Well I have hosting again, time to crap up the internet like I used to. Today’s adventures come from Fire Emblem: Awakening, sold out most places so I guess buy it on the eShop to take it with you everywhere regardless of whatever game carts you might have.
Why take it everywhere you ask? The Hubba Tester! First off here’s my guy:
Let’s see how he does with the ladies:
Well…that’s a bad start.
And that one sums up the story of my life. (Well the other way around…)
And she’s not even a real character in the game!
In case you swing other ways, the Hubba Tester supports that too. This guy is a killing machine but apparently has a thing for me:
Meanwhile this is brother and sister:
Oh and the core gameplay (strategery) is really awesome, the Hubba Tester is just a fun random extra on top of that.
EA bought the NBA JAM and NFL Blitz licenses a while back and recently came out with new versions to bring these great franchises back to glory.
What. The. Hell.
BLITZ IS SLIGHTLY LESS HORRIBLE:
For reference the original controls were:
And extended to many other functions by chording or double tapping. The new Blitz controls are at least pretty close to the originals, once you get past all the extra labels and crap they have on screen, while JAM is is messed up because some functions get moved around once you switch to defense. When the iOS version has better more faithful controls,1 YOU SCREWED UP.2 The new controls just make me think “MODERN GAMING!” How many buttons do you really need?3
Oh and those are the only control options, so if you happened to have a stick and wanted to relive the arcade joy (and better feeling control in general), well you’re screwed.
And I haven’t even mentioned core gameplay changes to JAM. Super dunking without turbo is a horrible, horrible change that screws up gameplay within the three point line. Remember put backs? Apparently none of the devs did! Not that it matters because the ball action above the rim after a shot is nearly nonexistent. Blocking is pretty nice, although perhaps overpowered now, and even more so considering how crippled you now are offensively.
Basically this is what I think about the new JAM:
[There was a video here, of the end scene of Planet of the Apes]
Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was… We finally really did it. You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
Meanwhile Blitz could at least be awesome, if I could get used to playing on a controller. If they just let you configure buttons so you could play on a stick, it seems like it would be as good as the old games. Unlike JAM the gameplay appears to be intact.4
…except after the whistle. Getting in as many cheap shots as possible after the play is a thing of the past. It doesn’t sound bad since it was basically extraneous stuff, but in action it’s pretty noticeable since the post play time as the camera pans around is lacking that little bit gameplay all of a sudden. Instead you’re left with a plain old post play cutscene rather than a sort of “hurt everyone in x seconds!” mini game.
Like many things in the NFL these days I blame Goodell, so I don’t hold that against the new Blitz team. They got most of the important stuff within their control right. It’s amazing how screwed up JAM is in comparison.
There’s a few things they screwed up…but after playing the console version it appears the major issues are pretty much carry overs from that one. IDIOTS.
Seriously, I thought you guys were big fans of the original. HOW DID YOU SCREW IT UP SO MUCH?
Well there’s AI partner controls…but really a lot of stuff on their own buttons or split up to separate buttons could be done with the aforementioned chording or double tapping on the old games. They had an established simple deep scheme to work with and just…ugh.
Ok so there’s a juke left/right buttons now…but like the new stuff in JAM they feel like a poorly thought out tacked on feature. The juke animation is small, slow, and out of place, it feels like it was lifted from Madden. On the plus side there’s a lateral button…although I figure that could’ve been accomplished with the pass button.
Tearjerker plans to use his masterpiece tragedy film, Oscar Gold, depicting a mentally retarded alcoholic Jewish boy and his cancer-ridden puppy during The Holocaust, to make the moviegoers cry themselves to death literally.
Now with that out of the way…War Horse is pretty similar. It’s basically the story of a horse where everything gets taken away, as well as for everyone else associated with the horse.
The basic setup is that a horse (Joey) gets born, and a boy (Albert? I’ll call him Albert) nearby tries to gain its affection over the years as they grow up. Joey is close to his mother, and they get separated at an auction. Albert’s father is the winner, although he put pretty much everything on the line just to beat his landlord.
Joey isn’t a workhorse like the family needed, but he miraculously pulls off plowing the fields, and the crops come in nicely! Then thunderstorms take it away and Albert’s dad takes the Joey away to sell to an soldier on the way to war. Albert catches up and pleads so the soldier promises he’ll return Joey after the war if possible.
The soldier soon dies after a poorly planned raid against Ze Germans.
But hey Joey befriends another horse (Topthorn?) at least (whose rider is also killed), and some nice German horse trainer takes them both in for medic cart towing work. Then that guy’s little brother gets pulled to serve on the front lines, so he hijacks both horses and yanks his brother out of the line ready to leave. Freedom!
Then while at a windmill where they’re hiding out, the Germans find and execute them. But they leave the horses at least.
Then a little French girl (Emilie) finds and takes care of them with the help from her grandfather. Her parents are dead and she has some ailment of course. The Germans come around and raid their house and crops to serve the troops, but Emilie manages to hide the horses in her room. They survive the raid!
Later as a birthday gift the grandpa gives Emilie a saddle and finally lets her ride the Joey (which he prevented before because of her mystery ailment), whee!
Then she rides over the hill and is gone for a uncomfortably long time. Joey’s pal horse Topthorn makes chase frantically with the grandpa following behind, only to see Emilie and Joey surrounded by German troops, with them eventually taking Joey and Topthorn away from the sickly girl and her grandpa. The soldier says they’ll be in artillery duty where they’ll be run until they die in about a month or whenever the war is over.
But good news, there happens to be another nice German horse trainer! He tries to leave them out of the heavy duty work to no avail. Topthorn gets pulled to take over for a fallen horse and once again the trainer tries to save him, only to be overruled by his leader. Luckily Joey rushes out of the ranks to volunteer in place to save his pal.
Not that it matters because Topthorn soon gives up on life and Joey goes mad, taking off and ending up in a dead end against a tank. He appears stuck but through some magic of a dip in the path and a wedge shaped front end he manages to gallop over the tank and runs free, no man’s land be damned.
Of course he eventually gets caught up in a crapload of barbed wire during a lull in the battle.
He manages to be freed by a soldier from each side during one of the funnier scenes in the movie, and goes back to the British side, decided by a coin flip.
The soldier takes Joey back to whatever base town looking for a veterinarian, only to get turned down by the human doctors due to the amount of wounded humans already there. After enough pleading (he went through no man’s land!) the doc checks Joey out, only to determine he has some infected wounds and says to put him down. Of course.
Now interspersed in all this Adventures of Joey and Topthorn stuff is Albert’s own journey. I forgot to mention that when Joey was sold he tried to enlist on the spot, but he was too young at the time. Later we find out he did eventually join the cause, along with some other guys introduced early in the film.
In their tour we see the jackass of the group injured, while Albert helps him to safety. Albert’s buddy is scared stiff and remains in the foxhole as everyone charges out. Eventually Albert reaches the German foxhole with some grenade heroics, and his friend later makes a mad dash and ends up there as well. After Albert panics and almost shoots him, they cry and embrace knowing they’ve made it safely.
Then someone else yells “GAS!” as gas bombs go off in the hole and presumably kill Albert’s pal, while Albert himself is just temporarily blinded, as we find out later at that medic facility.
Which brings us back to Joey about to get his head blown up in front of everyone. But someone does a little “toot toot” whistle sound (Albert’s original training call) and gets Joey’s attention! And again right before the soldier is about to fire! Joey is saved by his original owner!
OR IS HE?
Albert says this is his horse from back in the day but the doc doesn’t believe him, particularly after he describes his appearance (four “socks” and a white marking on his head)…which doesn’t match Joey because he’s all dirty and his marks are covered up. Back to face blowin’ up time.
