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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 13:20:53     -    Manhunt (PS2)

    GAMEPLAY:
    This gameplay session introduced me to a new gang. The previous gang was the Hoods a group of gentlemen who liked wearing either ski masks or pantyhose over their heads. The new gang is a group of white trash white supremacists that call themselves the Skinz. Unfortunately they aren't much smarter than the Hoods, an can still be easily dispatched using the 'make a noise then hide' tactic. One new gameplay element that was introduced in this gameplay session was the wire. Stealth kills with the wire decapitate the enemy, then their severed head can then be picked up. The heads can be thrown to distract other (still living) enemies an lure them into an ambush. Other than that the gameplay remains much the same, hiding in the shadows and figuring out where and when to dispatch the enemies. The level design is okay, but the levels take place in a variety of dilapidated shitholes and the problem is that the design sometime just isn't all that convincing especially when compared to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. which was a masterpiece in terms of convincing dilapidated shitholes.

    DESIGN:
    The three tiered kill system is an interesting idea but in many ways to fails to live up to it's potential. Ideally it would be a matter of risk vs. reward, the problem is that the only reward the player receives for completing a red level kill is a more violent kill sequence, and even the most bloodthirsty gamer will grow tired of the scripted kill sequence after 4 or 5 times. I can't help but think that if there was more of an in-game incentive to take the risk the game would be much better, for example if the player pulled of the more difficult kill it would be quick and quiet, while a more hasty kill would be drawn out and loud, drawing the attention of anyone nearby. This would give the player a much stronger motivation to take the risk of getting seen.

    While much of the log has been deeply critical of the game, I still think that there are some elements of the game that are quite good. For example the film director's voice actor is very good and manages to capture the director's bloodthirsty insanity distressingly effectively. But also the director manages to serve as something of a satire of game developers, arbitrarily forcing the player to perform tasks for their own sick pleasure. Taken from this angle Manhunt becomes a blood soaked satire of videogame conventions and manages to be fairly successful at it. While the gameplay is not always stellar I'm interested in playing for at least a little while longer to see if the developers go somewhere with this angle or not.

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    Mar 5th, 2008 at 12:46:53     -    Manhunt (PS2)

    NOTE: I played this game on PC, not PS2 but for some reason GameLog won't let me add a PC version of the game. The gameplay is exactly the same across all versions, except that the PC incarnation has higher resolution graphics and controls with mouse and keyboard.

    SUMMARY:
    You play as the rather stupidly named James Earl Cash, a convicted criminal who is given a reprieve from his death sentence by way of a disgraced film director who recruits you to be the star of his snuff films. Gamplay takes place in a third person perspective, and consists primarily of sneaking around and killing the gang members that patrol the various levels with a variety of melee weapons. Later levels feature some gunplay as well.

    GAMEPLAY:
    The first section of the game consists of a tutorial that introduces the player to the core gameplay mechanics. The main mechanic is the stealth kill system. The player sneaks up behind an enemy and holds down the attack key, a targeting cursor will appear on the enemies head, the cursor will go from grey to yellow to red the longer the player holds the button down. The color of the cursor corresponds to the brutality of the killing blow performed on the enemy. Grey is quick and simple, red is elaborate and brutal. The execution is viewed through a faux video camera view (example: http://pc.ign.com/dor/pc/621239/images/manhunt_042004_008.html). The effect of this presentation is oddly distancing, but not in a bad way. The hand to hand combat is much less interesting and is simply a matter of exchanging blows with the enemy, there's little or no strategy and is pretty boring.
    So far the enemies have been pretty stupid, all of them can be taken out by simply making some noise and then hiding in a nearby shadow. Any nearby enemies rush over and look around for awhile, then go back to wherever they came from. As they walk back they are very easy to sneak up on, and can be easily dispatched with whatever weapon is currently at hand.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 00:39:16     -    Wii Sports (Wii)

    Gameplay:
    The next game I played was golf. The controls are pretty simple, and there's no way to deliberately slice or hook the ball. The courses are fairly interesting but the early courses are pretty simple, the truly compelling courses only show up near the end. There are only nine courses total, I wish there were more since I really enjoyed playing the last 3 holes.

    Next up was tennis. Tennis was very similar to baseball in that it's pretty shallow. The player doesn't control anything but the tennis racket, so the gameplay simply consists of swinging the wiimote around at the appropriate time in order to hit the ball.

    Design:
    From a pure gameplay perspective the games present in Wii Sports range from simple to laughably simple. But the action taking place on screen is only part of the experience of Wii Sports. The most enjoyable part of the game is the social aspects of the game. Since the games are so simple they're easily graspable by non-gamers and so they can be easily enjoyed by a whole range of people.

    The biggest problem I had with the game is that for a game that's supposed to show off how awesome the Wii is, some of the motion detection can be a bit dodgy at times. For most of the games I didn't find it to be a big problem since boxing, tennis, and baseball all rely on broad movements for the player control. But for golf, a game that requires a bit more precision, there were some major issues. When I was putting especially, occasionally I would make a small gesture with the wiimote that the game would interpret as a very strong swing sending my ball well beyond the hole and ruining my chances of doing well on that round. This happened to me at least twice, so I don't think it was simply a one time fluke. I don't know if these issues were due to poor programming or whether it's a matter of fundamental limitations of the hardware, either way it was very frustrating.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:11:48.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 00:38:29     -    Wii Sports (Wii)

    SUMMARY
    Wii Sports is a collection of sports mini games. What it notable about the game is that it makes strong use of the motion controls unique to the Wii. For example, when playing the baseball minigame the player would swing the wiimote like a bat. There are five main modes: golf, baseball, boxing, bowling, and tennis. There are also a variety of sub games where the player takes on specific challenges for one of the sports (for example a golf challenge focuses exclusively on a chipping related task).

    GAMEPLAY
    The first game I played was baseball. I found it to be fairly uninteresting. The main problem is that there is little to no strategy as a batter since I cannot control any of the runners and bunting is worthless. The only viable strategy is to swing for the fences, and for at least a little while this is reasonably fun. but it quickly gets tiresome. Pitching suffers from much of the lack of strategy that batting did. While a pitcher does have a choice between various types of pitches, thats pretty much it since all the fielding is computer controlled.

    The second game I played was boxing. I thought it was cool that they used a combination of wiimote and nunchuck in order to simulate the two fists of the players boxer. The boxing itself is pretty simple and straightforward, but I found it to be reasonably fun. I really don't understand how a KO is decided though, it feels pretty arbitrary to me, though I might just not be paying enough attention.

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    1Manhunt (PS2)Playing
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    4Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)Playing
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