Xbox 360

24 Years a Tiger!

I've always held the belief that birthdays are grand days to celebrate!   It's the one day of the year that you are king/queen for the day, it's you're special day!  Because of this, I have the habit of making a terribly big deal out of mine when it comes around.  This year, I took off a whole week from both the day job and working on art commissions and had two dinner parties (mostly due to circumstance, however, the more the merrier, right? hehe...).   This year, I got myself a little gift of two brand new video games while my parents got me a lovely pair of black over the knee boots and a new real tree camo hunting jacket! (Like Christmas cheer, birthdays aren't all about the gift, but it's still fun to get them!) Even thought I do acknowledge how silly it is for an adult to make such a big deal out of a single day, I still encourage all of you to do the same.  Let your next birthday be a grand day of celebration too, because everyone deserves a day to sparkle! :DWith the exception of the dinner parties, I've pretty much spent the rest of my vacation playing Xbox.  On day one of my time off, I finally decided to buy two games I had been eyeing at the store for quite some time now, Nier and Bayonetta.  To my happy surprise I found both games to have priced dropped down to $20 and $30.   Originally, I ment to choose one or the other, but I fail at those kind of decisions...I knew Bayonetta would not disappoint, and it didn't, just like I knew it wouldn't. :]The people behind Baonetta are some of my most favorite in the industry.  A lot of Platinum Games people where once a part of Clover, the ingenious minds behind two of my favorite games Okami and God Hand (and I swear one day, I will play Viewtiful Joe!), and it shows.  The cheeky humor found in God Hand is present and accounted for in Bayonetta.  The banter between characters is classic and full of wit.  Also like God Hand, is the game play.  It's a button masher but full of action and over the top moves you must purchase to unlock.  I can see some gamers finding it a bit repetitive, however, I didn't find it to be so.  Even being a button masher, it plays like a traditional fighter in how you must learn sequences of buttons presses to execute moves and combo chains. While God Hand got reamed for its sparce backgrounds, Bayonetta's is lush and beautiful.  The main character herself, is full of sexy charm and just about everyone in the game oozes cool (except for Enzo, of course). The whole time I was playing it, it gave of the vibe of a really good Quentin Tarantino flick. Chalk full of action, violence, wit, and charm.After marathon-ing that for a few days, I decided it was time I gave Nier a try.  This one was a bit more up in the air in terms of enjoyment.  I had heard lots fo mixed reviews about it.  Luckily though, I can say that it was a worth it purchase in the end.  It definitely has its weak spots in game play, my biggest pet peeve being the lack of auto targeting and screwy camera.  It also starts out rather slow story wise, however, by the time the first half is coming to an end (the game is broken up into two parts) I really came to like and sympathize with the characters.  Even though the story took a couple of hours to get moving (mostly due to the requisite tutorials) its snow balled...and continues to keep going even after you beat it the first time.  Once complete the game gives you the option to play your cleared saved data again from the beginning of the second half with additional narrative.  The first play through had me misty eyed at a few parts, but the second play through had me bawling!  I must say, I do not cry easy, it really takes a mega-lot, and the story is that heart wrenching.  To be honest, without giving away too much, the additional narrative (played out in extra cut scenes and unlocked dialogue) totally changed the feeling of the battles despite them being the same as before.  I've never had a game replay the same but felt so different before. There are a total of four additional endings and I can't wait to play them all (I'm nearing the end of the second one).  Interestingly, there was a section of the game that played out like a text adventure game.  My first impression was, "huh?", but that feeling quickly faded and was replaced with "wow".  I for one enjoy reading, a lot, and this was some very, VERY good prose, so much so, I didn't even mind the action was interrupted by a black screen and white text. Even more amazing than the story is the score.  Nier has some of the best in-game music I've ever heard.  It ranges from soft piano pieces, to exotic guitar strings,  to dramatic, operatic, orchestra scores and each fitting the mood perfectly.  I may even go out of my way to track the OST down, it really is that good.  It is truly a shame Cavia, the developers behind Nier, is no longer in business.  Had they been allowed to fine tune their game play mechanics more, I bet they would have been able to create an amazing game when paired with their story telling ability.I must admit, despite my love for video games (read: addiction), I am getting the itch to get back to the drawing board, literally (can't say the same about the day job, bleh).  I only have a few more days left, so I'll probably take advantage of the time and finish up Bayonetta and Nier before I have to go back to work.  Between the day job and art commissions, I am left with barely enough time to breathe, much less play video games. It's been a wonderful birthday for me this year and I hope my personal new year hold many good things to come. :]