I’m going to stop reading magazines. Last month’s Shape magazine told me to eat popcorn every day because eating three servings of whole grain daily apparently reduces heart disease.
Photo by Jason Antony
Not that I care about heart disease at this stage of my life, but I like having healthy, guilt-free excuses to snack.
So, I was snacking on popcorn last night and it was so good that I ate a bit too much. It gave me indigestion and a dry throat for the rest of the night and I couldn’t sleep.
The moral of the story is: Don’t be a dumb ass.
Table of Contents
- Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
- Still playing LittleBigPlanet
- Going insane in Gears of War 2
- Very short review of Resistance 2
- Very short review of Valkyria Chronicles
- Results of last week’s contest
- WOW players! Win a Gamepath account!
- Win a Virtua Fighter 5 game for PS3!!
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts looks like a game for kids, sounds like a game for kids and, on the outset, plays like a game for kids.
But there is a depth in it that just might keep an adult gamer happy enough.
After a decade of entertaining Nintendo fans, the Banjo-Kazooie series now comes exclusively to the Xbox 360. Banjo and his sidekick, Kazooie, must once again triumph over everyone’s favourite evil witch, Gruntilda.
After a series of deaths, refusing to permanently die, Gruntilda is now a metal skull.
The premise of the gameplay is simple. You’ve been “kidnapped” by the Lord of the Games (L.O.G.) and thrown into a playground world called Showdown Town, where you have to get through all kinds of challenges while Gruntilda tries to foil your plans.
If you defy L.O.G., who is as obnoxious as they come, he turns you into some random ridiculous creature.
In Showdown Town, You collect musical notes (the game’s currency) to buy blueprints and parts. These enable you to make vehicles to help you through challenges. Passing challenges wins you jiggies (jigsaw puzzle pieces), which in turn unlock more challenges (so you can collect more notes and jiggies and make better vehicles and pass more challengers, etc).
You see how games go through absurd endless cycles but gamers love them, anyway.
The creation of vehicles is where you can find some depth.
By exploring the world and playing mini games, you increase your collection of vehicle parts, which you can tinker around with in the garage at any time. Creative types should have a lot of fun with this because the kind of vehicles you can come up with is limited only by your imagination.
Of course, it’s not all about creativity. You also need to be pretty smart to know what parts to put into a vehicle to take on the next challenge.
For instance, sometimes you just want a cargo carrier but, at other times, you might need a war plane or a river taxi. Or you might even need a war plane that can double up as a river taxi and a back massager. I don’t know.
According to the game literature, BK:N&B has over 100 contraption parts and unlimited combination possibilities, so no two players will have the same experience. This will prove to be fun in the multiplayer games, where you can hook up with seven other players on Xbox LIVE.
There are 27 multiplayer games modes in which you pit your skills and vehicular creations against your friends. What you manage to pick up or buy in your single-player campaign can be used in the multiplayer games, so it’s a chance for you to show off!
What I really like about the game is the no-mercy, sarcastic humour. Every opportunity is taken to insult you via the characters you’re controlling.
In the introduction sequence, when L.O.G. calls Kazooie a failure, the hapless bird immediately retorts, “Failure? But we’ve been in so many games.”
“Yes, but not as many as a certain Italian gentleman,” comes the below-the-belt reply.
To drive home the point, L.O.G. addresses Kazooie in a much later sequence as a “bird of dubious popularity”.
If you feel lost at any time in the game, you can mosey down to the Tourist Information booth and speak to Bottles, who will dispense tips and information either free, or for a fee.
The entire game is a reservoir of wicked humour.
I wish they had made voiceovers for the conversations. As it is now, you have to read dialogues in text boxes while the animals make random grunting sounds.
I feel that kind of takes away the immersive experience.
One other minus point for me is that the vehicles are pretty hard to drive. Or maybe it’s just me. There are only three buttons to use: Right trigger (forward), left trigger (reverse) and left stick (direction) but it’s a pain when you need to manoeuvre your vehicle through narrow bridges or specific corners.
A few minutes after exploring the inside of a volcano, I was ready to throw up from motion sickness.
I was okay just doing the main challenges in each stage, but the game encourages you to explore nooks and crannies to pick up random treasures and quests, and those are the ones that do me in.
But I really like how the game constantly reminds us that we’re playing on the Xbox 360.
In the startup screen where you choose game modes and settings, there’s a bunch of cute-looking Xbox 360 consoles sitting among the mess.
And, in one of early sequences, Kazooie is playing on the Xbox 360 while Banjo eats a pizza.
I won’t call BK:N&B a best-selling sort of game, but it’s fun enough for a lazy afternoon if you:
- Enjoy being a mechanic.
- Love mini games.
- Love sarcasm and below-the-belt humour.
I’m happy enough with it. My Gamerscore went up 55 points within half an hour of playing the game. So, let me stock up on my motion sickness pills and I’ll play some more.
Still playing LittleBigPlanet
Last weekend, the Goonfather and I were playing LittleBigPlanet when Minou came online and requested to join our game.
