Channeling that awesome Nate Dogg album? Naw, double R here and what’s been on my mind. Like the top of the blog says, as a couple of old dudes(we in our 30s yo!), we’ve seen gaming go through some serious transformations. If you’ve heard us on the podcast(we hope you have), you’ll know I’m big into the audio, music, etc. of gaming. We’ve seen games go from the simple bleep-bloops, to the NES days which has music known as chip tunes today. Super Nintendo rolled around and brought “CD quality” sound as the box put it. Then once games were stored on disc, there was no limitation to the music quality of games. Sure, sound effects may not have been up to snuff all the time, voice acting too, but bigger and better chips were put in the consoles. So here we are today, where if you play a lot of games with your eyes closed, you’d think you were watching a big hollywood movie.
Back in the 16-bit days, once I got a feel for the game’s sound, I could just throw on a Wu-Tang Clan CD and zone out. Effectively killing 2 entertainment birds with one stone, but today’s a little different for me. Real world and all that good stuff, free time is precious, and we have to really balance our entertainment options, what I usually call my ‘eff off’ time. Because really, talk to some people, and god forbid if I’m not doing anything productive in my free time. You know the type, where it’s okay to sit and read a book for an hour, but if you sit and play a video game for that time, there’s something wrong with you. Okay, I’m veering off topic here, that’s another subject for another day. Anyways…
I may not consume nowhere near as much new music as I did when I was 15, but I do like to listen to podcasts. Looking at my weekly rotation, I got 9 of them on that plate….now that’s alot. I’ll get back to that in minute. With today’s games, audio cues and sound effects are pretty important to listen to. In Gears Of War, when the music starts to pump, you know shit’s on. Then you get the sound that tells you the area’s clear and you can breathe again. In shooters, surround sound is awesome, not just in quality, but adding to the gameplay. Hey, if there’s a dude behind you to the left, you’ll literally know it because of the surround sound. Sound has to invoke emotional response too sometimes, take horror games for example. The sound plays a big part in instilling fear into the player. And then there’s the actual music quality. Man, I appreciate some good musical scores I tell ya…the Halos, Bioshocks, and Silent Hills are few franchises that come to mind.
So what I’m basically saying is, that how I used to play aurally when I was 15, I can’t really do as much anymore. Obviously by choice, but I’d really hate to miss out on the awesome work that goes into videogame audio. But today’s gaming does give me a compromise, in the way of downloadable games. Check out my reviews and you’ll know I go through my fair share. What’s great is, with most of them, I can hear what they have to offer, but since they’re small experiences, you don’t have to monitor the sound the whole time. And I can throw on that Wu-Tang album…I can listen listen to one of those podcasts…I can hold a conversation with someone without missing an important cue. Videogame sound is great and I love it. I get that there’s cats out there who couldn’t care less. Hey, it’s all good, different strokes for different folks and all that good stuff. But to the peeps who have any kind of appreciation for videogame sound, how do you guys like to rock it?
As I was hoping for, Konami showed off the new Silent Hill….it’s the 8th game in the series, but calling it part 8 is just a working title. Due out sometime in 2011, this is looking deliciously creepy. I hate to be mean, but this trailer is more creepy than the whole SH Wii game was. Akira Yamaoka, the series’ music composer, doesn’t work for Konami anymore. I was worried because the sound has always been it’s own, scary, character in an SH game. But they got the composer who does the Dexter show music. Sounds pretty effective to me. Way lookin forward to this one.
Rich returns from Wal Mart with a new Ipod Shuffle and discuss some pro’ s and con’s of why he shops at BOTH Wal Mart AND Kmart. We talk a little about Silent Hill Homecoming and World Of Warcraft 3.3 patch. We also talk a little avatar
and what little there is to say about Halo Reach. Join us for the 35thpodcast
Anybody familiar with us knows that I’m a Silent Hill geek of epic proportions. Looking forward to this Wii “re imagining” for so long….pains me…for I just did not love this game. It’s out on Wii now, and soon will be on the PS2 and PSP. My rating, a disheartening 6/10.
The Good – I would’ve given this game a number score lower, but it’s twist ending I felt, was really cool. Okay, first off, the graphics, look really nice for a Wii game. I’m simply not used to high quality textures on wii, but here, things are nicely detailed and still look good close up. Audio is generally pretty sharp and of high quality as well.
There’s a psychological aspect to the game which is new and interesting. Depending on answers you give to questions posed to you, and actions you take, will reshape parts of the game and the looks of some characters. A staple of Silent Hill, when things turn into the “Otherworld”, which was usually a hellish version of where you were before, is now about being cold and encased with ice. The effect happens in realtime and looks impressive.
Lots of wii specific controls might get the wii diehard giddy with excitement(notice I said ‘might’). You carry a flashlight through the whole game, and yup, you guessed it, the wiimote acts as said flashlight. There’s a pretty creative cellphone mechanic that compliments the wiimote nicely as well, phone calls and sounds come through the wiimote speaker adding to the atmosphere. Opening locks, turning things, etc, etc are all done with wii motions in the ways you’d expect them to work. More interesting immersion. Overall, there are a lot of interesting ideas in this game.
