What bothers me about the Internet 03/10/2012
These days, the internet is everywhere. Computers, phones, tablets, everything and anything is interconnected. You can't go outside without running into something internet connected. The internet has become our day-to-day life.
That's all well and good, but something about the internet really bothers me. Thanks to the internet, there's nothing surprising any more.
You know about everything well before it arrives. You know what it is, what it does, what people think about it before you've actually used it, whether its worth buying, whether its worth seeing, whether its worth doing before you even do.
I want to be genuinely surprised by something. I want someone or some company to come out with something and I want to go, "Whoa! Where did that come from? I had no idea they were doing that!"
I'm tired of getting on the internet, not even looking for information on something, but there it is, right in my face, impossible for me to not see.
It's incredibly depressing because I feel like I will never know what its like to be surprised again, ever. The only way I can see doing that would be to shut everything off and never speak to anyone. Because even if you don't pay attention, someone else will. It's like a constant contest of, "Did you hear about this?"
Sometimes I feel like we're a little too connected.
Skyrim Day Three 02/22/2012
We left off yesterday with my mage about to fight the first dragon you encounter in the game. I didn't really want to fight the dragon yet because I wanted to avoid being attacked everywhere I went by random dragons falling out of the sky.
Needless to say, I ran off to the western tower and killed the dragon. It did end up working out for me though, since I got the first shout which pushes people away, which comes in handy when you are a mage trying to burn people with two handfuls of fire. I became Thane of Whiterun, as per usual, and got Lydia, my housecarl.
My next step was to head towards Winterhold in order to join the mage's college. I walked the whole way, rather than take a carriage or fast travel. I wanted to see what I had missed in my first playthrough. Apparently, what I had actually missed was a cave full of trolls between Whiterun and Windhelm.
My past experience with trolls and Lydia did not end well; Lydia was killed fighting a frost troll on the 7000 steps while I was busy running away. This playthrough however, I had fire on my side. Trolls don't like fire. Lydia and I dispatched with them quickly and I only set fire to her once. You'd think she would learn the first time that I shoot fire from my hands and that you shouldn't run in front of me.
After the troll cave, we ventured up to Windhelm, took a wrong turn while leaving, and ended up having to walk around and go through a large river, fighting several Mudcrabs and Horkers on the way. However, after navigating through the wind and snow, finding a cave house thingy built for alchemists, and wandering past that, I made it Winterhold and the college.
I signed up immediately and took my first lesson, passing it easily. Of course it wasn't that hard; I merely had to deflect a spell. The second quest was much harder.
The apprentice mages were told to go to Saarthal and check out some ruins. It never ends the way it should however, and I stumbled into some closed off passage, got contacted by people who aren't supposed to exist, learned another shout, and killed off a large draugar protecting some even larger round ball thingy that looked like a globe. After talking to the arch mage, he and I both had no idea what the sphere was, but he said he was gonna go have a look at it.
My playthrough ended with him leaving and me stealing all the herbs and goods in his room while he was gone. I'm sure he can replac
Skyrim Day Two 02/21/2012
My mage has now completed Bleak Falls Darrows, or Downs, or whatever its called, and has leveled up to level 3.
I've put a few points into the destruction constellation so far, enough to make my spells cost less and do more damage when dual wielded. However, by dual wielding and using them both at the same time, my mana, or Magicka, drains just about as fast as it did before. I do seem to be able to burn things pretty quickly however, especially since I know where they are going to come out.
A part of me feelings like I'm cheating when I run up to draugar and begin attacking it before it even moves. But the other part of me knows that as a mage, I'm sure I could see that he was going to be moving ahead of time. It's my excuse I use to continue role-playing without taking myself out of the story. I really want to stop the dragon quest after killing the dragon for Whiterun; in fact, I didn't even want it to get to the point where I have to kill the dragon in the first place. I wanted to be able to run up to the college of Winterhold and start training but of course the Jarl needs my help.
This game is such that it compels you to go off the beaten path and even if you want to run amuck and play however you please, you still feel something pulling at your heartstrings telling you to keep turning from the
By now, I've played a lot of Skyrim. 60 plus hours, to be exact. I beat the main quest line along the way, and delved into many of the things that make the game great.
