It's been a while since I've rapped about games to ye, well, rapped about anything in fact, but that's besides the point. Today it's all about the gaming.
Well, not quite. Despite weeks and weeks of searching, I have been unable to find Jetfire, despite various accounts of sightings from like minded toy hunters. As much as I enjoy spending my lunch time searching in an ever expanding circle of retail establishments, I have caved and ordered the toy online, from Wal-Mart of all places. I do not wish to disparage those that shop at Wal-Mart, however I will say that I'm a Target person and just leave it at that. This is clearly a situation where the toy must be served, and in order to do that, we must shop in places we find less than ideal. I mean, for chrissakes, they had him labeled as a Decepticon. Jeez. At any rate, I should have him soon, and when I do, we shall sing and dance all the live long day.
In a quest to obtain Crackdown solely through trades, we have been burning the midnight gaming oil at the homestead. I am now prepared to issue judgement on a number of titles. I apologize if I end up repeating things I've already written about, but I don't feel like going through old posts, and really, what else do you have to do?
Red Steel (Wii) - Somewhere out there is a game that shows how good the Wii will be with first person shooters. This game ain't it. The controls were ok, except for the part where you had to turn the volume of the Wiimote speaker all the way down lest your aiming reticle jump around like a seizure victim. The zooming in for sniping was absolutely awful as the Wii doesn't exactly excel at determining changes in the Wiimote's distance from the sensor bar, and you zoomed in by pushing the remote towards the screen. The sword fighting controls were somewhat unresponsive and the whole idea of gunning down rooms full of bad guys with your submachine gun just to then pull out your sword to fight someone with a baseball bat was silly. To top it off, I hit an issue in the game that gave me the choice of either starting the entire mission over, or calling it quits and trading it in. I chose the latter.
Elebits (Wii) - An interesting concept and nice, bright visuals however the game play was very repetitive and the voice acting was so horrible that it made small mammals bleed from the ears. I know others enjoyed this one, but there just wasn't enough to make me want to keep playing.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) - While not the best Zelda ever, that's still Ocarina for me, this is one of the best games I've played in a very long time. The art direction was particularly impressive and very easily bests all other entries in the series. Some of the horseback stuff got a little annoying, but the beast form mechanics were integrated nicely and the expanded repetoire of sword moves was a nice addition. Boss battles weren't too difficult, in fact the only time I ever died in the game was when I fell off a ledge or something, however what the final bosses lack in difficulty they make up for in length. You better pack a lunch when going up against these guys. Speaking of boss battles, your very last battle is a straight up sword fight against Ganon, which was a nice addition to the usual "use every item you found in the game" kind of fight we're used to. While the ending wasn't as dramatic as Wind Waker's ending, it was still immensely satisfying and left me with that familar mix of joy and sadness that I get when finishing a Zelda game. I can't recommend this game enough for veteran Zelda players and folks new to the series.
Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando (PS2) - I always find it odd that when folks talk about the big, PS3 exclusive franchises, they consistently fail to mention the Ratchet and Clank series. These games are easily, some of the funniest, best written games you'll play on any console. The action is equally well done with massive guns, huge explosions, tough enemies and a nice mix of platforming and straight up destruction. When the next one comes out, I'll be horribly, horribly jealous that I won't be able to play it. Guess I'll just hold off on playing "Up Your Arsenal" and use that to soothe my jealous soul.
Transformers (PS2) - Not a bad title, I just didn't have it in me to "catch 'em all". I like Pokemon and I like the Transformers, but if they're going to be combined, I want it to be a situation where I throw a Pokeball and Metroplex comes out and stomps the shit out of Squirtle, not me playing as a Transformer on a quest to collect and subjugate other, lesser Transformers. Plus, the ending movie, with the fireworks display was dumb.
Gears of War (360) - Technically I haven't finished this game as Joel and I are still rocking the co-op on Insane, but I did play through it on hardcore and had a fantastic time. When all is said and done, this will be the first game that I a) played through co-op and b) played through multiple times at different difficulty levels. It's such a different game when played with another sentient being that it warrants an additional playthrough. The change in difficulty also forces you to use different weapons and different strategies, thereby making it a different game as well as developing skills that are beyond mad and safely exist in the realm of the furious.
Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: And Justice For All (DS) - I'm almost done with this one. Well, truth be told, I'm on the last case, which, like the first entry on the DS was as long as all of the other cases combined, so in actuality, I'm about half way done. If you like the Phoenix Wright games, you'll like this one and if you don't like 'em, there's nothing here to change your mind. I fall in the former camp, so I'm in judicial heaven right now. After this I plan on picking up Hotel Dusk so I can continue my DS adventuring in earnest.
As you can see, I've been quite busy and I don't see it letting up any time soon. Crackdown is proving to be as much fun as the demo, even more so as my destructive powers have surpassed the levels achieved in the demo. There is something immensely satisfying with standing your ground as a tow truck bears down on, only for it to then be turned aside with a kick of your incredibly strong, genetically modified leg. I usually follow up these actions with either dropping a grenade on the overturned vehicle, flambeeing the occupants in the process, or I bring the weight of my titanic kicks onto the fleeing gang members, disposing them in the process. Shooting is fun too, but right not I'm getting my kicks through kicks. Last night I tried to scale the Agency tower, however she is a harsh and unyielding mistress, and I was unsuccessful. I shall return and conquer her at a later date.
SSX Blur comes out tomorrow or Wednesday with Tiger Woods for the Wii shortly afterwards. I'm surprised and vaguely unsettled with all of the attention EA has focused on the Wii. For now, I'll take my titles and be happy with them, however I am prepared to combat what ever dark designs they have for my happy little, white box.
Finally, this past weekend Linda and I were paid a visit by Bones and his lovely wife Cathy. We had a fantastic time, which was nice as, up until that point, Bones existed only in the world of Teh Intraweb and could have been a homicidal maniac or a maurading android bent on world domination. He may still be, but at least now I can tell the police that he seemed like a nice guy. It is so easy, in these days of instant communication and virtual gatherings of like minded people to feel as if someone you are speaking with would be cool to hang out with, only to find out that they're so completely not, that you start to assume that the people you meet online are best left there. It's nice to be proven otherwise.