Demo Report – Resident Evil 6

Demo Report Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 5 was just a God awful game. Terrible plot, terrible characters, illogical progression, rail shooting, a heavy focus on combat with a control system clearly not set up for it and AI so bad that it made your average “Escort Mission” NPC seem like an expert tactician. That’s not even counting the superfluous little details like Chris Redfield being a roid-raging monkey and blonde Jill.

It was a game that offered a giant middle-finger to long-time fans, and an awkward experience to players new to the series. Even if one looks at it objectively as a standalone game and ignores the “Resident Evil” association, it’s still an unpleasant experience if for no reason other than the fact that having to stand still to shoot doesn’t work in an action game. With such an opinion of RE5 I’m sure you can all imagine how I felt about the prospect of having to play through a sixth entry, but after having a chance to play around with the RE6 demo, I can safely say my cold heart has warmed, ever so slightly.

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Hands On with Project P-100

Project P 100
There’s a bit of a snipe hunt for the game that puts the Wii U in perspective and makes ownership mandatory, or at least that’s the vibe I get whenever gamers talk with me about Nintendo’s new hardware. Since the publisher recently held an event in Toronto to offer local press the opportunity to sample their wares from this year’s E3, I had the chance to revisit titles Nintendo is currently showing, still suspecting some surprise announcements before the launch later this year.

I can’t claim to have found a system seller in the mix, but a lengthy session with Platinum Games’ working title, Project P-100, did go a long way toward convincing me that the incentive for early Wii U adoption is materializing.

The game was stationed next to Pikmin 3, which made it easy to compare the surface play style as I took command of a squad of brightly colored super heroes from an angled overhead view. As with Pikmin, players lead their team into combat, commanding them to attack the various enemies encountered throughout the city. However, Project P-100 works to bring legitimate evolution to the familiar via the Wii U gamepad.

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Sweet’N Low – Down on the Farm

The Walking Dead chapter 2
I’m not entirely happy with the choices that I made whilst stumbling through the second chapter of Telltale Game’s The Walking Dead series.

An awkward feeling lingered after I put down the controller, thinking back on being directly confronted about something I’d decided to say about another member of the group, moments where I could have reacted more quickly to help, and making a hasty decision that caused Clementine to witness a violent act by my own hands. But this isn’t the typical groundhog day situation where I feel obliged to go back and live a more ideal day, because there are no ideal choices to be made here, only the constant pull between survival and my own humanity – the core of the source material that Telltale does such an exemplary job of capturing, so that all one can do is take a deep reflective breath after the experience draws to a close.

I’ve spent countless hours living the virtual lives of others and making decisions for them. And while that process has strived to become less black and white in the gaming medium, The Walking Dead hits a nerve of discomfort for me that seems to speak to how it is raising the bar, not just because there are no right or wrong decisions here, but because these are decisions I’d simply rather not have to make – I suppose this is another instance of being confronted with the downside of that being an adult business.

I still catch myself trying to outthink the process, searching for some ideal solution for each point of conflict, but the chaotic nature of the zombie apocalypse works well here to force more heated reactions that I can’t entirely explain my rationale for, which seems a bit more honest in capturing what really sucks about making hard decisions – living with them afterwards.

Elsewhere, Telltale continues to surprise me with a level of more direct interaction that convinces the idea that The Walking Dead is a game and not a visual novel. Action sequences continually arise, using quicktime prompts and some hectic windows of reaction time that certainly played a part in influencing several of those uncomfortable decisions. The greater stress remains the fight to maintain the group rather than fending off the zombie horde, convincing me that Telltale’s shtick was the best choice in trying to capture the franchise for the gaming set.

As with the source material, I only wish the constant tension didn’t remind me how impossible it is to keep everyone happy, and maybe how spending too much time with anyone inevitable discovers some bumps in the relationship.

The most interesting bit about making decisions here remains the way the reactions of others to one decision influences how I approach each new situation. I can’t recall ever making a decision within a videogame based on feeling bad about how the last one might have made me look. I suppose that has me slightly dreading where my decisions might lead me in the next chapter, but I can’t deny that I’m several shades eager to find out.

Lazy Sunday – E3 Leftovers

E3 2012
Posting about all the games I spent time with at E3 has been an incredibe experience, which I remain entirely thankful for while winding down the task this weekend.

I hope you’ve dug our attempt at E3 coverage this year by the way, which owes a thankful shout-out to Shaun Hatton for providing some essential help during the typically crazy ride.

While it’s time to put E3 2012 to bed and get back to the business of more immediate releases, there were a few titles that warranted some words, and unfortunately many more that I haven’t caught up with as of yet.

In the spirit of lazy Sunday, I’ve rounded up a few more games I spent some time with at E3, which you can catch up with below.

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When Dirk the Daring Met Kinect

Dragons Lair Xbox LIVE Arcade Kinect
Since first releasing in 1983, Dragon’s Lair has seen a ridiculous number of ports and adaptations, for everything from the MSX2 to the PlayStation Network. But few, if any, of those releases have attempted to update the experience beyond visual restoration. In the last five years alone, we’ve seen no less than thirteen ports featuring the same mechanics, the same HD video transfer and the same QTE-styled hints.

While these present improvements over the original arcade LaserDisc, they do little to make the game appeal to modern players, and even less to excite fans for new releases. For a while it seemed like Digital Leisure had done all they could to squeeze money out of the property, but then they did something surprising – they added Kinect support.

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E3 2012 – Quantum Conundrum

Quantum Conundrum E3 2012
Just for kicks, I’ve been trying to think of a way of discussing Quantum Conundrum without mentioning Portal, but that doesn’t seem to be happening today. Of course, referencing Portal to discuss Kim Swift and Airtight Games’ upcoming release is probably a good sign that we’re about to discuss a very solid title, which we are.

As with Portal, Quantum Conundrum features a series of puzzles that require the use of a rather strange device in order to solve them, and aside from the physicality of interacting with objects in this space, that’s probably where the similarities end – although there’s certainly a common thread that offers players a chance to see more in the minor details that merits mention.

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E3 2012 – Dishonored

E3 2012 Dishonored
Aside from creating a world where throat stabbings represent a leading cause of premature death, I really didn’t know much about Dishonored prior to E3. I suppose I assumed plenty about the title, primarily that it sought to create a parallel world where players were gifted with extraordinary powers, which left me imagining a Bioshock-type experience that didn’t make it the biggest priority on my list of must see titles.

Visiting with Bethesda last week has done wonders for my enthusiasm however. I’ve learned that Dishonored takes place in a steampunk world largely dependent on whale oil, which seems like a rather delightfully absurd resource to base an economy on, but perhaps this is why the atmosphere of the game feels so consistently grim and desperate.

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