A bit of a lull in reviews for me; gives me a chance to finish Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West .

Kojima is probably right, but then again…

Far be it for me to disagree with the master and in truth, I do agree to some extent. When Hideo Kojima made his soon-to-be-famous East vs. West comment , it got me to thinking. Being a die-hard fan of the old JRPG style that has essentially died out on new consoles, I've always enjoyed the artistry aspect of games. Something like The Last Guardian will be a fantastic example of the Japanese primary emphasis on artistry, as Kojima stated. However, are we not at a time in this industry's history where artistry can only shine with the requisite technology…? Sure, there was a time when a little heart over a sprite would convey an emotion, and cut-scenes would work towards producing even more personality. But these days, we demand more. And that "more" might need the best technology available.

I guess my point is this- maybe it'd be best to devise and design from an artistic standpoint first, and then see what the technology will allow you to do. Once settled, bring your vision to life. With no real artistic sense from the start, the slickest graphics in the world won't help. But without slick graphics, won't the most ingenious artistic elements simply not exist…? I mean, how would we even notice them? Just brainstorming a bit, here.

God of War rules because I don't like a chore

There was a time when I was all happy with myself for beating Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox and Devil May Cry 3 on the PS2. It was hard as hell but I triumphed. These days, however, I just don't have the time or motivation to kill myself in order to have "fun." I fully understand the hardcore action fan's approach to gaming, and I understand that strictly in terms of combat mechanics, the likes of Bayonetta , DMC, NG, etc. "blow the doors off" God of War , as David Jaffe said . But firstly, there are other elements to video games, lest we forget. Lots of other elements. And forgive me, but I just don't see any action franchise topping GoW when it comes to those other elements. Furthermore, I also think GoW gets a bad rap for being a "button masher" when that really isn't true.

I'm sorry, but there's no way you beat God of War III by just slamming the same button over and over. That really won't work. I know it doesn't work. You may not have to have the same mastery of the combat mechanic but you know what? It's nearly flawless in its execution. Hell, most everything in the GoW games is nearly flawless. So while the hardcore can make themselves feel better by bashing on GoW and knowing they can master the toughest sh** out there, I'll just stick to having fun with unparalleled quality. Thanks.

Personal gaming update

As I said above, I have a little time to finish up a few games but it's only a temporary reprieve. Next week, you can expect reviews for Vanquish and that PSP game, ZHP , among others. Now that Gran Turismo 5 has been delayed, I can actually breathe a little easier and turn my attention to Call of Duty: Black Ops and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood in the first couple weeks of November. Oh, and you can also expect my hands-on impressions of the LittleBigPlanet 2 beta (downloading now) and, if I can get around to it before it ends, the Dead Space 2 beta. The only game I feel I absolutely need before the end of the year is GT5, so it's not like I'm trying to fit in a dozen personal games along with a ton of reviews.

Bring on the holiday season!

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Milonakis
Milonakis
10 years ago

Hopefully you get an early demo of twisted metal for keeping the big secret.

sirbob6
sirbob6
10 years ago

And this early demo is given to all the members of PSX community.


Last edited by sirbob6 on 10/16/2010 10:47:32 PM

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
10 years ago

How awesome would that be sirbob!!

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
10 years ago

For those who registered before the big secret was out.

StangMan80
StangMan80
10 years ago

GT5 is the only game I care about. I know it will be here late Nov. early dec. there is no question to it. Sony doesn't have a choice now that they pushed LBP2 into next year.
GT5!!!

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
10 years ago

Gamestop says January of 2011. Hopefully not true!

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Lol! StangMan, jinxed us with his 20 day count-downs!

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
10 years ago

FFX was ahead of it's generation, for a game that came out in 2001, it looked better than most games released in 2002-2005.
RE4 had arguably the best graphic at it's time.
And I think that Japanese have more "unique" games compared to Americans which are majority shooters.
They're not motivated to develop great games nowadays, and I blame it all on the west.
CoD never was a franchise developed with big budget yet the profit is pouring down on Activision.
As the saying goes,"Why make something great when good sells better?"

GOW never was only known for it's combat, it's also famous for it's violence and presentation.
Let's also not forget the pitiable and mad Kratos is also why we loved GOW.

