First night up inside the new box!

Due to some much-needed wiring assistance over the weekend, I got the new box all set up and downloading FURIOUSLY from Steam.  Though I was able to spark up Bad Company 2 for a few moments yesterday morning, my lovely, darling daughter came in to ask if she could sit on my lap while I ‘rode in the car’ which was actually a boat headed towards some nameless pacific island.  I said yes, but then I remembered the first kill in Bad Company 2 was up the back with a knife and so just shut it down before seeing any of the amazing particle or lighting effects denied to me with my socket 939.  That said, the first game I actually played last night, guiltily, was Torchlight.  I just wanted to check if my character data was actually there up inside the steamcloud and, being that it was, ended up being an hour of destroying goblin hounds and the like.

I did span some time with Bad Company 2, just the single player, and goodness me it is pretty.  The initial area of the Bolivia mapset is nothing short of amazing with the lighting, particles and foliage.  Breathtaking stuff.  Combining that BFBC2 is just flat out fun as shit makes this probably my only pick for game of the year 2010 on the PC (like all the magazine’s and websites have already stated, and I wholly agree, Red Dead Redemption is the game of the year in the Xboxen region), because I haven’t gotten around to Starcraft 2 yet.  One cannot judge 2010 from any level: technologically, socially, musically, culturally or emotionally without experiencing Starcraft 2 (well, I was in the multiplayer beta for some beatings but that’s not enough), so I have to officially hold back judgement of GOTY until I get that shit put to bed.  Given that I still play Warcraft 3 from 2003, I have a feeling.

Very happy with my build out and thanks to sensless for coming by to help put it together and everyone for their advice.  The Ars Technica article that came out the day before I was making my purchase choices helped enormously, especially in the choice of case (Power is on TOP so no tiny hands switching off the power randomly) and solidifying the motherboard choice.  I could have gone more hardcore with the video card, but the GTX 560 is doing the trick.  Here is the list of stuffs:

  • LIAN LI Lancool PC-K7B Black Aluminum/ SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • ASUS P8P67 (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Black SATA Model AD-7260S-0B
  • 2X G.SKILL Value Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
  • EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support
  • Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
  • Intel Core i7-2600 Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Tonight it’s Unreal Tournament 3 and whether or not I go Crysis 2 or Bulletstorm…(or Starcraft 2).

 

wasted weekend

Ah the wasted weekend. No not the good kind, you know when it’s Sunday and you realize that all you’ve done is gone to Checkers twice and had sex with your girlfriend 13-17 times since Friday,or been in a single room with smellnerds playing Terrible Swift Sword (note I’ve never done either of these).  This weekend was nothing like that,  but sick like a fucking animal with a fever, hacking dry cough disallowing any sleep at all (literally) and lots of snot, kids screaming and crying. Delirium.  Awesome.  Given that I was in a state of semi-consciousness for almost 36 hours straight, I decided to do something I rarely do– watch movies, or rather, have movies on while I stared blankly into space.    I always watch Ninja Scroll when I’m sick– sometimes on repeat the entire time.  The main character is dying of poison and all the rest of the characters hate each other so much (or pretend to) it just works.  I’m worried that if I ever do watch it while well, I might start to get sick.  However the real gems this weekend were found hitting up the Netflicks for some of the instant view Godzilla movies.

Now, having grown up in the late 70’s, I used to walk every Saturday afternoon to my neighbor’s place up on the hill as they had a GIANT antenna and could get channel 44 out of either Madison or Chicago.  Every afternoon this station would have a double feature monster movie– usually a kaiju one and then a real monster/horror movie after that (which I didn’t want to see!).  My neighbors were good kids but loved giving beatings, especially the oldest one who was in 7th grade. If he wasn’t out shoplifting or trying to fingerblast some bezitted hoyden on a Saturday afternoon, he would grab a bean bag chair, throw me to the ground and then sit on me for most of the film.   Sometimes I couldn’t even see the films (let alone breathe).  The worst was when he would make me watch the movie following the kaiju movie instead of letting me run home– which was invariably shit like Bucket of Blood or some movie with a chick melting in a volcano (I was forced to watch that fucker TWICE)–enough to creep me out for a week or more.

