All About hush404
Original post at hush404.com
Let me start this off by outlining that I do not own a WiiU and this is not a tear down of what I think about the machine from a player's point of view; rather, this is a look into the politics and happenings of what I see going on every day online and in the conversations I have with friends.
Also of note. I very much enjoy my PS3 and have been vocal about my lack of love for my Wii or how Nintendo has been going about their business for some time now (more or less since the N64). I also don't have an interest in purchasing a WiiU at the moment, either. However, I am still able to form a calm, logical opinion, regardless.
With that out of the way, lets talk about Nintendo's latest baby, the WiiU. Sadly, it's the talk of the internet... but not in a way that's good for Nintendo. Everywhere you go (ok, maybe not everywhere, but pretty close), you've got forum trolls and other such monikers tearing the system down, calling it shit, claiming Nintendo is out for the count. It's gone so far, that even Nintendo fans are frustrated and tired of defending the system against these kinds of comments.
But, there is where, I think, lies the problem, Nintendo fans shouldn't be the ones that are holding the weight of the system on their shoulders. Nintendo should be the one out there showing the world why the WiiU matters. In my opinion, this is where they are weak, where they need to focus on and above all, be it hardware, exclusives and so on, is the biggest thing holding people back from embracing the system.
So, let me reiterate, it's not the hardware that's holding the WiiU back. Yes, the WiiU hardware, from what every project points to, from what every spec we're knowledgeable about, from every example of software we've seen, is much more like the current generation of PS3/360 machines than it is a technological jump forward in terms of pure number crunching ability. Which isn't in any way an attack on their design, be it their choice of hardware, or their unique tablet/controller or the software that uses this tech; rather it's an observation that I think some Nintendo fans aren't grasping. The hardware (what's in the system) can be argued to be less or more powerful than our current generation (I honestly believe there's more they can push with the WiiU, that developers aren't yet harnessing the full power of it), but if anyone believes that the hardware is comparable (again, technically, not fanboy-ishly or in terms of fun games) with the PS4 and what Microsoft is planning on releasing in the near future, I... don't think you understand computer hardware and it's limitations. With all that said, the machine looks to be a wonderful system, if you count out the perceived importance of super powered consoles. The unique controller brings with it some interesting methods of play and the fact that a Nintendo system has joined the same hardware gang as the PS3/360 should put a smile on everyone's face as those PS3/360 gamers whom have enjoyed their systems for many years now get to experience a system with a slightly different flavor.
Sadly, however, rather than adopting that method of thinking, they're looking at future consoles and going "The WiiU lacks technical power freshness, why support it?". It doesn't help that big publishers like EA and Activision are voicing a huge lack of interest in the machine, various developers around the industry straight up saying they have no plans to support the WiiU with their upcoming projects and an extremely lackluster response from Nintendo to combat this kind of talk.
Which reminds me of a 2006/2007 Sony when they launched their $599 PS3 (here in Canada at least, that was the price) to audiences with lackluster support from third party developers. Every time you turned around, Sony was 'losing' a former exclusive title to multiplatform status, missing out on new exclusives that were hitting the 360 or getting shotty ports due to the complexity of developing for the system. Then the media took to it, for a long time, articles across the internet spelled doom for Sony and their big black box, the system couldn't be any worse in their eyes. I remember vividly, Gabe Newell's comment, something along the lines of 'Sony screwed up, the PS3 is the worst thing to have ever come out, they need to go back to the drawing board with it'. Gamers forget this, but Sony sure doesn't. It took them from their high horse of the PS2 days to the bottom of the ladder in a swift step. They struggled with it, struggled on how to promote their system to the world, they often tried to sell it as a blu-ray machine, a media hub and so on. It took them quite a while, but eventually they found their stride and their clear message of what they were selling and to whom. A price cut here and there and the system started selling, 360 exclusives started going multiplatform to Sony's box, new exclusives were formed, Sony went full force into developing superb first party titles, Sony worked on it's network structure, encouraged gamers, invented Kevin Butler and more or less was back on the train of good publicity with the world. Try telling that to a gamer today, whom picked up their PS3. Does it matter? Do they care? No. It was all fanboyism and politics of the industry.
Which brings me back to Nintendo. Articles attack it (the WiiU) on a daily basis, internet idiots run with it, fanboys (of other systems) bath in it as gold lining of their favoritism. Publishers are excluding the WiiU for ports, Exclusives are few and far between, gamers opinion aren't well formed and in the middle of it all, Nintendo doesn't know whom they want to sell to or how to promote their product. Sound familiar? It should.
