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On the "Rise of Incarnates" Alpha

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Got up this morning, was finally able to get into "Rise of Incarnates", a new arena brawler much like "Anarchy Reigns" by Namco Bandai. Tried out the tutorial, and this game really needs to be played with a controller. Certain games can be played with either or, but this one feels kind of awkward with a keyboard. I couldn't get into any matches (probably due to the time of day) but the tutorial was basic enough for me to get a feel. Even tried out the practice mode,which felt kind of basic. I'm sure there are more intricate mechanics with it, however with what you're taught in the tutorial it's not much. The graphics are nice, character models are kind of cool, definitely reminding me of "Anarchy Reigns" a.k.a. "Max Anarchy" for those who know it by the original title. Each character is different enough, there are only 4 in the alpha, probably will be more later. The transformation mechanic is pretty cool, allowing some varied combos and such. There is even a tag combo a player can execute, with their partner. It's flashy, it's awesome. There is only one map so far, one mode as well. On a keyboard it doesn't feel great, to be honest. It feels a bit too heavy.

Other than that, I can't tell the lifespan of the game or if people are going to be hyped about it. It's a cool game for sure, I'm liking what I experienced so far. Just the game needs more to give it life. What was one of the major draws for "Anarchy Reigns" for me was the sheer craziness of everything. Like the developers didn't hold anything back and explored all possibilities of modes. "Rise of Incarnates" has only a drop of certain things won't give it any longevity, based on the alpha. Still "Rise of Incarnates" is worth a look at. for it being in it's alpha stage. Just wish they'd allow players to explore more modes and maps. Another thing about the map is that it's pretty static and lifeless. No, I'm not asking for stuff flying everywhere, but at least something different besides "Ruined City No. 341".Of course there are going to be more characters, I'm not going to knock the alpha for that. But it's just kind of detrimental to have such a tight leash on it.

I'm kind of worried that people won't gravitate to it when there is something here, just it's not showing a bit more. Not giving everything is fine, sure, leave something to the imagination. But giving too little might not reel in more potential players.

It feels so lonely here.

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I love the new update to Gamespot. It looks cool, videos are in great quality, just it's hard to keep up with the wonderful people I've met on here now. With Fuse, it was so easy to comment and such. Sure it would go "BONK!" too much, but at least it was something. Nowadays, Gamespot seems barren, save for the forums which aren't all that great and not even that easy to keep up with.

The Gamespot design took many steps forward, but in the social aspect took too many steps back. I don't know if it will get any better or bring Fuse or some form of it back. But for now, I'll just keep gamespotting from the shadows.

Sweet, Sweet Card Game Loving

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           Title Image

 

        For the past I dont know how many years, Ive been quite the card toting warrior. Battling mostly friends and the occasional friendly match with a stranger in Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and good old Pokémon.  As I grew older, some of the games seemed less engaging. Pokémon felt stagnant and Yu-Gi-Oh!, well it had run its course for me. But MTG was always there for me, with something new and shiny (mostly shiny) and some new way to experience the game. In that horizon comes with a lot of fears and hopes.

            Now, all I play is Magic the Gathering, however Ive seen a vast emergence, I do use that word lightly, of trading card games. Some are physical but most are digital. Games like Rage of Bahamut, Cabal, Deity Wars, Shadow Era, Carte, the list goes on and on. People complain about the whole paying to win aspect of these digital card games. But thats what the card game is about, buying and trading cards to get ones to fit a players style or even just to collect. Personally Im a player and collector. Mobile card games, these are a very shady bunch. They require players to spend money on so few cards and have a very low chance of obtaining a really good ultra-rare card.

            Rage of Bahamut was the first one I tried. It was fun, but felt more like an RPG rather than a card game. The interphase was card focused but more on leveling monster cards, fusing them and enhancing them. To win against other players and quest bosses, it all came down to numbers. Is a players monster card team powerful enough to take on the enemy? It wasnt all that competitive, more recruitment based. A player joins a guild, randomly accepts or adds other players to get points to spend for free on card packs where they get an insane amount of the weakest monster in the game. Once in a blue moon getting any variety. Rage of Bahamut is not the only culprit, Deity Wars and other such games have the same model with a different paint of coat. I realize its all dependent on the player whether or not to spend money on them, really my fear is that this is what people are going to think of when they hear Trading Card Game. And in no absolute way is there any real player interaction other than people asking to trade and join their guild or be in their friend list, for the sole purpose of increasing their own wealth. No hate to those games listed beforehand just business practices like that really hurt the honor of the card game. (I think that sounds like a martial arts movie)

            Some people complain of expansion packs for card games and how its hard to get into them with so much that has already been released. I will agree with them, but offer the alternative of wikis and guides, as well as asking other people. The card game community isnt based on elitism; people are generally nice during matches and when spectating. Also they do offer trial decks at comic shops.

