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Calendar Man – Week of 3/25

BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite comes out this week, as does a bunch of other things including my new house. I’m swamped and stressed and have too much other stuff on my mind, so this is all you get this week. Next week you’re also on your own for new releases and the finding of deals as I will be waist deep in unpacking. Enjoy your time in Columbia.

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Brandon loves games, which shouldn't be a surprise given where you're reading this. He has written for GameShark, The Escapist and G4, and made them all less relevant as a result.

10 thoughts to “Calendar Man – Week of 3/25”

  1. Bioshock, yay!

    Nothing much for me otherwise, but it’s really enough, no point being greedy.

    I have Castlevania still on my plate, otherwise nothing to distract me.

  2. I’ve started listening to the excellent Three Moves Ahead podcast recently. Naturally it has sparked my longtime interest in getting into strategy games, so I’ve purchased Alpha Centauri off of GOG and am going to try and find some time to play this week.

    Other than that, Metal Gear Rising has been sitting on the shelf for a week or so now, so I may dip my toe into that as well sometime this week.

    I’m really not in the mood for a shooter (honestly, I do not remember the last time I was in the mood for a shooter), so I’m going to likely skip Bioshock.

  3. I finished Dead Space 3 and, though it doesn’t break with the series’ tradition of having poor final levels, it was certainly the best game in the franchise yet. It’s all the best elements of the last two games with weapon crafting, optional side missions, cool co-op content, and some stupendous scenery changes mixed in. And the replay value! Beyond going through on a tougher difficulty, finishing the game also unlocks Classic and Survival modes that sound like they really change up the rules.

    I also spent an inappropriate percentage of the weekend settling islands in Anno 2070 because I had that city-building itch and, lord knows, SimCity isn’t going to scratch it. It’s my first time with the Deep Ocean expansion and I’ve only just started to get to the new content: buying stock in an island, the expanded Tech faction, all the new underwater facilities — it’s a lot to wrap my mind around in a game that was damn huge to begin with!

    Oh, and Fire Emblem, of course. Even on Normal/Casual, some of these Paralogue levels are really easy to fail in ways that kill the recruitable characters. My roster is brimming with more Shepherds than I’ll ever need, but I’m so invested in the character vignettes at this point that I don’t want to let anyone slip away.

  4. I’m in the same boat with Penguin…I am totally not up for a shooter right now, even one that has “good writing”. Plus, Bioshock Infinite feels like it’s long overdue, and I’m sick of hearing about it. If it came out last year, I’d be all over it.

    Today, I’d rather play some Kohan II: Kings of War. Or Sins of a Solar Empire, since my laptop actually runs it. As if by magic.

    I’m quitting Tomb Raider. That has got to be the most overrated game since Portal 2. The breaking point for me was after Lara suddenly becomes a stone killer (although she huffs and puffs more than the usual psychopath), there’s a bit where you have to walk across a girder spanning a chasm. It’s supposed to look dangerous. I switched into that “uh oh, have to move slowly, carefully” mode. But I stopped half way through and just started jamming on the stick to see if she would actually fall. She didn’t. There was no way to lose balance and fall. The game was lying to me about there being danger.

    Oh, it looks beautiful. But the “good writing” is sub-par JJ Abrams. THe character development is non-interactive flashbacks. It’s typical AAA fake cinema, lots of extremely narrow passages and occassional areas where you can poke around and find collectibles. Boring.

    Oh, and then there’s the combat…protip- forget the cover, just run up on the bad guys, they have no idea what to do. Then shoot them point blank in the face with the bow and arrow.

    1. Oh, thank you for saying this. I tried to post something similar last week but it gotten mysteriously eaten in transit and I wasn’t motivated to re-type it. I’m about halfway through at this point and I’m still patiently waiting for this incredible game to start and the relatively pedantic (with gruesome deaths) Uncharted clone to finish off.

