Mac's Blog I just say what comes into my head…

4Apr/110

Kotaku guy has it right…

Was doing my lunch time perusal of the gaming news and stuffs, and I came across an interesting article mentioning how games have lost their immersion factor.

Why dont i lose myself in games anymore

I completely agree with a lot of the points raised, and have lots of new points of my own, which have caused me to dislike most of the modern day RPG games, as lets face it I only really care about RPG games...

Where did world maps go?
If you go back to the old NES and SNES rpg games you will see that most of them have some form of world map, where you can waste hours just wandering round into pointless areas and occasionally finding hidden treasures. One of my favourite 16bit rpg games was Dungeons & Dragons - Warriors of the eternal sun, which consisted of a huge world map and lots of multiple dungeons scattered round the world. You were rewarded for going off the tracks of the normal path and trying to explore the world they have given you. Same thing in Final Fantasy VII/VIII/IX, you have a world map and you can go off investigating for lots of other hidden treasures.

Now jumping forward to modern rpg games, such as Final Fantasy XIII where there is no such thing as a world map. There is barely the idea of freedom, you are lucky if an area you are exploring has more than 1 path to follow. It makes me feel like the game designers think I am an idiot, and am unable to cope with free choice and many options. Final Fantasy X and the every other inbetween seems to have taken this sort of approach...

How do fancy graphics make up for shit stories?
Staying with FFXIII, my next point on the linear ranting roadmap is graphics. FFXIII is a graphical masterpiece as far as rpg games go, however this doesn't mean it is worth playing. I couldn't care how detailed the character is graphically if they are completely pointless as far as the storyline goes, and it makes me angry that almost all major rpg makers these days feel that they have to all compete on graphics and leave storyline as a minor addition to their technical demo.

If you think back to FFVII where they mixed 2d and 3d to make the game look detailed but also allow the characters to be animated in 3d, it looked great and the storyline elements were brilliant. I completely understand the argument that these days it is probably harder to get someone to make 2d style graphics than it is to get someone to do 3d style graphics, but that doesn't mean you should just try and go for the best possible graphics possible, just find a theme and stick with it... Even if it is a 3d game that *looks* 2d like Paper Mario. Concentrate on what makes an rpg game fun and immersive, the story and characters...

Why try and fix something that isnt broken???!?
How many different battle and equipment systems have you seen recently in rpg games? I assume quite a few... I don't mind them trying out different things, but what does annoy me is when I have to work with an equipment or battle system that makes no sense to a player. Take FFX as an example, there is no clear distinguishing factor as to if a new weapon is better than an old one... where are the stats?? This again is an example of where they think the modern gamer wants less information on the game mechanics, they cannot handle dmg or hit related information... I WANT MORE STATISTICS... why does Pokemon keep so many players coming back? It sure as hell ain't for the story, its because you can try to collect the most powerful pokemon and tweak them to be exactly what you want.

I spent hours on FFVII trying to optimise my equipment and materia, it was a simple system to understand but difficult to master. You could spend lots of time trying to make sure you have got all your blue materia with the right green materia and that you have the best possible slots filled while keeping the equipment quite damaging. It all made sense, even Suikoden had a similar sort of system with its runes and weapons, so you knew that your items would do X damage and the runes would enhance them, making them better against certain monsters.

Why get rid of all this information, maybe they think that it is less immersive as you have to break away from the actual gameplay to equip your items and tally up the numbers, but its completely the opposite and it gets you more immersed in the game, paying attention to all aspects of your character.

Voice acting and realistic animation ftw?
I am torn between if voice acting is really worth it in rpg games, part of me likes it and in games like Tales of Symphonia the voices helped make the game. However in others they just break everything, take White Knight Chronicles as an example, where you find a huge hog looking guy who sounds like a comedic Al capone. Same sort of thing for the animations, some games pull it off well, whereas others try to put in too much detail and just look silly. I really think less is more when it comes to character animation, FFVII and games of that era had it perfect for me, they did a few primitive animations and you as the player were left to fill in the blanks with your imagination. Allowing you to interpret the characters however you want, and this is one of the key things for me personally, being able to use my imagination in rpg games.

To sum up most of my ranting, I wish they would let the player use their imagination more. I don't want to be spoon fed every little detail and storyline arc, I want to have to figure out some of it for myself. I think this is why a lot of people think books are better than films, as the reader makes up a mental picture of the world and characters, whereas in films you see an actor who may not be who you imagined, making it different to what you would want.

