Quick Update

I haven't been here in a while, so I figured I'd just do a quick update on what I've been up to.

  • I got Call of Duty: World at War, Saints Row 2, and Chrono Trigger DS for Christmas. I'm enjoying all of them so far, though World at War has taken up the largest chunk of my gaming time for the past few months.
  • Bought Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. It's awesome.
  • Bought Skate 2. It's also awesome, though very frustrating.
  • Was just in the hospital for three weeks, for reasons I won't get into right now, because I'm trying to keep this blog short. I was without games for three weeks, which really sucked. Actually, that's not true. I bought Chrono Trigger DS with me and the hospital had a PS2 in every room and a pretty large library of games. I didn't play any of them though, because all I wanted to do was shoot stuff in Call of Duty.
  • Got out of the hospital last Friday, and immediately download the Lost and Damned. I'm about halfway through, and I'm really liking it.
  • Played Call of Duty 4 with my friend over the weekend, and now we're both completely hooked on it again (can't wait for the upcoming double XP weekend!). World at War is a good game and all, but it just isn't as good as Call of Duty 4. I personally think the tanks are overpowered, and there are way too many glitches in it, making for an experience that can be really frustrating sometimes.
  • I also got a Twitter account. My username is AtkinsonD if you wish to follow me, but I'm not very interesting. I originally got the account just to follow other people, but I'm trying to get into Twittering myself.
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Resident Evil 5 Demo Impressions from an RE Newbie

Resident Evil 5
I've never played any of the Resident Evil games before (or many survival horror games), but I was totally stoked for this because RE4 got so much acclaim and RE5 was supposed to be more of the same. But after playing the demo, I was decidedly less stoked. My biggest gripe with the game is the control scheme. Chris controls like a tank, and not being able to move while aiming sucks a lot more than I thought it would, mostly because he aims so slow. In addition to the janky controls, the inventory system is really clunky and unintuitive. You press Y to bring it up, and it appears in the middle of your screen. You then have to navigate to the item you want, press A, and then select an option such as equip or use from a menu. That's a lot of button presses just to bring out a simple item. And during all of this the action is still going on in the background. Granted, you can assign up 4 of your items to the D-pad to switch between without pulling up the inventory screen, but I still think it could have been more streamlined.

Some people try to justify the controls and inventory system by saying that it creates suspense during the game and makes it scarier, but that's just it: the game (or, at least, the demo) isn't scary to begin with, so the controls wind up hurting the game rather than helping it (not to mention I think there are better ways to create suspense than implementing a substandard control scheme). The only time I actually found myself fearing for my Chris's life was when the chainsaw wielding dude with the potato sack over his head started charging at me. Most of the other enemies were just annoyances or distractions to me, rather than real threats.

If the demo is any indication of the what full game is going to be like, Resident Evil 5 is not going to be a very good horror game. And unless they drastically change the controls, it doesn't look like it's going to be a very good action game either. As I mentioned in the beginning of this blog, I don't have much experience with survival horror, so maybe this is just what all games in the genre are like, and they're just not for me. Maybe I would appreciate it more if I had played previous RE games. I don't know. But as the game stands now, it does nothing for me.
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Update

Why hello there! It's been quite a while since my last blog. That's mostly because I haven't really been in the mood to write anything longer than a paragraph or two. I don't really know why but for the past week or so I've been saying to myself, "I'm going to write this blog today." and then never going through with it. I'm finally forcing myself to do it today, but I still don't feel like writing much, so I'll keep it short. Here's what I've doing gaming-wise for the past two weeks.

I bought Fallout 3 and have played about 12 hours of it so far. The game is great for the most part, combat being the only thing I'm not a big fan of. It was horrible in the beginning of the game. Shooting someone from three feet away and having half your shot miss even though your targeting reticule is on the person you're shooting at is very frustrating. I've been dumping assloads of points into my small arms skills since, so combat is at least tolerable now.

I also played the Mirror's Edge, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, and Tomb Raider: Underworld demos. I was on the fence about Mirror's Edge, but the demo pushed me over. It's now on my very long list of games to get when I have money. Nuts & Bolts was a pretty fun demo as well, though I thought the controls were a little too floaty. Tomb Raider: Underworld was just "okay". The level design is pretty mediocre. A lot of ledges are hard to see and it can be very confusing trying to find out where to jump to next. It doesn't help that the camera isn't that great either. I could see myself getting it at a reduced price, but I'll pass on paying $60 for it.

And of course yesterday I bought Gears of War 2. My friend spent the night at my house and we played roughly half of the split-screen campaign. And all I can say is wow. It's amazing how much better Gears 2 is than the first. The graphics, the controls, the story, the pacing of the campaign--everything has been improved. Me and my friend also tried out Horde mode with a friend. Not a lot of it, just the first ten waves so we could get the Dirty, Dirty Horde achievement. I'd like to go for all 50 waves sometime, but I think we'd need a full team of five people for that. The next time I see my friend we're going to go through the rest of the Gears 2 campaign, go back to the original Gears and run through the campaign on Insane, and then come back to Gears 2 and do that on Insane. Obviously not all in the same night, of course. I hope to try out some multiplayer tonight, so if you wanna play hit me up.

