Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Twofer  

Games: Just finished Professor Layton and the Curious Village on DS. The art was great, the music was excellent and overall the presentation was utterly charming… There’s a refined, very Francais Triplets of Belleville thing going on. There was a hefty disconnect between the puzzles and how they related to the characters and story, but it was hard not to like the game, regardless.

…It made me feel like a COMPLETE retard, though. I aced most of the 3D and logic puzzles, but the math and other types had me flummoxed most of the time. I don't think I’ve ever used an FAQ as often as I did for this game. It was somewhat humbling.

Humbling or not, Layton is a thumbs up for sure, but I’d like to see better integration of story and puzzles, and to have some choices and action that weren't necessarily puzzle-related. A little role-playing or a more active hand in solving the mystery of the village would have knocked this one out of the park. Not gonna review it, BUT IF I DID... I’d say a 7.5 probably, although there’s so much puzzlicious content that an 8 might be warranted.

In a rare two-fer, I also wrapped up Metroid Prime 3: Corruption on the Wii. I have a review forthcoming for this one, and I’ll post the link when it goes up on GC. To tide you over for now: it started good, and ended according to the worn-out formula. Even at around twelve hours, it was too long, as well.


Books: Finished off Brian Keene's The Rising last night, though I have to admit that I was a little nervous to read it right before going to bed. It's extremely rare that a book can generate a true feeling of tension for me, but this one did. As I neared the end of the story, I literally could not turn the pages fast enough. I'm planning on getting the sequel when I hit the bookstore this coming week, and I'm hoping that there’s a continuation of this book's final chapter.

As a writer, I had nothing but respect and even awe for how effectively Keene set up his main character in the very first chapter. However, as the book went on, I was trying to imagine the author’s thought process and predict where he'd go with the events. When I got to the end… well, I'm not going to spoil it for any of you who may read the book, but I will say that the writer in me had a very sneaking suspicion that things were going to end the way they did, although the reader in me hoped otherwise.

Overall, The Rising was an excellent read and I plan on picking up at least a few more volumes of Keene’s work in the very near future. Recommended.

Life: My son arrives tomorrow for his spring vacation visit, and the wife and I couldn't be more excited… literally counting the minutes, we are. He’s a great little boy and we’re gonna have us some good times.

Disclaimer: My posts may be a little less frequent while he’s here, so if you wonder why the updates aren’t coming as often as they usually do... there you go.

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