Sunday, June 19, 2011

Monday Musings - 20th June 2011

Last week, it was a games-a-palooza! This week, playing has calmed down. Still some good gaming got done. Done hard! Let's muse!

Another World

I was stuck in the caves. I'm making progress. After flooding and running and shooting guys, i get to a bit where a guy holds me up. I can kick him in the nuts, and roll to grab his weapon. I still have yet to defeat him. If you run, he chases you. If you run up the stairs and double back, he holds you up, and you can kick him in the nuts again. More on this next time i play.

The Witcher

One thing about some games, and especially some RPGs is when you enter a new area that you're going to be in for a while (like a new chapter or a new town), the layout and the sheer amount there is to do can seem overwhelming. Then you break down your exploration and your quests. You get to work. Suddenly after a couple of hours, i'm running around Vizima like i've lived there for years.

There is so much to do but what's pretty neat is that as i'm nearing the end of the chapter, everything starts coming together. The story of this chapter hasn't been as interesting or with as many consequences thus far as chapter 1, but that was an introduction to what is coming. The story was very self contained and had immediacy. Chapter 2 seems like my choices will have far reaching consequences through the rest of the game so i'm playing things more carefully (i actually loaded up a game after i accepted something without getting the other side of the story. I went back and rectified that mistake).


One of the free games i picked from the PSN being down. My friends all seemed to enjoy it so i thought i'd give it a whirl. I must say, i'm unimpressed. First off, the story is great. I already like the characters, the predicament, and the comic book cut-scenes. Great stuff there. It's the gameplay that i take umbrage with.

It's the zapping. My foes in the start of the game have automatic weapons while i have to shoot little jabs of lightning at them. If i don't get a head shot, it takes 3 or more bolts. I have to aim with a controller too. This is especially difficult if they're far off. They can still shoot me fine, but hitting them is a nightmare. I have been told that it's not long before you become overpowered, but i don't know if i can take the waiting.

Also the 2nd sewer section is what made me stop playing the game Thursday night. The first one? No problem. Great design, no worries. This one, everything is in the dark and there's no clear way to go. Now i might have just been tired and i will load up the game and give things another shot, but i don't have a positive picture of the game so far.

But hey, it's not like i spent any money on it!

Metal Gear Solid 4

Why is it that everytime you sit down to have a nice long gaming session, your PS3 controller is running low on battery and needs to be recharged? Due to this i only really finished Act 2 and started playing Act 3 (so pretty much i played for 30 mins and watched an hour of cut-scenes. Don't get the wrong idea though, i love MGS cut-scenes! That's why i love this series. It's got fantastic gameplay interspersed among crazy over-the-top spy thriller storylines).

So far i've loved the diversity in a lot of the missions. Part of what kept me playing long after i should have gone to sleep in Act 2 is that section after Laughing Octopus where you have to track Naomi. It had a nice level of tension in it. Now in Act 3 i'm on the streets of some Eastern European city trying to tail a resistance member. It is quite amusing hitting a guard with a tranq dart and watching the resistance member be completely puzzled as he comes across the body.

Is it wrong that i sort of cheered when Naomi and Otacon finally relieved their sexual tensions?


My favourite game of 2009. Testing my PS3 out on a 55" LED/LCD television. I almost played through the entire game right then and there again. It's a beautiful experience on my 32" LCD TV, but this was just captivating. On the large screen i could make out details in the distance and got a greater sense of the beauty and flow of this title.

The way each level changes the main focus, and especially the way the game shifts tone through levels 4 - 6. I could normally write a whole Monday Musing on Flower alone, but i think i'm still kind of nerding out over rediscovering the title. Let's just leave it there.

Mario Kart Wii

You know, no matter what they do to Mario Kart, there were always be some indisputable truths to the game. One is that it is fun. Another is that blue shells suck the big monkey's big ones. My sister got herself a Wii so i joined her for some Mario Kart. The bikes are an interesting addition, and i like the idea of doing tricks in the air to gain boosts (although it would be nice if these tricks could be failed, adding some risk to the reward). Jump sliding has been removed. There is drifting but it is... well let's just say i prefer to place it on automatic. I forget if this was in previous games, but i like how the storm cloud can be passed along by bumping into other people.

Also, why is it out of all games, that Nintendo games bring the worst mouths out of people? I have never heard so many swears from my sibling. Seriously.

Final Thoughts

I think playing the Wii Mario Kart has finally shown me something i never realised about Nintendo and their constant recycling of franchises. They're constantly gaining new fans of younger ages with every release. My sister is enamoured with this game and she's never played a Mario Kart in her life. Me on the other hand? Well i played the Snes one of course, but the ones that i remember most fondly are the N64 and DS versions. I played them to death.

That's why upon first playing this Wii entry i was kind of taken back. No jump sliding? Bikes? Where are all my favourite levels? Having dedicated so much time to previous entries in the franchise, any change can be a problem (and here we reach the paradox of gamers. We crave change in our gameplay experiences, yet at the same time are repulsed by it, preferring the mechanics and controls we are familiar to). Still once you get passed the initial shock, you realise it's Mario Kart. The core experience is always the same (possibly it's different in Double Dash. That's the one entry i have never played). What's more, this version has a whole new host of fans (some who actually enjoy using the wheel. Imagine that!), and this is most likely why no matter how much criticism Nintendo gets for constantly making new games in old franchises, this strategy will continue to work for them. Especially since for good or ill, us older gamers always have a curiosity about what's different about the new entry into the series.

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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