Muscle Memory

We joke about how we can remember the jingle to an old commercial or quote a movie from 20 years ago but we can’t recite the first three sentences of the Constitution or know where Iran is on a map. But the fact is that repetition is one of the best teachers.

I’m reminded of this when I started playing Resident Evil 4 HD on the Xbox 360. Like getting on a bike after years without riding, I knew exactly what I was doing. After over FIVE years, it was as if it was only yesterday. It was strange, but there was no need for a tutorial (which is good, because I don’t remember there being one). In fact, I was freaking out that they had left out the “quick-turn” ability. You can’t play the game without that ability. Luckily, instead of pressing ‘B’ and pulling down on the control stick, you use ‘A’. Once I got that figured out, it was like olden times.

There are other games like this, but Resident Evil 4 and me are pals.

I imagine that Diablo 3 is going to be like this.

What games do you go back and it’s like you never left?

Blog Banter #2 – New Year’s Goals

Blog Banter is a group of bloggers passionate about anything and everything video games. We enjoy getting together once a month to write about the same subject. You will be amazed at the different viewpoints so many people can have on the exact same topic! Links to all the participant’s articles can be found here. If you are interested in participating, contact bs angel for more information. Enjoy our stories!

This month’s Blog Banter topic is “New Year Resolutions” and gaming. I don’t really like the idea of “resolutions” as they often are nebulous and don’t have a tangible result. When I look out at the new year before me, I think of changes I’d like to make in terms of goals. Sure, a great resolution would be to “eat better” but that doesn’t get results. A goal of “lose 25 pounds” on the other hand, is what I need to motivate me to stick to the change. Rewards don’t hurt, either, but that’s a different subject.

So this year’s New Year’s Goal for Gaming for me is to branch out, try something new. I’ve always played the old stand-bys: I stick to a few specific genres like first person shooters (Halo 3, The Orange Box) or action games (Crackdown) or Nintendo propeties (Zelda Phantom Hourglass, Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Prime 3). It’s time to branch out!

Resident Evil was a series I never got into. I played a couple hours of the RE remake for the Gamecube, but that didn’t float my boat. I thought about giving Resident Evil Zero a try but never got around to it. It wasn’t until I played Resident Evil 4 at Game Crazy one afternoon that really got my attention. I picked it up and never looked back. RE4 has become one of my favorite games, ever. I never played any of the “survival horror” games before this but Resident Evil 4 opened my eyes.

I’m hoping the same thing will happen again this year. I’m not sure what game it will be, but it has to be something I never would have thought twice about before. Maybe it will be Culdcept Saga for the 360. Maybe I’ll pick up a PSP, a console I never would have thought I’d ever pick up. I may go totally off the deep-end and give Endless Ocean a try. The possibilities are limitless!

Crazy Capcom!

If you’ve been a longtime reader of buttonmashing, you’ll note that there is a lot of love for the Capcom zombie games, most noteably Dead Rising and Resident Evil 4. Today in London Capcom announced the following games at their Gamer Day:

Street Fighter 4
Development has just begun and the release of the game is more than a year away. No platforms are yet confirmed – a highly stylised animated concept trailer of Ryu and Ken fighting was shown, but no game footage.

Ace Attorney: Apollo Justice
A new character and new series starring a rookie lawyer. Phoenix Wright makes an appearance but is not the lead character. Made specifically for DS.

Lost Planet (PS3)
Available early next year and will include all bonus characters from the PC version and extra downloadable content from the 360 version making it the complete package. Made possible with Blu-ray. 16 player online over the PSN.

Dark Void
A new sci-fi action-adventure IP. Trailer showed third-person and air-vehicle gameplay with a character wearing a steam punk jetpack, skydiving and landing in the cockpit of a gyroscopic aircraft, and then jumping and climbing through airbase fortesses.

Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD (Xbox Live Arcade)
The game will feature a spectator mode and is scheduled for a 2008 while the team try and get zero lag for the online mode. Also features stat tracking and widescreen. Original music from Street Fighter 2 will be used, plus remixed versions of all those tunes.

Wii Love Golf
From the Everybody’s Golf team comes a cutesy golf sim, that looks slightly more technical than the PlayStation versions. Players can fade or draw the ball by twisting the Wii-mote when taking a swing.

Notice anything missing? Yep, I don’t see it either. Now, you think that they would possibly want to cash in on one of their better selling games in recent years. However, they see no need (at this time, hopefully) for Dead Rising 2.

Many (heh) of us on the staff here at buttonmashing firmly believe there needs to be a sequel or spirtual successor for Dead Rising. Co-op would be a bonus.

Also, I like Lost Planet for the 360, (On the finish list!) but I don’t see how PS3 gamers are going to be clammoring for it next year. Of course, I may be proven wrong because Resident Evil 4 has done something similar with new platforms and performed reasonably well in sales.

