XBLA Perfect Dark: Still Awesome

Perfect Dark was released Wed on X-Box Live Arcade. I was curious how it would hold up all these years after playing so many other shooters (Modern Warfare 2, various Halo games, other titles) with universal changes like a button specifically for lobbing grenades. But after putting in some time with some friends it's still Perfect Dark so it's still very very awesome. The thing I loved the most about Perfect Dark is unchanged: the guns. I've yet to see a weapon as cool as the Laptop Gun in other games. It's a laptop! It's an assault rifle! It's a stationary turret! It's incredible! The sheer variety of things to waste people with is still impressive. The Phoenix is a pistol that shoots explosive rounds and the reload animation is the gun absorbing the new clip/magazine and almost taking your hand with it. There is a remote control rocket launcher. The Farsight is a notorious weapon that shoots through EVERYTHING and the secondary tracks players through the level. The Mauler pistol charges up Mega Man style and kills people with a satisfying discharge. The Dragon assault rifle reaches jackass heights as the secondary turns it into a proximity mine. It goes on and on.  
 
It was one of the reasons why I was so unimpressed with the original Halo. The stock weapons in that game (space pistol, space rifle, space sniper rifle, a few alien weapons) were really dull compared to the kind of stuff you could whip out in Perfect Dark. Where's my grenade that bounces around like a pinball? Where's the SMG that fires its entire 50 round clip in a few seconds? Once you see that kind of stuff and spend hours messing around with it in multiplayer it's really hard to get excited in a game where the basic pistol beats everything. Perfect Dark also reminds me why I'm so bummed when multiplayer in other games has no music playing in the background. Music in this game always gets me pumped and makes everything slightly more epic than it already is. 
 
There are a few catches. Starting without a gun in multiplayer is hard to go back to. Even with disarm, playing the various challenges in the Combat Simulator will get really frustrating as Sims travel around the map killing you before you can defend yourself. Also the spawning system seems really jacked compared to the N64 version. There are times when I spawned right next to a guy in one hit kill modes where you can throw a punch and kill them instantly as the game starts. One time a guy spawned behind me and punched me dead before I knew what was going on. A few times I spawned right next to a guy with an assault rifle who wasted no time shooting me dead. People who complain about Modern Warfare 2's spawning system will probably hate Perfect Dark more than they can put into words. It was never this bad on the N64 so it's a little hard to tell what happened. Still, that's mostly a complaint on Challenges where the Cheating AI Bastard shows no mercy and turns the clunky Farsight into a weapon of endless destruction. Assholes.
 
The single player campaign is still worth playing. A few highlights is the ability to pistol whip the snotty CEO of an evil corporation of the future in the first level, hanging with an Alien nicknamed Elvis, and putting your hands on the most gaudy gun I've ever seen in an FPS: the DY357-LX. It's a gold revolver with a tiger stripe grip that kills people in one shot. Yeah. Where the Golden Gun was something of a interesting assortment of gold plated accessories snapped together, the DY357-LX is more like "YO! CHECK OUT MY AWESOME SIX SHOOTER, FOOL!". Anyone who uses a gun that kills people in one shot needs to be killed, but the gun's design will make you want to kill them just 'cause.  
 
People who have played this before on the N64 and liked it should definitely get it. Going back to Perfect Dark is like going back to Tetris. It only takes a short while to get back in it and it's just as good as the last time you played it . . . only a little nicer looking.

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RE 5 Gold: Excella Gionne with an AK

. . . is actually pretty hilarious.  
 
I picked up Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition yesterday. I don't know why I'm always surprised to find that extra content is included as a download code instead of being on the disk. No company wants to press a new disc for a re-release. But I figure if they're going through the trouble of making new box art and advertising they might just go through the trouble of making a new disc and save space on my hard drive. Heh. Anyway, most, if not all, of the new content is accessable right from the get go. You can crack open Mercenaries Reunion as soon as you play the game which leads to Excella and her weapon loadout. One of her guns is the AK-74 so she can waste a crowd of Plagas people with a Russian assault rifle while wearing a 5,000 dollar dress and gold high heels. While Resident Evil 4's Mercenary mode was aimed more at being badass (what with Krauser and Hunk as playable characters) RE 5 seems geared more toward "wouldn't it be funny/awesome". If you thought regular RE 5 Mecenaries was too hard or lacking something, Reunion is easy mode with a dose of crazy.
 
