Monday, August 20, 2012

The Power is yet unknown, the power is yet unknown, the power is yet unknown....

Hey, guys, I AM BACK!  And I hope to go back to making this a regular thing.

So, why am I back?

This website

Specifically, how it relates to "The World Ends With You". 

TWEWY was an original property developed by Square Enix.  It was developed to help them understand DS programming for "Kingdom Hearts 358/2".  Honestly, I think it's better then 358/2.  We have complex characters, fantastic artistic design, an amazing story, changing relationships, and that's not even mentioning the gameplay.

But, moving on, what's more interesting right now is the revived interest in the project by Square Enix. 

SE had casually brought up the game before, but no one new the severity until a recent Tokyo Game Show.  Why?  Because the KH3D demo had Neku in it.  As time went on, Joshua, Shiki, Beat, and Rhyme all appeared.  Tetsuya Nomura (the director of the Kingdom Hearts series and character designer for TWEWY) was asked about this, and he implied that the voice casting was for a future project.  (Shiki, Joshua, Beat, and Neku had a few lines in game, but most "speaking" was done through text)

Well, KH3D was released, the TWEWY fans were very happy, then yesterday the SE PR department twitter tweeted out a link to the above website.

We know very little, but between the "Calling" background music, the style of the timer, and the Shibuya style background, it appears we are going back to Shibuya for another game set in TWEWY universe.  (If you want a sneak peak, adjust your date on your computer. The art and music assets up to day 2 have been preloaded onto the site). 

So, what is next?

Well, nothing until that timer hits zero. Tokyo Game Show will finish in the next few days so the timing is rather odd.  Why is the timer set to expire AFTER the game show?  If something was to be announced, why not set the timer for earlier? Is it a set up for the Square Enix Production Department show?  But they should be focusing on the Final Fantasy's 25th Anniversary party.

Any way, we just wait and see what happens. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Musical Monday- Main Theme (Tomb Raider)

 Sorry for the massive delay you guys!  I'm apart of Operation:Rainfall (as in, I'm helping with the website, articles, etc.)  And was very busy up to and during E3.  I'll try to get some analyses up later this week.  What was your favorite announcement during E3?   In the mean time: Tomb Raider! 

I have never played any Tomb Raider Games.  I'll have to change that.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Musical Monday - Cherry Tree Bridge (Etrian Odyssey II) (And E3 musings)

Etrian Odyssey is a 3D dungeon crawler created by Atlus. 

While you listen, I just want to muse a bit about E3, or rather the prerelease. 

E3 is in a few weeks.  Every company is gearing up for the show.  Some companies, such as Nintendo and Playstation, are going to have halls full of people.  So, why are they announcing their products ahead of time?

One of the earliest official release of items was the Kingdom Hearts 3D English Trailer.  With E3 only a short time away, people believed the trailer would be hid until then.  However, the trailer was released last week. 

Official website and trailer here

PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale was announced before that, but that should have been held off until E3.  It's a big deal.  We still don't have a trailer for it.  We have a partial characters list, we have video of battles, we have a rundown of how the released characters fight.... but we don't have a trailer.

Why didn't Sony wait until E3?  Why didn't Square Enix wait for the KH3D trailer? 

The KH3D trailer is 10 minutes long (No, I'm not kidding)  so Square Enix may have released it early for that reason, but Nintendo could have shown it off at E3.  Kingdom Hearts is a big property and the 3DS is still looking for games.    And the time would be more manageable if they cut out the battle stuff in the middle. 

But Sony has no excuse.  The game is big.  The game is a fanboy/girl's dream.  Why not wait until E3 to surprise everyone?  Where they afraid of being scooped? Is it not good?

Or do they have something bigger planned? Sony is announcing 20 games at E3, what are they? Where they afraid the game would get lost in the shuffle?

I'm just not sure.  Why do you think they released it early?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Musical Monday Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (Waterfalls of Agharta)

While I have yet to play "Lords of Shadow"  One thing I found interesting is that at least some of the music are remixes from previous games.

In this case: Super Castlevania IV's "The Waterfalls".

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Level Design -Portal 2 (side rooms)

I won't focus on the basic puzzle room.  A white box with implements to open and close doors is scary, but not overtly interesting.

I'm talking about the bits and pieces that make up the room. I'm talking about walking into Chamber 16 and seeing the wall propped open by Cubes.  I'm talking about entering the viewing chambers while escaping and finding them completely empty.  I'm talking about the cheerful announcer over the destroyed and rusted rooms.

Specifically, I'm talking about the places in between tests in the middle of Portal 2. (Spoilers)

After Wheatley is corrupted by GLaDOS' harness, he sends Chell and POTaDOS (GLaDOS' mind in a potato battery) down into the sealed off sections of Aperture.  Once they arrive down there, Chell begins to go through the tests in an attempt to get back up to Wheatley since it is very likely he is going to destroy the facility.  As she goes through the old tests, she triggers radio messages.  The messages, along with various "Set Decoration"  help explain Aperture's history. 

When we first arrive, Chell must make her way through unidentifiable ruins.  Railways have fallen down with age, doors have been sealed off, fires burn, and as she makes her way through what appears to be a fallen silo she (and the player) see signs that say "Keep Out".  Clearly, things have not gone well.

