Tag Archives: definition

First Impression: Resident Evil 4 (PS2) ~ Leon, Help Me! LEEEEOOONN!

residentevil4

Wikipedia entry

Not to long ago, I revealed my 10 favorite games I have started playing in 2018. One of these games was Resident Evil 4. Now, I shorty explained why I enjoyed that game so much in that article but I think it’s time to give a more in depth opinion on the game. I haven’t finished the game yet, I’m closing in on the mid-way point of the game. I think I have seen enough of the game to give my first impressions on the game and to give my honest opinion on the game. So, will this be the game that drags me into survival horror or will this game be the one that turns me off? As usual, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on the game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. 

Ashley & Leon’s “vacation”

re4_1

In this game, you take on the role of Leon S. Kennedy. A police officer that was involved with Raccoon City that has been sent to Spain to rescue the President’s kidnapped daughter. Very quickly after your arrival, you discover that things aren’t normal and that something went horribly wrong. It’s up to Leon to find and rescue Ashley as quickly as he can.

The writing in this game is excellent. Some story elements are explained in notes you can find in the world and others are explained in cutscenes. The voice acting is amazing, I especially love the voice acting during combat sections since it really helps with building the atmosphere. The only missed opportunity in my opinion is that there aren’t a lot of interactions between Ashley and Leon during your exploration. Maybe Bioshock Infinite with Booker and Elisabeth spoiled me too much there.

Most of this game is a sort of escort quest. But, Leon isn’t taking Ashley on a nice vacation to Spain, at all. Remember the start of this section? Leon came to the village to extract Ashley and get her back to the United States of the Americas.

Now, I’ll talk more about gameplay mechanics later but first I want to talk about a flaw with the story of this game. The flaw is that some parts of the story, especially some characters and events aren’t explained too well to newcomers. This game is the first Resident Evil game I’m trying to beat and I had to look up certain things. Now, at the other hand, these unexplained gaps in the story made me even more interested to play the previous Resident Evil games so that everything can fall into place.

Since I haven’t beaten the game, I won’t comment on the writing too much. To be quite honest, I feel that sometimes the story takes a bit of a backseat and is more used as a sort of tool to string different sections together. I even dare to say that you would be able to cut some sections out without it making a (big) impact on the story or the atmosphere. Yes, the notes fill in some of the gaps but since they are optional and can be skipped, the story feels incomplete to me. As if there were sections removed from the final version.

Ashley isn’t Elisabeth

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Now, I knew in advance that this game was going to be an escort mission sort of game.I have played Bioshock Infinite, so I got used to guiding a character around.

Now, there are big differences between Elisabeth and Ashley. First of all, Ashley can be kidnapped. Whenever certain enemies are close to her, she can be picked up and kidnapped. Whenever she is dragged through a door to another section, it’s game over.

There are two other big differences. The first is that Ashley isn’t helpful during your exploration. You can tell her to wait, hide and follow you. She can only hide in certain places, she doesn’t look for them herself. Now, I tested out how good her pathfinding is. Whenever I called for her when she was in hiding and I ran to a corner of the map, she was always able to find me and team up with me.

The second big difference is that Ashley isn’t invincible. If you see the screenshot I placed a bit earlier, you notice that Ashley has a health bar as well. So, you have to be careful that Ashley doesn’t take damage. Since, you need to rescue her alive. Whenever you use your healing items, you can choose to heal either yourself or Ashley.

Thankfully, both Elisabeth and Ashley rarely get in your way during combat. Elisabeth goes and looks for items while Ashley ducks so fast when you aim at an enemy behind her, it’s almost impossible to hit her. Also, whenever I threw a grenade in her direction to try and defeat an enemy close to her, she quickly gets out of the way. Thank god, I would have thrown out the disc if that wasn’t the case.

Now, I have been talking about the differences between Ashley and Elisabeth for a while now. But, how does this game play? What is the actual gameplay? This game is an adventure-exploration 3D shooter game. I even dare to say that you can compare it to the reboot Tomb Raider games to a certain extent. The big differences are Ashley and that this game focuses more on big bosses and horror than Tomb Raider.

I have to admit that I’m playing this game on easy difficulty. Because this is one of my first times I’m playing a survival horror game, I wanted to get used to the mechanics before I challenged myself and played through the genre on a harder difficulty. Surprisingly, this game keeps being challenging. I’m always thinking on how I can save the ammo of my most powerful weapons to quickly dispatch groups of enemies.

The biggest thing I dislike during the combat is that I can’t see a difference between an enemy that is close to dying and one that is full health. What is even more annoying is that it’s sometimes, and especially with the bosses, hard to read if you are hitting them or not. In one run, I was sure I hit an enemy but the enemy didn’t go down and used her chainsaw to insta-kill me. The red dot at the end of where you are aiming is too small and too little of an indication during hectic combat. Because of this, I’m sure that I have wasted so much ammo fighting bosses.

