Dear (gaming) Diary: Week of Nov 2, 2008

A weekly log of the games I’ve played accompanied by some random thoughts about them

[Only a week late right? Apologies, work has kept me incredibly busy to finish this post off. That’s a good thing though!]

Friday, November 7, 2008
Rock Band 2
Played a good number of songs in Band World Tour with my mom, more or less trying out how portable my game profile is. I took my profile and save game with me. On a different Xbox 360 I could login and either use the local saved band or my band. We chose my parent’s band, the Sir Mondays, and I hit the drums. I’m definitely out of practice as I couldn’t do any songs on the hard difficulty setting, only on medium. We completed a bunch of new songs unlocking a few venues that were previously locked up for their Band World Tour. It was fun and I was glad my profile and save game had that level of portability — something I suspect wasn’t the case in the original Rock Band when bands and characters were less interchangeable.

Gears of War 2
Of course, like a kid at Christmas I couldn’t wait to give this a try when it arrived in the mail and was in my hands. Even though I know how to play the game, I chose the tutorial route with Benjamin Carmine rather than skipping it. Then I just completed the first chapter in Act 1, defending and clearing out a hospital of Locust. Then, in a quite boring decision, I moved over to try out the Horde mode by myself. I had played this mode during the Gears of War 2 event at E3 and loved it. The attraction and challenge to it is still there, even though I couldn’t last past wave 2 no matter how hard I tried.

Bangai-O Spirits
I’ve had this sitting around for a long while, but since I don’t regularly commute, my handheld gaming time is next to nil. I basically have to force myself to play something on a handheld, and it usually works when I think about it since I have been playing through Doki Doki Majo Shinpan 2 DUO with some semblance of regularity.

Having never owned a Dreamcast, I’ve never played the original Bangai-O. However, many positive impressions around the Web, general gameplay mechanics which I like (side scrolling shooter) and then one of our designers at work had his own downloadable level featured in IGN’s “Bangai-O Spirits Elite Design Contest” all sealed the deal for me. As I advanced through the tutorial levels, I really liked what the game was trying to do overall and with the ability to select and mix your different kinds of weapons. Unfortunately I got stuck at the last tutorial level and all my attempts were fruitless, so I shelved the game until I could approach it with a fresh mind.

Saturday, November 8, 2008
Bangai-O Spirits
Ah yes, I returned to this fiendishly difficult (for me, anyway) game. After many, many attempts at clearing the last tutorial level by brute force, I managed the clear the stage. I’m sure there was a more elegant way of finishing it, but I couldn’t come to discover it. After completing the tutorial I was left with a nearly immeasurable number of levels that don’t provide any story progression. Although I assume they do provide some progression of difficulty, or else I would be screwed. I still found the game difficult but I was having fun trying to get through the limited number of levels I cleared before I had to get off the train.

One thing: the baseball bat rules.

Grand Theft Auto IV
Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue on many details of what I did during this session, but I know I progressed a few missions. I’m also pretty certain I took Kate McReary out for a date and, of course, since we were “just friends” she didn’t take too kindly at my attempt to make an advance on her at the end of the date. I still got the thumbs up that it was a good date, so I guess she liked playing pool. Beyond that I only remember going after a lawyer who was putting the screws on Francis McReary about something or other, so I had to go into the law offices for an interview and the first few times the game said I was dressed incorrectly. I couldn’t understand because I was wearing a suit (several different ones) and nice shoes! It turns out I kept forgetting that I left sunglasses on Niko and that wouldn’t be acceptable… no, no. So finally, during the fourth or fifth time, I finally got to do the interview and then shot my way out of the law offices. This was pretty easy compared to some of the tougher earlier missions I had to shoot my way out of.

Gears of War 2
As soon as I loaded up Gears of War 2 I got invited to play the Horde mode from some current and former work-related friends. I don’t think we ever got past wave 4, but we were having a great time trying to discover the strategies that worked for each wave even when we felt we had a good grasp of the map. The flamethrower is fun, I can tell you that. A pretty cool addition even though a little nerve-wracking when you would be trying to down a Butcher with one and it would still keep coming at you, seemingly unfazed. Even though I had mastered the art of the active reload pretty quickly, I still did far too little damage when compared to my more able teammates. That will change next time, definitely next time.


4 responses so far, want to say something?

  1. arne says:

    Awesome! I've found that even if I don't write about it, it makes me think through my gaming experiences a bit more. I've always thought I never thought critically enough and it's limited my own personal insight into the games I play. No longer! I hope at least.

    No worries about not keeping it up… it's not, like, your job you know!

  2. mrtruffle says:

    Hey Arne, you inspired me to post… I dont think i can keep it up though. I feel guilty enough playing games till the late hours.

  3. Xandet says:

    First off.. great blog! I really respect the work you do to create incredible games with the group over there at ND. I'm really enjoying reading your opinions of the gaming industry and the games that make it. Keep the blog rockin! :)

    Gushey stuff aside, I can't help but ask about this little tidbit: "Only a week late right? Apologies, work has kept me incredibly busy to finish this post off. That's a good thing though!"

    You guys seem to be very mum on the project you're (obviously) currently working on and I can respect that and all.. but please give us, the fans, a nice little nugget of info! U2? J&D PS3? Uncharted still ranks high among my favorite games this gen (and provided me with my first Platinum trophy might I add!), so you can imagine my eagerness about to boil over. Please..?

    Whatever it is, I know it'll be great, and I can't wait to hear an official announcement (whenever that may be!). Thanks for reading all my blabbering, and take it easy :)

  4. arne says:

    Unfortunately, I'm sure you're aware I'm not at liberty to say yet. But as always, these things do get announced, so the wait will hopefully not be overly torturous.

    Thanks for leaving a comment, it's always great to know more people are reading and even might have something to say!

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