Posts Tagged ‘Heavy Rain’

Literary Classics PtC Would Love to See as Video Games

As we grow so do the video games that we play. As we cultivate new interests and appreciations our video games grow to meet us with new concepts and ideas to appeal to our developments. While we are just at the cusp of a new surge of video games that place heavy emphasis on story any attempt to expand this market is met by PtC with excitement and great interest. For those unaware the UK company Tern Digital is currently attempting to turn the 1915 spy novel The Thirty Nine Steps into a video game for the PS3, PC, and iPad.

The 1925 novel tells the story of spy Richard Hannay battling to prevent a German invasion on the eve of war in Europe.

‘We’re hoping the power of the story will pull people in,’ said Tern’s Simon Meek.

It’s no great leap of logic to understand why they are doing this. Video games today are beginning to showcase deep rich stories. Games like Heavy Rain reopened the world of crime drama while Rockstar’s contender for game of the year L.A. Noire brought the whole genre back into the mainstream. But there is more to these games than just crime solving which is why Tern Digital is looking at adapting more than just the one novel.

In addition to The Thirty Nin Steps they are also looking at turning Great Expectations, 1984, Treasure Island, and Jekyll and Hyde into video games. I for one can’t wait however I can’t help but wonder if there are better novels out there to help usher in a whole new crop of story intensive gaming.

The Iliad

Troy in a Video Game

The Iliad is an epic poem that tells of internal struggle and arguments between overpowering authority and tragic hero. You have the tail of an impregnable fortress looming in the distance while you fight a war you don’t fully understand or even agree with. You are there because you are a warrior. You are there because it is your job. You wage war for another mans wife while your own leader behaves without regard for you or your men.

As this internal struggle continues you war is getting you nowhere. Your men are hungry, sick, and losing hope. Finally a plan is hatched that can tip the scales leading to a magnificently epic final battle. But with this you additionally set yourself up to a potential sequel.

To date there is a Battle of Troy game but it most certainly does not do justice to the tale by Homer.

The Odyssey

Armand Assante - the Odyssey

I want to sing "Take Me Home Tonight" by Eddie Money for two reasons.

The Odyssey has long been my favorite work of literary history. There has always been an overpowering sense of emotion behind it that I have never felt from reading anything else. It is the tail of Odysseus after the events of the Iliad. His blinding of Polyphemus enraged Poseidon so much that he cursed Odysseus with a seemingly unending journey home. His plight is not met without emotion from the goddess Athena who takes pity on him and wishes to help him.

During his journey he encounters mythical beasts, seduction from the goddesses and more heartache and setbacks than any one man should endure. But throughout all of this is the unrelenting desire to return home to his wife and son.

However this isn’t just the tale of Odysseus. We also see his home in Ithaca defiled and his lands ravaged by suitors to his wife. In his long absence since the war in Troy people assume he has died and demand his wife marry anew. His family still holds out hope and does all they can to stall the suitors. We watch his son come of age from a naïve boy to a man who can take charge of a situation and do what must be done.

Perhaps my favorite aspect is Odysseus’ unflattering return home to find his once beloved home in shambles. This does not sit well with him and through Athena, his son, and a grand plan of deception and revenge takes charge to reclaim what is his.

The potential of outstanding visuals that can be worked in with the raging storms the crush down around him or the lush islands of Circe where his men were turned into pigs. The visuals alone for the tropical Mediterranean island of Calypso would be enough to pique my interests. The inherent adventure behind Odysseus’ journey home would be enough to make any developer delight at the thought of showing off what they can do.

These would hands down be two additions to my video game library that I would never part with. They have long been two of my favorites but what about you? If this trend were to continue what literature would you like to see grace the world of video games?

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Playstation 3 Holiday Video Game Gift Buying Guide

The holiday season is upon us and that means its time to go out and spend money on video games for your loved ones. Sometimes even if they don’t play. Last year I got my mom a bear skin run and No More Hero’s. She doesn’t even know what a Wii is let alone anything about Travis Touchdown. Strangely enough the bear skin rug was actually the primary area of question. But why? Who doesn’t want a bear skin rug!?!?

We all have that gamer in our lives. The one who you never know quite what to shop for. Will they like it, won’t they like it. They may in fact think you don’t know gaming at all. You might not, but here at PtC we’re want to help you fake it. You may be sitting there asking yourself “What do I get that gamer in my life who has a PS3?” Well ask no more.