From this list, it’s clear that Capcom views their buttonmashing (ha!) Street Fighter games as the true breadwinners.

Thanks to Evil Avatar and Games Radar for the info.

“Made possible with Blu-ray.” That’s subtle. I wonder how muchthey got from Sony for that?

Dead Rising 2 at the Tokyo Game Show?

I’ve been seeing rumors about the possibility of Capcom announcing Dead Rising 2 at the Tokyo Game Show. Of course this is contrary to what we heard earlier, but we’ll see.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Dead Rising fan. In fact, I’ve been thinking about a great idea for a crossover game from Capcom’s franchises for Dead Rising 2. Take Leon from Resident Evil 4 (another Capcom franchise), send him to investigate some undead activity on a remote island. Frank
West, the photo-journalist from Dead Rising, follows him to document the investigation. The island will naturally be crawling with zombies, looking for some brains to eat, and Frank and Leon show up ready to bash some faces. It’s a can’t miss!

Frank powers up the duo with some sweet action photography and Leon keeps them alive with some sweet stinky weed. (Come on, he heals himself with green herbs. How else could you explain it?). The combo moves would be amazing.

Actually, I would be happy if they announced an online co-op mode for Dead Rising. Meeting up with pals in the mall to impale zombies with the post hole digger would have to be the pinnacle of online gaming.

(On a side note, supposedly Dead Rising 2 is happening on an island. How Capcom say this game has no resemblance to the Dawn of the Dead? Even if it’s the 2004 remake?)

Resident Evil 4, case closed.

I have defeated Lord Saddler once again. Just like last time, he was much easier than that son of a jackal Krauser. So how does the pro difficulty compare to the normal level? Was it twice as hard?

Not really. Even though I died over a hundred times more than the first time through, it wasn’t that much harder. It took me about 3 hours longer this time through, but I took my time and looked for all the treasures. I killed about a hundred more bad guys, but I was more efficient, increasing my hit rate to 74%. I also finished “Assignment Ada” and I’ve now unlocked all the weapons goodies. I don’t have the million pesetas to buy the infinite rocket launcher or the Chicago Typewriter, but I did acquire the hand cannon and it packs quite the punch.

Resident Evil 4 easily stands heads and shoulders above 99% of the games of this generation of consoles. Even though I feel it lost a little of its spookiness and tension once the action moved onto the island, the game still has atmosphere and suspense. I can’t say enough about it. I’m glad I went through it a second time. A must play.

Prepare for your death, Leon!

Jack Krauser
Yeah, so that’s the idle threat Jack Krauser sends your way when you finally confront him for the last piece of the gate key leading to Ashley. Like I said before, I knew the Krauser battle was going to be tough, I just had no idea how tough it was going to be. After eighty-nine attempts, I can assure you that he is very tough. Well, I should rephrase that. If you don’t know his weakness, he takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I found that out for about the first eighty tries or so, last night. He was taking ten rounds from my Broken Butterfly and not even breaking a sweat.

When I beat Krauser the first time, I used the TMP with about 200 rounds and just shot at his exposed feet (when he shields his body with his mutated arm/wing, his feet are vunerable). It took me about five tries on the normal difficulty. Since I’m going through this play without the TMP I needed a different approach.

I had ten rounds in the Broken Butterfly and three hand grenades. I’d either dodge his attack and blast him with a couple rounds or get him exposed with a grenade and then blast a round or two when he was dazed. I could get eight or nine of the .45 rounds to connect and he didn’t even seem fazed. I’d unload a clip of the Blacktail and a couple headshots with the rifle and he wasn’t going down. I was getting desperate and it was getting late. I went and looked for “hints” because I coudn’t get this far to give up. A quick google search revealed that the knife (THE KNIFE?!) is very effective against Krauser on Pro difficuty. Again, the knife? I was incredulous but willing to try anything at this point. So I gave it a whirl. He came in on me, I blasted him with the Broken Butterfly and when he went down on one knee, I started hacking away with the knife. I made three or four good slashes when he started to get up. I figured I’d keep slashing, just to see what happened and I must have been in a good spot because I could keep slashing at his feet. It took eight or ten slashes but he went down. Finally! I grabbed the pieces to open the gate and made my way out before the tower blew up. I had beaten Krauser. It felt good.

I’m still a little miffed that the guy can take eight rounds of the Colt .45 to the face and shrug it off, but a few gashes with a knife and he goes down like a paper bag. That just isn’t right. But down he went, and I’m moving on. The end is in sight and I am looking forward to victory over Lord Saddler.

Back on track.

Maybe I was too tired last night. Whatever it was, I was frustrated and had to vent. Now that I got that out of my system, I’m back on track in RE4. I sat down this evening with a cool head and breezed through the section of the game that was giving me such fits. In fact, I was on such a roll that I made it past “It” with just two attempts. The first time through, I died a bunch of times in that section. I made it all the way to the part where Leon has to take down Krauser to get the insignias to get through yet another gate between he and Ashley. The Krauser part was the toughest last time so I’m assuming it’s going to be tough again.

