Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Oh Ye of Broken Wallets

Good Lord is it an expensive week. Here's a small list of the entertainment choices available at fine retailers everywhere this week.
  • Heroes Season 1 on DVD and HD-DVD
  • Friday Night Lights Season 1
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008 for the PS3, 360 and Wii
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the Wii
  • Blue Dragon for the 360
I'm sure there are other games out there as well, but that alone represents over 200 bucks if you just stuck with the DVD release of Heroes and one release of Tiger Woods. Me, I've already purchased Heroes and Friday Night Lights and have Metroid paid for with trades, and am reviewing Tiger Woods for the Wii, so the burden is lessened somewhat. I say somewhat because I managed to hit the Transformers jackpot at both Target and Wal-Mart this week, so what I didn't spend on additional games, I more than made up for in robots. It was worth it though as I am now the proud owner of the Leader class Brawl the Real Gear controller dude (I forget the name) and the Deluxe versions of Dreadwing, Longarm, Dropkick and Payload. Thank goodness I was able to flip that Collector's Edition of Bioshock as that money paid for this bounty of robotic goodness.

Leader class Brawl is a great toy if you want either a tank that makes lots of cool shooting noises, or a robot that makes lots of cool shooting noises. If you want a robot that turns into a tank, it's far less effective, however you'll still get all of those cool shooting noises, which are decidedly less cool, especially when you're trying to transform it while watching TV with your very patient and beautiful wife. A word of warning: after the 9th accidental set of shooting noises, she will attempt to brain you with the remote, so either try and transform Brawl in another room or take the damn batteries out. As a tank, and as a robot he's great and comes highly recommended. I'm hoping that the transformation becomes easier the more that I do it. After the Great Megatron Foot Fiasco of 07, transforming my Leader class Megatron became a lot easier, so hopes are high for Brawl. At the same time, he is at work, and my employer's tolerance for my hobby will plummet dramatically should I repeatedly disrupt the calm of the workplace with the sounds of heavy artillery, so I don't know how much extra practice I'll get transforming him. Looks like he may be going in for a batteryectomy.

Longarm is pretty cool, despite my residual hatred for him from the Transformers video game. I'm slowly getting over it, however there are still times that I want to pick up a random telephone pole and throw it at him, as I had to in the video game, and then stomp him into little pieces while raving like a lunatic. Those moments are getting farther and farther apart.

The video game controller dude, or High Score 100 if you want to be specific, is the biggest disappointment. As a little controller, he's pretty cool. As a robot he's not very poseable and has small, somewhat unsturdy legs. He also doesn't have hands. Well, he has hands, but the fingers are molded plastic, and not separate, so it appears that his arms end in clubs. He also has the Autobot logo on his crotch, which I find unsettling. I don't want my vision continually drawn to his robotic nether regions, but alas, it is. On the plus side, he looks as much like a gorilla in real life as he does in the package, and seeing how I wanted him because he looks like a gorilla, I guess I can't be too upset. I can assure you that my attraction to a robot being based solely on his similarity to a gorilla isn't even close to being the strangest thing about me.

I know that I spoke of a humor column in the past, and nothing has come of it since then, but I've been told that the "art is coming" and that I should "hold tight". That certainly sounds promising, and I look forward to having my humorous words seen by the public at large, but at the same time, once the art has come, and my words are let loose into the hive mind, that means that I have to come up with another idea for another column. Then, two weeks later, I have to do it again. I find this prospect terrifying because, at present, I don't have any other ideas. Sad, I know. Why I would specifically ask for a biweekly column when I knew that I didn't have more than the one idea, a poorly executed one at that, is beyond me. It's like I wish to spend my evening as a writhing ball of anxiety rather than sleeping soundly, dreaming of future fame and fortune as a critically acclaimed humor columnist. My prediction is that eventually, the fine folks at GameShark will realize that I can't deliver on my promise and all their artwork efforts have been in vain. The distrust and disgust will run so deep that they won't even want me writing reviews. I can only hope that I can string them along until November as I really want to review Manhunt 2.

I'm continuing to enjoy BioShock and have amassed a nice collection of both audio diaries and gene tonics, so barring game gliches, I should be able to get achievements for everything but completing the game on Hard in one run through. Playing while searching is both more satisfying and less satisfying at the same time. Not being able to throw myself headlong into the story and just mow down splicers is less fun, however when I find an audio diary or a gene tonic, I get to cross it off of a list and that is very empowering. I never used to be this anal. Scratch that. I've always been this anal, I've just never had a socially acceptable outlet for displaying it. There are a few things that I think the game desperately needs though to make the experience "top shelf" as my mother-in-law would say. First of all, once you have a system, as in The Darkness, that tells you how close you are to completing a certain achievement, it's hard to go back. With all of the research photos you have to take and diaries to find, it'd be nice if there was something that showed you that you found 20 of 22 audio diaries for this level, or you're 75% complete with researching security cameras. Also, it'd be nice if I could see my inventory at any time. As you progress in the game, you pick up random bits of trash that you can use to invent things. You can see how much stuff you have when you go to invent things, but if you're anal, like me, and want to be able to invent things the minute you get the required amount of stuff, you have no way of checking your progress. They're minor things, but when you have a game this good, it's usually only minor things that you find. Even though it will kill me, literally strike me dead, to not start playing Metroid tonight, I think the story of both it and BioShock will be better served if I finish one and then start the other. Ok, it might not kill me, but I will have a vague feeling of unease for most of the evening.

Finally, I have obtained the most important coaching tool, the whistle and am well prepared to use it when necessary. We also purchased other things for Ben, such as shinguards, shoes, socks, a ball and practice cones, so we feel confident that at some time, someone will play soccer. The shinguards and socks are large enough so that he should be able to get more than one season out of it. He has no choice in this matter as I need to recoup my investment and they sure as hell won't fit me. His sister appears to be getting smaller, rather than larger, so she won't be able to fit into them until sometime in her mid 30's, so it's on him to make sure we get the most for his 60 bucks. I've been told that he'll have a good time. Hopefully his good time will intersect with my value proposition or he's in for two years of unfulfilling sporting activity. Play ball!


Headgamer said...

I so agree with you on the Bioshock nitpicks... I will HAVE to play it through again if I want to get all the audio diaries and research everything fully. Didn't even really know about it til later... I guess I will just start taking pics of everything, but it is hard to know what class you have taken pictures of and what not. Plus I am not sure exactly what entails "fully researched" anyway... With this, Space Giraffe, and recently purchased Ninety Nine Nights to deal with, I am way too busy for the next three weeks before Halo 3 is out...geez.

suburbanjoe said...

I can help with the research. Basically you have to take pictures of every splicer, both types of Big Daddies, the little sisters, security cameras, turrets (any type) and security bots.

A few things about that, one is that for the cameras, bots and turrets they have to be non-hacked or the pictures don't count. As for knowing if they're "fully researched", you have to fill up 4 bars completely before they're fully researched. For the splicers, Big Daddies and Little Sisters, you'll get achievements when they're fully researched.

You'll also know that something is fully researched when you switch to the camera and you get the circle with the line through it, instead of the moving cursor. Finally, if you have any doubts, take a picture. If something is fully researched, you won't get a picture and you'll get a message on the top right hand corner of the screen stating that the picture wasn't taken because the subject is fully researched.