All About 1PMrFister
Hey look, one of those blog posts I said I was gonna do eventually. Anyways, I just finished the main story to The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword a few hours ago, and I have quite a few things to say. Since I could be suffering from "Post-game rush" when making these, anything I say could be subject to change, but here they are all the same. Warning: Contains some spoilers:
- To my pleasant surprise, I ended up digging the presentation a lot more than I thought I would. When I first saw the game at E3 2010, I thought it was pretty bland and forgettable. That said, it looks much better actually playing the game for myself. The impressionist art style makes the whole game look like a living portrait of sorts, and also does a good job of hiding the Wii's technical limitations. The rampant jaggies got annoying, though. I'm no graphics whore, but after playing this, I fully sympathize with PC snobs on the anti-aliasing front.
- I'm quite glad that Nintendo finally incorporated live orchestral arrangements into the soundtrack. You can really tell the difference in songs like Fairy's Fountain. I don't think the compositions are as catchy as earlier games, though. Koji Kondo allegedly only composed one song in the entire soundtrack (The opening cinematic piece, which is great. Sounds like something out of The Lord of the Rings), and it kinda shows. There are still a few good songs that stand up to the rest of the series' works, though. On the other hand, the bonus orchestrated CD that came with my copy is 100% awesome, no complaints there.
- A big one: The controls. They have some awkward moments, but for the most part, I honestly can't imagine playing without them. You actually have to pay attention to combat now, and aiming with the gyroscope instead of fumbling with analog sticks make using items much more fun. They do get off from time to time, but it's not enough to mess with the flow of the game, and it's usually corrected with the push of a button.
- As for the rest of the game, this is where things get murky. I suppose I could pit it side-by-side with Twilight Princess, which is sort of like a surrogate to Skyward Sword. In terms of dungeon design, TP pulls ahead. Compared to TP, SS's dungeons are pretty straightforward and simplistic. Even the Water Temple doesn't require much head-scratching to navigate. However, SS dominates when outside the dungeons. The environments may be segmented and small, but the game milks them for all they're worth, and they end up being used for a lot of cool things unlike the veritable desert that is TP's overworld. Bosses also go to SS. They're much more engaging (especially the one-on-one duels against Ghirahim), and feel like actual battles instead of oversized puzzles. One thing TP will always hold the advantage over, though: Midna. She destroys Fi as a meaningful companion character.
- One last thing: While I do believe that this is a highly-polished game that outclasses many other games on the market (and subsequently my 2011 game of the year, though there wasn't much competition for that), I think I'm finally recognizing the need for the series to start undergoing some kind of retooling. Even if it's a worthy addition that brings more good to the series than bad, I have to wonder where this franchise can go next. Nintendo can't and shouldn't keep this formula up forever, as evidenced by the gradual decline of sales and general excitement for the franchise. Heck, I'm not even sure if I'll even be excited for the next console Zelda when it comes, barring some kind of Majora's Mask makeover. Hey, I've lost interest in the Pokemon series this year, so anything is possible.
Perhaps I should get to work on a review at some point and justify my shiny "Top 500 Reviewers" badge. The last time I bothered with one of those was before I got the badge back during summer vacation. I blame ponies.
Um, hi there. You mayor may not have noticed that my activity on my GameSpot blog (and my Tumblr, for that matter) has slowed to a crawl these last few months. The reason for that is simple: I seemed to have lost my drive to write extensive articles and reviews on games. The reason for that reason, however, is a bit more complicated than that.
I'm not sure if I can fully explain my decline of interest, but so far I have it pegged down to three separate reasons. The first is a simple one: School. I'm a full-time college student in the middle of a semester, long after thepoint where the classes stop diddling around and actually throw lots of work at you. Even if I don't have that much homework, my free time has still taken a considerable hit due to classes, extracurricular activities, and all the boring stuff that comes with living in your own dorm. Less free time means less game time, which also equates to less time and reason for me to devote to blogging about games.
