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  1. Time for more of that #SilentHill on #Twitch! Come by and hopefully we'll end up with a good ending this time! Come span that #GreenRanger hype! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  2. Continuing on that crazy trip through the original #SilentHill on #Twitch. Be sure to swing by, drop a follow, and spam that #GreenRanger hype! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  3. Let's get to that original #SilentHill tonight, shall we? Come check out the #Twitch stream and experience the classic horror survival! Oh, and don't forget to spam that #GreenRanger hype in chat! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  4. It looks like Climax Studios (who worked on Silent Hill: Origins and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories) is making another horror game. Seems like they just posted screenshots and have said nothing about it, though! This upcoming horror game, which currently does not have a title, appears to have a doll-related theme (which can be creepy enough as it is). We can see a female doll in two shots that might be our protagonist. Other shots display the disheveled dollhouse and a scary face in the mirror. Check out the screenshots below! What do you think this untitled Climax Studios game is about? Are you looking forward to it based on the screenshots alone?
  5. Well, gamers, it“s that time of the year again! That“s right, love is in the air and all the single ladies guys are lonelier than ever (*cries in corner*). But let“s not get into too much detail about real life, as we hear too much about that already. No, I“d rather take a look at video game romances instead, wouldn“t you? Whether a game has a tear-jerking love story, a simple story with a lot of history, or a romance so vague you won“t even know where to start, love is clearly evident within the video game world. So on this lovely day of love, let“s take a moment and look at what this guy (points at self with smug expression) thinks are the top 10 video game romances. #10: Master Chief x Cortana - Halo Series - Love comes in many different forms, with some being more illegal than others. And perhaps one of the stranger relationships on this list (though technically not illegal in real life at the moment) is that of Halo hero Master Chief and his trusty holographic partner and AI love interest Cortana. Through thick and thin, these two vastly different creatures are there for each other, willing to risk one“s own life (artificial or otherwise) for the sake of the other. This sort of forbidden romance is made even more emotional later in Halo 4, which makes this love story all the more touching. #9: Leon S. Kennedy x Ada Wong - Resident Evil Series - Here“s a love story involving two people who don“t really get along too well for the most part. Resident Evil“s Leon S. Kennedy and Ada Wong have gone through the series in an estranged relationship full of arguments, trickery, and the occasional weapon being pulled on each other. Neither would hurt the other, of course, and they will oftentimes go well out of their way to help the other. And even though the people they work for aren“t exactly in alliance, Ada is willing to take the long way if it means helping Leon and foiling his enemies. Not exactly the most convenient romantic relationship, but hey, it ain“t easy to be simple when you“ve got zombies and j“avo to worry about. #8: Sora x Kairi - Kingdom Hearts Series - One thing you will often see in Disney movies is a love story, usually involving a princess of some sort. You know what also tends to have love stories? The Final Fantasy series. So it“s only natural that Kingdom Hearts, the result of combining the two chemicals, would feature a deep and touching bit of romance. Enter Sora and Kairi, the main love birds of the series. Also, enter Riku as well, since this childhood friend adds himself to the equation to equal a conflicting love triangle. But while Riku“s off being swallowed by darkness and whatnot, Sora and Kairi have a pretty deep connection going on that makes you feel emotions you weren“t sure a game featuring both Goofy and Cloud Strife were capable of forcing out of you. #7: Nathan Drake x Elena Fisher - Uncharted Series - Nathan Drake is a super-cool, treasure-loving kind of guy. So when he meets the beautiful TV journalist Elena Fisher, of course the only thing on his mind would be the adventure and its resulting reward. But when things start to get rough during the first Uncharted game, a flame of love begins to form between the two. Come the second Uncharted game, and an old “friend†starts turning their relationship sour. Ultimately, though, their bond is too strong for silly love triangles, and by the end of Among Thieves, you can truly see just how perfect they are for each other. #6: Wander x Mono - Shadow of the Colossus - Shadow of the Colossus is a love story of few words, but resonates deeply in our hearts. This colossal story (man, I“m so clever) begins with a young man named Wander, placing the deceased body of a young woman named Mono onto an altar after she was sacrificed for supposedly being cursed. Luckily for Wander, there appears to be a way to resurrect his lost love – defeat a total of 16 colossal beasts. Regardless of how suspicious the voice who told him that is, Wander sets off to hunt down these colossi, willing to go through Hell and back to save Mono. But when all is said and done, the end reward will have to come at a price… #5: James x Mary - Silent Hill 2 - Simply put, Silent Hill is not a town you want to visit. But for James Sunderland, it“s a necessity. Even though his wife Mary had died years ago, James follows a letter she supposedly wrote for him and journeys to the evil town in search of her. And no matter how many nightmares he walks through, James never gives up his search for a wife he“s sure should be dead. Love makes you do crazy things sometimes, and when James remembers a horrible truth he had blocked out of his memory, he must confront the past and his undying love for his wife. It“s these elements that make Silent Hill 2“s story one of the most horrifyingly touching ones around. #4: Tidus x Yuna - Final Fantasy X - It“s certainly no secret that the Final Fantasy series likes love stories. With games like Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX touching gamers“ hearts all these years, the series is a good way to get your romantic fix. But if I had to choose the most romantic couple of the series, I“d have to go with Tidus and Yuna from Final Fantasy X. Yeah, there are a few annoyances here and there, but throughout the story“s course the two really develop and fall in love in a fairly natural way, growing as friends first before moving onto some bases. And by the end of the game, through certain twists in the story, it“s hard for me to not