Pixar's BRAVE.

Just came back from seeing BRAVE.

It was alright I guess, nothing special. The 3-D was good and the graphics and effects looked amazing, but the story was predictable and the main story arc with the Mother seemed out of place (I won't spoil it here) considering the movie wasn't as funny as other PIXAR movies.

In the end I'd save a few bucks and watch it when it comes out on disc or streams to your picture box.

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Meaty goodness.

Tonight, as I right this, I have just spent the last hour playing the second last stage of Super Meat Boy. True, my Super Meat Balls are now sporting the black and blue colors from the hour long beating I just endured, but I did wind up beating the level and tomorrow night I plan on finishing the game.

Pray for me won`t you.

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STEAM killed the Achievement Whore in me and all I can say is...

... THANK YOU STEAM!

For most of last year games were no longer exciting me like they once did and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why?

Were they no longer the life long hobby that they once were? No. I still listened to podcasts, still hit up my daily gaming sites for news and reviews still read my gaming mags and they still had that same allure they always had for me.

So WTF was going on? Why did the actual act of playing a game not feel the same as it once did?

I got my answer when I played Skyrim on PC/STEAM.

See up until I played the newest Elder Scrolls game on STEAM I had jumped on the bandwagon of being an Achievement Whore/Trophy Slut/ etc. I would play games like Halo 3 or Uncharted 2 like normal except I found myself always checking the achievement list rather than just playing. Example: lets say there's a certain part in Alan Wake where there's a certain achievement you can only get in this section of the game. If I didn't get that achievement I would then proceed to get myself killed, reload the game and try to get it again. I was literally waiting to hear that famous 360 'pop' or PS3 'chime' before I would continue playing said game. And it was ruining my gaming experience without me even knowing it.

So how did playing Skyrim on PC help? Simple, when you unlock a Steam achievement you hear nothing indicating anything happened out of the ordinary and the achievement pop up is about the size of a postage stamp and is down in the lower right hand side of the screen. I had played almost 60 hrs (of my so 124 hrs) of Skyrim without even noticing the lack of 'reward' that I was getting on Xbox360 and PS3. No pop, no chime, no endlessly reloading Skyrim to help feed my need for Trophies...no nothing. And you know what? I was having a ball playing the game. Gaming had finally returned to the place in my heart where it once was before I became an Achievement Whore. And I couldn't be happier!

Yes I still look at the achievements and trophies I've unlocked but I no longer read any of the descriptions of any of the locked ones cause I no longer care nor do I feel the need to chase them.

Thank you STEAM!

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Did you finish Fallout 3?


I'm sitting here some 88 1/2hrs into FO3 GotY (360), with 4 more misc quests to do and about 5 more main quests to tackle (not to mention all of the DLC quests which I have yet to do) and I'm wondering how many people actually beat the game and how many of you just gave up and moved on to something else?

I started playing Fo3 GotY when it dropped last Oct(?) and haven't even touched anything else in the meantime (I like to finish what I start, that plus I can only play the game once my 2 daughters go to bed which leaves me about an hour a night to play) and I'll admit I'm itching to play the other games that I haven't played yet. Chief among them is Uncharted 2...anyways I ramble.

So did you beat FO3? Or did it end up beating you?    

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BulletPointReview: Uncharted Drakes Fortune (PS3)


What is it? - Take the cover and gun mechanic from Gears of War, sprinkle in the exploration elements of Tomb Raider and add some Indiana Jones-esque attitude and adventuring and you're basically there.

 

What I liked:

Water - How many times in a game when you shoot someone do they fall in the water and simply disappear? Lot's right? In Uncharted when a body falls into the water it floats. And not only that, but if it lands in say, some rapids, the body will float down those rapids. It's pretty cool to see.

Colors - Lots of games this generation are known for their gorgeous graphics...like Gears of War. The problem is games like Gears stick to a very brown darkish color palette. In Uncharted not only are the graphics pretty damn nice to look at, the colors the producers have used here are amazing and really make the game pop from a visual standpoint.

Animation - When Drake makes his way through a certain submarine that he discovers along the way he moves through it with amazingly detailed animations. Since the sub is full of tight spaces, he'll grab a door frame or prop his foot up on a step and that simple animation gives the sense that Drake is really there and interacting with his environment.

What I didn't like:

Bugs - No not the kind of bugs one might find in a jungle game, I'm talking about game bugs. The kind that take you out of the experience. Drakes Fortune has a lot of screen tearing and that takes away from the visuals and is really distracting.

Enemies - If you shot a dude wearing a white wife beater he'd probably go down pretty fast wouldn't you say? Not here. The baddies in Uncharted take alot of ammo to put down...that is unless you manage to pull off head shots. Oh and for the most part the bad guys all look the same. Not cool. Let's mix it up Naughty Dog.

Boss - The end boss, IMO, is really disappointing and doesn't really live up to the end fight I was hoping for...which I won't spoil here.

Summary - A buddy of mine told me that Uncharted was a really short game and was not worth full price. He could not have been more wrong. True I got the game when it dropped to Greatest Hits and thus paid less than full retail. But if I had have picked up Uncharted when it was the full $69 (up here in Canada) I would have come away from the game fully satisfied. Uncharted is honestly one of the best games I have ever played on my PS3...quite possibly the best. As for the length, it's not the longest game ever made but, IMO, it ended right when it needed to.

If you have a PS3 and have been wondering about picking up Uncharted wait no longer. This is game is amazing.

I give Uncharted Drake's Fortune (PS3) a 5 out of 5.     

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GameSpot regrets?

   

I wonder if GameSpot regrets letting Jeff Gerstmann go?

Today I was listening to the GiantBomb Cast, which is probably my favorite gaming podcast now that 1UP Yours/Listen Up is gone (BombCast used to be close second) and I was laughing my ass off at the antics of hosts Jeff Gerstmann, Ryan Davis, Brad ShoeMaker, and Vinny Caravella and it got me thinking: I wonder if GameSpot is kicking itself for losing such talent?

Okay it may be the case that the evil overlord CNET might not notice his absence. More than likely due to their lack of knowledge of what Gerstman brought to the table. But GameSpot itself has got to be still feeling Jeff's lack of contribution to that website/podcast. Afterall he was the Editorial Director.

Think about it. When GS let Gerstman go he went off and created not only a kickass podcast (originally named Arrow Pointing Down) but also a kick ass website in GiantBomb.com. And those two properties, IMO, outshine those offered by GameSpot.

But the loss of talent from GameSpot didn't stop with Jeff. No, no, no.

Shortly after leaving GS, Mr.Gerstman was joined by the very witty and knowledgeable Ryan Davis. Then after that the deep voiced Bradley ShoeMaker and My Cousin Vinny Caravella joined the Bombcast team. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Sure those are only four guys. Four guys that GameSpot and CNET probably thought that they could easily replace. But I personally don't think guys like this come around all the time. And I would imagine that finding replacements for them proved to be a tough, if not impossible proposition.

Not only are these four fellows entertaining and witty on their weekly podcast, they are arguably some of the most knowledgeable media/industry types around.

Like Man God Shane Bettenhausen,Dan Hsu, Jon Davison, Garnet Lee, Victor Lucas (I could go on with a few more from 1UP here but I won't...yes I know that Mr. Lucas isn't from 1UP) the cast at GiantBomb has a vast knowledge of not only current games and goings on, they also have a long history in the gaming industry. And with that history is something called experience and experience is something that cannot be found by looking from someone off the street. Which is probably where GS had to turn.

And call me crazy, but if I was running a website or if I was an evil overlord that owned a gaming site, I would want people who know the industry inside and out. And that's why I wonder if CNET/GameSpot are still kicking themselves about the whole "Gerstman Gate"?

Now that Listen Up is gone there are very little podcasts left out there (that I listen to anyway) that have the presence that the BombCast and it's hosts have.

When you listen to those guys you can hear how well they work together. How well they know each other, and how well they mesh together. Honestly, listening to the Bombcast each week is a complete joy, and Tuesdays can't come soon enough...and unfortunately I can't say that about the HotSpot.

Actually GameSpot's the HotSpot was one of the podcasts that I recently had to cut out of my weekly podcast rotation. And in all honesty it was due to the lack of personality that Jeff, Ryan, Brad and Vinnie brought.  

Sure I'm only one guy. But I can't be the only person that unsubsrcibed to the HotSpot ( I stopped listening this past May I believe it was) after Jeff and company left. Then after leaving that podcast I naturally started visiting GiantBomb more and more...and I'd be willing to bet there are more like me. Those who used to hang out in GameSpots backyard because some of the cool kids were there. And now that those kids have moved on...I did too.

So that brings me back around to my question that popped up today while listening to the Bombcast.

Do you think GameSpot regrets letting Jeff Gerstman go?     

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Heads up iPod Touch/Phone owners.

Peggle is on sale on iTunes for .99c until June 14th at midnight.

I loved the version you can try out over at PopCap, so I jumped all over this version when I noticed it dropped in price for my favorite MP3 player.

So yeah, if you own either of those Apple devices and wanna pick up a pretty addictive little app, I'd highly recommend Peggle.

 

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And the winner of E3 is ...

...

Short and sweet, I gotta go with Sony as the overall winner of E3.

Sure Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony all had pretty good showings, so in reality we, the gamers, are the overall winner here. But that's too easy.   

Sony, IMO, did the best job this year.

Aside from announcing Super Mario Galaxy 2 and a new Metroid title, Nintendo had a fairly boring showing this year.

Wii Vitality Sensor? New Super Mario Bros. Wii with 4 players? (Well we'll see about that.) New Wii Fit Plus?

Call me an idiot, but is this what we core gamers are clamouring for?

Didn't think so.

Personally I was hoping Nintendo would knock the doors off the place, with all sorts of announcements aimed at us gamers and less at the casual gamer. Oh well.

Microsoft had some good things on display, but aside from Alan Wake, 2 Halo games (that I'm super hyped for), and Project NATAL (that IMO was out done by Sony's motion controls) what did they show that was memorable?

Twitter and Facebook apps? Watching movies and tv shows at the same time with others across LIVE? That may appeal to some out there, but personally I couldn't care less.

Sony on the other hand had the superior show this year.

They kicked it off with an amazing showing of the exclusive Uncharted 2, God of War 3, GT PSP, LBP PSP, a as-of-yet untitled RE game for PSP, and then they unveiled their motion controls.

And I gotta say the demo they put on for this new product totally has me excited to see where they go next with it.

When Microsoft revealed Project NATAL, I was totally on board with it and I was ready to declare them the winner solely on the back of NATAL. But then Sony came at us with with their 'wands of motion' and minds were changed.

Now before you go and call me a Sony fanboy, I'll say M$ won last year and Sony won this year's outting. Nintendo, I love ya but you need to change direction and involve us, the core gamers, more in your future planning.

 So to sum up here, Sony IMO is the overall winner this year. Their list of upcoming stuff has me the most excited, but to be honest, there are things coming to the 360 and Wii that have me excited as well.

Here's to a great E3.

*cheers*

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Thought's on Sony's E3 Press Conference.

Just like my thoughts on Microsoft and Nintendo's press conferences, I'll ty and keep this short and sweet and just talk about what I liked from Sony's '09 E3 offerings.

Not wanting to be left out in the cold Sony unveiled their answer to the motion control question. Though no name for their device was given (that I heard anyways) they did show it off and it looks really impressive.

From what I gather you hold 2 black wands that have a glowing 'ball' at the end, and when you move these wands around the PlayStation Eye picks up on these movements and your on screen character responds accordingly.

Basically just like the Wii, but on a much more powerful scale, tech-wise, I'd imagine. They showed how one might fight a foe using a bullwhip, sword, and bow and arrow among others. And I gotta say, out of the three motion controllers that were shown, Sony's impressed me the most.

I can't wait to check this out when it drops this spring...well at least that's what they said the release window was. We'll see. *cough HOME cough*

The new PSP GO was also debuted yesterday and I'm sorta interested in finding out more. GO will ditch the UMD discs of PSP 1000 thru 3000 and will instead go completely digital for it's games, movies, etc.  Sony said it was coming to North America this October with a price tag of $249...which if you ask me is pretty high considering it ditches the UMD optical drive, thus ideally making it cheaper to make, and it'll be as powerful as the current PSP.

So why it's $249 is beyond me, but there you go.

Games shown off:

MAG or Massive Action Game (nice title?) by the guys at Zipper was not overly impressive...hopefully it was just a bad demo.

God of War 3 looks really good, and not overly different from the previous PS2 and PSP versions...though I cannot wait to play it.

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves kicked off Sony's day, and boy o boy does this game look good. So good infact that it just might melt my tv. 

MGS Peace Walker, GT PSP, LBP PSP, and a new Resident Evil were all announced coming to the PSP later on down the road.

Out of those I'm most excited to hear about the new RE game.

I love Resident Evil... *sniff*

FF 13 and 14 were shown. 14 is going to be an MMO, so I guess I'll be skipping that one.

And to top it off came the trailer for Team ICO's new game entitled The Last Guardian and the announcement that FF7 is now available for download from PSN...which got a pretty big pop from the crowd.

 So that's about it in terms of what really stood out to me from Sony's big day. It was a great event that showed off some pretty great stuff that'll be in our hot little hands before we know it.

If you haven't yet bought a PS3 you'll be missing out on alot of great stuff in the coming months and I gotta ask;

What are you waiting for?

Oh yeah.

A price drop...

Next Up: I pick E3's winner out of the big 3.

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Thought's on Nintendo's E3 Press Conference.

Again just like my blog on the Microsoft conference, I'll try to keep it short and sweet and highlight the stuff that stood out to me.

So once again Nintendo showed up to E3 and, IMO, once again had an underwhelming E3 press conference.

First out of the gate was New Super Mario Bos. for the Wii, which basically looks like the DS version except now you can play with up to 4 players at the same time.

Hey at least it wasn't a 4 player Wii Fit game.

Metroid: Other M was shown and it is being developed by none other than Team Ninja of Ninja Gaiden fame. To answer your first question, no, Samus didn't appear to have huge bouncing breasts.

What Metroid M does look like though is infact a higher action title in the vein of a Ninja Gaiden game.

From the trailer it looks like M ditches the first person view from the Prime games, and seems to be played from the 3rd person...again just like Gaiden. I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Then, as I guessed just minutes before the conference began, Nintendo showed off Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Yes!

I was hoping Nintendo would break from tradition, and release a 2nd main Mario game on the Wii.

What tradition you ask?

Well remember on NES we had SMB 1, 2, and 3? In other words 3 main Mario games?

SNES only had Super Mario World. N64 only had Super Mario 64 and the GC only had Super Mario SunShine.

That was the tradition I was hoping Nintendo would break by releasing another main Mario game, and we got one in the form of Galaxy 2.

Oh and Yoshi is in SMG2 as well.

Thank you Nintendo.

Next up was something really weird, The Wii Vitality Sensor. Which seems to be a device you put on you finger and it senses your blood pressure? Which I joked that if you had this device on you'd notice that your heart rate would almost be off the charts watching the Sony and Micosoft conferences, where as in Nintendo's conference almost had everyone flatlining...

So yeah Wii Vitality Sensor. Lord knows where their going with that, but I'm sure the hardcore will love it.

SMILELY BLANK FACE.

Uhm, a new Golden Age game was shown for the DS, along with Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Kingdom Hearts 358/2, a GTA kinda clone from Ubisoft called COP: The Recruit, Mario vs Donkey Kong Minies March Again and Mario and Luigi: Bower's Inside Story where I heard 'you explore the inner pipes of Bowser'...so take that as you will.

This seemed to be the year of motion, as Nintendo followed Microsoft in discussing more motion controls, but this time in the form of Wii Motion Plus, which we all already knew about. They showed off more Wii Sports Resort which looks ...good.

And then they showed off Wii Fit Plus, which is just more of what you loved from the original...for those that care.

So really as you read through this blog things don't sound too bad (don't forget there were other things shown but I'm just talking about what I liked) for Nintendo and it's E3 conference and honestly it really wasn't, it's just that it paled in comparison to Micosoft and Sony.

Fans of Nintendo, like myself, got a few wishes granted with a new Metroid game, and a sequel to Galaxy, but, at least for me, I wanted to see some sort of info on a new Zelda game for the Wii and more games for us core gamers.

It seems like great games are just overflowing on the other 2 consoles, while Nintendo fans are stuck sucking at the dry teat of Nintendo and it's hardcore offerings.

So to wrap up here, E3 '09 for Nintendo was, at the very least, better than that of '08...but it just didn't compare to what Sony and Microsoft had to offer.

And as we say every year now it seems...there's always next year...

Next up: Sony.

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