Final Thoughts: 3DS

•June 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is sort of what I thought the 3DS was going to be like.

A few months have passed since the 3DS has been released and I think it’s safe to say the launch goggles effect of ogling over the 3D has finally diminished to a point where it’s possible to critique the system without bias. My take on the standard stuff like the make of the system and the OS: Great, the system itself is very sturdy (minus the wobbly top screen hinge) and the circle pad works wonderfully. The Wii-esque interface is a more advanced version of what we saw on the DSi, with an online store (which has Link’s Awakening, most underappreciated Zelda game ever) and a friend’s list that is a step in the right direction for Nintendo in the online space (Friend Codes are still here but we actually have a friend’s list with usernames on it! We’ll have to wait until a real popular online game comes out like Mario Kart just to see how well it works). Really any problems I had with the interface since launch have either been addressed or just little nitpicks that aren’t too big of a deal. Moving onto the 3D I can say this: It’s annoyingly cool.

That it does.

I had no idea what to expect from glassless 3D. Was the image going to pop out from the screen like a holograph from Star Wars? Of course not silly, that would be too cool. Instead it makes the screen appear deeper as if you’re looking into a world and once in awhile an object will fly toward you and look like it’s actually coming out of the screen. If everything worked perfectly with no consequences then it would be great, but unfortunately we can say that for many things in life and the 3DS is no exception. First off, if you’re not looking STRAIGHT-ON at the 3DS then the image becomes headache inducing, and I mean straight on. This might sound like a silly complaint but don’t forget that we’re talking about a handheld that we hold with our hands and I assume I’m not alone in that my arms don’t remain perfectly still throughout an entire play session. Next, the 3DS’ 3D greatest asset is also its greatest weakness in the 3D slider. Every time I start playing a new title on the system I have to spend thirty minutes figuring out where the optimal spot to put the slider, not the biggest deal but still an annoyance. The 3D also comes at a cost in that many games it takes a toll on the 3DS’ power and becomes the inferior way to play. In Street Fighter 4 the game drops from 60 Frames Per Second to 30 when the 3D is enabled, Ocarina of Time the graphics become jaggy and there’s often a nasty ghosting effect. Still the 3D is a neat addition that sets the system apart from its competition. Like I said before, it’s annoyingly cool.

Pictured: An old man bitching about something.

I know games are somewhat of a separate affair when critiquing a system but it needs to be mention: The 3DS is severely lacking in this department. Two of the best games on the handheld are console ports (Street Fighter, Zelda), and when looking at the upcoming titles one has to worry if the 3DS is going to be a repeat of the Wii with the only worthwhile games being first party while other Developers lazily port their games over while adding a forgettable 3D effect. Unsurprisingly the best use of 3D comes from the new Pilotwings title but unfortunately the game itself is too short and shallow to warrant the $40 admission. In fact I can’t think of a single game that is worth the steep price tag although I have not delved too far into the highly rated Ghost Recon, which lends itself best to the idea of 3D by making the top-down turn based strategy game look like a miniature board game. Still, with nothing on the horizon but a handful of first party Nintendo titles and a minigame on the consoles stretched into a full priced experience that lacks the ability to save (Resident Evil: Mercenaries), 3DS owners have every right to worry if their money may have been spent in haste.

At least he likes it.

I may sound like a hater but I actually like my 3DS. That might be more because I’m absolutely enamored by all video games though and not because anything of quality is being produced here. Unless you’re absolutely stoked at the idea of 3D or really value your Nintendo games, then I can’t recommend picking up the system at its current price. And I’m guessing if you don’t have one yet then you’ve been able to manage holding out just fine. Besides, with the system already out for a few months you’re that much closer to the 3DS lite coming out.

Games that I have been completely wrong about: Part 1: Positive Edition

•June 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

With a magnitude of resources available to consumers to research products before purchase, it is rare for us to ever go into a new product without knowing a great deal of what we are buying into. This is even more true for someone such as myself who does more research on the topic of figuring out which games I am interested in than my senior thesis paper. With such exposure rarely does a game come that I am completely wrong about. Here is a short list of a few games that I was wrong in having less then stellar expectations for them only to be pleasantly surprised.

Yeah...I know.

