Why I hate console launches

I need to get this off my chest. I realize I'm not going to change the world with this post, nor is that my intent. If I end up opening one persons eyes though, that's swell.

This is a sentiment I've reached regarding console launches in general, but I absolutely hate console launches. I really enjoy video games, I'm giddy we get new hardware, I love the possibilities that new consoles bring. Chances are, if you're reading this, you do too. What I hate, is that the months leading up to new consoles, conversation degrades down to bitching, shit talk, and people feeling the need to justify whatever decision they're going to make.

I'm only going to say this once, but buy what you want based on what's important to you and what makes you happy. Don't worry about what anyone else is buying, and at the end of the day, you don't need to justify your decision to anyone but you.

The term "console war" is an awful term, but all it does is serve teenagers who's parents will only buy them one console and feel the need to defend their decision, or people who have long lost sight that games are supposed to be fun. I say this as someone who was once 16 and felt the need to convince everyone on GameFAQs how much better the GameCube was than the Xbox.

If you don't want to buy an Xbox One because Microsoft is forcing Kinect on you and won't let you get bent over by sell your games to GameStop, great, I sincerely want to tell you have fun with your PC, PS4, or whatever you choose. If you don't want a PS4 because Jack Tretton bent over your mom ran over your dog or like your Microsoft exclusives more than Sony's, that's your right too, and enjoy. Whatever your reason is, as long as you're cool with it, that's all that matters.

That's all I've got. If you want to tell me I'm pretentious and to get off my high horse, go for it. I'll thank you in advance for your feedback and remind you that at one point, I was you, and someday, you'll understand.

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Me, The Wind Waker, and Zelda in general

A few weeks back, Alex posted the story about Nintendo re-releasing The Wind Waker for the Wii U in HD. As someone who claims to love The Legend of Zelda franchise, my first reaction shouldn't have been one of disappointment and frustration, right? It was, and I blurted out some trollish comment about how awful the game was. My comment generated a few lovely PM's from some of you. I took my beating and went back under my bridge, but the feeling didn't go away. After talking my thoughts with an old friend who's a fan of the series, I came to the realization that I've seemingly become disenchanted with the series, and it all started with The Wind Waker.

For me, it doesn't get better than this.

Let me rewind and put this in perspective. I'm 28 and as long as I can remember, haven't hesitated to tell anyone that asks that my favorite gaming franchise is The Legend of Zelda. It's been my comfort food of games. I have so many fond memories of watching my cousin play the original Legend of Zelda, not even knowing how to ride a bike and trying to fumble through The Adventure of Link, and spending hours every night with my mom playing through A Link to the Past. Playing through and experiencing Ocarina of Time when it was first released was unlike anything I'd experienced at the time. Then there's Majora's Mask, which represents the pinnacle of Zelda for me and is easily my favorite game ever.

Then...The Wind Waker happened.

Coming off the heels of the darkest and most unique Zelda game to date, there was certainly a contingency of people such as myself who hoped to see Zelda continue in that direction. The details are sketchy now, but I want to say there were some screenshots or a video of a more realistic looking Zelda game floating around the internet which got a lot of hopes up, mine included. When the first screenshots of The Wind Waker hit with cel shading, I was incensed. I felt like Nintendo had turned their back on me. I was shallow and since it took a step backwards from what I wanted, being 18 at the time made it wrong. When I read Alex's article, I was 18 again and that same sense of being incensed and betrayed by Nintendo came over me ever so briefly.

Needless to say, The Wind Waker never clicked for me. I couldn't look past the graphics. The stealth was off-putting. The sailing was boring. The stupid wind stick was no ocarina! By the end of the summer, I'd given the game to a friend. From that point on, Zelda kind of fell off the map for me. I played a few of the handhelds, but never got around to playing any of the grander large scale console games. There was always an excuse. The motion control in Twilight Princess felt awful. Not really having the time to sink into Skyward Sword. The Wind Waker was still The Wind Waker. You name it and I probably thought it.

Talking boat, you are the bane of my Zelda fandom!

