Op-Ed: Capcom needs to stop forcing co-op into every Resident Evil game – 9/8/2014

resident-evil-logo

According to the details gathered by GamesMaster, ‘Resident Evil: Revelations 2′ is suppose to continue the style of its predecessor and return the series to its horror survival roots.

For devoted fans of the series this has been promising news as many have felt the series has abandoned its horror survival roots for a more action orientated game that is trying to tap into the Call of Duty fan-base.

Resident Evil 5 was a commercial success while many were disappointed over its heavy dependence on the action concept. Its success was followed by the train wreck of a game that was called Resident Evil 6, which was panned by gamers and most critics. Capcom attributed the failure of Resident Evil 6 along with several other games to their core fans being too old, an insult that was meet with a massive backlash from the gaming community.

Flash forward to the Summer and Capcom announced that an HD remake of Resident Evil was in the works and set to be released in 2015 for all major consoles. Along with the announcement of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, it appears that Capcom is actually listing to its fans and it could be rewarding in the years to come.

However there is a “but” to the news and that is the fact that Resident Evil: Revelations 2 will also feature co-op gameplay. Despite its efforts to take notes from the fans, Capcom still has an obsession with shoehorning co-op into every Resident Evil game.

Its understandable that Capcom does not want to churn the same game every year while looking for new ways to innovate the series, but forcing co-op into a game has not worked out all to well for them. Go unto any forum and its easy to see that gamers have despised the shoehorned co-op feature

Resident Evil 6 being the obvious example of how the co-op system was an utter failure in innovating while its feature in other the games was ignored by players. Unless its included as a side-game, Capcom is better just abandoning the concept of co-op in future Resident Evil games.

Resident Evil has always been the inspiration for horror games but major titles in the last few years have not been trying to force co-op onto the player. Dead Space and Alan Wake did not have to shoehorn co-op to be successful while the upcoming Alien Isolation is more focused the player trying to survive the horror scenario.

If Capcom is really interested in expanding the Resident Evil universe to the multiplayer world than it would be better to develop an open world MMORPG set in Raccoon City. The game could take inspiration from Grand Theft Auto: Online and DayZ while in the context of the Resident Evil universe.

Capcom is on the right path to restoring the series to its horror survival root but if it hopes for Resident Evil to be the example for other games to follow than they really need to abandon the concept of co-op in future titles.

Written for Digital Journal 
09/8/2014
Original Article: Op-Ed: Capcom needs to stop forcing co-op into every Resident Evil game

Op-Ed: ‘Metal Gear Solid’ should not be remade – 8/24/2014

MGS

In this age of remakes, reboots and re-imaginings; it needs to be noted that not all classic works of the cultural arts need a makeover just to be more appealing for a new generation.

These classics have survived the test of time to have a massive impact on pop culture but do not need a makeover that will devoid it of what originally made them a landmark or have its message watered-down to appeal to a broad audience (the RoboCop remake being an excellent example).

The same could also apply to classic video games that are significant to the cultural arts. As with movies, the concept of what made it significant is lost in the need to re-imagine it for a new audience. It may have worked well for Resident Evil in 2002 but the GoldenEye remake in 2010 failed to live up to the legacy of the original.

Yet from time to time, Hideo Kojima has voiced his support for remaking Metal Gear Solid, his greatest masterpiece and one of the most iconic games of all time. Most recently he expressed at Gamescom 2014 how he hopes the original game could be remade using the Fox Engine.

It’s understandable that Kojima wishes to see his masterpiece recreated for a new generation of gamers but the reality is that Metal Gear Solid needs to be remade as badly as The Godfather. Its one of those classics that are so timeless that no remake will do it justice or at worst be a work of blasphemy.

This has already been proven when the game has remade for the GameCube back in 2004 as Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes. This updated version included improved graphics, extended cutscenes and infusing the gameplay mechanisms from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

While the game was praised for rebuilding an iconic, a lot of the aesthetics that made the original a masterpiece was lost. The most obvious was the remade cutscenes relied too much on over the top action that were so campy that it devoid the game of its dramatic aspects. At the same time the performance of the voice actors lacked the theatrical depth that allowed the player to have an emotional connection with the character.

Metal Gear Solid was one of the earliest games to feature a real dramatic presence driven by the strong performance of the voice actors, but most of that would be lost in the remake. Most players had some remorse after defeating Psycho Mantis while feeling a sense of sorrow when having to fight Sniper Wolf. Yet all that emotional connection was lost in the remake.

