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drummer131 Blog

My MNR creation factory is up and running!

I just wanted to let you guys know that finally, I "broke the seal", so to speak, and have begun to create Mods, karts, and tracks on ModNation Racers (PS3). All at once, I've come up with so many neat ideas I can't wait to try to bring to life.

To those of you that do own the game, I would really love and appreciate it if you could download my creations, vote on them, and perhaps even use some of them. I'm trying hard to get the Star Creator trophy, which requires that I accumulate 250,000 Create XP. I'm nowhere close to that, but every little bit helps.

If you own the game, please let me know your PSN ID and I'll look up your stuff and download it, too! It's only fair and it will help everyone involved.

Please check back often as I feel like this weekend, I'll be publishing creations left and right.


P.S. Do any of you know how to favorite other players? The only way I can think of is to access the player's Creator Card and there might be the option there. I've never done it before, but it seems impossible for me to just type in a PSN ID somewhere so I can favorite them without them being online. I'd like to friend everyone I know from here, so I can keep better tabs on what you're all creating. :)

Great NUUUUUUUUUUUUS, everyone!

I found and grabbed the last ten Green Stars I still needed to collect in Super Mario Galaxy 2 yesterday. My brother had to help me with Green Star 3 in Shiverburn and Green Star 1 in Rolling Coaster; those were the last two to be obtained.

Then the Grandmaster Galaxy unlocked and we tore through it in two or three attempts!

Never thought it'd happen, but drummer131 has 241 stars on his SMG2 savefile!

P.S. I'm forgetting about Grandmaster's Comet Coin. A daredevil run through that mess does not sound like fun to me, especially when my only reward for doing so is a digital pat on the back by Rosalina. Still no cake, no kind of trophy or some such, no additional unlocked content, nothing. Just verbal praise. NOT. WORTH. IT. I'm plenty fulfilled with the 241, tyvm.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Completely unrelated, I wanted to share with you a picture I took while playing NFS HP last night. By some miracle, the internet signal was strong enough so that my PS3 could connect (I'm sure some of you saw me) and thus I was able to take pictures in-game for some trophies. This particular shot was taken while I was driving around Seacrest County looking for a great spot to attempt a continuous 1000-yard drift in a Porsche 911 GT2 RS for one of the DLC trophies. It really did look like that as I was driving down the road. It's like...visual poetry.

morning glow

P.S.S. I ended up in Mission Beach's "Shortcut 1" for the long drift. It takes you right down onto the beach itself, just before the Ferris wheel and there's an open area of sand surrounded by small rocky hills. Nestle into that small area and start drifting. Okay, what the heck. Here's the picture I took after I got the trophy.

wheeliesinthesand

I love how you can see my tracks in the sand from previous revolutions. 8)

Miniature Gaming Update

Not too long ago (I can't remember when exactly), I started up a savefile in Golden Sun Dark Dawn. Thanks to three consecutive snow days (oh yeah), I was able to beat the game last night. Gotta say, it was great to see all of my favorite GS Psynergy spells, weapon unleashes, Djinn, and summons in 3D; however, I felt the story was super weak, not fleshed out at all, gave little detail or explanation, and just felt like a giant string of fetch quests for obnoxious story-related NPCs. Heck, even more than half of your own playable cast was lacking in any kind of significant personality or character development. It was nowhere close to being on par with the excellent storytelling that can be found in the previous two titles for the GBA. I really hope the sequel (most likely, there will be a sequel...) makes up for all the flaws I found in Dark Dawn. Still, I had fun playing it.

Everything in the game that can be done I have done with the exception of defeating Dullahan in Crossbone Isle. Screw him. I'll come back for his (lack of a) head after I've level grinded a great deal and perhaps found or forged some better armor and weapons. That won't be anytime soon, though, because I've got other games to play!

P.S. A note to those who own the guide: Where it says something like "there are two portals. Go in the northeast one first." right before the description of strategies for the Dullahan fight, they really mean to say "go into the northwest one first." Their maps imply the latter is what they actually meant. Of all the places to drop the one typo I could find in the entire guide...I walked right into Dullahan without saving first, let alone setting a slew of Djinn. I died. Harshly. Thank God I didn't lose all my progress...just half my coins and I ended up in one of the towns. Annnyywayyyyy.....