For me as a fan of the series, it's time for me to shit or get off the pot. My wife and I are currently in the baby planning stages and accept and understand that once the baby comes, my available time to play games gets dramatically cut. I've decided with The Wind Waker HD coming fall, it's time to get the weight off my back and play the games I claim to be my favorites. I recently overpaid for purchased a copy of Twilight Princess for the GameCube. Skyward Sword is on deck. I don't intend on rushing myself or burning myself out, but With any luck, I'll be done in time for The Wind Waker HD... a game that still seems to resonate feelings of disappointment, frustration, and betrayal some 10 years later. As much as I don't want to it to, I'm prepared to accept that for me, maybe Zelda ends at Majora's Mask. I hope not though.

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My End of 2012 Blog (Mostly Gaming Related!)

I've been kicking around doing a year end blog for a while. I've always loved game of the year time and the potential for smart discussion it generates. I thoroughly enjoy seeking out reviewers and industry figures that I trust and getting their insight as to what their favorite games of the year were. I also enjoy looking at list of other gamers. There's a ton of that though, and unless you do something extraordinary with how you present it, year end thoughts for your Average Joe's such as myself kind of fall by the wayside. As someone who's childhood dream was to be a games journalist, but gave up on chasing that one a long time ago, I'd like to start blogging more. In effort to get that ball rolling into 2013, I've decided to blogify my thoughts on the last year for your viewing pleasure.

My game of the year...

...is The Walking Dead. Real original, right? I can't say anything about the game that hasn't already been said. It seems like everyone's played, so I'll jump to my justification. I feel pretty good about my choice. Story has always been super important to me and The Walking Dead does storytelling unlike anything I've ever experienced. It gives the illusion that I'm making meaningful choices that carry weight. As a result, I grew attached to the characters in a way I'd never done before in my 27 years of life. I'm a grown ass man and even though the way the season ended was no surprise, it succeeded in making me tear up. The only other game to have ever done so is To the Moon. Maybe I'm just getting soft at my old age? Who knows. The Walking Dead is my game of the year.

I feel awful for...

...Fez. Fez is my number four game of the year but feel as if it's forgotten in the shadow of Journey. It's not a knock on Journey at all, it's my runner up for game of the year and left me in awe each time I played through it. Fez brought me back to a time before the internet was a thing and you'd swap tips with friends or stumble across notes in the back of instruction booklets in rented games. I can say with pride the only things I looked up online for this game were the monolith solution and a hint to look for the quick brown fox. Once I fell down that rabbit hole, there was no pulling me out. I spent hours wrapping my brain around Fez and it's various puzzles. My wife gave me the, "Who the fuck did I marry?" look when she stumbled across my composition book dedicated to Fez notes. With the recent resurgence of retro platformers, Fez sits on a throne on top of them all.

My iOS game of the year...

...is Plague Inc. by a wide margin. I went in expecting a twisted game about unleashing diseases and plagues on the world and left blown away with the level of depth and complexity Plague Inc offered me. Taking the time to learn about the different mutations you can evolve your plague with and the best way to spread your plague kept me playing for literally dozens of hours. The way the game implements touch controls is perfect. I generally won't include an iOS game in my overall game of the year list, but Plague Inc made and was a late scratch. I can't recommend Plague Inc enough. It's still really well supported and is getting new content updated. Play this game.

I never got around to playing...

... as much as I wanted to. I blame my work schedule changing. My backlog is obscene, and there's a number of games that maybe could have cracked my top 10 that I really wanted to get to. I'm currently playing through Mark of the Ninja and am waiting for that to pick up. I love the art style, but I feel like I'm maybe the klutziest ninja ever. Sleeping Dogs has been beckoning to be played. Tokyo Jungle is installed and waiting to go. Binary Domain is a game I hear I should play and am told will be overlooked on a lot of lists. Far Cry 3 is in the mail and should arrive next week. Hitman: Absolution will get some play time at some point as well. ZombiU is going to get the attention it deserves after Christmas.

Hats off to...

...GiantBomb. I'll admit I was pretty skeptical when they made the move back to CBSi. I originally felt this grassroots website I grew to love and support from when it was a WordPress blog sold out. They kept on keeping on though and haven't let me down yet. I appreciate the attention indie games have gotten as well. Regardless of your thoughts on Patrick, his quick looks have brought games that would probably be overlooked to light. I personally purchased McPixel, Thomas Was Alone, and Hotline Miami because of the coverage they got. I also genuinely don't think Hotline Miami, which made a lot of game of the year lists, would have gotten the love it's received had it not been for the quick look.

