Abyssfull's fuel for the fire: Top 10'ingtons of 2011.

Since I noticed people are emptying their GOTY guts via blog form, I figured that my ''highly valid and relevant'' opinions might as well go along with 'em. I'm just copy & pasting from my GOTY 2011 list. So... yo:

2011 has been a very middling year for me, videya-gaymz speaking anywhoo. A large portion of the year has of course been sequel-centric, and for me a shocking amount are sequels that didn't surpass their predecessors. A lot can be said for my choice of games I opted for, however, and not to mention a large amount of this years most well regarded completely cut from the proceedings, due to me simply not having the platform or because my computer is a disgrace to its kind.

Such stark examples like The Witcher 2 and Ghost Trick (and plenty more, I assure you), both of which I had no access because of the aforementioned reasons, are two I really wish I could of played. The Witcher 2 I'm in luck since it's getting a 360 release next year, and Ghost Trick I'm sure I'll get one day. I should probably get a DS too, I think that might help. But when that time comes, 2011 will be long behind me leaving both to stay as casualties towards my 2011 gaming span.

There also a lot of big titles that I haven't played because I don't have a great degree of interest towards, or not quite enough to prioritise over other games I bought. Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Mortal Kombat, Outland, Batman: Arkham City, Gears of War 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and not to mention Skyrim! One such title I have no doubt would make onto my list somewhere, but money woes kept getting in the way, and then when I finally caved in, that was about the time I noticed a lot of the ensuing pitchforks and hatred pelvic-thrusted at Skyrim because of its degrading technical issues. So I opted out of it, and even now should I decide to order it it'd probably take a week at least to get here, cancelling out any possible positioning on this heeya list.

Let's see, there's also El Shaddai that I did actually order around 4 days ago, but the fucking thing hasn't even been dispatched yet, so that too must be crossed out unfortunately. It's one I was fairly interested in, too, but my interest admittedly never quite peaked the ''£40'' margin.

Because of all of these mishaps, my 2011 list has been pretty difficult to surmise. Hell, even actually squeezing in 10 games was a little tricky; I have played more than 10 this year, but there's quite a few (including Dragon Age 2 and L.A Noire) I really wouldn't want to place here just for the sake of filling up the slots. And while all 10 I did enjoy this year, there's still one or two I'm not entirely comfortable with having it take up the slot, and I just wished I at least played Skyrim to better even things out. But oh well, given what I had on offer, this is what I've personally found to be my top 10 for 2011.

10. Hydrophobia Prophecy

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Now I never played the original Hydrophobia, nor it's second release, so for me this was entirely new. I know of it's not-so-heralded reception and the backlash the developers have so vehemently spewed across. But speaking for the Prophecy edition, I can say that whatever upgrades and improvements they administered, they worked.

Hydrophobia's story and gameplay may not be all too refined, and in essence it almost resembles a poor man's Uncharted. But it's documented physics engine and the way it handles water is as awesome as people have(?) said. The game itself was pretty breezy on the default difficulty, too, so I mostly strolled along simply enjoying the way the water dynamically sloshes and flows depending on the environment and whatever obstacles were present. Shooting a glass window to witness the water pour out and catch a dude off-guard, drowning him in the process, was pretty impressive.

What is a shame is how Prophecy didn't exploit it's brilliant physics more so than nearing the end, when your character inexplicably gains the power to literally control the water. It introduced a single water puzzle that I quite enjoyed, and would of allowed Hydrophobia some warmer reception should it of been introduced earlier, if not instead just built the game entirely around those mechanics.

9. Bastion

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I gotta be honest, I didn't particularly enjoy 'playing' through Bastion. Something about it just didn't feel all that right; the combat and movement felt a little stiff and didn't flow together that well. Maybe it was down to me not finding the combination of weapons that suited me the most, but I certainly did try a damn many combinations.

Even still, it was the incredibly detailed graphics and the superbly cool narration that kept me going. The story itself took far too long to actually give me a little fire; I literally groaned after collecting all of the cores, only to then be tasked with collecting a set of core ''shards''. But when it did pick up, I was a skosh more enthusiastic.

I did eventually complete Bastion and while the final few story beats didn't hit me as hard as I was predicting, judging by the comments I've read, it was enough to leave me satisfied overall. I don't think I'll be heading into the NG+ anytime soon, though.

8. Yakuza 4

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Man, I only entered the fray with Yakuza 3, but already the series is starting to a wear a little thin. I still appreciate it's almost stubborn adherence to the design it wants, but some of the stranger choices--like cutscenes which constantly switch between full-voiced cutscenes to static text delivery--are quickly starting to become less so quirky and more so archaic. With that said, the Yakuza games have some brilliant and brutal combat mechanics, and the soap-opera storyline is chock full of Japanese drama that I can't help but be motivated to learn more. The best aspect of it all is how there's now four very distinctive characters, all who link up to the same story via some fairly clever means. It's how each character must tackle the fictional city of Kamurocho differently, be it by befriending the hobos as one, or using your police-issue radio to search for criminal activity as another, that helps Yakuza 4 stand out for me.

Also the soundtrack is ace.

7. Resistance 3

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Resistance 3 is like the Bizarro edition of Resistance 2. Whereas Resistance 2 featured an expansive and highly addictive multiplayer suite, with an absolutely fantastic 8-player cooperative offering, it's story wasn't very engaging to the general community. Me, I still found the campaign to be a lot of fun, but definitely nowhere near as Resistance 3's. Gone are the limitations of the modern-day weaponry stockholds, with a drool-inducing selection of weapons, all with alt-fires and origins very alien, to now collect and be ready to unleash at whim. Returned is the unique handicap of health that doesn't regenerate, giving Resistance 3 a more hectic pace as you struggle to manage your health, hoping to stumble upon any nearby health packs.

It's campaign is a fast-paced somewhat-homage to the old ways of shooters--if not at least Resistance: FoM--but apparently that also meant losing out on a lot of the multiplayer options that Resistance 2 gladly flaunted. It was a harsh trade, but I've at least taken solace with my time during Resistance 3's hectic single player.

6. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Uncharted 3 is a weird one; it's single player I most definitely enjoyed a lot more during my following playthroughs. The initial adventure I joined alongside Nathan Drake for was a fucking nightmare, however. The stilted shooting mechanics, the awful combat scenarios and the less-so-engaging story really tore at my insides. Even when I adjusted to the shooting mechanics and could actually have some fun with the single-player, that never saved how the combat portions still delved into a lot of the very same lazy design choices that plagued Drake's Fortune way back when. Add to that with Uncharted 3's ''samey-ness'', and it was overall underwhelming.

Then why does this hit the Number 6. mark? Well despite all my moaning, the single-player I would eventually learn to have some fun with as I said before. But most importantly it was the greatly expanded multiplayer aspects that have I've resonated such love towards. I was well into the multiplayer for Uncharted 2 and always felt it was harshly shrugged off, and Uncharted 3 has now only improved upon that formula with every facet. Much like with Uncharted 2, playing with folks I know is a blast and given how little I generally play multiplayer (RDR and the Resistance are the only other franchises with which I actually put a heap of multiplaying hours into), it's a nice change of pace to be working within a small community. Uncharted 3 surpasses Uncharted 2's multiplayer and will no doubt keep me in even longer than Uncharted 2 did. And I am currently nothing but eager for the upcoming map packs.

5. Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

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Oh how I love me my legos. I've loved assembling lego shit since I was a kid, and while that fascination unfortunately died down as the years spiralled up (as did a lot of other things...) my enjoyment with Lego still transcends into the virtual portrayal of these Danish son'bitches. And Lego Star Wars 3 also just happens to possibly be the best one yet. Based within the continuity of The Clone Wars CGI series (which I totally watched through to.. keep up, so to speak. Turns out that series is actually pretty good) allowing me to once again swing lightsabers, shoot droids and collect a never-ending supply of studs! Add a lot of the series original foundation to a larger degree of variety including vehicles, and least of all the RTS gameplay mechanics, and I was yet again left to sink in 50 or so hours attempting to unlock everything. I love me some Legos; I love me some Star Wars, and Lego Stars Wars 3 provided plenty of opportunities to once more express that love all within the glee of whatever little innocence remains within.

4. Dead Space 2

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Both Dead Space 2 and its predecessor are two of the very few games I've actually been awarded the Platinum for. I think that alone speaks to how much hell I'm currently enjoying out of this franchise. Now while I still prefer the slower and more horror-orientated pacing of the original, Dead Space 2 does in no way take itself down the kind of path I wouldn't like, and more so just drifts down an alternate path over Dead Space Senior. The shooting is still some of the best around, the over-arching storyline is now starting to get surprisingly broad and interesting, and man, Necromorphs can still be damn intimidating under most circumstances.

Dead Space 2 is the kind of game that takes around 7-8 hours, yet can still keep you stuck in for around 15-20. Much like Dead Space Uno, I sucked Dead Space 2 dry, I cut off every limb and I, as mentioned earlier, got me that platinum. I completed the Impossible, and all I want is more.

3. Saints Row The Third

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God I love this series. The Saints Row series, no matter the tone it's drenched in, is still one of the best at allowing you to wreak havoc the way you want with the character you want. Saints Row 2 probably hit this same position for my non-existent 2008 GOTY list (which I should maybe make one day...) and it's crazy how each game has ranked so high for me, yet for differing reasons each time.

