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PC Horror Game Review: The Crooked Man

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PREVIOUS REVIEW: Paranoiac

Be warned - there may be content in this review that could spoil the game's characters a little, and about how the game works. If you want to play the game first and then check out this review, go ahead and play it first. If you can handle the minor spoilers, then read on.

Well, it's been awhile. Too long I think. But I think it's time to reveal yet another RPG game I've been playing recently, which is The Crooked Man, created by Uri (who also created Paranoiac and Mermaid Swamp) and translated from Japanese to English by vghime - thanks for making yet another great RPG horror game available to English players.

WARNING: This game contains themes that may be considered offensive and/or inappropiate for some, such as graphic violence, crude language, and mature themes. There are quite a bit of depressing and emotionally and psychologically distressing themes here, so play only if you can tolerate it. If you can't, please refrain from playing this software.

Like all of the other RPG Maker/WOLF RPG Editor horror games I have reviewed, this game is not for the faint of heart, and please take into consideration that there are scares in this game and it does make use of grotesque imagery.

The Crooked Man Title

When viewed at any angle, The Crooked Man can be considered a story-driven horror game. And it is. Making use of symbolism, imagery, and other literary devices, it isn't hard to tell that Uri has done a fantastic job in terms of the effort that was put into this game. You play as David Hoover, the new tenant for an apartment that he has just moved into during a troubling time in his life. In other words, his life sucks and he's just moved into a crummy, run-down apartment. This sort of "everyman" character is what makes David such a great protagonist - he is extremely relatable and the player can expect to see a little (if not a lot) of himself or herself in david as they advance through the game's story. The title of the game takes its name from a nineteenth-century nursery rhyme, and there are all sorts of allusions and references to the real world in this game. Strangely, David has no idea as to whom the previous tenant was, and when strange things begin to occur in his apartment, he leaves himself no choice other than to investigate why these things keep happening. He then embarks on a journey to seek answers about the mysterious tenant, and soon this search for someone he doesn't even know goes horribly wrong.

Some might consider the story a little on the Silent Hill 4 side with the apartment and all, but soon you'll discover that you're wrong. The Crooked Man is one of the longest RPG horror games I've played (if not the longest), and that's a good thing. There are a large amount of locations that David visits during his search, and every segment of the story is neatly organized and divided into chapters.

The gameplay is what you've come to expect from an RPG horror game: explore for clues, solve puzzles, gather information, and most of all - survive. These are the bare bones of The Crooked Man, but Uri has thrown in many different changes to the standard RPG horror game formula to keep the gameplay fresh, fluid, and most of all frightening. A massive amount of environments and rooms to explore - each with its own disturbing charm - along with a constant feeling of dread that what you hope isn't looking for you is really following your every step sends chills down my spine every time I load up the game. The Crooked Man relies primarily on creepy locales with disturbing backstories and characters you don't know if you can trust for its scares, using ambience and well-timed music and sound cues to keep you on your toes. There are quite a few jump-scares to be seen in this game, and I have to admit a lot of them caught me off-guard. The scares are never cheap or boring, because of the constant tension that builds as you uncover more and more about David's previous tenant.

A good story needs good characters. And The Crooked Man has definitely got it. The cast of characters in this game are unforgettable, each with his or her own distinct personality and character trait that can in a way relate to David (or you), as all of the characters in this game are psychologically or emotionally weak somehow. It's a total rejection of the "good guy" archetype, as each person in this game does something really out-of-the-ordinary eventually one way or another - the game totally distorts the view on what justifies a loyal, trustworthy character. And that's what makes the characters so great - you never know if the people you meet who initially seem impenetrable and anti-social are dying inside, and this adds a sense of unpredictability to the characters you meet. The role of everyman has never been made so clear and so real as in this game, since David is suffering inside just like everybody else. But don't confuse "just like everybody else" with bland and boring, because that's exactly the opposite of what makes up the character development in The Crooked Man.

Musically, I found The Crooked Man quite delightful. There are quite a bit of tracks in there that classical music buffs might recognize, but the music isn't all that happy-go-lucky. In fact, most of the time there isn't much music, and the only sounds you'll probably hear are usually the opening and closing of doors. But the when the music does kick in, it fits in perfectly each time - and it's pure bliss when a song sets the mood for an epic confrontation or a quick, intense getaway. However, the music and sound departments aren't perfect - and if you're not wearing headphones you're likely to miss a lot of ambient sound effects that are meant to creep you the hell out. It would've been better if the music tracks had been amplified a little and the ambient sounds increased as well so you could hear the creepy little things David hears, but I guess if you're playing a horror game without headphones you should be the one to blame anyways - so I guess it's a sort of subjective, personal thing.

 Hotel

One of the various locations in the game.

Like I said earlier, The Crooked Man will definitely take you a while to complete, and it's highly unlikely that you'll complete it in one sitting. The nice inclusion of chapters are a nice indication that it's best to take a break now and complete the next chapter in one sitting so that you don't have to save in the middle and not know what's going on (it doesn't explicitly say "take a break", but the game offers no recaps, so you'll have to remember what you did last on your own). The game doesn't drag on and on, and it ends at just the right moment, and the endings aren't cheap either. Throughout the course of the story, David will have to make choices that will determine what happens next. There are several bad endings, but they don't function like the standard bad endings you've come to know (even though they're labeled as such). The bad endings don't take place at the end of the game, but rather at that the closing point in the chapter. It's also recommended that you make multiple save files if you want to see all of the endings.

SCARE FACTOR: 3/5 (NOT AN OVERALL SCORE!!)

Yes, the Scare Factor rating has been modified. I figured that an "Out of 10" scale was a little difficult to pinpoint exactly how scary a game was, so I've modified the scale so it's a little easier to comprehend now.

The Crooked Man and it's titular character will scare you quite a bit - but if not to death, then a little jump or two. Its jump-scares and atmosphere are well-timed, and musical and sound-related cues keep the atmosphere tense and spooky. The game's strongest points lie in its characters and story, and the character development is phenomenal, much like Mermaid Swamp's characters. Uri has done a fantastic job writing the story for the game, and I found the ending rewarding and extremely satisfying. The scares aren't cheap (and are actually a little more on the action side), but that doesn't mean that the hardcore horror game aficionado will pass this up. There's plenty of story and scares to be found in this WOLF RPG Editor gem.

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.

He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.