            As mentioned before there are digital card games that do not suffer the whole money-grabbing tactics of the companies. Hero Mages, is a bit like Dungeons  & Dragons. Shadow Era, does have an in game currency but it offers the RPG feel where you duel characters and after you win you get experience and gold. As you level up you get 25 shadow crystals, the currency needed to buy packs and digital card sleeves. What Shadow Era does right is that it doesnt require too much money to be put into it. Players can sell cards they used shadow crystals for to gain gold from the merchant. Then can purchase cards using that gold. So it balances itself out, players dont feel to shamed to be putting money into it. That system also gets rid of any feeling of rushing players to buy more now. Carte, a pc only card game, had a great system, brilliant card art, but failed in the marketplace. It was easy to get single cards in the game. But packs required a lot of cash, and when it was just starting out it was an overload of packs and cards. And for a digital game it didnt have much of a tutorial or guide on buying cards, it felt that way. Digital card games cant make players feel too overwhelmed to buy or purchase in bulk at once just to enjoy the game.

            With Pokémon not doing so well in sales from what I gather. Yu-Gi-Oh!, is still going to be around, even if it isnt as strong as before. Magic, need I say more? There is a young cub entering the card game ring. Cardfight Vanguard, or simply Vanguard to players, it has the same humble beginnings as Yu-Gi-Oh!, where players play the game thats played in the anime. Only one difference makes Vanguard more interesting is that if a person watches the anime, they actually learn the real rules. This really impressed me from watching nearly all of Yu-Gi-Oh!, with most of the stuff they do that really isnt in the actual game. Cardfight Vanguard, follows a fantasy story in a reality setting, but puts the card game as a card game not the means to saving the world or sucking away peoples souls. The card games in the anime do get pretty tense, I was watching them as if they were real games. Not wanting to spoil the plot or story but it is highly recommended. Watching the anime made me go through nostalgia with Yu-Gi-Oh!, and I have been considering purchasing a starter deck or two to check it out. Its fan base has been growing since last inquiring about it. Im actually glad that another well-crafted card game can stand up to Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Pokémon, while its basically in the infantile stage. 

               Cardfight Vanguard    

 

            Card games are going through a massive change now that phones and tablets can handle a lot more now. People are missing a lot of good stuff with these Ponzi scheme built mobile games, and are being cheated on most (not all obviously) digital card games. The ratio of getting foils and rare cards drops significantly because its computer based. Shadow Era, for the record has a good ratio for getting good cards and being able to profit from useless ones is good. One game I should have addressed is Eye of Judgment for the Playstation 3, and that one just failed. It seemed like a good idea, had potential but didnt quite get enough people. There is another game called Elemental Monster Online. $5 gets you a booster pack of 24 cards, it seems decent.

 

 Shadow Era  (Shadow Era is a bit reminicent of MTG, but with a class focused twist.)

Of course within card games and gaming itself people are going to have to give in some money to buy cards. Its a matter of Is it worth my time to get better at this game? As with any competitive game there are tricks and the like to use. No person should feel burdened to buy a card pack or two, rather fell excited to buy something new to see what they can get and a new deck to utterly own against their opponents. Hopefully Vanguard can stand the test of time and be in the big leagues. And when that happens, I want to be right in the fray. 

Random Video Game Mash Up (A test)

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           Lately there have been games that have been video game franchises crossing over with each other. Street Fighter with Tekken, Left 4 Dead is supposedly crossing with Resident Evil. Also there was the Street Fighter X Megaman mash up game, which was honestly pretty cool. Curious as I am, I wonder what other video game franchises would cross well with each other even if they appear to be pretty random and or out of place. There is a lot of possibilities but I will just be doing this as a test to see how my ideas flesh out. Without any further ado, here is a possible crossover I thought up.

            Megaman X + Metal Gear Rising + Strider= Strider Cross : Rebirth

            I was watching a Lets Play of Strider 2 along with another LP of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance and I got to seeing a possible mixture of these two. Sad to say we havent seen a revival of the Strider franchise in recent years. A game called Moon Diver does make a good attempt to pay homage to it though.

