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            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

An Obligatory Consolation

Monday, October 11th, 2010

To any and all who have recently learned the definition of, and become the subsequent victim of a Turkey Dump: my most sincere and heartfelt condolences. Keep close to heart, the fact that life is long and the next four years will be a veritable wilderness of toga parties, keggers, and other bold-faced challenges to your liver. They will leave you dehydrated, grease-hungry, and just a bit more world-weary. Take time to grieve, but when it comes time to leave the shelter of your former bedroom that your parents have maintained should you crumble under the weight of Academia and tumble back in to their ever-loving arms, hold your chin high, clutch tightly your red plastic cup, and remember that Call Me Lameish is here to listen to your squalid blubberings every Monday, for about three and a half minutes or so.

-Lameish

Sunday Soapbox: Just Circling

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Let me preface this entire editorial by stating that I’m not going to pretend to have some grand meaningful statement by the end of this. I’m not going to make a point that the Pokémon Ranger series is somehow the greatest emotional showpiece in not only gaming, but in all entertainment art. No, these are simple words to question all those comments and reviews that feel they are justified in using “it’s just circling” as a negative argument with nothing else to back it up.

For those of you unaware, the Pokémon Ranger “battle” system does – in fact – require the user to draw circles around a Pokémon in order for it to become friendly. However, each Pokémon has a different size, different attacks, different movement patterns, and different speed. So it can be quite a task to perform a perfect capture. A task that benefits from quick reflexes and from learning from past mistakes and a careful eye; aspects that one might classify as skill in gaming.

Still, let’s pretend for a silly second that “just circling” doesn’t take any skill and that well-performed captures aren’t rewarded with skill points. I find it baffling that a unique and otherwise unused mechanic gets such flak just for existing. Batman: Arkham Asylum’s combat is largely “just pressing attack”. Of course, there is more to it than that. There is timing, direction, and a few other buttons occasionally thrown into the mix. But like I mentioned, there is more to Ranger’s circling than just circling. Games with button mashing will get called out, but only if it is incredibly excessive, or if there isn’t any good game to supplement it. The Pokémon Ranger games (or at least the latest two) are well designed with quite a bit of gameplay meat on its bones, so why is it that so many people are comfortable with reducing it to “just circling”?

Awesome.

The gaming industry consistently cries out for new ideas and innovation. If a game doesn’t do something new, it is often faulted for it (something I don’t necessarily agree with either, but another Soapbox for another Sunday). Here we have a fresh series – a spinoff, maybe, but fresh nonetheless – with a unique and fun mechanic that gets criticized for that exact reason.

So not only do I not have a grand meaningful statement, dear readers, I also don’t have an answer to all these questions. Is it the inherent kiddy nature of the Pokémon universe? Is it an unwillingness to see depth in a new mechanic just because it isn’t buttons? I have no idea, but I do know that I will champion this criminally underrated series until Nintendo moves on to a different spinoff.

As for now? It’s Canadian Thanksgiving, so I’m not around tomorrow. I just gave you three articles in three days, though, so you should all be thankful for ME. There should be a new Call Me Lameish up at some point, however, so look forward to that. I hear that Lameish doesn’t share my adoration for DeathSpank. Just a rumour though. It had better be. If the newbie doesn’t share my complete love for DeathSpank, he’d better watch out!

…because I’ll…er…I’ll do something. Something badass. OkayIneedsleep.

Scatter Storming. Issue #040

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

All right! I have a lot of ground to cover, so I’m going to dive right in.

Sony Holiday Preview Event

Infamous 2 -
This was the game that I was most excited to play. It was one of the few titles at the event to have a 2011 release date, so I felt lucky that it was even there. I only had 10 minutes with the game and I walked away sadly underwhelmed.

Firstly, the demo was the previously only cinematic moment when Cole needs to take down a helicopter. So the content was not new to me, except for the new old Cole. That was a small let-down.

