Future Dream PC Specifications

I’ve always wanted to be able to play the games that I want, but because newer games require more powerful hardware that’s not the reality I’m living. While I am glad that my current laptop is roughly thrice as powerful as my previous ultra-book, I’m still not satisfied yet. I can only play games at 900p high settings and get 45-60fps for titles released from 2009-2012; anything newer and I have to play at lower settings and resolution and/or get console quality performance. That’s why I plan to “upgrade” by buying an entirely new laptop meant for gaming in the future.

Current Laptop Specifications:

  • Form Factor: Laptop | Manufacturer: Lenovo
  • Model: Lenovo Ideapad 310-15ABR
  • CPU: AMD A10 9600P 7th Gen @ 2.4 GHZ (4 Cores)
  • APU: AMD Radeon R5 Graphics with 512 MB VRAM
  • OS: Windows 10 Home X64 Bit
  • RAM: 12 GB DDR4 Memory | Storage: 128 GB SSD
  • Display: 1366X768 HD 15.6″ 60HZ LCD
  • DirectX: Version 12 (Software & APU)
  • MSRP: $600 – 800 CAD {as of March 2017}

At first, being the naïve person that I was, I assumed I could just upgrade the CPU and GPU of my current laptop. But laptop parts, except for the RAM and storage, can’t be replaced separately like with desktops and workstations, so I have to spend even more money for an entirely new computer. Even then, I originally intended to get Intel Core i5 CPU that was quad core and had a clock speed of 3.0 GHZ. For the GPU, I thought that an entry level mid range card like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 750Ti was sufficient. I even thought that 1 GB of VRAM was totally enough to play newer games!

Of course, I consulted the Steam forums (feature discussions not the toxic forums) and reality hit me hard in the face. Then I went on Best-Buy, before going to Amazon and then Newegg to search for the perfect gaming laptop. My first year roommate told me that I’d have to spend at least 1000 CAD (800 USD roughly) and he was totally right as even entry level mid range laptops cost that much. When I tried searching for Alienware and Predator, prices typically ranged from 1500 to even 2000 CAD (1300 – 1800 USD)! I definitely needed to do more researching which I did later on.

Proposed Future Laptop Specifications:

  • Form Factor: Laptop | Manufacturer: Acer, Asus, Dell
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 7th Gen @ 2.5 GHZ (2 Cores)
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 with 2 GB of VRAM
  • OS: Windows 10 Home X64 Bit
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4 Memory | Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Display: 1920X1080 FHD 17.3″ 60HZ LCD
  • DirectX: Version 12 (Software & GPU)
  • MSRP: $800 – $1000 CAD ($600 – $800 USD)

The above specs were essentially comprised of in laptops that were within the budget and gaming wants at the time. However, after again consulting with people on the Steam feature discussions they told me those specs while decent weren’t future proof. In layman terms, it wouldn’t let me be able to play even newer games and I did even more research after that. I discovered that while I can play games from 2013 – 2015 with those above specs at 1080p high settings and 60fps, I still have to lower the settings and/or get shit performance for games from 2016 and beyond.

A friend (no longer, but she’s a stranger) on Steam recommended I get Acer Predator and to look at laptops with similar specs. I then checked it and the price was way too expensive and the hardware was almost close to being high-end. Like do I really need Intel Core i7 or GTX 1060 with 6 GB of VRAM or even 16 GB RAM? I then decided to find a laptop that had specs superior to specs listed above but weaker than overpriced gaming laptops. That way I can be satisfied with both the price and hardware, and not have to worry about having to upgrade again in only a short amount of time.

To my joy and fortune, I managed to actually find the “middle way” by finding a laptop with the ideal specs and it’s around the same price as entry level mid range laptops. I have come to a dilemma and can’t decide whether to get the Acer Aspire VX15 or the Acer Aspire Nitro 5, as there was another Acer gaming laptop that was very cheap in price but sadly got sold out on Amazon for being so awesome. They both have literally the same specs (except for case, fans, battery, etc.) but VX15 is more expensive plus it’s shipped by Canada Computers while latter is cheaper and shipped by Amazon.

Future Gaming Laptop Specifications:

  • Form Factor: Gaming Laptop | Manufacturer: Acer
  • Model: Acer Aspire Nitro 5 or Aspire VX15
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-7300HQ @ 3.5 GHZ (4 Cores) 7th Gen
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 with 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM
  • OS: Windows 10 Home X64 Bit
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR4 Memory | Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Display: 1920X1080 FHD 15.6″ 60HZ LCD
  • DirectX: Version 12 (Software & GPU)
  • MSRP: $1000 – $1300 CAD ($800 – $1100 USD)

Well, even if both these laptops get sold out and don’t get restocked on Amazon or other websites, Acer will simply make newer gaming laptops in the future. Or I can always wait when I have the money and the need to play newer games, and then I’ll be able to afford such expensive and beautiful hardware. Now I just have to wait to actually get a job or find a way to make some decent amount of money. Speaking of which, I just installed Radeon ReLive so I’ll be recording game footage shortly so that my dream of being a YouTuber can finally become a reality after all these years!

 

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Difficulty In Choosing New Games

Sorry for not posting in over a month, but as I’ve said countless times in the past, I am attending university and this year has been off to a…rough start. It doesn’t have anything to do with people I don’t like or courses being too hard, so don’t you people worry as negotiations with the landlord have helped. I wanted to actually post this last month, but because of such circumstances (I promised I won’t reveal much anymore sorry) I’ve refrained from doing so. To make up for that, I’ll be posting several different blog posts this week as I have no lectures…too bad I have to study for mid-terms. 😦

This issue has persisted even in the past when I was still playing on the Wii but it’s even greater now on PC. Whenever I get sick of playing the current game(s), I just want to move on and play new games. Problem is, I don’t really know what to play as I bought over 30 games during the Steam summer sale this year! I’ve tried Counter Strike: Source, the Sonic Adventure remakes, Sonic 4: Episode 2, Garry’s Mod, and even The Sims 3 yet I still keep going back to Left 4 Dead 2. Except for SADX and CSS, all the others I only played for a little bit, couldn’t get immersed, and then stopped playing them.

