Category Archives: The Good, The Bad, The Unforgettable

The Good, The Bad, The Unforgettable: Beyond: Two Souls

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Before I begin this Sadistic Saturday, I wanted to point out that I do not believe that Beyond: Two Souls was hot garbage and do believe that the game just didn’t turn out to be what was expected.  Quantic Dream has always followed a pretty strict regiment of making their games both hyper realistic and gives players the option to control their destiny.  With Detroit: Become Human coming out, that much is clear.  Beyond: Two Souls stars a young girl named Jodie Holmes, whose appearance is modeled after actress Ellen Page, who has a psychic connection with some kind of spirit named Aiden.  She has been in psychiatric care since she was very young and never had any friends aside from Aiden, as he always seems to interrupt any interactions with anyone who isn’t him.  Since then, she has been left in permanent custody to doctors Nathan Dawkins and Cole Freeman, Willem Dafoe and Kadeem Hardison.

The game utilizes dialogue choices to change the outcome of events as well as many quicktime events to control Aiden and allow him to do certain things.  It follows a convoluted plotline in which Jodie is trained by the CIA to undergo military procedures to other countries, using Aiden to aid her in her missions.  She becomes disgusted with herself after discovering that she killed the kind president of one of the countries that she infiltrated.  She becomes a fugitive and escapes, leading to a series of random encounters with people that take her in such as a group of homeless people and a Native American family.

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The characters are very three dimensional and the voice acting is superb, but the level that Quantic Dream was trying to achieve flew past the storyline and made the game seem a little sub par.  Since Aiden is a very large part of Jodie’s life, he doesn’t allow her to get killed or even injured, making some of the gameplay moments completely useless because you were never punished for any mistakes.  If you missed a quick time event, you were pretty much guaranteed multiple do overs because Aiden wouldn’t allow you to be injured.  This led to a relatively unrewarding experience and made you feel more like a participant than a player.  The only part of the game that really gives you a satisfying lurch forward is when you play as Aiden, an omniscient being that is able to traverse through every room of the area that you are in.

You can see through walls as him and are able to plan out your attacks or movements far before you even make them.  He’s very quick and his movements are only limited to room barriers, meaning that he is able to see far and wide so long as you stay within the confined area.  However, Aiden is mostly only used whenever Jodie needs something and will make note of it through verbal prompts to make Aiden possess someone or do s a certain action. It’s still fun, nonetheless, but it isn’t as rewarding as you may think.

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You end up finding out, after shit hits the fan, that Aiden is your stillborn twin brother whom you’ve had an attachment to since you were both in the womb.  It wasn’t the greatest twist, but it was the one that made the most sense and it allowed for a better look at why this character is the way that he is towards others.  I felt more like I had watched a film than I did having finished a game and that was not the experience that I wanted for the price.  At ten hours, the series of inconsequential choices and poor gameplay mechanics  forced me to feel more relieved that I had finished it over being satisfied.

The game was originally released back in 2013 and was currently remastered for the PS4 with Heavy Rain earlier this year, the better of the PS3 Quantic Dream games.

Check out the launch trailer for the game below:

The Good, The Bad, The Unforgettable: God of War

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These last few Throwback Thursdays have been for relatively recent consoles and it looks like it won’t be changing with the announcement of several severely anticipated installments for some of gaming’s best franchises.  At Sony’s press conference at E3 this year, they opened up with a teaser for their newest God of War installment simply titled God of War.  The game seems to take a turn from the normal Greek mythology story line and places Kratos in a different country that utilizes Norse mythology.  However, Kratos got there somehow and that was by killing the great Greek God of War, Ares.

The PS2 game, God of War, debuted back in 2005 and was instantly a success among hack and slash type players and those well versed in Greek mythology.  The game follows Kratos, a Spartan warrior, who calls upon the help of Ares during battle to defeat his enemies.  Given his newfound power, the only exchange was that Kratos be Ares’s eternal servant and must do as he is told.  With that, Kratos is sent to a village to pillage and destroy, ultimately killing his wife and daughter in blind power, binding their ashes to his skin, (the reason for the white glow of his skin), as a constant reminder.

