Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some old stuff returns

Starting next week I plan to once again start up my xbox 360 achievement point updates -- titled Gamerscore Update.

I used to do this a year or so ago. They ran in weekly installsments and consisted of me talking about what 360 games I was playing and how many points I got out of them. For some games I would go in depth on how to obtain certain achievements and some easy ways to get others.

I started these off as a text only write-up. From there I moved into a video version and only ever made a few of these. I may do them again as video if I feel like it. Text is easier but video is more fun. Mabye I will do both.

I may also add in my thoughts and general opinions about non-360 games. This would cause it to be more blog like and give me a way to better put out what I'm thinking about what I am currently playing. We shall see how this turns out.

Troubles with translated JRPGs

It's weird using your own name on a JRPG game's main character when your name is distinctly not Japanese. Not even close to Japanese sounding either.

I encountered this dilemma when starting up Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor. The main character has no set name. This may be a good thing for someone wanting to make their own name (possibly put their own name in the game). I on the other hand much prefer when everything has a set name.

Having each object or character their own preset name is much easier for me. Sure it doesn't make the game completely "my own" but it relieves me of a great deal of pressure. Choosing names can be a very complicated thing. You don't want something cheesy, but at the same time, you don't want something too bland. So I much prefer when they already have a name in place and I can choose to just go with this.

The issue with Devil Survivor is that the main character doesn't have a preset name or suggestion. You need to pick one. Not wanting to sit around all day thinking up the perfect name that I would grow to hate in the end, I used my own. It was simple to think up and easy to see. Or that's what I thought. Since every other character in Devil Survivor has a preset name (in fact, you can't change their names at all) and due to the game being an RPG from Japan, they all have Japanese names. The issue - my name isn't Japanese. So throughout all the preset names, there is mine sticking out like a sore thumb.

Lucky me, I get to continue through the game with the oddest sounding character. Hopefully I won't cringe everytime a supporting role calls out to me for much longer.


LocoRoco 2 and WipEout Pulse are great!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Coming Soon

I really like the box art for Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor (click to enlarge). I picked this up today after reading some good reviews on it and I needed something to play on my trip next week. This will be my first game in the Shin Megami Tensei series, though I've always wanted to get into some of thr Persona games. I will be gone for the whole week but plan to write a review on this game when I get back. Around that time I should also be recieving a copy of The Conduit for the Wii; therefore a review on that should be coming in the next couple weeks.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

First Impressions: Big Surf Island

So long awaited Big Surf Island was released this morning for Burnout Paradise. I grabbed it when I woke up this morning and managed to get some time in today to play quite a bit.
  • The price seems a little much, however, when you realise how much is added and how much free stuff you have been given, it seems just right.
  • I wish there were more achievements to the 360 version. However, since other games are hitting 1750 in the number of points in one game, this leads me to believe that even more updates are coming.
  • I really enjoy the way the island looks. I keeps the city like feel while adding enough aesthetically different aspects to make it feel brand new and its own.
  • I enjoy the new car you are given, feels very well rounded.
  • I'm very glad that they added stuff for the bikes as well.
  • Not enough new online freeburn challenges. They only added 10, considering how much is going on with this island, it would not have been hard to add more.
  • I love how there are so many jumps. What makes it even better is the jumps are now more involved in the tracks. Now you get the incredible speed with a regular dose of huge air while racing.
  • The idea to make the check points giant yellow pillars was a great idea, it means I can now see which direction I should be going and this helps me choose short cuts to take.
  • The super jumps are even bigger than anything from the first game, this is great.
  • There's no area to just play around in and do tricks as much as the first area. It does have the construction zone, but with the big bowl in it, it makes it harder to drive around in. I preferred the airfield and the quarry in the first region because it had more level space to the ground.
  • Though the land mass is small, it feels more dense and packed in. It also it a lot taller I feel, you can drive up more buildings and there are many more ramps.
  • The Island Tours are the best runs (and the new event) because they take you all around the island and make you drive through specific shortcuts and go off certain jumps. This helps you become more used to the island and know where these short cuts are for later. It's a great way to really make the player experience what they should.
  • The size restraints no longer allows for the "here is your destination, go" kind of race; everything has check points now. This makes me sad since BP was known for it's open world racing. However, you can still take any route you wish to each checkpoint.
Overall I am quite enjoying it but I feel that there should have been more added to it. Even if it was just more freeburn challenges or more races and events that moved from the island to the main area would have been good. Playing it for a couple hours and only missing one achievements makes me think it isn't worth the 1000 MS points after all. Maybe I just need to 100% it then I will know for sure.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

E309: Notable Mention Traliers Pt. 2

Here is the last batch of trailers I enjoyed from E3 2009.

Final Fantasy XIV

Not sure if I will play this because it's an online Final Fantasy game, but any new numbered Final Fantasy will get me excited.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (Game Footage)
I haven't played the first one but I hear it was good. I will play it one day for sure.

Final Fantasy XIII
This is really more one of the trailers I really liked, but it's nothing on my for-sure-getting list.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Review: LifeSigns - 6

LifeSigns is a point and click adventure game with a focus on performing surgeries and other hospital related tasks. You play as Dokuta Tendo, a second year intern, as you establish your grounds as a surgical doctor. The overall story and presentation of the game is nice and can lead to some well thought out stories. However, the weird pacing presents some high difficulty sections and overall awkward game play.

The visual presence of LifeSigns is quite nice. Everything is hand drawn to showcase a manga-like feel to game. Along with this, the game presents itself in an easy to use user interface and basic map layout. Along with a fun look to the characters, the game becomes quite inviting and fun to watch as you read your way through the adventure and medical stories.

The majority of the game play involves you going through conversations with your fellow colleagues and patients. This ends up becoming a double edged sword as around 70% of the game is reading. You really have to enjoy story driven games in order to find enjoyment from LifeSigns. The bad part of this is that the game can become quite boring as you have to spend hours at a time reading dialogue and then selecting the next place to go to read more dialogue at. However, for the majority of the time, the conversations going on are either interesting, intense, or quite funny. The game also goes out of the way to put conversations in there that relate to nothing and are only there to give the player a laugh.

The sound and music in LifeSigns isn’t anything exceptional, but it does the job. During the intense conversations or surgeries you’re faced with high speed music while the depressing and low-key moments are presented with soft melodies. Though, during any conversation you will have to present the person with the correct documents or objects in order to continue through and when you present something correctly, you hear a “ding” sound. I quite liked this because it told me when I was proceeding correcting in the story and when I didn’t, I got a muffled buzzing noise. This was great in order to verify I was on track and doing things right.

The rest of the game will be centered around examining and performing operations on your sick and injured patients. During the examination you are to use either the Listen, Feel or Visual Inspection commands to find out what is wrong with the person. This sounds good on paper but ends up becoming quite the hassle and can take far longer than it should. The problem with these parts is that you have no hints on where to look on the patient. There will be times when they have a physical bruise and you can know to visually inspect that region, but when it comes to internal issues, you’re stuck with the guessing game. These sections can end up with you just randomly tapping your patient’s body until you finally find the right spot. There should have been much more guidelines to this.

During the surgical operation parts you must perform a specific surgery in a set amount of time. Not only are you working against the clock during this, but you have to make sure to perform all your tasks well enough to not kill the patient. To ensure you are aware of your patients remaining life, you are shown a meter and are notified of their heart rate. If these hit zero, or you’ve run out of time, you will fail.

Throughout these surgical sections, you will need to perform a sequence of tasks in order to save your patients’ life. These can range from stitching someone all the way to removing a blood clot in the brain. The majority of these operations can come off as a bit stressful but considering each task usually only requires a slow swipe of your stylus across the screen, it evens itself out. With this, each procedure becomes quite fun and you’ll notice yourself just rushing through that countdown. What started out as a 30 minute operation will quite short when you finally realize your done. These surgical procedures are the best part of LifeSigns as they can be incredibly stressful but very fun.

What sets LifeSigns back the most though is the pacing between each of these operation parts. The beginning alone will have you reading through almost 2 hours of dialogue before you finally reach your next surgery. And though the conversations are fun and informative, they really start to become overwhelming when you have to truck your way through several hours of them.

The worst part of this is that the surgeries can be quite hard and stressful. Some of the tools you use during the operations require specific actions and after a while of text, you end up forgetting how to perform. There were times when I almost lost because instead of using my tools correctly, I had to guess and check my way through the procedure. It would have been much better if the operations came more frequently, or I was I told more often how to go about them.

The aspect that sets LifeSigns apart from other hospital based adventure games is the inclusion of persuading mini game sections. In these you will have to try and convince another character to do something/tell you about something by showing them pieces of information or objects you are holding on to. This is probably one of the more engaging parts to the game since it involves you having to think which documents and articles you should show this person to try and get them on your side. If you show them the correct objects, you will be granted with bonuses. These can range from more dialogue sections to bonus time during surgical parts. Getting these wrong however can give you a disadvantage.

Overall LifeSigns comes up a bit short in entertainment. It presents itself nicely and is set up well enough to warrant a play through. However, it is still hard to recommend it considering all the other hospital based point and click adventure games out there. The awkward pacing caused me to feel either incredibly bored or overwhelmed when it came to the surgeries. If you really enjoy text heavy games, you will definitely find some enjoyment here. It has great story telling and makes sure to explore each of the presented characters. LifeSigns ends up feeling like it is being weighed down with all the extra elements instead of sticking to what it should have: surgeries and medical operations.

Overall: 6/10

Saturday, June 6, 2009

E309: Assassin's Creed 2 Gameplay Footage

E309: Notable Mention Trailers Pt. 1

These are some other announced/shown trailers/clips from E3 that I think look cool but aren't at the top of my most wanted list.

Metroid: Other M
I really like the idea of not having Samus completely isolated for the majority of the game. I think being able to see more of her character unfold and her home world is the exact step this franchise needed.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Normally I am way into the latest Zelda game but I wasn't really that big a fan of Phantom Hourglass and I'm thinking this will be very similar. I will buy it for sure though.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Crystal Bearers
This seems like it's going to be one of those FFCC games that Nintendo puts out and I completely look the other way on. At the same time it doesn't.

God of War 3 - (Demo Footage)
I liked the first few games, but still found them to be nothing amazing.

E309: Trailers I Liked Pt. 2

Crackdown 2
I loved the first game, I'm sure if this one can at least be as good as the first (with or without the level of broken) I will enjoy it too. If they get the co-op fixed then I am on board 100%.

Left 4 Dead 2

When it comes to which side of the fence I'm on about being for or against this game, I'm for it. I wasn't crazy into the first game like most people. I do love it, and I can see their point, but I also know that Valve is a good company and I have a faith in them.

Project Natal

I'm okay with a controller. When it comes to my Wii and DS, I always go with just the standard control scheme. With that said, I thought officially Project Natal would not work as good as we all think -- apparently it does. And for that I am excited. Not sure if I'll use it much though.

Assassin's Creed 2
This is the game I am probably most excited about right now. Just the idea of an AC game that continues the story and fixes all the awful parts from the first game is enough.

Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker

I wasn't too big a fan of Portable Ops but I still love the MGS universe so I am looking forward to playing this.

E309: Trailers I Liked Pt. 1

Here's a collection of trailers I liked or that got me excited from E3 this year. They are in no particular order.

Golden Sun DS
The main reason I am so excited for this is because the first two Golden Sun games were probably some of my favorite RPGs of all time, and my favorite GBA games. I put way too many hours into those two games, I plan to repeat that with this one.

The Last Guardian
Though I don't have a PS3, I found this trailer to be quite beautiful and I will for sure be picking up this game when I have the system.

Super Mario Galaxy 2
I still need to finish the first game but just the fact that Yoshi is in this one is awesome. It should be very fun.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
I think this game has one of the worst names for a video game I've heard in a while but it looks really fun. The idea of 4 player co-op is great, though I can't see myself having 3 people over to play with at once. Also, the idea of no online play (thought I'd never use it) is odd to me.

I'll post another section of trailers later today.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coming Up

This weekend I will be doing quite a bit of writing about games. Here's what to expect:
  • My review of LifeSigns
  • Favorite moments from E3
  • Things I am looking forward to that were shown at E3
  • My E3 impressions
Hopefully I will be able to get that all done this weekend. I may also post some of the trailers shown.

Monday, June 1, 2009

EA and Ubisoft Press Conferences

I will be doing live updates of the EA and Ubisoft Press Conferences on my twitter. EA Is almost done but I will have full coverage of the Ubisoft one.