CarnageHeart / Member

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CarnageHeart Blog

Tactics Ogre is incredible

I'm hugely impressed by Tactics Ogre (a remake whose original version and prior remakes I somehow overlooked). Its a remake, but it does things nomodern tactical rpg has done.

One really great feature is the ability to rewind up to 50 actions back (you can go down a timeline and see the battlefield as it was at each point in time, picking out the point in time where you feel things started to go wrong). You don't have to use the feature, but given how tough and vicious the enemies are, you probably will wind up using it at some point.

The other standout feature is the story, which is not only strong and superbly localized, but offers meaningful choices which direct how the story goes, who your allies and enemies areand who lives and who dies (see the screens below for examples of dialogue). Also, the art direction is beautiful and the soundtrack is amazing.

I'm stillvery early in but I've gotten a handle on the combat and upgrade system (which as is typical of the genre, is extremely complex but which offers one a lot of room to built the characters and party you want to build). This one guy (and his army of zombies and ghosts) is beating my guys like a rented mule. The fight with him can be avoided, and perhaps I will eventually decide to avoid it, since my army hasn't come close to killing him.

Interestingly,TOwas put together byMatsuno and his team (in the PS1 and PS2 days I considered them the best rpg developers out there due to the high quality of Final Fantasy Tactics, Vagrant Story and FF12). I hope this signifies Matsuno's decision to get back into rpg development full time (he had some sort of nervous breakdown during the making of FF12 and stopped designing games for a while). Whatever system he makes his next game on, I will buy, even if its a Wii.

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Beat Sketcher is really fun

My daughters (who admittedly never need much of an excuse to dance) love Beat Sketcher.Its a drawing game where brushstrokes are translated into musical beats (making a quick slash produces a different sound than a slow movement, moving the wand in a wavelike pattern makes a different sound, and of course one can choose the base instrument). The game does an excellent job of stringing together all of the sounds the player makes into a simple but catchy beat.

I've seen some pretty cool art done with Beat Sketcher (in the commercial anyway) and as usual the game perfectly tracks your movements, but so far for my kids the music aspects of it are what's important.

Hopefullythere will be a steady stream ofcreative but low priced (Beat Sketcher is only 10 bucks) games for the Move.

The History of Sackboy

MM recently put up a fascinating (for me anyway) article about the making of Sackboy (they interviewed two of the people on the four man team that designed Sackboy). Of course, the story starts with Yellowhead and ends with the adjustments MM made as they realized all of the stuff Sackboy would have to do in-game.

There is a hilarious video of death animations (a bit more violent than anything that made it into the game, but not quite as violent as the illustration below), two additional illustrations and lots more text at the link below.

http://www.mediamolecule.com/blog/article/from_yellowhead_to_sackboy/

"There was always a concept of a place where you play, and a place where you build that eventually became the Moon. But at this stage various ideas were flying around - an extra room in the pod, a warehouse somewhere. But then Mark came up with a crazy concept…"

"Maybe the place where you go to create is… in yourself. Let's put this zip on Sackboy, he opens the zip, folds in on himself and goes and creates inside himself, because creativity and ideas are all inside you."

"I'm kind of glad to say that this idea didn't manifest" laughs Kareem "it's a legacy part of design, but it makes him really distinct."

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"It was quite far along into the project, and I'd really started to hate Sackboy at that point, so I kind of relished the idea of coming up with ways of killing him."

All sorts of horrible ways for Sackboy to expire were created, some were way more extreme than others.

"I really liked to describe the way his material behaved, so some of them involved his thread being caught and him unravelling, or his fluff spilling out everywhere.

Glancing at the collection of sketches, I see Sackboy impaled on spikes, horribly squished or burned into a heap of ash. In the end the decision was made to make it a bit less gruesome, kick up the loveable, cute aspect.

Oooooh!

Oooooh!

Picked up a defective copy of Enslaved

Based on the reviews (which indicated that the combat and platforming didn't get much deeper than the demo) I was kind of on the fence about this game even though I enjoyed the demo quite a bit. When I went back to the store they told me they didn't have any more copies that weren't reserved so all they could do was give me my money back.

I'll just take this as a sign and move on.

Came across a talented LBP designer I hadn't encountered before

Just finished a LBP level named 'Alce in Wonderland' by a creator named Kdaj. Its cleverly designed and easily one of the prettiest levels I've ever played. Kdaj had a bunch of other levels under his or her belt. My LBP dancecard for the next couple days is definentely full :D.

I also ran across a really cool tutorial on how to handle lighting in LBP and a surprisingly trippy stage in which one plays a fireman who dies during a fire, is sent to hell by accident, escapes by decapitating Medusa, and then starts the day he died over again (and is told to be a little smarter by an angel).

Like I've said before, the only thing that going to stop me from putting LBP1 into my PS3 on a near daily basis is LBP2.

