Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nameing the next Dark Souls

So over at Game Informer they're asking what a possible Dark Souls sequel could be called. Not that there's any announcements for a sequel... but it's just that both Dark Souls and Demons Souls before that performed so well in terms of sales that another game in the series is almost a no brainer.

There's a few mock titles and covers over at this page and they even asked readers to submit possible titles and mock game covers.

Well here's mine :D

I was originally gonna go with "Fallen Souls" because that's what scares me the most about the game... when you drop souls. But what hurts more? ...when you loose them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Aimless: Scare me

Fear; one our most primitive of emotions. I remember reading somewhere once that Fear is meant to be a sort of defense mechanism that prevents us from placing ourselves in danger.

You know what else fear is good for? Thrills. From a simple horror story back in the day, to real life events where we jump off planes and plunge from bridges with our legs tied, being scared can be a lot of fun.

Horror movies are a good fix for this. Watching with a pacing heart beat as some cute chick walks into a room to get her head chopped off, or staring at some guy tied to a chair for 20mins while a psychopath takes his time slicing and dicing him for his own pleasure.

Or is it... for our pleasure?

There's a reason why there are so many horror movies out every other day. Not only because they can be pretty cheap to make, but mostly because we love subjecting ourselves to them. God knows what any of us would ever do if we were caught in a situation like those in horror movies, but the thing is, we don't have to know. Through horror movies we are allowed to explore these things at the expense of the characters on screen.

Now days though horror in movies is relatively tame compared to the real life things some people have to live through. All you need to do is smack a quick search over the inter-webs to find all kinds of stories about all kinds of depraved individuals and the scary stuff they get up to.

Nothing scares like real life.

But when was the last time you were scared playing a game? I think if done properly, games would have an even greater potential to scare use compared to movies, because unlike a movie where you simply sit back and watch; in a game were are allowed some control over what plays out.

Silent Hill

You have your obvious horror titles like Resident Evil, which is leaning towards a more action orientated style now, and you have the likes of Silent Hill which made it's name on a more psychological style of horror. Thing is these are games you go into expecting to be scared, or expecting to be see some disturbing stuff. Even Dead Space which is one of my favorite games of all time, is more of a thrill ride to me then a genuine scare.

One of my favorite accounts of scary gaming is my friend Micheal John telling me about his time spent in STALKER. His not much of a horror game fan, nor does he watch a lot of horror movies, but he loves to shoot things in the face with guns.

Stalker is an open world game set in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. You play a mercenary who gets to muck around the world doing odd jobs here and there. All was going well for Mike in the game until this one bit where he had to go into an underground tunnel at night. A tunnel crawling with reanimated corpses. I remember him telling me how freaky it was to be in the tunnel with no light and the sound of the zombies moaning and shuffling about. It got to him so bad that he actually waited till day light in game before he went back into the tunnel.

How cool is that? This wasn't real life, it wasn't a fear reaction to preserve his well being. But the whole thing creeped my friend out so much that he wouldn't risk his own emotions going back into this zombie infested tunnel. He could have loaded his save had his character died, but this wasn't about his character, this was about him.

And that's awesome.

The last game that gave me nightmares was Silent Hill back on the PS1, but as far as not wanting to go on while playing it - that never happened.

The other night though I was mucking around in Demon's Souls, and I had gotten to this place called the Tower of Latria. As I entered it didn't feel much different from the other places I've become accustomed to in the game. As I made my way through this level however it started really weighing one me.

The Tower of Latria is a sort of Asylum prison. Its halls a full of inmates behind bars, In the dull light and against the dark shadows you see their hands reaching out to you; some begging to be released ...others yelling out to you in contempt.

When you happen to open one of these cells some of the inmates try to attack you, but most of them beg you to get them out of there. They plead and cry as you try to push past them. Some of them are even strapped to torture machines and the only way to get them out is to kill them.

And then... in the middle of all this I hear a sound. Like tiny bells ringing... or a wind chime caught on a breeze somewhere.

For some reason I was compelled to go towards this sound. Not because some game mechanic was pushing me towards it automatically... but because in the face of all this horror around me... I wanted to see where this beautiful sound was coming from.

On the edge of my seat, late at night... slowly my Knight sir Issac made his way through the dark towards this sound. I even dropped my shield and lowered my guard ...against all I had learned in the game so far. As I turned the corner I honestly farken swore out load as I found what was making the sound.

