Getting Dirty - Part 1: Get Your Release Date Right!

Today is September 9th.  That means yesterday was September 8th.  This is the understanding that I have been under for the past 27 years - the 8th comes before the 9th, right?  That would be true, Josh.  Okay, so tell me why the fuck Dirt 2 wasn't in any stores yesterday.  As a matter of fact, tell me why there won't be any copies in stores until NEXT WEEK!  Apparently, my hometown here has proven to me something that I had hoped was a dead trend in video games:  release dates are flexible.  So here's the scoop: 
 
I woke up with my paycheck in hand, ready to go cash it, and then pick up a copy of Dirt 2.  I never played the first one, but I just really need a good racing game right about now.  I checked the Best Buy website before I left the house to ensure that the release date was yesterday, as I hate getting somewhere and finding out I was wrong on a release date (and that happens pretty often).  Sure enough, release date says "09/08/09".  Ballin. 
 
Needless to say, despite going to Game Crazy, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and calling GameStop...there are no copies of Dirt 2 in Waco, Texas.  There is a box sitting in the back of Wal-Mart that is labeled "Dirt 2" with a street date of 09/15/09.  Grr...
 
So, here I sit with no copy of Dirt 2.  With the movie and music industries, release dates are solid.  Many times, game publishers already have their games completed and distributed a handful of weeks before the release of the game.  Smaller games from independent companies usually show up a couple of days before release.  Regardless, why is it that the gaming industry can't lock a SOLID release date on EVERYTHING that comes out?  Why is there always this issue of uncertainty?  Is it just the city I happen to live in, which houses two GameStops, 3 Game Crazys, a Special FX, and a Games 'n' Things?  Seriously? 
 
I took this as a sign, however - I hadn't played the original Dirt.  The path was made clear for me.  I made my way to Games 'n' Things and picked up a copy of the first Dirt game for about $17.  I was going to pick up a copy of Quantum of Solace, as it was steelbook case and dirt cheap, but fuck online achievements. 
 

 For being 3 years old, the game still looks excellent.
I like Dirt just as much as I like Grid, which is quite a lot.  The game has a great style to it.  I'm to understand that Dirt 2 features a more American/X-Games presentation to it, which after seeing the slick style of Dirt and Grid, that kind of makes me sad...but I'll manage.  I also was under the impression that this was a pure rally racing game, as it's a continuation of sorts on the Colin McRae Rally Racing series.  Well, not necessarily.  The game focuses on dirt-oriented racing rather than just racing, so there is some CORR and Big Rig Hill Climbs and such in the game as well.  The physics are alright, but I have to say it was weird not having to use my handbrake that much.  The thing about rally racing games is that you focus less on losing your acceleration and more on shifting gears and handbraking for proper slides.  I haven't really felt that within the first three tiers of the career mode yet, which is a slight disappointment.  Nonetheless, the game is serious fun, and it has me psyched to play Dirt 2. 
 
 Believe me when I say still shots don't do this game any justice.
While I was at Game Crazy yesterday, I got to play about five or six songs on Guitar Hero 5.  Man, that game is pretty impressive!  I'll admit that while World Tour had some pretty good songs on it, not many of them felt like a lot of fun to play.  With GH5, the songs that I did play were well-charted and felt right.  Well...almost.  Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets", personally, was a fucking disappointment.  How do you make me play the shitty part for half the song?!?!  It's the greatest travesty since "Orion" on GH Metallica!  Nonetheless, while that one song played poorly, other tracks like "2 Minutes to Midnight" by Maiden, "Demon(s)" by Darkest Hour, and "Deadbolt" by Thrice played incredibly!  All of this was done in the Party mode, which was a lot of fun.  I had a couple of people that would pick up a second guitar, join in and jam out, then they'd need to leave so they would drop it, and it would have that guitar leave after a certain amount of time.  You can't fail in the Party mode, which is a BIG bonus for people who don't feel like playing against each other competitively or anything.  The biggest thing I noticed about the game was how slick the presentation was.  My God, this game looks so much better than the previous ones.  The character models haven't been super improved or anything, but the filters they layer over the presentation make it feel more...authentic.  It's less cartoony and more kick-ass rockin' action!  Hopefully, we get this soon at work so I can spend some more time with it.
 
