My dumb blog thing : 12/11/12

Okay well.. I don't have much of anything in perticular today so I think today is going to be a short one. On a high note though I think my friend might be making me a dumb banner to put at the top of these things which is neat! Anyways, I've still been playing Far Cry 3 which I think now I might want to actually go for all the achievements in. Seems pretty doable and the game is fun enough. The only real drag might be trying to find the relics but the good news is you only need 60 relics and not all 120. I'd like to do a write up or a detailed review in the future for that one. I was insanely wrong about that game. Far Cry 2 was such a shit show. Go get malaria pills every five minutes.....oh and the jeep repairing.... god damn the jeep repairing. So, Sunday wrestling happened in particular TNA's PPV I don't even fucking know what it was called and it doesn't really matter because it was awful. I got lured by my curiosity after posted tin the good ol' wrestling thread about it. Ended up watching it with the LoC guys (a.k.a all the wrestling crazies that visit the wrestling thread) and wow... WWE has issues and often has a ton of them but TNA is just insanely painful to watch on all accounts. Even matches that SHOULD be good were ruined by dumb and often anticlimactic finishes. Apparently Hulk Hogan is still around for whatever god damn reason. Oh and his daughter is there too now because apparently failing at pop music wasn't enough for her.

Anways.... the go home show for the TLC PPV wasn't that great either on the WWE side of things. Although again stealing the show again Dolph Ziggler helped pull out a fantastic match against Sheamus. Sheamus I absolutely HATE his character I hate him on the mic I hate everything about the pale ginger haired idiot but I can't hate his ability in the ring because damn when he is paired with the right people you really get some amazing performances from him. The other saving grace of the match was Antonio Cesaro vs Kofi Kingston. Cesaro's uppercuts are the most insanely brutal thing I've ever seen. The guy is just soo damn good in the ring. Catching Kofi mid-air into a tilt-o-whirl back breaker was absolutely amazing the guys strength is incredible. Thing is he isn't a hugely bulky guy either yet he is one of the most insanely strong guys the WWE has right now. So, speaking of wrestling if anyone is reading this that loves wrestling you should really check out the Art of Wrestling podcast hosted by Colt Colbana it is an absolute treat to hear many of the best wrestlers talking candidly out of character. Its something you don't see a lot of and getting a peek behind the curtain of how things are in the biz is pretty fascinating at least to me. Speaking of I also would highly recommend the CM Punk: Best in the World DVD its one of the best documentaries I've seen in a while. The conviction of CM Punk to get what he wants is insanely commendable. Its amazing to see him go from some skinny punk kid to realizing that he is now the longest reigning WWE champion in the past quarter century now at 380+ days.

So... I guess I had no idea what I was going to write about and like I predicted yesterday it ended up being about wrasslin. So... that means I promptly expect no replies to this entry. Haha. I'll continue digging into Far Cry 3 hopefully I'll feel good enough about where I am in the story soon to talk about it. Till next time!

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My dumb blog thing: 12/10/12

Okay well lets start my dumb little blog thing today with a music recommendation. If you haven't already heard the song go listen to "Chum" by Earl Sweatshirt. If you don't know who Earl Sweatshirt is well first off shame on you and second off well, simply put he is part of Odd Future. Odd Future is a collective rap group with smaller sub-groups within it. You might have heard of Tyler The Creator who got a lot of mainstream buzz after winning an award for best new artist at the MTV music wards. Anyways, Earl is gearing up to FINALLY release a solo album. He is by far one of the most lyrically dangerous and incredible rappers out there today. His verse at the end of Odd Future's "Oldie" where Earl made a surprise return was an incredibly dense and well put together verse. Because I know y'all are gonna be lazy and not look it up here I'll be nice and embed it below for you fuckers since I love y'all.

In other random news the WiiU pad sure looks easy to break. That...kind of makes me terrified to even want to get a WiiU. Anyways 2012 is wrapping up and we have uh what like less than 19 days before the supposed end of the world. Speaking of the end of the world like...why is everyone so terrified of it? Seriously. Look, were all going to die at some point. Now, personally the thing that bums me out the most about the fact that we are all going to die is that humanity is going to keep moving forward even after I die. I'll never get to know about all the cool technology or video games or other nonsense that goes on in the world after I'm gone. So honestly, being around for the end of the world to me would be exciting because I would know for a fact that I was there for the end of humanity's time on earth. What also is entertaining about this is the people that actually "prepare" for it. I mean look if it is the end of the world a bug out bag and a supply of rations and water are not going to save you.

Since the world isn't going to end lets change gears. There is enough GOTY nonsense going on now and I'm sure everyone will be sick about talking about this years games soon. I initially thought of writing up a whole big blog about that but I already did a "I really liked these games" and "This is everything I've played this year" blogs so... I'm not going to do a long drawn out blog post about that. If you are interested in what my list was well.....

1.Final Fantasy XIII-2

2.Halo 4

3.Dishonored

4.Forza Horizion

5.Hitman Absolution

6.Max Payne 3

7.Dragon’s Dogma

8.Sleeping Dogs

9.Lollipop Chainsaw

10. Twisted Metal

I'll be more than happy to answer questions about why I picked all of them but I don't think any of my choices should me TOO much of a surprise to anyone at least on here If you've been following along with all the dumb posts I've made all year. Anyways the thing I'd like to talk about isn't this year since that is soooo five minutes ago I'm looking forward to what games are going to make me broke in 2013. I'd like to hear everyone else's list of stuff they are looking forward to in 2013 as well. These are by the way... in no particular order.

1. DmC

This is a game that I've been wildly looking forward to for a good while now. The question has been at least for me will ninja theory be able to pull off a game with the combat that rivals the original games? All signs are pointing to yes which is very comforting. I'm really looking forward to Ninja Theory's take on the world and characters.

2. Metal Gear Rising :Revengence

Box art

Oh looky another character action title! I can't believe this thing is finally going to see the light of day. After being in development purgatory for what seemed like forever finally Rising is happening. I personally haven't got a chance to get hands on with it but from people who have gotten to play the demo I'm hearing good things. That really makes me excited. I'll be interested I guess to see where they take the fiction. I mean if this is post MGS4 then that means the Patriots are gone which also means nanomachines are or at least WERE a thing of the past.

