All About AK_the_Twilight
I mostly post here concerning games and my reviews, which I try to upload thoroughly and/or as frequently as I feel. If you comment on one of my blog posts, I'll return the favor and comment on yours. Hope you like the reviews and the blogs!
This blog isn't going to be anything special. There's no waxing philosophic of gaming, no informative review talk, and no Chalk Talk article that I wrote. I thought I'd give myself a break from the weight of in-depth discussion on Gamespot for a while, but don't worry. I have gaming updates.
In case you haven't noticed, I've posted my review of Bioshock Infinite right here. Note that this is a Gamespot exclusive review, as the official Default Prime review was written by another reviewer on the site who took up the arms of writing the review on deadline.
That being said, it was something of a breath of fresh air for me to be able to write a review without the clock staring me down. I was able to enjoy playing through Bioshock Infinite much more, something I don't think I would've done if I had to finish the review on deadline. I got to stop and smell the roses, and let me say that it payed off big time.
I bought Bioshock Infinite on its release date, but it wasn't until a week later that I installed it to my 360 hard drive. I didn't even start the game up for the first time until a month or so later. By then, all of my gaming pals had played and finished it, so I was put under something that I call "spoiler quarantine." In an effort to keep myself from having the supposedly incredible ending of the game spoiled to me, I didn't watch any footage of the game. No articles, no video reviews, pretty much zero exposure. I had already been unfortunate to have both Batman: Arkham City and (even worse) Telltale's Walking Dead game spoiled to me before finishing them, so I didn't want this experience to be revealed to me.
Know that there's a special place in Hell for people who visit forums and comment sections just to spoil the endings of games to people.
After a few lengthy sessions, I had reached the ending of Bioshock Infinite and I instantly was in a state of shock. All I can say is that if you haven't played it to go play the game. I have nothing else to say on that.
What I'm getting at is that without this review deadline, I had the freedom and peace of mind knowing that I didn't have to rush through the game. It was a feeling that I hadn't felt in a long time; I really enjoyed it.
Also, due to a comment lottery on N4G.com, I won a $50 Amazon gift card, which I put forward to buy a Blue Snowball microphone. This should make my video commentary much clearer, so look for a more resonant voice in my next voice-over gaming video.
While I've set aside Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and I still have some 360 and PS3 games in my backlog, my next focus is on Tomb Raider, which I purchased during the weekend sale on PSN. It's definitely a different kind of Tomb Raider than what I've played, but it also feels much more realized than past installments. However, quick-time events suck and Tomb Raider is full of them, so we'll see how that impacts my impressions of the game come its conclusion. My Tomb Raider review will be another Gamespot exclusive, as the same reviewer who reviewed Bioshock Infinite for Default Prime also wrote a review on Tomb Raider. Look for it soon.
With reviews taking a backseat on Default Prime for me, I've moved into writing articles for the site. I've written some pieces on a variety of subjects such as Nintendo's lack of an E3 press conference this year, the potential of a Nintendo-produced Pokemon MMO, and why Gamerscore on Xbox Live is a bad thing. Check them out when you can!
Not much else to say right now; I'm sure I'll have more stuff on the way soon. Take care, everyone!
The following is a horror story. Read at your own discretion.
"Alien Hominid was sadly overlooked. It was released during the time period where all of the highly-anticipated sequels were released. All you heard about was "Halo 2", "Half-Life 2", and "Metroid Prime 2: Echoes". But it did surface.
The hand-drawn art style (yes, I said hand-drawn) captures the creativity of its homeland, Newgrounds. The game has some simple textures, but the overall craziness of the graphics give it a clearly unique look. The Hominid himself looks like he should, innocent but dangerous. The enemies are pretty much the same, but even they look funny enough to be interesting. A very clever move was that the animation changes depending on how you kill your enemy. Shoot him high, he falls. Knife him, he cuts in half. The variety of the animation must be recognized. More games need the hilarious graphic style that Alien Hominid possesses.
Quite honestly, theres not much to it. Then again, its far from bad. The gun sounds appropriate and the knife sound does as well. Listening to the screaming FBI agents just doesnt get old. The Hominid himself is rather quiet, but at least he doesnt talk in a disturbing voice. It was very wise to make the Hominid a "shoot first, ask questions later" type of character. Music is basic. The background music has nearly nothing in it that stands out from a typical game. But its pretty much okay.
Before I begin, I must say that if you plan to beat the whole game on the slim amount of lives you are given, you are in for a challenge, because Alien Hominid is difficult. Fortunately, if you do run out of lives and continues, you can start at the beginning of the level for no charge. Sweet. The gameplay continues the funny that the graphics began. Theres a huge amount of ways to turn FBI agents into little bloody piles of investigation. Gun em, knife em, bite their heads off, bowl with them, pull them underground, the hilarity does not end! You can even hop into vehicles and go crazy! Boss battles are not only fun, but clever. Defeating a boss involves more than twitch skills. Youre gonna have to find the bosss weak point before your run and gun. Some levels cause you to play in a game style similar to Asteroids, where your spaceship must gun down enemies from a top down perspective. An extra bonus is two-player co-op, which adds some even nicer gameplay. Alien Hominid avoids a dangerous pitfall of similar games: it keeps gameplay fresh by introducing new gameplay elements during the game.
