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So About Them “Videogames” July 2013

July 10, 2013

こんにちは、皆さん。It isn’t quite the 15th yet, but I’ve decided to temporarily move my gaming/anime monthlies forward a bit to facilitate a move to a new place later this month. The E3 announcements feel like they were eons ago, and July so far hasn’t wrought the best of news.

 

I, like countless other Giantbomb.com users was shocked to find out that one of the website’s co-founders, and one of its most energetic personalities, Ryan Davis has passed away.
I didn’t know him in person, and as I’m merely a fan of the site he helped create, there’s no real way he knew I existed, but that just goes to show how big of an impact he made with what he did at GiantBomb. He had a commanding presence on camera, and an unmatched enthusiasm when discussing the things he enjoyed. He was a hilarious guy to watch and listen to, and you couldn’t help but laugh when he started laughing.
GiantBomb’s weekly podcast, quick looks and weekly shows have been something I have looked forward to over the past few years, and it’s tough to imagine how those things will continue in his absence.
Without sounding too sappy, the world was a brighter place with him in it, and while I didn’t know him personally, it still feels as though I have lost a friend; and of course my thoughts are with his family and his friends.

 

Up until this news though, there haven’t been a whole lot of big announcements in the world of video games recently, aside from Microsoft turning a complete 180 on their always-online policies with the Xbox One.
It’s a change that personality I thought was necessary, but I never in a million years would have assumed they’d have gone through with. With a big business, integrity seems to be more important than user outcry, and it’s surprising to see outcry overcome integrity, though I suppose that just goes to show just how absurd the Xbox One’s restrictions were.
That change is of course beneficial to us gaming folk though. Removing the always-online component of the Xbox One has made the system more appealing, at least to me, though as it still requires a Kinect (and again, I live in small quarters), it still doesn’t seem as practical a video game machine as one without such requirements.

 

What I’ve been playing:
Me and racing games have a strange relationship. There are long periods of time in which I don’t so much as think of popping one in to play, and then there are times like this past month where it seems I almost exclusively play racing games.

MotoGP 2006 One of those games was MotoGP ’06. While I do enjoy the more casual breed of sim racing games (such as Forza or Gran Turismo), motorbike racing has never really struck my fancy, and while I had received MotoGP ’06 as a pack-in game with one of my 360’s (please let the next gen of consoles last longer than a year or two), I had never played a whole lot of it, because simulation bike racing seems far more daunting than that of other motorsports.
Having put maybe a dozen of hours into it over the past few weeks though, I’d consider MotoGP ’06 to be a pretty damned good racing game. If you’re used to cars/trucks and the lot, the handling on bikes takes some serious getting used to, but once you get the hang of managing your rider’s weight through corners, making it smoothly around a new track is very rewarding.
The game obviously shows its age… it isn’t much of a looker these days, and the frame-rate can take a dive in some weird spots, but it’s perfectly playable, and the career mode is a lot of fun.

 

SART-WIP-Box But the racing binge didn’t end there. Steam had some good sales on a few racing games that had piqued my interest in recent years, so I tossed out a couple coins to snag em.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing was the HD Mario Kart I’ve been waiting for back when it came out, and while it was somewhat lacking in the power-up department, I liked it quite a bit.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed retains the Mario Kart-inspired roots, while diverging off to do its own thing.
Tracks are split into car, boat, and plane sections, and several offer the player options to transform into one of two vehicle types to go through a particular section.
Each of the three vehicle types handle a little differently, which keeps races exciting as you swap between the three in different sections of the track all the while wrestling victory away from your opponents.
They’ve refined the trick mechanic a little bit in this one. Before, you’d hit a trigger and your character would perform a random trick, which would give you a speed boost upon landing properly. In Transformed though, tricks are placed on the right thumb-stick. You still gain a speed boost if you trick off of a jump and land it, but you’re now able to do either front/backflips or rolls (the latter of which are useful for avoiding obstacles in some cases). If you do a trick while transforming into a ground-based vehicle, you also gain a speed boost.
It’s the tracks though where Transformed really shines though. While the tracks in the first game were identifiable as being inspired by games from Sega’s properties, the tracks in Transformed take full advantage of the transformation gimmick. This provides for some pretty elaborate (and in a couple cases pretty tricky) course designs, with one of my personal favorites being the Skies of Arcadia track, in which the race participants work their way around an area swamped with airships amidst battle with one another. As the race progresses, sections of the track get destroyed by said battle, making those sections only traversable via transforming.
Arcade racers are few and far between nowadays, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed seems like a keeper.

 

That is pretty much all I have for now regarding video games, though. Something that has been on my mind a lot lately with games is difficulty, and I’m still trying to figure out a good way to articulate why I think difficulty is in such a bad spot with games right now.
Maybe that’s what the next one of these will be about.
That’s all for now though. じゃね!

From → Games, Rambles

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