I wouldn't say combat mechanics for NG, Bayonetta(Is there a short form for this word?!?!?!) DMC etc. "blows the door off" GOW. GOW's mechanic is also amazing.
It's arguable but for me, my favorite is definitely Bayonetta.(I hate typing Bayonetta…….AND I'M DOING IT AGAIN!)


Last edited by Snaaaake on 10/16/2010 10:25:58 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

You could say Bayo, but I like the longer version I came up with: Bayonaise. It flows right onto the keyboard like… mayonnaise.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/16/2010 10:48:04 PM

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
10 years ago

Oh that too, thanks mate.
I thought you came up with Bayonaise because you hated the game?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

This is true, I felt cheated. I can't deny that once you buy enough stuff the combat is really sweet and lets you do amazing things, but that couldn't save it for me.

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

mmmh, Bayonaise is good.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
10 years ago

World, you can't just hate a game just because of that.
Beside, I'm sure Bayonetta wasn't built on big budget when Platinum Game is an independent studio, not to mention they were formed only a few years back.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I can hate it because it overall sucked.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
10 years ago

No it doesn't but I don't see the point of going any further now.
It's the combat of Bayo that made me fell in love with it.

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

I think Kojima's statement has been somewhat taken out of context. He's referencing the method or tendency eastern devs take on showcasing artistic design (through delicately generated texture work). He uses the environmental example as a means of expressing his perspective. Ultimately, he claims that the western approach is to virtually re-create a world through dynamically generating everything. I can't see how his statement would make sense otherwise. Anyone can look at God of War 3 and Uncharted 2 and Gears of War and recognize that some of the industry's best talent has worked on bringing us the most extraordinary looking games that are both artistic and technical masterpieces.

I agree, GoW3 can't be beat from a presentational perspective for the genre. It's a mega sensory overload experience.

I love action action hack 'n slash games because, to me, they're the spiritual equivalent of a single player fighting game(Tekken, VF, SF etc). Studying hit properties, frame timing, abilities etc is what motivates me to play. I love seeing great spectacular showcase titles like Uncharted 2. But as a person who isn't invested greatly into the play aspect of pop 'n fire games the biggest draw is the presentational aspect of them. It's like sitting down to watch and interact with a Hollywood action-packed flick. It's great, but it doesn't keep me coming back for more. It's the functional GAME in games that motivates my interests most and it's where I ultimately find the most value. Story and flash, while appreciated and valued, takes a backseat to the methodology of play in my book.

I've been playing Bayonetta, FFIX, NGS2 and Tekken 6 this week.
I fought a dude who has 22 platinum trophies! 22!!?

I'm having fun learning the details of Bayonetta's combat design. I'm taking my time on my second play through, while also reading online FAQS to gain a better understanding. I like how distinctly designed it's play mechanic is compared to NG. It doesn't feel like a knock-off. Though, there is a good deal of DMC influence to be found..

I have a heavy bias towards NG's style of play because the play dynamics are so similar to a fighting game. There's absolutely no doubt that Team Ninja's experience has helped elevate the genre's complexity that appears to be tangible only to those who are dedicated to like types of games. It's truly a gamer's game and has the kind of "quality" that, for me, holds the most weight =)

SvenMD
SvenMD
10 years ago

I find it odd because I feel like we are complete opposites in what we look for in a game.

I'm coming to the realization that I really don't like these "hack-n-slash" games. I really do play games mainly for the story and the adventure. I got the GOW collection and got through GOW I, but I never really said "I love this", and then I stopped about 2-3 levels into GOW II. I couldn't understand why I was still playing when I wasn't having fun.

I also just played the new Castlevania: LOS demo, and I really WANTED to like it, but I just hate that type of gameplay…but I really WANT to play it because I want to see the story play out (I liked the way the story was presented in the demo) but I don't think I can make it through all the "combos" to get to the story.

Maybe you guys can tell me that it's worth it.

It just goes to show that there are soooo many different types of gamers out there, and just cause I don't want a new Burnout, doesn't mean there aren't a ton of people pre-ordering because they love it.

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

SvenMD, yep, we all can find different qualities to value.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Sven, if you can't get into the combat in Castlevania – and I couldn't – it's pointless to play. It's all about the combat. The story is okay but it's not like Enslaved, where the story, characters, and art represent the emphasis.

