Welcome to my blog about, at least mostly, games. Here you can find reviews, impressions, pictures and things that I think are interesting enough to write about. If you want me to speak up on something, then write it to me. Want to discuss something in a post then write it in the comments. Hope it will be good reading for you.

måndag 18 maj 2015

Why can't I bring myself to play The Witcher?

So tomorrow is the day when the long awaited third instalment of the popular Witcher- series, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This is probably one of the most longed for games of the entire 2015, for some people, and I can really understand why. The grand world and the great script and story makes this a game that is in many aspects, ahead of its time. So why can't I keep playing it?

A pretty little town, I'm sure nothing bad will happen here.
I've always had a very special relationship with The Witcher. I played the first game a couple of times, times that were far apart from each other, always starting over, because I wanted to experience it again, but I never got further than out of the castle before I stopped playing. It is odd, because I could never bring myself to play it again, every time I thought about it I just felt nah, I don't want to play that right now. The same thing happened with the second game, but then I stopped playing because it got a bit to hard to keep track of all the things you could do in combat, knives, traps, dodge parry, counter, oils, potions and sticking fingers up bums! There is a tutorial thankfully, and I have recently begun playing Assassins of Kings again, and I know it's hard and I don't mind, I love the story and the characters. I love this game, but I still had the same experience with this game, nah, not today, I don't feel like it.

It could have something to do with t he fact that The Witcher just isn't a game that you can just pick up and play, it will take up a far amount of time from your day. This means that The Witcher becomes very much a project, not just a fun game. And before you say anything, no I don't thing that is necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes I like a project, something I can really sink my teeth in, that I have to put a fair amount of time into in one sitting to enjoy. But it is a risky gamble for someone who works a lot, meaning that The Witcher isn't a game I would play on a day that I'm working, or when I have something else planed. Maybe on a free day, but even then I feel like I need to be in the right mindset.

A great example that Nintendo still sticks to the "pick up and play" mentality
I wrote about this two week ago too, the fact that games have very much become hard to start up. In the NES-days the "just pick up and play" was what made consoles different from computers. But now I feel like consoles just tries to be PC, but they never will be as strong, and I don't think they should be. But many games do a similar thing, where it can take half an hour of more before you get to play the actual game. I think that Nintendo is the only company who has managed to pull this of, even having the screen on your controller show the games so you don't have to go to the home menu when your start the Wii U, and can go straight to playing the game. I'm gonna say it, and maybe I will get a lot of hate for this, and I do think that the Wii U has a lot of flaws, but it remembers that it's a gaming console and not a media beast, like the PS4 or the Xone. I might do a comparison of the three one day but I just remembered, i was supposed to talk about The Witcher!

There are some inventive monsters in The Witcher
I read a review of The Wild Hunt and one thing that worried me was something that most people might see as a good thing, but I just really get this pit in my stomach. Every choice has a consequence, I love this, but the review stated that every side-quest had a twist, and you might get the feeling that you probably shouldn't have bothered with that which isn't your business. This makes me think of a thing that I really hated in the Game of Thrones game from Telltales. I talked about this in one of my Let's Filosoplay videos, and I'm going to put out a SPOILER ALERT here. In the first episode the game does something that the book and the series have done, it makes you feel like every character is in danger, by killing of one of the playable characters, and makes you feel like it's you fault. After that I just couldn't keep playing, because to fear for a character in the TV-series is one thing, and it can get pretty tense *cough*RedWedding*cough*. Then realize that the same tension is on you throughout the entire game, and it's worse because you're responsible and invest in the character you're playing. I just couldn't keep playing, it was too much for me, and yeah call me a wimp for it, but I mean, that is at the same time what made the game great and unique, but at the same time, it's what made me stop playing.

