Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sir, you have your 2 o'clock meeting with Disgaea 2 today...

There probably will be no solution to the over-saturation of games released on a weekly basis. And let's face it - unless you have no job, life, relationship, OR kids, you won't have enough time to squeeze out every ounce of gameplay from every game you keep purchasing. So what are the possible solutions to command this chaos?

Sure, there are sites like backloggery.com to let you chronicle your purchases and progress throughout each game, and there are the typical trophy/achievement systems that digitally date and mark how tolerant you are of your games. But despite all this, we gamers just get overwhelmed by "shiny and new" games every week enough to make our heads spin.

So you have X amount of games you've amassed - how will you tackle them?

Call me old-fashioned, but one tangible solution is just keeping a written list with you. And this is not the first time I've made this argument. But in addition to a list, why not set up a schedule to distribute your free time over your games?

Say you have three games you're playing concurrently. If you have 2 hours of free time a day, you can dedicated one hour to one game, and half-hour segments for the other two. Or, space out your time by dedicated 2 hours apiece to each game for 3 days a week.

Granted, there will be times when you just cannot leave a game to follow your schedule, whether it's trying to find that elusive save point, or you loaned your scheduled game to someone else. The best thing to do at these times is to exercise good judgment and self-control; mark the extra time spend, and redistribute your free time with your other games to compensate. And like any schedule set, you shouldn't overexert yourself and exceed scheduled time. That would just throw your planning out of whack.

But through careful time-management and creating a checkoff list, any game you own can and will be eventually cleared. Unless you just clock in a full 24-hour game-fest - then it's just a matter of sheer willpower.

Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time...completed!

Among the constant struggles of trying to complete games amidst these recent game releases, I bring you another playing-through-the-game-in-hard-mode moments, complete with my first Platinum Trophy! The game this was accomplished in? Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time!

Though earning it wasn't easy, considering the glitches that thwared the trophy system. But after playing through the game once more in Challenge Mode and completing more of the side quests, getting that 100% was all the more sweeter. Now, that game joins Batman: Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves as games I've completed through all difficulty levels.

In actuality, this was done back in January 14th, but I needed to get it off my chest and documented properly on this blog.

Plus, it'll make me feel better when I'll buy God of War III later.

Monday, March 15, 2010


With all the rave reviews going into a gorgeous and well-thought-of indie game like Braid, you'd think it would be as satisfying when you finish the game. Well, not too recently, I did just that, but it is not in the category of finished games where I am left even more confused as when I started playing.

I won't enter spoiler territory, but the game created more questions than answers. So much so that it has spurred discussions in forums about the game's story. In that sense, Braid is truly a game of art; it is gorgeous to look at, and, at the same time, is perceived differently from each person that interacts with it.

All abstractions aside, the game's puzzles are the most creative that I've seen in any game for some time. I think all but one eluded my grasp at a solution, but there were certainly a number of them that had my brain struggling for an answer. But each puzzle I solved only fueled my persistence to figure out the next unsolvable puzzle. The calming and somewhat therapeutic atmosphere of the game was almost zen-like, making me rationalize a path to the solution instead of throwing my controller down in frustration and storming away.

I think Braid would be a game a doctor would prescribe to a gaming patient who's given up games for their increasing difficulty and convoluted gameplay mechanics. On a higher plain, it's a game that allows you to appreciate other games.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII hardcover strategy guide arrives, comes with childhood memories

I remember back when I bought Final Fantasy VII how I was really looking forward to getting the game and playing it for the first time. But I also remember how frustrated I was when the person in front of me bought the game AND strategy guide at the same time. I thought to myself, "Why would you want to buy the game and the guide at the same time? Wouldn't you want to enjoy the game first through self discovery before someone holds your hand through the entire game?"

But I was young and naive back then. And, if I recall, the person may have been older. Now that I, too, am older, I realize the reason wasn't because he was impatient to find everything - he just doesn't have the time to.

