Back in business

It's been a long time since I've written anything here. I'm scared to check how long exactly because it's probably almost a full year. Much of that time has been spent working a full time job - something I wasn't used to - and I've barely been managing to PLAY any games, let alone write about them. I took a week's holidays and have taken the opportunity to sit down and actually *gasp* finish some games.
 
In order:
 
Played through GH Metallica on Expert Drums.
 
It was the last instrument I needed to beat to get that 150 point achievement so that was nice. 175 points for something like an hour's work. This also marks the third drum kit I have rendered completely useless and with that I am officially resigning from music game drumming. They're so big and so expensive and they work for approximately one week before the pads all crack and they start extra hitting/not hitting. It's a shame, because I AM playing and passing most of the hard stuff on expert, but I'm getting a max combo of like 15 because the drum kit is so broken. I also managed to pull something the wrong way and wreck the connector of my $100 Destroyer pedal. Unless someone accidentally mails me an Ion kit for free I am never ever EVER playing drums in a music game again.
 
While I'm on the subject of being done with music games... I am done with music games. After the soul-crushingly easy Beatles Rock Band left me wondering "Why are we even here?" on my way to a Full Game Full Combo on the second day after release I wasn't TOO dissappointed because, hey, Guitar Hero 5 was out the next week. While the game is certainly a better experience than World Tour (not difficult) there are still enough things wrong with the menus that should have been fixed four games ago alongside a host of new problems (Why, for example, does it scroll right back to the top of the song list any time I do ANYTHING?) that it's just a really frustrating experience all around. Add to that the increasingly aggravating super easy difficulty of the entire setlist and the low quality of most of the songs chosen and it adds up to a game I'm unlikely to go back to very often from here on in - if at all. I used to fail songs. I had to learn how to play them. I LOVED that. Being forced to learn to gallop to 5 star The Trooper in GH2 is one of the most satisfying experiences of my gaming life. There just aren't any new tricks to learn any more. It's a really sad thing realising your favourite genre of game isn't fun any more. Band Hero and Lego Rock Band are both out on the same day in a couple of months and I flat out don't want them. Easier games and worse songs is NOT a step in the right direction for those franchises. Do I still want Van Halen? Probably. I'm not even sure, anymore. I will applaud ONE change in GH5 and that is that no one gets stuck playing the (usually) even easier bass part. Nine games worth of innovation, right there.
 
There is some hope on the horizon. DJ Hero is out at the end of this month and I'm hoping that, as a completely new skill set to learn, it will bring back that same experience I used to love in GH. Either that or it'll be a total wash and I'll never play a music game again. I'll let you know which in about 4 weeks.

Played through the remaining levels of Wolfenstein.
 
It's a FPS, certainly. There's a big fight going on at the GameFAQs boards about a guy who claims to have beaten this game in 5 hours. Everyone there hates him and say they spent 15 hours or so on it. I beat the game in 4:21 and I am unlikely to return to it. It's not BAD but it's a very long way from being GOOD. The rifle was very nice once fully upgraded and the violence is just over the top enough to be interesting but that's basically all I can say for the game. The only time in recent memory I have cared less about a story in a game was in Mercs 2, where I actually just turned the sound right off for the whole game. I'm hearing pretty widespread reports of the game freezing once you collect most of the hidden items and there seems to be no patch in sight. I'm only mildly surprised by that after seeing the rest of the game. This is NOT as good as the reviews it is getting suggest and if it had been any longer than that 4:21 I might not have bothered.

Started and finished Mass Effect.
 
2007 was stunning. I managed to beat many of the big name releases of the year back then (Assassin's Creed, Bioshock, Halo 3, Uncharted etc.) but there will always be a few important ones that slip through the cracks. I loved Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect is a very impressive progression from that game. The graphics are outstanding for the most part, the most obvious flaw being those awful shadows on people's faces. The important part here is the speech between characters. The voice acting is uniformly some of the best to ever appear in a game and the conversation system is outstanding. The actual content of the conversations and the story itself are also some of the best gaming has on offer. The combat works incredibly well and it's a system that I'd like to see blatantly copied in a few more games. I am glad that I waited as long as I did to play it because it's now only a few months until the sequel and I may have gone insane waiting over two years for it.

