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MW2: My First Few Days

Well, I'm late to the party guys; my copy of Modern Warfare 2 (for 360) arrived on the 30th (last year :P) after 16 days of slow shipping (even though it was airmailed and the flight is only 1 hour...).  While it is definitely not a perfect game, I can't deny that it's tons of fun. Oh, and if you're reading, I have never played the first Modern Warfare, or any Call of Duty game before this.
First, my experience with the single-player. Many people say that the story is too over-the-top, but I find it just fine. I enjoyed the short and sweet story with some unsuspecting twists and multiple perspectives. Playing through on Regular, the only part I felt was frustrating was the

Anyways, I had a great time with it, and will be sure to pick up MW3 to see what happens next in the story.
Ahh, the multiplayer. Probably most of the reason that I bought the game. But is it any good? Well my experiences are mixed. 
Previously playing online competitive multiplayer mostly in Halo 3, the style of play in MW2 multiplayer is a little hard for me. I can't just rush forward, because even if my reflexes are quick, I die even quicker. This makes for many frustrating games, something like 6 kills and 20 deaths, which is NOT fun. A "good" game for me is about a 1 to 1 KD ratio. Even though I don't really care about the K/D ratio as something to brag about, it's much more fun and satisfying to not die all the time. 
Also, the lag. Because of my location in Taiwan, it's unavoidable. I'm not kidding when I say that I've only been matched up with a group of people that gave me a green connection ONCE in the 8 or so hours of multiplayer that I've played (this was with some Middle Eastern teens, judging from their names). I've learned to not get angry when I start getting shot, run behind cover, then "teleport" back into the open, dead. Or try to knife a shotgunner (make it halfway through the animation), fail, and watch the killcam and see that in his point of view, I didn't do anything! I guess this isn't really the fault of the game, but I'd really like it if there was an option to put servers near me as a higher priority.  
EDIT: I can do quite well with the lag actually. After writing this I had several really good games (the one I remember was like 31-10 I think) with a red connection bar!
That's about it for my first impressions of MW2. The multiplayer part may seem like I'm having a really bad experience, but actually it is really fun. Watching how good players play on Youtube (really like SageSparten007, check him out) helps me improve my gameplay experience. I find that I just have to be very careful and know good vantage points that allow me to see key points on the map, and I do fine. 
Also, I haven't played any Spec Ops cooperatively yet. I went ahead and got 3 stars for "The Pit", since I had already gotten the Pit Boss achievement and knew how to do it fast. 
So, most of you guys have probably already put much more time into MW2 than me, but I felt that I needed to post my thoughts! Also didn't want to make this a review because most of the bad points about multiplayer for me are situational (most people won't have them), but might write one later on.

Thinking Back to my Gamecube Days

After I preordered a copy of Dragon Age: Origins (PC) for $40 :), I couldn't help but think back to the days that I would buy games without looking at reviews at all. Looking back, I think it's pretty funny that I bought a copy of Shadow the Hedgehog just because I saw it on an ad and it looked cool. I was SO stupid back then! I guess I could have saved a lot of money (pretty much my mom's in those days) if I had just looked at a few reviews and realized how bad some of the games were. Now I know why I always got frustrated from not knowing what to do, or because a part of the game was overly difficult; it was probably a problem with the game. Good thing I managed to buy SOME good games too. I still have happy memories of playing 007: Nightfire split-screen multiplayer with my buddies!
Anyway, that's it for my very short blog post; I have some exams to study for. Luckily for me, DA:O comes out AFTER the exams, so I won't have it sitting there tempting me to play while I'm busy studying.  Do you guys look at reviews for every game you buy? I do now, and probably save some cash by doing so. Was going to wait for the Giant Bomb review before buying, but so far the reviews have all been very positive, so I ordered it to put my mind at rest! :P



