Monthly Archives: January 2014

Retro Reviewer’s Top Ten SNES games

The Super Nintendo is the definition of awesome. It was the first console I ever owned and I still own the thing today. I thought I’d put out what are my favorite games on the system. No rules here, no one per franchise rule.

10. Ken Griffey Jr’s Major League Baseball
Sure it’s a shovelware game, but I enjoy it for it being quirky and has a lot to offer. It’s baseball in simple form.

9. Toy Story
It’s not a bad game, it’s fun but can be frustrating at times

8. Donkey Kong Country 3
For being the third in the series, it was still an awesome game on it’s own and one of the later games to be on the system.

7. Super Mario All Stars
The massive collection I covered a while back. It’s Mario goodness in 16 bit graphics

6. Donkey Kong Country
The first in an amazing series of platformers. It’s a must have for SNES owners

5. Super Mario World
My personal favorite 2D Mario platformer. It’s near perfect in every way
4. TMNT: Turtles In Time
This game is classic, no doubt about it

3. Mega Man X
The best Mega Man game I’ve ever played.

2. Donkey Kong Country 2 and Super Mario Kart
My first tie. You got the perfect sequel to a massive game and the first of a great line of racing games.

1. Yoshi’s Island
If you know me, I adore this game. If you read my review, you know it’s my all time favorite game.

Honorable Mentions:
Uniracers
LOZ: A Link To the Past (The only reason, I haven’t gotten far into it and i own it on Virtual Console)

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The Good and Bad of Super Smash Bros Brawl

Happy New Year to everyone. It’s me Andrew Hatcher.
Super+Smash+Bros+Brawl+OST+supersmashbrosbrawl1

This is just my thoughts on the 3rd installment in the Smash series, Super Smash Bros Brawl. I’m sure some of you have noticed I don’t really like this game as much as I probably should. To pass some time and clear a few things up, I’m going to discuss my praises, issues, and what it could have been from my point of view. Note before I go into this game, I don’t hate it to the point of getting rid of it and never playing it. I get the urge to play Brawl time to time and I’m happy to pull it out. My school hosts tournaments for it so i feel a need to keep myself in practice on it.

Praises:
What do I like about Super Smash Bros Brawl over Melee? Let’s first talk about the single player mode. Melee had a decent section for single player options. Classic mode, Adventure, and All Star. Event matches and side games to spare. Ok so that was decent. Brawl comes around and adds co-op to some of these modes and expanded them. All Star has now 6 hearts for both you and your buddy to rely on. Event Matches can now be played by two people. Ever wanted to hit Sandbag in Home Run Contest with your buddy. You can do that too! Brawl had a very interesting single player experience that seemed endless with as many characters as possible, the game changed every time you played it.

Now let’s talk multiplayer. Brawl added more modes such as their crazy Special mode Brawl designer. You can throw together crazy combinations. Metal Large battle with bunnies and high gravity, Tiny, invisible, curry, and slow gravity. This would account to some seriously hilarious battles that you cannot help but to laugh at. My personal favorite is Large, Metal, low gravity. Brawl added more items to the mix like the special Smash Ball and the Assist Trophies. These were there to give newer players a chance to even their odds or for a veteran player to increase his lead considerably. With some of the stages being the best in the series so far, you know a fun time was waiting when you started the game.
I think Brawl has a very decent soundtrack of remixes and original pieces. I think Brawl’s had a more darker tone on instruments than Melee’s remixes. Just a small little thing i like.
Oh and I almost forgot. The stage builder. While it’s the first time we ever saw a stage builder, it worked pretty dang well. I’ve seen some really awesome designs from others and I’ve created some wacky designs myself. It’s primitive and needs polishing if it ever returns but for being in Brawl, it was worth the space on the disk if you ask me.

