Sunday, January 15, 2012

Monday Musings - 16th Jan, 2012

Hey everyone and welcome to another week of Monday Musings. Let's kick this thing off shall we?

El Shaddai (PS3)

I think i'm on my way to the end of the game now and the experience has been somewhat amazing. I think i'll cover the negatives first and then move onto the positives.

Story-wise this section i just played has me completely confused. The game really doesn't do a good job at explaining itself. I don't want to give too much away but it's the whole segment with Dark Enoch and racing to help Ishtar in her battle. The game feels like you should be fully aware of what's happening (even going so far as to explain the previous level in a cut-scene as it's loading the next segment), but aside from the basic idea of what's happening, i feel completely in the dark when it comes to who all these characters are and what's actually going on. The letters given to you by the messengers when you find them help somewhat, but not enough. I do wonder if it's going to be one of those games where you complete it once and then the second playthrough fills in all the pieces. Even if i'm willing to play through the game again for extra story info, my interest usually doesn't last long. 'The World Ends with you' was testament to that.

So far the fighting and platforming hasn't been too much of a problem. As long as you have the arch for the platforming segments, the double jump and hover technique should take you through safely... and once you start wailing on enemies and stealing their weapons, they become whatever the opposite of a problem is. The one exception is the whole Amaros area. I don't know whether it was due to the platforms blending into the marble textured backgrounds or if i was too used to Enoch's jumping, but i died more in that segment than everyone else in the game combined. Getting back to a modicum of normalcy was greatly welcomed... but then the confusing story dump started.

Even with the issues, i want to recommend this game to all. It's so unique and even with all its faults, it's a breath of fresh air in my gameplay schedule. I'll be looking forward to whatever UTVIgnition comes out with next (and looking into it, it's not too surprising they were behind Deadly Premonition).

League of Legends (PC)

This week was my first taste of the free champions swapping. See what i like to do is wait till everyone else picks and then click random. That way i'm never sure who i'm gonna play as, and the fun of trying to win the match is coupled by the fun of working out how the champion i'm using works (or if i've played them before, refining my technique).

I'm starting to become more adept at this too. I had an amazing match with Heimerdinger where i didn't die once, and yesterday i hit the top of the ladder with Sivir with something like 18/12/10 (kills, deaths and assists for those not in the know). There's so much to learn and it is kind of overwhelming, which is why at least for the foreseeable future i'll be having fun playing like this and cherishing these small victories.

I mean with new free champions every week, around 90 in total, plus with new ones added, and game balances addressed, i don't see the game getting boring, especially since it's so easy to start up and play.

Final Thoughts

This week i'd like to address something i came across in playing El Shaddai this week, but i've noticed in far too many games over the years. You've just watched a cut-scene, and control is given back to the player. You start moving forward ready to get back into the fray again. You take two steps... and another cut-scene loads.

What was the point of giving control back to the player if you're just going to launch into another non-interactive segment? Could you not think of a way to link the two cut-scenes so you decided to have the player fill the gap? Are you just being mean as a developer? Honestly, i don't understand it.

In El Shaddai there's a motorcycle segment, and it is full of this. Another prime offender is the Metal Gear Solid franchise... though most of the time the cut-scene in question was a codec transmission, and not actually having the player character do something cool. I'm sure there are plenty of other instances in my game playing history but of course now that i'm writing about this phenomenon, they escape me.

Does anyone have any examples of this in their own game playing? Does anyone have an explanation as to why this happens? I'm sure there is probably a simple answer to the question, but damned if i can work it out.

Anyhoo, till next time, happy gaming all!

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