The Digi-Cult

A New Religion for a Digital Age

Posts Tagged ‘Video Game’

Is it really a Dream: Eternal Sonata for the PS3

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 20, 2008

After a year of waiting Eternal Sonata made it's debute on the PS3 last month

After a year of waiting Eternal Sonata made it's debut on the PS3 in Oct.

As I said earlier I’ve been spending a lot of time playing Eternal Sonata lately after I rented it for my PS3.  Though it’s been out on the XBOX 360 for a year now I’ve been religiously avoid propaganda and information on the game to keep my impression of the game pristine.

Now there are many reviews of the content of Eternal Sonata so I’m gonna gloss over that a bit, but there’s some new content for the PS3 version of the game that I found really fun!

So Eternal Sonata is a J-RPG based loosely around the life of pianist and composer Frederic Chopin.  Don’t worry aside from some educational cinematic there’s very little in the game that is directly related to the life of Chopin.  Instead the gameplay takes place in a dream had by the character Chopin as he lays dieing in Paris.  I haven’t finished the game yet so I don’t know if this is true or not, but it makes for a neat premise.

Prince Cresendo is now playable and joins the party wielding a Mace and Shield.

Prince Crescendo is now playable and joins the party wielding a Mace and Shield.

Anyway, the usual multiple characters from different backgrounds with different purposes make their appearances and eventually you have a nicely balanced crew to choose you battle party from.  The characters are a little stereotyped but all have compelling stories and personalities. Eventually you have to go and defeat evil and change the world and save everyone.  The usual hero story with a romantic subplot or two.  This particular game features strong overtones of nationalism (this being based on Chopins life in exile) and personal integretity.

Like I said, I’m glossing over the storyline quiet a bit.  I’d love to review it, but it’s been done before.  So on to the new PS3 content.

Princess Serenade has also become playable fighting with a staff and magic

Princess Serenade has also become playable fighting with a staff and magic

Prince Cresendo and Princess Serenade are key players in the game’s storyline as thier titles suggest.  In the orignal realease of Eternal Sonata these characters were not playable but that has been changed in the PS3 version.  So far I’ve spent about 3 hours playing with them (that includes a lot of leveling up and the like) and though they didn’t stay in my party I have a feeeling they’ll be back.

There are new dungeons too; mostly quick levels with pretty backgrounds and have a few helpful items mixed in.  I’m having a hard time seeing which are original and which are new, which is impressive that they blend so seamlessly into a complicated game.  These new levels also give us new scenes which further explain character origins and the mechanics of the game world.  I’m somewhat surprised they weren’t in the games first version because they’re really helpful and expand the game quiet a bit.

Theres very few images available of the new costumes yet.  This is Polka in her new green dress (normally wears pink as seen on game cover)
Polka looks great in green!

The look and sound of the game got a tiny tweak for the new system with new musical versions of Chopin’s music being put in and new character portraits.  Of course there’s all the new art seen in the new levels, which shouldn’t be sold short.  Graphically this game is PRETTY!

Lastly, and staying in line with the PRETTY look fo the game, you can now but three of the game’s main characters in to new costumes.  I’ve only found one so far.  😦

So that’s the run down.  Pretty major stuff eh?  Almost makes it worth the year wait.  Almost… I’m not a patient woman Namco-Bandai.  Don’t let it happen again, or there will be no dessert for you.

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Get out your Boomstick! Here comes Left 4 Dead!

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 9, 2008

Choose from 4 characters and watch them change over time

Choose from 4 characters and watch them change over time. When I played all the character wee clean shaved and in summer clothing.

This weekend I had the privilege of playing the Left 4 Dead demo and dear lord, I’m in love.  Let me say first that I’m terrible at shooters.  I dislike the plots, the gameplay and the whole experience in general.  And yet, I’ll be borrowing this game from my boyfriend as soon as he can part with it.  (I may be waiting a while… he’s even more in love with the game than I am).  That’s how impressive this game is.

All of the above being true, let me explain what drew me to this game.  I’m a Zombie Survivalist, and for those not in the know that means that I think about what would happen if the world came to an end and there were a bunch of Zombies of various types running around.  I plan how I could survive in various places and discuss these, admittedly crazy, topics with like minded friends.  Now, take all the things I’ve planned and make them come true in the Left 4 Dead videogame.

A Boomer can attract hundreds of zombies with it's foul breath

A Boomer can attract hundreds of zombies with it's bile

Valve, makers of Portal, Half Life 2 and other fantastic games went in to this project to design a zombie survival shooter that would appeal to a wide audience without taking itself too seriously.  They planned on character variety as well as good team and enemy AI as well as good quality graphics.  And they delivered on everything.

