Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fight For Your JRPGs!

I've always been one that when you tell me, "no," I'm just going to come back at you that much harder. In the end, I want to make sure I never stopped at nothing to achieve what I want or let something slip by because it seemed futile. And that's exactly how I feel about this Nintendo of America situation. For those of you who don't know, there has been some serious campaigning going on to get some JRPGs released on the Wii. The targets are three big-name titles: Xenoblade, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower. Fans are coming together for what they call "Operation Rainfall," and the support from the community has been high. While it's a struggle as we hope to see these titles localized, I love times like these, because as gamers, we unite and ignite our passion all in the love of our hobby. As RPG fans, this has been especially important, as fewer Japanese RPGs have found their way to our home consoles. So we've been starved - very starved - we're longing to play these games, and Nintendo is underestimating us. They decided yesterday to make an announcement that there are no current plans to bring any of these titles stateside, despite the overwhelming response from passionate fans. They broke hearts, dashed hopes, and left many devastated. I could see the hurt all over my twitter feed, and so I tweeted at Nintendo that I understood not bringing all three, but why not try one to test the waters? This would make sense as Xenoblade's already translated due to a release in Europe.

And this is what is really bothersome about the situation, fans have expressed there is a market for these games. The Wii has just been dying more and more as each month goes by without any solid releases. Core Wii owners are starting to feel the sting, and this is especially an important time for Nintendo to step up with Wii U coming. Fans want to know they can depend on NoA to bring over the titles they want, and what we have here is Nintendo's unwilliness to throw their fans even one bone - to make a statement that they care. The worst part is the lack of an explanation; all Nintendo was willing to do was throw in a tweet about it, not stating what is at stake. Nintendo has the rights to these games, but they could easily pass them off to a third party publisher. The problem? This is Nintendo we're talking about here, they aren't exactly known to do this. As consumers, though, we do play a vital role in cementing what there is a market for, and I really don't want Nintendo's resistance to ever make fans feel like they aren't heard. Nintendo's acknowledgement of the Operation Rainfall campaign is a great step for them for public relations.

As an RPG lover, I'm here to tell you all don't stop fighting for the genre. I've been watching the Japanese portion of the market wither the past couple of years, and that's unfortunate. The problem is the economy - no publisher wants to take a chance unless the market is there. So what are we to do? Keep proving that market exists and have hope about it. We're going to eventually come into a new generation of consoles, and it's best we start paving the way for the genre to flourish again. Let this localization fiasco inspire you, and don't ever let the love die. Even in the end, if we can't convince Nintendo, we've at least voiced there's a market for these games. I'm sure other publishers are taking notice, and I can only hope this brings them more confidence about the JRPG. I don't think this battle will be in vain, I'm extremely optimistic that it's sent a strong message. Consider this blog me endorsing Operation Rainfall's efforts. If anything, this whole thing has reminded me why I fell in love with the genre in the first place, it's how much love these games can truly foster within us all.

"When on the brink of complete discouragement, success is discerning that... the line between failure and success is so fine that often a single extra effort is all that is needed to bring victory out of defeat." - Elbert Green Hubbard

Operation Rainfall's Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/OpRainfall Blog: http://oprainfall.blogspot.com/ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/op.rainfall

Monday, June 27, 2011

Should Endings Feel So Incomplete?

I don't think any movie, TV show, or video game can ever truly have complete closure - aspects will always be left up to interpretation. This isn't a bad thing, as it leaves the audience room to ponder; however, some endings can just feel so unfulfilling, especially in video games. One reason I love to play games is to get swept up in stories that take me to an entirely different place. For me, the gameplay is always second fiddle, something to complement the journey, the struggle. The problem with video games is that they can be a significant time investment. Many games near the 20-50 hour mark, so it's especially essential to make the player feel like they've spent their time well. It's one thing to have fun with the gameplay, it's a whole other to stay glued to the controller because you can't wait to see where the story will take you. Yet, there are so many times I get to the end of the game and I find myself unsatisfied. I don't set my expectations sky high, but I want something that makes me walk away from the experience feeling good about it.

