I don't know what to
really make of it, but I saw Beerfest this Saturday...along with
around 7 other people. I don't mean I was in a group of seven. I
mean I was in a group of 5 people (counting myself) and there were a
few other people in the theater...on opening weekend.
I hope this was only
because I watched it in Bellevue, a few blocks from where PAX was
taking place. I know a lot of PAX people would fit into the target
audience (especially since most of the people in the group I saw
Beerfest were took a break from PAX to see the movie), and I hope
this is why the theater was so empty. That and it was early (12:20)
when I saw the movie.
What I'm trying to say
is that, despite what critics may say, I thought Beerfest was
awesome. It had enough laugh out loud moments to easily justify the
price of admission. Hell, I would've felt proud to have paid a
non-matinee price for this movie. I may even watch it again, just
because it was so good.
Some people have not
been happy with Broken Lizard (the dudes behind Beerfest) since
Super Troopers, and while I felt good about Club Dread, I think this
is the right movie to bring many of the old school Broken Lizard
fans back to the winning team. I just want to know if Bellevue was
the only place suffering from a lack of an audience.
Anyway, I really didn't
get in too much gaming this weekend. Despite living a mile from PAX,
I didn't feel like attending (and it sounds like I wouldn't have
enjoyed it as much as others might since it sounds like the tabletop
gaming was more of the wow experience than video games). I tried to
play a few games, including too much time with Zuma (one of my
guilty/mindless pleasures) on the Live Arcade, but I really wasn't
feeling the game vibe this weekend.
I also tried to newer
Test Drive Unlimited demo on Live...and I can tell you that while
the E3 demo didn't exactly make me feel all warm and tingly, the new
demo makes me feel a more definite reaction; this game will not be
worth the disk it's made from. TDU feels like a cheap attempt to
revive a dying franchise, much like how NFS was resurrected from
obscurity...except NFS has always been good and Test Drive has
outlived it's few moments of glory. I have honestly not enjoyed a
Test Drive game since I played it on the Commodore 64...and that's
saying something. I swear that I will never allow this game, and
possibly even this franchise, into my home again...at least not
until the whole series gets made into something that doesn't make it
feel like a mere clone of everyone else.
Beyond that little bit
of gaming, I was just too damned tired this weekend to do anything
worthwhile. I got a few couches and...well...moving two couches is
not bad. However, moving two couches that both have recliners built
into them is the same sort of hell that can only be found in moving
a hide-a-bed. At least they don't open up mid-travel as easily as a
hide-a-bed, but they still have the same awkward shape and excessive
weight that makes one wonder how a single piece of furniture could
weight so damned much.
Well, my posting may be
weird and scatter-brained for the next couple of days. Between
having some excessively long work days, unusual things planned after
work on these long days, and Saint's Row (and Enchant Arms) coming
out soon, it will be a crazy and hectic week. I'll see what comes
about...but I promise nothing.
I am very f#@%ing tired
right now. As I type this (which is about 8 hours prior to posting
it), I am half way through two very long, labor intensive, and
mentally fatiguing days of lab work. So, that's both a reason why
last night was post-less and why tonight I may sound a bit out of
it. However, on the bright side, I took out some of my frustrations
on a little side editorial on that damned subject of
"What is next gen?". Enjoy!
So, I did have
enough mental will last night to try out Saint's Row. First off, for
those who keep saying it's a GTA clone...you are absolutely right.
Is this a bad thing? Hell no! Is this a sign of the industry
stagnating? Hell no! Is this in any way something to be concerned
about or should bring about the flames of fanboys? Once again...hell
If Zelda didn't
exist, would we have seen Alundra, Beyond Good and Evil, Beyond
Oasis, Crusader of Centy, or any of the other Zelda-esque titles
that have brought us such pleasure over the years? Maybe, but
probably not. By the way, if you don't recognize all of these
titles, you owe it to yourself to track them down and play them.
Anyway, GTA set a
precident that we should celebrate. It was the first and previously
only game franchise to bring the elements it contains and to show
them off in a fun and entertaining gaming experience. So, if Saint's
Row borrows upon the same concepts and (unlike Godfather, Driv3r,
and True Crime) does so successfully. So, if Saint's Row borrows,
who are we, as gamers, to complain if the game is fun?
Anyway, as for the
game itself, if you couldn't tell from what I've said so far, it's
damned good. While there are some elements handled better in GTA:SA
(like the plot and writing, which does feel forced on SR), SR does a
few things far better than GTA could ever hope to handle. For
example, while I may be the only person in the world who enjoyed the
auto-aim of GTA:SA, the free aiming scheme of SR is nothing short of
easy to use and intuitive.
Most of all, it's
the non-plot missions that has SR in a massive lead. These
"activities" as they are called are not about the same old crap. You
don't drive an ambulance or a fire truck to do repetitive tasks of
saving lives, despite being a criminal. No. Instead you have jobs
that fit your character type (gang-banger) and offer a good level of
variety. On one type, called "escort" (I'm about to do something I
never thought I'd do...praise an "escort" mission on a game), you
have to drive a car while your two passengers are doing their...ummm...business
in the back seat. However, you'll be followed by the press (wanting
to smear the name of one of your passengers who will always be a
person of influence) and sometimes a jilted spouse. You goal is to
avoid crashing and to keep the press away enough for the passengers
to have a fun time of things. Also, every once in a while, the
passenger may have an extra desire...like one gets off on auto
crashes and you need to crash some to influence his happiness.
has you picking up ho's while you fight back their pimps. This is
the snatch mission from the demo, and it's back with some extra
twists in the final game.
A third type of
activity has you riding shotgun in a hippy drug dealer's van as he
does his rounds. It's your job to cover him while he's doing
deliveries. It's a lot like any of the missions in GTA:SA in which
you ride shotgun, but now you have more control of the aiming and a
lot more excitement coming your way.
The most obvious
thing in the final game versus the demo is that this game is
polished. There are a few minor annoyances, but absolutely nothing
you wouldn't find in GTA:SA. The driving is refined, you can drive
anywhere from the start of the game, you can store multiple cars in
a garage, you can change clothes with far less loading time, and you
can call up homies to help you out (and if they die, they will be
permanently dead...I learned that the hard way and saved with my
late friend six feet under).
The only thing
this game lacks is two wheeled vehicles and aircraft...and quite
frankly, I don't think they will really be missed. Who really
thought the idea of a gang-banger flying a jumbo-jet or a Harrier
made any sense? I know I thought it was a bit silly.
Well, I'm out of
here for today. I should be refreshed and ready to post with my
fullest of attention spans tomorrow...as for now, Saint's Row and
sleep both beckon me...who will win? Tune in tomorrow to...ummm...not
learn the answer (since it's not worth posting) :P
interesting or fun Microsoft news to start things off...
Microsoft will do
360 Live Marketplace what they did for E3 for the TGS. In other
words, they will be releasing game trailers, demos, and other fun
bits to let the games see some of what is at the show, in proper
perspective of a home entertainment center instead of the usual
Internet downloads. While this sounds cool, I just hope they do one
thing better than was handled with their E3 coverage; give us some
good demos that are actually worth downloading.
offered a fun demo, but Moto GP and Test Drive Unlimited were
nothing to get excited about from the E3 offering. In fact, these
were two of the first demos I downloaded and deleted in the same
exact day. Maybe the TGS demos will be better (at least we'll
probably see a Mistwalker trailer or two). All I can say is that if
a measly 3 demos are given and that they mostly suck, then Microsoft
should rethink this type of approach for the time being and wait
until what they offer can actually make their system look good.
the public XNA beta is now ready for use. This is another mixed
bag. I've been too caught up in playing insurance fraud of Saint's
Row to have even looked at XNA, so I'm a bit behind. However, if XNA
offers enough ease in programming, this should be a fun little
diversion. Best of all, when the full public version hits in a few
months, assuming the architecture of XNA is solid, we'll probably
see some really amazing Arcade games.
Well, I hate to
sound like I'm not giving any love to the other consoles, but it
looks like until September, there just won't be anything worthwhile
to talk about with the Wii. As for the PS3...well, I honestly think
that there's nothing to get excited about with that thing, and while
I'd love to be proven wrong...I don't think I'll be speaking much
about the PS3 until November.
However, I can
speak about Saint's Row. I had almost no time to play last night
(due to the real world being one hell of a bitch), but I finally
started playing with the insurance fraud activity. Wow! That's the
best way to sum up this little diversion.
While snatch, drug
trafficking, and escort have offered some amusement, it's insurance
fraud that makes me see what truly let's SR stand out from the GTA
games. Basically, in insurance fraud, you have the duty of throwing
yourself in front of moving cars to try to help a lawyer rack up the
most fraudulent insurance claims as possibly. This can be enhanced
by having more witnesses to your mayhem, traveling far through the
air, being dragged, or (best of all) being hit by a police vehicle.
You start the
first level with a small amount of time and a need to rack up a
small amount of claims. Finish that level and you'll need to rack up
more claims in a slightly larger time frame. Also, the location you
have to get "injured" in will sometimes move mid-level and you'll
need to remain on your toes. Best of all, you can start a mission
with a nice point boost by driving at full speed head-on into
on-coming traffic and fly out of your windshield.
I think if the SR
game becomes the SR franchise, this activity will become like what
crash mode was in Burnout. Crash started as only a thing that
occurred in the game when you raced, but with time it become a
legendary game mode. If SR2 ever comes along (strong possibility), I
wouldn't be surprised to see insurance fraud continue in that game,
and maybe even be turned into a mini-game playable outside of the
standard single player experience. Hell, an online multiplayer
version doesn't seem like such a far fetched idea. After all, this
would be one hell of a cool party and multiplayer game.
I also went ahead
and purchased Enchanted Arms last night. I haven't played any yet,
since the world was...well, you know that "one hell of a bitch"
thing I mentioned. However, I do have to say something on this game,
even before I've played it any.
this link (it goes to the Enchanted Arms message boards of
GameFAQs) and look for any topic about Makoto, "not straight"
people, or anything that sounds kinda...ummm...non-PC. Yes, there is
a gay character in EA. Yes, he is one of the main characters who
does indeed join your party. Now that that is cleared up, let's f$#@ing
get over it!
For some reason,
whenever a gay video game character is seen, so many people seem to
get up in arms about how they will never play that game just because
there's a gay character in it. Either that, or the game is
considered a joke, no matter how great the game may be. For example,
Shadow Hearts 2 became a huge joke because there are two merchants
you deal with for the whole game that are quite obviously gay lovers
and one of them likes to trade sleazy pictures (of guys) for dresses
(for a doll). Well, here's my questions for you all; how many of you
knew about this? I bet a lot of you did. How many actually played
this game, despite the "teh gayzor" characters? Not nearly as many,
I'm willing to bet.
I know a lot of my
friends, including ones who love good RPGs, never played this game,
but could not stop joking about it. These friends include one who
likes Suikoden and Final Fantasy games...yet never even considered
playing SH2. Hell, I only know a couple of people who've play SH2,
yet I know of about ten times that amount who loved to joke about
it. You know what? The gay characters made up so little of the
game's experience, yet it's all it was known for.
get over it already. If I go to Starbucks, I don't freak out and
start giggling like a school girl because that guy who's making my
mocha is gay. I walk down the street and don't start to snicker
because two guys are holding hands. Let us face reality...there are
gay people in the world. Whatever you feel about that orientation is
up to you and your beliefs. However, you have two choices. You can
either be civil about it, or you can be a dick. If you want to be a
dick, might I remind you that whatever your reasons, they/you are
probably either criminal or blinded by ignorance of your own
supposed faith (that's for the religious nuts who use the Bible as a
reason to hate).
Now that we've
established that gay people live in the world, let me ask this; why
should it be so bad for them to be in video games? True, they are
usually portrayed as a bit overly flamboyant in games, but that's
not the point. The point seems to be that we are supposed to laugh
because it's a "joke". I'm sorry, but I find that type of behavior
from games, and any attempt to use it purely as a joke by
developers, to be nothing short of bigoted and morally bankrupt.
Anyway, to not
sound too preachy, I'll just finish with this one thought...just
like my editorial on the issue of a game
not being "next-gen enough", the same applies to games with gay
characters; if the game is good, then that's all that matters. Don't
turn potentially good games into jokes that are blind and bigoted.
Most important, there's a lot of hate and ignorance in the
world...try not to add to it if you don't have to.
Anyway, if it's
something you find morally objectionable...well, you could always
shut the f#@% up and let those of us who don't mind enjoy it!
