feel they should have made options on how many waves for each session. Sometimes I feel 11 waves a session is too long. Especially when you are unlucky and have to play with morons.
- Seems like each class/characters are balanced nicely.
- It also makes you employ significantly different tactics depending on the class/character AND the weapon you like to use (ex. stun+sniper, biotic+assault rifle, invisible+shotgun in the back, etc)
- The fact it does affect SP is a bit of bummer.
- May need more variety, maps, and characters, so I'm expecting DLC.
- Overall, if you like ME3 combat, check it out definitely. I don't know how, but they made it work.
- Bad animation, awkward modelling, standardized appearances, it's all there, as you expect from a Mass Effect game.
- Graphics engine shows its age, but still runs mighty fine on PC. If you don't have PC, you are playing it on a wrong system. Especially if you are playing it on PS3. God save you if you are playing it on PS3.
- The art direction is somehow worse than ME2. ME3 kinda lost the charm. Still great, but not as good as ME2.
- The most memorable musics from ME3 are (except for the one in the prologue) from previous games sadly.
- Cutscenes are great. I don't think none of them were as tight as Battle of Citadel in the first game, but still massive
- Kinda like how ROTS's Battle for Coruscant was epic and massive, but ROTJ's Battle of Endor was still better.
- Voice acting is also great for the most part. Except for Diana Allers.
- Like Mass Effect? Get it. Don't like Mass Effect? Stay away.
- Despite EA and Bioware's marketing department saying how "it's suitable for newcomers as well", it isn't.
Training my eevee team now. Can't wait to use Umbreon in action. I love how they are all so adorable!
Also trying to raise Chansey and Togekiss.
Could've been better. Shooting is still frustrating. Sometimes I was even thinking it would have been better if the most of the game was an interactive adventure game with little to no shooting.
6Sep 11Things I read/am reading
Kami Nori Zo Shiru Sekai [The World God Only Knows]
Hunter X Hunter
Yu Yu Hakusho
Mahou Sensei Negima [Magical Teacher Negima]
Akuma to Love Song [Devil and Love Song]
Shingeki no Kyojin
Sangatsu no Lion [Lion of March]
Honey and Colver
Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge [The Wallflower]
Kimi ni Todoke ARIA
Luck Star (stopped)
Cupid no Itazura series (Kono S wo Miyo, Sakuranbo Syndrome, Nijidama, Ore x Yome, etc)
Hayate no Gotoku [Hayate Combat Butler]
Hozuki-san Chi no Aneki
Hotaru no Hikari
Tanabata no Kuni
Kagami no Kuni no Harisugawa
20th Century Boys
To Love-Ru Darkness
Habaek eui Shinbu [Bride of the Water God]
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia [Twilight Maiden x Amnesia]
Ao no Exorcist
Mahoutsukai no Musume
Kaichou wa Maid-sama
Nurarihyon no Mago
Shoukoku no Altair
Ichinensei ni Nacchattara
Medaka Box (stopped)
Eden no Ori (stopped)
Katekyo Hitman Reborn! (stopped)
Hokuto no Ken [Fist of the North Star]
Kare naru Shokutaku (Addicted to Curry)
Hikaru no Go
and countless other mangas I missed
Dragon Age: Origins "Sacred Ashes"
Dragon Age II "Destiny" (extended)
Mass Effect 3 "Earth" VGA Announcement Trailer
Star Wars The Old Republic "Deceived" E3 2009
Star Wars The Old Republic "Hope" E3 2010
Star Wars The Old Republic "Return" E3 2011
Killzone 2 CGI Target Render E3 2005
Killzone 2 CGI Opening
Killzone 3 CGI Opening
Halo 3 TV Spot
Halo 3: ODST Live Action Trailer
Halo Reach "Deliver Hope" (Extended)
Halo Wars CGI Trailer
Assassin's Creed II E3 2009 Trailer
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood E3 2010 Trailer
Assassin's Creed Revelations E3 2011 Trailer
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier "Future War" Live Action Trailer
Ghost Recon: Future Soldier E3 2011 Trailer
Square Enix (+ Eidos)
Final Fantasy XII Opening Cinematic
Final Fantasy XIII E3 2008 Trailer
Final Fantasy XIV E3 2009 Trailer
Final Fantasy Versus XIII TGS 2010 Trailer
Deus Ex Human Revolution Cinematic Trailer (Director's Cut)
Tomb Raider E3 2011 Trailer
Diablo III Cinematic Trailer
World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade Cinematic Trailer
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Cinematic Trailer
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cinematic Trailer
Starcraft II Announcement Trailer
I like Ubisoft ones most, the Revelations trailer was amazing.
I forgot a few like From Software or Relic, but whatever.
14Jun 11When it comes to inFAMOUS series, I need to confess, I may be a little biased. After all, the first game was my second favourite PS3 exclusive game, and definitely most favourite when it came to Sony first party products for the console. God of War III failed in outshining its predecessor, God of War II, and Uncharted 2, while a great game, felt like a generic summer Hollywood blockbuster that leaves a big empty feeling after the experience. Killzone series and Resistance series are both great, but in the end, they are designed to be typical shooters and consequently, feels like other shooters in the market, albeit their above-average quality and production value. But with the first inFAMOUS, Sucker Punch literally sucker-punched (pun intended and I admit, it's bad) its fellow first party companies with something truly out of ordinary. And inFAMOUS 2 does not disappoint.
Take that, Naughty Dog!
In a broader perspective, inFAMOUS series belongs in the familiar sandbox genre, but how it manages to differentiate between itself and the others in the genre is quite astonishing. The game essentially tells a story of Cole MacGrath, an ordinary guy living in Empire City (the game's version of New York City) gaining electrical superpowers amidst a city-wide quarantine and violent chaos. In the second game, after a quite shocking revelation at the end of the first game, Cole prepares for the eventual arrival of The Beast, his arch-nemesis, and goes on in attempt to fulfill his destiny.
What inFAMOUS 2 continues to do from the first game is the superhero comic book feel. It does not necessarily tries to make fun of it or use it as a stylish visual presentation, but as the thematic backbone of the story and in the end, a bulk of the gameplay. While the visuals of the game generally avoid cartoonish approach other than some NPC and enemy designs, if one looks at the specific moments from the game, it is definitely a graphic-novel-inspired game with its larger-than-life scale, strong and define characters, and unique twists scattered throughout under its quirky ambiance, and due to its excellent execution, the presentation shines throughout the game. It is noticeably lighter than the original, but not for the worse.
