“Outland” is punishing, and not in the way you think.

November 11th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

I beat Outland, and overall I really liked it (I’m a huge fan of Ikaruga). I almost gave up a few times, however, because some of the boss fights are frustrating. The main reason? No halfway checkpoints! Actually, that’s not even accurate, it’s that the checkpoints come before a long stretch of nothing for some inexplicable reason. It’s like putting a checkpoint before a cutscene. Let me show you.

There’s a spider boss, but when you start the section you have to run down a hallway, then complete a quick “hit two switches” section. It might be a little tricky the first time, but it’s no big deal.  After that the spider drops down, and you have to run through a bunch more stuff to get to the real fight. It takes a minute and a half to get there in this video, and he’s fast:

1:30 may not sound like a lot of time, but chances are it’s going to take you multiple tries to beat this boss.  You’re going to spend 1:30 just to get to the part where you die trying to figure out the patterns. It took me four or five tries, I don’t remember. It’s frustrating, more than it is actual wasted time, and it’s needless. Just add a checkpoint there!

Example two is the final boss in the game, so don’t watch the whole video if you don’t want to spoil it (watch the first 45 seconds).

Thirty seconds of climbing up a ladder, every time you restart! Then another 15 seconds for the fight to begin. Again, not a ton of actual time, but imagine climbing that ladder ten times. If they wanted that for dramatic effect, fine, show that the first time you load the game, but if you die or restart, have a temporary checkpoint at the top of the ladder!

I don’t mind if the game is hard. Hell, you can even make the game harder, just stop punishing me by making me replay these boring sections!

Skyrim fan trailer

November 4th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

A friend of mine was the cinematographer on this, pretty cool:

More Fake GameStop Taglines

October 26th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

gamestop-preorderWhen I was writing how to fix GameStop, I had to find their tagline font so I could make the first “pre-order” image (above). Since I had it all set up, I figured I might as well make some more images. Feel free to use these on forums and other blogs.
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Rock Band: Expert Pro Drums 100% flawless scores

October 19th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

Here are some of the more notable 100%s I’ve gotten playing expert pro drums so far.  Most of them are FC’s (full combos, no overhits), especially if I’m high up on the leaderboard, but I don’t remember for sure.  I have tons more FCs, but I’m only posting the harder songs, or ones where I’m #1.

I play using my Yamaha DTXplorer (two cymbals and a hi-hat) with the MadCatz MIDI pro adapter. The only reason I’m not #1 on all the songs I FC’d is because some people “drum squeeze” to get more points, or because I didn’t use the optimal OD (overdrive) path. I don’t play songs multiple times in a row, so I never remember the path.

Some song notes:

This Ain’t a Scene: this was the second time I’ve played this song. It was really lucky, because the overdrive covered up a really long drumroll that I probably missed a few notes on, but it doesn’t count that. So I still ended up with 100%. A really poor overdrive path accounts for being so low on the leaderboard (I also may have overhit).

Young: Pretty surprised I was able to get this. It’s not that hard, I’m just really inconsistent with disco-beats.

Ring of Fire: the actual #1 on the leaderboard, no tie!

Half Crazy: I love this song!

I don’t think I’m playing Hitman: Blood Money correctly.

October 12th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

I started playing Hitman: Blood Money, and so far every mission has ended like this:

Remember when you could use that strategy in every game?  I think I almost won here, just had to make a little more noise (damn silencers!):

There’s an achievement for 100% notoriety, so at some point I was killing everyone on purpose.

The fun of the game is using different disguises and finding clever ways to kill your targets. All of that is still great, but the controls really don’t hold up.  The aiming doesn’t feel like they did anything to compensate for the lack of precision of analog sticks, and the button layout is…strange.

During each mission you can buy “intel” which gives you hints about characters, secret entrances, etc. I feel like that stuff should have been included in the mission briefing, and then you could decide which strategy to use. Without it you have to run around trying to learn the map layout and where the targets will be, but maybe I’m just being impatient.  Blood Money definitely has me excited for the next Hitman game — as long as they keep all the stuff that makes this one fun, and update the controls.

How to Fix GameStop.com

October 5th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

GameStop - would you like to pre-order?