Which brings me to my outlining thought. Nintendo needs to get their message and marketing strategy straight. They need to either come up with a plan on their own or bring in some help. They need to market the hell out of their system, they need to throw it in gamers faces and show them WHY the WiiU is important. Not only that, but they need to start communicating with developers on a stronger level. A friend of mine said in defense of some news regarding EA, Eff those developers', which I think isn't a smart response. Developers are needed to propel hardware. I've also heard some argue that Nintendo is promoting the WiiU, with Nintendo directs and other info presented online... and I disagree with it's effectiveness. The people watching Nintendo directs and subscribing to Nintendo news... are Nintendo fans, the likes of which don't need convincing to buy the WiiU. Nintendo directs don't reach many other gamers and they sure as hell do nothing to reach a general audience. Nintendo sidestepping an E3 conference this year, too, feels like a big misstep that they could of used to launch their new promotion campaign for the system.
Once they've done this. Once they've shown people what the WiiU is, why it's special and how they're working hard to support it in every way, it will sell. It's not the lower hardware spec (compared to PS4), it's not that good games aren't being made for it, it's not that people have given up on Nintendo, it's the fact that even Nintendo doesn't know how to say 'The WiiU is awesome, have a look, will you?"
I'll start this off by explaining that it took me some time to get into Dead Island. I remember hearing about it at the time of released, but really didn't give it too much of a look over. There are tons of Zombie titles and I assumed this was yet another shooter trying to make a buck on the idea. Reguardless of their intentions or aspirations, Dead Island is a game I thoroughly enjoyed and still continue to do so.
I didn't get Dead Island until it was super cheap on steam and even then didn't get around to playing it until a friend asked me to play it with her on the PS3. I enjoy gaming with friends when I can, so I sought out and picked up a copy for like $20 and played a bit with her. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was fun. We played up until part way though the city bit of the story and then it got put on hold. But I've since then decided to make a new character and go about things myself to learn better how to play and to further experience the game. I'm glad I did.
The game is heavily focused on melee combat over that of shooting. Granted, each character has their specialty and one of them even specializes in guns, but you can go through the entire game using very little firearms and even if you happen to go the gun centric route, finding ammo isn't exactly easy for a good 80% of the game. I, myself, stick to sharp blades with my Xian Mei character as that was her specialty. Regardless of your ability or chosen weapon, all of your weapons come from pick ups and modifications you make to those. It's a very cool dynamic, creating weapons with electric, fire and poison attributes, but the weapons degrade so incredibly fast (even with perks to allow you up the durability). What plays out is a juggling of gathering a set up of awesome weapons that'll help you mow through the zombie hoards, collecting crap to sell for cash and spending that cash to repair them once you find a work bench to do so. In that regard there seemed to be a little too much back tracking or searching for repair places, forcing you to leave quests on hold to make sure you didn't run into a situation with no weapons to defend yourself.
Everything is played from the first person perspective and it's quite refreshing to see your character do every action they need, from their own eyes. It gives a better sense of envelopment and makes you feel more like it's you playing the life of the character rather than controlling some would-be hero. Timing also works into that fold as you have to allow time for a character's animation to accomplish and plan attacks. If a zombie is rushing you, make sure you have the distance and time to swing properly; sometimes a nice kick to make the undead stumble sure does help and as you gain levels, unlock new abilities, you'll gain character specific attacks that seem to make things easier. My fav thus far is Xian's head stomp, in which she does a big jump in the air with both feet and lands square on a downed zombie's head, completely crushing it.
It's all about timing. You can survive most any hoard with timing (and a little luck)
There is your typical undead 'walker' that moves quite slowly, intent on gnawing on your flesh, but as you go on in the story, the types of enemies amp up in difficulty. The infected are just like the walkers, but with super speed and devastating arm bashing attacks, you can hear them coming as they scream at the top of their lungs on their way to you. Later on you run into bigger enemies whom will land devastating blows if you get near them, rush you and ram you to the ground, or even vomit poisonous bile on you, leaving you dis-orientated. You'll get accustomed to strategies on how to take each of these types of enemies down, but again, with timing, it can be tricky... and even as you get higher up in levels, it's not hard to have your health bar depleted quickly by a few walkers and some bad decisions on how to deal with them. Human enemies seem to offer much less a threat as they're a bit more predictable and for the most part stick to firearms as their chosen weapons. It's not hard to duck into cover and flank them or flat out put a bullet in their face with a pistol (it's mainly why I carried a pistol with me (just in case), it made clearing out nests of humans easier).
The first location seems quite tame in comparison to the rest of the game; A beach resort on the island of Banoi (a made up location) which is both beautiful and deadly. Zombies lurk everywhere and you get to spend quite a bit of time on the resort before being shifted off to a new location (which takes you through an infested hotel, a city, a jungle area and even a prison). All of which have a huge multitude of main and side quests you must complete for NPCs which help flesh out the story, give you helpful background information and more importantly, give you XP to level up your character. The character progression system is mostly centered around 'Perks' you get to choose at each level advancement. You don't much get to choose character stats, but you have choice of these perks which boost attacks and damage (among other attributes), allowing you to become a more efficient killer of the undead. You're going to need them, as mentioned above, the enemies are relentless.
