Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sadly, Mega Man Legends 3 has been cancelled

As I was inching closer and closer to completing George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons last night, I took a small break between powerful chapters to see how the Internet was holding up. Maybe I shouldn’t have as I already knew that the night was gonna get sad and frustrating once I closed the latest ASoIaF tome for good, but the Internet exists for checking, and checked it I certainly did. Scrolling through my Google Reader feeds, a headline popped out at me, and I read on, grimacing, trying to fathom the what and why: Capcom had announced that they were canceling Mega Man Legends 3, citing that certain criteria had not been met to push the project forward into full production. See Capcom community liaison Greg Moore’s words right here:

“Part of [the game development] process includes an assessment of whether the title will go into full production, and is based on a number of criteria with input from different sectors of the company. Unfortunately it was not felt that the Mega Man Legends 3 Project met the required criteria.”

Sigh. That hurts.

There’s not much on the horizon that has looked appealing enough to warrant more use of my Nintendo 3DS, but Mega Man Legends 3 (and its Prototype Version demo thingy) were definite contenders for my gaming hands and eyes. I still swear I have a copy of the original PlayStation Mega Man Legends somewhere around my apartment, but have not gone looking for it yet; it’s a game that was different enough to be a Mega Man title and more. I liked it for how hard it tried to not be the same ol’ same ol’, and while I never got to play any more titles in the series after that I knew that I’d pick up MML3 and its demo on day one. A portable MML is enough to get me smiling. I was definitely bummed to learn that the Prototype Version wasn’t going to be available when the eShop opened, and I should’ve seen through that thin veil, that Capcom was out for revenge against Keiji Inafune, that they’d rather push less exciting franchises forward than give a series that, without a doubt, has its fans, has personality, has a thousand and five stories yet to be told.

I have to wonder what criteria wasn’t met. More than likely, we’ll never know. Farewell, Mega Man Legends 3. May your health gauge refill sooner than later.

There’s no “i” in Team Fortress 2, but there is a “me”

Over the weekend, I picked up two games thanks to some coercing coupons from GameStop, but really I picked up six games, as one game is actually five games bundled nicely on a single Xbox 360 disc. It’s called The Orange Box, and it’s one helluva package, especially as a used copy; for just over $20.00, I now have access to Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Man, that’s a lot of 2s in there. I’m sure I’ll be musing about those first four games at some point, but let’s use today to dive into Team Fortress 2, a game I didn’t think I would like, but am having fun with, as well as a game that is sadly not the be-all, end-all version of itself.

Team Fortress 2 is an online, team-based, first-person shooting multiplayer bonanza. You pick a class, a map, and a type of game (capture the flag, capture/defend control points, arena, and so on), and you’re off to shoot non-team members, capture sections of the map, and wait patiently for your character to respawn. On the Xbox 360 version, there’s six maps available, and I’ve gotten to try ’em all once, which should be obvious to all y’all Achievements stalkers:


World Traveler (5G): Play a complete game on every map.

The six maps are all about the same size, a medium build, with a few spots of elevation, but otherwise there’s a lot of staircases and tight corridors to contend with. Each team has a home base where they can restock on health and items. No real direct interaction with anything on the map though, and there’s no destruction a la Red Faction tech. My favorite playground is whatever the snowy one is called. Snowscape? Snow City? Las Frozen Vegas? I can’t remember, and I’m definitely too lazy to look it up.

As y’all know, I’m pretty terrible at competitive shooting games, and that fact has not changed one bit since giving Team Fortress 2 an hour or two of my gaming life. I get sniped from afar, set aflame all the time, and knifed in the back the moment I step into enemy territory. But regardless, I’m having fun. I think it has something to do with the wonderful art style, a loose, cartoony feel that evokes Pixar’s The Incredibles and gives me a sense that everyone else is just here to have fun and not take it so seriously like a lot of Call of Duty fanatics. The controls and simplicity of the gameplay also help; most classes only get two gun-type weapons to use and one melee weapon, and there’s no rain showers of endless grenades. I think I actually did my best with the Medic class, as I kept away from the firefights and healed teammates as they needed.