Last, but not least, my friend let me borrow Skate, so I'll be playing that along with Gears and Fallout. I hope these games last me for a good while, because I won't have enough money to get another game until December or so. That's all for now. So much for keeping it short, huh?

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Wannabe in LA

They should really add an option to embed images without having to add a caption.
On Thursday I bought a game, but it wasn't Fable 2 nor Far Cry 2. I shunned those two games in favor of a game that went under everyone's radar--Midnight Club: Los Angeles. I've been waiting for a great racer that I could dig into this year, and I'm glad to say that MC:LA delivers.

Rockstar San Diego did a really great job with designing the in-game version of Los Angeles. They took the most interesting parts of the real city and put them in the game, throwing away all the countless squared blocks of the city in order to create a version of the city made for racing. It has lots of landmarks from the real city and overall gives off a pretty good "LA vibe". The game's presentation is also pretty spectacular. The car models and the environment look great, but overall the game has a really good sense of style throughout. For example, when bringing up your map, the camera pans out from your car into a full 3D overhead view of the city. When you exit the map the camera pans back down to your car. It's a really cool effect and a good example of how much time they spent making every aspect of the presentation look great.

Of course, none of the fancy schmancy visuals matter if the gameplay isn't up to snuff, so it's a good thing that it is. Cars control very well, with each of the five classes of cars (tuners, muscle, exotic, luxury, and bike) having their own unique set of handling characteristics, though they all have a distincty arcadey feel to them. The game is absolutely packed with events of all different kinds. For example, there are ordered races, which are multi-checkpoint races where you go from one checkpoint to the next in order. There are highway races, which are basically ordered races but begin with a rolling start and are on the highway. There are also red light races, which are simple point A to point B races (think Burnout Paradise) where you must find the best route and take it. There are no checkpoints every few blocks to keep you on a leash. In addition to those race types, there are time trials, delivery missions, payback missions, series races, and more. There is no shortage of events in the game, and it seems like this game will take a very long time to beat (I've put about 6 hours into the game and am only 13% complete the career).

The only major downside to the game is that is pretty damn hard. The game is very fast paced. When you get up to speed, motion blur sets in and the camera starts shaking, making it somewhat hard to see where you are going and eventually you're bound to crash. And pretty much one crash in a race is all it can take to cost you the win. The AI is ruthless and almost never crashes into traffic. If they fall behind, they start rubberbanding and catch up in no time, but if they get ahead you don't get the same rubberbanding effect that they do. It makes the game extremely frustrating and I wish there were options for the difficulty. Still, even if you don't come in first all the time you can still progress in career mode, so it's not all bad. Besides, the difficulty does make every race exhilarating. I'm always on the edge of my seat because the AI is always right on my ass and I know that if I fuck up the race is over.

Overall, I'm really enjoying my time with Midnight Club. Besides the punishing difficulty, there really are no problems that I have with the game. If you liked Burnout Paradise's foray into the open world style of racing, you should give this game a shot, provided you're not easily frustrated.
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New Alan Wake Trailer

  


There it is, the first piece of Alan Wake media in around two years. I am officially excited for this game again. Of course, sometimes I have to wonder why I was even excited in the first place, being that they've shown pretty much no gameplay to date. Still, they know how to make a damn good trailer.

Also, the 20 free Rock Band DLC songs have been revealed.

  • The 88 - "Sons and Daughters"
  • Authority Zero - "No Regrets"
  • Between the Buried and Me - "Prequel To The Sequel"
  • The Cab - "Bounce"
  • The Chevelles - "Get It On"
  • The Cocktail Slippers - "Give It To Me"
  • Dealership - "Database Corrupted"
  • Endeverafter - "I Wanna Be Your Man"
  • The Ghost Hounds - "Ashes To Fire"
  • Hollywood Undead - "Young"
  • Kutless - "The Feeling"
  • The Len Price 3 - "If I Ain't Got You"
  • Lesley Roy - "I'm Gone, I'm Going"
  • Opiate for the Masses - "Burn You Down"
  • Semi-Precious Weapons - "Magnetic Baby"
  • Shaimus - "Like a Fool"
  • Thenewno2" - Crazy Tuesday"
  • Tickle Me Pink - "The Time Is Wrong"
  • Underoath - "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures"
  • X Japan - "I.V."

I've only heard of a few of the bands and don't really care for any of them. I can't really say I'm disappointed in the list, since I wasn't really expecting 20 tracks from big name bands for free. I do wish it had at least one song I know of and like, though. But what can I say? It's free.

I'm planning on getting Midnight Club: Los Angeles and preordering Gears of War 2 tomorrow. I've been needing a new game. Also, next week comes Fallout 3. With these three games and whatever else I get this year, I should be occupied for a good while.
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CoD:WaW Beta Impressions, Short Version

I just sat here for 45 minutes writing up some impressions of the World at War beta, and tried to add an image. When I did so, the editor went absolutely crazy and deleted everything I typed. I'm totally pissed off. Since I really don't feel like typing all that again, here's my short impressions of World at War, summed up in pretty bullet points just for you.

