Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits

A few weeks ago, Activision revealed that they will release Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits, an installation to the franchise that will take pre-existing songs from Guitar Heroes 1-3 and Rocks the 80s, but will be playable as a full band. That means the existing guitar (and bass) will be accompanied with vocals and drums. Awesome!

I love this because hammer-ons were pretty much impossible to pull off (pun kinda intended) in GH1, making Cowboys From Hell damn hard to complete. I would love to see some of the more fun songs from the series be included in GH:GH, as well as some personal favorites.

Before I get into that, though, here are some confirmed songs to be included:

"I Love Rock 'n Roll" - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
"Killer Queen" - Queen

"Killing in the Name" - Rage Against the Machine
"Them Bones" - Alice in Chains

Rocks the 80s:
"I Wanna Rock" - Twisted Sister
"Nothin' but a Good Time" - Poison

"Barracuda" - Heart
"Through the Fire and Flames" - DragonForce

I've gotta say, of these songs, I will have to most fun doing the vocals for "I Wanna Rock." Also, I don't think any first tier songs should be in the game. If people are playing a Greatest Hits, they have played them all before and want more challenging songs.

Anyway, here is a list of five songs from each game that I would absolutely love to play in GH:GH, whether it be for awesome guitar charting, funky bass, bangin' drums, (vocals? meh) or just nostalgic value.

"Crossroads" - Cream
"Stellar" - Incubus
"Ace of Spades" - Motörhead
"Higher Ground" - Red Hot Chili Peppers
"Godzilla" - Blue Öyster Cult

"Cherry Pie" - Warrant
"Who Was in My Room Last Night?" - The Butthole Surfers
"YYZ" - Rush
"Search and Destroy" - Iggy Pop and the Stooges
"Carry On Wayward Son" - Kansas

Rocks the 80s:
"Heat of the Moment" - Asia
"Synchronicity II" - The Police
"Only a Lad" - Oingo Boingo
"Seventeen" - Winger
"Play With Me" - Extreme

"3's & 7's" - Queens of the Stone Age
"Even Flow" - Pearl Jam
"Impulse" - An Endless Sporadic
"The Number of the Beast" - Iron Maiden
"My Curse" - Killswitch Engage

It may not be the perfect list of songs, and some even appear in Rock Band already. But I don't have Rock Band. If Activision wants me to buy this game, then they should be able to throw in a majority of the songs I want. I hope they also surprise me with some songs I may have overlooked, not thinking that the drums could be that fun.

I do know for certain: I want to play Crossroads and be able to hit the hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

GH:WT Drums - Shiver

So here it is finally, a successful video upload from YouTube.

The song, as you might have seen/heard, is Shiver by Coldplay. It truly is one of my favorite songs to play drums in Guitar Hero: World Tour. So what if I messed up a few times, I still am impressed with some of the combos that I kept through trickier parts. I count my victories, no matter how small.

It is true that I could have just played for a better run, but that was not the point. I just wanted to test out my digital camera's video setting, and now that I know that it can capture video and audio pretty well, I have a good reason to take other videos (of similar quality, not great but good enough) of other games and activities. I wish I did have some screen capturing device of my own so I can use my own images in some posts.

Boom! The dimensions of this blog have vastly improved. I'm thinking that the next video I treat you guys with is a run-through of the Mercenaries mini-game from Resident Evil 5. Remember the posted scores from RE4? Now you can see the destruction and mayhem.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Video Uploads!

So I have decided that my digital camera has a decent enough video capability to record the television screen as I play videogames.

The first video I recorded was of myself playing Guitar Hero: World Tour for Wii. It is uploading and processing on YouTube right now, so later on I will write a new post with the video and some extra commentary.

I look forward to expanding my blog with these videos, and hopefully I can get some more posts written and possibly increase my number of readers!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Resident Evil 5

I want need to start off by saying that Resident Evil 4 is superior in terms of gameplay, character and plot development, pacing, exploration, horror, and above all else, innovation.

So does that make Resident Evil 5 a bad game? Not at all. I found that on my initial playthrough (which took me less than 10 hours) that while this is similar to RE4, RE5 takes a different approach and stresses many different factors to help set it apart.

The biggest difference is the emphasis on cooperation. This goes far beyond Leon helping Ashley climb over a wall, or catching her because she doesn't know how to climb down a ladder, or telling her to hide in a dumpster so she doesn't get her head torn off by a bitch with a chainsaw.

Playing as Chris Redfield, your partner is Sheva Alomar, which is either controlled by AI, online with another player, or split-screen. I only have experienced the story with the AI controlling my lovely and kick-ass Sheva. I was really impressed with what she was capable of doing when controlled by the AI. She provided decent cover fire, would pick up items for me, heal me when I was dying, and very quickly (average of 1.5 sec) come to my aid when I was being strangled by the hands of an infected or by the tongue of a Licker.

Sheva did have some drawbacks though. She would burn through ammo without even thinking of the situation, and this was all handgun ammo. Despite arming her with a rifle, shotgun or machine gun, she would 99 percent of the time have her handgun equipped. This led me to giving her all the HG ammo while I would tank with the shotgun or spray with a machine gun of my own.


