Friday Favorites #7: Favorite Video Game Tropes

In no particular order:

1. Relationship Values

I like it when video games give you chances to deepen your bonds with other characters. Getting to know your party members better is often the best way to learn things about them that you otherwise would not.  

Favorite Examples: BioWare games, recent Persona and Fire Emblem games, and in Harvest Moon. 

2. Dialog Trees

Related to the above, dialog trees can be a lot of fun. I always like opportunities to impress my personality upon a game (those poor games). Dialog trees can impact a game’s story, characters, and endings. They can also affect what items you get and which areas you will go to. A nice addition to dialog trees is the integration of quick time events as seen in the Mass Effect series from 2 onward. These force you to make instinctual choices.

Favorite Examples: BioWare games, the Fallout series, Telltale’s games

3. Multiple Endings

I like these for similar reasons to the above tropes. What could be better than your decisions shaping your ultimate fate in a game? Of course, you run the risk of it not being the fate you want…

Favorite Examples: Shin Megami Tensei, Silent Hill

4. On-Rails Shooting Sections

(Possible?) Hot take: I like these when they pop up in third-person shooters and action games.

Favorite Examples: Metal Gear, Resident Evil, Uncharted

5. Training Modes That Teach You All of the Moves

These modes in fighting games seem to be unpopular with some, but I rather like them… until I get about halfway through a character’s move list. Then the combos start to make me crosseyed. 

Favorite Examples: Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken

6. Create-a-Character

These can be fun to mess with for a while, especially to recreate characters from other sources, or to see what kind of twisted creations you can make…

Favorite Examples: Soulcalibur, WWE games

7. Randomized Dungeons

I like these in action-RPGs and roguelikes because they add some variety to the game.

Favorite Examples: Dark Cloud, Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon

8. Skill Trees

The Sphere Grid

Skill trees may only offer an illusion of freedom, but I’ve loved them ever since I played Final Fantasy X. The more freedom, the better.

Favorite Examples: FFX, Tales of Xillia 1 and 2, Xenosaga III: Also sprach Zarathustra

What are your favorite game design tropes?

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Final Thoughts: When is a Ten Not a Ten?

Trigger Warning: This post analyzes and discusses the game’s use of suicide as a plot device.
The only review that I remember seeing for MGS4 was Game Informer’s, which gave it a rare ten out of ten. I let it raise my hopes about how good the game would be, but the more I think about MGS4, the more I think that it didn’t quite measure up. How can that be? Let’s look at Kojima’s history and his attitude towards this creation of his for answers.

Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Final Thoughts: When is a Ten Not a Ten?

VGJ Quickie: What Does Gamerankings.com Have to Say About the Games Covered Here?

This is a quickie post that collects the aggregate scores of some of the games covered on this blog from Gamerankings.com.
1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: 93.53
2. Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia: 85.67
3. Soulcalibur IV: 85.43
4. Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days: 84.27
5. Condemned 2: Bloodshot : 82.31 (jeez)
6. Star Ocean: The Last Hope: 74.43
7. Soul Nomad and the World Eaters: 73.13
8. Silent Hill Origins: 72.41
9. SaGa Frontier: 70.55
10. The Last Remnant: 67.85. Ouch.
Aggregate Score: 79.15
There you go. Some official maths on the blog. I think that the next game will raise the average a little. 😉

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – March 12th-13th: Take Me Home

March 12th, 2010: Shoot Screaming Mantis’ doll of Psycho Mantis and pick it up. Then, you can use it to defeat Screaming Mantis.

Her faceplate and six extra arms flew off. The shimmering bodysuit was revealed. The Screaming Beauty begged for mercy. She banged on an invisible wall until she regained her composure.

Now… Set me free.”

Screaming Mantis
Screaming Mantis

Once Snake “set her free”, she screamed horribly. Her bodysuit became rough, and she curled up in the fetal position. Then, her equipment rose up-

-as Psycho Mantis.

He tried to read the Memory Card, but there was no card to read on the PS3. He made the controller rumble before Screaming Mantis’ equipment exploded.

Then, the Sorrow – the Spirit Soldier of The Boss’ Cobra unit, and her lover – said, “The spirit of the warrior will always be with you.”
Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – March 12th-13th: Take Me Home

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – March 1st-3rd, 2010: No Strings on Me

March 1st, 2010: The facility was infested with Scarabs. When Snake destroyed them, they kind of screamed… What the heck is this, Silent Hill? God, I only wish that could be more like Metal Gear.

