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Rheinmetal Blog

A small tribute to the generation that is leaving

In a month from now PS3 and Xbox 360 will begin to step aside for the coming of the new generation of gaming systems, PS4 and Xbox One respectively. I think this period of seven years between 2006 and 2013 will be remembered outside anything else as the generation where games came even closer to the art of cinematography. This is the course of things, and I don't see any signs that this might change in the near future. From this generation of games I chose thirteen of them that I played and enjoyed and made a short video showing some characteristic cut-scenes from each one of them. I had plans to include around thirty games in this montage, but I soon found out that if I wanted to do it right this is an extremely time consuming job. So here is my first try.

Resident Evil 6

These days I'm playing Resident Evil 6. I think this game combines several different styles: third person shooter, stealth action, puzzle solving and horror elements. It seems more as a compilation of several Gothic adventure games, rather than one unified game. RE 6 is also a difficult game and at the same time very easy. Difficult because there are plenty of occasions that you get an instant game over screen by failing to execute correctly one of the hundreds punishing QTEs and easy because there is always convenient checkpoint before each dangerous situation. Difficult because there are some seemingly impossible stealth action sequences in which if you are discovered by one enemy you face a horde of heavily armed zombie-soldiers and you eventually die, but it's very easy if you decide not to play by the rules and just storm in the room and reach the exit. The same with the bosses, you shoot them with all you have and very quickly you are left with only your knife trying desperately to take it down, or you can simply run in circles fire some shots and basically wait for your AI companions to do the "dirty job."

The game's biggest problem for me is the camera; it moves too rapidly and often the point of view is too close to the back of the character and you don't have the best possible view of your surroundings. Also the animations of the character while walking, or running are poorly simulated. When they walk they resemble to fashion models walking on the catwalk, and while running they move their hands all the way up, as if they are athletes running in track n' field events. No ordinary person walks, or runs this way. It's a little disappointing for a 2012 game not have the correct character animations.

Where this game performs well is the creation of horror/panic atmosphere. You are always on alert, and each time you face a new monstrosity in your way the tension raises dramatically. RE 6 manages indeed to be a scary game and that surely came as a surprise to me. This is perhaps the only feature of this game that justifies its title as Resident Evil.

When it boils down to the question if the game is worth playing, I see yes. Maybe there are better action games than RE 6, and all previous RE games are superior than this one, but still I think it's not a bad game.

Do you remember Sherry from Resident Evil 2? Sherry, the little brat that Claire had to babysit through the sewers level? How you've grown up Sherry...

The chewing gum

Back in the 80's I had an English language teacher, he was an Englishman himself from Liverpool and his name was Marc. Among other things Marc was a fanatic supporter of the Labour Party. One day I remember, he was telling us that he was so much disappointed that John Major was the new leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister of Great Britain. He considered not only that Major was worse as a politician than M. Thatcher whom he succeeded in the leadership of the Tories, but also he was an idiot as a person. Then I asked him: "Marc, if Major is an idiot, then who voted for him?" And he answered me: "People who have chewing gum in their head instead of a brain."

And those who killed GameSpot and replaced it with this joke, they too have chewing gum in their head. It's not I who speak, Marc speaks.

Lollipop GameSpot

In America they say: "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". In the case of GameSpot, well truth to be told, it was pretty much broken so it needed to be fixed. But what we have here is something totally different. It seems that none bothered to fix this monster, this hydra of bugs, so they decided it was better to create a new site from the beginning. I'm not sure if it was the best decision, but I don't have the knowledges to judge such a decision. I'm not a computer programer, or website designer, I trust that the people who are responsible for this change know better.

With a first look the new site looks like a cross between Fuse, Giantbomb and the old GameSpot. Fuse was something that never worked for me. An overwhelming and chaotic feed list, that's what it was for me to put it simply. Giantbomb was a fresh new approach, but it lacked the connection beteen its members, it was a vibrant site, but deep inside cold. And Gamespot, you all know what it was, our decadent, messy old meeting point. I was here for the friends only, and for for some good editors and reviewers that always respected their audience and themselves.

So what is coming out of these three elements? Surely something not appealing to me. But this is still an echo of the old GameSpot, and the same people that I like are here too, or at least I hope they still are. As I see it, I have no other choice but to adapt to the new interface, or at least try it.

