09
Nov
10

big red rambling: 017 ghost of sparta review & links to get you through the week of 11/08/2010

Welcome to another week of Rambling and linkage. First up a review of a recent and much anticipated PSP release.

Video Game Review: God of War: Ghost of Sparta
I have a confession to make. I am not a big fan of the God of War series. Now wait, before you go into a vengeance fueled rage and use heated metal chains to rip me into meaty chunks, let me explain. It was not the gameplay of the series, which has always enough on the edge of mindless action to feel like a true successor to the wonderful beat-em ups of days of yore. When an its best, a God of War game features visceral action that has seldom been matched, much less bettered, in all of video gamedom. It is repetitive and shallow? Yes, but it also can still be a lot fun.

Nor did I have a problem with the series graphics, which whatever system that was used to create them, be it last gen, current gen, or portable, always seemed to be so extravagantly gorgeous that they were attempting to bludgeon a player to death with beauty in the same way over the top way the main character they featured approached his violent ways. No, my problem with the series always lay with its main character. I will simply come out and say it, Kratos has developed over the course of the three main God of War games into one of the most one-dimensional and unlikable characters in all of gaming.
Yes, I understand he is supposed to be an anti hero of the grim and gritty variety. Nor do I expect him to suddenly start hugging puppies or helping old ladies across the street. The problem is the creators of the God of War games clearly want me to route and cheer for Kratos, even going so far to end the third game in a way that clearly an attempted to solicit sympathy for old blood and guts. It rang completely false. You can make a character an unrelenting, nasty badass without turning them into the juvenile cartoon character Kratos became. Just go watch the classic Michael Caine film Get Carter if you want proof. All the pretty graphics in the world mean nothing, when married to shallow gameplay and empty story. For a supposed triple A, top of the industry series, God of War is often little more than the gaming equivalent to empty calories.

Yet, there was one God of War game that managed to fully exploit the potential of the series to create a violent yet meaningful experience. This game was Ready at Dawn’s Chain of Olympus, which took Kratos on a journey, much like the first game, that forced him to be more than a bellowing oaf. Its villain was genuinely interesting, with motivations that actually made sense, and it featured an emotional climax that felt earned and real. It did this while also still keeping all the buckets of blood and gore any thirteen year old gamer could ask for.

Chains of Olympus was a high point, both for the series and the system it featured on, and I am happy to say its follow up, Ghost of Sparta, does it again. Once more Ready at Dawn has stretched every fiber of the PSP’s hardware to create a gaming experience on par with any of the bigger home consoles. The scope is naturally less than its recent PS3 counterpart, but remain suitably epic. At times the graphics for Ghost even surpass those of its PS2 brethren, a feat made all the more impressive by the near complete lack of load times that so often seem to plague high end PSP titles these days.
Gameplay remains consistent with games past, which is not a bad thing per say. Innovation beyond the realm of graphics is clearly never going to be priority for the God of War series. The new Spear and Shield weapon introduced in this game add some fun new tweaks, plus feel very right thematically, bringing Kratos back to his Spartan routes. Magic is more inconsequential than ever, which is probably a good thing considering some control changes make employing it difficult most of the time. This one problem aside, the controls remain about as smooth and responsive as one could hope from a system lacking dual analog sticks.

I will avoid detailing the story, and instead will simply say that it manages to surpass even Olympus. By the time the last cutscene rolled, Kratos had finally been given motivation for his constant rage beyond “I have daddy issues, so I am angry. GRRR!” While the experience is on the shorter side, it remains longer than Chains, and is a definite argument for quality over quantity. I challenge anyone to get to the end of the Ghost and tell me they have not gotten their money’s worth. God of War 2 was in many ways the last true triple A title to come out for the Playstation 2. With more and more rumors of the Phone surfacing every day, it is hard to estimate just how more system life remains for the Playstation Portable, which means Ghost could very well take on similar role for its system. If that is the case, than at least PSP is going out at the very top of its game. Ghost of Sparta should be considered the definitive game in the series, and the one which all future God of War take their cue from.
5 out of 5 stars.

Links to Get You Through the Week of 11/08/2010
I love when real world logic is applied to video games, especially by a clever writer. It is not that I want to see games try and be more realistic per say, after they are supposed to be escapism, it is just the kind of humor that tickles the inner fanboy/nitpicker who never lurks to far below my surface. With that in mind, I present our first link of the week.
http://www.massively.com/2010/11/04/the-perfect-ten-weird-staples-of-every-fantasy-mmo/

Has science finally proved the existence of psychic abilities within humans? Could be, though probably not.
http://io9.com/5684852/study-shows-some-evidence-of-human-precognitive-powers

The internet in action can be a beautiful thing. Or terrifying. Or both.
http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/e1waa/come_in_dog_fort_over/

For the individual who has ever wondered the answer to questions like ‘ How many NASCAR Winston Cup Tires does an African Elephant weigh?” or ” How many Shaquille O’Neals would it take to equal the length of the Great Wall of China?” here is the website for you.
http://www.weirdconverter.com/index.php

This… This is… Yeah this is the most frightening role-playing game I have ever seen. “Where Dreams Come To Die” indeed. The biggest question that haunts me is “Why?” As in, why
bother playing this? Apocalyptic settings where all adults are blind and children rule, RPGs featuring the insomnia induced ability to see the horrific worlds that lay beneath our own, even *shudders* a Gor RPG. These I can all at least vaguely understand what might drive a being to want to step into from one to several nights a week, but THIS? The mind boggles, shudders, and requires a SAN check.
http://synergonrpg.com/example-scenarios

