Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ghost Busters (The Game)

If you are a fan of the Ghostbusters series of films in a holistic sense of the word, if you are a consumer of them in the truest sense, if you bought the Limited Edition Gift Set with Collectible Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Ghoulish Trading Cards, Goofy Slime, Filmmakers’ Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes Featurettes, Storyboards, and 2 Animated Episodes, then this game is for you. If you are one of the rest of us, it's probably not.

The game is a trudge to say the least. You are the nameless new GB recruit and that's about as deep as your character will get. Playing the game is more like watching a new GB movie, that happens to be a really weak rehash of the older flicks, except intermittently you take stop watch and play a really bad third person shooter that also has ghosts in it, as if to supplicate the film watching experience.

The one thing the game has going for it is a nerdgasm of voice acting, virtually every role is voiced by the actor that originally played the character. After that the list of things this game has to offer evaporates. Starting with gameplay, the control scheme is confusing and movement is clunky. The tasks set before you are repetitive at best. The game will tell you that there are lots of enemy types and you need to scan them in order to know what to do. Really there are 3 enemy types, ghosts that you can damage enough to disperse, ghosts you must trap, hulking boss types that are basically one of the other types but you must do something to them first to make them killable, you know break a crystal or something. The environment looks good, but you will see two identical doors, one you will be able to open and one you will not. Sometimes you can open the door, but only if one of your cohorts comes over and kicks it. The entire game is plagued by loading times. When you die, and you will die, a lot, mostly because your AI buddies are akin to mentally challenged toddlers with no eyes, you will be treated to at least a 20 second loading screen.

All of that I could forgive for the entertainment value of the game, except that the game fails to deliver on the level that you expect out of a game. As I said before the game is a trudge, and I've trudged through game before for the sake of being part of the story. The biggest problem with GB is that your character isn't even relevant in the smallest way. You are expected to be the medic for the group, and to find the secret path every time there is a dead end. and to kill every enemy, and to trap every ghost, and to break the boss ghost's defense (whatever task that may entail), all so that in the end Peter Venkman get's the girl, the rest of the GB's get the recognition and you get, well I don't know what the hell I got. It was like I was the Red Uniform on the away team, except that when I died the entire universe ceased to be.

The game is completely without any story element that makes the horrid gameplay you endured with the effort. It's like a big practical joke, and your the one with egg on your face.

Overall: D-, it was playable but not enjoyable. Oh oops, I meant to say, in a land where toasters are kings and pigeons are pawns, this game is a - look just don't play this game, for your own wellness, don't play it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Naming the Home Brewery

I've all but decided to name the brewery One Stalk, as in "Danger and delight grow on one stalk." But, I need help with the attached generic term for brewery so I'm making a poll to help me decided. Tell me which one you think sounds best. The Formation will be likt this:

One Stalk Brewery

Thanks everyone!!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Brütal Legend

I finished up Brütal Legend yesterday before I went to work and now I'm scurrying around trying to grab a few more achievements before I drop it back in the mail. BL is a Drama Comedy Parody Open World Action/Adventure Hack and Slash Racer Shooter RTS with RPG elements. At least I think it is. It's sort of like being in control of a more story driven version of This is Spinal Tap but in a medieval fantasy world. You might be thinking that if the game is going to try to be all these things then it can't deliver quality on all fronts. You'd be right, sort of.

It's not that the game can't deliver, it just doesn't really try to. The Hack and Slash parts of the game are VERY simple two button mashing combos, the world is open in conception, but linear in execution, the RTS is in real time but not strategic. The story is hokey, though comically entertaining and for a game that seems to have the main objective of not taking itself too seriously it succeeds quite well. The main character, Eddie Riggs (Voiced by Jack Black), is a old school roadie stuck working for a band of prima donnas, longing to have lived earlier when Metal meant something. What like the 70's? No earlier, like the early 70's. The whole experience has the feel of the Rock Metal movement: Why does that guy have a spiky wrist band? Because he thinks it's badass. Take that same template and apply it to an entire medieval world and you get pine trees that grow beer, woolly mammoths with stainless steel tusks, tree trunks made of rock stage scaffolding, shrubbery that sprout car parts, huge stone obelisks of outstretched "rock hands," and an entire race headbangers that have been headbanging for so many generations that they have evolved over developed neck muscles. Why? Because they thought it would be badass, or at least they thought they could bank on that idea being comical enough to carry they entire effort. In my opinion they were right.

