Doom review

What is this? It’s not really Doom.

Doom 4 throws you into the action immediately – like the original. Good? After a brief scene that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever and hints at a really, really dumb twist about Doomguy, you are tossed into action shooting possesed in a brief battle that shows how insanely, boringly easy this game is.

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The level design so far is uninspired and…industrial. None of the levels have any of the charm of the original games and they are just so boring and lifeless. They may be aesthetically pretty – some of them anyway like this room – but it’s entirely skin deep. They are all so lazily laid out that it almost dwarves the re-introduction of colored keycards/skulls, because getting each of them is an effortless affair that almost always requires a simple trot down a hallway, and a punchfest with a few demons. On top of that, the game – because it is 3D – has platforming in it. Why is there platforming in my Doom? Why am I dropkick brutalizing demons? Yes, I’m aware there was elevation in Doom, but it was almost always out of your control. The platforming only gets worse too, with the argent tower, and the levels gain a large degree of verticality to them once you get to Hell. There is literally an entire level of nothing but platforming (also some demons) which appears to only have been put in the game to justify the jump boots.

I play games like Far Cry or Dying Light or Mirror’s Edge if I want first person platforming. Don’t ever do this again.

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Doom 4’s soundtrack is pretty much non-existent and the only time I can remember hearing it was after the silly intro, where something half decent and almost resembling the amazing fan recordings of Doom in the metal style played. I will keep my ears and eyes out for a mod that lets you put in Andrew Hulshults excellent Doom album. On a positive note, once you get to hell the music definitely improves, but it doesn’t excuse the lack of music in the first 4 levels. And really, all I hear is Demon Hunter, like I’m playing KF2. No offense, Demon Hunter is just dreadfully boring pseudo-neo-stoner-metal. And even then it’s only after you kill a demon nest and fight off a wave that you hear any real music.

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For the first half of the game, new enemies are introduced in a bland, generic way where none of them are given any pomp and circumstance – they just happen to join the fray. I didn’t even realize the first time I was fighting a Hell Knight until I had already half killed him, and it only registered for a brief few seconds in my mind before he was dead anyway. Best of all, there are a lot of enemy types, so it’s just a constant repeat of “hmm what’s this random guy I haven’t seen this one I don’t think, oh he’s dead.” Until the Manccubus. Then almost every enemy afterwards gets special treatment. They put minimal personality in to the introduction of these enemies. The ONLY time that half of the game even had a little cutscene to say “OMG” was when you fight the first Mancubbus, and then immediately after that you are fighting Mancubbi all the time. Remember the first time you encountered a Pinky in Doom 3? It was scary and it was awesome. In this game, the System Shock 2 hologram ♥♥♥♥ shows you what a Pinky looks like long before you ever see one. Sidenote: They are somehow stronger enemies than all new enemies introduced until that point. Pinkys, the guys who took 3 shotgun hits to kill, are stronger than Barons.

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They have definitely put in effort to making the game an actual Doom game as opposed to Doom 3.The fact that enemies are three dimensional combined with the fact that they actually move around and try to flank you makes it interesting, but combat becomes thoroughly mindless and just… boring less than halfway through the game. Glory killing everything to death is too easy and far too likely for you to become overreliant upon, especially with enemies that are otherwise bullet sponges. It basically negates the entire point of Doom to have this feature be so powerful, because the weapons are boring and not fun to use and more often than not, they serve no purpose but to weaken an enemy so you can instakill them. In fact that’s even one of the Rune challenges. The weapons still feel like they have no weight or umph to them, just like in the multiplayer beta. By the way, this game literally has the Halo plasma pistol in it. It may be a different model and fire different colored plasma, but it is the exact same gun. Right click to charge fire a powerful shot left click to spam. The only difference is it has infinite ammo.

To exacerbate that, it doesn’t feel like enemies are any threat to you either. The only enemies that ever concern me are Hell Knights and it’s only because they are fast and follow you around with a ground pound attack – even Barons are harmless. Summoners? Don’t care. Manccubi? Too slow to matter. Revenants? Lol, so easy to kill. It doesn’t even feel like you’re in danger when revenants rocket spam you, and the same applies to all the various projectile weapons demons and posessed toss at you. I played half the game before I died from an enemy and the only reason that happened is because I didn’t actually look where I was going and ended up running in to a laser. That was the one and only time I died in the entire game from an enemy. Every other death has been fall damage or from the BFG laser grid.

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By the way, the inclusion of puzzles over halfway through the game is very bad game design, especially in Doom

The graphics are pretty and the game is mostly well optimized. You can cry all you want about how Rage had a lot of memory issues because of textures, and how those same issues persisted in The New Order (you’re wrong if you do), but this game runs just fine. When it runs. I did not have any issues until Hell on Mars and then my FPS flatlined at like 12 frames, for no discernible reason. My GPU wasn’t overheating, my CPU wasn’t overheating, my SSD wasn’t overheating andnothing else was running.