            Gameplay: It would be just like the Strider games, side scrolling slash em up. Only with a bit of a Megaman flair. From bosses a player would get powers and special upgradable outfits as well as weapons from major bosses. It would be as fast as Metal Gear Rising, with a parry mechanic that would be easy to learn yet difficult to master for bosses. Each boss comes with a main and substitute weapon drop, allowing players to fully customize Striders weapons as well as his outfit as each main weapon will determine the main look while substitute weapons will change smaller accessories and added armaments. One can save  outfit/weapon sets and switch between them in a small menu during gameplay opening players to a certain degree of freedom in playing with various weapons. There will be melee, ranged, and specialty weapons and items. Strider will have his staple robotic animal companions at his side.

            Graphics: Strider, foreground, and enemies will be in a sweet anime cell shaded style, while the background will be in crisp high resolution graphics. Reason for this is to give an interesting contrast between foreground and background. So that nothing seems to merely blend in. Strider himself will dawn a new sleek cyborg outfit, because cyborg suits are in this year.

            This has been a small taste, I do have another one that involves Magic the Gathering, but I may hold off on that one. 

Console MMOs : Unwanted Love Child or Prodigy of Gaming (Part 2)

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In my last part, I talked about and named off MMOs that were on consoles. And how they fared. This time, I will talk about reasons why there should be more. As well as the pros and cons of C.MMOs.

First off, people rather play MMOs on computers. Some find it simpler and easier to download on their computer while doing other things on their computer or even their console waiting for it to finish. Mouse and keyboard are just what most MMO players are used to. Granted a controller does do well if the game is tailored to that certain mode of gameplay. Having a mouse and keyboard game but using a controller will feel odd, naturally.

Action and gameplay. DC Universe did a fine job at offering weapon combos along with quickly activated skills to mix up battle making it feel fast and intense. Though having a more slower and calmer paced MMO wouldn't be so bad. It would certainly make a person think clearer about what to do next rather than just wanting to get the enemy's health bar down or healing. Which is the problem DCUO faces. It's cut up into the bare bone of classes "Tank", "Heal", "Buff/DeBuff". That's it. Simplicity is fine but having something so bland causes problems in terms of character development.

Installation is also a major issue. Installing a game on a computer is no problem. On a console it varies. DC Universe online took me about 7-8 hours to download/install. Which was quite a lot of waiting but the overall game was worth it. Im pretty sure if I had the disk (I downloaded it from the Playstation Store) it would have been much fasterprobably. Also on a console you cant do anything else but stare at the slowly crawling installation bar.

Its quite a lonely market at the moment. There arent many console MMOs out there. DCUO is one and one could add The Lord of the Rings Guardians of Middle Earth being the first MOBA game to hit consoles. And the ones coming out are pretty far away, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and my personal favorite Blade and Soul. Blade and Soul is out in Korea on pc at the moment but there hasnt been any news of a North American or European release date yet. Thus without much competition there arent many clamoring for the top console MMO title. So its open for any willing to try.

Subscriptions. Now people who want to play a game with a subscription have every right to pay however much the game costs monthly. However, on a console the situation is a bit different. People usually are not going to pay monthly for a game on a console, even if it is an MMO. Also having a free-to-play model coupled with micro transactions also makes players feel a bit relieved of the stress of having to pay to play. Personally Im okay with micro transactions; I can get what I need when I need it without having to put in more- money while having to pay for what I need. Free-to-play is the new way to go, its just a nice gift to gamers so they can play the game, enjoy it, and put money into it if they want/need to. And usually its the latter reason that has many playing Free-to-play MMOs.

Console MMOs offer easier access for players who dont have a powerful enough computer to run the PC version. It allows a pretty much ignored player base to experience the game and have a unique MMO experience. It would be epic to see TERA Online or some other MMOs on consoles. I remember reading in Game Informer awhile back that Perfect World Entertainment was considering putting Jade Dynasty on consoles, but seems that was just an idea. Way to crush my dreams P.W.E.

A new way to play for gamers. Having controller based combos along with the usual skills greatly opens up a whole new means of deepening class and player skill. One person may play a tank differently than another. As seen with DCUO, players can mix a wide range of weapons and powers together in unique ways that makes everyone feel quite original to a point.

Leveling and character progression in terms of skills. C.MMOs shouldn't have to rush players to reach max level only to find that they have to grind money to get more gear. There should be a balance of fun with progression instead of pushing players to keep playing and finding themselves at max level with little to do.