3. Tomb Raider

I never did like the Psone Tomb Raider games but I got into the franchise this gen when they first released Tomb Raider Legend. I then played all the subsequent games this gen. So now were officially in "reboot" territory. Its pretty hilarous considering that Uncharted out Tomb Raider'd Tomb raider and now Tomb Raider is potentially poised to out Uncharted Uncharted. I'm not even sure if that sentence I just typed makes any sense but....hopefully you get my gist. Game looks great! I'm glad finally all the hub-bub surrounding Lara and her presentation in the game has died down and that people are finally focusing on the game. I'm hoping the game delivers on the "survival" element as much as they've been hyping but I guess we'll see....

4. Bioshock Infinite

First off I want to say that the box art is fucking awful. I really hope they change it but it is looking doubtful. Awful box art aside this game looks fantastic. I'm just wondering if it is going to have the same impact that Bioshock did on me. The first time you saw rapture in Bioshock it was just one of THOSE moments in video games. The game has been delayed again for more polish and I guess we'll just have to wait to see if it is good or not. Listening to Jeff Cannata talk about it on Weekend confirmed was pretty exciting the guy seemed entirely enamored with it.

Well.... that is it for games at least or well announced games or well... games that I remember. I'm sure there are other things I could put on the list. Oh I do have two non-game related things I'm excited for one being Lady Gaga's ArtPop album and Paramore's self titled 4th album. Well, at least I got something sort of decent written today. Tomorrow will probably be more wrasslin talk as tonight is the go home show for the TLC PPV. Anyways, later and let me know what you are looking forward to in 2013 doesn't just have to be games either.

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My dumb blog thing : 12/9/2012

Okay, just a real quick check-in today since I have nothing major to talk about today. First off I just want to say I'd really recommend people go watch/listen to Kevin Periera's "Pointless" podcast over at Deathsquad.tv I've plugged this in another topic I made a few weeks ago but I can't stress how much I like this podcast. A few other random tidbits. I've absolutely fallen in love with this:

It is goddamn delicious. If you are a coffee drinker I recommend it for sure. I know some people are adamantly against putting anything in their coffee and I'm with you on no sugar but this creamer is delicious. I'm also not an insane coffee aficionado so I usually settle for some Dunkin Doughnuts coffee that you can buy in the bags. I've also come to the conclusion the other day that I know I'm starting to head down the path of "getting old" because I got way to excited the other day about buying a new pack of socks. Lastly I played a bit more of Dungeon Siege 3 last night and this morning. I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I know it sort of god tepid reviews when it came out but I've never played the series at all so I guess I didn't have any expectations for it. Which leads me to wonder what the original games are actually like. Are they remotely like the 3rd game are they even worth playing? I know I saw them on steam but I don't think they sell them separately which is kind of a bummer I guess. Didn't have a whole lot to say today but wanted to make sure to keep up with doing this every day. Anyways, whats everyone been playing for the weekend? My stack I've been rotating through as of late has been FarCry 3, Dungeon Siege 3, Hitman Absolution , Dead Island and Halo 4 multiplayer. Okay well.. I'm sort of tired and I've got the next two days off from work so I'm gonna take a nap or something...I think. I'll try to aim for something longer and of possible better discussion value. That is unless somehow a rabid discussion about the finer points of coffee somehow erupts from this. In which case I fully expect to be mocked for my heathen ways of buying bagged pre-ground coffee and creamer. Until next time!

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My dumb blog thing: 12/8/12

So hey... back again and I watched the VGAs last night as did a lot of people on here. Surprise surprise they actually were not bad! So, the show started off with Sam Jackson dropping more F-bombs than the censors could keep up with. Seriously, I do believe a few F-bombs got through. Then it went on to show the new South Park : The Stick of Truth trailer. Its pretty cool that they have the game looking exactly like it does on the show however has anyone actually seen any real game play of this thing? All the trappings of a proper south park property could be there but if the game plays like shit then who cares? It would however be cool to finally see a good South Park game. Oh they gave out awards on this show too apparently I was not watching for the awards. I was watching for everything else besides the awards.

Next up ( I think) was Phantom Pain which the internet has pretty much deduced that is most likely Metal Gear Solid 5 and if it isn't Metal Gear Solid 5 it is at least some way connected to the Metal Gear universe. The studio in the trailer "Moby Dick Studios" doesn't even exist apparently. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. This reminds me back of when there was the teaser site years ago that had ominous storm clouds randomly flashing images. Within no time the internet deduced that it had something to do with Big Boss and Raiden and turns out they were correct and Peace Walker and Metal Gear Rising were both announced soon after. So is it Metal Gear Solid V or is it something relating to Ground Zeroes? Either way it should be exciting as it looked fantastic in motion and all apparently real time too which obviously means that it is for next gen systems. So the question is how long does Kojima keep up this ruse? Speaking of Konami Castlevania apparently has another entry into the franchise with Lords of Shadows 2. I got 2/3rds of the way through the original Lords of Shadow and its a pretty fun game. I got distracted though and haven't gone back to it yet but this trailer spoiled the ending for the first game but also made me want to see how the hell everything went down. Also, its apparently set in modern day so that could be interesting. Also interesting is if you will resume your role as Gabriel or take up a role of another young Belmont. It seems Konami trusts Mercury Steam with the franchise going forward as they seem to be helming up this iteration as well.

The biggest announcement of the night in my opinon was Dark Souls II. Oh lord that trailer made my panties wet. First off the music was fantastic. Secondly while the trailer was entirely CG what I did notice is the quality of the CG seemed much higher. This leads me to believe that Dark Souls was such a success for them that they were cleared a much bigger budget for the new game. This could be very very exciting. I'm hoping they really push the online connectivity forward and figure out new ways to make that stuff fun. Also I would really like the story stuff of the next game to not be so obtuse. I hear so many people prattle on about the lore of Dark Souls but man that stuff just passed me buy I have no clue about any of it. I know that there is a bunch of stuff that is on item descriptions and what not but I'm not sure that is enough to make me want to care about the lore side of it. Either way I'm buying it day one. Thats pretty much the brunt of what interesting announcements were made. There was a dumb trailer for AC3 DLC and another for Halo 4 Spartan Ops stuff but that is nothing to be extremely excited by.

