10
Nov
10

Video Gamers Have Power Over Their Nightmares

I found an interesting article worth mentioning…

A recent study suggests that video game players could have the power to alter their nightmares, turning the tide on the things that go bump in our subconscious minds. We are the Dream Warriors.

Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada, thinks that gamers might have the power to alter their dreams.

Gackenbach’s main area of study used to be lucid dreams – dreams where the dreamer watches from outside of their own body. 3rd-person dreams, if you will.

Her studies veered towards video games in the 90’s, after she watched her son repeatedly kiss the box of a new Nintendo console on the way home from the store. Something that makes perfect sense to any gamer seemed strange to an outsider, and so she shifted her studies to incorporate gaming, perhaps as a way to cope with her son kissing cardboard boxes.

As she studied past research on video games, Gackenbach began to see parallels between lucid dreamers and gamers. Both groups have better spatial skills, for instance, and are better at coping with motion sickness. Both are able to achieve high levels of concentration and focus.

Both lucid dreams and video games are forms of alternate realities, though one is the result of a biological process and the other technological.

“If you’re spending hours a day in a virtual reality, if nothing else it’s practice,” said Gackenbach… “Gamers are used to controlling their game environments, so that can translate into dreams.”

Gackenbach further explored the relationship between lucid dreams and video games in a series of two studies published in 2006. The first surveyed a group of hardcore gamers and a group of non-gamers, with results suggesting that frequent gamers were more likely to have lucid dreams than non-gamers. Furthermore, the dreaming gamers evidenced dream control, the power to actively influence their dream worlds.

The power to control dreams!

The second study, conducted to narrow down information from the first, showed that while gamers did have control over their dream worlds, the control was limited to their dream selves, as if controlling a video game character.

They also tend to flip between first and third-person view.

If gamers could control dreams, what about nightmares?

Gackenbach explored that question with a new study in 2008. Using a group of 35 males and 63 females, she studied threat levels gleaned from after-dream reports. The results indicated that not only gamers experienced lower threat levels in their dreams, they also experienced reverse threat simulation, where the dreamer turns the tide of the nightmare, becoming an even bigger threat.

“What happens with gamers is that something inexplicable happens,” Gackenbach explained. “They don’t run away, they turn and fight back. They’re more aggressive than the norms.”

In our dreams we are fearless. In our dreams we are also particularly brutal, unafraid to bring a little bit of the old ultra-violence to bear against the nightmare nasties.

“If you look at the actual overall amount of aggression, gamers have less aggression in dreams,” Gackenbach said. “But when they’re aggressive, oh boy, they go off the top.”

See? We’re totally dream warriors.

Gackenbach hopes to use the information she’s gleaned from studying gamers’ reactions to nightmares to see if she can apply it to victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, a symptom of which is usually terrifying dreams. Could video games help control PTSD? That’s what she aims to find out.

She’s also studying the effect violent games have on dreams, based on ratings given by the ESRB.

Whatever her results show, I’m sure the video game dream warriors will be able to handle whatever their subconscious doles out.

See original article here

29
Oct
10

Machinae Supremacy – A View From The End of The World

Machinae Supremacy is a music group that has its roots in game music and whaddayaknow; they just released a new album – A View From The End of The World. Here’s a guest review of it, by Joakim Årbro:

Photo: Tomas Nilsén ( http://www.pixlar.org/ )Photo: Tomas Nilsén

Now, setting the mood of anything is very important.. if you do it properly and keep it up, you can literally save a bad movie, or a sub-par game – or for that matter, a musical album. After the first ten seconds, I was fairly sure I was going to enjoy the title-track of Machinae Supremacys new full-length album “A view from the end of the world”, and at track four I was bought and paid for. I realize most people who are reading this are probably already fans of Machinae, and don’t need a run-down of their style.. but I’ll give you one anyway.

Putting it simply, it’s metal with streaks of old-school gaming-music elements. A deeper look at it would be far too technical for most (up to, and including: Me.), but in the interest of keeping it simple: they’ve added the rather distinctive sound of the commodores old sound-chip SID (MOS 6581 or MOS 8580 for those technically inclined.) to their energetic and sometimes punk/pop-inspired metal. Winning concept? Well, it is for me.

