Archive for October, 2009

Purchase For Tuesday October 27, 2009 (Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising)

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions, New Releases on October 28, 2009 by Matt

Yesterday, while I was in London visiting some friends, I dropped by the mall to pick up the new Baroness album (The Blue Record). EB Games was right next door to HMV, so I decided to stop in. I caved and purchased Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising for PC. I was a huge fan of the first game and it’s expansion (Resistance), and the sequel has a decent score on Metacritic. I figured it wouldn’t have a perfect score, considering it’s more of a military simulation than an action fps. I took the chance anyway, and I am not sure whether it was the right one yet.

I sat down and played the first mission. I am only running with Windows XP SP 2 on my PC right now. I think this game requires some DX 10 + to look good. Right now it’s not visually impressing me. As far as game play is concerned, I am a little disappointed that I don’t just die in a couple of shots. Mind you, I am only playing on normal difficulty. I think if I stepped it up to experienced or hardcore it may change this. You do have a field dressing kit though, and you do bleed. Stopping bleeding is important, as well as resting when you are hurt. The controls feel pretty familiar. I wish that the command options were a little quicker to navigate through. I am sure I’ll get used to the game with a bit more play. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a game where practice actually matters. For those who enjoy Call of Duty type games, this is likely not what you want.

Just A Few Things I’ve Been Reading.

Posted in Currently Playing, News on October 27, 2009 by Matt

I’ve been reading a few different articles, and figured I’d share them with you. Here you go.

We’ll start off with sweet news about Uncharted 2. There’s going to be some DLC released before the new year. I just finished Uncharted 2, so this will be something to spur me to play more come December or January. Mind you, I still plan to beat it on Crushing difficulty sometime sooner than that.

Here’s a rant about creativity and originality in gaming. I agree with him for the most part. People that say they want something innovative and original should put their money where their mouth is, and support something that a developer releases that is different. Don’t just go out and buy what you feel to be a safe bet, gamble a little bit. That and there are always reviews.

There has almost always been a problem with me finding the right woman. A woman that plays video games. This article makes some valid points as far as encouraging women to take up the hobby, or to continue it. Eventually, women everywhere will enjoy video games as much as us men. I hope.

The lists of games that I want are endless. There are quite a few games coming out this fall and winter that I need to get my hands on. Here is a list of some future releases to watch for. Most of these will be mine some day. The Last Guardian I am looking forward to, and will pre-order for sure. MAG (Massive Action Game) is up there too. Gran Turismo 5 is, I am sure, on everyone’s list. I already own Demon’s Souls. God of War 3…enough said. Heavy Rain is a game I haven’t really heard of, but from what the description states, I will most likely get it. It could prove to be interesting, with so many ways to go through the game. Things will be busy, and money will be spent. I can see it very clearly.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I am not really sure what to think about motion control. I enjoy it…sometimes. I like to sit back and play a game when I do get around to it. I generally don’t want to move around or sweat. Here are some concepts for the Playstation 3’s motion sensitive controller. I don’t really know if I like it or not, but we’ll see what gets done.

I found these articles by surfing on Digg a bit. It usually doesn’t have many gaming related articles, and I’ve read these over the past couple of days or so. I haven’t really been reading a lot of gaming news the last month or so. I’ve been slacking.

Also, I’ve been playing a shitload of Borderlands. Yesterday I played for maybe 8 hours, and tonight I have put in 3 hours or so. I started a Berserker and it’s definitely my favourite character to play as. I am level 23 now, and about to enter New Haven. Lovin’ this game. Time flies by when you’re exploding heads and ripping off limbs.

Uncharted 2 Complete

Posted in Currently Playing, Reviews on October 25, 2009 by Matt

Well, I played through the game’s single player story and I have to say that this is one of those games where you just lose yourself. If you are going to play, make sure you have the time, because otherwise you may be late for work before you realize how long you’ve been playing for. Yeah, it is that good.

Graphics: I will touch on this point first. The graphics in this game are extremely well done. In most games, interactive stuff in the background seems to be rendered differently and sticks out in some way. In Uncharted 2, the game is very linear, and yet there are periods where finding where to go or what wall to climb is a small task. This really isn’t a complaint, it’s more of a compliment to the game. The lighting, character animations, shadows, the way the snow moves around your feet, explosions, fire, and whatever else you can think of, are all beautiful. Sometimes you just sit and stare at the game.

