Leaving Hengsha

After many months away, I have finally started playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution again. It was a bit confusing at first, because I wasn't sure what my objective was, or in which direction I was supposed to head. I finally figured it out which direction I had to go in and I guess I made some reasonable progress in the game.

I think my weapon hoarding has had a bit of a negative impact on my game play. I have been carrying around some guns that I have never used and it turns out that the rocket launcher I thought I would never find anywhere else was lying on the floor of the room with the two robots for that boss battle (I guess they won't leave you unprepared)

Well, I just left for Montreal. Hopefully it won't be several months until I continue.

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PAX East 2012

Well, I was able to attend PAX East for the first time this year. It was a big thrill just to walk in there and see all the games and people wearing shirts and costumes that only a gamer (or geek) would understand.

There was a huge line that I waited in just to get my entrance pass and then another line to get into the convention. After waiting for nearly a hour for both of those things (and seemingly being routed into the wrong line), they announced that we could enter through any entrance that the lines were on longer necessary. That sucked.

Once I got inside, I was overwhelmed with the number of people there. It was kinda like that Star Trek episode where the enterprise is empty and the planet is so overpopulated that all the people are constantly bumping into each other (maybe the Japanese subway is a better analogy) I was kinda surprised when vendors I talked to said something like "when you get back to your hotel" I assumed that most of the people who attended this event were from the local area, but I guess a number of hotels were completely booked due to people flying in to this event.

I was happy to find that Tribes Ascend was available as an open beta. I have played both the original Tribes (though well after it's heyday) and Tribes 2. I cannot remember if I ever bought Tribes Vengeance (or if I did, if I ever got a around to playing it). Anyhow, playing Tribes again after so many years was bit confusing, as Tribes plays a bit differently from other shooters, with it's jump packs, vehicle spawns and now it has around 9 classes (the original had 3, IIRC). Still, from what I played of the game captured the feel of the original Tribes. The only real problem was the server was always fully populated, so there were always people all around, making it hard to sneak up on any enemy without getting shot in the back. On top of that some of the devs were playing, and I think they were kind of dominating the matches, having a bit of an edge over the convention goers with their fresh knowledge of the game. I also have to compliment the team at Tribes Ascend, for having a great set up with minimal wait time.

I also got a chance to play Star Wars Kinect (which I thought would have been playable in the local Best Buy, but wasn't). Unfortunately, the only game modes they let you play at PAX were Podracing, Rancor Rampage and Galactic Dance Off. I turned down the opportunity to play Galactic Dance Off and was given the chance to play Rancor Rampage. Galactic Dance Off does have some entertainment potential, but Hyperspace Hoopla (at Star Wars Weekend in DisneyWorld) is more entertaining. Anyhow, Rancor Rampage was okay, but it was lacking the Star Wars experience I seek from a Star Wars game. I had really hoped to play one of the two lightsaber games that Star Wars Kinect has, but was told that they take too long to set up so I couldn't play them at there.

Of course there was swag, T-shirt give-aways a few plush animals and a lot of paper stuff. I didn't find much in the way of game give-aways. I wanted to check out Borderlands 2, but the hour and a half wait time deterred me from doing so, even with the offer of a free T-shirt.

And for those of you who have seen pictures of cosplay girls from Comic Con or such, I am sorry but this was a bit of a disappointment in that area. Guys outnumbered the girls 100 to one. And of those girls who did attend, there were less of the smoking hot variety and more of the apparent geek variety. So a lot of the cosplay was less of the stunningly hot variety and more of the I want to be this character variety. Though there were a few hot ones, including a woman dressed up as Loki (I think). She appeared to be walking around alone, but I didn't see her advertising anything. While there were a fair number of guys doing cosplay but, in general when guys do cosplay it's a lot less appealing, but it can be good when the guy makes a nearly perfect costume. Still not sure why a guy was dressed as Naruto at a gaming convention though.

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B.M.O.C.

Well I once again was distracted by a Team Fortress event - Australian Christmas 2011. They had a 'contest' similar to the one in summer where you can win prizes by getting achievements in various games. Only in this case the prizes were pretty much just coupons and coal (7 pieces of coal could be crafted into something, most likely another coupon). Later it was revealed that there were also hats that could be given for getting some of those achievements. I played every game I could that was free, with the one exception of Toki Tori, which I got for free as a prize for getting an achievement in some other game. Still, all I ended up getting was a lot of coupons, most of which I have no use for what so ever. I did get a copy of every game Valve developed in 2011 as well as a copy of Half Life Episode 1, but I already have that, so it hasn't done me much good.

What I was really after was the B.M.O.C. (The Big Man of Christmas) hat, which is a Santa hat. It seem like that should have been one of the first Christmas hats ever released, but they waited until this year, and they made it extremely difficult to obtain.

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Return to Hengsha - Where is Jaya?

Well, after being distracted by Scream Fortress, the Team Fortress Halloween event, I have finally returned to Deus Ex.

I still faced the conundrum of what to do about the guy who wanted me to rough up Jaya or give him a bribe. Since one of my previous blog posts had some good suggestions in the comment section (Thanks so much!) , I had been given the perfect solution to that problem. But now, I would like to go back to Jaya and see if she has anything to say on the situation, but I no longer seem to have a way point to her. Anyone have any suggestions?

