Sunday? I could do Sunday for podcastin’. Late night would probably work best for me after the missus has gone to bed.

Also, would anyone care to defend some dungeons this evening?

In the meantime while I wait for the next day of Steam daily deals to roll around, here are some Thoughts On Things.

Catherine

Late to the party, I know, but I only just got a copy, courtesy of my folks who picked one up for me while they were visiting my bro.

I like it a great deal. The story treats you as an adult — I don’t mean that in a “wow, bewbz” sort of way, but in the fact that it’s about something younger people probably won’t have been thinking about quite so much. As a 30 year old male, I felt for Vincent. While I haven’t been in his exact predicament before, I can certainly empathise with the whole “life going nowhere… but is it easier to just leave things as they are?” idea. The story kept me interesting throughout, and it felt like a very “intimate”, personal game. Andie wasn’t a big fan of watching it, and that’s fine — it’s not set up to be a big cinematic masterpiece. Your first playthrough, at least, encourages you to play Vincent with your own opinions and see where things end up. (I got the “Normal Lover” ending, if that means anything to any of you.) You can then go back and seek out the other endings — have just started a Chaos runthrough. I appreciate the fact that any stages you “mastered” with a gold award can just be skipped altogether.

Mechanically, it’s interesting. I was having a discussion with someone on Twitter the other day about narrative as reward. Personally, I love being rewarded for getting through a tough challenge with the story proceeding, and Catherine certainly delivers on that count. It’s not until Vincent overcomes his Trials that his life can proceed towards the conclusion of his hellish week. At the same time, though, I can see how it could be extremely frustrating for those with less patience than me — I’m usually fine with doing things over and over if I can see what I’m supposed to do, but even I was getting to the “swearing out loud and thinking about flinging controller” stage, particularly with some of the bosses. By golly it was satisfying to figure them out and get to the top of each level, though.

In short, then, I’m very pleased I’ve played it now and have every intention of returning to try and get the other endings. It’s short enough that this won’t be a huge problem, and I found the characters likeable enough to want to spend more time with them. It also fills me with hope for Persona 5 — if they can use that gorgeous cel-shaded art style for new MegaTen games, I’ll be very happy indeed.

Now, onto something completely different.

Saints Row: The Third

I beat this today. I had a great deal of fun with it and, like Rockstar’s Bully, I now feel an active urge to seek out the additional gameplay and complete 100% of it. It’s rare that a game manages to “get” what “fun” is so completely, but this game absolutely nails it. From the moment you create your character to the increasingly bizarre situations you find yourself in as you go through (the mission called “http://deckers.die” was a particular highlight, no spoilers), the smile won’t disappear from your face. The main reason for this is that it doesn’t hold back in the name of realism or plausibility at any point. If it makes sense from the perspective of fun for you to suddenly have an unlimited ammo rocket launcher, the game will temporarily give you an unlimited ammo rocket launcher and, usually, plenty of things to blow up with said implement of destruction.

Also, I have to respect any open world game that puts a twist on the usually tedious business of checkpoint racing by either setting you on fire (thus causing you to blow up anything you crash into and netting you a time bonus) or putting you in a convertible with a tiger in the backseat who keeps “playfully” batting you, making you temporarily wobble around a bit.

It’s also noteworthy for having one of the best uses of licensed music I’ve seen. We talked about this way back on the music episode — as well as having GTA-style radio stations, several tracks are used as “soundtrack music” for missions, and they work brilliantly. Without spoiling what happens in the final mission (which branches in one of two very different directions, anyway), the use of “Holding Out for a Hero” is absolutely perfect.

I’ve said this before, but if you’ve found recent GTAs to be lacking that special something, then check out Saints Row: The Third. THQ’s DLC strategy can take a long walk off a short pier, however. $3 for some fucking cheat codes? Eat a dick, Brian Farrell.