All About Machiko_Mech
Well, I'm rarely away so long that I need to construct an outline for a returning post...
To begin, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I had very high hopes going in given my love for the series, the original in particular. I am rarely satisfied with sequels to games for which I have so much love, so it was to my delight that this game proved an exception to that rule. Terrific on all the important fronts: the graphics are terrific, with regards to everything in both fore-and-background. I was very impressed with the aesthetic choices and direction: the buildings, the weapons...everything looks right. More refined than they were in preceding games, but without looking so far from them as to seem alien or out of place for the series. Though some civilians looked a little plain (I think I saw a couple of recycled faces), it was not an unacceptable thing. The story was also quite good and was possessed of a twist that, while not quite as big as one I can think of in the original, still managed to blindside me in an enjoyable sort of way. Virtually every element of the gameplay, especially with something of a return to distribution of skill points rather than the dumbed down system present in Invisible War. The voice acting was quite good; when I originally looked into the history of the voice actor who performed Jensen's voice I felt I had cause for worry, but that was quickly assuaged as I began playing. All in all, everything satisfied. I am very fond of the Thief series as well, it's next coming down Eidos Montreal's pipeline; knowing now that the series is in such competent hands is quite the relief.
I've been somewhat busy with remakes lately; I picked up the MGS HD Collection and played through the second game, I'll return to Snake Eater later. Honestly, I somewhat wish I hadn't picked it up; the controls especially, have not aged well. Neither have a number of gameplay concepts...it's consistently frustrating to be spotted because...well, I think Gabe of Penny-Arcade put it best in describing the switch from sneaking to combat as passing through "some ****-greased chute into a dungeon for bad players."
For now, I've begun actively sprinting through Halo: Anniversary and am eagerly awaiting the Silent Hill HD Collection (the third entry is one of my favorite games). All developers should hope that their games hold up visually as well as SH3 does...the characters in particular still look and animate spectacularly. I've also played through Gears of War 3, finding it to be the best in the series by a comfortable margin (thumbs up for the inclusion of female Gears). The refinement of Horde mode in particular is deserving of praise: a perfect extension of the improvised player behavior of its last incarnation. The story as well, was much improved, not that one had to worry; it was always going to be in good hands with Karen Traviss. I've also sunk hundreds of hours into Skyrim, four characters in all so far, some used more than others. I never was able to get into playing as an archer in Oblivion, but in Skyrim that play route has made for a very satisfying adventure.
On that front, I purchased a new S model 360...my old model had long since run very short on HDD space and my power brick was making some very interesting noises on startup. I find that I like the new dashboard more than the last...they do always seem to make improvements to the formula that suit my tastes. And finally, on the handheld front, I bought and very much liked Aliens: Infestation. It's similarity to my beloved Metroid certainly contributed to this...and though I found the story a little lacking, I enjoyed almost everything else about the title...but not the length. It was, as most reviews of it will tell you, quite brief. I may replay it soon, though I'm now starting to turn my eyes towards the immediate future: Silent Hill HDC, Resident Evil: Revelations, Mass Effect 3...do I suspect another long blog absence?
EDIT: Picked up a 3DS game called Mighty Switch Force - a bit short, but balanced against very enjoyable gameplay, charming graphics, good music and SFX, a little brevity I can tolerate.
I don't exactly recall when it was that the Dragon Age II patch that fixed the problem much bemoaned in my last blog entry was released, suffice it to say that since its release I have kept busy. I've played through Dragon Age II almost five times since then and have long since pardoned early problems. It has been so long that all the gaming experiences I enumerate here that have taken place since my last entry will necessarily be somewhat summary in nature.
Hunted the Demon's Forge was, despite what reviews might tell you, tremendously fun. There were a few technical foibles certainly and since I, needing ready cash for another game was forced to grit my teeth and sell it back, can't tell you about replay value I shall simply say that it was a very enjoyable experience. The characters were a bit more likable than most reviews I've read state them to be, though I did find myself grinding my teeth whenever their dialogue strays toward the risque. But the gameplay was solid in most areas, the combat satisfying and the story sufficient.
I also played Alice: Madness Returns about which I can scarcely summon any complaint. Though I have read complaints in some quarters about the quality of the graphics, I think they made the right choice with regard to what they show and how they show it to you; I do not know that I could be made to believe that being able to see characters' pores in this game would have been to the title's artistic benefit. What some think of as bland textures I see as being appropriately detailed within the terms of the larger visual framework. The end result is a game that often looks like a well detailed and in-motion watercolor painting. The gameplay was also quite satisfying, albeit I must honestly confess that I think the game was an appropriate length; I suspect that combat gameplay was on the verge of providing diminishing returns as far as entertainment value is concerned. Speaking of time, I was surprised at how long the game was, or at least how long the game felt...the original seems so short by comparison.
