It has been a crazy
start for the week for me. I would go into details, but I'll just
keep it simple by saying a few things. The first, which is not
really geek based is that the WSDOT (Washington State Department of
Transportation) loves to be as uninformative as possible...even when
they have an active construction crew within a few feet of your
bedroom window and you simply want to know what the f#@$ is going
Secondly, I wanted to
play some of the new Rock Band tracks last night. The Allman
Brothers two pack sounds fun and the charts (expert guitar) look
awesome. One song is just a fun audience sing-a-long type, but the
second song is a solo driven marathon of awesome charting. Smooth
Criminal is a fun song I've always enjoyed, and the chart looks like
a perfect amount of challenge meets fun. Lastly, the Franz Ferdinand
three pack looks like good fun and the songs are some I've always
I didn't try these new
songs since one of my friends was wanting to introduce me to Left 4
Dead. I know, it's getting old in terms of game age, but I've never
played L4D. After playing through three of the campaigns last night,
I feel like I have cheated myself out of some good fun. I mean L4D
plays like I always wanted a game to play; one part adrenaline and
one part being scared shitless. It's a perfect mix, with a great
engine to drive the game. It's also a great mix of feeling like
you're on top of the world one second and then feeling like you're
in a race to see how many infected (zombies) you can kill before
you're inevitably taken down.
I'm not sure if I'd want
to own the game, since it seems like a bad game in single
player...and I tend to avoid Live (played the 360 version) a bit
much with the ass-factor (9 out of 10 people I meet online are
asses...maybe I'm just cursed). However, in split-screen co-op, the
game is awesome. I can only imagine having four human control people
in the team would make it even better than having two AI partners
who range from inept and idiotic to being the best partner you could
ever hope for.
Still, I have one more
campaign to play through and I'm looking forward to getting some
more adrenaline pumping action coming my way. It's also nice to take
a break from Demon's Souls making me feel scared and doomed and
playing a multiplayer game that makes more than one person, at a
time, feel doomed.
Last night I played some
Demon's Souls. At this rate, I may beat the game, for the first
time, in several months. It's sad that I've resorted to so little
gaming lately, but I hope this will all settle down as I knock out
real life responsibilities.
The only thing
that is sadder than my lack of playing is what I find when I do pick
up Demon's Souls. The world tendency issues are really starting to
piss me off. When I played last, before last night, I had somehow
gotten a white tendency in world 5 (which is one hard world and the
difficulty decrease from a white tendency is definitely desired).
However, instead of loading my game to find this world at white
(maybe pure white after one more boss is killed), I loaded the game
to find all of my worlds have been reset to neutral. Every single
one. I had nearly pure white in world 5 and white in three other
A known bug exists
that makes all tendencies reset if you save and quit in the Nexus
(safe central hub area) and then load your game online from the
Nexus. However, knowing that and having lost previous progress due
to this bug, I never saved in the safety and logical quitting place
of the Nexus. So, I have to say I'm a bit saddened by this loss of
progress. The only good news is that if I chose to go for pure black
in some areas to unlock some special instances, then I don't need to
worry much about that world remaining so difficult the next time I
play. Still, that's not much of a consolation since black is easy to
get and white is nearly impossible to obtain after you've started to
make some progress in the world you want pure white in.
The only thing I
find more annoying is having a black phantom (player killer) break
in to my game repeatedly. I wouldn't mind it so much, since it's
part of the game, except I've found a lot of min-max type people who
take advantage of a poorly devised level system glitch to be
overpowered while fighting low level players.
To enter the game
of a low level player, you must be within ten levels of the host's
game. This means that, until you hit level 100 (out of over 700),
the PKer you face, or any help you summon, will be plus or minus ten
levels, or less, of you. However, one boss will lower a single level
of a stat with his special attack. Using this knowledge, and the
fact that stats can equal anywhere from -99 to 99 (which each stat
point equal to one level for your character), some players build
specific PKing machines with 99 in several important stats for their
assassination style (magic or melee) with -99 in the unnecessary
stats (like luck and the opposite stats; -99 for strength in a
magical build), to have a final level in the region of 20, or less.
This means a player who is just starting, or is just taking it slow
and easy, may all of a sudden find a level 11 PKer (who can invade
any newb's game) with the best gear and some stats at 99.
Sadly, it's not
obvious when you are new to the game who these glitch users are. So,
you lose fun for the game dreading every PKer...wondering how the
hell they are so damned powerful. If you're like me, and just jaded
on this, you just quit the game every time a PKer arrives. It's sad
that an honest PKer will never meet me, but I have been burned too
many times already. Yes, I could play offline, but this would
eliminate some cool features, like seeing how other people die (you
get a five second death shot of some of the other victims of a
stage), seeing real time people playing in the same region, and
sending and reading messages to or from other players.
After playing and
quitting so many times last night, however, I may have to quit on
online playing unless something changes for me soon. Just too many
headaches from online issues. The only good news is that you cannot
be invaded by a PKer after you've killed the boss of the area you're
in. However, that doesn't help that you cannot leave an area or use
the proper (auto-save friendly) game quitting option from the menu
when you've been invaded. So, it's either fight it out, quit via the
XBM (PS3 dashboard...and risk save file corruption in very rare
cases), or spend twenty minutes running in circles while the PKer
and you fail to meet up and face your destiny.
Next week is going to be
another cool week for Rock Band DLC. At the very least, it will
be a week of variety...in most ways. I mean there's a three pack of
Social Distortion (YES!!!), some Disturbed, some good old Steely
Dan, one from The Replacements, and one from Elvis Costello. With
that type of line up, it would be hard to complain.
So, with a
challenge like I set up with "it would be hard to complain", I think
I shall do just that.
First off, nothing
against Costello or The Replacements, or even Steely Dan. I'm glad
to see more of them (maybe not as much with The Replacements, but I
will not complain over what isn't my cup of tea).
start with Disturbed. This is a very minor complaint. I just don't
like them for this game. I mean I hate most of their music, on a
personal level, but I also have a bit of a problem. That problem
would be that I just don't get the concept of including them when
some of the coolest parts cannot be accurately done. The vocals
cannot seem to properly judge for doing of the sounds done by their
Although my major
complaint for this is with Social D. First off, unlike with
Disturbed, I am a huge fan of Mike Ness's music, be it his solo
stuff or his Social D songs. However, he's not getting much
appreciation on many of the rhythm game message boards I've seen.
It's always about how Story of My Life (first seen in GH3) and I Was
Wrong are too damned easy and slow. I cannot really fault someone
for saying, after such an observation, "no teh more Social D."
For some reason,
Social D is always associated with just a few of their songs. The
songs that have received way too much airplay for the last
going-on-twenty years. That would be I Was Wrong, Story of My Life,
Bad Luck, Ball and Chain, and Ring of Fire. On one hand, these are
some of the slowest Social Distortion songs. On the other hand, they
have some awesome songs that just don't get any notice. Where is
Don't Drag Me Down (f#@$ing awesome song), Cold Feelings, 1945,
Mommy's Little Monster, Drug Train, Telling Them, Prison Bound, Like
An Outlaw (For You), On My Nerves, Mass Hysteria, Live Before You
Die, When Angels Sing, or...I could go on all day. Ok, When Angels
Sing is a slow one similar in flavor to I Was Wrong, but it has some
damned powerful lyrics.
I guess what I'm
trying to say is this; when a band has around three decades of being
around, and when they are a punk band, why must they be type casted
into having their slower or more pop-ish (not pop, but closer to it
than anything else they play) songs be the only ones ever presented.
It's like calling yourself an Alice in Chains fan and then
proceeding to repeatedly play Would and Man In The Box on your
stereo. Yes, a good song is a good song, but enough with the well
known ones. I can see only including well known songs from an artist
on the Rock Band disks, since these songs will never be swapped out
of a set list...but not in DLC. Three song pack that only has the
most well known songs from an artist...? Really? There couldn't be
one song that better testifies to how Social D is not just some slow
band with family/radio friendly crap?
My other complaint
comes down to one other part of this pack. Maybe Harmonix only
wanted well known Social D songs so that the three pack for a
discounted price would be more enticing than asking people to try
something a bit more out in left field from their comfort level.
However, when the pack is $6 and each track is $2, there's no damned
discount. In which case, mix things up some, Harmonix.
I'll just say that
I am happy to have Social Distortion DLC, at long last. I've
requested them many times on the request feature on the Rock Band
site. Of course, my requests were never for the tame overplayed
songs. Also, I still think Don't Drag Me Down would be one hell of a
song for Rock Band, with a great bass line, solid drum line, great
lyrics with some thought behind them, and one of my favorite guitar
lines in punk.
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