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Shadow Ramble - Resident Evil 7 2017-02-06


This article does not feature what I would personally consider spoilers, but since the definition of a spoiler is subjective, I'd urge you to play the game yourself before reading.

So Resident Evil 7 dropped the other week, and as with any modern CapCom release, I had my doubts. I had no expectations when it was announced, but after playing the demo, I had to try hard to not get hyped, because the demo was actually really good in my opinion. Being hype for a CapCom release is not a good thing, there's so much shit those clowns pull to ruin games.

I'm a fan of the old Resident Evil games. 1 to 3 is where it's at. Zero too. After 3, it started going downhill. 4 was alright, but not scary, and 5 was a fucking joke. Was a fun co-op game, but as a Resident Evil? No. Get the fuck out. Same with 6. Like 5, 6 has some good things about it, but again, as a Resident Evil game, it just doesn't work. Then...Operation Raccoon City. Let's not even talk about that atrocity.

Resident Evil 7, despite being very different from the old games in many regards, such as being played from a first person perspective, and not featuring the classic style "zombie"-like infected, returned to the things that made Resident Evil interesting and fun to me. Fear, puzzling, exploration, and inventory management. These are all crucial parts for a good Resident Evil for me.

It was a very pleasant surprise to finally get to play the full version. It's almost exactly what I wanted it to be. It was better than I had expected in most regards. When I first saw the item box, it filled me with joy. I absolutely adore the inventory management aspects of the old games. The return of the item box is not something I was expecting at all.

Resident Evil 7 Item Box

As for the survival horror aspect of Resident Evil 7, the game starts off with even less focus on combat than the original game, something that really impressed me. CapCom have previously been deluding themselves, thinking that games need a shitton of combat, or people will not like the games. And we all know what happened with Operation Raccoon City. It's not about the violence or combat. This has now been proven.

Sadly, as RE7 progressed, it focused more and more on combat, but still kept it way below Resident Evil 4 / 5 / 6 levels of combat focus. I really wish it focused more on pursuers, hiding and puzzling, e.g. Haunting Ground or Clock Tower 3. I would love to see games like those return..

The most disappointing thing about the game for me was probably, much like how I felt in Resident Evil Revelations 1, the boring enemies. The standard enemies you encounter in RE7 are basically humanoid creatures consisting of some black goo, much like the small enemies in the beginning of Condemned 2. Despite preferring a Resident Evil without focus on combat, I still love shooting, and the shooting felt good in RE7, it would had been amazing if our targets were similar to those of the old games, rather than these...goo....things..

Look somewhat similar, right?

If you haven't played the game yet, you might be thinking that they wanted to focus less on gore and blood by having less human-like enemies. Well...the game features PLENTY of NASTY gore, on actual humans. I'm not gonna spoil them, but it eliminates that theory.

The length of the game was a bit disappointing to me. I beat it in 9 hours, which isn't too bad, but I really wanted it to go on further. I'm hoping there will be some good lengthy DLC eventually.

All in all, I'm really happy with Resident Evil 7. I kept my expectations really low, because CapCom have always disappointed me, so getting something like this was a very pleasant surprise.

Thanks for reading! <3
~ Shadowfied

Shadow Ramble - Web Development 2016-10-30

For some reason, I love doing web development. I also hate it, because HTML and CSS make no sense, and everything you do feels like a workaround to get a desired effect.
Horizontally centering an object is done through;
margin: 0 auto;
Which means "no margins for top and bottom, but compute the margin for left and right", instead of something that makes sense, or a standard centering function (why is that not a thing?). In fact, text-align: center; is sometimes also used to center elements that aren't even text. Go figure.

I think I like it because I've always loved creating shit. It's fun to get a result from something that you've made yourself. It's a rewarding feeling. I've always loved to put together things that benefit myself or friends in one way or another, something to call my — or our — own.

Anyway, I'm not writing this to talk about why I love and hate web development, but something that saddens me, which is the fact that individual web development seems to be fading away. People no longer make their own sites. I'd honestly say that 90% of the sites I see are powered by WordPress, and in almost all of those cases, it's also a theme provided by WordPress.

It's both a good and bad thing. However, it's good for all the wrong reasons.
It's good because it usually means peoples sites will be safer. If you're an average joe making your own site, and you serve a site that use a server side language such as PHP, you are likely to have a security loophole at some point. I've written this site and everything in it myself with nothing but a text editor (Atom <3) with a few security tips from a friend who's a guru at server security, especially PHP, and without him, I don't think I'd realize just how fucking crazy it is.