I hope that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt won't feel like this, because all in all, it's a game that I want to love, because of the world and the characters. I'm getting really pumped to play the second game again now, maybe I should begin a project today! Are you pumped for Wild Hunt? We'll see if a review finds its way onto this sight in the future.

onsdag 13 maj 2015

Let's playing

So I actually started posting let's play videos on youtube from my PS4, please check this out. It's a bit like what I do here, talking about games as I'm playing the game, FilosophyGamerNinja at youtube. This is the first video of me playing Shovel Knight!

måndag 11 maj 2015

Destiny - Destined to be forgotten

The beautiful scenery of Destiny
I've never really liked MMO's. So I'm not even sure why I picked up Destiny. Well, that's not entirely true, I picked it up because I really like Halo, and I played Destiny at a friends and kind of liked the concept of it. The part I played was where I teamed up with two other players to take on a number of enemies and at the end one really big and bad one. It felt kinda Halo-ish, I really liked that and to be honest, there is nothing wrong with the gameplay as it is. I loved the tense and kinda hard boss-fight, where you always had to weight offence and defence. 

Okay, enough praise, because I later picked up Destiny, and played it for a while, but has as of now laid it to rest. Unfortunately it suffers from the classic MMO-problems, something that you who reads this might actually like, but that I just can't stand. The first thing is the horrible try to be a story driven game. No, what drives an MMO has always been the quest to get the best loot, and the best level, to build the best character. I would love a MMO to do story right, but as it is, it's amazingly sloppy, and if the story didn't exist, I might have had another drive of motivation, and not gotten tired of it so quickly.

"I demand trial by shooting aliens in the face!"
But as I mentioned last week, a story is nothing is it's not backed up by great gameplay, and in some respect Destiny has that, almost. There is the usual regenerating health/hiding behind cover/FPS gameplay that Bungie do so good, as they have proven with the Halo-series. And that's all fine and well, but when I am supposed to do the same thing hour after hour, with enemies that all kinda look the same, and can be defeated by the same tactic every time, the game becomes the biggest turn-off for me of MMO's. It succumbs to grinding to get bigger and better gear. As I mentioned earlier, this is what builds your character, the thing is that a character is more than just your level and your gear, it's personality, it's the ability to change the way you think of things and so much more. Gear and level leaves me with an empty shell, guided by Tyrion Lannister, but without any character himself, just another empty shell with a nice voice. 

And there you go, from one location to another (nice location mind), same thing all the time. Even the big guys starts to feel like the same fight over and over again. Couldn't the big bosses at least have some kind of variation on how to beat them, other than shoot at them until they stop moving and explode with loot all over the place. I want something new, I want the game to keep challenging me, not just throw more of the same enemies at me. 

As it is, Destiny is nothing for me, and maybe I'm being to hard saying it's destined to be forgotten, but I have a hard time seeing this holding up. With the kind of money it cost to make it might be remembered, but the game is a good weekend at best, but forgotten in the long run. I'm not going to play it at least, it doesn't appeal to me in the slightest, it's back to Gamestop with you.

måndag 4 maj 2015

Shovel knight thoughts - What makes a game good?

Shovel Knight in all its 8-bit glory
Long ago I did a comparison of games in the same genre, pitting games from the present to games from the past. Maybe that wasn't a fair comparison, more mathematical than anything else, and now after playing Shovel Knight I have a reason to get back to the question, was games better in the past?

Why? Well the fact is that I have pretty much spent all of the current year playing games from two generations ago, meaning Playstation 2 and before. And I've had a really good time actually. At the same time I've bought games like Infamous: Second Son and Dragon Age: Inquisition, and I tried them out and was kinda underwhelmed to be honest. After playing Shovel Knight I think I finally figured out why I'm having such a hard time with new games.

