Tag Archives: Capcom

Not all monsters are human in Resident Evil: Revelations 2

You might notice an unsettling trend of late here at Grinding Down, with me playing some games that fall into the horror slash survival horror genre. Please note that I didn’t say slash fiction. Rather, things like Outlast and the first chapter of Bendy and the Ink Machine. Not my usual go-tos for fun gaming times, but that’s okay. I’m both trying to diversify what I play as well as get through these experiences to delete or uninstall them with the knowledge that I gave them a fair shake, no matter how much I hated sneaking around in the dark like a total wuss. Naturally, the majority of horror games in my collection are freebies, with the last one I actually deliberately payed money for being…well, probably Silent Hill 3. Perhaps this is all building to finally digging into that amusement park nightmare.

First, a quick history of my, well, history with Capcom’s long-running, zombie-shooting, ammo-conserving, ruby-finding-and-using-as-a-key Resident Evil series. Don’t worry. Just like with Mega Man, I haven’t found myself playing many of these games over the years. I wonder if I secretly have an unconscious dislike for the company; I mean, yeah, they made Breath of Fire III, Star Gladiator, and Zack & Wiki, all of which I enjoy, but their more well-known series, including Street Fighter and Dead Rising, are just not my bread and butter. Mmm butter. Moving along, I most definitely played the original Resident Evil on PS1, as well as rented Resident Evil 2. I believe I watched my childhood best friend go through the majority of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Because I couldn’t handle something chasing me constantly. I tried the demos for Resident Evil: Revelations and Resident Evil 5…and that’s it. You’ll notice that I’ve never touched Resident Evil 4, which many claim to be the star of the series. Oh well.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is, from what the Internet says, set between the events of Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6, which, if you read the previous paragraph, means absolutely nothing to me. However, it does follow two classic characters from the series’ past: Claire Redfield and Barry Burton. In the opening scenes, Barry’s daughter, Moira, is kidnapped alongside Claire, by a mysterious woman calling herself the Overseer. They end up imprisoned on a severely isolated island where, naturally, dark and terrifying scientific experiments have gone from wrong to oh so worse. In this first episode called “Penal Colony,” the narrative jumps back and forth between those two exploring the compound and a second story thread six months later as Barry comes to the island to find Moira. He is accompanied by a young girl with mystical powers because why not.

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 remains a survival horror game, and that means trying not to die by the bloody hands of zombies (and other monstrosities), as well as scavenging for ammo and key items. However, this one supports cooperative gameplay. One player is the hero, using guns and melee weapons to get the job of murdering zombies done, and the other player is more there for support, shining a bright flashlight in enemies’ eyes, throwing bricks, or spotting hidden items in the environment. The flashlights in this game are much better than Outlast because they have eternal batteries, thank the Maker. I played the game alone, which meant I had to control both characters, flipping between them when necessary with a simple button press. It’s fine when solving puzzles or generally exploring, but you have to stick with the fighter for combat, otherwise it’s downhill from the first bite.

A couple nitpicks because I am who I am. First, when you are controlling Natalia and carrying a brick, when you go through a door from one location to another, she doesn’t take the brick with her; Barry of course carries his entire arsenal of firearms through, but you then have to scrounge around for another brick to throw. Seems like an odd limitation. Second, I like to crouch-walk a lot in stealth games and, again, when moving between a door to a new location, even if you are crouching, the game doesn’t remember this, and you are now back to standing. This also goes for having your flashlight on or off. Basically, all your “presets” go back to the defaults in each new room, which is annoying. Lastly, since this is a co-op experience and I don’t have anyone to play with, relying on the AI is pointless, as Moira rarely shown her light at enemies and Natalia stayed hidden during all fights involving Barry. I believe you can upgrade some skills to allow for better AI, but I’m also sure having another living, breathing player controlling them is the best way to do it.

Honestly, I thought that I’d play Resident Evil: Revelations 2 to see what it had to offer, quickly run through it, delete the infected file from my Xbox One, and then move on to something else. That is not the case. The game actively encourages replaying, with new modes to try out–like being timed or dealing with invisible enemies or a score attack–and you can continue earning BP to spend on upgrades, which ultimately can help with your next run. Naturally, I want all them collectibles, as well as to try out the Raid Mode, which is a type of “run and gun” mini-game where players fight through short stages to reach a goal and level up their characters and equipment. The mini-game itself exists as a scenario where the Overseer is testing the new Red Queen Alpha program on the player, who is a test subject for it. Sounds neat, at least.

