I'm taking a break from working on things this summer as I will be interning at Warner Bros. I can't wait to start working, but in the mean time I'm going to be catching up on some video game playing and get some books read that I've been meaning too. I've already finished two games since the summer began and I'm half way through my first book.
Brave Fencer Musashi
One of the two games I've played already this game is actually a fairly old game. It was originally released on the Playstation, and although I was using an original disc for the game I was playing on my Playstation 3. The story line itself was fairly interesting, although most definitely not very deep. The game was actually extremely hard for a couple of different reasons. The first was the camera angles. When you're in town you have a multitude of camera angles that you can choose from so that you can see exactly where you're going at all times, but when you're out in the world you have a single angle and you can be zoomed in once or at the original zoom. There were a couple of times that this angle was actually extremely detrimental, especially while still learning the mechanics. The other reason it was hard is simply the mechanics. At the end of the game if you've collected all of the items you can have a maximum of 500 HP. This number may seem like a fairly high number as health bars go, however there are many attacks that do 50 or more damage per attack. I personally also had some issues with the platforming portions of the game, but that was more because I'm not the best at platforming.
There were however some extremely well thought out and interesting boss encounters. One of the final bosses is a tower that you float around. It has four different phases that affect the ways it can hurt you, and you have to search through around 20 different possible targets to find the one that will actually damage it. While this boss was extremely difficult and frustrating for me because of these different mechanics, it was definitely one of my favorites. Another was the final phase of the final boss. It required you to dodge all of its attacks for a short time and then used a mechanic that while useful at times wasn't really used in many other places of the game.
This game, although extremely difficult for me, was a ton of fun and definitely worth the short amount of time that it took me to play through. I unfortunately don't have a Playstation 2, or the means of playing Playstation 2 games, or else I would most likely play the second one as well.
Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 is a game that was originally released for the Playstation 2. It has recently been re-released for the Playstation Vita and retitled Persona 4 Golden. This game is a very different take on your typical JRPG. It definitely had your normal RPG elements in it, however there were many times that I found myself actually complaining that those elements were getting in the way of my "dating sim".
Within the RPG elements of the game you are tasked with collecting different "personas" or monsters that you use to fight. There are two ways of doing this. Either collecting them after killing a group of monsters, or fusing some that you already have together to make a stronger one. The fusing mechanic is where the dating sim comes into play. Each persona has one of 24 different categories that it falls under. Each of those categories has one character within the games storyline that it is attached to. Creating a better friendship with one of these characters leads to bonuses when creating a persona of that characters category. This is an awesome mechanic, however it definitely led to some personal issues as I would be in the middle of working on one of these friendships when I would have to do a portion of the RPG type gameplay.
The story for this game follows that of a murder mystery story. When the game first starts out you move out to a town in the middle of the country. And the second day that you're there, the first of a string of murders occurs. You find out later that they're happening through a very un-believable way and, with a few friends that you've made, decide that the police won't be able to solve it. You then take this upon yourselves.
Although extremely long(in todays terms), this game felt very rewarding. It had in depth character development and a fairly intense story line. There are multiple different endings, so I will most definitely be taking advantage of the New Game Plus feature within it, and can't wait til I have the time to dive back in and become friends with different characters then I did in my first playthrough.
The Proteus Paradox: How Online Games and Virtual Worlds Change Us-And How They Don't by Nick Yee
The first of my book choices for this summer is still game related. But it's also academic in nature. The author is delving into an extremely controversial topic - they psycological effects of gaming. He uses surveys, psycological experiments, and in game data to find out who actually plays online games, and how different the in-game experience is from the real world. So far it's mostly been the history of online gaming and an explanation of his breakdown of the different types of players. It also has a lot of player testimony that backs each of his types of players. Even though I'm half way through the book, I feel as if I'm just cracking this topic open and really can't wait to read more about his findings. I really hope that I can learn from this so that I can make games that are more engaging, and possibly feel less like work than a lot of the games that are already out there.
As For the Rest
Next up on my list of games is Borderlands 2 and Bravely Default. Although once I get to a certain point in Borderlands I've agreed to play through it with a friend, so I may spend a decent amount of time playing Bravely Default, and may go on to the next game in my line-up as well which is The Last of Us. I'm hoping to finish reading The Proteus Paradox and start in on something else. Most of my reading is going to be academic in nature, but I also have the new book from one of my favorite authors, The A-Word.