shed at least one manly tear. #3: Johnny x River - To the Moon - In the future, science has created a machine that lets you have memories implanted into your brain, allowing you to remember a life you always wished you had and die with a smile on your face. For an elderly man named Johnny, this opportunity seems right up his alley. Always wishing he“d been able to go to the Moon, doctors strap him into the machine and begin the process. However, as they delve deeper and deeper into his memory banks, a very heart-wrenching tale involving the man“s late wife River is displayed, showing events in their life before reaching the moment when they met. It“s a very touching love story, and by the end of it all, you will probably need something to dry your tear-drenched face. #2: Mario x Princess Peach - Super Mario Series - The story of a hero saving a damsel in distress is one we've heard time and time again. But that doesn“t matter, as gaming“s most famous couple has taught us all, probably unintentionally, to never give up for the one you love. No matter how many times Princess Peach gets herself kidnapped, and no matter how many “other castles†she ends up being whisked away to, Mario is always willing to travel through dangerous worlds, even going into friggin“ space, just to bring his love home safely. And even though he doesn“t get the kind of reward he probably wants (a cake and a peck on the nose ain“t gonna cut it, princess), he still continues to save her from her inevitable kidnappings after several decades. Now THAT“s commitment! #1: Link x Zelda - The Legend of Zelda Series - The Legend of Zelda series tells a series of tales shrouded in romantic ambiguity. While Link is almost always on a quest to save the lovely Princess Zelda, romance never really sparked between the two. And what makes this romance even more vague is the fact that our hero is also trying to, like, save the world or something, with love never truly blooming before the stories end. But over decades of Zelda games spanning many, MANY lifetimes, Link hooking up with the princess just seemed like it was supposed to happen. Of course, with the release of Skyward Sword, a relationship between the two was finally brought to the forefront, as childhood friends Link and Zelda (who“s not a princess this time around, by the way) obviously have the hots for each other, and Link“s sole intention when starting his quest is to save his girl. How sweet. Do you agree with the picks on this lovely list? What romances would you have added?
  6. Jordan Haygood

    James x Mary

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Konami

  7. Marcus Estrada

    Tomm Hulett Leaves Konami for WayForward

    It has been tough for Tomm Hulett as of late. As the Producer of a multitude of recent Silent Hill games, he became the target of obsessed fans. When the Silent Hill HD Edition shipped with bugs, partially due to working off unfinished source code, and because of not enough time devoted to the project, it was Hulett who was blamed. It doesn't help that he has suggested that he is the biggest Silent Hill fan out there, helping to stoke the flames of already agitated fans. It is unknown if this factored into his decision, but Rely on Horror has discovered that Hulett left Konami. Due to eagle-eyed journalist CJ Melendez it was noticed that Hulett's LinkedIn page showed an end date with Konami. They learned that this was all his own choice and that Konami did not orchestrate his departure. Hulett himself has since listed a new position of Director at WayForward Technologies on his page. It's good to see that even in this gaming climate that some are able to have new work lined up for them. Time will tell what products Hulett supervises in his new position, but hopefully they will not cause him to gain a new legion of naysayers.
  8. Jordan Haygood

    Silent Hill: Downpour

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Konami

  9. Marcus Estrada

    Review: Silent Hill: Book of Memories

    Developer: WayFoward Technologies Publisher: Konami Platform: Vita Release Date: October 16, 2012 ESRB: M for Mature When Silent Hill: Book of Memories was announced as being a multiplayer-focused dungeon crawler, fans couldn“t handle it. Many longtime lovers of the Silent Hill series complained that the choices put into the Vita title would ruin any shot at the game being a part of the series. Some of this opposition even got into the minds of non-fans, who then were less excited to give it a shot. All of this was said long before anyone was playing the game though. Now that Book of Memories is finally out, everyone can finally form an opinion on it. Were fans“ worries on the mark or were they taking this spin-off too seriously? First off, one must go into this game knowing that it is a huge departure from the more established world of Silent Hill on consoles. It is obviously a spin-off, but it is so far from the series that it could almost be considered a new game. There are ways that it is brought back to the town of Silent Hill, but for the most part you will see little of that franchise in how the game controls. In regards to looks though, there are many similarities. These things do not cause any issue for the game as they work well together. When starting up the game you“ll be greeted with a slightly hammy story about a young adult who is visited by a mailman. This mailman (straight out of Silent Hill: Downpour) brings you a book, says a few odd remarks, then leaves. Your character, which is designed with simple customization tools, looks through the tome and discovers that their entire life has been detailed in it. For no real reason other than curiosity, they then decide to edit the book and change fate. With that, every time they sleep they enter a horrific dream world where gameplay takes place. Once in these randomly-generated dungeon worlds you are on your own (well, in single player). Silent Hill 3“s Valtiel greets you and assigns a task. Although finishing his quests are not required, they will cause him to reward you. Unless you“re in a huge rush, though, you will often achieve the goal by simply wandering around. Each dungeon has a few standby features such as special challenge rooms, one save, shop, locked doors, and a puzzle at the end. It might already be sounding somewhat Silent Hill-like, but what really seals the deal is the visuals. Main enemies in the game are drawn straight from throughout the series. Nurses are among the first you encounter, but so too are gaggles of other enemy types. If fans aren“t pushed away by the cross pollution of characters, then they may in fact enjoy seeing them all together. The dungeons themselves are also designed with distinct Silent Hill flair. Backdrops are often dark, grated, rusty, and all around depressing. No one would confuse Book of Memories with a Diablo or Torchlight game. Beyond