Don't forget to check the bodies for potions!
I think it's all the padding, and there are a lot of different ways of padding a game out., not all of them bad mind you, but just most of them. The fact that I have to sit through a long intro just to get to playing the game, and then the game takes an hour or two for me to learn all of the features and things to do. I remember a time when the big argument that console gamers had against PC gamers was that I could just start up the console and be playing the game in less than a minute, something Shovel Knight does very good (after the game have been installed on the PS4 of course, because all consoles seems to be just PC wannabes), you just start the game, two presses of the button, a VERY short intro and hardly any tutorials. You're in action quickly. Dragon Age does this too, ish, there is a intro sequence, character creation (which honestly was as fun as I had with the game, so fun that I did it twice) and then you get right into the action... of a one hour tutorial-course. Final Fantasy VII did it in a good way in contrast, a quick into sequence, and then right into the action, and with no explanation at all to how the game worked, you had to figure it out for yourself, and that might seem like a bad thing (and when I played it first at 11 years old, it took me a good while to get how you played so yeah) but there seems to be a trend in games where they seem to treat you like an infant, Or maybe the games have in gameplay become so complicated that one needs to be educated in the system, but my reaction to a new game is still to press all the buttons to figure out what they do, but newer games lock off the buttons until you've gone through the tutorial. I know FFVII had a couple of tutorials as well but then you were hooked, and it still let me do a lot of figuring out myself. I managed to play it through at 11 years old and I barely knew any English at that time, so I pretty much got through without the tutorials. Shovel Knight was fun because it did what old games did, just play, and it reminded me how annoying it can be when I'm forced to learn the game before playing it, and not just learn while playing.

The first page of pictures of The Last of Us, and none are from the gameplay
There is one game that I just want to love so much, because every time I play it, I have a lot of fun, but then I just can't bring myself to continue, The Last of Us. It is a very padded game, as in, the game itself is really kinda bland, and I just play to get through the story. I love the story, it's one of the best in any game, but it's just such generic gameplay that I get sick of it. I don't know why, I love Uncharted, and they are not that different, but I just can't bring myself to like The Last of Us. For me, a game has to foremost be a game. If you take out the story, take out the characters, take out the settings, and just have the gameplay and everything that comes with that, is your game still a fun game? I am a strong believe that a great story can make a good game great, or make a great game into a masterpiece, but a bad game will still be a bad game with a great story. It doesn't matter how much you decorate your pile of shit, it's still going to be a pile of shit. I feel that many games now a days are trying to be films, or TV-series, and forgetting that they are in fact games. The stories of games are actually best when they use the medium to tell it, like in Half-Life or Bioshock, where you never leave your point of view, using the game to tell a story, rather than make a film and then slap a game on it. We did that already during the 90's, it was called a movie tie-in and they sucked. 

Another thing that Dragon Age: Inquisition did, and the first game as well, was something very MMORPG-ish. This might just be my own preference, so if what I say now sounds appealing rather than appalling, just ignore this, but I have when games becomes so open that you can just wander into a place and realize way to late that the enemies here are way to high level for you. I get that games want to be free and sandbox and open world, like it's the world of the year, this and that has gone open world, but I need at least a little direction. Skyrim did this very well, the freedom to do whatever you wanted, but gave you direction to where you should go to do what you want. This was my problem with GTA IV as well, it felt like they just dropped me at a huge world and said "go nuts" so I had no sense of purpose, and ended up doing nothing at all.

Yaaaay, flying aroud like I am Batman!
I could go on with a lot of things I realize, like how there always seems to be commutes between one section of game and another, and how one can do they right, either short as in the mentioned Shovel Knight, or you can make them fun, as in Batman: Arkham City. But I think that what I said before pretty much sums it up, developers nowadays needs to remember that they are making games, and yes I know that games have evolved, they aren't as simple as they were before, and that's a good thing, sure, but when a game like Shovel Knight, that easily could have been done twenty years ago, is by far the most fun I've had with a game for a good while, then developers really need to start getting back to the roots of gaming, make it fun to play, not make the gameplay commutes between cut scenes. 

Final thoughts on Shovel Knight, it's not a perfect game, there are annoyances, places where the faithful depiction of a 8-bit game gets in the way of gameplay, like having the special attack mapped to "square" + "up" instead of the unused "O"-button, but all in all, I recommend this, play it and realize that maybe games were better in the past, at least in some respect.