Regarding robot ghost pirates.

Quest For Booty is a lot of things. It's Experimental as a downloadable game, it's a nice change of theme and scenery from Tools of Destruction, it's short and it's mildly disappointing.

Being such a short game (3-4 hours, I wasn't timing it), QFB has had a lot of the more time consuming aspects removed from it. The weapons all start out at level 3 and on top of that level up maybe five times as fast. Most of the weapons are gone, too, but I don't think the game was hurt by that, though I imagine many people will miss the ability to turn an enemy into a dancing penguin.

Apparently you can't have no caption at all.

While the graphics are still excellent, a few minor mechanical problems show up as a result of the shorter development time. The camera is a lot more troublesome and one or two platform jumps are barely functional. The ability to hover is sorely missed. The rail grinding sections bear mention, as they have been vastly improved over those in ToD.

All that aside, it's a fun adventure. If you wanted more after Tools of Destruction ended - this is exactly that.

A couple of quick words on the pirate aspect of the game: I loved Pirates of the Caribbean as much as anyone could, but why must all pirates in any media be undead? How does that even work when they are also robots? The music in QFB comes dangerously close to being the PotC theme, too. Also, the title. No. Looking forward to the next game, because I've become properly interested in the story.

A surprisingly good entry to a series I'd never played.

I've spent the last few days playing right through Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction and I liked it a whole lot. This is the first Ratchet game I've played, but I'm now considering going back to play the four (five?) PS2 installments. Is Jak and Daxter this good? I've never touched those either.

The genuinely funny intro movie.

I was initially a little disappointed by the graphics, since I'd heard it looked identical to a Pixar movie, which is not the case. Those expectations out of the way - yes, it's a great looking game. Probably the best looking cartoon-style game I have ever played. The masses of different weapons are nice and there's good reason to use all of them because it lets you level them up and see how they change. Until the last 1/4 of the game I was mostly just using a weapon until it hit level 5 and then never touching it again. Consider me stunned by how useful the flame thrower is. Those are usually a throw-away weapon.

You visit an ENORMOUS number of planets in the game, most of which look completely different to all of the others. The levels are mostly just a little bit shorter than you'd expect, which works to the game's advantage, making sure you never get bored of one location. I think I could probably spend another 15-20 hours going for 100% but I'm going to leave it there. There is a LOT of replay value in Tools of Destruction.

Complete coincedence leads to this week's online release of Ratchet and Clank Future: The Quest For Booty. I'll very probably go straight on and play that. Good to see a downloadable full game that I have no problem with buying that way. Siren is just too big of a download to justify the slightly cheaper price and the novelty of having downloaded a full game on a home console. The disk version of Siren (and No More Heroes) is in the mail now. I think this time I actually HAVE run out of games to buy. I'm not paying anywhere near that much for Force Unleashed or Too Human, though I'd like to play through both at some point.

Timeshift is a bad game and you shouldn't play it.

This may not come as a surprise to regular readers, but I didn't enjoy playing through Timeshift very much at all. Having finished it didn't improve it either. There's an absolute non-ending, to fit in with the games complete non-story, I guess. Being able to play around with time was cool the first few times. Unfortunately for Timeshift, those first few times, and the next thousand, happened in other games.

Timeshift's few mildly clever time related puzzles are thrown into a bad light by the release of Braid, a fantastic game featuring a lot of very clever time puzzles. Also great writing and beautiful visuals. Play Braid.

Do not play Timeshift.

Dark Sector is on the cards for play soon, but my Dual Shock 3 arrived today, so I'll probably do a PS3 game next. Ratchet and Clank maybe. I want Siren: Blood Curse. I'm not sure I want to download it, because I like having lots of boxes on my shelf and the PS3 section is pretty slim right at the moment. It'll cost $10 more buy the game on a disk, but it will also save me 9gb worth of downloading. Unfortunately the real version of it is called Siren: New Translation, which is a significantly worse title.


Make it stop... please...

I can't begin to describe how boring Timeshift is. It's painful to play now. It's just. So. Dull. I think this is

one of the worst shooters on the 360. I certainly can't think of anything worse. Except maybe PDZ, but that's not even fair.

