Not really feeling Vanquish.

So recently I picked up Vanquish and it has a few neat ideas, but I'm just not really feeling it. My problem could be summed up in four words: I've already played Gears. Granted Vanquish plays like a much faster Gears of War but nevertheless it does play look and sound an awful lot like Gears.The story is awfully weak too: I mean. I'm on chapter 4 and apart from trying to stop some Russian dude from blowing up the earth I have no idea what's going on. On the plus side though, the opening cutscene features the main character being reprimanded for smoking...in space. So yeah, I guess the game's worth it for that last sentence alone.

In the gameplay department Vanquish has some cool ideas too. It's one of the few games where I'm actually excited about the QTE's, partly because a lot of them feel unique and partly because they're just so f'in cool. Another cool thing is the jet pack boost, circle strafing around bosses in a jet pack is pretty sweet as it turns out. Unfortunately both these elements happen too infrequently to recommend The jet pack for instance is really only practical in a handful of situations: the other times it's much more practical to use cover GOW style. The QTE's on the other hand seem to appear almost randomly to the point where I had to consult Gamefaqs to make sure they weren't.

I'll probably see this game through. I'm already almost on the last act, but yeah, talk about missed oppurtunites.

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Limbo Impressions

So I bought Limbo yesterday, and I'm kind of liking it. Truth be told, I actually have a love-hate thing going on with the game, it's great when it's doing it's own unique thing but occasionally it goes for traditional puzzle trapping. The game's unique spots seem to be how it blends puzzles with survial aspects almost seemingly. The best puzzles in the game you don't even realize are puzzles. Take for example an early one where two bear traps fly at you, the soloution involves moving your character at just the right time, just the right way in order to dodge them. These puzzles are fast, fun and keep you moving. On the other hand there are more traditional puzzles that lock you into a room and involve placing blocks just so. These puzzles feel out of place in this game slow down the pacing and just aren't fun. The game also seems fond of dropping egg parasites on your head making it so they can only move one way, these sections also feel out of place, and seem like a crutch for "we couldn't think of anything cool for this section so here's this". So far it looks like I'll be pressing onward with this. Hopefully the game keeps doing what it does best more, while doing the other stuff less.

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On online passes

If you knew me, you'd know I buy a lot of used games. Now before you go and call me evil or anything, you should know that most of the games I buy used are several months, if not years, old. Really it's only when I can get a decent value out of buying it used.that I do so As such I have a unique opinion when it comes to online passes (the hot button issue of the day.) I don't mind them, if there was a game coming out that new is $60 then I don't see the sense in paying $55 for it and not supporting the publisher. I think online passes work because they support new game sales while not punishing players who pick the game up later use (Because let's be honest most online games are dead six months after release anyway). Still I can't help but feel this is a slippery slope. Take for example Batman Arkham City, the new purchase incentive for that game is a piece of the single player game, ditto with Kingdom of Amalur. Right now both developers have said that the content for both games was always intended to be DLC, but I'm just worried it won't be long before a publisher puts something that's not DLC behind an online pass? Companies should be especially concerned with this, because when you lock away something other than multiplayer behind an online pass, you're no longer just incentivising new purchases, you're turning your back on latecomers.

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Not feeling Stacking

So I downloaded Stacking the other day, and I'm not really feeling it. Sure, sure the art style is great and some of the doll's abilities are pretty funny, but it just 't feels really slow and simple. Most of the puzzles are extremely simple which is a problem it that's the core of your game.My other problem is it doesn't feel interactive enough-there have been times where I was doing something correctly but in the wrong place and this is never expressed to the player in any way. Furthermore I find the story uninteresting, the text hard to read and, the whole experience kind of dull. I was really looking forward to the game and I'm really bummed that I'm not enjoying it.

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Diaries from the vault: First impressions of Fallout 3.

So anyone who's been following this blog knows I've been thinking about checking out Fallout 3, well I finally did on Saturday. My first impressions follow:

-The game starts in a weird manner. People describe Vault 101 as a tutorial area, but the game does not really teach you much. Perhaps I'm just use to modern games hand holding you in the first area, but Fallout 3's opening dungeon is straight up old school in some respects. For instance during my first "real" mission a character tells me to grab a gun, normally this is where a game message would pop up and tell you how to equip that gun-not in Fallout. To be fair it's not really hard to figure out, but I still did die a couple times before I realized what was going on

-The music is catchy but doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The game features a 50's motif, which is cool but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The game's opening cinematic makes it clear that the nuclear bomb was detonated around 2070, so why is the music all 50's pre rock and roll? Don't get me wrong I enjoy it, but the story and the motif are kind of at a disconnect.

-Dying and reloading is handled really well. It's been a while since I played Oblivion but I'm pretty sure that was one of those games that made you hard load your saves every time you died. I was impressed to see that Fallout 3 just streamlines this, after you die you respawn where you last saved almost as if nothing happened. The load times are quite well done too, and I was impressed that the music/radio plays during them too. I didn't install the game so I was rather impressed by this.

-Finally I really like some of the status effects. Specificly when your head gets crippled it's really noticable and the game swings in and out of focus wildly. I actually got through one of the dungeons with this status effect and that's just one of those "Wow, I can't believe I made it" moments.

Overall I like this game so far.

