Sunday, April 7, 2013

Reflection on life because I'm in that Mood Again. Also, Video Games.

I find it weird that I can only write whenever I either feel tired or when I can't sleep properly. I like to think that this is my body's way of trying to tell me something, but that's usually just me liking to think things that aren't true sometimes. Tangent aside, the real reason that I decided to write this thing: to update the few of you who care on what's going on with my life.

On the online class front, it's almost done, we're on the last unit and I'm almost done or done the last book we were assigned to read by the time his goes live. All in all, I'm kind of glad that my mom and my brother convinced me to go through with all of this . Not only did it give me a thing to do and kill times, but I also learned some neat stuff as well as say that I went to the University of Michigan when people ask what the hell I've been up to since they last saw me.

Another reason I wanted to write this is because of registration at my school opening up next week. This has been getting me thinking about my future in a way that I really haven't thought about since I finished high school and first applied for college a little over three years ago. I decided to look over the registration for classes to see if the one I want is still open, and it got me thinking: "Man, this shit is kind of fucking intimidating". And it was mostly because I haven't had to make a decision this big in almost a year, although I will admit that it isn't  anywhere near as fucking terrifying as when I first did it back in 2010.

After some thinking, I've decided that I'll not only go through with what will be another attempt to get into the Journalism program (third time's the charm, right ?), I'l also try to go out for another one or two programs just so that I can at least be doing something productive for the next couple of months instead of being on my ass doing nothing in the interim while looking for a job.

I also played some video games since the last time I wrote about them back in January. Said Games were DmC, Dead Space 3, Sly Cooper Thieves in Time, God of War III and Metal Gear Rising Revengeance and a replay of Dragon Age Origins in progress. Here's what I thought of each one:

DmC: A game that I think everyone should play. I say this because not only is the combat really good, but because it's got some of the most interesting scenarios I've seen in the last few years. And I say this as a big fan of Devil May Cry. The reason for this is because the combat feels dynamic and it's easy enough for new players to get into it, but it allows for some depth if you're more experienced. I first thought the Angel/Demon weapon system was kind of a gimmick at first but the more I played, the more I grew accustomed to it (Hellboy Hands ftw). It allows for some very nice combo potential, while at the same time allowing to flow and cancel into each other quite naturally. It's not Devil May Cry 3 (the best character action game ever made), and to be honest it isn't really trying to be, it's a serviceable Devil May Cry game in my humble opinion, as well as the most mechanically sound Ninja Theory has ever made. I also like it more than Devil May Cry 4 because it gets rid of the one thing I have sort of come to hate about playing as Dante.

You see, in DMC 3 you had the Style system which could let you switch between 4 very unique fighting styles (Later 5. Or 6 I don't remember it's been a while I last played it). These made substanial gameplay changes depending on what was chosen and what weapons you had equipped, and could only be changed between missions and at item shrines. This forced you to get good at whichever style you liked the most. If you wanted to be the crazy acrobat, John Woo style Gun fighter, Weapon Master or a Parrying God you had to learn the ins and outs of each style. In DMC4 you stil had all of that, but could switch between all four of them with a tap of the D-Pad. This unfortunately made the system Dante used much less interesting because you could be all of those things at once. And since Dante's part of DMC 4 is basically Nero's in reverse; enemies, bosses and all well,  it made it too easy for my liking because when you were good enough you could god mode everything. That got a little wordy, but I felt like it needed to be said. and DmC was designed well enough that I felt like it didn't need a lock-on function. I know people that disagree with me on this, but to each their own.

Dead Space 3: I've only played it for a few hours, but so far I kind of don't like it. This makes me sad because I absolutely loved the first two games. A lot of this has to do with both the changes to the weapons and the enemy encounters. The weapons in general just feel weaker across the board, which makes the game harder, but not in a good way. The addition of Hunters as regular enemies also a source of much of my ire. This is because the Hunter in the first game and the Ubermorph at the end of Dead Space 2 were more akin to Nemesis in my mind in the sense that they showed up at the worst possible time while you were doing the regularly assigned objectives. No they show up all willy nilly and ruin your day because they're dicks. I mean, I like the weapon crafting because it can allow for some weird ass combinations and the Ice Planet you get stuck on reminds me of Antartica in The Thing. I may keep playing it, because I think it'll get better. Hopefully.

Sly Cooper Thieves in Time: I really like the Sly Cooper games, but this one not so much. If I had to describe it in one sentence, it'd be: "Platforming is still awesome, but it's buried by a bunch of unnecessary mini-games and terrible boss fights". Playing as Sly or his ancestors and doing the actual platforming around the levels is actually pretty sweet, but the amount of minigames that range from "meh" to "bad" is kind of mind blowing and it has a tendency to get annoying fast. And all I'll say about the boss fights is this: I got to the end of episode 3 I stopped playing the game.

God of War 3: I liked it. It's sure as hell not God of War 2, but I liked it. Anything involving the Wings of Icarus and platforming kind of sucked, but the combat's mentality of " RAWR, SLAUGHTER EVERYTHING" is still fun. Also, Kitten Mittens is the best nickname for the Nemean Cestus I've ever heard. Whoever came up with that, bless your face. And Hercules is a boss in this game, voiced by Kevin Sorbo. That's awesome.

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance: It's got a stupid name, but I liked it a lot more than I thought I would to be honest although it's got some issues. It's combat isn't as technical as DMC 3, Bayonetta or even DmC in terms of the kind of stuff you can pull of; but it works. Simple, yet effective is how I'd describe it. The reason I don't think it's as technical as the previous action games I mentioned is because of both the Parrying, Zandatsu and Ripper Mode mechanics. The parrying mechanic can allow you to block most attacks by pressing forward on the left stick and pressing the light attack button, but the window of the timing is so big that you can effectively mash forward and light attack to get past almost anything. The Zandatsu technique is when you activate blade mode to strike a specific part of the enemy to grab their self-repair unit and replenish you health and fuel cells back to full. This can be chained multiple times if you're skilled enough and can basically keep Ripper Mode (which gives your regular attacks act as if you're using Blade Mode) going long enough for you to kill everything. Oh and there's a lock-on, but I advise against it outside of bosses because it makes the kind of sucky camera suck even more. Okay, I'm done venting I promise.

Needless to say it all made Revengeance a cakewalk for me, and it's still a cakewalk after beating it twice and getting through most of it on Very Hard, which might have more to do with me being a savant at the genre than anything. But I will say this, the boss encounters and the music are fucking awesome. The soundtrack has just the right level of video game butt rock to get you pumped and kick ass, my favorites being Mistral and Jetstream Sam. And in regards to Jetstream Sam I'll say this: Dude's kind of a badass. So yeah, if you want to check it out, I suggest getting it on sale like I did.

Dragon Age Origins Playthrough #3: I have a bizzarre, almost love/hate relationship with this game. when I first played it, I borderline hated it. A lot of this stemmed from being suggested by everyone I knew who played it to go with the Mage because they were overpowered. And since I focused on being a nuked I killed everything that looked at me funny, it took away the challenge I was looking for and made it a bit of a chore to play. I played it a second time roughly over a year ago and then proceeded to love it to death. This is because I was inspired to go back to it after playing Knights of the Old Republic for the first time ever around the same time. I then proceeded to make a Warrior with what was essentially my same build as in KOTOR on a higher difficulty and had a blast. I also decided to take my time and explore everything I could, as a result I got much more out of it by virtue of using the approval system to get companion quests and do some cool shit there.

Now, I'm doing another Warrior run this time focusing on giant two-handed weapons as a Dalish Elf (Which is quite frankly hilarious to me). I also noticed that playing it on PC gives much more control over how much you can micro-manage your party members.While the combat itself is largely automated, It actually shows how thrilling Baldur's Gate/Knights of The Old Republic style of slower-and -more-strategic approach can be for newer players who never got into it when those games first came out. It also does it without hitting you in the gut and shouting "WELCOME TO DnD, BITCHES !!" at the top of it's lungs whenever you fuck up, which is appreciated.

So yeah, that's how life's been for me in a nutshell. I gotta remember to update this thing more often. Maybe now I will since the online stuff is basically done.

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