Just an update — the next D3 episode will come late this week. Perhaps even as late as the weekend. My life took a turn for the crazy, and once things settle down I’ll post about it all (including some good news and some sad news) here — but for now my head isn’t in the right place.
Until then, I’ll leave you with an honest-to-god blog entry (which I really don’t do enough):
I’m a few hours into the new Ratchet and Clank game now (the first one that I’ve had nothing to do with) and it’s really good. I’m very impressed by how much polish and how many little details they just nailed. The animation (both in cutscenes and in-game) is really top-notch. The gameplay is awesome, as usual, but this time around it just feels much better to me. While it’s definitely because the team at Insomniac did a kick-ass job, as usual, it’s probably compounded by the fact that I, for the first time, get to see a Ratchet game wth fresh eyes.
Most of the time, when you work on a game, all you see in the release version is the things that got cut and the bugs that never got fixed. What I get to notice in this game is all the things that went right, and that makes it all the better for me.
One of my favorite things about this new game is the “raritanium / weapon upgrade” system. For those of you who haven’t played yet, enemies drop raritanium crystals in addition to bolts this time around. You collect the crystals and then, when you get to a weapon vendor, you can spend them on mods to upgrade your weapons. The mods are all linked together in a grid (like a very stripped-down version of the FF12 system), and it’s a real blast to go in and upgrade your weapons. Combined with all the other rewards, things to find, and various other meta-games, as well as the very addictive (as always) combat mechanic, and you have a really good game.
I’ve also laughed out loud a few times, which is awesome.
Additionally, I’ve been reading a lot of books lately. One really awesome book I read was Crooked Little Vein, by Warren Ellis. I haven’t laughed so hard in a really long time. I challenge anyone in the world to open the book up, read the first paragraph, and then stop themselves from reading the rest of the book. It grabs you by the eyeballs on page one and keeps you there.
The book was phenomenal, and I highly recommend it to anyone. It’s REALLY raunchy, though, so take that into account.
Another book I read was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance. It’s a semi-autobiographical story about a guy going on a motorcycle trip with his son across America. The interesting thing about it is that the narrator (who is also the author) went insane at some point in his past and was subjected to electroshock therapy. This caused him to manifest a completely new personality and erase his old personality. So a lot of the book is him reflecting on the amazing ideas that his old personality (who he calls Phaedrus) came up with.
What I got out of this book was a set of tools to understand and cope with modern life, as well as a neat story about this man reconciling his two halves and coming to understand his son. Anyway, I recommend it highly. I’m reading it through currently a second time, since it’s a really hard book to get all in one sitting. It’s not particularly dense, like some philosophy boks, and the narrative really softens it up and makes it a compellin read.
I’ve also been playing Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. It’s a solid Zelda game, but probably not the best in the series. The touchscreen mechanics work very well, and if you’re like me and crave a Zelda fix about once a year, this one will not disappoint. But it won’t particularly wow you much, either.
Anyway, that’s all for now. I’ll try to do a bit more blogging on here. I’ve gotten really focused lately on “features” like D3 or the articles, but I think I really want to do some more random blogging and musing and such.
Speaking of features, I’m still working on part 2 of my deconstructionism article, so stay tuned for that.