Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Heavy Rain

A short story I did for English class. Enjoy!

Staring at his grimy, useless legs, he wondered how he would get to this man. Three years had passed since the well-dressed, calm man met him. "Call me Nemo," He had said, lighting a cigarette and adjusting his fedora in the heavy rain. They walked, discussed baseball, politics, and women, and by the end of it all, the man didn't even know who he was talking to or why he had chosen to meet with him. Nemo managed to dodge all his questions, while keeping him interested and open. The intriguing character's speech made him feel safe, trusting, and without worry. Before boarding a taxi, all Nemo told him was, "If ever you're in trouble, just follow the yellow subway line to the south end. I won't be far." After this cryptic message, his mysterious friend's tall figure disappeared into the door of the rain-drenched taxi.
That was before the accident. Before he knew how much his osteoporosis would ruin him. Before both his legs were broken, before his wife left him, before he lost his money and home.  It seemed only after all the pain and heartbreak subsided that he remembered this encounter. With nothing left cling to, with no reason to live. He knew that finding Nemo was the only way he could ever survive. He didn't know who Nemo was, if he could help him or why, but somehow he knew this was the only person he could truly trust. He didn't know how, but he would get to him or die trying.
The only obstacle that was truly holding him back from finding Nemo was his crippled legs. The last time he'd broken them was on the first day of a construction job, and by then he'd run out of money. His legs hadn't healed properly without medical help, and now they were limp and nearly unusable. He needed to find a way to get around, anything other than crawling on his arms. Darting his eyes quickly around the nearly empty alley, looking for anything he could use as a method of transport, he noticed an old, rotting wooden square with wheels attached. He managed to place himself roughly on the surface of the weak board, wincing in pain as he struggled to keep his legs out of the way of the wheels.
He'd nearly forgotten where the subway stations were, but after a risky exchange with a few gang members and a near brush with the law, he finally found his way to the yellow subway line's station. It had taken him nearly six hours to reach the station, using only his arms to propel himself forward, taking back alleys and poor districts to avoid police officers and guard dogs. He'd taken a man's wallet along the way, but felt no remorse for his actions, knowing he had no other choice in this city. Luckily, his victim was carrying a year-long subway pass, allowing  him to freely enter the gates-provided he could get into the building without either getting caught or injuring himself.
Rolling himself to the ticket booth, he gathered up all his willpower to stand on his deformed, weak knees. Grinding his teeth, he crawled along the edge of the counter, stopped to catch his breath, and mumbled “Year-round...,” showed his card,”P-pass.” The woman behind the glass gave him a worried look, but waved him through obligingly. Hobbling painfully to the escalator, he sat on the stairs, and by some miracle made it to the subway's doors. When the train came to it's final stop, he tottered through the sliding doors, pulled his way up the stairs and crawled out of the station into the cold, sunny winter air. Staring across the street, he noticed a small French cafĂ©. A lone, middle-aged man was seated at an outdoor table. The man instantly recognized him, and began to run eagerly. His left leg shattered inside him like so many times before. Sprawled on the ground, the man yelled, ”Nemo!” Nemo turned and smiled a warm, calm smile, and the man knew he was safe once again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Two RPGs

I have a large collection of both PSP and PC games, but there are some better than others, and I can be easily distracted. Still there are some amazing games I just can't get away from. I happen to be playing two of some of the best on both systems.

The first game, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, is what I'm currently playing on PSP. I had played Crisis Core about the same time last year, and haven't gone back to it until now. I was amazed when I first played it, and am still amazed when I play it again. Like nearly every Final Fantasy, Square Enix has perfectly melded technology with brilliant storytelling. With an amazing cast of memorable characters, a moving soundtrack, great voice acting and writing, and an innovative battle system, what more can you ask from a game? It may not be for everyone, but for those that enjoy powerful storytelling, this should be a game that sticks with you for a long time, with characters you refuse to let go at the end of the game(and maybe even inspire you to play the original, Final Fantasy VII). I don't want to give away any of such an incredible  story, but it's safe to say you just might shed a few tears before the credits roll.

The second game currently in progress is Mass Effect 2, a rather new game that I've been tracking for a while, having played the first Mass Effect. Mass Effect 2 follows two years after the events of the first game, Shepard has been rebuilt from death in Project Lazarus, a secret project led by Cerberus, a pro-human organization with questionable methods, led by a shady character known as the Illusive Man. The Illusive Man gives you clues and ideas, but for the most part, you are in complete command of your vessel, the Normandy SR2. You're given your ship, your crew, and two Cerberus operatives to help you in your quest to stop a strange race known simply as the Collectors. Beyond that, you're given the freedom to assemble your squad however you want, and to explore the galaxy at your own pace.

 Now, all this might seem a lot to handle, but the small part of the story I've already told you could easily happen in the first hour of gameplay. The rest is completely up to you. There's some pretty huge(and small) decisions to make throughout the course of the game, and they all impact the story in one way or another. Brilliant writing, complemented by extremely detailed character models and animations, all come together to make a great cast of credible, mature characters. Mass Effect 2 feels completely different yet completely similar to Mass Effect, with some drastic(and well-appreciated) changes to combat and space exploration. Others are more subtle, such as interruptions in speech, are small but keep the system fresh and new.

Watch out for my review of Mass Effect 2, coming out sometime in April!