Here it goes again...

Yup here it goes again, my incessant gaming addiction that is. Once again I have fallen in love with an online first person shooter. The game in question is "Day Of Defeat: Source", a game that just a few weeks ago I thought was unbalanced, badly made and generally hard to play. But that has drastically changed as for the duration of this week I  have found myself utterly incapable of not playing it. In just a week I have put in around 40 hours playing just "Day Of Defeat: Source". Which when you consider that I have been in work from 9-5 everyday this week is a pretty scary thought.

I dont really know what  ignited a love for a game I thought I would never understand let alone play. Maybe it's just the server I'm on, maybe its the wonderful and dynamic maps, Maybe it's the fact that it is a WW2 shooter. Who really knows. But what I do know is, never has it felt so satifying to shoot dudes in the face point blank with an Mp44. I dont know if anyone of you reading this feel similarly, but for me, the gunplay in "DoD:S" is in my opinion the best in a game to date. It's super realistic but supremely satisfying. Sure you will miss a good few of your chosen targets due to this increased realism, but when you finally do nail that camping sniper in the face from the other side of the map with the beautiful M1A1 garand it makes all those missed shots feel worthwhile. 

This game also features probably my favourite online multiplayer maps to date (I even prefer them to the perfect dark maps on the N64). I love the way the play out, the multiple routes you can take through them. You could comment that most of them are unbalanced in favour of one team (Usually the Wermacht), but that is part of the fun, winning on a map with the odds against you. The maps are really intricately laid out and their are a seemingly inumerable number of routes and shortcuts to take through them. 

If you havent guessed it by now, I freaking love this game. I could go on and on talking about how awesome this game is to play (It should also be mentioned it only costs $10 on steam), but the longer I sit here writing about it the less time I have to play it.
I have also put in about 20/25 hours into spore this week, and yeah it's a great game. But some of the flaws in it really detract from how great it should be. The online also still has yet to be fixed for most europeans like myself, but whats new about Ea being slow to fix problems..
Well thats about enough fan boy like rantings from me, as always, thanks for reading!
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All rested up

So after feeling pretty complacent towards my games for the past week I decided to heed your advice and take a much needed break from gaming. So for the past week instead on concentrating my efforts on gaming I started watching some movies. I seem to have a compulsion when it comes to buying dvds. Whenever I step in a HMV I feel compelled to spend ridiculous amounts of money on DVDs. Then when I get home I generally forget to watch them. So I decided to finally get around to actually watching some of the Dvds I had bought in the last couple of weeks, and in this blog I will give a mini-review of the movies I watched.

Casino Royale
Cant believe I had yet to see this film until recently considering it has been out over a year at this stage. The wait was worth it this as this is probably Bonds best outing to date (Bar Tomorrow Never Dies of course). It was action packed from start to finish with D.Craig and E.Green both giving great performances. My only critique of this film is the lack of the over-the-top bond action sequences we have come to expect from the franchise. With the exceptions of the parkour chase scene at the beginning and the car chase towards the end, it never felt like it picked up enough pace in that over the top style that Bond films encapsulate. It is definitely a step in the right direction and had a great look and feel to the film, but I think they will need to make things a little more fast paced to be a truly great bond film. Here's hoping that Quantum Of Solace can do such a job.

No Country For Old Men
This film was utterly amazing. I never got round to seeing it in the movies so when I saw it for 10 euro in HMV I had to pick it up. And I am glad I did. Words cant describe how much I loved this film. It was beautifully shot, great acting, great story, brilliant characters, it's hard to fault anything with this film.

Transformers
This was everything I thought it was capable of being. It wasnt an amazing piece of film-making by any stretch of the imagination, but it was great fun. Which given the subject matter of the film (Giant robots from space..) it couldnt be anything other than a fast-paced and fun film. And, of course, Megan Fox was in it which automagically equals instant win.

The Darjeeling Limited
Perhaps my new favorite Wes Anderson film, doesn't top "The Royal Tenenbaums", but comes damn close. Much like "No Country.." this film was beautifully shot. The colors in the sets and the camera work were superlative. The performances were great all round and the soundtrack was superb (Anything with "The Kinks" in it is an instant win). Not much else to say on this one other than it is a must see.


I also started watching "The Sopranos" for the first time having heard such good things about the series. I bought the first 2 seasons on dvd and am loving it so far. I watched both seasons in the space of 4 days which pretty much sums up how I feel about the series thus far. Hopefully I can get the 3rd season in the near future, but they are pretty expensive over here. It was great taking a break from gaming for a few days, but that break is pretty much over at this stage because I am in possession of the mighty "Spore" which I will post my impressions of in the next couple of days. As always, thanks for reading!