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The game is the beginning of the Kratos’s reign and shows that the Gods are not as they seem as he fights his way to get to Ares.  The final battle also shows how Ares’s fall crowns Kratos as the new God of War.  While the entirety of the game is based off of the revenge that Kratos wants and the fact that he wants the memories of his family’s death erased from his memory, Kratos isn’t really that three dimensional.  He doesn’t have any regard for those in his way and proves that by slaughtering humans and Gods alike; in multiple ways that range from stabbing all the way to tearing apart.

While it’s difficult to fathom Kratos’s anger, the game marks the very beginning of a Spartan warrior made Greek God.

Check out the trailer below for the game back in 2005:

The Good, The Bad, The Unforgettable: Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective

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As opposed to our last Throwback Thursday, God Hand, this one is a lot more recent; a DS game.  Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective follows in the footsteps of other great detective games such as the Ace Attorney series and Hotel Dusk: Room 215 while still managing to create a fanbase exclusive to the title.  You play as Sissel, the ghost of a detective that was murdered  who has the power of ‘Ghost Trick’, meaning that he can rewind time to four minutes before a person’s death.  Using this power, he can take control of objects in the room to prevents the person from dying.  Sissel’s spirit will disappear at dawn so he must use his time wisely in order to find our who he was when he was alive and who it was that killed him.

The whole purpose of the game is to switch between the Land of the Living, in which Sissel can move objects to alter the situation or solve puzzles, and the Ghost World, where he is able to pass between different objects.  Any items highlighted in blue are able to be possessed and are most likely clues to solving puzzles, (eg. moving a chair to avoid someone sitting there, etc.).  Before doing this, however, Sissel must take control of the corpse that he is trying to prevent from being killed in the first place, that’s when he can kick in his Ghost Trick powers four minutes before their death.

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The interesting part about the game is that the development was handled by the creator of the Ace Attorney series, Shu Takumi.  He was in the process of working on the third installment of the previously mentioned series and thought to create something new, birthing a new kind of detective games.  It was originally going to be named ‘Ghost Spy’ but the name didn’t stick, leaving us with a new taste of a franchise that never saw more than this single game.  Takumi has previously spoken about wanting to create a crossover between Ghost Trick and Ace Attorney but in the six year’s since the former’s release, it doesn’t look very likely anymore.  But that’s okay, as the game is still very well respected and praised for its story, gameplay, and for being among the very few games that had visibly smooth animation, (they’re dancing on a DS, the animations HAD to be smooth).

The reception for the game was off the charts, being the second best-selling video game in Japan the week it came out and even being nominated for an Annie Award in the ‘Best Animated Video Game’ category.  Other websites have also praised the game in different aspects with GameSpot giving it an an award for ‘Best Handheld Game’ and ‘Best Game No One Played’.  Game Trailers also awarded it with ‘Best DS Game of 2011’, among other awards.

Check out the trailer for it below:

The Good, The Bad, The Unforgettable: The Order 1886

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This is the first Sadistic Saturday that we post here so we wanted to make it special.  We decided that since their newest title, DeFormers, was just announced, Ready at Dawn would be a perfect target for our rant of a game that was incredibly hyped and then completely failed to deliver.  The Order 1886 was meant to be this incredible game that mixed in mythological monsters with steampunk-esque aesthetics while playing like a Gears of War game.  The end result only allowed for one of those things.  To put it into perspective, the game was about six hours long, (not that the length of the game hinders its ability to be any good), and made paying customers seem a little bit like fools for picking it up.