Complaints:
Now here is why i don’t call Brawl the best of the series. Before I tackle the big complaints, I’ll cover nitpicks. First, the Target Test mode was botched. In Melee every character had their own stage designed to their own movesets. In order to unlock Mr. Game and Watch, you had to conquer all 20 plus stages. In Brawl you get 5……for those achievement things they required you to complete certain levels in a specific time or with X amount of characters. While it isn’t too bad, I just missed having character specific target tests. Oh well. Next is some of the character choices, this is just my opinion, I think Olimar was an awful choice. I kinda don’t like how Fox, Falco, and Wolf play way too similar to each other. Now Wolf is all right, they gave him slower speed and such but i feel they could have added more to him. Wolf is a bad-ass but maybe Brawl is something he doesn’t want to discuss. Sonic was a great choice to represent Sega, but his moveset was terrible. Half of his special moves were spindashes. Cmon! Did the developers take notice from all of Sonic’s fighting games, Fighters, Chronicles Dark Brother Hood, Battle, etc?

All right, now it’s the real deep stuff. Let me tackle Subspace Emissary cause I feel it needs to be mentioned. Now while the setup for it is promising, I feel the execution was just…awful. The transitions between each main event felt really boring to me and almost unnecessary, add to that some not so great hoardes of enemies to fight and I was just not having a good time at all. While I praise the developers for making a long story mode, it kinda is just there….The bosses were ok but most of them felt the same to me. The only good ones I felt were Rayquaza, Both Ridley fights, and Porky. Tabuu was just a last minute thing with no backstory or build up. The only reason to play this mess is to unlock all the characters cause you meet them throughout the story. And my god, that maze place at the end was just frustrating as shit. Was it necessary to go back through almost all the stages to locate the character trophies?! Another thing, the tripping. It’s minor but ruins the pace of fights considerably. I’ll cover the fighting in a minute though. Lucario I think trips more than any other character, and he’s my main and I hate it.

The nail of the coffin. Why Brawl lost to Melee:
The fighting system was destroyed and shit upon. The framerate of fights is questionable at times. I’ve experienced slowdown on many different Wii consoles. My friend’s Wii plays even slower than mine on Brawl and it’s annoying. Maybe it’s Brawl’s dual layered disk but I’m not convinced. My main issue in the fighting is how slow it is compared to Melee and even the original. I feel the original is faster at times and that game is way older than Brawl! That’s saying something. Now most people complain it was for newer fighters to get into the series. I know plenty of my friends who got in to Melee as newbies and within a few fights were doing fine. The characters are so dang floaty as if gravity was changed considerably. In Melee the characters had weight and they moved as they should have. Brawl feels like you’re on the moon sometimes. This hinders any new players and the players who grew fancy to Melee’s style. If this was their idea of making a new Smash for newer generations, I think they missed that goal. This odd and bouncy fighting style makes it hard for competitive play cause its trickier to do the advance stuff that we all found we can do in Melee. Why do you think Melee gets the big tourneys each year and Brawl is left for school tournaments? Sure the graphics look clearer and the tone and lighting is darker for a different feeling but it doesn’t help when the fighting style is garbage.

In the end:
Brawl had so much potential to be the Smash game that would top Melee and welcome new generations to a fun party game. While I still will pull out Brawl with my friends, it’s with a semi heavy heart cause I have to sometimes force myself to enjoy it. Now I have had some really fun matches on this game and I always laugh when bringing them up but to see what Brawl could have been with everything it did new but to see it fall is kinda saddening to me. This is why Project M exists but it shouldn’t have to but it does. The developers made errors, but they did good things as well. I will always call Brawl a good addition to the Wii’s library. It’s not exactly the same caliber as it’s two predecessors but I will never say it doesn’t deserve the Smash Bros title. It’s a black sheep game. You love it or hate it. It’s not my favorite, but it definitely isn’t the worst game I ever played.

Final Score: 7.222/10

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Capcom – Growing more and more out of touch.

capcom_logo
Recently, Capcom had stated that Resident Evil’s primary fanbase is getting too old, perhaps using this as an excuse for poor sales, and the like. They claim their primary fanbase for the Resident Evil series is 30-40 years old, which is by far a rough estimate. Despite that, gamers in their 30’s and 40’s are generally some of the biggest consumers of gaming media, so Capcom claiming that their fans are going to quit gaming and other such nonsense is really contrived.