Sound: Voices, explosions, foot steps, whatever. Actions on screen match up perfectly with the sounds that are supposed to represent them (or at least it appears that way to me). It’s all done very well. The music lends a lot to the atmosphere of the game and the action. I have absolutely no complaints about it.

Controls: Once you get used to the controls (it’ll take about 10 minutes to be comfortable), they work very well. There were a few spots during some climbing and puzzles where I had a tiny bit of difficulty, but that is likely more my fault than a faulty control scheme. I had no real problems navigating this game.

Story: The story goes that Nathan Drake has been talked into robbing a museum by his friend Harry, and partner Chloe. The adventure takes Drake on a hunt for the lost treasure of Marco Polo, and trying to stop a mad man from getting to it first. I don’t want to delve too deeply into the story, as usual. All I can say is you’ll definitely enjoy it and want to play it through more than once.

Innovation: There’s really nothing new here, but what is here has been fine tuned to as close to perfection as you can likely get.

Difficulty: I played through the game on Hard difficulty. It took me a little under eleven hours to complete, and I wasn’t rushing. There are a few slightly tricky spots, but nothing that I couldn’t get past in two or three tries. I don’t think I cursed more than a half dozen times, and there was no smashing or throwing of a controller. None of the puzzles in the game were very difficult. As long as you are smart enough to use your journal when the option was available, and pay attention to your surrounds, the game is pretty easy in this aspect. Even if, by chance, you can’t figure something out, the game will give you a hint if you stand around confused for too long. I never once felt I had to refer myself to a walk through of the game.

Replay Value: Once you’ve completed the story mode on Hard, you unlock Crushing, just like in the first game. Once you’ve complete that, and obtained all of the trophies, they did leave a multiplayer mode in there to keep you playing. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Laynix and I had spent most of a gaming session playing the multiplayer beta over the PS Network. It is very good, and we will likely spend a bit of time with it. There are cooperative modes in there as well. More on that in future gaming session posts.

Overall the game was one of the best games I have played this year, and is definitely up there as far as my entire life is concerned. I will be playing it through on Crushing and trying to get all of the trophies. I’ve said that before, but I feel like I actually want to Platinum this game. The multiplayer will also be something Laynix and I (as I said) will be enjoying in future gaming sessions. I would have to recommend this game to anyone that owns a Playstation 3. If you don’t have a Playstation 3, then here’s a very good reason to spend the $300 to get one.

Borderlands – Canadian Prices And Stock Shortages

Posted in News on October 22, 2009 by Matt

Here is the reason why I was able to snag up Batman: Arkham Asylum and Borderlands for the low $40 price tag. I hope that this awesome trend continues.

And apparently there’s a shortage of Borderlands in certain areas.

If you’re Canadian, and you can get to a store (Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Future Shop), check out the prices and if the game is still $40, BUY THE FUCKER!

Gaming Session With Magic and Matt

Posted in Currently Playing, Gaming Sessions on October 22, 2009 by Matt

I took a trip to London yesterday to visit my friend Magic. It also happened that Dino was around, so I got a chance to visit with him as well. I had a few tasks to take care of in London (picked up comics, and saw Zombieland), but gaming dominated this trip. I had packed my Playstation 3 up with my 24″ monitor.

I got to Magic’s place around 6pm and got my stuff set-up. We played Borderland, two-player split screen, and I must say that the game is very addictive. We played it for a couple of hours, and then we went and saw Zombieland. When we came back around midnight, we didn’t stop playing until around 4:15 a.m. Needless to say, we all lost track of time. Dino and Magic’s girlfriend (Sammich) played Halo 3 while Borderlands was being double teamed by Magic and I.

Focusing on Borderlands (considering it’s the only game I actually played last night), I have to say I am impressed. We both reached level 16, and just beat Sledge (the first major boss). We went back to town and stopped playing after that. This game is a hell of a lot more fun played with a friend.

There are a lot of different weapons in the game. I don’t think I ever picked up the same weapon twice. I am a hunter, and use a pistol, submachine gun and a sniper rifle. Magic was a soldier and used pretty much any weapon that was good (primarily the same weapons as I used though). I really enjoy the fire damage some weapons do. When an enemy gets set on fire, it pretty much just burns to death. It’s morbid, but satisfying.

