Monday, January 19, 2009

Progress Report 01/19/2009

I got some good time in with an assortment of games this past week. Variety is always nice. I've been jumping into Metroid Fusion for 30 minutes to an hour at a time every couple of days. It's good, but not totally engaging me the way Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night have in the past. That's probably no fault of the game's, though; in an era of gigantic open world, open-ended gaming, it just seems kind of quaint. I do enjoy it, just in a more connoisseur-ial fashion. I appreciate it.

Finishing Gears of War 2 left me wanting more, and coincidentally there's a Gears 1 achievement I want to unlock so that I can unlock the final playable character model in Gears 2 multiplayer, so I popped the first game into my system this week and started off a playthrough on Hardcore difficulty. I finished Act 1 so far, and hopefully someone will jump in with me for some buddy action!

I've been extremely impressed by the post-release DLC support (entirely free to this point) that Burnout Paradise has received over the last year, and all the raving (and my desire for something new to play before/after watching a DVD without having to toss a disc in) finally convinced me to pick it up from the PSN store. I've never played another Burnout before, but it sorta reminds me of a mix of Ridge Racer and GTA's driving engine. It's a free-roaming city street racing game, but you have no goals you have to meet, or anything you really have to do in order to progress, except just have fun.

What's really cool is the (almost) seamless online integration. I can just hit right on the d-pad a couple of times and all of the sudden I'm online and there are a bunch of other players around the city doing things, cooperatively or competitively. I'm in the same city, on the same street as before, only now there are real people driving (a few) of the other cars on the road. I got into a game the other night where a couple of the 8 people had headsets (I don't, on PSN), and they were able to give directions and coordinate with the rest of us to meet up in certain areas and do things to complete some multiplayer challenges. It's good, mindless fun, not something with a million cars and parts you really have to worry over or races you have to practice a whole lot at, like a lot of other racing games.

When I was logging onto the PSN store to get that, I noticed a new PSOne Castlevania up on the store that I'd never played before, and it was only $6, so I impulse bought Castlevania: Chronicles. Turns out this is a port of an old Japanese PC adaptation of the original NES Castlevania. I knew about the game since it came out in 2001, but I'd thought it was just a PSX update of the NES Castlevania. The difference, essentially, is a bunch of extra levels and some tunes that weren't in the NES game. Win-win. Tough game--luckily you can save at the beginning of each level. The graphical fidelity is somewhere between 8- and 16- bit--adequate.

Lastly, I played through missions 2 and 3 in Killzone last night, since Netflix streaming on the 360 was being difficult. As I've said before, it's a classic example of a developer trying to outdo their platform. It's like how Crytek future-proofed Crysis by making it for 2010 machines in 2007. Except Killzone's case is a little dumb when you consider the fact that PS2's aren't upgradeable. Apart from the frame rate, and brain-dead enemies, I think it's a pretty good game. The graphics are pretty impressive at times for a PS2 game, and the weapons are cool. I also like how you can choose to control any of the people in your squad. I played for a bit as the assassin woman, and I just added a new guy with a minigun. More will be written about this one later.


Kamanie said...

I too have gone back to GOW1 (mostly for some achievements since my score is pathetic) but also for some fun and to unlock Raam.

With great difficulty, I was able to clear Act 1 on Hardcore. I thought the Berzerker would be the hardest part, but that wasn't it. What got me was that cramped little open air courtyard after you enter the room with the piano (I forgot the name of the chapter). There is a mounted gun on your left and a spotter in a second story window on the right.

My grenades would always miss and most of my teammates would usually be dead by the time I could kill the spotter. After probably 25-30 attempts, I finally made it. I think what made the difference for me was to simply kill the spotter much faster. I am a lousy shot...

Kamanie said...

Whoops, this is Greg on my girlfriends account.

Count Elmdor said...

That was one of the two or three toughest parts for me, also, but the worst was that part at the end of a long street where you find yourself in the middle of a circular fountain and locust holes popping up all around you. I kept getting surrounded and having my squadmates go down before I could grenade the holes to close them.

What I did in the part you talked about, that seemed to make it easier, was charge into the building the spotter is in, and up the stairs to kill him, then use the windows to kill the guy on the gun emplacement. After that, I'd have to be quick to run over and man the gun myself, though, because of the surge of locust that come into the room from behind you.

If I see you online when I'm on to play, I'll send you an invite, or you send one and we can take on some of the horde together. I don't care where we start from.

Greg said...

Lol, I didn't see the staircase up to the room on the second floor...That would have made things easier.

Do you recall if there was a cog tag up there?

Count Elmdor said...

nope, not up there. Have you noticed any correlation between the cog tags and the red gear/skull symbol on the walls?

Necovia said...

dude! I will play through with you!

I can definitely make it this weekend!

Necovia said...

Dude, doesn't the Killzone universe just feel dirtier and more rugged than anything else? The production design on it is great. And this was Pre-Gears, so you can't claim they stole the color palette!

Esteban said...

All well and good, but that dude is wrong, the thing was completely random.

Count Elmdor said...

I agree about Killzone.

I can't believe that guy wrote a whole article about the DMW. FWIW, I never thought it was completely random. After a certain point, you were sure to hit a level-up.

Necovia said...

Well, yeah, the level-up system thing yes, but not the materia level-ups or the abilities and limit breaks.

Other than your "state" affecting which face appears, the whole thing was a random piece of shit.

Why else would it unleash Bahamut on minor-ass characters, and then completely do nothing for entire boss fights? Worthless.

I think what that guy says has merit, it's a cool way to tie gameplay and narrative, but there was NO point in not giving the player at least the power to start it spinning.

-and yes, I know you can influence it with Materia, but only if you do the boring missions.

Gears this w/e?

Count Elmdor said...

I would have preferred the option to disable the DMW, personally, or at least to stop it myself.

We'll definitely hit up Gears this weekend. Friday or Saturday night is good for me, so midday to afternoon your time on Sat. or Sun.?

I'm playing some Burnout atm on PSN. It's pretty cool. Finally beat Metroid Fusion last night, too.

Necovia said...

rock, I'm there. I'll most likely be on Sunday morning here/ saturday night your time.

Greg said...

Are we all going to pick up SFIV?

I hear it is coming out around mid Feb and am already trying to decide which system to buy it for.

The PS3 has a much better d-pad, which I assume will still be important for this game.

The 360 has a better online community but possibly the worst d-pad ever.

I expect the game to run equally well on either platform so right now it looks like I will intend to pick up the PS3 version so long as there aren't any major drawbacks.

Any thoughts?

FYI. Went to FFXI AH site for fun to check on a few of the old players we used to know. Secksi (or someone using his account) is still buying stuff. And, Drako is back online.

Count Elmdor said...

I dunno about SF IV. I definitely want to play it, but I'm kind of wary of having another Forza 2 on my shelf; a game that is more or less the pinnacle of it's genre but that nonetheless I never play, and can't bring myself to get rid of, either.

I like fighting games like I like racing sims--only when the mood strikes. And I've already got SF Alpha Collection, SF2 Anniversary Collection, and SSF2THDR. That said, I already have an arcade stick for PS3, so I'd probably get it there if anywhere.

I talked to Secksi about 6 months ago via PM on BG forums. He was still playing then, so I wouldn't be surprised to see he's still there. Same with Drako, I heard from him via Allakhazaam. Nothing from Eseuldor or anyone else, though...