According to Capcom, one of their biggest ‘selling points’ as of late for their resident evil franchise, is the attractive characters they put into them. Yes, their biggest selling point isn’t gameplay, or storyline or even y’know, a horror-based environment, no, it’s all about polygonal butts and chiseled jawlines. Perhaps this explains why they dropped their Devil May Cry franchise into Ninja Theory’s lap, a company that without shame utilizes sex appeal to sell various titles in their collection.

Resident Evil 6, as well Revelations were Capcom’s most recent entries into the series. Unfortunately, due to mixed reviews and sales to which were not satisfying enough for Capcom, they apparently plan on taking Resident Evil (7?) into new waters. They want it to appeal to a world-wide audience, which could mean that the game is going to be astounding, and everyone will want to get their hands on it. Or, they’re going to target the casual market fully, and rake in the sales Call of Duty and Battlefield have found themselves getting without breaking so much as a sweat. Worldwide appeal might very well bring Capcom out of near bankruptcy, but it’s also going to water down Resident Evil more than it is now. Imagine a world, were Resident Evil 5 is considered terrifying and full of depth and character compared to Resident Evil 7 and onwards.

Most gamers these days, know of Capcom, it’s rare that they don’t. Those who played games in the golden age have fond memories of the company, these memories turning bitter gradually. Capcom has had a lot of negative press in recent years, as well negative feedback from their fans. Capcom is one of the only companies that actually had, HAD a strong fanbase that were generally interested in their titles. But one after another, be it an abandoned franchise, or a tarnished one, they’ve seemingly intentionally worked to break their stability, the stability of having solid sales from a loyal fanbase.

Capcom still makes games people enjoy, the more prominent franchises seeming to get the worst treatment.
Ace attorney has remained mostly unharmed, and remains a strong series. Strider got a recent installment, as well Monster Hunter still throws out releases left and right, albeit they’ve started to become a bit stagnate over the years due to a lack of change, and minor improvements.

Then, of course. We have the titles Capcom has torn apart.

Dante-devil-may-cry-5-16335235-900-675
I don’t exactly think people were pissed because they changed Dante, so much as they were pissed they changed Dante into a retard. His personality changed, appearance, build. Really, I don’t see why they couldn’t have just marketed this game as a ‘Spiritual Successor’ to the Devil May Cry franchise as well, changed the title, renamed the characters, and wow, look, it’s a whole different game. Realistically, DmC only resembles Devil may cry in its name, and the character’s names. Just like with Silent Hill 4, this game would have benefited from  separating  itself from the source material. DmC WAS  solid game, the gameplay, though, was some of the worst in Devil May Cry history, many complained about Devil May Cry 2 being too easy, well, DmC suffers the same fate. At the very least, DmC has pretty  environments, so that’s something.

Street+Fighter+4
Now, of course Capcom is known these days for its fighting games… I mean, game. You know, I find it personally odd, that Capcom seems reluctant to focus on any of their other fighting titles. I have nothing against Street Fighter, it’s a very solid fighting game, one of the most fine-tuned and balanced monsters out there. But I was always a Cyberbots fan, personally. Cyberbots, Darkstalkers, Star Gladiator, Power Stone, Rival Schools, perhaps Cyberbots, Darkstalkers and Rival Schools don’t have a place in the gaming spectrum these days, Street Fight is arguably the best 2D fighter out there, there’s little point in making more 2D fighters.

Star Gladiator and Power Stone, on the other hand, they’re both games that could compete with other franchises that simply have no competition, and Capcom sure as hell knows how to make a fighting game. Star Gladiator, a 3D weapons-based fighter, could compete with Soul Calibur, and considering how shoddy Soul Calibur has been lately, it wouldn’t be hard to overtake it. Power Stone would be competing with Smash Bro’s, a party-based fighting game, be it Power Stone wasn’t exactly 2D-based, the competition would still be there.

