Journey: An Amazing Experience

So last night I played Journey from start to finish. It is probably the first game I have ever played from beginning to end in one sitting, and yes the game is only 2 hours long, but being able to sit down and have one short, well thought out and beautiful experience with a game is something I have never done before. And I loved every second of it. Journey really felt like, well, a journey, which is something I was skeptical about prior to playing the game. How can such a short game consist of something you would call a Journey? The game pulls it off and does it perfectly. There is so much more to this game then just "beating it" and I think that's what makes it stand out to me the most. Sliding down sand dunes through ancient ruins while the sun glows brightly, causing reflections and shadows to cover the landscape is an experience worth buying this game alone. But, not only does the game look amazing, it is able to tell a story without a single word and somehow (I just can't quite figure it out) gave me such a plethora of emotions throughout my adventure. The feeling of staying close to your nameless companion, helping each other find secrets and explore, all without any real form of communication was so indescribably satisfying. It was also so heartbreaking when I got to the very end, only to lose my companion in the wondrous and overwhelming environment. The final moments of the game filled me with such awe and joy, but it was also saddening to not be able to share it with someone who I had traveled and explored the world with. There are so many other little moments in this game that just made me smile as I was playing it, such as freeing the cloth creatures, and climbing a sand hill. Even things such as the controls felt wonderful, even though you are doing very little 'gameplay' throughout your adventure. The weight of your character moving through the sand, the feeling of gliding through the air and gracefully falling to the surface was just so immensely satisfying. 
 
The emotional feelings this game got out of me, along with its beauty made me feel like I got a better experience from this small 2 hour adventure then I get from most 60 hour games. It was so nice to sit down and enjoy a straight forward experience where the objective wasn't to win or lose or to score the most points, but to just experience it. This got me thinking about the state of indie games and smaller download only titles. With games such as Bastion (I still need to play Limbo) I am feeling like smaller developers are able to craft a more original, thought provoking, and memorable experience than many big budget games. A lot of these 60 plus hour adventure are amazing as well, but I get the feeling when I play a game such as Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that everything is disjointed, and a lot of the content is generic and overused. Even with Mass Effect 3 I feel like a lot of the side missions just take away from the true experience and just allow the developers to say 'this game is THIS long and has X amount of content." Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on these games, I actually like them both very much. Its just that after playing Journey I feel like a more straight forward, focused experience is so refreshing in the world of video games today. I also really appreciate games such as Bastion and Journey's ability to tell a story in unconventional ways. Having someone narrate your adventure, or having the story being the experience itself offers such a new and emotionally rewarding experience that you can not find anywhere else. Its so nice to be able to play something and love it without having to shoot waves of enemies.
 
I really think everyone should give Journey a try. It's actually disappointing that this game is PS3 only, because I feel everyone should get the chance to at least see this game for themselves, whether they enjoy it or not. The adventure it offers is like nothing else I have ever played in a game and I hope we continue to see these types of games come out of the downloadable only portion of the game industry. Maybe one day we will even see what a game like Journey could be like if it were an 8 hour adventure instead. No matter what, I think everyone should give Journey a chance. Even if you don't like it, I think you can at least appreciate its creativeness and its amazing visuals.

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My Final Thoughts on The Old Republic

After almost 8 days of played time, I have cancelled my Old Republic account. It's unfortunate because I liked the game a lot, but in the end it just wasn't enough to get me to continue to pay $15 a month. Here are my thoughts on what I liked about the game, and what made me cancel my subscription. 
 
The Good:
 
- The story stuff is by far the best part of the game. I played as a sith inquisitor and I really loved how I got to do so much classic star wars stuff. My uprising from apprentice to a Darth was really cool and I liked all my companions and characters in my story. I felt like they did a really solid job of writing an entertaining star wars epic, and it reminded me of the greatness of kotor. 
 
-The flashpoints were fun, black talon was an awesome experience on the first run through. It was unfortunate that they couldn't have had more story in some other the others, but the Darth Malgus stuff was pretty interesting, even though its a bit lackluster that they have it be a regular flashpoint rather than the final raid of the game. 
 
-The companions were awesome to have, they helped the questing a lot and allowed you to get through some areas by yourself you normally wouldn't be able to.
 
-The crafting was probably my second favorite part of the game, it was so nice to be able to create multiple items at once while I was questing. Extremely convenient and a really nice system I wouldn't mind seeing in future mmo's
 
-The legacy system is a cool idea, though obviously I haven't seen the rewards of it yet (since its not in the game) but I liked making a last name to differentiate myself.  
 
-The modding is a great idea since it allows you to keep one piece of gear throughout the entire game if you want.
 
Why I cancelled:
 
I reached level 50 and was really excited to get into the end game content. That's when the game started to be less fun and more of a grind for me. I never ever want to run Black Talon or Boarding Party ever again. 
 
-The gear has 0 variety. Everyone in the game looks the same. All you have to do is grind a few hard modes every day and you can get the second best pve set in the game with ease. Not to mention all three sets look exactly the same, resulting in everyone wearing the same gear. 
 
-The pvp isn't very fun. I played on Empire and Ilum is pretty pointless on my server because it is so imbalanced that the republic never has a chance. So, republic players hardly ever go to Ilum, making the entire world pvp pointless. The warzones can be fun, except as a healer it is impossible to target people on your team. There is no way to tab between players quickly which sucks when you need to select someone fast. Your choice is to see their name and then find it on the left side of the screen, click on it and the heal them, or click on their physical character while they are running around and fighting. Good luck getting the heal off in time. 
 
-The game isn't very challenging. People are pugging raids on my server and completing them with ease. I never ran any raids, but all the hard modes I did were not very difficult at all and took very little coordination. I played vanilla WoW and Burning Crusade, back when getting gear meant that you were in an awesome guild that had a lot of smart players that were dedicated to raiding and figuring out strategies to beat bosses. When you saw someone wearing tier 6 gear you knew they were an awesome player who had worked hard to get that far in the game. It made your character stand out. The Old Republic feels like it doesn't take much strategy or effort to get good gear, and people on my server have complained about how easy the end game is constantly. 
 