OK, so I'm writing this right after spending a frustrating hour and a half playing the first mission of BF: Bad Company on Veteran, while at the same time trying not to die (for the "Staying Alive") achievement. I guess I should probably just go play the mission on easy for the achievement, but suddenly I realized- What am I doing this for? Not sure about any of you guys, but achievements have started to become a big part of the games I play (mostly 360, but Steam/PC too). Achievements are a great way to get us to do interesting things that we might not even think of without them, and I have no problem with the achievement system, but I am starting to feel that this "urge" to get the achievements is taking away the fun of these great games.
Now I have to admit I'm not big on farming for achievements involving large numbers (Seriously 2.0 .....), and I usually stay away from going too far out of my way in multiplayer to get certain achievements. But as far as the single player goes, I have a tendency to try to get as many achievements as possible. Take for example Fable 2, which I finished for the second time around two weeks ago. Thinking back from now, I find that much of the time spent playing was for achievements; in fact I had already planned out my first character with achievements in mind as soon as I started him! In the end, I got all of the achievements (Fable 2's are pretty well done IMO) and got a nice satisfactory feeling. However, I only felt this for a little while, and even though I didn't go back into my older games and start going for the achievements like crazy, I knew that the next game I got would involve achievements too.
So that was Bad Company, which I enjoy a lot, and find the single-player humorous in a great way and the multiplayer really nice too. When I got it, I pretty much told myself that I would not try to get all the achievements for it. I've stayed true to this promise so far, and there's no way I'm going to try to get the one for getting all the awards, but yesterday I found myself going back to the singleplayer (I had beat it on Normal already) and trying to beat some missions on Veteran. While the game's system of death and respawn in the single-player is pretty forgiving, I found it pretty frustrating to play through without dying for maybe 40 minutes, then get killed by some enemy on a turret that I didn't see. 
Now, what I'm wondering is what makes me want to get these achievements? I'm thinking that the mere possibility of getting the achievement without doing some silly thing like leaving my console on for the entire day "motivates" me to try and get it. When I see an achievement for beating a mission on hard, I say "I can do that!" and go for it, but while it's nice that I'm determined, I have to restate that it takes the fun out of games! I wouldn't call this an "addiction" to achievements (or maybe I'm just a completionist), but I'm just wondering if any others have or have had this problem. I've thought of some solutions, like checking out some games that I've never gone around to looking at or reading the plot for (ex. Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls Oblivion) so I will be more focused on the stories' lore and gameplay, and leave achievements for last; or getting a game WITHOUT achievements (PC I guess).
That's it for my post on my thoughts on achievements, I hope I can get some insight on how to get more "after-you-beat-the-campaign" fun without getting frustrated over achievements!


Just "Finished" Burnout Paradise

  This is my first blog on Giant Bomb, so I guess I'll keep it relatively short.  And also just to let you guys know, I have never played any previous Burnout games in the series.
A few months back, using my nearby game store's trade-in policy, I got myself a copy of Burnout Paradise: the Ultimate Box by trading in my Fallout 3 and paying the equivalent of about $5 USD. Sometimes I still regret this decision, as 4 more DLC updates for Fallout 3 came out after Op. Anchorage (the only one out at that time). However, there's no doubt that I've had an excellent time with Burnout: Paradise; I've played spent around 61 hours in Paradise City. In those 61 hours, I've gotten 74 of the 75 cars, earned myself an Elite License, completed more than 100 online challenges, bought a cute little toy Hunter Cavalry, and generally had a lot of fun.
Sure, it was frustrating at times to be in the lead in a race only to crash into a car parked on the side of the road; or drift around a corner at high speed only to wreck because of a slow-moving "normal" car that's in my way; but in the end, I realize that those are really part of the Burnout experience. Gone is the closed racetrack; instead there is a simple yet effective system of "GO HERE! (any way you want)". And Race is only one of the event types too! Road Rage, Stunt Run, Marked Man, and Burning Route were all fun to play too. 
In the end, I guess what I felt when I beat the final event that was required to get my elite license - the WTR's burning route, was satisfaction. I felt (and still feel) that I have accomplished something in the 61 hours of playing this game. And although it has its few rough spots, there is just a lot to do in Paradise City! As someone who buys a new game every few months or so, and gets to buy maybe 3 or 4 games out of the many coming out before, during, (and a little after), the holiday season, Burnout Paradise was able to last for quite a while after I got it.
The "finished" is in quotation marks because although I probably won't be playing Burnout Paradise that often anymore, there are still plenty of online challenges to do, and I guess achievements to get. And I haven't even gotten Big Surf Island! 
So I just wanted to share my feelings about "beating" the game, hope I haven't written too much of a review here.
Fable 2 time.....