Progress in SMG2 is moving along. I almost wish Steve and I hadn't gotten my 119th and 120th stars because that gave me yet another game to feel inclined to play. Luckily, it's been much less difficult to hunt down and grab the Green Stars, at least in the earlier worlds. I'm in World 5 now, having gathered all the Green Stars from all the levels prior. Some of them were ingeniously hidden. Part of the fun with the Green Stars is listening for the "sparkly" sound effect, honing in on the star's exact location, and then figuring out how in the world you're going to get Mario or Luigi to that location. As an example, one time, I had to jump off the edge of a platform into a butt stomp, while upside-down, to reach one. On a great deal of occasions, I've had to long jump out into nothingness. The clouds, an endless pool of lava, lethal green goop. If you miss, you die and you have to start over again. Some of the Green Stars can be reeeeeal tough, for sure. I think I'll be cursing the game's very existence again very soon. I'm up to about 205 now, I think.


Now after I've had my fill of SMG2, I think my next gaming destination will be Lords of Shadow. I'm excited at the number of silver trophies that game offers. Although, if the new modem and router I bought at Best Buy work as advertised (the adapter thingie I bought a couple of weeks ago couldn't even get through its own setup procedure in my house) and have anything to say about things, I just might start playing more Hot Pursuit and maybe even get into some ModNation Racers instead.

I already know there's no way I'm going to make it through much of my backlog before the end of February. De Blob 2 will arrive and I won't be ready. Oh well. It just means I'll be able to wait til the price goes down a little bit.

Crazy Awesome News on the XIII Front

Yep, whether we secretly wanted it or quietly wished for it (or really didn't ask for it at all), here it comes.

xiii2

What we know so far:

  • Square Enix announced Final Fantasy XIII-2 for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
  • During a Square Enix 1st Production Division event in Japan, producer Yoshinori Kitase revealed this title to be a direct sequel to last year's Final Fantasy XIII.
  • It will be directed by Motomu Toriyama.
  • While Japan will be able to pop this into their personal choice of non-Wii console by the end of this year, the rest of us will be able to play this for ourselves sometime "next Winter". My guess is that means this time next year or perhaps February of next year.

TRAILER *Spoiler alert - Includes snippets from XIII's ending*

Who knows what characters will return? Who knows what the story could be? That guy's an entirely new character. I personally wonder what the battle system will be like. X-2's was nothing like X's and I actually really liked all the Dress Sphere changing.



In other news, Final Fantasy Agito XIII, the game that once was the PSP's entry in the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, has recieved a name change. Agito XIII is now...

type0

Why the name change? Director Hajime Tabata has gone on record as stating that it seemed appropriate given how different the more action-oriented design of Type-0 had become from Final Fantasy XIII. Sure makes sense to me. You don't want people playing through the game trying to figure out where the ties to FFXIII are when there really aren't any.

The game is still slated to be released exclusively on the PSP, though it's now known that the game will ship on two UMDs. The doubled storage will accommodate over 30 voiced characters. The game also seems to feature multiplayer battles.

Personally, I've never known that a PSP game could take up more than one UMD disc. I didn't know that was even possible.

Though the game has only really had one or two trailers and I personally haven't heard much at all about the game's story or game mechanics, it ships in Japan this summer. Cruelly, there is still no word on whether or not the U.S. will be seeing this game come overseas. It's not as much of a shoe-in as a direct sequel to a flagship FF title would be, since it's a spin-off title and there are plenty of FF-related games or Square Enix games, for that matter, that have not seen a release outside of Japan.

HUGE gaming accomplishment

Just about an hour ago, my friend Steve and I achieved what I thought would be an eternally impossible feat. We took on the Prankster Comets of the Boss Blitz and Stone Cyclone galaxies in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and we conquered them. With his invaluable assistance as my P2 Luma, I was able to collect the last of the 120 regular golden Power Stars.

Now, I can finally stop being taunted by the very existence of the Green Stars and begin to actually hunt them down and collect them.

I can't recall the last time I had something in a video game hang over my shoulders like dead weight such as my inability to collect the last of the 120 stars on my own. It was so infuriating, to be so close and yet to comprehend what I still had to overcome. We breezed through them, though. We're good like that. We found a way to get all the Star Coins in all the non-World 9 levels of NSMB Wii together. We treat the quests like puzzles and strategize how we'll pull it off.

