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Masters Welcome to my blog. Beware; extreme randomness abound.

Title: Journey and its ilk
Posted: May 16, 2012 (10:35 AM)
I thought I'd crap out my thoughts on this game while they are still somewhat fresh. I hope that Journey lovers don't take this as a personal attack, because it's not.

I understand that my personal aesthetic may make me a poor candidate for appreciating games like Journey; indeed, I am so bored by this kind of stuff that I can't get far enough in the game to warrant writing a proper review.

But I have to ask to nobody in particular... what's the appeal? Bear in mind that I am the same hater of all things beautiful and stripped down who doesn't have much love for Ico and Shadow of the Colossus either.

But getting back to Journey: it's a very simplistic game. I may be wrong (again, I only passed 3 or 4 'levels') but here is a title where you can really make do with one button.

The good old Sonic the Hedgehog games only made use of one button function too. But those games offered some semblance of challenge and there was lots to see and do.

Not Journey though. This 'game' is a bland beige tour through a wasteland with cyclopean structures jutting out here and there, involving hopping about and riding carpets to no worthwhile end.

On some occasions, I can pierce the heavy veil of pretentious praise from supporters and see that they love the game because it offers something 'different and beautiful in its simplicity.'

I think back to Out of This World, which was a game that was different and offered a simple, yet beautifully told story of friendship. But that game also had sick puzzles and hard as hell shooting elements. That game killed you a lot.

I imagine OoTW in an alternate universe, where Lester and the big alien just hold hands and run and jump to the end. That would have been something else.
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Title: Over the top FPS games
Posted: September 19, 2011 (08:14 AM)
I'm playing Killzone 3, and man is it ridiculous. I mean, clearly all FPS games have ridiculous plots and ideas, but this game made me laugh openly while playing. Perhaps they're doing it on purpose so as not to take themselves so seriously? That's gotta be it. The main character, Zev, and his loud mouthed buddy Rico are gunners on some sort of high altitude craft and where do they sit to operate the guns? ON TOP OF THE CRAFT. Like, right on top. No oxygen mask. There's no canopy, no nothing. They're not even strapped in. They stay on because they each have one foot hooked around a metal rail.

Just before the sequence with them riding on the open concept craft, Zev is flying a jetpack. It malfunctions and is doomed to crash. He extricates himself, and falls some twenty feet directly onto his left shoulder. Hard. He sits up to recover, and a huge wave caused by an explosion in the water nearly drowns him. His response is priceless: he calmly gets up, LITERALLY BRUSHES HIS SHOULDER OFF, and radios for a pick up from his indestructible hands-free device which is still attached to his ear and still functioning.

Someone is having a lot of fun with this.

Judging from this and the abysmal storytelling in Black Ops, I expect wonderful things from Modern Warfare 3.
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Title: Over the top FPS games
Posted: September 19, 2011 (08:14 AM)
I'm playing Killzone 3, and man is it ridiculous. I mean, clearly all FPS games have ridiculous plots and ideas, but this game made me laugh openly while playing. Perhaps they're doing it on purpose so as not to take themselves so seriously? That's gotta be it. The main character, Zev, and his loud mouthed buddy Rico are gunners on some sort of high altitude craft and where do they sit to operate the guns? ON TOP OF THE CRAFT. Like, right on top. No oxygen mask. There's no canopy, no nothing. They're not even strapped in. They stay on because they each have one foot hooked around a metal rail.

Just before the sequence with them riding on the open concept craft, Zev is flying a jetpack. It malfunctions and is doomed to crash. He extricates himself, and falls some twenty feet directly onto his left shoulder. Hard. He sits up to recover, and a huge wave caused by an explosion in the water nearly drowns him. His response is priceless: he calmly gets up, LITERALLY BRUSHES HIS SHOULDER OFF, and radios for a pick up from his indestructible hands-free device which is still attached to his ear and still functioning.

Someone is having a lot of fun with this.

Judging from this and the abysmal storytelling in Black Ops, I expect wonderful things from Modern Warfare 3.