Competition is good for gaming, if Capcom were to focus on these two titles again, then at the very least Soul Calibur would have to stop being so damn lazy in their approach. It would benefit gaming, as well, could prove to tap into some markets Capcom didn’t even know were out there.

breath-of-fire-1-01
What, what the? A JRPG? Capcom? What madness is this?
Yes, Breath of Fire, which is basically Capcom’s only JRPG. I personally wasn’t the biggest fan of Breath of Fire, but back when it was in its prime, there was just too much competition in the JRPG market, there were simply superior titles at the time. But in this gen, and even the next gen, JRPG’s are so rare it’s infuriating. Breath of Fire would have been an amazing title to try and revamp for the PS3/360 era. There wasn’t much competition when it came to JRPG’s, Final Fantasy 13 would have stood little chance against a next-gen Breath of Fire, the JRPG crowds exist, and honestly, if they’d gone for a traditional RPG approach, they could have cut corners in order to make it a cheap experiment of sorts.

The reason we’ve not seen many JRPG’s, is because companies are absolutely terrified to take a risk in one of the most profitable genre’s that gaming has ever fell witness to. As I said, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Breath of Fire, but I am a huge fan of JRPG’s, due to a complete lack of said genre this generation, I’d have no doubt grabbed up a copy of Breath of Fire, if Capcom had taken the risk.

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Oh yeah! What ever happened to Dino Crisis anyways? Or, Dinosaur games in general. Yet another market that has no competition. They wanted to make Resident Evil an action title, which is weird, considering Dino Crisis essentially seems like it’s just begging to be an action game. Logically, would not one utilize Resident Evil for a horror experience, while taking Dino Crisis into an action-packed direction? Dinosaurs are big, fast and intimidating, zombies are slow, gradual and looming. Which I suppose is why they just completely tossed out the idea of Zombies for their flagship title, in exchange for infested mexicans, infested africans and now elmers glue monsters.

onimusha_1
Speaking of action-based survival horror. Onimusha has also simply sunk into obscurity. Again, if Capcom really wanted to make an Action heavy survival horror game, why didn’t they simply choose to use Onimusha or Dino Crisis? Both of which would actually BENEFIT from said direction. Unlike Dino Crisis, which I wasn’t a major fan of, Onimusha was certainly a series I enjoyed quite heavily. I suppose it makes little sense to me, Capcom wants to take away the slow, creeping feeling of horror from Resident Evil, because they want to make an action game. Yet they’ve two strong candidates right here, that would benefit from it, rather than how Resident Evil is detracting from it.

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Oh, look. It’s Capcom’s mascot, the one who made them what they are. The Blue Bomber fought for Capcom, pushing them to the top, taking them to what they’d inevitably become, and Capcom cast the Blue Bomber aside, here and there poking jokes at the Blue Bomber, insulting his fans, blaming his fans, claiming that there is simply not a fanbase for Megaman anymore, yet unwilling to actually take the risk to find out. Capcom wants to turn Resident Evil into a pure action game. Well, lookie here, a third candidate that would certainly benefit from this attention, but no, Megaman has no fans, right?

Capcom is making a lot of poor decisions, sure, Lost Planet and Dead Rising are certainly average titles, Resident Evil and Street Fighter are safe, reliable ways to make a buck. But the Capcom we all knew and loved weren’t like this, they are no longer the one we’ve come to know.

The only hope now for the Blue Bomber, is that Nintendo will take the shunned child and give him the attention he certainly has earned and deserves. But, that is merely hopeful thinking, but sometimes hope is all we have.

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My Ten Most Played Games of 2013

I haven’t written anything for this blog in awhile. I apologize to my two or so fans. Seeing as  I feel quite terrible about it and all, and it just so happens that 2013 recently went the way of the Dodo and Polka Punk, I figured a clichéd top ten list would serve nicely to get me back into the game so to speak. However, I ran across the slight problem that I hadn’t actually played ten games from 2013. I remedied this rather lazily/ingeniously by just tossing some older games I had played a lot last year in and voilà a top ten list. Before I start, an honorable mention goes out to Last of Us and Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag as I watched playthroughs of them but never played them. Thus, they sadly don’t make the list. Also, a shout out to Mount and Blade: Warband- The Clash of Kings Mod. It’s not on the list because I’m not going to put a mod on a best games list. That would be silly.