-Money is very easy to get. At first when I saw some speeders cost 1,500,000 I thought "man its gonna be cool to get one of those not many people will have them" then I go to the fleet and see ten people riding them. This just reinforces the easiness of the game.
 
-Now this is just a very personal opinion, but the world feels too restrictive. Yes I know it comes with the territory, star wars is a bunch of planets, not one giant world, but I prefer the large world of WoW with very little loading times. It made it feel like more of an adventure. Also it felt like every planet in tor had some buildings or walls preventing you from going off their preset path which was really annoying. 
 
 
I enjoyed the game a lot, but I guess playing it just made me realize I no longer want a "WoW" style mmo. The Old republic is a very well made game with some awesome content, I just wish they had been more original beyond the story stuff. In my opinion they tried to copy the WoW formula too much and of course failed to make it as good.

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Playing Uncharted 2 and 3 Back to Back- My Thoughts

Having not played Uncharted 2 when it came out, or even in 2010 (or 2011)  for that matter, I decided to play Uncharted 2 and 3 back to back so I could easily see the differences between the two games and decide which one is better. I have noticed a lot of people, including the Giant Bomb crew, have stated they felt Uncharted 3 was great, but really just more of what they had played in Uncharted 2. After just finishing up 3, I have to say I think this opinion is very far from the truth, and here is why.
 
The Graphics: Yes, Uncharted 2 is a two year old game, but the improvement in the graphics and textures from 2-3 is a much bigger advancement than 1-2. Uncharted 2 looks good, but definitely shows its age, much more than i was expecting it to. Uncharted 3 looks as close to a pc game as I have seen a console game look. 
 
The Story: Perhaps the best improvement, The story in Uncharted 3 is by far the best in the series. Besides the love triangle, Uncharted 2 felt like Uncharted 1's plot all over again. An extremely generic power hungry villain, after a mystical artifact that of course has terrible repercussions. Uncharted 3 brought in a villain that had personality and had a connection to Drake and Sully. You get to learn some awesome information about how Drake and Sully met, Drake's past, and the game gives all the characters a much more original feel. The story had a lot more feeling to it and made me care about what was going to happen next much more than in 2. 
 
The Action: Maybe its just because Uncharted 2 did some things no other game had done before, but I came out of that game extremely disappointed in the lack of "wow" moments it had. Don't get me wrong, 2 did have its moments, but 3 was by far more impressive. The opening fight scene felt really dynamic, it flowed really well, and the animations of Drake grabbing objects and pushing guys out windows was really cool. The fire part was also awesome, along with the boat part. Naughty Dog did a lot of amazing things in the environment that I could honestly say I had never seen before in any other game.  Climbing inside a boat that is side ways, blowing a boat up with a rocket launcher, riding on horse back after cars, escaping a burning building and hanging out the back of an airplane all stood out much more to me than anything in 2 did.
 
The Originality: Uncharted 3 had a few solid moments that the first two games did not have at all. It opens up with an awesome fist fight scene, you get to play a climbing based flashback of Drake's past, the hallucination scenes were interesting, and you spend about 15 minutes just walking in the desert. These all added to the gameplay variety and to the story and each time I thought it was really cool. Also, in most cases it was something I had not seen before in any other game.  
 
The Sully Factor: One of my biggest complaints about Uncharted 2 was the lack of Sully! Honestly why did Naughty Dog decide to remove him from 80% of the game? He is such a central part of the series and is such a great character. It was so nice to see him be in the majority of 3. Also, the fact that the story centered around Drake and Sully's relationship was also really cool.
 
I came out of Uncharted 2 having enjoyed the game, but feeling disappointed and mislead by it being a GOTY winner. Uncharted 3 was the game that really made me say "thats fucking awesome" as I was playing it. I am quite surprised Giant Bomb, particularly Ryan and Brad, threw it out of their GOTY top 10 so easily by saying it was just more of what Uncharted 2 had already done. That is really not the case at all. Uncharted 3 is the superior game in a lot of ways. It does many things Uncharted 2 did not do and actually made me want them to make a fourth game. Maybe its just because people haven't played Uncharted 2 in 2 years that they can't see how different these two games are in terms of what Naughty Dog was able to accomplish.

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My Game of the Year: Top 10

Here it is, my top 10 games of the year:

10. Dark Souls

 

Playing Dark Souls is like doing your school work. Its frustrating, time consuming, and makes you think about all the other fun things you could be doing instead. But once you are finished you feel an amazing sense of accomplishment and are able to look back on what you have done with pride. I played Demon's Souls and enjoyed it immensely, mostly because I used a guide through most of the game. Coming into Dark Souls, I challenged myself to adventure through its world without any guide at all and that made the experience even more rewarding.

At first I thought that Dark Souls was easier than Demon's Souls. You always have health potions with you that get refilled, and when you are dead or "hollow" you still have full health! I raced through the first few hours of the game laughing at how everyone claimed it was so much harder than Demon's Souls. Then I ran into a curse that cut my health in half, an open world that left me confused about where to go, fake walls, and a murdered fire keeper leaving me unable to refuel my flasks. In a game where knowing where to go means finding the enemies that take a reasonable amount of hits to kill, it was easy to get frustrated and annoyed. But in the end, the feeling of accomplishment you get from killing a boss, or finding your way through a poisonous bog is like nothing else you can find in any other game.

 While I did run into some disappointments, such as the boss weapons you can craft being worse than just an upgraded lightening spear, and the servers constantly disconnecting me from other players, I still love Dark Souls. It demands patience, exploration, and lots of thought, which is something the majority of video games today don't require at all. I was very happy to see this game get such good praise and attention because it deserves it.

 

9. Dead Island

Dead Island was such a nice surprise. I doubted this game from the moment it was announced, thinking that it would be a bad Left 4 Dead clone with no original gameplay. And while the gameplay technically isn't original, Dead Island stands out among a plethora of zombie games because of its open-world and its creation of the best first-person melee combat I have ever played.

 The feeling of adventure and survival, all tied into a nice loot system really propelled Dead Island forward. Running around a demolished world, scavenging for weapons and bashing zombies over the head with up to 3 of your friends is insanely fun. The weapon crafting was also marvelous. There has been nothing more satisfying in a game then smashing a zombie with an electrified baseball bat that then sends the zombie flying twenty feet into the air. I was really pleased that the game's focus was primarily on melee, with guns taking a backseat to the amazing weapon mods and well developed combat.