Secondly the game seemed to run like crap. I haven’t played Infamous since just around when I bought my PS3, so I forget how that game performed, but I feel like even if it wasn’t amazing, it was definitely better than this demo.

Thirdly, it felt very claustrophobic. There was lots of impressive action all around me – people running and screaming, the environment collapsing around me, limos trying to drive away from me – but I felt like I could never see the things I wanted to. When I had to chase after said limo, I had no idea which direction I had to go in. Once I lost sight of it, I had to wait until it gave me a “mission fail” screen to try it again. Maybe I missed a mini-map or something, but I’m usually pretty adept at picking that sort of thing up.

Fourthly, I hated the melee combat. This complaint is probably the one that is most likely to carry over to the actual game, as my other complaints can be chalked up to my short time with the game, and the fact that I was playing unfinished code. The reason I didn’t like the melee was largely because of the focus on it. Cole is about his electrical powers, I don’t care about smacking things with a stick. I have Batman for that sort of combat. I especially don’t care for a slow-motion shot every third time I take out an enemy. It is overkill.

Finally, I disliked how powerful Cole was. This is something that The Broken Finger and I agree on. I loved the progression of powers in the original Infamous, and if Cole starts out with his hover move, electrical grenades, zap move, plus a massive thunder tornado, I fail to see how he can progress from there. Like I mentioned, this could be a result of playing a demo, and so all of these options might not be available to me off the top. Plus, maybe there’s a point soon after that when I lose all my powers and have to regain them all again (think: God of War). I’d be more than okay with that.

And that is, sadly, all of my thoughts on Infamous 2. I didn’t get an excited feeling to be playing Infamous again, and I didn’t find many redeeming qualities beyond being able to climb buildings faster and being able to grind along more things for quicker transportation. I’m aware how misleading demos can be, so let’s hope that that was the worst experience I’ll ever have with the game.

Jetpacks as cool as they look

Killzone 3(D) -
Let it be said that my only experience of Killzone is the demo of Killzone 2, which I didn’t like at all. It seems like Killzone just doesn’t jive with me, because I felt the same way with Killzone 3. Now, let it be said that in this pre-alpha code, the game looked brilliant, and the 3D was pulled off very nicely. However, I’m pretty sure I just don’t like Killzone’s gameplay because I didn’t have a good time.

I’m aware that I’m just not very good at shooters, but when I wasn’t able to look down my scopes or take cover or crouch, I failed to see the strategy involved in trying to avoid being shot by the Hellgast. But hey, if you’re into Killzone, you’ll probably love this one. You’ll definitely love the visuals. And I’m not going to lie, the jetpack was fantastic.

Gran Turismo 5 -
This is another game I tried in 3D, but with less success when compared to Killzone 3. Granted, the only GT5 units were in arcade-like car seats with gaming wheels, so the viewing angle was shit. But when I got in the non-3D unit, I loved my experience. As to be expected, the game looked brilliant, and it controlled like a dream.

That is to say that I crashed a lot.

But GT5 is the ultimate simulation racing game, so that’s to be expected. Although I really liked Forza, Gran Turismo just has its own very unique feel and I felt giddy behind the wheel again. This demo was, surprisingly, my favourite of the event.

I accept

The Rest -
Keyboard is very difficult in Rock Band 3, even for experienced pianists, Sonic 4 looks and plays great, and apparently there’s some sort of multiplayer in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood? I didn’t play it, but I watched people assassinate each other. It looked frustrating. Oh, and I played 2 minutes of God of War: Ghost of Sparta. It was a carbon copy of the original God of War. I was on a boat, I was killing skeletons. I lost interest fast.

Oh, and I played LittleBigPlanet2, but I honestly played so little, and there is so much in that game, that I truly feel like I could not define a proper difference at this point. I played a mini-game, so that was different. I’ll have to wait for a proper demo or hands-on to talk about this one.

Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs

I love this underrated series. However, the jump from 2 to 3 doesn’t seem as big as the original to the sequel was. They made so many things better with Shadows of Almia, it appears as though Guardian Signs is more of the same with the added Pichu and mini-games gimmicks. Both I could do without. Still, the games are fun, and it’s interesting strategy to decide which Pokémon to keep, and to note where you’ll be able to come back later. I also like that “S” ranking is far more difficult to obtain in “battle”, but the rewards are much bigger. I’ll discuss more in the Sunday Soapbox and potential review if I beat the game quick enough. As is, this Scatter Storming is going on long enough and I’m not even done yet!

Housekeeping

Hey! You! Guys! Yeah! You! Click the “Upcoming” tab. Notice the change? Yeah, it’s not much, but now we give little explanations and teases for the future Theme Weeks. This is to help alleviate confusion and because who doesn’t love a good pitch? We hope to add more to that page soon, including some sort of content schedule. But I’d like a higher level of consistency before going ahead with that. Also look forward to a proper TV review format in the coming days. I’d like to talk about The Office and how after 3 pretty bad seasons, it’s looking pretty excellent again. But more about that later, I’m already over a thousand words. Peace!

_e

Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! #015 – Believe Me When I Tell You

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

Well I was actually able to get Guardian Signs, so I’ll be able to write about it, and at the very least I have a Pokémon Ranger themed Sunday Soapbox for you guys. Yes, it will actually be able to provide me with a topic. This series is underrated. Anyway, I’m tired and sick, so onto some news.

Sands of Time Failogy

Riddles and (to a lesser extent) I have been anticipating the announcement of a Prince of Persia HD collection. A collection that would, of course, include Sands of Time, Warrior Within, and The Two Thrones. This wish has been granted, but only in the way that a malicious genie would grant a wish. That is to say that the genie would say, “of course, you may have a new car. But by you, I mean somebody else!”

This is my roundabout way of saying that the collection is indeed going to be released, but only in Europe. It’s also a PS3 exclusive, but that part is fine. Also, expected.

In any case, it’s not impossible that it will also come to North America, but it wasn’t even announced as a timed release, so I’m not holding my breath yet. Oh yeah, and it’s in 3D, but who cares, right? (IGN)

Many people bought this

Demon Sells

Enh? Okay, so my puns aren’t so strong when my nose clogs up with mucus every 2.5 seconds. Forgive me. If you somehow deciphered my headline, you’d know that Atlus’ very difficult RPG, Demon’s Souls for the PS3 has sold surprisingly well for the company. In fact, it has become the company’s most successful title in the 20 years it’s been around. While they didn’t give out any sales figures, they do have a lovely quote for all of us to celebrate the game’s birthday.

“If ever there was a game championed and made a success by its fans, this would be it, here’s to many more groundbreaking online action role-playing experiences. Your support over this past year will never be forgotten.”

While I didn’t have any interest in Demon’s Souls, I am a fan of Atlus, so this is pleasant news to my ears. (IGN)

3DS “unlikely” to run Unreal Engine

While I couldn’t give two shits about any games running on the Unreal Engine on the 3DS, this story does give us a bit more insight into the hardware powering the device.

The story comes from Epic itself, as its VP, Mark Rein told Joystiq the following when he was asked if Epic was working on 3DS software, “No, it’s below our [minimum specifications], from what we can tell.” He goes on to admit that he doesn’t have a dev kit and his response wasn’t a formal comment, but if the system could run Unreal, he would have expected to hear from Nintendo by now.

Now while I truly believe that Nintendo doesn’t play that way, and that if the system could run Epic’s popular engine, Nintendo wouldn’t bother giving them a call, I also expect that Rein is correct. The 3DS looks pretty and I would like one very much, but I don’t expect the machine to be more powerful than a Wii, if that. It’s not surprising news, but a little disheartening seeing as Epic just showed a tech demo of their new game running on an iPhone. Still, the DS was underpowered when it was released, and it has the strongest lineup of any system save maybe the PS2. (Joystiq)

QUICKIES:

Play as Kratos’ Brother in GoWIII- That’s pretty much it. Get a code if you buy Ghost of Sparta. Click if you want more details. this is a quickie because I don’t care.

