It's easy for people to bash on Nintendo these days, laugh at their failures and point out all of their shortcomings as a gaming console hardware company, especially in wake of the Wii U under-performing. While the Wii U does many things right, and has even proven that a second screen on a home console can not only be effective, but in some circumstances necessary, people still don't think Nintendo is viable as a hardware developer any longer.
Well, Sony doesn't seem shy to admit that Nintendo is doing things right, especially with the second screen function of the Wii U. Thanks to the remote-play function of the PS Vita with the PS4, gamers can play whatever games they have downloaded or loaded into their console on their Vita, as it pretty much flawlessly streams right to the Vita screen. This function allows for the television to be used for someone else (watching TV, another game consoles, whatever) while the PS4 player gets the full experience of the console shrunk down to the Vita, without lag or downgraded graphics.
This function, which everyone raved about since the PS4 launch, is exactly what the Wii U offers with the GamePad that is included with the console. Instead of having to buy a Vita separately, it's already built in to the console that everyone loves to hate.
While Sony has taken inspiration from Nintendo and ran with it, there is one particular thing Sony is doing that Nintendo could take some lessons from. Sony introduced the Cross-Buy option for gamers that allowed them to buy a PS3 version of a game and get the Vita version for free. I might be wrong, but I think the first game they did it with was Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale, and since then, has adopted it for many of their games. Granted, most games that use it are smaller, PSN titles, but that's only because full versions of PS3 games for the Vita that are exactly the same are hard to come by.
So with these PSN titles, all you have to do is buy one version and get the other one for free, at no additional cost at all. Also, most of the Cross-Buy games also feature Cross-Saves, allowing you to upload your save file to the cloud and access it on whatever platform you choose, at any time. Also, most tiles feature a unified trophy list, but there have been instances of separate trophy lists, allowing you to double up on trophies easily, with one sync of a save file. Thank you, Sound Shapes.
With the release of the PS4, Sony's Cross-Buy program didn't get swept under the rug, but instead upgraded and expanded. Right off the bat, former PSN favorites began showing up on the PS4, which were free if you owned them on a previous console (PS3 and/or Vita). And now, with Doki-Doki Universe, games are seeing the Cross-Buy program spread over three different consoles all at once. Buy this games for any console of your choosing, and get it for free for the other two. Simple as that. It's brilliant, and if Nintendo ever decided to adopt a similar program with the Wii U and the 3DS, imagine the possibilities.
Of course, I can only imagine that Sony started up this program as a way to entice consumers to buy a Vita, as they have struggled to sell themselves. So by making gamers feel like there was a legit reason to own one and that there were tons of perks that came with ownership, they hoped to sell a bunch more. Nintendo is really in the same boat with the 3DS, but I wonder if the Wii U couldn't get a shot in the proverbial arm if it was possible to stream 3DS games onto it. Nintendo is moving closer to it being a possibility, now that they are taking the steps needed to completely unify your 3DS and Wii U accounts, so who knows what could happen in the near future.
Anyway, this game Doki-Doki Universe is pretty rad. Rad? Can I use the word still without making me sound like I'm a child of the late 80's/ early 90's, even though I am? Oh well, either way, I used it. Take it or leave it.
If you have played any of the Scribblenauts games, this game will feel quite familiar. Instead of the complete freedom to come up with any object you can name, all the objects you will need are already in the game, spread out over the worlds you explore, waiting for you to find and collect. Yes, it takes the creative freedom out of the game, which made Scribblenauts so charming, but with Doki-Doki Universe, it doesn't feel like it's missing anything. It feels just as adorable and charming, just in a different way.
It's pretty much impossible not to fall in love with the characters, as they all ooze so much personality and pizzazz. The art style is simple, but somehow it pops extremely impressively. It's crisp and clear and looks amazing, especially considering the style used. The story telling and humor are on-point as well, making the overall package pretty enjoyable. Sure, the game is simple and it's not the type of game for everyone, but if you're looking for a nice, relaxing and borderline cheesy game to make you smile and feel like a kid again, you can't go wrong with Doki-Doki Universe.
Especially if you want three copies of it for the price of one.
I already wrote about Resogun, a free game offered by Sony for PS Plus members that was available day one of the PS4 launch. For non-PS+ owners of the new console (which is ridiculous to even think about), the game can be purchased for $15, which all but proves how much of a value the service is. And they aren't just garbage, throwaway or older games either, as Resogun clearly shows off that Sony isn't afraid to give away GREAT games.
