maanantai 25. helmikuuta 2013

A month in the dark

February has gone by fast, way too fast, and it might look like I'm really dead or lost interest in doing the blog altogether, or both. Well, the truth is that between my hand injury, other latest developments in my life and most of all, all the extra shifts I've worked just to make ends meet, I very simply haven't found the time to even sit down and play a game. My last extensive gaming session was with the portion of the Mega Man marathon I did back in January. I've been playing Dishonored and The Walking Dead as of late; they were pretty much last year's cream of the crop, and when a game hits that certain soft spot of mine, I'm usually done with it in just a few days. I've been playing both games on a very irregular basis and in a very uneven tandem for over a month; I don't know if I've even made it to the halfway mark in Dishonored yet, and I've finished just one episode of The Walking Dead. There has simply been no time - but I've got news for you, good ones. After a few serious, official negotiations about how shifts and working hours should be organized in general where I work, it seems I'm going to have a balanced abundance of spare time on my hands quite soon.

Not now. Sorry.
It's quite safe to say that Mega Man has deserved a break from me, and I've most definitely deserved a break from Mega Man; I'm heading into a zone within the franchise I'm not a fan of by its concept alone, and after that, all that's left is a string of curiosities that I believe to be quite devoid of positive surprises. After a whole month of skewering through a total of nine games in one of the most repetitive (yet loved) video game franchises in history, I think I've paid my dues for a while. I'll return to Mega Man yet again when I'm ready for it and when I believe you're ready to read more about the (mis)adventures of the Blue Bomber. Last month's run was a good one; there were a couple of true surprises in there, especially Mega Man: The Wily Wars, which I found perhaps the greatest Mega Man title ever made, a game that looked and felt just as great as its concept. There were a couple of really bad apples in there as well, and that is part of the reason why I've decided to postpone reviews of the spin-offs that don't appeal to me in any artificial way; there's no sense in letting my boredom with the whole franchise and natural questioning of their whacked concepts do the dirty work. I'll let it all vent out and return to these games when I find myself ready to play them, and ready to open my mind a little.

Where to next, then? Well, there are a few more recent games on the plate. Dishonored and The Walking Dead I already hinted at. God of War: Ascension is coming March 12th, and as always when I count myself as a follower, a review of this game is coming for sure, and as soon as possible. Even though it's a prequel to the whole series instead of a continuation of the epic story, I'm probably doing a similar article on the series as I did on Assassin's Creed back in October. There's so much to tell about God of War, and so much things to look forward to with this new game that was never expected to exist. However, remembering that this franchise has pretty much done it all already, I'm not capable of trusting this game, 100%, so I choose not to hype the game to high heaven just yet; those who expect me to make daily updates like I did with Mass Effect 3 back in the day can sigh out of relief, I'm not doing that. Just the article and the review, and that's it. If the game turns out greater than expected, then maybe something else.

After spending 20 hours running around the Citadel like a
moron, you get an end-all DLC that goes by the name of
Citadel. Promising.
Speaking of Assassin's Creed, there's a DLC pack out which would deserve my fork in its rotten core... but since it's the first episode out of a series of three, I'm going to duke it out, get the two remaining ones whenever they come out, and if I still have something to say after all is said and done, I'll say it, in the form of a DLC Guide. Since I've not done DLC for any of the Assassin's Creed games, I think I'll chuck them in as well, for good measure. That's still a while off, but what's not is Citadel, the final DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 (a game which was also mentioned, go figure). It's just a week from now, and I've waited for this moment, since I really wanted to review the two previous ones, but decided to wait until it was all over to compile a Guide, since I love doing those. From Ashes and the Extended Cut have already been reviewed; edited versions of those reviews will be included.