SvenMD
SvenMD
10 years ago

Yeah, all the reviews (yours included) is telling me that I probably would not like it.

I think that was my problem with GOW – I think I tried to make myself like it, and it just didn't work.

BTW – Is the song "Bloody Tears" in the Castlevania at all? Cause if it's not, then it's not a real Castlevania game 😉

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Although I wouldn't call myself "hardcore" of anything, please allow me to explain the main reason why gamers like S.Temjin ("S" for Sensei), and myself love superbly challenging games like NG on the most difficult settings.

It's not for bragging rights, or for entertaining some "superiority complex" as many may imagine (after all we're talking about games here). Nor is it for justifying the purchase of one game over the other (gaming has become expensive, yes, but the average gamer can at least afford to get ALL of the best titles that videogaming offers, or at least to get all the best games that they like).

It's that when a game becomes truly challenging, through beautifully programmed, life-like AI, implemented with responsive controls, and where every single situation, challenge or obstacle, subtle or obvious, has an exact solution and strategy, that often is dynamic and changes in real time (requiring both a premeditated plan as well as keeping you on your toes to improvise), the game feels ALIVE, so to speak, and ceases to feel like a scripted-affair that one plays through once or twice, then puts aside. Not only does it increase the sense of immersion, but it extends the lifetime of the said product. And often, through only the most difficult challenges, does one figure out and appreciate all the subtle touches and nuances that the designers and programmers implemented into the gameplay and level design.

Ultimately, it is about the mental engagement. Just as one doesn't play RPG's soley for the sake of either grinding away for next exp level, or merely for collecting booty, or for experiencing a story (which literature and film are still yet to be outdone in). It is through a combination of these elements. And the ratio of the combination will always be different from game to game.

So, I'm glad that we have accessible games like GOW3 that push the envelope of the genre, as well as the industry of video gaming as a whole, in terms of presentation, graphics, music, sound, and atmosphere. But I'm just as glad that there are games of the "hardcore" variety like NG or Demon's Souls that can keep us busy between the grand releases that are adored by everyone, INCLUDING us.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Also by the way, after playing through Castlevania on medium settings, and platinuming GOW3, i can sincerely say for myself that Castlevania is no more centered about combat than GOW3 is. It is far more similar to GOW, or DMC, or even POP, than it is to NG.

However, Castlevania has about twice the content. So naturally, even with an hours worth of cutscenes, the story is spread a bit thin at times (and during others it truly pushes the envelope as well). So one can't make that assertion without ignoring the breathe-taking vistas, extraordinary level designs, cleverly designed puzzles, that this game is brim-full of, or the emotionally-stirring soundtrack, and the aesthetic variety and touches, and exploration, or the over-the-top ending that the game offers.

If one is not a particular fan of the genre, I understand. However, there is no need to deprecate this product as simply being about combat, when it is clearly not. That is not good for others who might find interest in it, nor is it good for the industry.

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
10 years ago

in that case, some of the best castlevania's, SOTN included, aren't real castlevanias since that song doesn't appear in many castlevania games

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Aaron, I imagine Sven wasn't being serious with the "Bloody Tears" comment. He was being cheeky.

Ricochet
Ricochet
10 years ago

East vs West:

I the best examples to convey Kojima's methodology would be the likes of Okami vs Prince of Persia. One conveys very "artistic" artstyle to bring out the graphics of Okami as opposed to Prince of Persia using shaders and whatnot to make the characters/environment look more realistic.

Another case would be Shadow of the Colossus, you can say pretty much everyone praises the graphics but although it's simply because the ART style is very apparent in that game. Not to mention Team ICO (according to Eurogamer) simply emulated methods (again with artstyle) to "mimic" motion-blur, lighting, volumetric fog,etc EVEN though that kind of technology was still new and not available for the PS2's hardware at that time.


Last edited by Ricochet on 10/17/2010 10:39:55 AM

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

Well said Master Shams.

Really, I wouldn't even bother playing a game like NG on higher difficulties if the love of playing the game wasn't there. It's not about finishing the game–granted it's truly gratifying–but it's about enjoying the moments of play. What's going on in my head.

