Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two New Contenders Enter The Ring

The Royal Rumble of my gaming time continues to get more and more packed. Borderlands and Torchlight come available this week on Steam, and I'm looking forward to playing both.

The last couple of weeks have actually been pretty sparse in terms of gaming. I played a few hours of Dawn of War II two weekends ago, and had a couple of sessions of Firefight, both times teamed up with one other, played just a bit of Yakuza 2, a little TF2 here and there, and a few minutes each of Rock Band and Red Faction: Guerilla, showing a friend how awesome it is. Oh, and there were two post-podcast sessions of Demigod, too.

It's been so light due to being sick, tired, busy, and spending time watching movies and reading. I'm reading Halo: The Fall of Reach at the moment. It's pretty good for a book based on a video game universe! Three of the existing 6 Halo books are by this author, so I'm pretty sure those at least will be worthwhile, too. The two Mass Effect novels I read were decent, but I'd say this is a little better. I was kind of worried that delving too much into the fiction would ruin my 'blank slate' picture of the Chief, and I guess that has been supplanted somewhat, but I'm not exactly put off by what the novel has presented.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Games I Can't Afford

This Fall is, like any Fall, nuts for games. Bear with me while I think this through...

  1. Batman - waiting for price drop
  2. ODST - bought
  3. Demon's Souls - price drop
  4. Brutal Legend - price drop
  5. Uncharted 2 - waiting for price drop/later
  6. Borderlands - bought
  7. Torchlight - bought
  8. Dragon Age - later
  9. Fallout 3 GOTY Edition - later
  10. Modern Warfare 2 - price drop/later
  11. Assassin's Creed 2 - price drop
  12. Left 4 Dead 2 - inevitable Steam price drop
I think that covers about all I'm interested in this Fall. There are still a ton of other games that have already come out this year that I want, though, like Killzone 2, Dawn of War II, Shadow Complex, and many more.

I've also got to work out the games I'm going to be playing. I've got a huge buffet of games that I've stepped into and are awaiting my return. I'm concentrating on Yakuza 2 at the moment, but I've got to figure out what's going to be next once I'm done with it. Maybe Starcraft is a good choice, especially when I'm in Japan next month.

Update: Well, it looks like I'm picking up Dawn of War II for $20 on Steam today in a half-off sale.

Update 2: Decided to pull the trigger on Borderlands and Torchlight via Steam sales and positive word of mouth.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gutter Japanese Is Hard To Parse (Namen-ja ne yo!!)

I've dug several hours into Yakuza 2, the final untouched PS2 game in my collection. It's a step up from the original in several respects, not the least of which is the simple subtitling of the game's original Japanese voice-acting. The VA in Yakuza, the first, was done very well, but even so ended up an overall subtraction from the game's unique Japanese flavor. It may not matter to some who don't speak the language, but plenty of people find the presence of the VA (and script) that the game was designed around makes for a purer experience.

I'm enjoying it quite a bit so far, and more than I expected to, the mechanics and visuals being dated and clumsy as they are. My Japanese is far from native, but also far from a beginner's. Still, I have a lot of trouble trying to go just off the VA alone, especially when it's some gutter chinpira trash hurling insults, a Yakuza boss making proclamations, or a gruff police detective dropping technical terms all over the place. I can usually understand the female characters, though. Funny how that works, all things considered.

I've been back to Halo: the ODST campaign to mop up a couple of achievements, versus multiplayer, and a couple of solo attempts at Firefight. I'd rank the quality of my experiences in that exact order, actually. The lack of matchmaking in Firefight is pretty crippling to it's accessibility. What a shame that is. It seems like it would be a blast with a good group.

Another game I just keeping going back to is Geometry Wars. I've got a few pesky friends who keep beating my high score, and some straggler achievements that I would love to earn, but the game foils me at every turn. What a great game, though. Definitely in the top echelon of download-able games, indeed all games, this console cycle.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Loss For Words

I know what you're thinking. It's about time, right? I ramble on for paragraphs at a time here every week with impressions and stories of the games I've been playing, and now all of the sudden I have nothing to say? Well, you can thank the podcast I've started doing with Lonesteban, which you can find here: http://drop.io/mmh4vw1# and here: http://drop.io/knowzen

Now, an annotated pictorial:

I finished my Heroic playthrough of the Halo 3 ODST campaign, and I really enjoyed it. Next I need to try Firefight.

500 Wii Points I had otherwise collecting digital dust went toward a VC Legend of Zelda. This classic still holds up remarkably well, and the master quest is still hard as a diamond.

This is my character in Titan Quest, Yorthagonus, seeking an audience with the Spartan king Leonidas. I have to go kill a satyr or something first.