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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 02:15:08     -    Gears of War (360)

    GAMEPLAY
    I made a mistake with a name in the first gamelog, the satellite weapon is called the Hammer of Dawn and essentially unlimited ammunition as well as being the only method to kill certain enemies. It can also fry normal enemies so fast that any chance to use it I took, sometimes to the dismay of my friend who I was playing with. I only killed him once with it, and that was justifiable. He went in my way. He shot me way more than that.
    I am really beginning to like this game, the way that you have to take cover in order to not die within a couple seconds is hard, but it’s a challenge that isn’t impossible to overcome. We also had to fight a Berserker, which is a incredibly strong enemy who will kill you in a single hit, but can’t see. Instead every time the player moves or fires his weapon, the Berserker will go after the sound. The players have to trick him into breaking down several doors and then getting it outside in order to use the Hammer of Dawn on it. I really liked this part because I haven’t played any other game with a part quite like this. It certainly was a unique feel.

    DESIGN
    How this game really stood out to me was the innovative use of cover. You had to use cover, it was easy to use and it felt natural using after a couple of minutes doing it. That is probably the biggest thing that Gears of War did right. It felt like a real battlefield where you could crouch and hide behind ledges and walls, only showing yourself when you were shooting at them. At first the controls for thing did feel somewhat clunky but after about 10 minutes I was hiding throughout the battlefield like a pro. (That is one phrase I do not often hear).
    The weapon selection in this game was really only different from all the other games of its type by giving you the gun with a chainsaw on it and the Hammer of Dawn. And the concepts of both of those methods of killing things have been done before, but arguably Gears of War uses those features much better than the other games out there. Aside from those features the inventory of weapons is exactly alike every other fps, you have the machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, etc.
    The storyline is a bit sketchy for me as of right now, even though I played the game from the beginning, I still don’t really know what’s going on. It could be just me, but it doesn’t seem to be that well explained. Of course it doesn’t really need to for the purpose of gameplay in the middle of the game but still. I understand that there are some sort of creatures living in tunnels underground that come up and fight against you. Why this is happening is anyone’s guess. Despite this lack of background info the characters are being developed at a steady pace, nothing excessive but they are identifiable as individuals.
    Gears of War is a fun game and anyone who likes a good fps should play it, the way this game feels is different from any that I have previously played. I really do want to beat this game now.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:00:03     -    Gears of War (360)

    SUMMARY
    Gears of War is a first person shooter that takes a slightly different form of play into mind, although it sticks pretty closely to the modern fps. You can hide behind nearly everything in the game, allowing you to always find cover. This game takes place in the future, but from the technology it implies the near future.

    GAMEPLAY
    The first thoughts that were going through my head while playing this game was its similarities to Halo. It had a similar control scheme, and the play felt very similar, until we hit the first wave of enemies. Then we were soundly killed and forced to restart from a checkpoint. At this point we discovered how important utilizing cover is in this game. It’s pretty easy too, just hit A near anything you can hide behind and you will get behind it. Then hit the targeting button to pop out and shoot people and release it to go back. Almost like Time Crisis except that you can move around the map yourself.
    The second thing I have to say about this game is the weapons are just awesome. Just like every other fps they have the shotgun, machine gun, grenades. But many of the weapons are unique in some way, for instance the Hammer. It’s a laser sight gun that only has the targeting laser which then will lock onto a certain point outside and have a satellite shoot that spot with a rather impressive laser beam from the sky. Verily fun. And the second weapon that I really liked was the chainsaw gun. Yes that’s right, a chainsaw gun. It’s a gun with a chainsaw on it, meaning that if you get up close you can proceed to cut your enemies in half with the satisfying chainsaw on flesh sound. (That got a little scary, too much fps maybe?). Anyway this gun is typically an ok machine gun but the chainsaw feature makes it awesomely cool.
    Back to playing more of this game. Second log to follow.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 00:26:41     -    Gradius 3 (SNES)

