Saturday, December 19, 2009

IGN Redesign and Quake Live

Okay, wow. If you thought IGN was difficult to navigate and poorly organized before, wait until you see the redesign. Now it's going to be that much harder to find seriously screwed up quotes from their reviews to amuse myself and others.

First off, who's bright idea was it to sort the reviews by highest score as the default instead of by release date?

I guess a big thing about the new look is that the game's box art is supposed to be displayed next to the title, but half of the things on there don't have any art, and it looks really lame.

Then, when you actually click the review, you don't GET the review. You go to another page in which you have to click again to read the review. Yeah.

It's possible that they no longer list the same game over and over each time it's reviewed in a different country. That, at least, would be a blessing.

In other news...

I've never been a seriously hardcore Quake 3 player, but I do consider it to be the best multiplayer/online game I've ever played. As the years went by, and more and more new games/garbage was released, I naturally assumed that the game was now dead outside of single player bot-fighting.

But Quake Live is totally amazing. It takes Quake 3, makes it into a browser plugin, includes skill based matchmaking, awards to earn, stat tracking, and it runs flawlessly. It is also FREE and OFFICIAL. Set it to full screen mode and it's just like playing the standalone game, but full of people to play with.

Now, I imagine that this could evolve into a pay service, but if they throw in new arenas and additional content, that might even be a worthwhile subscription. Do check it out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monkey Island and Links on a Train

Having never played a Monkey Island game before and wanting to try the new Telltale ones, I decided to catch up by playing the recent Monkey Island Special Edition. I've completed about 20% of it so far and I have very mixed feelings.

                                                                      Ooh, Perdy!

The graphics are very attractive and you can instantly switch to the old school graphics and back by hitting the F10 button. It can be interesting to just do comparisons in each area. The voice acting is pretty good. Some of the puzzles are a little bit out there, but most can be solved using somewhat logical thought. The main problems I've had are control related.

It took me a while to get used to the cursor seeming to lag behind my mouse movement. It could be that this is just a computer issue, and in any case, I finally did get used to it. The larger problem has been with the slow walking speed and the difficulty I often have with getting Guybrush to move to the next screen instead of standing at the edge doing nothing.

For a lot of the puzzles in this game, you simply have to go from person to person trying different things, but they're spaced pretty far apart, and the time you waste just traveling around can be infuriating. I feel like the vast majority of the time I spend on the game is just on walking back and forth.

The game has just been wearing on me lately and I'm probably going to take a break from it to play Trauma Center on the Wii. With new Christmas games coming up, I'm not sure if I'll ever come back to it or not, but those who know me probably know better than to count on it.

And yeah, the next update on my Zelda playthrough probably won't happen for a few days, weeks, or years. You see, I got distracted watching DBZ in Japanese from the beginning ( have a problem with that?) and now I'm just not in the mood, anymore.

                                               IT'S OVER (nah, I'm not gonna do it)
If I end up trying Gamefly again any time soon in an attempt to catch up with the horrors of modern gaming, I might torture myself with the new Links on a Train or whatever it is and you can get your Zelda fix that way.

                                                           I just died a little inside.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Link to the Past Run Through Part 1

I've been playing a little bit of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I've completed the game countless times already, but Torchlight has gotten pretty stale and I wanted to move on to something different.

I found myself a little bored with rescuing Princess Zelda and getting through the Sewers for the 23rd time, but the first dungeon was pretty solid. I can still remember playing these areas for the first time when the game came out and how huge and confusing the dungeons seemed back then. but even when you know exactly what to do, you can still have a pretty great time.

The desert dungeon was never really a favorite of mine, and so it actually surpassed my expectations during the replay. Still, I couldn't believe how quickly I found the Big Key and made it to the end. I guess figuring out how to get into the dungeon was supposed to be a pretty big deal on it's own. I probably used that tiny little hint guide that came with the game the first time I did so. I did have to use a potion for the boss, so you can't just breeze through this thing. Unless you're better than me, which you probably are.

The Tower of Hera is really cool. Except for some minor tinkering with the red and green switches, and finding the moon pearl, it's almost totally linear progression with a lot of enemies to fight. Some of those guys can really take a lot of hits and you have to make sure not to bounce yourself into a pit.

I also think it's funny how missing the Moon Pearl has some pretty major repercussions. Internet forums still seem to be littered with people who can't figure out why they're now stuck as a rabbit. Moldorm is one of my favorite boss battles as well, except people who have no gaming ability seem to hate him.

Getting the Master Sword and storming Hyrule Castle makes for some very exciting times.


The upper part of the castle is another linear area with some challenging minor enemies culminating in the loss of Zelda and an exciting battle with the mysterious Agahnim. Defeating this boss throws you into the Dark World, ready or not. Not exactly a victory.

Next time... The Dark World!