In the final chapter, in which the two of us teamed up against Wesker, she would keep yelling to me that she had a rocket for my launcher, when in fact she was just firing her handgun at Wesker instead of actually running off to help load my weapon. After that, during the fight in the volcano (WTF? I disliked this ending) we needed to shoot Wesker in the back to reveal his otheer weak spot. I wish instead of having only two commands for Sheva, "attack" and "cover," I could have ordered her to split off from my side so at least one of us could get behind him. Ugh. That and she spent all her ammo immediately. But, alas, Capcom did want to stress the co-op.


Visually, this game is astounding. If I were not so busy shooting people in the eyes and then punching them in the mouth, then I would have more time to admire the lighting in this game. In a lot of games, I think "Where is my shadow?" RE5's lighting has a shadow for pretty much everything. There is a part in the mines when one person needs to carry a lamp while the other defends them, darkness just overwhelms you as a player (especially in a RE game) but the light coming from the lamp and showing shadows on the walls was so amazing.

Now, I began by saying RE4 was better in numerous ways. Let me break it down:

RE4 was a continuous story. You could progress, you could backtrack. There was puzzle solving that required you to backtrack, which previous RE games required. RE5 was sporadic in a sense. The chapters ended, and there was no going back. Sometimes you would travel miles across the continent and it felt detached from the previous environment. RE4's areas were all connected and had purpose, whereas RE5 kinda threw you into a different environment randomly. It was hard to see how these places were connected in a larger sense. Yet, I return to the emphasis on co-op, and that allows a pick-up-and-play mentality.

-Character and Plot Development-
Leon had personality. Ashley brought out a different side to him, one that was caring and compassionate. He was witty, he was handsome, and he was driven to complete the mission. One thing led to another, and you were well-informed of what was going on via cut scenes, dialogues, scattered memos, and just exploring new areas. The villains were introduced and then given reason for their diabolical actions.

RE5 was stale. Chris lacked any real connection between himself and me as the gamer. His steroid-induced biceps annoy the hell out of me. A cut scene randomly shows a grave and I think "WTF!?" Thanks for coming out of nowhere. Chris' primary objective? I really had to figure that one out. And who is this Ricardo Irving assclown? Ugh............. Wesker's pursuit to be all-powerful is awesome. His motive behind it was weak. Just weak.

RE4 had its slow parts, I'll admit. But it fit. RE5 forced action into a lot of places when I just wanted to slow down for a bit and explore. Very episodic in the chapters, but you can guess what is the reasoning behind that.

Meh. See above.

This fits in with the plot development. I never really felt like I was overwhelmed (as Chris) in this setting. I was well-equipped (maybe too much so) for any situation, except for the Public Assembly. The first chapter of the game did very well in how hectic this place is. Giant guy with a hammer-axe? Freaky. Especially when you don't have the firepower to bring him down so early in the game that you are always on the run until the helicopter arrives. That dark mine? Save that part for when two dozen Lickers are after me.

I really should not have to discuss this point in-depth. RE4 was the first of its kind to blend action/adventure with survival-horror. RE5 was heavy on action, but for the umpteenth time: co-op.

With all this being said, and much more can be said, I still love RE5. Replayability is very high, because weapons carry over, hidden emblems, unlockables, THE MERCENARIES MINIGAME!, and (omg) co-op. CO-OP!!! ARGH!!! I did read that RE6 is getting a reboot. I don't want the comfort of co-op in a survival game. The Resident Evil series has had its fun with 4 and 5, it needs to shift back to its roots where ammo is a luxury and not an abundance.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Getting my money's worth from my games

Really? A whole month since the last post? I am letting myself down. In my defense, the semester has gotten busier for me, with volleyball practically every weekend and increasing workload from classes (which I still get by doing minimal effort).

You don't care about that. You care about what I care about; for what other reason would somebody read this blog if they did not?

Anyway, let's get to the point.


This is totes going to sound cliche, but I had a great idea in the shower: what games have been played so much that they have practically paid for themselves? What games have I gotten my money's worth out of, and then some? Plus, what kind of games have a higher play rate and/or replayability factor?

This thought came from something I said last night while playing NBA Live 2005 with my roommate. NBA Live 2005 is the latest basketball game in my collection, and allowed us to play with more recent rosters than NBA Jam TE does. We also created ourselves, stacked our team and play on the easiest difficulty. It's fun.

But that's not the point. This game is four and a half years old. I am still playing it. It is the Gamecube version, and I paid no more than $40 when it was brand new. That figures to less than 10 bucks a year, and there is no reasonable way I could count (or even guess) the number of games or seasons I have logged in NBA Live 2005, so calculating a per game price is impossible.

Therefore, I might say that the experience is priceless.


Analysis: Sports videogames last longer for some gamers (especially me) because keeping up with each new version of the game becomes expensive. When brand new games are $60, I try to be mindful of which games I want in my collection. I also have a higher standard for games, and pay attention to which ones I can get my money's worth out of (the last game I bought with my own money was Fallout 3).

Back to the sports games. The newest sports game I own is NHL 09, the older version I have is 06, but I bought that online over a year ago before I had a PS3. MVP Baseball 2005 is the latest baseball game I have, and I don't mind. Trying to keep up with an entire season of real-life MLB is hard enough. I don't own or care too much for football games.

Over the next week or two (or whenever I can update over break) I will feature a game that has lasted (or will last) very long in my collection, has been played to death, and has seen the light of day again, or will beg for more playing time. In short, these are the games that I have gotten my money's worth. NBA Live 2005 is just the first of these games.