If you're a PS3 fanboy
(which still confuses me since we've hardly seen the damn thing in
action and the vast majority of us have only seen the thing in
videos and not even in real life), you will say that PS3 exclusive
titles make sense from third party developers because the PS3 is
"far more powerful than the 360". If you're a 360 fanboy (more
understandable since the 360 is in many homes and does have a couple
of nice games considering it's only year one), then you may say that
the 360 will have some third party exclusives since a few parts of
the system are more powerful than the PS3 is supposed to be.
stand may be, I like to think this will be the generation that
removes most exclusive titles from the common third party
developers, like Rockstar, Ubisoft, and EA. After all, the reality
of it all shows that the PS3 and the 360 are very similar in
abilities, and the use of Blu-ray will not make a real difference
(one disk versus three...who honestly gives a f#@^ is the 360 users
have to swap disks a few times since that's been going on since the
PSX days). 1080p? Doesn't mean shit to a real gamer.
So, with that
little interlude, I can now proudly say
"I f#@%ing told you so!". Yes, Assassin's Creed is coming to the
PS3 (as we always knew), the PC (was that even a surprise), and the
bane of the PS3 fanboys in the 360 version. Now we just have one
more important question about this game before we can put the hype
to sleep and wait for the game to be released or for some trailers;
why is everyone so damned excited about this game? We haven't seen
enough to merit such hype, we haven't seen any real game play, and
we've yet to know anything about the game beyond it's medieval
setting and the systems it will be on.
On the note of
hyped games, and this is about one that delivered upon the hype,
Saint's Row is going to get an update in the near future. The
details are limited, but something about fixing some single- and
multi-player issues. I don't know about the online issues since the
single player game is too good to take a break from, but I've yet to
encounter and single player issues. However, it's good to know that
Volition is still working hard to make this awesome game (unless
you're a GTA fanboy...but then you could go f#@% yourself) even
Since I don't want
to show any favoritism, I have a little PSP news, for once. I gave
up my PSP and will probably never look back, but if anything would
have the potential to bring me back to the dark side, it would be
the chance to
play Syndicate on the PSP. Yes, EA is bringing EA Replay, a
compilation of 14 classic EA titles, including one of my all time
favorites (Syndicate). Most of the titles will probably not live up
to modern standards, especially the Road Rash games. However, when
you toss in Ultima: the Black Gate, it's going to be worth the price
of admission...assuming the game goes for around $35, and not a full
To round out the
news for this wonderful day (it's Friday before a four day
weekend...damn straight it's a wonderful day!),
Duke Nukem Forever is "almost done". I don't know what to
necessarily make of this, but if it's true, then one of the great
geek legends of vaporware may be coming to an end. Hell...what am I
saying? This game may supposedly be nearly done and just going
through some polish, but one of two things is almost assured. Either
the game will be another example of Daikatana (long delayed and then
archaic and crap-tacular) or it will somehow get "delayed" again and
we'll continue to forget all about it. Either way...I don't see
anyone having "fun" with DNF anytime this lifetime.
Well, I've still
been playing Saint's Row and I have to say that while I may be a
giant GTA fan (not fanboy), this game is kicking it's ass in my
eyes. For one thing, it was not too often in GTA that I would tell
myself "just one more mission" and end up going through about 6
more. SR, on the other hand, had me doing that for the last two
nights. Also, I enjoy that the missions, despite what some reviews
may say, are very diverse. While it does all still come down to one
of two things (gunning or running/driving), there's still a good
deal more variety than GTA:SA gave us. Plus, I don't remember a
mission as cool in GTA:SA as the one in SR where you have to commit
random acts of violence while dressed as a rival gang member so that
it's captured by the news.
Also, on the
technical side of things, the weather effects of GTA:SA don't have
shit on SR. While the weather effects still aren't quite as real as
I'd like to see them, it's fun to have a blinding rain storm hit
town. It will add to frustration if you're mid-mission, but it is
really amazing to be blinded by torrential rains as you're in a high
speed chase. I still wish we could see an open-ended game of this
style with realistic snow effects (as a very limited time event).
Maybe GTA4 could deliver this...especially since rumors seem to
point to a Chicago styled setting for the next in this series.
Well, like I said,
I have a four day weekend coming up. So, while I may try to post on
Monday or Tuesday, I will guarantee nothing. It's all up to how well
I can manage my new found freedom...and how much time I end up
spending looking for a new job so I can get this level of freedom
more than once a year.
Safe Labor Day to
all, and let your grills be searing hot and your beers icy cold!
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