Did you hate Reapers on the mine stage? Pick Heavy Metal Chris and waste that fucker with the infinite ammo gatling gun. Hate Las Plagas heads? Use Excella and her grenade launcher loaded with Flash Rounds. Love shotguns? Rebecca Chambers is here with an impressively upgraded Striker. You can practically shoot buckshot the whole game without worrying about ammo or giant enemies like the Elephant Men or the Executioner. Even Business Sheva's handgun is powerful enough to kill regular enemies with two shots and if you run into something bigger she has a semi-auto magnum for that. It's really cathartic. Reunion is more about having fun and letting loose in RE 5 mercenaries than sweating ammo count or when you're going to be jumped by Lickers or something worse. Your mileage may vary on whether you're impressed by Chris and Sheva in new costumes and new weapon loadouts. But Barry, Josh, Rebecca, and Excella (especially) are pretty amusing to run around and kill things with. 
 
I almost wondered why Irving wasn't a playable mercenary and then I went through the game again and remembered how god damn annoying his character design and voice actor is. When people come out and say they hate RE 5 with every fiber of their being, I like to think it's because of Irving and I totally understand. Never mind Las Plagas on motorcycles and the strange stuff they did with Jill. Irving is the worst of it all. It's a shame you couldn't kill him more. Or worse. Or something. 
 
Also, I know they totally segregate Leon and Chris and the characters they deal with, but I'm still bummed they didn't bring back Hunk. They could have finally given him an MP5. Also, I wanted to snap more necks.

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The RPG-7, Danger Close, and 3 A.M.

One thing I have to give Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer mode is just when things seem like they're slowing down, you unlock a sweet new weapon and everything gets awesome again. I recently got the RPG-7 which is so much fun for a rocket launcher that it's everything I expect from that term "rocket launcher". A lot of games have this problem where you get a Rocket Launcher and it's an underwhelming experience. Somehow they manage to make a shoulder fired explosive death weapon feel like a firecracker show. Borderlands has this problem. You shoot anything from a vehicle to a guy who isn't wearing a shirt and it doesn't do any damage. In Modern Warfare 2, you fire an RPG-7 with Danger Close equipped and things die like they should when they get hit with a speeding explosive projectile. It's especially gratifying when you shoot into a window and someone gets blown up. Even when someone jumps in front of me and I kill myself and them with the RPG-7 it's always worth it, every time. Shooting down air support with the RPG-7 is even more awesome. Finally, I'm that random enemy on a roof with a superior position blowing up shit with rockets. It's just a shame it has iron sights instead of a scope. Although, I'm not sure how much a scope would help considering how wild the rocket is once you fire it. (ACOG for the RPG! Think about it Infinity Ward. Please?)
 
Also, I've learned that all the insanely good people play Modern Warfare at 3 in the morning. It's kind of hard to avoid them since I work the third shift at my job so I've become a night owl. The best opportunity I have to play MW2 is late at night so I run into all kind of crazy good people. One time I was playing Ground War and there was this dude who deployed the Tactical Nuke three games in a row. No one could stop him. He nuked my Care Package AC-130! If he was playing, people were getting wiped off the map. I wish I had the presence of mind to spectate him because it was something else. From what I could tell, it was all sniper rifles and the PP2000. The Chopper Gunner didn't help either but it was impressive all the same. One game I was on his team, the other two times I was force fed a nuclear device. It gets tough to go after people like that because if you screw up, you're just feeding a killstreak and you're not helping. I definitely tried to stop him, and got a face full of Machine Pistol for my trouble.
 
I started thinking it would be funny if a map was removed from the rotation for an hour or so after it was "blown away" by a Tac Nuke. Where's Skidrow? NUKED. What happened to Quarry? Turned INTO DUST! If you nuke every map, people are kicked out to find a new game type or join a new group. But never mind, that's just bitter thoughts after getting destroyed one too many times in a row.
 