Not helping The Twin Snakes was how the new gameplay mechanism took the challenge out of memorable boss fights and made the overall experience lack any significance. Classic moments that required carefully timed tactics lost there challenging aspect with the new mechanisms.

The best example was the duel against Revolver Ocelot while the Arms Tech President tied up in the center while strapped with C4. In the original game, players had to outflank Ocelot then properly time when to take a shot while avoid hurting the hostage. In the remake all the player had to do was stand in a corner and aim in first-person view then shot.

The battle against Revolver Ocelot is memorable because its suppose to require the player to think before acting. Meanwhile The Twin Snakes made it into a simple boss battle that lacked a challenge. The same could be said about other boss battles in the game that lost their significance because of the new gameplay mechanism.

Finally the new musical score composed for the game along with re-tuning some of the classic did not help make The Twin Snakes a better game. The musical score help drive the emotions of the moment while adding to dramatic tone. The new soundtrack did its best but lacked the same passion as the original.

If the GameCube remake failed to live up to the legacy of the original than Kojima shouldn’t expect a Metal Gear Solid built on the Fox Engine to create the same momentum. Another remake will water down its themes even more and rob it of the elements that made it significant.

Metal Gear Solid is one of the most important games ever developed while its legacy has made it an icon of pop culture. It doesn’t need to be remade just to appeal to a new generation because a real gamer should respect its legacy for what it has accomplished for the gaming medium.

Written for Digital Journal 
08/24/2014
Original Article: Op-Ed: ‘Metal Gear Solid’ should not be remade

New ‘Silent Hill’ being developed by Kojima and del Toro – 08/12/2014

Silent Hill
Sony unveiled at Gamescom 2014 that a new ‘Silent Hill’ game is in the works and it’s being developed by horror icon Guillermo del Toro along side gaming icon Hideo Kojima.

It was first reported back in 2012 that Konami asked Kojima to create a new Silent Hill game, which he accepted.

The game was being promoted by Sony as “P.T.” before the gameplay teaser was unveiled it to be a new Silent Hill. The hour-long teaser features a character exploring the setting in a first-person perspective before revealing that del Toro and Kojima are responsible for this project.

At the end it’s revealed that the main character is played by Norman Reedus, from The Walking Dead. Not much details about the game is known other than it will be titled Silent Hills and that it’s being developed using the Fox Engine.

News of a Silent Hill game being created del Toro and Kojima has surprised the media while having gotten the attention of the gaming community. Gamers voiced their support for Silent Hills and welcomed collaboration between the two icons.

Many should have suspected that del Toro and Kojima were working on a project after two were seen hangout together at Comic-Con 2014.

With del Toro now working on Silent Hill, its unknown if his previous horror game is still in development or has it been cancelled. It was unveiled back in 2010 that he was working on inSANE but the project was put on hold after THQ went bankrupt.

Silent Hill is a horror survival series known for its eerie tone and for having help establish the genre alongside Resident Evil. The series focus on the supernatural forces that haunt a small town and the people connected to the evil presence.

Written for Digital Journal 
08/12/2014
Original Article: New ‘Silent Hill’ being developed by Kojima and del Toro

‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ mod allows players to rape others – 8/12/2014

gta-v

‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ may have been developed to allow gamers to build their own criminal empire online, but some may have take it too far by developing a mod that allows players to rape others.

This mod was developed and used by a few players trying to “troll” the games online community and is not connected or endorsed by Rockstar Games.

The mod allows the player to manipulate their character and the environment to allow them to force themselves onto other innocent players in a very sexual manner. To develop such a mod would require a player to tamper with the game engine, which could get a player banned from the servers if caught.

News of the mod was first reported by players on Reddit with the username, mrerikmattila, who reported having such an encounter with a player named DEEPER_IN_DA_ASS. The user further elaborated the encounter with Patrica Hernandez of Kotaku.

Hernandez elaborates that while such encounter are rare, there have been videos found on YouTube showing hackers sexually assaulting other players in the game. She also hints that Rockstar may need to do another round of house cleaning to crackdown on hackers who tamper with the game engine.

News of the mod has repulsed many gamers who find it to be distasteful and disturbed by the fact some one took the time to make such a program. One user stated on Kotaku, “What the hell kind of person starts playing GTA and thinks, “I wonder how I can make these characters rape each other?” Worse, what kind of person then dedicates actual time and effort to making this a reality?”

Grand Theft Auto V was released on September 17 and it has been highly praised by critics as one of the greatest games developed for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Grand Theft Auto: Online is the multiplayer feature and it went live two weeks after the games launch.