      It’s not so much that it’s bad, it’s just not nearly as special as everyone seems to think it is. I am enjoying the platformer/puzzle aspects and the story vignettes/background are perfectly serviceable, but that’s it. Combat just feels so unrewarding (and makes just as little narrative sense as Uncharted). I try to do everything with stealth, which helps a bit, but if I screw up, I can always count on the bad guys to wait their turn to run into my dagger pick-axe thing.

      So much of the danger is either illusionary, or pointless. Either you’re not really going to die not matter what, or you’re going to die at least once so they can show off another animation of Lara flailing lifelessly while impaled on/crushed by something.

      I’m going to finish it regardless, because it’s not like it’s downright bad, but I was definitely enjoying the other games I was playing before this came out more (like Ni No Kuni, which is on break for this game).

      As for Bioshock Infinite, I’m certainly curious about it, but I’m just not into shooters enough to actually get excited about it.

  5. Yeah, I never understood all of the fawning over these Bioshock games, although I have never played one. I hear about how they are full of great ideas and narrative, but when I see gamplay videos, all I see is a dude shooting things.

    If the designers were really and truly interested in creating interesting stories, I think it is sad that they have to express them in the medium of a 3rd person shooter. Is this the only way they can sell their ideas to their publisher?

    It seems like a much more interesting game was there to be made in the designers’ minds if they were allowed to make a game where shooting things every 3 seconds wasn’t a mandatory design element.

    My thoughts on the essential problems with moving the formal structure of games forward in the corporate environment of AAA publishers also ties in directly with why I am a staunch proponent of Kickstarter, even if the issues Michael raises are legitimate. With Kickstarter there seems to be simply a much greater range of possibilities in what sort of games will actually get made.

    What if the designers behind Bioshock had Kickstarter around 7-8 years ago when the first one was made? Would they have even made it a shooter? Maybe if they had options outside of the corporate shit show that curates what designs get big budgets, they would have gained industry clout by showing a game that actually had innovative design elements, rather than a derivative game with innovative window dressing.

    Anyways, not really pulling my thoughts together as concisely as I should but I’m jetlagged…

  6. I got my 3ds this week and I have been playing Castlevania Mirror of Fate. It’s pretty fun. I prefer the previous entries but it scratches an itch.

    Also got Gamefly which is probably the best decision I’ve made for my pocket book in a while. Since I sent Max Payne back after 30 minutes I’ll be playing whatever comes in the mail next.

  7. Since Brandon’s off moving or some nonsense, I am co-opting the old thread to bore you senseless with my gaming habits.

    Beat Bioshock yesterday. Didn’t change my life but it was very good on all fronts and I would rather play a game that tried than another Call of Duty. It may have ideas above its station, but it beat the alternative of endless me-too games.

    Am stuck on the last boss of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, who is an unfeeling bitch versus the others which were manageable. Debating how far back I have to go to be able to grind up and win this at long last.

    Moving on to Etrian Odyssey IV. Much more accessible than other entries, but still insanely hard. I really want to like it though, so will be giving it some more time and attention soon.

    1. I discovered that Pokemon Platinum, the remixed version of Diamond / Pearl, fixes the molassass-on-Pluto speed of the base releases, so I’ve been working my way through that. It still isn’t up to par with the other games in the series. Something about the art design and slipshod touchscreen implementation suggests that this adventure was kind of rushed out the door, while HeartGold and SoulSilver were where they really stepped up their game.

      Now that it’s been confirmed that Assassin’s Creed 4 will be making a clean break from the petulant mopery of Connor, I’m also making a push to finish Assassin’s Creed 3. I think building up the homestead, crafting goods, and securing trade routes is the best economic minigame the series has had yet, even if the interface for it is in desperate need of an overhaul.

      Finally: more Fire Emblem! Today, April 2nd, is apparently Tharja’s birthday, so she got a whole bunch of stuff in the barracks when I dropped by. What a neat touch!

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