All that said, I don’t think I’ll be grabbing any of the other episodes for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 just yet. I have a couple other titles in the series from PlayStation Plus–specifically Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles, of which I know nothing about them–that probably deserve some attention. But before I get to them, I have to replay Barry’s chapter a few more times to grind for gems and pop that stealth kill Achievement, among other tasks.

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GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Mega Man X

games I regret parting with Mega Man X

Mega Man X, as far as I can remember, is the only game in Capcom’s long-running and blaster-charging run-and-jump action series where an innocent-looking robot boy obliterates rogue worker automatons that I’ve beaten. Granted, I haven’t actually played all that many, and that’s mostly because they are challenging gauntlet runs that punish more than they reward. Still, back when I was younger and only had so many games to play and few IRL distractions, practice made for better attempts, and I eventually saw credits roll on Rockman’s first appearance on the Super NES. I absolutely know that getting all the capsule upgrades played a big part in this accomplishment. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten past Chill Penguin. Sick frost burn.

Do you know Mega Man X‘s somewhat maturer plot? If you do, congrats. You can skip ahead two paragraphs. If not, allow me to summarize. Dr. Light created Mega Man X, commonly known as just X, years after the original Mega Man series, with a key difference: the ability to make his own decisions. However, Dr. Light was not completely blind and thus recognized the potential danger of this model, sealing X away in a diagnostic capsule for over 30 years of testing. X’s capsule was uncovered by an archaeologist named Dr. Cain almost a hundred years later. Excited by the possibilities X presented, Dr. Cain disregarded Dr. Light’s notes and warnings and created a legion of new robots that replicated X’s free will–Reploids.

Unfortunately, a virus spread and caused these Reploids turn deadly against humans. Shocking, I know. And so these Reploids became dubbed Mavericks, which lead to the formation of a group called the Maverick Hunters to combat them. Because what else are Maverick Hunters gonna do, y’know? Anyways, the Maverick Hunters were originally led by Sigma, the first Reploid created by Dr. Cain, until it also turned violent and declared war against humans. X joined the Maverick Hunters under its new leader Zero to save Earth from total evil robotic domination. It’s a story much more complicated and involved than the original NES games, which, as a young man with a blossoming brain and beginning to dip his toes in things like anime, I enjoyed greatly.

Mega Man X introduced a lot of new elements to the series. Like the Central Highway Stage, which is basically a tutorial level that allows players to get a feel for the game before setting out to stop the usual kill list of eight named bosses. It is in this level you are first taught how to dash along the ground, cling to walls, and wall jump, as well as dashing and jumping simultaneously, increasing X’s speed in the air. These modifications give X far more mobility than in previous games, which, often required precious timing and accuracy, especially when trying to jump from vanishing platform to vanishing platform. I don’t remember if I played Super Metroid before or after Mega Man X, but the wall-jumping is much easier to nail in the latter.

Besides gaining new weapons after kicking the metal butts of every robot leader, X is also able to upgrade parts of his armor, such as his helmet, boots, arm cannon, and chestplate. These are found in hidden capsules, and they are, as far as I can recall, fairly well hidden, save for the first one, which you have to stumble across for story purposes. X can also charge up the weapons he takes from defeated bosses, giving him a secondary fire mode. More options equals more fun, and some levels even feature alternate paths. Also, completing certain stages ahead of others will subtly affect the battlefield. For example, if you clear Storm Eagle’s aircraft carrier stage first, Spark Mandrill’s power plant stage will suffer from electrical outages.

And now, for everyone’s enjoyment, a list of the bosses in Mega Man X, which, at the time of its release, I thought were beyond cool, but now see that as simply uneducated madness:

  • Chill Penguin
  • Spark Mandrill
  • Armored Armadillo
  • Launch Octopus
  • Boomer Kuwanger
  • Sting Chameleon
  • Storm Eagle
  • Flame Mammoth

Actually, I still think Launch Octopus is pretty killer. We can blame that on Kojima and Decoy Octopus, I guess. Pretty much any combination of [cool word] plus octopus sounds fantastic. Like Fugazi Octopus. Or Mozzarella Sticks Octopus. See–works every time.