Cocaine. It's a hell of a drug.
The story of inFAMOUS 2 is fairly simple: you meet The Beast at the very first stage of the game, you somehow manages to escape, and now you are in New Marais (the game's version of New Orleans) to gain more powers and be strong enough to defeat the inevitable arrival of your nemesis. The recurring theme of destiny (much hinted in the first game as well), a clearly designated enemies, and the strong presence of the main character keep the plot free of convolution, while the surrounding plots and characterization give the depth the story needs without straying too far from the basic plot, and together, they build up to a surprisingly ambiguous moral choice at the end.
Kuo is for the most part a likable character, Zeke also being quite helpful and also amicable this time, while the players can feel sympathy towards Nix for her backstory. Bertrand may not be the villain Kessler was, but through a series of dead drops and the conversations during the last encounter, he fulfills his role as a morally twisted and confused ambitious businessmen. Cole MacGrath himself has seen a few makeovers, but in this writer's opinion, it was mostly for the better. inFAMOUS 2's leading character Cole retains that gritty sound while being slightly more humourous and significantly more expressive, and it is quite easy to see his increased maturity through his actions and dialogues, which is an understandable consequence from the ending of the first game. So far, I have unlocked only one ending, but it is definitely a worthy ending, and while it is not as shocking as the first game, it still ties up most of the loose ends without feeling too rushed.
Yes, yes, that s*** is in the ending.
Perhaps, however, the most noticeable improvement over the first game is the graphics. While the first game received many praises, not a single one of them were because of the graphics, and quite literally, the game looked disappointing back then, and downright ugly in today's standards. It had very limited colour palette, the building designs were generic, and the enemy designs, while there were some very interesting ones, were mostly forgettable. The technical issues plagued the game as well, from texture pop-in to unstable frame-rates. Sucker Punch seems like it has received those criticisms with open heart and in the sequel, their efforts to remedy those shortcomings are evident. New Marais is definitely more colourful city than Empire City ever was. It still has that same dirty feel to it, but the improvements are visible. The only gripe would be the enemy designs which are still very generic comic book thugs and monsters, but the entire graphical quality, including pop-ins, textures, modelling and other various graphical effects are significantly better and is enough to not get in the way of the most gamers, sometimes even reaching the level of "beautiful".
Then again, New Orleans is just prettier city than New York ever was.
As for the gameplay, it feels very similar to its predecessor, with few noticeable tweaks. The first inFAMOUS had superb controls for basic mechanics from combat and platforming, and the second inFAMOUS just tightens its predecessor's work. The floaty and sticky air controls are still there but feels more refined, while grinding power lines and gliding in the air are still as great as ever, but with more speed. The combat is still fast, tight and responsive, and while climbing walls could have use more improvements, it still works and there are a lot less buildings where climbing would give you headaches.
The main difference between the first game and the sequel is not what has changed but mainly what has been added. There are a lot of powers and additions making Cole's travel significantly faster, from Ice Launch and Lightning Tether to vertical power lines and enhanced gliding technique, it really makes going around New Marais not only easier, but fun. There aren't a lot of sandbox games where platforming is not only fun, but spectacular. Just Cause 2 and to some extent the first inFAMOUS and Prototype may meet the requirements, but none of them gives the player the same degree of satisfaction when it comes to traversing around the game world as much as inFAMOUS 2 does.
This guy can jump off a building and survive.
In that sense, the creative talents at Sucker Punch seems to have a clear idea of what kind of game they are producing with inFAMOUS 2: giving the player massive powers to make the game world as their own "playground". This ideology is evident in may of the game design choices; to start with, the game world feels like it is integral in providing gameplay satisfaction rather than fulfilling visual expectation. For example, New Marais introduces a unique environment called the "Flood Town", and in this self-explanatory sector of the city, Cole faces a very interesting situation: most of the town is flooded, making it harder for Cole to travel since touching water will make Cole to be electrically discharged, giving him critical damage. However, Cole's electric powers get a strong bonus as firing a single bolt at the water will instantly kill any enemies (or citizens) in the same pool of water as well. This kind of environmental factors, coupled with the fact that the game is truly open world and there is no single route of accomplishing a mission, makes New Marais, while not necessarily beautiful, a huge "playground" for players, and this ultimately enhances the core experience of playing as a superhero to an unprecedented degree.
One other equation in making a superhero game is having the main character who is, well, super. The first inFAMOUS had an impressive catalogue of electrical powers, but the sequel easily quadruples it. There are different versions of lightning bolts now, with longer-range Artillery Bolt, a powerful but slow Magnum Bolt, and machine-gun-equivalent Bolt Stream, while the shockwaves also come in different formats with GameStop pre-order exclusive Lightning Hook (which is quite useless once you get Gravitational Blast) and Shatter Blast. There are also number of grenade types and rocket types, plus the ability to lift cars and other object to through them at the enemies, and all of these require battery core, which drain up quite quickly if you are spamming powers, giving another strategic depth as to where to recharge your electricity.
Energizer >>>>> Duracell
Massive attacks like Lightning Storm from the first game makes a return, but it is also diversified into Ionic Vortex, Ionic Freeze, Ionic Drain, and Ionic Storm (equivalent of Lightning Storm). These big powers uses ion charges rather than the ordinary bolts restricting excessive usage, but the ion charges spawn frequently while on a mission to never really feel too limited. All these powers can be interchanged within their respective power types, giving the player far bigger arsenal than before. The swapping can be done by pressing right on d-pad to access powers menu, or by pressing left on d-pad for an instant change, and while the latter takes a while to get used to, once the player gets the hang of it, it provides a faster way of changing powers then a standard normal weapon wheel in other games, and is intuitive enough to mix different powers in a single combo. The system isn't perfect, but it works and keeps complexity to minimum for the controls to remain comprehensive.
Added to this comes revamped melee system. With the first inFAMOUS, melee was always left for the very last resort due to poor targeting and its overall ineffectiveness, but with inFAMOUS 2, the Amp becomes an essential weapon the Cole can depend on during his close quarter combat, which, due to enemy behavioural variety, is far more frequent than it was in the predecessor. The camera system is still wonky, perhaps even more so, during inFAMOUS 2's melee, and you are constantly harassed by walls and other polygons getting in your way as Cole does his finisher, and targeting system still needs to be refined. However, the overall melee combat is still fine enough to not hamper the the experience, and in fact it gives that another option in the player's arsenal. Moreover, once you get an ability to fully charge your battery core every time you perform a finisher, the melee becomes a crucial aspect of the combat as Cole is thrown into non-electric environment increasingly and needs to perform these finishers to instantly refill his batteries, giving another depth to the combat.
