Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

MT13- Humanist

Clearly there were no flaws in Lust's awesome “hit him with a rock” plan. The problem had to be the executor and not the finely crafted summoning of the powers of gravity.
Greed is totally bigoted against humans. He can only abide by shenanigans for so long before he breaks out into his olde timey preconceived notions about species. He's old though, so you kind of have to expect a little of that. People were less tolerant back then. In all fairness though, you try explaining the human body to a creature from another realm/that lacks a reproductive system. It's just gross.

Barring any horrific helicopter accidents, raccoon maulings, or meteor crashings, DDG will be up tomorrow. Seriously, raccoons are nasty little things. I'm afraid to take out the garbage at night...


Long, The video game equivalent of an abusive boyfriend Review: Demon's Souls- Demon's Souls has an intriguing setting and set of enemies, beautiful music, and the the game is excellent at setting mood and atmosphere. Towards the end of the game, the music in the hub area changes and that subtle difference creates a completely different feel. Unfortunately it's rather boring to look at thanks to a lack of lighting and reliance on brown and is one of the most stressful games I've played in a long while. You die very quickly and when you die, you lose all your souls. Souls are used for pretty much everything in this game. They're your money, your experience, get you spells, upgrade weapons, and repair your busted equipment. You quickly develop an immense fear of falling off ledges or staircases because apparently the people of Boletaria just couldn't get a knack for railings and your characters doesn't even remotely halt or falter at a ledge. The paranoia of falling off isn't helped by the hundreds of people you see plummet to their doom as you play (you can see how people died if you find the bloodstain they left, a really neat idea). It also revels in cheap enemy placement. You'll constantly be shot by enemies you can't see, have spells cast at you by something off screen, have rocks thrown at you from high ledges, turn around and get a wolf to the face when you turn back, and on and on. There are sections you have to either play with the sound cranked up so you can hear when an enemy appears behind you or, if you're a normal human being that doesn't blast the TV when playing games, get repeatedly whacked in the back of the skull. Always assume that if you see a corner, an enemy is hiding behind it. NEVER put your shield down unless you've been through an area before. I don't mind a game being hard, but it has to be fair about it, especially when it punishes you so severely like DS does. Dying because you did something stupid or fought poorly is one thing, but dying because you stepped on an invisible trap that paralyzes you and lets the boss one hit kill you is not fair. Unlimited enemies that can fire an unblockable laser that goes through walls, enemies that float outside your targetable range and fire at you, enemies that can leap 10 meters at you, , enemies that can attack a dozen times in a row when you can only block or attack twice, etc, etc. And there's no consistency within the enemy types either. You can meet two enemies that look exactly the same and one you can fight and the other will kill you with one strike. There's one boss where you have to fight two creatures at the same so you spend most of the fight getting knocked around thanks to the crappy camera and lock-on system, but I was finally at the end of the battle, at full health, and the boss just simply grazes me, I go flying away over a ledge (the physics engine tends towards the “everything is weightless” setting), instant death, lose all your souls, bosses are at full health again, and I just wasted 20 minutes and a cache of items. Even when you're on your own and doing fine, random people from PSN will hop in your game and try to kill you. I had my character's body and was just farming some experience and items (so my equipment was all messed up and nothing I'd want to fight with) when a door was blocked that was open before. I figured it was a glitch so I tried opening it a few times, then I tried the escape magic and no go. A quick "You've been invaded" message appears, I had no idea what that entailed, some guy appears in the exact same spot I'm standing, takes a few swings at me, I run away, he was faster than me, stabs me in the back, and I die in one hit while trying to change my equipment. After that, any time I had my body, I'd disconnect from PSN. A lot of the boss fights are interesting in theory but due to it taking half an hour to get to them, they kill you in two hits, and you lose all your progress when dying, your strategy relegates from trying to find a way to game the system and be as cheap as you can be. There are a few bosses that you can stand out of their range and snipe them. And by gum, you're going to do that. A single boss took me 45 minutes of mostly standing in one spot and firing ludicrously weak arrows at it, but that's really the only way to kill it and I sat there and did it (took about 400 arrows). Although, if you have a magic-using character, bosses stop being an issue near the end. You can learn a spell that can kill almost any enemy in three or four castings. On the one hand, it's payback for them brutalizing you up to this point, but on a