By Phr4nk0 1 Comments
Wow I've been lazy... I guess I'd have to admit that about a lot of things, but as for right now I'm referring to my blogging. Just to fill everyone in, the reason I decided to start writing these blogs was to complete the Giant Bomb quest 'The Chaste Monk' for writing 20 blog entries. For those reading this elsewhere (more than actually read it at Giant Bomb I'm sure) quests are basically achievements/badges earned by doing certain things on Giant Bomb. Not wanting to cheese it too disgracefully, I decided if I just write a little opinion piece on what games I had completed, I'd get there in no time. Everything was fine and dandy for a while but once I start on something I tend to just keep going and going and what was intended as a little ditty expressing how I felt about the games I played turned into a novel thicker than my penis (huge). All this writting every couple of days turned from fun into work and I did what I normally do when faced with work; run and hide. Now I've ended up in this situation...
Since my last blog I've completed 9 games! That's 6 XBLA and 3 retail, more games than all my previous blog entries combined. Now I can't have this post turn into a small book so we're gonna have to keep things very brief and tear through all of these games, dare I say it, the way I originally intended. Have no fear this will not, by any means, be short and my next entry will undoubtably half the worlds current population of trees if printed out, but let's try and be concice, atleast this time. Atleast most of the games were XBLA titles, which is not to say that XBLA titles are inherently worse, smaller and shallower than disc based titles, but atleast in this case with the exception of one or two they seem to have an easily explained form of gameplay. Anyway enough of the introductory dribble and onto some thoughts, games and thoughts about games! In order of completion, up first is...
Doritos Crash Course
Doritos Crash Course (DCC from now on) is a free little platformer that takes you to USA, Europe and Japan as you run, slide, jump and climb your way through a japanese gameshow inspired obstacle course. It reminds me a whole lot of the TV show Wipeout, and it's tremendous fun watching your avatar (which in my case looks a lot like me) get clubbed in the face with swinging mallets as you try and try to make that illusive gold medal time. It's the same sort of masochistic platformer Super Meat Boy is except not nearly as tight or demanding. After playing Super Meat Boy this felt like a day at the beach, not to say that DCC isn't that hard, it's just not throw your controller out the window and threaten to rape your neighbours hard.
The achievements are a breeze with 2 exceptions, Sore wa kantan desu and Going for Gold both task you with getting gold medal times, the former just in one of the harder (if not the hardest level) and the latter in every level. With a little bit of time spent practicing you'll 100% this game without to many problems. Oh and I forgot to mention that DCC only costs 0 points, yeah free, free game, free achievements and unlike last years free adver-game, Dash of Destruction, it's actually pretty damn good. Get on it!
Call of Duty
I grabbed this probably more than half a year ago while it was on Deal of the Week, and never played it. I have long suffered with a case of CoD fatigue ever since putting myself through Veteran in Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and making it half way through Call of Duty: World at War during the same year in pretty rapid succession. It has resulted in me letting Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops pass me by without a care, even though my bro Ice Cube is in one of them. I'm not going to sit here and say I hate the CoD series like some seem to, I've just burnt out on them for now.
Atleast that's how I felt for near 2 years until finally manning up and tackling this game, I jumped straight for Veteren difficulty and while frustrating and difficult at times I'll be damned if, even as old as it is, Call of Duty didn't offer me a good old Nazi killing time. It seems my case of CoD fatigue has finally disipated and I will no doubt be back in the CoD saddle, lapping up everything MW2 and Black Ops have to offer in the near future (when I seem them for a bargin).
On the achievement side of things, being an arcade game Call of Duty only has 200 points to give out. This fact results in only 30 gamerscore for putting yourself through Veteren. I would say that I completed this on Veteren difficulty with far less hassle than the other CoDs I've completed but let's not pretend like it wasn't another factor in keeping this on the back burner. "Only 30 points for Veteren, fuck that!" must have run through my head every time I was scrolling my list of arcade games when picking my next project. The rest are quite easy and I only had to replay one level to grab the one achievement I was missing.
Doritos must have had great success with last years adver-game (unlike Toyota, where's 2011 Yaris?) because they've decided to slap 2 games on the XBLA table this year. Harms Way is another freebee, but unlike DCC, Harms Way seems to be a bit of an ultra-nationalist biggot and has been chanting "USA Yay! Other countries gay!" (don't quote me on that) ever since release. You'll need to prove to Harms Way that you're an all american gamer before you get to download and play it.
It's another free and a lot easier (nearly on par with Dash of Destruction) than DCC to grab all the achievements, so fire up that american account I know all your serious achievement whores have and get on downloading it. You can 100% this in 15 minutes if you manage to find a match to join to grab the Affiliation achievement. If you aren't to crazy about the points then you aren't really missing all that much.
Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown
Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown (FF2 from here on out) is the sequel to Feeding Frenzy! Haha, you learn something new every day! See what I did there? I sneakily implied that you (the reader) are dumb, and then even sneakily-er implied that you are even dumber by expressly explaining my implications, as if you weren't smart enough to grasp sarcasm, and then... ok I'll stop. It really is the sequel to Feeding Frenzy though...
