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in2DarKneSs Blog

Item Progression versus Leveling Up

Now, before I get into this, I want to say that I like games with both. However, I was wondering what other people prefer.

Some games, like Castlevania Rondo of Blood, Lament of Innocence, the Legend of Zelda, and Darksiders (to name but a few) use the item progression method to increase a person's power and ability to move forward. This system is very rewarding, when you find heart container peices, or things like the hookshot to further your quest there is a real sense of accomplishment. It also lends itself to things like power upgrades, In DMC or Darksiders you can buy new weapons and skills from the store or upgrade your combos (a la Lords of Shadow). This allows for several variations of the same character from game to game, it also allows for different combat combinations depending on your play preference. For instace in DMC 3, maybe you prefer the guantlets and greaves for the kicks and punches, or perhaps you like the electric guitar for it's ranged electrical attacks and ability to become a scythe. Each of these weapons has specials and combos a person can unlock with whatever currency the game requires (red souls in DMC 3, or human souls in Darksiders for instance). Some issues that could be raised with this system are it's reliability on linear gameplay, you require these items to move forward. You also have to remember where all of the areas that you've seen that require items you currently don't have are, or else you won't collect everything. This creates a lot of backtracking for the player, don't get me wrong the exploration increases the replayability and in the case of Castlevania games it is essential to get full completion.

Others, like Final Fantasy, and some Castlevania games (SoTN, Aria and Dawn, or Order of Ecclesia) use the level up feature. Now, before we get into this I realize they also use items, such as weapons or armor, however, these items are not always required to move on. In most modern RPGs, weapons are the key items that you will use. For instance, Mass Effect placesa lot of emphasis on the guns and armor you use in combat, as well as the loadouts of your squad mates. In games like Final Fantasy Tactics the job's you choose require specific sets of armor but you gain exp. for both your standard character levels, and your job levels to gain abilities for thatjob. In many games this is a great device to enable your characters growth, and item advancement is difficult for a party of characters. However, this also makes some games too easy as you can grind and Dragonball Z your way to victory. Can't beat ruby dragon in the Nibelheim reactor? Grind five or ten levels per character and take another shot at it. Some games use both though, and they're excellent uses of items that level up as you do. The World Ends With You uses pins as weapons, however, you need to both collect them and level them up to advance throughout checkpoints and defeat stronger enemies. It still retains the character leveling, and exp notions though.

The last thing I should probably mention before I go is that some of the games I mentioned on the leveling up side still use heavy item progression. Castlevania has always used relics in the games where leveling up exists, you require these relics to move on. Also, some types of item progression game use leveling up as well. Monster Hunter uses tempering and forgeing to create armors with different defense and offensive ratings as well as immunities to different elements, and demon's souls allows you to level up weapons and armor using souls and materials.

One more let down from Capcom

Argh! Megaman Legends 3 was so close! I have to admit the title of this blog may seem like I no longer enjoy and look forward to Capcom games, I still love capcom, but this sudden cancellation of one of my most awaited Capcom games (over a decade in fact) is very sad indeed. After this all I have left to wait for from them is Asura's Wrath. I question Capcom's direction with the Megaman franchises to date, every Megaman game that was announced within the last 2 years has met cancellation (with the exception of Megaman 9 and 10). Has anyone noticed that unless it's DMC, Monster Hunter, Street Fighter, or Resident Evil, Capcom seems to have no interest in giving it a chance. I know I'm mostly venting about a lost chance to play another chapter in my favorite unfinished series, but we seemed so close to bringing Megaman home.

Megaman Legends 3 Project

Considering the large amount of Legends fans I've encountered on these forums and across the web this should come as no surprise, but the Megaman Legends 3 Project announcement blew me away. Not only is it being made for the Nintendo 3DS, but the project is calling for fan-made content to be voted on for the final cut in the areas of bosses, locations, reaverbots, main characters, and several other things. Not only can you play the game to it's credits, you can see yourself in there too. Keiji Inafune is a genius for this, userbased designs and content for a game that many fans have been waiting for since 2000. I'm so overjoyed for the announcement of this game that I don't care if I have to buy a 3DS just to play it.

So far, Megaman is still trapped in Elysium awaiting Roll and Tron's rescue plan to retrieve him, Sera, and Luna. Also, the master's system is about to be activated now that elysium has been taken offline. Assuming the game takes place right after 2 we might see the way the world changes in response, or it may take place some years after 2 in which case we may return to a rather different world than we left. Considering all the ancient technology that was sealed away was returned after the Elysium battle who knows what the legends world is like now. Also, who knows how many older Megamen have been freed, there were several by Legends 1 and 2's count so who knows.

At this point all I can say is that I'm really looking forward to the return to the Legends world, as I'm sure many other fans are as well. So happy hunting and to those of us who were signing petitions, we won baby! Have a good one and look out for this game.