10.) Skyrim

skyrim-249651Yes, Skyrim. RPGs are my catnip and Skyrim is still fun as hell. I was planning on picking up the Legendary edition and getting some sweet dlc action. Sadly, I failed. However, I played a lot of the vanilla game in preparation for getting the dlc. I built up two separate save files to level twenty so I would have role playing options and such.  Despite having played trough the whole game more than once since it was released, I spent a good few weeks with each character. It’s just one of those games you can keep coming back to over and over,  like say Dragon Age: Origins or Fallout. Speaking of which….

9.) Fallout: New Vegas

falloutFallout:New Vegas is one of those games that had a lot of issues when it first came out. So much so that I actually never finished my original playthrough.  This year, with the problems largely fixed I came back to New Vegas and hot damn, was it great. I finally got to experience the amazing game that hid under all the technical issues. I finished my first character and plunged into two more. Much like Skyrim I was able to just get totally wrapped up in the role playing aspects and spent an ungodly amount of the spring wandering the wasteland. Et non, je ne regrette rien.

8.) Sid Meier’s Pirates

piratesWhile this is by the far the oldest game on my list having come out back in 2005, it is the newest to me. I was introduced to it not more than a week ago and have already poured twenty or so hours in. The game is highly under rated title from Si Meier, sadly over shadowed by the Civilization series. Sure it has it’s flaws. The game’s ‘plot’ is laughably cliché and bare bones, there is little customization options beyond naming your dude and ships (which really annoys a customization freak like me) and it honestly has pretty weak replay value once you do everything since you can’t role play too much. That said I’ve spent many a happy hour these past few days plundering the Caribbean for all her worth. It’s definitely a game I’d recommend and one I sincerely hope one day gets the quality reboot it deserves.

7.) Mark of the Ninja
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Mark of the Ninja is hands down the best stealth game I’ve played since Hitman: Blood Money. It can be rather hard and frustrating at times, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when you pull off the awesome ninja shit. Besides excellent mechanics, Mark of the Ninja also benefits from a solid storyline and stunning artwork to boot. The art work for this game is truly breathtaking. The first time I jumped in,  I damn near creamed my panties at how great it looked.  The game is just fantastic and since I’ve recently picked up some dlc for it, I look forward to diving back in.

6.) FTL: Faster Than Light
FTL_TitleWhat can you say about FTL? It is hard. Really hard. I put twenty-two hours in before I beat the final boss for the first time. I took me four days to even reach the final boss. Despite wasting about forty or so hours of my life playing this game, I still never got all the ships and died so many time I couldn’t even come up with original ship names anymore. So, the question is, am I excited for the impending time drain that the up coming patch will be? You bet your sweet ass I am! FTL is amazingly fun. Much like Mark of the Ninja, but to an even greater degree, it’s a game were the challenge and difficulty keep drawing you back. It’s truly addicting.

5.) Gunpoint

gunpointWe finally get to the games that actually came out in 2013! Huzzah! Anyways, yes, Gunpoint. Much like Sid Meier’s Pirates, this game is a recent addition to my steam library. I picked it up for like $3 during the winter sale on a whim.  Unlike some of my other steam sale whims, this one was actually worth my money and then some. It’s an amazing game. For those of you who are unlucky enough to have not played it yet, it’s primarily a puzzle/problem solving game, with some stealth elements, all wrapped up in an engaging noir murder mystery/espionage plot. Also, you pretty much never use your gun. Using your gun fucks you over, like, super hard. So yeah, a somewhat misleading title I suppose. However, apart from false advertising, the only thing I can really criticize this game for is how short it was. I beat it in about four hours and immediately went into withdraw. On the other hand, it’s pretty rare for a game to leave me pining for more, so I’ll only count it as a fault if they don’t make another one.

