26 September, 2015


Spoilers abound below. I talk a lot about most aspects of the story, and game, so if you don't want to be spoiled, don't read this. If you haven't played the game, or watched a play through, you'll likely find yourself confused. It's also possible I got some things wrong on my first play through, or some of my theories are incorrect. I can't presume I found every note there was to find. This isn't so much a review as, maybe a therapy session lol.

So, I wasn't prepared for the emotional steamroller that SOMA turned out to be. I went into it knowing that it would likely be creepy, spooky, scary even, and intriguing. It is made by Frictional Games, after all, and I loved their other games (Penumbra series, Amnesia series) very much.

At first, SOMA was what was expected. A moderate beginning with suspense. This quickly turned into some kind of what the fuck situation. I immediately had theories about what had happened. Was humanity in a holographic world that I somehow got booted from with the scan? Was I kidnapped, and brought to this station? As I progressed, and eventually met Catherine, I was pretty firmly in the 'Just woke up from the Matrix' mindset, but it all kind of went bizarrely wrong. There were smaller jump scares, but for the most part, the suspense and creepiness came from thinking what COULD be out there. With all this talk about the WAU's monsters roaming around, every sound became suspicion that another guardian was stalking the halls. More often than not, this wasn't the case, but the paranoia became another permanent part of the game.

Thoroughly picking over every note, and detail I could find, I began to piece together the pretty horrifying reality that had occurred. Somehow, the brain scan I had at the beginning of the game, to solve my brain trauma from a car accident, was put into a sort of library of scans. The original Simon, my character, died shortly after the scan was taken, having been able to find no solution to his brain trauma. This occurred in 2015, and it's now 2105. After 100 years, my original brain scan was pulled out of a legacy system, and used by Ross, I'm pretty sure, to copy into a new body to try to stop the WAU from turning humanity into a mockery of what it was.

The actual realization that I was not the human I was before was a little disconcerting as it occurred at a sort of hectic moment of the game where I thought I'd fucked up, and was going to drown. That even causes Simon to 'snap out' of his human thinking, and see him for the cyborg robot thing that he is. Not even human, just a copy. Of course, this is hotly debated in the game... If a scan could be a human, even if they have no body. Indeed, the entire idea of consciousness being the soul of the human is a largely debated topic, and one I'm interested in. SOMA fights with different sides of this throughout the entire game, and Simon seems to go from one side to the other a few times.

Things are okay, for the most part, until Tau station. Not only has a large portion of this station, and all the crew, seem to have been assimilated completely by WAU, but we can't get any further without a different diving suit. To do this, we're told that we need to be transferred to another suit... like another brain scan. Only it's not what we think. After putting the suit together, and getting the scan, we hear our own voice speaking from our previous suit. It turns out that we weren't transferred to the other suit, we were just copied, and placed in to it. There are now, effectively, two Simon's; one 'asleep' in our previous suit, and the one we just copied in to this new suit.

I have to say, as our character Simon-c (Simon-a being the original, and Simon-b being the first scan) realises what's happened, it took me for quite an existential breakdown. The panic in his voice, the realisation, the fear... it weighed down on me pretty heavily. You can choose to kill your previous copy by draining the battery, or leave him alone to wake up in a few hours. In the dark. Without Catherine. Without anyone, even the WAU monsters. In the dark. Alone. Both of these options made me feel physically queasy. I got up from the game, and walked around. Made coffee, made some supper. This decision was one of the hardest in a game, and it wouldn't be the last hard decision in the game. In the end I choose to end Simon-b's life instead of leaving him to that void of fear, despair, and darkness. It didn't feel good at all, but I did it, and headed out of Tau, and down to the Abyss.

As I ventured further, I kept thinking about Simon-b, and what it means to be human. It really bothered me. Just the experiences, the thoughts? Do we require the flesh, and blood, and bone to be human. Would it be enough to scan the memories, and thoughts to a new host? Or even living in the digital world, as we would on the ARK. I felt very uneasy as we got to Phi, and Ross began jumping in, and out of reality, but it got worse when I found out where the ARK was... being guarded by the last human, Sarah. After a conversation with her, she begged me to kill her. Remove life support, and let her die. The last 'human.'

All this time I'd been faced with the question about what it is to be human. Sarah, like many others, had already scanned herself into the ARK. Was that enough? She would live on from the time that her scan had been made. Could I really kill the last flesh human? What does that even mean? Everyone is in the ARK, living on... and here is the last human slowly dying. Apparently, in huge amounts of pain. I just looked at her wheezing, begging me to kill her, and so... I did. I turned off the machine, and stood there as she died, listening to her reminisce about her life. Then she was dead, though she would have died eventually, it was still me who had turned off the machine.

Again, the uneasy feeling set in, and I continued to progress. Even finding Catherine's original body, dead of course, didn't really phase me as much as it probably should of. The next thing that really bothered me was when Ross guided me to destroy the WAU. It felt... shoe horned in. It seemed like an after thought. As though someone had suddenly thought, “Oh! We have that WAU.. I guess we should do something about it.” So this stupid afterthought like idea had me miraculously have the poison for it in the suit I had made. I went in there, poisoned it, Ross died, and I got out minus one arm, which didn't matter since I'd be whole in the ARK after Catherine scanned us in. With that very 'star trek ending' scenario done with, in the mysterious Alpha site no less, we continue to the launch gun.