Back to the album in hand. I’m not going to go into much specifics about the different tracks, but I will however mention a few of them.   A view from the end of the world is both the name of the album and the first track, and what a indefatigable way to start. Fast-paced, energetic and melodic, it just serves as a brilliant reminder of how energy can be given through music and lyrics.

The second of the three tracks I will mention is track 10: Crouching camper, hidden sniper.  Again, the energy is there right from the first second, and with a good portion of humor and ..well, catchy chorus it makes for a very enjoyable track about gaming. Just don’t sing it out loud where people who are easily offended hang around, it might land you in trouble. A most enjoyable kick in the nuts for the gamers out there, and I take it to heart a little bit more than others – they are basically singing about me. Well done!

The third and final track on my little short-list of win and awesome is “Persona”. Now this hits very close to home for me, not just with the music, but with the lyrics. It gives me goosebumps all over, in a very, very good way. This is, possibly, the best track I’ve heard in the last five years. My thinking is however, that most people who are fans of Machinae won’t agree with me on this, but this is (for me) easily on the top-3 list by them, and fuck it, if it’s not on the top-10 all artists included.

That being said, the album has downsides too. There is one or two songs that I’m not that into, but that is to be expected. What is a bit more of a problem is that when comparing to earlier albums the lyrics can be a bit hard to make out, and that’s a huge problem for people like myself who thrive on lyrics in general, and on Roberts lyrics in particular. Not a gamechanger, though – it’s not that hard to hear.

I’m also going to address something that I hear from time to time, although it’s not something I agree to. Again and again I hear that “awesome but change the vocalist!” in various states of spelling and coherence. And to summarize my views on this: Sod off, you mainstream-loving cock-smoker.

Yet again if one compares to earlier albums, this one lacks two things that I’ve come to enjoy immensely: A steve-track (you know what I’m talking about, fanboy!) and an orchestral-epic-awesome-piece. This album places a much higher emphasis on metal and in that it goes back to their earliest work. This is by no means a bad thing, but it is however a bit of change (again).

Most lyrics revolve around a central theme and one that yet again has a firm place in my heart. The quality of the writing ranges from bloody good to absolutely brilliant (and to be clear: I’m talking about mood and emotion here more than pure linguistics), the music holds elements that can appeal to the most hardcore fan but also has a huge potential to attract more fans. One should also mention that the drums are a little bit different since last album. Subtle differences, but noticeable. Having a new drummer has paid off a little bit, and this I say without absolutely nothing negative about Tomas. But it’s win.

If one is to put a number on these things, I’d put it around .. say 8 out of 10. It is however worth noting that I might be a bit biased, since I’m friends with a few of the band members, and in particular Robert, and we share views about reality as it stands that gets reflected in their music quite a lot.

But still, it’s a fucking awesome album.

8 out of 10
Joakim Årbro

29
Oct
10

Vanquish

Shinji Mikami is known for games such as Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 4 and Killer7. There’s a lot more on his resume, but that sums it up pretty well. He prefer simplicity before complicated UI’s and millions of menus. In other words – less is more. He proves this well with his latest game. The high-paced, third person shooter Vanquish is, unlike many other games today, developed for the PS3 system and not ported from the 360 version. Furthermore, there is no on-line multiplayer option. Thank you Mr Mikami. That last part sounds great in my ears, since I think that co-op gaming should first of all take place together with a friend. Couch co-op, if you may.
Unfortunately, this game doesn’t have couch co-op, which is one of the two biggest flaws in the game, no doubts. On the other hand, when playing this game  I guess a split screen might reduce the necessary field of vision that is required to survive.
However, this game is a masterpiece when it comes to TPS action and I let my third playthrough stand as a valid argument for that.

