Friday, July 13, 2012

Genericide Update: Excuses, Lists and Opinions

[ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ll be going on vacation in a couple days and it will have at least a week without updates (what else is new). Apart from this article I’ll try to get something out tomorrow, though it’s uncertain if I will manage. I really am sorry about the gaps in content. That’s the important bit, more below]

            In the theoretical situation wherein I had regular readers of this blog, regular readers of this blog may notice that it has a really inconsistent update rate. Part of this is the unavoidable nature of how my writing cycle works, which is approximately between ‘when I feel like it’ and ‘when I start to feel guilty’ o clock. The other part comes from the fact that I play a lot of games in my free time that I don’t feel motivated to write about. Just how many games, you may ask? Well I figured in lieu of having actual content to give you I’ll just give you a list of the many, many games I’ve been playing this summer but not writing about. Some will be accompanied with a brief write up, some will be accompanied by an explanation of why I’m planning a bigger write up later, and some will state my intent not to write about them at all. If you don’t care about said list, I’d still prefer you scroll down past it to the bottom of this article, because I have some questions for what few readers I have.


Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver – Near the start of summer me and a friend went to a Disc Replay and bought some old games. This is one such game, that I bought before realizing it was already on PSN for a cheaper price. This series was apparently fairly popular but I missed it as a kid due to being a kid when the relatively violent game starring a fallen vampire first came out for the PS1. I’m planning on coming back to it and giving it a bigger review later.

Blast Corps – The second game in that pile of old games I bought, this one is in a similar state as Soul Reaver in that I bought it, played it for a while and forgot about it in the midst of other games. It was mentioned in my top video game explosions article and that really explained all it had to offer. It’s a fun game but not particularly hard to explain (various vehicles blow buildings to bits) so though I’m probably going to play it more it’s less likely that I’ll give it a full-blown review.

Scaler – The third game of the old games I bought at the start of summer. Unlike the other two, I only started playing this one recently. I bought it purely because it looked like a crummy budget platformer I could make fun of and I’d never heard of it, which is rare for me. As it turns out, it’s actually a fairly decent if not fantastic 3D platformer that just happened to be relatively obscure. I may give this one a bigger review at a later point.

Dustforce – I bought this game on sale right before summer began and played it a few times for a week or so. It’s a hardcore 2D platformer where you star as janitors cleaning up dust (you sweep automatically as you run) and garbage-related monsters. It doesn’t really merit a full review so I’m just going to spend another paragraph explaining my feelings on it.

            Dustforce is a stylized game, with excellent visuals and a great soundtrack. The gameplay, too, has incredibly tight controls that work in its favor. You can run, you can attack, you can charge attack, you can wall/ceiling-run, you can wall/ceiling-jump, you can dash, whether on the ground or in mid-air, and you can use a super move that attacks all enemies on screen at once when a meter is full. Levels are all about chaining these abilities together in the exact right way. This is fun but highly linear, given that there’s usually only one exact path to take that allows you to get every single speck of dust and still finish in time to get the best rank in both completion and time. The problem is that the levels simply got too hard for me later on, as before too long they can be ridiculously demanding (not to mention long), especially if you’re a perfectionist. That’s really all that I have to say on the matter. So in conclusion: Dustforce looks great, sounds great, and has awesome controls. I just wish that those things were in a game that wasn’t so prohibitively difficult.

Diablo 3 – A game that needs no introduction. I never owned any of the previous Diablo games but having loved some of Blizzards other series and being intrigued by this one, I bought the game when it came out. However, after a brief period of play I sort of just…stopped. Part of the problem is with the game’s most controversial feature: always online play. My internet connection is decent, but not perfect, and occasionally drops out for a brief period, usually measured in seconds. However, apparently this is a problem in Diablo 3, even more so than it has been for me in WoW, because if you’re disconnected whatever floor of the dungeon you were on resets. Given that I’m a perfectionist and like to explore every nook and cranny of a floor, this leads to many occurrences where I lose a lot of progress and become frustrated. However, I still feel bad about how little time I spent with the game and will probably return to it at some point. Whether I’ll write a bigger review is yet to be seen.

Vessel – A PC game acquired at a steam sale (I have many of these), Vessel is an indie puzzle platformer that uses a lot of water physics and autonomous creatures. I got it more recently and like it quite a lot, so I’ll certainly be playing more and giving it a bigger write up at a later point.

Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – This one is a doozy in terms of time consumption. A while back I decided to replay the second game in the Paper Mario series. It’s a fantastic turn-based RPG with many things to recommend it but somehow I always have trouble putting my love of the series into words when I write about it. Make no mistake though, I love these games. I’m pretty sure I’ve beaten the first one 7 times. I hadn’t played through the second as much though, so I did so, as well as doing most of the games side quests. So that took up 50 enjoyable hours of my life. Given how much time I spent on it and how much I love the series I’m probably inclined to write about it at some point. I’m just not sure when, given my curious difficulty writing about it.

Xenoblade Chronoicles – Oh god I had completely forgotten about this. I bought this RPG at the beginning of the summer but completely lost track of it in the midst of every other game I overloaded myself with. It was a decent RPG with a somewhat generic story, far as I could tell with my initial hours with it. However, it definitely deserves more investigation before I say more on it.

