Friday, 1 July 2011

Review: Child of Eden

I worked a tonne this week, I swear I shall get back to daily posts soon after Uni start again (funny that I originally assumed it was going to be the other way around). Firstly, a short story; I was in EB Games as I do, enquiring about Child of Eden, they were sold out, I further inquired if anyone had played it with Kinect, as I had heard it was rather good. Again no. However the manager told me they had a second hand Kinect, for half its second hand sale price, being kept out back, so I picked myself up a Kinect for 1/3rd of the retail price, it's not a bad piece of hardware at that price. I went back the following day, on payday, and lo and behold, Child of Eden had 2 copies now in stock.

Review: Child of Eden

This game is set in the 23rd Century, where the Collective Human Database, known as "Eden", now stores all data and memories mankind has created as it journeys into space. The first human born in space Lumi, resurfaces in the net and is being attacked by impurities, you are to journey and save the "Child of Eden" by eliminating these impurities.

Using Kinect, you use your right arm to line up and then punch forward with your arm to shoot the target you had moved your hand over, if you do this in time with the beat you get bonus marks. You have life and "bombs" called Euphoria, used by throwing both hands up into the air, you switch to you left hand to us a rapid fire "Vulcan Cannon" that can be used to take down enemies, but is primarily used to shoot down enemy projectiles.

This game is like none other I have played, the sense of pure euphoria and happiness it gives you via playing it is simply unmatched. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous and seamlessly melded into the sound track creating an incredible unique experience, the Kinect allows you to control and interact with the game like a dream, its intuitive, but challenging, but always fun. It has be given some criticism for its short length, but the quality of that length is unmatched, replay value is enormous, done by a unique feature that allows your to "level up" the level elements changing successive play-throughs at the end each time. This, along with varying difficult levels and online leaderboard, create strong incentives for multiple play throughs.

I think this is the best game I've played on the Xbox 360 to date, and possibly the best of the generation, and even (once I've thought about it some more) one of the best games I have ever played.

Do I still need to tell you to buy it? Why not get it here for $45 ?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

OMG A NEW BLOG POST. Just Cause 2!

I could begin to sum up why this took so long, but to make it even shorter = life. This past week has been insanely weird and busy, absolutely no free time.

Review: Just Cause 2

This game is stupid fun. Simply put, you are a CIA agent looking to undermine the Panuan government by creating chaos and unraveling the mystery of why the US backed dictator decided to turn upon the government. But who cares about this weak as story, it's all about the gameplay.

This game is Grand Theft Auto, with a hook-shot and parachute, creating a formula of incredible awesome. Combined with an absolutely massive map and hundreds of towns, villages and military bases to sabotage and undermine and you have hours upon hours of fun on your hands.

What impresses me the most with this game is the sheer ridiculous scope of it all. There almost seems to be no end to the detail and environment. With new vehicles that pop up all the time, the means upon which you can traverse your environment only seems to expand with time. As I continued to play, I began to expect all my pillaging would eventually get tiresome, I don't know why but it never ever did.

This game is simple stupid fun, there isn't any depth to be found here. The graphics are nice, soundtrack great, AI clever and entertaining, controls intuitive and fun, story and dialogue is hilariously bad.

Verdict: BUY BUY BUY.If you want something fun and simple to dick around in, you really can not look much further than Just Cause 2.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Review: Narcissu

Almost... finished... Just Cause 2....

But for now

This was the very first Visual Novel I ever played. It's a true statis Visual Novel, no decision points, this is merely literally a Visual Novel. It is seen through the eyes of Yu Atou, a young, terminally ill man, assigned to the 7th floor of a Hospital, reserved for patience who have no cure and are waiting to die. It is portrayed as a very meek and cold place. In here he meets Setsumi, a young girl of similar age, who eventually opens up to him (slightly) and tells him the rules and purpose of the 7th floor. Yu's parents leave him his car and he seizes on this opportunity to escape with Setsumi to the Narcissu (Daffodil) fields, to see them once more before they die.

This is a very heavy, grim game, and it utilizes every bit of its limited resources to portray this; an old fashioned small landscape film template for its story telling; a GORGEOUS soundtrack
show cased to the max here. Much is made these days of cult indie games, this is an exact prime example of this, released in Japan in 2005, it was merely a "doujin" (fanmade) work, but it has such polish and immaculate presentation crossed with brilliant story telling that will bring you to tears as the adventure goes on.

It's been so long now... but I do recall it is only a couple of hours at most long. I will never forget the second to last scene in the game, it is chillingly well set, immaculately acted by the voice actor, with incredible, striking dialogue all to the most fitting of settings with an extremely emotional soundtrack overlaying it in the background.

A prequel has been released, that is far more lengthy than the first. You can legally download both Narcissu and Narcissue side 2nd here. I have yet to complete it because Windows stole my save data when I was 70% completed -_-. But I will finish it in the coming weeks, make no mistake ^_^.

Verdict: DOWNLOAD IT NOW, PLAY IT. It is the most politically incorrect approach to depression relating to terminal illness I have ever seen. It is moving, it is unique, it will take one nights playthrough to finish and less than an hour to download. Do please try it, I can not recommend it highly enough.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Apologies for my absence. Review: Saya no Uta

I got some 'splanin to do.

First, Sunday, I just ran out of time, work etc. Monday, well, I love in Christchurch, New Zealand, a lovely place. Except for when there are earthquakes. And on Monday we had an okayish 5.7, and then a 6.3 which rather effectively shut down my life for the rest of the day. As such, because my part-time work to pay for my studies is working in a pizza place, I was called into to work extra last few days straight, because of a rather insane rush that tends to follow earthquakes.

I have somehow found the time to make decent headway into Just Cause 2, which shall hopefully have a review incoming tomorrow

One commenter of mine (Alice) mentioned if I had played the Visual Novels Saya no Uta and Narcissu. And I have indeed! Allow me to tackle Saya no Uta first.

While watching Ma Bonjwa stream, damn he's still so clutch...

Saya no Uta is a visual novel developed by Nitro+, makes of some of the most dastardly and twisted horror/gore/Lovecraftian Visual Novels out there, and Saya no Uta certainly does not deviate from this method. Saya no Uta looks through the eyes of Fuminori Sakisaka, a medical student who found himself on deaths door step after a car accident that killed his entire family. A medical miracle was performed allowing him to keep living, but in a world like the one pictured, full of gore, blood and organs. People are reduced to Lovecraftian horrors in his vision, except for one. A girl named Saya appear to him, desperate in his nigh insanity he clings to her as he now sees her as his sole shinning hope for happiness in the world.

I went into this game completely dark, I knew absolutely nothing other than my best friend tell me that it was really good and telling me to not ask questions. And other than that very brief blurb, I do not want to tell much more about the story, for I think a complete absence of information makes this game oh so much more intense. What I will say is every character has a purpose, everything was clearly well thought out and developed, the story unfold, although in a shocking and bewildering manner, it has no holes and is solid and truly well written.

This game is extremely linear, even for a visual novel, there are three endings, decided by two decision points. But Saya no Uta's strength as a game comes from how it utilizes its endings. Each ending feels canonical, but at the same time, no ending solely explains the story comprehensively. It is therefore much needed to gain all 3 ending to get a true perspective and understanding in this rather unique and well told story.

A final note, this game is extremely dark and gruesome, with fully featured sex scenes, mutilations and disturbing and terrifying content. I was thoroughly terrified of playing the story through out my first play through, but the story and "wanting to know" drew me back in.

Verdict: Highly recommended if you think you can stomach it. This may be an elusive title to find, but it is totally worth it considering the brilliance of this game,

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Gaming: The New Canvas

As now I sit at my lovely computer having my exams and major commitments behind me or ignorable, I would like to talk about my feelings on gaming, and what it means to me.

As you may be able to tell by my blog title, I believe gaming is an art form, something in which artists who understand and can utilize it can weave forms of art that are to be admired and cherished. However, I do not see many games fully utilize the medium onto which they are born. Games like Call of Duty, while enjoyable, are merely nothing more than interactive movies, I don't feel as though I have any real influence over the story, nor do I feel my actions progress it. Contrast this with my favourite game of all time, Ever17: The Out of Infinity, which, while the story maintained a linear progression, unfurled itself in a way that made the player feel involved in such a way that gives you the feeling of tremendous control over the story, while not actually doing so.

Game companies, I feel, need to NOT follow the Hollywood blockbuster approach and focus on creating an experience than not only pull the player in but immerses the player in it. My 2nd favourite game of all time is another Visual Novel, Kana: Little Sister. Kana utilizes a games ability to not only tell a twisting narrative, but make the narrative, direction and ending feel unique to the way the player choose to nurture his terminally ill sister Kana. This cause a heavy emotional investment in the story and the way you begin to approach some of the major decisions later on in the game. It also caused it to be renowned for being THE crying game. When I first played it, I got the ending called Snow. I have never ever, even when my Grandfather died, cried so hard in my entire life. It was so twisting, heart wrenching and emotional, I cried solidly the entire last hour playing (for what was at the time 4 years since I had last cried). I dragged myself to bed, cried myself to sleep, teared up at the very thought of what unfurled in that ending for the next week and could not bring myself to load up the game for another 2 weeks. This can not be done in any other medium, this level of investment can only be reached in incredibly well manipulated and thought out video games. Until Ever17 came along a year ago, not a single game could even touch how highly I regard this game, it went Kana>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Everything else. Even then Ever17 wins ever so slightly and even then I'm not sure if I would think of it in the same way if I had played them the other way around.

I wrote this piece to convey how I feel about gaming in general, and with my upcoming reviews now that I am on holdiays bare in mind this is the approach I shall take to game reviewing. How well games utilize the medium to convey their message.

So my dear followers, What is your favourite game and why? And what makes it your favourite?

Friday, 10 June 2011

FINALLY, NINTEDO E3 WRAP UP: I see two screens.....

Nintendo have recently had a string of good E3's and this year was no exception.

First we come out with an orchestra performing Legend of Zelda music to a montage of various Zelda games. To celebrate the 25th Year of Zelda of course! In celebration, Shigeru Miyamoto came out and announced that they were adding Legend of Zelda, A Link to the Past to a new 3DS virtual store, and Four Swords Adventures to the DSi store for free! Yay, can't wait to play this on my DSi. Also an OoT soundtrack for the first of you to register your copies of OoT 3D on Club Nintendo! Also an orchestra tour, Skyward Sword in the holiday season and a 25th Anniversary controller.

All very awesome, but I would have liked a compilation like we got for Mario.

Then a sick line up for the 3DS of Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D, Luigi's Mansion 2, Kid Icarus (with awesome looking 3v3 multiplayer), and Starfox 3D. With also some wicked 3rd party support in the form of Snake Eater 3D, Resident Evil: Revelations and Tekken. Oh and some Pokedex thingy.

And then this emerged.

The Wii U. The first announced 8th generation gaming system. With a touch screen that has all the features of a 3DS, wirelessly streams data to both supplement and replace the console screen entirely.

We got a few titles, new Smash Bros, New Super Mario,  Darksiders II, Batman Arkham City, Aliens, Assassins Creed, Ghost Recon, new Metro game (drool), Ninja Gaiden 3.

And this was fairly much the conference, now considering this write up is shorter. I shall now offer my thoughts. This is just my opinion, if you disagree, more power to you.

As you will notice in my reviews, my favourite games are those that revolutionize the way I look at how I can play games. Many of these titles have emerged from Nintendo consoles as of late. As such, the Wii U makes me very excited, the potential for innovation is incredibly intriguing,

This came out today, glad it did helps me prove my point. Gaming graphics are plateauing, as all developers and console manufacturers recognize this, they are seeking ways to increase interactivity and player immersion without having to double the memory which would only make the most marginal improvements. Also, considering the sizeable the WiiU had, ON ANNOUCEMENT, I have got a lot of faith in Nintendo's ability to reign in the "hardcore" developers and create some serious, solid titles.

Overall grade A-. Very exciting E3, how far we have come from that horrible, horrible 2008 one...

EDIT: Apologies for any poor grammar usage, I am extremely exhausted after this week. Thank you everyone for your messages of support, it really helped me ^_^

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Minor Update.

I am fairly exhausted due to me sitting my exam block from this past Wednesday to tomorrow so I'm extremely flat out. I'm sorry for the delay on Nintendo's E3, I'll get it out straight after my last exam tomorrow, for I shall be free. Thank you to every commenter and follower, and if I missed something at your blog, sorry! I'll be on to it after all this is over!