He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,

And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

PC Horror Game Review: Paranoiac

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PREVIOUS REVIEW: Re: Kinder

Paranoiac

Considering how I finally summoned my courage to play this terrifying game, I figured I might as well tell my story with it. I decided to play this game after Mermaid Swamp (click here for my review) but after my experience with Paranoiac, I chickened out on playing it (after around twenty minutes) and went on to play Ib  (which I reviewed as well), and I found Ib to be an amazing game. After that I went on to play other games and I soon discovered Paranoiac in my backlog, and therefore I decided to give it another shot, no matter how terrifying of an experience it would be for me. So here I am now, reviewing another game by Uri and translated by vghime.

WARNING: This game does contain content that some would find disturbing. There are also flashing images that would probably justify a seizure warning (which I think it might for those who are prone to it), and there is blood and gore, along with themes of suicide, depression, and death. Please consider these warnings if you decide to play this game.

Paranoiac title screen

I always thought there would be some creepy breathing noise at the title screen, but there's nothing audible at all. Either that, or I have a strange habit of turning down the volume a little when I play this game.

Some of you might laugh at how laughably un-scary this game is (if you decide to play it). Others are probably going to cry like I was throughout this spine-chilling, cringe-worthy game that is Paranoiac. It is a pretty frightening experience, believe me. In Paranoiac, you play as a romance writer named Miki Takamura who has decided to move into her dead aunt's house three years after her passing. And yes - soon enough, strange occurences begin happening in the house, and it's up to Miki to find out what's going on. It may seem like your standard "haunted house" plot, but trust me - it isn't. The story goes way deeper than it sounds, and for that reason I'm not going to reveal much about the game's story. However, what I can tell you is about the protagonist, Miki. She is a writer struggling with some... problems. Miki is more of a reserved-type character, but as the story goes on, the things that go on in the house affect her mental stability, and she begins to get more and more paranoid as the days go by.

Paranoiac is a game with an extremely small cast, and the game - along with Miki - seems very lonely and desparate for help. It's this sort of mood that the game sets that makes you sigh with relief as you realize you're not alone in your struggle, but you end up feeling worse than before when you discover that you're not going to be with company forever. And then, they're gone. Miki's all alone. To fend for herself.

Paranoiac screenshot

Miki is very optimistic when it comes to examining things. 


Paranoiac, as you might have discovered, is a game heavy on story, but it's also heavy on action and scares. There are plenty of "Oh, Snap!" moments in this game, and it has some very intense chase scenes. The system works like this: During the day, it's Miki's job to explore her dead aunt's house (she is going to be living in it, after all), and this primarily involves inspecting and examining things, solving puzzles, and collecting those keys we all love so much. The game is relatively calm - until night falls. During these night-time sequences, Miki's aunt strikes back with a vengeful hatred, and this is when the hair on the back of your neck rises and when you start to regret not closing that door to your bedroom. This is when the chase segments of the game take place, and Paranoiac establishes a purely-horrifying chase system to go with it.

During a chase, this is how the system works (it's also explained in the game, so don't worry if you forget or something): When you are being chased by a [thing-that-shall-not-be-named-for-fear-of-spoiling-the-game], there are hiding spots all over the house. The problem is that you don't know what or where these hiding spots can possibly be. Miki might look at a fireplace during the day and say, "it's empty" - only to figure out that she can hide herself in that spot at night when being chased. The system works like this: there are hiding spots (but you don't know what they are or where), you have to enter in these hiding spots before the "thing" gets in the room, and there is only ONE hiding spot that will ensure escape. There are TWO hiding spots that will ensure death, and for the rest of them: "YOU WILL BE FOUND". And if you are found, the chase will continue whether you like it or not. And the only option is to keep running until you either find the right hiding place, or if you die. These are definitely the scariest and most intense parts of the game, and every time I was found by the monster it was pure nightmare fuel.

Some might find these chase sequences either scary as all hell or frustrating. The "thing" does travel rather fast, and Miki is sure to be toast if she walks into a small room such as a bathroom with only one way out - the door that the monster has just entered through. The essentials to survival are quick thinking, fast reflexes, a ton of courage, and extra save files. I did run into a problem with Paranoiac where I saved right when the monster was behind me, and so whenever I loaded that save file I was immediately killed by the monster, forcing me to start all over. So just so you don't end up like me: keep extra save files handy - you'll need more than one, but two files should be sufficient. Or three, if you're that intimidated. So yeah - the chase mechanics in this game are what truly makes Paranoiac unique, even if it does seem a little bit like Ai Oni.

SCARE FACTOR: 9 (NOT AN OVERALL SCORE!!)

Paranoiac relies on atmosphere and chases for scares, and while things may be rather uneventful during the day, there's enough mysterious clues regarding Miki's aunt's death to keep you on the edge of your seat. That, and the story is superbly-written, giving you insight on how these hardships truly affect someone mentally. I felt bad for Miki several times throughout the game, and if you feel bad for any character, you know that their character development is pretty dang good. Paranoiac does have two endings (which are affected by a choice made in the game) - a Good Ending and Bad Ending. The game starts off with a bang, and before you know it the scares are on very quickly, and it does pick up speed as you advance through the story.

It's an extremely short ride, but there are some devious puzzles in there that would probably make the game longer, but I found it rather short. I would've preferred a longer experience, but at least the story ended nicely - both endings were satisfying and they didn't feel cheap or anything, so make sure you see both of them. Paranoiac kept me on my toes for the whole game, and it's one of the scariest experiences I've had in a WOLF RPG horror game. It's a truly horrifying ride, and it should satisfy those looking for a good scare, but if you're easily scared like me, don't give up on it because it's too scary. Because then you'd be missing out on a great horror experience like I almost did, before I decided to pick it up and try again. Overall, Paranoiac is a terrifyingly-scsary RPG game that shouldn't be missed.

PC Horror Game Review: Re: Kinder

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PREVIOUS REVIEW: Misao

Re: Kinder

Hello and welcome to yet another PC Horror Game Review. This will feature Re: Kinder, a remake of another Japanese game simply titled, Kinder. Fortunately, I was able to find the game translated into English by the once-again fabulous vghime, who has translated many other Japanese games. Unfortunately, the creator of the remake - Parun - committed suicide on 10 September, 2011. May he rest in peace.

WARNING: This game has some disturbing content, such as blood, gore, coarse language, and topics some people might find offensive, such as adultery, depression, and themes of suicide and acts of hatred. Play the game at your own risk ONLY if you can distinguish fiction from reality.

Game image

Re: Kinder just goes beyond the level of weirdness.

