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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Metal Gear Solid 2 Revisited

I've spent numerous play throughs getting reacquainted with Metal Gear Solid 2 (the Substance version) and I must say, it's so good to be back! It's been nearly 10 year since I played the game but it feels like I never left. MGS2 was my favorite MG game when I first played it and it's still remains my favorite MG game.

When MGS was originally released, players were treated to a very unexpected surprise upon entering the game's second chapter: Solid Snake was not the star of the show. Instead, the spotlight was cast on Raiden, a rookie who became more and more unsure of himself as each situation presented to him became more and more demanding. Still, for a newbie, Raiden was highly skilled, going toe-to-toe with members of the terrorist group Dead Cell, fighting off a Harrier, showing off a a great degree of skill with a blade.

For many players, Raiden stuck out like a sore thumb. He was hated because he didn't have the same attitude that Snake had and he was hated because he wasn't Snake. I admit, I was surprised to and Raiden being the star of MGS2 has got to be one of the best kept secrets in the video game industry. That said, I really liked the character that Hideo Kojima gave us in Raiden. A lot of people like to think that they'd behave just like Snake if they were in the same shoes that Raiden were. The harsh reality is, none of us really know how we'll act in certain situations unless we've actually been there. Place some of these so-called tough guys in Raiden's place for the first time and we'll see what kinda man they really are.

Of course Raiden wasn't the only thing that maid MGS2 the black sheep of the series. The story had everyone that played it scratching their head, leaving us with more mysteries than answers. MGS4 cleared all of this up, but even when I didn't know what was going on, one thing was certain: MGS2 was one of the most enjoyable games I'd ever played and it still is. 

Now if you'll exsuse me, I'm off to have some fun with infinite ammo and stealth. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mega Man 10: A Look from Outside

Mega Man 10 released for the Wii on WiiWare yesterday. I thought I could be strong and avoid coverage on the game until I got my Wii (waiting to get my tax returns done) to play the game, but I just couldn't help myself.
I've already heard all the music and seen a playthrough of the game from start to finish via YouTube so I thought I'd go ahead and post my thoughts on the game clearly on a viewing standpoint.
Music: Let's get one of the numero uno things outta the way first, the music. It's a Mega Man game and when you play a game from this series, you come in expecting some good tunage and MM10 does not disappoint. MM9 had an overall great score, but some themes left something to be desired, the intro themes in particular. I feel MM10 has far and away superior intro themes.
The robot master themes ain't too shabby either, thoubh MM9's robot master themes may trump MM10's, the ones presented in this game are nothing to scoff at and I'm even tempted to lean more towards MM10 simply because the songs are more than just catchy. That isn't to say MM10 doesn't have it's share of catchy tracks, but more often than not, it felt like MM9's score were trying to be nothing more than catchy. MM10's score is much more diverse.
I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but for some reason, I got reminded of music from the Kirby series when I heard Sheep Man's theme. And that certainly isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's one of my favorite themes in the game. Another memorable tune belongs to Chill Man, and I must say, that if classic MM games are to continue, the series is in dire need of more tracks like his. Chill Man's theme manages to be melancholy and relaxing at the same time. It's one of my favorite ice-themed tracks in the MM series and now one of my favorite MM tracks ever.
What I'm trying to say is, MM music should hit all levels and MM10's score hits the mark better than MM9 did. I guess it helps that MM10's music was composed by nearly every person that had a hand in creating Mega Man music over the years, including one of my all-time favorites, Bunbun, who did the music for MM3.
Level Design: Like MM9 before it, MM10's levels tend to lend more towards MM2s, but it looks like they decided to take pages from the other games as well. Thankfully, there aren't spikes all over the place. Oh spikes are still around, but they aren't the sole death trap in the game. It's as if the developers read my mind. That or they heard the massive outcries from the fans that all the spikes in MM9 was overkill.
The levels still retain somewhat of a puzzle-feel to them. Sheep Man's stage has some color coated floors and touching the same colored floor as a pair of spikes will make them disappear. In Chill Man's stage, you can shoot blocks of ice with your default weapon, or jump on them several times to make them vanish. People are saying MM10 is harder than MM9 but based off what I've seen, MM9 still looks like the harder game.
Plot: SPOILERS!!! Stop reading right now if you don't want the story of MM10 spoiled for you. Alright, I'm sure all of you figured out Wily was the behind the misfortune of everyone in MM10... again. 99.9% of us already new knew it was Wily before the achievements were revealed (the first one being called "Whomp Wily!"). Seriously, if the man is gonna take of the world, I wish he'd stop hiding behind facades. Its older than dirt already! And the people of 20XX or whatever year it is! Agggghhhh!! This includes Mega Man and company. With the exception of Proto Man, they are all too dumb to live. I love the Blue Bomber, but I'm sorry. How many times are they gonna trust a whack job that tried to take over the world over ten times? And it's not like he kidnapped Dr. Light. Or framed him. Realistically, Mega Man should have blasted Wily at the end of MM7 like he was going to. He'd have saved the world a mess of trouble. But I digress.
The idiocy of the people in the year 20XX aside, I actually liked the idea of robots falling into to a virus. For all we know, it could have been the predecessor to the Zero virus. And Roll giving a sick Mega Man the cure was a crowing moment of heartwarming if I ever saw one. Though Wily leaving a truckload of cure behind for everyone makes me scratch my head.
Robot Masters: Sheep Man was the very first robot master to be revealed and even though he was... strange, to say the least, many MM fans embraced him. Toad Man wishes he got that much love. But as more and more robot masters came out, it was hard to ignore that a majority of them are on the silly side. Strike Man? Pump Man? Really? I wonder if it's just me that thinks most of these guys belong among the oddballs. MM5-6 may not be the most memorable among the MM games, but they still had some nice looking, cool looking robots to fight. (Well except Plant Man. He sucks.) Even MM2 has it's share of weirdos. Bubble Man, Wood Man, I'm looking at you two. But I still love 'em. Maybe MM10's robot masters will grow on me.
So there you have it, my outside look on MM10. I'll have a more in depth review when I get the game and play it.