Needle In The Camel's Eye 2/14/11 - Inaugural Edition

A recent blog by one JJ "The Weather Man" Weatherman reminded me that I once did one of those weekly blog shindigs for a while before I sorta fell outta the loop. But thanks to his inspiration, I have gotten back on my feet with a vengeance! Although I guess you could say that I was also indirectly inspired by those who inspired him, and also those who inspired those who inspired him. Oh boy. 
 
It's been a while since I've seriously sat down and written about games, mostly due to a recent addiction to the television show Lost that has claimed my life for well over a week now, but with calming music playing in the background, a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and a sentence that is already way too long, I think I can do this. 
 
Mayhaps.      

This blog is dedicated to...

William Mapother , for his face gives me nightmares. 


The Few, The Proud, The Annoyances of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

I actually have a review in the works for this delightful racing game, so I won't be voicing my opinions on the overall package in this space. Instead, I invite you to join me as I look over the top five most annoying things about Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit that fortunately don't drag down the game too much despite being incredibly frustrating at times. 
 

Teamkills

Good a time as any to be a douchebag, right? NO! 
In the game's online Hot Pursuit mode, four cops must stop four racers before they reach the end of the course. In the event that all four cops are wrecked, the racers keep going until everyone left on the track completes the course. If you come in first place, you get an extra 2,000 Bounty. But if one racer crosses the finish line, all the other racers get 5,000 Bounty. Despite this, the game turns into a bloodbath when the cops are gone and it's just racer on racer. I can recall one race in which a fellow racer and I had less than a mile to go. On the final turn, I overtook him and entered 1st place. He immediately started an EMP which I could not avoid, and when it hit me it destroyed my car and took me out of the race.

It's moments like this that are extremely infuriating. There are definitely times where I have been unintentionally taken out by a teammate, whether it was being slammed into after a turn or running into a friendly spike strip, but those are nowhere near as annoying and mind-numbingly frustrating when a greedy racer needs to essentially teamkill you to satisfy his Bounty boner. 
 

Auto Busts

 Come on, at least give me a chance!
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is a terrible driving game when you are going under 20 MPH. The handling of the cars when you are trying to get going from a dead stop is just terrible. The acceleration isn't fast enough, and it's hard to push cars out of the way. One of the things a cop can do in Hot Pursuit is pin a racer against a wall so they can't move. If they keep them there for a few seconds, they are automatically busted. While this may make some sense from a realistic standpoint, you can't help but feel robbed by the game's poor controls at low speed. There's just no way to get out of it. When you're on the road, you at least have some ways to defend yourself. But when you hit a roadblock and become stuck on the wall, it's enormously frustrating to get pinned even further and get taken out of the race as a result. Just a plain silly design decision. 
  

Chopper Teamkills

 Choppers are the John Locke of the police force.... (I had to put a Lost reference in here somewhere. Forgive me.)
By pressing Up on the D-Pad, a cop can call in a helicopter that flies over and ahead of the racers and eventually drops spike strips on the road. The thing is, the AI for the helicopter is so unpredictable that calling it in is a risky move that could ruin you or a fellow cop. You see, often times I've had friendly helicopters drop spike strips directly in front of me, and it's impossible to avoid at 200 MPH. Thus, I hit the spike strip and proceed to foolishly yell at my game like a children for allowing this egregious error to happen. Heck, one time a friendly chopper dropped a spike strip on an upcoming roadblock so I couldn't even see it. I hit that one too.

Criterion really needs to fix the AI for the choppers to stop this from happening. The strips are easy to avoid if you see them coming from afar, but oftentimes you'll turn a corner and BAM! Game over for you. 
   

