Monthly Archives: November 2011
Why didn’t someone tell me about this sooner?!
I was checking the weekly updates and I saw this available as an arcade game. I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s probably just some garbage game based on that lame ass new version of Voltron on Cartoon Network. NO! It’s not! It’s the 80′s lion Voltron. The game started up with the actual full intro from the cartoon and I had a fanboygasm all over the place. The menus play the Voltron theme and there’s video from the show between stages and official voice overs during the game.
Even after all my initial gushing over the intro, I was still certain the game would be like any other game based on a TV show – AWFUL! But it’s actually not so bad. It’s got a story mode with local and online modes as well, where you pick from one of the 5 lions, each with their own stats. The game is broken down into 3 different play modes – Lion mode, which is kind of like a SMASH TV game (seems to be a popular trend these days), space mode where you’re playing whats basically a shoot em up style where crap is flying at you from all over the god damn place and then Voltron mode, which I have not gotten up to yet because I was far too excited and had to share this post first.
Voltron is 800 MSP and is it worth the 10 bucks? Probably not, but I bought it anyway. Definitely worth $5 though, so if you aren’t a super nerd like me and you see a price drop, pick it up because it is a pretty good multiplayer game.
Let me preface this post by saying that I am happily married. However getting there was an arduous adventure with many resets, extra continues, and TONS of minibosses along the way. If you’re a true gamer, you need to find yourself a gamer as well, or at least a girl that will understand your gaming compulsions. When you meet a girl and she says, “I broke up with my last boyfriend because all he did was play that stupid game where you kill everyone.” That’s basically an enormously huge, flashing, neon, warning sign that you should call it off right there and not spend the next 8 months together, because she is NEVER going to understand that the next few days after a new release you are going to be unreachable and completely occupied.
Now I know I’m not the first one to have these ideas and I’m sure there’s some lists out there already, but here’s what I got:
Video games are ALWAYS in the mood. All you have to do to get a game turned on is push a button.
When you’re finished, you don’t have to wait for your game to finish too.
Cheating is allowed in video games and the worst that can happen is maybe missing out on an achievement.
When you’re done with the game altogether, you can get some of the money you spent on it back.
Hanging out with your friends isn’t ruined when video games show up. In fact, playing games with your friends is encouraged and usually more fun as a group activity. Your girlfriend is unlikely to be happy about being a “group activity” for you and your friends, and if she is, then that’s a whole different problem.
If you get bored with the games you have, you can try out some new ones without any feelings of guilt and your other games won’t be jealous at all.
If you do something wrong you can just reload from your last save point instead of having to hear about it for the next few weeks.
When Warhammer: Space Marine came out, we were pretty heavily involved. We were up for hours all night, every night for a while. That is until Dark Souls. Dark Souls and I had a very bittersweet relationship, but we weren’t exclusive. I liked them both and was switching between Space Marine and Dark Souls whenever it felt right for me, and they were both cool with that. With Space Marine it was hot, fast, and intense and with Dark Souls it was nice to slow down and take my time knowing the reward would be worth the effort; They both had something different to offer, so I was keeping my options open. No one got jealous and I had nothing to answer for. Then along came Skyrim. Right now Skyrim and I are quite monogamous. I haven’t even had the urge to set my eyes on another video game. Every free moment I have, I spend with Skyrim. But that primal lust for Space Marine still exists and I know I can hit up Warhammer for a booty call without any consequences.
To sum it all up, video games are better than girlfriends because they don’t argue, they don’t complain, they’re always there exactly when you need them to be and if you get mad at them you can just walk away without having to “talk about it”.
So I’ve had the game almost a full day now and I have too many good things to say about it. It would honestly be easier to list the faults, which are few. For starters there’s a texture bug for the 360 version. If you install the game instead of running it straight from the disc, the textures don’t look as good. But this is an easy fix and there’s one on the way. Secondly, there’s no mounted combat. There are horses, but you have to dismount to fight anything, which just seems like lazy programming. Things are allowed to fight you if you’re on horseback but you can’t fight back. That’s also just unfair. Lastly, for those of you who played Oblivion, you will remember the radial d-pad quick menu options, which allowed you to hotkey up to 8 spells/items/weapons and switch them on the fly. They did away with that in favor of a FAVORITES hotkey list. Instead of the radial menu, you just press up or down on the d-pad and it will bring up a list of everything you’ve favorited, but you can only select two quick one-press hotkeys, which you select using left and right. I don’t think one system is better than the other per se; you ultimately have more options with the Skyrim hotkey menu, but I preferred the radial menu because it essentially had 8 quick keys instead of 2, even though I couldn’t have as many altogether. But I really never needed more than 8 anyway. For PC, this is a non-issue. And that’s it. Those are the only negative things I’ve encountered so far and I consider them minor at most.