On other news, I played Lollipop Chainsaw and I loved it! Best game ever.

Juliet with the unlockable MILF costume. :)

I'm at war

These days I made a very unpleasant and upsetting discovery. At least four PS3 games are missing from my collection. I'm 100% sure that I didn't trade them in, or lost them; I'm very tidy and well organized when it comes to keeping my games collection. I'm kind of obsessed with games if you know what I mean. Yes you probably know what I mean, you are gamers too. The thing is that I have hundreds of games and I didn't notice it right away. In early August it was when I accidentally found out that Resident Evil 6 was nowhere to be found. I searched literally everywhere in the house. I thought that sometimes things can be lost, it can happen, so I decided to move on, and in any case I wasn't planning to play it any time soon, and I didn't much like it as a game to be honest.

Last week I found out that another game was missing: Dead Island Riptide. I began to think that something is going on here. What a coincidence I lost two PS3 games with similar content from my collection. Apparently someone with a taste in zombie games stole them. It was then that I realized that I have to do with a thief. It doesn't matter if they steal video games, or candies, it's thievery. And these games, were new and cost me a lot of money. Also I'm not rich. On the contrary this month I'm broke. I had to ask from my father to give me some money to pay my everyday expenses and bills.

Today I started checking my entire collection to see if something else was missing too. I found that The Walking Dead was missing too. A great game that I planned to play it when I had some free time. The last thing I did was to check my PSN trophies list. The PS3 system keeps a record of all the games you have played, so I started checking that list to refresh my memory. And I saw Silent Hill: Downpour 72%! Damn, I hadn't seen Downpour in my library for quite a few days, they stole that too! Mind you that I worship Silent Hill and Resident Evil, no matter how crappy some titles might be, I would never even think to trade them, or miss-place them. Not that I had any doubts that something was wrong before I discovered that Silent Hill was missing, but that one really hurt me. I almost cried. Silent Hill is very dear to me.

So I decided to take some action. Firstly I took my entire games collection from the open library shelves and I hid them inside a closet that has a basic lock. I'm not going to lose any other game, this has to stop now. Then I un-dug my long time forgotten web camera I connected it with my laptop and I placed it in some nice spot in the back of the room so that it can monitor all the action and hopefully it will not be discovered by the thief. I changed the power supply options of my laptop so that when the lid is closed to keep working. The laptop will look like closed and none will easily notice that it has a cord connected that ends to a webcamera. At some selected hours starting from today I will be away from the house, on purpose, and I will make sure that the suspected person knows it.

What I'm hoping to achieve from this? I'm sure that the thief will strike again and I'm sure that they will have an interesting reaction when they will see that there are no games in the room! And a locked closet. That will drive them crazy. I have my suspicions for two persons that had access in my room. They have both been benefited from my family for years, decades. And they were "trusted". (Laughs) And when I have this proof in my hands I don't know what I will do... What I really want is to hand this evidence to the police. That would be my revenge. But I'm not going to do it. It will probably be an amusing story for the police and I don't want to be ridiculed, or be afraid after of the counter measures the thief might take if I did something like that. I have to deal with this matter with some way, another way that I don't know yet.

And as John Steed wisely says: I hate people. Exactly that.

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Disgustingly cute

I made the huge mistake to play Little Big Planet 2. There is nothing wrong with the game itself, it is an interesting platformer with some amazing world editing tools. But the whole thing is wrong in my opinion. It is so ridiculously cute that it makes me sick. I don't believe in all that cuteness, sweetness, happiness and the beauty of the inner child that we all have. Well, this thing is extreme, if you know what I mean.

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What bothers me the most is not that is a game for children; we all have been children ourselves, and we have played with toys and watched children's programs. It bothers me that it is fake, artificial. It uses the power of computers to create a cute overload. And it encourages players to create their own cute creations and share them with the other LBP players. Spread the cuteness in the world and we will all be so happy! What is this, a new trend?

I remember Disney's Mickey and Donald, the Smurfs, Nils Holgersson, or Heidi, these were beautiful images, linked to very happy memories, the fairy tales for the children of the 80s. I never though of Donald as cute. Donald was likable and funny. Charlie Chaplin was cute? Laurel and Hardy were cute? Benny Hill? Roberto Benigni? I believe cuteness is a synonym for fake, fake sweetness. I acknowledge all that effort and creativity that people from Media Molecule have dedicated into the making of these two great games, LBP and LBP 2, but I'm always very suspicious with someone that sells cuteness. It makes him no different really from the common TV commercials that sell happiness, and the beauty of life, two in one. Wash and Go.

