Resident Evil 4 – Conquering My Fears

One of the definitions of “Haunt,” as according to Merriam-Webster, is; “to have a disquieting or harmful effect on.” I cannot recall much in my life that has done that to me, other than one video game. That belongs to “Resident Evil 4.”

My friend and I were eagerly anticipating this game. We watched pretty much every trailer and I even recollect a moment where I claimed the game would, “Be the Best video game ever.” While that statement isn’t too far from the truth, something funny happened along the lines.

I became afraid of what I was seeing. Villagers with demonic eyes, wielding sharp objects and bum rushing you with murderous intent; it was terrifying to me in a way I had never experienced before. Throw in the idea of instant death enemies and gigantic, over-powered boss fights and I was almost ready to give up.


Ah christ!

I put on a façade that I was hardcore, though. I really did want the game and I wanted others to believe I cared about it. I’m not quite sure why, but those were my actions. When the game finally came out, I immediately picked it up and popped it in my Gamecube. I played for a grand total of 20 minutes before I gave up out of fright.

I couldn’t take the tension of facing the unknown. The way death was lurking around the corner or bear traps were waiting for me or gigantic boulders were coming; it was insane. Couple all of that with the fierce difficulty curve and I was dead on arrival.

What didn’t help was how my friend was using Action Replay and still failing. Even he couldn’t deal with the difficulty and cheats couldn’t help him. I was so terrified at this point that I almost traded the game back, but I held onto the hope that I would be able to conquer my fear one day.

It took me 2 full years before I tried playing the game again. During that time, I heard from another friend of mine that most of the game was difficult. He had trouble slaying some of the bosses and he often had to quit for a few days to rebuild his strength to continue. How was that supposed to alleviate my fear?

Well, when I got my Wii and was out of games to fool around with, I figured that I might as well attack the cause of my anxiety once and for all. As it turns out, the game actually kept me scared for other reasons.


This is not an uncommon sight.

Before that point in time, not many games existed with the sole intent of destroying your morale. “Resident Evil 4” is unique in that death isn’t simply a game over screen. Most of the time, your character is mutilated or decapitated. If you check YouTube, you can find a near 10 minute video of character deaths.

That idea, alone, scares the ever-living soul out of me. When I’m trekking through a game, I don’t want to feel like I’ve failed and life is over. That’s what makes the game work, though. When you conquer a tough situation and know how gruesome failure can be, the accomplishment is like curing a major crisis.

The few successes I had in the beginning just made the entire experience wonderful. You come up to a tough area, get eviscerated or annihilated and then come back with a new found fear/respect for your foes. It makes you more careful, more calculated and even tenser at the thought of death.

One of my best moments from the game comes during the middle. You face off against this enemy that looks like a Predator. He is called Verdugo and he is nearly impossible to kill. The entire idea is to freeze him with canisters of CO2 and wait for an elevator.


He is your nightmares personified.

Well, aside from scaring the piss out of me, I was constantly running away and screaming while doing so. I was so afraid of failing that I didn’t even want to look the beast in the eye. Well, during an almost successful attempt, the guy jumped at me and decapitated me. I can remember my reaction clear as day.

The buildup of astriction and angst was tenfold, but the failure was just incredible. I couldn’t believe that I lost and I immediately headed back to surmount this bastard. When I finally overcame the beast, I was ready to throw a party.

Circumventing this foe wasn’t the end of my troubles, though. When I watched my friend cheating, he was on a boss I hadn’t even encountered yet. I saw the creature lash out and devour my friend, so I was so damn terrified of that happening to me.

Not too far after, I finally strolled into the very same boss battle. It was a fight with the antagonist, Salazaar, and I wasn’t ready. While I didn’t get consumed by him, I was nearly paralyzed at the thought of that giant creature eating me. I failed a few times out of adrenaline build up.


Thought you could best me? Think again!

When I eventually beat the game, I began to wonder what all the fear was for. Maybe just anticipation got the best of me? Hearing the stories of friends bombing at the game didn’t provide any sense of ease to me, so I let that thought permeate in my mind.

To this day, though, nothing was managed to give me a sense of dread like this. There are some other games that I’m sure will be scary to me, but I now know that I have the strength to tackle nearly any obstacle put in front of me.

Thank you, Capcom. You managed to scare me silly and make me feel invincible. That is definitely an amazing feat.

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Damn You, Nook!

Gaming is one of the most ultimate forms of relaxtion. Putting a game on helps you forget about your problems and the world around you. You’re transported into different worlds and take the role of heroes or villains and get to do whatever tickles your fancy.

For me, though, my personal favorite game to relax with is “Animal Crossing: Wild World.” While I may prefer Zelda or have a huge fondness for Metal Gear, neither franchise can compare with the tranquility and solitude that Animal Crossing provides.

The game gives you small tasks, but nothing that you can ever truly complete. You pay off loans on your house, help neighbors with fetch quests and collect fossils and bugs. It all sounds rather mundane, but that’s actually the whole glory of it.

It’s so damn amusing to travel through town and meet the different animal inhabitants. My personal favorite has to be Portia, the Dalmatian. Her perky attitude always kept me coming back for more.

When you spoke with your neighbors enough, sometimes they’d ask for nicknames or catchphrases. I constantly put in ridiculous words just to hear the animal gibberish language garble it up.

