tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

The list of doom, August edition

Here’s last month’s edition.

Games that have been knocked off the list due to completion:

  • Devil May Cry 4 – Beat it on Devil Hunter, although honestly I don’t think I’m really done with it yet. I can’t say that I’ve really mastered any aspect of the game (except maybe Nero’s Devil Buster but it’s LOL EZ anyway).
  • NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams – I’ve gotten all my C ranks and unlocked the true ending to the game, so it’s leaving the list. I’ll still keep trying for A ranks and better scores from time to time, though (it’s a freaking score attack game – who wouldn’t). Maybe I’ll put some footage up here when I try it out.
  • Zack & Wiki – I’ve beaten the main story quest, but I haven’t found any of the hidden treasures yet. Still, that’s good enough for me for now.
  • Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition – Beat it shortly after my last list of doom post. I’ve fiddled around a bit with the other modes (the Ada side missions and the Mercenaries minigame) but I haven’t gone back to the game yet.

Games still being played:

  • Super Mario Galaxy – Would you believe I’m still stuck on that one Luigi purple coin mission?
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin – Really haven’t touched it at all.
  • Sonic Rush Adventure – That last Sol Emerald is a bitch.
  • Mass Effect – I’ve just finished up the Noveria story quests. It seems that there really aren’t that many main story quests which is a little alarming, but I’ll see what happens. I’ve started to get a good feel for my final opinion on the game, too…and it’s a little uneven.
  • Beyond Good & Evil – Still fun – I’m right after the part where Pey’j gets kidnapped (spoiler).

Games that were started and beaten over the course of the month:

  • Metal Gear Solid – Great boss fights, great sneaking areas, terrible gun controls, WALL OF PLOT is annoying.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance – Boss fights are somewhat less great, sneaking is much more fun, gun controls are better, WALL OF PLOT is still annoying.

New entries on the list:

  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence – Not too far in. I can’t say I’ve gotten the hang of CQC yet – for some reason every time I try to grab someone from behind I end up throwing them and setting off an alarm.
  • Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword – this is surprisingly good for a handheld conversion of Ninja Gaiden. There are some cutbacks (simplified combos, only one melee weapon and two ranged weapons) but otherwise it’s fast and furious just like the console versions.
  • Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – my first PS3 game! Think Gears of War crossed with Resident Evil 4 with a minimal bit of Tomb Raider splashed in for good measure. Very polished and slick – nothing to complain about so far.
  • Bionic Commando: Rearmed – I never played the NES version, but even so this game is pretty cool. While the levels and bosses themselves are pretty well-designed, I particularly like the Portal-style Challenge Rooms.

And that’s it for August!

It just occurred to me that my Wii backlog is basically empty now (except for Galaxy). Any Wii game recommendations? Keep in mind that I’m a lonely bastard who plays games by himself all the time.

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Five hundred and ninety-nine US dollars

I’ve been hearing rumours that the 80GB Metal Gear Solid 4 PlayStation 3 bundle was soon to go the way of the dodo, and with it all backwards compatibility from the product line. I was pondering whether or not to take the plunge and shell out the cash for one of these bundles, but an e-mail that popped into my inbox at work swiftly resolved those thoughts.

A guy at work was selling his 60GB PS3 along with a few games, for the bargain price (relatively speaking) of $450. I wasn’t particularly interested in some of the games he was offering (Tiger Woods and Madden…right), but I realised that that sort of price for the long-discontinued 60GB model was a pretty damn good deal, so I jumped at it. Hence the shiny black monster now perched next to my 32″ HDTV.

The machine is remarkably quiet, even with a disc inside it – noise elimination was clearly one of their priorities in developing the hardware. Heat is another story, though – I tried to reposition the console slightly to make space for something else and the underside was almost too hot to touch.

That said, I don’t have much else to complain about. I’ll probably put Ubuntu on it so that I can use it as a media center (without being restricted to the formats that the PS3 supports natively). And now that I have something that can actually use the hi-def capabilities of my TV, I might start buying more DVDs (and downloading content from the PlayStation Store – I hear Xam’d is particularly good).

Games? Err, I got Guitar Hero III along with it, but until I clear my existing PC and PS2 backlog I’m probably not going to buy anything else for it. I’m still halfway through Devil May Cry 4 and I suspect I’ve barely scratched the surface of Mass Effect.

On a somewhat related note, I beat Metal Gear Solid at last (after disovering the first-person aiming option in the escape level which was never revealed to me, and in any case was rather difficult to use). Of course, the game rewarded me by freezing up right after the credits, preventing me from saving my complete file. Joy.

Overall thoughts? Rather rough around the edges, but it did have enjoyable moments.

I put a few minutes into Metal Gear Solid 2 – the two main things I brought away from it were

  1. Yay aiming doesn’t suck as much!
  2. Boo the cutscenes are still way too long.

I’ll probably only continue once I get the PS2 memory card adapter I ordered from Amazon tomorrow, so I can move all my save data onto the PS3. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the PS2 yet, but I’ll probably take it back to Singapore the next time I go.

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Any claim anyone could have possibly made that the aiming system in MGS was not broken is immediately invalidated by the GODDAMN escape sequence at the end of the game.

Seriously. You’re operating a gun turret on the back of a jeep, and it doesn’t even give you any indication of what you’re aiming at, nor is there any sort of lock-on functionality. To add insult to injury they expect you to aim at moving targets with this thing.


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Metal Gear?!

I spent pretty much all of today on my couch playing the original Metal Gear Solid on my PS2. Like I said before, I’ve only played part of it before (on PC) with generally positive impressions, so I was wondering how the rest of the game held up. And my answer so far is “somewhat unevenly.”

First off, the game makes you engage in firefights with what are probably the most clunky shooting controls ever. The game has you press square to shoot, but your handgun has an auto-targeting mode engaged by holding square, which prevents you from firing off shots quickly. Manual aiming is really a crapshoot. On the other hand, your rifle fires in full automatic mode when you hold down square, and you can fire it while running if you hold down X while shooting. Keeping in mind that X is normally the button assigned to crouch, this is a rather unintuitive setup, and that the game expects you to enter gunfights with it is somewhat ridiculous.

The second problem I have is less important, but it’s somewhat detrimental to the game’s atmosphere. MGS goes to great lengths to make you feel that your actions are taking place in a realistic, believable world. The attention to detail is incredible. Given that, it really spoils the atmosphere of the game when Revolver Ocelot says something like “Press Circle to regain your strength!” It only serves to kill the atmosphere built up to that point.

I have a few more issues with the game (I think the dialogue repeats itself way too much, the cutscenes are about 50% too long, and the plot’s way of trying to make us empathise with the villains by having them spout their entire backstory as they die is just terrible characterization) but honestly, I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t gotten anything out of the game. The boss battles are suitably epic and challenging, and the sneaking areas are pretty well-designed for the most part.

I’m at the start of disc 2, so I assume I’m about halfway through the game at this point. I will say the good has outweighed the bad so far, but I suppose I’ll see if that trend continues.


I went outside on a weekend, holy crap

Went downtown to see The Dark Knight today. Great movie, and I really enjoyed it. Very satisfying, and no real bits that stuck out to me as forced or unnecessary. Heath Ledger’s Joker was suitably sadistic, random and occasionally morbidly funny. I’m a fan of Mark Hamill’s Joker from the animated series, but I have to say Ledger did an excellent job.

In addition, a certain other Batman villain shows up (you should know who it is if you’ve been paying attention to any of the trailers at all) and while the treatment given to him in this movie is somewhat different from how he has been portrayed in the past, I thought it was pulled off very well.

The only complaint I had was Christian Bale’s Batman voice. Maybe I’m just spoiled by Kevin Conroy’s superlative treatment in the animated versions, but I have no idea why Bale’s Batman sounds like he has lung cancer. Apparently this was an issue with the first movie as well. Not only did it sound weird, it also made it hard to understand what he was saying at times.

In any case, go see it.

On my way back I popped into a Gamestop and picked up Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword and Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection. I’ve put in some time with the former and it’s really good for a handheld action game. I’m really not used to being able to block, though, being a long-time Devil May Cry player, but I suppose it’ll come with time.

MGS should be interesting…I played parts of the first game on PC, but I never beat any of them. Time to see what all the fuss is about.


The list of doom

Some of you know that I have a pretty sizeable gaming backlog. A lot of it is games that I want to play but haven’t gotten around to buying yet (Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection is currently #1 on that list), but there’s also a pretty big backlog of stuff that I own but I haven’t gotten around to finishing yet:

  • Psychonauts (I put some effort into beating it this past weekend, and finally reached the endgame…I had to skip a lot of optional stuff to do it though)
  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (I’m at about 60% completion)
  • Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition (level 15, right after beating Vergil for the second time)
  • Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition (mission 3-1…which is proving to be annoyingly long. Oh, and I have almost no ammo left)
  • Zack & Wiki (the last puzzle is so ridiculously hard)
  • Super Mario Galaxy (technically I’ve ‘beaten’ this game already, but I need to get one…last…star!)
  • NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams (2 levels in on each side)
  • Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (I’m on mission 13 of the campaign but for some reason I can’t bring myself to finish it)
  • Sonic Rush Adventure (Blaze’ last Sol Emerald is giving me trouble)

This is not a state of affairs that I’m particularly happy with, given that there are other high-profile releases coming up that I’d like to devote my time to…in particular Mass Effect drops at the end of the month, and the PC version of Devil May Cry 4 arrives next month.

So much gaming to do, so little time :(

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