: Ben's Week In Review: September 29

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Ben's Week In Review: September 29

GTAV is just waaaay too much fun. As if there is such a thing. ;)

RE remake flopped so Mikami had to reinvent...but is that the whole reason?

I'm certainly not calling the man a liar. Shinji Mikami created one of the most iconic and best-loved franchises in video game history, and I believe him when he says the "commercial failure" that was the Resident Evil remake on the GameCube is why the series adopted a more action-oriented theme. However, with such a shift, one has to believe there are other factors involved in such a decision. For instance, it was right around that time that Western gaming studios were starting to come into their own, and I believe Japanese developers and publishers were getting a whiff of what was coming. Therefore, I think that even then, they were on the lookout for flagging franchises that needed to cater to a wider audience.

So, we ended up with RE4, which was a massive success and got the franchise back on track (in terms of quality, not in terms of keeping with the survival/horror roots). In other words, Mikami's shift in tone worked. No wonder other Japanese teams have tried the same thing, right? However, I do have one little question: If it worked, what has been happening since? Too much action? Is the answer to return to your roots, ala The Evil Within? It certainly looks like true survival/horror. But isn't that like...sort of admitting you were wrong? But wait, how can you have been wrong when it worked before? And why go back to the old way?

It must be all very confusing for the Japanese developers.

Don't get microtransactions. Not at all.

Okay, so GTA Online will have those dreaded microtransactions. Everyone seems to hate them and yet, they keep popping up. Obviously, they work. Obviously, quite a few people are using real-world money to buy fake things in their video games. I grew up with games, I consider myself a big fan, I love my favorite forms of interactive entertainment, but for the life of me, I cannot figure this out. I already spent my money in buying the game. Now you want me to spend more so I can open up more of...well, more of what I thought I had already paid for? Telling me that I don't really need it to finish the game is fine, but when you tell me I need it to be competitive playing against others? Isn't that the same thing as a requirement? I'm not saying Rockstar is doing this with the GTA microtransactions but I think everybody sees the slippery slope.

There are just too many ways for publishers to take advantage of this particular money-making idea. Of course, we can't blame the publishers for it because we're the ones giving them our money. Microtransactions wouldn't exist if a lot of people hadn't already handed over their cash so as is typically the case, consumers have nobody to blame but themselves. I just don't get why it's appealing in the slightest. Sure, it's clever how those extra items are marketed (they don't cost much real money, for instance, so it's like apps on a phone) but we're still falling for it. It's a game. It's not my life. I paid for it once...I'm done now.

Personal gaming update

I took some time off from playing GTAV to play rain. I guess they're promoting it with the lower-case "r" so that's why I'm writing it that way, but it looks weird. I think Japan Studio did the same thing with echochrome, actually; maybe they have something against capital letters. Anyway, I can't divulge anything right now (embargoed until October 1, which is launch day) but I will say this- if you enjoyed Journey, I can't imagine you not liking rain. It's probably best described as a cross between a watercolor or oil painting brought to life and a project a graduate film student might try to create. At the very least, it's the polar opposite of GTA so it was kinda nice to have that change of pace.

Sadly, I doubt I'll be able to finish GTAV before a bunch of other reviews must be done. I still have to do Puppeteer, for example, and Beyond: Two Souls is next week, believe it or not. And we all know what the rest of October and November looks like, not to mention Gran Turismo 6 on December 6. I mean, good God.

9/28/2013 Ben Dutka

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Comments (29 posts)

Temjin001
Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 10:42:57 PM
Reply

I agree that there's more to RE's change than what we know. Perhaps they felt that due to the positive critical and user response, gamers wanted more and more action. I guess they went too far. I wouldn't really know.

You also need to review Rayman Legends, Ben. And is there a user review contest coming soon? Or is that $400 buy a PS4 one still going? Did someone win that already? I may have missed it.