FF2 tasks you with controlling a little fish, because you're used to controlling little things, like your little penis (burn!) God damn it ok, I'm seriously stopping now. Come on though, you play as a small fish and you eat smaller fish whilst avoiding bigger fish. Eat enough smaller fish and you'll grow making the bigger fish into smaller fish and even bigger fish come along and try to eat you, because you weren't worth their time when you were small, atleast that's what your mum said! (Hey-Oh!)
Achievement wise FF2 is very easy, though it does require a bit of time. I completed it in a day but I must of played it for atleast 6 or so hours. It can get repetitive but I doubt it's ment to be played in one massive chunk and would make the perfect relaxing time filler, probably best played for a bit inbetween other games.
Br ütal Legend, which will henseforth lose the umlaut because it's a pain in the arse, got a bad rap in my eyes. Almost everywhere I go people seem to be throwing shit all over the latter half of the game when it turns from God of War-light to God of War-light-mixed-with-light-strategy. This game in no way requires the use of hardcore micro management, apm, pixel perfect clicks, memorisations of build orders and everything else that is wrong with the strategy games of today. The control scheme is perfect for the game it is trying to get you to play, if you play it they way it's given to you, and without trying to morph it into the next Starcraft.
It's simple, it's resource collection and protection mixed with unit production and selection. Listen to that, how good does that sound? What it boils down to is you make the best unit production choice you can at the time and send them off to do their thing. The person who has thought ahead with the best macro, fuck micro, wins. Nearly every review I've read has lambasted Brutal Legend for trying something it shouldn't have, basically saying that a sub-par God of War clone in a heavy metal open world would have resulted in a better product, and I am here to say, "Nay, my good man, you are off your rocker!"
Now I am not what you would call a heavy metal fan... most of the soundtrack was pretty good, I enjoyed it, but I won't be seeking any of it out and listening to it again. That along with my Ice Cube love in the Call of Duty section above might hint you more in my direction musically, but I will stand up proudly and say this is one of my favourite games I've played this year. It's no cinematic masterpiece, no heady ideas to wrap your mind around, no deeply touching dramatical force, it's just good old fashioned fun. It was fun to see someone's artistic take on the genre of music they clearly loved, fun to romp around as Eddie Riggs in this crazy world, fun guessing what would happen next and what would be around the next bend, and had I actually been a fan of metal I would have to guess that all this fun would have been double(fine). Not to mention that a lot of the humour in the game is actually pretty decent, and if you're no Jack Black fan then no worries, neither am I. There is nothing too Jack Blacky with his performance here, though if you literally despise him then I'd say there'd be just enough here to throw you off.
I played and completed all the single player and most of the multiplayer achievements that I could do in skirmish mode earlier this year, only having the ranked wins to do for quite some time. The multiplayer is a ghost town, as with most games non CoD or Halo, and the servers are complete poo. I had to try 4 different boosting partners before I found one that the game would let me connect to in ranked games. In custom there is no problem but in ranked if your ping drops below a certain amount the game won't let you play together, I guess they were trying to stop connection drop outs in ranked games but it's not the best of solutions. You basically have to find someone in your own country before you can connect.
Other than Cönquerer (the ranked wins) the only other annoying achievement are some of the collectables scattered throughout the world (Serpent Savior, Tourist), though as stated before I just liked exploring this wierd world. There are plenty of fun achievements here, requiring you to test out all sorts of things, which led to some changes to my strategies, and exploration of different ways of playing led to other fun discoveries.
Star Wars The Force Unleashed
Now here we are getting a bit more recent. I've had a pretty productive week this week in terms of achievements, due to starting my holidays this week I've managed to go on a bit of an achievement tear. I had heard that Star Wars The Force Unleased (TFU from now on) wasn't all that, but I've been pleasently surprised. I'm not ashamed to say that at one stage of my life I was the biggest Star Wars fanboy I knew, and I knew a few, these days I've fallen off the Star Wars band-wagon a bit (I'll blame the prequel trilogies like everyone else) however, TFU has re-ignited some of my dormant fandom.
It's been a while since anything Star Wars had me this excited, I'll give credit to the super over-the-top force powers. It put a fresh spin on the old Jedi powers, infact there's not really much wrong with this game. Another game that suffers because of its genre, too many people walk right past the newer beat-em ups in my opinion, when lately I've been playing more and more and loving it. The only thing I would improve in TFU is to urge it to take a page from X-men Origins: Wolverine's book and include decapitations, eviscerations and amputations, you've got a lightsaber take it off baseball bat setting and put it on razor sharp samurai sword settings and lets get to cutting.
TFU includes all the trimmings, upgradable health, defence, damage, recovery and other character traits, upgradable and unlocable force powers, unlockable combos, different lightsaber crystals which result in defferent colours and attributes and lots more. Include a whole bunch of character skins, playing through a level using force lightning on Jawas as C-3po is amusing.