Replay Value 7/10
This is Alien Hominids weakest link. The game is short. Very short. Playing non-stop, its possible to beat it in a matter of hours. But the levels are long, and the overall style of the game promises some lasting appeal. Some unlockable PDA mini-games add to the fun, and the co-op multi-player lets your friends join the fun. The replay value is fueled by Alien Hominid immense and hilarious tilt. It may be short, but the little Hominid alone should bring you back for some more shooting.
Final Verdict: 8/10
Alien Hominid is a gem. It takes everything good about 2-D shooters and adds the twisted charm of Newgrounds itself. From the slick hand-drawn art style to the clever and addictive gameplay, Alien Hominid is worth every penny. Its worth at least a rental, if not a purchase."
Wasn't that terrifying? Yes, this is, verbatim, the first video game review I ever wrote. It was written in August of 2005. Its short length, lack of tactile examples and drought of creative language makes me dizzy just looking at it. This is an absolute disaster and I'm disgusted that I even remotely considered this as passble.
But this was my first step.
Game reviews are one of the bread-and-butter of gaming journalism. When I subscribed to Nintendo Power when I was a kid, I always was most excited to read the reviews. I wanted to see what the NP staff had to say about the great games like Super Smash Bros. Melee or Resident Evil 4 along with the terrible ones like Charlie's Angels. It was a buyer's guide for me. In fact, many of the games that I purchased during the Gamecube era were the ones recommended the most by Nintendo Power. I saved my money and Nintendo Power was my cheat sheet. I later was inspired by Adam Sessler (X-Play, Rev3Games) to begin writing my own reviews, which as you can tell, were unquestionably terrible. But at the time, I felt thrilled with their quality and honestly couldn't think they could get any better.
But things changed over time. I quickly became involved in websites like Gamefaqs and Gamespot, and as I began writing my own reviews, I saw my own writing evolve into something a bit more contextual. I attempted to broaden the sections' lengths, ultimately removing them altogether in favor of transition sentences. I then began experimenting with structure and character, adding in intricate and descriptive language and even attempting the occasional anecdote. Some of my fondest memories date back to the League of Reviewers union run by pspitus and my eventual earning of the Top 100 Reviewers emblem, the latter giving me unheard of confidence and drive to grow. My reviews eventually spread to my college newspaper and later to DefaultPrime.com, where I became a reviewer before becoming an editor.
My message with this blog is mostly to the up-and-coming reviewers here on Gamespot. Someday, I won't be here to tell you whether or not I think a game is good or bad, so the next generation of gaming critics are sure to appear. What does it take to be a great reviewer? I can tell you in the following concise numbered list.
1. Read reviews. READ them. Not the score. The entire review.
2. Write down your thoughts.
3. Repeat 1 & 2 until it's perfect.
Looking back on how much I've learned as a games critic and reviewer, I can see that I've come a long way since 2005. I've grown so much since 2005 and this growth has made me enjoy games more than I could ever imagine. It also shows that improvement isn't impossible.
In fact, a wise dog once said:
Take care, everyone!
I know I'm not alone in saying that Pokemon has quite a history with me and my generation. I personally have fond memories of going to class in elementary school with my Game Boy Pocket and Pokemon card deck in tow. We would always find lulls in the lessons so we could challenge each other whether through link cable or deck map. It was a time where it didn't matter who was president. All that mattered was which starter you chose in Pallet Town.
Fast forward 15 years and we're still playing, though not as obsessively. Pokemon's time in the spotlight has definitely shifted away in favor of games like Call of Duty, but you still hear about how Nintendo is releasing new games with new monsters, along with how well the series still continues to sell.
While I believe Gold and Silver had the most amount of gameplay/design progression for the series (with its double quest and real-time clock mechanics), 2003's Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire and 2005's Pokemon Emerald is where the series' creativity peaked. We were all introduced to weather, double battles, and most importantly, more Pokemon. I loved the new designs of many of the Pokemon in the 3rd generation; many had interesting combinations of types (one of my all-time favorites, Cacturne, was Grass/Dark). Creatures like lobsters, meteors and whales became influences on the Pokemon designs. You could really see the designers expanding beyond the flora/fauna worlds and really trying new ideas in making the Pokemon worth owning and battling for.