PGU: Finished Ico HD. The last hour is the best the game has the offer, at least I liked it a lot, so it's nice it finished strong. It's an emotionally provocative experience that doesn't feel quite like any other games I've played.
Been playing more AC3 as well. I'm really liking it. It was a bold and respectable move from Ubisoft to really try and uproot the setting and main character and do as much research as they had in the historical setting it provides. Yah, it does have a lot of bugs and some things just don't feel well refined but overall I really like it.
Snagged SF X Tekken from Steam last night for $10. I've been wanting to get into a solid 2D fighter for a while and I'm sort of sampling the landscape right now. I think SF X Tekken for PC merges with the LIVE crowd of gamers. It's DRM is held by GFWL. On the bright side in a matter of like a second it auto-joined me in a multiplayer match with a max connection quality. Very nice. I suspect with Steam hitting the living room and expanding I'll see more fighters come my way on what's turning into a very interesting next-gen.




Last edited by Temjin001 on 9/28/2013 10:43:46 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 11:18:50 PM

Pure curiosity makes me want to see how the hell that Steam controller works for myself.

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Temjin001
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 12:26:36 AM

I'm curious too. It seems a lot of game editors are (from observing other sites, like Eurogamer)

I hope this Steam stuff does well. It'd be nice having a gaming console more similar to how Android works with it's tablet and phone partners. Instead, right now there's only this 'walled garden' approach, where doing simple things like having your console wake itself up to run updates or have online play is shackled behind service fees.
I'd like to see a platform more focused on providing open and fertile soil for devs and ultimately gamers to benefit from.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 9/29/2013 12:27:06 AM

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Temjin001
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 12:40:59 AM

I also see this next-gen as an insane one due to all the connectivity we have. No one really talks about it but the streaming stuff Sony purchased may be a very big part of Sony's future. I will not be surprised if they launch a client that could be used on devices like tablets and computers that allow a person to play a 'streaming' version of their exclusive software without even having a PS4. Sony laid down millions and millions of dollars on this streaming deal, and you can sure as heck know it's not just for backwards compatibility. They'd never earn a dime back from that investment if it was. No. It'll be something a lot more. I think we'll see gaming extend virally to many many devices. Where things feel more like a service than it does just a box.

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 5:21:29 AM

I'm extremely curious about the Steam controller too. Could this in fact be the perfect merge of game pad and mouse/keyboard? Do this mark the invasion of PC games in the living room?

I can't wait to get my hands on one of those - especially since it's said that *all* games found on Steam can be used on it. Plus - full Linux support, obviously. What's there not to like. :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 10:02:27 AM

Does the Steam console stay powered on?

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Beamboom
Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 2:55:40 AM

Nothing is known about SteamOS yet when it comes to details and features. But one thing that is known is that it will be completely open and unrestricted, so whatever default behaviour it offers, it will be possible to change by the user.

It's how it should be on all platforms, really.

Last edited by Beamboom on 9/30/2013 2:56:00 AM

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xenris
Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 11:05:16 PM
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I just hate that statement "needing to cater to a wider audience" its garbage but its a true statement that many publishers make.

Why don't people make a game 100% without worrying about who it will cater to and see what happens? There have been a lot of successful games that didn't follow the mainstream trends. Minecraft, Darksiders, Metro, The Witcher, Dragons Crown, FEZ and I could probably list more if I sat around and thought about it but you get the point.

I just don't like that element of the gaming industry. I wish there were more passion projects devs were making. I understand they need to make money and its a business etc, but man its just sad to see it happen.

I also hate microtransactions. They dont add anything to the game, in fact usually the game is modified to make them more appealing. Now it is true they are working so publishers keep using them, but it is usually a small amount of people who use them. Stats show it is usually about 5% of players in F2P games that actually pay. So its a small amount of people paying a lot of money. Lots of these games seem to attract "whales" who spend obscene amounts of money on them. Which I will never understand.

PGU

Still loving the crap out of Rayman Legends. The game is platforming bliss and I like it as much as the first one and in some ways even more. I still feel the Wii U influence and those levels are the weaker ones but getting to the later worlds and I really am liking the platforming speed runs some of the invasion levels require you to do.

I wonder if anyone here will review it?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 11:16:40 PM
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Everything must be confusing for Japanese developers, every time they make news they sound like they've been smoking a peyote witch doctor West African Hoodoo gris gris potion. Hopefully The Evil Within strikes the right balance since the nutcases can make it a shooter if they want.

Microtransaction are sad cuz that stuff used to be on the disc. I don't think it's fair that you have to pay to be competetive but I don't do multiplayer so I'm just not happy about the single player goodies that I want costing more. I admit I've bought some because I really wanted the whole gaming experience and what can anyone really do about being extorted?

