What I've been playing

Since my last post I’ve played kind of a lot of stuff.  I finished Resistance 2, got a whole bunch of trophies, and had a lot of fun with it.  I tried going back and playing it on hard, but started getting frustrated when I couldn’t beat the huge spinner boss, so I don’t think I’m going to commit to it, just like what happened with BioShock.  I don’t know how the hell I managed to get up the motivation and drive to beat Uncharted on the hardest difficulty setting.  Maybe I was just excited that it was the 2nd game I played for trophies.  Anyway, I started playing online, but didn’t really get into it like I thought I would.  Granted, all I’ve played so far is competitive multiplayer so I haven’t even tried co-op yet.  I may really enjoy co-op, so we’ll see.  So far its just confirmed that I’m really not very good at multiplayer deathmatch type of gameplay.  I still really enjoy playing Call of Duty 4 multiplayer, but I don’t think I would have as much fun with R2, which disappoints me a bit.  I guess I’ll find out for sure once I get around to playing co-op.

Also, I’ve been playing a lot of PSN games.  The most significant of which is Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix.  It looks amazing and plays nice, but like R2 its only cemented the fact that I’m really not very good at fighting games anymore.  This saddens me too, because I really really want to play and be good at fighting games and online shooters.  I loved playing Street Fighter 2 Turbo back in the day and was disappointed to find out that I had serious trouble doing well when playing the computer AI on medium difficulty.  Even after I switched to easy, I was still using up continues on almost every character I fought.  If I can’t even beat the computer, I won’t be able to even phase a live opponent.  Its to the point where I don’t even known if I should play Street Fighter IV because I won’t be able to do it.  I’ll spend more time with HD Remix but I fear I will never be very good at it.

The rest of the stuff I’m playing can be listed quickly:

Super Stardust Portable - This turned out better than I thought it would!  The lack of another analog stick forced the developers to use the four face buttons in a pretty creative way.  You can basically move your finger over the buttons like it was a joystick and the game can interpret the movements into a relatively decent facsimile of the smooth aiming movement.  And if you tap the buttons quickly in a specific direction, it automatically sprays your shots.  Its still no match for an actual analog stick, but it works better than I thought it would.  Also, the PSP could not handle showing the full 3D world, so they flattened out the playfield somewhat and made it loop around on itself so you still get the freedom of movement and layout of a 3D globe to fly around.  Its nice that they took the time to think about and address some of the limitations of the system, and it seems like their effort has paid off.

Age of Booty - Downloaded this when it came out but haven’t started it yet.  Want to though.  It sounds fun.

Blast Factor - I was enticed to try the demo once I found out it had been patched for trophies.  Its really awesome!  Its wierd playing a dual joystick shooter in a confined space after playing so much Super Stardust, but I really like the variety of the enemies and the presentation.  It gets really hard though.  Although, any dual stick shooter worth their salt gets insane after a while, so I guess its ok.

Soldner-X - This is a pretty cool side scrooling shooter.  Way hard, but cool music and cool weapons.  It reminds me a lot of Einhander, which is not a bad thing at all.  Einhander was awesome.

Prince of Persia Classic - I like this game but its way harder than I expected.  Probably won’t play it too often, but its fun for when I feel like playing that kind of game.

I also downloaded The Last Guy and Commando 3, because of Sony’s $5 sale.  Cool games, but not a lot of substance to either one.  $5 is just the right price for them.

Oh, and I checked out the latest issue of Qore due to it being free, and I gotta say I’m not that impressed.  I’ve been wanting to check it out but have not been willing to pay for it.  Its ok, but there’s nothing in an issue of Qore that can’t be gotten for free online.  I’m not willing to pay for it just for slightly different interviews and a few free demos and themes.

So far the only new retail games (this holiday season mind you) I have but haven’t gotten to yet are LittleBigPlanet, Dead Space, and Valkyria Chronicles, so I’m pretty proud of myself.  Next up is Age of Booty and Dead Space.  Plus I figure I’ll try R2 co-op.  I have to give it a chance.  Maybe it’ll blow me away?

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Disappointed by not being spoiled?

So I beat BioShock over the weekend.  And while the game, story, and the immersiveness of Rapture were all amazing, I was slightly disappointed to find out that I was greatly overthinking the supposed spoiler I read a while back.  I saw the trophy for “Become a Big Daddy” and my mind was racing with possibilities about the implications of this.  Unfortunately, the only reason you put on the Big Daddy suit is to get through a few doors in the last stage of the game.  I was both happy that the plot wasn’t spoiled, and disappointed by the simplicity of it.  Imagine how awesome it would be if your character met some horrible fate at the end of the game and you were destined to spend the rest of your life trapped in a Big Daddy suit, protecting little sisters and living with the degredation of the city and its tortured former citizens?!

Still, it was a great game, even if the ending wasn’t quite as tragic as my mind was conjuring up.  I went back and harvested a couple of little sisters at the end to see the bad ending.  I am trying to go back through the game on Hard to get a few more trophies but am having a hard time with it.  I foresee either giving up or it taking a really long time.  We’ll see if I’m able to stick with it.  Especially considering the fact that I started playing Resistance 2 the very next day.

I am having a lot of fun with Resistance 2.  However, I agree with some of the comments out there that it seems as if Insomniac made the multiplayer modes the main focus and the single player campaign suffered a little bit as a result.  It is still really fun, but I am having a hard time getting into the story in the single player campaign.  Its super fun to play through the levels, but it seems to me that the bosses are easier than the stages themselves a lot of the time.  Also, the 1Up Yours Podcast was right, they give you a specific weapon right before you need to use it.  The only thing is, I sometimes don’t find it until after I’ve already defeated the enemies that the weapon was put there to dispose of.  Lastly, it definately seems shorter than the first Resistance.  I’m already on the last stage and should be able to beat it soon.  Oh well, I am still enjoying it quite a bit and can’t wait to start playing multiplayer.  Everything I’m hearing about multiplayer sounds really cool.  This is a game where I might be able to get a platinum trophy!  We’ll see how it goes.  Once this game is beaten I can finally start playing Dead Space.

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I'm finally rockin!!!

So I just realized that I could use my Guitar Hero 3 guitar to play Rock Band now! Whoooo! I bought the disc-only version of Rock Band 2 and rented a copy of Rock Band 1 so I could import the songs to my hard drive. I am finally able to experience what everybody else has been playing for almost a year now. I love it! All I need to do now is buy a drum set. And get Guitar Hero: World Tour.

One thing I've noticed is that Rock Band has a much more gradual learning curve than Guitar Hero. That's awesome. I am finding that I can actually play pretty well on Hard difficulty, something that I never was able to do in GH. I am getting better and better with using all five notes and think that once I get good maybe I can actually go back to GH and play on Hard. We'll see. Now I'm probably just going to buy a bunch of music. I want to play some of the Smashing Pumpkins and Motley Crue stuff.

I am also making my way through BioShock and am really enjoying it. The Big Daddies are really hard though. I am kind of pissed that one of the big surprises has kind of been spoiled for me. It was my own damn fault, but I was looking at the list of trophies and saw the one marked "Become a Big Daddy." Wha wha whattt!!!??? Holy crap! After all the trouble I went to to avoid all spoilers too...it makes sense since an outcome like that would fit the tragic outcome of the rest of Rapture. I am trying to forget I saw it, but I guess writing about it doesn't really help does it? The game is still pretty fascinating.

I also need to get to Dead Space, LittleBigPlanet, Resistance 2, and Valkyria Chronicles. I feel kind of bad that I never finished Condemned 2, it really was a cool game. I plan on going back to it eventually, but so many good games came out at one time that I just kind of put it on the back burner.

BTW,

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Just tryin to keep up

I have decided to abandon my Now Playing list somewhat for the time being simply because between now and the end of the year there are so many good games coming out and I am going to be trying to play as many of them as possible.  Therefore, it is unreasonable to think that I will be able to keep up the list when I won’t even be able to keep up with the games themselves.  Basically, here’s how things are looking.  Through the end of the year I will be playing Penny Arcade Adventures, Flock, Sam & Max Season 1 on Wii, BioShock, WipEout HD, LittleBigPlanet, Dead Space, Resistance 2, Valkyria Chronicles, possibly  Fallout 3 (not sure if I want it yet), and lastly, I have to play GTA4 again for trophies.  AND Burnout Paradise is getting more updates, not to mention that I am paying pretty close attention to Mirror’s Edge and MK vs. DC Universe.  They look really cool but I’m not sure if I want them yet.  There’s too many damn games!  I haven’t played my DS or PSP in a while now just trying to keep up with the PS3 stuff.  I eventually plan to play Lego Batman too.  I’m sure I’m forgetting a few but that’s just off the top of my head.

As to what I’ve played recently, I finally beat Bionic Commando Rearmed.  Very nice payoff at the end there : )  I never beat the original but I had heard about it.  Nice to actually see it.  I am continuing to play WipEout HD here and there and I’m enjoying Penny Arcade Adventures more than I thought I would.  I downloaded Everyday Shooter, LocoRoco Cocoreccho, and flOw as well.  Everyday Shooter is pretty cool.  Very trippy and psychadelic.  And really difficult.  I like that the mechanics of defeating enemies change with every stage and that as you play you constantly build up points that you can use to unlock additional stuff.

LocoRoco is possibly the most bizarre, insane game I’ve ever played, even slightly more so than the original game for the PSP.  I think I like the PSP one better.  flOw is pretty cool, very serene and calming.  I can see myself playing it after a rough day just to unwind or chill out for a while when I’m bored.  It seems like it is a game that just doesn’t end.  I’m very curious to see how Flower turns out, since its by the same people.  Ooh, and I almost forgot about Fat Princess!  I can’t wait to see how that turns out, it looks hilarious!

So bottom line, too many awesome games, too little time.  Just like last year.  Lame, but also awesome!

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Just a quick update before bed

Ok, real quick.

Finally got the platinum trophy in Burnout Paradise.  I was able to find an Eye Toy at Best Buy (apparently the only one left in the whole damn city) for only $10 so I was able to get the trophy for sending a mugshot.  So I am happily playing my original save file again.  Whooo!

I am very pleased to announce that I beat Mega Man 9.  I understand the initial reaction that it is insanely difficult, but after going back to play a little Mega Man Anniversary Collection for comparison I have come to the realization that it is really no harder than any of the original games.  In fact, the argument could be made that its actually easier.  The reason is because in the old days of Mega Man 1 & 2, there were no such things as Energy Tanks.  The simple addition of this life saver makes the game incredibly easier.  Other than that, the same basic strategy used in the original games is what is required to excel at MM9.  I believe this is the reason people think that it is so much more difficult.

In these days of finger-contorting control schemes and almost unlimited options to take out your enemies, playing an original Mega Man game feels very crippling.  You no longer have ten different ways to approach a given task, there is only a jump button and a fire button, the only relief being the weapons you earn from the bosses.  In order to win at these games, you must focus on memorizing the levels and enemies that occupy them, what it takes to eliminate them most effectively, and honing your platforming skills to a needle-fine point.  For those gamers that grew up post-SNES, they have never known limits and challenge like this.  I feel sorry for them.

Let's see, what else.  I finally figured out that I could use my bionic arm to repel the final boss's missles in Bionic Commando Rearmed.  I should've figured.  So now I will be able to finish it.  Nice.  Also, I am slowly getting the hang of Wipeout HD.  It's still pretty tricky, but I feel like I am getting better little by little.  Picked up Linger in Shadows the other day.  Pretty wierd but pretty cool at the same time.  I can definately appreciate what they are trying to do.  It was cool to watch and manipulate and find the hidden stuff in that "game."  And it was an easy batch of trophies too

Picked up Dead Space last week and am super excited to play it, but I just haven't been able to find the time to even start it.  I was at my in-laws house all weekend and I am back to working nights, so its been difficult to find the time.  Not to mention that I am car-pooling to work with my wife who starts work an hour earlier than me, so that just subtracts free time from my schedule.  I'm trying to move and get things situated at my new job so things are a bit crazy right now.  I have a feeling Dead Space will consume a considerable amount of time once I start it and I'm not sure when I'll be able to put aside big chunks of time.  And LittleBigPlanet and BioShock are coming very very soon so I will be back to being extremely behind again.  Oh well.  I would rather have to many games to play than not enough!

I guess that wasn't very quick at all was it?  Eh, whatever.  Who needs sleep right?

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Paradise trophies in a galaxy far, far away

I spent pretty much the entire day yesterday playing Burnout Paradise from the beginning to earn trophies.  I felt MUCH better about having to do this once I realized that I could just copy my save game to a memory card, start over, get the trophies, then reload my original save file and be right back where I started.  Also, you don't need to get a full 100% to get all the trophies, you pretty much just need to get your Burnout License and do a few random things and you're good.  I already have about 3/4 of them and should have the rest soon.  The only part that sucks though is that one of the trophies is for sending a mugshot with a Playstation Eye, effectively forcing me to buy the damn thing if I want the platinum trophy.  That is totally lame.  The screwed up thing is, they don't force you to get the extra content trophies for the platinum, but they force you to spend the money to get a camera for it.  Lame as hell.  It just means I'll have all the trophies but 1 until I can buy a camera.

I am liking The Force Unleashed, but there are a number of things that are disappointingly frustrating about it, keeping it from being as good as it could be.  First the camera isn't very good.  You have to move it around completely on your own, and as a result  I have never appreciated auto-camera systems more.  So many times I am in the midst of a heated battle and suddenly can't see anything because the action gets to close to something that obstructs the camera and forces me to move it myself instead of concentrating on cutting up some storm troopers.  Also, the targeting system is horrible.  The only way to target something is to make sure Starkiller is facing exactly the thing you want to target, which is very unwieldy in practice.  Even when I seem to have a lock on something, too often I lose the target before it registers my force grab.  Part of that may be my own reflexes, but it still seems a little clunky.  In Lucasarts' defense, I don't know how else they could've done this.  Targeting force powers is something that's extremely hard to do simply due to the supposed limitlessness of the act.  Lastly, the platforming is sometimes a bit sloppy.  I racked up quite a large amount of accidental deaths because I fell off a ledge while fighting or jumping around.  Not cool.

That being said, there are definately parts of Force Unleashed that are totally awesome!  The story is one of the best to come out of Lucasarts in a LONG time, with plot twists and surprises that make it all worthwhile.  It's so cool to see how this story lays the foundation for Episode IV, and I haven't even seen the ending yet.  I've gotten to what can only be the last boss and should beat it soon.  This is absolutely a game where I would be willing to just sit there after I finish it and watch all the cutscenes over again on their own.  I was a little disappointed though to find out that Starkiller himself seems like a surprisingly likeable guy.  I can't say too much without treading into spoiler territory, but for being raised and trained in secret by Darth Vader himself for the sole purpose of being a Jedi hunting, force unleashing apprentice, he doesn't seem very heartless.  Oh well, he's still a very cool character to build a game around, and once you come to terms with the gameplay its extremely fun to repeadly hurl boxes, droids, and anything else you can find at enemies.  When you get the timing and controls right and are able to just let loose on a bunch of storm troopers or force-crush an AT-ST, its very cool and satisfying.  And dude, you get to force-pull a fucking Star Destroyer out of the sky!!!!!  Let's see Kratos pull that off!

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NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

So guess what everybody?  Burnout Paradise trophies are NOT retroactive!  After months of promising us that they would be.  I'm simply crushed and speechless.  I've put 150 hours into that game, plus another 20 hrs into Burnout Bikes.  And now I have to delete my entire save game and start all over if I want to get any trophies out of Paradise City.  I'm am not pleased.  I am less than happy.  I am devastated.  I am at a positive loss for words.

What makes it even worse is the fact that up to this point, the dudes at Criterion have been some of the most customer focused, awesome, on top of it dudes in the whole industry!  So when they made the claim that trophies would be retroactive, I believed them because they had more than delivered on every promise before.  Apparently, once they entered the testing phase of the trophy patch, they discovered that "this is not possible."  Couldn't they have done something to check this out before setting us up for heartbreak???

And so, dejected and upset, I will delete my save.  I have to do it.  I need to have trophies in one of my favorite games of all time.  The only thing that makes it possible for me to start all over again is the fact that Burnout Paradise is such an amazing game.  If it were not so fun to play, it would not be worth the effort.  I will still enjoy playing it, but until I reach 101% again, there will be bitterness.  It looks like this is what is going to seperate the regular Burnout fans from the truly fiendish ones.  Call me fiendish.

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Short gaming update

Not much new right now.  I am enjoying The Force Unleashed but I got distracted this weekend with Burnout Bikes and the double XP event on PS3 Call of Duty 4.

I really like playing COD4 online but I’m really not that good at it.  There are some stages where I can do pretty well, but others I just get my ass handed to me.  I don’t think I play it enough to develop real good skills at it.  There are just too many games I want to play to stay with it.  I’m glad though because I was able to jump up a few levels this weekend.  Had a fun time.

Also, I really enjoy Burnout Bikes.  These are the best motorcycles I have ever played in a racing game.  Just the right mix of arcadey and sim style handling to make them immensely fun.  I’ve already completed all the Burning and Midnight Rides for my 100% license.  I’ve completed about 45 out of 70 online bike challenges, and now I just need to work on the Road Rules.

I decided to cancel my Force Unleashed reservation at GameStop and get the game at Toys R Us instead once I found out they were giving out $20 gift cards with the purchase.  I used the gift card to pick up Disgaea 3 with it.  I am looking forward to Mega Man 9 and Wipeout HD this week but I don’t know if I will be able to afford them both this week.  We’ll have to wait and see how the money goes.

That’s about it right now.  My progress on Condemned 2 and The Simpsons Game has been slow this weekend with Burnout and COD4.  I’ll probably play some more Force Unleashed and Condemed 2 this week and hopefully finish them both so I can start on either Mega Man or Wipeout.  Oh, and I’m pretty excited now that we can buy PSN gift cards at Blockbuster now!  I’m still boycotting Blockbuster but I can’t imagine they make much money on them; at least not directly.  And I’d still rather shop there than GameStop.

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