Notyalcsdrawkcab’s Weblog

August 30, 2009

fatal frame 4 is really really good

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 1:51 am

what it does well … it does very very well.  and in its own way.  the frights are not the same as those in the resi series or the silent hill series.

what it does badly … like plot.  well, i can forgive it for that after seeing all that it does well.

got a buddy coming over to play guitar.  i, a very bad guitarist, am helping out a complete beginner.

then we play some fatal frame.  and he jumps.  the frights get your heart pounding.  and i jump.  and i have played the game.  even when you know that something is coming, you jump.

why is fatal frame not being published in the west?  why is nintendo not letting another publisher take this to the west?  sorry for fans of the series … but us over here in japan don`t have it all good here either – madworld wasn`t released here.


June 10, 2009

power imbalances and morality …

Filed under: Life in Japan, Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 11:55 pm

played through Silent Hill 1, the old PSX game.  and had a blast.  apparently this game has “good” endings and “bad” endings.

on the first play through, we got the “bad” ending.  which i thought was quite fitting.  for such a dark game.

but we are now playing through again on easy in order to get the good finish.  which seems like a good enough idea.  its a short game.

but.  the tone of the game has completely changed.  my character is now packed to the gills with bullet boxes, and health kits.  the enemies are now fewer.  and i can`t help but feel sorry for the enemies that do come around.

cos i am a malevalent godman who will shoot them and then kick them to death for a few extra points.  what were demonic hellhounds baying for my blood the first time round are now stupid mutts that just happen to have no skin.

and i stomp them to death.

i`m the good guy?  no.  i am the aggressor.  i choose to engage in the violence.

say hi to the bad guy.

May 10, 2009

i wasn`t gonna buy any new games …

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 4:42 am

but then valve had to go and give me a proposition i couldn`t refuse.  or at the least, didn`t feel like refusing.

especially since i had that nice “invigorate the economy” cash that the japanese government was handing out (yes, even to us foreign types).

so here is how they spun their trap.

the game – left 4 dead

they offered 24 hours of access to this game a weekend a go.  i figured “why not?” and racked up a couple of hours playing.  and enjoying it.

then they discounted the price by 40%.

then they offered another day of free access to the demo.

and i figured it was time to buy. i was caught hook line sinker.

this game genuinely is a love or hate proposition.  what you are doing each game is quite basic.  there isn`t any differentiation between the players, there isn`t much in the way of maps, nor weapon sets.  team fortress 2 it ain`t. these aspects will drive some people crazy.

but other people will get so much out of this game.  but you can go back again and again and again, as each set of enemies spawns randomly/based on team performance, and no 2 sets of strangers will play together in exactly the same way.  the terrible teams make you appreciate the good teams.  and the game forces teamwork in a way that most multiplayer fps i have seen don`t.

April 30, 2009

an unappreciated gem …

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:24 am

i bought a game a while ago, coupla years ago in fact – viewtiful joe.

i got stuck in the first stage and just gave up on it.  it was just some 2d beat em up, and i hadn`t enjoyed what i had played that much, so it was easy to give up on it.

but recently the girlfriend was playing “okami”, a beautiful fun game from the same company.  and i figured that maybe there was more than meets the eye to viewtiful joe.

and there is.  slowly the color and personality of the game start to charm you … and then it hit me.  its a puzzle game.  what i thought was a 2d beat em up is actually a puzzle game.  your time altering powers are used to change the environment, beat bosses and generally kick arse.  once i used time altering to progress past an obstacle, i was hooked.  the game just charmed me and became hard to put down.

April 11, 2009

change the goal posts …

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 8:41 am

games create a fantasy world / environment.  but what are we imagining.  there are too many space marines.  too many roided up heroes saving the world, one murder at a time.

been happily playing rhythm tengoku, a rhythm game on GBA.  its a bunch of minigames.  quite random and cute.  usually the gameplay is pressing one button.  following audio cues.  most people who play cannot stop themselves from bopping along to the music.  i was getting into one stage where you tap dance to ska music with monkeys.  let me just repeat that.


so many games seem so pale and hollow in comparison.  not enough tap dancing.  not enough ska music.  not enough monkeys.

and the only thing on the screen that was brown was the monkeys.  everything else was bright and colorful.

this simple, cute, colorful game has given me as much joy as any game i have played in the last year …

March 29, 2009

region locking …

Filed under: Life in Japan, Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 4:07 pm

gives me the shits.  big time.  never liked it for dvds.  never liked it for games.

its nonsensical.  the bananas that i bought today came over from the phillipines.  got some coffee on my table that came from africa.  and company X doesn`t want me buying their product (that they may or may not sell where i live) from another country?

ok, i am drowning in game choices atm.  playing through half life 2 ep 1 and 2, got forever blue to play next, okami, persona 4 … maybe go back and revisit some other games in my collection no more heroes, metroid prime 3 … a stack of games i can get cheap cheap cheap …

but i bought okami for ps2, cos the company that made it didn`t bother releasing it in japan on wii.  north america and europe only.  the nintendo wii is region locked.  fair enough if a company decides not to release something in my region – its a commercial decision.  but when the platform is intentionally locked so that i cannot buy that product from another place … thats bullshit.

