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by Ethos

The Death of ‘ELLO GUV’NAH! Also: Assassin’s Creed.

Friday, October 9th, 2009
Dead and British.

Dead and British, just like 'ELLO GUV'NAH!

Yes, it was fun to keep a tired joke going for a bit, but we’ve decided to retire the ‘ELLO GUV’NAH segment. There are a few reasons for this.

-I’ll pretty much always be playing a game highlighted by the theme week, so the feature often becomes redundant.
-Scattered Storming is more flexible, more interesting, and usually includes what I’ve been playing, anyway, so it renders ‘ELLO GUV’NAH a bit redundant.
-Noticing a redundant trend in these redundant bullet points?
-Also, what is this site? A podcast? No! There’s no “what have you been playing” at the end of it. Ridiculous.

Anyway, to counter this fact, Scatter Storming is now going to be an at least weekly feature on Wednesdays. It might prop up more often, but it will be at least on Wednesdays. I’m also considering making it appear on Fridays regularly as well. Would you guys be down for that? Anyway, I gotta move on to talking about Assassin’s Creed.

altairYes, I have played it this week. Yes (excepting the brief Brutal Legend demo), it is the only console game I have played this week. I was talking to Riddles last night and mentioned that it’s probably a bad thing that I’ve picked this game up again after playing (and beating!) Batman: Arkham Asylum. I have been spoiled by the excellent combat. When sword fighting and grabbing in Assassin’s Creed, I’m expecting it to have the same tactile, fun, intuitive, yet challenging feel that Batman had. But no. It’s just flat out not fun. I’m good at it, I understand how it functions, but it is just aggressively mediocre. In fact, Assassin’s Creed seems to excel at creating really fun mechanics and then systematically draining said fun out of said mechanics. Let’s go through them, shall we?

-When Altaïr free-flow runs on top of buildings, it is an amazing feeling. The animation is fantastic, the environment is absolutely gorgeous, and Altaïr makes death-defying jumps. But apparently that’s too much fun, so Ubisoft decided to throw some guards on the roof to shoot you with arrows and make your GTA-like “wanted” siren go off like crazy. Not fun. Annoying. That brings me too…

-The stealth. Another aspect that starts off awesome. In fact, this is one of the few parts that is mostly awesome. If you’re able to go undetected to pull off a mission, it feels great. It’s thrilling to walk right past mortals enemies armed with the dramatic irony that you are a lethal assassin. However, the perpetual presence of this system is a bitch. Similar to my complaint about the free-flow running, it’s not always exciting to be constantly wary of that flashing yellow and red light. The stealth is great, but it shouldn’t be all reigning, at least not in the same stranglehold way.

-Pickpocketing. Seriously, it’s pretty cool at first. I feel like a badass sneaking up behind a dude and swiping whatever document from his cloak. But then after my success, he instantly notices, gets flustered and walks off. Umm…Maybe, just maybe it was the suspicious dude who was walking right behind you and then started to walk away the moment your precious piece of paper disappeared? Apparently that incredibly important information that he risked his life to obtain isn’t worth pestering the very obvious suspects about. It also makes me feel less cool.

It’s also kinda stupid that if I spend more time completing all the missions, it doesn’t really give me more information which I could use to shed light on new ways to make the big kill. In fact, unlike in games like InFamous, it’s really not satisfying at all to go the extra mile. Ultimately I seem to have come to the same consensus many others have: Assassin’s Creed has a lot of really cool stuff, but it just doesn’t come together in any meaningful or powerful way. But I suppose that leaves enormous potential for the impending sequel. Moreso for it, actually, than for the new Prince of Persia. A bit ironic, because I think the latter is the better game, but I think Assassin’s Creed just shows more potential as a series at the moment. The DLC for PoP was just…so…upsetting.
But I ramble! I’m still going to try and beat the game before the week ends! Wish me luck!

‘ELLO GUV’NAH! – October 2nd 2009

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Well, this is a bit of an interesting case. I’ve actually ONLY played Kingdom Hearts: Dumb Name this week. Literally. Unless you count Sudoku on my iPod. And I don’t count that. So I’ll just post my impressions of the game so far. Kill two somethings with one something.

kingdom-hearts-358-2-days-logo-altKingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days –
Well, the name is still stupid, but if you’ve been following Riddlethos during this Kingdom Hearts Week, you probably already know that my opinion of the game itself doesn’t reflect my opinion of the title. Now work started its kick into overdrive this week, and stunted my previously quick progress through the game, I’m still a healthy 7 hours into the title and have played enough at this point to talk about the developing pros and cons.

Things I like –
Like I mentioned before, the combat is fun and returns to Kingdom Hearts’ roots. Meaning it is fast-paced, fun, but more importantly properly challenging. Unlike the pure button mashing in Kingdom Hearts II, Dumb Name requires you to think before you hack and slash. Magic is important again, and just running into the fray against larger enemies will almost guarantee your defeat. This ties into another great aspect of the game: the brand new panel system. Not entirely unlike the deck-building mechanic from Chain of Memories, Dumb Name lets you build Roxas from scratch by way of filling up a bunch of panels with different tiles. And I mean from scratch. You add items, magic, and even levels this way. If you’d rather have 3 hi-potions instead of Roxas gain 3 more levels, you’re certainly allowed to do that. In this way, it’s almost like The World Ends With You. These comparisons to other handheld games are a good thing, however, as the deck-building from Chain of Memories was probably the best part of the entire game, and The World Ends With You is just awesome all around. There are a few minor downsides to this system, but I’m not there yet. First, I have to say how refreshing it is to return to the world of Kingdom Hearts. Yes, we’re retreading old ground, but it’s from a new perspective and delivered with the kind of honesty that only Kingdom Hearts can deliver. I can only imagine that Kingdom Hearts II will be a far more rewarding play after completing this game. Seeing Roxas’ tale is interesting and involving. However…

I'll memorize your FACE

I'll memorize your FACE

Things I don’t like -
There are some REALLY bizarre and out of place script and story choices. For such a tight package, it’s very noticeable when any one exchange or choice has been handled in a lazy manner. This hasn’t happened too often so far, but it’s a little jarring when it does happen. Going back to the panel system. For as much as I love it, I wish things were just a little more clear. There are some tiles that connect with other tiles, and while most of them are clear, sometimes I’m left with trial and error to see which panels connect. In terms of the battle system, while it’s overall very strong, the weaker enemies DO bring some of the game’s more repetitive features to light. A lot of the same enemies from old games, a lot of the same worlds from old games, and pretty much exactly the same music from old games. While the ventures into Disney worlds are still far more focused on the main characters (thank god), I seriously never want to go into Agrabah again. And if I do, it better be in the palace or somewhere completely different. Seriously, enough already. The novelty wore off in Chain of Memories. Not mention the TWO MORE TIMES I had to visit it in Kingdom Hearts II. Ugh. Also I hate Axel’s stupid “got it memorized?” hook. So dumb.

Anyway, as you can tell, my enjoyment of the game is absolutely outweighing my gripes. Hopefully I can tear another good chunk out of it this weekend and I can pretend that I didn’t accidentally look at story spoilers on Wikipedia. Long live Kingdom Hearts!

‘ELLO GUV’NAH! – September 25th 2009

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Here we are! Just three games, really, and you’ve heard too much about one of them before, but whatever.

DS_Starfy_PackagingMario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story -
I beat it! Lookit that! I beat a game in less than two weeks! Granted, it’s just a twenty hour game, but still! I never do that! Wow, it’s a lot of fun, and that’s probably the best final boss in any Mario RPG that I’ve played. Such a good decision to let Bowser take the lead. I hope it’s like what happened with Wario Land when that name just slowly took over the Game Boy Mario platforming franchise. Ooo! Think about Bowser and Wario in the next “Mario & Luigi” title! I’m absolutely on board. Still funny, and Fawful is still a great villain. There’s more stuff to do, so I might even keep playing after this to collect everything, but knowing me, probably not. Moving on!

PixelJunk_-_Monsters_LogoPixelJunk Monsters -
Great, another addicting game that’ll keep me up until 7am. This was on Pogo’s PS3, so I signed into my PSN account, and gave it a go. I tried it a while ago, but I didn’t remember liking it very much. I assumed that I didn’t like the castle defense genre and that this wouldn’t take up too much of my time. Whelp, nope. Like I said: 7am and goodbye way too many hours. What an addicting game. There’s not much to say about it except that it’s your standard castle defense game, but with a cute art style, and simple interface to lure you in. Of course, it’s a lot more difficult than it appears. Plus, I just suck at castle defense games. Anyway, I managed to pick up a few more trophies from my session, but it wasn’t nearly as fruitful as when I bought…

LittleBigPlanet-LogoLittleBigPlanet: Game of the Year Edition –
I budgeted myself one game for the next two weeks or so, and I thought this one was a no brainer. I needed at least one multi-player game in my very solo-oriented line-up, and I had a blast with this when I played it at a friend’s house. I knew I was going to buy it eventually, so I decided to get it before the storm came later this year. I played for a few hours, and it’s a blast! Definitely not as strong single player, but I still had lots of fun playing the story and exploring the community levels. I can definitely see it as a game that I go back to in short bursts for a very long time to come. But I guess that’s the point. Anyway, apparently trophies are ridiculously easy in that game, because I have about a billion now. I’m still nowhere close to Abe80, but every little bit helps. Especially in prep for all the PS3 action that’s going to happen this year. I’m starting to want Modern Warfare 2, now that I’ve discovered that I’m not terrible at these games. What’s happening to me? Anyway, I’ll leave you off with a Trophy Card comparison again, since I didn’t update proper on the Monday. Note: My card isn’t up to date at the time of this posting, I should have more than 11 silvers. If that’s the case below: it has updated.
ethostar

Vs

straightxedge

Umm…are you still reading this? Get lost!!! I’ll hopefully actually write something else related to the theme soon. There’s a game I want to tear to pieces…

‘ELLO GUV’NAH! – September 18th 2009

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

I feel like it’s been ages since I posted one of these! Not just because it’s a day late, but because of all the other craziness that’s been going on. Top 5 Countdowns, Hey! Look! Listen!s, and general disarray. Not to be confused with General Disarray. But anyway, I played a lot of the same stuff with no changed opinions, but I at least have two games to talk about/expand on.

farcry2logoFar Cry 2-
I feel like I should dive just a little bit deeper into this title than just the “meh” I threw its way during the last Scatter Storming. I didn’t buy or rent this game, but it was rather lent to me from Deerwolf of The Entire Population. He lent it to me saying that he didn’t really like it at all. Not the greatest sell, I’ll admit, and it didn’t help when both abe80 and The Broken Finger said it was crap. But then the Corner Hawk passionately sang its praises so I decided I’d give it a fair shake. And while, yes, my feeling is indeed “meh”, I wouldn’t necessarily say that that’s an accurate review of the game itself. It has very intriguing mechanics and a setting not seen in many of the games that I’ve played. The reason I’m going to stop playing however, is because it really seems like the game takes quite an investment to enjoy. Now let me get something straight, I don’t mind making a huge investment if I get hooked, but I’d rather not make a huge investment to potentially GET hooked. Not when I have so many games on my plate, anyway. So sorry, Far Cry 2, you might not suck, but I’m never going to find out.

DS_Mario_PackagingMario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story
I already talked about this game a fair bit in the last Scatter Storming, but this is easily the game I’ve been playing the most, so it required a mention. Craig of IGN mentioned this in his Video Review, but I agree that this game proves that Bowser needs his own title. You play as him at least half the time, and it’s a surprising blast to play. He adds more than enough new stuff to the mix to make Mario and Luigi’s antics in battle not stale yet. Since the story and gameplay switches are so well paced, I’ve sunk 12 hours into the game since I bought it, and about 10 of those hours were in the first three days. It’s addicting, fun, absolutely hilarious, and refreshingly not super-easy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not very difficult, but at least it’s based on skill in battle as landing critical hits and mastering counter-attacks literally make all the difference. My friend who had played the older Mario & Luigi games tried out a boss battle without playing any of this title. She died very quickly because she wasn’t familiar with the new moves. When I tried it after she failed, I took out the relatively easy boss no problem. So it is nice to see that getting to know the battle system pays off.

That’s it kiddos! Unless I include that The Beatles Rock Band is pretty disappointing. And this is coming from a major Beatles fan. Anyway, the #1 couples from the hit and miss lists are coming later tonight, keep your eyes peeled!

‘ELLO GUV’NAH! – September 11th 2009

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Okay, so I’m more posting this on September 12th…
Still! Forgive me! Riddlethos has been hopping tonight, so I’m distracted by keeping up with all the comments!
Anyway, let’s get on with it!!

ff9-logoFinal Fantasy IX-
Yes, I wrote a post about this, so I won’t go into much more detail, but I will reiterate my love for the multi-perspective story-telling this game maintains for much of the tale. I haven’t been following FFXIII coverage by choice (we can do it, Mac!) but I feel like it has the potential to do the same thing. Fingers crossed.

Resistance 2-
resistance2logoDeerwolf of the Entire Population instantly returned my borrowed copy of Resistance 2 saying something like “I’m bad at games”, I don’t remember, but either way I thought I’d try it before I returned it to its original owner. It was fun. I didn’t like it at first, but then I was warming up. I know a lot of people are torn on this game, so I’m curious to see where I end up on the opinion map. Also, it got me a few new trophies for the competition!

guitar-hero-5-logoGuitar Hero 5-
I know a few of you don’t like Guitar Hero including Riddles. Although Riddles doesn’t count because he hasn’t tried it, so: OPINION VOID. Anyway, I was previously in the camp of generally preferring Rock Band, but Guitar Hero 5 does so much right with presentation and accessibility that I can’t not be impressed. For the first time…er…ever, I want to see Guitar Hero features implemented in Rock Band. I would go in more detail, but I haven’t been up this late in weeks and I’m tired and hungry and about to throw a tantrum. So moving on to the last one…

NOT Flower-
Nope. Didn’t play it this week. Can you believe it?
notflower
THAT’S IT ASSHOLES! SUCK IT!
I mean…er…Right so, chaps! Call me on me mobile!

‘ELLO GUV’NAH! – September 4th 2009

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Here we go you glorious bastards (NOT A REFERENCE TO A MOVIE BECAUSE I KNOW HOW TO SPELL “BASTARDS”)! The first regularly scheduled ‘ELLO GUV’NAH comes as a present to everybody, except for the British people I offend. Let’s dive in.

batmanlogogameBatman: Arkham Asylum-
Yup, everybody loves this game. Riddles, abe80, The Broken Finger, Nate Liles. I can understand it, the controls are tight, the level design is well thought out, and Mark Hamill kills it as The Joker. And while I’m definitely quite enjoying it, the game can’t really hold my attention for more than an hour or so before I start shrugging my shoulders a bit. I don’t blame anybody for jizzing all over it, I just don’t feel exactly the same way. I’m glad I got it, though, and I hear the experience is pretty short, so I’m sure I’ll beat it.

Suikoden-
Suikoden_USThe one that you can get off of the PSN, not the DS one that I am very slowing inching towards defeating. Except for the item management system, I’m really enjoying this classic. It seems like Suikoden will be a series that I’m going to be getting into. Late in the game, perhaps, but there are at least a number of titles I can look forward to! In any case, this PSX original -besides having the greatest box art ever- is exciting so far and I’m not even at the point when I assume I’ll be in control of my own castle and commanding armies! I’m not really big on the whole 108 playable character hook, but like with Tierkreis I’m sure I’ll find the 10 or so that I really like and stick with them.

ff12_logoFinal Fantasy XII-
I have no idea what compelled me to pick up this title again. I was in the middle of a second playthrough that I stopped about 18 months ago and I’ve jumped right back in as if no time had passed. All this when I just got a PS3, have both modern HD systems and the new Metroid Trilogy for the Wii. Oh well, while I constantly wish for the graphics to look better -they were so good on the PS2 that it just ends up looking like a incredibly shitty PS3 game instead of a great looking PS2 game- the battle system is as addicting as ever, and the cutscenes still blow me away. Seriously, until Uncharted, no game rivaled FFXII in its scene direction, voice acting, and animation. What a waste that (excepting Balthier, Larsa, and maybe Fran) the characters were all boring sacks of shit. But seriously, while any conversation between Ashe and Basch might as well be about sawdust, I’m still glued to the TV. Let’s hope FFXIII combines X’s great story with XII’s great scene direction.

Flower-
flowerlogoYeah, I don’t care that I play this game all the time, this segment is about what I’ve been playing, and I’ve been playing Flower, goddamn it! After watching In Good Company, I felt the second dream was the perfect way to settle the residue emotions from the movie. With its grey beginnings and themes of colour and drab optimism, this level has definitely grown on me the most since I first discovered this game earlier this year. Later, I boosted an already great mood with the game’s perfect finale dream. Anyway, there’s only so much even I can say about this gem.

That’s it! That’s all I got! Suck it!

‘ELLO GUV’NAH!

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Alight alright alright.
It’s been a bit of a nutso/bizarro week, so let me catch you up to speed.
First off, my copy of ICO is indeed in Montreal. While Montreal is not far from Toronto relative to most of Canada, it’s not exactly a quick jump over to pick it up. My brother can get it back to me, but not until the weekend. Of course, Team ICO Week will be over by then, but hey, that’s apparently how I roll. I’m still scouting for a copy that is less than the $120 that DarthGibblet implied it would be. Either way, to slightly sort-of make up for it, I’m going to have a Last Guardian blow-out on Friday including trailer impressions, speculation, and all that sort of fun stuff. E-mail me at ethos@riddlethos.com if you want to weigh in on The Last Guardian. Maybe I’ll quote you or something.

I suppose saying “first off” implied that there would be a list of some sort. ABSOLUTELY NOT THE CASE. Onto what I’ve been playing. Or: ‘ELLO GUV’NAH!

suikoden-tierkreisSuikoden Tierkreis-
This is the game that I will forever be playing. I still always really enjoy it every time I pick my DSi up. But if you’re an avid Riddlethos.com reader, you know that my DS doesn’t travel with me in the summer, so the system has been acting more like an alarm clock than ever. Anyway, the game’s fun, and I still plan to review it on Lusipurr.com in the year 2063 when I finally beat the damn thing. That is, if Lusipurr would even let me at that point. But I digress. Classic RPG action is the point.

Folklore-
folklore-logo400This game has a lot going for it. It’s a PS3 exclusive with absolutely gorgeous environments, some of the best and most imaginative monster design I’ve seen in any video game, and an equally impressive soundtrack. However, it’s a little held back by its unexplored RPG mechanics, the fact that every level has to be played twice with two different characters to complete the game, and some questionable voice acting. But the shallow leveling-up system and lack of stat management is countered slightly by the way you have to beef up your Folks by fulfilling certain tasks. I realize that this might be a little confusing if you don’t know the premise. There are no weapons or equipment per se except for your cloak and the different “Folk” you collect. The Folk are also your foes, so it’s a little like Pokémon in that sense. Except Folklore is an action RPG. So it’s a little like Pokémon Ranger in that sense? Still not following? Play more Pokémon. Anyway, I’m not very far into the game, so I won’t talk too much more about the game for fear of getting too far ahead of myself. Who knows, maybe a lot of my views about the game will change.

Metroid Prime TrilogyMetroid Prime: Trilogy-
Some homeless guy I know, Deerwolf, was nice enough to lend me this recently released Nintendo gem. It’s always so shocking when Nintendo actually puts out a package that has legitimate value. Here are three full games (two of them noticeably upgraded) on a single disc for the price of one. And these are some of the most acclaimed titles Nintendo has put out this decade.
It always blows my mind when people knock the Wii’s FPS controls. The system can be rightfully bashed for being terribly underpowered and having zero idea about how gaming has interacted with the internet for years and years, and can especially be bashed for encouraging years of waggle-infested shovel-ware, but goddamn it, Metroid controls like a dream. I play my HD systems dozens and dozens of times more than I play the Wii and deservedly so, but I mean it when I say I would take Wii controls for a game like Bioshock any day. Motion is usually dumb (save Excitebots and Flower), but pointer controls are precise and satisfying, and this shows in SPADES when replaying the original Metroid Prime.
First off, it is glaringly obvious that I’m playing a 7 year old game on a SD system, but the newly added widescreen is incredibly appreciated and other graphical boosts are helpful as well. Let me preface all this by saying that I have tried on numerous occasions to get into the Metroid Prime series. I played the original a few times for a few hours, and once for more than that and just couldn’t seem to understand what everybody else loved about it. Playing for just half an hour on the Wii Trilogy edition provided more of a thrill than any time I attempted to play before. I’m now very much excited to see what the game has in store.

There we go. More detailed impressions than last time. That oughta keep some cranky people happy. Oh, and I’ve got a Arkham Asylum related story that’s going right up after this. Look at me making up for the slow day. I’m a champ.

‘ELLO GUV’NAH!

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Hey folks. I’ve decided to title my “What have I been playing?” segment “‘ELLO GUV’NAH!” for no other reason except that I love saying that. Always have. Always will.
And I was using it way before I met you, Lee Gordon! That’s a fact, so stop your worrying.
If he still had me on Facebook, he would delete me right about now.
Moving on!

Blue Dragon-
I picked this game up again. Still fun. Still void of mood.

Eternal Sonata-
People seem to either love or hate this game. So far, I’m the rare one on the fence. I think my choice to turn off English voice acting off the top has helped my experience, however.

InFAMOUS-
Super fucking fun. Always satisfying to run into a group of enemies and tear them to shreds with increasingly badass powers. I was talking to “The Broken Finger” about it, and I agree when he says the game holds your attention by constantly making you feel more and more powerful. Maybe he said that. At least, that’s what I remember him saying. You never know with The Broken Finger.

Fable 2-
You heard me, Lusipurr! And it’s fun! I’ll admit that it’s pretty stupid too, but it’s also addicting. Or at least addicting until you marry someone and she demands sex out of you all the time.
I’m trying to save the world, woman!!
What a bitch.

Prince of Persia-
The newest one. But it’s a second playthrough and I don’t feel like talking about it, so stuff it.

That’s it! I know I promised “HILARIOUS commentary” but, hey, I lied. So here’s a dumb picture to make you happy.
I didn’t draw this. This chick did.
british