the visuals, the game takes on a very new identity. Gameplay is just like one would expect from a dungeon crawler. From your isometric perspective you wander from room to room, collecting weapons, ammo, or notes, and try to find the end. Along the way you will come across enemies in most rooms as well as stronger enemies scattered throughout. Fighting is accomplished by simply swinging or firing a weapon and doing best to not get hit back. Players can either dodge or block to lessen damage, but this becomes tough to do if enemies corner you. Weapons themselves sometimes fall from enemies or are found in drawers and the environment. Gameplay is very challenging. It takes a little bit to get a feel for how to best fight enemy types, but even after that you“ll still see that it is hard to proceed quickly. This is because characters are also required to level up their skills (and weapons). Fighting enemies loitering in rooms is often cumbersome, but it is the only way to rise up the ranks. If you aren“t properly leveled, you won“t be able to proceed too many stages ahead. Although you aren“t required to grind, it often becomes the best tactic for continued smooth progress throughout the game. Grinding in and of itself is no issue but becomes a chore after a while. This is true of many other titles as well, but especially so here when rooms are so tiny and weapons break. Although breakable weapons are certainly a modern feature of Silent Hill games, it is an especially unhelpful addition here. At the start, and even after leveling up your backpack, there are only a few spaces to store items. There are a fair amount of weapons to find from level to level, but often you“re going to want to keep stronger things with you. Thankfully, there is an item which repairs weapons but you can only carry so many of these at a time as well (upgrades when backpack is upgraded). It is tough to fight through hordes of enemies while keeping a grip on your favorite weapons without them breaking. If there were a few more slots opened up early on then it would be less of a problem. Another feature that causes grinding to be a bit rough is Karma. All throughout play, there is a Karma meter at the top of the screen which shows if you are aligning toward a dark or light path. It doesn“t make much sense, as you can get either path by killing enemies, but it does serve a purpose. When enemies die, they will have a pool of blood where they once stood. This blood is either red or white, and when you run over it, you collect it. In this way, you can choose to collect only red or white to boost your Karma in either direction. Doing so will affect notes that are scattered around as well as push towards one of the game“s multiple endings. What are these notes I“ve mentioned a few times? They are a part of the game that seem to harken back best to the world of Silent Hill. Each level has its own series of notes scattered around the world which tell little interpersonal stories between people. They aren“t very important to the gameplay at hand, but give you glimpses into troubles others are facing. When notes are red, it means that they are showing off a darker side of the story, while white provides more peaceful resolutions. There was no need to have this addition in the game but the fact that it is shows that WayForward was looking for some way to please fans. It“s a nice attempt, as is how the Karma will change up a few things. At the end of every dungeon is a puzzle. In order to operate the puzzles, though, you must go through and find all the parts necessary for it. As you will be tending to clear out dungeons for leveling, finding these objects is rarely a challenge. That doesn“t mean they are perfect puzzles either. The main issue with the end of level puzzles is that they are all highly similar. You may find a puzzle clue in the level earlier, but they all will say a handful of hints, depending on the puzzle. Obviously this is done because there are many levels possible and randomizing puzzles means you can only offer so many hints and puzzle types. Fans will balk at these puzzles because they are incredibly easy once you understand what each hint means. On that same note, other players may find it annoying because they can“t understand what a more obscure clue means. Either way, once a puzzle is solved, they may proceed onward. Every few levels there will be a boss fight. These certainly aren“t unknown to the franchise and bring a bit more creativity to the game. At these points, you'll be forced to fight against wholly new creatures which are pretty big and tough. Once they have been defeated, you“ll get a strong (and pricey) weapon as well as a note. Sometimes, after grabbing a note you“ll be unable to grab the weapon, so make sure to always grab the item first. Grinding through levels with a boss at the end are a good idea as you are able to sell off the strong weapons for a lot of money afterward. However, much of the game seems entirely lonely and cumbersome in single player. Taking the game online for a 2-4 player co-op session really is the preferred way to play Book of Memories. Once in a game with another player, you are free to do whatever, but for the most fun it is best to explore together rather than running off separately. You may collaborate with other members by using in-game voice prompts or simply speak into the Vita speaker for others to hear. In the case of a game like this, the microphone feature is integral so it“s great to see it used. Once working together, teams can blaze through levels much easier. One issue with multiplayer is that objects do not remain for both players. That means you“ll probably have many teammates who, upon entering a room, will dash off to open all drawers to loot them. This leaves little weaponry, health, and the like for others. The same can be said for notes, which disappear after being read by one person. Puzzles can also only be solved by one person at a time but that“s a good thing since otherwise it would be chaotic. Also of note, only the player hosting an online game will have progress registered upon completing new levels. However, everyone will retain their leveled up stats and weapons once heading offline. Still, multiplayer is the place to be if you can find a game to join. The key word in that statement is “if”. There were a handful of online games during the week of release, but since then they have leveled off quite a bit. The likelihood now of stumbling into a game is much tougher. I routinely checked daily and found that no one was around. This doesn“t mean that no one is playing online though. There are small groups that have formed to play together, but good luck getting into them now. The hope is that after a while more people will have the game and therefore there will be more chances at playing online with others. At the very least, if you have a friend with the game, you know they will be around for some online dungeon crawling. Finally, there must be some discussion of the game“s other Vita functions. One of the best implementations comes in use with special attacks. Players can use these once they have enough good or bad Karma and they are triggered with the rear touch pad. It“s easy to do because it is out of the way and your fingers are there anyway. More troubling is the use of the front touch pad. In order to use items in your inventory or pick up weapons, the front touch screen must be used. This wouldn“t be so bad if it weren“t for the fact that you often won“t have the time to carefully plan out your touch. During battles with lots of enemies, you may want to quickly use some health. However, many times it will end up that your touch slightly misses the health. Fearing death, players might hammer around with their thumbs a bit more, using two or three health in rapid succession instead. The touch area is small and it“s not intuitive enough to force players to use. When it comes right down to it, Silent Hill: Book of Memories is mostly an average, forgettable experience in single player. It may have all the dressings of a Silent Hill game, but that in no way makes the game more compelling. The best the game has to offer is a multiplayer mode that becomes fun due to difficulty being more manageable. Good multiplayer games also foster a kinship between the other players who are willing to share items and protect each other. Without such a mode, though, it feels like the game is missing something over a very long experience. Your best bet is to pick this game up if you love dungeon crawlers and have a buddy or two who are willing to explore by your side. Pros: + Multiplayer with a helpful team is quite enjoyable + Enemies pulled from the series are fun to see all together + Strong weapons to be found to destroy everything in your path Cons: - Limited inventory + breakable weapons is not a fun combo - “Silent Hill” connection is mostly aesthetic - Gameplay is not varied, nor are level puzzles Overall Score: 6.5 (Out of 10) Decent Despite initial fears, Silent Hill: Book of Memories is at its most fun when exploring dungeons with others.
  10. Horror as a genre is something that has been around for a long, long time. Stories like Frankenstein, films like Psycho, and others have captured the minds of people years after their releases. Although many will shrug off horror as a fad, it always manages to come around and bring out new, enticing experiences. The same is true of horror games, although they have seen quite a shift as time goes on. Now we“ve got games like Resident Evil 6 which received critical reception and may or may not even quality as horror anymore. Upcoming titles like Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs instead look to try and recapture more primal scares. Where did horror games start? Will they ever come back to their roots? Most will suggest that Sweet Home, Alone in the Dark, or even Resident Evil started the horror game genre. However, the earliest attempts at horror were even older. They may not have sparked a fad, but they are important all the same, especially when you consider how similar they are thematically to what came later. One of the very first was Haunted House on Atari 2600 in 1982. The game had players controlling a pair of bright white eyes through a pitch black mansion. As you search for an urn which needs to be pieced together, enemies attempt to get you. Your goal isn“t to simply avoid them, though, as you“re required to collect other items in order to access new sections of the mansion. It“s an incredibly simplistic game but it set up a few basic ideas: haunted houses are scary and contain puzzles. Uninvited The Atari 2600 was home to other horror games, such as the extremely limited print run of Halloween, and a few others, but after that it was up to the computer crowd to come up with something. In 1986, a new game came to Macs named Uninvited. The point-and-click adventure took place in, you guessed it, a haunted house filled with creepy things. Again, it made sure to include puzzles for progression and a graphically impressive atmosphere for the time. The Lurking Horror was released a year later, but in stark contrast, featured no graphics. Despite being a text adventure, it managed to be quite effective at scaring the player and ultimately became a popular game. Heading into the late 1980s we will now see one of the games that everyone likes to classify as the “original” horror game... but we'll get to that in a minute. There is one more notable game that requires a mention. Project Firestart arrived in 1989, in fact, only a few months before Sweet Home. Regardless, it managed to be another title which now seems like a blueprint of the genre. Despite trying to be an action game, the atmosphere was made to be eerie. It offered up players only limited ammo as well which contributed to a feeling of weakness. In order to push the narrative, players would discover abandoned journals and learn from first hand accounts. What games do you know of nowadays that employ this same technique? While Project Firestart isn“t entirely playable today for most, it does deserve credit for being a fair contender for a blueprint of horror games. A few months later, Sweet Home arrived on the Famicom (the Japanese equivalent of the NES). It“s easy to see why people peg this as the de-facto horror template as it contains all the hallmarks, such as a haunted mansion, group of survivors, puzzles, and did in fact serve as inspiration for Resident Evil. Funnily, the game was itself based off a film of the same name, meaning it is licensed title. Regardless, it fused a horror atmosphere with RPG elements and managed to be a worthwhile adventure. Unfortunately, gamers outside of Japan have never had the opportunity to play a “legitimate” copy. Splatterhouse When thinking of these games, it“s easy to point out that horror has shifted away from ponderous searching into blood-soaked FPSes, but that“s not completely accurate. Even back in the 80s there were pairing horror themes with action gameplay. Massive series such as Castlevania had begun back then, as did Splatterhouse with its gory, gross, and over-the-top killings. Mostly though, attention was paid to depicting haunted houses. If you wonder why, simply look to the '80s film landscape, which was when the slasher film flourished. Slashers took place in shopping malls, markets, and more, but mostly they took place in scary buildings. Although there are even more games that peppered the '80s, the next big title is Alone in the Dark from 1992. With this title, we were pushed into a polygonal world of horror. Although the graphics appear more goofy today, they managed to bring the idea of static camera angles to the genre (which would later be used to great effect in Resident Evil and Silent Hill). The game featured two playable characters, monsters, and puzzles. Many attribute the creation of survival horror to this game, and while not entirely accurate, it“s easy to see why. Alone in the Dark definitely brought some new ideas to the table and helped developers and gamers both realize that survival horror experiences were possible in 3D. Between the end of the '80s and the '90s, many horror games made the rounds. However, there were a few notable ones before Resident Evil graced the PlayStations. Clock Tower: The First Fear arrived on Super Famicom in 1995 and brought more of the same - a haunted house. However, one huge innovation was the idea of one main antagonist. Instead of simply running from various monsters, there was one evil entity ready to stalk you throughout the entire game. No matter what you were doing, Scissorman might be right around the corner, ready to strike. Hiding or simply running was a necessity lest the protagonist fall into a panic and possibly get killed. Although non-Japan based games have no legal means of playing it, the rest of the Clock Tower series has arrived in other countries. Resident Evil Finally, in 1996 something amazing happened. A game with B-horror quality voice actors, polygonal graphics, and a weird story managed to become a massive hit. Resident Evil hit the PS1 with a bang and players couldn“t get enough. The game took place in a mansion, of course, and had two playable characters as well as zombies (and other creatures), static cameras, puzzles, and basically all the hallmarks of what was now known as the “survival horror” genre. Although very few of these features were new, they were put together in a very playable fashion. Its tank controls may not have aged well but the game is definitely deserving of praise for making horror games mainstream. From then on, horror truly exploded in the gaming landscape. Tons of games peppered the landscape, although only few became notable. One such game is Silent Hill, which also came to the PlayStation in 1999. Although it would be hard for modern gamers to really understand, at the time most viewed Silent Hill as a Resident Evil rip-off. Even covers of magazines depicted protagonist Harry Mason as a muscled, grizzly man ready to shoot the head off zombies. Of course, Silent Hill was nothing like this and instead focused on an entirely creepy town and the cult at the center of it. There was more psychological goings-on than just surviving, and that helped usher in other types of horror titles. Other games came out in this time period attempting to either cash in on tropes, or try something new. Overblood attempted to be more of a sci-fi zombie game, but didn“t catch on much. Parasite Eve took a page out of the Sweet Home book by fusing horror with RPGs, and perhaps to better effect. Blue Stinger tried and failed at being a beat ”em up like Splatterhouse. Echo Night tried to channel ghosts and give a more moody approach, but still relied on puzzles and eventual stalker character like Clock Tower was able to establish. If there was one thing in common, many developers at least attempted to keep some semblance of scariness in their games. Titles like Silent Hill 2 arrived in 2001 and only further pressed players to embrace psychological horror. With the age of the PS2, many titles arrived which played to the strengths of the original Clock Tower. Rule of Rose, Haunting Ground, Clock Tower 3, and more all paired players up against continuous stalkers. The idea that the scariest thing is to be unarmed, or poorly armed, fueled these titles and made them enthrallingly horrific experiences. Others like Fatal Frame also made use of this logic, although they did arm their protagonists with a “weapon”. Resident Evil 4 With the arrival of Resident Evil 4 (first on GameCube in 2005) we saw the genre attempting to shift. Along with zombies that weren“t quite zombies, the game became much more action-oriented. Although Resident Evil 4 managed to mix scares with action, it gave a glimpse to what the next generation of horror was set to offer. Plentiful (enough) ammo, a strong hero, and loads of zombies was something that fans wanted more of. Despite the shift in tone, it was still impossible for Leon S. Kennedy to shoot while walking. Games continued to filter into the genre but most weren“t very notable. Gamers seemed to not be very focused on the genre, even when the launch lineup for Xbox 360 featured the horror game Condemned. The genre wasn“t dead, but it seemed stagnant, until Left 4 Dead invigorated it in 2008. Despite attempts at horror action before, they most always seemed to air on the side of “horror”, unless they were Doom. Left 4 Dead though brought a very fast, exciting zombie shooter to the masses and it was a huge hit. Then we entered the age of zombies which is only now in recession. Zombies invaded horror games left and right as well as non-horror games, like Call of Duty. Zombies became the focus of completely un-horrific games like Plants vs. Zombies and basically lost all luster as a scary being. This evolution of zombies was one also felt by the movie industry, where film fans were angry that zombies were granted cognitive ability and now run. Fast, weapon-toting zombies entered into our games and many loved it, while some horror fans felt the genre had sold out. For a while we have lived with an overload of zombie games like Dead Rising, Dead Island, and beyond. Games like Dead Space, also out in 2008, kept many facets of the modern action-horror game but still desired to scare players. The fight between the splintering of horror was interesting, where some decried action-horror as a complete bastardization of the genre. Others believed that action-horror was the only way to go. Regardless of your opinions, it definitely seemed that the ones getting bought the most were from the action category. This is easy to see by simply looking at how Dead Space 3 appears to be jumping even further into action territory. Even the Silent Hill series tried its hand at more action-focused adventures with Silent Hill: Homecoming and Downpour. Alongside all these action heavy games, though, independent developers were rising to the occasion. Many longed for the games they grew up on, and because no big company was publishing them, made their own. From this world of indie development we“ve seen older types of horror return. Games like Lone Survivor, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and even Slender are putting the focus back on psychological or stalking scares. No matter what side you“re on, horror can maintain itself with many forms. Horror has lasted and evolved tremendously over the years. The question is now what will we see next? Perhaps we will see big companies follow indie examples and make horror games just the way they had years ago.
  11. Unless there's some huge conspiracy going on at every major studio in the world that I don't know about, then I think its pretty safe to assume that all video games are designed by humans. Maybe one lizard man, I don't know. The point is that humans make mistakes or just tend to ignore the obvious flaws in certain aspects of their work. These decisions usually just end up as aggravating aspects in otherwise great games, but that doesn't mean I hate them any less for existing in the first place. We're living in a world where games are now capable of almost anything you can imagine, so why are we still seeing these same old things appear in so many games? Barriers That Aren't Actually Barriers At All I understand that our game worlds can't be endless. Technology has made some huge leaps and bounds, but we're nowhere near capable of infinite (or nearly infinite) game worlds to explore. But that doesn't excuse some of the barriers you'll find in random games. It could just be a lack of attention was paid during these hours of game design, but things can get ridiculous quick. No. It isn't. In Silent Hill: Homecoming, you play as Alex Sheperd, a special forces soldier who returns home to find most of his family is missing. This leads him on a journey through Silent Hill that will unravel his psyche and reveal the horrible truth behind his family's disappearance once and for all. Also Alex can't hop over waist high fences or blockades. Many times throughout the game Alex will be presented with impassable obstacles such as a pile of rocks, an over turned car, and many other three foot tall obstructions. Remember he's a freaking member of the special forces. He's trained for combat and extremely physical tasks. Despite this, he has to backtrack all over town just to find a path that doesn't have something lying in front of him. Even if the main character was an average person with no military experience, you would expect them to be able to hop a waist high fence while they're being chased by a bag of skin that spits acid. I understand Silent Hill needs to have barriers; just don't make them look like minor inconveniences instead of actual blocked paths. Looks like we're trapped. And as an added bonus of "Come on, what were you thinking!?" - here's a door in Fallout 3 with a super hard-to-break lock. Watch out! You'll never get through there. Getting A Game Over Because The Main Character Died I haven't played a whole lot of the newer RPGs on the market right now so I'm not entirely sure just how many games are still affected by this design decision, but just one is enough to make me stare angrily into space for a few seconds. When a team member dies in an RPG, you get a chance to bring them back and continue on fighting. When you die in an RPG game, it's over. You have to reload your save or start over from the beginning of the fight. This can be exceptionally annoying in an RPG because you're only likely to be beaten by the big boss fights. You know, the ones where the boss has six forms, a billion hit points and the ability to kill you instantly. They were all secretly waiting for Yu to die so they could go home I guess One game that I've been playing recently that does this is Persona 4. Any of my teammates can die and be brought back, but if the main character goes down - its over. Despite having a healer in my team, there is just nothing that can be done and it annoys me to no end. I don't die often since I tend to over-level but that doesn't mean the design should just stick around. In other news, Final Fantasy finally got the memo with Final Fantasy XIII-2. I was rather far into the game without a single death so it was rather surprising when a boss knocked out Serah only for Noel to become the party leader. I used a spell to bring Serah back and I was right back into the fight as easy as that. I'm sure the old death mechanic will still be in Persona 4: Golden, but there's always Persona 5, right? Blocking Exploration For No Reason I can praise Final Fantasy and bash it in the same breath. While not exactly prevalent in Final Fantasy XIII-2 thanks to the time travel aspect (a huge mistake story wise; you never involve time travel unless you can get it to make sense, and Final Fantasy XIII-2 did not make sense of most anything.), the game that came before it was rife with missed chances. People bash Final Fantasy XIII for having a very rigid game world. You were practically walking down a straight path the whole game. Randomly your path would break into two or three different directions. This meant that one of these paths had an item to find that could make your journey easier. JUST LET ME GO BACK AND SEARCH THAT AREA, PLEASE! The problem was that the odds of finding the item was essentially a coin flip. If you chose the wrong path - BAM, you've moved on to the next area and you can't go back to see where the other path led. Usually you would end up finding the item because the special path was obvious, but later on in the game it boiled down to going left or right with no indications of where the item would be. Of course you should be rewarded for going out of your way to find secrets, but this wasn't how it was at all. You knew there was an extra path from the moment you looked at the map, you just weren't sure of which path would push the story forward or which path would give you an item. That's not exploration at all. Rockstar Games' Controls Are Crazy Red Dead Redemption was a pretty great game with some awesome DLC packs. I bought it and loved it. But my god, the controls at times were just too much. I don't mean just making your way around the map. I'm talking about all the big shootout sequences peppered throughout the game's massive story. Jokes on him. Red Dead Redemption isn't on the PC. More often than not, a shootout would become a chase. You would hop on your horse, catch up to them, take out their gang members and then ultimately kill them. Sure it was fun, but let me break down why I hated it so much at first. You pull out your gun with L2, your fire with R2, you steer with the left stick, you aim with the right stick, and you move by pressing X. That's at least one more button than it should be. You can do all these things together obviously, nobody would have beaten the game if we couldn't. But every single time someone jumped on a horse, I knew it would be a chore going after them. I'm sure it'll be better in GTA V seeing as you can use our car as a weapon, but in Red Dead Redemption you never had the option to ram a horse off the rode with your horse. Buildings Only Exist To Take Up Space Again, this goes back to that whole part about me saying games can't have endless open worlds just yet. You play games like Grand Theft Auto and Sleeping Dogs where you're in a huge living breathing city only to find that most of the buildings you see are permanently closed off to all of humanity. Really wish I could have gotten in that barn I can deal with this because of the whole "no way you can build an entire city with today's technology." But then there's the ARMA 2 mod, DayZ. You start off with nothing but a flash light and some bandages and the knowledge that you're probably going to die within the next few minutes. I like that sort of stuff. There's a real challenge to push through just to survive. What i don't like, however, is when I find a small town with a few houses and only one of the houses is actually real. The reason is all of the houses look similar. There is no indication that the door you're sneaking up to won't open when you reach it. So for five houses, you're putting yourself out into the open and in danger four times in a row for nothing. In a game where one mistake can kill you, it is incredibly annoying to get yourself killed because someone thought it would be wise to paint a door on the wall. Game developers are making progress. Fewer and fewer games are making use of these archaic design choices and making games better because of it. While there is still a long road ahead, things are looking better than ever for me, the nitpicker. Are there things in certain games that just annoy you to death? Why not talk about them in the comments below? Thanks for reading!