The effects look pretty cool from the explosions and the glowing magma to the red dust storms on the planets surface. It all still looks generic and clay, though, like Doom 3 did. The only difference is they learned how bump mapping and specular mapping works so now it’s not as bad. On top of that, the physics in the game are inconsistent and decide when they exist. You can run directly into an object and it won’t move, but then run into the same object somewhere else and it goes flying. And of course, as with all modern games with physics, objects will move slightly and then get caught in an endless loop, making more noise and being more disconcerting than the enemies.

Should I even mention the story? Think Doom 3, but with a commune communitatis trope (so overused) underlying the completely absurd story. A story where Demons can evidently be captured like Pokemon, and Hell is accepted unquestionably as a physical place. A place being treated more like the rain forest or Iraq or something, rather than THE SCARIEST THING IMAGINABLE. Not only is the story terrible, but there’s too much of it, and the game too often forces you to remember there’s a bad story behind all the demon blood and explosions by wrestling control away from you in story moments when you activate a switch or grab a thing. Did I mention the really, really, really dumb twist about Doomguy? The one I hinted at?

Multiplayer? So bad. So unbalanced. Nothing has changed since beta except now people have BFGs and Manccubi. The god awful lag is still there. You’re still playing with people in a bunker underneath New Zealand who literally found a way to make string carry a phone signal. There still is no matchmaking balance whatsoever, resulting in teams of nobs with automatic rifles fighting people with BFGs and manccubis, and people who are simply on the other side of the planet. Something that literally should never ever be happening unless they are the *only* other people playing. PS It’s still Peer to Peer matchmaking, a lesson even Activision learned from.

I would not pay full price, but it’s definitely better than Doom 3.

PlayStation Slays PC Peasant Race!

First post of the new year. Too busy to really care about games or play games, and progress continues at an iron atoms pace.

What I do have ample opportunity to do, though, as seems to be the norm when you spend all  your time working an IT desk job, is peruse the silly decades old console peasant wars that are going on. They’ve spilled out of peasant territory and console gamers actually think they are disproving the fact that PC gaming is superior.

I don’t like “PC Master Race.” So I am not taking a stand for “their” side. When I say them, I mean the PC Master Race subreddit. The alleged, self-proclaimed “first unified PC gaming community.” I believe in PC Master Race, because it’s fact. We just didn’t call it that in the 90s, we called ourselves elitists because it’s still the proper term, but the terminology really doesn’t matter. That whole bullshit “It’s insensitive and Nazi’s and waah” thing has no place in any modern society because only an absolutely braindead fuckmuffin would believe that people are wittingly equating themselves to what is undeniably the most horrific group of sadists in history.

However, I won’t be going into that. Not in that post. I have an entire separate post full of hatred to discuss the PCMR subreddit. I’m here to publicly laugh at a specific person who posted the below joke of a post on that subreddit. I don’t know if they were serious, but it doesn’t matter.

I can’t actually find the picture so I’ll have to find it from my work browsing history, because Reddit has  a terrible search.

This kid basically said something like “Of all these games barely more than 100 are coming to PC” and he posts a list of literally every game ever released for PS4 so far – about 600 games. Over 120 of them were on PC that I knew of off the top of my head for a fact – because I have them. More importantly, these are games that came from PC, like War Thunder, DayZ, PlanetSide 2, Brawlhalla, and so many more. Among the others in the list were games that are obviously coming to PC – like Ys VIII. Umbrella Ops or whatever that shitty new game is, confirmed for PC a long time ago. Just exactly like I said it was months ago on GameSpot before getting banned for the nth time. “You don’t know that.” said the peasants.

Yes. I do. I do know that, because I’ve been gaming for 30 years. I can and will accurately tell you exactly what is going to happen, as I have been doing for years.

Back to the point, 120 that I knew of off the top of my head without doing any Googling. Games like Nobunagas Ambition: Sphere of Influence, Umbrella Ops, Ys….

Really? Is that the best you can do? Cite a few Japanese exclusives and other first party games Sony keeps in house?

What Dead Space 3 Did Right

I’ve finally done it. I finally beat Dead Space 3….the normal campaign anyway. After 2 years of procrastination.

In fact, the only Dead Space game I ever played that I did beat in a reasonable time frame was Dead Space 2. Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 3 took me extended periods of time, for axiomatically different reasons that serve to emphasize what types of games they are. Whereas I put Dead Space down after chapter 2 and didn’t pick it up for nearly a year afterwards because I was frightened to find out what was behind that med bay door, I put Dead Space 3 down because I knew what was behind the next door, and I simply did not care.

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Surprise, it’s an entire platoon of necros. Guys? Where are you going? You’re not surprised?

Dead Space 3’s failure as a Dead Space game, and as a survival horror game, can not be simplified any further than that sentence because after the first chapter, you will know almost exactly what to expect for the next 18. Fortunately it seems to be widely agreed that the game was a misstep, so it doesn’t need to be made any clearer than a simple sentence.

