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            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

Scatter Storming. Issue #048

Monday, March 21st, 2011

See! What did I tell you? Another Scatter Storming.

Today I am quite tired and have a lot on my plate, so let’s go to.

Let’s Be Honest

As much as Riddles and I love this site and are committed to it, it’s obvious that content and enthusiasm has been down since the beginning.

The fact is that Riddlethos does not pay the bills and takes a tremendous amount to effort to keep afloat at the level that both Riddles and I aspire to.

This leaves feelings of frustration when we can’t produce content like we’d like and feelings of guilt when we take time to ourselves.

But the point is that we truly appreciate all our readers – the ones who comment and the ones who don’t – and while Riddlethos will have dips and dives in its content production, you guys are the reason we still even consider this little site as something worth working on.

Riddles and I plan to talk soon to rework a few things, and maybe it’ll mean officially diminished content, maybe it won’t, but all decisions will be made carefully and with the future success of the site in mind, even if that means darker days for a bit.

Sorry for the rant, but I wanted to touch base and let you all know that a lack of content does not equal a lack of love.

Ugly

Pilot Wings Resort

Fuck the other games that came with my temporary 3DS unit, Pilot Wings is the shit. It has almost every good thing I remember about the 64 version while adding some good new things and removing most – but not all – of the annoying. You can blast through all the missions very quickly, but to master each one and get a perfect score in every level is a true challenge.

A challenge that’s actually not often seen in any game nowadays. It’s a clever move that Nintendo demonstrated with Mario Galaxy 2: the difficulty setting without a need for a difficulty setting.

It would be perfectly easy for a beginner player to toy around with the title and have some fun in the easier modes and the free flight and not get frustrated with the difficulty. An intermediate player would find challenge in unlocking all of the levels as a decent amount of skill is needed to do so.

A player of my experience with gaming and the series, however, can blast through and unlock all the levels, but will then have a very challenging and ultimately satisfying time with the game trying to get a perfect score on all the levels. It – very largely – takes skill and intimate knowledge of the intricacies of all the vehicles to do so. There will be no flukes to gain a perfect run.

Yes, very fun. But ugly.

However, all that praise being said, the game is actually a horrible showpiece for the new system. The graphics are bad. I saw what the launch software was capable of when I was in New York, and Pilot Wings Resort is ugly in comparison. There is no argument. It’s a stylistic choice I guess, but one in the same vein as Wii Sports, so I’m not going to defend it.

Also the 3D is bad. If I only had this game to go off of, I would say that the system’s 3D doesn’t really work that well. Now I’ve seen about a dozen other titles, so I know that Pilot Wings Resort is the exception, but it’s still a Nintendo first party launch title, so…

On the lowest level, it’s actually very pleasant. The effect is obvious, but not intense, and it can even be helpful for some of the jet pack missions. But crank the thing up and it all goes to shit. Unlike every other game that I’ve played for the system, when the slider is completely up – or even over the halfway point – there’s no way to properly focus. There is no sweet spot. The 3D just doesn’t work on max for Pilot Wings.

Anyhoo, there’s a solid preview for when I get the go ahead to write a review. (Psst, the go ahead will be once I see a review from IGN).

Other than that…

…I haven’t really been playing many games. I just haven’t been home. Dragon Age calls to me, but because it has turned out to be “just a fun game” and not really the sequel that Origins deserved, I haven’t been cutting into sleeping time to play it.

I have been playing Pokémon when I can, but I’m just on the grind now. I picked up a few Pokeymans that really suck now, but evolve late and will be worth the investment. I’m at the Elite Four, but haven’t properly challenged them yet. I’ll post my winning team when I finally do.

That’s all! I actually wrote more than I expected, so suck it.

PokéParty Update 03 – Smugleaf Edition

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I’m on a roll today. Enough content in one day from one person as we usually crank out in a week. And I’ve been working all day. FUCK laziness. I haven’t even had time to eat lunch today.

Sandile lvl 24 – I just added this into my party, hence the lower level. Yes it’s sad, but I had to ditch Liepard. It was a badass, and strong enough, but I can’t deal with single types. And by only evolving once, that makes it a little weaker in the long run.

Sandile is not only a dual-type, but I cheated a little to confirm that it evolves twice. I don’t know what the final evolution looks like, but I’ve seen its first evolution in game, so I’m not worried. But what I am worried about is…

Palpitoad lvl 28 – Look at this ugly-ass mother fucker. Not only did I not expect this dude to be so hideous, but I didn’t even notice that he’s a dual Water/Ground-type until I already switched out Liepard for Sandile. Ugh.

So the point is that I don’t care that it evolves again, I’m getting another Water-type as soon as I can. I don’t care if this abomination is strong or has a powerful dual-type.

Conkeldurr lvl 28 – Yup, I skipped a step. While remaining relatively spoiler-free, I do get paranoid about how the new Pokémon evolve. So while I don’t look at pictures or names, I try sneak a peak on Bulbapedia from time to time to see if my team evolves by level, stone, trading, or other means.

That turned out to be very helpful in this case because the moment Tumburr evolved into whateverthefuck its evolution is, I traded it to Abe80 to make it evolve into this beast and traded it right back. Just a solid fighting type who gets the job done.

Also, his name is Conkeldurr. CONKELDURR.

Zebstrika lvl 28 – I was right. Look at this warrior. I know I just mentioned that a single-evolution Pokémon wasn’t as strong, but I’m willing to make an exception with Zebstrika.

Beautiful, bold, powerful, badass. While I like to make my party as efficient as possible with dual-types, Electric-types are usually an exception. Water and flying are just too common, and Electric is just too powerful. That fighting beast I just drooled over a second ago is more at risk than Zebstrika is, to be honest.

Tranquill lvl 28 – Not much more to say here.

I mean, like Abe80 pointed out, we should all be a little uncomfortable with the pose its making with its wing in this photo…

…I’m still holding out hope that its final evolution will somehow be pretty. But I’m a little scarred after that Water/Ground nightmare above.

I just…I won’t know what to do if I don’t have my Flying/Normal-type in my Elite Four party…

Smugleaf lvl 27 – Smugleaf will rip open your chest and suck out your arteries. Smugleaf will enjoy your brain as noodle soup in front of your family. Smugleaf will steal your girlfriend and make her forget you so fast that she won’t recognize you ever again. Not if you re-introduce yourself. Not if she ends up being your boss and sees you every day. You are GONE from her brain.

Don’t fuck with Smugleaf.

The final form of Smugleaf is coming…

…Be prepared.

PokéParty Update 02 – Smugleaf Edition

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Pokémon Week starts next week, and I’d still like to put a few more titles on my hype list, but here’s your quick Party Update.

Liepard lvl 22 – Well what do you know? That cute little cat did end up looking badass. It was actually a bit of a bitch to train up to this point. But it’s pulling its weight around a little better now.

I’m still hesitant, however. I can’t keep it around just for aesthetics, especially when it’s just a Dark-type with no second type to round out my team. Especially especially when I just caught a Dark/Fighting type. Liepard is really cool, but she’s on the fringe right now.

Timburr lvl 22 – Speaking of Dark/Fighting, this dude is just a Fighting-type. I like efficiency in my team, but I’m attached to the gal. Based on Pokédex logic, it looks likely that she evolves twice as well.

Argh, I forgot how tough a time I had managing my party. It’s especially difficult with new ones of which I’m not sure of the potential. I really, really like this new batch. I’m running into far more awesome designs than duds. Even the Bug-types are cool this generation.

Tympole lvl 22 – Can anybody say Poliwag? But dumber looking? I ditched that stupid monkey thing and when Lillipup evolved (into something less cool than I expected) and when Patrat evolved (into something more awesome than I expected), I ditched them like I said and picked up this likely-to-be triple-evolution as well.

He’s on thin ice, though. I’ll drop and replace based purely on aesthetics if he doesn’t look cool. Yup, I’m that PokéShallow.

Blitzle lvl 22 – This is the badass I was talking about in the last update. This picture doesn’t do her justice. She kicks ass and takes names. She’s a fucking electric zebra for fuck’s sake!

I can just imagine that Blitzle will evolve into the Electric Rapidash. Elegant. Powerful. Beautiful. I will settle for nothing less.

Tranquill lvl 24 – What an ugly bitch Pidove turned out to evolve into! Definitely no chance of him leaving, however. If you’ll notice, he’s the only one to not be level 22. I generally like to keep the levels no more than 1 apart. My OCD flares up otherwise. But Tranquill is definitely powerful, and my current best bet against Bug and Grass-types. Man, I need a Fire-type. I found one, but it’s stupid.

Let’s just hope that this stupid thing doesn’t somehow continue to get uglier.

Smugleaf lvl 22 – Still Smugleaf. Still awesome. Evolved. Gunna beat you up. Gunna make you feel like dirt. Gunna tear out your esophagus without hesitation and laugh while you writhe around in the dirt in complete agony. Smugleaf will defeat you. And Smugleaf knows it. Do not fuck with Smugleaf.

That’s that!

I mean, I could also talk about how Awesome Hat is a much better movie than the trailers would suggest. Especially because they seem to call it “The Adjustment Bureau” for some reason. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s funny and the lead actors’ chemistry is great.

Scatter Storming. Issue #046

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Well folks, I’m tearing myself away from the INFINITE AWESOME that is Pokémon: Smugleaf Version to give you all a Scatter Storming. I actually have lots to get to, so let’s do it!

Updated Dragon Age 2 Hype

So since its addition to the hype list, I completed the Dragon Age 2 demo and then went back and played a good 5 hours more of Origins. After that experience, I’m a lot less worried about the series getting the Mass Effect 2 treatment.

By that I mean that the battle system hasn’t really changed at all. I mean, the moves are flashier, but you’ll still die if you just mash “attack”, you’ll still do a lot better if you manage your abilities and your party’s abilities, but now being a mage is completely badass.

Not just that, but – unlike Mass Effect 2 – the leveling up actually seems to be MORE complex when compared to its predecessor. A level will still just produce 3 skill points to be distributed how you’d like to your stats, but the skill tree is more interesting now. Or at least it seems to be at first sight. This IS just a demo we’re talking about.

Also, the demo doesn’t allow access to the inventory screen, so I hope that hasn’t been nerfed. Based on the other menu screens, and the loot I was picking up, I’m not too worried about that.

What I’m not too found of is the switch to the Mass Effect style main menu. I never liked it in the Mass Effect series and I don’t like it now. The old menu interface sufficed just fine.

One double-edged change is the new graphical style. Playing the two games so close, I have to say that while there’s not a huge difference in the visuals, Dragon Age 2 is slightly more stylish, and it’s largely the better for it. Environments seem to have the potential to be more interesting, and character models have a bit more flair.

No. I mean, yes, but no.

Although that’s where the other edge comes in. I’m a boob guy, anybody can tell you that, but when every female character has a bust that could have kept the Titanic afloat, I’m taken out of the experience a bit. Stylish is cool, guys, but let’s have a small sense of believability please.

Anyway, the final noticeable change is the dialogue wheel. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the dialogue wheel, and that I prefer that the main character talks now. However, I did like that Dragon Age was different from Mass Effect in the sense that “good” and “evil” wasn’t really the point of your decisions. It had way more to do with how the people around you perceived you and individual relationships.

And while upper choices will still tend to be noble and lower choices will make Hawke (the protagonist) be a prick, each decision had a symbol to accompany it. And there were more than 3 different symbols. This not only implies that there’s more than just “good”, “bad”, and “neutral”, but will hopefully alleviate some confusion if you’re not sure how your choice is going to be perceived.

My dive back into Origins made me really excited for Dragon Age 2, especially after that promising demo. The demo didn’t seem to run too much better than the original – despite Riddles’ claim otherwise – although the framerate definitely didn’t screech to a halt at any point like Origins had a habit of doing. Speaking of Riddles…

I’m cutting him some slack

Yup, it’s true. I know it’s fun to poke fun of him and call him a lazy fuck, but the truth is that he literally works twice the number of hours that I do during the week. It’s nice when he’s able to show his face around here, but it’s understandable that I’m going to be posting a lot more than him when he’s working this much. I love the little guy and don’t want him to break his spirit!

PokéParty Update 01 – Smugleaf Edition

Yup, it might be Pokémon Week next week (don’t worry, Dragon Age is getting its own week after that), but I got the game today and so I’m giving you the first update now, bitches!

Purrloin lvl 13 – Oh man! A dark-type this early in the game? Sign me up, cuz! Maybe it’s a cute little cat, but I’m sure it evolves into some ugly badass dark type. Or if I’m lucky, it’ll still be cool-looking. And don’t let me know! I know I might be spoiling to even have this list, but I’ve been so good at evolution spoilers. I’ve only looked up the starters to make sure that Smugleaf turned into the best one too. It did, of course. By far. Smugleaf for president.

Panpour lvl 13 – I was just given this fucker. Like, I didn’t have to catch it. I didn’t have to battle for it. It was handed to me by an apparently very stupid character. It’s a water-type, so I’ll take it. Not sold on her yet, but we’ll see. I’m sure she’ll stick around until I either warm up to her or find something way more badass.

Smugleaf lvl 12 – Smugleaf now. Smugleaf forever. Smugleaf is the greatest starter Pokémon and will be until the end of time. Nothing could have ever convinced me to go with a Grass-type starter until Smugleaf’s existence. Smugleaf evolves into some certified badasses, but even then, it will still be Smugleaf. Do not fuck with this Pokémon. Smugleaf will take you out and give you a permanent and significant inferiority complex at the same time. Do you hear me? You’ll be concussed and convinced that hobos are better at life than you. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Lillipup lvl 13 – What a cute li’l guy! Because there are no older Pokémon mixed in with the over 150 new ones during the main quest, there are all-new replacements for the typical Rattata-esque Normal-type dudes you catch at the beginning. There’s no way this guy and his inevitable evolution will stay in my party for long, but it’s my first playthrough. He’s getting his 15 minutes. Plus, I like him a lot better than…

Patrat lvl 13 – This guy is the new Bidoof, but somehow not nearly as ugly. She’s just as strong though, and actually my current go-to powerhouse Pokémon if I want to end a battle quickly. Still, just like Lillipup, Patrat will only be around until it evolves. Especially because I’ve already caught the most badass Pokémon ever, just waiting to join my party after I’m done with my OCD training of these two normal types.

Pidove lvl 13 – I’m assuming this is the new Pidgey/Starly, and I’ll keep him around until the Elite Four after which it will have evolved twice. It’s cute, but I’m doubtful that it will top the Starly trio. Sorry Pidgey. I know you have nostalgia on your side, but Starly kicks your ass. We’ll have to see about Pidove, though. I can’t imagine how this thing will evolve into something that rivals Pidgeot, not to mention Staraptor.

Anyway, unlike a typical second playthrough, my party is maxed out. I’m too excited about the new creatures. I can’t wait until my next update when it will include the badass Pokémon I talked about. Plus ones I have no idea about! Smugleaf forever!

Ethos’ Hype List: Mass Effect 3

Wow, I’ve already written a lot, so I’ll keep this semi-brief.

I really liked Mass Effect 2, and it was my favourite game of last year, but I easily prefer the first entry. Better worlds, better exploration, better near-end game, better RPG mechanics, the Mako dune buggy, and deeper battle system. Especially if you play as an adept, like me.

Still, the second game had incredible writing, a much stronger cast, better pacing, and some jaw-dropping moments.

Make Mass Effect 3 the best of both worlds, plz.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that it’ll just be even more watered down. That would suck.

Anticipation Level: 21/27

Oh man, that’s it for me. I wrote more than I expected, and I think I had more planned. Still, that’s a lot and I was taken out for dinner by a friend half-way through, so I’m pooped. Seriously, he treated to me to a delicious feast. Talk about unexpected and amazing. Goodnight, assholes!