So this is my first post on Gamespot in almost 4 years. Give me a moment to let that sink in... phew, ok. I, like many others, jumped ship when the now infamous Gerstmann-gate debacle took place and with it the mass exodus of GS personalities we had grown to love. I never held any real ill-will towards GS' staff, as none of it was their fault, but at the same time it just didn't feel like home anymore. Sites like 1UP and, of course, Giant Bomb gave me my internet-gaming-stuff fix just fine so I never really missed GS. Since then even more has changed in the world of games journalism. 1UP has become a sad shell of what it once was and Giant Bomb has flourished. So with today's news of GB's acquisition by CBS I was at first concerned. But when I thought about it, I realized that a lot of time has passed and the jerks responsible for that crap are probably gone. Plus, and this is a big one for me, John Davison is the head honcho. I've followed his work for years and years, back to the old days of EGM, and I have tremendous respect for the man. So I'm actually kind of looking forward to seeing what Giant Bomb's future holds, under his guidance. Godspeed and good luck gentlemen.
Haven't blogged in a while (obviously, so I figured it was about time. As the title suggests I haven't been working and I am really starting to feel the pressure. I'm going to have to increase my efforts in the coming week beacuse I really don't have a choice. To be honest I haven't been trying that hard, but my slacking has finally caught up with me. One of my biggest motivators at this point, as pathetic as it may be, is that I have a serious gaming habit to support. There's a ton of stuff coming out in October (Dead Space, Little Big Planet, GH World Tour just to name a few) and I must obtain them.
Since I can't buy any new games I've been attempting to tie up some loose ends. I've finally finished Resistance after a long hiatus. I also beat Gears of War on Insane (finally and after much frystration). The most noteworthy title I've finally finished is Metroid Prime 3, which I completed a full year to the day after putting it down. I also played through Bioshock, Uncharted, and Twilight Princess again somewhat recently. I've also revisited some last gen stuff too, such as Call of Cthulu, the God of War games and Yakuza. Speaking of Yakuza I really want the recently released sequel. Very unique game (to an American anyways) that I recommend to any fan of action-RPG's. If you loved Shenmue by all means try Yakuza, because it's the closest thing us Shenmue fans will ever get to a sequel. I also want to take a moment to pimp Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth which, as far as I know, went pretty much unnoticed. It came out toward the end of the original Xbox's life and didn't get much press. Horror and adventure fans should check it out as it's an atmospheric, sometimes intense experience. Plus it's backwards compatable and probably pretty cheap by now. But be warned: it can be damn difficult.
I also rediscovered my love of the Dreamcast recently, thanks in part to the 9th anniversary of the system's release and the ensuing discussions. I went hog wild making Dreamcast game back-ups (fancy term for burned games) and currently have over 80 titles. I'm not one to pirate games (I never have, ever) but since the DC's been dead for six years or so, I don't feel so bad. I've been playing Sonic Adventure and Seaman and loving it. Dreamcast's definitely the best sytem to ever die prematurely. Sad.
Despite my lack of funds, I did manage to obtain one new game: Rock Band 2. Of course I had to sell my soul to Gamestop to do it but sometimes you have to sacrifice things (yeah I'm being a little melodramatic). I like it a lot, but there is one feature I would like to have patched into the game or at least put in future titles. That is the option to remove songs from active rotation once you beat them. Because I'm so damn sick of that f***king AFI song. The tracks from Panic at the Disco and Modest Mouse can also go to hell. It's difficult to articulate exactly how much I hate them so I won't try. But overall I'm pleased with the song selection in the game. One thing I was waiting for in a rhythm game was some straight-up-balls death metal and I finally got my wish in RB2. The band is called Abnormality and it's brutal as hell, and just as insanely difficult as I thought something that heavy and fast would be. But it's a start. Now we need some Black Dahlia Murder and Necrophagist so I can truly injure myself by playing a game. Until next time...
I know it's been said before but I realized something today I've been trying to ignore about Guitar Hero III. It's really f*cking hard! Let me preface this rant by saying that I am the best player I know, not that it really means anything. This is only amongst my circle of friends, some of whom aren't bad. Basically I'm just trying to say that I don't suck at Guitar Hero, nor am I the best but I consider myself an "expert level" player. So having said all that, am I really just making excuses when I call it bad game design when I can fail a song at 0% completion? You folks who have played GHIII know what song I'm talking about. Yes, I've been to YouTube and yes I know people can beast this song, but what sense does it make to intentionally make something so fiendishly difficult, to the extent that a large section of longtime GH players can't even approach it. I played through the first GH, GHII for both PS2 AND X360 and GH80's without even thinking of smashing my controller, yet GHIII has managed to inspire me to completely destroy the Les Paul and, just moments ago, damage my Explorer?
I have lost it and smashed controllers on several occasions throughout the years. Here's the breakdown:
3 Super Nintendo controllers, 1 NES controller, 1 PS1 controller, 2 PS2 controllers, and 2 Xbox controllers have payed the ultimate price. A Wii and a PS3 controller have also come dangerously close to premature death. In my defense the red button on the GHIII Les Paul controller wasn't working right and caused me to fail the final battle against Lou on expert after having failed many times prior to that, then I snapped. What's my point? My point is that Neversoft forgot about one very crucial thing when making GHIII. To make it more about having fun rather than just being able to show off. Showing off can be fun, believe me I know, but it's not what makes Guitar Hero so awesome. While I'm at it, let me vent my disgust at the battle mode introduced in GHIII. I've only played this mode during the career when it was required and I played it against someone online once so I could get the achievement but deep down I loathe it. Versus a human, it blows because a song can potentially be over before ever hearing a chorus or reaching the next verse. As far as the boss battles, I didn't hate them until I got to Lou. After failing many times I realized that it's entirely random as to whether you can win, because if Lou gets certain powerups it becomes impossible to win. Double notes is the most bullsh*t thing to taint the Guitar Hero series. The one thing that is superior about GHIII over the other games is the song selection. It's better than what ships on the Rock Band disc as well.
Guitar Hero III's DLC has been pretty disappointing as well. The freebies (Dream On, the Halo theme) were nice but No Doubt? Cuz their guitar work is so freakin' great, right? Gimme a break. Rock Band, to be frank, poops all over GHIII as far as DLC goes. Not to say that all of RB's DLC has been awesome (Oasis, Grateful Dead, bad covers) but the variety and overall quality of it has been superior. However I've felt since day one that Rock Band needs good DLC because, frankly, there's a lot of **** in Rock Band. Stuff that's not fun to play on any "instrument" ***coughGarbageHolecough***.
At this point I don't know how much longer I'll be into these types of games. The formula is pretty much set and Activision seems poised to run the Guitar Hero franchise into the ground. I really don't know what else can be done with this type of gameplay. Chances are that as long as the songs are good and the essence of the series (the "fun" I mentioned) is maintained I'll probably stick with it and so will countless others. But Guitar Hero III was a bit of a mis-step and in my opinion Guitar Hero: Aerosmith is also a mis-step. I am glad that other artists will be in the game but overall I think band-specific installments are a bad idea. Genre -specific expansions are, however, a good idea as long as the price is right (GH 80's is great example of how to do this the wrong way).What Rock Band is doing with the track packs is the way to go if that's what people want. The Boston track pack is a good example. At this stage, pretty much all of Boston's first record is there. And of course artist packs like the Metallica one that cover a couple different albums is also a great way to do things. I wrote this because of my doubt about the future of these franchises that I love. I have the feeling that in as little as a few years the rhythm genre will all but gone. And we'll have EA and especially Activision to blame.
So I've been unemployed for a little under a month and a half, and so far have been enjoying all this free time to the absolute fullest. All I do is sleep, smoke, and play games. I've got money coming in from unemployment so I'm not broke and can still buy games, although I did slow down a bit. I even traded some stuff in, which I told myself I'd never do again (because of consistently get ripped off by EB/Gamestop, in case you were wondering). I've picked up DMC4, God of War PSP, Bully SE, Smash Bros. Brawl, Lost: Via Domus over the last month and today I picked up Condemned 2. Thanks to all this time I've had my gamerscore has gone up considerably. Achievement whores take note - Lost: Via Domus offers some of the easiest points ever. Yeah, about Lost... I kinda became obsessed with the show for a while. I watched a whole season in a day and a half. I'm feeling better now though. So I've moved on to the show Firefly, which grew on me LOTS. The first episode was ok, but by the third I was hooked. I know, I'm way LTTP on this one but better late than never. So that's it. Staring at a screen has been my sole leisure activity for a month but I assure you it's been awesome.