An electrified cricket bat. Goes well with that Union Jack jeans. Like.
The game progression haven't changed much, however. You still get 30 to 40 story missions plus the side quests which can be done during the story or after the completion. There are still good and bad missions, but this time, instead of doing random things ordered by the police or Sasha, each karmic missions are entitled with the representing heroine aiding you in the quest, with good side missions being led by Kuo, while the evil side missions are being handled by Nix. While it is disappointing that you cannot summon them anytime to help you as a sidekick, they appear enough to be memorable and keep the action refreshing. The normal side missions feel more varied than original, and there are generally less frustrating.
This trend continues to the main missions as well. The first inFAMOUS already did a fine job in level designs, with expertly placed enemies on the map that force you to explore the surrounding environment and find unconventional route to the goal, and with the sequel, it is no different. You might find running into an alley with a machine gun turret head-on extremely challenging, while alternatively climbing the building next to it and attacking from above would give you significant advantages, for instance. Or, you might try luring the enemies to a place with lots of parked cars, and start throwing them around. Or, you might want to knock them off to the nearest pool of water to perform an easy mass murder. These are some of the examples how inFAMOUS 2 cleverly integrates the city of New Marais into the level designs, as mentioned above, to force the players to think before going berserk shooting bolts of lightning everywhere.
.... like this guy who invaded a neutral country single-handedly
In addition to these environmental factors, even though Cole's power has been increased, the game still manages to be challenging and balanced by simply giving more and bigger enemies (with armour). These huge enemies needs much more firepower than usual and while these semi-bosses keep you busy, smaller minions constantly harass you from back with their sub-machineguns, which are just as lethal as it was in the first game, ultimately forcing to be on your toes constantly. However, these enemies almost never feel overpowered as you are constantly provided with bigger abilities in cleverly paced intervals. Furthermore, each faction has radically different behavioural patterns, with the Militia being the standard run-and-gun enemies, the Corrupted being melee-heavy monsters, and the Vermaark 88 being the enhanced version of the Militia with both gun and ice powers, and this variety encourages players to constantly change their tactics. Coupled with special sequences during main missions on various vehicles, the big role of environmental factors, more powers, varied enemy types and patterns are what makes inFAMOUS 2's level design so sublime, and it is enough to keep the combat fresh from start to finish, while also giving that sense of "superpower" to the players while not having them feel "overpowered".
But still more powerful than this guy ever will be. Ever.
The karmic choices are more frequent in the game as well. Frequently, you are placed in a position where Kuo tells you to do the right thing while Nix tells you to do things your way, like shoulder angels, and rather than making small decisions such as "free this guy or leave him", it usually changes how the mission plays entirely, giving you more reason to actually play both routes. Moreover, the random events are more systemic and clearly varied as well, such as stopping kidnappers, defusing bombs, or mugging someone's blast shards, and while there could have been more variety to it, it does give the player more chance to be the bad guy while giving the world the liveliness it desperately needed. The overall Karmic system may feel superficial, it fits its over-the-top comic book atmosphere well, and it provides significant differences in gameplay between the two polar routes for the second playthrough to be relevant, with different powers, different missions, and a different ending. All in all, while the system is not emotionally engaging at all, it does its intended job of clearly distinguishing between the good path and evil path, and besides, in a world where Mass Effect series is hailed for its "depth" in choice system, to call inFAMOUS's karmic system laughable is, to this writer's opinion, hypocritical.
At least Dragon Age II lets you become a f***ing dragon.
inFAMOUS 2's one playthrough lasts around 20 hours. However, there are still more blast shards to collect (this time, it's easier and a lot less frustrating), dead drops to find, side missions you have missed, and an entirely different playthrough. Plus, the UGC missions gives even more contents as the toolset provided by the developers are flexible enough to create a mission that is just as complex and well-designed as the actual missions, while also providing some wildly strange concepts such as Space Invader type games. The filter system isn't perfect, but it is undeniable that the feature provides a significant after-game contents that will keep you entertained for a long time.
The easiest way to describe inFAMOUS 2's design philosophy is "addition", rather than "change", and to be fair, for this game, it is not such a bad thing. The original inFAMOUS had so few glaring flaws in gameplay that Sucker Punch understandably focused on fine-tuning the original mechanics and adding tons of new features that still exists within the boundary of the fundamental rule of the game. Whether this template would work in the next game of the series remains to be seen, but as of now, inFAMOUS 2 is a killer sequel that provides everything the fans of the first game wanted, and in the end, it is safe to say that the series' reputation as one of the best superhero game in the market is not only kept, but has become even stronger.
Alright, game on.
30May 11Insecure Gamespot is insecure. If you mod implied masturbation joke for possible offensiveness, just about any sarcastic remarks should be modded as well. Mods nowadays just doesn't have a set standards (well they never did), it's all over the place. It's disgusting. It's utterly offensive to its users, and thinking about just how much insecure this site is makes me sick. And they still haven't fixed union forums, normal forums are glitching out, blogs are still inconvenient as hell, to add a few. And they still haven't modded that f***** who trash-talked in my blog even after I reported him (and I can't even delete the comments in my own f***ing blog)
Anyways, back to review.
I admit, L.A. Noire has been on my wish list for quite a while. After Red Dead Redemption, my expectation skyrocketed, understandably due to the restored capacity for quality Rockstar showed after somewhat massively disappointing GTA IV, and this game, although not developed by Rockstar in-house studio, the name meant a lot. I was also craving for a good detective adventure action, a genre often too niche to see mainstream fame. And it finally was released on May 17th, achieving stellar sales as any game from Rockstar is expected to have: but is it actually good enough, that question is more than simply looking at the numbers.
Doesn't mean s***
First, the production is top-notch, as expected. The city is absolutely huge, the voice acting is second to none, the facial expressions, as advertised, real-life-looking. The cinematics are well done, and characters are believably portrayed through both the each actor's own talent, as well as authentically sounding dialogues, and the interface is reminiscent of its 50's noir look. The graphics leave much to be desired, but the production itself is just too captivating to forget about shortcomings of that department once you are delved into the world of L.A. Noire.
The story, not just the dialogues, is enough to draw you in. It moves in three methods, the in-game cutscenes, Cole's own flashback during war time, and Newspaper flashbacks which are collected through, well, finding newspapers that are conveniently located within your investigative locales around the City of the Angels. At first, they seemed to have no connections whatsoever, until later half of the game where the game really picks it up and brings those three stories together into somewhat unsatisfying, but nonetheless a great conclusion. The characters themselves are also bit stiff at first, with Cole pushing forward his borderline JRPG syndrome of "do-everything-good" naitive, until later in the game where characters open up a bit and Cole shows his inevitable emotional mistakes as a conspiracy theory that actually sounds like a conspiracy reveals itself. Ending may leave a lot of gamers wanting a more satisfying conclusion, yet it still is decent enough and ties up various loose ends that once seemed a bit too much earlier in the game. Just be aware that there are few characters in the game who just don't get what they deserves, and let's hope Rockstar at least releases a set of cases as a DLC to finish them off.
The pacing of the story, while mostly consistent, stagnates on the half-way point. The most of the traffic and homicide cases are, while somewhat intriguing, mostly repetitive and have little connection with the overall plot. It is during the Ad Vice cases where L.A. Noire truly opens up. And one of the reason it does is partly due to the story, and partly due to confusing and unsatisfying interrogation segments being suppressed in favour of action and clue-findings.
Here is where L.A. Noire just doesn't meet its mark, and sadly it's the part the developers emphasized so much during their interviews: the interrogation. To call L.A. Noire a "detective" adventure is a little difficult in that it rarely achieves that specific gameplay satisfaction during the said segments. Clue-gathering are handled great through mix of subtle music ques and vibration, and cruising around the crime scene looking for clues makes you feel like an actual detective. Clues you find are recorded in your less-than-helpful notebook, which you can consult with to remind yourself the evidence which hardly is descriptive enough to actually tell you the specific details you might sometimes need.
Might as well as use this piece of s***
This uninformative notebook unfortunately plays a pivotal role in unsatisfactory interview sections, where the lack of knowledge can stop you from getting that desired 5-star rating for your case. There are a bit too many instances where you miss some of the answers to the questions because you forgot what the evidence signified, thus ruining the case. But these concerns are feeble compared to how the actual questioning is handled.
The main problem with L.A. Noire's handling of inquiries is that it is too streamlined. Often we think stripping down game mechanics make games easier, but seldom you see streamlining taken too much to the point the game is downright confusing. Once your witness or suspect makes a statement, you have three options: Truth, Doubt, Lie. Truth is self-explanatory, but it is the difference between Doubt and Lie the newcomers start throwing their controllers around. The extensive in-game tutorial interestingly does a poor job of differentiating them, and it takes a while for first-timers to understand that Doubt actually means verbal threatening, while Lie means you have to present an evidence to support Cole's claim that Cole is yet to make.
Bet Phelps loves Enchantment soup
Even if you come to realize the differences between the two, it hardly makes it more comprehensive since you have no idea what Cole is going to say. Too many times would the game leave you with three seemingly simple choices against a very suspicious claim, and choosing Doubt would result in overdrive of Cole's threatening manner, or accusing the witness of something bizarre to the point he or she hardens. Or, selecting Lie would prompt Cole to make his statement which are to be supported by the evidences that the player presents, and often Cole's statements are, in many cases, something that player does not expect to the point the game becomes frustratingly unpredictable. It worked in Dragon Age II where all the dialogue options were pretty much Good, Sarcastic, and Bad; but not in L.A. Noire, where the actual content of the questions is crucial. The game pushes this flawed concept forward so aggressively however, to the point where it is not unnatural to think that your investigation crew is not just two of you and your partner, but actually three: the Player, Cole (the guy who poses weird questions), and his Partner (the guy that drives and does nothing else).
LIKE DA BOSS
What is even more sad about this shortcoming is that everything around this supposedly core mechanic is fine-tuned. The evidences all look extremely convincing and requires a lot of thought in processing them, any time you do not have to yell out "Truth, Doubt, Lie" the cutscenes are subtly informative and contribute much to the both ambiance and the case. Moreover, the cases can turn out differently through your choices and sometimes more hidden clues can be found. It is a joy pulling out little bits of string to solve a mystery, provided that you guessed all the questions correctly. But due to the unsatisfactory inquiries system, there are too many cases where you are awarded 1 or 2 stars to the point it leaves you confused, while if you do get 5 stars, the satisfaction is reduced because in many cases you relied on frowning faces of the suspects rather than their actual claims to select between Truth, Doubt and Lie.
Unlike its adventure counterpart, the action segments are exciting, fluid, and satisfying. The gun-handling works well, and while there is no way to reload your guns (or to see how many bullets you have left), the action segments are brief enough to make that feel realistic, rather than restrictive. The on-foot chases flex Cole's supposedly high school track team skills, while car chases are definitely the high points of the game with spot-on car controls and convincing damages on the vehicles. Whenever the game hits low-point with driving from A-to-B segments, the game lets you skip them by letting your partner do the drive (and frankly, that's all they are good for). The minimap doesn't give you the recommended routes like Red Dead Redemption or GTA IV, but due to fast-travel, you rarely notice. Overall, anything outside of ordinary detective work is convincingly crafted and well executed.
It could have used more EXPLOSIONZZZ, though.
And that is all there is to L.A. Noire; around 20-hour experience of inconsistent quality, once you are done your cases, there are little incentives to go back unless you want to 5-star all your cases. Other than 40 action-oriented brief dispatch calls that acts as side quests like Strangers mission in GTA IV or Red Dead Redemption, there is hardly a reason to go around this beautifully (but perhaps not as lively as other games as the public reactions are very limited) crafted city, which is a shame. Being a cop, you won't be able to wreck havoc in the city as you cannot even pull out your gun anywhere and shoot the poor pedestrian next you, or face oncoming waves of lawmen come to take your bounty. And once you achieve the 5-star rating for all your cases and do all of the side missions, other than achievements/trophies which look pretty easy to begin with, the game offers not much a reason to come back. Knowing Rockstar, the game may get a slick expansion pack, but until then, L.A. Noire is strictly a finite gameplay experience.