Recently, I finished up Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. I was surprised just how addicted I became to the game, because the story wasn't really drawing me in as much as I had hoped. Once I reached the ending, though, it started to matter to me - because what I walked away with was sheer anger and disappointment. The game ends on a cliffhanger because they're trying to lead into Revelations, but something about it felt so incomplete. First off, there is a huge dramatic moment in the end that is impossible to see coming (I will keep this spoiler-free, I promise). I liked the unpredictability, but the build up and pacing up to this particular moment wasn't dramatic enough. It didn't feel like there was enough at stake - it happened very quickly, without any foreshadowing or subtle hints. One could argue that this added to the moment, but it didn't feel planned, just abrupt. In fact, this is a key character development complaint I have: the game didn't feel the need to illustrate the importance of the characters and this moment. I was shocked, sure, but I didn't feel much of anything, except for a big, "Brotherhood, how could you?!" It seemed far too easy to end it that way than provide further setup. I know whenever there are multiple entries in a series, the endings of each game up to the finale should keep people wanting to know more for the next game, but I still believe there should at least be some resolution in it all. This is especially essential, because in this economy there are no guarantees that a series will make it to their desired destination. Disappointingly, Brotherhood's ending just felt like a cheap trick to get me to buy Revelations - giving no importance to the steps I'd taken to reach this point.

It's funny that this entry on the importance of endings is appearing after I finished L.A. Noire, a game that I found lacking in many areas. The ending, however, was extremely intense, unpredictable, and said something about the standards we hold for characters. What did Brotherhood's ending do? Nothing except shock and establish a cliff-hanger that could have been so much more than it was. It's hard for me to write more specifics without spoiling, so this entry has to remain rather cryptic. But Brotherhood got me thinking about endings - how many actually meet our expectations? Does there always need to be a grand finale? Just how incomplete should an ending be when leading up to a sequel? I'll admit, I like a little ambiguity, but I also want to feel like the entire journey was worth that monumental last moment. It should not only keep you wanting more, but also leave you with a sense of contentment with where the story has taken you. I think most endings aren't going to get the message across entirely as they should, but they must give the player something to hold on to - otherwise the experience was all for naught.

Friday, June 24, 2011

L.A. Noire - Genius or Pretentious?

Sigh, I know what you're thinking: Kimberley, how could you call such an avant-garde piece of visual storytelling pretentious? Oh gosh, did I just lose cool points? Sorry, but I must be honest here: L.A. Noire was one of my biggest disappointments this year. It's a game that I didn't wait on a price-drop for - I bought it on release day, because everything I had read was indicating that it was an experience I couldn't miss. I thought it was so suited for me, I'm a big fan of games where you have to play detectives and piece things together yourself, but something about L.A. Noire didn't make me feel very detective-like.

In fact, the game pretty much abandoned the logic it initially taught you to tell if someone was being truthful, doubtful, or lying to your face. You're supposed to watch for visual cues and use your brain to piece together what's actually going on. However, the visual cues get tossed aside as the game goes on. I even double checked this after completing the main game, when I played a case that took place earlier in the timeline that I received for free DLC. It was so much easier to figure out the right line of questioning people here. Was L.A. Noire just trying to be sneaky? Yes, it's somewhat realistic, as you're not always going to know perfectly how to read everyone. I'm not sure there, but what I do know is that the gameplay is severely flawed, but I'm supposed to ignore that because the storytelling going on is standout?

But it's not. I solved many cases during my time with L.A. Noire, more than 20, and you know what? So many of those cases felt like filler content, I didn't care what happened as I finished them. What emotion did get gleaned was frustration; I was particularly infuriated by the lack of closure in many of them. People run from you, you catch them, you get a small blurb at the end. I'm sorry, but when I'm helping out a preteen girl who has been victimized, I want to see my detective make sure she gets back on her feet alright. Perhaps it would have provided deeper characterization, because while Phelps rises in the ranks after several humdrum cases, his character is mostly stagnant. While you could argue not every case will be exciting, if Phelps is supposed to be the protagonist, at the very least, missions should improve him. Instead, while playing L.A. Noire, I was bored, forcing myself to play through it because I wanted to see where the game would end up. I guess I'm an optimist in the end, because I wanted the game to prove me wrong. And maybe it did save itself with the ending, but did the ride up it to have to be so lackluster, so unfulfilling?

