Metal Gear Solid 4 First Impress…er, Digressions

It has a top-notch presentaiton and the audio and visuals are outstanding. I’m not too deep into the story, but I hear it gets convoluted really fast.

I’ve put about 45 minutes into this game.

I’ve pressed a controller button about ten times.

If this is the future of next generation gaming, count me out. I’m sure that this may change the deeper I get into the game, but for cryin’ out loud, let me play! I don’t know what the (seemingly) recent trend is to put 20-30 minute intros into a game before there is even any real gameplay, but it’s driving me nuts. Here are some recent games I’ve played: Okami, 20 minutes; about every Mario game since the Gamecube, 20 minutes, Eternal Sonata, 15 minutes; Final Fantasy Crisis Core, 10 minutes; and Metal Gear Solid 4, a whopping 40+ minutes.

Yes, some of the fluff can be skipped, but some of it cannot be. I guess that’s why I’m drawn to games such as Space Invaders Extreme and Galaga (a remake coming soon…another trendóbut one I like). Give me the pew pews.

In looking back on the games I’ve enjoyed the most in the last year, they have been those that are either short on story or they use the gaming experience to tell the story. Bioshock is an excellent example of a game that uses itself to advance the storyline and Half-Life 2 is another example (somewhat). Assassin’s Creed with it’s forced cutscenes is not.

There were a lot of moments in the opening scenes of Metal Gear Solid 4 that I could have played, but I guess it was not to be. Apparently, this is the style of play that gamers wantóat least in this instance for PS3 owners, who are coming close to pushing this title to over 1 million sold in the U.S.

Yes, the game is epic. I’ll give it that. The whole “press one button to play” mentality just reminds me of the people in the movie Wall-E. Of course, this trend might be going the other way if a game like Mega Man 9 (possible old-school difficult) proves to sell well.

Hopefully, we’ll have both. Some can pay $60+ for their glorified movie viewer, and some can pay $10+ for their buttonmashing pew pews.

In [Nat’s] Hands: FFVII:Crisis Core and Okami

I am torn. As hard as I try, I cannot play two games at once.

I’ve only played one Final Fantasy game all the way through. In fact, I played it to almost 100% completion. That’s not entirely true. In college, my PSOne was powered on for a single semester. It played one game the entire time: Final Fantasy VII. There were six of us who would play off the same saved game file. We did everything. Everything. It’s probably one of the fondest gaming memories I’ll ever have. Sometimes, we’ll still chat about it through email.

I’m not a big Final Fantasy fan. I’ve played the aforementioned title and I’ve played FFIX. See, it’s never really a final fantasy. They just keep making more. Actually, I’m more of a chrono-guy.

That’s my setup. Here’s my reveal.

On a whim (I allow myself two “whims” a year) I picked up FFVII: Crisis Core for the PSP. Simply put, this title is currently my PSP Game of the Year. I cannot get enough of it. It’s one of those titles that just hooks you and you never really know why. Maybe it’s the excellent story and presentation, maybe it’s the best cinematic cutscenes of any game I’ve seen, or maybe it’s all the great references to the original game? (Better yet, this game is a prequel and it still has future references).

FFVII:Crisis Core

This game has enveloped me so deep that I want Zack to be Cloud in the FFVII game. The character progression and growth is written in such a way that you don’t even realize it’s happening until you go remember back to where you started.

Now there is a fault. I hate, HATE, HATE the DMW. It’s basically a slot machine that you have no control over that interrupts combat sequences. It’ll occasionally level your character up and toss some bonuses your way. It’ll constantly break the flow of excitement during battle. Necessary? No.

If I was to rate this game, I’d give it a 10. The DMW (I keep wanting to say DMV) makes it an 8. Harsh? Yes. However, Square Enix have been making excellent games for almost 20 years. They should know better.

Okami

A week ago I picked up Okami for the Wii. Roger Ebert knows nothing when it comes to gamesómaybe even art. This game is art in motion, a moving picture worth ten thousand words, a watercolor that doesn’t fade, a…well, you get the idea. Be ready to read as well. A lot. However, it’s all excellent.

I’m only one hour in to the game and it’s been the most unique hour of gaming I’ve ever experienced. How do I describe it? You’re a goddess who has been reincarnated as a white wolf. You mist rid the land of darkness and bring it back to life. Your weapon: a brush.

Yep. You solve problems, rejuvenate nature, experience combat, and paint the town red with your trusty brush. It’s wonderful. This game was made for the Wiimote. The execs at Capcom must be prophets considering the game was made in 2006.

I’m told this game could net a person 40 hours of playtime. Excellent. This may be a game where I do it all. I really don’t have the patience for RPGs, but this may be my exception.

I just find it interesting that the only two games I’m playing right now are RPGs.

Oh, and Ikaruga.