SIDEBAR
»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
Trailer Roundup: Street Fighter x Mega Man, The Last of Us, and Tomb Raider [GO/ER]
Dec 10th, 2012 by Dan

It’s the mash-up nobody knew they wanted until today! I mean, this is pure insanity, but it’s also super awesome. Rock vs. Ryu?! BRILLIANT! Can’t wait for that free download.

Uncharted 3 may have been lacking that je ne sais quoi that its predecessors have, but that’s probably because the big guns were working on this sucker. What a fine looking game it is too. Can’t wait to see how this pans out because it looks astounding.

File this one under, “Less intrigued than I used to be.” After seeing the insanely good The Last of Us trailer I thought that the acting in Tomb Raider seemed flat in comparison. There’s also that weird disconnect where Lara kills for the first time early in this game, but by the end (and from the looks of it), she gets comfortable with it real quick. Still, it looks interesting.

2011 in Video Games [GO]
Jan 5th, 2012 by Dan

HAY GUSY! ZELDA GAMES ARE 25!

So maybe I wasn't playing video games at birth nor was this blog running 25 years ago, but this is my 25th year too!

2011 was an odd year in games for me. It started out like any other, filled with joy and happiness, and then it was all wrenched away halfway through, thanks to that burglary, until I was able to start replenishing my stores and getting the ball rolling again for the second half.

This list, unlike last year, will cover the games I played most this year, even if they came out several years ago :cough: Team Fortress 2 :cough:. I think it’s better to reflect upon what I put the most game time into, even if it wasn’t new.

Resident Evil 5 – 2011’s 2009 Game of the Year has to go to Capcom’s co-op survival horror epic. I remember the Giant Bomb guys pimping this game super hard, but I ignored them over and over again for nearly two years because I’m not much of a scary games guy. Then the steam sale happened and I wanted something co-op to play with Min and Lee, so I buckled. This game was so good, guys. According to Raptr, I played 57 hours of this guy just cruising through all the levels, S-Ranking each one, finding all the emblems and upgrading all the weapons, and getting every achievement for the first time on a full-sized game. Then I came back and played it all again with David. RE5 may be some of the best bang I got for my buck in 2011.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – I think it’s hilarious that I played both Batman games this year. Make no mistake, Batman: AA is the better game. Tighter story focus, less wandering and rambling around, and that sharp, crunchy combat system that we all love. It almost literally hurts to watch Batman punch people in the face in this game. Lots of fun, even for a guy who doesn’t really like Batman.

Red Dead Redemption – Man, every game that I played in January came out in another year. RDR has a lot of those Rockstar quirks that I hate (incorrigible supporting cast, homicidal ludonarrative dissonance, etc.), but it also has one of the best realized characters in recent video games in its portrayal of John Marston. Horseback riding is fun, lassoing fools is fun, and the story is frustrating (because of the asshole supporting cast), but also solid most of the time. The only thing that really annoyed me was breaking horses every fucking time. Why? It’s not like it was fun to do…

Magicka – 2011’s Game Most Likely to Make You Strangle Your Friends. Ask Min how many times I killed him by striking him with lightning. I never took this game seriously and mostly tried to speed cast lightning. Fun, but the polish wasn’t there. Buggy as all hell. Not to mention that lightning bolt was the only spell worth using…or maybe it was the only spell I knew?

Ghost Trick – I used this game to try and improve/practice my Spanish. It’s lots of fun, quirky, weird, neat, but I never finished it. I thought it wasn’t taken in the burglary, but I’m having trouble finding it now. I want to finish it soon…Pick it up if you have a DS. It’s quirky and fun.

Costume Quest – Picked this up on sale and played it for a few hours. It’s definitely got that Double Fine humor, but it couldn’t hold my interest.

Pixeljunk Shooter 2 – I don’t know why some of the magic was gone with this one. Maybe the new fluids weren’t as innovative or neat? The fluid mechanics remain super awesome and the game is plenty fun on its own, but even more fun with a partner to troll.

Face Raiders – Shooting at Min’s face is the best thing I did with my 3DS before it was stolen.

