Saturday, 31 December 2011

Holiday Season Deluge

It's that time of year again when everyone gives everyone else gifts and everywhere has sales for the hell of it. Here's the videogames I've accumulated over the past week or so.

- Garshap: The Monster Slayer - Steam - A prize from the Steam Gift Pile. I haven't heard a lot of great things about this, honestly. We'll see.
- Super Mario 3D Land - 3DS - A Christmas present from my other half. It's awesome, if a bit easy, but it apparently gets harder post World 8.
- Resident Evil: Mercenaries - 3DS - The other Christmas present from my lovely other half. One of the reasons I wanted a 3DS. Mercenaries was the reason I played Resident Evil 4 past the monastery. Love it!
- FlatOut - Steam - A random gift passed onto me by one of my Steam friends, who got it from one of his Steam friends, but didn't want. I'm glad to have the opportunity to see how the series grows in order.

- Dungeons - Steam - I won this in the gift pile, but already had it, so I passed it on to one of my Steam friends.
- The Orange Box (x2) - Steam - A part of me is really annoyed that I won this twice. I've had it for two years or so, and finding people to pass it onto was a challenge. My brother and a random swede on my friends list ended up getting them.
- 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die - I got a £10 Waterstones gift card so I spent it on this. It's a great book, with lots of large, full colour pictures and interesting tidbits written about every game. Well worth picking up, imo.

And that's that. I also did a bad thing and indulged myself in the Good Old Games sale and the fantabulous Steam sale, but I'll knuckle back down tomorrow and continue to try not to buy games.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

:B: - Super Pokemon Rumble

I have been playing rather a lot of Super Pokemon Rumble since last Wednesday. I have no excuses, it's probably average at best, but I really love it. I played the original way back when and figured I'd pick up the new one to make up for not actually having bought the first.

I've been neglecting Ocarina of Time, Starfox 64, Four Swords, Excitebike and now, after Christmas, Super Mario Land 3 and Resident Evil: Mercenaries for it. I feel really rather guilty because it's a children's game. Not only that, but it's a simplified spinoff from a children's game. (Disclaimer: I love Pokemon and am aware it has its complexities, but at its heart its for kids.)

So the story goes, all the Pokemon are wind-up toys and you have to find the glowdrops that heal everyone... or something, I haven't exactly been paying attention. Each toy has a designated power level and two moves that you can swap out if you have the money. You go through a series of levels to collect more powerful Pokemon and take on Battle Royales to progress. There's different kinds of levels to, where you have to fight with different rules, such as controlling three at once or not being able to swap out. It's nice that there's a little variety.

I have been really enjoying it but I'm at a point where all my brain wants to do is go through old levels to collect Pokemon that I haven't yet recruited, so I'm retiring it for now. I'll go back once I've cleansed my palate with some other games. 4/5 stars.

Now the question is, what 3DS game should I play now? I'm spoilt for choice.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

3DS is Pretty Ace

So, yesterday was my birthday and I got the usual "have some money because who knows what you want" for the most part. Except for one massive, major exception, from my boyfriend.

It's even more awesome IRL.
It came with Ocarina of Time, obviously, and I promptly downloaded Four Swords onto it and hied myself into town and came home with Star Fox 64 and Super Pokemon Rumble (both of which were £15 off, which was really nice).

I can't even see 3D, but I'm still blown away by the device. The AR games are really neat and Face Raiders is totally hilarious, and I was completely amazed upon loading up Ocarina of Time. The graphics are nothing short of breathtaking.

I'm not even sure I have enough words.

All I need now is a 3DS remake of Majora's Mask or even, god forbid, Wind Waker. I wasn't even a huge fan of Ocarina of Time, but I am a total convert to the 3DS after that.

Having said that, I'm not paying the extortionate prices for the Virtual Console games!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Criticisms of the Xbox 360 Dashboard

My 360 updated a few weeks ago to the new dashboard. I promptly took it offline because I didn't want to download the broken Skyrim patch, so I couldn't really judge it. Now, with the release of the new patch which un-breaks magic resistances, I've put it back online. First impressions: "oh joy, another dashboard update". Second: AAAAAADDDDDDS. There's a lot of adverts everywhere.

I decided to go to the indie games because I had 300 points sitting around after having bought some New Vegas DLC for the other half. The games section was four sections in which wasn't cool. I found a section which had a few indie games, but after digging a bit further, I found the indie games. You can sort by release date and title, but there doesn't appear to be a way to reduce the amount displayed, so you have to scroll through 2200 games, 5 at a time. This is phenomenally poor design. The regular game store is no better.

I then went into my game library, and that suffered from a similar lack of organisation. 128 games, 5 at a time. You can sort by demo, arcade or indie. No Games On Demand option, so if I want to play Fable II or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas I have to scroll for quite a while.

It is blatantly obvious that they've designed the new dashboard for use with just the Kinect. There's nothing in the design to indicate they even bothered thinking about people with joypads. It's all big icons and few things on every page, and has very obviously been designed by some guy who thinks form over function. I feel for the indie and arcade developers who are nigh impossible to find with this new marketplace.

And that's to say nothing about the fury I feel at having ads on a console I paid £300 to buy and £35 a year to use online. That's disgusting.

New - Empire Earth and Beneath a Steel Sky

Good Old Games is having a massive sale/giveaway sort of thing right now. A couple days ago, they gave away Empire Earth totally free, which is cool and slightly annoying because I bought it at Game ages ago and it's still in its shrinkwrap, but what you gonna do. I also noticed that they had Beneath a Steel Sky free too (except that's always free) so I added that to my account too.

Who knows when they'll get played, but hey, that's what holidays and retirement is for.

Monday, 5 December 2011

:B: - The Elder Scrolls - Skyrim

For me, the marker of a great game is that I don't want to do something else whilst playing it. There are very, very few games that have achieved this: Dark Chronicle, Bioshock, Fallout 3, and now The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim can join them.

Skyrim had claws sunk into my head so badly that I had to ban myself from playing it during the week so I didn't play past my bedtime and have to go to work on 3 hours sleep for 4 days running. Instead, the first weekend, I managed 18 hours play in 48 hours. Over the next couple weeks I slowly drip-fed myself during the week by indulging perhaps one night in the week. I really, really had it bad.

I've finished several story questlines: Dark Brotherhood, Mages College, Companions, and finally the main quest. I'm not going to spoil anything for anyone, except that I haven't been disappointed in anything so far, except perhaps the final battle against Alduin, who was, for all intents and purposes, just another dragon. But honestly, I can deal with slightly disappointing final battles; I played through Borderlands after all.

I'm now at a bit of a crossroads. I have a significant amount of other quests, both miscellaneous and regular. I can scroll down my list of regular quests for a good 5 or 10 seconds before hitting misc. I am really rather overwhelmed. I have no idea what to do next. There are still a great deal of places that I haven't found yet, and many, many more that I haven't cleared. It's a veritable rabbit hole of a videogame. Almost every time I talk to someone, I get more stuff to do! It's crazy.

Completion is another tricky proposition. With the radiant quest system, there's infinite amounts of quests in the game. So should I just finish all the regular ones? How do you even find all the regular ones? I think perhaps just emptying my regular quest list will count as complete - otherwise I'll be at this forever. And I think I could probably play it forever too. 5/5 stars.