Another game there was a dude who was some sort of savant with the Grenade Launcher. On Karachi, he managed to mortar the Navy SEALS spawn area from the OpFor position and killed two guys in the twenty seconds of the game. I was one of them. The Killcam was especially funny because it was just footage of a grenade flying through the air with serious hang time before plummeting to the ground. He had a combination of One Man Army + Grenade Launcher which I've come to call the "One Man Mortar Team". I can't think of a better term, especially on a map like Wasteland where he was shooting blindly to the other side of the map and getting a few kills here and there. Again, I was one of the casualties. It's an interesting way to play and it's about as close as you can get to an artillery strike in this game. But I don't think I could get used to One Man Army and a grenade launcher. I enjoy shooting too much. Especially with SMGs like the P90 and the Silenced MP5K (kinda like Crew Expendable in MW). Plus I have the RPG-7 which is obscenely fun and works best with OpFor and Spetsnaz character models. If you use the RPG-7, you ARE Expendable Minion #43 who shoots down the player's Evac Chopper in level 3. There's no way around it.
 
Lastly, you don't normally hear a lot of anything intelligent over XLBA Chat, but I heard a gem a day or two ago. Someone was ranting on and on about the usual stuff you'd expect. I got around to muting them before hearing too much. Then, a few seconds later someone quietly replied-
 
"Cool story bro. Check out my air strike, son."
Stealth Bomber triple kill. 

I thought it was hilarious because it sounded so very Giant Bomb. Jeff and Ryan to be specific. It's probably more of a "you had to be there" which means it probably isn't very funny at all. But at 4 in the morning, all bets are off.

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Borderlands: Armory of General Knoxx Stuff

The Secret Armory of General Knoxx feels like one big long apology for Mad Moxxi's Underdome. I'm about two or three hours in and the jump in quality of things to do from Underdome to this is huge. It's almost enough to wash the bad taste out of my mouth for wasting 18 hours beating 20 rounds in all three arenas and getting absolutely nothing to show for it. I can almost picture it now . . .  
 
Gearbox: "We're really sorry about Underdome. Really, REALLY sorry. How about new vehicles? And guns? And now you can actually meet Moxxi and do fun things with her. Oh! How about a level cap increase? We'll even bring back Scooter (Catch-a-Ride!). There are even a bunch of highways so you can cruise to Judas Priest or Tom Cochrine or whatever. We even put in 50% more Fifth Element refrences and don't forget to check out the world's biggest bullet! Enjoy! 
 
P.S: We're really sorry about wasting your time with Underdome. But that item bank was pretty sweet, huh?" 
  
I haven't beaten it yet but it's looking good to hold a constant vibe of awesome through the whole thing. I'm a little cautious. For me, Moxxi's Underdome started out pretty sweet before taking a swan dive into absolute frustration. I don't know how I feel about the huge highways yet. It's kind of a bummer that there is no quick travel in General Knoxx. The fastest ride you can get flips really easily, (even when you turn just a tiny bit) I've already pulled a barrel roll without trying so Peppy would be proud. There's another thing that General Knoxx DLC seems to chug. Texture pop up is really bad in the main hub. I'm hoping that issue will work itself out. Until then, Secret Armory is pretty impressive, even by Zombie Island standards. Bonus points that I haven't seen any reskinned areas like Dead Haven yet. 
 
"That's what she said! High five! *Cough* Ahem."

