Creeds, Needs, Domains, Dogmas, Trines, and Moosies?

Here I am, once again writing up a blog, and even despite my efforts to do these more often so that I'm not writing novel length blogs, I somehow have a ton of stuff to write about. I should have written this days ago like I planned, but hey, I was actually working on my next novel, so at least I have an excuse this time!

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

I know a lot of people complain about how Ubisoft makes an Assassin's Creed game every year (not counting the smaller spin-off-y titles), but no matter how generic they are, no matter how bad the mission design is, no matter how disappointing the story, I always end up enjoying them. I'm just a junkie for running around and collecting things, and the AC series does running around collecting things better than just about every other franchise I can think of.

But it just so happens that this year's game is also pretty fantastic. This doesn't show here, but I've written and deleted about four or five different sentences because I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words. Okay, let me put it this way. There are a handful of games that I have, for a very, very long time, hoped and dreamed would exist. One is an open world western game (Red Dead Redemption), one is a good Star Trek game (I'll just say Mass Effect achieved that), one is a good Mad Max game (hopefully that turns out well), and the last is a good pirate game.

This is the pirate game that I've always dreamed of. The fact that, aside from a distinct lack of Tim Curry, this has everything I've ever wanted out of a pirate game, made me pretty gosh darned happy. (Go watch The Muppets Treasure Island if you haven't, then you'll get the through-line on Tim Curry Granted, I haven't watched that since the 90s, but it's probably still good). But you know what it does have? Sea shanties! (Or "chanties" if you're Alex Navarro and don't know how to spell (and don't link me to that online spelling saying "chanties" is also correct, Alex already did). Every time my crew starting up on "What do you do with a drunken sailor," I got a very large grin as I sailed those seas.

But really, the part that surprises me the most about AC IV is that, for the most part, the people that made this game managed to make "tail this dude" missions that aren't horrible. I'm not even sure what it is that makes them better than they were in the previous games. Part of it is the ample amounts of foliage for hiding in (this time with real time physics in next-gen/PC versions of the game, which actually translates into foliage that doesn't look terrible like it has in every last gen game I can think of). I think another factor is that there don't seem to be as many guards on roofs as there were in a lot of previous games, which made tailing guys from the tops of buildings more viable.

Now, let me be clear, not all of these missions are good. There's one near the end of the game that involves an Italian that is TERRIBLE! I think it was the only time in the whole game I actually gave a mission one star in the post mission star rating. And that brings me to the out of Animus stuff, which is AMAAAAAAZING. At this point we all know the set up of working at a game company, but while that does eventually lead into an actual story (however brief it may be), some of my favorite stuff in the entire game is hidden in the out of Animus portions of the game. Specifically, I mean all the hidden "internal documents" and videos about the development of "Devils of the Caribbean" (the name of the pirate game the person you play as is working on), and the other ideas Abstergo Entertainment is looking into, or rejecting. The videos analyzing the protagonists of the previous AC games are great, because every one (aside from the one for Aveline, from Liberation) ends in the character being rejected for a variety of reasons. Though, perhaps the sad part is that I actually agreed with the video on Connor, so...yeah.

I could go on and on about how great the climbing still is, how much I love the sailing, the combat, etc. Instead I'm just going to harp on some of the issues I have with the game. I was under the impression before playing this game that it was a true, open world in the sense that you could go anywhere without any loading screens. That's not the case. Any time you enter or leave one of a handful of larger areas (including the three cities), it has to load. It's not really that big of an issue, just a little disappointing when the rest of the world is so big, and when you can go from sailing to running around on a small island after a single collectible in a matter of seconds. I blame the existence of the last gen versions of the game, and assume (by which I mean hope) that the PS4 and Xbone (I played the PS4 version) are actually capable of doing something like AC IV as a true open world.

Another issue I have is that while so much of the world feels alive, and so many of the main missions are well designed, almost all of the side content feels pretty cut and paste. Having a whaling/sharking (okay, maybe not the right verb) mini-game is cool, but it plays out the same way every time. You see the sea critter, harpoon it, throw some more at it until it breaks the line, then harpoon it again when it attacks you (instead of fleeing), and repeat until it's dead. The only one that game me any challenge was the white whale. And the size of these animals isn't even consistent! When they get pulled up onto the Jackdaw (never mind the mechanics of how they actually put them up onto that ship) they look about three or four times larger than they did in the water during the fight.

And then there's the crafting. On paper, a good addition, and some good usage of that cross-Ubisoft stuff. But while I don't remember having too many logical issues with the crafting in Far Cry 3, I find it a little weird that not only does each of Kenway's gun holsters have to be made from different animals, each requires TWO of the animal in question. Now, if these were rabbit or monkey skins (both of which are in the game), then sure, I could see that. I don't think Kenway needs two humpback whale skins to make a gun holster. He could make an outer covering for the Jackdaw with that much whale skin. Again, not really an issue from a game play perspective (especially when you can buy almost all of the animal skins from shops, if you don't actually want to hunt), but it felt like too much of a stretch, especially for a series that has always prided itself on letting your character only carry a realistic amount of weapons, and making that stuff always visible on the character, and in actual holsters/sheathes. I'm just saying it's an attention to detail/realism in one respect, and hugely unrealistic in another. But that's kind of most video games, so I'll just move on.

But before I do move on, I just want to say that, for the most part, I really enjoyed all the story stuff in the game. Edward Kenway is a great character, and the way he deals with and interacts with the longstanding factions in the AC universe (Templars and Assassins) is way more interesting than anything else in the series. I'm not trying to downplay all the stuff Ezio did (which was great), but that was pretty much just revenge that turned into a quest for doing what's right, whereas this has a little more depth/variety.

Also, Blackbeard is in it.

Just because it's the Year of Luigi, that doesn't mean he has to work alone.

Need for Speed Rivals

Still been playing this. It's still fun, but the low player count makes the online stuff kinda pointless. I like playing as a cop more, because I like trying to take down racers, and I don't like being chased by cops.

That's about all that I have to say, for now. Haven't finished it yet, but I bet that this is a game I will poke away at for quite some time before I'm finished with it.

Binary Domain

Binary Domain is the very definition of a game that I wanted to play, and would have if I had an infinite amount of time and money, but as it was, I never got around to buying it. I filed it under, "I will totally buy this when I see it for really cheap in a store," which always really means, "I'm probably never going to actually play this game." But thanks to the fine people at Sony, it was free on PlayStation Plus, so I finally got around to playing it.

MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN...

Binary Domain is pretty great. The part where it's a third person shooter is solid, if nothing super original or new, but still pretty good. There are also a fair number of one off situations where you do things like swim, or ride jet-skis, and for the most part, those are bad. But the story?

MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN...

It's INCREDIBLE. By the year 2080, the ice caps have melted, and thus all the world's coastal cities have flooded, and demand for robot labor has caused the proliferation of robots around the world. But not "Hollow Children," or robots that look like, and believe they are, human. Those are clearly forbidden by the New Geneva Convention, and the game is about a "Rust Crew" that has been sent into Tokyo to investigate a corporation believed to be making and propagating Hollow Children around the world. That's great enough on its own (I couldn't help but smile any time anyone mentioned the New Geneva Convention), but the way it's presented is great, and the story only gets crazier and more insane from there. I'm not even going to get into it, because if you've managed to not have it spoiled (and I want to say that Vinny did at some point during last year's GOTY stuff, because I definitely knew about the craziest twist, but I can't say for certain off hand), then you should just play this incredible, amazing, fantastic game.

Also, Big Bo and Cain the French robot are two of the best characters. My only regret is that I did not manage to max Cain's trust. The only character I did that for was Big Bo.

And you know what? He's the one that matters.

I tried to get Bo to let me edit in Luigi, but he refused, and I can't say no to Big Bo.

Dragon's Dogma?

Hey, a rare re-visit of a game here. Eh, never mind the fact that I had mentioned that I started AC IV and NFS in the last blog I wrote. Anyway, after finishing AC IV, I decided to go back to Dragon's Dogma, and since I had made it to level 60, I decided to finally make a real attempt at the Dark Arisen content of the game, which is Bitterblack Isle.

The island is a lot more confined and cramped than the main game, or at least than the over world. There's definitely some larger, more open areas for fighting the bosses, but I've definitely run into several instances where the camera was not able to keep up because there was so much going on in a fairly narrow corridor after three giant hyena monsters randomly appeared whilst I was fighting wolves, skeletons, zombies, etc.

Aside from that, I've been really liking it. The new enemies/bosses are, for the most part, fun to fight. Aside from Death though. I still haven't figured out a way to do any serious damage any time he shows up, and whenever I do anything other than run away, someone winds up dead (by which I mean me or one (or more) of my pawns). Maybe that's the point though, I dunno.

And even though I've leveled a lot since I started Bitterblack Isle (I think I'm in the mid 70s now), it's still pretty hard. I had a moment the other day where I was dreading whatever terrible beast would be around the next corner, and I felt exactly the same way I do when I play Dark Souls, so that was great. But Dragon's Dogma lets you save anywhere (so long as you are not in combat), and you can pause, so it's still less strict in a lot of ways (doesn't make it easier in terms of the combat though).

I still haven't finished it though. I got to (what I assume is) the final boss of the area, but then I died, so I made a tactical withdrawal to grind up some levels. However, I've heard that defeating that boss (assuming I'm correct) really just resets the whole island with newer, harder enemies, and a new boss fight at the end, so, I guess I'm not really near the end. I'm not sure that I would want to go and redo all of that stuff though, even if all of the enemies are different (and I can't say for sure that they are ALL different). Even if what I played, I was getting some environmental design fatigue, and I saw a fair number of rooms/corridors being reused in different parts of the Isle, just with different enemies.

Either way, I'm still really enjoying Dragon's Dogma, and I will continue to work my way through that for the foreseeable future.

Oh, and I played some Trine 2 as well. I'll give that a proper write up later, but I've enjoyed what I played. It was kind of an impulse buy, but I did at least try the demo first. And hey, it looks really nice on PS4, so that's a plus.

In other news, I'm now thinking that I might be able to get Space Cops 5000 ready by the end of the year. Maybe. Once it is, I'll make sure to pester you all to buy it, though I'll have to be careful to make sure it doesn't look like a spam ad, because I hear the mods don't care for those around these parts (never mind that I am aware that straight up advertising in the forums is against the rules). But make sure to follow @SpaceCops5000 on Twitter for the latest updates! Hey, I went through the trouble to create a second Twitter account for that, I'm not going to not link to it.

Oh, and The Moosies! If everything goes according to plans, then The Fifth Annual Moosies Video Game Awards should be a gloriously dumb event in ways it never has been before. Or should I say, Luigi Presents The Fifth Annual Moosies Video Game Awards? I cannot go into any details, but what I have planned is one of the dumbest ideas that I've ever had and then actually went through with. Hopefully it'll also be good, but I can't guarantee that.

I should say that the current plan will mean a technically small Awards thing than last year, which was two separate things, each with many awards. This year it's just one, and there won't be as many awards. I think the trade off will be worth it, but of course I do, it's my idea.

Okay, that's it for this blog. Wait, before I go, I think we all need to take a moment and reflect on a recent loss. This person's impact was felt around the world, and I'm sure he touched all of our lives, in one way or another. He will be missed, and the world will never be the same without him, so rest in peace.

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A week-ish with the PS4, and a smidge of Xbox One.

About a week ago my PlayStation 4 arrived in the mail, and since I have nothing better to do with my life, I thought I would write up this here blog about it.

I'll start with the things that I like about it. First off, I really love the look of the PS4. So much so that I find myself unplugging the USB cable in the morning (after charging the controller in the evening) so that the front of the machine is untarnished by having a USB cable sticking out of it. That wouldn't be so weird if it wasn't for the fact that it's literally the only thing in this room that I care about the looks of, rather than going for pure functionality. Of course I keep telling myself that I'm moving the cable and plugging it into the PS3 (which is roughly in the middle of the room) on the odd chance that I want to play a PS3 game with a DualShock 4, but I know that I'm not going back to that thing until I've finished the single player stuff in AC IV and Need for Speed Rivals (more on those later).

I also like the interface of the PS4, but I think I still like the XMB on the PS3 more. But sometimes I feel like I'm the only person outside of Sony UI design that likes the XMB, so take that however you will. It is, however, mostly easy to find what I want, and I can get to the various parts of it quickly, both in terms of it being responsive, and literally in terms of how fast I can get from one end of the UI to the other.

It's not perfect, though. While I like the blue background, and the music that plays in the background, I wish there were options to change both. Yes, I know that the eventuality would be me going back to that stupid dynamic fireplace theme that I used on the PS3, but imagine that with a fireplace crackling sound instead of the PS4 background music! That would be SICK!