I suppose I should wrap this up by actually talking a bit about some of the actual awards stuff. I was really excited for Humble Hearts even if they didn't stand a chance against journey in the indie game category the fact that one guy made that game and it was getting national attention on mainstream TV was fucking awesome. Good for him. Oh, and apparently Half-Life 2 is the game of the Decade? Personally I would have picked Portal. That is one game that really turned puzzle games on their ear. Also, a big WTF that Wii Sports was even nominated for that award. Really? Anywho, also The Walking Dead won GOTY which I guess I'm fine with. I don't have any fucking interest in the game but I had more interest in Assassins Creed 3 or Borderlands 2 not winning the fucking award. Especially Borderlands 2 ugh fuck that game so hard. I guess I should end this now lest this turn into a rant about why Borderlands 2 is so awful. Which honestly might be a future topic... cause I haven't outright hated a game like I do the Borderlands franchise in a long long while. Anyways, GOTY season is starting up and I can't wait to see what the bomb crew cooks up this year. What are you guys expecting from the discussions? I'm expecting a lot of X-com praise and also I wouldn' t be surprised if Jeff at least pushes for a nom for WWE 13' for something I don't think it will actually win anything but I think it at least gets a nom because of jeff. Also expecting a pretty big anti-TWD agenda from Jeff. Should be fun. Dunno what I'm going to write up about tomorrow but I'll figure it out! Gotta end this and go play some Far Cry 3. It is pretty damn good!

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My dumb blog thing: 12/7/12

Happy Track Wreck day! If you're wondering what Im talking about the VGA's are tonight and its going to be as fun as watching a pile-up on I-70. Will there be teabagging? Will there be awkward skits? Will host Sam Jackson kiss Nolan North on the lips? Okay, so the last one probably won't happen but it be damn funny if it did. Anyways, I'm back with my second round of whatever "this" is. Heh, no surprise nobody responded yesterday wrasslin doesn't seem to be the most liked of topics round these parts. I've been taking a ton of visits to remote tropical islands lately on one there is pirates and the other zombies. Lets leave the pirates for another day and talk about.....

Yay zombies! Everyone loves zombies right? Well, except for the folks trapped on this island. So I managed to dodge this game last year somehow and never picked it up. Wal-mart (also known as my work...bleh) was having a black friday sale on this for a whopping $10! So I decided if there were any copies left when I went on my break that friday I would pick it up and try it out. Turns out that unsurprisingly if you tell people something is $10 they are most likely going to buy it in droves regardless of what the game actually is. So...no copies left. Then I came into work on I think Monday and there in the case was sitting a single copy of Dead Island. Someone in all the black friday fervor must have threw it on a random shelf in the store. Sadly, it was back to the normal 15 bucks but I said FUCK IT! So now here I sit knee deep in the shit with zambies all around me. I actually really like the game and per one Bradly Shoemaker's advice I turned on the analog fighting. At first it is really clunky to get used to but once you do the feeling of slicing off a few limbs is pretty great.

This game is really one example of the systems being what sell the game instead of pretty graphics. There is a ton of interesting things going on in the game with the modding system and skill trees and as mentioned before the game's presentation side is well uh... sorta awful. Models are ugly textures are bad it just looks cheap. I'm glad however that Techland decided to make sure not to sacrifice the game play part of it. I'm only in ACT 2 right now but I'll say I'm mostly enjoying the game albeit playing it in small bursts. Possibly a review in the future if i finish it. We'll see....oh yeah and this happened yesterday....

I'm well... confused. This doesn't look like Star Trek at all. First off the narration instantly made me roll my eyes. I had to double check I wasn't watching the Dark Knight trailer or something again. Okay, ominous voice yes our world is in danger. Oh and now your matrix jumping and all dressed in black? Who is this guy? He is saying he has "returned" as if we should know. Oh and at 0:41 there is the most glorious fake looking scream ever. All of this littered through action shots with explosions and dudes walking slowly with guns drawn. Then more exposition from ominous voice then oh no explosions! Look, I'm not a huge Star Trek fan but I had to sit through enough TNG episodes as a kid while my dad watched them that this is nothing like Star Trek. Hell, I liked the first movie too but again that seemed like... Star Trek. Its just one trailer and obviously they want to make a sizzle reel to pull in people who just like bang bang action so I HOPE there is actual stuff in this movie that is more in line with Star Trek. Ya know... ship battles and space and crazy holo deck shenanigans. Well, I'll appreciate any responses but if not....eh... I understand. Anyways, tomorrow will probably be a recap of the awful awful fantastic-ness that was the VGA's I'll be most likely LIVE tweeting during the train wreck so if you want to follow along give me a follow at @GNT_Josh on Twitter.

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My dumb blog thing: 12/6/12

So its been a weird few days for me. Some things good and others bad. I had a moment the other day though where I was really wanting something positive to put my energy into. So I decided that I was going to write something every day no matter what it was. I want to try to get better at it and well... the only way to do that is to just fucking do it. So I might review a game or talk about a movie or whatever is on my mind at the time. I'm going to try to steer away from personal stuff mostly for everyone else's sake because I don't want this to turn into fucking LiveJournal or something. So that is that i guess. If you want to hear me ramble on about things well here is the place to do it. For right now I'm just going to use Giantbomb as my home for this stuff. So if for whatever reason you want to read this stuff then here is the place to do it. Not doing this for an audience though mostly doing this for myself to just help try to improve my writing skills by doing something every day no matter how small some days it may be.

Which brings me to my first subject today. Wrasslin. In particular I want to talk about how damn amazing the last year has been. Last year CM Punk sat Indian style on the entrance ramp mic in hand and gave a promo that sparked a number of things happening. Now there are a lot of people who I know are of the opinion that WWE squandered the momentum coming off of that promo. While the Kevin Nash/Triple H angle was extremely dumb and went absolutely nowhere the thing they did do right was put the WWE title back on punk at Survivor Series. Its day 381 and CM Punk is still WWE champion. He is the longest reigning champion of the past 25 years. He has beaten Hulk Hogan , John Cena hell even one of the men he idolizes himself Randy "Macho Man" Savage. We have been afforded some fantastic matches because of it. Who ever thought that CM Punk vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE title would be a thing? Nobody. Both of these guys are not the typical bodybuilder macho guy archetype that Vince and the WWE likes. Oh and we also got the return of Chris Jericho which was absolutely amazing. Chris in my opinion is one of the best ever. Wrestling fan or not I really suggest everyone check out his books that he wrote. Sadly Chris left to do his music thing with Fozzy which he seems genuinely into and while Id rather see him in a wrestling ring I can't blame the guy for seeding other career paths for himself. I think my favorite match of the year was the one between Chris and Dolph Ziggler on Monday Night Raw.