The guide on Gamefaqs lists 24 sections. I'm at the start of the 19th of those, meaning I'm about 3/4 through. The next few sections seem to have pretty short writeups in the guide, however, so hopefully it's less than 1/4 left. The 4th chapter was about twice as long as it should have been. I don't know how long I've spent on it so far, it has GOT to be at least 8 hours.

I'm still alive, really.

I'm semi-actively working on Timeshift. There's nothing aggressively bad about the game, it's just... boring. There are no weapons I feel comfortable with and it's just a little bit too similar to FEAR, I guess, being as it's a first person shooter where you can slow down time and the enemies take maybe 3 full clips each to kill, even on the lowest difficulty setting. They're not dangerous, just borderline invincible.

I'm more than halfway through the game now. I'm halfway through the fourth chapter out of what the achievements lead me to believe is six and I stopped caring about the game about... say three full chapters ago. Full review when I finish it. I don't have any specific complaints in mind, the game is just not gripping me. I am in a state of complete non-grippedness.

My main reason for going AWOL, however, is that my PS3 came back from repair the same day my new rock band pedal arrived. While it's significantly better than the standard RB pedal, I can NOT fully recommend the Destroyer pedal. It keeps falling apart on me and for the $100 I paid, as well as the freaking 11 week wait on shipping, it's a pretty huge letdown. Also I somehow seem to have cracked my blue pad. The Ion kit can not release fast enough.


Thoughts on FEAR

For the first time in a while I sat down and played a game from start to finish. This time it was FEAR, the second game knocked off the stack. Fear, which I refuse to fully capitalise from this point onwards, is a weird mix between a PC style first person shooter and a horror game. PC style because the game has little autoaim and is amazingly hard on anything above the "please don't hurt me, crying in the corner" setting. The mix is weird because the two things happen completely seperately. The first 2 or 3 levels are walks down long hallways with the occasional screamer and numerous appearances by token scary little girl with a traumatic past, Alma. The next 2/3 of the game are pretty standard corridor shooter fare and then we head back to flashing lights and ghostly attacks until the game ends.

I got three levels in and had to start over on easy. Maybe I've gotten bad at games in my old age (20), but even on the normal setting Fear was tearing me apart. Some stuff on easy gave me trouble, too. I've finished COD2 on veteran and Halo 3 on legendary. I promise I'm generally good at shooters, I just had a really hard time with this one.

Fear does tell its story very well, apart from the whole "very nearly explain all of the plot twists in the first level" business. Creepy little girls might feel a bit overdone now, but she does her job. An appearance in a vent early on is probably the best example of a scare done well.

The nailgun at its most hilarious.

I was surprised how much of Monolith's other major series, Condemned, showed up in Fear. I'm aware Fear came out first, but I played Condemned ages ago and only just got around to this. The character models look very similar between the two games and of all things the "bucket getting kicked around" sound effect was reused. Of the two games I absolutely prefer Condemned. Clubbing hobos in the face with a lead pipe is a whole lot more interesting than shooting a clone army, even if you can do it in slow motion. Which looks amazing. The stand-out effect on the weapon side is the nailgun, which allows you to pin enemies to the wall, occasionaly in three or more different places.

I do have to say that I never really felt comfortable with my weapons. I carried around a shotgun, a kind of rail gun and a rocket launcher for much of the end half of the game, leaving me pretty much out of luck in a long distance fight, since I was saving the two heavy guns for the occasional Big Daddy-esque robot fight and maybe the last boss. Spoiler - there isn't one.

Overall I'd say I enjoyed Fear, but that it seemed just a little bit too long, even at just over 7 hours. I'm giving it a 7. This is not a game for points-whores, by the way. A run through the campaign on easy, actively trying to get them, earned me a whopping 40. Nearly all of the achievements are nearly impossible and well done to anyone who has them. I probably need to mention one death in particular that stuck out as being unfair, though the game was generally pretty good about those. Entering one room, I ran to the right. A truck barreled through the wall opposite and crashed directly into me, killing me instantly. Silly. Bonus points for giving us "escort missions" where the annoying helpless NPC is completely invincible.

Next game was going to be Timeshift, but I've realised that's maybe just a little too similar to Fear. A lot of slow motion shotgun work. Dark sector, probably.

Bioshock, then.

First game knocked off the list is Bioshock. Bought it almost immediately after launch, maybe release day. The disk has been sitting out of its case for the last 2 months or so because I realised the super hard disk holder in the metal case has done significant damage to the middle of the disk - something I've had trouble with more than once already on the 360.