Listen you won't walk away feeling like you just played through some one's creative master stroke, but if you play games to be entertained, then here friends is some quality entertainment. BL is sort of like getting a quarter pounder with cheese. Sure it isn't a bone in rib-eye, but a quarter pounder with cheese sure is good sometimes. It's not trying to take itself to seriously, and I suggest that if you play it you don't either, just sit back and enjoy.

Overall: B+, err, I mean, on a scale from Goodyear Tires to Hot Air Balloons, its better than Two Stray Dogs, but it's obviously not on par with a Trip to the Circus.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Blessed are the Beermakers pt. 3 - Fermentation and Bottling

So 5 days in the bucket and I measure the Gravity (very simply put, the amount of sugar in a solution) of the beer. By measuring the wort when I pitch yeast and measuring again after a few days I can tell how much sugar is gone therefore how much alcohol is in my beer, and there fore when the Primary Fermentation is finished. I should have taken a picture of my Hydrometer, the tool that measure such things, but I didn't think of it. Any way we measured 1.058 degrees Plato at the start and 1.017 degrees at the end, I was shooting for 1.015 so this was pretty close and gave me about 5.3% ABV. Time to start the secondary fermentation.
See during Primary (read: when most of the alcohol is made) the yeast flocculate and fall out of suspension and make a 1.5 inch thick cake at the bottom of your ferment-er. This is called the "trub," and it can produce some off flavors if you let the beer set atop it too long. So, most brewers run the Secondary Fermentation in a secondary container. In my case a 6 gallon Carboy (one of those bottles you turn upside down on top of a water dispenser.) So I racked it over and it looks like this:

So this is secondary fermentation. During the week or so that the beer is in this container it will be conditioning. That is to say developing flavor while the yeasts clean op some of the waste products that they left behind when they were swimming in sugar water. This part of the process is a tasters game that I don't fully understand yet. The length of time that it takes is not only as varied as the types of beer that you can make, but as numerous as the amount of brewers making those beers. At any rate I left it be for a week and moved on to the bottling phase.
To sanitize I wash my bottles in the dishwasher on hot wash/hot dry, and am ready to bottle the second they come out. So after I get them started I have a few things to do. After the secondary fermentation there isn't much left for the yeast to eat, but I need them to keep working because I want another one of the products they produce. CO2. To get CO2 I have to give them more to eat. I, and most homebrewers, give them Corn Sugar. Why not Table Sugar? Brewers use corn sugar for its non-effect on taste. Table Sugar can leave cider-y tastes in the beer because it is not 100% ferment-able, corn sugar is. So I dump about a cup of corn sugar in the original plastic bucket, which I have cleaned and sanitized, and rack the beer over to it in preparation for bottling. I dump the sugar in first so that the beer mixes while it racks over rather than mixing with a utensil and adding a bunch of oxygen to the mix. Oxygen is bad.

After it's in the bucket it goes into the bottles with a bottling wand. Which is a plastic tube with a spring-loaded stopper at the end, as you push it down on the bottom of the bottle it opens and allows the bottle to fill without adding oxygen. Oxygen is bad. Then after all my bottles are full I start capping. Which looks like this:

Then we get everything cleaned up and put it all back in the tub so we can wait for that wonderful carbonation. Now that the solution is under pressure, as the CO2 produced increases the pressure even more it squeezes itself into the solution. After a about 10 days I'll open one to see how well carbonated it is. If it's good they go into the fridge where the cold temp stops the yeasts from working. I bottled em up a couple of days ago, I should be popping the top on the First Cold Irish Red on St. Patty's day. Poetic, don't you think?