this-isn't-fun level, it's just a race to see if you can cast before they push you off a ledge or step on you. Once you have that spell, bosses just turn into big regular enemies rather than the nerve-wracking terrors they start out as. There may very well be some ways to get around some of my complaints but the game doesn't really explain much to you. Aside from the bare, bare minimum, you're pretty much left to discover EVERYTHING by yourself. It also suffers from a mainly RPG-specific disorder of just having too many stats/properties (for you and weapons). Your character has endurance AND stamina properties, vitality AND strength, magic AND intelligence when it would have been perfectly reasonable to just make those the same stat because they're basically the same thing. Since there are so many stats to level up and they all level really slowly (there are eight characters stats that I'm guessing go up to 99 each and you only get one point per level), you're heavily dependent on upgrading your equipment. To do so requires special items but the ones you need never really appear much so you have to farm them for a few hours. Between the grinding, farming, and jerkass userbase, DS has just about everything bad about an MMO without the benefits. It uses a picky lock on system (you can be standing in front of an enemy and the game won't recognize it. God help you if there's an elevation difference or any kind of debris between you) and being a magic user in the game sucks because your character can't manually aim. You can see the enemy, it's close by, you have a clear shot, and there's absolutely nothing you can do to hit it if the game won't let you lock on to the enemy. Even if you can lock on, you're at the mercy of what the game lets you lock onto. For instance, there is a giant freaking dragon that you'd have to be blind, drunk, and repeatedly bashed about the head to miss, but instead of letting you lock onto its body, the game forces you to aim at its head which it whips around rather quickly. So even though it's sitting still and you have a giant target, you impotently shoot into thin air because its head moves to quickly for you to hit. Making it more frustrating is that the game does have an aiming system that could be used for magic but it only works with the bow. So why not just carry a bow? A few more frustrating reasons. Being good with a bow requires its own set of stats, so while a weak magic attack may do 100 damage per shot for a magician or a normal sword attack may do 70 damage, a strong bow attack will do maybe 20 damage for that same character. Also, you have to buy arrows to use them so they're expensive, consumable, and weigh you down. AND! You can only equip four items at a time. My character has a shield for defense, a sword for up close fights, the wand necessary to cast "bad" magic, and the wand necessary to cast "good" magic (and yes, you do have to equip two different kinds of wands to cast different spells). So for me to switch to fight a distant character, I have to bring up the inventory, choose the slot to re-equip, select the bow, exit out of the menu, ready the bow, and then take aim and fire. In a game where a split second can matter, that doesn't fly. The camera is fine in large open spaces but freaks in tight corridors. And of course since this is a dark moody game, there are small spaces everywhere. There are some tunnels that are so tiny that the camera glitches and you can see through the walls. If you've ever seen the GTA glitches where you can go above or below the map, DS is like that, only it's not a rare glitch. It happens every time you go through that tunnel. Ah, and there's also no pausing. Sure that makes sense if you're with a group online, but if I'm offline by myself, there's no excuse for not letting me pause the game. There's almost no real story outside of bits and pieces you pick up from descriptions and characters, so you're forced to rely on the gameplay alone (which, as I've griped about, is not done well). The bits and pieces you do pick up are great and I wanted more of that. There are very few characters you meet and they're all relegated to a single role and only one character changes his personality over the course of the game. And you feel really bad for him too. The game manages to get you to care about the well-being of a lone guy that does nothing outside of sit in one spot in the hub, so they have some writing skills. Put them to use. Even at the end of the game, there are a few lines of dialogue and that's about it. You finish the game and then it starts over again in a new game + without missing a beat. As much as I hated actually playing the game, I was sad when it was all over. I loved the characters and the world and I want to know more about them. If they make a sequel with a real, fleshed out story, rework the leveling system, and actually make it fun to play, it would be phenomenal. DS has a fantastic game hidden under layers and layers of BS that prevent you from having fun for longer than ten minutes at a time.
Sins Committed: Little to no story, Bad camera, Bad inventory system, Bad lock-on system, Bad leveling system, Cheap difficulty, Not fun
Virtues acted: Good music, Good characters, Good atmosphere, Good mood, Good story, Good designs, Laughing maniacally when you kick a dual katana wielding red eyes shadow knight's dead body down a flight of stairs and find a good use for an otherwise lousy physics engine