Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gamespot vs. Zelda Fans

WARNING: The following is a geeky rant about an over-dramatic event that occured on the internet, which no normal human being will care about.

When Zelda for the Wii came out, gamespot pushed out its review of the game, giving it a total score of 8.8*. 8.8 means "great" but just short of the 9.0 rating of "astounding**." After this review was released, a huge number of Zelda fans backlashed gamespot and the gamespot reviewer for giving the game such a "bad" score. Those fans state the game is near-perfect in every way, that it's astounding and simply incredible, and are now exploding because of this "bad" review.

This whole episode can be described as ridiculous, overreactive, and not worth talking about in any way because of how straight-forward it is.

Why Twilight Princess is overrated:
1 - Regarding Originality (addressed for the 5th time, I know)
Zelda Twilight Princess is about the 10-12th*** game in the Zelda series. That being said, you can relate this as about the 10th sequel in the series. With this in context you can compare Twilight Princess with the other games in the series.
Twilight Princess is the exact same Zelda game that came out 10 years ago, and 5 years ago before that. It only makes sense that they should update the series with more original content. Every Zelda game has you literally doing the same "save hyrule, go to dungeons, get items, kill ganon, and rescue Zelda."
But in defense of Zelda, they have changed various things and introduced new elements in each new installment. But aside from the various new gameplay features in every game, they continue to use the same formula, the same core gameplay, the same items, the same gameplay mechanics, the same story, the same characters, the same ending, and the same ol' kingdom of hyrule. This didn't bother me at first-I enjoyed Zelda games, but after the 5th time, it really gets on your nerves.
Zelda has not changed much over 15 years, and it really shows in Twilight Princess.
If you have played all the other games in the Zelda series, you will see that this is the exact same game, over and over and over. They throw out the Generic Zelda Storyline Script, have a few different fill-in-the-blank sections for the gameplay and a couple of characters, and then leave everything else alone.

2 - The Difficulty
Zelda Twilight Princess is too easy, and not very challenging. If they made the game a little harder it would've added more tension and fun to the areas. Instead, all the sword battles are a piece of cake, and every boss fight can be nailed on the first try.

Regarding the score:
3 - 8.8 is a good score
does not mean 4.4. 8.8 means GREAT, as in, "this game was almost in the category of best games ever, but some features just made it drop." And that statement is just so true.
If a Zelda game drops below 9.0 that does NOT MEAN it is a BAD game. It just means it was good, and it could've been better.
In my opinion Twilight Princess does not deserve anything higher than a 9.5 and the lowest it should go is probably 8.5.

Final Thoughts:
4 - Giving the fans what they wanted?
After Zelda: Wind Waker came out for the gamecube, many fans wanted Nintendo to go back to the more realistic, adult-looking Link, that was sported in Ocarina of Time. Nintendo did that with Twilight Princess and it also seems that they stripped the game of all extra necessities that would challenge the Zelda formula, thus making the game sticking as close to the basic Zelda formula as possible. This, in my opinion, just makes the game, boring, predictable, and not as much fun to play.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess in no way is a perfect game and worthy of a 10/10, which many gaming sites have so excitedly given it****. The game has its flaws, and should be demoted for its lack of concept.
You could almost say that every Zelda game is a remake of the previous one, just adding new features, or changing certain elements. But it all stays the same at the core.

On a final positive note:
Zelda is still a great game, and its level of detail and design is excellent, but Twilight Princess is in no way a 10.00.

* Gamespot Review of Twilight Princess
** Gamespot Review Guidelines
*** The Legend of Zelda Series (wikipedia)
**** Game Rankings for Twilight Princess

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Wii Tennis

5 Easy Steps to Become Good at Wii Tennis

# 1 - Power Serving
Serving is your first and foremost thing that you use against the opponent in a match. You MUST master the power serve if you want to become successful against your opponent.
The power serve is easy once you know the trick. All you have to do is hit the ball when it reaches zero velocity, or the point where it reaches its highest altitude. This will usually ensure you a 90 mph serve against your opponent.
# 2 - Timing
Timing is everything, literally. It doesn't matter how hard you hit the ball, but it matters when. Learn when your Mii will hit the ball straight, to the left, or to the right whenever he swings, and how fast he can do it. Once you know how to time your swings, you will know how to aim, and this is essential to victory.
# 3 - Forehands and Backhands
There are two types of swings: forehands and backhands. You should be able to preform both interchangeably and comfortably at anytime. Practice makes perfect.
# 4 - Use your front (wo)man
The more you use your front man, the more pressure you put on your oppenent by giving him less time to react to the incoming shots. The front man also gets an unfair advantage in the ability to place deadly drop shots and reversals. The front man will be the difference between winning and losing 90% of the time.
# 5 - Anticipating your opponent (Speed Reflexes)
This can really only come with experience. Always expect a power serve to come at you, and when it doesn't consider yourself lucky. In playing the front game, don't let down if you're caught in a CloseQuartersReturning battle, and remember not to hit it out the side. Know where your opponent hits the ball, and how to counter-hit it back.