 While it had its bugs, and the story was pretty much non-existent, Dead Island was the zombie game and the co-op experience I had been waiting for.

 

8. LA Noire

Of all the games I played this year, LA Noire gave me the most mixed feelings. When I beat the game, I couldn't even decide how much I liked it or if I even liked it at all. But after taking some time to think about the story, the characters, and what the game had accomplished, I was more than happy to have played it.

 Team Bondi took a lot of risks in making this game and I'm happy to say most of them paid off. The adventure style gameplay was very fun and gave me fond memories of Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain. The open world was really detailed and looked amazing, and I was happy to see that there was not 500 side quests. The focus on the main story was exactly what this game needed and it was executed fairly well. Besides a very long, drawn out stretch in the middle of the game (mainly homicide desk) the story was told in an extremely original and exciting way. The plot twits were very surprising and the ending brought all the characters together in a very emotional and thought-provoking scene. At first I thought "Wait...this is how it ends?" But after sitting on my couch thinking about the story and all that had happened, I wanted this to be turned into a movie.  

 Of course the game had its flaws and while the driving and shooting was often hit or miss (mostly miss) LA Noire did a lot of things that other developers seem to be afraid to do. Less action, and more story focused exploration made this game great.


7. Bastion

 

 

Bastion is the perfect downloadable game. For $15, I do not think you can find a better experience. It has a better story, better gameplay, and better music than most $60 games out there do. As you travel around the world, with its walls and floor being raised as you move, its hard to not be impressed. The dynamic narration was used perfectly, and I found myself sitting in awe when Rucks said "The kid just rages for awhile" as I preceded to smash every box instead of progressing to the next area.

Not only is the narration amazing, but the gameplay is addictive and challenging. Also, I had never heard of Darren Korb before this, but goddamn can that guy make music.  This game have the best soundtrack I've ever heard, and I consider it to be one of the best albums that I listened to this year. Put all this together with an emotional ending, and Bastion is just a joy to play. I hope Superginat games gets the chance to make $60, huge budget game one day, because what they did with bastion is just phenomenal.

 

6. Star Wars: The Old Republic

 For years I awaited Bioware's announcement of Kotor 3. When I heard they were making a Star Wars mmo instead I felt a mix of excitement and disappointment. While I have always wanted to play a Star Wars mmo (I was to busy playing WoW to get into Galaxies) I knew that my chance to play another Star Wars story driven masterpiece might have been lost for good. Surprisingly, The Old Republic is all about story, and the story is actually good. Playing as a Sith Sorcerer, I torture, kill, and betray anyone who stands in my way to power. The choice system is really, really fun. I have never played a villain on my first play through of any RPG, but The Old Republic has made being evil so appealing I couldn't resist.

 

Not only is the story amazing, but the combat, while similar to WoW, is extremely fast paced. Instead of pulling 1 npc at a time, you are pulling 3 or 4. Instances only take 30 minutes and can be run as many times as you want. The crafting system is addictive and convenient and the loot is much more varied than I thought it would be. Yes, it is mostly another WoW clone, but it has story, interesting quest lines, fast paced combat, and oh yeah, its Star Wars. I couldn't have asked for a better game and I can tell I'm going to be addicted to this one for a while. (I did not nominate it for any of my awards because I felt I hadn't played enough of the game to fairly compare it to all the other games I played. Also, it is extremely difficult to judge most aspects of an mmo compared to other types of games.)

  

 

5. Dead Space 2

I really liked Dead Space, but when Dead Space 2 came out I thought "eh, more of the same. Not that interesting." I waited to play the game until just a few months ago, and damn, was I wrong. Dead Space 2 does not fuck around. You are thrown immediately into the action and are blasting necromorphs to pieces in no time. This game has some of the craziest and most thrilling action scenes I've ever seen. The level of presentation is insanely better than in the original. The balance between quietly walking the halls, to jump scares, to full on explosions and insane fire fights was near perfect. The new enemy additions were creepy and gave the gameplay a bit more variety and the shooting and weapons were still top notch.

The gore was also outstanding, horrifying, and just plain nuts. Necromorph children that you can slice up with a saw blade? Exploding necromorph babies? Insane death scenes of Clarke getting torn limb from limb? Check, check, and check. Not to mention it had by far the most cringe inducing scene ever that made me say "Are you fucking kidding me!?" as I squinted my eyes and barely looked at the screen (not to spoil anything, its near the end and it involves an eye). That moment will be stuck in my mind forever as one of the craziest things I've ever seen in a game. Throw in a few awesome, funny references to the first game, and an interesting story, and this is one hell of a game. I didn't touch the multiplayer because honestly, this game didn't need it. It is the best over the shoulder shooter I've played since Resident Evil 4.

 

4. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

Upon beating The Witcher 2 all I could think was, "Holy shit, it is nice to play a game where your choices actually make a dramatic difference." At the end of the first chapter, you have to make a choice that will completely change the setting, the quests, and the story for the rest of the game. All the choices in the game are difficult as they are not 'Good' or 'Evil'. The game presents a lot of moral choices that take some time to think about. What's crazy though is, sometimes the game gives you no time! During some of the major decisions, a timer pops up, forcing you to choose quickly. I liked the pressure, it forced me to go with my gut.

 Not only are the choices awesome, but the combat is extremely varied, the crafting and potion-making is addicting and useful, and most importantly the game looks amazing. Easily the best looking game I have ever played. While the story fell flat for me in the end, as it definitely seemed to be made for the Polish audience that has read all the books (that makes sense though) I still loved every second of this game because it puts you in a fantasy world where the humans are the main focus (and sometimes the real monsters) of the story. Racism and poverty are in abundance, and the main character Geralt is someone who must also face hatred and racism. He is not a loved man in the world of Temeria, even though he is a legend. Anyway, if you love RPGs this is a must play.

 

3. Portal 2

 

It just goes to show you what an amazing year of games this has been when Portal 2 is not my game of the year. I was pissed when this game was announced, because while I enjoyed Portal I really just wanted Half Life 3. But damn, am I glad they made this game. Valve found the perfect balance between not to easy and not to difficult with the puzzles. I got stuck for no longer than 20 minutes on any puzzle, and that only happened a few times. Everything felt smart and well crafted.