Sonic Unleashed – Forgot about this one as well. Played through the whole thing about the same time I was going through Wario Land 2, just prior to launching the blog. My thoughts on it aren’t really large enough to fill an entire review, so I’ll just cram a smaller one into this next paragraph.

            Sonic Unleashed tried a new direction with Sonic in which the many fast segments as regular Sonic were almost always very fast-paced but telegraphed upcoming hazards enough that you could avoid them without completely superhuman reflexes. The segments were highly linear but still fairly fun. However, the regular Sonic sections went by so fast that the game compensated by padding the run time in two ways. The first is an overworld segment in which you talk to people to figure out where to go next. This is dull, uninteresting and completely arbitrary, but thankfully it’s at least short. The second is by the Werehog sections, in which Sonic moves slower and has stretchy arms. These are a mix of slower platforming bits and lots of filler combat, neither of which is particularly engaging. They’re sometimes not completely terrible, but never too fun either. So to sum up: Sonic Unleashed was a step in the right direction with its day stages, though they weren’t perfect. The rest of the game is fairly mediocre.

Kingdom Hearts – I actually mentioned offhand back in my second review for the blog, Lost Kingdoms 2, that I had been playing Kingdom Hearts again recently. Well, I had been, but I got bored of it. It’s a good enough game but some segments, particularly Atlantis, which is where my interest started to wane, were a bit lackluster. I like the game overall so it’s certainly possible I’ll come back to it and/or even give it a full review in the future. However, it’s not guaranteed so don’t get your hopes up.

Pokemon – I’ve played a decent amount of multiple Pokemon games since the summer started. And at almost any given time, really, as I like Pokemon. I’m definitely planning on giving a larger review to Pokemon games in the future, so I’ll keep those opinions to myself for the time being.

Arkham City – I bought this game back when it came out, but the auto-save stopped working due to a glitch and I couldn’t continue. Six months later it still hadn’t been fixed with a patch, so I angrily gave up and started a new save losing my previous progress. This time I played the game to completion, albeit without completing all the side quests. It’s a damn fine game apart from that save problem I had with it, hence me being willing to play through it again. I can recommend it to anyone but I don’t think I need to do a review of it. The problem with newer, high profile games is that anything I could possibly say about them has usually already been said by the games industry at large. You know those reviews saying it was awesome and one of the best super hero games ever? I agree, it’s good, you should probably play it, the end.

Shadow the Hedgehog – Was compelled on a whim to replay this game recently, knowing that it wasn’t very good. It was playable but highly flawed, just as I remembered. It’s a good game for complaining about, so I’ll probably write a larger piece on it at some point in the future.

Donkey Kong 1994 – I attained this original Game Boy game on the 3DS virtual console store a while back, and don’t have much to say about it. It’s a competently done puzzle platformer. I had fun with it for a bit but some of the later stages get rather rough and I got stuck on them. I may come back to playing it at some point but I doubt I’ll have anything more to write about it. It’s a good game but not very noteworthy.

Kid Icarus: Uprising – I was just finishing up this game when summer was rolling ‘round, but I still come back to it occasionally to replay a stage on a higher difficulty or play some online multiplayer. I enjoyed it quite a bit and will probably write something about it at some point. Not sure how long it’ll be until that day though.

Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – I just started replaying this game, inspired by my mention of it in the top video game explosions article. I love the game and will certainly be playing more of it, and there’s a decent chance I’ll write at greater length about it later.

There are many other games I’ve been playing this summer, but not all of them merit an individual description. The ones I’ve been giving have been becoming rather generic as it is. So here’s a list of some games I’ve been playing that I plan on possibly talking about some day in the future:

Shadow of the Colossus
Disgaea: Hour of Darkness
Graffiti Kingdom
Second Sight
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy IX
Final Fantasy X

Here’s a list of games I’ve been playing that I don’t plan on talking about in the future (though anything’s possible):

Costume Quest
Luigi’s Mansion
Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
World of Warcraft
Legend of the Dragoon
Viewtiful Joe
Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Keep in mind that this entire list is comprised of only games that I’ve played this summer. There might even be some I’m forgetting. Some I’m playing for the first time, some not so, but the thing to take away is I play a ton more games than I do write about them. The other thing to take away is that I have a ton of potential stuff to write about if I ever get the chance.


            Alright, so now that I’ve listed off all that potential content, I have some questions that I’d be grateful for any answers in the comments below. What type of content on this blog do you most enjoy? Do you prefer game reviews, the let’s play stuff, the generally longer commentary on game design in general, top lists,  commentary on current things like I did with E3, or something else entirely? Say why if you can. I’ve always got tons of different ideas for what to write on this blog but if people have a preference I might lean towards doing more of that type of content, or at least delivering it sooner (with the possible exception of news commentary as with E3, as I’m usually not particularly fond of doing that). While we’re at it, any comments for the blog in general? Is my writing getting better/worse? Is there anything in particular you like or don’t like? Thanks for the feedback, and again, sorry for the lack of content lately.

1 comment:

  1. I like the top lists because those are the easiest to digest. I also the current events stuff too (sorry) because those interest me the most. I think your writing itself is very nice and if it seems rather normal to me, it's because I talk to you extremely often anyways. To a strange, I think the writing would be more novel. Unfortunately, reviews don't have much interest for me unless they are games that I have played, or ones that I plan to play, which is almost none of your reviews.