Re: Kinder is a very strange game - perhaps the strangest RPG Maker game I've ever played. It can be labeled as a horror game, but that's only because of its atmosphere and graphic violence - but other than that it can be classified as a plain RPG game. But the strange thing about Re: Kinder is that there's no level-up system or anything that you might be familiar with in RPG games - other than the fact that you have a party to manage and there's turn-based battles, and have to use certain weapons and items accordingly to defeat enemies and/or advance in the game. It's a pretty unique form of gameplay that I don't commonly see in any RPG game, because most of the puzzles you're going to find in this game are within the battles themselves.

The game's story is told through the eyes of Shunsuke - a third-grader who visits his grandmother's house. He takes the usual bus down the street and does indeed have a good time at her house. But it's when he comes back that the story's basis is laid and the story begins to unfold. Upon returning home, he realizes that the town he lives in has turned into a living hell, and that many of his friends are either missing or worse. Namely, Shunsuke's old town has become a nightmare.

The characters of this game are all relatively young boys and girls, and there are rarely any adults in the game. Most of the characters are in grade school, and therefore find it hard to grasp the horrors they begin to see in the nightmare world, but they soon adapt to it, as children often do. The characters form this sort of gang - very much like the bunch of misfits that formed The Goonies. Shunsuke and co. always group up in a meeting place they liked to call "The Base" - which is pretty much the safe zone of the game. It's nice touches like this that remind you that you are playing as a third-grader - and that most of your friends are in the same grade or close to it. Themes like child-like innocence and progressive changes in maturity are present in this game, but it's pretty unusual because most of the kids in a way act like adults. So it''s more like The Goonies meets Codename: Kids Next Door. It may sound pretty weird, but there are characters in this game that I have a ton of sympathy for, and it does sort of reveal how children react when their world is taken away from them, or how their household life affects their parents and the childrens' relationships with their parents.

Perhaps Re: Kinder's biggest turn-off to some would be its surrealistic atmosphere and humor. The original Kinder was extremely more darkly-toned than the remake, and I'm not sure what the remake was supposed to accomplish, because the things I've seen in that game don't seem to match up with the things that I'd probably see in the original. Re: Kinder makes hopeless, desperate situations seem funny, and it toys with you in almost every possible way. However, the game's use of dark humor through dialogue, imagery, and even in the music that is totally out of place only masks what the game is trying to say. There is a very well-crafted story behind all of the in-game gags and jokes, and it's nice to see that the surrealness that the game evokes doesn't overtake how great the story is (though others might feel that the game's just simply too weird to have a story).

Like I mentioned earlier, Re: Kinder is an RPG Maker horror game that actually has an RPG turn-based system. If there's something I could compare the game to, the closest match would probably be Earthbound/Mother. I haven't played those games, but I know they're probably just as weird as Re: Kinder, if not weirder. Every character has the standard attack - Bash - but they also have a unique ability. These can range from attacks, healing powers, or cures for ailments that fellow allies might have. For example, "Dark Gaze" renders an enemy's ability to move useless, or "Share Candy" restores health to all of those in the party. It's always a treat to see these kid-themed gags in the game, and again - it does remind you that you're playing as grade school kids.

SCARE FACTOR: 5.5/10 (NOT AN OVERALL SCORE!)

Re: Kinder is by no means scary, but it's not exactly happy-go-lucky or cheery either. It may have a childish outward appearance, but there are some very dark themes in this game, even if there are a ton of endlessly "so-surreal-it's-funny" moments that lighten up the atmosphere. It isn't a very long game, and it does have its share of puzzles that will probably make you scratch your head and therefore increase the amount of time you'll be playing it, but the game's strongest points lie in its story and characters, much like other RPG Maker games. Shunsuke is a very encouraging character, and his character development shows and develops very well, especially near the end of the game. I never thought I'd attach much to these characters (mostly because of the age gap between me and them), but I felt sympathy for each one of them. If you easily get weirded out or find that games that are just too strange to play aren't worth it, you might not find much in Re: Kinder, and those looking for a good scare should probably pass on this one. But a very well-translated and well-written story make this one worth the ride.

R.I.P. Parun.

PC Horror Game Review: Misao

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PREVIOUS REVIEW: Mad Father

Welcome back to yet another PC Horror Game Review, and this time it's Misao by Sen and the same team that made Mad Father (Misao was their first project). Once again, this WOLG RPG Editor horror gem was translated by vghime, so thanks to her for doing so, because it brings over yet another great horror game out of the shadows.

WARNING: This game has a wide array of disturbing content that some people would find mildly, moderately, or extremely offensive. There is coarse language, blood and gore, and very sensitive subjects such as sexual assault, bullying, and murder. DO NOT play this game unless you can handle these subjects! And please remember that this is a game, and any of the unpleasant things that are done, seen, or heard in this game is as work of fiction. So keep it fiction.

Misao title

Think of it as Japan's "Carrie" by a Japanese Stephen King.

Created by the same team that made Mad Father, Misao does share many elements with the former game, as both involve a young child and a more mature person (or people) that takes advantage of him or her. In this game, the story revolves around the curse of a girl named Misao, a student who was bullied, harassed, sexually abused and assaulted, you name it - Misao was the scapegoat and the one everyone looked down on. She was that quiet kid in the back of the class that everyone could make fun of, simply because she would never try to fight back and that she'd take every beating or insult thrown at her, and not retaliate. That is, until she suddenly stopped coming to school. And everyone began to assume that she was dead. Then, strange occurences began to happen around the school where she had disappeared, leading everyone to believe that her "curse" was descending upon the school, and that Misao's vengeful soul was out to kill the ones that bullied and harassed her. It's a very mature and yet so sensitive subject about bullying and provides an insight on what most people don't see when it comes to harassment.

The protagonist, Aki, was one of the few people that tried to start a genuine friendship with Misao, but that soon failed after Misao's supposed death. And so, Aki sets out to bring Misao's tortured soul to rest by trying to end the curse that has created an alternate and disturbing dimension of the school where everyone is a target for Misao's bloodthirsty rage. Aki is an average schoolgirl who can see the good in people, and does have compassion for those who need it, and a real sense of hatred for those who look down on other people or use others for selfish reasons. In other words, she's really determined when it comes to freeing Misao's soul and ending the curse, and is a generally good protagonist, as I felt her sympathy for poor Misao really built up this anticipation to see what happens in the story. However, she's also extremely weak, and in Misao's alternate dimension almost anything can kill her instantly.

