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The truth about Graphics and Gameplay

This is from a response I wrote concerning the bad to terrible ratings that the very pretty looking PS3 game LAIR recieved. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A videogame with decent graphics and GREAT GAMEPLAY is still a great game. A videogame with incredible graphics and BAD GAMEPLAY is still and ALWAYS WILL BE A BAD GAME! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is mostly for the younger gamers out there but this rule has always applied to ANY videogame on ANY videogame console ever since the beginning of time......or at least since the late 70s when videogame consoles became a popular mainstream entertainment medium.

God of Ico interview with Ico and SOtC directer Fumito Ueda

we got a translation the other day of a Famitsu interview with Fumito Ueda, the Director of Shadow of the Colossus, about his impressions after he finished playing God of War 2. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Q: Have you finished God of War 2 yet? A: Yes, of course I have. However, at first when I was playing God of War 1, I thought "This kind of game is rather cool". The player's character is on the screen, and he can move on both the X and Z axis. Also, it's the type of game where you have to be up close and personal with your opponent, and it's quite interesting but there have been so many games that have the same style that I was sick of it. So, I had kind of a negative image about the game to start off. But as I progressed through the game it really opened my eyes and I was like "wow this game is pretty cool!". The guys who developed this game have such enthusiasm that I really felt like they were saying "dude I want you to see all of this awesome stuff!" on purpose. Usually with sequels the tension and excitement goes down but I felt with God of War 2 that was the complete opposite, and the excitement factor was definitely higher than the first game. Q: What was your first impression of God of War 2? A: The way the game first grabbed me was pretty awesome. The way the game started off, it made me think about how in Japanese games that would never happen. It wasn't a matter of "how many explosions can we have on the screen in a short amount of time", but it definitely felt like a Hollywood movie. The way that everything was changing and expanding, I had never thought of that, I had never gotten tired of it, it constantly pulls in the user into the game's universe. Everything from the combat, to the programming, to the way of thinking is totally different from a Japanese game. For example, when you see the stage where you're flying (ed. note flying pegasus stage), and you see another stage, the more someone says they're two different games, the more varied the game becomes. The game's contents change, and if too many elements are thrown into a game you can quickly lose the interest of gamers, and it'll end up costing you. When I talk about Wanda and the Colossus (Shadow of the Colossus), the whole game is consistently based around the system of "the climb and the battle", and if you really say that we only made that kind of system, then it really was a success. However, when making God of War 2, because of the ideas, the programming of the stages and the numerous ways of capturing gamers, it became something really different. Each part was specially created, and the parts were all consistent with each other. That's a really extravagant way of creating things. But having so many different elements in a game makes me feel a little uncomfortable, and it's expensive too. If it was me, I guess I would use things multiple times. Q: Perhaps the amount of volume kind of opens your eyes, right? A: Even more than before, the modulation, and even though you push, it's still advantageous, I think. However, I think the service is a little excessive. However, talking about the flying stage I mentioned before, it's a little bit hard to put into words but I got this really old feeling when I played it. You can't really fly around like you could in newer games, and you could only attack on the Z Axis... But, even though the game design isn't totally new, the powerful imagery doesn't make me feel like it's an old game. With the CS Attack, the tension and the imagery's power is vast, I think. You could easily say that it copies a game like Made in Wario with its numerous mini-games, but it's a type of game where you can enjoy the varying tempo. Not only that, but the game also has a wonderful sense of direction. Q: As for the graphics, from the way it looks like it's done by hand, did it surprise you? A: I think the way that Japanese people handle it is a little different. It's only my impression, but perhaps Japan would say it's a little low poly? It's a minute detail of course, but usually in Japan we use textures to cover up for the low poly, I think. The edges of the polygons aren't all that conspicuous so it has that soft look to it. On the other hand, God of War rather than use textures they use polygons to represent their characters, so it seems very hard to Japanese people. So, like a rock's hardness, that's how God of War looks. So in God of War II, even if you arranged ICO or Shadow of the Colossus' objects in that game, they wouldn't match at all, since the way we made all three games are different. Q: Do you think there's a relation between the way the game looks and how late it came in the PS2's lifetime? A: Yes, perhaps. With PS2 games, right now you can get a lot of power out of the system. In God of War 2, there's almost no loading time, and how fast it reads your save games is really fast. That's because you only have to look for procedures on one hardware, which makes things easy. Q: So everything rests on a higher foundation then, and that's why everything looks so good, right? A: As for the ideas, even though they are very common, the way everything is represented makes it interesting and fun to play, I believe. And yet, the action, puzzles, graphics, everything was realized on a higher foundation, that was my impression. From the start, everything was put in with care, and nothing was really neglected. Basically, like how a Japanese game carries itself. But with japanese games, the really interesting parts are kind of sparse.... Q: It's not fresh but... A: That's right, the attacks, system and ideas have been done before, I think. However, when you try to play the game, you have a usual sense of tension, but the graphics and the reactions become better and better. Perhaps, starting now, Western games are advancing quickly, you know. Q: Has God of War 2 inspired you in any way? A: Well there are certainly a lot of ideas and such in the game, and they're all really fun things. I haven't had a lot of time to think about it though. If there are things that I can really absorb from the game I think I will absorb it, but God of War 2 is such a high value game (ed. note: I don't know if it means that it's valuable or if it was expensive to make.) that I don't think I can really copy it. Perhaps with this kind of game, we'll leave it to the Western designers to make them, hah. Q: Why would you do that? A: Well, I think it'd be kind of difficult to do things like that. The reality is that costs to develop a game is different between Japan and Western studios. One year ago I observed how things were going with God of War 1, and I was really surprised by the number of people on staff. With one team they made a lot of programs that couldn't be used more than once. It's the kind of trouble I hadn't thought of. Also, everything took a lot of time too. Perhaps they were implementing a lot of elements into their game. When you have a lot of stages, the player won't get bored and it's really interesting. However, with Japanese style, when you apply that kind of thinking, I don't think it'd be cheap at all. I don't think our schedule or budget would be enough for that kind of project. However, budgeting and scheduling is difficult, but more than that, focusing on the scope of the game is important. Within our team, and within a workable scope, the best ideas will eventually win out and be something we can work with. Up until now I've held that idea and I've made games with it. However, right now when I play God of War 2, I think that if I don't think things clearly and with a level head, I may create something that's only halfway finished. That's the kind of impression I get. original interview here:

Why Scarface is better than GTA:San Andreas PS2/Xbox1

One of the main reasons I think GTA is overrated is GTA:San Andreas sure its a good game but damn its far from being the best "sandbox" type game ever made. I happen to think that Scarface was a better game in many aspects than San Andreas. The overall quality and build of Scarface -PS2 and Xbox 1- was better than the jumbled mess that was San Andreas in my opinion. Sure SA had a few features that werent in Scarface like flying but flying in SA was like trying to fly a damn brick anyway and felt more like a tacked on feature more than anything. There are MANY things in Scarface that I thought were better than ANY of the last gen GTAs from the empire building , physics of the cars and boats to the graphics are MUCH better than the old GTA3 engine. Also one of the more overlooked features of Scarface is the excellent SOUNDTRACK wich has a greater variety and music selection and captures the 80's era music and "feel" much better than Vice Citys soundtrack. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Other recommended "sandbox" games: Driver: Parallel lines - Forget that Driv3eeer ever happened Parallel Lines is the TRUE SEQUEL to the classic PSone Driver games. A HIGHLY underrated game as far as the press reviews but very well liked by readers and fans of the genre. A Solid game in the genre. Saints Row: Next gen sandbox goodness through and through a very good "GTAclone" that moves the genre forward in many ways. the Godfather: A very competent sandbox game that gets slightly repetitive at times but still a good so called "GTAclone" and highly recommended for any fans of the movies or those that liked Scarface the game.

Playstation 2's best Vol.1

In celebration of the the Sony Playstation 3 release on Nov.17 in North America this is the first of my Best of for the Playstation 2 wich has been host to the majority of the Greatest AAA games of the last generation of gaming consoles.