The original Saints Row it was all about the placeholder for the next GTA; Saints Row 2, it was all bout the crafting of its own identity and the tremendous list of stuff to do And not to mention the ever-surprising story made up of great voice work, writing and a dozen moments that I'll never forget (nor can, considering the amount of times I completed it). And now Saints Row The Third, with it's significantly improved production values, heartily expanded character-creator, overall improved Boss voice selection and some of the greatest moments across the entire franchise - which, speaking as a bit of a fanboy towards SR2, is saying a damn lot. While I'll always wish for what-could-have-been, had The Third not severed a startling amount of the side stuff nor replaced their vibrant, colourful urban areas for a starch, lifeless shell during the process, that never stopped me from yet again noticing the 100+ hour dump at the top of my in-game's statistics sheet.

2. inFAMOUS 2

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As long as Sucker Punch keep doin' what they doin', then everytime they release an inFAMOUS game, it's sure to star amongst that very GOTY list for me. inFAMOUS 2 sticks very close to the original like it was a conjoined twin, and is one of the few sequels that didn't feel fit to lob off something in exchange for something else. inFAMOUS 2 is inFAMOUS but with more powers, better graphics, a city that isn't completely coated in grey and a new story - and that's all I could of asked for from an inFAMOUS sequel. Hell, they even ''somehow'' turned Zeke into a surprisingly likeable guy as well... for that alone, Sucker Punch deserves a piece of my heart.

1. Dark Souls

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I haven't even completed Dark Souls and yet I am still fully confident in placing it as my Number 1. for this year. Well, I say I haven't completed it, but my main character is quite literally at the end-boss. I just can't beat him because my character's a bit of a mess, build-wise. I've still all the same plugging in a massive investment of days and nights, playing through with multiple characters, and just doing a huge degree of farming with my main. I loved everything to do with Demon's Souls, and Dark Souls is essentially Demon's Souls but better. A more varied enemy design, a seem-less world (that does still suffer from some near insufferable frame-rate issues, however) and the same freedom to create your character however you want.

Dark Souls is even more intimidating for its scope and complete lack of guidance for the most part, but that only makes it all the more satisfying to uncover the many mysteries the game holds. Dark Souls is ''exactly'' like something I've already played before, but that doesn't stop the surprises and the drowning density of wonder for me to quickly lose myself to.


Dark Souls is harder than Demon's Souls... Like, a lot.

I mean Holy Sexual Intercourse, Batman! This bastard is a real a bitch! I will always attest to Demon's Souls having a bit of a steep learning curve with a nasty metaphorical guillotine for any error in your play-style, but at the same time Demon's Souls wasn't all that particularly hard. Once you got the main path sorted (after a few dozen deaths to be sure) I at least could swim my way across. I could very easily play through Demon's Souls now and probably only die very sparingly, and only against some of the more aggravating bosses where I might just lose my patience.

I've always still thought that describing the difficulty for Demon's Souls is a tricky task because it's so varied and elaborate. I mean I'm of the faction that believes that Demon's Souls wasn't particularly difficult (least during the original run; those new-game+'s can be a right bastard) minus a couple of boss battles. I died, a lot, to be sure but as many can relate, it was most-often down to my own folly. I played Demons Souls straight from the get-go, too, (a US import for £52's... I literally to this day still don't entirely know why I ponied that much up for a game I knew little about besides its notorious difficulty and its setting) with no massive archive to walk you through virtually everything. I was a melee-focused Priest because I didn't even know Priests could learn magic and figured you were tied down to your characters strengths to the end like most class-based RPG games.

I was completely unprepared; my main weaponry consisted of a holy mace with the dark-silver shield for defense, and the large sword of moonlight for my offensive maneuvers. At that point, upgrading weapons was lost on for me the most part when it came to the unique weapons; I got my mace+shield pretty high up, though my moonlight sword stayed right at the bottom of the upgrade chain. It still completely kicked ass, though, for both PVE and PVP. I had some basic bow for the occasional long-range, and of course there were my miracles to administer buffs and such. A lot of the most hidden secrets were lost on me, and by the time I first completed the game I still had no notion of the world-tendency and character morality malarkey. Suffice to say, I played Demon's Souls only touching the surface, only equipped with the basics, and I prevailed fairly easily in the long run. I did still farm a lot, too, so I was always readily equipped with healing-supplies and other kinds of doodads.. Like I said, a couple of bosses would keep me cornered for a short while (I mean trying to beat the Flamelurker with a melee focused character on your first playthrough was a nightmare), though some extra soul players helped that out. But overall the game was fairly smooth for me; I even completed a few new-game+'s with that same character, too, though I faltered greatly during more of the PVP stuff since I still hadn't worked out much more about the game by that time.

Dark Souls on the other hand... well... that's just downright tough. To note the most obvious handicaps it's decided to pile on now above everything else:

  • The movement is significantly more skewed and slow, even when you're wearing light armour. No more rolling around, following a roll directly with another ='(.
  • The combat animations, too, feel even more deliberate and also makes Demon's Souls appear more arcadey in comparison.
  • The enemies are much more unpredictable, can now more often parry/backstab.
  • Enemies can also follow you much more prominently, and even the enemies you attempt to avoid will catch up with you again sometime, often getting from you behind when you least expect it.
  • Far as I know, I still haven't been introduced to someone who can sell me poison antidotes (I've just beaten the armoured bull for reference at my current progress), yet they still seem fit to throw G-Virus induced rats at you with a strong poison rate.
  • I still haven't found a guy to sell me a bow yet. I'm constricted with this shitty crossbow and the only 15 bolts I've accumulated thus far after my, predicted, 8-10 hours of playtime.
  • There are enemies you outright can't even kill now?! Least not without a weapon imbued with magic I assume?
  • Dark Souls own ''Dragon guarding a bridge'' also attacks much more randomly; sometimes it'll simply start breathing fire soon as I enter the black recesses, sometimes it'll give me enough time to reach the staircase.
  • Seriously, those giant rats are a real headsore.
  • You can't stock up on like 9999999 healing items anymore?!
  • They introduce the kick and jump-attack abilities, yet make them so cumbersome to perform.
  • The targeting is still a nightmare, but that hasn't changed from Demon's Souls. But put into the context of this much (imo at least) harder game, it results in even more frustration should it occasionally falter and force me to target the wrong enemy or make my camera roll around like i'm on a rollercoaster when an enemy dives past or falls of a cliff ect.
  • Severely limited spell/miracle use! With no replenishing items!

Now.. with all that, let me be clear: I still fucking love this game and the tears are still of happiness and joy (with a slight pinch of bitter). The urine is still from complete fear and petrification, however. I'm just commenting on my observation as to how... shit... they really stood by their word with making Dark Souls even harder. Some of it does seem a little unfair, the like the more constrained movement controls, but overall it is just From Software adding even more shit to the creek for you to sail up. While also puncturing your boat, naturally. I mean like my e-peen ejaculation up there reads, I considered Demon's Souls a unique challenge, asking of me nothing that many games these days ask of me. Even with such a tough ruleset to swallow when playing Demon's Souls, I found it to be a fairly smooth fit once I got a lot of the basic mechanics and fundamentals nailed. At this point I'd consider myself a veteran even, with the scars to prove it! But damn, man... Dark Souls is a whole other beast.

It reminds me of this level in Resident Evil: Outbreak File 2 (bear with me here...) where you'll have to face against a mutated Tyrant with large claws and a huge pile of rotten caviar resting on his back. He was a mean SOB, and always made you fear for your characters life whenever his theme music started, alerting you to his presence. Once you'd beat him and go through a specific set of gameplay motifs, you'd find yourself up on the room. Once there, you see the Tyrant once again within your view; he's climbing the building, but he looks tired and downright battered. Then this giant slushy, jelly-plant-thing called Nyx appears and envelops him, absorbs him. The Tyrant, a creature fittingly feared, trumped by an even bigger, nastier pile of fuckery. It took everything you new about how to contend with the Tyrant and forced you to flush it. Naturally the analogy of course features the Tyrant as Demon's Souls and Nyx as Dark Souls. Stupid, mostly irrelevant, but... I got nothin'.

TL;DR Dark Souls is much harder than I was anticipating, even with so many Demon's Souls neatly tucked under my belt.



Hack em, Beat em, Stick em In A Stew: Dark Alliance.

Long before the whole second coming of the APOCALYPS3 was struck down I was brushing on my PS2 collection and refurbishing it with some old school, dungeon crawlin' up em beatin' son of a bitches. Most I had planned to finally check out, and with the gaming drought that cropped up (more so because of the lack of any new appealing releases to me than the lack of online) I got me browsing through Amazon for some cheevo-less cheapos. Including the likes of the Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance games, the spiritual successors, Champions of Norrath, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks and Justice League Heroes.

Most of which were all developed by the same Snowblind Studios, most of which were reviewed by Ryan Davis during the early GSing days, all of which allow, and prosper, with cooperative gameplay. I've played through all, though some are being left behind after only an inklings entry because of how much I'd rather play them with a fellow adventurer (see: Champions of Norrath), but I've completed a good chunk of the lot and I'll make do with what's left to assure that I'll have a pretty justified opinion for the ones I bloggeth.

To start off this lil series of ''guy playing games'' will be Dark Alliance: one of the most recognisable dungeon crawlers of all time and one that brought the genre that was otherwise barely existent on consoles.

