1:28 PM 0 comments

Scare Tactics - Episode #2: Featuring Deadly Premonition

It Wasn’t Wrapped in Plastic 

Part of being scared certainly is the ‘surprise’ factor.  Episode Two of Scare Tactics is what I would consider a ‘surprise’ edition as that I did not know up until the last hour that I would be writing this post.  This edition looks at two budget conscious and curious additions of survival-horror games to my Xbox 360, Ignition Entertainment’s Deadly Premonition and Atari’s Alone in the Dark.

deadly-premonition-announced-x360Did Not See Deadly Premonition Coming: I follow former 1UP.com ‘man –god’ and current Director of Business Development at Ignition Entertainment, Shane Bettenhausen, via his twitter feed as I do many other industry types.  I did see several mentions of Deadly Premonition, but sometimes I skim the feed so quickly I do not get all the detail I need.  So when I saw Shane tweeting about this game I automatically assumed that it was another Wii game as I was under the impression that it was all they were doing.

Last night my brother joined my Xbox LIVE party late at night and started raving about this new game, Deadly Premonition.  Using key descriptors like Twin Peaks-like, open-world, survival-horror, and most importantly, $25 price tag, I was quickly sold on this game and knew I had to have it!  Now that I was sold on acquiring this game my next hurdle would be to actually find this game in stores.  Knowing how GameStop/EB operates, I knew this game would be short-ordered, with perhaps one or two copies to be made available per store.  But if I have been in the dark about this game, more than most would be as well.  So this morning my search ended as quickly as it began, I snagged the last copy of this niche title from my local EB Games.

Now that I have it, I look forward to playing it.  I am going to go into it cold, not reading any previews or reviews to cloud my judgement.  All I have to go on is the brief description given by my brother and the back of the game’s box which I am looking at right now.  It certainly looks and sounds to be very interesting.  The one glaring negative that was expressed to me by my brother was that the game’s graphics lacks much to be desired.  But recent plays and purchases of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Silent Hill Origins has already prepped me for less than perfect graphical fidelity.  So tonight I will journey to Greenvale to investigate the town’s deadly secrets.  Wish me luck!

alone-in-the-dark-screenshot-ny-nightThird Time ‘In The Dark’ is the Charm?: Another unusual pickup for me this week was the re-acquiring of Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360.  I have had a long history with this game without actually ever playing it.  At first I had i pre-ordered and ready to go when I got scared off by poor reviews.  Now normally I don’t let reviewers dictate my gaming picks, but when money is tight and choices between games have to be made, Alone in the Dark was voted off my island.

My next encounter with Alone in the Dark came when I purchased a discounted version of the game (complete with a AitD T-shirt) for $18.  I actually got as far as putting this disk into my console and dabbling for a few minutes, but that was as far as I would get.  It wasn’t meant to be as later traded the game off in a massive purge of my 360 collection.

Finally, this week I was picking up some Microsoft points at my local EB when I saw AitD sitting on the shelf with a $4 price tag.  I will buy any Xbox 360 game for under $5, even if it is just for the possibility to acquire a nice game case.  So I once again have the game in my possession (as well as the game’s soundtrack which was included with the game), I am unsure when I will try to play it again, but since it was so cheap I am sure I will never trade it in, so it is with me for good.  I have always had an interest in the game.  Perhaps it would be a good warm-up for Remedy’s Alan Wake which is set to arrive this May.

alan_wake_1So in conclusion, it looks like al signs point to Alan Wake.  Like Deadly Premonition, Alan Wake has been compared to Twin Peaks.  As for Alone in the Dark, its episodic styling's and fire/light combat have oft drawn comparison to the upcoming Alan Wake.  Rest assured I will be focusing on Alan Wake as its release draws closer.  For now, just be sure to check under your bed and close the closet door before going to sleep!

Deadly Premonition

Twitter: @superghost

2:29 PM 0 comments

Scare Tactics - Episode #1: Featuring Silent Hill Origins

For Games That Go ‘Bump’ in the Night!

Previously in my blog I would post on Zombie games with ‘Zombie Action News’.  Since I have a strong interest in Horror-themed games I thought I would expand my scope beyond the Zombie menace and branch out into ‘Survival Horror’ games as well as others that will fit the into this genre.