Fear of failure. Many developers are probably pretty unsure of how players would feel about their MMO going from PC to console or going straight to console. It would be great to see more MMOs on consoles really. That fear and uncertainty is warranted. There are many things that could make gamers shy of playing a console MMO, besides the usual They are better on PC argument. Not to mention glitches. No one likes glitches in a game, and sad to say some MMOs post-launch do suffer from glitches still but people still play them because they are enjoyable.

Console MMOs are few and far between, it is a very open genre that has potential really. If an MMO is done well enough to work on a controller and run spectacularly on a console then its worth the merit to be played. Developers shouldnt be afraid to port their MMOS to consoles or even make console specific MMOs, it is certainly something worth venturing in. For now the world can only wait and imagine what the future of this genre has, and enjoy what has already been offered.

Console MMOs : Unwanted Love Child or Prodigy of Gaming (Part 1)

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Certainly there have been a lot of MMOs. And by a lot I mean you could probably take three weeks naming all of them while only taking a few bathroom breaks. To some these are a cavalcade of entertainment and deep fun. To others they are seen as an annoyance and a waste of time. For many years, MMO companies have invited players into their world to make a virtual life and even carve their virtual names into these worlds. Forging alliances, killing monsters, and even killing other players for the pure fun of it. Many actually have forgotten or don't even realize that there are actually worlds like these on consoles. And this is where I will try to see if MMOs can work on consoles or if they are just destined to be exclusive to PCs. Brandish your steel, charge your mana, drink your potions, and refine your gear. It's time to jump right into this.

Throughout the years gamers have enjoyed Massively Multiplayer Online games or MMO to the lay person. There are a countless number of these open world, dungeon instanced worlds catering to small, fairly big, or insanely huge community. Many tire of these MMOs cluttering the game library, others are begging for more and something fresh.

There have been few MMOs to grace the presence of consoles, many have tried. Few have succeeded in gaining a following worthy of keeping the game alive. Here is where I try to figure out if the gaming community is ready or willing to accept the newest addition to console MMOs: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. For all intent and purposes I will shorten console MMOs to C.MMOs.

One of the problems with C.MMOs, is that they take forever to install. And I mean forever. Back on the good old PS2 there were 2 console MMOS, and on the XBOX 360 there was one, which was on the PS2 as well. The first I shall talk about is Everquest, a console based MMO that didnt really see much life. Based off of the acclaimed RPG, this little number did what many would consider revolutionary however not many seemed to care. Never really heard or saw anyone play it, save for my at the time step brother who had it and allowed me to try it. It was okay, at the time I wasnt really big into MMO games. And was rather sad that I was the only one running around when it is meant to be an MMO. Thing about PS2 online games was that it required a broadband cable to hook up to the internet. If you didnt have one, well the game was pretty much taking up space.

Another console MMO on the good old PS2 was of course Final Fantasy XI, many remember this one gloriously giving Final Fantasy fans their communal kick, being able to do away with monsters and all sorts of enemies using the turn based battle system but with friends! Again this one really didnt do well on consoles as people didnt really want to pay a subscription for it and have to buy the broadband cable to be able to even play it for their PS2s. Xbox 360 owners were graced with XBL. To keep on Final Fantasy XI the Xbox 360, with a hefty installation process (installing an open world so huge does take time), this version did manage to get a big community, even with expansions. Also the game is still running even while the next MMO is in development. This proves that C.MMOs can work and be successful.

DC Universe Online, is the most recent even if it has come out a few years ago, and it has done very well itself. Being a PS3 exclusive game it has gathered quite a following after changing its subscription fee to Free-to-Play. Being a regular player with about 4 characters on the game, it does a very good job at keeping combat its main focus while adding platform gameplay with world exploration. Each weapon has a combo that has to be unlocked with skill points as well as power points for new powers for a players hero/villain. It has bugs but it still does its job.

In the next part, I'll look at the reasons why C.MMOs are may have a hard time and why it would be nice to see more.

MGSR: Revengeance Demo (A quick look)

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A day or so ago, I bought my copy of "Zone of the Enders HD Collection" happily ethused to relive one of my favorite mecha games. On the box was an advertisement for the "Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance" demo. At first, I wasn't too excited or even all that curious. But after playing a bit of "Z.O.E." I figured well might as well give it a try. As a note/disclaimer, I do not know -anything- about Metal Gear lore or the story. Just to make sure fans of the series are not mad at me for this. I had to do some digging for names and such.