Portal 2

Before you go “Really?” and close your browser’s tab let me explain myself. I was a sophomore in college when the original Portal came out as a part of the Orange Box and with only an 8:30 AM class that day I decided to try and tackle all the new games in the collection. I started with a short marathon of Episode Two managing to beat the game before my roommate ever awoke. Before tackling Portal I wanted to sample Team Fortress 2 (which as of yesterday is Free to Play if you have yet to check it out) for an hour or so which turned into about three hours that were only interrupted by my gurgling stomach. I emerged from my room to go to the dining hall with a friend who had also been playing the Orange Box and was on the verge of beating Portal. We shared our initial impressions of TF2 and the other games and returned to our rooms with haste so I could begin Portal, the last game for me to conquer in the Orange Box after a long day. At first I thought Portal was great and thought Glados’s lacerating quips were a refreshing change in video games that I had always wanted to see. It wasn’t until I reached that last third of the game that my suite mate had finished playing and came into my room to watch over my back and yell out solutions to puzzles when I failed to nail them on my first try. Being constantly berated by him along with a desire to just see the end of the game really ruined the entire experience and left me not wanting to play another Portal game ever again. Yet with the amazing critical reception Portal 2 received I decided to give it a try and boy was I glad that I did. With no annoying suite mate over my shoulder I was left alone to witness some of the best writing and one of the most memorable endings in anything ever. Here’s to you Portal 2, I was wrong.

Much better than Oblivion.

Fallout 3

In one of my earlier, poorly written blog posts this was one of my anticipated fall release games. Even though I was anticipating the game I was still extremely skeptical since I had bought all the hype surrounding Oblivion (see: Skyrim) and could not get into the game no matter how hard I tried. Still the universe was intriguing enough for me to try out the game and I don’t know if it was the idea of traversing a wasteland where bottlecaps were the currency that kept me hooked or just the fact that guns are more enthralling than a clunky fantasy-based battle system, but I was obsessed. I would drive back to my house in a trip that took over thirty minutes just so I could play in the two hours that were in-between my next class, that’s how much I loved Fallout 3. I never did get any of the DLC’s but two years later I’m enjoying New Vegas which inherits all of its foundations from this gaming classic. Hopefully I won’t have to include Skyrim in my negative edition of this post as I think it looks absolutely incredible.

Best mech game this gen no doubt.

Armored Core 4

I think I had some birthday money or something because I remember rolling up to Gamestop and buying this along with Tony Hawk Project 9 and Call of Duty 3 (which both turned out to be absolutely awful) even though I had never played an Armored Core title in my life outside of a Playstation demo. When I got home I saw that the game was bombing critically but the guy at the store (Steve) had assured me that game was “sick and the robots were really sweet”, and he wouldn’t lead me wrong right? It turns out Steve was right as once I picked up the game I couldn’t put it down and to this day I listen to the Armored Core soundtrack. You might not believe me but take my word and make a 10$ gamble and pick up Armored Core: For Answer to try it for yourself. The game itself is complex with each of the Mechs being widely customizable and filled with action akin to what you would find in Zone of the Enders 2. If that doesn’t make you want to try it then listen to one of the many excellent songs from the game’s soundtrack:

 

Don’t worry my more cynical readers, my next post will be a bit more negative as I share experiences covering the other side of the coin.

Why Everyone Should Play LoL

•June 24, 2011 • 13 Comments

League of Legends is a Free to play PC game that can be acquired here. If I had to assign the game to a genre I would call it an action/strategy game as it’s faster paced then your usual RTS and more reliant on reflexes than planning ahead.  This blog post is my attempt to make both my friends and anyone looking for an amazing game to play aware of LoL’s existence. Shoutouts to my former roommate Brian for getting me hooked on the game during my time in DC when I initially had written it off, and to Jeff, who kept me playing even after I came back to NJ. Anyway, hopefully after reading this you’ll be slightly more compelled to check it out then you were prior to.

The Barrier for Entry is Extremely Small (Free!)

I assume if you’re reading this that means you’re on a computer which means you’re eligible to start downloading and playing League Of Legends for free right away (if you’re on a phone or iPad boo, hiss!). The game itself is free and the system requirements are not the least bit demanding ensuring that anyone with the least bit of interest can start to play. With a streamlined interface and a plethora of website resources such as LeagueCraft and Mobafire, the game is also much easier to get into then its predecessor DOTA, so if you have bed memories of that game put them aside. Unfortunately a Mac version is not officially released yet despite Riot Games saying that it was due for release almost a year ago. And be warned, while the game itself is free, the toll the game will take on your restraint to not hit that Buy Riot Points button can be taxing once you are addicted.