My character, however, was built as a tank. His magic skills were subpar to the say the least.
So in honor of my magical future, I created a new character.
I'm designing her to be a pure destruction mage, with training in enchanting and alchemy, which I never had any experience with on my other character.
Currently, she is level two and has disenchanted a few things already. She's pretty much broke because she keeps buying spellbooks but she does have a lot of spells learned. In comparison to my tank, she is incredibly squishier than him and cannot take much damage without being in serious dookie.
She does seem to have fairly high level of damage output and I think that once her other abilities catch up, she will be a force to be reckoned with in the game. But we shall see. It's only been one day.
One does not simply...Play Skyrim. 02/08/2012
The day has finally come. I couldn't put if off any longer, especially since someone let me borrow their copy for free and I didn't have to pay the $59.99 to buy it. Yes, you guessed it, I finally played DragonLance.
I mean Skyrim.
I'm not going to be talking about all of it today because it's already late at night and I don't have much time before I have to go to bed and get back up for work early in the morning. I'm going to keep it short for now.
I've played a lot of games. I've put a lot of time into games. I put almost a years worth of playing time into World of Warcraft. That's a long time to play one game, but at least I got my money's worth from it.
I told you that so that you can understand what Skyrim is.
Skyrim is the greatest game I have ever played.
That game used to be Halo 2. Before that, it was Sonic the Hedgehog 2. I know, I know, my best games of all time are probably on other peoples bottom ten of all time list, maybe even in the middle. But I have played a lot of games. If you look at my trophies on my PS3, there's way too many games on there. From Assassin's Creed to Ratchet and Clank, I've experience a lot. So when I tell you that Skyrim is the greatest game I have ever played, I want you to understand what I mean.
The graphics are good. The controls are great. The story is phenomenal. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, with very few exceptions. Almost 90-95% of the time, if you want to do something, you can do it. If you're thinking that it would be really cool if I just kill everyone in a town, you can. Or if you just want to go cut wood, you can do that too. It's the closest thing to real life you can get without the actual rules of real life.
It's what a good fantasy RPG should be and what so many games try to do and fail at.
The world is huge. The areas are vast. There's more flora and fauna than you can possibly ever see. They say that it has 200+ hours of gameplay in it. It would take you 200+ hours just to see everything in the game.
I'll go into more detail as I play, but I've only been playing for a week, hence the latency in updates, and I'm not even level 30 yet. It is so amazingly fun that I could foresee myself playing this game for a year before I got bored. If they only had a mac version, I could download it and play it for even longer with the new creation kit they came out with yesterday.
That's enough for now, I gotta go play more Skyrim.
Game Dev Story - Android App! 01/25/2012
Here's a little surprise snippet for you Android users out there. It's been said that smartphones are going to be the next medium for video games and iPhone has already surpassed Nintendo in the handheld market.
Game Dev Story is a great game for you if you have an Android Device. The basic premise is that you are, strangely enough, a video game manufacturer making video games, in a video game. Kind of like some sort of parallel universe. You also feel redundant when you are playing and wonder who came up with such a simple idea as a game about making games.
Game Dev Story gives you a secretary, an office, employees, and an objective: to make a bunch of games. You have a bunch of different types and genres, some of which are great when combined together; some, not so much. You have employees who make the games for you, or you can outsource the different steps of the jobs and just let your employees do the coding. You can do contract jobs in between developing games for some extra money and some stuff with which to level up your employees. If you make a game good enough, you may be able to make a sequel. If the game is really good, you can win Game of the Year!
The only thing I would say about this game is to check out a strategy guide online if you find your games aren't doing well. There you can find the amazing game combinations. When I first played it, I was trying to combine things based on what good games were out; sometimes it worked, sometimes it flopped.
Saints Row 3, or Saints Row: The Third was yet another game that I got for Christmas and finally had the chance to play through recently. If you are familiar with the Saints Row Series, don't read this next part. If you aren't, then...well you get the idea.