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Now I'm going into this 11 years too late, but criticism where it's due shall be delivered, and Dark Alliance deserves plenty of it. I should also note that I didn't go into this expecting a dungeon crawler from 2011, or anything resembling more modern conventions, but the thing with dungeon crawlers is is that they really haven't changed all that much from the age of Diablo furthering Blizzard's dominance within everything - which, much like the genre, hasn't really changed all that much actually - and Dark Alliance really just isn't all that outstanding as a dungeon crawler. 

The usual complaints that would surround such an old game also what weren't that factored into things either. For starters I actually really liked the games graphics, with the water being pretty damn impressive when viewing it from the mindset that this is from the beginning of the last decade. There were plenty of games later on that could only wet dream themselves such brilliant water physics...teehee. The battle animations are pretty smooth, as is the whole production of the game, which is no doubt what made this game so impressive at the time. Quality wise this can still be appreciated as a well produced game, but the gameplay is something else.. something old.. something pure... something.. really gosh darn tedious.

Oh hey hold the phucking phone... tedium in a dungeon crawler?! Mon dieu!...

 Maybe I should make this a trademark...
 Maybe I should make this a trademark...

The thing with dungeon crawlers is they are generally built around tedious combat, but the one thing that keeps pulling you in is the enigmatic character-driven story! The multitude of new loot to find! And the in your face elven nudity!

OK, well maybe not the first and last, but the middle reasoning with the loot is true. And that there is what festers and decays the game from within: the loot is awful. There's barely any of it, with you plundering mostly rubbish to sell, and scraps of gold, that eventually allow you to afford the best stuff in the game from the shop... the shop?! I don't go dungeon crawling to search for stuff just so I can sell just so I can buy my weapons and armour! Well to some extent since you're here to ransack treasures, but treasures such as lost trinkets, mystical weapons and awesome looking capes! The only bone this game throws you are actual bones. There are numerable boss battles as well, but they too virtually award you nothing, and their defeat most often results with their corpse spewing out a couple of potions with maybe a ''worn dagger''. There's really not that many armour sets either - or rather there are armour sets, they just all happen to look the same. But that admittedly can be forgiven as a way of the times.

 Oh and seriously, great lighting in this game.     
 Oh and seriously, great lighting in this game.     
During my first playthrough I also played as the Dwarven Warrior. I don't usually strive for the warrior position, I'll admit, but c'mon, Dwarf! Unfortunately that was another step added to this continuously bumpy fall down to the bottom. As the warrior you're expected to rely on your brute strength and the handy ability to mash X through everything. With the warrior in Dark Alliance that class design really wants to stick to the letter. There's only three abilities that the Warrior can, two of which are each exclusive to a particular weapon; so never would you have more than two abilities as a warrior. Unfortunately my love for the sword+shield combo overwhelmed me and that's what I piled my points into, which left me with a single ability to make use of--an aggressive charge attack--and one that is so un-accurate that the only good it was was for just getting across the environments easier. I understand Dwarfs have small legs, but did you really have to limit his speed like he actually was a Dwarf trying to make his through miles of dungeon? I did also try out the Sorceress a little and she certainly appeared to be a much more expansive and complex character to master, but at that point I was already done. Plus the balancing between the classes is freakin' rough; trying to solo as a Sorceress really wasn't what the developers intended. 
I did also try a bit of cooperative as well, with my little brother, but we got stuck at the Undead Raising Orb of *generic demon thing/historical city something* because maybe it was two players were involved, but the game, on normal mode, really ratcheted up the difficulty to annoying lengths. The Orb's health would barely drop with every attack from either us, and we'd always die through exhaustion of potions the bloody battle would always take so long.

So with little loot to look forward and a character that literally had me just stampede the X button through combat, you can imagine that this particular dungeon crawl was even less of a crawl and more of a strange, awkward woddle. 

Her keys are kept in between her tits.       
Her keys are kept in between her tits.       
The story is peppered with characters all well voiced, including Jennifer Hale voicing a busty bar owner who looks like she got her implants from the same surgeon who handled the DOA chicks, and Tony Jay voicing this weird demon thing that looks like something out of the classic Doom games. The story itself is pretty generic, fantasy fair, even though it's set in a very well developed and expansive fiction. Story never has played a strong focus in these sorts of games, and merely act as an easy backdrop for some murderin'. This one provides just that, including your very first quest that actually tasks you to empty out an infested cellar.. a cellar infested with GIANT RATS. The final section is kinda inept, though, as it then decides to actually lay on you some sort of in depth back-story to what's going on, all told by a ghost that talks more than every other character you've met prior combined. There was also this uncalled for emphasis on how special, and how affected we were supposed to be, by this end villain who is only introduced in the very last few seconds of the game, as if they were legitimately wanting us to appreciate the story. By that time not only had I forgot practically everyones name I was literally just rushing past all the enemies, decked in the best armour and gear because the game also decided to vomit the games entire wealth of stuff everywhere during the last area, and praying for the credits to scroll.

There's a fair variety of environments to slowly ''Bull Rush'' your way through too, with the cellar/sewers probably being my favourite just for their iconic relevance to this genre, and also sporting some of the best music in the game - and this game has some awesome music. Which along with the graphics, voice acting and water physics, Dark Alliance holds up surprisingly well on a production stand point. The gameplay, whether that is down to the test of time and the sheer number of dungeon crawlers that can be found on consoles these days, is a monotonous bore, though, and one that I'm glad I've gotten behind me.

Now Dark Alliance 2, on the other hand...


My Late Game Completathon - Part III!

Hey, remember this???? No?.. Well, fuck it, It's back in all its amateurish ( especially highlight by each blog's altered title ) and uncreative ( another blog about games that some douche played - wonderful! ) glory! I was planning on basing my third edition on a couple of PS1 classics - most notably Vagrant Story and Abe's Oddysee, but as it turns out... those games haven't aged all too well, as is the way with most PS1 games when taking your first step, instead of stepping back in. In any case there were still plenty of candidates, but generalised laziness halted me back. I've been meaning to get back into at least posting one more recently because of all of the PS2 games I've been getting into. And, well, here we are! Or at least where I are. Is this thing on?!
Also should note no custom made banners on this corner of the blogosphere since I'm virtually talentless in... everything... so it's all left to whatever GB's text editor can give me... don't forget your coats!

Shadow of Rome For The PS2

      You know this guy's to be feared for the obvious element of shamelessness and seriousness to walk around with the end of a broom on the top of his head
      You know this guy's to be feared for the obvious element of shamelessness and seriousness to walk around with the end of a broom on the top of his head

 ''No, that is not Solid Snake!''
 ''No, that is not Solid Snake!''
Why it took so long? - Actually this is one that I've already played, a lot, way when it was seen as one of the best looking games to find on consoles. I took a gamble with it since during that time the idea of video games journalism was pretty foreign to me, with reviews and the like, and I mostly based my purchases off the trailers shown on TV. Yup, I was one of those gamers. In any case I got this solely for it being a CAPCOM game - and back then CAPCOM were the Gods of gaming and one of the few developers that I bothered to remember the name of. I freakin' loved it and it nestled nicely as one of my all time favourite games on the PS2. Unfortunately I lost it during the time between then and now, and my love for this game forced me to virtually trek to a copy, and one did I trek! For about £4 at that.

What I thought - 6-7 years later, and it still stands! Shadow of Rome was well known for, at its time, the rather unique concept of basing its story and gameplay around the Gladiatorial games of Roman History. Gladiator buzz had certainly died down by that time, after a recent resurface with 2000's Gladiator, but still proved to be an excellent take. It made great use of the themes with a fairly slow paced, gore filled combat resume neatly woven around a not-very-authentic-but-still-entertaining take on the assassination of Julius Caesar. There were parts that featured a more linear focused brawler design, but the majority of the game had you playing out a small variety of Gladiator modes, ranging from simple death-matches, saving damsels, to single handedly assaulting small Fortresses, that pretty much always resulted in limbs soaring through the sky. A handsome selection of weapons, all with their own weight and undeniable feeling of power made Shadow of Rome's combat one to remember.

 Well now,
 Well now,
The game also featured some stealth sections too, where you then switched from Agrippa (the fighter of the two) to Octavianus, who also looked suspiciously a lot like a certain other wall shimmying, wall tapping stealth protagonist. They were very mid-2000s esque stealth sections as well, with terrible AI tropes that while unrealistic, were still the most plausible way to make the stealth bearable. You could don disguises to traverse through areas Octavianus would otherwise not be to allowed to traverse, but the strict rules for this kind of play were insane, but also, again, expected for the time. Running was considered suspicious and even picking up a piece of fruit was enough for one of the eagle eyed chamber maids to spot through your fascade and realise you're a cold blooded Hitman!.. Or at least a vicious, murderous robber of fruit. The fact that you're also a guy with a hair-cut out of Final Fantasy walking around in suits of armour that are so clearly 10 sizes too big for him, however, never made anyone blink.  

 doesn't this particular CAPCOM duo look familiar?
 doesn't this particular CAPCOM duo look familiar?
The stealth sections mostly acted as segways for the story, and a little break from the combat. They didn't last all too long fortunately, and they weren't all that difficult besides the final few. Even still, playing through it then (and naturally all the more now) all I wanted to do was get back into the action of whacking someone to death with their own arm. The story that ties it all together was also surprisingly well told, with a pretty strong cast of serviceable voice actors - including Scott Menville performing with what appears to be the only voice he can muster, and a Senator who looks like he was facially modeled after Anthony Hopkins (though was voiced Peter Reneday). It's a huge conspiracy story, with pretty predictable twists, but non the less an entertainingly silly affair that gives you more motivation to cut off limps than to simply enjoy cutting off limbs.