Let me take a step back and provide some clarification. I am not a little girl. I don’t scream in fright at any game – horror or not. You can rest assured I’ll yell some words, but they’ll be expletives, and not girlish cries. So Dead Space was never shit your pants scary, no. In spite of that, Visceral employed a great mixture of pacing and environmental design that allowed common gameplay tropes to exist, while still creating a brilliant haunted carnival house that was one of the most memorable and enjoyable horror experiences in video game history.

Isaac was vulnerable, he was essentially alone, and he was afraid.  As well as slowly going insane throughout the course of the game thanks to the red marker. Most importantly, he didn’t say a damn word for 99% of the game. It was just you, silence, your gun, and a haunted (basically) ship full of alien monsters trying to kill you. On top of that, innocuous heavy machinery would kill you too. Broken doors would slice you up, malfunctioning gravity plating would slam you into a wall and rip you apart, gyroscopic stabilizers would cut you in half, and most of the ship would try to suck you out into space.

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Also dude was newly single and out of shape too.

Dead Space 2 removed this vulnerability and feeling of isolation, but still managed to deliver a tense rollercoaster ride through a different haunted house with some slightly different tricks. Isaac could move more fluidly, guns seemed to be more effective, kinesis powers were more effective and he could use random objects to destroy enemies. He also talked a lot and often met up with living human beings, which made it feel like he wasn’t alone and thus like you weren’t alone. To make up for this, the game featured new enemies who were faster and harder to kill, and the first 6 chapters were basically a gauntlet of brutality for the player to survive. To be fair, you start the game in a straight jacket and the first living human being you meet dies a gruesome death within 20 seconds, and you don’t even get a gun until just before the first boss. The number of enemies also increased to compensate for Isaac suddenly being a badass. It seems his years in a straightjacket somehow magically turned him into a combat engineer, not just a systems engineer.

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He only wants a hug, Isaac.

So what did Dead Space 3 do wrong? Well, as it turns out, a lot of things. I’ll save those for another article for the sake of length. Right now, let’s acknowledge what it did right. The overall art design and sound design is still brilliant. This stands out more in the latter half of the game when you get to see vistas on Tau Volantis like the first approach to the research base, or when you reach the alien city and are introduced to their physical appearance as well as their architecture. Before this, though, you do get to see a lot of the flotilla in orbit of the planet and there are some cool shots like this one. The only negative thing I can say about the art design is that the death animations, while still varied, almost all seem to be too fast and result in the same thing – your body chopped into at least 2 pieces. Where Dead Space 1 and 2 took time to show you yourself being murdered, Dead Space 3 just blows you up every 5 minutes and doesn’t even have the courtesy to show you.

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On that note, the graphics are also much improved over the first two games. Moreso the first than the second, as Dead Space 2 came out this decade, but the graphics are better. Down to the fur and cloth on some of the outfits blowing in the wind of the frozen wasteland. Animations and character textures have been improved as well and overall the engine used for this game seems to have been tweaked with some more modern capabilities, especially when it comes to postprocessing.

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This is definitely a bullshot but with shader mods you can accomplish this.

Just like Dead Space 2, you start out with some living normal humans. And then immediately thereafter, the Church of Unitology shows up and kills the entire colony, turning people into necromorphs and I would think starting a convergence event. You are fighting necros and soldiers who shoot at you, in the streets and alleys and in shops. Whereas Dead Space 2 maintained an intentional pacing and didn’t give you the option of really looking around in the beginning, the sequel does not because there doesn’t seem to be any urgency after you clear an area of necromorphs. The only positive aspect of any of this is the fact that you got to see what “normal” human life might be like for a second. You didn’t really get to see it in Dead Space 2 because everything was dying and covered in blood by the time you saw it, but in 3 you at least get a brief glimpse. Which isn’t saying much, because it’s almost literally nothing. You see some cars, there’s a highway, and the Moon colony seems to be a pretty big settlement. Other than that and setting up the game’s villain, there is nothing notable to come from the first two chapters of the game.

Following that is your arrival in space around Tau Volantis, where you’ll spend the next 6 chapters, otherwise referred to as the Sovereign Colonies flotilla. This is the section of the game that seemed to be on the right track, and the section where the game shined. The ship corridors are tighter than most areas of Dead Space 2, and at most times it feels like a worthy tribute to Dead Space, though it admittedly doesn’t capture the same essence. You still have the vents and necromorphs coming out of them, and the creepy sounds, and the piece by piece backstory that you would expect, but the ships like the Roanoke or the Terra Nova just don’t feel the same.  What makes the flotilla cool is that it has sidequests where you can go exploring and learn the story of these ships, all while still being hounded by regenerators and lots of necromorphs. In addition to that, DS3 improves upon the zero g mechanics and takes them to a whole new level. Basically every zero g sequence is the cover of the game Dark Void, and it’s liberating to finally be able to move whatever direction you want in zero g.

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Unfortunately that all comes to an end somewhat quickly, depending on how you play and whether or not you do side quests at all. After that, it’s on to the surface of Tau Volantis, which is its own rollercoaster ride, but it’s just pure action and its downright annoying. The only good trick Dead Space 3 has left at this point is to employ some oldschool survival horror where you’re better off running away than fighting enemies, because it simply spawns too many of them on your face. Unless you have a ridiculously overpowered gun, which you won’t have until after multiple playthroughs, you are better off running.

