>Cross-Platform Recap #1

>Gaming recaps are boring, but work just got slow and I haven’t written anything in this space in a while. And being that I’m now fully one week into total mastery over this generation of consoles, a little documentation is probably necessary.

PS3: While this was an anniversary gift from my wife, it should be stated that this was bought not for the games but for its Blu-Ray abilities, and to that end I went bananas on Amazon and picked up a bunch of Blu-Ray discs:

  • No Country For Old Men
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  • Juno
  • Walk Hard
  • Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • Independence Day
  • Live Free or Die Hard
  • Run Lola Run

We haven’t watched all of them, but I can say that Die Hard looks fucking fantastic, Run Lola Run looks far better than its previous DVD release, and Life of Brian looks about as good as its ever going to look, which maybe isn’t saying much but, well, there it is.

The purchase of the PS3 also effectively means that we’re now also using the PS3 as our default DVD player; when we bought our HDTV, we also bought a rather awesome OPPO DVD player that has tremendous 1080p upscaling abilities, but the PS3 does a pretty nice job of upscaling as it is.

As for the gaming side of things: I had to choose between Uncharted and Ratchet & Clank, and I chose Uncharted, but then Heavenly Sword arrived in the mail, and I sorta got sucked into it. I didn’t finish it, however. Even though the game is only about 5 hours long, and even though I was almost at the end, the game’s difficulty suddenly went from “OK” to “Surprise, you suck at this game” and, well, I hate it when that happens. I get what the game is trying to do with the motion control sections, but it doesn’t work, and it’s almost never fun. (It also pretty much always caught me by surprise – I tend to slump somewhat on the couch, with my controller pointed upwards, and so whenever one of these sections popped up, it always took me a second or two to realize that I had to suddenly sit up straight and really guide these arrows or cannonballs to their intended targets, which they invariably missed anyway.) That said, the game’s production values are off the charts, and I can honestly say that I haven’t really seen anything like it (or Uncharted, or even the 10 minutes I saw of R&C) on the 360.

Xbox360: I am a little surprised at how little I’ve thought about Liberty City since I finished GTA4. All throughout my time playing it, I was absolutely convinced that it was the best in the franchise (it is), and that Liberty City was the most absorbing and interesting city I’d ever played in (it is), and that I’d end up gunning for 100% Completion simply because I’d never be able to stop playing. Well, I haven’t really played it for more than 10 minutes at a time, very sparingly, over the last week. Perhaps it’s because the PS3 distracted me, but I think another, bigger issue is that the ending of the game, while incredibly satisfying on a story-level, made the end-game feel a little… well, weird. I think I can safely say without giving anything away that Nico is a very complicated character, and unlike the other characters in the franchise, he finishes the story in GTA4 not that different from the way he started it. It’s very easy for me to run around in the San Andreas endgame because CJ is basically lord and ruler over the entire land, with unlimited wealth and total power over gravity (assuming there’s a jetpack handy). Likewise, at the end of Vice City you’ve taken over the town, with lots of real estate and fancy cars at your disposal. (I must confess that I’ve never finished GTA3, but I imagine a similar sort of state exists.) In GTA4, though, Nico may have successfully expunged his demons from Eastern Europe, but he’s got a whole new set of baggage and scars once he finishes the story, and so it’s kind of a bummer to simply maneuver him through the rest of his unfinished tasks; it wasn’t until the endgame that I became aware of the game, and not just the story.

That said, I picked up the Assassin’s Greed Achievement last night, and I’m still only a little over 70% complete. Being that the release calendar is looking slim, I’m sure I’ll get back into it.

Wii: I am absolutely not surprised that I’ve barely touched it in the last 2 weeks. Kath and I played a bit of Boom Blox, but we both wore out our shoulders in the process. I think we’ll play it a bit more when she gets out of her cast and can finally stand up without crutches, but, then, how many times can you play Wii Sports before it just gets kinda lame? Kath has confessed an urge to try Mario Kart, which I had every intention of ignoring… I don’t see any way we can pick up a Wii Fit package before August, nor do I think we’d really use it all that much anyway.

DS: I swapped out WordJong and have moved on to CrossWorDS, which is actually a little disappointing. The Crosswords aren’t that hard and the interface is actually quite annoying – it is nearly impossible to have the game register a capital “I”, which you might imagine is something of a problem. The New York Times Crosswords interface is the gold standard for text input on the DS, and every game that lets you input text ought to use it. The Word Search part of the game is, well, Word Searches, and the Anagram part of the game – the part I was most looking forward to, as I love anagram games – has the stupidest dictionary I’ve ever seen. “Gin” isn’t a word? Really? REALLY?

PSP: I would forget that I owned it, to be honest. I’m an idiot. I do want to finish God of War, and I do want to start Final Fantasy Crisis Core or whatever its called, but it’s at the bottom of my priority list.

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