The action can be fierce.

It’s both rewarding and deep.

I’m writing this at 4 AM, my good friend who has never played a game of LoL before has only left a little over an hour ago after an extended play session (with each game ending with the classic “one more!”). Being a team based game makes League perfect to play with your friends both online and in real life, and by being rewarded just for playing with Influence Points (IP) to unlock other characters with there’s also an incentive to play on your own. The game itself can remain interesting on just this level for many (a year plus for me personally), but if you ever want to take it to the next level there are plenty of streams and competitive tournaments that are worth checking out (this past weekend the official Dreamhack stream surpassed 200K in viewers, which as far as I know is more then any eSport stream out there).With both normal and draft-style ranked games you won’t be finding yourself burned out anytime soon.

It really is.

It’s fun!

I can tell you about the time I was playing as Caitlyn the Sniper and was having a back and forth battle with Ashe the Frozen Archer in the middle of the river only to have her pop ghost and run away with it coming down to the last moment when I managed to snag the kill by getting a clutch snipe. Or I could tell you about the time I was playing as Vladmir the blood mage and was about to be annihilated by a meteor from Veigar (think Vivi from FF9) when at the last second I turned into a pool of blood nullifying the attack. But you’ll just have to take my word on it, this game is really fun.

Don't hold this against the game, think of it as sandwich making time.

Everyone’s doing it.

As I mentioned earlier the Dreamhack stream this previous weekend had over 200 thousand viewers, that’s insane.More and More people are playing League of Legends and unless you want to turn into that one guy who thinks he’s super sweet because he doesn’t understand what Twitter is, there’s no time better then now to jump on the train.  With more players starting every day that means you’re more likely to be matched up against other newcomers who are of an equal level making for a more fun match for everyone and creates a sense of camaraderie between newbies in which you can help one another become better by exchanging tips and tricks.

Are you really going to pass on Bunny Teemo?

It’s better then HoN and all the other DOTA clones.

I’m just kidding, Heroes of Newerth is just as good as LoL. As long as you would enjoy an experience similar to being dragged into a back alley and mugged by three dudes while your friends and family scream at you “NOOB! WTF ARE YOU DOING NOOB!”. Not to say LoL doesn’t have it’s fair share of pricks, but HoN and other games make them look like saints. I would tell you to try HoN and see which you like better, but you have to pay for it and if you already played DOTA then you’ve pretty much have played HoN.

Just found this on the web, would be a shame not to use it right?

I could go even further but I think I’ve hit all the points that I wanted to. That, and despite it being 4AM, I really want to play now. Will this post be useless after DOTA 2 is released? I don’t think so, many people will undoubtedly play it including myself but tons of League players are committed to a game they have spent countless hours playing and we won’t drop it just because of some new hotness. If you do decide to start playing, do not hesitate in adding me to your friend’s list so we can play together. My summoner name is Spruchy and I look forward to seeing you in the Summoner’s rift.

Edit: Played Rammus for the first time in my late night game, went 2-8 but got a whopping 41 assists against an all tank team. Fun stuff but I prefer DPS.

Afterthoughts: Building a Computer

•June 22, 2011 • Leave a Comment

All the components lined up ready and waiting.

I need a new computer, badly. My last PC had served me well, but considering that I had gotten it when I was a sophomore in college, it was time for us to part ways. I had always wanted to build my own PC, with all the saved money and the comfort of knowing your rig inside out, who wouldn’t? My first PC was a Gateway that I had gotten for my birthday after much kicking and squealing to my Macintosh parents who refused to believe a machine running Windows was anything but a Virus Dumpster. Four years later I got a custom gaming computer from a company called Nutech and four years after that I got another custom but this time from Ibuypower. Both computers got the job done although they were riddled with small problems like the motherboard BIOS had locked OC’ing for some reason and the ram timings would often be incorrect. Having nothing to do with those processes when the machine itself was built made for some infuriating days when I had no idea why my machine wouldn’t boot, and don’t even get me started on the time the “recommended” power supply blew and the guy at the repair shop laughed at me for using something so underpowered. Always I would claim “my next computer I’m going to build myself!” only to never follow through, but this time I did it.

