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Malik (10/12/09)

Just when you're down, sometimes you can come right back up on top again. That's how football seemed to go this weekend in Seattle.

Unfortunately, I missed the majority of the game, but the Huskies were amazing. I mean they came back, with under 3 minutes to play, from a 21-33 deficit and won 36-33. Two touchdowns in under 30 seconds (around 2:55 and 2:38 left to play in the 4th quarter). It doesn't get much sweeter than that. Once again, the Huskies won or came close. There have been no complete destructions for the UW team this season, when they lose, and the wins do have some major fighting involved. However, that only makes the game so much sweeter to watch and read about when they can battle an opponent to the final minutes and still come out on top.

I think the only thing worse than missing the majority of the game would be doing what my father did. As a major UW fan, he just couldn't take anymore and turned the game off in the later part of the fourth quarter. Then he missed a major upset and one of UW's best come back victories of all time.

Then there was the Seahawks game on Sunday. Against a 2-2 team, the 1-3 'Hawks should have fallen off like the trash they have been looking like. I mean Hasselbeck came back, with his broken rib still a presence in the game, and with an offensive line that should have been nothing short of Hasselbeck's career ender. Instead, the O-line looked like they realized what was going on; if they let Hasselbeck get hit, and if it ended his season or career, they would have forever been hated in Seattle. Each and every member of the line was looking at being an eternal blight in the minds of Seahawk fans everywhere.

So, the O-line did the only thing they should do; went out there and offered Hasselbeck the protection he needed. He was protected from the blitz and even kept safe when his broken frame went down the field a few times for a short QB scramble rush. Hasselbeck survived and was able to throw the ball as if he never missed a day and never had the agonizing pain of a broken body.

When you add in the defense playing like they wanted to give Hasselbeck a proper welcome back present (a win), you have a great game. I mean the defense took the ball away from Jacksonville every time they entered the red zone, without allowing a single point. Of course, the first time the Jaguars were in the redzone (their first drive of the game), the Jags did give away any chance at scoring by going for it on 4th and 1 on the second yard line.

They could have, and should have, scored three on that drive. I mean it would have tied the game at that point at 3-3, but apparently greed came into play and that may have been the perfect factor to destroy their morale and leave them unable to play on the offense for the entire remainder of the game. I mean the next seven possession for the Jags were 3-and-out affairs that gave their punter too much time on the field. Hell, they didn't even get a first down after 4 minutes left in the first quarter until the second half. I think part of that was the Jags just falling under too much pressure, but there was also some amazing defense from the boys in blue. I mean the second half saw a couple of other red zone entrances from the Jags, but those quickly turned into turnovers, and shortly after they became Seahawks touchdowns.

After starting the season so poorly (not counting a shutout of the Rams...and honestly, who can't beat the Rams this season), with a 1-3 record, this may be the turning point for the 'Hawks. They now know what a great victory tastes like (and 41-0 is a victory that probably leaves one hell of an awesome after-taste). Assuming the O-line can keep Hasselbeck safe and will continue what they did yesterday, this could be the perfect turning point for the season. Few teams see the playoffs after starting 1-3 (I think it's around only 19% of teams who start that poor ever see the post-season), but I think the Seahawks, with help from being in the abysmal NFC West, can do it.

Also, the game did have one nice bit of stupid humor. I'm talking about the intro of Owen all his wondrous helmet smacking glory. Nothing like a guy giving himself a nice head wound before the game starts. The Seahawks won, and that's all that matters...but sometimes I think I can see a hint of why there can be so many problems. One of those hint being that the Seahawks seem to disregard their own safety, and just ignore their own sanity, so quickly.


Malik (10/13/09)

Not much to really say today. I don't plan on buying any of the new Rock Band DLC. After all, I'm picking up Brutal Legend today and that's enough new entertainment and money spent. I need to keep enough things in perspective, financially, and that means skipping some DLC from time to time.

The one thing I found funny, in regards to BL, is that Gamestop had a midnight release for the game. This just seems out of place for a game that is, at it's core, a Tim Schaffer game. I mean while some people love what Double Fine brings to the gaming world, it's a small enough following that the games are typically overshadowed. I mean we have stuff like Uncharted 2, Halo: ODST, and the rest of the "crazy fall" games. BL is just not a huge title.