"Get To The End Of The Track As Fast As You Can Without Hitting Anything" Events 

 I managed to snap a picture before my racer became dead...
The career mode in Hot Pursuit is definitely not the game's main draw, but it's there when you need to do some offline racing. The thing is, however, many of the events in the career are not racing of any kind, but different forms of time trials. We've all seen them before, but Hot Pursuit goes the extra mile to make them as annoying as possible. In each of these events, you are given a car that goes faster than any car on a legal street should go, and you have to drive that car to the end of the course. Every time you hit something, seconds are added to your time. So the basic goal of these events is to drive as fast as possible without hitting anything. That is just a crazy expectation to make, and it's even more annoying when you are trying to beat a friend's time and you end up hitting a wall because--SURPRISE!--you couldn't take that sharp turn at 240 MPH. 
  

Unpredictable/Rubber Band A.I.

 And just like that, Johnny Racer received a sudden boost of speed and won the race!
Rubber band artificial intelligence is the bane of a racing game's existence. Hot Pursuit is guilty of utilizing this in the game's career mode, which is just another reason for me to not bother going through it. During a race, some cars will blow ahead of you at the start while others will hang back. Later on, those same cars that were falling behind earlier might come rocketing by you. On the other hand, you might find yourself blowing past the cars ahead at lightning speed and a few seconds later you'll see them creeping up on you in your rear-view mirror. It's frustrating and just baffling that this kind of AI still exists. Sure, it keeps the race competitive, but it's not fun when a car zips on ahead at the last second to take the lead and the win.

However, despite these annoyances, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is still a totally rad game that you should probably play if you like racing. Seems like a no-brainer to me. 
 

Bolo Santosi, The Reapahzzz, and Ancestral Skulls, Scorpio!

I've basically hated Just Cause 2 for the past few months. A while ago, I decided to get the achievements for getting 100% in X number of locations and for collecting X number of resource items. This completely destroyed the game for me. I wanted nothing to do with it after running around Panau for hours grabbing 1000 upgrade crates. By yesterday, whilst scrolling through my achievement list in search of something to distract me from Netflix for a while, I found Just Cause 2 looking at me. I looked back. Suddenly, a shriveled hand erupted out of the television screen, grabbed me by the throat, and forced me to put the game in and beat it on the hardest difficulty. 
 
 This came up when I searched Just Cause 2 on Google Images. I'd be lying if I said I knew why.
So that totally didn't happen, but I had you fooled for a second! .... no? Whatever! Despite my animosity towards Just Cause 2 that lasted for several months, I found the game to be quite enjoyable again when I started playing. I had some great concerns regarding the hardest difficulty, but in actuality it isn't all that challenging. The biggest struggle so far has been ammo, since I never seem to have enough (enemies do seem to be bullet sponges this time around). The fact that the game does a poor job of letting you know how damaged you are besides the health bar conveniently (sarcasm) located at the top corner of the screen certainly doesn't help either. Regardless, base jumping off buildings and landing on cars and then taking those cars over the edge of mountains hasn't been this refreshing in a while. I really gotta bow down to Avalanche Studios for the amazing physics incorporated in the game. Just yesterday, I drove a limo into the forest at amazing speeds and when I fishtailed into a tree, the limo spun around as fast as a helicopter blade for several seconds before slamming into the ground. And I just drove off as if nothing happened. Just another day in Just Cause 2, really. 
 
So I expect that by... I don't know, the middle of May, I'll have the game finished on the hardest difficulty (I keep saying that because I frankly don't know what it's called.... Hardened I think? I hate that word.) With only four achievements left, I'm hoping to acquire my beautiful S-Rank in the game relatively soon I hope. Getting 75% will most likely prove to be difficult, possibly mind-destroying, but I'm willing to give it a go. 
  

So

Is that is?.... I believe it is. I could share my recent adventures in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, but I think I've written about that series enough. By now, you should know that Brotherhood is rather amazing and that you should probably go and get it right now if you haven't already. I did get Tales of Vesperia a few weeks ago, but I have made the executive decision to save that for another time. I plan on writing a blog about Lost on Screened, since that show is just too amazing to ignore. I started season 5 earlier today and I hope to wrap up the show probably by the end of the month. Stay tuned!.... or don't :( 
 

Until next time, children.