The Motherboard, otherwise known as Homebase.

Thanks to this very helpful thread on Neogaf, I watched a few tutorial videos and ordered the parts right for my budget. Despite never building a computer before, it looked nothing more then LEGOs for adults and I had a head start by being familiar with all the parts. I was only partially correct, but here’s the specs of the beast:

As you can see, Maximus is a pretty capable machine :). The actual process of building it was pretty easy thanks to having some help from my dad and following along tutorial videos on the web. The hardest part was probably installing the custom cooler onto the CPU as it actually had to go on both sides of the Motherboard and you were esentially balancing a small brick onto a very expensive microchip with the only thing between the two being a dab of thermal paste. The fact that the directions were seemingly written in an undiscovered language that is only decipherable by the gods did not help either. My temperatures have been fine even during an overclocked stress test, so I guess we did it right.

Dad helping with the confusing installation of the cooler.

From there it was just more screwing in, connecting of cables, and plugging parts into other parts. The only other slightly problem was these small little blocks that you attach onto a cable inside the case and onto the motherboard. These blocks have different features listed on them, some clearer then others such USB1, LEDPOWERON, etc. Some are written in complete gibberish and the only way to find where they went was to consult the motherboard’s manual that contained no rhyme or reason to what information it did or didn’t possess. This turned out to be the only problem once we were done as everything was in working order except the two front USB ports, it was a problem that was quickly remedied and I’ve been using Maximus for two weeks now without any problems.

The finished beast, Maximus.

To anyone thinking about build a computer, watch some videos(such as this one), and if it seems like something you can do, then do it. If the whole process seems to be too daunting I would check out sites like NCIX which allow you to order all your parts and then they put them together for a fee of $50. Otherwise I know a few friends who have been getting Alienwares as of late, and while they may cost more, everyone seems to be pretty happy with them. If you have any questions feel free to ask.

 

To keep this somewhat gaming-related, I’ve been playing Shadows of the Damned, and it is awesome.

 

 

Quick Review 001: inFAMOUS 2

•June 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

inFAMOUS 2, good or bad?

Two posts back to back? What Craziness! Anyway, last week I finished inFAMOUS 2 for the PS3 and I thought I would write up a little post on what I thought of it. I’m not going to write too much about what inFAMOUS is all about considering you can get it free as a part of the welcome back program on PSN right now. But if you don’t know what inFAMOUS is about it’s an open world game where you play as Cole Mcgrath , a parkouring dude who is made relevant by the fact he is given the comic-book like ability to control electricity. You control Cole through a campaign that is moved along by a plot that is just inspired by comic books as his powers are through a variety of Main plot missions and side missions. The side missions in the first game quickly became very repetitive with each mission falling into one of three subsets: Go here and kill a bunch of bad guys,  go here and defuse some bombs,  or go here and play an annoying game of hot and cold. Prior to the sequel’s release, Suckerpunch said that this problem of unvaried side missions would be definately remedied. At first I believed them when I was taking photographs, competing in electrical races over rooftops, and just only killing a bunch of bad guys every other mission. That was until I realized all they had done was add a few new missions to the already existing subset and the dullness of doing the same thing over and over settled in, causing me to lose any desire to finish all of these boring missions toward the end of the game.

User-created missions, a great idea, but ultimately unnecessary.

In an effort to make sure players don’t trade their copies of inFAMOUS in after beating the game or a very optional replay as the opposing moral alignment, Suckerpunch has added the ability for players to create their own custom missions. If you leave these missions on in the settings then you will see markers pop up all around the city that look and act just like a mission that’s actually part of the game. Out of the dozen missions I played only one of them were the least bit interesting and all of them essentially boiled down to being giant encounters of way too many enemies squished into one location. Tooling around the mission editor I saw that there’s definitely a girth of customizable options, I just don’t think the world and the game’s system lends itself to user-generated content as something like Little Big Planet or Minecraft does. And with a campaign around fifteen hours along with side missions and exclusive good or evil missions one has to ask this of the creatable missions: Is it really necessary?

Only if the encounters played impressively as they looked.

