: Ben's Week In Review: July 15

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Ben's Week In Review: July 15

I really can't wait for fall. Cooler weather and more games. :)

The Last Of Us exposes Japanese lagging

Japanese developers have come forward, saying they need to spend more money on their projects if they wish to remain competitive with the West. I have to agree completely because when I look at something like The Last Of Us, it's almost painful to see the quality and professionalism gap between Western and Japanese productions these days. It's not just in the top-notch voice acting, but it's also in the writing. It's just tighter and not so obviously amateur-ish. One also sees the difference in the choreography and how the scene is paced. Japanese scenes remain too...well, video game-y.

Thing is, it's studios like Naughty Dog and games like The Last Of Us and Uncharted that continually expose this seemingly widening gap. The worst part is that Japanese designers aren't blind to it; they know it exists and often mention it during interviews. They even know what they have to do to fix it. And yet, that fix appears to be a long ways off...if it happens at all.

I gots an excuse for playin' MGS4 again

I just don't know when I'll fit it in. I'm not a big Trophy person (in all honesty, I rarely care about them at all), but when I saw that Trophies were finally being implemented into Kojima's masterpiece, I was already remembering that game's epic greatness. Now, per the topic above, I still say some of the differences between Western and Japanese games remain clear, even in the case of MGS4. But I'll save that for another time; right now, I just love the idea of going back to the game. Not just for the Trophies, but because I'm kinda wondering how it has held up over time. Remember, it has been over four years and we've seen quite a lot of great games since then...

Besides, I rarely get the chance to play anything twice these days. I swore I'd play Uncharted 2: Among Thieves again and that didn't happen; I made the same declaration after finishing Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, but nope. Things just keep getting in the way. That being said, I really think I'll try starting a new game in MGS4 when that Trophy patch arrives.

Personal gaming update

Right now, it's all about Rainbow Moon, which, as I say in the review, is altogether crazy addictive. It still bugs me about the control, but I keep thinking SideQuest could release a patch that implements a more stable movement format for the game. Would it really be that hard...? And I had honestly thought I'd be finishing Quantum Conundrum after the first few hours of play, but that game took a nasty turn that irritates me even now. Such ingenious design, and you go and...well, read the review; I won't waste time venting more here.

I'm looking forward to Dead or Alive 5 now, just because I keep forgetting that September isn't that far away. I also noticed Darksiders II and Sleeping Dogs have the same release date (August 14), so that should make next month a little more exciting, at the very least. :)

7/14/2012 Ben Dutka

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Comments (25 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, July 14, 2012 @ 9:55:32 PM
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Japanese devs probably don't sink as much cash into their games because they are aimed at Japan (and rarely eyeball localization from day 1)which has a smaller audience and Western appreciation for their games has waned considerably. I'd still love to see them spend more money but keep their games Japanese. It's kind of sad that that may never be able to be the case.

Honestly I just wish our dreams as kids would be brought to life and we could "play the cartoon" as it were. Give me an epic RPG that looks like an anime. Ni No Kuni could do that, but as kids that was where we wanted gaming to be on a regular basis by now. Either way Japanese devs should perfect what they are good at and then people will take notice again.

Completed the Silent Hill HD collection (they patched the issues with 3 as I was nearing the end) and am continuing my addiction into Homecoming, then maybe an evil playthrough of Downpour. Also blasting through Max Payne 3 at small intervals and itching to get back to WKC2.

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 14, 2012 @ 10:20:39 PM
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I agree about the Western to Eastern gap in cinematics. Ironically, I thought the original Metal Gear Solid represented a massive lead in Japanese directed games concerning production values back during the 32-bit era. Though, since then, outside of MGS I can't think of many games from the east that feel nearly as natural in cinematics and scripting as the latest westerner offerings.

Though, I don't think Japan should do this. I think they need to stick to what they do best and not sink themselves deep in trying to compete with something that must be far more difficult and expensive to procure from being across the seas than it is to just scale their productions to maintain profitability from their own segment.

On a related note. I think these days so much clout is carried with being a gaming celebrity figurehead with the gaming media. These people like Cliffy B., Jade Raymond, and many other westerners draw visibility and media attention to their efforts, giving them a lot more attention than the average Japanese produced product. I think the western devs have direct more meaningful influence over what's in and what's hot in part due to their visibility and cultural locality of the entertainment that's being marketed.

PGU: Pretty busy but I've spent some good time with VF5:FS and Suikoden. I've been trying to clean up and find all of my rectruits for Suikoden. There's a lot of 'em to find.

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 14, 2012 @ 10:45:34 PM

and yeah, I got Ico & SotC HD Collection. I've noticed it's dropped to $20 in some places, including Gamestop and Amazon. Seeing that's it's been out for about a year and it's being price slashed, I'm sort of thinking it's nearing the end of it's days for shelf space alottment and retailers. Better snatch it up before it's gone ;)
And man alive, 1080p really makes these games look nice .

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 12:25:01 PM

When you're done with school are you gonna design for games?

