How long should it last ?

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Certainly the issue has been addressed before, but last weekend I had the time to give it some extra thought as I compared my experiences with two games: Limbo and Alice - Madness Returns.

It's safe to say they're both artistic games, meaning the scenarios, character design and maybe even sound offers more than technical prowess, they're also beautiful.

Even if they're of different styles, both games provide an aesthetic satisfaction to the gamer. Sure, it's a game, you want to beat it it, you want challenges, but you also get the extra bonus of artistic creation. It goes without saying that one's allowed not to enjoy those games and not to have any sort of satisfaction from their artistic side, but then one's money would definitely be better spent elsewhere.

I bought both games dirty cheap on a Steam sale, their price did not differ that much. So, in theory, I should expect the same sort of satisfaction. I had a good time playing Alice, the game play is not bad as in the reviews I get to read, but the puzzles and the battles tend to repeat themselves. Even after I've managed to show the game that I've mastered a given puzzle or enemy type, it kept throwing them at me, without mercy. I pressed on because I wanted to see what would happen to Alice, how would the Queen look, not to be given the same enemies to slice or the same puzzles to solve. It felt like padding, as if the game was trying to accomplish the minimum number of hours not to be considered a rip off. After all, it was a released as a $49 game.

Limbo is a three hour journey. Its puzzles rarely repeat themselves and either present a whole new mechanic or build upon a previous one. When it ended, I was sort of surprised and decided to replay it for the Easter eggs.

I do prefer games to be short and intense experiences rather than long journeys and nothing is worse, for me, than boredom while playing a game. Even if I had bought Alice for $49, I would not have desired it to last its long 14 hours and would have been satisfied with maybe half or even a third of this length, because then the game would have been a stream of new mechanics, enemy types and scenarios. I'm not buying a time card, I'm paying to have a great time.

As for Limbo, I was surprised to see it has a lot of programmers, animators etc. A lot of people involved in its simplicity. It's indie but it's by no means a two men project and even though it had the manpower, it did not try to overstay its welcome, to give me "more bang for my buck".

I liked both games but I wish Alice was shorter and presented its content without that much repetition. Sometimes I read on reviews a complaint that some game is short and I'm baffled. What's the problem in having a short ride? Does the $49 or $59 mean at least 25 hours of game play? Is it like the times when we were kids ad had to present a paper of at least 7 pages?

I am alone in my preference?

New Horror Game

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We don't get a lot of horror games these days. Not survival horror ones at least. We can enjoy the atmosphere of Dark Souls, get a thrill from the excellent combat of Dead Space 2 and experience Lovecraftian horror on Amnesia but the good and old days of the iron pipe, flashlight and shotgun seem to belong to the past.

Until last weekend that is! I bought, installed and started to play Alan Wake on the PC. It was on sale on GOG.com (Good Old Games), bundled with the still unreleased sequel. What a great game. I'm still on the second chapter, having played roughly three hours or so.

It perfectly mixes between its plot - movies and in game items - and the action. It runs smoothly on my PC, the graphics are really nice and the environment, atmosphere and the whole feel of the game are great. I'm playing it in small chunks so I can fully enjoy the experience, lights out and headset.

I do recommend it to horror and survival horror fans. Silent Hill material here.

Last, I do know the new Silent Hill has been released, I just did not have the chance to play it. Who am I kidding... I'm waiting for the game to go to Steam so I can get it for under $20 in a couple of years.

As we're talking about future releases... anyone tried Umbrella Chronicles yet? Dead Island (not that new but I still haven't played).

Oh, this is the new "last", am I the only one excited for the Binding of Isaac update?

Impressions on recently played games

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I played a few new titles lately and I want to share my impressions with you guys. First, I'd like to recommend Metro 2033 for all PC gamers. It's a first person shooter with a compelling storyline, interesting characters and a very detailed background. Definitely worth checking out, specially considering its current price range. One of the few shooters that focused on the single player experience and did not bother to include a generic death match option.

Still on the PC front, I've been playing a bit of Civilization V. A lot has changed since Civ IV and gone are the Stack of Death (SoD) and the Infinite City Sprawl (ICS) tactics, espionage and the ability to change government at will, along with a few key concepts. Such a major change can't please everyone but the game is worth checking, specially for the new combat and the idea of city states.

Going to consoles but keeping a foot on PC, I had a good time playing Singularity. This FPS was clearly inspired on Bioshock and even though the story is not the best I've experienced, it offersgritty and well presented scenarios, competent shooting mechanics and interesting time bending powers.

Last, for all horror fans that do not mind a bit of crude humour on their zombie slaying fun, I'd recommend Dead Rising 2. I know, it's nothing more than killing hordes of zombies with anything from scissors to chainsaws but it's worth trying. It's not that it fails to provide a horror atmosphere, it doesn't even try. I did not like GS review on the game as it stresses the fact that your character can change clothes and dress like a woman. The game offers way more than a means to satisfy a secret desire to become a cross-dresser or to change your gender.

I'd be happy to talk more about each game should anyone post about it in the comments. I've also written reviews Metro, Dead Rising 2 and Amnesia, even though the latter was not a part of this blog.

Hentai + Tetris = Catherine

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When Catherine began its marketing campaign, I doubt anyone could tell that it was a puzzle game. It seemed to be more of an interactive story,a hentai-low-resolution-version of Heavy Rain. I mean, there were screenshots of weird dream like landscapes with goats, sheep and your goat horned half naked self. Apart from that, there were plenty of images of the young and hot Catherine.

It caught my attention, even though most games with such a focus are generally not that good. Well, I myself did not enjoy Oneechanbara, wouldn't try Beach Volleyball,Bikini Karate Babes or...well, one can get the picture.

Catherine seemed different. Mostly because of the treatment given by the publisher. I mean, it was being advertised months before release with teasers and such. I had the feeling it could be a weird triple A title, much like Shadows of The Damned.

I don't rememberwhen but I saw on a GameSpot show the game play for the first time. WTF! is the only expression that fully describes my feelings. I mean, it's a puzzle game. Come on, how can one not feel cheated? No one expected more of the title ? Something more related to the advertising material than a devilish baby or an ass with teeth and a tongue chasing you on the puzzle room ?

Sure, there's some sort of interactive story where you can decide if the main character remains faithful to Katherine or breaks up his engagement and fully enjoys his romance with Catherine but the game play itself, most of your time according to GS review, will be spent on the puzzle room.

I don't know.There are several flash based hentai games free on the Internet. I mean, the ones that unlock as you beat the puzzles. Anime and hentai can also be obtained cheaply on specialized sites.

I still don't understand the 8.5 rating, maybe it's a game one has to experience for oneself but $59.99 seems like a lot for softcore hentai and tetris.

My new friend

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Hey there!

After five long months of abstinence, I've finally caved in and purchased a brand new PS3. I say "caved in" because at the time my PS3 went down,I felt that three years were too short a time for a console and had decided not to buy a new one on the foreseeable future.

It turns out that I'm short sighted.In time, pressed by my abstinence from, and desire to play PS3 games, I began to realize that $299 wasn't too much for such a device, specially considering how much I'd have to spend replacing any component of my computer. Lousy excuses or not, I have a brand new and shiny 160gb Slim PS3.

I just fell in love with it again. The romance is renewed, the passion is rekindled.

I've downloaded Infamous and Dead Nation for free since I bought it just as the PSN came back and also started playing Marvel vs Capcom 3 (my 19th platinum).

I gotta say Dead Nation was a surprise. It's actually very good to blast zombies with the game's arsenal. Nothing really groundbreaking regarding the choice of weapons but it's the execution that stands out. Be sure to check my review once I upload it later this week.

Well, that's all for today. I'll be sure to come back this week and talk a bit more about E3 and some PC games I played before my PS3 arrived, a couple of ones I haven't reviewed and don't plan on.

Getting horror on the PC

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Hey there!

Gaming wise, I'm still focused on the PC since my PS3 is broken. I found a few helpful videos on YouTube detailing the necessary steps for replacing the thermal paste on the processor, which seems to work on most cases of red blinking light. I've ordered some thermal stuff online and will give my PS3 one last shot.

Well, I managed to get my horror fixeven without my PS3. Downfall is a solid horror adventure game, which has been brought to my attention by GS member Sky-ia some time ago. Not for the faint of heart but still very good, here's me review. I've also upload a few pictures if you're interested in checking the art 5tyle here. The game is available for digital download at gamersgate, here.

Cryostasis is a FPS with a heavy focus on exploration and storytelling. It's a horror story about an abandoned ship and is everything Echo Night Beyond (PS2) should have been. Just as in the PS2 title, you get to roam around in an eerie abandoned vessel, interacting the souls of the deceased,trying to uncover the events that lead to the crew's demise. I've written a reviewfor those interested, here.

Last, I've played Zombie Driver and Burn Zombie Burn, not actual horror titles but really fun to play for a couple of hours. Not bad for a horror / zombie fan with no PS3, eh ?

P.S. If you're into B horror movies, make sure to drop Stealthos a message and ask for a few tips. He sent me a couple of movie traillers last time we talked on STEAM that are still haunting me on my sleep.

Changing habits

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My PC gets all of my gaming attention these days. With the sad departure of my PS3, I've moved away from the couch back to my desk chair.

I had the chance to play more of The Witcher, renewed my WoW subscription and found the time to try a few more games that I bought last Christmas.

Sadly, Penumbra: Requiem was a disappointment. Instead of moving the story forward and improving the game play and atmosphere, the developers decided to turn the game into a series of meaningless puzzles devoid of enemies or a story. I'm kinda skeptical about their new game now, Amnesia, as I really did not like Requiem.

The Witcher is a great game! It's not everyday that you play a RPG for hours and still want more. I do recommend it for RPG fans who enjoy games with a solid plot and mature storyline.

