They started filming today! That is all.
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Posted by Ocelot on 05 May 2018 - 01:42 AM
You GUYS! Oh my Gawd, I've been dying here! Circumstances have transpired to keep me away from the internet for TWELVE WHOLE DAYS, and I've been gasping. You don't even know. It was a fate worse than death. A lot of atrocities have happened throughout human history, but I think you'll all agree that spending almost two weeks of 2018 without any internet is definitely worse than all of them put together. Definitely.
But let's catch up on video game news, though! There's a new Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer:
Some new Beyond Good & Evil 2 footage:
There's a new mod for Dark Souls 3 that adds Stands, and it was all worth it for this amazing trailer:
Oh, and by the way, I just wanted to mention that we are JUST OVER A MONTH AWAY FROM E3! It's coming, you guys! Whether you're ready or not!
Posted by Ocelot on 04 May 2018 - 11:31 PM
You guys, we have so much to talk about! With no internet for the past 12 days, watching stuff has been the only thing keeping me sane, so here are those things I watched:
Avengers: Infinity War: I liked it. Those Russo Brothers know how to put a movie together, to say the least. Infinity War manages to cram in a million billion characters, a story that is perfectly follow-able, and one of the very rare big dumb CGI villains who actually has some meat on his character bones, into a paltry 150ish minutes (which is, at this point, barely longer than average for a superhero movie). Not everyone gets a character arc (there's one very major character that got the short end of the stick, which I'll get to later), and we all know that this is just part one of the story so the things that happen at the end aren't going to stay that way for all that long. But, overall, I think it's great.
Them there Marvel movies get a lot of flak for having dull, unmemorable villains, but between Killmonger and Thanos they're doing pretty well lately. It's pretty remarkable how good Thanos is compared to, say, the other big CGI man with a famous guy's voice from the other camp's big CGI hero teamup movie. What was Steppenwolf's plan again? He wanted to get the three Dragonballs to terrafom Earth into CGI land because... that was his thing, I guess? I know they hired Ciaran Hinds to play him, but I'll be good and goshdarned if I can remember a single line he spoke. I have no idea why he was doing what he was doing, or where he came from, or, like, what his deal was. What does that guy do when he isn't punching people through walls? I guess we'll never know, because... wait, is he dead? They killed him, right? With the power of friendship? I did see Justice League, right?
Maybe a fairer comparison would be Thanos and Ultron, in the great 'CGI villain with famous voice' stakes. Ultron was an OK villain in a pretty good movie, but he was still just a bad guy that the good guys have to punch to death at the end. Thanos, on the other hand, almost feels like the main character of Infinity War. He has a backstory, motivations, a character arc, a personality. He doesn't just want to kill everyone, he wants to kill half of everyone, and that's just unusual enough that you can't help but wonder why. And when you do start wondering, not only does this movie give you a pretty interesting (if psychotic) motivation for his madness, but then it even explains why he came to think that way in the first place. He's a bad guy who is fully aware of the enormity of what he's doing, but is willing to take on that burden in service of what he feels needs to be done, and he makes for a pretty interesting watch. He's also one of the better-looking CGI monster men in movies, I think. Not as good as Snoke, but still a pretty convincing big purple dude. Sometimes his lips look a little weird, but never in the same league as Henry Cavill's Justice League lips
The story splits our buds up into a few different teams, each of which deal with their own little sub-plan to try and thwart Thanos, and the movie does a pretty great job of keeping plates spinning and moving things along at a good pace. Each subplot feels important and necessary to the plot, none of them drag (Thor getting a new hammer forged comes close, though), and the best part is that the characters are divided up into just the right groups for some fun tomfoolery along the way. I really just don't like the Guardians of the Galaxy, but pairing them up with Thor and a few other characters I do like made them a lot more palatable. We've been waiting for some of these schmucks to meet eachother for years, and the Russo Brothers do a fantastic job of capturing each characters unique voice from their solo movies (something that I don't think Joss Whedon ever did well in his Avengers movies).
There's not enough Cap, though. Call it a petty complaint if you will, but Cap's my guy and he is woefully underused here. What's up, Russo Brothers? Did you forget who got you the top job? Did you forget who pulled you out of directing sitcom episodes? Captain. America. Maybe he'll have a bigger part in Avengers 4, but it'll never make up for this outrage. Also I don't think anyone takes their shirt off in this movie. Unforgivable.