The soundtrack is also phenomenal, and one of my favourites from the entire CAPCOM library. It had a subtle mix of JRPG-ish tunes, with the grandiose feeling of awe that historically themed orchestral songs so often leave you with. Marvelous *re-positions monocle*

Will I play through it again? - I've already completed it a few times now, though it's one of those games that I'll enjoy heading back to after so long, just because it's that special and immensely fun to play through. It's aged surprisingly well, with some crisp graphics, brilliant facial animations and intense gameplay. It's rather clunky, though, which'll no doubt keep people from taking advantage of such an underrated gem as this, but for people who are accustomed to the traditional clunkiness of CAPCOM's games of old(ish) enjoys hammy handed voice acting (another CAPCOM tradition) with some memorably OTT hack n slash, and haven't played Shadow of Rome, I fully recommend you give it a look! Not much to lose for the price it can be found at these days, no doubt.

Also Centurion Gorilla Gladiators.


Metal Gear Solid: Special Missions AKA Mission Failed - The Game! For The PS1

 Ninja facepalm!
 Ninja facepalm!

Why it took so long? - Actually, this is another that I played the oozing shit out of when it was new.. yes, I know, this entire blog series has lost all consistency! 

BUT!! And that's an all-capitalised but:

Like Shadow of Rome before it I lost this through the years of house moving, bedroom switching, and the nightmarish manner of a disorganised teen. I decided that I wanted it once more within my possession, though, just for me considering it a fairly rare title - whether anyone disagrees or not! I need my niche dammit! - and alongside the original Metal Gear Solid, played a focal point of my childhood era of gaming. So I got it! £8's worth of got to be exact, which is pretty unfair when put against Shadow of Rome for half that price, but c'est vie. 

No Caption Provided
What I thought -  It's a PS1 game, so naturally the game wasn't as rough around the edges as it's like brushing against the inside of an iron maiden. It's virtually (quite literally in a sense) an expansion pack to the original 1998's Metal Gear Solid. Speaking for that alone the game is tough to get into even for newcomers, never mind people who used to fap at the graphics, back when faces that looked like they were drawn on with a pencil where the epitome of production values. But yeeah, the graphics aren't an issue really. They have themselves a interestingly vintage look, and I at least have always been a fan of the blocky Minecraftion characters ( kinda paradox-ic to call PS1 graphics Minecrafty, instead of the other way round I know ) of the PS1 in games such as this. 

So Special Missions is simply a huge bundle of VR missions - much like the VR missions more people will remember in MGS2: Substance, or even the few in the original Metal Gear Solid too. There's no story ( though this entry does creatively factor into things down the line ) and is made up of you playing as Snake, more as an avatar than a character, going through an ensemble of cleverly designed trials within numerous categories. You'll begin with the staple sneaking missions, which pull you through 15 levels of increasingly complex arenas, trying to get from one point to the next while avoiding the Genome ( winter variety, oddly enough ) soldiers. Eventually you'll unlock Weapon levels, which instead ask of you to kill all enemies you encounter, sometimes without being seen. As you scale through the percentage meter of what the game has to offer, though, it starts introducing weirder and weirder levels. You'll find yourself facing off against Godzilla parodies in the form of gigantic Genome soldiers; you'll be knocking down guards into pits one after another like they were domino's; you'll shooting down UFO's; you'll be solving murders and, eventually, you'll be roaming around as Grayfox himself with the goal of assassinating Solid Snake who actually joined the Genome Soldiers.


Like I said... weird. But under a more positive light: inventive. They were what made Special Missions for me so memorable and downright gob-smacking. Kojima's blatant sense of kooky humour was being shown to a new generation of masses through Special Missions, and in general remains as one of my favourite Metal Gear Solids, oddly enough. It's all brilliant in concept, but put against the test of time implicates a significant drop for the enjoyment.

 Pretty much as awesome as it looks
 Pretty much as awesome as it looks
Resident Evil ( as a franchise, more than a single game I know, but still a relevant compari-OH FUCK YOU! ) had its controversial limit of 'no walking while shooting', and Metal Gear Solid had a plain and simple 'no walking' restriction. As such it made sneaking about pretty darn cumbersome, and since the entire world was put on high alert just the by the mere sight of Snake, it made the accidental ''one step too close'' occurrence when trying to hug someone by the neck far too common. It was pretty infuriating in Metal Gear Solid, and when put within a handful of Virtual Reality missions, most of which fail should Snake be spotted, asks for a high degree of patience as the number one requirement. The game also does feature a first person view, but only for.. observational purposes - such as taking pictures of a SUPER HAWT PS1 QUALITY MEI LING, YUM! You can't use the FP view to help better line up a shot with your weapon, and the persistent isometric view allows for a significantly skewed amount of aiming freedom. That then bleeds into a lot of the Weapon missions when you required a great deal of accuracy, and the grenade missions in particular benefited the most to prove how dated the gameplay has become. 

Fortunately, the more creative missions manage to stay fresh thanks to its quirky aesthetic of literally leaving you with nothing to predict just WTF is coming up next. Or at least it would if I hadn't spoiled what to expect in the previous paragraph. Non the less, Special Missions is a game I'm glad to have on my shelf once again, and for what it helped me relive, I'm grateful for.

Should be noted that this also requires a copy of the original MGS as well to play. Everytime you want to play Special Missions, you have to put in the MGS disc. Plus it doesn't work on a PS3 either so.... PATIENCE!

Will I play through it again? - I've downed my last Genola for a good long while I think.

The Red Star For The PS2

Wonder how popular this is on Gamebomb.ru
Wonder how popular this is on Gamebomb.ru

Why it took so long? - NO, this is not another that I'm more so reliving the memories with. This entry right here is a gawd dayum, bona fide, true as tinsel first timer for me. WE'RE BACK ON TRACK! Or rather I'm back on the right track.. or maybe now I've opted for the wrong track?? Or m-

I only recently heard about this through a tweet by VinceNotVance, appreciatively enough, who I think was complimenting the PSP release. I didn't have a PSP, so I opted for the PS2 version instead and we lived happy ever after.

What I thought - It's really rather good, taking cues from a lot of the Arcade days of top down shootin, side scrollin beat-em-ups, but in 3D, and in the same game! Generally the game plays along as a pretty satisfying action/adventure, almost akin to something like DMC, with some intuitive combos to unleash through a blend of melee and ranged weapons. The neat trick is how sometimes it'll revert from the side scrolling action to a top down shooter, which is usually the calling card for one of the dozen upon dozens of mid-game boss battles that you'll encounter. The boss battles also then initiate a kind of Bullet Hell scenario with sometimes of up to hundreds of shiny, futuristic bullets completely covering the entire screen.

 It's not quite at the complexity of Portal 2; but, y'know.. team work is still appreciated.
 It's not quite at the complexity of Portal 2; but, y'know.. team work is still appreciated.
The problem is is how firmly the Arcading style of the game sticks. There's little of a story ( though I'm to believe this is based on a pretty story heavy manga ) with each mission giving you a briefing from a guy who has the single portrait of looking like he dropped a hammer on his little toe--that or he watched the evil Ring tape--and gives strikingly little detail on just what the F is going on. Russians, anime, evil robots and bullets... lots and lots of bullets. That's pretty much all I got.

It has two initial characters, with an unlockable third, and they all have their own distinctive playing style that's enough to differentiate the characters when playing as one over another besides their obvious cosmetic differences. Cooperative play is also in full effect, and comes with the usual fun and frustration depending who you decide to coop with. Speaking for an ideal partnership, the games works perfectly with a fellow/fellowess at your side and makes the otherwise shallow template much easier to ignore. The difficulty is neatly balanced as well, giving you a real breeze through the first couple of stages, but naturally ratchets up the enemies ( to which there was a surprising variety of ). Fortunately, there are upgrades to attain via your accumulated points from completion of the stages, but it's more related to you trying to keep up with the enemy, rather than attempting to RPG your character into an unstoppable juggernaut.

Will I play through it again? - More than likely. So far I've only completed it as the one character, and the gameplay's arcadey charm still contains that addictive nature of heading back in just to add a few extra numbers on to your own Leaderboard. And even if I don't, for a fiver this gave me a pretty lil bundle of play-time and one I'd recommend to most, if they haven't already shelled for the PSP version.

And that's that. Felt good to actually put some effort towards a blog again, AND YOU CAN TOO! Now I leave you with this track from Yakuza 4 to which is still, since the games release, festering within the inner reaches of whatever part of the brain memories are stored. Just because the more videos and pictures the more chance you won't piss this off to watch that QL Giantbomb just pos-FUCK!


Heavy Rain Is Purty Darn Cool. Also spoilers.. just incase.

I generally like rain, and now, thanks to Quantic Dreams, I really quite like me some Heavy Rain as well! I also really enjoyed Qunatic Dreams previous morality adventure endeavorer, Fahrenheit (better known as Indigo Prophecy), quite a fair bit--though I actually only played that for the first time sometime early last year--but, as anyone who's played it also can attest it, that game had some issues. And not just the kind of issues where you go about assassinating specific individuals while under hypnosis. In fact even to this day I still haven't completed it, and left it during one of the later flash back stealth sections. Seriously, fuck those sections with a ritualistic dagger! So terribly uneven with the guards line of sight, the camera controls and.. it really just isn't any fun.
From what I've also heard from people who braved the torment of hearing ''stop or I'll shoot'' over and over, the ending segments that begin to wrap up the story really weren't even worth the hassle to begin with. Which is a shame, since I was really diggin' the story, the characters, and the incredibly innovative tale telling design and atmosphere it loved to flaunt in every scene.