The gameplay is superb and, as I stated in my Castlevania: LoS review, the controls are easy to learn and you can’t blame the game for failing. If you mix classic, side scrolling shmups (like Gradius, R-Type, etc) with the TPS genre, you get Vanquish. Intensity deluxe. Gears of war is awesome, but you advance in a slower pace and do not move in the same versatile way. Where Fenix and Don are tanks, Sam is a stealth bomber. This is, as mentioned, my third playthrough and I got the game five days ago. That says a lot about the length of the game, which is the second of the two flaws.
It’s WAY too short and when you’ve beaten it on Normal, you can easily go through the game in an afternoon on Casual. The firefights and the tempo makes up for that, though. The different weapons all have their significant role to play and none of them feels like a filler. I usually don’t use shotguns in these kind of games, but when you upgraded it a few times, the satisfaction of shredding russian androids is huge.

When you beat the game, you unlock an even tougher difficulty which giver you a new challenge to face, although there’s no trophy for it. The story is pretty vague and I never actually cared about it, sadly (GoW win this round with flying colors!). However, this is too entertaining to let the fact that it has a thin story matter.

The enemies are almost completely of robotic origin, which fits well into these sterile environments of steel. The bosses gives me a slight flashback to Lost Planet 2. The sizes they come in are impressive and the feeling you get while blasting away at these mechanical giants, surrounded by hostile and friendly fire, orchestrated to hard, fast-paced techno is great.
The speculations were right – this game beats Gears of War when it comes to TPS-precision.

The graphics are crisp clean and reminds me of the Metal Gear Solid series and the Zone of Enders games. The game takes place in a colony between Earth and our moon, which reminds me even more of the latter. Big spaces and stunning environments, all wrapped in clean, perfect technology.

The music is great and fits really good into the gameplay. It’s pure techno which synchronizes with the pace of the game in a great way. The voice acting wasn’t so impressive. I think Burns is related to Cole (inFamous), Alex (Prototype) and Solid Snake, since they all seem to be suffocating on oat meal, judging by how they sound. The stereotypical marine attitude and bad one-liners doesn’t feel fresh and with a story that is too thin, the dialogue doesn’t feel convincing.

The trophies in games usually suck, but this time they actually used some imagination and gave us (a lot) more than just chapter- and difficulty-related trophies. My only wish is that there were more of them.

This game is an awesome thrill for the TPS mind, but alas, too short. The music synchronizes so well with the action and the controls are pin-point accurate. In spite of a weak story and a storyline that is completed in a few hours, I still like this game a lot and intend to replay it many times, much like I did with the games back in the days were the  NES and SNES were my main consoles. If you’re a fan of FPS/TPS, you should definitely try this one out.
Shinji Mikami did it again and proved to us that less can be a hell lot more.

Why the length (of the game) doesn’t count…

I want it all – Finally some interesting trophies you WANT to achieve 

Eenie, meenie, miny, moe – Every weapon is useful. None is redundant.

Pump up the volume – A soundtrack that couldn’t be more perfect 

Shmup + TPS – A great combination that gives the genre a rebirth

22
Oct
10

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

The change:

This game does not follow the kanon of the previous ones. This is a whole new legend.
We need to remember that this game is not developed by the ordinary Castlevania team. Mercurysteam from Spain is behind this one, under guidance by Hideo Kojima. If you played the old Castlevania games and expected to experience Symphony of the Night, or Super Castlevania in 3D, you’ll be disappointed. But make no mistake, this is a great game, but you will just not get that “Vampire Killer-feeling” as you used to.

The prints of Kojimas mind are many in LoS, although much more subtle than in the MGS-series. This time, the plot presented to us through previews and trailers are not to kill Dracula. This time we’re gonna save our fair lady, much as in Dantes Inferno and Shadow of the Colossus. This tells us that this game is different from the other ones. But don’t worry.
Dracula has an appearence in this game to.
Kojima is a genius and he seldom fails when involved in a game. The minutes that follows after the end credits will make you understand and when you’re done shitting bricks, let’s all wait for his next nocturnal project in childish anticipation.

Gameplay:

This game is addictively fun.
Not only is the gameplay wonderful (clever mapping of the controls, dynamic use of magics, sub-weapons and the whip) but the replay value is great as well. You’ll have a lot of techniques to learn and by revisiting levels and chapters, you’ll gain the XP required in no time – and have lots of fun doing so. There are three kinds of crystals representing life, light magic and shadow magic that you need to collect. While on the world map, you can easily check which levels you’ve missed crystals or weapon upgrades on and since you’ll need specific abilities to reach to the places where these items might be, the stat screen on the map comes in handy for these revisits.
Another thing that I find awesome in this game is the boss fights. They demand more than just button mashing and when you’re playing it on the second hardest difficulty, that is not a suggestion. It’s a must if you want to succeed. The diversity of actions gives you a splendid control of the situation in an user friendly way.
So if Gabriel dies, it is not the game who fails – it is you.