Pokemon White (Black) – I got David to try a new Pokemon game with this and I’m super proud of that. Gen V brought a lot of really interesting changes to a game that most people feel is flat and unchanging. I had a lot of fun playing it until the momentum was killed with the burglary. When Grey inevitably gets announced I’ll probably buy it.

Game Dev Story – When this finally hit the Android marketplace I was ecstatic. Then I played it and realized it was a competent, but not overwhelming sim. Worth a few bucks.

Borderlands – Another co-op game for Min, Lee, and I to play. Lots of fun even though the story is stupid as hell. Brings out the loot whore in all of us.

Planescape: Torment – Talk about old! Didn’t get anywhere close to finishing this. It seems interesting, but never captures my interest enough to play it for longer than 20 mins.

Portal 2 – This is, bar none, the greatest example of story and comedy narrative laid out in video game form. Portal 2 has just brilliant writing and pacing. Everything from Wheatley to the history of Aperture Science to the origins of GLaDOS is perfectly realized. Then you have the game itself…Portal 2 is not a bad game at all. It’s just not as hard or interesting, with respect to puzzles, as Portal. This was a result of narrowing the possible solution space (story-justified by the decay of the facility, but still) in such a way that it was mostly obvious where portals needed to go, removing that aspect of figuring things out. It’s still probably the best game of this year, but I wish it they hadn’t pared it down as much as they did.

Pro Yakyu Spirits 2011 (Professional Baseball Spirits 2011) – I had a fun, challenging season going with my 2011 Hiroshima Carp before that jerk (those jerks?) came and stole my copy of a Japanese baseball game (in Japanese, mind you!). What were they gonna do with a game in Japanese featuring teams they weren’t even familiar with?! PYS 2011 was a huge step forward from 2010. Home runs may have been a little easier to hit (ok, a LOT easier to hit), but 2011 looked sharper and had enough new, interesting features (the player development was cool) that I was super stoked…until it was all taken away from me. Assholes.

L.A. Noire – I got about 1/5 of the way through the game before someone stole it. I still remember the forensics guy asking me if it was any good. Here’s the thing about L.A. Noire: It’s an adventure game skinned with GTA. Getting anywhere in LA is unsatisfying because driving is a bummer (and property/car damage lowers your rank), the devolution of most cases into shootouts feels a little artificial, and, worst of all, most of the chases (car and foot) let you see how the sausage is made. What I mean is, you can tell that you can’t catch up to a perp before a certain point and you can also see where the game just makes a perp crash or fall intentionally to just let you catch up. The face modeling stuff is super cool (and eerie if you watch Mad Men) and works pretty well minus one or two people. A tremendous achievement, but ultimately a mediocre game.

Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare – I’m combining these because I don’t have much I want to say about either. The shooting is good, but the missions are kind of lame. I can see where this might be fun, but it’s also not for me.

inFamous – This was my free mea culpa game from Sony after the big hack fiasco. Decent open world game, but it suffers from being an open world game, in my eyes. The electric powers were fun, but the story was stupid. I don’t regret beating this game or getting it for free. Skating on the rails and then getting hit by a train is awesome.

Shadows of the Damned – I wish I’d taken the time to actually beat this game. It plays exactly like a Resident Evil game, has a super cool aesthetic, kickass soundtrack, and some of the funniest, most Japanese characters I’ve ever seen (come on, Garcia Fucking Hotspur is the greatest character name of the year!). Maybe I’ll beat it in 2012.

Hot Springs Story – From the devs what brought you Game Dev Story we have Hot Springs Story. See the entry above. It’s equally meh to me. I think I just don’t like playing games on my phone.

Torchlight – Gave me my Diablo fix a whole year before I’ll ever see Diablo III (I bet D3 is still not out in 2012). It’s fun and addictive, but it can get a little repetitive after a while. Good for loot whores/junkies.

Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyu 2011 – I got this expecting to have as much fun with it as I did back when it was the only Pawapuro/Konami-style baseball game I could play. In a post (Dan Mesa) PYS world, the simplifications of the engine don’t quite work for me. I need the extra systems that PYS layers on top.

