If It Wasn't For Ryan Davis

I should preface this by stating that I first found Giant Bomb when I was a mere 15 years young, and by most standards, relatively sheltered by Utah's weird "bubble". By mere chance, I discovered the Rogue Warrior Quick Look, and for a 15 year-old Mormon boy, it was pretty fucking blasphemous but also pretty fucking hilarious. I was hooked almost immediately. I have religiously consumed Giant Bomb's content for almost 4 years since then, and I don't know who I would be without it.

If it wasn't for Ryan Davis, I would be going on an LDS Mission in the near future.

If it wasn't for Ryan Davis, I wouldn't have made lasting friendships with people like Matt Pascual, Ben Pack, Arien Russel, and Jeff Philips.

If it wasn't for Ryan Davis, I would have had a lot more fun at high school, but I would not have learned nearly as much.

If it wasn't for Ryan Davis, I wouldn't be going to college in the fall with hopes to someday do something that would make him proud.

When I first heard the barking dogs at the beginning of the Rogue Warrior Quick Look, my father had in the recent months begin drinking ungodly amounts of alcohol, and in his drunken rage, abusing my mother and I. During this difficult and harrowing time of my life, I still had an avenue to find happiness. All I had to do was put on some headphones and type GIANT BOMB into the search engine, and it made the pain melt away for just long enough. In that moment, Jeff and Ryan and Vinny and Brad were there to inspire me, to make me laugh, and make me think critically in a place where doing so was frowned upon.

If it wasn't for Ryan Davis, I don't know who I would be.

Thank you for so much Ryan. I may have never met you, but you have changed my life.

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Kessler Run's Inaugural Dance Party (12-29-11)

As all great things do, it started with humble beginnings. When a group of friends on the prestigious guild "The Kessler Run" decided to celebrate what was thought to be the final moments of the server before maintenance. It began with Kanye West's "Power" blasted over and over again on my Twitch.tv live stream but then...

FROM THE ASHES... A BEAUTIFUL PHOENIX AROSE

...It became so much more. Words can not describe how beautiful and touching this moment was to all involved (except for Kessler, that lame-ass, sick fuck). So, without further ado, I give you a way to relive the memories. Or for those of you who had the most unfortunate luck of not being able to be there in this momentous occasion, an avenue to see what you missed.

Enjoy The Event of The Century in its purest form....

The raw, uncut version of the dance party. The hour and a half long even in its ENTIRETY (so forgive the terrible quality).

EDIT: Due to copious amounts of copyright infringement, the Youtube video has been taken down. In its stead, here is the even shittier Twitch.Tv version.

Now, the far more viewer-friendly version of the dance party. Thanks to MysteriousFawx for making this!

Some lovely screencaps from fellow Kessler Runners...

Quotable Quotes

"Redrosie here. Holy fuck, it was glorious." -Applederp

"And we didn't even have to use our Space AKs"-Applederp

"Somteeng here. AHHH EYYYYY" -Fish_Face_McGee

"Kessler Run. The realest motherfuckers alive."-Mattalorian (On Twitter)

"KESSLER RUN DUBSTEP DANCE PARTY FUCK YES"-Mattalorian

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Best of Games of 2011 -Jorbear Edition-

--Warning: Spoilers ahead--

At the beginning of 2011, a friend and I had a conversation about what we wanted the upcoming year to become. As I have a tendency to do, I turned the conversation around to gaming, and we began our discussion on what games we were excited about, and ultimately, what would most likely be our favorite game of the upcoming year. Of course, predicting the course of an entire year is nothing but pure, unadulterated hubris, and looking back on what I had hoped and dreamed the year might be, I can't help but be a little disappointed, considering my initial assessment. I would prefer not to go into the reasons why this year ended up being a slight disappointment (I'm looking at you, Dragon Age 2), but if this experience has taught me anything it is that it is really stupid to hype anything up to the heights that we did, especially an entire year.

This blog post isn't about the bad things of 2011 though, it is all about the good stuff. Despite how the above paragraph somewhat highlights the not-so-good things of 2011, there are a lot of games that 2011 (if 2011 was some sort of omnipotent being that controlled everything that occurred year) would be proud of. I mean, just think about the "Power" Mission in Saints Row: The Third, wasn't that awesome? Wait, I take that back, wasn't everything in Saints Row: The Third awesome? Look back to the time where you shot the moon in Portal 2, or the time you first laid your eyes upon the beautiful cities of Markarth or Solitude in Skyrim. These are only some of the greatest moments in the games that I played that came out this year, and there are plenty more that I have not played, which I'm sure are just as amazing and beautiful as those aforementioned. So never mind the hype that some people placed upon this year (namely myself) and just judge the games for what they are, nothing more, and you will find a lot to like. Now, I suppose we have reached the part of this thing I am writing where I tell you which games are the best games that came out this year, so, here it goes.

