To paraphrase The
Boondocks; nothing that can be typed with your thumbs is worth
I say that because
of Gamestop's new idea. At least it's new to me. In the
past, when a game was ready to be picked up (or the day before) for
a pre-order, they would send a goofy sounding automated call.
It would sound convey that the game is ready, or will be the next
day, and that was that.
Today, I received,
"GameStop:Your Prof.Layton Diabolical order avail Tue PM. Bring game
trades to reduce price. Store phone is 206-405-4333. To end txt msgs
reply STOP" on my cell phone. First off, let me take a second
to apologize to my computer. I have so many spell check errors
coming up as I type that garbage that I think my PC will have a
stroke. Secondly, since I believe that "txt msgs" are
bullshit, I don't have a "txt msgs" plan. That cost me $0.20
to receive, and it will cost another couple of dimes to "reply STOP"
to them. My one question is will this restore getting
automated phone calls or will I simply not hear anything? What
about people with landlines? I'll have to ask my mother, a
Professor Layton fan who also pre-ordered and has a landline, about
This should be,
since texting can cost money, an opt-in policy change, not an
opt-out one. I really find this to be disrespectful.
Also, while I love real grammar, I love more details even more.
I don't mean details about how Gamestop will "take your old games
for trade in credit" versus what the text said. I mean I liked
the old method which would usually name a real time to pick up a
pre-order. I know I'd usually hear "come in anytime after 11AM
to pick up your order" or some such time like that. Definitely
better than "avail Tue PM."
I finished Shadow
Complex yesterday. I decided to go for the big 100% path through the
game. In reality, it's not like that does anything special (except
for an achievement and making the game really easy at the end), but
it's the way I wanted to play. Primarily, I did the completionist
route because it extended the life of the game some, and I didn't
want to end the game sooner than absolutely necessary.
Shadow Complex has
received a lot of good reviews. It's not often a game gets
universally high scores without really being either hyped or being a
lot less worthy of praise than it receives. Well, for once I'm in
full agreement with the reviews. Shadow Complex is nothing short of
awesome. It is the closest I've played to a perfect game in a long
time (at least since GTA4 came along). If an expansion was released
today, I would buy it without hesitation. Hell, if the game receives
and sort of sequel or expansion in the future, I know Chair (the
developer) can count on my purchase.
The only complaint I've
found with this game is a very minor one. Well, it might be major to
some people, but I call it a minor issue. The leader boards are
somewhat goofy. For example, I have all the "kill X enemies in a
certain way" achievements. However, I'm listed on the leader boards
as having too few melee combat kills to have gotten the achievement.
In fact, I got the melee achievement back on Wednesday or Thursday
(melee is fun) and am listed as having only about 20 or so (50 for
the achievement). If I was some elitist ass who needed to be highly
ranked on the leader boards, I'd be pissed off. However, I'm just
happy to play a game and have fun, so this is nothing more than an
annoyance to me.
Anyway, I now have one
day of nothing geek to do. New Rock Band songs come out tomorrow.
Professor Layton 2 comes out tomorrow (today in some areas, but not
around Seattle). As for today, I'm probably just going to keep
playing Shadow Complex...just to get another level or two...and to
feed my addiction.
UPDATE: I sent a
text to Gamestop to end their text messages. Instead of being
out forty cents when my phone bill comes, I'm out sixty...since they
felt it necessary to send a reply telling me that I was not going to
receive anymore text messages. It might be less than a dollar,
but it's still money that adds up. Thanks for wasting my
money, Gamestop! You know how to make a customer feel special.
Today I have some random
thoughts, rather than one semi-coherent line of thinking.
First off, I
watched What Would Brian Boitano Make. This is the new show on Food
Network. Normally I wouldn't bring up this network, but I have to
say this show is awesome! I mean the only problem is that it's on
Sundays at 1PM (or some time around then). This is a show that
should be on either at 1AM or on Adult Swim. It is, like The Mighty
Boosh, a show that requires mind effecting helpers to be fully
appreciated. I'd go with alcohol and sleep deprivation, but whatever
you want to use to make this show even more amazing is all good.
Plus, you have to respect the opening theme song (a short version of
What Would Brian Boitano Do from South Park fame).
watched the newest True Blood. Holy crap, this show just gets more
awesome with each passing week. It's just too bad that season two is
ending in two weeks. With the blend of fantasy, sex, violence, and
craziness, this show doesn't fail in any regards. If only the show
could have more frequent of seasons, since I'm already dreading
deprivation and withdrawals in a couple weeks.
