Thursday, 14 July 2011

Megaman Battle Network 5: Double Team, and other long titles

Finally, finally, I've finished one of the most hateful games I've ever played. Why did I play it to the end if I hated it so much? Because I'm a fool like that. So why's it such a terrible game? First up, random battles. Now I'm actually one of the few people in the world who doesn't mind random battles in most RPGs - they're a way of gaining XP and levels, and I don't mind a bit of grinding if there's a purpose. The random battles in MBN5:DT are completely and utterly pointless, though. Sure, you might get a battlechip, but you'll already have hundreds of them, and you won't need any of the extra rubbish that they give you. To make things worse, the random battles happen every...few...steps. No matter where you are, even in supposedly 'safe' areas you'll encounter the damn things.

As if that hateful piece of game design wasn't bad enough, the programmers thought you'd want to spend more time in random encounters by making you backtrack endlessly around the levels. And when I say backtracking, this is the most evil, EVIL backtracking you've ever come across. You'll spend hours wandering through levels to get to a door, then when you get there a scene will occur and the door will be opened. So far, so normal, but following that scene you'll then be teleported right back out to the hub level for some inane reason (e.g., you're tired and need to sleep before carrying on), and then you'll have to make your way back through all of the stupid levels to reach the door again so you can go through it. AARRGGHH. To make things worse, you won't know where you are on the level because the maps are hidden from you (and by the end of the game I still hadn't found half of them) and all of the levels look the same, so even though you might have been through it fifty times before, you'll still forget where you're going and end up down another dead end with another twenty random encounters to get you back onto the right path. Okay, so there are a few shortcut teleports you can use for getting from the hub world to somewhere deeper in the levels, but again, these are hidden from you, and again I hadn't activated half of them by the time I finished the game. Why? Why did the designers think that was a good idea? Why not just give you an automap and activate the short cuts as soon as a level was complete? They wouldn't have made the game any easier, just much, much less frustrating.

So anyway, I'm very glad it's finished, and I hope I never, ever play another Megaman Battle Network game as long as I live!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Adventures in cheating

So, I've finished BASS, and Lure of the Temptress, it's earlier "Virtual Theatre" sibling. I also managed to polish off TeenAgent. How did I get through all three in 5 minutes a day? I used walkthroughs. I don't have a problem with walkthroughs - I don't have much time to play any more, and I certainly don't have time to spend hours puzzling things out like I used to, so a little hint here and there saves my sanity and allows me to get through my game pile. I have to admit, though, for graphic adventures I think I overdid it. I rushed through them so quickly that I didn't really get a feel for the games. So, new rule: play the games properly and only resort to help when I get stuck. Next up, and the first challenger for that rule is Phantasmagoria. I actually own the 7 disc version, but after installing it and hearing my poor CD drive thrashing away through the first section I've decided to download it from GoG instead. 1.6GB, so it's taking a while.

In the mornings when I'm up early with Max I'm also playing through a PS3 mini - The Mystery of the Crystal Portal. It's a very simple premise, you just have to find objects on screen and drag them onto other 'key' objects to unlock them. The glacially slow puzzle nature means I can happily play that and read to Max at the same time, so it's working out pretty well. Not sure I'd have paid for it, but it's an interesting diversion.

Oh, and now GoG are running yet another sale! One game on special offer per day. Luckily, only one over the last five days has interested me. Long may it continue :)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


So, after who knows how long, I finally finished BG2 last night in its entirety. Very happy to have knocked that one on the head. Fantastic game - part of me wished I hadn't sold BG1 so I could have played through the whole saga again in its entirety (with the big world mod), but if that was the case I'd still be playing it now, so I'm glad I couldn't. Had a couple of weird glitches toward the end, but generally (other than the stutteriness of the big world mod) it played like a dream.

Over 9GB of space freed up on my comp now it's gone...what to fill it with...? I think I'll go with Beneath a Steel Sky, which I got free from GoG when I signed on. It should be a nice quick break from a monstrous RPG. I got about half way through it years ago but got stuck somewhere. Hopefully I'll be able to get through it now.

Oh, and Steam are having their summer sale. It's the same deal as the treasure hunt that got me back into PC gaming last year - they put a bunch of games on sale each day, then you have tasks to do in those games in order to win tickets to get free stuff. Annoyingly compulsive and means I end up buying the odd game here and there. Still, when it's things like Deus Ex: Invisible War for only a couple of pounds it's hard to say no...bang goes my two out one in theory...maybe I'll start that after the summer sale.