Silly Mass Effect 2 Glass Available


Archon Visor
I’m surprised by this.

BioWare has put out a lot of DLC for free to Cerberus Network users (as in those who either purchased a new copy of Mass Effect 2, or paid $10 to download it if they bought the game used). For 160 points, BioWare is now releasing some silly looking glasses. That’s $2.00 for some virtual shades. Reminiscent of Horse Armor, yes?

I’m not sure what the rationale behind this is. I know I’ll be passing on this piece of DLC.

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Halo: Reach Campaign

With all the talk of multiplayer, I'm wondering when Bungie is going to release more details of the single-player campaign portion of their game. I'm hoping they're putting as much effort into that portion as the multiplayer as I'm much more looking forward to that aspect of the game. Here's a quote I found from Mark Lehto, the Creative Director:

“The Reach campaign has maintained a very strong vision from the beginning. We started pre-production with a very small team just after Halo3 finished. We built this massive military campaign at first, just so we could understand what all was happening on the planet and make sure we weren’t stomping on the huge back story that we created.

We were building completely independent mission ideas – things that just got us super excited – things we’ve never done before in our Halo games. As the story solidified, so did the mission progression. This was the point where we had to make some tough choices. Some of the crazy mission ideas just didn’t fit in with the overall scope of the game. It was sad to see some of these go away, but the game and story all benefited by us focusing on what we believed was the right thing to do.”

We're still four months away from release, so I'm guessing there will be some preview details about a month prior. I can't recall how Bungie did this with Halo 3 and ODST. Anyone remember from those releases how soon we should expect to see something?
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This week in gaming – 5/1/10

This has been a pretty diverse week in gaming for me in that I’ve loaded quite a few games into my consoles, even if just for a brief period each.

1 – Forza Motorsport 3, 360 (Turn 10, Microsoft Game Studios)

Honestly, I fired this up because I had very few achievements and I knew I hadn’t played much of this. I played the hell out of Forza 2, so I guess I’d had my fill of racing games for a while. This was a lot of fun to get back in to, and I also found out that my son loves watching it. He’s three months old and was on a blanket on the ground next to me. I had Forza on while he was sleeping and didn’t turn it off after he woke up. I started a race while his mom was playing with him, and soon his attention was on the game and not her. He started flailing his arms and legs in excitement as he watched the screen. I’m guessing it was all the vibrant colors!

2 – Left 4 Dead, 360 (Valve/Certain Affinity, Valve/EA)

I have never played a versus game and thought I’d see what it was all about. Unfortunately the experience didn’t work out so well. I got into a game in progress but was only a spectator. I tried again and was put into one of the survivors for a few minutes and then got booted. I got fed up and will have to try again later.

3 – Halo 3, 360 (Bungie Studios, Microsoft Game Studios)

Fired up the multiplayer to see what the new maps were like since the ODST disc has all the DLC. Got some achievements and turned it off. It’s fun, but I had other things I enjoyed playing more. I’ll wait until Monday’s Reach beta starts before doing more .

4 – Halo 3: ODST, 360 (Bungie Studios, Microsoft Game Studios)

Got this from Goozex and beat the campaign. Tried a little solo Firefight, but that’s tough! I’ll need to set up a match with friend for this, but I don’t think any friends have this game.

5 – Mass Effect 2, 360 (BioWare, EA)

Finished my second playthrough and started my third (on Insanity), but ODST came in the mail so I stopped. It’ll probably be a few more months before I finish the Insanity playthrough.

6 – Rhythm Heaven, DS (Nintendo, Nintendo)

Some games are a piece of cake and I get a perfect on the second try, but others I just can’t seem to get. Fun overall.

7 – Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin, DS (Konami, Konami)

I don’t know what I did the first time I started this up, but I apparently did it wrong. I remember getting frustrated and lost in some place I didn’t know what to do. I waited six months and tried again on a whim and now everything is cool. I must have jumped into the other dude’s save game because this time I started at the beginning, which I hadn’t seen before. Only played about an hour, but this will be good to have on my next flight.
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Blur is Actually Good

Out of the blue I decided to download and play the Blur beta on 360 even though it was released weeks ago. I didn't really have any preconceived notions; hadn't really watched any videos or previews. I played my first race and realized how fun it was! There's so much going on at times that it can feel like an acti on game instead of a racing game. Not only are you looking in front for turns, but you're looking behind for people coming up and sending power ups your way. 
 
An example of quick reaction action game is this: if you see a missile coming in, but you were preparing a forward moving power up, you need quickly think of what power up you have that can counter, switch to it and activate it quickly. It requires knowing what's in your cache, what's currently selected, and what sequence of steering, evasive maneuvers, and/or power up counter will get you out of the situation.
 