Team Fortress 2TF2 has always been good. The addition of large-scale achievements made it even better, but the real tipping point for me was Strange Weapons. Once I learned that there were weapons which tracked the number of kills you had on them…well I couldn’t go back. This year probably saw the most TF2 playing from me since its launch. This game is barely recognizable to what it looked like in 2007. It’s free to play now. It’s got so many new maps and weapons and hats. It’s still the best competitive shooter a person could play right now.

Cahterine – Some people don’t get Catherine. They think the block puzzles are annoying and frustrating and find the whole thing to be stupid, too anime-y, and a waste of time. While Catherine makes a turn right near the end that mucks with its interpretation, it’s still one of the most interesting, adult experiences out there, which isn’t to say that it’s got nudity (none) or sex (none on screen), but, rather, that it deals with a lot of grown-up problems. Vincent’s life is in a rut, he’s being pushed into committing to a woman he’s afraid to commit to, and then he finds an escape in Catherine. I have yet to play a more interesting or convincing game about growing up, taking responsibility, and becoming a man. Catherine forced me to take a hard look at myself, my life, the incidences of cheating that have been in it, and just think about it all. A lot of games don’t do that.

Yakuza 4 – Got maybe two hours in before it was stolen.

Dragon Age II – Man, a lot of people have a lot of beef with Dragon Age 2 and I don’t really get it. Maybe it’s because I came to the game knowing all the complaints that everyone had before I got there, but it’s really not that bad. It “suffers” from the Mass Effect 2-ization of Bioware’s properties, but that’s not all bad. Dragon Age: Origins was bloated, over-long, and caused most people to quit right at the cusp of its climax. The way I see it, there were two things that were glaringly wrong with the game mechanics. First was the way that enemy reinforcements just seemed to pop in out of nowhere, artificially extending every fight and turning them into hyper-frustrating affairs. Keeping things limited to the enemies on-screen would have been vastly preferred. The second big miss was the lack of polish/variety of locations. It was very clear that this game was rushed to market because there were maybe three or four map styles recycled to cover a lot of locations. The minimaps weren’t properly reflecting when doors were shut and it was painfully apparent how much recycling happened. These are not sins worth crucifying the game for. The way that it focuses exclusively on Kirkwall and Hawke’s family is actually a good thing. Rather than be as sprawling as DA:O, it allows for a more personal story. Every relationship in this game is way cooler/most interesting than the ones in DA:O and, arguably, any of the ones in ME2. DA2 gets a lot of shit, but it’s a great game.

Bastion – Considering how much everyone just loves this game I really wish I’d given it a little more time this year. I barely played it, but the narrator was cool and the game seemed neat. I’ve got to beat this in 2012

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – I bought this game to get the pre-order items it came with for TF2. I don’t regret doing so. Played about an hour or two of the game. Haven’t felt compelled to go back yet.

Gears of War 2 – This is the year that Min and I beat GoW1 & 2. It took a long time, but we still managed it. These games are really fun in co-op. Easily among the most fun we had in couch co-op this year.

Gears of War 3 – My GOTY comes down to this or Portal 2. I know I’m way late to the GoW train, but god damn these games are razor sharp. Shooting in this game just feels so right, you know? It’s about as polished and good as a third person shooter can possibly be. Fighting the final boss for two hours because I turned on no ammo drops will be memorable for a long time in a way that I don’t often make memories in video games any more. Thank you, Epic, for this amazing game.

The Binding of Isaac – The second I heard that the dude from Super Meat Boy, Edmund McMillen, was coming out with a new game, I knew that I would be buying it and that it would be tons of fun. You’ll remember from last year that SMB was the best game I played. The Binding of Isaac is not quite the best of this year, but it is a more realized game than it has any right to be. I mean, the game was $5 at launch, for Christ’s sake, and it featured a free content patch at Halloween. Isaac took 55 hours of my time this year, assuming every one was counted by Raptr, and I anticipate it taking more before I’m done with it. This game is the best $5 you can spend this year.