  12. I like to play all sorts of video games, but I've never found myself sticking to just one genre. While on my travels, it is not uncommon for me to stumble upon a game with horror aspects. I'll play and enjoy these games just like any other, but with one small hitch - there are almost always a few kids running around as I play. Horror games become a whole different affair when a child is present. While a spooky atmosphere and a few jump-scares are just another part of the game for me, just seeing the title screen is enough of a horrifying adventure for a child. The horror genre isn't dead, and I have the proof. These are the testimonies of gaming's horror victims. Silent Hill: Downpour Yes, I own Silent Hill: Downpour. It has its problems, but overall it is a pretty alright game. When it comes to Silent Hill games, I have to sneak the disk into the system just to begin playing it. If I try to do it out in the open, I'll usually hear a chorus of shrieks and the pitter patter of children running out of the room. But sometimes I luck out and they come into the room after I've started the game up. They hate it, but they can't help but watch as the horror unfolds. There's the usual questions like, "Is this the scary game?" and the classic, "Can i turn on a few lights?" But when it comes down to just asking them about the game, here is what they had to say (in English instead of baby speak). I will never get over a Korn song getting into the game First of all, the monsters are quite a bit worse than they were in previous games. Even to a child this was apparent. When they watched me play games like Silent Hill 2 and 3, they knew I was dealing with monsters. With Downpour, the monsters were constantly referred to as "zombies." Not what you want to hear from a Silent Hill game. When it came to the scares however, the game didn't disappoint. One of the younger children simply curled up into a ball, wide eyed staring at the screen. I asked them what they though about the monster attack and they just kept asking me to turn the game off. When I told them I needed to get to a save point, they went to walk out of the room, stopped and then asked me to go with them. I could not get them to watch the entire cave sequence. Overall, the kids agreed it was pretty scary on a scale of not scary to really scary. Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare I'll be honest right from the get-go. I did lie to the children about this one. Ever since I got the "horse game," the children around me have wanted to ride around the old west and get killed by wolves over and over again. How they manage to constantly find the wolves is beyond me, but they enjoy riding the horses and tipping their hat to passerby. So when I purchased Undead Nightmare it seemed only obvious that they would need to give it a try. I had gotten through the opening sequence with John Marston's family becoming zombies beforehand so they would have no idea what to expect going into the game. Despite this, one of the children asked me if it was a scary game. I'M TIPPING MY HAT TO THEM AND THEY JUST KEEP COMING! No idea how they figured that out before they even played it. But I assured them it was the same old game and that the sky was only green because Halloween was coming. They accepted this without a second thought and started riding towards town so they could tip their hat at random townsfolk. Up to the point of them riding into town, they still hadn't seen a single zombie. They could hear people screaming and they could see houses were burning, but it hadn't registered yet that something was seriously wrong. An odd looking fellow turned the corner and started to shamble towards John. And then a few more "people" came around the corner. Everyone in the room froze. Suddenly they pulled John off his horse. Within an instant of it registering in their heads, chaos erupted. The one playing the game whipped the controller at me and covered their face. Another one ran out of the room screaming "You lied! You lied! You said this wasn't a scary game!" (that time it was true) and another just covered up in a blanket saying "Turn it off." To this day I still can't get them to trust me that I'm just turning on the horse game for them to ride around in. On the scary scale, Undead Nightmare ranks at "You're a liar, this is scary." Dead Space 2 To my surprise, Dead Space 2 didn't rank that high on the scary scale for the kids who watched me play. It was described as "tense", but there weren't any big scares or blowouts. All the children just sat around biting their nails or clenching their fists waiting for the next monster to jump out and scare them. But other than that not much happened. Sorry Isaac, your problems apparently just don't cut it Of course, I kept them away from most of the violence (I played the game a bit before letting them see the areas to avoid any traumatizing scenes of gore) Some people might say this is the reason the children didn't freak out as badly compared to the previous two entries in the list, but my response to that is gore doesn't equal horror. It just equals gore. And I'm pretty sure even the kids wouldn't be afraid of that. On the spooky meter, Dead Space 2 ranks a paltry nail biter. Not bad but not really scary either. Dead Rising 2 I thought for sure they would have actually ended up liking Dead Rising 2 thanks to all the random stuff you can do and the more colorful graphical design choices, but after the surprise upset with Dead Space 2 I guess anything could happen. And let me tell you, they did not like Dead Rising 2 at all. But the timing of everything worked out perfectly. I had just gotten myself acquainted with the game's controls and the layout of the map. I had tucked myself into the corner of a clothing shop looking for a weapon. This is when the children decided to walk in. To the best of their knowledge, this was simply a cartoony dress-up game. Maybe things would have turned out different if he was on a Dune Buggy One of the older children asked if they could try it out because hey, who doesn't love some fun time free roam in a mall/casino? I simply told them "I don't think you'll like this game." Despite this, they insisted on trying it out, so I handed them the controller and waited for the magic to happen. Not even five seconds had passed when a zombie decided to burst through the store window and rush them. It let out a groan and the controller was on the ground as all the children began demanding that I turn the game off. To their horror, I informed them that I needed to get to a save point first. Five minutes later, I had made it to the save point. The entire time the kids were covering their eyes and insisting the noises they heard were just dogs and were in fact, not zombies at all. Dead Rising 2 gets a ranking of "Looks fun, but the zombies make it unplayable." If there is a moral to any of these stories, it would probably be that just because you find the horror genre lacking that doesn't mean its dead. There are still plenty of people out there who enjoy it, and others who are still terrified because of it. As always, thank you for reading.