Well I’m currently playing Sims 3 and just started but haven’t really gotten immersed because it’s a kind of game where I only play it when I’m comfortable. That includes not having outside noise or interference, being relaxed from a good day, and actually being in the mood to play it. Anyways, about the process I usually determine what genre and then the franchises and then I go from there. There are many shooters that I have like CSGO, Borderlands 2, and Mass Effect that I’ll probably enjoy but I’ve been playing too much gun games so that’s why I’m avoiding them for now.

I know that things don’t always go the way you want it and that’s why I didn’t really play the Batman Arkham titles or the Tomb Raider games. I’ve always had this naïve belief that once I’m done with one game, I can magically get immersed and love the next game that I choose, with the cycle repeating happily forever after. But I’m not a child or even a teenager anymore and I have real life responsibilities to do (after all, I don’t want to risk getting kicked out of college for shitty grades). I’ll probably just play the older GTA games – GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas – later down the months.

Besides those, there are also many other factors that make it difficult to play newer games. Some games on my Steam wish-list are either too expensive (even during sales) and/or require hardware that is well beyond my budget. I do plan to buy a mid range gaming laptop – either the Acer Aspire VX15 or the Acer Aspire Nitro 5 – however I’m broke because of tuition fees and renting costs. I also kind of want to go back and play my older games and others that I haven’t touched yet on console though sadly I can’t since it would disturb the other tenants that live together with me.

So anyways, how easy or how hard is it for you people to choose new games to play when you guys are done playing current ones? I’m running out of stuff to say but I’ve said what I wanted to say just now. Well, one more thing is that I think the only way I could get fully immersed is if I choose a game that fits the right genre, and when I’m the right mood and environment to be very comfortable. You’ll be updated with the next few blog posts very soon so no need to keep on writing to continue this post. In fact, look out for another one shortly after this one is published. 😉

Twilight Princess VS. Skyward Sword: Comparison Review

Since I haven’t really written any reviews in over a year, I’ve decided to write these special kinds of reviews to help me practice. These comparison reviews are something I wanted to do years ago but felt that it was stupid and gimmicky…until now. Lots of the games I will compare to are games I’ve reviewed before, games I’ve considered but didn’t review, and games I will review in the future. Now, to make these reviews as short as possible – as I am reviewing two games simultaneously – I will avoid including any major spoilers like I did with all of my normal reviews.

Today we’re going to compare two iconic Zelda games that came out for the Nintendo Wii within its 6 year life span. While the former did have subsequent releases on the Nintendo Game-Cube and WiiU, I will only be analyzing the Wii version as that’s the one I’ve played. It would also be pretty unfair to compare the superior WiiU HD port to Skyward Sword so there’s that too. As you may or may not know, I bought both of these game at Wal-Mart back in 2011 and 2013 respectively during sales. These two games made me use my brain instead of reflexes to overcome challenges.


Motion-Controls (TP 1 – 0 SS)

Twilight Princess – One of the first games on the Wii to take advantage of the motion controls was in fact this Zelda installment. Instead of using the analog sticks to aim and the face buttons to use the sword and shield, aiming was assigned to the Wii Remote sensor and attacking was to both the Nunchuk and Wiimote’s accelerometers respectively. These two innovations allowed aiming to be much faster, sensitive, and accurate than traditional gamepad; along with adding realism to the combat system and reducing the symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome.

So this definitley made Twilight Princess more fun and realistic than previous games in the franchise. Sadly, the aiming still pales in comparison to keyboard and mouse for PC gaming and simply shaking the Wiimote & Nunchuk were sufficient. It wasn’t realistic to the point where you actually had to swing the controllers as if you were holding actual medieval weapons. As mentioned before, the controllers only have accelerometers built in, which their motion capabilities are inferior to gyroscopes later used in Wii Motion Plus and the Wiii Remote Plus several years after.

Skyward Sword – Originally this game wasn’t supposed to use motion controls at all until Miyamoto was convinced to take advantage of the Wii Motion Plus. Unlike with Twilight Princess, you actually have to move your controllers the way you would with real weapons. This made it much more fun and realistic, although unfortunately it turned a lot of gamers off from playing Skyward Sword. In fact, it feels like I’m playing Prime 3 with all the puzzles that force you to perform motion commands. The community is mixed with this one as some hate it while others love it.

What ruined the motion controls for me and so many others was the fact that the sensitivity and calibration was so fucking horrible. After probably a few dozen minutes or so, the motion controls and sensor won’t respond which then you are forced to pause and then recalibrate the Wii Motion Plus. When you’re aiming, you literally have to point the Wiimote at the center of the screen, otherwise it won’t work properly even with recalibration! To be fair, you can just swing your Wiimote vertically a few times to instantly recalibrate it based on the advice of a NPC early on.

Ah yes, forgot to elaborate on solving the puzzles with the motion controls. In Twilight Princess, it was just like previous Zelda games where you use the control sticks and buttons to solve them. But this time around, most of them require motion controls which make it feel as gimmicky as Prime 3 but with unresponsive controls. It’s not just the puzzles, but the enemies and even bosses force you to use the motion controls whether you like it or not. If you suck at using motion controls or hate the concept, then just avoid this game and skip to Wind Waker HD or Breath of the Wild.