Diablo III! I wasn't planning to play the game after that demo but it looks like I'm reviewing it now, so it's time to clean the slate and put my money where my mouth is and see how the full game really is.

Finished Tales of Xillia, what an amazing facking finish, great JRPG! Choked up a bit there at the end.

Started Aliens Colonial Marines, it was pretty much unplayable. Bought Knights Contract, it's definitely different (reminds me a little of Sword of the Berserk) and I am pleasantly surprised by the awesome music.

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Geobaldi
Saturday, September 28, 2013 @ 11:49:28 PM
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After watched the extended gameplay footage of The Evil Within, I'm not impressed. It looks pretty much the same as RE 4-6 just with a different setting and characters. Combat looks the same, same scare tactics, same chainsaw guy just a different skin and pretty dumb as well. He can catch the main character when he's running full speed, but when the lead guy is limping around him at 1-2 MPH, he can't catch him in a long hallway or hit him when he's right beside him.

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JDC80
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 12:36:29 AM
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Only thing I can update on: I finally traded in my 40GB PS3 for the PS3 250GB Uncharted 3 game of the year bundle. Dude at Gamestop was kinda pushy wanting me to get the GTA V PS3 bundle but I have to think I wanted to keep extra cash on me. Not going to use that voucher for the 1 year PSN Plus until my 3 months are up in December.

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cLoudou
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 6:26:21 AM

PS+ codes/vouchers stack, there's no need to wait.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 4:23:38 AM
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yeah it's pritty pritty full on for us the gamers and people like you ben who have to review all of the games we may or may not want to buy and play. in the fact that the new consoles are cmin in like 8 weeks i'm ready for launch and just for any one else who 'cares' the new pokemon games cme out in a couple of weeks gunna try get my last minate preoder in this week got a thing on the week end.

happy gaming =)

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___________
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 4:45:29 AM
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so sad weve had to wait this long into the generation to see anything from studio japan but its certainly been worth the wait!
really hope they are much more productive with the ps4, nice to see them on a launch title with knack.
now, maybe, we wont have to wait another 6 f*cking years to see the last guardian!?

had to put GTAV down for a while so i decided to pick up puppeteer.
such a charming little game, its a perfect example of why this industry cannot survive without asian developers.
they just have such a unique different charm to them.
i hope they turn it into a franchise and maybe turn a 3D title out of it, really let that artwork shine more.
$ony really needs to stop switching and changing on their mascots, they really need something to flagship the ps4.
ps1 had crash, ps2 had sly, J&D, R&C, ps3 has had sackboy and quite a few others.
its a shame that MM dont want to work on it anymore, its one of those games they could of worked on forever really made it a popular franchise.
hopefully $ony will get someone else to pick it up, or maybe puppeteer.
they need something to create a franchise out of, you cant just start and stop everything.

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 5:24:19 AM
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PGU:

Left 4 Dead 2: I managed to get some of my colleagues at work to put down DOTA2 for a couple of evenings to play Left4Dead2 in coop with me.
And that has been some HILLARIOUS evenings. L4D2 is easily - without much competition - my favourite zombie game.

Borderlands 2: Started a new playthrough with a different class, and do plan on playing the rest of the game with that character - again in coop with colleagues at work.

It's fantastic with a workplace consisting almost 100% of gamers! Man, what a wonderful place to be.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 6:00:28 AM
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PU:
Finished Puppeteer. While it was a good game, it just wasn't great and didn't do enough with its unique concepts of the head-switching and Calibrus. It's nice for a change, especially at its budget price, but there are much better 2D platformers out there. Seriously, I'd say don't be too fussed over it unless you're a diehard fan of the genre.
Started GTA V and it is definitely an improvement over IV. I've put in about eight hours now, most of them just stuffing around. It's fun, but I'm not yet seeing why it's being bandied about as game of the generation material. I mean... it's just more of the same GTA that's been around for more than ten years. I was expecting a leap. An evolution, but I haven't seen that yet. Maybe that will change as I play through more of the story and unlock more of the juicy stuff, but I'm not especially hopeful.
Finished The Power of One, too. It's funny in the way that it wraps up its main narrative paths too leave you feeling satisfied with the story as a whole, yet the continuation of the story found in Tandia doesn't feel as though Courtenay just wanted to make a sequel. Each novel feels complete, yet they complement each other so well that, after reading both, it's difficult to imagine one existing without the other. Now I've started on Shantaram... I've only just begun, so I haven't much to say on it yet, though the author does do a wonderful job of creating a sense of place. His love of Bombay is palpable through his descriptions.
Didn't manage to write much this week. Had my niece and nephew again and having kids around just isn't conducive to getting things done.
Peace.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 10:06:17 AM