Most of the time he was off fingerblasting and I actually got to see the movies– Godzilla Vs King Kong, Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs Mothra, and even some Gamera here and there.  All awesome incarnate, but I really hadn’t seen or followed the Godzilla films since then–except both Godzilla 1985 and the shit-stain Americanized ‘Godzilla’ movie with Matthew Broderick.  Both of these flicks were not too good, and I figured whoever controlled the IP, just didn’t have what it took to get to the same level of awesome the 60’s and 70’s allowed.   I think I was sort of wrong, though the 80’s certainly was not a good period for our radioactive friend, the 90’s (that I always think of as the 70’s 2.0) gave us some good films it seems, none of which I’d seen.

The first flick I watched was Godzilla Vs the Smog Monster; AKA Godzilla Vs Hedorah from ’71.  While not one of the worst Godzilla films, this is an odd one with all these crazy ass people dancing around, some Monty Python-esque illustrated bits and all the Godzilla/Hedorah fight scenes taking place at night– and shot in such a way that you can’t see a damned thing.  I watched this with the sound off, so I don’t really know why all the people were dancing around but it seemed like a bad people-bullshit / Godzilla ass-kicking ratio.  Now I had see this before as a kid– I just didn’t realize how fucking weird it was.

The second was the only newish Godzilla film on instant play: Godzilla vs Destroyah from ’95.  That’s right: Destroyah.  I watched most of it with the sound off, lying in a feverish haze as I was and I didn’t realize that there were actually two Godzillas in this film:  the main one that looked like he had been attacked by red hots on his rubber suit and the other that didn’t have big back fins. Most of the beginning of the film is about this red hot Godzilla being real pissed off and destroying shit and then people talking about it.  Then he gets frozen by some ice ray contraptions on an airplane and sinks into the ocean.  Then the second one shows up on the beach and I wasn’t sure what was going on there.  Meanwhile, some aquarium fish are attacked by some small red crabs that grow into crazy big crabs that shoot lightning.  These crabs go to a power plant, kill some people and then get attacked by squads of swat-like dudes in an Aliens homage sequence.  The swat guys even have the swivel-style heavy weapons that the Marines in Aliens had.  The swat guys take a terrible beating, but eventually they burn up some of the crabs. Apparently there are a lot of them and one of them keeps growing into, of course, Destroyah.

In the end, the little Godzilla and the red hot Godzilla take on Destroyah, little Godzilla gets his ass kicked and Red Hot has a melt down that destroys Destroyah and while he dies (yes, Godzilla dies) it heals the little Godzilla.

Overall, the monster battles in this one could have been awesome, with some great cityscape models, tanks and planes flying around blowing up, yet piss-poorly edited– one minute Destroyah and Godzilla are fighting close up and Godzilla knocks Destroyah to the ground and next we see Godzilla wandering through the city as if the editors forgot that the two were in close combat, only to have Destroyah fly out of nowhere for an attack.  I honestly though it jumped a reel.  Another example in the same fight: Godzilla gets swarmed by the ‘little’ crabs — one second he’s covered in them and knocked to the ground and the next he’s thrown one (just one) to the ground and then he’s wandering through the city with none of the others around.  Where was the sucker punch from Destroyah while Godzilla is fighting off the younglings?  It doesn’t happen!  Its unbelievable all the effort that went into the explosions and model design (and yes even the acting) only to have the editing fall flat. Inexcusable really. Despite all that, this is a pretty badass movie, for, you know people wrestling around in rubber suits as is the kaiju way.  Godzilla is SUPER pissed off in every scene he’s in– obviously in terrible anguish as he’s all red hot with radiation. Both the special effects and direction did a fantastic job with this there’s little confusion to the viewer that GZ is out to just terribly fuck shit up all over the place.

All in all this wasted weekend whetted my appetite for more Godzilla flicks– especially the most recent ones (Final Wars and the mega titled: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack –  yes that’s the title).

Top Ten Games I couldn’t finish in 2010.

I must admit, my eyes are far bigger than my stomach sacule when it comes to buying games.  If I dedicated my few moments of free time each day to the games I have instead of buying new ones, I would save a lot of money.  But then, what would money be for?  Would GOG and Steam still exist?

