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hombre_hompson

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Posts posted by hombre_hompson

  1. Too many negs and comments about levelling for the sake of it for me to fully appreciate this thread right now

    Don't get me wrong - It's still a brilliant game and one of my favourites this gen. Maybe levelling was the wrong word, but whenever I reach a boss fight I feel so inadequate I spend the next few hours hunting for better weapons and tooling up, which inevitably results in a better soul level. Maybe that's deliberate design, or maybe I'm just terrible at the boss fights.

    It's most noticeable on the second tier. I went through 2-2 with relative ease, only to come unstuck at Flamelurker. Finally beat him and moved onto 3-2 which was brilliant but again I got through it easily, only to hit another difficulty spike with the Maneater.

    I'm sticking with it as the levels themselves are really enjoyable, and people who've finished it tell me the middle section is the hardest part of the game.

  2. Finally beat Flamelurker due to some glitchy path finding on his part. It's taken so many attempts I could cry.

    The difficulty curve is all over the place at the moment - because I spend so much effort levelling up for the boss fights the subsequent levels are much less of a challenge. It sort of ruins the level for me knowing the next boss encounter awaits with such a difficulty spike. Do things even out eventually?

    Still enjoying it though, if that's the right word for it.

  3. Just started playing SOTC for the first time - It's wonderful. Having only seen screenshots previously I had no idea of the sense of physicality it brings, you really do feel like you are clinging on and being thrown around all over the shop. The sense of height (or more so the fear of falling of) is the best I've experienced in gaming. Lovely.

  4. Very late I know but I've just bought and started my first playthrough of this, mainly due to stumbling across this thread after reading about Dark Souls. The game had been completely off my radar before that.

    I picked a Knight and finished 1-1 on my first go, admittedly having read the advice to avoid the red-eyed knight beforehand. Love the sense of scale with the castle, and the way it plays out like one continuous level, emerging on some of the balconies felt like I was working my way through some brutual theme park attraction. Everything has a really meaty weight to it - the heavy blows really smack home and some of the corridor brawls really feel like you've got to slug your way through. Genuine panic when I ran away from the red dragon with my 47% armour weighting.

    However this early success has seemingly given me false hope - tried both 1-2 and 2-1 last night and I can now sense the scale of the challenge ahead. The thing I love about all this is how genuinely tense it all is - not just becuase of the atmosphere but mainly due to impact of failure. It's that old fashioned feeling of being on your last life, except now that feeling is all the time, knowing the consequence that one single mistake can have. I've been so numbed by quicksaves and checkpoints, it's all quite alien. I actually spent a few minutes staring at the red knight in the distance, worried about approaching him, genuinely fearful of the consequence.

    So yes it's hard, but I don't think it's a lack of skill that I have. It's obviously going to take hard work, patience, discipline. It's going to take dedication - I've spent all day at work thinking about it, what strategies to use and how I'm going to go about it next time. Not many games do that for me these days. At the moment it feels like the odds are massively stacked against me, but not unfairly - me against it, and I can't wait for the day when the odds are finally in my favour and I can go back and smash up the red-eyed knight with ease.

    So thanks to this thread I have a new hobby. I love it already, hope it continues.

  5. The 'confusing E3 reveal' was down to mad retards on gaming news sites who were completely unable to process what they were looking at, and subsequently blaming Nintendo for it. I agree it's not got off to the best start but there's plenty of time yet and, as I said, you'd better bet Nintendo knows it has work to do.

    I don't think that's the case. I watched E3 live with 4 others and the presentation sufferered from a complete lack of clarity, by the end of it we were still trying to work out if the Wii U was a new console or controller.

  6. Not really, they're both separate stories and gameplay experiences set in more or less the same world (at least in style and atmosphere). There are one or two subtle references to Ico in SotC but it doesn't matter if you 'get' them during your first playthough or in retrospect really.

    Ok cheers, that's all I need to know. My head says to play through Ico first but I reckon I won't be able to resist Sotc.

  7. Finished it, loved it. Thought the atmosphere held up throughout.

    My take on the ending for what it's worth.

