(This is my first “Gaming Diary” entry, where I just want to casually write about stuff I’m playing with some thoughts. I play older games on PC (I don’t have a strong rig, it’s a Dell Dimension 5000 from 2005) or on my PSP, where I can play older console games using emulators and of course PSP games.)
Been playing Resident Evil 2 (converted)
Back in the day, when Metal Gear Solid was all that mattered to me, when Final Fantasy 7 felt like an alternate world, there was a type of game I’d never been able to play. Survival Horror. There were a number of factors that put me off every time I tried playing a Resident Evil game. First of all, I hated the control scheme. A locked camera that looked cinematic, but felt impractical to no end, paired with a weird tank movement control scheme just felt so wrong. Add to this the constant tension that a zombie could come out and attack me from anywhere, and it was just unplayable. How the heck can I keep cool with such frustrating controls while having to stay alert almost all of the time? And then I heard from friends that you’d constantly be low on ammo and health. No thanks!
Well, I’m significantly older now, and so I thought I might give this a real try. Stick with it for the first hour at least. So I got Resident Evil 1 and the controls felt not too bad. I could get along with it. But then, as soon as the fucking dogs came jumping in from the windows the frustration became too much. Without auto aim, combat is a god damn pain in the ass. So I stopped playing right there and moved on to RE2.
Resident Evil 2 is awesome. It starts off much better, with excitement from the get-go. The areas are cool, and once I accepted the cinematic angles for what they added to the experience, I was okay with the occasional lack of vision as to where I’m shooting, because: there’s auto aim! The game’s puzzles were rather weird, logical thinking only helping me half of the time. I’m used to this stuff though, having played many a graphic adventure. Just pick up anything you can, which can be made complicated by the really limited space in the inventory and check out every room. When entering a new room, always keep the R1 button pressed to ready your gun and listen for the sound of zombies. Once I adapted these “best practices”, I was able to feel more at ease. There were like 2 genuine shockers in the game, both of which caused by the licker. That bastard.
I must say I really enjoyed the game. Its slow pace, cinematic feel and tension give it a ton of character and I liked that. Add to that the story of viruses, evil corporations and some family drama and you have a game that feels like a summer horror flick. The game is nothing too breath-taking today, but delivers genuine fun gameplay. It does hold up.
Been playing Tactics Ogre on PSP
My current go-to game when nothing to do is Tactics Ogre. I played Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSX and then the PSP port before, but for some reason, this line of Final Fantasy just doesn’t keep me hooked. I mean the games set in Ivalice. The try-hard (IMO) language used in the dialogues, and the high-drama of it can’t keep me interested. FFT was also horribly slow for a PSP game. Vagrant Story is widely-praised and I can appreciate the things making it unique from other JRPGs, but no thanks, I think I prefer round-based combat. Also the main character looks ridiculous. I really couldn’t get over that.
It’s surprising then that Tactics Ogre, the game that preceded FFT, kick-starting the whole SRPG sub-genre, is keeping me hooked. It’s not set in Ivalice, but there are many similarities style-wise. It plays very much like FFT, but it feels more epic, it’s much faster and the dialogue, though with some of the try-hard high English, is really really good. I can really feel for the characters and the whole story system is just implemented so very good. A choose-you-own-adventure game which is also a long sequence of challenging SRPG skirmishes. There are many places in which TO could’ve failed and fallen on its face, but it manages to not do these mistakes pretty much all the time. Just think, if the characters were as flat and two dimensional as in so many other JRPGs, the whole non-linearity wouldn’t have been interesting, and the decisions would’ve had less weight. But because the characters ARE interesting, because they DO have a broader spectrum of emotions, their own motivations and personalities, the story feels organic no matter how you decide to further it. And that’s what a good RPG story should offer as I see it.
The skirmishes are great fun and do require forward thinking. It’s just as important to prepare your party for a fight properly as the decision-making during a fight itself. The vast customizing options could’ve been intimidating for a novice like me, but the system makes sense and is therefore easily learned (unlike in other JRPGs like FF8). Soon enough, I found myself knee-deep in the customization menus, tuning every little bit of my party. The UI doesn’t get in the way, while using the PSP’s buttons to great effect. Then of course is the chariot system in case I really do mess up in a fight, which allows me to backtrack up to 50 turns in the fight to fix my mistakes. This is just perfect for a game like this, and makes a huge difference between TO and FFT in my opinion. In the latter, I’d often had to restart an entire fight after messing up. The slow pace often killing any motivation left to beat the stage. TO flows smoothly all the way, and oils the parts where it could get hard to digest. Great stuff.
So yeah, totally enjoying the game right now. I’ll be keeping this one in my PSP for a while by the looks of it.
Tried Castlevania Symphony of the Night on PSP (converted)
I tried it, played for 3 minutes and realized why I don’t like the Metroidvania type of games. Platforming is fun, and slashing big monsters too. The graphics are even pretty nice. It’s just….I have no sense of direction, don’t feel like mapping the huge levels in my head and yeah…not my shit.
Tried Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver on PSP (converted)
There’s nothing much to say right now. I played a couple of minutes and it seemed cool. I like the premise and the gameplay seemed good. All very coherent and having a nice flow. It’s just…the camera felt a bit off. I couldn’t look at the ceiling of the levels and it felt limited that way. Oh well, it’s a PS1 game. I’ll give it a real go later.
Tried Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on PSP
So after RE2, I thought I might play a Silent Hill game, another series I was too much of a wuss to play until now. But instead of getting the old original, I opted for the PSP re-imagining, because I was intrigued by the psycho-analysis feature. I enjoyed the atmosphere up till now (I just entered this diner and learned how to use the in-game phone) and will continue later. It’s really eerie, but not exactly as suspenseful or disturbing as I remember Silent Hill 2 was (I tried it years ago, and was scared shit-less). We’ll see how that goes.Share Share