Mind Flayer

This thing, which I later came to know as a mind-flayer moved so fast that as soon as I saw it, the nasty tentacles that hung around its head quickly grabbed me. Lifting me up it began to drain the life out of me, then it tossed me aside. As I got up... shield raised... heart still pumping... the creature let out some sort of energy blast which quickly finished off what was left of me.

I actually sat there in awe staring at the screen. I had been so engrossed in the game that when this happened it really messed me up for a bit. As my toon came back from the loading screen I thought to myself "Do I want to carry on tonight?" ... I decided to get some rest and visit the tower again later.

The Tower of Latria scares me man. In fact... the whole set up of Demon's Souls scares me more than any game I've played. I actually fear for my toon and don't want him to die. Hats of to the Dev crew for putting together something truly amazing.

When was the last time a game scared you?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Heavenly Sword: First impressions

So yesterday I picked up Heavenly Sword for the PS3.

I've always been intrigued by this game because all the promotional materiel for it has a scantly clad woman with a giant sword. If there's two things I like it's Pringles and Coke.

When I loaded the game up the first thing that struck me was the amazing graphics. This game came out back in 2007, but it looks and plays like something a lot more current.

Everything from the cinematic cut scenes to the actual in game animations and graphics look like a moving piece of art.

You play as Nariko, a young woman whose entire clan hates her cause she wasn't born a boy. If she were born a boy she would have been destined to carry the Heavenly Sword, a powerful ancient weapon which is foretold to lead the clan against an unspeakable evil.

But as the armies of a ruthless Raven lord named Bohan (played by Andy Serkis) descends on their village, Nariko proves very capable of dishing out the hurt. So her reluctant father gives her the sword to look after during the battle.

But then shit gets stirred even harder and she is forced to take up the blade, that we find out drains the user of their life essence.

What follows is some of the maddest fighting I've come to play in a 'beat em up.'

Nariko fights like a cross between a pretty bird and a farkin hurricane. She flips and dances around enemies before smashing them to peices with furious attacks that make the game a joy to watch.

It's actually very easy to pick up but it takes a bit of time to learn all the combo moves and counters that Nariko has at her disposal.

There's a lot of reviews for the game out there, like this one from Gamespot, so I'm not gonna go into much details in relations to that, but even after reading all the praise for it I wasn't expecting such a spectacular game.

The disk I got was pretty awesome too as it came with a complete making of for the game as well as all the episodes for the Heavenly Sword animated series.

I didn't get to play too much of it last night as I'm currently suffering/ enjoying Demon Souls, but it is defiantly an awesome addition to my collection.

Check out the very cool video below that show's off the games combat as well as awesome style and graphics.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Demon Souls: VERY first impressions

Last night I got home after an evening of drinks, chow and cup cakes celebrating my girl friends Birthday, to a package sitting on my desk.

Like a mad animal I tore that thing open and inside it was my import copy of Demon's Souls :D

Demon's Souls is the spiritual prequel to Dark Souls, the game that has had me firmly in its grasp since I first put into my ps3 tray.

Even though Demon's Soul came out back in 2009 in Japan, the game looks amazing. From the opening video to the first time you step into the world of Boletaria, the game is rich with details and polish that would put some of the current games to shame. The only thing to me that sort of threw me of at first was the very slightly stiff animations for the main character. In Dark Souls your toon moves with such fluidity. This does nothing to hinder the game in any way though, and after a while you don't even notice it.

Right off the bat it was clear that Demon's Soul had more of a precise narrative to it as well. Where as the beginnings of Dark Souls are a bit of an enigma that you have to work out, Demon's Soul tells you about a Mad king and his meddling with dark rituals beyond his control to gain power, which leads to the world being plunged into sort of evil fog. From this fog we get these mad ass demons that have come to eat our souls!

There's a slight Lovecrat element to the story (At least to me) as we hear of old ones and their servants seeping into our world, looking to claim what is ours as theirs.

As you begin your journey you're guided through a tutorial by an unknown voice, this again was a lot more extensive than the one from Dark Souls. At the end though you come face to face with this massive demon that quickly crushes you.

As you die this unknown guide brings you back to 'life' and you wake up in this thing called the Nexus.

This is where the first big difference from Dark Souls pops. Where as in the Dark Souls you have a sort of open world where all the ares are linked and you make your way between them without loading times (unless you port), in Demons Souls you have the Nexus that has portals that warp you to the different areas.