Similar to when I play Tekken 6 online, I aim to win but having intense and great fights is why I play. I'd rather lose a great match than to win 10 crappy fights that presented no real work.
I would imagine this is similar to great athletes. Who, for some reason, determine they should retire, but then return sometime later because they love the joy of the game.

btw, I discovered a unique play dynamic in Bayonetta called "offset-dodge"(it's actually in the manual but easily missed). BUt get this, it allows you to evade while in the middle of a sequence combo and then just after the dodge you can finish off the combo where you left off. Oftentimes in battle you want to achieve that punishing finishing move (Wicked-Weave) but sometimes you can get interrupted by an enemy attack before the finisher. The off-set dodge is the remedy to this and it truly makes for an interesting play dynamic. It's quite awesome and really fuels the very aggressive nature of the game's play.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

I'll be looking forward to your review, Sensei. The "off-set dodge" seems like a very useful and innovative maneuver. It reminds me of NG2/NGS2 when using the Tonfa, where you can interrupt certain combos with a/x to do a shadow step, and continue with the combo right after, or perform a quicker UT by pressing y/triangle right after (as fast as an OTUL).

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

Whoa, cool. I never use the tonfas. And I didn't know that. I'll have to try that out. I love NGS2 and all of it's crazy depth. It takes mad skillz to be a master =)

BUt yeah, I'll probably have to do a Bayonetta user-review. And crazy enough, the game right now is my front runner as goty 0_0
Though, I do think Castlevania may be a good match for it. I'll have to see.

And then there's always GT5.. and then, well, Bayonetta will have to be a runner-up, no doubt

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Wow, potential GOTY? Now you've got me curious about Bayonetta! I wouldn't say that Castlevania would be in that realm, but it does rank high in it's own genre. GOTY's have a minimum production value requirement that is sky-high, so GOW3 would beat LOS just for that reason. But if we're talking strictly personal favorites here, then I'd say LOS more than makes up for it in the other categories. But i haven't played Bayonetta. I'll also have to wait for and if GT5 releases this year. So far, for me, ME2 beat LOS, which beat GOW3, which in turn beat RDR. RDR was incredibly immersive, but not as fun as the four games that precede it in my opinion.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Koji probably didn't mean his comment to be anything more than a general statement. That is, that we shouldn't read into it anything like "Hey, western games have no artistry to them" or anything like that. I'd say he's mostly right.

What you said (Ben) about the approach is the way I think things should be. That was the problem with FFXIII (Which I'm sorta trying to play again), they got their AAA graphics together and then said "Well, we can't fit towns and NPCs and explortation in, so we'll exclude it altogether." And I think most fans would've rather had them use what tech they could to fit the story instead of cramming the story into the tech.

Totally agree about the chore thing, I used to be down for the most complex sh*t too. But I've moved past that phase where you need to overcome incredible difficulties in order to enjoy a game.

I plan on getting Castlevania and Enslaved, but I'm in no hurry because Fallout is gonna be my surrogate life for a long time. I'll get those two for xmas and or at a reduced price.

I beat Dark Void this week and I liked it despite the many flaws because, well it DID innovate and do new things and more importantly it was fun. Tried the Uncharted 2 multiplayer today for the anniversary thing and, meh, still not fun. I'm sticking to my SP games till KZ3 comes out.

Trying to finish RE5 as well, now that I'm near the end I can see why so many people hated it. It's a good game, but then again it kinda sucks. Know what I mean? Oh yeah and Crisis Core is awesome. Why is this little handheld game better than any console jrpg?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

I'm sure Kojima didn't mean it as a blanket statement. And he certainly does have a point.

As for the hard stuff…conquering it just doesn't do it for me anymore.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Ben, i think it has to do with one's collection, and play habits. Because of your profession as a writer/critic/site-admin, you have a guaranteed and continous access to all the games, you have even less lulls, and even less time…Reviewing games can be arduous work quite often, which means when you play games for your enjoyment…well, you'll be less inclined to getting wound up with those that would require even more "work".

Also, you don't need certain kinds of games to hold you "over" as much as others.

