“Durpthroughs” – Dead Island Co-op: Batch 1

Hey, Bill here.  I’ve been gone for a very…very long time for a number of issues including me becoming Dr. Bill, being out of town, and me just being a lazy bastard in general.  So hopefully now that things have stabilized a bit I’m hoping I can post more material.  One thing in particular I would like to do more of in the future is game “durpthroughs.”  Durpthroughs, because I don’t have the time, nor patience, nor attention span, to record footage for an entire play through a whole game.  Instead you’ll get random clips of me (and whoever is unlucky enough to play with me for co-op sessions) durping through whatever I feel like playing or showing off at the time, either due to me being impressed with how good the game is, or how bad it is. The first game I’m doing this with is Dead Island, which has already gotten plenty of bad press since its release over its terrible balancing, multitude of glitches, and it just not being a very polished game altogether.  I managed to trick Infernal into buying the game as well, and after a number of technical issues getting footage (including mic problems, audio woes, and hell, even just joining each other in-game), we finally managed to pull it together. So toss a bag of popcorn in the microwave, pop open a fresh can of legitimate cola, and watch as Infernal and myself stumble through and make fools of ourselves in Dead Island after the break.  Enjoy!

NOT A HYPERLINK HURRRRR!

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The Capcom Five – Video Memorial

NEVER FORGET

Before they cancelled Mega Man Legends 3, before they ignored Wii Pointer controls in Monster Hunter Tri, before they rewarded Resident Evil fans with rail shooters, before Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop could handle 6 zombies at once, before they announce Resident Evil: Revelations including the free Mercenaries HD for PS Vita launching simultaneously with the 3DS version (hi-ho 2012 release date) – Capcom presented… THE FIVE.

Never one to forget 3rd Party achievements, I put this little post together to help last generation’s players and this gen’s newcomers remember the pain for years to come. Actually, before rambling about the quintet’s history that everyone’s heard before, I want to bring attention to the titles as they were announced: by sharing nice-quality versions of their debut trailers (well, 4 out of 5 of them). If we’ll remember ANY of it, let’s at least see clean copies of them; one last face-to-face before closing the casket. I know you can search for the moldy Flash videos originating from Matt C.’s IGN, but try to have some respect for the departed. Those videos came from a time when magazine, internet, and even Nintendo’s own coverage made “good” GameCube games look crappy.

Tracking down known copies of these trailers a couple years ago took some time and $rupees$. My search was narrowed to a couple auctions for rare promo DVDs from Japan, eventually making some sellers very happy. In addition, I managed to gather almost all the promo videos for these games since their announcement. One last step (took forever), each video was processed piece by piece – deinterlacing, cropping out blank borders, scaling the frames for consistency – whenever reasonable, trying to help them look their best. It’s only these past couple months that I seriously sat down to finish converting this junk. When hobbies start to feel like work… I tend to avoid them. Recently feeling an urgent sense of justice, I could delay no more.

So here’s what I got: a few custom screencaps, my personal thoughts/description of each game at inconsistent degrees of relevance, and links to the DivX-formatted media on my homepage. But seriously, I went overboard, so don’t read all of it.

This first one up was the first one to go down

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King of the Jungle

It’s 2 am.

We just held a party at this house. Pre-drinks included some sort of Wii Fit Plus championship. It was Ok. Obviously I didn’t take part because Wii Fit Plus is an uncool, casual, kiddy extravaganza, and any fun the party guests were having was just hollow, fake fun, compared to the hardcore gaming experiences they could be having. Their laughter, hollow, fake laughter. Obviously such shallow gameplay couldn’t hold them so we had to walk to the pub to continue the night. We arrived at the pub and they said they were closing, the bottleshop was still open so we bought a couple more cartons and walked home, knowing only the despair of Wuhu Island awaited us.

Upon returning, the unwashed masses returned to their Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit Plus, gleaming whatever hollow enjoyment they could out of the household’s two Wii boxes; the second Wii, purchased by my casual gaming housemate, symbolising the kind of callous opulence Australians lived in during the naive days of Emperor Rudd and his economic stimulus packages. The other hardcore gamers and I discussed hardcore subjects like international communism, capitalist-anachronism, and the scourge of democracy in holding back this society from ideological purity. But as the beer and goon ran dry, so too did the crowd thin out, the short lived thrills of Wii Basketball running thin. Desperate for companionship, and the cheeseburgers retrieved from the mainstream, 24 hour Mcdonalds, the hardcore gamers and I went back to the living room.