Also, going against at least on previous proclamation to the contrary, I wound up becoming an early 3DS adopter. The call of good RE titles was too much for me to overcome it seems. I will say that I wish I had been possessed of the fortitude to resist the 3DS's siren song for a couple more months so that I might have benefited from this price cut. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries is good fun as you would expect, but I didn't expect that it would be the most exciting handheld experience I've ever had. Yes, it could have used more content.
I replayed most of Resident Evil 5 and part of Oblivion, I went through Costume Quest and its expansion (quite fun, if simple). Third Birthday may have been one of my greatest disappointments; I really did have high hopes for it. But finicky unsatisfying combat met with the evisceration of Aya Brea as a solid character made for a terrible entry. Dungeon Siege III was short and not particularly engaging, Portal 2 was very engaging but equally brief.
I'm extremely excited both for the near release of Deus Ex 3 (especially with the new reviews that have cropped up) as well as the far releases of Skyrim and Mass Effect 3. The news that the FemShep community has proved sufficient in both size and dedication to warrant some love in the form of not only a box appearance but an upcoming trailer was extremely welcome news - indeed, I find it hard to properly quantify my excitement in this matter. I suppose it would be simplest just to say, 'we made it.' I should also express my anger at the fact that some persons involved can't be happy with that achievement. Rampant indictments of all blonde women as abject fools made in the name of supposed feminism is neither intelligent nor accurate. To be blunt, it is one of the most singularly bigoted, vile proclamations I have ever observed. The claim that someone, because of the combination of their gender and hair color would not be able to prove to be an individual worthy of honor and respect, a person of integrity who was genuinely interesting is sheer absurdity of the highest possible order.
As Tycho of Penny-Arcade did well to point out, we are not speaking of an empty head or boring personage: Shepard's accomplishments speak for themselves, everything else is irrelevant. One cannot therefore put forward criticisms of her on that basis without a base opinion that consists as follows: no blonde woman can be a valid or noteworthy individual of worth. No matter what they do - if they save the universe twice (we hope three times) it would be insufficient to redeem them from the realm of scorn in which they are perceived to belong. Because of hair color. It seems from what I've seen throughout this discourse is that most people don't seem to be analyzing the attacks on blonde FemShep to the point where they realize the bigotry at the core of it. Those who do come to recognize it find themselves for some reason only slightly moved by it. Well, if you require assistance in that matter, take 'color of hair' and replace the word hair with skin. Even if on the hair basis you are not struck by it, by juxtaposing skin you can at least begin to understand the sheer irredeemable idiocy that is the mainstay of such a person's argument against her.
Continuing on -
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse is quite good, I'm about halfway through it so far. Telltale did well in bringing the graphics forward a bit; it had definitely become necessary. Tried out Gods Eater Burst and while I like the character creation, the gameplay was something of a flaming wreck, the single stick of the psp really kills it before it can even get off the ground. My brother loaned me LA Noire and, like every single Rockstar game that came before it, my interest stalled out after only a couple of sessions of play.
Well, in any event I'm glad I'll not have to see 'March' at the header on the last blog entry anymore. Good gaming all.
DISCLAIMER: I am not enough of a blowhard to suspect that there is even the slightest chance that anyone from Bioware will read the following post. On an entirely unrelated note, Bella Nunita, that transgendered girl on Thailand's got talent was crazy beautiful. *AHEM* Now then:
I picked up Dragon Age 2 on launch day and played for 15 hours straight. Unfortunately I have come to find some +15 hours after reaching that first milestone, that I have in fact been punished for my purchase of the so-called Signature edition. A tip to those companies that put out deluxe editions of any of their products: make sure that your bonus content is bug free. It is a far greater...well, sin (believe me, I hesitate to use that word) to punish only the people who have shelled out extra money for your product by leaving said extra element of the aforementioned product anything other than bug free. Though, to be fair, they may have wound up messing around with their regular customers as well; both Sebastian, a DLC character and Isabela, a base character can cause corruption of the save file (if you make friends of them and then remove them from your party you recieve a permanent hit to your damage resistance, this can happen multiple consecutive times until the game has been rendered unplayably difficult). Ugh...pardon my venting. But I don't enjoy that I now need to wait months for a patch to be released just to continue playing.
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