Monthly Archives: April 2011

4.1 Trailer

“The Horde is my people. If it be war you bring, then I stand against you.” – Vol’jin

Too cool.
But I’m not sure why they let him live and walk away, or why the Gurubashi aren’t upset by the Zandalar tribe taking them down.

Hiking! and Other Stuff!

On Thursday I went hiking with Jessica and Andrew! It was a lot of fun! I’ve already uploaded a couple photos of some of the things I saw. There was a turtle crossing the street that Jessica kept scaring while trying to get a picture of it. On the way back to the car, we also came across a snake in the middle of the road. I was… less keen on the snake. Ugh. There were a few cool caves and lots of great scenery, including the tree and cave of which I posted photos. I also took some photos of them while we were out for them to use as engagement photos!
Speaking of Jessica and Andrew, we’ve hung out a couple other times recently. We’ve watched a few movies because Jessica realized that gem hasn’t actually seen anything, and we played Cranium with a few other friends too. We also failed at opening a bottle of win; Jessica had to ask one of her neighbors for help. Andrew wasn’t too happy about that when he found out, heh. Anyways, it’s been a lot of fun hanging out!

April Game Update

Playing
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm for PC
I’ve been doing a heroic and BG most days now. I’ve received a lot of new gear, which is cool. After a lot of thought, I rejoined Carpe Flux Capacitor recently. It sucks to see Playground Brigade fall apart, but it’s nice to be back in Carpe. A couple weeks ago, BFF took me on their guild run of BWD, although I didn’t make any new progress. I have managed to break 80,000 HKs, get Cataclysmically Superior, and finish Hyjal though. Boy, Hyjal was a badass zone at the end there! And lots of cute quests involving animals too.
Surviving High School for iOS
While I haven’t been playing this as much, I’ve been playing through the weekly episode every week.
Anomaly: Warzone Earth for Steam
This is a game I’m reviewing for Game-Boyz, so I don’t want to talk about it too much here until after I post the review. I will say that it’s a reverse tower defense in which you control a line of units going on the offensive against stationary turrets. I beat it this morning, and I really enjoyed it. There’s a few bonus modes that I’d like to play more of before I call it quits on this game.
Hoard for Steam
Another Game-Boyz game that I can’t talk about too much. Even if I could though, I just started it. It’s a strategy game in which you play as a dragon attempting to hoard gold by destroying cities, scaring peasants into giving gold tributes, and kidnapping and ransoming princesses. Seems fun!
Plants vs. Zombies for iOS
I finally managed to finish the New Game+ mode in this and am working on the last achievement – unlock every plant. I still have a few more to unlock, but I’m sure I’ll get it soon since I’ve been playing it a lot in my down time.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 for WiiWare
I beat and reviewed this recently. It was a solid entry I think, and I enjoyed it. While I didn’t gather all the chaos emeralds, going after them really wasn’t that fun. I think I’m done with this one.
Stopped Playing
Mirror’s Edge for iOS
I’ve just grown bored of this. The levels are pretty repetitive and sometimes annoying. I’ll probably end up finishing it after a while through playing it in small chunks.
YumYumBoy for iOS
I’m still trying to post the review on this one, but Game-Boyz has been having some problems. I might pick it up from time to time, but I think I’m pretty much done with it.
Considerations
I picked up Portal 2, so obviously I want to play that more. I’d also really like to figure out where I put Force Unleashed 2 so I get back to it. I should probably get back to Ballad of Gay Tony and Johnny Platform’s Biscuit Romp as well. Further down the line, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and Rush all sound appealing. I purchased Unbound Saga, a brawler for XBLA recently and should probably check that out. I’ve also been wanting to play Scott Pilgrim and Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime when I get the chance.

Sonic Generations


Thanks to Pat for posting this on Facebook and bringing it to my attention. This shows much more than the original teasor trailer. Sonic Generations is a new retail Sonic game recently announced in which you can play as the classic, pudgy Sonic or the modern streamlined Sonic.
In the classic gameplay (the first half of the video), the game is a side-scrolling platformer all about speed and looks like the classic games. The modern Sonic gameplay switches between side-scrolling and the behind-Sonic camera found in games like Sonic and the Secret Rings and the daylight Sonic Unleashed stages. The modern gameplay also features dashes and homing attacks while the classic does not.
Also, it’s noteworthy that in this extended trailer, you see Sonic for the most part keeping his speed. He sometimes must wait for platforms, but it seems like he’s usually able to keep running forward when played correctly. At least Sega realizes what’s the game supposed to be. I hope Sonic Generations is good.