It’s quite clear that EA tried to please too many audiences at once while really aiming this title at a different group of people than the group that wanted it. You simply can’t do that in a sequel, much less at the end of a trilogy. The third game in a series, where all the games are directly connected and still telling the same story, is not the appropriate time to try to remarket a franchise towards casuals.

Especially when that game only exists because the core gamers bought and supported the first two entries.

Mass Effect

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Indeed I am many years late to the party but I legitimately didn’t finish the game until last month. After all the hype and good things I’d heard from people who don’t even play video games and raved about this title, I decided I had to finally play it – 2 years ago. I just didn’t actually get past the prologue until I forced myself. I have to admit going into it that I have never been a Bioware fan. Sure, Jade Empire and KOTOR were excellent. Baldur’s Gate was legendary. But those were all over 10 years ago.

It’s more or less impossible to produce a space game, especially one with a rich and sprawling universe, without drawing comparisons to your three big hitters in the space “genre” – Stargate, Star Trek, and Star Wars. Star Wars in particular is something you might think of when playing Mass Effect, as the funky aliens, rogue murderous robots, space secret agents and many more common elements are there, and it’s fortunate that this isn’t a Star Wars game because BioWare has already done that, and done it well.

In Mass Effect I found probably the best sleeper hit RPG in many years. I bought it because I assumed I’d like it – I’m into basically all of the themes and elements that make the game what it is. I just don’t particularly like Bioware. Dragon Age left a very bad taste in my mouth. The combat was dreadfully boring, the learning curve didn’t exist, and the characters would not shut their mouths. Look, I like dialog and story as much as the next guy. It’s a vital part of RPGs. But the characters in Dragon Age droned on and on, and none of it was ever interesting. Fortunately for Mass Effect, I hung on every word that characters had to say. Even if I got tired of hearing them talk, I read the subtitles and hit the spacebar.

Obviously, the story in the game is not 100% original. I’ve seen many people draw comparisons with System Shock – though I’m not so sure how given the ending of this trilogy. Many elements draw blatant parallels with the big three, again – how couldn’t they? With thousands of hours of film and even more of novels and comics between them, those three franchises have covered as close to everything as possible. I also knew the ending to the trilogy would be shit beforehand, thus the thing about playing games way too late. Regardless of all this, I found it to be entertaining, and robust. The game has so many factions and side-quests to deal with that I found myself having to pause to remember exactly what was going on at times, more-so in the sequels than the first entry.

I have only two real criticisms First is the games handling of other species sex, and the Asari were somewhat well written. However, why must every character be overly sexualized? Do I need to see her tits as she dies? Just like early Star Trek and most of Star Wars, most species just seem to be a green or blue human with boobs tossed on them. We can’t speak for the quarians because we don’t know what they look like, but from what little you can see through their visors they appear sort of reptilian. The Asari, who even knows, with their tentacles on their heads.

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The other is….the morality system is basically meaningless. If you play RPGs properly, that means you talk to literally every NPC all the time, and do every quest possible. Simply talking to everyone whenever possible gives you paragon points. The only way to get renegade points is to intentionally take renegade actions. Even so, you would have to only do the renegade type of thing every single time, to be a renegade. Just like Fallout 3, the balance of morality has basically no effect whatsoever on anything because even if it did, it will take you 4 seconds to fix it.

The voice acting was very well done, even in the first game, and combined with the dialog itself I felt a sincerity to the things people were saying to me, or to others. In addition, the dialog and story seemed rather well written, to the point that I wasn’t being taken out of it to question the authenticity of the plot developments.

I flew back and forth around the galaxy, doing 100% of every side-quest and quest possible. It reminded me of long dead games like Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger where you controlled where you go and what you do, when. Even better, it seemed that every single one of these quests remained relevant after the game was over. Looking back, the only things I didn’t do all of were probes or beacons or containers that required too high of a science level I didn’t have.

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Worst vehicle in the galaxy.

Surprisingly, the fact that the combat all controls as a third person shooter didn’t even bother me. Occasionally I ran into some frustrating battles like Benezia or basically everything else on Noveria, but most of that boiled down to playing the game too much like a shooter. It seemed an interesting way to handle the combat – not many RPGs have tried. Although I do feel that if you’re going to make a third person shooter and make it with consoles in mind, it would be nice to have a functional gamepad control scheme on PC as well. I typically play PC games with keyboard anyway, but the option would be nice. The only thing about this game that bothered me, other than the god awful handling and boringness of the Mako, was the 150 item limit. I was picking up at least 50 – 100 items per planet and mission. And then having to turn them all into omni-gel or sell them, seconds later.

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I don’t know what the graphics in the game looked like originally, as I played with the MIUTM mod. It doesn’t drastically change things, but it does replace most of the textures with high quality ones. And it looked pretty decent for an ancient game.