Sure, members would have be perfect;y content with such an awesome game like Resogun, as I would assume most day one adopters of the new console probably picked up at least one PS4 game to play on the new system. I can't imagine someone spending that much money, time and effort into getting a brand new system and not getting a game to play on it, especially considering games just don't come packed in with new consoles like they used to be.
Actually, was that just a Nintendo thing? Has any other console ever packaged in a game to a new console, that wasn't a package deal of some sorts? I honestly don't know the answer to it, and if I wasn't writing this blog, I would go research it. And by the time I'm done here, I will forget to look it up, so alas, I turn to you dear readers. If you know, let me know! Educate me! I dare you!
Anyway, before I veer too far off the beaten path, let's get back to the matter at hand. Day 322, game 322. I played Contrast, which amazingly enough, is another free game for PS+ members to enjoy on their new PS4 systems.
Contrast is a breath of fresh air, especially for gamers who may not like the hyper-frantic pacing and visuals of a game like Resogun. It's not a shooter, it doesn't have a leaderboard to stress and obsess over, it doesn't take place in space, and definitely won't come close to giving you a seizure after a few minutes of gameplay. You see, Contrast is a puzzle-platformer that is oozing with a noir feel, as it takes place in the 1920's in Paris. It tells the story of a little girl and her imaginary friend, on an adventure together. The thing that makes this game unique, however, is the clever use of lighting, and more specifically, shadows.
You switch from 3D adventuring around the world to 2D platforming, all with the push of a button. You play as the imaginary friend, and she is capable of turning herself into shadows which allows her to use every other shadow in the game as platforms in order to make it to previously unreachable parts of the map.. Switching between 3D and 2D is the key to traversing the city, as mastering the light sources and manipulating them to your advantage is your only hope of survival. Thankfully, the game doesn't punish you for dying, which makes it feel encouraging to go off and explore at your will.
I understand this game won't be for everyone, just like Resogun isn't. But the fact that these are two excellent games for gamers to enjoy for free on day one of the new PS4 is something you can't shake a stick at, as they say. You don't have to download them if you don't want to, and you don't have to risk your hard earned money for something you might not like.
Kudos to Sony, for reaffirming the dominance of the PS Plus service as an industry leader.
I've talked before about how Sony got it absolutely right with their PlayStation Plus service. It took a little while for them to get their feet under them with it, but once they did, they hit the ground running and never looked back. At the time, they didn't have any competition for what they were offering from either Microsoft or Nintendo, but they didn't want to leave any doors open for either of them to try to swoop in on their game.
Recently, Microsoft joined in on the reindeer games, but ultimately, it doesn't even come close to PS+. While the services are somewhat different as far as what they offer the customers, they both now offer free games to subscribers. Sony has offered several amazing games for free for quite some time now, while Microsoft has delivered sub-par and dated games since they started offering free game to their Gold members.
With the release of the PS4, the PS Plus membership is now required for online play, which never was the case before. While most Sony fans should have been PS Plus members already because of all the free games and discounts, now it's a necessity. But fear not, because they aren't changing how they go about business and what they actually offer their members. As of day one for the PS4, all PS Plus members received not one, but two free games to download for their newly acquired PS4s: the unique puzzle-platformer utilizing shadows and light called Contrast, and the insanely hyperactive arcade shooter called Resogun.
Resogun is from the developers of the Stardust games that have graced a few of the Sony platforms. When the Vita was released, Super Stardust Delta was at the top of the list for must-have games for the system, despite the fact that it was merely a downloadable title from the PSN. Well, that same development team is back with a new spin on the classic formula they had perfected already, delivering another exceptional launch title for a new Sony platform. This time, however, they offered it up for free for PS Plus members.
Sony knows what they are doing, folks. No one is allowed to question that at this point.
The game itself is fun. It's really hard, but a lot of fun, and thankfully, it's perfect for picking up and playing for a minute and not being forced to invest a lot of time into it. The graphics are insane, and with so much movement and chaos on the screen at once, it's obvious immediately how the upgraded processing power of the new console will be able to propel gaming to heights never before dreamed of.
Having two free, complete games right off the bat thanks to Sony was just another reason why the launch of the PS4 made me smile. Even if Resogun quickly turns that smile into sheer frustration and hallucinogenic visions of space particles everywhere.