What L.A. Noire tries to do is bold: its attempt at partially non-linear detective game that even lets you choose the criminal of your case, meticulously crafted city, impressive use of motion capture, and a story that is elaborately layered and well-told, to name a few. It is not a bad game at all; it is, quite literally, a well-made game with many memorable moments. But it is at its core mechanic of interrogating that it fails and that unfortunately hampers the entire experience. The unsatisfactory outcomes of interviews, which are amplified by cumbersome autosave system and the frustrating absence of loading checkpoints option, the entire game leaves a bit of bitter taste even after you come to what is also a bit unsatisfying conclusion.
The game is surprisingly self-aware
Here's to hoping that the sequel won't disappoint.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
I know. I just made you s*** your pants
- I don't think I need any explanation for this really.
- Zelda games aren't spectacular; they are spec-f***ing-tecular.
- Graphics, non-movie-like presentations can certainly drive people off. Heck, it rarely has any good story anyway.
- The reason Zelda games are so appealing to me is the fact the level designs just... sucks me in. It's timeless.
- I'm not sure how this will turn out, honestly, but I'm sure it will still be as good as Twilight Princess.
- which, despite what people said, was very satisfying experience nonetheless.
- Probably, 50% of people who bash TP are extremely picky or elitists, and the other 50% haven't played the game anyway.
- Sadly, I can't play any Wii games in my current claustrophobic setup.
The Last Guardian
Tastes very good
- This... looks interesting.
- I love this kind of platforming, puzzle-y kind of games.
- The art directions looks superb as well.
- I do own SOTC, but I'm waiting for ICO Collection so I can play it without feeling like I'm watching a slideshow.
- By the way, of course ICO Collection is on my wishlist too.
Above: My little friend.
- I love adventure games, Ace Attorney is by far one of my favourite games of all time (in fact, I'm replaying them again)
- I did love Red Dead Redemption. Did like GTA4, but not as much. Ballad of Gay Tony was insanely awesome, however.
- I do understand it will focus less on open world like Mafia 2, but hey, I loved Mafia and Mafia 2.
- The facial expressions look phenomenal.
- The game mechanics of "doubt, lie, truth" are kinda worrisome, but I'm sure they figured something out.
- I'm more fan of Hong Kong noir than the original film noir of 50's but hey, I don't mind.
- Curious to see how they will make a game of playing cop interesting (and it certainly looks interesting for now)
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Every single time I take a plane this s*** happens. sigh
- I liked all Uncharted games, especially the second one.
- To me, they feel like.... Call of Duty.
- I get intensely sucked into CoD games at first playthrough, and they get quite lame afterwards.
- Uncharted..... lasts longer than CoD, I guess. Better paced too, in case of the second one.
- Can't wait to see absolutely gorgeous graphics again.
- As a fan of Lawrence of Arabia, I'm curious what they will do. Probably not much relations to the movie though.
- I do love Helen Mirren-like villain. Very fitting.
- Hopefully they won't have anymore supernatural crap, but doubtful.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
US Army, looking for innovative ways to kill you since 1775
- I started the series with GRAW, so simplifying things don't concern me.
- The gadgets look very interesting.
- This game has everything: A US army with gun. Helicopters. Bad Russians. Invisibility. Robots with guns. Name value. etc.
- And yet, no one cares about this game.
- Needz moar infoz
F*** YEAH!! Let's get KILLED AGAIN!!
- ..... need to finish Demon's Souls
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I'm a man with cool sunglasses, now buy me a drink.
- My entry to the series
- Digging the cyber punk art direction
- Hopefully PC version will be kicking ass.
Mass Effect 3
Shepard burns the Earth
- F*** YEAH MASS EFFECT 3
- LIARA IS THE MAIN HEROINE OF THIS GAME
- ALL YOU BIOWARE HATERS GO HATE ALL YOU WANT BECAUSE THIS IS F***ING MASS EFFECT 3
The Witcher 2: Assassin's of Kings
- Playing through The Witcher 1 right now, half way done Chapter 4 or so.
- TW1 is a great game, TW2 looks even better.
- TW1, people say it's unpolished (even with EE) and has boring quests and boring combat (which is why quests are boring)
- The thing about TW1 is that its quests are masterfully laid out.
- For the most part of the game, each main quests occur concurrently and are intertwined in various ways
- And that intertwining differs on how player decides to play (which quest to do first).
- And that in turn, gives different telling of a same story. Very interesting way of storytelling. love it.
- TW2 will have more of that, and more deviations with 16 endings.
- With better combat, cinematics, various gameplay mechanics, and bigger scale of story.
- I need this in my hands NOW
- Of course, a new PSU and GFX card needs to be installed first... (and hopefully my dual core will hold on to it...)
Cole is still a jerk who blows up other people's cars
- inFamous 1 was my favourite PS3 exclusive after Valkyria Chronicles
- And you know how much I loved Valkyria Chronicles
- And there is your answer to how much I am hyped for this massively improved sequel
El Shaddai: Ascension of Metatron
- At first, I was WTF, then I saw this.
- Presence of Man-God aside, this game looks SICK
- Perhaps one of the most artistic game EVER.
- Combat system looks intuitive, simple, but deep and challenging.
- The art director of Okami as director, a lot of dev team members from Devil May Cry team. 2nd "Platinum"?
- Probably will be better than that new "DMC".
13Feb 11I'm legal now, time to drink. God why is every drink so expensive in Canada.
anyways, to commemorate my 4th moderation back to level 38 and its dreadful title, DJ Boy, here are my former sigs and avy!
I used to use user bars when I first started GS forums, then I got influenced by Silvur's way of sigging, so I changed to the current form that now everyone seems to recognize!
Either I forgot what this was and lost it during computer formatting, or it was the userbars I've been using.
Misao from Lucky Star. This was back when I still watched and liked animes. Now, I just don't find them appealing anymore, other than Maria Holic season 2 which will air this April. I used this avy for like... 2 years or so.
But I still like Misao :3
During the Bakemonogatari craze in the summer of 2009. She's Senjougahara Hitagi, the main heroine from the novel/anime.
I used the first gen avy for awhile, then I changed to this.
She's Ueto Aya, a Japanese actress, one of my favourite (I still like Ayase Haruka more though...)
This was the during DRRR!! craze. Come to think of it, I still have to finish it.
Orihara Izaya from Durarara. Voiced by the same guy who did the voice for main character in Bakemonogatari.