And, of course, Mega Man is (luckily) far from being the only loose end in the wide variety of video game franchises I've taken on in the last three years. Taking care of those is still the main theme of the year and it will continue all the way until I decide otherwise, on the very forefront and in the background, depending on new purchases (which will unfortunately decrease for all platforms, in relation to my extra shifts...) and new releases. Right now, I have three pre-orders placed at GameStop, one of them being the new God of War (Special Edition, of course), and I've bought a couple of budget games in the last couple of months. Besides these, I really don't know how much my library will grow in size this year, and which part of it in particular. I'd rather not think about it before the recent hail of financial bombs ceases. I'll definitely get better by December, and in the wake of recent news from the world of hardware, it looks like I'll get myself a brand new console by the end of the year. Which one, that's saved until more of Microsoft's new brainchild is out.

Wow, now this is what I could almost call an update. I'm pretty much booked 'til Friday, I got a lot of personal shit to take care of now that I finally have a small breather, but I'm free the rest of the weekend, and to tell you some really good news, I've decided to quit drinking for a while to somewhat purify my system and enhance my physical wellbeing, since mentally, I haven't felt this good in years. Might as well go all the way... anyway, since I'm not out on the town and probably spending the weekend alone, I might as well play some damn games.

sunnuntai 10. helmikuuta 2013

REVIEW - Mega Man Xtreme 2 | GBC | 2001

GENRE(S): Action / Platform
RELEASED: July 19, 2001

Mega Man Xtreme wasn't that much of a commercial success, but one enough to get a sequel for the Game Boy Color, which is ironic, since the Game Boy Advance had already been out for a few months. Why not wait and reflect for a while, and why make another game that obviously lacks the slightest fashion of evolution? Mega Man Xtreme 2 might star Zero as a fully playable character, but from every other angle, it looks and feels exactly like the last game. That goes for the physical comfort atop everything else.

Yawn. Ouch. Damn it.

I remember a time when these
sequences blew my mind.
A "Soul Eraser" named Berkana is robbing Reploids of their "DNA Souls" and using them to resurrect Mavericks from the past. It's time for another amazingly confusing scheme for world domination to be thwarted by the dynamic duo of X and Zero. Sigma's behind it all, of course, as if there's any doubt. Oops, spoiler. Or not.

I'm in a really bad mood right now. I'm fine per se, I have nothing to complain about, but I've had some problems sleeping and my sore hand's still cramping up once or twice an hour. I'm thinking to myself, maybe I shouldn't take on a potentially enfuriating game like Mega Man Xtreme 2 right now. Then again, would it make any difference if I was in a better mood? No, I don't think so. Mega Man Xtreme 2 is a whole new low in the Mega Man series' failure to evolve. Everything that was wrong with the first one, is still wrong with this second and last one. I've never liked Zero that much (though I'll pretty soon have to get used to him), and all the best bosses have been used up already. What we've got left are guys like Volt Catfish, Overdrive Ostrich and Wire Sponge. Epic.

Volt Catfish. Run for your lives.
No, this ain't going to be a long review. I've always at least tried to find something to say about a Mega Man game even if it was 99% identical to the last one, but this game just makes it impossible to come up with anything new to say. If possible, it's even uglier than the first, though. It sounds a little better - technically, that is, the song collection's not as good and the loops are "xtremely" repetitive - but occasionally looks very little more than a beta draft.

Thinking how much better this game would've been on the Game Boy Advance, and with a little more heart in it, hurts my brain from the graphics down to the controls. Nothing's changed, but that's not a huge surprise - there was never any room for much development with such a limited amount of buttons on disposal. Having just those two extra buttons on hand and generally improving the controls a little would've made it a much more playable game. Still nothing special, but more playable. And more memorable, perhaps.

Mega Man Xtreme 2 is not a really bad game. Due to the total halt in evolution - again, with the exception of making Zero fully playable from the beginning which adds some depth for those interested in the character at all (I'm not one of them) - it's just forgettable, and causes at least almost as much physical pain as its predecessor.

+ You know, I really can't come up with anything specifically nice to say; it's Mega Man, I guess

- More of that whack plot design to go with everything else
- Probably the least evolved Mega Man game in history
- Painful controls
- The leftover bosses

< 5.9 >