Galaga Legions DX – Coming off the awesomeness that was Pac-Man CE DX I expected big things from this game. It’s nowhere near as fun, but maybe that’s because Pac-Man is a way more fun game than Galaga ever was.

Batman: Arkham City – I’m pretty sure you already know that I think this game was a major step back from Arkham Asylum. I really don’t think the open world aspects did this game any favors. It’s still got that super-crunchy, razor sharp battle system, but it’s also marred by too many poorly dressed women constantly being called b***hes. This is a game that aggressively pushed me away from it and I was more than happy to be done with it when I was despite being the best thing to happen to brawlers in ages.

Dungeon Defenders – Tower defense made even more fun by allowing us to run around in the environments. I didn’t put in anywhere near as many hours as Min did, but it was fun while I played it.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Man, Uncharted 2 was fantastic, wasn’t it? Try this new one! It’s a lot like the old one, but with a little less charisma. A little less je ne sais quoi. Despite featuring my favorite video game characters of the modern era, Uncharted 3 was lacking in weird ways that the appearance of the The Last of Us trailer makes clear. Focus was diverted. Glad that we got three of these, but I wish it was as much a step forward as the second one was.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Remember how I wrote that article where I outlined everything I hated about this game? Since I wrote it I played another hour or two and said, “Nope. I don’t want to play this.” Will I ever go back? God, I hope not. It was worth spending $60 to drive in the point that I don’t like Bethesda open world RPGs. Here’s a note to Future Dan: Don’t buy any more Bethesda games, you moron.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – This poor game is being victimized by the launch of The Old Republic. Had TOR not come out there’s not a doubt in my mind that I would be playing the most charming Zelda game since Wind Waker non-stop. Skyward Sword plays sharply and is tons of fun.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – My life has been sucked into this game in a way that I wasn’t prepared for. I can’t believe that there was a time where I was actively thinking about avoiding this game and staying away from MMOs altogether. Bioware did something fantastic here by adding story to a genre that typically lacked it. This game has already rocketed up the charts for total time played and I predict that it will never be usurped based on how much I truly love playing it. I haven’t even finished one story and I’ve still got seven more to go.

What I’ve Been Doing 14 Nov 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 14th, 2011 by Dan

Watched all of the 7 Minutes in Heaven clips that were out there. So funny! So awkward! So great!

Movies

Sorry, guys. No movies this week.

TV

The Walking Dead – Glenn remains the best thing about this show. Getting the rope around the fat zombie, hooking up with Maggie, and overall being funny and awesome. That part where he tries to be all cool in front of Maggie was hilarious and understated.

Homeland – Terrorists attempting to kill terrorists! It’s exciting. Alcohol makes for very bad decisions. I really hate using polygraphs as a plot point. Don’t we already know that they’re unreliable. Man, this show is so good, though

Up All Night – Line of the week (I watched like three episodes this week): “It’s like hair coming out of hair!” (referring to the birth process. It’s as gross and awesome as you’d think). When Up All Night makes a masturbation joke I laugh. When 2 Broke Girls does it I cringe and feel grossed out. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said about which show is better/funnier.

2 Broke Girls – “What you need is a good nine inches” WTF? When this show tries to be edgy and funny I just get grossed out. I’m not bummed out about the fact that my DVR often doesn’t record this.

Fringe – Best line of the week: Referring to an experiment that will blow up a papaya named Mr. Papaya: “This is unpleasant because he is the friendliest of fruits”. Fringe is so schlocky and bad and awesome that I love it. I really dig having something X-Files-y in my life and they’re just now starting to hint about the multiverses. Can’t wait to see the alternate realities!

Glee – Meh. Ok episode, but I don’t really know West Side Story so a lot of the songs didn’t really appeal to me. Better quality than anything in S2 though.

New Girl – Kind of funny how poorly they all hit on Cece, but I really hope the “will they, won’t they” stays firmly in the “won’t they” phase (w.r.t. Nick and Jess).

Community – Great episode. They’ve gotten back to their stride. This was a totally awesome, non-gimmick episode. Good on you, Community.

Parks and Recreation – Model UN stuff was really funny. I could watch Aubrey Plaza in this role all day. April’s role has really grown and I love it

Prime Suspect – Great episode this week with the abusive mom. Chilling! This show is pretty good. I’m liking it a lot for a cop procedural.

Persona 4: The Animation – The Social Link episode was AWESOME. They’ve done a fantastic job of converting the game into the show. A lot of the interface stuff carries over and I’m a real sucker for that.

7 Minutes In Heaven – The clip above is of this show. They’re these brief interviews that are super hilarious and awkward. It’s hard to explain without watching them, but I love it.

Music

Listened to a lot of my old Fall Out Boy tracks. Not the greatest band in the world, but their tunes are so catchy!

Books

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Been learning a lot about how Mindy Kaling came to The Office and how her career path has gone. Pretty funny and still a good read.

Video Games

Dungeon Defenders – Beat the game! Min, Jason, and Lee all helped me do it. Lots of fun.

The Binding of Isaac – I’m up to five mom kills, but the game has gotten much tougher (it specifically tells you it does after five kills). I’ll keep going because this is a fun little game to pop in and out of.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Beat the game. Not as satisfying as U2 mostly because the Chloe/Elena subplot was better in 2, but still a fantastic game. A fine swan song for the series if this was the end. We’ll see what Naughty Dog does in the future.

Batman: Arkham City – Finished most of the sidequests. I suppose a second playthrough will earn me another trophy, but I’m not dying to do it.

Resident Evil 5 – Dave and I beat the Ouroboros boss of Chapter 5-1. We’re closing in on the endgame. I think he’ll like the ending. It’s still plenty of fun to play, except for that boss. I brought a rocket launcher to speed that up. He takes forever, but maybe I’m just doing it wrong, I dunno.

Ico – Got in about an hour of this. Absolutely beautiful game. The way Ico and Yorda interact is neat, if not a little awkwardly animated. The save points with the bench are so sweet and nice. I like this game a lot. It’s fantastic.

Metal Gear Solid 2 HD – Started the HD edition of this game. Dave is mad because I bought this and he got it for me for Christmas. My response: Why are you buying me Christmas presents already? It’s only November! Wait until December, dummy! Thanks for the thought, though. I would have really enjoyed it. I got three dog tags, but I don’t know if I’m gonna try to get the rest. It’s kind of tough and it would take forever.

Uncharted 3’s MoCap [GO/ER]
Nov 11th, 2011 by Dan

I find this stuff so interesting! All good things come to an end, but here’s to hoping that we see Drake, Elena, Sully, Chloe, and Charlie again because these guys are so great.

What I’ve Been Doing 7 Nov 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Nov 7th, 2011 by Dan

Scott Pilgrim iPhone Wallpaper

Blast from the past week. (Photo courtesy robotspacer)

Movies

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World – I didn’t technically watch Scott Pilgrim because I was listening to the director commentary with Bryan Lee O’Malley. Very informative to learn about how autobiographical the story is and about how integrated Edgar Wright’s movie was with the book.

TV

The Walking Dead – Not killing off Shane was the smartest thing this show did. He’s ice cold and his decision last week was awesome.

Samurai Champloo – Finally got around to starting this show. It’s interesting and the music is good, but I find the animation to be a little cheap looking.

The League – I haven’t seen Brie Larson since I saw Scott Pilgrim! This was actually part of why I rewatched Scott Pilgrim. The resolution between Brie’s character and Rafi was unexpected and awesome.

Prime Suspect – Ava from Justified! She’s not bad, but I miss the accent. This show’s not too bad for just hanging out and watching

Homeland – This show is getting so good! I wonder if he actually slipped him the razor blade. Super neat to watch all the twists and turns.

Glee – Not the strongest episode, but, per usual, I like any episode that has a song I love like “Bein’ Green”

Fringe – Back when Lost was on I watched three episodes of this show before Lost started (it was on at 2000 and Lost started at 2100). I watched the first four episodes of the season and I’m hooked! I just want to watch more, but it’s not streaming anywhere for free! So frustrating!

