Podcasting, Gaming, and Whatever strikes me at the time.

Archive for August, 2014

Post Game Wrap Up! Pikmin 3!

Pikmin3logo

I was looking for a game to dust off my WiiU with, but it wasn’t until I actually looked at my selection of games that I discovered that there isn’t many on the WiiU that I own. A couple of digital titles, a few retro ones, but nothing I really wanted to play. It’s partly why my WiiU has gotten so dusty lately. But then I remembered Mario Kart 8. Specifically, that I got a free game with it when I purchased it. I choose Pikmin 3, despite not having any real experience with the series. From what I’ve seen and heard, it seems to be an excellent choice in the starved WiiU library. But I have no experience with this series at all, so it was a whole new experience for me.

 

Pikmin 3 tells the tale of 3 explorers, Alph, Brittany and Charlie, who, similar to the series normal protagonist Olimar, crash land on PNF-404, a alien planet in search of food for their starving home world. Upon crash landing, the 3 explorers get separated, but discover a race of friendly plant creatures, known as Pikmin, are willing to help them out by following orders. While exploring the planet to recover fruit, reunite with each other, and look for the cosmic drive key which can take them home, they battle monsters, solve puzzles, and interact with returning characters Olimar and Louie. It’s a little strange the story just doesn’t continue with Olimar and Louie, seeing as they are really the focus of the game after a while, and introducing a new crew who don’t really seem all that important. All 3 characters do have a personality to them, but there isn’t real growth with it. They get some humor out of it though, mostly through Brittany, who claims to be a kind, sharing person, but actually hogs more juice than she shares. There isn’t much to the story, but all it’s there for is to get us from point A to B, so in that notion it serves it purpose. It is however on the short side, coming up somewhere between 12-15 hours to complete.

pikmin3-2nd

(Screenshots don’t really do this game justice, its really pretty)

Speaking visually for a second, this game is rather gorgeous. It’s also unique given the perspective while playing. Everything in the world is larger than you, giving the game a microscopic feel to it. It helps to make you feel like you truly are on a alien planet, and you are not the dominant species, your just lunch. But that perspective gives the game a certain charm. It helps that its beautiful for a WiiU game. Fruit looks good enough to eat, the stages have unique looks to them, and the flora and fauna of each stage are highly detailed. It’s actually kind of amazing that the game can handle all that, plus up to 100 Pikmin running around with little to no slowdown or lag. Truthfully, I can’t really find any faults with how the game looks, as it looks really good. It might be the trade-off for the short length of the game, as while it is short, what we are given is visually stunning and very impressive.

 

Game play wise there is a bit of a disadvantage to the game. It’s a RTS, through and through. It’s dumbed- down for consoles, but it’s still a RTS. your collecting resources for troops, managing troops, and fighting monsters. RTS games on home consoles have rarely been any good. Even genre giants tend to be lackluster in this market. But in fairness to Pikmin 3, I only really have one issue with Pikmin 3 in that regard, and it has to do with boss battles. Boss battles tend to resemble Zelda, in the sense that suddenly you need a more active and reactive game play. It kind of clashes with the rest of the game, especially that you and your Pikmin are not nearly nimble enough to make dodging easy. Outside of that though, the game is simple enough to pick up and play without the micromanaging aspects of other RTS. Simplifying the mechanics of an RTS has done wonders. To compensate, the game is more focused around puzzle solving, and that helps to keep it unique. You can separate and use the 3 captains and sub groups to reach items and areas that are otherwise inaccessible. 2 new Pikmin are added, a stone Pikmin, handy for breaking glass and are immune to being crushed, and a pink Pikmin, who can fly and take on aerial baddies, and the standard red, blue and yellow Pikmin, who are immune to fire, water and electricity, respectively. There are other returning Pikmin in multiplayer, such as purple, but they have been removed from single player. Speaking of, the game does have multiplayer, although sadly its only local multiplayer, either in co-op or VS. Co-op is actually rather fun, although you can only play that way in mission mode, which is basically a time limited scoring round. VS is interesting, but rather poorly put together. The player using the Tablet controller has an advantage over their opponent, as they are only ones with a map function. The only fair way to play VS is to not use it, but then you have to use one of the other controllers, which not everyone will have. I just find it funny that is the only time where people will want to use the tablet controller.

 

wii-u-controller1

(My greatest enemy….)