Verdict – Although the latter was more creative with the motion based controls by fully utilizing the Wii Motion Plus, I still have to conclude that Twilight Princess is overall superior. These controls are nothing more than a gimmick and a cool concept that Nintendo experimented with but didn’t keep as proven with BOTW. I don’t have to constantly recalibrate nor do am I constantly forced to use them to beat puzzles and bosses in Twilight Princess. In theory shaking is stupid, but in practice I never found it be lame nor gimmicky…oh, and the aiming was much better too.

Graphics (TP 2 – SS 0)

Twilight Princess – When this game was still green (pun intended), the graphics were considered to be very realistic and detailed for its generation. However, like with most older games, it sadly isn’t as aesthetically appealing as it was over a decade ago. Of course, the Wii version is what we’re reviewing and looks better than the Game-Cube port as it supports 16:9 widescreen support along with slightly better lighting and textures. I have to agree that the models, even to this day, are very accurate and look very good even after all these years…for the most part.

What sucks about Twilight Princess is that it suffers from very low resolution textures, something that past 3D Zelda games suffered except Wind Waker. They are realistic and detailed, but take a closer look, and some of them are pre-rendered images flattened on to a 2D surface rather than actual 3D polygons of in-game textures. I would also complain of it only running at 30 fps but consoles have different standards than PC gaming does. It’s consistent for the most part except when Link performs a spin attack to simultaneously defeat many enemies surrounding him.

The style of the graphics were made to resemble Ocarina of Time while also having its own twilight feeling to it. It does make the world of Hyrule look beautiful, and having different weather and times of day is an added bonus too. Unfortunately, majority of the colors are browns, greens, and grays; that is, by trying to resemble real life, the atmosphere mostly looks ugly, dull, and boring. After over a decade – yes time passes so fast – the graphics haven’t aged too well but it’s still tolerable. If you get the Wii U port or upscale to progressive scan, then it looks much much better.

Skyward Sword – Nintendo’s approach to this game’s art style was to make it look like a hybrid between the realism of Twilight Princess and cartoonish feel of Wind Waker. But had they only made it just cel-shaded, instead of trying to incorporate multiple art styles, I wouldn’t criticize the aesthetics as I do now. Sure, the polygon count, models, and lighting have improved, but the textures and resolution haven’t changed a lot. Skyward Sword still suffers from low resolution textures and for a game that came out in 2011 you’d expect it be at least 720p or as good as Brawl or Colors did.

In terms of aging, I’d have to say Skyward Sword aged a little better but only because of its cel shaded art style. In fact, I believe one of the main reasons that Nintendo made it that way was because they knew the Wii was limited with its weak hardware. The different art styles, such as background objects and landmarks looking like paintings come to life and character/weapon models that resemble the look of Twilight Princess, do look good but sadly aren’t combined well enough. Also the fact that the characters look nothing like they did in the artwork and the trailers.

Verdict – Although cel-shaded graphics do look better and were chosen in Wind Waker HD and Breath of the Wild, I still have to go with Twilight Princess. Nintendo did their best for TP to fully utilize the hardware to make the graphics look their best. TP was ahead of its time as it looked like a game from 2007, while Skyward Sword only looks slightly better with minor improvements. Since it failed to make many different styles work; only the polygon count, atmosphere, and colors improved; models, resolution, and textures look horrible, TP wins again but in terms of graphics.

Atmosphere (TP 2 – SS 1)

Twilight Princess – I kind of already covered this before, but just to recap, Nintendo made TP have a realistic atmosphere similar to Ocarina of Time. They also made it have a dark and horror based atmosphere akin to Majora’s Mask with the whole Twilight realm and introduction of Midna and Zant. It looks so cool to enter those areas as they make them lack very little color and life which the realm is supposed to do, and little effects like the black particles and NPC’s becoming spirits also makes it memorable too. And during evening time in-game, it’s when it looks the most stunning and beautiful.

People may differ and claim that the Twilight realms look ugly and lifeless, but that’s the purpose it serves and the same can be said for Skyward Sword in one aspect too. When you enter the Twilight Realm (like actually different dimension) it does turn you off with so much ugly colors and sad music. But Twilight Princess also got its cheerful and colorful moments like when travelling through Faron Woods  or Hyrule Field. Although to generalize, Twilight Princess does suffer from trying to be too realistic when Zelda games are meant to be seen as medieval fantasy genre.

Skyward Sword – Now you may think I hate the game’s art style, but actually overall I like its cartoony look and being the alter “ego” of its predecessor. There’s just so much life and colors and happiness that it can lift your mood and truly let you escape reality after a long day at work and/or school. Compared to Wind Waker (not HD remake), the cel-shaded art style is even better than it was before and makes the graphics look appealing. The lighting and effects also add to the atmosphere along with the different styles even though its highly questionable at times.

What sucks this time are no longer different times of day and weather conditions with a few exceptions. Those few being that you can only experience day and night in the sky and manually through sleeping instead of it being automatic, along with it raining/thunderstorm during a few boss fights. Characters are also more helpful and alive this time with each different species being unique with their own personalities, rather than only a few characters standing out from the rest like in TP. While the cross between WW and TP wasn’t perfect, it helped make BOTW a masterpiece.

Verdict – It’s very obvious at this point that Skyward Sword has done much better in the atmosphere department than Twilight Princess. The predecessor tried too hard to seem very realistic, and although it was praised back then, looking back it aged badly as Zelda doesn’t take place in the real world. Had they added other elements to soften the atmosphere to balance out the darkness and sadness then it would be amazing. Yes, Skyward Sword isn’t completely perfect as it lacks different weather and times of day unless in some events, but still, it pulled it off better by taking risks.