Best of 2011

1. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love anything that Bethesda puts out, so, it should be no surprise that this game is on the list. In fact, Bethesda could have just took Oblivion, slapped a Nordic coat-of-paint on it, and I would have eaten it up. However, Bethesda created one of the most engaging RPGs ever as well as one of the most mysterious open-worlds that preyed upon my wanderlust. The beautiful gameworld and the sheer amount of breadth of quests to do, things to see, and monsters to kill will never leave you bored of this game. Simply put, I would gladly put another 100 hours into this game.

2. Bastion

Much like everyone else who played this game, I finished it and then immediately went back to play through the New Game+ option. That alone says something about the quality of this game, but I need to give this game more credit than just that. The beautiful and somewhat minimalistic story had me in tears at the ending and the already snappy combat was made even more fun with some fantastic and unique weapons. Everyone should play this game, regardless if you enjoy games or not.

3. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings

The original Witcher is one of my favorite games of all time, so naturally, I was excited for the sequel. Unlike another RPG that came out early in the year, I was not disappointed at all. It lived up to the original in every facet and improving upon the already solid framework. If you have any love for a deep RPG experience and a dark and mature story, you will love this game. Oh, did I forget to mention that this is probably the best looking game ever made?

4. Portal 2

It would appear as Valve had set themselves up for failure when they announced they were making a sequel to the (what I feel) perfect game that is Portal. However, they somehow made a game that improves on the original in nearly every way, introducing new and delightful characters, neat puzzle mechanics, and probably one of the best endings in a video game. Also, GLaDOS turns into a potato. A POTATO.

5. Batman: Arkham City

I really didn't think Rocksteady could improve the combat of the original Batman: Arkham City, but somehow, they totally did. The combat is just as fast, just as fluid, and just as graceful and simultaneously brutal as the original, while also introducing some neat gadgets to mess around with during combat. Also, the ending, characters, and story in general are all truly fantastic

6. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Sure I'm not level 50 yet and haven't finished my class story, but Goddammit, I can not stop playing this game. In fact, I wish I could stop writing this so I can go get frisky with some Sith Lords and say stupid stuff with The Kessler Run. Even though this game doesn't quite do anything new or exciting, it is a very solid MMORPG with some fantastic writing and an exciting story.

7. Saints Row: The Third

When I heard Kanye West's "Power" play as I parachuted off a helicopter and then proceeded to violently take over a luxury penthouse, I knew this game was something special. As fun and ridiculous that the weapons were, at times I found myself dreading the combat in a game that is full of it. Nonetheless, I have too many fond memories of some of the absolutely ridiculous moments of the game.

8. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Never mind the somewhat dull combat and the at-times-frustrating stealth, the atmosphere that this game creates is the perfect backdrop for a gritty, cyberpunk, and very dark story which kept me enthralled the entire way.

9. L.A. Noire

Flat combat, nonsensical plot devices, and strange visual quirks notwithstanding, after finishing this game I was astounded. The facial capture technology never ceased to amaze me and the picture perfect recreation of the 1940s was a true treat for anyone with a passive interest into noire or history of the era.

10. NCAA Football 12

Honestly, you probably should not buy this game. It is a game for those that really love College Football, and if you do, you probably already have NCAA Football 11, in which case there is literally no reason for you to buy this year's edition of the franchise. However, I have played far to many hours of this game to have it be snubbed from my list. Congratulations to EA...I guess.

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I Did A Thing

So... yeah. This might gonna be a regular occasion now. As of this writing, I am still jogging ideas around in my head, but for now, I think I will begin to write (or possibly record) a blog every Tuesday night, except for tonight.

ONTO THE THINGS

Recently, a friend of mine had a falling away with video games, of sorts. Being the great friend that I am, I "borrowed" most of his games (if you deny ever doing something similar, then you are a sinner). This particular friend is the sort that gets really, really obsessed with one thing for a short period of time, and then he either drops it completely, shunning it as though it was nothing more than a pile of dogshit, or he will just forget about it for a while, until it conveniently pops back into his day-to-day life. One of his biggest, and most long lasting obsessions was that of Dead Space. It was such a grandiose passion, that he at one point, attempted to learn how to write and translate Unitology. Yeah, he is kinda cuh-razy. To my astonishment, he let me "borrow" (i.e. keep) Dead Space 1 and Dead Space 2, along with some other games. After finishing the original Dead Space in three sittings, I -very much deserving to do so- took a break from the Dead Space fiction with a more uplifting and optimistic game (Gears of War 2), before deciding to jump into the next horrifying entry in the series.