Written for Digital Journal 
08/12/2014
Original Article: ‘Grand Theft Auto: Online’ mod allows players to rape others

Gamers enthusiastic about ‘Resident Evil’ HD remake – 8/6/2014

resident-evil-logo
Capcom official announcement that an HD remastered version of ‘Resident Evil’ is in the works has been meet with enthusiasm and support from the gaming community.

Based on the discussions on social media like Facebook or news sites such as N4G, there has been a strong demand for Capcom to release an HD version of the GameCube remake (dubbed REmake) of the classic game. Many in the game media who are also fans of the series have voiced their support for the project.

Devoted fans of the series have been demanding an HD remastered version of Resident Evil for a long time. Many fans had missed out on the GameCube remake since they owned a PlayStation 2 or an Xbox.

The demand by fans was most vocal back in January when Capcom published a report that blamed the failure of Resident Evil 6 on its audience “growing old” while announcing an HD remake of Resident Evil 4.

After the announcement was made, the game’s official Facebook page was flooded with comments while many showed their enthusiasm by plastering the official Facebook page with the “Shut Up And Take My Money!” meme. One such fan was Souheil Abou Zelof who stated,Finally Capcom FINALLY , after all these years you did something right with the Resident Evil series , RE remake was the best RE game for me (also remake Resident evil 2 , it deserves one).

Rourke Keegan was another fan who stated, Seriously, this is the best news I’ve heard all year. REmake is my favorite horror game- and I have an extensive library (Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, Alone in the Dark). I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with buying this on every available platform. Capcom, you just got at LEAST four sales from this fan, if not five (it may or may not work on my computer). I cannot WAIT to see how pretty this is, cannot wait to unlock every trophy/achievement for this, and above all, REmember, REality, RElive!

James Cage was also an enthusiastic fan who stated, Thank You for bringing it to PS4!! Finally back to what Resident Evil is all about!!! Now start remastering RE2 next!!

Despite the enthusiasm, many fans also expressed their desire to see a remake of Resident Evil 2, which was never remastered for the GameCube.

The original Resident Evil was released for the PlayStation in 1996 and has been hailed as one of the greatest games for establishing the foundation of the horror survival genre. The franchise has spawned a massive franchise that includes many sequels and spin-off games along with a movie series.

Written for Digital Journal 
09/6/2014
Original Article: Gamers enthusiastic about ‘Resident Evil’ HD remake

Review: ‘The Last of Us: Remastered’ is a classic polished for the PS4 – 7/29/2014

‘The Last of Us’ was probably one of the most iconic games of 2013, having become a modern classic not due to its technical and gameplay innovations but because of its groundbreaking story.

With over 200 “Game of the Year” awards, The Last of Us has made its mark not only on video games but also on the cultural arts.

However one should not be foolish enough to compare The Last of Us with Grand Theft Auto V as they are nowhere in the same league. BioShock: Infinite would be its only true rival of 2013 as they both are story-driven games that shared the same concepts of a father and daughter relationship during a troubled era.

It’s always a challenge to improve an already perfect work of art but Naughty Dog would not settle for having The Last of Us be remembered as one of the best games of 2013. Like a perfectionist devoted to their work, Remastered is a polished improvement of a modern classic for the PlayStation 4.

To recap the story: 20 years after a deadly pandemic brings about the collapse of civilization, the survivors try to live on within the quarantine zones or out in the wasteland. Players take on the role of Joel as he becomes Ellie’s guardian during a journey to a resistance camp, as her blood may hold the cure to the infection that has ravaged the world.

As a narrative-driven game, The Last of Us was a flawless masterpiece that had an environment created with the picture-perfect graphics along with an ideal musical score. However it would be wrong to neglect the deep emotionally-driven performance of Troy Barker and Ashley Johnson in the main roles.

The game also brought something that has been long absent in the horror survival genre, the actual concept of horror survival. The gameplay is a return to the roots of the genre when gamers had to actually struggle to survive the horrors of the environment as opposed to fighting waves of zombies (or monsters). While many horror games have traded their survival concept for a Call of Duty-imitation, The Last of Us has instead drawn influence from classics like Resident Evil.

The Last of Us: Remastered sets itself apart from the original taking full advantage of the PS4’s hardware capability with a visual display of 60fps at 1080p. This gives the game a crisper visual image that adds more depth to the game’s environment while improving the fear factor.

However this is not simply another HD remake as the game offers more than a new coat of paint. As a bonus feature, the game also includes all the multiplayer map packs and the critically acclaimed DLC, Left Behind.

