Today is the day that comes afterwardsHello again! The weekly blog is back yet again. It’s as unstoppable as Jeff’s NDX podcast. OK, maybe not quite that unstoppable. What have I done this week other than watch extremely exciting basketball games? Well, I’ve received a couple games in the mail. These games were none other than Jade Empire (Limited Edition!) and Brutal Legend. Brutal Legend was a prize from a contest run by Origina1Penguin. The other winners are posted here if you want to check that out. Beating Alan Wake happened too. Oh yeah, I also made my own ceiling cat (!). More on that later. Let’s do this thang! (Watch out! There may be spoilers!)
Alan, wake up!I beat Alan Wake last week! Hooray! That game’s a trip. I’ve said in the past that it’s my front-runner for 2011’s 2010 GOTY, and I think that’s still the case. I loved the characters, I loved the crazy and mysterious story, and I thought the gameplay held up right to the end.
I thought there was enough variation in the combat to generally stay interesting. When possessed trains weren’t flying at my face, I was being stalked by shadowy nemeses. Sometimes I even got to run a few down in a car. Not to mention the giant storm of darkness that chases Alan at certain points. That’s some scary shit. There’s a few sections where debris is flying everywhere and nearly impaling Alan with every step. It reminded me of Final Destination... or Twister. Those moments--along with so many others--always made me stop for a second and realize how great this game is.
An good barometer for determining how good a game is, is simply counting the times that the game puts a big smile on your face. I don’t have an exact number, but it happened a lot in Alan Wake. So many great situations. The rock stage section for example. Also, pretty much anything with Barry. That guy cracks me up. Every time I looked at him all wrapped in Christmas lights... man, priceless. This game just does so much right, at least when it comes to what I want. It feels like Deadly Premonition if that game somehow got everything right. My only complaint is that I wish the game was longer.
Of course it didn’t help that it ended on the biggest cliff-hanger I think I’ve ever seen. It almost feels like a rip-off. With the way that it ended, Remedy obviously wants you to buy and play the DLC packs. From what I’ve read, the DLCs are direct continuations, as in, it picks right back up exactly where the main game leaves off. I feel a bit jipped, but at the same time I really want to play those DLC packs now. They’re $6 a pop though. Seems like a bit much. I was thinking of waiting for some kind of sale, but those do seem few and far between on XBL.
I want to know what happens with Thomas Zane though! I don’t think I’m going to even try going into my understanding of the story. It’s pretty freakin’ complicated. I was actually reading some site about the game though and it speculated that Thomas Zane actually created Alan Wake for the sole purpose of defeating the darkness so many years later. Alan only exists to fight the darkness. He’s like Neo. Anyway, this game’s crazy. I’ll probably understand everything a lot better after playing the two DLC packs. I’ll get on that. Amazing game.
Brutally awesome... or somethingI guess I’m in no real position to judge as of now, but I like Brutal Legend; I like it a lot. I like the metal vibe despite me not being a “metalhead”. I like Jack Black’s representation of Eddie Riggs. I like the idea that you’re starting a revolution in order to combat the evil Doviculus and General Lionwhyte (great characters). I like the giant open world that you’re able to explore. This game has a lot going for it. It even has Ozzy for christ’s sake (All aboard!)! Of course I have heard some things about this game. I’ve heard that it basically turns into an RTS towards the end. Of course I’m not quite to that part yet, but my general thought has been: “How bad can it be?” I’m looking forward to getting my RTS on, if only to see what all the hate was about. I suppose I’ll talk more about that aspect another time though.
I think I remember the guys on the Bombcast saying that the back-half of Brutal Legend felt like a tutorial for the multiplayer mode. Well, if that’s the case I’m sad, because that multiplayer mode is empty. As empty as Rise of Nightmare’s wiki page (more on that game later). But man, I sat there searching for a match for probably 10 minutes. Nothing. Maybe it was a tad too late in the evening, but even if so. Those multiplayer achievements are just not destined to be tied to my gamertag it seems.
As I said, I’m not too far in, so I really can’t say a lot more here other than I’m excited to keep playing. Hopefully that excitement persists all of the way through to the end.
This is the first time I’ve included a news section, so who knows how this will go; hopefully well. I have an app on my phone that gives me a list of the “top stories” in the video game world, so that’s my source for these pieces of news. I’ve found that most of the stories come from Kotaku, so I guess you should know that. The plan is to layout a few headlines and write just a bit about each. I don’t plan on going into too much detail on any one topic; however, I may get carried away from time to time. Onwards and upwards!
