Friday, August 20, 2010

Beyond my meager skills

I have been thinking long and hard about who should receive the very first Friday fuck you and I have not come up with anyone. There are of course large organizations doing stupid things, like the RIAA trying to force you to install a radio in your wristwatch so they can collect money on it, but I am hesitant to waste a good rant on them because I don't fully understand how absurd it is. There are people of a more conservative nature trying to prevent a church from being built in New York because it is in a sensitive area and the builders don't happen to believe in the same god, but saying fuck you to Republicans for finding a way to just barely camouflage their racism is a waste of energy; once I started I would never be able to stop. The gaming industry is relatively safe this week, which brings me to Harmonix and the upcoming release of Rock Band 3.

I have nothing negative to say about Rock Band 3. It will be purchased on day one and undoubtedly enjoyed. However, this monstrosity:

That damn thing has 102 buttons! 102! And real strings to strum!

I am no longer a musician, and even when I was (many, many years ago) the guitar was plainly beyond my ability. I could not get my hands into even the approximate positions required to play chords. The five button guitar controller was just my speed: my fingers really didn't have to go anywhere but up and down and maybe stretch down to that last button every once and a while. This new guitar is designed to go with Rock Band 3's pro mode, a mode which is more or less designed to teach real world skills. Buttons on this guitar match every position of every fret on a real one, so I would imagine that with enough practice it would be a much larger step in the right direction than the old plastic toy instruments. This is going to sound odd, but fuck you Harmonix. Fuck you for making the genre fresh again. Fuck you for releasing a $150 accessory which I need to own that will do nothing more than make me look like an untalented ass.

Dead to Rights has come to a close, and the only decision I question is have the one many army hero jump into a mini-gun wielding exoskeleton for a good chunk of the last level. Jack Slate already felt over powered, what with the elbow braking and weapon stealing and unmerciful executions, so dropping him into a walking tank was redundant. It threw off what had been a very smooth difficulty curve, opting for intensity via body count instead of making things harder. It is not the first game to do this (FEAR 2 comes to mind), and it is certainly not the first game that didn't need it, but it is not unforgivable. Dead to Rights: Retribution was an above average action game, and when I was expecting the bottom of the barrel that actually makes it pretty good. It made for a good slow let down from my post-Expendables mood, and may actually have had better writing.

Spoiler coming, if anyone cares.

The game ends with the funeral for Jack's father. As everyone begins to walk away to priest (called 'preacher man' in the subtitles) approaches Jack to offer help if he needs it.

Jack - Forgive me father, for I have sinned.
Preacher Man - Oh, I know. I watched the news.

There was a little thought put into this, and I appreciate the effort.

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