Friday, June 24, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vaca- er, Hiatus

So, if you paid attention to the handy-dandy gadget I put on the sidebar with my twitter feed, you no doubt saw that I implemented that at just the right moment, for directly after, I found a real use for it:  informing you, the readers, that my computer had gone all pear-shaped.  So, I hope you saw that at some point!  Because it's not an intentional outage that I went through, I assure you, merely something out of my control.  The skinny of it is something the internet has, no doubt, told you anyway:  Never buy Norton Anything.  Norton Anti-virus, Internet Security, what have you, just don't shell out the money.  It can, quite possibly, get infected in such a way that it turns into a megalomaniacal super-tyrant who will ruin your computer if not stopped.  And the means of stopping it involve completely wiping the computer.

Thankfully, the guy who fixed our computer has been doing things with computers since I was a kid, so he knows what he's doing, and the important things that were on this computer were saved.  So no worries on that.  He even optimized it (and gave it a half-gig more of RAM, bringing the total up to, uh, 1 gig) for us and it works like a dream now.  A....ten year old, technological hurr-durr of a dream, but a dream nonetheless.  So hopefully, everything will be cool on the computer front.  If only Windows would, uh, stop updating.

Anyways, you likely don't care about that.  You care about what the title says:  What I did with my, er, 'time off'.  And I'll tell you what, it was a lot.  I'd like to make special mention to my PSP for being awesomer and awesomer every time I want to do something with it.  Thanks in part to the world going all mobile-sites, the browser in the PSP is a little more capable than the days or yore, and while it's still not perfect, it's a fine stand-by while we wait for the real treasure:  The Vita's browser.  Which...I imagine will just be the PS3's browser.  But hey, it works fine, and it streams youtube videos.  Hopefully we'll see that on the Vita as well, since that's the only thing that could have made the hiatus more bearable.

I'm sure it'll surprise no one (especially if you kept up with my twitter) that the bulk of my time away was spent with Sucker Punch's latest gem, inFamous 2, which has me feeling all sorts of things; the majority of them being good.  I will open by berating Sucker Punch for making the same mistake in this game as they did the last:  Holding out on us with the really good mobility powers.  Without spoiling too much for you, at a certain point, you get a power that makes getting up to higher places much, much easier, in a way that I akined to being Electric Spider-Man, but that point is not in the first half of the game, much like the Static Thrusters weren't that soon in the first game.  Which is not a good thing!  Stop holding out, Sucker Punch!

My only other gripe would be, in a surprising twist, too much of a good thing.  Namely, quite a few powers locked to the R2 key.  Two are in my head off-hand (one of them being a good side power, since that's what I beat the game on), and it's just too much of a hassle to switch between them.  They both make mobility really, really excellent, and it's just a shame that you can't swap one of them with a different key to make use of the both of them in a quick, easy, and efficient way.

Aside from that, the rest of the game made me various, various degrees of happy, save one part.  Which, if you've beaten the game on good, you know what part and I'm not saying anything else.  Suffice to say that I had to tell myself repeatedly that it's a comic book game, and comic books do that sort of thing all the time and keep going, so I'm not going to worry too much on it.

I know I focused more on the things I was "Ehhhhhh" about, but you have to look at the facts here:  I spent probably 20-30 hours playing inFamous 2, beat it one and a fourth times, and I have precisely three gripes about it, two of which aren't really even bad.  If that's not enough of an endorsement for you, I could very likely gush here for paragraphs about what I loved about the game, but I can just narrow it down here:  Everything I didn't mention above.  Alright?  It's all just perfect.  Go buy it.

Also on my list of things I did, was delve back into the wonderful world of LittleBigPlanet the Second, which made me wonder why I ever left to begin with.  And then I looked at the stack of games I've yet to even touch still and mouthed a silent "Oh yeah" to myself.  However, LBP2 has likely carved out a niche in my everyday while I watch my nephews at least, since they just love love love watching the movies people have created in LittleBigPlanet 2.  Which makes it easy on me too; I can just load it and enjoy as they do!  Though, I do love playing the game, of course.