Do you play Team Fortress 2? What’s your favorite class? And if you’d like to shoot me in the (cartoony) face or help take down others with me, please add me on Xbox Live; my gamertag is PaulyAulyWog.

Half-hour review of the horrible Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows DS game

Firstly, while on vacation, I played Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One for the Nintendo DS for thirty Crucio-worthy minutes, as well as took notes on the rotten thing. You can read them by clicking this very sentence or the image above. You’re choice, and you’re also very welcome. So far, LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4 has been the finest and grandest treatment of the source material, and that’s a fact both amazing and sad.

Secondly, I’m sorry for the lack of content here at Grinding Down this past week, and the lack of content is certainly not due to…a lack of content. I have plenty of videogame thingies to talk about, such as the four most recent games I’ve completed (#25 – Yard Sale Hidden Treasures: Sunnyville, #26 – Super Mario Land , #27 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One, #28 – L.A. Noire), as well as more topics from that 30 Days of Gaming meme. And, uh, Netflix on the 3DS. So what’s the hold-up then?

Me. Crippling depression and bouts of meh. Overall exhaustion. George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons. Moving from a tiny attic apartment into an awesome house. And the day jobbery. July is without a doubt our busiest month, and I’m up to my neck in work, which gives me little time to ponder about the silly and frustrating aspects of gaming and its industry, much as I want to. As always, the moment Grinding Down begins to feel like work is the moment I abandon it completely; just stay tuned, dear readers, and I promise some more content soonish. Until then, please do head over to The First Hour for great videogame coverage!

30 Days of Gaming, #23 – Game with the best graphics or art style

Gameplay always trumps graphics for me, but there are the occasional videogames where the graphics or art style simply just can’t be ignored. It almost gets in the way of whatever you’re trying to get character X to do, and you have to give in, take a hit, sit back and gaze upon the sweat and tears of artists and designers and visionaries alike.

In this generation of gaming, high-res graphics are pushing the boundaries of real and unreal, bringing in unbelievable lighting, textures, and movement. Those cars in the latest Gran Turismo games might as well be plucked right off some heavily raced and televised track; those plants and jungle bushes in Uncharted are covered in bugs, and you know it; those faces in L.A. Noire are true faces, skinned off their respective actors by sick-minded men like Dr. Hannibal Lector and tossed into the game to give you a realism unlike any you’ve previously seen. There’s a new level of game graphics, as well as a new horde of gamers demanding they get better and better. That’s cool and all, but I’m a firm believer that we’ve reached the peak–or a few feet from it–and that this is as good as it gets, which is fine because realistic graphics are not the be-all, end-all, and you just have to look at the indie gaming scene to see what can be done with less…or more creativity.

Games like Limbo, PixelJunk Shooter, Bit.Trip Void, and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom all stand tall with stellar gameplay and a look to match it. Would Limbo have been as haunting as it was if you could actually read the little boy’s expressions? Most likely no. Would those quirky pie puzzles feel as quirky if it wasn’t for that silent films-esque presentation? But enough about those titles. Let’s get wet.

I think Aquaria has a fantastic look to it, nailing a world we honestly don’t know too much about and only get to glimpse sparingly through documentaries or movies or fascinating photos. Like in Finding Nemo, the scenes set underwater in the wild ocean where life is all colors and bubbles were a sight to behold. It’s so foreign and strange under the water, and yet it can be equally calming and uplifting, just floating in the blue, weightless, full of wonder. There are two men behind Aquaria, Derek Yu and Alec Holowka, and Yu was the lead artist. His work gives Aquaria a hand-drawn, storybook style, complimenting the 2D exploration gameplay. It looks gorgeous in screenshots, and then doubly in action. Loneliness is an important theme and feeling in the game; one certainly feels all by their lonesome when swimming gently through open waters or the kelp forest. Items are more detailed in the foreground, but blurry shadows and outlines of other structures in the background give off a great sense of scale. And brain coral never looked so brainy.

