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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.

Scatter Storming. Issue #047

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Okay, crazy weekend over. I’ve still got a crazy week ahead, but I’ve at least got a small amount of downtime right now. And with that downtime, am I going to play Dragon Age II? Am I going to practice my horrible StarCraft II? Am I going to play more Pokémon: Smugleaf Edition?

NO! I am going to write a Scatter Storming for my beautiful readers.

Edit: Turns out that I DID play DAII and Pokémon after a while. Most of this Scatter Storming was written Sunday night, and the cover is lackluster. Deal with it.

Last night

So because I couldn’t keep the ball rolling with daily content for you over the weekend, I might as well fill you in on some of the happenings.

Yesterday, my extremely talented younger brother performed in a production of Bye Bye Birdie which was far more bearable than I ever expected it to be. Of course, Jordan was fantastic, but afterward was the most interesting part of the night.

It was also my grandmother’s 70th birthday. I had gone with her and my mother to a tame sushi dinner earlier in the day, but after the show a few of us decided to go to a bar.

“A few of us” consisting of my sister, my father, my mother, my mother’s husband, and my grandmother. Amazing. Didn’t ever picture that scenario materializing. Anyway, video games exist.

Cooling off on Dragon Age 2

We’ll talk far more in detail about this when we start Dragon Age 2 Week, but after 10 hours, I’m not as gung-ho about it as I first was.

I mean, not the battle system. That’s still awesome. The complaints about it (at least in terms of the PS3 version) are a little ridiculous. It’s straight-up an improvement. Still has all the abilities and capabilities to delegate to your party, but now it runs better and faster and it’s more visually appealing. Also, now it rocks to be a mage.

Still, maybe I’m playing it wrong, but so far it really just seems to be Kirkwall: The Game. There’s no sense of impending doom, no sense of a giant world to traverse, no sense of darkness and medieval fucked-upness like there was was in the original.

I’m also annoyed that I can’t start a full-on conversation with my party at any point. I know that they rarely updated, but it still feels like a step back. And having to traverse to individual houses to progress relationships? I know that the loading times are better, but I miss a general camp. And it’s not like loading times are THAT much better. Saving just doesn’t pause the game anymore.

TV

I wanted to review Mr. Sunshine because it wasn’t as good, and I wanted to review Modern Family because it had its first truly excellent episode of the season, but I didn’t. And now I’m behind in TV. That’s what happens when I stop becoming a hermit for a few days and work more on the weekends. Ta-da!

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!

Scatter Storming. Issue #045

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

We’re here, we’re creepin’ up on the ol’ 50 mark. How will Scatter Storming handle such an honour? We all know it will be disappointing, but in WHICH WAY will it be disappointing? That is the question. Anyhoo this is Issue 45, not 50, so I have the Ocarina of Time challenge that I talked about earlier today to get to.

Soooo, let’s get to it!

The Great Ocarina of Time Fail-Through

Earlier today, I randomly posted that I was going to attempt a one-sitting playthrough of Ocarina of Time.

Let me give a little bit of backstory first. First of all, it wasn’t quite as off-the-cuff as I made it seem. My roommate and I had been talking of a full playthrough for a while. He wasn’t as familiar with the game and I was craving to dive into Hyrule again.

I decided to play some piano and in the middle of the Kokiri Forest theme, my roommate says “Oh yeah! You want to play through Ocarina today?” So I got up, wrote that brief post you may see below, and booted up a new game.

Now, instead of relaying what actually happened, let me direct your attention to the prophetic comments that appeared on my post announcing my intentions. 7thCircle said:

Can we gamble on this? Can I bet that you don’t finish? Can we bet on when you give up? Deku Tree? Water Temple? The opening credits?

Cow said:

I too bet that you won’t beat it in one sit. You’ll get as far as the Water Temple like 7thCircle suggested. Then you will be like FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!11 And throw a baby against a wall in protest.