The story:

I did not find the story very compelling. Or entertaining.
It didn’t made you feel like “Holy shit! What will happen next?!” or anything like that. It’s an okay story, but WAY too thin and in lack of substance. A classic move in previous Castlevania games is to refer to other games in the franchise, but this time, I felt that was lacking. Sure, some characters and  locations was sharing names with previous equivalents from the predecessors, but it was not enough. The game was TOO new for an old fan of the franchise like me. Much like FF13, but this time I didn’t want to flay the characters and push them down a slope in a barrel full of salt.

The music:

The soundtrack is awful. Come back, Kinuyo Yamashita! We DO love you!
The Castlevania series has been known to have a really strong soundtrack. When we first heard ‘Vampire Killer’ on the first stage, smashing torches and collecting whip powerups in 1986, we knew that the music was awesome. We still know that it is. In the coming games, new songs appeared, but there were almost always a few old classic from an earlier game turning up somewhere. In Symphony of the Night, we fell in love with a whole bunch of new songs that today is considered Castlevania classics. With this in mind, there were still a couple of old songs reappearing – remixed or remastered.

There is only ONE song present in this game that is familiar to us. Listen carefully to it, because that will be the only time you hear anything from the past in this game.
This soundtrack is just your ordinary, mundane philharmonic score with no personality. It’s good music, but it’s NOT Castlevania material and if that was what they aimed for, they failed epically.

The voice acting:

As you probably already know, Robert Carlyle and Patrik Stewart are the voice actors of the two main characters and you can tell that there is a huge difference between acting in front of a camera and giving voices to animations. They succeeded in displaying emotions aurally, but they do it as you would in front of a camera. This is an epic adventure in a videogame and that demands some over-dramatic acting if it should be convincing. It was good, but not good enough.

The trophies:

“Collect them all” and “play the game”.  Oh yeah – there’s one for each difficulty too.
Surprised? Didn’t think so.

In short terms:

Just like Final Fantasy XIII, this is a game for new players. Sure, FFXIII was utter crap, convincing us of the enormous ego that Square Enix has gained after years of success and what shitstained damage that can leave us with.
This, however, is not that bad. There are new developers and a TOTALLY different mind supervising the whole thing.
But this is not a Castlevania game.
Yes, it has the same title and yes, the main character is named Belmont, but NO – this is not what some of us grew up with. With that put aside, the game is still great and I recommend you to play it, especially if you’re not familiar with the old series.

PS. By demand from my dear co-writer, I’ll recommend you to check out the Castlevania Wiki in case you’re not aware of the earlier games.

 

Why Dracula should fondle Big Boss…

The end is the beginning? – Beat the game and find out 

Solid Belmont – The spirit of Kojima is everywhere and I like it

Violence is fun! – Some bosses are just awesome to confront

Jooyyy….stick. – Tactical gameplay FTW

17
Oct
10

Final Fantasy 13

Final Fantasy. Two words that tend to jolt many a gamer into veritable fits of Déjà vu and verbal battles over which of the games that was the best or the worst. It has been almost impossible to if not to have played one of the games in the series but then at least having heard of them. For those few of you that might not have though, know that Final Fantasy is a series of RPG games by Hironobu Sakaguchi and published by Square Enix. The games are loosely tied together by the concept of magic, a world in danger and a group of people battling The Great Evil while brooding over their own personal issues. The game series have unarguably been a critical success with over 97 million sold games over the years.

Final Fantasy 13 Characters

Yeah, 97 millions – and Final Fantasy XIII is the fastest selling of them all so far.

