Monday, October 31, 2011

Monday Musings - 31st Oct, 2011

Happy Halloween everybody. Let us muse on this hallowed day (get it?)

Persona 4 (Ps2)

Man what a week i've had with this game. I've just unlocked the final dungeon and am about to dive in? How do i know it's the final dungeon? Oh the game has pretty much raised the stakes to the point that this is leading up to the final boss fight. And man the days leading up to this unlock, what a roller coaster. I don't really want to say much because there's so much going on, and anything i mention might lessen the impact of the story ramping up to its final climax. I will say two things about this leadup. 1) there is a section that kicked me in the balls emotionally. Seriously. Not even kidding. 2) There's a section where now with all the facts at your disposal, you have to name the killer. I thought over it, and picked a name that i felt picked the facts, and it turned out to be right first try. That made me feel pretty good. There are a few things in this time-frame of the game that change the game's ending. Answering that question wrong a couple of times would have triggered a bad ending so i was quite nervous in making my selection.

I'm quite excited that i might have the game completed this week. Not that i'm not enjoying myself, but i've acquired cheap copies of both L.A. Noire and Deus Ex Human Revolution over the course of the last week. I've sticking to my one game at a time rule here, but the lure of the shiny new experiences is quite potent.

I also find it kind of amazing that my characters are lvl 65 and will most likely gain another 10 levels or so in the final dungeon. Aside from World of Warcraft, i've not had characters reach these heights in levelling in any other RPG i can think of. The ones i've completed it's usually around the 40 - 60 mark.

Finally the culture festival was some of the funniest stuff the game has thrown at me yet, and considering how funny this game is, that's saying something.

Deadly Premonition (360)

It's been a long time since i last went over to Kenneth's for a round of Deadly Premonition. A game such as this is best shared with a friend. Mainly cause we amuse ourselves greatly by the horrible animation, hilarious dialogue, and crazy attention to detail the game possesses. I was even tweeting while he was playing (those that follow me @dave_the_turnip probably saw it on Friday night), which just added to the hilarity.

We're about 13 hours in now and just completed Chapter 2 (it was a long one folks). There were some gruesome murders, we got to hear about York's past and Zach, and we have a suspect in custody. The juggalos can now shoot ethereal blasts if you let them charge up, and we braved the corridor where you fight the wall crawling ringu woman four times in a row. At least we didn't have to run from axeman again. I also fell for a jump scare from a truck.

This far in the game and we only discovered that smoking causes time to move forward. That would have been really helpful all the times we farted around town waiting for the clock to hit the right time for the game to continue. So much to complain about and frustrate the player, yet everything else is just a marvel to behold. Deadly Premonition made my top games list of 2010 for a reason. It's a very special experience.

Bike Baron (Iphone)

I don't actually play too many IoS games aside from the ones i review, mainly cause i want my gaming time to consist of a couch, a TV, or a chair and a monitor. Even when i have some downtime, i'm usually using the iphone for sudoku or crosswords (and sometimes making my way through Pathpix puzzles). Still every now and then i pick up a new game that just seems to hit the right spot. Bike Baron is one of those games.

If you've played Trials HD or Joe Danger or any other game where you have to pilot a motorcycle through courses designed to kill you, you know the score. Despite using buttons, Bike Baron's controls work amazingly well, and any crash feels like the fault of the player rather than the game being cheap. I also really like how the game doles out the stars (as every iphone game has to have a 3 star system these days to increase longevity). One star is for completing the level, and the other two stars are linked to certain conditions like collecting all the coins or finishing under a certain time. I'd say if you like physics based motorbike games and have an iphone, give this one a look.

One and One Story (Indie)

Braid has influenced a lot of game design, especially in trying to make the mechanics of a game elicit an emotional response (that final level still gets to me). One and One Story tries a similar approach. The game is about love between two people and the trials and tribulations they face. This is told through a simple platformer where you have to unite the two to move onto the next level. As the story unfolds, the mechanics slightly change to reinforce this idea (my favourite is the level where they're the light of each other's life).

The game is a little frustrating at times but i think it achieves what it set out to. It's short and worth a play.

Final Thoughts

So last week i was lamenting the fact that i could get so much more gaming done if i actually set aside time to play everyday. I decided to give it a try. Aside from Friday night when i went over to Kenneth's and played some Deadly Premonition, i spent every night playing at least 1 - 2 hours of Persona 4.  I reckon i chocked about 15 hours in the game over the week and felt quite accomplished. Last night when the main story stuff was going down, i actually played a couple hours, took a break for a few more, then returned to the game later and played yet another couple hours.

Like my drawing and bass playing, i guess you really should dedicate daily time to your hobbies. I guess i looked down on my gaming hobby because unlike my other pursuits, i'm not creating anything of value playing games. I'm not furthering a skill... but the books i read and movies i watch aren't doing those things, and i find it important to experience as many stories as i can (mainly to keep my imagination going for my cartooning). Games kinda fall under the same category. They afford me the ability to experience places i'd never go, and do things i'd never do, but because of the interactive nature, there can be a more poignant connection there. So i think i shall try and devote time each day to gaming from here on out. If anything, it'll stop me talking about the same game on this column for months at a time!

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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