Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Musings - 6th Feb, 2012

Phew, what a corker of a hot day it's been today. I did get to wake up earlier to watch the Superbowl however. The team i was cheering for eked out an awesome victory in the 4th quarter. Anyways, let us muse.

Gray Matter (PC)

Finished this off mid last week. The final couple of chapters (and the puzzle rooms of the final chapter) were very inventive, both visually and with what had to be done. Overall i have a positive impression of the game. It's funny, if i were to judge each area of the game individually, it would get a rather good score, yet when i think of my overall experience with the game, it's more of an average impression.. and yet i cannot exactly pinpoint why.

The ending did leave me a little flat. I guess perhaps the lead up to the reveal wasn't what it should have been, and the climax was pretty abrupt (and the teaser after the credits just downright confused me). It also didn't help that the reveal included one of my favourite side characters. That being said, i would love to revisit this world and would buy a sequel with little to no coaxing... well as long as it doesn't take like five years to be released this time too.

Catherine (PS3)

So i loaded Catherine up and played an hour into it. I was very intrigued with the block puzzles, the awesome cel shaded art style, and the characters (how often do you play a guy in his early 30s with relationship trouble?). The game oozes style and mystery. I thought to myself that this is gonna be a fun ride... and then something happened.

Chrono Trigger (DS)

My DS was sitting there with Chrono Trigger inside it (from when a buddy of mine borrowed the handheld to buy and play through the game). Now i've never completed this game but i had tried on more than one occasion (even reaching Lavos once), but i was gonna wait till i had exhausted my must play titles from last year to give this classic RPG a bash. Something happened and on a random whim Saturday, i started playing. 5 hours later i put the DS down and realise Catherine is going to be put on hold for a while.

The way they've changed the game to suit the DS is brilliant; especially in battle. It's so easy to hold a character in reserve or wait to perform a double or triple tech as the bottom screen has these huge buttons for each character's actions that grey out when their turn meter is filling. And while you can travel to the menu screen and conduct your business with the d-pad and A button, you could also just tap what you need on the bottom screen (which holds the area map surrounded by all the menu buttons).

Now most gamers out there have played Chrono Trigger so i'll be telling you things you already know but man a lot of creativity and care went into this game. I've just added Robo to my party, learned magic and fought my way through the fiend town in the present day. The whole fairground having ramifications at the trial. The hints of how the past affects the future, the ways you can break out of prison. It's incredible that such little things were put into this game that round out the experience (like saving the merchant's son from the guillotine in the jail). I'm only a few hours into the game, but am well aware of the 13 endings available and what that must entail. I guess there's a reason there's a new game plus mode right? There's also a reason this game is regarded as one of, if not the best RPGs of all time.

I can't wait to continue my journey.

League of Legends (PC)

I am unsure of whether to keep discussing LoL week after week, I mean i play a new character, i get a little better at the game each week but the mechanics don't really open themselves up to me. I think i might save talking about LoL till i got something worth saying.

Final Thoughts

So in my final thoughts segment last week i mentioned the idea of a section of a game making you not want to replay the game itself. To me the epitome of this in recent years has been that every time i think of replaying Arkham Asylum, i think of the Killer Croc fight and how tense that was, and how i have no desire to play that again, and i have not returned to the game.

Usually this idea is linked to a scary or tense moment (like never wanting to replay Metroid Fusion because of the X segments), which i guess makes a lot of sense. I've talked before about how horror games affect me more than they should and that goes for suspenseful segments in other games as well. Frustrating segments don't have that affect which i find kind of strange. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time has combat i find absolutely terrible, but its narrative and platforming segments are so beautiful that i have put up with the frustrations of the combat system no less than five times to enjoy that game. Heck, even after learning many of the combat shortcuts the second and third time through i still hated those spots with a fiery passion.

Of course some games just have time as an issue. I would love to replay Xenogears but the thought of an eighty hour gaming experience stops me in my tracks. It's why when i talked about returning to Persona 4 to get the true ending one day i said it with a heavy heart knowing that will probably not be the case because of the time it would take to replay that game. In this instance though, it's probably not good to dwell on the timeframe a game takes and rather just enjoy the journey. I've been reading a lot of classic literature the last year and the size of some of these books is daunting, but i read every night before bed and even though it takes months sometimes, i do get through these tomes. I think with gaming as well, the experience is more important than completion (i mean that is the basis behind the MMO genre is it not?).

I'm very interested if there are any games from your past that you would love to replay... but something stops you. Why not mention the game and reasoning in the comments? :D

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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