It is with that information in the mental backpack and being a great lover of most of the games in the series that I am going to stick my head out and start off this review by saying that Final Fantasy 13 is an appallingly poor title. There, I said it! With that in mind, let’s take a few steps back and look at what Final Fantasy 13 is:

Just as its predecessors Final Fantasy XIII is a role-playing game. This one takes place in the world of Pulse and you start out on Cocoon, a hollowed out artificial moon where you fight the Sanctum,  a government ruled by the fal’Cie, which are mechanical god-like beings. The fal’Cie are responsible for sustaining pretty much everything on Coccon; keeping the water flowing, the moon floating, light, power – you name it.

This would be all and well if not the fal’Cie were having a thing for picking out and branding some humans with a growing, tattoo-like brand and giving them a Focus to complete lest they be transformed into a mindless beast called Cie’th if they do not complete this within a certain time. These chosen ones, called the l’Cie are never told straight out what their focus really is, but must instead interpret visions they are given. If they figure out their focus and complete it, they turn into crystal and supposedly gain eternal life.

I'cie brand on Snow

I'cie brand on Snow

If all this is starting to sound like the host of a Japanese game show is standing behind the curtains and laughing while everyone jump through the hoops, don’t worry – I’m with you.

The game plays out as you run around with up to three team members at a time. Sometimes you are forced to play as a specific character with a limited choice of your team members or even alone. There are some interesting new things added to the battle system over previous games:  Here you only control one of your characters at a time, the others go on auto-pilot but you can switch to them to make them perform specific actions.

Essentially the battles play out with you increasing the enemies’ stagger meters which once filled up, makes the enemies behave differently and become especially vulnerable to attacks. Also new is the Paradigm function where every character can instantly switch to another class of fighter, Either a Saboteur, a Medic, Commando, Synergist, Sentinel or a Ravager; all these have their own purpose and skill tree to expand upon to further their abilities.

The battle system is based around something called the ATB – Active Time Battle, and is a real-time based system where your ATB meter charges up over time. Spending bars of this meter allows you to perform different attacks. The fights are visually pleasing and fluid as you switch between both characters and paradigms. Gone however, are the days of the intensive pleasing music of past games and instead we have have some generic techno beating in the background.


The Eidolons, the great summon beasts featured in almost all Final Fantasy games are still present here, and are warped versions of ones featured before. They can now transform, Shiva for instance are now two sisters that turn into a motorcycle. Yeah let us just let that one sink in for a bit. Shiva, The Great Goddess of vroom-vroom!

These Eidolons are first summoned into battle and use different magical abilities. Each of them have a summon point meter that depletes over time and when you take damage. Once these are spent or your Eidolon is beaten they vanish. You can also put your Eidolon into Gestalt mode, transforming them and letting you perform various special attacks, often damaging every enemy on screen.

As you progress and gain experience you can fill up the Crystarium which is your skill-tree, and when you reach certain points in it, you gain higher stats or new abilities. The Crystarium is an elaborate design of crystal discs which you have to not only fill up but spend points on reaching.

The Crystarium

The Crystarium

Progressing through the world does not have the random pop-up encounters featured in most of the earlier titles, which I do think is a great change. Enemies are clearly seen and battle starts once you attack or are attacked, you can even sneak up on them and automatically get the initiative if they have their back turned on you.

Enemies drop items and sometimes weapons that you can use, and depending on how well you did in the battle you can get better and/or more items.
If one thing is to be said to be unquestionably positive about the game then it is that the graphics in the game is nothing short of stunning, the characters are beautiful in detail, hairs flow in the wind and attacks are beautifully animated, the textures are well detailed and battles although busy have no slow-downs of any kind.

If you have read this far and think this might be a must-get game I implore you to read on, for I cannot go on further without unleashing The Beast of Unpleased Gamer. This is where we must re-visit the different aspects of the game and I pick them all apart:

The battle system:

The battles are beautiful, but you soon realise that you will spend most of the 50 first hours of the game just pumping the X button to select the auto battle option which fills up your ATB meter with what attacks the computer sees fitting. Once you have identified mobs his function will function even better, choosing attacks that will be most effective against their respective vulnerabilities. In earlier games you had to figure out for yourself what their vulnerabilities were, when to attack, when to block, protect, recuperate, buff yourself or debuff the enemies. You have pretty much nothing of that here and I claim that you can spend the first fifty hours of the game mashing the X button through every fight while you read a book. Note to Square Enix: STUPID AND EASY IS NOT THE SAME THING AS FUN – OKAY? I’m sorry for letting out the caps-lock dragon, it had to be done!