Anyone who’s played Animal Crossing will know of how dastardly Tom Nook is. That bastard hits you up for rent money all the time. The tasks you need to perform to pay him back often require you dig into your own pockets first, making the whole cycle of debt even more dramatic.


Damn you, Nook!

While previous entries existed, Wild World is what really drew me in. I used to love talking to my friend about how my town was blooming, but actually having him able to jump in with me and mess around was unparalleled. Not only that, but the DS version supported Online Play, something the Gamecube could never do.

Now I could finally come home from work, boot up my DS and grab my friend for a game. It was fantastic and it allowed me to take my town with anywhere and be connected at any time. It was so liberating to not have to be tied to a console.

My friend and I would often sit on AIM while playing just so we could chat. We’d make comments about how Nook was a bastard or plot how we could get every type of fruit in our village (something that requires more than 1 friend). It was a bonding experience that kept us friends for quite awhile.

What made it better, though, was my mother’s interest in the game. She saw me playing it one day and got herself a DS and a copy of the game to play with me. Her and I have traded fruits, fossils and items and played online numerous times while I was away at school.


Online MP is so sweet.

Our summers were punctuated with races to see who could snatch up a shark first. We even got my sister in on the action and found it hilarious when she was mauled by a scorpion. The three of us have never been closer and this game made it all happen.

Even without multiplayer or online, though, Animal Crossing is just so much damn fun. The idea shouldn’t be fun, but having a game world where I’m not required to do anything is great. I feel like I can just pop in the game and waste hours for no good reason, but still accomplish something.

Here’s hoping the 3DS version remains just as fun.

Too Human

An old Blog I wrote on Gamespot that bashed Too Human. I’m not sure if I should be reposting this (it wasn’t a very timely editorial), but here goes.

My first actual article on here that won’t relate to my game playing. Anyway, this is all about Too Human and my opinions on it. I will also talk a bit about game reviewing and some personal things that have come to my attention. Do not take this as a review, because I’m not doing that here. You may enjoy Too Human, but I just want to point out things I see wrong with it.

First in order is some Too Human bashing. If anything, I think the current state of reviews are too forgiving. This game has been in development for over 10 years. The fact that this game isn’t a masterpiece means it shouldn’t be worth your time for that reason alone. You also get a ridiculous control scheme that went out when camera control became essential to game playing. The only time I’ve ever seen dual analog work in a game is with something like Geometry Wars or Ape Escape (Not to mention Ape Escape 3 and so forth suffered because of their lack of camera control).The whole dynamic cutscene thing is jarring, too. I know that it’s supposed to be a way of making you feel like you are controlling a movie, but why is it never explained. Playing the demo, I wasn’t even sure if I was supposed to move or just wait, but then my friend enlightened me to it’s existence.

The loot drops seem like a cool idea, until you realize that it happens on every single enemy. There will eventually have to be a point where you have armour so good that a small increase would make no difference. The game won’t stop giving you armour, though, so you’re going to have to deal with a loaded inventory. I’ve also seen videos where, further into the game, you are still battling the same creatures. That is just superb, what better way to bring down an RPG then to have you face the same creatures over and over. Wait, I know a better way, scale the battles. That’s right, Too Human has scaled battles. Are you too low of a level? Don’t worry, Too Human will make you win! While your level may be always on top, your health might not. None of the classes except Bio-Engineer can heal, so you eventually will have to die. This wouldn’t be that big of an issue in the game (since it automatically brings you back) if you could skip the death cutscene. It’s cool the first time you see it, but once you die around 500 times, I would assume the charm wears off.

I cannot say much for the story (since I have not played the game enough to care), but mixing Norse Gods with Cyberpunk technology is idiotic at best. Just think of a world where enemies can carry blasters but you are left with a sword. It’s like turn of the century crap that killed the Samurai. There is no plausible way to explain why someone would prefer to use a sword over a gun, either. It doesn’t help that the guns are so generic and have some auto-lock on ability. You just hold down the button and fire away. It takes any of the thinking out of battle. An RPG without a good battle system is already DOA. It could be salvaged if the melee weren’t mapped to the control stick! Why, oh why is the melee on the control stick?! You tilt it forward but you end up swinging to the left. Then, because of the auto-lock on from the guns, your character gets stuck on an enemy and just flies towards them when you swing the stick. It ends up playing like an idiotic version of Diablo.

Enough about Too Human, though. I can go on for awhile about how I hate it, but I want to address one final thing. I’ve been hanging around a kid who enjoys RPGs a little too much. He sits there and talks about how games like Legend of Dragoon were under rated. He also tried to explain to me how the combo system in that differentiated it from Final Fantasy. I can understand he enjoys RPGs, but to say the one change in a game like Legend of Dragoon makes it different is just stupid. Everything about that game is Final Fantasy, except not done to the same polish or even depth of the said titles. Just because he plays RPGs, though, he assumes his opinion is fact. This whole rant is about how gamers need to step down every now and then. I guess I am sitting here trying to explain how I am right, but my point is that, just because you play a certain genre doesn’t mean everything in that genre is amazing. You need to look at things critically for once and know when a game is actually bad. I don’t play every shooter and call it a masterpiece, such like people shouldn’t assume every RPG is a masterpiece.

Another thing, don’t take all critics seriously. While I haven’t seen a game in a long time get panned by critics without deserving it, not every single low rated game is bad. Also, not every high rated game is superb. We all need to be our own critics, but when game designers make ridiculous choices (such with Too Human), you have to realize that critics are just there pointing out blemishes.