 But honestly where this game shines is in the writing, the voice acting, and the characters. Wheatley, Cave Johnson, and Glados were such an amazing combination. The story came together really well, and I absolutely loved the Half Life Black Mesa references, and their was a really cool easter egg. Even if you are not a fan of puzzle games I really think you should give Portal 2 a chance. You won't regret it.

 

2. Batman Arkham City

 The perfect Batman game has been made. One of my video game dreams has been to fly around Gotham, fighting criminals as the caped crusader. Now that dream has come true. The improvements on Asylum were perfect, and while I will admit the amount of Riddler stuff was daunting, and the story dropped off in the middle, the gameplay and the ending make this game great. The combat system is better than ever, all my favorite villains were present (Hell yeah Mr Freeze!) and I even enjoyed playing as Catwoman. I thought her play style was a lot different than Batman's and it was refreshing to have some varied gameplay.

 The side missions were also fun and really seemed to set up the next game. Also, as I wrote before, the ending is phenomenal. It is one of my all time favorite endings, and Batman delivers one of my all time favorite lines. Rocksteady nailed it. Unfortunately, this now has me worried about the future of Batman in video games. How can they make the next Arkham game better than this, and how can anyone ever make a better Batman game ever again? I have no idea.

 

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

After playing countless RPGs I always run into the same problem. Why, if I use magic can't I use a two-handed weapon? Why if I choose a melee class, can I not cast healing spells? Why is there not a game where I can do whatever I want at all times!? Skyrim is that game. My character casts gigantic explosive fireballs, freezes time, and wears light armor that I enchanted with magic regen. Sometimes I pull out a one handed sword and cut up my enemies. That right there alone has to make this my Game of The Year. Oh yeah, and you can force sprint, call down a dragon to fight for you, call down a lightening storm, summon an undead chicken, buy a house and decorate it however you want, become a werewolf, and get a giant to fight a dragon.

There is so much to do and so much to see after 60 hours I have only finished the Mage's College and I'm half way through the Dark brotherhood. And both are awesome. The game does a wonderful job of giving you the best rewards you could possibly imagine (I was so happy with the reward for finishing the Mage's college). Not to mention the visual mods you can add make the game look stunning (get the post-process injector, and the realistic water and fire mods). And I love how Bethesda gives you the ability to give yourself infinite gold, flight, god mode, and every weapon and item in the game. When I finish all the content, All the perks will be mine! I am so impressed by this game, and I can't wait to see the DLC they come out with. GAME OF THE YEAR!

 

So thats it, thank you for reading!

 

 

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Game of the Year Awards: The Winners!

Here are the winners! Top 10 games will be posted soon...enjoy.
 

"My Parents Think its Real" Award For Best Graphics

Winner: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
 
The Witcher 2 was simply the best looking game I've ever played. Not only do the characters and the environments look amazing, but the textures are also really well done. 

Runner Up: Battlefield 3
 

"Details, Details!" Award for Best Art Design

Winner: Bastion
 
Bright colors, cool looking levels, this game was just a joy to look at. 
 
Runner up: Dark Souls
 

"Prime Real Estate" Award for Best Setting

Winner: Skyrim
 
Huge snowy mountains, giant waterfalls, dark crypts, nordic halls, Icebergs. This game has amazing variety and is a beautiful world to adventure in.
 
Runner Up: Banoi- Dead Island
 

"Nolan North's Disciple" Award for Best Voice Actor

Winner: Steven Merchant- Wheatly
 
No character this year had as much personality and style as Wheatley. From goofy, funny, nice, sarcastic, to evil, Wheatlely was a very amazing character and was wonderfully brought to life by Steven Merchant. 
 
Runner Up: Logan Cunningham- Rucks
 

"Nolan North's Leading Lady" Award for Best Voice Actress

Winner: Ellen McLain- Glados
 
Another superb job done by McLain.
 
Runner Up: Sonita Henry- Ellie Langford
 

"Take a Bow!" Award for Best Overall Voice Acting

Winner: Batman Arkham City
 
While Portal 2 had the two best performances of the year, the return of Mark Hamill as The Joker, Kevin Conroy as Batman, and Nolan North displaying his talents as the penguin,show this game has amazing voice acting. Every Batman character is brought to life well by each voice actor and to have as many perfect voices as it does is quite an achievement.
 
Runner Up: Portal 2
 

"The Theme" Award for Best Original Song

Winner: Arkham City Main Theme
 
Shit, this theme was awesome. I have sat on the Arkham City main screen to listen to it a number of times. No song has ever fit the world of Batman better.
 
Runner Up: The Pantheon (Aint Gonna catch You)
 

"It's Gonna Be Epic!" Award for Best Soundtrack

Winner: Bastion
 
Easiest winner to pick. Hands down the best soundtrack I have ever heard and one of the best albums I have listened to all year. 
 
Runner Up: Batman Arkham City
 

"Uh-Uh-Uh" Award for best Melee Combat

Winner: Dead Island
 
This game made first person melee really fun, which is something no other game has been able to do.
 
Runner Up: Batman Arkham City
 

"Pew-Pew-Pew" Award for Best Shooting

Winner: RAGE
 
The guns feel great, particularly the assault rifles. Id knows how to make a good shooter.
 
Runner up: Battlefield 3

"Its 2011 and You Can't Join My Game!?" Award for Best Co-op Multiplayer

Winner: Dead Island
 
I haven't had this much fun playing a co-op game in a while and its one of the first games I've beaten where I played the entire game with at least one other person.
 
Runner Up: Renegade Ops
 

"Going Pro" Award for Best Competitive Multiplayer

Winner: Battlefield 3
 
Its frustrating as hell, but for some reason I keep feeling the need to play.
 
Runner Up: Mortal Kombat
 

"Creativity" Award for Most Creative

Winner: LA Noire
 
The most original game I played all year. The story telling, plot, and gameplay was all very refreshing.
 
Runner Up: Bastion
 

"They Wrote on the Walls in Blood!" Award for Best use of Gore

Winner: Dead Space 2
 
Dead Space is the only game to have made me cringe and want to close my eyes.
 
