The Longest Journal
Here's the latest tally, please be sure to check out my Mothership Zeta review posted today!
Battlefield 1943 - PS3/Xbox 360
Bit.Trip.Core - Wii
Burnout Paradise: Big Surf Isle - PS3/Xbox 360/PC
Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta DLC - PC/Xbox 360
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years - Wii
Garou Mark of the Wolves - PS3/Xbox 360
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition - PC/Xbox 360
Worms 2: Armaggedon - Xbox 360
Virtua On: Oratorio TangramTangram Version 5.66 - Xbox 360
And here're a few more just added in 08/05:
Plants vs. Zombies - PC
Tales of Monkey Island Episode One: The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal - PC/Wii
So yesterday I had a chance to catch up with my old teacher and friend, Diego Maia, as he stopped by Sao Paulo on a visit as he's been giving various workshops around town. For those who don't know, Diego works with various top of the line artists and for some game design studios, such as Joe Madureira, in his new game Darksiders and Aaron Simms, for the upcoming film Clash of the Titans.
Diego showed us - a modest crowd in a relatively small space - quite a few of his designs, showing his humble beginnings in drawing and sketching in Fortaleza to the latest tutorial he's been cooking up for a CG website, based on aquatic beings fusing with humans. It's refreshing to see someone so deep in the industry actually showing how he began, and criticizing earlier work, but still holding it very dear to their heart. Among the current work he's been doing, he showed his awesome Captain America piece done for last year's ComiCon challenge.
The cream of the pie was surely his contribution to Darksiders, the demon lord Vulgrim - even though the site doesn't do him justice. It's an incredible looking piece, with layers of special textures that make things pop up, with simulations of silk fabrics to boot. It's hard to believe, but that's a low polygon count model, that with dedicated shading and texturing, looks awesome. He also worked on one of the angels in the game, but the final art is still not revealed. That game is looking amazing, a buy for me, surely.
His work on Clash of the Titans is very hush-hush at the moment, so there isn't much to tell. On the other hand, just getting to see my friend after so many months was great, even if I was already kind of beat by the time his talk started - my cIass was early in the morning and the talk began at around 8:30 PM, I still had a blast.
If any of you got interest at Diego's work, check out his blog, there are examples there of how versatile he is, and how he recommends every person with interest in character design to be.
Swords and Soldiers (Wii)
I am currently assigned to Final Fantasy IV: After Years on the Wii and Marvel vs. Capcom 2 on the 360 (whenever that's out!), so keep an eye or two peeled for those as well.
This week marks the death of the bullets, something I've been trying to do and keep regularly for the past month or two. Instead of presenting bullets in a weekly fashion as it's been, I'll do it sporadically. I'll keep my 'now playing' section updated in order to keep track of the log. So, just for old times' sake, I'll list what was played last week.
- Resident Evil 5 (360) - completed main story, and all of the achievements that do not relate to the story, farmed points for three infinite ammo guns: the best Magnum, the Hydra and the first handgun, by using mission 6-2.
- Sly Cooper and the Thievious Racoonus (PS2) - since I really want to get a PS3 by the end of the year, thought I might as well play the Sly games before tackling inFAMOUS.
- Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (360) - finished off all the bonus features. 1000/1000. Some horrible games, few good ones.
- Sega Superstar Tennis (360) - two unlockable characters to go, Jet Grind Radio and Puyo Puyo court challenges suck. I hate them.
- Halo Wars (360) - borrowed a copy from a friend, he wants it back this week, so didn't progress much past mission four.
- Chrono Trigger (DS) - made a bit of progress in the ruined area, not much to report.
- Swords and Soldiers (Wii) - played and reviewed: review coming soon.
- Wallace and Gromit Grand Adventures Episode 3: Muzzled! (PC) completed and reviewed: review coming soon.
- Two reviews up on Game Revolution - Fable 2: See the Future and Space Invaders Extreme.
So last week was the infamous E3 week, so I thought bullets wouldn't do the trick. Consider these explosive rounds, 'cause I'm mixing the games played in a bit of an in-depth look at one game in particular, with some E3 comments in the form of bullets right afterwards. Hold on, it's a long one this week!
- For most of the week, I played Resident Evil 5 single player on short spurts. I made it to chapter 6-2 last night, right before a boss fight. So far, it's been a good game, feeling a lot like Resident Evil 4, making me call it RE 4.2. This might be considered a spoiler, so read at your own risk from now. The big talk about this game has been its setting in Africa, and frankly, I couldn't care less where it was set - no one complained when we were killing Spaniards, right? - so I won't touch on that.
- The progression in enemy types is just like RE4: first you deal with normal, average people, with a maniac (or two) thrown in as a boss type, then we move on to fanatics (tribesmen this time) to actual soldiers, just like 4, going to a bit of monstery surprises like the Licker. I personally liked how the Licker was treated in this game. Instead of it being just a single or to the max two of them at the same time, like in past Raccoon City-era Resident Evils, we get to fight hordes of these things. As far as the other mutated enemies are concerned, I did like The Reaper quite a bit, even though its one-hit kill gets annoying, but nothing my Dirty Harry Magnum couldn't handle...
- Now, as far as story is concerned, I'm not as negative about it as most people (especially press) are. It's a much better story than most CAPCOM 360 games out there - *sigh* Lost Planet *sigh* - and it's cool to get a big of a tie-in between all the games in the main series for Resident Evil. Although the whole Jill part was kind of obvious.
- So far the game's been fun, with the one main problem being the dumbness of my computer controlled partner, which I limited to just a stun prod and ammo carrying duties. Sheva Alomar, however, is a pretty darn cool character that fits in Resident Evil and was all around well designed - she doesn't go over the top in features - like a lot of CAPCOM designs, even for this games' other females - and ends up being a cool sidekick to super hardcore buff man Chris. Chris takes the buffness from Army of Two and multiplies it by three. So exaggerated, almighty.
