Posts Tagged ‘Playstation Network

23
Dec
09

Mega Man 9 – The Blue Bomber is in great shape.

I just finished Mega Man 9 on my family’s Wii. I’ve been wanting to play it since it came out a while ago, but I haven’t had access to it until now. Let’s talk about it, shall we ?

If you’re a Mega Man fan… it’s excellent. If you’re not, it could go either way.

Just in case you don’t know, Mega Man 9 is a new game in the series that is built to look and feel like an old game in the series (the 1-6 era specifically). It’s released for digital download on all the current generation consoles.

I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to Mega Man’s story, but right at the start they shake things up a bit by making Doctor Light the bad guy and not Doctor Wiley. I won’t give away where they’re going with this plot, but it was amusing enough and it didn’t dominate the gameplay. I found myself caring about it ever so slightly more than most Mega Man stories. There was also a cute reference to the other games in the series at the very end that got a big stupid grin out of me.

Gameplay though, that’s the shit that matters! Well, it’s a new old Mega Man game. For me, that’s excellent. The only real gameplay complaint I’ve heard from people is that it’s too hard. You know me, I’ll chalk this up to games getting too easy these days and so on, but come on, it’s a Mega Man game! If it wasn’t at least somewhat challenging Capcom wouldn’t have done their job.

I played through a good portion of the game trading off with a friend of mine, who wrote this guest post and one half of this guest post. It may just be fond memories or something on his part, but he found Mega Man 9 to be a huge step up in difficulty compared to previous games in the series. I argued that maybe he just thinks that because we both spent our entire childhoods becoming Aces at the earlier Mega Man games and this one is akin to starting all over again and needing to learn new things.

As it went on though, I think he might have a bit of a point (for once). All the previous Mega Man games had a few really tough parts, whereas Mega Man 9 seems to be set up to be tough throughout. Do I mind this though? Hell no! The game rules.

There is quite a lot of interesting little gameplay ideas in this game, such as section where Mega Man is floating in low gravity and he needs to fire his mega buster to propel himself in the opposite direction. Of course, this is done around instadeath spikes and flying enemies, just for fair measure.

In a bid to keep up with achievement mongers Capcom also threw in a whole bunch of absolutely ridiculous “challenges” that gamers can do to artificially lengthen their replay value. I got a bunch while playing through the first time, not knowing any of the conditions for them. I looked at them afterwards and saw some truly tough ones, such as completing the whole game without taking a hit, or playing through the game once a day for three days like it’s a damn exercise regiment.

My only complaint would be that they took out Mega Man’s slide (which has been a staple since Mega Man 3). I found myself trying to use it constantly and failing because of it. The charging mega buster I can do without, but dude… give us the slide! There was also a complete lack of Protoman in the game and in the story until the very end where he shows up in a cutscene.

Capcom, we love you. Very few other companies would do such a good job with such an endeavor. I notice you almost set the game up for a Mega Man 10 at the end though…

Get on that. 🙂

26
Feb
09

What is wrong with you people?

So… the public has received Street Fighter IV with what I would call mostly favorable reviews. Sure, all the hardcore Street Fighter III fans are kinda sulking a little at the step backwards from the parrying system. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of it still … but you can go waaaay back to the beginning of this blog and read my early impressions of the game if you’re interested.

Most gamers today have some kind of fond memory of Street Fighter II. Everyone had their own little group of friends they played with, or perhaps an arcade they used to visit to play local strangers. Each group had its own relative skill level, and everyone gauged themselves accordingly. That is to say that all fighting game skill was relative.

I want a goddamn Sociologist to study this, because now, for the first time ever, the most hardcore and the most casual player can play together thanks to Xbox live and the Playstation Network. This is bad news though.

Because now most of you can realize how much you suck.

Another interesting development happened when all the various Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter III games came out, because most of the gaming public ignored them. Of course, the fighting game fans kept playing, honing their skills. The people coming back to the party now are terribly unequipped for the battle ahead.

For the first time ever, the sharks are in the same pool as the guppies, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch.