Which brings me to the last thing I'm going to drone on about today. Dolph Ziggler is the BEST up an coming star in the WWE and I really hope that he gets his time to shine as World Heavyweight or WWE Champion. The guy deserves every bit of it. He is like Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels rolled into one. He can make any guy in the ring look like a million bucks and he can also look like a million bucks working a guy over. I really hope at the upcoming PPV that he doesn't lose to John Cena and lose his MITB contract. That would be a huge shame. If Dolph actually held on to the case and cashed in a Wrestlemania I'd pull a Jerry Lawler and have a heart attack. Okay I lied...one more quick note. I think people give Triple H too much shit HE is the reason that Ambrose , Rollins and Reigns are on TV right now. He is better at finding and pushing young talent then I think many people give him credit for. THAT is the exciting part here going into 2013 we have all of these young guys like Ambrose and Maddox that are the stars of tomorrow. I'll be excited and slightly horrified to see what happens at TLC in two weeks. If you've read this far I wish I could give you some sort of cookie or something. Anyways, I'm done for today I'll be back tomorrow with erm...something. I think I might talk about the new Star Trek trailer and possibly Dead Island. So if you care to hear about that same place same channel tomorrow.

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My awesomely radical look at what I played in 2012

So, hey there! I've been wanting to do a blog again simply because I dunno... I just want to! So, I'm sitting here with my browser open with a list of games that came out in 2012. Its been a crazy year and honestly the other day I was trying to think what all I played this year and while I can name a bunch of things I figured there might be things that slipped through the cracks. So, basically if your up to reading my rambles I'm going to go down this list and pick out the things I've played this year and comment on them. I'm sure there will be a heaping of GOTY blogs rolling around within the next month or so. This really isn't a GOTY thing its more of just a look back on the year. I often find that I don't truly start to form opinions on games until a few months out and I look back on them. Its easy to come off a game hot and pronounce it GOTY BITCHES!

I always feel that the true games that matter to you should still have that high of an opinion from you 6 months after the fact. So anyways lets jump in!

January

Kupo, Kupo, Kupo, Kupo?

So they say never start the show with a show stopper. I'm sure there are tons of people who will disagree with me on this and hey... you are free to do so! Final Fantasy XIII-2 might be still (possibly) be my favorite game of the year. The year also started off on a down note for me. I got laid off from my job right at the beginning of the year. HAPPY NEW YEAR I HAVE NO JOB! So, I already had FFXIII-2 coming to me and seeing as I had a lot of time on my hands it actually was the perfect fit for a whole month of being jobless. Its one of those things but I really can't pinpoint why I love the characters from the XIII universe but I do. Seeing as XIII-2 pretty much fixed everything that was wrong with XIII it was an amazing experience. Its also one of the very few games on PS3 that I have a Platinum trophy for. I had a lot of fun talking about the game with a few people on here about it and made a few new forum friends. It was a treat for sure and I'm pretty excited to see where XIII:Lighting Returns goes!

February

Man, looking back through this list Febuary was a PACKED month so lets get to it! First up is a game I think I actually got to later in the year but since it debuted in February it counts. Darkness II kicked off Feb with another quest for revenge as Jackie Estacado. Its a game that I think many people passed over because it was so short and it is VERY short. How short you ask? Well, the day I played it I woke up early in the day went to the redbox and rented it I had it returned to the redbox after the credits rolled by the time dinner was on the table at 7pm or so that night. Still, you should play it! The powers you get this time actually matter a lot more and there are a TON of them. Its almost Bulletstorm like with the ways you can setup kills that is if you want to. And just like the first game there are a good many emotional hooks that drive jackie's revenge filled rage. The ending left me stunned. It was one of those GIVE ME THE SEQUEL NOW moments. Especially if your a fan of the comics they really do the source material justice here. At this point its most likely really cheap so give it a play!

Next up is my front runner for most disappointing game of the year Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning. I was actually very pumped for this game I played the demo multiple times tweaking my character trying new builds. Then I bought the game and well....just no. Its not a bad game mind you its just boring. I really tried getting into it several times but never caught on. On paper the game sounded like a bonafied winner. You had outstanding talent on this project but in the end it just felt devoid of a soul like the perfection almost was too much and instead of creating a masterpiece created something that was functional on all levels but just stale. They wanted me to buy into their fantasy world and care about it but there was no reason too. Its also a shame the studio went under man... that was an awful thing it was pretty painful just to keep reading all the news stories coming out of that situation. Oh well...they all can't be winners.

From meh to amazing Twisted Metal was the next thing on my list. I REALLY liked this game. I felt Jaffe did a great job of walking that fine line of trying to appeal to the old school fans while still making it modern and hip to the new gamers. Unfortunately the online suffered from lag and connection issues a plenty. I do think they worked most of the kinks out eventually but it sucked getting booted seemingly for no reason from matches. I do believe twisted metal was the last game I managed to play with the bomb guys on TNT. If you go back and watch you can see at one point Ryan gets picked up by a helicopter which I was piloting. I was having trouble releasing him from the magnet and ended up unwittingly giving him a birds-eye view tour of the city instead. It was a lot of fun playing with the community and overall a really fun game. I actually manged to 100% it on the hardest difficulty in campaign which was a fucking BITCH. Man, that last level was fucked. It was a great time though!

Big Boooooooooooooooo

And the Feb games keep coming! Binary Domain is next up and still has to be my under the radar game for this year. The only reason I had any interest is because I've been a fan of the Yakuza series when I heard the director of the Yakuza series was taking his hand at a shooting game I had to see what he came up with. The first few levels were sort of bland and reeked of a budget gears of war. However once you meet the crew that is where things really start to pop-off. I mean for god fucking sake you meet a french robot. Not even just french made but he speaks with a ridiculously overdone french accent as well. Oh, and of course who could forget Big Bo. The shooting in the game is really surprisingly satisfying too. Robots break apart and shatter as you shoot them. Going for things like head shots are vital but for the opposite reason as it is in most games. Doing a headshot doesn't kill the robots but instead makes the robots "beserk" and shoot everything around them often killing their own squad mates. The action feels great and there is a slight progression system that keeps things fresh and lets you upgrade your weapons of choice.

Rounding out Feb is none other than Coonce approved SSX. This marked the return of the franchise in what... years right? Surprisingly it was a fun game but also this game was a total blitzkrieg. There was like a week possibly two where this game was super hot and that was the time to play it. If you didn't have friends playing the game fell a little flat simply because there was so little to do outside of the single player which was well...kinda dumb. The deadly decent were more often a pain in the ass that was tolerated to unlock the fun maps rather than something that you wanted to play. If your curious I'd say pick up the game but don't pay to much for it at this point I cant see anyone actually still playing it. I did enjoy my time with it however.