As time goes on, we enter into the first segment of the game.  Cave and Caroline (The CEO and his assistant) starts talking, and the areas look very nice... for the fifties.  Awards are displayed (notably, Aperture continually gets second place.  It's hinted they lost to Black Mesa)  the floor is marble, there are some prototypes for computers and the subjects are all heroes who are volunteering for a charity.  It  looks great!  Until you actually get into testing. While it is still maintained reasonably well, Cave is clearly being haphazard with the science... like how he gives his test subjects tumors in order to see what would happen to the tumors.  He also flagrantly ignores normal science procedure by talking about the control group and laughing over how someone got hurt.  It's a good way to set up the dichotomy that is Aperture. 

When we're traveling between the areas we notice some signs.  The sign I wish to bring your attention to is this one.

Apparently, they put anti matter in with Allergens.  They were advanced enough to get antimatter without destroying everything but... they apparently created people who were allergic to it.  Or they could have considered their blowing up to be an allergy.  Either way, some science issues there.

When we go on, Cave Johnson has gotten older, and the company's monetary value has significantly dropped.  Instead of having war heroes do it for charity, they are taking hobos from the street and paying them 60 dollars.  Cave is very obviously dismissive of them.  Most importantly, the chairs have been downgraded to plastic.  They do not have the money to keep it going anymore.  They simply wish to test and go on.  To emphasize, here is a sign seen in the entry and exit rooms:
Finally, we reach the latest testing area. It looks modern, functional, and Cave Johnson is dying. He's more then dying, the company is broke, employees must "Volunteer" for testing, and he seriously campaigns for his and Caroline's brains to be put onto a computer.  The test chambers are purely functional now, and they are blank.  The chambers are so empty it is actually creepy.  When we finish, Cave rants about lemons and we move on. This is the sign of the era:

We see the fall of Aperture in the fate of Caroline (forcibly turned into GLaDOS),  the finances, and the quality of the subjects. It may have experienced a brief resurgence later - they obviously had the money to make GLaDOS and perfect other items- but then GLaDOS was activated and she killed almost every scientist.  The one who did survive- Doug Rattmann- has been hallucinating inside Aperture ever since. 

None of this is ever stated in game.  We can simply tell.  Cave explains a lot of it, but signs about robot bosses contrast heavily with the plush chairs and thanking war heroes for participating in the test.

Valve excels in the subtext. And that is all that is needed to show how a once great company fell. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Musical Monday-Sonic Boom (Sonic CD)

One of the interesting things about this song is that it's US only.  It has also appeared in Super Smash Brothers Brawl as one of the songs that can play during  the "Green Zone" stage. 

Also: you now have this song stuck in your head all day. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Deleted Content- Mewtwo (Super Smash Brother Brawl)

I've stated before Mewtwo is my favorite character.  Mewtwo was also in Super Smash Brother Melee.  Since I have never played Melee, I usually main Lucario in Brawl despite being better at Samus.

But Mewtwo was almost in Brawl.

After the game was released, hackers started going through the code.  In it they found a few very interesting things.  Mewtwo had some sound files and a winning screen.  Well, that wouldn't be unusual, they could have imported it for some reason during development.

But Mewtwo also had a Final Smash yell.  Proof that he had actually had some programming done before he was cut from the playlist.

(The model appears to be a reskinned Lucario, ignore that.  The second voice clip is from Mewtwo) 

He doesn't have a model (that I can find. The Smash wiki states he does have a working model but I can't find a video of it) , so the trophy model is from another game (I can't find the title at the moment, but it was something like Pokemon Colosseum) but it is interesting to see how much they actually got done.

Maybe he can come back in a future release... if his stats got tweaked.  From what I understand, he didn't live up to his legendary status at all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Musical Monday - Pirates Ahoy! (Faris' theme. Final Fantasy V)

So, apparently Disney has stated it's Princess Week.

Let's celebrate with a Pirate Princess! 

By the way, what do you want to see me do more of?  Character Analysis, game talk/ranging,  Level design, Costume design, etc. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

100 posts!

I was trying to figure out what to analyze, but then I realized that today was my 100 post!  Wow... I know I may be slow right now, but I do really enjoy this blog.  I just get busy and forget to do it. 

So, in honor of the 100th post, I will

I'll come up with something good tomorrow since I have some duties I need to do today.  Again.

I'm going to talk about why I love video games.

My earliest memory of them consists of me in the basement with one of my mom's cousins.  He has a Sonic game on. The next memory I have is of my entire block gathered around a TV in our basement.  We were playing Banjo Tooie.  We just sat around and talked to eachother.  One one person got stuck, he passed it to the next person.

This is what gaming is for me.  It's playing with family and friends around. It's talking about all sorts of things (gaming related or not)  it's theorizing with your brother only to find out your perfect theory was wrong.

It may include shipping, fangirl/boying, and yelling in rage when you don't have the money. But, most of all, it is fun.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Musical Monday - Cornered 2001 (Ace Attorney)

Ignore the Versus post. Turns out I fell for an April Fools Day Prank.

Ace Attorney has amazing music, especially for the DS. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Final Fantasy VS XIII

No, no, you must be mistaken. I didn't miss Musical Monday.


I am, sort of.  I really like this theme.  But I'm not here to talk about the theme.

Final Fantasy VS XIII was announced at E3 in 2006.  The trailer, seen above, knocked everyone's socks off.  It was more desired then Final Fantasy XIII itself, and then it fell off the map.