20 Comments
21 Comments
Edited by natetodamax

A recent blog by one JJ "The Weather Man" Weatherman reminded me that I once did one of those weekly blog shindigs for a while before I sorta fell outta the loop. But thanks to his inspiration, I have gotten back on my feet with a vengeance! Although I guess you could say that I was also indirectly inspired by those who inspired him, and also those who inspired those who inspired him. Oh boy. 
 
It's been a while since I've seriously sat down and written about games, mostly due to a recent addiction to the television show Lost that has claimed my life for well over a week now, but with calming music playing in the background, a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and a sentence that is already way too long, I think I can do this. 
 
Mayhaps.      

This blog is dedicated to...

William Mapother , for his face gives me nightmares. 


The Few, The Proud, The Annoyances of Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit

I actually have a review in the works for this delightful racing game, so I won't be voicing my opinions on the overall package in this space. Instead, I invite you to join me as I look over the top five most annoying things about Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit that fortunately don't drag down the game too much despite being incredibly frustrating at times. 
 

Teamkills

Good a time as any to be a douchebag, right? NO! 
In the game's online Hot Pursuit mode, four cops must stop four racers before they reach the end of the course. In the event that all four cops are wrecked, the racers keep going until everyone left on the track completes the course. If you come in first place, you get an extra 2,000 Bounty. But if one racer crosses the finish line, all the other racers get 5,000 Bounty. Despite this, the game turns into a bloodbath when the cops are gone and it's just racer on racer. I can recall one race in which a fellow racer and I had less than a mile to go. On the final turn, I overtook him and entered 1st place. He immediately started an EMP which I could not avoid, and when it hit me it destroyed my car and took me out of the race.

It's moments like this that are extremely infuriating. There are definitely times where I have been unintentionally taken out by a teammate, whether it was being slammed into after a turn or running into a friendly spike strip, but those are nowhere near as annoying and mind-numbingly frustrating when a greedy racer needs to essentially teamkill you to satisfy his Bounty boner. 
 

Auto Busts

 Come on, at least give me a chance!
Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is a terrible driving game when you are going under 20 MPH. The handling of the cars when you are trying to get going from a dead stop is just terrible. The acceleration isn't fast enough, and it's hard to push cars out of the way. One of the things a cop can do in Hot Pursuit is pin a racer against a wall so they can't move. If they keep them there for a few seconds, they are automatically busted. While this may make some sense from a realistic standpoint, you can't help but feel robbed by the game's poor controls at low speed. There's just no way to get out of it. When you're on the road, you at least have some ways to defend yourself. But when you hit a roadblock and become stuck on the wall, it's enormously frustrating to get pinned even further and get taken out of the race as a result. Just a plain silly design decision. 
  

Chopper Teamkills

 Choppers are the John Locke of the police force.... (I had to put a Lost reference in here somewhere. Forgive me.)
By pressing Up on the D-Pad, a cop can call in a helicopter that flies over and ahead of the racers and eventually drops spike strips on the road. The thing is, the AI for the helicopter is so unpredictable that calling it in is a risky move that could ruin you or a fellow cop. You see, often times I've had friendly helicopters drop spike strips directly in front of me, and it's impossible to avoid at 200 MPH. Thus, I hit the spike strip and proceed to foolishly yell at my game like a children for allowing this egregious error to happen. Heck, one time a friendly chopper dropped a spike strip on an upcoming roadblock so I couldn't even see it. I hit that one too.

Criterion really needs to fix the AI for the choppers to stop this from happening. The strips are easy to avoid if you see them coming from afar, but oftentimes you'll turn a corner and BAM! Game over for you. 
   