I'll do some quick spoilery bits, but long story short it's a good movie and I liked it:
I don't know, I feel like they needed to sell the stakes a bit better than they did. It's the UNIVERSE! This is the fight we've been building up to for like fifty movies and three decades of MCU movies. RDJ's been playing Iron Man since way back in 1978 or something, who even remembers any more? The UNIVERSE is at stake, and when the UNIVERSE is at stake you have to forget the dumb movie cliches and make some hard decisions, y'know? Because when you don't make the hard choices it just feels like the heroes aren't really taking things seriously, which in turn lowers the stakes again. I mean, are we doing this or not, y'know? Same as Rogue One pretending to be dark but then pulling back at the pivotal moment, Infinity War feels like they wanted to do the big boy fight but chickened out. Chris Pratt pulling the trigger on Gamora? Good stuff. Chris Pratt ruining the plan to get Thanos' glove off when they were right there because he was so overcome with anger at Thanos having killed Gamora? Naw, man. Again, are we being serious here or not? Because we can be serious here and have our characters devote every effort to disarming the most dangerous being in the galaxy, or we can have a character throw a hissy fit and ruin the plan in a huge screenwriting contrivance. We can't do both.
Also, did I say this movie needed more Cap? Because this movie needed a lot more Cap. He didn't even have his shield!
Posted by Ocelot on 19 April 2018 - 03:34 AM
Posted by Ocelot on 13 April 2018 - 11:01 PM
Attention all: this thread is now about your new favourite Star Wars character:
Please cease all unnecessary talk about other Star Wars characters and storylines immediately. All SSLF members should familiarise themselves with Therm Scissorpunch's Wookieepedia article.
At some point, Scissorpunch sat at a gambling table next to the famous smuggler Lando Calrissian.
Posted by Ocelot on 13 April 2018 - 09:19 AM
So I took Ubisoft up on their offer of a free weekend of Ghost Recon Wildlands, because I want to see that Splinter Cell crossover event they've got going on. It took me all night and most of the next day to get all 42GB of it downloaded to my PS4, but what can you do?
Having just finished Far Cry 5, Wildlands struck me as basically the same game, just with some variables tweaked. Swap North America for South America, first person for third, faux-serious tone for real-serious tone and add three AI companions; other than that it's another giant Ubisoft map full of bases to first mark all the men in then kill all the men in then retrieve an important item, get your XP and move on. We're serious business Tom Cuh-Lancy here, so it's all about intel and supplies rather than cool cars and painted guns like Far Cry, but it's pretty much the same loop all over again. The map is split up into regions, each region has a leader who you'll have to take down by first clearing some bases and finding some intel, and then once you've cleared all the regions you can take down the real bad man. Even the controls are mostly identical. Ubisoft just rolls these bad boys off the production line like clockwork.
So there's a big ol' Tom Cuh-Lancy story going on about some bad dudes, and I guess my character is a well-known black ops guy or something, but that's not what we're here for, right? We want to see Sam Fisher! Proper, Michael Ironside Sam Fisher! Well, the internet told me he was in the region named La Cruz, so I beelined over there and got a call from a familiar voice calling himself Matchwood. He told me to wait until 21:00 hours, when he'd call again with details. I promptly got myself way the hell out into the wilderness looking for some guys to shoot, and of course when he called me back the waypoint he sent me to was miiiiles away and I had to make a mad dash down from the mountains in the middle of the night to try and reach it in time. What awaited me was a ludicrously difficult stealth section through a base full of elite bad guys, where there was a jamming signal making my dude-marking drone inoperable, and I wasn't allowed to kill (or even knock out) any enemies or be spotted. It took me like ten tries to sneak through, sitting through a looooong load time on every failure (and this game's stealth mechanics ain't Splinter Cell grade, I tell you what), but finally I met up with Fisher.
He told me he had to hack a computer and needed fire support while he did so, which should have been obvious. Video game developers love forcing you to sneak through an area, with the slightest failure meaning instant game over, only to turn around and force you to go loud and shoot everyone immediately after. They'e sadistic monsters like that. Further proof of said sadism? When I got killed by the billion heavily-armed soldiers and helicopter immediately blazing me, the checkpoint took me right back to the start of the stealth section.