 

That is a big issue that I have with Pikmin 3, and a lot of WiiU games in general. The reliance on the tablet controller. Pikmin kind of lies to you about its controller options. You can play this game with one of 3 controllers, either the tablet, the WiiU pro controller, or a Wii mote and nun chuck deal. All 3 play fine, but the issue comes from the lack of a map function. Only the tablet controller is given a map option, even if you are playing with the other control schemes. So that means if you’re in need of a map, you better get up and get the tablet off its charging dock to see it. A lot of WiiU games also have that silly mechanic of forcing the player to look at the tablet, and here is no exception, as anytime you are contacted by radio, the game directs you to look at the tablet. Thankfully though, you don’t actually have to, as the game still displays what’s on the tablet on screen, within the characters tablet, or the Koppad. WiiU games also like to shoe horn that in as well, but that’s a minor nitpick. The problem is that it can be small to read and annoying. The WiiU tablet also has two ways to play now, one the standard way, and another that uses the stylus on screen to help you aim better. The downside is while playing with the stylus option, you either need to rest it on your knee or you gut as the controller itself is to large and heavy to hold in one hand while using it like a 3DS. It’s like the developers forgot that the controller they are using is much larger than the 3DS, but expect you to use it the same way. Thankfully, you can drop out of this mode easy. Another downside with the tablet is dodging. You are eventually able to find a dodge upgrade, but in order to dodge, you have to push the D-pad. In stylus mode, this is impossible to do without dropping the controller, and you’ll have to train yourself to push the d-pad with the stylus and not your left thumb, which is the reflex. You also can’t change your button layout, which is another annoyance I have, as I have two throw buttons, it would be nice to adjust one of them to be the dodge button. The other control schemes work fine, really they do, especially the WiiU pro controller, which is a really good controller. I just wish that the game didn’t railroad you into using the tablet by taking away a handy feature, especially given that the tablet does not have the longest battery life.

 

To sum it all up I don’t hate Pikmin 3. Really, I find it rather cute and charming in its own unique way, and I can see what people have seen in this series. It’s a fun game to play, it really is. It’s creative, the stages are well put together, and with the exception of being a little short and the controller being finicky, it’s really a great game. I’ve been harsh on the WiiU, it does have games, but their very niche. Pikmin 3 in particular, as I cannot think of any other RTS game that actually works on console. It’s not worth buying the console for, but it’s something that is worth owning all the same as time goes by. If you’re like I was and didn’t play this one, perhaps it’s time to dust off the WiiU and give it a go. Pikmin 3 gets a  7/10.

Advertisements

P.T. AKA Silent Hills demo/trailer/teaser impressions and rantings.

silent-hillsPT

I had something else written, but its not every day you hear that the mad genius of gaming and that kooky but weird filmmaker are teaming up to scare the shit out of you. So, with the news and interest high, I decided to check out P.T. But first, a little bit of context.

At Gamescom this year, one of the more… questionable announcements was of a game only going by P.T, which was available now only on the PS4, by a unknown company known as 7780s studio. But it didn’t take long for gamers to unveil what the announcement was really about. It was not by some unkown company, but rather it was a teaser/ trailer for the next Silent Hill game, directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, using the shiny and new Fox engine and starring Norman Reedus aka. that cool guy with a crossbow from The walking dead.  I say found because while Gamescom was happening, a streamer playing PT actually finished it, and when it was revealed that Hideo’s name was on it, he was asked about it at Gamescom. Apparently, he had expected gamers to collaborate and it would take upwards of a week to finish as he and his team made the final puzzle difficult. That was not the case. And of course, the internet exploded with interest at this topic, which made me think to try it out for myself.

I should explain that I wasn’t sure if I could write about this, and I still hesitate to do so. Because… you need to play this game/trailer to really understand it. It’s not something that can be easily grasped from reading about it. If you don’t own a PS4, a LP of the game is the way to go.  But, I will talk about it, because I wish to rant about it for a bit.

p-t-silenthills

( That, and I think Mr. Kojima owes me a new pair of pants)

The premise is actually very simple. In a first person view, you find yourself trapped in forever looping hallway. There are doors, but only a few open, and the ones that do loop you right to where you started. You don’t know whats going on, who’s house your in, or what you did to deserve this creepy fate. And it is creepy, Low flickering lights, weird noises, static in the radio with talk of murders going on, yeah, its spooky. And as you poke around, you begin to realize your not alone. Not one bit.  And naturally, when you find yourself in a spooky place, you want to get out as fast as possible, so you begin to poke around and try to get out.  But, seeing as you know this is related to Silent Hill, if you know anything about the franchise, you know that Silent Hill is never easy to escape from.