It was this contrasting praise against my skepticism built around Indigo's final few sections that kept me away from Heavy Rain for so long, until only around a week ago, actually. I was admiring it from a far, but I still wasn't entirely convinced, and not to mention my own money needing to be spent on games I'm more assured to find some appeal. I buy a lot of sequels for example.. 
Anywhoo, I did finally take the final step towards a Heavy Rain purchase, thanks to turboman oddly enough during the last Shadowy Cabal Podcast and his compliments towards it being such a really great game. 

That's right. The mentally challenged and never not drooling offspring of HS21, Jazz, Turbo, and Godlyawesomeguy made a sale... You know when your podcast is moving up (to selling out!??!) when it maybe potentially scoring you royalty cheques..

And now with all of that pointless and no doubt dreary exposition out of the way, onto the game! 


Heavy Rain is.. really kinda-sorta-awesome, and is now no doubt one of my favourite games of 2010. I mean it's so much better than Fahrenheit. The games dripping and constantly bleak atmosphere and direction is fantastic, and pulls greatly against my love of detective thrillers. The game has quite a few glaring problems even still, but compared to what the game gives within its positives would be like I'm nit picking. Though no, some of the problems do really stick out and need to be addressed... The movement is a common complaint and well deserved. It is reminiscent of the old Resident Evil games, yet a whole heap more sluggish. Sometimes it feels like my character's trying to walk through a river.. going with the theme of the Heaviness of Rain maybe (not), but still unforgivable. I could get behind you needing to hold a button to move - or rather I could tolerate, not so understand it; the actual movement is bleedin' terrible. So often would my character get latched between two pieces of furniture and my attempts to escape this hell would result in him/her constantly just turning around over and over. It didn't ruin the game or anything, but when put against the high quality of so much else the game delivers it was made more evident, and no doubt helped ruin the serious immersion, such as Ethan Mars being too busy to bond with his only son because he's in the midst of humping this park bench.

 I just wish there a button to punch this guy similar to Ethan's ''JAY-SON'' button.
 I just wish there a button to punch this guy similar to Ethan's ''JAY-SON'' button.
The gameplay is otherwise very well done, with some clever uses of QTE's, to while are mostly frowned upon and seen as lazy design, in Heavy Rain they make the bulk of the game and triumph with the variety and how fitting it all meshes into the game. Similar to Fahrenheit, the characters can perform all kinds of mundane activities.. just because. It's a brilliant way to help you sort of make up your own character development, and is otherwise just a pretty way of showing the human sides. If anything, the game occasionally resembled The Sims.  The many more dangerous situations involving chases, split second morality decisions and fisti-cuffs also made for some surprisingly intense sequences. I especially loved how should you fail a button press your character will just carry on, just with a slight fumble up to show that you're action (or mis-action) is noted. Again, how the QTE's are handled within these are excellent and manages to make you feel like you're still very much apart of the action thats transpiring. It's also no doubt some of the best use of the sixaxis within a game thus far. Really is quite satisfying to beat down a door by throwing your controller out a window.

There were moments that the QTE's proved to be rather tricky, and tough to pull off. Most notably the half/quarter circle directional inputs, to which under high pressure are made to be incredibly difficult over every other kind of QTE the game threw at you. My own reactionary senses could be to blame for the most part, but sometimes when I was sure I done it correctly would the game still cancel it out. A lot of times it proved to be finicky, and under the around 1.5 second timer you're given to make the moves, it would leave me with a lot mistakes. It's understandable to have some difficulty within the proceedings, but on the other hand it also took out my ability to create my own interpretation of Heavy Rain. I mean I lost my very own Nahmen Jayden because of those slight inaccuracies and he was my favowit ='(

It's appreciated and refreshing for a game to have you live with your own mistakes and too carry on regardless of how a situation is carried out, but when it's because of the games sometimes inaccurate and unfair demands of input sequences, it was made to be a lot less enjoyable. 

goddamnasthmaIhopeitstopsraining  soon
goddamnasthmaIhopeitstopsraining  soon
The story and how the amount of say was still pretty brilliant non the less. The story's arc was more or less set in stone, but determining how each member of four leading cast would act and react would fantastic. And it made for some freakin' tough situations down the line, with the single dad, Ethan, really taking the brunt of Heavy Rain's sadistic ways to torture them. And even though these were just virtual blocks of pixels, they were incredibly endearing and there were choices within the game that had me actually sit and think about the consequences. There's no other game so far that inspired that train of thought and had me take a step back to imagine the bigger picture of things, and just which was best. Not even franchises such as the Mass Effect and Dragon Age games could bring out such commitment. The voice acting had its ups and downs, though. Most of the main characters are voiced by English VA's and manage to do the American accents pretty well; other characters don't fair as well such as a hooker that PI Scott Shelby kinda teams up with, Lauren, really looks to be having a tough time keeping the French dialect at bay. One flashback scene that has you playing as a kid clearly wasn't even trying. I'm surprised he doesn't just outright shout sacre bleu. The main cast is again mostly well done with regards to their performance, but Sam Douglas' (Scott Shelby) often machine gun fire delivery with his lines can be unintentionally hilarious at times. His character of Scott coincidentally has an asthma condition as well.. which is ironic to find him puffing an inhaler one moment to completely spewing out his lines like he's being fast forwarded the next. Criticisms towards the voice acting can't be said without Ethan's own ''JAY...SON'' fit within the mall either.. I mean really, did he record half of the name one day then finish it off the next?? Putting those aside though, the characters were still well executed, and I certainly cared for a lot of their fates. Which is what left me genuinely feeling kinda down during the ending.

The end of the game had me left with close to no-one alive, and I was sitting through no doubt one of the more depressing endings of the game. It really was kinda haunting, and had me thinking things over for a few hours afterwards; what if I done this, what if this character survived, what if this character didn't? And I'll most likely never know either! The one weird thing this game gave me was a kind of closure. Even though Heavy Rain ended on a kinda fitting low note, there are so many interpretations of what could happened, which made this journey of mine feels more personal, and one I wouldn't really want to tarnish just to get a lot of ''what if'' alternatives. Which again sets this game apart from so many others for me - someone who generally adores games with plenty of replay value, yet with Heavy Rain was left with it going to waste for the sake of authenticity of my own playthrough. 

Really is such a bewildering game, and made to be so vividly memorable for its own uniquities as much as its excellent cast of emotionally driven characters and stylistic story. I wouldn't say it's exactly bulldozing the boundaries of story within games, though it most definitely does give you one that stands out amongst the pile. Equally a movie as a game, titles like Heavy Rain are the ones that are bringing forth a more mature story telling design and are to be lauded for its attempts at bridging the gap (or at least continuing where Fahrenheit left off) between two of the most popular kinds media in the world. I can not wait for Quantic Dream's next particularly tuned adventure title, and whatever it is, thanks to Heavy Rain, I'm sure it won't take me around a year to finally catch up to it.

Double the Demo's, Twice the Impressions!

No Caption Provided

Now there's already 101 threads dedicated to peoples own opinions towards the Dragon Age 2 demo, but with so many then surely another can't hurt? And if it does BIG WHUP, WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT
So, Dragon Age 2.. I was a day late with my own indulgence into the origins (Or singular origin I should say) of Hawke due to the PS3 being my online proprietor of choice, which while in the UK also unexplainably leaves all PS store updates to take place the day after.. usually at around 4pm as well, for the added insult. In any case, wednesday arrived, and my own playthroughs through these small snippets began! 

Dragon Age 2 as an demo

It's pretty shoddy, overall. It definitely gives a good taste of what to expect but only in its simplest forms. You engage in a few battles, level up a little and get the chance to converse a few times, but no Hawke customisation, looted armour/weapons to equip and an incredibly rushed turn to the recruiting of Isabella has not left me with the feeling that this demo is all that it could be. Especially when you compare it to the Mass Effect 2 demo released this year, which gave maybe almost an hours worth of content in there? With everything you needed to experience to understand the aspects of Mass Effect 2. 
It's not the worst demo ever, mind you, and the combat portions certainly do a grand job of setting you up on how the game plays. Being able to enjoy the exaggerated takes on the story via Varric was a very nice touch, sisterly mammoth tits and all! 
The dialogue choices in between all the action brake up the pace nicely much like you'd expect, and give a good representation of just what sort of ''emotes'' you can expect, and then some. No idea what the ''diamond'' emote means. 

Dragon Age 2 on the ps3

Now this is also where the demo began to lose me a little. Overall, it's a massive improvement from how Origins ran on the PS3, but little inklings still exist; such as there always being a slight pause when combat will transition to cutscenes, aswell as stuttering during conversations at that. The worst of all is one that has been brought forth from Origins itself. The glitch that should you enter the wheel too fast when combat is initiated, it'll completely reverse the properties with the game pausing when the wheels down, and in motion when the wheels up! Looks like BioWare took the 'importing from Origins'' feature a little too seriously. The main problem, however, is that during Origins when this happened all I had to do was pause the game to revert everything to normal... not in DA2, I'm afraid, which required to exit the bloody game! 
I also really didn't enjoy having to constantly press X over and over for the character I'm controlling to attack. Fortunately that can be turned off, but why it wasn't an option brings me back to why this was just a really weird and lame demo. It's still well above the technical prowess of Origins non the less, so one step at a time, I guess.. 

