Sunday, March 18, 2012

Monday Musings - 19th March, 2012

Wow, what a fun week of gaming i had. There's a bit to get through so let's rev up the musing engine and go full throttle.

See, Full Throttle is a game and we're talking about games and going forward. It's a joke son!

Sigh, let's get to it.

Catherine (PS3)

With Borderlands complete i decided to return to this tale of supernatural infidelity. I'm on day four now. The tower climbing in night three was, well maddening would be a good start. Especially the boss. The problem is that these boss encounters have the enemy move so quick, when you come to a brain teaser climbing, you usually only have a couple seconds to make a decision, try something, and if that doesn't work, die a gruesome death. There was this one section in the middle of the level, a little after the first checkpoint and had me stumped for at least a good twenty minutes or so. I spent so many retries on it. The thing is when i finally was able to pass it through experimentation, the next checkpoint was ages away. I died a few more times and at least the first couple retries had me try to remember how i passed that difficult part in the first place.

The end of the boss encounter had another really tricky bit, but i carried a bell which turns all blocks normal. Yes it's cheap but i passed, and now i get to continue at least till the next night where i will most probably cry tears of frustration.

Despite all this though, i did not rage quit or even really get that angry playing. Because of the quick turn around and the perception that i was making headway, i took on that all too familiar gaming stubbornness. The ol "No! I will beat this dammit"! I've said before that if a puzzle game gets that reaction instead of the ol "This is BS", that puzzle game is doing something right.

Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx (PC)

This piece of DLC alone has made me more excited for Borderlands 2 than the preview video or that cute letter to PC gamers on the Borderlands 2 site. Over two nights i played through this with my friend Cam and we had a blast the entire way. The main quest was streamlined, all of the characters had hilarious dialogue that had us laughing through the entire game, and the ending was such an awesome surprise that i want to experience it again.

One aspect that can make a game great is consistent surprises. Things the player doesn't expect that put a smile on their face (or make them jaw drop due to shock or badassness.... yes, badassness). General Knoxx had this in spades. As said before, all the dialogue and the characters are written amazingly well and provide constant laughs. The enemies alone are full of surprises. You have ninjas, armored drones, giant mechs, desert spiders, midgets riding skags, and even rocketeers (some who also shoot rockets)!

Word of mouth seems to have travelled on this piece of DLC as the reason i decided to play it was hearing rumblings in the gaming community about General Knoxx as a villain and how fun the DLC was. Trust me, these rumblings are true and i definitely recommend the 6 hours or so it takes to complete this.

Having just done a quick google search, it turns out that the amazing surprise at the end of the DLC is available one time only if the quest is triggered (boo!), but there is apparently a glitch to make it available multiple times. I'll put it this way... Mephisto runs.

I wish i had known about the glitch before :)

Journey (PS3)

Well i've already reviewed this game in my new 'Quick Review' segment (more on that in the Final Thoughts), but i cannot recommend it enough. I didn't exactly find it life changing or overly emotional while playing (your results may vary judging on the wave of positive reviews out there), but it was two hours of amazing visuals, an emergent soundtrack, and one of the best uses of co-op i've ever seen.

And there was one section of the game that literally had my jaw gape open, causing me to cover my mouth with my hand. I said this after Flower and i'll say it here, i cannot wait to see what Thatgamecompany does next. These folks know how to craft an incredible interactive experience.

I guess the downside of reviewing a game is that there's less to talk about in Monday Musings, but it could also be how short the game is and how more than most titles, i don't want to ruin anything for those that are interested and are going to play it.

Deadly Premonition (360)

The final game session. We did it folks! It took two years but Kenneth and I finally got through Deadly Premonition! The last couple chapters were a wild ride and i am as enthusiastic about the game now as i was when we started playing it. I'll definitely be looking forward to the remastered version getting a PS3 release sometime in the future. It will be worth another playthrough just for the fact that when looking through the manual during the credits, Kenneth found that there was actually a lock on button, when he spent the whole twenty hours of the game manually aiming (and sucking at it). Truth be told i don't expect it to make THAT much of a difference, but it might have helped. Ah well, part of the charm of the game i guess.

The last couple chapters had a driving section that plonked a demon dog down in front of us on the road (a giant demon dog), and the final boss fight, which consisted of three stages. By the end of the final one, we were not happy but the taste of victory was sweet (and the reveal before the final boss was..... um... interesting).

And can you believe we went through the whole game without eating Thomas' biscuit? That might be a good thing. That guy was one of the more memorable characters, and for reasons both amusing and terrifying.

So why no quick review of Deadly Premonition? Well i actually didn't play the game at all. Kenneth played the whole thing. I watched while back seat gaming, giving tips, making fun of poor performance, and laughing alongside the sheer battiness of the game.

I guess we need another game to play through as a team. We were thinking Nier but i dunno how a Jrpg would handle as a duo. Any suggestions from readers? It doesn't necessarily have to be as crazy and memorable as Deadly Premonition, but we probably want a game with enough to comment on and to be engaged with.

Final Thoughts

For those of you not reading this on the actual blog, i've stated writing what i call quick reviews this past week (already covering two games). There's also a post explaining my review structure. Readers may remember i was throwing around some ideas late last year about how to review games and i've finally reached a starting point where i can expand from as i write more. This means more extra content for all of you (even though the games reviewed could be from anytime), and it makes me think a little more on my experience after playing through a game (and perhaps i'll review games i stopped playing as well).

I've already explained why there's no review of Deadly Premonition but i'll also explain why there's no review of the Borderlands DLC i played through. I did review Borderlands, and many of the points addressed in the review would also apply to the DLC, and i don't want to start doing specific DLC reviews, so any DLC will be discussed here in Monday Musings. Man i said DLC a lot.

Let me know what you think about the reviews and till next week, happy gaming all!

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