I don't think I have done this yet on the blog this year, although I have wanted to for quite some time now. It's a shame that it took this long to give it a shot, because if it's something that you, the readers, seem to enjoy, I would have loved to do it more often. I didn't play just one game for the blog, but instead two, as a way to get a couple different perspectives on a franchise for two really different games, both of which I enjoy playing for different reasons. I don't want to do a comparison and try to determine which game is better or more fun to play, as I did with the two baseball games that came out this year, but just hold both games up and put them under their own spotlights. I just want to do it in a one-day span, to drive home the point I am making about both of them.
This all came about because I finally sat down and planned out the rest of the year for this blog. That's right, you heard me correctly. I actually decided to put some planning in to this stupid thing and stop winging it like I have done for the better portion of ten months now. With the end of the year approaching quickly, and two new game systems coming out in a mere weeks, I wanted to make a battle plan for how I could finish off this year of gaming strong. I didn't want to limp to the finish line, as good as that sounds, but really drive home the fact that I am less than two months away from this once seemingly impossible goal.
Because of my planning and scheduling, I realized that I have way more games to write about than I do days left in the year. This isn't a bad problem to have, as I once worried about finding enough to fill the year. However, since I am not ready to reveal what will happen to TheNoyse.com after December 31st, 2013, I don't want to just allude to the possibility of something, if anything, continuing after this year is over. And because of that, I want to try and get all the games in that I want to write about, if possible, while still keeping to my schedule that I have planned out as of now. Again, if you know me or anything about this blog, you will know that I'm quite likely to change things on a whim, go against the master plan and throw you all curve balls when I feel necessary.
So with that, I present to a double feature, as I write about both X-Men Arcade, and X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
First up is X-Men Arcade, which I played on the PSN for this blog, but am far more familiar with it as being an actual arcade game. I picked up the game on sale from the PSN store several months back, for a couple of bucks, hoping to recapture the nostalgic feeling and fond memories of button mashing next to strangers and friends alike in the arcade, all huddled around this game.
Thankfully, the digital version didn't disappoint on the good feelings aspect, as they didn't really change anything about the game. They didn't add new enemies or stages or characters, they just left it alone for all the fans to enjoy. Sure, they put some poilish on it, but not enough to ever confuse you into thinking you were playing an updated or remastered version of the game. Everything you remember loving about the game is still fully in effect on this version.
For me, playing this game in arcades was an absolute must. If the arcade I was in had it, I would be playing it, whether that meant waiting in line with friends or jumping in to an already started game with complete strangers, I was playing it. As you know, I'm usually not a multiplayer type of gamer, but once you step foot into an arcade, all gaming habits you may have fall to the wayside, as you just get lost in the musty smell, the sounds of machines racking up high scores and quarter machines spitting out change, and the sights of people just like you, all there for the same reason. To play games and have fun.
This game is meant to be just played and enjoyed. It's the truest form of button mashing imaginable, and because strategy takes a back seat to simplistic game play, you don't have to know, or even get along with, the people you are playing with to conquer the game. The X-Men characters to choose from offer a nice variety of choices to a broad range of fans, so everyone fighting for one character isn't common, as most people are just happy to play, regardless of who they are controlling.
There is a video game arcade and bar that I have been to a few times, and wrote about a time or two on this very blog, and every time I am there, the crowd around the X-Men Arcade machine is one of the biggest in the building. It's even comparable to the line at the bar and the restrooms, which says a lot. I always try to get in on a game when I go, and never hesitate about joining in on someone else's game.
Playing X-Men Arcade on the PS3 was fun, but lonely, It made me want to run down to the arcade and drop in a few quarters. I guess it's nice to have on hand whenever I feel like beating a game in about a half of an hour, but for the most part, it's just an awesome reminder of how far video games have come in society. We used to game with friends by our side, now we do it across the ocean via the Internet. It isn't a bad thing, it's just a thing.
I also played X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse for this X-Men double header. I chose this game because playing Arcade made me think of how well single-player X-Men games can be. Honestly, I don't know how critically acclaimed Mutant Apocalypse is or was, but for me, it's always the first or second game I think of when talking about the X-Men franchise. So I hooked up my Super Nintendo and fired up this game, taking me back to a different part of my life as a gamer.