See, the game doesn't pick up until you're on the last couple cases, which initially feel just as empty as their predecessors. However, the repetition stops, and we get some answers. This last part of the game is where the story wins, because it tries to do something different, both in what we're expecting and in how it tells its story. I'm keeping this blog entry entirely spoiler-free, but it felt like even in the end, I had mixed emotions - it felt genius, but still very pretentious. Somebody asked me if I was expecting a nice, tidy, happy go lucky ending. Actually no, with a game named L.A. Noire you really don't, but as I watched the credits roll, I could see the magic of what the game had been doing as I went along - building up these grandiose ideas regarding the main character. I'll give the game credit for making use of multi-dimensional characters along the way, as plenty of the characters walked the line of morality many times in the game. For this I give kudos, but something just felt off for me about L.A. Noire, as if they game was sensationalizing itself along the way. Being a detective, you encounter sad cases and corruption, but sometimes it felt it was throwing in some sickening, over the top element to place characters in a dark light, and it just felt unnecessary.

I've never been quite so angry and conflicted about a game at the same time; it's riling me up, so maybe that's a good thing. However, I think the anger stems at a place of seeing a great idea for a game poorly executed. At first, when I loaded up L.A. Noire, I was in awe of the world Team Bondi created - they captured the time period perfectly. I really thought the gameplay was going to follow suit and be extremely intellectually stimulating, but that wasn't the case. I know people will stand by this game, because I think it's one of those you want to love. How often do we get a new IP that tries to change the way we play video games? Not often. And so we want to give credit where credit its due, and I can see some of the great things that were done here. But, in the end, L.A. Noire is probably one of the most frustrating games I have ever played. I don't even want to buy any of the download content, because this game lacked the action that was necessary to truly capture the player.

In the beginning, when I saw others write negatively about L.A. Noire, I thought they just weren't getting what Team Bondi was trying to do. But as I played it, I began to see the love I found initially turn to hate. A great ending can only pan into so much when the rest of the game is less than stellar - a walking contradiction within its gameplay mechanics. Somebody said somewhere that L.A. Noire could have been a movie, and maybe that's what it should have been, because it would probably cast aside all the boring, filler cases. Team Bondi did get something right, the title really did look like a movie; I've never seen such realistic looking character models, where the expressions were highly accurate. In the end, I think the project lost sight of being a game, and what it takes to keep players invested the whole way through.

I'm sad to say it, but L.A. Noire was a dirty trick. A game that promised so much - and failed to achieve everything that it set out to do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Own Private E3 Wrap-Up

The majority of what knocked my socks off at E3 (especially when it comes to RPGs) can be found at RPGFan's Wrap-Up. I'm pretty E3ed out at this point, but thought I'd give one final post on the event I spend the other 362 days of the year pining for. It was interesting this E3, it didn't feel as exciting as last year. Noticeably absent was handheld RPGs, and maybe after all the years we have been showered with handhelds, it was due time for the console games to shine. There are some big console games hitting us, notably: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Deus Ex. Human Revolution, Dark Souls, Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny, Skyrim, etc.

One game I didn't spotlight that I wish I had more a chance to was Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. The game not only looks gorgeous, but it has so much to partake in. From the four playable races to the six faction quests and more than a 100 sidequests - Amalur will keep people busy. I think what I liked most about it was it seemed to have the right type of balance. It's there for the hardcore and also the more casual fan, something Dragon Age 2 failed to create as noted by John McCarroll who wrote the preview for RPGFan. In the midst of all of this, there's some fast-paced combat in the vein of God of War - fun and furious. Sometimes, I'll jot notes down about how I felt during a presentation - in my notebook, I have a big "WOW" underlined three times and, no, it's not in reference to World of Warcraft. That was a game I had little interest in, but now it has won me over, and I can definitely see me devoting some hours into it with my boyfriend, who I'll be the first to admit these games are more geared towards.

I was also quite impressed with the direction of Risen 2: Dark Waters. I can always respect developers who really look at feedback from others and try to make a more stand-out game. Of course, I love the pirate theme they're going for, and the effort going in to make the experience authentic. If anything, I think it will blow the first game out of the water, pirate style!

Other than those two, Star Wars: The Old Republic really caught my eye - so much I made it number one on my list for RPGFan. I'm not a Star Wars fan, nor an MMO fan, and this managed to capture my heart. Why? I think it brought what I love about BioWare games into an MMO, so it's not doing anything revolutionary combat-wise. Honestly, when companies try to go off the WoW model, it rarely ever works, where the Old Republic is going that's different is making choice the big draw. That's amazing to me as it's something that's such a personal venture, and it's being implemented into an MMO. This is totally the first MMO I will devote my life to, I'll let you know when it's out if it's everything I hoped it would be.