A more legitimate issue, especially in the long run, is the inability to group games into folders, like on the PS3. For now, when I have two downloadable games, and three disc games, it's not an issue. But a few years from now? It probably will be. I can't imagine that something like this would be difficult to add, but what do I know? Maybe that would break the entire thing!

I think the mic included with the PS4 is not great. It's really flimsy looking, and I'm constantly worried that the thing will break, but I will say that the audio quality of the earbud thingy seemed adequate, but I only used it for a little bit the other day. I do like that I can use it for voice commands on the PS4 (because I never understood the logic of making voice commands only usable with a camera), but I don't think that the voice commands make navigating the interface any faster or easier, so I only used that feature for a minute before turning it off.

But the controller? I could not be happier with the controller! I think it may very well be my favorite controller of all time. Aside from the Options and Share buttons, I can't really think of anything on the controller that I would change. And even those buttons aren't that bad, at least now that I've gotten used to them. I do like the change from "start" to "options," because for years I've thought it was silly that we, as a society, have been pushing "start" to pause video games.

And as dumb as I thought it would be when it was first announced, I'm liking the more gimmicky parts of the controller a lot. It's easy to scoff at that light in the controller, but being the sucker for colored lighting that I am, I've grown quite fond of it, especially when games actually do something with it. For example, Killzone uses it for health. It starts at green, then as you lose health, it turns to yellow, orange, then red. But it doesn't just go instantly from green to yellow, it shifts to it, you know, color blending and whatnot. I guess? I don't really know the artsy words for something like that, but you know what I mean.

The touchpad seems functional, but none of the games I've played have used it in any particularly special way, but like I said, it works. The speaker in the controller is a lot louder, and of higher quality than I would have guessed. Killzone uses it for audio logs, which I like, because it replicates actually picking up an audio log and holding it in your hands pretty well. And the SIXAXIS (though, I don't know that Sony still actually uses that) works well too. All I've used it for is that motion control typing, but I think that works really well, and it's definitely faster than buttoning through to every letter with the d-pad.

Normally I wouldn't be typing much on a console, but with the added Share button, I find myself Tweeting a lot of screenshots, often with dumb captions and/or hashtags. I think that's a great addition, and I also look forward to uploading videos once they get YouTube support, so I don't have to create a Facebook account. I've gone this long without one, I'm not making one now.

I think that's about all that I want to say about the console, interface, and the stuff included with it. Well, I do wish that the second controller I bought came with its own Micro USB cable. I may be in the minority here, but I don't really have any other Micro USB things in my house. I guess the charge cable for my phone is Micro USB, but that's a wall plug thing, and I use that for my phone. I also wish it was a bit longer, so I wouldn't have to have my PS3 literally in the middle of the room in order for it to reach the couch. Either that, or I wish Sony would patch the PS3 to give it proper support for the DualShock 4, so I can use that wirelessly.

Okay, now here's a little something about the games I've played on it.

Resogun

As the games I ordered from Amazon did not arrive with the console that I ordered from Amazon (they were different orders), I found myself with only digital content to use on my PS4 for a couple of days. But even if I hadn't, I would have played a lot of this game, because Resogun is rad. I don't play a ton of arcade-y spaceship shooter-y games, but this one seems really good. It might not have that special something that Geometry Wars had, but that's because it's a lot more complex, and has more going on than Geometry Wars, and I like that. Having to stop to save those last humans creates a good risk reward. I have to endanger myself for this human, but I could get a weapon upgrade, life, shield, or bomb out of it. However, I think it's lame that sometimes it's just points, and that the shield will expire after time, even if nothing hits the ship (the announcer lady says "shield expired" when this happens).

I haven't beaten Resogun yet, but I've gotten close to beating the final boss, and I refuse to turn it down to "Rookie." I probably will beat it at some point, but even without having done that, I feel confident in calling Resogun rad, and saying that it's definitely worth your money. If you have PlayStation Plus and get it for free. I don't know that it's worth $15. Maybe $10.

Contrast

Contrast, more than anything else, really makes me wish that Drive Club (excuse me, #DRIVECLUB) had been ready for launch. Like Resogun, I got it free, so I all I lost was time, but this game is not great. I don't want to go so far as to call it bad, because I did like the voice acting (notably Elias "I never asked for people to always associate me with this one stupid line in that game" Toufexis), and I think the game deserves some credit for at least trying to do something different with both game play, and the story. I won't get into the story, because the game is pretty short (which is good, because it's still too long, even at only a couple hours), and because if you have a PS4 and PS+, you might as well go through it yourself if you have nothing better to do with your time.

I will get into the game play, though. Contrast is a platformer-y puzzle-solve-y type game (oh, game genres). Its hook is that the character you play as can merge into walls and turn into shadow when there's enough light pointing at a wall to cast shadows. When that happens, the game goes from 3D to 2D (well, you can then only move in 2D along the wall). It's a great premise, but it's really poorly executed on. None of the puzzles were fun to solve, and quite a few of them became rather tedious as I lugged boxes and spheres around rooms. It's pretty disappointing all around, especially if you made the mistake of playing money ($15!) for this game. I also feel terrible saying (er, typing) that, because this game was clearly made by a pretty small-ish group, and then must have (at some point) thought they were making something great, and that people would really like.

But I guess there's often a sharp CONTRAST between expectations and...What? Fine, I'll move on.

Warframe

I only played about twenty minutes of this, then I deleted it. The colored lighting seemed nice. I shouldn't have expected to like it, given that I'm pretty sure this was made by the people that made Dark Sector, which I played.

Killzone Shadow Fall

Then, thankfully, as it stopped me from trying more free to play games, my games arrived (well, two of them), and I started playing Shadow Fall. I'll start with what I like about the game most, the graphics. I think this game looks absolutely INCREDIBLE. Now, I know some PC elitist master race jerk is going to say, "Duh, my computer can make the graphics look much better than that, duh!" Well, shut up. I don't care. It's easily the best looking game I've ever played, and because of my constant amazement at how good the game looks, I think it colored (lighting) the rest of how I feel about the game.

Why? Because while I enjoyed myself during the vast majority of the campaign, I started thinking after (and when I say after, I really mean about 85-90% of the way in) that I would not be enjoying this game anywhere near as much if it didn't look as good. If this had been a PS3 game, that looked as good as other PS3 games, I probably would have been upset that I paid $60 for it. But as a visual showpiece for my new PS4, I'm happy with it. And while I've only played one match of it thus far, the online stuff seems fun, and I'll probably end up spending a lot of time with that once I run out of single player stuff to play.

Now, the other games I bought Assassin's Creed IV and Need for Speed Rivals (which arrived a few days later than the other two), I haven't completed yet. I'm about 14 hours into ACIV, and I could probably write a lot about that, but for now, I'll just say that thus far it's probably my favorite Assassin's Creed yet, and definitely one of my favorite games of the year. It is, in many ways, the pirate game I've always dreamed of, but I'll leave most of that for a later blog. I will add one more thing, which is to say that while it doesn't have the same level of detail as Shadow Fall, but I do think it looks fantastic. The water looks amazing.

I've only played about an hour and a half, maybe two hours of Rivals. I don't play a ton of racing games, but I really like this one, at least in terms of the handling. I do think the online stuff is underwhelming, but I'll wait until I've played more to pass judgment on it (I'm not upset with my purchase though, I'll have a lot of fun, I bet).

While I do not own an Xbox One, nor do I have any plans to purchase one in the near (or mid) future, I did get to spend a little bit of time with my cousins' Xbox Ones. Yes, plural, as my cousins (brothers, still living with their parents due to them still being high school age (well, I can't throw stones; out of college and living with my dad)) each got his own Xbox One. I was at their house for a few hours, and in that time I spent a little time with a few of the games, looked at the interface, yelled at the Kinect, etc.

I didn't like the controller. To me, it felt like someone had taken the Xbox 360 controller, and said, "How can we make this worse?" I think the RB and LB buttons are terrible. I would go so far as to say that they are worse than the 360's d-pad. I'm probably overreacting, and after a few days I would get used to it, but I think that changing them so they can only be pushed from the outer edges was a poor design choice.

I also don't like the rumble triggers, or really the triggers when they're not rumbling. They're kinda wide. Not in a way that makes them unusable, but in my limited use, I thought they were a step back from the 360 triggers. The rumble part though? That might actually make them unusable, at least for me. I don't know if it was just Forza, or something weird with my fingers, but the way it rumbled in Forza was REALLY uncomfortable. To the point where I think I might have weird fingers with the nerves too close to the skin or something. I can't fathom how anyone would enjoy using that, but the rumble seemed way less (if at all) in CoD, so I won't go so far as to completely condemn it yet.

I didn't like the sticks either. They were between 360 and PS3 levels of looseness. I kinda like the PS3 sticks because they are so loose (conversely I also like tight sticks like on the 360 and PS4), but I dunno about the Xbox One sticks. After a few minutes with CoD I got used to it though, so I wouldn't say they're bad. Just different.

While I like that Microsoft also moved away from having a "start" button, I think changing it to a button with three vertical lines (or, "line line line" as I was calling it) was really dumb. I know that officially it's called the "menu" button, just like the "two overlapping squares" button is the "view" button, but not labeling those on the controller was REALLY DUMB. This doesn't actually impact game play at all, and those buttons are easier to hit than the Options and Share buttons on the DualShock 4, but come on Microsoft, they should be labeled.

And the games? Call of Duty Ghosts seemed like Call of Duty, but it looks slightly better? Forza 5 was way to realistic for me to play it well (never mind those rumble triggers, which were honestly an issue for me). My cousin did have a copy of Dead Rising 3, but he refused to play it in front of me, for reasons he didn't explain well. Something about not wanting to speed through it? I dunno. Killer Instinct, however, seemed cool. I didn't get to play much of it, because after one match my cousin declared that he didn't like it, and I didn't get a chance to go through the tutorial like I wanted to (blame my cousin for being a 14 year old that didn't want to leave me alone with the Xbox One).

So, I left being really happy about my purchase of a PS4. While I'm sure that Dead Rising 3 is probably a really good Dead Rising game, now that I've beaten the first Dead Rising (a task that took me seven years to do), I feel like I never want to play Dead Rising ever again. And while I would probably buy Killer Instinct if it was available on a system that I own, it's nowhere near good enough to warrant buying a $500 console. And as seemingly the only person not excited about Titanfall, I'm confident that I can resist making a dumb decision to buy an Xbox One before there's a significant price drop (please don't be good, D4, please don't be good).

I think that's everything I have to say for the time being. No progress has been made on getting Space Cops 5000 ready for public consumption, and at this point I doubt I will make my self-made deadline of the end of the year. I'm sure you're all torn up about that.

And I'm going to end this now before it turns into me complaining about my life, because no one wants to read about that. Now I'm off to do other stuff, and maybe start thinking about my weird game of the year awards stuff. Hm... Probably won't be as big and ridiculous as last year's, unless I find a box of motivation I can use (and even then, I'd be better off using that motivation for other things).

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Dragons, Dogmas, and a PS4.

As you may have guessed, in the time since the last time I wrote up a blog, most of what I've been doing has been sitting on my butt and playing video games. And by video games, I mostly mean Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, which was yet another PlayStation Plus special. And now that I've beaten it (and played about an hour or so in new game plus), I decided to write this up about it.

Dragon's Dogma is a weird game. It's perpetually letter boxed, and I don't understand why. That's only a minor grievance, and the kind of thing that I got used to during the course of my playtime (close to forty hours). Other issues, like the frame rate, only seemed to get worse as I went on, but even that never got bad enough to ruin the experience. And while I'm on the topic of complaints, I might as well mention that the story stuff and writing in the game comes in one of two varieties. Either completely half-assed, or utterly insane. I like the insane parts, but those are by far the minority (at least until near the end of the game, but there's definitely some insanity to be found earlier in the game in some of the side quests), and when it's half-assed, it's some generic-ass fantasy-ass fantasy.

Sorry about my language there, but that was the best and most concise way to describe it. Now, I can talk about the stuff I like in the game, by which I mean the combat. It's really good. It's not super deep, like games like REVENGEANCE or Bayonetta, but has enough going on to be fun. I played the game as a daggers and bow using person, which I found enjoyable throughout, especially with abilities like shooting ten arrows at once.

Difficulty wise, I found that most of the game wasn't terribly hard, but every once in a while I would come across a group of enemies that was arbitrarily harder than the other enemies I had fought just fifty feet away (same type of enemies, I should say), and I didn't care for that. Not the spike in difficulty, I mean the fact that it was the same exact type of enemies with nothing about them to indicate that they were more powerful or higher level than the other ones I had just fought. The game definitely should have shown me what level the enemies are in relation to me. Well, that would be assuming that the enemies do have levels like my character and pawn (more on that in a moment) do, and I don't understand much of how this game was designed because it's crazy, so who knows.

Oh right, the pawns. So, rather than having actual combat, or named characters that join you as you quest about, instead you make another character that follows you around. And in addition to that, you can summon two others that were created by other players around the world! Or, if you're playing offline, I think there's pre-made ones that probably aren't as good. These, however, don't level up like you and your pawn, which forces you to swap them out every once in a while to make sure that they're high enough level to be of use. Since my character was a mix of ranged and melee, I made my pawn a mage so I could get some healing and fire spells on. And for the ones I summoned, I usually summoned another mage (though sometimes a sorcerer, which have more powerful combat spells, but no healing spells) and a fighter to have a pure melee person as well. And they're pretty useful, generally speaking. Of course, being user made, there's a lot of strange ones to be found, and I sometimes found myself skipping over a pawn that had good skills and abilities, but had something else about them that I didn't care for. For example, I found one that had an annoyingly high pitched voice that would have driven me nuts, and I found one (a female pawn) that was equipped with the most "video-game-y" of "armor," by which I mean the "sexy lingerie" and whatever the bra equivalent is (I found the "sexy lingerie," it's only a thong, I assume the bra comes separately). I should add that this particular item in the game is more revealing than equipping nothing on your character's/pawn's lower half (because like most games, nudity is forbidden).

You know, I don't have problems with games that include "clothing" options like that, my issue with it here is that it's marked as a female only clothing item, and I couldn't put it on my character, who is a dude (well, was, when I new game plussed it, I switched to a lady to see if anything would change in the game world (also, I had sold the sexy lingerie long ago, because I felt bad equipping it on my pawn, who was a lady, and also I'm pretty sure I had stuff with better stats)). Now, I'm not saying I would want to do that, I'm saying that if something dumb like that is in the game, it should be gender neutral. Do it Saints Row style. Now, if everything in the game was body size and body type specific, then that would be fine, because that would be realistic (ie, a suit of armor wouldn't magically adjust its size for any person). But this isn't the case, and I found quite a few items that were female only, but none that were male only.

While I'm on the topic, I should say the reason why I wanted to see if anything would change if I played as a lady was because early in the game there was another character that was implied to be, if not directly romantically involved with the player character, then it was a case of, "Hey, this character pretty obviously likes you a lot in a romantic way," and that character was female. But no, this character was still female, and everything played out exactly the same. Which is not what I expected, but sure, whatever. I don't mind playing a gay and/or bisexual lady in a game.

And as is typical, I've gotten fairly far off topic from what I was planning to write about. I was planning to get to my favorite part of the game, which is fighting the big enemies. I very, very, VERY rarely use the word epic (and for good reason), but some of the battles against the bigger monsters are epic. I had one battle against a griffin in the over world that lasted about 15 or 20 minutes, covered a fair amount of ground as I battled the beast, and at one point I was climbing atop it as it was flying, stabbing it with my fire daggers. That was rad! I just wish there was more variety with the bigger monsters. Griffins and cockatrices fight almost exactly the same (though cockatrices do have some magic attacks or something). While the chimera is a fun fight that can involve destroying different parts of the beat (like cutting off its snake tail) by focusing your attacks, it's also the only enemy in the game that works that way. I mean, yes, you can climb up lot of different enemies in the game, but there's not really much reason to in most cases. Maybe if you're playing on hard, stuff like that becomes more needed, but on normal, that's not the case.

At least in the main stuff. I tried to get into the Dark Arisen content (if you didn't know, Dark Arisen was when Capcom pulled a Capcom and re-released the game a year later with extra stuff), but it only ended with me coming up against enemies that were far too powerful, so I made a strategic withdrawal and went back to the main game. Maybe if I continue with the new game plus, and level up a bunch, I might make another go at it (you can access it from the starting village in the game), but I don't know that I actually will.

I think that's everything I want to say about this game. It's fun. I'm definitely interested in what Capcom might be working on in terms of a sequel, especially something built with newer, and more powerful hardware in mind.

Speaking of which, hey PS4! I don't have one yet. Mine is in the mail, and should arrive next week, another with some games. Well, not all at once, they were multiple orders, as I pre-ordered my PS4 back in August, and took advantage of that Amazon buy two get one free deal. I ordered Assassin's Creed IV, Killzone Shadow Fall, and Need for Speed Rivals. For whatever reason, AC IV and Killzone should be arriving next week, NFS is not. Hopefully that will soon though, because that game looks rad.

I do have a little experience with my friend's PS4 though (as an aside, this is the same friend that had borrowed my copy of Uncharted 2 last year, but my long national nightmare is over, as I finally have it back!). Unlike me, he pre-ordered his at a local GameStop, and thus I went with him and someone else to the midnight release, and then we spent some time with the slanted wonder (I mean the PS4 (you know, because it has that slant in the design)). I didn't really use it beyond a little menu navigation whilst my friend was out of the room, but I do like the feel of the controller. So much so that I might do something stupid like pay for a longer micro-USB cable so I can use it on my PS3, which I will continue to use as long as there continue to be free PS3 games on PS+ (Binary Domain coming up soon!). I did spend a good amount of time watching my friend play Killzone and...Madden.

Killzone looks really good. At least graphically. Game play wise, nothing I saw looked like anything that couldn't be done on a PS3. Not that it looks bad (though the "hey here's this thing that's supposed to get some emotion out of you even though you've never seen these characters before and have no connection to them" intro looked not good). But it wasn't the kind of thing that seemed great for playing at 1 AM with two people watching and heckling you. Though, it did make me re-think buying one of those cameras to do some built in live streaming with my friend that would be fun to do (though I doubt anyone would watch, so I doubt that either of us will actually buy the camera). I'm looking forward to playing the game, it should be fun, I liked what I saw.

Madden? Well, I've never played Madden before, and I have no plans to change that. I thought the animations looked pretty good, but most of the rest of it didn't. I had my friend turn on the snow, and at first I was impressed by how many footprints there were on the field, and how long they stayed there. Then I noticed that as the players fell down into the snow, that did nothing to the snow, and I also noticed that the cameramen alongside the field were still wearing shorts, which would not be the case in the snow.

That's all I have to say about Madden.

Hm... What else? Well, PSN seemed to be not working well that night, which didn't surprise me, because it was right at launch and I'm sure PSN was being barraged by tons of people all trying to log in at once. The included microphone thing is easily the flimsiest and most poorly built microphone thing that I've ever seen. I think I will continue not talking to other people when playing games online.

That's about everything that's worth writing about. No progress has been made on my next book, Space Cops 5000, but make sure to follow this dumb promotional Twitter account I made to promote it. There might be updates or something, I dunno! Depends on when I feel like using it to tell people what's up with that.

Nothing else going on in my life, but I won't harp on that, I'll just leave with a Luigi picture.

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Schleeeeepy Dawwwwwwgs.

So, the other day I saw that Sleeping Dogs was on sale on PSN, bundled with the Nightmare in North Point DLC, so I bought it and downloaded it. And in the time since then, I put around 22-23 hours into the game and DLC, and rather than wait a month and a half and blog about a multitude of games, I decided to write a short one instead.

Given that Giant Bomb (mostly Vinny) covered just about everything there is about this game (extensively!), I'm going to assume that you already have a base level of knowledge about what it is. So since you already know that it's an open world crime game with a heavy focus on melee combat, I don't need to say that. Oops.

Anyway, I think the game is a ton of fun. For a game that I initially thought was just blatantly ripping off the Batman Arkham style melee combat, it's actually pretty deep, maybe deeper than those games (though not necessarily better). You can tap the attack button (square on PS3, but I'm not going to write out square...again, oops) to punch, and hold it to kick, or do other special attacks depending on how deep into a combo the button is held. Hold it after punching once, and it's a sweep kick. After punching twice, it's a knee attack that can stun (if you've upgraded it), and then you can do a different special by holding the grapple button to knock out a stunned enemy (again, after you have the upgrade). Then there's countering, moves that can be done after grappling an enemy (like "breaking" arms and legs), disarming enemies, and a wide variety of environmental attacks, including smashing heads into wall fans and dropping enemies down onto swordfish swords. Spikes? I mean, it's not really a sword on the front of a swordfish, because you need stuff other than a blade for it to be a sword, and it's not really a blade on the front of a swordfish...

The driving in the game is great, especially after you get access to the A Tier cars. I do have some issues though. Unlike games like Saints Row the Third, you can't just steal cars and bring them back to your garage to own. You actually have to go and buy them. I know, crazy, right? They're kinda expensive too, but by the end of the game I had millions of Hong Kong dollars, and a 40% discount on everything (because of having a level ten face, which I don't really understand and the game didn't explain clearly), so I was able to buy them all (and get the Trophy for buying all the cars). The action hijacking is great, and reminded me of a certain other game, but there's not nearly enough of it in the game. Well, I suppose you can do it just about any time you're in a vehicle (aside from story missions where you need a specific vehicle, or are driving with someone else), but there's not many good reasons to actually do it most of the time. I did get an upgrade to make cop heat disappear faster if I did that whilst being chased by the cops, but evading the cops is so easy in the game that I never needed to do that either. Being able to side bash into other cars (again, like that game) was useful.

My other issue with the cars, and this is mostly nitpicking, is the color changing. When I buy cars in video games, I usually want them to be black, because I like the look of black automobiles. I can accept that not every vehicle in the game comes in black, but the color selection process of manually going through each paint job while it loads it in is tedious, even if it takes less than a second to load each paint job. There should have been a list of colors that I picked! But the real issue is that every time I pick a car in the garage, or summon a car whilst out and about, it just comes in the default color. I think that's dumb. I ended up using a different car than I would have because it defaulted to black. In the long run, it actually ended up being a better car, but it wasn't actually the best car in the game (the second best, I think, though I'm not really sure). Again though, this is nitpicking.

The shooting in the game, well, on paper is fun, but (unless you're in a car), you have to use L2 to aim and R2 to shoot on PS3. If you're in a car, then it's L1 and R1, even if you're riding shotgun and the AI is driving (which happens a few times in the story). Luckily the PS4 (and its good triggers) is right around the corner, so hopefully I'll never run into this issue again, but it was still a bummer. At least there was plenty of slow motion sliding over things whilst shooting to make it easier, but the melee combat is still the star of the show.

The story stuff in the game is pretty good. Maybe more killing than I originally expected (both in the story and the game itself, there was more shooting than I thought), but still enjoyable. Wei Shen was a likable protagonist, as are the other characters in the game that are meant to be liked (as opposed to the numerous scumbags). The voice acting is pretty good too, but the inclusion of some famous actors with rather small roles (mainly Emma Stone, who appears about two times in the whole game) was a little weird. Speaking of that, I really like how the game handles dating, by which I mean that Wei cheats on all of them (though is it really cheating if it's never more than one date each?), but then one of them cheats on him. I thought that was funny. Also, just like in real life, going on dates reveals the locations of collectibles on your map. Or at least I assume that's how it works in real life, I've never actually-

So, it took me about 21-ish hours to beat the main story, though that was with me doing just about all of the side stuff. All the favors, cop cases (but I'm not sure if those were optional or not, because I finished them before the main story), and the races. Then I started up Nightmare in North Point this morning, because I thought it was appropriate, given that today is Halloween.

It started strong, with jokes about Chinese magic being based around anti-freeze (honestly one of the funniest things I've heard in quite some time), but overall I was pretty disappointed. It's short, the new enemy types (hopping zombies and some demon-y looking guys) aren't especially fun to fight, and it took maybe an hour to beat the whole thing. Well, I guess I didn't find all ten of the "Hell Shrines," or whatever they were called, but they weren't marked on the map, so I wasn't going out of my way to find them.

As it was included as a part of my $11.24 purchase, I had some fun with Nightmare in North Point, but if I had paid full price ($6.99, I think), I would have been quite upset. And while I kinda want to play more Sleeping Dogs, I don't think the rest of the DLC will be worth what it costs (though to be fair, it was all on sale too before, but I missed it), so I'll just wait on whatever this Triad Wars game ends up being. But if it's anything other than a straight up sequel done in the same style (ie, single player), I'll probably skip it.

Don't get me wrong though, like I said above, I really like the game. It's a ton of fun, and if you haven't played it, you probably should. Well, you should if you like that type of open world crime game. There's definitely more to it than the seven times GB has made videos of them playing it.