Saints Row was a series (based on what I've heard, I did no research on this) that was spawned to compete with the Grand Theft Auto series. But, in the same fashion that the Evil Dead series compares to other horror movies, Saints Row has since evolved into its own crazy genre. Basically, the first Saints Row was a not-very-good rendition of Grand Theft Auto that the creators didn't put quite enough work into and released too early. Saints Row 2 was much better, but they still hung on to that idea that they had the same type of gameplay as GTA. Saints Row 3 is the game where the developers decided that they were going to embrace what they had been flirting with for so long and make a game that has great gameplay, amazing graphics, and some of the funniest scenarios you'll ever run into. This game pays homage to so many different things, its hard to point them all out.
In case you haven't realized, I loved this game. I love the graphics. I loved the gameplay. I loved the richness and depth. I loved the missons. I loved the cars. I loved the weapons. I loved the storyline. I could keep going on about it. I loved pretty much everything about this game.
The controls are super easy to operate. Whether you're walking, driving, boating (is that the verb you would use for operating a boat? maybe captaining?), flying, or anything else, they always tell you how to control it first. If I get in an airplane, there's a quick pop up window that shows me how to fly it. If I get in a boat, here's the controls. It's not annoying in any way; in fact its perfect. There are so many other games out there that have either innately terrible controls schematics when you switch between walking and driving, or games that have the most complicated control structures that you pretty much give up. Saints Row is what it should be: easy and practically thoughtless. Game controls should have a seamless, thoughtless system so that you don't have to keep learning new things.
The characters are infinitely customizable and you can basically create someone who looks like you, a celebrity, or a famous historical figure in just a few minutes. A simple visit to a plastic can change you from Puff Daddy to Abraham Lincoln. The voices, taunts, and compliments are hilarious and very well done. Basically, you can be whoever you want, whenever you want, as often as you want. You can be Ric Flair if you want. You can be Ace Ventura. It doesn't matter, it all looks funny.
The story mode took me about 12 hours to finish. Not too long in the grand scheme of things, but considering that when I finished the story, which had a crazy ending by the way, I was only about 50-60% of the way through the game, there is a lot more to do here. I personally focused mostly on the story itself while I was playing, only venturing out here and there a little just to see what the other things were that I was passing by while driving or walking. The additional content, games, collectibles, challenges, and other things available to do on the side are great, but they are probably the weakest portions of the game. I've always felt that side quest and collectibles are just a way of deterring you from actually finishing the main game itself ahead of schedule and then feeling cheated because it was too short. In all reality, the side content really does nothing to improve my abilities in the game. Yes, it does give me some respect and cash, which early could be beneficial; however, later in the game you have to collect many things and do many side quests in order to go up one level. I would recommend doing one of each of the side quests though because they are fun and hilarious. I won't give anything away, but one of them involves a tiger.
The biggest issue with games is replay value. We spend so much money on games when they are new, only to beat them so fast that we get frustrated because we could have used that $60 for something else. DLC is a joke when a game costs that much because who wants to pay another $15-20 for what amounts to another 4 hours of gameplay? Having said that, the replay value of this game is good for one main reason: every time you play it, its new. Yes, you are playing the same character with the same cars in your garage and the same guns in your crib, but you can do whatever you want to in this game. If you want to drive a car around the entire map without hitting another car, you can. If you want to fly a helicopter to the top of the highest building and parachute off, you can. If you want to try and kill every zombie in the game, you can. Yes, there are zombies. There's also pimps, whores, tigers, luchadores, computer nerds, police, and a freaking awesome celebrity appearance. This game is great. It has everything you want, nothing you don't. Except for a few things...
What I HATE about the Games of Today
The games of today suffer from two problems, disk space and graphic rendering. Everyone knows how games are made. Everyone knows that the core content is sold on either a disk or a download. Those things are killing the games of today.
What if, while I was walking around the large world of Saints Row 3, I could go into the barber shop and just walk around? What if I could go into a building and walk around? See every room? What if I wasn't limited by how much disk space I needed?
Every major game suffers from this. Even though you may have a gigantic open world game, it isn't truly open. You can only go into a few major buildings that are related to the experience. You can't go anywhere else. In Saints Row 3, there are gigantic buildings that are mostly empty because their main job is to add to the skyline. Yet, when you fly up to the top of one, there's a large open air restaurant up there with people sitting at tables, walking around, eating, talking, and the like. How did they get up there? How do they get down? Why can't I ride the elevator like they did? Or did they all just fly helicopters up here like I did?
