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Sometime it doesn't matter how cheap the game is....

I've been playing Three games recently, and I just have some quick thoughts:  

Issac experiencing a vision from the marker.
Issac experiencing a vision from the marker.

1. Dead Space 2 (Had for $24 during a steam sale): Is just as good, in-fact better than Dead Space 1. My only complaint is that you revist the ishimura, which I found boring. Otherwise it's more epic and cinematic than its predecessor and as space-genre games go, is one of my favorites right up there with Mass Effect, EVE Online, and the good Star Wars games. 
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2. Total War: Shogun 2 (Had for $33 during a steam sale): I played the demo to Medieval 2, Empire, and Napoleon and I always decided it would require too much time and energy to delve into. Well, when it went on sale, and one of my friends was already playing I decided to capitulate. This game is addicting and is one of the more rewarding experiences when everything clicks. Though it has it's flaws its a great game and I suggest that every one try it out. I found it more enjoyable than Civilization V--plus who doesn't love ninjas and Japan? 
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3. Singularity (Had for $10.20 during a steam sale): Let me be clear. I love the Bioshock games and I love the STALKER series and have played and beat all in those respective series. Singularity got a good review from Brad and was said to be Bioshock + STALKER, so how could it not be awesome? It's not. It's not bad, but I don't think it should get a 4 star rating, perhaps a 3, or 2.5 overall. The shooting is unfulfilling and it seems the enemies are random in capabilities and they seek to trap you it seems with WAY too low ammo, and other such poor game play decisions. I can excuse this because I got it for soo cheap, but I hate leaving games unfinished and this may be lumped in with the only two games I've never finished: Amnesia (just never got really into it) and FarCry 2 (became to redundant). 
Your thoughts? Cheap purchases you regret?

Not a fair shake

I'm not going to tell you that I am often of the opinion that "critics" and even the majority of people are wrong, mostly because that would assume my opinion being fact. I am, however, of the opinion that the merits of something being good can be objectively assessed if you go into it with the right frame or mind--this frame can be informed by a multitude of anything, and I will not try to construct a systematic approach, but rather, I wish to discuss a few products that "critics" in particular have been overly harsh on. 

  1. Battle: LA. Have you seen the reviews? 33 % on RT and 37 % on Metacritic. This is abysmal! Yet I still went and saw the movie, 
and after talking to a few people before going to see I had a good idea of what to expect. An awesome war-flic plagued by not what is bad acting, but cliched writing. That's exactly what I thought of the film, and in comparing my opinion with the opinion of the other eight people I saw it with, most of us were of the opinion that is was a great war movie. Yes it fails to really develop the story, characters, etc... But, this movie--from what I can tell--did not set out to be a profound and poignant war film, a la Saving Private Ryan or Full Metal Jacket. So I highly suggest you see the film and give it a chance as a WAR film and nothing else. 
    2. MAFIA II. I recently completed this, after buying it for $7.50 on STEAM and I have to say that I really enjoyed the period peace. This is another game, where the mindset can really alter someone's opinion. I am not a fan of open world games, I get too distracted, and at times (i.e. my first play through of Fallout 3 and Oblivion) I completely forget about the story, which ends up in disappointment when I realize I didn't get to learn anything. The driving is fun. The gun mechanics are great. The characters are memorable. If you are a fan of period peaces, a la Boardwalk Empires, or even Mafia stories, pick this game up--it may pull from every Mafia movie ever made, but is that such a bad thing? Isn't imitation the highest form of flattery? 

 Gotta' love and hate this smug bastard: Joe Barbaro
 Gotta' love and hate this smug bastard: Joe Barbaro

That's all I have for now, but if I find any other gems that I think are being given a hard time by the critics I may voice my opinion, I may not. Hope you enjoyed this blog!

just me likin' stuff

  I often understand when people get mad at others for what is clearly improper use of grammar. To be honest, however, and in the most nonsensical-black-cowboy-twang I can conjure, I am often disappointed when I find people don't, as Stephen Fry put's it, combine words together just for the sound-sex of it all. Tell me what you think.


Duke Nukem Forever on May 3rd

I wanted this blog post to start with a fact, something that wasn't cryptic, or perhaps unsubstantiated. The internet is a bustling with Duke Nukem Forever fever, especially since Gearbox announced the official release date of May 3rd. With that said, I feel a bit squeamish, perhaps hesitant to even commit myself to this game. Gearbox has given us titles like Brothers in Arms and Borderlands, as well as developed Half-Life Blue Shift and Opposing Force and once again they seem to be championing a new title, and like Half-Life, the credibility of the game comes from a previous studio, although unlike Valve, a now defunct studio: 3d Realms.