Resident Evil – What IS it? Continued

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Apologies for the second blog about Resident Evil in 24 hours but, you have seen the name of this site, correct? It’s expected. So the news today is that Capcom made a not-at-all substantial statement mentioning RE7.

Capcom is planning a new Resident Evil spinoff shooter game and multiple new HD remakes, but what about the next entry in the core series? Capcom is still not ready to share specifics about a follow-up to 2012’s Resident Evil 6, but now, veteran producer Masachika Kawata has told fans to “stay tuned.”

“We’re currently not at a state to talk about it,” Kawata said when asked directly about Resident Evil 7 in the latest issue of Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki PlayStation (via Siliconera). “But please stay tuned.”

Asked for a response to the notion that the Resident Evil series is “losing its horror touch,” Kawata seemed to agree, but went on to say that Capcom wants the franchise to return to its horror roots

“Since there’s been more spinoff titles, I can see how it can be perceived in such a way,” Kawata said. “And of course I believe that we should produce titles that bring out the horror. I’m thinking about it and also preparing for it.”

This is not the case. I don’t think he understood the comment he responded to. The game lost its horror roots because of the main series – not because there are “so many spin off titles.”

Revelations 1 and 2 are the closest thing to a real Resident Evil game that have come out in over a decade, and Revelations 2 wasn’t even close. It was just a mashup of Evil Within and Last of Us, with some Metal Gear Solid and RE4 mixed in. Revelations 1 was very close, it’s just the enemies weren’t frightening – ever – and they weren’t zombies or really mutated either. Just grey gelatinous puddles of goop with pointies on them. Real sea creatures are scarier. Like the goblin shark.

Resident Evil’s essence didn’t revolve strictly around horror. The game was 90% inventory management, adventures, puzzles, and piecing together the story from the environment and documents. “Horror”, and the ammo management that came with it, was that extra something that made the game special. Outbreak 1 and 2 were both, for all intents and purposes, real resident evil games. They just had a terrible lack of communication options, and you started out infected and inevitably died, to make it as frustrating as possible. So the only spinoffs that really hurt the series were ORC, Gun Survivor, and Chronicles. These were on rails and/or action games RE4, RE5, and RE6 have each individually done more damage to the franchise than all the spinoffs combined ever could have.

Here’s a no-brainer:

Stop. Listening. To. RE4. Fans.

Trying to make third person action shooters to cater to them is what has ruined this IP.

Any person that says “I loved RE4 and RE5, please go back to them.” is a person you should beimmediately ignoring forever. Resident Evil sold millions when it was Resident Evil. It didn’t sellmore copies once it was Gears of Evil. If you want to sell games to these people with the Resident Evil logo on them, that’s absolutely fine. But they need to be clearly separated from the normal product line with a common subtitle like Outbreak (not to be confused with the Outbreak games which were great) or something. I will gladly buy an offline single player or co op third person action shooter product that focuses on the BSAA – that’s perfectly fine. I trulyliked Chris’s campaign. It was the only good, functional, cohesive part of RE6 other than Ada’s story. Ada’s story doesn’t count because it was required to figure out what the fuck just happened in the previous 20 hours of the game. I didn’t like how Chris’s campaign wasn’t Resident Evil, but I liked what it was. Just stop shovelling that horse shit into the main series.

You can honest to god keep the over the shoulder camera. It can stay. 3d environments can stay. What needs to come back is the adventure gameplay. Keeping track of your inventory and the items you need within that inventory in order to open doors and solve puzzles, to progress in the game. Creepy, claustrophobic environments with grandiose music and elegance to them that reflect the degree of insanity in the people you’re dealing with. Reading documents that reveal the plot one fragment at a time so that you can piece it all together yourself – not constant cutscenes being shoved in your face every 2.5 seconds that serve no purpose whatsoever except to put in more exploding set pieces or sequences that would have been slightly off if you had control. No co op. If you must do co op, do it like RE0, or do it like Outbreak – nothing else. No exceptions.

What needs to go is the kung fu fighting, the free melee, the upgradable guns, the copious ammo and healing items, and the hordes of enemies at every turn. The mind controlled enemy zombie militias with assault rifles and rocket launchers and miniguns and crossbows, and wings. The main characters who have lived through 4 or 5 outbreaks yet can’t identify when a fucking human being has been infected and turned into a zombie (LOOKING AT YOU LEON AND CHRIS) Those need to go, forever. RE6 seemed like it attempted to deal with Chris’s development and his PTSD – something touched upon frequently in RE5 commercials but literally never even mentioned in the game – but they tried to Tarantino it and did a shit job. The constantly exploding setpieces, the plane crashes, the on rails vehicle segments, the jet plane flying, all of that shit needs to go away for all eternity, as well. Listen, Capcom. Within 1 hour of starting RE6 – if you play Leon’s campaign first – there are no fewer than 100 exploding cars, at least 10 car crashes either right in front of you or with you in them, an entire street that explodes and collapses, and an exploding Harrier. This is in the fucking prologue. The tutorial! Are you kidding!?!!?!?!?!

