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PixlTalk Episode 59: Konami Conundrum

We covered what we covered

We all know what the big story of this week, nay this month has been. To be honest, that which shall not be named has been reported on over and over again, and all of us were quite frankly a little sick of it. Thus, we decided to focus our sights on Konami instead. Konami has been a beloved development studio bringing us many classics including the beloved Metal Gear Solid franchise. However, as of late they have not been faring so well. With few new titles and even less worthwhile ones, what will it take to make this development studio top notch again?  

We sprinkle in some deviations to help lighten the mood and hopefully shed light on why people love HD collections so much. Do you love to buy remakes of games you already own or do you look to these HD collections to catch up on titles that you’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

As always you can reach us at PixlTalk@Pixlbit.com with questions, comments, etc. Also feel free to add us on twitter to keep up to date with news, articles, and everything else gaming:

Mike: TehWally                        

Jesse: Id10t_Savant               

JD: aMythKnownAsJD

Esteban: Colorwind

 P.S. Don't forget to wish Esteban a happy belated birthday. He's an old man now!


 

Comments

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/22/2012 at 10:51 PM

When we talked Japanese developers a few episodes, we came to the same conclusion about Konami. While it's cool that they have reached out to Western developers like Capcom has done, very little of what Konami releases is made in house anymore. With Team Silent long gone and Kojipro only working on Metal Gear, many franchises have fallen by the wayside. And where's Iga-san? It's about time for a brand new, HD side-scrolling Castlevania game, isn't it?

On the subject of HD collections, I love em. Yes, I own the original games in most cases, but I keep those as well. What I want more than anything from these collections is to have plenty of special features that talk about the importance of these games and curate them with a level of detail and care that you would see in a Criterion Collection for movies.

To JD's point, don't let the fact that some of these collections are missing games that came out from the PSX days keep you from enjoying them. In the case of MGS, you really don't want the Twin Snakes, and the original would look rough. When it comes to Silent Hill, you really don't need to play the first one to appreciate how important SH 2 is.

My dream would be for Square Enix to release the Final Fantasy Anthology Complete. They don't have to remake the PSX games: just up-res them and give me the option on how big I want to make the screen size. But by all means, I want HD versions of X, X-2, and XII. And XI, but that's never gonna happen.

Mike Wall Staff Alumnus

03/23/2012 at 09:59 AM

Yea i could possibly see myself considering biting on an ff x remake. My original disc broke and it broke my heart.

Nick DiMola Director

03/23/2012 at 10:00 AM

Agreed, where's my new Castlevania?

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/23/2012 at 10:13 AM

Konami.  Yeah, I wonder what happened to them too.  They owned the 8bit era, especially in Japan.  They cranked out more quality content on the FDS and the Famicom than even Nintendo did.  They could just be struggling to adjust to the amount of work it takes to create a quality modern title.  

Also, on the topic of Silent Hill, I don't know if SH1 was actually exclusive.  My understanding is that Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on the Wii is basically just a radical reworking of SH1.  Could they do that if it was exclusive to the PSone?  I do agree that an HD version of the original title wouldn't work, but I think Shattered Memories is a decent enough title, despite being rather short.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

03/23/2012 at 10:33 AM

Creating a special edition or reworking of a title is one of the ways publishers get around exclusivity deals.  Metal Gear Solid was a PSX exclusive, but still saw a remake for GameCube - and is how Resident Evil 4 eventually made it to the PS2.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/23/2012 at 10:55 AM

God that Game Cube remake was hideous.  Silicon Knights clearly misunderstood the difference between badass and ninja.  I stopped playing after Snake did his kick flip off the helicopter's rocket.  

Silent Hill: Shattered memories on the other hand, was very well done.  I've said this already, but my wife swears video games can't scare her.  Someday I plan on using that game to prove her wrong.

Nick DiMola Director

03/23/2012 at 10:58 AM

I'm surprised nobody liked that remake. I can't even play the original MGS at this point, whereas I thought that one held up the original game pretty well.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/23/2012 at 11:10 AM

Really?  I actually picked up the original PSX version about 6 months ago and played it again.  I thought it was fine. The controls feel a little dated, but it's not too rough.

You know what they did right on the Game Cube?  The original Resident Evil remake.  Those backgrouds looked so freaking nice.  Again, dated controls, but that's the nature of the game.  

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/23/2012 at 11:29 AM

I think the gameplay is fine, besides the enemy AI being a little too sensitive and first person mode breaking the Ocelot fight. My problems were with the cutscenes. But that wasn't SK. Those were directed by the guy that did the cutscenes for Devil May Cry 3. And the Japanese movie Versus, if memory serves.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/23/2012 at 12:47 PM

I didn't dig that deep into it honestly.  I saw SK was responsible for the remake, so I hung it on them.  That observation make sense though, and those sort of antics would suit anime or DMC games, but not a protagonist like Solid Snake.

Our Take

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

03/23/2012 at 01:12 PM

I miss the silver labels on the NES games. Konami should bring that back.

I should also note that Konami had some awesome games on the SNES. That's how I remember them best.

Angelo Grant Staff Writer

03/23/2012 at 02:51 PM

You just made me think of something.  There's something significant about the two most recent Konami titles that were released.  One has the word Steel in it, the other has the word Blades.

Blades of Steel anybody?

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/23/2012 at 11:36 PM

Hell to the yeah. Blades of Steel is one of the only sports games to hook me.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/24/2012 at 10:11 AM

To be fair Esteban, Konami had some great games through the PSX and PS2 days as well. I remember being at E3 and Konami was always one of the major booths, showing amazing trailers to amazing games that weren't titled Metal Gear. This generation has been rough on them, as it has for so many Japanese developers. I don't know what drugs Kojima Productions is on to make something as amazing as MGS 4, but whatever it is, Konami needs to distribute it to the rest of the company.

And let's not forget that during this generation Konami worked with some Western devs for some good results, like Contra 4 and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.

What they need to do is leverage their classic IPs in the proper setting, while trying to make some new and interesting ones, as well. Contra, Gradius, and Castlevania (the Iga designed ones) are best suited to PSN and XBLA, while stuff like Metal Gear and Silent Hill still belong on the big consoles. Working with existing IPs has also been successful for them-as the company started sliding, YuGiOh kept them going. So they need to look into that more often, as well.

Our Take

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

03/24/2012 at 02:11 PM

Oh, I know they did. Just not as many good games as during the NES and SNES days. It's only recently have Konami not been good.

8 bit - 16 bit: great

32 bit - 128 bit: good

this generation (specifically after MGS4): bad

Michael117

03/23/2012 at 03:03 PM

I have the Gamecube remake of Resident Evil as well as MGS Twin Snakes. I really wanted both of them, but once I got them and put a couple hours into each, I just couldn't keep going. I've taken really long breaks from both of those and I'm not exicted to go back and keep plugging at them at the moment. I missed the boat on these games and on this gameplay. RE4 was the first game in the series I played, and once I went there I can't go back. The RE remake looks really nice, the music is awesome, and I honestly want to keep exploring the mansion and running from zombies, but it's truly not fun. It's not fun at all, it sucks a bag of dicks. I don't feel like I'm surviving or in horror either, I just feel like I'm in an interesting environment but stuck dealing with crap controls and crap gameplay and we are in an age where we don't have to deal with that regularly anymore.

MGS Twin Snakes isn't mechanically terrible like RE is, but Twin Snakes is just really hard for me to make sense of. I'm a huge stealth guy, but this game doesn't do it for me. I'm literally stuck wandering around this compound and I can't figure out what to do, it makes no sense. There's no objective, no narrative I can make sense of, no visual clues. When I ring up my buddies on the radio Snake has, they don't tell me anything meaningful. I've snuck through the same ducts a dozen times, scoured every hallway and room for items, looked for doors, snuck around undetected, used my fancy box to hide in, and I'm just stuck in this friggin hangar with nothing to do. I'm very patient but even I have limits so after an hour or two I just get fed up, let people notice me, they shoot me to death, and I rage quit. I use to have MGS on PSX back in the day and I was stuck in this same fucking spot back then when I was a kid! I'm quite proficient with the stealth mechanics and I've really been trying to make progress, I just think Twin Snakes sucks at being a game.

If I even want to attempt to make it through RE and MGS Twin Snakes I'm going to need some online guides to hold my hand, becuase I can't do this crap on my own it's just no fun. I don't feel challenged at all, I just feel frustrated and handicapped by ridiculous controls and gameplay design. There's nothing I've had to do in RE or in Twin Snakes that required any skill. Well when I got in a fight with Revolver Ocelot I just jogged around a square room and shot at him till he died.The game has some really sophisticated mechanics and it uses the controller and environment to the max, but it never lets you learn any of these things or exploit them, it just expects you to know everything and puts you in a "meh" sandbox. Anytime I want to put the game in I have to go online or pick up the manual to try and figure out what all the buttons do and what things Snake can do. So far I just feel like it's overly elegant, and the levels/encounters are poorly laid out, they don't give you opportunity to capitalize on the mechanics or even learn them. Which is terrible because the mechanics are what I'm most interested in. The story isn't something I think I'm going to get into right now, it's just nonsense. I'm interested in this but I'm certainly not nostalgic for it, and it's certainly not the benchmark for stealth gameplay in any way.

The only reason I even bought Twin Snakes was because I was sad that I was missing out on MGS4 Guns of The Patriots. Back when 4 came out I wanted to play it so bad, I still do, but since I don't have a PS3 I wanted to get some kind of MGS game to let me do something in that universe. I really wish I had a PS3 and Guns of the Patriots.

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

03/23/2012 at 06:44 PM

Bag of dicks? Laugh! Never been a fan of the survival horror games because I'm afraid of them. Also, Resident Evil's controls. I'm currently trying to get over that. Never played a Metal Gear Solid title except for a hour of MGS2.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

03/24/2012 at 10:04 AM

I'd say your problems with Metal Gear Solid may just be a generational thing. I played the first MGS all the way through in Japanese before playing the U.S. version, and other than a couple places where people tell you over the codec what to do, I didn't have any problems. I enjoy games that don't tell you explicitly what to do or where to go next. The triumph and fun of that first MGS was figuring out what you could do and how you could exploit the enemies with your weapons, items, and environment. It's a shame that the experience didn't hold up for you, but if you played Twin Snakes there are some problems that happened when they tried to adapt MGS 2 game mechanics into MGS 1 level design.

Whenever someone dismisses the RE tank controls as garbage I grit my teeth. The controls of those early Resident Evil (and other survival horror) games were perfect for the time. Here's the thing: those games were built around preset camera angles that would vary wildly from room to room, and sometimes even in the same room. But you can navigate them with ease, because no matter how your character is facing on screen, you know that pressing "up" on the D-pad will always move you forward, and "down" will always back you up. I can run around the first Resident Evil effortlessly.

The counter to this is the first Fatal Frame. Great game, but it gave analog control while keeping preset camera angles. So what happens is you'll be moving your character forward, but then the camera angle changes in such a drastic way that the direction you were moving the stick in is now moving your character backwards, towards the spot where the angle changes. By the time you correct yourself you've hit the camera switch again. This can happen over and over.

Tank controls are obsolete now, because even horror games use a fully controllable camera for the most part. Sections of Silent Hill Downpour try to bring in some nostalgia with some rooms that have preset camera angles, and these sections control like garbage.

Rant off, lol.

Michael117

03/24/2012 at 04:51 PM

I agree Jules, I think much of it is generational. Back when RE came out on PSX I was mostly playing my N64 I think and I was honestly in a whole different world and state of mind. My cousin had a PSX and brought over games like RE1 and Alien Trilogy and thought they were pretty cool back then but I didn't beat either of them. Alien Trilogy has nothing to do with our conversation, but I wanted to give a shout out to it because I played it as a kid lol. When I played RE briefly back in those days I can't remember hating the controls. I was truly frieghtened by the giant spiders walking around and the zombie dogs. I never got into the series the way other people did back then or wanted to keep playing though. Now after all these years when I got the remake and tried to get through I'm having a really hard time. I eventually got a PSX of my own but I never played RE. I really loved Syphon Filter, Medieval, and lots of other stuff. It's really difficult to try and distinguish the PSX and PS2 days for me. My old PS2 was my favorite console I ever owned and I loved the collection of games I had, but it's hard to draw the line between those experiences and the PSX.

The RE I have is not unplayable, it's just not fun for me. I have these games and I'm never giving them away, so eventually I'm going to bookmark an online guide and use it to help me in some ways because I don't want to be beat by the games. The parts I have explored and the stuff I've seen has been really cool, the fixed camera angles just aren't for me. I wouldn't say I'm navigating with ease, but I also wouldn't say I'm playing something broken I guess.

When it comes to MGS I've never had the same feeling of triumph. I've been an anomaly. I've been stuck in the same parts of the game ever since I was a kid, to the point of it being comical. I played it on PSX back in the day and it made a little more sense back then. This Twin Snakes remake is ridiculous and it has a FPS mode that is about as useless as can be. The guns don't put people down, the aim is terrible, and the original never had me aiming and shooting at people. The FPS features really threw me a curveball and I can't imagine why they thought it would be a great idea. The guns aren't powerful, the aim sucks, and there's no advantage to be gained from aiming and shooting at people. In fact I always find myself at a disadvantage when I choose to pull my gun out. I've been sneaking around the game as much as possible.

Matt McLennan Staff Alumnus

03/23/2012 at 11:52 PM

At the end of the day, my heart is pained at how far Konami has fallen. My favorite company during the 8/16/32/64 bit is now but a former shell of its former shelf (and that LOGO is so lame). If there is any calm to my aching heart, is that Good Feel is fill of Konami developers who worked on my favorite unsung Konami franchise: Ganbare Goemon.

That article image makes me cry. :(

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