And of course, dipping back into LBP2 has also meant a resurgence of my ever-long desire to revamp my single published level, Journey's Fall, that I have come to think of as the half-finished manuscript on my coffee table.  I'm proud of it, but it's not done, and I don't know what to do with it; or rather, I do know, but I can't will myself to do so.  And while I might show it off to people who come around and get positive feedback, it could likely never get finished.  Though I really do intend to finish it.  And I do have a few ideas.  We'll see if LittleBigThings will make a comeback, though.

Also on the rather long list of accomplishments is the fact that I have, indeed, scratched one game off of my "To Finish" list:  Grand Theft Auto:  The Lost and Damned.  Though, that's the only positive note about it, as TLAD is, for a lack of a better term, completely and totally poor.  I wanted to like it.  I really did.  Because I liked GTA IV!  At least, I did.  Coming back to the mechanics after such an extended period of time made them feel archaic by comparison.  It was rough getting back in, especially considering the lovely missions and the absolutely fabulous mid-mission checkpoint system, but after I got them back down...well, I managed to finish the game.  (I will note, that obviously, I hated the missions and checkpoints.)

Note to Rockstar for future reference:  If you have a goddamn shootout with five waves of people and then a bike chase to kill even more people on bikes, maybe you want to put a checkpoint somewhere in there.  I cannot put into words the amount of frustration one feels when you're down to just one guy left to kill and you end up dying.


Only to have to restart the whole goddamn thing over again.


Especially if one of those times is, technically, your own fault because you don't remember how to switch weapons on a vehicle.  Gee thanks, game!  What am I going to do with goddamn pipe bombs on a motorcycle against other guys on motorcycles?  The answer?

Accidentally kill myself.

Yeah.  That was just.....I'm sure you can imagine what it was.  And all in all, I can appreciate the scale of the later missions, but that doesn't mean I liked them or thought they were done well.  While the last missions arguably reaches Three-Leaf Clover levels of grandeur, the execution is much less appealing and even becomes a bit sloppy, like the rest of the game.  (I know it's just an expansion, but it's full-featured enough.)

Directly after, I started up The Ballad of Gay Tony, and it's like friggin' night and day.  The Ballad of Gay Tony, I only got through the first mission before I turned it off, but I was happy while playing it.  Because it was fun.  The animation is noticeably better, the voice-work is wonderful, and the direction is just much, much better overall.  I do believe I'm going to have fun with it.  But time will tell, of course.

Rounding out the list of things I did is the all-encompassing term of "Portable Gaming", by which Phantasy Star Portable 2 and Rune Factory 3 were my main games.  Anyone from the school of Phantasy Star Online will appreciate the gravity of the statement, "I got my main character from Level 80 to Level 82" whereas everyone else will likely shrug at the two levels of advancement.  But those of us that know, know, that that is not something to shrug over.  As for Rune Factory 3, I had my second child on my main file and started a new one because why not with the intent on getting all the girls to like my character so he'll have supreme pick when it comes time to get married.

I might even be forgetting a thing or two here, but the short of it is that the computer is back and better than ever, and I had a lot of free time in the meantime.  But now Kupowered is back in business!


  1. I was telling my brother earlier today, actually, about the power-switch thing. I forget which direction it is on the D-pad, but you pull it up, tap the button whose power you want to switch, and it cycles.

    The thing is, it doesn't precisely cycle. If you mostly use one or two powers and you currently have one of them activated, it will always cycle to the other most-used power first, and so on (seemingly) down the list.

    For the most part, I found switching between my R2 powers required just two button presses, and all of a half-second.

    In other news: The world was shocked today, when Chance had something to say about inFamous 2.

  2. Also - glad you're back, man!

  3. Yeah, I did notice that it seemed to pick what you used more than not, but I still would have liked to have just bound one power to a different button, since the quick-swap just wrecks my flow for some reason.

    Still, like I said, not much of a complaint so much as it is...well, whatever it is. I'm sure that makes sense somehow.

    Thanks, too. Great to be back in the saddle. I really did miss updating while I was gone.