“What silly game are the bongo drums for?” asked the most beautiful girl in attendance. I glanced over at the gimmicky, novelty plastic drums and fished out the game so desperately attached to them, so obviously strangled at the design stage and shoehorned with ridiculous sound based controls.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

There are so many ways you could demean this game.

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How I fell in love with Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest has gone from being a series I’d never played or cared for, to one of my favourite series in gaming in the space of a year. It all started with the release of Dragon Quest IX; I decided to give it a chance because I love most other RPGs on DS and I wanted to see what the series was all about. IX seemed like the most accessible one yet, and the canvass mode also intrigued me.

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You’re playing it right – Rune Factory: Frontier

After 2 slow years – more than 220 hours of inconsistent on-off indulgent gameplay – I had gotten to a desired level of satisfaction in Rune Factory: Frontier.  Can’t quite say that I wasted lots of time, since I savored so much of it. Full of repetitive (but profitable) tasks, blushing faces, sexy voicework, and adorable chitchat, I consider this to be my “Animal Crossing”; a relaxed, low-intensity enjoyment of cleverly interconnected content that doesn’t get tossed out after the first-month’s internet hype has already died and found something new to whine about. My Game of the Years, indeed.

In one (real time) week of play (last month) did all the crazy stuff come crashing at the end of the game’s calendar year: got MARRIED on FISTMAS EVE, beat the MAIN QUEST, started another SPRING SEASON, skipped thru SPRING SEASON, and entered a world of brand new CUTE BATHING SUITS.  While the timing was incredible, I didn’t exactly plan it this way (the bikinis had been the Top-Priority! above all else)(and I didn’t cheat my way out of Runey management, BILL).  The rapid chain of rewards/events simply served to amplify the sense of accomplishment. So much hawtness in such a short time.

Below, I share my joy. (JUICY SUMMER TIME IMAGERY, AHOY)

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Conduit 2 Wiimote Controls

I guess the timing is right to present the sequel to our Conduit/GoldenEye Wiimote Controls – my control settings for the first Conduit adapted to the sequel to The Conduit, which isn’t exactly The Conduit 2, but simply Conduit 2, a.k.a. DUKE NUKEM’s official return to video games. (The previous Note still applies, so keep those conditions in mind) My controls are geared toward an exploration/realism perspective, so it’s probably not the l337 onrine FPS’ing scheme suited to all those childish twitch-turning high-jumping strafe-running genre conventions that you were hoping to employ. I am raging infinity suns, but it’s not how I play shooty games.

Fortunately, this project includes somewhat less ranting and more explanation/analysis. Read on for screens/details and technical issues the gaming press probably didn’t mention in the reviews.

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Wii Sniper Rifle Video – Gameplay Montage

(DivX video link at end of post; watch the new video here)

A follow-up to my previous The House of the Dead: Overkill videos, this time focusing on the two affordable current-generation last-generation games that handle aiming calibration properly: Ghost Squad and The House of the Dead 2&3 Return. The video is a series of quick gameplay cuts trying to get the point across: with the appropriate gun+game combo, everything works “great”, not perfectly, but sometimes better than I expect. The footage says a lot, but there’s more I want to add.

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You’re playing it wrong – The Crystal Bearers (with videos)

I was supposed to add some Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers videos to my collection a year ago, but didn’t get around to it until this month. Whoops. Ever since finishing the game, I wanted to share some footage to help address a certain aspect of the gameplay. In the link you’ll find some videos demonstrating the primary mechanics as I mess around with NPCs and give monsters “the business”.

(DivX video link at end of post)

Let’s make this clear: the manual camera is a huuuge part of the gameplay.

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Wii Sniper Rifle Videos – HotD: Overkill

Live gameplay footage of The House of the Dead: Overkill using my “CTA Digital Sniper Rifle Gun for Wii” with calibrated aim. I checked a “popular” internet video site to sample other players using the accessory, and came back underwhelmed. I didn’t find any legitimate gameplay videos. Gamers, industry, you all suck. No wonder most rail shooters and accessories are designed for “dumb” customers – there’s no motivation/demand to advance the software or hardware, just an endless cycle of publishers assuming everyone is lazy while gamers REALLY ARE too lazy to aim a casual non-gun and instead complain about 12-digit codes. Even Sony’s Move is a broken, lag-plagued alternative with even dumber-looking accessories exclusively designed for gullible customers (has it been used in “regular” games yet?), and they’re willing to charge more for all of it.

(HotD: Overkill video link at end of post)

Gameplay from “Ghost Squad” and “HotD 2/3”. See Wii Sniper Rifle Gameplay

I’ll save my serious “review” of the accessory for later, but I will say it’s the best Wii rifle I’ve tried so far – the printed crosshairs on the fake scope do a good job of sighting targets, and the main trigger works great like some of the better handgun shells (the awesome part is it’s a RIFLE); on the downside, the main grip SUCKS (it’s not really shaped for a grip), but the trigger is still reachable with some improvisation (oh crap, I started reviewing it). Actually, these videos were made to address the shortcomings of Overkill’s gunplay. Please excuse the audio quality: it was late at night and I didn’t have the game volume up very high and my camcorder was literally inches away from my hands so the clackity noise of the trigger seems way louder than it really is.

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Conduit/GoldenEye Wiimote Controls

Note: These control settings were personalized for my bloated widescreen (16:9) TV that I sit fairly close to. You may get undesirable results if you use these settings on a fullscreen (4:3) TV setup, or if your Wii’s cursor behavior is already unstable due to poor sensor bar visibility, specific lighting conditions in your room, and/or your seating distance and position. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Reflex Edition is not a significant part of this discussion becuz the shoehorned FPS mechanics and single-player campaign are nonsense; it wasn’t worth the effort to customize the controls nor play past the tutorial stage. Call of what? Modern what? (Update: Conduit 2 controls here)

I’ve seen some player comments declaring the Wii “Pointer” controls in The Conduit and GoldenEye 007 are great or crap, or never getting them to feel “right” – ALL without adequately explaining why nor sharing their settings in detail as if it’s only a futile, individual effort they’re doomed to suffer (curse you, game! curse you, non-Nintendo developer!). What was the purpose of their interweb comments, their “discussion”? To WHINE? Yeah. To exchange ideas/info and support each other’s gaming experiences? HAH! Hell no.

So I have some info that’s useful to me and could be useful to others… =o

– The Conduit
(click to enlarge)

Handgun gameplay clips using the above settings – headshots preferred. Conduit handles it well; GoldenEye is just a trainwreck.

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Animal Crossing 3DS: A Thinly-Veiled Wish List of Never Happenings

Alright, quiz time!  Can you name a franchise that was suddenly demoted to the status of “casual game” when Ninty started winning and the term “kiddy” started going out of style?   I bet you can’t gu…Wait, where are you looking?  HEY, STOP CHEATING!

Yes, the answer is Animal Crossing.  The franchise no “hardcore gamer” ever had an issue with until the casual gaming plague hit the industry.

So those new to the franchise, or maybe gaming in general (don’t tell Mike if you are), Animal Crossing is one of Ninty’s top-selling franchises, introduced in Japan in 2001 for the Nintendo 64 under the title “Animal Forest.”  The game wasn’t released outside Japan until it was ported the next year to the GameCube.

The premise is simple.  You have moved to a village full of (SHOCK) animal villagers, and are set up in a home by the village’s thieving merchant, Tom Nook.  You are forced to do odd jobs and sell garbage in order to pay back the loan on your house, and as you earn more money can increase the size of your home (which you have to pay even more money for), all while collecting furniture and items to fill it with and show off to your friends.  There’s a little more to it than that, but if you care that much you can look it up yourself you lazy bums!

Due to the profitability of the franchise, it surprised exactly zero people that Ninty revealed Animal Crossing alongside the 3DS.  It also didn’t exactly wow anyone either, due to franchise issues that delve much deeper than whether or not the franchise is casual or not.  This, of course, being the fact that there have been minimal changes to the base game over the three released installments.  So is there anything worthwhile about this new installment?   Anything at ALL?

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