Exploration (TP 3 – SS 1)

Twilight Princess – Known for having the largest overworld of any Zelda game (until Breath of the Wild surpassed TP), there was just so much to do and so many places to explore! Unlike in OOT and MM where every area was interconnected by Hyrule Field, Twilight Princess tends to have a more non-linear and open world approach. Emulating the exploration of Wind Waker, you were able to enter new towns and regions through multiple routes with Hyrule Field itself covering the entire kingdom instead of one grassy area. This makes it memorable and innovative even to this day.

The different areas themselves tend to be bigger with more space and small tight places to explore and find hidden treasures. What is the main benefit is also its main drawback, a double edged sword, as many of these open areas are too large and empty like barren wastelands. Still, its just breathtaking to see how gorgeous, detailed, and huge the world of Hyrule is in TP. Even places that aren’t open ended try to be non-linear as possible by resembling mazes and labyrinths so it doesn’t suffer like older Zelda games. If Nintendo had added more interactions and details then it would’ve been better.

Without spoiling too much, Twilight Princess also has the largest diversity of different geographic regions in any Zelda game…again except for BOTW. In addition to the woods, field, volcano, lake, and desert, there’s also snowy arctic mountain, underground caves, abandoned ruins, and even able to visit the past, sky, and another dimension! Usually, it’s only the dungeons that are this diverse but I’m glad that Nintendo made Hyrule excel in bot quality and quantity. Despite this though, you still have to backtrack to older areas later in the game while the newer areas are only explored once which sucks.

Skyward Sword – Although Skyloft and the entire sky may seem open-ended and non-linear, it is even worse than the emptiness and size of TP’s Hyrule Field. Literally you’re just flying with your bird creature through endless clouds and maybe a few…asteroids here and there that let you increase speed momentarily. There are some other islands but mostly for playing mini-games or only visiting them once or twice for the story. You might as well just hang out in the town, which sadly, is the only place that is worth exploring besides the dungeons in this installment.

Down below the sky are three main regions that have other sub regions unlocked later on in the game. But they’re so basic and generic it’s laughable and seems like an insult to Twilight Princess and other predecessors. The three areas are (without spoilers): forest, volcano, and desert, along with river/lake, interior of volcano, dried up sea now quicksand, and some gorge/valley area. You can also visit an alternate dimension similar to the Twilight Realm except even more lame and repetitive. So no tundra mountain, no haunted settlement, no underground caves, none of those.

Now that isn’t even the worse part of Skyward Sword – it’s actually the exploration and progression parts that are. The linearity (if that’s even a word) is so high that it feels like the game assumes we’ve never played any Zelda game before. Majority of the routes you takes are small long pathways with no alternate places to explore and very few open ended areas. When they’re are open areas, it’s just like the sky, or the game doesn’t allow you to freely explore because it thinks you’re a baby. Oh, and for some reason so many dungeon-like puzzles are added outside of the dungeons themselves.

Verdict – It’s very obvious even before I compared this category between these games which one was superior to the other. I understand that with Skyward Sword, they were trying to appeal to as much people as possible since this was an exclusive Wii title and motion controls were trendy back then. However, only Zelda fans and those into adventure games were the majority of consumers that bought it, so I don’t understand what went inside Nintendo’s minds when they thought going one step backwards with the exploration was good when that’s what made Zelda iconic.

Dungeon Design (TP 3 – SS 2)

Twilight Princess – Many of the dungeons in TP take inspirations from OOT and MM by combining old concepts with slightly new ones. This gives a sense of nostalgia for older Zelda fans but doesn’t seem too repetitive as it has its own unique puzzles, enemies, items, and bosses. The first three dungeons are the easiest and probably the most lame (no offense, they’re still fun) compared to the later ones you encounter. Later on is when the dungeons become much more innovative with design and creative with puzzles and enemies. Overall they’re not very gimmicky nor are they same old boring shit.

Sadly, TP still suffers from only having items being used in their respective dungeons and never again until the last dungeon. Some puzzles and mini-bosses tend to be ripped off or inspired heavily by older Zelda entries which can turn some off. Unfortunately, I’m going to hold my promise of keeping the review as spoiler free as possible so I won’t mention specific dungeons and concepts that I enjoyed or disliked. Twilight Princess does have some of the best dungeons in any Zelda game, although it would’ve been better if the puzzles took more advantage of the Wii’s motion controls.

Skyward Sword – Unlike its predecessors, almost all the dungeons are very new and unique in its own way without ripping off from past games. Puzzles and enemies (sometimes even mini-bosses) do get repeated in future dungeons but they are slightly changed so to give extra challenge and prevent repetition. Skyward Sword makes good use of the Wii Motion Plus, so while enemies, puzzles, and bosses do seem gimmicky, it’s actually really cool once you adapt to the game’s dungeon design. Sadly, the first three dungeons range from mediocre to decent while later ones being awesome.

Taking risks paid off as the later dungeons take place in settings you’d never imagine would work, such as an abandoned pirate ship or Buddhist-style temple. Such designs make use of the new environments by making the rooms and routes different from traditional dungeons. This can make navigation more confusing and unpredictable but much more fun and interesting. There also exist what I call “mini-dungeons” or areas that resemble dungeons but don’t technically qualify as them. Those are pretty cool and better than doing stupid fetch quests as mandatory for progression.

This time around, they added lots of hidden paths and rooms that aren’t obvious even when looking at the maps. These can either lead to essential items and puzzles or can reward you with hidden goodies. Oh right, and getting to the boss requires you insert some kind of jigsaw thingie making use of the motion controls and not as boring as simply putting in a giant key to open the final door. Some dungeons lack mini-bosses or may have several of them to mix up the formula a bit which is cool too. Each dungeon also has its own “gimmick” that doesn’t always require items to use.

Verdict – At first I thought that both Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword would tie for this category but then after refreshing my memory I decided otherwise. Yes, both games have poor early dungeons with later superior dungeons, but the former simply rips off of older games (except for a few) whereas the latter is completely innovative in its own right. Also the fact that the design and progression was very predictable and linear so Skyward Sword has the much better dungeon design. I’m still not going to deny that some of Twilight Princess’ dungeons are superior to SS though.

Combat (TP 3.5 – SS 2.5)

Twilight Princess – Much like its predecessors OOT and WW, TP allows players to utilize the sword and shield as their main arsenal of weapons. Accompanied with those are bombs, arrows, hook-shots, and the like as well as newer items obtained from the dungeons. Defeating enemies is as simple as slashing your sword by repeatedly shaking the Wii Remote while using the shield as a defense. Stronger enemies and bosses require you to dodge and/or counter their attacks before being able to attack them for brief moments when there are openings (and use dungeon items too).

Later on in the game, you’ll be able to use special skills which are essentially advanced sword techniques used to easily take down hordes and bosses later on. Most of them are completely optional but you need to learn two of them to beat the entire game. You can also fight when you’re a wolf but it’s limited to just biting and clawing, although you’re able to have Midna insta-kill enemies within a short range after charging up her attack. Oh, and you can also fight on your horse which is a series first and definitely makes this feel more cinematic as there are some missions requiring Epona.

Skyward Sword – With the Wii Motion Plus as the main feature, players now have to actually swing the sword in different directions equivalent to real life sword-fighting. Enemies can no longer be easily killed by swinging your controller like a baby’s toy as that will just get you killed. Also, the shield itself can break after taking enough hits so be sure to take advantage of the shield bash, which allows you to push back enemies and their attacks to give you an opportunity to strike back. Many stronger enemies and bosses force you to strategically fight with the sword and shield.

Unfortunately, there are no advanced sword techniques and most of the dungeon items aside from bombs and arrows are used for puzzles and travelling. The stupid red bird also doesn’t allow you to fight enemies other than some weird diving attack, and it’s really hard to hit enemies unless you’re up close in the sky. Still, I’d say the combat overall is better since it’s not slash a few times or wait for opening and then attack like in past Zelda games. You can also charge up a special attack with your sword that shoots a beam of light to damage and later on kill common enemies.

Verdict – Honestly, I would have to say it’s a tie for this category since both Zelda games make up for what it lacks in the other. I do find the sword fighting in Skyward Sword vastly superior but Twilight Princess is better in every other way. However, since Twilight Princess is too easy (more on that later) I wouldn’t really declare the combat being completely superior to Skyward Sword either. I’ll decide whether to give both these games half a point each or not give them any at all later in this comparison review, but for now, both of these games tie when it comes to combat.

Story Progression (TP 4.5 – SS 2.5)

Twilight Princess – Depending on your preferences, you’ll either love the long introduction or prologue of this game or hate it completely. You have to spend at least an hour before making it to your first dungeon, and the first three dungeons are delayed by Twilight Realm, missions that feel like errands and mini-boss fights, and long cinematic cutscenes. Right about halfway, players find out who the true main villain is – Ganandorf – along with what to do for the next few dungeons. And the story takes a backseat until near the end but is replaced with sidequests locked in the beginning.

In terms of the plot itself without spoiling, I’d have to say Nintendo tried very hard to make it a story driven game and was mostly successful. I say mostly because they sort of rushed it near the end, which although was epic, had worse pacing than the prologue which was dragged on for too long. I dislike how the story virtually dies out in the later half of the game but just like Majora’s Mask, the side quests do reveal a lot about the NPC’s and makes you care about the people of Hyrule that you’re protecting. If the pacing and distribution of the story was balanced out then TP would be golden.

Skyward Sword – What the hell is wrong with Nintendo trying to emulate TP’s progression into this installment but make it worse? I have to spend at least an hour in the town before even attempting to gain access to the land below the sky. Even then, expect to spend 1-2 hours just reaching the first dungeon. Aside from the beginning, halfway point, and end, all other parts of the plot aren’t very cinematic and feel like an video game plot. Instead of going on errands, you have to do stupid missions like fetch quests or “helping” NPC’s by backtracking or travelling a lot.

Yeah, they really dragged on the story with this one as it feels like just when it’s almost about to finish, plot twist or stupidity happens and the story continues. You have to fight a certain boss multiple times which annoys lots of people, although I find it as a guilty pleasure since it doesn’t piss me off. After completing each dungeon, it’s literally the same thing where you almost meet up with Zelda only for her to leave you, or you’re able to complete your objectives with Fi dancing and singing. I would tell you about the plot but then that breaks my rule of avoiding in-game spoilers.

Verdict – Ok I don’t even have to tell you which game has better plot progression as it’s so obvious by now. Neither of them have good progression (they both have amazing plots but that’s another debate) so it’s all about which one has the lesser flaws. I hope to the three goddesses of Hyrule that when I play Breath of the Wild on the Wii U in the far future, that it better not repeat the mistakes of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword. I understand with Twilight Princess trying so hard to be Ocarina of Time 2.0, but seriously, why is Skyward Sword copying so much off of TP if it didn’t go so well?

Music & Sound (TP 4.5 – SS 3.5)

Twilight Princess – As always, Zelda never fails to deliver with its memorable and awesome soundtrack, which unsurprisingly, has many remixes of old tracks to please older Zelda fans. Despite having orchestrated music in a few trailers, the actual game itself failed to have any (but it did have some that sounded like it). This isn’t to undermine the already fantastic music, in which even newer Zelda games can’t fully surpass…unless they’re orchestrated. TP uses as much instruments and genres as possible to make the soundtrack very catchy and diverse.

Unlike with most of Nintendo’s games, the music presented in Twilight Princess tends to “atmospheric” as to not distract the player. It fits well into the background and blends in with the white noise of the environment that Link explores. Only boss fights, side quests, and specific missions have music in the traditional sense which intensifies the gameplay to make it more epic. Besides lacking orchestrated music, Twilight Princess tends to reuse a lot of sound pieces and those from older Zelda games. Sometimes it’s better to come up with new music instead of reusing it over and over again.

Skyward Sword – For the first time since the Mario Galaxy games, SS features a full on orchestrated soundtrack! Early pre-orders and editions of this game came with an album with nostalgic pieces remastered into orchestrated soundtrack to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Zelda. Not only has the music significantly improved with orchestrated music but also with innovative and “lively” music that isn’t atmospheric. On top of it, the sound quality has upgraded since it was built for the Wii instead of being a Game-Cube title ported over to the Wii with little graphical optimization.

Quality over quantity is strong with this installment because while most entries are forgotten, the few that stand out surpass Zelda games that came before it. The epic music isn’t limited just to boss fights this time – even dungeons and geographic regions also have beautiful music that is a bit distracting but well composed nonetheless. I thought the ending credits theme for Twilight Princess was awesome, but the credits for Skyward Sword blew me away and my expectations. I hope that when I come to play Breath of the Wild, the soundtrack is good in both quality and quantity.

Verdict – This is also another obvious match between these two Zelda games, as it’s clearly known that Skyward Sword is superior to Twilight Princess with music. I was going to originally also analyze and critique the voice acting, but both games don’t have any acting except for Link’s side chick (Midna and Fi) who both speak gibberish. Also the fact that TP’s sound quality was mediocre since it was a Game-Cube port. I really don’t have much else to say other than the fact that this comparison review may result in a tie so I’m gonna have to make a tiebreaker real soon if that happens.

Challenge (TP 5 – SS 4)

Twilight Princess – I don’t understand why Nintendo decided to make this Zelda game so freaking easy! Of course, being my first Zelda game that I beat (my first was Wind Waker), I did struggle a lot and often resorted to walkthrough guides but those were only limited to one or two complex puzzles per dungeon. I had no problem defeating the bosses…except that mini-boss in the mansion and Ganondorf…despite having next to no experience and skill. Never did I ever have to resort to using the stronger potions and after acquiring enough Heart Pieces, I didn’t worry about damage.

I did struggle and die a lot while playing in the Twilight Realm, but that’s to be expected for anybody since this was a first in the Zelda franchise. However, actually doing quests were pretty easy and was usually the mini-“bosses” that killed me. The side quests were also all very easy except for a few challenging ones later on in the story. Overall, I didn’t really struggle and find it to be a walk in the park, which is probably why I constantly go back to this and even attempted a few speed runs. Maybe being a title for the Wii, Nintendo decided to dumb it down for the casual audience sadly.

Skyward Sword – Much better than its predecessor, we finally get some decent and even brutal challenge not only from the puzzles but also missions and bosses. Implementing the Wii Motion Plus forces players to move the controllers as if they were actual weapons. Many of these challenges require you to use motion controls, which isn’t simply performing a few easy actions like in Prime: Corruption. Expect later bosses to be almost as hard as what you’d expect in Dark Souls (no joke). Also, instead of losing a quarter of health per average hit, you lose one whole heart!

Oh but wait, being a Wii game Nintendo decided to make this playable by idiots as well. If you’re struggling, you can visit a certain statue in Skyloft and watch very short walkthrough videos. That is probably almost like the game playing itself and defeats the purpose of solving the puzzles with your own brain. You can obviously ignore it but it’s just an insult that Nintendo would ever think of adding this to Zelda. You can also craft or buy specific items to also help you “cheat” at the game if you suck so much. Way to go Nintendo, literally playing the game for people who can’t play themselves.

Verdict – I would’ve chosen Skyward Sword as the victor in this review category, but that feature just made it even worse than Twilight Princess. Yes, you can ignore it although the fact that it’s there in the first place makes the game a joke. At least with TP I had to go online and find a walkthrough guide and read it before attempting to play again. Also, if I did allow Skyward Sword to win this round, both games would tie and I would have to make a tiebreaker anyways. The winner of this category, and this review overall, is none other than The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess for the Nintendo Wii.


After quickly analyzing all the different categories of criticism for both Zelda games without major spoilers, Twilight Princess takes the spot of being superior. It just barely beats Skyward Sword as both games have major benefits and flaws with one another that make them so similar. Ok, this review I began writing in mid August but didn’t finish it until today because I’m lazy and was preparing for university. I’m writing these comparison reviews not only as filler for the PC reviews, but also to help me regain the writing skill and passion that was lost for over a year.

My next few comparison reviews will be Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, and also Super Smash Bros. Brawl & Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. I intended on reviewing the most recent console Metroid games (Prime 4 is being developed so sssshhhhh…) however they’re way too different and Prime 3 is clearly better.  I’m also going to edit my first three reviews by changing the formatting and pictures as they’re outdated and some images are missing. Once I begin my PC reviews, I’ll start with Portal 1, Left 4 Dead, and Counter Strike: Source and we’ll go from there.