So why should a gamer give The Last of Us: Remastered a play-through if it was perfect back in 2013? The best answer is they missed their chance because they were most likely too occupied with Grand Theft Auto V or their last console was an Xbox 360.

Like Grand Theft Auto V and BioShock: Infinite, this is a title no gamer should have overlooked back in 2013. However for those who missed out on playing The Last of Us on the PS3 should add Remastered to their PS4 collection.


Final Score:
5/5

Written for Digital Journal 
07/29/2014
Original Article: Review: ‘The Last of Us: Remastered’ is a classic polished for the PS4

Op-Ed: A minor delay is better than a broken game – 7/26/2014

Hardline-578-80
It appears that the 2014 Holiday season is going to be a dry one for gamers as so many highly anticipated titles have been pushed back for a 2015 release.

Early this week, gamers got the news that Electronic Arts is pushing back the release date of Battlefield: Hardline from October 2014 to an unknown date in 2015. They are not alone as Ubisoft had announced before E3 that Batman: Arkham Knight and Tom Clancy’s The Division would be delayed until 2015. CD Projekt RED has also made the hard choice to push back The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for a Winter 2015 release.

While gamers will be disappointed that they have to wait until 2015 for another Battlefield, long time fans will understand that it was necessary to avoid another disastrous release like Battlefield 4.

Battlefield 4 was a very promising game and superior to Call of Duty: Ghosts in terms of the quality of gameplay. Yet due to a series of of glitches and bugs made the game unplayable upon its release. Hence many disgruntled fans began referring to it as “Brokenfield“.

Sadly a lot of the problems that plagued Battlefield 4 could have been avoided had more time gone into the development process. Yet due to an unrealistic deadlines along with the need to compete against Call of Duty: Ghosts probably pressured EA to sail full-steam ahead into the iceberg.

Common sense would dictate that delaying the game would have been the best action, yet game industry considers such a decision as a catch-22. Its a common belief that the longer a game is in development, its chances of being a disaster increases. Many studios continue to fear releasing a disastrous game like Duke Nukem: Forever while many old school fans still recall how Daikatana sullied the reputation of John Romero (I’m still confident he will have a career comeback).

However many always overlook that games like Duke Nukem: Forever and Daikatana were in development for more then four year while undergoing multiple software changes that forced the development team to start from scratch. Meanwhile Arkham Knight and Hardline are being delayed because more time is needed to fix the glitches and patch-up the bugs.

The decade long murky production of Duke Nukem: Forever has now become the textbook example of how not to develop a game. Production started by 3D Realms Studio back in 1996 using the Quake II engine until they switched to the Unreal engine in 1998. Meanwhile as the industry model began to change in the early 2000’s, 3D Realms failed to adopt while being in constant conflict with its parent company, Take-Two Interactive.

After a long production time, Gearbox acquired the intellectual property and took over the project with the goal of a 2011 release date. When the game was finally released for all major consoles, it was universally panned by both critics and gamers. Despite a decade long production, the game was neither innovative or cutting edge while also suffering from a series of annoying glitches.

Meanwhile successful games that have had long production time have been both innovative and groundbreaking while the staff had been focused on a set goal. The obvious example to look at would be Grand Theft Auto V, which development started back in 2009 and was released in 2013. Rockstar North had setup a series of goals that had to be meet while working with the RAGE engine along with adding components of the Euphoria engine and Bullet Physics.

Finally when Grand Theft Auto V was released in September 2013, it was highly praised by critics and gamers. Its story was highly praised for its in-depth analysis of the American Dream in a post-2008 crash society in a style influenced Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson. It also became one of the biggest selling media properties by generating over $1 billion in three days while going on to generate almost $2 billion by December.

Yet the production of Grand Theft Auto V might be a unique example while Ubisoft has demonstrated that a small delay payoff when the final game is a hit. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Watch Dogs had their release date pushed back while South Park: The Stick of Truth needed to be delayed as Ubisoft acquired the rights after THQ went bankrupt.

Ubisoft has demonstrated that a small delay is always necessary if time is needed to ensure the game is flawless when hits store shelves. The botched release of Battlefield 4 has taught the gaming industry the backlash of releasing a broken game outweigh the disappointment when it has to be delayed.

Gamers who were hoping to play Hardline or The Division are better waiting for a flawless game rather than playing a broken one in 2014. On the bright-side; Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Far Cry 4, and Destiny should keep gamers entertained.

Written for Digital Journal 
07/26/2014
Original Article: Op-Ed: A minor delay is better than a broken game
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers