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My Bated Breath: What I Want (and don’t want) From Ninja Gaiden III.

2 Jun

I’ve seen the teaser trailer and the first handful of screens, neither of which say much of anything.  I’m hoping to get a meatier glimpse of the game in the coming days as E3 gets into full swing, but in the interim, I’ve been thinking about the possibilities of the now Itakagi-less Ninja Gaiden series. What do I want to see in the third game? What do I hope never happens? Some of my ruminations are probably obvious, but I’d say the series is at a sort of crossroads at this point. Team Ninja is under new direction and has an opportunity to do something different. At the same time, they’re dealing with a franchise that is probably the greatest pure action game to ever grace consoles. So, with that in mind, here’s my two cents:

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Cole Phelps and Me.

24 May

Chief among the laundry list of things L.A. Noire does exceptionally well is the character of Cole Phelps. I suppose one could argue that he’s one-dimensional, but the characters surrounding Cole certainly make up for what he lacks in certain areas. For the first time in recent memory I saw a little bit of myself in a video game character, and that’s a huge step in the right direction.

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John Marston is the anti-Niko Bellic.

6 May

Really, it’s true. And it’s a funny thing that Dan Houser wrote one of the absolute worst video game characters in history and also one of the best. I think Rockstar was trying to create a John Marston-type of character when they made GTA IV, but for whatever reason they failed miserably. The 2nd time was a charm, however, because Red Dead: Redemption accomplishes everything narratively that GTA IV tried to.

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Red Dead has blurred the line between games and film

6 May

This post is from May, 2010 by Markus on the old blog.

We all know by now that Rockstar Games’ Red Dead: Redemption is out and enjoying universal acclaim from fans and critics so there’s no point in reviewing this absolutely must buy title. The only thing I care to add at this point is that RDR will stand proudly beside the best western films that I have in my DVD collection. It is that damn good.

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Splinter Cell: Conviction; or, How Not to Write a Story.

5 May

Yet another old blog post, this one from May 2010.

I didn’t read too much information about Splinter Cell: Conviction before playing it. I also didn’t watch a lot of videos. The bit I knew really intrigued me: Sam learned his daughter’s death might not have been an accident, and he heard some names floating around. The interrogation bit in the demo certainly led me to believe he was on a personal mission of vengeance. Right or wrong, he was going to get the information he needed, the way he needed to get it. The premise was instantly thought-provoking. With a story like that, there are multiple ways to go about exploring themes, such as moral ambiguity, blind rage and the consequences of it, and learning to let go and move on with your life. As you can probably guess by the title of this post, the kind folks at Ubisoft decided to shit all over themselves.

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Sad Reflections.

5 May

This was a post from the tail end of 2009 on the old blog. I’m still going through the entries that didn’t import well, and I’m posting one or two of them a day just to have them up. I should mention that I’ve been debating getting back into Call of Duty since I still do have the occasional hankering to dole out some ass kicking. I should, and most likely will, just pick Left 4 Dead 2 (or Left 5 Dead, as my girlfriend calls it) back up again. That series is amazing, and I should be playing it more often. Anyways, with that caveat out of the way, enjoy.

It’s 5am, and as I sit here, fresh off a couple of hours attempting to subjugate my people in Tropico 3, I happened to come across this post by Michael Abbott over at Brainy Gamer. It’s worth a read. But, sadly, it made me think about what the Call of Duty franchise has ultimately become: a five-second thrill rehashed ad-nauseum. My first confession should be that I’m not nearly as big a multiplayer competitor as I used to be. Turn back the clock just a couple of years and you’d be likely to find me playing a lot more Halo 3. But nowadays, I simply can’t do it. The experience of standard multiplayer has become so stale and uninteresting to me that the thought of entering a match doesn’t usually cross my mind at all. I need something more out of games at this point, and a game like Modern Warfare 2 just doesn’t cut it.

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Cheap Thrills – Alan Wake

3 May

The following is a paper I did for an English class. We were supposed to write a review, so…I did. This is what I came up with:

“But nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations; they’re antithetical to the poetry of fear.” – Stephen King

Alan Wake, a psychological thriller developed by Remedy Entertainment for the Xbox 360, opens with the above quote by Stephen King, and the titular character narrating what seems to be the central theme of the game. According to Wake, the “Why?” is never as important as the emotions one goes through during a horrifying experience. There’s nothing wrong with that sentiment. In fact, I mostly agree with it. But Alan Wake forgoes the “Why?” almost entirely, in favor of nonsensical exposition and repetitive, tired shooting mechanics that would be more at home in Max Payne 3 than something rooted in psychological horror.

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Developers Shouldn’t Use Cliff Notes.

1 May

Right off the bat, I should say that I’m really enjoying Castlevania: Lords of Shadow so far. I’ve only just started chapter 2, but I’m currently appreciating the slow-burn of both the game play and story. Be that as it may, I’ve already found my first brow-furrowing moment in the game. Ever heard of Shadow of the Colossus?

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On Digital Distribution.

1 May

I decided to download Dante’s Inferno from the Games on Demand section of the Live Marketplace earlier today. That turned out to be a fantastic idea…4 hours later. There’s just no way digital distribution will become the standard until speed picks way, way up. 4 hours to download 5.5 gigs just isn’t going to cut it. Perhaps I’m only speaking for myself, but I sure as hell am not going to wait that long every single time I want to play a game. I’ll make the sacrifice and actually put some pants and shoes on (even on No Pants Sunday) for the 20 minutes it takes and go to an actual store. $20 was about right for the game, but that huge span of time…no, thanks. This is just a mini-rant, I guess. I just can’t believe how long that shit took. I’ll have more to report on the actual game soon enough…

To Portal or Not to Portal; No One Really Asked You.

26 Apr


Awesome Concept Art



Because Portal 2 is so funny, I didn’t realize how scary a premise it contains. My girlfriend even had to point it out to me. Looking through Chell’s perspective, she’s trapped miles underground god knows where, and has been there for god knows how long. It’s reasonable to assume it’s been at least hundreds of years. She doesn’t know if there is a single human being left in the world, but she still has GlaDOS to keep her company. Oh, yea, well, a moronic robot accidentally re-activated her during an escape attempt, so now she’s making Chell test again. Her acidic barbs are even more venomous in some ways this time around, probably because she was, you know, murdered and left to rot.

That’s how the game starts.

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