Misao is a very unique horror game, because in a puzzle-based horror game you'd expect to examine each and every point of interest or object that looked intriguing enough to look at. This isn't clearly the case in Misao, because in this alternate world anything can kill you without warning, as inspecting the wrong item will ensure certain death upon Aki, and in the most gruesome ways kill her with no mercy. This unique aspect of Misao is what mainly adds to the fear factor, because you never know what'll happen if you open that one locker, or if you pick up and read that one seemingly innocent piece of paper on the ground. It's these life-or-death situations that can either provide you with an item vital in continuing the game's story, or end your life on the spot. It's totally nerve-wracking.

Aki is dead.

As cruel as it might sound, some of the ridiculous ways Aki can die are actually quite hilarious.

The uniqueness of Misao doesn't stop there. There's a unique little menu called the "Ring" that can navigate through the game's three central aspects: Item, Parts, and Warp. Items are self-explanatory - these are the things you receive whenever you complete a certain action, or successfully make the right decision in a life-or-death scenario. You use these items to eventually get Parts (I won't point out what they are), and you need a certain amount of these "parts" in order to end Misao's curse and free the school from her relentless punishments. In other words, getting all of the parts equals you end the curse, and you win the game. However, because the school is a little big (though not huge) and the layout's sort of confusing (especially if you don't know your way around a university), you're going to need to utilize the game's Warp function, where Aki can warp from certain rooms to the Library or the Student Council.

The Library and the Student Council are two of the "safe zones" in the game. The Library serves as a place to obtain hints and read up on books (and also find notes that students have secretly taken in class for additional hints) that will certainly help in finding the parts to end the curse. Or, you can talk to the game's librarian and start conversations with her to help you in your quest via these hints. She's basically a walkthrough, but a walkthrough that doesn't give it away. Don't be afraid to consult the librarian, because Misao is a very non-linear game, as the parts can pretty much be obtained in any order, and it can be confusing as to which part is where. The Student Council is the game's Save Room, and the two obvious functions of Save and Load can be accessed here.

Misao has two types of Save functions: Save and Quick Save. Because you're probably going to die a lot on the first time because you don't know which things you examine do what, you're going to need a safety to get you out of a game over if you die. This is where the Quick Save comes in, and it can be activated via the "C" button on the keyboard, or "Shift". Quick Saves save the game at the exact point of where Aki is standing and at the exact time of what point you saved at. So if you end up killing yourself because you inspected an object that killed you, you can continue from the last Quick Save point. However, if you decide to give up and start the game up again at a later time, you'll have to start all over from the last time you saved in the Student Council (the Warp function makes it easier for Aki to simply warp to the Student Council in order to save).

I was pretty surprised at how eerie this game was, even though most of it takes place in the well-lighted hallways and rooms of the school. Like probably any school you've ever been to, Aki's school has its share of urban legends, rumors, and creepy stories that surround the school in mystery and a touch of spookiness. You might encounter a rumor of the ghost of a girl in the bathroom, or feel like an otherworldly apparation is closely following you as you walk from one room to another. Couple those kinds of strange rumors with the fact that examining the wrong thing can kill you, and you've got a pretty spooky game where you'll have to keep an eye out (in fact, both of them) if you want to survive. Speaking of things to watch out for, Misao has a Good Ending and a Bad Ending, and a decision you make in the game will affect which one you get. There's also another mode unlocked from beating the game, and you will definitely want to check it out once you beat the game's main story, so that adds to the game's replay value.

SCARE FACTOR: 7.5/10 (NOT AN OVERALL SCORE!)

Definitely far creepier than Sen's second game, Mad Father, Misao is a combination of the creepy adult figure administering the young adolescent from both that game and the spine-chilling legends and rumors of Mermaid Swamp. Even if Misao's a little on the short side (it can be completed in one sitting like many other RPG horror games, or a couple depending if you get real stuck on the puzzles like I did), the unlockable modes and a satisfying extra feature that expands the short game really adds to the replay value. You might even end up playing the game again to watch the other endings and discover even more about the characters' backstories than you knew earlier, and the ability to do that is always a plus (it was also funny to notice the small amount of artwork carried over onto Mad Father).

Misao is a unique and extremely dark story that shows the effects of bullying and sexual abuse/harassment. It provides insight to sensitive subjects that may seem a little over-the-top to some, but it does bring out a good message to bullies and the like (even if that wasn't the game's main intention, any bully who plays this game would probably never bully again). The story is well-written and the creepy atmosphere of the backstory behind Misao's death should bring something new to the table, even for horror game veterans. Unique gameplay features that aren't typically seen in most RPG horror games really makes Misao as a whole stand out, and those looking for an absorbing story-driven horror experience needn't look further than Sen's Misao.

PC Horror Game Review: Mad Father

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PREVIOUS REVIEW: Ib

It's time for yet another free horror game review. This time, I'm reviewing another WOLF RPG Editor game, Mad Father, translated once again by vghime (AKA "vgperson"), and kudos to her for accurately translating yet another great horror game. The second game by Sen (the first being Misao), Mad Father is a horror game told through the eyes of almost eleven year-old Aya, who is the daughter of a researcher. She knows that her father does horrible, sick and twisted experiments, but she keeps quiet about it so she can please her father. It's this sort of disturbing bond between father and daughter that makes Mad Father a nice little horror experience.

DISCLAIMER: Mad Father does contain some mild language, mild nudity, blood and gore, and some other disturbing content that you might find distressing. Play at your own risk ONLY if you can distinguish fiction from reality.

Mad Father screenshot

Don't let the cute exterior fool you. Aya's a hardcore survivalist.

Like most RPG Maker/WOLF RPG Editor-type games, Mad Father is a primarily story-based horror game. While it does have a creepy atmosphere, most of the game's disturbing moments lie in its cutscenes and storytelling. That being said, there aren't very many scares in this game, but it's an interesting game to play through nonetheless. A lot of freaky scare tactics are used here, such as this really creepy emotional attachment Aya has to her father. I can't say much without revealing the plot, but what I will say is that the story is very well-written and paced, chock-full with plot twists and thickenings (is that a word?) that will make your head spin. Also, Sen's efforts in this game are well-appreciated, because the game sports original artwork, and each and every character looks wonderfully drawn, especially Aya. Her facial expressions and body language is pretty realistic, and dare I say - cute.

