Bloodborne – 50 Shades of Pain

You are going to die.

That is one of the more intimidating facts of life that most people know to be true but they simply don’t want to confront or think about.

I believe that is one reason Bloodborne (much like its predecessors Demon Souls and Dark Souls 1 & 2) is going to become notorious in the PS4 community rather quickly.  The trailers make it look an awful lot like a clone/mash-up of characters from Resident Evil 4, Scythe-play from Dante’s Inferno and the apparently common setting of a steampunk dystopia like The Order 1886 and Dishonored.  That is where you can leave the comparisons.  This isn’t some sort of button mashing combo adventure game.  This is a one battle at a time journey through hell on earth… and as soon as you start to get cocky about your fighting skills – this game will kick you in the ass and curb stomp you back to reality.  Welcome to Bloodborne.

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Get Used to This Part of the Game.

You Aren’t Ready For A Boss Fight… Deal With It

Most games these days like to baby you along with waypoints and tips on just about everything.  Basically making them interactive walkthrough’s rather than any sort of challenging experience.  This is something I apparently got used to over the last couple generations of consoles.  I had forgotten my roots… NES and Sega games that didn’t give a damn about telling me how to do most things ‘in game’.  Bloodborne is much the same.  Start by learning the mechanics and nuances of each weapon and item.  There are already a few nice wiki guides out there for you to peruse as well.

When you start battling against the townsfolk in this game you will think that it is a waste of time and want to skip to bosses, etc.  WRONG!  You need to put yourself in the mindset of older RPGs and games that require you to level up.  This means grinding out many battles against regular baddies and taking regular trips back to the Hunter’s Dream (basically your safe zone to repair weapons and buy some items – don’t buy blood vials or bullets though… you can get those easily in-game).

Just be patient with your character.  Get to know every inch of the city and how every different foe attacks you.  You won’t regret it and you will find the game to be a bit easier this way as well.

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Meet Lech, my resident badass. He came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And he is all out of bubblegum.

You Aren’t Worthy

Don’t get too upset with all the dying.  You need to understand that it will happen – sometimes it will happen in insanely unfair ways.  My biggest pet-peeve in this game is the weapon clipping through walls and barriers.  You aren’t safe behind that pillar – I promise you!  I have wanted to throw my controller through my TV so many times over my first few hours of gameplay.  I even totally restarted a character just to have a frest start – and it helped.  Although, I should have stayed with the Blunderbuss as my side-arm.  The pistol is kind of lame in that regard… but it has its fair usage as well.

I thought this game was going to feel more like the button mashing Dante’s Inferno or God of War from the trailers and gameplay.  What really got me was the story, setting and general artwork – I saw it and was obsessed with its dark beauty.  This game is worth every penny of the $59.99.

Why?

Because it is challenging.  It gives you a ridiculous amount of gameplay and adventuring to discover new things.  Not to mention it isn’t some crappy annual release like Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty, Battlefield or whatever other garbage big companies try to force down our throats as ‘new’ ideas and ‘new’ games.

Go out and buy Bloodborne today.  And while you are out… you might want to buy a new controller, a pack of xanax and some Red Bull.  Because you will be full of wonderful gamer rage… and you will keep coming back for more.

Happy Hunting.

EDIT – Here is a helpful tip on how to defeat Father Gascoigne.
*Have oil urns and Molotov Cocktails ready

Most people will tell you to get the music box… Yes, that is a nice way to get him to hold his ears in pain and get you some free hits.  However, if you want to dispatch this a-hole quickly you will want to use visceral counter-attacks (just as he readies to attack with axe swings have your lock on (Click R-Stick to get the lock on light while looking at him) and shoot him during his wind up.  THEN… run up in front of him and press and hold R1.  This will shove your weapon through him and cause MAJOR damage.

Once he transforms you will want to douse him with an oil urn and quickly throw a molotov cocktail on him.  This will take him down to low health.  You can either try another visceral attack or two or the oil urn/molotov combo.

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Creativity Isn’t Dead – Most Perceptions of Entertainment are Boring

I have been fortunate to know or be acquainted with artists, writers and even some people that work in video game production.  One thing that has never ceased to amaze me is their creativity.  There is always something new in their head.  Some sort of cool new project that is simply amazing because it is fresh and straight out of their creative mind.  The current mainstream gaming atmosphere doesn’t allow for this sort of creativity anymore.

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With games like Call of Duty and Madden being released every year it doesn’t say much for what corporate monsters think of gaming.  They don’t see it as art – they see a bottom line that must be met in sales or the studio will be closed.  As you start looking at the upcoming consoles do yourself a favor and ask why the games are getting stale.  While Madden can’t exactly change or implement something wild or crazy graphically or otherwise – it is still lacking creativity.

Another example of a great game that became over-produced quickly – Assassin’s Creed.  Really?  Is the character truly a different person?  Sure, the voice is different and the face may be structured with some new scars, etc… but this is the same damn game every time it comes out.  Attack, Counter, Attack, Kill, Run, Repeat.

There are many artists and developers out there that want to be creative in gaming and they are being held back because gamers don’t want new games or concepts.  They want a fresh veneer painted on the same crap they have been playing for 10 years.  People generally fear change and it is up to artists, musicians and writers to flip their world upside down.

I look forward to the day when I can look at video games and see them as new, fresh and risky art… right now all I see is what most people seem to want:

2/3 of a gun
Crosshairs
Poorly animated blood

The list could go on, but really if it needs to you are missing the point.

Are Shooter Games Starting To Lose Their Appeal?

You can only re-hash the same thing so many times before it is no longer desired.  This goes for movies (see – Saw, Rocky, Rambo, Star Wars (the new crappy ones) as much as it goes for music and video games.  In gaming we are starting to experience something that isn’t too dissimilar.  Every November we expect a new Call of Duty game.  While COD is the most common direction people look when it comes to games being the same every year, it is also a trend that is getting (or has gotten) old very fast.

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I am almost to my second prestige in Black Ops 2.  While this isn’t shocking to the many people that have already reached the 5th or 10th prestige it is something relatively new to me.  I didn’t prestige in Modern Warfare 3 and I thought I would give it a chance in Black Ops 2.  The problem with this is the fact that I am playing games and leveling up in their second and third iterations.  There have been some changes along the way, but the one thing that remains a constant is the move towards an almost exclusively multiplayer focused game that revolves around leveling, leaderboards and people trying to make it big on YouTube.

While there are other games that are being milked as a franchise (Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear, Angry Birds and let’s not forget sports games and their wonderful annual roster updates) – it seems that shooters are still the cash-cow that get most of the development attention.  There have been some reports/rumors that Call of Duty is starting to see a slight decline in sales.  Does this really surprise you?  Madden and NCAA have also both started to see a decline in sales over the last few years.  While there have been some fluctuations to these numbers in some cases, it should tell the gaming industry from production company to developer that gamers want new games with new ideas.

If you want to look for hope in gaming, take a look at what some of the indie game developers are putting out.  Support their cause, but please… demand creativity instead of sequels.  That is so… Michael Bay.

Building A Game Collection For The Price Of One New Game

By the time you get a new console, controller and a couple new games to play you are going to spend around $600+.

If you are in the market for a new console and would like to get a decent amount of games to play on it we have just the help you need to save money as you start building a new gaming library.

Low Budget Online Gaming

Gaming on a budget? These games are still played by many people online and well worth the small investment.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 = $12 – One of my all-time favorite games.  This is a very fast paced game that has a bit of a learning curve now.  Beware of hackers and glitchers that have taken over some lobbies. 
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Call of Duty Black Ops = $20 – Treyarch put this game out to high praise that they fixed many things that people didn’t like about Modern Warfare.  You will notice that there is quite a split between some people in their preference for Call of Duty titles.  This game is a good purchase to get ready for Black Ops 2 coming out in November.
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Halo 3 = $7 – The game that got every online gamer to think they could ‘Go Pro’.  You will find a dedicated group of gamers that still play this game religiously.  This is a great cheap way to introduce yourself to Halo if you haven’t played the series before.
or
Halo Reach = $18 – Where there is Halo, there are gamers playing it online.  Reach changed a lot of things from Halo games before that may remind some people of Call of Duty’s ‘Perks’.  However, you can also download a ton of new maps and modes that give this game a long life.
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Gears of War = $7 – The first Gears of War is still preferred by a smaller contingent of purists.  The series has a tremendous community that is dedicated to the team-based third person genre that Epic Games nearly perfected with this series.
or
Gears of War 2 = $7 – The second game of the trilogy was a great success, but some glitches and online issues marred the longevity especially with GOW3 following.
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Gears of War 3 = $24 – This game has a huge fan base even after a year of being released.  The season pass can get you all the modes and maps that were released for this great online experience.  This title is the most refined of the three and rightfully takes its place at the top of many GOW fanatics libraries.
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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 = $10 – The rival to Call of Duty that is based on large team objectives and involves huge maps with a larger focus on realism.  Weapons have more recoil and handle more realistically.
 
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The Lone Gamers On A Budget

For the offline/lone gamers out there, these should be in your library ASAP!
Fallout 3 – Game of the Year Edition = $16 – Getting this game with all of the add-on content is going to provide you with well over 60-70 hours of gaming.  You are set up in post-apocalyptic Washington DC where you will have to battle mutants, survivors, bandits and even radiation to survive.
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Fallout: New Vegas = $10 – This is a separate story from Fallout 3 and gives a nice facelift to some of the things people wanted changed from Fallout 3.  You will have to be sure to eat and stay hydrated in this iteration of Fallout.  Who says you can have too many details?…  Not Bethesda.
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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion = $10-15 – Before Skyrim there was Oblivion.  A game based in a fantasy realm of knights and kings where you can become a feared assassin or an admired mage/warrior.  Either way, you get to roam a huge world filled with treasure and danger.
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The FEAR Series = $10-12 – One of the scariest series of this generation is based on Sci-Fi and Horror genres being thrown into a blender with a creepy telekinetic girl that haunts you throughout.  You will learn to fear Alma and you will learn to love your shotgun.  A great game for dark quiet nights at home.
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The Assassins Creed Series = $ 10-22 – Cloak and Dagger doesn’t even begin to cover it with this title.  If you want to feel like an ancient bad-ass(assin) you will get this game.  Walk around cities like Jerusalem and follow the story that leads you through the lives of your ancestors, who happen to be assassins.
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The Splinter Cell Series = $8-10 – Sam Fisher is highly trained and voiced by Michael Ironside.  Other than that, he is also equipped with some of the coolest gadgets and gear that have ever graced the planet.  You will not regret picking up this amazing series on the cheap!

Assassins Creed Lawsuit – Can You Own An Idea?

Can you own the rights to a fictional concept?

Assassins Creed 3 is under threat of having its release date pushed back because it is accused of using the ideas from a 2003 novel titled Link by John L. Beiswenger.  The brief summary of Beiswenger v. Ubisoft can be found here.

Upon reviewing the plaintiff’s personal/professional website it is evident that he wishes to consider himself an inventor and writer.  He has many patents on existing objects today.  However, this case is going to hinge on the argument of whether or not you can own the rights to a theoretical idea that you haven’t created in the sense of material existence.  One way in which this might go in the direction of the plaintiff is if they take the route of comparing his alleged concept to that of a mathematical equation.

