Rock Of Ages

Happy Weekend TAY!

Whew! What a week. I had one of my “Game Nights” with my son last Tuesday and I still seem to be paying for the night of gaming that lasted until 10 am the next day. We basically just played Sonic 3 (completed), Rock Band Rivals, The Stanley Parable, and watched Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (which didn’t impress my son, I think he’s slightly too young to “get it”).

My solo game time was also packed last week. I started and finished the Titanfall 2 single-player campaign (the whole thing only clocked in at 10 hours). The story and the enemy AI weren’t the greatest, but damn if it wasn’t some of the most fun I’ve had with a video game. Brilliant controls, beautiful visuals, and excellent level design made for the pure twitch-action I needed after all the hiding in bushes in Horizon: Zero Dawn.

I thought at first that the more linear design to the levels was a step back from the brilliant open battlefields of the first Titanfall’s multiplayer, but it was quickly apparent that this was to test your pilot skills. The white-knuckled wall running puzzles would not have been as possible in an open world.

I had an absolute blast with Titanfall 2 and highly recommend it for people who put a large emphasis on how their games control. However, the game isn’t without issues. Aside from minor problems (the afore mentioned lackluster story and sometimes questionable enemy AI), I only had one major gripe with the game: the inability to turn off the soundtrack.

The soundtrack in Titanfall 2 is pretty awful and is filled with orchestral music that seems a better fit to a 90s sci-fi show than this wonderful work of gaming. So, the lack of options to turn off the soundtrack is even worse when the soundtrack doesn’t work with the game. I generally dislike soundtracks in games, so not being able to turn them off seems like a big middle finger to the player. Titanfall 2 is even more insulting in that they allow you to turn off the soundtrack for the multiplayer game but not the single player. Given the robust level of settings the game provides, it seems like an arrogant oversight to not allow adjustments to the single player soundtrack.

After Titanfall 2 was all mopped up, I found myself drawn to play Brütal Legend on PC. I played the original release on the Xbox 360 in 2009 and, while I haven’t played all of Tim Schafer’s works, it was clear to me at the time that this was my favourite of Schafer’s games (followed by Psychonauts). The PC version of Brütal Legend is in a whole other realm of awesomeness.

If you haven’t played Brütal Legend, DisturbedShadow wrote a great article about the game a few years ago. For me, Brütal Legend is the best intersection of great gameplay, fantastic visuals, hilarious writing, and metal.

I am around the same age as Tim Schafer and Brütal Legend is an amazing time capsule of metal from the 70's and 80's (with a bit of 90's in there). I was a bit of a headbanger in my early teens, so this is the music of my youth.

While I often (and bitterly) complain about the inability to turn off soundtracks, Brütal Legend is the rare exception to my rule. Of course, this game is built around the soundtrack and to turn off the music would be to lose the point of the game.

The PC version of Brütal Legend is astounding! With the ability to run most of the game at 60fps (some animations are still modeled for 30fps) and the amazing scalability of the game to run flawlessly at 4k, I couldn’t ask for much more. Sure, I’d love to see the game remastered with new textures, but as it is, the game holds up remarkably well and is a must play for almost everyone.

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I’m probably two-thirds of the way through Brütal Legend and I’m looking forward to getting back to it. I imagine this weekend will see my son and I trying to polish off Sonic and Knuckles before the arrival of Sonic Mania. We were hoping to complete all the Sonic games before the release of Mania, but that isn’t going to happen. We are now aiming to finish all the 2D Genesis Sonic games. Thankfully, Sonic Mania is delayed another 2 weeks for the PC version, so we still have a bit of time.

So, what are you playing this weekend?