Rafiki's Post-Holiday Roundup

Rafiki 4/4/2010 

We still talk about games, right? I haven't done that in awhile, so I don't remember. Here's a list of some games I've played, plus some stuff I thought up about them all by myself (sometimes).

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Seems like every company that drops a sack of money on a comic book license decides the best thing to do with it is extrude a fine turd into a case and call it a day. Take Superman, for example. We all agree he's a shitty character, so forget about that, what I can't understand is how people could fuck up a video game where he's the star. Guy can fly, has super strength, freeze breath, lasers, super speed, fucking everything. He could be shooting down jets, hucking cars 3 city blocks into a skyscraper, or punching out 20-story robots, but the funnest thing anyone could think for him to do was fly through rings or fight Sub-Zero. So the fact that someone put this much effort into Batman, and it's fun, is pretty shocking.

I played this game for about 10 minutes before it convinced me I needed a PC gamepad.

XBox360 Controller for Windows


Trying to do combat with a keyboard flat out sucks, but it's not the game's fault. On the other hand, controlling the camera with an analog stick sucks compared to a mouse, so there's no perfect solution. The gamepad is definitely the way to go, but I wish the camera was a little less tedious to control. The combat is fun, though! The only complaint I have in general is that I had no idea how much you could do until after I finished the game and poked around in the challenge modes. You mean I could have hung from ledges and pulled people over the railing? Holy shit!

The boss fights did absolutely suck. They make a point of encouraging you to sneak around and be creative, but then the boss fights decide to throw all of that out the window. Killer Croc was the worst. They introduce him in the opening of the game squeezing out of a freight elevator and being a huge imposing character, but then when you fight him you just throw boomerangs at him and push him into the water like the fat kid at a public swimming pool. How did anybody think these fights were a good idea?


Originally I made a comment saying that I liked Borderlands, but it still had time to go all Warhammer Online and start sucking. It went all Warhammer Online and started sucking. The game starts to drag and then just kind of ends. Way too much time is spent in the Rust Commons area, and the quests never deviate from collect this and kill that. Yes, thank you, genre conventions, now can someone invent something new or at least think of funner ways to accomplish those goals?

It also tries to have some sort of story that never bothers to make any sense. There's a woman yelling at your from a satellite and you need to stop some people from getting to a vault because they're bad somehow, I forget. It's not like it matters, though. The opening makes it clear you're just in it for the money, so you could be racing against a group of adorable puppymen that want to turn the vault into a playground for crippled children, and you should still be motivated to shoot them in the face. It also doesn't matter because the instant the bad guys open the vault they're raped in half by tentacles, so good thing you were in such a hurry. Oops, spoilers.

This isn't really a bad game, it's not just great either. It feels like they could have done more with it, but I guess they were busy working on the 30 or 40 DLCs that have already been released in the 3 months the game has been out. Honestly, the funnest part of the game is griefing other players with the cars in multiplayer. You can blow up other vehicles, but only if no one's driving them. And if you flip someone's car over, they're automatically ejected. So driving to each quest waypoint turns into a competition of seeing who can make the other person walk.

Burnout: Paradise

I've totally never played a Burnout game before. I'm such an asshole. This game is great. I'm glad Batman convinced me to get a controller, because it's perfect for this game. The multiplayer implementation is fantastic. No loading screens or finding servers or anything. You just start up your own game, and then you can seemlessly join someone else's on your friend list without even having to stop (apart from single player events). And leaving a multiplayer game is the same way. No "LOST CONNECTION, KICKING YOU BACK TO THE MAIN MENU," you just keep driving around like nothing happened. Shit, one time I was using an online-only car and it hot-swapped me to a single player car when I left the game. Brilliant! And just when I didn't think the game could get any better, Avril Lavigne's cheerleader rock came on and I SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEALED! OH, I'M THE MUTHAFUCKIN PRINCESS TOO!

I don't mind driving between events because crashing around the map at mach speed is fun, except when a race takes me out to the middle of the country. In the city, events are so close together it's a non-issue, but in the country you have to drive 10 minutes to get anywhere. Where this does work is in multiplayer. When you pick an event, everyone has to drive there. Which means you get to grief each other on the way. And then during the event. And then after the event. ESPECIALLY grief the host, because every time they crash or are taken down they're forced out of the event selection menu.

One thing I don't get about the multiplayer is why they didn't give you the option to include CPU opponents in marked man or road rage. Maybe this isn't an issue in large games, but in smaller one it's fucking impossible for anyone to win. Everyone chases the marked man, and then in the last 10 seconds when it's obvious no one can catch him, everyone that hasn't been marked just scatters so that when the new round starts they're all on the other side of the map where no one can catch them. Would have been nice to have CPU opponents to slow them down or something.

Defense Grid: The Awakening

I need to not buy these games because I get obsessed with doing each map flawlessly, until I'm sitting there at 3 in the morning on a weeknight furiously hitting the backspace key until I figure out the secret tower combination to win the map with no losses. Spoiler: it's machine gun towers. Why do other towers exist? Use machine gun towers. Easily worth the $2.50 I payed for it, though.

Diablo 3

So a bunch of ex-Blizzard employees got together and crossed World of Warcraft's art style and actionbars with Diablo's everything else. They only used the characters from Diablo 1, though, and made the insane decision to not include multiplayer. Oh shit, I'm talking about Torchlight.

It's really a very well-done Diablo update, so if you haven't ever played Diablo or really, really wanted a prettier Diablo, it's not a waste of money. But while it makes a few minor improvements, like a shared stash, a pet that can hold inventory, automatically picking up gold, and a screen resolution outside of 1998, it really goes absolutely nowhere with the genre. I've only gotten to like floor 20 of the dungeon, but it's not looking like the game is going to take an amazing turn anytime soon.

Here's my problem with these types of games: The combat is endlessly repetitive and never gets more exciting. You get some new spells, but they don't make the game more fun they basically just amount to a change in scenery. Other abilities are just passive, like adding damage. Ok, whatever. There's a satisfying crunch to combat at first, but 4 hours later and I don't care anymore because it's the same sound and the same knockback. This shit needs to build like a fireworks display, so that by the end of the game it's wall-to-wall explosions, buildings coming down, motherfuckers ragdolling everywhere, anything you can think of to surprise me. Instead, the main hook of these games is dress-up and gambling addiction. Oh, let me just run this dungeon one more time, maybe then my last set piece will drop. As a business model, I guess it works since World of Warcraft and has made more money than god, and other companies are starting to incorporate those features into their own games ('sup Valve), but from a gameplay standpoint it just strikes me as kind of a copout.

Mass Effect 1

[Note: I've only played this game for 30 minutes]

Online Gaming Communities

I guess in the last 2 years or so, everybody decided they needed their own communities for match making and leaderboards and a whole lot of HULGALUHGALUGHLUALHUGHLUALHUGALG. I now have accounts with Steam, Games for Windows Live, Battle.Net, Rockstar, Runic Games, EA, Gamespy, Criterion, and probably several others. And it's only going to get worse. Pretty soon I'll have as many user accounts as there are developers and publishers. Special editions of games will start shipping with a fucking rolodex shaped like a dragon to hold all my damn account info. And when you open it up, it roars!

Can we just pick something, already? I can't find the other post that also mentioned it, but how retarded is it that I have to log into Steam to play a game that makes me log into another service to play their dumb game? Fuck people, I want technology to simplify things.


This is another game I've only played for 30 minutes. 20 of those were spent with a car in my hands steamrolling pedestrians like some kind of human bowling. It was a pretty good 20 minutes.