To Advance You MUST FIRST DIE!





My growing hatred for stupid-ass platformers design for idiots who either "want to be the guy" or just want to show the world that he is capable of beating that game even though stupidly jumping off a cliff/spike again and again and again and accomplishing nothing, only gaining the fact that you repeatedly kept on loading save states, hearing people whine over Youtube about how hard the game is to bitching to the comments that they have so few, building up a defense mechanism of yelling to the viewer, how could he accomplishes in the game. And it goes to show that this sort of popularity eventually hit on Xbox Live Arcade, Super Meat Boy. 

But enough about those overrated games, Adult Swim has a number of "cool" games that has weird titles to them, like some sort of unicorn game to a sort of flash game about naked people. Anyways, what do you mix Super Meat Boy, the reverse Demon Soul's (instead of getting penalties, complete opposite) and turn it into a game? That's right, something decided to make it like "I want to be that guy" but instead of continuously loading dumbass save states, the purpose of this game/flash is that YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO DIE to advance through the story.

This flash game is heavily platformer and puzzle game called Soul Brother, utilizing a number of characters that are required to help you advance through the story. For example, if you're a cat which can double jump through platforms and had met a dead end where a pit of spikes are waiting for you and if only you could fly. You have to jump off and get decapitated so that your soul can transfer through another animal as a sort of bird that can use its ability to fly across the spikes to get to the next area. There are tons of encounters that you must first solve through utilizing multiple characters, from having that block-guy use its ability to move blocks dying, having the small block which ables it to pass through small path dying to having the cat double jumping to the multi-colour crystal which is a collectible in this game. 



Soul Brother isn't really a great concept to begin with, sure instead of loading save states why not jump off to your death and respawn as another dude and use its ability. It's still frustrating even though utilizing your characters to complete a rigorous task of platform puzzling. Albeit it's those kind of games that other people adore and I did get some excitement playing about ten minutes and feeling proud of himself completing puzzles. 

And for reference, here is SNES9X!    

  
     
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What you've been playing? -- Fate of Two Racists

 

What You've Been Playing? - Fate of Two Racists Edition  

 
Instead of writing separate blogs about my impressions, here is a blog about two games that I've been playing. I talked before about playing Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds but didn't write about it. 
  

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds 

  
 


I have never been much of a fighting game dude but I'm much of an admirer of watching them though I don't watch competitions like EVO and it doesn't help me learn how to play a fighting game. The last fighting game, I remembered playing was Street Fighter 4 and I picked Chun-Li and Honda and had reached the last boss, Seth and remembered dying over and over again. Rather than picking Ryu and Ken like anyone else, both Chun-Li and Honda were easy to control and not so much learn how to throw a fireball which I still don't know how to and just spam thousand-hand/kick slap on those two characters.  
 


 
But what decided me to play Marvel vs Capcom 3 was Giantbomb's TNT and Quick-look and just loving the gameplay and the fast-paced action of doing air-combos to calling assists. Also the fact that I just blindly played it despite thinking that it would be difficult to play like any other fighting games out there. From watching it, the art assets and variety of characters had sold me on playing it, it's weird that I decided to play this game rather than look back on the previous Marvel vs Capcom games but I guess it convinced me to play.   
 

 It's gratifying to do a special move-combo

 
Instead of going to the tutorials like I'm prone to do, I just started playing the Arcade mode and picked MorriganPhoenix and Storm as my all-star female team and to my surprise an achievement for having that team. Like previous Marvel vs Capcom games, you can choose an assist for each fighter and use it during each round anytime and also do special attacks. During each round in the Arcade Mode, I was surprised that it wasn't that hard even though I picked Very Easy, and the fact that I easily knew the controls and how to mash what buttons. Unlike any other fighting game, the special ability/move doesn't require a combination of figuring out what buttons to hit to activate it, rather, just hitting the B button on the 360 and your fighter will do his/her business dealing heavy damage depending on how high your level is charging up by hitting your opponent.   
 


  
Furthermore, the Arcade Mode isn't that long - it's about 10 minutes long and the last boss was easy to defeat. Though having a roster of a huge number of fighters is probably the reason why they decided to shorten the Arcade mode because each fighter that you hit the final blow at the boss gets a individual ending and after "beating the game", you often get unlocks from the gallery ranging from new artwork, character bios to voice samples and points that tally to some scoring feature. I had only gotten the Phoenix, Storm, Morrigan, Akuma, Iron Man, Dante and X-23 endings but I'm slowly liking this game, especially when I charge up to level 5 and then do the super-ultra combo/move of having your team combining their moves and overkilling my opponent. It's just so satisfying to do that everytime and so easy to put that move without the stress of learning annoying combinations like any other fighting game.  And Deadpool is my new favourite character due to the fact that he always had something funny to say, everytime he wins a fight.  
 
 

Pokemon White 

  
 
 Like the controversial PSP ad but in Pokemon form.

 
 I was fortunate to play Pokemon White for a brief moment on my friend's DSi, and only had gotten far to the first gym badge and currently at the Pokemon Day-Care. Looking back at my history of playing Pokemon games, I don't really care about how much less each game improved, it just like catching more Pokemons and addicted to its RPGs atmosphere and the last Pokemon game I played was Pokemon Ruby on the GBA.   
 

 Cheren, my character and Bianca as well as N.

 
I start by picking a boy and listening to the same old crap that the professor often talk about but instead of having a rival at the starting, you are introduced to long-time friends of yours, Cheren, a intelligent boy and Bianca, an airhead. You start off in Nuvema Town of the Unova in your room and Professor Jupiter has brought you and your friends a gift of a starting Pokemon of your desire; Snivy, Tepig or Oshawott - I picked Oshawott due to picking the fire type in every Pokemon game that I've played and then Cheren picked Bianca picked Tepig while Cheren chose Snivy and we apparently started fighting which then wrecked my room. The battle feature improved since I lasted played, though since Pokemon Diamond and whatever first on the DS, the battle feature, features an animation of your Pokemon and of a trainer either talking trash/encouraging the Pokemon to make it more immersive and better detail of your attacks. 
  
 
Starting Town?


After that, your mom will heal up your Pokemon for you after defeating Cheren and Bianca and I ventured off to see Bianca where she is being scolded at her overprotective father because of her leaving to become a Pokemon trainer. I then get to Professor Jupiter's lab and received a Pokedex and a tutorial of how to catch Pokemons on Route 1 as well as receiving Pokeballs to catch wild Pokemons. And so I did and caught both a level 3 Patrat and level 4 Lillipup and leveled them up to the same level as my Oshawott as I intend to level all my Pokemon rather than catching it and dumping it in my PC.  As I set sail to become the Pokemon master, my mom gave me some kind of cellphone and a map and gave it to Bianca and Cheren as well.  
 

 All the 3D buildings looks weird.

 
Also the new feature in this game is the improved graphics, instead of it being 2D all the time in towns, buildings are more 3D which I'm not comfortable with. Anyways, I ventured off to Accumula Town after beating my two friends again, trying to compare how much Pokemons we have and then encounter Team Plasma who wanted to "liberate all Pokemons" and encountered N, a mysterious trainer that I defeated. I also encountered an awesome beat when I talked to a pianist and drummer and they remixed the original score and it sounded awesome - practically stalled for about a half an hour listening to it.   
 


The Battle  system looks be colourful.        

 
As I go to the next Route, my mom called me and then out of nowhere she gave me Running shoes so I don't have to dread the fact that the movement in the game is fucking slow. And also introduced hooping over small cliffs instead of walking on the tall grass if I wanted to go back to the Pokemon Centre. The Pokemon Centres now feature a shop inside rather than finding a individual shop in the earlier Pokemon games which I liked. Leveling up my Pokemons to level 11 and encountering Pokemon trainers for the first time, I ventured off to Striaton City to get my first gym badge. Like any town, I often go every building and check every object and NPC to see if I get free stuff and I got a Great and Dusk Balls and also won a Full Heal from a quiz in the Pokemon school where I also fight Cheren. I also went to Dreamyard and received a free Pansear which I used advantage of when I faced the gym leader which I find it interesting that, the gym leader, Cilan detects of my starting Pokemon and it's weakness but the fact that I have Pansear, a fire type battling a green-type is a easy battle. But I don't understand that grass can beat water - in other Pokemon games usually the "electricity-type" is strong against water-types and I find it weird that water is weak to grass and the fact that grass-attacks like Vine Wip isn't "super-effective' to my Oshawott and only does equal amount of damage.   
 

Pokemon Center Store

  
Though the first gym like any design of other gyms looks different to contrast the Pokemon that you will be battling and this one is themed like some sort of restaurant and there's a puzzle that you have to complete by stepping on the appropriate button to correspond to the curtain's icon weakness to (like fire is weak to water) and each tier of the puzzle, you have to face a trainer/waiter. After beating the Gym Leader, Cilan, receiving my first gym badge as well as receiving TM - Work up which is a buff that increases your Pokemon Attack and Special Attack. Also TMs like HMs no longer is a one-time usage, you can repeatedly teach your Pokemon the same ability over and over again.   
 

She's the cute one.

 
As I left the gym, the old colleague of Jupiter, Fennel wanted me to go to Dreamyard to retrieve "Dream Mist" from Musharna but was stopped by Team Plasma and was intervened by Musharna's Dream Mist effect. Before that, I caught level 8 Masharna and level 10 Purrloin and level them up to level 11. Fennel thens comes to retrieve the Dream Mist and gives me HM01 - Cut and C-Gear as a reward. C-Gear ables you to go online and interact with other players by abling Shining Powers to battling them at the Pokemon Centre which I won't be able to do. Completing everything in that city, I went off to Route 3 where I encountered my first duel-battle and a Pokemon Day-Care where I can leave off a Pokemon that I didn't want and so I left Masharna and had stopped playing since then. 
 
Like Marvel vs Capcom 3, I'm slowly getting addicted to Pokemon White despite being controversial over the title, I had a blast playing it and wanted to play some more. Maybe it's time to get a DSi and NOT get a 3DS due to not liking 3D because I often get dry eyes and it's irritating to play it in 3D like watching a movie in 3D.  
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From the Youtube - Homefront Impressions SPOILERS

 
  


 

Like what I started with my preview impressions of Dragon Age II from the Quick Look Road Show interviewed by Brad. I decided to watch a series of walkthroughs in Youtube due to the fact that the game may not be worth buying or is just interested on watching it rather than playing. One of the first games I fully watched to completion is Homefront. 
 
Homefront was one of my anticipated games of this year because of it being close to Red Dawn (my favourite movie also), the amount of advertising and again expecting so much to be like Freedom Fighters. In the end, after reading up some reviews and comments regarding the game, it was truly a disappointment and a huge flaw of having advertisements being the main selling point rather than fixing the gameplay and to less derivative in the shadows of Modern Warfare 2.   
 

 The human side before all of the destruction.

 
John Milius, the writer of Red Dawn and Clear and Present Danger also wrote Homefront, applying much of the anti-communist and patriotism into this game. Which in fact the script in the game hits the right note of Korean/Commies invaded the US and you're one of the resistance fighters in some small town fighting against it. He also provided a sense of emotion that compensate for so much stereotypes. Such as Connor who is supposedly the stereotypical segregant in a war - I just hate learning his no-nonsense attitude and love the fact that they finally dies at the end. It's so obvious that the annoying, irritating guy dies at the end to sacrifice himself but the other cliche is also a black guy being the first to die, such as Boone who was chained on a swing after Koreans find out your hideout for retaliation of storming the Tigerdirect facility and destroying a tanker.    
 


 
The AI in the game is garbage and horrible, watching the walkthrough it seems that the AI sometimes freezes and doesn't to some kind of action like knocking down a shelf to open a door, or just freezing until some guy walks to them and wait for a few seconds to do the next scene. It was pretty irritating to see in 2011, AI has not been changed so much and just for a single door to unlock, you just have to wait until the guy goes into position and opens the door. Sometimes it applies to other FPSs, I want a game that you don't have to wait for your fucking NPC to open the door for you, you can do it yourself or walk to the objective and it will trigger. This is one of the biggest flaw in this game.  
 


 
The environments was nothing different, there are scenarios that provided some drama like in your hideout adding a human side before all of the destruction and some scenery looked great like going to California to seeing the Golden Gate Bridge but seeing advertisements of TigerDirect, Hooters and such made me feel like in Modern Warfare 2. But the fact that the game isn't better than Modern Warfare 2 just made me want to play those missions again in that game rather than watching the aggravating AI on both sides just pisses me off.   
 

 Goliath

 
The gameplay is derivative but with a twist, during missions like storming the TigerDirect Korean base, you can control goliath, some kind of robotic war machine that a person must control that can shoot rockets to destroy vehicles and such. And through missions, there's often alot of vehicles to attack helicopters for you to use your goliath on. Ammo seem to be scarce from watching walkthroughs, it seems like one of the World at War missions in the last American campaign where you don't have much ammo and have to pick up the enemies' guns. There are a few gun-turrent missions either attached on a humvee that are fun like any Call of Duty game and one that you fly an attack helicopter escorting three tanker trucks to San Francisco to having UAVs raining hell again like in Call of Duty.
 
I also watched a portion of the multiplayer and there are killing strets like spawning attack robotic buggies to UAVs and it looked alright but remains the same as a game that has experience points and killing-skrees. I'm just disappointed of how heavily this game is advertised and not using the time to fully established the whole game, the AI was horrible and even the ending to this game was rushed and short and stupid.  
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This is TRULY the Age of Sheppa.... Dragons!

 
  
 
 


 
 
I was quite skeptical about Bioware's new direction towards Dragon Age II. From the looks of the demo to numerous interviews, they overhull much of the combat, gameplay and dialogue to feel more like Mass Effect and less Dragon Age. I had written a blog regarding these new features; different art designs with the graphical interface to techtrees that resemble a web of sorts that you can pick your preferable skill type like in WoW. These new features are a mixed bag for me, before and now that the game is released. Unfortunately due to a fact of not preordering the game, I have to buy the regular edition alongside a numerous amount of free dlc that you get just for sigining up for their newsletter which its EA's part for spaming your email with tons of things that you probably won't give a shit about.   
 

   

 
As I mention before, the graphics in this game compared to Origins is like what they did with Diablo III - it feels like they made it look like Borderlands especially looking at the environment and textures. In other words, I'm not that impressed about the new art assets that contribute to the design of this game, which is pretty disappointing considering that Origins had a gritty look to it as opposed to this game when you kill darkspawn, it looks like kool-aid splash on your weirdly-shaped face. The graphical design on characters also look weird, sometimes I encounter a freakishly looking NPC with eyeballs so huge or their face looks ugly - it might have been that they had consumed doses of lyrium but to not compare Origins again, I rather have those designs than this.   
 

 She does looks sexy

 
Anyways before I go off-topic, I chose a female warrior who specializes in tanking/dps which unfortunately was taken away by Aveline who also specializes in that trait. The customization seems totally different from Origins, it seems like they finally made a stride to make a default Sheppard from Mass Effect into Dragon Age, Marian or Garrett which I picked Marian because again Dave's law of picking females and also the British accent. And towards the end, I get to import my old Origins save into this game, picking carefully for my best ending save playing as a Arcane Warrior, Solona; Loghain redeems himself, Allistar and Anora rules Feredien, Bhelen becomes king, Anvil is destroyed, Elves are cured, Connor is rescued and mages finally get their own tower and so on.    
 
  
   
Varric getting interrogated 
 
Before getting into the story, the intro is a concept that now has been recently used - starting off in the present time and then having a flashbacks, it's often in movies too and I'm getting annoyed by it. It starts off with Varric getting interrogated by a Kirkwall soldier regarding the main character, Hawke's new rise to power as the champion of Kirkwall and then it flashes to a small gameplay tutorial where you get to fight hordes of darkspawn with Bethany. The combat is more button-mashy than before though  in the tutorials that there's an assist button like Marvel vs Capcom which you can order Bethany to cast spells on the target. It at first felt like Lord of the Rings: Conquest for me, specifically when you activate your abilities like shield bash or pummel which sometimes charges the enemy rather bashing the shield like in Origins, again it's annoying to do that sort of thing, reminding me of how Conquest was terrible. The maneuvering is more loose than being fidgetly in Origins with the commands though I happen to encounter some fidgetly moments. After that a dragon appears and it then flashes back to Varric. These moments feel a mixture of Two Worlds with the awkward interrogation scene and the flashbacks in Call of Duty: Black Ops and I loathed that. 
 

 Hotter than before and scarier.

 
The story starts off just after the Warden goes off to save Feredlen by summoning dwarves, elves and Men of Redcliffe to fight the ongoing threat of darkspawn and the Archdemon and Hawke's family; Leandra, Bethany, Carver and me is trying escaping Lothering to Kirkwall, along their escape they encounter Ser Wesley, a templar and Aveline, a soldier which Wesley notices and reveals that Bethany is an apostate and then starts the Friendship and Rivalry feature which sadly isn't similar to Origins. Of which, even though one of your party members hates you or is a rival, they still respect you. After that, I suddenly get surrounded by darkspawn as one of the ogres kills Carver which I didn't much care for him but a dragon comes swooping down to rescue by, killing all the darkspawn and revealing that it's Flemeth. To which is a much more darker Flemeth than before, she has a much deeper voice and isn't a talkative witch of the wilds and ask me to deliver an amulet to some elf in Sundermount in the Free Marshes in exchange for riding us out towards the Free Marshes and Kirkwall.   
 

Kirkwall
 
When I reached Kirkwall to reach my uncle, I was stopped by the guards as they didn't allow me in the city due to Fereldens overpopulating the city and cannot accept more asking everyone to find another place to immigrate upon. After doing tasks to let me in Kirkwall, having the captain fetching my uncle after three days of waiting and realizing that this uncle is a idiot who threw our estate and fame away due to heavy debts and expenses and having to work under his contracts for years. To me, it was quite obvious that Bioware pull that sort of stunt, I saw it coming just when my mother wanted to see my uncle. After a year when Loghain redeemed himself by sacrificing himself for the final blow, Allistar and Anora ruling Ferelden and Solona became hero of Ferelden, I get contacted by a dwarf that can let me go to the Deep Roads in search of treasure but cannot allow me to go unless I have 50 sovereigns to give. We also get a brief glimpse of Knight-Commander Meredith and a thief that snatches my wallet and also encounters Varric, a dwarf who can find a way to go into the Deep Roads without paying.  
  
  
   ENCHANTM... AHHHH MY EYES

 
Pretty much after that, I got back Aveline as a companion, guard of Kirkwall and did a number of side-missions that apparently isn't like Origins where you often get quests from the Chantry, Mages Guild to Blackstone Irregulars. It's rather getting quests from rumours, quest items and quest-givers and I love the fact that when you're at home, you can get receive quests as well as crafting. Speaking of your home though it is your uncle's home in Lowtown which in the slums, it's like a camp in Origins but the only thing missing is everything from equipping your companions from having a vendor, it's just bullshit. But I get to see Bodahn and Sandal from Origins again playing similar roles from Origins in Kirkwall and I must say, Sandal looks more freakly with those scary eyes staring at me. I played until I got Ferris, an elf as a companion and helped him out with dealing with a slaver trying to capture him and I liked him. Now I intend to do side-quests before going on to the main ones.  
 

 The cinematics look unique and interesting.


Without saying the art assets and graphics are terrible, I noticed that they added more artistic cutscenes than Origins having that art asset from Dante's Inferno and to be honest, I'm kinda impressed by it though it's not narrated by Duncan which I'm disappointed about and instead have Varric narrating. The environments are far more spread than in Origins, which of my dismay of my first impressions of this game of being generic and unimpressed even when I entered Kirkwall.  As for the abilities' tree, it's rather loose than before, instead of having a linear path of skills that you don't need, it branches off to other skills like WoW and there are options to improve that skill. The crafting feature is much better, instead of having piles and piles of ingredients that horded up your inventory - its more encouraging exploration of finding these materials like elfroot than unclogging your inventory. They also decided to make the NPC vendors not the vendor and like what they did with Mass Effect 2, you can purchase/sell or craft/enchant your items on some object beside them and they are taking it so far for being similar.  
 

 You don't have to have a high enough approval rating to have sex with your companions. 

 
The interaction wheel and dialogue from Mass Effect is a hit and miss for me - yeah there are icons resembling three options, good, suave or bad and a investigate option as well as having others give their opinion about the topic at hand but it also brings the awkwardness of delivering lines like in Mass Effect 2, ending with a line and pausing for a moment just kills the immersive world for me. The friendship and rivalry feature, I explained earlier is different compared to Origins, instead of receiving bonuses each time, beneficing your character upon high approval, you can build either a friendly to antagonistic relationship with your companions.  I really love the fact that you could give gifts to your companions in Origins but they decided to make it so gifts actually prompts specific dialogues which I did not like. 
 
  
   No more funny banter instead we got this 
  
  
 
The character interaction on the other hand, remains to be unseen - in Origins you could easily have a conversation with any of your character in your part, unfortunately in this game, they just deliver one lame line. I don't get why on earth would they remove the conversation feature to be less apparent in this game, and again like Mass Effect as well as other features from that game implemented lazy by the developers. Also the fact that in Origins, the writers delivers the funniest lines in the game with Morrigan teasing Alistair, Oghren being hella drunk to Shale's hate of birds popping him and also that every party member was actually funny even Loghain and Sten who are serious. In this game however, the new cast of party members (so far I recently got Ferris) sucks for being the most lamest and unfunny party members that I don't care about. Again I don't know why they decided to make a grimmer version of not having some comedic moments, the bantering with the party members are just boring to me talking about their past and moments where the dwarf, Varric is trying to be funny but Ferris redeemed some of the moments and not because he kinda sounds like Zervan and have cool lines on his skin.  
 
Overall, its pretty much a mixed bag from the similarities of Mass Effect 2 to the new features of the techtree to dialogue wheel. It's not that I really hate the game, I hated and don't get why the developers made it similar and the tone and comedic value from Origins doesn't exist any trace of it in this game. I'm still going to play this game, but I'm bitterly playing it. And also the soundtrack borrows some tracks from Origins. And the fact that it crashed on me.
 

 AND THIS FROM MASS EFFECT 2!

 


 
  

For more Dragon Age II Impressions 

 
From the Bomb. First Impressions/Look - Dragon Age II
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Yet Another LOTR Game - Lord of the Rings Online

Since it has been a non-so busy week for me, I had the chance to play Lord of the Rings Online, Bulletstorm and Marvel vs Capcom 3 consecutively and let me just say that two of them gave me a huge headache after playing it and may or may not play it.  
 

Lord of the Rings Online  

 
Last year it was announced that this game was finally free to play after three years, probably because of World of Warcraft. After much reluctance due to not wanting to play another MMORPG (or WoW) primarily due to actually try to play the game but morons decided harass me and the fact that I have to listen to a group of parents in ventrilo taking long breaks like their annoying baby crying to smoking breaks while doing a raid instance constantly wanting for them. These are the hundreds of reasons why I didn't want to play MMORPG specifically for WoW but since my 360 is acting strangely these couple of days and trying to find a game fit for my PC, I decided to download Lord of the Rings Online. The registration was no hassle, it took about a minute and didn't ask me anything else, the installation process on the other hand was slow for me due to my PC being crappy but still unable to play it despite a number of hiccups in terms of lagging. When the installation process and the update was completed which took about 7 hours or so, the game launched.   
 


 
In the character-creation, I decided to go for Dave's law of choosing a female and be a Gondor Champion which is primarily a rogue or a DPS warrior in WoW being able to duel-wield with a sword and a dagger and like the rogue you have to get enough Fervour to do specific abilities which is located at the button of the screen but abilities also uses up your power too like mana. Unlike WoW, you start off with a short tutorial as you are some prisoner who was then rescued by Strider which was weird because Strider or Aragorn was with the Fellowship during that time, escaping from the Mines of Moria or perhaps the beginning was before the fellowship even created in Rivendell. Anyways he frees you but realizes you're not a hobbit and asks you to rescue two hobbits and meet with another ranger at the gate, fighting against blackwold jailers. The combat at first felt slow for me at the beginning, it took me awhile to attack as well as loot.   
 


 
After I rescue the two hobbits from captive, I met up with another ranger at the gate but apparently was attacked by a Black Rider poisoning him as I was then warped to another zone, Archet which included a short cutscene with a wannabe Gandalf narrating. There's a neat story within this zone, it felt like Catacylsm with the whole intros - it's pretty much betrayal that has to do with Blackwolds raiding the town which immediately throw you into a single player instance like the starting in a destroyed town trying to rescue and repel the invaders and experience a memorable scene where a black rider takes the injured ranger under his command and also you get a ton of rewards like a rental horse to a ton of consumables. I wouldn't go into much detail of my adventures with quests but it seems like Turbine has created a marketplace in their Lotr store purchasing quests, cosmetics to exclusive items redeemable with Turbine points which funds the game and the fact that you earn titles like not getting killed through ten levels gets you, the title of unstoppable, cosmetics like using dye to colour your gear and doing deeds like killing a specific number of mobs.  
  
 


After hitting level 10 and going off to Combe which is the Westfall, a button appear on the screen called perks which also rewarded me 200 points enabling me to buy permanent items to benefit from getting more experience to increasing my morale and power which is health and mana. My main gripe about this feature is that I had to wait long enough to open the Lotr site everytime it enables me to unlock perks to traits. Now I'm level 11 after countless hours of playing and it's kinda growing on me... talking about it makes me want to play more.
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Yet Another LOTR Game - Battle for Middle Earth II

  



The last decade, we see a number of Lord of the Rings games by EA either it's games based on the trilogy or they decided to created retcons into the lore. Either way, it's a lame attempt on using the Lord of the Rings franchise into selling games that are mediocre and boring. In fact, they still release Lord of the Rings' games as evidence by last year's Aragorn's Quest and will always squeeze out the life out of that franchise, though Peter Jackson often tend to rip us off with new DVD editions, whether its Extended Version, Limited Edition or Blue-ray extended and theater versions.  
 
But there are games that are actually decent in the Lord of the Rings franchise, Two Towers and Return of the King is alright and plays like an action hack and slash as well as Battle for Middle Earth, a RTS game that's actually great and not broken which I expected to be. Unfortunately I didn't play the first game and tried the sequel, Battle for Middle Earth II.  
 

 Can Choose a Servant of Sauron to Shield Maiden of Rohan

 
This sequel really didn't improve much, it's actually worse than it, though they tried to improve it in a sense. They decided to add base-building similar to Command and Conquer Generals (which is exactly the same game) and rather go to another establishment to build your fortress so you could build more buildings in a circular base, you can build freely and like in Generals put buildings around the map. And your fortress and walls to turn into gates, towers and catapults making turtling in this game, the best thing that apparently isn't in other games. Also you could create/customize heroes, adding a RPG element to it, adjusting attributes to adding what skill/power your character is going to take. Which the character (if chosen) will be purchasable in your fortress at the starting. Furthermore like any RTS, building farms increase your population limit which this game's limit is a thousand and also is the resource of this game but you have to know where to position your farm as the distance of your farm matters in accumulating the most resources signaling from green (the most 80 to 100) to black (the least below 20) in percentage. 
  
The first game only has a few races as oppose to this game; for the good side, it's Elves, Dwarves and Men and for the bad side, it's goblins, Isenguard and Mordor. I was disappointed that Men consists mostly of Gondor forces and only one Rohan unit, the Rohirrim Rider. I always wanted to have a Helms Deep scenario where I turn Rohan countrymen into militia and recreate the Battle of Helms Deep. 
 
Unlike the first game, the story isn't based on the movie trilogy - it focuses on the War on the North with Dwarves, Elves and such clashing against the forces of Mordor taking place the same time as the first game in the Third Age. You could also start as the Evil Campaign unlike the first game, fighting against the forces of good and taking over Middle Earth.   
 

 Acquisiting Power Points to Abilities' Tree

 
I didn't really play the campaign yet, it really don't care about the story and liked the first game better so I tried out the skirmish mode. Like Generals/Zero Hour, you can choose where to start, difficulty modes are the same, handicap mode and such - it feels like Generals with a Lord of the Rings touch with points received after killing a number of units/structures and you can commission those points in the tier-esque tech-tree after getting 5 command points (which you start off), you get choose abilities to either heal/support, summon (for a temp. time) to area effect attack like Generals/Zero Hour. Also there's often a sighting of Gollum with a One Ring that you need to kill him and snatch to return to your base, which enables you to create a powerful hero whether it's Galadriel (the same galadriel when Frodo tries to give her the ring in Fellowship of the Ring) or Sauron in each perspective side.  
  
The maps are fantastic, basically most of the maps are based on the campaign in the first game ranging from Helms Deep, Minas Tirith to Mordor. I especially love Helms Deep/Minas Tirith maps because I love turtling like Vinny and defending the castle is more fun to actually defeating an opponent - just have an army of archers and catapults raining down fiery hell to Urukai orcs and goblins' waves and spending hours and hours doing it again and again while I'm away from the keyboard.  
  


 The first game I know but it's still fun to position your archers on the walls!
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Two Broken Two Play - Two Worlds II Impressions

 
 


 
 
 
I'm not really a fan of the first Two Worlds, the dialogue and acting as well as some merits of the gameplay and controls are the things that put me off that game. And the fact that I'm astounded of how people liked that game even though it's entirely broken. Recently Two Worlds II (repetition) was released and I want to try it to see if they had improved the problems of the previous games. 
 
So I brought this game in hopes that it would be better but what I got is kinda the same minus a few major problems from the first game. As I booted this game up, I was met with a lame main menu along with your character that you'll be playing. Unfortunately at first I thought you can customize your character whether it could be gender or so but it's just that ugly character will long hair and you can only change his colour, face/complexion and height from the legs to the torso and that's it. After you submit your changes, it didn't really load into a cutscene but transition quickly to some kind of throne room that you see in the main menu. 
 
Apparently, you and her sister? is chained to two thrones by some sort of sinister and menacing dude, Gandohar and then out of a sudden, your sister starts talking demonic and some kind of magic comes out of you to your sister. It then flashes to two guards throwing you off a set of stairs and going to put you in jail but an assassin and Orc archer ambushed the two guards to rescue you.  And then starts the tutorial level or so.  
 

 Liked the HUD designs

 
Taken control over the character, the interface and HUD looks unique; health and mana is in the bottom right corner of the screen which the mana bar/orb is in the centre of the health bar, the bottom center part of your screen is where you could find the objective, map screen as well as health/mana potions and there's a distance meter on how far your objective is on the bottom left. The inventory screen at first was quite confusing and it felt too big having your items and a frustrating time if you try to sort your inventory out,   
 
The controls are kinda hard to get used to, use parts sprint is replaced with crouch and other parts is the action/attack button and it's annoying that they match those actions of the left and right bumper rather than the other buttons on the 360 that could make the controls like frustrating. Especially when it's third-person.
 
The looting is also weird and the fact that two of the guards you looted earlier, you cannot equip them which is bullshit because shouldn't all items earlier to ranging the level you are right now, nevertheless later on it might be useful. The camera was quite nauseous to me, it felt too loose and disorienting especially when you interact with characters. Which leads me to the next point, the interaction is like Fable II but more annoying, it zooms in to the NPC that you're speaking and you can only move slowly in a limited area either spinning around like a maniac or humping them. And it makes these encounters awkward and lame making games like Fallout 3 laugh at them for trying to immerse your character into this world. 
 
  
  
 
Like I said, the interaction with NPCs is quite annoying but what really annoys me the most is the dialogue and acting, I mean seriously, have they even improved since the first Two Worlds? The acting either sounds like them reading off their lines or a robot especially the Orc warrior that you meet, he sounds like he's trying to take a dump something and sounds nothing like Orcs, and that goes to all three of the Orcs and the assassin. The dialogue is also atrocious, it's not like those terrible translations from the early 2000s but it sounds like English isn't their first language for the people who wrote this game and it's quite bland and boring.   
 

Uh Oh, sexual tension much!     

 
The cutscenes that apparently are skippable, are awkward and terrible as well especially when that Orc Warrior is fighting some Metal-Clad Knight - it felt some goofy and ridiculous and that also goes for all of the cutscenes I saw. As well as the scene where the Orc Shaman/Mage is trying to rebuild to bridge and then out of nowhere you and the mage is teleported to some kind of area filled with skeletons and the tutorial of how to use your staff. Also when you and the assassin get teleported to the island and she quickly gets struck on a bear trap, being a stupid moron that she is. And the fact that the walking animation looks weird as well as the jumping.   
 

 Combat feels clunky and weird

 

 When I finally able to fight, it's just a button-mash trying to hack and smash your opponent until he/it dies but when you're attacking them, sometimes i see enemies kinda clip into the environment making it annoying at some instances. Fighting with a baton, you first get was easy but when you and the orc rescue party teleports to some island, you get to assassinate and stab fools and the back and it's fun while it lasted. Also when you get your first bow, it was quite a learning curve to learn how to shoot and use one arrow to kill two of the enemies I'm facing. But the most annoying learning curve that I have to figure out without much instructions of the tutorials is casting spells and also picking up cards to make new spells. The amulet feature to make spells is just frustrating and obnoxious, it took me a while of what the fuck I'm doing and finally figured out that I could improve my spells' power and found the card for water attacks to get rid of a giant fire-resistant beast. Having no instructions at all and forcing to read a book is tedious and it's 2011 idiots, put some kind of tutorial without being frustrating that it is.    
  

 Magic amulet feature is a tedious and steep learning curve process making it frustrating at first.


 Now, I'm at the Orcish camp after reaching the prophet, Cassara and receiving a leather armor set afterwards. The assassin also brought me underground to a room with a stash to store my items as well as introduced me to Orc Blacksmith who gave me a quest to get five steels from items that you collected from the enemies you faced to get materials. I gave him five steels pieces and he became a vendor to sell my trash to and also gave me another quest to find some orish material. This feature is similar to WoW, specifically like the Enchanting/Blacksmithing, you can destroy your weapon/armor for materials like steel, wood or iron and use that to upgrade/craft your weapons/armor into better gear.    
 

 Items in your inventory can either be repaired by materials, craft into better weapons and destroyed to for materials.


Anyways that the moment where I stopped and probably will never play again because like I said, the acting, interface and dialogue is dragging me down and I cannot remember much of the storyline because it doesn't take itself seriously. At first, I thought it would be more like Oblivion but it isn't and that game is better than this pile of horseshit. It got so much potential as a better game before but apparently, the idiots at SouthPeak and TopWare Interactive thought that they didn't want to improve the sequel and made it like the first one kinda like what Lionhead did with Fable III.
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Because Tomorrow's Valentine's Day...

 
which is ironic for me because I don't celebrate it.. here's the rehashed video of John Drake and the Harmonix guys singing songs from Rock Band's new DLC 
 
  

   
And I almost thought that one or two of the Harmonix guys were girls especially that dude with a almost shaved mustache and beard as well as John Drake. And I was able to spot Eric Pope easily. Anyways the song selection for this new DLC is alright but they should of added more love songs that are better. 
 
  
   
And this Portal 2 thingy 
 
Happy Valentine's Day!
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Starcraft II MODs

 
 
 

 Blizzard Created-Mods

 
 
Like I said countless times, Starcraft II has a modding community that has the potential to produce either great maps or bad ones. The announcement of custom maps' marketplace sounds like a bad idea and maybe a way that the community will start ripping off, making their own map expensive so suckers could buy them and find out that it's complete garbage. We'll see how this feature is implemented in the future and how Blizzard will asset with this problem because Xbox Live also has a number of horrible Indie Games that costs the amount that they don't deserve. 
 
Now Blizzard often create their own maps/mods to download from their site, from Warcraft (III/Frozen Throne) to Starcraft ranging from skirmish maps to custom-created maps like DOTA to Tower Defense. Recently they started a beta-process with three custom maps that they created; Aiur Chef, Starjeweled and Left 2 Die and like any custom-created maps by Blizzard, it's not half-assed and actually fun. Here's the three maps located on Battle.net
 
 
  
  
 
The first map is Aiur Chef, get it? because Iron sounds like Aiur so it's a hilarious pun. Like Iron Chef, you're a chef competing against other chefs (total 8 players)  for the title of Aiur Chef - as you rush throughout the map, acquiring ingredients based on the theme ingredient and rushing back to the centre to get points. The harder the ingredients acquired, the more points you score and the most points won under pressure from the time that you must dash for the ingredients. There isn't much action, though acquiring ingredients often you have to kill specific creatures from Zerg Roaches for meat to picking up veggies, it's pretty much you trying to find the best ingredient for getting a meal with higher points or finding the easiest ingredient from the top-left corner of the screen and repeatedly doing that.  Also inventory space is limited so you can't hog up all the ingredients and have to do each dish one by one. It's like the real show with a Starcraft-twist. Overall it's alright, sometimes it's boring but trying to get the most points is kinda fun. This is my least favourite map.  
 
  
  
 
The second map is Starjeweled, a Bejeweled clone which you could play Bejeweled while playing WoW. Like Bejeweled, it's a match three game but instead getting the getting jewel combinations successfully, matching three or more gems which charges you're energy meter, you also have to use your purchase stronger units from your energy meter to destroy your opponent. It's like Bejeweled and Defend your Castle combined with a vertical map from top to bottom and base defenses. It utilizes the Starcraft II strategy of pitting a stronger unit against the AI/Player, like purchasing a Colossus to defeat Hydralisks to Zealots against Roaches. You also can perform abilities and spells like psi storm over your enemy forces or heal your own. You have to be efficient with how you handle your army, choosing the right unit against your opponent, strengths and weakness and using quick thinking and conversing your energy meter through five dreadful rounds, taking out your opponent's base out of the most rounds and you win! I love this map, the idea of Bejeweled and Defend your Castle mixed up together is pretty neat and fun, it's quite stressful to play it online seeing that people know what unit to build but I'm having a blast playing that game.
  
   
  
 
I haven't yet played Left 2 Die due to not seeing it online on battle.net (not the site, online multiplayer) but I heard it's one of the Starcraft II campaign, Outbreak where you have to survive a horde of infested terrans and keep them away from your base. Like the campaign, it shifts through day and night phases and through day time, you and your allies have the opportunity to destroy infested settlements that spawn infested terrans or resupply and build more units to reinforcing your defenses for the upcoming horde in night phases. There are also special zerg units that produces biomass after they die which you could use it to upgrade units and get better ones to support your army. And there's a challenge mode that there isn't a day cycle and only night, as well as each round being extremely difficult.  And also Left 4 Dead.
 
All in all, these beta maps are what good things to come for the community to make awesome mods and maps like someone already made a Metal Slug side-scrolling shooter and a RPG map with timed battles. Hopefully this marketplace that Blizzard is implementing in Starcraft II could be great!  
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Apparently I got WoW for free

 
I was browsing through my emails and through SPAM found that I receive a free downloadable copy of WoW and a 30-day trial along with it. At first I thought that this was a hoax and is going to give me a virus attack but checking if this is a hoax online is apparently a legit one. Though it's quite a hoax since it's vanilla WoW and Blizzard wants me to play it again which I say NEVER and if I play WoW then I need to buy both Wrath of the Lich Kings and Cataclysm Expansion packs which is stupid and retarded - seriously why would they sell it at regular retail price for those games, you're paying for the monthly subscription and you expected me to pay all of them. 
 
It's just bullshit that they're doing that seeing they have the entire world playing this game, albeit Cataclysm seems to be fun with new quests and such but getting up there will require my level 70 warrior from Burning Crusade to hike up fifteen levels with both expansions in hand. Anyways here's the email sent by Blizzard's Mike Morhaime: 
 

Thomas, 

Thanks a lot for being an early supporter of StarCraft II. The community is off to a great start, with over four million players worldwide and I'm pleased to report that the rumors of the death of real-time-strategy gaming have been greatly exaggerated.

As a thank you for your early support, I've flagged your Battle.net account to receive a free, downloadable copy of World of Warcraft. This is the full version of World of Warcraft that we sell in store and includes a 30-day subscription. Just follow the instructions below to activate it, download the game, and start playing. Again, it's totally free.

I'd also be interested in hearing any feedback you may have about StarCraft II: what was fun, what we could make better, etc. So if you have any thoughts, please send them along to SC2-feedback@blizzard.com.

Again, thanks for helping us make StarCraft II an epic launch, Thomas, and I hope you'll enjoy adventuring in World of Warcraft and connecting with another fun part of the Blizzard community. 

   
 
 
 And it also wanted feedback for Starcraft II which I probably will send something saying that the ending sucks.  
 

 Don't Get Me Started with this BS
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