I think I can summarize it like this: the combat is a bit rough around the edges. While it’s a lot of fun, sometimes I got annoyed with the limitations of the mechanics. At one hand, I can understand where the developers were coming from. This game is a survival horror game after all and you have to fell tense and afraid, since it’s a horror game. At the other hand, it doesn’t take away that I would have loved to see a bit more polish on the combat.

Something I’m disappointed a bit by are the puzzles. I feel that most of the puzzles rely a bit too much on the “press the buttons in the right order” cliché. Almost all of the non-combat puzzles have to pressing switches in a certain sequence. Granted, I’m somewhere in the middle of the game so, it’s quite possible that the rest of the game will have a bit more unique puzzles.

It has aged

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Because I’m a retro gamer, I don’t mind it when games look dated. If you wondered why I didn’t play the HD version for this article, I can easily explain that by saying that I was able to pick up a physical copy of the original and that interests me more as a collector.

Now, the game looks fine on PS2. There is a lot of detail in the atmosphere of the game and the monster design is delicious grotesque. I especially love it when characters transform mid-battle, because then I have to think quickly and change my strategy accordingly.

But alas, the fact that this game is now almost 15 years old is starting to show. In certain sections, I feel that there isn’t enough detail. I also had the impression that in certain sections, the textures on the models were a bit too flat making certain objects like a bed in the castle look like it would belong in a PS1 Tomb Raider game. I haven’t played the HD version of the game, but from what I have seen, all the complaints I have about the visuals… well, let’s just say that the HD version looks a LOT better than the PS2 version. I even checked some comparison videos between the Gamecube, Wii and this version of the game and I have to say, that the versions on the Nintendo platforms look a lot better.

Now, I’m not saying that this game looks ugly. Remember that I said that this game looks fine? Well, I really stand by that. I love all the detail they put in the world and the animations in this game are amazing. I especially love how destructible the world is. When a huge boss throws a tree to a shack you are standing in, the tree doesn’t break on the shack because video games, the tree actually breaks the shack because realism.

The only “negative” I can say in terms on the animations are that certain death scenes are a bit too scripted. What I mean is for example, when you kill an enemy with a head shot, it doesn’t go down right away. It nearly always takes a few steps forward before collapsing. This isn’t the only example of that, but it stands out. But, after a while I got used to it and it didn’t bother me that much.

Now, besides puzzles and combat; there is one other part of the gameplay I haven’t mentioned. And that are the quick time events. In certain sections, you have to much a button as quick as you can to survive. These sections were the most annoying sections of the game in my opinion. Thankfully, they are short. So, they are over without too much hassle.

This game doesn’t have an autosave. You can save at certain save points in scattered around. You can save an infinite amount of times as long as you are at the type writer. Thankfully, when you get a game over, you don’t have to restart from your last save point. You start from the section you died at. For example, when you died during a quick time event with a boss and die, you respawn at the start of that quick time event. This is a great feature since whenever I died, I learned something new and I got a new idea on how to possibly defeat the boss.

Besides strategy, there is something else that helps with defeating bosses and that are good controls. This game has that. The only things I struggle a bit with are turning while using the knife or aiming with a weapon. Now, the turning with a knife isn’t too much of an issue. I stop pushing the knife button and press it again when I have done my turn.

The aiming of weapons is a different story. This game is one of the first games I played on a console that involves a lot of shooting. I’m quite used to being able to easily shoot using a mouse of the Wii Remote. I had to get used to aiming with a joystick. To my surprise, I quickly got used to it. When I look at the stats at the end of each level, I notice that I’m improving quite a lot in my accuracy.

To my surprise, I haven’t talked about the music and sound design of this game and it’s almost the end of the article. The soundtrack of this game is one that helps build the atmosphere quite well. Personally, I wouldn’t listen to most of the tracks outside of the game, but I enjoy the soundtrack quite a lot during gameplay.

The sound design of this game get a big thumbs up from me. The game sound just right, from the sound of the guns to enemies transforming. It all sounds like you would imagine it sounding in real life.

Well, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game for now. I know that I haven’t talked about everything but I’ll leave those things for my review, if I ever write one on this game. So, I think it’s time to wrap up this article.

Thank you so much for reading this article! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

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What’s a retro game?

Thanks Smashy for this.

Thanks Smashy for this.