After playing through the first seven chapters of Dead Space 2, a blogger would probably do a first-impressions write-up, right? But... NAH FUCK DAT SHIT! In my last blog, a very supportive and loving user, who goes by the name Ravenlight around these parts, encouraged me to do an in-depth-analysis of the three gameplay videos of Skyrim that I did a quick-hit analysis of in my last blog. So, being the people-pleaser that I am, I decided I would do as he asked. However, I only have time to do my semi-good analysis of the first video, so without further ado, here it is.

0:53- I am so going to climb that mountain, only because he pointed it out.

1:04- Everything that he just said, we should already know. That is the basic back-of-the-box bullet points for every Elder Scrolls game. Not much to take away from that right there.

1:28- Third Person animations actually look passable for once. Of course, I won't be playing it this way, but now I can at least admire my phat loot with better animations.

1:37- If you look at the very tippy-top of the screen, you can see a dragon that will make an appearance later in the video. That is right, he was waiting for him to come the entire time. Fuckin dragons be crazy.

2:06- I actually, have never played an Elder Scrolls game on consoles, so the trigger system isn't that crazy to me, because I could just rebind keys on PC. However, being able to finally duel-wield weapons with the trigger system (probably moth mouse buttons for PC) or duel wield spells will allow me to further role-play my character and should probably lead to a lot of experimentation on my part.

2:18- If you pause it at just the right moment, you can read what the Warrior Stone does for your character, but if not here, is what it reads: "Those under the sign of The Warrior will learn all combat skills 30% faster." I am not sure if the stones and their corresponding blessings have a time limit, but this sounds like a great way to quickly boost your skills in certain disciplines of your character.

3:37- Combat certainly looks more brutal and entertaining, but from hours upon ours of playing Fallout and Elder Scrolls, it looks like it still feels very boring, lacks intimacy, and will probably still be just as mashy as before. Finishers are a nice touch, however.

4:21- The new inventory management interface looks absolutely gorgeous. Patrick Klepek was not fibbing when he was hyping it up to death back during the E3 podcasts. Not only does it look much prettier, but it also looks far more functional than before. The ability to see any and every item in your inventory and be able to truly appreciate the time that it took to make each and every single item in the game is very impressive. I will probably spend a lot of time in my inventory, rotating my items around, just for kicks and giggles. Also, nirnroot is back! Holla!

4:46- Perk system is a very smart and clever variation of the perk system in Fallout, from what the video shows us. Not only will this allow us to specialize or whatnot, but it will also bring the same joy of leveling up that a low or mid level character brings, to a high-level, because you are still getting new and cool abilities well into your 25th level or above. The interface for that menu is also beautiful.

4:54- I got nerd-chills the first time I saw that map. The amount of detail in that map, the breadth and scope, and just the fact that I can go everywhere has solidified my pre-order. So pumped.

5:32- That brief exchange there taught us a lot of things about the dialog in this game. Rather than the always-awkward "zoom and lock in" that occurred in Fallout and Oblivion, conversations will now have a much more immersive and natural feel to them. I just hope that the voice cast for this game includes more than 7 actors...

5:45- Now the town NPCs actually do things all day! Not just walk around, pretending to have a schedule. As long as NPCs will actually have some variation of their activities, the Radiant AI, as it is being called by Bethesda, looks to be a key feature, and one that I am very excited for.

6:08- Horses are back, however, from previous knowledge, we know that there will be no horse combat. Sad day.

7:05- Just a little bit lore teasing going on there. I am an Elder Scrolls Lore Junkie, so naturally, my body is ready for more lore.

7:59- We just saw some of the new spells that can be used, one looks like some sort of frenzy spell, which turns enemies against one another. The other looks like life detect, or something similar. Both spells are ripped out of Oblivion, but they still looks useful. The bow combat also looks basically unchanged.

8:44- And there is the aforementioned dragon. Unfortunately, he runs, instead of fighting it like a man.

So there is my very unprofessional analysis of the Part 1! I may or may not continue with the other parts, but for now, bye bye!