Mad Father can be considered as survival horror, as there are no real psychological attacks or mind-jacks, and many of the enemies consist of failed experiments and other strange entities. The game can be compared mostly to some Resident Evil titles, as there is a lot of action in this game, but at the same time has an interesting story and is filled with puzzles that require you to manage your inventory to solve. Aya is a fairly headstrong protagonist, willing to do anything to save her father, and her character development is interesting. It's always nice to see how Aya reacts to scary things, and how her fear sometimes puts her in worse situations than she'd like. The protagonist is pretty much based around a young girl with little fighting experience, but uses her wits and judgement to find solutions. Since she's not much of a fighter, whenever there is an enemy, the most you can do is run (and you will play the defensive most of the time, until later in the game where Aya can actually do something about the monsters). And she's surprisingly very strong, physically. There is a health bar that is present whenever Aya can be harmed, but she can take quite a beating before succumbing to death.

She does have her share of humor, which also makes her a lovable character, other than the fact that she can be half-eaten by a zombie and still walk away unharmed. Mad Father does feature regenerating health which completely replenishes as soon as you enter another room, so you probably won't find yourself dying much early in the game. But later in the game, you'll be faced with plenty of life-or-death decisions that can either kill Aya rather gruesomely or cause the game to advance.

Aya gets eaten

There's no way a ten year-old can survive getting eaten alive. 

Nice little gameplay changes occur in the game as well. Sometimes there will be a situation where Aya is under progressive physical strain, and in order to resist (or pretty much live), the Action Button must be mashed to save her life. For example, a monster might pounce on Aya and try to eat her alive, and as the monster eats her, her health progressively goes down, and the player is expected to mash the button when prompted. This is a nice little feature that keeps the tension high and the action flowing, as running away from enemies can be pretty intense.

The music and sound also adds to the atmosphere in this game. Mad Father has some excellent music (though I hear it's not original, just sourced) and creepy use of sound effects. For example, you might inspect an item, but if it's something that could potentially harm Aya or something she's afraid of (such as the presence of someone she can't see), a rather spooky sound effect will play upon inspection. It sounds like this dissonant, eerie sound. I don't know how to describe it, but it's a nice touch. Lights may flicker on and off, and sometimes Aya will have to descend into basements and an attic or two with little light, other than a small lamp that barely provides any form of luminesence. I found myself on the edge of my seat during one of the darker sections of the game.

Mad Father's story can be influenced by decisions that Aya makes throughout the game, much like many other horror games. These decisions will also impact the ending, and if you want a True Ending (the best ending in the game) then you'll have to go through a lot of trouble to get it, whereas for the less than true endings you don't have to try as hard. But you should always try to aim for the better ending as much as possible, because Mad Father is a very compelling story-based horror experience that you'll want to find the ending out real fast.

SCARE FACTOR: 6/10 (NOT AN OVERALL SCORE!)

This by no means brands Mad Father as a bad horror game (like I said, the scare factor isn't the overall score, and I don't even give scores to these horror reviews), but it's generally light on the scares. I would have preferred a scarier experience, but the story's freakiness makes up for it, along with the satisfaction of completing the game. It's also relatively short, but it's quite longer than other RPG-type horror games I've played. Mad Father is a game you should definitely check out if you're a fan of horror games that are driven by story, though most horror enthisuasts should find this an enjoyable experience as well, because there's plenty of spookiness and action to be seen.

PC Horror Game Review: Ib

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PREVIOUS REVIEW: Mermaid Swamp

There comes a time in every gamer's life where they play a really outstanding game that really blows them away from start to finish. Games like Ib, made by kouri, are the reason why I keep playing these games. Once again translated by the fabulous vghime, who has translated many other games from Japanese to English, she has done a very excellent job with the game's translation.

DISCLAIMER: Ib does contain some disturbing imagery that is psychologically disturbing. If you can't distinguish fiction from reality, don't play this game unless you know how to handle it.

Ib's title screen

The game's title screen 

Ib takes the trope of a game named after the main character. Ib, a young nine year-old girl, is a very quiet and reserved character when compared to Mermaid Swamp's loud and sometimes obnoxious college student Rin Yamazaki. The game is a work of art - literally - because it takes place in an art gallery. The story of this game reminds me of a Hayao Miyazaki film - and if you've seen any of those, you know how this game's going to work out. Ib is a game that explores human imagination and deeply probes your mind, begging the question if art is merely the canvas the painting is made on or the clay a sculpture is built with. Not really. In Ib, art is more about the artist who creates these abstract and expressive works of art. And as the "artist" and imaginative genius behind Ib, kouri really makes this game stand out with its sheer simplicity while at the same time making it emotionally and psychologically distressing.

Ib and her family are on a visit to an art gallery of a famous artist, when all of a sudden she realizes that everyone has vanished. The people viewing the paintings. The people viewing the sculptures. The receptionist. Her parents. How long would it be before she vanishes herself? She heads deeper and deeper into the gallery to find out the things that are going wrong.

While Ib might not look like a scary game on the outside, its sheer surrealist and distorted, twisted view on abstract art immediately sucks you in as you delve deeper and deeper into a world that Ib is unfamiliar with, even though she's already seen the paintings and other artwork in the gallery. Ib can be described as a psychological horror game, because of this surreal feeling that nothing feels right. Everything is awry or suspicious, and you begin to get paranoid of the artwork that surrounds you. Is the abstract eye painting watching you? How about those headless mannequins that once looked innocent when you were viewing them with your mother and father? This game takes conventional things and objects that you wouldn't expect to be malicious and turns them into truly frightening creatures. And faster than you'd expect, Ib picks up speed very quickly and becomes this nightmare that you wish you could get away from, but at the same time you wish it would never end because of its frightening, startling beauty.

What's scary about Ib other than the things that I listed above, is that she is only a nine year-old girl, and cannot grasp very well the more mature subjects of death, sex, and other things. She has a very limited vocabulary, and there are many words on the artworks' titles or subtitles that are beyond her English comprehension, adding a sense of mystery to what the paintings are really about. There are several motifs in the game, such as the rose among other things, but stating them here would spoil it, so I won't go deeper into that. Ib's psychological attacks are frightening, but at the same time so beautifully done that the fear of being afraid soon turns into bliss as the game goes on. Ib as a character fits as the perfect role for this kind of game, because of her innocence and youth that can either be tainted or expressed depending on what actions you take in the game. There are multiple endings, and in this game you have to make quite a lot of decisions to get the corresponding ending. This game will make you cringe as you uncover more and more about the art gallery, but you will be intrigued to press onward every single time, gripping you by the hand with its absorbing and shocking force. If you're stuck with an ending you're not satisfied with you owe it to yourself to try to get the best ending if you want to know the whole truth in the game.