The demo is on the disk but requires an install from the disk. As it is a hefty 3,000+ MB for installation. That alone made my eyes go wide. I was sure in for a nice, decently lengthened demo. It takes a few minutes to install and all. One thing to note is that the demo is -not- standalone. Meaning you need the "Z.O.E. HD" disk to run it. Also, another surprise. I tilted my head thinking "Well, I guess since it was on the disk to install it needs the disk to run it." A bit peculiar, nonethless I ventured forth into the "MGSR: Revengeance" title screen.

Raiden, cybernetic tech sword wielding assassin, his eye ablaze with red as the title screen glazes in front of him. For a title screen it's pretty awesome. Certainly made me excited. It was then I realized why the demo requires the disk because the visuals are stunning, much like MGS 4.

The demo gives an option for difficulty, since I had no confidence to go on "normal" I chose "easy". The game opens up with a text screen lightly touching what Raiden has been up to since Metal Gear Solid 4. I merely surmised that from what I had seen from cutscenes of MGS 4. Anyway the game opens with a first person view of a training room and a man named "Boris" giving Raiden the heads up of his training as he has to get a feel for his new shiny cybernetic body. Boris, I have to say, looks like Haggar from Final Fight, just with a really awesome Russian accent. Seriously, he does. Anyway, he instructs the player on how to use Blade Mode. Which I must say, is difficult at first. It takes some getting used to. In the training area there is the famous watermelon slicing demo previewed in the first "MGSR: Revengeance" trailer, which is fun to try out. The controls feel tight, regular sword swings and heavy kicks with hidden feet blades feel powerful and pack a good wallop. After finishing it graded my performance then I was introduced to a cutscene.

Here they introduce Boris in his full form, Kevin and Courtney. Kevin is the African American joker of the group. He seems pretty cool, certainly lightens the mood of the seriousness. Courtney, the busty blonde data analyst of the group, who doesn't have much of a personality. She seems sweet and the innocent one among them. And "Doktor", a scientist who likes getting his hands on left arms of cyborg enemies for their intel in exchange he gives Raiden upgrades. As all of this goes on Raiden is strapped into a large plane that is carrying him to his target location where they think his nemesis might show up, and Raiden comments he will be ready. After reaching the island, where Raiden makes a pretty epic arrival jumping onto some water as it slowly splashes and falls around him while he quickly jumps again onto the mainland.

Boris introduces the codec menu, where players can upgrade and save through Courtney. After some platforming the first group of enemies shows up unexpectedly showing off their Predator-inspired invisible stealth camouflage. Combat with actual NPCs is quite a treat, seeing their animations as they are hit. And their reactions to being chopped up into small bits in blade mode is really awesome. One thing to note, enemies will have a red square eminating in blade mode that when sliced through a player will have a button prompt to rip out their spine then Raiden will crush it to replenish health. This is something I find to be delightfully brutal as well as in interesting mechanic. After that short fight, another cutscene where Kevin jokes off and questions Raiden's morality by reminding him cyborgs are still human. Raiden quickly refutes that by saying that if they kill innocents for money then they deserve it. Quite noble and heroic. For a cyborg ninja assassin.

And the demo continues and introduces an AR mode where Raiden can see all of his enemies, as to give a sense of tactical maneuvering between enemies. It looks cool, but I didn't feel this sense of tactical need as it was very easy to just dispatch everyone, and when I did attack someone everyone else was alerted.

Another one of the bipedal anemies from MGS 4 returns and just as big. Here they introduce the pary move, which requires timing and good timing at that.

Continuing on, Raiden enters a building and hears a voice. Suddenly the walls are cut by a chainsaw that barely misses his chin. Here the boss for the demo is revealed a certain prototype of Crying Wolf with hyper intelligence tells Raiden it is here to well kill Raiden. This scene is particularly interesting as Raiden and the talking Crying Wolf have a sort of existential debate over the meaning of life. It's quick and doesn't last long but it's quite funny.

This fight is pretty tough, as the Crying Wolf protoype leaps back and forth with nimble grace and speed. His chainsaw tail whips with fury. Damage him enough and he will retreat calling in back up. Which is a good opportunity to get some health if Raiden falls low on health. After slicing his health low enough, the player will be prompted with a button press prompt that gives the really gratifying finishing blow. Thus ending the demo.

The game does feel pretty smooth. Raiden can only jump once, but there might be a double jump in the final product. As I said, as a person with no knowledge of Metal Gear, the game does seem pretty fun. There can't be any final verdict as it was a demo. Hopefully a downloadable one will be released soon. Until then, I'm fairly impressed by what I experienced and can only hope that the actual game satisfies fans of the Metal Gear franchise.