This place is also filled with refugees that range from Black smiths, merchants and this one guy who offers to hold all your shit if your inventory is full.

Also now I was in my 'undead' form, but unlike Dark Souls where being undead means you look like shit and can't hurt things as much... in Demon's Souls you still look pretty, but you're life bar is slashed in half. To get the rest of it back you must acquire a demon soul and the first one can be found through the nearest warp gate.

After I made my rounds meeting and greeting I entered the first warp gate and was taken to a massive fortress. When I say massive... I mean massive. The sense of scale grabbed me right away. Looking up at the giant walls that stood before, thinking about what horrors might be waiting inside... a feeling of both fear and joy crept over me. Joy because I love exploring new places, fear because the place looked farkin creepy and I knew there were any number of things in there that are just waiting to tear the shit out of me.

The combat in the game actually handles just like Dark Souls, with controls that are very responsive. The mechanics are pretty much the same, with counters, shield bashes and everything else I've gotten used to.

But the baddies, the baddies were are lot more aggressive. I also felt it played up the horror element a bit more too, from the blood curdling cries of the shambling zombies to the eerie music (or sometimes lack of) that haunted your journey.

Making my way through the dark halls of this menacing fortress, I was truly tensed out of my mind. I had gotten so used to Dark Souls as it forced you to learn every nook and cranny of it. But now I was up against a new area, with new traps and new baddies.

That's what Demon's Souls is... more Dark Souls. Or Dark Souls is more Demon's Souls.

I didn't get to play much of Demons Souls last night though as it was my girl friends birthday and I really wanted to spend some time with her, so after I died a few times on this one red eyed spear knight, I decided to call it.

But I know that this game will be another addiction. I want to say that it's sort of an early version of Dark Souls, but that doesn't sound nice and takes away from the games greatness, but it definitely feels like a more raw Dark Souls. Darker, more in your face and out to get you, with some indication of a story that it wants to tell. Plus like I mentioned it feels even eerier.

I love it, and am really glad that I got it.

Tonight we have a family dinner, but as soon as that's done I'm so hitting this game with a vengeance!

Monday, February 13, 2012

And then?

And then I bought Shank 2 on steam last week, so a small part of my weekend was spent slashing up foes and spreading blood and guts all over my pc.

Action platformers are a staple of the indie games scene, but few have the class that the Shank games deliver. Developer Klei entertainment did a great job of following up their 2010 release with a polished action adventure that stays true to the first game, while adding tweaks and adjustments which make the whole experience fresh and grander.

Overall the game feels a lot closer to the famous Metal Slug games and the awesome additions to Shanks deadly arsenal (like the throwing knives) lend a lot more variety to the already outstanding combat system. Here's an awesome Review of the game over at Joysticq.

My girl friend and I also came across a new TV show over the weekend. The River which is created by Oren Peli of Paranormal Activity dame and produced by Steven Spielberg who has nothing better to do than to throw money at every other TV show that's out every month. It's an interesting series that takes place in the Amazon. OOOooOOoooo

It's about these guys that go looking for a missing nature show host whose gotten himself lost in the Amazon, but what they find is that this guy was into some weird shit. Like... evil sprites and looking for demons kinda shit. What follows is Paranormal Activity kinda jumps and scares, but packaged for TV. Though I'm not the biggest fan of the 'Para' series of movies, this show is actually kind of intriguing.

A lot of it is fueled by ancient Amazon folklore and myths which is the kind of stuff that I love. Things from Tribal cultures that we all scoff at, coming to life and ripping our faces off. The show sort of has a Paranormal Activity meets Apocalypse Now kinda feel and I'm down with that.

Extended Trailer HERE.

The first two episodes where enough to get us excited about the third show, and it's nice to have another horror themed TV show to watch every week. (While waiting for Walking Dead to return)

We got dinner out on Saturday Night just so that we could get out of the house and muck about. When we got back we messed around on Shank 2s multiplayer for awhile before chilling with a few old horror movies.

On Sunday morning I had a game of Squash with my boss. That was a lot of fun. There was a time when I was at the Squash court every other day, but now I'm rusty as fak at it, but my boss is a real pro so he gave me a few pointers and we're planing on making it a twice-a-week gig.

Surprisingly I played very little Dark Souls over the weekend, mostly I just got on and PVPed for a bit. I did an awesome killing spree of 4 or 5 invades before being pwnd a few times in a row, which kinda made me almost bust a vein in my forehead, and it's hard for me to play with an almost busted vein.

The afternoon was later spent working on another WWF, which I handed in this morning.

I also got my hands on a new Anime series. This time it's an awesome fantasy/ horror (very slight horror) show called Fate/night sky and it's prequel Fate/Zero. This is yet another show I got because I read that it reminded people of Dark Souls.

If the stars align in my favor then my Demons Souls order should get in today and I know that's going to be a lot of fun.

Today is also my Girlfriends birthday! So we're gonna grab a few drinks and then head off to dinner. We're also gonna have a Valentines/ Birthday dinner with her family and mine tomorrow night. My mums making a massive pot of Beef Pallow which I can not wait to dig into :D

All in all it was an awesome weekend and with the Sun up high today it looks like it's going to be a great week.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

my Dark Souls screen shots

This has to be the suckiest thing about my ps3, the fact that I can't take screen shots with it. But I really wanted to show you how bad ass my Dark Soul toons look, so I took these with my camera.

My first character :D

My second toon RPing as Death

sir Issac without helmet.

Sir Issac defensive Death

Enough about Dark Souls!

Ok that's it. No more talking about Dark Souls.

I know you're probably sick of me going on and on about this amazing game, so I've decided to not bore you with it any longer. Even my blog is cluttered by it. With the back to back posts of the game I might as well change my blog name to "Zen and the Art of Dark Souls."

click to enlarge

But thank you very much for putting up with it. I know I can get carried away sometimes.

This could have very easily been a post about how I've started my 2nd character in Dark Souls, because I want to focus on building a toon with the sole purpose of PVP. I'm not gonna bother getting into the details, but I rolled a Knight this time around, because I thought he would be a perfect starter character for the PVP Death God I wish to create.

On my first play through one of my favorite weapons quickly became the Lifehunt scythe. A weapon that bleeds the enemy for a shit load of damage, but also hurts you a bit too. So to use this monster effectively against another player, it helps to level your toon accordingly. Now my new guy has massive bleed resistance, a shit load of hit points and he hits like a truck.

o and his name is Sir Issac. He was a noble knight who had given away to the hollow that's consuming Lordren. So he ventured forth to find some sort of cure for his horrid fate, but instead the dark deaths of the world changed him. Turning him into that which he tried to fight against. Now he travels the land, hunting others who were once like him.

Issac's a bad ass. Knowing the game mechanics now and the ins and out of stats and stuff has allowed me to fashion him into a very effective killing machine. I was particularly surprised when I fought Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough. This was a very tough fight the first time around and even on New game+

But when Sir Issac took to the fight with his duel scythes he shredded the shit out of the two bosses.

What also amazed me was that I found some new areas this time around, even though this is the third time I'm going through the game. But what down right made me feel like a noob was the damn chracter creation screen.

If you read my first Impressions post for Dark Souls I was complaining about how you don't have much freedom when making your toon. Man that turned out to be bullshit because as I was creating Issac I saw a little tab which once clicked, opens up a whole mess of options and adjustments. The face creator in Dark Souls turned out to be pretty damn awesome. Maybe not as robust as Fallout3, but with more than enough tweaks to customize your character however you want.

Sir Issac is a pretty boy. With his long silver hair and chiseled good looks.

As I was creating him I couldn't believe I missed this feature the first time around. My 1st toon looks like hideous.

I also spent a few points to get myself some decent spells. So Issac's not just a melee toon, he also has some nice Pyromancy spells and miracles that make invaders cry.

I could really write up an awesome post update on what's happening with the game right now, but I'm going to spare you the details and just say that a 180 hours in and Dark Souls is still every bit as entertaining as the day I got it. It will be more than enough to hold me over till Demon Souls gets in this week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lollipop Chainsaw: pre-order for sure.

There was a time when I would have played just about anything with a zombie in it. No matter how shit or how obscure... if it had a re-animated corpse somewhere in the equation, then add me to it.

But then the gaming market had a sudden surge of zombie games, and not all of them good. Like the messed up virus that creates these beautiful ugly wretches, these rotten games clogged their way into every genre and soon I was avoiding them like a zombie bite.

Every now and then however, you get a game that has the right formula for a fun zombie game and for Lollipop Chainsaw that formula involves lots of zombies, a chainsaw and hot cheerleader as your main character. It's also interesting to note that the story is penned by James Gunn the guy who wrote the very cool 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake. ( One of my favorite zombie movies)

This game had been on my radar since I first heard of it, but the urge to buy it struck me like a machete to the skull today when I found out about the freakin awesome bonuses you get if you pre-order it.

