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Minishdriveby Blog

Top 10 2013

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Well it's the last day of 2013; my activity on the site has been declining gradually over the past couple of months. In 2014, I've decided to use wordpress to blog instead of GameSpot. Today I wrote up a rather long entry for my top 10 games of 2013 along with a couple honorable mentions and games that were released in past years.

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A great year in games all together, especially for the 3DS. How does your list compare, and what are some of your favorites? What were some of your biggest disappointments? What games are you excite for in 2014?

The Mass Exodus of GameSpot.

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Ever since the change to the "new" site GameSpot has had less activity on the forums and blog front. I don't even know how to check my friends blogs, or if there is a quick way to check if new posts in a thread occurred, basically the site is pointless now. I guess they thought the new site would be a great way to attract people, but it just seems to have caused an exodus in there already existing community.

I rarely post anymore because no one is there to respond, so although I'm hanging around what seems like a dying community, you probably won't hear much from me.

A history of the universe.

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Metal Gear Solid 4 final cutscene started at the Big Bang and has continued into the present. When will it stop? I'm not sure. Why did I watch this melodramatic bullshit for a hour and 10 minutes? I'm not sure.

I think 70% of the game was a cutscene which is about 10 hours worth of cutscenes (beat the game in 14.5 hours)....


 

In response to GTA V being only sarcasm.

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"Sarcasm, parody, absurdism and irony are great ways to strip off stuff's mask and show the unpleasant reality behind it. The problem is that once the rules of art are debunked, and once the unpleasant realities the irony diagnoses are revealed and diagnosed, "then" what do we do? Irony's useful for debunking illusions, but most of the illusion-debunking in the U.S. has now been done and redone. Once everybody knows that equality of opportunity is bunk and Mike Brady's bunk and Just Say No is bunk, now what do we do? All we seem to want to do is keep ridiculing the stuff. Postmodern irony and cynicism's become an end in itself, a measure of hip sophistication and literary savvy. Few artists dare to try to talk about ways of working toward redeeming what's wrong, because they'll look sentimental and naive to all the weary ironists. Irony's gone from liberating to enslaving. There's some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who's come to love his cage." - David Foster Wallace

A Damn Fine Cup of Coffee.

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School is killing me at the moment, specifically Organic Chemistry Lab. I'm having to write 6 reports a week for the class, and because of that, I'm neglecting my other classes...

When I do have some spare time, usually at 3 A.M. I've been making my way through the Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection. Before the semester started, I managed to beat MGS1. I managed to beat MGS2 a week or two ago, and I'm not currently about halfway through 3. So far 3 is my favorite.

The games are certainly a good cup of tea, but these are not the cup of coffee I'm referring to in my blog title. No that honor goes to Deadly Premonitions, a gift my girlfriend surprised me with today.

We recently finished twins peaks -- my first time with the series her 3rd or 4th time. About a year before, I showed her a Let's Play that Giant Bomb was doing; she immediately pointed out the similarity to Twin Peaks. Fastforward to today when I was handed an Amazon package and found Deadly Premonitions inside. After playing for an hour, my only reaction is this: A Damn Fine Cup of Coffee

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They should call it Suck Ass 2.

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The lame title for this blog is brought to you by the horrible script of Kick Ass 2. After my underwhelming experience with Elysium last week, I went to see this with the girlfriend tonight, and I'm sort of speechless. I liked Kick Ass. It had its moments, and most of those moments were from the goofy character that Nicolas Cage played. Kick Ass 2 has no redeeming qualities. The jokes fall flat and the action remains unchanged. There is a sequence that resembles Mean Girls where a gallon of sh*t is spewed out of a highschoolers pants. There's a rape scenario where Mentz Platz says he wants to try some of Kick Ass' Hotpocket (the girl) and then cannot get it up, and in the next scene the girl is in a hospital bed and says it's her fault. The scene was going for humor, and I guess that's what the movie was going for, but it just came off as cheap and in poor taste.

The final battle scene is a great metaphor for this movie. In the scene Hit Girl is performing the exact same moves from the first movie, but nothing works until she takes the plot device she mentions 5 minutes into the movie, and that's Kick Ass 2 it tries to perform the motions of Kick Ass and tries to be more outrageous, but it doesn't work.

It's literally the worse movie I saw this Summer. 

Vexing over Vexx (PS2)

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I've had the pleasure of owning Vexx (PS2) for about 10 or more years now. I remember buying it because the boxart looked cool. I bought it along with Final Fantasy X. Each was $20 at toys r us at the time. I'm not sure why I remember this; I might just have a really good memory. I really really like Final Fantasy X, the same can not be said for Vexx. It had a cool atmosphere it had a cool protagonist. It was in the reign of platformers. But the controls, damage sensors, and camera were so clunky and sometimes don't even work that it led to numerous frustrating deaths. Over the years I managed to make it to the final boss, and then all progress halted.

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The final boss is a  3 stage fight. The first stage is fairly easy has the boss just summons minions for you to defeat as he throws fireballs at you although sometimes you'll lose health at time when you've clearly jumped and dodged. In thhe second form the boss turns into a giant spider which is the bane of my exsistance. Every attack takes 2 health circles (there is only have 6), meaning you cannot get hit more than 2 times. This is really difficult has you have to go through this long process of waiting form him to do one specific attack, hit him to make him dizzy, uppercut him to flip him over, and then ground pound him, repeat 6 times. I've died an inummerable amount of times because of the shit controls and cheap attacks. Everytime you die you restart the level at the first form.

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Tonight I finally manged for the first time to make it to the third form which was a push over compared to the other 2. It's a Ganon style fight where you play volleyball with orbs he throws at you. I beat him, and now I can take this game off my backloggery list and throw it away.

I gave it a 4.5. 

When dialogue and cutscenes overrun gameplay.

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I've been finding this increasingly annoying over the past couple years. I'll start up a game and there will be no gameplay or game like mechanics for a decent time. Then when you're finally baited with something remotely interactive other than walking 5 steps into another cutscene, it's taken away in favor of more cutscenes and dialogue.

This really annoys me, especially if gameplay segments aren't as fleshed out in favor of cutscenes. Yes, I like game stories, but if it interferes too much with the interactivity of the game itself then I become bored and find that I'm wasting my time. Although story is part of why I enjoy games, it's not the major aspect that, I find, attracts me to them, especially videogame stories. If I want to read something, I'll read a novel, or if I want to watch something, I'll watch a film, two mediums that have much greater success in the story department on whole. That's not to say that games cannot have good plots, but 90% of the time you're strung along on some clumsy fiction that is seen in young adult fantasy/sci-fi series.

What brings up this editorial opinion? Well more and more games this generation have been doing this.

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At the moment I'm in the middle of Radiant Historia, a game that has been praised highly on forums. It is a good game, but I think it's being held back by the amount of dialogue I have to wade through to get to the next extended gameplay sequence. I'll be reading for 10 minutes, get control of the character, walk 5 feet and then sit through another 10 minute dialogue sequence. Radiant Historia does have a unique combat system, but the combat system never evolves, and it also begins to feel redundant.

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This isn't a problem unique to just Radiant Historia. At the start of the year, I played one of the Operation Rainfall games, The Last Story, which has the same problem. I couldn't leave a room without entering another cutscene. The combat, I felt, was also rather lack luster. The game was a corridor with little exploration, outside the main town. The other Op.Rainfall game that I played, Xenoblade, had some long cutscenes, but it balanced this out by letting the player have an extended amount of control where you felt satisfied with the gameplay before moving onto more story elements.

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I have only mentioned JRPGs thus far, but the problem extends to many genres. One main culprit that comes to mind is the Uncharted series, a game that takes the spectacle of good graphics and cinematography to a new level. It may not be noticeable on the first playthrough because in most instances you have full control over the character while NPCs talk or do something like flick a switch in order to proceed; however, on second and third playthroughs these sequences of being held back due to NPCs having to finish their automaton motions is a grating experience. This has become more prevalent has the series has grown. In Uncharted 3 there are many scenes where you just walk down a dark alleyway or through a desert for a couple minutes while characters are talking in order to get to a new cutscene. Once again this isn't a problem the first time through because you're immersed and one reason you're playing is to see how the story unfolds, but in second and third playthroughs where nothing changes and being unable to skip these scenes because they're technically not cutscenes due to control of the character, it is a nusiance. Luckily, the gun fights are still great although platforming is arguable.

So that's my rant.

Oh please come pick me up you angel, pick me up you handsome devil.

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BioShock Infinite came in the mail yesterday, and beat it today. Before I start to discuss the Infinite possibilities of BioShock though. I would like to direct you to my review of Ni No Kuni and also inform you, the good readers of my blog, that I finished Valkyria Chronicles on Sunday. I thought Valkyria Chronicles was a great game overall although it got extremely annoying having to wait through the enemies turn and the weight of death on the field is really non-existant which was something that I've heard people tout. The fact that a comrad can fall one turn and be brought back to the field the next really wasn't much of a penalty.

I also got a 97% on my Organic Chemistry II Exam last week which made my day.

YOU WILL BE SPOILED!

[spoiler] BioShock Infinite places you in the most beautiful environment. I thought the gunplay was alright and it really shined and came into it's own during the vertical sections where you had the sky rails available to you. Now with those quick setting and gameplay impressions aside. I would like to talk about the ending which I managed to guess about 5 minutes into the game. I'd also like to take this time to point out that while the multiverse plot was cool and handled actually very well the one huge mistake people seem to make is the ending and the fact that Comstock cannot be eliminated by drowning Booker. This wouldn't cause Comstocks to never be created this would just cause another split which would branch of into more parallel universes, so now there would be three branching points shown to us, with possibly infinite number more.

1. Booker rejects baptism and Anna is born.
2. Booker accepts and is reborn as Comstock.
3. Booker accepts and Elizabeth drowns him.

This doesn't solve the problem. It would just make another branch and thus is the problem in a multiverse. You don't actually change history you just make a split. So after the credits my interpretation would be that the cycle has just started over because there is no way to escape the cycle. Of course one could argue that because a paradox is made that the drowning becomes a constant and therefore There are only two splits:

1. Booker rejects
2. Booker is drowned

Yet Comstock worlds would still prosper. Why? Because multiple universes in a multiverse are always splitting, before the baptism and after the baptism. Which means, for example, if looking at a bird is a variable you would have 4 worlds made by the variables, the bird and the baptism.

1. Booker sees Bird rejects Baptism
2. Booker sees Bird Accepts and Turns into ComstockA
3. Booker doesn't see Bird rejects Baptism
4. Booker doesn't see Bird Accepts and Turns into ComstockB
*There would also be an infinite amount of variables so you would get an infinite amount of comstocks.

Now after the baptism ComstockA&B both start creating another set of infinite worlds each with a comstockA' and B'.  When Elizabeth comes and drowns ComstockA it only eliminates the A' worlds. It doesn't eliminate the B' worlds. Therefore there would still be comstocks.

Of course if you have an infinite amount of omniscient Lizs and they were all acting in unison then all Comstock lines would be erased and because there is a larger infinity of Elizabeths than there are Baptism moments this would have to be the probable case.

[/spoiler]

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Song of the Blog

"Black Madonna" by Jamaican Queens