Archive for the ‘Heavy Rain’ Tag

The Problem with Gaming…   Leave a comment

I took a gaming break in college. I played unfinished games on my PS2 from time to time without completing them. Towards the end of college, I got into Maplestory. It was crazy addicting. It wasn’t until I graduated in 2008 that I started getting back into gaming again. My dad bought the PS3 around this time.

I started with a decent collection of PS3 games. Soul Calibur IV and Tekken 6 for fighting games, a First-Person Shooter with Unreal Tournament III, a basketball and tennis game and that Motorstorm racing game that came with the PS3. None of these were serious games that I invest my time on. Most of those games were still a year or so away. I was still playing better games on the PS2 and my current Maplestory addiction. My ex also bought Rock Band 2 for me and my siblings, even though I told her it’s a waste. It’s a nice party game, but it’s not a game I seriously invest my time on or the fact that I don’t really host parties lol.

It was about 6 months or so after (2009) when all the good games were released. Over the next two years, not in any particular order, I got Fallout 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Dante’s Inferno, Heavy Rain, Brutal Legend, Final Fantasy XIII, Silent Hill: Homecoming, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Mirror’s Edge, L.A. Noire, Nier and God of War 3.

Fast forward to now:

  • I reached level 200 in Maplestory in late 2012. I’m probably the only one among my friends in college to ever reach this achievement (no cheating or private servers). I stopped playing shortly in early 2013.
  • I haven’t beaten Silent Hill: Homecoming. I also bought a copy of Silent Hill: Downpour. I haven’t played it yet.
  • I haven’t beaten Fallout 3. I actually traded my copy of it. At first I thought about buying the Game of the Year edition of Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but I felt it was too much Elder Scroll mechanics for me.
  • I did beat Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I also got copies of their direct sequels, Modern Warfare 2 and 3. Also beat them.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4, Dante’s Inferno and Mirror’s Edge were the only serious game I invested my time on in 2009-2010.
  • When I started playing Final Fantasy XIII on my fat PS3, it actually broke the system. The lens was fried and could no longer play any disks, Blu-Ray or DVD. The system is still operational for downloaded games and is now sitting in the basement. I bought the Killzone 3 bundle of the slim PS3. I beat Killzone 3 (didn’t really care about multiplayer).
  • I started playing Nier, Brutal Legend, Heavy Rain, God of War 3 and L.A. Noire around 2010. I beat God of War 3 and Nier in 2011. I just beat the other three games earlier this year.
  • Sony had problems with the PSN in 2011 and closed it for a while. As their “Welcome Back” package, they gave away a few PS3 games for download and a trial of PlayStation Plus. I got inFAMOUS and Wipeout. Wipeout was meh. I beat inFAMOUS earlier this year and downloaded a free copy of inFAMOUS 2 as a PlayStation Plus member. Still have yet to beat it.
  • E3 in 2012 showcased a trailer for Assassin’s Creed III. That got my so hyped up that I bought the previous Assassin’s Creed games (1, 2, Brotherhood, Revelations) and beat them in the 3 months leading up to the release of AC3 in October 2012. I bought Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag on release date. I beat it about 3 weeks after.
  • I acquired a bunch of PSN games. flOw, Flower, Journey, Datura, Machinarium, etc. Already beat them.
  • I got The Walking Dead: A Tell-Tale Game and the 400 Days DLC. Still waiting for Season 2.
  • I acquired Ni no Kuni and Bioshock: Infinite from Amazon. Bioshock: Infinite includes a free copy of the first Bioshock. I’m actually playing that one first. I started playing Ni no Kuni. It’s a fun J-RPG.
  • I got Beyond: Two Souls. Many people were turned off by this game, but it’s a definite improvement as the spiritual-successor to Heavy Rain. It had better dialogue, acting, pacing and story.
  • Because of PlayStation Plus, I’ve had my pick on the litter on free games. I got Uncharted 3 for free. Rather than play this game first, I bought the Uncharted 1 and 2 bundle at Best Buy and beat the first game.
  • I started playing Final Fantasy XIII again. I’m almost done with the game. I bought Final Fantasy XIII-2 last year for $15 at Target. The final sequel, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII comes out next year.

The problem with gaming is that there are too many games distracting you from playing and completing previous games. I literally have games lying around enough to last me for another year, provided I don’t purchase anymore. With PS4 already out, it’s only a matter of time before I make the switch.

I’m done.