    I assumed that both the boy and girl are dead, but the girl has passed through to the other side whereas the boy is still trapped in Limbo, and finding her will help him pass over also. He is stuck in some sort of continual loop, which resets with the smashing of the glass - presumably representing the real life accident that occurred.

    When we see the girl at the end it is ambiguous as to what might happen next - either it is the final iteration and he will finaly be released from Limbo, or as he approaches she will vanish once more and he will continue to repeat the cycle.

  8. What the hell is up with the new version of iPlayer? They seem to have replaced the slightly clunky, but pretty workable browser based version with a truly shit, awkward app-based version. As far as I can tell, you can't even quit out without turning off the console, and the actual navigation is painful - half the time, menus just don't work. Awful.

    Yeah, the new version is terrible, navigation is awful. Looks like it's now having buffering problems also, was pretty much unwatchable last night.

  9. Well that was the most confusing conference presentation I've ever seen. :wacko:

    I'm cautiously optimistic about the Wii U but I'm struggling to get the innovation aspect of it, which doesn't seem as immediate as the Wii remote did on reveal. A Wii Sports style application is really needed to get the concept across, especially to the extended audience. Is this a move away from motion controlled gaming or not? I can't work it out.

    The third party situation seems no different really, I suspect there is a back catalog of current-gen games waiting be ported with additional pad functionality. What's more important is the attitude of 3rd parties once the Sony and Microsoft successors are revealed.

  10. The word this month is secret.

    The rules:

    1. One thousand words or less. A few more won't hurt anyone.

    2. The deadline for posting is the end of May.

    3. The deadline for your votes is midnight on the 5th of June.

    4. Criticisms are welcome, but please keep it in the nature of the corner.

    5. Have a go! The word is only a guide, use it as you will.

    6. Good luck!

  11. I wait with the engine running, ticking over in anticipation.

    Through a gap in the hedgerow I see the first of many children approaching, buzzing like an insect swarm. Many of them have wrapped fairy lights around the frames of their bikes, powered by dynamos and downward momentum. As they turn the final corner towards me I hear the squealing of brakes and they all flicker like candles.

    This will be the penultimate circuit of the day, the best of days.

    The children dismount their bikes whilst barely stopping and leap into the back of my van. I throw the bikes in behind them and check the lane for any more stragglers. Once satisfied, I climb back into the drivers seat and accelerate up the hill, eager to be back before the next group arrives.

    I remember these country lanes from my childhood, days spent cycling away from home in whatever direction the weather looked best, to some arbitrary point that felt like halfway. A long downward slope led away from our village, freewheeling past the peripheral buildings and barns out into the open landscape of arable farm land, the same tractor always in a distant field on the horizon, its presence comforting, its location like some faraway kingdom.

    These expeditions lasted all day through blind corners, small country hamlets, fields of rapeseed yellow. Downhill stretches were always the highlight, picking up speed and drifting down roads that were barely a vehicle wide, the skyline changing every few hundred metres, the thrill enough to temper the knowledge that an inevitable uphill stretch waited on the return journey, the downhill pleasure passing in a fraction of the uphill opposite.

    It was in my final year that I heard about the infinite downhill stretch the sixth formers describing a continual downhill loop located somewhere out in the unexplored country roads. I knew it to be impossible, an urban legend of the countryside, an optical illusion in the imagination of a wishful cyclist, yet spent many days subconsciously searching, hoping to stumble across the downhill slope that magically brought you back to the start.

    Occasionally I would stumble upon the best of places - somewhere that had no context, an abstract location destined to become a dubious future memory. The village of Appleton Wiske is the best out of context memory I have from those times - a freshly cut green, a bright red post box, ivy covered cottages the furthest point I ever reached before returning home.

    Today I drove back to Appleton Wiske from memory, retracing decisions made many years ago, keeping it out of context, like it only exists in the imagination of others.

    As the children take their bikes and drift away into the next circuit I am envious of their geographical freedom. As an adult context is everywhere a relationship between where you are and where you came from. You become familiar with maps, geography, gaining what people commonly describe as a sense of direction. Everything has a mental coordinate, a relationship with somewhere else, giving it context and ramification.