Other Various Bullets

  • After I caved and bout a Wii U recently, I've begun to prepare my wife for the possibility of purchasing the new Xbox coming if it launches in 2013. Hopefully she'll take it better than she did my Wii U purchase.
  • On the subject of my wife, the plan is hopefully to have a kid next year. I've come to accept I'll have less and less time to play games. I'm at peace with this.
  • Don't watch a Christmas Story 2.
  • BioShock Infinite is my most anticipated game of 2013. Portal and Bioshock are my favorite new franchises from this generation.
  • I suck at XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
  • I suck at FTL: Faster Than Light
  • New Years Resolution for 2013: Beat a Kinect game.

Christmas and my Top 10 list

If you're still reading, thank you. I want to be best friends with you. Any feedback is appreciated. With Christmas coming up, I'm taking a vacation from work the week of so I hope to dive into some of the above games. Until then, I have to slog through Christmas parties. Two work Christmas parties. My wife's work Christmas party. A friend's Christmas party. It's too much spending time with strangers and people that I don't want to spend time with. Fingers crossed nothing crazy happens December 21st and actually get to attend the one Christmas event I'd attend, which is with my family on the 25th.

I leave you with this gem and the rest of my full top 10. Thanks for reading and have a great Christmas!

1 - The Walking Dead

2 - Journey

3 - Diablo III

4 - Fez

5 - Far Cry 3

6 - Halo 4

7 - Hotline Miami

8 - Sleeping Dogs

9 - Cook, Serve, Delicious!

10 - Lollipop Chainsaw

Edit: 12/31 - Revised wording on Plague Inc section. Reworked top 10 list to reflect games played since release.

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Caved and bought a Wii U

I'm a horrible person.

I'd been fighting with myself the last week about getting a Wii U. I feel like ever since the GameCube, every Nintendo product I've purchased with the exception of the DS has just been gut punch after gut punch. But, because I've apparently developed some kind of Stockholm Syndrome relationship with Nintendo, after talking myself out of getting once a dozen times, I pulled the trigger.

I've come to justify it by telling myself it'll be a hit with my family over Thanksgiving, so really it's an investment in my family. It's a pretty weak excuse but it'll help me sleep at night. Even if it's sleep on the couch after my wife gave me "the look" when I came in the house with it and she found out the price. I didn't get any games aside from Nintendo Land as I went for the deluxe. It's probably for best I didn't as that would have gone over horribly. I do intend on picking up ZombiU once the dust settles though.

In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have bought it. With the holiday season at work seems to come layoffs. I should also probably replace the cracked exhaust manifold on my car so it doesn't sound like a motorcycle anymore. My PC is long overdue for an upgrade too. Oh well... no regrets. It's the first time in a few years I've been able to buy myself something expensive and with us planning to have kids next year, realize my disposable income will be a thing of the past. Gaming has been a lifelong hobby so I might as well enjoy it while I can.

I also want to add, there's been some discussion I've seen floating around on twitter about if the abundance of Wii U stock is because of Nintendo being prepared, or if people are just not interested. I present another theory, and that's that no one knows what the shit a Wii U is. I've seen a total of one advertisement. My 12 year old sister and 11 year old brother also have no idea what the Wii U is (but they can sure tell you who Notch is). I called my mom to tell her I was bringing it tomorrow and she asked how we were all going to play a handheld gaming console. There are both demographics who helped the Wii become as "successful" as it was and they had no idea it's successor even existed. I give Nintendo marketing a solid F+ in terms of marketing this thing.

Anyway, fingers crossed for some kick ass first party titles and meaningful 3rd party titles this time around. Off to play The Walking Dead: Episode 5. Make me cry Telltale, I dare ya!

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I finally played Psychonauts

I finally got around to playing and beating Psychonauts. I guess I got caught up in the Tim Schafer/Kickstarter/Notch/Psycnonauts 2 hoopla and figured now was as good a time as any to bust out my six year old original Xbox copy. I own the Steam version as well and actually installed it until I told myself I wanted to see what all the bitching about the Meat Circus and experience it as it originally was. I HAVE NO REGRETS!