Favorite game Original Soundtracks

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Favorite Video game Soundtracks

I recently went through all of my CDs and looked at all of the anime and video game soundtracks I collected and started to listen to my favorite tracks from all of them, nearly 8 years of video game music stored and treasured. So I figured I would list and explain why which ones are my favorite. For fairness sake, I will not be mentioning any ?Final Fantasy? soundtracks because well they are all awesome, and it would be easy to say something about the musical talents of Nobuo Uematsu.

The Legend of Dragoon OST

This is one of my favorite OSTs of all reason being that it comes from one of my favorite RPGs of all time. I actually spent around $25 for this because I couldn?t find it anywhere close, and my love for the game and it?s music compelled me to buy it. Listening to each track brought back memories of each boss fight, character meetings, and even specific conversations in the game. Being in the PS1 era there were not many vocal tracks in this game. However the ending song ?If You Still Believe? always brings a tear to my eye at how emotional and lovely the lyrics and singing are. The rest of the game?s instrumentals are strung with perfection, it is hard to find a song that one will dislike. Only drawback is that all songs are fairly short. Maybe 1-2 minutes long, however the CD was made a long time ago and it has all 50 tracks packed on one disk, so it balances it. Definitely worth listening to even on YouTube.

Chrono Cross OST

When ?Chrono Cross? came out, I never got a chance to play it really. It looked awesome from the trailers and from what I saw when my cousin played it. Years later I get a chance to play it and I was amazed by how everything just fit well with ?Chrono Trigger?. The cast of characters was awesome, kind of sad really modern RPGs have no less than one or a handful of characters when in the old days there were secret characters and a cast well over 20. Anyway, back to the soundtrack, it really captures that seaside majesty and mystical time paradoxes of the game. Much like ?The Legend of Dragoon? OST, songs used for environments really capture and emulate their majesty, and compliment the overall feel of the game very well. Also this game has one catchy opening song! If I could dance to it I would. Also this game had an awesome ending song. All 4 disks are packed with grand instrumentals and soft piano ballads to calm the soul. Very lovely and very beautiful.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night

Okay, I?ve played quite a few of the Castlevania games. They always had quite powerful tracks in them. But none of them stood out to me quite like ?Symphony of the Night?. This really made playing the game more beautiful. Each note accents every little detail in Dracula?s dark and danger riddled castle very well. The epic boss tracks really increased the intensity for the battles. This one had 2 vocal tracks, one in English and one in Japanese both were great. Definitely a good collector?s item if one collects video game soundtracks. If organs and dark gothic tones are your thing, this game and it?s soundtrack are well worth playing.

The World Ends With You OST

A friend of mine came up to me with this game and said ?You have to buy this game! Purely for the music!? I was a little skeptical at first but I remembered that he never would steer me on the wrong path. He played a bit for me and I was amazed at this music. So we instantly go to the nearest store and I pick up my own copy. What really surprised me about the game was, the soundtrack had full vocal tracks as the starting music. I was so used to games having about 1 or 2 vocal tracks, but pretty much the whole soundtrack is like that. What also stood out was that I could change the song to when I opened up the menu. Also the game would change unlocked tracks at random when either exiting the menu or in a new area. This made the game feel like you?re listening to someone?s playlist on shuffle, which is cool and very unique. This soundtrack really captured the feeling of being in Shibuya, the lyrics for the songs, even hearing the chatter of the residents as the song plays made it feel alive to a sense. It was so much fun hearing the soundtrack just walking around exploring and even in battles. There are two versions of it out, one is the original the other is a collection of awesome remixes. Sadly I don?t have the remix version yet. But it is available on Itunes.

Kingdom Hearts OSTs

These are on here for the fact they actually remix some of my favorite Disney songs pretty well. And that one of my favorite J-pop artists is on there just solidifies it?s list on my favorite OST list.

Skyrim OST

I know, I know, Skyrim?s been talked about over and over, so I will keep it brief. This soundtrack is hard not to get out of your mind. The music sticks with you as you?re playing the game and even afterward. ?Sovrngarde? is my favorite track of all. Just the powerful chorus sends chills down my spine. It?s really an epic song.

Max Anarchy (Anarchy Reigns) OST

Though the game was released in Japan and delayed until March of 2013 for the North American release, I was able to obtain a copy of the soundtrack. And much like ?The World Ends with You? features a full vocal track that?s full of pumping beats surely to get your mood pumped for playing the game. I?m not much of a fan of rap or hip-hop to be honest. But this soundtrack I actually like, the rap/hip-hop track is actually good. The trailer song ?Here We Go? just made me go ?OMG, I have to play this game!? Then I hunted down the rest of the tracks and suddenly got the whole OST. All of the songs are pretty catchy and groove worthy.