 Not even this screenshot can describe the insanity that is found in BlazBlue.
I've also been playing more and more of BlazBlue, and it's weird to say this:  I think I like it more than Street Fighter 4.  There's quite a few things that it does correctly that SF4 doesn't.  BlazBlue feels more accessible to people who have not played fighting games before.  I had no idea of what was going on when I first went into the game, but within the first 10-15 minutes of actually playing, I was already pulling pop-ups and 7 hit combos, blasting out Distortion moves, etc etc etc.  It felt far more natural to me, and the analog controls on even a 360 controller feel right in comparison to something like SF4, where even the analog controller feels a bit off at times.  Sure, it'd be preferential to play on a stick, but whatever.  I've been using Bang Shishigami and Ragna the Bloodedge, the latter more than the former.  I'm to understand that Ragna is basically the Ken of the game...but to be honest, every character in that game feels pretty accessible.  I think that they are ALL Kens.  There are so many ways to get around someone's moves and blocks and barriers and all the crazy shit that is going on, I don't feel like I'm ever being penned in a corner.  I've been playing against a buddy of mine who rocks with 'Gief on SF4.  He, as you would expect, uses Tager on BlazBlue, and within about an hour's worth of time, we were both having very close matches last night.  I like how every character has something unique about them (Tager with his magnetism, Arakune with the curses, Jin with the freezing, etc).  I've never really been a fan of the Guilty Gear games, but BlazBlue is an excellent fighter.  It feels a bit floaty at times, but I'm okay with that.  I'm debating on whether or not to pick up my own copy of the game sometime soon. 
 
I almost forgot.  I played quite a bit of Map Pack 3 for World at War...since some kid was kind enough to spend some of my points a while back to buy it.  -_-  I've never really enjoyed the Nazi Zombie mode, but Map Pack 3 has got more going on for the Nazi Zombies than the original NZ level offered.  The addition of the dogs into the zombie waves is a nice touch, as it forces you to mix up your strategy.  Nonetheless, by round 20, things get pretty hellacious.  We only had three people for most of them, though, but it was still actually...well...fun!  I'll probably get Map Pack 2 sometime next week.  More rare achievements, folks!!!
 
That's it for this week.  Next week, I should have some playtime with Dirt 2 and NFS Shift under my belt...and we'll continue getting dirty! 
 
Until next time, PIECE!
16 Comments
17 Comments
Edited by jakob187

Today is September 9th.  That means yesterday was September 8th.  This is the understanding that I have been under for the past 27 years - the 8th comes before the 9th, right?  That would be true, Josh.  Okay, so tell me why the fuck Dirt 2 wasn't in any stores yesterday.  As a matter of fact, tell me why there won't be any copies in stores until NEXT WEEK!  Apparently, my hometown here has proven to me something that I had hoped was a dead trend in video games:  release dates are flexible.  So here's the scoop: 
 
I woke up with my paycheck in hand, ready to go cash it, and then pick up a copy of Dirt 2.  I never played the first one, but I just really need a good racing game right about now.  I checked the Best Buy website before I left the house to ensure that the release date was yesterday, as I hate getting somewhere and finding out I was wrong on a release date (and that happens pretty often).  Sure enough, release date says "09/08/09".  Ballin. 
 
Needless to say, despite going to Game Crazy, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and calling GameStop...there are no copies of Dirt 2 in Waco, Texas.  There is a box sitting in the back of Wal-Mart that is labeled "Dirt 2" with a street date of 09/15/09.  Grr...
 
So, here I sit with no copy of Dirt 2.  With the movie and music industries, release dates are solid.  Many times, game publishers already have their games completed and distributed a handful of weeks before the release of the game.  Smaller games from independent companies usually show up a couple of days before release.  Regardless, why is it that the gaming industry can't lock a SOLID release date on EVERYTHING that comes out?  Why is there always this issue of uncertainty?  Is it just the city I happen to live in, which houses two GameStops, 3 Game Crazys, a Special FX, and a Games 'n' Things?  Seriously? 
 
I took this as a sign, however - I hadn't played the original Dirt.  The path was made clear for me.  I made my way to Games 'n' Things and picked up a copy of the first Dirt game for about $17.  I was going to pick up a copy of Quantum of Solace, as it was steelbook case and dirt cheap, but fuck online achievements. 
 

 For being 3 years old, the game still looks excellent.
I like Dirt just as much as I like Grid, which is quite a lot.  The game has a great style to it.  I'm to understand that Dirt 2 features a more American/X-Games presentation to it, which after seeing the slick style of Dirt and Grid, that kind of makes me sad...but I'll manage.  I also was under the impression that this was a pure rally racing game, as it's a continuation of sorts on the Colin McRae Rally Racing series.  Well, not necessarily.  The game focuses on dirt-oriented racing rather than just racing, so there is some CORR and Big Rig Hill Climbs and such in the game as well.  The physics are alright, but I have to say it was weird not having to use my handbrake that much.  The thing about rally racing games is that you focus less on losing your acceleration and more on shifting gears and handbraking for proper slides.  I haven't really felt that within the first three tiers of the career mode yet, which is a slight disappointment.  Nonetheless, the game is serious fun, and it has me psyched to play Dirt 2. 
 
 Believe me when I say still shots don't do this game any justice.
While I was at Game Crazy yesterday, I got to play about five or six songs on Guitar Hero 5.  Man, that game is pretty impressive!  I'll admit that while World Tour had some pretty good songs on it, not many of them felt like a lot of fun to play.  With GH5, the songs that I did play were well-charted and felt right.  Well...almost.  Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets", personally, was a fucking disappointment.  How do you make me play the shitty part for half the song?!?!  It's the greatest travesty since "Orion" on GH Metallica!  Nonetheless, while that one song played poorly, other tracks like "2 Minutes to Midnight" by Maiden, "Demon(s)" by Darkest Hour, and "Deadbolt" by Thrice played incredibly!  All of this was done in the Party mode, which was a lot of fun.  I had a couple of people that would pick up a second guitar, join in and jam out, then they'd need to leave so they would drop it, and it would have that guitar leave after a certain amount of time.  You can't fail in the Party mode, which is a BIG bonus for people who don't feel like playing against each other competitively or anything.  The biggest thing I noticed about the game was how slick the presentation was.  My God, this game looks so much better than the previous ones.  The character models haven't been super improved or anything, but the filters they layer over the presentation make it feel more...authentic.  It's less cartoony and more kick-ass rockin' action!  Hopefully, we get this soon at work so I can spend some more time with it.
 
 Not even this screenshot can describe the insanity that is found in BlazBlue.
I've also been playing more and more of BlazBlue, and it's weird to say this:  I think I like it more than Street Fighter 4.  There's quite a few things that it does correctly that SF4 doesn't.  BlazBlue feels more accessible to people who have not played fighting games before.  I had no idea of what was going on when I first went into the game, but within the first 10-15 minutes of actually playing, I was already pulling pop-ups and 7 hit combos, blasting out Distortion moves, etc etc etc.  It felt far more natural to me, and the analog controls on even a 360 controller feel right in comparison to something like SF4, where even the analog controller feels a bit off at times.  Sure, it'd be preferential to play on a stick, but whatever.  I've been using Bang Shishigami and Ragna the Bloodedge, the latter more than the former.  I'm to understand that Ragna is basically the Ken of the game...but to be honest, every character in that game feels pretty accessible.  I think that they are ALL Kens.  There are so many ways to get around someone's moves and blocks and barriers and all the crazy shit that is going on, I don't feel like I'm ever being penned in a corner.  I've been playing against a buddy of mine who rocks with 'Gief on SF4.  He, as you would expect, uses Tager on BlazBlue, and within about an hour's worth of time, we were both having very close matches last night.  I like how every character has something unique about them (Tager with his magnetism, Arakune with the curses, Jin with the freezing, etc).  I've never really been a fan of the Guilty Gear games, but BlazBlue is an excellent fighter.  It feels a bit floaty at times, but I'm okay with that.  I'm debating on whether or not to pick up my own copy of the game sometime soon. 
 
I almost forgot.  I played quite a bit of Map Pack 3 for World at War...since some kid was kind enough to spend some of my points a while back to buy it.  -_-  I've never really enjoyed the Nazi Zombie mode, but Map Pack 3 has got more going on for the Nazi Zombies than the original NZ level offered.  The addition of the dogs into the zombie waves is a nice touch, as it forces you to mix up your strategy.  Nonetheless, by round 20, things get pretty hellacious.  We only had three people for most of them, though, but it was still actually...well...fun!  I'll probably get Map Pack 2 sometime next week.  More rare achievements, folks!!!
 
