JRock3x8's Life Musings

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

DOA4 : My First Achievement - A Love Story

So after a WEEK of playing this god forsaken game I had ZERO achievements. Not even the one for losing five straight matches.

I played a little bit more on Friday morning (taking my comp vacation day from working Monday, Jan. 2) and I think I've got this game figured out at least on "Normal" difficulty - it's all about precise timing.

Swing too early and you've left yourself open to attack,
swing too late and you're lying on your back.

Hey, that rhymes! K Rad!

Uhm, anyways.

I finally beat story mode with Jann Lee (who is by far my favorite character in the game). I didn't have that much trouble beating that uber-bitch the Green monster thingy, but as I discovered later, she never got off one of her signature moves on me - those tickle.

So as the cameras rolled on Jann Lee's backstory, I felt the warmth of pride rising inside me. I had done something truly special...tears welled up in my eyes as I saw the XB360 trophy flash across the screen confirming that I had indeed unlocked an achievement in DOA4. I hurriedly jabbed my guide button to check on my gamerscore. How many points would I get? 40? 50? maybe even 100?!?!

Oh, the excitement of it! What an achievement!!!

I'm sorry - how many points did you say?




Are you out of your #@%)$*%@)$#*%@$ mind?!?! My thumbs bled and my eyes are dry in their sockets for 10 lousy points?

Thanks, Team Ninja. I'll just bend over and take some more.

The Disposable Game

With my purchase of the Xbox 360 in November, I have been introduced to the concept of the disposable game. A Disposable Game is one that after you play through the campaign, it has little replay-ability for you for one reason or another.

Call of Duty 2 is a gorgeous title. Rich environments, brilliant AI, and unparalleled realism surround the gamer in the life of soldiers in World War 2. I played through the Russian campaign of this game and promptly put it away, selling it on half.com this past weekend. The game certainly met my expectations of what a next-generation game should be, but I didn’t attach to it. I had no desire to play any of the levels a second time (or even finish the other campaigns for that matter).

I am rapidly starting to feel the same way about Dead or Alive 4. Great game. Easily the best graphics I have seen on the 360 to date, bar none. However, the difficulty of the game astounds me. I was relieved just to be done with the “Story Mode” just so I wouldn’t have to fight “the green bitch” again, as she’s now being referred to on the forums at 2old2play.com. I find one on one or two on two multiplayer games to be quite boring unless you know the other person very well so that doesn’t hold my interest either.

All of this is leading up to a fairly serious problem to the game publishers who now increasingly have to contend with their games being sold 2, 3 or even 4 times for the same disc because gamers play it, quickly get bored with it, and sell it or otherwise dispose of it.

Games like Halo 2 have lasting appeal because large communities of people get together online to play them (In my opinion, 2old2play.com owes their very existence to this phenomenon). Mech Assault was another title where people played the game in multiplayer for months (or even years) after its release because the simple, fun, addictive team play allowed people to form relationships. In my opinion, Star Wars : Knights of the Old Republic flourished in part because there was so much interesting content written into the single player campaign that gamers would play the game 2 or 3 times through at 12-18 hours per campaign. That is a lot of game play time.

But these games are the exception rather than the rule. The gaming industry is killing itself with these disposable games, but it really hurts all of us in the long run as fewer great titles in the marketplace ultimately helps companies like EA who are seemingly addicted to “sequel-mania”.

Monday, January 02, 2006

JRock's 60 minute review of DOA4

(sigh) I am NOT good at fighting games.

Ok, so I have always envied my friend Rob who could make an entire arcade's worth of people watch him play Mortal Kombat for hours on one quarter. Me? I throw my quarter in there against 5-year-olds and I'm back to watching in less time than it takes for you to get a Pepsi out of the fridge.

All this I knew when I purchased DOA4 today. Warning to all casual gamers - this game is going to punish you right out of the box. It is an extremely intense aggresive fast game, and if hyper reflexes are not your thing, then stay away.

This game owned me for the first 30 minutes that I played it. So much so that I went to the settings screen hoping to find an "easy" mode. Yah, not so much. You get "Normal", "Hard", and "Very Hard". I don't want to even think about what that last one is like. I spent 10 minutes with a practice dummy, then went back to the story mode. More ownage.

Then I tried just one maneuver, trying to get the timing of it down a little better. I used the Bruce Lee rip-off / tribute (depending on how you look at it) character, Jann Lee. And I just kicked and kicked and kicked. And you know what? Bruce, er, Jann Lee is pretty good at kicking. I think I got through 10 rounds of Survivor just kicking.

The graphics are nice but they don't exactly make you feel like the MGS4 or Killzone 2 trailers. I'm sort of in agreement with Ken Kutaragi that the 360 looks a lot like an XBox 1.5, at least as far as graphics go. Fortunately for MS, as long as Sony ignores the online player, I will never buy one of Sony's consoles.

Anyways, it's a really fun gaming experience, but the last thing I have to say is "Ow" - my thumb hurts.