Weekend recap: so much blood

My stated intentions last week were, to be sure, a bit vague; with Tiger 12 out of the house and out of my life I had nothing solid to commit to besides finally sinking my teeth into Sword & Sworcery for the iPhone.  Steam had nothing I wanted for sale.  I had a bizarre urge to play GTA4 on the PC, but somewhere between last summer and now they installed some SecuROM bullshit and I couldn’t get my perfectly valid and paid-for copy to open correctly.

I did spend some time – not a lot, but enough – with Mortal Kombat, which arrived via Gamefly on Saturday.  I’m no fighting game enthusiast – it’s the genre I suck at the most, besides real-time strategy – but even I must concede that this is the most complete package ever put on disc.  And it genuinely seems to want me to get better at it.  I dove right in to the Story mode, which is completely insane but very well done, I must admit.  After a few chapters, though, I realized that the enemies were getting tougher and I wasn’t getting any better, and I probably needed to try some tutorials and dive into the Challenge Tower.  I can’t say that my game has improved at all, but I think I understand it a bit easier.  It’s certainly very accessible, in a way that Street Fighter 4 wasn’t.  I’ve been debating whether or not to keep it; I don’t know if I’ll ever be any good at it, but I can’t deny that it’s pretty goddamned fun.

But ultimately the weekend belonged to Sword & Sworcery, which is, on the one hand, a very slow action/adventure game, but on the other hand is an incredibly immersive and atmospheric experience with one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard.  (Seriously – I even bought the soundtrack.)  The game doesn’t really have a lot of depth, but I’m not sure that’s really the point; it’s just a remarkable experience.

>Weekend Recap: Reality Sinks In edition

>I’d thought I’d handled my 360’s recent death rather calmly, all things considered; it happened the night before The Lost & Damned came out, so I already knew I wouldn’t be playing it – I imagine I’d have been a lot more pissed off if I’d bought the DLC and then found out my 360 was fucked. And, really, this was a perfect time to try out the PS3 as my main console, and if nothing else this gave me a lot more opportunity to spend with FF7.

Problem is, I was expecting Microsoft to send me a shipping box for my 360 when I did my online support request, and as it turned out, I had accidentally selected the “No, thanks, I’ll send it myself” option, which I didn’t actually find out until Saturday night, after the local UPS store closed. So I basically wasted a week of repair time that I didn’t even know I had. And now, well, I’m really missing my 360.

I certainly had stuff to play for the PS3 this weekend – I downloaded Noby Noby Boy, already this year’s front-runner for the coveted “What The Hell Is This Thing?” award, and my rental copies of Valkyria Chronicles and Street Fighter 4 had arrived.

I can’t really talk about Noby Noby Boy, because I have no idea what it is. I was certainly excited to check it out, as my love of all things Katamari runs deep, but NNB is just plain weird. I’m not even sure it’s a game, to be honest, nor am I sure what exactly it is you’re supposed to do. Then again, the game’s creator doesn’t really know what it is, either, so I guess you get what you pay for.

Valkyria Chronicles is a sort-of strategy RPG, and while I can appreciate that it’s doing something new, I really don’t like strategy RPGs, and after finishing the first mission I already knew I wasn’t going to like it. So there’s that.

Then there’s Street Fighter 4. I feel terrible for not really liking it. I feel pretty confident in calling it the 2nd best fighting game ever made (next to Soul Calibur), and it certainly brought me back to my childhood years in which I’d routinely beat the hell out of my younger brother on the Sega Genesis version of SF2. But the truth is that I think I’m kinda done with fighting games; I have neither the skill with which to be even marginally successful in online play, nor the patience to learn. I tried Arcade mode on Very Easy with 3 or 4 different characters and I couldn’t even make it past Round 3 with any of them. I tried the Trial mode, which ostensibly teaches you all the moves, but it’s done pretty badly and the nomenclature they use to describe moves went way over my head.

I can totally respect why other people are going apeshit for it, and I really wish I felt the same way. I suppose if my wife were interested in mashing buttons with me, I’d probably put in a bit more effort into getting better at it, but she is most definitely not interested, and so it’ll be going back later this week. I kinda want to give it one more go online before I send it back, though, if only to see if I can get my headset to work (in advance of Killzone 2‘s eventual release).