Giant Bomb is currently working their way through the Mega Man games with their premium video series Blue Bombin’, and I’m not sure if they’ll be playing the Mega Man X series of games, but here’s hoping they at least give the first one a chance as it certainly switched some things up for the little blue boy who could. I’ll always remember it fondly and wonder why on Earth I thought it was a good idea to give away this classic SNES cartridge (plus original packaging and manual) for a few measly bucks towards an original PlayStation 1. Sigh.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

2017 Game Review Haiku, #20 – Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix

2017-gd-games-completed-super-puzzle-fighter-2-turbo-hd-remix

Match gem pairs, damage
Dump them garbage blocks and laugh
Swing hard, Sakura

I can’t believe I’m still doing this. I can’t believe I’ll ever stop. These game summaries in chunks of five, seven, and five syllable lines paint pictures in the mind better than any half a dozen descriptive paragraphs I could ever write. Trust me, I’ve tried. Brevity is the place to be. At this point, I’ve done over 200 of these things and have no plans of slowing down. So get ready for another year of haikus. Doumo arigatou gozaimasu.

I suspect Final Fight isn’t actually my final fight

final fight overall impressions

I didn’t do too deep on the latest Capcom-themed Humble Bundle, obtaining only the games in the $1.00 or more tier. Specifically, these ones: Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3, Strider, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, and Final Fight Double Impact. The second tier already contains a few titles I own, such as Remember Me and Mega Man 9/10, and the rest didn’t stand out to me as must-haves. But finally having a copy of Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix after all these years of only ever playing a demo version over and over and over, and for only one hundred pennies? I couldn’t resist. Regardless, those are words and stories for another post, on another game. For today, let’s talk about Final Fight.

Or, more specifically I guess, Final Fight Double Impact, which is the name of the thing I got from this latest Humble Bundle. Not really knowing much about this product, I assumed this was either a new Final Fight game in the beat-em-up series or a remake of the Super NES port. Turns out, nope. It’s a bundle, containing two arcade classics from Capcom’s history: Final Fight and Magic Sword. I have absolutely zero record with Magic Sword, and not much more with Final Fight, always being a Streets of Rage fanboy more than anything else, but know enough about the brawler through osmosis thanks to the Internet.

Final Fight‘s plot is hilariously legendary, one for the ages: the Mad Gear street gang has kidnapped Mayor Mike Haggar’s daughter, Jessica. Being a former pro wrestler and more muscle than policy-pushing man, Haggar refuses to give into their demands. Instead, he sets out to rescue Jessica with the help of her boyfriend, the martial artist Cody, and his friend Guy, a modern-day ninja. Y’know, cool dudes. They’ll do this together, punching and jump-kicking and slashing with a sword or lead pipe every Mad Gear goon and gal in Metro City, regardless of whether they are visible on the screen or not.

Truthfully, I only meant to see what this Final Fight Double Impact was and how it ran, but then I kept playing, eventually getting to Belger, the final boss, and kicking his gun-toting behind right out a window. That is, with a little help from some random online friends that jumped in and out of my game as I continued to hit continue after losing enough lives. See, I really never played many of these beat-em-ups in the arcades, save for that X-Men one, as they existed only to eat your quarters and I was more interested in spreading my quarters around, sampling a wide array of game types. Playing on a console with unlimited continues negates that mentality, and you can see credits roll in a number of side-scrolling brawlers so long as you persevere.

Final Fight is fine. The mechanics are simple yet solid, and somewhat addicting. You can punch, jump attack, pick up items like health and weapons, and even burn a little health to use a super attack that is good at clearing out a number of goons at once. I found a really good strategy of simply standing by the edge of the screen and mashing the attack button repeatedly; enemies will begin to walk into your firsts, and you can watch their life bars tick down without even putting a face to a name. Speaking of names…oomph. There are some doozies in here, such as Bill Bull, Holly Wood, and Wong Who.