"Get To The End Of The Track As Fast As You Can Without Hitting Anything" Events 

 I managed to snap a picture before my racer became dead...
The career mode in Hot Pursuit is definitely not the game's main draw, but it's there when you need to do some offline racing. The thing is, however, many of the events in the career are not racing of any kind, but different forms of time trials. We've all seen them before, but Hot Pursuit goes the extra mile to make them as annoying as possible. In each of these events, you are given a car that goes faster than any car on a legal street should go, and you have to drive that car to the end of the course. Every time you hit something, seconds are added to your time. So the basic goal of these events is to drive as fast as possible without hitting anything. That is just a crazy expectation to make, and it's even more annoying when you are trying to beat a friend's time and you end up hitting a wall because--SURPRISE!--you couldn't take that sharp turn at 240 MPH. 
  

Unpredictable/Rubber Band A.I.

 And just like that, Johnny Racer received a sudden boost of speed and won the race!
Rubber band artificial intelligence is the bane of a racing game's existence. Hot Pursuit is guilty of utilizing this in the game's career mode, which is just another reason for me to not bother going through it. During a race, some cars will blow ahead of you at the start while others will hang back. Later on, those same cars that were falling behind earlier might come rocketing by you. On the other hand, you might find yourself blowing past the cars ahead at lightning speed and a few seconds later you'll see them creeping up on you in your rear-view mirror. It's frustrating and just baffling that this kind of AI still exists. Sure, it keeps the race competitive, but it's not fun when a car zips on ahead at the last second to take the lead and the win.

However, despite these annoyances, Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit is still a totally rad game that you should probably play if you like racing. Seems like a no-brainer to me. 
 

Bolo Santosi, The Reapahzzz, and Ancestral Skulls, Scorpio!

I've basically hated Just Cause 2 for the past few months. A while ago, I decided to get the achievements for getting 100% in X number of locations and for collecting X number of resource items. This completely destroyed the game for me. I wanted nothing to do with it after running around Panau for hours grabbing 1000 upgrade crates. By yesterday, whilst scrolling through my achievement list in search of something to distract me from Netflix for a while, I found Just Cause 2 looking at me. I looked back. Suddenly, a shriveled hand erupted out of the television screen, grabbed me by the throat, and forced me to put the game in and beat it on the hardest difficulty. 
 
 This came up when I searched Just Cause 2 on Google Images. I'd be lying if I said I knew why.
So that totally didn't happen, but I had you fooled for a second! .... no? Whatever! Despite my animosity towards Just Cause 2 that lasted for several months, I found the game to be quite enjoyable again when I started playing. I had some great concerns regarding the hardest difficulty, but in actuality it isn't all that challenging. The biggest struggle so far has been ammo, since I never seem to have enough (enemies do seem to be bullet sponges this time around). The fact that the game does a poor job of letting you know how damaged you are besides the health bar conveniently (sarcasm) located at the top corner of the screen certainly doesn't help either. Regardless, base jumping off buildings and landing on cars and then taking those cars over the edge of mountains hasn't been this refreshing in a while. I really gotta bow down to Avalanche Studios for the amazing physics incorporated in the game. Just yesterday, I drove a limo into the forest at amazing speeds and when I fishtailed into a tree, the limo spun around as fast as a helicopter blade for several seconds before slamming into the ground. And I just drove off as if nothing happened. Just another day in Just Cause 2, really. 
 
So I expect that by... I don't know, the middle of May, I'll have the game finished on the hardest difficulty (I keep saying that because I frankly don't know what it's called.... Hardened I think? I hate that word.) With only four achievements left, I'm hoping to acquire my beautiful S-Rank in the game relatively soon I hope. Getting 75% will most likely prove to be difficult, possibly mind-destroying, but I'm willing to give it a go. 
  

So

Is that is?.... I believe it is. I could share my recent adventures in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, but I think I've written about that series enough. By now, you should know that Brotherhood is rather amazing and that you should probably go and get it right now if you haven't already. I did get Tales of Vesperia a few weeks ago, but I have made the executive decision to save that for another time. I plan on writing a blog about Lost on Screened, since that show is just too amazing to ignore. I started season 5 earlier today and I hope to wrap up the show probably by the end of the month. Stay tuned!.... or don't :( 
 

Until next time, children.