As a kid, I didn't have many friends. Sure, I had lots of buddies at school and people I referred to as friends then, but looking back, they were more acquaintances than anything. I had a couple of good friends though, but unfortunately, circumstances pushed them both out of my life. Before all that happened though, I mainly hung out wiht my cousins and their friends when I felt like being around people. When I was craving me time, I would bunker down in my room and game. One of the games I dumped several hours into was X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.
It was a great single player game, as you would pick from one of five characters, play their level, and then go on to the next character and stage. Eventually you'd beat the game, playing all the different characters and mastering all of their abilities and play styles. It felt like teamwork, playing all of them individually, but without all the social awkwardness of my childhood.
Sure, Wolverine was by far the best character, as it was so fun to just run through and slash your way past everyone. But personally, my favorite was Gambit, with his staff for melee combat, kinetic energy and card throwing capabilities. He just seemed like the outcast in the group, resembling how I felt a lot of my childhood. It was because of his appearance in this game that I decided he was one of my favorite X-Men characters, if not my overall favorite.
Unfortunately, Marvel hasn't done much with the character as far as mainstream media is concerned, but I'mm holding out hope that one day he will step out of the shadows as being a secondary, often forgot about character and actually develop a wider fan base. A lonely kid could hope, right?
Anyway, playing this game again drummed up some unexpected memories and feelings from my childhood, but there was a silver lining. It made me realize that just because I choose not game very often online with other people, doesn't make me less of a gamer. I'm just a different kind of gamer. One who appreciates the solitude and quietness of enjoying games solo, and getting lost in them, sometimes even escaping from whatever ales me in this world and enjoying the world I'm playing in, where I've been given the ability to be who I want.
Whoever said you couldn't make a Batman game without Batman was dead wrong. Sure, Batman is an amazing character, and one of the most iconic and recognizable characters and symbols in the world of comic books and pop culture. It's because he such an icon, however, that allows for an entire game to be developed about him and his legend without featuring him at all.
I mean seriously, who didn't want to be Batman as a kid? Or even so, who wouldn't mind being Batman right now? The dude has it all, and it's clear even from early ages for kids that he is different from all other superheroes, as it almost seems possible that under the right circumstances, anyone could be Batman. By day, he is a playboy, philanthropist billionaire, living it up as only billionaires can do. By night, however, he utilizes all the resources he has inherited and grown by his own personal investments, including the amazing gadgets and technologies that his corporation's R&D department has created for him, and becomes a masked vigilante, cleaning up the filthy streets of Gotham and being the savior that the city needs. He does all this despite the efforts of law enforcement to try and prevent him from doing so, and without ever expecting fanfare or recognition for his service. He was wronged as a child by evil, and is on a personal crusade to prevent any others from suffering the pain and agony he was forced to.
Whew. I'm pretty sure I didn't need to explain who and what Batman was all about, but I did want to give some context as to why people would want to be him.
In Gotham City Impostors, the concept of people wanting to be Batman is reproduced in-game, which was a fantastic and novel idea. The game takes place in Gotham, but instead of playing as the Dark Knight or actual characters from the story, you play as either someone pretending to be Batman in hopes of doing the Bat Man proud as you run around in your homemade costume, trying to bring your own brand of personal justice to the streets. Of course, what good would pretending to be Batman be if you didn't have bad guys to battle with? Well, don't worry, as you could also play as a deranged lunatic who looks up and inspires to be just as insane as Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker.
Confused? Don't be. This game is a first-person shooter multiplayer-only game, featuring 6-vs-6 gameplay. One squad is a group of vigilantes who look up to Batman and proclaim that their mission is nothing but for what's best for the city, while the opposing squad is a group bent on anarchy in the spirit of their inspiration, the Joker. Because they don't have the resources of Batman or Joker, however, they are forced to don handmade costumes and sketchy weapons, which describing them as rough versions of real gadgets would be the understatement of the year.
Just like in any good multiplayer FPS game, there are a few different modes to choose from, and while the blueprint for the game and the modes remain true to the genre they reside in, the game plays and feels differently than any of the typical FPS multiplayer games. Whether it be because of the cartoonish yet all too real violence, or the array of gadgets and weapons made from scraps of parts, the game has a certain charm that sets it apart from the rest.