Basically you get skins, alternative costumes for your heroin. And one of them is an awesome Ash from Evil Dead Skin!

Sort of looks like Tina Fey dressed as Ash

Evil Dead is the shit, and Evil Dead 2 will forever be in the top 3 of my all time favorite movies EVER! This bonus makes an already sweet game ever sweeter. Will definitely fork up some cash for this soon.

Check the awesome Ash skin in action as well as some other hot outfits and mad zombie killing in the video below.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

And Then?

And then I didn't go to work yesterday because I had a horrible pain in my chest :O

I was up all night tossing and turning because it hurt so bad that I couldn't go to sleep. It was weird because I haven't had a smoke since last Friday, so maybe it was some sort of crazy withdrawal symptom?

Or it could have been heart burn or a more likely scenario, it could have been a xenomorph growing inside my chest cavity. My chest is still intact which means .... it's still in there.

I'm all better now though so that's cool. I spent the day at home watching 30 Rock and PVPing in Dark Souls. But the later was kind of slow, maybe because all the kids I'm normally harassing were in school, so most of the day was spent lying in bed feeding my face and tripping on Tina Fey.

I also started watching Gantz, which is a pretty F'ed up anime with lots of blood, gore and occasional attempted rape thrown in for good measure.

It didn't grab me like Death Note, and the gore wasn't as fun as in DeadMan Wonderland, but it's got a huge following online so ima give it a few more episodes to see where it all goes.

The night before I was out looking for more horror/anime titles and came across a sweet little anime short called Kakurenbo which was about these little kids being chased by these crazy looking mechanical demons. It had a really nice atmosphere to the whole thing, and I wished it was more than 30mins long.


As I mentioned I did a bit PVPing in Dark Souls as well, I pretty much spent the morning parked out side the Boss chamber in Anor Londo, which is this really tough battle that a lot of people are left open to invasion for. I my self had been ambushed here heaps of times, so it was only fitting that I returned the misery :P

I also visited the USP bookshop yesterday afternoon to check on an order I made back in October last year. I went in fully prepared to kick up a very small stink and ask for my money back, but the book was in. So now I'll have to go back tomorrow when I get paid to clear the balance and pick up the book. The order was a collection of short stories by Harlan Ellison called I have no mouth and I must scream. Now this guy writes some fucked up Sci-fi, and I'm really looking forward to wrapping my head around it. Sci fi short film script soon to follow.

After that I visited the WWF office to hand in a video I had been working on. I'm doing a bit of volunteer work for them and as my first project I put together a short video on some of the projects that the organization is currently working on. It was very rewarding to have the WWF crew like my video because I have never cut anything like it before. Most of my work is commercial stuff so to work on something that's meant to raise awareness and pull support for a cause was interesting. I'm looking forward to the next project, they've even offered to take me along on their field trips so I can have a better understanding of what they do, that would be pretty cool.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to place an order for Demon Souls (PS3 Exclusive Spiritual prequel to Dark Souls) over at MightyApe.com, as well as pick up Shadow of the Colossus HD from a local store. I keep hearing about how Demon Souls is so much harder than Dark Souls and I really just want to muck around in the "souls" world some more. I've already clocked like 100 hours on my current character and it's as exciting as ever.

Shadow of Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus is another PlayStation exclusive title that I've heard so much about. When talking to most people I know about their favorite games on the PS, this game is always on the list of top faves. It's similar to Demons/ Dark Souls in the way that the main gameplay emphasis is on killing bosses, but in "Shadow" this idea is taken to the extreme with the entire game just being a massive journey to a boss fight. No baddies in between... just a horse ride to the boss.

Now this might sound sort of 'meh' but it surely works because the game is praised as an epic adventure, and I've heard that the story is meant to be a real tearjerker.

To top off my fun day at home, we had a power cut last night which resulted in my PC not starting up again. So this afternoon I'm dragging my buddy Mike up to my place to have a look at it. Normally my PC being down would cause me to have a small aneurysm, but lucky I had Dark Souls.

Plus I got to spend some quality time with my girl friend.

Speaking of whom, it's our 4 year anniversary this Saturday, so I'll need to plan something for that!

Wonder if she'll like Shadow of the Colossus.
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