    A couple of months ago I tried to relive this frustration by revisiting the bicycle journeys of my childhood, hoping to free myself from my modern day context. The search for the mythical downhill loop returned to my mind, and despite my adult sensibilities it seemed that a part of me had never managed to rule out its possibility.

    Instead of researching, studying maps or simply accepting rational thought, I drove back to my home village and began to cycle. The downhill stretch out of the village hadnt changed the same tractor in the same remote field on the horizon, the air feeling like no else had displaced it since my last visit. The landscapes of clouds and crops all familiar, my mind free of aim and direction.

    I came across Appleton Wiske once more, my subconscious selection process the same as my childhood counterpart. It was smaller than I remembered, but otherwise glorious. The road beyond lay open and this time I had no timescale for return. As I cycled onwards the weather began to change, and just before I convinced myself to turn back I turned a final corner to be greeted by a large group of children. They were of all ages, stood with bikes and watching the road that passed in front of them like they were all afraid to step out.

    A bike would occasionally drift past them, accompanied by the applause of the crowd.

    Today I find myself on that same road, not an infinite downhill loop but the next best thing. A meandering two mile stretch of lane that almost returns back to its starting position, the final section a short and severe uphill stretch, an almost illegal camber which brings you back to the top.

    It is the most perfect geographical layout physically possible. A rollercoaster hidden in the silence of fields, and today I am the operator, acting as the automated pulley system that all children must dream of.

    All day I have ferried the children to the top of the slope, completing the loop, the van journey so short that the children barely notice the interruption, the group staggered so that I can cope with the volume. They perpetually glide round the circuit, twinkling lights following the course like pixels.

    I wonder how it must look from the sky.

    As dusk arrives I take the final circuit of the day myself. After driving the van all day I feel that one uphill stretch is still within me. I ask the children for directions and they laugh, saying to keep left, downhill all the way.

    Off we glide, the children swerving across the lane around me, eagerly yelling at landmarks and advising me of braking distances. Before long my adult momentum has me forging ahead into the dusk, the weather making its final change of the day.

    I freewheel, every field new and fascinating, convinced at every corner that the end of the loop is near, elated when it isnt. As I follow the skies, my feet off the pedals, I realise how much I miss my childhood, and how in many ways Ive always assumed that one day it would return.

    As I turn what I think must be the very last corner, already convinced to come back tomorrow, I am greeted by a familiar looking tractor in the field up ahead.

  12. Originally started writing this for the word island some months ago, only just got it finished but I think it fits here.

    We reach the estate by mid-morning.

    The site office is closed for business, surrounded by construction vehicles long since abandoned. Buildings hide behind frameworks of scaffold, all empty windows and hollow interiors. To us they resemble castles - unfinished brickwork like battlements, foundations dug out like suburban moats.

    Here the recession has spoken with confidence, the estate destined to stand empty and unfinished in the stillness of fields, becoming our latest playground.

    The main road branches off into several cul-de-sacs. Piles of rubble sit by the road, dug out from the trenches that circle the vacant plots. The trenches are as deep as they are wide, preventing our access into the ghostly houses beyond.

    We find a plank serving as a makeshift bridge, covered in the adult sized footprints of workmen before us. We contemplate the best way to cross - whether to run across quickly or edge across slowly, and decide upon neither, instead striding across the plank with arms outstretched like walkers lost in a fog.

    The air inside the house is like stale bread. We touch every wall and window. The second floor is unfinished and exposed to the sky, the large roof space acting as a giant sun terrace. The irregular walls are as high as our waists, and from here the estate resembles its original blueprint, the layout and symmetry apparent.

    We eat lunch on the roof like proud first time buyers. Once finished we wipe our hands on ourselves and each other, before continuing back downstairs to play our games. It is only a few hours until we are exhausted, our lunch heavy and our freedom exhilarating. Encouraged by the mid day heat we settle down to sleep in a south facing bedroom, like survivors of a nuclear blast.

    ***

    I wake some hours later.

    Dusk has brought with it cool air and long shadows. Back on the roof the estate shimmers like an old video recording. The fields undulate to my every movement. Flies have appeared in spherical swarms, hovering over rooftops like alien entities. The air that lights the estate feels good to inhale, and I contemplate living alone in this empty, unfinished neighbourhood.

    Basking in this fantasy I notice that our bridge has gone.

    I circle the rooftop perimeter twice, checking the trench from all directions. Our bridge is nowhere to be seen. Unable to do any more I wake the others, wondering how to break the news that we are stranded. They can already sense something is wrong, and read my face like a traffic light.

    We survey the inside perimeter, scavenging for anything that could be used as a bridge. Even though the house is unfinished its structure stands firm as we pull at planks and prise at scaffold. We scan the ground for fresh footprints and survey the estate for any signs of movement. We howl in the direction of our parents, but our homes are far across the fields and dipped below the horizon.

    Only when we stop our shouts do we hear the others, and we turn to face the sun in unison, expecting a million sneezes between us.

    On the far side of the estate children have appeared on a rooftop, their arms flapping like broken puppets. We are unable to make out the words between us, shouting at each other with confusion and fear. Our neighbours are also stranded, and we stare at each other across the dusty street like frightened reflections.

    We all wonder how many others could be in these oversized traps, but no-one says a word. Someone vomits over the edge of the roof and down the brickwork. It seems to calm him down and I wonder if we should all do the same.

    ***

    We plan our escape by late evening.

    Our neighbours watch from afar as we discuss options they may have already dismissed. The estate remains deserted. As the sun continues to fall assumptions become fact. Walkways run along the exterior of the house, boards supported by the scaffold that surrounds us like a cage. Running the length of a first floor walkway should provide the additional momentum and height that we think is required to clear the trench.

    It is the only option available. Armed with only a basic grasp of physics we climb through the first floor windows.

    A large pile of rubble sits on the opposite bank, a safety mat of dirt and glass. We mark out the optimal point for takeoff, and then build in some margin for error. Across the street the others watch the beginnings of our rescue attempt, and I wonder if this was the first option that they dismissed.

    Flies hover in the proposed path of trajectory, and I wonder how they will feel on my face. As the others climb back into the house my mind wants to run but my body is unwilling, resulting in spasms that resemble false starts, the others yelping with every twitch I make. The children from across the estate have vanished, and I assume they are unable to watch.

    The moment comes some split seconds before I realise - running down the walkway I pass the others in consecutive windows, their encouragement louder with every running stride.

    I launch into the air a couple of inches earlier than planned, and as the flies cover my face and fill my mouth I hope the momentum will compensate. Hovering above the trench I spin my arms like some early pioneer of flight. From inside the house the others are cheering, the noise reassuring but cowardly.

    From this height I can see the others. They are no longer trapped but running down the road towards us. Their faces beam with unrecognisable smiles.

    I land where planned but not as imagined – my left foot sinking and twisting deep into the rubble on the nearside of pile. For one moment everything is static, the universe delicately balanced and unsure of itself. I hear rejoicing from inside the house, and the unfamiliar chatter of the other children on the blind side of the pile. None of them hear the pile shifting internally, the noise deafening as the internal structure collapses beyond repair.

    The top layer of rubble spills back into the trench, gracefully taking me with it. Everything goes a shade of red that no-one else can see. Carried back into the trench by the weight of forever, I hear the applause of the children from the neighbouring island.

  13. He's not done anything decent since Welcome to Europe :( :(

    Yeah. It's probably a bit unfashionable to say so but I really like Hello Everything. I know some consider it a bit lightweight but for me it's a nice compromise between the melody driven and the more aggressive sounding stuff.

    This new sound does nothing for me. The genre is sometimes guilty of constantly demanding new direction, but this all feels a bit deliberate. It's a real shame as the 'first listen' of a new SP album track used to be quite an event. I remember how amazing Tetra-Sync sounded the first time in its entirety after previously only hearing leaked snippets. It had me buzzing for weeks.

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