I do vow to return to Aquaria and Naija’s troubles someday, maybe a day when my Mac isn’t on the verge of breaking. At least for one more look at beauty in motion.

Four heroes, one light, a final fantasy, and trying again

Tara got me Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light this past Christmas, and I played a bit of it, but quickly found myself stuck, my party of four split and unsure of where to go next. It was all so very unclear. And that’s a shame as the game itself is gorgeous to look at on the Nintendo DS, with a storybook feel to the graphics and classic fantasy soundtrack and adorably colorful towns to explore. I also loved the way the job system was implemented, focusing on wearing different crowns and enhancing them with dropped gems from defeated monsters. And just like in Dragon Quest IX, changing gear and hats reflects truly with your characters, meaning that sword of +2 fire looks like it means it. From what I played, it was a good game, but also brutally difficult.

The high difficulty–in my eyes–stems from two parts. The first has to do with the battle system; it’s traditional turn-based fighting with a seemingly minor change, but it’s one that can mean the difference between surviving a commonplace fight or failing and losing a good chunk of your gems. See, you don’t get to select who you are attacking or healing or using an item on. You just select Attack, Heal, or Item and hope that the AI behind all the menus can do the correct and smart thing. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, leading to a couple frustrating fights, especially when the bosses come stomping around. The other reason for FF: T4HoL‘s difficulty has to do with its love of gameplay design of yesteryear; there’s no map, no in-game message on what to do next, no quest log, no sense of true accomplishment when it comes to rescuing a prisoner or defeating a legendary monster, no hand-holding whatsoever. You are a hero of light, and you are on your own. The story is simple and without pepper, meaning it can be forgotten easily even as you play the dang game, but thank goodness for online walkthroughs.

That said, I’ve recently gotten back into the game thanks to this wee vacation of mine. I had to grind a bit to get my only two heroes in the party (Aire Samantha and Jusqua Goyle) high enough to beat a specific dungeon, but now I’m making much more progress and much easier at that. Currently, we’re inside a mysterious whirlpool in Liberte, fighting off a lot of water elemental enemies and slimes that like to merge with their brethren. I’m hoping to unlock more crowns sooner than later though as the measly three right now are not enough to call life exciting. Evidently, there are a few crowns you can get from playing wireless multiplayer games with other FF: T4HoL players, but alas, every time I log on, there’s no one to join up with. Guess I should start pretending like these Seamstress and Beastmaster crowns don’t exist anymore. Waaaaaaaaah.

And that’s the update for now on being a hero of light. I’ll be back to let you know if when evil is destroyed for all of time.

Another day, another patch for Fallout: New Vegas

Old World Blues will be released on all platforms on July 19, but before that can happen, a patch must hit to fix some problems with Fallout: New Vegas. And when I say some, I really mean a plenitude of glitches and bugs and outstanding wonkiness. One might have thought a lot of these would’ve gotten taken care of back when an earlier patch was also put together. Oh well. Can’t get 100% in V.A.T.S.-patching all the time. Right, Obsidian?

This newest patch is a big one, so I’ll put all of its updates and corrections below a cut. Clickity click to read on.

Continue reading

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in

Hey, Grinding Down readers, did I mention that I’m on vacation? Well…I am.

That’s not to say I haven’t been gaming some because vacation, to me, does imply some videogaming, but just not enough to get the creative juices flowing for writing over here. I did end up purchasing two more downloadable titles for my Nintendo 3DS: Super Mario Land and Dragon Quest Wars. I love the former for nostalgia and beat it in one sitting in less than half an hour, and the latter is a little weird and unclear, but I’ll continue to give it a sporting try.

