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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 02:32:30     -    Guitar Hero III (PS3)

    SESSION 2:

    GAMEPLAY:
    This second session I exclusively played only in Career Mode and was determined to get through the game. I found that after coming back to the game playing Slash was actually a lot easier than I thought. The game also became slightly easier and now I seem to be passing more songs that I couldn’t get through before. I however have not graduated into Medium setting. I’m only just starting to become comfortable on Easy
    .
    I actually found the end battle against the Devil and the concept of playing for my soul as really interesting and very entertaining. I wasn’t a big fan of this new “cover” version of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (I actually really love the original song) but I thought that the song was very fitting and a very nice surprise as well.

    One thing I really enjoyed was seeing my avatar’s hands fire up when I managed to hit a lot of notes in a row. I also found that choosing your own avatar in Career Mode was a very nice feature in the game and I wish that this feature was also part of the Quickplay Mode.

    Being a game of emersion, the rules of this game are fairly simple to learn but it does take a while before you get used to the game and develop your skill. I hope to eventually get to the point wee I will be able to reach the orange and blue buttons sometime in the future.

    GAMEDESIGN:

    I actually find this game a nice alternative to DDR (which is impossible for me to do). Partly I find this true because of the guitar controller. Its very comfortable and helps involve you more into the game. It’s not the same playing GH with the regular PS2 controller and loses some of its appeal. I’d say the controller is a big part of the gamer’s experience.

    I particularly enjoyed the small narrative within the Career Mode. I liked that the challenges forced you to play songs that weren’t songs you were necessarily comfortable playing with. The reward system (money) was also a nice touch to add to the magic circle the game created in which the player becomes an actual rock star. It seems that every element in the game was really pushing to create the illusion of rock star lifestyle (the cheering crowd, the “breaking” news stories, signing contracts, touring to Japan, money rewards etc.)

    My favorite feature in GH was the ability to customize my avatar’s clothing and even change her guitar and buy songs. My favorite is “Radio Song” by Superbus, which is a song I have never heard before and the band is very new to me. I also liked how the songs are characterized by time period or genre.

    The conflicts were also very enjoyable. The Boss battles were a nice touch and playing an encore with Slash was also a lot of fun. The final boss was the best part of the whole game. The song and playing against the Devil was a very nice way to end the game.
    Its also nice that the game has different levels (Easy, Medium, Hard) and it does take a while before you can actually get really good and play Hard flawlessly. This gives the game a large replay value. This as well as the point system and the star power also contribute largely to the appeal of GH because you can always play to better your score and master the best way to use star power.
    Also GH has a very large fan following. People are constantly comparing scores and having battles. The game is very sociable in this way. Its also entertaining to play with bystanders because they make good real-live spectators and there is definitely cheering and booing involvement from them.

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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 01:58:36     -    Guitar Hero III (PS3)

    SUMMARY

    Guitar Hero III doesn't have much of narrative outside of Career Mode. The objective of the game is to play different songs and to pass them (without getting booed and to get the highest score you can). You play by pressing 5 colored buttons on the tab of the guitar controller as you see the notes scroll down the screen. There is also a battle mode in which you can play against a second player or in Co-op you can also form a band (like in Career Mode)with a second player. In career mode the levels are set up in a way that you must beat 3 out of 4 songs, pass the encore and the 2 boss battles, beating levels you advance in your career like signing under a label, playing in different venues, and final playing in Tokyo. Unfortunately you end signing your life away to your label company. In the final level you are actually playing to win back your soul and the third boss is the the Devil.

    GAMEPLAY

    Being only the third time playing GH III (and having never played any of the preceeding GH titles). I remember being really frustrated playing n EASY because I could only get through "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and I always got booed in Quickplay. I did alot better this time (after having not played GH since Winter Break). I actually found the game very entertaining and I was actually enjoying myself. Eventually I became alot more comfortable and was getting 4 star rating on my favorite songs on Quickplay so I decided to play Career Mode. This forced me to play some of the other songs that I wasn't so comfortable playing (because I had not played them because they had not interested me). I found myself welcoming the challenge though somewhat reluctantly. In the end I felt very accomplished getting past any song not just the ones I preferred to play.