P.T._20140814101912

(The house may also be unsanitary. It’s tough to tell)

Now, the first thing I want to point out is that I know what your thinking, and I can safely say no, this games modus operandi when it comes to scares is not to jump out at you… most of the time. It does use them unfortunately, but, they did make me jump. But the games mood really sells it, and makes it far creepier than just some standard jump scare. The game is paced just right so that it feels a little creepy at first, and slowly lowers you into this bucket of tension and worry. It wants to you feel confused and scared, and it does that very well. I would rather do without the jump scares, but it doesn’t rely on them solely to make you scared, which is more than I can say for many horror films, so it has a leg up. The further you go in while trying to find your escape, the more tense it becomes, and the more nightmarish it feels. It’s paced perfectly, and the mood alone makes it worth your time. It’s a perfect fit for a silent hill title, and while its only a trailer/ teaser, it doesn’t feel at odds with the franchise it’s based on. It makes you uncomfortable in just the way you want to be, and  could be a good indicator of what we will see in the future.

There is however a caveat to that statement, and one that I feel needs addressing. I mentioned earlier that Hideo expected it to take some time to uncover the mystery, but was let down by the fact it was discovered within a day. Here’s why I bring that up. I should mention that I have been trying to beat this trailer/ teaser for about 4 days now, with no luck. The people that have beaten it are not entirely sure how they beat it, as not every guide seems to work for every person. We know what we need to do, but internet is collectively stumped as to how we are to do it. It’s infuriating. I understand that many people will look at it and say, well its on the internet, so go watch it. But, as a gamer, I have trouble admitting that anything beats me. I’m stubborn like that. Silent Hill games in the early days were known to have fiendish puzzles, but at least once you beat it, you had on idea of how you did it, and how the clues applied. P.T doesn’t want to do that.

The clues in the teaser are deliberately misleading, as is Hideo, who is telling players things that don’t necessarily mean anything to beat it. Hideo is well known as a troll , doing loads of things in his games that don’t mean anything, but P.T is loaded with crap like that, and its hard to tell if anything actually means anything at all, because even if you somehow beat it, its not clear how you did it. Now you would think that being a PS4 exclusive, it might have something to do with the trackpad that controller comes with. As of this writing, you would be wrong, and it doesn’t seem to mean anything. The most common theory (That didn’t work for me, but has worked for others) is you need to use the a microphone and talk to the ghost. But, as noted, that hasn’t worked for many people, and seeing a the Xbone comes with Kinect (or used to) you would think the microphone requirement would be a given for both sides. So what is the secret? Again, I have no idea, and I don’t think actually finishing it would give me any sort of clue. I truly think the game is something of an insanity test, where sometimes things work, and other times they don’t, and your expected to try them all anyway hoping that something different happens, and if you get the ending or not is randomized.  I cannot decide if that’s ingenious on the part of Kojima/ del Toro, or if that’s just a horrible way to market your product. It seems fitting to me, as Silent Hill in the context of the games tends to be a grand form of punishment of some kind, a kind of purgatory that traps you in with your sins, toying with you mostly because it can. It gives a great setup in context, and diehards will flock to it regardless, but the frustration from not finishing the teaser may put off a more casual fan base. To be honest, if I didn’t know already who was behind this game, it would have put me off too. It drives you mad trying to figure out why this is happening, what your doing wrong, why can’t you get past this, much in the way the madness would afflict the person in the game.  It truly puts you in the role. Why this is not on the Rift is beyond me.

PT1_3008299b

(I’ve run out of clever things to say. So here’s a bag. It talks)

 I am curious as to what Kojima and del Toro can do with the franchise, as Kojima has mentioned for years now he would like to work on a Silent Hill game, and that he was done with MGS. I think in the goods hands its in, we got a chance at having a wicked game and a great return to form for the franchise, which has been on the decline since the switchover to American developers who have missed the point of Silent Hill. But personally, I find the teaser to be maddening to try and figure out, and for the sake of my sanity, I had to stop. I can’t tell what is foreshadowing for the future in it, if  Hideo is just messing with me, or just my own over analysis spilling out. I give the teaser points, its scary, and a little worrisome when even the mighty internet can’t help you figure it out. Hopefully, they can transfer that into Silent HIlls. As I mentioned, you need to check this out however you can. Just… you may want to keep the lights on.


Top 5 games that need a sequel!

Sometimes, we just don’t get enough. Sometimes, we get too much. So while people may complain about series that need to end, I decided to look at the other side of the coin. Here are some games that I feel need to continue in some way shape or form. Now, I won’t be including any recent releases, mostly because it’s still possible in a lot of those cases (shovel knight, the last of us, and so on) that they may in fact get a follow up at some point. The games on my list, in no real order, are unlikely to get a real sequel or follow-up.

 

Ico/ Shadow of colossus

ICO-Shadow-of-Colossus-Collection-Logo-630px-50p-630x352

Now, I know that this series is in theory continuing with The last guardian. I say in theory because there is still no release date, it may or may not be canceled, and it may or may not have been moved onto the PS4. But, lets pretend that we don’t know about the last guardian, or we never get the last guardian. That last one shouldn’t be too hard.

Now I have reviewed ICO, and while I wasn’t its biggest fan, I did understand what made the game the cult classic many people said it was. While I haven’t beaten Shadow of Colossus, as I play it I also understand the love for that game as well. SOC is a ton of fun to play with a very iconic and unique mechanic, and its very easy to get absorbed into the world, thanks largely to the mystery of it and the sheer size of it. But, both games leave a lot to be desired from a explanation perspective. While some would argue that the ending indicates that ICO is a sequel to SOC, developers of the game have said that there isn’t any real connection between the two. But there are a lot of similarities between the two that are too great to ignore. So, I would like a game to both explain the world around both games and even connect them. I say would… because I’m not sure I should. In these games in particular, it’s all about the mystery behind them, and the fact that the few things explains are purposely left vague, which allows the player to reflect and take away from it what they want. Explaining it feels wrong, and would take away part of the games wonder. It’s the kind of follow-up I want, even when I know I shouldn’t. Still, for all I know, the last guardian will do all these things. Wonder if we will ever see it.

 

Prey

prey

Anyone even remember Prey? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. This game started development as far back in 1995, before being released on the Xbox 360 in 2006 by Human Head studios. It wasn’t the greatest game, but it was well received at the time of its release. In it, you play as Tommy, a Cherokee man who’s trying to convince his girlfriend to leave the reservation they live on, and is then abducted by aliens, and their ship, known as the Sphere. While it does sound silly, and it is, there is a great deal of character in the game, it looked amazing for the time, and it is really well put together, with unique and inventive game play sections and a great story, even if the multiplayer was lacking. It was a game I really got into when I first got my 360, and truthfully its a game I still love. It did tease a sequel at the end, but as we are in 2014, 8 years later, and there has been very little news on the that home front.

 

 

Now, the few people who do still care are quick to point out that there is a sequel in theory being developed. Much like Last Guardian, Prey 2 supposedly exists, but it’s also stuck in development limbo, with even less to show for it then the Last Guardian has. Supposedly, a sequel would take us into deep space playing a human bounty hunter as he tracks down alien bounties. I’m curious how that would tie into the original game, if it even can, I’m not sure, but it looks like it would do exactly what I would want it to do, open up the world on Prey and explore it. Maybe give us an origin for Sphere? Sadly, the only real evidence these days that says the game is still on the way is on the Xbox 360 itself, where it is still listed in the coming soon section of the store, well that and scattered fan sites. Unlike the ICO/SOC example, I do really hope this one eventually sees the light of day, as the world of Prey really needs to be explored. Plus, being a bounty hunter is always awesome.

 

 

Chrono Trigger/ Cross

chrono_trigger_logo_jpg_jpgcopy

 

 

Square and Enix are sitting on a treasure trove of great RPG games that should get a follow-up, but probably never will, and that’s just separately, there is also the sheer amount of games they have since coming together that warrant follow ups in some way shape or form. But I can’t think of any greater want by fans then a follow-up for Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. To date, there are only 3 games in the series,( one of which, Radical Dreamers, was released only in japan as a visual novel) countless remakes, but so far… nothing else. We are constantly being told that if we support the game by buying it again and again, they will consider making a sequel. But I think at this point we need to be honest with ourselves. Square is never gonna follow this series up, and that makes me sad.

 

To be fair to Square, the fact there are two games that involve time travel/ dimension hopping that are both excellent is a god send in of itself. Time travel is a story hook that is so easy to screw up. Just ask Sonic. But Square was able to do it, and then ignore it. Fans have pleaded for it, and even made games themselves, but so far, nothing from the big Square. This is a series that could really use a follow-up, and do I even need to explain why? The things you can do with time travel and alternate dimensions write themselves and while campy it would be, it would still be a blast. Plus, it would be an excellent excuse for Square Enix to go back to a more traditional style of game play, something that I think is needed after the recent string of Final Fantasy games. I think there is still money in this franchise, but how to get Square to see the same is beyond me.