~4th Generation: World Cup Edition
This is when I started changing sig very occasionally, just this last June. The sig is Korean flag and and the right is the famous placard arrangement during 2002 World Cup Semi-finals, when Korea finished 4th. It says "Dreams come true," since Korea, before 2002, never one a single match in World Cup finals, and they got to semis.
Btw, we sucked in 2010. We got to elimination rounds purely as luck.
Park Ji Sung, who plays for Manchester United. He's considered Asia's finest player for now, and the best Asian player since Cha Bum, who was literally a legend during 70's German Bundesliga. You can actually play as Cha Bum in Classic XI in FIFA11.
Sig celebrating Mizuki Nana's 8th studio album "IMPACT EXCITER" release in July 2010. The album is great one, felt little lacking compared to last year's "ULTIMATE DIAMOND", but still great. I actually bought the album when I was in Tokyo last summer. I recommend it to anyone who like J-POP.
From her single "Trickster" poster. By far the best single Mizuki Nana has ever produced.
Sig celebrating K-Ballad singer Zia's comeback after long absence due to her fatal car accident in 2009. The comeback did not disappoint, I used to listen to this in a loop for much of August and September.
I made 3 versions of the sig, and had it hosted on a multi-image hosting site so it would load randomly out of those three.
Same with the sig.
~7th Generation: 1st Edition
Sig celebrating Girl's Generation's second single "Gee" in Japan in October 2010.
Took a while to find a picture that had Hoyeon look at least normal....
Tiffany from Girl's Generation. My favourite from the group.
~7th Generation: Halloween Edition
For Halloween, Girl's Generation and 2PM collaborated in an event which escapes my memory. The guy in the middle is called Nickhun, probably the only boy idol that I like just by looks. You will see him again later. The girl in the middle is Yoona, my second fav member of SNSD.
Same as before.
~7th Generation: Hoot!
Sig celebrating the release of SNSD's 3rd mini album "Hoot!" in November 2010.
It sucks, so don't bother trying to get it, really.
Same as before.
~8th Generation: Holiday Edition
Holiday edition with K-POP group T-ARA. The image is actually last year's "Bo Beep Bo Beep" Christmas Edition.
Ji Yeon from T-ARA, who, despite being very cute, is under very big internet webcam scandal.
~Alternate 1st Gen: Holiday Edition
Nickhun from 2PM.
I personally don't like 2PM myself, 2AM, however, is awesome.
Nickhun isn't Korean, btw.
Sig celebrating Mizuki Nana's 31st birthday on 21st of January 2011. The image is from her 22nd single "Silent Bible".
This image is actually from her LIVE FIGHTER BLUESIDE x REDSIDE DVD in 2008, but photoshopped to have similar colour balance.
Sig celebrating the supposed Brown Eyed Girls 4th studio album release in March 2011. The members are from left: Miryo (rapper), Narsha, Ga-in, and JeA. Narsha's picture is from her solo debut song "BBI RI BOP A" from her EP "Narsha". Ga-in's picture is from the MV from her solo debut song "Irreversible" from her EP "Step 2/4" (which I consider to be one of the best girl group albums ever). Miryo has been featured in many of K-POP singer's work, and she is going to make a solo debut after 4th album's release. JeA has been doing some OSTs, and recently released duet with MBLAQ, and is going to release a full solo debut mini album later this year.
Ga-in from "Irreversible" MV. The tango-style dance and music, with suicidal love as central theme of the song's lyrics, and the fact the dance part of the song takes place in a freaking desert, makes this MV one hell of a great video to watch.
Ga-in is probably my favourite idol.
Not sure ho many of you noticed but I got a blog header now.
It's pretty much characters of games of this gen (other than Helghast and Dr. Freeman, but they had more games this gen), but all photoshopped to look like cartoon-rendered, thus imitating the look of GTAIV cover as much as I can.
What are your favourites?
30Dec 10If you consider yourself a true fan of K-POP, these two companies (very closely linked since YWHO is the company formed by a member of Taillruns Media) host artists that you need to know. So who are these fabulous people? Here they are.
Probably the most well-known ballad group in Korea, Vibe is R&B duo that consists of Yoon Min Soo (he's also the head of YWHO) and Ryu Jae Hyun. They are known for their better-than-studio live performances, and their "god-given voice". They are currently up to 4 studio albums so far, with the newest "Vibe in Praha" sweeping the K-POP charts upon its release despite the fact they did not enter any weekly concert shows such as Music Bank, Music Core, or Inkigayo (they did have a concert in Kim Jung Eun's Chocolate and Yoo Hee Yeul's Sketchbook, however)
미워도 다시한번 (Even if I'm Hateful, Once More)
Promise U - Recently remade by Miss $, and SeeYa while ago
오래오래 (For a Long Time)
사진을 보다가 (While Looking at the Photo)
그남자 그여자 feat. 장혜진 (That Man, That Woman feat. Jang Hye Jin)
미친거니 (Are You Crazy)
다시와주라 (Please Come Back)
One of the most well-received female ballad groups, Bigmama consists of four members, Shin Yeon Ah, Lee Ji Young, Lee Young Hyun, and Park Min Hye. Debuted in 2003 when K-POP was prioritizing appearance of the performers rather than their singing skills, Bigmama successfully gained mass attention amid strong competition. Their songs are frequently covered by other artists, with their song "Resignation" being one of the most popular songs to be sung in concerts. They have released 5 studio albums so far.
기다리다 미쳐 (I Am Going Crazy While Waiting For You)
YWHO Golden Bridge
Originally debuted as a 4-member ballad group in 1998 with Yoon Min Soo (yes, the guy in the aforementioned group, Vibe) as the lead vocal, 4Men underwent some member changes over the years to be what it is now, a 3-member ballad trio. The current 3rd Generation consists of Kim Young Jae, Shin Yong Jae, and Kim Won Joo. It's the joint enterprise between Taillruns Media and YWHO Golden Bridge (under Yoon Min Soo), and the members are handpicked and trained by Yoon Min Soo, like other members of YWHO Golden Bridge.