I can't say much, if anything, about a game so many of you have come to revere over the years... but what an amazing game! In the past, I've dabbled through the start but just ended up getting bored with the Basic Braining level. I don't think it was until Milla Vodello's stage where the game really got it's hooks into me. By the time I got to the Milkman Conspiracy, I was finally able to understand why people adore this game.

Hello fellow road crew worker. Welcome to the road crew. My red sign helps me work on the road. Look at that woman's breasts. They're large.

Hands down, my absolute favorite piece of the game was the Milkman Conspiracy. The layout of the stage, the dry humor, the puzzle solving, just everything about that stage was amazing and so well done. What's not to love about a government agent that's disguised as a housewife by carrying a rolling pin and saying how rhubarb is a controversial type of pie? The section took me longer then it should have because I got hung up on a silly puzzle, but it didn't bother me at all as it gave me an excuse to just wander and interact with all the different disguised government agents.

Another thing I really appreciated is how varied each of the stages were. I never really saw the same thing twice. Each level was themed really well and had game play mechanics around each respective theme that didn't feel shoehorned in. The art design and layout just made everything feel really vibrant and fun.

As for the Meat Circus, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The only parts that gave me fits were the during the first "escort" portion where you have to jump in front of the spinning wheel and have the knife thrower get a knife stuck that you can swing on, and the cage climbing in the second part that requires you to double jump across multiple gaps... ONLY TO NOT HAVE THE DOUBLE JUMP WORK CONSISTENTLY. It probably makes me an awful person, but I ultimately kind of stumbled on a glitch to let me get past that part, but the boss fights were pretty easy.

I guess in closing, I'm glad I finally played the game. It lived up to the hype which is a rarity. I've got to believe with all the chatter and showing of support Psychonauts 2 has gotten, even if Notch doesn't help fund it, some publisher will throw money Double Fine's way to make it happen at some point in the future. Even playing it this long after it's initial release, Psychonauts easily cracks my favorite games of all time list. Oh... and Mr. Pokeylope is the shit!

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Still buggy and super frustrating!

I loved me some Fallout 3. After all the DLC had come and gone, I dropped 80 hours, 15 minutes, and 19 seconds into that game. I enjoyed that game so much I went out and got Fallout and Fallout 2 on the PC because I really got hooked into the whole Fallout concept. Naturally, Fallout: New Vegas was my most anticipated game of 2010. 
 
I picked up the game on release day but because of a pending business trip, decided I'd put off playing the game outside of the first hour or two until I got back - thus allowing me to immerse myself in the game over a weekend upon my return. During my trip, I began reading about all the bugs that were plaguing the game and decided I'd wait for the "comprehensive patch" Obsidian promised.  
 
Having played some Oblivion and Fallout 3, I'm used to bugs and gameplay "quirks". But even post patch, this game is near unplayable for me. Before anyone suggests it, I cleared the game off my hard drive and created a new character after the patch was released, so I don't think it's pulling cached game data.
 
I put the game back in about 3 weeks ago but really started putting some heavy hours in over the last few weeks. I'm about 18 hours in. I started keeping track of bugs after about 5 hours of gameplay, this is what I've encountered so far. 
 

  • Lock picking glitch. Whenever I attempt to pick a lock, if I don't get it right the first time whenever I move the bobby pin it's like the right stick is stuck in the left position so it attempts to open the lock. This requires me to exit the lock picking mini game. This causes two things. First, I can't immediately look to the right and have to hold the right analog stick to the right for a good 5 seconds. In addition, the noise the lock makes while it's trying to unlock loops in the background. This means if I fail a lock pick sequence 10 times, there are 10 different loops of this sound that will play and will continue to play until I load a save. 
  • Losing companions. I lost EDE-E and Veronica at Nellis airforce base. I was able to find Veronica but whenever I went to where the map said EDE-E was, he was gone. No problem, right? I could just go get Rex. Wrong. Rex wouldn't join because the game still recognized EDE-E as being in my party. Thankfully it was only an hour of progress lost loading an old save.
  • Drop in frame rate after death. I don't die often but if I die and select "Continue" the game loads from my last save but is super choppy. I can get around this through just by selecting "Load" after I die.
  • Hard freezes. I've had the game freeze 3 times while just walking around and 2 more times during load screens.
 
