Alternative title: ďTropical Freezeís soundtrack is spectacularly brilliant.Ē
So yeah, itís that time of year again! Last Saturday was April 12th, which marked the end of my 23rd year of being. To be fair, Iíve never felt like I aged a day past 18 (as a result Iím one of those people perfectly capable of forgetting their own age), so the difference between being 22 on April 11th and 23 on April 12th is marginal at best. Regardless, I like birthdays: theyíre a nice chance to catch up with those friends I havenít had the opportunity to talk to in a while, and more in general I think itís a really special thing that every year for every person we set aside a day to celebrate that personís life/existence. I guess not everyone sees it like that anymore, but itís quite something if you think about it.
And then, of course, thereís the games! What would a gamerís birthday be without getting at least some new games to play, right? And I gotta say, this year I left with quite a haul!
Each year my friends ask me what they can get me for my birthday besides boring old money, and each year I send them a link to my Steam wishlist and tell them to go wild. And go wild they did! For my 23rd, my friends got me a total of four new games on Steam, namely:
- The Stanley Parable - Luftrausers - Contrast - and a preorder for Child of Light
I pretty much have the best friends.
While Iím going to have to wait another two weeks before I can claim the last one (which is looking to be a beautiful fairytale-inspired JRPG), I already had some fun with the others. The Stanley Parable in particular is both fascinating and hilarious at the same time.
But thatís not all! My parents and family face the same dilemma my friends do, namely that they never know what to give me unless I supply some suggestions for video games. For my parents I tend to stick to console games rather than Steam, because honestly I donít trust them to operate Steamís gifting service. Since this was the first birthday on which I owned a 3DS, not to mention my handheld library was in desperate need of expanding, I received two new 3DS games:
- Fire Emblem Awakening - and Kid Icarus Uprising
I pretty much have the best parents.
I havenít had all that much time to play the former yet, but itís looking to be great from what Iíve already seen. Iím playing on Hard Mode rather than Normal, and even in the first few battles I had to pull out all the stops to get everyone through in one piece. I mean, I could have had Frederick just clean up everything, but I know enough about Fire Emblem not to let the early pre-promote soak up all that juicy EXP. Apart from that, I really like how fighting battles as a team has become vital in this installment, rather than just being mildly convenient as it was in previous games. As for Kid Icarus, itís a fun little distraction to be played in short bursts. I can overcome the common complaint of handstrain (from having to hold the 3DS in one hand) by playing it lying down on my back: Iím just about chubby enough that Iíve got my own make-shift table everywhere I go. At any rate, the gameplay is quite fun, but more than anything I like the witty banter between Palutena and Pit. Palutena in particular is immediately likeable and likes to reference the original Kid Icarus and even Super Smash Bros.
- What? It could happen!
Finally, my parents gave me enough money to buy a game of my own accord, which I wasted not a second to use for:
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Platformers are far and away my favorite video games, and no one does it better than Nintendo. With DKC: Returns, Retro showed that they got the stuff, but by all accounts Tropical Freeze is looking to be even better. The one complaint I had with the original, namely that the roll move was mapped to shaking the Wiimote, has been fixed as long as you play with the WiiU Gamepad. The game looks gorgeous, is fun to play, and has some stellar boss fights. Most notably for me, however, is the music. Goddamn this soundtrack is fucking amazing. Iím a huge video game OST buff, but Tropical Freezeís music has a good chance of becoming one of my all-time favorites. Itís that good. Whereas Returnsí soundtrack tended to get a little same-y with only a few stand-out songs, Tropical Freeze hosts an incredibly wild variety of tunes with almost all of them being memorable. Lots of cheerful songs in particular, which go well with the beautiful backdrops of this game's levels. Mind you Iím only up to the third World by now, so I havenít even heard half of it yet. †
I would recommend almost all of the above games to anyone (Contrast is pretty niche and I canít comment on Child of Light yet), but if youíre into video game music you at least owe it to yourself to check David Wiseís latest out.
All in all, lots of great stuff this yearís April 12th!
- Dear King, can we have this as our national anthem now?
Is there a holiday or time of the year more indulgent than Thanksgiving? I mean, we cook a turkey that weighs as much as three newborn babies, whip up about a billion sides consisting mostly of carbs and butter, and top the whole thing off with nine different pies, all featuring the main ingredient of "excess." It's equal parts disgusting and awesome, and is definitely my second favorite holiday behind our dearly departed Halloween.
But we were so occupied with whether we could eat six pounds of food in one sitting, that we didn't stop to think if we should. That brings us to November's Bloggers Wanted prompt: Overstuffed.
Playing through Horizon Zero Dawn really got me thinking on this topic. Don't get me wrong, the game has a really cool and fairly unique sci-fi story, the combat is fun and engaging, and the art direction uses vibrant color - a concept that largely died out near the end of the PS2 era, but man, is it long. The map is huge and stuffed with nooks, crannies and collectibles, and boy, by the time I wrapped the story and collected my Platinum trophy the game had really worn out its welcome. It's a shame really, as I truly enjoyed the game for its main components; but by the time I had picked off my ten-thousandth evil villager and performed my ten-billionth stealth kill on a Ravager, I found myself wishing the game would end soon.
I got this feeling about 3/4 of the way into the game. That is not good.
Modern gaming is great in that developers tend to pack in a metric shit-ton of things to do in their games. Modern gaming is also horrible because developers tend to pack in a metric shit-ton of things to do in their games. This tendency to overstuff their games with content is often overwhelming and can cause an otherwise excellent experience to drag. It was less of a problem when I was 18 and had all the time in the world; at 30 with a day job and a family, it's a complete game-changer.
So, beloved Destructoid Community, tell of us a time you felt overstuffed from gaming! It can be from a game you enjoyed that just felt too long like above, a time you binged on all thirty-two Kingdom Hearts titles, a particularly meaty haul of games you got at a yard sale - anything at all that celebrates or at least discusses your Thanksgiving-like excesses in gaming!
Write a blog with "Overstuffed:" and then your subject in the title, and let the world know of your girthy gaming experiences! We love promoting blogs to the front page here at Dtoid, and Bloggers Wanted is a great way to get noticed *wink wink nudge nudge hip thrust*
Happy blogging, everyone!
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