Yeah, about that…

But it’s kind of cute when Scarabs are alerted. Their little musical cue is higher-pitched than that of other enemies. BREEP!

In REX’s hangar, Snake and Hal realized that Liquid just needed REX’s rail gun – and this REX’s rail gun was already removed.

Then, Vamp appeared. Naomi caressed him. Vamp promised that the gun was long gone, as his “Queen” wished, and that Suicide Gekkos were on their way. “Soon, there will be nothing left of this place.”

I’ll leave the rest to you,” Naomi told Vamp before she left.

Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – March 1st-3rd, 2010: No Strings on Me

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – February 28th, 2010: The Return

FEBRUARY 28th, 2010: Mission Briefing

The yolks in Sunny’s frying pan join together like cells as she sang in Japanese.

Metal Gear Mk. II caught footage of Liquid talking about his next plan. They need to destroy JD, the segment of the System that controls WMDs. Meanwhile, the entire world’s guns have been forced into a cease fire.

Liquid planned to use Metal Gear REX – created before the System and free from its control – to destroy JD in orbit.

And to get a REX, there was only one place Snake could go.

Shadow Moses Island.

Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – February 28th, 2010: The Return

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – January 10th – February 16th, 2010: Everlasting Soul

January 10th, 2010: Part 3: Third Sun
One of Outer Haven’s PMCs, Raven Sword, tried to defeat the terrorist freedom fighters known as Paradise Lost, led by Big Mama.
Snake’s disguise had him wear a trenchcoat to blend in. He had to evade security checkpoints because he was on the PMCs blacklist.

Was the trenchcoat a reference to Kojima’s earlier game Snatcher?

He reunited with Rat Patrol. Meryl said, “You’re looking younger. What’s your secret?”
The camera swiveled to show Snake’s face, younger and smoother than before. “FaceCamo,” he explained. “A little gift from Tentacles.”
Meryl wrote a threat assessment report that forced the President to realize the threat that Outer Haven posed. He sent several Army and Marine soldiers to help Rat Patrol’s cause.
Meryl thought that they could handle the mission, so she begged Snake to not waste his life on “something so pointless”. But he had been doing “pointless” things like that his whole life.
Once again, their talk turned into him playing down his achievements. “This isn’t justice. It’s a hired hit. I’m no hero… Never was. I’m just an old killer… hired to do some wet work.”
Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – January 10th – February 16th, 2010: Everlasting Soul

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – November 30th -December 13th, 2009

November 30th 2009: The title screen has a visual filter that looks different from any other part of the game so far.

After Snake slew the FROGs, Laughing Octopus cried out. “What a riot… People suffering… People dying… It’s all so fucking hysterical! Laugh! Laugh with me!” Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – November 30th -December 13th, 2009

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – November 3rd (Part Three ) – November 9th, 2009: Seeds of Revenge

November 3rd, Part Three: Act Two: Solid Sun
Snake surmised that Solidus’ fear of the Patriots’ control of the media and economy came to pass. But Liquid planned to oppose them.
Campbell suspected that we may have to “protect the System” to maintain the comforts of the modern age.
The octopus woman and Vamp protected the base where Naomi was supposedly held.
“Snake… isn’t here,” said the laughing octopus before she slaughtered some PMC soldiers in Snake’s guise.
Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – November 3rd (Part Three ) – November 9th, 2009: Seeds of Revenge

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – November 3rd, 2009 Part Two

November 3rd, Part Two: One constant in MGS are the Easter eggs. References to MGS games, other Hideo Kojima games, and other Konami games. The first reference I noticed was in the Act One briefing. One of Otacon’s desktop images is from Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner.
I was surprised that Snake brought his iPod with him. You can find tracks from other Metal Gear games throughout MGS4. They even come with some trivia. Snake’s iPod also comes with an in-game podcast.
So far, I’ve tried to be more stealthy here than in the other MGS games. I’ve mainly used the Stun Knife and Mark 2 tranquilizer gun. I haven’t killed a single PMC aside from FROGs yet.
When I first started the game, there were some bizarre live action segments, like a game show, and an haute couture ad with an octopus.
Back to the recap. Snake infiltrated the PMC camp and told Mk. II to stay a little behind him. He used the Solid Eye’s binoculars mode. It allowed him to see Liquid Ocelot across the way. Rat Patrol was nearby, and Meryl called Snake over the CODEC to ask him if he was there to kill Liquid, so he fessed up to it. Meryl said that Rat Patrol couldn’t help because theirs was a peacekeeping mission.

Continue reading Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots – November 3rd, 2009 Part Two