I’ll do a full review of this game when I get it to play the full version (see title, hint hint) but don’t worry, I’ll give you a peak at what I saw:

– 4 charters to play
– Team AI makes the game playable by even the worst shots.  I normally HATE shooters but even I can play this, I just use my teammates as meat shields! (Yup, I’m horrible like that).
– The ability to heal your teammates after you use them as meat shields.  Or yourself should the need arise.
_ Special zombie types add depth to the game.  The Smoker explodes and destroys your vision, The Boomer can vomit on you and attract hordes of zombies, The Tank is basically a zombie version of the Hulk, The Hunter jumps on you like something out of Alien and  The Witches… well… they rip you apart if you look at them funny.  Beware what sounds like the sobbing of children, no matter how much you want to be the hero.
– Zombies can entangle characters who must be rescued by other characters, including the Team AI’s.
– References to other Zombie classics.  “Groovy”.
– Character appearance evolves overtime.
– Stellar use of audio cues.  Teammates call out when they’re reloading or when they spot a special zombie.  Zombies make noises specific to their type, alerting the player before the encounter, and drawing them closer to the fight all at once.

Though Witches appear meak don't let thier cries fool you.  These ladies are cold killers.

Though Witches appear weak don't let their cries fool you. These ladies are cold killers.

– Don’t let the screencaps fool you, this game is not as hard to see as you’d think.  Though it is dark, you have a flashlight to use as well as light from billboards and the like.  However, the light and noise attract zombies so BEWARE
– Though it wasn’t available in the demo, YOU CAN PLAY AS ZOMBIES!

This is set to be one of the most fun shooters out this season, especially for those who don’t want the time commitment of Gears of War 2 or Fallout 3.  It’s simple pick up and go game play and group based play make it the kind of game you want to play with your friends, or even enemies.  Valve proves once again that simple formula done well can create the most enthralling games.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the full version of this one!  Assuming the Zombie appocolypse doesn’t happen first…

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What the heck is up with Fallout 3?

Posted by Shannon O'Grady on November 4, 2008

A great game... too bad you can only play it in 10 minute bursts between crashes

A great game... too bad you can only play it in 10 minute bursts between crashes

If you’ve  been following gaming news lately you’ve probably seen Fallout 3 getting perfect scores and rave reviews across the board.  But you may not have seen the piles and piles of complaints about the game’s constant crashing on message boards and small blogs.

It seems Fallout 3 is suffering the same issues as Oblivion did at launch, that is, mysterious crashes that are strangely unexplained.  Worse still these crashes are going un-noticed (more or less) by the media and are hardly being addressed by the developers.

I’ll admit, I haven’t played this game myself and am writing this as a bit of a service to my boyfriend, but I can say that it majorly pissed me off when companies won’t take responsibility for thier mistakes.  Clearly Fallout 3 wasn’t throughly tested before it’s release or there wouldn’t be so many issues.  That’s mistake number one.

But we’re all human, so we can forgive that, but why hasn’t there been a patch, even a partial one released?  Or even a media release acknowledging the issues and stating that the patch will be released as soon as all the bugs are fixed.  Even on thier own forums the developers haven’t acknowledged most of the posts.

Now, to be fair, not everyone is having issues with the game, but there seems to be no constant between cases where the game works, nor a constant between crashes.  I’ll keep you all posted if there any updates, but please let me know if you hear any answers from the developers or other sources.

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Boo!

Posted by 1forfun on October 21, 2008

So, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. I for one have been extraordinarily slow to get back into school and work. One of the pitfalls I didn’t see coming when I was thinking about blog topics was the time it would take. Not only does it involve writing(which is the least of the time spent) but I now spend increasing amounts of time at King of Trade, as well as time playing games. My roommate and I now have two versions of Spyro, and spend a considerable amount of time on both. Just prior to Thanksgiving I bought myself Luigi’s Mansion for the Game Cube. Needless to say that’s what I spent the great majority of the weekend doing. There is something very satisfying about sucking up ghosts.

I also love that this game features Luigi on a mission to save Mario, a departure from the norm.

The game begins with Luigi discovering that he has won a mansion, and he must come claim his prize. Mario was supposed to meet him there, but arrived before Luigi and was taken hostage by the ghosts inside. Luigi teams up with Professor E. Gadd’s Poltergust 3000 to suck up the specters in the  various rooms. The game is very linear, with a clearly laid out path for Luigi to follow. Every ghoul in a room must be captured before the next room is opened sort of thing.

