Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Doggie Bites

As I was looking for something new to play on the Wii, it dawned on me that I have yet to finish Bully. It's been more than a year since I started as I vividly remember talking about it last CNY. After Red Dead Redemption, I was eager for more Rockstar and this was certainly more convenient since it was ported to the Wii.

I was a bit apprehension about the Wii motion controls but it wasn't as bad as I expected. It works well enough for the school classes mini-game especially the new classes introduced in the Scholarship edition. It gets tiring to waggle when engaging in fights which thankfully can be avoided sometimes. Overall the graphics looked sharp for the Wii version and loading time are not noticeably long. I was disappointed at the size and scale of Bullworth town but I guess it's not fair to expect GTA-scope.

At least I got this game done before any sequel was announced. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

So Bad That's Good

Deadly Premonition is a quirky game that I haven’t really talk about yet. I bought the game during a sale without really knowing what’s it about except it had some elements of survival horror. I ended up playing the game from start to finish and some more after that until I achieved the Platinum Trophy. Maybe it was a quiet period when I didn't have anything to distract me but that would be denying how great the game is.

Most game offers the player an escape from the real world but not many convey the feeling of discovering a town as an outsider quite like this.  This game is about special agent Morgan who visits a rural town where bizarre murder cases has occurred. It slowly introduces the player to the town and the job at hand but really goes into all of the daily grind that is usually not worth exploring in-game. Daily routines like checking into the hotel, deciding what to wear in the morning and having dinner with co-workers. Sure some games do that to superficially make their game feel longer and bigger than it actually is. Here there are some of the best bits of the game.

The action elements in the game is your standard RE4 shooting affair but the framerate is much too choppy to enjoy any of it. It's pretty bad to the point I would consider it a deal breaker if it wasn't for everything else the game did right. The adventure element, the quirky characters and voice-casting are what made the game so memorable. Removing the action sequence would have turned this into an all-time classic but this is the sort of  'so bad that's good' kind of game. Perfection won't have fit it as well as the final product it turned out to be.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Collector Sense

When debating about whether a Collector Edition is worth the extra dollars, even the most diehard fan will have a hard time rationalizing. To the casual observer, the extra content looks like a bunch of useless trinkets unless it's something practical. I have bought my fair share of CE and while some were great and some not so great, I don't really look at them that way.

I tend to spend on CE the same way one is willing to spend a little extra on a lavish meal on their birthday or anniversary. That lavish meal is never going to be worth the money but when you are in the mood during a special occasion, the purse just feels a bit looser. I feel that way with a highly anticipated game, it's a bit more special than the average game so spending more is ok. Sure once in a while but not every game, that would be like eating a lavish meal every day. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Art of Remastering

Bayonetta Wii U and Resident Evil HD are two recent high-profile ports that really show you the different philosophy adopted by its publishers/developers.

Nintendo could have easily slap a Definitive Edition label to Bayonetta and charge $30 for the port but instead they decided to bundle the game free with every purchase of the sequel.

Of course, Capcom is infamous for making a quick buck off everything they can find in their vault so no one was expecting them to give RE HD away for free. 

The issue here is the level of effort put into the port and despite charging for RE HD, Capcom's effort on RE HD remains subpar as usual. Early on Capcom announced that Chris and Jill BSAA costumes will be new additions to the HD Remaster. The logical assumption would be to have the young Chris and Jill wearing the BSAA costumes of their older counterparts. That would be the ideal case except it required a lot more of work than simply pulling the BSAA models from the RE5 DLC and sticking it in HD remaster which of course, Capcom did so in the end. 

I wasn't very surprised with Capcom's efforts on RE HD Remaster but I was surprised with what Nintendo and Platinum Games did on Bayonetta Wii U. Now when the Bayonetta port was announced, the Nintendo costume were highly publicized and were directly supervised by original director, Hideki Kamiya. Recently, the concept artist revealed sketches of the costumes on Platinum Games blog and divulged that Kamiya insisted small details like the Samus suit had to be the classic original from the NES Metroid. 

Nintendo and Platinum games did a fine job on the Nintendo themed costumes if they had delivered just a steady port with no additional costumes, a lot of gamers would have been more than satisfied. What I didn't expect was that these concept drawings also made their way into the bonus gallery after you completed the game. Clearly one publisher went the extra mile with the small details while the other was quick to call it a day. 

Labels like Remaster really don't mean all that much anymore and in the end, you got to walk the talk or risk becoming easy target for obsessive fanboys. Sure Capcom are patting themselves on the back because RE HD broke all sorts of digital sale records while Bayonetta 2 probably sold a criminally obscene amount. But passionate gamers care and so do passionate developers, some of which used to work in Capcom and are now working in Platinum Games.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pretty Ballerina

Sometimes I get the urge to boot up an old game and the beautiful thing about that is I never have to feel guilty about not finishing it if I do. After all, I probably finished that game several times already so if the itch isn't there anymore I will just leave it be.

PN03 was an obvious choice this time, I looked back fondly at the Gamecube library of games and realised that slowly one by one of its exclusives are slowly being remastered for new platforms. Probably not this one though, Capcom sees no commercial value in remastering this game and it will probably stay one of the last surviving Gamecube exclusives.

It's a pretty short game that you can simply blast through on a lazy Sunday afternoon but of course, I still took several weeks to finish the game. When playing it again, it occurs to me that Vanessa's Aegis suits are no different apart from the color change. There are like a dozen different Aegis Suits that you can use in the game and one doesn't feel any different from the other - aesthetic wise or functionality wise.

Another thing that also occurred to me when reflecting on Mikami's body of work is the man has a serious fetish for woman's posterior. Well, I will just leave it at that for now.

Monday, March 2, 2015

What A Revelation

When playing Revelations 2, I knew it was going to be a very nostalgic game and so far the quiet nods to the series past games hasn't been as cringe-worthy as say, Resident Evil 6. But I was surprised that the game resembles Resident Evil Zero the most as you can zap between the two characters just like Zero. I always thought that the character zapping mechanics from RE Zero was a relic from the past, made redundant now that games have advanced to the point where you can have a second player play together. Certainly Capcom must have other ideas about this or simply couldn't be bothered to rework the game engine around to include online co-op.

The game looks almost exactly like Revelations HD and it's pretty sad because past RE games are usually heralded for it's cutting edge graphics. The first Revelations was able to push the boundaries of what was thought impossible for the 3DS system and now Revelations 2 looks remarkably less impressive than RE5 or RE6. The series deserved better and certainly so do the long time fans but it's hard to see a resurgence with the exodus of talent Capcom experienced over the years.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Content Within

Back in the day all video games come with manuals but these days with the emergence of digital distribution most retail copies don't carry manuals anymore. I remember during the PS2 generation, Nintendo's Gamecube had the best manuals - full color and printed on heavy paper stock, a really incentive to pick the Gamecube version over the others. Now Nintendo has gone cheap, the manuals are no longer printed and worse, the Club Nintendo codes are printed on the back of the cover art! I always thought the back of the cover art is meant for a nice alternate cover but I guess Nintendo had other ideas.

The Evil Within is certainly not as bad as most recent games, it comes with a nice double-sided cover and full color manual. Of course the most important content is the game itself and so far, the game is pretty amazing. The game performance came under fire upon release due to its technical issues but so far I haven't encounter anything I would consider a deal-breaker. In fact, I was so absorbed playing this game that it's hard for me to pay any attention to Revelations 2 which has turned out to be a bit lackluster in my opinion.