Excitedly, we hooked her up and waited for the network to connect us.
We decided to lie in wait for her at the spawn point, ready to punch her in unison the moment she pops out of the hole.
It’s a WC! LOL.
We waited… and waited.
Then an error message popped out saying that the connection had failed.
We were sad.
We stood there for a few more minutes, mourning the failure.
I rang Minou on the phone.
“Hey,” I said, “You can’t connect to our game?”
She replied, “No. But I can see your game screen. Two of you standing there.”
“!!!” I said.
“You can see us lying in wait for you, ready to punch you?”
Stupid PlayStation Network. Sabo us.
Anyway, in the next round, Minou managed to join us after all and we had a lot of fun. We all wore big-head costumes.
The Goonfather is a Halloween pumpkin, I’m a zebra and Minou is a dinosaur.
Now, all we need is for everyone to get headsets so we can communicate online!
By the way, we just unlocked a new prop. Yay! Instead of a frying pan, I now carry a sackboy!
The Goonfather in his astronaut costume:
Okay, that sums up our LBP adventures this week. We don’t have a lot of time to play this game. The Goonfather is now currently addicted to Gears of War 2 and Rainbow Six Vegas, so he’s hogging the TV and Xbox 360 like, every night.
Going insane in Gears of War 2
The Gears of War 2 launch events at the Xbox Xperience Zone in VivoCity and Funan last weekend were literal blasts!
We allowed fans to participate in friendly tournaments where they took on the Locust Horde in Insane Mode and it was insane!!
I have a video of some of the footage taken last Friday.
Photo of me and Merdeka!
Merdeka is the new Xbox Xpert and will be working together with me to cause more mayhem for Xbox LIVE users!
Anyway, check out my Xbox blog for a report on the GOW2 launch if you haven’t already read it!
Very short review of Resistance 2
This game is reviewed by the Goonfather. That’s why it’s very short. Cos he’s a lazy ass.
Resistance 2 is very disappointing because the graphics is very cartoony and vibrant, therefore doesn’t give the gritty war feel. (It feels more like Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.)
The Goonfather is a huge fan of the first Resistance game, so he was quite disappointed when he loaded the disc. After paying $80 for the game, he only played it for half an hour, then went back to Gears of War 2 (which he didn’t have to pay for).
Okay, maybe you like cartoony war games. To each his own.
Not that the graphics is bad, mind you. It’s just wrong.
In terms of gameplay, it’s about the same as Resistance: Fall of Man, so it’s still a good game.
Very short review of Valkyria Chronicles
Here’s another very short review because it’s, again, given by the Goonfather, who’s a lazy ass and refuses to waste time dictating reviews when he can be playing games.
So, anyway, I took some videos of his gameplay but I don’t have time to edit the footages so maybe I’ll post the video next week.
In the meantime, Valkyria is even more cartoony than Resistance 2 but the Goonfather loves it because he says it’s okay for turn-based strategy games to be cartoony. (Although the official genre is listed as tactical role-playing game.)
In this game, you command troops by giving each unit a task per round. The game will then play out the battle by zooming in on each unit in turn so you can watch it carry out your command.
When your turns are up, the enemy troops will take their turn and you rinse and repeat and fight to the death, or something like that.
The animations are cute and the gameplay addictive.
Results of last week’s contest
Yay!!! Betshopboy wins a Gears of War 2 poster because he wants to chainsaw me!! Congratulations! :)
If you’re reading this, please e-mail me your phone number. I’ll get in touch with you about collecting your prize.
WOW players! Win a Gamepath account!
If you’re a World of Warcraft fan, you’re probably at home now playing Wrath of the Lich King.
Sorry, I can’t join you because I gave up on WoW ages ago due to lack of time to play MMORPGs.
But I am giving out free Gamepath accounts for WOW players who want to enjoy better latency!
Gamepath is a service that lowers your ping drastically by providing you with optimal routes to WOW servers in the USA. It’s legal, don’t worry.
I have three 90-day accounts to give away.
If you want one, tell me something interesting or funny that happened in one of your WOW adventures. The three most interesting stories will win an account each!
Please post your entry in the comments. Closing date is Thursday, Nov 20, 2008, 11:59 pm.
This prize is kindly sponsored by Gamepath.
Win a Virtua Fighter 5 game for PS3!!
Remember I said on Wednesday that the Goonfather is sponsoring a prize this week in celebration of his birthday?
This is it!! Virtua Fighter 5 for PS3!
He regrets that he can’t sponsor a new game due to unforseen unfortunate circumstances but he hopes someone can still have fun with this.
To win it, please choose one Virtua Fighter character and describe how that character is similar to the Goonfather.
LOL. Yes. The Goonfather will choose his favourite entry to award the prize.
Please post your entry in the comments. Closing date is Thursday, Nov 20, 2008, 11:59 pm.
This prize is kindly sponsored by the Goonfather.
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And, now, let’s celebrate the weekend by playing games all through the weekend!!
Yeah, I wish.
I have to work through the weekend and so does the Goonfather.
I hope you have better weekend luck!