I still want to power through the game over the next few days so I can free myself for Dead Space 2. Jeff's review was pretty spot on that even with the bugs, it's a game worth playing because when it works, it's what you'd want from a modern Fallout game.
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My Monday Night Combat Thoughts (Post S Rank)

I was pretty meh about this years summer of arcade since the titles were announced. The only one that was of any interest was MNC. Today was the big day and was not disappointed. From purchase to S rank - I spent about 9 hours with the game.  Here are my impressions on what I liked, didn't like, and didn't get. 
 
What I liked   

  • Balance of characters. I've never played TF2 really seriously, but I felt the characters complimented each other really well. On the contrary, each class had a unit that posed a challenge to it on the battlefield.
  • The assassin. I primarily played the gunner however the assassin was easily the most fun. There's something really satisfying about cloaking yourself and sneaking up on someone and taking them out with a one hit melee.  
  • Distinct maps. While there weren't a whole lot of maps to choose from, each map felt and played different.  
  • Upgrade system. I had a similar fear that Jeff and Brad. I was concerned folks wouldn't upgrade their base and just buff themselves.  While I ran into a few instances of this occurring, by in large everyone grasped the concept base building. In addition, the upgrade system just felt really smart and meaningful.
  • Presentation. It's may just be that I've got a soft spot for "future sport" games/movies, but I thought the presentation was well done and not too over the top. After a few matches the commentary started to remind me that of Mad World in tone, except this wasn't awful and was relevant.
 
What I didn't like 
  •  Snipers (I just don't like snipers...in any game...)
  • The tutorial. The game throws you in a pretty basic tutorial before you can play anything, but really doesn't cover the heart of the gameplay, crossfire mode. It took a few matches to really figure the ebb and flow of how games are won. There's a short video that auto plays the first time you jump into crossfire but it plays pretty quick and isn't terribly clear.
  • Matchmaking. I got a little frustrated getting paired with folk with a crazy low rank. I understand everyone's got to learn somehow but would find myself with less experienced teammates and would get steamrolled against a team of better players. I found myself building turrets and activating crap while my teammates ran away from combat around the other side of the map more then once.
  • Lack of maps. While they all feel different there weren't that many. I'd love to see user created maps down the line but am doubtful that will come to to be.    
What I didn't get  
  • Leveling system. You earn money each match which determines your level however really unable to determine if your level actually did anything.
  • Perks. I built a single custom class around how I play, however didn't notice a huge difference between that and the default.
 
MNC was is a really solid game. I think down the road you'll see the gunner get nerfed and maybe the tank get buffed a bit. I'm hopeful if the game catches on and sustains a user base they'll maybe actually do something with the leveling system. Hopefully when the guys do TNT I'll be able to snag a spot on their friends list and play with some members of the community! 
 
For you S rank/achievement hunters trying for the "All Star" achievement in blitz mode. My advice is get a party that doesn't have a sniper or assassin in it (I died a little on the inside each time this happened, they're worthless against the giant dudes). I got it with a random party that consisted of a tank, gunner, assault, and support.  Especially early  - focus on building towers and only build rocket towers (everything else is worthless).  FInd a nice balance between building the powers and giving yourself a few upgrades. Wait to use your juice bonus when the giant guys come out. I also always tried to keep $500 on me just incase I needed to purchase a full juice meter.
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20 Hours Later - Bioshock 2 multiplayer final impressions

I picked up BIoshock 2 on release day and dove into the single player.  After getting tired of having my ass handed to me by Big Sisters, I decided I'd test out the multiplayer.  Understand that prior to the games launch, I was in the camp that was so mad that the game had multiplayer.  I loved the original and having multiplayer in the franchise seemed almost sacrilegious.   19 hours 45 minutes later I hit level 40 and can finally jump back into single player.   
 
I should set up that I'm not a big multiplayer gamer.  I don't play MW2 or Halo 3 or anything online, but for some reason the multiplayer of Bioshock 2 felt satisfying. 
 
What I would change... 