I think that's everything I've gotten to the credits of in the last few days. I have Tomb Raider Underworld in the drive right now, ready to play with intent to complete. I think I'm halfway through or further already. Also in line to be played through are Prototype, Bionic Commando, Condemned 2, Dead Space and Super Mario Galaxy, all of which I have played maybe the first hour of. My current "Sound turned off, listening to a podcast" games are Dirt 2, Red Faction Guerilla and Trials HD. Dirt 2 is very good, though the shift in stye from the first game was a poor decision. Rewind is a lifesaver, though my "reset to track" button is sorely missed. More actual point to point rally races would have been nice. 3 lap circuit races are not something I am enjoying and if I ever have to race that Ensenada track again I'm going to stop playing. I am liking RF: G for the most part. If things reset when you died, it might be literally unplayable but hey, that's not the case. Knock over a building, it falls on you and kills you, you respawn and it's still knocked down. Genius. Seriously. Trials is fun when you're getting it right but seriously WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? One of the expert tracks I had to retry so many times that it actually kicked in a time limit I'd never seen before and restarted the level after about 250 attempts at a single obstacle. I guess what I mean is that the first three sets of levels are fun and the rest of the game is an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE. I have gone through entire podcasts and still been stuck on the same level.
 
In non gaming news: The Boat That Rocked, Inglourious Basterds and Watchmen are the best three movies so far this year in that order. Here's hoping one or more of those sneak in to that new 10 slot Best Picture shortlist. Oh, and Up is garbage. It seems like everyone else has been watching a totally different movie than I saw.
 
Front runner for GOTY is still Resident Evil 5. The amount of fun I had with that game may come down to the fact that I have never played it in any way other than online co-op. Got the full 1000 in it, which included at LEAST three full playthroughs, maybe more.
 
According to my release schedule the next important release is Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2, both on October 15th. Basically that means that I am never going to play Brutal Legend. Sorry, Tim.
 
I'll be keeping this up to date from here on in. It's good to be back.

3 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by Shaunage

It's been a long time since I've written anything here. I'm scared to check how long exactly because it's probably almost a full year. Much of that time has been spent working a full time job - something I wasn't used to - and I've barely been managing to PLAY any games, let alone write about them. I took a week's holidays and have taken the opportunity to sit down and actually *gasp* finish some games.
 
In order:
 
Played through GH Metallica on Expert Drums.
 
It was the last instrument I needed to beat to get that 150 point achievement so that was nice. 175 points for something like an hour's work. This also marks the third drum kit I have rendered completely useless and with that I am officially resigning from music game drumming. They're so big and so expensive and they work for approximately one week before the pads all crack and they start extra hitting/not hitting. It's a shame, because I AM playing and passing most of the hard stuff on expert, but I'm getting a max combo of like 15 because the drum kit is so broken. I also managed to pull something the wrong way and wreck the connector of my $100 Destroyer pedal. Unless someone accidentally mails me an Ion kit for free I am never ever EVER playing drums in a music game again.
 
While I'm on the subject of being done with music games... I am done with music games. After the soul-crushingly easy Beatles Rock Band left me wondering "Why are we even here?" on my way to a Full Game Full Combo on the second day after release I wasn't TOO dissappointed because, hey, Guitar Hero 5 was out the next week. While the game is certainly a better experience than World Tour (not difficult) there are still enough things wrong with the menus that should have been fixed four games ago alongside a host of new problems (Why, for example, does it scroll right back to the top of the song list any time I do ANYTHING?) that it's just a really frustrating experience all around. Add to that the increasingly aggravating super easy difficulty of the entire setlist and the low quality of most of the songs chosen and it adds up to a game I'm unlikely to go back to very often from here on in - if at all. I used to fail songs. I had to learn how to play them. I LOVED that. Being forced to learn to gallop to 5 star The Trooper in GH2 is one of the most satisfying experiences of my gaming life. There just aren't any new tricks to learn any more. It's a really sad thing realising your favourite genre of game isn't fun any more. Band Hero and Lego Rock Band are both out on the same day in a couple of months and I flat out don't want them. Easier games and worse songs is NOT a step in the right direction for those franchises. Do I still want Van Halen? Probably. I'm not even sure, anymore. I will applaud ONE change in GH5 and that is that no one gets stuck playing the (usually) even easier bass part. Nine games worth of innovation, right there.
 
There is some hope on the horizon. DJ Hero is out at the end of this month and I'm hoping that, as a completely new skill set to learn, it will bring back that same experience I used to love in GH. Either that or it'll be a total wash and I'll never play a music game again. I'll let you know which in about 4 weeks.

Played through the remaining levels of Wolfenstein.
 