March

Well March saw a lot of fervor over the Mass Effect 3 stuff but luckily I avoided it and didn't play the game at all! Instead I started the month off with Street Fighter X Tekken which admittedly was a mistake... I don't think it is a bad game by any stretch however I should have known better as I really don't get "into" fighting games as much as some people do well...outside a few outliers which I'll get to later on. The game was kooky and colorful I'll give it that and the addition of an overweight middle aged mega-man straight from the cover of Mega Man 1's NES box art is the most hilarious thing I've seen all year. I ended up selling the game pretty quickly though. It does have a groundswell of support though as I know a group of my online buddies still play matches now and again. I guess it wasn't just for me.

*sigh* Ninja Gaiden Multiplayer

So Ninja Gaiden 3 happened. If you follow what I post on here on follow me on twitter , facebook etc... you know that I'm not shy at all about touting that Im a pretty big Team Ninja mark. In particular for Ninja Gaiden. So when NG3 came out I was holding my breath. I really wanted it to be good. Sadly, it kinda isn't now unlike the vast majority of people I don't hate the game either. I don't regret purchasing it (twice) either but it is without a doubt the weakest entry in the series. I still managed to have some fun with the game but the whole thing fell flat in many ways. The frame rate not being a blazing 60fps was the biggest crime this game committed Although hell... id have accepted 30fps if the damn game could have managed that. Add on to that a fairly tacked on multiplayer and its a pretty forgettable game not one that I hate by any means but one that I'm not exactly dying to play again anytime soon either.

April

Starting off April is Devil May Cry HD collection. Which honestly could be the biggest contender for game(s)? I spent the most time with this year. I've been a DMC fan but I never did finish DMC 1 nor was I able to witness the train-wreck that was DMC 2. The package sold for $40 and its the best money I spent all year. The games hold up fantastically. DMC 3 was and still is one of the best action games of all time. DMC 1 was interesting to play and you can see the underlying influences left by Resident Evil back when the game was supposed to be RE4. And holy hell... what a disaster DMC 2 was. A story that made abso-fucking-lutely no sense at all game play that was pretty stilted and dry and environmental that look like they had to be taken from a PS1 game they were so dull and lifeless. Mind you this is a tremendous feat you should applaud DMC 2 for being as bad as it is because it took actual work. You fight a demon skyscraper. Yes, Dante fights a fucking skyscraper that turns into a demon and they somehow managed to fuck even THAT up. On paper that sounds like some Asura's wrath or Bayonetta level fuckin' crazy and yet they STILL managed to make it dull. Astounding.

Boobs. The witcher 2 has them.

Whew enough negativity! Lets talk about something awesome like the Witcher 2. So, last year I actually bought witcher 2 for PC and my PC can "kinda" run it I don't know why my PC just doesn't like the game AT ALL. Even running on lowest settings across the board I still get hitches and frame drops. So, I was eager to take a hit on the graphical fidelity and buy the 360 version so I could experience the game. Its really amazing what they did with this version of the game it controls great using the 360 pad. And the story is actually very compelling and makes you feel like your not making binary choices that trigger logic gates in the game but making real choices that impact the world. The combat is much much improved from the first game and I really enjoyed combining magic and swordplay to take out enemies. CD Project Red is an amazing company too in the 360 version at no extra cost they included a strategy guide and the OST for the game. A pretty damn awesome move on their part. If you have a 360 you should REALLY play this game.

May

Booze and guns is always a combination for sucess.

Oh boy. In May I only played two games but they are two that are among my favorite games of the year! First up is Max Payne 3. I was super super super did I mention super skeptical about this game. I had my "DmC moment" when I initially saw Max bald and in south america and was all NOPE! The Max Payne games to me have always been special and they were fantastically fun romps through film noir. Its actually what got me to fall in love with film noir alongside reading the sin city comics from Frank Miller. Rockstar however did this game justice with room to spare. You can tell it is most certainly "Rockstar's" take on what Max is but they do it well. Max isn't a hero in fact you spend most of your game hating him as much as he hates himself. Surprisingly enough the Multi-player is actually well done! It manages to feel like an addition to the experience instead of being something that feels tacked on to add a bullet point to the back of the box. Rockstar however is one of the few companies that can pull that off. Also, Max has an amazing soundtrack if you've got Spotify look it up its well worth a listen!

Dragon's Dogma is another game on my Holy shit... this game is actually good list. Everything leading up to the release of this game made me think this thing was going to be a disaster. After much urging by a friend I downloaded the demo and tried it out. It took me about a minute before I had a big dumb grin on my face as the griffin flew around with me hanging off of him stabbing him in the neck. Capcom really nailed this game the quests might be mostly busywork but I found them fun to do simply because fighting stuff is so much fun. The pawn system is another step forward in online features that include a community without having to have direct multiplayer. Renting out your pawn to see him/her come back with thousands of RP and items made you almost feel like a proud parent. Dragon's Dogma also has to have the most bizzare story of the year as well. The game is pretty light on story elements until you get the "real" ending. After which you get hit with a feast of exposition that promptly puts you on your ass in bewilderment at what you just heard. Its a cool twist and one that was the cherry on top for playing through the game. Really excited for the "Dark Arisen" expansion pack that was touted and the game did financially well for Capcom so a sequel seems to be in the works and that is really good news!

June

Oh Lollipop Chainsaw how I love you. So, true this game wasn't directed by Suda51 but it was inspired by his ideas and his brand of wacky sure does shine through in the game. Its a genuinely funny game and at least I enjoyed the game play. I know there were people on both sides of the fence on this game some really didn't like it others like me found it pretty fun. Its pretty much all par for the course with Suda games however No More Heroes was a pretty polarizing game as well. I have a soft spot for B-Horror and the game firmly sits between being a cross between a 80's teen comedy and a Horror flick. The banter between Juliet and Nick is almost always funny and the game has THE best soundtrack of the year. If you say why I will point you directly to Pac-Man Fever. You fight zombies to Pac-Man Fever. Any argument against that is invalid. Put on top of the expertly used licensed tracks a fantastic original bunch of tracks by Akira yamaoka and the damn game is packed with great music.

I forgot Spec-Ops:The Line even existed. However, it turned out to be one of the most interesting games of the year. It by no means is a stellar game in the game play department in fact it is pretty by the numbers and the multi player is just as awful as when I played the closed beta for it back in 2010. What id does do is weave a intersting narrative tale of three soldiers spiraling down into the mouth of madness. I don't think it hit the exact level of emotinal resonance that it was striving for but you sure felt awful after playing the game. There are absolutely no heroes in the game and it actively makes you feel bad for being violent. Its a interesting take on a shooter and while it doesn't do anything new as far as gameplay goes it sure makes you take an interesting look at shooters and even ponder violence in games as a whole. I would recommend everyone play it but ONLY if you find it for cheap.