 

Eternal Darkness

ED_Logo

Now this was the BOMB back in the Gamecube days. Actually, I would be content with just a HD remake of this gem. If your unaware of it, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, was a survival horror game that tapped into a Cthulhu like mythos, with a ton of great ways to mess with you via the insanity meter, which tricked you into thinking all kinds of things have gone wrong, like some really bad creepy pasta game story happening IN REAL LIFE!

The game was a stand out title on the Gamecube launch, mostly because everything else was standard Nintendo fare, and this M rated gem. But beyond that it was also really good, and as mentioned, decently scary. The story was well done too, with a very nice, thick and tense atmosphere. The only real downside to this game was the tank like controls of Resident Evil’s past, but that’s forgivable to some extent, as it was the style at the time. It did tease a follow-up at the games ending, but the series unfortunately never continued past that point, due in part to Silicon Knights being sued by Epic games in 2007, and filing for bankruptcy in 2014. Unless Nintendo plans to do something with ED soon, their rights to the trademark are done, and this once promising series may just disappear off the map, lost forever in the twisting nether.
Sadly, seeing as the former president of Silicon Knights, Denis Dyack, has tried and failed twice to get kickstarter funding for a sequel, its unlikely we will ever see a follow-up to this series. While it is a shame, the numbers don’t lie. Kickstarter has funded some really stupid things, like potato salad, but the general public just has no interest in a follow-up, disappointing though it may be.

 

 

Star Wars: knights of the old republic

 

Looking-Back-a-Decade-Later-Star-Wars-Knights-of-the-Old-Republic

Now, here is a series that never got the fair shake it deserved. Oh wait, it did. 126 game awards, including many best XBox game awards. Both KOTR 1 and 2 are considered RPG classics in this modern age, even though the 2nd one was rushed and ultimately felt lopsided. While there is of course the MMO, it only relates to this series as far as I’m aware by being in the same timeline, the Old Republic. So, it’s before the movies, but after the games, by 300 years or so. There had been plans for KOTR 3, but it was cancelled, largely for unknown reasons. I don’t think I have to explain why this series needs a comeback, because I assume most of you have played one or the other. It’s an amazing game, with an excellent story that easily accepts player input and changes, excellent RPG game play, iconic Star Wars locations and races, and a wicked soundtrack. OK, they took most of that soundtrack from the movies, but I still count it. But there are plenty of other reasons as well, depending on what your into. For me, its Revan and the Exile, the two lead characters of KOTR 1 and 2, respectfully.

The story of Revan and the Exile were never finished. Revan and the plot twist behind him/her was well told, and at the time, very shocking, even bringing up the ethical debate of erasing someone’s mind.   But beyond that, the game just kind of ends, and while we learn in KOTR 2 that Revan just kind of disappeared, we never do learn what happened to him/her. I have heard there is a book while doing some research, but that’s kind of making assumptions about a general version of Revan, such as he is a male, and ends up a Jedi, and marries Bastilla. It might be a good read, but it’s not the same as controlling Revan’s actions. While it would have been tough to follow-up Revan at all, The Exile’s story also does an excellent job. The exile themselves is a mystery, a black hole in the force, and while the truly interesting characters in KOTR 2 are it’s villains, being a strange anomaly that both the Sith and the Jedi both fear and respect is an awesome feeling. The game story does start out slow, but the exile arguably has the more unique story, which is probably for the best, as they were not going to top Revan without being  unique. The universe can still be explored, but we were not just there to explore the Star Wars universe. We wanted to know more about Revan and the Exile, but the ending we got is certainly not what we wanted.

 

 

There are of course plenty of other series that need a follow-up of some kind, but these are the few that I think really deserve it. Let me know in the comments or on twitter if you can think of any other series that could use a follow-up!


The Three Guys Podcast! Guardians of the Galaxy!

guardians_of_the_galaxy_ver2

of course, you can download the podcast Here!

The Three Guys rocket into space to hang out with the Guardians of the Galaxy! Does Marvel’s Summer blockbuster actually get the stars its reaching for? tune in within to find out!

 

 

SUBSCRIBE TO US ON RSS HERE! or CHECK US OUT ON ITUNES HERE!


The Three Guys Podcast! Hercules

hercules

or you can download it HERE!

 

The Three Guys podcast take a trip back to the past to listen to the tale of The Rock as Hercules! Is this 3d B-movie a hit or is it a fable best left forgotten? tune in and find out.

 

SUBSCRIBE TO US ON RSS HERE! or CHECK US OUT ON ITUNES HERE!