Let's Review

3d Realms is responsible for the following franchises:  
Max Payne and Duke Nukem, both good franchises that basically ended up disappearing into the abyss. That's it. Nothing really since. Sure they have published titles such as Prey and...well...there isn't anything worth mentioning. The point I'm trying to make is we have a game, originaly developed by a Studio that for all intensive purposes, since the new millenium hasn't put anything out, or at the very least publish a game worth caring about.
Secondly, Duke Nukem Forever is being finished by Gearbox, they don't have a flawless tract record but they do put out some games worth publishing. I feel that what probably happened when the IP transferred is that they decided to rush Duke to the finishline, fill in what Gearbox had, release it, and claim they delivered the holy grail to gamers, especially pc gamers. 

The Quandary

Now I've scoured various sites, mostly Shacknews to compile my information, and it seems that the game transferred sometime between June and August of 2010. This would mean that with a May 3rd 2011 release date, Gearbox has invested a little under a year into getting this game ready for release. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but 3d Realms was sued essentially for not doing what they were paid to do, not finishing the game on time--multiple times. And possibly not being close to finish this time around either. The picture I'm trying to paint here is that, while this game may finally be continuing or finishing a franchise a lot of us PC GAMERS have come to love, doesn't it feel rushed? Personally I don't think the graphics look good. I don't think the gameplay looks all that great. In fact that only thing that feels spot on is the humor.

My Warning

 is to hesitate, to assume that this game may not deliver. Gearbox could be cashing in, could be milking it for all it's worth. It just feels rushed, and I wish that when Gearbox took over they gave it their quality, as opposed to the perhaps...sporadic quality of 3d Realms that seems to inherent in this game, as especially evident when watching the game-play video.  
For new video and screenshots:

My Top 10 games of 2010


10.: Alan Wake

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This is not a pc game, I know, but it is one of the few 360-only games that I really got into. It’s story, while a bit far-fetched has all the hallmarks of a Stephen King novel, but the delivery and storytelling out a good old-fashioned, southern-man spinning a yarn…kind of. Anyways, as a sucker of any game trying to deliver a story as opposed to just point-and-shoot mechanics, I found this game enjoyable, frustrating, but overall novel in its approach and that is why it’s on the list.

9.: Darksiders

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This game is perhaps the best amalgamation of already tried-and-true game mechanics. Throw into a very stylized apocalypse, you are WAR, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, without giving too much away, let me say this story is just as entertaining as the game mechanics. It can be anything from a button masher to a very deep strategic, combo-centric, fighting game.

8.: Amnesia: Dark Descent 

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Aside from Dead Space, and perhaps the original F.E.A.R. and Condemned it has been a while since I’ve played what I consider a good horror game. I think Monolith needs to go back to the Drawing board, because Amnesia is scarier than any of the games I’ve mentioned, with Dead Space trailing closely behind. Never have I played a game that gets my heart racing, my hairs standing, and an overwhelming desire to play with the lights on. Even though some of the voice work is drivel, this game delivers an atmosphere and intriguing story that just needs to be played—even with a walkthrough.

7.: Call of Duty: Black Ops.

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Let’s face it, anyone that has followed this series since its incarnation, we know Call of Duty 4 was THE PINNACLE of the series. Modern Warfare was decent; however with a whole host of problems, a lot of PC gamers lauded it as a deviation not-so-much welcomed. Black Ops arrives and what we have is a Cold-War/Vietnam/Conspiracy going on, and I couldn’t have gotten more into. With a character like Reznov following you at every turn you just want to hold onto the reins. With that said, the story is sometimes a bit too over the top, and unfocused, and kind of short. The multiplayer is where this game really shines, I enjoy almost every improvement, the only issue is, even with dedicated servers, the PC game feels botched and plagued with bugs that often rear their heads at the most inopportune time. I’d like to use my Chopper-Gunner without my game randomly freezing. Sadly, this will be where I end my supporting of Call of Duty as a series.

6.: Bioshock 2

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I’m going to be honest; I had a hard time remembering when this game came out. I’m glad it came out in 2010 though, because from a fun-factor, gameplay mechanics focus this is a vast improvement over the Bioshock. The guns feel right, the traps work wonderfully, being a Big-Daddy is actually satisfying, etc.. Where this game falls short is the story, while it’s good, intriguing, and encompassing of new ideologies some of the atmosphere is lost. It feels like a revolution, probably the way Russia did at some point, but there is just something more satisfying about overthrowing the dictator of the original game.