Leon with Broken ButterflyAnd can I say how much I love the “Broken Butterfly”? Easily my favorite weapon in the game (also the best name for a weapon). Sure, I’ve never heard of a 12-shot Colt .45 revolver, but the Broken Butterfly is my weapon of choice. Little details can be overlooked when I’ve got the President’s daughter (and the world) to save. My sweet Broken Butterfly took “It” out with ease and I’m hoping to have the same success with it against Krauser.

So yeah, I’m back on track. Sometimes all it takes is a step back, a deep breath, and a good night’s sleep.

Arrgh!

[ Mood: FRUSTRATED ] [ Listening to: Whatever is on the TV ] (This is what my entry would look like if this was a Live Journal blog.)

Holy fricking crap am I frustrated right now with Resident Evil 4. I’m currently stuck at the point where Ashley is driving the big dumpster/bulldozer and you’ve got to run up and raise the elevator lift. Ashley lamely sits in the truck while you’ve got to fight off the bad guys, hit the button, and keep the baddies away from Ashley. Get out of the driver’s seat and run away, you nit! Anyway, I’ve got that part pretty much down pat. The truck then drives on some more, fighting off waves of baddies, before you’ve got to take out a runaway truck coming straight at you. I must have done this sequence twenty times this evening. Something would always go wrong — I’d miss the peep-hole target in the runaway truck, Ashley would get shocked before I could get back to her, or one of the ganados’ head would turn into monster-tentacle-death dealing claw-head and would get me with one hit. It’s frustrating for so many reasons.

If I hear Ashley say, “I’m leaving it to you,” I’m saving the ganados trouble and I’m blasting her myself.

So I might be taking a short break from RE4. Or I might be right back at it tomorrow night.

I’ve got needs, after all.

What I’m playing

Even though I have a stack of unplayed games (hereafter to be referred to as “The Queue”), I am currently engrossed in Resident Evil 4. Even though I finished the game over a year ago, I’ve been playing the Mercenaries mini game, off and on, for the past couple months. Just recently I decided to endeavor to get 5-star scores on all four boards with the five characters. I unlocked the last character (Albert Wesker) and then spent some time racking up the scores needed on each board. Upon doing so, I unlocked the “Handcannon” which would be available to me next time I played. So I started the regular game over again, this time with the “Pro” difficulty. I figured I’d get to the first encounter with the merchant, buy the Handcannon, go blast some baddies with it and be done with the game. Things didn’t go as planned. I got to the merchant and the handcannon wasn’t available. But I had been enjoying myself so much that I decided to finish the game on Pro difficulty. I just rescued the President’s daughter from the church and now we’re trying to get out of dodge.

Having played this game extensively the past week has reminded me why this is such a great game. The game defines what a polished game is. The attention to detail is what gets me every time. From the authentic Spanish phrases (I will be updating the list with words and phrases I missed the first time through) to the gun reloading animations, I can’t say enough. Just a fantastic game, top to bottom.

Ashley Resident Evil 4I decided to go with the “Special Costumes,” an option you get once you beat the game. Leon is now decked out in his Raccoon City Police Department Uniform. It’s a nice touch. Little did I know that Ashley (the President’s daughter) would also be sporting a new, *ahem*, costume. I couldn’t find any screen shots of the new costume, but she’s gone from the demure and preppy skirt and sweater combo to a revealing cowboy outfit, complete with a rather revealing halter top. It was rather unsettling to see her risqué side. I guess I should come to expect such things.

So yeah, I’ll be playing Resident Evil 4 for a while. I’ll eventually get back to Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and the rest of The Queue, but for now it’s RE4 time, all the time. I still try to squeeze in a game of Guild Wars when I can and I also check in on Animal Crossing: Wild World to check the price of turnips and to water my red turnip, but that’s about it. My animals will probably be complaining and leaving town sooner or later, but tough for them.

I got escort the President’s floozy daughter to safety.

To play or to blog…

One of the comments about gaming blogs from Zonk’s last call for submissions gave me pause:

Gaming blogs are for people that don’t actually play the games, and would rather write about them than fire them up and play them.

When I stopped to think about it, lately I’ve been spending more time with the blog then actually playing video games. I’ve been busy with real life stuff and the Carnival that I just haven’t played much. Just in the past couple of days have I had a chance to sit down a do a little gaming. I get my daily Animal Crossing in but I hadn’t played much else. I’ve finally been able to get back to Fire Emblem on the Gamecube and I’ve started blasting baddies again in Resident Evil 4. The mercenaries mini game, to be exact. I can’t get enough of it.

So I don’t want anyone to think I’m not actually playing any games. Sometimes it just seems like I’m not.