If your server side code is gonna have any modular values, like a query string, you better study your code before you publish it.

Today I was implementing some SEO to my site, and I was shocked to see answers on Stack Overflow with HUNDREDS of upvotes that just said to echo values in head without any security precautions. It's instant client side code execution through the query string by simply escaping the current tag and inserting a malicious javascript.

Something tells me though that in the end, security isn't even the reason people avoid making their own sites. I guess people just don't find it interesting, and why should they bother when they can get something "better" in a matter of minutes?

I don't really have any arguments though. Of course it's always more fun to see when someone has written something from scratch, and seeing a completely custom layout and design and not yet another standard boring WordPress theme.

If you've been thinking of making your own site, I'd urge you to make one yourself. It's a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. Just be careful when it comes to server side languages..

Shadow Ramble - Pokémon Sun and Moon Demo 2016-10-19


I just thought I'd write a bit about my opinion on the Sun and Moon demo that was released yesterday.

I was against the idea of a demo at all, and after playing it, I still am. To me, a demo is just a hype kill, at least in cases like this. We all know Sun and Moon is going to kick ass, we're ALL getting it, we don't need a taste of the game, we don't need to see more, they've already released trailers up the ass. So many that I haven't even seen them all.

Demos have a purpose, but as I said, doing it like this is just a hype kill. I'd much rather wait and have the full game and get to enjoy that rather than be forced through a half assed linear chunk where you get to use Pokémon that you have no attachment to whatsoever. I can't even imagine why you would want to fight any trainers or wild Pokémon in this demo.

The reason I decided to play it at all is because there are bonuses involved. Things to transfer from the demo to the full game, so I thought, I might as well do it.

As I expected, it was a very meh experience. You have no attachment to the people, the location, the Pokémon, nothing. You just get shoved right in, which is an awful way to start a Pokémon game. I guess I should be thankful that I didn't have to play a 30 minute prologue full of emotionless text like every other Pokémon game though. That's a full-version thing ;)

So... you have a Greninja, at level 36...for some reason.

If you've ever played Pokémon, you know that it's about getting your own Pokémon, training them, and caring for them. This concept should already make it clear why a demo is not needed, because bonds can't be established in a little test run.

Luckily, Nintendo were at least smart enough to not even try putting the focus there. Instead, you get to see a tiny part of the beautiful Alola region. You get to do a little "trial" which involves taking photos of (couldn't you make a Pokémon Snap 2 instead? :( ) Pokémon in order to trigger fights with them...for some reason. I like the idea in theory but the way they did in the demo was just to say: "Hey, look at this new thing we made", whereas in the full version, it might actually be a fun idea to snap some pics of some Pokémon.

Oh, also, the photo scenes run at like, 15 fps. It's quite a horror. And so does fights that involve 3 or more Pokémon. Even though the fights don't have 3D. I don't care so much for the 3D, but I find it weird that they couldn't even keep 30 WITHOUT rendering the game twice.

So I think I've been negative enough, let's talk about the good things!

The Alola region looks amazing. We only got to see a tiny part of it, and it's without a doubt the most beautiful location I've seen in a Pokémon game.

The colors are vibrant, it's nice and sunny and happy! I love it. I REALLY do wish they could had released it in time for summer instead, because everything about the game is summer galore, and it'd be perfect, but oh well.

Not only is the region itself beautiful, but so is everything else. The HUD / UI is the nicest one yet. I just love everything about it, the gradients and the sizes of the health bars, the bottom screen, the menu layouts, everything is excellent. Another addition that I absolutely LOVE is that if you've previously fought a Pokémon and found it's strengths and weaknesses, it'll show you which attack is Effective / Super Effective etc. Might sound trivial, but for someone like me who for some reason has a really hard time remembering weaknesses and strengths for the types, this is awesome.

The demo features some timed events, which is neat, and it'll let us transfer the things we get to the full version when it arrives.

The tiny part that we are allowed to visit in the demo is very limited. All exits and some buildings are blocked by NPCs.

This is understandable, but I feel like they could have done it some other way and not make it feel so shallowly blocked. The NPCs don't even mention what they're blocking, and they don't have anything interesting to say at all, really. This also goes for ALL NPCs in the demo. Even in the buildings and shops, everything is closed, and they have absolutely NOTHING of interest to say.

All in all, it's not a BAD demo, it just wasn't needed, AT ALL, in my opinion. I already knew that the full game would be amazing, and I still know it will be. So I'm just gonna keep waiting for it.

Thank you for reading this mess of a ramble! <3
~ Shadowfied