Throughout the game you’ll find yourself going up against three different factions, all of which are very different from one another. Each of these factions also have their own boss-type enemies which are more of an annoyance then anything else, which can also be said for the bosses you fight as a result of the plot. The one thing Suckerpunch really got right though is the way these different groups fight against one another instead of just homing onto the player, the end result creates a war-like vibe as you watch enemies shoot rockets and claw one another to death, leaving the option of taking up a smaller side battle or hopping directly into the fray up to you. Many games try to do the common enemies angle including critically acclaimed games such as Half Life 2, but inFAMOUS 2 really does it the best. It’s just a shame that the outside of their appearances, the bosses in the game are entirely forgettable.

Does inFAMOUS have a future?

Between scouring buildings for blast shards, zapping the energy out of cars to bring down monsters, and chasing other mutants through a train yard, inFAMOUS 2 is a pretty fun time. However, I don’t know if it’s because much of the Developer’s resources were invested into making the mission creator, or just because they wanted to play it safe, but if inFAMOUS 3 is to come out anytime soon, there needs to be some changes.  Outside of the improved graphics and some minor tweaks and additions there’s hardly anything new here and for a second repeat trip that’s OK. But to do it a third time? I’m not so sure. Then again, Suckerpunch just announced at E3 that they’re working on a new Sly game, so perhaps we won’t see Cole Mcgrath for a while.

Oh yeah.

Or maybe we will.

8 /10 – If you thoroughly enjoyed inFAMOUS 1 definitely check it out, if you didn’t then stay away. If you never played it and it sounds interesting to you  I recommend trying out the demo. As you can tell from reading this, what you experience in a small sampling is very much a large glimpse at the whole picture.

Sporadic Update 001

•June 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

With E3 and competitive gaming streams such as NCR and Dreamhack finished things are calming down around here. I figured now’s a good time as any to start updating my blog again, this one’s for all three of you.

What I’ve been playing:

New Vegas in all of its glory.

Fallout New Vegas

Last week I built a new PC (which there will be a separate post about sometime in the near future) and while it’s capable of running The Witcher 2, Crysis 2, and all of that other fancy stuff, I chose to play the less hardware-demanding Fallout. When Fallout 3 came out I was skeptical as I wasn’t the biggest fan of Oblivion but once it got it grip on me there was no turning back, I was rushing home from class just to squeeze in a two hour session before having to drive back over for yet another class. Unfortunately when New Vegas came out it wasn’t the most optimized game and my old computer wasn’t capable of playing it, fast forward to today with my new computer and I’m happier then ever getting 60 frames with everything maxed out. I’m really enjoying the game itself despite Obsidian’s decision to play it relatively safe and add very few new things from Fallout 3, but the writing and the main quest itself is a lot more enjoyable and more thought out here. Let me just say this to anyone who hasn’t started the game yet: New Vegas does not start until you get to New Vegas, which can be anywhere from 6 to 8 hours depending on which of the few beginning side quests you choose to do. Once you reach the game’s titular city things really ramp up and you go from having little choice on what to do to a full range of options and opportunities. I can’t wait to delve back into Nevada.

Like a Phoenix, both Rez and the Kinect Rise!

Child of Eden

My Kinect had a lot of dust on it, I’m talking like a Wii in a basement prior to Mario Galaxy 2’s release levels here. But everyone who had gotten a chance to go hands-on with the game said this was the definitive title for the $150 device and would turn it from a Dance Central machine into a real thing. Now I don’t know if this is bias because I have a 120” projector and surround sound system that come together in a way that makes it seems like they’re tailored for the game, but:

Believe the hype.

Child of Eden is the Rez successor you always clamored for but never thought would happen. CoE is also the game for the Kinect that eases the bullet you bit this last fall when you were tricked by Microsoft’s aggressive ad campaign into buying the thing. There’s not much I can say as any words would fail to accurately portray the experience fairly, but get to the end of the second stage and tell me you’re not a believer, go ahead, try it.