I've reviewed both games and a couple more titles if anyone's interested, just check my contributions section.

I'm not planning on buying a new PS3 for now. I had finished God of War 3, still had 4-5 titles to play but I'm not sure if it's worth getting a new machine. Compared to a PC, a PS3 is relatively cheap but it can't be fixed as easily and the broken parts can't be replaced, well, at least not by me.

Maybe when Dark Souls (a.k.a. Demon Souls 2) gets released I'll change my mind. In the meantime, I'll just get games like Dead Space 2 on the PC. I just hope the new Silent Hill also comes to my desktop.

Red Blinking Light

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Yup, that's what my PS3 has been signalling me since last night. I was in the middle of the Titan's Challenge in GoW3 when the game froze and the PS3 turned off on its own. After that, when I tried to turn it back on, all I get from it is a sad beep and a red blinking light.

The Internet provides countless guides to solve many problems but this specific issue is plagued with uninformative pages and even useless videos telling you no more than it's an overheating issue, best to call Sony. It's either that or it's a page complaining that Sony charges $150 to fix your PS3 and that you should do it yourself, with the help of the page owner's book or software, that's coincidentally on sale.

Sure, a bunch of people tell you the obvious - clear off the dust from the fans, try unplugging it for 5-10 minutes - but the PS3 seems to remain a black box regarding its problems and components. It's very different from what you come up with should you decide to look for way of modding your Wii for example.

Well, I'm obviously disappointed ... I bought the system used roughly 30 months ago. The former owner used it for no longer than 6 months so it was only 3 years old. I did play it a lot - 18 platinum trphies (I'd have 19 if it allowed me to end my GOW3 session) but still it doesn't make me merrier.

I'll let it off the power for a week and then open it up and try to clean the fans and stuff like that. I do hope I can get it to work again, not sure if I'd buy a new one ...

Happy side news : Steam had a wicked sale this X-mas, got a lot of great games.

Disappointed by some games, happily surprised by others.

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I tried but couldn't really get what fascinates so many people in Borderlands. I mean it. I've played it with a friend, alone and with a couple of strangers but it all ended up feeling the same.

I'm sure there's something people enjoy but I definitely could not get it. You roam this huge and ugly landscape that resembles a Mad Max movie, killing monsters and guys that resemble the sand people from Star Wars. They drop items with colors similar to World of Warcraft looting system.

Can you honestly tune your character ? All I could do was to add a single mod to my grenade and choose some a skill path that had little or no effect in game.

The game is heavily based on your level (as opposed to your skill) so trying to kill something three levels highers is certain death. This limitation is so ridiculous that once at level 16 I tried to kill two level 17 bosses. It took me 15 minutes and several respawns to kill the first one. I gained a level in the process and finished the second bad guy in less than 30 seconds. The enemies drop so many weapons and gadgets that it loses its charm. I also found the enemies to be extremely limited in variety, not to mention that all the characters are the same, save for the special ability you get at level 5. I'll give it one more shot in the future but honestly failed to see what made this Diablo clone, level limited Mad Max inspired open dungeon crawl so special.

Guess I'll have to wait until Guild Wars 2 comes out! I've installed the first game because of the Hall of Monuments reward program and had a blast killing people at the arenas. @Sky-ia : Siedem Nocy should have enough statues for all the rewards, I presume!

On a brighter note, Uncharted 2 is just perfect. It's the second 10/10 game I get to play this year! The graphics and the game play are amazing. For those wondering, the other perfect game I've played this year was Bioshock 2.

Poor timing

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I bought a brand new copy of the Korean version of Borderlands a couple of weeks ago through ebay. It arrived in a neat package and worked perfectly on my PS3. The cover and the manual are in Korean but the game is in English. I can't speak Korean but the price was much better than the available American disks.

I told my friend that lives in the US that I planned to play Borderlands this weekend so he bought his copy last Saturday.

It was all set for a weekend in the Wastelands. Unfortunately, we did not manage to play together. We kept getting the you can't join a different version of the game message. We assumed the problem was related to the fact that I had the Korean version, we both cursed Gearbox for such stupid online rules and decided to play the game alone.

Well, not quite alone. I opened a public game and started playing, hoping that someone from Korea would soon join. Less than a minute later, an English speaking guy joined. I asked him if a lot of people had the Korean version and he seemed dumbfounded by my question. I don't have the Korean version, dude was all he said before logging out. I managed to connect to a few other people that did not have the Korean version so I called my friend back and said it was not a problem with the Korean vs. American version, it was something else.

We tried a lot of different settings, game types and all that before realizing I had the 1.04 patch installed while he had only the 1.03. Apparently, most people in US still haven't update to the 1.04 version, which was released last weekend and does nothing more than adding the trophies of the upcoming expansion.

The problem will be fixed tomorrow when the expansion will be released and everyone will have access to the 1.04 patch. It was a minor problem that started on Saturday and will most likely end tomorrow but as I installed the game on the very same day the patch was released, it was hard as hell to figure out what the problem was.

Talk about poor timing.