Pretentious, opinionated language

Games, technology, music, silliness. Oh and ninjas. Lots of ninjas.

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Location: Oslo, Norway

I am Andreas. Day time programmer and technical consultant. Night time musician and game developer.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

New TV, Metroid Prime 3, Ace Combat 5. Yeah.

Hi! Been a good while since my last post now, and things have happened!

First and foremost, i finally grit my teeth and quit my job. So freelancing from now on! Freedom! Yeah! The first thing i did was invest in a 32" HDTV, which felt crazy when i did it (i have never owned a tv), but was totally worth it. Finally i can play all those 60hz and NTSC games i've wanted to play for so long, as well as finally give my 360 the hardware it deserves. As frivolous as spending that kind of money on a tv seemed, it really does come together when you're playing with R-type Final shaped sunburns.

Lots of gaming since that entered my house! Lots of Speedball 2 and Exit on XBLA (both brilliant), but finally getting my hands on Metroid Prime 3 was sort of a revelation (wiivelation. Ha! HA! I can sense your cringing from here). A properly thought out first person shooter on the Wii really is amazing, and i was double convinced of that after a 5 hour MP3 session followed by attempts at getting back into R6 Vegas. Anyone else think it's funny that R6 uses a scheme that punishes your aim for excessive camera movements, yet is played with a control setup so unprecise rapid camera movements are required to aim precisely? Prime 3, for me, is the best console first person shooter ever made in terms of control. It puts everything else to shame, and there's no autoaim whatsoever. The lock on mechanic is a stroke of genius, as it locks *your movement* on to your target's center of mass, and still requires you to aim precisely from there. It makes circle strafing and such movements second nature, and still demands that you work for your payoff.

Aside from that, soon there's Ace Combat 6 in the house, and i decided to finally finish Ace Combat 5 on the PS2, which i've had a long flirtatious love affair with, playing it on and off and always loving it just as much. The Ace Combat franchise has gone from being a mere arcade flight sim to becoming a sprawling anime EPIC with each installment, with near constant voice overs, sci-fi influences and soundtracks of an incredible calibre. I haven't been playing the series for long, but i did play the original Ace Combat arcade game, and i've been curious about the Playstation installments basically ever since. Simply put, Ace Combat 5 is completely awesome.

It's the kind of awesome where you kind of laugh at yourself for letting it get to you, because the storytelling is amazingly pretentious and contains spoken lines such as "8 skilled pilots against us! The adrenaline! I can feel my heart beating, my body shaking!", but all the insanity is uttered with such conviction (courtesy of a voice acting studio commonly associated with Anime dubs) and understanding of the material that you just can't help but cheer along with it.

Some scenes are staggering. A theme of the game is nations whose people want peace but whose generals want war, and near the game's climax mass army defections take place, their common language a popular song about peace, and you start the mission flying with your squad, as more and more planes from various armies join in, and they're all singing the song! You're flying your jet through the rain with a fleet of other planes that you've been shooting at for hours before, and there's a cacophony of radio broadcast singing coupled with a strong string and brass driven soundtrack. It's a tug on the heartstrings of incredible proportions, and while part of you is screaming "OH COME THE FUCK ON", you can't help but grin at how hard they're trying to move you. If you're like me, it makes you happy.

Ace Combat 5 is a game's game with a big, big heart. In spite of its gameplay pacing problems (they exist bigtime), It's well written, has a fantastic soundtrack, and it makes you care. It also has boss fights where you shoot enormous sci-fi planes firing lasers at you. It's awesome.

I can't wait for the next one. If the demo on live was any indication, we've got good stuff coming!

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