For as long as I can remember I have always been a fan of ‘scary’ games.  in the 90s we saw the rise of the ‘Survival Horror’ genre with the arrival of Resident Evil franchise.  Soon after we saw the sophistication of the genre with the more cerebral Silent Hill games.  Now many games and series of games have come, gone, or hung around in this space, but certainly Resident Evil and Silent Hill are the biggest names on this block.  For my first edition of ‘Scare Tactics’ I will some of my recent goings-on with each of these two franchises.  Stick around for some old news and personal perspectives on the survival of horror games if you dare:

lisaoriginsposterOrigin of the Species: I recently posted about my adventures in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, the most recent of Silent Hill titles.  I have had a strong desire, if I ever can find the time, to play through the entire catalogue of Silent Hill games.  Over the past several months I have been acquiring all the games, some of which I already had, some on eBay, others waiting for the price to be right.  Regarding Silent Hill Origins, I thought I would need to buy a PSP in order to play it, something this weekend I was strongly considering.  I liked the idea of having a portion of the series playable on the go (Silent Hill, Shattered memories, and Origins).

On vacation this past weekend I was in a used game store in Calgary when I noticed Silent Hill Origins on the shelf for the PS2.  I have been so out of the loop regarding Playstation releases that I did not even realize the game arrived on the PS2 as well.  I picked it up and now I believe I have all of the core releases in the franchise.  The only thing with ‘Origins’ is that I know nothing about it.  I had heard in passing that the game is not particularly good.  I will be the first to admit that most Silent Hill games suffer from control issues.  Nevertheless, I am excited for this addition to my collection. 

Here is a rundown of my Silent Hill collection along with the corresponding system that I have it on in order of its release.  Hopefully I can find the time to marathon these games in the near future:

  • Silent Hill (PS1)
  • Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams (Xbox)
  • Silent Hill 3 (PS2)
  • Silent Hill 4: The Room (Xbox)
  • Silent Hill: Origins (PS2)
  • Silent Hill: Homecoming (Xbox 360)
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (PS2)

resident-evil-5-alternative-edition-dlc Back to the Mansion:  The 2009 Tokyo Game Show gave word that new downloadable scenarios would be made available For Resident Evil 5 in early 2010. "Lost in Nightmares" is essentially the prologue to RE5 as you play the alluded to adventure of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine infiltrating the Spencer Estate in 2006 which clearly resembles the mansion from RE1.  The next episode, "Desperate Escape",  allows you to play as Josh Stone and Jill Valentine post Jill’s liberation as they race to assist Chris and Sheva in their quest.  We will also get to see for the first time in next-gen, Rebecca Chambers and Barry Burton, as they make their respective return to the series in the Mercenaries reunion.

Personally I am looking forward to the “Lost in Nightmares” Chapter as I was very intrigued by that flashback in RE5.  Also, word on the street is that it plays like a next-gen version of the original mansion.  My favourite parts of the Resident Evil franchise take place in the original mansion and the streets of Racoon City in RE2 and RE3.  Like Silent Hill, I too would love to run the table of Resident Evil games, again time is the factor that most stands in my way.

My core collection of Resident Evil games is complete along with one of the side games.  Here is a list of what I have:

  • Resident Evil (Saturn and Nintendo DS)
  • Resident Evil 2 (Dreamcast)
  • Resident Evil 3 (Dreamcast)
  • Resident Evil: Code Veronica (Dreamcast) Code Veronica X (PS2)
  • Resident Evil: Outbreak (PS2)
  • Resident Evil 4 (PS2)
  • Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360)

The completes my first edition of Scare Tactics.  In the next instalment I plan on getting up to speed with Dead Rising 2, BioShock 2, and Alan Wake. Until then make sure to check under your bed and close the closet door before going to sleep!

-SG

6:43 PM 0 comments

Massively Effective: Mass Effect 2 and the Cerberus Network

 

me2sheppard

Missing in Action
Save your crew from an overwhelming attack

Gamerscore = 5   Acquired 26/1/2010

One of the question I have about Mass Effect 2 is how they are going to keep it the game journalist minds 10 months down the road when ‘Game of the Year’ voting rears its ugly head.  I am only a dozen hours into the game, but you only really need to see the first hour of the game to acknowledge that Mass Effect 2 is not only heads and shoulders above its predecessor, but that it is one of the finest games of this generation.  By blending genres BioWare has created the unthinkable, a hardcore RPG that anyone can play.

I could write thousands of words comparing the two Mass Effect games, the improvements and changes that were made, the graphics, the sound, everything that makes this package special.  What I think perhaps the most important change/addition to the new title is the inclusion of the in game news feed/DLC delivery system, the Cerberus Network.