Anyway, I've outgrown the whole midnight release concept. I never was into it much to begin with, but I've really grown past it. Even as a kid, or a 16 year old with a license and a car, I always had shit to do. I mean when it comes to a midnight release, it usually just means waiting until I get home from work or school the next day before I can even play the thing I waited in line for while I could have been enjoying some precious sleep. I guess some people do have different schedules, but I just can't see forsaking sleep and all that for a game. I also can't see having a potentially crap-tastic day the next day just because I wanted to get something early and have no time to actually enjoy it.

Of course, my perspective on this could also be unique due to having a Gamestop (or two) about a ten minute walk from my work. This means that I can use my lunch break to grab the game and still be home at my normal time and enjoying the game when I would have been enjoying it anyway; after work. All with the bonus of not losing sleep.

Anyway, I'll try to post some thoughts on the game tomorrow. As a Tim Schaffer, metal, and Jack Black fan, I am hyped. I just hope the hype isn't too strong since hyped games tend to burn me the worst.


Malik (10/14/09)

Maybe I was too hyped for Brutal Legend. I only say that because the flaws seem to be more obvious to me than the good parts. Still, I should say that this is a great game, in many ways. In fact, it was also great when it was called Zelda or GTA. After all, that is what this game is, in essence. It's an open world game with some side quests and some major missions/dungeons.

First off, the largest flaw I've seen, at least in terms of enjoyment related flaws, is the lack of a mini-map. Like with GTA, you have an obvious destination for all your missions. GTA used large arrows or markers on your map, and BL uses some large pillars of light you can see from miles away. However, BL stops there and only offers a large map to use if you need to check your location. However, this large map is only called upon by pausing the game, while GTA would allow use of the mini-map in the corner to always keep you on the level about where you're headed. You do get a small guide of sorts, in a throw back to the worst GTA clone ever made; The Getaway. Your car, when you are in it, will use rear turn signals to signify where you should head, but this doesn't mean shit when your flying at full speed and a signal quickly turns from a direction to both brake lights being lit up (meaning you must turn around). If you're on foot or an animal (you can ride animals you find wandering around), then all you have is your pause activated map and a pillar of light to go off of.

The other large flaw I've found is that the game seems to like to go crazy on the controls from time to time. For example, you can run by clicking in the left stick. This is great for either evading trouble or for pulling off the awesome power slide attack...but it's not so good when the game will also sometimes activate the run movement, in which you have far less control and fewer attack options, when it just feels like it. This happens most when you use target lock on a foe while walking. For some reason, the game will sometimes trigger a run at your new target, and this can quickly lead to death if you're in a tight situation. If you're on a certain spider boss, you can find death rather quickly when this happens.

Also, another throw back to The Getaway is found in your lack of a life meter. You don't know how hurt you are through a stat system, but rather you know based on how the screen looks. If the screen is red, you're almost dead. The problem is that certain enemies hit harder than others, so a pale red may mean you're hurt sometimes, but it may mean one hit more and you die at other times. Even against the same hit from the same enemy type can be different when you're pale red versus blood red on your screen. At least you only need to avoid injury to heal (like shields in Halo) versus the "stand against a wall like a stationary target" you find in The Getaway.

The other big problem I foresee in my long term enjoyment is the lack of variety. I'm talking about attacks and weapons. Zelda has the sub-weapons, and GTA has new (and awesome) guns to find. BL just has your axe and your guitar...and some new moves to learn and new attributes to add to your weapons. However, you're always just swinging an axe and causing fire and electrical attacks with your guitar. That's it. You can power slide, and do some special combos as you progress...but you'll never have that feeling of "wow" when you get the RPG in GTA or the aww factor of finding the hook-shot in Zelda.

The final issue I have, so far, is that the display is a little weak. I'm talking about the camera angle that is the default when driving. Like with GTA, I feel like the angle is just a little off of what you'll ever want. However, this is at least a common 3rd person game issue, especially in driving games. So, like with GTA4, I just have to always remember to keep my thumb on the right stick so I can see what I need to see.