When we pulled off the Boss Blitz speed run, we both hooted and hollered and made far too much noise. It was really exciting, a total rush. Stone Cyclone's was a piece of cake compared to Boss Blitz. It only took about five attempts and each time, we were able to put a little more of our strategy together until we effortlessly succeeded with flying colors. As Mario spun around with that final golden Power Star, I couldn't believe it. I thought the day/night would never come and yet, here we were.

Here I am. I have another whole half of a game to play through. My overall opinion of the game still has not wavered, but at least now my feelings towards the game are much less severe and negative. It was a huge accomplishment. It's not every day that you achieve something in a video game that makes you sit back and feel proud at what you've done.


P.S. I've forgone resuming my DKCR save in favor of playing through Golden Sun Dark Dawn first. I can always jump back into SMG2 or DKCR. However, I need to commit to a game like GSDD because it has a story and I can't just stop playing it somewhere between the start and the finish. I need to play through as many games as I can before February 22; that's the day my first "hypothetical" game purchase of 2011 is released. De Blob 2.

WRUP: mlk wknd ed.

I hope that's enough capitalized abbreviations for you all. In English, it says "What Are You Playing: MLK Weekend Edition".


I literally JUST beat Kirby's Epic Yarn with 93% completion so far, so I'm thinking I might as well try for 100%. even though it doesn't net me a Platinum trophy.

After that, it's any game's game. I could jump back into DKCR, where I'm halfway through World 5. Or, I could start my first savefile in Lords of Shadow or the new Golden Sun.

Or, I could resume where I left off in Hot Pursuit. You know, the Autolog website states that I'm just over 20% done with all of NFS HP. Only 20%. I've played that game for over 20 hours already. This is absurd. And yet, I keep wanting to go back because the soundtrack is awesome, the graphics are amazing, and the gameplay is rock solid. 'Nuff said.


Sooo what're you all planning to play this weekend?

Movie Rush Synopsis

Continued from yesterday…

MOVIES

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

During one weekend in November, my brother invited his entire lot of college friends over to the house to celebrate his birthday over an entire weekend. On one of the nights, we ordered Scott Pilgrim using OnDemand. I was eager to see it because of everything all of you had said about it, but I was ultimately not all that impressed by it. It didn't manage to entertain me and I thought it was very bizarre. I ended up spending more time looking down at websites on my laptop screen than up at the TV screen by the end.

Then Thanksgiving weekend came around and that's when I bought and downloaded Castle Crashers and the Scott Pilgrim game. Sure, the game is quirky, but it's undeniably fun with at least one other person and the soundtrack by Anamanaguchi is awesome. My opinion of Scott Pilgrim changed from "not really my thing at all" to "the movie was meh, but the game is great".

Dom asked for and received a DVD copy of the movie for Christmas and on one of the days in between Christmas and New Year's, we decided to watch it. For whatever reason, I fell in love with it this second time around. The jokes are very funny and I caught so many more of them this time! I'm thinking the game just kinda enlightened me about the kind of universe that Scott Pilgrim revels in.

I've since bought the Blu-ray Collector's Edition.

scottpilgrim

-------> 4.5 out of 5 quarters for the arcade

How to Train Your Dragon

Besides Scott Pilgrim, Dom had also asked for a copy of this movie. As a family, we decided to watch it some night prior to New Year's. I found it to be absolutely adorable and without flaws, storywise. So often, I'll fall in love with a movie just to have it go completely off-course towards the end (ex: Up). This movie had a good beginning, middle, and end. The film is all about facing yourself and holding true to your moral convictions and your goals in life, despite the fact that everyone around you holds no faith in what you wish to achieve. I really enjoyed it. I loved the animation, I loved the variety of locations, and I liked the diversity and the sheer detail used to characterize the dragon species. That was really neat. I used some Christmas money to buy a Blu-ray copy of this one as well.