This isn't my idea of fun

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Dying again and again and again in the same impossible battles isn't particularly enjoying. And if I somehow manage to make it through, I feel more angry with myself that I'm wasting my time with this game, rather than satisfied with my accomplishment. Maybe I suck at video games, I don't know. I'm talking about Remember Me, Capcom's homage to Ninja Gaiden Sigma: BDSM Edition. Towards the end it becomes ridiculously hard. And I feel that's exactly what this game is: ridiculous.

At first when I started playing it I felt nausea from its atrocious camera and clumsy movement of the character. That was a sign that I should had taken into consideration. The game warned me with honesty, but I foolishly kept playing it. I think I deserve what I'm going through now.

On the bright side it has great music, but that's just not enough. If I want to listen to good music, I can always put the cd and listen to Mozart, or Beethoven.

So many Batman games out there!

So I finally got to play Tomb Raider. No I don't mean Tomb Raider, but Tomb Raider. Both games have the same name, the same spelling, but they are pronounced differently. The "r" in the second Tomb Raider is pronounced like the Spanish "rrrrrr", it's actually Tomb Raiderrrr. Sorry, I'm not responsible for the confusion someone else had this idea. And that exactly was one of the reasons that until now I refused to play Tomb Raider, because the decision of some genius people to name it exactly like the 1996 game shows stupidity and arrogance. And many other things.

I played it for an hour and my impressions are generally positive. If you forget the fact that Lara cries like a little baby all the time, and that it feels exactly like controlling Nathan Drake from Uncharted, it is a fun action game, no doubt. And one other thing made an impression on me: There is this feature called "survival instinct vision", that is activated with the L2 button and it helps Na..ee Lara, to see all the objects of interest highlighted in order to solve some puzzle.

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It reminded me strongly of the "detective mode" in Batman: Arkham Asylum, where Batman could see in orange colour all the objects that he could interact with and accomplish a mission.

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I looked it up on the internet and I found out that there was a similar mode in Assassin's Creed, that was called "Eagle vision". So Lara, although she doesn't have any supernatural powers like Batman, still she can use her bat-vision. Amazing isn't it? So I paused the game for a second to check again the front cover, just to make sure that I was playing Tomb Raider. After a closer look I saw what was obvious from the beginning, but in my rush to get the game I hadn't noticed it.

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So that explains everything. Cool.

And at that moment exactly, I remembered that a few months ago I had played another big game, that was also marketed as a kind of restart of the series on a new basis, as a big improvement of the game-play etc, I'm referring to Hitman Absolution. That game supported bat-vision as well, it was called "instinct mode". Agent 47 could see points of interest highlighted, he could see the enemies' patrol routes and he could also see through walls.

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So Agent 47 he too isn't inferior to Batman in anything. No that's an exaggeration. Agent 47 can't fly. The thing is that this thought also made me to doubt if I had trully played Hitman, or I had mixed it up with some other game. It happens to me often. I went to my games library I took out the game's case, and..I saw this.

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Of course.

Both Batwoman and Batman were published by the same company Square Enix, I don't know if this is a coincidence. And both Ex-Eidos franchises were pretty much dead before SE decided to give them a lifting, especially Tomb Raider. Assuming that the American studio Crystal Dynamics who developed Batwoman and the Danish I-O Interactive that developed Batman have only one thing in common, their publisher, I have my reasons to suspect that the decision about the bat-vision feature was taken in some office in Tokyo perhaps, who knows.. Some convenient way to make two hardcore franchises accesible to wider and younger audiences maybe? No, I don't believe it. They would never do that.

Dental Evil 3

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July 24th, daylight. The dentists have overtaken the city. Somehow, I'm still alive...

I had dental operation yesterday. I had a completely damaged wisdom tooth removed. Right away after the end of it, I was feeling okay, I said to myself "big deal!", I shouldn't had worried that much about it.  When I returned home I removed the gauze/ bandage (I don't know how it's called) from my mouth following the doctor's orders and I expected to have a little blood, as the doctor had told me. But I had a lot of blood. I spitted saliva and blood for hours. It was scary. I took the doctor on the phone. and he gave me instructions to stop the bleeding... Anyway by the morning the blood stopped completely. I was feeling exhausted from the blood loss and from the medicines. I drank orange juices to replenish my blood.  ("Green herbs" with the Resident Evil terminoloy) I think I feel a little stronger than in the morning.