Screw you guys! I made it to the Fire Temple. NEITHER of you predicted that one, suckers. And I didn’t stop because I was out of stamina. I could easily beat the whole thing with the right willpower. But not only did my roommate – understandably – lose a bit of interest watching, and not only would the TV be occupied in a few hours for the Oscars, but I had some thoughts that were also foretold. 7thCircle said:

OoT might be a liiiiiittle long, though, and you’d be cutting out the meandering exploration that’s one of the game’s strengths. I don’t think sprinting through the temples like a spiritless machine will be much fun.

This is a screenshot of Ocarina of Time

I had these exact thoughts while blasting through it. While I was enjoying things like the incredible mood of the Forest Temple, and story points like the infamous bridge scene with Saria when Link leaves the forest, or Princess Ruto’s proud façade, I spent more time wishing that I could just dick around and waste time in Hyrule Castle Town or Kakariko Village.

I realized that too often I just rush and I was finally feeling the need to take my time and explore the game again. Re-find places and moments that I had forgotten. Which brings me to the final prophetic comment from Cow:

But… But why? Why would you do this NOW?! OoT 3DS is coming soon and it will be less impactful if you do this now!

Good point. Playthrough closed down. Resume later this year when I’m sure we’ll have an Ocarina of Time Week proper. And I’ve been waiting two years to have that Theme Week here at Riddlethos. And speaking here at Riddlethos…

Where the Crap is Lameish?

Seriously, I’ve even had people on twitter ask about the next iteration of Call Me Lameish. Sure, Riddles and I have been neglectful too, and Lameish has a band and is apparently leaving the continent very soon. Okay, so maybe he has some excuses, but Ethos however…

Where the Crap are the Remaining Awards, Ethos?

Yes yes. The Best Theme Weeks and Best of Lord Riddles awards still haven’t been awarded. They will be, shockingly, but obviously very late.

I had assumed that I would have easier access to a decent video camera given where I work and the type of friends I have, but apparently not.

Oh right, I plan to make these video features to make up for the tardiness. Also a video Spam Comment Roundup is planned. I would tell you to get excited, but I need a camera first. So let’s take the focus off my failures and put them onto Riddles…

Where the Crap are Riddles’ BttF Impressions?

The fool requested we extend the week because he still wanted to talk about the game. Well? It’s Sunday! WHERE ARE YOUR OPINIONS?! Stuck up there with my late awards and your late Dead Space 2 Review?

…Wow, why do people still read this site?

I guess it’s the watching-a-train-wreck-phenomenon

This is one of the great commentators for Pro StarCraft II matches in Korea

Starcraft II Update

Watching the GSL pro-gamers is still awesome.

I’m still awful, but slightly better than before. More to come.

OH RIGHT!

I started Warrior Within HD. It’s definitely a better port than Sands of Time, but so far it’s definitely not a better game. I truly can’t take it seriously. Women with massive breasts wearing barely anything but their weapons, horrible one-liners, melodramatic story without the sense of charm from the original. The platforming is more challenging, and I suppose the combat is a bit more interesting, but I’m not hooked yet. Especially not after remembering how much I loved Sands of Time by recently beating it.

That’s all for now, fuckers. I’m getting ready for Pokémon Week, and you should be too. Daily PokéParty Updates, and rabid fanboy impressions. I tried to get an early copy, but I didn’t show up to their event, so I felt like it’d be a dick move to press the matter.

Oh, and I was going to take a picture of me with my Bieber My Balls shirt for the cover, but I ran out of batteries for Oliver’s camera.

Oh, and obviously I didn’t watch the Oscars. I learned my lesson about award shows years ago. I’ll tune in if anybody I know personally is nominated.

BYE FOR REALZ

Scatter Storming. Issue #044

Friday, February 11th, 2011

It took until the horrible month of February, but Scatter Storming is back! Let’s see if I remember how to do this.