For such a huge game, I was worried that it would be daunting to get into. Even for me, a veteran of the entire series was intimidated by the ultimate bigness that I knew I was walking into. However, you are immediately immersed into the world with a very small learning curve. Though true to Elder Scrolls form, it’s not very long until they take off the leash and throw you out into the world saying, “go off now, have fun!” Once you customize your looks, your almost free to go on your way. Character classes have been done away with, but those felt vestigial even in Oblivion since I always just did custom classes anyway. You are what you do in this game and those are the skills that will level up.
In only a days worth of gameplay I’ve had many “wow!” moments already. I’ve been chased down by enraged mammoths, clobbered and sent hurling by angry giants, slain a dragon atop a treacherous mountain, stood at the edge over a huge waterfall to admire the endless landscape, knowing that everything that’s in view, no matter how far into the distance it may appear, is an explorable location. Then I leaped to my death from said waterfall. I’m not going to bother with screenshots or videos of me playing the game. You can find those anywhere else. Besides, who wants to watch someone else walking around just looking at the foliage? You’ll have more than enough time to do that yourself when you play it.
The one definitive moment where I audibly muttered a, “this is awesome” was during a hunting expedition while I was trying to gather furs to make leather. An assassin jumped out from behind me, whom I deftly dispatched. Upon looting her corpse I found a letter which, in no certain details, explained that someone had hired the Dark Brotherhood to have me killed. And as I understand it that’s all part of Skyrim’s dynamic quest system. The game sort of tailors itself to fit you depending on your actions and the quests you complete. It will bend itself in a way to generate quests that mirror your actions.
To summarize how excellent Skyrim is, if you don’t like the game – and I know this is gonna sound a little cliché – you should probably go kill yourself.
Stop making avatar games for Xbox Live. And I don’t mean games like Kinect Sports or whatever other Kinect games use avatars. Don’t get me wrong, those games aren’t worth my time, but I will at least acknowledge their right to exist. My problem is with the games you download from the indie arcade like Avatar Sudoku, Avatar Lawn Mowing, Avatar Fighter Online, or Avatar Granny Assassin (actually that one might be kinda cool if they made it). Does anyone actually download this garbage? I’m insulted that they even make these. I wish I could say that most people don’t care about the Xbox Live avatars, but I’d be dead wrong. This is apparent through all the real world money that is spent to acquire fake digital clothing items to play dress up and make your avatars pretty. What an absolute waste. If you’re going to throw your money away like that, instead of spending a dollar on that new shirt that came out for your Xbox Live avatar, that in no way is going to affect your life either positively or negatively, and if you avoid the transaction altogether you can continue on your way and nothing will have made a difference, donate that dollar to charity. Pretty much every super market ever has a donation thing. I really don’t want to infuse my political or social agenda on this blog, but instead of spending 3 bucks for that lighsaber – which I will admit looks cool, but is utterly useless in every aspect of your life – buy a pack of socks for the homeless.
Sorry that got a little off topic. So the indie arcade avatar games are never any good. If there’s a good one out there, I challenge you to find it and prove me wrong. I’m not too proud. I’m willing to admit when I’ve been bested. Or better yet, someone make a good avatar game. Since their inception, the avatars have painstakingly gone out of their way at every turn to make it abundantly clear how useless they are, but since they’re there, let’s give them something good to do.
Avatar paintball – garbage. Avatar Laser Wars – horrible. Avatar Fighter Online – why not just play Street Fighter? I’ve had these thoughts before but I usually keep them to myself. I don’t like to be a hate monger, especially on the internet because we all know that’s the last thing we need to see here. But Avatar Adventure Online has me so personally offended that I just couldn’t hold it back anymore. It’s just dumb. The concept around it is dumb, the graphics are dumb, the playability is dumb, the enemies are dumb, the idea to make the game is dumb. Seriously, how many MMOs are out there now? How many of them are good? MOST of them are completely free! So right there, before we’ve even delved into why the game itself is bad, is a reason for why the avatar games should stop being made. Why would you ever pay money to play a horrible game when you could easily play another horrible, yet slightly better game, for free?! Yet still I was curious. I’ve played nearly every MMO I’ve come across and I wasn’t about to stop, so I had to at least check out the demo. I would say that I was disappointed when the game loaded up, but to be disappointed would make the assumption that positive anticipation was present. When compared to pretty much any other game from as far back as 10 years ago, Avatar Adventures Online still looks like it’s a few years behind. The landscapes, if you want to call them that, looked awful. Clearly the mentally challenged designer was rebelling, possibly infuriated by his lack of enemas.
