Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Poll #9 - Results

When playing an Xbox 360 game, how important are each game's Achievements to you?

Very important, I'm an Achievement whore! Achievement boosting FTW!
5 (5%)

I try to get as many as I can but I don't let my friends help me out. Either I get them fair and square or I just don't get them.
18 (18%)

I will try to get all of the Achievements for a game that I really like but I don't play a game just for Achievements.
23 (23%)

Achievements are not even a factor whenever I play an X360 game. If I get one then "Oh well... yay?"
18 (18%)

I don't have an Xbox 360, so it doesn't matter...
32 (33%)

Total Votes = 96

No Xbox 360? A PlayStation 3 or Wii perhaps, or no next-gen? I thought I'd have more achievement whores than that also with the achievement boosting threads that I see on GameFAQs. ;p In a way, choices two and three have about the same mind-set really... Should have just placed them together.

I'll have a new poll soon - can't think of a creative poll at the moment.


Brian said...

I agree that the question is a little weighted by the whole "don't have a 360" thing.

I don't know if you've been following Castlevania Judgment, but seeing it gives me mixed messages. After reading a couple of articles about IGA's E3 demeanor I'm kind of scared for the franchise, and I can only imagine his frustration with almost everyone I know decrying the 3D games. IMO they weren't bad (Lament's combat was fun, especially), just plagued by boring level design (potentially because they kind of removed the platforming that's still in CV games). In all honesty if Castlevania could take on DMC/NG/GoW action qualities with the exploration that it's now known for, I think we would have a perfect 3D CV. I just think that the rest of the world would say it's trying to hard to be something else. What are your thoughts on the franchise and its future?

(and here's a link to a couple articles:

Berserker said...

You just opened a can of worms Bri. :D

Castlevania Judgement doesn't interest me in the slightest from what I have seen of it. By not paying that much attention to it and just leaving it be, I've been trying to clear my head that he is even going that route. Castlevania should not be a figher and despite that the game isn't looking that great at all period, if you ask me. It's hard to believe that that is Alucard in some of those pictures. >_>

The article that you posted actually brings up something that I have been thinking of ever since I saw Mega Man 9:

"There is hope for more real Castlevania games on a smaller budget, and that hope is called Mega Man 9. "I'm watching that very closely to see how it does," IGA told Wired. "Myself, I'm a big retro gaming fan, so if it is successful that definitely opens up doors for what I can do." It's no wonder that Igarashi would be interested in a console game that reuses 8-bit sprites."

I think that would be a fantastic idea! When it comes to the Castlevania series, my favorite Castlevanias are the ones with the old-school gameplay. I love the hardcore difficulty of the old NES games, Super Castlevania IV and Dracula X.

As for the 3-D Castlevanias, I really enjoyed Lament of Innocence as well. I think they should keep that same type of combat but just extend it a bit, though not to the level of DMC or NG. I don't really want to see a Castlevania with air combos. I'd like to see one where the whip is the main weapon like in Lament but instead of being limited to just a whip, they could have a secondary weapon that could be changed offering different varieties of combinations with the whip and a secondary weapon. To me, the Castlevania trademark will always be the whip, so they should really keep that as the main weapon.

The way I see it, the trouble with Castlevania now is that you really have two types of fans for the series. The ones that want a hardcore action/adventure game mixed with platforming and the ones that want RPG elements mixed with exploration from the newer Castlevanias. Dealing with the 3-D Castlevanias, Lament seemed to focus more on action while Curse of Darkness added in RPG elements like the Metroidvanias, but in turn Curse of Darkness lost the action-packed combat from Lament (well, watered it down) as well as what little platforming was in Lament. If they could just combine both of them well and keep the same level of exploration, that would help out the 3-D Castlevanias quite a bit, I think. The RPG elements don't really interest me all that much, I could easily enjoy another Castlevania like Lament of Innocence with it's light RPG focus if they just added a bit more platforming along with some slightly improved action and not model each room with the same few designs.

With the 2-D Castlevanias, I'd really just like to see a return to the old-school formula. I have been thinking that for the longest as these Metroidvanias keep appearing on handhelds. I'm not saying that the handheld Castlevanias are not fun - I enjoy them quite a bit every time I play one actually - I would just like to see a return to the old-school style for a change or at least combine it a bit more with the Metroidvanias. I really feel that he was on the right track with Portrait of Ruin since I really enjoyed the tough boss battles that required two characters - I actually died quite a bit in that game because of the bosses. Either way, hopefully Mega Man 9 will do well so IGA will release another Castlevania for those of us that still like the old-school gameplay.

But really, even if he does go that retro route, it will diplease the gamers that want another Metroidvania. I remember hearing a bunch of complaints about how Castlevania: Dracula X in The Dracula X Chronicles was "too hard and didn't play like the GBA or DS handheld Castlevanias". Dracula X was and still is my most favorite Castlevania out of all of them because of the newer graphics mixed with difficult old-school gameplay.

Long story short, I think he needs to come up with a way to combine both RPG elements and exploration with hardcore action and platforming for his 2-D Castlevania's just a bit more and especially the same for the 3-D Castlevania titles. The 3-D Castlevania titles are unique to me because of the cinematic approach that they take, especially in the case of Lament of Innocence - I really enjoyed those cutscenes. IGA also needs to stay away from the fighters - that's just not Castlevania to me.

Brian said...