So that is my list of my favorite video game soundtracks, there were going to be more. I'll have to hunt those down actually and make a part 2. Anyway, Signing out! <3

Breaking the Seal : C9 (Continent of the Ninth) Open Beta Thoughts

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Breaking the Seal : C9: Continent of the Ninth Open Beta Thoughts

I am not going to lie nor deny that I love MMOs. Not many people like them or get tired that the video game industry is literally crawling with free-to-play games. And it?s hard to find the right ones that appeal to everyone. With the current release of TERA (The Exiled Realm of Arborea), DC Universe online, and Vindictus, MMOs broke new ground with a more action oriented play style. Now it seems everyone is getting in the mix.

Story:

Enter C9: Continent of the Ninth Seal, a world fraught with hulking monsters and dangerous traps. Much has not been going well in the world of Glenhiem, monsters are overrunning cities and it?s up the new recruits to put a stop to their infestation. It?s pretty much the same thing you?ve heard many a time. MMOs never really have a good story as their selling point but try to engross people in them.

Character Creation

Character creation is okay. Only gripe is there isn?t enough faces. Only about 3 with small variations, however they do have tattoos that can be placed on the face to make each character a bit more unique so that balances out the lack of actual different faces a little. To note it was pretty awesome seeing Heath Ledger?s Joker make up under the tattoo tab. ?giggles-

Tried to go for a Native American look for her

Your first few steps:

The game opens up with an in-game cinematic which is surprisingly well?dull. You see a huge beast with his minions attacking helpless soldiers. And your character ends up meeting their class trainer who guides them through the basics of combat (which will be talked about in detail more). Then after rescuing a main character?s sister and fending off remaining monsters you are then transported to the main city of Waterford and begin you quests to well do what you do in any other MMO.

Combat:

Here is the glimmer of awesome about this game, it?s combat is much like Vindictus where you use ?WASD? to move the camera is controlled with the mouse and attacks are used with left and right clicks. However C9 does something different where there are also number keys to use skills as well as ?Command? skills which are skills used a combination of mouse clicks and ?WASD?. Combining command skills and number keys is a very unique mechanic. The game offers tutorials you get from your class trainer. The tutorials do offer experience once they are completed. If you fail don?t worry, you?ll get the timing and button presses down to a nice smooth rhythm. Boss battles are challenging at times. Leaving you to figure out when to strike and when to read your opponent?s movements carefully.

Classes:

There are Hunters, who use bows. Fighters, who use short swords and shields. Shamans, who combine magic and staffs. As well as the unique dual wielding-magic-flinging, Witchblade class. I chose the Witchblade class for my first character for obvious reasons and a Shaman as my second. Both do feel different in how combos are pulled off as well as their dodge animations. There is a Berserker class coming out, which for the Open Beta either they forgot to put him in or are implementing him later. Also Classes are gender locked, so if you want to play as a male Witchblade, you?re out of luck.

Shaman characters combine powerful spells with bone crunching combos

Graphics:

They are surprisingly nice for a game that can run on Windows XP (which is the minimum requirement to run the game). Colors are very vibrant. Textures are nice and glossy. Animations are fluid as characters transition from one animation to the next. Environments are small which give you time to look at the details and such.

Quests:

Quests take place in dungeons, all with varying difficulty of Easy to Master. Completing a dungeon leads to a screen with your rating in various areas such as skill and amount of kills. Ratings are important as they are dependent on how many keys you get to unlock chests for some equipment. A rating of ?Good? which is the standard rating only gives 2 but anything above gives more. Once finished you can restart the dungeon or you can return to town. The fact you can restart if one is easier is a nice addition to farm items and gold. It is possible to find a party to bring along. I didn?t bother since the ones I am on now are a bit simple. But I am guessing once I get to a higher level I?m going to need some other people to help me out.

Sound:

Hearing swords rip across enemies and magic dazzling them with surprise is a treat. The music is very well done. But if anyone is not a fan of power rock will probably want to turn the sound down. Voice acting is great. I was fairly surprised it was done well. Even the character voices are pretty cute.