Runner Up: Mortal Kombat
 

"Vents are your Best Friend" Award for best Stealth

Winner: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
 
You can go through the entire game without killing anyone (besides bosses) Enough said.
 
Runner Up: Batman Arkham City
 

"Broken Controller" Award for Hardest Game

Winner: Dark Souls
 
I take it back, this was actually the easiest award to pick. Fucking Dark Souls
 
Runner Up: Trackmania 2
 

"Year of the Dragon" Award for Best Fantasy

Winner: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
 
The world is amazing and the freedom you are given to truly create your own character is perfect.
 
Runner Up: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

"Its so Beautiful" Award for Best Sunlight

Winner: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
 
The sunlight looks sooooooo fucking good. And it creates some amazing shadows.
 
Runner Up: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
 

"Cryo Sleep Does not Work on Robots (uhehehehe)"  Award for Funniest Game

Winner: Portal 2
 
No, no, wait...this was the easiest pick. Funniest game I have ever played
 
Runner Up: Orcs Must Die!
 

"Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions" Award for Best Action

Winner: Dead Space 2
 
This game blew me away. It was like Uncharted and space and it was fucking awesome.
 
Runner Up: Renegade Ops
 

"The Final Stage" Award for Best Boss Fights

Winner: Dark Souls
 
Really unique design, artistically as well as in combat.
 
Runner Up: Batman Arkham City
 

"Hit 'M' Once Every 30 Seconds" Award for Best open World

Winner: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
 
So much to do, so little time. I have gotten sidetracked soooo many times.
 
Runner Up: Dead Island
 

"The Heroes of Our Time" Award for Best Main Character

Winner: Geralt of Rivia
 
A complex character who is often looked down upon in a world he tries to protect. His views on war, politics, and the situations of other characters is really interesting and refreshing compared to most of the standard characters we see today. Also, hes a total badass.
 
Runner Up: Batman

"Steal the Spotlight" Award for Best Supporting Character

Winner: Jack Kelso
 
Jack Kelso came out of nowhere and it was awesome. He was an awesome guy and a good hero. I couldn't help but love him as the story of LA Noire progressed.
 
Runner Up: Glados
 

"The Power of the Dark Side" Award for Best Villain

Winner: Wheatley
 
He tries to trick you into committing suicide. Hilarious and original.
 
Runner Up: The Joker

"Bring Your Whole Crew" Award for Best Cast of Characters

Winner: Portal 2
 
Though there were only 3 characters, the additions of Wheatley and Cave Johnson make this trio unstoppable.
 
Runner Up: LA Noire

"The Future" award for Most Innovative Feature

Winner: Dynamic Story Narration- Bastion
 
So well executed and just plain amazing to listen to.
 
Runner Up: Battlelog: Battlefield 3
 

"Its 2011 WTF!" Award for Biggest Disappointment/Annoyance

Winner: No Player vs. AI Mode- Mortal Kombat
 
Come on MK, I know practicing against the computer isn't the real way to get better, but when you suck like I do, it would be nice to practice combos on a moving/attacking opponent rather than something just standing there. I couldn't believe it wasn't an option.
 
Runner Up: RAGE mission structure

"The People's Champ" Award for Best Developer

Winner: CD Project RED
 
The Witcher 2 is an amazing game and one of the most improved sequels I've ever played. Not to mention they included the soundtrack, a guide, a letter, a coin, and a "Making Of" DVD with the game for free. Also, there is no longer a CD key for the game. CD Project RED hates DRM and makes it their top priority to support the gamers first. Here is what they have to say about all that http://pc.ign.com/articles/121/1213607p1.htmlOh yeah and they added free DLC. I love these guys. 
 
Runner Up: SuperGiant Games
 

"Bargain City" Award for Best Downloadable Game

Winner: Bastion
 
I would have paid $40 for this game
 
Runner Up: Renegade Ops


"Tears of Joy" Award for Best Story

Winner: LA Noire
 
Of all the games I played, LA Noire had the most original story. The plot was well crafted and the way it was told was executed well. And I never saw the end coming. 
 
Runner Up: Portal 2
 

"Standing Ovation!" Award for Best Ending

Winner: Batman Arkham City
 
One of my favorite endings of anything ever. Also has one of my favorite lines of all time.
 
Runner Up: Portal 2
 

"Time Should Freeze While Gaming" Award for Game I Wanted to Play But Didn't

Winner: Saints Row The Third
 
Wasn't ever planning on playing this game but now I have to.
 
Runner Up: Gears of War 3
 

GAME OF THE YEAR

Will be posted in my list of top 10 games after the awards
3 Comments

Game of The Year Awards!

So since I bought and played a lot of games that came out this year I decided I would do my own awards for fun. These are the categories and the nominations. Some things to note: I only own a PS3 and PC. Also, I do not know when the winners will be announced, but they will definitely be posted by January 1st. 
 

"My Parents Think its Real" Award For Best Graphics

LA Noire
Battlefield 3
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
RAGE
 

"Details, Details!" Award for Best Art Design

Portal 2
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Dark Souls
Bastion
 

"Prime Real Estate" Award for Best Setting

Banoi- Dead Island
Arkham City- Batman Arkham City
Skyrim- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Sprawl- Dead Space 2
 

"Nolan North's Disciple" Award for Best Voice Actor

Logan Cunningham- Rucks (Bastion)
Steven Merchant- Wheatley  (Portal 2)
Doug Cockle- Geralt of Rivia  (The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings)
Mark Hamill- The Joker  (Batman: Arkham City)
 

"Nolan North's Leading Lady" Award for Best Voice Actress

Sonita Henry- Ellie Langford (Dead Space 2)
Ellen McLain- Glados (Portal 2)
Grey Delisle- Catwoman (Batman: Arkham City)
Erika Heynatz- Elsa Lichtman (LA Noire)
 

"Take a Bow!" Award for Best Overall Voice Acting

Batman: Arkham City
LA Noire
Portal 2
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
 

"The Theme" Award for Best Original Song

The Pantheon (Aint Gonna Catch You)-  Bastion
Skyrim Main Theme- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Arkham City Main Theme- Batman Arkham City
Want You Gone- Portal 2
 