toothless

-------> 4.5 out of 5 Viking helmets made of female breastplates

Inception

Ah, yummy. A movie like The Prestige to thoroughly boggle and blow my mind until my brother and the internet can attempt to explain it all to me. Unfortunately, I was able to understand it completely just from one viewing. It was a good movie, sure, but I was very disappointed that it didn't have the desired effect on me of bewilderment and befuddlement. In this respect, it was an underwhelming movie for me. That's a shame because my brother sure loves the crap out of it and I was really hoping I would, too. I mean, I love The Prestige. That movie still toys with me as I try to catch all the fine details.

crazyinfographic

-------> 3.5 out of 5 perpetually spinning Totems

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I don't really even know where to begin with this one. For some inexplicable reason, my brother owns this on DVD and felt like it would serve as quality family entertainment the day before New Year's Eve. When it was over, I turned to him and asked, "okay....so was there a point to all of that? I don't get it." Honestly, WTF??? Tim Curry in lingerie for over an hour and a half, characters randomly breaking into song to sing about who knows what, zero character back story or development, and I still have no idea why the movie is partially named after a character who seems so minor in the whole thing. It was sooooo absurd. Maybe I had to be there in the 70s to get it.

dinnertime

-------> 1 out of 5 Transylvanian transvestites

True Grit

Every New Year's Day, my extended family goes to see a movie at a theater. This was the selection for 2011; it beat out Narnia, Tangled, and Tron. My parents, Dominick, and I were all for any of those three; after the movie, we still felt we would have been much better off with one of the other three. I think this is the first time I've disagreed and did not enjoy the NYD movie selection.

While I admired the realism, it never really felt like anything was happening. The movie ended abruptly with a sorry excuse for an ending. I left thinking, "that was it?" Even those in my family that generally liked the movie thought that it ended poorly and abruptly. It just...ended, while it felt like things were just getting started.

Bottom line: I didn't like it at all. Maybe I just don't like Westerns. Sure explains why I've steered clear of RDR.

jeffbridges

-------> 2.5 out of 5 scruffy marksmen

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader

My family went to see this last weekend. I've seen bits and pieces of the first Narnia movie, and I own Prince Caspian because I loved not just the movie as a whole but the whole idea of "the kids return as kids again after having left after having served out an entire lifetime as kings and queens of the realm and they find the world is in disarray and chaos".

Dawn Treader was enjoyable, but not nearly as good in my opinion as Prince Caspian. It felt lacking; it felt underwhelming by its conclusion. It also felt somewhat generic at times. I mean, I thought Narnia had more cl@ss than naming the central evil entity "the Mist", which dwells on "Dark Island". Really??? Also, things just kinda happened without any real explanation. Looking back on it, with the exception of the first twenty or so minutes, the whole movie felt like a series of disjointed scenes that were cut and pasted together because it seemed like the most logical sequence to put them in.

At least the ending was good.

narnia3

-------> 3.5 out of 5 not-so-subtle references to Aslan being "Jesus Lion" as my brother calls him

Easy A

If you want a hip and hysterical movie for a family with teenagers, boys or girls, this is a great one to pick. Emma Stone's character might be a cliche, but she certainly doesn't play Olive like one. She has emotions and feelings. Throughout the movie, I could not stop thinking how perfect a fit Emma Stone was for the role of Olive.

Easy A is not only one of the funniest teen comedies I've seen in recent memory, but I feel it's also one of the most intelligent. It doesn't settle for cheap sex, drunken, or toilet humor. Instead, the audience is treated with clever dialogue, strong characters, and a plot you can actually care about. The humor lies in genuinely funny scenarios, not vulgar gags. The movie never feels like it's running off of stereotypes because it isn't; that's something I really appreciated.

I always knew this was going to be a great movie and one I wanted to see, even before Dom saw it himself and told me I'd like it. I could not stop laughing because Olive reminded me so much of my brother, oddly enough (that doesn't imply that my brother's gone around pretending to have slept with many people...). The movie was refreshing. Who knew? A comedy that's actually funny...and it doesn't even star any so-called comedic actors.

olive

-------> 5 out of 5 embroidered red A's

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Here's a movie that I was interested in seeing when it first came out, but then I didn't have the opportunity to go see it in a theater. Now that I've seen it, I'm glad I didn't. Too many snakes. I would have been freaked the F out. I hate snakes. This movie has snakes jumping out of sand, with their mouths wide open, fangs ready to sink into some human flesh. A snake even gets sliced open at one point. It was just gross.

