Catching Up

I have found myself upon a crap load of games in the past 2 weeks. 5 to be exact and I have found myself being conflicted on the best way to spend my time, playing my newly acquired adventures or write about them as I get them.  My answer came to me when my girlfriend that I must purchase the last game on my list that just came out on Sunday.  I decided that I would collect my thoughts on all 5 after officially playing all 5.  So lets get right down to business shall we?

Brutal Legend: I was super excited for Brutal Legend around the time the demo hit Xbox live last year.  I’m a huge metal fan,  I love Psychonauts and Jack Black was mad annoying in the demo, of course I was excited for this game.  I couldn’t wait to explore the open world that was specifically crafted to look like every heavy metal album cover ever.  I was so excited for the game that I told my girlfriend to add it to the list of games I wanted for Christmas.  But as the reviews started coming out and the concession was that the game wasn’t all that great and that the focus was a weird RTS action hybrid  I stopped ranting and raving about it so much so that my girlfriend, who had already purchased and wrapped the game, returned it and got New Super Mario Bros. Wii.  After Christmas I had pretty much forgotten about Brutal Legend until Monday 2 weeks ago.  I happened upon a new copy of Brutal Legend for 4.80 and couldn’t pass it up.  I surely have payed more for worse games so why not?

My initial impressions of the game is that everything I read and hear was right.  The game is mediocre incarnate, but something did surprise me while I was playing the game.  The RTS combat was way more satisfying to me than the melee combat.  I enjoyed sending my army of dudes to take on the evil army of dudes way more the hitting enemies with my axe. That’s all I can really say for it at the moment, I played til I got to the first big RTS battle against Lionwhite and then Tuesday came.

3D Dot Game Heroes: I loved the original Legend of Zelda and upon hearing that From Software was developing a gaming homage to the original masterpiece, I put 3D Dot Game Heroes in the back of my mind as a potential great game as well.  Well it has emerged from the far off land in the east here in America and it has realized it’s potential.  I really am in love with the look of the game especially the super focus field of depth that makes everything in the game look like a miniature diorama in some kids shoe box.  The game has a lot of charm as well and plenty of video game in jokes which for the most part are pretty good.  I think my favorite in-joke is the man who has to decide whether to marry his childhood friend or this rich girl her just met whose magic skill set he likes better.  The game is full of those kind of references.  I am also enjoying the character editor and as I mentioned in a past post I was creating a Link just like everyone else who purchased this game.  I had a decent one created and then promptly erased it because the copy feature is freaking weird.  It has to be a testament to how cool the editor is that immediately after rage quitting out of the editor, I popped it back up and created a new Link.  Last I played I was deep in the 3rd dungeon and throughly enjoying the game even if I think I’m missing a lot of the side quests.

Final Fantasy XIII: This one has been a long time coming.  I think I’ve written about about needing to get Final Fantasy XIII no less than 100 times on this blog.  Now I can say that no more because on Saturday my girlfriend gave this to me as a birthday present and an excellent one at that.  This is the game I have probably played the least on this list and I have good reason, my girlfriend won’t let me.  She insists to be there for every minute I play so that she can see the story unfold.  It seems that Final Fantasy is one of the few gaming franchises that she holds dear and really wants to play this one.

I have come up with a few initial impressions from what little I’ve played and their mixed thus far.  I have heard of the games mad linearity and still wasn’t quite prepared for how much of a line the game has been on.  It’s not something that I really feel hinders the game or is even new to the franchise (Final Fantasy X was also basically on rails).  It just comes into stark contrast with the RPGs and open world games I’ve complete recently and I’m having trouble adjusting.  Exploring hasn’t ever been Final Fantasy’s strong suit, but battle systems and story have and both seem to be piping hot Japanese crazy in the opening hours of the game.  I really feel I’ll enjoy the battle system, it stream lines a lot of stuff leaving you with shifting paradigms and other high end strategy.

The only thing I can say I truly dislike about the game is the names of the characters.  Lightning and Snow, is this the best you can come up with Square?  They come off as even more cheesy when coming out of the voice actors mouth and makes me wonder what dude on the other end of the planet thought that they sounded cool.

