Monday, January 2, 2012

Monday Musings - 2nd Jan, 2012

Well it's a brand new year and boy is there a lot of gaming I want to get done (along with so many many other things. Man, there just aren't enough free hours in a day are there). Nevertheless, it's time for a whole new year of Monday Musings! Let us begin!

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

Due to schoolwork piling up, I didn't get as much gaming done as I would have liked to. Last week I had just completed the fun mine cart portion of the sand sea. This week I completed the pirate ship dungeon and opened some chests in Skyloft.

Let's talk about the pirate ship dungeon then. First off... did anyone else have a really hard time getting it to appear? I even looked online and it was only after finding some forum posts, I was able to get it to reveal itself. My buddy Effa was over and his remark was, “Do they actually get people to playtest these things?”, which I had to agree with. What makes it worse of course if I have heard about how rigorous Miyamoto is with playtesting. Perhaps it's a cultural thing. Puzzles like fooling the eye in the first dungeon or tasks like getting the pirate ship to appear might be pieces of cake to a Japanese test group but then when it comes over to the west, the clues don't make sense and only frustration remains. Instead of being culturally specific it's probably just a personal thing. Having talked to some friends about the game, it turns out we each found certain things easy and difficult compared to everyone else. So seemingly Zelda is an equal opportunity frustrator.

The pirate ship dungeon was pretty cool however. Like the Ancient Cestern, these latter dungeons have been expertly designed. It just has an incredible flow to it. You go down to the bottom exploring the entirely of the decrepit wreck, then when you gain access to the timestone, the whole ship comes alive and the puzzles start to make sense (and this only happens after a pretty neat mini-boss fight with the captain). Then you have to start using the timestone to move back and forth between the times to solve puzzles and gain access to other areas of the ship (through your new acquired toy). Finally the boss fight takes you from the engine room all the way to the deck and is a pretty fun encounter (my frustrations with the motion controls at times non-withstanding).

It is funny how my qualms with the game are all little things too. My number one annoyance... imprecise jumping. In all the past 3d Zeldas when you jumped off a ledge, the game had sort of an auto aim system so you would face the direction you need to when you left the ledge. This game, even when you line up the jump, half the time you miss where you were going for. Also, having to load between Skyloft and the sky around it, that really breaks the immersion factor for me. These are needle points, but are part of the reason i'm not enjoying the game as much as I thought I would.


So I don't have an indie game for you this week either. I should probably stop calling them indie games too. They're free to play. Freebies if you will. I say this because I spent the weekend trying to get League of Legends working. I have forgotten my username and password from last year when a couple friends tried to get me into the game. The new Domination mode intrigues me but their email services for recovering lost login information aren't working. I've emailed support and now play the waiting game.

Fallout New Vegas: Blood Money (PC)

Saturday night I loaded this up and played perhaps 30 mins or so. All my weapons were taken away. All the enemies are unkillable except by explosives (or by a hungry super mutant). I met said super mutant and have persuaded his more articulate side to join me. The premise is interesting, but this is so not in the spirit of the Fallout game I fell in love playing (so much so that I actually bought the DLC). I also feel kind of guilty for starting this while playing Zelda. I shouldn't but I think I might hold off on this till my Hyrule adventure is over.

Final Thoughts

So who else bought more games than they probably should have in the Steam Christmas sale? I held off for so long (having no internet for a week helped), and then on Friday I bought 'The Binding of Isaac' for $1.75... then the next day I bought all the original 3d GTAs for about $10 all up plus Spacechem for a couple dollars. Today I spent $22 on Serious Sam 3 and Terreria. Once you start grabbing games, it's definitely had to stop. I have more titles on Steam and GoG than i'll ever have time to play, yet I just cannot resist a bargain (and I still have the collector's bug in me).

This is the only umbridge I take with my decision around September to only play one game at a time. Long time readers know that the column was usually quite diverse with what I chose to play each time I decided to load up a game. I didn't really complete much but I at least got to try more things. I'm wondering if I should return to that style or not. Truth be told without buckling down I probably would still be playing through Persona 4 and Human Revolution. It feels good to have spent the time dedicated to those titles solely and completing them.

I started Monday Musings mainly to write about games on a consistent basis, but I think another part of the reasoning was to analyze and perhaps focus my gameplay habits. Those who read this column would probably agree to gaming being a big part of their life, and for me that's no different... but i'm always striving for new experiences, consistent fun, and efficiency in my gaming shortcomings... and when I make these changes and decisions about how to play, i'm always constantly questioning them.

It'd probably be better if I could switch all that off, screw it all and just enjoy gaming on face value... but I can't so this is what remains. Who knows, I might find some answers this year!

Till next week, happy gaming all, and I hope you all have an amazing 2012!

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