Sure, you never really feel like Batman or the Joker, but you definitely feel like someone trying pretending to be them, and that's what makes it fun. It reminds you that no, you can't be exactly like Batman, but with enough ingenuity and determination, you could take care of the smaller jobs around the city that he just doesn't have the time to worry about.
When Telltale Games brought The Walking Dead universe to the video game world for the first time, it immediately captured the hearts and minds of gamers from all corners of the industry. Before then, Telltale was known for games like Back to the Future and Jurassic Park, but never really created anything that was universally critically acclaimed. Unlike their previous games, Telltale decided that the license associated with the game wasn't as important as the story they were trying to tell within the game. They focused on forcing the player to experience difficult scenarios, make tough choices and ensure that everyone playing connected with the characters more than ever before.
Their new formula worked perfectly, and it was highly regarded as one of the best games of the year, if not the best game in some pundits eyes. It remains to be seen whether or not the sheer excitement and hype of The Walking Dead universe had anything to do with the awesomeness of the game, but either way, they brought fantastic storytelling to the forefront of the industry.
It's well known that they are busy making the second season of The Walking Dead, but they aren't putting all their eggs into one basket and being complacent with the success they have already received. No, part of their studio has been busy, working away on another titles they hope will take off in the same fashion that The Walking Dead did.
The Wold Among Us is other project, one that us bound to sneak up on people more so than the uber-popular zombie game. It is based off of the comic book series called "Fables," which is about iconic fairy tale and fable characters who establish a community in New York as they try to fit in to the general population. While Telltale wanted to use "Fables" as the title of this game, they weren't allowed to due to the Fable video game series, as people with the power to make decisions ultimately decided that consumers would be confused by the name.
Anyway, you are forced to decide whether or not to allow Bigby Wolf, the mayor of Fabletown, will try to help all citizens or let his wolf out to create chaos and havoc. And yes, before you ask, he used to be the Big Bad Wolf, hence the not-so-subtle references. There has been a brutal murder, and his authority is being questioned.
They used all the same game mechanics and blueprints that made The Walking Dead so popular, which is great news for all those who loved that game. Sure, the loading screens are slow and the gameplay is still a little difficult and inaccurate, but it's tolerable, as the voice acting and story are thankfully the strong points of this game. Essentially, this game looks and feels like The Walking Dead, and that's a great thing.
My only worry is that this game won't get near the accolades as The Walking Dead, as quite simply, it's going to sell well below what TWD did. It can't even use its own name as the name of the game, which is a killer for those who don't dig deep into games or read all about the newest and hottest things. They can't even reference Fables, which would be like The Walking Dead not being able to use The Walking Dead. Essentially, something out of their control is going to severely hurt their bottom line figures.
It's unfortunate, because what I've seen so far - with four more chapters yet to be released - this game is going to be awesome, and hopefully can not only keep up with the quality of The Walking Dead, but surpass it when it is all said and done. But like they say, if a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?
Honestly, I don't have a good opening or story to get you warmed up for this post. Everything that comes to mind, I have already used, and really, how lame is that? So I'll spare you repeat, redundant sounding blog entry and just get down to it.
I played Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, which originally was released exclusively on Xbox Live, only later to make its way to the Playstation Network, which is where I of course picked it up from to play. I had heard a lot about this game, especially for being one of those games that you just need to play to fully experience, as any review, preview or write up couldn't possible do it any justice. I knew of the basic gameplay mechanics, and that the story is unforgettable, but other than that, I went into the game blind.
This last year or two has been filled with games that evoke emotions or feelings that video games rarely touched upon in years past. The art of storytelling and capturing a narrative through interactive game play has been the golden ticket to success for games recently, or so it seems. While spectacular graphics and other elements that go into games are always important, the storyline arch, the journey to the completion of the story and emotional connection made when it all comes together has driven the industry to change its way of thinking towards what make games good, and surprisingly, the the independent and smaller development studios are leading the charge.
When I decided to play Brothers, finally, I had taken a sick day from work. Fighting a nasty head cold/sinus thing/flu bug, I just needed a day of rest. I'm usually not one to take days off because I'm sick, but because I have a stockpile of days to take before the end of the year (because they don't roll over into next year), I figured this day was as good as any to start chipping away at my vacation time. I originally planned on playing a bunch of games, working on my insane backlog and such, but apparently my body decided that I actually did need some rest after all. At some point, however, I decided that of all the games I had to choose from, Brothers was going to be the one to consume my attention for the day.