Music

Nothing really new here. Started getting back into Girl Talk

Books

The Last Best League – I swear I’m finishing this during this week. I’m pretty much at the epilogue.

Scott Pilgrim – I know I said no comic books in here, but this is an exception

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – I meant to download a sample of Mindy Kaling’s book, but I accidentally bought it. It’s a woman’s book, but whatever…it’s funny.

Video Games

Batman: Arkham City – Completed my Calendar Man obligation to see him on Halloween. Finished the Catwoman stuff. Might go back to finish more sidequests. Might not.

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – Seriously great game. about as cinematically perfect as possible. Been avoiding playing in long bursts to stretch out the experience.

Dungeon Defenders – Still playing with Min, Lee, and Min’s friends from Utah. Good fun.

The Binding of Isaac – Beat the game for the second and third times with Cain and Magdalene. Still gotta beat it with Judas, Eve, and ??? and about 5 more times after that.

Uncharted 3 First Impressions [GO]
Nov 2nd, 2011 by Dan

Uncharted 3 single player Gamescom 2011 screenshot

The best adventure serial you'll ever play! (Photo courtesy naughty_dog)

Everyone’s favorite treasure hunter, Nathan Drake, is back once again for his third journey! What’s it like? I’ll tell you. I’m about eight chapters in, but you can expect some degree of story spoiler if you read this post. I don’t think anything huge has happened yet, but if you don’t want to know about which characters are in the game or what happens at all, DON’T READ THIS!

– Transitioning from the super-solid hand-to-hand combat of Arkham City to here is jarring/kind of disappointing. Speaking of going from one game to another, the slightly different cover buttons from Gears of War 3 has also caused me to pop out of cover prematurely/accidentally. Whoops!

– The most common complaint is that the aiming dead zone is kind of big. I actually noticed it on one of the pistols, but on the rifles I think it’s mostly absent. Still not the smoothest aiming (and it never has been), but we’re three games in, Naughty Dog.

– Fighting the brutes was fun…once or twice. Why are there brutes EVERYWHERE?!

– All this emphasis on how old and tired Sully is along with how Drake is letting things get too personal worry me. I don’t want Sully to die, guys!

– Young Drake! Young Sully! Columbia! I wonder if they just pitch-shifted Nolan North’s voice, because Young Drake sounds a little weird in an unnatural way.

– Chloe’s back! I was worried that she wouldn’t make it since we’d only seen Elena. I haven’t met Elena yet, but I can’t wait to see her again. Both of them are so great!

– The new guy, Charlie Cutter, is pretty cool too. He looks like someone I’ve seen on TV/movies before. I checked the IMDB page and his voice actor, Graham McTavish, isn’t familiar to me, but I learned that he voiced Lazarevic last game, which is insane! I like how he’s a know-it-all to Drake and how Nolan North plays the annoyance in a subdued fashion. It’s still early, but at least we’re seeing that not all Englishmen in Uncharted games are evil.

– Chloe seems really familiar with Cutter too. I wonder if that’s the original crew where she met Drake.

– There are some seriously devious puzzles in this game. The main one in the chateau with the tiles…Devious. It took me a while to figure out all the elements in the room, but it’s kind of brilliant.

– Oh my god the spiders! So fucked up. No more. No. I hate it. If they reappear later…

– I don’t love the inverted camera angle chase/escape sequences. It’s hard to see where you’re going when the obstacles pop up split seconds before you have to react.

– Thank god someone has a brain! When Chloe is all, “Hey, remember the last time we tried to unearth a huge treasure and there were evil blue monsters everywhere?” I was all, “YES!” It’d be funny if you had an option to say, “You’re totally right, Chloe.” Credits.

– I actually stopped myself from playing too much last night so that I could spread the fun out. Can’t wait to run into Chloe (my favorite character!), but I’m having a lot of fun in Syria in the meantime. I got killed by rocket launchers maybe six times before I got them all with the sniper rifle.

