Saturday, 16 January 2010

End of the Holidays

Well, it's been a lovely month back at home, not that I've got much done mind! Mostly relaxing, spending time with family and friends and playing video games of course!

I completed Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days on the DS last week, the end wasn't particularly difficult, although the gameplay was a lot longer than expected. I clocked up almost 30 hours just playing the story mode. Although this may be because I tackled every mission on every day (you don't actually have to play 358 days though, some are skipped!) as sometimes you are given a few optional ones instead of just doing what needs to be completed to progress.

Overall, very enjoyable; nice story with a lovely yet sad ending that gave a bit more perspective to Roxas's story; great gameplay and levels; cool additions to the battle system and leveling system making customisation very easy and fun.

Unfortunately missions do get repetitive and you find yourself revisiting worlds more times than you'd like. Agrabah and Wonderland were frequented much too often for my liking, especially when there are lots of other awesome worlds you could be going that weren't included in the game. Tarzan and Mulan's worlds, for instance. And this is without considering the 'Challenges' you can unlock with the normal missions which give you more difficult versions of the levels. Through completing Challenges, you are rewarded 'Sigils' which earn you items at the Moogle shop.

In my case, I didn't feel they were particularly worth doing. I collected about 30 Sigils (you can get a maximum of 3 for completing a challenge) and finished the game over level 50, which was more than enough to beat the last bosses. And even then they were not as difficult as the boss at Beast's Castle or Halloween Town.

All in all, good game, but be prepared to play it a lot. I haven't tried the multiplayer yet, but looking forward to doing so with my friend Paul at Uni!

I also completed Assassin's Creed in late preparation for the new sequel (yes, I have been productive!). Great, great, great game. I loved the story, loved the gameplay, loved the visuals and Altair is badass indeed!

But like Kingdom Hearts, this game also became repetitive in nature and it would have been nice to have some more variety. Finding flags is pretty tedious and only for the satisfaction of an Xbox Achievement, and of course the whole thing about not being able to run anywhere without being up to something... Fortunately the sequel does correct this among other things.

I'm currently playing Assassin's Creed II and I'm about 70% finished judging by my in-game statistics. I really like what they added to it, it doesn't have the same feel as the first, but I love how full of historical references it is. It makes the story so much more immersive and plausible, it really makes you think again about what we know about history. So far I've been reading every little factoid that pops up in the game, even if it disrupts gameplay, just because it's so interesting!

I could go on listing everything that's different, but will stop there and leave the rest for when I review it after completion!

Apart from games, I saw a great Japanese film called Kamikaze Girls. It's about two teenage girls in a total style collision. The first loves the Rococo style where girls are delicate, feminine and wear lovely frilly dresses; the other, a 'Yanki' girl who wears baggy clothes, rides a customised scooter and is rude, violent and inappropriate.

I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just finish by saying it's brilliantly off the wall, wild and wacky, absolutely hilarious, very sweet and moving at times and has one of the best endings I have ever seen in a film! Definitely worth a watch!

I've also taken up an old digital painting I started last year and am making good progress despite being out of practice! Here's a preview...

Next week I'm heading back to Uni. I have a storyboard project to do which shouldn't take long and an assessment and then we begin character performance! I am really looking forward to expressing emotions, personality and even doing the lip-synching! (A lot of animators dread this!) The walk cycles should be fun too!

That's all from me for now, tomorrow I'll be seeing the new Sherlock Holmes film with my sisters, so bye for now!
Love Gemma xxx