I'd heard nightmare stories about the difficulty of TFU but I didn't really find it all that difficult. You had to be strategic and more guerilla like with your force powers, striking hard and fast before hiding again, maybe not the way of a true Jedi but it worked and that's all I asked for. The game is a bit stingy with the achievements it hands out, but it saves big points for beating it depending on which difficulty you beat it on, 75 points for completing it on Apprentice, 100 for Sith Warrior, 100 for Sith Lord and 100 for Sith Master so once you reach the finish you'll drown in what will surely be a flash flood of gamerscore. The other achievements that are a bit of a grind are the 500 kills with each force power, which require a bunch of mashing the same button combo for an hour or so for each force power. Other than that I really enjoyed this game.
I grabbed this game during the post christmas sale, whacked it in and beat it in the same day, now it sits on my shelf gathering dust. I kind of feel sorry for it, having such a short 15 minutes of fame. It's not a great game by any means, decidedly average but I've spent a lot more time with a lot worse games. Anyway I guess it's fitting that this game has the shortest section in this blog. I can't remember the last time I blasted through a whole game in one day, I even managed to space King Kong over two days.
Every achievement in this game will be gotten in one playthrough if you chose to play it on the hardest difficulty, which trust me isn't hard at all! Charge through in 5 or so hours and you'll be 1000 points richer.
South Park Let's Go Tower Defence Play!
South Park Let's Go Tower Defence Play! (South Park from now on) is a fun little tower defence game. I've stayed away from most of the little time waster tower defence games over the years so this was pretty much my first experience defending towers... er, using towers to defend things. I grabbed this on special on one of the Holiday Daily Deals and decided to play it straight away. While not as big of a South Park fan as I used to be, I still enjoyed revisiting the old crew, and using light strategy to destroy hordes of mobs. The 'twist' at the end was a classic bit of South Park humour and I had no clue it was coming so I really enjoyed that too.
This is another easy beat, I finished the game in two sittings, and while I didn't play it co-operative I could see how it could be quite a fun 2-4 player game too. Next time I have some mates around I'll whip it out and see how everyone takes to it. The achievements are all easy, upon finishing the game and having the control scheme down and all the towers unlocked repeating the early levels to grab a platinum was no problem (Look for Treasure), and after a few tries the last hard achievement for beating one of the last levels without any towers (MANBEARPIG) was mine aswell.
Zeno Clash Ultimate Edition
Finally, the last game to grace this blog entry isn't really supposed to be here. As of me writting this, I'm one achievement away from 100% completing this wierd, wierd game. I'm putting it on this list now because I don't want to leave it off and have an excuse to not write about it for a while. I can't let another one of these massive lists stack up and spending another 2 odd hours writing about them instead of playing more games, yeah that's right, I've spent coming up on two hours writting this, y'all better appreciate!
If none of you have heard of this game I don't blame you, according to True Achievements less than 1 000 people have played this game, I will say though that you should, if you have the money, give it a play through. The graphics aren't technically great, they aren't pushing out crazy amounts of polygons, but stylistically this is one of the creepiest and wierdest looking games I've ever seen. The creatures and characters are all messed up mixtures of animal/human hybrids, that look like some sick experement splicing animal genes with human DNA gone wrong.
The gameplay isn't anything superb, it's plays like a slightly worse Condemned, with first person fisticuffs and gunplay. The story is what it's all about, even if it's not Shakespear, but it does all come together to form some sort of monstrosity featuring the most engaging celebration of horrendously wierd characters. They all believe in some abortion of a religion, living in a backwards tribe led by a murderous hermaphrodite half bird man/lady. You play as Ghat, the son of Father-Mother, the giant hermaphrodite bird/person, and the game starts with you murdering Father-Mother, and being chased out of town by your brothers and sisters. All of which are other monstrous mixes of species, birthed by Father-Mother.
A lone friend decides to follow you and learn why you felt the need to murder your parent/s, only to learn half way through the game that Father-Mother had a horrible secret, it would rather die, kill you and/or send hundreds of it's children after you to their death to keep. Ghat decides that even after killing Father-Mother because of this secret that he will keep it to himself. At this stage I was hooked in this wierd world and as I said before, if you have the money and time to spare you should check out Zeno Clash, but know before going in that graphically and gameplay wise this isn't a master piece. I'm not going to reveal any more of the story or the eventual reveal of the secret because I don't want to spoil it and even the little I've revealed now doesn't do it any justice compaired to playing it.
Achievement wise it's also a weird game, with only 4 of it's 12 achievements related to playing the story, the other 8 are challenge rooms you can play after. All the achievements are very simple and Zeno Clash is another game you could 200/200 in a session of 6 or so hours if you so chose.
Well that's it, I'm back up to date in the blog world, I'm not going to spend anymore time than I already have on this conclusion. By the time I write another entry it will be a new year, so I hope you all have a happy new year and all my best for any and all experiences you decide to undertake in 2011!