The second reason is a bit more personal. You see, I haven't really felt any motivation to write about most of the recent games I've played. I blame part of this on 2011 being weak in terms of its gaming lineup compared to last year, especially considering the only current-gen console I own is still the Wii. The last game I played from this year that I was truly impressed with was Portal 2, and that was all the way back in May. To be fair, I have played a bunch of old games for the first time that left a good impression on me (Final Fantasy VI, Metal Gear Solid 2, both DS Advance Wars games, etc.), but even so, I still can't seem to bring myself to extensively write about them.
Normally, whenever I write something about video games, be it a review, article, or just a lengthy forum post, there's this drive in me that keeps pushing me to write. It's this drive that makes me feel good to write about the hobby I've been heavily invested into since childhood, that I truly feel at home in this universe. For some reason, unfortunately, this drive started to fade over the summer, and I'm still not sure if I can fully explain why. Maybe I lost sight of writing something that only a few internet-goers will ever seeand even fewer will appreciate. Maybe I've just gotten incredibly lazy, who knows?
The third reason for my slow activity? Ponies. Lots and lots of ponies. It's surprising how much of my free time is now spent on discussing and digging up stuff about a show made primarilyfor young girls. It's almost like there's some kind of narcotic involved with this series. Why are these ponies so damned cute?
Anyways, I'd still like to apologize for my lack of activity. I'm going to at least try and post more gaming-related goodness here when I get the time. I make no guarantees as to how successful I'll be, but we'll see how things go.
Wow, what a way to celebrate 50 blog posts, eh?
I have a bit of a confession to make with this post: You see, I already made this list and uploaded it onto my Tumblr account about a couple months ago. That said, I don't have much else to comment on in the gaming world at the moment, as I have just moved back into college and won't have as much time to dedicate to my favorite pasttime once cIasses start. In the meantime, enjoy this self-indulgent list of mine.
I've been playing video games for about as long as I can hold a controller with my own two hands, and there was almost no game that I didn't play. Given that I was pretty young when I started out, this led to a lot of games legitimately terrifying me to the point where I needed to have someone else play the game for me so I could see more of what it had to offer. The sad thing is most of the games that scared me back in the day weren't even trying to do so; rather, it was my own imagination that kept me paralyzed in fear for several years. On the other hand, I really haven't been scared by a video game in ages, and I've played quite a few so-called "horror" games in that time. Even if a modern game manages to unnerve me, however, I doubt they could ever freak me out as much as these 5 games did.
#5 - Resident Evil 2
The lowest-ranked game on my list is ironically the only one that could be ****fied as a horror game. Resident Evil 2 was a game my dad rented for me one day, and the first time I played it was an event I'll never forget. Right from the start, you're immediately attacked on all sides by zombies, and in my inexperienced youth, I had absolutely no idea how to deal with them. I kept fumbling with the controls, but all it led to was me walking into the zombies and getting munched on. Eventually, I saw the game over screen, which showed the character getting painfully eaten alive by a group of zombies. I was so scared, I literally backed out of the room, too afraid to take my eyes off the screen.
The last time I played Resident Evil 2 was well over a decade ago, but by that point, any fear I had while first playing the game was completely gone. Through multiple rentals, I had seen enough of the game to know what to expect as well as learned how to actually defend myself against the monsters. In fact, none of the other Resident Evil games were able to scare me anymore, whether they had the same gameplay styIe as 2 or played completely differently like Resident Evil 4.
#4 - F-Zero
What could be so scary about F-Zero? I mean, it's a futuristic racer with bright graphics and an emphasis on speed. Well, truth be told, there was only one thing that freaked me out about this game, but it was terrifying to me. Whenever your vehicle ran out of power or fell off the course after hitting a jump ramp, it would explode with a large "BOOM!" sound effect. The camera would then move forward a few yards, and then turn around showing the smoldering remains of your car. It may not seem like much, but as a kid, that was downright terrifying to see yourself screw up so horrifically. I couldn't tackle even the first race because I was too scared of flying off-course from hitting the first jump ramp.
Again, this is something I'm largely over. I downloaded F-Zero from the Virtual Console a few years back and was able to smoothly race through all the tracks without much trouble. That said, I've always averted my gaze whenever a crash occured.
