Sunday, February 22, 2009

Ico: take my hand

After the Singstar party, my PS2 was all set up and ready to go. My PS2 game collection is rather poor though, and nothing appealed - until I noticed the special editions of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus sitting on the shelf above. I've played Ico very little, and Shadow not at all. I decided that today should be the day.

Ico starts off slowly, with a long cutscene. You get thrown into a murky world and have to work out the controls. The world's not actually murky, but playing it on my HD TV certainly made it look so. I worked my way through the castle, until I found the girl in white. I knocked the cage down the tower, and rescued her from the shadow monsters. I then couldn't find a way out of the room. Huh.

Never mind, I thought, I'll come back to that later. I'd been playing for 40 minutes or so. I turned the console off, and then thought ... hmm, I wonder if the game does save at checkpoints?

Evidently not.

We're spoilt now, with autosaves and save-anywhere mechanics. The reason it didn't occur to me that the game might not have saved is that when I paused it, there was no way of manually saving. Oh no, it appears that to manually save you've got to sit down on a bench, which at that point I hadn't found. It forces you to play a certain amount at a time. This is a problem for me - gaming tends to be half an hour here and there, and I can't leave the PS2 on all night to pick it up again in the morning, like I used to do with games on the Mega Drive.

After all, I'm paying for the electricity now.

So, at some point I've got to play the entirety of the start of the game again. I hope it's worth it.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Singstar: under the sea

As in, that is where I wish my head could be this morning. Why does Singstar necessitate a vast quantity of alcohol? Why do I wake up the next morning able to talk in a mere whisper, having flashbacks of genius, repulsion and amusement?

Sharon's rendition of Under the Sea from The Little Mermaid will be remembered forever. Partially because I filmed it. Ken and I sang A Little Time by The Beautiful South. Justine videoed that, which is good in a way since I never would have believed just what I did.

The evening brought forwards talents unknown. Justine tied with Helen; the latter part of a choir. Sharon can't rap. An really does feel for Sharon, you could see it in her eyes as she sang Babe. She was Sonny.

But I shall say no more. What happens in Singstar stays in Singstar.

There was one important thing that happened: I thrashed Ken at Wii Tennis. And then refused his fiver which he bet me all those months ago. I am smug.

Until I see the videos again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Loco Roco: bum dum de daaaaa dum dee diddly dum bum bum

I love the way they sing. I love the way they bounce and slide and coo. I love the expressions on their faces.

I hate the way the battery dies after five minutes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Drawn to Life: completed!

Nothing particularly hard in the entire game, in fact - the last boss took a few tries to work out how to actually hurt him, but once I'd worked out his weak point to attack for massive damage, the fight didn't last long.

The game had some nice touches in it - drawing in the main levels was great, especially when the later levels started to reuse a large number of designs at once. The end of the credits finishing with my signed name was a pleasant surprise. I've no desire to go back to it to find new palettes or stamps or songs, though. It was a good length as it was.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Drawn to Life: losing the darkness

Not the band.

I'm not sure what to make of this. The actual core game - the platform bits - are pretty good, with some clever level design ideas. The need to fiddle with jumping mechanics in the second world and the addition of underwater sections in the third is a shame, though, as it gives you the impression that the designers weren't confident with their concept. They should have been, since the idea of having to explore levels to find characters and paper bits works well with the way the levels are laid out.

The fact that you design the main character is great, and it really brings the game to life - even if it does rather limit the animation available. Designing blocks and lifts and so on is equally fun, though the limited palettes (and my lack of artistic ability) make my efforts clash with the background something horrendous. For some designs, the drawing's done for you, and instead you're left to colour in. I'm better at those.

The storyline, and endless back-and-forth fetching and talking mechanic that makes up the hub world, however, is rubbish. I don't care why I'm finding little cat-like animals in the levels, I just want to find them. According to the progress screen I've not completed ten of the fifteen levels. Nothing too hard yet, other than the bosses which represent not so much a difficulty curve, but a difficulty cliff. Luckily I've been collecting extra lives like nobody's business.