Anybody notice I keep saying “interesting”? Hmmmm…
The Bad – The Silent Hill fanboy in me is getting ready to unload in 3…2…1……man, why the hell did they even bother calling this game “Silent Hill”?!? It’s supposed to be a remake/re imagining or whatever and about the only thing that carries over are character names and the most basic premise of the 1st game. SH is all about being scary and giving you a constant feeling of dread, which is almost totally missing in this game, save for maybe 30-40mins(out of maybe 6hrs of play) total that was actually creepy. Good god, could a game be more mundane?
SH always had cool puzzles here and there, here’s what amounts to your average puzzle here…say you’re looking for a key. Oh look, 3 cans sitting over here, shake each one up with the wiimote…*gasp* one jingles, turn it upside down and the key falls out, yay me. Exploration was always a staple, fear of what may be around the corner, music and sounds adding to the fear. Not in this game, it’s quiet…safe, not too much in the way of creepy sounds. Enemies are 100% eliminated in favor of the “Nightmare” sequences.
Now SH isn’t exactly known for good battling mechanics, they were just enough to get you by, and the ‘hey, you can die’ factor adds to the scaryness of it all. So it wasn’t the worst idea that combat is totally thrown out in this game. But with these “nightmare” sequences, which was scary the 1st time I tried it, then the 2nd time after I died….it quickly became one of the most annoying, trying and just plain badly executed functions of a game. Ok, the world changes, monsters come, your only defense is to run…..through a series of doors….which happens to be a maze….and is incredibly easy to continue running in circles….monsters grab you, you have to shake the wiimote in the direction their holding on to shake them off, which doesn’t work right a good third of the time….say you wanna follow the X that’s on the map on your cellphone, which the character pulls up and puts away reaaaallllyy slowly, giving monsters plenty of time to grab you again. Ok, sometimes you find a flare that keeps the monsters at bay, you can’t hold the flare and check your map at the same time. Sometimes there’s things you can knock over to slow monsters down, problem is, they slow YOU down more than anything. There’s probably half a dozen or so of these sequences throughout the game, they’re all pretty much the same….and for the most part, if you couldn’t tell by my enthusiasm, THEY BREAK THE GAME.
The storyline, while interesting, doesn’t hold a candle to the original or any other one after….it’s simplified beyond belief. Once you’re done and over the cool twist ending, you realize the supernatural aspect of everything is pretty much non existant. It kills me how unSilent Hill this game is. It’s a shame too, because there’s alot of good ideas at play here, just whatever happens to be bad….is REALLY bad.
The Ugly – The b**chin that went on in my room as I died like 10x on the 2nd nightmare sequence….you eventually get the hang of it, but they still suck.
Some indepth discussion of…TROPICO. A game similar to RailRoad Tycoon due to using the same engine. Squeeeee. We also talk Army of Two, Sim City 4, The DSI getting a bigger and needed screen size increase, The PS3 getting netflix, A Crazy from the Netherlands who blamed silent hill for a crime? New Video game releases AND Boondock Saints 2? Really? Surprises abound in the 31st_podcast
Allow me to take a page out of the biter’s handbook and follow m’man Chud Rock’s lead as I reach into the knapsack for some GBU action, let’s go back to last fall’s Silent Hill-Homecoming…also partly inspired by this week’s exciting news of a Silent Hill 1 remake. I know you guys are sayin to yerselves, “but Raw, aren’t you gonna be dissapointed by the graphics on the Wii?”….Not at all peeps, as long as it looks as good as SH3 did on the PS2, I’ll be ready to take a trip back to the lovely land of nightmares and demons 🙂
The Good – Silent Hill finally makes it’s way to now-gen systems. Fairly interesting story that holds up through the majority of the game. Graphics that remind you why you wouldn’t want SH to really exist….scenery looks decrepit(as it should), the darkness in the ‘real world’ isn’t overbearing but makes you make sure to keep the flashlight handy(a staple of any SH outing), monsters are creepy, the ‘otherworld’ looks disgusting, rusted and blood covered in more detail than ever before in an SH game. In other words, looks pretty dang good. Sound and music produced by Akira Yamaoka, the same guy who’s taken care of every single SH in the franchise, which means it’s all well done, nerve wracking, and maybe even nightmare inducing…so far so good right?
The Bad – While gameplay has never been SH’s strong suit, it just needs to be a good enough vehicle so one can experience the awesome psychological horror SH is known for, though better than part 4’s, things still fall a bit short. New fighting mechanics added that don’t always respond to what you’re commanding can very frustrating. Save points that are sometimes really far from the last one, if you die, who wants to redo the last 20-30 mins, not me! Ending(s) that are unfulfilling, they still leave themselves open to discussion like in previous games, but nowhere near as interesting.
The Ugly – Moral choices you have to make later on in the story that are ugly emotional ones with really ugly consequences. What is it with games these days forcing moral choices on you? Cool concept but I don’t wanna see too much of a ‘me too’ attitude.