Mark Sachs (ksleet) wrote,
Mark Sachs
ksleet

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What's Hal Wearing? Redux.

I've actually been fairly busy lately and haven't been doing as much gaming as normal, but here's what I'm playing.

On the Nintendo DS, Professor Layton and the Curious Village. It's by Factor 5, the creators of Dark Cloud and Rogue Galaxy, and is as charming and pleasant as you'd expect from one of their titles. (Although if they play to type there will be also be a frustratingly poorly balanced and unfair boss fight at the end of the game, so I'm steeling myself just in case.) The idea is basically that the eponymous Layton and his apprentice Luke have arrived at a village full of puzzle-obsessed townspeople and attempt to find out what's going on behind the recent mysterious events. The practical upshot is that you must solve all kinds of random braintwisters to proceed through the game.

It's fun bite-sized pick-up-and-play entertainment, exactly what the DS excels at, and there's a superb variety of brainteasers; my only complaint so far has been that there was one of those river-crossing puzzles in it. You know the ones. There are six velociraptors and six babies on the left bank of the river and you have a raft that can only carry two at a time, so how do you get them all across the river without the babies eating any of the raptors? I hate those more than I can possibly express. They're just so damn contrived in every situation they occur. (There was an especially egregious appearance of this puzzle in Final Fantasy X-2. Yeah, um, if I could just point out that the party consists of three phenomenally powerful people, we put Yuna and Rikku on either bank and Paine on the raft and they should be able to keep the peace while we get this crossing done? Nothing doing.) I suppose it's not as bad in Layton as every single puzzle in this game is completely contrived anyway -- they serve the same purpose as random battles in Squaresoft RPGs, airdropping in at best tangentially relevant gameplay because otherwise the title would just be a visual novel with really high production standards and less nudity. But still. Anyone who puts a river-crossing puzzle in a game from now on, listen up. Do this and you will wind up in the special hell reserved for child molesters, record company executives, and 9/11 Truthers. You have been warned.

Phew, I went off on a little rant there, didn't I? That was fun. Where were we? Oh, right, video games. The other thing I've been playing is Burnout Revenge on the XB360, oddly enough. It just continues to be simple, outright fun -- I have gotten so much playtime out of this game it's not even a joke any more, and there are still a number of events to perfect and cars to unlock. The only thing that makes me sad is I haven't been able to get any online matches working. Still not clear why that is (beyond that the game is old and there aren't that many people still playing anyway, of course.)

I would like to play Tomb Raider Anniversary but I managed to think my way into a corner with that one. TRA, as it is never called, is available as downloadable content on Xbox Live. So I bought one of the episodes of it, only to realize after the fact that in downloadable form it's actually a mod on top of Tomb Raider Legend. Now that's not a problem per se, as I own that game. But I last saw it when I was living in Chicago and it's in a box... somewhere. It would of course be absurd to go out and buy a physical copy of Anniversary when I already own a digital one, so I guess I don't get to play it at all. Dagnabbit.

Finally, it may only be a brief diversion but you should still of course drop everything right now and download and play Rom Check Fail. You'll thank me, don't worry.

When I think about upcoming games, not too many come to mind. There's Grand Theft Auto IV, of course; I'll pick that up and I fully expect it to be a fun time, but it's not really an obsession for me. (...Yet, that is. In past experience, I ignore GTA releases right up until the day it comes out when suddenly the OMG MUST HAEV switch flips in my brain, and then it's all over but the shouting.) Telltale Games is bringing Sam & Max and Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People out as WiiWare in the next couple months, so I'm looking forward to that. Beyond that point it gets more nebulous.

I have to admit... I am tempted by Sins of a Solar Empire, too. Even though I hate real-time strategy games.

So what are you playing, or looking forward to playing soon?
Tags: games
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