"It's Gonna Be Epic!" Award for Best Soundtrack

Batman Arkham City
Bastion
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Witcher 2: assassins of Kings
 

"Uh-Uh-Uh" Award for best Melee Combat

Dark Souls
Batman Arkham City
Dead Island
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
 

"Pew-Pew-Pew" Award for Best Shooting

RAGE
Battlefield 3
Dead Space 2
LA Noire
 

"Its 2011 and You Can't Join My Game!?" Award for Best Co-op Multiplayer

Portal 2
Dead Island
Renegade Ops
Dark Souls
 

"Going Pro" Award for Best Competitive Multiplayer

Trackmania 2: Canyon
Dark Souls
Mortal Kombat
Battlefield 3
 

"Creativity" Award for Most Creative

Bastion
Portal 2
LA Noire
Dark Souls
 

"They Wrote on the Walls in Blood!" Award for Best use of Gore

Dead Space 2
Mortal Kombat
RAGE
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
 

"Vents are your Best Friend" Award for best Stealth

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Batman Arkham City
 

"Broken Controller" Award for Hardest Game

Dark Souls
Mortal Kombat
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Trackmania 2: Canyon
 

"Year of the Dragon" Award for Best Fantasy

Dark Souls
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
 

"Its so Beautiful" Award for best Sunlight

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
RAGE
Battlefield 3
 

"Cryo Sleep Does not Work on Robots (uhehehehe)"  Award for Funniest Game

Orcs Must Die!
Portal 2
Dead Space 2
 

"Cool Guys Don't Look at Explosions" Award for Best Action

Battlefield 3
RAGE
Dead Space 2
Renegade Ops
 

"The Final Stage" Award for Best Boss Fights

Batman Arkham City
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
Dark Souls
 

"Hit 'M' Once Every 30 Seconds" Award for Best open World

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Dead Island
Batman Arkham City
LA Noire
 

"The Heroes of Our Time" Award for Best Main Character

Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings)
Batman (Batman Arkham City)
Cole Phelps (LA Noire)
Isaac Clarke (Dead Space 2)
 

"Steal the Spotlight" Award for Best Supporting Character

Glados (Portal 2) 
Rucks (Bastion)
Jack Kelso (LA Noire)
Ellie Langford (Dead Space 2)
 

"The Power of the Dark Side" Award for Best Villain

Letho (The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings)
The Joker (Batman Arkham City)
Dr. Harlan Fontaine (LA Noire)
Wheatley (Portal 2)
 

"Bring Your Whole Crew" Award for Best Cast of Characters

Batman Arkham City
LA Noire
Portal 2
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
 

"The Future" award for Most Innovative Feature

Battlelog- Battlefield 3
Auto Texture Changes- RAGE
Facial Motion Scan- LA Noire
Story Narration- Bastion
 

"Its 2011 WTF!" Award for Biggest Disappointment/Annoyance

Skyrim's Voice Acting
Dark Souls Weapons (all the boss weapons sucked)
RAGE's Mission Structure
No Player vs AI option in Mortal Kombat
 

"The People's Champ" Award for Best Developer

Besthesda
Valve
Supergiant Games
CD Project RED
 

"Bargain City" Award for Best Downloadable Game

Orcs Must Die!
Bastion
Renegade Ops
Terraria
 

"Tears of Joy" Award for Best Story

LA Noire
Portal 2
Dead Space 2
Bastion
 

"Standing Ovation!" Award for Best Ending

Portal 2
Batman Arkham City
Bastion
LA Noire
 

"Time Should Freeze While Gaming" Award for Game I Wanted to Play But Didn't

Assassins Creed: Revelations
Uncharted 3
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Saints Row The Third
Gears of War 3
 

GAME OF THE YEAR

Will be posted in my list of top 10 games after the awards
          

4 Comments

Star Wars: The Old Republic- Thoughts and Impressions

So I got into the Old Republic on Friday and I have been playing it a lot. Here are my thoughts on the game and some information about it if you are looking into playing it.

Story: Hands down the best part of the game. I have a level 18 Sith Inquisitor and a level 11 Imperial Agent and both of the stories are interesting and fun. As a Sith Inquisitor I was a former slave who has been captured by the Sith and has to go through the Sith trials to become and apprentice under a dark lord. Now I'm an apprentice, and the plot has me carrying out my masters evil plans to gain the power of an ancient sith lord. The plot is filled with moments of betrayal and murder and for a person who 100% always plays a good guy in video games, I am having a hell of a time murdering and torturing anyone in my path.

The Imperial Agent plot is much more 'gray' in terms of what is right and what is wrong. I am working for a secret empire group trying to get specific factions to work towards the empires favor. I haven't gotten into the greater details of the plot but it seems like there will be a lot of sneaking and sabotage going on. Overall the stories are enjoyable and make for a great time when none of your friends are on to play with.

Combat: Standard mmo stuff here, but much, much faster. Instead of pulling one npc at a time you are pulling three or four. All the attacks have fairly quick cooldowns, mana (or force, energy) recharges pretty quickly during combat as well. There are no mana potions or food, every class has a'recharge' ability that brings your heal and mana back up to max within 15 seconds (out of combat of course). This all keeps the game moving really quickly because you rarely have to stop to heal and you can kill many enemies at once. Besides that, be prepared to hit 2,3,4 or whatever your favorite hot key combo is, over and over again.

Companions and Crafting: I was really unsure what I thought about companions when they were first announced but this is actually another great addition to the game. Companions work like they do in Mass Effect, they will comment on your choices, they have an affection meter, and they have their own agenda/feelings on every situation. They also make soloing a much more viable option if you are more of a solo mmo quester. My Inquisitor's companion is a tank that pulls aggro and deals decent melee damage. Companions also craft weapons for you. You can also send them out on "diplomatic" missions to earn you gifts, heal items, and dark/light side points. These missions work similar to an Assassins Creed Brotherhood/Revelations style, where you send your assassins out to complete quests for you. Its a really cool idea, because if you dont need your companion they can still be earning you dark/light side points, crafting items, and even crafting your gear all while you quest. It makes the crafting addicting and simple as you can craft things while you are in an instance or out questing.