Sherry, Leon, Ada – no development whatsoever. None. Not one single iota. And once again, despite Wesker being DEAD, the only real conflict in the story revolved around him, this time the fact that he was dead.

Resident Evil – What IS it?

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As of late, Capcom has been publishing data regarding its franchise sales and success on a regular basis, and of course with E3 coming up soon, there is once again a lot of talk about reviving the Resident Evil franchise. A lot of alleged fans come out of the woodwork to say that RE4 was the best of the series and that people clamoring for a return to form need to take off their nostalgia goggles. I concede that it would be better to have better controls a la Dead Space or RE6 – and it would be better to have the option to change camera angles, but not one single other thing from RE4 needs to ever show its face in the franchise again.

RE4 has nothing to do with Resident Evil. Capcom – and Mikami himself in that case – thinks that throwing in a couple of characters that fans were familiar with and liked, and emulating what they did before in good games is all they need to do to make another entry. It’s not. The story had no connection whatsoever with the established lore – 8+ games worth I might add by the time RE4 came out – other than the text at the beginning of the game and the obligatory, off-topic references to and inclusion of Ada and Wesker. Krauser and Leon’s backstory didn’t even exist yet when they put him in the game.

It’s not a Resident Evil game. It’s not even a survival horror game. Literally the only moment of “fear” in that entire game was the first time you encountered Dr. Salvador because you didn’t know what would happen and if he was an insta-death. Once you found out that he was, there was no more tension in that game that didn’t come simply from your own desire not to die and have to replay part of it. Considering the frequent save points, and not needing ribbons, even that was minimal. Combine that with the fact that you can literally buy first aid sprays, upgrade your guns and subsequently get free ammo doing so, the fact that you have grenades and sniper rifles and can buy rocket launchers, there’s nothing suspenseful about the game. It was entirely action.

Allow me to reiterate: I do like RE4. It was a good game. I spent all my gaming time when it came out playing that game with my best friend until we unlocked every last thing possible (well, before the full PS2 version came out), even in public at our local video game store. I own the original, the PS2 port, the original mess of a PC port, RE4 HD on 360 and RE4 HD on PC. But, it’s not a Resident Evil game, and that precludes it from being the best Resident Evil game.

The influx of “kids” who never played RE Directors Cut, RE2, RE3, RE Code Veronica, REmake, RE0, and Outbreak 1 and 2 in that order are what has caused the franchise – in terms of quality – to nosedive. They played RE4 and thought it was the best game ever made, so Capcom has tried to emulate that unsuccessfully ever since. I’m sure a lot of people who liked original RE played it and liked it, but if you played them contemporarily when released and then jumped ship to the action, all I can say is that you’re a sellout.

And so this is why Resident Evil has had an identity crisis for the last 10 years of its 19 year existence. At this point it is mathematically more appropriate to call it an action game, than a survival horror or even an adventure game. Capcom is trying to appeal to two radically different groups of fans and ends up attempting to appease them both. RE4 introduced ridiculous gameplay moments like those below:

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Since this, the identity crisis suffered by this franchise has soared to hilarious, indescribable new heights. It reached the pinnacle of absurdity in Resident Evil 6, which featured the disgusting failures the below screenshots only hint at. If you haven’t played Resident Evil 6 but are a fan, be warned: You have to pilot a fucking fighter jet. You attack a Neo-Umbrella aircraft carrier with a fighter jet. This is the franchise where you had to re-arrange statues to get gems to get a key in 1998 and you couldn’t even aim your gun. In 2011, you are flying a god damn fighter jet.

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The amount of vehicles you have to “control” in Resident Evil 6 is simply fucking ridiculous. You control Air Force One, a scout helicopter, a UH-60 variant helicopter, a Harrier fighter jet, a police cruiser, a motorcycle, and a snow mobile. This is in addition to the set pieces. RE6 features so many exploding set pieces, it’s unfathomable that Capcom wasn’t having a contest with Activision. Exploding cars by the dozens, exploding planes, exploding helicopters, exploding ships, exploding trains, collapsing Moria mines, nuclear explosions, exploding rail artillery guns, exploding submarines, exploding giant houseflies, epic avalanches…Resident Evil 6 is the most ridiculous Call of Duty game in history.

As if the explosions and set pieces and raging fires weren’t bad enough in that game, they also mashed as many other games as possible together, like Gears of War. Look, I actually admit that Chris’s campaign was the best campaign in the game. It physically hurts me to say so, but it’s the truth. If Resident Evil were to just split off into a third person action shooter about the BSAA fighting bioterrorism, Chris’s campaign would be a great template to follow in order to accomplish that goal. That being said, what the hell is this? No seriously, though, I’m legitimately asking. What were these things called? You only had to kill 2 of them but there was never an explicit answer who made them or why. Are we to assume it was Neo-Umbrella?

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Sidenote, what fake build of RE6 is this screenshot taken from? The game does not look this good on absolute ultra graphics on PC.