    What took me a while to get used to was the boss battles. Not only did you have to out play them, the game awarded you tools to hinder your opponent's playing. One example is forcing them to play a lot of double notes, or reversing the color order on the screen so it was confusing to play the notes. I found this frustrating because when the boss would "attack me" it would take me a long time to compose myself and I ended up losing my rhythm. Also, because so much stuff was going I found it hard to decide when to "attack" my opponent so the I could cause the most damage to his playing. Sometimes I would attack but it was wasted because he had no notes to play anyways. Eventually, I got the hang of it and I did get passed the first Boss. However, once I got to Slash I gave up and stopped my session here.

    I really liked that in Career Mode you chose your avatar and with the money you won you could customize their clothing and even buy songs. I also found the game most enjoyable when I'd play songs I really liked because I would play just to listen to them. Also, because you begin to associate the different note patterns with the advancement of the song, you begin to memorize part of the notes as well so after a while I found myself listening a lot closer to the music. I found that very cool and added to my personal involvement with the game and effected my gameplay in a positive way.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 20:48:04     -    Super Mario All stars and Super Mario World (SNES)

    Gamelog #2:
    Entry 2

    GAMEPLAY:

    This second session although I still played mostly SMW, I also played Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario Bros. 3 (in 2 player battle mode). The fact that this cartridge has varios Super Mario games contributes to extended play because the player can switch to different games depending on his or her preference.

    Again, there isn’t much narrative in most of these games. The format is the same, get through a level, reach the boss, fight the boss, go on to the next level. In almost all the games, the goal is to reach Bowser (final boss) and save the world, Peach, or other friends. Obviously the reason I kept playing was because the puzzles are enough to keep me satisfied, the story isn’t too much of a factor.

    What I liked most about SMW is that the worlds aren’t as linear as Super Mario and Super Mario the Lost Levels. In SMW there are various short cuts and hidden doors and bonus goods that you can collect (not just coins). Also, sometimes the worlds have more than one exit. I also liked that sometimes after getting through one level you were left a simple small Mario but you could always return to other levels and regain you Super or Fire status or pick up a Yoshi.
    In Super Mario Bros. 2 I remembered more of the secret “warp” holes and I really enjoyed skipping certain worlds to get to my favorite (the ice world). Unfortunately this allowed me to advance maybe too quickly and I became stuck because I got to more complicated parts in the game without much experience and therefore had a hard time passing some levels (the desert world).

    GAME DESIGN:
    In SMW and Super Mario Bros. 3, the grafics and the worlds seemed much more developed and colorful. One of the things that characterize Super Mario is the cartoony animation and vivid colors, and the absurdly endearing koopas and other villains. The musical score is also a very important factor in the aesthetic design for these games. The Super Mario tunes are infamous and are very upbeat and very encouraging to the player’s ears.

    One thing I noticed is that Super Mario and all its versions are meant to be played with no interruptions. You have a counter and in the older Marios there’s a scrolling screen to keep you moving. If you don’t finish before time is up, you die. If you don’t move and the screen scrolls, you can be squashed by the edge of the screen and a wall or rock.

    Also in each of the games as you advance into a new world, all the levels within the world have a similar theme (or a complimenting factor). Also as you advance into a new world some new features (like the Super feather in World 2 in SMW) are offered and sometimes they can be a handy tool to get through the rest of the world or worlds there after. Also with each new level, the puzzles become a little more complex.

    For example in SMW, almost all the worlds have 1 ghost house level. The ghost house levels are all very similar in that they have the same music and are the worlds with darker colors and elements that add to the creepy and eerie level design. They are also different from the other levels in that the way out of these Haunted Houses isn’t as linear as the rest of the levels in the game.
    The puzzles in the houses are sometimes a lot trickier and there is often trick doors that lead you back in the level rather than forward. Sometimes you have to move backwards and find certain objects and do certain things to unlock the doors. The exits aren’t obvious and the clues to get out of these levels are often times more subtle. These levels also tend to be slower than with the other ones.
    This is also true of the Boss Castle levels, which are characterized by stone brick walls, a lava component and sometimes a “climb up” rather than “move right” gameplay aspect.

    I really liked that the games also tended to provide the player with the tools they would need at various parts throughout a level. For example there are various Mushrooms and Question boxes that can contain feathers and Fire Flowers in case you got hurt by a tricky or unseen opponent. Even in levels in which Yoshi are especially useful will offer you a Yoshi egg at least once within the level. I also kind of liked that the levels wouldn’t change. After going through the earlier levels various times (to collect fire flowers or Yoshis) you can actually memorize the pattern and number of opponents coming. So in other words, you already new what is coming so you can actually begin to do speed runs, or explore and find hidden or bonus “vines” or “tunnels” that take you to maybe a new exit or “coins-galore”.

    With that said, there was a feature in SMW that sometimes was useful and other times annoying. That was the mid way marker, which were two poles with a blue bar connecting them. If you were a small Mario and you went through the Bar you saved the game at the midway point and because a large Mario. What this did is that every time you would go to a level which has been saved at half way, from that point you’d start the level. This could be a good thing so you don’t have to restart each level from the beginning. However, I found that sometimes the reason’s I’d go back to a level was to collect objects that were offered at the beginning of a level. So when I returned to a “saved” level I would have to move back to the starting point and then retrace my steps back and continue to the exit (which can be a huge waste of time and be annoying).

    Super Mario is also characterized by the massive reward structure. There are coins everywhere and every enemy you stomp on gives you points. Also the end of the game offers you points depending on how “high” you cross the finish line. Collecting 1 hundred coins, or five dragon coins get you an extra life. Getting 100 finish line point sends you to a bonus round where you hit boxes and try to match up pictures on a 3 by 3 square formation. Depending on how many tic tac toe style match ups you get, that many 1 ups are offered. Although there are all these rewards they are all the same extra life reward. After a while I did wish for something else. Often times I got tired or needed a break from the game and I’d still have 10+ lives accumulated.

    I think SMW and most of the Super Mario games in the cartridge have the same weakness and strength: the simplicity. The goals, the artwork, and even the gameplay concept is pretty simple. Unfortunately this can make the game drag. I do get bored of sitting and playing for two hours straight. However, its simplicity is what makes it classic and also make it have replay value. I can’t sit for more than two hours playing it without getting tired or moving on to maybe one of the other games but I have no problem returning to it the next day or the day after. SMW is best served in small dosages each day. Not so much a very long game play session in one day.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 20th, 2008 at 20:51:12.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 03:15:07     -    Super Mario All stars and Super Mario World (SNES)

    Super Mario All Stars and Super MarioWorld for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

    Gamelog #1:

    SUMMARY:
    Super Mario All stars and Super Mario World for the SNES is a compilation of some of the first Super Mario platform games. I primarily focused on playing Super Mario World. In super Mario World, Mario (one player mode, or Mario and Luigi , for two players) go through various worlds and levels saving Yoshi’s friends who are trapped in Eggs. The main goal is to fight Bowser and his children (each stationed at a castle at the end of a level ) and save Princess Toadstool and Yoshi’s friends. As you go through each level you can power up you Mario (i.e. Fire Mario or Super Mario) as well as get a Yoshi (blue, green, yellow or red). Sometimes different Marios are more effective in getting through a level or going through secret short cuts. Yoshi’s are also handy in certain levels and help you get through a level more easily.

    GAMEPLAY:
    I started playing feeling a little too sure of my abilities with this game despite having not touched my Super Nintendo in probably 10 years. So I was a bit shaken when I realized that my skills were a bit rusty and I wasn’t as comfortable with the controller as I thought I was going to be. However once I heard the familiar jingle was fired up to relive some old time memories.

    The characters and the game don’t have much of a story as it does a goal. The goal is to save the princess. Although I find Mario (and Luigi) a bit dull, but I really like all the other charcters like the koopas, goompas, Yoshi, and Bowser’s children. The villains all had their own personalities and traits and were very entertaining although sometimes really easily defeated. Yoshis on the other hand were very useful and very entertaining to watch when he gobbled up enemies and cherries and pooped out 1up mushrooms. I did play Super Mario Bros. 2, in which I preferred Princess Toadstool because of her ability to jump and hover for a ridiculous amount of time and kind of wished I could have played her in Super Mario World (which wouldn’t make sense seeing as how the goal in SMW is to save her).

    I played in 2 player mode for a while with a friend who kept dying so I ended up giving her lives. However, I did find the game to be very entertaining to play with another person because you can help each other get through levels faster (if the other player is as good or better than you). Unfortunately the game is turn based and you can’t go through a level together. Sometimes there was even competition because in each level there are opportunities to get 1 ups which once gotten can’t be taken up again unless you restart a session. However, this slight competition was fun . The game is also pretty slow and the puzzles aren’t ridiculously complex and you can talk to other people without hindering your gameplay.

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