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Why Mass Effect is Wrong

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With Mass Effect 2 boldly showing its cheerful newborn face and being praised unconditionally like all newborns are, I finally got my ass around to playing the original game.

I think it’s easy to see that Bioware is not my favorite developer. In fact I think they are quite terrible. On top of the generic leprous problems absolutely every Bioware game is afflicted with, Mass Effect suffers from it’s own particular evils, mostly involving core game elements.

I’ll get to those later though, for now I need to get all of the aesthetic and technical failures out of the way.

First of all, I’ll say that I played the PC version, which, according to every review ever, improved upon the original in such a fantastic way that it was undoubtedly the best version, and arguably the best port of any game to date.

I don’t know what kind of diamond-laced supergame the reviewers got, but I wish I got it too.
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Written by PIR

February 11, 2010 at 15:18

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An essay on Galaxies. Rogue ones.

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Me and sekai sat down and finished playing Rogue Galaxy. I’m not sure what compelled us to play it initially, but I wish it hadn’t shown itself.

Being candid, the game sucks. I can’t fathom how anybody thinks its good. It’s problems are legion, to the point that I’m unsure of whether the game went through a quality checking phase at all.

The interface, and the menu in particular, is unintuitive and feels like walking through molasses. Getting to even the simplest of windows that you access more or less constantly, requires the traversal of a minimum of two sub-menus, which in itself isn’t good design, but compounded with the dead time after pressing X where no inputs are sensed this becomes a very real and very  annoying problem. At least once every time I went into the menu, I ended up going into the wrong submenu because I didn’t wait for the dead time after the transition animation. The item menu also lacks tabs sorted by item type, and so ‘clusterfuck’ doesn’t even begin to accurately describe it.

Now for the big failure.

Rogue Galaxy is the most unbalanced game I have ever played. Never before, and hopefully never again, will I play a game balanced as horribly as this. There are so many things wrong with it that I’m having trouble knowing where to start or how to organize it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by PIR

January 11, 2010 at 10:16

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They say not to spend for yourself…

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This year for Christmas I’m getting nothing but a $350 check for a netbook, so I decided to buy my own presents this year. Aren’t I sweet?

Steam has some pretty wicked deals for the holidays, and I decided to pony up for a handful of neat bargain bin titles. The first one I tried was Eufloria, which appeals to me immensely because it’s simple. And I’m a sucker for that ambient style of presentation. I grabbed Droplitz because it’s published by Atlus, and they tend to have good taste in games. I’ve only put 45 minutes or something into it, but it can be boiled down into Pipe Mania on hardcore pills. The one I’ve played the least so far is Aquaria, and that’s simply because it’s too involved. I was way to far gone to play that with any sort of success. Alternatively, the one I’ve already poured 10 hours into in Audiosurf, which I assume everybody already knows about.

I’ll save writing about them further for a rainy day. A rainy day where I am afflicted with a poisonous desire to talk about random games to an audience of nobody.

Written by PIR

December 24, 2009 at 00:58

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Serious “Raep” Sam HD

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On an impulse I purchased Serious Sam HD off of Steam yesterday, and all I can say is that game loves to watch me squirm.

I’ll admit I’d never played a Serious Sam game before this, but I understood that it was essentially as close as you’ll get to an arcade FPS. Lots of frenetic action, a nonexistent and/or nonsensical story,  and the kind of gameplay that you would expect from a game scientifically designed to get you to feed quarters into it. That is, very hard, and very addictive.

Are you serious enough for this?

The first thing I noticed was that not only does the game keep track of how many enemies I’ve killed, how many secrets I’ve found, and how long it takes me to complete the level, but it has the gall to keep score. Nothing quite like scraping through a level with your health in the single digits, only to have the game make a sour face and tell you that you only found 2 out of 7 secrets, missed half of the enemies, and still took twice as long as the estimated stage completion time.

And on top of all this, the game takes advantage of the most spiteful and underhanded methods of game design to ensure player destruction. Insta-spawning enemies every place except that which is in your field of view? Yes. Closed off narrow corridors with HP-heavy monstrosities at both ends? Yes. Enemies with perfect vision and situational awareness even around corners and from over a kilometer away? Only every single one. Exploding suicide units that can run faster than you? Definitely. Disorienting ambient noises that sound close or identical to the same ones enemies make? Oh yeah. Entire hoards of slavering beasts spawning as soon as you so much as touch the most measly of pickups? You better believe it. Just about the only fair thing in this game is the almost complete lack of reloading, which doesn’t feel quite as fair when you just got killed again because the bullets weren’t leaving your gun fast enough.

Nothing this game offers will make anybody feel like they aren’t being toyed with. It’s sole purpose in this world is to make you cry. It plays dirty, hits hard, and is fucking proud of it.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Written by PIR

December 1, 2009 at 00:51

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It’s the greatest Gitaroo ever!

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I bought Gitaroo Man for the PS2 a few weeks ago while I was at my parent’s house, but I forgot to pack it up with me on my way back to the dorms. I made sure to grab it today on my way out so it’s firmly in my possession now. Too bad I’m already done playing it.

Gitaroo Man, for all it’s awesome, is only about 90 minutes long if you don’t fail too many stages. The story is wacky, the characters are off-the-wall, the cutscenes are laughably amateurish looking, and equally amazing, and the music is awesome. All 10 songs. Basically it’s everything anybody could ask of a rhythm game, but without the longevity.

To be fair, the gameplay is a bit hit-and-miss, because the 360 degree fan mechanic could have used some work, and it never feels like you’re missing the notes because you suck, but as long as you don’t go into it expecting to get A’s on every song, those are fairly minor gripes. Hell, I paid $20  for the whole game and I gladly would have given $10 just to watch the cut scenes. There are way worse things you can throw $20 at. Like the Drag Me to Hell Blu-Ray.

Written by PIR

November 29, 2009 at 21:26

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Dear Geometry Wars,

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Stop spawning enemies on top of my ship. kthx.

Written by PIR

November 24, 2009 at 03:08

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Dragon’s Age: Ferpect

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Some have claimed that Dragon’s Age is something akin to the fantasy RPG messiah, descending from the heavenly gates of Bioware in robes and sandals, to part the waters of JRPG androgyny and repetitive everythingness to deliver unto us a pristine and flawless gaming experience.

Bioware has also been blessed with a near mythical reputation and thus is given praise of the highest order for no other reason than because they are Bioware, so these claims  hold absolutely no water to me.

I’ve played 4 origin stories, and a smattering of what else the trivial story has to offer afterwards, and my opinion couldn’t be any more meh. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by PIR

November 13, 2009 at 02:32

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