July

So uh...wow. July was pretty barren all around in fact I didn't buy a single retail game in July apparently. What I did manage to play was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD Remix Turbo edition.....oh right right this wasn't made by capcom. Ahem. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD. So I had no idea what to expect from this game because lets face it Tony Hawk has been as a depressing mess as David Hasslehoff eating a cheeseburger in a drunken fit. It wasn't exactly great either but...its eh....okay. The first thing is how can you NOT hit 60fps with this game? Just like a fighting game the timing on some things are so precise that you kinda need the fluidity of 60fps to get the most out of the game. The game play was just kind of clunky some things like wall rides were very very particular about how you did them the controls just felt "off" you can insantly tell it isn't made by Neversoft. Enough bashing on the game though. Robomodo did their best and honestly its the best thing with tony hawk since well... THPS 4. Oh, and avoid the PC version at all costs because I hear that version is FUUUUUUUUCKED. If it goes on sale on XBLA pick it up if you were a old school fan.

August

So hey August was a busy month. Darksiders II started it all off with promises of loot and apocalypses. I really enjoyed the first game in the series and was pretty excited to give this one a go. It was a fun game and I even S-Ranked it just like the first Darksiders however I just don't think this game was up to the same level that the original game was. They had a bigger budget and it felt like they threw any idea in the game instead of trying to just build on what they had. The seeming lack of restraint lead to a lot of filler and padding and I quite nearly outright quit the game and sold it. There is something to be said with what they did with the first game they made a filet mignon out of a McDonald's cheeseburger budget. It will be interesting to see what they do for DLC in the future.

The other game I bought from the Summer of Arcade this year was none other than Dust: An Elesian tail. I really thought this game looked amazing the art style is fantastic and the fact that ONE dude made it is mindblowing. The combat is pretty damn tight and its just overall a joy to play and by far the best thing offered this year on the Summer of Arcade. Unfortunately it also spawned a ton of really dumb discussion about furries. Its disappointing that so many people let their distaste for the furry culture get the better of them and skip the game. I still don't think the majority of people who outcry against furries even understand the culture behind it. But hey...what can ya do?

Fidget is shocked how many people didn't play Dust!

Wei-Shen is a dangerous man. This is something you find out VERY quickly in Sleeping Dogs. Yet another game that seemingly out of nowhere managed to be great even with a development history nearly as troubled as something along the likes of Duke Nukem Forever. Right out of the gate this game feels different than a Saints Row or a GTA. Sure, your a cop so there is that but what is more you are driving on the right side of the left side of the road instead of the right you are using martial-arts instead of shooting its a slice of another culture and it is delivered up in grand style. The game really makes you feel like you are in China taking on the Triad. Instead of having very linear choices of being "bad cop" or a "good cop" it just actively rewards you for both making you play missions the way you want to gain more experience points for either Triad or Cop abilities Each skill tree is useful which makes you think about how you play missions instead of driving like maniac you often make sure you don't hit cars or signposts so you don't lose any potential cop points. When your going after triad points the game makes you think what is the most fucked up thing I can do to the poor soul I'm about to kill. Shove his face into a table saw? Check. Feed him into an ice chipper? Check. Butcher Knives, Baseball bats and crowbars? Check , check and check. Its a shame the game apparently didn't sell all that well because it was by far one of the biggest surprises of the year I think for everyone.

September

September was fighting game month. Tekken Tag 2 started out the month for me and I really bought this game on a whim I have not liked a Tekken game since well... Tekken 3 and I figured this was going to turn out much like Street fighter X Tekken and be something I quit playing within a few days of getting it. I was however SO wrong. I've already reviewed the game and made most of my thoughts really clear about the game but safe to say I think namco really pulled the franchise back together with this one. With free DLC rolling out into the game there is still reasons to keep playing Tekken Tag 2 into the distant future.Oh hey...there might have been another little game that I was excited about all year. Hmm..what was it? I think it had Ninjas and girls in it? You guys know? Oh right...Dead or Alive how could I forget. I mean I pretty much was the one man hype band for the game for most of the year writing forum post after post along with blogs about the game. And I've been enjoying it and still been playing it. Its great and its a nice new direction for the series I just REALLY wish they would get the netcode figured out as I've got nothing left in the game to do except well online fights. I really do hope the community stays strong online for this as I think it will be a go to game for me for quite a while.

Lei-Fang and Mila are shocked how good the game is!

October

Stabbin dudes like UH,UH,UH,UH.

Oh hey, October! We are nearly done here! So far October has been a LOT of Resident Evil 6. A game which has sent the boards into a frenzy over the last two weeks. Some hate it others don't and the clashing between the two sides has been interesting. I've been enjoying the game though. Sure, I'd like if the franchise went back to survival horror bringing back ink ribbons and all. However, if this is where they want to take the franchise then well.. I'll stay along for the ride. I enjoy the characters and while I don't seriously follow the fiction outside of the main games I do enjoy seeing Chris , Leon and the rest of the characters from the franchise. I don't think there is much left to say about it really. What I'm currently playing is Dishonored. Which I'll be popping in as soon as I'm done with this. I've spent a ton of time in the game already and only on the 3rd mission and had a lot of fun with the game. The levels are pretty sprawling leaving you to you own devices as to how you want to handle them. Although, seemingly it does want to push you to doing stealth/non-lethal but regardless you can play the way you want to. I'll be excited to see how the game wraps up but I think I might restart the game entirely actually.

Nov/Dec

So lot of big releases coming out in the last bit of the year as expected. Not sure what I'll get into possibly some Halo 4 depending on how much money I have Farcry 3 might even be an option. Oh then there is Hitman too. Lot of interesting choices. It will also be a fun time as the GOTY madness that hits the site is a an absolute gold mine of entertainment. Well, if you've read all this babble I wish I could give you a reward or something but I'm fresh out of cookies as I just ate the last one I had. I do look forward to seeing what will happen in 2013. Giantbomb has always been a fun place to hang out and I sure enjoy coming here. I'm ready for 2013's craziness! Boshock, DmC, Metal Gear Revengence the year is starting off strong!

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I'm a Fighter how about you?