In my last post I exposed GameStop’s wish list lies. Now it’s time to fix GameStop.com, so let me outline my proposal step-by-step — but first, I’ll fix those stupid mismatching icons:

There. That took me five damn minutes, GameStop. I would be happy to send you those graphics if you’d like. Okay, so now to fix the real problems.  The cornerstone of any relationship is honesty, and we can improve that in a few ways: Read the rest of this entry »

HOT NEWS ITEM! GameStop’s Wish List lies

September 26th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

I use wish lists on various sites to track prices on games, and one of those sites is GameStop, everyone’s favorite store to hate™. While adding a few games, I noticed they had a warning next to them:

First of all, couldn’t they spend $20 to have someone match the background color on that icon? Anyway, scrolling through the list, I noticed that every item had that warning. Now, there’s nothing wrong with that, Amazon even lists the actual number in stock when it’s low (e.g., “Only 3 left in stock–order soon (more on the way).“). But it was pretty clear that GameStop was lying to me, as I definitely have some games on my list that are not rare or in high demand. To be absolutely sure, I added a bunch of other games to see if they’d all have that warning: Read the rest of this entry »

Double Fine’s “Trenched”: Things I’d like to see in Trenched 2 (now Iron Brigade)

July 7th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

I just finished Double Fine’s 3rd XBLA game, Trenched (update: now called Iron Brigade), and loved it. I got all the achievements, which means I got gold medals on every mission (“Volcano” was tough!), and I even leveled up every weapon just because I wanted to keep playing. I beat the game in about five hours, and spent another five on gold medals/leveling. I actually wish this had been a full retail game if it meant more missions and achievements. Still, there are a lot of things they could have done to extend the replay value of this game. Here’s what I’d like to see in an update/sequel:
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Rock Band 3 achievement progress: pro drum trainer!

April 11th, 2011 by Tommy Gun

Finally! I waited months for the MIDI adapter so I could use my Yamaha DTXplorer drumset, and then it took me a couple more months to figure out how to calibrate it properly for the game (guide coming soon!). I was able to complete most of the pro drum trainer without much trouble, but a few beats were really hard to do until I fixed my drums.

Some quick XBLA/Indie Game reviews (LIMBO, Costume Quest, etc.)

December 31st, 2010 by Tommy Gun

I haven’t written any reviews in a while, so here are some quick ones:

LIMBO:

Really fantastic game, the art style is great. It’s funny how disturbing some parts of it are even though you can’t really see what’s happening. Ripping off a spider’s leg makes you squeamish, though it’s largely in your imagination. I haven’t gotten the “Complete the game in one sitting with five or less deaths” achievement, and don’t know that I’ll try. I wish they had made it “complete all chapters without dying” — that way you could do it in chunks, and replay any chapter you messed up.

Costume Quest: Psychonauts is one of my favorite games, and I was really looking forward to this. I loved it. Yes, it was easy, and yes, the battles were a bit repetitive, but I didn’t really mind. The game was adorable, and that rainbow unicorn? Amazing. And I’ll never get tired of seeing the Statue of Liberty’s special attack animation. I think they should have required the use of certain costumes in some boss battles, and also required certain battle stamps to win. I don’t mean they’d tell you which to use, I mean you’d have to figure out that a certain special attack was the key to winning. That would have changed up the battles enough I think, and added more strategy to it.

Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice DLC I also got the DLC pack. I had hoped that they would have improved some things and changed up the combat a bit, but they didn’t. It came out so quickly that they probably had it almost ready to go right when CQ first launched. I don’t mind supporting Double Fine, but it was really just more of the same, so I’m not sure it was worth $5 (I completed it in one sitting).

Trials HD: Really fun but holy shit hard later on. I was able to get most of the achievements, which I’m pretty proud of, especially “Unyielding” where you must complete it using only gas/brake, no “leaning.”

The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom: Love it. Got all the achievements, wish there were more levels. Really great concept, and it would be perfect for user-created levels. (Also, I just bought it again on Steam for 49 cents! BUY IT if it’s still on sale! Crazy!)

Zeno Clash Ultimate Edition: Weird game, love the style, had fun playing it, but no achievements in the main game? Really? Come onnnnn.

‘Splosion Man: Great game, love the co-op.

Just bought Hydro Thunder Hurricane (fun so far!), and am looking forward to Ilomilo and Stacking.