January 4, 2008

So as many of you may have noticed, I haven’t been updating this blog on what you would call a regular basis. There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for this: I’m kind of a turd. Now, in my defense, it started out that the entire month of October was taken up by finding and subsequently moving into a new apartment. Following that, I suppose I could try to say that November was taken up by getting settled into said new domicile, but at that point the argument starts to weaken. December… umm… Holiday? Okay, so in reality after losing October to the moving a little lump of Lazy started to snowball and I kept finding excuses not to write. That’s over with, so now you will be graced with my textual wit once more! Huzzah!

I was not completely inactive during my little hiatus, as close scrutiny of yon list will attest. Oh no, in fact I have added quite a few more obstacles to my path, including Halo 3, The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Mass Effect, God of War II, Odin Sphere, and Super Mario Galaxy. Some of these (read: two) I not only added, but also finished. Halo 3 I actually finished in less than a week. Mass Effect took a bit longer, but ultimately fell like so many before it. Both games were awesome, but you already knew that. Phantom Hourglass, on the other hand… not so much. Well, the game is pretty good. The Wind Waker-style graphics are nice (I was a big fan of Celda), the control scheme is interesting and well-executed, but the gameplay itself is just terrible. The sailing parts are pretty annoying, but really are forgivable. What really brings the game down is the wretched Temple of the Ocean King (or whatever the hell it’s called) that you have to traverse approximately 37 billion times throughout the course of the game. It would be one thing if you could skip all the parts you had already been through each time you have to go back, but you can’t. Sure, you get to warp halfway down after you’ve been through a few times, but halfway doesn’t cut it here… you still end up having to re-do puzzles you’ve already done numerous times before. There’s no excuse for gameplay like this in this day and age. It’s a cheap, dirty, nasty way to extend gameplay and if it weren’t for this accursed blog, I would write the game off completely. In fact, it’s almost enough to make me want to write off Zelda games in general (I’m sorry, Zelda baby! I didn’t mean that! Here’s some flowers! Please take me back, Zelda baby!). Anyway, that thing’s been steamin’ up my DS for weeks now because I just can’t bring myself to play more of it right now… especially not when I have other, better games waiting for me.

A goodly amount of my gaming time during this extended break was devoted toward the PC, which of course I’m not counting for this project. This is unfortunate, since The Orange Box came out towards the beginning of October. What makes that an unfortunate occurrence is that its release prompted me to go back and actually finish Half-Life 2 itself. When HL2 was originally released, I played through it up to the “Nova Prospekt” chapter, which anyone who has played the game will most vividly recall for one particular sequence in which you must weather a siege within the walls of a former penitentiary with nothing but three of the most rickety-ass turrets ever manufactured. You would think that with all sorts of fancy alien technology the Combine would be able to build a better turret than we lowly humans. You would think that, but you’d be wrong. Observe.

HL2 TurretTF2 Turret

Which of those would YOU want to have watching your back? The one that could topple over at the first mention of a stiff breeze or the one with four sturdy legs and frickin’ rocket launchers strapped to the top of it? Yeah… me too.

Anyway, the point of all this is to say that I ended up stuck on HL2 (just after the turret siege… I had to switch to Easy for the battle, but I did make it past that part) when I first played it. The advent of The Orange Box, however, incited me to play through the game once again, and this time I made it all the way through without getting stuck. I then followed by starting (and finishing) Half-Life 2: Episodes One and Two, naturally, since I could finally actually play them at that point (Episode One had been out for a while, of course, but I hadn’t finished the HL2 storyline and I’ll be goddamned if I’m gonna jump ahead in a series like this). Then came Portal, which only took about two days’ worth of playing to complete (two short days at that), but was so totally worth it. So you see, even though they don’t count, I actually finished another four games during my little “break.” (Note to self: do NOT mention that you’ve also spent, quite frankly, ridiculous amounts of time playing Team Fortress 2 instead of the various console games on your list). Dammit! I didn’t mean to type that out loud…

I’m going to make every effort to stay on updating now that I’ve started again. I really don’t have any worthwhile excuse, as I discussed above, but at least the time away wasn’t a total loss. In addition to finishing Halo 3 and Mass Effect, both of which I mentioned before, I also completed Killzone: Liberation during the hiatus. Hopefully progress will continue without any further 3-month-long snags.