Weekly Rundown - 06/04/12-06/10/12

Games this week:

  • Gamecube - Resident Evil 2
  • Xbox 360 - Bastion
  • Game Boy Color - Pokémon: Blue Version
  • Playstation 3 - Heavy Rain

The list looks long, but, I really only played one game this week. Resident Evil 2.

And boy did I play a bunch of it! I went through Leon's A campaign and I'm several hours into the Claire B campaign. I'm guessing here, but, this makes me assume there's a Claire A and Leon B campaign if I play it in the opposite order. I'm also guessing that the story doesn't change it's just some of the game's puzzles and items shift around based on who you play first, ja? So I won't be doing that. Anyway, I think I'm near the end of the Claire B campaign.

I almost feel like it isn't worth talking about Resident Evil 2 considering the age on this one. I don't know why I never got around to playing it, though, even when I owned an original copy, and then eventually bought this Gamecube remake. It's so good. The story is as expected, considering the first game's voice acting and thin plot, but, it's so much fun to play. There are some tense moments and some unexpected scares.

But again, it's almost not worth talking about. Anyone who's not familiar with old Resident Evil games is not likely to change that. The tank control scheme is antiquated and would probably be difficult for someone who's only known modern controls for games and the story is paper-thin and less-than-stellarly acted. But I'm still loving it!

I also played a single level of Bastion. Moving on.

Played a little bit more of Heavy Rain. Same, same, same. Still hate Jayden, still love Shelby. Still enjoying the story, still struggling with the controls a little bit. They work well enough most of the time. I still wish it was clearer sometimes which button prompt is doing what exactly. But I am loving the story. Lovin' all the red herrings. And Rebekah is certainly riveted. There are some very intense moments in that game. And I got to explain to her what happens if one of these characters you control gets caught or dies.

And Pokémon check-in. I'm still plugging away at it, filling the Pokédex as much as I can with a single cartridge and no Gameshark. 92 owned and 141 seen.

And that's it! See y'all next week!

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Weekly Rundown - 05/28/12-06/03/12

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

Hello again!

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!

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Weekly Rundown - 05/21/12-05/27/12

Games this week:

  • Xbox 360 - Bastion, Mass Effect
  • Nintendo Wii - Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
  • Game Boy Color - Pokémon: Blue Version

Hello again!

So, this previous week saw plenty of Mass Effect. Enough that I finished it! It was so weird seeing a different Commander Shepard crest over the wreckage in the exact same way with the exact movement as I clearly remember from a few years ago when I first completed Mass Effect with my Commander Shepard. Good old Rose. Anyway, that's done, and I'll be jumping in to Mass Effect 2 as soon as I can afford to pick up all the DLC I never played the first time around.

But, in its place, I finally started playing Bastion, a game that's been sitting on my 360 hard drive for months now untouched. And it's fantastic! The Stranger is damned funny, I love the sort of context sensitive narration and I actively try to find new things for him to say. His voice is just perfect. The story's terribly intriguing, I want to know what the hell is going on (what the hell was the Calamity and why didn't it claim the sleeping Kid?), and it's told in a very interesting second-person point-of-view sort of way.

The combat is a hell of a lot of fun, mixing up two different weapons with the X and B buttons. I'm personally in love with the rifle and hammer combination. Some of the mechanics are a little annoying, such as falling off the world when you don't even see the hole in the middle of the playfield, but, it's not nearly bad enough to keep the game from being enjoyable. Some of the enemy types, like the stinkweeds, are downright frustrating, but again, minor complaints in the grand scheme.

I think I'm halfway through the game, without giving too much away the items I'm collecting have switched, and I'll probably play a bit more of it today.

And after taking a break from Bastion I tried a little Sin & Punishment: Star Successor. And I don't like it. I was enjoying it briefly because it was absurd and had that level of quality from which one could derive a sort of mocking pleasure. But the game itself makes no sense. I know this is a sequel to a Nintendo 64 game and I'm assuming that's why the story is so very confusing. Who is this girl? Why are they after her? Are these things direct carryovers from the first game? And the gameplay itself is just too confusing and frustrating for me. I got up to this giant lava turtle boss fight and died repeatedly, enough to turn off the game and put it back on the shelf. The whole thing is confusing and frustrating and I don't think I'm going to continue with it, but, we'll see. Never say never, ja?

