It can wait.

It was wet outside today and it got colder as the day went on. I thought leaving for school on a cold morning and warming up was bad. Going to school on a not entirely warm morning and then it gets colder is worse!

I have a big paper about marginalized identity groups to write that’s due in a week and I am not looking forward to it. It’s going to require sources and research and blah blah blah. I should just write it now so I can quit worrying about it but I probably won’t. I mean, not right now, it’s a little late, but maybe tomorrow. MAYBE.

I’m very close to the end of Bionic Commando (2009) but who cares, because tomorrow Dead Space 2: Severed gets released, and so does a Nine Inch Nails track pack for Rock Band!!!! I am totally fucking excited!

Bionic

I’m sometimes surprised by how little it takes for me to get back into a game after shelving it. I shelved Bionic Commando (2009) way back when because I got stuck on a boss. Yesterday I put it back in and beat the boss on the first try. I fell asleep last night thinking about the theme from this song. It’s beautiful. It’s easily one of my favorite video game theme songs of all time.

Bionic Commando (2009) – Main Theme (Piano Version)

It’s evocative of 8-bit themes and it’s far better than the game deserves.

Ultraviolence

Bloodsoaked

This is F.E.A.R. Extraction Point. This one screenshot is pretty indicative of the majority of the game. Blood and buckets. And when it’s not buckets that make appropriately buckety sounds when you walk into them, then it’s cans that make canny sounds, or bodies that flop around because the physics get a little screwy sometimes.

I was playing some Doom on XBLA today. I’m am jammed up against the brick wall that is Thy Flesh Consumed on Ultraviolence. The entirety of Doom on Ultraviolence is not that bad. It’s relatively easy. Thy Flesh Consumed, the fourth episode added after Doom’s initial release, is a mountainous, craggy, solid rock of an episode. It yields to no mortal. Even the very first level is an immense challenge, throwing Barons of Hell at you right from the start. The second level is even more difficult! And I’m trying to clear it on my xbox with a controller.

I love games with creative difficulty names. Like Ultraviolence. And “I am Death Incarnate”. Legendary is good but it’s description is better: “You face opponents who have never known defeat, who laugh in alien tongues at your efforts to survive. This is suicide.”

Wasted

Where the hell did today go? I can’t think of a single thing I did today that could be considered productive. I’ve watched some TV shows, and played some games but not much, and that’s it. Oh well.

 

Bad menus in okay games

Indulge me a moment. Consider this compensation for forgetting to write yesterday.

I picked up Marc Ecko’s Getting Up for PS2 a month ago. It was $3 and Jeff Gerstmann loves it and he has pretty good taste. The game is really kind of standard PS2 fare; 3rd person with really loose camera controls, fighting, and unique mechanic A, in this case graffiti. But that’s not what I’m writing about.

I’m writing about some kind of disappointing design choices, specifically in the menus. Basically, everything outside of the pause menu looks awful. It’s scenes from a subway station with the menus themselves embedded into the scenery. It’s like navigating the menus of a DVD. And the background art isn’t even that good, they would’ve been better off using their in-game 3D models.

Nearly everything else, from the in-game cutscenes, to the manual, and the case art have a clear sense of style and look great. It’s just those awful menus.

143 Hugs

I quite honestly forgot to write something yesterday. Whoops! Streak broken.

So good news of the day, Dead Space 2: Severed DLC coming March 1st for $7. I think that’s a very reasonable price for more single player content and six weeks after release is a good timeframe. The bad news is that I probably won’t get around to picking up a copy of Dead Space Extraction before it’s released. Oh well. I still want to play it.

I’m still slogging through Just Cause 2. It’s starting to get a little boring. I played AaaaaAAAAaaaaaAAAA!! A Reckless Disregard For Gravity. What a strange game. It’s just about falling past buildings and near buildings and giving people the finger. It’s really kind of impossible to effectively describe. I don’t think it’s even possible to fully represent with a video. It’s also score based, and I am awful at score based leaderboard games. Just awful. But it’s fun.

I really need to wrap up Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Maybe tomorrow.

CHAOS!!!!

The weather was nice today, until about 11am. No wet asscrack, but I got plenty dirty, wet, and cold. For what? Two of my five classes felt like a waste of time today.

I stayed up too late last night playing Just Cause 2. This game is bonkers. The world map is INSANELY huge. There are tons of vehicles, cities, villages, and collectables. Good god, collectables everywhere. There are a ton of things that are made to explode and you’re encouraged to blow them up but they also attract the attention of the local military. Even when I’m traveling from place to place and trying to get to a new mission, I simply cannot resist blowing up everything that will blow up. This often results in me dying and respawning miles away from where I was trying to go in the first place.

Tomorrow is a light day. I’ll be happy if it’s a drier day.

Welcome to Shanghai

Today was entirely unproductive, unless playing video games is productive.

I finished off Kane & Lynch: Dead Men. It was a relatively interesting game, if a little repetitive. I beat it in less than five hours, and at least one of those hours was spent between bashing my head against the frustratingly difficult “El Capitolio” and the ridiculously long time it takes between starting the game and getting to the menu. It’s painful. The game uses Games for Windows Live, which I don’t have a problem with because I loooooove cheevos but you start the game, then it logs you into GFWL, then it shows the developer and publisher, then it finds your save game and notifies you that it has been loaded, THEN it starts the intro movie. You can, thankfully, escape out of it, but the time from game start to menu is easily a solid 30 seconds.

But that’s just me bitching. The game moves fast. Really fast. You’re escaping from prison, you’re robbing a bank, you’re fighting in a nightclub in Japan, you’re overthrowing the Cuban government, you’re assaulting a hacienda in Venezuela, then it’s over. The AI, friendly and enemy, is rather dumb and the enemies are fragile so it’s much easier to use the friendly AIs as a distraction and then clean up all the enemies yourself. The characters, the titular Kane and Lynch, are a traitor and psychopath respectively. There’s not enough time spent with them to really flesh them out. The production quality is pretty good and it feels very cinematic but the graphics aren’t exactly awesome. I only spent $5 on it so I feel like I got enough for my money but if I had spent a full $50, I’d be a little upset. I guess there’s more of the game tied up in the multiplayer, but I doubt anyone’s playing.

After a relatively brief break, I started into Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days and just finished it. I was thrilled to find that Io Interactive did not punish me with another insane game start to menu time. This one is even shorter, clocking in at less than four hours! The game changes a little, and it is an improvement. The graphics look fantastic, and the game’s viewpoint is from the perspective of someone who is chasing Lynch with a digital camcorder. There’s a lot of shakey-cam and a lot of video distortion from lights and movement and damage and it’s all rather beautiful. Most of the shootouts take place in more enclosed areas and the environment takes believable damage with every shot.

If I were to describe the difference between the first game and the second, I’d say that Dog Days is a tighter experience. Whereas the first game gave you a degree of control over friendly AIs, this one doesn’t. You play as Lynch and Kane just kind of does his own thing. I can’t say he or the enemy AI was as dumb this time around. Both will do their best to outflank each other. The levels themselves are often in pretty cramped quarters.

There are no grenades this time around either, and the weapons aren’t as accurate. They mostly consist of submachine guns, shotguns, pistols, and the occasional rifle. There are opportunities to toss a can of gas or fire extinguisher at enemies and blow it up, but those can’t be carried around forever. So cramped quarters, bullet-hose guns, and no grenades resulted in a lot of standoffs where you’re just hiding behind a box, waiting for the bad guy to pop his head out for a second and then spraying bullets at him and hoping he died.

There are no intentionally funny moments in either game but there’s a humorous moment in Dog Days. The two have been tortured by Chinese mafia and are running naked through the streets of Shanghai in the rain. There’s a shootout in an amazingly good looking McDonald’s-esque fast food joint. So there’s a moment where two middle-aged men, naked, wet, and bleeding, are exchanging gunfire with a Chinese SWAT team while taking cover behind the counter at a McDonalds.

Between the two, I enjoyed Kane & Lynch 2 more, despite the short campaign. I only paid $5 for it also, so I feel like I got enough out of it, but once again I’d be upset if I had paid the full $50.

Tomorrow it is going to rain and I have all five of my Monday classes to attend. I am not looking forward to spending the day with a wet asscrack.

Revanant v. Mancubus

What to say about today? I stayed up too late last night playing Doom 2. I have to beat that new episode “No Rest for the Living” in order to unlock the Doom Marine avatar costume. It’s beautifully designed and plays great. I’m often overwhelmed by enemies but I never feel like I’m losing because it’s cheap. I’m losing because I’m playing dumb or not paying attention. I love it and hate it at the same time when they toss me into a fight against an archvile, four revenants, 8 barons of hell, and a ton of demons.

Monster infighting has become such an overlooked aspect of first person shooters. It doesn’t even have to do with the number of enemies on screen, though that does factor in. I’m pretty sure there’s no infighting at all in Duke3D, and modern shooters have abandoned it either through superior enemy AI that doesn’t shoot each other on accident, or ignore it entirely.

A big reason why you can fight against overwhelming numbers of enemies in Doom is because it’s really easy to play them against each other. It’s a vital mechanic to the game, even. If you were expected to beat “Tricks and Traps” by fighting through that entire room full of barons of hell and the cyberdemon, it’d be basically impossible! The only way to win is to let them kill each other off then cleanup the survivors. Arguably, the best weapon in Doom is monster infighting.

I suppose I lament it’s loss in other games, but I might prefer it that way because it is one of the reasons why Doom is unique.

Equality-eh

After a long day of classes, I had to get out to the airport to take a test and do another flight. This resulted in me not getting back to my apartment until 5pm. I didn’t get a ton of sleep last night, so I took a nap. At 6:30. And woke up around 8:15. Whoops.

Doom 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. Easily in my top 5 ever. I’ve been playing Doom 2 since it was released. I can play and replay it over and over and I still love it. But I hate hate hate hate hate revenants. They are the worst. Even worse than archviles, worse than pain elementals. Worse than fighting a cyberdemon with just a shotgun. Whenever I hear that high-pitched shriek, alarms go off in my head.