Dead or Alive gets serious

So, hey another post from me about DOA right? I know, surprising right? I recently read an article by one Vincent Ingenito of IGN. His article "Dead or Alive 5 gets serious" basically gave me the idea to write this. A quote from the article:

"Now, I would never try to argue that DOA is deeper or more competitively viable than its iron-fisted cousin, but its fluidity, speed, and responsive controls have always made it my 3D fighter of choice."

This more or less describes my sentiment for the series. I've always felt that Dead or Alive never gets the respect it deserves. Sure there is fanservice and the breast physics in the last game looked like gerbils trying to escape a water balloon but it seems Dead or Alive gets picked on for this when well....

They are hardly alone. The only difference about DOA is they are up front and honest about it. You know from the get go what your getting into and even if you find large breasts swinging at pendulous angles distasteful or even sexist at least you have to respect their honesty about it. That being said Dead or Alive 5 still doesn't shy away from that no, the pre-order bikinis are in full force in the collectors edition. What has changed is you have to actively buy into the fan service part of the game. Whats more breast sizes while not "realistic" have been toned down as well as more realistic breast physics that react to what kind of clothes the girl is wearing instead of just looking like the aforementioned gerbil in the water balloon.

Hey handsome, pre-order at gamestop now!

The game has always been heavily anime inspired in their character designs but no more. Redesigned faces have lead to the girls (and guys) having more distinct and realistic faces. Not only have the faces been overhauled but the levels as well some of the scenery in the game is beautiful from fighting on a rooftop of a skyscraper in construction in the heart of the city to fighting in a beautiful japanese garden complete with cherry blossoms the scenery is varied and beautiful. And its not just for looks either one of the other big series trademarks have always been elaborate stages with breakable walls and secret areas leading to expansive fights with ever changing scenery.

The slogan of DOA 5 is "I'm a Fighter" which has been prominently displayed on almost all of the promotional material. Its a rallying cry for fans and a promise to outsiders who have never enjoyed the series. Dead or Alive is about the fighting. The second major issue that people always seem to have with Dead or Alive is that they feel its too "mashy" and casual. You wouldn't be wrong either Dead or Alive has always had a general appeal to newcomers the pool is fairly shallow. Hit a few buttons and Ayane is twirling around and doing fancy manuvers with out much input at all. The new Team Ninja is trying to change all of that to hit that broader appeal between casual players and the interest of the more serious FGC crowd. Few games have ever done both. The addition of a few new systems along with input directly from fans and pro players alike might just tip the scales in DOA 5's favor though. The biggest and most obvious change is the "Power Blow"

The power blow is a charge move designed to turn the momentum of a fight on a dime. After unleashing the attack a series of automated hits unleash dealing a ton of damage as well as giving you the change to target where the final strike will send your hapless opponent. In the alpha build of the game the Power Blow could be used at will any time in the fight. Fans instantly cried out to Team Ninja to change this and the move was tweaked and balanced accordingly. In the final build of the game once you are under 50% health you can attempt a power blow move. There is still one issue...the windup on the moves is humongous and leaves you extremely vulnerable. This was the next issue Team Ninja had to solve. Pro players would never use this it still felt like a gimmick that was strung on to a feature list and not a important part of the game play. Enter critical bursts. Critical bursts are the second major revision to the combat of Dead or Alive 5 specific hits on some combos will initate a critical burst putting your opponent into a completely vulnerable state. This is different from being in a critical stun state. Critical stuns allow for players to still counter using holds making the guaranteed damage of a critical burst a game changer. The stun state allows for JUST enough time for a power blow to be pulled off. This makes power blows actually viable in real play. Its the same fight changer that combing into a ultra in street fighter 4 can be.

Yeah, I kick high too.

Dead or Alive 5 has its work cut out for it. Its releasing in a month where Borderlands 2 is coming out as well as the more direct competition of Tekken Tag Tournement 2. Its going to be a rough fight both are great games Dead or Alive still has a bit of a juvinile image to shed. I think they are on the right path. I'll be honest I was extremely skeptical for a long time about this game. Metroid Other M was a pretty botched effort as well as Ninja Gaiden 3. The new Team Ninja is full of young and new talent so they made a few mis-steps. Its hard to win someones trust back when the price of admission to the show is $60. Everything I've seen regarding DOA 5 including my hands-on play time with the Alpha build felt great. The game looks amazing the fidelity of the character models is actually pretty stunning. This seems like a project that the learning from the previous failures was applied too. Just like the name sake of the game the reputation of Team Ninja might just be dead or alive with fans if this doesn't go over well. It seems though that they have build a ground swell of trust. One company that has faith in Team Ninja is none other than SEGA. If I told you at the launch of Dead or Alive 4 that the sequel would feature Virtua Fighter characters I would have been laughed at and mocked. And rightly so, as Virtua Fighter is considered to be one of the most dense and technical fighters period in the world. Akira Yuki's moveset is considered to be one of the most complex movesets in all of fighting games. On one hand lets face it... SEGA is hurting for money so that was most likely a huge part of this deal but whats more Virtua Fighter is a brand that matters to SEGA. In Japan Virtua Fighter is a major major part still to this day of the arcade scene in Japan. This isn't just about money for SEGA its about trusting their brand with another company. Its a company that has faith in Team Ninja's ability to deliver this as a quality product.

Even if you don't buy DOA 5 I hope you try DOA 5. Its a game with a lot to prove and it won't be earth shattering it won't win any GOTY awards. I'm sure Persona 4:Arena or Tekken Tag Tournament 2 have a better chance at being the next FGC darling than DOA 5 but at its core what Dead or Alive is all about is fun. Its the reason I adore the series. Its fun to shit talk friends while playing some local play. Its fun playing arcade mode and seeing all of the absurd ending movies. Its a fighter that isn't intimidating like so many can be. Its about just not giving a damn and not taking games so seriously. Sometimes, mashing buttons is all you need to feel like your having a good time. However hopefully with the new additions a more dedicated scene might pop up. Its the ever yearning question in game design. How do you appeal to the masses and at the same time appeal the core audience? Dead or Alive 5 might not have all the answers to those questions but at least it's trying. And dammit I'm a fighter. How about you?

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My Top 5 of the year.... (so far)

So, Its a good 6 months into 2012 which means were about at the halfway point of the year. The summer solstice is soon and soon we'll be heading to into the fall which means a torrent of good games after the absolute famine that is the summer months. So, if anyone cares to actually read here is the 5 games I've enjoyed so far the most this year. In no particular order.....