Back on topic. To make matters worse, Resident Evil 6 is the best selling entry in the entire franchise. Certainly this sends a message to Capcom that we want action games, and that really isn’t the truth. Especially now that Revelations 2 didn’t sell as many copies as almost any other entry in the series. At this point in time, Capcom has actually commented that they may just keep making the main numbered entries into action games, and save what little similarities to the original game still exist for the Revelations games. Capcom, of course, says a lot of nonsensical things about Resident Evil.

Keiji Inafune – legendary creator of Megaman, the guy who left Capcom because they wouldn’t make a new Megaman game and then made it anyway (the one that we’re waiting for because it got delayed to 2016) made a statement in 2010 that Capcom wanted Dead Rising to replace Resident Evil as their zombie franchise (http://goo.gl/QDDw4E). That’s the extent of this ridiculousness.

We know now how that worked out. Capcom released the worst Resident Evil game in history the next year, and then contracted Slant Six to make the second worst game in Resident Evil history. Shortly after that they released the only good Resident Evil game in 7 years, and then Dead Rising 3 did not at all meet their expectations. So, those plans got axed. It seems at this point like Capcom is trying not to continue the RE franchise but they keep doing it begrudgingly because people want it – like the fact that it took them 14 years and 2 separate fan remakes of Resident Evil 2 before they finally decided to officially remake the game, along with the fact that they remastered RE0 and REmake.

At the same time, Capcom is making an online only competitive Resident Evil shooter that won’t even have Resident Evil in the title. I think it’s safe to say that after 10 years of struggling with this franchises identity, even having proven data with Revelations 1 and 2 that shows people want the horror back, Capcom still has no idea what to do with their IP. Barry and Jill’s frequent, badly voice acted query from day 1 is perfectly appropriate 19 years later and seems to be what Capcom employees are still asking each other when they have meetings.

What IS it?!

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

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Yes. I explicitly said I do not intend to buy this game. I did it anyway. Twice, in fact. I remember when this game came out in 2013. I had reservations and doubts and pretty much knew it would suck, but paid $60 on PS3 for it anyway. Actually I believe I even pre-ordered it and then stopped by GameStop to get it on the way back from work.

I broke a controller because of this game. The first time I’d done something that childish in  a decade, and it hasn’t happened again. That is how poorly designed the game is.

Example: Blade mode literally does not work the way it is supposed to. There are two bosses where you must use blade mode the proper way, or you die. The thing being, it never really gives any indication what the proper way is , and blade mode is a horrible way of blocking in the first place. Because you have to parry everything – there is no block. Very bad decision for a hack and slash game when literally every hack and slash ever made allows you to block and counter attack based on timing, but your game instead only applies parrying. Parrying is not the same as blocking and frankly is not the only method of defense in a sword fight.

Sundowner explicitly requires you to slash in 180 degree angles – horizontally or vertically. If you are remotely off, it doesn’t undo his shield.  The thing is, it’s not that difficult to see the clear middle of the x and y axis on a PS3 controller or Xbox controller. It just doesn’t work regardless.

It's literally telling you how to slash, and then not accepting it.

It’s literally telling you how to slash, and then not accepting it.

Other than the technical failures, the game presentation is completely inconsistent. There is no rhythm or flow to the play of this game. Normal enemies – soldiers/cyborgs – are pathetically, pointlessly easy. In comparison, Geckos are moronically hard. Yea, I’m aware of what they are, I played MGS4 – wherein Raiden easily fought them by the way – and they shouldn’t be doing as much damage as they do in one hit. Not to mention Dwarf Geckos, give me a break, if they swarm you. This is my major problem with the game. Each level is offensively easy even including the annoying and often overpowered minibosses, but then comes the other major problem with the game.

Bosses: Bosses are so, so, so stupidly out of place “difficult”. And that’s the thing, they aren’t even difficult. The last boss is the easiest boss in the entire game, if you don’t screw up. In fact, the fourth boss is actually the hardest in the game. As if that little fact wasn’t enough, you actually have to fight the third, fourth, third, fourth, and fifth bosses in the same hour of gameplay – three of them on the same level, on the same life bar, too. It actually reminds me of Ninja Gaiden 3 Razor’s Edge in that the health bar was so poorly implemented – except in NG3 you literally couldn’t heal back to full health and stay that way except for checkpoints. In Revengeance, you can carry a meager amount of nanopastes and then you better hope there are spines – attached the human enemies – that you can heal with otherwise. Hint: There aren’t many in the second half of the game.

So you go from murdering everything, which Raiden should be doing, to getting his ass kicked by these A-team rejects in the same levels. It breaks the suspension of disbelief, even in a Kojima game, this juxtaposition of difficulty between actual gameplay, and cinematic boss encounters.

I’ve saved the actual story for the end because it is just so ridiculous. So, on top of what happens to Raiden between MGS2 and MGS4, he starts working for a mercenary organization to combat cyborgs and Metal Gear stuff. He’s pretty identifiable and expected compared to what he was in MGS4, until the point where the Spanish cyborg samurai basically leaves him for dead. Then he is still normal, but on the subsequent boss fight, he goes crazy. He embraces “Jack the Ripper” – remember him? His nickname when he was a WHITE African child soldier. Goes crazy and literally impales himself with his own sword to get off on the pain and apparently use it like a Sith would to make himself stronger.