Trying to come up with a definition for a retro game is extremely difficult. Many websites give different information. But which one is right? I did some research and broke my head about this question multiple times. After a while of thinking, I came up with my answer for the question. In this article I will explain more about my though process about this question. So even consider this to be a controversial topic, which I totally don’t get. But feel free to discuss in the comments down below and who knows, we might make the real definition of a retro game. Keep in mind that I try to make a definition here of what exactly is a retro game. Like “when is a game retro?”.

What’s a retro gamer? 

For answering that question we need to ask the question, what’s retro? When does a game turn retro? Is the previous entry in the series when the sequel releases a retro game? Or does it need to have a certain age? If we check WikiPedia on this one, there is an issue. They don’t give a clear definition. Also, they say when the most popular time period is. So, according to WikiPedia it should be 20 years old, looking to the popular period.

But then on other gaming blogs, they talk about games being 10 to 15 years old. So, there is some unknown things about retro gaming.

Promotional image for the DS game Retro Game Challenge.

Promotional image for the DS game Retro Game Challenge.

I think we can all agree that the Playstation 2 is now retro. Since it’s discontinued and the PS3 is out, plus the PS4 is soon going to be released. But let’s look at another console. Is for example the DS retro? I would say so, since the 3DS is out for a while and the mainstream gamers don’t really care about those games anymore.

Definition of a retro game.

So, are retro games, games where the mainstream doesn’t care about anymore? Yes and no, bargain sales don’t count. But I think I can say that whenever a game starts to get sold on second hand stores for low prices or not anymore on store shelves, it’s retro for sure. But wait, that isn’t correct since my local game store sells some old games and some of them are first hand.

Let’s look at it from a different angle. We are currently going to the 8th generation of consoles. The Wii U, PS4 & XBOX one. So, in my eyes, generation 1 till 6 is retro. But when does generation 7 turn retro? When generation 9 is released or announced? Or when generation 8 is well on it’s way?

Some might say that when something is discounted, it’s retro. When it’s not being sold anymore, it’s retro. And I disagree on one level. What if a company went bankrupt? Would their latest releases be considered retro? That would be a far stretch.

Yet, one thing is for sure. A retro game is an old game. But there is still a lot of debate when exactly a system turns retro. The issue we still have is about generation 7. Well, I think as soon as you barely see generation 7 games on the shelves, they are considered retro. When the first hand copies are becoming extremely hard to get. Since saying that games that need to be at least 10 years old to be considered retro, leaves one big time gap to be questioned. So, a game that is for example only a 5 years old, isn’t retro yet?

Is it even possible?

wii-u

In 2013, the Wii U is anything but retro.

For a while, I thought it would be impossible to make a definition for retro games. On all the forums I visited for researching this topic, everybody starts giving their own opinion. And some are very different then others.

Years are said, requirements or examples. What strikes me as odd is that many new questions start to raise. How do you call games that aren’t retro? Modern games? And why are always the handhelds left out?

It becomes even more difficult if we try to think about what games exactly you need to look at to make a definition. For retro games, do we need to take games like Android and iOS in a count? Or even the online flash games or Facebook games?

Let’s actually give a definition of a video game.  What is a video game? WikiPedia gives a great definition.

A video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device.

So, actually we need to count games created online and games created for tablets or phones into our group of games. Sadly enough, many gamers will rage at me for saying that. Since they don’t see Facebook games as actual games. Yet, I would refer those people towards the definition that I gave. Okay, copied from WikiPedia. Plus, I don’t think the developers would like to call their product an interactive application or a game wannabee.

Flaws in the logic

And then you get creations like this.

And then you get creations like this.

Like I said in my previous part of this article, there are always flaws in somebody’s logic. When somebody says that the previous generation is considered retro games, I have a small question for you then. Let’s take the 3DS for example. The 3DS is released late 2011. Are games from 2011 retro or not?

Honestly, it’s a combination from factors that decides when a game is retro. But I think I found a great indication for looking if a game is retro or not. The sales graph.

Think about it, if you look to a sales graph, you first get the early adapters who buy the game without looking to reviews. They are extremely hyped and they want to product. If you look to an usual sales graph, there is a point where it goes down in sales. In my point of view, I think you can say that a game is then starting to get retro.

Mainstream games will continue to sell. Like for example Minecraft, it might be an old game but it keeps selling like crazy. Whenever a game starts to “die” in the interest of the general public, the sales will go down. With that, the developer starts to get more and more costs of supporting the game. And eventually they start to support the game. Around that time, the game starts to become retro.

So I think that you honestly need to look to how much the game is sold, for which price (compared to the original), how much general interest there is, if the developer supports the game…

But then again, there is a flaw in my logic as well. Games that are overlooked, aren’t really the issue since they get sold. But I’m talking about free games. Those can’t be sold.

Well, I think I’m going to leave it here. What do you guys think is retro? I look forward to reading the comments.