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    Brutal Legend (PS3)    by   dkirschner       (Nov 27th, 2015 at 19:54:04)

    This game is unexpectedly brilliant while being (un)expectedly (I'm not sure which!) mediocre at the same time. I'm a huge metalhead, although I lean away from traditional metal, which is what a lot of the game is. Despite all the Saxon and Accept and Motorhead and whatnot, this game wins for having a metal soundtrack.

    Anyway, music aside, I'd long heard of Brutal Legend, but always thought it would be too cheesy for my tastes. I ended up getting a copy for free and decided what the heck. Tried to play it on my PC, but it is a terrible port, so I ended up shelling out $5 anyway and bought it on PS3 because I was intrigued by the first half hour.

    Another name for Brutal Legend would be Jack Black: The Videogame. If you like Jack Black and you like metal, I don't see how you couldn't like this. If you like fantasy stories, that's even more of a bonus. The main character is basically Jack Black playing himself. Much of his dialogue sounds straight out of School of Rock.

    Jack Black gets sucked into hell through an accident wrapped up in one of the game's many funny commentaries on lame metal music. He falls in with a resistance movement trying to save humanity (hell's humanity, not Earth's--hell people are unaware of anywhere else). That's the outline of the story. There are some good twists and turns, but it all ends predictably enough, even given the wacky setting and metal theme.

    The other place this game shines is the art. The world is super cool looking, and serious thanks to all the character designers and artists. All the minions in the armies you fight look so neat and have such cool takes on different themes. For example, one army, the "Drowning Doom" are basically goth/emo people. There is a crying bride who summons thunderstorms, hearses with giant organ pipes that act as ranged weapons, goth/emo looking kids with shovels who walk around in a pack (but, as the notes say, have a burning need to express their individuality), and so on. There are lots of different enemies.

    That's all the good stuff. The not so good stuff: combat, getting around the world, the RTS elements. Combat is really basic hack-n-slash type stuff. Think Devil May Cry or Bayonetta but like the crappy B version. That third-person combat was alright I guess, but the RTS stuff dragged. In these big "stage battles," you can fly around and command groups of different units. It's basically tower control. You need to control towers to get "fans," which are your currency for unit construction. The more fans you have, the faster you can pump out an army. I will note that your army's cap is 40 at the beginning of the game...and 40 at the end. It is lame that there is never any change. Although you do get some new units throughout, it feels like the same battle every time because there's not a lot of growth over time in what you can do.

    Exploring around the world (which looks neat) is unfortunately a drag, and rather pointless too. You have a car that isn't a lot of fun to control (avoid race side quests, the other car will touch you and send you flying off cliffs, and if you touch an object it is like slamming into a concrete wall). There are no checkpoints or fast travel stations or anything, so if you want to go anywhere, you drive. There are also a ton of "secrets" scattered about the world. These take several forms. The upgrade stations (featuring Ozzy) are useful and I liked unlocking back story from another type. Then there are some vistas where you just...look at something through binoculars, and there are these dragon statues which, for every 10 you find (of like 120), you get some bonus health, regen, strength, etc. I found 5. Really pointless!

    I never did any side quests either until I had some trouble on a mission about 2/3 of the way into the game. I figured out that doing these 3-minute side quests give you as much experience as a big main mission does. Ok. More bang for your time buck with side quests, but they are boring and repetitive. I figured I would go do some to save some experience so I could actually learn new special moves and upgrade some of Jack Black's gear. I did this, upgraded a little bit, and although I won the next battle, it wasn't because my stuff had not been upgraded. I never upgraded again. You can play straight through the main story without touching side quests or upgrading hardly anything. I suppose then that there is a lot of "extra content" if people really like driving around. But I didn't, so straight through the creative story I went. Short-ish game overall. I clocked 6.5 hours in the end, but probably 8 with a few deaths.

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    Muramasa Rebirth (VITA)    by   jp       (Nov 25th, 2015 at 18:15:54)

    Wow is this game beautiful and wow is there a lot of backtracking. A lot. And it gets really tiresome because most of the areas are empty and there isn't all that much to do.

    But, the game is gorgeous to look at and I'm impressed at how different they can make the mood and feeling of different areas change just with some lighting and other tricks.

    But still, so much backtracking!
    (ok, part of this was because I took a wrong exit out of an area and ended up visiting two entire areas before realizing what I'd done. Sigh)

    In all, I seem to be making good progress (on Act 4's boss - a giant!). I tried this last night and it was the first time I've died in the entire game so far. Clearly the bosses are "where it's at" but I may have erred by playing on the easy mode. Or maybe not. I guess we'll see what the difficulty curve looks like for the rest of the game. Assuming I don't get bored...

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    Capsized (PC)    by   dkirschner       (Nov 20th, 2015 at 14:45:47)

    Just created this to close it. I've been *trying* to play Capsized for a long time but it is a pain to get working smoothly. I have a friend who played it and recommended it, and we generally have crossover tastes on 2d platformers. But after trying and failing to run this smoothly on my personal computer, trying and failing to run this smoothly on my personal laptop, and finally getting it to run smooth enough to play on my work laptop, I was able to play the last few days.

    Here's a blurb I vented after the first time trying to run it: No, no, no, no. The controls are all floaty, like you’re supposed to be in space (oh wait, you sort of are!), but I hate the floaty controls. I want this to be tight. There was input lag, and that went away when I turned off v-synch, but I still am not down with this. Also, the gamepad layout is illogical (no use of ABXY) and can’t be changed. Mouse and keyboard controls aren’t any better. I hate games that use UP to jump. I am always jumping when I don’t want to jump. Trying it on a different computer…

    Verdict: floaty controls and annoying AI that just charges straight at you all the time. Neat for an hour, then gets frustrating. I spent a lot of my time just using my gravity hook to try and manipulate objects where I wanted them to go, and holding Up + Left/Right to scale vertical walls. Story is bland so far. You crash on a planet, rescue some crew mates, and kill a lot of aliens. It seems there is multiplayer, like drop in/drop out co-op, because after you rescue crew mates, they are present in subsequent levels...except with no one to control them, they just stand dumbly at the beginning of the level. That reaaaally kills the suspension of disbelief. Lame.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Nov 20th, 2015 at 14:51:56.

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    Destiny (PS4)    by   jp       (Nov 19th, 2015 at 15:40:24)

    My light level is now 294.

    I am now officially in the "end game" part of the game and I should be chasing new loot and so on. It's a bit of a disappointment, since it's been really fun so far (finding and equipping new things and all that). On the other hand, I still have some story stuff to do (from Taken King) which is keeping me going. Also, I'm now leveled up enough that I can play with my friends in Chile. That's been fun as well, especially since they've been able to help me out (tips and advice on things I haven't figured out yet). For example, I had an open quest where I had to patrol some planets and then take out some high-value targets. The problem was that I'd keep on doing patrol-quests and never get a high-value target one! It turns out you can tell, based on the icon, what type of quest it is (and then look for the ones with the correct icon).

    It's a small thing, and made me feel a bit dumb, but it saved me some time!

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    Muramasa Rebirth (VITA)    by   jp       (Nov 19th, 2015 at 15:37:19)

    Wow, this game is so colorful and pretty. I'm really enjoying that side of it while wondering what the game will turn into. For now I'm still in the early tutorial/learning side of things. It looks like most of the game's emphasis will be on combat (swordplay) - but I'm not sure how well that'll work out since everything is so big on the screen that I feel like things will get too crowded? It's hard to tell so far because it's all been really easy.

    For now I'm confused about the gameplay and the story, but curious enough to want to keep on playing.

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    Boyfriend Maker (iPd)    by   cintacii

    No comment, yet.
    most recent entry:   Tuesday 4 December, 2012
    As ridiculous as it sounds, I attempted at playing the Boyfriend Maker on the iOS after hearing about it online. The Boyfriend Maker is a free app in the Apple store. This game is an interactive single player game that I heard about online. The purpose of the game is to make your “boyfriend” happy through tapping the screen to peck him on the cheek, and bake him cookies. The player can chat to the boyfriend-simulation as long as the energy bar is filled, which serves as fuel for him to respond back to the player. The energy bar can be replenished through making the boyfriend happy or the player may pay the app for more game cash and energy. In the game, the player may customize their “boyfriend” as long as the player has enough game cash to buy hair, facial features, and clothes. The animation in the game is similar to that of Japanese animation. The gameplay is fairly simple since all the player has to do is type on the touch screen and tap on the “boyfriend’s” face to virtually kiss him. Despite the simple gameplay and ridiculousness of the game, the Boyfriend Maker has been removed from the Apple Store due to its vulgarity and sexual content coming from chatting with the interactive boyfriend. The game has been seen as a problem since after all, it is a free game that can be accessed by young children. The vulgarity and sexual content coming from the conversations have been known to be ridiculously humorous but that backfired on the game designers. If I could, I would not recommend this game to anyone unless they were searching for temporary entertainment. This is not the game that would be religiously played, because it tends to get repetitive and dull.

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