This is understandable.  The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy of the time (XIII, Agito XIII (later became Type 0) and Versus XIII)  were being developed in one office, and XIII then Agito/Type0 had more of the focus.  XIII would be their basic title, and Agito was in turmoil.  It first started as a mobile phone game before switching to PSP.

Agito came out to rave reviews.  XIII was... mixed.  (For the record, I liked it. I am at the final level. I can see some complaints, but anyone who claims all the character are unlikeable did NOT give them a chance to develop. Especially Hope.) So Square Enix decided to create XIII-2.  That's also been... mixed.

One of the reason it has been mixed is due to SE's discovery of DLC which I've talked about before.

Which brings us back to Versus. Very little has been released about Versus since it's announcement in 2006.    Things have been mentioned, like there will be airships and cutscene and ingame models will be practically identical, and a few very incomplete trailers have been released.

And they have explained that not only has Noctis' clothes changed, they ended up switching the entire engine to another one, and the lighting effects changed so they were very realistic.
^That is the in game effects.

The lack of information been frustrating, but SE just decided to make it more frustrating.  In the leaks for the next Famitsu, Tetsuya Nomura stated that to speed up the release date, two thirds of the game wil be released as DLC.  

(I have since found out that that article was an April Fools Day joke.  My apologies)

Admittedly, he says it's because the fans are frustrated, but this is just stupid and sets a REALLY bad precedent. 

May I direct your attention to Capcom and Valve?

Capcom had announced post release DLC for Street Fighter.  People were annoyed, but accepted it.  Then people started digging into the files and found fully working models, costumes, and sound.  To say people are spitting mad is an understatement.  It might have been better if they were incomplete, but you could hack them in no problem.  At this time, several people have registered reports with the Better Business Bureau and Capcom has stated:

"While Capcom is sorry that some of its fans are not happy about the chosen method of delivery for the DLC, we believe that this method will provide more flexible and efficient gameplay throughout the game's lifecycle. There is effectively no distinction between the DLC being ''locked'' behind the disc and available for unlocking at a later date, or being available through a full download at a later date, other than delivery mechanism."

Valve for Half-Life 2 switched to an episodic model in order to save development time.  Half 2 Episode 2 was released in 2007 with NO updates since then. At least XIII releases trailers. 
Square Enix, if you want to relieve frustration, the answer is very simple.

Release information.  I will NOT buy a game like this in installments. You have no idea how much I was looking forward to it, but putting 2/3 of the game as DLC has pretty much killed my interest.  The game looks fascinating, complex, has a heavy focus on relationships, and... it will mostly be DLC.    If you want people to get excited, start by saying EXACTLY how far you are along.  The most recent trailer did not have complete voice acting!  VAing is all or nothing for trailer cut scenes, otherwise it just comes across as unprofessional.  You can release screenshots, talk about characters, over view the battle system, etc. 

This also sets a VERY bad precedent.  Valve at the very least has been upfront with how they were going to do episodes in the beginning and how the idea that it was supposed to cut down on development time didn't work.   But look at something like Kingdom Hearts, the other FF's or just games in general.  "We know you wanted it out sooner, so here is a third of the game.  The rest is $20 DLC on top of the $60 price tag".  "You can't beat the game unless you pay us more money" I'm sorry, but gaming does not work that way, especially for a longer game.  You will lose your customers.  People buy DLC.  I've bought some.  But changing a game style to mostly DLC is frustrating and insulting.  (This also ties into getting rid of used games).  You'll make money now, but you'll lose your customers in the long run. Capcom may often talk to it's community, but this DLC issue is using up a lot of good will very quickly. Square, you will lose even more. And what about Kingdom Hearts? People are getting VERY frustrated waiting for that, will you release that mostly as DLC?  

This is coming out negative, but one point remains.  If you want to reduce frustration, SE, don't release the game in installments and release more (non trailer) information in the mean time. I love trailers, but I'd rather an interview that gives background to the characters more then a new trailer right now.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Musical Monday -Main Theme (Beyond the Labrynth)

This Konami game has not been released in the west, but it looks rather interesting.  It involves taking a girl through a labrynth, but she can somehow interact with the player... that is you.  Not much is known right now, but it was released in Japan in January. I hope it does cove over, it looks interesting.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Theatrhythm confirmed for the west.

Final Fantasy is well known and respected for it's music.
Dissidia is a fighting game using the Final Fantasy heroes and villians

Earlier this month, Square Enix combined the two in a game called "Theatrhythm Final Fantasy"

And today it was announced to come to the west.

I'm really  excited.  I LOVE video game music, especially the Final Fantasy music.  After Elite Beat Agents, I'll give rhythm games a shot.  And LOCKE is in it.  VI and VII are my favorite FF's (I'm going to try to play all of them.)  Cyan is my favorite, but SE FINALLY gives VI some love.  (It and IX were the only non NES games kept from gaining extra characters.  VI has the largest cast in FF history.  They couldn't pick ONE person to add?  Especially weird since Locke was almost put in the original Dissidia instead of Terra.  But then they realized Cosmos needed some more girls  non sword users.)  Anyway, this is good news.  SE decided to localize, and it's the MUSIC.

Time to brush up on your latin!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two confirmed!

After months of speculation, the news have been leaked.
Epic Mickey 2 has been confirmed.

 (Trailer for the first game)

It is coming out for the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360. The trailer will debut tomorrow on GTTV.  More details available here.

Frank Welker is confirmed to voice Oswald.  He is a very well respected voice actor with a resume that goes back to 1969.  While he is most well known for making noises (in all seriousness, he was asked to come up with "a lobster sneezing" and he proceeded to do so)  both as stand alone and for characters such as Jimmy Neutron's Goddard and Aladdin's Abu,  but he can and has done "Speaking" roles. Most recently he was heard on Scooby Doo Mysteries Inc. as both Fred and Scooby Doo.  He has performed Fred since it's inception in 1969 and -according to IMDB- Scooby Doo since 2003. 

The one thing I'm not overly happy about is it on other systems.  There were a few complaints about the first game.  One of the complaints was "Since it's not on the PS3 and the Xbox -which has more power- it probably isn't a good game."  As you can see, that is a very large logical fallacy.  The game was originally going to be on JUST the Xbox and PS3, but Warren Spector mentioned that the Wii version would have to be a port from the ground up.  When he was told he could just do a Wii version, he was ecstatic and the rest is history.

So, your opinions?  What do you want to see? How do you think Frank Welker (Seriously, look at his IMDB page.  It's AMAZING.)  will do as Oswald?  Which movies will they cover?  How will they deal with the first game's multiple endings? 

edit: Here is the trailer!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How games end.

Still here? Great!

If you have been following gaming sites since Mass Effect 3 was released, you should have noticed something.  Namely, people are complaining about how no matter what you choose up to that point, Shephard blindly accepts 3 options and each have stock endings.
Admittedly, there are a few minor differences between the three endings, but all in all, they are the same.

However, I was thinking, if the choices were more limited -or the choices were generally acknowledged to have no effect on the endgame- would there still be the complaints?

Bioshock (and Bioshock 2) had several endings, but these all varied on your choices up to that point.
Unlike Mass Effect, these are your only choices in the game. In Mass Effect, almost every bit of the story depends on your choice and your reputation (Paragon, Renegade, etc)  In Bioshock, you can save or harvest Little Sisters.  That is the only time you are given a choice.  (One exception is granted for if/when you kill Sander Cohen, but that has no effect on the ending and it isn't set up as a choice like the Little Sisters are.)

In Bioshock 2, the Little Sister choice survives, but you are also given a choice on how to deal with many of the "Boss" characters.  You can kill or save people like Grace Holloway and Stanley Poole. They are not attacking you, but they have offended you or betrayed you.    If you choose to spare them that also has an effect on your ending.

When the ending does come around, Eleanor spells out why she is doing what she is doing, and names your treatment of the Little Sisters and people like Grace  as shaping her philosophy on life.  While the choices are limited, you do feel like they have some effect on the ending.

(2K has admitted to dropping the ball on the Bioshock1 ending by making it an "All or Nothing" type of ending, but the end result still applies.  Killing the Little Sisters gives you a worse ending then saving all of them.)

In Final Fantasy 7, you can make several (non gameplay) choices through out the game, but all of them are minor.

1) Your party when you enter certain areas.  The only thing you miss is character reactions.  They may give some additional backstory, but no matter what, the story still continues unchanged.

2) If/when you recruit Yuffie.  This only effects the availability of one side quest (possibly two. I don't know if the Turk sidequest is triggered if she is not in the party), her weapons, some late game materia (as prizes in the sidequests), character chatter, and she has a Gold Saucer date with Cloud.

3) If/when you recruit Vincent.  Except for the Gold Saucer date, his effects are the same as Yuffie's.

4) What you do during the flashback in Kalm.  When Cloud's party arrives in Kalm, he starts to narrate the story of how Nibelheim was destroyed.  This flashback is not mentioned again until Sephiroth starts to tear apart Cloud's psyche.  When he does so, Cloud lists what he did in Kalm.  Other then what is necessary for the plot (such as visiting the mansion)  everything else is dependent on choice.  (So, yes, Cloud can boast of stealing Tifa's bra.)  This flashback is only mentioned once again, but the choices in it are not mentioned. 

5) The second to last Sephiroth fight.  Like Bioshock, this is based on what you did previously.  Whether or not you recruited Yuffie and Vincent, what level you are at that point, if you picked up the strongest materia, how quickly you beat the final Jenova, and if everyone knows their final limits all influence which version of Bizarro Sephiroth you face.  The general idea is the same, but how you defeat him slightly varies.  (If you fulfill most of the requirements, he has more HP and he has a more complicated pattern to beating him.) This choice has the most effect on the ending, but it is still simply one of the final boss fights.  This does not effect the story in any way, nor does it effect the ending.

6) The Actual Golden Saucer date. Much like Bioshock, your date is picked based on how you treat the other characters during the game.  Unlike Bioshock, this has absolutely no effect on the ending.

As a result. there is only one ending.
No matter what you chose, no matter who is in your party, you get that ending.  (Admittedly, this is partly due to the fact that SE could not program the four endings that would be required to deal with Yuffie and Vincent, but the point remains.)

So, getting back to Mass Effect...

One of the main issues is that your choices through out the three games are completely abandoned when it comes to the ending.  (Other issues include the copy and paste ending, the lack of dialogue, and plot holes.)

If the game had made it clear your choices would not have effected the ending - such as Final Fantasy 7 - or shown how they effected the ending - such as Bioshock- would Mass Effect 3 still receive the complaints?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Musical Monday -Sweden 3 (Minecraft)

I'm pretty much the only person who hasn't played Minecraft yet. Looks quite interesting though.  When I get the chance (and my computer can handle it) I'll give it a try.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Character Analysis- Sofia Lamb

Please understand that like all I've done, this... is an act of love."

Sofia Lamb is the villain of Bioshock 2.  Much like Andrew Ryan, we never fight her.  Unlike Andrew Ryan, her death is entirely due to our choices in the game.  (See here for more information)

Sofia Lamb is never mentioned in Bioshock 1, but plays a large part in it's backstory. Before Rapture, she worked as a psychiatrist.  She grew up under her father, a physician who believed in a "Triage" philosophy.  Namely, things should be done for the greater good. Later on, she worked in Hiroshima as medical personnel during World War II.  While she survived the bombings, her friends did not.  Around this time Andrew Ryan came to her.  She believed the world was going to Hell and was in the process of destroyingitself, so she accepted his offer and joined him in Rapture.

In Rapture, she began to make a name for herself.  She offered free psychiatry sessions to the poor, intentionally lost poker games so the person with the most to gain got the money, and set up a place for artists to work.  While these would normally be good things, things quickly escalated due to the interference of Andrew Ryan.  Andrew Ryan believed that the harder you worked, the more you were rewarded.  If you had trouble financially, it was your fault and you should suffer for it.  In addition, he had no use for art.  Andrew Ryan arranged debates to weaken her position.  But in the increasingly stifling atmosphere of Rapture (due to Fontaine, the discovery of ADAM and it's side effects) Andrew Ryan instituted rules and methods that were increasingly draconian and betrayed his ideology.   During this time, she took genetic material and had a daughter.  
 (watch Eleanor's Progress, but the other videos do explain her ideology.)

Her supporters began to organize into a religion, and since religion was illegal in Rapture, Ryan arrested her.  He made evidence of her existence disappear, but the poor never forgot her.

In 1958, she escaped from the prison colony "Persephone" and used the confusion of the attack on Kashmir Restaurant to take back her daughter, Eleanor, who had turned into the first Little Sister.  To do that, she had splicers sacrifice themselves so that Delta would be hit by a "Hypnotize Big Daddy" plasmid.  She then ordered Delta to shoot herself in the head in front of Eleanor
Eleanor is taken back to Persephone and injected with ADAM so she can possess the entirety of Rapture in herself.  Everyone's thoughts, memories, powers, Lamb believed that her daughter was the "Utopian" who could possess everyone within her.  She would work only to help other people, she would be compelled to.

As Delta journeys through the game, he finds out things about Sofia Lamb.  She murders anyone who attempts to flee Rapture.  She uses both the Splicers, rogue Big Daddies, and Big Sisters as weapons.  As long as their ADAM is returned to the cycle, she does not care about what happens to them. She kidnapped Mark Meltzer and turned him into a Big Daddy.  She also kidnapped an unknown number of girls  to become new Little Sisters once the old ones grew up and became crazy.

In the end, she smothers Eleanor because she knows that will slowly kill Delta (therefore he will be unable to revive)  and then she detonates Persephone because she realized that she failed.

In the end of the game, Eleanor uses the freedom of choice that Delta gave her to either forgive Sofia, ignore her death, or actively murder her

What do we know?
1) She originally started out as a good person.  "The Greater Good" is something that has been desired for years.   She sincerely wanted to help people when she arrived in Rapture.  Her ideas were good, but Rapture sickness gets to everybody and she very quickly went to the absolute extremes

2) She's uncaring. All Mark Meltzer wanted was to be with his daughter.  All other people wanted was to escape.  She denied all of these.  She ordered Splicers to go on suicide missions to stop and/or control Delta. She turned Sinclair into an Alpha Big Daddy against his will.  She suffocated Eleanor Lamb.  She does not care about other people.

3) She does not care about choice.  What Bioshock 2 emphasizes throughout it's gameplay and story is the ability for people to choose their fate.  Mark Meltzer did not get much of a choice, but he still chose.  Sofia Lamb eliminates all major choice from life. Instead of asking if Eleanor wanted to be the utopian, she forced it on her.  

People often despise Sofia Lamb more then Andrew Ryan or Frank Fontaine. It's not due to  love of capitalism. Instead, it is the horror at how she twists something so good and turns herself into a villain.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Musical Monday - Ezio's Family (Assassin's Creed II)

Because of the new Assassin's Creed Trailer  I decided to focus on Ezio's Family this time.  I haven't played the Assassin's Creed games.  ( I have an issue with playing as a character who's life work is killing random people and historically significant people. I know they are just ones and zeroes, but I'm still uncomfortable) so... here is some music. 

I will say something good about the games though.  The Assassin's costumes are beautiful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Deleted content- Gotham by Gaslight

Well, more like deleted game.  Very little is known about this game - which was revealed through concept art on Julie Farrell's blog- but was is known is interesting.
The game was created by Day One studios and would have been a game adaptation of a "Elseworlds" comic that consisted of Batman in a Steampunk Gotham. According to Wikipedia, the basic story (of the comic) involves Bruce Wayne being accused of the crimes of Jack the Ripper.  Bruce Wayne must escape jail, clear his name, and track down the real culprit.

The game was, obviously, cancelled. So far the buzz for the cancelled game has been positive.  It is really curious to see what would have happened if it was allowed to continue. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Musical Monday - We All Are One (Medieval II: Total War)

Another game that I haven't played but fell in love with some music from it anyway.  This is the credits theme to Medieval II: Total War.  Since it's Lent, we should probably think about those around us. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nier dialogue

There's some great lines in this game.  This is just part of them.

Anyway, yes, I love NieR.  To the best of my knowledge, these lines aren't really spoilery.  One is a collection of random lines, the other takes place about an hour into the game. I WISH I could find Kaine lines but they can be spoilery.  Sorry.

Anyway, the writing was awesome.  For a game this depressing, it has some really funny lines. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Character Analysis - Kyle Hyde

"Nice name, isn't it?"

Kyle  Hyde is the main character of Hotel Dusk, Room 215 and it's sequel The Last Window.  (Spoilers ahead.  I have not completed Last Window so I will only talk up to the point I completed) Both were DS games released by the now defunct company Cing.  The games are animated via water color backgrounds and rotoscoped characters.  The gameplay is very similar to Ace Attorney.  There is a lot of reading, deducing, and a good amount of problem solving.  However, while Ace Attorney takes place in a particularly zany court of law in the future, Kyle Hyde lives in a noirish 1970's Los Angeles.  (The eponymous "Hotel Dusk" is a roadside Hotel.)

Kyle Hyde is a retired New York Police Detective. Several years ago, his partner, a man named Bradley, began to do some undercover work against a criminal organization called Nile. Bradley beings to act weird and Kyle finds out that Bradley is actually a dirty cop.  Kyle chases Bradley down to the docks and then shoots him when  Bradley wouldn't surrender.  Bradley fell into the water and disappeared. Kyle was fired from the force and got a job working at Red Crown Delivery Services.  It's a door to door salesman job with a side business of finding things that may not want to be found.  It's not specifically illegal, but it's not promoted in their fliers either.  

Years go by, and Kyle finds himself at Hotel Dusk.  In one of those coincidences that only work in pieces of media, every single person in the Hotel has something to do with at least one other person.  Some of those people deal with Bradley, others do not.  

In the course of one night at Hotel Dusk, Kyle finally manages to find out what happened to Bradley.  Nile had found out Bradley was an undercover cop and kidnapped his sister. If he didn't do what they said, then his sister would die.  They killed her anyway.  However, Bradley survived being shot at by Kyle and made his way around the US and eventually lures Kyle to Hotel Dusk in order for him to solve pretty much everything.

Which he does.  In the space of one night, he reunites families, solves almost everything with Bradley (All Kyle knew when he entered was that Bradley was dirty, not why or what happened after) takes care of little girls who can't talk, and solves the mystery of an old painter that isn't really that old.

Then we get to Last Window.  While Kyle has stopped searching for Bradley, he is in a complete funk.  A forgotten job leads to Kyle yelling at his boss and Kyle being fired.    He mopes, distrusts his neighbors, finds out his apartment is being sold in the upcoming weeks and someone personally gives him an order for something to find.  Oh, and someone is snooping into his past.  

Also, in the process of doing this, I realized exactly how much I forgot about Hotel Dusk.  

What do we know about Kyle? 

1) He needs a reason.  Once Kyle lost his reason for living (searching for Bradley) he turned into a laze about.  He was much more focused in Hotel Dusk then Last Window. When he has no reason to do anything, he falls apart.  He just simply doesn't know what to do with himself.

2) He's clever.  The puzzles he solves are an extension of the player themselves.  And make  no mistake, the puzzles can get tricky.  And Kyle solves them.  He also solves the plot focused puzzles.  The ones about Bradley, Mila, his mysterious neighbors, all of them.  He was also a detective before that.  He knows how to solve problems.

3) He actually does care about the people around him.  While he may not seem like the ideal candidate, he IS the person who solved several other people's problems and reunited families.  Then there are the side incidents.  He made a Christmas Tree for Melissa and Mila in Hotel Dusk.  He got Helen and Martin to meet up (While not family, they did share a past)  and he got Melissa's father to actually connect with her.  And that's not mentioning him reuniting Dunner and his daughter. 

Kyle Hyde is one of my favorite protagonists.  Unfortunately, I can not do him justice. He can be a huge jerk, but underneath that facade is a very frustrated and very caring detective. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Musical Monday - No More Heroes 2 (Philisitine)

I have no idea why I like this song so much.  The singer is crude and talking about how she murders people.  REALLY not what I like.

And I just have to sing along whenever I hear it. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blog changes

I'm worried that the quality of my posts is getting diminished (and my bad posts pushing down posts that I rather like) I am changing how often I write for this blog.

From now on, I will only write two or three times a week. One of those posts will be Musical Monday, but the other one or two posts will be analysis or commentary.

Thank you for being patient.  Have some music

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Character Design - Mewtwo

Mewtwo is my favorite character of all time.  My love of him was heavily influenced by the movie, but even without the movie, his unique design inspires interest.
Here's his Red/Blue (US) sprite:
And here's his Black/White Sprite
So, just looking at him, what do we know?

Unlike the rest of the pokemon, he's not natural.  He has no basis on things we would see in everyday life (or that we could be reasonably assumed to have seen at least once)  Bulbasaurs are clearly plant based, the legendary birds have enough resemblance to birds we can get it, but Mewtwo?

If anything, he looks like some bizarre, skinless, cat.  But cats don't have a tail, ears, or neck thing like that.

We know from in game materials that Mewtwo is a genetic experiment. His genetic code is a form of Mew's.
(This is Mew)

Mew is... well, I think Mew is cosmic.  At the very least Mew was never supposed to be explained.  It was just some coding put into the game as a joke since they had some space left.  (That being said, Mew was mentioned briefly in the journals found on Cinnabar Island, but that is the only reference in normal game play.)

Now we can see some similarities to Mew, but there are many differences that mark Mewtwo apart.

1) The "breastplate" Mewtwo  appears to have breast plate grown into his chest.  It makes him come off as a bit aggressive, since he has ingrown human armor.

2) The tube that connects his head to his body.  It in no way looks natural.   Again, marks him as different and a genetic experiment.

3) The tail looks too much like a weapon.  I have also never seen a tail like that in real life.

4) Color Scheme.  He's colored in very muted grays and purples (except for his piercing eyes) All of the official art for the rest of the Pokemon have the sufficiently vibrant colors.  He doesn't. That being said, we do find him in a cave and it could camouflage him there.

5) The feet. They look ungainly, but powerful.  If it wasn't for the fact he doesn't have knees and floats everywhere then it would look like the feet of some sort of fast cat.

6) His hand!  Yeah, there is no way those hands are natural or can be used for picking anything up. Even if he is telekinetic, his hands are still one of the most obvious ways he appears unnatural.

That being said, he was not unprecedented.  Many people who worked on Pokemon previously worked on Mother 1. Gigyas, the final boss, possesses a final form in Mother 1 that has a strong resemblance to Mewtwo.  They also have an affinity for being "final bosses" (Mewtwo is the last Pokemon you can find.  He lives in Cerulean Cave which can only be accessed once you beat the Elite 4 and Gary.)  And they both use powerful psychic attacks. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Atlus is an awesome troll

Last night, Atlus sent an e-mail out.  It was titled "_____"  and the only thing in the e-mail was the picture on the left.  Someone did some contrast manipulating and we ended up with the image on the right.

Yeah, we have no idea what it means. Some people are speculating that it's for the Persona 4 fighting game (Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena ) but there is no proof at this point.  This speculation is based on the fact Persona 4: The Ultimate in Mayonaka Arena is one of Atlus' most recent releases and because the shattering in the logo matches up to the adjusted image in the e-mail.
(Sorry, I couldn't find an English subbed version)

That being said, Atlus lives for announcements like this.  A significant chunk of their announcements are trollish.

Take, for example, Catherine.  Catherine was released in Japan, did astonishingly well, and then Atlus announced it was not coming to the West.  Immediately after they made that announcement, they released this picture:
A short time later, they announced a Western release.

 And then there's when they announced Persona 2 for the PSP. It was a remake. Atlus released the original on June 24th, 1999.
Yes, they made an entire mock e-mail just so they could write about how there were no games releasing this week at the top... and mock Phantom Menace... and pretty much everything else from the turn of the century.

So, the end result of all of this is Atlus has some great e-mails. They can be frustrating, but in the end not only does it reveal more then we think but it can be quite fun.

... even if they have admitted to feasting on the tears of the fans.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gameplay -Alan Wake


Alan Wake is an author.  This would normally be something mentioned casually as background in any other video game, but not Alan Wake.

The story of Alan Wake only works because he is a writer.   Another version of him is narrating the events of the game and leaving the pages around for Alan to find.  These pages tell of future events or of events that happen while Alan is in a different area.  As a result, Alan (and the player) can predict what will happen. 

It certainly heightens any tension that the player can feel. Quite a bit before we meet a chainsaw wielder, we read about him.  Agent Nightingale is introduced a chapter before he actually appears via a manuscript page.  It's also deliberately a piece of McGuffum. Alan is sent looking for the manuscript by several people as a way to rescue his kidnapped wife. Alan himself notes it makes little sense.

Many other series do have notes from the past - If you don't listen to the audio logs in Bioshock then you'll be very confused at some points of the plot- but because they are written by the literal author of the story of Alan Wake, the pages take on a new meaning.  One that makes you sit up and pay attention.

We can ignore some of the audio ramblings in Bioshock.  We can not ignore these pages.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I can't think of anything today

So I'm going to post a NieR remix.  Since it's great and I really can't think of anything. (video has spoiler images)
Here's the original

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

And, in honor of the holiday, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite couples:
 The Prince and Elika. (Spoilers)

No, they're not my FAVORITE couple, but I do like them and I haven't given Prince of Persia 2008 much love. 

We never learn the Prince's name.  But he drops hints throughout the game about his identity.  He's an orphan who lost his parents in some war when he was a child.  Elika has been forbidden to leave her home.  And yet, we see the two bond together.

The Prince stated in the beginning that he would leave as soon as he could.  He did not care that an evil force was trying to take over the world. Elika found him annoying.

At the end of the game, she hid that fact that she would die in order to succeed.  The prince defied her requests and he brought her back to life in order to give them a better chance to face down the big bad.  This is something the Prince from the beginning of the game would have done.

They have great chemistry, and due to the more free flowing nature of the game, it can be a bit harder to see it develop but there is no denying that the Prince and Elika do care for each other by the end.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Musical Monday - Xenosaga II

I wish my PS2 wasn't broken.  I heard this game was pretty good.  And this music.  (sigh) 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Character Analysis - Master Xehanort

In a series full of nightmare inducing Disney villains, Darkness which can steal your heart and render you evil, Vanitas, and each hero has the very real chance of failing, Master Xehanort is easily one of the most terrifying things in the games.  I've already gone over his costume, but I want to talk about HIM.  (Spoilers, obviously)

Master Xehanort is the cause of everything that goes wrong in the Kingdom Hearts universe.  At some point several years (probably decades) before the game begins, Master Xehanort and Master Eraqus were students together, in fact they consider each other like brothers.  It was at this time Master Xehanort began to get interested in darkness and it's place in the universe.  He disregarded his master's advice and began to travel without the armor that keyblade wielders use to protect themselves.

(Example: Ven's armor)
Xehanort and Eraqus both passed the exam and became Masters.  But while Eraqus was allowed to take over as the main master and  to teach at the Land of Departure, Xehanort was not allowed this privilege.  He instead went off to travel and find himself.

Just before and during this time, he did a lot of research into Darkness, the worlds, and an incident known as the "Keyblade War"  He eventually theorized that 'Kingdom Hearts' existed and should be brought out for the sake of the universe. To do THAT he needed a clash of light and darkness in order to make the X-blade (pronounced keyblade) which would summon Kingdom Hearts and he could unlock it.  He would presumably gather that power for himself.  He mentioned his plans to Master Eraqus but... it didn't go well.
 (Yes, that's Spock and Luke Skywalker arguing)

The two split, Xehanort realized he was getting too old, took Ven in, and then proceeded to split him into Light and Dark (which created Vanitas).  During this time,  Eraqus took in Aqua and Terra, and then Birth By Sleep happened.

In Birth By Sleep, Master Xehanort appears in the beginning of the game.  He drops Ven off on Destiny Islands to die, then the game cuts to years later.  The next time he appears he manipulates Terra's Mark of Master Exam so Terra loses, proceeds to badmouth Eraqus to Terra before offering to be his new master and to teach him how Darkness can be used for good.  At the same time, Vanitas has been sent to drive Ven out of the Land of Departure.  Xehanort shows up a few other times to drive Terra to submit to darkness. He calls Vanitas his greatest mistake.  He arranges his own kidnapping by Braig.  And when Terra finally relents and willingly uses Darkness against his master, Master Xehanort kills Master Eraqus in front of Terra before disappearing.

Which means that Master Xehanort won at the end.  He seduced Terra towards darkness, cultivated Terra's anger then took over Terra's mind and body, giving Master Xehanort a new body of his own. Vanitas and Ven did merge to make the X-blade in a clash of light and dark.  Ven managed to break it back apart but he almost died in the process. Aqua saved Terranort before vanishing to the Realm of Darkness, but doing so caused the entire rest of the series to happen. 

What do we know?
 1)  He's inquisitive and intelligent.  The ENTIRETY of Kingdom Hearts so far started because Master Xehanort was curious about Kingdom Hearts and the Keyblade War.  He also figured out Terra would be a good replacement body for him. He managed to reconstruct a large part of the history of the worlds, Kingdom Hearts, and the Keyblade War, all of which were considered lost to history.  This is partly due to his ability to look at questionable sources, but considering how one of those sources was Maleficent and he not only survived meeting her but managed to set her up for Kingdom Hearts 1 does indicate his intelligence.

2) He's manipulative.  Master Xehanort has been missing for ten years before Kingdom Hearts 1 starts.  He almost succeeds with his plan during Kingdom Hearts 1, despite not actually being present.  Kingdom Hearts is almost unlocked.  In fact, it would have done so if not for the fact Sora (possibly because of Ven who is living inside his heart) managed to stop Ansem: Seeker of Darkness at the last minute. The entire plot of Kingdom Hearts 1 happened because ten years ago he talked to Maleficent about the Princesses of Heart.  Then other parts happened because Ansem: Seeker of Darkness (who is more Master Xehanort then Terra) talked Riku into using Darkness. Did I mention that Ansem: Seeker of Darkness didn't have a body until Riku submitted to Darkness?

And that's not touching on Birth By Sleep.  He goes through almost the entire game without using his weapon.  The only time he uses it before  the Keyblade Graveyard is when he kills Master Eraqus, and the act is hard to see while the Keyblade itself doesn't even appear.  This means he manages to doom the entire universe while only lifting his weapon twice.  He manipulated Maleficent, Braig (turning him into one of the most dangerous and knowledgeable Nobodies as Xigbar), Master Eraqus, possibly Vanitas (their relationship is... complicated and we don't get much insight into it), Terra, Ven, and Aqua.  Even if VAT managed to stop the worst of it, they still are out of commission until Sora rescues them... 12 years later.

3) He's ruthless.  He tried to destroy the universe, split Ven's heart, and killed someone he  loved as a brother in order to restart the Keyblade War just to find out what happened. 

4) He's charismatic. Maybe not quite as much as some other characters, but the fact is, the only person who knows that Master Xehanort is evil (Before he killed Master Eraqus) was Braig, who Master Xehanort had filled in on the entire plot.

I really can't wait until Master Xehanort returns.  He's so utterly evil, but that is what makes him so terrifying and so much fun to watch.  You want to strangle him, you KNOW he's the ultimate villain (partly from costumes, partly because the opening of the game used the Kingdom Hearts II FM ending which was the climax of Birth By Sleep)  and yet you can not help but watch him destroy everything.