So, that was Wildlands. I infer that the Splinter Cell mission was probably aimed at the kind of people who've been playing this game for months or years and have some experience and upgrades under their belts, rather than a schmuck like me who'd literally played for an hour, but there's no coming back from something like that. I've never uninstalled a game faster
Oh, hey, I forgot to talk about Far Cry 5. It was good, but I might also say that it was entirely throwaway and I'll probably never ever think about it ever again now that I'm done with it. That feels harsh, but, honestly, it's just so cookie-cutter Ubisoft that there's really nothing that's going to stick with me. For some baffling reason they went with a Gordon-Freeman-style silent, non-communicative protagonist, which to me just instantly torpedoes any hope of there being a good story. Far Cry 5 is a game about bad guys capturing you, monologuing into your blank, unreactive face, then eventually letting you go so you can kill them (or at least a few dozen of their men). Like, that is what every main story mission is. The game leans super hard on this idea that the bad guys can simply catch you whenever they please, whether it's because of their roving bands of tranq-bullet-armed cronies, a psychedelic drug that can pull you into their own magic world, or a post-hypnotic suggestion thing implanted in your mind that apparently makes you go to them off-screen, and at a certain point I just had to roll my eyes. The only thing worse is when they straight up tell you they're going to come for your friends, and then you do literally nothing to stop them, and then sure enough in the next story mission they've captured all your friends. EVERY TIME.
So there's a big ending twist that comes out of left-field, but it happens just minutes before the credits roll so there's no consequence to any of it. I guess all these Far Crys share a continuity, so Far Cry 6 might make some mention of it, but there's really not much you can say about it in this game. It just happens and then the game ends. I'll spoilerise it just for fun:
EDIT - I just finished Tacoma, and I thought it was great. It's another walking simulator from the makers of Gone Home, only this time you're walking around a space station as a contractor working to uncover what has caused the entire station to go incommunicado. It's an almost entirely audio-log-based game, but it has a really clever way of shoring up the usual problems you get with audio-logs in games, so join me as I explain to you the cool new stuff this video game does with recordings of people's voices!
OK, so we're in the future here, and all employees of this space station are required to wear two little electronic devices that attach to either side of the bases of their skulls. These doohickies track the wearer's position on the space station, as well as their vital signs and anything they might say or do during their time aboard, and wearing them is akin to signing away your whole life and rights to anything you ever do in perpetuity. You know, standard Ts & Cs these days. All these data are collated by the station's on-board AI and stored in databanks, enabling you to enter the station after the fact and review the exact events that led up to the station going dark some time earlier. You do this by walking into a room, being prompted to recover the logs of a conversation that happened there, and then actually watching said conversation play out in real time by holographic representations of the people who did the conversing. At any point you can use the Space, Q and E keys to pause, rewind or fast-forward the audio-log, which is really handy, and you have to be close to the people doing the talking to hear what they're saying. Essentially you're an omniscient observer eavesdropping on conversations, with the power to pause and rewind time at your whims, so it's a really neat way of getting around the usual audio-log problems of sounds playing over the top of dialogue you're trying to hear, or a log getting cut off if you move too far ahead in the game or whatevs.
The game is mostly a pretty straight-forward walking simulator, but there are some nice opportunities for some immersive-sim-style puzzle solving and optional objectives along the way. The game has its fair share of locked keypads that need four-digit passcodes, and you'll find them in e-mails, environmental clues, and even embedded in the audio-logs themselves (i.e. a character will open a locked door in the audio-log, and you'll have to scrub through it to find the right point then look over their shoulder to see which keys they press). That feeling of intruding upon a living world, sneaking into people's private spaces and reading all their e-mails and personal messages is here in spades, and we all know that's the best part of one of these games. Don't try to deny it, you love it as much as I do.
There's a cheeky little ending twist that'll make you say "Ooooooh!", same as Gone Home, and it's just a nice three-ish hours of video game to knock over in one sitting and make you feel like you've accomplished something for once.
Posted by Ocelot on 11 April 2018 - 12:27 AM
And six more Xbox 360 games are getting Xbox One X enhancement patches, so if you ever wanted to play Red Dead Redemption at full 4K, the time has come (screenshots stolen from this Resetera thread):
Also, I hope you're ready for your favourite time of the year, EA'S E3 PRESS CONFERENCE! EA has sports to show you, and they care not how desperately you crave death! Do you see that '2am AWST' down there? That's me, you guys. TWO IN THE MORNING. Please don't make me watch this one on my own.
EDIT - YOU GUUUUYS, E3 things are stirring!