But then Albert says it’s because of the mud and they clean off his legs and face to reveal yes, it is him. Now considering Albert is blind right now I have no clue how he knew Joey was covered in mud, but whatever. Soon the war is declared over, and Joey is finally reunited with Albert in peace.
OR IS HE?
Of course not. Military horses are to be auctioned off, no exceptions. But wait, the troops have all pitched in for an excessively high bid on Joey, day is saved!
NO, NOT THE FRENCHMAN!
Some rich French guy bids it up too high for the boys, and all hope is lost, until Emilie’s grandpa shows up out of nowhere and blows all their bids out of the water. Albert tries to thank him for saving the day only to find out the old man is keeping the horse for himself, since it’s the only thing left to remind him of Emilie (apparently dead at this point).
But the old man pulls out a little flag (a little war thing Albert put on Joey way back) and Albert says it was his father’s, so now the old man gives Joey back saying it’s what Emilie would’ve wanted.
NO MORE TWISTS AND TURNS FINALLY.
The movie ends in GOLD. Literally the only color on screen is from golden glow from the sun providing backlighting as the silhouette of Joey and Albert come home to the farm where Albert’s mother managed to stay alive and his father didn’t drink himself to death.
Oh yeah I forgot to mention his dad has a drinking problem. And a limp.
Like a crapload of people, I’m a victim of identity theft. I had another post written up with all the details but figured if by chance this guy comes across the site I should probably hold back a bit on that for now. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a semi conclusion about the thief one day, perhaps post his number (if the one I found is real) and whatever other details I find out about him.1
For now I’ll just write about my experiences with the companies I’ve dealt with in trying to clear this up. Luckily most companies have been pretty cool, they tend to have actual humans that seem to understand context and situations and can respond accordingly. From horror stories I’ve read online I may be lucky, I’m guessing because from what I can tell I seem to have caught on to it pretty early (by chance really).
Meanwhile the credit reporting agencies suck. First the whole free annual credit report thing seems to be fairly limited in terms of security to begin with. Just as easy to steal someone else’s single annual free credit report as it is to open various credit cards! If this happens to you, and you’ll know immediately because the sites will tell you that you already got your free report on xx/xx/xxxx, look for a little “fraud” link somewhere on each agency’s page. It’s a pretty straight forward process to get your report after that. I think there were even extra security questions at that point!2
Except with TransUnion.
Their site was down when I first found out and tried getting my report. Then later when the site was working I found out the only way to get the report was to first register for an account with them.3 That in itself wouldn’t be too horrible, annoying at best really, but the site was still having issues. It died in the last verification step…yet still went through? So uh, hell if I know how their security really is.
And back to that fraudulently accessed free credit report, apparently you can’t do crap about that. Can’t mark it as fraudulent, can’t get any information on who may have accessed it, even an IP address could potentially help! If you manage to reach a human by any chance, they seem to be as dumb as the automated machines, limited to either getting you a copy of your credit report or forwarding you to someone that can sell you their credit monitoring services.
So the moral of the story is to check your credit report. I guess. Just keep on top of your crap.
Here’s a bunch of games I’ve picked up over the last few…somethings. It’s hard to tell with iOS, a few of these I picked up without actually getting a chance to play for a while or just completely forgetting that I downloaded them. Damn this crazy app market.
Well it’s another Cave shooter port, not sure how much else there is to say about it. It doesn’t have full manual control options like Deathsmiles did which is a bit of a disappointment, but otherwise it appears solid. Original, Maniac, and Ultra are there (latter two have to be unlocked), and if you want the arcade bullet patterns and speed you can pick “Hell” difficulty, although I don’t know if the leaderboards take that into account.
Unlike the previous ports this one is a universal app, but not “HD”, which means it can run on the first iPad (unlike Espgaluda II HD). It’s still an improvement over playing the iPhone ports since the control extends fullscreen, and if you use something other the smallest scaling mode you’re only going through one resize vs the previous resize plus 2x resize.
It could use better quality sound though. And an option to get rid of that damn OpenFeint crap.