Title: PlayStation Store finally back up!
Posted: June 03, 2011 (08:28 AM)
I was so stoked when I checked it out this morning. There was a good amount of new stuff on offer too, but the free shit we anticipated is not available yet--boo.

Highlights for me: Bonk's Adventure and Bomberman '94!! This follows the Neutopia release of a few months ago.

I've got all these games already, but the idea is I can download them on my PSP and play them on the go now. And that's better than spending $300 for a used TurboExpress with dead pixels.

Title: Homefront
Posted: March 16, 2011 (06:38 AM)
I loaded up Homefront for the first time last night. I haven't tried the single player campaign yet, but I spent some time with the multiplayer team deathmatch mode.

It looks bad. The font used throughout looks like something you might see in an Intellivision game. Worse than simply an aesthetic issue, you can't actually read shit that's on the screen because of it.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. The graphics are hella weak, and the weapons lack punch. The best gun is the submachine gun because it uses a red dot by default, which makes it easier to hit your targets--the difficult to see, seemingly pixelated other players.

The sniper rifle seemed like a good idea at first, since the game rewards camping; then I realized that it's slow to fire and more often than not does not give you a one-shot kill.

There are also precious few options on offer. Button layout, for example, is limited to default and southpaw. No tactical, no legacy, nothing. I found this particularly troubling since I like to use the right analog stick not for melee attacks, but for crouching. No can do.

Modes are even more limited. You've got two multiplayer modes. Two! Team Deathmatch, and some sort of holding action mode. Each of the two modes can be 'enhanced' if you choose the Battle Commander versions, which allow a AI-controlled General to place bounties on the heads of whoever is on the most impressive killing streak.

Killing streaks unlock remote controlled drones and airstrikes -- the usual fare, but decidedly less compelling this time 'round.

Really, I'm surprised by how poor the graphics are. The game looks worse than Modern Warfare -- yes, the FIRST Modern Warfare. You know, the one released in 2007? That one.

The trailers led me to believe that we were in for a treat with Homefront, and they certainly did their job. But once the disc started spinning, it was all downhill. Without touching on the (im)plausibility of the bad guy's empire-building -- even the heavy-handed intro, highlighting the Korean occupation of The United States was done poorly.

For the high ticket price on this thing, Homefront is most certainly a terrible value. You might feel ripped off paying the price of a rental alone.

I will save my final word for after I spend some time with the campaign, but I'm not optimistic.
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Title: JadedGamer
Posted: March 15, 2011 (02:55 PM)
In the last two months or so, I have played over twenty games, easy. Sadly, none of them have really held my interest, and I've been left feeling fairly blase about gaming in general despite or perhaps because of my recent (over?)exposure to so many games. Here's the list, so far as I can recall:

Bulletstorm, Vanquish, Killzone 3, Modern Combat, Ninja Chop, Super Meat Boy, Altered Beast, Mass Effect, Perfect Dark Zero, Tomb Raider Legend, Modern Warfare 2, Alan Wake, Silent Hill 2, Silent Hill, Portal, Half-Life 2, Kinect Adventures, Hard Corps Uprising, Deadly Premonition, Raiden Fighters, Tetris, Tetris Splash, COD: Black Ops, Call of Duty 3, Halo Reach, Super Contra, Tenchu Z, and Frogger.


Modern Warfare 2 is the only one I came back to with any regularity. Reach multiplayer seems somewhat promising.

So, I'm either bored of the hobby in general, or I'm playing the wrong games.

In either case: profound sadness.

Title: Silent Hill: Shattered Expectations
Posted: November 24, 2010 (08:01 AM)
So I rented Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. I went in with the lowest of expectations after Homecoming, and somehow this game managed to be much worse than Homecoming. It's got some cool ideas, and I appreciate all the touches that were implemented to modernize the original game, which I loved.

But the 'creature chase' sequences are such a tremendously bad idea. Their egregious inclusion literally ruins the game.

For the first time in a Silent Hill game, there is absolutely no sense of fear while roaming during the game. None. Because you're completely safe since enemy attack sequences are like scheduled dentist appointments.

