Saturday, June 16, 2012

Weekly Shlockness with John Mikula: Ain’t no way I’m putting subtitles on this sh…Aww F*ck

Hello Shlock-heads. If y’all have been following this blog then you know I’ve been getting pretty deep into Hitman Blood Money. Well today when I went to load up my profile I was greeted with a big fat CORRUPTED SAVE FILE where my profile should be. Mike please! I know I made fun of your column, but I said I was sorry! Leave Agent 47 out of this! He’s never done nothing to nobody! Now I have to go back and start all over from the beginning which I absolutely hate. With that in mind, it will probably a week or two before I summon the patience to get through to where I was in Hitman in order to keep playing. In the meantime what else can I play? Diablo? Nah! Mass Effect 3? F*ck that. Oh I know! It’s perfect. I’ll just play a bit of…
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Yup, good ole Resident Evil 4. I bought this game a little while ago out of bitterness when I couldn’t find a copy of Silent Hill 2 anywhere. As of this article I’ve only played an hour and seven minutes of it and I’m already out of bullets, out of health sh*t, and having a great time. The controls are sh*t, but in a way it makes the game scarier. I was running around the first little village, not knowing what to do, and this guy with a chainsaw starts coming at from down this little path. So, I try to run back the way I came, but because the game uses tank controls I couldn’t just turn around go, I had to tuuuuurrrrrnnnn arrrooouuunnnd and go. Everything feels very slow and stiff, which I don’t actually think is a bad thing for a survival horror game. If you could just turn and get the f*ck out of there it wouldn’t be nearly as scary as when you have to stop, stand still, and tilt the analog stick left for a second before you can get the fuck out. Beyond that I don’t really have much to say yet, the game seems fun and I’d really like to play more.
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Because I thought my week wasn’t freaky enough I started playing Amnesia: The Dark Decent as part of the Humble Bundle. Now, I think this game is one of the smartest new horror games to be released in a while. It’s got great atmosphere, it’s got some cool mechanics, and, most importantly, it’s scary…or at least it would be if I was playing in the dark with some headphones on. Like most horror movies/games you’re environment matters when trying to figure the effectiveness of the horror elements, but I’ve seen gameplay of this online and I deemed the only way I could play this game was with the lights on in the middle of the day with my sh*tty laptop speakers. All of that kind of ruins the mood (like when you’re out with a smokin’ hot lady and she tells you she reads MMwMM) but then again that’s kind of my fault. The game blatantly tells you when you first start “Hey! You should prolly play dis sh*t with the lights off and with some headphones. Thaaaaaanks!” But even with all of my precautions the game still manages to be freaky as hell. There are creepy zombie dudes walking around, every things dark until you light up a few candles with tinder boxes (which are very sparse), and you occasionally go insane. An interesting mechanic in this game is your sanity meter. If you stand around in the dark or witness some creepy sh*t, your sanity meter goes down. When the meter gets low enough your screen goes all fuzzy and your movement is impaired. To counter this you have to have to stand in the light which means you have to use up one of your ever-so valuable tinderboxes. However, if the area is too bright monsters start to come (or so I’m led to believe, I’m too nervous to try it) and those guys are serious business because you don’t have any weapons and it doesn’t look like you’re going to get any weapons. I’m only a couple hours in so I haven’t seen too much of the game but I’m going to keep playing and see if it gets any spookier.
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My week wasn’t all zombies and piss stains, also started digging into Xbox classic Psychonauts via the Humble Bundle. Again (I know this is sounding redundant) I’ve only gotten a couple hours of playing this game in this week but from what I can tell this game is (unlike MMwMM) a charming and vibrant addition to gaming culture. The premise for this game is very interesting if not a little nonsensical (even by the games standards). The idea is that you’re a kid at some kind of summer camp where they train children to become some kind of psychic super soldiers known as Psychonauts (where have I heard that name before?) and the player is left to run and jump their way through the minds of the counselors/students of this camp in a 3d platforming fashion. What I don’t get is why are children being trained for warfare? Seems kind of dark for a Double Fine production buy hey, everyone’s got to mix it up a bit now and again. When I got to the actual game the thing that I noticed is that there is a ton of stuff you’ve got to keep track of. At any point in the game there are arrow heads you have to dig up, scavenger hunt items you’ve got to look out for, merit badges to collect, figments, cobwebs, psi cores, baggage tags to collect, all of which contribute to your camp rank. When you get this rank up to certain levels you can then get new psychic powers which seem to be the core of the experience. It’s nuts, I was forty-five minutes in and they’re still introducing things for me to collect. That may sound a bit crazy but when it’s all presented to you on screen it gets pretty manageable, so it doesn’t detract from the game.

The other thing I noticed while I was playing is that Nickelodeon hasn’t picked up this game and made it into a cartoon show which I found shocking because it looks right up their alley. The style looks like a mix of Jimmy Neutron and Rugrats with just a hint of insanity. The whole game is really fun to look at and the story bits you get are very well produced I feel. The voice acting is spot on and the personalities are unique and endearing. The whole presentation of this game just oozes charisma and I’m loving it even if the gameplay isn’t really revolutionary (not yet at least). So far everything gameplay wise seems a bit standard. You run, you jump, you throw stuff, and you do typical things of that nature. This isn’t a bad thing because those elements are executed rather competently but these Double Fine guys invented such a clever universe and I would have loved to see all the clever mechanics they could’ve come up with.

Well, that’s all I’ve got this week. We’ll see if Corrupty McGee over at MMwMM will keep his sticky fingers off of my save files this week. Keep your eyes peeled, he could be anywhere.

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