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Preparations for Halloween


It has been quite a while since I last played and thoroughly enjoyed a Castlevania game.  Symphony of the Night is the last one I can remember devouring and looking back on with a complete love for.  Beyond that is the very first and, while I dug Simon's Quest at the time, it hasn't aged well from what I've been able to tell so that's more one for the nostalgia bank.  At least for me.  Recently, I've played Order of Ecclesia which was pretty darn good and reminiscent of SotN (though, as I understand it, most of the DS titles are).  Anyhow: the most recent entry - Lords of Shadow - hit not too long back and I had heard such praise for it that it quickly became hard to ignore.  I'm good at keeping things relatively off my radar game-wise unless it's a pretty huge title; your Final Fantasty, Halo, etc.  If it's a franchise I'm already invested in you can bet I'll be tracking it but there are those games that slip quietly under my view and then the buzz machine goes and it becomes increasingly difficult for me to turn off.  Part of that is the OCD, part of it the hobby of mine and my enjoyment of it.  Whatever's left over is polished off by that OCD again.  So, with that, I picked it up.

It's been compared to God of War and I can certainly see why people would draw those conclusions as it's a beat-em-up type with some button mashing thrown in and dodges that need to be made just-so in order to not get your head kicked in.  So there is that.  But still, I think that's more of a knee-jerk comparison than anything and it at least gives you a good idea of what to expect.  The setting is great being handed to you in Chapters (just completed Chapter 1 as of this writing) with each Chapter being broken down into a series of smaller, bite-sized levels.  You have your brief tutorial stage, the stage that follows this introducing new elements until you get to the end for your first major boss fight.  Pretty standard.  What's interesting, however, is that when you beat the level you unlike a trial for that level encouraging you to replay it for a bonus should you pull off whatever the extra goal might be.  For instance, the second stage of Chapter 1 requires you to complete the level without healing in any way in order to complete the trail.  I've finished the two for stages 1 and 2 (of 5, for the first Chapter) and they're both at 92% which means that in order to 100% a stage you need to also polish it off on the highest difficulty.  As beating the level on, say, medium, also counts towards beating it on easy, my plan is to take out the trials on medium to where I just need to then play-through the game on the hardest difficulty - unlocked after, I assume, you beat the game the first time through...initially there's what amounts to easy/medium/hard with "extra hard" still locked away.  So I'll do all of the trials and grab the collectables (which, thankfully, at the end of each stage they let you know how many are still floating around and what you need) the first play and then just put my head down and barrel through it on Crazy if needs be.

If you can't tell, I dig it.  A lot.  Many people on the boards I frequent are calling this one of their Game of the Year contenders which is, admittedly, surprising to me as it sat well out of view until someone even brought it up.  I have high hopes and, while I know nothing of it, apparently the ending is superb.  To the point where most of the folks I'm reading who have beaten it are speaking in all caps and then as others wrap up the game and join in, they too adopt the caps lock.  Makes me want to blast through but I also want to savor it.

Speaking of, given that it's October, I'm playing through Dead Space again.  This was my personal GotY of 2008 and I'm loving it all over again.  I originally had it for the 360 but now that I only have a PS3, this is a "first time through" for that.  I'd like to Platinum this one as it's a favorite and I'm going to attempt that with only games that I love (you'll remember I played Batman: AA for a good month straight) but you need at least 2, if not 3, play-throughs in order to do so.  So I'll get what I can the first time around, finish off what's left the second go-around, and then we'll see what happens.  I'll likely play DS along side other titles to break it up some.  Like Castlevania.  

It's actually been difficult typing all of this out because I just want to sit back down and dive into Chapter 2.  It's late, so I won't, but I want you to understand that the need is there.  

Enjoy your Monday.  Also, Joe mentioned looking here for an announcement here in the near future.  Is it wrong that I honestly don't know what said announcement is?  You'd think I would, but he's keeping me in the dark.  Or we just haven't had much time to talk lately.  There could be that.  So I'm interested right along with you.  Assuming you are indeed interested.  Which you should be.

Coming Soon...


A little bit of both, actually. Mr Blue and I haven't been able to sit and talk 'business' for a while, and on top of that - i'm making sure I can actually deliver on  a timely basis before making any kind of promises. These 'teasers' are my personal countdown. : D

Watch this space!