  • Pretty decent overall, however not as good as Call of Duty 4
  • Weapons don't sound very powerful, and as such aren't that satisfying to shoot
  • Seven kill streak reward is now a pack of dogs, which sniff out enemies and maul them
  • There are 65 levels and ten prestiges, and the more you prestige the more custom class slots you unlock (start out with five, end up with ten)
  • Tanks are very powerful, but the movement of both the tank and the turret is sluggish enough that they're not overpowered
  • The matchmaking system still sucks
  • I'm still really pissed my blog got deleted
  • Seriously, what the hell
  • There is now an option for the party leader to leave a lobby with your entire party
  • You can create and join squads. All squad members will be colored blue and the squad leader place a beacon on the map to show squad members where to go
  • Graphics are not as good as Call of Duty 4, but they're good enough
  • Assists give different amounts of XP (anywhere from 2-8) depending on how much damage you do to the person before someone else finishes them off
  • You can't throw grenades as far as you can in CoD4, so people don't try to spam them as much

That's really all I can think of right now. If you have any questions about the beta I'll try to answer them as best I can.
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Finished Gears of War

"Yeah! Wooo! Bring it on, sucka! This is my kinda shit!"
Since getting Gears of War back in July, I have barely played it. One of my friends went through it with me in co-op, but we only got to the middle of Act II in a 3 month time period. He just never really wanted to play it with me for long periods of time. So last week I thought, 'Screw it.' and asked another friend of mine if he'd like to complete it with me. So on Saturday and Sunday, we trekked through the entire game, going back to the beginning and collecting all the cog tags. Now I'm all caught up on Gears' story and ready to play Gears of War 2.

In other news, I got a code for the Call of Duty: World at War beta, so I'll be playing that a lot over the next few weeks. If you got in too and want to play sometime, hit me up.
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Upcoming Purchases/Other Stuff

No, my monies! :(
I got some money from my birthday back on September 29th, and I'm planning on using that to buy some games coming out soon.

First up on my list is Midnight Club: Los Angeles, which is being released on October 21st (just two more weeks!). I'm a pretty big racing game nut. I've been a big fan of the Midnight series since Midnight Club II, and it's been over three years since the release of the last Midnight Club game, so I'm ready for the sequel. The customization looks absolutely insane. Not only can you customize a ton of stuff on the outside of the car, but you can change a bunch on the inside as well! I've always loved pimping out my rides in racing games, and this seems to offer the most amount of customization I've seen in a racing game so far. Strangely, they haven't showed off much gameplay, but from what I've heard from previews it sounds like the handling is very arcadey, just like the other Midnight Club games, which is fine with me. Though I do have to say it is a bit worrying that I've hardly seen any straightforward gameplay (as in showing exactly what I'll see when I'm playing the game, as opposed to a bunch of cut and spliced trailers), but then again they did this with Grand Theft Auto IV too and that turned out fine.

The week after Midnight Club comes out, I'll be picking up Fallout 3. I've never played a Fallout game before, but I've been interested in Fallout 3 for a while now. Though I can't really say I was ever super excited for it. That is, until I saw these five gameplay videos. The game looks amazing. It reminds me a lot of Oblivion, and I really like Oblivion. It also seems to fix a lot of the problems I had with Oblivion, such as the fact that it had about 10 voice actors for the entire game and a bunch of samey environments (seriously, there were too many fucking caves in Oblivion--you've seen one cave in that game, you've seen them all). I really like the dark humor the game employs as well. It really looks great and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

On November 7th I'll be getting Gears of War 2. I was originally planning on getting Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts at launch instead of this, because of the $40 price point and the free download of the original Banjo Kazooie if you pre-order. But then I went on Gametrailers and started watching a bunch of videos of the game, and dude, this game looks awesome. Banjo will have to wait until later, because Gears has officially stolen my heart. The really seem to be going all out on improving this as much as they can, instead of just settling for making Gears 1.5 and raking in the cash. Most of the improvements seem pretty small, but I think when you add them all together you'll end up with a game that asbolutely blows the first iteration away. Speaking of the first Gears, I'm only on Act II right now. I was playing through split-screen co-op with my friend, but he hasn't been in the mood to play it with me for the longest time, so I'm about to say screw him and ask one of my other friends to help me out. I need to finish it before Gears 2 arrives.

I'll be purchasing other games after these, but this is pretty much what I'm planning to buy for the rest of October and early November. In other news, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time got here today. I only had the chance to play the first half an hour or so of it. It seems pretty good so far, though I hate the graphics. Not that I was expecting them to be amazing or anything. It's on the Nintendo 64 for god's sake. It's just that for some reason early 3D game's graphics (as in PS1 and N64 era) really bother my eyes. Sure, I was fine playing them back in the day, but now that I'm used to the visual fidelity of newer games, it's just hard to go back to the old days. Strangely enough, 2D games don't bother me at all. It's just 3D that I have a problem with. Despite the graphics, I'm sure I'll have a great time playng the game.
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