  • Nerf the nail gun.  As someone who used it once I unlocked it all the way up to level 40...that gun is mad powerful.  While zapping someone with electricity is a good counter measure, once getting into higher levels I seldom saw many people using it.  The fact that it's great at short-medium range made it a must use weapon.
  • Buff the tommy gun.  There is no reason why the tommy gun should be less effective then a nail gun.  On top of it not requiring the rev up period the nail gun has...the concept that a nail does more damage then a bullet is mind blowing.  The problem is that the tommy gun is classified as a medium range weapon so unless you're at medium range, which isn't clearly defined,  it's effectiveness is decreased.
  • More spawn points for Big Daddy suits.  Self explanatory.  I can't think of a reason each map only contains 2-3 spawn points for the suit.
  • Wider selection of maps.  Yes I get the theme they were trying to accomplish with the maps and I get that Rapture is a wet dark place under the ocean.  But all the maps felt the same.
  • Easier ways to kill the Big Daddy on lower levels.  The nail gun rips through the Big Daddy however at lower levels, anyone who's half way okay at the game can roll through people in a Big Daddy suit.
 
Things that need to be fixed... 
  • Random lockup issues.  I could almost bank on the game locking up at least once an hour, if not more.  No rhyme or reason why but this needs a patch pronto.  One time i completed a pretty difficult challenge and the game locked up in the post game score screen (before returning to the lobby).  I booted back up the game and didn't record the credit credit...so 10 minutes and 1500 ADAM lost forever.
  • Lag.  I've been playing the game for a week and while it's gotten a bit better, still experiencing lag issues which just makes the experience feel amateur.  
 
What I liked... 
  • Balance.  No matter how powerful something was there was always a counter.
  • Big Daddy.  It was a nice touch.  Many times in team matches the Big Daddy suit resulted in a huge momentum shift and proved to be a real X factor.
  • The Apartment.  A nice little hub that tied together the lore of the franchise and mutliplayer together really well.  The sequence that occurs once hitting level 40 is also pretty slick.
 
I obviously liked it enough to play 20 hours worth.  As the franchises first attempt at multiplayer, it's a good foot forward.  It certainly feels a step below big name online shooters, but that is only to be expected.  Since getting the achievement for hitting level 40 and having all the multiplayer achievements, I don't like it enough to keep playing, but would totally dabble back in if they released more plasmids or tonics.  
 
Incase anyone was wondering - here's the loadout I used the most 
 
Weapon 1: Nail gun with magazine size perk 
Weapon 2: Elephant gun with sniper scope 
Plasmid 1: Insect Swarm  
Plasmid 2: Winter Blast 
Tonic 1: Expert Researcher 
Tonic 2: Speedy Recovery 
Tonic 3: Metabolic EVE (replaced this with Death Trap once unlocked)
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I Beat Dragon Age (and other misc. gaming thoughts)

So I beat Dragon Age!  I'm very proud of myself.  I'm not a big RPG guy at all, hated Mass Effect, never played Baulders Gate, and haven't liked a Bioware game since the original Knights of the Old Republic.  I bought Dragon Age (360 version) on the cheap on a Thanksgiving day sale and quickly found myself wondering why I purchased it. 
 
My reviews usually come off as rants so I'll give a quick bullet pointed what I did and didn't like.   Also I've thrown in other misc gaming thoughts and commentary on what else I'm playing.
 
How I Played/Plot Points: 

 
What I Liked: 
  • Banter between characters.  Especially the tense conversations between Leliana and Morrigan in regards to who I was sleeping with.
  • Being given choices.  It's nothing new to games but I really felt as if what I decided in the game would make a difference in the world - and it did.  The choices were super transparent (not as bad as inFamous') but were very effective.
  • Compelling plot.  I'll be honest that I often found myself rushing the dialogue yet had a good feel for what was going on.
  •  Combat.  The combat felt smooth.  You could tell the RPG elements were at work but felt pretty seamless and kept me in the action.
 
What I Didn't Like: 
  • Clunky in game interface.  Radial menus worked, but having to pull the the inventory screen (which feels like it takes more time then it should to load)  felt bad.  Trying to compare weapons and gear felt like a chore as well.
  • The ending.  The text over various scenes was such a let down.  I just spent 40+ hours on this adventure, give me something more epic!
  • The map.  Perhaps this is the sandbox gamer in me, but I found myself wishing I had a button that would make my mini map larger and show me a greater area.  It goes back to the clunky interface, but this was a pain.
 