This game is simple enough to figure out, and I’m more than half finished, my issue is related to the controls. the main control stick moves Luigi, while the C-stick controls which direction the Poltergust faces. I’ve never been one to have good coordination in that area. I’ve tried to play Halo and I alwys end up facing the completely wrong direction. This is much easier to control than Halo, but is still hindering my boss fight.

Overall though it is a very amusing game. The developers have created several different types of ghost, some elemental that require an opposing element to defeat, some portrait ghosts which you have to be sneaky enough to catch off guard, some who pop out randomly in the hallways, and of course the classic Boo, who like to play hide and seek in the furniture.

It is clearly a children’s game (rated E for Everyone) but still fun none the less, and still far more apealing than the neverending piles of homework.

Flipull

Flipull is a problem solving game. There are several differently patterned blocks arranged in a square on the screen. You play as a small orange blob, and your objective is to clear the blocks from a ladder on the other side of the screen. You start off with a block to toss at the others, either matching one of the patterns or a blue block which can be used to clear any of the patterns. You throw your block at matching blocks to clear them, and pick up the pattern that is behind the one you just cleared. In later levels there will be obstacles stopping you from getting a straight shot at some of the blocks, requiring more strategy. In the expert mode, there are fewer squares to clear but only one way to complete each level.

Tetris

Probably the classic puzzle game, tetris has had dozens of incarnations. My favourite is the unofficial NES version made by Tengen. trying to fit all the shapes together, each made of 4 blocks and each fitting in different spaces, really made you think fast about where something would best fit, as well as where the next peice might fit. Also, i love the russian dancers who appear down the middle of the screen between levels. The more points you get the more dancers you get, up to six. The top two dancers are women, and dance differently than the men on the bottom four rows.

Dr. Mario

Similar in idea to Tetris, except there are germs of 3 different colours on each level that must be cleared with the pills that mario throws down. each pill has 2 halves, and each half is one of the 3 germ colours. The player must make stacks of four of the same colour to clear the set. Once all the germs have been cleared, the level is complete.

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Generation Gap?

Posted by 1forfun on October 10, 2008

With the Thanksgiving long weekend upon us, I thought I’d talk a bit about family this week. My thought process started off with a conversation I had with my Granny awhile back. She lives in a retirement home, and the board decided they would look into getting a Nintendo Wii for the games room in the building. I thought this was a pretty neat idea, having all these seniors learning to use a game console, and the Wii is the perfect choice, particularly with it’s Wii fit. It has the potential to keep everyone active no matter the weather or other limitations. I have to admit it had the added attraction of being available for my use when I come to visit.

However this also made me realize that I don’t want to be playing video games with my Granny. That’s something I do with my friends, and I somehow the thought just seems odd. My Granny is the one who taught me to play crib and double series and many many other games that I loved throughout my childhood and still love today. These are the types of games that I want to play when i visit my Granny, mostly because of the memories, but also because I have no one else to play many of these games with, because most of my friends aren’t familiar with these games.

I for one don’t think a generation gap is a terrible thing at all. I’m all for my Granny playing Wii fit and whatever other games she wants too, just like I support my Grandma using MSN (always an interesting conversation point by the way) but at the same time, I can’t help but feel that we’re losing out on board games and card games. Labyrinth and Skip Bo, Clue and Monopoly, even solitare and freecell, how many people could even play without their computers? I for one look forward to a Thanksgiving of board games and cards along with good food, because I know come Tuesday I’ll be right back to my electronic entertainment.

 

 

Lunar Ball

This is a pretty awesome version of pool. Aside from having a variety of oddly shaped pool tables, which makes it more difficult to clear, you can also adjust the friction of the pool table, ranging from alot of friction and having to shoot the ball twice to get it anywhere, to almsot no friction, and having to wait two minutes for your cue ball to stop bouncing off the sides. Another thing I like about this game is that you can select a level. This is usefull because it gives everyone a change to try out all the different table designs without having to play through them all everytime.

http://www.nesguide.com/games/lunarpool/    The table layouts start getting weird at about 3 minutes.

 

Pinball

A classic. though it wouldn’t seem like it at first, this game actually features MArio in a bonus level you access by getting the pinball through a particular chute. This game, like arcade pinball, is about getting the most points, which makes the 2 player mode more enjoyable. Pinball is one of those games that requires little skill and little attention to still  be entertaining. Not one I played often, just because you can only play for so long before it becomes too simple, but fun none the less on occassion.

http://www.nesguide.com/games/pinball/

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