jl8e: (Default)
A 24-hour free trial period today, and a 40% discount for the weekend on Left 4 Dead, and Valve has successfully sold me a copy of the game.

Anybody already playing?
jl8e: (Default)
My bookmarks list is full of lots of clutter, some of which is organized into folders, so I don't see exactly how much crap I've bookmarked over the years.

I was bookmarking a web site that has patches for some of the old Ultima games so they can actually work on fast machines. (Also improving the graphics and music.)

When the Add Bookmark dialog came up, it was defaulting to the last folder I added a bookmark to, which was "Avatar builders".
jl8e: (Default)
Picked it up today, and played some with [livejournal.com profile] ladymondegreen and [livejournal.com profile] akawil.

Really, it's Rock Band 1.5. Most of the rough edges are smoothed out, and there are 84 new songs in the package. (With an additional free 20-song download coming "soon".)

My biggest complaint is that it can't import your RB1 characters. On the other hand, clearer hammer-ons, bands not locked to a character, characters not locked to an instrument, the ability to pick fill-in characters so you don't get the psycho lumberjack singing, instrument-level difficulty visible while picking songs, random setlists that are restricted by difficulty (so nobody has to go through what [livejournal.com profile] lordess did, and have to tackle a top-level drum song on their second attempt), and a bunch of other improvements that I forget or haven't yet noticed.

I think it's well worth it if you like this type of game. And supposedly the instruments are better, especially the drums, which won't leave a trail of broken kick pedals wherever they go anymore. (I'm not buying new instruments unless the old ones die.)

Of course, I think everybody else who reads this and might get the game has a PS3, so you all have to wait a month. (Except for [livejournal.com profile] zrealm, who got to play before I did.)
jl8e: (south park)
Harmonix just announced which songs from Rock Band won't be able to be exported to be played in Rock Band 2. I'm sure they could have ended up with a worse set of choices from my perspective, but it wouldn't be easy:

Iron Maiden, "Run to the Hills"
Metallica, "Enter Sandman"

Both of these are songs I like quite a lot, and can sing reasonably well. (For me, at least.)

Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"

This is just my favorite song ever, and the only song I've been able to manage to sing consistently on hard. (Not that I've tried many.)
jl8e: (south park)
For the first time in about a month, I'm planning to buy some of the downloadable songs for Rock Band.

And it's Duran Duran.
jl8e: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] mnemex picked it up today, and I spent some time opening a can of whupass on him.

My first impressions:

This is longish and likely of limited interest to most of my friends list )

All in all, it's more Soul Calibur. I can't judge the main change to the mechanics very well, but it doesn't feel like an improvement.

If SC3 were available for the Xbox, I'd probably get that and pass on this. As it is, I don't know if I'll get it, but I suspect I will.
jl8e: (Default)
They've just announced the Rock Band 2 setlist and feature list.

The feature list is nice -- it looks to fix all of the non-hardware annoyances of the first game.

The set list doesn't look as good as the first one, although I don't know a lot of the bands, and even when I do know the band, I don't always know the song. And it's got Jane's Addiction, which is always a bad thing.

It's still rather low on female singers, but for some reason, I usually seem to be the one who ends up singing, (And it's not because of my leet skillz.)

Still, there's no question I'm buying it when it comes out.
jl8e: (Default)
Harmonix just announced Rock Band 2 for later this year, and a 12-pack of Who songs coming in two weeks.

And Blizzard announced Diablo 3.

I think my wallet just whimpered in pain. (even if I don't have to buy new instruments for RB2.)
jl8e: (Default)
Since my Rock Band guitar is displaying the ubiquitous strum bar problem, I went through the warranty replacement process on their web site.

(Fortunately, the problem is that strumming down fails to register, and I strum up, so I can still play with the good guitar.)

I got the emails with the UPS tracking numbers today.

Yes, plural. They appear to have shipped me four replacement guitars.
jl8e: (Default)
A worthwhile sequel needs to either expand on the original, taking it as a starting point and breaking new ground from there, or it has to refine the original, delivering an improved version of the original, while keeping it fresh.

Ideally, of course, it should do both.

The original Katamari Damacy was a mad, wonderful thing. Like most such things, it was pretty much complete in itself, leaving little new ground for a sequel. It combined solid gameplay mechanics with wonderfully warped chrome and a catchy and weird soundtrack. It knew what it was, and didn't try to do too much with it. My biggest complaint was that it was too short, but it probably would have worn out its welcome if it had been much longer. (And really, is leaving you wanting more that bad a thing?)

It's easily one of my favorite video games of all time.

(A quick summary for those of you who don't know the game: The King of All Cosmos, while on a gigantic bender, accidentally breaks all the stars in the sky. They need replacing, so he sends you, the Prince, down to Earth with a sticky ball called a katamari. You roll stuff up with the katamari. As you do, the katamari grows, allowing you to roll up bigger stuff. When it's big enough, he makes it into a star. Most of the time, you're trying to get a specific size or as many items of a specific type as you can in a given time limit. If you have a Playstation 2, it's well worth checking out. The sequels vary the excuse, but leave the gameplay intact.)

We Love Katamari had a hard act to follow, and it did so pretty well. It's mostly more of the same, but with some of the rough edges smoothed out, some interesting variations in the goals, and some new environments to roll around in.

(There was a version for the PSP, but I've never played it, so I'm going to ignore it here.)

Now we have Beautiful Katamari, bringing the series to the high-definition shininess of the XBox 360. Can it live up to the standards of the previous games?

To save the suspense, the answer is no. )

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