The Formula For A Good Sequel

10 07 2008

If you haven’t noticed the ever-growing amount of sequels of popular games in the industry and the decrease of the new, original games, you are blind (this is not an insult to blind people, but an insult to a blind brain). The reason for this phenom is our constant clamoring for them. Most sequels turn out too similar to the original and bring nothing new to the table, and some are innovative enough to keep refreshing the franchise at a healthy rate. I like those ones. I have seen a lot of fanboys whine about new ideas and changes added to “their beloved series” especially whining about the lighting changes in Diablo 3, the gameplay differences in Fallout 3 and Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. This is something called evolution. It hasn’t been proven, but it is vital for a good sequel to posses it.

Let’s begin the brainstorm with what needs to be done with gameplay, the core foundation of what makes the game fun and interesting. Imagine that we have a turn-based RPG like Final Fantasy and then make it an action RPG which is what changed for FF in number twelve. For Final Fantasy, this was huge and it made people want to play it more because it was a good change of pace and something that was unseen in a Final Fantasy game. Of course there will be the fanboys that are purists to the original ideas that disagree with the changes, but would they really be happy if developers made no attempt to evolve their game and bring it up to date? In most cases, the game stays the same anyway and there is always a group that is pissed off about it staying the same. Make up your minds and deal with what you got because it’s what you asked for, isn’t it? I encourage the fine men and women that are making these to switch things up a little bit. We’ve already been there and done that.

The element that definitely needs to change is the story, even though some say that they play a game not to be impressed by a story. First of all, why was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic such a good game? Its story. The gameplay wasn’t revolutionary, but it told a great narrative. I guess what I’m trying to get here is that JRPG’s have a knack to have the same spiky-haired protagonist, First-Person Shooters give you the same tough guy trying to save the country or the world, and goal of almost every fantasy game is to get some random item with unknown power out of the wrong hands. Have we completely lost our creativity in creating stories that evolve or have different premises? I haven’t seen a whole lot yet, but I’m sure that the talent is out there to fix this issue up.

Sometimes there is a game in a series that comes out and ruins it’s previous predessor’s art style and makes the game overwhelmingly stupid. I impel risk-taking just as much as the next guy, but I shouldn’t make that statement because the next guy could be anyone, like the Dynasty Warriors guys. Changing the art style in a game could end up being a disaster (Bomberman: Act Zero) and potentially ruin the game in its entirety. But there is always hope for a good change like Zelda: Wind Waker. I am a huge fan of Zelda and it was hard to take in the cell-shady Link as a friend, but as time went on and the game was released, my adoration for that style of art kicked in. When it comes to that type of change, it’s hit or miss real bad, but it could be awesome enough to refresh a franchise that has become stale.

With stuff like Banjo and Fallout, the future of sequels is looking bright and if the fanboys open there eyes and minds a little bit, we just might start a gaming revolution; not to be preachy or anything like that, I just think it would be cool to see a cell-shaded Gears of War.


Games That Make You American (Unless You Aren’t)

4 07 2008

Chances are that if you are reading this, you are American, and if you wait every hour to read a post of mine, you might have realized that you spend to much time on the computer and that it is Independence Day or America day, if you’re English. Some people will feel the urge to go outside, swim, or barbecue. Others, however, would rather stay inside, watch TV, or play a video game. The inactive choice would be the wrong one and it is hardly supporting America. I do not tolerate playing video games on such a summer’s day and certainly if the games you are playing are JRPG’s, European indy games, or hockey games (remember, that’s Canada–no exceptions!). If you need help finding the right games to play that support the US, here is the only help that you’ll probably get.

First of all, here are the rules to abide by if you want to stay in the Patriot Club. No foreign games, period. Second, the game should be good. That’s about it, but with each game, there are individual rules to follow.

Okay, if you want to play a good American shooter, Call of Duty 4 is about as American you can get, even if your main US Marine character that you play as, dies halfway through the game. Yes, that was a spoiler, but desperate times call for desperate measures. This is how you should play: Only play through the Marine parts of the campaign, never participate in multiplayer as Soviet, Terrorists, or Brits, if you get placed on either one of those teams, drop out of the session until you get the US.