The important thing is to practice and know what works, and be comfortable in your movements and swings.

Rule # Infinity
Have fun. Ex. Dee. xD

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Halo: Combat Evolved

Since this is an old game, it's not really a good idea to review it today, as standards have changed concerning gameplay, music, sound, but mainly graphics. Anyway, I just wanted to do it.

HALO (2001)

Gameplay (9.4):
The interesting thing about the gameplay is that it's simple, yet addictive, and always challenging. I believe this was one of the first games to have the "only carry 2 weapons" feature, and it works well in the game. The stealth aspect constantly puts you on question, deciding how you want to approach each new battle. And once you think you have the whole technique of killing the covenant figured out, a new enemy is introduced, challenging you once again and causing you to rethink your battle strategy. The two types of grenades are also innovative, each with their own special functions. On top of the great shooter aspect, there's also the vehicles which add another layer of fun.

Music (8.8) - Maybe a little more music would've been nice. Besides the main theme, and a couple of action tunes, I can't remember any other music. But then again, that's normal for FPS games.
Story (8.7) - The story was well told, yet it felt like it could've been more fleshed out in some places.
Sound (8.7) - You can hear aliens.
Graphics (8.8):
For the time... yes they were good. I think.
The game looks good, in its art direction. The architecture looks futuristic, the halo looks incredible when you're on it, and the animations are pretty good.

Levels (8.4):
The level design is pretty good overall, but some levels had me repeating the same 3 sections over, and over, and over, causing me to think that I was getting lost or going in circles, but that was not the case. On the positive side, they are interesting and varied, and they LOOK COOL.
Everything is excellent, except the levels, which can get repetitive.



Tuesday, January 16, 2007

24 (Season # 6)

You knew it was coming, but it was too late to stop it:


SUNDAY NIGHT (2 Episodes)
I liked these episodes alot. You had Jack Bauer, who has changed his character, and makes some pretty awesome quotes, and you had 2 twists that made the story interesting. (The first twist is that the terrorist they were hunting was good, the second was that the arabic kid was actually bad). End it with the story going in a cool direction, and an awesome explosion in the subway, with Jack Bauer still being cool. Jack's partner is cool because he's better than jack.

MONDAY NIGHT (2 Episodes)
They really (needlessly) turned up the social commentary about middle-eastern prejudices and racism. The president made some terrible decisions, and some people did some things that I thought were just totally UNPLAUSIBLE. The whole story arc with the family and the terrorist kid... I don't know. How far would 1 father actually go to save his family, when he could've just kicked the kid and stopped him at the beginning. Instead, he goes out, kills a man, and helps the terrorists make a bomb... seriously... who would do all that?

The prison scene with the man who helped the president's sister... why would they really do all that? And then I was watching the UCLA tazer incident all over again, except with a baton. It wasn't nice.

But it had a good ending, as in:
Instead of the previous seasons where they have:
JACK BAUER FINDS THE TERRORISTS... but the bomb barely escapes. He chases the bomb for 3 more episodes only to defuse it, and then he has to chase a poison gas canister.

24 is predictable, and it will always develop, progress, and end the same way.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Trauma Center: Second Opinion

There is not much to say about this game, but it was not bad.

In the ways of Gamespot
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 7/10
Tilt: 8/10

The Worst Parts in Trauma Center:
- The story doesn't fully wrap itself up; questions were unanswered. (Yes, I beat the game. No, I did not play the X-# levels that are on the ExTrEME difficulty which may reveal more plot details.)
- It's corny... sometimes.
- It only has 5-6 hours of gameplay, minus the replay value.