A picture of OoT 3DS and Chocolate Mousse, despite what you think this picture actually isn't in 3D.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS

Not only is my Kinect getting justified but now my 3DS! What Craziness. I know it’s lame but I’m using a walkthrough to get 100% of all the items including the skulltua’s and poes. Despite beating the game countless times I actually never did a 100% run before. The 3D is okay although there seems to be a slight ghosting problem that’s more noticeable the higher the slider is turned up, I usually play with it at 30-40% or just leave it off. All you really need to know that it’s a really nice port (the frame and character model improvement does wonders) of a classic game. If you have a 3DS already then I’m sure you’re most likely buying it.

And besides that I’m playing a game of League of Legends every now and then to get my win of the day along with finishing up L.A. Noire which is a pretty unique title but ultimately ends up being pretty repetitive. Once I beat Fallout I’ll probably start the Witcher, I’m itching for a fantasy game since I’m reading Lord of the Rings and just got done watching Game of Thrones. And knowing my love for Suda, I’ll probably be picking this up tomorrow:

What a boss song, and who said the summer is a drought of gaming?

 

 

WoW Retrospective

•December 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

WoW CE
Taking this picture I can hardly believe it’s been more then six years since my friend Jeff picked me up on that gray skied morning (which I took school off) at 10 AM to get our copies of WoW Collector’s editions. It’s been a mostly fun experience since then with many break periods and some ups and downs and I wanted to look back on them briefly.

Vanilla WoW – Between the fact that it was everyone’s first time in Azeroth and nostalgia I think this was my favorite time period in WoW. PvE was actually difficult back then and PVP wasn’t the broken gear grind that it is today. Some of my fondest memories include my first 40 man raid in Molten Core in which I was completely Wow’d (huk huk) by the fact that I along with 39 other real human beings over the Internet were tackling massive challenges. Sadly another aspect of the that won’t ever be replicated. I remember running an illicit casino on the bridge in Ironforge that made me infamous on the server I’m still on to this day (Arthas, a decision Jeff and I made on that car ride over based on the fact we both played Warcraft 3 and thought Arthas was a badass). And I guess the last thing I remember vividly from Vanilla was taking down Nefarion for what turned out to be a server third or something like that. I remember it being 3 AM and having the school the next day but with my guild (stooooormraiders) so close to defeating such an epic encounter I refused to go to sleep. Oh yeah, I also remember frequent server crashes and queues but that’s one aspect of old WoW I don’t miss.

Burning Crusade- My next favorite WoW time period with nearly as memorable moments as the original. Although for some reason I remember going to the midnight launch with my mum who refused my constant begging for her to buy the game but upon reaching the cash register offered to buy the guide along with all the lame t shirts they had. As nice of a gesture, I refused. Heroics were the big thing for this expansion with an added difficulty to 5 mans along with an incentive to do them over and over turning out to be really interesting. Karazhan to this day remains my favorite instance and flying mounts were one of the coolest additions ever. My spring semester of my sophomore year of college was basically this game so much so that my friend Nick and I were so well known on the server that it wasn’t unusual to receive a barrage of whispers upon logging in. The defining moment of TBC and possibly all of WoW for me was killing Illidian. Between the grand scale of the fight, assistance from lore characters, and the challenge of it all I still remember it to this day.

Wrath of the Lich King- That leaves wotlk which by no means is a bad game and if you looked at the bullet points it should technically be the best, cross server dungeon finder, 10 man and 25 man/heroic mode for raids, a (failed) attempt to bring back world PVP, amongst other things. Unfortunately it wasn’t with the raiding content being more then lacking at launch (a reused dungeon as the main raid) and the difficultly completely absent (whole game cleared within a week). Many players myself included canceled their subs only a couple of months after the game had been released. Looking back on it I think Wrath really killed the camaraderie that the other games in the series put an emphasis on. Between being actually paid to group with strangers you’ll never see again and no real need to join a guild until a year after the game was released it made the whole experience feel very segregated. That’s not to say the game didn’t do things right, the music was the best in the series and it was the game where blizzard perfected questing between phasing and streamlining the quests. Perhaps if I joined a guild and stuck around when the new content came out I would’ve enjoyed Wrath more but as it stands it wasn’t blizzards best effort.

