Whirlwind updates

It’s been a few months since last posting, and a bunch of stuff has happened… so I’ll try to do a quick run-down.

I went to PAX East, and had the opportunity to show off Suikogaiden (sadly, just the publicly available demo) on real hardware to a good-sized group, including a couple of game journalism celebrities whose writing I thoroughly enjoy.  Met some really cool people, saw a good friend for the first time in 7 years, and played some generally underwhelming demos of upcoming games.  Although it was a great experience, I’m still not sure about PAX Prime (Seattle) this year.  Seattle has a great layout near the convention center, and the center itself is more navigable than Boston’s, but the PAX experience is pretty overwhelming for me and the panels and audience generally seem to be better at Boston.

Xenoblade came out that same weekend, and I’ve been gradually making my way through that (reasons to follow).  It is an incredibly beautiful game – much like Opoona, it thrives in spite of the hardware in large part due to its attention to detail.  Xenoblade allows the player to explore practically anywhere that can be seen, and the sheer spectacle of the game itself is enough to keep me playing.  It isn’t so much the variety of environments as the open space, the detailed background work, and the overall atmosphere.  The game itself (thus far) takes place on the surface of a giant ancient being called the Bionis, and the characters gradually work their way up it.  In the distance of most sections, one can see other limbs of the Bionis or those of its opposing also-ancient being, the Mechonis.

So in case it isn’t clear, I highly recommend Xenoblade.  It is mechanically solid (MMO-style mechanics, light action-RPG controls), has good music, great voice acting (the English is far superior to the original Japanese in my brief switching between the two) and plenty of content.  By the point I’ve reached, it has started to slow down a bit – potentially requiring the player to do some quests – but to me, the game is simply so enjoyable I can continue on regardless.

Also, the (North American) Demon’s Souls servers are going down on May 31st.  This means that next month is the final opportunity to enjoy Demon’s Souls as it is meant to be played – with the potential threat of Invasion from other players, as well as co-operation in most areas (less common than Dark Souls’) and the message/bloodstain mechanics.  I didn’t give Demon’s Souls much of a chance, but have finally started by creating two characters (one “Conan” build and one sorcerer build).  I’m about 2/3 of the way through the game, and I can definitely say that Dark Souls is the better game of the two.  Demon’s Souls takes a less structured approach to progress, with stages all branching out from a single hub.  Dark Souls is designed much more like a Castlevania or Metroid game, with clearly defined progression (and small pieces of non-linearity).  The bonfire mechanic is also a significant improvement, and stage design is considerably better as well.  The only things I’ve seen that Demon’s Souls do better are magic acquisition (trading boss drops for magic/miracles) and the harsh, unforgiving and hopeless tone of the Tower of Latria (to give an idea – the first stage is a prison filled with the no-longer-sane wailing of the convicted, patrolled by dark octopus-faced wardens who carry chimes and suck the life out of those who get in their way).

1 Comment »

  1. sonic.penguin Said,

    June 2, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

    Did they have the new releases of Rise of Lu Bu 2.0 and Rise of Ieyasu? What’s that? No you say? Pff, some gaming conference…

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