Except this never happens. He doesn’t get stronger. He’s the same underpowered whining girl he was outside of cutscenes since MGS2. So the whole thing was pointless. And then at the end of the game, he just kindly goes back to Rose and their kid and can be a normal father again. Why? Because….

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Yes, this is the last boss, and yes he literally says “Nanomachines, son”.

 So, we’re just not going to talk about that? How you shoved a katana through your [admittedly cyborg] own chest and then decided to regress to the horrible past you allegedly have gotten over? Thanks Platinum and Konami, whichever group of you wrote the story, it’s even worse than any MGS including 5.

Still here

It’s been a long 2015. I no longer own any consoles, having sold my PS2 out of desperation a few months ago, so am only gaming on PC. Which is fine. I’m trying to get into videos, and am working on putting together a video show with some real life friends in the Houston area. I am still alive though. Currently I’m working on finishing up the Mass Effect trilogy – am about 1/3rd of the way through the third game.

My recent acquisitions are a bit lacking. I haven’t even installed MGS5 yet and really don’t care. I also will be working on a review of Stasis, maybe Soma, Far Cry 4, and some other titles.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

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Yes, it’s more or less common gamer knowledge that Colonial Marines was ass, but I felt it necessary to drag it through the mud again. This game is the pinnacle of bad game making. Or maybe one of them – interestingly enough another one of them was released by the same company. It’s okay though. Remember, 3DR ruined Duke Nukem – not Gearbox.

Colonial Marines largely ignores and retcons the plot developments of the movie Aliens, then relies upon fan popularity and familiarity with the settings and characters of Aliens to sell a game whose story makes absolutely no sense, and whose gameplay is simply abysmal. For example, how would the USCM know Ridley landed on Fury 161? The timeline is all fucked up. Aliens took place in 2180. Yet they place this game 17 weeks after Alien 3. There is no possible way that the shuttlecraft from the Sulaco at the beginning of Alien 3 could have drifted anywhere near a planet in the generic timeframe described – still 2180 – while the Sulaco was still orbiting LV-426. It is astronomically impossible, and bad writing. If they dispatched the Sephora to investigate Sulaco and it’s still at the original planet, then how the fuck could the Sulaco shuttle have crashed on any other planet? Fury 161 can’t be in the same solar system because no one had ever been to that system before – they explicitly say this in Alien. It even says so in the Alien wiki, that no one knows where Fury 161 is except Weyland-Yutani. Meaning it’s impossible. Which also begs the question how Michael Bishop Weyland could possibly have gotten to Fury 161 in Aliens 3 – considering they had to send him a message first. Sorry, but a shuttle craft even going at full speed is going to take years to get anywhere. Not weeks. As evidenced by the fact that Ripley was in that escape pod from the Nostromo for 67 years before she was picked up.

Significant amounts of the game take place on Hadleys Hope only a few months after it was destroyed by a thermonuclear bomb, yet the entire colony is fine – is not irradiated – and you can breath the atmosphere, despite the Atmosphere Processor being destroyed in the movie – which by the way is intact in the game, even if there are other atmosphere processors. The Sulaco is visibly destroyed while you escape from it, which again is somehow after Ripley’s pod was ejected, again. Ignoring that the Sulaco was basically fine and no where near a planet at the beginning of Alien 3 and the escape pod was ejected for reasons – no explanation why (because the alien facehugger started a fire, on the escape pod not the Sulaco), James Cameron says its a true sequel. That’s great, except the sequel to Aliens was Alien 3. You can’t retcon in a sequel.

Ignoring the story, the gameplay is simply bad. QTEs, rigid and boring combat; enemies that take multiple headshots to kill; aliens that can crawl on ceilings and walls but will walk up to you or literally stand there and do nothing. Floors you can get stuck in and die. There is almost never any indication of what you’re supposed to do other than a generic marker on your motion tracker.

It’s s shame too because they did a great job of reproducing the atmosphere, appearance, and sound effects of the movies. The graphics, though an obvious letdown compared to hype footage shown before release, are still rather gorgeous.

They did a great job of reproducing the atmosphere

They did a great job of reproducing the atmosphere

Even the technology, down to the props used in Aliens, and the sounds such as the ripping paper of the plasma rifle or the clanking of the turrets, was reproduced with excellent clarity and authenticity. It’s just a shame that I have to lump this title in with Operation Raccoon City. Great reproduction of an established environment, but terrible story and gameplay, to the point of being  broken.

Seriously – don’t buy this game. Even if it’s 5 dollars, it’s 4.99 too much.

Banished

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Addictively fun and brutally unforgiving village simulator. It takes a lot of time and effort to master this game due to a steep learning curve (unless you fancy spending the first several hours reading the in-game Wiki), but once you do, it will dawn on you that the gameplay is very simplistic, and new features are neither being added nor planned. At that point the only game is to see how long you can survive with a functioning village without a disaster or a disease outbreak bringing it all down around you – leaving little else to do.