I agree with a lot of what you said, though I have a foot in both camps. I enjoy both the Metroidvanias because that formula always seems fun for some reason we never really understand. At the same time I like the old-school action as well, though I think the series' penchant for them has started to fall away from that. The thing is that, once again, the ones who want retro CV are more die-hard fans, not the ones that Konami is hoping to attract IMO. At the same time I think that's what IGA does want: to bring back the classic gameplay, but the problem is that production-wise it isn't popular with the higher ups. For that reason, like the articles postulate, I think Judgment is more a Konami exercise than an IGA one. That's just relying on editorial opinion, though, but just from looking at it I think you can tell it's not standard CV fare in any form.

I really do believe that MM9 will be the saving grace for that kind of gameplay, though Konami will need to make a hype-train for it. Unlike Megaman there *have* been sequels consistently, whereas the Megaman series has deviated far enough from the norm so that MM9 is different from the current Star Force or ZX series. For the longest time Megaman diehards have been looking for a MM9, but no one thought it would happen because in all honesty there is no reason to do thinks backwards, as it were, with going with retro graphics and style when you're someone as big as Capcom. It's interesting to see downloadable games truly become the start of a new door for developers.

If, say, IGA got clearance to do CV5 (if we go with the whole renumbering scheme), it is my hope though that the team goes with today's graphical output versus throwing the clock back 20 years. Not that 8-bit graphics are bad, but I just don't want it to become a fad. Besides, the intricate animation quality in Castlevania has always been a major staple. At the same time I think it'd be a boon to have CV3/Rondo's branching stages, though the whole concept of stages should be retained (as opposed to exploring maps).

On that note, one thing that really does frustrate me about a lot of 2D games is pixelation. I don't know why it even exists these days. It is no longer a graphical limitation to have crisp, sharp 2D sprites, and yet, everyone still tends to go with pixelated graphics (the CV sprites are particularly in offense here, as their animations have been the same since SOTN for no real good reason). Big, fresh 2D sprites are not a problem even with standard resolution--Guilty Gear being a prime example of that.

Ah well. In the end I worry about the response to Judgment. Hopefully it releases close to Order of Ecclesia, so that the world doesn't throw away Castlevania altogether, the way a lot of people did with Megaman Zero's difficulty and Battle Network's (later) shitty (and I mean shitty) localization. It's for that reason alone I'm going to try my hardest to be open about Judgment when I get it.

Berserker said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the series staying above 8-bit graphics if it did decide to bring back the old-school gameplay. I don't want that to become the norm either. The thing with Mega Man is that there were tons of sequels based on the same graphics engine and basically the same gameplay so it is more acceptable with that series, but with Castlevania there were only three on NES then (arguably) two on SNES, and those two (or at least Super Castlevania IV) brought many new gameplay ideas to the usual old-school gameplay of the 8-bit version and those new ideas blended well with it. I don't really think hardcore fans would be as open to 8-bit graphics as they would be to 16 or 32-bit. There's a lot of creativity that can be done with just a 16-bit appearance as the SNES showed us. Super Castlevania IV still impresses me to this day with its overall atmosphere and music. I'm really hoping for that kind of appearance or maybe an HD quality display that Capcom is now giving us with their recent downloadable titles.

I agree on the Rondo of Blood and Castlevania 3 setup as well. It's more fun to have branching paths for a slight feeling of exploration.

With Castlevania Judgement, I'll most likely try it when it first releases, but I'll be going in with low expectations - maybe it might surprise me. It is the first non-downloadable Castlevania to release on the Wii, so it might find an audience. As for Order of Ecclesia, I'll still happily pick it up and will probably enjoy it just as much as the other handheld DS Castlevanias, though I've really gotten to where I don't look forward to them anymore until I actually play them. I can easily get into the familiar formula but it doesn't always hold me intact till the end like it used to. Above all, I would really like a new 3-D Castlevania or perhaps one with an old-school feel.

Pushing that aside, what do you think of 1942: Joint Strike? I noticed it on your profile.

To me, the game has a very impressive overall graphical presentation, especially with the film reel type openings and it seems to keep the faith of the original rather well. It seems so short to me though. There are only five stages and with the level progression, they are all over with so fast. I'm not usually one to complain about the length of a game, but I couldn't help but notice how quickly my first playthrough went by. Commando 3's stages felt much longer than 1942.

Brian said...

Well, it's supposed to be a quarter-sucker so I guess it can't be helped :P I didn't get to play it all that much, since I got home late last night and only got the first stage in. In that sense I can't say much about the length of the game. Graphically and presentation-wise it is spot-on. I'm really digging Backbone's work on all of this, as they've done incredible jobs with their Capcom re-releases. I think the main appeal, as with all shooters, is whether or not you just love that sense of rushing in and laying waste to 40x planes before taking on a really big one. I'm down for that pretty much any time, so long as I'm actually piloting a plane and not some magical girl like a lot the newer shmups (Triggerheart Excelica being an example).

If we're lucky I can only imagine if we got re-makes of R-Type 3 or a truly gorgeous sequel to Gradius V, which is one of Treasure's best work IMO (not the retro one coming out for WiiWare). Too bad they aren't Capcom properties :P.

Berserker said...

It actually grades the player on how fast you defeat each boss on 1942. I don't really understand yet how you can actually beat each boss fast enough to get an S or A rank. Co-Op play might be needed since you can only do some of the really damaging special attacks then.

One thing I like about the game, when compared to Commando 3, is how it actually emphasizes co-op play with the unique attacks that you can choose and perform with another player. Stick in a second controller and try it for yourself - the co-op special attack takes the place of the missiles that can be shot out. The lightning spread is my favorite so far from what I have seen. Haven't played with anyone online yet though. :p