This year was one of abject failure in the realm of completing games.  I’m simply astonished at the pile of games for the PS2, 360 and PC that languish, unfinished on my hard drive or save slots.  Why? Kids, work, freelance, boardgames and, for the first time in quite a while, reading books outside of the Aubrey/Maturin novels.  There I’ve gotten quite stuck, but I digress.   Below is my list of gamefails along with conjectural excuses of note I care to make, as well as an expounding at how good the games are in most cases.

10.  Bayonetta.  This is not a difficult game, and it is quite a fun platformer, item hunter and boss-fighter.  The plot is ridiculous and if I had finished it in the first week or so, I wouldn’t have had time to mull over what I think is going on between plays.  Since I do, I have to say that they could have kept the plot all very simple and still been successful, instead they went for a really wacky ploto-obscuro that is largely irrelevant when you are fighting building size angels who’s pristine armor comes off to reveal demon-like MEAT as the fights get heated.  I aim to finish this one up this winter.

9. Empire Total War. As I am a Total War freak, this is quite embarrassing as they came out with a new version of the game before I was able to finish the grand campaign to Empire.  I blame it on the fact that I had the victory conditions completed 70 turns before the game ends– and yet saw no victory screen asking if I wanted to stop and savor my victory rather than wait until the end.  I can essentially press NEXT TURN over and over to complete this one, but I just can’t stop myself from mucking about with unconquered Spain or Italy, making the turns take over an hour each at best.  This will be finished or I am not a man.

8. Red Dead Redemption.  Any of the two people that regularly read this blog will remember my lingering obsession over the summer with the Old West action brought on by yet another viewing of The Good the Bad and The Ugly and two reads through of Blood Meridian.  This obsession manifested itself in some stints of miniature painting, looking at various Old West skirmish rules, and of course the purchase of probably the best old west game in existence– one I have barely scratched the surface of.  Frankly, this may never be ‘finished’ insofar as the % complete goes but I’ll give it a good college try.

7. Portal. Just didn’t finish.  It’s great and I know it’s short but I got bored and felt like shooting some shit instead of bouncing balls around.

6. Mass Effect. This is really a movie game with some sort of lame fights in between and some extremely tedious side missions that fail to really keep up the impression that you have the freedom to move around the galaxy.  Still, some really fantastic pieces of game here.  Someday I’ll wrap this up.

5.  Dragon Age Origins. This is long.  It’s a long movie game like mass effect.  I found myself waiting for the good parts people talked about while trying to pretend it didn’t suck.  Bottom line: the combat is just plain bad compared to almost every other party-based fantasy game I have played.  I just wish people would look at Temple of Elemental Evil by Troika and realize that, for all it’s faults, that and Jagged Alliance are the way to do party based RPG combat.  This probably won’t be finished as when I play it I start to daydream about other stuff I should be doing instead, like home repair and basic grooming.

4. Painkiller. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get this one completed as I started playing multiplayer (the same thing happened in 1996 with Quake) and sort of forgot about the single player.  I may try to rock through this again, but it’s unlikely.

3.  Gratuitous Space Battles. This one I really can’t blame myself for. I started the campaign twice only to have a patch to the game invalidate my current save.  Though fun, the campaign game did not live up to my hopes though I still think this little indy game is one of the most important 4X space games for the genre that’s been out since MOO3 destroyed it.

2. Left 4 Dead 2.  I got it late, the year ran out.  We are going to finish this and it’s going to be awesome.  As my buddy Graham says: The undead aren’t going to destroy themselves.

1.  GODHAND. This is number 1 for three reasons.  First, because it is the most difficult game on this list both in terms of gaming stamina and technical skill. Second it’s the most embarrasing because one of my buddies completed Demon’s Souls before I was able to finish GOD HAND, and I started GODHAND in early 2009.  Third, this is one of those games like Metroid, Mega Man, Samurai Shodown, Urban Reign,  and Guilty Gear Accent Core that are truly difficult to complete, a game where by necessity you have to learn the system of play inside and out before you have any sort of chance of victory.  It’s a game so difficult that the hapless and fail-ridden reviewer at IGN gave the game one of the lowest scores to date, totally discounting any review IGN does as valid forever. This has to be finished.

Virtual California Cocksucker

Rockstar “making it fun to kill cops since 2001” entertainment has set loose its new murder simulator Red Dead Redemption. RDR is fun to play, beautiful to look at and filled with all the annoying shit that plagues Rocktar open world games. I have RDR for the 360 and have played for about 10 hours.

