Avatar for secularsage



  • Registered 4 years ago
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I write. I research. I play games.

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Recent comments

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 27 days ago

    It's a nice idea, but it seems like yet another piece of technology in need of a gaming problem to solve. It'll take a truly innovative approach to make it more than a novelty.

    Posted in Bitcoin Tech Has Some Interesting Implications for Game Design

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 28 days ago

    @Flipsider99 I mean, it IS a game built in the Fox engine, using a lot of the assets and mechanics (and even some tenuous connection to the story) from The Phantom Pain, so calling it a simple cash-in playing on the name isn't technically accurate. It's not an entirely different game with a Metal Gear moniker slapped onto it the way so many downloadable and mobile games have played on existing franchises to elevate themselves. It's more appropriate to refer to it as a spin-off of the MGS series, the same way Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is a tonally different spin-off of the Ninja Gaiden games.

    But calling it that doesn't change the fact that it's also a cynical, soulless way of continuing a series that is nothing without its creator and director, further complicated by the fact that Kojima and Konami had a power struggle during the development of MGSV. Whether or not it's fun, it's missing that crucial combination of elements that makes Metal Gear games feel like a part of the core series. That means a lot of people will judge it as being an imposter without actually playing it, and that's one reason Konami probably shouldn't have ventured down this path.Edited 4 weeks ago by Unknown

    Posted in Metal Gear Survive is Not Metal Gear, But It's Not Bad Either

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 2 months ago

    What I appreciate about Super Mario Galaxy AND Super Mario Odyssey (and heck, even the underrated Super Mario Sunshine) is how these games reinvented the Mario formula and kept it fresh. The chaotic art direction of Super Mario Odyssey creates a "throw crazy ideas to the wall and see if they stick" sort of context, and it really works because the game's about surprising the player constantly with a feeling of, "what will they think of next, and how can this new capture mechanic make me see this game differently yet another time?!"

    These titles stand in sharp contrast to New Super Mario Bros. and its sequels or to Super Mario 3D Land / World, which are all great games, but mired in polishing up old ideas instead of delivering something spectacularly new. They also stand in contrast to the Mario Party, Sports and Kart games, which all feel a little samey from platform to platform.

    Compare this to Sonic, which is only really able to shine when it plays to its nostalgic strengths (the excellent Sonic Colors notwithstanding). Or compare the core Mario series to Zelda, which had to radically reinvent itself to turn heads. Mario's greatest asset is Nintendo's ability to envision him as an evolving character who can take on new mechanics without losing a sense of what makes him so much fun to play as.

    Posted in Clearer Art Direction Helps Super Mario Galaxy Shine Brighter Than Super Mario Odyssey

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 3 months ago

    I loved the idea of Catherine, but the puzzle mechanics always drove me nuts. There were many times when I hosed a level because of imprecise movements, and I didn't like the hectic pace of things.

    I never had the patience to get good enough to finish the game myself and wound up just watching all the cutscenes and endings online.

    Here's to hoping a Vita edition will turn me around.

    Posted in Catherine Remastered for PS4 and Vita With A Brand-New "Catherine"

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 3 months ago

    Because I chose to play Persona 5 (100+ hours for me) and Horizon: Zero Dawn (40+ hours for me) and I only really have about an hour a day in which to game, I've had to opt for sampling many of the other big games (Nioh, Dishonored 2, Nier: Automata, Zelda: BOTW, etc.) and completely ignore multiplayer games like PUBG. When I have free time, I try to play shorter indie games I've missed (iNSIDE, Pony Island, Superhot, and many more) since they can be completed much more quickly. I'm also trying to at least attempt to try games in my backlog like Wolfenstein: The New Order, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst and Watch Dogs 2.

    Do I regret my choice to focus much of my time on two games? Not at all. Persona 5 and Horizon are two of the best games I've ever played, and I recommend them to everyone.

    Still, I can't think of a year this decade that's been so full of amazing releases. I think 2009 (Uncharted 2, Assassin's Creed II, Borderlands, Brutal Legend, The Sims 3, Ratchet & Clank Future: Crack in Time, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Demon's Souls, Halo 3: ODST, Dragon Age: Origins, etc.) was the last year with such a promising "the next gen is here!" kind of feeling to the release calendar, and 2010 (Mass Effect 2, Bayonetta, Red Dead Redemption, Bioshock 2, Halo: Reach, Fallout: New Vegas) would be a close second.