If we push aside all the SFIII fan reviews, the only other real negative I’ve been seeing about this game is that it is “too hard”. Now, I’m a challenge gaming psychopath, so you obviously can’t trust me, but listen. You can NEVER call a two player game too hard; you can only be not good enough at it.

Some people have complained about the final boss of the single player game. He’s your classic fighting game “character made up of all the other characters”. He’s kinda lame, and horrendously unfair. So basically, he’s like every fighting game boss. This is more a problem with the genre than anything else.

There’s one other interesting thing to notice in some of the reviews and responses to Street Fighter IV. Maybe it’s because the series has been going so long, or the fact that SFIV is kind of a “back to the roots” thing, but game reviewers are starting to openly acknowledge their own age before the age of the game itself. Nobody is saying that the game isn’t modern, but I’ve read many gamers who have said their twitch reflexes ain’t what they used to be.
SFIV has made people feel like the fighting game genre has passed them by…

It has.

24
Nov
08

Art games and going with the Fl0w.

I recently realized that many things that I love, such as comic books, card magic, and video games, are things that border on art, but more often than not don’t fall into the category of truly respectable art. They seem to be constantly trying to justify themselves to the “artistic community”, or perhaps to their own communities. It makes sense that science fiction writers and video game designers would want to justify themselves as artists because it’s what they do for a living. 

I’m of the persuasion that these things all are capable of being art, not just holding artistic qualities. This post isn’t about that though. This post is about video games as art and “indie games”.

It seems that recently there has been a movement in video game design and fanship that is trying to decipher where exactly the “art” in a video game lies, if there is any. In this movement we have seen many interesting games of various levels of complexity and ambition. If I had to recommend one, it would be Jason Rohrer’s “passage”. It kicks ass, and I think it proves in one five minute session that a video game could be art.

I don’t want to get too deep into the discussion of video games as art just yet though. I figure that will be for a future post, which will be much more well thought out. I do think at the very least that this new movement in video games is a good thing, because it generates discussion and calls attention the style over substance that we see in so many new games today. 

The exploration of the concept of digital games as art does bring one thing negative to the gaming world though. All of a sudden, video games can be PRETENTIOUS. 

I don’t use that word lightly. I’m thinking about Fl0w. Yeah, it actually has a number in the name of the game. It’s a playstation 3 downloadable that is based on a flash game released in 2006. So you’re paying 10-15 bucks for a flash game… okay, fair enough. It’s a game where you play as various little aquatic creatures that are all shimmery and squiggly, and you swim around eating other creatures, getting bigger and bigger until eventually you start again as a different tiny creature. 

This sounds like an innocent enough time waster to me. In fact… it sounds like newgrounds classic “fishy”, except with a top down view and a scrolling camera. The problem I have with this game isn’t the pathetically short length, or even the constant insistence that challenge is a bad thing (I bet you thought that would be my complaint huh?). My problem is the fact that everyone seems to think this game is deep and as mentally challenging as a Kubrick film.

Passage is extremely touching. It’s a well thought out and expertly designed metaphor. It isn’t exactly mentally challenging to figure out. Braid is a ton of fun, with a story that is just cryptic enough to give you some food for thought. Fl0w is FISHY with some trippy music behind it. I get that you’re supposed to lean back and let all your worries disappear and kind of space out playing it. That’s fine, but I don’t think it qualifies as art, nor is anywhere near as original or fun as the other two games just mentioned. 

I suppose Fl0w is less of a game and more of a hypnotist’s routine. It’s more about putting you in a place that it wants you to be than about interesting you, or challenging you. It didn’t work at all for me, and that concept really does go right out the window when they start doing traditional video game things to it, such as adding expansion packs. There’s even a multiplayer function in the PS3 version, which COMPLETELY defeats the purpose of the game as a “space out and enjoy” type experience. 

The idea of “indie games” and “art games” is definitely a fun one to explore. I’m excited to see where creative designers can take this concept. You can expect me to write a couple (hopefully) well informed posts on this in the future, but until then…

Fuck Fl0w.