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Commitment Issues...

As of late, I have been having severe commitment issues when it comes to games. Despite the glut of games I have bought recently (Games such as Burnout Paradise,Oblivion, Ninja Gaiden ds), I cant seem to bring myself around to playing them for any significant length of time. I have just become pretty apathetic towards playing games lately. I have even been neglecting my beloved "S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl"  which I was enjoying. Not even the allure of Cod 4's multiplayer can get me in the mood to show my 360 some love. The fact that my 360 recently chewed the crap out of my Cod4 disc doesn't help either. I have been playing the odd round of tf2 on the pc, but I am finding that the people playing never want to take part in any kind of effective team work which is pretty frustrating.
On another note, I finally got round to pre-ordering Fallout 3 on the 360 today. Went to my local gamestop in Dublin city, where I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the game had even been put on their system. So I wouldnt be able to pre-order it. The shop assistant did however inform me that I would be able to pre-order the official game guide. Which was one of those rare real life "wtf!" moments. So I trudged round to game where I asked if I could pre-order the collectors edition. Turns out I could, and not only this but according to the sales guy there, I was the first person to pre-order the game  in that shop. Which is the only Game store in Dublin. Strange as I assumed 2 months from release I would struggle to get a pre-order down for the collectors edition.

Thats pretty much all I have to say for now. Sorry it wasnt a particularly action packed blog, but I really havent played a whole lot of games at all and as such dont have much to talk about :)
As always, thanks for reading!

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Goodbye Social Life..

Well I just picked up Oblivion. I don't see this ending well as I just turned it on for a few minutes to test out the disc. Somehow I ended up playing for roughly six hours without noticing it, I didn't even stop when I had realized that I had missed 2 meals that day because I was playing it. Oh well, hopefully I can get it out of my system before I go back to school in 2 weeks.
Another thing playing Oblivion made made realize is about fallout 3. I now have complete trust in the dudes at Bethesda. Initially I was a little wary that they were taking it in such a different direction in comparison to the original. BUt after playing Oblivion for a little while, I am sure that Fallout 3 is going to be really,really, awesome. Roll on the late october I say.
As always, thanks for reading!

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Sweet, Sweet Nectar oh how I missed you...

Well as of now I feel like a complete hypocrite. A few weeks ago I actually thought that I wouldn't get sucked right back into Team Fortress 2 on the PC by the new heavy update. No, not this time Valve. You already ruined me with both the medic update and the Pyro update. But this time would be different. This time I wasn't going  to be bribed by Valve, this time I wasn't going to care about the heavy update. I would say no to achievements. I would spit in the face of new unlock able weapons. I would deny Valve the pleasure of getting me hooked on TF2 again.This time I would triumph.

But alas, it was not to be. And come 12 am on the night the update went live I found myself frantically checking the download status of the update. This wasn't the low point though. The low point came at roughly 2 in the morning when I found myself in a server full similarly addicted suckers farming for those precious achievements. Not only had Valve sucked me back into a game I hadn't played properly for weeks, they had me farming for achievements like a complete sucker trying desperately to get the newest weapons in the Heavies arsenal. And for the past week the pattern has stayed pretty much the same. I have been compulsively playing TF2 whenever I have some free time. All my other gaming  has pretty much stopped dead in it's tracks. So that means I haven't progressed a whole lot further in "Stalker" which I was thoroughly enjoying. Nor have I been playing my newly acquired copy of "Burnout Paradise" which,due to my current addiction, I will most likely not play much more of for a few weeks. The saddest part of this story is that I have been playing the same map over, and over again. The chosen map being "Bad water Basin", which I can safely say is my absolute favorite Team Fortress 2 map. I love everything about it, I love attacking on it. I love defending it. I even love being a douche-bag and spamming the Demo-Man's grenade launcher when I sticky jump onto one of the roofs.

I should really wrap this blog up, by writing said blog I am only wasting precious time that could be better spent on sweet,sweet bad water basin. My steam user name is "phlegms", so add at your own peril and I'll do the same. As always, thanks for reading!

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R Impresions.

After putting a few more hours into "Stalker: Shadow Of Chernobyl" I thought I would give you my impressions of it so far. The game takes place in the radioactive exclusion zone in Chernobyl. You play a "Stalker" as you try to survive a life in the exclusion zone as well as trying unravel the mysteries behind the numerous "anomalies" that are taking place within the zone. The first thing I noticed about this game is it's scale. The exclusion zone is really, really big. Big on an oblivion scale, so you will end up doing a lot of walking as you can neither fast-travel or use vehicles. Stalker is pretty much oblivion with guns and mutants, which in my opinion is a formula for a pretty awesome game.There are a ton of missions to do. The main story is pretty lengthy by itself, but when you throw a daunting amount of side-quests STALKER is shaping up to being an extremely substantial came. The atmosphere in the game is amazing. STALKER has very realistic weather effects, which really add to the sparse atmosphere. Much like in Bio-shock, you always feel very alone during the game and you often find yourself in intense gun fights with the many enemies you have, not to mention the hordes of mutants that roam the Exclusion zone. The gun play is really realistic so you will often find yourself having to take more shots at your target than you initially thought. The RPG elements of the game are great, since you don't have levels so no level grinding of any kind is required. The only thing you have to worry about is finding better guns and Armour. However, the game does have some pretty notable negatives. This is mainly to do with hard-ware as, even though the game doesn't look amazing by any stretch, it will require some pretty good specs to run it. In terms of graphics it does the job, nothing amazing but nothing hideously ugly, it doesn't have the best frame rate either so some tweaking is required to get it steady. Overall, it is shaping up to be a great FPS-RPG. The FPS game play is top notch, and the RPG elements are light enough to welcome rookie RPG players. If you can get your hands on a copy , I got mine for 10 euro brand new, it definitely warrants a purchase.

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Blown away...

Well I finally finished bioshock. And I honestly don't know how to sum up how I am feeling right now. I was completely and utterly floored by the game the game in so many ways. Graphically speaking, it was superlative. In terms of narrative it is truly far beyond what I feel any game has even come close to achieving. Rapture in itself completely sucked me in. For the first time I have experienced when playing a game, I believed in the environment in which I was playing in. Another first for me when playing this game, was the amount of times I was genuinely frightened and disturbed during the game. Not once during Resi-4/silent hill/ f.e.a.r/condemned did I ever feel genuinely scared by what I was seeing. But in Rapture, I was so engrossed into the storyline and so involved in the environment that I couldn't help but be terrified. I loved the mixture of gun play and plasmids, and the light-ish RPG elements were perfectly implemented. Towards the end of the game I felt so freaking powerful, it was such a great feeling. It made the player feel as if they had actually accomplished something over the course of the game as you would easily destroy the Bouncers/Rosies/Splicers that you once struggled against. My only gripe with the game is the final boss battle. I wont spoil anything for those of you who have yet to play it. But it was so underwhelming. I personally found it far too easy and finished it in no more than 2 minutes. Having said that, the ending was satisfying (if slightly to much of a cliff hanger). I pretty much feel obliged to play through it again, as for the first couple I wasn't really paying attention to the game and missed out on alot of exploration.

Sorry for the "old news rocks" blog about bioshock, but this game has me completely infatuated with it. I cant even bring myself to play any of my other games due to their complete inferiority in comparison to bioshock. Hopefully within the next day or so I will get around to putting up my impressions of  "S.T.A.L.K.E.R", which I have only just properly started. As always, thanks for reading!

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Sticking to the arcade

It seems that as of late the majority of my gaming time has been focused solely on XBLA arcade games. Despite the slew of games I have yet to finish in my backlog (Bioshock and Viva Piñata being my main focus at the moment), I haven't really been playing anything else other than my XBLA titles. The titles in question being Geometry Wars 2, Braid and strangely enough Time Pilot.

Im sure you are all sick of reading blogs about it by now, but Braid is a really, really special game. It's so well made, so beautiful and so rewarding. But perhaps the best thing about it, is that you cant take it as seriously as you want. You can play it as a straight up puzzler/plat former hybrid with homages a plenty to Jumpman and all the crew. However, you can also play it purely for the story with is also really well thought out. I have read numerous blogs/articles/reviews on the seemingly simple love story of some dude called tim trying to rescue the unattainable princess. However much more can be taken from such a simple premise, with some people making connections to the creation of the atomic bomb (the Oppenheimer theory), a theory which stipulates that Tim is Robert Oppenheimer and the princess the atomic bomb itself. This is probably reading way too far into it, but such stipulations show you how diversely this game can be played. At this point I am going to stop talking about the game as by now I am probably starting to sound like one of those "Games are art" fellas desperately searching for a hidden meaning that just isn't there.

Geometry wars 2 on the other hand is unadulterated gaming fun in it's purest form. This game is really, really awesome. I would even go as far as to say that it is about as pure and as fun as gaming can get. It's so anarchic and fast paced to the point that I can only play it for about 20 minutes or so before I have to take a break. Maybe the tv I'm playing on isnt ideal, but I very often find myself getting completely lost amidst all the pixelated destruction. I have also found out that I really suck at this game, with the majority of my high-scores barely creeping past 1.5 million.

The third xbla title that has been sapping the rest of my gaming time is "Time Pilot". I have no idea why I got this one, but I found an old 500 point card I got for free when I bought GTA on launch day. Something I had forgotten about a long time ago. In fact, I almost threw it out mistaking it for a 48 hour xbl subscription card. This game is pretty awesome. Very retro, and very easy on the achievement points (you can pretty  much get the majority of them in about 15 minutes). And for a mere 400 points I couldn't resist it's arcadey charm.

Other than that, I haven't been playing much else apart from intermittent Bio-shock sessions (epic game is epic) and late night liaisons with Puzzle Quest ds.
On another note, I handed in my one months notice in work today, which means that I have notified my employers that I longer wish to work for them anymore and In a month will be leaving them. After a year of working there I'm pretty glad to see the back of it. I really need to concentrate more on school this year which is why I'm giving up working for the next 10 months or so. That also means I am going to start having to budget my  gaming expenditure for the next year, which wont be pleasant.
Thats enough blog-age for now as I need me some puzzle-quest!

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Curse You Horstachio!

Today can be summed up in one word; Epic. For today was the day that I spent some of my hard earned monies and indulged in the purchase of 3 of the most epic games around. The chosen three games being; "Viva Pinata", Braid and Geometry Wars 2. All three of which are verging on amazing. If it wasnt for the countless blogs detailing how supposedly amazing the XBLA title "Braid" was, I would perhaps never have had the experience of playing it. Having had next to no prior knowledge of Braid it is easy to say that it completely blew me away. The game is breathtaking in every sense of the word. From it's truly beautiful art style, to the genuinely enthralling gameplay mechanic, this game completely floored me. So wonderfully simple in both it's presentation and in it's gameplay, this is a game not to be missed. I may get slated for saying this, but I honestly think this far surpasses Portal. The other two games I purchased (Viva Pinata and Geo Wars 2) are both great in their own right, but honestly, all I can think about for the time being is Braid.

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Finally Making Progress

After over two months of solid gaming procrastination and with only one months left before I go back to school, I decided enough was enough and started clearing my way through the shameful backlog of games I have built up over the past year. To do this I set myself a goal. That goal being that, before the week was finished I would finish at least five games in my backlog. Five games might not seem like too much of an unmanageable task, but for me it is going to be particularly difficult to accomplish. When it comes to games I seem to have some sort of gaming Attention Deficit Disorder, or what I call "G.A.D.D". Whenever I buy a new game I generally play it for maybe a week at the most or until I am about half-way through the game itself, and then my G.A.D.D kicks in. I will by that time be completely bored of the game and have no further need to play or complete it. Generally I seem to enjoy talking/complaining/falling in love with/obsessing about games more than I do actually finishing them.

So at the start of this week I promised myself for the last month I had off, I would dedicate my time to completing the forgotten gaming gems I have up until now so shamefully neglected. The first game I was to check off my list was "Rainbow Six Vegas". Overall it was a very good game, and filled the tactical shooter that "G.R.A.W" left when I finished that up a couple of months ago. The plot was pretty much non-existent and was only there purely to give me some sort of motivation for killing all those faceless terrorists I had been so ferociously shooting for the last 6 hours or so. The ending was also pretty disappointing. It didn't come to any conclusions, or wrap anything up. It just kind of stopped and the credits rolled. However, I did enjoy it enough to warrant a purchase of the 2nd one which I hope to pick up fairly soon.

The second game I finished was "Battlefield: Bad Company". I played through this one on the Hardest difficulty hoping to pick up the achievements for completing it both on hard and normal difficulties, as I do  on most games. Unfortunately, in "BF: Bad Company" the achievements dont stack. Meaning that to get the achievements I would have to make two separate play-throughs of the game. Fortunately the game was short and sweet enough that a second play-through isnt too much of a chore. Over all I really enjoyed it. The plot was engaging enough to hold my attention all the way through and the multi-player is satisfying to the point that I would play it regularly.

Im also on the verge of finishing another game. The game being "Rock Band". I have already finished the medium solo tours for both the guitar and Drums, but I really want to get both of those finished up on hard. On the drums I'm just under half-way through the solo tour and on the guitar I have six songs left to complete. Hopefully I can also fit in a first solo-tour on the vocals, although I have yet to try out the vocals at all.

That pretty much summises what I have been doing for the last few days gaming wise. I have also realised that actually getting around to finishing games is a surprisingly satisfying experience, and one I hope to continue doing as my backlog of games is pretty shameful at this stage.

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