The Best Parts in Trauma Center:
- Defusing the bomb
- Operating in the dark
- Rushing back to the ER and using the defibrilators for the first time.
- Solving molecule puzzles

If I had to give it a score, which I do have to do:
Final Score:
Fun, challenging gameplay, good use of the wii-remote, simple, and short.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Twilight Princess - Revisited

Complaining about:
All right, I'm going to compare this game to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. First of all, Twilight Princess is easy. Second of all, the side-quests have no point.
Okay, about the difficulty: I really never had to use any HEALTH POTIONS anywhere... at all. Every dungeon was fairly easy, and I usually nailed the boss on the first try. The only difficult section in the game was the Cave of Ordeals. When I went through this (optional) section, it was the hardest thing in the game, probably 2x or 3x harder than the final boss fight. And it was FUN. Because I almost died, and I had to carefully decide when to use my arrows, bombs, Ball on a chain, and my assortment of moves. No other place in the game did I even have to worry about that stuff, because I just do the basic slash and spin, and I got through everthing.
Regarding Side-quests having no point:
Think about it this way. What's the point of doing the side-quests? Getting rupees (except those side-quests where you upgrade your items, those are good, yet they take 2 minutes and are easy). What are rupees good for? Well, the only thing is magic armor and buying potions really, both of which you DO NOT NEED because this game is too easy. So you can basically skip the side-quests. Done.
Now to get to Link to the Past. That game (as far as my memory goes) was awesome, and had tons of optional things to do. Among these include a magic cape, 3 special coins of awesome power, upgrading your magic ability, upgrading your hearts?, upgrading your sword to awesome, and some other things I can't remember. The point is: these side-quests actually did have an effect on the gameplay, which was ultra-hard. You needed the help from BOMBOS magic, you needed to upgrade your sword, because the game pushes you to your limits.
Now I'm going to compare Zelda stories to every season of 24. Both have their own formula stories that require certain things to happen in a certain sequence, all ending a certain way. Becaues of this formula, once you identify it, it kills the story.
Goodbye Zelda, and your Introductory Gameplay up to dungeon 1, then travel and go to 3 other dungeons, then the final 5 dungeons, then fight Ganon... with side-quests in between.

The best things about Twilight Princess:
Riding around Hyrule kingdom at night, with the eerie music playing in the background.
Riding around and attack enemy boars.
The amazing lighting and graphical feel of the game.
The awesome, epic, adrenaline-filled boss fights.
Trying to complete a side-quest and finally doing it.
Finding secret areas.
Being Link.

The worst things about Twilight Princess:
No use for rupees.
No originality.
Difficulty is too easy.
Side-quests are pointless.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

The following game will be judged in the respective categories:

Gameplay - 8.5/10.00
The Zelda formula: progress through a series of dungeons, solving puzzles, hacking and slashing, and killing bosses. Side-Quests include upgrading your items, getting pieces of heart, (in this game : getting golden bugs, killing poes[ghosts], and trying to get magic armor). The formula is fun, sometimes tedious, and also a bit on the easy side. I guess you could say I'm an "experienced Zelda player," but seriously, I found thousands and thousands of rupees, and I seriously wanted to buy some kind of super sword, armor, or shield to help me out, but all I got was some kind of magic armor that takes away EVEN MORE RUPEES, that I never really use because I value my money... SO that means I wasted all those hours looking for rupees... just to buy an armor that I will never use.
Graphics - 9.5
They may not have a high polygon count, but the graphics are simply amazing. The animation is fluid, life-like and realistic. The lighting, day/night cycle, and the enviroments are just a joy to be in. Excellent work.
Story/Characters - 8.8
I have to say that Midna is one of the more interesting characters in a Zelda game. The story is somewhat interesting, but you know how it's gonna go down, so it's literally boring. (Yes, the story is always Link in the little town goes through dungeons to destroy evil, then fights Ganon and saves Zelda). I've played this story before, but it's switched up a little bit, and there were some interesting parts. The characters are pretty good too.
Sound/Music - 8.9
Nothing TOO spectacular, but it was a good listen all around. The sound did it's job, as did the music, but it wasn't ... too awe-inspiring... compared to games such as Final Fantasy.
Atmosphere - 9.8
The sheer size, scope, music, and graphics come together to create an amazing experience of Hyrule. The boss fights are some of the most epic sequences in a game, and riding around the kingdom at night, or during a thunderstorm is just amazing.
Originality - 3.8/10.00
This is the one thing that probably hurt this game for me. The gameplay/screenplay did not change at all in the last several Zelda games. You know what's going to happen, you know what items you're going to get, you know how the boss fights are going down, you know that the only gameplay will be Slash/Shoot arrow/Bomb/Puzzle.
This makes me think about a game called Zelda: Majora's Mask. That game had one of the most unique, amazing concepts, for any game that I had ever played, and it executed it brilliantly (The whole game takes place over 3 days, and you must go back in time over and over to save the world). But I heard somewhere that Zelda fans hated its "deviation from the Zelda formula." :

Excellent Graphics, design, but if you've already played Zelda, it might be a little too familiar...

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