What Are You Playing? [Zero]

I’d like to take time out and ask my fellow editors and readers…  What are YOU playing?  I will break mine down into a few categories.  The editors may/may not reply…  but readers are more than welcome to comment with a reply.

Games in Progress (Single/Co-Op)

Record of Agarest War (x360), Little Big Planet (PS3), Ninja Gaiden Sigma (PS3)

Ninja Gaiden Sigma is here as I am trying to continue where I left off when my original Xbox shorted out and died back in the day from a freak storm.  It’s challenging, yet fun and unforgiving sometimes.  I still enjoy it nonetheless.  Little Big Planet I am playing for the sake of unlocking items as well as preparing myself for the launch of the second game in the series coming to PlayStation 3.  It’s a fun/goofy take on vintage platformers such as the Sonic or Mario franchises.  The fan made levels are fantastic as well as quite funny.  Much like New Super Mario Bros. (Wii), when you have 4 players on screen, the game almost becomes akin to a test of friendship or marriage.  I have yet to make my own levels as I want to wait until I have unlocked all of the content before doing so.  Record of Agarest War I have started on the first generation with Leonhardt and I have been debating my strategy on how to proceed.  I want to try to proceed in the best manner possible ’cause I have to keep in mind that I have 4 generations after to be concerned with.  My review on it should be soon.  I just want to try to finish 1 generation before starting my written review.

Social Gaming (Multiplayer Centric)
Blaz Blue: Calamity Trigger (PS3), Super Street Fighter IV (PS3), Blur (x360), Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (x360/PC), Alien Swarm (PC), Team Fortress 2 (PC), Rhythm Zone (PC)

I have been on a bit of a fighting game revival, as some can tell from the last few posts from me.  That’s partly to blame from my best friend Mikey for him accidentally leaving his arcade stick at my home and compelling me to purchase Blaz Blue.  Since then, I have been a little addicted to social fighting.  Ranked matches are a joke as I just suck against some of the more competitive folks out there.  With Blaz Blue, Jin and Ragna are my primary use characters.  Noel is my alternate that I seem to understand a little better.  In Super Street Fighter IV, I have oddly taken a liking to Akuma (Gouki to those playing the Japanese/Asian versions).  The issue for me is move execution as Super Street Fighter IV is much more centric on precise move execution…  Combine that with me not quite able to embracing the push-aggression needed with Akuma and it ends quite badly.  However, my newfound respect for Akuma is due to the matter that Street Fighter IV has a “Challenge Mode” where it essentially teaches you how to play a character to even essential combos.

FPS/shooter games have been more a “relax” point for when fighting games just burn me out.  Alien Swarm gets a special nomination as it is FREE and somewhat in the spirit of games like Contra while being made from the same team that brought the world Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.  I know for some people it’s inspired quite the desire to play and finish the game.  Combine that with the fact that the development kit and server tools were made publicly available, it makes for some interesting remixes and spin-offs hopefully in the future by the community.  Rhythm Zone is a game I am working on a review for which so far has been pretty good fun.  It has scoreboard and achievements too.  I am waiting for the Guitar Hero controller that Jarret sent down to me to test it out with Rhythm Zone to see if it recreates the feel of Guitar Hero.

Games for Trophy/Achievement Completion
Heavy Rain (PS3), 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3), inFamous (PS3), Bayonetta (x360)

These games are oddly ones I am obsessed with chasing trophies or achievements.  Heavy Rain is just more on the easy side of things, but a little bit of a pain from the long story sequences.  3D Dot Game Heroes is a really good challenge, especially with “booking” the entire monster compendium (70 hits with a compendium to “book” some monsters).  Don’t even get me started on the mini-games.  Those are total bull crap as they are a pain in my side.  As for inFamous, I really enjoyed the game and I am in my second run with an Evil file.  I am sadly having trouble with the stunt mastery achievement.  Bayonetta I seriously enjoyed and I regretted not being able to grab up all of the weapons from Rodan’s requirement of me turning in full albums to The Gates of Hell.  I plan on giving it another run through in hopes of grabbing all of the weapons and (hopefully) tagging down achievements.

Anticipated Games in Near Future
Blaz Blue: Continuum Shift (PS3), Gran Turismo 5 (PS3)

Blaz Blue: Continuum Shift of course is more to continue my fighting game revival.  I have seen a few clips of arcade footage and then reading that the rules have been rebalanced.  It gives me something to look forward to.  I will say I am excited to play Jin, Ragna, and probably Noel to see the new changes in moves and etc.  Today (7/27/2010) is the release date and I shall be picking that up for reviewing purposes.  Gran Turismo 5, I have been psyched for since seeing the reveal trailer.  Forza Motorsport 3 (x360) set a high bar for what an automotive simulation should be.  I am hoping that Polyphony Digital can keep up with what Turn 10 Studios has thrown down to the world.  I have pre-ordered the game and November 2, 2010 will be quite a day.

Games Relegated to The Pile of Shame
Split/Second (PS3), Final Fantasy XIII (x360)

Split/Second… words can’t even express how disappointed I am.  I figured that Blackrock Studios would produce a quality game much like Pure.  However, I was wrong.  Disney looked like they just tried to push the game out as fast as possible in hopes of it beating out Blur.  With the glaring flaws, it just makes for a sloppy product.  If they can clean up the things I had addressed in my review, the game can easily shape to be a fun game.  Until then, the Pile of Shame is where it belongs.  Final Fantasy XIII is one game I am surprised to have land in the Pile.  It’s one of the most slacking titles I have ever seen.  You control only 1 character and the other two are controlled based on what “Paradigm Shift” you have assigned for your party.  You may have up to 6 that can be swapped on the fly, which doesn’t make much sense to me, but that’s my opinion.  The game doesn’t even let you continue playing if the “Leader” character dies.  It doesn’t matter if your supporting party members have Life (the default resurrection spell that’s a staple to the Final Fantasy franchise) as when the leader dies, game over with no exceptions.  Combine the fact that leveling is completely convoluted with the lack of Gil (Final Fantasy currency), it makes for a very aggravating experience.  Hell, I can give you an example scenario of what I am doing to prepare myself for Gran Pulse (Chapter 11 of 13):

Find farm point with enemies that give items that are only useful to sell for Gil
Proceed to kill all enemies in parts of zone (also allowing for respawning)
When desired amount of cash items are in hand, sell to the shop for Gil
Buy 36 Sturdy Bones per weapon you need to level up
Buy as many high yield Weapon XP items as you can
Hit up the weapon mod shop and dump in 36 Sturdy Bones per weapon you want to level up (for a 3x multiplier)
Then dump as much high yield Weapon XP items to exploit the 3x bonus
Rinse, lather, repeat.

This ends up getting boring quick.  Even more if you decided to foolishly rush through most of the game and spend minimal time leveling up weapons, you’ll spend much more time than those who decided to do the above in short bursts in periodic sections of the game.  The same can be said for the Crystarium as well for nabbing skills and stat point boosts.  Mind you, I am near done with the game.  I may decide to truck on through and finish the game out to just finish it.  I purely hate leaving games uncompleted.

Long Diep
Long Diep
Long Diep

MASH Veteran

Long is an classic game fanatic who has a fond love of arcade games. He is a fan of fighting games and racing simulations and loves playing them with good friends. His true love is with Japanese curtain fire, "bullet hell" shooters. He is a gamer who believes that sometimes the best gaming gear can make the difference between a better experience in a game to increased game play skills. Even though he likes his unique games, he does enjoy FPS games, RPG's, and various other games. Long has a so

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