I Caved and Bought StarCraft II

Yup, it finally happened. Of all the eSport-worthy games I’ve watched Pogo play – CounterStrike, Warcraft 3, Modern Warfare 2, and StarCraft II – this is the one that got my attention enough to make me want to play it.

Yes, I’m aware that MW2 is too broken to be called an eSport-worthy game, but I’d seen too many hours of it to not count it.

Anyhoo, I’m really trying to watch my cash when it comes to games for the next little bit, but I have no regrets. Just means the 3DS will likely have to wait; it’s definitely the least urgent of the upcoming goodies.

The point is that I’m horrible, but the game is very fun. And very stressful. But it’s satisfying to feel like I’m getting better. Very slowly, sure, but mastering something is one of the finest and most satisfying experiences in life. I’ll keep you guys posted once I exit the practice league and enter the real online ladder.

Ethos’ Confession #3:

Despite being a Zelda fanboy, I have never completed a console Zelda game released prior to Ocarina of Time, and have never completed a handheld Zelda game released prior to Phantom Hourglass.

Modern Family: “Bixby’s Back” Review

Just saw the most recent Valentine’s Day-theme episode of Modern Family, so I thought I’d do a quickie review.

It started off quite weak. Some poor acting, contrived writing, and a non-compelling scenario. I’m glad I stuck it out though, all four stories wrapped up very nicely, and the episode finally started delivering a lot of laughs past the halfway point.

It’s great to see Mitch and Cam continue to drop the “let’s not offend each other” shtick and have some of the better moments. But once again, Gloria wins moment of the episode with her equally oblivious and poignant ridiculousness. Even if the “twist” was a little expected, the delivery was excellend.

I’m a little tired of Phil’s fool/stud/fool rotation. I think this season is missing more interactivity between the families. At least we got Manny with Haley.

The summation? Good save with this episode.

SCORE: 6.5/10

Ethos’ Confession #4:

I’ve never properly played a Resident Evil game.

Ethos’ Confession #5:

I never beat any optional bosses or got Knights of the Round in Final Fantasy VII. Hell, I didn’t even get Vincent.

New Trophy War

The Trophy war I had with Abe80 ages ago obviously died out. Plus, I’m destroying him. But a new challenger enters! Eric J., another former Lusipurr.comian and I have started a war of our own, and it seems to be a much more heated battle.

He best sums up how it started on his site, but now we’re in the midst of coming up with a prize for the winner and/or a punishment for the loser.

We toyed with the idea of the loser moving to the other’s location, but that ended when I came to terms with the fact that I would never move to Michigan. Also that he’d be getting the way better end of that deal. Toronto is a world class city. But we still want a significant prize/punishment. Ideas?

That’s it for now! It feels good to be back. This year is going to be fucking insane for us gamers. It is the calm before the storm.

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!

Scatter Storming. Issue #042

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

It has been over a month. That is FAR far too long for any human being to go without a Scatter Storming. If you’ve been experiencing shortness of breath, paranoia, and/or excessive and violent vomiting, then this is your cure.

Plus, how could I let a week with such an awesome acronym as this go without a Scatter Storming? I couldn’t. I mean seriously, just pronounce it. SACITSTOW. Sack-its-toe. Best thing Riddles has done all year.

Speaking of all year…

…Er, I’m starting to ramble, so I might as well begin.

Best Riddlethos of 2010 Awards

Of course we’re doing it again this year. If you don’t remember last year’s masturbation fest, we spent a week devoted to praising ourselves for the best articles we thought we had written.

The only problem was that the task took a lot more effort than we expected, and this year we have twice the content to sift through. We’re starting earlier, but I’d like to get some fan feedback too. Do you guys want to vote? If you do, do you want a shortlist or the full spectrum to vote from? Putting that aside, do you guys have any ideas for categories? Last year we had…

  • Top 5 Hey! Look! Listen!s
  • Top 3 Scatter Stormings
  • Top 5 Theme Weeks
  • Top 10 posts by both Ethos and Riddles chosen by the other
  • Riddles’ Arbitrary Banner Picks
  • Lameish is new to the site, what sort of say should he get? Have there been enough Call Me Lameishs to justify a category? WHAT TO DO!??!?!?