It was at that time when the real nonsense happened. Catherine had explained previously, when Simon-b was copied to be Simon-c that the brain scan transfers were not solid transfers, but copies of the scan until that point, put in to a new environment. This meant that the previous copy was still active in the previous environment. Any time a scan is made, and placed in to a new environment, the previous remains active. I wanted to say that twice because it's something Simon, in all his iterations, didn't seem to grasp. It's a flip of the coin as to whether their present aware consciousness is copied over, as it was with Simon-c, or if it remains in it's previous environment, as it happened with Simon-b. There is a bit of suspense as the ARK is launched, and the copies are made to be transferred to the ARK, but when everything is done, and launched, we remain in the darkness of the Phi launch site.

Much like Simon-c, I was confused, even though I'd seen the transfer go through, but then it hit me. Our awareness hadn't copied over as it had from Simon-b to Simon-c. We were left here, mirroring what had happened back on Tau. As Simon-c screamed, and panicked, I just sat there with this feeling of dread creeping over me. I knew Simon-d was in the ARK, continuing, but it didn't matter any more. None of that mattered because I was still here, in the darkness, without Catherine (her system shut down due to the pressure of the station), without anyone... not even WAU. The darkness seeped in as systems began to shut down. As Simon-c was crying, and sinking into insanity, most likely, all I could think about was how long would it take to die? Could I kill myself? What happens to my scan when I die? Simon-c had asked these same questions, in regards to Simon-b as well, but now I was considering my own horrific future.

I felt like I just wanted to, in real life, lay down, and never get up again. I was drained as the credits rolled on by, and when they ended, I was greeted with, what I knew to be Simon'd's new life on the ARK. I felt no better. I felt sick, even. I stood up, hearing Simon'd's ecstatic joy at the copy working; after all, he had no idea that it hadn't as, to him, he was the primary conscious, and had won the coin toss. He gave no thought to Simon-c, like he did to Simon-b, and really, who could blame him. He was now on the ARK, with Catherine, and the future was theirs to live, while Simon-c was alone in the void with unanswered questions, and terror.

The 'happy' ending made me feel worse. It wasn't happy, and I was resentful to Simon-d. I earned my life, but I guess so did he. And Simon-b, but I killed him. I killed Sarah too, and the WAU. I guess it was fitting to die alone, while a fresh, new me lived on circling our Earth. Living.

21 July, 2015

Gaming for 17.06.15 - 21.07.15

Gaming for 17.06.15 - 21.07.15

Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea
Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd

Final Fantasy 13
Final Fantasy 13-2
Dragon Age: Inquisition
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Fallout: New Vegas

PS Vita/TV:
Tales of Hearts R
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars
Mind Zero

Not only is this over a month since last time, but I also have nothing to say. Brilliant.

17 June, 2015

The week of gaming for 10.06.15 – 17.06.15

The week of gaming for 10.06.15 – 17.06.15

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die
Dragon Age: Inquisition
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III
The Evil Within
The Sims 4

Everything has been on Steam, except for Dragon Age: Inquisition, this week. I keep thinking that I want to switch on the PS3 or something, but then I never do. The games I want to play aren't on consoles right now, or they are, but I have them on Steam/Origin already. It will probably stay this way until I get a PS4. Also, in regards to the last post... Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call was the one removed.

04 June, 2015

Some Gaming Things

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has completely taken me by surprise, and by storm. I've got 166 hours in it already, beaten Death March mode, and am working on a completionist play through, which is also my Do Everything Wrong play through. I knew it would be a good game, but I had no idea it'd be this good. It's easily made my top five favourite games of all time. Speaking of which, it currently looks like this:

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection
Persona 3 Portable
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Dark Souls
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Remember Me
Shin Megami Tensei III: Lucifer's Call
Resident Evil 4
Silent Hill: Downpour
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

But could change at any time. That being said, it rarely changes. What was it that was ejected off the list? Can you guess? I'll let you know next time I blog. As for other things I've been playing... well not too much. The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing III came out at some point, and I didn't notice, but installed it yesterday when I did notice. For some reason, though, my saves from the previous two games were there, so that was annoying, and I haven't played it since as I wanted to continue Aaron Van Helsing. I have to decide if I want to just start a new character, or start the series again.

I'm looking forward to two things coming up soon. Mostly, Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition comes out later this month. Pretty psyched about that. Also, Shadowrun: Hong Kong will come out soon, and that looks very good. It's even got a 'revamped' matrix so that should be great.

Yep, that's all for today.

19 May, 2015

This Month in Gaming / May 2015

I haven't blogged in a while. Shit happened, people died, I had a birthday, some people will never have more birthdays, and I hate everything. So with that out of the way, what have I been playing?

My top game this month is Anarchy Online. I caught the bug again when they revamped the starting area. It's nice, and a lot more linear. They say the new models are on test server now, but it's too painful to hope for that. I remember back in 2011 when they said the same thing. Weeps

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is up next. Although I hate her stupid face, Hammerlock is my favourite character here because sniper. I love snipers. Jack is also great. I might like Pre-Sequel more than I liked Borderlands 2. Who knoooooows?