If we do a side by side comparison to Everquest, considered to be the genre defining game, which launched in 1999, it still looks slightly better. The only reason a game shouldn’t be up to graphical standards is if it’s integral to the game design. Obviously a game designed to be 16-bit shouldn’t be expected to look like Crysis. But I don’t see any reasoning to intentionally take a 3D landscape, which uses polygonal features, and not use current gen lighting, texture mapping, etc, when the system it’s being played on is clearly capable of it. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe people do miss the early days of polygon graphics and have a nostalgic soft spot for that “devoid of all detail” look. Oh, and the first enemy I came across was a big, round, dumb, bumble-bee. That’s when I turned the game off.
Sonic Generations finally released last week and most of you probably don’t even care. And who’s to blame you? The last…decade maybe of Sonic games have been awful. Although, Sonic Colors was pretty good. Too bad it was only on the Wii and DS, pretty much ruining any legitimacy it might have gained. Sonic Generations however is really awesome. But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about a fan made Sonic game that I played some time ago and was disappointed because it never came to full fruition.
Back when I first heard they were doing a Sonic 4, I started to do some research to find out release dates, style, graphics, etc. and I stumbled upon the Sonic Fan Remix. After seeing only a couple of screen shots, I immediately sought out a demo. The project was being lead by Pelikan13, who has unfortunately stopped production. Despite only releasing a couple demos with a few playable stages, the fan remix was still loads better than Sega’s official Sonic 4 release. A lot of things kept that game from being a good side-scroller; the momentum in Sonic 4 felt all wrong for starters, and overall I don’t think it really recaptured the essence of its 16-bit ancestors. Sonic Fan Remix just feels right, like putting on a pair of socks fresh out of the dryer on a cold winter day. SFR has vibrant colors, great lighting effects, weather effects like rain and wind in the trees, it has more lush backgrounds and foregrounds (though some say it’s too overpopulated with stuff), and mainly just feels more like an authentic Sonic game. Pelikan13 has said that it’s possible he may return to the game at some point in the future, but I won’t hold my breath. Like too many fan made and indie games, it will probably never see completion. I guess I understand. Making a game for free doesn’t pay the bills.
Check out the Sonic Fan Remix homepage for some screenshots and a video. Unfortunately the download link there doesn’t work anymore. A lot of hosting sites I’ve seen have taken down the demo, but it’s still accessible on fileplanet and various other sites. But here’s a favor. I’ve got the link directly to the download right here. This is the most complete version I’ve seen. It’s got 3 stages in the Emerald Hill Zone, the first zone from Sonic 2. There’s also a less complete demo of the Chemical Plant Zone which you can download here. Both are executable files with nothing to install. So take a few minutes and enjoy the demos and if you like them, let Pelikan13 know. Maybe with a big enough push we can see a complete remake.
Sorry I haven’t written a post in a couple weeks but I’ve been having relationship issues with Dark Souls. It feels as if this is a very one sided affair; I’ve been giving all of myself and I really do love Dark Souls, but I don’t think my feelings are being reciprocated. I’m pretty certain Dark Souls hates me, but I just can’t stay away. I had a fling with Dark Souls older sibling, Demon’s Souls, a few years ago and it didn’t end well. I should have known that their abusive behavior runs in the family. Serves me right I suppose. But sometimes I think, “Maybe it’s not Dark Souls, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m the one to blame.” I first noticed there was a real problem when I picked up a TV remote in anger and almost hurled it at Dark Souls from across the room.
I even bought this self help book with the best strategies towards helping our situation.
It’s helped a little, but I’m still constantly on the defensive. Even though this guide has given me insight on what to expect from Dark Souls, I’m still timid about rounding any new corners in our relationship. Some people have told me to just call it off, that we need to part ways because all I’m doing is hurting myself, that no matter how hard I try, or how much I study Dark Souls abusive patterns, it’s only going to get worse, and no one should put themselves through this.
Maury always has these hopeless women on his show whose boyfriend/husband hits them, yells at them, belittles them, and they still say, “I know he doesn’t mean it when he hits me. He still loves me.” And I’ll be the first to say how stupid they are for staying in such a clearly harmful relationship, yet here I am, unable to walk away.
If you too have had a similar problem and need to talk about it, I’ve got open arms and a warm shoulder to cry on.
Anyway, I should have a new post up in another day or two, after I get my problems sorted out.