1.Final Fantasy XIII-2

The direct sequel to 2010's Final Fantasy XIII which was a very polarizing game to say the least. It improved on many aspects of the game. One of the irritations of the first game saw you reaching a game over screen any time your leader character died regardless of the situation. It was a poor choice for an other wise at least in my mind awesome game and was fixed the sequel along with a host of other minor tweaks. Replacing the third party member with monsters that you can swap in and out and collect and combine and raise left the game with many obvious pokemon undertones that made it an addicting addition to the game. Overall one of my favorite things to come out this year. The ending was a bit crazy and I have yet to download the "Lighting" DLC pack which apparently explains a good bit more of story. I wouldn't mind seeing a FFXIII-3 to be honest as I'm really digging this story but.... even the FF fanboy in me knows that would be pushing it. Still, amazing game, amazing music. Loved my 80 hours with it.

2.Binary Domain

BIG BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Okay, now that I have the obligatory craziness out of the way let me say this is such a gem in the rough. I bought this game solely on the notion that famed Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi worked on it. I'm a huge fan of the Yakuza series after stumbling upon it in the series PS3 debut with Yakuza 3. Also, it just seemed well.. different from your usual take on the 3rd person shooter. Upon booting the game up it instantly feels like a horrible gears of war clone. If you stick out the pretty mundane first level though your in for a real treat. The game really opens up once you get your full squad at your disposal. Also, after a few upgrades your weapons start to feel pretty good as well. Bullets rip and tear protective covering off of enemy robots making shrapnel fly everywhere. You get a real tactile sense your actually blowing robots apart. The story gets really insane really quickly. And oddly enough the seemingly generic characters at the start of the game really all develop personalities that I really enjoyed being around. I mean... who could not love this face....

3.Lollipop Chainsaw

US & EU Box Art ...

Ever since Gamescom 2011 where it debut its trailer ive been championing this game left and right. I've been forever a Suda 51 fan. Even if his games are not always mechanically the most fun games you can't ever accuse him of being boring. Suda's style really shines through in the game as well. Its like a 80's teen romance comedy mashed together with 70's horror grindhouse into one tasty confection. One of my main worries all along with this game was well.. the combat. And out of the gate the combat does seem a bit stilted and awful but as I found myself leveling up I also found myself enjoying the game more and more. Juliet and Nick play off each other in such grandiose fashion that it had me consantly cracking up. And oh...my...god. Soundtrack of the year folks. From expertly timed licensed music usage to fantastic original pieces from Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame this game is and aural feast for the ears. Pac-Man fever is in this game people. Do I need to say more? What the hell is better in life than killing zombies while getting told by Buckner and Garcia about cramming quarters in Pac-Man arcade machines. Nothing I say. Nothing.

4.Twisted Metal

Final US cover

So this happened earlier in the year. I played a car combat game. Not only did I "play" a car combat game in 2011 but I played a car combat game for well over 70 hours and enjoyed every minute of it... well... minus the minutes I was searching for games or getting kicked out of games due to poor netcode or well.... okay.. the game had its share of problems and David Jaffe would be the first to own up to those problems. Whats more though is the story mode is actually really worth a shit. Sure , Twisted metal doesn't have the lore of a Mass Effect or a Fallout but watching sweet tooth get pissed and murder people is fucking fun. And fuck... I got to play online with The Giantbomb guys during TNT and whooped their asses a few times and even got to chill and play some matches with Jaffe too which was damn awesome. Jaffe had constantly preached that he wanted the CARS to be the characters in this game and have personality and individual traits. I think its something that they pulled off for the most part. Fast cars like kamakaize are really good at capturing leaders in Nuke while some characters like Mr. Grimm are Glass Cannons who are able to wipe the floor with people while always being perilously close to their own death. Its a fun balance and it actually makes you think a bit about who you choose and why.

5.Dragons Dogma

So, I've beaten this game 2 times working on a 3rd. I currently have 150 hours in it. Its one of my favorite games of the year and I quite nearly passed it by. One of my buddies kept hounding me and hounding me "Hey, dude play the Dragon's Dogma Demo I think you'll like it!" So, after being hassled for awhile I decided what the hell. All it took was playing that griffon battle one time. I'm honestly still shocked at how damn good this game is. For all of the flaws the game has like ample screen tearing, flat textures and even bad frame rate can't keep this game's combat from being just damned fun. Each time you level up a vocation its genuinely exciting to get back from your journey to see what neat new skills you unlocked to use. The pawn system is also a stroke of genious. Its a lot of fun to go and hire your friends pawns for battle and even more awesome when your pawn comes back from an adventure in another world full of presents that the person gave you. I'm sitting on stupid amounts of Rift Crystals right now and I'm still like a proud parent every time Risty my pawn comes back with a high approval rating. I've done some of the same mundane quests now over 3 times as I'm on my 3rd playthrough of the game and yet it doesn't matter to me. The fun is in the combat. Seeing your characters improve finding new and exciting armor and weapons. And yes people regardless of what Patrick was saying on the Bombcast there IS loot hell one poster on Gamefaqs Dragon's Dogma message board even made a detailed list of drop percentages for chests in the game. By far one of my favorite things this year and to think I almost passed it up because of initial bad reports about the game.

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First Glance: Final Fantasy XIII-2

So I've spent only a few hours with Final Fantasy XIII-2 however the surface improvements are already popping up in a number of ways. First thing I noticed was the game now auto-saves in specific spots which is great. Also the ability to pause the game and save anywhere is available which is a great addition although should have already been a thing in the previous game seeing as thats well... modern game design.

The combat seems largely unchanged although the ability to "tune" Paradigms exists now. "Tuning" paradigms allows you to indirectly influence what your AI partners will do in the role you've selected for them for a paradigm. For instance...you can have magic casters focus on AOE attacks or make them focus fire on a single enemy. A tool that might end up being helpful in later battles. The graphics are still fairly stunning although the frame rate does seem to be hovering in the high 20's (I'm playing the PS3 version). Still, not a deal breaker.

The other major change I've noticed right off the get go is the Crystarium System is slightly changed. No longer do each role have its own Crystarium "timeline" of sorts. You have a specific cost for the next section of the crystarium and you choose which role you want to upgrade. This means that the crystarium is even more linear and you don't get to choose your abilities. On the bright side this could influence people to make distinct "builds" of characters instead of just willy nilly dumping into everything.

Have not gotten to the monster section of the game yet. Still very very early on. I'll post further updates and possibly a review in the future. Now back to the land of androgyny!

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