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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2006
     
    Well done and thanks for helping me out this weekend. I'll probably comment when I get a chance, but I wanted to thank you first:)

    Anyway, good weekend. Went to Universal Studios for a day, amongst a few other things (no, not that). After dinner on Saturday, we went back to the hotel and went to the bar and proceeded to "roast" the bachelor. For 3 hours. He's just that kinda guy. Lots of great stories. You know that running joke about how all my friends are fat? Well, they're not all fat, but the bachelor thinks he is, so he's constantly being self-deprecating in an effort to bypass the jokes. Anyway, the greatest moment of the night was when his father whipped out a poem he wrote in 1989 entitled simply "Food." "It's falling, don't want to lose a bit, catch it, catch it with a baseball mit" (I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea, it's freakin hilarious).

    So what is everyone else up to? Hasn't been much discussion here of late... So yeah, hope everyone is doing well. Have a great week...

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeJul 12th 2006
     
    You're welcome. I'm glad it was up to snuff.

    A roast? That sounds awesome. I've always wanted to participate in something like that.

    I haven't been up to too much myself. My girlfriend broke up with me about a month ago. We're still friends, we were before we dated, and neither of us wanted to lose that, but to say I'm okay about the whole thing isn't very accurate. I'll get there though. Em, other than that... I've been contemplating going back to school. Contemplating a million things. Not a lot of action lately though. Well, I played some Halo 2 last night.

    Oh, interesting you mentioning the drop off of playing GalCiv2 in that last blog post. Same thing happened to me. I was pretty into it for a while, and then I was just done.
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2006
     
    I stopped playing GalCiv because I couldn't update it. I downloaded the update at my parent's place, saved it to disc, and transfered it to my computer. When I ran the update, it demanded that I log in online to register it or something like that. Which I obviously could not do by virtue of not having the internet at home. Thus, the reason I downloaded the update on another computer.
    *sigh*

    I've been playing the crap out of Empire Earth II, though. I'm thinking of picking up the expansion for it, but haven't decided yet.

    There's an RTS based on Asian mythology that I want to pick up, but I forget the name of it. Oh well.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2006
     
    The roast was more just telling funny stories involving our friend. Many were embarrassing, but most were just funny (and involved other people too:) Still, a lot of fun. And the hotel bar was empty, so it was actually pretty cool...

    Sorry to hear about the g/f. How are you doing? Since I was right about Sam, I will also refrain from cursing out your ex:P

    Yeah, though I think I'll get an itch for GalCiv II at some point and be really glad that I have the game. I still have to download all the updates though...

    I've been playing God of War for the playstation. It's pretty good, though there are some really annoying aspects of the game. It's strange, because the game gets fantastic reviews, but there are some things I find just really frustrating. Like the inability to look where you want to look (the game controls where the camera is, and you can't override it in any way). It's also one of those "Do it again, stupid" type games where there are these stupid and annoying puzzles. Some of them are really cool, but some are very obtuse and difficult to figure out. The actual fighting is pretty cool, though. Lots of neat combos, etc...

    ~tallman
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2006
     
    That's exactly why it got good reviews- the fighting is fantastic. That first battle with the Hydra? How cool was that? How far into it are you?

    I don't remember most of the puzzles right now, but I honestly don't remember most of them being very difficult- the hardest parts come pretty late in the game. There's one level that I found really hard because it has lots of rotating bridges you have to cross, and they've got blades on them, and if a blade touches you at all, it's all over for you. The other really hard part was the final boss battle. It takes place over three stages, and the first stage isn't too bad, but the second and third stage are a right bitch. He's cheap as hell. Let's just get that out of the way now. I'm going to guess that's probably the difference in our gaming backgrounds- you said you're more of a casual gamer, right?

    Still, for the most part, I thought it was a solid platformer/action game. The camera didn't bother me any more than most 3d game's cameras did.

    You know what games I bet you'd like tallman? The Spyro games. Find the Spyro games for PS1, not PS2. The PS1 Spyro games are some of the most enjoyable games made for the system. They're fun, and have a pretty good sense of humor. The puzzles are tricky enough to be fun, without being ridiculous. The biggest drawback to them are, of course, that they're PS1 games, so they don't hold up in the graphics department, compared to, say, God of War. Still, they've got bright, colorful graphics that work well for what they are. The minigames in the later Spyro games are very good, as well. All in all, great games. Fun.
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      CommentAuthorDyre
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2006
     
    Thanks. Heh, yeah, considering she and I are still friends, not cursing her out would definitely be the way to go. I'm alright. Well, I'm actually pretty depressed about it, but I know I'll get over it.

    Anyway, Sam, from what I read on the GalCiv2 forums a little while back, it seems like some people are having problems with the patches even when they can get online to connect to the company's service for whatever the hell it does. I thought being able to buy/download the game online was pretty cool at first but it seems like they're integrating that in ways that are just worsening the user experience.

    My roommate has God of War. I've seen him play it a bit. It seems pretty cool. I'll have to try it out one of these days. From what I saw, it seems the final boss is definitely cheap.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2006
     
    Ok, so I finished GoW tonight, but I have to tell you, I almost didn't. I got to that part where you have to climb up these spinning cylinders in Hades, and the cylinders have spikes where if you touch one of them, you fall all the way down to the bottom. These are the things I hate about this game. For the most part, the puzzles were fine, it was these things (and the balance beam ones, too) that were the most annoying. It's the standard "Do it again, stupid!" syndrome that a lot of games suffer from.

    Like you said, I'm more of a casual gamer, and to be honest, I'm not to familiar with action/adventure games like this (I've never even played any of the Tomb Raider games). I've been more of a RPG/FPS/Sports type gamer, for the most part. But a friend recommended this and it looked like fun, and for the most part, it was. The action was awesome, and the fighting was a ton of fun. The bosses were great. You mentioned the Hydra, which was totally badass. There was one other one before you go to fight Ares. I don't remember what that one was called, but that was difficult for me because I didn't have much life or magic when I got to him, so it took me a while to get past him (but I did! Because he secretes magic and life once you get him to a certain point).

    Ares was surprisingly easy for me, for some reason. Like you say, the first stage wasn't that hard, though I died on my first try. The second stage had me worried for a bit, but I got through it on my first try (thank you, Army of Hades! That spell saved my ass on those first two stages.) Now, the third stage, that took me about 10 seconds to defeat. I must have just gotten lucky or something.

    But those damn, jumping/climing tasks were just exercises in tedium. After I fell off the rotating columns in hades for the 100th time, I almost turned off the game forever and put in the new Castlevania game. Eventually, I got through it, but what ended up happening was that I had mostly memorized the rotations and blade positions. That's just stupid.

    The other thing that bothered me was the inability to control the camera. I always wanted to be looking around, and there were even times in the game where the designers knew you couldn't see an area and used that in their designs. Most of the time, this was ok, but it was disorienting at the beginning of the game. I'm used to being able to look where I want. This seemed like a distinct step back. Also, there were times when their cues for what to do next were kinda difficult to find. For instance, when running around in Athens, you get to a roadblock. It took me a good 5 minutes or so (an eternity when playing a game) before I figured out that you could just cut the barricade down. Then it took another 5 minutes to spot the tiny rope that lets you swing across the ditch. Grr..

    Now don't get me wrong, it's an awesome game and there's a lot that I like about it. The art is great. Character and monster design are awesome, and the fighting animation is great too. The game mechanics are easy to learn and fun to play. Fighting was a joy. The backgrounds and various other set design type things are very well done. One of the most impressive things is that the game never seems to get stuck on a "loading..." screen, and the save points are well spaced (plus, when you die, there are these sort of auto-save points that I was very thankful for). In fact, it's paced very well, interweaving the puzzles and action sequences in a very deft manner (and again, the save points are well placed). The cutscenes are great (and again, well spaced out), and the story is good too. When it comes to communicating how to do certain things, the game is very good (even if some of the puzzles, etc.. are not communicated so well). The text is easy to read and the game overall has some of the best usability I've seen. But the funny thing is, now that I go around and look at the reviews, it seems that a lot of other people are annoyed by the same things I was... but they still gave the game a 9.9 or something absurdly high, making it one of the best games ever on the PS2. Huh? I guess they're using a relative scale or something.

    But there have certainly been games that had better execution, perhaps it was of a simpler premise, but still. Take, for example, the Tiger Woods games. I hate golf, but I played the crap out of TW 2003 (2004 was much the same thing). There were some difficult holes and opponents in the game, but nothing as frustrating and tedious as the "walk the planks" type stuff in GoW.

    (more...)
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2006
     
    Anyway, I started playing the new Castelvania game and perhaps I can see why GoW is so greatly respected. It's not that Castlevania is a bad game (I haven't played enough to really make up my mind though), it's just that it immediately rubbed me the wrong way. First of all, you're not playing one of the Belmonts. A trivial point, to be sure, but the person I'm playing is a bit of a tool. The attacks and combinations are nowhere near as fun as GoW, and the level desig seems to be more monotonous. I have a feeling that it won't be long before I'm begging for one of those annoying "do it again, stupid" exercises. But whatever. The other thing that was immediately and noticeably annoying was that every time you go into a different room, you have to endure a "Loading..." screen. This is one of those things that I loved about GoW, but I think I started to take for granted...

    Anywho, I've ranted and raved long enough. Perhaps this warrants a blog post. Or maybe I could put it in the blot... We'll see...

    ~tallman
    • CommentAuthorSamael
    • CommentTimeJul 16th 2006
     
    Yeah, that piller thing sucked. That whole level- hell- was my least favorite part of the game. I didn't mind not controlling the camera for the most part, because I liked some of the really cinematic shots- like when you can see Ares stomping around smashing the armies at his feet as you're running along a path.

    Have you played any of the Prince of Persia games for the next-gen systems? I really liked the first one, but I've barely played the second one, and don't have the third one. At any rate, those are very cool games, with a fairly intuitive control scheme as well. I don't remember for sure, but I think you can sort of control the camera in those. Maybe not, though. I can't recall.