- I'm pretty sure I'll just back to this eventually in order to tackle Veteran and possibly Professional difficulties with a real life partner in co-op. Just to close it off, yes, I am doing the rotten egg glitch so I can get money to update and buy everything. The reason for that is simple: I'm kinda tired of grinding in games, and coming from Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and just want to get through unlocking stuff here without many more playthroughs than I'll need for the BSAA emblems and treasures I'm missing. As a side note, most of the playing for this game was done before and after E3.
- Broke open Portable Ops on the PSP and played a bit, through the tutorial sections in between E3 segments on the live coverage. Seems interesting for the bit I played. Save system might prove to be a pain though, since I like playing these types of games in short spurts and the save point is kinda far, but that might just be my wrong first impression.
- Went back to Marvel Ultimate Alliance, for five minutes, in order to unlock some more 4 player co op achievements, thanks to help from a friend of mine from school. All I need to 100% the game now are the hard mode, 500 throws and all gold medals achievements. I'll leave those to later, gonna take a break from the game and lend it to another friend so I can play Halo Wars later this week.
- Pokémon Platinum report: two badges in around 15 caught so far. My first Pokémon, the monkey thing, went through an evolution, now I'm trying to get a Machop to evolve, but according to guides it needs to get to level 29 for that, and I'm on level 23, I think. It's a fun game, but hell, like I said last week, it's just like the thing I played ten years ago. If people complain about Nintendo rehashing series, boy, they need to look at Pokémon.
On to E3 comments, then!
- Overall for the conferences: Kinda disappointed all companies are gonna go the motion sensing route - I really wanted to see some things to set them apart from each other, but it seems they're all gonna fall in the same niche. If I had any choice, we'd all still be playing "kid's games" in the future.
- Got kinda happy to see how close a lot of what was shown is to release, most being in the final months of the year. 2009 is moving so fast that it'll be November before we know it.
- Microsoft put a very good show. Forza 3 looks incredible and will be a sure buy for me. I'll try the Cliffy B. game eventually too, looks to be pretty retro-in-an-updated-sort, if you know what I mean.
- If I had any ability whatsoever in music games, I'd be excited for Beatles Rock Band, it looks awesome, but alas, I'm very, very bad at coordination based music games, so... it'll be fun to watch people play that.
- Have no real comments on the Metal Gear announcement - haven't played MGS4 yet in order to measure how Raiden turned out to be. If it's an action game, well, it should be good, Kojima wouldn't tie his series to something awful, I'd hope. It'll be good to wait and see.
- Natal is going to make that Tony Hawk Ride board seem pointless. And how I think that thing will generate lots of lawsuits... oh boy. Games are getting to a point where people should just go do what they're trying to emulate. I doubt any older folks will be playing RIDE because it's already too close to the real thing.
- EA conference started weirdly, but I am looking forward to a lot of games they showed. Star Wars Old Republic had an epic trailer, and yes, I know that is not game play, but at least they were honest about it, unlike some other people some years ago. The fact that the game will scale down to run on a lot of configurations has me anxious to see how it'll play out.
- Dragon Age Origins seemed to be taking a turn to somewhere I wouldn't be interested, but frankly, I didn't see nearly enough to close a decision on it, and to be honest, I trust Bioware, and will wait 'til that's out to decide. If I get around to playing it, it'll probably be on a PS3.
- Mass Effect 2 looked incredible, can't wait to put my saved game into effect on that game, seemed like they fixed all the stutters and texture pop ins from the first game, which has me happy. It's sure coming out soon too, which is awesome.
- SHIFT has me interested for sure, against all odds and the rest of others' opinions on it. Even though it'll come out in a crowded racing season, there's nothing against trying it out a bit after it's released, at a lower price, right?
- Didn't really care about the sports stuff to be honest, though I might try out the EA Active stuff if there's a demo at a store here, or something. I have no interest whatsoever in mixed martial arts, either.
- Left4Dead 2 feels a bit like it's coming out way too soon after the original game, but taking the point it's a whole new cast and a whole new setting, it makes sense. There's so much you can do with the same four people in whole different environments. I loved the original L4D, and I'm sure I will enjoy the sequel as well.
- Sad to not see any mention of Half-Life 2: Episode Three, but my money is on that they'll show it at their own event sometime this year, or in one of the other trade game shows later on. Hope it comes out this year, even though I doubt it. I know I sound ambiguous!
- Ubisoft started slow as a snail. Their presenter was bored to death, made it obvious with his jokes. The untrained presenters were also horrible to watch. This hit could be given to all conferences, but Ubi's was the most obvious with this sort of thing. All conferences had a few - if not all - of their presenters giving a stiff read-off-the-teleprompter presentation.
- The James Cameron monologue started off well, but by the end it just seemed the guy was trying to buy time for something. I'd think one of the demos wasn't rendered yet or some other person was late. Missed the beard and short hair. Haven't seen the man in ages, and seeing his new way-past-mid-age-crisis look was just shocking!
- When they started talking about soccer and the world's best player, I knew Pelé would be stopping by. Pehleh, as it's pronounced, gave a quick talk, which was interesting to see how it'd be translated. He called the game a "little game" or how we'd call a child's toy, but the translator was sure to skip over it. I have no interest whatsoever in the game.
- Splinter Cell Conviction looked awesome, I loved the presentation and how the objectives and HUD are all seamlessly applied to the environments. Makes me want to jump back to Double Agent in order to finish it. Must buy for me for sure.
- Assassin's Creed 2, incredible looking, very interesting premise, had a lot of fun watching the game being played. The nods to Da Vince were pretty cool as well, very curious to see what else made it into the game in terms of his inventions and theories. Double kills also rule the earth. I 1000/1000 the first game, and if the trailer and game play are any indication, I'll probably do the same for this sequel.
- Rabbids seemed to be funny, at least in the menu part of the game where the rabbid seats inside the controller. The rest of the game... meh.
- Liked seeing new Mario and Metroid games at Nintendo, both Mario titles are tie-ins and sequels to games I loved to play on the Wii and the DS. Galaxy 2 looks amazing, just like first still looks to this day. The Metroid one looks like it'll be cool since Team NINJA is working on it, I just hope they don't ruin Samus' design somehow.
- The Nintendo cardio thing didn't do much for me, but I'm willing to wait til Nintendo shows any use for it before I get all witty on it, like everyone seems to be.
- Even with some interesting DSi announcements, I still won't get one!
- Yay, new Zelda. Hope it doesn't take five years for it to come out. Haven't seen anything to get amped for it other than the simple notion that there will be a new Zelda game coming out on the Wii.
- Resort was presented very well, and I'm kind of wanting to try the bow and arrow bits. I'm curious to see how they'll sell the games that need Motion Plus, if there's going to be standalone versions without the dongle, for people buying more than one game that packs it in. Otherwise a lot of users will have stacks of the thing at home. N64 Expansion Pack, anyone?
- Sony had the most interesting presentation for me, seeing I do not own a Playstation 3, but plan to in the future. While they did not show the slim model at a lower price, like I was hoping, a lot of games shown had me very interested and definitely made me even more keen with the idea of possibly investing in a system.
- Uncharted 2 seemed amazing, if that action is balanced with adventure and platforming bits, that will be one of my must buys with the PS3, along with the original. That Central American town looked insanely detailed and well worked upon.
- Gran Turismo 5 looks pretty good, even though some of the additions make it feel like it's taking forever to come out because the director can't make up his mind about when to say "ENOUGH!", adding in other racing leagues like LeMans, NASCAR and WRC. Either way, all the cars look amazing, and if the depth in past GTs is anything to say in its behalf, it'll be a very good racer on the PS3, for sure.
- GT on PSP? Ok, I guess. The new PSP? Horrible, horrible, horrible. And expensive to boot. If interested could be measure in numbers, mine would be in the negative zone.
- God of War III. Even though I don't really like gore that much, it seems I'll have to look past it and enjoy God of War III for what it is: fun.
- TrICO, a.k.a Last Guardian was a sure buy for me even before the trailer, now it's just another painful reason pushing me towards getting a PS3. That gryphon creature looks adorable, and everything in that trailer hits all the right buttons for me.
- All the multiple people playing online games had no impact on me. I personally hate playing shooters online, and now having to depend on dozens of people in order to have a good online experience? Doubt it.
- To close it off, I think that showing FF XIV before XIII is even out was more of a pre-alpha-beta-gama hype seed... I do not like the direction SquareEnix takes with Final Fantasy going online as a numbered chapter in the series. I'd make the MMO segment a whole different sub-series, leaving the numbered chapters as single player RPGs. Can't say in enough words how I am looking forward to XIII, and for the first time, I'm on time with finishing previous games, so I'll play it as soon as possible after it's out.
E3 IN GENERAL:
Overall for the show: An incredible expo, for sure, one of the better in the last few years. It definitely makes me want to get a Playstation 3, now with more than two or three games worth playing on it. Like I said in the beginning, it feels like all companies are going in the same way, but it'll be something to witness as they move forward and experiment with their own motion sensing technologies. Never know, they might break out with their own approaches to the concept. Like some journalists mentioned, a lot of smaller company games got crushed by the giants, and it would be a dream if they had their own spot in order to show the smaller games. Peripheral dependant games seem to be hitting their limit in terms of playing/pretending to be doing and actually doing it, RIDE being the most evident, but others, like DJ Hero, hitting close. Feels like the music section, especially, will hit a decline soon, with too many games coming too soon. It feels like it'll soon become - if it's not already - the new World War II type of game, in a surprisingly small period of time. Looking forward to playing the new Monkey Island games next month, that sure came out of nowhere and kicked some heads.
In terms of coverage, I really enjoyed the major site's reporting on the show - GameSpot's E3 live show was enjoyable, especially with chat, for sure. GiantBomb's podcasts were awesome, both in video and audio formats. 1UP had some quick jab articles dealing with top lists, as well as hit-and-miss podcasts, with some annoying guests which quickly made their welcome void, returning or new ones alike. AREA 5 also had a lot of video content I still have to catch up, but considering how well they've been doing it with CO-OP, it's something to look forward to in the coming weeks. ScrewAttack, incredibly enough, had a lot of fun videos at the show, with fan favorite James Rolfe, the Nerd, giving his opinions on the games, along with the rest of their cast, good stuff, pleasantly surprised - just got a bit crass in the end, though, I must say!
I was sad that my plans for going to E3 got shot down as the show approached, but if effort and will are enough to make things happen, I will be there next year, some way, somehow.
- For most of the week, I played Resident Evil 5 single player on short spurts. I made it to chapter 6-2 last night, right before a boss fight. So far, it's been a good game, feeling a lot like Resident Evil 4, making me call it RE 4.2. This might be considered a spoiler, so read at your own risk from now. The big talk about this game has been its setting in Africa, and frankly, I couldn't care less where it was set - no one complained when we were killing Spaniards, right? - so I won't touch on that.
... you wake up Monday morning and go type up your bullets for last week. Oh well, maybe next year, right? This past week was pretty experimental for me, with lots of trying out 'new' games. So without further ado.
- Finished Marvel Ultimate Alliance, yet again, this time on easy, in order to get the few simulator discs that I missed in my normal difficulty run, including the one-time-only Deadpool disc. The bulk of my playing this week was dedicated to beating all these missions, and this was finally achieved on Saturday, unlocking Silver Surfer. SS is just awesome in the game. I went ahead and got some other achievements in this game. Yes, I want to try to go as close to 1250 on this one as possible - sue me.
- Cracked open Pokémon Platinum. It was like jumping back to ten or so years ago, to the time I played my first and last Pokémon Blue game. Seriously, in all those years, the game's the same - same music, same sounds, with very few changes. This isn't to say it's fun and mildly distracting, but this will probably be the last Pokémon game I play, period. I gave it the chance of being a cut above the first game, but so far it's just a prettier version of the same game, with more pokémon thrown in. I chose the monkey one at the beginning, by the way.
- Opened the other double pack game I got, Sega Superstar Tennis. It feels like the poor man's Super Mario Tennis at spots, but it's still fun. The controls are kinda slide-all-over-the-place, but hey, how can I complain, got this for free, right?
- Played just a bit of Kung Fu Panda, one of the other free games I got in bundle boxes - good first impression, should be a quick one to burn through. Never watched the movie, shame.
- Got Wiiware's Adventure Island: The Beginning for review. It's one of those games I can safely admit is good, but does nothing new. It's just okay... and it's Adventure Island. Eh.
- Tried to get back to Resident Evil 5 yesterday, and it's starting to 'click' with me, after going through the first two chapters. Don't know if I'll press on in single player, but I was able to play WAY more than before yesterday, which was surprinsingly enjoyable. I only died once when I accidentaly jumped in an activated furnace. Heh.
- Watched Iron Man a second time since theatres, now on DVD - have to say the film's still awesome. The extras are incredible for such a low price disc. Now I REALLY want to model an Iron Man from the golden age of the Avengers...
This isn't really part of bullets, but I'd really like to mention it. E3 starts today, and I'm fairly interested in all of the conferences. I didn't follow the pre show coverage cause I'll admit right now I'm really sick of people trying to break news about releases just hours before the actual announcement. On the other hand, there's a lot to look forward to. I am really hoping Sony will drop that new line PS3 at a cheaper price, so I can finally buy one and play Metal Gear Solid 4 before it's completely spoiled for me *I'm looking at you and your articles, Shumi!*.
Anyway, see you guys in a few hours, if not personally, at least virtually in the billion seat capacity virtual audience for E3. Should be fun!
Not a long list this week, either. Haven't played much during the week, sad fact!
- Played a bit more Chinatown Wars, as documented in my blog, got a few more rewards. I'm taking a break from the game for now, don't want to get burned out on it.
- Put Chrono Trigger back in the DS, started the ruined "future" (?) area of the game. Don't remember the details from my first playthrough, so it should be interesting.
- Helped a friend get some Fable 2 achievements on Sunday, like the DLC arena ones and the doll achievement. Sadly, the dyes and statuette achievements cannot be unlocked via the old sell-one-of-them-then-buy-it-back trick.
- Played a bit of Turtles 1989 and Virtual On with buddy Al (the_antipode) on Sunday as well. Virtual On is MUCH more fun in multiplayer, and I just stink at Turtles, really.
- Tried playing Burnout Paradise on the return of Sunday Driving with Don and friends, but the darn thing wanted yet another HUGE update download. I'll have to download that during the week.
- I played a whole lot of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and managed to finish it on normal difficulty. What a dumb fun game. I only missed one of the one-try simulation discs, but the game is so darn fun I'm going to replay it in order to get all of the discs so I can unlock the bonus costumes.
- Since I played MUA, I got the DLC that was on sale on Xbox Live, for the bonus characters. To sum it up: Sabretooth is the best of the bunch, cheap as hell, but fun, I also liked Hawkeye and Cyclops.
- My review of Wallace and Gromit: Episode Two went live, check it out here. There's a bit of a problem in the score summary section, and I'm contacting my friend who's the editor in order to sort it.
- Watched a couple of movies during the course of the week: Sweeney Todd and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. One was bloody, but fun, the other was yet another great film by one of my favorite animators of all time. You figure which one is which.
I've been combing through what is enjoyable to do in terms of 'out of story' missions in GTA: Chinatown Wars, not taking into account finding all the hidden cameras or unique stunts, which I probably will not go after. Here's the rundown so far:
- Story missions complete (duh);
- Firefighter Missions - GOLD MEDAL, thus unlocking 'fire proof', which speaks for itself;
- Mail Delivery Missions - GOLD MEDAL, thus unlocking 'bigger pockets' for drug carrying;
- Noodle Delivery Missions - GOLD MEDAL, thus unlocking 'marathon', giving me infinite sprint;
- Taxi Cab Missions - GOLD MEDAL, thus turning all cabs bulletproof;
- Vigilante Missions - GOLD MEDAL, thus giving me double armor points;
- All 21 safehouses bought, earned off a random person's mission (Wilhem) or won off lottery scratch off cards;
- All 80 drug dealers found;
- 2 golden lions found, thus unlocking both Xin missions;
- Both bonus 'Xin' missions finished - great little mayhem situations, by the way;
I still have to find the gun club and get the gold medals there too, then I might be giving this one a rest.
Oh, and a note to all cops in Liberty City P.D: stop running over my accident victims while I'm trying to pick then up. It's annoying when I'm on the 14th pickup in a 15 pickup run, OK? Thanks, jerks!
Bullets might not suffice for this week, 'cause I want to comment a bit more in depth, so think of these as mortars, ok?
- Finished GTA: Chinatown Wars during the weekend. What a great, fun game, loved it. It totally took me by surprise, since I barely followed it after the announcement - something I've been noticing has improved how much I appreciate a game when I don't follow it religiously and just play the darn thing when it's out. I liked it so much, I went out of my way and discovered all of the drug dealers, got all but one of the safehouses and found both of the bonus items for the Rockstar Social Club bonus missions. I have yet to play those, since I just activated them early this morning. The touch screen support seemed a bit too much at the beginning, and it is at some points, but the implementation is mostly very creative and does not feel tacked on at all. One of my favorite DS games, by far.
- Also closed the lid on Fable 2's See the Future DLC, or how I like to call it: See-the-future-for-about-two-minutes. Doesn't last long at all, and... well, you might want to read my review once it goes live. I got all of the achievements for it on the way, including the ones that are related to Fable 2's main story mode. So now once Knothole Isle drops price, I'll be able to nail that 100% completion. Fable 2's achievements are fun to go after, just like Fallout 3's, otherwise I wouldn't bother, but it's a good measure in order to finally feel like the "book is closed" for some games. It is certainly for me in terms of this DLC.
- Started playing Space Invaders Extreme for XBLA as well, even though I own the DS version, and you know what, it's still Space Invaders, and very Extreme at that. It's cool to get to play it on a bigger screen. Should be finishing my review of it today.
- Played UNO online with some On the Spot folks after the show. It definitely brought back a lot of fun memories playing cards with Donkeljohn, Dave_Petrucci, Caddy and Kevin. That game is still fun to play with friends!
- Finally beat Gruntilda (yet again, ten years later) in Banjo Tooie - I am, in no way, ever going to go after all of the jiggies in that game. I did it in 1999/2000, thank you very much. Still, a very good platformer, specially if you never played it back in the Nintendo 64. Review of that forthcoming (it's taking a bit longer than usual but it is on the way). The lid for this is closed, bolted, stapled and duct-taped. Agh.
- Tried to get the final achievement in Banjo Kazooie, the puzzle one. No one in heck I was able to do it this week, since I only picked the game up before going to bed after spent the day hunting pixels on my computer, texturing models. I don't think I'll go back to that, too much...
- Got the rest of the treasures in Lego Indy. Young Indy's level was pretty fun, albeit short, and the warehouse bonus stage was thankfully easy - and quick - to beat. For some reason I don't like the Lego town type of level in these games. So random... Anyway, that's closed as far as I'm concerned, I have no desire to activate thugee statues 50 times or disarm 250 enemies with Indy's whip, thank you very much...
- Might start Pokémon Platinum this week - haven't played a single one since Pokémon Blue in 1997 (98?), should be funny to go back to it. I heard Pete (Ryvvn, from R.I.P Gameslaves and now TriGames.net podcast) and Al (the_antipode, also from TriGames.net) talk soon much about this I decided to take a plunge buying this at discount price. Hope it's good.
It's been a busy week, but I got to play plenty of games!
- Played a whole lot of GTA: Chinatown Wars on my DS. Very fun game, and the drug trading money flow a lot of the reviewers talked about is no joke. I had some crazy return on such short drives to get the cheap drug from a seller and taking it to the buyer. Still, the game's fun in the missions as well, most are quick to do, great to play between renders on my PC, and through backouts. Yeah, I had a couple of those this week too...
- Started Resident Evil 5. Just started. Haven't played for more than 15 minutes. I don't know if I'm into it, gotta find someone to play co-op with, I guess.
- Finished my reviews for both Wallace & Gromit's Last Stand and Banjo Tooie. Both great games in their own right. 'Tooie is a much improved version of the N64 game, and plays much better. Still a bit annoying in spots, like its dumb checkpoints that put you all the way across a level when you die. Since levels are pretty big in this game, it makes it a tad ennerving.
- In order to finish the Banjo Tooie review, I went back to 'Kazooie and collected the rest of the eggs. The Stop 'n Swop feature is kinda nice, kinda not, really. Still, the eggs are easy to find, so if anyone's thinking about jumping into that, it doesn't take too long, so long as you unlocked all the worlds.
- Lode Runner review went live.
- Lego Indiana Jones... I got the treasures for all of the Raiders levels expecting to play the Young Indy scenario, but apparently the person who wrote the guide I looked at got the unlocks mixed up, so I ended up playing the Lost Temple section, which is nothing more than a Lego stud collecting level. Spent almost 30 minutes on that, got it done, thankfully. Pretty boring, in my honest opinion.
- Played a bit of each of the Genesis collection games. Boy, for people who like achievements, that game is a gold mine. I mean, come on, talking to a dolphin in Ecco is an achievement? Anyway, there's still a lot of games there I have never played, so I'll keep coming back for quick plays. Golden Axe is more fun that I remembered...
- Have not played much WoW, at all. Trying to find a new guild in order to play through Ulduar (the new raid instance introduced in the last content patch) at least once.
- Posted my ECTO-1 in yet another CG site, CGSociety. The 'big one' in my opinion. Good response, which makes me happy. I'm still working on that application of the car in a background and scenery, but I'm going to slow down on it to start working on other things too.
- Watched a couple of Mythbuster episodes, to catch up a bit - the McGyver gunpowder on a lock one was pretty cool but the tar swimming thing was just silly. That show is very hit and miss, but the episodes I watched were good overall.
As requested in my last bullet-riddled post, here's my car:
I'm changing the bullets this week into something more dynamic. Since I'm horrible remembering specific days, I'll just mention what I did, to be considered DONE in the past week! I know, crazy stuff, but my mind reserves stuff to be rememberd in weird ways.
- Finished Lego Indiana Jones' story mode. Great, fun game, I had a blast with it. I'll probably go back to it at some point to get all the treasures and unlock all the bonus levels. Neat game for the price I payed: FREE.
- Played through the beginning chapter of Condemned. Looking good so far, pretty scary. I can safely say I'll have a hard time getting through this game since I am horrible dodging and parrying melee attacks. The CSI stuff in it is pretty dumbed down so far, but interesting nonetheless. I am a big fan of Monolith from way back in the Shogo days, so I'll press on with this game. With it I also picked up Condemned 2 for a ridiculously low price, so I'll surely play 'em back to back. If I am not too scared, that is.
- Took part in WoW's Children's Week event, and was able to finish all the activities (read: achievements) in three log ins between two days. The PVP one was a pain in the neck, but I finally shot it down with a very friendly group of battleground goes in an epic Eye of the Storm flag capture. The rest of the BGs weren't so easy, though. I got the last two vanity pets from the orphan escort missions, now I have all six Children's Week pets. Crazy, considering my long periods of not having an active account, and still being able to take part in the event for three years straight. Got the 'Patron Edrebrann' title, which is nice.
- Played an hour or so of Sonic 2 on the Sonic Genesis Collection, much further than I ever had before, thanks to save states. I was never into old Sonic games before Sonic Adventure, but it's easy to see why they were popular back in the day.
- Still played GTA: Chinatown Wars on my DS. Very fun, yet cumbersome game - holding a stylus and using the buttons is very awkward for me, but the missions are keeping me interested.
- Chrono Trigger was hardly played, I only got past the first "dungeon" section... I'm now at a very desolate location after dropping from a portal.
- Published more images of my finalized Ecto-1 in some CG forums, got a pretty good response. Now I'm working on a final action shot so I can put the car up at CGSociety and the rest of the major international CG websites. In one particular local website, I got inducted as a candidate for 3D artist of the month among some other people, which was awesome. Even if I don't win, it's still awesome, after all this hard work on the car.
- My review for Flock! went up. Check it out here. Lode Runner's still in the publishing queue.
- Last, but not least, I started two games for review at GameRevolution - Banjo Tooie and Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures: The Last Resort. Banjo got reworked from the ground up, and it shows. No more slowdowns or blurry textures, which is great!
EDIT: My Lode Runner review has gone up! Read it HERE!
Yay, Dead Rising 2 info...
Hey, wait... what the effe is this?
Seriously, everything was fine up til his mouth, but going down, what is that thing?
Talk about some weak design... his jaw looks fractured half way on his face as well. And don't get me started on that nostril...
I hope they change those. No. I pray for it.
Very true to the word "bullets" this time... promise.
- Spent most of the week putting the finishing touches on my Ectomobile - published an article on it in two CG websites, positive return all around. Plan to finish it this week, Friday the latest.
- Didn't really plan much of anything 'til Wednesday - a friend of mine came from abroad and brought me some games. Among them was a free copy of Lego Indiana Jones/Kung Fu Panda and Arcade Titles/Sega Tennis bundles that he scored at the store. Pretty nice.
- Lego Indy is fun, I played up 'til the final level of Temple of Doom.
- He also got Marvel Ultimate Alliance for super cheap, and Sonic's Sega Genesis Collection for a dumb low price with mail in discount. In the discount bit, he also got me Chrono Trigger DS and GTA Chinatown, for 15 bucks a pop. Still have to crack GTA open but Chrono trigger is just as good now as it was back then. I got some more good deals that will be played in the course of the coming months.
- Played a fair bit of WoW yesterday, as chronicled in the blog post below. Noblegarden was activated at 12 AM, and since I play on a Pacific Time server, I was there fairly early, and got the good drop on the Easter eggs. Got everything I wanted. Including the drop on the cow. That took some effort - had to run to Mulgore, the part of the continent where Horde tauren hang out, and found a "cow" there, luckily. Note, this was done at night here, I had attempted the same at an earlier time, near lunch, and was sadly murdered by a mob of angry level 80s! Anyway, that was done, my character is happy... I guess. You'll have to see for yourself.
- Finished my Lode Runner (XBLA) review, should go up soon I hope. Good game, overall. Dead online, four days in. *sigh*
- My OutRun Online Arcade review went up on Friday - check it out here, if interested.
- Downloaded the new SFIV content, played a couple of player matches - game's still great!
- Touched on Vesperia for oh-so quick, I'm kinda stuck in an annoying boss fight...
- LOTRO is still on free play week, and I still have to try it.
... for making yet another crazy holiday inspired event in WoW that... works! Noblegarden, a.k.a WoW's Easter, dropped today, a bit later than the actual real world holiday. And it's safe to say it's the best implemented event in the game, bar some of the pre-Wrath of the Lich King world events. You run around collecting eggs, that in turn, spawn other eggs somewhere else. Instead of having a twisted 1 hour cycle like in other season events like Valentine's Day, you can keep looting eggs to your heart's content and get the items contained within them. Out of the five or so items needed, I already have four, after a couple of hours playing (including the vanity pet rabbit), which is great. There are some interesting things to do with the items collected, like planting flowers in Azeroth's many deserts and hunting down female characters in order to 'bunny ear' them (18 or older! *chuckle*). It's random stuff that will probably take everyone a short time to complete, but it's fun nevertheless.
I am glad Blizzard made this event fun and relatively frustration free, that is worth playing my last few weeks before I freeze my account in hibernation.
Now, to find a dwarf female...
UPDATE: I have found a female dwarf! Now the hunt for a female tauren, affectionally known as a "cow", begins.
Oh boy. Last week was pretty crazy for me. Kinda still dazed now to be honest. Working on my ECTO-1 project has been taking so much energy and time out of me - mainly because I REALLY want to get this thing right for portfolio and job hunting purposes, that I can hardly recall what I did besides that last week. I'll try to recall everything, but it is highly possible I'll miss a lot of stuff done, and for that, I apologize.
- I still played some Street Fighter IV online in irregular spurts during the week. Managed to rack up 100 online wins overall, five ranked match wins and shortly after, 200 total online matches. I'm not an OMG-WTF-FTW-BBQ sort of player, but I tend to learn a lot about the other player if we play more than two or so fights. I'm starting to regret using Zangief too much online since people tend to complain about him being cheap. It's not exactly the way I use him, but the timing I use his moves tends to make a few people think I'm being cheap. One way I can analyze is to just set it aside as whining, since hell, the guy's slow but powerful, I like using his "psycho" punch to get close to speedy characters and surprise them and that for me is a way of subverting a character's weakness in order to make him useful in fights that otherwise would be highly unlikely he'd ever have a chance.
- On the other hand, I can see their point, and how a way of playing a certain character might feel cheap - i.e, I ran across a guy fighting as Abel, and all he did during the fight was that spin kick that works as an armor break and has a rather far reach across the screen. That was all he did, and surely enough, I lost. Did I send him a private message to tell him he was cheap and call him names? No, I kept playing for a while until I beat him with another character. And PMs bring me to another comment - rage quitting. I ran across a couple of folks who just ragequit after losing fights (not just to Zangief), right before the K.O text appeared on screen. This is not a type of behavior I condone, so I tend to send a message asking why they quit like that so a win wouldn't be registered. Some didn't even answer, one gave a dumb excuse like "it's RE5 time" - but he jumped back to SF4 right after. In the end, I just feel that's really childish to do and annoying. If you lose and want to leave, fine by me, but wait til we get back to the lobby. One loss is not going to destroy your stats, kill your chances at getting achievements or whatever. On stats, I'm at around 74% ratio for wins/losses. Do I care much about that so much as to gloat about it in a blog post? Honestly no, it'd be easy for anyone to check on that by visiting my gamercard.
- Last bullet on SF4, promise. Started training Chun-Li as another character option to play as - strangely enough I don't remember her being a charge character in past games, but to be honest, in those games, when I played as her, I didn't use special moves, just her speed, which can be the reason why I focused on Cammy right off the bat. Until now, it's been a good change of pace. Playing on a normal controller with some odd control changes doesn't feel weird anymore, it's just fine. Some moves don't come out 100% of the time, and I don't mind to be honest. I don't think I'll invest on anything special, mainly because I don't have space at home to store that big of a hunk of plastic, plus, that thing's expensive (double/triple the price here, especially). If there was some way to convert my Dreamcast arcade stick for other uses, I would.
- Didn't play as much Vesperia as I wanted, just because of lack of time and energy to invest in an RPG. The game's great, don't get me wrong. I'm just past the colosseum section of the story. I mainly played this yesterday after taking a much needed break from everything. Annoyingly enough, I tend to be the sort of person that can't completely shut my mind off from something I'm working on and tend to feel guilty if I'm not doing it, which made me jump back to texturing my car during the night. Argh. I hate that trait.
- I'm about to lock my account on WoW for the time being. Early in the week the new content patch hit the game, and when I had the urge to just log in and check the fishing daily quest, I had to update it. Obviously, it took me a day to update the darn thing, and when I logged back in, the daily quest I wanted wasn't there. Either way, I'll hold until the first week of May to freeze my account, so I can play a bit of the Children's Week event and get the two vanity pets I am missing on my main character. With WoW settling down for me, I plan to play that last LOTRO card I mentioned way back when, and keep playing my characters, the ones I made during the free play weekend a while ago. Hopefully I can level them up to a point that they can reach the Mines of Moria content, but I'm in no hurry. Either way, I hardly touched WoW this week, maybe an agregate of five total minutes were spent there?
- Oh yeah, I did play something else - OutRun Online Arcade. It came out on Wednesday, and I got it for review. Having not played much of the Xbox versions (I do have the discs for those here), I was mildly surprised at how fun this version is, simple, dumb fun. Wrote the review on Sunday, hopefully it should be out soon. My The Pitt review is out, though, so check that out in the meantime. I still have a Flock! review in the publishing pipeline, that should be out before OutRun's, hopefully.
- Haven't been reading anything since I've been really put off after so much concentration on one thing. I did however watch the so-called final version of Blade Runner on Saturday. Didn't care much for it, I think I enjoyed the director's cut I own on DVD more, but to be honest it's been so long since I watched that. Anyway, the film still looks great. On the other side of things, I got to watch Die Hard 4.0 yesterday night before bed, and I have to admit, it was pretty darn fun, but super silly. I don't know if it's me getting older, but I thought there were a lot of times poor Maggie Q should've died *SPOILERS!* before she actually did. First she got a shelf dropped on top of her, then a car hit her head on at a relatively high speed, after that, the car hit a concrete wall which led to the scene which ultimely results in her death. Oh well, maybe it's just me over analyzing. I was already aware of the F-35 jet vs. truck scene from Jeff and Ryan talking about it in their podcast, so I wasn't shocked to see it happen. In the end, a pretty fun movie, just have to turn off (or on, I don't know) my disbelief. Great special effects!
- Might not be much, but I rendered a little turntable video for my Ectomobile-1 project on Thrusday and friday, and posted that here and in a couple of other places. I got a pretty excited group of comments, which made me happy. Thank you to everyone who wrote in, and to people who just checked the video out. The final textured version is coming along nicely - I am almost done with the car's my body work, like hucaps, tires, and body. Bump mapping on Adobe Illustrator is bringing me back to those oh-so far four years ago in college courses retracing stuff! Hopefully I can show everyone the final final final version soon, the one that takes freaking five hours to render.
Owf... so that's it. Man, I ranted a lot about SF4. I apologize for that, but it needed to be said. I promise I'll stop using Zangief, even though he's one of my favorite all around characters in the game! Back to work for me, have fun everyone...
So, many people - I'd wish - may be wondering what I've been teasing about in my bullet point posts. That "nostalgic" piece is none other than the Ectomobile-1, the "ECTO-1" from the movie Ghostbusters. That along with the DeLorean from Back to the Future, always held a place in my heart as my favorite movie ride. The original Ectomobile-1 was born off a 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor ambulance, turned into the iconic ride that the Ghostbusters drive around New York City in the 1984. Later, for Ghostbusters II, it turned into ECTO-1A, with even more equipment on its roof, more decals and the infamous marquee scrollers a'la the Wall Street stock exchange's. Personally, I always liked the first version better, and this was the version I focused on for this project. The hardest part, by far, was finding reference photos that did not stray off the original car. Luckily, I hit a good source of great pictures after a couple of days of maddening searching, and thankfully I did not have to go much anywhere else for most of the details.
For those wondering, I've been working on this for about two months now, on and off at the beginning, then dedicated mid-way in.
The video embedded on this blog post is the turntable of the model with three runs: wireframe, wireframe/s.shader and simple shader. Big thanks to my friend Rapha for the big help with 3ds Max. Final, fully textured version coming very soon.
Not that much to report this time...
- Finished Onimusha 3: Demon Siege on Monday - wow, feels like such a long time ago. Fun game, much improved, lackluster ending.
- After Onimusha 3, gave the last go on The Pitt (sans Jolie, sadly) and finished the main quest. Great expansion, read the review soon-ish! Got all the bloody ingots too. Used a video for the last few, they were hidden exactly where I thought they were but couldn't reach. Not as bad of a search. Sweet reward, though.
- The Pitt brought back my love for Fallout 3, so I decided to go back to that and clear out the last achievement missing - Data Miner - or, hacking 50 consoles. Took me a couple of tries to find the 25 or so I was missing, explored a lot of discovered locations on my map that I just breezed through on my main quest game save. Managed to find some Nuka Colas too... ha, wonder where they were when I was actively looking for them! Anyway, got that done early in the week. 1200/1200. I don't care a lot for achievements, but hell, this game deserves it. Ready for Broken Steel in a couple of weeks!
- Speaking of reviews, finished mine for The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, review got published some days later. Check it out here.
- Instead of ICO, I dusted off Tales of Vesperia. Enjoyable so far, but a bit annoying at spots. Can't skip cutscenes, some boss battles early on are incredibly punishing, thus requiring multiple attempts, multiple watches of the multiple unskippable cutscenes in between. Good voice acting, though, brilliant graphics. Might try Sonata again after this one! Love the dog's attitude.
- Went back to Left 4 Dead on Tuesday for Game Night, played with some GameSpot peeps, added a bunch to my friends list on Live. Multiplayer on that is fun! Went back to it yet again on Saturday, for online co-op with an old friend - this time, we played Death Toll on normal, barely made it out on the boat. Yeah, we both stink.
- Also jumped back to Street Fighter IV - Zangy and Cammy loved my return. Finished racking up 100 online games yesterday morning, then some more wins then... shockingly enough, braved ranked matches and won five in a roll! Might try five more just for the achievement sake, not sure. This game is so fun, great buy, in my book. Best online play since Jedi Knight in my opinion.
- Activated the Penny Arcade Episode One trial I had on my 360 before I forgot about the price cut. Played about ten mintues of it. It's Penny Arcade. Woot, I guess.
- Oh yeah, almost forgot about Flock. Fun game, but some odd problems with the camera and the sheep getting invisible and/or stuck on the environment. Still in review stages, good impression so far.
- Worth mentioning - finished watching the Clone Wars yesterday, now I want to watch the full length version. I enjoyed the series a lot, it got better as it progressed, for sure. Popped in a new series, Castle, onto my hum... player. Not a bad show, fun seeing an actor from Firefly in another setting. Not as much witty dialogue, and... don't think it'll last.
- No, did not watch the Terminator season finale, totally forgot about it on Saturday, I will go back to it sometime this week. I had a complete computer lockdown on Saturday, taking a day off. Sooo worth it, have to say.
- Work-wise, the week was pretty full, with lots of hours in front of my computer screen - I'm making the leap between XSI and 3ds MAX and back, and that's been a pain for the most. MAX is pretty finicky to deal with compared to XSI. I've been getting a lot of shortcut cross-over between the two. Well, gotta endure 3ds MAX if I want to get that great render on a particular thing I've been working on.
Hey, hey, had a good run writing these bullets, so here's the list for today. Not as long, I hope. We'll see in the end. Never plan these things out.
- Finished Okami on Thursday. Great game, lackluster final boss, sad to say. Everything in the game is beautifully rendered, but the last boss left a lot to be desired, both design and strategy wise. Something that made me cringe a bit too was how many times a particularly long - albeit easy - boss battle had to be repeated three times throughout the course of the game. Really unnecessary, in my opinion. Last gripe, promise: jumping. I was never a fan of jumping in 3D games, and Okami reminded me of that, especially when jumping onto banners lifted by the wind gust ability. There's simply not enough time to react in order to land the jump, and easy, close-by jumps are missed a little too often for my taste. Alas, those are minor quibs with the game, overall, it's incredible.
- Closed the book on Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny. On an entirely different side of the spectrum from Okami, Onimusha 2 is a very annoying game. No, it's not difficult. It's just annoying. It has not aged well at all. Pre-rendered backgrounds, tank controls, no analog movement and the overall structure are really a step in the past in 2009. My save was at about 2 hrs into it, and it took me about 5 more to complete it. Next.
- Start Onimusha 3: Demon Siege yesterday morning. Now that's how you revitalize a franchise. Great game so far, far better game play, voice acting, graphics, mostly everything's superior in this. Seeing Jean Reno's gigantic no... talent is another plus. He lends his likeness in this game quite well, too bad he's not the English voice actor that takes over for the majority of the game. I'm already pretty far in the game already - at the Eiffel Tower - so I expect it to have it done soon. Yes, the game does take place in France. Come on, it has only been four years since it came out...
- I plan to finally start ICO after Onimusha 3, since I do not own Dawn of Dreams, the fourth Onimusha. ICO has been crying to me from the shelf for quite some time, since I was able to track down a copy.
- Jumped back to The Pitt yesterday night. I was avoiding it since everyone kept complaining about bugs and patches, but I happened to read the game ran fine off the HDD, my basic setup for Fallout 3. Got quite a lot of progress in it, no bugs whatsoever. Great atmosphere, quests and combat. I love the auto axe. It's so bad. What bothers me in the game is how polar and unclear some of the choices are, and how quickly sides will turn on you. I don't sense it lasting for too much longer, so it'll probably be in the bag soon too.
- Tried playing Dishwasher again as well - what a perfect demo game, seriously. Plays awesomely for the first twenty minutes, then it quickly becomes routine and repetitive. I'll insist on it since I'm reviewing it, but hell, it's a quick burn, seems like.
- Worth mentioning - started watching the new Clone Wars animated show. I have to say, I liked it. The fifth episode, Rookies, was pretty darn good, and the one with R2D2's kidnapping was also entertaining. I kinda dig the character designs now, eight episodes into the series. It was slow adapting to it, but it catches on. Fourteen episodes to go!
- Plan to get Penny Arcade Episode One on discount sometime this week - 50% discount sure is nice. Tip that Episode Three is close to coming out? Maybe?
- Putting the finishing touches on that piece I've been teasing for a while now. Spent quite a bit of time working on it for the past five weeks or so. And it shows... should be done soon!
Well, not much else to comment on. See you next Monday.