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Monday, March 2, 2009

A weekend of flowers and burning rubber

A very short post today due to a severe case of exhaustion and a busy workday ahead...

LittleBIGPlanet: Great game! I finished it up over the weekend. Actually, I should say that I finished the game's story mode. I'm not sure if there's ever a "finished" when it comes to a game as ambitious and fun as LittleBIGPlanet. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and may even play it again in the future once the PS3's network is a little more stable.

Speaking of the PlayStation Network, my Internet issues seem to be resolved. The bulk of my PSN-related problems are being caused on Sony's end and not due to my router. I only disconnected from the PSN once over the weekend. But that's not to say that I'm happy with Sony's answer to Xbox Live. I found playing online to be very laggy and gross. Hopefully we'll see improvements in the next year or so as the PS3 gains a little steam in console sales.

I decided to put Far Cry 2 down like an injured buddy. As much as I loved many aspects of the game, Far Cry 2 ultimately disappointed me.
  • Missions were too long due to the copious amounts of driving and travel necessary.
  • Re-spawning guard posts and hordes of enemy mercenaries made any travel in the game a long and boring process. I you're going to have respawning enemies, why not give users different options for travel besides the underwhelming scenic bus tour? Had Far Cry 2 implemented a means of fast-transport between safe houses, I'd still be playing the game today.
  • The enemy A.I., which I originally thought to be quite good, was a little too good. Even while performing a mission at night wearing a full camouflage suit and using a silent dart sniper rifle, enemy mercenaries were able to accurately pinpoint my location from halfway across the African tundra. Please don't give me a "stealth" gameplay option if the A.I. won't allow me to put such a convention to good use.
  • The game was boring and repetitive. I may have hurt the game's chances to impress by taking care of many of menial tasks before starting the main campaign. The sad truth is that the missions ended up being more of the same and I quickly lost interest.
Far Cry 2 is a good game if you're willing to play it in short spurts over a few months time. I didn't find it gripping enough to force me to play it non-stop from start to finish. Far Cry 2 had so much potential that I'm rather disappointed having to give up on it after a scant 25-30 hours.

The next big game on my plate will be Metal Gear Solid 4. There are no trophies for the game so I'll just be playing for fun. I've only played two of the Metal Gear Solid games: one on the Nintendo and the other (MGS2) on my PS2. While I vaguely remember something or other about Snake and key cards on the NES, I better remember playing MGS2: Sons of Liberty. My brother got me the PS2game for my birthday back in January 2002. It was an engrossing game with cool cutscenes, an intriguing story, and some amazing stealth gameplay. I can't wait to see what MGS4 has in store for me.

I finished off Flower over the weekend as well. I don't want to spoil the "ending" to the game; suffice it to say that I get a big hippie, tree-hugger vibe off this one. I'm going to play all the levels again in order to pick up all the trophies. Even my distaste of nature and flowers isn't enough to stop me from become a full-blown trophy-whore.

Joking aside, I thought Flower was a great game. Fun and relaxing gameplay. Beautiful graphics and soothing music. It's an experience that everyone should buy into for only $10 from the PlayStation Store.

I'm also playing a ton of Burnout Paradise as my PS3 continues to keep my Xbox 360 on the backburner. There is so much to do in Paradise City! I've been playing a ton of the offline Crash Mode using the P12 88 Special (a.k.a. Back To The Future flying car) as my crash-car of choice. It's nice and light and looks great flying through the air and crashing into buses. My best crash score to date is $8.5 million; lots of room for improvement over the coming weeks.

I've also been having a blast picking off the Day and Night road rules using the bikes included in Burnout Paradise's free Cagney pack. I find the road rule times to be much easier to beat on the bikes than those available via the standard vehicles. The bikes are just so damned fast! And it's always fun cruising Paradise City at 200 MPH while listening to the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack!

I'll be playing Burnout Paradise tonight. I may even play a little Flower tonight and pick up some trophies:

Welcome Back: Play the game after a week long break.
I hear this can be cleared by playing around with the PS3 system date. I could get this trophy legitimitely but what's the fun in that?

Memories: Reminisce for three minutes before returning to the room.

I tried to pick this trophy up last night but couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do. From what I've read, I'll need to go into a "dream" and hit the Select button: a slideshow will start playing. From there, I put down the controller for a few minutes and wait for the trophy to unlock. I love these "do nothing" trophies. I followed a similar path when clearing the Healthy Play trophy last night.

Illumination: Light a darkened pool.
There is a dark pool of water right near the beginning of the blue flower's level. Once I activate the windmills, I should be able to fly over to the pool of water and light it up.

Palette: Use the Grass as your canvas and paint the ground with three different colors.
Towards the end of the red flower's level, there are three rock formations that open up after you bloom specific flowers. By flying into each of these opened rock formations, the grass will be "painted" different colours. I'll give this a shot and we'll see what we see.

Have a good one!