No plot spoilers contained herein.

Bioshock is a fantastic game and I always thought so, which is why it's weird that it took me nearly a year to actually play it. I wish it had been a just little more tilted towards the simple experience of discovering Rapture, but it's still probably the best job anyone has done so far on that front. What I mean is that it is still very much a game, complete with fetch quests (collect seven of these and seven of these and seven of these) and a slooooooooow escort mission, mucking up the pacing right at the end of the game. I can see why some people were a little annoyed at the ending - it is kind of abrupt - though maybe it only felt that way because there's no credit roll at the end, something I usually use to relax and think about the game I just beat, while listening to a mix of some of the more memorable music. A nitpick, but it seemed weird to me.

I can't imagine how anyone would have gotten the "invent 100 items" achievement. I went pretty far out of my way to invent as much as I could and still didn't get it. Will 360 developers PLEASE start including ingame achievement counters? The Darkness and The Orange Box and some good examples. While I'm talking about achievement promblems - learn to use secret achievements correctly. Achievements that spoil plot events - That's fine, secrify those. Anything else - No. Bioshock got this right for the most part. I did accidentally read a MAJOR plot point while scanning through a friend's achievements for the game on his console a few weeks ago, but that's my own stupid fault. Arguably they

Should I use boxart, photograph my own boxart or just use random screens in these posts?
could have named it differently and not spoiled it for me anyway, but I'll leave that there before I spoil anything.

For the record I went for the "save all little sisters" ending. The extra 100 points is a bonus, but I'd probably have done it anyway. I pretty much always play the 'good' path in games. Feels like I'm playing it 'wrong' to do anything else. The extra adam wasn't an issue. I can't imagine what you could possibly do with any more than I got. I was surprised how little I ended up using the plasmids. Honestly most of the time I just ran around with the wrench out. Something felt off about the shooting, but I can't imagine what it was. I did use the machinegun for probably the last 1/3 of the game.

I don't think I'll put scores on the games I beat in this project, or at least not on all of them. Consider Bioshock at LEAST a 9, though. I feel like I should have something more meaningful to say about the game, but that's everything that springs to mind that isn't a major plot twist.

Next two games are Timeshift and FEAR. Not sure what order I'll do them in yet. I'll play a few minutes of both and see if anything grabs me. I'll probably do Dark Sector after that, since it was the only game mentioned in my last post's only comment. Best to keep my one reader interested. Hi there.

The Stack

My game playing has been following a disturbing trend for the last couple of years. Amazing games, or at least somewhat good ones, are released pretty frequently. I like to own as close to all of them as I can manage. The problem is how few of them I actually end up playing to completion. Enter Exhibit A:

My stack of unbeaten games.


There are over 60 unfinished games sitting in a pile on my bedroom floor. It is my intent to complete every single game in that pile. I’ll keep track of my progress in this blog. This is mostly a way for me to keep track of it but I’ll try to keep it interesting for anyone who somehow happens across this page. Yes, pretty much every game in there is from the last two generations. That’s deliberate. I’ll go back to older games after I finish. Probably. That pile is ridiculous, too.


The pile is mostly in the order I intend to play them, but anything new I buy goes straight on top.


I imagine this will be the longest single post I ever make, because right here is a full list of every game in the pile and every game that should be there but isn’t (in the mail, lent out, whatever) as well as my current progress, if any, in that game.


For the record, I’ll try hard to keep this blog spoiler free.


Current time: 7:04pm


Metal Gear Solid – PS1

Metal Gear Solid 4 is out now and I own a PS3, so I pretty much have to own it. Unfortunately the only MGS game I’ve beaten is 2. I’m about 2/3 through MGS1, I think. Not on the second disk yet, but I’ve just fought Sniper Wolf. I’d have finished this already, but my PS3 is in repair at the moment and that’s what my save is on. (Yes, I backed it up)


Bioshock – 360

I bought it at release but just never got around to it. Again, I think I’m about 2/3 done. Honestly, with the site not letting me upload that image, I’ll probably have beaten Bioshock before this post goes up. EDIT: I was unable to post this and, yes, finished Bioshock. More on that tomorrow night.


Timeshift – 360

Borrowed from a friend so it’s higher priority. Unplayed.


