Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dante's Inferno: From AWESOME to BLAH in 3 Levels

I have tried a few times now to put my thoughts regarding Dante's Inferno into writing. An essay on how the level design is a great strength for the first two levels, and a major weakness through the backend of the game. Starting off with the very first soul you can punish or absolve is Pontius Pilate really sets the mood. By the end, you're encountering such legendary historical figures as "Merchant from Florence." If you're going to adhere to the actual epic poem, well, don't. You already have Dante wandering through Hell using Death's Scythe to cleave demons in half. "Faithfulness to source material" is a Charon that has already sailed.

Again, after writing that paragraph, I had to pause for a few minutes and do something else (reading a WWE Money in the Bank PPV recap) before continuing. I am THAT ANGRY over what a WASTED OPPORTUNITY this game is! The great moments just...run out...and by the time you get Heresy, which has no boss....at all....it's like the designers gave up. Anger is another circle that is just dull. No boss, just a series of fights while dealing with a giant demon that in turn, leads to a fairly cool moment. For five seconds. Then poor design brings it right back down to earth again.

I can not fault the graphics or the control, which is tight like the backside of Emma Watson. (She's 18 right?) The music, well that I can fault. There is not much music to be found in the depths of Hell. What little is used, serves to highlight the action on screen which is cool and all but the ambient sounds gave the Wife of Thunder (WoT) a headache.

In fact, the ambient sounds are perhaps more annoying than the seagulls from Deadliest Catch. Climbable surfaces are made of screaming souls that DO NOT SHUT UP. Some of them shout things specific to that circle, such as "I'll slit your throat and feed it to you" in the Circle of Violence. Most though, are just moanings and wailings. Nevermind the disturbing noises of the evil demonic babies with razorblade arms.

This is a game that for the first two levels, I thought was amazing. Then merely good for the next two (Gluttony and Greed), but once it hit the fifth level, Anger, I just wanted to get it over with as soon as I could. The final boss fight against Lucifer was satisfying at least. The ending? Not so much.

Is Visceral really, honestly planning on a sequel for Purgatory? I've read that poem too, and unlike the Inferno which lends itself quite well to a video game translation actually, Purgatory does not. The essence of Purgatory is that it is a place of...well...waiting. Not good, not bad, just boring.

Which sounds an awful lot like a game they already made.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Write Like....


I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!




So I plugged in one of my reviews from 360voice, Dog Reviews The Internet, into the site I Write Like/ and Chuck Palhniuk came out. Who's Chuck you ask?

He wrote the book Fight Club.

Not at all who I was expecting (I would have loved oh, say, Kurt Vonnegut or even Chuck Klosterman myself) but hey, writing in the spirit of one of the oddest authors of the last 30 years? I will take that.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blizzard's RealID System Removed Before It Went In

In case you haven't heard, Blizzard was planning, with the launch of Starcraft 2
later this month, to have your actual, legal name show up in all of your postings on their official forum. All of the internetz lost their minds with this news. Showing your real name was supposed to lead to decreased trolling and generally bring down people acting like douchebags.

Tuesday night, I asked the Wife of Thunder about this, as she is a female gamer and has a very different outlook on things then I do. For example, when she first saw the Tzeentch Lord of Change model for Warhammer, she commented that it looked like he was wearing one of Elvis' jumpsuits:



Her first thought was that now women would stay away from World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2 out of fear of being targeted. Both online and offline, it's a major issue for female gamers. Exactly how much of an issue was unknown to me then, but after a few more days of uproar, oh boy do I see how much it means for a female gamer to be anonymous. Stalking, both on and offline, is a major issue that well how to put this nicely....ummm....hmmm...well the sort of World of Warcraft player that gets REALLY REALLY into it is exactly the sort of guy that would stalk a female. See Guild, The. Episode 1.

Penny Arcade today brought to light a connection, just hours before Blizzard pulled the plug on RealID, of a business deal with Blizzard and Facebook: Well, from May, but I never noticed it...which is what Blizzard wanted!

No wonder they wanted to use real names for their games.

Considering I do everything under the name "Dog of Thunder" I'm not exactly on board with the whole "real name" concept, though it's not a huge secret either (just "like" me on Facebook!). ARGH! See what I did there? Facebook has wormed its way into every aspect of the internet, but for now, its evil tentacles are leaving our internet forums alone.

Give it time. This issue will come up again, and again and again. In a few generations, the whole concept of anonymity will be a historical relic. Like the Wii or the 8 track.

What's Next?

For the last 2 years and 2 months, I have been an active member and contributor to 360voice.com, an amazing 360 site. On my year anniversary of joining, I was raised to become a 360voice Community Expert (Mod basically). Even dealing with a death threat, well three, when reworking the way that Genre Badges worked on the site did not chase me away. So what finally did?

At first I thought it was my annoyance over dealing with people all the time through the veil of anonymity that is the non-Blizzard internet. Little support issues here and there, whining about updates not happening fast enough, all these minor things were adding up. Once I realized I could not handle one more posting that looked like it was written by a lemur, I knew I was at a breaking point. Thankfully there was a waiting idiot to push me over the edge where I needed to go in the first place.

It is not that I want to abandon 360voice, it is just that I want to take the time I devoted to others and use it for myself. I am removing all those time sinks that stopped me from updating my own little piece of the internet like I wanted. Instead of dealing with an existing community and helping it function on a daily basis, I want to build my own community. Carve out a little piece of the internet for myself and see what grows. Who knows, it could be nothing, it could be something.