Yes, I’ve been so utterly flat out the past month that I haven’t got around to updating.
So it turns out that Batman: Arkham Asylum was exceedingly excellent. I’ve finished the story mode (I’m finding it difficult to be interested in the ‘challenge’ mode) and enjoyed absolutely every moment of it.
I don’t play many plot-driven games, truth be told. The plot is usually an excuse for huge amounts of fun (see: ‘Bowser stole the princess’, ‘Ganondorf stole the princess’, &c.). The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was about as plot-heavy as I’d ever been (and even that story was only an excuse to go explore insanely awesome dungeons). It was like playing your way through a movie. Apart from a few awful moments (including The Riddler asserting that you must be cheating when you solve his puzzles, even though he left a map solving his puzzles right next to the entrance), this was a beautiful plot, with a variety of interesting characters and all the good things that people like.
Which makes it a shame to point out its faults.
I often got stuck because Batman can not jump. And I don’t mean superhuman jumping ability. I mean: ‘Why! There is a small amount of rubble on the floor. I will have to walk around it.’
The other problem is linked to one of its biggest strengths. Because it’s story-heavy, there are a huge number of cut scenes to progress the tale. You open a door? Cut scene. You fall over? Cut scene. You die? Cut scene.
Oh, and Batman also has a weird habit of getting on the radio to Oracle (thus cutting out all of your abilities save walking) when you’re leaping from on high. That kind of got annoying.
The very worst thing has to do less with the game and more with the game’s awesomeness. It’s massively time-draining and it encourages a very specific set of reasoning patterns for problem solving. After playing hours of the same sorts of problem solving, you unleash yourself on a world filled with problems which do not match those reasoning patterns… Thus, when I was stuck in a crowd of bogans at the local Westfield, I noticed a ledge to which Batman could have jumped…
You also can’t kick the bogans in the back of the head.
I find racists a bit weird.
You know when you’re at the beach and you find a bit of something that sort of looks a lot like jelly but isn’t jelly and you wonder if it might be from a jellyfish but you don’t think it could have come from a jellyfish? That’s how I feel whenever I’m talking to a racist.
Mind! I don’t mean the sort of everyday very common racist who doesn’t mean to be racist but really is when it comes down to it. I mean the über-racist: the sort who proudly assert that people who aren’t white are somehow, through some fault of their own, inferior people. I find it difficult to understand whence it comes. It can’t be fear. I’m more likely to get ripped off by whitey than any other group — which seems to be reflected when I do the implicit association test. Or maybe it is fear and I’m just not accounting for people’s ability to be irrationally afraid of things.
There’s something intrinsically fine about hating on red heads. Even the Bible does it. Genesis 25 tells the story of Esau (a ranga) who sells his birthright for a bowl of lentils. Ho, ho.
It’s funny because he’s got red hair.
IN OTHER NEWS…
Nerd up, my fine friends!
For those of you who are thinking ‘I really haven’t been able to express my nerd pride sufficiently of late’, we’ve had several weeks of the heavens dumping nerdshit upon our doorsteps.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
This has been a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s the sort of game you can enjoy casually while dying of heat exhaustion on the couch. Plus, there is a crapload of ice in the game and just looking at all that ice makes me feel better about the world. Sure, Yahtzee is right when he says that it’s the same as all the other 2D Mario games. On the other hand, who cares? Nobody’s expecting gritty Mario. Nobody’s expecting intricate plot Mario. Nobody’s expecting anything other than mindless 2D fun. In other words, you get from this game exactly what you think you’re going to get from this game: a few hours of fun smacking Koopas.
The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
I much prefer this to The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. Okay, it could be that I have some completely unrelated emotional hangups about PH (the ex really liked the game and there was a trading function, so now my copy of the game is filled with things traded from her copy of the game, so it just induces panic attacks). Not a big fan of the evil trains that can move more quickly than you and can hunt you down so you can’t avoid them. That bit really sucks. I’m also not a huge fan of the complete inability to turn around… But, hey, you are supposed to be on a train.
I could also do without the scumbag NPCs. Zelda is just about the only likable character in the game. Everybody else is a demanding, annoying douche. ‘Oh, I want wood. Bring me wood! Oh, I won’t work with a character with big antlers! Oh, do a roll into this tree filled with mother freaking bees!’
That last one pissed me off the most. I thought, ‘You can’t be serious. Why the crap would I want to roll into a tree full of bees? Oh, well. If you insist!’ Lo and behold, the bees freaking attacked me. Then he laughed about it and demanded a free train ride. I’m still a bit conficted about that, especially considering his mother didn’t seem to have the slightest idea of where he’s going. Also, the turd is a liar. I had to Googlewhack what to do with him because he’s such a rotten liar.
But, other than that, the game is ferociously excellent.
Family Guy: Something Something Something Dark Side
The release date was supposed to be tomorrow, but JB HiFi had them in stock today. In truth, not as good as Blue Harvest but still an amazing amount of fun. BH seemed to find humour in what was already in the Star Wars universe – Solo’s ‘few maneuvers’, for example. SSDS seemed to rely more on recreating The Empire Strikes Back with Family Guy characters and then sprinkling jokes on the top.
Sure, BH did the same thing at times but it didn’t seem to be quite so dependent. Also, I could do with several magnitudes less Herbert. So, overall fun but pretty much just for fans of Star Wars and Family Guy.
I hate every military character on this show. Freak me freaking sideways, I could swear they exist just to say asinine things and to disagree with people who can read without moving their lips. Robert Carlyle is pretty much the only reason worth watching it at the moment (Channel 10, Monday nights. Soon to be Channel 10, 1am Tuesday morning… TiVo!).
I also hate the trope of ‘Super smart outsider’. In the original, James Spader had a theory which was not supported by the evidence. Thus, he was rightly mocked for his unjustified beliefs.
But that’s not good enough for the country that invented Wikipedia. Experts suck! What do they know? They’re just experts!
And so James Spader’s completely unjustified theory miraculously turned out to be correct. Oooooh, he totally showed the establishment, didn’t he?
In this, the outsider is an out of work, university dropout who just happens to be able to work out maths homework in an alien language. And I’m all like… ‘Right. Lame.’
It’s sort of weird when you’ve got a television show which you really enjoy watching but only because you’re hoping that any of the non-Robert Carlyle characters will die horribly. Unfortunately, they’re not dying rapidly enough at the moment. But it is really enjoyable to watch.
It rocks so very, very hard.
There’s a new ‘Save the Toads who were captured like dopes’ which is a pain in the almighty freaking arse (the one I saved this evening seemed to hate life, prefering to run straight into enemies rather than staying still), but the rest of the game is an absolute pleasure to play. As you can see from the timestamp on this post, I have already lost a number of hours to the game…
More gushing about this game (and speculation regarding Mario’s furry fetish — somebody gave Princess Peach a penguin costume as a birthday gift) to follow.