Third, I am
getting Professor Layton 2 today. I'll have thoughts tomorrow.
However, my question has been answered. My mother, using a landline
to pre-order, received no call about the game being available.
Apparently, Gamestop only wants to use text messages now to alert
pre-order releases. That's enough for me to be done with them.
Between this disrespectful change in policy and the occasional
"Gamestop tax" (games being $5 more than any other retailer), I
think I can happily end my time with their pre-orders...as long as a
bonus is not exclusive through them and it's a good bonus (like the
DLC code for Beatles: Rock Band).
Finally, ADT is
back at it. My alarm still works in my home, but I was told that I'd
get three months of credit and my "trip fee", for having a
technician come out to fix their mistake, canceled. Well, I was
charged for monitoring on the 19th (14 days after I got this
assurance of a credit) and received an invoice yesterday for the
trip fee. Well, I did get a higher level person than the local
manager to fix the credit issue. Now I will either get the trip fee
removed or will be doing some fighting. On top of that, I'll be
fighting, when this money issue is done, to get out of my contract
at no cost for early termination. I am done with the half assed job
ADT is doing, and I want to shop around.
On that note,
Velveta was worried about my fighting against ADT angering them. She
said it would be bad if I was perceived as hysterical or
unreasonable. For some reason this worries her that ADT would
retaliate somehow. For one thing, I'm not at the phase of looking
hysterical by any means. However, it gives me a great idea. If this
crap keeps happening, maybe being such a bad customer would be able
to invoke retaliation...of which the only possibility is for them to
deny me the ability to be their customer. Sounds like a good plan B
to my ears. However, I'll let the Washington State Attorney Generals
Office deal with this problem first, before I go to such degrading
(but probably effective) of measures.
I don't know why
Seattle sports teams love going for guys who are probably
over-the-hill. Anyway, I guess when it's a matter of removing
Duckett for the Edge, it can't be too bad of a move...I guess...
I downloaded all
of the new Rock Band songs, except for the Fleetwood Mac song that
wasn't Don't Stop. I can't remember the name, but it doesn't matter
since I didn't get the song anyway.
All of the songs
are fun, in a nostalgic way, for me. However, if you're not on
vocals and not a Billy Idol fan, Mony Mony may be the song to skip
this week. However, as a fan of all the bands added, I loved each
downloaded track I bought.
On expert guitar,
only one song really stands out any. That would be Running Down a
Dream. It stands out for one simple reason. The song is pretty
frantic with the main riff bouncing from green to another color,
back to green, back to a different color, and so on for about eight
or so rapid notes in succession. However, where this song really
stands out is by having the solo from hell. The song ends with a
solo that makes me shiver in fear. It's like some of the crazier
parts of Green Grass and High Tides, but without much warning or
build up. It just comes in fast and frantic. The only time I played,
I was lucky enough to be playing with my mother (who is not too bad
on expert, and handled the bass well). I was lucky because she had
to save my sorry ass twice in the solo. I haven't faced a song that
killed me twice in the solo, without any real warning, but I could
still survive since Highway Star.
I also played a
ton of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box last night. In fact,
I'm leaving town in a week and a half for the long Labor Day
weekend, and this will be my night time time killer...at least
that's the plan. However, since I did about fifty puzzles last
night, I think my addiction to the game will kill off the experience
before this weekend is out.
If you enjoyed the
first Layton game, this is a perfect sequel. It's more story, more
puzzles, more animated and voiced cut scenes (which is still awesome
to see and hear on the DS). The only down side I've found, so far,
is that some puzzles seem to just force a point that doesn't seem
right in the game. There's more "build the unfolded die using two
visual hints" but now with you having to rotate the icons that go on
the die. This just turns one of my least favorite puzzle types into
something worse. There's also too many puzzles that only have a
couple choices, so if you mess up once it's too easy to just guess
your way to the actual answer.
My only solid
complaint, beyond a puzzle or two that I think the answer is
possible wrong on (minor issues of how the puzzle is phrased being
taken two ways but only one answer works), comes down to a few
puzzles that don't belong. The main one being "the arrow puzzle"
found in the first village you visit. It has three arrows entering a
bag, but only one exits and you must determine which one it is. You
can see the three arrows entering and the single arrowhead exiting.
The problem is that this is a puzzle that, when you see it, just
comes down to using a straight edge to solve. That's not a puzzle.
You could try to determine visually which one is the winning arrow,
and the game expects this. When you finish, you're told it's an
optical illusion. However, since all three arrows are so close
together, it's not an illusion...it's all too close to be the
illusion the developers intended to utilize...then the puzzle, in
the end, turns into another case of three guesses to win.
Anyway, when you
have so many puzzles in a single game, it's no surprise for there to
be some that just fail. I just hope more puzzles come along that
actually deal with logic and less that are just guessing games or
annoying puzzles that fail on a few word choices or slightly goofy
looking diagrams. That, and a lot less of the spatial puzzles (loose
strings that may or may not form a knot, unfolded dice, etc.).
At least the game
does give a good memo feature to counter some issues. It lets you
write on top of any puzzle like you have an overhead transparency
sheet. This does make things easier than how the memo feature was so
limited in the first Layton and you'd sometimes need scraps of paper
to solve problems on.
After spending much of
the week bitching about things, I'll try to keep this post more
I have become
addicted to Professor Layton 2. I can't say that's a surprise since
the first game had the same effect on me. Still, I should say that
if the first game consumed your time, the second will return with
the same vengeance.
I think the best
part of the game this time around is the new collection mini-games.
Instead of just finding pieces of a robot dog to unlock some puzzles
in the bonus section of the game, you find parts of a camera that
play out as a puzzle in the main game. You then use the camera
(which is a puzzle to rebuild) to take pictures of areas to have
extra bonus puzzles in the game game. These are "find the
difference" type games with the picture you took on the bottom
screen and the real screen you took the picture of on top. If you
find the three differences (which are very hard to find in some
cases), you'll typically know where the hint coins are in that real
location. Plus you'll unlock a hidden bonus puzzle in that screen
that is also played in the main game.
You also have a
fun mini-game of helping a fat hamster to lose weight by finding
toys. You add these toys to his cage and make him exercise according
to how many steps you can make him take going to these toys, with
some offering bonus uses and special alternative methods to
entertain him. For example, a light bulb will excite him and make
him run forward until he hits something, while a normal object will
only get his attention if it's within three steps of his current
location. If you get the hamster fit enough through this exercise,
then you get his help, occasionally, in finding hint coins on the
main game map screens.
There's also a tea
collecting game in which you collect herbal tea components and then
must invent new tea recipes. Then you offer tea to exhausted people
in the game who will offer you random bits of wisdom in exchange. I
think something special happens if you help every thirsty person in
the game, but that's still in the future for my current play through
of the game.
finding less to complain about with each minute I play Layton 2.
Some puzzles still come down to annoying multiple choice exams or
lame puzzles with poorly worded descriptions. However, enough
puzzles are coming up with either serious logic problems involved or
nice brain twisting answers that I'm fine with the assortment.
I just have to say that
my random bitching about ADT should be coming to an end now. I
finally got a real solution (the ability to cancel my contract at
anytime without some sort of termination fee). So, this problem,
assuming the person from ADT I spoke to is honest (which seems a
50/50 proposition), I should be done bitching about them forever
more. Now I just need to find a new provider, and then I can
completely close this damned chapter of my life.
However, I still
want to bitch about something. In this case, Professor Layton 2. The
game is mostly awesome, but of those mini-games I mentioned
yesterday, there is one very bad one. The one in which you make tea
for people who are thirsty in order to unlock more puzzles. Well,
it's a fun side game and it makes you think about a few clues and
how that will find a correct tea for a villager. They may mention a
certain ingredient or how the final tea will make them feel, then
you concoct the recipe and serve it up. If you're wrong, you can try
again later when you have more ingredients if you're lacking
Well, it's a fun
side quest except for how people become thirsty. When you enter a
screen, each person has a chance of being thirsty. However, you
don't get a list of who you've given tea (only a count of
out of 26 total customers). Some people just refuse to get thirsty no
matter how many times you enter and exit a screen to try to toggle
this random event. This means you better keep track of people who
have become thirsty and you better have the patience to walk on and
off a screen potentially dozens of times.
To wrap up things
for today, it seems that
my awesome feelings of Rock Band DLC every week will end now.
It's not that it's a bad week, but it's not as awesome as the last
couple of months have been. Still, that's all subjective, so if you
like these songs, then more power to you.
The DLC is mainly
Talking Heads, in a five pack. There's also two from That Jam. The
rest is rounded out by singles from Oasis, Rage Against The Machine,
and Avenged Sevenfold. I know I'll get the A7X track (Bat
Country...hopefully the full version and not the shortened radio
version). Beyond that, I'll check out the others, but the only
likely choice will be Oasis (maybe RATM if the guitar chart is a lot
better than Testify).
Still, I can't
complain really when the variety is pretty damned good...even if
it's not my cup o' tea.
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