As far as armour is concerned, there are different shields to select from. All generate a shield around you, and most have other perks. Some will cause damage to enemies close by, if depleted to 0 shield health. Others can increase your health, or even regenerate it. Some give resistance to different elements. Again, I rarely see the same one twice.

As far as items are concerned, there are levels of rarity via a colour coding system. White being just an ordinary weapon, green, blue, purple and orange (in order of rarity) are the special items. I have only seen green, blue and purple. No orange yet.

The game is cut up into different zones. Each zone is rather large, and it can take quite a bit of walking around to get anywhere sometimes. I enjoy the check points (respawn poles). I am glad I don’t have to respawn in town all the time or anything. Walking back to where I died would have been a much bigger chore. The game’s respawn points charge you a bit of cash to revive you. Otherwise, the only penalty is walking back to kill whatever killed you. It really doesn’t get too frustrating. No experience loss, or dead body to retrieve. Oh, and another thing on dying in the game. When you do go down, you have about 30 seconds of time before you are forced back to the respawn. When you are down, you can’t be hurt anymore. You can’t move or scope in with your weapons. If you can kill an enemy before you completely black out and respawn, you will be revived on the spot. Also, any other players with you can revive you if you’re down. I like these features.

The graphics in the game are pretty sweet. It’s pretty much cell shaded, but it’s not really…the typical cell shading. It’s better. The only complaint, graphics wise, is that during two-player split screen, there can be some laggy spots. Especially when you set enemies on fire.

Leveling up your character has a lot of options to it, as far as the skill tree is concerned. You can invest up to five skill points into each skill. I am investing primarily into the Hunter’s Sniper Damage, and Accuracy. I have also invested into the experience point increase for anyone in the group that kills an enemy with a critical hit. That skill and the skill where, when I kill an enemy, my damage increases and reload time is quicker. I have maxed out sniper damage. I really enjoy sniping. Head explosions are great. I don’t bother upgrading Bloodwing. I have invested a bit into increased critical damage, and pistol double shots. There is also a section for your character’s progress with each weapon class. As you use, for example, a pistol, your skills with that class will increase with use of the weapon. I enjoy that.

There is no level matching, like in Fallout 3 or Oblivion. I HATED THAT! In this game, it depends on the area you’re in and progress through the game. As you move through the game, it gets progressively harder. If you go back to the beginning, enemies are lower levels and easy. I am not sure if enemies are tougher with two or more players though. Or if there are more enemies. I’ll have to play some single player and check that out.

We both enjoyed the gaming session a lot. We got lost in Borderlands, and really didn’t want to leave. Next week, I will be returning to London for another visit. We’ll likely play some more then. Dino needs to try it out this time.

It’s also been brought to my attention that a certain university professor reads this blog and wants me to talk more about Demon’s Souls. Now that I know that, I likely won’t post anything about Demon’s Souls just to annoy you. BAHAHAHAA! *cough* Okay, well, actually I have been busy with so many games, that my progress with Demon’s Souls has halted. I will be returning to it shortly. Don’t worry. I mentioned in a recent post that I am trying to kill Man Eater in 3-2. I have completed the following levels: 1-2, 2-1, and 3-1. I have a soul level of 47 and I am a hunter. I use a spear, and long bow primarily. They are upgraded. The game is tough, but I find it rewarding. I have invested maybe 20 hours or so into it. I also have a second character that is a Temple Knight and I only use him to play multiplayer with my friend Kyle.

Alright, anyway, that’s all I have for now. There will be more to come next week!

Purchase For Tuesday, October 20, 2009 (Borderlands)

Posted in In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions, New Releases on October 21, 2009 by Matt

I picked up Borderlands for the Playstation 3 yesterday before I went to work. Wal-Mart had a deal on, so the game was only $45 (taxes included). I had to buy it. You all know how it is.