So what else has been going on? Well, I finished Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. My opinion didn't really change much, but by the time I finished it, I had this overwhelming feeling wasting my life away, but that may have been related to other things as well. I played some more Dungeons & Dragons, during which I ended up doing all sorts of ridiculous things like tying kobold skulls to my sorcerer staff, so that was fun.

Nothing going on in the book writing/editing front, but I may get back into that soon. The PS4 launch is REALLY close, and I'm hoping that Killzone Shadow Fall is worth buying, because as excited as I am for Assassin's Creed IV, it'll be nice to have a game that was built from the ground up for the PS4, rather than just having better water and real time plant physics added on.

Oh, and after today's announcements about PlayStation Plus for the next month, you can look forward to me writing about games like Binary Domain and Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen! Not Stranger's Wrath though. That's only the Vita version, which bums me out, because I've wanted to play that game, but not really enough to pay $15. Oh well!

So, that's it! There's my "short" blog for the time being, I'll try to write another one as soon as I have enough to say about something. I would say happy Halloween, but I don't really like Halloween, or many Halloween themed things. I could probably write a whole blog about that, but I'm not going to, because that would not make for an interesting read. I think.

Oh, and I didn't proof-read for typos, so keep that in mind! Hm... I suppose saying that at the end doesn't really help though, if you've already read a bunch and scoffed at me.

Once the Year of Luigi is over, I'll have to think up a new image gimmick. I don't really want to go back to Nolan North, not now that he's not in every game like he used to be. Going with Troy Baker would just be re-using the same joke, so I won't do that either. I'll think of something, I still have a couple months to do so.

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Grand Theft Amalur: Shadow of the Splinter Cell...Ico.

Hey guys! It's been a while since the last time I actually wrote something up here, but that seems to happen a lot to me. Sometimes it's because I have nothing to write about, sometimes it's laziness, sometimes I was just too busy. This time, well, I won't go into the details, but the time since the last blog I wrote (over a month) has been...emotionally trying, let's say. No, nothing bad has happened. No one died, no natural disasters, nothing like that. It's just been kinda rough, but I'm feeling better today. And I've played some stuff since the last time I did one of these, so I figured I had to do this before I let it pile up so high that I never ended up writing about any of these games.

GTA V

This is the big one. I was so excited for this game that not only did I go out and buy it on release day, I actually went just slightly after the local K-Mart opened and got it as soon as I could. Part of that was because of logistical issues (ie, that was the only time on that day when I was able to go and get it), but I was really excited. And for some reason I feel like that last sentence implies that my excitement waned as I started to play it (that may just be me), but it didn't.

I really love the game. I think it has its flaws, some of which are dumb holdovers from previous RockStar games, like the accursed run button. But even that isn't as frustrating as it was in GTA IV, because of simple additions like making the character run when he has a gun equipped. You know, modern innovations. There's some other, minor things like pop-in and a few other weird technical issues here and there (I mean just the single player), but overall I had tons of fun with the...70-ish hours I spent playing the single player. I think it only took me about 50 to get to the end of the story, but I had to go finish up some of that side stuff, and find those stupid collectibles.

You know what, I think one of the side quest chains did break on me. It was the Michael one involving that Epsilon cult. I won't go into specifics here, because I don't want to spoil it for other people, but I know there were at least a couple more parts to it that I never got to do because they never called/texted me back (kind of like in real life (I kid, I don't use text messages)). I'm almost positive that I did everything that was required of me, but it never happened. Oh well!

I'm not sure what else to say. I think it's fun, I really liked the story, the acting, the writing (at least for the story stuff, I'm not counting ads and stuff), etc. While I think most of the radio stations in the game are pretty bad, I do think that local radio station out in the hills is fantastic. Especially when Trevor's friend gets on and starts talking about lizard people and banks creating digital clones of people. SPOT ON. The three protagonists are all great, though like many others, I think Franklin is criminally (pun intended) under-used. That said, Trevor quickly became one of my favorite video game characters of all time, so I'll let that slide.

I think the mission design for most of the game is really great, especially compared to a lot of other open world games. Especially those heists. Everything about them, from planning, to preparing, to actually doing them was great. One of my favorite moments in the game was when I had to steal a pest control van for that first heist. It was a really small, simple thing, but something about getting there at night, sneaking around back, and stealing that van felt incredibly satisfying.

I was a little underwhelmed with where some parts of the story went, but that was mostly my fault. Again, I won't go into specific details, but there was a moment in the game when I thought that the main story was going to lean deep into aliens, and government cover ups of aliens. But that stuff (spoilers) never happens, and I blame myself for creating this weird expectation. Well, that's not entirely true, there's certainly plenty of stuff in the game that hints toward aliens, but not really enough in the main story to have created this expectation.

And uh...I guess I should say something about the torture scene, right? I know it's been talked to death, but I didn't mind it. Hell, I thought it was kind of a fun mini-game. I dunno, maybe I just got the joke more than more people (I did think having a button prompt to water-board was hilarious for some reason), or maybe it's a sign of a much deeper, darker problem with my psyche. Or maybe it's because I don't think that hurting one dude and letting him live is any worse than any of the dozens of people that had been killed by just ONE of the three protagonists up to that point in the game. And I know that some (or maybe a lot, I'm not sure) have said that they thought it was out of character for Trevor. I dunno. He seemed to be having fun, but maybe there should have been a little more incentive to get him to agree to it.

I still think the real reason the scene is in there in the first place is that RockStar had to have SOMETHING in there to be "controversial." At this point they've done everything else, and that was probably the only thing they could have done that wouldn't have gotten the game an AO rating (you know, the mark of death). It worked, at least for a little while.

And I played about half an hour, maybe forty minutes of GTA Online. Despite the inclusion of Lamar (another of my favorite characters), I thought it was EXTREMELY boring. If I had been playing with friends, maybe that would have been fun, but as it was, I had no reason to play any more of it than that, and I have doubts about ever going back.

Those are my thoughts on GTA V, I really love it. I can't wait for GTA VI when that comes out in 2018.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

As you may know, I'm pretty fond of stealth games, but I didn't get this right when it came out because it came out on the same day as Saints Row IV, and there was no way I was going to not buy Saints Row IV that week. And while that was definitely the right decision at the time, after the death of Tom Clancy, I felt obligated to go and play this game. It was certainly helpful that it was on sale for $40 that week, but I think it's a fantastic game that probably would have been worth sixty of my dollars anyway.

I should probably say that I have not always been a huge Splinter Cell game. I didn't play the first two, and only got three or four levels into Chaos Theory (I remember getting stuck). I did play Double Agent to completion (liked it a lot, it was a fun early 360 game), but skipped on Conviction (largely because I read it was pretty short).

But like I wrote about, I think Blacklist is fantastic. Like GTA V, it's not perfect. It does look kinda dated in some ways (apparently it's running on Unreal Engine 2.5), the character models look kinda rough, and I did have some technical issues (it froze once or twice, lighting broke a couple times in a really weird way that caused me to have to reload checkpoints). Some of that stuff may sound kinda damning (and really, we should be at the point where any game crashes are inexcusable, but whatever), but I think the core game play is absolutely solid.

In terms of pure mechanics, this is easily my favorite stealth game since MGS4. And in a lot of ways, this is a better game than MGS4, but not in all ways. MGS4 still has bigger environments, more routes, stuff like that. And say what you will about the story stuff in MGS4 (or any MGS, really), but it's at least more interesting than the story in Blacklist. Blacklist's story isn't bad, it's just a Tom Clancy story. I feel kinda bad saying that this way after he passed away earlier this month (on my birthday, actually, or maybe the day before, but the news broke on my birthday). What I mean to say is that if you are familiar with those kinds of stories, then you know exactly what Blacklist has in store. There are some twists, but nothing crazy.

Like I said, it's the game play that is the star here. Really tight controls, great level design (even if it does feel a little constrained some of the time). I really like the game's commitment to letting you play through without killing anyone...at least while you're playing as Sam Fisher (side note: new voice actor is fine, but he's no Michael Ironside). The game has these moments where you play as someone else either controlling a drone, or actually on the ground (in first person, no less!) where your only option is to kill. They're not bad (well, the FPS section isn't great), but they felt kinda out of place. Conversely, the level based nature of the game made it pretty easy for me to go back and replay the one level where I killed some enemies (before I got the hang of the game) so I could get the no kill Trophy. The fact that I was able to get through the rest of it (again, as Sam) without killing anyone is a pretty impressive feat on the part of the game designers. I almost never manage to play through stealth games non-lethally the first time. There's usually some moment where I mess up, or some action scene (mostly in MGS games) where going through with only non-lethal stuff is so impractical that it would ruin the moment the first time through. And there are definitely moments in Blacklist where I think Sam would have not shown the same restraint I did, but the fact that I never felt gimped in any way by going non-lethal is great. In almost every case I think that non-lethal is just as viable, if not more so, than going lethal. This is definitely not the case in some so-called stealth games that I've played in recent years (cough, Dishonored, cough).

I don't think I have much else to say on that for the moment. Well, while the torture scene in GTA V didn't bother me, there was something in Blacklist that kinda bothered me, particularly toward the end of the game. This is kind of a spoiler, but not really for the main story (and it probably won't mean anything to anyone who hasn't played Blacklist or Conviction). But there's a character in the game named Kobin (voiced by Elias "I never asked for this" Toufexis (I can't believe I spelled that right on my first try)) who was a villain in Conviction (or so I've heard). Early in Blacklist (the first level after the prologue) he gets captured by Sam, and held prisoner on Fourth Echelon's secret airplane. I didn't have any issue with that, at least until the end of the game when Sam seems to imply that because Kobin was somewhat useful throughout the game, he was going to be kept on the plane indefinitely, with no chance of getting a proper trial or anything like that. And when I say kept, I mean he is sitting in a cell behind bars, aside from the few times when he's needed outside of that cell.

I think that's kinda messed up! I'm not saying the character should be released and go free at the end of the game because he helped out Sam and crew, but he should at least get a trial, right? Or if he's going to be a permanent member of Sam's crew, then he should be shown a little more respect. I dunno. This bothered me way more than anything in GTA V.

But it's still a really fun game. I just wish I had someone to play those few co-op only side missions with. No, this is not me asking people reading this to play with me. I think something like this would require too much coordination, and I don't have a mic or anything, so I'm not going to do that.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Now I'm getting into the free PlayStation Plus stuff. If you've forgotten, this was the game that made its way out of that whole debacle with Kurt Schilling and the State of Rhode Island (as I explained it to my dad when he asked me what this game was). There was certainly a lot more to it than that, but that's not what I'm writing (talking? I feel like I switch between verbs describing those two, very different acts on a whim) about here.

When I first started playing Amalur, I was quite bored. The combat seemed shallow, the world bland, and I still think it's dumb that the dwarves in the game are called gnomes. I know I remembered that here, when I wrote this, but literally every time in the game when someone says the word gnome, or I see the word gnome written out, it takes half a second for me to remember that the people I was referring to as dwarves in my head were really gnomes. And it took me quite a while before I really got into the game. I ended up playing through all of Blacklist and Shadow of the Colossus HD (more on that below) and some of Ico (also below) between the first few hours of this game, and everything I've played since. And I'm about...50 hours in. Still a good ways away from the end of the game. Maybe about ten more? I dunno.

But about, I think 10-15 hours in, I had enough new skills and the story was picking up (both in the main story and the big side quest lines for the guild-type groups) enough that I started really liking the game quite a bit. I still feel like the game is biting off more than it can chew in just about every way, but I'm enjoying it. I don't really mind the dated graphics, terrible facial animation, silent protagonist, generic quest design, technical issues, repeating voice actors (I've heard Cam Clarke (Liquid Snake) about 40 times as different characters), and the thing where entering a city or leaving a building inside a city plays the same "sweeping" view of the city EVERY time and then the camera flies through the geometry to where I actually am in a really janky way (pretty sure that's a glitch) as much as I did when I started playing. And this is because the combat is pretty fun now, the art design is, well, interesting (elves with pink super saiyan hair), and I am now at least fairly invested in the story.

Again, I haven't beaten it yet, and when I do I'll probably put in a sentence in my next blog (expected to hit some time in early 2014, given my current pace) giving my final thoughts, but I doubt my opinion will change substantially in the mean time. It's a fun game, and it's been good for killing time in this part of my life where I have no job and no prospects of actually getting one.

Shadow of the Colossus And Ico

Since these are both old games I'm going to try to keep this short. Both of these were (are, as of this writing, I think) free on PlayStation Plus. I had played SotC back in the day. Not when it came out, I think in 2007 when I bought a PS3 (when they were still backwards compatible) and I borrowed a copy from my friend (who, I should say, still has my copy of Uncharted 2 that he borrowed last year and still hasn't played, and hasn't returned it despite pretty much admitting that he's never actually going to get around to playing it because he does have a job and a life and all sorts of stuff keeping him busy (he knows I kid, don't worry)).

I really loved the game back then, and I still really love it now. There are a few spots in there that are extremely frustrating, and there was even one moment where I had to look up how to get past the first stage of the 15th Colossus online, despite having beaten the game years before (but given how poorly explained that part was in that fight, I wouldn't be surprised if that was what I did then too). But I think the good parts of that game are more than good enough to make up for the game's blemishes, and I still love its devotion to creating giant, open environments with nothing in them. I know there are a lot of good reasons for why most games don't just have big open fields with nothing in them, but I kinda like it when games do, even though this and Mass Effect 1 are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head (MAKO!).

Ico, however, I had not played before. I also haven't beaten it yet. I think I made it past the halfway mark, but I got stuck. I've gotten stuck a lot in that game, actually. I'm probably going to have to look up what to do next, because I think I spent close to forty minutes combing through where I am for what to do next, but couldn't figure out anything. I bet this will be a case where once I do figure out what to do, it'll either be something incredibly obvious that will make me feel dumb, or something so obtuse and weird that I will brush it off as bad game design. Well, that's a little harsh, but you know what I mean.

Overall I enjoy the game, but not enough that I had to go and finish it before spending so much time playing Kingdoms of Amalur. I'll go back to it, which is more than I can say for stuff like Jet Set Radio, which I deleted from my PS3 to make room for Amalur and the Blacklist install (8 gigs!).

So, what else has been happening in my life? Aside from the rough spots I mentioned above, I mean. Well, I played some more D&D the other day. Because of the incompetency of one of my friends, we ended up having to create new characters and starting over, so I made a new sorcerer named Nic Cage. He was thrown out of sorcery school while he was still an apprentice because he was too obsessed with finding ancient Freemason treasures. (I had created an alternate background that involved a flesh eating virus and an evil wizard named Ed Harris, but neither of my friends have seen The Rock, so I felt those references were wasted on them.)

The highlights include me trying to sell a flask of kobold blood in a village (I was somewhat inspired by V-Bomb and his jar of goblin blood), but when no one wanted to buy it, I just poured it down the well, and cast fire on the inside of my flask to make sure it was sanitized. Then I "accidentally" burned down the tavern with another fire spell, but I was able to talk my way past one of the town guards on our way out, despite the DM (who was also playing, as there were only three of us) saying he made that speech check pretty hard (I have 9 for my bluff skill).

I also played several hours of Lord of the Rings Risk yesterday. This was with different people. By the end of it, one of us (three were playing at the start) had quit, so I was playing his turns in addition to my turns in an attempt to defeat the other person, who had somehow managed to amass an enormous army. I was victorious, which is to say that after I wiped out the last of his units I declared it was a tie between "me" and the "other person" and that there would be everlasting peace in Middle Earth.

Then I said I was never going to play Risk ever again in my life.

I will probably end up playing Halo Risk with them before the end of the year. For whatever reason, they own LotR Risk, and Halo Risk, but not Risk-ass Risk.

Then we spent a good 30-40 minutes yelling at a Kinect while trying to search for the movie Kazaam (we were all yelling at once, intentionally). The best we could come up with was a trailer for the movie Steel. Now I really want to watch Steel (I have never seen Steel before).

What else? Despite intentions to see Machete Kills and Escape Plan, I have not managed to go see either, and at this point I would not be surprised if I missed both whilst they're in the theaters. That said, I absolutely HAVE to see Machete Kills at some point. And probably Escape Plan too.

No progress made on my second book. Part of the whole going through some rough stuff in the last month-ish made my ability to try to focus on reading through almost 400 pages for typos pretty much disappear. I'm going to try to buckle down and do that soon though. I'm really hoping that I can get it out there for people to read by the end of the year, but I am a little disgruntled that meeting that "deadline" will mean "publishing" it before any of my friends actually read more than 6 chapters. You may think that's a bad sign about the quality of my book, especially given that I had finished the first draft before the summer began this year, and I would probably agree with you if they didn't swear that what they had read was better than what I had done in the first book, but who knows!

When you spend so much time working on something without meaningful input from others, it can become basically impossible to actually judge the quality of it. And really, given the roaring success of my first book, at this point I might just be better off finding some way to put it up for free and just let people read it. I don't think it's better enough than the first one to succeed that way, and I don't really see it becoming successful for any other weird reason, so why even bother?

Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, but at this point I've almost completely given up on my dreams of becoming a famous author. Or even a moderately successful author. I'm definitely going to put this book up for people to read somehow, and I am going to write the final part of the trilogy eventually. It might just be a while, especially if I ever actually go out and get a job or something.

Oh, yeah, those delays. I'm really bummed that Watch Dogs and Drive Club (excuse me, #DRIVECLUB) got delayed. I know it's probably for the best, in the long run, but that PS+ Edition of Drive Club was going to be my go to, "here, look at this next gen game" game. Not because of its graphical fidelity (which I'm sure is probably pretty good), more because I don't want to be showing my middle-school aged sibling M rated games, and Resogun is probably going to be too hectic to show off, let alone let someone else try to play (at least for people who aren't great at video games). I guess I'll just have to show off AC IV without actually fighting or killing anyone. Sure, my younger sibling is mature enough to see something like that, but I just don't feel right, you know? Eh, never mind.

Maybe Knack will wind up being great. I really doubt it. But these delays do mean that I will probably end up buying Killzone Shadow Fall before the end of the year, just because. I did like Killzone 2 and 3 a lot, but I still think $60 is a lot to pay for a game like that, especially when I probably won't play the online a whole lot because I'm usually not good at that stuff. Who knows! All I know is that I'm not canceling my pre-order now, not when inFAMOUS Second Son is out early next year, and definitely well before anything resembling a price drop is going to happen.

But I do wish now that I had the extra money for and Xbox One and Dead Rising 3. Sure, that would probably be the only game I played on the Xbox One until Swery's game or...Uh...That game being made by the people who made Alan Wake. Remedy? Quantum Something-Something? As you can tell, I'm deeply invested in whatever it will be. (No, not interested in Titan Fall, see previous comments on playing games online.)

That's it! I've run out of things to write! Thank you for reading all the way through, I hope you enjoyed it. And if not, well, you probably didn't spend as much time reading this as I did making it (especially if you count making those dumb Luigi pictures).

P.S. Like usual, I did not edit this for typos, so I'm sorry!

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PlayStation Plus, Dungeons & Dragons, and other madness.

With Grand Theft Auto V coming out next week, and unofficially starting the autumn/winter video game rush (though not really given the time between it and the next big release, but shush to your logic), I figured I would write out a long blog covering the last of the video games that I've played over the summer but never got around to writing about, because of laziness. I might (and I stress might) write up a RockStar retrospective blog next week about the other RockStar games of this generation that I played (and recently replayed), but don't be surprised if that doesn't happen!

As you might have gathered from that title, I recently subscribed to PlayStation Plus. I have before, but this time I bought a year, because I'm doubling down on Sony and finally got around to pre-ordering a PS4. I'm pretty sure that I got one of the last ones that Amazon was offering, because I had to get a bundle with a second controller because they were not selling any other versions, and the last time I checked, they weren't even selling that one any more. It won't be arriving on launch day, unless Amazon tops itself in delivering it early (which often happens in my case, but I highly doubt it will this time).

But I'm fine with receiving it a few days later when the alternative would be either waiting a month or more to have a good chance of finding one in a store, or racing from store to store, not find anything, and then get disgruntled. Plus, Amazon still isn't charging sales tax in my state, so I saved a little bit of money there. Conversely, I don't mind paying sales tax, because, unlike some people, I realize that the state needs money to run, but I don't want to turn this into a political discussion, especially given how many games I want to cover here.

I have not pre-ordered any games for the PS4 yet, but I doubt that finding Watch Dogs or Assassin's Creed IV in a store will be a problem. And there's going to be a couple free PS+ things days one, like that lessened version of Drive Club, though I have no idea as to how gimped or not gimped that version of the game will be. Oh, and Resogun. I suppose I could just buy Watch Dogs or something digitally, but I'm still a dinosaur in the sense that I feel like if I'm paying that much money for something, I still want a physical representation of it. And while my internet is fast enough to play games online and stuff like that, it's still faster for me to drive to a store and buy a game than it is to download larger games, and let's be honest, game files sizes are only going to get LARGER as this next generation gets going. We're going to run out of storage space faster than you think.

Now that I've finished critiquing anti-tax people and the digital only future, here's some games that I played, most of which were "free" (don't forget that $50 per year subscription fee) on PlayStation Plus!

Hitman Absolution

Before getting into this game, the only experience I had with the Hitman series was playing a demo of Blood Money. I had been intrigued by Blood Money, but it was one of those many games that I filed under, "I might buy this if I see it for cheap at some point," but never ended up playing it. But for the price of "free," I couldn't pass up Absolution.

And it's a pretty good game. My understanding is that this game has a lot more "traditional" stealth levels than the previous ones, which is kind of a bummer, but I didn't mind it much. I like "traditional" stealth games, and with my playing this close to when Splinter Cell Blacklist released, it helped scratch that stealth itch and keep me from buying another $60 game right after buying Saints Row IV. Not that I don't want to ever play that game, it sounds quite good, but I've already dedicated over $400 to a new console, so I'm trying to be frugal at least every ONCE in a while.

I'm bad at staying on topic.

So, the levels in Absolution that are more in line with the "classic" Hitman games were a lot of fun. Searching through an environment filled with NPCs for ways to stealthily eliminate the target(s) is a way of doing stealth that most stealth games don't do. In most stealth games, if you get seen, that's it, you've alerted them, etc. But when games do have areas where you can walk around where you shouldn't be, I absolutely love that. It's sort of like the ultimate form of stealth. Being completely hidden whilst in plain sight.

It's just that I feel like the disguises in the game don't work as well as I think they would in real life. Now, I played on Normal, but the enemies in the game can see through disguises EXTREMELY QUICKLY! There are some cases where I think this is totally justified. When I'm in a town courtroom in a small town dressed as a cop, it makes sense that the other cops would know all of the cops in town, and would be suspicious of Agent 47 in a cop uniform. But if I'm wearing a full body haz-mat suit, I think it's crazy that other haz-mat suit wearing people would be able to tell that I shouldn't be there. Maybe if I was doing something crazy, like waving a gun around, then sure. But if I'm just walking around acting in the same exact way that the other haz-mat people are, then I think that's ridiculous.

But this whole game is ridiculous. This is a game set in a world where this secret Agency that assassinates people all over the world is genetically engineering super soldier girls (or maybe just one, I don't know) that everyone is trying to get, and there is a squad of murderous "nuns" called the Saints (no relation to the Third Street Saints) that get referenced several times throughout the game, but only appear in one level where they (SPOILERS) all get killed by 47.

But overall I enjoyed the game. It looks really nice too. Obviously not as good as the PC version (shut up, smarmy PC video game playing people, I'll get a high end PC when I can afford more than $400 or $500 for a new video game machine), but it still looks nice. Lots of great lighting, colored and otherwise.

His most cunning disguise.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

You may be aware that this game was critically acclaimed. It was game of the year on some websites, including this little one I like called Giant Bomb dot com. Given that, I was interested in playing this game to see if it lived up to its reputation. And it certainly lived up to it.

By which I mean that this game is really, really, REALLY hard. Let me put it this way: Before XCOM, the last game that I had been forced to turn it down to easy because I was not able to cut it on normal was Ninja Gaiden II. However, I was able to beat Ninja Gaiden II on easy. I was not able to beat XCOM on easy. I made it not only to the very last mission, I made it to the last BATTLE in the last mission. But given the state of my squad, with no one at full health, and all medikits used, I wasn't able to win. Maybe if I had spent more time "grinding" to get better armor and weapons for everyone, I could have done it. Maybe if I had played on easy from the start, with its increased resources than normal, I could have done it.

But I didn't. Instead, I tried to beat that final battle a bunch of times. I tried different tactics. I tried different approaches. If every single "dice roll" went my way, and every enemy attack missed, then sure, I could beat it. I'm pretty sure the game is built in a way where that will never happen, but I obviously can't say for sure.

That last battle though, even on easy, is so hard that I think calling that mode "easy" is disingenuous. I have no problem with a video game making all of its difficulty modes challenging, but if that's the case, then don't call the least difficult one "easy." If a game mode is called "easy," then it should be EASY. I got through the first nine or ten hours of the game without too much trouble, but at a certain point it got so frustrating that I wasn't having fun, so I turned it down to easy, thinking that I would have more fun on easy. And for a while, I did. But then it got frustrating again, and eventually it got to the point (in that last battle) where I just deleted the game from my hard drive. I was really angry at the time.

And given the fact that I stopped playing the game on an angry note, it made me even angrier about a lot of the "smaller" issues in the game that I had been able to overlook when I was having fun. Things like how the framerate is bad on the PS3. I don't understand how, because the game doesn't look particularly good (in terms of detail), so I can only assume that it's just a case of it being a bad port. Even if the game had run perfectly, things like the unrealistically short view distance for the soldiers just made the game frustrating. Or how the enemies get a chance to move into cover when I discover them, and if I happen to discover them on my final action in my turn, they then get their NORMAL turn in addition, which often means that I would be screwed. I get that these are "design" decisions that the developers thought were good, but I disagree. I don't see how making all my my soldiers so near-sighted improves the game. If every mission of the game had been set in the dead of night, then I could understand why they can only see about twenty feet in front of them, but there are day missions too, and the vision is just as bad.

Really, the completely arbitrary nature about a lot of the systems in the game just drove me nuts. Why can't my heavy use his rocket launcher after moving? Why can't this soldier where an anti-mind control helmet and carry a medikit at the same time? Sure, support soldiers can upgrade to carry two "items" at once, but that still doesn't explain why a helmet takes up an inventory slot for a thing that, in almost every other case, is kept in a storage thing on the character's belt!

Why is XCOM so strapped for cash in the first place? Why can't they afford a single hover-plane thing to be able to respond to more than one incident at a time? Why not just send in a whole bunch of soldiers into these situations instead of six? Why are the aliens even invading in the first place? Oh, wait, that gets explained, BUT IT MAKES NO SENSE, especially not in the context of the final mission of the game, which is where it gets explained (SPOILERS, the aliens were testing the human race to see if they had psychic powers, and even after determining that the humans did have these powers, and that they wanted them to be a part of their space organization, they still kept trying to kill my soldiers instead of offering peace. But hey, maybe there's a better explanation after you beat that mission, BUT I COULDN'T BEAT THE GAME!)

Aside from my little rant there about the story, those are design decisions that can be argued as being sound. Obviously there aren't more than six soldiers because eventually it would turn into a large scale war game, instead of being this small scale thing. But the bigger point that I was trying to make is that I don't think the game does a good enough job of making this seem like something that could happen. Why wouldn't the US military be using all of its troops to combat the aliens? Are the aliens really that much of an issue? I don't think there's ever more than, I dunno, forty aliens in one place at any time. That's not really that many in the grand scheme of things. Maybe I'm over thinking it, or not thinking about it in the right way.

Either way, I didn't care for this game. I don't think I'm going to be playing any strategy games any time soon. And I'm fine with that.

I put about as much effort into this picture as I think it deserved.

This blog has gotten really long. RAPID FIRE!

Bit.Trip Presents: Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien

This game is a lot of fun, I ended up playing all the levels and finding everything in every level (but not the retro game cartridges), and it was nice to hear Charles Martinet as a character that isn't Italian. The only other one I can think of is Skyrim. He was Paarthunax. Yeah, Paarthunax the dragon. I KNOW! Crazy.

Machinarium

I don't really play many point and click adventure games, and I really don't think the PS3 controller is the best way to play one, but I had fun. It's short, but not longer than it needed to be. Especially given the price. Which was free. I don't think I would have wanted to play any more than a couple of bucks, or maybe five for it. Still, I enjoyed it. Really nice looking game, decent sense of humor. Good Space Invaders clone hidden in there.

Knytt Underground

Never heard of this game? According to Giant Bomb, it's actually a sequel to a game called Knytt. I dunno, the only context I had ever seen this game in was seeing it on PSN in the Free Games section of PlayStation Plus. So I tried playing it, because it was free. I didn't play it for very long, because it seems quite boring to me. Parts of it looked nice, but I really didn't like the look of the characters in the game, and it's one of those indie games that thinks it's really clever and funny, but isn't. You know what I mean.

Jet Set Radio HD

Despite owning a Dreamcast, and having bought it whilst they were still being sold in stores ($70!), I never played this game, or Jet Grind Radio as it was known then (in the US). So I started playing this game, and hey, THIS GAME IS CRAZY. Crazier than I had thought.

In this game, the police are so obsessed with stopping these punks from spraying their graffiti that they go to some CRAZY extremes. Riot cops? Not enough. SWAT? Still can't stop 'em. Dogs? Getting closer. Paratroopers? Almost.

I wasn't too surprised when those showed up, but I just about lost it when the game threw ATTACK HELICOPTERS at me. I'm not kidding, they are helicopters that shoot MISSILES at these kids as they roller blade around. You may be thinking that's overkill, but it really isn't when these kids can DESTROY HELICOPTERS WITH SPRAY PAINT. You get close enough to spray 'em, and they crash.

This game is madness. Kinda fun too. I stopped playing it, might get back to it. This new, HD version has a little 20 minute "making of" thing in it that was actually pretty interesting.

Galaga Legions DX

You can play as Pac-Man in this game. It's all right.

think that's it for games on PS+ that I've been playing. I also started playing Dungeons & Dragons with some friends. I played a sorcerer named Vin Diesel. His back story is that he was the king of the illegal street racing in Detroit until he fell through a portal into a parallel universe where he realized that he can cast magic. He has 9 in Streetwise. We didn't play it for too long, because we kinda only just BARELY know what we're doing, and it took a long time to just make my character (the other two had played a little once before, so they started me at level 3 to be caught up with them). But we're (probably) going to keep playing, so I'll try to blog when some really interesting stuff happens.

Also, I played Borderlands 2, and have been replaying it. I actually played it around the time that Ryan passed, and it was my "I need something that uses enough of my brain to keep my mind off things, but not so much that I need to actually think" game. Now I'm replaying it because it looks beautiful on my TV (360 version), and it's a really fun game. I like it (for the most part) more than Borderlands the first, but it is, in most ways, just more Borderlands (Morederlands), so I'm not going to write too much about it.

Read my book! Please! I think I arbitrarily set it to be free until the end of Thursday (the 12th of September), so GET IT NOW! If it's not, then it's only a dollar. US Link. UK Link.Canada Link.

I know you've probably read me shilling for it a bunch of times now, but I haven't made much progress toward getting the sequel in a state where it will be publishable. I mean, the story is written, I just mean having my friends tell me if it makes sense/is good, typos, etc. And I need a cover too. Anyone reading this now a way that I can get someone who can draw to make a cover for nothing in return other than a special thanks in the book?

That's it! I'm done! If you haven't had enough Year of Luigi, then here you go!

I didn't feel like editing another one.

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Madness Incarnate: Divekick and Saints Row IV.

As you probably know, last week was kind of crazy in terms of game releases. Along with the two games I'm writing about here, a Splinter Cell game came out, as did an XCOM game. Probably some other stuff too, but nothing that caught my attention. I'd like to play Splinter Cell: Blacklist at some point, but I just bought Saints Row IV and Divekick last week, and then today I bought a year of PlayStation Plus, so I've used up my "budget" for the time being.

Divekick.

Even if Divekick had been complete garbage, after following that game for months and months, I couldn't not buy it. All those Divekick eSports Hours alone were worth the $10. But hey, it turns out that Divekick is actually really fun. Good thing too, because I had a couple friends and a pizza come over that night to play it. Well, the pizza didn't play it, we ate the pizza. If I knew a pizza that could play video games, I would have betrayed that fool years ago for profit.

I'm not going to recap the basic mechanics of Divekick, that's what the GB QL is for. I really like it, and so did my friends, but I think the promise of a simple fighting game that anyone can play may have been lost a while ago. I haven't had someone like my dad try playing it yet, but I kinda feel like not having a control stick for movement would mess up a lot of people like him, that haven't really played any games in a good ten years or so. But maybe I'm wrong, I don't know!

That's irrelevant anyway, because I'm not going to sit here and complain about how the original pitch was lost. I love how insane and weird the game has gotten. No, I'm not good with all the characters, but who is ever good with ALL of the characters in any fighting game? Well, some people are. Probably.

I've been flipping back and forth between playing story mode with various characters, and trying matches online. Unsurprisingly, I'm not particularly great against people online. But I've gotten good against the AI with most of the characters (on medium, at least). Not sure if that's entirely because of my skill, or if I've just figured out what the AI is and isn't good at. Either way, end of story mode S-Kill with infinite Kick Meter doesn't completely crush me like he used to, so I'm happy about that.

I do think it's hilarious that all the people at Iron Galaxy (at least the ones who talked on their live streams) seemed convinced that The Baz wasn't a very good player, but he's the one I have the most trouble against, and (from what little I've seen online) seems like he's the really tricky one.

That's about all I have to say about Divekick.

No matter how hard I try, or want to, I'm just not good with S-Kill. Conceptually I like him a lot, even if quite a bit of that is thinking it's funny that the character based on Seth Killian is the villain. Oh well.

Saints Row IV.

I'm having trouble summing up this game in words. How about this instead:

This game's a ton of fun. No, it's not quite as good as Saints Row the Third. A lot of it feels like it was slapped together in a rush to get the game out before the next gen consoles are released (because it kinda was, if you know the backstory of this game). Lots of sound effects are either way too quiet (super sprinting into cars), or not there (specific moment during the final boss that I shan't spoil, but that may have been a glitch). It's the same city, lots of the same clothing items, weapons, other things.

That said, when this game is at its best, it's so incredibly, ridiculously, and ludicrously insane and good that I'm flabbergasted. Saints Row the Third was a really funny game, but this game is hilarious from start to finish. Well, not quite, but I definitely laughed more than I did in The Third. Part is from the excellent writing, part is from the nonsensical situations the game puts you in, and part of that is from the kinda slap-dash quality that permeates a lot of the game. There are times in the game when you fight enemies that are intentionally glitched out, and they just look like mistakes made in attempting 3D modeling. And that's hilarious.

There's tons of fourth wall breaking, like a certain former professional wrestler who, when asked (in game) about why he was there, he said, "I needed money." A lot of the humor is referential in nature, which could have been a fatal mistake, but I think most of that stuff is done really well. I do feel like I missed out on a few jokes, because I hadn't played Saints Row 1 or 2, but I got enough of the jokes. I do echo what others have said and think that The Third should be required playing before starting SRIV, but even if that wasn't the case, you should play The Third. It's a great game.

I think the powers are a real, ahem, game changer. The Third was a really fun game to play, but IV is something else entirely. Throwing fireballs is fun, but when you stomp the ground to cause nearby enemies and vehicles to float in the air (or shrink the enemies), then use a skill that surrounds you in fire, and instead of throwing the fireball, you just run near the enemies to light them on fire (while they are floating in the air), and then, just for good measure, run up the side of a building, jump off, and punch into the ground so hard that a nuclear explosion goes off? That's incredible. Also, there's telekinesis. That's fun too.

I should say that I played on PS3. No, the frame rate was not as good as it would have been on PC. But it seemed better than what I had been seeing people were saying it was on 360, but I can't say for certain. But it definitely ran pretty well, and definitely within my tolerance limits. I will say that the "Tornado" upgrade for the super sprint seemed to really hurt the frame rate, and then the game crashed whilst I was using it. I thought this might happen, as the description said it created a tornado behind the character that sucked cars into it, so I kept a save from before buying that (you can't turn powers/upgrades off), and I reloaded that save. I would recommend against buying that upgrade if you're on a console.

About the only other thing I can think of to say (without getting into spoilers, which I won't) is that there are a bunch of story missions (and Loyalty Missions) where the game gins up some excuse for taking away your powers, because those powers would have broken those missions. I kinda like that, and I kinda don't. I feel like a game that was made with more time would have been designed in a way that this wouldn't have happened. But on the other hand, some of those missions are really great, and honestly couldn't have worked that well WITH the powers. So it's good and bad.

I do hope that whatever Volition does next, they take their time. Personally, I hope Saints Row Plead the Fifth (my hope for the title, well, that or Saints Row Five-Ever, since they didn't go with Saints Row Forever) is even bigger and crazier than IV. With next gen consoles, and more time, they could make a truly massive world that could handle even bigger and crazier powers. And given the ending of SRIV (again, no spoilers), but just about ANYTHING could be possible for the next game. Literally anything. Literally. In the old sense of the word. Not the new one.

This game made me realize that I need to watch the movie "They Live" at some point. That's all I will say.

BUY MY BOOK! PLEASE! US Link. UK Link.Canada Link.

Nothing else to say! But the Year of Luig stops for no one!

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Blog Blog Blog: More Hot, New Releases.

No preamble, straight to the games!

The Last of Us.

I've kinda been putting off writing about The Last of Us because it is, in a lot of ways, kind of the biggest, and "most important" game released thus far this year (note, for future people, that I wrote this in the week before Games of the Year Saints Row IV and Divekick were released). I didn't play it right when it was released, but I certainly played it closer to release than I have with a lot of other games that I've played recently.

And now that I'm here, writing about this game, I'm still not exactly sure what to say about the game. I did like it. A lot. I might even go so far as to say that I loved it. But... I dunno. I didn't love every aspect of it. Let me start with the things that I did like.

I liked the game play. I enjoy playing stealth games, and while this isn't strictly a stealth game, a lot of it does focus around getting through areas as stealthily as possible, due to overwhelming odds against the Joel and Ellie. At least, that's the theory. I haven't had a chance to play the game on anything other than Normal, but I will say that by the end of the game on Normal, between the numerous weapons and other upgrades, Joel is practically a one man army. Not as much of a one man army as Nathan Drake (who manages to murder hundreds of dudes with a scant TWO guns), but close. Still, even if the game got a little easy toward the end, I still loved the stealth emphasis of the game, even if I almost always ended up alerting the enemies and having to fight my way through.

I also really liked the voice acting. Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson are both phenomenal as Joel and Ellie, and the rest of the cast is about as good. Nolan North makes a special appearance as well, in a pretty un-Northern role, which I appreciated. The facial animations help back up the voice acting, as do the amazing graphics.

Or, at least, the amazing graphics in the cutscenes. See, my biggest complaint in the game is that I'm pretty sure all the cutscenes, or at least most of them, are pre-rendered. At the very least, they all look A LOT better than the game does during normal game play, which ends up making the part where I was playing look a lot less impressive. It's still a mostly good looking game, aside from the odd plant or weird ground texture, but the dissonance between cutscene graphics and in game graphics is something I never like, and it seems more apparent here than it did in something like the Uncharted games. But maybe I just wasn't thinking about it before, I don't know.

And I think it's a little ridiculous that Joel can carry about twelve guns in his backpack, but he can only carry about three clips of ammo for his pistol. Now, I know that in a real situation, you could very easily clog up your backpack with weapons and forget to bring ammo, but I think I would have preferred if the game had fewer guns, but let me carry more ammo. I'm not saying there should be more ammo in the game, I'm saying that there were times where I couldn't bring extra ammo for something like my pistol because I was full on pistol ammo, but then ten minutes later I would find a new gun and start carrying ammo for that one around as well. Again, I've only played on Normal, so I don't know if that changes on higher difficulties, but I doubt that it does. It's probably just less ammo.

And the story? Well, I'm not really a big fan of zombie fiction, and this one was kinda...cliched, in a way. I don't really want to spoil anything, but I will say that I think the dialog is fantastic throughout, and that I did like the ending. Or, at least, I think the ending is true to what the characters would have done, which is (I think, and I'm sure many would agree), kind of the golden rule of writing good characters.

Either way, I did enjoy the game quite a bit, but I hope the next game Naughty Dog does is a bit different than this. This is the fourth cover based third person action game starring a white dude that Naughty Dog has done in a row, and I'd like it if they did something different. I dunno, like a cover based action game with a black dude, or hell, even a lady! Haha, just kidding, that'll never happen. (That's a joke, not me being sexist.)

The Walking Dead: 400 Days.

In keeping with the zombie theme, I also played this! It was all right. If you haven't played this, then I'll say that it's DLC for Telltale's The Walking Dead, but instead of focusing on one character, this tells five, shorter stories about different characters. And while this is kind of a novel approach, it comes off feeling like it exists only to see how people react to these new characters for the future of their Walking Dead series.

But I think its biggest problem is that every time I was starting to really get into one of the stories, it ended and I had to move on. I guess that means it's good, because most of those stories did hook me by the end, but I also feel kinda ripped off. I shouldn't, because it's only $5, but I dunno. It's all right, worth playing if you beat the rest of The Walking Dead. It has rock, paper, scissors, and much like in real life, I lost.

Hotline Miami.

I uh, well, I should say that the main reason I played this is that when Ryan Davis passed away, one of the many things that I thought of was how much he loved this game, and its crazy style. So I decided to play it. And, during the course of events that led to me playing it, I wound up with two copies of the game, one on Steam, and one on PSN. But that's what happens when my friend gifts it to me on Steam, despite my saying that my computer would not be able to run it at a smooth framerate (which it wasn't). But he only paid $2.50 for it, and I didn't mind paying the full $10 for the PSN version.

But while my reason for playing it was mainly centered around Ryan, I ended up really liking the game. Definitely a lot more than I was expecting. I know the reaction of some of you readers is going to be something like, "Well, of course you liked it, it's a great game!"

Anyway, I played it, I beat it, and I had a lot of fun. The game is ridiculous, has style for days, and made me feel like a psychopath as I murdered dudes whilst listening to that insane music blasting in my headphones. Yes, headphones on a TV. Because I was using a small, not great TV.

BUT NO LONGER!

For, you see, I bought a new TV! Well, really, my dad bought it, because he's the one with the money, and I'm still living at home, but whatever! New TV! It was no sales tax weekend here in Taxachusetts, so we went to the local Sears on Friday (before the no sales tax weekend started) to look at TVs after seeing Elysium. We ended up buying it then, with the guy taking off an amount of money roughly equivalent to the sales tax, which led to a weird situation where we saved money, but still paid the sales tax to the state. I actually kinda like that, because unlike some people, I think governments need money to run, but I'll not let this turn into a political blog. Yet.

It's a 60 inch Sharp LED Aquos TV. Not a smart TV. We specifically asked if they had a non-smart version of the one on display, and they did. It was cheaper too. I don't know the exact model number or anything off hand, but the TV seems pretty great thus far. The games I've played (Red Dead Redemption, Borderlands 2) look beautiful, and the Blu-Ray of District 9 was absolutely stunning.

Now, I've used HDTVs before. Even that little not so good one I was using was a 1080P TV. But the picture on that thing wasn't really very good. At least not compared to the new TV. Granted, it's only been a few days, but I am absolutely loving this new TV, so I'm very happy with it.

I have played one other game that I will write about one more game here. Normally I like to beat games before I write about them, but I made the exception for this one. This is because I think I might have a special, Take-Two themed blog later this week, before Games of the Year Saints Row IV and Divekick come out next week. And this game, is, well...

I don't think this game is very good! That's why I went with a comically large picture here. For comedy.

So, I'm, I think, between three and four hours into the game. I don't really know how long it is, though I suppose I could look that up. The internet says nine to ten hours-ish. I can't be almost halfway into the game, so maybe it just FELT like I had played for 4 hours.

And the sad thing about this game is that as many faults as it has, I think it could have been pretty good with just a few "simple" changes. The first, and most important, being the controls. Let me say this simply:

Controlling a 3D character in a 3D space with a D-Pad is bad game design! Not once has moving Samus around felt natural and good. Not once has any of the platforming (which there isn't a ton of, to be fair) felt fun. These overly "simple" controls have made what could have been a good game into a clunky and unfun game.

Another problem is the lighting. There are a lot of areas in the game that are so dark that I can barely see. Now, at first I thought it might be the TV, but then I remembered that everything else has looked great on the TV thus far, and that the areas with good lighting in the game are perfectly visible. Then I thought the game might just have a brightness setting that I missed, but no, it doesn't. The only options are for the language and subtitles.

The story is bad, the voice acting is bad, the graphics aren't very good, even for a Wii game. Really, the only reason I have to finish the game is that I want to be able to say that I beat it.

On the bright side, I only paid $10 for it. And this was a while ago, too. I had bought it back when the last, big HDTV we had was working, but then it stopped working, and I decided not to play it until I had something widescreen that was big enough to have far enough away to use the Wii sensor bar. And boy, I sure am glad I waited. (Not.)

This music is about the only thing that can cheer me up after playing Other M. Ugh.

That's about it. I have some other stuff I want to write about, but that can wait.

If you are looking for an electronic book to read that is only a dollar and is a sci-fi adventure with whimsy and violence, and somehow have ignored my advertising of it in previous blogs, well, here you go: US Link. UK Link.Canada Link. If you're getting tired of seeing this at the end of all my blogs, then just find ways to trick everyone you know into buying it. Eventually it'll turn from a tiny snowball of sales into a giant avalanche of sales that will keep me out of the poorhouse and from having to have a real job!

Or not. That probably won't happen, but a man can dream! And I can too, but my dreams usually aren't that pleasant, but I'll spare you the details.

So, as always, I leave you with another addition to the Year of Luigi with another Luigified picture. This time, The Luigi of Us!

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Only the Newest of Games: Super Mario RPG and "Friends."

Hey! Back again! I said I would be getting back to blogging much faster than before, AND THIS TIME I MEANT IT!

So, earlier this year Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars was free on Club Nintendo. Well, free if you had the points to redeem for Super Mario RPG, which I did. I had wanted to play it for years, and it had been the only Mario RPG game that I had not played (not counting the soon to be released Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, which I will not play because I don't own a 3DS). And surprise surprise, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

But of the Mario RPG games that I have played, I would probably rank it somewhere between Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time (which is not particularly good) and Paper Mario (which is pretty good). Of course, my perspective on the game is entirely different from most of the people who played the game, as I played it AFTER all the other Mario RPGs, as opposed to the people who played it when it was newly released on the SNES all those years ago.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a great game that I think is worth playing, it's just that the other Mario RPGs since then are better games. But that doesn't change the fact that Super Mario RPG was trying to do some new and interesting things with the RPG genre back in the day (so far as I know, at least, I don't have an all encompassing knowledge of SNES era RPGs).

The biggest differentiator, and the aspect that I think the newer games have improved upon the most, is the combat. If you've ever played a Mario RPG, then you know that button presses mid combat (which is turn based) to boost attack on enemies or lessen damage to your characters is common place. And, as you might expect from the way I've structured this blog and this paragraph, Super Mario RPG did it first. But it's also nowhere near to the extent of something like the Mario & Luigi games, where some special attacks require multiple presses of different buttons, and every enemy attack can either be countered or dodged, making it possible to play without ever taking any damage (though you would have to play PERFECTLY).

Even though that aspect of the combat is simpler than the newer releases, it still made the combat fun and enjoyable, though overall I thought it was a little on the easy side. Except for the final boss, which took me a couple tries to beat. I do vaguely remember reading something once about a super secret boss fight in the game that is optional and really hard, but I never found that, and I am clearly too lazy to go look that up myself.

Being a Mario RPG, the story is mostly light-hearted and goofy, which is good. It's definitely not as funny as something like Bowser's Inside Story or The Thousand Year Door, but there are definitely plenty of laughs to be had in the game. The ones I found funniest were surrounding the character Booster (and his rad music) and a joke where party member Mallow references Bruce Lee, which almost drove me insane trying to figure out how characters in the Mario universe can know about Bruce Lee. I'll just consider that one an instance of great 90s JRPG translations. There were also some good gags involving fake Power Rangers as well.

As you can tell by that aforementioned rad music (if you're listening to it), the music in the game is pretty good. But the weird thing, and bear with me here, is that, well, this is another thing that really only applies to me, and maybe a few other people. I played this game after watching quite a bit of the Video Game Championship Wrestling, or VGCW for short. And I knew the character Geno was from Super Mario RPG, but I didn't know that so much of the VGCW's music was from this game. This resulted in a lot of instances of me hearing music in the game, recognizing it from VGCW, and then feeling weird about how the music was making me think of VGCW, instead of watching VGCW and having the music make me think of Super Mario RPG, which was probably the intended effect. Oh well!

Overall I really liked Super Mario RPG, and if you want a not super difficult SNES era JRPG to play that isn't super long (like 15-20 hours if you take your time), this one is highly recommended. Maybe play the Virtual Console version like I did, so you don't have to try to find an old cart, and then have the save battery die halfway into the game.

So far as I know, this is the only time that Luigi appears in the game, which was my biggest disappointment. This is during the credits, I should say. Spoilers.

I should say at this point that I do not have a clear recollection of the order in which I played games this summer, so do not take what I blog about in this, or any future blogs, as a representation of the order in which I played games this summer. Because clearly having that distinction is important, and what you, dear readers, were thinking about. I also don't have THAT MUCH stuff to talk about for all the games I've played thus far, so I might try to rapid fire my way through a few of them here.

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger

This game is really cool. Ever since the first Call of Juarez, I had been interested in the Call of Juarez games because of my love of westerns. Well, not really westerns so much as spaghetti westerns, by which I really mean the Man with No Name Trilogy, but I like other westerns as well. But I had never actually gone so far as to play any of the Juarez games because they didn't seem like they were good enough (based on reviews) to pay the full $60 for. Thus, they ended up being categorized under, "I might buy this if I see it cheap enough in store," which almost always results in my never playing the game in question.

And then Call of Juarez: The Cartel came out, which was so bad (again, based on what I heard/read/saw in the Quick Look) that it practically killed any interest I had in the Juarez games. Also, it wasn't a western.

But then Gunslinger came out, and was rad, so I bought it and played it. Then I New Game Plus'd it, and that game was still rad through a second playthrough. There's not really much else to say though. Nice style, great voice acting, and fun gun play. But nothing really outstanding or worth noting here. Definitely recommended if an action packed and low priced first person shooter is what you are looking for.

Bulletstorm

I've felt bad about not playing Bulletstorm since it was released back in...2011? Yup, 2011. I had played the demo, really liked it, I had seen GB's coverage of it, including that ridiculous mailbag video they did where Jeff rooted around through a package of meat for a USB drive and spent bullet casings, and I was really excited to play that game. But then I decided to wait for it to go on sale, and... I didn't play it until it was on sale for $5 on Xbox Live earlier this summer.

And given the fact that I beat the game in about the span of one morning, I'd say $5 was a good price. I mean, it was tons of fun, and clearly a lot of craft and care went into making this insane game, but it was pretty short. Either that or my memory is wrong and I'm forgetting a large chunk of my playing it.

Regardless, I had a lot of fun playing the game, and now I feel bad for People Can Fly, because they were forced to make that Gears of War game after Bulletstorm didn't sell well enough. Well, I didn't play Gears of War: Judgment, so I shouldn't really pass, er, opinions on it, but I wish People Can Fly had done something else instead. But that's what I get for trying to save money instead of supporting nonsense in video games.

And that's why I will be buying Divekick on Day One, and will attempt to buy Saints Row IV (assuming it isn't completely broken on PS3 or something) as soon as I can. But I'll have to go to a store to get that one (or order off Amazon), so I can't guarantee that I can do that Day One.

Speaking of Amazon dot com, and things that are dumb, why don't you check out my electronic and self published book on Amazon? It's only a dollar! I would say the name here, but in retrospect, it's a really bad title that I wish I had not gone with, so you can click the link to find out. If you've already bought it, then thanks, and sorry that you read through this paragraph for no reason!

US Link. UK Link.Canada Link. It's available in other regions as well, but only in English. But if you're reading this, I think it's a safe assumption that you know how to read English.

Nothing to report on my second novel. I probably shouldn't say this, but I think October-ish is a good guess for when it might be ready for releasing. I really need to get back to harassing my friends into reading it through and checking for plot holes. Though, I guess if they haven't, then that might not be the best sign about the book's quality, but forget you ever read this sentence! It'll be great!

I think that's a long enough blog for now. I'll try to write something up about other games that I've been playing (maybe with more thematic consistency) in the near future (like next week-ish).

But before I go, here's a more Luigi-fied image from Super Mario RPG.

Eh, I had made this as a GIF with transparency, not with ugly white borders around it, so here's a bonus Luigi picture that I didn't just make haphazardly at the last possible second:

Year of Luigi!

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My Seven Year Quest comes to an end.

The year was 2006. I was still in high school, and it was summer. I had purchased an Xbox 360, but didn't have much to play on it. Call of Duty 2 was a good game, as were the Original Xbox Halo games, but nothing got me excited that summer like a certain zombie game.

Dead Rising. I bought it, and I played a ton of it. I knew going in that it was a game that required a lot of leveling, and restarting the game. And I was fine with that, at least at first. The game had its issues, sure, but the things that made it great were astounding. The number of zombies on screen was, at the time, mind blowing. It was a true example of something not possible on the previous generation of consoles. And running around killing hundreds of zombies was fun, which was a nice bonus.

But the more I played, the more the negative aspects of the game started creeping in. The controls were fine for fighting zombies, but human enemies? Not so much. Especially in the boss fights. Take, for example, the first boss fight in the game. It's a fight against Carlito, and it takes place in the game's food court. Carlito is on an upper level shooting down with a P90 at Brad (an agent of the Department of Homeland Security), and Brad gives Wartime Photojournalist Frank West a pistol to aid in the fight.

The only problem is that fighting Carlito with that pistol is about the last thing that you want to do. First off, the shooting controls in the game are awful. It's basically the controls for Resident Evil 4, only worse (right trigger to go into aiming mode, left stick to aim, X to shoot). At least in RE4 there was something resembling speed in the way you aimed, and in that game you could reload guns. Here, Frank aims his gun at the speed of molasses and just throws guns away when they're out of ammo.

But even if the aiming controls were good and responsive, guns just don't do enough damage to be worthwhile, at least against bosses. Maybe if you got nothing but headshots, but don't forget that Carlito is shooting back at you. And, naturally, every few shots from him causes Frank to stagger and lose his aim.

Instead the best strategy (so far as I could tell) is to climb up to Carlito's level and wail on him as quickly as you can with a melee weapon. If you have a good cleaver or a baseball bat, it doesn't take too long, but it still boils down to mashing a button and hoping the AI doesn't shoot you while you're at it. Then Carlito leaves, and you have to fight him again the next day (this time Carlito has a sniper rifle, and if you take too long, Brad dies), but at least then you have access to a store where you can loot katanas, which are fast and do high damage.

But it was neither of those bosses that got me to stop playing Dead Rising. It wasn't the convicts in the jeep in the park with their mounted turret, it wasn't the crazy store clerk with the shopping cart. No, it was Isabella on that motorcycle. After numerous attempts, I just gave up on the game. I wasn't having fun, and it was making me angry. And by this point, other games were coming out (including the Wii, which was close on the horizon), so I put Dead Rising aside, though I vowed to return, eventually.

And I did! Almost every year after 2006, I tried, at least once, to beat the game again. But these were half-hearted at best. And in 2012, I didn't even try at all. But this year, the year 2013, I decided that this was it. The new consoles were coming (er, are coming), and if I didn't beat this game now, I was never going to beat it. So I sat down, newly determined, and dived back into Dead Rising.

And I beat 72 Hour Mode. It wasn't really that hard. The motorcycle boss definitely took me a few tries, but really the hardest part of that. But even after my triumph over 72 Hour Mode, I felt deflated. I knew that there was Overtime Mode after that, the Instruction Manual said as much. But, well, I guess now I'm getting into real SPOILER territory, so if you're a crazy person who cares about this game's story (don't), and haven't played it, then stop reading this and go reevaluate your life. Maybe go talk with some friends or something, I don't know.

Anyway, late in 72 Hour Mode, a bunch of soldiers show up and start killing all the zombies in the mall. But, at this point in the story, you can actually just hide from them until they leave, which they do a couple (in game) hours before the helicopter is due to arrive. Then it's just a leisurely stroll through the mall to the helipad where you get to watch a cutscene of the helicopter crashing, and Frank looking all depressed.

Then Overtime Mode starts, where the zombies are back, despite being wiped out, as are the soldiers, despite them all leaving. And on top of all this, now Frank has (somehow) been infected with zombie-ism, and he and Isabella (who despite trying to kill Frank earlier, is working with him, which is explained in the story earlier) are trying to make up a medicine to keep Frank from turning. But, like I said, the mall is now filled with soldiers. And these soldiers are tough, and carry machine guns. My first attempt at fighting them met with abject failure. But for whatever reason, instead of killing Frank, they knocked him out, took all his gear and clothes (not counting underwear, because of course an M rated game with the gory killing of thousands of zombies, plenty of people, and lots of cursing can't have any nudity), and then there's a mini-game to escape. But after escaping I didn't see any apparent way to get Frank's stuff back, so I just turned the 360 off.

Did I spend all this time only to meet failure in another spot?

Of course not! In beating the game, I leveled up to Level 40, and in doing so, I unlocked the final speed upgrade. So, I decided to go back into 72 Hour Mode to at least fool around with the increased speed. I ended up beating it again, this time using the small chainsaws and magazine technique on the bosses (which makes the game WAY EASIER). Oh, I should say, for those who don't know, you can find magazines in the game that, when in your inventory, they give you various bonuses, like making certain weapons last longer, making food items restore more health, or teaching Frank conversational Japanese.

And when I beat it, I went into Overtime Mode... This time with my small chainsaws. And I realized that one whack from a small chainsaw was enough to kill a soldier, so I decided to keep on trucking. And eventually that lead to the final boss of the game, which is, of course, a two part affair.

The first part is a boring, but mostly easy, turret sequence where you control a machine gun on the back of a jeep, and you shoot at a tank. The tank has weak spots, and you need to shoot down the various missiles and whatnot that it sends your way. After this there's a cutscene, and Frank finds himself on top of a tank fighting some military man, and the tank is surrounded by zombies. But all the weapons and health items I had were gone, so naturally I died. And I had to start from the last time the game saved, which was before I even got to the jeep with the machine gun. Only slightly before, but playing through that boring turret sequence again was, well, boring. But that time I beat the military man.

And my quest was over. So, naturally, I went right into Infinite Mode, and lasted two (in game) days in that before Frank starved to death (because that mode adds starvation). And then I stopped playing.

But, like I said, my quest was over. It only took seven years, but I beat Dead Rising. Sure, if I had been more patient, I could have beaten it back in 2006, but whatever. I wouldn't have a story to tell if that was the case. I'm glad I did beat it, because in getting to the later parts of the game, and in leveling up to the level cap (50), I've really grown to appreciate Dead Rising.

See, Dead Rising isn't really a game about killing zombies. It's a game about not killing zombies, and trying to get as many survivors as you can. Sure, even then, you have to deal with terrible survivor AI, and pathing, but whatever! End game Dead Rising is fun because of how fast and powerful Frank has become. And because at level 50 you unlock a zombie walk that tricks zombies into thinking Frank is one of them, but is so painfully slow that it's not actually useful at all. But I think that's really fun.

So...yeah. I had fun. But I'll never play a Dead Rising game again (probably). I have no interest in playing any of the Dead Rising 2 games, and I highly doubt I will have an Xbox One. And based on what I've read, it sounds like Microsoft is too heavily invested in Dead Rising 3 for it to find its way to PS4. There might be a PC version at some point, but unless I get a lot of money, I doubt I'll have a gaming PC either.

Speaking of which, here's my obligatory "Go buy my book" segment! US Link. UK Link.Canada Link. It's only a dollar, or the equivalent in your nation of choice. Pulpy Sci-Fi Adventure awaits you! Or not, you don't have to buy it. And maybe pulpy is a really dated term to use, given that it's only available as an electronic book.

At this point I've, well, I wouldn't say admitted defeat, but I know that just putting a few links here in a blog isn't going to get big sales. Maybe one or two of you will buy it, and maybe even read it. I've been told it's quite good. Or at least good. But it's not going to lead to long term, sustained sales that I would like. At this point it would take something weird like a celebrity endorsement, or me being famous for something else for it to sell.

Which is why I really need to get back to work on my next book. I've probably said that I have a finished draft, I've just been waiting for a couple people I know to read it and tell me if it makes sense. But if they don't get on that by the end of the summer, I'll just have to publish it as is, plot holes or not! Well, I'll go through it for typos and stuff, but that's not the same as having someone else read it and pass judgment on the quality of the story. It might be hard to understand if you've never done it, but when you create something that big (and my novels are decently sized, though not super long), and the entirety of it came from your mind, it's REALLY hard to determine if it's any good or not. I mean, I wouldn't have written it if I thought it was bad, right? I dunno.

Oh, right, video games. Well, actually that piece of art is something I found on Twitter. I believe it was an artist's interpretation of what MGSV would look like if it was a direct to VHS film in the 90s, and well, I thought you would all like to see it.

It's been a while since the last time I wrote up a blog about video games. The last one I wrote was about Ryan Davis, but I have played video games since June 3rd, both new and old. And I want to write something up about them, but I think I've said enough for now. After seven years of trying, Dead Rising deserved this much space, and its own post, so you'll have to wait for my thoughts on Super Mario RPG, The Last of Us, Hotline Miami, Borderlands 2, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Bulletstorm, and more(?).

Until then, the Year of Luigi rages on, whether or not you want it to, or are even playing any Nintendo games (I'm not, I don't even own a 3DS or a Wii U).

Also, as a final note, I should say that it's almost impossible to search for Dead Rising on this site. Typing that in comes up with everything BUT the original game. Even some dumb iPhone game from 2010. It's weird. I had to attach this to the Dead Rising Franchise page because Dead Rising the game page wouldn't come up. WEIRD!

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