That's it for this week.  Next week, I should have some playtime with Dirt 2 and NFS Shift under my belt...and we'll continue getting dirty! 
 
Until next time, PIECE!
Posted by ArchScabby

well that sucks that the game isn't in stores.  I bought it from Amazon with one day shipping so I hope I'll get it pretty quick.

Posted by Video_Game_King

I have no idea. It's been done in the past, but the industry has proven, time and time again, that they're very capable of this. Maybe you just crapped out because it wasn't that big a game.

Posted by CoolDrMoney

Nitpick: Dirt came out 2 years ago, not 3.

Posted by jakob187
@CoolDrMoney said:
" Nitpick: Dirt came out 2 years ago, not 3. "
I'm going based on the 2006 copyright that is at the beginning of the game when it loads up.  Didn't realize it was only 2 years old.  Still, it looks great!
Posted by kmdrkul

Did you notice any difference in terms of how cars handled between the original and the demo of Dirt 2?  Call me crazy, but I swear the cars handled a bit different in the new game; this may very well be chalked up to me being rusty after not playing the original in so long, but it felt like I did find myself using the handbrake more in the new game as opposed to the original.  I was constantly careening off to the side and off the track when playing the demo; something I did not do all that often in the first game.  
 
I've read around and it seems like most review sites aren't noticing the same thing as me...

Posted by jakob187
@kmdrkul: I haven't played the demo for Dirt 2 yet.  I'm still trying to get used to everything in Dirt.  LOL  The game plays quite a bit differently than the old Colin McRae games...at least, from what I can remember of the old Colin McRae games.  In some of the levels, where I've got 1s and 2s, obviously I'm using my handbrake, but it's more of a quick press followed by letting off the accelerator, as that seems better than going for a slide most of the times.  I think the tracks are well-designed with some nasty crests and jumps to throw you off just enough for that "OH SHIT" moment.  Other than that, though...I'll say this:  if you hit a tree even at 30 mph, your car is NOT going to be finished that race in most cases.  This game's damage can be WAY forgiving at times.  I started on the medium difficulty on this, and I've worked up to the next to highest so far.  Even then, I didn't notice much of a difference in the damage to my car. 
 
I'll probably just wait until next week to play Dirt 2 rather than play the demo.  I like going into games fresh like that. 
 
I also updated my blog.  I forgot about my World at War time over the weekend.
Posted by Claude

I played the Dirt 2 demo and really liked it. I had previously played the Dirt demo, maybe it was just the demos, but Dirt 2 stood out more for me. You've got the itch to drive, weird, I've been feeling the same way. I almost bought Dirt the other day, also Pure. I just have the need to go fast right now for some reason. I've got twenty bucks to spend and it's burning a whole in my pocket. Maybe, Shadow Complex, shit, I don't know. Got to go with the gut. Good gaming.

Posted by jakob187
@Claude: I always have the itch to drive.  My dad is a grease monkey, so he raised me with an appreciation for cars and racing.  It's funny that you mentioned Pure, as I had that game in my hand with Dirt yesterday at one point.  My brother said he really liked the demo for Pure, but I'm not really into ATV games.  It's one of the reasons I haven't played almost any of MX vs ATV Untamed.  Regardless, it's just a good time to be a racing game fan at the moment.  You've got Dirt 2, you've got Need for Speed Shift coming, Forza 3 around the corner, Split/Second, Blur...I mean, seriously...there are a TON of racing games coming out!!!
Posted by Everyones_A_Critic

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who gave GH5 a chance. After World Tour I was ready to abandon the series, but Neversoft really redeemed themselves with this one. However, the lack of Holy Wars in inexcusable. How is it that Rock Revolution managed to get that song and yet GH and RB both fail to acquire it? I mean, RB got fucking Peace Sells in it's entirety, GH2 had Hangar 18, GH1 had Symphony of Destruction, and yet they all fail to get the best Megadeth song ever. How?!

Posted by jakob187
@Everyones_A_Critic: I'm still trying to figure out how Rock Revolution had such a great soundtrack and failed so hard as a game.  Seriously, if that soundtrack was on a Guitar Hero or Rock Band game, it would be game over for the competition!  It sickens me as well as both GH and RB have failed to acquire some really high-end songs like that, but we have to look on the inverse of that:  GH was able to get TOOL of all bands to put songs on their game...THREE OF THEM...and Tool is about as hard to get the rights for as Led Zeppelin...and they even put out Unearth for DLC, and Rock Band was willing to put Cannibal Corpse, All That Remains, Black Dahlia Murder, Machine Head, Abnormality, Devildriver, and so many other great metal acts on their game...which anytime before now probably would've never happened.  Therefore, there is a bit of leeway with me on not having "Holy Wars". 
 
