Sunday, June 12, 2016

Wake is Over

Alan Wake is a game that I have always been interested to play ever since I knew about it. Years passed and I'm constantly reminded when I see the game at the flea market or when Remedy's new game Quantum Break came out. I remember when a master race acquaintance played the PC version of Wake and told me it was nothing special but my interest never wavered.

I just didn't know how I was going to play Alan Wake eventually. While I always admire the Xbox, I didn't like the idea that the exclusive games are usually shared with the PC platform. And I didn't exactly want to get a new PC either unless I absolutely have to. Finally when the absolutely became a reality, Alan Wake was the first game I actively hunt down.

I didn't want Wake to be the first game I played as it's a few years old now so I ended up playing Dark Dreams Don't Die first. D4 is interesting precursor but it's not exactly a complete game as it only contained two episodes in season one.

Alan Wake is my first PC game in what felt like a really long time. It's not as great as I imagined it to be, but I liked it as much as I thought I would. Alan Wake isn't actually a horror game much like how The Last of Us isn't really a zombie game. It feels like it was inspired by RE4 but it reinvents the survival horror genre much more that RE5 ever did. Wake delivers on some of RE5 promises from the early trailer like the dodge mechanics and the light/dark contrast. But saying Wake is a RE copycat would be doing it a disservice though.

The game is pretty hard as you are constantly out in the open woods. Therefore you can never use the "'Back behind the wall strategy'' to fight as you are exposed from all angles. This makes the combat harder than any horror games. A lot of the game's memorable moment loses it's impact because I can never get it done without a retry. This is just Normal mode and there are another two more difficulty modes to go (Hard, Nightmare).

Getting this game and finishing it was a dream come true. I'm still getting used to playing on the PC again but this has been a good start so far.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Extremely Expected

Kiwami was the one of my fastest purchase for the RGG series. While not exactly day one, I got it early enough that the DLC was still coming out for the game.

Why the rush to get this game? I wasn't that eager to play it and yet somehow I ended buying the game faster than most of the rest.  I guess it was the sentimental value, being a faithful remake of the game that kickstarted the series that is now 10 years old.

I find the decision to remake this game faithfully very odd but it also enforces the notion that there was nothing wrong with the original game anyway. The original game aged better than most so this was just a quick cash-in by Sega to fill the gap before Yakuza 6. There wasn't a fan demand to remake this game though I understand that many got into the series when it made the leap to PS3 generation. This remake lacks the wow factor as we have seen the graphics from the same engine used in RGG0.

The new story elements revolves around Nishiki's transformation during the time Kiryu was in prison. This started out pretty well showing the importance of the ring Kiryu gifted to Yumi. However, it ended pretty badly and I'm not fully convinced  how abruptly wimpy Nishiki turned into a stone cold gangster. Anyway seeing how Nishiki transformation played out made me glad RGG0 never actually tackle Kiryu or Majima's origins. The new cutscenes are inserted at the start of each chapter which can be very confusing for newcomers that never played the original. It's actually a clever gimmick to keep long time fans interested playing what is essentially the same game again.

After the success of RGG0, it was difficult to imagine how SEGA would top that. They didn't actually tried to and in a sense, mailed it in by churning out Kiwami. It's not a major disappointment as I make it out to be but in retrospect you learn to appreciate how special RGG0 truly was.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bad Memories

Another Code R is the sequel to the first Trace Memory game on the Nintendo DS. Being a console game, you naturally expect full voice-overs and real-time environment. Not quite but you really got to give CING a ton of props because they always come up with inventive ways of moving in 3D environment (see Hotel Dusk).

Your character Ashley in lodged in the center in the 3D space and you can only turned her in fixed 90 degrees angle around the room. You can only move left and right like a 2D scroller and sometimes the occasion up and down. (it's 3D, remember?). It's so bizarre and weird that I wasn't expecting to see this scheme again when it popped up in Swery's D4. But that's a story for another time.

Another Code R is one of the hardest game to finish, it really have all the fundamental flaws of an adventure game. Solving puzzles tends to make or break an adventure game and here, I find the puzzle solving to be very broken. You explore the environment and pick up clues and items to helped solve puzzles. But you can only pick up items according to how the game is designed. So unless you find the clue or puzzle to trigger it, you can never pick up the item even though you will eventually use it later on. That means a lot of wandering around aimlessly and going back and forth over the same things again.

I was more than relieved to finally see the end credits of this game. I actually went through a lot of trouble to find this game as it was never localized for the US region. At one point I didn't think I will get to play this at all but I never expected to feel this lukewarm after finishing.

Friday, April 29, 2016