Monday, October 5, 2009

Who you gonna call? The Lone Wanderer

This was a gaming weekend.

Some family came to visit and wanted to watch the dreadful U of M, MSU game on the big screen so I ended playing Ghostbusters on the Wii with the boy upstairs.  I got Ghostbusters back in July for my birthday.  I played it for a day or so on the Wii and enjoyed playing it, but found that the game (at least in my opinion) was much better suited as a single player game than a two player, split screen game.  The controls for the Wii aren't bad, in fact if I played the Wii more often with first person POV games I'd say that they were pretty good for the hardware used.  You point the Wii-mote at the screen to move your view around, move it too far left or right on the screen and your character turns left or right (or if you veer off to the left or right your character starts to spin in a very fast dizzying fashion--first bad point).  You move forward with the nunchuck.  Switching between the various Ghostbuster gadgets is handled simply with the D-pad, and pressing either A or B to activate said gadgets.

Now the game will let you play the story mode in single player and two player mode.  I was all for playing in single player because you get the chance to see the whole world filling the entire screen.  The kids of course wanted nothing to do with my gamer wishes and insisted that we play in two player mode.  The second bad point to the game is playing in two player mode.  Split screen forces both players to view the entire world in half the space on the screen, which makes for squinted viewing.  After a day of playing two player mode back in July I had had enough.  So I stopped playing.  The story was decent and the replay is worthwhile--ghosts and other objects to scan, art to find, but a combination of the split screen and the constant pointing of the Wii-mote at the screen was just enough to keep me from going back.

So back to this weekend.

The boy wanted help with a section in game and since I didn't have any real interest in the U of M game after the first quarter I went up stairs to help if I could.  Coming into the story after not playing for several months I found it easy to catch up without feeling like I'd missed anything important.  The voice acting is definitely great, the art style on the Wii is fun and after a few minutes of re-acquainting myself with the controls I was enjoying the game quite a lot.  We got through the area that the boy had been stuck on and then found another section that had us both literally ready to throw our Wii-motes at the screen.  Both of us wanted to kick the TV, the Wii, anything to help us get out our frustrations with a section in the game that felt completely broken when using the Wii-mote.  As described above you move forward with the nunchuck and view by moving the Wii-mote pointer off to the left or right.  The section in question required four different chains to be pulled down with the Ghostbuster beam, which in turn would then raise a platform for you to walk across.  The problem is that the platforms drop after a few seconds so you have keep moving.  Aiming with the Wii-mote exasperates the experience because if you move too quickly with the Wii-mote, your target zooms off the screen and you can't pull the next lever to raise the next platform so that you can keep moving.  We were both ready to just give up.  The worst part about this section we were stuck in is that it was just a few paces further along from where my son was stuck before.  My first thought was if the rest of the game is this broken-hard, we'd never see the end.  Fortunately after many tries one of us was able to cross the four death platforms and move around the corner.  Another plus to the game design is that if one player moves to a section in the game that moves the story forward both players get moved along.  Finally we ended up playing through that horrendous level to find that the rest of the game, while challenging, had a satisfying ending.

Overall I'd say Ghostbusters on the Wii is worthwhile in short bursts.

After the kids went to bed I fell back into my old routine with Fallout 3.  I'm a sucker for that story and environment and now that Bethesda has finally released the DLC for the PS3, I had to try out Broken Steel.  Loading up my Good Karma save from March (or so) I finished the original story sacrificing myself but letting Project Purity run to clean up the Wasteland water, watched the endgame narration and then found myself waking up with the Brotherhood back at the Citadel.  So much time away from the game but everything felt so right and good to be back.

At the end of my good karma save I had Fawkes as my companion.  Running through the Broken Steel missions with Fawkes almost felt like cheating, but at the same time felt like it was my way of allowing that great Super Mutant his moment to exact retribution on those that would otherwise slaughter him.  I ended up playing through the 3 trophy missions from Broken Steel in roughly half a day even with a few glitches to the game.  The first major glitch was early on where a fast travel from one location to another which hard locked the PS3 and I had to power off the console altogether.  The second major glitch involved a VATS battle near the end of the 3rd mission in which the game never came out of VATS even though all the enemies were dead.  Another full reboot of the console was required.  Sadly I had to restart the console, fortunately I was never far into an area without saving where I'd have to restart the console.

Of course after finishing the missions from Broken Steel I've become hooked again by the Lone Wanderer.  I've picked up Operation Anchorage and The Pitt and I'll post my thoughts on those soon.

"Thanks for listening children....this is Three Dog....AAAWWWWHHHHH"

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