The question that should be asked by Ubisoft is whether or not references between stories require a reference, credit or even permission.  That is assuming that the idea can be proven to be the same as the alleged theoretical machine.  In this case it will depend largely on whether or not there were exact ‘parts’ of the machine being referenced or certain abilities such as time travel through the consciousness of ancestors.  Even in the case of the latter being the crux of the argument, who’s to say that it hasn’t been referenced before the aforementioned novel Link?

Here is a quick example –

If I write a story about time traveling back to 1960 by using a Flux Capacitor in my Corolla I would probably be in violation because it is so similar to the story in Back to the Future.

However, if I write a story about time traveling with a device called the Conundrum Annihilator that allows me to go to 1960 in my Corolla it is more of a concept than some sort of intellectual theft.

There is a difference between referencing time travel and using the ‘flux capacitor’ in order to travel through time.

Or, if you prefer an example of how the interaction might happen between the theorist and the creator you might want to watch the movie Twister and look at the interaction between Bill Paxton’s character Bill and Cary Elwes character Jonas when Bill sees his idea brought to life by his rival.

Bill: You son-of-a-bitch! What, did you think I wasn’t going to find out?
Jonas: Somebody get this loser off of me? [Bill’s team comes to pull Bill off of Jonas] What the hell is the matter with you?
Bill: [Tries to push at Jonas again] You stole my design, you son of a bitch!
Jonas: What the hell are you talking about?
Bill: DORTHY. You took her, you damn THIEF!
Jonas: [Realizes what Bill is talking about and smiles] Oh, I get it. You’re trying to take credit for my designs, ain’t you?
Bill: Liar. She’s our idea and you know it!
Jonas: Unrealized idea. Unrealized.
Bill: That thing ain’t worth shit! [Tries to attack Jonas again, Jo helps stop it]
Jo: Hey! Hey, guys! Get a grip on yourselves. We both know they’ll never get that thing up in the air.
Jonas: Now let me enlighten you people. This baby has satellite comlink. We’ve got an onboard pulse stopper, and we’ve got NEXRAD real-time. Today, we’re going to make history. So stick around, ’cause the days of sniffing the dirt are over.

Other good reading on this topic:

The Escapist

Madden 13, Black Ops 2 and the Amazing Hype Machine

Did you hear about Madden 13?!

Every pixel and every mode have been touched!  Sounds like some sort of (bad) Michael Jackson joke.

Did you hear about Black Ops 2?!

It is based in the future and it will be released just in time for you to add it to your Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa List!

Don’t get stuck asking, “Why oh why didn’t I take the blue pill?”
The hype machine is a dangerous drug that will drag you into the depths of gaming hell.

While we try to be fair and keep our jaded perspective out of everything we write there is always room for sarcasm when it comes to Madden, NCAA Football, Call of Duty and any other annual release in gaming.  In all honesty, why shouldn’t there be?  When you consider the numerous glitches that occur or even the issues that require the same attention every year that never get fixed. (IE – Broken OLine and DLine interaction or being able to clip out of maps or even mod controllers because you aren’t disciplined enough to play the game legitimately.) It is no wonder that when you get to mid-September you will see message boards light up with such vitriol and anger that you wonder if someone kicked their dog.

No, they are like the many others that get mad about spending $60+ on a game that is in its late Beta stages.  When it comes to gaming you need to make sure you have your feet and your gaming thumbs planted firmly on the ground or controller.  Don’t expect the big changes to make everything better and don’t expect to be pleased with the first, second or third patches – this is a new era in gaming that takes the games to new lows when they are released.

Madden 13 has my full attention this year as far as making true moves in the right direction.

Black Ops 2 is at the bottom of my list right now because Treyarch has been utterly disappointing over the years and Activision’s ‘new’ business model of bending the consumer over for $15-50 DLC at every turn is starting to become the accepted norm.

Take this as a warning that you should curb your enthusiasm when you start hearing the new things about any annual release making changes or fixes to their flagship titles.  Calm down, breath and enjoy the games you have before they become ‘old’ in August and November.