Catherine was another game that lured me in, and I'll be honest, I was on the fence about it since I generally dislike puzzle games. I like how the game is trying to take a stance about relationships by drawing on the answers you provide them throughout the game. While the puzzle part still isn't winning me over, I really think I can bear it for the awesome places this game is going. I'm officially sold.

Also, while I tried by best to stay away from Silent Hill: Downpour, in order to not hype myself for the survival horror experience I've been craving, I couldn't resist. So far, I like the direction of the game, it feels like the real Silent Hill experience. Not to mention, having a convict as a main character slowly blurs the morality lines. I'm trying not to over-hype myself, as some of the gameplay seemed a little too "the answer is obvious," which I'm guessing is just because I had a short demo that I'm sure was from the beginning of the game.

Mass Effect 3 was by far the best demo of the show, because I'm still thinking about it more than a week after. For more information, check out my preview. If a demo can get me that invested and emotional, just imagine how mesmerizing the entire game will be. Although it's a little bittersweet as this will be the last entry, but I think BioWare will make it one hell of a ride, and not an easy one at that. The demo foreshadowed that for me in more ways than one. I turned to my fellow staff member, Liz, and I go, "Am I just tired or did that make you teary-eyed, too?" It was an I-thought-I-was-the-only-one moment, and later I found even more people confessing the same. Why does March have to be so far away?

Besides those games, I suppose my greatest disappointment came in what wasn't shown. Unfortunately, Innocent Sin wasn't there, but it was too difficult to transport a dev-kit to show it off. Plus, Atlus had Devil Survivor Overclocked and Devil Survivor 2 that more than made up for it. However, the Tales series was nowhere to be found. I was most looking forward to that for resurrecting the JRPG love, especially Graces f for consoles. The Tales of Abyss 3DS remake is looking at an October release, so this was especially surprising.

The other disappointing part of E3 was that a lot was behind closed doors, and because I'm with a site that covers only RPGs, I didn't have access to all the games I wanted to see. Most heartbreaking was Bioshock Infinite , which I've heard nothing but great things about from just about everyone. I even heard the demo left quite an impression. On the upside, I did find out that the game will feature a gay character, who is struggling being true to himself. I love when games capture more than one audience, and I truly hope this will be a great gay character. For more info on this, Gay Gamer did an excellent interview about the character.

All-in-all, I think E3 is such a tease. You see all these great games and then you have to wait months until they can be in your hands. Until then, we'll just have to make use of the numerous previews that this event produced. Feel free to leave me a comment about some of your favorite titles from the show!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why So Pessimistic?

I have to be honest, a lot of gaming is filled with negativity, for reasons I'll never understand. I've always looked at gaming as something positive - something to get us by, a fun way to spend some hours of our lives. I remember being a child and the wide-eyed glow I'd get whenever I loaded up the NES. There was always a world awaiting me, something new to find. Even games that were pretty horrible, I found something to love, because they always took me to a new special place.

As you get older, you start to get jaded. There's no way to avoid it - reality sets in - and suddenly you're aware of all the flaws. And the majority of the time, flaws can completely ruin games for us. So who is really at fault? Is it us for expecting too much because we forgot to see the magic in everything like we did as a child? Is it the developers that are really failing us? To be honest, I'd say it's a little bit of both. I've seen people complain about all kinds of nit picky faults to a game, and they totally let it ruin their experience. I understand if the flaws are serious, but some things are so minuscule that they aren't worth stopping to get off the ride.

Being a game journalist has especially opened my eyes to a lot of the negativity. So many times I open up my twitter feed to a list full of complaints and shortcomings of games. I wish I could say that happened as often to games that are actually wonderful. It was truly amazing to see all the positive remarks surrounding Child of Eden this week; I want more days full of this. In general in life, we are often more likely to share disappointment than we are to share the things that grab us to that addictive "I can't stop playing," level.

And so many times, we're also afraid to acknowledge the positive. Recently, I wrote a hands-on preview for Final Fantasy XIII-2. I stated my honest opinion: the game is looking better than I ever thought - I'm hopeful about where it's going. It was an utter surprise for me, as I had no interest in the game, since I greatly disliked Final Fantasy XIII. I walked out of that appointment happy with the direction that the game was going in, so I wrote that preview to reflect it. However, many were immediately skeptical. Now don't get me wrong, I understand XIII promised so much and let a great deal of people down. But here's the thing, I heard from more than one person that I was over-hyping myself for the game; simply being positive and hopeful for its future wasn't the way to go into XIII-2. I'll be honest, when I go to E3, I see a lot of games, and it's really obvious to me which ones stand out from the pack. It's strange, though, even games people are highly anticipating are filled with doubt from fans. Is it because it's easier to pessimistic? That way if you're letdown, it doesn't burn as much? Are we truly afraid that being positive and hopeful will only set us up for disappointment?

In the end, I think we have to find the child in us, who truly embraced games and let them into our hearts without second guessing. You know, the child who didn't immediately go to the negative, but instead stayed optimistic throughout the journey. It's much too easy to surrender to the negative, let's fight to see the positive. It's okay to be hopeful and see the lighter side to things every now and then. Who knows? It just may change the way you experience games.

P.S. I hope this post gets the message across, since by writing it, I had to bump my favorite entry yet off the front page.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

E3 Excitement!

I'm about to depart for E3 tomorrow, and I felt it was blog-worthy to discuss what I'm most anticipating. These posts are tough for me to write, because I always feel like I'm forgetting something. Mostly, I look at E3 as a time to write and get my gaming adrenaline on. Here's what I think will spark me most!

Mass Effect 3 - I'm hoping the demo will prove to me that this trilogy is going to go out with a bang! It'll be sad to see the series end, but if they can do Shepard's story justice and leave it ending on a high note, it'll keep me happy. Much like the second game, I really want to know what decisions we made in the first two games will come back to haunt us and carry weight in the final entry. Yes, I want my Kaidan-Shepard-Garrus love triangle to play out in all its dramatic glory.

Silent Hill Downpour - I've stayed away from reading much up on Downpour because I'm worried about getting myself over-hyped. As my previous blog entry stated, I really feel like the survival horror genre died this generation, and Silent Hill has been the only series to really live on. I enjoyed Shattered Memories' psychological elements, but it wasn't a scary game; it definitely left much to be desired. I'm really hoping Downpour can keep my enthusiasm alive for the genre, and maybe prove to developers that there is still a market for these games.

Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny - I remember when I first read details of this game - I just knew I had to play it. Rune Factory Frontier, the only other Rune Factory game to hit a console, was one of my favorite games to date. The world was just so mesmerizing, the characters wildly offbeat and fresh, and every day when I ventured off my farm I felt like I was putting together pieces of an amazing puzzle. Tides of Destiny's whole premise is already looking quite grand, and Rune Factory never fails to disappoint me in the quirky character department. I've been craving a console game like this ever since Frontier, and I can't wait to see how it's shaping up.

Tales of Graces f - I'm not sure if this will be at Namco Bandai's booth, but I definitely hope I get to see some of it. I've been dying to play a quality JRPG on the big screen, plus I'm a huge Tales fan. There's always something about the characters and their interactions that make the journey worthwhile. And, when all is said and done, I really do have fun with the gameplay. The last game that I played that was even close to a Tales game was Arc Rise Fantasia, and I immensely enjoyed that, but it's been close to a year now since that game was released. I need me some real Tales! I should also note that I'm stoked for Tales of the Abyss 3DS, mainly because that's my favorite Tales game, hands down. Tear, Jade, Guy...that game just killed it with its characters! Let's see if Graces' characters can captivate me like Abyss' did.

Tomb Raider Reboot - I've missed my girls who can kick ass and take names, so I'm super stoked for the new Tomb Raider game. What's even more promising is that the developer promised there would be more effort going into making Lara Croft a realistic female. They don't just want her to be a sex icon with no depth, and this is a nice change of pace. I've always supported Lara from the beginning because she was always very gutsy and headstrong, but the new title should give layers, and truly make her a stronger, well-rounded character. You bet I'm stoked!

Persona 2: Innocent Sin - The Persona party has been kicking for quite some time now. All it took was the release of Persona 3 to get everybody back on the bandwagon. Since then, people have wondered about the part of Persona 2 that North American fans never got to experience. Thanks to Atlus finally confirming its plans to release the game in the fall, I couldn't be more excited, and that includes me. Although I found the original Persona remake to be a bit archaic, I'm hoping the second game feels more modern. The news that the JP version of the Innocent Sin remake has its own quest creator entices me even more. It's clear this might go above and beyond what you'd normally expect from a handheld title, but I shouldn't expect anything less from Persona.