In actuality, Final Fight is a great game to sort of lose yourself in for an hour and change. Yup, with unlimited continues, it doesn’t take too long to finish this fight, especially when you have the help of random online players. I went through just about every level with Guy, messing up once towards the end when I accidentally picked Haggar, but I can see myself going through this again with just Cody or Haggar all the way. This version comes with a bunch of built-in challenges, like finishing a level with only using one character or a certain number of continues or hitting a specific tier of points, and all that feeds into unlocking art and extras in the gallery, as well as trophies.

I also plan to still check out the other half of this bundle, but don’t expect to beat Magic Sword in a single go like I did here. Unless it really is some kind of magic sword. Final Fight contains a sword as a wield-able weapon, and it performs its own kind of magic in completing dominating the playing field unless you are going against those fire-tossing dudes. Anyways, yeah–this isn’t my final fight.

2016 Game Review Haiku, #49 – Final Fight

gd games completed final fight

Jessica taken
Mad Gear must pay, says mayor
Off-screen punches win

Here we go again. Another year of me attempting to produce quality Japanese poetry about the videogames I complete in three syllable-based phases of 5, 7, and 5. I hope you never tire of this because, as far as I can see into the murky darkness–and leap year–that is 2016, I’ll never tire of it either. Perhaps this’ll be the year I finally cross the one hundred mark. Buckle up–it’s sure to be a bumpy ride. Yoi ryokō o.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH: Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts

games i regret super_ghouls_n_ghosts

Starting out, I had only a few games for the Super Nintendo, my first home console. Back then, unlike today, games were scarce and limited, gifts given to you by loved ones every X number of months or purchased via the savings you had from doing daily chores over the summer, and so you played what you had, over and over and over, because they were the only digital entertainment you had. Hopefully your friends had different titles to try out. Well, you also played Super Mario World, Super Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past over and over again because they were fantastic, constantly surprising and rewarding, beyond fun to this day. More to the topic at hand, I played Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts over and over again because it was frustratingly difficult.

You control the knight Arthur, who is entrusted to rescue the princess from a bunch of evil demons. Yup, game plots back then were as straightforward as they get, often with men saving a woman in peril, whether that man was a plumber, young boy, or legendary warrior. Anyways, Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts‘ antagonist is the Emperor Sardius, who has kidnapped the princess in order to obtain the whereabouts of the Goddess’ Bracelet, the only weapon in existence capable of destroying himself. Kind of like a Horcrux, I guess. Hmm. I didn’t know about that last tidbit, but seeing as I never got really far along in this mighty quest, that makes plenty of sense.

For those that know not, Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts is an action platformer, with a good focus on both action and platforming. Health is represented by Arthur’s suit of armor, which can be upgraded a bunch of times. Whenever an enemy deals damage, the armor lessons, falls apart, all the way down to having our heroic hero running around and tossing lances in only his boxer shorts. It’s humorless, but works really well to visually show how much more damage you can take before buying the farm. Oh, and Arthur can double jump, which was not as common as you think back then. Other than that, it’s all about moving and reaching the end, killing every demon or demon-created enemy in your way.

The big thing I remember about Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts is that, just like in DuckTales, treasure chests are hidden and can only be accessed by moving through certain specific areas of the screen, causing them to appear. Thankfully, since I sucked at saving the princess, I got pretty good at knowing where many of the hidden areas were in the first few levels.

Years later, after piling this game up with a bunch of others and trading it in for some credit towards a PlayStation, I snagged a copy of Maximo: Ghosts to Glory for the PlayStation 2. It is based on the same universe and features original character designs by Japanese illustrator Susumu Matsushita. Despite having an albeit punishing save system, the game is still as grueling to get through, but I’m once again halfway decent at the opening few levels, as I just keep replaying them from time to time.

Evidently, to get the true ending and ruin the rest of Emperor Sardius’ days, one must complete Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts twice. In a row. I’m sure it’s been done. I’m sure all I have to do is type some words into the YouTube search box and I’ll see what I want to see. That said, I prefer living in ignorance, remaining a child in his bedroom, twisting the SNES controller in my sweaty palms, screaming at the TV, “This game is impossible!” before popping back over to causing chaos in Sim City. I know it’s not, but Arthur’s journey is not a walk through the park. It’s a walk through a skeleton-laden park that hates you. Now double that feat and keep your clothes on the entire time. No thanks.