It's a FPS, certainly. There's a big fight going on at the GameFAQs boards about a guy who claims to have beaten this game in 5 hours. Everyone there hates him and say they spent 15 hours or so on it. I beat the game in 4:21 and I am unlikely to return to it. It's not BAD but it's a very long way from being GOOD. The rifle was very nice once fully upgraded and the violence is just over the top enough to be interesting but that's basically all I can say for the game. The only time in recent memory I have cared less about a story in a game was in Mercs 2, where I actually just turned the sound right off for the whole game. I'm hearing pretty widespread reports of the game freezing once you collect most of the hidden items and there seems to be no patch in sight. I'm only mildly surprised by that after seeing the rest of the game. This is NOT as good as the reviews it is getting suggest and if it had been any longer than that 4:21 I might not have bothered.

Started and finished Mass Effect.
 
2007 was stunning. I managed to beat many of the big name releases of the year back then (Assassin's Creed, Bioshock, Halo 3, Uncharted etc.) but there will always be a few important ones that slip through the cracks. I loved Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect is a very impressive progression from that game. The graphics are outstanding for the most part, the most obvious flaw being those awful shadows on people's faces. The important part here is the speech between characters. The voice acting is uniformly some of the best to ever appear in a game and the conversation system is outstanding. The actual content of the conversations and the story itself are also some of the best gaming has on offer. The combat works incredibly well and it's a system that I'd like to see blatantly copied in a few more games. I am glad that I waited as long as I did to play it because it's now only a few months until the sequel and I may have gone insane waiting over two years for it.

I think that's everything I've gotten to the credits of in the last few days. I have Tomb Raider Underworld in the drive right now, ready to play with intent to complete. I think I'm halfway through or further already. Also in line to be played through are Prototype, Bionic Commando, Condemned 2, Dead Space and Super Mario Galaxy, all of which I have played maybe the first hour of. My current "Sound turned off, listening to a podcast" games are Dirt 2, Red Faction Guerilla and Trials HD. Dirt 2 is very good, though the shift in stye from the first game was a poor decision. Rewind is a lifesaver, though my "reset to track" button is sorely missed. More actual point to point rally races would have been nice. 3 lap circuit races are not something I am enjoying and if I ever have to race that Ensenada track again I'm going to stop playing. I am liking RF: G for the most part. If things reset when you died, it might be literally unplayable but hey, that's not the case. Knock over a building, it falls on you and kills you, you respawn and it's still knocked down. Genius. Seriously. Trials is fun when you're getting it right but seriously WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? One of the expert tracks I had to retry so many times that it actually kicked in a time limit I'd never seen before and restarted the level after about 250 attempts at a single obstacle. I guess what I mean is that the first three sets of levels are fun and the rest of the game is an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE. I have gone through entire podcasts and still been stuck on the same level.
 
In non gaming news: The Boat That Rocked, Inglourious Basterds and Watchmen are the best three movies so far this year in that order. Here's hoping one or more of those sneak in to that new 10 slot Best Picture shortlist. Oh, and Up is garbage. It seems like everyone else has been watching a totally different movie than I saw.
 
Front runner for GOTY is still Resident Evil 5. The amount of fun I had with that game may come down to the fact that I have never played it in any way other than online co-op. Got the full 1000 in it, which included at LEAST three full playthroughs, maybe more.
 
According to my release schedule the next important release is Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2, both on October 15th. Basically that means that I am never going to play Brutal Legend. Sorry, Tim.
 
I'll be keeping this up to date from here on in. It's good to be back.

Posted by Creamypies
@Shaunage: Welcome back, can't say I remember you. Then again I wasn't here a full year ago. Your blog made for a good read, although I think that you're being a little harsh on The Beatles: Rock Band. The game isn't meant to be challenging. It's there as a medium for fans of the band to access their music catalogue and enjoy it in a slightly different way than just listening to it. I guess my question is... are you a Beatles fan?
 
Resident Evil 5 is definately up there for GOTY for me too. Admittedly the story and characters were a little flat, and the game hardly advanced from RE4... but man, that co-op makes up for it! Awesome experience.
 
As for Brutal Legend; I will get it... just not yet. Maybe I'll get it around Christmas or something... see if the price drops in the January sales.
 
Once again, good blog! Look forward to hearing from you again.
Posted by Shaunage

I knew about half of the songs before playing it but you're right, I wouldn't call myself a Beatles fan. I approached it as a music game hoping for a challenge and as you saw I didnt find one. The backgrounds are fantastic and if you like the Beatles you should absolutely own the game.