Dragon Age 2 as an RPG

This is totally a Dragon Age game! It plays very similar to its previous console counterpart, and even with some improvements this time around, like actually allowing you to stack up a command per party member, instead of instantly reverting to gameplay once you selected an action for a single party member. 
The style of it is also lookin' pretty good, though from what they shown in the demo isn't anything that'll strike you nor give you much reason to believe otherwise. A great deal more animations at least give the game a new coat of polish. The melee animations I don't like as much, though; more specifically with the 2H weapons. In Origins they really felt like they carried all this weight, while in DA2 it's all so swift and doesn't match the feeling of power nor the brute force that is required in Origins. Mages are significantly better, though, I'll admit. Especially since they can use their staves as a melee weapon should the need arise. 
The voice acting is another mixed affair, similar to Origins I suppose, with some pretty good performances (Varric is really rather awesome) to some downright flat attempts at emotion. (is my mum doped on pain killers or something?) 
The classes all feel so much more distinctive over another, and while some cuts are pretty sucky, such as no bows for warriors, it makes sense in the grand scheme and assures you that each class will give you a radically different kind of Hawke. Speaking of Hawke, it's tough to judge at this point, but from what I've seen s/he's fine at this point I think. It is nice to have your character have a voice, even if it is at the sacrifice at a much more restricted character. The dialogue wheel that accompanies it is a fine gesture as well, with you now being assured as to what'll push the conversations forward and wish are there to keep it on the same level, thanks to the 'Investigation' menu found on the left. 
All in all, I'm willing to accept Hawke as the lead and will still no doubt find a multitude of reasons to get right back into it and vary up my choices. Mass Effect 2 was still able to get me six playthroughs, so Dragon Age 2 is a shoe in :P 

 I know Kung-Fu!  
 I know Kung-Fu!  

Moving away from the Medieval Fantasy to a more modern, fist in face orientated environment: 

Yakuza 4!

Definitely one of my favourite boxarts this year!
Definitely one of my favourite boxarts this year!
Unfortunately there's really not that much to say about it. All the demo offers is you to battle it out as each character, one after another. Starting with Shun Akiyama (who looks to of become this games leading man, over Kazuma),  Masayoshi Tanimura, Taiga Saejima and then finally the Master Lord God himself, Kazuma. 
It at least gives you enough to help differentiate the four characters. Naturally they all have their own combos and HEAT moves, but then there's the huge imposing bruiser Taiga who can lift objects the others cannot. It was especially fun as Kazuma, who is rife with all of his trademark attacks and plenty of his Yakuza 3 upgrades from the outset. And playing as Masayoshi was a thrill as his fighting ground was atop a roof, to were he could fling the enemies right off should he have himself in HEAT mode.
No opportunities to explore any of the HUB worlds is a shame, with no minigames to test yourself with, but the games main draw, the combat, is well established thanks to this, still terribly short, demo. 
Not like I needed much more persuasion, but even still the demo of Yakuza 4 has assured me that the fighting is as incredibly brutal and fun as I would of hoped. There were still moments that had me literally laugh out loud over the absurdity, and while the demo may be short, it's still enjoyable enough for me to head right back in! 


                Yes we can!   I know, I'm hilarious.
                Yes we can!   I know, I'm hilarious.
I've recently been getting myself a pretty crowded backlog on my shelves, though none of them new releases or even anything from this gen. With me usually only having enough cash for one full price game per month, the rest otherwise goes towards classic DVDs or PS2 games. With Dead Space 2 being the only full time purchase for me until, well, March for my eagerly anticipated Dragon Age 2 it's left a lot of spare change. Heaven Forbid I decide to save all that up instead! 
The most notable PS2 game I've finally caught up with Rockstar's own heralded tribute to the movie, The Warriors. I haven't seen the movie, yet, but since the game's mostly set up as a prequel there's no harm done. 
Despite that, though, I've only put in about 4 hours and it's going to stay that way until I do watch the movie. The game holds up surprisingly well and is a ton of fun, but I want to be able to watch and listen to these characters in all of their originality back in 1979. Not to mention that the game will eventually play through the movies plot points, and I'd rather witness the story unfold in the movie - Bluray of course 8D 
  Deceased father of Dexter Morgan by day, muscle bound Warrior by night.
Deceased father of Dexter Morgan by day, muscle bound Warrior by night.

Before There Was Mass Effect, There Was The Suffering! 

The Mass Effect and The Suffering franchises: they have little in common with one another. Mass Effect is a sci-fi epic; a, sometimes, RPG built around a massive fictional Galaxy influenced by your decisions. The Suffering is a 3rd person/first person shooter, centred on criminal psychology, with morality choices forced upon you, but nothing that'll change the fate of Galaxy. So again, they're completely different games, but the one thing they do happen to share is the save import ability. 
As this point it's hardly ground breaking with such a mechanic being made very mainstream by the Mass Effect franchise, but back in the early decade of last, The Suffering was already allowing such incredible transitions between games. 
Now I only recently found out myself, since I never owned the sequel, though I did still enjoy the original very much. So much that I decided to buy the sequel, but with the incentive of having my own decisions cross over--while obviously no in the same league as the Mass Effect series, I've decided to also put that on hold until my copy of the original arrives along side it. (I've gone through a lot of PS2 casualties, and The Suffering was one of them back in the day, hence why I need to buy it again). 

The Lord of The Rings AKA The Master of The Fucked Up Hit Detection. 

The Lord of The Ring games based on the movie are some of my most precious (LAUGH WITH ME!) PS2 games from back in the days of when practically anything could hold my attention to the TV screen. I only played The Two Towers and The Return of The King, though I absolutely adored both of them, playing for them hours on end. Games didn't need replay value for me to still enjoy playing them over and over.. I miss those days.. 
In any case, they too were added into my Amazonian cart, but unfortunately haven't aged nearly as well as the previous gems of the PS2 era. The Two Tower's specifically is almost downright broken, with your light attacks seeming to ever hit, and with some levels bombarding you with a non stop array of fire arrows. Your only dodge manoeuvre limited to a small hop back with the lack of a targeting function meant trying to avoid attacks was meaningless as well.  Fuck, that game is tough!  
Game would of been so much better if it had a PO-TA-TO QTE minigame, too. 

Fortunately, The Return of The King managed to improve upon its predeccesor incredibly. My attacks could actually hit my enemies, and that alone made the game seem completely refreshed. Some of the same issues applied, and the enemies themselves would have attacks that would register before the animation was finished. But on the other hand: playable Gandalf. Overall, though, it's a much more tolerable game, and one I still enjoyed playing. The neat extras you get fitted well as a quick diversion, and for when I was waiting for the movies through these games, I ate that shite up with a spoon!  
The Two Towers, however.. if only I could of just kept that as a distantly fond memory. 

Good News Everyone! 

I completed Dead Space 2! on Survivalist! First Playthrough! Who Wants to Touch me!
Now I'm not going to spill my keyboards guts and repeat what everyone has already said about this months hottest game, so in short; it's pretty great. Not as good as the original, though, as it seemed to focus far too much on loud and brash action set pieces than I would of liked. 
I missed the creepy allure and mystery that the original gave me so much of. And as for Isaac; just because he now has a voice doesn't make him much more of an interesting character. Matter O fact the entire story and its cast was a complete wash for me, personally. 
 It's the suit that's made Isaac so iconic, more than the character itself, unfortunately.
 It's the suit that's made Isaac so iconic, more than the character itself, unfortunately.
I really loved the ''less is more'' aesthetic from the first Dead Space, and the sequel with its back talking protagonist, a whole history book for the necromorphs and Unitologists around every corner, it kinda lost me.
It's a great game, no doubt about it, but I don't hold the same love I have for Dead Space 2 that I do with the Isaac's original, non-spoken ventures into the Ishimura. 

And Then There's Also My 9,999 Posts!

What a great number: 9. The one number before 10, which can signify launchs, explosions, hide and seek countdowns and so much more! The number 9 can potentially be one of the most terrifying numbers out there, and the transition from 9 to 10 can feel like a lifetime with the right circumstances. As such, I kinda sorta maybe done a dumb lil tribute to actually keep my post count at that state, just for a little while until I could actually make the effort with this here blog! 
And thus, here's to another 10,000 pointless posts on the only forum I'd care to post so much stupid rubbish. <3 

Bah Humbug and a Happy New Year to all!

Holy mothertrucker of a fucker... the past three or so weeks has been a constant uphill battle against an army of little shitty soldiers all trying to overcome what little spirit and optimism I have to begin with.  

In The Beginning... There Was A Flood... 