Looking to Cataclysm – My download is about finished and I can hardly wait to hit that play button. I’m excited to check out the new content with most of my friends who play the game all on the same server and my character parked in a guild. I’m also eager to roll a worgen priest having never played the class before and to check out how the world I’ve known for over six years have changed. I’m a little skeptical of the choice to make 10 and 25 mans identical in loot drop (incentive) but we’ll have to wait and see how that turns out. I am happy that there is supposedly four full and new raids awaiting along with 9 new 5 mans as well. Either way even if Cataclysm turns out to be a disappointment to me personally I’m sure it’ll be a fun experience and millions around the world will enjoy it regardless. And we can always count on a new patch or expansion pack to come along and fix any mistakes that were made.

Thanks a lot WoW for hundreds of hours of enjoyment and plenty more to come. I had a great time looking back at your history and I hope the future is equally entertaining.

Spruchy level 80 Mage Arthas

The Beginning of the End is Beginning

•September 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Burnout Paradise was released last week on the Playstation Network store for $30 dollars, half of what the game retailed for when it came out a few months ago as a disc based game for 360/PS3. This is surely a sign of things to come. Used game sales are killing any money a publisher hopes to make down the road after the game has been out for awhile. Not to mention money gained from not having to pay for packaging and not having to compete for shelf space. Of course at the recent Gamestop conference (the store that happens to be the #1 promoter of used games) a Gamestop VP said that Digital Distribution will not be a threat until 2020. At first sight that might look at ridiculous considering it’s working fine right now but maybe in 2020 we will see the extinction of game stores. Think back to 8 years ago, hardly anyone had a cable modem now look at us. The internet and its technologies are growing fast and with all the advantages Digital Distribution offers to publishers they would be stupid not to jump on this train.

What does this mean for us consumers? Mostly good things unless you happen to be really attached to those boxes and discs. Since the publisher is avoiding a lot of costs by skipping the Game stores we will most likely see a price cut on the standard video game price. However this generation of consoles may be ill equipped for this transition which is one of the main reasons why we most likely won’t see the jump from physical to digital until next gen. The average 360 has a 20 gb hard drive which means if you download a lot of Rock Band songs and demos you’re already most likely close to filling that drive up. The PS3 is probably in the best position with easily swappable hard drives and the average disk size being somewhere between 40 and 60 gigs. Nintendo’s Wii isn’t equipped to handle its virtual console ports or small selection of Wiiware titles with its extremely tiny drive, let alone full sized games. Next Generation we maybe be seeing systems with mega sized hard drives to be future proof for the digital distribution revolution.

While technology may be limiting us to disc games for the rest of this generation who’s to say how much more will actually be done on the digital front. Xbox Arcade had a resurgence of digital games this summer and Burnout Paradise might only be the beginning for the Playstation Network. Everyone should be excited for this new turn of how games are purchased because in the long run it will be better for everyone. Publishers will be making more money allowing for more games and consumers will be paying less allowing for more games to be purchased. The only one who should be upset is Joe Schmo trying to get you to preorder Mario Party 10 while trying to make you trade in Mario Party 9.

Tomorrow is Blood Sugar Sex Magik full Album DLC for Rock Band, Buy it!

It’s Fall.

•September 24, 2008 • 2 Comments

It definitely fall in the media world because in these last two weeks I’ve been playing/watching more new stuff then was released as a whole in the first half of summer. Quick Rundown:

Spore – More like bore amirite? No but seriously, the spore development team (or maybe Will Wright himself) is like a morbidly obese person trying to cook. They take all their favorite games throw them in a pot and hope for the end product to be the sum of all the goodness that was thrown in. In actuality the end result doesn’t taste good at all; in fact it tastes like shit. Although it introduces some new technology through its invisible background game sharing Spore still was a disappointment. Hopefully they use the technology introduced here and put it in a good game.

Man I really Should install Photoshop.

Crysis: Warhead – It’s Crysis that runs and plays better than the original. Haven’t really played it that much but it’s good to see PC gaming is alive (and well?).

Rock Band 2 – It’s RB1 with a much improved interface and a lot of awesome songs on the disc. Guitar Hero: World Snore (Ho-Ho another twist of the title into referencing my state of boredom) has its work cut out for it.

 

Star Wars: Force Unleashed – For some reason this game really reminds me of Shadows of the Empire even though they don’t share much in common besides the fact that they’re both third person Star Wars action games. Really great story, in fact they should’ve taken the few important scenes from episode 2, merge them into episode 1, make episode 3 episode 2 and made this game episode 3. Would’ve been great I tell ya. As far as gameplay goes, way too repetitive with almost every trick getting old by the end of the first hour or so. Atleast the repetitiveness isn’t that big of an issue considering the game is around five hours in length. Whoops. Definitely rent it if you like Star Wars at all.