In an era when the PS2/Xbox 1 and Gamecube dominated the console gaming scene and battled for the attention and $$$ of the gamers the world over but in the end it would be the PS2 with its vast and deep library of just about every imaginable genre that would win the first console war of the 21st century.

Sure the Xbox 1 had its halos and the Gamecube had its RE4s and Zeldas but it was the overall quantity AND quality of the deep library of PS2 games that won over gamers both casual and hardcore.

PS2 BEST vol.1
Best overall GRAPHICS

:snake eater/subsistence
#2.Shadow of the Colossus
#4.Valkrie Profile 2
#5.Final Fantasy 12

Honorable Mention:
Soul Calibur 3
God of War
Silent Hill 3
Gradius 5 best in 2-D graphics

Overall best graphics: in a GAME SERIES
Metal Gear Solid 2:sons of liberty/substance
Metal Gear Solid 3:snake eater/subsistence

#2.Silent Hill series
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 3
Silent Hill 4: the room

#3.Final Fantasy series
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy 12

#4.Gran Turismo series
Gran Turismo 3 A spec
Gran Turismo 4

Burnout series
Burnout 3:take down
Burnout Revenge

honorable mention:
God of War series

 Retro 2-D: Capcom vs. SNK 2

What the world needs now is Killer Instinct

What the videogameworld/ Xbox360 needs now is KILLER INSTINCT

Sure some gamers complain about the so-called "dial-a-combo" fighting system but this is one FUN fighting game and that is a fact that many gamers have forgotten about ; that videogames are supposed to be FUN an escape from the harsh and cold realities of everyday life.

The original KI was developed by Rare for Nintendo back in 94-95 when RAREware was a second party developer for Nintendo to show of the supposed capabilities of Nintendos upcoming Ultra64 system but unfortunately the actual console -changed to N64 before its release-was FAAAAAR LESS POWERFUL than the impressive yet pumped up actual Ultra64 arcade hardware and its actual power was held back by the limited cartridge format (no matter what many Nintendophiles would like to have you believe ).

The same RARE that made many classic games on NES (Battletoads) SNES (Donkey Kong Country games) and of course the infamous Goldeneye for Nintendos cartridge-challenged N64 system.

Now with RARE being wholly owned by Microsoft and in full swing with the new Xbox360 it is the perfect time for a KI 3 or at LEAST a complilation disk of the original KI arcade game and its sequel or even a REmake of Killer Instinct 1.
Sorry KI fans but both versions on the 16-bit SNES and KI gold on N64 just didnt cut it when compared to the awesome arcade originals.

There have been rumors of a new KI being developed by RARE ever since Microsofts purchase and in a recent rare interview with RARE at IGN they hinted that there could very well be a KI in the works for the 360.

Although many of the original programmers and artists that created the original KI and such masterpieces as Goldeneye have left RARE I believe that RARE could create a new Killer Instinct for the very powerful 360 that would be a great new (for many gamers anyway) popular EXCLUSIVE IP property to compete with Sony and their PS3 in the fighting genre on the next gen consoles.

a couple KI LINKs

a good site for KI   information :

Silent Hill

 Quotes from the official Silent Hill 2 guide:

"I believe the Konami's burgeoning Silent Hill series is quite possibly the deepest and most satisfying horror experience on the market today. I am hard pressed to think of any FILM OR NOVEL THAT CAPTURES ONE TENTH OF THE CREEPY ATMOSPHERE AND UNBEARABLE TENSION FOUND IN THESE TITLES. Nor have I seen any other attempt to incorporate surreal elements into a game thats half as successful as Silent Hill 1 and Silent Hill 2."

Akihiko Imamura and staff have succeeded on so many levels that it is truly amazing. Not only is the story deep and challenging to the mind, bu tthe game play is original and more realistic than what one normally finds."

"The character is a human in very supernatural circumstances. If James Sunderland (the main character in SH2) were a superhuman combat vet, the situation would hardly be as frightening or as intense."

"Due to this perfectly planned combination of classic horror elements , Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 are more like INTERACTIVE WORKS OF ART THAN MERE GAMES."

" I believe that the entire game development community has a new standard to wich to rise , and I look forward to future entries in this amazing series of games."

-Dan Birlew