and capcom, the company that made okami, is not the only violator on this front.  sega make a cool, stylish, reminds people of robert rodriguez / quinten tarentino light shooter game, and they don`t release it in japan?  this is the kind of stuff i lap up and i can`t play it.  the team that made okami just made a new ultraviolence game.  sega didn`t release it in japan.  so i can`t play it.

its like they don`t want my money or something …

nintendo really messed up when they locked up their platform.  i didn`t mind when all the stuff i wanted to play was being made available here in japan … but now i know cool stuff is not coming over.  thats annoying.

March 21, 2009

how the hell did pokemon get its claws into me?

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 8:36 am

zelda phantom hourglass was the best thing and the worst thing to come out for ds.  the best, because it was one of the best games i played on any machine.  as good as twilight princess or wind waker.  it was that good.  and funny.  and it fit the ds perfectly.  fun, funny, well made.  good good good.

BUT everything i have played on DS since has not been able to hold a candle to it.  there has been lots of tasty little snack games that i can play on the train or bus … but no OMG woohoo wow games.  on a train or bus, a spot of braintraining or sudoku, or a space invaders extreme or soul bubbles is a great fit.  but none of them are OMG woohoo wow like zelda phantom hourglass was.

i am hoping that gta chinatown wars can be that next great game.

but right now, pokemon has its claws in me.  i have never played one of these before, but i had read good things about them, so i decided to try it out.  i am now 118 hours into the game.  i am guessing i am about 80 per cent of the way through the story.  the time taken isn`t related to story progress – i am sure you could finish the game more quickly, if you know what you are doing.  but it has been a strange journey.  i have stopped playing the game so many times vowing to leave it behind, but then, eventually the ridiculous polish of the game, the sheer size of the game, and the ponderous, slow slow slow tempo of the gameplay (which is perfect for playing while knocking back a morning coffee) bring me back.

it is boring.  is it?  or is it really slow?  i dunno.  but grinding up levels, gardening, seeing how the pokemon evolve, catching new ones … its fun.  or is it?  i dunno.

but it has its claws in me.  of that there can be no dispute.

March 18, 2009

no more heroes

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 3:00 pm

this one has been on my to play list for awhile … but never quite got around to it.

had a blast … its witty, fresh, a bit kooky.  quite cognisant that it is a videogame and happy to break the 4th wall and talk directly to the audience.

even the grindy bits were fun for me.  i never got tired of working the gas station … an assassin, filling gas for spare cash, bopping away to mexican music.  the emptiness of the game world got to me in the middle of the game … but the character, and the wonderful controls got me over it. even virtual shopping was fun … i have enough clothes, and not enough space – i had a lot of fun with the shopping.

unfortunately, i accidentally played the game on easy.  while all the voice was in english, the text was in japanese.

March 11, 2009

if and who – two words missing from game reviews

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 5:21 am

a mate came round with her ps3 last weekend.  had a massive play through biohazard 5.  god, maybe 5 hours almost.  that is the longest playthrough i have had in a long time.

but 2 player co-op using a good projector and sound set up (hehe, aimee even went and got hdmi cables – nerd!)  was fun fun fun.  the movement and controller system is ponderous, but once i got in the flow i was too busy having fun to think about it.  i also found the game very cinematic.  wow, this part is black hawk down.  this part is mad max II.

so i decided to check out how the reviews were going for this one.  the reviews i saw were very different to my experience so far of the game.  but that doesn`t mean the reviewers are stupid, or fanboys, or wrong.  we are playing very different games.

i played only the co-op.  i am a resi 4 fan.  i don`t have a ps3 or xbox360 (yet), and am unfamiliar with recent games in the action adventure genre.

IF you are gonna play this single player, then your experience will be different.

IF you have played, and loved, other recent big games, like GTA4, CoD4 … then your experience will be different.

IF you are not a biohazard fan … ditto

IF you have not played a video game since pacman on the atari … you will not be able to play this game.  at all.

the value you get from this game will depend on who you are … but this never seems to come up in reviews.  as the audience fragments more and more, the question will continue to come up … will this review really help you?

ps.  team fortress 2 rocks.  but so much change has happened since the initial release … that those initial releases must no longer be relevant to the game (if you got it on pc).  but where is the review that elaborates on TF2 as it stands now?

February 22, 2009

boom blox damn just paid for itself …

Filed under: Videogames — notyalcsdrawkcab @ 12:23 pm

had some buddies over for a wii party/afternoon …

spent 3000 yen for a copy of boom blox.  laughed my head off watching my friends try to play that game.  genuinely laughed.  you`d spend more on dinner out, or kareoke, or drinks at a bar …

1 afternoon`s play and i got my money`s worth out of it.

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