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Posted by dankempster

I've just returned to my flat after spending a little over a week away, and boy, is it good to be back. Part of me feels a little bit socially inept in confessing that I missed a website, but I really did miss Giant Bomb over the course of my absence. It looks like I've got a lot to catch up on from the last ten days - a slew of editorial content, both written and recorded, as well as a healthy backlog of blogs and reviews put up by the users I follow. Before getting stuck into the meal, though, I think it best to lay the table first. That's the purpose of this short blog - a quick reintegration by way of recapping what's happened to me over the last week and a half.
For those of you not in the loop (or rather, those of you who didn't read my last blog), I've been away celebrating my girlfriend's birthday. She turned 22 on September 17th, and I was invited to spend some time with her family as part of her birthday celebrations. All in all, it was a pretty pleasant break. I got to spend some time relaxing, away from my job, and away from the worries of the impending start of my third and final year of University. Aside from my girlfriend's actual birthday, which was marked by a family meal and an evening spent ten-pin bowling, most of our time was spent simply chilling out in her house with her folks. Her family are all big movie-lovers, so I found myself watching a lot more films than I usually do. Among them were the three Resident Evil films (surprisingly watchable), the British comedy Lesbian Vampire Killers (pathetic, but funny), and Body of Lies (further confirming my suspicions that Leonardo DiCaprio can do no wrong right now). I also spent a lot of time reading - in the time I was there I managed to get to the end of Stephen Fry's The Liar, and start Paul Hoffman's The Left Hand of God.
I know what you're thinking. This is all well and good, Dan, but this is Giant Bomb. A website about video games. Where are the video games in this blog? Fear not, intrepid reader, we're getting there. 

 Peace Walker is a huge package on a tiny UMD
When I wasn't reading, watching movies or sleeping, I was playing video games. While hauling a home console back to my girlfriend's parents' house seemed like too much of an imposition for old-fashioned me to make, I thought I'd be able to get away with bringing my PSP along for the journey. I sank a few more hours into Final Fantasy VII, making it through Nibelheim and Rocket Town and putting me in the perfect position to write up another couple of episodes of Enduring Final Fantasy VII when I find the time. However, most of my game time was put into the other game I took with me - Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Over the last ten days I've played a respectable nineteen hours of this portable stealth-action title, and I think that's long enough for me to say that it's one of the best titles ever to grace Sony's handheld. Beyond the top-notch production values and a story that's more than becoming of the franchise, there's a hell of a lot going on under the hood. The soldier recruitment is lifted straight out of Portable Ops, but there's a deep statistical side to it to. I've probably spent just as much time shuffling my soldiers between different teams and researching new equipment as I have actually sneaking through the game's missions. I suspect I've only seen about half of Peace Walker's main campaign, and probably only a third of its Extra-Ops side missions, so I think it's going to keep me busy for some time yet. Expect a detailed write-up closer to completion.
Being in a new town with a few unexplored video game stores also inevitably led to some purchases. I picked up three new games from the various stores in and around Windsor, and those games are as follows: 
  • Resident Evil - The GameCube remake, specifically. £6.00. Playing through Resident Evils 4 and 5 has got me particularly interested in exploring the history of the franchise, and the GameCube iteration of the very first game seemed like a logical place to start. I've also done a bit of online shopping and ordered copies of Resident Evils 2, 3, Code Veronica, and Zero. My plan is to chug through the entire franchise at some point next year. Wish me luck.
  • Beyond Good and Evil - The PlayStation 2 version, if it matters. £1.50. I've heard nothing but great things about this game, and it definitely seems like the kind of adventure I could get into.
  • Dante's Inferno - The 360 version. £19.99. To tell the truth, this wasn't my purchase, per se. My girlfriend bought it for me. She'd seen me picking up and examining a few boxes in the GAME store in Windsor, and I guess this is the one I examined for the longest, because she produced it out of her bag when we got back to her place. I love the God of War games, and I loved the poem when I studied it as part of the first year of my Uni course. From what I've read about this game, both of those things could either make me love it, or detest it. I plan on picking it up to play within the next month or so.

 Looks like more Fallout, but that's just fine by me
So that's what I've been up to. What about what I plan on getting up to over the next few months? To tell the truth, I expect that all video-game related activity is going to slow right down between now and Christmas, on account of Uni starting up again. Between lectures, classes, background reading, coursework, part-time work and maintaining my flat, I doubt I'm going to find much time to just chill out, and when I do, I suspect I'd rather do so with my girlfriend than with a game. That being said, I still expect I'll make my way through two or three more games before the year is out. As far as purchases are concerned for this quarter, Fallout: New Vegas is the only one that's high on my agenda, and I suspect that even that might have to wait given how busy I'm likely to be. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself! I still have a whole week of summer left, and I'm planning to use it to pick Fable II back up and play through its DLC packs. That, plus Peace Walker, should definitely keep me entertained for a little while yet. As for where I turn my attentions after that, I suspect I'll just have to consult my Pile of Shame to decide. Oh, and of course, I'll still be blogging semi-regularly, schedule (and girlfriend) permitting. 
I think that just about covers everything, so I guess I'd better be off. Dinner's almost ready, and it's time for me to lay the table. Thanks very much for reading, guys. I'll see you around.
Currently playing - Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)
Posted by Bruce

It pains me to see the PSP dissipate the way it has; I used to really love that thing :/ 
Look forward to the next blog!

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Sounds like a good time!  That's pretty sweet of your girlfriend, too.  I enjoyed Resident Evil 2, but that's really the only one I've played in-depth.  RE 4 scared the bejesus out of me, as most modern day horror games are wont to do, so I stopped playing it entirely and just decided that it's probably for the best if I avoid scare-fest games.  I know, I'm a chicken, but there's something way more frightening about video games to me than movies or literature.  I think it's mostly that I'm actually in control of the character, leading me to psychologically believe that I'm actually in danger as opposed to being a complete outsider.  
In any case, great finds.  Let us know what you think of Dante's Inferno.  I've been eyeballing it as a possible future purchase, but I'd like to see what you think.

Posted by Sweep

Oh man, I am so excited that you just bought Beyond Good And Evil - that game was such an unexpected pleasure. I hope you enjoy it, I look forward to reading your thoughts :D

Posted by Oni

Dante's Inferno is not terrible, but it is absolutely shamelessly derivative, and pretty fucked up in spots too, difficulty-wise and in other ways.

Posted by Claude

I really enjoyed the Gamecube Resident Evil remake. The tank controls bother some people, but I never had a problem with them. I've thinking about picking that game up again, need to work on that. Have fun and sounds like you had a good time on your trip, until next time.