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by Ethos

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.

Hey! Look! Listen! #66 – Your Prompt Attention is (not) Required

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

How do I come up with these titles?

Well, in this particular instance, I glanced to my left, and saw a billing notice from the Murfreesboro Electric Department. About halfway down the page, there’s a black bar with large white text that says “LATE NOTICE  - YOUR PROMPT ATTENTION IS REQUIRED.”

So I put that in the title. Then I realized that it wasn’t true, so I put the “not” in parentheses. And that’s the story of how I came up with the title for Hey! Look! Listen! #66.

For those of you who are wondering, I did, in fact, pay my electric bill. Before they shut off my electricity, even. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be typing this right now, because laptops require electricity to function. Mine, particularly, because my stupid battery doesn’t work.

Anyway. That’s enough of this nonsense. I ramble because there isn’t a terrible amount of interesting things going on in the world this week. However, this column is also the only thing standing in between me and my acquisition of Black Ops. So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Because Ethos is Canadian: Kevin Butler Brings Good News and Tired Jokes

I’ve always been somewhat hesitant to join in the fun of berating, belittling, and otherwise laughing at the expense of our red-headed cousins up North. Why? Well, two fairly obvious reasons; for one, Ethos is Canadian. But that’s not really a reason, now that I think about it. The main reason is that I actually kinda like Canada, (or at least Toronto) and making jokes at the country’s expense tends to ring somewhat hollow in my ears.

Regardless, I recognize Canada as a concept with a wealth of comedic opportunity, and I can hardly fault those who capitalize on said opportunities. Like Kevin Butler, here. Apparently Canadians finally get access to Sony’s overpriced video store, and they decided it was a big enough deal to make a Kevin Butler video about it.

What he fails to mention is that, despite their lack of overpriced movies, Canadians have had disc-less Netflix streaming for a year now. We just now graduated to that luxury here in the states. So… yeah.

Also, I really want pancakes now. Really… badly.

Black Ops is Here, What Does the World Think?

A new Call of Duty game is one of the single largest gaming events of any given year, or so has become the case in the last four years or so. Modern Warfare 2 set records, stirred controversies, and sparked all kinds of discussions last year – and now Black Ops is here to do the same thing. It’s only been a few days, but what has the world thought of Black Ops so far?

Well, for starters, the game currently holds a 90.54% aggregate score on GameRankings.com. That’s for the Xbox 360 version of the game, by the by; which, according to this awesomely in-depth Digital Foundry article, is the technically superior version. (I swear, every time I read something by Digital Foundry, it makes me wonder why I don’t visit that site every day.)

By and large, reviewers are calling this the best Call of Duty yet. Or that’s what I’m piecing together, at least; almost all of the reviews hail Black Ops as having both the most cohesive storyline of the franchise, as well as the most fully-featured multiplayer suite. Seeing that the campaign and the multiplayer are (essentially) the two main components of the game, I take that as a concession that Black Ops is the best so far. That’s the general opinion at least.

Also, several reviewers touch on the game’s extreme, brutal violence. Being the sadistic son of a bitch that I am, I’m intrigued to see if I find it as offensive as certain reviewers did.

But really, who cares about the critical reception? Activision doesn’t, I can tell you that. Why not? Because they’re too busy swimming in all their damn money. Last year, Modern Warfare 2 brought in $310 million on its opening day, and became literally the largest entertainment product launch in history. This year, Black Ops has broken even that insane record, with Activision reporting that the game generated an estimated $360 million on launch day. That’s 5.6 million copies.

That’s a lot. A lot. A lot. Shortly after wiping his ass with a Benjamin, Activision head Bobby Kotick had this to say: “There has never been another entertainment franchise that has set opening day records for two consecutive years and we are on track to outperform last year’s five-day global sales record of $550 million.”

But, oh. Wait. Not everyone’s happy. Gamers are happy, retailers are happy, Bobby Kotick is using $20 bills as jizzrags, but as per always, with so many happy people around someone has to come balance the karma. So, who’s un-happy? Some damn crochety veteran. Go figure. Vietnam veteran and Winnipeg resident Ron Parkes thinks it’s “tacky” that Activision released Black Ops on Remembrance Day.

“Remembrance Day is not a consumer advocate’s day and this company is clearly using the date as a marketing strategy.

“War is always a miserable experience and the movies or video games depicting these wars never really do catch how bad it really is.”

Yes. War is bad. Very, very bad. Awful, really. That’s why I’ve never fought in one, personally. But, that being the case, two things:

1. I can see no evidence whatsoever that Activision is using Remembrance Day as a marketing tactic

2. What the fuck is Remembrance Day? Don’t we already have a Memorial Day?

I’m a patriot, for sure. I’ll be bringing you my own thoughts of Black Ops soon enough.

God Damn It, A New Assassin’s Creed is Out Next Week?

Apparently so. It feels like Assassin’s Creed II just came out a year ago, and now Brotherhood is here. And it looks good. Really good, actually; and early word on the street is that the appearances aren’t deceiving.

Since it was first introduced to the world, the Assassin’s Creed franchise has always been graced with very stellar, creative marketing campaigns. Some of the trailers for the original game remain my favorite of all time. And now, this eerie live-action trailer for Brotherhood is likely to receive similar honors. Whether or not you enjoy Assassin’s Creed, if you have an appreciation for good videogame trailers, check this one out.

(Shut up, Ethos.)

Nintendo Trademarks “It’s On Like Donkey Kong”

Okay… sorry, but just how full of yourself do you have to be to trademark pop culture catchphrases based on your brand names?

The thing is, this isn’t a first, but part of a pattern when it comes to Nintendo. Apparently, they’ve already trademarked the phrases “It’s a-me, Mario,” “Wii would like to play,” and “Gotta catch ‘em all.”

I mean, come on. You don’t see me filing trademarks for “there is no exploration in Metroid,” do you?

Although, now that I think about it, that’s sort of an interesting idea. I could make Shawn and all the other denizens of Lusipurr.com pay licensing fees to use it. Given the immense popularity of the phrase, I feel like a reasonable compromise could be reached.

Here’s the First Nine Minutes of Prince of Persia HD

Of course, unless you live in Europe, this will only serve to infuriate you further. That’s what it did to me. The Prince cleans up pretty damn well, it seems. I’m surprised how much less shitty his character model from Sands of Time looks when upscaled; but I’m even more impressed with the level of detail that the environments now have the ability to display. Of all the franchises that have been given/are getting an HD facelift, Prince of Persia is by far the most deserving.

And it’s only going to be released in Europe.

God damn you, Sony. Hear my cantankerous grumblings, and give me this damn trilogy.

And that’s it. I’m off to buy Black Ops. I can’t wait any longer. Byyeee.