고백 - originally 2nd generation song
못해 (feat. 美)
고해요 feat. Ben of Bebe Mignon (This I Confess) - Drama "Bad Guy" OST
웃지마 울지마 with 장혜진 (Don't Smile, Don't Cry with Jang Hye Jin) - Drama "Bad Guy" OST
Say I Love You - Project Album with E-Tribe
Although started lending her voices to other groups and singers (SNSD, Rain, Kim Bum Soo, 4Men, Vibe, 8Eight, K.Will, etc) since 2007, Mi officially debuted as a solo ballad singer 2010. She also was already famous among K-POP producers for her demo songs (the songs that is recorded so the actual singer can sing to it during the recordings) for various other famous singers like SNSD during past 7 years as a student (she did about 1600 of those). Although she is yet to debut in live stages or music programs such as Music Bank, her song 15th of July was ranked 1st in various music charts upon its release. Unlike her boss Yoon Min Soo or other artists in YWHO such as 4Men and Bebe Mignon, she has clean but sad voice.
어디에 (Where) - Drama "Bad Guy" OST
못해 美 ver. (I Can't Mi ver.) - Drama "Secret Garden" OST
7월 15일 feat. 신용재 of 4Men (15th of July feat. Shin Yong Jae of 4Men)
Dubbed as "female 4Men", this "vocalist-focused girl group" is the newest member in YWHO family. Consisting of 3 members, Ben, Hae Geum and Ga Eul, just like current 4Men, Bebe Mignon debuted with a digital single this September, and a live debut in this November. They were also voted "Rookie of the Month" in November by Mnet and SBS Inkigayo. Just like 4Men, they sing with emotional, powerful and passionate voice.
키도 작고, 예쁘지 않지만... (Though I'm Short and Not Pretty....)
잘해준 것 밖에 없는데 (I've Only Done Good Things For You)
Some of YWHO's practice UCC videos...
Dry Your Eyes - Mi, Shin Yong Jae (4Men), Ben (Bebe Mignon)
Baby (Justin Bieber) - Shin Yong Jae, Ben
I Can't - Mi
While Looking at the Photo - Bebe Mignon
Slow Motion - Ben
Nagging (IU and Seulong) - Mi and Shin Yong Jae
It's just sad that December isn't part of them. If they were..... that would make this company literally untouchable.
Btw, Loen Entertainment is also a small but great place, with Zia and IU as their artists. In fact, Zia and IU should totally do a duet.
10Dec 10Because some people have problem with reading my blogs for some bizarre reasons, I will say this:
It's great, I recommend it, get it now, etc
Now, since that's been taken care of....
I'm not going to lie to you, my first impression on Ubisoft's then-the-fresh announcement of Assassin's Creed Brotherhood was skeptical. Yes, I loved Assassin's Creed II to death, probably my favourite game of 2009, but coming up with another entry that didn't sound more than a cheap cash-in spin-off never gained my trust. Their further emphasis on multiplayer, which by that time I thought was as ridiculous as a God of War multiplayer, didn't help much either. That attitude persisted in me through until around September or October, prompting myself to skip Ubisoft's cover on Brotherhood in E3 and other gaming conferences.
And that turned out to be deadly, in a way. E3 showed off one of the first moments of Brotherhood single player campaign, something that has not been seen in previous Assassin's Creed games: epic set-piece siege of Monteriggioni that involved few thousands soldiers, cannons, siege towers, and Ezio's new combat style that completely revamped the previous system.
I blame 3DS
It wasn't until the story trailer and the charismatic Cesare Borgia's monologue I turned my attention to this one. And apparently, they still had a single player! Would you believe that, for a game that the company was emphasizing so much on multiplayer in its marketing to have a single player game that's more than 5 hours long? That's absurd! How can a modern game developer be so stupid to do something crazy like that? You gotta be s***ing me, right?
No, I $h*t you not
The single player is, without a doubt, up to the par with Assassin's Creed II. Revolving around the aftermath of whatever the f*** that happened at the end of Assassin's Creed II, Brotherhood feels like the missing part two of its predecessor. Despite what the internet-dwellers of various video gaming forums tell you, this game is just as crucial to the main story of Assassin's Creed franchise as the first or the second game. And while one may argue Ezio's story is not as as interesting as Assassin's Creed II, it certainly gives more insight to those close to him, albeit not fully developed, and introduces a very fascinating villain that is perhaps the baddest bad guy in the series.
Yes, there are some parts that could have definitely used some polish in the story, such as the three lieutenants of Cesare Borgia and the stories behind them, but the main story missions are still as fun as they were in Assassin's Creed II, providing unique moments such as participating in a play in Colosseum, or using screaming Lucrezia as hostage. The end result is constantly pleasing mission structures that keep the players entertained until the very end of the game (where some weird crazy s*** happen).
Assassin's Creed is full of weird crazy s***s.
The plethora of additions in Brotherhood is almost overwhelming. Everything you loved about Assassin's Creed II, except for the number of cities, is expanded. Did you love building your villa and making money off of that? You get to do one for an entire city. Did you like Prince-of-Persia-esque linear sequences looking for Assassin's Tombs? We got combat, maze, platforming and hell, horses too, this time in those tombs. Did you like the random assassination contracts Lorenzo De Medici gave you? Well now you get to work for hookers and thieves too. Did you like that flying machine Leonardo made you? This time, you get to drive a freaking tank (and flying machine with a canon among other things. Hell yeah).
People might say, "hold on, those are one-time weapons, what about his actual arsenal?" but do not be worried, they are certainly better than this year's Arsenal (okay, I admit that was a bad joke). First of all, you get a poison dart, an extremely useful way for taking people out far away but when you don't want them passed out instantly. Ezio is also a faster shooter, so it will take less than a second to aim at his foe. He now can also throw 3 throwing knives at once (previously was only 2 at once), making it easier to perform an effective stealth approach. Did you like using spears and axes in the second one? Well, now you can literally throw them at the enemies, allowing you to face-axe your enemies from far away.
But perhaps the best addition is your crossbow and the ability to permanently wield heavy weapons. Now, there is no need to disarm your enemy to get your axes only to use it temporarily. Although spear is still out of reach, it still is an welcome addition. And the crossbow. Where do I start with crossbow. In essence, it's like silenced pistol, but it has this "feel" that makes it infinitely more awesome to use than the pistol. Infiltrating the Castel casually as you pick the guards off with your trusty crossbow makes you feel like an Renaissance James Bond -- something that none of the previous Assassin's Creed games managed to achieve. And yes, you can shoot at people's faces during a counter attack.
"F***! Not the motherf***ing FACE AGAIN!!"