I have decided that I really don’t want to stay inside so I will just give you a list on the rest. It’s not laziness, because I’m going to go swimming and socialize so I suggest that you don’t argue with me about this. You should know how to play your games anyway.

  • Madden NFL 08
  • Gears of War
  • GTA4 (The only foreign game exception, because its in Liberty City)
  • Halo 3 (Weekend Double-EXP playlist)
  • Battlefield: Bad Company

Games That Make Me All Giddy Inside

3 07 2008

There are plenty of games coming out this year, but there are a select few that actually have me interested in playing them rather than the usual feeling of wanting to dump them into a landfill (with all due respect to the environment). The ones that stick out to me are obvious to most people, but this is an article and as far as I know, I still have enough free will to make good decisions.

The first game that really sticks out to me is Star Wars: Force Unleashed. If you have talked to me or have read any of my scripture located on this site or any other, you could have guessed that I am a huge Star Wars fan, but just because this game is Star Wars related isn’t the only reason i am intrigued by it (it’s only about 85%). What gets me going is the crazy force powers and the Euphoria engine that powers them, which is the same engine that Grand Theft Auto IV used. The story sounds kind of appealing, but when I want a Star Wars game with a narrative, I will ask BioWare.

Another game surprisingly has it’s grip on me and that game is Saint’s Row 2. When the first one came out, it was practically a GTA rip-off as everyone knows, but whats happening with number 2 is that you can spray number 2 at civilians with a septic tank truck. The huge appeal for me to this one is the number of batsh** crazy stunts that you can pull, which is something that GTA4 was dreadfully lacking. It definitely seems that Saint’s Row 2 is going to improve on just about everything in one. And do you remember the trains in GTA4? SR2 is finally letting me throw someone in front of one which was the major flaw of that game.

The third game is Gears of War 2… What do I really need to say? CliffyB already gave me the words. “Bigger. Better. More Badass.”

I am a huge fan of Oblivion and I loved how immersive the world was. Even time to time, I still play it after the very day it came out. Because of Oblivion, I am totally interested in Fallout 3. However, I am not scowering the internet for rumors or what the game will have in it, because I liked how I was given little information about Oblivion before I played it. I had never played a Fallout game before and when I told the Gamespot forums that, there was a lot of comments about me being a heretic for wanting to play Fallout 3. I could care less about what fanboys say, because they are the most narrow-minded kinds of people I know of.

At this point, I want a whole bunch of games that are coming out with the advantage of minimal bored moments. The only problem now is money.

I Want That: 80’s Nostalgia

1 07 2008

So most of you reading this (Peanut) might have heard that on the weekend, Diablo 3 was announced. I definitely am not as stoked as those long time fans, mostly for the reason that I am not a long time fan nor have I played the first two Diablo games. You might call me insane and I am okay with that but because I am insane for other reasons (I will make the KOTOR movie). I haven’t been on this earth as long as the Blizzard fanboys so can you at least give me a break. My first real game that I got into was the first Mario Party game for God’s sake, and for gaming I only go as far back to 1997.

Maybe I’m just jealous that I never was able to get into classic gaming or having the ability to participate in conversations with old nerds about the games that I was too young to understand at the time. I feel like the Apprentice to a bunch of Jedi Masters that existed in a more simple time when it was totally okay to like corny stories or living under the Reagan administration. It may seem like a stupid wish, but I just want to know what it was like to have games like Diablo which were groundbreaking at the time.

This is probably the time to end my pointless whining about being born in the early 90’s, because look at what childhood memories that have already become. Even knowing that I was never there in the 80’s, this generation of games seems to be moving at high speeds and entering the throne of mainstream entertainment. Now the game industry is bigger than Hollywood and we are getting games like Metal Gear Solid 4 and Grand Theft Auto that are defining what is possible in a game. I have always loved a good story and it’s about damn time that some games are starting to deliver on that front. BioWare has told a better Star Wars story than the entire prequel trilogy, in my opinion. Even gameplay has evolved somewhat with games like Portal keeping the first person view that Valve is famous for and adding platformer and unique puzzle elements that made it one of the most original games of last year.