5.: Warhammer: Dawn of War II: Chaos rising

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What can I say of my favorite RTS? Great expansion, short campaign, but great additions none the less. The Chaos Space Marines are perhaps the more intriguing of enemies, if only because the dogma they follow is, well evil, dastardly, and dare I say bastardly. With strategy riding at the helm, a focus on small-squad combat, the RTS genre has never felt so intimate of a game. No longer am I the commander dictating orders to a ton of troops, I’m in the fight inspiring them. Conquering foes, and fighting for the EMPEROR!

4.: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

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Whenever a new BF game comes out I get quite nostalgic. I can remember, before DSL became a big thing, I and my friend both got Battlefield 1942, and we wanted to play online. So, what we would do is, before Xfire came out, was one of us would look up a server. Disconnect from the internet. Call our friend and tell them the name of the server and the IP address, then we’d both connect, and hopefully join the same game--never worked out too well. Fast forward to now, we’ve seen a lot of Battlefield games and they only get better, and with the most recent addition of BFBC2: Vietnam, its just added more. There is nothing more satisfying than a good game of conquest, or RUSH mode, battlefield is just battlefield, and it will always be one of my favorite games. Did I mention it also has a good single-player game?

3.: Metro 2033

Metro 2033
Metro 2033

Talk to any of my friends… They will tell you I am a very big supporter of Eastern European games. STALKER started the love affair, and Metro 2033 has only strengthened it.  An underground, and even above world, apocalypse has never been so rendered so beautifully. From the world, the living and breathing city underneath, guitar players, comes a game fully focused on its core mechanic: linear shooting. The guns feel right, the atmosphere is perfect. Sure there are a few glitches here and there. But if you’re looking for a good story, a great atmosphere, and perhaps a series that lives in vain of Half-Life, pick this up. Artyom will thank you. 

2.: Mass Effect 2

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I did not particularly enjoy Mass Effect. I played it first on the xbox, then the pc. Mass Effect 2 game out, I held off, then finally cracked. Perhaps one of the greatest improvements between games I’ve ever seen. The third-person shooting feels great, and is easy to control. The characters are memorable. The dialogues intuitive, and the story…EPIC. This is one of those games I can never really qualify well, I think you have to play it to understand. You have to fully immerse yourself when experiencing it, and those that love stories will be rewarded.

1.: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

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What can I say, my first reaction to the original game was much like that of Battlefield 1942, will you marry me? It’s been a rough go, but I think the guys over at GSC really hit the mark will CoP, it wasn’t –as- buggy, and it was just as open, and bigger, than its predecessors. With a streamlined story, and a game that still rewards exploration, I found myself loving this series again. Perhaps it wasn’t as atmospheric as the original, but each mission was crafted in such a self-contained way, I felt the need to play through twice.  There isn’t much more to say, it’s an RPG, it’s a shooter, it does both well.

Leave your comments!
*Quick note. My next blog will concern games of 2011 I'm looking forward too, and how to best maximize getting the games at a decent price, especially if you're in college. 

Games of 2009 & 2008 that I played in 2010

Dead Space. As previously mentioned. I have not had the joy of playing very many horror games that truly scared me. I avoided Dead Space, regardless of reviews, because I thought it would be just another standard fare in the horror genre. However, christmas came around this year and my brother bought me this game. It truly is scary, and I often find myself only to play one chapter at a time. If you haven't give this game a try, go ahead and pick it up. If you like space and being scared, go for it.
Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor. Company of Heroes is one of those series that I immediately fell in love with. I'm a fan of Relic games, WW2, and anything that may seem like it's related to Band of Brothers. I was hooked. I never got Tales of Valor however, and I'm not sure why. I played a few of the Tales of Valor missions, and it may not have the same appeal as the original, but its still wholesome RTS fun, and the stories are just as intriguing, if you're a War buff as I am. 

Honorable Mention-Best Lan Game

There are few games that enter "AWESOME FUN TIME" mode at the Lans my friends. Halo 3 is one, especially the infected mode. Alien Swarm has become a favorite, too bad Valve didn't release it as a game for money and with continued support. So in the interim between Call of Duty games, and something to alleviate the frustration that sometimes follows the Battlefield series, Lead & Gold came to be the shooter we could all get behind. We don't pour as many hours in, but when we are burnt out on other games its good to divide us six into teams of three and just go at it. If you have Lans, even a dwindling number because of college & real life, pick this game up. It can at least provide an hour of entertainment every so often.