Just saw Toy Story 3 in 3D

Great movie. Sometimes touching, sometimes hilarious. Kind of like Avatar, the 3D was rarely about stuff flying towards the viewer, and more about adding depth to the images in the movie.

I watched a bunch of 3D trailers prior to the movie startingand 3D tech seems a lot less convincing when displaying the real world than it does when displaying CG images. Don't know why that is.

3D tech is too pricey at the second, but I could see myself springing for a 3D tv and a couple sets of googles in a year or three. Like HDTV, its a demonstrable step up in the viewing experience.

It was still foolish for Sony to focus so heavily on it at E3 though.

Sims 3 Ambitions

Been playing it for the past several days. Good stuff. I started off in the new city (though old cities can be retrofitted with the new facilities introduced in the new pack).

The husband was a firefighter (his life goal was to save 40 people) and the wife was an inventor (her goal was to create three types of life). After an experiment exploded, the wife learned a sim on fire couldn't extinguish themselves. She called the fire department but burned to death before they got there (it wasn't her husband who answered, he was on another call).

The husband grieved for a while, then married a pretty stylist who was approximately his age. They had only one kid, who is probably going to follow in the footsteps of his almost-mom (though he has a very wide skillset) by becoming a scientist. Kids can experiment too, and he is already a more accomplished inventor than his father's first wife. He has invented quite a few things and has survived being on fire once (his mother was around to put the fire out) and electrocuted twice.

Firefighting is pretty cool. It can be done on autopilot (just tell the sim to put out all the fires) unless there are people to be saved, in which case one has to decide the order in which one wants to do things (and the angle of approach, sometimes doors have to be broken down to save sims). Firemen can steal valuables and can talk with people after they've saved their households.

Carnage hearts LBP

LBP is the gift that keeps on giving. I have been spending most of my time playing the incredible FF13, but pushed by my daughters, I am still playing LBP quite a bit. We just found a level called 'The Fall of Troy Part 1' which was one of the most impressive levels I've seen in a while. It starts off with a brief movie style credit sequence (always a good sign when guys put that much care into their product) then moves on to the tent of the Greek king, who orders you to take the city. So there was a ten minute delay while my kids selected period appropriate attire (*sigh*), then we finally marched on Troy. Flaming spearscreated a killzone we couldn't get past, so we had to retreat.

We hopped into a big seige engine, which then started to roll forward (the flaming spears bounced right off it). We made it to the gate, then used the battering ram (it was a big log suspended by a rope with handles on the side) to try to knock open the gates. We slammed the log (literally taking several steps back, then running forward) into the wall a few times, but then the log broke. So we were ordered to climb to the top of the engine (which was just as high as the wall) but the greeks toppled the seige engine as we got to the top, so our second invasion attempt was a bust.

The king told us he had another plan, that we were to hide in the belly of the wooden horse we were constructing. So the scene fades out and next we are in a wooden horse while the Trojans take into the city. We are lowered down via a platform, then we entered a guard tower and murdered a couple guards sleeping in their beds (by jumping on their heads a grabbing them) and also took out a few guards who were aware (one said he was going to raise the alarm, it might have been interesting to see what he triggered, but we killed him before he made it). So we got to the top of the guard tower, then grabbed a contraption on a rope and slid down to a lower level. IIRC we killed a guard or to, then we then had to make our way up stairs, hiding periodically inbetween the pillars to dodge the burning coal a guard was sending our way by tipping a big cauldron periodically. The first of us to make it up killed the guard and then we proceeded onwards. We then fought a boss encounter of sorts with a guy using explosive arrows. There was no way to get to him but he was standing on a rickety platform supported by pillars (he was kind enough to inform of us that at the beginning of the fight). So we had to hide behind the pillars and get him to take them out. Once he took out all the pillars, his platform collapsed, he died and we won the fight and the level.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the stuff ordinary gamers (well, some ordinary gamers, not me) can come up with if given the opportunity is really impressive. I would love to see 'Play, Create, Share' in more genres.

Bought a DSi

I picked up a pink DSI for my daughters. The store didn't have any of the games I was looking for (Nintendogs and an edutainment math game) but the kids aren't getting the system until Christmas, so no rush.

On a happier note, the guy behind me was picking up LBP GOTY for the PS3 (and a couple sports games).

Killzone 2 and the Disgeas are a good combo

Its insane how much depth is in the Disgaeas (I'm playing 2 and 3, though my Disgaea 3 group is five times larger and ten times higher level than my Disgaea 2 group). I've put 100+ hours into Disgaea 3 since beating it and I've barely scratched the surface (my main character has been reincarnated as a genius and is now level 300 out of a possible 9,999 and there are tons of enemies he hasn't beaten, classes he hasn't unlocked and items he hasn't found) and I don't think Disgaea 2 has much less depth.

For a little variety, today I decided to jump back into KZ2. I just played one game (7 half hour rounds) but it was really good stuff since the only mod on was faction balancing. My team lost 5-2, but as the saying goes, the other team knows it was in a fight (they weren't better players individually, just better organized).

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