 

Armored Core: For Answer – While AC4 was plagued by long loading times and missions shorter than said loading times I still found it to be an enjoyable experience. Unfortunately no one else did and this game will forever remain overlooked. This is a real shame because it’s really improved from AC4 and is shaping up to be basically shadow of colossus + Giant Robots, which is a winning combination. Not to mention the Soundtrack and Visuals are superb, haven’t checked out online coop yet but I hope people are still online when I get to it. Zone of the Enders might just be dethroned for me.

 

 

Megaman 9 – Shamefully I never really played any of the older Megamans that much (played one on gameboy, way too hard at the time) so won’t make any direct comparisons but…game is ridiculously fun and challenging! Capcom was brilliant for making a game in this retro style and they did it perfectly as well, it really feels like a NES game with a hint of modern gameplay twists. Can’t wait to dig deeper into this one and defeat the last 4 robot masters!

 

All those games in the last two weeks and I just got into the Little Big Planet beta today along with Kirby Superstar DS and Sonic: The Dark Brotherhood. Also been playing WoW feverishly in attempt to get my rogue alt to 70 before Wrathapocalypse brings destruction to the world.

Also been reading the second book in the Hitchhiker’s series The Restaurant at the End of the Universe…..if I could write half as well as Douglas Adams most of my time would be spent writing. And being a billionaire. One of the funniest books ever, was literally “LOL”ing every other page.

In TV after 30 Rock destroyed the Emmy’s, decided it would be a good idea to start watching it. One episode in and I’m loving it. Heroes continues to jump the shark with retarded plot twists, terrible script, and poor acting performances by almost everyone involved. Oh what could’ve been.

 

Crazy! Oh yeah I also got Metal Gear Solid 5.

 

 

 

 

 

Too Human, Too Conflicted

•August 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

On the Eve of Too Human’s release it is not a joyous night of anticipation for the game but instead everyone is looking on at the massive train
wreck
of
review
scores. Each review while varying bit from bit in score all basically carry the same tone. That Too Human

is not a very good game in any shape or form. Message boards are set ablaze with a huge amount of discussion over how the game is being received. Many users are enjoying watching the game crash and burn even before its release although one has to wonder if this is

mostly due to the games outspoken
creator, Denis Dyack. While playing the game I couldn’t help but feel frustrated, there was interesting and innovative concepts being displayed but due to all of Dyack’s preaching they were all going to get ignored. Dyack basically made

Too Human a game that is cool to hate. Burying everything else beneath it the combat is without a doubt the center piece of this game and is fundamentally flawed in that it somehow is even more mindless then Diablo 2 while feeling nowhere near as gratifying it still has

some great ideas beneath it. The way the camera is controlled and story presentation are the two things that jump out in this game. Unfortunately they are both far from perfect and are more of a basic framework of how these two aspects of games could evolve if

tweaked a bit (major changes to the script, randomly plugging in Norse mythology doesn’t make for a compelling story). I wonder if this game was an Xbox 360 launch game with the same amount of hype (because without the hype this game would be completely swept

under the carpet) if it would be met with a lot more praise for its innovations instead of gamers cheering to see its demise. Either way I still look forward to trying out the full product and hope to see the trilogy complete itself, like I said the basic framework is there it just

needs some more time in the oven. The next week should be interesting to see if this game becomes important at all besides being known as Dyack’s massive bomb, either way I look on with anticipation.

Anyway on a lighter note, simply cannot wait for Tales of Vesparia in two weeks! Game just recently came out in Japan and is actually causing Xbox 360 to be selling out in a country that completely usually disregards the system.

Really love the demo and the characters along with the story (main reason to play RPGs for me) both seem to insanely interesting. If you know nothing about the Tales’ series I recommend watching a few
of
the
intros and some
gameplay
videos. They take the

Major complaint that most gamers have with most RPGs (slow turn based combat) and remedy it with what the series is now known for (fast paced action battle system).

Anyway back to Final Fantasy 6 for the GBA, playing it for the first time ever and I’m immensely enjoying it.