    GAMEPLAY
    I really like the way that Gradius 3 allows you to choose what power ups you get. It allows for a lot of differentiation in gameplay and makes it easy to get back to the powers that you want. And this isn’t overpowered at all, even when you have all of the upgrades possible this game is still difficult. Although somewhat annoying it is pretty easy to reach the top level of upgrades, meaning that when you die, and make no mistake you will die, it isn’t that hard to come back from it. Well that is if you can survive long enough.
    I may have had too much time on my hands but I actually beat Gradius 3 during the duration of this assignment. And for beating it I felt good. But then it displayed “Why don’t you try it on hard”, which prompted me to turn off the system and go do something else. I had died enough times on normal already. But since I beat it there is somewhat of an implied storyline. You fight all the enemy ships and at the end see pictures of you barely escaping an explosion. You killed off the invading army, or something like that. I enjoyed playing this game as it was a breath of fresh air, it forced me to think really really fast. It’s amazing how few games do it as well as a good shmup these days.

    DESIGN
    Gradius 3 is a great shmup and somewhat innovative at that, but it is a shmup. And you can’t play shmups forever. Gradius 3 had good graphics for the SNES and decent music, but none of it was really that memorable. I find that after I beat Gradius 3 once I really don’t feel the need to play it again. I beat it once, I liked it, but I’m done thank you.
    Easily the most memorable parts of this game were some of absurd levels that required ridiculous dodging skills. Most of those parts I remember and I remember the power ups.
    The power ups are something that’s unique to the Gradius series, you have 6 different levels of power ups, each level is ostensibly a little better then the one before, even though they do different things. Each energy block thing that you pick up moves the level your at one up, cycling through all the options and letting you choose which power up you want to get. This lets you make choices while just beginning (Should I save up for a better laser or get more speed?).
    The gameplay in Gradius 3 is entertaining, but emergence is something that I wouldn’t be quick to say. It definitely has a few emergent elements, like the upgrade system, but you do follow a preordained path set by the designers. The AI is good enough that moving around and dodging is required in order to survive more then 10 seconds, which keeps this game from getting dull. Frustrating yes, but dull no.
    Anyone who likes shmups, this is a good game to try.

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    Feb 20th, 2008 at 21:10:12     -    Gradius 3 (SNES)

    SUMMARY
    Gradius 3 is a classic 2d space shooter, shmup is the generic name for these kinds of games. In this game you fly a small fighter against hordes of enemies and enormous bosses. Just like most other shmups if you get hit then you will instantly die, I think there are some shield power ups you can get as well. Also this game has a rather unique method of powering up your ship, you choose when to get a boost but the more energy you gather the stronger the boost will be, in general. Gradius is also difficult. Incredibly difficult. Being able to pass the first level takes about 10 minutes straight of failing. (Yeah I got slightly annoyed at that).

    GAMEPLAY
    One thing I noticed is how fast you get into the action. You click that start button and within 5 seconds you’re blowing things up. No real characters, storyline, or text of any kind detected. I suppose that this game really doesn’t need storyline, and what it lacks in that it makes up with sheer difficulty of play.
    That first level, took so long to beat, that I had memorized the movement patterns of all the enemies by the time I got to the boss. My emotional state was really more into the determined against all odds phase. When you’re willing to try and do something that really you have such a small chance of beating, you could almost say desperation. But because of how difficult this game is after each part you beat you feel great, because you just conquered that part of the game. (That’s what I felt like after I beat that first boss. Yeah that’s right game, I took you DOWN).
    Another cool thing I noticed was that anyone watching me play was somewhat amazed at some of the dodging that the game forced you to do. They would just sit there amazed at this game.
    Well I’m off to play some more.

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    1Chrono Trigger (SNES)Finished playing
    2Gears of War (360)Playing
    3Gradius 3 (SNES)Finished playing
    4Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2)Stopped playing - Something better came along
    5Warcraft III: Regin of Chaos (PC)Finished playing

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