Excuse me while I slip back into the sweet and innocent world of nostalgia for a little while to help wipe the nightmare inducing aspects of the previous link.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtuTJ2kStLs

Proof that reality is always stranger than fiction could ever hope to be.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJB2Woe5zeQ

Will videos of adorable cats do silly things ever get old? No, no they will not.
http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1943309

It is hard to imagine anyone on the net not having seen this amazing fan film yet, but by chance if you have not, here ya go.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obFOc4SkkNI

Webcomic Spotlight: Order of the Stick
Perhaps you love role-playing games. Perhaps you do not. Perhaps you love fantasy. Perhaps you do not. Perhaps you love a simplistic art style that can disguise the artistic brilliance that regularly occurs in a webcomic. Perhaps you do not. Perhaps you love fun. Perhaps you do not. Whatever the case might be, you at least owe it to yourself to check out this brilliant little comic. This strip from a few weeks ago features a small example of the humor that permeates this strip (the Little Roc joke especially gets me): http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0755.html while these strips demonstrate his ability to stage nice action: http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0430.html http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0430.html
This is not comic just role playing fans, despite its origins. While RPG references pop up from time to time, far more references to all aspects of pop culture (as the comedy example and this strip: http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0746.html) abound. Order of the Stick is a webcomic about RPGS, fantasy tropes, action-adventure, comedy, well-developed characters of both the good and evil bent, and cats. It is for the lovers, the haters, and the newbs that lay between. In short it is for everyone, and everyone should be sure to give it a read.
http://www.giantitp.com/index.html

Let’s get our (video) game on, starting with a top down shooter that includes just enough of a smidge of RPG elements to keep things interesting.
http://www.kongregate.com/games/Rachid1984/wizards-run

Simple can be fun, especially when paired with some choice music.
http://www.gameshot.org/?id=5368

Do not get me wrong, while Armed with Wings 3 features excellent gameplay that balances action, platforming, and puzzle elements and lovely music, it is the unbelievably gorgeous visuals that make the game especially stand out. The fact that this independent developer has managed to make three games of this extreme quality without being snapped up by a larger, more professional company is crazy. Even if you are not a gamer, you owe it to yourself to experience the silhouetted splendor that make up this games visuals.
http://www.gameshot.org/?id=5383

Speaking of terrific visuals, here is a fun point and click adventure that also features an uplifting art style.
http://www.gamesnitro.com/game/traderofstories/game.php

Time to return to the lovely world of Grow, this time with Grow Tower.
http://www.eyezmaze.com/eyezblog_en/blog/2009/01/grow_tower.html#monster

And now for this week’s Deliciously Deviant(art).

Autumn in Budapest by ~Kifffia
http://kifffia.deviantart.com/art/Autumn-in-Budapest-184524657

Hold Me by `AquaSixio
http://aquasixio.deviantart.com/art/Hold-Me-183537654

hack slash AP card by *katiecookie
http://katiecookie.deviantart.com/art/hack-slash-AP-card-184744221

dead at 17 cards by *katiecookie
http://katiecookie.deviantart.com/art/dead-at-17-cards-184744333

10 ways of weird flirting by *zarla
http://zarla.deviantart.com/art/10-ways-of-weird-flirting-184990576

The First Snow by ~deliry
http://deliry.deviantart.com/art/The-First-Snow-185555492

Abstract – 001 by *Stridsberg
http://stridsberg.deviantart.com/art/Abstract-001-131918445

Anathema by ~Aeleath
http://aeleath.deviantart.com/art/Anathema-172038983

Turn Around by *JBraukman
http://jbraukman.deviantart.com/art/Turn-Around-180409278

That is it for this edition. Now if you will excuse me I am off to enjoy Conan’s triumphant return. See ya. *runs off and begins bouncing off walls in classic Daffy Duck style* Woo hoo woo hoo woo hoo woo hoo woo hoo.

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10 Responses to “big red rambling: 017 ghost of sparta review & links to get you through the week of 11/08/2010”


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    Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a twenty five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!
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    Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, superb blog!
    Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a
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    Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from
    an established blog. Is it very difficult to set
    up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m
    thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Appreciate it
    Hey there! Quick question that’s entirely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?

    My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thank you!
    I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later.
    All the best
    I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz reply as I’m looking to construct my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. thanks
    Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It’s on a completely different topic but
    it has pretty much the same layout and design.
    Wonderful choice of colors!
    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of
    the pictures aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.

    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.
    Whats up are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Hey this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m
    starting a blog soon but have no coding expertise so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!
    Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing
    several weeks of hard work due to no backup.
    Do you have any solutions to prevent hackers?

    Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look
    forward to new posts.
    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on.
    Any suggestions?
    Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with
    Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
    If you know of any please share. Kudos!
    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having
    a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would
    be greatly appreciated. Kudos
    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

    I’m not sure exactly why but this website is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later and see
    if the problem still exists.
    Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!
    Wow that was strange. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t
    appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say excellent blog!

  9. September 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

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  10. June 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Helo there! This blog post couldn’t be written much
    better! Going through this polst remindes me of my preious roommate!
    He continjally kept talkiung about this. I am going tto forward this post too
    him. Pretry sure hee will haqve a great read. Thanks for sharing!


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