Red Dead Redemption: This is the game I’ve played the most by far.  I have to state quite plainly that I have fallen in love with Red Dead Redemption despite all it’s flaws.  I felt this feeling bloom as John Marston stepped off the Train in Armadillo and I took control of him for the first time.  As I followed the marker toward the local saloon, a drunk man emerged from the swinging doors and proceeded to fall face first down the steps.  I followed this man like a beacon, listening to his drunk rambling and staring as he lay in the midday sun hammered drunk.  I knew this game was special after seeing that man.

This game is exactly what you think it would be coming from Rockstar and being an open world game, it’s GTA set in the wild west.  Which isn’t something that sounds all that appealing to me personally, I don’t like westerns and the only GTA game I really enjoyed was GTA 4.  But this combines the best parts of GTA 4, puts it in a fresh setting and really makes it work.

I think what really makes the game shine is the side missions that show up randomly as your exploring the world.  You could run across a stranger who wants you to get some flowers for his wife or a good ole boy who’s buddy is getting hanged for no reason.  It really gives the world life even if you start seeing the same ones after a few hours of play.

One thing that’s got me hooked at the moment is the legends of west challenges.  They’re a series of challenges based on 4 essential skills in any mythological western: Sharpshooting, Hunting,  Survival and Treasure hunting.  The Sharpshooting requires you to kill certain animals under certain conditions but the Hunting one does as well so I often get them mixed up.  Survival requires you to collect a certain amount of a certain type of flower per rank.  The Treasure hunting challenge gives you a picture of a rock and expects you to find that rock in a sea of rocks, needless to say I haven’t done much of that.

I’m about half way through the game right now and unless some unforeseen turn in the wrong direction comes, I can safely say this is one of my favorite games I’ve played this year.  I’d put it right there with Assassin’s Creed but not quite with Mass Effect 2, which is pretty high praise.

Super Mario Galaxy 2: I have to admit that I wasn’t too eager to get Super Mario Galaxy 2.  I like the first Mario Galaxy well enough and I didn’t care for Super Mario Sunshine at all.  Neither one of them grabbed me quite like Super Mario 64 did and I’m not too sure why.  Maybe it’s because it was my 1st foray into the 3rd dimension, maybe I’ve gotten older and want something different, or maybe they just weren’t as good of games to begin with.

I am currently 33 stars into Super Mario Galaxy 2 and it’s approaching a level of enjoyment I had with Super Mario 64 back in 96.  They’ve streamlined enough so that I always feel like I’m doing something to acheive a goal.  They’ve gotten rid of that large hub in favor of a small ship in the shape of Mario’s mustached face and world maps in the vein of Mario 3.  These things absolutely make the game for me, I don’t have to wonder around the same hub 100 times to get some new stars.  I turn on the game, take 3 steps and that’s it.  I’m in a new world collecting some power stars.

Also something has to be said about the challenge of the game.  This is a hard ass game.  It gets started off slow, but around world 3 the challenge really ramps up.  It’s not controller throwing. rage quitting hard but it is challenging enough for me to have seen quite a few game over screens.  I’ve even seen a space Rosaline show up and offer to do the level for me which I will have absolutely none of.  Mario’s a man dammit, he can take care of his.

My girlfriend has also saddled up and started a game which she is bravely attempting on her own.  Her and her roommate played through the 1st one together and would alternate depending on who could do what.  She’s taking this one on by herself and I’m curious to see if the challenge gets to her.  I’ve already heard a few frustrated roars emanating from the living room and she just has completed the 1st world, we shall see how she does.

And that about does it, I’m sure I’ll have more to say about these games as I play more of them.  As it stands right now, Red Dead Redemption will probably be the 1st one I complete and will have something written about it when I do.  I just hope it’s not another month.

A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!

Red Faction: Guerilla : I just got this game yesterday with an extra 20 that I had from my birthday and have yet to play it.  I loved the demo but I just never had the time or money to pick this game up.  I just hope it lives up to the expectations the demo put in my head.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in the future.

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