My biggest issue is that neither honestly listen to the fans that are posting on the forums and such.  Back when GHII was first putting out DLC, and so many people were making their own "if I made the setlist" lists (which those forums were SPAMMED LIKE CRAZY with them), they were basically saying "if you put these songs on your game, then I'll suck your fucking dick off".  Meanwhile, they were ignoring it all and going with dumb choices...at least, until they put out Protest The Hero's "Bury The Hatchet" IMO.  Even then, for all the great DLC that Rock Band puts out, it begs the question of how much they listen to their fans as compared to how much they care about sales based on the popularity of the music they are picking.  When does the game get to the point that the elitests want the super badass tough shit versus the kids that aren't amazing at the game and just wanna hear Linkin Park? 
 
So I don't know.  I hate that "Holy Wars" isn't featured on any of them yet, and after seeing the disappointing note chart on "Sweating Bullets", I feel like it's time for Megadeth to finally get some better recognition than what they've been given.  Meanwhile, I still hate the lack of Pantera on the games, as Dimebag is widely seen as one of the most influential guitarists OF ALL TIME and yet they neglect to put more than "Cowboys From Hell" on the game.  Maybe it's because of language, but honestly, there are PLENTY of Pantera songs without profanity that they could put onto any of the games.  "Hollow", "5 Minutes Alone", "Drag The Waters", "Revolution is my Name", "Walk", "This Love", "Cemetary Gates", "Floods"...I mean, the list goes for quite a while!!!  Nonetheless, they continue to neglect one of the most influential guitarists AND influential metal bands of all time.  I'm sure it has to do with rights and all that shit, but seriously, enough is enough!
Posted by Everyones_A_Critic
@jakob187: It has been announced that there will be some Pantera DLC for RB2 in the near future, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some full album DLC, preferrably "The Great Southern Trendkill". Goddamn do I love that album! Though a pack would be nice too, as long as they don't load it up with just their hits.  
 
Here's a link: http://www.rockband.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158588    
Posted by jakob187
@Everyones_A_Critic said:
" @jakob187: It has been announced that there will be some Pantera DLC for RB2 in the near future, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some full album DLC, preferrably "The Great Southern Trendkill". Goddamn do I love that album! Though a pack would be nice too, as long as they don't load it up with just their hits.  
 
Here's a link: http://www.rockband.com/forums/showthread.php?t=158588     "
Nice to hear!  Even if it IS their hits, is that such a bad thing?  I doubt they'll do a full album download, and if they did, then I would rather have Vulgar Display of Power.  Don't get me wrong, I LOOOOOOVE Trendkill, but Vulgar is just too classic.
Posted by GamerGeek360

That sucks about Dirt 2. Well, at least you got to play the first one! I still haven't played it but everyone says it's great.

Posted by Ineedaname

This might be a silly silly question but it's logical with how much effort is going into the in car view in games, and my terrible internet stops me from getting the demo, however the view, can it be change?
 
Don't hurt me.

Posted by jakob187
@Ineedaname said:
" This might be a silly silly question but it's logical with how much effort is going into the in car view in games, and my terrible internet stops me from getting the demo, however the view, can it be change?  Don't hurt me. "
On the first Dirt, there are about 6 or 7 different views, including two different cockpit views.  Yes, you can play out of car.  From what I understand, the same can be said of Dirt 2.  However, with rally games, playing in an outside car view is almost impossible for me.  In the last few years, I've become very dependent on cockpit views. 
 
HOWEVER, Need for Speed Shift is STRICTLY cockpit view.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  Personally, I'm glad that they are doing this...although I'm sure they'll cave on an outside car view the same way that they caved on button presses for Fight Night Round 4.  It pisses me off that people always refuse to play the game with the way the developers intended and, instead, act as if they know better.
Posted by Ineedaname

Bumpage, it's odd because I picked this up on the 11th, when it was due out in the UK, and it came out here on time, and I also got a free T-shirt.
 
And I guess you were wrong about Shift's cockpit view.