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Archive for March, 2009

Resident Evil 5 Review

sheva1

It’s actually been quite a while since I last posted. I feel kind of bad that I haven’t posted, but having University related work deadlines every day for the last week has made things a little stressful and busy. Anyway, that busy period is over and I actually have a day off. Enough about me though, here’s what I have to say about Resi 5.

To be completely honest, I do like this game, but you have to love it to get anything from it. I’ve been playing the game in co-op with Sam from ChiefIllustrator, and since he bought it, he made me play as Sheva. For those who don’t know, the plot can be summarised pretty easily. Chris Redfield goes to Africa to try and stop a virus (who would have thought it?!?) and gets accompanied by Sheva; a local African woman who also has a thing for mowing down zombies. Although the plot is a typical clichéd Resident Evil plot, there is a bit more going on. Chris makes it all too clear how he misses Jill Valentine (his old partner) from the very start and lets us all know that he hates Albert Wesker oh so much. I mean, he has his reasons, but whining on about it isn’t going to help anything; especially not the overly obvious plot that soon follows.

Compared to the general plot, the gameplay is actually quite good fun. Being Sheva, I had to get used to the Third Person Shooter from a left handed person’s perspective. Although they split the screen up for both players, they decided to make Sheva left handed and have her stand on the right hand side of the screen. It doesn’t sound like a big deal at all, but to begin with, it’s quite weird. I think Capcom’s logic behind it was so that there is enough screen space as possible between the two sprites. It kind of makes sense, but is rather disorientating to begin with.

I’ve been playing this through in the XBox 360, but as far as I’m aware, the control scheme between the 360 and the PS3 are pretty much the same. The controls can sometimes feel rather heavy and make some quick changes to a Health Spray or Grenade quite cumbersome. Although you can use the D-Pad to switch quickly to weapons in the Up, Left, Right and Down possitions; usually reserved for my weapons, there is no quick way to get to the items in the corners of your inventory. This means manually going into your inventory with Y and then selecting the item, equipping the item and then using the item. At times it feels unnecessarily complicated and takes a bit of time to get used to. But once you’ve realised that the zombies aren’t quite as fast as they once were, it makes the problem that bit smaller. Once you’ve played the game enough, you can actually become quite proficient at navigating the inventory in a hurry. I just don’t think it’s a good game mechanic to try and burden the player down with a sluggish control system until they get the hang of it.

One aspect of the game that I do like is the gun fighting. In a game where you will be shooting a lot of zombies in order to survive, you need a good combat system and Resi 5 does deliver. The red laser sight you get whenever you hold the LT to aim will be your only means of aiming. Although it isn’t as good as a crosshair, a laser sight is actually closer to real combat than a crosshair added on as part of the UI is. It also makes headshots all that more rewarding. Melee combat however, is a bit iffy. The knife really is your last resort as the range on it is very limiting, even the zombies can attack you in melee from standing outside of your knifing range. This is more of an issue towards the beginning of the game than anywhere else. We learned that the easiest way to sort out zombies that were too close to your face was to just carry on shooting… preferably at their heads.

I hinted earlier about how obvious the plot is. If you don’t make guesses very early on about who the hooded figure is, along with Chris’ whining, you have problems. The overall plot can be summarised rather easily:

Evil corporation sells new evil virus to another new evil corporation to sell to terrorists but they test it in Africa first. It goes wrong and Chris is called in to sort it out but his past haunts him in the form of his old love interest, Jill. Wesker’s still a dick.

Although this game has it’s bad points, it’s an extremely fun game and a bit of fresh air for me. I’ve been playing WoW and rhythm based guitar games for too long and it is nice to get back to a survival horror game. What really makes this game for me is the whole weapon upgrading system. You can spend the money you find in each level on pimping your guns out. I’m especially looking forward to finishing the last chapter of the game and maxing out my magnum to recieve infinite ammo. I really do recommend this game. I especailly recommend this game if you are going to be playing it in co-op with a friend. Swapping ammo and Health Sprays between you and a buddy in order to survive gives a massive feeling of success.

Just remember to ninja the magnum.

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Bob’s Game

yuu1

Well, where to start on this one. The Bob’s Game saga has been rumbling on since December of last year but has been climaxing now over the last 2 weeks or so. To be completely honest, this is going to be hard to explain but I’m going to try my best. To start with, “Bob’s Game” is a game made solely by Robert Pelloni and has been advertised on his website as the game he wanted to play when he was a kid. He’s apparently sank over 15,000 hours of time into the project over the last 5 years but is now at the stage of getting it released.

One problem however, he can’t get a publisher.

Well, more specifically, he can’t get an SDK kit from Nintendo to be able to put his game on the carts to manufacture. In protest, he started a 100 day protest of solitary confinement against Nintendo to show his willingness to try and get his game published. He had no internet connection and only had a phone for emergencies for his friends to let him know if Nintendo responded. His protest started slowly with Nintendo not responding to his various emails. His web-cam stream then had some disturbing video of a game developer slowly going mad. That is until he recieved a definite answer from Nintendo:

Thank you for your interest for Authorized Developer status for Nintendo DS.

We have completed our evaluation of your application and are unable to offer your company Authorized Developer status at the present time.

In evaluating developers, Nintendo looks for relevant game development experience.
In addition, Nintendo looks for secure business facilities, sufficient equipment and staffing, financial stability and other attributes that would distinguish the developer.

