This week was extraordinarily similar to last week; more Challenges around Paradise City – up to 332 of 350 now, with a lone 8-Player Challenge stopping this from being an all-7-Player affair. The fact that I was disconnected from the Burnout Paradise servers when seven of eight people had completed their part of that final 8P task still raises my hackles. I also managed to spend a lot of time online playing with Random Xbox Live peeps; quite why someone finds it ridiculously (and repetitively) funny to smash the shit out of someone they don’t know over and over and over and over and over and over again is beyond me; not a fun experience for those with a goal in mind.
WarioWare: Smooth Moves also got another hour or so. Unlocked some goodies, and thankfully got through the Elephant Houses (if you’ve played it, you’ll know what I mean). Short, and still very much like a block of Lindt Hazelnut chocolate – deliciously sweet and oh-so-nutty.
But, once again, No More Heroes ruled the week. Monday night, after an astoundingly shithouse day at work, I collapsed in front of the TV and got absolutely flogged by the final (final) boss. A second attempt saw me nail the sidestep technique with incredible regularity, and I handed the lesson back to him… And with that, I conquered the Bitter difficulty level. My OCD wouldn’t let the game go that easily, though – and so I played through the game again on all difficulty levels. More details on that effort are forthcoming, but a second run through those bosses on Bitter reminded me what a wonderful game this is. There’s rhythms to the prolonged battles, yes, but they rise far above the mechanical patterns of other games – they feel like they demand your cognitive involvement, not just an exercise in your muscle memory.
I must say, I’m not looking forward to the next week. It seems the entire gaming world is going to be pre-occupied with GTA4 and, sad to say, I’m going to feel quite lonely by not joining them. Now, ordinarily the idea of a sandbox-world would have me giddy – witness Crackdown – but with GTA4‘s purported 100 hours of content, I’m apprehensive… scared, even. I’ve got more than enough gaming on my plate to contemplate adding that much work to it; not to mention that the hype surrounding this release just puts me right off.
As press embargoes lift and perfect Tens get bandied about by all and sundry, I worry a little that maybe – just maybe – I’m missing one of the Games Of My Life, one of the True Greats. But, in the absence of any other sane judgement, I consider the list of Edge Tens:
- Super Mario 64: I’ve only ever played this through emulation, but enjoyed the experience so much using a ROM downloaded from a dodgy Russian site that I sought out an original cartridge so I could feel like I was playing it “legitimately”. Fair Use, and all that. Never got very far, and it’s been on my “To Buy” list for the Wii Shopping Channel.
- Gran Turismo: Never played it.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: Gorgeous. Bloody shooting gallery sections are keeping me from knocking it (and it’s Master Quest cousin) off The List, though.
- Halo: Quite brilliant.
- Half-Life 2: Never played it, and not especially concerned about it. The original Half-Life was only “interesting”, at best, plagued by XP bugs and a woeful final level.
- Halo 3: Loved this, but wouldn’t rate it that high… though Edge’s reasoning (that the multiplayer experience was ground-breaking) was sound.
- The Orange Box: Never played any of it. Watched videos of Portal; looked “interesting”. Loved the character design in Team Fortress 2 but, given my inclination (or lack thereof) to online multiplayer, that was never going to swing me.
- Super Mario Galaxy: Played it. Loved it. Was actually gutted that I couldn’t link to my piece on Galaxy because… ummm… I apparently haven’t written it.
So – me and the Edge Tens have a spotty history that swings between “yay” and “meh”, with a few sidetrips to “wha?”
And with that in mind, I’ll try to sit on my hands for the next week… fortnight… month, while everyone and their dog gets over their GTA4 fever. I’ve got my own sickness to think about, thankyouverymuch.