I can do whatever I want, but only if the developers want me to.
And I understand that creating a game with complete freedoms would be impossible, but with the technology we have now, can't you create a larger, more full-fledged world? Can't you render more things? It doesn't have to be unique between each building and office, but at least make it available. Spend a little extra time refining it so that I can play for 100-200 hours.
The second thing that drives me CRAZY is much smaller, but still just as annoying. I feel like we are at a point now in video games where we can figure out how to make characters physically interact with their surroundings based on their surroundings without taking us out of the story and reminding us that we are playing a game. I don't even care about how it looks, but I'm so tired of seeing my characters put their hands through things they shouldn't be able to, or seeing other characters holding things that terrible. Saints Row 3 has great graphics, but some of the things that it does drive me crazy, such as one of gang members holding a cellphone that looks like he's holding brass knuckles, or when I get out of a helicopter I walk through it as though its not there, but I can push it once I'm out. Can we figure this out please? It drives me crazy. We can render boobs like nobody business, but when it comes to the more "subtle" things, we strike out. There's more to games than boobs, people.
Grr, I'm irritated.
In summary, buy Saints Row 3. It's good and the annoying things aren't enough to take you out of the game, unless you are like me and can't unsee them.
Fable 3 01/21/2012
Having been backed up by all the games I got for Christmas, which we knew was going to happen, I'm now finally getting to the reviews. The first one I had the chance to beat was Fable 3, which came in the Xbox 360 250GB bundle I got as a Christmas gift. Being a huge Peter Molyneux fan, I dove right in and started playing. But just to clarify, when I say that I am a huge Peter Molyneux fan, what I mean is that I bought Black and White when it was on sale and played it for about a week. I also subscribed to Peter Molydeux, Molyneux's faux profile on Twitter where the creator comes up with incredibly ridiculous ideas for video games.
My biggest brush with Lionhead Studios (they are affiliated with Peter Molyneux, riiiiight?) came several years ago with the release of Fable for Xbawks. I vaguely remember being very interested in the game because of its fantasy style and because your choices would effect your appearance, the way the game responded, and how NPC's would react to you. Plus you could get cool tattoos that would cover, like your whole face OMIGAWD TRIBAL TATTOOOZ.
I vaguely remember it because I beat it in all of 4 hours. I loved the game, would have given it a 10 if ratings mattered, because let's face it, a game is only a 10 if you can't put it down. But unfortunately, it was over too soon. If any of you have played the new Medal of Honor, you know what I'm talking about here. It was just too darn short. I didn't play it on easy though, if I remember properly, and it was still super easy to play through. I even considered going back and playing through the whole thing just to see what would happen if I (I'd say spoiler here, but the game is too old to be spoiled) had killed my sister with the sword instead of sparing her like a sissy girl. But I didn't.
Fable 3 takes place, if my math serves me which it usually doesn't, 500 years after the events of the original Fable. Having not played Fable 2, I came into this not know what was going on, but after playing for a few minutes I realized that I didn't need to have a clue. Apparently I'm the son of the hero from Fable 2 and my older brother is a big jerk who wants to make everyones life stink. What a bully.
My job, as Theoden from Lord of the Rings tells me (the guy who does the voice of Walter in the game is the same as the guy who played Theoden from Lord of the Rings, whose name is Bernard Hill, if you didn't already figure that out) is to take out my older brother, assume kingship or queenship, since you can play as either a boy or girl, and make the people happy. Seems easy right, since all you have to do is do the exact opposite of what your brother does. But is it?
In a word, as with all my reviews, yes. It is that easy. But getting there is the challenge. However, nothing has really changed between Fable 1 and 3, unless 2 was phenomenal and I screwed up. The game is super easy, if a little stupid at times when you are trying to navigate around. The controls are standard 3rd person, with a very terrible attack and block mechanism. Seriously, there were times I thought I was blocking but I wasn't, and before I knew it, I was being whacked. Other times I thought I was charging up a super swing, which I referred to as MAH LAZORS, but I merely was blocking. Even when I did charge up the powerful swing, most enemies looked at me as though the sword (or hammer) I was using to hit them with was a Fun Noodle. Few died on the first swing. Heck, it often took two hits to kill bats.