Do some walking around solving small puzzles and then -- it's MONSTER TIME! Mad dashes in the darkness, following blue lights -- like footraces in underground parking garages. This is tantamount to Leon Kennedy exploring a Spanish village devoid of activity in the near dark when suddenly the sky changes and he straps himself in a go-kart to race through a haunted house.

Seriously.

These parts aren't scary either, because a. the monsters look like teenagers in suits made of bubblegum, b. they don't make scary sounds, c. as far as I can tell, their devastating attack is to latch onto you, and d. it's not that hard to stay away from them.

Not scary AND annoying, if anything, because it's hard to see, and shaking off monsters lucky enough to embrace you gets tiresome. Jesus, what a car wreck.
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Title: Nuketown: NUKED!
Posted: November 22, 2010 (07:07 AM)
Ok, so this is nothing new, but I only now got around to griping publicly about it.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is not a great game, despite what all the expensive advertising (Kobe Bryant and Jimmy Kimmel like it--it must be good!) will try to tell you. And all the pro gaming mags and sites. 9/10? Ridiculous. The game is NOWHERE as good as Modern Warfare 2. Like, it's not even close.

It doesn't look as good. The characters have big heads in the single player campaign. In multiplayer, you get this sense that you're controlling toy soldiers on a play battlefield. That's not good.

More importantly, the single player campaign is hella boring. Surely this is due in small part to my playing too many of these sorts of games in a short space of time. Might be all "FPS'ed out." Might be.

But it's mostly because the campaign is a disjointed mess with characters I don't care about, fraught with bad accents and plagued with moments where the game wants you to do something, but doesn't tell you what.

Multiplayer isn't wonderful, but it has a few crazy fun maps, and unlike in MW2, you can actually vote to play the map you just finished with again. And again. And again.

And that map was Nuketown. Most folks loved it, and so you might find yourself playing it ten times in succession. Of course, if you got tired of it, or if Nuketown wasn't your thing to begin with, you could just exit the lobby and go back in.

Treyarch didn't like you having to do that. So they crippled their own voting system. It seems as though too many were having too much fun with Nuketown, and so Treyarch saw fit to do two things: 1. make the occurrences of Nuketown coming up as a map extremely rare, and 2. when it does come up, you can't play it more than twice in a row.

Listen, I understand you made other maps. And I understand that Nuketown is ridiculously simple. I won't get into the argument I've seen some having about 'intelligence level' as if it has something to do with wanting to play a manic level over a more sprawling map. God knows Nuketown isn't perfect, with its crazy spawn points and whatever else elitists want to cite as making the map beneath them.

The fact of the matter is: most people loved the hell out of it. They voted to play it over and over, because they loved it. Others could opt out if they didn't love it. What's the issue? Contrary to what some 'purists' have claimed, players murdering one map did not and would not 'break' the online experience; eventually, Nuketown lovers would calm down a bit and move on to other maps (or other games). Yes, the interest would not stay at the level it was at initially, forever. Really!

The fact that Treyarch felt the need to step in and abort what seemed to almost universally be considered the best thing about their new game is pretty sad.

My own obsessive interest in Nuketown had already started to die down before the infamous patch was forced upon me. I would have played it less often. Now I can barely play it at all, and the other maps are almost all whitebread. Time to play some Modern Warfare again.

Title: I'm playing BioShock 2
Posted: February 11, 2010 (09:46 AM)
Seriously.

The idea of playing it is pretty exciting, but already the game is quite a bit less compelling than the first.

Despite the fact that the original deteriorated into a dressed up fetch quest, it began as an engaging tour of wonderland.

BioShock 2 doesn't.
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Title: No Russian -- My Reaction
Posted: November 19, 2009 (11:21 AM)
"Hmm... I don't have to contribute to this in any way to advance, do I?

And yet--I feel bad. Like I'm not pulling my weight. And nobody likes a wallflower.

I'll fire a couple grenades into a crowd, you know, just to keep busy.