The game is somewhat linear, but it does also focus on collecting items, solving puzzles, inspecting things, and primarily exploration. There are a lot of puzzles in this game, but they shouldn't be too hard. The game makes it easy for anyone to play, even if someone isn't good at horror games or video games in general. It isn't very difficult to control, as Ib has very simple controls. The game also does have its share of light-hearted humor and comic relief, which is refreshing after all of the mind-attacks that you get in this game. Sometimes you'll forget you're playing a game, and it's like you're staring into this giant void of paintings right on your computer screen.

But like many other horror games, what makes Ib so great as a game is its characters. I won't go deep into this, but the characters are equally expressive and each of them are intriguing and unique in their own charming way. There's just so much charm to this game that makes the characters stand out, and they are some of the best I've seen in the genre. The instantly-likable characters are reason enough to press on in this game, along with the wonderfully-written story. In addition it has a great soundtrack and a creepy vibe that justifies its place as a horror game.

SCARE FACTOR: 7/10 (NOT AN OVERALL RATING!)

Like Mermaid Swamp, you won't be jumping very often in this game unless you're scared easily. But there are a lot of surreal moments in this game that will truly creep you out. Because Ib is a young girl, the art gallery will treat you like one. This is especially disturbing if you're much older than her age, because children's games and tricks are quite frightening when you know you're way too old for that stuff. Ib is a very short game, but like many art games, its short length is acceptable because it is a very touching game that makes you wish it could go on longer, but it ends at just the right moment. There are games I've played like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus that I believe are extremely great games, but the game Ib sits up there comfortably with them. If you've never played an art game or if you're just looking for a very rewarding, touching horror experience with amazing characters and a Hayao Miyazaki-worthy story, you're in for a really amazing experience either way.

PC Horror Game Review: Mermaid Swamp

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What's up? Welcome to my review of the game, Mermaid Swamp, a free horror game made by Uri in WOLF RPG Editor. Translated by vgperson - or fully known as "vghime, Princess of the Vocaloid Kingdom" - Mermaid Swamp is about a college trip in the mountains gone wrong. The main character, Rin Yamazaki, has her friend's car break down on the way, and an old man allows them to stay at his mansion until the issue is sorted out and fixed with the car. What Rin and her friends don't know, however, is the mysterious legend of the swamp in front of the mansion. And a disclaimer: The game does contain coarse language, blood and gore, disturbing scenes, and mild sexual imagery.


A screenshot from vgperson's website.

Rin in front of the swamp.

And I can tell you right now - from the very beginning of the game, I was chilled. And this game will chill you down to the bone. Its scares prominently lie in its atmosphere, and the horrific and spine-tingling scenes that occur in this game. Mermaid Swamp is very similar to Silent Hill, in that it relies less on jumpscares and more on the freaky setpieces to creep you out. While some may think that third-person RPG Maker-esque type games aren't scary, you probably will be disturbed by this game. The storytelling is masterfully paced and the multiple endings nicely wrap up the mystery behind the whole legend of the swamp.

The scary thing about a horror game involving you and a group of others is how the events psychologically, physically, and mentally drag everyone down. Hallucinations and recurring, disturbing visions and the feeling of being watched attack Rin and her three other friends whenever possible, and the feeling of dread in the more disturbing parts of the game never lets up. Mermaid Swamp keeps a constant grip on the fear tactics without sacrificing story and plot elements, which is perfectly balanced.

Perhaps one of my most favorite aspects of Mermaid Swamp is the characters. Rin acts like a self-centered brat at times (which in a way reflects her tomboy-ish personality), and is a hardheaded person at times, but she's a quick thinker. She's always looking out for her friends and occasionally thinks about them more than herself, sometimes luring her into danger because of her usual carelessness. Rin's quips and humorous remarks throughout the whole game are endless and very amusing. Who says a horror game can't have comic relief? But what also makes the characters stand out is their inexperience at handling certain situations, which often leads to confusion and panic as they all struggle to survive, completely oblivious to what they're running away from.

The ambience is fitting for a game like Mermaid Swamp, where a mansion surrounded by fog echoes desperation and dread. There is some music throughout the game,  but most of the time you will be wandering throughout the game's various locales in total silence, save for the usual environmental noises. However, Mermaid Swamp can get intense even without the music. Mermaid Swamp also does have its share of puzzles - while the game is mainly focused on exploration, it does have puzzles that are very difficult (don't worry if you get stuck - the game when installed does come with the walkthrough - but since it's in Notepad format you might expose some spoilers. Consider viewing the censored walkthrough on vgperson's Mermaid Swamp page at the bottom).

One of the game's weak points lies in its endings. There are many parts in the game where Rin will have to make decisions that could alter the game's story with the loss of a friend, depending on which decision you make. The problem is, is that when you are faced with a decision to do something or not, the hints are too subtle on if you're making a choice that will get you a better or worse ending. I found myself getting a bad ending on my first try, and Mermaid Swamp does make it very challenging to get the good ending when it doesn't tell you what choices you make do what. But I guess it does add to the feeling that is "what's done is done, and you can't do anything about it".

Overall, Mermaid Swamp is relatively short (approximately 3 hours on my first try), but it can be understandable for a WOLF RPG game. However, it's a great horror game with a very interesting story that is slow at first, but picks up speed very quickly as Rin is thrust into the deepest of fears. I found myself dreading to play this game, but that's probably because I'm easily scared at times. But seasoned horror game veterans should find something in Mermaid Swamp, especially its story and the characters that add to what makes the game so great.

SCARE FACTOR: 8.5/10 (NOT OVERALL SCORE)

Chances are you won't jump out of your seat in fear of this game, but its atmosphere more than makes up for the constant feeling of desperation and the tension of helping you and your friends remain sane. The legend of the swamp is very disturbing as well, and you'll find yourself wondering if it's worth finding out in order to survive. Mermaid Swamp by Uri is a very great game with masterful storytelling. Also, vgperson's translation of the original Japanese text is spot-on, and I found absolutely no errors in terms of puncuation, grammar, or whatever English-language error you can think of. So kudos to vgperson for translating the game, Uri for making the game itself, and you for reading this. I'll probably be playing and reviewing more of Uri's games as the days go by, so expect more horror game reviews.

Sad news.

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I know this isn't the place for it, but what's done is done.

Found out today that five people in my neighborhood died in a car crash over the weekend - all were teens. Four of them went to my school and while I didn't know most of them, it hurts to know this kind of thing happened to young people who were planning to graduate. Some of the deaths were my classmates during the current and previous term.

Apparently the cause was due to speeding. The car hit a tree and "split in half" and then allegedly caught fire, according to news sources. Four were thrown from the car and killed instantly. The last one died at a hospital.