Where RD Wins:

– Graphics. The fucking horses look great. The clothes the main character has look badass. The old west buildings / scenery look perfect. The cycle of day and night is well done and adds loads of atmosphere to the game. JUST FUCKING WAIT UNTIL IT RAINS ON YOU SOME NIGHT IN GAME!
– Sounds is fucking great. I’ve a 5 speaker setup and I just love hearing people shooting at me from behind, bullets whizzing past my head as I make my get away. Sometime you hear gun shots echoing off canyon walls, alerting you to trouble near by. JUST FUCKING WAIT UNTIL YOU HEAR THE THUNDER IN THE EVENING WHEN IT RAINS IN GAME!
– The world feels very open and full of lasting consequences. No more shooting up the place and simply driving away to make a clean get away from the cops. In RDR you develop a bounty for all the “bad” shit do you, and that bounty doesn’t go away after you ditch the sheriff and his men, the bounty is on your head, growing ever larger in the event you commit more “bad” shit until you pay the bounty off with hard earned cash or get a pardon. What this does it make you less likely to just randomly shoot the place up when you are trying to progress through the game. It just adds a nice layer of consequence that is sorely missing from the GTA series.
– Multiplayer seems fun. I don’t fucking hate it. I’ve played maybe 4 hour of it. Most of that time was spent in “Open World Mode” which is just unstructured play time with the entire world map as the play ground. Players joining/leaving your game at random free to work together on “quests” to earn XP, or free to fucking open fire and grief like there’s no tomorrow. I prefer the shoot now, listen to players calling me asshole on live later option. I shall need more time with the Multiplayer once some of my real life friends pick up the game, it’s the only way I’ll play nice, playing with real life friends. The idea you can just ride around and shoot things together is a good idea.
– Shooting shit feels wonderful. Shoot some poor assfuck while he’s riding a horse, and the poor fuckass may blasted off his horse but get stuck in his saddle, causing a wonderful scene of man being dragged by horse. Aiming on the console controller is of course a challenge for an old school PC gaymer like me, but i just use the “casual” targeting mode which includes a snap to target feature that kicks in when you aim, which 90% locks onto the intended target. Bullet time! The game has Dead Eye bullet time, a feature you can activate to slow time down and line up 1 to N shots and then blast away hitting each target in real time. I always forget I have this option making for some failed combat encounters.

Where RDR falls flat:

– Fucking boring old west story so far, about 8 hours in maybe? While some of the dialog is interesting, and the character models are wonderfully detailed and well animated, it’s just average story telling. “Hey can you find this for me? Can you kill this person for me?” repeat, repeat, repeat. Ya we have some old west activities in there, herding cattle, roping wild horses, but the main portions of the story and just find this and kill this. What’s to be expected though here? Despite the “no new ground broken” nature of the quests, they don’t detract enough to be faulted.
– Might be getting old fast, the third time it rained on me at night the magic was already gone compared to the first time it happened.

Were RDR Loses:

– Fucking TERRIBLE minigames. I hate minigames, and I hate the minigames in RDR.
– Go in water, YOU FUCKING DIE! This only a problem when you are riding a horse top speed and fail to see a small river in front of you, before you can stop the horse or turn your end up the the water , “YOU FUCKING DEAD”.
– Launch time DLC failure. I bought the game from Amazon, it came with some code for Gold Guns, and for the last 5 days the code entry process in game has FAILED! Fucking Rockstar, er I mean Fucking Game Devs/Publishers that skimp on launch data server capacity/network infrastructure.
– No save anytime any where feature? This happens to me with all Rockstar games though, I play for 10 or so hour,s the missions get more complex and require too many start overs from some arbitrary save point because i didn’t drive/kill fast enough, I give the fuck up and say “FUCK YOU GAME FUCK YOU FOR NOT LETTING ME SAVE WHEN I FUCKING WANT TO SAVE”. It’s always some fucking timing mission mechanism that puts me over the edge and makes me quit. LET ME FUCKING GO AS SLOW AS I FUCKING WANT ASSHOLES!

(if/when RDR hits PC, a Deadwood mod will be a must)