All in all, a really good game.  I'd give it 4/5 stars with my biggest gripe being the interface. 
 
Other Misc Game Thoughts:  
  • I feel pretty good about my best of 2010 list.  I gave Assassins Creed II my pick just a hair ahead of Uncharted 2.
  • I "beat" Left 4 Dead 2 - and by beat I mean have completed all the campaigns.  A definite improvement over the original but the game didn't resonate with me like the first.  It's probably a case of not being able to go home again.  It's on the shelf and will probably go back for achievements at some point in 2010.
  • My free copy of Madden 10 came that I won from KFC!
  • I purchased Torchlight for $10 on Steam's Holiday sale!  I almost picked up the Eidos bundle but have little free time as it is.
  • I also purchased "The World Ends With You" for $10 off Amazon.  I think after liking Dragon Age, I'm more willing to try out new things, but totally anticipate hating this game.
  • Really excited for more Borderlands DLC next week.
  • I finally bought Trials HD.  I went and grabbed the DLC achievements today and just got the achievement for completing all the Hard tracks.  Fun game, I just wish more people on my friends list played so I could have a nice leader board to shoot for.
  • Mixed emotions on The Saboteur.  Really digging the color scheme of the game.  Getting in trouble then running from Nazi's is getting annoying though.  I find myself having more fun just going around destroying propaganda then completing some of the actual missions.
  • Also playing a Boy and his Blob on the Wii.  I played the NES version as a kid so this is more nostalgic for me.  Very pretty game but I have to play it in small chunks.
 
New Years Gaming Resolutions for 2010:
  • I will never purchase a new game that I'm not super excited about at full price.  So many amazing games dropped in price crazy fast and by the holiday season, were a third or less what I played at retail.
  • I will not play more then 1 game at a time.  I usually would just power through a single game and move on, but half way through this year I started playing multiple games at once.  As of last week, my "Currently Playing" list looked like Madden 10, a Boy and his Blob, The Saboteur, Dragon Age, and Left 4 Dead 2.  From now on, I'll stick to 1 game for story, 1 game for achievements, and 1 game for multiplayer across all platforms.
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RIP Lone Wanderer (80 hrs:15min:19sec)


Having just beat Mothership Zeta, the last reported Fallout 3 DLC - I wanted to take a moment to look back and give my final thoughts on Fallout 3. 
 
I loved the game as a whole.  Having never played any of the previous Fallout games and not liking Oblivion very much, I questioned last year why I pre-ordered it.   
 
This game was easily one of my favorite games I've played, ever.  Sure, there are games out there that handle specific aspects better then Fallout 3 did.  However with my experience, there was always something to do or someplace to see.  The characters were compelling.  The story sucked me in.  The DLC added life beyond the intial game. 
 
It's a shame the game ends with DLC like Mothership Zeta.  The whole DLC felt like someones pipedream and didn't fit into the Fallout 3 universe at all.  Most of the time while playing it, I felt like I was playing Prey...except the ship was considerably less interesting...and the guns weren't as cool...and the plot wasn't as compelling.  Coming off Point Lookout, which I adored, I had high hopes despite my skepticisim about Fallout 3 going to space.
 
If I had to rank the DLC, I'd rank: 
1 - Point Lookout 
2 - Broken Steel 
3 - The Pitt 
4 - Mothership Zeta 
5 - Operation Anchorage 
 
Mothership Zeta really felt like a cop out and for me is kind of a sour note to end the DLC on.  I would buy future Fallout 3 DLC in a heart beat should Bethesda opt to crank any more out. 
 
I may go back in due time to tie up a few loose achievements.  The only ones I'm missing are the karma achievements (Bad: Level 8, 14, 20 and 30 and Neutral: 8, 14, 20 and 30).  I could get the 30 achievements for bad and neutral by loading up my save prior to MZ and play for about an hour and a half or so.  I don't have the time to start from scratch and go back to dump anther 80 to 160 hours into this game. 
 
On that note, quick thanks to Bethesda for making such an awesome game and supporting it with great (for the most part) downloadable content.  Thanks to my fiance for putting up with me neglecting her for 80 hours or so while I played the game.  
  
So as it stands right now...RIP Lone Wanderer, October 28, 2008 - August 5, 2009.  80 hours, 15 minutes, 19 seconds.
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