The game is a first-person shooter with role-playing elements. The game’s story is pretty simple. You are on Pandora. On this planet, there is a vault and a great treasure to be found inside. That is your quest. Find the vault and become rich, famous, powerful, and all that jazz. You pick from four different character types. There’s the Soldier, Hunter, Siren and Berserker. Each one has their own specialty weapons and skills. There isn’t a lot to the character customization, as far as physical appearance is concerned. Just changing the colours of their cloths and the name. Once you choose, you work your way through a bit of a tutorial opening. After that, you’re on your own. Do missions, build your character’s stats and reputation, and have fun. The graphics are great, and I enjoy the satisfaction when I score a critical head shot and the enemy’s head explodes. I have only played a tiny bit of the game, but I can tell it’s going to keep me occupied. I can’t wait to try it out with friends. By the way, it has two-player split screen and LAN options, as well as online play. Very awesome.

Gaming Session On Monday, October 12, 2009 (Matt, Kyle, Laynix) And Purchases For Friday, October 16, 2009

Posted in Gaming Sessions, In The Mail/Purchased Items, Initial Impressions, New Releases on October 18, 2009 by Matt

Last week was a bit busy, and I was also tired. That is why this post was late getting up. The week started off with a gaming session on Monday. Laynix, Kyle and I played some Demon’s Souls (and Trevor tried out Titan Quest). Laynix also wanted to play some Grid, but we kind of forgot about that. Demon’s Souls is addictive like that. I also picked up a pre-order and another game on Friday night.

I’ll start off with the gaming session. There really isn’t much to be said about it. We started it off with some Demon’s Souls and it ended the same. Laynix played for a little bit, but then started playing other stuff and some Titan Quest: Immortal Throne. Laynix had wanted to play some Grid on the LAN with us, but Kyle and I had been playing Demon’s Souls. We figured out that you have to be close to the same soul level as one another, and in an area where neither of you have defeated the major demon. I started a new character (a temple knight named Davor), and quickly leveled him up so I could play multiplayer with Kyle. We finally got around to it, and it was fun. It was a small hassle just to play together, but it was good nonetheless. We faced off against the Tower Knight. I died first, which disconnects me from the other person’s game (since I was the one that was summoned). Kyle died shortly after. We played a second time, and I invited Kyle to my game. We were fighting the Tower Knight again and there was a network connection issue. It left me alone with the Tower Knight. Luckily, I was able to defeat it. I was happy with myself. I wish that Kyle could have stayed in game with me though.

Overall, I think the gaming session was pretty good. Demon’s Souls is good, but the multiplayer aspect seems almost too impersonal unless you plan out how you’re going to play with specified friends. I am not too sure I like how the multiplayer is set up. It was nice playing with Kyle. It had been quite a while. Next gaming session, we will have to play some Grid. Sorry Laynix. Time flew while we played Demon’s Souls. I couldn’t believe that 3 a.m. came that quickly.

Now, to the games that I picked up.

We’ll start off with the pre-order. You likely guessed it correctly, but here it is. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves for the Playstation 3. If you look closely, you’ll see some damage to the front of the case. I don’t recall how the hell that happened. Annoyed.

The game is great. I’ve played through the first 2 areas of the game, and it has not disappointed me at all. The graphics are amazing, the characters are entertaining and the dialogue is well done. Drake, yet again, has more treasure to find and new enemies to fight. If you played the first Uncharted, then you’ll definitely have to have this game. More on it when I complete it. Don’t worry, that won’t take me too long.

The game that I caved on and picked up is Dead Space Extraction for the Wii. I am a fan of the first Dead Space game and have wanted to play this game since I read the reviews a while back.

It’s a great game for the time of year, with Halloween coming up. It plays like an on-rails shooter, but you can break open crates, pick up items (health, ammo, weapon upgrades) which go into your inventory, small puzzles that make good use of the Wii Remote are here, and the dismemberment of enemies is still present and wonderful. The story and characters seem to be all well done so far. It’s not as scary as the first game, but I am enjoying it a lot. I have finished the first two story levels so far, and I am not regretting the purchase one bit. If you are depressed that the Wii doesn’t have any good games, this game is likely worth your time if you enjoyed Dead Space, or just enjoy shooting up aliens. I heard it’s a relatively short game, so I will likely have a review of it by the end of the month.

I won’t be buying anymore games until mid-November. I’ll likely sneak in a news post sometime soon. It’s been a while since I did one of those. Otherwise, expect reviews on these two games, and more gaming sessions. I have been busy, so posts may be rather random and spaced out.