Bringing out the Big Guns

Posted in action-adventure, gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Okay, the title probably has a lot of meanings, but mainly it’s all around Sony’s Death Star game for 2008 (EARLY 2008, damn it), Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

Man, all it takes is a few trailers from Hideo Kojima and we all forget that it’s been more than 3 years since this game first showed itself, every frickin’ time. We just eat up everything that man coughs or farts out, don’t we? And this time, it’s literal. Heh.

Anyway, I am loving the last few trailers and vids. Here are some thought on all the shiz coming out.

Naomi’s cleavage. Now, everyone’s wailing about why Naomi would be showing off her twin guns in a moment of crisis. Well, what do you expect, people? She’s asking Snake to rescue her. How ELSE do you get the old guy’s attention? Seriously though, Naomi Hunter’s the last MGS female I’d ever thought to show sex appeal, but hey- in MGS4 she’s a fox. She seems to have a big role in this final chapter, given how she created FOXDIE and all… who knows, she just may hold Snake’s life in her capable hands? Clearly one part of the game concerns rescuing her, and it appears Snake does succeed in doing so, with Raiden’s assistance (but hopefully not at the cost of the ninja’s life). Probably this will result in her being a fund for info and other stuff as the game progresses.

The FROGS/Haven Soldiers. If you missed it in the trailer; the four enemy soldiers in the hi-tech bodysuits and clawed booties were all female. They are apparently part of Liquid’s army, and you’ll probably face off with them a lot. To go with female bosses, there are now female grunts. Good stuff! I wonder if Snake’s crotch grab will work on them, as well?

New FOXHOUND. What the heck? Johnny Sasaki is now with the good guys? Is this a good thing? Still faceless, still got a bad stomach. But yeah, I like it. It’s a great finale for the perpetual loser, and I hope he does have a nice resolution. As for the other guys- they’re just big grunts. Meryl’s of course hot as always, but the uniform just is oh, not sexy. Naomi trumps her this time. I wonder if Snake will comment on her butt again?

Drebin and Little Gray. What the heck? It’s Chris Rock. Or Wesley Snipes. Or Dennis Rodman. Looks like MGS4′s anwer to the Merchant from RE4. Wouldn’t it be a scream if Little Grey was actually an Alien? Or turned out to be one of the Patriots?

Sunny. Olga’s daughter finally makes her appearance. What role does she play? She’s cute, but of course, she’s also, like, ten. But why do I feel like she seems to have come from a quiet mid-western town named Silent Hill?

Metal Gears, Metal Gears. Rex, Ray, Gekkoes, MkII… they’re all over the place. Hopefully you’ll get to fight a few of them. Or even pilot one or two. It all ends with this one, so a big battle with the Big Gears should be a given.

The game is Damn PLAYABLE already! Look around online and you’ll find gameplay vids. This game is the real thing. It’s gonna be huge and awesome. I just wish it’s long and sweet. I don’t mind hours of cinematics. Give us tons of missions, tons of bosses, tons of enemies to CQC and stuff into drawers. I want this one to last. ‘Cause it’s the last. Or so they say.

A playable demo is rumored, but don’t hold your breath. In any case, I just want the GAME itself. But another trailer won’t hurt, so just fart or vomit another our way, Mr. Kojima. We’re ready.

Don’t Go Into the Rainy Woods!

Posted in gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Rainy Woods is a new IP and survival-horror game headed for both the PS3 and Xbox360 from Marvelous Entertainment. The game has a Twin Peaks-David Lynch type of vibe, being set in small town USA and involving FBI agent David Young Henning’s efforts to solve the mystery of a young woman named Anna Graham by a serial murderer known as The Raincoat Killer. Of course, it’s not at all cut and dried, and there are traces of cultish rituals, supernatural creatures and other not-so-ordinary goings-on happening all around the case. Good thing David isn’t alone- at least, not in a Killer 7 type of way. He’s got a multiple personality disorder, and his other self, Jeter, seems to know quite a bit more than he does. Oh, and there are midgets. Twin midgets. Twin Peaks it is.
Instead of the usual linear path these kinds of games usually take, Rainy Woods will supposedly be a more sandbox-type of game- you’ll be able to move freely within the town of Rainy Woods and interact with various characters in the course of your investigation. You’ll also have to take care of Sims-like needs like rest and hunger. Oh, and there will be combat involving guns and apparently swords! Whoa. What kind of case has Young gotten himself into?

Trying to steal Silent Hill’s thunder? The psycho-thriller genre isn’t exactly crowded, so as long as this has quality, I’ll give it a look over. Anyway, no word yet on when, so we’ll keep an eye on this one.