At first I questioned my decision, as I thought about quitting several times, because honestly, it just wasn't grabbing me. You play as two brothers, controlling one brother with one analog stick and the trigger of that side, and the other brother with the other combo of analog stick and trigger. It's pretty straight forward and simplistic on paper, but man, it takes every bit of concentration to pull it off with precision. Even by the end of the game, I still found myself bumbling around, forgetting which stick controlled which brother. The worst is when you get the two brothers on opposite sides of the control scheme. It's pretty much mind numbing brain overload at that point, until you get it corrected.
The scenery in this game is breathtaking. So much so that the developers placed benches all along your designated path through the land for you to sit your characters down and literally just gaze off into the distance, taking in the magnificent artwork doubling as landscape. The brothers themselves and environment you actually interact with aren't exactly graphical benchmarks, but the overall look and feel of the game is quite beautiful. There is actually one moment with killer whale lookalikes, jumping out of the water, that made me say, "wow," for whatever that is worth.
There are some really awesome scenes that I wish were fleshed out more, but obviously couldn't be considering the narrow scope and smaller size of the game. Without spoiling too much, the inclusion of mountain trolls, slain giants and a frozen village were awesome, and I wish I could have explored more or at least gotten more context to what I was traversing through. There was also a moment that caught me completely off guard - involving a man and a tree - that was timed perfectly, as I was just starting to get bored with my experience when I came about it. Whether or not the timing of that scene was intentional, I appreciated it being there and bringing me back to caring.
At some point, I just decided that I was going to finish this game, regardless of how much I was engaged in it. By the time I reached the end, however, I had a couple of OMG moments, where I just sat there silently as I didn't know how to react or what to think. I was just trying to sort out my feelings and emotions about what I just saw happen, what I had to do as a player, and how it all ultimately wrapped up.
Brothers has an ending to its story that completely fits the bill of needing to experience it for yourself to fully grasp. While I wish the journey to that point was more engaging, I enjoyed enough of it to keep pushing forward, thankfully to the awaiting payoff, that was completely worth all the frustration of controls and points of boredom along the way.
Go play it. Now, later ... whenever you feel the right time is. But you need to experience it for yourself. Trust me.
The PS4 is coming soon. Too soon, if you ask people who are still enjoying this generation of consoles. Over the years of the PS3, there have been many games to grace the system, both good and bad, and there are still more to come before the console walks quietly off into the sunset. A handful of games in this generation have been more than just video games, provoking legitimate thoughts and emotions from the players instead of just being mindless entertainment and activities. Three of these games in handful were created by Thatgamecompany, two of which I've already written about on this blog: Journey and Flow.
Well, I might as well finish off the trifecta of amazing experiences hidden behind the cloak of the "video game" label. I played Flower, which was second in the three games created by Thatgamecompany exclusively for the PS3 and the PSN. Sure, I wanted to play this game so that I can have all three games in the trilogy accounted for, because they deserve all the recognition and praise that my little, humble blog can dish out, but I also was inspired to do so now because of the announcement from Sony that Flower is officially being brought to the upcoming PS4 system. They didn't say if it was a Day 1 launch game on the PSN, or if it's just in development for sometime in the near future, but regardless, this is kind of a big deal.
With the promise from Sony of their GaiKai service bringing their library to the PS4 at some point, people are already under the assumption that this service will branch into the PSN library as well with good reason. But this service won't be available at launch, and while details are still unclear how the service will work, it sounds as if it will just stream ports of the games.
Sony's announcement made it sound as if Flower was actually being created for the PS4, as a tweet went out about actually playing it on the new system. I have to think that they wouldn't made such a big deal over just a port of an old game running on the newest system, especially with such a small, non-headline-grabbing game like Flower. So are they recreating this masterpiece of digital art for the PS4? I sure hope so, but until we know for sure, I'll be happy just playing the PS3 version.
Like I said before, it's the farthest thing from being a game as it can get, while still holding on to the title of being one. To full explain or describe this game would be a great injustice to Flower. In it's most basic explanation, you control the movement of flower pedals by movement of your controller, while also altering the strength of wind gusts with simple button presses. While there is no text or dialogue in the game at all, there doesn't ever feel like there needs to be, as the story arch is told by your emotions and imagination. There are subtle clues as to what the game is trying to tell you as far as a story goes, but realistically, it is meant to evoke personal emotions, moments of clarity and relaxation, and a sense of getting lost somewhere else in the vehicle of digital media entertainment. Every game is a personal experience than can only be experienced to be fully understood.