4.) Wolf Among Us

The-Wolf-Among-UsTelltale makes great games. Although, this usually has little to do with with the game play itself, as pretty much every Telltale title I’ve run across has varied from ‘good but not great’ to ‘quick time event the game’. What Telltale has mastered is the art of story telling via the medium of video games. Though the act of serializing their games they made them much more akin to tv shows and the like, allowing for just plain better story telling than more tradition structures would normally allow. This style of theirs really broke into the mainstream with their flagship Walking Dead series, but it is this game, Wolf Among Us, that is in my humble opinion the their magnum opus. It’s a game that effortlessly immerses you in a hard-boiled world of murder, mystery, and mythological beings. The accompanying art work is fantastic as well, combining Telltale’s usual style with the the extra edge of comic book flair. The fact they actually had some of the artists from the Vertigo Comics helping them with the artwork really shows. Honestly, the only reason this isn’t my number one is because only the first episode is out so far.

3.) Grand Theft Auto Five

gtaGrand Theft Auto V is the only console game that I’ve paid for this year. It was sixty dollars well spent. I must admit for about two weeks or so after I got it, it was all I played. The story, characters, and world all floored me. The story was engaging and not as half baked for insane as I expected. The characters were all relateable and likeable for the most part. Despite the fact that, y’know, they’re all violent sociopaths. The voice acting was really spot on and just added to the realness of the characters. Pretty much everything impressed me about the core game. The nice little details like it being harder to drive in the rain or your clothes only getting wet where they touched water were nice touches too. The only thing that really annoyed me about the main game was the ham fisted and clumsy the ‘satire’/’social commentary’. However, the multiplayer I found to be a bit wanting. I realize it isn’t done and hopefully all the issues I have with it will be fixed eventually. That said, there isn’t much to really do besides grind for levels and money or just be a dick to other players. The multiplayer is sorely lacking in fun criminal activities to do with friends. There’s only so many times you can knock over a liquor store before it loses it’s luster. However, they are going to be adding heists and other stuff soon  so hopefully that will fix it. Also, on the personal gripe side, where are my fucking dresses Rockstar? Trevor has them in the main game. Yet you can’t wear one with a female character in multiplayer. In fact, generally speaking the female wardrobe is pretty shit compared to the male one. What gives Rockstar, huh? What gives?

………………………

Alright then, moving on….

2.) Bioshock: Infinite

bioshockIt’s goddamn work of art. Look out into the world of Columbia at pretty much anytime in the game and if you take a screen shot you’d have something most people would be proud to hang on their wall. It’s that good looking. However, the world of Bioshock: Infinite doesn’t just look pretty. It is an incredibly engaging world full detail and depth to the point it almost feels alive. I spent hours just wandering around exploring all the nooks and crannies of Columbia. The characters and story aren’t too shabby either. The plot is solid, only falling flat once with it’s incredibly stupid ‘violence is bad… blah blah… you’re just as bad as the people who oppress you if you use it…blah blah’ shlock during the end of the Vox Populi subplot. The theoretical physics laced ending more than made up for that mild annoyance and had me geeking out for weeks after I finished the game. The game’s biggest strength outside of just how damn good it looks, however, has to be the core characters. Some of the side characters can feel a bit cookie cutter at times, but Elizabeth, Booker, and the Lutece Twins are all amazing. On top of feeling almost like a real person, Elizabeth also gets the bonus awesomeness of being an honest-to-god helpful AI companion. A statement that I’m 98% sure has never been uttered about any other AI companion in the history of video games.

1.) Civilization V: Brave New World

civYeah, that’s right, I’m above putting a mod on this list but will totally put dlc as number one. Why you ask? Well, Occam’s Razor would suggest the answer is I lack the ability to make any sense whatsoever. However, the real reason is because it’s not so much the dlc itself that earns the top spot, but the near perfected Civilization V as a whole.  Civilization V was a strong entry to the series to begin with. It was no Civilization III, but let’s face it, no other Civilization game is ever going to be Civilization III. However, with the improvement of the religion and espionage game from Gods and Kings and the new engaging end game diplomacy and culture game, Civilization V comes damn close. I’ve honestly been like a kid in a candy store discovering all the goodies Brave New World had in store and I’m still not done. I don’t think any other game this year has gotten me as excited as Civilization V has or given me a more fun experience. And that, ladies and gents, is why despite being a dlc, it is my number one.

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