Games you missed because college just takes up too much time

Just a quick blog before I go do some more studying. These are games I've missed mostly because of College (Company of Heroes really being an oversight in my collection of Company of Heroes games). So what all have you missed? Or are there any games you recommend I get?
1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
2. Amnesia: The Dark Descent
3. Fallout: New Vegas
4. Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor

That game you were wrong in assuming it was a piece of shit...

Does anyone, those that are frequent pc gamers, remember when Lead & Gold was first announced. How it was a western?! How it had kind of the same art style as TF2?! How it was third person?! how it seemed like a cool little game designed specifically for the weary in mind?! You know the weary, those tired of putting in hundreds of hours into said games such as: TF2, CODMW2, COD4, BFBC2, DODS, CSS (ok maybe DODS, was just me). Anyways, do you remember how poorly it was reviewed? How the community was outraged at the lack of dedicated servers? (also see debacle with CODMW2). Basically how the community chewed it up and spit it back out?!
Do you?
'Cause I sure as hell do. Because I couldn't remember another time the backlash of the gaming community turned me off of a game...shit I bought F.E.A.R: Peresus Mandate (that was an awful game)
Anyways, fast forward to the past weekend during the free weekend that allowed people to play Lead & Gold and Shattered Horizons. And all I have to say is, if you have lans with your buddies, or have enough buddies to all get on the pc and play an online game together. Pick this up. When the others become insanely boring, pop it in a play. You won't regret it.


Thanksgiving and Christmas sales are impending

To all those people that love STEAM, this is for you. We all know that STEAM has a penchant for opening our wallets at inconvenient times with "too-good-to-pass-up-deals." It just occurred to me, that Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching (yes I loose sight of time, I'm that forgetful dude). Anyways, I thought I would just make a quick blog post regarding this impending AWESOMENESS, and without further-ado here are the games I'm hoping will go on sale:

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Mafia II 
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Fallout: New Vegas 
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Amnesia: The Dark Ascent   
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Is there anything you are hoping will go on sale?

my first bid war with Ebay

...and how I learned to love the atomic bomb.
Alright. Movie references aside, ever since Red Dead Redemption and Alan Wake came out I had been itching to play both. Now, for some of you, you know the tale of my first and second 360, and the first game I bought for that second system. Wait?! You don't! Well then, click here.  Now that you've been informed, here is the rest of this story. Ebay! Most people have instructed me not to buy or sell on it, and really, in the wake of a 4.0 midterm I decided to treat myself...but not to full price games. So, I bid on Red Dead, originally deciding I wouldn't bid more than $15. Well I got a text from my friend while I was in the research lab saying I had lost. Ok then. I sat there for a bit, got the last two pigeons out of their operant boxes, and sat some for. Fuck this, I thought, I work my ass off, and I haven't really enjoyed a video game since...well BFBC2. So I got on, and with fifteen seconds left I put in the winning bid of $31.86, and with shipping, I will pay $35.86.
I won, that's the point.  The other point is that the game still cost $60 new (I will never pay $60 for a game). It cost $45 used. So, I win, regardless. Now I'm just waiting for paypal to confirm my bank account so that I may transfer funds and pay for the game. Also, why does paypal not let me deposit funds to it with my debit card?
Does anyone have an suggestions as to how I should approach playing Red Dead Redemption?
Also, my next two bids are on Darksiders and Halo Reach, with a limit of $15, however; I won't be letting myself go over those because the idea is to reward myself and won't be rewarding myself until Final grades are in around December.
!!! update for anyone interested....I got Darksiders and Red Dead Redemption. Darksiders was a fantastic game, strongly recommend to anyone that enjoys a good zelda-esque game. Red Dead Redemption, on the other hand, I wish i had words, however; i do not. The game doesn't work on my friends shitty 360 (I'm currently borrowing at the moment), it does work on all my other friend's 360s until I get a new 360...this will be on the back burner.


(3) Things you should be reading...

Well, I missed the day I usually update (The sabbath, as some humbly refer to it [Sunday]). It's the night before my 3rd semester starts and I've been watching 30 Rock. Refreshing my Russian language (kind of) and reading for my Chellgren Fellowship. So, anyways, here are some interesting things you should read:
Gamers do productive stuffs
I agree, TF2 Hats are lame
Game Journalism...ethical? 
And a little somethin' sometin' 

Anyways, for anyone that stumbles upon my small blog...enjoy! I'm still going to try and do these weekly, but with school starting you'll just have to wait and see if I follow through.
Oh, and my quote for the week: Live every week likes its shark week.