Besides all the snakes, however, this was a quality action flic. It's probably the finest video game adaptation I've ever seen, and I feel it certainly helped that this one wasn't trying to literally re-enact a game's storyline. I found it to be a tale about three brothers, first and foremost. When the fate of their kingdom suddenly becomes uncertain and potentially consumed in darkness, Jake Gyllenhaal's character must overcome many obstacles in order to right some wrongs. Naturally as the title implies, the Dagger of Time (or whatever it's called) is involved.

Truth be told, if it weren't for the snakes, I probably would have enjoyed this movie a lot more. I liked the dynamic between the brothers. I admired that Jake did most of his own stunts and most of the action didn't involve CGI-based special effects. I liked the time travel. It was sensible and no element of the plot nor special effects was overdone or exaggerated. A good view, if not at most once.

pop

-------> 4 out of 5 stealthy CGI snakes

Iron Man

I've wanted to see this movie for years. I've been told by many many people how good this movie is. Well, I finally got to see it this weekend. I enjoyed it. However, much like what happened with Inception, it proved to be underwhelming for me. It just wasn't as AWESOME as I thought it was going to be. The ending was underwhelming, the amount of action was underwhelming, the number of witty superhero remarks was underwhelming. It didn't live up to my expectations.

I didn't even think I had high expectations.

redhand

-------> 3.75 out of 5 shiny miniature arc reactors

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Hmm, this one was just off. I've never seen the first movie and I was never into Transformers as a kid, unless the Zords the Power Rangers called upon count. What inspired me to watch this particular Transformers movie was the premise I saw in a trailer of the guy suddenly being able to read and understand ancient glyphs. Between that and the assured awesome that came with CGI Transformers, I thought I would be in for a really awesome movie.

Well, said movie was practically two and a half hours long. It felt too long. There were some scenes I felt could have been removed. Overall, the special effects were amazing (especially in Blu-ray), but the plot was just...it was very unclear to me who different people were and why things were happening as they were. Remember how I talked about disjointed scenes with Dawn Treader? It was like that again in this movie, though even more so.

At multiple times during the movie, I considered stopping the movie because it just wasn't entertaining me. It was a lot of pretty CGI, but there was no sturdy thread of storyline happening and I didn't care about the characters. In particular, Sam's parents and his girlfriend annoyed me to no end. Every scene his parents were in was just plain cringe-inducing. And there were far too many jokes about testicles. I recall three or four. One is sufficient, if a movie is to have one at all. I mean, c'mon.

Maybe I'm too old to fall into the movie's target audience (24 is old?). Maybe I should have seen the first movie first in order to better appreciate this one. I don't know. I just feel like this movie was such a major disappointment because it could have been so great if it had a stellar, well-told plot to go along with the incredible action and CGI. As video gamers, we know all too well that graphics aren't everything.

Here's hoping the next Transformers movie is much much better.

optimusprime

-------> 3 out of 5 freaky blonde bombshell Decepticon assassins

My Apologies to Scott Pilgrim, but not to SMG2

It's been an extremely long time since I just sat down at my computer and talked about my recent gaming endeavors. Since I've been inexplicably exhausted since this morning and have quite a bit to share with everyone, I thought I'd just go nuts and catch you all up on what I've been up to in terms of video games...and movies. Yes, I said movies. I rarely see movies in the theater anymore, but already this year I've seen two movies in the theater. I also rented a slew of Blu-rays over the weekend and caught up on some movies I've been really wanting to see for a long time. Be prepared to hear my opinions about them all after the dashed line fence!

EDIT: So it turns out this blog in its entirety was going to surpass the legal limit for the number of words in a blog post. So, below you'll find just my recent gaming habits. In the next post, you'll find the rundown of all the movies I've recently seen.

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GAMING

Castle Crashers (PS3)

During the first week my brother was home for Christmas break, we spent a good deal of time playing this game together. I still had quite a few Animal Orbs to hunt down and we also wanted to try to find as many of the various weapons as we could. With a user-created guide from GameFAQs in hand, we acquired all the Animal Orbs save for the two that cost 5500 gold coins each at the Insane Store and at least another fifteen weapons.

animalorbs

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game (PS3)

Dominick and I played the ever-loving poodoo out of this game during the same week we went crazy with Castle Crashers. We cleared the game for the first time on my savefile, maxed out Stills and Scott, and grabbed a slew of trophies.

