Wednesday, February 16, 2011

La Villa.

A thought occurred to me today that really made me think about some of Rush's songs and how they compare to each other. My Zune decided that I should listen to YYZ and La Villa Strangiato respectively on my way to Lonestar. Obviously, everyone who bought Guitar Hero 1 (or is it 2? I honestly don't care enough.) loves to "ooh" and "ahh" about the technical aspects are of YYZ, not to mention that it's an awesome song, but La Villa takes a whole different approach. While YYZ is in your face right from the get-go, La Villa takes it's time, building up slowly, lick by lick, creating the melody that takes many different forms throughout the song. At one point, it's a jam session, and at another point, it breaks down into a guitar ballad. In my opinion, it's the quintessential prog-rock song and really captures everything about Rush's style into one instrumental. Anyway, that's my two-cents.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Robert Clotworthy = Jim Raynor

gameroni Robert Clotworthy interview

I just listened to that interview, and let me tell you, it was pretty exciting to hear from the voice behind Jim Raynor (if you don't know who that is, you can get out right now). Clotworthy really understands the importance and the values of Raynor, and I for one, think that his performance in Starcraft 2 was flat-out amazing.

"As far as my particular take on the character -- Chris Metzen describes Raynor as the last honest man in the universe, and that’s a great place for me as an actor to begin, to understand that this is what is at this man’s core: his honesty, his belief in the truth, and what is right, and to do what is right. He can’t avoid the truth. He can’t deceive himself into thinking something is better than it is. He’s very honest in his, not only his attitude and his approach to things, but his understanding of things." - Clotworthy in the interview

More interestingly, Clotworthy also mentions the work he's done on Heart of the Swarm (2012) and gives very broad details about the story arc, describing it as deep and thought-provoking, going on to say that he was thoroughly excited when he saw the direction the story of the Koprulu sector was going to take, which intern made me giggle like the little Korean school girl that I am. But unfortunately, I'll have to wait AT LEAST another year for Heart of the Swarm (but hopefully not Diablo 3 <3).
A little sidenote I'd to make here. At one point in the interview, Clotworthy is asked what it will be like to not be playing the role of Raynor once the Stacraft trilogy is complete and he makes some very intriguing comments. He suggests that perhaps that Raynor and his raiders might continue to exist even outside of the game, citing that he has heard many rumors floating around about the next step in Stacraft, which to me screams a Stacraft movie (undoubtedly the highest grossing movie in all history) could be made in my lifetime. However, it's probably nothing.

Tychus, what have you done? 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 2

Only Dragonball Z is allowed to have a title with 12 syllables

I just recently started playing this game. There's a lot I like about, but there's a lot I don't like about. Mainly, there's two things that I want to address without getting nit picky. The gameplay and the story mode.

The Gameplay

The gameplay of the Tenkaichi series of games is a vast improvement over the 'Street-Fighter' style seen in the Budokai series.
Instead of fighting a 2D/semi-3D plane, the battlefield is completely 3D, allowing you to fly around in the direction you want. This can get kind of cumbersome on certain stages where the AI can get confused as to the correct path to find you, but otherwise, the system works perfectly.
Because of the freedom that the 3D battlefield grants, the fights in the game feel much more dynamic and exciting. The designers have managed to capture the true feel of the show. Attacks flow together much more smoothly.
The controls are both friendly to casual gamers and the more hardcore fighting fans. From button mashing, to delicate combos, either way the controls are fairly accurate and responsive.
As with any DBZ game, the most important part would have to be the Blasts, and the game handles them much more easily than the Budokai games. In Budokai, you would have to pull of a long and complex combo in order to use a Blast other than your basic one ("kamehameha", "galick gun", etc.), but in Tenkaichi, the button combinations for even the Ultimate Blasts ("spirit bomb", "final flash", etc.) have been reduced to a single button combo (ex. press down on the control stick and L and X at the same time). In some ways this is better, and in someways it's not. It's remarkably less satisfying when you use an ultimate attack, but it can also  get you out of a tough spot without having to expose yourself by attempting a long combo.
I don't know if this should be categorized under gameplay, but I wanted to address the Evolution Z system. Evolution Z adds an RPG element to the game, much like the capsules from the Budokai series, however, instead of adding a flat bonus, the items level up with you. I personally, hate this system. But I'll get more into that in the next section which is...

The story mode

I'm not gonna beat around the bush. The story mode in this game sucks weewee. The only redeeming quality is that it covers almost every saga, every movie, and includes almost every character from Dragonball Z and GT. However, I feel the decision to try and cram everyone into a single game is what caused the story mode to be rather underwhelming and overwhelming at the same time.
The biggest flop of the story mode was the decision to include Evolution Z.  All of your characters start at level 8 and will only level up if you have given them a Z-Item such as  Attack +1, Defense +1, Ki +1 etc. This immediately becomes a problem when the story introduces a new character and you're forced to go buy more items from Baba's Shop which can only be accessed in between battles on the World Map, which you fly around on to the different locations on the Earth. The game offers you the chance to grind experience points as much as you want by fighting smaller battles on the World Map, but I rarely did. I simply bought the best items from Baba's Shop and equipped them to my characters so that they didn't get their ass kicked. All in all, the story mode would be 75% better without the inclusion of Evolution Z and the World Map.
So you might be saying, "Well surely the story mode will have to be cinematic and exciting like the previous games." You're wrong. The story is advanced by seeing the characters stand around and talk, and then you fight. That's it. Occasionally there will be somewhat of a cinematic cut-scene, but they are few and far between. Most of the time the characters pose awkwardly and deliver campy dialogue (which they luckily got the original cast to return for this game). This takes so much away from the game that it makes the story mode just a chore that you do to unlock more characters, rather than the story of the Z Fighters.
Another thing that really bothers me is that it seems that no matter what the actual outcome of the battle is, you always have to win the battle. For instance, Krillin and Gohan don't defeat Racoome on Namek, but the game tells you to win the battle, only to reveal afterwards that you actually lost even though you won..? It's not like the game is incapable of kicking your ass with the AI (in fact, sometimes battles are ridiculously hard for no apparent reason). Sometimes the condition is to survive as long as you can, but the game rarely uses this in situations where it would makes sense, but instead tells you to win the battle. Here's an idea, if you want us to have to win every battle, why not allow us to play as the villain in the battles in which they win.
The stages in the game are the norm for a DBZ game, but there are simply not enough to compensate for the long story mode. You fight Janemba on Kami's Lookout. Not even kidding. You only fight on two different planets, Earth and Namek because those are the only two planets with a world map... So you're restricted to Earth locations and one Namekian location. Pretty lame. (I have yet to play the GT story mode yet, so there might actually be more stages)

All in all, I love the games dedication to employing every character into the games and the kickass fighting system, but the story mode's flaws makes unlocking the characters very tedious and unrewarding.

EDIT: Also I'd like to mention that there are about 7 songs in the game... that's it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hey guise

This is my blog. Basically I'm going to post random things that peak my interests occasionally.
Things that interests me (in order of importance):

  • Rush
  • Computer Engineering
  • Drum Set (+1 to Wisdom if you know why)
  • Video Games (Pretty broad, but I'll get into the deets later)
  • DnD 
  • Comedy
  • Physics

More to come!