Monday, December 27, 2010

Pac-Man Vs: running in the wrong direction

As it's Christmas, I thought long and hard as to which game I could inflict on my family, as is tradition. And this year I chose Pac-Man Vs, which has had a bit of a renaissance of late since I realised I could run it on the Wii and found my GBA cables. And found in addition that Justine loves it.

So I had myself, Justine, my brother and my mum around the TV yesterday evening shouting at each other and laughing as my mum ran away from Pac-Man when she should have been trying to eat him. Justine was relatively silent since she said she couldn't concentrate on moving and talking at the same time. And I managed to clear two stages.

It's still great.

Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: they've been taken!

It's quite depressing when, after three hours of playing, you stop and look at the instruction manual and realise that you've only just got to the end of the introductory explanation of the game's storyline. Twilight's story is a little more personal than that of many Zeldas, with the emphasis placed not only on the rescue of the kingdom from the forces of darkness (quite literally in this case), but also on the rescue of two children from Link's childhood home.

Getting through the story has been slow to start with because of the controls. Not the 'waggle' - that in itself is intuitive and accurate - but rather the use of the analogue stick on the nunchuk. There's a large turning circle, and there have been quite a few occasions where I've been unable to see the enemies attacking me. Using the Z-lock solves the problem, of course, but it's something I need to get used to.

I've been to the twilight realm and back, and have saved just before I return there. I'm hoping soon to be able to control my shape as well as being able to travel back and forth a little more freely. But before that, I've got to go to the Forest Temple.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Burnout Legends: crash bang wallop

I've been playing the crash mode almost exclusively since my last update - I've now got medals on thirty of the courses. It's pretty hard though, since you have very little aftertouch control and the crashbreakers don't do that much. I've not managed to blow up a single petrol tanker yet.

Splosion Man: zzzzzz

I got bored after about four levels, and stopped playing after ten. There's not much variety, and while occasionally you have to think how the level wants you to get through it, it gets pretty frustrating when your jumps don't go where you're telling them to. Hmm.

Trials HD: breaking bones

Simple controls do not mean it's a simple game. It's anything but. Very good fun indeed.

Blur: destroying Shannon and beating Khan

I really like Blur. You can see the PGR influences, and the more arcade-like feel to the cars, but it's been well put together with the different weapons and event types so it feels very fresh. The visual style is clean and consistent, and actually works a lot better than I was imagining. At times it can be a little difficult to see what's going on, and the controls aren't the most intuitive (why not have three fire buttons, one for each slot?), but overall it's a great game.

The difficulty level could have done with a bit more work though - there are quite a few sudden spikes which almost make me give up on it. In particular, Khan speeds off at the start of his one-on-one race, and one mistake can make him unbeatable. It took me ten tries before I managed to sneak across the line a second before him.

Onto the fan-based challenges now.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Bioshock: mad cosmetic surgeon

Looking at the True Achievements site, I was reminded of the games which I've not played very far through at all. In particular, I've barely touched Bioshock, Bayonetta, Rock Band 2, Dead Rising, or Tomb Raider: Underworld. The whole point of this blog was to keep track of where I was in different games, and to encourage me to play more to completion. It seems to have failed.

But I've tried to rectify this over the last couple of days. I loaded Bioshock, and found that my last save was just over two years ago, about an hour into the game. Of course, this meant that I've now passed all the bits where you learn about controls, and have completely forgotten what to do. It was a good twenty minutes after starting that I realised that you could also use the left trigger to shoot electric things with your hand - needed to get past the robot sentries. After hacking some of those, and rescuing the first little sister, I was plunged into a darkened room with a shotgun and many enemies. The game does 'scary' very well.

I've now got two different left-hand tricks; I would have had three but can't work out how to have a new slot open up. I've found and killed a mad doctor who seemed to like cutting people up for no reason, and called me ugly. And I've now found a Big Daddy who promptly killed me.

It's a very cleverly done game, with a good narrative and setting. The limited use of ghosts and flashbacks adds a lot to the atmosphere. But while I can admire these qualities, it's not huge amounts of fun. I'll play again next time I want something very involving, I'm sure. Maybe in another two years.