Games this week:
- Xbox/Xbox 360 - The Bard's Tale, Bastion
- Game Boy Color - Pokémon: Blue Version
- Playstation 3 - Heavy Rain
- Gamecube - Resident Evil 2
So, to start with, played a bunch of Heavy Rain last Monday, Memorial Day here in the states. And, I'm getting frustrated with Heavy Rain. There have been several instances while playing that a bunch of different arrows pop up and I have to guess which way to pull the right stick to get the action I want out of it. And more often than not, whichever character I'm controlling in that moment ends up doing something I didn't want them to do because it was unclear what the prompt was telling me I could do. Really, my only complaint about the game thus far is how unclear the prompts are sometimes about what they're prompting you to do, which isn't a minor complaint, by far, but it's not stopping me from playing the game. All of the characters have their share of intense moments, made only the more intense by the controller in my hand, which is lost when the I'm given a selection of prompts and then no clues as to what each thing will do and it feels like I've lost control of the situation. In a different way than when I miss a quick time event and lose control of the situation. That feels more natural. This is more of an illusion-breaking loss of control.
Oh, and I hate Special Agent Jayden. That dude is a putz who just stands by sputtering, "Stop it!" in a completely ineffectual, impotent way while bad shit happens. And believe me, I try to make him stop this corrupt, scumbag officer I'm partnered with and I'm simply not allowed until the game says so. Meaning, as I interpret it, this is the way they want Jayden, as a character, to come across to us. And I dislike him and kind of hate playing as him. On the flipside, Private Eye Shelby is the man. Love that guy, love every time I get to take control of him, and I love the way he does business. Don't let my complaints fool you, I'm enjoying the game. Aside from the minor missteps, and some oddly accented English, the game's superb. The atmosphere and intensity it puts forth literally has me on the edge of my seat sometimes and the story is very, very interesting to me. I'm at a point where I'm not sure what is a red herring and which direction the story's headed in, which is an excellent place for a serial killer thriller to be.
And on the Rebekah side of things, she seems to be thoroughly enjoying watching the game. She's invested and we shall march on!
For the next large splurge of text, Bastion. Finished it, at least the first run through, this past week. And I really like this game. I love the entire conceit of the story, I love the twists it takes, and I found the ending very powerful. And multiple choice, meaning I immediately started the New Game Plus mode and went at it again. There really isn't much to say that wasn't stated last week, as the game stayed much the same with the addition of new weapons as I went, including a cannon that harnesses the power of the Calamity itself. Wicked. This was another game that Rebekah took a great interest in, aussi. In particular she found the Stranger's commentary hilarious.
I started playing The Bard's Tale for the original Xbox this past weekend. Another game I picked up ages ago because it was cheap and I had at least a mild interest in it, yet, never played! I've put about two hours into it; I just left Houton. Really, what I was looking for from The Bard's Tale was humor, but, this game is rather light on. It's mostly the eponymous Bard being a lecherous asshole. It has a basic conversation system that is described as snarky or nice and I'd been choosing the snark option because I figured that would be the most amusing, but, alas, 'twas not. So, I tried going with the nice option and basically it was the same kind of dialogue with fewer death threats. I did come across a point where I had to be mean to a few NPCs to continue with the quest. That was an interesting use of it.
Being that the writing didn't holding up as well as I anticipated, let's talk about the mechanics. The combat's a bit sluggish frustrating, but, manageable. Swing melee weapon with A and block with B. The timing-based block has a bit of a lag to it, but, it's there. It's very basic and simple. The part that really interests me is the summoning aspect of it. The Bard plays a song on his lute and a creature, or in at least one case so far a person, is summoned to battle with me. Which has been invaluable when I'm surrounded by enemies, as it gives them something else to potentially focus their attention on. But the combat's mostly frustrating.
I do, however, I enjoy the world map. It's dotted with towns and creatures moving about and you move across it like you would within town. Whenever you come in contact with a creature, it loads a new screen where you have to take out a certain number of enemies. To counter that, I do not enjoy the save system and complete lack of checkpoints. I know we're dealing with an eight-year-old game that's a continuation of a series from the mid-80s to early 90s, but, it's hard to go backwards sometimes. A complete lack of checkpoints and save points scattered around means things like doing stretches of areas over and over again, and the Bard dies pretty easily on the Normal difficulty. Ultimately, it didn't grip me and ultimately pushed me away, so, shelved it. Indefinitely.
Started up Resident Evil 2 for a little bit. Only made it to the police station then I had to stop and leave the house, but, man. I've been sort o' pacified by current video games. Some classic survival horror is already kicking my ass. I'll play it some more and we'll see how I do, but, I'm not starting out strong.
And then the ubiquitous Pokémon. Got past Seafoam Islands. My problem was I kept moving one of the boulders, leaving to go back to the Pokécenter, and coming back to move the second stone. But, if you only move one of the stones then leave, the stones were resetting on me. Annoying! Anyway, got through Blaine, got through [SPOILER] Giovanni, and defeated the Elite Four and my rival, Cubert, with a team around level 44 that consisted of Light (Zapdos), Brewer (Omastar), Shazam (Kadabra), Momma (Marowak), Clifford (Flareon), and Fluffy (Venusaur). And then I went and caught Aussi (Mewtwo) and replaced Shazam. And... that's that. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to try to fill out the Pokedex as much as I can with just one cart, but, I have a feeling that's it for this one and I'll be moving on.
Apparently I was feeling a little more verbose this week. Oh well! Hope y'all enjoyed reading, see y'all later!