With any luck, the PS4 version of this game will be just as awe-inspiring, as any limitations the development team ran into with Flower will be fully developed to their full potentials with the remarkable PS4 system. Also, while the market will never be saturated with games like this experience, I truly hope brave independent developers continue to take chances in putting art and emotions over game play mechanics voice acting.
A lot of game intrigue me. Even if they are from a genre I don't necessarily enjoy on a regular basis or they are part of a series that I have played before and just don't like, I still find myself drawn to all different kinds of games. Maybe it's my unbridled sense of curiosity and desire to discover, learn about and say I've played a wide variety of games, or maybe it's just as simple as this blog needs new games every day to survive. Either way, I don't shy away from games I know nothing about, especially if something even remotely peeks my interest about it, whether that be a cool logo, a great looking character, fantastic screen shots or just that good old gut feeling.
Of course, when the game is free, that's also a driving influence as well.
Thanks to the continued excellence of the PlatStation Plus service, I got a little game called Malicious for free a few months back, and while I downloaded it long ago, I haven't touched it once, until now. I knew nothing about this game at all, and the only reason I kept it on my hard drive is because the logo was fantastic and the main character looked like it could be a fun game to play. Apparently neither one of those factors pushed me to play the game or even look into what it was all about, but I couldn't bare the thought of deleting what could be a good, and fun, game.
Once I jumped into it and skipped over the cut scenes that looked ripped right out of an anime film, I was lost. I was an empty space, similar to the loading program for The Matrix, where my character was just floating there. I moved around and eventually realized that I could enter the monuments in this vastly open, all-white world I was in. Once I got into the first level I chose, it took me forever to discover how to actually attack the bad guys, as it seemed like a legit boss battle right off the bat. With a tutorial (that I saw at least), figuring out the control scheme was something of a challenge.
After playing a few different levels to varying degrees of success, I realized that this game isn't for me, right now at least. It looks like an anime, which is awesome, and while I have no basis to judge the story on (since I skipped throughout it), I can't say this is a bad game. In fact, it reminded me a bit of DMC, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But in all honesty, I probably won't get back tot this game. It intrigued me enough to play it and enjoy what I did play, but it didn't keep my attention long enough for me to fully invest in it.
Even if it was free.
Rebooting a series is a risky maneuver, especially in the video game industry. For successful franchises with a devoted fan base and a successful sales history, the reasons for the reboot may be unclear to the average gamer. Sometimes the developers just need fresh perspective on the games they are creating, or they want to reinvent the character to update overall tone and feel of the game to more modern times, and sometimes, it's just to shake it up a bit and try to reinvent the wheel.
Rebooting a dead or all-but-forgotten about franchise is usually more of a desperation move, either to genuinely continue a series that fans have clamored for for far too long, or to make a quick buck or two by capitalizing on the nostalgia feeling fans once had.
When you reboot a series, however, you usually want to have some goal in mind. With Double Dragon Neon, I honestly have no idea which direction they were trying to go with this game. Were they trying to update the series and bring the franchise to a new audience in hopes of starting a new series of games? If that's the case, why make it a cheap, sub-par homage to the 80's, filled with neon (of course) and classic 80's style music? Modern gamers won't attach themselves to a new game playing of that decade in style and fashion.
If they were trying to just capitalize on the namesake of the series alone, they did that for sure. Playing the game I instantly had a flood of old memories playing the original Double Dragon games, with the infamously cheesy Billy and Jimmy Lee brothers. These two rules the streets with sweet martial arts skills that would make Napoleon Dynamite jealous, in games that defined the side-scrolling beat'em-up genre of video games. A few updates have been added in this newest installation, like the ability to evade attacks and some radical tag-team moves. And of course, lots of neon and decor that just screams the 1980's.
Say this game was just a nod at the past and a thank you to the long-time fans of the series. If that was the case, then I accept this reboot of a genre-defining franchise. If they were actually trying to revitalize the series and breathe new life into the Double Dragon franchise in hopes of this being the cornerstone for new direction of games, then ... well, I'm not sure I support them in that venture.
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Games played for project : 365