Now that I think about it, It was kind of cool playing games like Knights of the Old Republic and Halo that will become classics as the years go by. I will be able to tell my kids that I lived in the time that gaming started to rev up an become its own rather than something stupid like fighting in World War II.

The [Untitled] Machinima

21 06 2008

With a bunch of good machinima out there and a lot more bad machinima, I have been inspired to not make it into the a lot more category with a few ideas that never went through. A Crackdown machinima, a Halo machinima, and a Nintendogs machinima (two of those are for real). I pray for this new idea that I have that involves one of my new favorite games: Grand Theft Auto IV. Of course, I haven’t done anything yet, so I can’t say that it’s coming soon or even at all, but I do believe it to be one of my better brain-creations. I don’t want to say much, but I will try working with my friend over Xbox Live and since he’s probably the only one reading this… SHOUT OUT! You know who you are.

The one thing that bugs me is that people say that GTA wouldn’t make a good machinima with proof of the couple out there right now. Terrible. My dream is for it to be  not just “good”, but awesome. We (me and the person who knows who they are) are trying to figure out if my story idea should be a comedy or if it should be serious. The serious stuff that I have seen in GTA machinima is abysmal and it would be too easy to make stupid jokes so I defended the thought of it being both serious and funny at the same time, like Scrubs! After him convincing me that we should probably focus with either one and I am still debating to myself which genre I want to do, but I am leaning toward dramatic at the moment. Titles are much needed also so you couple guys that appreciate educated opinions in blogging should send some ideas. Just throw them out in a comment section, but since this is very unlikely to happen, my friend will brainstorm the title too. I just hope it’s original enough to be better than The Pre-Game Lobby.

EndWar: Don’t Ask.

17 06 2008

Recently, there was a call for entrants in the EndWar Beta so I signed up, got in, and got the beta. Judging by the Terms of Agreements, I won’t be able to talk very much about it which disappoints me because I was looking forward to writing a preview on this innovative RTS. This seems weird to me, for the reason that the multiplayer campaign seems pretty solid and I would love to tell all of you more… but I can’t. However I can say what’s good. You might had heard the game having voice commands. In thought, this sounds like a potential mess. Good news, it’s good. The system recognizes the voice pretty well and you don’t have to work painlessly on getting one silly word exactly right (I’m looking at you Brain Age).

I would really love to make a full-fledged Impressions post, but the man is holding me back, so this is all I can speak about without Interpol without coming to my doorstep and bringing me to a place very far away. Just look out for EndWar this holiday, it looks promising.

My Favorite Games of All Time: Proven Wrong!

15 06 2008

A while back in my last favorite games post, I said that my list probably wouldn’t change anytime soon. I was wrong. With that late April release of the fastest selling entertainment product of all time, I was questioning my list a little bit and then realized that it had to change. For instance, I put Crackdown on that list just because it had held my record for longest time playing a video game straight. That record was about 16 hours from 3:00 PM to 7:00 AM the next day. Yes, they told me to go to rehab, but I said “no.” I decided that it was a life-changing event, but it wasn’t one of my favorites, however, I do think it was awesome. There are some rethinking changes to the list, not just for new games so you might notice that it has been butchered quite significantly. 

  1. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
  2. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Xbox)
  3. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (X360)
  4. Super Mario 64 (N64)
  5. Grand Theft Auto IV (X360)
  6. Bioshock (X360)
  7. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker (GC)
  8. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (X360)
  9. Earthbound (SNES)
  10. Portal (X360)

Honorary Mentions: Halo 3, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Crackdown, Zelda: A Link To The Past, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Pikmin, Knights of the Old Republic 2, Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Star Wars Rouge Squadron 2