You play as protagonist Sir Galahad, a soldier in a team of people called the Order that specialize in eliminating the half breed attack on London, (half human, half animal).  His mentor, Sir Percival, and himself discover that there are another type of half breed plaguing the city, Lycans, and they go to the rebel hideout of Whitechapel to see what’s going on. You are joined by Lady Igraine and Marquis de Lafayette.  The end result is that you fight the main Lycan and the game ends.  The game had incredible potential, especially with adding mythological elements that are usually only found in blockbuster films, but fell short in terms of gameplay, length, and a number of other elements.  The biggest opportunity that the developers was in the cut scenes, or rather, in how many they had and how they dictated the story as opposed to the gameplay itself.  To say that a lot of the game was simply just cut scenes is an understatement, the entirety of it basically was, and not in that, ‘Uncharted is a great series and the graphics make it so that the cut scenes and gameplay roll flawlessly’.  That and the fact that most interactions were rel=placed by quick time events, and not in a Shenmue way.

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The sense of control was completely destroyed and it alongside the boss fights themselves, being completely disappointing and lacking any real satisfaction.  It lost it’s replayability as a whole as well as the respect of those who played the game, (unless they are super into the graphics and nothing more than that matters to them).  It makes me hope that they either never do a sequel for the game or try their best to redeem it through any other medium that isn’t a video game.

Here’s the Rant:

I rented the game from a buddy the day it came out, he had already finished it and we were joking about the fact that we both might be able to finish it on the same day having played it at two separate times.  Sure enough, i picked it up and was completely immersed in the atmosphere, characters, and the dialogue of the game.  Unfortunately, the feeling began to dissipate as the game went on, turning from admiration to complete disappointment.  It was sad to see something that had such potential dropped in a way that not only made the developers look bad, but Playstation as well for having it be exclusive to them.  I have never played a terrible Playstation exclusive and this one being the way that it was, I lost respect for Sony in pushing something that was clearly so terrible.  That being said, I was completely taken back by Bloodborne and Infamous: Second Son but they will never give me back the game that I had desperately waited for since it was announced.

End Rant.

Check out the trailer for the game below, (and cringe at how great it looked BEFORE it came out):

 

 

The Good, The Bad, The Unforgettable: God Hand

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There are a lot of people that agree that Playstation 2 games shouldn’t be considered vintage since it is part of the sixth generation of video game consoles.  That being said, that doesn’t mean that the games available on the console can’t be considered throwbacks, especially when you spent so much of your childhood playing these games and you’re well over 20.    God Hand is a game that released in 2006 in Japan and North America, (2007 for PAL reguions), under director Shinji Mikami, who is best known for the Resident Evil series and Evil Within.   Mikami wanted to create a game that was tailored to ‘hardcore gamers’ and allowed for comic relief mixed in with a great combat system.  Of course, if you search up the game now, you’ll see that many well respected sources gave the game extremely bad ratings; Playstation Magazine even went on to say, “God Hand is a terrible, terrible game, yet I can’t stop playing it. There’s just something horrifically appealing about how bad it is in almost every conceivable way.”

That being said, the game begins by telling the story of the God Hands, the power of God within your arms, and how a man used it to defeat the fallen angel, Demon King Angra.  As time passed, a group of people formed to protect the God Hands as they can be used to turn any man into either a god or a demon.  The story then followes protagonist Gene, a martial arts student who is given one of the God Hands and is sought after by demons and monsters alike for its power.  The idea is that there is a group of people known as the Four Devas that are incistent in resurrecting Angra and taking over the world.

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It was well received among critics and fans of the Resident Evil series, considering the team behind this game was also behind the development of Resident Evil 4.  The game refrained from taking itself so seriously, unlike Mikami’s previous titles, and utilized humor in as many ways as it could in its character designs and combat.  Though what really took away from the appeal of the game was simply the graphics, play control, level designs, and camera.  It’s difficult to play, let alone enjoy, a game with these flaws but fans still find themselves playing the title even now, ten years after its release.  While this was the last game to be developed by Clover Studios, it allowed for the company to leave the development scene on a good note, regardless of what reviewers might have thought.

Check out the trailer for the game below: