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Randolph Blog

Wind Waker HD: I give the hell up.

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I have tried so hard since 2003 to like this game. I've beaten two Zelda games, LttP and Skyward Sword. I really wanted to add Wind Waker to that list. Heck, I'm right at the end of the game. I found the last two tri-force shards, went to the last dungeon, and at what I think according to the guides is about the halfway point of this final dungeon I got so bored and frustrated with how much this all getting dragged out that I just paused the game and quit right out to the menu without saving.

It's a pretty game. It's just insufferably boring. I'd rather pull my finger nails off with rusty pliers than suffer through this for one single second longer just so I can say I beat it. Sailing is boring, exploring is boring and has weak pay off, sidestuff away from the main story is boring, the story is boring, the combat is flat, lifeless, and yes, incredibly boring.

The problem with fine tuning a fetch quest... (Wind Waker)

Is that it's still a fetch quest. I was really enjoying the game until I got to the Wind Temple, it was a very poorly designed dungeon that just dragged on and on. Then I got past it and finally started the tri-force fetch quest. Ten years ago when this game arrived on the GCN I never actually got this far. Wind Waker HD's version is supposedly streamlined to make it more enjoyable.

Well I suppose it is, much in the way one pile of dog shit may stink a little less than another, but the reality of the situation is that both piles of shit are, well... shit. It just drags, and drags. Some of them are still charts, and you still have to pay a very large sum to Tingle to get them decoded, THEN go find them. Get this, find this, collect twenty of these stupid things, go here, salvage that, go AHHHHH ARGLE BARGLE!!

It's just obvious that at some point in the original development someone said "Crap, our game is really short, let's pad it with a bunch of collecting and repetition to artificially extend the time it takes to beat the game so it feels like a larger game than it is!". I just finally deciphered the last two charts for the only two pieces of the triforce that I have left, and I feel utterly drained. Just a little more push until I can add only the third game in the series to my list of Zelda games I have seen all the way through, yet I honestly do not want to ever boot this game up again right now after all this drudgery.

You know how Skyward Sword handled getting the tri-force? One big awesome dungeon, and at the end, you get the damned tri-force. That's how you do it. Just... ugh. I feel like the last several hours have been utterly wasted. They say a moment enjoyed is not wasted, well, my last good chunk of moments feel awfully wasted.

Rounding out the generation, or, To collect or not

Do you collect and keep your games? Or is this a completely disposable bubble gum hobby for you? Coming in at the end of this generation I've been collecting. Every single dang generation I sell all my old games to fund the purchase of a new system and new games. Then a few years or so into the new gen I get the itch to play some of those old games and by the time I get around to trying to reclaim them, they are hard to find or very expensive.

Collecting for the Wii is easy right now, Wii U is fully BC with the Wii, and the Wii library still has ample supply at retailers like Gamespot in the used games section with some really good games for really good prices. By this time next year, it's likely they will start to become harder to find, prices will go up, and no later than the start of 2015, Gamestop will likely stop accepting as trade-ins or selling them.

I've got a good chunk of what I want, at least that is available in my local area, Still looking for a few things like Tatsunoko vs Capcom, KOF Orochi Saga, Dragon's Lair Trilogy, Mad Dog McCree Collection, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Fragile, Resident Evil Archives: REmake and RE: Zero, Guilty Gear: Accent Core, Castlevania: Judgement, Lost in Shadow, and a few others. Most of the first party stuff I still want is readily available still, so no hurry there. I already have Prime Trilogy and the Op Rainfall set.

Keep in mind if you think you might want to replay some of these games that PS4 and Xbone are not in any sense BC. At the best on PS4 you may get to stream some PS3 games with Gaikai, but nothing beats actually having the game at your disposal at any time with no strings attached. So if you still have the hardware, you may want to hold onto it. As a final thought, a lot of us had a good bit of digital games this past gen, isn't it odd that the company who seems the farthest behind on this front, Nintendo, is the only one to respect our previous digital purchases and ensure we can bring them forward with us?

Heck, I can still access their previous console/handheld digital games on my new systems and buy and play them. They don't get nearly enough credit for that.

One game sways my decision on a next gen system all by itself.

Killer Instinct. Weird one to have play such a big role in this decision. Mostly overlooked, ignored, even mocked. Yet here I am completely sure that of the games I've seen from the two new systems, this is the one that I am willing to buy a game system to play. I'm not even that good at fighters, despite a very brief rise to the top 50 online rankings in SNK versus Capcom: Chaos on the original Xbox. I've never had the patience for getting good at fighters, despite an undeniable long running interest in the genre.

I really think the game got caught up in guilt by association via the (deserved) backlash for Microsoft's handling of the Xbone. I initially wrote off the system as well, but as a good friend of mine said when asked why he was willing to get one after they reversed all of their terrible policies with the system: "I can work with anything that can be beaten into submission". As can I. Not only will I buy an Xbone, (not sure about this year, have no reserve and hate holiday searches for a new system after what happened with the X360 and Wii at launch to me) and buy this game, I will even buy a compatible arcade stick and take competitive gaming seriously.

Which should be fun since I'm pretty sure the previously mentioned friend, our very own Pat "DarkCatalyst" Mifflin, (currently addicted to FF14 and likely unaware GS has a new site and forums altogether... also explains the absence of JPL lately) can be talked into helping me out as a sort of pet project. After all, he's actually the reason I was a top 50 player in SNK versus Capcom: Chaos.

So yeah, my next system is an Xbone after all, go figure.

(Can we call playing with each other on Xbone "boning"?)

Wii U is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Nintendo has a problem.  It's quite simple, no one is buying their new game console.  I see it as a simple problem, but see no simple solution short of Nintendo losing a very large amount of money and absolutely chopping the cost of a Wii U nearly in half.  Let's look at it like this:

$399 - Playstation 4, most technically advanced game console ever.  Bound to have plenty of first and second party offerings due to Sony's robust and vibrant in house stable.  Will have very strong third party support.  Doubles as a Blu Ray hi-def movie player and DVD upscaler.  Great online infrastructure, 500GB of storage standard, can be expanded with standard HDDs.

$349 - Wii U "Elite", Roughly a bit more powerful than a Playstation 3, but only on paper so far, no games truly display it in a meaningful way and none of the first party games coming from Nintendo this year display a meaningful jump.  Comes with a mini-game collection no one really seems to care much about that serves more as a tech demonstartion for the Wii U gamepad, which is universally seen as adding nothing truly worthwhile to gaming, aside from bloating the cost of the system it comes with.  Very mixed digital offerings, incredibly small selection of classic game that come in at a painful drip.  

Excessively poor and outdated online infrastructure, lack of first and second party games due to Nintendo's lack of experience with HD game development, very little meaningful third party support.  32GB of storage standard, can be expanded with the right external HDDs.

$299 - Wii U "Basic", same as above, except that it is white, and after a system update has maybe a full one GB of storage left, can be exapnded with the right external HDDs.  Comes with no game at all.

$299 - Playstation 3, on paper a bit weaker than Wii U, on screen equivalent or stronger.  Comes with two full retail games better than anything on Wii U or coming soon  to Wii U.  Fantastic game lineup.  Good online infrastructure, robust first and second party, continuing robust third party support, PS+ features huge price slashes on digital games, massive selection of classic games that come in at a high clip, digital full retail releases (which also get regular price slashes), many of which are day and date first and third party alike. Doubles as a Blu Ray hi-def movie player and DVD upscaler.  500 GB of storage standard, can be expanded with stanbdard HDDs.

You see what I see?  These guys are sandwhiched in on both sides by Sony.  On both sides they are made to look like an absolutely terrible value.  I really want to support Nintendo, but they absolutely need to do more to meet me half way.  As is, Nintendo Portable, my name for the imaginary completely different company that supports the 3DS, is the only part of that company that gets my business.  I don't know what that other company is even thinking, but they keep saying "Please understand" and "We apologize" while continuing to do what I do not understand and am insulted by.

How do they get out of this mess??

Looking at where my tastes seem to be going.

I'm thinking about the games I want, the games I have, and where this is all going.  Because with MS taking themselves out of the equation for me on princliple, moving forward, things are getting shaken up.

I'm looking at 3DS as my principle platform for now until somebody at Nintendo comes to terms with how grossly overpriced Wii U is and grows the balls to do something about it.

What I have:

Mario Kart 7 (pre-installed on 3DS)

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (early GOTY contender)

What I want: (that isn't out yet)

Mario and Luigi: Dream Team

It looks like the Mario and Luigi game that finally gets me on board.  I love everything I've seen about it.  Especialy the neat looking giant Luigi versus a Mecha battle.  Love the whole idea of being in Luigi's Dreams for a good chunk of the game.

Shin Megami Tensei IV

I always used to watch vids of these games on youtube and think "man, those are some awesome looking old school RPGs, wish I could play them".  Now I can finally do that.  Love that they kept their classic presentation for battles, despite all the complaining from forumers about it.

Bravely Default

I have to admit, I got so excited by the last few trailers and localization confirmation that I peed myself a little.  Real Final Fantasy without the baggage that now comes with the name Final Fantasy.

Yoshi's New Island

Don't get the negativity that popped up around it, looks excellent to me.  I think I heard that the people doing the development were behind the serviceable at best DS game, but then the same team that did Devil May Cry 2 made Devil May Cry 3, 'nuff said.

Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures

This shitty game is gonna suck ass, I'd rather eaaaaaaaaaat the rotting... oh you get it.  I have to admit, this game stole the show at E3 for me.  I think this says a lot about where my gaming prefs are going because the indie games portion of the PS4 conference was my favorite part of that event as well. (Loved seeing GregK's sexy ass up there too) The folks behind the game are self publishing, so it isn't coming to MS platforms, though the dev insists it's also "a matter of principle" as well.

Brofist for that.

Legend of Zelda: LttP 2

I cannot even begin to explain the feelings I got from watching this video in 3D the other day.  Do want, on so many levels.

Games I want that are out now: (at least one or two reacquires)

  • Mario 3D Land
  • Spirit Camera (Fatal Frame spin off, essentially, waiting for a price drop)
  • NSMB2 (love the gold collecting focus and find gold block head runs fun as hell)
  • Star Fox 64 3D (price drop needed)
  • Tales of the Abyss
  • Virtues Last Reward
  • Liberation Maiden (Suda 51 produced e-shop game)
  • DKCR 3D
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening

On that last one... I just played the demo on my 3DS tonight, and I was seriously impressed.  That was my first taste of Fire Emblem, ever, and I wa pretty blown away.  I'm not even usually a fan of SRPGs, but goddamn, I might come home with this one tommorrow.

What I want that I might not get:

More 3D classics!  Come on man, all or most of these NES Roms should be 3D classics instead!  I would pay good money for Mega Man 2 and Castlevania in 3D.  These few old games we have in 3D so far look great in 3D, seriously.  But 3D classics seems to have lost all it's steam lately.

I'm skipping reserving so may not get one this year, but I see a PS4 in my future.  A Wii U is a certainty when Nintendo wises up on price.

Reality Check: Sony doesn't care about so called hardcore gamers

I've seen an awful lot of threads and replies lately about how MS and Nintendo have "gone casual", and no longer see to the needs of "hardcore" gamers. These replies usually lead into a comment about how said person is "sticking to PS3 now" and will only buy a PS4 next gen, because Sony isn't going casual, because they appeal to hardcore gamers. As if Sony saw the nice big profit pie on the casual table and said "Nah, no thanks" and took some kind of higher road. For the gamers man, the real gamers.

This is, of course, complete bullsh*t. The PS3 hasn't gone casual because Sony's attempt to do so was a complete and total failure.

Need I remind everyone of this atrocity? That's right, Sony's wiimote copycat with a lame lollipop on the top. Not only did it fail at retail and have very little meaningful software support beyond the first few months, it doesn't even work half as well as the thing it's trying to copy. I calibrated my Wiimote once, when I bought it. I manually calibrated Kinect once, when I bought it, then again a month later when I moved my TV higher up. Sometimes Kinect recalibrates automatically before certain games, and it takes all of five seconds.

With my Playstation Move it was literally some kind of constant built in mini-game. Quit out of the game because the damn pointer keeps sliding off to the side in House of the Dead, Dead Space Extraction, Killzone 3, etc. Calibrate, try again, fail again, quit the game, turn off the magnetic sensor, play for ten minutes before it happens again, quit and turn it back on in the menu, and then recalibrate a million times in the in game menu while I play. Or try to play, anyhow.

The only game wherein this was not a constant occurance was RE5: Gold Edition, which was super enjoyable, and a glimpse of what Move was capable of. I think I only had to recalibrate the damn thing once every two hours in that, as opposed to once every two minutes in everything else. The bottomline is that Move didn't work. It's poorly designed, not well implemented into the system as a whole at all, and it failed. It failed hard. It still gets very token support now and again from first party FPS games on the system, but that's about it.

Had the damned thing actually worked half as well as the wiimote, we'd be swimming in Move enabled and Move only games on the platform right now, and all three consoles would be "casual" now. Which is a weird criticism since at least on X360 I still see the same rough level of suppport for "core" games despite the increase in Kinect titles. The move would probabaly be optional as well in most core games, as it was in Killzone 3 and Resistance 3. (as opposed to forced use of touch screen and back touch pad controls in the Vita Uncharted game)

Sony isn't going casual, yet. But they tried. They will try again, and will likely use the PS4 as their next attempt. Sony wants a piece of that profit pie, and they are a company currently in a world of financial woe, they WILL make another go at it. So those of you offended by the very presence of such things on your consoles, get ready.

DRM is dumb, and it doesn't work.

So I'm perusing the front page of the forums and come across this thread here, which may be gone at some point, but regardless it's still grinding my grits. Here is an excerpt:

"Recently, I purchased Arkham City for the PC, and it crashes right at the start on the first level. When I emailed WBGames, they replied asking me to contact Securom instead for support.

While I did contact Securom (who still haven't replied my email), I also told WB Games that I bought the game from them, and not from Securom, which I believe is my right as a consumer. They've responded (and very slowly at that) with constant auto-replies that I contact Securom. I've have saved full email conversation for anyone who wants to see it, showing the repeated auto-replies, and general lack of concern for their customer. I believe this is something that needs to be highlighted to save the business of crucial converted non-pirates like myself. WB Games needs to understand that their customers never asked for DRM and thus, it is in their best interests to support any issues coming from it.

I like buying original games. Even though it might sometimes be more troublesome (Steam isn't very stable), I get a nice warm feeling to know I'm supporting good people doing good work. But when I buy a game in all sincerity, and can't get support from the very same company that sold it to me, I feel like I've been slapped in the face. I don't want to be a pirate again, so I implore you to publish this letter, and send a message to gaming companies to make it easier for people to do the right thing."


Isn't that pathetic? I did some checking around and, yep, the PC version of Arkham City had a crack available to deal with the DRM within about a day. So a legitimate customer is treated like a criminal and given the go around by the people who made the game, and is redirected to the company that provided the game with it's oppressive customer punishing DRM, so that millions of pirates would have to wait a whopping day or two to play the game for free. These people complain about the prevalence of piracy on the PC gaming market, then go out of their way to make it easier for pirates to play their damn games.

Now Playing #1: Resident Evil Revelations

I picked this up today on my lunch break and managed to beat episode one after one hell of a day at work. It's a game that definitely seems to be treading a fine line between new Resident Evil, and old. The result is actually really pleasurable. It controls like a further refined RE5, (I was shooting and moving!) but it has the tension and atmosphere of the old school Resident Evil games. I was scrounging for bullets near the end of the episode, and was being forced to pick my fights. So it seems so far that the slider has been moved a bit towards some tangible survival horror. (it's like they decided to make a whole game out of the Lost in Nightmares episode of RE5 Gold)

I'm playing with the circle pad pro, and I like the feel of it, makes holding the system a bit more comfortable. I think it looks a bit silly though.

But that's ok, like I said, it's a bit more comfortable to hold for long periods, and it just plain works. I was swinging the camera around a bit wildly until I started to adjust to the extra bulk of the add-on. But I quickly got a good feel for it. The graphics are fantastic, but I keep the 3D on the normal option, the strong/very strong option has a lot of ghosting going on. Something I noticed while playing though... using the scanner device looks really cool in 3D. Like looking through a visor almost. It really, really makes me wish for a Metroid Prime game on the 3DS. I think it would look fantastic.

Anyway, to get to the point, it looks and feels like a full fledged console RE game. No compromises seem to have been made, and that's great. It takes steps forward, while bringing back some sensible elements of the past. Demo is on the e-shop if you want to try it out for yourself without plunking down forty bucks for it.