Sunday, July 24, 2011

Monday Musings - 25th July, 2011

A rather sparse week in gaming, but some interesting highlights. Let's muse!

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

And we're up to world 5. Barrett and I plowed through Worlds 3 and 4, but after hitting 5 we decided to go back and try some comet stars.

So far most of them haven't been close to as difficult or frustrating as the Spiny challenge. There were a couple purple coin challenges. The one on the slide in that tree galaxy scared the crap out of me upon first entering. "You mean i have to hit every coin on the way down this thing?" The good news was that it became clear very soon that is was virtually impossible to do that, and there were a lot more coins than 100. The other purple coin challenge was pretty damn easy with a 2nd player picking up the slack.

In the end what brought the session to a close was the Hightail Falls Galaxy and its comet. That galaxy almost drove me batty the first time i played it, as i was obsessed with climbing up the left side of the first vertical plank to find what was at the top (this is the level where Yoshi eats peppers that allow him to run up walls). The comet challenge puts a time limit on the level (and the star is pretty hard to get without one), plus there is now a rain of fire comets and a lot of the planks are destroyed. After quite a few fruitless attempts, play was brought to a close.

Vanquish (Ps3)

I'm now at the start of Act 3. Played through most of Act 2, and while there was nothing as spectacular as the first boss fight of Act 1, or the transport ride of early Act 2, there was still some great fire fights. My biggest hurdle however was getting used to the controls again. I guess it's due to the odd nature of the game, but it took 5 mins or so for me to recalibrate my brain and hands. "Ok, that's boost, that's dodge... it engages slow-mo. Good."

One part to mention was the double boss fight of Act 2. It's an old game trope. Well, they've fought some bosses, why don't we throw bosses at them together? It's also a good gauge to show how far the player has come. So far the hardest part of the game for me was the boss fight early in Act 1, but now with some added weapons and some skills under my belt, fighting these two bosses together was doable (not entirely easy as i still died a couple times, but i got through without much hassle).

As a sidenote, it's amazing how satisfying melee attacks are in this game. No wonder using one depletes your power or you'd be meleeing your way through everything.

Fallout 3 (Steam)

I had a bout of insomnia Friday night/Saturday morning. I had watched the movie Winter's Bone earlier and it put me in the mood to return to Fallout (i think it was the survivalist nature of how the characters were living in the film that did it). I haven't touched the game for a couple months, but it didn't take long for the skills to return.

Where i'd left off was i had just discovered Three Dog, and i had to go uncover something from the museum of technology. Making my through DC proved hazardous. Ghouls, Raiders, Mirelocks, Mutants. The whole bloody city is out to get you. Nothing a hunting rifle, a combat shotgun, and Dogmeat can't handle however.

I think it says something that i played the game for an hour or so, and hadn't reached my destination. I'm close though. I had a lot of fun too. I might be returning to post apocalyptic DC sooner than i expected.

Final Thoughts

Being a relatively poor gamer over the last year or so, i've learned to not be sucked into the hype of new releases. With a little patience, games that i have wanted to play will drop in price a couple months after release and i can import them cheaply (living in Australia, paying retail price for a game is just bloody ridiculous). Not everything drops in price however. Nintendo games rarely drop (the first party games at least), and it took a year after release for Red Dead Redemption to finally lower to a price i thought was acceptable for my current situation (with the grim realization that it will probably take a year for LA Noire to reach a similar price).

Another reason for this is caution. Last year both Enslaved and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow looked amazing and were must buys. I waited the couple of months and picked them both up at decent prices. Both games failed to impress me, so at least when i sold them i wasn't out any money (as i would have been if i had paid retail launch price). Inversely picking up Civ5 in April was an amazing purchase and i've gotten more than my money's worth out of that game. I guess the point here is that you never know, and when dealing with affordable prices, the sting of a bad purchase doesn't hurt that badly, but the pleasant surprises are much more pleasant.

So here we come to Catherine. I love Atlas games. Persona 4 was on my top 5 for 2009 (when it was released over here so it counts dammit). Catherine looks amazing. The reviews, especially the one over at Game Trailers makes this look like a winning purchase for myself. I'm even thinking of breaking my release purchase rule. The hype has gotten to me. If the game ends up like Civ5, then even at full price, it might be worth it, but if the game burns me, that's a lot of money to have wasted. Then i look at my backlog (including Persona 4 which i still haven't completed), thinking to myself that i have plenty of games in my backlog to keep myself occupied, and Catherine will drop in price, and the feeling of wanting to play it now will pass.

Heh, i thought i'd weaned myself off the habit of craving new releases. I guess as a gamer, the allure of the new never leaves.

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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