The Cerberus Network is very important in several ways.  Firstly it almost ensures that BioWare/EA will see money when a used copy of the game is purchased.  In order to enable the Cerberus Network you need to input a one-time use code that is included in every new copy of the game.  If you buy used you eill have to shell out 1,200 MS points to have access to this portal.  I am sure some gamers will find this upsetting, but developers are always looking for new ways to have gamers buy new copies of the game.

illusive_man-02-pSecondly, the Cerberus Network is the realization of a promise BioWare made prior to the release of Mass Effect 1.  Some years back we were told that new and interesting chapters of downloadable content will be made available for Mass Effect, bridging the gap between the sequels and keeping gamers engaged with the property.  We are all too aware of how that worked out.  In the years between games, BioWare was only able to squeeze out two content packs, one of which was more of a game mode that a add-on.  I have heard several reasons from project director Casey Hudson why that was the case, but that is the past, what is done is done.  The Cerberus Network has already added two DLC packs and promises much more in the future including vehicle missions.  The regularly updated news feed from around the Galaxy contributes to the games’ flavour.  These things will keep me checking back with the game over the following months.

Mass Effect 2 is designed to keep us coming back for more.  With so many choices to be made and ways to play the game, plus the ability to port over the decisions from the first Mass Effect and take all that data beyond into Mass Effect 3, BioWare is creating an RPG dynasty the likes of which we have never seen.  It even has me wanting to once again go back into ME1 so that I can play both games all over again, and I am not even close to being done my first ME2 playthrough!  So when 2010 draws to a close I believe BioWare has set a stage so that we all will not forget ME2 when comes to choosing the Game of the Year.  In fact, we will probably be playing an all-new mission from the Cerberus Network.

BioWare | Mass Effect 2

-SG

6:43 PM 0 comments

Massively Effective: Mass Effect 2 and the Cerberus Network

me2sheppard

Missing in Action
Save your crew from an overwhelming attack

Gamerscore = 5   Acquired 26/1/2010

One of the question I have about Mass Effect 2 is how they are going to keep it the game journalist minds 10 months down the road when ‘Game of the Year’ voting rears its ugly head.  I am only a dozen hours into the game, but you only really need to see the first hour of the game to acknowledge that Mass Effect 2 is not only heads and shoulders above its predecessor, but that it is one of the finest games of this generation.  By blending genres BioWare has created the unthinkable, a hardcore RPG that anyone can play.

I could write thousands of words comparing the two Mass Effect games, the improvements and changes that were made, the graphics, the sound, everything that makes this package special.  What I think perhaps the most important change/addition to the new title is the inclusion of the in game news feed/DLC delivery system, the Cerberus Network.

The Cerberus Network is very important in several ways.  Firstly it almost ensures that BioWare/EA will see money when a used copy of the game is purchased.  In order to enable the Cerberus Network you need to input a one-time use code that is included in every new copy of the game.  If you buy used you eill have to shell out 1,200 MS points to have access to this portal.  I am sure some gamers will find this upsetting, but developers are always looking for new ways to have gamers buy new copies of the game.

illusive_man-02-pSecondly, the Cerberus Network is the realization of a promise BioWare made prior to the release of Mass Effect 1.  Some years back we were told that new and interesting chapters of downloadable content will be made available for Mass Effect, bridging the gap between the sequels and keeping gamers engaged with the property.  We are all too aware of how that worked out.  In the years between games, BioWare was only able to squeeze out two content packs, one of which was more of a game mode that a add-on.  I have heard several reasons from project director Casey Hudson why that was the case, but that is the past, what is done is done.  The Cerberus Network has already added two DLC packs and promises much more in the future including vehicle missions.  The regularly updated news feed from around the Galaxy contributes to the games’ flavour.  These things will keep me checking back with the game over the following months.

Mass Effect 2 is designed to keep us coming back for more.  With so many choices to be made and ways to play the game, plus the ability to port over the decisions from the first Mass Effect and take all that data beyond into Mass Effect 3, BioWare is creating an RPG dynasty the likes of which we have never seen.  It even has me wanting to once again go back into ME1 so that I can play both games all over again, and I am not even close to being done my first ME2 playthrough!  So when 2010 draws to a close I believe BioWare has set a stage so that we all will not forget ME2 when comes to choosing the Game of the Year.  In fact, we will probably be playing an all-new mission from the Cerberus Network.

BioWare | Mass Effect 2

-SG