FEAR – 360

Also borrowed, also unplayed.


Ninja Gaiden II – 360

Start of the second level. Started over on easy.


Condemned 2 – 360

Start of the second level. I beat Condemned maybe 8 times but this game is pretty much just a black screen. I’m sure I’ll get into it.


God of War II – PS2

I think I was nearly finished it. Probably at least ¾ through, but I lost my save. Not like it’s a long game.


Enchanted Arms – 360

I don’t know why I keep buying JRPGs. I’m about 3 minutes into this.


Metroid Prime 2 – GC

Just bought it, which is why it’s higher in the stack than MP1. I’ll do these in order. Unplayed.


Metroid Prime 3 – Wii

Same story


Sonic the Hedgehog – 360

Yeah, I know… I’m nearly finished watching the Something Awful Let’s Play of this and I can’t imagine actually playing it now. Basically unplayed.


Sonic Mega Collection Plus – PS2

I’ve beaten Sonic 1, 2 and 3. I’ll do Knuckles, but probably won’t beat the other games on the disk. The Game Gear games aren’t as good as I remembered.


Super Smash Bros Brawl – Wii

I’m sorry, but I hate it. Bought it at full price based on all the hype but it’s just not a fun game. 6 hours in, not sure what I’m going to consider “finished” here either.


Metal Gear Solid 4 – PS3

I’ll get to this after I beat 1 and 3.


Metal Gear Solid 3 – PS2

Next in line after I beat MGS.


Dark Sector – 360

Had to import this since it got banned here. I can’t imagine why. It’s nowhere  NEAR as violent as RE4 or Gears. I’m pretty much exactly halfway through.


Final Fantasy XII – PS2

I keep jokingly saying I intend to beat all the numbered FFs in order. I’ve done 1 and 2 on the Dawn of Souls cart and I played through 8 ages ago. XII is unplayed.


Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories – PS2

Unplayed. Not sure how much I’ll want to play it now I’ve beaten IV.


Eternal Sonata – 360

Unplayed. The graphics are amazing but it’s so rare for me to actually play a JRPG that I mayyyyy never get to this.


Devil May Cry 4 – 360

Basically unplayed.


Lost Planet – 360



Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 – 360



Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – Xbox

I got a little way into it ages ago. I loved and finished 3, VC and IV, but I just don’t like anything about SA. No idea why.


Lost Odyssey – 360

Another RPG I’ll probably never touch.


Dreamfall – Xbox

Bought it on ebay after its Xbox Originals release reminded me of its existance. Unplayed. I don’t even know what it is.


Ninja Gaiden Sigma – PS3

Barely played. You don’t realise how much better than NG this looks until you go back. The difference is HUGE.


The Orange Box – 360

Specifically Half Life 2 and the episodes. I’m at least 1/3 through Half Life 2. I’ve beaten Portal over 10 times.


Super Mario Galaxy – Wii

Great game but I’m probably not even 10% through it. I’ll get around to it.


Mass Effect – 360

I was really excited to get this early when EB leaked it, ran home, played the first mission and then… haven’t touched it since.


Devil May Cry 3 – PS2

I think I was halfway through it but I lost my save.


Silent Hill 3 – PS2

Barely touched. Don’t know why. 2 is one of the best games I have ever played.


Zelda: Twilight Princess – Wii

Yes, I got it at the Wii launch. I’m at the start of the second dungeon.


The Darkness – 360

I got maybe 2 hours into it. Like it a lot.


Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory – Xbox

I got about halfway in and ran into an absolutely awful mission in Shanghai or something. Fun fact: I have done the first level of this faster than the speedrun on Speed Demos Archive more than once.


Lego Star Wars – Xbox

Unplayed. I should do this early on. It’s like… an hour long, isn’t it?


Psychonauts – Xbox

I’m about an hour in.


Splinter Cell: Double Agent – 360

Start of the second mission. Want to beat Chaos Theory first. I hear the xbox version of this is a completely different, equally good game. Can anyone confirm this?


Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – Xbox

The first game was amazingly good. I got a planet or two into this. Didn’t stop for any reason in particular.


Silent Hill 4 – Xbox

Unplayed. Want to beat 3 first.