    The Sly Cooper Collection

    The Journey There -
    If you follow me on Twitter (Riddles doesn’t, the prick), you already know that I had a bitch of a time trying to find the Sly Cooper Collection. Talk about under the radar. There was no word about it after its small announcement until a quiet release date was set for November 9th in late October. Come November 9th, a closeby EB Games told me that the computer told them November 10th. The girl was reasonable, however, and told me that she’d sell me one if they were sent any. She checked and there were none. No matter, I thought. I’ll go to the Gamestop near my house tomorrow.

    I did that and the guy there said they while they DID have them in, his computer told him November 11th was the streetdate and so he refused to sell me one.

    Fuck you, I thought. But I said nothing except a sarcastic “thanks” and left the store. I called the other store that I could convince myself was close enough to visit and talked to a very confused girl who didn’t know what the crap I was talking about. At one point she asked me if I was looking to buy a system bundle. I really don’t know how she arrived at that from “The Sly Cooper Collection”.

    The point is that I didn’t get one that day either.

    The one by my house sold it to me the next day, but it’s always bizarre when it’s that difficult to spend your money on something you’re actively looking for. It makes me wonder how many copies the game could possibly sell.

    Fortunately, despite the sketchiness of its availability (it wasn’t just me, even IGN had a hard time finding it), the collection is awesome and way more polished than the extremely disappointing Sands of Time glitchiness that Riddles accurately described.

    Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus -

    Platinum’d! Granted, it was even easier than Ratchet & Clank to platinum, but still. It is a very fun game, but there were a few things that make it obvious that it’s 8 years old and the first title in a series.

    First of all, even in HD, the models look terrible during cutscenes. Overall, the game is extremely pleasant-looking, but the production values of the in-engine cutscenes are a little cringe worthy. Sly’s voice being the only exception.

    Apart from visuals, the physics and collision detection feel distinctly last-gen. I definitely died (or at least didn’t make a jump) many times when it wasn’t the fault of a lack of skill. To compound that, death comes very easily. By that, I don’t mean that the game is difficult – it’s definitely not – but that when Sly gets occasionally hurt, he instantly dies. There are a few exceptions to this, and late-game upgrades soften this a little bit, but it is a frustration when bad collision detection causes an instant death and you’re thrown back to the beginning of the level.

    But don’t let me paint the wrong picture, Sly Cooper’s first outing is also a blast. It’s vibrant, varied, humourous, stylish, and – quite simply – fun.

    Sly 2: Band of Thieves -

    I’ve just started this, but I can instantly feel the improvements in terms of visuals and controls. The game looks fantastic and Sly controls like a dream in comparison to the original title. I’m not sure yet if I’m sold on the switch from straight platformer to Infamous/GTA/Mario/MGS hyrbid, but I’m appreciating the gameplay improvements. It also looks like it’ll be a cinch to platinum. Hot.

    Oh, but I don’t like Murray’s new voice. Far less personality. Boo.

    Murfreesboro Review

    It sucks.

    Rare Nintendo Glitch

    I wish this was a clever pun that had to do with Rareware, but it isn’t. It’s actually just a description of a glitch I witnessed while my super hot girlfriend was playing Super Mario Galaxy. We had already beat Galaxy 2 together (I’m talking 241 stars) and so she’s been playing the first one by herself.

    She’s tearing the game to pieces, but the game decided to fight back in a very hilarious way.

    During one of the many Bowser fights, the king of Koopas made a menacing jump like he usually does. Only this time, he didn’t stop jumping. He just kept flying into space.

    I must say that watching Bowser slowly float away with an angry look on his face was a very funny image. Erika wasn’t so jovial however, pleasantly stating, “fuck you, Bowser. Come and fight me like a real man, you big pussy.” Not making this up, folks.

    Anyway, I know that glitches in most modern games like Fallout: New Vegas are more common than pathetic lives in Murfreesboro, but Nintendo glitches are practically unheard of, so I thought it was worth mentioning. Also, I think it’s hilarious and adorable when my super sweet girlfriend runs her mouth like a sailor.

    Speaking of not actually Rareware

    I’ve been playing Donkey Kong Country! Now that reviews are out, I can tell you guys that. I’m about 5 worlds in and apparently 38% complete, although I’m sure that percentage relates to everything including the impossible collectibles.

    Seriously, I’ve only got 100% of the KONG and puzzle pieces in one of the levels I’ve played. And I’m relatively good at finding shit and I’ve been looking. Because of The Sly Collection, I’ve been a little distracted, but I still hope to beat (not 100%) it tomorrow and get up a review at the same time. Lameish also got a chance to secretly play it with me, so expect his far less written and more far entertaining Call Me Lameish on Monday.

    Hell, if that’s all the case, maybe we’ll make next week Gran Turismo 5 Week since god knows that Riddles won’t be smart enough to play one of the greatest platformers ever made.

    “Oh yeah, I hear it’s good,” he’ll say. “Maybe I’ll get around to it,” he’ll say. “I’m glad you like it,” he would say were he polite enough. But that’s the most we’ll get out of him.

    Fuck it, let’s do this.

    I declare next week as Gran Turismo 5 Week!

    Hijacked!

    Back to the PSP

    Now that I’ve given Abe80 his PSP back (I never did beat all three stories of Birth by Sleep), and now that 4 Heroes of Light has started reusing locations (boo, the game was so good before that…), I’ve gone back to my PSP Go. Man, what a great design. I’m sad to hear that the PSP 2 will apparently be a giant. I’m aware that the PSP Go is a massive failure, but I genuinely prefer the design.

    The point is that I’ve returned to Lunar after fuck knows how long. It’s still great. REALLY easy though. And it takes a lot for me to say that, I generally like easy RPGs.

    Riddles Sucks

    We’ve been too nice recently.

    That’s all, folks!

    I need to make the covers before this Starbucks closes! Look forward to a Donkey Kong Country Returns review tomorrow. That is if I’m able to beat it by then!

    Scatter Storming. Issue #041

    Friday, October 15th, 2010

    Once again, it’s been a busy week for me and games, so I’m not going to bore you with three paragraph non-introductions like Riddles did with his Hey! Look! Listen!, but will – once again – dive right in.

    Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood Multiplayer Beta

    Because of my previously discussed subscription to Playstation Plus, I got exclusive access to the multiplayer beta for the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. I had no idea what it was about, so let me give you the run down if you are in the same boat I was.

    In the only mode that I was aware of, the point isn’t an all out brawl, or even team-based objectives, but rather to carry out the simple task of taking out your target before you yourself are assassinated. You get more points for more subtle assassinations, and these points fill an experience bar which have become popular in hooking in online communities. I leveled up once, so I was able to note that new abilities do get unlocked by gaining levels, and that you’re even allowed to construct a loadout. That gives me the impression that there will be the opportunity for customization later on, because that wasn’t an option during my experience. Granted, I only played one 10 minute game, but whatever.

    More than anything, I appreciated that the multiplayer was undoubtedly different than anything else out there. It felt very “Assassin’s Creed” in that it was solitary and focused on stealth, quick reflexes, and badass assassinations. Killing my targets seemed to have layers of depth. There are only about 6 or 7 different character models for players to choose from, and there are only those 6 or 7 models roaming the map, so you have to find your target amidst many like faces. There is a radar that lets you know in which direction your target is and also how close she is. And because there is no way of knowing who is after you – as far as I could tell – you can literally walk right up to your target like a harmless NPC before shoving a hidden blade into their throat.

    This is very satisfying as an assassin. However, as a target, I have no idea who is on my ass. I do not know how to hide from my stalker. Blending into the crowd helps me with my target, but doesn’t make me any less vulnerable from the person trying to end me as fast as possible. After gaining a level and gaining my first ability, I was able to briefly take on the form of another character model and then wait for a 60 second cooldown before using it again. So defensively, I had a very frustrating time. As far as I could tell, you were only awarded points for assassinating your target, so I don’t think I would be rewarded for discovering my assailant and slitting her throat.

    But who knows? Maybe I would be. The tutorial didn’t tell me so, but it’s definitely possible and would absolutely make the game more interesting. I’m also aware that I barely scratched the surface of the unlockable abilities. But still, I consider that to be a little broken if you have to play the game for hours before even being allowed to play properly. Just like the stinger missile isn’t unlocked until something like level 30 in Modern Warfare 2. What a bunch of broken horseshit.

    Met the concept artist. Young, very talented dude.

    Epic Mickey Impressions

    I have to admit, I barely remember my Warren Spector interview. I was in a conference room with an unbelievable view of the Toronto skyline performing my first legitimate interview with a respected member of the gaming development community. I remember that at one point he had his hands on his head like Mickey ears and said something to the effect of “oh god, am I actually doing this on camera right now?” I also remember admitting to have never played Deus Ex followed by Warren dramatically and jokingly telling me to leave the room. I hope I didn’t come across like a total idiot, but in any case, he was engaging and professional.

    My point, believe it or not, is that I didn’t get a chance to actually play Epic Mickey at that interview, but instead went to a small event later that night to get a hands on. That is also when I got the signed poster and DS picture with Warren – I couldn’t do that on the clock! So my SUPER point is that I should talk about my impressions of the game.

    My relationship with Epic Mickey has been an interesting one. I’ve been on and off the game in terms of my hype for it. Lately, I had been looking forward to it, but not totally buying the “paint or thinner” choices in the game. It seemed like a masked morality system. And while it sorta is, I was surprised by my strong compulsions to use either paint or thinner in certain situations. I play paragon in Mass Effect, and was a nice guy in Fallout 3 and Infamous, so I expected to use paint over thinner in Epic Mickey. This was not the case. Not only does thinner make platforming more difficult (and therefore more rewarding), but I just found it more interesting. I was shocked at my reaction when I befriended an enemy by painting him and then reduced him to a puddle of ink with thinner immediately after. I felt like an asshole, but not necessarily like a bad guy. The world of Epic Mickey is so twisted and weird, that all of these choices fit without appearing to be black or white.

    I tried both the 3D combat sections, and the 2D platforming sections and visually, I was very impressed. The game oozes not only style, but variety. After only experiencing Disney gaming in Kingdom Hearts, it was refreshing to explore the unused and forgotten side of familiar worlds.

    I must admit, however, after a lot of Mario Galaxy 2 with my increasingly skilled girlfriend, Epic Mickey’s polish felt a little off. I was reminded often by the Disney dude and Warren himself that I was playing an early build of the game, but I imagine that there will be moments in the finished copy when I will shout “I made that jump!” or just be generally a little frustrated that not every platformer controls like Mario.

    All in all, I walked away genuinely more impressed than perhaps I expected, and the game is now my most anticipated of the holiday season. That’s the first time I can say that for a Wii title since 2006.

    Sonic 4

    This is more 2D Sonic. Not like the Sonic Rush DS games; although those were great. This is Sonic as you used to know with all the ups and downs. It’s not as fast as you remember, but then again, neither are the originals. There are still multiple paths, and things still pop up at you at the last second. Although with the addition of that semi-lock-on zoom-bash move (that’s the official name) from the 3D games, it makes those moments a little easier to handle. That’s really all I got for this one. Just a little juxtaposition for you.