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain

Heavy rain is one of my top 5 Playstation 3 video games of all time. Initially my thought behind it was “people like it because it’s such a unique concept, it’s so different, but lets see if it stands the test of time.” Well the test is still going on, but personally I find myself drawn to it again and again.

If the reviews are to be believed this game was revolutionary for it’s innovative control scheme and absolutely outstanding graphics. More than the bells and whistles this game hits the user at their core. This has one of the more engaging stories to come out of a video game this year (in my opinion). What makes it truly outstanding is not just that the story grabs you in once, but you can play it over and over and find new elements, new endings, new possibilities. Unlike games such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age where there is a good, bad, and neutral response Heavy Rain teaches moral ambiguity. You will never know the outcome of your snap decisions until after you make them. This game will grab you and hold you until the bitter heart pounding end. It’s a quick play, but the replay value increases the playtime exponentially.

This is not a game for everyone mind you. The blatant nudity and storyline about a murderer are absolutely deserving of the M rating that it receives. But still – go out and get it for the gamer in your life who is over the age 18 that likes deep engaging stories.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $43.88

Target: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $59.99

Buy from Best Buy: $59.99

Gran Turismo 5

Gran Turismo 5If you have a race fan, car enthusiast, gear head, or street racer this the game you should keeping your eye on this holiday season. Why is that? 26 locations, 71 tracks, and over 1000 cars. This is not for the amateur car guy. This is something you give to the fan who seriously sees a car and gets a big rubbery one.

What makes this so exceptional has to do with the fact that this game was in development for over five years. They went over everything in minute detail to present the cleanest, most polished, most unbelievable product they could. While the ratings for Gran Turismo 5 weren’t as high as many of us were expecting them to be it is still a pretty amazing offering that should be in the library of any gamer. Especially if that gamer loves cars.

If you have someone who appreciates meticulous attention to detail, has always wanted to attempt to drive a high end car who’s price tag would make Diddy do a double take then pick up a copy of Gran Turismo 5 today.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $55.99

Wal-Mart (PS3): $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood

Assassins Creed: BrotherhoodOh how I have a deep love for Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. It’s not the kind of love you sometimes find. Where you meet a girl and really like her a lot. You have feelings for her and you think you love her so you tell her and she laughs at you. Oh college… This is a love that is deep and passionate and most importantly reciprocated.

How is it given back? With the tightest control scheme seen in any Assassins Creed, a fantastic extension of the already incredible story of Ezio. But then it decides that killing along a defined story is no longer good enough to keep you a loyal and monogamous assassin. No it amps things up and brings other people into the relationship to spice things up. THAT’S HOW MUCH IT LOVES YOU!!

Fear not Assassins Creed: Brotherhood…we have noticed what you’ve done and we love you too. So much so that we don’t want to be the only one who gets the benefit of “sharing”. We want to share you with the world and say “Give yourself to others and make them as happy as you’ve made me.”

Now as you can imagine this is not going to be a game for everyone in the family. It has an ESRB rating of M for a reason. It’s all about killing people. Very gratifying and visceral killing, but still killing. Add to that the game starts off with Ezio getting down in a tub with Caterina Sforza and you have yourself a super sexy murderous box full of awesome.

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $49.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead RedemptionThis was one of those video games that you pretty much knew was going to be fun. It mixed all of the greatness that was the Grand Theft Auto franchise and set it in the Old West with horses, and cougars, and bears. BEARS!!! Come to think of it you could give the greatest gift ever given. The opportunity to bring down a bear with a hunting knife. I can’t name a single person who hasn’t wanted to do that. Heck even my dog Maddox gazed at the TV with rapt attention as I attempted it. There was a certain look of jealousy in his eyes. As I failed I can swear I heard him sigh as if to say “If it was me I totally would have brought down the bear.” He’s a jerk.

Much like everything listed so far this game is rated M which means you’re not going to be wanting to pick this up for your niece or nephew who spends most of their time dancing along with YoGabba Gabba! Okay well in most instances where your niece or nephew spends their time dancing along with Yo Gabba Gabba!

What you get is essentially a classic spaghetti western set in an entirely open world video game. You get stage coaches, shootouts, saloons, and s….ookers. Yeah that alliteration was DOA wasn’t it?

