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It Takes Two
Finally got to finish the last of the Banjo games. Somehow this alluded me in my GBA era, even tho Banjo has a giant home in my heart.
Total runtime for a near 100% run was 4 hours. Which is wild and short. Final boss Grunty is very grindy, so I used the emulation save states to make it less frustrating. I just wish they did more here. You barely need to backtrack with mumbo power ups in previous levels. Also often frustrating because you can't really judge where you are going and what elevation you can travel to with the graphics//stereoscopic 3D.
I'm very nostalgic for this game. This was my first time playing it.
Because I can't think of any media release since, video game or otherwise, that felt like such an event. (An Avengers? Star Wars 7? Certain WoW expansions?) Or maybe that says more about my age and friend group in 2007. Or the sodas I was drinking.
And I'd say it lived up to expectations. Shooting bad guys is fun, and grenades feel useful and balanced. Only one level made me angry when it refused to end. I did the accidentally-return-to-the-start-because-the-environment-has-no-landmarks thing again, in the same level. There's a comically easy boss fight towards the end, which is odd but I prefer it to the opposite. Basically, this is what I wanted from Halo 2.
The story ends the only way it possibly could have. Maybe a little too neatly. But it shows an ambition in storytelling that I don't think was there in the previous entries, even though it seems unpolished by today's standards. But hey, it was 2007. Seems like that was the year everyone everywhere was figuring out what video games stories could be. Modern Warfare, Bioshock, Super Mario Galaxy, Mass Effect, Portal. As much as I grumbled about the story and writing of the series before, Halo 3 improves on the faults of the previous entries, and it deserves to be on that list. As a transitional moment, if nothing else.
When I started playing this DLC and all Togue does is yell I was expecting it to be a pretty bad time. I was however pleasantly surprised when he's character became more of a deconstructer pointing out all the cliches his participants are using.
Other than that the DLC was a fun little boss rush through some funny characters. It definitely felt like it had a low budget with the end credits being a very dull background with no backing music but they managed to make a fun time killing campaign with what they had.
Finished this dumb fun action game. It was cool with an original concept. The story was mostly bullshit but with whitey lines at times. Too much cursing but that's what they were going for. Graphics were great and I mostly enjoyed it. It last 5 minutes too long tough. Anyways, good game and it's a shame it will most likely never get a sequel.
Mastapiece. Easily one of my favorite Gamecube exclusives and a game I never get tired of. This game oozes personality, it's filled to the brim with charm, fun characters, and intriguing aesthetics and atmosphere. It's an incredibly easy game to just pick up and play because of how short and simple it is, and this simplicity is pretty effective. The fact that this game is just 6 hours long definitely benefits the game preventing it from getting repetitive and stale, for some games being too short can be a big letdown, but for games like Luigi's Mansion it works perfectly. Each area of the game feels distinct because of the entertaining ghosts you meet throughout the way and the overall variety in set pieces. One of my favorite things about this game is that it makes Luigi such a charismatic character. His shy, scaredy and curious nature was kept for the rest of the Mario games for a reason, it makes Luigi so lovable that is kind of impossible not to like him, he is the best Mario character ever. Damn there is so much I love about this game, it's a mastapeece indeed.
I've tried twice on PC and now twice on console and I just can't get into this game. I guess it's the added layer of another dimension; having to do all of this survival game busywork while also having to deal with floating and how resources can be located anywhere in a full sphere around you. It just makes everything feel like that much of a chore. It doesn't help that all the cool discoveries in this game are far away and it feels like there's nothing especially cool to find in the vicinity of your pod. Just a load of survival busywork of having to constantly gather up Bladderfish to drink and hauling metal scrap back and forth. I usually like that in a lot of these games, but here it all feels like too much of a chore for me and I'm going to go ahead and peace out for the final time.
Halo: Combat Evolved
I'm in a weird spot here, because I'm not sure I can accurately describe what makes this one of my favorite games. The controls are good (and were relevatory in 2001), but hardly perfect. The level design is immaculate at first, but quickly shows what happens when you try and stretch a 5 hour game out to 10 and don't have the manpower to do it. The soundtrack is terrific, but Marty O'Donnell has outdone himself both before and since. For an early 2000s shooter, it tells a decently well-written story decently well, but Half-Life it is not.
So what makes Halo...Halo? I wish I could say differently, but it's the feel. It just feels adventurous and cavalier, like even the game itself doesn't know what's over the next horizon or through the next canyon. The ring itself has this strange ambience to it, like you're really discovering something entirely new. I know that's how it felt to play in early 2002. In all honesty, I should like the other games more than this one, the flaws in CE are pretty glaring, but it's not just nostalgia that makes me say this. This game has held up in the way it feels and moves and sounds, and those were always the most important things for a game to be good at.
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