Thursday, February 28, 2013
The Witcher 2 is easily one of the best-looking games I've ever played. The amount of detail in the graphics is simply astonishing, and there's an awful lot of artistic splendor in many of the landscapes. I took 701 screenshots during a single playthrough -- here are some of my favorites. Continued from part 1.
The Witcher 2 is easily one of the best-looking games I've ever played. The amount of detail in the graphics is simply astonishing, and there's an awful lot of artistic splendor in many of the landscapes. I took 701 screenshots during a single playthrough -- here are some of my favorites. Continued in part 2.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
In 2007, The Witcher earned a strong reputation among RPG enthusiasts because it felt like a traditional, old-school RPG in a modern era of streamlined, dumbed-down pseudo-RPGs. Its sequel from 2011, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, feels less like a true RPG and more like a mainstream action-RPG, as if it's trying to appeal to the crowd of gamers who turn to Bethesda and BioWare for their annual RPG fix. That would ordinarily be a pretty damning criticism coming from me, but compared to the likes of Bethesda and BioWare games, The Witcher 2 is a mighty fine game that still understands what makes a good, satisfying RPG.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Back in the 90s, Rareware was a juggernaut among game developers, rivaling and perhaps even surpassing the great and almighty Nintendo. Games like GoldenEye, Perfect Dark, Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64, and Conker's Bad Fur Day were just as essential to the N64's library as any of Nintendo's flagship IPs. Without Rareware, the N64 would've only been half the console it was. When Microsoft bought Rare, it was an attack on Nintendo that's still felt to this day; Nintendo lost one of its best developers, and Rare has since developed barely anything of worth on the Xbox.
Rare's presence is sorely missed, but one thing I miss in particular is how they handled the difficulty in their games. When most game developers put different difficulty options into their games, they tend just to provide the same game experience with certain statistics on a slider. Enemies deal more damage and have higher hitpoints, resources are more scarce, there might be more or fewer checkpoints, and so on. What Rare did, by contrast, was provide a completely different gameplay experience for each difficulty.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Ever since its release back in 2001, Conker's Bad Fur Day has been lauded as one of the best games on the Nintendo 64 and is considered by some to be Rareware's best game. Rareware and Microsoft liked it so much they remade the game for the original Xbox in 2005 in the form of Conker: Live & Reloaded. For some reason, the game never appealed to me when I was younger (I guess because it had a cartoon squirrel as the protagonist and I didn't really know what the premise was supposed to be about), and as such I never played it. Until now.
I can definitely see why Conker was so highly praised back in 2001. It's a very impressive game for its time, especially in terms of the technology in its graphics and sound, and many of its gamepay elements still hold up well today. The thing I like most about it is that it was a refreshing change of pace from similar platformers of that era. It does show its age in a few areas, however, and there are a couple of design choices that bother me and things that I think could've been better.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
When it was announced that Hidetaka Miyazaki -- director of both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls -- would be stepping down as director for the new Dark Souls II, his successor, Tomohiro Shibuya, expressed an interest in making Dark Souls II "more straightforward and understandable." With news of a new director who said he wanted to make the sequel more accessible for gamers inexperienced with the series, fans immediately began to speculate that the difficulty of Dark Souls II might be "dumbed-down" in order to appeal to a wider audience.
The argument, as these fans proposed, goes that the challenging difficulty is one of the core, fundamental elements that made those games great, and that making the difficulty easier would ruin the experience of Dark Souls. This brouhaha got me thinking: would the inclusion of an "easy mode," or having a more accessible start to the game actually ruin the Souls experience? After some consideration, I don't think it would be such a big deal, and I think a lot of people are just overreacting.