First Person Games Aren’t So “Realistic”

This blog post was originally something that I posted on my now discontinued Nigga Nintendo Nerd site that existed a few years ago. I’ve decided to reboot and retcon such a post now that I have more experience with shooters and first person games in general, so I can give a more detailed analysis. For those that are new, I used to have another WordPress blog prior to MRN back in the summer of 2014 but I cancelled it for many different reasons. One was the layout, another I was just desperate at writing, I wanted to write reviews, and because my classmate stalked me online.

Without further ado, I’ll get right into my “rant” and analysis on how and why first person games, and to a certain extent shooters, aren’t as realistic as they are marketed by the publishers. It’s not just about the view and perspective of first person games, but also the mechanics that are implemented. I know that video games aren’t simulators or VR (unless marketed and designed as such) so they shouldn’t be taken that seriously. However, it still makes me disappointed that people actually are naïve and stupid enough to believe that such games are very realistic and actually emulate reality very closely.

First Person “Perspective”

What really pisses me off about games that take place from a first person perspective is how much they fail at trying to copy real life. Yes, I can look and move around in all directions, although when I look down below me I see only the ground. Re-read the last part of the previous sentence, and you’ll know exactly what’s wrong… is that you can’t see any parts of your body except for hands and arms! So the developers think that having players see through the eyes of the protagonist is indeed realistic, but not including their body in first person mode isn’t?

When we all look down we can see our legs, crotch, stomach, arms, hands, and sometimes even our chest. But in many first person games you see none of that when looking down so it’s as if we’re playing as a floating head with arms and hands. Look, I get that you can’t really program the character to move their eyes and see their nose and parts of their face. It’s just really awkward when I enter a vehicle in first person mode and then it looks as if it’s driving itself or I’m using telekinesis, since I’m not using (able to see) any hands to maneuver the vehicle.

Now this wouldn’t be a problem for older games released on systems with hardware limitations or games that aren’t marketed as being realistic. Nevertheless, newer games and those especially promised to emulate reality shouldn’t fail to captivate consumers by not adding such a small detail that should be common sense. Not just the fact that such games and their developers technically broke a few laws, but also fails to deliver the realistic experience that was promised. Kind of like how the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X aren’t true native 4K resolution despite advertised as legitimate 4K.

Another characteristic of first person mode that isn’t close to its real life counterpart is the FOV or field of view. That’s basically how much you can see within your range of vision (which is your television screen or PC monitor). We humans tend to see our environment in a 180 degree angle whereas you can only see roughly 90 to about 110 degrees of the FOV in first person games. Also, we also view reality as a curvy “dome” and video games are displayed on a flat 2D surface. Some monitors are designed to be curvy but those are very rare and many games aren’t optimized for it.

The view model is the final and last feature of first person perspective that isn’t even close to how it is in real life. This is how close or far away the body parts are positioned from the screen. Many shooters depict players holding the gun with their hands so close to the screen and only being able to see a little past the wrist area. With the exception of pistols, I cannot even believe how developers can convince people to believe that people actually hold guns like that in real life. This is just nitpicking, but when looking in a mirror our characters aren’t replicated 1:1 to their reflections.

Problems Playing In FPP

So what’s wrong with not having an accurate first person perspective other than breaking minor laws and ethics/morals you ask? It makes the game a lot harder in specific situations or areas, especially those in the action and platform genres. Say I have to jump over to a far ledge and I have to do it quickly, but then because I can’t see the rest of my body I can’t properly distance how far I am from falling. I then either make it due to poor collision detection, pure luck, or just fall and fail simply because I couldn’t see my legs. And many games have platforming segments no matter what.

Or say I’m fighting a fuck ton of enemies or a boss that sends a thousand projectiles at my way. The reality is that I can only fend off those that I can directly see within my limited range of vision and somewhat with my hearing. To counter such limitations, developers usually add arrows or colors to areas where you’re getting hit off screen so you can react properly. I don’t know…maybe if you idiots allowed us to see more than just what’s in front of us and not have invisible bodies, then maybe, just maybe we could react before and/or faster instead of buying better monitor(s)?

Another issue is something that is specifically relevant mostly to shooters. Why can’t I ever use the sights of guns that have them attached to have better accuracy? If the developers are going to add the sights to guns like the M16 and AK47 to emulate the designs how come we can’t use them to make it more “realistic”? It’s not the same as a scope where we can use them to zoom in and aim at enemies from extremely far distances. And having a crosshair for aiming isn’t so realistic as only snipers and scopes have them, and you need training to even aim with guns due to recoil.

I can’t believe I forgot about this until now – collision detection is also another issue with first person games lacking visible bodies. I often think I bumped into a wall, obstacle, or enemy when really I didn’t and other times when I’m so far away I still somehow manage to touch them. This sort of inconsistency could be solved with better programming or by simply having a visible lower body. Sadly, developers don’t implement neither of these solutions and is more of a pet peeve than a difficulty spike for veterans compared to those of beginners and noobs.

Gameplay Mechanics In FPP

Let me discuss about the different mechanics that developers add into first person games to make it seem more realistic when it only makes it more fictional. First is the speed of movement and different ways to do so (crouching, walking, and sprinting). Why the hell is the default speed not aligned with the sounds of footsteps? How can developers actually think they can fool us thinking that we’re speed-walking but it sounds like we’re only walking? I know this might seem nitpicking though developers intentionally market such games as realistic so I’m going to criticize them for being so fake.

Also when crouching or crawling, it looks like the character is at a very low altitude; however, compare it to the height of nearby objects. Then you’ll notice they aren’t actually crouching and crawling, rather they’re just slightly ducking which gives slightly better accuracy when jumping and shooting. If you look at enemies crouching or crawling, it looks very ridiculous and makes them more visible targets in shooting games. Maybe if the developers actually made them crouch and crawl much lower it would be harder to be detected by enemies and be more realistic?

When it comes to walking and sprinting, you become as slow as a snail with the former and become Usain Bolt with the latter. Shouldn’t walking be a…little faster and sprinting be a little slower or at least with stamina to hinder it? Anyways, strafing is something that you wouldn’t normally do even when shooting in real life as it looks ridiculous and also isn’t effective when making turns. Speaking of Bolt, shouldn’t the characters ever tire out after awhile, especially those carrying heavy ass guns and equipment? And how come characters can jump high enough to go over hurdles?

I don’t understand how switching from first person to third person in some circumstances is acceptable as realistic? Like can I suddenly make my eyes teleport so that I can see from a third person perspective? I know it’s just video games, but how is it realistic to simply crouch for a few seconds and then regenerate? I find it more believable to heal from pills, med-kits, energy bars, or even hearts even though those defy logic and science too lol. Regenerating health and respawning upon death makes many shooters like COD and Battlefield very fake and not realistic.

I can honestly go on and rant about how unrealistic these games are so I think I’ll just end it here since you guys should understand my point now. There actually are lots of first person games that do try to be more realistic by adding lower body (Left 4 Dead), following the physics of actual shooting (CSS & CSGO), and having realistic FOV and view model (most Valve games). I can’t believe games like Zelda and Metroid implement features that are fake but still seem more realistic than what you use in typical fake shooters played by kids and man children living with their parents.

Never Going To Use Steam Forums Again!

This editorial will probably be the last one before I start publishing reviews again for the time being. I know this is more of a rant than anything else, but since it personally affects me and involves matters that caused me to start blogging in the first place, I think it’s important to write it here on MRN. Due to the Steam moderators being extremely corrupt, rude, and egotistical, I will no longer be using the official Steam discussions although I will still be using game hub forums and Steam feature discussions. The title of this editorial is sort of click-bait so I apologize now.

Anyways, I’m sick and tired of these mods who go after innocent people who try to get them punished for corruption while others like me that don’t show complete obedience to them. We’re not your slaves, you don’t put the food on our tables, and you aren’t executive staff at Valve – you are equal to us. I don’t understand why you assholes have to abuse the authority (not power) given to you simply because other people make fun of you or they hurt your fragile ego. It’s always those that have authority that get the ego thing up their fucking asses.

I almost never see people with power (except for egotistical thin-skinned politicians) abuse it the way those with authority do. They aren’t going to stoop to the level of people that insult and criticize them and exact retribution to boost their egos. They have other more important matters and problems to worry about than a bunch of common folk roasting them. Actually, if such people did abuse the power they would immediately regret it since their reputation has been damaged so they’ll avoid it to save face. But authority figures just don’t seem to care…or do they?

Oh wait, they actually do care about losing face so to prevent that, they’ll delete all the evidence along with punishing those involved to silence them. And even after being exposed, more often than not their higher-ups will just let them get away with it or the punishment they receive will be a slap on the wrist. I noticed all moderators are like that, but for some reason it’s the Steam moderators that are the absolute worst. Only a few mods and admins I met in GameSpot and other sites were extremely corrupt and egotistical about people exposing and insulting them.

Simply put, I’ve made this decision a few days I’ve been banned for the 4th time on Steam for a minor infraction. They would rather go after people like me, but not trolls that constantly violate the community guidelines. If being a moderator is just volunteering, why do they go out of their way to go after people that undermine their authority? Well I already answered my own question so from here on out, I’m just going to post in the alternative forums as mentioned before, or simply finally move on and join Reddit for the first time in my life.

Likewise, all other forum sites aren’t innocent either as they too have their fair share or corrupt and/or egotistical moderators and admins. Back then, I constantly got warnings, bans, then permabans for the stupidest or unfair of reasons. Lots of times the admins permabanned me weren’t even because of trolling! The only forums where I’m still safe from being punished are GameFAQS and Super-Cheats which I don’t even use and haven’t logged on for years. If they aren’t going to do their fucking jobs properly, they may as well restrict or eliminate the forums altogether.

Yes I know, in the rules it specifically states for all forums that mods and admins can modify, transfer, or delete any posts/threads that they feel are inappropriate within their own discretion. But such a rule is extremely vague and basically lets such corrupted lightweights do whatever the hell they want. It’s basically the developers’ or site publishers’ way of giving the users the middle finger, saying “Fuck you guys! This is our site, our rules, and you obey them like you’re our bitches.” There’s essentially no existence of freedom of speech in these forum sites.

Some of you are probably going to tell me that freedoms and rights are bullshit and site creators can decide how they want to run their sites. I agree with that but only to a certain extent, because while there are limits to freedoms if abused, they must still be allowed as the site creators must follow the laws of the countries and/or continents that they operate in. Sorry but if they don’t want to comply with the law, then their website will simply get blocked by the government or the companies will suffer from lawsuits by government agencies to punish them for disobeying.

And Valve has had many incidents of being sued or threatened by such agencies for violating laws time and time again. Like when they refused to issue refunds in Europe even though European Union law states that consumers can refund products whenever they want for whatever reason even if they just don’t feel like it. Or how about when they were threatened by a Washington agency for allowing gambling sites for CSGO to exist and flourish for minors? That wasn’t specifically relevant with corrupted mods but it still applies since nobody is above the law.

To sum it all up, I’m no longer using the official Steam discussions even after my temporary ban expires and only using alternative forums after. I tried appealing to Steam Support but they were just as passive aggressive and useless like before, just like when they offered no solutions to the malfunctioning l4d2 servers. I would often visit Reddit months before I even joined Steam and loved how the way it was structured and allowed people to discuss very controversial topics. I learned through experience is that the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.