#3 - Banjo-Kazooie
I already elaborated on this before, but even games as kid-friendly as Banjo-Kazooie could have the potential to freak me out. What got to me in this case was the fear of the unknown. Gruntilda's Lair, the major hub of Banjo-Kazooie, was filled with lots of secret tunnels and corridors, and about 99% of the time those areas led to something that would help you out. Unfortunately, I didn't know that, so I assumed that there would be some kind of super-freaky thing ready to jump out and make me jump through the roof on the other side. Not to mention there were places where the camera would be zoomed right in on Banjo and the entrance as he entered, and I was simply too freaked out to even move the camera for the same reasons. Then there was Mad Monster Mansion, a level taking place in a haunted manor filled with traps and nearly-invincible creepy-crawlies.
Once I finally discovered what was behind all the corridors and rooms in BK, however, I immediately got over any crippling fear I had. Just recently, I went and played through the game again, and even got all the Notes and Jigsaw Pieces in every level, which means that my fears for this game are well and truly in the past now.
#2 - The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
There's so much freaky material in Ocarina of Time that I won't be able to describe it all in one post without rambling, so I'll go with the scariest parts: Back when I first discovered the Tomb of the Royal Family inside the graveyard, I had no idea of what awaited me inside. In the second room is the first time you meet the redeads, quite possibly the scariest monsters in gaming ever. They don't look like much, but get too close to them and they give a loud shriek that paralyzes you. They then proceed to slowly walk towards you and then strangle the life out of Link. That stuff was grade-A nightmare fuel back in the day, and that's not the only place they appear, either. They're everywhere when you go to the Hyrule Market as an adult, and they also make frequent appearances inside the Bottom of the Well and the Shadow Temple, two places made solely for the purpose of freaking out the player.
But again, the fear of the unknown also got to me here as well. Hyrule was littered with holes that led into caverns, some helpful and others…less helpful. What freaked me out about these were two things: 1.) The eerie hollow music from Inside the Deku Tree, and 2.) the fact that they were empty save for you and a chest about 95% of the time. Again, it's a case of my imagination scaring me more than the actual game. I've since grown out of my fear for this game as well, although I still whip out the Ocarina whenever I hear the moaning of a redead.
#1 - Super Mario World
Closing out this list is the game that by all accounts should not be scary, but absolutely was to me. Super Mario World was one of the first video games I ever played. It was back at that age where even something moving too fast could be enough to make someone jump, and believe me, there was a metric ton of things in this game that gave me nightmares. Most of it was just little stuff that nobody would likely bat an eye at: Things like Mario hanging in pitch-black mid-air after he wins against a boss and the music stops, to the unsettling music when in the Forest of Illusion. The little thing that freaked me out the most was the keyholes. Certain levels had a key and a keyhole you could take it to to find a secret exit to the level. When you bring the key to the hole, the keyhole suddenly grows huge and then swallows Mario whole. As a kid, witnessing such an event without having any prior knowledge about it was borderline traumatizing. The only thing that freaked me out in Super Mario World that was meant to be scary in any way was the Bowser boss fight. He rides atop a gigantic floating device with a creepy clown face on it that gets mad when you hit him enough times. To this day, it remains the only clown face that I've ever found scary.
The reason this game is number one is because even now, I'm still not 100% over this. Even though I can go through the game with little trouble now, I still can't watch when I take the key to the keyhole, and sometimes in the middle of the night when I'm not thinking right, haunting images and songs from the game will invade my mind and get my heartrate going. Not exactly the most pleasant images to think of when you're trying to get back to sleep. I guess you can never fully get over some traumatic experiences from your childhood. Oh well, I'd rather have it be of something as isolated as one video game if it's going to be something that haunts me for the rest of my days.
My Recent Reviews
May 16, 2013 2:50 am GMT1PMrFister posted in the topic EA to drop online passes in future games on the Primary Games Discussion board
Apr 14, 2013 12:31 am GMT1PMrFister posted in the topic Wii online services shutting down June 28th (excluding shop and online games) on the Nintendo Wii & WiiU board
Mar 29, 2013 4:24 am GMT1PMrFister posted in the topic Journey wins big at GDC Awards, takes 6 of 11 awards on the Primary Games Discussion board
Mar 27, 2013 4:51 am GMT1PMrFister posted in the topic Spec Ops writer: "Violent games are creatively too easy" on the Primary Games Discussion board
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