Nintendo provides Authorized Developers with highly confidential information and many of Nintendo’s Licensees rely on recommendations and referrals by Nintendo to Authorized Developers.
For these reasons, Nintendo exercises a very high level of discretion in approving only a select number of applicants.

In accordance with our policies, we are not able to re-evaluate requests for developer status for at least six months.
Again, we appreciate your interest, and welcome any questions or concerns you might have regarding this decision.

Best regards,

Software Development Support Group & Licensing Department Nintendo of America & Nintendo of Europe

His answer to this message? Go to the Nintendo World Store and be a nuisance. The video shows Robert Pelloni and some other misadventurers journeying to the NWS and putting up posters and dropping business cards. The video also shows him buying a DS and playing his game in the store. Eventually, police arrive and they leave the store. Since then, not a lot happened.

Until recently.

The story takes another turn, making most people who followed the story and felt sorry for the guy but also confused by his insanity and rambled posts on his site aimed at Nintendo, fell stupid and then have a laugh. Well, that was certainly my reaction. It turns out that the majority of the site postings were all done as part of a viral campaign. Bob’s Game is indeed a game, but he hasn’t been declined by Nintendo or other Publishers, this is the story of a character within Bob’s Game called Bob who makes Bob’s Game. Confused?

Robert Pelloni’s game is actually a game where you play a gamer who finally comes to realise that the Games Industry he loved so much, was actually a cruel business where awesome games got cut because they would stop other games from the same publisher from selling. You eventually get to find and play the Holy Grail of games that was banned by all publishers called Bob’s Game within the game. Bob’s Game is apparently an online multiplayer puzzle game which you unlock through playing Bob’s Game.

Bob’s website has changed to document all of these dramatic new events and he has changed the video of the NWS raid to include annotations of how it wasn’t an actual raid and has also added a video to document some of the falsities. Once you know that it’s all just a campaign, the video actually does look rather fake. With the help of annotating text, it’s now quite obvious of which parts weren’t actually done in the store. There are lighting issues in certain sections and the composition of the shot of him playing the DS is all wrong in comparison to where he is “meant” to be playing it. I feel kind of stupid to have believed it the first time I saw it, but the people at Joystiq were just as suggestable.

So, at Stage 92 of the protest, what’s left in store for the last 8 days? Well, I’m hoping for a release date for all the platforms it will be released on by Stage 100. I’ll try and keep an eye on this story.

Bob’s Game Site

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It’s been nearly 2 years since I picked up my Xplorer for the first time and I feel like I’ve come a long way from when I started. What this post is going to be about, is all the different techniques and tricks that I’ve picked up over the course of the last 2 years. It may seem sad to alot of people, but there are actually quite alot of difficult positions. position changes and various other concepts/skills that you need to get used to to be able to play at a high standard. So, here we go:

  • Firstly, learn the basic game mechanics. – Just get to grips how the game works. Once you’ve played a few songs on easy, you’ll soon get the hang of how the game works. If you’re anything like I was, you’ll get bored of easy soon and want to move on to medium.
  • Learning star power. – I’ve seen a fair amount of people that have just picked the game up or have little experience with it (there were a surpringly high amount of people down at my Game Society last term like this) and just gather it up and waste it. If you know the song quite well, you’ll know when to use it effectively. But if you don’t know the song, try not to go beyond 3/4s as you’ll probably end up gathering more even though you’re full. Just use the star power on fast sections to get the most out of the star power and avoid hoarding it to the point of wasting it.
  • Chords. – Chords are quite a big aspect of guitar playing so expect to see them a lot. On easy/medium you’ll be given rather simple chords and it’s just a case of getting used to them. Mostly there are about 19 different regularly occuring chords to learn when on expert. There are however odd occassions where you’ll see G-O or G-Y-O or even G-B-O, but because of their rarity, you’ll remember where they are.
  • Medium to Hard. – This is one of the biggest challenges in these games. I remember struggling at first with that extra button up the top that required me to move my hand away from what I was used to. It took me a long time to get it. At first you’ll try and keep your hand where you like it and just move your pinky up for the orange. It’s a valid thing to think about as a solution, but after a bit of practice, you’ll realise that you will have to move your hand up and down between the two hand positions. To move on to expert, this is something that will have to become instinctive to you.
  • Strum rhythm changes. – If you’ve been able to master the extra button, you’ll soon see difficulty in a different form. Alot of places that have fast strumming are easy to play, but difficult to perfect.
  • Getting good at hammer ons/pull offs on Hard. – The vast majority of songs beyond Hard will no doubt have sections with hammer ons and pull offs, especially solos. It’s good to get a grasp of them early on so that when you get to something like Prequel to The Sequel on Expert, you won’t feel completely overwhelmed.
  • Keep playing. – This advice almost sounds too simple to even be advice. As they say, practice makes perfect, and getting good at GH/RB is no different. I find these games extremely fun, so practicing didn’t even feel like a chore, as in my mind, I was just playing a game. I also was playing with my brother, so our natural brotherly competitiveness made me want to get better.

Admittedly, a lot of this stuff will just come naturally as you progress through the various difficulty levels. I feel however that there is a lot of work to do once you can pass songs on Expert. I’ve been passing songs on Expert for a very long time, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Lately however, my hitting of fast hammer on sections has improved a lot and solos such as the one in Rock Rebellion are getting easy. Anyway, I hope this post has been somewhat informative of my learning experience and maybe helpful to some one out there. 🙂

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