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Updates and Game Reviews
I registered for classes for winter quarter, I’m taking:
Beginning Japanese 3
Frontiers of Science I
Web Client Side Programming
Distributed Applications Programming
...Well, since I don’t have any other real news to share, I guess I’ll just talk about some games I’ve been playing:
Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction
This game is pretty darn impressive. I don’t know how many Ratchet & Clank games there have been since the first one on the PS2, but this again features Ratchet, the last “Lombax” in existence, and his robot friend Clank. The game is about 5 parts shooter and 1 part platformer. You travel around the universe to different planets, and blow everything in your way to pieces, all while collecting enough money (they call it bolts and raritanium) to upgrade all of your crazy weapons. The weapons steal the show, ranging from standard blaster guns to tornado launchers, lightning whip, disco ball (makes all the enemies nearby dance), and transmorpher (changes all the enemies into penquins). You can even make the penquins dance! Even more so than the weapons, the visuals here are the most outstanding part, because as the back of the box brags, it really does feel like you’re playing a Pixar movie. It has that same animation style and visual quality, and an amazing amount of polish.
Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
You must have heard of Guitar Hero by now, so I’m not going to waste your time explaining it. The latest in the series features more than 70 tracks, along with downloadable content, and a better guitar. It’s also frustratingly difficult when you get to the last two tiers of songs. I’ve beaten the first six tiers on expert, but it’s going to be a long time before I get past the last 10 songs in the career progression. The set list is quite varied and has a lot of quality tunes, and there also is online play. The company where I’m working now Activision’s Vicarious Visions studio did the Wii copy of this game. In this version, the wiimote plugs right into the guitar, and Mike Chrzanowski (sorry if I got the spelling wrong Mike), lead designer, pushed to have it vibrate to let you know star power is ready, and to the beat of the song once it’s activated. Also, the mis-strum noises come out of the speaker on the wiimote itself, so if you’re playing together you know who screwed up. There's also an online community site guitarhero.com that links up with the game to show your stats, lets other users challenge you to a match, and you can wager the groupies you've earned in these matches. Here's a link to my profile.
Everyday Shooter is a dual-stick shooter robotron clone similar to geometry wars or the like, but quite unique in it’s own right. Each of the levels has their own gameplay mechanic for combos, and different scripted events, several with interesting bosses. Each level also has a soundtrack that the gameplay follows the beat of, and shooting enemies or triggering combos adds to the harmony. The most interesting part of this game is that it was all done by one guy, Jonathan Mak of his own company Quesy Games. The control that a person has when they are the only developer for a game can really make for a tight, interesting, and unique experience, and that is certainly the case here. The game is quite difficult, I’ve only beat it once. But there’s a lot of replayability and unlockables to keep you coming back.