Now, at nearly double the iterations from that last memory, Final Fantasy XIII is released, as are the strategy guides that follow suit. And I ended up becoming that man from my youth, buying the strategy guide shortly after acquiring the game.

While this is not a dramatically changing point in my strategy-guide-buying life, it is the first time I've bought one for a Final Fantasy game relatively close to the game purchase. Like many older gamers, the time frame we have to enjoy games gets smaller and smaller, and frankly, there's really no other alternative if you want to keep playing games. I don't have the luxury to waste 4 hours in one sitting trying to find an item, when I could quickly find out that I increase my chances by equipping myself with a particular piece of armor.

But, in my defense, all my strategy guides have been for RPGs or Strategy RPGs. Those games are absolutely full of content that 80% of players would probably overlook by just playing the game once over and not come back for a second playthrough. Any other games like platformers or first-person shooters don't have as much depth as your typical multi-class, -weapon, and -quest RPG game. And there have only been a handful of games AT MOST that I've given extra attention to to get the most out of the gaming experience.

So, while I'll continue to enjoy my playing experience with XIII, the guide will serve to be my safety net, should I become stuck or desire to acquire more "bang for my buck."

Also, for the record, the hardcover edition of the Final Fantasy XIII guide is SUPER slick, on quality print, has minimal spoilers in the walkthrough, and is numbered (since only 210,000 are produced). Piggyback Interactive has quite the keen eye for quality.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Zero Punctuation review: Aliens vs Predator

"Lazy Wednesday" got so lazy that it has become "Lazy Thursday" as I post the latest video review from Yahtzee. This week's unfortunate game to befall this cocky reviewer's wit is Aliens Vs Predator. Though for once, I think the game benefits from being reviewed by Yahtzee, judging from all my friends' comments on the game and its piss-poor history.

As always, NSFW, so enjoy!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Final Fantasy XIII arrives

The game that initially herded people around the PS3 has now gathered XBOX 360 players into the mix as Final Fantasy XIII makes its ways to stores today. The last Final Fantasy game I played was X, and I skipped over XII, so this latest installment will be a return of sorts.

From what I hear, there are a lot of unfamiliar territory explored in this game - different victory music, different handling of battles, different summons. Hopefully there's no compromise in quality.

Maybe I can break my Final Fantasy game completion curse with this game.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Metal Slug 7 and Metal Slug XX blasts its way home

It's a Metal Slug portable binge as I grab myself Metal Slug 7 for the DS and Metal Slug XX for the PSP. If it's not apparent to you, I'm a pretty die-hard Metal Slug fan, with its arcade-style graphics, kill-anything-that-moves gameplay, and intense difficulty settings. To me, it's like a walking version of a SHMUP.

As long as the franchise maintains its difficulty streak and arcade look, I'll be looking forward to more installments in the future.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Zero Punctuation catch-up: Dante's Inferno and Bioshock 2

It's a bit of a stretch when a 14th-Century poem becomes the inspiration to a God-of-War-like game in Dante's Inferno, but I guess anything can happen in "twenty ten." And Yahtzee's video review of the game, at one point, compares its features to his right hand.

Next is his review of Bioshock 2, the sequel to the popular Bioshock game from 2007, complete with Big Daddy/Sister/Your Mom playability.

Both videos NSFW. Both videos below for you to enjoy.

Dante's Inferno

Bioshock 2

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Megaman 10 comes busting into my Wii

It's Megaman 10. It's retro. It's on the Wii first. You KNOW I have to get it.

Sure, anyone following my blog will note that there's no "finished" stamp yet for Megaman 9. Trust me, I'm real close - REAL close - but I still haven't finished the game. Will need to get right on that.

But you know any megaman die-hard fan won't miss out on this.

If you're waiting for this to come out for the XBOX 360 or PS3, they'll come out March 11 and 31, respectively.