But the great, or terrible, thing about this game is the dying mechanics. You don't die. You get hurt-ed. I had to hyphenate that so you would say it in your head like I did. I got hurt-ed, or hurt-ted a few times, knocked out so-to-speak, but was never forced to start over at the beginning of a zone or retry a boss fight. It was irritating because oftentimes I would get knocked out several times with no potions, which are useless anyway, only to come back, fight some more, and get knocked out again.
The boss battles are mediocre and far and few between and none of the fights had any sort of particular strategy to them. Makes me feel bad for saying bad things about Batman: Arkham City. The ranged fighting and spellcasting is lame. The spellcasting in particular was annoying because it was the most powerful attack and yet you had to charge the attack for what seemed like 47 years in order to do any serious damage. I can' 't tell the people to hold on before they attack me. It ain't gonna happen.
Does this game have any redeem qualities? Yes and no. It still has the decision-making events to it, which have been reduced down to push one corresponding button or another and you're either a dick or a deity. It also has outfits and tattoos, both of which are terrible and far too ugly to make yourself look cool. You can also buy houses and rent them out, but you have to continually fix them because your terrible tenants don't care that the kings son owns their house and tear it up. You can also buy businesses as well, which is where the real money lies if you can afford to buy them in first place. All these things, as well as specific attacks and certain other gestures (farting on peasant heads) can be unlocked via the Road to Rule, which is kind of like a physical manifestation of a skill tree with a fancy shmanshy castle at the end, thats how you know you've almost beat the game.
I know, I know. A lot of crap right? There was really only one thing that made this game interesting to me. Fear.
Now I know what you're thinking. I'm playing the prince, soon to be the future king; I can't die, I just get knocked out. I've got a sweet array of weapons and I probably have a bunch of people on my side whose promises I'm definitely going to break later on in the game. What's there to be scared of in a game like this?
First, let me explain that I, by nature (some messed up form of nature), am a big scardy cat. I hate scary movies, I hate things that go bump in the night, and I hate shadows and dark staircases. My poor wife needs to keep a gun on her side of the bed in case someone breaks in because I'm gonna hide under the covers. I'm kidding, its not that bad. I keep a night light in case they do.
This game has one particular level that creeps the living daylights out of me. It's got all the makings of creepiness. A cave on a deserted island(don't ask me how we got there), lots of darkness, a voice that chills you to the bone and permeates your soul, black ooze, black ooze that flows up, strange faced monster things that look like an alien and a hawk mated, sand, and of course, torches that go out. You may be laughing at that, but it was honestly scary. I was creeped. In the grand scheme of the game, it seemed to take much longer to get through that dungeon than it did the rest of the game itself. Maybe because Walter wasn't very helpful or that he was just being a big sissy, but when King Theoden of Rohan is scared, I'm really scared.
Other than that great moment of fear-inducing fright, there really isn't a lot of redeeming features to this game. You can have kids. You can get an STD. But that's not worth buying a game for, even if it is cheap. My advice to you is that if you can't find some other sucker to borrow it from, try to pick it up third hand. You won't feel so bad when it's over. But you will love your dog companion in it, omg hes so cuuuuuuuuute.
It's a borrow, not a buy. But it was fun.
Massive Amount of Reviews in the Works 01/20/2012
Since I got the new computer a few days ago, I've been starting to work on some reviews. Some reviews turned into many reviews. And now many reviews have turned into too many reviews to handle at once. I've got several game reviews coming up, some new, and some old; I've also got a book review in the works as well as two tv show reviews. You can imagine that trying to do all this stuff while also working a full time job can be stressful.
Honestly, it isn't. I just work on them when I can. So you'll be seeing a buncha new content on the site and maybe, before you know it, a new site entirely. Although I like the one I have right now, especially the guy at the top. Very Roy Schieder pre-Jaws esque.
Look forward to a review of Fable III and Saints Row: The Third very soon.
Great News! 01/18/2012
I got a new computer! You'll be seeing a lot more work very soon!