Three Tuesdays ago, the day went like any other. I was awake surprisingly early, though like hell can I remember why, then at around 10am-ish, I noticed puddles forming around the T hallway that connected the bedrooms and the toilet. At first I thought little of it and figured the cat's bladder exploded. I went to fetch the usual Cat Cleanup Crap to notice that the water was slowly making progress throughout more of the hallway. At first I figured my Cat was fucking with me (not really, but don't tell my brain I said that!) to only did I notice the pattering sound of what is usually accompanied by rain. I went outside and found no rain to be found--plenty of snow to paint a beautiful portrait of a white christmas, though.  
Heading back towards the hallway now the water was flowing into the bedrooms themselves now. I was mostly confused at this point but when I opened the cupboard in my nans room to find water pouring through like a monsoon then the panic started to settle in a little. First I grabbed all the towels and tried to contain most of the water and least stop it flowing, and then decided to check upstairs. Soon as I left through the front door I was greeted by the upstairs neighbour who for the life of her couldn't say a single sentence without the acknowledgement of 'luv' in there. 
She explained what happened and I checked her flat to find her living room a complete and utter disaster. The ceiling was literally covering most of the place with water pouring at an alarming rate. Seems her tanker blew due to the winter, and of course with it gushing down like working class waterfall it didn't take long for it seep down into me nans flat. 
The woman, as annoying as she was, I still felt sorry for her as she clearly panicked by the whole ordeal. The worst part was of the effort she put into contacting the council yet they still only arriving four... motherhugging hours... after the first notice was given about her flat. She phoned them around maybe 4 times; she visited the council building three times and even I gave a rang to hope that another victim of this mess might speeden things up just a little... and whether they did or not, we still had to wait till 1:45 in the afternoon for those sods to arrive. What I found funny with their reaction time is when they did give us a definite time they'll arrive at around 12pm, they said they'd be here at 1:30pm...not only did it take them around three hours to give a time for their arrival, the lazy fucks where late!) 
By the time they did reach her, the wallpaper was beginning to peal off on my living room ceiling and the water coming from the cupboard in my nans bedroom had marked all three rooms as its own by this point. Fortunately the electric was off before it lead to that, but the carpet had enough water to probably begin inflating and the water level itself seemed fit for a toddlers swimming pool. 
Anywhoo the mum arrived, followed by the nan, who had the right to be pissed still overreacted to intolerable levels. After seeing the mess upstairs, our flat was dandy. The most terrible thing about all of this is that the woman upstairs didn't even have insurance. My nan did but, again... her flat looked like a scene out of Saving Private Ryan. 
In any case, that's where me and my nan where forced to move into my mums for the not very fashionably late council cunts to do whatever. 

And this is where I soon became ready to tear off my hair with my own DEEEAD HAAAANDSSS. 

I've never had much of the opportunity, nor reason, to say so.. but my family; tolerable bunch when I see them every so often for sunday dinner or what have you, abso-fucking bunch of loud mouthed, slobbish, cigarette smoke spewing knobheads when I'm forced to live with 'em. My nan's also an ignorant dope who always loves to make a fuss out of everything aswell, but when it's just me and here back at the flat I have my bedroom to seal off all that silly noise and keep to myself <3. 
At me mums, I don't even have a fucking bedroom! It's not down the house being small, either. It's got 2 floors, four bedrooms, two living rooms, two toilets and a sizeable kitchen. The people that inhabit it, however, still make a potentially sweet spot for a living replacement into an unknown level of hell that is too torturous to even be publicly known. 
To start off there's: 
Nan - Again, fucking moron who knows nothing about everything and is plenty willing to make mountains over molehills... or a slight crease in the carpet. She's also annoyingly childish who has humour that rivals a braindead 12 year old. The type of person to find jokes involving penises, farting ect to be gut bursting material.  
Mum - Always pissed off and astonishingly ignorant, she's a smoker who seems to find the best way of communicating for the most part is through constant yelling. The type of mum who found the best way to discipline her kids was to simply take away the TV. Such predictable quotes from her would be ''kids, why'da bother? ''Men, they're all the same!'' ''OOOO a love me sex n the city, me!'' 
Sister (Katie) - Generally a fuckup since she went to secondary school, I pretty much predicted the many kinds of stupid shit she'd get into. Smoking at age 12, hanging with chavvy scum who 'like her the way she is' eventually becoming a slag, who also is very akin to burping outloud, smoking wherever and whenever she wants no matter the company and also abit of a idiot, too, if that wasn't already obvious. 
Brother (Bradley) - Brad I get along with, because he's gradually been molded by me through the years. His gaming habits are my most precious work <3. The problem is, though, that he's also a complete slob. Sleeps in his clothes, practically only leaves the flat when he has to go to school and is also susceptible to gamer-rage which has before resulted in him punching his fist into his PC monitor. His room also hangs of that god awful ''teenager'' smell. BO with yesterdays BO... beautiful. 
Brother (Tyler) Only 3 years old, he's a lovable lil chap. He's also been spoilt like he's freakin' royalty so not getting what he wants will result in the usual ear bleeding wails and screams. 
Sister (Rebecca) A year younger, Rebecca screams and whinges like it's her own form of breathing. There's always 'something' for her to whine about, and with mums voice clashing against it also, it can make the house sound like some sort of distorted noise metal. 
Cats (6 of em..) - Mums household on its own has four, with the other two tagging along from me nans. They're not much of a bother, though the stench of cat shit can be very strong, as you'd expect, sometimes. 
Lily (Dog) - Lily's awesome. Incredibly friendly and a great friend to have as a pet. Though her tail is like a whip, and with that tail never ceasing to wag she'll accidentally smack Rebecca or Tyler causing baby screams which then causes Mum to scream which then causes my head to explode. 
Rabbits (Fuck knows how many of em there are in total) - Truly one of the most useless pets I've seen. Least in the way I've seen them managed over at Mums. They're all kept in cages in the back living room giving the room the lovely aroma of rabbit shit, while the rabbits themselves mostly just sit there in their own pebble stone feces. 
The House - What could of been a kingdom amongst the working class is now like a house shaped chimney with every breath bringing in 2nd hand smoke, and I'm not even exaggerating. Every room seems to have its own yucky, unique smell to its own, aswell, and not to mention carpets with stains on them, and enough kids toys (all of which have to make some sort of brain damaging jingle or noise) to make the house look like an obstacle course. 
And again, I didn't even have my own room for all this. My PS3 was set up in the back living room, with its wonderful shitterific atmosphere. Of course I was only allowed to hang in when it fit the family, too. It's been known as the 'kids room' since all of their bright and noisy toys where in there. I could still, for the most part, just sit and play, but with the rabbits and the kids and the noises and the screaming and KIIIIILLLL THEMMMM ALLLL constantly being repeated in my head, it was a chore. The internet aswell, it might aswell as not exist, least not for me. There where three computers, all of which where located in a bedroom. The only one I had access to was my brother, Bradley's, but his internet was criminally slow it made me laugh out loud. A 2 minute video on youtube would take around 40 minutes to completely buffer. Even the fuckin' adverts some videos had prior I'd have to wait to load.
I did least get some gamage while I was there: 
Mostly my Hard Mode playthrough of God of War 3. My quick verdict? That game really does have a lot of tits
Final Fantasy IX also. Which is still fantastic and undoubtedly my favourite Final Fantasy from the ones I've played.  
I was forced to sleep on the couch in the front living room anyway, which is surprisingly comfortable at least, but always had me thrown out of slumber of course when everyone else was awake. Kids screaming at 6am is the kind of alarm clock that breaks you, mentally. 


All holidays, including Christmas, are never much of big deal for me. Like every other I was surrounded by my family who, on occasion, I like to imagine I axe murder them all, aswell as the traditional christmas dinner which was least as tasty and appetite satisfying as it always is. Far as gifts go, I received a watch and a pair of headphones. Headphones didn't fit in my ears too well and my watch broke after around 12 seconds of wearing it. The back living room was also near inhabitable with the amount of spoil those walking pair of lungs got for Christmas, either. Why does every single freakin' kids toy also has to come complete sort of sound with it, aswell?!? There's so many teddy bears that proclaim they love me that I was beginning to fear going to bed afterwards. 

I bought Dead Rising 2 Case West literally within the first 15 minutes of when it is on Xbox Live <3 

But only now, today, have I actually had the chance to play it >=/ I was at my mums when I first made my purchase, but of course the said internet over there, least my brothers side of the internet, had me literally sitting there for an hour to witness my eagerly awaited download to hit 5%. 
By that point I also just thought 'fuck that' and went on abit of a verbal fit with frustration. Arguments and other such joyous Christmas activities arose and once all the fires where put out, I was to be shipped to me Uncles. 
I loved how much fear my mum and nan tried to put into me with living with my Uncle, over how strict they are with the electric and what have you. Long as I can breath indoors without coughing back someone else's cigarette smoke then it's all good! No animals, kids and family that cleaned up after themselves! The ''chores'' and other kinds of vile tyranny my mum tried to chill me with was mostly just... well cleaning up after myself. Yah know, rubbish in the bin, dishes in the dishwasher, but I suppose that would count as labour to most on my side of the family.
And frankly, I enjoyed my time at my Uncles to be honest. I had to sleep on a coach bed, and most of my time was spent watching DVD's on like a 12" TV. But since I actually appreciate the company of my Uncle and his family then it was all so very bearable. I still had no access to the internet with my 360, either, since they had it all set up via wireless connection, and who'da guessed the 360 needs an attachment for a wireless connection?!? 
OK, I understand it's an old piece of hardware; it was just more of the terrible timing for me to find it out. So, still Case West-less, but again with all my time chatting my with Uncle about movies, TV and media crap in general is sa'lll guuuud. It also gave me the chance to get back into Demon's Souls via my cousin's PS3, which is still fantastically addictive. 
I also least had the occasional bit of access to the internet ^______________________^.... least when the overly paranoid aforementioned cousin would allow it. He's the type of person that frets that google itself will ship a few dozen viruses into his computer. 