GameStop: $59.99

Amazon: $49.96

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed: Hot PursuitNeed for Speed: Hot Pursuit, unlike Gran Turismo 5 is intended for the Ricky Bobby style of drivers who just “wanna go fast.” Need for Speed has always been a solid and reliable franchise that you can count on for great racing, fun environments, and (as the name suggests) pursuits from law enforcement to break up an otherwise “mundane” race.

However the makers of Hot Pursuit threw a curve ball at fan and <gasp> actually listened to them. Fans had been asking for it and Criterion answered by actually letting you play as the police. This is something that most people thought would be entertaining and a change of pace and wouldn’t ya know it. We were all right. All us. All except Steve in Columbus Ohio. He was so very very wrong.

The truly fun aspect of Need for Speed is that it doesn’t take near as much time or effort to get a high end car that you will never find in your garage. It was created in a way so that you, for lack of a better phrase, get to the good stuff quickly. It’s rated E10+ so feel free to get it for some of the younger family members.

GameStop: $42.99

Amazon: $49.95

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $49.96

Call of Duty: Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black OpsIf you know anyone who is a fan of first person shooters (FPS) then this is something they should already have. However if you have that one person who was, for whatever reason, holding out then absolutely go pick this video game up and make their Christmas bright. Instead of twinkling lights to delight the eyes they will gaze lovingly at muzzle flashes and artillery.

This game takes place in the 1960’s as you assume the roll of (mostly) Alex Mason a special forces solider running CIA sanctioned black ops missions. It takes you around the world to places like Laos, Vientnam, Cuba, and Russia. But single player campaigns aren’t what COD games are typically about.

What really gets the people amped up about COD is the multiplayer. With points and unlockable rewards this isn’t just run and gun. It becomes a personal experience that becomes an extension of who you are. There are so many facets to the online mutliplayer system that we just can’t list all of them in a simple gift buying guide.

GameStop: $49.99

Amazon: $54.96

Target: $59.99

Best Buy: $59.99

Wal-Mart: $54.96

I’m not saying these are the only video games to pick up for the gamer in your life this holiday season. These are just the ones I would specifically look for to pick up. So now I ask you, what games are on your holiday wish list? Comment below and let us know. We may even tell Santa to hook you up.
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Video Games: What is beating a game anymore?

A few weeks back my family and I were having a discussion about video games. I was going on a rant about how Heavy Rain was amazing for the sheer fact that it had so many potential outcomes. I made the mistake of saying “…the first time I beat Heavy Rain…” and the question was asked “Well…if you can have so many different endings then what constitutes beating a video game?”

Mario Brothers Box Art

Back when the only decision was to jump now...or jump now

Back when I was a young whipper snapper the 8-bit Nintendo came out. We were shown a world of plumbers, pipes, and princesses with a very definite beginning, middle, and end. Even as gaming progressed video games had very specific and classic sense of novelization that took the user through a world that they had little real control over. Yes one could argue the point that the death of the main character was in fact a decision that a player could make that could indeed affect the outcome of a video game. However the main point holds true that you had to live within the confines of the main character and do what needed to be done to progress to the next level…literally.

As gaming went on it never changed. Then we began to see video games like the first Black and White and The Sims which allowed to user to make some decisions or (in the case of The Sims) all decisions that affected the life of the character. This concept was revolutionary but seemingly slow to reach maturity. In fact it may still be in its maturation phase.

Video games like Fable offered a very distinct ability to play in a variety of ways. Whichever path you chose to take (be it good or evil) would have an effect on those around you. More specifically how they reacted to you and interacted with you. If you want to grow devil horns and have everyone run away screaming, kick every man, woman, child, and chicken you see. But lets be honest…who didn’t love a good Chicken Kickin’ every now and again?

Video games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins, while not the first, were quite good at establishing very distinct paths of right and wrong. You actions and reactions altered how your party interacted with you, or even hung around your character. The downside is that you could clearly see which path you were going to take. You could easily mold your character into the saint or bastard you wanted them to be without much of a challenge.

Then comes a video game like Nier. Nier’s beauty is not in its imagery (far from it) but in it’s ability to coerce the user into playing again once the game has been beaten. It tells more of the story, provides more of a background. While it doesn’t force you to make decisions on the outcome, it (at the very least) makes you question if you’ve actually beaten it, or merely completed it.

