I’ve been busy with a couple of things which have kept me largely offline for the last couple of days, and have cut into my blogging time.
Firstly, the pace of wedding preparations has picked up, and involved a couple of difficult nights of expensive dining to establish a venue for the wedding breakfast. It’s a hard life, I can tell you, especially when followed by Valentines Day chocs and cakes. Tough, tough life. It’s Ryvita and Special K for the rest of the week, I think.
More importantly though, as previously recounted I’m on X-Box Live for a month, a free month’s trial which will almost inevitably become a year’s subscription. My copy of Left4Dead arrived the other day, and barely a day goes by where I don’t manage to squeeze in a quick campaign, usually with Mr Lavington of Shiny Shelf fame. Having enjoyed playing the game offline, online was initially more of the same. It’s a great ‘the same’, with all the emergent situations that everyone else has been going on about for ages, whereby the combination of co-operating players and the super-smart AI Director create situations you’d never get in a more scripted game.
Today we stepped it up a notch, with another friend and his girlfriend joining the party. It’s the first time I’d played with an entirely human team, no companion AI (although one of our team did have to back out at one point, and it’s a great credit to the game to see the AI jump in their and get playing, seamlessly). An all-player team really ups those opportunities for the unexpected – the finely balanced AI players are never either mercilessly thick (as in any Resident Evil support AI ever) or inhumanly competent, instead hovering around, keeping their end up without either dragging you down or stealing the glory. An all-human team, however, will be beset by errors and prone to sudden triumphant moments of victory, and it’s all the more exciting. What a great game.
In between I’ve been getting back to Tomb Raider: Legend (super competent, a little too linear, not exactly the 360 state-of-the-art this far after release but nonetheless way ahead of the PS2 port of Underworld I recently played), and even a bit of FEAR (nothing to do with the sequel coming out, more because another of my Live friends has FEAR but not L4D, so I suspect it’s going to be the multiplayer of last resort with him for the moment).
Oh, and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney arrived. And House of the Dead: Overkill for Wii, which I’ll be playing once I get down to the missus place, where my Wii resides. And while I’m down there, I’ll need to get around to playing more Trauma Center, and maybe turn my attention to the PS2 and Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and, and…
So yeah, a lot of games to get through. This could take a while.
There’s a long thread on the Outpost Gallifrey forum about whether there’s such a thing as canon in Doctor Who (and if you don’t understand that sentence at all, good for you).
Well, in the real world, we have such a thing as legal precedent to settle arguments and, thankfully, it turns out that this issue has already been resolved in court thanks to a famous lawyer.
So there you go.
I’ve had a bit of a gaming week. Finally finished Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All. I can see why they did a relaunch for Apollo Justice, as by the second installment Phoenix’s continuity and supporting cast had already managed to get quite convoluted. There’s a certain truth to the suggestion that the Ace Attorney games are interactive stories – certainly the twisty narrative, offbeat humour and endearing characters are the primary reasons for playing – but there’s a definite challenge underneath the narrative, if only in trying to work out how to get from the conversation the game is allowing you to have to the solution you think you’re aiming for.
Yes, with total freedom you’d be able to accuse the right suspect and lay out the evidence within the first five minutes of a case, and you have to sit around waiting for the opportunity to test your theory. This doesn’t bother me – it’s a game, the whole point is to work within the rules. These AA games are a real pleasure. I’ve already ordered Trials and Tribulations, and I’m very glad that while that may mark the end of the Phoenix Wright trilogy, there’s at least two more Ace Attorney titles for me after those.
Now, Ace Attorney is a franchise on Nintendo’s dinky DS handheld, but I do dabble in higher tech end of the gaming spectrum, and you don’t get much more high end than Mirror’s Edge, out this week. I downloaded the demo for the 360, and while I’m very glad I did, I also suspect the demo may be as much Mirror’s Edge as most people need. The demo is definitely worth a try though, as by making an effective first person platformer EA have seemingly invented a whole new genre – this is as tactile an exercise in running and jumping as you’re likely to get, a more immersive perspective on the kind of running, scrambling parkour experience demonstrated in games like Assasin’s Creed, but in a futuristic setting. The game as a whole seems a little sterile, and I have the feeling that it’s obstacle course gameplay and simon says combat may get old quite fast, but do get the demo – it’s very possibly the precursor to the kind of thing we’ll be playing in a year or two, and there’s a great kick from the unprecedented sense of motion you get while flexing this new control system.
Speaking of demos, the Resident Evil 5 one will apparently be announced soon. Excitement over a hint of an announcement of a demo? Well yes, but this is Resi, and it’s special. Euroshamer has this interview with producer Jun Takeuchi, in which he says:
“If we had the chance to go back and remake Resident Evil 2…you know, I think there is the demand for it. It’s certainly something we would like to consider and think about.”
Come on Capcom, you know it makes sense. Having ported/updated the original time and time again, and translated earlier titles into on-rails shooters and pachinko machines, a proper current gen update of Resident Evil 2 is long overdue – it’s got a great story, and introduced Leon Kennedy and the G-virus along with Raccoon City and the atmospheric environments within it like the police station (revisited in 3 and Outbreak File #2) and so forth. Great as Resi 4 is (and Resi 5 looks) a mass zombie outbreak in a major city is the holy grail of the American zombie genre, and always worth revisiting. My (very sad) dream would be a Resident Evil: Raccoon City game for current systems that weaves the plots (and mainly shared locations) of Resident Evil 2 and 3 together, throwing in some NPCs (the cops, the Umbrella mercenaries) to create a greater sense of chaos as the city succumbs to the zombie hordes. Plllleassse Capcom, pretty please?