You'll be spending quite a lot of time checking out these menus
You can enlist a friend (or 3) or some strangers to help you through the quests and they do help when every one is on the same page (friends work best in this regard), but it's kind of a mess when players want nothing more than to screw with you, kick you out of the game (even if you're hosting) or decide to play a later part in the game, which isn't the fault of the game or the developer, but it still sticks as a point of frustration. So.... more often than not, I stuck with my single player mode (which is exactly the same, sans help) which I hear is harder, but I didn't have too much issues with it as I like to take my time anyways and approach things with a bit of a tactical mind rather than rushing hoards in hopes I survive out of luck. Thankfully, Co-op is as easy as setting your player account to allow people to join your game and they can do so dynamically on the fly. It's much better than a separate mode that feels half cooked; especially when you can find decent people to play with.
At the end of the day however, the game has impressed me with it's atmosphere which sucks you in quite well and allows you to experience the terrifying idea of a zombie apocalypse from the eyes of a pretty average character. The game pulls the reins on you with weapon degradation and zombies that level up as you do, attacking you with some pretty powerful attacks so you never feel like a super powered hero whom nothing can touch. I've run into a few glitches that forced me to reset the system, but aside from those and the occasional douche-bag co-op partner, I couldn't be happier with the title. It's held my interest part way though with a friend, through an entire play-through by myself and still as I've started a new game with my finished character. Spectacular game, the likes of which I'm excited to see continue with the upcoming semi-sequel 'Riptide' and the prospects of a new title down the line.
Wreck-It Ralph is a movie I've been following since first glimpsing it in teaser form and have been looking forward to for quite some time as a gamer. As an homage to video game culture, it works, it's got quite a few little references in it that will please the old school gamer in all of us, but as a movie it just works without excelling.
In this film, John C Riley voiced 'Ralph' (or Wreck-It Ralph) is a 'bad guy' character in the 30 year old arcade game 'Fix it Felix' in which his sole goal is to wreck a building which the player then fixes with the 'Fix it Felix' character. The twist and what makes the entirety of the movie worth watching is the idea that arcade game characters do all of this as a work day during the opening hours of an arcade and go back to their normal lives after said shop shuts down.
In this world, each character is able to leave their own game via the central station (a surge protector connecting all the machines, resembles a train station) and mingle with other characters, even go into other arcade games or, as the movie starts out, join support groups. It's in this support group that Ralph discusses his unhappiness with being a 'bad guy', having to live in a dump, getting no respect, having no friends and lacking the praise (and pie) that good guys get for saving the day.
This is where the cameos start. In Ralphs 'bad guy' support group we see characters like Zangief and M.Bison of Street Fighter Fame, Bowser of Mario fame and myriad of other baddies all dealing with the same issues. Through out the movie various other references are made to other titles like Mario, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Sonic, Qbert, Pacman and Halo to name a few... but the movie never seems to do much with these characters outside of showing them off to make the audience go "Oh! I know them!".
Ralph, Vanellope on his shoulder, Calhoun and Felix to his left. Other VG character around.
Instead, the movie focuses on the characters made for the movie. Namely, Ralph, his rival Fix-It Felix, a toughened female Sgt Calhoun whom comes from a FPS game that resembles Halo, an adorable Vanellope whom calls home to a cute candy themed cart racer title, King Candy from the same game and a collection of other supporting characters. Each of these characters are well written and exceptionally voiced. Whomever was in charge of hiring the voice talent did an unbelievable job. Each character is believable and emotional in their own sense, each having their own faults and strengths.
I was glad the characters were that strong as the story is a bit thin. It's not terrible, but it's predictable and doesn't seem to wander away from what's safe. Ralph, as mentioned above, is tired of being the bad guy, so he sets out to win a medal in another game to earn the respect of the other characters in his game and hopefully improve his life in the process.
Ralph jumps into Calhoun's FPS game and through the events in said game is forced to flee into the game for which Vanellope calls home, Sugar Rush. While Hero's Duty (the FPS game which Calhoun is from) is a very dark, super realistic looking game, Sugar Rush is a super colorful, candy filled world in which players cart race for medals.
First on his mission to pursue his metal, Ralph runs into Vanellope, a very cute, very determined young girl who's life long dream is to win a race in her cart. But, because she glitches (a term used for something that goes wrong in a video game) the rest of the characters in the game fears that she'll mess with the game and get them closed down, forcing them to lose their home.
Vanellope, easily my fav character of the movie.
A good half of the movie takes place in this world and there are ups and downs through out the story with all of the above mentioned characters. I don't want to spoil anything for you, so I'll leave it at that. But by the end of the movie you'll have had a good time, enjoyed the characters, grooved to the catchy music and if you happen to be of age to remember them, gotten a kick out of the old school gaming references. Sadly though, I wasn't floored by the experience, wish they had done more with the references than just given a nod; over all I feel like a younger child might get more out of the experience than an adult watching it. Which is probably what Disney was going for anyways... but still.
I feel it's worth a viewing, but it's not one of those movies I'm itching to go back and watch again, I'll just wait for the DVD.
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