And the ubiquitous Pokémon! So, I'm up to the Seafoam Islands. And lost as all hell, I can't seem to remember how to get through and I just keep walking in circles. I caught Articuno, though. And previous to going to the islands I wandered over to the Power Plant and scooped up Zapdos. My team currently consists of Momma (Marowak), Shazam (Kadabra), Fluffy (Ivysaur), Train (Pikachu), though I may switch to Zapdos, I haven't decided yet, Asura (Poliwhirl), and Clifford (Flareon). I'll figure my way through the Islands at some point and then press on!

And there we have it, folks. It's Memorial Day today, meaning a day off from work, so, we'll see what gaming I can start my week off with!

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Weekly Rundown - 05/14/12-05/20/12

Games this week:

  • Game Boy Color - Pokémon: Blue Version
  • PC - TRAUMA, Machinarium
  • PS3 - Heavy Rain
  • Xbox 360 - Condemned: Criminal Origins

So, I basically didn't play games all week and then packed a little bit of each game into the weekend. And I skipped on Mass Effect this week. I actually didn't boot up the 360 at all except for about an hour when I was showing Rebekah Condemned, which she was not as frightened by as she expected. But we didn't get far into it, Malcolm just showed up at the apartment and I'm escaping out the alleyway.

We also played a little more of Heavy Rain. Shaun's disappeared. Sad times for Ethan. And Jayden has set up his little office space in the police department. I dunno, I just wasn't feeling it, I guess, because I got bored of it pretty quickly and didn't feel like playing anymore. Just wasn't in the mood for it.

I did, however, play a game called TRAUMA for the PC. It's sort of a point-and-click game mixed with an interactive dream sequence. The voice acting is really good, an excellent companion for the game's aesthetic. Very short though, took me less than three hours to finish it and do everything there was to do in the game. I feel like these things go over my head sometimes, partially because I don't have anyone to have a discourse with about it, besides the internet. But, it was fun, another check off the list of Humble Bundle games I've purchased and haven't played.

In that same vein, I started playing Machinarium. That game is reminding me that I'm not great at point-and-click adventure games. Or maybe Machinarium is just a difficult game, I can't tell. But, I'm something like an hour into that. It's cute and I'm really into the hand drawn art style.

And, of course, more Pokémon. I just cleaned Team Rocket out of Silph Co. and I'm gonna tear up Koga's gym in Fuchsia City next. Current roster is Train (Pikachu), Asura (Poliwhirl), Fluffy (Venusaur), Momma (Marowak), Cilfford (Flareon), and Shazam (Kadabra). Not much to say on that front. Still deciding on a water and fire type. Asura's working out pretty well, but, I'm less pleased with Clifford so far. We'll see!

And that's it. We'll see if I play much else this week, I've just been starting to feel burnt out, needing a little break. Watching a lot more television and films. Plenty of The Munsters. Love that show. Anyway, see y'all next week!

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Weekly Rundown - 05/07/12-05/13/12

Games this week:

  • Xbox 360 - Mass Effect
  • Game Boy Color - Pokémon: Blue Version
  • PC - the white chamber

So, just to touch on it, I really only barely played any Mass Effect this week. I basically did a few side missions and that was it. I think I'm starting to slow down. I can feel my interest waning. I may start skipping side missions here and there and just power on to Mass Effect 2, which is so much better.

A lot of my time went into a different game, though, called the white chamber (click the link to download and play completely free). It's a really good game that I recommend for anyone who's a fan of point-and-click and horror games. It doesn't do anything particularly special, but it's short, free, and pretty creepy at parts. It has some really nods and references, though, to things like the NES and the Penny Arcade guys. There are several different endings, most of which are just various ways of dying, and at the end of the game it gives you suggestions for things to try on your next playthrough that is effective. I play through it three times this past week. Seriously, give it a shot.

And, of course, the Pokemans. Got myself a Snorlax! Continuing on my way. Need to pick a water Pokémon and I think I'm going to go with Flareon over Vulpix, if only because his stats win. So, my team right now consists of Shazam (Kadabra), Fluffy (Ivysaur), Train (Pikachu), Clifford (Flareon), Ron (Fearow), and Momma (Marowak). As you can see, some changes were made. I'm thinking, once I've decided on a water Pokémon, I may dump Ron for it. May be better to roll without a flying Pokémon, I think. For the first time ever, I'm regretting starting with Bulbasaur, I'd forgotten how much more challenging it makes creating a team.

And then that's it for this past week! See y'all next week!

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Weekly Rundown - 04/30/12-05/06/12

Games this week:

  • Xbox 360 - Mass Effect, Catherine
  • Playstation 3 - Heavy Rain
  • Game Boy Color - Pokemon: Blue Version

Games! Not so much Mass Effect this week, got sucked up into work and doing household chores. But, I had plenty of time for Pokemon, what with being out of town!

So, I'm deciding on a Fire-type and Water-type to roll with. I'm thinking maybe Vulpix/Ninetales and Omanyte/Omastar? But, then I have to wait a damned long time before I get my Omanyte. And I was originally thinking Flareon for my fire-type, which I've already evolved my Eevee into, so, it's too late to go for Vaporeon... I'll have to keep looking into my options for Water-types as I progress. Anyway, my team, currently, is a Flareon named Clifford, a Pidgeotto named Rock, a Pikachu named Train, a Kadabra named Shazam, a Sandslash named Roses, and an Ivysaur named Fluffy. I'm in Lavender Town and just started going up the Pokemon Tower! Ghost Pokemon!

And then this weekend I played games with the Rebekah. I picked up Heavy Rain, finally, because she had expressed interest in seeing it and we started that. It's quite intriguing, although the character movement is very awkward. The glove/shades thing that Jayden has is wicked cool, though. Anyway, we're not terribly far into it yet, so not much to say. Some of the button-prompt stuff is a little frustrating, but, I imagine I'll figure out what the prompts are asking for exactly and get better at it.

Also with Rebekah, finished Catherine last night. It was super interesting seeing what things she was interested in. For instance, as I had mentioned the last time I talked about us playing, she has zero interest in talking to the other people in the bar and the other sheep. Especially the insane sheep, as she finds them exceptionally creepy. She found Catherine completely insane and rebuffed her at every turn and was nice to Katherine, although the good Katherine ending, which is the ending we got, shows Katherine stepping all over Vincent and basically making him her bitch, and Rebekah felt sorry for him.

And that's what I played! See y'all next week!

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Weekly Rundown - 04/23/12-04/29/12

Games this week:

  • Xbox 360 - Mass Effect
  • Game Boy Color - Pokemon: Blue

Played some more Mass Effect. Surprise! Got past side missions and jumped into the Noveria mission. Y'know, the one where you decide whether the entire Rachni species lives or dies? Can you guess which is the Renegade, jerkass option? Ughhhh, I literally felt pangs of guilt when I flooded the chamber of the queen with poisonous gas. And she fought. Oh, gods, it definitely made me a little teary-eyed. Ugh. And now we're on Feros. I haven't really reached any of the decisions yet, but, knowing how the Paragon choice pans out eventually in the third game, I bet it's going to be sad to choose Renegade here, too. Ugh.

And, Pokemon! I'm up to the dark cave. I ended up choosing my Sandshrew Roses over my Diglett Digdug. Diglett was kind of crap. Low defense and offense. So I went with Sandshrew. He doesn't learn any ground-type moves, I don't think, but that's fine. He's at least resistant to electric-type. So, current team consists of Fluffy the Ivysaur, Sector the Paras, Shazam the Kadabra, Train the Pikachu, Rock the Pidgeotto, and Roses the Sandslash. Although I've got Cathy the Voltorb with me in place of Rock. At least until we're through the cave. Need a Pokemon who knows Flash.

And that's it this week! I'm hoping next weekend to start playing Heavy Rain. Picked it up this past weekend so that Rebekah and I can play it together. We'll see, Friday's going to be rough and I may need the whole weekend to recover.

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Weekly Rundown 04/16/12-04/22/12

Games this week:

  • Game Boy Color - Pokemon Blue Version
  • Xbox 360 - Mass Effect
  • Playstation 3 - Naughty Bear

It's been a busy week. Rebekah's birthday was this past Wednesday and then STAP's AIDS Walk/Run was this past weekend. Busy busy busy.

But, I did find some time for Mass Effect. I'm officially over my issues with playing the jerk, although I've just been doing side missions. We'll see if any of them return once I get back to the bigger story missions. But nothing much to say on this one this week.

Played plenty more Pokemon! Lots of down time for playing an old handheld game. Just worked my way through S.S. Anne and I'm leveling up an appropriate ground-type Pokemon for the Vermilion City gym. Deciding between Diglet and Sandshrew.

And then I played some Naughty Bear to show it to Rebekah. Apparently, she was not as amused by it as I was. In fact, she seemed rather traumatized watching the stuffed bear kill the other stuffed bears. So, y'know, we won't try that one on her again.

And that's it. Played when I could but didn't have much time for sitting and solidly playing a video game. Maybe next week! See you then!

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Weekly Rundown - 04/09/12-04/15/12

Games this week:

  • Xbox 360 - Mass Effect
  • Game Boy - Pokemon: Blue Version

So! Playing plenty of Mass Effect. Going through it playing a complete Renegade and jerk-ass. Which is more difficult than I realized it would be. It's making me completely uncomfortable to be such an ass with the characters I love. Even the characters I don't love, sometimes the way my new Shepard goes about his interactions makes me uncomfortable. For instance, an early mission on the Citadel for a reporter, Emily Wong, where you can choose a Renegade option to intimidate her into giving you more money. Just the way he leans in and she turns away from him and how aggressive Shepard is makes me pretty uncomfortable watching it. But, hey, at least that means I'm not a bad person, right? It is getting easier, though, as I stop relating it to myself as a person and the choices I'd make, as I've done for all three games, and instead view it as a character I'm playing. It's making it way easier.

And then, more Pokemon! I'm currently in Mt. Moon, catching Pokemon and naming them appropriate nicknames and leveling up my current team. It consists of a Butterfree named Monarch, a Bulbasaur named Fluffy, a Nidoran-M named Rex, a Pikachu named Train, a Paras named Sector, and a Pidgey named Rock. Good times, good times. Wicked nostalgia.

And that's been it so far. More to come next week!

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Weekly Rundown - 04/02/12-04/08/12

Games this week:

  • Xbox 360 - Mass Effect 3, Mass Effect, Catherine
  • Gameboy - Pokemon Blue Version
  • Nintendo Wii - House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return

Games! So, I finished Mass Effect 3. And I loved it! I even enjoyed the ending, despite at least one glaring plot hole. I think a lot of the reasons I hear about why people hate the ending of that game is just whining because it didn't end the way you wanted it to end. And the other complaints just don't bother me as much or are, frankly, personal preference. Is Mass Effect 3 as good as Mass Effect 2? No, honestly not even close. Is Mass Effect 3 really good and a lot better than a host of other games I've ever played? Hells yes.

And then I immediately put in Mass Effect, the first one, and created a new character to go through all three games and make as different a playthrough as I can, just to see what happens, y'know? I'm barely into it, but, know that's coming.

I also played a bunch more old school Pokemon. Don't know why, but, I'm just really in the mood to play Pokemon. Don't hate.

Booted up Catherine. I'm doing a playthrough with Rebekah, as she expressed interest. Skipping the puzzles, though, the joy of having played the game pretty extensively beforehand, we can just go right to the story, which is what she's interested in. It's also interesting, for me, to see the way she doesn't care and just doesn't want to talk to the sheep on the landings or any of the people in the bar. She says, "They never have anything interesting to say." As someone who wants to talk to everyone and see every line of dialogue that was programmed in, I find that very interesting.

And then we shot zombies last night in House of the Dead 2 & 3 Returns, specifically the second one. Gods, I love that voice acting.

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