Dead Rising 2 or Peggle?

I find myself in a bit of a quandary lately. I was talked into pre-ordering Dead Rising 2 by the guy at Game Stop a while back when I took a bunch of games in for credit. He told me if I pre-ordered an upcoming game I’d get even more credit. I liked what I saw about DR 2 and love zombies, so I said sure. I went and got the game Wednesday and have been playing it in my free time. Just before that, though, I went back to my old favorite Peggle and saw there was a brand new set of boards to play called Peggle Nights or somesuch (which worked so well with Baywatch). I wasn’t sure about downloading the new series or not and got sucked back into the challenge version of that game which I hadn’t completed. Now I find myself trying decide which one to play.

Here’s the deal: I love Peggle, but it’s taking me lots and lots of time to finish some of the original challenges (I’m burning through the Nights regular stuff). I kind of want to savor the new levels and also conquer the challenges, but I also want to get my money’s worth out of DR2 and hopefully trade it in for a pretty good amount of credit. The problem is that I’m not having as much fun with Dead Rising as I thought I would. I was really hoping the game’s save mechanic would be better. I don’t so much mind having to find a bathroom to save, but the fact that if you save in the wrong spot with not enough time, you’ll have to start all the way over. Knowing that was a problem in the first game, I utilized two of the three save spots and was able to go back, but not to the very beginning, when it turned out that I was going to have enough time to finish a mission.

I also wish there was a little bit more thought put into the game as a whole. So far, I’m in a mall, part of which is under construction. Real original. I also wish the fighting gameplay was better. It doesn’t feel as fluid as a lot of other games which is a shame because bashing zombies is obviously such a huge part of the game. But is it really? You’ve got so little time and so much potential cool stuff to do (there are new improvements like weapon combining and random Vegas-style games you can play, that I only just realized cost you money), that those two elements seem at odds. And, sweet Christmas the story’s stupid. You’re a guy who rides around on a motorcycle with chainsaws killing zombies because that’s the national sport, but your daughter got bit a while ago and you have to give her Zombrex to keep her from turning. That part’s not so bad, but the game show you compete on is called Terror is Reality? Ugh, talk about clunky. And most of the voice acting is just boring and overwrought. “I heard you wife died, maybe you shouldn’t suck so much at killing zombies!” Something like this is said to our main character early on in the game.

It really comes down to this: when I lose a round of Peggle, I want to play again right away to figure out what I’m doing wrong and get even more points, but when I die in DR2, it just feels like such a pain in the ass. How far along was I? When did I save last? Am I going to really have to do all that shit over again?

I’m downplaying the good parts of DR2, for sure, but that’s how it’s working in my head. At this point I think I’d rather played the game that cost me a few bucks and I downloaded than the one I spent a TON of my Game Stop credit on. I will say that playing with a giant Blanka from Street Fighter mask on my head and “hip hop” clothes on is pretty fun. When I’m going along strong in the game, it’s more fun than anything, but when I find myself dying more than once in a session, I’m good for a while.

Portal and Peggle

As you might be able to tell with my various posts, I go in spurts as to what medium I’m devouring at any given time. Sometimes it’s horror movies, other times it’s trades. Recently I’ve been spreading my intake pretty thin, but I have taken the time to watch some flicks, read some trade and play a couple of video games. This post is about a few of the games I’ve been playing on the Xbox 360 (you can do more than watch movies in this thing, did you know that?)

First up, I just finished Portal last week. I know, thanks for the welcome into 2007. I grabbed the Orange Box used after getting my Xbox in December and have been playing Portal on and off for a while. It took me a while to really get into the game, but once I did, I was in like gangbusters. That is until I got to the very last stage of the game. I got kind of frustrated after getting stuck on a previous level (I actually figured out how to beat that level on my way into work one morning and had to wait until I got home that night to actually test and prove my theory), so once the very last battle started giving me trouble, I took a break. Well, last week I finally beat that bad boy and am pretty proud of myself. I’m not usually one for puzzle games, but the crazy amounts of ingenuity that the creators put into the basic gameplay and overall physics of Portal is ridiculously impressive. If I had an award show, I’d give them the grand prize for awesomest video game. Seriously, it’s amazing. Plus, at the very end, you get rewarded with a song. If you haven’t beat the game yet, you don’t really deserve to see this, but it’s already on the internet and this game is a couple years old so what the hell? Enjoy the jam:

The game that I’ve been currently addicted to is called Peggle. It’s available on Xbox Live as a downloadable game as well as PC and the DS. It might be on more platforms, but these are the ones I’ve already heard about. My boss Justin Aclin of Hero House fame turned me onto the demo last week. I got hooked and bought the full game last night with the intention of watching a movie on Netflix Instant Watch, but ended up play this puzzle game for two hours.

Before trying to explain the game you should probably just check this out:

The game is kind of like a mix between Snood, Plinko and pachinko. The point is to shoot a ball and hit all the orange balls and bricks. The blue ones also give you points, but they’re just there to bounce off of. The green ones do cool things on different stages to assist you and the purple/pink ones give you a point bonus. Aside from the thrill of figuring out the best way to work the puzzle, the real upside to playing the game is the extreme closeup as you either hit or miss the last ball, followed by bombastic music, bonus points and a rainbow telling you how many points you’ve gotten. I can’t remember how many gamer points it cost, but I’m far more glad I bought this thatn Braid, which I’m afraid I’m too dumb to figure out without a walkthrough.

Oh, you might have asked yourself what pachinko is. To be honest, I only know that it’s kind of an upright pinball played in Japan (I think) with ball bearings instead of larger balls. Oh and also what I gleaned from this amazing collection of Nic Cage commercials.