Monday, June 18, 2012

Siren: Blood Curse

In this post I will be talking about the survival horror game Siren: Blood Curse for the ps3.

Just in case any of you were wondering, no, this game isn't about killer merpeople. Though that would be awesome!

This game is available on the disk or as downloadable content through the playstation network and is the sequel to the ps2 game Siren or Forbidden Siren depending on where you live. It is a survival horror game, lots of dark places, hard to find weapons, and noises that might stick with you for a while.

As for the plot, a bunch of Americans (of course) find themselves in a strange and multidimensional Japanese town. Most of these Americans are part of a film crew, so that much is believable, but the stereotypical arguing divorced couple brought their young daughter for the soul purpose of losing her in the midst of a bunch of zombie bug monsters that bleed from their eyes. That character has a less believable reason for being there. Another character in this crew is an African American man who couldn't fall into anymore 'Black Guy' horror tropes if he tried. He's the first to die, he has a really stereotypical name, he talks in a way that's only a smidgen above rap lyrics.

In a totally random coincidence there is another American there, Howard Wright, who was on a school trip. A school trip where he was all by himself. His main purpose in the game is to get shot. A lot. And at one point, lit on fire. I don't think he's enjoying his trip very much.

I mean, these are the memories I want to savor from my vacation. That and the searing pain as I was burned alive.
Game play wise, I don't feel like this one is much different than other games aside from it's linear path. This isn't a sandbox game, there are very definite paths you are supposed to follow. Playing involves a lot of running, hiding, and utilizing this feature called sight jacking wherein you can take over the site of other characters around you, including enemies. This is a nice feature when you are hiding as it allows you to see when the bad guys are about to break into your hiding spot and beat you senseless.

About the beating you senseless thing, you can't kill any of the enemies without a weapon. Weapons that are not provided to you. Weapons that you have to search for and find.

What sells me on this game is that it's done in missions. I can't speak for the disk version of the game, but the downloadable one is episodic with a recap of what you've done before at the beginning of each episode. This works for me as, anyone who knows me can attest, I have a very short attention span when it comes to video games. I will stop playing for weeks on end, by the time I get back to the game I've forgotten where I was or what I was doing. The episode lengths are just the right length that I want to play, and the recaps really help me remember what I'm trying to do.

This style of gameplay isn't for everyone, of course. But so far I've found the game enjoyable and worth the not very expensive price I paid on the playstation network.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Johannes Cabal

Hey, it's been a while. I come with book offerings though, so that should make up for something.

This time around I will be talking about one of my favorite books series. Of course, it might not be the books themselves, but the character.

This is the cover of the second book. I don't think I need to tell you the title.

Johannes Cabal.

For those of you that aren't in the know he is a necromancer of some infamy and he is one of the best depictions of an antihero I have seen. Written by Jonathan L. Howard, Johannes Cabal gets himself into some pretty hairy situations wherein he only manages to escape by the skin of his teeth.

Not starting small, the first novel, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, that Cabal appears in has him going wit to wit with the devil in a Faustian deal of epic proportions. In a complete turn around, the second book, Johannes Cabal the Detective, pulls itself in from the fantasy element and goes into more steam punk territory featuring a murder on the Orient Express situation. If the Orient Express were a dirigible, that is. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading the third installment, Johannes Cabal and the Fear Institute, but I'm told it involves dreams.

There are other short stories that Cabal has appeared in, one in which he goes up against another necromancer who has discovered a secret to eternal life, even if it's not in a way that one would expect. The other short story is one that I have not been able to get a hold of, but it is entitled Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day. This title brings to mind a grumpy Cabal wandering through some picturesque woods with a young boy and possibly a piglet of some kind.

The overarching plot that connects all of these stories is something that is not terribly unique. At it's heart, this story is a romance, but don't let that color any of your perceptions about Johannes Cabal. He is rude, socially inadept, and has no real qualms about sacrificing whomever to whatever in order to achieve his goals.

Cabal is not an antihero in name only. He actually plays the part and he plays it well. You end up not only sympathizing with this character at the same time you are also aware that he is not a nice person and is kind of on the morally different side. To give you some clue, Cabal's older brother, Horst, is a vampire but he has more humanity to him.

These stories are very entertaining; they are witty, satirical, and sometimes just absurd but they keep you wanting to find out what other adventures Cabal can come up with.