    Way better than FFXIII

    The 4 Heroes of Light

    This game is awesome. Pure old school without having to fight with graphics or interface. I mean, I’m still a little annoyed at the item management and the menu layout, but it’s no Final Fantasy 1. It’s great because it’s a reminder of how games used to let you figure out the story. There are no exposition-packed cutscenes nor lengthy tutorials. In fact, there are no tutorials.

    Nope, you have to pay attention and talk to as many people as it takes to figure out what to do next, how to work the game, and get a general feel for the mood and culture in each town. It’s quite refreshing and while I expected to enjoy the game, I’m actually really fucking into it. It’s made me drop Birth by Sleep and Pokémon Ranger, and I love those games. I need to finish Birth by Sleep soon too before Abe80 takes his PSP back. He’s been very patient.

    Sad News

    Sure, maybe this should go in a news feature, but Riddles decided to post his HLL on a Wednesday, and that makes me less inclined to write a TTKL. Is that just a really shitty way to conceal laziness? Maybe, but it’s true. Anyway, the sad news is that the really promising Pirates of Caribbean: Armada of the Damned action RPG has been cancelled. That’s it really. I was looking forward to it. Seriously. Click the tag. (IGN)

    No more! I’ve written enough!

    _e

    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

    Scatter Storming. Issue #039

    Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

    It’s about time this shit came back. If you’ll notice, the logo for Scatter Storming still reads “Gaming Rambles”. Riddlethos’ slow changes don’t seek to replace our content but rather add to it. Anyway, our little behind the scenes week made me miss rambling about DeathSpank, so how about I do that!

    DeathSpank! -
    When did I become such a massive fan of this series? I was mildly interesting in playing the demo, then I tried the demo, liked it enough to consider buying it, and then BAMMO! I’m the biggest fan of the Diablo meets Monkey Island action RPG series. I have already bought and completed (with 100% trophies) the sequel, and now I realize I’ve been spoiled. With two titles in two months, I now expect my constant hunger for DeathSpank to be filled.

    That being said, I didn’t love the second game quite as much as the original. It actually started off stronger and funnier, but in the end, it somehow got a bit too wrapped up in the ridiculous story. I mean, it’s still hilarious to defeat evil Santa in order to steal his corrupt thong, but the payoff didn’t feel the same. It also could have been because I hit the level cap in good time before beating the game and that took some of the satisfaction out of it.

    In the original, I had to spend a while killing unicorns before I could reach level 20, and with Thongs of Virtue, it seems like just doing all the sidequests is more than enough to bring DeathSpank to max. I suppose these things are more difficult to balance in a bigger game (because Thongs of Virtue is bigger), but it was still disappointing.

    But this is all relative! The game is still fun as all fuck, hilarious as all fuck, and my new favourite franchise. Nathan Drake, eat your heart out.

    Playstation Plus -
    Yeah, I got it. I’m not going to defend myself on this one. So far I’ve downloaded Mushroom Wars for free (or subscription-long rental), and beat that. That was fun. Did the same with Zen Pinball, but didn’t care nearly as much. I’m going to pay more attention to how many things will be discounted that I would have bought anyway.

    Also, I guess the early God of War demo for PSP would have been cool if I cared about that series.

    Speaking of Playstation… -
    Looks like I’ll be going to a Sony event early next week. I’ll be there for work, so I imagine most of my time will be spent doing interviews, but I’ll try to play as many games as possible. After all, I expect Infamous 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2 to be there at the very least.

    Professor Layton -
    Did I talk about this game? I feel like it’s been so long, friends! I beat Unwound Future and fucking adored it. The biggest problem was that at the ending, I was actually so into the story, that I just used all my hint coins to zoom past the puzzles. In retrospect, that seems counter-intuitive to the point of the game. Oh well.

    That’s all for now. Like I just said, I feel like it’s been forever, so it’s time to catch up, guys! There’s been 3DS news, so I’m sure I’ll get to that on Friday. I also want to write a Modern Family premiere review at the very least. Also, keep your eyes peeled for that Monday feature that Riddles’ pitched. I think you guys will approve.