(My very first, ever, Pokemon... nostalgia is powerful, isn't it?)
The Pokemon adventure is one that I've been on more times than I can remember. I've played (and replayed, multiple times) every single game from Generation I to the present Generation V. Many a times I've heard "Oh, it's the same old thing all over again", and while that may be true, repetition is actually one of the Pokemon games' strong points! I for one, amongst millions of others, certainly hope it continues, as one of the best selling series of all time!
Although, let me define what I mean by repetition here. By repetition, I don't mean just the same old game with a few tweaks here and there, as that would be grossly misunderstanding the vast leaps and bounds made each generation. Generation I in itself, was revolutionary. You had 150 Pokemon, a relatively interactive, immersive and ever expanding world, where you can defeat all of the Pokemon trainers in the land to become the Champion... doesn't seem too great now, but back then, that was mindblowingly awesome!
With each successive generation, you are given lots of new Pokemon, a new world to explore and plenty of tough trainers to battle! We even had the introduction of double and triple battles! Not to mention all those really cool postgame features such as contests, world tournaments (Battle Tower/Frontier), rebattling stronger gym leaders, traversing to other exotic locations and I could go on! Also, let's not forget that the complex chess-like battling system was rebooted in Generation IV, adding even further to the already infinite amount of options you have to battle!
Honestly, I'm struggling to contain just how much change has occurred throughout the Generations, especially as each Generation in itself was radical. However, uniquely, the same old nostalgic inducing formula is used. You are a Pokemon trainer. You meet a Professor, who puts all sorts of ideas in your head to catch all Pokemon and collect all eight gym badges to become Champion of the Pokemon League! Oh, and of course, keep your rival in check and meddle in the affairs of the baddies!
This never gets tiring for me, and yet, some would argue that this is repetition. Really? Repetition usually implies tediousness of monotonously completing familiar tasks. Pokemon is oddly familiarly new, each time, however contradictory that sounds. If you were to ask me to change the core formula, I would definitely say no. Why? Because then it wouldn't be Pokemon. If you were to ask me to keep adding on to it, I would say absolutely yes!
I've heard the arguments before that there's too many Pokemon, whose designs are nowhere near the quality of the original 150. This is where I stand in stark contrast to being a nostalgic Pokemon traditionalist. Thankfully, in Pokemon games, it truly can be the more the merrier! Game Freak is able to increase quantity without decreasing quality.
Have a look yourself sometime at the new Pokemon designs if you want to see that actually, many of the new designs can more often than not, match and even beat the original designs. And we're just talking about designs here. In battle, the original 150 are far too basic nowadays, with most not being able to adapt to the power and ingenuity of the successive Pokemon generations.
This is why Pokemon as a series should continue. Adding more Pokemon, features and the occasionally needed reboot is what keeps the Pokemon machine oiled and working just like new. The tried and tested, and masterfully executed, core Pokemon formula is always alive, breathing for I hope for many years to come!
Onwards to Generation VI!
19Feb 13Got approved to be a Justicar!:
About Me: Whenever I get away from my busy lifestyle, I like to spend my time on GS and games. I've been a Ranger since 2007 and still have a strong interest in games, despite my time for them being squeezed. This is why I find reviews, not just from the professionals, but probably even more importantly from all gamers, whoever they may be, to serve a common interest we all have: to find out which games are good and which games are bad. We don't have an infinite amount of time and money, so this is why we need to spend it wisely on games we perceive to be worthy of it.
Strong Writing Points: Always critical and sceptical, even of my favorite games - I detest fanboyism. Never take anything for granted and appreciate a well made game for what it is, even if I don't like it.
Favourite Subject to Write About: Underrated Games
Share your favorite editorial piece that you've written? Could it be the end of Koei's Warriors series?
Can I follow you on Twitter, Tumbler, or Deviantart? You can follow me on GameSpot - I write blogs and use Fuse to disseminate useful GS information.
What is your "Golden Rule" for aspiring writers? Think outside of the box - don't parrot what's already out there.
23Jan 13I've spent my precious free time recently playing DmC: Devil May Cry. After hearing for months just how horrible it was going to be, I thankfully ignored what other people thought and decided to play it for myself. And my my, just how wrong were they.
Firstly, I'll admit, I haven't completed the game (shush, I have a life) but I've played enough of it to know that this is actually a gem hidden away in the judgemental and prejudiced garbage I've been reading about a game that wasn't given a chance.
Sure, it's not the same Dante, but this is actually a good thing - it keeps the series fresh - I for one am quite a conservative gamer - I eat and sleep on the same old games, generally fearing any radical change (as let's face it, it's usually bad, but not always). But even I was sucked right into this new Dante, who is reflective of modern times. I won't go into detail, but I personally could identify with the character, where reality is not what it seems and things in general seem quite pointless. It's quite rare for me to personally identify with a video game character, but there you go - the DMC series isn't exactly known to have a spectacular story or character development, but already, this DMC has done well in my book.
I'm not the only one who thinks this. According to Game Rankings, DmC has an average score of 86.48% based on critic reviews. That's very impressive. A quick look at those reviews, and not a single one is bad - we actually have uniform agreement among the critics on this game. I think that says something.
But of course, this blog would be too easy if I just parroted that already overwhelming positive reviews of DmC. Instead, I'd like to bring attention to another game, which got mixed reviews all around: Resident Evil 6. I honestly do believe that the same fanboy syndrome has struck this game - the difference is, the critics don't all agree. RE6 has an average score of 74.23% based on 20 reviews. The majority are positive, some are shaky and one in particular is bad - GS's very own Kevin VanOrd.
I've always respected (and still do of course) VanOrd - he's an excellent reviewer that speaks my mind on most games, but here, I do still think he's got this one wrong. Even if you were disappointed with RE6, a 4.5 is just simply too harsh. I've invested well over 50 hours into that game, and every single one of them was excellent. You have four campaigns, of which will definitely take from 20 to 30 hours to complete the first time. Want more? You have The Mercenaries side game, which will clock in at least another 10 hours for your average casual gamer - the hardcore high scorers would probably spend many more hours in perfecting their Mercenaries runs.
But forgetting game content and length: VanOrd's criticisms just don't reflect the score. I actually agree of them:
Loads of bad, overlong quick-time events Excruciating overemphasis on mediocre set piece events Ruins the pace by constantly ripping control from you Poorly executed scripted events lead to unavoidable deaths."
Those are fair points. But he could only come up with two Good Points:
Intriguing narrative structure Great voice acting and action-packed cutscenes draw you into the story."
This is in no way all that's good about the game. You have four very different campaigns, which reflect and fully immerse the player in the distinctive themes of Horror, Companionship, Partnership and My Way. All of them are brilliant and I've played through them several times - and will do so yet again in the future. I'll leave it to others if they wish to elaborate further on The Good of RE6.
My point is: don't let others decide what you play and don't play. Don't prejudge and especially recognise that times change, and games will also change. Even I know, as much as I am nostalgic and reminiscent of the good ol' days, that games must change for the better - of course, not for the worse - I'm totally against that - but where change is needed, I refreshingly embrace it. You should too. DmC and RE6 were both Capcom reboots. They were successful in my conservative book, and I hope Capcom will continue with them - gamers should not be held back by those stuck in time.
17Oct 12Didn't even realise until somebody pointed it out to me.
Anyway, this is worthy of a blog post. I'm currently playing Resident Evil 6 - completed Leon's campaign, on Chris's, Chapter 2. Honestly, I was sceptical of the game at first but I've really gotten to like it after adjusting to the controls, which took me quite a while. The controls I thought at first were horrible but after more playing, they actually are quite suitable and expands the game to be a lot more than just a horror game - it's pretty much undecided between being an action game and a horror game really. Good place to be surprisingly - it really is quite a diverse game, one that I didn't expect.
I'm usually a gamer that likes to know what he's playing too, so this is a new experience for me, even as a traditionalist RE fan - it really brings back that cool new feeling you get when you play a completely new game series - not knowing what to expect, how to properly play the game etc which does of course bring back memories of exploring in the classic RE games... I also watched the new RE movie - Retribution. Say what you like - if you don't expect it to be literally RE in the form of movies, you will enjoy it. Again, this one was actually quite new as well - it took quite a different direction - and I quite liked it. Even watched it in 3D, which I will unashamedly say was my very first 3D movie.
And I was going to talk about the US presidential election, but I'll save it for OT.
How's everyone else doing?
3Oct 12I got Resident Evil 6 yesterday - only played the Prelude so far but seriously, where is the manual for the game? I just have a booklet, if you could even call it that, 4 pages long, which displays the controls and that's it. The full manual for the game, the colourful detailed booklet you used to get in games in a generation gone by, has vanished. Instead, it's on Capcom's website. Gaming has changed...
22Aug 12As a traditional gamer, I much prefer to have physical copies of my games. Why? I don't really know - it's always been my way. However, I would be foolish to limit myself from excellent games you can only get online, namely The Walking Dead in my experience. The game is 5 episodes long which each last about an hour or two. Gamers can buy a Season Pass to get all 5 for a cheaper price rather than buying them individually (which is what I did) and also get a cool exclusive premium theme for their console as well. The catch? You can only play one episode a month, or so we were told...
You may laugh when I tell you that The Walking Dead is my first digitally distributed game. I'm not quite sure if that makes me a gaming zombie of a previous era, but digitally distributed games never really appealed to me, apart from this one, in which I just had to try out because I loved the TV series so much. I don't regret it neither - the game had me hooked! Although the episodes only last an hour or two, the quality of them is simply amazing! You make decisions and interact with various characters which shape how the story will play out - just like the TV series really, so I got what I wanted. My problem? The episodes are released monthly.
At first, this seemed okay to me and acted as a check to not getting bored with the game. However, whenever I bought and played the first episode back in April and had to wait 2 months for the next one in June, then yet again waiting from there onwards for the third episode which may or may not come out in August, I just realised that this wasn't what I paid for. I paid to have each episode released monthly, not every two months. I'm not sure who's responsible for it, whether it's Telltale Games or Sony working at walking speed but I'll know to be more cautious of buying something in advance like that again.
The game is an absolute gem, but when you have to wait 2 months to play just a 1/5 of it, it pretty much ruins the experience, as you know, other things go on in life. I forget whatever happened in the last episode and even whatever I did. One month would have been fine to wait for, but two months is just staggeringly dead slow. We'd be lucky to complete the game before 2013 at this rate!
However, my experience of digital distribution hasn't all been bad. I recently bought all the Worms games online and have enjoyed reliving my fond memories of wacky worms blasting each other with ridiculously over-the-top weapons. I have also rebought the Resident Evil games, from 2 - 4 and had a brilliant time replaying them. So there's one good thing digitally distributed games can bring to the table: old games that you've bought and played before, as opposed to new games, ironically.
Yes, I am a sucker for rebuying games I've played before, but they're just that good that I had to buy them again. Isn't that what love is about? You just keep on giving and giving...
25Jul 12So today I noticed that Dragon Ball Z: Budokai HD Collection was available. I thought "Yippee! I'll get to play Budokai 3, Budokai Tenkaichi 3 and maybe some other DBZ game!" and how wrong was I. The Collection is in fact only two games: Budokai and Budokai 3. The only differences between them and the original games are "remastered and enhanced graphics" and trophy/achievement support. That's it. Nothing new beyond that.
(I'm as baffled as you Goku!)
For a few minutes, I had thoughts of replaying some of my favourite old games and reliving the DBZ storyline yet again (I've done it far too many times but it's been years since I've played a DBZ game now; last one I played was Budokai Tenkaichi 2 in 2007). But my thoughts have been crushed. I've found, yet again, that the developers simply aren't taking their customers seriously - which is why I decided no longer to buy or play anymore DBZ games. What on earth were they thinking? Even the Namekians would agree with me that this HD Collection is wasted potential. Here's why:
- Budokai only has 2/3 of the DBZ story, which is disgraceful.
- Budokai 3 is a complete DBZ game that DBZ fans had to go through another two games to finally get. This one is worthy to be in the collection, which thankfully it got through.
- Where's Budokai Tenkaichi 3? Again, DBZ fans had to go through a previous two Tenkaichi games to get the most expansive Tenkaichi game money can buy and it's not in the collection.
- Only two games? You expect me to pay at least £30 for two games I've played extensively before with the only difference being trophy support? Don't mention "remastered and enhanced graphics" as the other game series HD collections I've played on my 32" HD TV sees hardly any difference. I'd be content with the PS2 graphics - they were good enough for me then and would be good enough for me now.
