The Lost Record of Weird Ian: 17th March 2010
[Record translation begins]
The PlayStation 3 is a thing
For me, 2010 has been more about the PlayStation 3 than the Xbox 360 so far. I still maintain that given all things being equal, I would always purchase a multi-platform game on the 360. The reasons for this are mostly that I have a fuller and more active friends list on the 360, and I think the 360's controller is a hell of a lot better than the Dualshock 3 for pretty much every type of game you care to mention.
I recently was persuaded by the internet to get FF13 on the PS3 by that extensive article that tore the 360 version a new one. I've also been playing Demon's Souls, Heavy Rain, and have God of War 3, God of War Collection and Yakuza 3 to play in the near future. Altogether there are more PS3 game boxes sitting around my console set up than ever before. Dark Void sits in my 360 unplayed and unloved (because it's sort of not awesome). I hope Sony manage to keep the momentum up for the rest of the year as it's looking like God of War 3 might be the end of notable PS3 games for a while. I guess I can't expect Q2 and Q3 2010 to be the constant stream of awesome that Q1 2010 and Q4 2009 have been.
A bunch of my friends are also playing their PS3s a lot at the mo, and a couple of days ago I found myself really wanting to check their trophy list online, and cursed Sony that no such facility existed. My brain informed me that I should probably check my facts, and discovered that a trophy checking system did actually exist on PlayStation.com. It's cool that it's there, but unfortunately it's not without issue. The site is a nightmare constructed primarily of Flash adverts, and the information displayed is a confusing mess if only because it's information about trophies which are themselves a confusing mess.
Curiously, some friends who I know for a fact have been playing FF13 recently do not have any FF13 trophies listed at all which is clearly wrong. Sam noticed the disclaimer "Note: The above information is dependent on the proper functioning of the PlayStation Network. Information is not updated in real time." which sounds like an excuse for it being generally broken and having missing data. I hope they intend to shore this up at some point, as half the point for me of an online checking system is so I can pry on people's gaming habits, and so I know which parts they've done and can talk about without the traditional spoiler conversation.
"Did you do the bit with the ...guy? You know the guy with the ... thing?" "Yes..." "Oh good, wasn't that train part awesome?" "Wait, what train part?" "Gah! No, the other guy! The one who turns out to be your mother...?"
There is something to be said for a good long game. Yakuza 2 is one such game, and I'm not sick of it even a little even after like 25 hours. A good way of really knowing how much I like a game is whether I stop playing it just because it's over, and would gladly continue to play it should more of it exist. Borderlands is a game that I feel like I could play forever if it went forever. I would be upset about my heading into the ending of Yakuza 2, but I've got it's HD sequel sitting next to me on the shelf. I've also ordered the as yet unlocalised Yakuza Kenzan! off a possibly dodgy site after discovering a surprisingly completely looking FAQ that looks like it'll give me enough info to get through it with only my reception-class level knowledge of Japanese.
A long game has to have a good structure to keep the pace up. The Yakuza games I always feel are structured like a season of a TV show, as they're broken up into 1-2 hour long chapters each with a plot arc and conclusion. They also aren't afraid to introduce a whole complex set of characters and sets for a single chapter that all meet their conclusion and aren't seen again. Dragon Age kept the pace going by having the recruiting of the various races broken up into much longer blocks but the end was always in sight.
Persona 3 which was another 80 hour game has a real interesting structure. It's divided into an entire year of the unnamed silent protagonist's life, and you play out each day in sections. For example on a weekday you spent the morning and afternoon in school, and have to decide whether to spend your evenings hanging out with your friends, working, studying for an upcoming exam, or fighting crazy monsters in another dimension. Just like real life! They of course cheated a bit hand have you spend a few weeks in hospital, but not so much that it just became some sort of weird coma simulator.
Of course the longest I've ever spent playing a game is the roughly a year I spent enthralled by World of Warcraft (pardon the pun that only people up on their Warcraft lore have a chance of getting). It definitely had it's ups and downs, and ultimately lost when the only real way to progress was to spend horrifically long hours raiding which wasn't compatible with real life in the slightest. I have dabbled back in Wow for the expansions, but am much better about limiting my time with it now. I just have to take each day one day at a time, or something.
Not sure where I was going with this, I'm going to drop what I'm doing to play God of War when it hopefully arrives tomorrow anyway. Hopefully it's somewhat shorter than your average JRPG otherwise the 'what have I been playing' content on this site is going to get very samey.
[The rest of this entry is missing, presumed destroyed.]