Thursday, March 29, 2012

World of Pokemon!

Fuck all y'all bitches, be sitting up on yo azerothes, I be in Pallet all up in you mommas ass singin that I be a master... catchin' em all

Details released for WoWs Pet battles. And on first perusal, its really fucking pokemony, similar stats and all, though rather than 4 moves it's 3 moves, hell even some of the moves are English pokemon move names. It seems just enough similarities to dodge a law suit.

Most of the details are over here

Also, do they have the EV system? DO THEY? if not imma flip this shit upside!

There doesn't seem to be a levelling system, or indeed mechanics much beyond the fighting system , I'm sure there will be rewards for winning, like cheevos, cosmetic armours and such.


Love and Omastar used Blizzard,

Richie X

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Second (well fifteenth hundred) opinion on Trauma Centre (er): Second Opinion

With, it seems, the whole games industry writing off the Wii in preparation for the Wii-U, now is a great time to snap up some of the quirkier releases on the platform which are currently selling for ridiculously cheap prices. Recently we've picked up Cursed Mountain, Deadly Creatures, Metroid: Other M, Disaster Day of Crisis and Madworld for less than £16 (for all of them). Individually they are a bit quirky but they represent a time and a platform with more interesting ideas than current HD console gaming which seems stuck in a bit of a rut with a a severe case of sequelitis. Trauma Center: Second Opinion is one we snapped up for a fiver a while ago and we've only just got around to playing it.

We played Trauma Center/re: Under The Knife, the one and only popular medical 'em up on the DS. It was fun, if not a bit tough and also challenging. The Wii version, Trauma Center/re: Second Opinion is pretty much exactly the same game albeit with a name change and with the addition of suspender wearing 'Japanese' doctor Nozomi Weaver not to be confused with ER's Doctor Weaver, who sadly we cannot recall wearing suspenders. We've not checked but we hope there's some unsavoury niche filth images of her on deviant art and stories about her doing it in all three positions on

The Wii version is by far easier to play than the DS version, you choose your chirurgery tools on the nunchuk stick meaning you don't have to keep popping backwards and forwards across the screen to pick up your tools as the DS version demanded. However, this game fails me at virtually the same part as the DS version. The game abandons the pretence of being a serious medical simulator about six missions in and introduces a ridiculous supernatural surgery power "The Healing Touch". Fine, fine whatever we don't  really expect empirical scientific rigour from a medium that regularly pisses about with elves, nanomachines and space marines but the way you activate "The Healing Touch" is to draw a fucking star on the screen. With the best will in the world, when an operation is going tits up, and the patients vitals are dropping fast thanks to hokey future parasites, getting two seconds to draw a star in order to slow time down and stand a chance  of saving your hapless patent ends up, well it ends up like this*. The patient dies and you get kicked back to the start of the operation. 

Although drawing a star with a pointer is surprisingly easier than drawing it with the stylus on the DS it's not particularly easy. Okami had a good system from loosely interpreting the on screen squiggles into what the game presumes you meant but then again, Okami's symbols are quite distinct. As much as I liked the idea of Darwinia, I eventually gave up with it because drawing symbols to spawn units was frustrating. But the star? It's sapping my willpower losing patients faster than Harold Shipman all because I couldn't draw a star and it is a wholly unnecessary mechanic. The gameplay did chug along nicely and the story progresses fine with various different surgeries without game-ifying and homeopathising by introducing silly super natural gubbins. It ruins an otherwise interesting little game.

Our last thing to say is that of all the games we've been playing lately it is insultingly hard to get a decent rank at the end of a mission. Slicing, mending and stitching up a patient without missing a beat or making a mistake? That'll mean straight C ranks for you matey. TRY HARDER. HOW ABOUT DRAWING A STAR NEXT TIME?

* Because we're all such fucking punky Rockstars round these parts we're breaking one of the unofficial rules of TGAM by linking to a website that is vaguely popular. If only we had a tag for that.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Book Club

Occasionally we stub out our crack pipe (hard but do-able), log off the forums and give up our angry Internet man jig to don a smocking jacket, pour ourselves a Malibu and read a book like in the olden times. This weekend we donned three smoking jackets, poured ourselves three Malibus and finished reading three books. Our English teacher will be so happy with us. 

First up is Jacked The Unauthorised Behind-The-Scenes Story of Grand Theft Auto which makes us feel ignorant about the history of video games in the same way that Replay A History of Video Games highlights how ignorant many games 'journalists' are. Yeah we loved Lemmings and knew that DMA made GTA but we didn't know that they were Scottish. Shame on us. The book is a good read. The first thing it made us do is want to play GTA again. Five hours later we picked the book up again and cringed over how gushy Kushner can be sometimes. But I guess that's the deal when you are writing an unofficial biography, it pays to be a bit idol-worshippy in order to keep the main characters onside. 

The next thing we read was Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney- Official Casebook it is a manga. We know. We don't know why we bought it. Curiosity I guess. It has been sitting on the shelf for a long time and to be honest I wish I had left it there. It is a bunch of short stories around the Phoneix Wright characters and is shit. Proper shit. The stories don't make any sense in a universe that already doesn't make much sense in a medium that is attractive largely because it regularly fails to make any sense. One of the stories actually ends with "And then they defended the case and won". Still there's some gratuitous ghost tits if that's what floats your boat.

The last thing that we're reading and haven't quite finished yet is Jesper Juul's A Casual Revolution Reinventing Video Games and their players. Like some of Juul's other papers he does a fine job of nicely metricising everything and comes up with some pretty good metrics for defining casual and hardcore gamer- terms that a)Are banded about too often b) We don't like to use. Unfortunately, this book appears to have come out just before the smart phone revolution and the spread of the FTP  model. This isn't to say that the discussion isn't still valid but some of the points are undermined with what actually then happened. 

So there we go. I recommend that every would be game thinker picks up the first and last book and give them a read. Then pick up the crack pipe, put on your beanie and jump back on the Internet and shout at each other.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Interview with the Nemesis

Waaay back in 2007 we interviewed the Nemesis from Resident Evil 3. Well, we've kept in touch since and although he now spends most of his time caring for sick marine iguanas at a the Nemesis Iguana Sanctuary we've managed to catch an interview with him about the reprisal of his, perhaps best known role, in the Nemesis Mode DLC for the astonishingly awful cover based shooter based Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. TGAM lazy fictional cephalopod, Omastar is finally back from a tour of the Unova region and so attempts to earn his keep by catching up with everybody's favourite biological weapon. 

OMASTAR: Star oma, omastar. Star oma? Oma oma?
Nemesis: S.T.A.R.S!

O: Oma oma star omastar oma omastar, star oma star oma star oma omastar?
N: S.T.A.R.S!

O: Oma, oma?
N: S.T.A.R.S

O: Oma?
N: S.T.A.R.S!

O: Star?
N: S.T.A.R.S!

N: S.T.A.R.S!

O: Star?
N: Is this guy for real? All he says is the same three words over and over again? I'm a serious semi-retired actor. I was in Under the Skin for the love of Patsy where's my agent I'll fuc... [STORMS OFF]

O: Star oma. Omastar star. Omastar oma star; oma, star oma oma oma oma oma star omastar. Omastar.Omastar oma.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

GAME and Troubles

Although obviously we'd be callous to not empathise with friends and strangers whose lives will be disrupted by whatever ends up happening with GAME group's stores, the company only has itself to blame.

Of course, only now is everyone jumping on the GAME bandwagon. It isn't a charity. It is supposed to be a commercial business. It hasn't been serving PC gamers (a massive chunk of the market) for quite a long time and it hasn't been serving us for almost as long. Our gaming tastes aren't niche but we don't tend to go for the BIG AAA releases and as such GAME hasn't been catering for us.

Here's a summary of our whinging over the years about GAME. Hopefully, with whatever succeeds it we won't have call to type up our frustrations and send them into the ether to be ignored by all.

In June 2009, GAME performed poorly on our store survey when we used to write for that other site occasionally.

In February 2010, we wrote to Konami about how we couldn't find one of their flagship series a month after it had been released.

In October 2010 we couldn't find a copy of Monster Hunter Tri in GAME, six months after it launched. In fact, it appeared it never existed at all in GAME.
In November 2010 we got sick of how the window to buy games on the high street is tiny.

In December 2010 it turns out that even science can't make head nor tail of those 1-10 displays
In April last year we vowed to stop going to GAME. It was pointless and felt like us bending over backwards to buy from them. Which is sort of the wrong way around.

Two months ago, the writing was on the wall (and this blog)

So there we have it, future GAME CEOs you need to sort all of the above out okay?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another day another pre-owned QQ

This time from should-know-better David Braben. EDGE 'have' the story Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V from Gamasutra. Every now and then someone from the games industry will raise their head above the parapet and blame pre-owned games for their own poor sales without a shred of evidence to back it up. Here's choice quote from Braben on why pre-owned is killing single player games:
I mean, the idea of a game selling out used to be a good thing, but nowadays, those people who buy it on day one may well finish it and return it.
And of course, marketeers not marketing games after launch week really helps too right? Oh and the so called gaming press asymmetrically hyping a game up to launch then dropping coverage as if the game never existed once it is actually out has nothing to do with it? Perhaps devs should make a game that last longer than a day or even games that people might want to keep? Presumably, Braben has data for how pre-owned has adversely affected Frontier Developments' Kinectimals and Kinect Disneyland Adventures. I know that when I go to CEX or GAME (are there any other game retailers, the average person goes to?) all I see is shelves lined with FIFA this year-X, nothing you'd actually want to own and really shitty games Kinectimals and Disneyland Adventures. Because we know how families that game together love to burn through games like Kinectimals and then return it the next day the scamming bastards.

Really Boring

So we love video game music. Not all of it, but when it is good we'll take it over millionaires crooning about getting their arse out or falling in love any day. It gets into our mind. So (bear with me) there's an advert on TV for the perfume Opium which has been on the idiot box quite a lot recently. I keep seeing it and it reminded me of a game. In particular this ad at 20 seconds.


Eventually, it came to me! It's from the Notre Dame theme from Timesplitters 2, composed of course by Graemem Norgate, one of the few men we'd happily marry without even meeting (we swooned when he wrote to us). The relevant bit is in the vid DOWN HERE at 1:31:


And of course, both of these were 'inspired by' a certain Mr Mozart, this vid at 2:35.


Here's the handy URLs to skip the rest and straight to the bit I'm on about should you wish you music cretin Opium, Splitters, Mozart. That's it. Just saying. Jeez. End of the music lesson. Now. Fuck off.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Metroid: Other M

So that's that busted then. Not wishing for the 11 or so hours we spent on the game to be completely wasted we thought we'd fire our thoughts about the game into the ether because, you know, there are millions of people out there wanting to read a two year late review of Metroid: Other M. Its those millions that keep us going.

Well for those of you who made it to this bit, we've got some exclusive behind the scenes stuff right here where we talk about our feelings and stuff. We're letting you see our soft squishy innards rather than the darksteel exterior of our shared internet persona. We find ourselves as the unlikeliest of Nintendo fans. If you could turn, turn back the hands of time to the PS2 days we'd happily bet money on the fact that we wouldn't (well I wouldn't) be playing a Nintendo home console pretty much exclusively. See there's nothing wrong with Mario, with perhaps the exception that almost everything has a smiley face and eyes, but we weren't fans of most of Nintendo's stable of go-to franchises. There's something genetic in the Legend of Zelda games that means I just can't see the appeal. I don't care about Link or his adventures with boomerangs and fairies. It frustrates me when the N64 LoZ top the 'best games of all time' lists and I must have fired up every game in the series to give it a try only to feel at best apathetic to the point of boredom.    I never got on with F Zero, purely on the shallow grounds that it never felt like a driving game, it felt like a road bending game. Oh, and that horrible music makes me suicidal. I never really played any of the Starfox games so I never had much interest in that series. As for Metroid, I spent hours watching friends play through Super Metroid and much like the Legend of Zelda couldn't see the appeal of it. I didn't care about Samus the robot and her adventures with space pirates and super missiles. Plus, the morph ball thing was stupid. How does that even work?

Years later and playing through Super Smash Brothers I felt like perhaps I was missing out on the history of these characters and so I resolved to give them all another shot.  Link and co. can still get to fuck, I recently bought F Zero GX and I'm happy to see that you now drive future space cars rather than bend the road in front of it. It is gruellingly hard though. Scratch that, make it frustratingly hard. I've still not had much playtime with any of the Starfox games. As for Metroid, I played through Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (MP3) and loved it (and sort of reviewed it). And that sports fans is what we call foreplay.

So we said we might write something about Metroid: Other M (MOM). We're not beholden to that. We could just not post this and you'd never know and our honour in your eyes would be maintained. Having enjoyed MP3 so much we didn't snap up  MOM  largely because many reviews took issue with the game. It was on out to play list but way down there. Fortunately, the gods of diminishing third party game pricing smiled upon MOM and you can now pick it up for a fiver.

Straight off the bat, right up here in the preamble, we're gonna say that if you can find it for up to £12.50 it is totally worth it. It's fun and highly playable but as you can see from our professional shaky cam screenshot above, we've 100% it but don't feel compelled to ever play it again or play it again in hard mode. It goes without saying but we're just gonna go and say it anyway, the Metroid series has quite a following, particular amongst Americans, and some of the complaints against the game were that it messed with the Metroid chronology. The Metroid series sort of holds together, Nintendo are a bit more precious about continuity with this series than they are the James Bond alike Legend of Zelda series and are practically fastidious with the Metroid series when compared to how Capcom regularly messes with what might be considered a Resident Evil overarching """plot""". The fanboys can squinny about MOM's inconsistencies all they want, it didn't  particularly taint our playthrough. Having said that we're not claiming the plot makes any sense at all. 

Samus the, rarely-do-I-actually-hunt-for-bounties, bounty hunter receives a distress signal from a ship called the Bottle Ship. So far, so every single sci-fi space based fiction ever. She rocks up at the ship and coincidentally meets up with her former unit, including a father figure type person, in the imaginatively titled Galactic Federation who have come to the Bottle Ship on a secret directive. Samus is asked to help out the Federation unit by her father figure, Adam Malkovic to explore the Bottle Ship. The rest of the story is a nonsense, the faults in which can only be summed up in spoilerific bulleted list:
  • Through flashbacks, we're supposedly convinced that Samus is supposed to be close to this Adam figure but all that comes across is he doesn't care about her at all and that Samus was a bit of a dick in her younger days.
  • There's a hilarious scene about a not mentioned before brother of Adam who died under his command and that we're led to believe Samus was possibly sexy times with.
  • Turns out there's a double crosser who starts killing the rest of the generic unit. Adam sits for most of the game directing Samus about the ship. We're explicitly told and shown that Adam has a live feed of what Samus sees but he doesn't offer a single comment when Samus comes across the still fresh corpses of the unit he is supposedly leading. Later on this plot point is completely dropped leaving the player to guess which one of the generic soldiers was traitor and trying to remember which one of the generic soldiers is still alive. The only thing they have to distinguish them is that one of them has a moustache, one of them has glasses and the other one doesn't have a moustache or glasses at all. 
  • One of the things that bugs us about the LoZ is that inexplicably Link discovers a new tool just before he is about to enter an area that demands the use of it. Just found the Boomerang? Welcome to the Boomerang dungeon. The same is true of the Metroid Prime games. They aren't quite so bad in that Metroid requires you to do a lot of backtracking to get to areas you couldn't before but the way that it worked in MP was a bit of a stretch. In MP3 it was clumsily explained that power ups specific to Samus' suit were strewn about the place in really hard to reach and obscure locations because her presence was 'foretold'. In  MOM they try a bit harder, Samus is only allowed to use gear when it is authorised by the commanding officer of the operation Adam. This is still a bit tenuous but would have been fine if the right gear was authorised when you first need it in the story. However, in one bit of the game, Samus is ordered to pursue a futuristic space monster around the Bottle Ship. She enters one sector and chases it until she gets to a lava pit that can only be crossed with the grapple gun. Rather than Adam authorise the grapple gun, instead he hails Samus and says "Well I guess it must not be in this sector". Even though he can see what Samus is seeing and in my game she spent ten minutes rebelliously staring at grapple gun hooks in the hope that he might figure it out. 
  • After the traitor in the group bit is abandoned the plot goes from schlock to schlockier. I'm not going into it but there's a rogue AI and cloning galore. On its own this might cause a mild rolling of the eyes but according to the Metroid neckbeards there's a lot of similarities with the plot of Metroid: Fusion which is set after  MOM. Maybe Samus is just always shocked when the Galactic Federation clone Metroids?
Who plays games for stories anyway right? So what if a five year old could write a more compelling story and create characters who personalities extend beyond whether they wear glasses of have a tash? Gameplay wise, Team Ninja have actually done a really great job creating an entire game that can be played in 2D but is fully realised in 3D. Playing the game only requires a wiimote; for the 2.5D navigation it is controlled with it held like a classic controller but at any point you can point the wiimote at the screen and enter first person mode. What might appear gimmicky at first becomes second nature and it is quite a feat that every environment can be viewed from both angles. As ever, Metroid is strewn with hidden shafts and crannies and using the different perspectives there's a lot that is hidden in plain sight. After a while you do get a sense of convention, rarely is anything that you need to look at, navigate, collect or interact with on the sixth surface that is 'player-side' and invisible in the 2.5D sections which is a bit of a missed opportunity. For us, item collection, remains a great way to add hours to the game's length. There are hundreds of hidden power ups (missiles and various energy units) across the sectors of the Bottle Ship. Some are just laying about to be collected, others are hidden behind force fields leading to a frantic search for a hidden access point and others are hidden away in blink-and-you'll-miss-them ventilation shafts. On the first play through, if you beat all the enemies in a particular room, your scanner will occasionally ping an item on the map leading to the aforementioned frantic searching. Once you beat the main, ahem... 'story', you can return to the Bottle Ship for an epilogue and bonus boss fight and all the items you missed the first time around are shown on the map. One slightly annoying thing about this is that some items are hidden behind doors you couldn't access at all before the credits but there's nothing in the epilogue that requires say the difference between having 50 and 70 missiles or ever so slightly more energy making it feel a bit redundant collecting them all (we still fucking did it anyway because who can sleep at night with only 94% of items? Not us).  

Lastly although some of the music themes of the series make a comeback here (the MP save music) the soundtrack is nowhere near as affecting as Metroid Prim's. We won't for example be hunting down MP3s of our favourite tunes on the Internet buying the Metroid: Other M OST even if it existed in the first place. 

It's not nearly as good as we found the Metroid Prime Quadrilogy to be but it is fun to play and backtracking to progress the story and collect items is significantly less painful, moving Samus through the Bottle Ship once she is powered up is very slick. It still maintains the sense of isolation of the other Metroid games and fulfils childlike fantasies of really exploring a massive ship floating about in space. Team Ninja have done very well to give Samus and the Bottle Ship a real sense of reality and presence. By giving the player the right mix of 2.5D freedom and tucking in hundreds of square metres of hidden areas, they've masked the fact that most of the game is a series of linear corridors so well that it doesn't feel like you are shepherded down a bunch of corridors lined with invisible walls a la Final Fantasy XIII or Gears of War and it doesn't feel shallow like a series of pretty boxes for you to run and gun through a la Shadow Complex. The story side of things does let the game down a bit if you like a narrative to compel you along (we're just suckers for collecting items). The morph ball thing still makes absolutely no sense though.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

A few weeks later.

So around the start of February there was as a bunch of releases I was getting hyped* up about but now... a few weeks later... I couldn't care less. Game sites seem to have ignored their release even happened. No news except meta-reviews with the odd smattering of DLC rumours. I mean I know that games are considered nothing more than interactive entertainment mediums, akin to movies, but with more button presses (dependant on DVD extras). But I'm a little sad that for the first time, I have not given into hype, and I seem nonchalant about the whole thing.

Maybe I didn't want FFXIII-2 or Soul Calibur V?

Maybe, games are not worth the hype.

Maybe the whole system is wrong! rant... should have continuous promotion... ramble... accessibility to all games ever made... rant...

But that won't change, this is the machine we all made, hyped up media bombs, based on demographics and trends. Defining people by terms and desirability to play a game.

Love and dissolution,

Richie X

*tr.v. hyped, hyp·ing, hypes
To publicize or promote, especially by extravagant, inflated, or misleading claims: hyped the new game by adding 31%  more cardboard cut-out statue boob visibility on the promotional tour.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Metroid: Other M Easter Egg

We've been playing through Metroid: Other M and although initially we weren't grabbed by it it has grown on us although it isn't without it's flaws. We're quite near the end now we can feel it!

BONUS! Little Navis (Pows) almost like Navi from the Legend of Zelda. They don't have two wings like the proper Navi and they're yellow. Easter egg? Homogenous design? Who knows/cares?

Friday, March 16, 2012


I mean. What were we expecting? Finally a games award ceremony that did games proud? An awards ceremony without cringey moments? We should know by now to temper our expectations.

Highlights: Notch gave an excellent speech that at least gave the impression somebody at the ceremony actually knew about games. The début games category was strong. Modern Warfare 3 not picking up any awards.  Also, at some points there were some attractive ladies on stage (and the Saturdays).

Lowlights: Little Big Planet 2 not only getting nominated but winning three awards! Dara 'O' Breen or whatever his name is misgauging quite a few jokes by either being too in-the-know or too off-the-peg-stereotypes. About six games getting nominated for most of the awards. Poor categories as ever. Proper Z-list celebrities presenting awards, at least poorly known games industry folk look liked they knew why they were there and what was going on. Rare people for being too a) American b) Arrogant c) winning an award for fucking Kinect Sports Season 2. Modern Warfare 3 getting nominated. A lot of truly deserving games missing out. Little Big Planet 2 winning an innovation award? We're not Skyrim fans at all but they completely missed out as did Naughty Dog and anything Nintendo (although perhaps they didn't want to stump up the £300-500 fee for registering and nominating a game). Media Molecule sure had money to burn it seems. We don't really care but Sports/Fitness isn't a sensible category. Adam from the Adam and Joe comedy act has been sniffing around games for a while despite how obviously he isn't interested (Adam and Joe were in some early awful Nintendo Channel programlets). 

In summary, if you didn't play L.A.Noire, Batman Arkham City, Portal 2, Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 exclusively last year you'd be none the fucking wiser as to what this ceremony was about. PC gamers can be slightly reassured but they'll still complain about the platform being dead anyway. MS and Nintendo can't be happy with their exclusive games barely getting a snuffter and a number of other big Publishers were notable for their absence (ummm Capcom anybody). 

Didn't even get mentioned: Ghost Trick, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, de Blob 2, Bulletstorm, Dawn of War II retribution, Pokemon Black and White, Dragon Age II, Okamiden, Crysis 2, Infamous 2, the Witcher 2, Red Faction Armageddon, Limbo, Catherine, Trackmania 2: Canyon, Rage, Kirby's Return to Dreamland, Saints Row: The Third and Star Wars the Old Republic.

Soooo then. Same time next year?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Occupy Wall Street

Remember the Nintendo Wii? It has a channel called the Mii Contest Channel where every now and then Wii owners, should they choose of their own free will, can create Miis to match a theme and vote on the submitted Miis.

Many of you may have resigned the Wii to gathering dust but there are still a fair few people who obviously spend a lot of time just creating new Miis. We've been astonished at the diversity of creations from a fairly accurate Lady Gaga through to Wookies, Simpsons characters, Aliens, Robots and even the Mona Lisa a Mona Lisa faced woman.

Back to the contests, once a new competition is announced either due to stark homology or a severe lack of creativity, creations tend to all look alike and fit within certain cultural tropes. Any competitions about science or intelligent ends up with hundreds of Einstein Miis (white shirts obligatory) being submitted. Competitions about righteousness or grace, expect Princesses (white or pink shirts). Anything to do with music? Expect tons of Jackos. Occasionally the competition is pitched a little bit over the heads of these assiduous Mii creators. The Marie Antoinette contest obviously threw the community they sort of gathered she was a historical figure and female so there were lots of old women even though she died at 38. Recently there was a competition to submit Miis on the theme of 'Somebody who occupies Wall Street'. It is clear from the submissions that most Mii creators have no idea what this was supposed to mean. There were a handful of hippy types (thank ninty for the dreadlocks hair option) and a few with face masks on (dressed in black the Miimbolism for evil characters) but the vast majority of others didn't have a fucking clue both with the Miis they submitted and the Miis they voted for.

Go ahead blow the dust off your Wii and see for yourself how quickly the rated Miis descend into any old thing. Whilst you are there check out the Everybody Votes Channel to find out What Swedish people do more than anyone else and what people from the UK do the least.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Xenoblade Chronicles

We've only been playing Xenoblade Chronicles pretty much exclusively recently. Life gets in the way and the game that is perhaps best served in a long glass and supped over the course of a long evening is instead consumed like downing a can of red bull on the tube in the morning whilst tyring to read a newspaper with some sweaty office twat with his elbow in your balls. We also happen to be completionists so instead of skipping most of the optional quests that realistically wouldn't impact our game bar the loss of some EXP and the odd bit off gear, we literally can't skip a single one. WE PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THIS GAME WE'LL EXPERIENCE ALL OF IT.

So with this background to consumption, we're finding playing Xenoblade Chronicles slipping from a fun game to a bit of a grind. Desperate to progress the story we keep spotting new NPC quests. You see the game has a day night cycle and the NPCs don't stand around like WoW pricks just giving you out quests. This is great because it means that the environments feel like 'living cities' even if the populace just appear from a portal and then walk about all fucking day. Don't they have a job? This is shite because some prick will give you a fetch quest (I kid you not, one NPC woman was having period pains so I put my plans to save the planet on hold to go and fetch her two sweaty tails and a burned biscuit or something) you run off and do the quest then come back and because the environments are so fucking huge you can't remember where they are and because of the day night cycle it'll be the wrong time of day. You can look up the character on the NPC grid but it'll only tell you when they are out and about (for example) 6am-6pm not exactly where. So you have to Gamefaq it all the fucking time. This is also a pain in the arse because if you want to do all the time limited NPC quests (some quests have a stopwatch next to them which means if you progress the story too far you won't be able to do the quest anymore) like a completionist twat every now and then you have to run laps around the massive cities keeping your eye out for exclamation marks on the map. 

You have to check everywhere once in the morning, once in the afternoon and once at night just to make sure some knob isn't wandering around with a quest to give you before they have to get home before their strict curfew. At the moment I've just left Alcamoth city, in which every single quest was stopwatched so I'm thinking at some point the city is going to be wiped out so I've been extra cautious to hoover up all the quests. Even though there is skip travel and you can move time backward and forward it still takes about 20 minutes to do a comprehensive sweep of the city for each time of the day. I pretend that I'm tempted to ignore the NPC quests in a not-tempted-at-all-and-would-regret-missing-out way. On top of that there's gems to keep crafting, levelling up to do and relationships to manage. Sometimes I log in and waste my precious game purely on 'team administration'. It's my fault. Nobody is making me do them all. We really need to learn that the days of revelling in games for hours or even days at a time are long gone. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

Darkstalkers 4 rumoured

...or should I rephrase that... Yet another shallow capcom e-sports game, with little to no extra conten,t bar choosing a fighter and fighting.

Yes I know the previous 2D incarnations were nothing more than that. But they will gay it up with no secret characters or at least no challenge to unlock them, of course with big announcements of all of them so there is no surprise. But for the love of god add some extra modes in, a Story mode at the very least!

Though on the upside, Morrigans 3D bouncing boobs and cameltoe, woop!

Love and why not Killer instinct vs Darkstalkers,

Richie X

Friday, March 02, 2012

Ghost Trick

We played Ghost Trick on the DS! For so long we've gotten used to the DS being the machine that plays Pokemon we almost completely forgot it plays other excellent games. Remember how we used to be a blog about Resident Evil (hence the name That guy's a maniac)? Last week we looked at a game with zombies in it. Today we're looking at a Capcom game so that pretty much means we're back on track as per our strategic vision. It totally counts. 

So what about this game then? Well it is over a year old so we're probably the last people on Earth to play it. Others reviewed it and better than we will. Read those reviews. We enjoyed it. It was fun and aaargh. We can't write this long without a numbered list. Here's a numbered list of things we liked about Ghost Trick:

  1. Unusually, for Capcom the save system isn't totally fucked. So far there's no checkpoints just before a long unskippable cutscene or a ridiculously difficult difficulty spike(y). 
  2. Because of the above it isn't a proper Capcom game. Capcom have lost their form and so on and so on.
  3. When playing the game it feels like little people are inside the DS. The characters, the way they move and the little environments all work together to make it feel like there's a little stage and a play being put on for your benefit. It is charming. We smiled through most of our playthrough (just to be clear the only times we didn't smile was when we sneezed and when we had to find the DS charger as the battery light was red).
  4. Old school puzzles that aren't so easy, playing through becomes laborious and aren't so hard you give up and never return to the game ever again.
It is out for DSs and non gaming platform tablet things. So if you like ghosts, touching screens, little people and puzzles go and play it now. There's a dog too so if you like dogs and SPOILERSSPOILERS ghost dogs then give it a burn. If you like the film Ghost Dog then I'm at a loss as to whether to recommend it or not because we've never seen that film. The cover of the DVD makes it look boring. Forest Whitakar stands on a roof and looks at birds? Is he the ghost of a dog that used to chase birds and who now looks at birds with vague past life memories of chasing them? I don't see where that film can go really. Maybe at the end he learns that birds are ghost too so he shouldn't have chased them before. 

Super Smash Brothers- Progress Report

See those trophies up there? They are the latest three I've managed to hunt down in Super Smash Brothers Brawl. That takes my total up to 538 out of 544, with three more to unlock from challenges (Boss Battles Intense, Boss Battles Very Hard and Collect All Stickers), two more to get from the Subspace Emissary  which is no easy task (you have a stupidly short time to get Meta Ridley) and one (Capsule) which just hasn't turned up randomly yet. By far the one we're most proud of grabbing is Tabuu's normal trophy (above on the left) which we found a particularly onerous task and one our right thumb will need a few days to recover from. 

The Subspace Emissary mode in Super Smash Brothers Brawl (essentially the game's story mode) got mixed write-ups in reviews but we're already up to 42 hours just playing through the story a number of times. Not too shabby considering it is somewhat an optional mode. 

We've also got 22 stickers left to collect as well. Sometimes, with lesser games we do wish we didn't have such completionist tendencies but we'll be playing SSBB long after we've 100% it. Are you a fan, how many do you have left to get?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Ironman Challenge: A reason to come back to WoW

The Ironman Challenge

I'm not keen on following WoW nowadays, but this challenge is interesting. Its essentially a community of WoW players who have created a personal challenge to make the game, well... Challenging. WoW nowadays is very easy. There is far too many quests, there are items to increase how fast you can level, you can instantly transport to dungeons with randoms etc etc.

 For a while now I always wanted a Diablo like Hardcore version of WoW, you die... you are Dead. and it seems so do others a proper Solo challenge!

So should I, make: That Guy's an Ironmaniac?

If you care suggest Class/Race combos for me.

Love and bits of metal in your heart,

Richie X

Something about Jennifer Helper

If you are a game-o-phile and allergic to metaphorical feathers you will have no doubt got some snuffles last week as everyone and their dog (on our feedreader) got their tits in a twizzle about Jennifer Helper and comments taken out of context about some game called Mass Effect. An inoffensive summary is here.

It is the kind of news that bloggers love to write about. It gives them a chance to play the White Knight, pass-off a comment about how horrible Xbox Live is and then fire off some unhelpful suggestions about how the gaming community at large should combat the par for the course racist, misogynist, etcist environment in games and on the internet at large (we should confront them for it and report them to Microsoft is a strategy that hasn't worked up until now). 

So what is this all about then? Jennifer Helper who didn't write Mass Effect may or may not have said words to the effect that combat should be skippable in games. Cue- the "it is a vocal minority seriously" gaming community insulting her in every which way possible, harassing her turning her into a meme. It is the kind of stuff that sadly is expected from the gaming community but one thing we've been shocked by however is that nobody asked Xenoblade Chronicles NPC Alcamoth Citizen what she felt about the whole thing and whether or not the world needs another Baldur's Gate given that the ones that already exist are still, you know, fully playable. Luckily we're here to do just that and here's what she said:

So that is that cleared up then.