NHL 12 - There's no game I pour more hours into than the EA iterations of NHL. I always find a part of the game to lose myself in, and each year EA makes it more and more realistic, feeling like you're actually playing hockey. NHL 11's big lure was the advanced checking physics, sticks breaking, and its first ever Ultimate Hockey League. From what I've read, NHL 12 is making the goalies matter - with new goalie interference calls being implemented into the game. It's just one of the touches to make the game feel real, and I'm really stoked to see how it will pan out. And, of course, we can always count on EA for improving just about everything they can from the previous iteration. Call me optimistic, but I don't think anybody else will ever have a hockey series quite this well done and addictive. With 2K calling quits on the hockey front, I think I'm not the only one with this mindset. :-)

Bioshock Infinite - I'll be honest here, what's keeping me intrigued for Infinite is all the praise I've been hearing in the press. I think anytime you have a beloved series, it's hard to meet expectations. If you are doing such a good job that you blow people away with a demo, you've got something great on your hands - something that will probably be award-worthy. Time will only tell if all the fuss is really justified.

I'm probably missing something here, but off the top of my head these are the games I'm most excited to see. E3 is always a tease like that, it gets you invested in games that you have to wait for in agony for months. It only adds to the anticipation, but what I truly love about E3 is that I always find a couple games that I never really thought much of to add to my radar. I'm sure I'll report here when I get back about what I feel is shaping up for the better and what I feel is just missing the mark. Either way, we're in a great age for gaming, and I can't wait for the E3 madness to begin!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where Have All the Survival Horror Games Gone...

One of my favorite genres next to my beloved RPGs are survival horror games. The PlayStation 2 had such a flavor and variety of these games going beyond just the Silent Hill name - Fatal Frame, Haunting Ground, Rule of Rose, just to name a few. I suppose my biggest disappointment next to the lack of console RPGs has been the diminishing number of survival horror games this generation. The Silent Hill name has trudged on, but even the titles we've received, Homecoming and Shattered Memories, just weren't hitting me as hard as the earlier titles in the series. So when Konami announced plans to release an HD collection that contained Silent Hill 2 and 3, I was super stoked, because I've had a craving for good old fashioned survival horror goodness lately. It's a craving I've had a hard time keeping under control, and I’ve tried to remedy it. To do so, I poured some hours into Alan Wake, which is more psychological thriller than true survival horror. And while I enjoyed a lot of the paranormal elements, it just didn't have the ability to terrify me. The game was trying more to get in my head than anything else, but it was doing so by keeping me from guessing what was going on rather than keeping me boxed in with scare tactics. So while Alan Wake filled some part of the void, it wasn't my saving grace. I enjoyed my time with it for the most part, though some parts dragged a little and the game didn't have enough variety in my opinion. My lack of enthusiasm for these scares got me thinking about some of my favorite survival horror games and how they really did terrify me.

Haunting Ground is one game that managed to scare me in the best way possible. I was on the edge of my seat, complete heart racing, thinking, "Oh my god, this creepy guy is going to find me under the bed if he looks here.” In most cases I am just waiting for something to jump out at me, take me by surprise, and force me to think on my feet about how to run my ass off from it. Haunting Ground didn’t take that route, and it was stronger for it. Rule of Rose was another game that really got in my head, mainly because of the demented portions of the story; I don't know if I could go back to play it again. It has moments you want to erase from your mind, but you'll never be completely able to. I should mention that I was brought up on horror movies. My family loves them, but I've never taken a great liking to them - give me a romantic comedy any day of the week over a horror flick. While I can’t get into the movies, there's something about the survival horror genre that just pulls me in. I think it's just that I just love the unpredictable, fast thinking strategy you have to employ to be successful. I suppose what I'm most worried is that the survival horror genre is kinda dying. Besides Silent Hill we haven't seen much, and while I have hope for Downpour, I still wish other new IPs would give it a go. Perhaps, it's just that making games on a home console is an extremely costly investment, and most publishers aren't willing to take that chance. Maybe it's just hard to be unpredictable at this point in the game; I fear maybe from all my experience with the genre, it would be hard to actually get in my head and scare me like I reveled in in the past. I have this yearning and I'm starting to fear the the genre is disappearing before our eyes. Hell, I'm still mad Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse never came over to the US.

So what happened to a genre that once had such a love and following? Did we all invest ourselves in other games and forget the lure? Did we as fans stop pressuring for the genre to survive? I don't really know the answer. It just pains me to see the thrill I once found in the genre may possibly be vanishing. If anything, I'm hoping the next generation consoles hold games that make this genre matter again. Because right now, it appears not to be a top priority for reasons we will never fully understand or know.