Because Final Fantasy 4: The After Years came out on Steam, I decided to play through Final Fantasy 4 again on Steam, which is the iOS port of the DS version. There are new things in it which are unique to the iOS version, which I never played as I don't have any iOS products. Almost done now, along with all the achievements for it.

I am getting in to Marvel Heroes on Steam. It's an F2P over the top like Diablo. In fact it's made by the guy who made Diablo I and II, so it's pretty great. It's like Diablo with Marvel. Playing as Phoenix now, and she's a monster. A friend gifted Nightcrawler to me as well so I'll try him out soon.

Over the past few days I've been trying to finish the achievements for DmC: Devil May Cry, and it's going very, very well. I've managed to get most of them, including some SSS rank ones. It's very hard due to the nerve damage in my hands, but by the nine is it worth it. I love Devil May Cry so much. All of them. They are all great.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall is being played as well. I didn't get to play it as the DLC, but when Director's Cut came out, well it fixed a lot of shit, so yay.

Finally, Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. You know my obsession with Dark Souls. I don't need to go in to this.

Fuckin fun times.

31 December, 2014

2014 Game of the Year

Wow, it's been a while hasn't it. This year ended up being pretty awful, and I don't have the will to go in depth about my games of the year right now, but I want to put this up so I can expand on it later. I also added on a side thing to my Games of the Year. At this time of writing, I have to be able to pick up the game now, and still enjoy playing it. All these games, at least in my top ten, have me for over 100 hours easily (the one exception being The Wolf Among Us because of what kind of game it is), and I still enjoy them. There are still a lot of games I didn't get to play this year, and although they can't make the list next year, I hope to be able to play, and enjoy them, in the upcoming year.

Game of the Year:
Dragon Age: Inquisition

Runner's Up:
Dark Souls 2
The Evil Within
Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Shin Megami Tensi IV
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky
The Wolf Among Us
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Tales of Xillia 2
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Honourable Mentions:
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Tomodachi Life
Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey
World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor

I will get around to doing more in depth explainations as to why they are where they are, but right now this is all I can manage. Hope everyone has a great new year!

30 October, 2013

Remember Me

I think it's a testament to the game that I beat it three times in a week and did a youtube recording within three days. I can't get enough of this game. Remember Me was under a lot of fire during its development because it's protagonist was female and a lot of companies decided it wouldn't sell well. Eventually Dontnod Entertainment got Capcom and I'm glad they did. Capcom is a favourite company of mine and Remember Me is one of my top ten favourite games now. It impressed me in a way that utterly shocked me. I've not been this taken up by a game in a long time. It came out in June and it had always been on my list, but money isn't in abundance, and other games took priority. It went on PS+ for free last week and I grabbed it up so fast, and I am thrilled. Had I know it would be this good I would have paid full price in a heartbeat. Well let's get on with it.

The graphics are quite beautiful in their surreal, cyberpunk, futuristic dystopia way. The models for characters and enemies are done very well, especially the enemies you fight. The twisted creatures that populate Neo Paris are done in a creepy and baneful manner, and the quality of the model really shines through. The world is grimy and dark in most places, but on occasion the blessed sun shines through and illuminates the smooth skyscrapers and bright white, and silver, bridges. The world is so beautiful and tragic, and the combination of splendid lighting and model quality is obvious from the beginning. It's not just the outside that is beautiful, however. Traversing the buildings, prisons, and hospitals, as well as tunnels, sewers, and construction sites, makes for a sometimes creepy and disconcerting journey. There are two things I always look for in a game, as well, and that is hair and drinking. The hair was amazing, but there were still little obviousness that we haven't managed to get right yet. As for drinking... yea we're still a long ways off.

Next I want to.. gush, I suppose, about the music and audio of the game. Holy hot damn guys, this soundtrack is probably one of the best I have heard in a decade at least. It's definitely the best game OST on this gen of consoles. As soon as it started playing I was hooked. It's so... I don't even know how to explain it. It gets in to me and just eats away at my mind so that it can have a place to live. During the course of the game, it's inserted very well into situations. Combat uses it for not only combat music, but also when you're chaining combos or when you get hit, the music reacts to it. I got the soundtrack before I was even done with the first play-through, and it's pretty securely stored on my ipod for all listening pleasure now. As with the audio comes the voice acting. It's really great. I played it through in English, French, and Italian, and all three voice actor sets were quite amazing, to be honest. I enjoyed their performances quite a lot, but my favourite had to be the English version of Edge. Wow... he really nailed it and god-damn if he didn't make me totally feel for his character in a pretty deep, and tragic, way.

The interface is great and there's not too much to say because it's so minimalistic. You have the objective that pops up towards the middle, but only briefly, and when you're not in combat, most of the HUD isn't seen. When you are in combat, it gives you the basics at the bottom left (health, focus, and cool-downs) and keeps track of which combo you're doing in the bottom middle. It's integrated brilliantly and doesn't detract from the game play. Since I mentioned combat and the HUD section is so small, I'll start on combat here too. I wasn't thrilled with it when I first started to use it. I didn't like the combat movement, and I didn't understand what they were trying to explain in regards to dodging and pressens. Pressens are your combo moves, basically. You have power pressens (they add damage), regen pressens (health obviously), and cool-down pressens (to speed up cool-downs). The explanation of these wasn't as clear as I'd've liked them to be, but just through experimentation, I was able to figure out what was working and what was not working. As this happened, I grew used to the combat, but I can't say I like it. It's not that I hate it any more, I just... am not really too enthused with it. It's just a thing that's there. The cool-downs, however, were pretty intuitive and nicely done, as well as dodging. Thankfully they indicate when the best time for a dodge would be with a red ! in the direction it's coming from.