Looting:

I love looting, gleeing over new weapons, armor and shields and being able to craft new items out of others. This system though is deplorable. You actually spend some items to upgrade your weapons which quickly leave you with your first weapon being the best. As you get new weapons you realise that yes they COULD be better, but it would take hours of grinding to even get it up to par with your current one and so it all falls apart until the post end-game where you actually have to grind grind grind and read stats carefully to get what you need to beat certain monsters. Did I mention the grind? If I were to channel the Angry Video Game Nerd I’d call this game Final Grind 13.

The Music:

The music for the game was written by Masashi Hamazu, known for his work on Final Fantasy X, Saga Frontier 2 and several other games; and I have to say that although his piano works for FF X was decent, the music in this game leaves me less than impressed. While I still to this day enjoy and even go around humming the scores Nobuo Uematsu wrote for Final Fantasy 7, I honestly can not as I write this; even remember any of the scores from 13. Why? Simply because they’re mostly very plain generic techno and doesn’t do much at all for the world, game, mood or settings. The music would probably have done well for a slow-paced shoot’em-up, but here is just deplorable. Final Fantasy has set the level high for its scores and this time Masashi doesn’t even come close.

The Graphic:

As beautiful as it is, I still wonder why Hope literally pulls out a boomerang out his butt when a battle starts, and most of the worlds although very beautiful look dead, simply because there are no people around. Square Enix decided to do away with the non-player characters and what people you see in crowds fade around you as ghosts when you pass them by. There’s no people to stop and talk to anymore and I think this was a horribly poor decision. Although beautiful many of the environments end up looking very repetitive, especially the indoors hallways which is quite frustrating when you spend so many hours grinding down them. Cut-scenes are vivid and rendered in 1080p but hey, really – resolution isn’t everything.

Vanille and Hope

Vanille and Hope

The Upgrade System:

As much as I love upgrading, I prefer to have some degree of freedom over them. You only have a few Crystarium discs available to you until you reach certain keypoints and trust me, by the time you reach a key point you will have completed any disc you already had available and there is hardly even the illusion of choice here which makes it awfully dull. The Crystarium is beautiful and easy to use I will give it that – but that is also all there is to it.

The Story:

With the fal’Cie, the l’Cie and Cie’th being thrown your way early on in a confusing jumble, my initial reaction was that the game should have been named F’inal F’antasy 13. The names of things and characters feel strained and forced most of the time. Although the story isn’t all bad it feels as if someone forgot to give it that final polish that made things feel more knitted together and giving it that flow, this however might really be the fault of what I am to bring up next:

The Characters:

Oh yes, the characters. Let me start off by saying, that if there was a PSN game dedicated to spending endless hours of using a Playstation Move controller to beat the shit out of them all, I would pick it up in an instant. It is not as much that they’re crying and doubting themselves every step of the way or even that they are so unsympathetic and plain, as it is that that they never once veer off from their stereotypes. The one exception being Vanille who behaves so irate you just want to punch her in the face every time she says something. How about patting a guy who just lost his mother on the shoulder, saying ”that must be tough on you” smiling as if on drugs and only being semi-aware of her surroundings; only to turn her back, start humming happily to herself and bounce away? WHO DOES THAT? At the end I had no sympathy left for any of the characters and couldn’t have cared less if they had all died a slow and painful death. The voice acting is not too bad, but Vanille and Thunder vary great in quality as the actors seem to flip between British and Australian accents.

The World:

Final Fantasy 13 really does a good job of showing you a beautiful big and wild world. Especially when you leave Cocoon and enter the wilds of Pulse, where the game finally opens up a bit. Do note though, there are no side stories, no major hidden bonuses to be found through the game until that point. As a matter of fact you will spend the first 50+ hours on-rail. At most you spot a short side-track leading to a chest containing some generic item that brings no joy. The monsters and especially the clothing in this game demand a mention though. The clothes especially are nothing but stunning, varying yet keeping a theme without anything feeling forced. Whomever made these should start their own brand of clothing.

The Trophies:

The trophies for the game are mostly generic ones. Finish different chapters of the story, fully expanding your Crystarium skill trees, but some of them require a fair amount of grinding to be done. Nothing creative or really awful to be found here.

Summary:

As much as I have raged on this game, I did play through the whole main story, complaining all the way. As it stands now I am very disappointed and will not pick up Final Fantasy 13 vs per automatic, I’m more than a little sceptic and disheartened. Where Blizzard has always gone the road of Do Not Fix What Is Not Broken, Square Enix has made a point of changing something that worked in pretty much every iteration of the games, not always for the better. VG Cats summed it up really well.

If you haven’t played a Final Fantasy game before and want some very easy entertainment without any depth, this might still be a game for you. Although the game has a much higher polish than say Enchanted Arms, at the end of the day it still has that fragrance of Eau De Fail.

This is Maximilian and the caps-lock dragon, raging signing off.

Why Final Fantasy is one straw short of a slurpee:

Cry me a River – Drag the crying and crying characters through the story.
Big Bag of Nothing – So many drops, so little fun.
Barbie wants her brain back – One word: Vanille
Bring on the OCD! You want your platinum? Go ahead – grind my day!

09
Oct
10

Space Invaders: Infinity Gene

God damn it.
It’s been a busy week. There’s a lot of planning going in for me right now, as you might have noticed, the weekly post got delayed again.

I’m still waiting for Vanquish to show up and our keyboardist to finish Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, so in the time being, I’ll give you a review of a classic upgraded to fit 2010.

Space Invaders was created by Tomohiro Nishikado in 1978 and was produced and distributed by Taito.

It is as simple as it is addictive and in a time were Star Wars, The War of the Worlds and similar sci-fi adventures were popular, defending bases against aliens in a videogame was pretty awesome.
Space Invaders: Infinity Gene is the newest installation of the game, first released for the iOS in 2009 and was recently released for XBLA and PSN this year.

This neo-retro version introduces an ‘evolution system’, which grants the player new moves and different fire power to choose from before starting their game, to name a few. When you play, you gain points and when these points reach up to a certain amount  (shown as a blue bar in the stat screen between the levels) your ship will evolve. After a while, the evolution will also add bonus levels, music that you can listen to from the bonus menu, et cetera.

…and since I mentioned it – the music:
It is not very surprising that the soundtrack is made up of minimalistic techno, bearing much resemblance to the soundtrack for Pixeljunk: Eden.
However, if you’re into this kind of music (which I am) you will enjoy it for more than just some aural ambience for the game.

The trophies are, as ecpected, pretty weak. It is a PSN game after all.
Some of them got that retro feeling to them, as the  one requiring you to get a high score of 10.000.000 points.
Apart from that, there are some other “gain-a- certain-amount-of”-trophies mixed in, not to mention the “beat-the-game” trophies. You got one trophy for each difficulty and there are five of them. FIIIVE! (Said in a dark, sinister voice, trying to sound like the narrative at the title screen of Resident Evil 5.)

To sum it up, this is a fun game, but I doubt it will live for long. You’ll probably spend a few hours playing it (I’ve done aprox 8 so far) but there are other shooters that I’d drastically prefer, as Gradius…FIIIVE! for the Playstation 2.
By the way, when will they release an equally good Gradius on the PS3…?

Why all the base are belong to us…

“Back in my days…” – Neo-retro is the new black.

Uhn-tiss, baby – Great music. I want the soundtrack.

What’s a checkpoint? – It’s challenging and not crap-easy.

Darwin were on to something – The evolution system is addictive.

02
Oct
10

Videogame Style Guide Book

No review this week!
We’ve too busy feeding our abuse known as Borderlands.
It’s been far too long since we played it together and we got splendidly stuck with it last night, thus the “duty” to resume this fine social endeavour.

In the meantime – please enjoy this awesome guide that I happened to find a while back. It’s informative and thoroughly written and I’ve been wanting to post it anyways, so here you go.

See you on friday!

Videogame Style Guide Book