Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Musings - 5th Dec, 2011

Wow, December. I've been writing this column for almost a year. That's pretty crazy right? Here's to more years to come! Let us muse.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)

I finished this up on Thursday. Man what a nutty last couple of hours. First of all i decided to get the new chip installed so that made the next boss fight incredibly difficult. It's one of the most intense gaming experiences i've had in quite a while. When i finally took him down, i had exhausted all my health items, all the ammo for 3 different guns and when i had finally resigned myself to failure, i pegged him with a tranq shot to the chest and down he went. Immensely satisfying!

Then the final showdown, but more importantly the final choice. The game gives you four options at the ending, and i had to think about which choice i wanted to take. Like a multiple choice question on an exam, i was able to eliminate 50% of the possibilities immediately, but the choice between Sarif's and Taggart's plan was where i was stumped. I ended up choosing Taggart's plan and was moderately satisfied with the ending i received.

Having not completed the original Deus Ex (i need to fix that one day. I have the GoTY edition on Steam), the post credits cut-scene didn't mean much to me, but perhaps it will mean more when i eventually get to playing through that game, having completed the prequel first. It's kind of like how i played through Westwood's Blade Runner game before watching the film for the first time years later. I constantly said to myself, "Hey, i know all these shots from the game". Incidentally, if you haven't played the Blade Runner game, you should. It was amazing in the way it randomly presented character and plot elements on different playthroughs, and it had some moral choice gameplay... and this was 1997. The only game i remember that from any earlier (having not played much Ultima) was The Pandora Directive (which is one of my favourite games too).

Anyway this is slowly turning into a Final Thoughts spiel, so i'll just give my recommendations for Deus Ex. While i haven't perfected how i want to present reviews on this site, i still rate games how i rate movies, with a 5 star system. Deus Ex is the 2nd game i have played this year that i have given 5 stars to (the other being Persona 4).

Pokemon Yellow (GBC)

The day i completed Deus Ex, Skyward Sword arrived in the mail. I also had borrowed El Shaddai from my good friend Kenneth. So what game do i start playing that evening? Pokemon Yellow on a GBA emulator. I had a pokemon itch and decided to go back to basics.I missed yellow the first time around. I was very close to completing Blue back in the day but i never pushed myself over the threshold (i had the most awesome party though. Charizard, Raichu, Garados, Wigglytuff. It owned). So yeah, i load this up and start playing. I've been playing for the last couple days. I just defeated Misty for the 2nd badge. I dunno how much longer this poke fever will stay but i am enjoying myself, and that's all that matters.

Incidentally, having gone from an original Game Boy to a GBA, i never really got to experience the Game Boy Color. At least in Pokemon Yellow, i am really impressed how they create some beautiful shades and textures with such a limited colour palette.  How travelling to different towns and on different roads there's a dominant colour swap that invokes a different mood. I think part of the reason i love games from the earlier eras is the limitations of the hardware provoked so much creativity in these development teams. Not to say that kind of stuff doesn't happen now, but it was so much more prevalent when you didn't have the graphics power, sound chips, or just the hard drive space or memory to enact everything a team wanted to do... and of course the brilliance of coming up with a creative solution to problems that these limitations might provide.

And maybe it's just me but in this series, i've always loved the single release of their games that comes out after the two main ones. Maybe it's cause it feels kind of like a special edition or psychologically it feels like the two games combined (even though it's of course not). Just something interesting that struck me during my treks through the long grass.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

So after an hour playing Pokemon, i had to try the new Zelda. Every day since then i've been playing pokemon during the day and Zelda in the evening. For those of you who are asking about if i was working on other projects like my comics or the next 5 Credits...please dont. I feel bad enough. I completed the first dungeon last night and i love this game. If there is any fault i would say that the game doesn't adequately explain some of the controls enough and sometimes the sword fighting is a little iffy... but when it all works, wowzers.

One thing i really like is Skyloft seems like a mix of Majora's Mask and Windwaker. You have this town full of people that you can help with certain things throughout the game, and thus gain more of a connection to your home... and having the sky to explore is just fun. The dynamic of having Zelda be a childhood friend and also having a role to play in the coming events creates a nice take on the classic formula... especially when Link is kind of a doofus in this game.

I love the art style and design of the characters. The game is dripping with colour and not in an bombastic, obnoxious way either. It was also pointed out to me today, that your companion Fi sounds like a female T-Pain. She definitely is auto-tuned.

It'll probably take a couple more dungeons before my thoughts are really solidified (after all, most of the Zelda games really kick into gear after dungeon 3), but i'm having a blast.

Oh and the first puzzle in the first dungeon with the eye above the door. Completely stumped me and i had to look up the solution online. Once again, a Zelda game succeeds in making me feel like a complete dumb-ass (in Twilight Princess it was using the boomerang on the four windmills to open the gate. God i felt stupid when i solved that one).

K.O.L.M. 2 (Indie)

This picks up exactly where the first one leaves off, so if you haven't completed the game after i recommended it last week, go back and give it a whirl. Funnily enough the story intrigues me more in this title. I played for 20 mins and then saw how things were changed gameplay wise. You gain another character to control either separately or in tandem. To be honest this is when i closed the game as i generally dislike this type of gameplay... but i might bite my tongue and go back and run through the rest of the game... if just for closure.

Final Thoughts

Gah, i have no idea what to type here this week. I guess the off topic conversation i broached in the Deus Ex and Pokemon sections of this week's musings tapped me out. Come to think of it, is this section even needed? Well yes, cause there are things i like to discuss down here regularly. Should it be here every week, even if i have nothing to talk about? Possibly?

Hmm. Well i'll throw a call out. If anyone has anything game related they'd like my take on, let me know and i'll address it in future Final Thoughts segments.

Reader participation!

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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