By aurahack 3 Comments
Hey guys, actual update this time!
I’m really sorry for the lack of anything worthwhile from this blog in... what is it, three weeks now? School finally caught up with its mountainous load of homework, forcing me to stay entrenched in the darkened nest that is my room. Between that, midterms, and dealing with personal matters, I haven’t exactly had the time to spend writing and doing things I’d otherwise like to be doing.
But, reading week is finally upon me, and with it comes the pleasant joy of writing another entry in what continues to be a wonderful place for me to vent my nonsense. Fortunately, I actually have a bunch of crap to talk about this week.
I’ll start off with what I have the least to talk about, which is Modern Warfare 3. The first two maps came out on PS3 not too long ago, and the limited time I’ve had with them has... well, I haven’t played on them since. Right now, the only people interested in playing those maps are the super-elite, who spend all of their multiplayer experience min-maxing every possible loadout and playing like assholes. As someone who wants to enjoy my time with the game, I’ve decided to chill on that. I’ll wait ‘till the other two maps release as a single pack for the common folk, and go back to them once the masses have padded out matchmaking. As it stands right now, the Elite matchmaking is full of people I have absolutely no interest in playing against.
As a replacement to that, my friend and I have started playing a whole bunch of Drop Zone, one of the custom playlist options added around Christmas. We had tried out the mode when we started playing to see what it was like, only to find out that it was a grenade-spam fest. It was complete chaos, every team we joined would be behind the enemy team by 4000+ points, and it gave us no interest in playing it ever again. As of late, however, the mode seems to have changed. I’m up to level 57 on 4th prestige, and every single level has been spent playing Drop Zone. I can’t explain why but it’s suddenly become playable, and it’s been an incredibly fun experience. The constant fight to hold a territory that randomly moves across the map is tons of fun, and losing gives you the great benefit of giving you an INSANE amount of helicopters, UAVs, and CUAVs to take down. Couple that with Blind Eye Pro, and you have an entire match of my friend and I just shooting stuff out of the sky. Otherwise, it’s an entire match of my friend and I fighting to see who an capture that AC-130, Reaper, or Osprey first.
If you’re getting bored of the standard TDM/Domination fare, give the mode a shot. Equip Blast Shield (you won’t survive without it) and you’ll see-- it’s a great break from the traditional experience. The only downside is that it seems to bring out the worst in players. I tend to go with my usual loadouts-- silenced MP5 with Sleight of Hand/silenced ACR with Blind Eye-- and when I get a little ahead in points, everyone pulls out the Strikers with Range, or RSASS/AS50s to quick-scope with. It’s... I don’t know. It’s not like they’re any harder to kill, but it bothers me that it continues to be a problem like it was in Modern Warfare 2. You’d think Infinity Ward would of, you know, realised how busted both those weapons are... Whatever the case, it’s hardly enough to detract from how fun Drop Zone is. Try it!
This is what I really want to talk about, though. Which, really, is hilarious, because I have no idea where to start. SSX gets so many things right, I can’t even begin to list all the things that it’s gotten me to fall in love with. It’s the perfect sequel to a franchise I have loved since the very first iteration, and is also a mechanically brilliant re-invention of a genre of a time gone by. The core elements that made SSX an insane amount of fun are still here. The unrealistic physics, the characters, the ludicrous tricks, and the great track design. It’s all still here; made with modern controls and modern features to make it impossible to put down.
As you’d hope with a true SSX game, the physics follow the wonderful series tradition of insanity. Your average speed will always hover around 120 kilometers per hour, (74 miles per hour, for you Imperial sillies) and jumps will generally be around four or five times as high as whatever building you work at. The course design brilliantly caters to this, emphasizing the various hazards and environmental features of the mountain ranges featured in the game. There is something to be said for having a course work equally well (with some exceptions) in Race It and Trick It events. The courses still have an insane amount of shortcuts, hidden paths, alternate paths, and trick-centric paths, only instead of having three mountains-worth, you have... 29? Yeah, I think 29 is the right number. If not, it’s around there, which is still totally insane.
Oh, and the tricks are still insane, the characters still spout wonderful nonsense and the game is very pretty.
Cool, now let’s talk about online, because this is what makes SSX. Taking a cue from its racing bretheren, SSX has an Autolog-esque feature called RiderNet; a feature that assumes the role of an expanded leaderboard. Players on your friend list will become rivals, who can then set scores and times as challenges for you to beat. Beating them will earn you in-game credits, as will surpassing the scores of other friends on your leaderboard. If a rival tries to take down your score, and can’t, you earn credits for every retry he’s put in. Much like it was in NFS: Hot Pursuit, (and that other abortion of a Need for Speed game, I suppose) this grows to become incredibly addictive whilst also being incredibly infuriating. Mind you, it is in probably the best way possible, as it drives you to be a better player if you’re the competitive type, but with it comes those few times where you just can’t shave those few seconds off no matter how hard you try and... well, then controllers fly, I suppose.
The Global Events are an equal stroke of genius. Taking the place of standard head-to-head multiplayer, global events take place on every drop in the game, where each drop will be a single event held for a pre-determined amount of time. Certain events will have an entry fee, and that fee totals into a larger prize pool. (Certain events are also free, where the pool is also predetermined) Competing in the event will place you in one of five brackets dependant on your score, and the higher bracket you place in, the larger the percentage of the prize pool you obtain. Certain events will also have pre-determined conditions, such as a Survival event in New Zealand banning you from using Pulse Goggles. (i.e.: FOG EVERYWHERRRRRRE) As you’re competing, the game will race some ghosts against you from various tiers, as well as insert any real-time players on the track. It gives you the great sense of playing against others, while still having the ghost to race down the track. It’s the combination of everything great about the game into an online event, and it gets you money. There’s nothing to not like about it. I seriously love it. Just like I seriously love the game.
Oh, god, and I haven’t even talked about how it remixes your music on the fly. Like, holy shit. I don’t want to delve into stuff about my music, but you should try it out with some breakbeat and drum and bass. Those two genres were made for SSX and its remix feature.
Lastly, there’s been art. As I am typing this, I realized that I stupidly planned this section without thinking that I am actually at my dad’s right now, away from all of my schoolwork and stuff. I’ll talk about what I can, but this will be a lot shorter than I had planned...
So while I don’t have any school work to share, I do have this personal piece that I am working on. It takes up two pages in my sketchbook, which add up to a combined size of 17x22 inches. It’s... pretty big. I started doodling out some stuff, made the character, and thought it would be kind of neat if I crammed the whole thing full of stuff with as much detail as possible. So I started dicking around with circular shapes and, 15 or-so-hours later, I am at this point. It’s about nearly done, with probably an hour or two more of work to put in.
There’s also been these stupid drawings I’ve done of myself and others, mostly because I’ve found a good amount of stress relief in drawing really silly shit. I’ve never really let loose with any of my art, so it’s a really nice change of pace and heart. I like silly. I love silly. I love being silly and drawing silly.
That... just about covers it, I think. I can’t think of anything more I’d have to talk about. I look forward to a week of doing nothing other than eating, sleeping, and playing games, so you can expect a whole bunch more of that nonsense when I get back next Sunday.
Until then, thanks for reading. And... I don’t know, don’t get yourself killed or something. :’D