Just Cause 2: Just Because

I've been playing a lot of Just Cause 2 lately, and it's a lot of fun, but I don't see myself going back to it. I have no interest at all in the story - something about three factions and some military agency - all I need to know is shoot the bad guys. The main draw is the missions and everything they have you do, but they feel disconnected and too repetitive. I'm forced to capture a stronghold for the sixth time because I need more chaos to unlock the next agency mission. It's a great time blowing up gas stations and fuel tanks, but that stuff is so few and far between compared to the monotonous kill-these-dudes missions structure. Hopefully the last missions are more fun than the first.

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WET First Impressions

I walked to my mailbox this afternoon to a welcome surprise: an envelope from Gamefly. Putting the disc in my console, I was excited to try a new game, even though I had a feeling I knew what I was getting into.
 
Within the first thirty seconds or so, there's a Wilhelm Scream. Considering that was one of the main things I remembered from my two hours or so, you can expect where I'm going now. The game feels...off, sort of everywhere. The movement (especially around ledges) is a little janky, and the camera doesn't move smoothly around Rubi like you would expect - it sort of snaps into place. The first few levels felt really easy, even though I was playing on Hard (there is a Very Hard mode, so hopefully it's a little more challenging).    
 
You've got two main attacks: gun and sword. You unlock more guns and moves to add to your combo meter (which helps you regain health) as you progress through the game. In this sense, it's a third-person shooter hack and slash hybrid. but it doesn't seem to do either very well. Your pistols have unlimited ammo, and whenever you dive or do an "acrobatic move," you go into slow-mo. There's no "Tequila Time," and this is what made the game feel easy, at least at first. You can jump and slide back and forth, almost always in slow-mo, and pop guys left and right. The game actually awards you for abusing the slow-down, giving you ratings at the end of the arena style fights.

When I put the controller down after my first session, I thought to myself, "Wow, I really don't care about any of these characters or why they're here." You're given no backstory on Rubi or any other characters, instead being thrown into the action with maybe a minute of a deal gone wrong cutscene. From there, you're chasing the guy that made off with the loot. But what is it? Why are you chasing him? None of this gets explained until later, and even then, it's very brief. The celebrities don't seem to add much to an otherwise bland story.
 
So far, WET (Why is it all caps?) feels like a bad Stranglehold clone. It's like if Uwe Boll made it: It's a competent game, but things just feel a little uninspired and rushed. Maybe I'm being a little harsh; maybe I haven't played enough. It does feel pretty short, though, and with only new modes for single player and collecitbles, with no multiplayer, I see little to no replay value.
 
tl;dr: The game is okay. Not bad, not great. It feels a lot like Stranglehold, and not in a good way.

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Game Fuel Taste Test: Horde Edition


"DEW with a Blast of Citrus Cherry Flavor"
"For a free trial, visit: www.warcraft.com/dew"

After I opened it, it smeeled a lot like the Halo 3 Game Fuel, but with a little more cherry. It tastes like the original, but maybe a little more fruity. It's a lot more orange, too:

Looks like Sunkist or something.









Either way, it's delicious. I have to try the Alliance one now.
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Holy Shit, Braid is Amazing

I finished Braid last night, and I'm regretting not doing it sooner. Everything about it, from the unique time mechanics to the beautiful art and style to the story that really makes you think, feels like a breath of fresh air in this shooter-filled next generation. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it's just nice to have something really different for a change. I spent almost an hour on forums and Google looking at theories and discussion about the ending. It's been a while since something, let alone a game, has made me think about it that much.

I've been playing a lot more Fallout 3 recently, too. I think I might have underestimated its depth. Some of the decisions look bad either way, and sometimes it feels like nothing is the best option. There so much to do in D.C.... I want to get the new DLC, but hope to at least finish the main story first.

I can't wait for Bionic Commando next month. From what I've seen, not only does it look like it has a great single player experience, but it looks like it'll have some replayability with all the challenges.

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Achievement Update #1

I'm starting this thanks to the craziness of GamerGeek360 . I think it'll be fun to recap my week that was in achievements and games. I'm just copying his format for now.

LATEST ACHIEVEMENTS:


The Force Unleashed

600 of 1220
31 of 54 Achievements



Force Push Mastery
Defeat 500 enemies with Force Push

20
Acquired 3/30/2009

Bossk
Defeat 200 Wookiees on Kashyyyk Prologue

15
Acquired 3/30/2009

Sith Training
Complete all Training Room lessons

20
Acquired 3/30/2009

Impaled
Defeat 100 enemies with Saber Throw

5
Acquired 3/30/2009

Sith Lord Frenzy
Get a Frenzy x12 bonus

15
Acquired 3/30/2009

Apprentice
Complete Game - Apprentice difficulty. Do not change the difficulty after the game has started.

75
Acquired 3/30/2009

Sith Warrior
Complete Game - Sith Warrior difficulty. Do not change the difficulty after the game has started.

100
Acquired 3/30/2009

Sith Lord
Complete Game - Sith Lord difficulty. Do not change the difficulty after the game has started.

100
Acquired 3/30/2009

Revenge
Complete Game - Dark Side

20
Acquired 3/30/2009

PROXY Won't Be Happy
Destroy 35 droids

15
Acquired 3/30/2009

Gripped
Defeat 100 enemies with Force Grip

5
Acquired 3/30/2009
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Project Gotham Racing 4

600 of 1220
31 of 54 Achievements


The Unicyclist
Perform a long Wheelie on a motorcycle.

20
Acquired 4/3/2009

Platinum Double
Earn at least a Platinum medal with both a bike and a car in any Arcade event.

5
Acquired 4/3/2009

Gold Double
Earn at least a Gold medal with both a bike and a car in any Arcade event.

5
Acquired 4/3/2009

Silver Double
Earn at least a Silver medal with both a bike and a car in any Arcade event.

30
Acquired 4/3/2009

Winning Streak
Win 3 race events back to back in either Arcade or Single Player Career Mode.

30
Acquired 4/3/2009

Play It Again Sam
Improve on a medal earned in any arcade event

20
Acquired 4/3/2009

Champion
Win your first Championship in either Single Player Career or Ranked Match play.

10
Acquired 4/3/2009

Winner
Win your first event in either Arcade or Single Player Career modes.

5
Acquired 4/3/2009

5-Star Racer
Earn 5 Kudos Stars.

20
Acquired 4/3/2009

CURRENT GAMERSCORE:

78,530

So I finished The Force Unleashed and started PGR4. I got Guitar Hero: Aerosmith from Gamestop today for $10, and plan on playing that this week. Maybe I'll get GH: Metallica from Gamefly.
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Skate 2: Almost Done

So what have I done this past week? Let's see...

I played the hell out of Skate 2. It's a lot of fun, even if it's pretty similar to its predecessor. I'm on my last achievement, and hope to send it back to the ol' Gamefly soon. I don't know what to rent next - F.E.A.R. 2? Halo Wars?

Went back to Burnout and played with some friends for a while. Burnout's one of those games that you can pop in whenever you want and have a great time with other people, no matter what you do. The new cars look nice, but seem a tad overpriced. It almost feels justified, though, because of all the free updates.

I picked up Okami for the Wii from my library (yes, my library has games, OMG), and plan on trying it out. I never played it on PS2, so now I'll get to experience it in all its widescreen goodness.

Maybe I'll pick up Star Ocean soon... Pretty RPGed out now, though. I've got three or four unfinished JRPGs (two of which are untouched so far) plus the never-going-to-get-to-the-end-of Fallout 3. I've got a lot of unfinished games in general. Last year was amazing for games.


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Prince of Persia: Meh

I just finished the new Prince of Persia, and I'm a little disappointed.

It's definitely a step in the right direction for the PoP franchise, and I hope the next two (if Ubi does keep it a trilogy) turn out to be better. My main problem isn't with the game being too easy (even though it isn't hard at all: Elika saves you no matter what, and the worst that happens is a boss regaining a little health). It's the blandness of the objectives. The entire game consists of "Go to one of a few areas, find boss, kill boss, go to the rest of the areas and repeat, find enough 'light seeds,' unlock new ability at the temple, and do the whole thing over again." This process happens four times, then you get to tackle the final boss.

The combat isn't bad, and the Assassin's-Creed-like platforming is great. It's just that there's no deviation from the copy-and-pasted goals, and because of it, the game gets old quickly.

The game isn't bad, but it isn't great either. With no real replay value except for a collectathon after each area's boss is defeated, the game won't last long. The main game takes around twelve hours (there's an achievement for it, and it's hard to miss as long as you don't leave the game on unpaused).

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Too Many Games!

Gaaaames...

I've got Dead Space from Gamefly right now, trying to beat it in time for Gears of War 2.

I still haven't beaten Fable II or Fallout 3, and Call of Duty: World at War, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, and Mirror's Edge all come out next week. Oh yeah, I haven't touched Guitar Hero: World Tour, either.

Gears will probably take over most of my life in the next couple months, but World at War will probably fight for some time too.

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Gears 2 offers "linked" achievements to Gears 1

Great idea Young Cliff talked about today at Comic-con. Basically, stuff you did in the first Gears will unlock stuff in Gears 2. The examples were completing Act One, finding ten COG tags, and killing RAAM, with each achievement unlocking a playable character in the sequel. I hope more games start to do this. It would give incentive to play the first game if you haven't , and if you have, kind of reward you for being an "early adopter." RPGs like Mass Effect and Too Human which already have announced sequels would be great: you could transfer your character over, or unlock new items or weapons depending on what you accomplished in the first game.
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