KYL: Horde Politics

Know Your Lore: Update on current Horde politics

…as far as the Horde is concerned, there has never been as tumultuous a time as right now in Cataclysm. While some of the conflict is out in the open, other signs of discontent are found in hidden away or in discreet areas, out of sight unless you’re directly looking for them.

Anne Stickney of WoW Insider posted a great Know Your Lore piece on Horde politics tonight. It contained some really interesting little details that I never noticed.

Alex!

Hello! Things happen that I want to write about, but I never get around to it. I went to Darnell’s bridal shower a few weeks ago. It was at a bowling alley, and it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t very good, but neither were the people I was with. We also played pool, which gem had never done. She was looking forward to it, so that was cool.
Of course, it was great to see Alex and Darnell. I also got to visit with his parents and sister. It was nice seeing them again, because they’re all great. Unfortunately, we had to leave early because I worked. Everyone in the wedding party got a fun shirt, and I like mine very much. I hope Alex and Darnell like the bowls we painted for them. One says “Once upon a time…” and the other says “…and they lived happily ever after.”
Last week I got to go to the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra! Dev has been working as the personal assistant to a retired judge in Long Beach. They have season tickets and with them get guest tickets. Dev gave two to Alex, but Darnell couldn’t make it, so he brought me. It was a lot of fun! Seeing Dev and his dog Speedy was cool too. Coolest of all, Alex asked me to be his best man! I’m pretty excited!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

GameFAQs Review
I was looking forward to Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 for a long time. It felt good during my limited time with it at E3 with its return to 2D platforming on the home consoles. After playing through it, overall it’s good, but there still are some problems.
First, I should mention that there have been some physics changes. The primary changed I noticed is that Sonic now sticks to ground better while standing than while in a ball. This means that when running up vertical slopes or going through loops, you should be standing and not in a ball. The change itself makes sense; there’s a trade off between the two forms now. However, most people won’t know about this and will be in the ball form, wondering why they can’t get up an incline.
The homing attack from the 3D games is still present. Thinking it would make the game too easy, I was wary, but it’s a welcome addition in my eyes now. The Sonic series has always been about speed, and the most useful aspect of the homing attack is being able to keep Sonic moving quickly. It detracts a bit from the bosses because you don’t have to aim, but on the harder bosses, it doesn’t matter anyways because it’s truly about learning the patterns, not aiming. Overall, the changes are a net positive.
The graphics are very nice, but the backgrounds seem to clash with the foregrounds. The backgrounds look too realistic compared to the foregrounds that look similar to the classic games. Enemy models are based on enemies in previous games, giving Sonic 4 a familiar look that I enjoyed. The bosses are all based off previous bosses as well. They start the same, but after hitting them enough times, they’ll gain a new ability. The title music was very disappointing and didn’t sound like it belonged in the series, but the music in the game proper was great.
A shield is present in the game that absorbs one damaging hit; however, the various shields introduced in Sonic 3 do not make an appearance. Level design is generally adequate, but the game will put you in dead ends and pits. I don’t understand this masochistic game design. Sonic is a game about speed. Properly played, you shouldn’t have to stop except at bosses. Sonic Team doesn’t seem to understand this. At least there are no rooms in which you must kill a certain number of enemies to proceed like in the Sonic Rush series (which was still good, mind you).
The level select is a nice touch. You don’t even have to reach a zone before being able to select it, which lets you skip around if you wish. Special stages are reached by having 50 rings when you reach the end of the stage and jumping into the giant ring. The special stages are based on the ones from the original Sonic the Hedgehog but are timed and allow you to control the rotation of the level rather than Sonic. It was cool to see the classic special stage revised, and was fun enough while playing through the game. After I beat the game I had initial urge to go back in an attempt to collect all the Chaos Emeralds. Unfortunately, I found that the special stages definitely fun enough to warrant repeatedly playing. Unlocking Super Sonic just wasn’t worth the time of playing through repeatedly.
All in all, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is a fun game that long time Sonic fans will enjoy. The $15 price point does seem high to me though; I feel it would be better priced between $5 and $10. Despite that, I look forward to second episode and will be playing when it releases!

Donkey Kong Country

I found this draft in my blog. I started working on it on 10/10/2009, and it seems I was making notes for an article on Donkey Kong Country. I still think it deserves a closer look, but I might as well share these notes.

The game looks good, which is how I remember it as well, but I didn’t remember the sound being so good.
Seems to focus on finding “secrets,” with some being much more secret than others. I think they give you easy secrets so you know how they’re hidden. Later secrets are hidden better.
Extra lives actually matter. They hand them out pretty easily, but you can lose them easily too. I’m sure this would be more of a challenge if I wasn’t as good at platformers as I am.
Cranky Kong is amusing. Kandy Kong is amusing, but more at the fact that they thought she was a good idea rather than her actual character.
It’s interesting that barrels, an obstacle to Mario in the original Donkey Kong, become such great tools for DK and Diddy in DKC.
The animals you can ride are amusing and seem to serve three purposes. First, they increase you speed, second they allow you to take an additional hit (because taking a hit means losing just the animal), and third they allow you to step on enemies that would normally hurt you.
Mine cart level manages to still be a game about moving forward and jumping, arguably a platformer, but increase the game a lot. It’s a pretty good “obligatory mine cart level,” and while it doesn’t fit perfectly in the game (because they never do), if you accept the concept of an obligatory mine cart level for this type of a game, it does a fantastic job. It’s quite challenging too!
The first boss seems odd. It might have been too simple. Then again, most of the levels are relatively basic and teach little.
The water levels allow you to move relatively quickly, and the shark-thing you can ride makes you go fast. This is one of the few water levels in a game that I don’t hate.

Foures

Breakfast Topic: What role do you fill in your guild?

Aside from official ranks such as officers and raid leaders, there are plenty of niche roles that guild members can fall into. I’m personally of the opinion that every guild can benefit from having a designated whipping boy to call their own. You know who I’m talking about. Everyone cracks jokes at his expense. Failures are blamed on him, even when he’s not logged on. From the outsider’s viewpoint, it might look suspiciously like everybody hates him! Yeah, that guy.

I miss Foures.

End of March

Not a lot going on with gaming in the last half of March.
Playing
Homefront for PC
I’ve been putting time into this for the past couple weeks and finished it tonight. I enjoyed it. It had a lot of technical problems that kept it from being anywhere near the hype, but it was enjoyable nevertheless. The campaign was about six hours long or so – the perfect length for someone who only plays games once per week. If the story sounds intriguing and you don’t mind some annoyances, borrow it and give it a go. Don’t buy it.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm for PC
Last week I got Cataclysm Dungeon Hero by finally doing the final heroic I needed, and tonight I unlocked the portal to Uldum, the last I needed. I still haven’t hit 80,000 honorable kills, but I’m very close. I’d like to start doing Algaloth weekly and maybe BGing daily.
Mirror’s Edge for iOS
Definitely worth the $1 I paid when it was on sale. This version is a side-scrolling platformer that’s played with one finger by swiping vertically and horizontally. It’s nothing amazing, but the atmosphere matches its console counterpart well. I’m enjoying it.
YumYumBoy for iOS
Here’s a puzzle game I’m reviewing. It should be done, but there’s a freeze on new posts to Game Boyz while we change hosts. More on this later then, I suppose.
Surviving High School for iOS
I can’t believe I’m playing a visual novel by EA. The game is about of a bunch of high school kids who try to date and get into trouble. It’s episodic and comes with a long (2-3 hours) campaign called Football Season. After finishing that, I looked at the other episodes. There are a few standalone episodes and sequels to Football Season as well as various numbered episodes that belong to seasons. I bought a sequel to Football Sequence taking place during college and didn’t like it as much. The numbered episodes each cost a dollar, but the game features a “now airing” episode, which is the newest episode every week, for free. I played through one of those and will probably continue playing the free one each week for a while.
Slacking
Pokémon White Version for DS
Nothing. I need to get back to it.
GTA4: The Ballad of Gay Tony for 360
If gem and I are ever off at the same time, I’ll play it more.
Johnny Platform’s Biscuit Romp for XBLIG
Too lazy to bring my 360 back upstairs.
Super Meat Boy for PC
Can’t find my PS3 controller.
The Force Unleashed II for PS3
Can’t find the game
Beat Hazard for PC
Couldn’t find my PS3 controller, but I’m not sure I would have touched this anyways. Am I done with it?
Infinity Blade, Doodle Lab 101, Angry Birds for iOS
Nada
To Play Later
So many things running through my mind! I need to finish the Layton series, and I’m only on the second Phoenix Wright. I know I should play Demon’s Souls and finish Mad World since it’s short. There are a bunch of newish Wii games to play – DKC Returns, A Shadow’s Tale, Epic Mickey, and Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Lately what I’ve been thinking about the most though are Golden Sun, Psychonauts, and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee. I’ll need to replay Golden Sun to properly import into Golden Sun 2 though. Phooey.