And it all comes full circle! 

Anywhoo only now have I been forced to move back into my flat, which is still polluted with this vile and downright vomit inducing smell from all the dampness. Not by my Uncles decision, rather it's my mums because she doesn't want to pay to support me over there. Not even with my own job-seekers allowance that usually went to bills, rents and other blaarg when I was in my flat??... 
Fortunately, though, the place has improved, and the yukky carpet in my room has been taken up... along with everything else mind you, of course. Moving back in I'm greeted with most of my possessions making up the dump in the living room, with my own bedroom carpetless but still still having a bed, my precious computer, internet (<3) and my consoles (now) set up and ready! Annoying thing is, after having no choice but to live with 3+ people for the past three weeks in one household or another, with me now alone back at the flat, it's oh so awfully quiet. =/
So I'm more or less back to my old routine, just now with a few dozen hours worth of GB video content and bombcasts to catch up on. 
And despite all the rage I've afflicted over my family through all of this, I don't necessarily hate them as much as I just happened to recently. It's all down to living with the bastards that turns them into a physical manifestation of the plague, complete with 2nd hand smoke. They still brought me plenty O food and delivered me my DVDs over during my stay at my Uncles. My mums usually pretty supportive and helpful, but holy hell does she have a terrible lifestyle for herself. 
My nan, though, really is a fucking brain-tard. 

All These Superheroes And Not A Single Comic!

I've never read a comic book... besides the many editions of the classic Beano and Dandy, but I'd hardly have them count as they where of course mostly for merchandising the innocent souls of the young British public. 
As far as superhero comics go, ala Marvel and DC, however, I've never even held one in my hands... my COLD, DEAD HANDS! But even with my distinct inactivity concerning comics I still find myself to be quite enveloped in everything to do with the franchises that the comics have created. For the past couple of years in fact, I've learn a fair bit about many of the comics greatest through games, movies and/or just scrolling through never ending wikipedia pages. 
As such I just figured I'd blog up some my more recent endeavours (or my familiarising with most on my list) involving all of this comic book nonsense! 

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 for the 360:

I've always been a fan of the MUA/Legends series, yet I didn't decide to get MUA2 till mid this year. I don't know what took me so long; maybe I just wasn't up in the craze at that point, but in any case I did eventually get in my grasps and it no doubt is what set me off on my Marvel binge soon after! 
MUA2 could well the weakest of the series, but it's greatly improved combat was able to counter against the watered down RPG mechanics from past games, shorter story length, the story being much more serious and less goofy at that, lame simulation side missions, three alternate costumes dropped to one and it's overall roster while large still didn't match against what the original MUA gave you. Plus Iron Man was terrible in this game and far too underpowered =(

Marvel Ultimate Alliance for the 360: 

The predecessor off the game above, MUA was the first of the series that I played back in 2006 on the PS2 and it had me hooked throughout around eight playthroughs. I particularly liked The Thing with all his crowd clearing awesomness! <3 It was made up of complete fan service with an astonishing variety of heroes, villains and heroic/villainous environments. It was pure cheese poured over a solid stack of corn, but I still loved it all, and it give me a fair share of knowledge within the insanely expansive Marvel Universe. 
I recently bought it for my 360 just to get back into it again, and figured I might aswell get me a current-gen copy for the additions of Colossus and Moon Knight. Unfortunately while this was one the apex of the series for me it's also the one that has aged the worst of them all. Slippery combat, awkward graphics and animations that long lost their charm without all the cell-shading from the Legends games had me push a long tedious uphill battle to the finish.  
Playing as a Nolan North voiced Colossus was still pretty sweet, though.  



X-Men Legends 2 for the PS2: 

Despite me remembering the original MUA game being the height of the series, that place now definitely lies with X-Men Legends 2! It hasn't aged nearly as bad and playing through with more gaming experience behind me it's now placed as the best the series has to offer. The character roster is obviously not as large or expansive but it's still significantly large that can last you along many playthroughs. It's even what helped build up Deadpool's popularity with him appearing as a cameo as a brainwashed boss, and then eventually unlocked after the completion of the game. 


 I'd also like to know why they didn't keep those animated faces, over those inanimate portraits in the later games =/
 I'd also like to know why they didn't keep those animated faces, over those inanimate portraits in the later games =/

Everything to do with Legends 2 just feels more refined, more fun, over MUA. The cell shading graphics makes the game still look pretty decent even after all this time, and the cutscene graphics definitely impress when considering how old it is. The nifty quirk of also building teams of both X-men and their arch nemesis' is a cool one, but suffers from the actual lack of Brotherhood characters. Out of the overall 18 or so characters available, only four are members of the Brotherhood! There's plenty of them amidst the story but they the majority act as NPCs. Magneto, Toad and Juggernaut are worthy picks, but why the hell did we need Scarlet Witch? We're left without Pyro, Blob, Sabretooth and Mystique, yet Magneto's daughter was an A-OK? Not to mention.... Sunfire??? Again if they wanted a fire specialist character, what was wrong with that Australian asswipe, Pyro?? T.T 

X-Men Legends for the PS2: 

Pretty weird why I decided to go through the series backwards, but that's how it happens.. 
X-Men Legends is also still a really great game, but didn't obviously had a little polish to test curses of time as much as its sequel. It does still have a pretty good story with a hella lot of famous voice actors than I recalled, after playing through it again. This is where Steve Blum first stuck his own claws in the character of Wolverine, there's Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor X from the movies, Cree Summers plays the lead character Alison Crestmere, famed english VO Robert Atkin Downes provided the vocal chords for Cyclops while the incredibly baritone voice of Tony Jay fitted Magneto perfectly. 
Even still, the gameplay was a little iffy with you suffering from a number of cheap deaths at the beginning with it eventually becoming a complete cakewalk as the game went on--The backwards mentality isn't as uncommon as I thought it seems =P 

X-Men Origins Wolverine for the 360: 

 Wife Beating Just Got Cool!!
 Wife Beating Just Got Cool!!
The movie was pretty ass, no doubt about it. So much so that the game really didn't have all that much of a pedestal to leap over. Even still, 'the game based on the hit movie' actually turned out to be gosh darn alright, and by movie2game standards an A-star extravaganza. Even with such standards to surpass this doesn't make X-Men Origins an all round great game, though. The combat was repetitive, the story even worse than the movie, flaky animations.. but still it had some brutal and eviscerating combat, a story that was good enough to pit you against some fun boss battles, and animations that made the game feel like a casual breeze to mess around with. The age old trick of just running rapidly in circles on the spot is still something I like to in games that give you that possibility.   
Next Blog I'll carry on my superhero gamage with Justice League Heroes for the PS2!.. just need to wait till the fucking thing arrives -_- 
I also plan to touch on the comic book adapted movies and cartoons I've been watching. And as if ya'll weren't excited enough already!!!

If you were a Dead Rising psychopath...

The Dead Rising games are mostly known for the wonders of testing out all multitudes of weapons against the shambling undead, be them new toys of dismemberment or just more ways to instead embarrass aforementioned shambling undead. 
Another not so heralded aspect of the series are the psychopaths: people that have either plainly cracked under the chaos they find themselves surrounded by, or where nutjobs to begin and are just using said chaos to their advantage. The psychopaths themselves were wonderful characters with most of them being equally full of character and memorability as they were fucking annoying on a gameplay standpoint.  Again though, there was no denying how colourful they all where and their appearances and stories still managed to act as one of the franchises highlights.  And with the new info regarding the upcoming Case West download, it placed Dead Rising right back on my hot list.

As such I found it fun just to wonder how I'd be represented in a Dead Rising if I myself was one of the psychopathly psychopathic boss battles. (Also for locations sake I'll go with that I'm in Fortune City whilst Chuck does his thaaaaaaaang)

Reason for the Crazy: 

I'd be too busy trying on womens clothing (what, all the DR heroes do it!) to notice the zombie that would bite on me the arm, making me become engulfed with fear and anxiety. Mission would be caaalled 'Boys do Cry'.... reference to the Hilary Swank movie.

Entrance Cutscene: 

I'd still be wearing the womens clothing, most likely a summer dress, and will most likely be found at the chemist in the first area. Scrambling for some zombrex, I'd encounter Chuck and demand he pities my situation and helps me find zombrex. Chuck's reluctant at first with his daughter needing it ect, and while he did plan on helping me I wouldn't give him the chance and judge prematurely that he won't help and then BOSS FIGHT BEGIN!! 

Boss Battle: 

For starters, like any other DR2 psychopath, you'd need to be around LV 50000 to even stand a chance. My design would have me as a squirrelly little shit that's runs around rapidly and scurries all over Chuck when close enough. Weak point would be when I occasionally witness the gauging bite on my arm which makes me begin to sob uncontrollably. 

Defeat Cutscene:

Despite having been shot with dynamite via a bow, stabbed multiple times and wacked around with a number of blunt objects I'll only appear to have a few bruises in the cutscene. It'll then forward to me lunging at Chuck to have my arm just completely fall off and me scurrying around in panic trying to stick a mannequin limb in place of my armless...arm. Eventually I bleed to death and unlock my snazzy summer dress for Chuck to wear!! 
So yeah, there's that... I'm not expecting many to post their own interpretations of themselves as a DR psychopath, least of all go in as much detail as I did; but at the same time I'm just glad I put my expressed thoughts into words before I lost this silly idea altogether =P 
Oh also anyone else looking forward to Case West?????????????