Maybe I am wrong, as I am no game designer, but I really think that if things do not change soon the console rpg will be a dying breed... although I cannot wait for Skyrim :)

11Sep/080

Pokemon Battle Revolution…

With the new Pokemon Wii title around the corner i was wondering if it was worth buying.

After a debate about previous Pokemon titles with Flec it was decided that Battle Revolution cant be worse than the fabled Pokemon Colliseum, that game was a train wreck. The only fun part to that game was when you pressed the power button and turned the console off.

This makes me wonder, is it possible to make a decent Pokemon game that ISNT on a hand held system.... I believe it is, as they have a winning forumla for games. If they just stick to it but make it a bit bigger and better for the consoles opposed to making it more limited in gameplay and slower in progress.

Im hoping that they will implement a DECENT online play system with this, as i wasnt too impressed with D/P online capabilities.

Anyway i dont think i will be buying it, although the new Trauma Center game on the Wii with coop is looking mighty buyable.

Non Handheld Pokemon Games - Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me

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9Sep/080

Nintendo + Online Play = Crap?

Any of you who have a Wii should have already gone out and bought Super Smash Brothers. Im sure like myself you were stoked to find out there would be online multiplayer. I had previously been playing Mario Kart online before i got SSB and ok i didnt like the friend system much, it sounds like way too much work to just play with someone you know, but hey it functioned well enough for me and Jen to play together online with it.

Then I went to play SSB online... i thought there was some options missing or something, as i could only do random games by myself and it took like 10 minutes to find 1 other person who wanted to play. Now in my eyes this is a stupid move, as with the options of Xbox live and the PS3 network, which let you just do the whole multiplayer thing without thinking about it too much. Nintendos implementation is more like trying to find a UT game online when you dont have an internet connection, its piss poor.

DONT WORRY THOUGH if you have some poor bastards friends code you can add them to your list and pray that they add you too... did they not think, "OH WAIT, what if someone adds someone else, how will they know?"...

Have we taken a few steps back into the dark age of online gaming where you had to play through some random 3rd party server and the connection was sketchy and then they all left as soon as you were about to win...

I have quite a few friends with Wiis but half of them cant be bothered working out how to do the online thing with it, and the other half never play on it. I find this quite a shame as it has alot of potential as do alot of the games on this platform, but they seem to be nailing themselves in the foot at the moment, which cant be good for a company that is meant to innovate instead of make a shoddier implementation of whats already out there...

I can understand the whole family system and they dont want some kid chatting to the army of Gary Glitters that are playing online games. However just take out communication like they did with Mario Kart, you could still play coop online, but on SSB they make it so you can only do this with friends, who you cant even talk to anyway. It just seems retarded, like going to fight lugia in pokemon realising you are not carrying any pokeballs, then saving after it... not that anyone is that dim... i hope...

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8May/070

Pokemon++

Ok so its about a week till the famous Mexican Jeff returns from the good old USA with my copy of Pokemon Diamond or Pearl... i cant remember which one i asked for...

I was tempted to get Metal Gear : Portable Ops in the meantime for some online fun, but i decided against it as i tend to buy games then never play them...

Also i joined a fun guild in WoW so im arsing around with them at the moment, and i got my paladin to 63 finally. Northwind Gale is the guild incase anyone else is looking for a good guild on the Tarren Mill uk servers.

Also ive now disabled the Wii Locator, grats to everyone who has a Wii!

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2Jan/070

New Year + Pokemon Marathon

Well now that its been new year and all the christmas chaos is over and done with its been quite a good year...

Like most people, i did nothing over christmas... well i did play on the Wii quite a bit with Jode, and i did play on Guitar Hero quite a bit, but nothing of any productive value.

We had a fun new year doing our usual drinking session mixed with Guitar Hero and the Wii as well as some unusual free style synchronised dancing...

After the celebrations we awoke to a POKEMON MARATHON, which was quite fun... i even loaded up Fire Red on my DS to have a quick play around and make sure I had some of Jodes pokemon ready to ransom off to him when the new NDS versions of the game come out... Still wishing nintendo would make our Pokemon MMO... that would be awesome!

Anyway happy new year to everyone, and i will now be off to work!

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17Dec/060

Pokemon + MMO = GENIUS

ok... so Jode and myself were sat here watching Pokemon... and we got talking about the Wii and how a Pokemon MMO on that would be the biggest bag of bling known to man.

We basically came up for a concept to use the Wii and control your pokemon as well as being able to incorporate everything that made the games addictive and cool, as well as adding in the TV Show elements, to make it FEEL alot more like you are linked to your pokemon, as well as using the NDS as a Pokedex to track everything and show/trade info with other people....

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