    Posted in USgamer Community Question: Which 2017 Game Did You Miss out on That You Still Really Want to Play?

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 3 months ago

    The funny thing is that before this year, I couldn't tell anyone I knew why they NEEDED a PS4. There were a few good exclusives, but nothing essential.

    Fast forward to now, when 2017 has provided some of the console's best exclusives and really boosted the stature of the PS VR.

    I recommend Horizon: Zero Dawn and Nioh to everyone I know. Uncharted: Lost Legacy is very solid. Persona 5 (technically a non-exclusive since it's also on PS3, but whatever) is also great on PS4 since it has remote play. And even The Last Guardian (which was technically a 2016 title, but which got lost in the holiday shuffle) has turned out to be a pretty cool unique experience for the platform.

    It's nice to see the PS4 coming into its own, especially after so many claimed consoles were dead and buried.

    Posted in PS4 Has Crossed 70 Million Sold Worldwide, Just Behind The PS2's Sales Pace

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 3 months ago

    @jrralls77 You're probably best off with a recommendation engine like Games Finder rather than lists for that purpose.

    Another alternative is to use an aggregator like Game Rankings, Metacritic or Open Critic and look at the best-reviewed games in genres or year ranges.

    Kotaku has their "The Bests" recommendations that they periodically update, but I often find those recommendations to be too shallow and obvious.

    Posted in The Problem With Trying to Pick the 500 Best Games Ever

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 3 months ago

    @SuperShinobi You make a good point, and one thing about these lists is they tend to have HUGE blind spots for platforms that were less popular in the writers' country of origin. For example, it's rare to see these lists include the Sega Master System, PC Engine, ZX Spectrum or Amiga unless they're citing something really obvious like Shadow of the Beast or Defender of the Crown or Jetpac. Further, many of the 80s PC games get entirely ignored in favor of console games, as do coin-op games that aren't part of a popular franchise.

    There's also a problem of historical context. Some games were considered killer apps or game of the year material when released and are looked down upon today because they're aged poorly. Others flew completely under the radar upon release and either became cult classics or are now recognized for their technical chops. Many more never caught on well enough to be explored completely, and critics overlook them simply because there aren't enough voices championing them.

    One further problem I observe is critical bias. Enthusiast press critics often love games that make them feel like gaming is important because it helps justify their interest in games as something more than entertainment. This is why games that are definitely aimed at a certain type of hobbyist gamer (think Her Story, Undertale, Flower, Soma, Dear Esther, To the Moon, Home, Papers, Please and Everyone's Gone to the Rapture, among many others) tend to wind up on critics' lists and in their discussions despite being only moderately known outside the hobbyist gamer community.

    Posted in The Problem With Trying to Pick the 500 Best Games Ever

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 3 months ago

    I think the problem is that lists are easy to read, but really, really arbitrary to construct. Even when there's a rubric in play, it's just a bunch of meaningless scores that don't account for any sort of margin of error or tilt.

    I've always found cohort groups much more interesting: "If you like this excellent game, here are several more you might not know about that are like it in some way" or "Here are five games with a strange attribute in common." Those are not only more informative, but also more fun to read.

    Everyone has their personal favorites and guilty pleasure games, and there are plenty of games that are objectively great. But ranking lists are a silly way to discuss game quality, and they're far too prone to giving equal weight to the really popular and really obscure games because of a desire to please many constituents of readers.

    Posted in The Problem With Trying to Pick the 500 Best Games Ever

  • Avatar for secularsage secularsage 3 months ago

    The Uncharted games have done an uncommonly good job of making the player care about all of the characters in-game, often by simply injecting personality and perspective into the big - and small! - moments and making the characters feel three-dimensional. In Uncharted 2, for example, there are so many big moments that stick with you long after the game is over, and for me, it's both Nathan shouting "Marco!" at Chloe when he plays around in a rooftop swimming pool and the awful moment of watching the Sherpa village get destroyed by a mercenary squad.

    The weakest aspects of any Uncharted game are the portions where they turn into shooting corridors, because these are the moments where characterization gets lost and the series simply feels like an average shooter with above-average graphics. Fortunately, each iteration has gotten better about keeping the shooting corridors from overwhelming the third act, and Lost Legacy and Uncharted 4 in particular held on to that sense of character throughout.

    Posted in Ten Years On, Uncharted's Legacy Isn't Lost