_hojo:Woody’s Roundup.02July 8, 2009
_i bought 5 CD’s last month. one was Aphex Twin’s “Selected Ambient Works Volume 2,” Smashing Pumpkins’ “Thirty-Three” single from their “The Aeroplane Flies High” box set (leaving me 2 discs away from having pieced together all the discs from that set through second-hand stores), Crystal Castles’ self-titled album, Mastodon’s “Crack the Skye,” and Spinnerette’s self-titled debut. only one of these albums was actually released last month (Spinnerette), but overall, it was one of my more solid CD buying months in recent memory. the weakest disc was probably the Thirty-Three single, but like i said, it brings me that much closer to completing the set, and also it was only $1, which i really can’t scoff at. and it’s not actually bad…everything else was just really good. now that i’m done talking about my recent non-gaming exploits, there’s a snake in my boot. it’s time for another one of Hojo’s Woody’s Roundups.
_Final Fantasy_in the middle of playing this game, i described it as “everything that’s wrong with the JRPG in one incredible package that inexplicably grows on you.” really…that’s pretty much it, but i’ll keep going. it is Final Fantasy, after all.
_so what’s wrong with the game? i’ll hit the quick points. the game pretty much REQUIRES a few hours worth of grinding to progress. the main characters don’t speak a word of dialog throughout the entire game. the entire plot is told during the opening 5 minutes of the game and a lengthy text sequence during the ending. you rarely ever know where to go if you’re not using a guide. the magic system is awful. every character other than the warrior is terrible until you get the job upgrades. and then right near the end, you get items good enough to make every battle go from “get the fuck beat out of you in every random encounter” to “no more challenge ever.” when i put together a Pros and Cons list for FF1, i have a hard time coming up with Pros. i have no idea why i enjoyed it at all. granted, i didn’t enjoy it that much, but for all intents and purposes, i should have just stopped after 2 hours of play and just said “fuck this,” and shouldn’t have enjoyed anything. i’ve always said that one of the intangible things about the Final Fantasy games is that, for whatever reason, they just have that “it” factor that makes you want to keep playing it. don’t know what it is. like i said…it’s intangible.
_Parasite Eve 2_it’s been a while since i played the original Parasite Eve, so when people were asking me while i was playing this “do you like 1 or 2 better?” my answer was “uhhhhhhhhhhh…” cause i seriously don’t remember 1 much at all. know what i remember? i remember a floating baby and an unfinished Chrysler Building. that’s it. oh, i also remember shooting enemies via a wireframe sphere. oh, and also Aya’s slinky black dress. awwwwwwwwwww yeah.
_anyways…Parasite Eve 2. like i said, i don’t remember much of PE1, but i don’t remember it being as survival-horror-ish. well…even then, it’s not very survival-horror-ish, it just has tank controls. but i don’t remember the original having tank controls. but, even though i don’t care for S-H that much, i don’t really have a problem with tank controls. they just usually are only featured in S-H. but this features faster paced gameplay and a surplus of ammo, so it was pretty sweet. also, a gratuitous shower scene that doesn’t feature much in the way of skin, but is still pretty awwwwwwwwww yeah =D
_Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions_it’s funny how games don’t feel like full games if there’s not some kind of narrative behind it to drive along the gameplay. take for instance, Super Mario Bros. the game is, at it’s core, just a bunch of stages where you go through obstacles while moving right. there’s no REAL story that goes on in the game. ah…but you know beforehand…there’s a princess that got kidnapped. she needs saving. go right far enough…and you’ll save her. that deep plot is in the back of your mind…you know it’s there. “i’m moving right…to save the princess and get some hot retconned brunette action!” but…take that princess and replace it with an emotionless cone…it just feels like a bunch of gameplay with no purpose, although there actually IS a purpose…the purpose is to play it. but games don’t actually ever say “your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to play this game.” games like VR Missions just say “here’s gameplay…enjoy.” and it gives the feeling of there being no actual goal, despite there actually being one. it’s just not in any kind of narrative. that all said, VR Missions is an enjoyable piece of game. it’s MGS without the cut scenes or the “what the fuck, where do i go now?” parts, and with bonus content of being able to move closer to female character models and zoom with the camera. now that’s what i call a bonus feature.
_Donkey Kong Jungle Beat_having semi-limited experience with this game at my local Game Crazy, i knew going in that this was fun. what i DIDN’T know was that extended sessions of Jungle Beat would cause sore palms due to excessive clapping. seriously, eventually, i had to take a break from playing and watch A Bug’s Life before finishing, the game was bringing me so much pain on my hands. if i had high fived somebody at the time, i’d probably have had to go to the hospital. but this is truly a wonderful game, a fantastic example of a unique way to utilize a peripheral. seriously…you think “platforming side-scroller” and you’re like “yeah, never played one of THOSE before! puh, eat a dick, dick.” but take that game and have it control with plastic fucking bongos…THAT’S a game. i mean, shit…imagine a 2d shooter that was designed for use with the Guitar Hero guitar. we’d probably shit ourselves and go “WTF insane!” even though it’s just a 2D shooter. more companies need to make normal games that have control schemes based around peripherals.
_Half-Life 2: Episode 1_you know how sometimes you hear a complaint about a game, then you play said game, and you’re like “that was really blown out of proportion?” well, i’d always heard that HL2:Ep.1 was really short…and it was really short. it’s like…the game is just…there. like somebody said “i wish Half-Life 2 was just a little bit longer.” so Valve made it JUST a little bit longer. just a little. it’s also kind of weird…it starts you off with no weapons except the Gravity Gun. i mean, sure, you end HL2 with no weapons except the Gravity Gun…but you cruise around with your broken Gravity Gun for a considerable amount of time at the end, then the first half of Ep.1 is the same thing. it REALLY gave me the feeling of “more of the same.” and i gotta say…i except a little more from the Half-Life series than just “more of the same.” but it IS still Half-Life, so at least it’s got that going for it.
_that wraps up another edition of Hojo’s Woody’s Roundup. somebody’s poisoned the water hole!