Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Witcher vs The Witcher 2

The Witcher is one of my all-time favorite RPGs. When I played it in 2007, I was immediately engrossed by its incredibly complex quest design and was particularly impressed by how it handled moral choices. It felt a lot like an old-school RPG dressed up in a modern skin -- it was sort of the best of both worlds. So I had pretty high hopes and expectations for The Witcher 2, but it didn't wow me as much as the original did. There are some things about The Witcher 2 that are technically superior to the original, but the two are ultimately beasts of a slightly different nature.

Whereas The Witcher is predominantly an RPG designed for enthusiasts of classic, old-school RPGs, The Witcher 2 is more of a cinematic action-RPG designed to interest a more mainstream audience. There are things I like about each game, and they're each very fine games in their own right, but I definitely prefer the greater complexity of the first game. In this article I'll compare and contrast the two games on specific points like quests, story, exploration, combat, atmosphere, and so on, in an attempt to determine which game's execution works better.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Resident Evil: Revelations - Demo Impressions

Once the reigning king and quintessential embodiment of the survival-horror genre, the Resident Evil series has spent the better half of the past decade trying to recapture its former brilliance. Unsuccessfully, it would seem. I used to consider myself a fan of the series, from the slow-paced adventure-style gameplay of the originals to the stronger action focus of the fourth main installment. But ever since Resident Evil 5, which was itself an underwhelming letdown, I've found myself cynically jaded by the barrage of spin-offs to have been churned out by the grand corporate machine.

Resident Evil: Revelations was said to be a return to form for the series, offering a gameplay and atmosphere style that more closely resembled the originals while still retaining the over-the-shoulder third-person-shooting mechanics and control scheme that made Resident Evil 4 so successful. Not owning a Nintendo DS, I was unable to play ResERev until it was ported to the PC. With its release date looming a couple of days away, I decided to give the demo a shot and see if Revelations lives up to its hype. Unfortunately, judging by the demo, Revelations appears to be another disappointing letdown. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Parasite Eve: Survival-Horror for RPG Fanatics

I remember seeing copies of Parasite Eve on store shelves all the time back in the day. Curious, I'd pick it up, feel somewhat intrigued by the premise, but ultimately always ended up passing on it. Being a game by Squaresoft with the tagline "the cinematic RPG," I was worried the game would be all style and no substance. Since I'm in my current trend of playing old PlayStation games on my PSP when I'm away from home, and since the game is cheap enough to download, I figured now was as good a time as any to give the game a shot.

When a game describes itself as being "cinematic," I interpret that to mean the game wants to be like a movie. To me, that means a game should emphasize its visuals, its story, and its characters, to make the game's overall presentation more closely resemble that of a typical Hollywood movie. Well the bad news for Parasite Eve is that its story and characters are absolute garbage, and nearly all of the game's audio-visual aesthetics fail to impress outside out of the pre-rendered cutscenes. Thankfully the gameplay is pretty good, providing an interesting blend of RPG and survival-horror elements, but that's the game's only saving grace.