Heavy Rain decisions

Heavy Rain's decisions can be confusing yet have strong outcomes

With video games like Heavy Rain the player has the ability to totally help or hinder the goals of the characters they control. While there are a finite number of endings, it is still a rather lengthy endeavor to witness all potential outcomes. So does beating the game mean seeing an ending? Does it mean seeing the specific ending you were attempting to see? The trick is that there are no right or wrong choices. There are simply choices. You won’t know what the outcome of your actions are until it’s all said and done. Ultimately this is part of what made it so interesting to play.

Shortly after I had this conversation I noticed a post that showed up on Wired by Jonathan Liu titled “Why aren’t games about winning anymore?” and it got me curious. Is this never ceasing quest for achievements and trophies a byproduct of or a reason for the ability to play a game multiple ways. Either way I agree that (at least what I took away was) video games today are a little too much about the achievements/trophies than actually whoopin’ the piss out of a green fire breathing dragon…turtle thing that stole a princess. While the story wasn’t very robust I’ll be damned if it wasn’t a blast to play.

Am I just one of a few rare holdouts who say “beat a game” in world where “finishing a game” is more appropriate? Is there a Facebook fan page for people like me?

And Jonathan, about your removal of the line that games today were made for an “ADHD crowd” I would just like to say that as someone who was diagnosed with ADHD almost 20 years ago that line was perfectly fine, and you needn’t worry about uptight readers who don’t like it. I found it to be a very apt and poignant critique on how video games are quick to dole out rewards for virtually nothing.

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Yoichi Wada thinking we need more games like Heavy Rain is scary

Yoichi Wada - Square Enix PresidentThe video game internet work is buzzing right now thanks to wonderful Yoichi Wada. In a recent interview with Famitsu the president of Square Enix, Wada, stated:

It would be good if they made more games like Heavy Rain.

It’s comments like this that scare me. I love Square Enix. I think they are a fantastic group with some serious talent and wonderful story telling abilities. On top of that most of the games they publish are visually stunning and enough to make a grown man giggle titter like a small child on the playground.

Heavy Rain - Madison Paige

That's right Madison, we all know your secret.

I am also a fan Heavy Rain. It was fun, it was interesting, it was different. The controls were unlike anything I had ever played previously and once you got the hang of them it was game on. Visually this was one of the more exquisite games I have ever had the pleasure to play. Not to mention that Quantic Dream was nice enough to answer the age old question “does she shave” when looking at Madison Paige. Thanks guys!

Now you’re probably wondering “Why are more games like Heavy Rain scary?”

Because what made Heavy Rain so good was that it was so different. Lets be honest, Square Enix has a tendency to beat a dead horse so unmercifully that it actually comes back to life briefly so that it can be killed and beaten again. You know it’s true. Look at Final Fantasy. “Rebel/outcast gets mixed up in an adventure in a world that is a mix of magic and technological wonders. Through struggle and loss he gains the trust and admiration of his group and becomes their leader in a struggle to save the world from certain doom.” One time they had Vivi. Vivi rocked.

Final Fantasy IX - Vivi

Excessive stitching is also bad ass.

When that formula got a little old, they added Disney to the mix, but still injected it full of Final Fantasy. Okay I’m not going to lie to you, I still love Kingdom Hearts II. Organization XIII was bad ass, and so was Vivi.

But the more people make a game like Heavy Rain the more the market will be diluted and lose its charm. While yes, I do agree with Wada that there needs to be more games like it with a rich and deep story line, I beg them not to bombard the market with Heavy Rain clones that force the user to solve a murder mystery with plot twists, winding turns, and some whiney guy who desperately needs to shave running around shouting “JASON” over and over.

So here I am asking please. Wada-sama please. Square Enix please. Please from the depth of my soul don’t take something as beautiful and magnificent as Heavy Rain and dilute its magnificence by flooding the market with games that aren’t as polished, thought out, or interesting. I’m not asking you not to make something like it, but please for the love of all that is pure take time with it. Make it outstanding.

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Video Game Loading Screens: Just Pure Evil

We’ve all been there. Heavy into a video game’s story. Fully engaged by the plot. Totally immersed in the action. Riveted by the dialog. Then it strikes. The loading screen. Some video games cover it up. Some video games throw up a graphic. Some video games do something strange. In every instance its just annoying.

With technological advancements in video game systems comes the ability to do more with a game. With each attempt to do more, however, we find that we are at a loss when we have to face the interminable loading screen. When, oh when, will we find ourselves at a total lack of video game loading screens? Until we do we are forced to sit through the mundane, benign, and often arbitrary attempt to either disguise, mask, or confuse people by the loading screen.

Assassins Creed Loading Screen Fog

Assassins Creed apparently takes place in Cleveland winters

Assassin’s Creed: Behold the Fog

When Assassin’s Creed first came out it was a technological marvel. Yes, yes it was dull, repetitive, lackluster, tedious, long winded, pointless and a little preachy but hot damn was it ever b-e-a-utiful. Touring ancient cities like Jerusalem was a marvel, and they way Altair moved through a crowd reacting to physical elements as if they actually had mass and substance was simply divine. Unless it was the beggar woman. Good god they should have made stabbing her in the neck automatic win. New trophy with ever 15!!

But where the game takes a turn for the worse is the equally dull, repetitive, lackluster, tedious, long, and pointless loading screen. You enter into what can only be truely understood by someone who grew up in the northeast United States. Grey, overcast, looks cold….where’s the snow shovel because it looks like December.

When taken between events in the story the character is taken into this mysterious fog where all they have to is meander aimlessly, maybe play with the weapons a little, or punch at thin air. With all the beauty and wonder of Assassin’s Creed you would think they would have come up with something a little more inventive than…well…nothing.

Mass Effect: No Love in an Elevator

We at Polish the Console love our BioWare. Hell we mention them at least once per post. But where the seem to lack is in their loading screen. I’ll be honest with you. The main reason my relationship with Ashley Williams in Mass Effect never goes anywhere is because quite frankly I’m just too damn lazy to use the elevator. This is the future here people! The elevators should at least be slightly speedy. Don’t know what I mean. Here:

While most people may view this as a showing of Wrex’s masterful conversation skills, I view is as a barage of slow ass elevators. Couldn’t they have at least made it feel like you’re traveling in a super fast future elevator? Something that doesn’t make me think “Stairs and a fire pole could greatly help both speed and efficiency in travel in the future.”

Heavy Rain: Most awkward staring contest ever

Heavy Rain is nothing if not one of the most visually stunning video games to date. The realism expressed by the faces and mannerisms of the characters has yet to be matched. Heavy Rain is on a whole new level in video game graphical capabilities.

What better way to showcase this than to make users stare at screens like ol’ Scott here between events:

Scott! Hey SCOTT!! I’m over here! Look at me Scott. Scott god dammit stop looking around and look me in the eyes! This is both maddening and pretty darn awkward.

I mean it, it’s almost as if the video game is so ashamed of you for not looking half as good as it that it refuses to look at you. Is there something wrong with me? Is it because I haven’t showered yet? This week?

Dragon Age: Origins: Worst Cartographer EVER!

Dragon Age: Origins at least attempts to trick you into thinking its not loading. Well, unless you see the screen at the top of this post. What they do is drip blood on a map as you traverse the desolate expanse between towns. Anyone who has played knows that you spend a lot of time traveling. Always moving, always walking. While they get ready to load the next town, and often cut-scene, you are shown the following map of Ferelden:

Dragon Age: Origins Map Loading Screen

Who keeps dripping blood on the map?

On this map as you move from town to town you are followed by a rather dubious trail of blood. Who keeps dripping this blood? Are they okay? Do they need a doctor? I may have a potion or two I can use to help. Listen, I have an abundance of Injury Kits in my ruck sack. I am not going to use all of them why don’t you have one. If it can cure a gouged eyeball, or cracked skull i’m pretty sure your messy little ailment will be no trouble at all for it. Please? If not can you please stop looking at the map with me? I don’t want to catch what you have.

Devil May Cry 4: Please stop warbling, ma’am

Devil May Cry 4 set a new standard in ridiculous load screens. Anyone who owns a Playstation 3 knows exactly what I mean. You can’t play the video game without installing it. This is supposed to help cut down on load times. What we instead recieve is the most ridiculous load time ever seen in video game history.

If you don’t know what I mean I have a video for you:

Yes you read that time right. Seven…and a half…long….minutes.

At least they tell you the story so far so you’re not totally lost, but still. Seven minutes of loading. This may very well be the longest loading screen I’ve ever seen.

Let us know your favorite/most hated loading screen below. Who knows, you may just win something!

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