Since i play only a game or two at most for weeks, even months, challenge suits my habits more, and gives me more value for my dollar.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Shams you have a point there. As my only other hobbies are damn near free, I can usually afford a steady stream of games myself. It hasn't been since the old days that I stuck with just one for a long time (unless it was something like Fallout or Oblivion) and I might be more inclined to master something very difficult. But Ben has a point about there not being a lot of time in the day to spend on such things as well. Anyway, solid observation.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Shams: Yeah, I understand that. Don't forget; I was a gamer long before I was a journalist/critic. 😉

My preferences and play style have indeed changed over the years. I wouldn't say that just because I don't have much fun with over-the-top "combat simulators," this means they're bad, or anything. The definition of "fun" is entirely subjective.

Games have become more about relaxation than accomplishment for me. That's all I can really say about it.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

I hear ya, World. For me, too, time is more the limitation than money is. With buy 2 used/get 1 free bargain at Gamestop this weekend, i kinda lost myself and picked up 6 games, most of which were ones i had before, which is a learning lesson (inFamous, Resistance:FOM, Resistance 2, Folklore, Orange Box, Burnout Paradise).

Ben, I can relate. Though i'm often an adrenaline-junkie, I do switch modes, depending on what i'm playing, or what my work week is like.

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

So basically, Ben's saying that he wasn't the Tekken 6 gamer I fought the other night with the 22 platinum trophies =p
Nor am I. I have one plat to my name and it's Tekken 6. And it's basically a freebie.

That's quite a few good games there. I was always somewhat compelled by Folklore but just never really let myself get into it. It has a real strong art athstetic though. And who say's only Eastern devs are artsy.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Same here, Sensei. But after playing Castlevania (fyi, i'll be going to the post office tomorrow), I became interested in picking other games with aesthetic variety. Believe it or not, Folklore is designed by the originator of Street Fighter 2, and the studio is Game Republic. It has a Guillermo Del Toro/Tim Burton-esque quality to it that has always caught my attention, so I'll give it a try after Valkyria Chronicles.

Fane1024
Fane1024
10 years ago

Folklore was made in Japan.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 10/19/2010 5:52:37 AM

frylock25
frylock25
10 years ago

i found the coolest little clip for the ps eye today at best buy. only $15 and it lets it sit on top of hd tv's. i would say that it should have had this on it from the start but since it doesnt this works great.

been playing uncharted 2 all day today. picked up split second gonna play that in a little bit. been on and off mag all week. i like what they did with 2.0. i met some dude on mag that has like 1222 hours in the game. like a level 14 veteran. how can you do that?

in home if you go watch 2 different trailers you get 2 different rewards. one is a golden statue for heavy rain. the other is a predator mask for your home avatar.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

$15? Mine sits on top of my TV for free 🙂

frylock25
frylock25
10 years ago

sadly my tv is round on the top. i tried to velco the damn thing on and the tv got to hot and the glue melted. then the eye fell. made me sad…

anyway yea since it wasnt gonna work the clip is great

sirbob6
sirbob6
10 years ago

Well in KZ2 there people who have over 1.6 million points and 1837 hours online. That is borderline depressing.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I'm guessing the people who have that much online juice are either drop-outs who sponge off their parents or people on disability who can't go anywhere or do anything.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
10 years ago

Got a LPB2 invite! Can't freaking wait to play/test it!

Was part of the original LBP beta so I can't wait to give this a go.
Will try to do the best for MM and report any/all bugs I find.


Last edited by Scarecrow on 10/17/2010 12:20:14 AM

Jawknee
Jawknee
10 years ago

God of War III is the only game i own that i am determined to beat it on the hardest setting. Chaos mode requires so much patience and skill. Ridiculously hard and fun.

frylock25
frylock25
10 years ago

what about uncharted 2 and crushing mode?

Jawknee
Jawknee
10 years ago

Yup but that wasn't as hard as Chaos mode on God of War III. I managed to beat both Uncharted's on Crushing with minimal trouble. Chaos almost seems impossible. Took me almost a week of trying just to get passed Hades. I made it to the point where you go break the chains. I can't get passes that first wave of enemies when you arrive back at the chains.

www
www
10 years ago

Wow Jawk!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

You must be king of the headshots.

Temjin001
Temjin001
10 years ago

I suck at aiming and head shots. I'd say I'm about average at shooters.