All right so we have audio and graphics, but what about general game play? It is a wonderfully free moving, parkour type game with brilliant exploration and platforming. There is also another awesome thing you can do called Memory Remixing. These puzzles let you go into the memories of certain people and change their memories to your advantage. Memory stealing, syncing, and remixing are all part of what makes this game pretty unique and fun to play. Well I say fun, but it's pretty clear that I'm obsessed with this game and everything in it. The only real complaint I had was the combat and now that's just meh, and not really a complain. The story is very tricky and was a delight to go through. I got very involved in it and shed a tear or two during it's course, I don't mind saying, not to mention the veritable scream I let out at the end of the game when someone dies who I'd grown quite attached to. This isn't a spoiler as many people die in games, especially towards the end, and if you think this game is safe from it, you're mistaken.

Spoilers for a paragraph, it's in italics so just skip it if you don't want the story broken open.
There are a few ways you could take the story of this game in regards to the title of the game. The game deals a lot with memory, obviously, and loosing it, finding it, getting it messed around with, but Remember Me... in my opinion it's to remember Edge. For me, the game was about him as much, if not more, as it was for Nilin. He was created from all the abuse, fear, malign, and tragedy that no one wanted in their life. All he wanted was to end, to be gone, to not have to live in the cesspool of despair that humanity ran away from. This was him using the only thing he could, Nilin, to gain freedom... and for his sacrifice, and suffering, we must remember him. Man... I can't even think about the end without getting all teary. Goddammit.

The trophies aren't that difficult although at the beginning they looked as though they could be quite squirely to get done. Getting this platinum was amazing, and made Remember Me my sixth platinumed game. It's more that they take a little bit of time to get, not that they are too hard. The difficulty in getting them is moderate, depending on your skill in the game. All the combo mashing did ware on my hands a little bit, but it's nothing like a DMC or something, so it was all good. I really can't express how much I loved this game. It came out of nowhere and blind-sided me, and I recommend it to everyone. Even if you don't like these kinds of games, at least rent it and try it out. Please don't dismiss it. If there ever comes a time when I don't have PS+, for some reason, this will be the first game I buy.

20 October, 2013


If you don't like Pokémon then this will probably be a post of little to no interest to you. You have been warned.

As I've stated before, in previous posts, to me Pokémon is, mainly, about catching, and raising, the pokemans. Of course there will always be the Pokémon that I favour and try to raise first. Chief among them is Umbreon, my favourite Pokémon and, indeed, favourite eeveeloution. I love to have all the eeveeloutions and so like to gather them together and level them up. I finally was able to get all the eeveeloutions in Pokémon X and now I am tasked to level them up to max, stat train, and amie train them until they are perfect, in my eyes.

The process of catching the Eevee's, and evolving them, was a little more tricky this time around because happiness works weirdly. Or maybe it doesn't, but I found it harder to gain normal happiness, with some of them, even with the soothe bell on, and resorted to extra Amie training to get them happy. Well this applies with only three of the eeveeloutions. First of all I had to catch nine Eevee and that took a little while, let me tell you. Although there are only eight eeveeloutions at the moment, I wanted to have a normal Eevee as well, so that's nine. Of all nine Eevee, only one of them was female and only one of them came with a Fairy-type move, which is required for one of the eeveeloutions. Obviously this one had to be my Sylveon.

Well then, the eeveeloutions are as follows: Eevee... not really an eeveeloution, but the base Pokémon Vaporeon, a Water-type Pokémon, is next and is evolved by using a Water stone. You can find one of these in Luminose City at the Stone Emporium for 2,100 yen. Next up is Jolteon, an Electric-type Pokémon, is evolved with a Thunder stone. I found one in the field of standing stones north of Cyllage City, on Route 10. Flareon comes next and is a Fire-type Pokémon that is evolved using a Fire stone. I got one of these in Luminose City, from the Stone Emporium, for 2,100 yen as well, so that's another easy one.

After your three basic eeveeloutions we move on to the next set. That would be Umbreon and Espeon. For both of these eeveeloutions you will need your Eevee to be happy with you. If you want an Umbreon you will need it to be happy (something like 220 happiness stat, but you can't track it in game, numerically) and then have it level up at night time. For Espeon you will need to level it up during the day time. Use the Soothe bell (from Shalour city) and try to use it often without letting it die. You can also feed it puffs in the Amie and play with it to raise the stats. I'm not entirely sure if that has an effect on the happiness stat for evolution, but it can't hurt right?

With those two done you can now focus on Leafeon and Glaceon. Glaceon will be the one you'll be able to evolve first because you'll encounter the Icy Rock before the Moss Rock. To get a Glaceon just have your Eevee level up around the Icy Rock at the bottom on the Frost Cavern, north of Dendemille Town. For Leafeon you'll need to wait a while and circle the Moss Rock on Route 20, south of Snowbelle City.