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MW2: AC-130, Mission Accomplished! (And other Challenges)

I finally got an AC-130 in multiplayer today! I got two of them, actually, spread out across five games and both from care packages. I called in the first one on Highrise. I really didn't want to get my first gunship on that map because there are so many hiding spots from air support. However, I was playing as the Rangers so the enemy team got the awesome Spetsnaz warning where the HQ Guy screams his head off about an AC-130. You-tube it if you don't know what I'm talking about. Whoever did the voice acting for that line needs a raise. Anyway, I killed a few dudes with all three guns and it was pretty awesome. However, the highlight was when I got a second one on Favela a few games later and absolutely destroyed the enemy team with artillery from the sky. It was freaking intense because they were trying to shoot me down so there were all kinds of beeping and AA Countermeasures deploying and holy shit, it was goddamn madness. The AC-130 is hands down my favorite killstreak reward. I'm not good enough to get it legit with 11 kills so I took a few suggestions from my last AC-130 post about loading up on Care Packages and Emergency Airdrops. After that it was a matter of time and luck until the game spit out an AC-130 reward.
 
I'm not complaining but damn, I get a shit ton of Chopper Gunner Care Packages. If only I was that lucky with the AC-130. But awesome gunship and totally worth everything it took to get it.
 
Also, in honor of reaching a little personal goal for Modern Warfare 2, I have a few more. Most are for entertainment purposes and movie / game references. Enjoy
 
Hot Fuzz Challenges (To be completed on city or urban maps)
"Have you . . ." - Fired a gun whilst jumping through the air
"Have you ever . . ." - Fired two guns whilst jumping through the air
"Shortcut" - Killed a player after vaulting over a fence
"Punch that Shit!" - Been in a high speed (foot chase) pursuit and caught up with your target
"Morning." -  Killed an enemy with a sniper rifle, an assault rifle, a submachine gun, and a (single) Model 1887
"Point Break" - Killed an enemy while prone with a handgun
"Bad Boys" - Got a Double Kill with an exploding car
"Fuck off Grasshopper" - Killed a player with akimbo handguns (not revolvers)
 
The Rundown Challenges (on Rundown)
"Walken the Walk" - Killed three enemies with a (single) Desert Eagle without dying
"You Got the Moves" - Used a sniper rifle to kill an enemy without using the scope
"Tooth Fairy" - On Capture the Flag games, stop the enemy from stealing your flag
"Mr. Thunder and Mr. Lightning" - Killed an enemy by shooting their arms or legs 
"Declan Start the Plane" - Call in an Emergency Airdrop and you or your team collect all packages
"Booze on the Grind" - Killed an enemy while hiding behind or near a dead cow
"Don't Make Waves" - Won a shootout in the bar 
"A Killer in the Kitchen Too" - Killed the entire enemy team with the knife
"Option A Doesn't Work for Me" - Killed the entire enemy team with Akimbo Model 1887's without dying
 
Psycho Challenges (for those who love knives and belong in Borderlands)
"More Meat for Me!" - Ran head on with an enemy, stabbed them, and survived
"Pound the Meat Puppet!" - Consistently kill the same player with the knife
"OM NOM NOM!" - Deploy the Tac Nuke using nothing but the knife

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Stuff about Mass Effect 2 (Spoilers)

After I beat Mass Effect 2 I took a few days to let things sink in. I really enjoy this game. It took a bit of adjusting to all the changes they made but I think it's better for it. 
 
One of the first things I noticed is how Wild West the Terminus System is. There's smoking, drinking, and there are even a few quick draw pistol hip shots. Shepard does a pistol hip shot. Zaeed does a pistol hip shot. One of the mercenaries does a pistol hip shot. Hell, at one point I was dissapointed there wasn't a gun that looked vaguely like a revolver if only to make those scenes more awesome on other playthroughs. I've read a few mentions of a Magnificent Seven vibe surrounding the game here and there, but man, you could go as far to say "How the Terminus was won". Not to mention Shepard isn't much more than a hired gun with a cool ship and a few willing volunteers. It's a nice touch to let you know that you aren't in Citadel space anymore. It also lets Bioware cut loose with character design. I mean, there's a Elcor smoking a cigar on Omega. I had to do a double take just to make sure it wasn't a mutation or part of his body. If you scan enough planets you can find a Batarian lighting up for a smoke break. Although, Batarians are into so much dirt that seeing one of them smoking isn't all that surprising. 
 
But Citadel Space is a no smoking zone so that's probably why you don't see any Batarians there. Heh.
 