As a side note, five years ago I had removed another wisdom tooth, but this time without the need of an operation. The doctor had told me: do you want me to take out that one too? It doesn't look so good. I said: no! He answered me: As you wish, but it's me that you will come again soon. And he was the same dentist surgeon that I went yesterday.

Android games recommendations

With two-three pounds at most, or Euros, dollars, or what ever your currency is, I think anyone could find at least ten good games on the Android market and want to keep those games for a long time, maybe for years. From my two years experience so far with smart-phones, and being as I think an average user, of an average 3.5'' phone, here is my list of 11 games that I can easily recommend to you.

1. Plague Inc.

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Thanks to my friend INKling for informing me about this amazing game. You can read more about it in his blog post. In this game your are a disease and your goal is to wipe out humanity. Very addictive and clever strategy game. And it's very simple to get into it. The downside is that you need a relatively big screen to enjoy it. I played it on my 3.5'' screen of my phone and after two hours of playing my eyes really started to hurt. I had to take pain-killers the next morning. If it is available for tablets, prefer the biggest possible screen for this game.  

2. Sparkle Drop

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Drop coins, collect gems and become the Jewelry Princess!
"Sparkle Drop!" is a free and simple coin game that its target group are girls of pre-school age. Never mind that, it's a cool game. I have it for one year and a half and still playing it from times to times. I once recommended it that to a friend of mine, he said yeah, yeah alright, and he didn't even bother to download it. :) Maybe I'm the only one that has developed an addiction to this game, maybe I can't resist to the idea of collecting virtual jewels and coins. Anyway take a look at this game, maybe it will interest you. There are many coin games, look for Sparkle Drop specifically made by developer "Kuma The Bear".

3. Dropwords

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You match tiles with letters in a row and create words. Like scrabble in a way, but much simpler. (For the record I never understood how scrabble is played) Especially helpful for non native English speakers like me. The feeling of achievement is great when you create words with more than four letters. If you like word games you probably already have it. Another game that stays for ever in my phone.

4. Flight Control

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Or alternatively Air Control, are two fun games where you take the role of an air traffic controller, drawing lines with your finger setting the course of the planes to land safely. Again, like with Plague. Inc, the big screen is your best bet. Flight control has been ported to the PS3 and it plays great.

 

5. Fruit Ninja

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And alternatively Fruit Slice which is free, are two classic smart-phone games, that somehow I always find five to ten minutes to play, when I want to do something silly and instantly satisfying, and take my mind away from not so pleasant thoughts. From what I know Fruit Ninja has been ported to the Xbox 360, but it doesn't support controller, it can only be played with Kinect.

6. Bottle Shoot

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Compared to the other games of the list, Bottle Shoot seems like crap, but personally I discovered the secret appeal that has to me the spectacle and particularly the sound of a glass bottle being shattered. I never had the need to do it in reality; on the contrary any glass object that breaks is a cause of upset to me. In this game somehow I like doing it all the time. Strange.

7. Jewels Star

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In my opinion it's by far the best alternative to Bejeweled 2. In fact it's way better, because it's free and it doesn't crash at the end of the game like Bejeweled 2.

8. Solitaire

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There are literally hundreds of Solitaire games on Android Market, but what I prefer is the Ken Magic version. Good looking, light and fluid.

9. Where is My Water?

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It's a clever and cute puzzle game, where your goal is to dig the ground with your finger in order to canalize the flow of the water, reach the shower pipe and allow to the cartoonistic crocodile to take his shower. Messing with water is also another guilty pleasure that pretty much all of us have I think.

10. Angry Birds

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A very known game and a very good one. Of all Angry Birds sequels and variations I think I prefer the original game. No strange physics, no demanding processor needed, no big screen, just the good old Angry Birds that you can play anytime and everywhere.

11. Dead Trigger

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I'm not a big fan of action games on hand-held devices, but that one is too good to just ignore it. Also it's free. If someone asked me how I would imagine a good zombie game on a mobile phone, I would say something exactly like Dead Trigger.