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Temjin001
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 7:56:32 PM

It's a possibility as I'm learning skills that would be applicable to a game development environment. My primary education is a B.S. major in Computer Science so I have quite a few options to pursue coming out of school. As for gaming studios I'm looking at I do plan to hit up these studios for work from within my state: 343 Industries, Bungie, Sucker Punch, Turn 10, Pop Cap Games etc.

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Killa Tequilla
Saturday, July 14, 2012 @ 10:34:46 PM
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I just hope the rumored ps3 is real cuz i like the look.

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bigrailer19
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 11:50:03 AM

I aLmost threw up when I seen it. It looks like a cheap gimmick.

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Geobaldi
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 1:47:02 AM

"...Winter is coming."

Yes it is. Season 3 on March 31st :)

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 4:41:14 AM
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It's funny, it doesn't feel like too long ago when the common perception amongst the users on this site seemed to be that there was nothing wrong with the Japanese developers whatsoever, in fact they were still in front and that the entire problem were due to "cultural differences".

Back then it really felt like I was entering a twilight zone where no-one could see what was right in front of them, and boy were I struck with great vengeance and furious anger when I tried to point that out...
I'm glad that is behind us. :)


** PGU: **

Saints Row 3:
I've found myself quite often returning to Saints Row 3 these last couple of weeks, but that's more due to my buddy and I really wanting to play coop and we have not much else to play now (that FOOL traded in Dead Island).
It will be great to get something new to churn on, Borderlands 2 really can not come fast enough.

Infamous 2:
I've also continued in this game, and while it *is* a great game I just haven't been able to reignite that first enthusiasm when the game were new.

But I think it's less to do with the game, and more to do with one rather depressing suspicion: Could it be that I'm slowly turning into an exclusive "coop gamer" who can't really enjoy a regular single player game anymore?
Seems the campaign have to be of *stellar* qualities, we talk Mass Effect / BioShock level quality, for me to keep playing solo.

My God that is depressing, really. Hopefully it is a fading trend.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/15/2012 5:02:55 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 9:57:46 AM

Uh...I for one have never once held that view about Japanese developers. I noticed the instant the slide started to happen, as did most people on this site.

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 10:43:09 AM

I know you haven't, that's why I stated *users*. You've pointed out the opposite on numerous occasions, but there were others, several, who insisted there was nothing wrong with the Japanese devs and their games. You've just never been met with the same resistance as me when I've tried to say the same. You know, with you being the boss and all.

But I'm not going to start naming names. I'm just glad those particular discussions are over.

Right now I am playing Infamous 2 and during the missions with a partner I can't help but thinking how utterly awesome this game would have been if the campaign could be played in coop.

Dare I hope for coop in Infamous 3?
I dare! I do! I wanna play as Lucy Kuo! (hey it rhymed!) :)

Last edited by Beamboom on 7/15/2012 10:59:36 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 11:57:37 AM

I think you misinterpreted the ongoing discussion over whether or not Japanese devs need to westernize their games, we liked them exactly how they were as far as the cultural aspects were concerned, not their inability to keep up with the quality of western games. Though there are caveats like MGS4 and GT5.

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Beamboom
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 12:41:08 PM

No I didn't misunderstand that back then World - I agreed with it, even - but I think you may be right in that some of the discussions I refer to might have started under those kind of topics.

What I said back then (and we go a while back now, more than just a few months) is that they didn't have to westernise at all, they should keep their identity, keep their art style and weird ideas and all that, they just had to make their games *better*. And then "all hell broke loose", more or less, with accusations of me being both this and that of an ignorant fool and total lack of understanding, that the Japanese devs were top of the line, cream of the crop, they were just confused by us, all while I were showered with downthumbs.
This really is nothing I just imagine, it was like that :)

But this is water under the bridge, I don't mean to restart that discussion again. I just am pleased that we all seem to be in tune on how things are now.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/15/2012 12:42:13 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 1:27:30 PM

I don't recall it, but maybe the defenders of J games overreacted as gamers are wont to do.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 8:46:36 PM

I think Beamboom might only be recalling one particular user...perhaps going by the name of Highlander... ;)

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Beamboom
Monday, July 16, 2012 @ 2:45:50 AM

Hehe - well I said that I would not start naming names and I'll stick to that.

But since you mention Highlander, yes he is perhaps the most intense and loudest of them but he was not the only one making similar claims. Also, what he did say back then did receive a lot of support both in the name of thumbs and comments. I count that too as a sign of the general consensus amongst the users.

Hey - maybe I am wrong. Maybe the root of this impression basically is just as you say, a handful of discussions with Highlander that I just imagined were supported by many. I don't know.
But I do have a handful of other nicks in my mind that although perhaps weren't as categoric and bombastic as Highlander, they essentially expressed the same views.

