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by Ethos

Move into attack position

Monday, December 27th, 2010

This image seemed appropriate.

Alright, folks. The gig is up. Break time is over. Kicking our feet back is done.

We’ve all ate to our heart’s content, all greedily ripped open presents, all vented our frustrations on a couple of innocent homeless dudes, and then all met karma in a dark alley when those couple of homeless dudes turned out to be surprisingly agile and knowledgeable in the art of Kung fu.

But the good times are over and we must all turn back to the tireless grind that is human existence.

But not all hope is lost! No! Riddlethos is here to turn things around with our Best Games of 2010 Week followed by our Best Riddlethos of 2010 Week. Yes, we like to play our best cards first. So get ready for a fantastic fortnight of amazingness followed by another year of mediocre dross. Categories will be announced tomorrow. And yes, they’re ever-so-slightly different this year.

Spam Comment Roundup #005 (Mini)

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Here’s yet another Christmas present from the endless river of surprises and love from Riddlethos. We disappear for a fortnight and then BAM! More content than both weeks combined in a week that we made famous by doing nothing.

But I couldn’t resist this single comment from a brilliant spam robot. Enjoy. מזרונים knows what’s up.

1 – מזרונים’s Priorities -
Tried to post to “Dirty Words: The Low Art of “Splatterhouse”

Perhaps the name isn’t any sorts of English, but this robot knows what’s up when comes to what to love and in which order.

I love this blog! more then I love my wife!

I’m more than willing to forgive the grammatical error. You must all learn from this wise robot.

Merry Christmas!

Dead Space 2 Demo Impressions

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, Riddlethosians.

I know “Christmas Eve Eve” isn’t a thing in reality, but I’m making it a thing now. Take note.

Also take note of the fact that I’m actually addressing you now, not my dark and private memoirs. Don’t know how that thing got on the site, but I blame Ethos. Somehow.

That aside. Ignoring the irony of the fact that I’m writing more on Christmas Break week than I have the last two weeks, I’m here to talk about the Dead Space 2 demo, which is available on PSN and Xbox Live right now.  To download the thing, I had to rig a fantastically impractical setup, in which the cords connecting my modem, PS3, and TV are stretched across the room.

A pain, yes, but I really wanted this demo. And the Mass Effect 2 PS3 demo, just for the hell of it. And Warrior Within HD.

But the Dead Space 2 demo was highest on my priority list. It’s my most anticipated game at the moment, and I couldn’t wait to get a look at the sequel. After playing through the demo once, my initial reactions are – unsurprisingly – quite positive.

It’s certainly Dead Space as we know it. The controls, menus, aesthetics, and overall feel of the demo invoke the original Dead Space – but I don’t view this as a bad thing at all. I was amazed at how immersed I became in a half-hour demo.

First of all, the game is still creepy. Sure, it’s familiar, but the atmosphere is still masterfully constructed, just as it was in the original game. Isaac’s voice is very rarely heard – you’re still in dead silence most of the time. And, for the record, Isaac’s voice is hardly offensive when it is heard. Judging from this demo, it seems that Visceral has struck a good balance.

After the atmosphere, the game’s most striking feature is its graphics. Simply put, they are phenomenal. I suppose I haven’t played the original Dead Space in some time, but there seems to be a noticeable jump in quality. Everything shines with a detailed polish I haven’t seen since God of War III  – environments, the hideous necromorphs, and especially Isaac’s Iron Man-esque suit.

Speaking of environments, there seems to be some interesting variation in the locales this time around. The first part of the demo sees Isaac tramping through the same sort of metallic, blood-stained hallways that we’re all used to – but, at one point, you encounter rooms decorated like a religious temple. The demo only gives scraps of dialog and story exposition, so I wasn’t able to piece together the context. Needless to say, I’m anxious for the full game so I can do just that.

Most of the mechanics were familiar to me, but the demo also briefly introduced the new zero-gravity hoversuit segments. It was a painfully short section, and it left me wanting to play around with it more. You might recall, the original Dead Space only allowed you to launch from one surface to another in Zero Gravity rooms. Not so any longer – with the fancy new Jetpack, Isaac can freely maneuver through zero gravity. It’s a lot of fun, and it creates some extremely cinematic camera angles for the action.

The demo is decent in length, but ended far too soon for my liking. Dead Space 2 looks to be covering some familiar ground, yes, but regardless it looks to be another tightly-controlled, atmospheric, and cinematic sci-fi experience. My Christmas is coming a month late this year; Dead Space 2 releases on January 25.

Check out the video below for a refresher course on the Dead Space story. It’s the opening video for the demo, and it’s pretty sweet. Beware of srs Dead Space 1 spoilers, though. I WARNED YOU.

12/22/2010 – At Least the Prince Still Loves Me

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Even after all these years. When did Sands of Time come out? 2003? As in, almost eight years ago? God damn, how the time flies.

I seem to recall first playing it on the GameCube way back in the day. I’d heard of the game before, and I think I might have played through a demo at Wal-Mart or something. So one day, I rented it from the local GameCrazy.

I kinda miss you, sometimes.

If you don’t know what a GameCrazy is, don’t feel bad. It’s a long-defunct second-tier videogame retail chain. Oftentimes they were inside Hollywood Video stores, which is an even more-long-defunct movie rental outlet.

Needless to say, I loved the shit out of it, and immediately after being forced to return the rental, I bought the game. Then a few years later I re-bought the game on PS2 and gave my GameCube copy to some chick I liked at the time. Didn’t turn out to be a worthwhile investment, all things considered, especially since she forgot that I gave the damn thing to her. I know this because six months ago or so I was talking to her and she was all like, “hey, I just found out I have a copy of Sands of Time for GameCube! Awesome!” And I was all like “Yeah, I fucking GAVE IT TO YOU AS A HEARTFELT GIFT SOME YEARS AGO, BITCH”

I didn’t say that, actually, but I was thinking it. I was thinking it very hard.

On that note, I just remember that same individual now has my copies of Persona 3: FES and Shadow of the Colossus. Both of which happen to be among my very favorite games of all time, and neither of which were intended as gifts.

Guh. Take my heart and rip it to shreds, but don’t take my videogames.

But yeah, cry me a river, I know. The point of this entry was to talk about how I recently completed Prince of Persia: Sands of Time HD. I wrote a short blurb on my website about a month ago, mostly just complaining about the game’s newfound audio issues. And, after having completed the game, I can safely say that those audio issues indeed suck. A lot. In fact, they suck so much, I wouldn’t recommend Sands of Time HD for anyone who hasn’t played through the original release already. Why? Because you won’t be able to hear 90 percent of the dialog between the Prince and Farah. The audio is so damn echoy and sporadic, you won’t even notice they’re having a conversation until halfway through. Granted, I’ve memorized every line in the game, practically, so I can fill in the blanks. But if you haven’t, then you won’t be able to.

Oh, and another thing: why are the fucking Scarab beatles so loud now? If you’re standing in a room that’s even connected to a room where those little shits are lurking, the game assaults your ears with this awful CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK noise that I think is supposed to be the sound of their insect-y little footsteps. But its loud and obnoxious and OBVIOUSLY a major glitch. But then, so is the entire audio track for Sands of Time HD. Literally, the only time there aren’t issues is during cutscenes. And, save the beginning and ending of the game, Sands of Time doesn’t have that many cutscenes. Most of the dialog is spoken in-game.

But, eh. I still enjoyed the game. I mean, it’s still Sands of Time. And it’s still 38482 times better than the shitty movie that Jerry Bruckheimer released last summer. (Ironically enough, I saw that damn movie with… ah, nevermind.)

Seriously, fuck you Jerry. And you too, whoever directed the movie. And then blamed its shittiness on the source material.

But yeah. I’d like to download Warrior Within HD now, and see if it’s any better or worse. I’m a big enough fan of the series that I don’t mind dropping the cash even if the product is broken.  And, to be fair, Sands of Time HD did look pretty nice with its 720p overcoat. I’d like to see the Island of Time given that same makeover.

BUT

I can’t.

Because my stupid-ass wireless router is broken.

And I don’t even have a cable long enough to stretch to my PS3.

I’m actually sitting on the floor next to my front door right now, because that’s where my stupid router is.

Ah well. I gotta work soon. And… buy shoes. Yeah. Signing off.

Scatter Storming. Issue #043

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Well it just took me about 2 hours to buy a PS3 controller.

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but when I went to pick up a shiny new blue Dualshock 3, the machine couldn’t handle the magnitude of my gift card’s awesomeness and everything exploded. Or at least that’s how I heard the clerk’s explanation of the problem. He told me that things would be fixed up in about 20 minutes, so I should do some other shopping in the area while I wait.

While other costumers would wave their hands and raise their voices, I noted that I was going to eat right after this anyway, so I left my two gift cards and two twenty dollar bills and trotted off to try out the new Japanese noodle place that just opened near my house.

Good choice, Ethos.

After my delicious and relatively inexpensive meal, I started the short walk back to the Gamestop. Then I remembered that I was supposed to buy a book, so after leisurely browsing two book stores, I finally came home with a Dualshock 3, my change from the purchase, and Life of Pi.

But do not worry, we’re not about to change our name to Booklethos – though I love the sound of it – Riddles and I just decided that we’ve become illiterate stupidface fartbrains, so we’re going to read race. So far I’m in the lead. Big surprise, AMIRITE!?

Anyway, onto games.

2 of 3 platinums in the Sly Collection

I’m ripping through these. The third will be the toughest, though. Also, while I’m really loving these games (especially 2 and 3), they’re wearing down on me a little bit. The 3rd game is definitely the most polished and easily the funniest. I just hope they finally settle on a voice for Carmelita and Murray.

Golden Sun: Doesn’t Suck

Seriously, after my previews, I kinda was expecting it to. But after a kind review from RPGamer, I decided to pick it up and I’m glad I did. Great classic JRPG action. The conversations definitely DO last about 4 times as long as they need to, but the battle system, puzzle solving, and good ol’ exploring and leveling up is everything a DS RPG should be.

Assassin’s Creed II: Doesn’t Suck

This one I’m not so surprised about. I just liked to give Riddles a hard time last year for kicks. Also, because the original was so bad. Still, Ezio is a far more likable character, and the game isn’t broken any more. Definitely addicting, though nothing incredible so far. Going to try for a platinum there too.

Award Weeks Approaching

Wow, these stories are short. Guess I’m just excited to do even more nothing. But seriously, even more exciting than that are the Award Weeks coming up. I truly loved doing it last year, and this year is going to be just as much fun. We’ve found a way to include everybody’s favourite Call Me Lameish YouTube HITS, so all your patience will be rewarded.

But on that note…

Fuck you AGAIN, it’s Christmas Break Week!

Yup! Although these past two weeks basically HAVE been breaks for Riddles and I, we’re still taking our official vacation. The only difference is that this time we don’t feel guilty for neglecting you all.

Until then, re-watch and thumbs up all the Lameish videos. That’s it. No other recommendations. I couldn’t top last year’s awesome post anyway. Enjoy Christmas, everybody! And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then enjoy the clear roads on December 25! Zero traffic!