I was actually someone who skipped over Diamond and Pearl, but I returned to Pokemania with the remakes of my favorite Pokemon games, Pokemon Gold and Silver. I loved them, but once I bought Pokemon Black a year later, something definitely shifted. These Pokemon just plain sucked in their designs. Let's take a look at what is arguably the stupidest Pokemon design in the history of the series: Vanillish. It's a damn ice cream cone. Yup. An ice cream cone. It's here that the designs started to take a turn for the unoriginal, but if you need more proof, look at the characters Garchomp, Hydreigon, Druddigon, and Haxorus. These Dragon types have zero originality in their cosmetic design. Zero. They are dragons. Dragons in different colors, but dragons.
Over time, more and more Pokemon have been released, with each generation squeezing every last drop of creativity from the designers' skulls. With X and Y, we're exposed to another generation with new Pokemon, and the biggest offender this time is this thing:
Mewtwo has become something of an icon among Pokemon, earning himself movie stardom, fighting game recognition, and of course, the title of being the Pokemon to use your Master Ball on in the first two games. This thing, recently discussed to be a new form/evolution/mutation/clone/whatever of the famed monster, has gained skepticism at best, condemnation at worst. It's here where nearly everyone unanimously confirmed that Nintendo and Game Freak are out of ideas for Pokemon designs.
But cosmetic designs are only part of the issue. Pokemon has not made any gameplay advances since Diamond and Pearl. In those games, we were introduced to online battles, which have since become standard amongst the series. The routine of the quest remains in tact, and though the game is still as addictive as ever, we need something to break the routine. We need a twist. We need something new.
I'm not going to bore you with the buildup here, because what follows is inarguable. There is absolutely no reason that Nintendo shouldn't make a Pokemon MMO. You've seen the memes; think about a massively-multiplayer online Pokemon role-playing game on a console. Think of having hundreds of Pokemon in the wild including all regions, a single-player campaign with every trainer, Gym leader, and Champion, and online trading and PvP battles. Even those who play games like League of Legends, Guild Wars 2 or Call of Duty want this game. They may be trying to be cool and mature by saying they don't want it, but they're lying to themselves. They want it and they would pay good money to get it.
Nintendo has crushed this dream multiple times. They've repeatedly said that the series is suited for handhelds, while taking down any fanmade manifestations of this concept. But despite Nintendo's reluctance to make this dream come true, this idea continues to grow. With each pitch shot down, it comes back with bigger and more ambitious ideas.
The future of Pokemon is uncertain, but as far as the fans take it, this Pokemon MMO pipe dream will remain as the epicenter. This idea will not go away until it happens. Nintendo needs to understand that history has proven that Pokemon fans are dedicated and resolute gamers; they will stick by something no matter what happens to it. They've stuck through iteration after iteration of handheld Pokemon games with barely any significant changes to the formula. They've gone through a neverending circuit of Pokemon games and they will keep trucking until that light at the end of the tunnel is visible and achievable.
At one point, Nintendo will have to cave. They caved with online, they caved with HD, and they will cave with MMO's. At one point, the gaming culture will reach a fervor so unfed that the only way to satiate it is to give them what they want. Nintendo WILL come out with a Pokemon MMO someday, and once it's released, it will sell like hotcakes and Nintendo will feel like fools for not listening to their most diligent and obsessive audience.
Pokemon doesn't need new monsters to feel new; it just needs some risk.
Thanks for reading!
My Recent Reviews
A quick mini-review of the 2nd downloadable Alan Wake episode, The Writer.
AK talks about his recently played games, the next-gen handhelds, and debuts a Question of the Blog.
AK offers a recap of his holiday gifts.
May 4, 2013 2:32 am GMTAK_the_Twilight posted a new blog entry entitled A Good 'Ol Fashioned Update Blog
May 3, 2013 3:38 am GMTAK_the_Twilight reviewed BioShock Infinite and gave it a score of 9.5
Apr 21, 2013 4:37 am GMTAK_the_Twilight posted a new blog entry entitled Let's Talk Reviews
Apr 15, 2013 9:27 pm GMTAK_the_Twilight posted a new blog entry entitled Chalk Talk: Pokemon Stopped Evolving!
Apr 9, 2013 5:43 am GMTAK_the_Twilight posted a new blog entry entitled All Good Things Must Come to an End
Apr 9, 2013 5:05 am GMTAK_the_Twilight reviewed Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD and gave it a score of 7.5
Mar 31, 2013 3:40 am GMTAK_the_Twilight posted a new blog entry entitled The Best TV Show About Revenge Ever Made
Mar 31, 2013 2:39 am GMTAK_the_Twilight reviewed Lollipop Chainsaw and gave it a score of 7.5
Mar 20, 2013 2:09 am GMTAK_the_Twilight posted a new blog entry entitled DmC: Devil May Cry Is a Devil May Cry Game (And Capture Progress)
Mar 20, 2013 1:34 am GMTAK_the_Twilight reviewed Ridge Racer Unbounded and gave it a score of 6.5
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