Then again, this could also be a consequence of a general dislike of *me* back then. That I were thumbed down regardless, and argued against no matter what I said, just cause it was me who said it. There was a period where I had a few who automatically thumbed me down whenever I posted anything. It was like an auto-feature. So, yeah, could be several things I guess. :D

But this is getting blown out of propositions now. I really didn't mean my little observation to trigger a discussion. I just think I've sensed a change over the years. That's all, really. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/16/2012 2:53:13 AM

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___________
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 6:47:42 AM
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they do need to spend more money, but that is not going to fix everything!
perfect example of 2 types of games this gen, you have your crap boring game that tries to do something different like spec ops the line, or you have uncharted the complete opposite.
the japanese games USE to be like spec ops.
not the best of games but at least they tried to be unique, something different!
now they dont though, there still the same old low budget crap and there trying to do the same thing everyone else is doing.
its like offering a ford GT for 300000 bucks or a ferrari F430 for 300000 bucks.
which would you buy?
both are essentially supercars, both are VERY similar!
but one is exotic top of the line quality, and the other is no sophistication all pure muscle!
asians need to do a bit of both, they need the old uniqueness, the old muscle they USE to bring, mixed in with the high budget wow factor of western games.
so just adding a bazillion dollars to the budget is not going to fix the asian development industry!
because then what we would have is exactly what we have from western developers.
you have 2 of the same things from 2 different places whats the point?
you go one place for one thing and another place for another.
asian developers need to go back to their old ways of delivering unique eastern styled experiences and just add a bit more polish and production values!

ill never understand why people see trophies and say thats it i must go play that game to get them now.
no matter how much you enjoyed it!
i always replay games i enjoy simply because i enjoy it, but the last thing that would bring me back to a game is trophies!
in short they could not PAY me to go back and play MGS4 just so i can gain trophies!

im trying to force myself to enjoy the amazing spiderman simply because i absolutely loved spiderman 2!
and you know what?
the sad truth is this will probably be the best spiderman game we will see for a long, long time!
if not ever!
but i just cant, the combat, the swinging, the combos, everything is so god dam simple my freaking dog could plat the game!
its so frustrating how simplified the game is!
its so sad that a freaking mobile game can be better than the best spiderman game on consoles since spiderman 2!
its a shame it does not work on my galaxy S3 otherwise id be playing that!
a mobile game more enjoyable than a console game, what the hell is this world coming too!?

at this rate a wii game will be getting GOTY 2012!!!!!!!
even though it will be replaced by the wiiu by then.


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Veitsknight
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 8:21:21 AM
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I spent all day playing Rainbow Moon today. I am on Hard/Adventurer. I tried this because I read that someone said it was extremely hard and you were sort of forced into buying the beginner pack thing.

So far, i find it easy. The grind is great. I have been using monster loot as strategic cover which usually funnels them into one square. I manage to get the archer girl. Deciding which gets to kill the enemy for the stat upgrade is fun.

In the hardest difficulty, it is easy. All you need is a lil level grinding. It is an oldschool RPG after all.

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Fox hounder
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 9:49:08 AM
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Hi everybody!

I got a piece of info regarding the MGS4 trophy patch. The patch (aside from adding trophies) will also include a Full Install Option, which means no more installing in between each Act.

Check out the Kojima productions report over at the Hideo Blog for more info.

Peace :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 11:58:48 AM

Any idea if it's coming to the US?

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Fox hounder
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 12:14:32 PM

Yeah, its coming to the U.S. The assistant producer of Kojima productions, Sean Eyestone pretty much confirmed it in the latest KP report (which is a weekly podcast at the Hideo Blog).

I'd expect the patch to arrive next month, probably around the same time they release "The Best" version in japan.

PS: Nice avatar World :)

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Snaaaake
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 11:00:49 AM
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I sold my copy of MGS4 2 months ago and now this comes along?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 12:24:38 PM
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There was this guy driving a car at me in MP3 and I shot out both his eyes and blew off his jaw. I friggin cracked up laughing. Does that make me a bad person? lol

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CrusaderForever
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 5:15:22 PM
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Could be the Japanese developers are tapped out? Challenged....I would say so! It's time to put up or shut up. Do your job above and beyond and you'll reap the rewards. Listen to your fans and stop cheating by trying to see and copy what the Western devs are doing. Stay true to yourselves and just be creative and execute well. Don't... and the Western developers will widen the lead.

My son and I just beat P&Ferb 2nd Dimension, it was good. He loves P&F! Good game for the fans.

Just about to take out Clockwerk on Sly 1, great game!

Tackling The Walking Dead Starving For Help next and then Assassins Creed II. Need to get caught up before ACIII comes out.

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CrusaderForever
Sunday, July 15, 2012 @ 9:41:12 PM

Wow! I just got my 11th Platinum by completing Sly 1 HD! I coasted through this game until Clockwerk! That was a really tough level for me. But the hardest part of Sly 1 was getting to the 3rd stage of a Boss(Clockwerk for instance) and then dying and having to start all over at the beginning of the Boss battle again. I am not saying they need to remove this, just that it made it harder especially if you had zero lucky charms. Kind of reminds me of Demon's Souls, minutely! :) Great game, glad I played it!

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