Morrowind – Xbox

I spent 150 hours on this game. In one sitting. Seriously. 6 days and nights straight. I did all of the missions for pretty much every faction. By the time I was finishing up and getting ready to start the storyline the game was crashing so often that it wasn’t even worth playing. A real shame. Also, this game is infinitely better than Oblivion – a game I DID finish.


Resident Evil 0 – GC

I LOVE Resident Evil. There are 3 RE games in my top ten of all time (2, CV and 4 in that order). I’m about 3-4 hours into this and making good progress but I’ve just never felt comfortable playing it. I realise that’s kind of the idea.


Ratchet and Clank – PS2

Unplayed. I’ve never played ANY R+C game or any Jak game.


Killer7 – GC

I played it for about 20 minutes. I’m not sure this is a game.


Metroid Prime – GC

What are you doing this far down the stack? I’ll never play 2 and 3 at this rate. I’ve been about 2 hours in I think. I hate that they made a great game nearly unplayable just to prove it wasn’t Halo, but I’ll get into that control rant when I get to playing it.


Onimusha 3 – PS2

I’ve beaten the first one on the Xbox. Never played any other Onimusha, including this one.


Rayman Revolution – PS2

This appears to be Rayman 2, which I got about an hour into on the Dreamcast. This seems like as good a place as any to call Rayman 1 for the Saturn the best 2D platformer I have ever played. Oh yeah, and pretty much impossible without cheating for more lives.


Lord of the Rings: Battle For Middle Earth II – 360

I’ve finished the evil campaign and have been as far as the last mission of the good one. Wish I’d beaten it back then, because my save has since deleted.


Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz – Wii

It’s Jeff’s fault I own this game. The minigames looked so fun when you guys played it at Wii launch. In reality, less than half of those minigames even work and the other half only ‘sort of work’. I’m sick of people pretending the Wii remote is a functional controller, but that’s a rant for another post. I got nearly the whole way through the single player game and it got so hard that I just don’t ever want to see the game again.


Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm – PS2

It was really cheap secondhand. I don’t even really know what this is. Unplayed.


Marc Ecko’s Getting Up – Xbox

Another game that was banned here. This is nowhere near as good as Jeff told me it was. A rare miss. I got maybe 2 hours in. If guides are to be believed, this game must be insanely long.


Project Zero II – Xbox

Called Fatal Frame 2 elsewhere in the world. I beat the first game. Haven’t touched this.


Burnout Revenge – Xbox

I’m not sure if it was just the colour palette change that changed this from the fantastic Burnout 3 but this game is just… terrible. I got about halfway through. Burnout Paradise was a fantastic return to form and may well be the best driving game I have ever played. I 100%ed that.


X-Men Legends – Xbox

I’m somewhere between 5 and 10 hours into this.


The Thing – Xbox

Probably 4 or 5 hours in.


007: Everything or Nothing – Xbox

Not a fan. I did maybe 5 missions.


Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes – Xbox

Found it super cheap secondhand a week after launch, never put the disk in. I have no idea what this game is.


Mechassault – Xbox

I’ll probably never finish this, even if I beat everything else on this list. It’s TERRIBLE.


Project Gotham Racing 2 – Xbox

Good game, but the difficulty gets insane about 2/3 in. I got about the same distance into MSR. Finished PGR 3 and 4.


Turok Evolution – Xbox

Maybe ¼ through it. Not so good.


Starfox Adventures – GC

I got maybe an hour in. Not bad, I just never got around to it.


Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean – GC

Enormous title. Another unplayed RPG. Unfortunately I had nothing better to buy and dropped $99 on this. (standard full price for a new game in Australia. Equivalent to about $96 US. Seriously.)


Final Fantasy X – PS2

Unplayed. I’ll get here one day. Maybe.


Final Fantasy X-2 – PS2

I’ll get here a few days after that.


Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 – PS2

The worst ‘game’ I have ever payed full price for. It was a great idea but it’s just… nothing. Hopefully Left 4 Dead makes up for it.


Other games I own that aren’t in the pile for various reasons (mostly still in the mail from ebay):


The Matrix: Path of Neo

Ratchet and Clank Future

Jade Empire

The Bourne Conspiracy

Soul Calibur 4


All unplayed.


So there we go. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. I’ll probably finish up Bioshock first. Stick around for my (spoiler free) thoughts on that and the rest of the games on this list.


Time now: 8:09 – That took just over an hour.

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