Michael Ironside says "I never left. I am Sam Fisher" in an interview with IGN. And here's a cheeky little Metal Gear Easter Egg from the Splinter Cell/Wildlands thing Ubisoft has going (I honestly feel like this is a better sendoff to Snake and Metal Gear than Konami will ever do):
And in other E3 news, Pete Hines has this to say:
I couldn’t give you any guesses as to what we’re going to announce and when those games will be out. But I will say, we have a lot of new stuff to talk about at E3. Whether or not folks realize it, this is the hell on Earth time for us with E3. We are in the midst of so much planning and work for all of that content but I’m really excited.
Hell on Earth, he says. Now where have I heard that before...
RIP AND TEEEEEEAAAAARRRRR!
Posted by Ocelot on 09 April 2018 - 12:53 AM
I think this movie looks pretty cool you guys. I liked the part where he said he had a good feeling about this
Posted by Ocelot on 05 April 2018 - 07:50 AM
And so we go from what maybe the greatest video game ever made, certainly the greatest Devil May Cry game ever made, DMC3, to the unarguable worst one: the absolute hunk of trash that is Devil May Cry 2. I played this whole game, you guys. It has two campaigns and I played both of them. What I'm saying is you'd better be really grateful that I've suffered through this for your pleasure.
We're starting with this picture because it's literally the only good thing about this game. Dante looks cool in DMC2's official artwork; this specific permutation of the ol' red pants/red coat/white hair ensemble is probably the coolest he's ever looked. And, I guess if you're really going to force me to say some more positive things about this game, there are a couple of reasonably interesting things you can do. The game has a one-button dodge mechanic, and that button can also be used to run up and along walls like you're in the Matrix. These moves would later be refined and become part of the Trickster Style in DMC3 and 4, as would a couple of the dude-shooting mechanics you can do by hammering the Square button in different ways. And... that's all I've got for positives. It's 60FPS, I guess. It only crashed once in my whole playthrough? It's mercifully short?
Alright, let's get stuck into this. The instant you wrap your hands around the controller you're going to know there's something wrong with this game. You press the Triangle button and Dante lazily pulls his sword from his back and swings it with all the skill, purpose and intent of a sleepy toddler trying to catch butterflies in his net. There's a good half-second of animation lag between your button press and Dante's sword hitting an enemy, and when he's finished slicing you have to wait for him to put the sword away before you can do anything else. It might only be milliseconds of downtime, but the original Devil May Cry made a name for itself by allowing you to skip that kind of downtime. Sure, you could wait for Dante to sheathe his sword after an attack, but if you had the know-how and the skill you could cancel out of the animations into another attack or a roll. DMC2 doesn't let you cancel anything into anything. It feels like Monster Hunter, basically. If you're going to swing that sword you'd better mean it, because you aren't going to be doing anything else until Dante's done swingin'. God help you if you mashed Triangle more than once and the enemy you're fighting isn't the type to get stunlocked easily, because you ain't gonna be dodging until every one of those pathetic sword swats has come out.
So it's a Devil May Cry game where the sword feels bad to use, but there must be other weapons, right? Even DMC1 had a sick set of gauntlets and greaves you could switch to! Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that DMC2 has three melee weapons. The bad news is that they're all swords, and they all have identical movesets. As far as I can tell the only difference is that one hits hard but has shorter range, one is weaker but with longer range, and one is the Goldilocks sword. The one you start the game with, in fact. And, thanks to this game's approach to upgrading weapons (i.e. you don't buy new individual moves, but rather just upgrade your sword's level), your upgraded starting sword is probably going to be more powerful than the 'strong' sword by the time you find that one in its un-upgraded state, so there's no reason to bother with it. Long story short, If you want to hit a guy in this game, you're going to be doing it with a sword, and it's going to feel terrible.
Which leaves us with this game's most devastating attack of all: the Square button. The pro-est strat for every fight in this game is to find yourself a nice, cosy little corner of the environment where the awful fixed camera will frame only you and none of your enemies, then lock-on to something off-screen and just hammer the shoot button until everything dies. Guns are powerful enough that you can just watch your enemies' health bars dwindle away to nothing one-by-one. And then towards the end of the game you find a new gun that lets you just hold the Square button down rather than mashing it, and from then on you're on easy street. When in doubt, just shoot. You'll occasionally be tempted to move in close and hit a thing with your sword, but then you'll immediately be reminded of how awful it feels and you'll go right back to shooting. Eventually you'll build up enough Devil Trigger gauge to pop into your more powerful state, which makes your gun attack even more devastating and will just chew through a boss' health bar like nothing. Lock-on and shoot. Congratulations; you've beaten the game.