There."
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Title: Hangover
Posted: November 19, 2009 (11:15 AM)
Okay, so when you're drinking, you want to drink more--I get that, and I'm okay with it. Occasionally, I can actually fight the compulsion to keep going. What I can NEVER fight, is the compulsion to eat like a champ (or chump, really).

Last night I had two massive homeburgers from this greasy spoon and paid for it this morning in spades. But!! The good news is that I have the recovery down to a science.

Wake up early, drink pop to ensure that the nausea feeling manifests as burps; allot time for at least a couple good trips to the can (hence the waking up early); take a nice shower only after having completed the final dump.

Title: Change is good
Posted: November 18, 2009 (11:06 AM)
Seriously.
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Title: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
Posted: November 13, 2009 (11:57 AM)
Follow the Bouncing Boobs or Purple Haze

If you havenít played this game the way it was meant to be played (read: as Ninja Gaiden 2 on the Xbox 360), then the underwhelming nature of this PS3 port will be easier to stomach.

But wait! you balk, incredulous. Doesnít this version feature not only superninja Ryu Hayabusa, but busty and leatherclad Rachel, and busty newcomer ninjas Ayane and Momji Ė as playable characters in their own unique missions? Yes, it does. And indeed, you can induce eerie boob undulations even when the girlsí chests should be at rest.

And Iíll do you one better: Sigma 2 looks better than the Xbox 360 original. Indeed, the intro is truly something you can show your Xbox 360-owning friends while smiling triumphantly, because it will bring out that insecurity. Just like youíd hoped it would.

But once you start playingÖ well, thatís another story altogether. See, the differences between the two games speak to the wildly varying visions of the respective directors at the helms: surprisingly, Iíll take buckets of blood and hardcore action over purple gas and bouncing boobs, no matter how sharply realized they might be.

I canít believe I said that.

No, not the blood part, the boobs part. Much has already been made of swapping out the original gameís over-the-top bloodletting in exchange for inexplicable plumes of lavender fumes, so much that I initially thought people were overreacting.

But theyíre not. The new generation Ninja Gaiden has always been about permitting progress in the most begrudging of ways. But through the beatings would emerge an indomitable gamer pride: weíd dust Ryu off, assuring ourselves that by defending prudently and patiently, awaiting openings to counterattack, our resolve would see us through.

And Iíll admit that Iím surprised at how much the blood had to do with fueling that resolve.

Rending limbs produced spectacular arterial spray as a medium for Ryu to paint a personal and satisfying canvas. That feeling is borne of a base savagery (a sort of badassery, like doing push-ups on rocks), and Sigma 2ís oddly pristine re-imagining has tidied badassery right out of the equation.

The gameís infamous obstinacy has mellowed too, hammering home this versionís thesis: Tough guy fulfillment has all but gone up in purple smoke. Areas crawling with menace that had you sweating your way through, barely able to come up for air, now smack of bland formula and the perfunctory: run, slice a few ninjas, run, dice a few more, learn a new skill at an inexplicably long loading screen, start running againÖ

Sure, Sigma 2 looks extremely crisp, boasting set pieces to marvel at, from Sky City Tokyo to The Aqua Capital; and characters whose enviably rendered physiques impress, from Ryuís musculature to the girlsí aforementioned heaving chests.

But there is no mistaking that something is amiss here; Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 feels sterile and vapid where it once felt more raw and engaging. Itís still a decent romp, but certainly not the ideal Ninja Gaiden adventure that was advertised.


7/10
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Title: BioShock is cool
Posted: December 15, 2008 (12:02 PM)
So I'm playing BioShock. And it's really cool. The world is something else. I'd have to say that so far it isn't as compelling as System Shock 2, but that doesn't make it a massive failure -- SS2 is one of the best games evar. Anyway, I hope to be done with it by week's end. And then, the inevitable review.
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Title: My review of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows
Posted: December 15, 2008 (11:58 AM)
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows

Um, that's the link. In case you somehow missed it on the front page of the site. =D
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