June 14, 2008

A Day Of Rest (Mostly)

Well, I've been out of contact for a few days, but with good reason. The last few days of last week were pretty fierce. Trying to coordinate our pitch/mod for Game Design, and trying to write up my proposal outline for my Thesis proved to be complicated tasks. In truth, the thesis outline wasn't that bad and most of the time I spent on it was really trying to figure out what I was actually planning to do for my thesis. Now that that is basically decided I have to actually write up the proposal which is far more time consuming.

The Dissonance pitch went pretty well I think, it probably would have gone better if I'd had more than two hours of sleep, but I guess you can't have everything. We find out Tuesday what the games and teams are, I'd say I'm a bit worried, but it's firmly out of my hands so I'm not sweating it. I'm hoping that in the absolute worst case my professionalism will outweigh my dislike for a particular project. If I don't end up being game designer on one of the projects I'll be pretty upset, but if it means I get to work on one of the projects I'm really passionate about, I'd probably accept it.

Given I was running on two days on nearly no sleep, yesterday was a lot of napping and relaxing (after the pitches of course). I played the crap out of Age of Conan and finally got out of Tortage (the newbie area). I must say that game is really quite enjoyable, it has the sensibilities of singleplayer game for its storytelling (at least as far as I have experienced) and the action oriented combat of a dungeon crawler. Of all the MMOs I've played thus far, if there was one I was going to get deep into, it would be this. I'm still not sure if it will be manage to keep me entertained enough to get all the way to the "end game," but for right now I've been enjoying it very much.

Today I woke up and played a bit more of Age of Conan, watched the Battlestar Galactica mid-season finale, and then finally did some work on my thesis. I revised the Field Review to be more focused on my actual project and started writing up the methodology. Then around 7:00, I decided to go out and reward myself for all the hard work I've been doing lately. I went to Best Buy and bought myself a couple games: Metal Gear Solid 4 and Ninja Gaiden II. I don't really have anything to say about NG2 as I haven't even tried it yet, the reason being that MGS4 is simply fantastic.

I've only played a few hours of it, but it's been amazing thus far. Both the stealth and action gameplay have gotten a significant upgrade (particularly the action). The gunplay is, in fact, so much better that it has turned my Snake into more of a hardcore killer than he usually is. Usually I try to play the game the sneaky "tranquilize everything" way, but with so many different guns that are so fun to use, I couldn't really handle resigning myself to just using the tranquilizer pistol. The story seems very well put together, tying well into the series's long and circuitous history. The graphics are simply mind-blowing, it may simply be the best looking games ever. In real-time the game looks better than the pre-rendered cutscenes you'd see in most other games. Even when you are sitting in a cutscene wondering if you'll ever be allowed to pick up the controller again, you can't help but marvel at the visuals.

I could go on and on about the game (and maybe I will in a future post), but this post is already getting long enough. What I can say is, it's the most fun I think I've had with an MGS and that's saying a lot. If you're a fan of the series, you probably already have it and aren't reading this anyhow, but for everyone else, I'd say this is a title that any PS3 owner should own. The graphics and gameplay are amazing, and the game is polished to a sheen. I think the PS3 finally has its first true system-seller. Anyway, it's late and I have a lot of work to do tomorrow (due in no small part to the extensive resting I've done today), so I'm going to end here. If you own MGS4 you should go play it, and if you don't you should go buy it (and a PS3 if necessary), you won't be disappointed.


  1. I agreed. It's a great game. I'm further along and it definitely continues to be good.

    I'm entertained by the cutscenes that end by basically just swing the camera over Snake's shoulder and popping up the HUD. It's a nice seamless transition, very slick.

  2. I really couldn't disagree with you more on MGS 4. It's still Metal Gear, and that style of gameplay is inherently unpleasant to some people, e.g. me. And Penny Arcade, apparently.

  3. Well they didn't completely change the franchise, I just think they've gone a long way to perfecting it. If you don't like stealth, then you likely won't like this game, there's very little to be done about that. I'm still pretty sure it's one of the best if not the best game on the system.