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The Journey, Beyond Two Souls   Leave a comment

How you like that mash-up?

I recently completed Beyond: Two Souls. Last month, I also beat the game Journey. I wanted to do separate reviews, but the themes in these game couldn’t be more fitting.

Journey was developed by the same team that created flOw and Flower. The game starts out with what appears to be a shooting star (or a meteor) racing across the sky. The scene pans across the screen overlooking a desert landscape. It cuts to a red-overall, shrouded character, the unnamed protagonist you play, with a red scarf with gold-embroidered designs. There is no dialog in the game. All you have are subtle onscreen prompts on how to control your character.

You encounter these cloth-like materials all over the environment. They seem to be made from the same material as your character’s cloak. You can “call” these things with your character’s quipping noise that sounds like random staccato-ed cello notes. They gather around your character and allow it to move faster and hover about for a few seconds depending on how long your scarf has gotten.

Your objective is to go from point A to point B. Along the way, you collect shimmering flashes of light that increase the length of your scarf. Seems easy, enough, but there’s more to this game than that. The point of Journey is to get yourself out of the “it’s a game” mindset and immerse yourself into the experience. The lush visuals of the environment is like a moving painting. The music and sounds of your character interacting the game world are in-synced with what you are seeing on screen. At the end of an area, you are greeted by what I’ve surmised as an angelic presence or guide. It looks just like your character, except much taller and wearing white cloak instead of red. It then shows you a story using hieroglyphic-like drawings on a wall.

From the desert, sunken city, broken bridges, desert surfing and underground city, the visuals will take you away and give you feels. Even when you’re an active participant in the game, you can’t help but feel passive with it.

This is a hard game to review without spoiling it. People have different interpretations on what it is. For me, this game is about life. No, seriously. It becomes more apparent when you suddenly encounter another being like your character moving through the game. You can go through the game with this other person playing and help each other out without talking, using only your character’s movements and soft quipping noises. My take away from that was life is journey. Don’t travel alone.

Segueing into another game, we have Beyond: Two Souls. You play a girl named Jodie. For as long as she can remember, there’s always been this entity that is with her. She calls him Aiden. During her childhood, she was asked by a scientist on all the strange things happening around her. She demonstrated that Aiden could move objects. She also explained that she couldn’t really tell Aiden what to do and that no one can. To her, Aiden is like a lion trapped in the cage with her. He can’t go anywhere and that makes him mad and irritable.

Beyond: Two Souls is the story about Jodie. We go through 15 years of her life. The game doesn’t tell the story in chronological order. There’s a reason for this brilliance. It showcases points in time of Jodie’s life where she was happy, vulnerable, depressed and out of control. The one constant through all this is Aiden.

Aiden doesn’t really know what he is (or even if he is actually a “he”). Jodie seems to understand Aiden and argues with him, so it’s safe to say that Aiden identifies as a man. Aiden can be mischievous, yet chivalrous, if you want him to. You get to play as Aiden equally as Jodie.

Ellen Page plays Jodie. Her likeness and voice were used for the game. One thing I can compare this game with is it’s predecessor, Heavy Rain. Beyond gives us less of the quick time events and more subtle onscreen prompts to keep the story going. The controls were made to be intuitive and easier to digest than Heavy Rain. The voice acting is much better this time around. For a game that puts acting and emotions center-stage, you tend to notice it more. Heavy Rain had great voice acting compared to other games. Treated as a movie/drama, you’ll notice what’s bad and what doesn’t work. Beyond took care of that. They even have Willem Dafoe and Kadeem Hardison along with many other supporting actors that were motion captured for the game.

With less interactions and more focus on the story, we’re back to questioning whether interactive drama is a game or a movie. This time around, Beyond: Two Souls feels more like a movie than a game. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m done.

SHAAAAAUUUN!!!   3 comments

Quantic Dream released two games prior to Heavy Rain. Their first title was an action-adventure game called Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Little did they know that the gameplay mechanics they explored for their second game, Fahrenheit (Indigo Prophecy), would be a commercial success. Dubbed “Interactive Drama” by game designer David Cage, Quantic Dream updated the winning formula for the company’s third game and first outing for the PS3.

Heavy Rain is probably one of the most ambitious games to be released that blur the lines on what defines any medium as a game or an art. The game has a huge emphasis on story. It’s not like the developers made the game and wrapped a pretty little story around it. The story itself is what drives the game.

“How far would you go to save someone you love?”

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