Saturday, October 25, 2008

SPORE -finally a successful PATCH v2

i paid a lot of money for spore, 50 smackers, something i rarely do, because i couldn't wait any longer...

it IS different AND fun, and also, to some extent a bummer, different than i wanted it to be.
but there are a thousand reviews on this game at amazon, so if you go there, try to read some of the best as well as the negatives, as most of the bad rating the game gets there is solely due to the in-game DRM [copy-protection] and limited install software installed. EA has already curtailed the initial hard-nosed stance a bit, with the first patch, but it is important to understand what you can and can't do with the install process. Don't believe the gossip, go to the source.

After an AGGRAVATING few days of trying to get the second patch to work (V1.02), reading hundreds of others going through the same and similar issues on the spore site forums, trying in vain to follow suggestions to no avail..i finally stumbled onto some advise in one of the posts, that actually worked.

The problem i was having, was the in-game auto-patching process failed. I tried to run the patch manually from the C:\ProgramData\Electronic Arts\EADM\cache\ {Anonymous}folder. The patch would act like its installing, going to "100%" numerous times, then the inevitable error would pop up: 'Invalid Patch File'. sigh...i'm not even going to go off on my luck with EA's patches of the last few games i've bought from them....[BF2/BF2142 anyone??].

Apparently, there was a bunch of bad patches at some websites, but I read that if you download the patch 'spore_dd_patch_all_v2.exe' from FILEPLANET, then manually paste it [and over-write] whatever may or may not be in the above folder...then click on or "open" the patch from there...Eureka! it finally installed without error.

Just thought i'd pass that along, as i was very frustrated. The patch changes a few things up, but not a lot of the core game-play dynamics. I was hoping for some more challenge, or at least a less fast second,third, and fourth stage...but have been happy to find that the final "Space" stage of the game, is much more involved than almost the entire rest of the game put together. And i think i noticed a little bit less of the annoying space pirate attacks on the home world...but they still happen more than i'd personally like. [Always when i am far from home they attack! ARGH...not again.....]

The game in this last stage is simplistic, but still very addictive. The dev's give you quite a bit of candy to try to collect, with new weapon upgrades, new planet terraforming tools, and a myriad of custom/coloring style utilities to keep the game almost replayable indefinitely.

And when the core game starts to become 'been here, done this", you know that EA has the next batch of add-on's and over-priced goodies lined up bi-annually for the franchise. "Think Sims 2"

Overall, I like this game though, and hope that the game i was hoping it to be [with the creatures parts actually affecting its interactions with other species and not always guaranteeing survival] might come out in another form someday-perhaps inspired by a spore of realism... :)

METALLICA review, "Death Magnetic"

well it’s been awhile since i wrote last. lots of busy things going on, settling in on the new job with 12 hour rotating shifts, nights, days, weekends, as well as the monthly guard drill. taking care of munchkins on days-off, spending time with wife when possible, moving into a house for the first time. still renting-but with option to “try-before-we-buy” if we wanted. nice option to have, but i think we still may need a bit more space….
in follow-up to a few earlier posts, i am happy to report a mini-review of the new Metallica album:
well, i gave them some money at Target, curiosity got the best of me, so did the single i caught the tail-end of on the radio on the drive home. i’m happy to report, and after multiple listen-throughs, that it friggan’ ROCKS. yes, i have to admit it, i was a bit let down by St. Anger, though i was intrigued by the slight adventurousness of the style it tried to accomplish. This new album, titled “Death Magnetic” is like taking ‘Kill em’ All’, ‘...and justice for all’, and ‘Master of Puppets’, throwing them into a stainless steel blender, adding a few doses of piss-and-vinegar for flavoring, a few dabs of shred, a few pumps of adrenaline, and blending the hell out of it for 5 minutes. What comes out is Old school Metallica with a fresh, modern ‘updated’ feel that old-school fans, and many new ones will sure to love.
at first, i whined that the whole album sounded like one long speed-jam, or more accurately, 80 killer mini-riffs all strung together to form what seemed like a gigantic F-you! to the fans that didn’t like their latest efforts/thought they were getting old/weak/slow/whatever. Then, after a couple more listens, the mini-riffs seemed to start forming particular differences for each song, and in fact, I now think the first 5 songs, and the last one, are truly what can be called, killer, if not epic, songs. They rekindle that high-energy, mosh-enducing mania and rush of being in the first 10 rows of the heavy metal concerts of my youth. [boy, i am truly old now, as that was 13 years ago it seems].
i am proud of them, the fact that no matter what controversy certain band-members inspire, they pulled together and gave a big, “Yeah, what are ya gonna do about THIS” one-up to fans and nay-sayers alike.
Some of the rhythms and speed fingering is actually dismaying, given their age- Kirk and James seemed to have not lost much over the years as far as dexterity goes. Lars keeps to mostly standard speed-metal poundings, but manages a few interesting timing changes here and there. The latest addition of the band, bassist Robert Trujillo, seems right at home doing what he does. Some of his bass-lines even sounded eerily similar to their old stuff. I think he will do well to stay in the band.
My 5 month old son, placed in his little bouncer, enthusiastically bounces his own little baby mosh like a silly little pogo baby when i crank this album up, its quite hilarious to watch.
I even got my wife to admit [being not quite a fangirl of metallica], that she would actually upload the single “The day that never comes” to her shiny new ipod touch.

If that doesn’t say anything about this new metallica, i don’t know what does...