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Finally, a reason to ENJOY mist

The humidifier is in place and producing warm mist, but it's hard to say whether it's having much of an effect just yet. I've been up since about 3:30, so I've been pretty tired. The mist might be contributing to that.

So I'm now about halfway through Prince of Persia, and as Curt reminded me before he left for the week, I can't really call it a "review" of the game if I'm not done. Having beaten one of the bosses completely and unlocked the second boss's lair, though, I've seen some more variety in the battles, and I've drawn one more conclusion about something that I don't like much in this game as opposed to the others. Yes, it's an open world that allows you to choose your path, but it's entirely episodic. The game starts with an introductory sequence, followed by the Temple, which is a sort of hub that has three paths leading to four interconnected areas, each of which is the entance to a ring of four more areas with a boss lair at the far end. I suppose this might mean that it's technically possible to skip the first encounter with a boss and enter its ring from one of the other rings, but I imagine those paths are somehow blocked until you've defeated the boss in the first encounter. However, once you're in the ring, you can circle the ring with normal acrobatic abilities, but you'll need the special powers to enter the levels themselves, and each one has its own self-contained story. You still have to complete every story, and it doesn't seem as though the order in which you complete them affects any of the others, so it's not as much up to the player as one might believe. It's just my opinion that that's a weaker type of storytelling, but it probably comes from an adolescence full of FMV games where the scenes were necessarily as unrelated as possible, since having multiple versions of a scene (to reflect changes brought on by the player's actions) would require shooting multiple versions of the scene and storing them on the disc. Having a fully voiced game brings the same problem. But it removes a level of intricacy from the story that can only be achieved by having a single coherent script. The original Prince had a dynamic, developed relationship with Farah. Most of the interactions between the new Prince and Elika are entirely generic. It seems as though they may be delivering a few new "standard" lines from time to time, but that could depend on the area rather than my progress through the game, or simply a much larger pool of random dialogue than I've experienced, which I would certainly hope is the case. Anyway, while some of the powers apparently do have actual gameplay elements to them (I just seem to have chosen the lamest two to start with), it's still a pattern of "follow the path until you spot the power plate, use the plate's power, get to the boss, defeat it, then run the route again to collect the Light Seeds" that feels contrary to what made the original trilogy, particularly Sands of Time, so great. As those games progressed, there would be new physical features to interact with, and the old ones would be put together in new ways to present an increase in challenge. The closest they came to deviating from that formula was when Warrior Within allowed you to complete the two towers in either order, although there was a distinct "best" way to do it, and doing it the other way would usually trap you forever at the end of the game in a less infamous glitch that was nevertheless effective unless you knew the story ahead of time. The obstacles DO vary from area to area in the new Prince, but there's no particular progression of difficulty that I've seen, nor do I expect to... if there's a harder area to come than what I've already beaten, then I could have completed it earlier. Another stroke in the "reasons this game is too easy" tally... no difficulty curve. I still recommend it, even so. Once again, it's not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. It just chose to associate itself with a great series and fall tremendously short of the mark, in much the same way that Mask of Eternity could have been a reasonable game had it not been marketed under the King's Quest title. And not utterly sucked. Maybe more like Jak X: Combat Racing. Decent racing game, okay use of familiar characters... death for the series.

Note to Ubisoft: We wanted the story and platforming from Sands of Time with the combat from Warrior Within. What we got was platforming more like Two Thrones with the controls randomly reallocated and the Prince largely ignoring gravity, combat from God of War but with only one enemy on the screen at a time and the infinite health cheat activated, and a story like something out of one of the later Mana games or the standard MMORPG... pick your quest, complete it, then pick another, while some big thing goes on that eventually gets resolved through the sum of your efforts. Nice graphics and sound work, but we gave up on thinking those made a great game with the original Myst.

Having finished the first disc of Rumbling Hearts (a.k.a. Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, for those more familiar with that name), I was going to take the next natural step and start watching Diamond Daydreams, but instead, I figured I'd torture myself with more Cromartie High School. At least I can reasonably stop halfway through an episode. Speaking of which, the latest video find for today is Ebola World, home of such classics as Taco-Man, Snowy the Frostman, and Dubya-Doo. They also have a Youtube channel that includes the Taco-Man Plays a Video Game series and possibly Taco-Man the Game Master, which I watched on Screw Attack. Excellent stuff - Messed-Up Bible Stories in particular has some interesting takes on things, including plenty of material you won't see in Holy Bibble.

NOAH: You want me to sacrifice the animals I just saved? You know those species will go extinct.

Comments

(Deleted comment)
nidoking
Dec. 8th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC)
Seen it and read it, but the two series have nothing to do with each other. School Rumble is pretty good. It's a comedy, naturally. I don't remember the anime being quite as funny as the manga, but I've read much more than I've watched. There are tons of characters, so the manga makes a joke out of reminding you who they are via marginal notes, vaguely reminiscent of the end-of-chapter notes in Cromartie High School. It distracts from the story a bit, especially since you need to turn your head or the book to read the English text, but if I didn't like overstimulation, I wouldn't watch Pani Poni Dash. The anime's pretty much just an animated version of the same story, as expected. Pick your medium. If you liked Azumanga Daioh, you'll like School Rumble as well.
(Deleted comment)
nidoking
Dec. 12th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
That's quite an exaggeration. Even when I'm actually going to the Fertile Grounds, they don't refer to them THAT much. Although maybe it's because I don't stop to talk to Elika very often.

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Yes, I'm THAT Nidoking. Sometimes I write fanfiction... often I waste all my time playing video games and watching anime. But it's not a waste if I enjoy it, right? I can quote from a movie, video game, anime series, or British comedy apropos of just about any situation, and one of my main goals in life is to entertain people. (The other big one is amassing as much anime and manga as I can... see below for a progress report.) That's me in a nutshell. ("Help! I'm trapped in a nutshell! What a bloody great nutshell this is!")
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