People buy Pokémon in Japan- Despite Dead Rising 2 and Okami.

Kingdom Hearts Re:coded- Coming January 2011.

All done! Gunna stir up a Scatter Storming tomorrow in which I’ll talk about the games I saw on Tuesday and about Pokémon Ranger.

South Park – “Poor and Stupid” Review

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Ah, yes. It’s that time of year again. Cooler weather, brighter colors, musty smells, and the triumphant return of South Park. One of the many reasons why Fall is my favorite season of the year.

But I digress. South Park has indeed returned to resume its 14th season. “Poor and Stupid” won’t go down as a classic, but it has some genuinely funny stuff and it’s a lot of fun to watch. Especially if you like making fun of Nascar.

Yep, South Park goes after Nascar this time around. It’s kinda hard to believe it’s taken them this long to take aim at such an obvious target, when you think about it.

Eric Cartman is the star of this particular episode. It begins with young Cartman crying, lamenting the fact that he’ll never be poor and stupid enough to be a Nascar driver. However, with an unintentional shove from Stan and Kyle, and with the help of the easily-manipulated Butters, Eric decides to follow his dream – by becoming as poor and stupid as he possibly can.

What ensues is some cleverly written chaos. There are no deep themes or meaningful social satire to be found, but it’s South Park at its slapstick best. The dynamic between Butters and Cartman is fantastic as always, reminiscent of classic episodes such as The Death of Eric Cartman and The China Problem. The hilarity truly begins when the two of them steal Vagisil, which Cartman then drinks in hopes of killing brain cells and becoming stupider. They then proceed to hijjack a Nascar vehicle which Cartman drives – and wrecks. Again, nothing too brainy, but it’s hilarious to watch.

I liked Kenny’s part in the episode, as the devoted Nascar fan who becomes enraged when Cartman begins to bring a bad name to the sport. The episode briefly touches on the legitimacy of Nascar as a sport – Kenny represents the sensible fan who resents the stigma, and Cartman represents the unbearable hicks who create the stigma in the first place. It doesn’t go much deeper than that, but maybe it doesn’t really have to. I mean, it’s Nascar.

There are plenty of other laughs to be found – Cartman produces a racist video blog and puts it on the internet, and there are some hilarious scenes with the creator of Vagasil and his wife. But, there’s no point spoiling them here. If you’re a South Park fan you’ve probably seen the episode already, or you soon plan to. If you aren’t a fan, why the hell are you reading this?

What Madness is This?

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Okay, I’m back. I finally moved into an apartment of my own, and went without internet for six days. The first two days were actually an enjoyable break, but it got old quickly afterwards. Suffice to say, I’m glad to have it back. And, even more so, I’m glad to finally have a place of my own again.

And I’m glad to finally have access to my site again. What the fuck has been going on here while I’ve been away?

Who is this Lameish? He is neither Riddles nor Ethos. How, then, can he be on Riddlethos?

Why are we having another stupid Pokemon week?

How did I manage to give Ethos mono again?

And who the hell is Melvan?

Eh. Well, I may not know the answers, but I know it’s time to set things straight.

~Riddles

Oh yes

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

To bring further juxtaposition to Lameish’s well-received premiere episode of CML, I’ve decided to make this Pokémon Ranger Week.

Suck it.

I would have it now but I’m quite sick. Also, I literally cannot afford it. I plan to trade in Red Dead Redemption and hope that covers it. Otherwise, I’d like to trade in FFXIII, but Matti has it at the moment.

ALSO, I went to a Sony preview event today. Played Infamous 2, Killzone 3 (in 3D), Gran Turismo, Sonic 4, LittleBigPlanet 2, (2 seconds of) Ghosts of Sparta, and the keytar in Rock Band 3. Oh, and Tron: Evolution. Woo. So more on that later. Right now, I feel like ass, and I’m not in the mood for people. So until later, just watch Call Me Lameish below another 20 times. Then tell your friends. Then bring me soup.