  13. Pyramid Head is back! I don't know about you guys but I didn't think the original Silent Hill movie was all that great. It had some okay moments but it could have been a lot better. I don't really have high hopes for this one either, but if Pyramid Head swinging his huge knife/sword thing at you in 3D sounds appealing then it might be worth checking out. Anyone really like the first movie?
  14. In March of this year Konami released the Silent Hill HD Collection for PS3 and 360. Nearly immediately, many players on PS3 (and a few on 360) began complaining about various problems with the game. On PS3, there were issues with slowdown, audio syncing, and a lot more. The 360 fared better but still had some issues here and there. Around then, a tiny patch was released for PS3 but it didn't do too much for most. Then in April Konami let everyone know that patches were being worked on for the HD Collection as well as Silent Hill: Downpour. Fans were sated temporarily and decided to wait, wait, and wait some more. Finally in July the HD Collection patch was ready for PS3 owners! Those who had the game on 360 assumed their patch would be coming soon. Unfortunately today Konami has stated this isn't the case anymore. The plans to do so have been "cancelled due to technical issues and resources." At least you don't have to wait anymore for a phantom patch. What if you're one of the 360 owners? Konami simply apologizes: "Understanding the issues some users are experiencing, KONAMI issued a title update for Silent Hill HD Collection (PS3), which fixed frame rate issues as well as audio-synching and other reported issues. KONAMI apologizes to any players who are continuing to experience these issues on the XBOX 360 sku." Are you frustrated with the lack of a patch for 360?
  15. The trend to make movie adaptations of much loved games and series' seems like it's never going to stop. The latest film in this section of Hollywood productions is Silent Hill: Revelation 3D. It comes some years after the original Silent Hill film's release back in 2006. Despite the big gap in time, Revelation is coming out this year and has an official trailer to back it up. The film is a continuation of the first, working mostly as an adaptation of Silent Hill 3. For those who haven't played the series, Silent Hill and Silent Hill 3 are the only games in the series which are connected to each other (with Shattered Memories being a reimagining of the first). As the first movie was based off the first game, it makes sense why the film sequel cribs off the third game. As certain parts of the original narrative were changed in the first movie, other things will also have to be different about this film. By just watching the trailer though any fan of Silent Hill 3 will see it's already quite different, such as featuring a new lead aside Heather. Also, Pyramid Head is making a return although how much of a part he'll play is completely unknown. Silent Hill: Revelation 3D will be out for Halloween so you've got time to play through the game beforehand! How do you feel about video game movies? Do you have a favorite?
  16. Marcus Estrada

    Silent Hill 2-4

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  17. Uh oh... This year's latest Silent Hill release was developed by the Czech studio Vatra Games. The game seemed pretty hit or miss with fans new and old and had its fair share of (still un-patched) glitches. We're now hearing that the Vatra studio as a whole is now being evaluated by their parent company Kuju. The official statement from Kuju is as follows: "The new management team at Kuju have been conducting a strategic review of all aspects of the business, as part of this process the on-going business activities of the Vatra studio are currently under review, however, at this stage no decisions have yet been made." Could this be the end for Vatra? They haven't had a very long life so far, having only Silent Hill: Downpour and Rush'n Attack: Ex-Patriot under their belts. The company was initially brought about by Czech 2K employees branching off to start something new. If the studio does end up closing, then we wish the best for Vatra's employees. If not, then let's hope we'll be able to see their upcoming games shortly.
  18. It took a while but the long-awaited patch is finally here. The Silent Hill HD Collection came out back in March and met with a lot of anger. While fans had only initially expected to be mad about new voice overs, they were instead greeted with framerate problems and glitches galore. At least, this was the case on the PS3 version. The 360 game ran much better, although there were still some small issues to be found. Within a week of release, the PS3 version received a patch but that didn't solve problems. Konami promised they would offer another patch soon, so gamers waited and waited more. They've finally come through with it though and are launching a new patch today. Here's what Konami says has been worked on for the patch: - Improved Framerate - Voice Synch is greatly improved - Missing sounds have been fixed - Missing music has been addressed - Fog density issues are resolved - Other minor visual/audio improvements There's currently no word as to when, if ever, 360 owners will get a patch. Similarly, we still don't have any patch for either version of Silent Hill: Downpour which had some big framerate issues at times too. Hopefully the game will finally be spruced up as, aside from the glitches, it managed to be a surprisingly good experience.