Overall:

It?s a fun game. Combat feels like second nature once you get used to combos and such. Boss battles are fun and provide excellent challenges. The community at the moment is littered with gold bots trying to make a sale. Which can be a bit annoying. Gear is a bit overpriced. Even if you do get them from quests, they are way too overpriced. My mouth dropped at how expensive they were. I still haven?t completed my armor set so hopefully I will get my last piece through a quest. So far C9 has really impressed me. It?s like a free version of TERA almost, even though I really wanted to play TERA. So sad my computer can?t handle it, which is good about C9, if one doesn?t have the capabilities to run TERA then C9 is a good place to experience the thrill. I look forward to seeing what C9 has to hold in the future. Only flaws are what the usual MMO cons are. It?s worth taking a look at if fast paced MMOS are what you?re looking for.

Rewrite, It's not over until the fans smile.

by on

Honestly, I've never fully played a Mass Effect game, I played one for sure. The system and story are excellent. So with the release of the third installment, I got really curious and started watching all of the videos and reading everything about it. Just because I can't play a game doesn't mean I can't be interested in it, right? Anyway, so I heard about the ending of Mass Effect 3 inciting a riot amongst fans. I am here to explore and give my opinion as a gamer and as an aspiring writer. Call me naïve for not knowing all the details about Mass Effect, I don't mind, this is merely a look at what could become of game storytelling and endings.

Now, why would an ending do such a thing? I mean, sure there are endings I didn't quite approve of in some games. So, being a spoily spoilerson, I watched the endings for Mass Effect 3 on YouTube. And I have to say, they were surprising. Note this is coming from a person who knows very little of the Mass Effect story and universe. But I enjoyed the endings; they were certainly emotional and very cinematic. And yes they were sad, I was moved by every single moment in each scene.

What I don't get is people's complaints. At first I didn't quite know why they were raging over the endings. It wrapped up the story a bit. I would like to know what happened to rest of the crew, as in who died, who managed to make it, so many questions. Thinking about why and how people complain about endings prods my mind a bit. It makes developers feel pressured to make an ending suited for the player rather than the story. Sure, we as games immerse ourselves into the world of the game we play. We feel we are the character in the game. But we forget that the game is still a narrative. Yes, we have control over it. But there is a set outcome. Complaining about an ending is warranted yes, but it is also a slap in the face to the writer or writers too. They took the time to finish a grand epic tale, in these ways. Do gamers have to like them know? Should the developers change it? I feel they don't have to. If a story is written how it's supposed to be there shouldn't be a need to change it. Going back and explaining things, that makes sense. Such as, where did "so-and-so" go here or what happened at this place at this certain time. That I can understand. But for the development team to change it feels like they are saying "Oh we made a mistake. The masses don't like the ending." Having an ending appeal to the majority is hard. It's not easy. Think if J.K. Rowling changed the ending for Harry Potter. That would be a huge mistake since the story is already over. That's also what fans of Mass Effect need to get. It's already over, the story is done. Now that the development team is considering changing it, the feel of everything will change and it will be askew. That's like telling a story finishing the ending then once the audience cries distracting them by saying, "Oh no, no! That didn't happen here is what really happened!" Then you got smiling faces but a story that lost its luster from the original ending.

I am not saying the original endings for Mass Effect were good or bad. Just saying the writers felt that it was best. It was dramatic, epic and it was pretty well done to me. People have a right to say it sucks, they have a right to complain, but to issue a change, is unnecessary. There were loads of games with "bad" endings, and that was the only one you got. Mass Effect has multiple ones. Some games even teased at a potential new game that never came. I can understand why people complain, they felt their choices really didn't matter all that much, character bonds broken in a last ditch effort to save humanity. I get that. Just, does a game ending have to be sugar and rainbows? Does have to be necessarily "happy"? There were games where they didn't make sense. Granted the Mass Effect ending confused me, I didn't know what some characters were talking about and at that one final dialogue, I just went with it.

In all summation, people will complain about the ending, and those who wanted it to change got their wish. Just, there really didn't need to be a change to something that had already ended. Fans have a right to be happy. But over something that ultimately the developers and writing staff have control over. It is bit trivial. And I feel sorry for those who have to work day and night to change what they feel was the right decision. Now if an ending or even a cutscene for that matter doesn't quite fit with gamers' expectations or likes then developers are going to have hell to pay to get what we as a community consider to be "right" or "fair" in any aspect of a game. Be it mechanics, character design, what have you. This what is happening with Mass Effect could ultimately reverberate within the gaming community as a staple of "What not to do for your game" or "How to not write an ending that people will hate". Even though, ultimately the final decision is up to them on how it all ends. Could storytelling be doomed in gaming? Or is this just one incident that can be learned from both gamers and developers? We'll see, but I hope that developers decided to keep what they originally planned. An artist creates not for their audience but for themselves, to take out the self of art, then what is it?

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