Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You want to play now? Too bad

Yes I know this is a picture of the Xbox title update but I couldn't find any PS3 title update pictures online and I'm too lazy to go and take a picture myself
Why do game updates on PS3 take so long?

We're having some friends over on New year's day, so I popped in Buzz and Singstar to make sure they were updated and could just be played straight away if the mood takes us.

There have been two updates for Buzz, weighing in at 345MB and 51MB. What the hell, almost 400MB of updates to a quiz game? On my 2Mb broadband connection (not the broadest for sure, but we take what we can get out in the country) this takes half an hour, during which the PS3 is out of action (no background downloading of title updates, unlike the iPhone).

When a game update is available for the 360 it generally takes 30 seconds or so to download and patch, before launching me back in to the game.

Come on Sony, sort it out.

And can any readers tell me what on earth is in these enormous updates? It can't all be code, so what other stuff am I getting?

Oh well, DJ Hero has arrived now so we might just play that instead.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bored-er Lands?

Borderlands: Ass and mutant dog things.
Ok, that may be an over exaggeration, but after an hour or so of play it's really not grabbed me like I expected.

I liked:

The HUD elements being introduced by name and moving in to place as they are "installed" was a very neat way of telling you what was what in a fairly seamless manner.

The graphic style is very nice in motion.

The intro and character introductions are nicely done.

I don't like:

The robot with the annoying voice saying "I'm over here" all the time.

Not having the shop and RPG elements explained to me properly. Surely you don't expect me to read a manual in this day and age? Eurgh.

The early quests all being really boring "run here and shoot five of these" type things, followed by backtracking to the start.

I will keep pressing on though. Enough people I trust have told me it's great that I feel it'll grab me eventually. I just wonder if it will be one of those games like Fallout 3 that I end up ploughing hours in to and get a bit OCD with, but still never really feels like it clicks.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Tasty Treat

Wait a minute, this isn't the right picture for this article.
At this festive and celebratory time, my thoughts always naturally turn towards rich, delicious food, and a little more good drink than is good for me.

Which reminded me of a special treat I was sent this year - Mountain Dew World of Warcraft Gamefuel. Except for the "delicious" part, but then we're getting a little ahead of ourselves.

Apparently Pepsi often make special editions of their sugary liquid, and since my blog is read by gamers (and it would seem at least one of the Mountain Dew marketing team) I was offered some free bottles in return for saying nice things about it.

This was very much a conundrum - with a fledgling blog, do I sell out early, or wait until I have a more sizeable readership and sell out later for bigger bucks? I opted for a middle road, choosing to accept the swag in return for an article about it. And here is that article.

For those not in the "know", there are two factions in World of Warcraft and for ease of identification they are coloured blue and red. Hence two versions of Mtn Dew (that's the accepted shorthand, says Wikipedia).

First I tried the blue one: "Dew with a Punch of Wild Fruit Flavor" sounds delicious (after all who wouldn't like a punch in the mouth?). The description helps to persuade you to drink it, even though your brain is screaming that pouring what looks like antifreeze into your mouth is Not A Good Idea.

My brain may have been right - a couple of gulps had the not entirely pleasant side effect of making my mouth numb. After drinking a third of the bottle I felt dizzy and had a headache, which I put down to the chemicals and sugar coursing through my veins. I started to wonder if this was what a superhero would feel like after drinking their perfectly safe chemical concoction, and shortly before their powers first manifested.

Overall I would describe the taste as being a bit like someone had crushed up a roll of Barratt's refreshers and mixed the resulting powder into a can of 7 Up.

It's worth noting at this point that the dizzying blue version only contains 25 percent of my daily allowance of sugar per bottle, as opposed to the red mixture's 26%. With this knowledge I decide to wait until the next day to try the second variety.

After an uncomfortable and restless night's sleep (and a morning where I awoke with no noticeable superpowers, to some disappointment) I crack open the second bottle at work the next day.

"Dew with a Blast of Citrus Cherry Flavor" provokes many of the same physical symptoms as the blue bottle had, though curiously no worse. Obviously after tipping over the magical 25% sugary threshold an extra one percent isn't going to cause any extra fuss. Either that or my heart had already started to grow immune.

This second variety tastes like eating an entire packet of Haribo Starmix in one mouthful. And I'm pretty sure that "Citrus Cherry" isn't even a proper flavour.

Once again I felt ill after having less than half a bottle. I'm clearly not cut out for a life of a hardcore gamer, surviving on my wits, network latency, and enough sugar to kill an elephant.

So I can conclude that Mountain Dew Gamefuel is delicious, and well worth purchasing. Unfortunately due to some clerical error the World of Warcraft editions will be well off the shelves by the time this update is published.

If anyone from Mountain Dew would like to send me some more freebies, I think I'll pass if it's all the same to you. Cheers,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's been a quiet year

Torchlight by Runic Games
Well, a quiet year on this blog. Three months since the last post I think is something of a record for me.

For the most part this has been because of the time I've spent stateside this year for work. Although being so far from friends and family was very hard, I had a very interesting and productive time out there, and even managed to enjoy myself every now and then.

I also met some great, talented people, a learned a lot.

Once I got back home I wanted to do nothing else but spend some serious quality time with my family, and also catch up a bit of some of the games I missed this year.

Now I am mostly caught up, and with the new year approaching, I am intending to get back up to speed with a few personal projects - this blog included.

Of course I have said this before and nothing came of it, and I'm sure regular readers (the few of you who remain) remember my fickle nature - as an example of that, you see that post juts below this one? About the PSPGo being a bit silly? Yeah, guess who owns one of them now.

(And I was wrong, by the way, they are very nice sexy pieces of kit.)

Anyway, before Christmas I will leave you with this piece of advice - buy Torchlight from the Steam sale. It is really quite amazingly polished, runs brilliantly on my laptop, and it pretty engrossing. The guys at Runic Games deserve much reward for their effort.

Happy Christmas and all that, I hope you all get what you want.