Here they are: getthegirl invulnerable vigilante armedanddangerous gourmet shopaholic thepoweroffriendship

Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Against my better judgment, I succumbed to a random urge to play this game again in the hopes of acquiring a few more Power Stars. I've always been really close to 120, and it just bugs me that I'm so close to "unlocking" the Green Star quest (essentially, the second half of the game) that I guess that's what got me wanting to play again.

My opinion of the game has not changed - I still despise it for a multitude of reasons - but I was fortunate enough to suck my way through a few of the World S levels in order to grab another three or four Power Stars. I now have two left: the Speed Run in Boss Blitz Galaxy and whatever the Prankster Comet one is for the Stone Cyclone Galaxy. I hate the Speed Run one because it's so hard to defeat the Fiery Dino Piranha with a timer ticking away. During one attempt, I had just about a whole minute to down him and I couldn't because his tail kept reigniting just as I was about to spin attack it into his face. Infuriating, to say the least. I still dislike the game intently. I must be a masochist or something since I keep coming back every so often.

fierydinopiranha

Kirby's Epic Yarn (Wii)

I got this game for Christmas and as of Sunday night, I'm almost done with it. I'm probably going to go back to all the levels and try to Gold Medal each one, as well as find all the treasures. The sidequests are also pretty cool, so I'll complete each of those too.

I've found that depending on the level, co-op can actually be rather irritating. I think it may just be because it's so much easier to keep your beads intact when there aren't two squishy yarn creatures running through obstacles when you're playing solo.

kirbyyarn

Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)

I have genuinely mixed feelings about this game. It may look a little like cl@ssic DKC, but it doesn't play and feel like cl@ssic DKC. I keep dying because I'm not bopping enemies on the head in exactly the right place. I find super jumping off of enemies to be really difficult. Funky and Dixie do not make an appearance, there are no underwater levels, only two animal buddies are present (of which only one is playable and both are not new), the worlds lack interesting names (instead just possessing generic geographic ones), and much of the soundtrack is just remixes of cl@ssic DKC1 tracks. The new non-remixed tracks lack the distinct melody lines that David Wise's DKC tracks are well-known for. They're just fitting BGMs that are not memorable in any way.

On the bright side, DK and Diddy are back and that's awesome. I love the dynamic level designs; it's not just running and jumping. The game is very challenging; I just thought all the previewers and reviewers were overexaggerating. I also think the Jigsaw piece scavenger hunt thing is a cool new game element. In addition, I was pleasantly surprised to see that many levels have multiple checkpoints. Never before have DKC levels featured more than just one checkpoint. I do wish the spinning, starry Checkpoint Barrel had made a return. I get the DK64 reference with the pigs, but they're just not as cool as the spinning, starry barrels. Yes, I'm harsh but I love DKC like I love breathing and I don't feel Retro got it as right as they might think they did.

I'm halfway through World 5 (Forest) at the moment. Dom and I gave up on co-op when the levels grew absurd in World 3 and World 4 quickly showed itself to be just a series of mine cart and barrel rocket levels (during which it's wise to just let one player have control). I cannot believe the game has a time trial mode. That is just sadistic. I do, however, think it's cool that the game has super tough extra levels and a Mirror Mode to unlock.

sunsetblvd

nail'd (PS3)

I had to wait nearly the entire month of December for this game to arrive in the mail, but when it finally did arrive, I was very eager to pop it in and check it out. Gamespot gave it a 5.5 and while the game is no superstar, I certainly wouldn't score it that low.

From what I've played so far (only a little over an hour), the "roller coaster"-like levels are pretty cool. The game physics are very loose, but that's what was advertised so that really shouldn't come as a surprise. It didn't. What did come as a surprise was how right reviewers had been about how random it is when the game determines you've crashed and/or require a respawn because of an awkward landing or something. It really is difficult to discern what will and won't make you crash or trigger a respawn, so when it happens, most of the time, you're just like "oh, okay". At least the respawning takes mere seconds.

Overall, the game definitely shows a certain lack of polish. When you're going blazing fast, the Turbo Boost really doesn't feel like you're going any faster. Graphically, when going fast, everything kinda looks like the game is made of "Claymation". Also, what I've played of the Tournament thus far has been very easy; you can mess up a lot and still manage to win. In fact, I crashed over five times in one race and still took first place. There's a trophy for doing that and when I earned it, I was shocked. Looking over the trophy list prior to buying the game, I thought that would be one of the harder trophies to earn, for sure!

Anyway, compared to other racing games I own such as Pacific Rift and especially Hot Pursuit, nail'd just pales in comparison. I've heard many people say that Pure did what nail'd does better than nail'd does it, but I honestly wouldn't know that because I've never played Pure. Nail'd will probably still provide a lot of good gaming for me, but it's not as spectacular a product overall as I thought it would be.

longwaydown

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (PS3)

I spent quite a bit of time playing this game during the Winter Break. I was able to grab all the trophies regarding online races, and I was also able to earn a few more Golds/Distinctions in Events. Online races were very good for me for primarily one single reason: They made me a better, more precise driver. You get better at avoiding the spike strips, timing your road blocks, and evading the police. I so wish the game had the option to save replays for races because there were a few where after they were over, I was sitting there hooting and hollering because it was a super smooth, clean run or I totally cleaned house. These particular runs were like a thing of beauty that I wanted to be able to watch over and over again. Alas, it's impossible to do this.

Since I've played much KEY and DKCR (and watched Dom play a good deal of Lords of Shadow), it seems evident that NFS HP is a very strong contender for my GOTY 2010. However, I am noticing that it's missing a few elements that would have made the game much better than it already is. For example, Hot Pursuit during Free Drive mode. Why doesn't it exist? Also, why no Split Screen or Replay feature? Forget about saveable replays. Why not just the ability to watch a race from start to finish after it's over? There's also no option for manual transmission (not that I'd use it), no control over the weather or time of day conditions in Free Drive mode (which I definitely find odd and rather inconsiderate), and the option to skip an event's opening cinematic doesn't skip it, but rather just shortens it. That last point gets really annoying when you're restarting or replaying an event over and over again.

nfshpfordindesert

I don't mean to sound like I'm tearing the game apart. It does so many things right and I truly love it all the more because it was a total impulse buy for me. I watched a trailer for it and preordered it the next day, a week before it came out. It's just that it could be so much better. Good thing the soundtrack's solid. Seriously, download it and drive to work with it. AWESOME!

Game of the Year: 2003 Edition

NOMINEES

  • Dark Cloud 2 (PS2)
  • Final Fantasy X-2 (PS2)
  • Golden Sun 2: The Lost Age (GBA)
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (GBA)
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (NGC)

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darkcloud2

2003 Game of the Year - Dark Cloud 2

I'd played the first Dark Cloud before I played its sequel. I enjoyed it, but ultimately sold it because the final extra dungeon was just too much and for whatever reason, the game would serve a better purpose as trade-in cash than maintaining its welcome in my collection at home. It was the first RPG I played for the PS2.

Then Dark Cloud 2 came along and absolutely put its predecessor to shame. Not only is DC2 infinitely more fun to play, there is so much more to do! What's better than clearing a randomly-generated floor of a dungeon and immediately breaking out your clubs for a leisurely round of Spheda? Or, how about running around the worlds taking pictures of different things so you can use those items to make new weapons and such? The game is just unbelievable and honestly, if it weren't for the fact that the game wasn't so long or takes so long to play through, I'd totally go back and play through it again.

It was just a fantastic adventure; the story was captivating and full of emotions. The different locations throughout the game were diverse and full of great atmosphere (you know how much I love me some game atmosphere). Though I haven't touched the game since 2003, I still have very vivid memories of a few particular moments in-game. They'll stay with me for a long time to come.

Runner-up: Golden Sun: The Lost Age

Really, what can I say about this game? Technically, it was more of what the original Golden Sun brought to the table. Except, it brought so much more in every aspect. More summons, summons that required more than one kind of Djinn, a story that was significantly more epic than its predecessor's, more weapons, more creatively diverse dungeons to use more kinds of Psynergy in, more playable characters. The list goes on and on. What TLA did best of all was it gave fans a conclusion to the story that was very satisfying. TLA is an epic, just told in video game form.