Also, I met with Anonymous X and I was given the opportunity to not pay him, and paying him was represented as sort of a bribe or pay off, so I decided not to. I wonder if there are any negative consequences to not paying him.

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Valve Strikes Back

For about 10 days I have been completely consumed with finding the green floating presents in Team Fortress event Scream Fortress. It's amazing that Valve continues to update and add to this 4 year old game, and yet this game can still be enjoyed completely for free.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there were a number of admins cheating the system and taking all the gifts for themselves. I was happy to hear that Valve reacted quickly to this problem and reported has banned a number of servers, even making a blog post about the situation. It's amazing to see that Valve not only sets up this event, which is completely free, but is responsive enough to address and deal with the problem quickly. So many other games have problems that either never get address, or only are done so after a delay.

I hear people complain about Valve some times, but Valve has given so much for so little money and kept on top of bugs with rapid responses. This is in direct contrast to the MMO games which charge a fortune for very mediocre games. I played Star Wars Galaxies for about a year, which cost over $200, but it was pretty poor in terms of game play and updates.

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Scream Fortress 3

Last year was the first year I participated in the Scream Fortress, Team Fortress Halloween event (I missed the first year. While I owned TF2, my computer had just died and my secondary machine wasn't up to the task). I was memorized looking for those packages, and I think the Horseless Headless Horseman was an incredible boss, mostly due to his spooky cartoony look and the deadly game of tag he played.

As I said, the thing that really mesmerized me was those packages. Seeking out the floating, spinning green presents was one of the most fun events I have experienced in video games, and that is already coming from an already great experience that is Team Fortress 2.

I had so much fun last year that I assumed it wouldn't be able to top last years event, but they have.

The greatest improvement over last year is the addition of 27 different costume pieces, once complete set for each class, and those pieces that are found in the underworld have the haunted, in a way doubling the number of pieces.

Also, this year there is a new boss, MONOCULUS, adds a new dimension to the game. First, instead of the Horsemann's insta kill strike, he throws rockets (well really eyeballs) at you, which vary in damage level depending on how directly they hit you, so it's not a guaranteed kill for him. The other thing when he disappears, he leaves a portal that will allow you to enter Underworld, which is an small island below the main map. If he his defeated, he will leave behind a portal leading to Loot Island, where you get a chance to view and receive the BOMBINOMICON, a nice tribute to the necronomicon, from the Evil Dead films.

While I have no complaints with this years event, there are a few short comings I would like to note. The map they used is just an cosmetic change to a pre-existing map, which is slightly small. Also the new boss, MONOCULUS, while in some ways better than his predecessor, is simpler from a design point of view, so less visually appealing.

Also there are a number of people scamming this system with admin powers, no clipping and stealing all the presents as well as the guys who shoot you in the back when you are almost on the present or shoot you off the present when you found it first. Even with those problems, it's still a great event and the high point of Halloween gaming.

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GTA V

I just heard they are going to be releasing a trailer for GTA V on Nov 2, 2011. I played all the GTA games (except GTA 2) and am looking forward to that game, but I am a little surprised they haven't released GTA IV: Vice City. If they had released a few new GTA IV game with different locations, I would have really appreciated it, as the basic gameplay doesn't need to change (though some of the frustrating missions should have been fixed). Vice City is my favorite game of the series.

So my question is, if they are calling it GTA V, does that mean there is a new game engine? I would think it's a bit deceitful to call it GTA V if they are using the same old engine.

Anyhow, I will have to wait 6 months after its release to play it, until the release it for PC.

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Scream Fortress

They restarted the pre-Halloween event on Team Fortress, so I have gone back to searching for masks, which I found to be a lot of fun.

I am looking forward to what event they have this year, and what new stuff, but I find it hard to believe they will be able to top last years event.

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Bribe - Bar Tab

I'm still in Hengsha, though I think I have hacked every door and console, as well as scavenged everything I could fit in my inventory. At this point I am considering freeing up some space in my inventory to make room for all those beer bottles I have seen lying around, and sell them. Doing so would feel a bit odd, like one of those guys who goes around collecting huge bags of bottles with a shopping cart.

I've taken the mission where you have to track down Jaya. Even with the distasteful nature of it, I cannot pass up a quest (you can tell by the number of quests I have done here on Giant Bomb). Still now that I have found her, I am unwilling to harm her, and went back to Bobby, who now wants a bribe. Now I have a choice of taking the lesser of two evils. I wish I could just take out Bobby and Tong Si Hung.

I won't this read any comments to this blog post until after I have made my decision, but I am curious to find out how things would have turned out with other options.

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Warning - Deus Ex

I finally got back into playing Deus Ex last night and I thought I had completed every quest, searched out every powerbar and hacked every single office, computer and hidden safe in Detroit. So when I went to get on the copter, a quickly clicked on accept, when I saw the word "Warning", but it was too late. After looking it up on the net, it appears the warning probably read "Warning there is an Unfinished Side Quest". I wish I could have gone back and done it.

Anyhow, Hung Hua is a pretty facilitating city and I am having fun exploring there and doing side quests for Mei. I still haven't found the hive.

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