Sure, I like playing that opening level a whole bunch, but maybe, in the end, this is actually one game I don’t regret trading in.

GAMES I REGRET PARTING WITH is a regular feature here at Grinding Down where I reminisce about videogames I either sold or traded in when I was young and dumb. To read up on other games I parted with, follow the tag.

Remember Me teaches us to never forget the painful memories

remember me game final thoughts

If I had actually played Remember Me in 2013 and not dragged my feet to getting around to it, this heartbreaking tale of mind and memory most likely would’ve made my list of my five favorite games for the year, knocking out Doritos Crash Course 2. Yes, in spite of its shortcomings, of which there are several, it’s still that good, and I urge anyone reading this that has even the slightest interest in checking out Dontnod Entertainment’s debut to bite the bullet and do it. There most likely won’t be a sequel, and there might come a time when you won’t, ironically, even remember this came out.

I covered a lot of Remember Me in my last post, which saw me just entering the game’s fourth chapter. Also known as the halfway point for this roughly seven-hour journey. The second half of the game is still formulaic, more of the same platforming, punching, and pondering, but with tougher group and boss fights, as well as hard-cutting plot twists, one of which actually honestly caught me by surprise. No, really. I leaned forward and muttered, “No way.” You got me, game. Some later beats I saw coming, but not in execution, so that continued to keep me on my toes, because in a world where anything and everything is malleable, even hopes and dreams and memories, nothing can be expected.

Remember Me‘s premise is so dang good, and I’m not just saying that because I love movies like Inception and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, short fiction by Philip K. Dick, and, of course, George Orwell’s 1984, where playing with one’s mind is the key to making things work. At least for a time. It’s perhaps not as byzantine as those previous mentions, but it still packs a punch, holds power, and proves poignant, especially when talking about how personal pain can result in far-reaching consequences for the ones we love, even entire cultures. It’s certainly a cinematic adventure, but it’s handled quite seriously and personally, unfolding at a great clip with enough interaction peppered throughout to not slip into Metal Gear Solid 2 territory, where you only watch things happen as a passive player.

Something I neglected to comment on in my previous Remember Me post is that it features a fantastically strange soundtrack by Oliver Deriviere. Every time I’d scroll past Remember Me on my list of PlayStation Plus games, I’d get a one-second tease at the futuristic tunes that back up all those glowing signs, futuristic buildings, drones, and chaotic fights. It’s an orchestral and electronica mix, spiced with a number of glitches and synthesizer bleeps, which creates rather appropriate cyberpunk music. You might not ever notice when a song starts, but once it begins to amp up, it’s all you’ll hear, and it is used to great effect, especially during boss fights and the last chunk of the game.

Sadly, I will say that I felt no desire to search for the collectibles in Remember Me, unlike the feelings I got for Agility Orbs in Crackdown and shards in inFAMOUS 2. I finished the game with over half of the Scaramechs found, which are the parasites feeding on ambient memories in each level, generally located by the static-like sounds they emit; when you shoot them down, you get a slight PMP bonus. The most straightforward collectibles are the Mnesis memories, which are found in the environment. SAT and Focus pick-ups expand your health and energy after you collect enough of them. I don’t remember how much health Nilin had by the end, but she definitely only had two pips of Focus, so I missed a bunch, but again didn’t really feel driven to snuff every single one out. Plus, with the health-restoring combo attacks, you can get by on very little.

Again, Remember Me is a game you should play. It’s a smart, confident sci-fi adventure that’ll most likely take you ten to eleven hours on the middle difficulty level, with enough combat customization to keep things interesting and challenging, though there really isn’t any point to replaying it a second time, unless you missed some Trophies and collectibles. All the events will play out the same regardless, but man, what a series of events, lead by Nilin, a strong female protagonist capable of doing her own dirty work, and only sexualized in a few shots where the camera angle lingers a bit too long on her lower backside. She stands tall next to heroines like Jade from Beyond Good & Evil and Konoko from Oni. She, and her tragic tale of learning who she is and how she ultimately became Nilin, the Memory Hunter, is unarguably worth remembering.