Runner-up: Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

Ahh, Double Dash. This was the game on my Christmas list back in '03. While I completely beat the game in three days, I've been playing it to death to this day. Whereas Mario Kart 64 looked and played awkwardly and was overall very difficult, and Mario Kart Wii just seems boring and uninspired, Double Dash brought something new to the table and looked very good while doing so. The aesthetic on the courses is more cartoony than any other MK game to date. Furthermore, the courses are incredibly diverse and each feature a particular cool feature. The DK course has a giant barrel cannon, the prehistoric dino course has geysers Daisy's track takes place on and inside a cruise ship, etc. If I remember correctly, it's also one of the very few MK games not to rely on remastered older tracks to bolster its course roster. That means a lot, at least to me. Nintendo also took the time to allow for a huge character roster as well, in addition to a varied assortment of karts. Gone were the days of the same kart model, just painted differently for different characters. Racing co-op through a Grand Prix is a highlight of the game, thanks to the dual-racer system.

Without a doubt, Double Dash is my all-time favorite Mario Kart game.

Previous entries: 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002

Game of the Year: 2002 Edition

NOMINEES:

  • Sega Soccer Slam (NGC)
  • Super Monkey Ball 2 (NGC)
  • Super Mario Sunshine (NGC)
  • Star Fox Adventures (NGC)
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)

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smb2

2002 Game of the Year - Super Monkey Ball 2

I'm sure you're all like, "huh? Is this a joke? If it is, I don't get it." about my choice here. SMB2 over games like GTA VC and SMS!? And yet, even though I'm coming back now to this list of winners and nominees that I made months ago, I still agree with the choices I made. I didn't buy SMB2 until the summer of 2003, but I sure did play the ever-loving heck out of it by myself, with my brother, with a friend, with a different friend, with multiple friends plus my brother, etc. This game saw lots of spin-time in the good ol' Gamecube back then. It still does, sometimes.

The premise is simple: You pick a monkey, stick him/her in a very durable ball (that presumably has some kind of internal air supply), and then roll him/her around a course Marble Madness sty1e through a Goal ribbon. Of course, the levels grow more challenging as you progress. What makes the core levels so much fun and replayable is that you're always trying to get faster times on each course and you never know when you're going to inexplicably pull off an impossible feat worth making a saved replay out of. My memory card is full of them, and they're always good for a laugh, even all these years later.

In addition to the Story Mode and Free Play, there are a multitude of minigames you can jump into. Some were around for the first game, but a few were new for this sequel. All of them are a lot of fun, especially with the right people. For example, Baseball is a bonafide home run fest, so it's best not to play that one with someone who hates falling behind really quick or when a baseball game's score looks more like you're playing basketball.

All in all, the game's just plain fun. There's always something you can challenge yourself with, and the fun is even more plentiful when you have others to play with. If only they could make another great SMB game. I haven't seen one come even close since this one.

Runner-up: Super Mario Sunshine

Funny story: a year or so after Super Mario 64 came out but years before SMS was released, I remember having a dream that I (or Mario) was surfing on clear blue ocean waters with a green Koopa shell. When I saw you could do that in SMS and much later in SM64 DS and SMG, I just about died. Clairvoyance, much?

Anyway, for a while, this game would be my go-to game once summer break came around. It just put me in the mood for three months of pool, beach, lemonade, and a whole lotta who knows what else. The FLUDD introduced a new sty1e of platforming for Mario fans, a sty1e that I happened to enjoy quite a bit. Rightfully so, the water effects in this game, especially how the ocean looks, remain some of the best water effects I've ever seen.

Runner-up: Star Fox Adventures

And here's another game with spectacular graphics and water effects. I don't care what the history of this game is, what the controversy was, and why so many people despise or dislike this game. This game, for me, was awesome. It looked great, played great, and it was something entirely different for the Star Fox series. Given that for most fans of the franchise, it was their second Star Fox game, I don't see why people couldn't embrace major change.

My favorite part of the game, besides how hearty and sufficiently lengthy it felt, was the fact that you were always revisiting places to access new areas. Also, switches and targets you needed to hit somehow to proceed were always so well-hidden; I would have such a blast searching every nook and cranny for the path forward. No other game has ever taken me on such a scavenger hunt. Now it could have just been me being a blind spazz, but I like to think of it as an intentional element of the game's design.

Previous entries: 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001