As for the rest of the is a fun game. I mean the basic hack-n-slash with some magic (guitar abilities) is fun on the most basic of levels. Plus, there's enough animations to keep attacks looking pretty fresh for a long time. Will it last me for the entire game? Who knows. However, for now the attacks are awesome to see and simple, yet fun, to perform.

Also, the plot and general writing is great. I mean Tim Schaffer is a great writer who knows what he wants to say. The metal clichés are in full effect. There is humor aplenty, and not too many down times. I mean you have enough dialogue to keep the game entertaining without any lulls. Plus, when you add in voice acting from Jack Black, as the protagonist (I think he's called Eddie, but I call him Jack Black) and Ozzy as the shop keeper (well, more of a special guardian of the gods of rock, who keeps you outfitted with new gear), you have great potential. Just entering the shop and hearing Ozzy bitch about you bugging him again, is priceless. Plus, there's enough dialogue, just for something as simple as visiting the forge (where Ozzy "works"), that I've yet to hear the same introduction/entrance dialogue twice.

Also, the writing and acting can become beyond awesome in a few places. I'll just say that the opening (when you load up the game, don't press start until you're told to) from when you load the game to when you finally have control is some of the best Tim Schaffer and/or Jack Black I've seen. Just the dialogue where Jack Black (in character) discusses the problems of modern metal with a fellow roadie struck me in a special and familiar place.

The talent goes beyond Ozzy and Jack Black, but it also runs deeper with one hell of an awesome soundtrack. Like with GTA, you have a radio in your car. However, to make it better, you can control what song is on the radio and what songs will never be played in the car again. Then you have situational music (like when facing bosses) that is always metal that fits the situation. The only problem with the music, so far, is that Kickstart My Heart (Motley Crew) is not metal. However, with how much metal is debated now-a-days, it's all the same. The only true soundtrack problem would be if you didn't like which case, I don't see why you'd play a game all about the stereotypes of metal culture and mythos. It's just too bad that no Metallica could be on the soundtrack, to round out the thrash genre with the included Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth.

I guess I do have one more problem, with something that was not included. I'm talking about instructions or tutorials. For example, the instructions for the power slide, when you purchase that move, are incomplete. Then you can find dragons that have been imprisoned...and you have no clue how to free them (only that you must). I mean the game doesn't tell you shit. So, to be honest, this is a game that you shouldn't feel ashamed about if you must check out some FAQs or message boards. At least most of the unmentioned information is pretty obvious...most of it.

Anyway, I'll probably have more to say when I've experienced more of the game. I mean there's some sort of RTS system I've yet to encounter. I also have more missions to try and solos to find...think of a solo as a song on the ocarina in Zelda, with a special effect for each one you find (including the standard Zelda one to summon your ride).

So far, I'd say that this is a "definite buy" type of game, at least for metal fans with a sense of humor or for Tim Schaffer fans who like metal. I just have some fears of longevity.


Malik (10/16/09)

Next week will see the long awaited Queen pack on Rock Band. It's been known for quite some time that Queen was coming in October with a huge ten pack. So, this should come as no surprise. Also, considering how things tend to normally go with RB DLC, it's no surprise that a big pack or album (which this almost feels a greatest hits album of sorts, for guitar, bass, and drum based Queen songs) is coming alone. There's no other songs added in.

On a subject change, I caught Zombieland last night. I'm a bit late to this party, since the movie has been around for a little while now. However, I have to say that this is one of the best comedies I've seen in a long time. I cannot honestly remember the last time I saw a movie this funny in theaters.

Between the casting choice, the style of humor, and the definite homage to zombie flicks, this movie really does a hell of a job keeping the audience entertained for the whole movie. I cannot think of any scene that really felt dragged out or bogged down in any way. The movie was just good through the entire run time. I also must say that this is possibly my favorite usage of zombies in movies...even overtaking Shaun of the Dead.

On a final note for today, I'm still playing Brutal Legend. However, I've been more focused on side quests and collections than on the main plot. I haven't continued the plot beyond a single cut scene since my first day of playing. I'm, hopefully, still early in the game. However, with how fun the side quests are, it's easy to forget to get back to the main game.

Anyway, this post is somewhat short, since I've way too overwhelmed with responsibilities today. Hopefully I'll have a short post on Monday, since that means I have nothing to botch about with the Huskies (UW) or Seahawks games.


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