Another thing I love about this game is any chance to hang out with Quarians, Geth, and then mess with them. It's too bad that getting Legion as early as possible screws your chances of getting the best ending but it's so much fun to drag him around from planet to planet. I was a little sad that taking him to the Citadel doesn't really do anything. I wanted alarms to go off and for people to shit bricks that there was a Geth on the station. However, it's also kind of funny that no one seems to notice or care. I can just picture someone on the citadel "Maybe if I ignore it, it will ignore me", or maybe "I DO NOT SEE ANY GETH AND I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. GOOD DAY SIR!" Taking Legion to the Migrant Fleet is a different matter. As soon as you step on board the Rayya there are a million guns pointed at him. It makes him seem pretty badass because he doesn't react. I know he's machine, but it's like he's not impressed with the Quarian's hostile response. Getting into the trial, the voice actors for the Admirals was pretty funny. Apparently, Claudia Black (Admiral Xen) wants to rule all Geth. I don't know if I'm down with that. However, she's the only Quarian on the station who seems like she would give Legion a high five . . . before trying to open him up like a soup can. 
 
Lastly, playing a new character (give or take a few long service bonuses) on Hardcore is god damn intense. Shit gets real. Even the stupid Mechs have armor to chip away. Suddenly it's no longer Shepard saves the galaxy while his two friends watch. You have to use your team. It's like, "Miranda! Warp that guy!" "Mordin! Burn that guy's armor!" "Grunt! Concussive shot!" "Holy shit! Someone kill that god damn Krogan!" It's definately put a new lease on the game. Also, after trying out Engineer and Vanguard I wanted to see the Soldier. The bullet time skill plus sniper rifle headshot equals tons of fun. Plus, I can finally enjoy the assault rifle. Now all those cutscenes where Shepard magically whips out an Assault Rifle no longer look totally funky. 
 
Oh, and there should be a Mass Effect 2.5 where you play as Mordin Solus and he kicks everyone's ass. I'd play it. Heh.

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ME2: Mordin Solus, Professor of Awesome

I think I'm about halfway through Mass Effect 2 and I have to say Mordin Solus is my favorite character. Not to say that the other people you run into are slouches but Mordin is a stand out. He talks pretty fast but he's no one trick pony. Check in on him often and you won't regret it. A few things he does left me wondering why there wasn't an "applause" option on the dialogue wheel. Maybe my Commander Shepard is too uptight, or maybe Salarian's don't appreciate it. Either way, when my party rolls into operation Mordin is always riding shotgun. I wish I could say more, but I don't want to ruin the surprise for anyone. 
 
I'm almost curious what he would be like if you piss him off or he doesn't trust you. Maybe on another playthrough, but I don't think I could do that to him.

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MW2: Quest for the AC-130

I've had the itch to make use of the neat features GiantBomb offers its users. The Blog function has always been empty on my side, mostly because I'm a little fuzzy on the whole concept of a blog. As far as it seems you just fit a bunch of random stuff you're thinking about at the time. So I guess I'll start somewhere.

 
Basically, I've been really into Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer. Of course, I'm not that great so I never get hung up on winning or losing. It's all about unlocking the next gun or getting a cool new sight for the RPD or whatever weapon I'm working on. After playing through MW2's story mode I decided to go through Call of Duty 4's story mode (because I never played it before) and fell in love with the mission "Death from Above". The AC-130 Gunship level is probably one of the coolest experiences I've had in video games. Using aerial artillery to wipe the floor with dudes on the ground was hilariously awesome and made even better by the commentary from the gun crew (but don't hit the church). Then I realized that the AC-130 was a killstreak reward in MW2. Oh hell yes. 
 
Unforunately, the killstreak for the AC-130 is 11 kills. Considering the kind of hell you can rain down, I can see why. I think the most people I've ever killed online without getting wasted was 7 or 8. I've got Hardline Pro going for me, but it definitely won't be easy. Not to mention there are scary good people online, so it may be awhile before everyone else hears "Enemy AC-130 above!" and I'm the guy behind the guns.  
 
Still, I'm shooting for it.

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