Speaking of sports, I’ve also played some golf while on vacation, and this is real life golf, with real life sweating and real life swings and real life pars. I got par on a par 3 hole, and that’s all I will ever need out of that sport, truthfully. I also ended up winning minigolf last night at the Ocean City boardwalk, using my skillz efficiently and effectively. Going golfing again today; don’t be too jealous.

When not using my Xbox 360 to show my sisters the greatness that is Game of Thrones, I’ve been playing some more L.A. Noire. Closing in on the end of the game, methinks. Hoping it all comes together in the end because it seems more like we’ve already reached the title’s peak, and now there’s nowhere to go but down. Like, I’m still waiting for the newspapers and war flashbacks to click, and then for Cole to make something of himself in Los Angeles.

Naturally, while on vacation, I’m spending some time thinking about what I’ll do after vacation is over. The third DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, Old World Blues, comes out next week, as does Bastion…I think. Too lazy to actually look this up for confirmation. Being a videogame journalist is tough work, y’know. Then there’s the final Harry Potter movie, as well as A Dance With Dragons to zoom through and beginning to slowly move out of the Leaky Cauldron, making for one crazy stressful time upon returning to the real world.

Oh, and there’s been a lot of Munchkin happening in South Jersey. More on that later, but I will say that Munchkin Zombies is particulary fantastic. Mmm brains…

Okay, gotta put pants on to go golfing. The course I’m going to has a strict “must wear pants” policy.

Games Completed in 2011, #24 – Red Faction: Guerrilla

I thought Red Faction was really neat, what with their revolutionary tech at the time of being able to blow a hole in a wall and then go through said hole. Red Faction II did all of this as well, but tried to mix up the gameplay too much and also annoyingly threw in waves of zombie monsters. While the main mission stunk, I did enjoy myself in the local multiplayer against bots; yes, this was around the time that everybody and their brother were playing Halo over the Internet, but I lacked such a connection, and so it was bots for me. No big deal. I got really good, especially on Deathmatch, and you’ll just have to take my word on that.

Red Faction: Guerrilla is not Red Faction III. Still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing though. This time, the game is set on an open-world Mars and is not a first-person shooter. Instead, it’s a third-person action adventure title (with some driving, too), and our main dude Alec Mason is out for revenge over his brother’s murder, as well as to bring down the oppressive Earth Defense Force. That harkens back a bit more to Red Faction‘s plot where a no-name miner begins the great uprising. As Mason moves forward with his retribution plan, he’ll befriend some folk and make many enemies and destroy a bleep-load of EDF property, slowly whittling down their numbers and resources.

I originally played the game for a good amount of time upon initial purchase, but stopped after some of the Dust missions proved too hard and frustrating. Mission instructions were not very clear, and the moment you were caught out in the open and not hiding behind a crate, you were most certainly dead. It was when–many months later–I switched the difficulty from Normal to Casual that I saw myself advancing better. And I’m totally okay with that. There’s no reason to not to if it’ll help me experience and play a game I bought with hard-earned Space Credits. After the difficulty switch, it was a quick run through the remaining missions, which all lead up to an underwhelming finale that saw Mason rushing towards his target, throwing like ten sticky bombs on it, and blowing it up nice and good. And so:


Red Dawn (100G): Liberated Mars.

You’re welcome.

It’s an okay game. The truest fun comes from exploring the map, seeing some building you want to crumble, and then doing it however you want. The missions and driving aspects are less fun, often punishing or too nit-picky on how they want things done. After beating the game, I went back to clean up some Achievements, but there’s several for collecting things like ore deposits and radio tags that I just don’t want to go for. Too big of a map for such trivial thingies. Oh well. Online multiplayer is fun and something I expect to revisit from time to time, but waiting ten minutes for a game to start is not fun. So it has its pros and cons just like Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s multiplayer.

Let’s end this post with a quote taken out of context from Red Faction: Guerrilla, but something all of us gamers can understand completely, yes? Here it is:

“If the EDF didn’t want us shooting these explosive barrels, they shouldn’t leave them around so much! Right?”

Damn skippy.