It’s a nice little word game from Zach Gage, the Unify and Bit Pilot guy. You have a grid of letters and you drag (or tap letters) to make words in any which way. There are special blocks you have to deal with to mix things up. One of them is a letter with a small number on it, with which you have to make a word of at least that many letters…which is a pain if it’s like a Q6. You can get around those with other special blocks that clear lines, or making a long enough word which clears out surrounding blocks.
Those blocks kind of limit it for trying to play long games, since you eventually get into a survival mode with whatever regular blocks you have left. On the plus side it has leaderboards and multiple modes to mess with. It has nifty little sounds that work nicely, but feels a bit sterile without music, disappointing considering the music in Gage’s previous games.
It’s a great little unique puzzle game with polish out the ass, about the only thing it doesn’t have is multiplayer. You have two sides of blocks and can only move pieces from one side to other, and this can only be done if the move results in a 2×2 block or more can be made.
If you ever thought to yourself, “man I really want something like Time Crisis but third person and side scrolling” then this game is for you, cause really that’s the easiest way to describe the game. When you do nothing you’re (generally) hiding behind cover and shooting exposes you to enemy fire. And like Time Crisis, most enemy fire doesn’t hit you, you only have to watch out for the particular highlighted red shots. You go from post to post doing this, sometimes with activities in between like light platforming or shooting and dodging on the run, and occasionally bosses.
Overall it’s a nice package, but gets repetitive. Not that my nephew noticed, he played through it on Thanksgiving rather than interacting with anyone.1
Do you like Star Wars and augmented reality and/or gyro controlled games? Cause this is a pretty good example of either one of those things. The last update finally brought iPad compatibility and gyro control with the Star Wars backdrops (vs camera only before). It’s gimmicky sure, but it’s a hell of a gimmick.
The biggest issue with the game is simply that it takes a while to load. Well that itself wouldn’t be a big deal, but it doesn’t support fast app switching so just switching out and back results in starting over from the splash screens. It does save your play and resume once you get going again at least.
Well this one is pretty old but it’s still great, kind of a choose your own adventure storybook mixed with light strategery in terms of decisions to make here and there. Like what action should you take when one of your clan leaders says someone’s wife has a fat ass and her husband gets offended?
And one little tip, don’t try making an alliance with the ducks. They’ll just laugh you out of town.
First Zelda: Skyward Sword came out. Then Black Friday/Cyber Monday/[fill in the blank] Week happened. Then a 3DS deal and multi game deals out of nowhere. And of course iOS crap all the time.
Now I have a crapload of stuff that I’ve only partially gotten into and will take a while to finish, so I’m just posting what my initial impressions for now. They’re turning out longer than I expected so this is suddenly a multi post effort. First up:
Well it has a tutorial that takes a while, but from what I’ve heard it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Twilight Princess. Ran a bit long and treated the player too much like an idiot for my tastes but wasn’t too bad otherwise.
A few dungeons into the game my gripes are unskippable dialog (particularly with characters that say the exact same thing, let me skip!), camera control at times, and a few annoying locked animations (opening doors, jumping into water). It’s easy enough to turn and Z-target the camera around usually but being able to move it around on the run would help greatly.
The MotionPlus control is fantastic, if a bit awkward at first. Things that would usually use the IR camera and sensor bar use the M+ instead, so you can enter whatever mode and just angle the remote to the direction you want without worrying about the sensor bar. The awkward part that takes getting used to is that there’s no true calibrated center now, it’s just when you enter the mode or manually recenter with a button.
For swordplay it can range from “what the hell *waggle*” to great. The main thing is that you have to be deliberate with your movement, you can’t just swing wildly because it goes into a full strike if you swing fast enough (locks into 45˚ increments when Z-targeting, any angle otherwise). And that could be fine, but the enemies are designed to force you to make controlled swings.
Speaking of enemies, I even died already cause I was playing recklessly! Multiple times along with other close calls! Granted part of that is because I sucked, but the combat is great fun and a nice challenge when you meet a new enemy you haven’t figured out yet.
The hub world of Skyloft doesn’t feel as big as Wind Waker’s, but part of that may have to do with the faster travel with the bird, for better or worse. The good is that you can get around decently quickly and it’s an active journey (completely motion controlled with waggle to flap)/climb)…the bad is that you lose part of that feel of cruising a great expanse and finding random crap in the middle of nowhere. Then again this may change later in the game for all I know. For now it doesn’t feel all that crazy to fly all the way around the map. One annoying thing that’s still around is the limited dialog from everyone outside of random side quests.
Another reason it probably doesn’t feel as large is that the uh, gamey game world is completely separate from Skyloft. These worlds are decently sized and provide enough stuff to do, at least until you obliterate all life in the area. The dungeons appear to be small, but they’re dense and make good use of the space
The aesthetic is a nice change and done pretty well, if handicapped by what the Wii can do. I’ve heard some later stuff gets pretty wacky (and have seen some instances myself already) so that’s something to look forward to.
So basically it’s good and Zelda-y, with the general good and bad that that implies. But that’s not including the swordplay which makes puts it over the top for me. I had fun with the simple Zelda combat before but the required amount of control here makes for a massive improvement.
Ever thought there was a team that beat your team, and they were exactly who you thought they were, but your team let them off the hook?
There are many ways of dealing with this dilemma besides crowning their ass. One would be taking out your frustration in Madden, but if you’re on the go, the iPhone one is a bit…lacking. So what’s a frustrated fan to do?
Sure the interface is clunky at best so it’s kind of annoying, but it’s worth it cause there’s nothing else out there like it, at least right now. It’s basically turned based strategy…BUT FOR FOOTBALL. And it plays out in 16-bit looking glory and vaguely NFL Films-y music.1
As if the Raiders would play any other defense
And look at this realism:
Their reputation precedes them
…even if it’s not the Raiders. There’s no NFL license so there’s no NFL teams, but the cities and team colors are there, although I haven’t checked to see if they’re all there.2 And as you probably guessed, there’s no NFL Players Association license either, so instead of say, Janikowski kicking 60 yard field goals, you have “PLAYER”.
What else is missing? Online play, but that’s coming! If the dev can fix up the interface, and even if they don’t to be honest, just being able to play against another human will be huge for this game. Graphically it has the old school feel down I think, sure as hell doesn’t have high res graphics, but it could use some cleaning up of the artwork or scaling, it all looks a bit blurry.
For now it’s only free with ads, a pay version/ad removal option isn’t available yet. I wish there was cause damn, I want to give this guy money:
On a personal note, November 7th will mark the one-year anniversary of the day that our oldest son was in a horrific accident and suffered traumatic brain injury, beginning an amazing adventure in all our lives. His fight to come back (which is still ongoing), along with the faith of my family, was a big factor in my deciding to stretch myself and write this app. Life is sure interesting.
See, there’s even an inspiring story behind it too!
After Al died it was hard to imagine the Raiders being the same ever again. While the last decade of crap was frustrating, some entertainment could still be had cause you never knew what the hell they were going to do. And more amazingly, the last few years of seemingly insane (at the time) moves are actually working out. Turns out crazy old Al still knew what he was doing.
Hue Jackson’s reign of terror has been nothing if not interesting. Ultimately his moves have all been in the name of trying to just win, baby, and realistically they’ve just been ballsy moves and nothing too crazy.
Not even White Vick shocked me as much as Hue’s latest move. Following the Raiders for many years has dulled me to seemingly crazy moves, but this, this is a whole new level of flabbergastation. The phrase “crazy enough to work” has never seemed so apt.
Welcome back Al. It’s like you secretly escaped into a Lazarus Pit while everyone thought you were dead, and came back stronger than ever. And apparently black.
As fun as a Photoshop would be I’ll hold off on my own…at least for now.