Tag Archives: The First Hour

Games Completed in 2011, #27 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Hey, remember when I played a little bit of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One for the Nintendo DS last month? Well, immediately after the alloted 30 minutes of review coverage was up, I actually came down with a severe case of sadisticaurus meh, a horrible fever-inducing infection that makes gamers play horrible videogames simply to add them to a “completed games” list.

Yes, I continued to play Deathly Hallows, Part One, all the way to the end credits, simply because I knew I could polish it off in a few hours, not at all because I was having a good time. If I was having a good time, I’d have played it to the end as well, but I wouldn’t feel so guilty, much like I do right now. Well, the first step in admitting you’re a completionist-whore is…admitting you’re a completionist-whore. Hi, my name is Paul, and I like to complete things.

What else can I say about Deathly Hallows, Part One that wasn’t said so viciously in my half-hour review?

Not much. It sucks. It doesn’t even try to grasp some of that Rowling magic, and it is beyond a waste of material. Throughout the game, there is still a lack of music, a lack of innovation, a lack of fun. I have to wonder if anyone outside the development team gave it a look before it shipped. Probably not. If you’re looking for a fun Harry Potter game on the Nintendo DS, this is not it. Go for the LEGO version instead. I beg you.

And that’s it. I refuse to spend more time and words on this matter.

::Apparates the funk outta here::

Free-roaming and not knowing what to do in Minecraft

About a week or so ago, I openly mused on my Twitter profile about how I both wanted to give Minecraft a try and at the same time…did not. The former desire comes from the fact that Minecraft-related things are everywhere across the Internet; can’t go to YouTube without seeing some video about how this person and that person faithfully recreated Middle-earth or Mass Effect‘s The Citadel or all of Westeros. Can’t visit any kind of videogame-related blog without seeing a post or two or three devoted to why this beta game is greater than fully completed titles. Crazy things like that. The game’s infecting my brainspace, and I love its trixel art style, which helps it stand out as, yes, indie, but also something different. The latter desire…well, I guess you could say I was a bit worried about getting addicted to it, hard.

Magically, the peeps behind Humble Indie Bundle 3 were listening in, and have now included a free Minecraft acceptance coupon for as long as the bundle is running. No, wait. The bundle ends in five days. So that’s not correct. Customers that bought the bundle can play Minecraft for free up to…August 14, 2011. Ten more days. Now I have no excuse but to give the game a try and see if it’s for me, if it’s something I’d like, if it’s something worth devoting time and wrist cramps to on my crappy Macbook or if it’s better to wait for the Xbox 360 version.

All of those questions will be answered. I’m currently writing up a special first-hour review of Minecraft for, well, The First Hour naturally. And by special, I mean special. Just y’all wait and see…

In the meantime, I’ll continue to roam aimlessly, punch trees and grass and pumpkins, and die every time the sun goes down. That’s been my experience so far, but who knows–it might all just click randomly. Do I really have to build my own fort?

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!

Check out my coverage of the first 30 minutes of Link’s Awakening

Hey! That Ocarina of Time game is being released again for like the seventh time today, now gracing the Nintendo 3DS with its legendariness and N64 graphics. I’m still unsure if I even care enough to want to check it out; more than likely, my second Big Name retail purchase for the 3DS is gonna be the next Animal Crossing title. Which, evidently, lets your character dress up like Link. Life’s a funny thing.

But another Zelda game was re-released in the last week or so, and that one I’ve actually played a bit. It’s called The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, and I covered the game’s first 30 minutes for The First Hour. CLICK THIS SENTENCE TO READ ABOUT ME FAILING TO REALIZE I COULD MOVE SEA URCHINS OUT OF THE WAY WITH THE SHIELD.

That was posted a few days ago, but I forgot to link to it. My bad. Yeah, Link’s Awakening is a lot of fun. Easy to pick up, easy to put down for a little break. The music, my gods…the music. I’ve progressed a little further too; now I’m trying to collect enough golden leaves to appease some dude who–I’m assuming–will help Link on his journey to make the world’s largest omelette. I’ve gotten four down, but still need one more. Hopefully I won’t have to resort to using a walkthrough, but the overworld map is pretty big, and Link–a.k.a. me–can get lost fairly quickly.

Onwards to another quest for magical treasure

Over the weekend, at my niece’s and nephew’s first birthday party, I was chatting with my friend Kevin, one half of Math the Band, and he tipped me off to a game he absolutely loved, and I was surprised to learn it was for the…Nintendo Wii. Usually, that sort of thing doesn’t happen. The game turned out to be called Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure, and it’s a point-and-click adventure driven by the desire for super booty. Hmm…that sounds a little familiar. And yeah, I know, both touch upon monkeys as well.

So, the very next day, I was out and about at the mall, trying to ignore what day it actually was, and I found Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure for $9.00. I decided to play pirate and be daring and give it a whirl, even though buying Wii games still feels a little shameful these days. Anyways, once home, I checked over at The First Hour to see if this was something I could do some early minutes coverage of, but it seemed like Greg Noe already took care of the game: first hour review and full hour review. I was a little bummed to see he had not fallen in love with the title as much as Kevin seemed, but I popped it into the Wii anyways and played for about 30 minutes.

It’s not bad. The music is nice, but the sound effects that Zack and Wiki make after every single sentence is maddening, and I’m going to have to either play with the game on lower volume or straight up mute that option. I died twice, which is always a rare yet refreshing thing in point-and-click games. I love all the colors and cartoony item design and zany characters, as well as the amount of shiz there is to collect. Not sure how much I’m gonna enjoy waggling the Wiimote for each level, but 30 minutes didn’t drain me. Right. I’m pretty cautious, as it seems this game is the case of “love it” or “hate it” and maybe I don’t ever want to get to that place where I have to stand my ground. We’ll see how it goes, or if I ever even remember to play it again. That happens a lot with Wii games for me…

In a span of three days, I purchased two pirate-themed games. That’s pretty amazing. Don’t bother arrrrguing the point either or ye be walking the plank before the sun sets.

30 Days of Gaming, #15 – Post a screenshot from game you’re playing right now

I’m gonna take advantage of today’s topic train from the 30 Days of Gaming meme to also link to a new review I did for The First Hour. It’s of Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar, the most recent iteration of the seemingly popular farming sim games. I covered the game’s first thirty minutes, and most of that time was spent in a slow tutorial downpour. I’ll be back at a later point in time to dig deeper into the game because–no matter what–I’m going to at least get through an entire year of this slog.

Here’s the image I’d like to present to y’all to represent the game, and the reason I’m picking it is for the absurd amount of G this character has:

I think the highest I’ve accumulated at this point is around 15,000G, and that’s after selling everything I owned–including my very soul–at this week’s bazaar. Oh, and Antoinette is totally snobby to me, too. Why anyone would want to pursue her for marriage is beyond me. I’m going after Sherry, but at this point, it seems like it’s easier to get chickens to like me than actual people. Sad and disturbing, but also very true. Ah, the life of a farmer…

Zero money budgeted to Secret Agent Clank’s loading screens

For a good while last night, I believed my PlayStation 2 was dead. I was trying to get some play time in before our usual run of Thursday night TV hit–Community, The Office, Parks and Recreation–but the blasted thing just wouldn’t turn on. I checked multiple times that everything was plugged in, and to my horrible eyes, it seemed so. Grumbling, I gave up, watched some TV, and figured I’d try again; the reason I didn’t want to keep plugging and unplugging wires the whole night was that it might throw off our cable or Internet; we have a lot of wires behind our entertainment stand, too many to remember which one goes with what technology.

In the end, I did actually miss plugging in a single plug, and once I did, my PlayStation 2, which “I’ve had since I bought it,” powered on. Whew. I take really good care of my videogame systems, and to see one almost kick the bucket was a little unnerving. Heck, even my original SNES, all yellowed and dusty, still plays catridges. But that’s besides the point. I got my PlayStation 2 working, and it was now time to play some of my newest purchases.

First up was Secret Agent Clank, but before I could truly play I had to free up space on my sole PS2 memory card. Kind of a tough quest actually. I mean, I don’t even have my copy of Suikoden V anymore, but my save data shows some 65+ hours put into it, and I’d hate to delete it simply because I never beat the final boss, and there’s hope that maybe, possibly, hopefully, one day I might get the chance to try again. So I deleted save data for XIII, Killzone, and Odin Sphere. That seemed to do the ticket, as now I have enough available for Clank’s top-secret adventure.

After selecting NEW GAME, Secret Agent Clank opens up…with a loading screen. It’s of a spaceship flying across the screen through space. There’s no music, just a soft whooshing sound as it passes by. This happens about nine more times, with the only change being new angles. Each pass takes about three to four seconds, so we’re looking at almost 30 seconds of just sitting and staring and, unfortunately, zoning out. Those whooshes need to be bottled and sold as nonprescription sleeping pills. From what I can tell, there’s zero to little loading time on the original PSP version, meaning this port is all for the worse. Now, in previous Ratchet and Clank titles for the PlayStation 2, there were similar loading screens when traveling from planet to planet, but I swear it was never more than three instances of a spaceship flying past. Not nine or ten. Ugh.

Once we’re past the happy, happy, joy, joy loading fun-times, we see Clank trying to infiltrate the Boltaire Museum Mission Impossible style, tethered to a wire and dropping down through cut glass. He looks pretty freakin’ adorable in his tuxedo. However, he witnesses his ol’ buddy Ratchet stealing from the museum. PLOT TWIST! I played through the game’s first level, which introduces some of Clank’s abilities and skills and kind of ends on some weird Guitar Hero-esque QTEs, and then, after another stretch of loading screens and getting stuck at the part where I have to control three mini-Clankbots, called it quits. Not because I hated what was happening, but I was tired and wanted to watch some more Party Down.

I dunno. As always, the gameplay is fun and varied, but these loading screens might just cause me to go insane. Stay tuned for drooling and inconhesive rambling.

Tiny text is the plan, the plan is death

The Xbox 360 version of Torchlight was my breaking point, and so I wrote a little editorial about tiny text in videogames, which is one of the worst new gaming trends currently invading this industry, and you can read my sophisticated rantings over at The First Hour. I’ve also linked the image above, which will hopefully help you with your clicking.

And thanks goes to the late and great James Tiptree, Jr. for help with the article’s title.

So, yeah, read on. Don’t worry; the font size over at The First Hour is perfectly fine. Let me know what you think. I can’t really imagine there’s many people out there in the world that actually enjoy squinting at their TV screens, but hey…some people are oddjobs.

FIRST HOUR REVIEW – The Hobbit

If you’re an attentive Grinding Down reader, then you’ll clearly remember me picking up The Hobbit (GameCube version) recently. Well, I’ve now played the first sixty minutes of it, and you can read about all the exciting stuff that happened during said time over at The First Hour: http://firsthour.net/first-hour-review/the-hobbit

When asked if I’d continue playing, I answered “yes.” Alas, I’ve yet to dive back into The Hobbit and sneak past those three trolls, but I will. All in due time. Hey, Frodo didn’t destroy the One Ring in a day after all!

The Worst Box Art of 2010

If only everything in the world was beautiful. Alas, not all can claim such a stature. Especially not videogames. So I came up with a small handful of 2010 videogames with horrible box art, and you can see my delightful picks over at The First Hour.

Go read and tell me which one wins the ultimate Frown Crown!