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Chapter 02: Team WORK!

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These terms seem to be coming back into "fashion". More and more games are focusing not only on their story and single player campaigns, but also their online multiplayer, as well as huge additions in the cooperative campaign modes. Some games, like Gears of War, reward and promote teamwork and comraderie. Other games, such as Final Fantasy, also try to employ the same idea of comraderie, but strictly through their story telling elements.

I start with these two games because I like them both and I am currently playing them both. I played through Gears of War 2's single player campaign mode in about 4-5 weeks, I had a lot of fun, and through out the story I really felt like I was a Gear and part of this team even though it was mostly through story telling and I wasn't playing with a friend or anything. About 6 month later I gave the game to my best friend, whom I played through R.E. 5 with, (more on that to come later) and I bought another copy of the game to play online. We have been playing over the course of 3 or 4 months now, and I can tell you the replay value on the game is ridiculously high once you add in the additional human element that playing with a friend provides. When I think of games that were made with two players in mind I think of Kane and Lynch, Army of Two, heck even games like Little Big Planet, Gears of War in my eyes blows all of these games out of the water, simply with it's action and pace alone. But it's that factor of playing with your friend to get through a ridiculously intense battle with a bunch of grub and a stray Brumak, that makes this game so much more... incredible!

I know there's a group of gamers out there that will totally disagree with this entire post, the question most often asked by these types of gamers is "Why share the glory when I can have it all to myself?" I say to each their own, but I also keep this in mind, collectively we can achieve much more than we ever coudl individually. And that's in everyday aspects of life, so in video games when they give you the ability to use that mechanic, that second set of hands and eyes, the second brain and persepective. The way we look at the world is different in many aspects, a lot of the people we get along with share similarities in view points and perspectives, but overall the eyes we see the world through are all different.

Solving the "issue" of coop play that is not only entertaining but also challenging and enthralling is a tough one I will admit, but not impossible by any stretch of the imagination. To date, my favorite coop game is Resident Evil 5. For reasons I have discussed in my review (See Resident Evil 5 Review ) , but now let's get into the emotional attachment that you develop plaing this game.

Let me give you a little background on my experience with the game...

My best friend had played near every iteration of the game up to this point. We had been looking forward to this game for months, and the day it came out I went and bought it from gamestop and prepared to embark on the adventure. That first night we played for 7 hours straight, there were moments of sheer terror, coupled with extreme delight, and all the while we were entranced with the action. Because we've been friends for 11 years we have a synergy that natural adjusts itself to what we are doing, and when it comes to competition/gaming, we have almost no equal. We played through and got all the way to chapter 5-2 before calling it a night. The next day after getting out of the house and socializing, we got ready to get back down to business, only to discover Sheva's stats had not been saved and so we needed to go back to the beginning of the game and play through to get her re-equipped and ready for battle... terrible news seemingy from the outset. But then we realized as we started playing that first frantic level again, we'd gotten better. We weren't trying to escape our attackers so much as lure them into traps and stay on the offensive. Of course I was equipped with much more powerful weapons than you begin with, but I found myself defaulting to the pistol and precisely taking down the horde of "zombies" that was after us. As we continued back down the path from whence we came we found ourselves much more easily dispatching enemies and reveling much more inthe battle. I found myself salivating at the opportunity to take down a pack of Majini (the name of the zombie like creatures the locals have been turned into). By the time we got back to our original save point we had basically doubled up on our experience through the game, this proved to be priceless in our play of the game from this point on. The game didn't become easier by any means, but we became much more confident in our ability to deal with any threats thrown our way. I can't tell you how much more confidence you have in yourself when you feel like your are in complete control of your character and have the tools at your beck and call to destroy your enemy (more on Character Control in another blog).

When we finally finished the game, and thought we were done, the mercenary mode unlocked and we dove right back in.

The overall message here is that cooperative play made this game for me. I didn't even pick up the game when my friend wasn't there to play, partly because it was our mission we needed to finish together, and partly because the A.I. isn't all that great anyway. I didn't want to cheapen my experience by not having my friend around to see the new sights and cutscenes, but I really felt by the end of the game we had accomplished our goal, and finished a great adventure together. It's been 2 years since then and we still find ourselves playing Mercenary mode> I can't tell you how excited I am about the prospecst of future multiplayer games and immersion into these incredibly detailed and deep worlds and stories. Realistically I am never going to go on an adventure to Mars and fight zombie aliens trying to eat me... but maybe one day in the near future my friend and I can *cough, cough* Dead Space 3 perhaps?



Chapter 01: Thinking of the Future, Enjoying the Past in the Present.

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To all who are reading this, it is mid-2011 and the temperatures across the country are soaring! Good reason to stay inside and play video games. But seriously, I'm currently in the middle of: completing Final Fantasy XIII (for the first time); Gears of War 2 (for the second time, although first time on Co-op); playing through Star Wars Battlefront II's Conquest mode (for the fun of it); and continuing to hone my skills on MvC 3 until Ultimate MvC3 comes out in a few months. This little tid bit of info brings me nicely to my first topic.

Looking forward to video games coming soon is nothing new to us who grew up in the video game generation. I remember waiting for Metal Gear Solid 2 to drop with the PS2, man that brings back some good memories. I can't tell you how irked I get when a company does what Capcom is doing withUltimate MvC3. I mean I completely understand Japan (the country where Capcom's HQ is located) was devastated by what could only be described as a catastrophe, the earthquake effected many thousands up to the millions of lives there. Capcom could not have possibly forseen this type of thing happening less than a month after one of there biggest titles drops. What I don't understand is how you can add 12 characters and 8 "new" stages (or redone to be a bit more accurate), package it, and ship it off to me with a $40 price tag on it. I'm all about capitalism and such, but seriously, drop that price to $30 and we'll talk. BasicallyI paid full price for a game that wasn't supported completely with DLC or Online content. And now you're telling me I have to drop more cash to get the rest of the game and I can't even get it in downloadable for from the comfort of my own living room? Forgive me for saying so, but I think Capcom could have done more with this game if they were going to make me purchase a whole new disc, less than 12 months after the original MvC 3 came out no less (9 months to the day to be exact).

Now enough with the negativity, I'm currently looking foward to games like Gears of War 3 and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City for two HUGE reasons. First, great stories developed by two enormously popular and succesful studios! These franchises are recognizable all over the world and the reasons why are obvious if you've played these games! Second, and what is becoming more and more important to me lately, COOPERATIVE PLAY. I'll go in depth on another blog about why exactly I love Co-op modes, but overall the feeling of success you get from beating a game or accomplishing a goal/mission with a friend is unbeatable!!

Ok, well that's it for this episode. Tune in next time for random thoughts and a few paragraphs about... well whatever is I wanna write about!



Chapter 00: Faced with Reality.

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We all have an origin.

The place we began. Our own personal beginning.

Then we have thousands of firsts... firsts steps, first words, first kiss, first cars, etc.

Some firsts are more important to us than others.

Some beginnings are bigger than others.

And sometimes the start of something, isn't really the start, but instead it's part of the progression that was started long before this.

This is not a beginning, this is another step in the long process of my life. But this part of it is something of pure pleasure and entertainment.

Video games.

They've been a part of my life since the day I was born. My dad was a huge Nintendo nerd so it's no surprise that I was always intrigued with games. But there will be plenty of time to talk about the past, in the future. For now let me first say thank you, thank you for taking the time to read this. The first entry isn't anything to get excited about, just a little introduction and something to get my fingers warmed up on these keys.

The place that games alow you to escape to makes them all worthwhile. I know I will be playing Video games deep into my retirement and surely will make my (future)children embarassed to be around me knowing I will whoop up on them on Madden at any moment, even at 50!

Let's go ahead and wrap this up.

Call me V.

I'll call you. Well you're you and you'll have to tell me who you are if you want individual recognition. Otherwise you are they. Get it?

Stay tuned. There's a LOT to come.




To Be Continued.....