Posted by Claude

I'll get Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood one day. I need to manage my money better, but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

Posted by onimonkii

hot pursuit seems like it's really good if you can still recommend it after all that

Posted by natetodamax
@onimonkii said:
" hot pursuit seems like it's really good if you can still recommend it after all that "
It is really good. I didn't mean to make it seem like it was a bad game. The last two issues can somewhat be ignored because the online Hot Pursuit mode is where most of the fun is at, but even then it's not uncommon to get through an entire race without any problems.
Posted by Video_Game_King

Why is there a Chinese hentai...what the hell is that?

Posted by natetodamax
@Video_Game_King said:
" Why is there a Chinese hentai...what the hell is that? "
Everything comes from China. Surely you know that by now!
Posted by Video_Game_King
@natetodamax: 
 
What about that Out of Africa crap? Or is Africa China? Does China own Africa?
Posted by natetodamax
@Video_Game_King said:
" @natetodamax:   What about that Out of Africa crap? Or is Africa China? Does China own Africa? "
You mean you haven't figured it out yet? Chinafrica. They're the same thing.
Posted by Video_Game_King
@natetodamax: 
 
You mean like Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck being the same person? Wait, I thought it was South Amafrica Rex, not Chinafrica.
Posted by ReyGitano

What does it say about my that the first thought through my head was "that girl has a really pale body".

Posted by natetodamax
@SlashseveN303 said:
" What does it say about my that the first thought through my head was "that girl has a really pale body". "
I'm not quite sure what the says about you. Any ideas?
Posted by JJWeatherman
@natetodamax said:
" A recent blog by one JJ "The Weather Man" Weatherman reminded me that I once did one of those weekly blog shindigs for a while before I sorta fell outta the loop. But thanks to his inspiration, I have gotten back on my feet with a vengeance! Although I guess you could say that I was also indirectly inspired by those who inspired him, and also those who inspired those who inspired him. Oh boy. "  
Ha, glad we could all be of assistance.  :) 
 
Some good stuff here. Keep it up! All aboard the blog train! Choo Chooooo! (Did Jeff Copyright that?)
Posted by ReyGitano
@natetodamax said:
" @SlashseveN303 said:
" What does it say about my that the first thought through my head was "that girl has a really pale body". "
I'm not quite sure what the says about you. Any ideas? "
idk... Also I was going to say that girl's face is messed up; then I realized the entire thing is in 3D. I think I need some sleep, or some booty, or some Just Cause. I just don't know anymore.
Posted by Shirogane

I know you want that mouepad, otherwise you never would've put that image there.
Posted by supermike6

This and JJWeatherman's blog are starting to make me want to do a weekly thing. And the chain keeps a going! It can only end with every single member of Giant Bomb having a weekly segment!

Posted by natetodamax
@Shirogane said:
" I know you want that mouepad, otherwise you never would've put that image there. "
Well yeah!
Posted by MarkWahlberg

Ethan is the best villain in the entire series. I still get chills thinking about that guy sometimes.

Posted by BombKareshi
@natetodamax said:
" @Video_Game_King said:
" @natetodamax:   What about that Out of Africa crap? Or is Africa China? Does China own Africa? "
You mean you haven't figured it out yet? Chinafrica. They're the same thing. "
Lies! All lies!
Posted by EuanDewar

Is this Brian Eno Needles In The Camel's Eye or Queens Of the Stone Age needles? 
 
Either way im happy.
Posted by melcene
@natetodamax said:
"

Until next time, children.

"
Giving us the truth... no matter how bad it hurts?  :)
Posted by natetodamax
@EuanDewar said:
" Is this Brian Eno Needles In The Camel's Eye or Queens Of the Stone Age needles?  Either way im happy. "
I meant to reply to this but I forgot. It's both, really. QOTSA covered the Brian Eno song.