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A Bethesda Fanboy's Latest Attempt At Blogging -BLOG INITIATIVE-

So, you probably haven't heard of me. Don't feel bad about it, I'm pretty used to it by now.

Enough of me wallowing in self-pity and more of me writing about games and stuff (mostly stuff). When Sweep blew the horn calling all Giant Bombers, my initial thought was "Nah fuck dat shit". Yeah, that didn't last for long. Could be fate, could be that I wanted Sweep to someday photoshop my profile picture on a tiger, or it could be that I am just need something to do with my time. Either way, here I am, so... uhh hello!

Honestly, I have no fucking clue how to write a good first blog post, so I'm just going to do the somewhat boring thing and talk about myself, my favorite games, and other shit. First off, I am Jorbear, although that is not important. I am just some dude who finally found Giant Bomb in late 2009 and has stayed loyal ever since.

Now: games, and possibly other dumb shit. The first thing you should notice is my profile picture, and if you don't recognize it then you should just go into your bathroom and choke yourself on your acne cleanser. For those who do recognize it, you will know that it is from Morrowind, which I have played for hundreds upon hundreds of hours. So, I guess this blog will be a bit about Morrowind, and the rest will be me hyping Skyrim unrelentingly. Firstly, I didn't actually beat the main campaign of Morrowind until two summers ago (yeah, I'm a bit behind) and I am one of those guys who played Oblivion before they played Morrowind. Even if I think Morrowind is one of the greatest things that mankind has ever thought of, if you call Oblivion bad, mediocre, or even adequate, I will fight you. Oh and I think Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are cool too.

Now that I have adequately prefaced my devotion to all things Bethesda (some would call me a fanboy), it is finally time to hype Skyrim to death. I am so fucking excited to do this right now.

First and foremost, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is my most anticipated game of 2011 as of now and could possibly win my Game Of The Year (if it can match the greatness of The Witcher 2). Rather than me droning on about it, watch Todd Howard drone on about it instead. Don't worry, there are pictures and stuff to keep you entertained.

Get More: GameTrailers.com, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - E3 2011: Demonstration Part I, PC Games, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Takeaway from Part 1: Guys, there is dynamic weather. If this is not GOTY material, then I am not Jorbear. Of course, the interface improvements look very sleek and sophisticated, and should hopefully remove the inventory woes of Oblivion without the use of mods. Oh, and I just about came when I saw the map.

Get More: GameTrailers.com, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - E3 2011: Demonstration Part II, PC Games, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Takeaway from Part 2: Most of us have already seen this dungeon in many of the E3 demos posted on various sites, but there are some interesting tidbits of information and lore here and there. Either way, the melee combat still makes me go "meh".

Get More: GameTrailers.com, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - E3 2011: Demonstration Part III, PC Games, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Yeah there is a dragon and a giant and some huge fucking mammoth, but there is music straight from Morrowind. That is all that need be said.

So there you go, my first blog post completed. Hopefully you had a good time reading/watching, and I hope you come back to read more about my unhealthy obsession with Bethesda.

Also, because lots of bloggers seem to have a song of the blog or some shit like that, here is mine. And no, I did not make that video. I'm not that stupid.

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Jorbear's Dragon Age II Demo Impressions

In case you are an idiot, the Dragon Age II demo came out today, and being the Bioware-Fanboy, I checked it out. To put it simply: it owns. I loved Dragon Age: Origins in almost every way, but it was the old-school combat that really set it apart and made it something special.  
 
I was one of those people who were ready to kick a puppy and punch a kitten when I heard about the reported "streamlining" of the combat, but not much has changed, to be honest. It's definitely faster and is certainly streamlined, but it's not dumbed down at all. There is still an amount of depth that I crave in my games, but it is easier to understand and comprehend as well. The combat also feels (forgive me) more visceral. This has been Bioware's tagline for the combat in DA2, and they are not lying. Everything is flashier, more stylish, and gorier; even more so than the first game, as it was bordering on excessive. This amount of gore is only acceptable because of the new art style of DA2, which has its dull spots (much like the first game) , but also allows them to create much more memorable environments. Unfortunately, one of the environments is just plain terrible. The beginning of the demo has you fighting outside of Lothering and near the Korcari Wilds, which in the original Dragon Age looked like your average village (bad) , but DA2, it looks more like a barren wasteland (worse), devoid of any remarkable features. (Of course, this is just the demo, so who knows if we get to see more in the full game) 
 
Of what we are shown, all of the characters are very well detailed, and the voice acting is solid. It does still suffer of the very-forced hand and body animations of Mass Effect and the first Dragon Age, but thats only a minor detriment. Flemeth, in particular, shines. I mean, her hair-extensions are very well done; I should contact her stylist. So yeah, Flemeth has lots of hair, which is completely different of the Flemeth in the first game. Which is a good thing, all things considered, but it still feels a bit off. One of the other things which stick out is the fan-service that is in the game. For example, Hawke has the option to bring up the Grey Wardens at Ostagar, which Flemeth then replies something along the lines of, "They are not dead, but they are far out of your reach." It seems almost as if Bioware came up with that line to give a little wink-wink and a nudge-nudge to all the fans, and it comes off as very awkward and forced.   
 
The Mass Effect-Dialogue Wheel makes its appearance in DA2, along with a fully voiced protagonist. The dialogue wheel is even more simplified than it was before, by adding icons which help players differentiate the mood or choice that the player hopes to convey. This doesn't really change much, but it does make it much easier for me to be a smart-ass at all times, which is all for the better.  
 
All in all, Dragon Age II looks very promising. I pre-ordered way back in January, so kudos to Bioware on giving us a demo; glad to know my money was well-spent. So there you have it, go buy Dragon Age II when it comes out. Or else.  (Oh and here are some screenshots, to make it less boring)

      Hawke has really been working hard at the gym. I mean, check out that vertical leap!

 Fireballs make a cameo. 
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Blog? For reals this time?

After the realization that all of the cool kids here at Giant Bomb  had some sort of weekly blog, my need for attention (and self-esteem) kicked in and I decided I also need a blog. You know, to be cool too. 
 But... 
Will anyone actually read it? Will I be wasting my time? Will I go mad due to being overlooked? Will the zombie-baby be kicked in the face?  
 
(In case that was utterly incomprehensible, I basically want to start a weekly blog-thing but don't know if that is a good idea.)

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Day 30 Of Oblivion 12/16/10

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 The next of kin to die was one of the sons, Matthias. He was a guard for Umbacano in the Imperial City. Now, you would think killing a guard within the building they are supposed to be guarding would be tough. Well you would be surprised. He was all alone, guarding the dark, dank basement. One shot was all that I needed. The next in line were fairly far apart, but I wanted to finish it here and now. Sibylla lived in a cave southeast of the Imperial city, so she was my next target. She was alone, discounting the beasts, so she was easy. Then came Andreas, who was also relatively close. He owned the Green Dragon Inn, not far from where I was. I told him how I gutted his mother, which sent him into a rage. Because he had just committed assault, the Imperial Watchman made short work of him. The next was the last daughter, Caelia, who was a Leyawiin guard. This was tricky work, however. I had to buy some pretty devastating potions to bring her down, and when I did I still had to sneak out of the town undetected. 

My next dead drop was in Skingrad, but it was already too late to go there now. I found a camp in the wilderness near Leyawiin and made my rest. It has been 30 days here in Cyrodiil, and I have accomplished a lot. I have learned a lot, appreciated much, found my place, and drank a lot of wine. Only fate knows what can come next.

—-

This is the last known journal entry of the Champion of Cyrodiil. His story of redemption is a great one, and yet not very well recorded. After he had saved all of Tamriel from Oblivion, he was last seen entering through a strange door in the Niben Bay. 

He was never seen again. 

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Day 29 Of Oblivion 12/15/10

      http://jorbearsgamingblog.tumblr.com/

 I finally got to Leafrot Cave early in the morning in order to complete my contract. The necromancer, as I said before, was attempting to turn himself into a lich. He had had relatively no success until recently. In his journal he wrote about how “Sovereign” had came to him and had given him the means to transform himself. To do so, he had to transfuse his soul to an object first, which he was in the process of doing right now. This time that this process takes to complete varies for each person, so I assumed he was still in this transitioning phase. He also wrote how if anyone was to steal his object, an hourglass, he would perish. So I did just that. I stealthily pick-pocketed the hourglass and he fell dead. I was to then receive my reward, and my next contract, at my next Dead Drop in Chorrol.

The Dead Drop was in a sack near the Great Oak, and was very well hidden. My next contract was to assassinate an entire bloodline; the Draconis family. Unfortunately, I only knew the location of the mother, Perennia. She lived in a little farmstead close to Bruma, and even though it was late I had time to make it there and start the contract. 

Through some persuasion, I was able to figure out where all of her children were now in their adulthood, and I then killed her while she was sound asleep. Business like usual. I stayed the night in Bruma and plotted my course of action for the next day. 

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