Either way, a third game should be included - it only feels right considering every other HD collection out there that I can think of has at least three games, giving customers value for money.
- Lastly, it would be nice to even have extra content in the games. After all, customers are rebuying games they've already played and adored - we're suckers for doing so but at least give us a bit of a new content so that we can justify throwing more money at these trendy HD collections you get nowadays.
So, this got me thinking - are HD collections a waste of money and time? For this HD collection, yes. But what about other HD collections? I'll talk about one I thought was worth it: Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection.
(I'm happy to salute you too Snake!)
Why wasn't this a waste of time and money?
- You get three excellent games: MGS2, 3 and Peace Walker.
- Like many MGS fans, I've only played 2 and 3 but not Peace Walker. 2 and 3 were brilliant on their own, but getting another MGS game I haven't played (ported over from the PSP) also makes the HD collection refreshing and new.
- You get extra content - included were the NES games Metal Gear 1 and 2, which led to the famous MGS series we know today. These games are obviously nothing like MGS1 but are still worth having a look at and is a nice gesture from Konami.
The lack of MGS1 in the collection can be justified by the fact it was available well before the collection came out on PSN for a low price. That's okay by me, considering we're already getting a good package anyway.
So are HD Collections a waste of time and money? No - not if they're done properly!
23Jun 12See here on how you could earn yourself a Comic Con emblem!
And I've got around to updating the Emblems Guide.
Anyway, completed The Walking Dead Episode 1 last night. Absolutely fantastic game, despite its length (2 hours) and sometimes lack of options (certain characters who you just want to punch in the face sometimes but can't lol). Waiting for Episode 2 - said to come out at the end of June. Also got myself a very cool TWD premium theme for my PS3.
How's everyone else doing?
18Jun 12These emblems have just been handed out. Didn't know about them? Good, that was the whole point! The few users who got these emblems can not only cherish their E3 2012 days in System Wars - but can also stick their cheeky tongues out in joy of possessing exclusive secret emblems they unknowingly achieved! You've won the battle for the SW emblems - but the war of the systems isn't over yet - fight on!
System Wars E3 2012
This emblem is awarded to the warriors who willingly braved the jungles of System Wars just to catch the pre-E3 2012 threads.
System Wars E3 2012 Lucky Dip
Ah, the System Wars E3 2012 Lucky Dip Emblem... This emblem is awarded to those users who were simply there at the right place and at the right time. Didn't get it? No need to worry; you can always get it! You just have to wait till next year! trololololololol
4Apr 12GameSpot has recently got their own boards for specific games and even for game genres. GS is no longer dependent on GameFAQs for discussion on particular games. In time, it's believed that GS will develop its own distinct community on its own specific game and genre boards.
This got me thinking: is it time for HCU to expand its headcrab claws as well? Seeing as how we haven't had any major HL news in quite some time, I think it's long overdue that we start going beyond HL and Valve. HCU is a long established union, officially endorsed by GS. We are one of GS's most successful unions of all time, with a membership of over 5000 users. It would be a waste not to make further use of HCU. I believe HCU can do so much more than what it already has done.
So, I ask for your ideas. I'm open minded, and will consider all ideas, no matter how far fetched or ordinary they are. Even if you do not have any ideas of your own, your discussion of these ideas would be valuable. (Click here to discuss ideas)
Additionally, I will be considering reshuffling the ranks of HCU. This means all users have a chance to become an officer at HCU. If you're interested in an officer position, then now is your time to shine, as I will be keeping an eye on users who I think would make good officers in the union.
22Feb 12GS Admin JodyR has compiled a topic of our enhancements on user reviews. After years of users voicing their ideas on user reviews, we finally have an admin taking on board our ideas. However, we need to keep up the momentum if we want change.
Please support changes to user reviews!
3Feb 12Got Metal Gear Solid HD Collection there: MGS2, MGS3 and Peace Walker in a disc that only cost me 35 pounds. Excellent bargain. I haven't played MGS2 and MGS3 in years now, so more or less, they are like new games to me. Also, anyone who hasn't played MGS before: now is your chance. MGS2 fills you in on what you need to know about MGS1.