Please drive safe everyone.

R.I.P.

How the Blu-ray disc can be used to its fullest potential

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One Blu-ray disc - "but up to seven discs" on Xbox 360?

So it turns out that in a recent GameSpot news article, the Metal Gear Solid: Legacy Collection is going to be a Sony PlayStation 3 exclusive. If you are unaware of the aforementioned collection's contents, let me list them below (or, for others - let me refresh your memory).

THE METAL GEAR SOLID: LEGACY COLLECTION WILL INCLUDE:

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: HD Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: HD Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition
  • Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Trophy Edition

In addition to this information, as also stated by GameSpot themselves: "...all into one PlayStation 3-exclusive package." Now, that being said, I'm assuming that all six of these titles are going to be on one Blu-ray disc. Let me say this again: six games.

Let me break it down - that's:

  • TWO PlayStation 1 games
  • TWO PlayStation 2 games (remastered in HD)
  • ONE massive-as-hell PlayStation Portable game (remastered in HD)
  • ONE effing huge massive-as-hell PlayStation 3 game

And if you do the math, that's six games total, like I just said above. Now that's pretty intense. That's six games on one Blu-ray disc (which, let me remind you, is a PS3-exclusive feature - however the next Xbox is "rumored to feature a Blu-ray optical drive", so that means that Microsoft will be joining the Blu-ray party soon enough.

This massive grandiosity on an epic scale of five games plus a PS3 game on one disc made me realize something: Why can't more developers be able to make this much use out of a single Blu-ray disc? If this much content can be stuffed into a single disc, then how come that can't be the case for so many other games?

For example, the Ace Combat series. In their old PS1 days, the disc was formatted so that the soundtrack was also in the game itself and could therefore be accessed in a special menu of some sort. In other cases, some PS1 games' soundtracks could be accessed simply by inserting the PS1 disc itself into a computer or a CD player, therefore netting you two pieces of content in one: the game itself, and the additional bonus of having the soundtrack with it. Nowadays you have to purchase the amazing soundtrack of [insert amazing game here], but the only way to get it is to either look the OST up on YouTube or something (which in many cases might be taken down because of copyright infringement), or spend countless dollars on the soundtrack (even more if the game is old).

Here's a list of games that had soundtracks within the game disc that could be accessed via computer or CD player. Click!

Now you might reply: "Are you serious? Adding in the soundtrack with the already-expensive game would cause it to cost even more. If every single PS3 game did this I'd end up having to pay like $10 more for each game." This might be true in some cases, but extra content doesn't have to be limited to just soundtracks. Other goodies, with the soundtrack, even, could be formatted into the Blu-ray disc. There are endless possibilities for this. If Metal Gear Soild could fit six of their games onto one Blu-ray disc, I'm pretty sure developers can find ways to add tons of more content (provided they have the extra time and resources) to their one PS3 game by itself.

That way, we don't have to put up with unnecessary "special editions" or anything like that. Wouldn't it be nice to own a game one day, realizing that a few months later, an "ultimate edition" with the soundtrack included, along with an artbook and some hand-painted figurine or stuff like that is released but you don't really have to buy it because the game you bought months earlier already had all of that awesome in it? Think about it - this could probably save you some money and mean less stress for the developers behind it as well. They'd also charge less too, because it's already on the game disc itself. However this might not apply to everybody, because some actually like having physical hard-copies of things. Which is totally fine.

I really don't know. It was just a thought. Think about it though.

And I'm no Blu-ray expert either, but I am aware that more can be done with the amount of space it provides these days.

If yer gonna make a sequel, ya' better darn well make it right

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CONTAINS SOMETHING CALLED AN "OPINION". IF YOU HATE OPINIONS, STOP READING AND CLICK THE "BACK" BUTTON NOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Look around you. What do you see?

A. Your computer?

B. A bookshelf?

C. A wall?

D. Shelves full of games?

E. All of the above?

You probably are a reader and like to read books. You should be living in a house, so there's the wall. And if you didn't have a computer, you wouldn't be reading this - so that explains the computer. And then there's the shelf full of games. Chances are you have shelves and shelves of video games in there. Which ones are sequels? Probably all of them, right?

Here's where this blog post takes flight. And it starts with video game sequels.

The majority of today's video games consist of sequels of one game that came out years and years ago. Look at Final Fantasy. Metal Gear Solid. Resident EvilMario. Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. Each and every franchise here had its good sequels and bad ones - and sadly, a lot of the recent sequels are kind of getting worse and worse. Have these developers and video game publishers even been thinking before they start dishing out yeary releases - just milking and milking the gaming cow over and over again?

Nowadays it only takes one trailer, and a game is already sold on millions upon millions of pre-orders - taking Assassin's Creed for example. Why? Is it the hype or is it that you're a fan of these games? Look at Metal Gear Solid - a franchise that really should've ended with the fourth game (which the director Hideo Kojima said would be the conclusion of the franchise) - and it's still going on making sequels. Why does the Mario franchise keep making Mario Party titles if they're relatively mediocre? Why did Final Fantasy XIII seem so lackluster to me when I played it?

The thing is, is that when developers make a game and make a lot of money out of it, they gotta have a sequel to keep the cash flow coming in. And when they've reached the top of their game - they start to decline. They really do. Par exemple, take Soul Calibur. Soul Calibur and Soul Calibur II were legendary fighting games. But when you look at the next few games - especially the fourth and fifth game - things seem so different. And worse. It's not that different is worse, but that there's been a noticeable decline in quality in these games. Soul Calibur V took less than a year to develop and release. Look how the story of the game has totally screwed over the purpose and the foundation of the story that was built since the first game.

Even critically-acclaimed video games such as ICO fail in some areas. There's always a deadline - a release date - and when a game is announced, naturally people are going to want it. So crunch-time happens and the developers work like hell to finish the game before the release date. Sony Computer Entertainment of America (SCEA) wanted the game out early in the United States, because the country wanted it now. And when it did come out, reviewers panned the game for being short and for having almost no replay value. But when you look at the European release, which came out several months later, it featured more refined in-game textures and had bonus content - which was praised. Then, the ones who got the US release complain of why they didn't get that. Here's your answer: BECAUSE YOU WANTED IT NOW! If the developer had more time to work on the game, it could've been longer or it could've had these extras that other countries got. And no, this is not an attack on the US gaming audience. I'm just trying to make a point.