MGS4 Gameplay Videos

Posted in action-adventure, gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

I have to say this.

Pretty much every single gameplay video of Metal Gear Solid 4 I have seen, from Gamespot to Gamevideos to Jeuxvideos… all of them SUCK. I mean, the players all seem to have six pinkies on each hand. The camera is all over the place, Snake keeps walking in circles or walks into gangs of enemies and either gets killed or looks stupid… and I think he’d rather die than look stupid.

Partly I blame the inexperience of the players, but darn… it just HURTS to watch these videos. Haven’t any of them played a single MGS ever? Or used a frickin’ controller? GEEZ! I mean, you’re THERE with frickin MGS4 playable in front of you and you SUCK!!! What a waste!

I’d rather not think the game’s controls suck at this point- but I do see that the enemy AI’s are pretty questionable. PMC soldiers walk into a room with Snake just kneeling there beside them and they don’t notice him until he runs up beside them. After which, they skitter back and forth shooting sporadically. It’s kinda rough, but the game’s still unfinished so I’ll just excuse that.

Man, I just want this in my hands already. Oh well.

Virtua Fighter 5 Live Arena

Posted in fighting games, gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

It’s not an online-enabled PS3 version, but at least now Asian and Japanese gamers can get into online VF5 fighting at home with Virtua Fighter 5 Live Arena for the Xbox360. The game will be based on the arcade version, which is currently at Version C. Along with 3000 customization items and 1000 new A.I. opponents to take on in Quest Mode, it will have online play and functionality, which I assume will include the ability to download or update new items for customization, posting on leaderboards, watching classic match vids and more.

This is set to come out December 6, alongside the VF5 Live Arena Arcade Stick(which is a must since the Xbox360 pad is rubbish for this game, I’d say). The US version of online-capable VF5 is set for release a bit earlier, at the end of October.

Edit: I guess this kinda makes dim even more the hopes of an updated PS3 version of VF5 with online. I mean, Sega is now in like Flint with Microsoft, and that probably doesn’t sit well with Sony. I don’t think VF5 sold incredibly well in Japan on the PS3, so you really can’t blame Sega for wanting to spread the joy and have as many players buy it. Xbox is strong in the US, as is the demand for online. Luckily, Asian players get to play a couple of months later.  On Sega’s side anyway, they’re probably getting back at Sony as well for having Namco with their big fighters looming on the horizon. 

Anyway, I love VF5 regardless of all these wrinkles, and I’ll probably get the Xbox Live-enabled version when it comes out. Updated items and moves (if any) are my real incentive, not really the online. 

Kojima Coughs It Up

Posted in action-adventure, gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Gamespot recently posted a lengthy article on Hideo Kojima’s presentation at the TGS where he revealed more about Metal Gear Solid 4′s story, characters, weapons and other good stuff coming to the PS3 in early 2008. It’s quite a nice read and just whets our appetite more for the gaming nirvana ahead. Among the things revealed is the general world situation and early plot of Liquid’s scheme to launch an insurrection using the nanotechnology SOP and his PMC armies, a rundown of the game’s included weapons and each of the so far revealed cast, including the new FOXHOUND, the Beauty and the Beast Unit, The FROGS, Sunny, Eva, Drebin and Little Grey.

Check out the whole article for yourself here.

Virtua Fighter 5 on my Xbox360…

Posted in fighting games, gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Virtua Fighter 5 THEME, actually. Yeah, the game’s not due out till the end of October for the US, and I’ll probably have to wait till December for the Asian version of the online-enabled Sega fighter. But this early, Xbox Live users can purchase the VF5 theme to spice up their 360 dashboards for a measly 150 MS points. The theme puts a bunch of characters on each of your 360′s dashboard blades, and it looks pretty cool if you love the VF cast. Better yet, it doesn’t hamper seeing the text as some other themes do. It’s a nice way of prepping my console for the eventual VF invasion. Just a couple more months to go…

Kingsglaive: The Lone Gamer’s Movie Review

Posted in action-adventure, gaming, my stuff on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

Well, at least it’s much better than Spirits Within.

As the gaming world counts the weeks to the late November release of the long-in-development Final Fantasy XV, gamers all over have a wide selection of material to occupy their attention before the actual game hits. Of course there’s the anime OVA series, FFXV Brotherhood (nowhere near as good as FMA Brotherhood, I assure you), which is of course made to introduce us to the heroes of the game- Prince Noct of Lucis and his roadies. Kingsglaive, a fully-CG animated film, is another such prologue, though much more immediate to the events within the game.