Though, saying that, locking on isn't really even necessary. I mean, there's a lock-on button, but it doesn't... y'know, work, or anything. The game has an extremely strong soft-lock mechanic that you can't turn off (which makes it utterly impossible to, say, hit a switch with your sword when there are enemies nearby), and the manual lock-on is the kind that'll prefer to target an enemy miles away and off-screen rather than the one that's currently murdering you. Basically Dante's going to attack whoever he wants to attack, and you're just along for the ride. If you really want to select one particular dude you're going to have to hold R1 to lock on, then click L3 to cycle through every enemy on screen until you reach the one you really want. Doesn't that sound fun?
I haven't even told you about this disaster of a story yet, you guys, so strap yourselves in. First off, Dante has like ten lines in this whole game. Forget the mouthy wisecracker you thought you knew; this game's Dante is a taciturn cardboard cutout of a man who dramatically flips a coin every time he needs to make a decision. Along for the ride is Lucia, a red-haired woman of indeterminate fake foreign accent, who is out for some kind of... vendetta? Quest? I don't know. This game is so underwritten I honestly have no idea what was going on. There are some artifacts, and there's an evil businessman who wants to raise an evil god to do his bidding, and you're in this bizarre country that has an ancient seaside village and a weird spooky castle within walking distance of a modern city. I think the game wanted me to believe that this city was just a regular place hiding a monstrous secret, but at no point are you ever not being accosted by demons so the illusion doesn't work. There's zero sign of human life in the whole place; it's just a video game level to run through and fight guys in. Some of the guys you fight are just army tanks, but the name on their health bars is "INFESTED TANK", so you know it's something something demons. Later there's an INFESTED HELICOPTER, too!
So Dante almost never speaks in this game, and neither do any of the bosses you meet along the way. After a tiny bit of exposition in Mission 1, I think the next word is spoken in Mission 8. After wordlessly fighting another boss in the city, Dante looks up to see a helicopter flying overhead. Next mission we see the helicopter land at an oil rig out in the sea and, inexplicably, Dante walks in through the oil rig's front door. How did he get there!? The game apparently doesn't consider this essential information, because it's never explained. And, after fighting your way through the oil rig, killing a boss, and then of course fighting your way back through the whole oil rig in reverse (that proto-DMC4 level design ), Dante just appears back in the city again. Did he swim? Like, what am I supposed to believe here?
Gawd, you guys. Just... what do I even say? The bad guy is this Heihachi-looking bozo named Arius, and the first time you fight him he gets a mission all to himself; that mission took me FIFTY EIGHT SECONDS, according to the ranking screen. This whole game, counting both playable campaigns (the PS2 version originally came on two discs!), is like five hours long, max. Apparently if you beat both characters' story modes on Hard mode you unlock a third playable character, Trish from DMC1, but I will never know how she plays because oh boy am I not going to do that.
I don't know what this game is. From what I've been able to piece together over the years, DMC2 didn't start out life as a sequel to Devil May Cry, but rather as some other generic Capcom action game that went into production before DMC1 had even been released. When Devil May Cry proved to be a big hit, Capcom decided to turn this game into a quick and dirty sequel to cash in on those early PS2 generation dollars. Things like Dante's new coin-flipping quirk were a holdover from the game's original lead character. But development was troubled, and very late in the project the original lead was replaced with our pal Hideaki Itsuno, who was left to pick up the pieces and turn DMC2 into something shippable. So, unfortunately, DMC2 will forever besmirch Itsuno's otherwise sterling body of work, and the Devil May Cry series itself. Don't play Devil May Cry 2, people. I've jumped on this live grenade so you don't have to. There is nothing to be gained by reexamining DMC2 in our modern age. It was trash back then, it has been trash through all the intervening years, and it is still trash to this very day. Just an awful, awful game.
Alright, so when next I see you, it'll be time to take things all the way back to the beginning, with the undeniable masterpiece of video games that started it all: Hideki Kamiya's Devil. May. Cry. See you soon!
Posted by Ocelot on 04 April 2018 - 08:17 PM
There are some new character posters for Infinity War, and some absolute champion has mixed up Cap's pose with the standard one they give to female superheroes:
Look at those buns. LOOK AT THEM.
Posted by Ocelot on 04 April 2018 - 03:39 AM
Here's a cheeky little check-in with some video game news, just in case anyone's forgotten about those things. Those video games.
- It's going to be at E3 this year
- It's probably going to be a cross-generation project, since the studio's tech is "ready to interface with future generations" and can take advantage of "future, very powerful hardware". This is one of those things that initially sounds surprising, but when you consider that even if it comes out late this year, there's almost definitely going to be a PS5/Xbox Next HD remaster, it makes sense.
- It has a character creator and you can choose between multiple classes
- They're committed to making a big ol' Witcher 3 style singleplayer RPG with no microtransactions whatsoever. However, they're also hinting at some kind of multiplayer element down the line
A Spyro the Dragon remake, presumably in the vein of the Crash Trilogy from last year, is like 99% confirmed. Game journalists are being sent mysterious purple, scaly eggs with cards signed 'Falcon McBob', which is a currently private Twitter account, so I imagine things are going to start popping off at least by E3.
Game Informer is going to announce Spider-Man PS4's release date tomorrow, and here's some new footage:
EDIT - It's September 7th.
EDIT AGAIN - Looks like the Spyro Trilogy leaked. September 21st for $40:
EDIT SOME MORE - Yep it's real alright:
Posted by Ocelot on 27 March 2018 - 05:14 AM
I think I might be done with Ni no Kuni 2 after about ten hours or so. It's not a bad game but it's just so light and breezy that I'm really struggling to get invested enough to keep pushing through. The characters and writing and lore are obviously aimed at children, but... like, dumb children. The ones who don't like to read the fun stuff like Roald Dahl and just lap up generic kids' fantasy. So far I've started my own Kingdom, got one neighbouring Kingdom to sign a treaty of interdependence and I'm working on a second ally, but there's just no meat here. There aren't any interesting characters, the world itself has nothing going on, and the story is just "a bad guy is corrupting world leaders and I have to win them back with friendship speeches and fetchquests". Remember when I told you that one of the characters in this game is the US President, teleported into this fantasy world through magic"? That's all there was to that plotline. Twenty minutes later he decides he's going to stay in this world and be the young King's advisor, and that's that; it's never brought up again.
Combat is a real-time action RPG kinda thing, with normal attacks, dodges and special attacks that run off a mana gauge you refill with normal attacks. I don't mind simple, but this is braindead easy to the point where I'm effortlessly ploughing through mobs of enemies 15-20 levels higher than I am. The only time I find the game challenging is in an unfortunately mandatory second style of gameplay called Skirmishes, where you control a small army and scurry about a map trying to defeat another army. It's kind of a neat little gameplay mechanic, but it's not something I really want to bother with when I could be pushing the story forward. Unfortunately, the story quests seem balanced around the idea that you're going to be playing the occasional Skirmish of your own volition, so I've just been hoodwinked into a Skirmish that I'm woefully underleveled for, and I feel like this is probably the end for me since I definitely don't have the patience to go and grind.
There's a very barebones but still addictive Kingdom Building mode, where you recruit people to come and live in your Kingdom through completing sidequests, then build facilities like Armor Forges and Spellcrafting Laboratories to put them to work in, then check back every twenty minutes for the rest of your life to collect your earnings and funnel them back in to build new things and recruit more people. Your standard video game hamster wheel to run in for a hundred hours. You can't choose which facilities to build, or even where to build them, and you don't recruit many followers so there isn't really any strategy to placing them other than matching them up with the jobs that some bright yellow text will tell you they're "SUITABLE" for.
So, I don't know, it seems like a fine game, but I just don't have anything to hold onto here. I don't care where the story's going, the characters are paper thin, the gameplay is entirely autopilot mashing. I feel like half the game's soundtrack is provided by my PS4's fans, too. There's shockingly little voice acting for a modern game; a lot of ten second anime cutscenes that transition into dead silent text boxes immediately afterwards. If it weren't for the very occasional brief snippet of a Welsh accent here and there there'd be no life to the game at all. As far as "RPGs I played for about ten hours and then quit" go, I'm strongly recommend Xenoblade Chronicles 2 over this.
EDIT - Far Cry 5 is a pretty cool game. I mean, it's a Far Cry, which means it's more or less just "Ubisoft Open World Game But In First Person", but there's nothing wrong with one of those every now and then. Ubisoft is very good at making more or less the same game over and over again, with the only real differences being time period, setting and guns/no guns. This particular one is present day, rural USA and guns, and it's fun. We're in Hope County, a chunk of Montana under the rule of a crazed religious cult leader trying to declare itself a sovereign nation, and we're playing as an unnamed Deputy of an unnamed law enforcement force tasked with bringing the leader down. After a pretty bad, stilted, slow-walking intro, you're set free in the countryside and given the objectives of taking over each of three territories run by the big bad's Lieutenants before finally taking on the main man himself. You know, video game stuff.
So, y'know, you shoot guys, stealth things, take over enemy bases, earn perks to upgrade your character, that kind of thing. There's no "skin three crocodiles to craft a bigger ammo pouch" thing this time, but in its place there's a cool MGSV style Buddy system where you can call in some AI friends to fight alongside you. One's a nice doggy, and some others are various redneck pilots and crazy gun nuts (also one's a cougar), but I never use them because I'm a doggy man. When the doggy gets hurt you can run over and rub his tummy and he gets better again. His name's Boomer and he's a good boy.
It's hard not to compare this game to GTA, because it's doing the same pastiche of American culture that those games do, but Ubisoft's writing is a little more hit and miss. There was one hilarious mission I did where the cook at the local diner needed me to bring him some bull testicles for the town's famous once-a-year Testical Festival (the Testy Festy, as the locals call it), and every time he brought it up he had a new pun name for them (my favourite was 'Rocky Mountain Oysters'), but there are just as many moments where the game gets serious and... just doesn't do it well. It's very much one of those "look at our CG face tech!" games, with supposedly charismatic characters getting right up in your face to deliver their performances, but none of them really make an impression. One moment you'll be having fun tailing a helicopter carrying a certain VHS tape of a certain bodily-function-related video that stands to bring down a certain President, but the next the game will be trying super hard to be True Detective and failing.
But it's good, and I'll probably finish this bad boy. It's full of those great open-world moments where all the various systems collide and result in pure chaos, and the more scripted story missions are pretty cool. I've got a good thing going with my sniper rifle, shotgun, bow & arrow and Boomer, and I'm going to enjoy myself.
Posted by Ocelot on 23 March 2018 - 12:21 AM
Alright, you guys! Are you ready? The time has come (and so have I) to talk about the greatest video game ever made: DEVIL MAY CRY 3!
I've just finished it for the first time in years, via the new PS4 HD Collection (which is an utterly barebones cashgrab that I'd really only recommend buying on sale some time down the line, but is nonetheless a faithful HD-ization of this game), so I'm ready to come at you with my fresh thoughts on this game. Does it still hold up, even thirteen years after its original release? Surely it's been outdone by something in the intervening years? Surely it must be showing its age by now?
Well, I'm not going to lie to you: it definitely shows its age. This is a Playstation 2 game, and there's no ignoring that. It's a game where the camera frames you from fixed camera angles about 90% of the time, and the remaining 10% of areas that give you a little bit of manual camera control come with an inverted X-axis that you can't un-invert. The level design consists entirely of 'Explore until you find a locked door, find the key to that door, then backtrack to the door'. Its economy of earning orbs and buying upgrades is so stingy that it'll likely take two or more full playthroughs to actually buy all the moves you want to use. Platforming is straight up horrendous, and the game wants you to do more of it than you could ever enjoy. Secret Missions come from an era where you weren't supposed to find them without a guide, and even then you weren't supposed to actually beat them without a hundred hours of experience with the mechanics under your belt. The game is difficult, and its checkpoints are pretty unforgiving.
And even certain aspects of the combat fall short. I feel like the later DMC games have always suffered for their insistence on sticking to the original Devil May Cry's control scheme. Your evasive roll is a matter of locking on, pointing your analogue stick sideways (relative to the way you and your enemy are oriented), and then pressing the X button, which is just awkward. The original DMC didn't have any aerial attacks, but when DMC3 introduced them it confined them to the Swordmaster Style, which is a combat style you have to select from a menu before you start a level; same thing with being able to block attacks or dodge in mid-air, they're both exclusive to different Styles. Then DMC4 came along and let you switch Styles on the fly, but it didn't really solve the problem of it being really clunky to have to switch gears in the middle of a fight just to attack while in the air or dodge without using three buttons. Bayonetta, for example, lets you do all that in one perfectly simple and elegant default control scheme, and so does Ninja Theory's DmC for that matter. One of the reasons I'm so excited for DMCV is to see how Itsuno brings DMC back into the modern era with stuff like this.
So, with all those complaints, can DMC3 really be called the greatest game ever made? Well, I think it can, because I still absolutely loved playing this game all over again. It is hard to go back to being restricted in certain ways, especially coming off replaying both Bayonettas last month, but you get used to a different rhythm of dude-fighting pretty quickly, and DMC3's combat is just as sublimely beautiful today as it was way back at launch. It's the nature of video games that new ones build off the old ones, and I feel confident in dragging out the old quote that if Bayonetta has seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Giant, fantastic action video games. Named Devil May Cry 3. The greatest video game of all time.
God, it's so good, you guys! YOU GUYS! You don't even know! This is a game that starts with a cutscene of Dante effortlessly destroying a room full of demons, then cuts to gameplay with an enemy already attacking you as if to say "OK, now you try". It dares you to get good, and it constantly tests your mettle. "Oh, you can fight basic enemies? How about a boss? How about a boss for the next three levels in a row? And the third boss is two bosses at once, and when you kill one the other one gets superpowered!". Forget your lame Dark Souls; DMC3 was doing Ormstein & Smough years earlier.
It's constantly giving you new tools to play with, new melee weapons, firearms and Styles, and then throwing you up against new enemies to test them out with. The game sets up this rhythm of pitting you against a giant, intimidating boss, and then rewarding you with a new weapon forged from that enemy's soul when you defeat them. Pass the test, get a reward. That is until you come up against Beowulf, a giant winged dog creature who stomps Dante flat and scarpers rather than die and cough up his soul like all the rest. Instead, Beowulf is defeated by Vergil in a cutscene, and then Vergil takes the weapon for himself, and the next time you fight Vergil HE USES THAT WEAPON AGAINST YOU! It's the most amazing moment in all of video games, and I just love it so much. "Oh, you thought you'd worked out the pattern? Try this on for size, pal."
And let's talk about Vergil, because he's the best rival character in all of video games. Character action games need a rival; it's all well and good to fight city-sized mechs or horrible blob monsters, but eventually you're always going to want to pit your skills against your own equal. Sword against sword, gun against gun, team of 100 tiny heroes against team of 100 tiny heroes, whatever the case may be. These fights are almost always the highlight of the games they feature in, but no highlight is higher or lighter than Vergil. Because, while most rivals are merely the second-in-command, the lieutenant of the main bad guy, Vergil transcends them all to become the driving force behind the game. DMC3 teases you with Arkham, the heterochromatic generic bad guy with a bad guy plan (DMC3 might hold the record for highest percentage of main characters with two different coloured eyes: three out of five ), and indeed you do fight him at the end of the game after he absorbs the ultimate demon power and turns into a gross blob... but halfway through the fight Vergil zooms in, declaring that you, the player, "can't possibly think that he deserves to be our main event". You fight alongside Vergil for the remainder of that fight, and then Vergil himself steps up as the real final boss of the game. It's still one of the best bossfights ever designed, for my money.
So, there you have it, the greatest video game of all time. I might have finished it on Normal difficulty, but that's just the beginning. There are no fewer than four further unlockable difficulty modes, each not just altering enemy health and damage values but changing up enemy placements and AI routines, with the hardest mode even giving enemies the same superpower Devil Trigger mode you yourself have as an incentive to kill them quickly. DMC3 is from an era where developers liked to pack a game with unlockables, so each difficulty unlocks cool new costumes to play with, and there's a whole extra mode called Bloody Palace where you fight your way through hundreds of waves of enemies. And then when you're done with all that you can do it all over again as Vergil in his own playable campaign, with an entirely new gameplay style just as deep as Dante's. And that's not even mentioning the absolutely insane skill ceiling this game has if you want to start digging into the mechanics. Back in the day we all learnt to jump cancel from watching tutorial videos on early Youtube filmed off actual CRT TVs with actual video cameras. I still remember the first time I watched Hell Sloth is Dead, the combo video that started them all:
Alright, well, I said I was going to do it, so I guess I have to follow through: a reverse-order playthrough of the Devil May Cry series doesn't count if you don't suffer through DMC2. Oh boy. See you guys next time.