That's what I was afraid of with GTA

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 11:08:30 AM

You should not have expected too big of a leap as long as it's running on the same hardware as GTA4.
Although I do hear everyone saying it's graphically better than GTA4.

As for me I am just very happy the franchise has returned back to where they left with GTA:SA, and not continued to be all dark, gloomy and depressive like GTA4.

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Lawless SXE
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 3:09:19 PM

It's a massive graphical leap over GTA IV, for sure. And the problem lies in the conceptualisation, not the execution, so I don't think the next generation is going to change that. By now, GTA is a formula, I should have recognised that going in, but I was dragged in by the hype. How is more powerful hardware going to prompt R* to change their core ideas when the game, on current-gen hardware, sells 17 million copies in one week?

Will keep you updated as I work through the game as to whether anything changes for me.

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Beamboom
Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 2:58:16 AM

Ah, I thought you meant a technical leap.

When it comes to this franchise "more of the same" is exactly what I want as long as it is served on cycles of 5-6 years.

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Knightzane
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 7:42:51 AM
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Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix. I don't remember it being as good as it is. Gameplay wise, story wise, and music wise. I mean wow, its a good example of a game thats aged well. Besides KH, I've been 'Golding' the missions in GTAV.

A lot of Japanese developers have certainly lost their way. But games like Demons/Dark Souls reminds me that they're not afraid to move outside of reality and let their imaginations run wild. Western games tend to be too similar to much of the time. Besides Naughty Dog, Rockstar who has always made great games even during the RPG years, and a few others, I really can't think of a game that I've played more than once. That's just me though. I would rather play a video game that takes place in a world far far away.

Also, RE4 was a survival game. I ran out of ammo way more than I did on any of the previous games. And as for the horror, If you've played the game on professional you would have been terrified the entire time. Dying in a few hits to every other enemy, at the beginning, was really what terrified me. Not to mention the insane replay-ability and unlockables. RE4 seriously remains to be one of the greatest video games ever.

I've also been quoting things recently. Half the time, I don't even know what I'm quoting. I think this is video game related but, I found out my server on Final Fantasy 14 is something called the "Four Chan" server. And I really don't know what that means other than people laughing when I ask what that is. I also attempted to kill Odin and get revengeance, but he one shot me again.

I'll end by saying Donald is over powered and likes to wipe out entire platoons of enemies before I can even lock-on.

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Beamboom
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 8:05:40 AM

4chan is a quite popular website, a simple image-based bulletin board where anyone can post comments and share images.

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Vivi_Gamer
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 8:38:21 AM
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I still refuse to accept the Gamecube versions of RE as flops, they both reached the 'Greatest Hits' label here in the UK. It's clear that there is problem with RE and despite people praising RE4, it was where everything changed.

As for micro-transactions, nope, not interested. I am not angry at GTA: Online, as it is not mandatory to the point where you will be at a complete disadvantage. My problem is restricted content that is on the disc or free-to-play games taking over next gen. I want to simply buy a game full retail price and then not worry about having to pay for updates and content that exceed my original purchase. But that rarely happens these days.

PGU:
I recently when to Eurogamer Expo - a UK gaming convention. I ha a chance to play Lighting Returns... which to be honest I think is not bad, the battle system is still entertaining and fluid. My problems are out of battle. it's trying to be an action game with platforming elements but sticking the occasional box and pole (Which looks like a candy-cane contrasting the dark oppressive atmosphere of the area I was in.) But if it is going to try be an action game I have to compare it to other title like Assassins Creed and to say it falls short is an understatement.

I also played Beyond... and to be honest, it looked really poor. The character models were detailed to the skin pores.. but the textures were blurry and pixelated. The game is a lot harder now as their are no button prompts, she makes an action and you have to follow it with the right stick. There are also some sections where you control her physic powers, which float around in a first person perspective. One section I could go through walls. another section on a train I could only go through the glass... I don't know... I am hoping I will settle into it better with the full game but I didn't enjoy it that much.

I also played the FFX remake I have been complaining about, it looks superb... other than the hi-res Tidus model... The part I played with Tidus & Auron in Zankarkand the music hadn't been changed which I was happy about and the CGI cutscenes looks superb in HD.

I got hands on with the PS4 too, Knack and Octodad, I didn't care for the games, I just wanted to get a feel for the controller, it feels wider and has a rough texture on the back. I'm not so sure on it. Oh and the back triggers feel very out of place, a bit to upright.

Other than that I played Tearaway which is definitely a system seller for the Vita and a VR system called Oculus Rift, but as I was long sighted it was too blurry for me... Good day over all :)

Now I am going to tackle the Silent Hill HD Collection and hope it is not as troubled as people made it out to be...

Last edited by Vivi_Gamer on 9/29/2013 8:39:22 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 10:13:03 AM

That sounds like a lot of fun you had checking stuff out, those pathetic attempts to make Lightning Returns a modern Western action game by letting you climb a pole is one of those forehead slappers that I was afraid of. But at this point my expectations are so low I'm not worried about it disappointing me anymore.

Don't worry about Silent Hill HD, the final patch on that has it running almost perfectly now. I love that series, kinda wanna go play it again now that you mentioned it.

Hopefully Beyond will have some day 1 patching too.

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 10:54:55 AM
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PGU: Been playing GTAV and FIFA 14 coop seasons. That's pretty much it. Other then that, I cannot wait to play the battlefield 4 beta on Oct 1 as well as the online portion of GTAV.

Also, I bought a 3DS XL. I'm not sure why and I'm not sure how. My question is, what games should I buy for it? What are the best Mario games for the Nintendo 3DS?

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KidPresentable
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 11:19:26 AM

Fire Emblem: Awakening. Shin Megami Tensei 4. Those should be your first two. Follow it up with Kid Icarus: Uprising, Luigi's Mansion 2, Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, and Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask. I'd say Mario and Luigi's Dream Team is the best Mario game. I wasn't really a fan of 3D Land, but you should check it out for yourself.

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Killa Tequilla
Sunday, September 29, 2013 @ 2:17:45 PM

First game I ever played on a purple colored Nintendo 64 (and first time ever console i played) was a Mario game. Seems to me like Mario 3D land is a no brainer. I will YouTube the rest of the games listed and see if any peak my interest. Thank you for the list

Ooh, and virtues last reward, I got that free for my psvita from PSPlus a while back. I quit that game immediately because I wasn't paying attention. I will give it another go.

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homura
Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 12:25:07 AM
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I did enjoyed Resident Evil 4, 5 and 6. And I think 6 sold 4 million plus despite some low scores reviews. And some says that it sold just because of the name alone, but why is DMC flopped despite of the high review scores.

PGU: Finished Ni No Kuni and it's a wonderful game with a beautiful artworks by Studio Ghibli. But the tactics is pretty much useless but I did find a way for me to enjoy the battle system more. The story is great especially for kids and kids at heart but the difficulty of some of the puzzles, riddles and boss fights are really not for kids. And how you travel across the world map reminds me of those early Final Fantasy's.

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iankhaneagle
Monday, September 30, 2013 @ 3:30:53 PM
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@ Lawless SXE:

if you had to give a grade for puppeteer what ould it be? pros and cons?

also...i ask this as a long time gamer...how invested are you into platforming? are you a fan since Mario and Sonic...or someone who only plays occasionally? i have a coworker who i gushed to about Rayman Origins and he rolled his eyes about how much he would rather play call of duty. there is something to be said for the FPS generation. i know in my heart of hearts rayman legends is a 9.5 for me. therefore, knowing how Meh i was towards LBP, i know it will be more of a game that grows on me given that it looks like Folklore with a Kid Chameleon type protagonist. the inclusion of so many QTE is concerning. i hated it about GoW as well as Heavy Rain and LA noire. my expectations are that for me it will be a 7 or 8. any feedback would be appreciated.

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