Time to go off on a few different subjects here, gaming and otherwise, so dig in.
As you can very likely tell by the videos, my gaming time this weekend was spent playing Hellgate: London. As I read more and more reviews of the game, the more I am boggled. Has the Action-RPG really gotten so stale? Is HG:L such a new blend of the genre that people really don't see that it's basically Diablo with a new view-point? I see some reviews get the concept, and give the gameplay great praise but the bugs bring down the score. To me, these reviews hit the target. They're well written, and touch on the major problems of bugs and whatnot that plague the game, while still maintaining that at the core is a very fun Action-RPG that fans of the genre won't want to miss.
On the other end of the spectrum are reviewers who seem to think the game was meant to be WoW with a new setting, or Gears of War with RPG elements. From these reviews one gets the notion that maybe the critics just plain old did not do their homework, and very likely didn't play the game much... or perhaps they're just not fans of the genre. A-RPGs are certainly meant for the player who doesn't mind repetition and for the game that relishes in loot-hoarding. Make no bones about it.
I suppose, though I'm content with the game, the bad reviews of some bug me because I know many folks won't even give the game a try and I feel they'd be missing out. It's Holiday season, the shelves will be filled with great AAA titles, and I worry HG:L will get overlooked, and those of us who are fans won't have the support we're hoping the game receives to take it from bugged launch product to absolute classic. Time will tell I suppose. I do see at least 15,000 people on most of the weekend when I do a "/who" in chat though, so that's a good sign.
I hope the game's selling well both here and in the EU, as it's apparently doing well in Asian territories already. I'd love to be constantly going back to this game for new adventutres of the next few years, so I hope it gets the love it deserves. I'll definitely be subscribing soon to take advantage of the new content in December, that's for sure. I won't be missing out on Stonehenge plagued by demons. Heck, I might even dump 10 bucks tonight if the lure of the Guy Fawkes event pulls my geek-strings too hard.
Moving on, let's talk about Jonathan Coulton. Where the hell has this guy been hiding from me? I found his name via everyone's clamoring for the Portal Finale theme song, and I spared as much cash as I could to download 9 of his songs last night via iTunes. I'm hooked. Think Weird Al or Tenacious D with more subtlety and, in my opinion, more talent and you've got Jonathan Coulton. Humorous, poignant, and absolutely ear-catching, I've got to find a way to get more money to get more of his stuff. Definitely an Indie artist to support if ever there was one.
Lastly, back to the all-important addiction that is gaming, a week from today Super Mario Galaxy ships. Metacritic is already tracking reviews, and they're coming in exceptional. If their words can be trusted at all, we might actually have a Mario that can compare to Mario 64. These days I feel the wear of Zelda's formula. I'm starting to get pretty bored by Link's same old, same old adventures. The DS version is a change in control, and a streamline of features... but it's still the same old dungeon/puzzles that you've played with since the original. I love it, but it is getting old.
On the other hand, Mario doesn't fail to entertain me. The NES pack-in was my 1st game, and I've played every single one since it to death. Super Mario World was the best in its day, then 64 took reign, Sunshine was good but not a "true" Mario game in my book, and from the looks of it Galaxy sets a new bench mark with its gravity tricks and ingenious puzzle design. Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats a good solid platformer.
US Guvmint employees get the 12th off for Veteran's Day, and I've decided to take the 13th off as well to "celebrate" Mario's return to perfection. Here's hoping I'm not too hyped. I doubt I will be.
Cheers you lot.