Uncharted 3 Launch Trailer [GO/ER]
Oct 17th, 2011 by Dan

Less than a month left! Gonna be so great.

What I’ve Been Doing 17 Oct 2011 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Oct 17th, 2011 by Dan

Scouts

Those stupid hats everyone makes fun of actually do motivate me to play sometimes.

Movies

Bran Nue Dae – Disappointingly mediocre. I was expecting something interesting from a musical about aboriginal life in Australia, but it just wasn’t there. Uneven pacing, bland characters, and, worst of all, completely forgettable music. That’s the one thing you have to do right in a musical!

TV

How I Met Your Mother – The Jenson episode was great and the roommate episode brought us tantalizingly close to the “Mother”, but I’m catching up on this show by virtue of inertia alone. HIMYM is not a great show, guys. Not anymore.

The League – My favorite kind of crappy show. Can be super hilarious some days and middling other days. It’s a shame that they had to come up with an excuse to not have Nadine Velazquez on the episode. She’s funny and hot.

Homeland – Bizarre opening theme. So weird/surreal/cool. I guess it ties in with Claire Danes’ psychosis. The prince/consort subplot is boring to me, but we’ll see if it bears any fruit.

Prime Suspect – I like the main character, but I don’t love the procedural nature. I’m all about the season long investigations like The Wire. That show really has ruined cop shows for me…

Up All Night – After just watching Bridesmaids practically twice, I was a little tired of the female rivalry thing that Christina Applegate had going on in the class. Still a pretty good show, but this was the weakest episode I’d seen so far.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – The writers on this show get so much mileage out of the title cards. So funny even if all of these people are terrible, horrible people. It makes me laugh when they call out Frank for being racist or a jerk, but they’re just as bad all the time.

Parka and Recreation – Not enough April this week! Ann being terrible at being a girl scout was awesome as was the Batman suit, but it wasn’t my favorite episode of this show.

Community – Super dark. Last week’s statement that the study group’s love was weird was right on the money. Seeing that Jeff, who brought them together is kind of bad for the group is really dark. I wonder if this has to do with Dan Harmon’s recent personal problems. This show is going some really heavy places this season.

Better Off Ted – “I think I need to get new breasts. These are covered in sad.” Finished S2 and, hence, the rest of the show. Not too bad. I can see why it was canceled, even though I liked it. Good light entertainment, but it’s not the greatest.

Dexter – This season has been bad so far. The story beats are obvious and too overbearing, even by Dexter standards. I don’t like following the “big bad” around, especially when they’re being annoyingly cryptic and awful. When they said this show would be really changing this season I didn’t think they meant that it would be getting awful. I really hope this season picks back up.

Music

Extra Hot Great – I love this show, but they made me think that maybe watching Footloose might be a good idea this week. Now to somehow suggest it to the girlfriend without letting on that I actually want to see it…

Books

Reamde – Finished the book. Very Stephenson. Brings to the foreground his love of guns, anarchy/distrust of government, MMOs, and his obsession with the way money/gold works. Good read, but not his best work. Anathem was more philosophically interesting and Crytonomicon had better characters.

(EDIT: You’ll note that there’s no talk of comics here. I might be starting a separate project to discuss them elsewhere.)

Video Games

The Binding of Isaac – Finally defeated the first form of Mom, but now I’ve got to get to her heart to slay her. I’m getting better at this game, but I’ve got a ways to go before I can beat the boss.

Mass Effect 2 – Kasumi’s loyalty mission is being annoyingly buggy, so I’m stuck on the final boss and I haven’t felt motivated to tackle it again after two nights of trying and either doing well and having it bug out on me or failing.

Team Fortress 2 – I painted Max’s Severed Head pink and it’s kind of awesome. Been getting a lot of Soldier and Demoman time in, two classes I really didn’t love before this. They’re not so bad, I guess…Had a killer round with Lee as a Heavy/Medic combo. We were unstoppable!

Gears of War 3 – So much Horde mode this weekend! I will unlock the Laugh Track! Just you wait!