Sylveon is the last in the eeveeloutionary chain and was a little annoying to get to evolve. First of all, your Eevee is required to know a Fairy-type move if it wants to be a Sylveon. Secondly, you need to have max hearts in the Pokémon Amie for it to trigger. Feed it Puffs, pet it, play the games with it, and don't let it die, and you'll be fine. It took me a stupid amount of time to get because I didn't know how to use the Amie very well at the time, but eventually I got it down and my Eevee became a Sylveon.

So now that this is all done, my next goal is to get them all to 50. This isn't trouble for my Umbreon, who's already well above that, but some of my others are tiny in level so it will take a bit of time. After that I want them all to have max hearts in the Amie. I will be stat training them as well as I level them up. Fun times!

11 January, 2013

Resident Evil 6

Resident Evil 6 is a game which has collected a lot of shit leading up to and after its release. I can see why people don't like it and I can see why people are disappointed in it, but on the other hand it baffles me how a fan of Resident Evil can not like this game. I hear their reasoning, but it just sounds like excuses. Well, baffled Terr aside, I loved the hell out of this game. I have four platinums on the PS3 and Resident Evil 6 is one of them so bear in mind that this review is from a PS3 point of view.. Let's get stuck in then, shall we. 

The graphics are wonderful and crisp as hell. Character models are done very well and their movements are believable and accurate. Scenery is beautiful as well, especially the background and distances, and heat shimmers were quite awesome to look at. Another thing I really enjoyed was the use of specular lighting on almost everything. It wasn't done over the top either... you could see how and where it came from. Additional specular lighting when it was raining was a really nice effect as well. Clothes were rendered really well, even wet clothes, but one thing that was a little weird was hair. I don't think they'll get hair right for a long time, but it was much better in RE6 that I've seen it in many other modern releases. Splashes, rain, thunder, sunlight, and explosions. Fantastic and as realistic as I've seen in many cases. The only real fault was with the hair and at very rare occasions the lip sync was a little weird, but it's something that I have never seen done 100% accurately. The weapons looks nice too. Now it's one thing for a weapon to look nice when it's not live, but it's another thing for a weapons graphics to keep their believability when they are firing or being used as a melee weapon. It's not something I pay much mind to, really, but I noticed it a lot in RE6, and it held up well.
Now, the interface is something that I struggled with constantly. Not to an atrocious degree, but I never felt quite right with it. The only one I did actually enjoy was Jake's pre-cube interface. It was concise and compact, and I felt that it was perfect. Everyone else’s was too big and bulky and looked weird or out of place. Still, they weren't a downfall, just a struggle. Almost everyone has a different variation on the interface and so switching from person to person sort of upsets your flow a bit... or it did for me. You can also switch it left or right preference and neither really felt good for me. I ended up keeping it to the left primarily, but still it didn't keep too right with me. The voice acting was fan-fucking-tastic. Although I didn't like all the characters, I think the voice acting for all of them was pretty amazing. Everyone delivered beautifully and did their character's a massive boon. My favourite characters ended up being Leon (of course), Jake, and Piers. No surprise that I hated Sherry and Helena, and Chris was never a star (see what I did there) in my books. Ada was all right... I don't trust myself to give an unbiased view on her character since she's Leon's girlfriend and I want Leon all to myself. She delivered her lines well though. Along with the voice acting, the other audio was great too. I don't really hold the soundtracks of Resident Evil games at a very higher tier and that's no real fault of theirs. The music isn't bad, but it's not really something I've focused on too much. With the exception of Resident Evil 4, I haven't felt compelled to listen to the soundtracks more than a few times and they haven't really gripped me. It's OK music, but I always turn it off in favour of my own music... excepting Resident Evil 4 as I said, which had a phenomenal soundtrack. The other audio was good though... interface sounds, ambient sound, weather sounds... kicking someone in the chest sounds. All good and not a bit of distortion anywhere.

On to where most people seemed to have all the shit to throw... game-play. I loved the game-play. Everyone says there were too many quick time events and too much button mashing in the game and that Resident Evil had flown from it's roots into some freaky FPS (if I can see my character, guys, it's not FPS) gore feast. I'm going to start by saying that I've had a serious loathing for quick time events since Fahrenheit decided it would be awesome to have me making out with my girlfriend as a quick time event. They are just shit now, so any game with even one quick time event makes me annoyed. That being said, I didn't think Resident Evil 6 had more quick time events than an average game which would have them. Sure looking for my keys as a quick time event was a bit wtf, but that was the only really stupid one I saw. It was a fine amount and I thought they were pretty well placed for the most part. As for the rest, action wise, it was brilliant. I loved combat and I loved being able to move around while aiming (thank you!) and firing. Melee combat was greatly improved and weapons were easy to use. I even liked the crossbow a lot and the quick combat fire for it is fucking awesome... but not as powerful as I would have hoped. Points for skills, combos, and weapons were all tallied pretty accurately, I thought, which made the grind to unlock different abilities to slot and skill sets to set up, not that terrible. A little tedious at times, but not the worst ever. Mercenaries mode was finally something I enjoyed as well. I played a little of it in Resident Evil 4 (just enough to unlock everything, nothing more) and in Resident Evil 5 (didn't even unlock everything, ugh), but resident Evil 6 is where it shone like a glittering butterfly brooch in the sparkling sun of a mid summers day. I think that people are just disappointed at the direction Resident Evil has come and everyone wants it to be like Resident Evil 1, 2, or 3 without even really remembering that control and combat in those games were balls. They were good games, great games even, but it was hard to do fuck all in them. This is the progression of the series and how games are made/played now and it has to be realised that things can't stay the same forever. This is much better than how games used to be and I enjoyed the game-play of Resident Evil 6.

Now, after the debacle that the story of Resident Evil 5 was, and some people liked it, that's fine, but I was sorely saddened when Wesker died at the end. I won't get in to the tragic writing that Resident Evil 5 did, because this is for Resident Evil 6. Needless to say, though, I was hesitant about what they were going to do. Surprise, surprise.... it was fabulous. I was genuinely amazed about the story and the writing. The dialogue was so well done and the time-lines were integrated at such a fantastic pace. I didn't fully get the entire story until I played through each campaign as each character... you really need to in order to find all the pieces of the puzzle and appreciate the entirety of the story for what it is. There were even a few surprising moments and oddly touching parts as well... and anyone who knows me knows I don't let the feels get to me very often at all. Piers was the most surprising of them all. I hated him almost right away, but as I played as him through his story I started to really identify with him. Piers is a true bro. He is a seriously well written character and his fate got me well verklempt there at the end. Aw man, here it comes again. 

Well now that I'm back, there were a few more things I'll mention. Coming back to Mercenaries. I got seriously addicted to this for quite a while there and it's great fun to play, but I found that I enjoyed it a lot more with someone else. This is something that doesn't happen to me often, as I like to play solo, so when it does I take special note of when and where. I think it's the combo thing... it works a lot better, in Resident Evil 6, than it has in it's other iterations. I guess there are bigger maps now with more than two people allowed on it, but I don't know. I have a lot of other games to play and don't have the time to get addicted to the awesome that is Resident Evil 6 again. Bouncing combo points off each other is great and certain perks you can slot really shine when you have someone else there to benefit from them. I have got such high scores with a partner in Resident Evil 6's mercs mode than I have in any other and it was great every time... never a chore. I would really recommend this game to people who like action games and also role-play games. The story is amazing and the combat is well integrated. The characters are believable and the game, itself, is beautiful to behold. Movements are fluid and pacing is spot on. If you're a Resident Evil fan, this game is still great, as well. It stays with the Biohazard themes and brings in mentions from a few of the other games. There are some unsettling moments, some shock moments, some ew moments, and a smattering of humour and smart arse quips that I actually laughed at. I bought it fairly soon after it's release so I paid almost full price for it, which doesn't happen often, and I don't regret it at all. Well worth the cost! Grab it up guys. It's a keeper.

29 December, 2012

This Year in Gaming - 2012

When asked what my Game of the Year is, it's never an easy decision. As someone who games for the majority of their day, I go through a lot of games, borrowed or owned. It's not often a game is played regularly through the year. One plays a game, plays the hell out of it if I like it, then moves on to different games. I guess the first thing to do is to take a look at the games which have come out this year.

I'll start with the Vita, for no real reason. It came out in December of 2011 in Japan, but 2012 everywhere else. I only recently got it as a gift from an old friend of mine and I was amazed and thrilled to get it. I have three actual games for the Vita, though I guess five if you count two free ones I got through the PSN+. The hard copy games I have are Lego Batman 2, Persona 4 Golden, and Zero Hour: Virtue's Last Reward. The two I got on PSN+ are Gravity Rush & Uncharted: Golden Abyss.

Uncharted I didn't really like too much... it seemed weird to move and take action, but I haven't played it a lot to really form anything other than a first impressions.

Gravity Rush is really amazing, but I just haven't had the time to dedicate to it. I really want to play more of it though.

Lego Batman 2 is all right at best. I used to be a huge Lego fan, but after a few games it just got really old. It came with the Vita though so for a bit it was the only Vita specific game I had.

Persona 4 Golden is fucking amazing. I want to do a review for it in a few weeks so I'll leave it at 'fucking amazing' for now.

Virtue's Last Reward is incredible as well... it's the sequel to 999 and just blows me away. I haven't beaten it completely yet, but will do a review for it as well when the time comes.

The second most recent game machine I got was a 3DS back in May for my birthday. On an amusing note, I decided to conduct a small experiment on how long it would take my nephew to realise I had a 3DS without me mentioning it at all. He's usually pretty observant so it amused me to conduct this. It wasn't NOVEMBER that he realised the DS sitting on my couch was actually a 3DS. Anyway, I actually don't have a lot of 3DS games despite the length of time I've had this hand-held. My 3DS games are Resident Evil: Revelations, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, and Tales of the Abyss. There are some games on my DsiXL that I would have liked to put on my 3DS, but the DS's require you to use an internet connection setting that my router doesn't allow so... I can't really xfer them. I'll start by saying that I very rarely use the 3D function because it hurts my eyes a lot. I mean a lot. After maybe 10 minutes I get a headache and it's not long before migraine city starts sparkling around my room. That being said, all my thoughts are regarding a non 3D view of the game.

Tales of the Abyss is a great port. Everything looks awesome and the story is fine as ever. It's been ages since I last played this game and I really love playing it again. The additions they've made and controls they've added really shine.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is a terrible addiction to me. Mixing rhythm games and Final Fantasy is a drug on par with the most addictive. Also, the graphics are so cute!

The two Resident Evil games haven't got much play from me because the controls anger me greatly. It's very hard to play a RE game on a hand-held, but I love the series and am determined to get through them. The story for Revelations intrigues me and I want to find out how it ends!

Now that the handhelds have had their glory time, I'll mix up the rest of 2012's consoles and we'll start off at the top with Final Fantasy13-2. It came out, here, in Feb and I did a review for it. I did review Final Fantasy 13, albeit the 360 version, and didn't have the most positive things to say about it... it was a lot of small things that kind of brought it down. I have recently started it again on the PS3 and my view of it is a little better, but this is about Final Fantasy 13-2, though I will leave this short as my views on it can be read in my review.

Feb also brought us Kingdoms of Amalaur: Reckoning. I tried to like this game, I really did, but it is just awful. I can't stand it. I really, really hate this game. From the voice acting to the graphics to the HUD to the quests. It's like an MMO that failed to be an MMO (I know it was slated to be an MMO in fact) and failed again trying to be a single player game. It's empty, lifeless, and feels like a watered down Skyrim in every way. I know people who adore the game, but I really just fucking hate it.

Dear Esther I will include because it is a game in a technical sense. It's a story that takes you through a puzzle of mazes in an intriguing and sombre fashion. The story is sad and finds you feeling sorry for everyone in the end. I had to play it twice to get the whole story because I missed a few things. The graphics are lovely and the music is spectacular and haunting.

Mass Effect 3. Well this game sure had it's share of controversy, but fuck that, seriously. I really enjoyed the endings provided and the expanded ones were even better. The graphics were solid and fantastic, the music was extraordinary, and the story was just great. I enjoyed playing Mass Effect 3 so much and the DLC was even more awesome. I haven't got the Omega DLC yet as it's holiday time and money is tight, but I will definitely get it and play it for sure. There's no question. I loved Mass Effect 3 and it's definitely a contender for my game of the year.

Another contender for GOTY is Journey. A PSN game that came out with March and blew me away. Hands down is has the best and most beautiful graphics of any PSN game I've seen and maybe of any game, period, I've seen. Music as well.. I couldn't believe how spectacular this game was, but coming from the same guys who made flOw and Flower... it can only get better from there.

Silent Hill: Downpour was my first platinum trophy and well deserved. I did a review of this game, but a review can hardly relay what an amazing experience this was. I'll leave this short as all my views on it can be read in the review.

Tales of Graces F came out in August here, much behind it's US release which was March. Regardless, this game blew me away. The last Tales game we got was Tales of Vesperia, which was my first 1,000 gamer-score game on the 360 back in the day. Graces F did not fail to live up to amazement. I've not yet platinum'd the game yet, but I felt I had to take a break as I have save files adding up to 500+ hours in it and I was starting to perform artes in my sleep. The graphics are wonderful, the music is solid and addictive, and the story is really quite amazing. It caught me by surprise in more than one place.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City came out earlier this year, but I only got it in Nov, I think. It's a great game, but a great game that I need t go through in small portions. I enjoy it, but I don't enjoy it for hours at a time and that's fine. A game doesn't have to entertain me for six hours at a time to be a good game. The graphics are quite good, the game-play it really nice, especially with friends, and the music is RE typical... not amazing omg, but not terrible. It's all right, but I will, more often than not, turn it off in favour of my own music.

The Silent Hill HD collection came out this year and a friend got it for me, and it's more than not, pretty great. There were a lot of issues when it first came out, but I didn't go through them as I didn't have the game at the time. The glitches and lag and bugs have been mostly fixed and it's not terrible. They changed a lot of the voices and such, but I don't really care. I have no special place for the original voice acting and I think the new voices are good. Not a ghastly port, but they could have give it some more time and did better.

Blacklight: Retribution is a game I was very much in to for about two weeks. After that I just... didn't want to play really. The graphics were nice, the progression and levelling up were all right and the matches weren't too bad, but it was just mediocre on all fronts and eventually just bored me.

Devil May Cry HD is amaaaaaaazing. As it's a compilation and HD re-release of the first three games (Special Edition version of the 3rd) it can't have my game of the year slot, but if I included re-releases then it would get the award hands down. Graphics: improvements and amazement. Audio: Fabulous. Story: Awesome as ever. I really loved this HD collection.

I spent so much time waiting for Xenoblade Chronicles to come out that I was almost in tears when I received it in the post. It was so good for a little while, despite the horrible, horrible graphics and almost intolerable voice acting. The story was intriguing and the combat was almost perfect. The side quests and missions were fantastic and the weapons and upgrade system was addictive. I spent so much time in the game until I just couldn't do it any more. I hated looking at the game because the graphics were just trash. I hated listening to the voice acting because it was so put on. I stopped playing it and eventually traded it in for another game and I really don't find myself yearning for it at all. I am so sad it came out on such a shitty graphic system.

The Witcher 2 was released on the 360 earlier too and it was pretty great. I'd got it on the PC, previously, and didn't really like it. At the time my PC couldn't run it too well so I had issues, but on the 360 it was really great. I enjoyed the graphics, music, and the voice acting was great... really the best thing about it was the voice acting. I went though one of two story-lines and always meant to go through the other, but after I beat it, finishing all the side quests I could, I didn't really want to go through it again. Eventually, it took the trade in route.

Diablo III also came out this year and I really enjoyed that game for a while. After Hell mode, though, it just gets too hard and looses it's fun. Things that hard just aren't appealing to me... I like a challenge, but I don't like beating my head on an unbreakable wall. The graphics are really great, the audio was nicely done, and the story was pretty cool. I might just pop back in there to start up a new character some time soon

Ys Origin is a great game, but the controls are a little wonky. I might try to hook up my xbox controller and see how it goes. It's full of cute sprites, 16 bit musics, and a story of Ys that I haven't played yet. 

Penny Arcade Adventures 3 also went a different route this time by giving us sprites and bitty music, but it was fantastic. It was a great direction they took and the writing was superb as usual.

I was more disappointed in The Secret World than I was happy about it. I loved playing it, but the graphics had all kinds of problems and it really just ruined the experience. The levelling system was great and the stories were really quite fantastic. I even recorded some Youtube videos for questing... I really enjoyed the game until the graphics just began crashing me so much. I heard its gone F2P now, but I also hear the graphics issues aren't sorted. How sad.

The Last Story is definitely my most disappointing game of the year. I waited so long and had such high hopes for this game and then I got it and it was just so terrible. Everything about it was terrible. There isn't one good thing I have to say about the game. I was just so crushed... all that waiting for such a good prospect of a game came crashing down. Such a let down.

Black Mesa was finally released this year and I love it! Technically it's a re-release so no GOTY for it, but omg it it so good! They did such an amazing job of this remake that it's almost like a new game and all the super achievements are just wonderful.

Borderlands 2 is also a contender for my GOTY. I'm going to do a review of it so I won't go into too much detail about it here, but oh man it's wonderful in every way.

When Torchlight II was in beta, I did a review of it, and I gotta say that it only got better. A review is in the works for this too so I won't say a lot regarding it, but I love this game and keep meaning to get back to it.

Resident Evil 6 grabbed a platinum for me and is also a contender for GOTY. This game is amazingly good in all ways. It caught so much flack, but fuck them. This game is amazing in every way. Music, graphics, story, game-play, combat, exploration... even the Mercenaries section was amazing and I don't usually play the Mercenaries. Will be doing a review soon for it.

Dishonored has yet to be finished by me, but I've made it a good distance through. It's such a bizarrely wonderful game. Graphics, audio, and story are all wonderful and some choices in the game make me really think that I am a terrible person lol. It's great when a game can make me question my own morals. Game-play is fabulous as well. I look forward to finishing this game.

Halo 4 came out towards the end of the year and though I haven't personally beaten it yet, but I have played a good deal of it and I've watched my nephew, niece, and sister play shit tonnes of it over here. It's a great game. The story is captivating and I love the graphical improvements. The combat is greatly improved as well, but I hate that they moved the melee again... I wouldn't say it's game of the year, especially since I've not felt compelled to beat it myself, but it's a beautiful and intriguing game with a story that is fantastic.

Man, I know I've missed something, but I can't think of it right now. So let's see what my categories are and what I've chosen:

Best Music: Journey
Runners Up: Dishonored, Silent Hill: Book of Memories/Silent Hill: Downpour
Note: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy would be the winner, but it had no original music, only music from other games, so there was no new and original tunes

Best Graphics: Final Fantasy 13-2
Runners Up: Borderlands 2, Journey
Note: There were so many good graphical games this year, it was hard to choose.

Best Combat: Borderlands 2
Runners Up: Silent Hill: Downpour, Resident Evil 6
Note: This was also hard to choose as I loved the combat in ME3 and H4 a lot as well.

Best Story: Silent Hill: Downpour
Runners Up: Mass Effect 3, Halo 4
Note: A lot of good stories this year, just because one isn't listed, doesn't mean it wasn't good. I just liked some others better.

Best Overall Gameplay: Tales of Graces F
Runners Up: Final Fantasy 13-2, Borderlands 2
Note: It's hard to find a game that has a great mesh of combat and movement for me as my hands are so twitchy from nerve damage.

Best Re-Release: Persona 4 Golden
Runner's Up: Devil May Cry HD Collection, Tales of the Abyss
Note: Although there was a lot of things added to Persona 4 Golden, it is still a re-release of the game, just with some additions.

Biggest Disappointment: The Last Story
Runners Up: Xenoblade Chronicles, The Secret World
Note: TSW was such a disappointment because of all the graphical issues which made it almost impossible for me to play or enjoy.

Worst Game: Kingdoms of Amalaur: Reckoning
Runner's Up: The Last Story, Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Note: Actually not a lot of truly bad games this year... not that I played at least.

Game of the Year: Borderlands 2
Runners Up: Resident Evil 6, Silent Hill: Downpour

And there you have it. Borderlands 2 was the best game, for me, this year. I enjoyed a lot of games and had a great time gaming this year and all my decisions are purely based on my own opinions. Silent Hill: Downpour became one of my all time favourite games this year, taking the place of Silent Hill: Homecoming at number 10, but it wasn't the very best of the year. It was a great year for gaming and there are still games from this year that I haven't yet played. I hope to play them and more in the upcoming year.