See how it all adds up? When the people want a game now and build up so much hype and great expectations of a game, it pressures the publisher to release the game sooner - thus resulting in issues when it does come out and people complain about it. Now do you see the connection with the word "bad" and "yearly releases"? There's the standard gamer stereotype that hates on Call of Duty, but it was actually once a decent franchise. The first and second game were pretty darn good, but at the third game everyone had gotten tired of shooting Nazis in the face. So they started to change the formula a year later, resulting in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - which everyone loved the hell out of during the time of release. And ever since, the franchise has released a game every year to keep people buying it.

But then you look at Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3, Black Ops, and Black Ops II. Yes, people are still buying it. But why? If little has changed between these sequels, what makes people continue to buy them? Well, it's this: when a gaming franchise suddenly becomes successful, copies are made to try to bring it down from numerous other developers. Before Call of Duty, there was Medal of Honor. And that was an amazing franchise until EA totally screwed it up after European Assault by reusing the same models, textures, and music that made each consecutive sequel seem more like an add-on pack rather than a full game (see Vanguard, Heroes, and Heroes 2). When Medal of Honor fell and Call of Duty came out on top, countless other military shooters tried to outsell the franchise and failed. You see that mess of a game that was Bodycount? That's exactly it. Developers start making ridiculous IPs that aim to take down a rival franchise rather than trying to make something completely new.

It's even happened to The Legend of Zelda. I'm a huge Nintendo fan as I am a Sony fan, and I do respect Microsoft and their games and developers. I don't hate PC and I am a PC gamer myself. Ocarina of Time was praised at its time of release for having such great music, visuals, and a story that made you want to keep playing. However, this is the standpoint of the Zelda franchise - stated by Shigeru Miyamoto himself, he said that he wouldn't stop making Zelda titles until Ocarina of Time had been topped. And yes, great sequels came out after that such as Wind Waker. But around the time of Twilight Princess, things started to go downhill after that. The developers behind Zelda seemed to forget about everything that made Ocarina of Time such a great game, and these negativities can be seen in the recent Skyward Sword. I loved each and every Zelda title I played, but this one seemed to not be as enchanting as the others were. The in-game world was pretty small for a console that could've made it so much bigger, and the music seemed to not be as memorable as previous soundtracks of the franchise. What happened? Have developers even looked back at what made their older games so successful before dishing out another sequel less than a year after they just released one?

Resident Evil is a prime suspect of this. Ever since Resident Evil 4, the series has gone through numerous changes. While 4 struck a perfect balance between horror and action (the RE developers felt that after Nemesis, the formula had gone stale). It made some changes for the better, by altering the formula a bit. And then Resident Evil 5 came out, which was way more action-oriented that it should've been. Resident Evil and zombies just weren't scary anymore. And by the time of Operation: Racoon City and Resident Evil 6, the franchise has now ditched the Survival Horror concept that made them so famous and critically-acclaimed in favor of a more Hollywood action game that utilizes the new "Dramatic Horror". What the heck makes Dramatic Horror so different? Is it just more "dramatic" in a sense that each and every Michael Bay Hollywood movie has to mean video games have to follow it too?

The franchises of Resident Evil and Soul Calibur - two franchises that I am a pretty big fan of - are now shadows of their former selves. What happened that caused them to change so much? Was it the pressure of making a game that absolutely sucked? Or was it making a game that has to stick so close to its predecessor and the formula that made them famous that each and every sequel has to be a rehash? Don't even get me started on one of my most favorite franchises of all-time - Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic has always had a special place in my gaming heart. It really has. However, even they've lost their balance - as can be obviously seen with 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog. Although they have made homages to their roots like many other franchises need to do, it's really gotten old now with the whole "nostalgia" concept. Sonic 4: Episode 1 and Episode 2 were nice, but when Sonic Generations came out, I got really tired of SEGA trying to reclaim their audience by bringing back lifeless reincarnations of previous gaming memories we had years ago. It's not just Sonic either. Goldeneye: Legends was a flop because rather than actually wanting to try anything new by using the nostalgia tactics (which aren't bad at all and if done right have actual meaning), they decided to follow in the footsteps of Bodycount and make a more action-based shooter rather than a true 007 game about spies and espionage.

I can ask "why?" only so many times before I run out of character count for a blog. Why is Need for Speed making so many movie-like games like The Run rather than focusing on simply getting chased by the cops just because you were speeding? It's like every game has to be a movie, and something that came out of those rubbish Michael Bay films. Next thing you know, probably FIFA will have their own storyline too, or even golf having a storyline involving you golfing in the tournaments so you can pay for your son's braces. I KNOW that not all of you are going to agree with me on every single point, and honestly that's fine by me. I don't care if you think my whole blog is a piece of crap or if you think this is the worst editorial ever written. Your opinion is your opinion and that's all that matters, and my opinion is that video games have been so focused on sequels after sequels every year without actually bringing anything new to the table other than "oh, hey it's Need for Speed: The Run - go make the popcorn while I get this movie started". Why does Assassin's Creed have to keep making games every year if it's just about the same old historic assassin, and why are there pirates?

I think the video game industry's now a snowball. It rolls downhill and just like Katamari it rolls up a bunch of crap down a never-ending mountain before slamming into that Yeti that keeps killing me from SkiFree. The next thing before a publisher tells the developers to make another game, they ought to think about what made their earlier games so great and build onto that, rather than rehashing a formula. Also, if a franchise is knee-deep in negative reviews but their games were once good, they should try giving up on their current formula and go back to their roots. I know I'm sounding rather hypocritical, but some franchises should honestly just take a break and take a deep breath. Stop making games every year. Think. You see how Sonic fangame storylines make way more sense than the crappy Sonic 06? Why, Capcom, do you keep making action-based Resident Evils? Do the developers and publishers even listen to what the gamers are saying? Why does Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed keep making games every year? Are they afraid that their franchise will suddenly and magically die just because they didn't release anything that year? Does this mean they're dead?

Some of you right now are probably like "dude, this NightFox guy needs to shut up. He wants developers to stop rehashing the formula and make something different, when games like Resident Evil tried to do something different by making the slow tank-control games more action-packed but started to suck. What freakin' side is this guy on?!"

My answer: MINE.

But that doesn't mean that no-one's opinion matters other than mine. Everyone's got their own opinion of the video game industry and everyone's got something different to say. Thing is, I want to hear it. What do you think about yearly releases and why do you think your favorite franchises are dying? If you decide to rant on my blog, that's just fine with me as long as it's logical and not some kind of trolling, flame-dragging argument. If you agree, then you agree. That's all there is to it.

Cheers.