These weapons do make the game easy -- to certain extents. Now, along with the option to replay missions, Brotherhood features a full synchronization objectives for each mission, where you have to perform the mission in a certain way to gain 100% sync with Ezio, seeing how badass he was to do things normal way. These are completely optional and can be ignored, giving you an option to just blaze the game through killing everyone. But the game does set a guideline to make it involve more stealth, another aspect that previous games in the series lacked as well. And it is here where Ezio's seemingly overpowered gadgets come in. In many cases, you are told to remain undetected to fully synchronize, and the stealth is required a lot more, encouraging you to utilize everything in your arsenal to achieve that. Or, you can just blast the way through like you did with previous games. But since now the game gives you a concrete reward for being patient and undetected, this system is arguably the system that finally makes Assassin's Creed a proper stealth action game.
And there are Assassin guild you have to manage. From recruiting to leveling up your guild members, the management system is easy to use (perhaps too simple in some cases) and strangely addicting. Although the customization is largely lacking, it is nonetheless great to see your members rise to the rank of Assassin and receive their initiation ceremony. However, the system's best use is definitely within the game context. You can call your Assassin whenever (assuming you haven't sent all of them out to missions) to provide you with help, some smoke bombs, air assassinations, and hell, rain of arrows. These are indeed game breaking on paper, but the game is expertly designed to avoid it being abused. The cool time is reasonably timed to be not severely limiting, but still enough not to feel overpowered. In some sequences, the uses are prohibited or rather, largely not needed. But it does give an option when setting up your strategies as the demand for stealthy play is increased with the full synchronization feature. And it also makes you feel like a pimp calling your female assassin's to do the fight for you.
Imagine the above, multiply by 12, all behind your back.
And if that isn't enough to make you feel badass, Ubisoft revamped its combat system fully to make it less slow paced. It has been staple in Assassin's Creed that you don't attack first: and it's not much different in Brotherhood.... at first. Your attack starts, as always, when some really stupid AI attacks you first, which you obviously counter. Now, this is where things get more interesting; once you do a one-hit-kill move, you can chain to the next one, killing him instantly, and string it until, well, someone finally realizes that they have to hit you in the back before you go on and kill the entire army. But fear not, because you can counter that, and continue your killstreak as if nothing happened. This seems extremely boring on paper, since, well, everyone dies in one hit. But if you actually play it, you will realize that is not the case. Some of the brutes, especially the spear-wielding seekers, are a lot easier to kill amidst these chain kills, since it is impossible to counter their attack normally, bringing some strategy into this. Moreover, accomplishing the off-beat counter while doing chain kills is extremely satisfying, since it's basically doing a counter in a more pressured situation. This does make the combat easy to certain extent, but a lot faster as well.
Now this system also contributes to Brotherhood being a more stealth oriented gameplay. Since combat is never the focus of Assassin's Creed, this system makes the combat a lot less tedious and end faster, and lets you go back to killing the rest of your enemy silently. However, those who want to feel being badass again with oncoming waves of enemies, Brotherhood offers VR challenge missions, which also provides you with free-running, flag-collecting and assassination challenges as well. It is a shame that Brotherhood does not have arena mode like God of War where you can choose your own enemies, but it still is a great addition that future games in the franchise can definitely expand upon. And they give you Raiden outfit after you beat all of those.
No, not this Raiden.
The game isn't without its flaws however. As aforementioned, the game's story, especially Ezio's story, lacks development severely. The three lieutenants of Cesare aren't explained well enough, while the exploits of Cesare himself aren't thoroughly discussed as well. In fact, despite being an extremely interesting character, Cesare is rarely in Rome over the course of the game, and you rarely see him throughout the story. For a character who definitely had the potential to become perhaps the most chilling evil villain of this generation and is excellently voiced (I am not kidding, he is the most memorable voice acting in the entire Assassin's Creed universe, and that's saying something), this lack of development is extremely unfortunate. Moreover, some of the internal conflicts within the Assassin's Guild could have been more fleshed out. And just an explanation of why whatever-the-f***-happened-at-the-end happened would have been nice.
"Man. Seriously. WTF. You are a f***ing DICK."
The Map being small isn't much helping either. Well technically, Brotherhood isn't small. Rome is a huge city. Bigger than Florence and Venice combined, it's sometimes too huge. But it is still singular in terms of number of cities, and the nice variety Assassin's Creed II offered is absent throughout the most of the game. And without a unique feature that distinguishes it from other cities, Rome essentially feels like a big Florence with less churches and more ancient ruins. It isn't to say Rome is a bad to place to be -- it is indeed a joy to be exploring it -- but the lack of easily noticeable variety in the environment can make the game a little stale for some of the players.
There are small problems that become frequently noticeable as you play the game more. The platforming is a little off, it feels a little less smooth than Assassin's Creed II and it seems there are more cases where the game incorrectly guesses where you are trying to jump at, resulting in some wild jumps to the opposite direction of where you are trying to head. The camera during combat is also worse than the predecessor as well. As you move around during a fight, especially if you are in an alley, the camera wildly moves around until setting nicely behind a tree or a wall to black your view to the action. It is rather strange that how something that worked so well in Assassin's Creed II got somehow worse in Brotherhood.
"Umm, what? I didn't touch it"
"Maybe you are doing it wrong funsohng"
But these are minor issues. Brotherhood, with its plethora of expanded contents from its predecessor, manages to be the best game of the franchise. The completely reworked combat system and the Assassin guild system adds variety to already delightfully vast game. The overwhelming amount of side quests that actually have their own story this time along with some interesting encounters that are just as good as the main story missions in some cases definitely elevate this game into the status of very lengthy adventure. And multiplayer? It's a great and fresh experience that sticks to the core social stealth element of Assassin's Creed franchise without being too boring and manages to keep you on your toes at all times.
However, perhaps the biggest achievement of Brotherhood is that it finally made the game a legitimate stealth action adventure. Yes, there were bunch of parts in the second game where you went stealthy, but for the most of the cases, blasting through with your swords was possible and often easier way of solving things. However, Brotherhood while still giving the player the option of this rather chivalric approach, adds the means and the rewards that encourages stealth gameplay that the series needed so much. The end result is simple: the best Assassin's Creed game yet that finally realizes a proper stealth play through abundant methods to tackle a single problem with its truly open world mechanic, the two very fundamental principles that Assassin's Creed promised back in E3 2006.
By the way, Claudia is a lot better looking now.
Seriously, Ubisoft. Was it really that freaking hard to do.