Thursday, August 09, 2007

Resident Wii-vil FTW

Last night I shook off a little zombie monkey that had been on my back since I bought RE4 for the Wii - specifically, could I play it.

My sole experience with RE4 had been the demo disk, which concludes with a frantic battle in the village. On the Cube, I was able to complete it, but only after a number of defeats (including getting my head chain-sawed off) and the overwhelming feeling that I had just been damn lucky to finish. It's a hard fight.

Knowing that and how "quirky" the Wii controls are, almost made me skip getting the game altogether. Even after I bought it, I was afraid I wouldn't be coordinated enough to stay alive while all the villagers were trying to kill me. So last night I decided to see and I'm happy to report that (after fewer deaths than on the Cube) I was able to survive the onslaught. The biggest advantage was the aiming - trying to aim with the control sticks on the Cube was never very easy. With the Wii-mote, I could target much quicker in tight spots like the bottom floor of the tower. Also, not having independent camera control made it a little easier, I think. Less chance of looking where I couldn't fire. The "quick knife" function is very useful too - for fighting and for quickly opening boxes and barrels.

So, the smelly little ape is gone and I will have to see how much farther I can go without losing my head.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On Older Games: Echoes in the Night

I had some time last night for a little pre-bed gaming and decided upon a handful of PS1 titles. My thought was that I would go through a few titles, figuring I wouldn't spend much time on any of them. Just at random, I started with a game called Echo Night.

I didn't get to any of the others before having to finally shutdown around midnight.

Made by the same group that created "King's Field" (NOT a resounding endorsement), EN is a first person survival horror game that looks all of its 8 years old. Since "game years" are much like "dog years", the game looks more like it is 25 years old. Textures are muddy, character models look like they were carved from a block of wood with an axe, and movement speed is something just above a crawl. By even PS2 standards, it was a graphical mess. So why did I keep playing it?

Because the story had me hooked (and I didn't get stuck on any of the puzzles). Take a story about a lost cruise ship, throw in some ghosts and a few flashbacks, mix with some family intrigue and I wasn't able to stop, even though I knew it was probably one of the crudest games I could play short of Space Invaders.

It all got me to thinking about the merit of playing older games. How much of the value of a game is graphics and special effects, and how much is story? I know I have a limited amount of time to play games and a huge collection to pick from. Most of the games I have are from platforms with vastly better visual quality then the PS1 games, but I have always been unable to be prejudiced against older consoles. Does that just make me foolish or a dedicated gamer?