The obvious comparison is to Mario Kart, and I think several people have made that statement before. The missile that homes in on people in front of you is even red, just like the red shell in Mario Kart. Tracks have multiple paths, too. Actually, most of the power ups are similar to those in Mario Kart, but that's probably because certain power ups just make sense in a racing game.
 
I enjoyed the demo so much that I've added it to my list of games to watch. I'm not quite ready to make a purchase, but the demo has certainly gotten me interested.
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This week in gaming - 4/24/10

I’m just going to drop all pretense that this will occur on a regular schedule, so you’re just going to have to live with periodic updates! I’ll leave the title as-is because it should be relatively weekly, but I’ll just post as I can. So, here’s what’s been going on since the last update. It’s been relatively quiet as one weekend I was out of town and been busy the rest of the time.

1 – Mass Effect 2, 360 (BioWare, EA)

Going through my second playthrough, normal difficulty. Trying to get the rest of the non-insanity achievements. Thinking of downloading the Kasumi DLC and doing an insanity playthrough after this. Can’t remember the last time I played through a game three times. This one’s a keeper.

2 – Shadow Complex, XBLA (Chair Entertainment/Epic Games, Microsoft Game Studios)

Played just a few minutes but got into my other games before too long. Not sure if I’ll ever get to level 50 as I’m still at 42.

3 – Peggle Extreme, Steam (PopCap Games)

Played exactly seven minutes of this. Installed Raptr and wanted to see how it updated with Steam games.

4 – Torchlight, Steam (Runic Games)

Having Steam open reminded me how much I enjoyed Torchlight. Played through a few more floors and had to stop for the night. Quite a satisfying experience all around.

5 – Infamous, PS3 (Sucker Punch Productions, Sony Computer Entertainment)

I don’t play my PS3 much, so one afternoon I decided to fire it up. The climbing in Infamous isn’t that great, especially when compared to Assassin’s Creed or Prototype. Competent game and I’ll probably finish it, but it’s not high on my list.
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Goozex teaching me patience

I've been using Goozex for a while now, and like most services, it's most effective for older items. New releases take quite some time to become available. You can't add anything to your queue until the day it's released, so first thing in the morning I get on and add the new game. More often than not, I'm number 200 in line, and later in the day the queue is up to 500+, so I feel bad for those guys.
 
For example, Battlefield Bad Company 2 released on 3/2, I'm still 40th in line, so it'll be two months since release before I have the game. Final Fantasy XIII, Splinter Cell, and God of War 3 are all on my list, many of which I'm still 100+ in line.
 
Why am I using Goozex if it's frustrating? Well, I've built up the points and I need to use them for one. Second is I'm over budget for the year so I'm trying to keep costs down. It's not so bad, and I'm learning a valuable skill: patience.
 
Does anyone else use Goozex for new releases? Feel the same way?
 
Does anyone know what time new releases are actually available to add to your queue? It's not midnight EST, so it's got to be something early in the morning.

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Added Another Console to the Family

I recently purchased a 120 GB PS3 Slim to add to the collection that already includes a 360 and a Wii. Let me share my tale of how all three consoles came to be.
 

Wii

The original of this generation. It was the winter of 2006 and the Wii had been released a few months prior, completing the triumvirate of seventh generation consoles available. With all three major home consoles to choose from, it took some time to conclude which to invite into my home (more than one was not an option at the time). The Wii seemed novel and new. The types of games being shown tickled the memory of growing up with an NES and SNES. I also thought the interface and game selection would appeal to my wife, who is not into gaming.
 
As you all know, selection was very limited in those first months. I called my local Best Buy to find out when they would get some. They tipped me off on when they would be getting their next shipment. I ended up getting up early and hanging outside Best Buy around 5:30 AM to make sure I got one. I was a little overzealous and ended up being second in line. This happened in Michigan in January, so it was quite cold! It was one of the dorkiest things I've ever done, and I don't see it happening again.
 
Eventually, my infatuation with the Wii faded. The virtual console was okay, but the appeal of those older games was greater in my mind than they were in practice. The Nintendo first party titles were okay, but third party support was lacking and I was tired of reading about all these exciting games, only to find that they were only to be released on the 360 and PS3.
 
Final Thoughts on the Wii
Pros
- Time tracking! I love knowing how much time I've spent with all my games.
Cons
- Games weren't for me.
- Lack of HD. I got an HDTV while I had the Wii and the result wasn't pretty.
- Lack of WPA2 on the WiFi. Didn't like needing to secure my network with WPA if I wanted my Wii to connect.
- Accuracy of Wiimote made playing certain games difficult.
 

360

So, by fall of 2007 I was looking at either the 360 or PS3 to complement (supplant?) my Wii. I had owned a PS1 and PS2, but not an Xbox, so my natural inclination was towards the PS3. The price of the PS3 was unpalatable, and Sony's marketing had been ham-fisted, if not rude, so I started looking at the 360. The only downside to the 360 was the hardware reliability. Right around this time rumors of the Falcon revision making its way to retail, so I decided to take a chance and get a 360.
 
I picked up a 360 and a copy of Bioshock. Wow. The controller and interface took some getting used to because it was such an upgrade and had a lot of functionality, but once I got the hang of it, I was hooked. Having Bioshock as my first HD gaming experience was amazing. I was both surprised and how great it was, and disappointed in myself for not getting it sooner! I fell in love with gaming again.
 
Thoughts on the 360
Pros
- Controller. Feels good, and loved the triggers (they were new to me coming from PS2 and Wii).
- Live. What a great online service.
- Demos! Trial games all have demos, and there are even demos for full retail games. Had never played a demo before, so this feature was awesome. 
- Internet functionality. Redeeming codes, adding friends, queuing demos/games, checking achievements online. All great.
- Achievements. I didn't think this would matter to me, but once I experienced it, it made a huge difference. It's nice to use them as a guide to experience games in a new way. Gave me a reason to keep playing a title I may have put down before.
Cons
- Closed hardware market. Really, I can only use an expensive Microsoft hard drive?
- No integrated wifi. Requires an expensive add-on.
- Turned me into a graphics snob. Standard def stuff just doesn't do it for me anymore.

PS3

I've been playing the 360 on the 32" HDTV in the office, but I've wanted to play games on my 52" in my living room. I've also wanted Netflix streaming in the living room, and hey, Blu-ray isn't bad. The PS3 had come down in price and it's been over two years since my latest console. All of that added up to me wanting a PS3! There are some exclusives I've been disappointed that I haven't been able to play, so I'm happy to have added this to the family.
 
I've had the PS3 for one week, so I have the least experience here. I'm not blown away so far, but maybe my impression will change over time.
 
Pros
- Integrated wifi. I can connect in the living room. Yay! 
- Netflix. Same on 360, but it's still worth noting.
- Some neat exclusives. Tried Flower and flOw, the inFamous, Ratchet and Clank, and MGS4.
Cons
- Controller. Neat that it has some motion control, but I don't like the way it feels. Tried Killzone and Resistance demos, and had trouble lining up shots. Having the trigger mapped to R1 feels wrong to me.
- Unintuitive setting control. I can't figure out how to change things like my PSN picture. Shouldn't be so hard.
- Online integration is lacking. Trophies don't update unless you sync, and even after you sync, it takes a while to show up. On the 360 this happens near-instantly. Can't redeem codes online, can't queue up games online. Am I mistaken in this?
- No demos for downloadable games! Sure, some have it, but not all. I'm really just not willing to pay even $5 without having a chance to try it first. The 360 has spoiled me.
 

Overall

I haven't turned the Wii on in over a year. There's been no compelling reason to. I love my 360 and wish it had better hardware support. Achievements are great, and some of the exclusives are great. All multi-platform games I'll be getting on the 360. The PS3 has it's work cut out for it. The controller needs work, and interface needs work. Overall, I'm happy that I'll be able to play all games that are released!
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Wheelman Demo; Not So Good

Played the Wheelman demo up to the point where you drop that lady off.  Official reaction is meh.  I wasn't sure what to expect of the Wheelman game, but what I got was nothing special.  The mechanic of ramming cars didn't appeal to me, and I'm saying that as a Burnout fan!  Maybe it's that exact comparison that left Wheelman feeling so flat.

And what's with the really bad, extremely shiny, character models?  The characters looked like they were ported from a PS2 game.  I wasn't planning on picking up this game originally and the demo did nothing to change that opinion.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd Misspelled on Guitar Hero Metallica Box

The spelling of Lynyrd Skynyrd is misspelled as Lynyrd Skynrd on the Guitar Hero Metallica box...haha.

Just saw this on Destructoid.  I can't believe they let this stuff get out to retail, but then again I can (remember the IGN watermark on Okami?).  I misspell Lynyrd Skynyrd all the time so I can see how this was possible, but you think someone would be even more inclined to double check the spelling on such a strange name.
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Video Game Spending

I generated some reports in my finance software tonight to see what I spent for each of the last few years on my video game hobby (doesn't include gifts):

2007 - $812.20, 7 retail games purchased
2008 - $577.77, 20 retail games purchased
2009 - $29.97, 0 retail games purchased

The year 2007 included purchasing a 360 which is why the total is so much higher despite purchasing fewer games.  I didn't buy many games in 2007 because I only had a Wii and DS and there weren't many games that interested me.  Once I got the 360 in November of 2007 I started getting back into gaming a little more, which is why the '08 game purchases are so much higher.  I've spent $30 so far this year which was for my Xbox Live 13 month subscription (thanks Amazon!).

How much do you guys and girls spend on gaming in a given year?

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