The funniest delay in the history of gaming [source]Everyone should know about this by now. Yes, the game that’s infamous for being delayed well over a decade has yet again been delayed, after seemingly finally having a set date for release. If you haven’t by chance seen the delay announcement video, do check that out.
So how do I feel about this? Well, I think it’s funny as hell. There are some rumors going around that this was all planned from the announcement of the previous release date. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case, but I guess it’s possible. Games get pushed back a month or two all of the time though. If this game didn’t have the history it does, nobody would think twice about this announcement, obviously. I think it’s great though. It preserves the legacy that we’ve all been witness to for so many goddamned years. The longest running joke in the industry is about to end. I’m glad we at least got this final “hurrah”, so to speak. I love Randy Pitchford. =P
Blood meets Kinect... meets ESRB [source]Ever since the Kinect launch, there definitely seems to be a lull in releases. Not just exciting releases either, but releases of pretty much any kind. For this reason, I was happy to stumble across this story about a new Kinect horror game called Rise of Nightmares. It was apparently announced last TGS, but I’d never heard about it.
It’s a first-person game, seemingly in the vain of something like the Condemned series. You get to kill fools with brass knuckles, hatchets, chainsaws, etc. Sounds pretty alright to me! The best part about this article though is the ESRB description. Go ahead and read over this:
This is a horror-adventure game in which players assume the role of an American tourist who must rescue his wife from a deranged scientist. From a first-person perspective, players use brass knuckles, knives, hatchets, and chainsaws to kill zombie-like creatures and disfigured monsters inside a mansion environment. Combat is highlighted by exaggerated sprays of blood, and damage often results in dismemberment or decapitation-stray body parts sometimes litter the ground. Some sequences and cutscenes depict more intense acts of violence: a man screams loudly as spikes impale his body; a restrained character’s hand is chopped off before he is killed; a character (cut in half) crawls away in a pool of blood; a soldier is ripped apart by a monster, causing blood to stain the screen. During the course of the game, some female creatures are depicted in revealing outfits (e.g., ‘pasties’ that partially cover their breasts); in one sequence, a woman sits on the central character’s chest and engages in suggestive dialogue (e.g., ‘Oh, how I’ve thought of this-night after night. How I’ve missed these lips.’). Dialogue also includes phrases such as ‘Best sex of my life.’/'Worst sex of my life,’ ‘f**k,’ and ‘sh*t.’
If the prospects of copious blood and someone describing their sex-life to you don’t get your gamer-engine revving, then what will?! Seems like a neat game. I’ll be keeping tabs on it.
Metacritic just got real [source]Oh, hey! You guys will love this one (I feel like Conan O’Brien)! Anyway, this article--written by the infamous Leigh Alexander--is an interesting one. Metacritic is going to start scoring individual game developers based on the scores of their collective work. Was it not to be expected at some point?
I think that we as gamers can all agree that Metacritic scores are, overall, an evil part of the industry. Aggregate scores from places like Metacritic often directly influence the success of a studio. It’s kind of bananas, but that’s the way it is. Taking this system and scoring the people that make games instead of the games themselves is just crazy though. From what I can gather they’ve been keeping tabs on entire studios’ overall scores for a while now, but it’s going to branch out to individuals now as well.
The main issue is that most developers’ overall body of work is not accurately represented on Metacritic. They are being asked to contact the proper sources in order to correct their resumes. Seems sloppy. I don’t like this; not one bit. I just hope that these numbers don’t become the basis for determining anything important. Like salary. Oh man, that’s totally gonna happen, isn’t it? *sigh*
I hope you had fun, fun, fun!If you’re still wondering about my ceiling cat, then no worries, I shall shed some light. So the rich and famous Gamer_152 tweeted about a ceiling cat papercraft project. Upon seeing it, I knew what I had to do. I printed the pattern out, gathered the materials, and eventually cut and pasted my way to a magical papercraft. Here’s how it turned out:
I’m finding myself looking up every now and then thinking the dark region on the ceiling is a spider or something, but that’s clearly a small price to pay (Man, I’m so paranoid of spiders). I listened to The Beatles as I constructed the cat. I have no idea why I felt like you guys needed to know that.
Time to wrap up the blog for reals. Thanks for reading, or skimming as the case may be. I’ll be back next week with yet another of these cheesily-titled blogs. Pssst: I’ll probably get around to playing Jade Empire by then. I’m out.
Love from Rip City,