As the opening seconds of the movie roll in with the familiar voice of Lena Heady (our most beloved mad queen of Westeros) giving narration, we are introduced to the big players- Lucis is the ‘peaceful kingdom of magic’ while opposite them is The Empire of Nifleheim, a militaristic nation powered by Magitek (ah, Magitek, we know you so well). The Empire of course is on the verge of total victory, with the capital city of Insomnia (really? A city is named after a sleeping disorder?) the only remaining bastion of Lucis’ control. After a flashback showing some tragic events that befall Lucis’ former ally, the country of Tenebrae, we get into the thick of action with the Kingsglaive.

The titular Kingsglaive are apparently Lucis’ main (or perhaps only) military force- not sure about how many, but there seem to be not many- certainly nowhere near a hundred strong. The Glaive are ‘mighty warriors’, all of whom are recruited from Lucis’ provinces (all of which are probably now under Empire control or attack) due to their ability to use magic. The magic they wield though comes from one source- the King of Lucis himself, King Regis (voiced by another GoT stalwart, Sean Bean). So who are the Glaive? They look kinda cool- very similar to Assassins from Assassins Creed, but in black and wielding one main weapon- a dagger or short blade which they use primarily to ‘Warp Strike’; as in, they throw the dagger and then can teleport to wherever the weapon goes. While it certainly LOOKS awesome, I find it highly impractical and sorta haphazard. I guess the Glaive are trained to be really good and accurate throwers, but come on- you’re limited by throwing range, the speed of the person’s arm, his accuracy, the fact that they can go wildly out of control (and many do in the course of the action) with a bad throw.

Anyway, in these couple of dozen or so fighters is Lucis’ main defense. What has the enemy got? Oh, aside from armies of certainly a lot more soldiers, both human and mechanical (armed with GUNS), they have Magitek war machines AND apparently controlled monsters (just like in the games!) which range from flying creeps and cannon fodder to larger beasts like a Cerberus (three-headed fire dog) and a smoky demon which also seems to be half mechanical. How a few guys with daggers is able to hold off such a force is beyond me. But well, somehow they do.

Or do they? At the moment of apparent defeat, the Empire withdraws, allowing the Kingsglaive to get a breather. Later on, the court of King Regis is visited by a strange visitor- the shabby but kinda cool-looking Ardyn Izunia, perhaps the first Final Fantasy villain ever to sport a fedora and what seems to be a beak on his right arm (really, WHAT THE HELL IS HE WEARING?). Ardyn brings an offer of peace- well, pretty much an armistice, which offers a stop to the war at the cost of Lucis surrendering all its territories save Insomnia itself. Oh, and the Prince must also marry the Princess Lunafreya, who has been an Imperial captive/ward all this time.

Of course, you just know that the Empire is up to no good, and from there it’s a nice build-up to the day of the treaty signing. In the meantime, we see ugly sides of Lucis, which utterly puzzle me. So the Kingsglaive are all recruited from non-residents of Insomnia… WHY are they regarded by Insomnians with an obvious racist disgust? They are DEFENDING YOU, IDIOTS. The Glaive themselves are not your picture of loyalty or unity either- of course, you have the gung-ho, fearless hero Nyx, his clumsy oaf of a best friend Libertus and the one hot girl, Crow. The rest are either faceless and unimportant or belligerent or smarmy. With their ranks thinned and dissent growing cracks in their resolve, in the Kingsglaive may lie the fate of Lucis as the Imperial plot soon unfolds.

First off, the movie is GORGEOUS. That much can be said readily. There’s a lot of detail in the characters, and its much improved from previous Final Fantasy films. Faces of many characters look great, and at least by this time we don’t really think uncanny valley that much any more. However, there seems to be a slight disjoint between lip syncing- or perhaps the mouths of characters don’t quite seem to jive with the words.

While the first half of the movie up to when the shit hits the fan, the movie is quite engaging. However, after a certain point and we head into an unwieldy final act, it all crumples into a mess of a pursuit/chase, and large scale “Giant Monster’ action and action that’s so zippy and flashy, it can only be described as anime. Things happen to characters that normal humans would not walk away from easily, betraying the CG nature of the actors and the world. And the action in the final battle, while pretty amazing, seems hollow, without weight and ultimately, unsatisfying.

But then, I guess Kingsglaive is not meant to satisfy. It’s here to set the stage- with the bad guys winning or on the upswing, while the heroes are- well, they’re not here. The real heroes are in the upcoming GAME, which you will need to play to get closure. I wonder though how closely they’ll keep this movie to the final game? In that way, I guess that while Kingsglaive has its faults, it was worth seeing and certainly has me stoked into kicking Imperial butt this November on my PS4.

The Lone Gamer’s Review: Resident Evil 7 Biohazard

Posted in gaming on July 22nd, 2019 by Bessie Peters

You don’t need VR to get immersed into this instant horror favorite.

A sprawling,derelict estate full of labyrinthine corridors and darkened rooms. Perplexing puzzles and twisted riddles. Ghastly creatures and a limited arsenal of weapons. Yep, it’s Resident Evil all right.

Resident Evil 7 Biohazard is a return-to-form for this long-running, much-beloved series, despite several large changes to some fundamental gameplay mechanics.

You play as Ethan Winters, a seemingly ordinary guy who has come to the swamplands of Dulvey, Louisiana looking for his wife Mia, who has been missing for the past three years. The email Mia sent him has led him to the rather large Baker Farm- a multi-building estate that seems at first abandoned and falling into slow decay. But soon after he arrives, it becomes apparent that not all is well. There is a measure of disbelief that has to be given about the stark absurdity of the situation and how Ethan still manages to soldier on regardless.

Dismembered legs of farm animals and buzzsaw blades forming a grotesque wreath before you? No problem! Seemingly abandoned house full of mysterious noises and unexplained movement? No sweat! VHS footage of some other people apparently getting murdered in this very house? NOTHING gets to this guy- he will find his missing wife come hell or high water even if any other sane person would have long run off to find the nearest SWAT Team.

But instead of hordes of zombies, the foes Ethan will face are more individualized and personal, mostly being the members of the Baker Family. There’s Jack Baker- the patriarch and father- a bespectacled, balding elder gentleman with a penchant for swinging large axes or shovels and shrugging away bullets like the Nemesis- just in overalls. There’s Marguerite, Jack’s wife and mother of the household who seems to have a very disturbing affinity for creepy crawlies. And then there’s Lucas- an intelligent young man destined to become another Jigsaw Killer in the near future. Each of the Bakers is clearly not entirely normal or human, but the exact nature of this Hills-Have-Eyes/Texas Chainsaw Massacre-reeking clan is a mystery Ethan will unravel as the night bores on- if he survives. Each family member is effectively unkillable, making each one a sort of boss. Aside from them though, there will be other enemies to be found in the course of the game where Ethan’s meager arsenal of weapons may be used more effectively on.

But just like the classic, original Resident Evil, firearms and armaments are not in huge supply. Enemies won’t drop pisetas or bullets after death. You WILL, for the most part, need to make every shot count, unless you want to possibly confront a hulking enemy armed with just a folding knife. It’s this return to a more desperate, more calculated pace of combat, resource management and survival that makes this game so much more in tune with the earlier, and more scary RE’s rather than the later, more action-oriented games of RE4 and beyond.

But aside from hearkening to the original RE, this latest sequel also borrows or takes cues from other sources of horror, from Japanese Horror films to other survival horror games like Silent Hill, P.T., Outlast and more. But you do know there’s still probably some evil pharmaceutical corporation or scientific nightmare behind it all, despite the supernatural trimmings.

Truly helping the scare factor along is the simple change in perspective- RE7 is played entirely from First Person, making everything so much more immersive and personal (note that this probably becomes doubly so on PS4 with PSVR). Enemies can suddenly shuffle into your way, or, in one unique case, even smash through walls at you (perhaps a nice nod to the classic Dogs scene?), and you can just FEEL them nipping at your heels as you turn tail to run. More often than not, it will be a case of evading enemies rather than outright fighting to succeed, at least until you have an ample supply of ammo and a good, strong weapon (and maybe a couple of those nifty healing solutions).

The graphics are pretty spot-on, with the various confines of the Baker Farm having an eerie, almost photo-realistic look to everything. Character models are well done, although still having a bit of uncanny valley with some characters, in particular Ethan’s estranged wife, Mia. On the other hand, the sound design, SFX and voice work is almost uniformly superb- I guess funny and cheesy voice acting was one thing they didn’t feel needed to be brought back.

Resident Evil 7 surpassed pretty much all my expectations to deliver a truly engrossing, entertaining and mature survival-HORROR experience from beginning to end. The production values and quality is impressive, the story perhaps the most easy to understand and well-told both through files, environmental storytelling and just a wee bit of actual expositional dialogue. The boss fights are amazing, the combat satisfying as heck. If this is the new door to what Resident Evil is opening up to, let me the hell in.

Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
Game Rating: 9 of 10