Loot/Dungeons: The loot in the game is really varied. There are a lot of different lightsaber colors, different rifles, blasters, and from what I've seen you can get some crazy looking armor and robes. The dungeons, called "flashpoints are quick to run through and can be repeated constantly. The loot tables seem pretty large so there is plenty of reason to grind them. You also get "commendations" or badges for nearly every single thing you do. There are badges for specific planet quests, pvp, and space quests. These can be turned in for loot as well.

Overall, I'm really enjoying the game. there is a lot more to say about it, but I think I've covered the most important parts. The game is very easy to play, fast paced, and can be played entirely solo. The levling seems fast, it only took me about 22 hours to get to level 18 and the cap is 50. While it is not revolutionizing the mmo genre by any means, after playing through the entirety of The Burning Crusade, I have had my fill of long grinding quests with no story, and 2 hour dungeons. I like that the game moves fast and gives you plenty of options to gain awesome gear. I feel like I want to play through different classes to level 50 not because I'm addicted to skill points or leveling, but because the story, the choices, and the world are really well designed and fun. Anyone looking for an easy-going, fast-paced story heavy mmo can't find anything better than this.

3 Comments

UFC113 Thoughts/Reactions

Last night's UFC was an up and down event. I went 2/5 for my picks yesterday, but I did pick the co-main event and main event correctly. Here are my thoughts on each of the fights.
 
Cote vs. Belcher 
 
I was surprised that Belcher won. Maybe Cote has ring rust or maybe I just underestimated Belcher's skills. I thought it was funny that Belcher called out Anderson. That's a big mistake lol. I think he's a little to cocky for his own good. 
 
Kimbo vs. Mitrione
 
I was sad, but not totally surprised by what happened. I think Kimbo is a great guy. He's very likeable and a hard worker who is just trying to make a living for his family. Unfortunately, I don't think Kimbo is cut out for the world of MMA. First of all, he's already 36 years old. Second, he has been training more over a year in MMA now and while it looked like he knew the basics, he was still very far behind Mitrione in skill. I couldn't really tell if Mitrione is actually a good fighter or if Kimbo was just really bad. Those leg kicks were some of the hardest I have ever seen, but once again I couldn't tell if that was because Mitrione was throwing really good kicks or if it was just because Kimbo had no defense against them. It will be interesting to see what Dana wants to do with Kimbo now. I think Kimbo would have a better career as a boxer.
 
Stout vs. Stephens
 
A really good technical match. Stout seemed to be the more skilled striker overall, but Stephens was just way more powerful. Stout doesn't really seem to have knock out power, which is what cost him the fight. It was definitely the fight of the night though, very entertaining.
 
Koscheck vs. Daley
 
These two fighters may be my two most hated in all of MMA. For a second fight in a row Koscheck fakes an injury/illegal hit. What kind of fighter does that? What kind of person does that? Honestly, Koscheck should get some kind of punishment for being a liar. What an idiot. Then you have Paul Daley who could have made himself look like the better man when this fight was done and instead looks like an even bigger idiot than Koscheck. If he had been mature about the fight I think he would have developed at least a small fan base. I mean, Koscheck faked being hurt and did really nothing but be a wrestler in this fight. He held Daley down and made it another wrestling match of boredom like we have been seeing time and time again. So, instead of just walking away Daley decides to act like he is eight and cheap shot Koscheck. I'm glad the UFC has cut him, he's immature and the UFC does not need that kind of bad publicity. At least GSP vs. Koscheck will be a better fight...(not really). 
 
Machida vs. Shogun
 
I just have to say, I'm glad Shogun won. I like Machida and I think he's a great fighter, but Shogun deserved to win the first fight. He finally proved it last night, and he did it convincingly. I kept thinking Machida was going to throw knees in the clinch. I also thought that when Machida tripped Shogun to the ground, Machida was going to work the ground game, but it seemed like he let Shogun get up. I guess this is why Shogun was considered the best light heavyweight in the world back during his Pride days. I mean, I thought Shogun was going to win, but not so quickly. Usually Machida just steps out of the way of punches and combinations like that, so I was surprised to see him getting hit early on. The light heavyweight division is by far the most entertaining right now. Nearly every title fight there is a new champion. Rampage-1 title defense Forrest-0, Rashad-0, Machida-1. Shogun is going to be tough to beat, but there is plenty of competition. The best part about Shogun winning is now we can see Anderson Silva compete at light heavyweight full-time and fight Shogun for the title. I can't wait for that fight.
 
 
Overall, a good night of fights. I wish Kimbo could have won, and I wish Koscheck-Daley was a lot more entertaining, but I was pleased with the Card. What did you guys think>

2 Comments

UFC 113 Predictions

So tonight is the much anticipated UFC 113! I'm very excited to see Machida vs. Shogun and Koscheck Vs. Daley, two really big fights. I'm also very interested to see if Kimbo has improved and the return of Patrick Cote. It should really be an awesome night for MMA. 
 
Main Card
 
Sam Stout vs. Jeremy Stephens (lightweight) 
 
To be honest I don't know too much about these fighters. I have been watching UFC for a while but I haven't ever seen them fight before. Stout is on a two fight win streak and has beaten Lauzon, who Stephens has lost to. I hate to make a prediction without knowing much about the fighters, but I guess I gotta go with Stout on this one.
 
Prediction: Stout

Patrick Cote vs. Alan Belcher (Middleweight)

 
It's good to see Cote make his return. He was doing Okay against Anderson in his last fight, but it's been awhile. Alan Belcher has had some good wins but seems to be an up-and-down fighter. I like Cote making his return.
 
Prediction: Cote   
 
Kimbo Slice vs. Matt Mitrione (Heavyweight)
 
First of all, Kimbo weighed in at 225, I didn't know he weighed that little. I thought he was around 240. It seems like he should cut to light heavy, he would probably have more success. Anyway, I am interested to see if Kimbo has gotten better. I hope Mitrione goes in swinging, I want to at least see a good battle (unlike Houston Alexander). Kimbo gets a lot of attention so it makes it seem like this should be a definite victory for him, but I think Mitrione is going to give Kimbo a very tough fight. It's going to be close, but I gotta go with Kimbo based on the fact that I feel Kimbo is more of a natural fighter than Mitrione is. I don't know though, tough call.
 
Prediction: Kimbo
 
Josh Koscheck vs. Paul Daley (Welterweight)
 
I'm excited for this fight because it's the first fight in a while that's had a ton of really good trash talk. I personally don't like either of them, but when it comes down to it I want Koscheck to win, mainly because the winner gets GSP. If Daley wins this fight, then GSP vs. Daley will just be GSP vs. Hardy part 2. Koscheck actually won a round against GSP when they fought, and he is also a wrestler with good stand-up. He would make a much better fight for GSP. Now I believe Koscheck can win this fight for sure if he just decides to do what GSP did against Hardy, wrestle and go for submissions. If Koscheck decides to stand with Daley, Daley has a good chance of winning, although I believe Koscheck could knock Daley out as well. Koscheck can win on the feet and the ground, Daley can only win on the feet.
 
Prediction: Koscheck
 
Machida vs. Shogun (Light Heavyweight)
 
One of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history. I personally thought Shogun won the first fight. He had a great strategy and he landed almost twice as many strikes as Machida did! (roughly 82 to 42). Machida had broken ribs, was having trouble moving around the cage, and had a cut-up lip and nose. What did work well for Machida was the clinch into knees. He nailed Shogun with some pretty hard knees to the body, and I think he should try for that again in this fight. Also, Machida is going to be prepared for leg kicks, so Shogun is going to have to have a completely new strategy. I haven't seen much of Machida on the ground, but he did almost get submitted by Tito. Then again, Shogun DID get submitted by Griffin. Who knows how this fight will go? One of the toughest picks to make, but I'm gonna go with Shogun. I think he will have another really good strategy against Machida and he is hungry to prove he should have won the last fight.
 
Prediction: Shogun
 
What do you guys think? What are your predictions?

7 Comments

The Modern Warfare 2 Challenge: Get the KDR over 1!

 

       I have never really been that great at online shooters. I’m not a terrible player, but I’ve never really been one to be at the top of the scoreboard. Well nothing like a good year of college to change that! About a month and a half ago I started playing Modern Warfare 2 on my friend/roommates 360 (I don’t own a 360, the last system I bought was a PS2 and I have a decent PC. My friend has a Wii and a 360 so I just play his games). I did okay for just starting out, going about 10 kills to 14 deaths every game on average. So I played a few games, then my friend asked me to check what his KDR was. He had it at about 1.2 at around level 30 (he doesn’t play too much). To our horror the KDR was down to .85, roughly 560 more deaths than kills. It turns out that our friend who lives down the hall had been playing on the account for quite a while and he is really bad at the game. I of course was only slowly making the ratio worse so I decided I was going to stop playing, until my friend gave me a challenge. I had to play enough to get better and then get the KDR back over 1. I couldn’t play any other games until I had accomplished that goal. I accepted, and after countless hours of Modern Warfare 2 I am proud to say the goal is complete!

            It was rough in the beginning. I started out using the M4A1 with the Spas-12 shotgun. I used frag grenade and flash bangs and my perks were slight of hands, hardline, and commando. My killstreak was UAV, Care package, and Predator Missile. At the time of starting this challenge the character level was 39. I struggled a lot with this set up. I averaged having 2-4 more deaths than kills every game. My best games were 2-4 kills more than deaths. Hardline helped a lot for getting a care package and predator missile quicker.

            As I started to get better at the game I began switching things up to see what I liked best. I played with the AUG for quite a while, but than finally settled on the Scar-H with the Spas-12. I used slight of hands, and commando perks still, but I switched hardline out for stopping power. I found out that the Scar with stopping power is a very beastly combination and I quickly began racking up more and more kills.

            Slowly but surely I got the KDR up. For some reason I did really well when I equipped the Scar with the ACOG sight so I continued to use it. I also switched from frag grenades to semtex because I find them much easier to kill people with. For my death streak I choose final stand, but thankfully I did not have to use that too often. Once I got decent at the game it only took me two nights of playing to get 250 more kills than deaths. I entered the last game with 6 kills to go. I started the game out with six straight kills and immediately exited out in victory. It took me roughly 2 and a half days (60 hours) worth of playing time to be victorious. My friend was pretty pumped that I fixed his KDR for him and our friend down the hall is no longer allowed to play the game ha ha.

Now I am level 64 first prestige with a KDR of 1.04, roughly 400 more kills than deaths. I know that’s not very impressive at all, but it is for me personally. I use the Scar-H with the ACOG sight and the Spas-12 with semtex grenade and flash bangs. Even though I love fast reloading I switched slight of hands for scavenger since the Scar tears through ammo like crazy. I still use stopping power and commando. My killstreak is now predator missile, harrier airstrike, and chopper gunner. After playing the game for a total of about 4 days played time now, here are my personal favorites, dislikes, and greatest moments.

Favorite Gun: Scar-H

Favorite attachment: ACOG site

Favorite Killstreak: Chopper Gunner

Favorite Perk: Stopping Power

Favorite Map: Estate

Other Maps I Like: Sub Base, Scrapyard,

Favorite Game Mode (besides Team Deathmatch and Free-for-all): Domination

Most Annoying Weapon: The Noob Tube of course

Least Favorite Killstreak: Care Package- It helped me out when I first started playing, but I really don’t like how someone who gets four kills in a row can get a chopper gunner or AC130

Least Favorite Map: Underpass

Other Maps I don’t Like: Invasion, Afghan, Wasteland

The most annoying thing people complain about in game chat: Campers

My Best Moments

My Best Game: 30 Kills 1 Death

My Most Kills in a Game: 38 Kills (9 deaths)

The highest Killstreak I have gotten: 19 (I used a care package in my 30 kill 1 death game)

The highest Killstreak Reward I have gotten (not including care package rewards): Chopper Gunner

Cool Moments: 1. Omnicide: Killing the whole team in 10 seconds 2. The Grim Reaper: Killing five people with a Predator Missile

My Current title: Omnicide (killing the entire enemy team in 10 seconds)

My Current Emblem: Pave Low (call in 25 pave lows)

Thanks for ! Questions? Comments?

 

 

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