A Little Closer to Home

For many years I have enjoyed several JRPG outings, look at my games collection and that doesn't even cover half of what I am talking about. But, something seems to be coming out from the woodwork, this something is NARPG's (North American RPGS). Games like Fallout 3, Bioshock, Mass Effect 1 and 2, Dragon Age Origins, and so on so forth. Granted, none of these games are traditional RPG's, but that is what makes them so appealing to their current audience. I think that North American consumers are looking for a new feel to an old genre, and let's face it, JRPG's have that tired and reused laundry list of cliches. Not to say that JRPG's have nothing going for them, the Persona series of games seems to have a great grasp on a new implementation of the norm, and there are several others that have been trying for quite a while (Tales of Vesperia, and Star Ocean 4 for instance). However, it is a market that is beginning to open to outside influences more and more with each new title that is made. With the game industry as it is now, where North American developers are tackling japanese franchise games (Bionic Commando, Silent Hill Homecoming, Dead Rising 2 etc), it seems safer to have it done and done well in North America. Let's hope not all of our RPG-esque outings are about apocalyptic wastelands (Fallout), outer space (Mass Effect), or both (Borderlands).

Where do KojiPro fans stand?

I am sure I wasn't the only person surprised at the announcement of a potential ZOE 3. There seemed to be about as much hope of that happening as Megaman Legends 3, but lo and behold Kojima said the online response to the idea was so overwhelming that it may become a reality. To me and many others this is amazing news no doubt, but it raises an interesting question for Kojima fans. Now that Solid Snake has completed his run, do we want to see another sequel (Peace Walker, Rising, ZOE 3, or Lords of Shadow {Kojivania})? While it is true that I am looking forward to Peace Walker and ZOE 3, I also miss the creative new feeling his newer projects have. Despite it's lackluster sales and NA fanbase the first Boktai was a great game. The implementation, though cumbersome, was incredibly creative. Besides practically creating the stealth espionage genre, Kojima innovated the tired mech gameplay formula, and was one of the key players in implementing movie quality scripting and presentation in video games. I would like to see him tackle FPS. I loved Bioshock, and I could only imagine a KojiPro FPS as being that amazing or better yet. I would even like to see a KojiPro mascot platformer, those seem to be in short demand right (this is a joke)? The point I am making here is as fans should we enable the sqaure-enix/capcom mentality of more of the same? Or, should we push our favorite developers to go creative or go home? I know a lot of people are going to stay within their safe zones and that is okay as well, but I think there is room for new heroes and new ideas to implement within every situation. We're at the crossroads of technology what with touch screen, and motion control implementation, why not be creative right?

Will Wii ever be the same again?

The rising concern amongst Wii owners and Nintendo, as to the lack of sales, has become big issue ever since Iwata released Nintendo's heavy six-month fiscal losses.This is all conjecture, but if Nintendo continues this trend of casual over hardcore for much longer they will suffer greatly. Their fans have called out for a new Wii Starfox, Donkey Kong, Kid Iccarus, Earthbound, Luigi's Mansion (or similar spin-off), and many others. Yet Nintendo is focusing on Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and several DDR and Guitar Heroesque party games that do little for their hardcore base of gamers. They were more interested in re-releasing Gamecube games like DK Jungle Beat, and Pikmin 1 than they were about making a new DK or Pikmin game. Iwata and Nintendo's direction for the Wii worked to capture new audiences, and in return alienated lot of it's oldschool fans. The DS has fared far better as a result of it's innovation and it's excellent 1st and 3rd party catalog of games. It contains a lot of the Wii's charm and has also gathered many more casual gamers, but has not abandoned it's loyalist or hardcore fans. I personally would buy a Wii tomorrow if Nintendo made a 3rd Pilotwings game, and pulled it off as well as Pilotwings 64. Unfortunately, Iwata and the staff at Nintendo seem far too interested in having Link or Mario do things to even consider the implications of redeeming an old project. I don't believe this will end Nintendo, not even by a long shot, but the N64 and Gamecube sauntered behind the PSOne and PS2, and the Wii may just follow the same fate from this point on. If this continues into a fourth generation then Nintendo may have to step back and make Gameboy's and DS' for a while to come.

Man, I miss the good old days......

I miss the good old days in gaming. When I first started gaming there were a very select few people who were gaming as well. We were considered weird. We would sit and talk about games like Super Mario World, or Megaman X 1-10 million. We were a small group who enjoyed a rare hobby. Then I wake up and everyone and their f'n grandma is a gamer, and all I ever see is people arguing about systems, and games for systems, and betrayals by manufacturers, and when someone brings up even a preference in music they are bashed on a gaming forum for not agreeing XBOX or WII or PS3, even though the attack goes out to the music. I miss the cool people I used to discuss this stuff with before everyone became consumeristically mental. Not a single person thinks it is cool that XBOX is getting FF XIII on the PS3 side, even though it is awesome that they are. This game and many other multiplatform excursions should bridge gaming gaps, not widen them. I remember when being a fanboy meant you like gaming, not sold your grandma out to defend MGS over GoW. People need to get into the community instead of the small extremist groups, and have fun. That is what it was all about last I checked. I applaud anyone who can realize that competition breeds innovation in a market like this, and can applaud others for liking what they like without infringing on what others like themselves. If you would bash a system whole-heartedly without a care and call yourself a gamer, you are a liar. The people playing them may be ignorant, but the system is an inanimate object that has done nothing to you. Do you yell at a rock when someone hits you with it? No, cause that would be stupid. Just as stupid as bashing a peice of plastic because you meet ignorant people who like it. I am 23 years old and have been gaming since I was 5 years old. I started back on the Atari 2600, and no matter how sad it is, I am proud of that. I am not proud of calling myself a gamer when other "gamers" are giving us a terrible name with people because they are ignorant pricks. Enjoy what YOU have, and leave everyone else to what THEY have.