Microsoft, Halo 3: ODST, and a Modded Xbox: The Drama

So, earlier this week, as some of you might know, the Halo 3: ODST achievements got leaked by modding site, Game-Tuts. It was welcomed with smiling Halo fans, including myself, as we were ready for anything pertaining to the game. The video has since been removed from Game-Tuts official Youtube page. Below is a link to the re-hosted video:

So, as I mentioned earlier, obviously the video got taken down at first. However, things got dirty after that. This modder, Mattyovers, took things into his own hands once this was removed.

He threatened to leak out more such stuff should Microsoft and/or Bungie take action against him. And well, what happens next...we don't know.

What we do know is that now, Game-Tuts has shut down their website. Apparently, some heavy shit is going down. Apparently, following these events, Microsoft has started hunting down modders even more fiercely then they were before, if they even were before.

Whatever's going on, I think things are being blown out of proportion by both parties. This "Mattyovers' guy shouldn't have been such an ass when cornered by Microsoft and now, Microsoft has increased how fiercely they deal with crap like this.
I don't have a proper stance on the Modding scene and would like to take this oppotunity to find out what you people feel about this and modding in general.

Halo 3: ODST Achievements Leaked.

They seem pretty good, though if you're like me and playing in Firefight is going to be tough for you than some of the achievements will be hard.

Some things to take note off:

1. Quite a lot of levels for an expansion.
2. About 7 Firefight levels
3. Engineers appear during the Nightime City. First time in the series (Save for Halo Wars)
4. Dare is a character in Firefight.
5. There are collectable Audio Logs ( 100 in total - Probably work like Bioshock's Audio files )
6. There's a level called "Data Hive", which has the icon of a Drone and a Weapon Achievement regarding the flamethrower. 

Achievements look solid for the most part. Getting the Vidmasters for these though...Gonna be pretty tough it seems.

Trip Down Tranquility Lane (POSSIBLE SPOILERS)

I've been playing Fallout 3 slowly now. Its a game that put me off completely in the beginning as it was too...god...RPG-y for me. Well, I got back into it and have been playing it at a steady pace. Just managed to find Vault 112 just now (A Pain that was...God damned Raiders and Super Mutant Behemoth) and went to Tranquility Lance and God...

Was a that a Life Changing Experience or what?

Well, that's obviously an exaggeration but my experience in Tranquility Lane was something I had never experienced in a game to date. The premise was brilliant. The use of Betty as the so called 'Villian' was pure ingenious.

I had been playing a good character throughout my journey here and when 'Betty' started asking me to do all sorts of things, I just did them. Slowly, I lost Karma and then BAM! I need to kill Mabel creatively.

This took me a while to do as I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I ended up killing myself in her house at one point, activating the Security Systems but as I was playing around in the house, I realized I could interact with the Chandeliar. I'll be damned. That was the key. I went to search for Mabel and got her to enter her house and sure enough, tinkering with the chandeliar paid off. It fell on Mabel, killing her, making me lose more Karma in the process.

I did meet the Old Lady and I knew I could go find some Terminal in the Abandoned House. I went in and apparently, I'm supposed to interact with the objects in a particular order for the Chinese Soldiers to come but I couldn't get the order right. I ended taking up the mantle of the Pint Sized Slasher and killed everyone.

This was a particularly emotional moment for me, perhaps the most emotional moment for me in a video game to date. Fallout 3 has really stiff character animations and despite that, the characters running away from me, a mere child in this simulation, and screaming as I killed I killed them really struck me hard. And as I killed the last person, a part of me broke down inside. Had I done all that? It was supposed to be a simulation, I likened it to the commercials that were used in the Fallout 3 commercials showing a happy wondeful life and I killed all those people living those lives.

Just something that made me think... Did anyone else have a similar experience in Fallout 3, in this particular incident as well?

Just something about the whole 1UP/EGM Matter

I've been reading all about it. 1UP go bought up. A Whole bunch of people, loads of dudes we all loved, gone instantly. Gamevideos: Terminated. EGM: Gone. This is, no doubt, sad news for all us gamers. Its sad news for those in the Game Journalism business, because, like it or not, 1UP was an integeral part of the game journalism industry. EGM was probably the best gaming magazine out there. All gone in a matter of seconds.

I'm not trying to blame anyone. As a lot of people from 1UP itself said, it was for the best of 1UP and if you listen to Rebel.FM, which is  made by dudes who were laid off, the guys who were laid off were the ones doing stuff that were consuming the most money. I'm saying it completely justifies the shit that just took place, but that's, unfortunately, how life is. 1UP was a business.  Money makes the world go round. If you are a costing a company too much money and there were lay offs coming, the chances if you getting laid off is extremely high.

But to anyone who posts in places where those laid off often visit or by some chance, if anyone of you who got laid off are reading this, please: Don't give up. You still have a chance. Can't get a job? Make your own! You guys love writing about games, talking about games. Start an independent site. Hell, look at Giant Bomb! It was started by dudes who were passionate about what they did and they too came from another bigger company and look what's happened: Giant Bomb has totally, completely destroyed Gamespot.

I'm not saying you should take revenge on 1UP and destroy it. There are still wondeful people working there but don't lose hope guys. Keep on trekking. You are some of the best of the best out there. You have an entire fanbase surrounding you. You like what you were doing, you keep doing that!

Good luck to all of you and I hope you continue on. Start an independent site like Giant Bomb or go join some other company. They will be dying to hire you. Just never lose hope.

2008 Gaming Review

So, I wasn't really expecting much for 2008. 2007 ended up brilliantly, with the release of games like Halo 3, Mass Effect, Call of Duty 4 and Bioshock etc. I usually don't go into a year expecting games, unless they have been delayed. So, 2008 was a pretty normal year.

Of course, one by one, the Juggernauts were revealed. Gears of War 2, with its spectacular announcement by CliffyB. The announcement of Call of Duty: World at War, riding on the wave of success of Call of Duty 4. Release dates were announced. And as usual, with the announcement of a platform exclusive game, So did the Annual Console Battles begin.

They said 2007 was a great year for video games. 2008 wasn't so bad too.

Big Releases:

1. Grand Theft Auto 4

It had been 7 years since gamers set foot in Grand theft Auto 3. People wanted to set foot on Liberty City again in a direct sequel and by god they did. Having one of the most expansive play areas in the entire series.

2. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots

The Epic Conclusion to Kojima's cinematic-standard game. PS3 Gamers and long time Metal Gear Fans were waiting for this game for a long time.

3. Haze

Made by renowned developer, Free Radical, who developed the amazing Time Splitters series, this game gained popularity. Once supposedly Multi-Platform, it was cut-down and became a PS3 Exclusive.

4. Gears of War 2

With an Epic Announcement and an Epic History of games, Epic Games's sequel to the highly successful Xbox 360 exclusive, Gears of War created lots of hype with promise of a better single player and being 'bigger, better and more badass'.

5. Resistance 2

Insomniac, like Epic Games, has a long history of amazing games and just like Gears of War, the first Resistance was the flagship title for the PS3. It was regarded as the Ultimate competition to Gears of War 2.

6. Fable 2

Crazy Promises were made for the game. Being Described as a lot of things, Fable 2 was a Highly anticipated game.

7. Fallout 3

A Massive shift from the first 2 Fallouts in the hands of Bethesda. Nothing more was needed to be said.

8. Left 4 Dead

Its made by Valve. Nuff Said.

There were of course countless other releases but these were the games that I can safely say gamers everywhere were looking forward to.

Best Effects

Winner is... Battlefield: Bad Company

The battlefield guys have been making sweet Multiplayer games over the years. But couple that with a whole new engine capable of awesome destruction that doesn't completely ruin the gameplay and still look good? You got yourself some killer effects. Every Audio bit. Every piece of destruction. the Lighting. Everything was very well done. The folks at DICE deserve a good pat on the back.

Special Mention: Dead Space

The Game is Scary. Its quiet nature and the use of lighting and solid sound design gives it some extremely good effects.

Best Gameplay Innovation

Winner is...Mirror's Edge

Platforming games are really addictive. You know it. But taking something like Mario, putting it in a whole new perspective and adding other gameplay tweaks? Thats really difficult to pull off. A Parkour Action Platforming Game from a First Person Perspective is Innovation at its best and though a lot of more improvements can be made, Mirror's Edge wins best Gameplay Innovation.

Special mention: Left 4 Dead
Co-op gameplay has been in a lot of games but never as refined and important as Left 4 Dead. Here Co-op is key and a slight change in teamwork could mean chaos to the entire team. The ai Director is also wonderful, changing the enemy spawns depending on Player behavior. Good job Valve.

Best Soundtrack

Winner is...Gears of War 2

Surprisingly enough, Gears of War 2 trumps every other game this year in terms of music. Steve Jablonsky, the dude who worked on Transformers, was composing the music and created something beautiful. Truely emotional and captures the true feeling of each of the moments perfectly. 

Special Mention: Grand Theft Auto IV
With some of the best songs from the Era featured in Grand Theft Auto IV, you know that the folks at Rockstar know their stuff.

Least Fun Game of 2008

Winner is...Grand Theft Auto IV

Its sad when such an expansive game, such a detailed game messes up the Fun Factor. Rockstar decided to forgo the path they always took and take a more Realistic Approach, leading to the game's fun's demise. Sorry Rockstar. One can only force themselves to play the game. Its too painful to play.

Most Disappointing Game

Winner is...Haze

Being developed by Free Radical, you would think this would wipe the competition clean. Unfortunately, it fell flat on its face. With nothing to call its own, this game, I feel, is a way to prove that success can get to one's head and cloud their vision. Themes of Drug Abuse? Looks like the Developers were on Drugs.

Special Mention: Gears of War 2

While the Single Player was a vast improvement and problems with Multiplayer Fixed (With new ones added into the mix), you would think this was a good thing. Well, I would love to tell you how great the Multiplayer is but unfortunately I can't get into a damn game and enjoy it. Waiting times for more than 30 minutes and lag when you finally find a game, like Haze and Free Radical, its time for CliffyB to wake up from his Dream World and tell himself that he is not the God of Video Games like he makes himself look like.

Game of the Year

Winner is...Left 4 Dead

When you have 4 missions, each an average of being 1 hour long, that can be played over and over again, you know that something magical has happened. Valve has pushed the boundaries of replayability with on the fly AI adjustments and wonderful Gameplay. Being Simple can be successful and Valve has once again proved that.

Special Mention: LittleBigPlanet
Up till now we thought of User Created Content as PC Mods and more recently, Map Variants from Halo 3. However, nothing pushes the limit on a console than LittleBigPlanet. With a game focused mainly on this, it could have easily gone haywire but LittleBigPlanet safely pulls through and earns a special mention.

My View:

2007 was a great year. Loads of Game releases exclusively for the Xbox 360 and bunch of great Multi-Platform games. 2008 could have been called the '2007 of the PS3'. While, tons of the highly anticipated games for the PS3 did get released on time, almost none were satisfying. Metal gear Solid 4 was a true Solid experience though and that in itself, won the year for the PS3.

Another Interesting thing to take note of is that almost none of the Big Releases made my set of special awards. All the Underdogs got it. Think about it

One Last Honorable Mention:


Renowned for the Battlefield Series, DICE took a risk and released something that was not only Innovative but changed the way we look at certain genres. For that, they deserve this mention.

Thanks for taking the time to read!