Wednesday, July 2nd 2008

Sony, you whores
posted @ 5:54 am in [ Games ]

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. My wedding is in a month, I still have loose ends to tie up, I just had my gallbladder removed last week, I’ve been only able to sleep sporadically, I’m on a forced diet due to aforementioned gallbladder, I’ve been on Vicodin, and it’s been two weeks since I’ve had a cup of coffee.

This is going to be an interesting post.

This morning I decided I couldn’t sleep after 3 a.m. My inner five-year-old said, “It’s my birthday! Stuff to do! Whee!!!” and that was the end of blissful slumber in my big comfy bed.

What better way to piss away a few hours than to do my nails and play Pain on the PS3?

I haven’t played Pain in awhile. It’s a neat diversion, but after awhile, the novelty of lobbing a character at a finite backdrop of stuff that breaks loses its luster. Sure, they add some fun games to mix it up, and I’m enough of a drooling idiot to have been amused by a good physics engine for quite awhile, but even drooling idiots move on to the next shiny object eventually.

But, my fiance being the good man that he is, downloaded the latest character to be released for Pain – Nigel. As with all the Pain characters, he has a gimmick. He’s a punk rocker, complete with mohawk, leather, and attitude. Cute, let’s try him out and see what his special moves/bitchiness is all about.

Since I hadn’t played Pain in awhile, there were updates. Oh, were there updates, and those of you who have PS3s undoubtedly have encountered the pain that is waiting for anything to download from the Playstation Network. There is thumb twiddling involved, sighing, maybe a few scratchings of the ass. After the Pain update download, it threw an error letting me know there was a general system update I would need before continuing on with my game. Fair enough, I sit through another update download, wait for it to restart, install update, restart again. Ok, can I play my game now?

Nope! Whoo boy there were updates. I think I counted nine or so. Then it finally started, and I thought I’d give old Nigel an airing in the general Paindemonium area.

Oh, Sony. Oh oh oh. You filthy little whores.

The downtown of Pain has a few billboards. In the beginning, these hawked nonsensical products, and the billboards were funny. The side of the bowling alley, I believe, had an ad to try out Pain bowling for multiplayer. That was acceptable.

But this newest update…

There’s a billboard for Hancock. There’s a billboard for “Step Brothers.” There are two ads for Sony cameras. And that’s just what I’ve been able to catch so far in my sleep-deprived state. I’d love to smack the crap out of the genius at Sony who decided this was a great idea. These are ads for products I have no intention of putting any money towards (The movies look stupid as hell, and I’ll never even wipe my ass with a Sony camera), and now I just want to find the nearest Sony office and set it alight.

I’d understand if they were billboards for products that weren’t as visible, but you really can’t go anywhere without being bombarded by ads for these things. Isn’t enough that I have to watch the trailers for that crap when I go to a movie I paid for? I get that this is a cheapie little silly game with cheap character upgrades, and it’s gotta pay the bills somehow, but if that’s the case how about introducing me to something really cool?

Wait, no, that’s not right either. How about keeping your filthy ads out of the game entirely? How about not saturating my every waking moment with advertising? How about letting me doing something pleasurable, for once, without bombarding me with your marketing slop?

Maybe that’s too much to ask from a place that is obviously filled to the brim with shameless whores.

Monday, May 12th 2008

Capcom’s Guide to Pissing On A Franchise
posted @ 3:33 am in [ Games ]

I just put a game away in disgust, and I wasn’t expecting to do that with this game.

We had Okami for the Wii sent to us from Gamefly, and my busy schedule has been keeping my hot little hands from playing it for the past couple of weeks. Little did I know I’d give up on it before the tutorial section was finished.

As with the first Okami, the graphics are splendid, and the story is a charming blend of Japanese legend and mysticism. You play Amaterasu, wolf god, master of the brush. The idea is you paint on the screen to mend, break, etc. I thought the Wii’s game controls would make this much easier than with the PS2.

I am sad and disappointed. I was wrong.

Unfortunately the game designers thought that because of the Wii’s game controls, they would be able to add an element of precision – or, more to the point, demand precision from the player. I had an inkling I was in trouble when at one point in the tutorial, Amaterasu fell asleep as I tried to draw a perfectly straight horizontal line through a gate that had locked me in a room.

The final stopping point came at a point in the game when Amaterasu needs to “help” a “mighty” warrior train by slashing lines through two training dummies and a boulder. And by “mighty” warrior I mean “needs a sun god to fetch a crock of sake so he can get wasted enough to finish menial tasks.” This sounds easy until you realize that each of these items that need slashing is kind of a realtime event, and if you don’t hit the brush button fast enough, you won’t catch the outline of where you need to stroke. If you do not brush over the stroke perfectly, and I do mean with absolute precision, you are sent back to the beginning of the meaningless exercise whereupon you are treated to the same three lines of non-skippable dialog and take forever to complete because they are tediously spelled out in Okami fashion.

By the tenth time around I decided it was better to shelve the game for later (read: when Sam is awake and I can exclaim “can you believe this shit?”)

I’m not exactly sure where in Capcom’s game testing they decided that demanding precision out of this was a good idea. Drawing a straight line with a pencil on a piece of paper is already difficult, but when you switch that dynamic to where you’re waving around a stick in the air, it becomes impossible. Having to try the same tedious motion over and over again sucked the fun out of what was a very nice game.

I can’t quite express how horribly disappointed I am. I was very much looking forward to playing this game, and to see something so elegant and different botched up so badly leaves me quite speechless.

I can only hope that this is Capcom’s first try with porting Okami to the Wii, and that they sometime in the future release another version that isn’t quite as trying on my nerves.