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So About Them “Videogames”, April 2014

April 17, 2014

みんな、こんばんは!  Has it only been a month since the last one of these? It feels like forever ago.
Something which has crossed my mind over the course of these past few years as games have moved from small teams to huge teams to being split into indie and big publisher outfits is the question of a video game’s monetary value. How does one determine what a video game is worth paying for?
Is it the size of the game data? That doesn’t work, because a 2D game will always be smaller than a big budget 3D one.
The amount of time spent in development (/effort put into the game through its creators)? If a games cost was proportional to the number of human hours which went into it, would anyone buy a game which was continually pushed back (recent example would be Watch Dogs, less recent one would be Duke Nukem Forever) if it were arguably a more polished game than if it hadn’t been, but if it cost more in exchange for that polish?
Maybe you could say the cost of a game should mirror the number of hours the average individual might put into said game, but then would multiplayer games or open world games always cost more than straight-shot story-driven games?
I think it’s a difficult question, which the answer to which will change depending on the type of person you ask, and I don’t have an answer to it myself.


What I’ve Been Playing:


Need_for_Speed_Rivals_coverNeed For Speed: Rivals:
While I went into Rivals with no real interest in playing the Racer career, seeing that point to point racing is often my least favorite type of event in racing games, and each variation of event on the Racer end of things is merely a different type of point to point race, but I found it to be the more intense of the two, as there’s a all or nothing aspect to gaining the currency required to buy, upgrade and outfit your vehicles on the Racer side. Completing events or mucking about the open road earns you Speedpoints, and the more events you participate in, the more rapidly you gain these points, but to lock them into your bank you need to make it to a hideout without being busted by the drivers in blue.
While this means very little if you play conservatively, it can be quite intense to see just how many speedpoints you can collect before catching the heat of AI or players on the Cop side of things.
Playing as a cop is less exciting, but in that “I know the person on the other end of this connection is a human being, so I want to see him lose all he has worked for” sort of way, it can be very satisfying to seek out the Racers and attempt to shut down their streak.
The storyline in Rivals is presented in a pretty generic fashion (I would compare it to the cutscenes which show between levels in Call of Duty’s campaign mode), but the delivery and the writing are but terrific in that they drive home the fact that both sides, the Racers and the Cops, are equally terrible individuals who are well deserving of the chaos they inevitably bring upon one another.
Once characters start getting mentioned on both the Racer and Cop sides, it made me wish there was more of a “roaming tyrant” aspect to Rivals, where you would encounter specific characters who drive specific cars and race or chase you in specific ways, but alas, as far as I can tell, none of these characters mentioned in the mid-chapter sequences even appear in the game world (save for the player characters of course).
There are tons of small flaws I’ve noticed and numerous more nit-picky issues I’ve had with it, but when everything NFS: Rivals does right comes together all at once, it all does a great job at making this a very intense, very exhilarating racing game.
It isn’t as good as I feel like it could have been, but it’s still terrific.


1384498420-ps4Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes:
It’s interesting watching a game like Ground Zeroes be released and see the intensely polarizing reactions coming out of people regarding its value. I’ve seen people who clearly have no interest in replaying the main mission nor bothering with any of the side missions exclaiming that it was a tremendous waste of thirty bucks (and from their point-of-view, I’m sure that is valid), and I’ve also seen people Tweeting their complete Trophy or Achievement collection for this game with playtimes in the double-dozens.
It’s interesting, because both sides are right, and it depends a lot on how you personally consume your video games.
If you’re the type of person who only plays through a game’s campaign once and never wants to touch the game again, you will very likely be quite disappointed with Ground Zeroes, but if you enjoy the idea of approaching objectives in different ways in order to perform your tasks in the most efficient way possible, it’s a game that offers a large amount of freedom and a load of replay value.
I think it’s safe to say that regardless of whether you think the game is worth its asking price, it’s a quality game nonetheless. In typical form, Kojima’s film-loving influence is purely evident in Ground Zeroes’ presentation, and from a mechanical and performance standpoint, this game is easily the most playable and visually stunning of the franchise. On the PS4, the frame-rate is silky smooth and the environments are nicely detailed, and the updates to existing Metal Gear Solid mechanics do a good job at further pushing the series into the modern age of action/stealth hybrids.
If you’re like me, who lamely falls somewhere between the two conflicting opinions of this game, Ground Zeroes works as a terrific appetizer for the concepts which appear to be the focus of Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain, and playing Ground Zeroes, if anything, is making the wait for the main course much more agonizing than it was before.


912GLVkIs8L._SL1500_kkkDynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition:
I’m by no means an expert on this franchise, as the last one of these games I recall playing was either Dynasty Warriors 2 or 3 on the PS2 over at a buddy’s house in high-school, so it’s a tough thing for me to say what is new in this installment compared to the last one (or few), but there are many things I don’t recall being in that older version I played a decade or so ago.
I figured now might be as good of a time as any to at least give the franchise another shot, and I willfully paid money for this game understanding that I was likely paying for little more than a bunch of Square button spamming.
There is, indeed, plenty of attack spamming to mow down legions of completely incompetent enemy troops to be done in 8X, but the things done on the periphery of this arguably thoughtless gameplay loop is what makes the game worth putting hours upon hours into.
The game’s roster is enormous, and each of the characters comes with their own unique special attacks. The weapons which can drop randomly or be obtained through Fusion are legion as well, with each weapon-type offering their own attack patterns.
The campaign mode can be played through the perspective of each of the 4(+) factions, and each runs at a couple of hours. Outside of the Campaign, you’re able to freely choose a scenario and General to play through as in Free Mode, go for high scores for specific objectives (such as knock as many enemies off of a bridge as you can within a time limit) in Challenge Mode, or build a base from a scrappy one-man (or woman) outfit to a proper war effort in Ambition Mode, and this is the mode in which the vast majority of my time has been spent.
It isn’t the most mechanically complex game out there by any means, but that can also be one of its strengths, and if you’re looking for more to think about on the periphery, then Ambition Mode layers in a few additional mechanics to think about before and after each battle.
I went into it with the expectation of hammering the square button a whole bunch and not much else, but having put a handful of hours into it, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition isn’t time I regret spending.


The English translated Steins;Gate finally arrived, but I haven’t found enough time to put into it as of yet. I’ll be sure to get to that at some point (though I still have Saya no Uta to get to as well. Time. I do not have enough of it.)
Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn has hit PS4, and I’m currently leveling a Marauder up. I have a decent amount to say about Realm Reborn already, but I want to wait until I can see some of the higher level (if not endgame) stuff before I put it into text here on the blog. I will say, however, that Realm Reborn is already leagues beyond the travesty which was vanilla FF14. There were interesting concepts in the original version which have been lost here, which is somewhat unfortunate, but if that means the game can in return be functional and fun, then by all means, change what you please.
So that’ll be coming along at some point as well.
Until next time, though. じゃねぇ。

From → Games

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  1. Spitz’s Year End Wrap Up 2014 | Spitz's Soapbox

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