EDIT: Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – Forgot to mention that I started my replay of the Uncharted series to prepare for the third iteration’s release next month. Good game, but the visuals are starting to show their age after all these years. It’s still a pretty game, just not as pretty as Uncharted 2 or 3.

Uncharted 3 Gameplay [GO/ER]
Oct 12th, 2011 by Dan

The guy driving in this gameplay video is astoundingly good at Uncharted 3 combat. Wow, he’s just a rock star. I wonder what difficulty level that is (I bet easy/casual). Man, I can’t wait for 1 November.

Gears of War 3 Campaign [GO]
Sep 23rd, 2011 by Dan

Gears of War 3 - "Ashes to Ashes" trailer screenshots

Dom's emo beard is the lynchpin the game revolves around (Picture courtesy GamingBits)

Yesterday I did two stupid things. When I started up my Public Arcade mode campaign I enabled “Scavenge Mode” (or whatever the mutator is called), which forces players to scavenge for ammo rather than find it littered about in ammo crates. Then, around midnight when I was hovering around Act IV Chapter 5 I thought, “Boy, there can’t be much more left to this game. I should just finish.”

Four hours later (ONE spent on the final boss alone (more on that later)) and I had beaten the Gears of War 3 campaign on Hardcore.

Some quick thoughts:

– Remember how your least favorite part of Uncharted was that part where the Nazi zombie monster things attacked you? Epic must have misinterpreted how almost everyone on earth hated that part and decided to put in a part in Act III/IV that’s just that, but more explode-y. Easily my least favorite part of the campaign.

– In fact, all the melee enemies are a pain in the ass. Lambent wretches especially. Holy shit do they deal a lot of damage when they explode.

– Hey, everyone, don’t play the campaign on Hardcore with the Scavenger mutator on. Seriously, you will regret it against the final boss. It’s a long fight and quite the slog, but it’s made worse by the complete lack of ammo drops that comes from playing on Scavenger. We fought Queen Myrrah for so long because we had to let each member of the team die to respawn with ammo again just to do damage to her. What should have been a 10 minute boss battle instead took us 60-90 mins. You don’t have to listen to me, but I’m right.

– Min and I just finished playing Gears of War 2 and the distinct lack of Maria in this game only makes it better. She still affects the game somewhat (see Dom’s beard), but the roster of players shifts so much and (apparently) Dom and Samantha are kind of an item now(?) so it’s a little better.

Emily vs Claudia

My deep love for Claudia Black's role as Chloe Frazer alongside Emily Rose in Uncharted 2 is what prompted this picture instead of just Black (Photo courtesy Yembles)

– Speaking of Sam: she’s not in the game enough. It’s sad. I mean, it’s not Nan McNamara’s fault that Anya is totally boring and lame, but I’d still prefer to have Sam around more often than I’d want Anya. Since Anya is kind of a legacy character I see why we get her for the last parts instead.

Gears of War 3 - "Ashes to Ashes" trailer screenshots

Anya, you are boring. Sorry. (Photo courtesy GamingBits)

– Speaking of boss battles two points before, the Lambent Berserker is stupid long. I know we’re far past the arcade days where enemies flashed red to indicate damage/proximity to death, but the Berserker, man…it just takes a licking FOREVER with almost little indication that you’re doing ANYTHING to it. It’s pretty frustrating. We fought that dude for an hour too.

– “Mad World”‘s return was pretty awesome.

– The context it returned was not. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but it was a cheap resolution to that character’s story/arc.

– I did enjoy that our principals each semi-got their own moment. I would have traded, I dunno, some of Cole’s ridiculous amount of exploration in this game for more about Samantha.

– Jeff Gerstmann was right, making mutators stupid-hard to unlock does nobody any favors. Why do this?

– The best sign that this is a great game is that I want to keep playing it more along with similar games. I want to get to Resident Evil 4 HD, Uncharted 3, and Resident Evil 5 (with David) as soon as I can.

– Stop having so much school work Min. We need to play through this campaign pronto!

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa