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What’re You Doing This Weekend? 8/6/10

Jay Malone

This weekend will be another dry weekend for me, nothing but possibly replaying some old games. I may go back to Dead Space and finish that as for some reason, I never did previously. It was a fine game but after a while the environment started to tire and seemed to get quite repetitive. If I do play through it again, it’ll be in anticipation for Dead Space 2… And because I want achievements.

Another game I never finished was Bully Scholarship Edition. A remarkable idea that again, tired on me quite quickly. It would be fun to hop back in there and see how it’s held up in the past two years. Apart from those games, I’ll mainly be working on next week’s “Top” feature (winky wink wink).

Finally, I’ll be seeing The Other Guys tonight; quite excited for it. Mark Wahlberg looks to be hilarious and though Will Ferrell has started to become a bit annoying in the past years, I expect him to be at his best in this film. I also want to see how Dwayne Johnson does in his role as the douche “strong-cop.”

David Turner

This coming Tuesday is probably the most sacred of all the annual Video Game High Holidays: Madden release day. This weekend, I have to plow through the game in all of its modes to get the review up on the site (check in Monday) and prep a piece for the podcast. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.

Aside from spending hours making my team better in Franchise Mode (also a yearly tradition), I’m loving playing the game itself. Even compared to Madden 2010, Madden 2011 feels totally fresh and exciting, mostly because of the in-game overhaul. Unlike previous years where new rosters are the biggest draw, 2011 feels like a whole new take on the franchise, not just a simple upgrade. The play-calling has been simplified (but still can be deep for those need it) and this year, there is an in-game AI program designed to help a player like a coordinator would in real life. I found myself running 10 plays or so to establish my style, and after that the “Coordinator” learned my preferences and patterns and I wound up taking its suggestion 80% of the time. My other favorite improvements have come the line of scrimmage where the old, clunky pop-up menus have been altered from button combinations to a new, fluid onscreen HUD. In it, audible selections, hot routes, and blocking/defensive assignments are much quicker and natural to set up, and the head to head matches have become remarkably faster because of it (games play through in about 60% of the time they did last year).

In between playing Madden, reading about it, writing about it, thinking about it while I eat, and talking about it to strangers on the street, I’m going to squeeze in some Castlevania: Harmony of Despair. It’s been a good time so far, even if the retro nature of it is utterly boggling in 2010 (no tutorials, levels that cannot be beaten on the first play through, and bosses that look like male genitalia – yes, I’m referring to you, Mr. Gergoth). C: HoD plays like a speed run version of Symphony of the Night, which is both a good and a bad thing. I’ve been frustrated and enthralled, but the latter happened after the former; I advise anyone who pays $15 for the download to stick it out— the better one gets at the game, the better of a game it is.

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