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Buying Fallout 3 is kind of hard

So I've kind of been in the mood for a post apocalyptic open world RPG as of late and I've come to the conclusion that buying Fallout 3 nowadays is kind of hard. First of all no retailers seem to stock a new GOTY copy, they're all used. Normally I have no qualms about buying used games, especially when the game is years old like Fallout is, but I don't know, something about purchasing used expansion pack seems a little bit shady to me. So my next option would be to buy a used copy and purchase new DLC from the marketplace, which would put me out around $17 (since I only really want Broken Steel) but that's also the price for a used GOTY collection. I probably don't have the time to play through more than BS so then the whole thing comes down to if I just want the GOTY to say I got a better value. I don't know....buying games nowadays is kind of difficult.

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Mysims is not a good game.

So I bought Mysims about a week ago. It's a terrible game, and I had a feeling it was going to be less than stellar when I bought it, but I did so anyway. I just had to see it for myself for some reason. It's pretty much an Animal Crossing clone without the charm. Actually a better way to put this is the whole thing seemed like it was designed by someone who heard about Animal Crossing and then went and made a copy of it without ever playing said game. In Animal Crossing you get furniture from your (in game) friends, in Mysims you get blueprints to build your own furniture from townspeople. The fun part of Animal Crossing was amassing hundreds of unique furniture sets and other pieces of home decor, when you have to build it all yourself it's slightly less fun. The frame rate is also terrible, as are the load times. Somehow I want to continue on though, call it self masochism .

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Rockin a DS Phat

So I've got a secret I own a DS Phat and never upgraded to a Lite. Why would I? Honestly I don't travel with it all that much so form factor really isn't all that important to me, plus I've heard the sound is lower than on a normal DS which to me seems like a bit of a downgrade. Plus it doesn't seem like that smart of an investment: why would I want to pay $150-200 for a console I already ow?.To tell you the truth the DSi is a much more appealing purchase to me than a DS Lite because I could get games through DSi Ware that I couldn't otherwise. But even that has downfalls, it doesn't have a GBA slot plus none of the games on DSI ware really look appealing to me (except for Dragon's Lair, which seems too short to be a true killer app)

Hmm this blog seems a little short, but really all I wanted to do was put out there that I'm rockin a phat and I'm not ashamed of it. Plus this seemed a lot more blog worthy than thread worthy for some reason. Really all I'm doing is waiting for my DS phat to charge up so I can play some more Shiren. It's still not charged yet, but hey I said what I needed to say.

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In Defense of Sonic


 If you were to ask me what my most anticipated games of 2010 was right now I would tell you Sonic 4 by a mile. No I'm not a masochist, I relize that Sonic's track record over the years has been less than stellar, but I'm still hyped and honestly the game doesn't deserve the hate it's been getting.
 
The main reason why you all should be excited by Sonic 4 is right there in the title: Sonic 4. Naming the game number 4 may seem like a huge gamble on Sega's part, but actually I see it as sort of a comforting assurance that we'll be getting back the blue hedgehog that we all know and love. Obviously titling this that  isn't done in jest, and it represents somewhat of a last chance for Sonic games in general, after all it's easy to dismiss the other Sonic games as not being true sequels to the original series. If Sega messes this up however it might as well be game over for the Sonic series. Therefore I believe that Sega will treat Sonic 4 with as much reverence as the classic series deserves.
 
Some people have been saying the title of Sonic 4 is misleading, after all there have been a slew of Sonic games over the years, but I would argue that Sega titling their new Sonic game Sonic 4 actually makes a lot of sense. The vast majority of Sonic games after Sonic 3 and Knuckles have been either 3D or for handhelds. The fact of the matter is that Sega couldn't get away with calling an earlier game in the series Sonic 4 if they tried. So Sonic 4 is a perfect name for this game. 
 
"That's all well and great" you may be saying to yourself "but why is he so eagerly anticipating a Sonic game. After all, all you do is hold right and zoom to the end of the level." Actually you're wrong here, as weird as it sounds the classic Sonic games were never speed based, running around at high speeds was something Sonic could do but more often than not this was a strategy that would get you killed. No Sonic games are instead about great level design with awesome boss fights at the end of each one. This is why Sonic games have been pretty much crap for the last 8 or so years, the levels focused too much on speed and bosses were only encountered occasionally. From what I'm seeing of Sonic 4 it looks like Sega has addressed all that and I'm willing to give them another chance, you should also.
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Dark Void Demo Impression


So coming into this year Dark Void was one of my most anticipated games, now not-so-much. I recently played the demo available on Xbox Live and one word pretty much sums up the experience for me: Underwhelming. 
 
You start out with a tutorial section which get's you use to your new rocket pack, this is where problems become apparent. Flying simply isn't as fun as it should be, and they make some critical mistakes in this regard. One of the biggest is that to perform a flight manuever you have to press in on the right stick and then press a direction on the left stick. The problem is it's not exactly clear what movements do what:: In Starfox 64 for instance you had a button that would flip your ship around and another to simply do a flip: in Dark Void it's the same button, which is kind of a problem  especially when your charged with fighting a swarm of UFO's without knowing how to properfly manuever your flight suit.  
 
After fighting the UFO Swarm you have to land and shut down a power station. This section is just really generic. Really there is nothing here that you couldn't experience by playing Gears of War. Finally there is a cinimatic that teases at a boss fight, unfortunatly with the generic gameplay and confusing flight controls I was not to hyped to fight it in the final game. 
 
I will wait to see what the consensus is on Dark Void before deciding to pick it up or not, but so far it's not looking good.
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