Archive for August 2010

Getting Back In The Swing of Things

August 30, 2010

I finally got a decent internet connection in my apartment earlier last week.  I also got a banging Linksys E3000 router that feeds all three of my consoles with sweet sweet internet juice.  With this new found freedome comes old habits returning without warning.  What old habits am I talking about?  I believe I mentioned them before.  That’s right, I’m back into CoD way of things or rather the MW way of things.  I figured I’d give an update on a post I made about a year ago, to let people know if I’d gotten any better or not.  Well I can proudly say that yes,  I have gotten slightly better at my FPS of choice.  It wasn’t the case when I first fired it up after many months of absence on IW net.  I’d wager say that I had gotten progressively worse, with many matches ending with me getting a whopping zero kills and dying almost 20 times.  I’ve been persistent though, thanks mostly in part to a friend of mine who just recently started playing online.  He must be some kind of savant reaching level 50 in the time it took me to get to level 15.  I’ve got someone to gauge myself to and be jealous of and it makes the game a bit more fun.

I think one of my main problems I was having before was just picking types of guns that I had no business picking.  I was using the guns that I perceived to be the best and they just weren’t my strengths.  I found my game when I picked my very first shotgun.  As soon as that baby came into my life I went from averaging 0-1 kills per game, to average 7-8.  I know that’s nothing to write home about, but it is the improvement I was looking for.  In my last post on the subject I questioned rather I would ever get to level 17 and I can say I am the proud owner of a level 25 character on Modern Warfare 2.  I still have tons of room for improvement but I gotta celebrate the small victories when they come.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Dragon Quest IX here lately.  That game is entirely too good to be missed by anyone.  Please everyone go out and buy it now!

Mistakes Were Made

August 15, 2010

So despite my endless whining I found some leftover cash to purchase Dragon Quest IX last weekend and have put considerable amount of time into it since then.  Despite being only about 10 hours into it I think I can safely say that this is one the most enjoyable traditional RPG experiences I’ve had in a long time.  It’s also extremely interesting time to play it for me as well, seeing as I’m charging my way through Final Fantasy XIII currently as well.

These two games cannot be more polar opposites of one another and switching gears between playing the both of them can be quite disorienting.  Let’s start with the obvious differences first.  Dragon Quest being the portable game that it is goes for the simplistic graphical presentation, while Final Fantasy sticks with it’s roots, going for the bombastic epic HD experience.  I would like to say I prefer Dragon Quest IX’s style more than Final Fantasy’s because it does appeal to my tastes in colorful whimsical games.  But every time that battle screen loads up in Final Fantasy and I see my team standing there looking badass in HD, I have to say “Damn this is a fine looking game”.  Final Fantasy isn’t without it’s presentational flaws though.  They seem to rely heavily on copy and pasting areas until they have long outlasted their welcome.  I haven’t run into this problem with Dragon Quest, but like I said I’m only 10 hours in.

The battle systems are also two entirely different beasts.  The frantic, number-filled, 5 second battles of Final Fantasy take some getting used to.  It took me some time figuring out when to change my paradigms and what paradigms to use in the right situations.  The paradigms you use are so crucial to the game that if you’re not using the right one at the beginning of a battle, you can be wiped in a blink of an eye by your enemies.  Now compare this to Dragon Quest which uses the old tried and true RPG system of taking turns.  The battles definitely take a bit longer in Dragon Quest but I haven’t found this bothersome yet.  It makes it a little bit easier to keep up with whats going one and plan out you next move more efficiently.  This whole system wouldn’t work as well for me if it weren’t for them ditching random battles.  This is HUGE for the Dragon Quest series and makes it way more fun.  It’s hard to say which I prefer.  Final Fantasy’s seems to offer a lot more frustration, especially after being wiped out in a second and not knowing what happened.  For now I’m leaning towards Dragon Quest, but that could change as the game goes one.

Another pillar that makes up an RPG is the story.  This is also where these two games go in opposite directions.  Final Fantasy is all story.  You watch a cut scene and then walk and fight your way to the next cut scene.  Thats the harsh forum troll way of looking at it and I don’t really have a problem it, that’s the way most of the Final Fantasy titles have been.  I think their decision to remove towns and exploration from this game really hurts the story the most.  You miss alot of the secondary information about the world and the characters that these things would deliver.  I know it has the datalog, but that seems like a really lazy way to get that information to the player.  Dragon Quest on the other hand has a paper thin story and makes no apologies for it.  Before playing a game like Borderlands (also zero story) I would have thought that would have been a huge negative, but now I can see it’s advantages.  It puts a lot more focus on the battles, the exploring and the LOOT.

The loot,  Dragon Quest has it and Final Fantasy doesn’t.  That’s my biggest complaint with Final Fantasy.  It doesn’t have to have a robust item system like Dragon Quest, but it doesn’t even seem to try.  I’ve got some items on my character that have been equipped on them since the beginning of the game, they’re just leveled up more.  It just seems like another thing they streamlined that I enjoyed in the previous games.

Judging from all that I’ve written thus far it would seem that Dragon Quest has stolen my heart over Final Fantasy.  I would say thats somewhat true.  I don’t actively dislike Final Fantasy,  I’m just enjoying Dragon Quest more at the moment.  I will see Final Fantasy through to the end and maybe it will become more enjoyable after it opens up in Gran Pulse.  It’s pretty cool to play both of them together and see the different ways they go about the RPG formula.

I have also been bitten by the Scott Pilgrim but here lately.  After listening to the Retronauts episode about the game (mostly the books though) and watching the Giantbomb Quick Look,  I got throughly excited for the game.  I know they mostly bash the game in the Quick Look but that made me no less excited for the game.  I actually went to the local Barnes and Noble and read 3 of the books to get myself more familiar with the source material.  The story is ok,  but I do like how the author treats video game references. He uses them more like reference to movies or current events, they’re not throughly explained or done with a wink and a nod.  Hopefully I’ll get to try out the game when I can get on XBLA and give my thoughts on it.

Profound Sadness……again.

August 7, 2010

Profound Sadness is completing Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, collecting tons of zombie brains and finding this guy at the very end.

Where were you those other 6 hours!?

Profound Sadness!

August 6, 2010

Profound sadness is hearing a ton of great stuff about Dragon Quest IX and being flat ass broke.

*swoon

Profound sadness is having Fei Long as my favorite character in Super Street Fighter IV and no being able to beat my rival cause I suck against grapplers.

booo!

Profound sadness is seeing the end of the line of Borderlands DLC.

til next time

Profound sadness is not having an internet connection that allows game systems to connect to it.  So no more random late night game of Geometry Wars 2.

oh crap

Profound sadness is listening to a podcast focusing of Mass Effect 2 and realizing it will be a long ass time before I get to play Mass Effect 3.

Come back Shepard!

Profound sadness is seeing how ridiculous Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock is going to be.

but it will have all of 2112, which is pretty cool

Profound Sadness is loading up Burnout Paradise which is on my PS3 hard drive and seeing it has a million updates to download.  But I can play it now because I can’t get my PS3 online. That is also profound sadness.

haha I beat this screen!

Profound sadness is missing these drinks because they aren’t ever coming back.

I like Luigi berry.

I Want More!

August 3, 2010

Can we establish something, if it has not already been said?

I freaking love Borderlands.

I played the game non-stop earlier this year.  I reached level 50 and moved on to the next game, knowing that the call of the DLC would get to me eventually.

One Xbox 360 hard drive upgrade later and that time has come.  I took advantage of the Xbox Marketplace sale and picked up all 3 of the Borderlands DLC this past week.  I took the sale, my re-piqued interest in Borderlands, and General Knoxx re-upped Twitter account as a sign that I should get them.

Boy did I make the right decision!  I just got through The Zombie Island of Doctor Ned and I believe I’ve done everything I can and I loved every minute of it.  Well, almost every minute.  I didn’t like how they hid T.K. who has the “Braaaaaaains” mission.  I didn’t find him until after I beat the DLC and he didn’t count the hundreds of zombie brains I had collected up until that point.  That complaint became very minor when I finally did collect all the brains and got my achievement.

I’ve had very little time with Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot but I can see immediately why this is the worst liked of the 3.  Stopping all character progression while in this area really dampens the appeal.  I got killed in the 3 round of the 1st area and I can’t see myself going back anytime soon.

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx was the latest Borderlands DLC to be released but it was the 1st one that I picked up.  I’ve played through a few of the opening missions but have yet to free Athena.  The main draw for the DLC is the level cap which they expanded to 61.  They’re probably some technical issues with raising the level cap to frequently that my feeble mind just can’t grasp, but I never understood why they didn’t raise it with the other DLC.  As I had written before, this area is hard.  Real hard.  But as with Zombie Island,  I am loving my time spent with it and cannot wait to reach level 61.

There have been some rumors rumbling of some more DLC to be released for Borderlands.  Hopefully with the Xbox Marketplace sell is a catalyst to spark interest in consumers for more Borderlands to lead to an impending announcement or will get someone’s attention at Gearbox to make some more.  Either way all I am certainly down for more exploration of the planet Pandora and more gruesome deaths of psychos and skags at the hands of my brutal guns.