Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mass Effect Pinnacle Station DLC Released!

I had not made a post about this but Mass Effect has been expecting a piece of DLC since the Bring Down the Sky mission. Today along with the new avatar clothes and a new theme, the oft rumored Pinnacle Station DLC has finally been realeased!

At this point I honestly do not know what to say about it other than I am severely torn as to what to do right now. I just brought home Batman: Arkham Asylum last night but this is a fresh piece of ME DLC.

Advice, NOW, in the comments!

Bioware reveals new character for Mass Effect 2 - Grunt, "An irrationaly violent krogan"

So hot off of last week we also have this awesome awesome preview of another new character from Mass Effect 2.

Every time I think that this game slips into the back of my mind Bioware brings the game surging to my senses with a vengeance. Obviously, from the videos, everything about this game looks perfect but the trailers from the first game captured that aspect as well and we all know how that turned out.

What these new trailers have that ME1 trailers did not seem to have is a sense of urgency. This game feels like it is going to always be epic and grandiose and I have no doubt that it is going to feel like an unforgettable roller coaster ride.

Grunt looks cool enough though he may be a bit too similar to Wrex even though Grunt's head looks smaller and roundish. Grunt's voice is scratchy like Wrex's (looks like a species of smokers) but Grunt seems shorter in comparison to Wrex. If you have not already asked yourself the question, yes, I really am comparing the two.

I am curious to see if the selection of teammates that one can have in their party is much larger than the original's five party members.

But I suppose if none of that interests you, you could always go check out the Mass Effect clothing for your avatar.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday MUpdate : I Have Looked Into The Face Of The Abyss...

...and it was good.

Last week, I got many e-mails in regards to my absence/lack of substantial update (read: none). Those following my column on a regular basis will also know that the majority of my things, including my XBOX 360, are all packed away, leaving me to a lack of gaming and weeks of sadness and depression.

Or... that's what I would be writing if something hadn't happened. You see, dear reader, at the time I wrote last week's column, I was waiting for a package in the mail. Originally that package was going to come sooner, but due to some silliness with the bank, I was forced to order it at a later date. And what was that package, you ask? Why, a brand new and very shiny Playstation 3. That's right: I finally got one! I ordered it from Best Buy through a limited deal they had where you get WALL-E and LittleBigPlanet along with your system, and honestly, I couldn't be happier with the system. Well... ok, that's a lie. I could ALWAYS be happier. I'm the critical one here. Allow me to lead you along a journey through the ups and downs of the system regardless, however.

So first off, one thing that I LOVE about PSN over XBOX Live! is that not only is the service 100% free, but it's wireless and comes with an internet browser. You heard that right. PSN already has it's own version of Twitter set up (which I haven't tested out) and YouTube XL which is made to format HDTVs. It's not perfect, obviously, and it's a little blurry due to the upping of resolution, but it works like a charm, that's for sure. I can sit and stream whatever YouTube I want for hours, and it doesn't cost me anything extra. On top of that, I don't have to pay to access all the demos, free add-ons, and multiplayer gaming. It's all readily available to me off the bat. Chalk one up for the PS3.

The dashboard is the standard Playstation dashboard we've all been used to on all of Sony's products for a while now. It's clean and sleek, and I can't really complain against it. You can choose to have a theme if you want, and that one theme is similar to how the XBOX 360 is now where you'll have a singular background image and rotate through it. There are some premium themes, but the great thing about it is that you don't have to pay for the cool ones. For example, I have a Fallout 3 theme that makes my dashboard look like a PIP-Boy. It's awesome! I also have a Bioshock 2 multiplayer theme which features multiple rotating backgrounds and changes all the "Pictures" "Video" "Music" options into that quirky little character image a la the XBOX 360 Achievements, except these pictures are all meant to be the characters you play in the multiplayer mode of Bioshock 2. And it didn't cost me a dime to get! Chalk another one up for the PS3.

Speaking of Achievements, you know that we don't have those on the PS3, right? We have Trophys. They're similar yet ultimately different. You see, the main difference is that instead of having various points assigned to a Trophy, we have Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Platinum you can only get if you beat every other trophy, and the Bronze, Silver, and Gold are given out for decidedly hard goals. I'll be honest, I don't even bother to try for most trophys because a lot of them are so damn hard. For example, Fat Princess' Trophys are almost all multiplayer oriented, and considering everyone in multiplayer doesn't want to play Fat Princess (they all want to play team deathmatch), I'm not on the multiplayer. Make sense? In talking to Nate, he said that he didn't feel the procurement of Trophys are as satisfying as getting an Achievement, and I suppose that is possibly true for some people, but they're pretty much the same thing through and through. They have quirky names, they're fun to get, and they essentially make no difference in the world of gaming. I mean, it's not like you get more based on your Achievements or Trophys. Besides, some of them are absolutely hilarious. In the aforementioned Fat Princess, I got a Trophy called "The Cake Is Not A Lie!" for beating the singleplayer. That's a win right there. This one is a draw because ultimately both the Achievments and the Trophys are pointless (sorry, Nate).

As far as exclusive games go (i.e. PSN vs XBOX Live! Arcade games), the XBOX wins this one. There just really aren't a lot of games on their network I found myself interested in. I of course got Fat Princess (if only for the controversy it caused in my state, the home of the ATHF Bombings), and I got an AMAZING game called Flower. Outside of that, though, I didn't see a lot I wanted to try. On top of that, unlike with the XBOX Live! Arcade games, you can't try them out before you buy them. You either go the whole nine yards or you get nothing. There are a few games that do in fact offer demos, such as the Watchmen games, but I didn't have any real interest in those, and those are available on the XBOX anyway. The PSN does offer old PS1 games on it, but the 360 offers some of it's old library, too. I want to call it a draw because I was able to download Final Fantasy VII, which is one of the greatest games of all time, but this one is a win for the XBOX 360.

About playing old games: the backwards compatibility is an instant 360 win. No question. Unfortunately, the big wigs at Sony just don't think we want to play PS2 games, which is a lie almost as bad as the cake. The PS3 is being killed by the fact that you can't play old games on it. Sony does claim that "Some games will run," but this is an overall falsehood. For example, on Sony's online site it says that I can play Shadow of the Colossus on my PS3. Can I? No. No I can't. And that is a mega loss. Like I said, SOME old PS1 games are available for download at a reasonable cost ($9.99 +tax), such as classics like Tomb Raider, Spyro, and FF7 (which is a big big win), but ultimately the PS3 loses this round once again for the lack of availability on it's system.

So right off the bat, we have the PS3 with 2, the XBOX with 2, and one draw in the middle over Achievements vs Trophys. This is just based on what's available right away, and this doesn't take into account things as graphical powers, accessories, etc. There is no doubt that the PS3 has a better graphic capabilities, and the fact it comes with an 80 gig harddrive all on it's own is pretty great (as opposed to going out and paying out the rear end for all yours). The blu-ray player and the upscaling DVD, is pretty nice as well, and all controllers being wireless and only requiring a USB charge for a short time period is great as well. With all of these things in consideration, I'd say the PS3 gets another point, putting it ahead of the XBOX, even though I like the XBOX more.

That's important thing to note: I do like my XBOX more than I like my PS3. You know why? The over all library of games is better on the XBOX. You see, the two systems share a LOT of games. Most of the big titles, in fact. However, I've already played most of the big games on my XBOX, and all my pre-orders for upcoming titles are all on the XBOX if only for the fact that I want to be able to play with my friends. Also, all of the exclusive PS3 titles I want come out next year (DCU Online, God of War III, The Last Guardian). I played demos for all the hot PS3 titles (Killzone, Infamous, Resistance) and I wasn't impressed at all. In fact, I found all three to be rather boring and run of the mill. I ADORE LittleBigPlanet and I can't see that game EVER not being fun, but as far as exclusive, PS3 pretty much loses hands down, leaving us with a tie in the end.

Don't get me wrong: my PS3 was a great purchase. A fast blu-ray player, four amazing games, and wireless internet make me happy as a clam. I'll probably work on reviews for my games in the upcoming weeks (but if you're curious, LBP, Fat Princess and Flower are all must own games), and that's only if I can take the time I took out for this article again (it's kind of hard to not play the PS3 at all hours right now, to be honest... especially since I'm on vacation). I'll even do my best to get more games on the PS3 in order to create some more articles not centered around the XBOX. In the end, I can't honestly tell you to get one system over the other. This is something any smart reviewer will tell you, and that it's all about personal preference. Chances are, all your friends own the XBOX, so get that and a blu-ray player and you're set. Or defy them and get a PS3 and rock out on your own. It doesn't matter. They're both excellent systems, and I'm happy to own both.

Just don't buy a Wii, because that's just fucking stupid.

WAIM: August 23, 2009 - Shadow Complex Edition

I started off the week by playing a little Fable 2 (prior to the Fable 3 announcement). I started a new hero and I played a little bit of co-op (got myself some cheevos) with a friend from work. I proceeded to use the gold that I was getting from him (I was in his version of Albion) in my game to buy up the entire gypsy camp before I even left to go on my first adventure.

I dabbled in a bit of Beyond Good & Evil but I did not really make it anywhere seeing as I may have played it for a total of fifteen minutes. I think the next time I will play this game will be when I finish Batman: Arkham Asylum, which drops tomorrow.

What I have been playing most should really come as no surprise to anyone: Shadow Complex. I have played through it once and loved it but I am going to play through it at least once more before I grace the game with what will probably be a glowing review. As always I do not want to say too much that I could just say in the review but you must play this game. At the very least, give the trial a shot. The game has made me want to check out some Metroid and Castlevania games out so I'll let you know how that goes. Perhaps the Metroid games are on the DS and I know that Symphony of the Night is on XLM.

Thoughts: Fable 3 Announcement

I know that the Fable III announcement came last week after that countdown that I made such a big deal about. I then failed to make the post after the news actually dropped or on any subsequent days after that.

I was convinced that the countdown could not have been for Fable 3 because the theme did not seem right but after seeing all of the new ideas (talk about those in a second) I see that I was mistaken. I also did not think that it could be Fable 3 because games are not announced like this any longer, they are usually announced the year that they are coming out, but seeing as this game is slated for holiday of 2010 I see that I was once again mistaken.

But now actually on the the real meat of the announcement:

First we have this awesome teaser trailer:

And second we have the few details that Peter Molyneux carefully let drop:
  • You are going to be the ruler of Albion and your decisions, now matter how grandiose or minute, will affect your entire kingdom. The story is set five decades after Fable 2 and you are your hero's (from Fable 2) child. You can be a just ruler or have your kingdom on the brink of collapse.
  • There are two touted new mechanics, called Judgement and Touch, that will further the Fable 3 gameplay experience. Judgement will allow you to judge individual situations and crimes that take place in your kingdom; the system will ultimately decide what kind of kingdom you have, just or unjust. The new Touch mechanic will replace the expressions system and will finally allow your hero to interact with NPC's.
Everything sounds promising and I am happy to see that the Lionhead is going to continue to innovate their already amazing Fable series. I am looking forward to more details and you can be sure that you will find them here once I hear of them.

Adventures in Babeland - Weekly Gaming Girl Diary: August 24, 2009

Not sure how many have noticed, but I’ve been a bit absent in doing the whole weekly gaming thing for the past few weeks. My apologies, but life has taken hold of me a bit with my girlfriend moving away for college and I just haven’t had the time to get a lot of gaming in nor have the time to sit down and really write about it. This weekly gaming update will be a bit more then the past week or so and will cumulate a few weeks of gaming.

I’ve been putting in some time on quite a few games lately. I purchased Battlefield 1943 a while ago and have been sitting down and actually playing a bit over the past few weeks. There are two things I have learned during this time spent with the game; the first being that overall the game delivers and is a ton of a fun and the second being I am not very good at it. I probably average maybe 3 kills a game and when compared to the 10-15 or so that the top leaders average I’m doing a pretty piss poor job. Regardless, I’m enjoying the time I’ve spent with the game and it is definitely a load of fun. More often then not, I find myself left at the base initially without any sort of transport so I eventually get to the firefight a lot later then everyone else. Maybe my strategies suck? Maybe I’m just not that great at FPS games, but I’m still enjoying the time I’ve spent with it.

I also recently purchased three XLBA games; Castle Crashers, ‘Splosion Man and Shadow Complex. I’ve played a bit of the Castle Crasher’s demo and enjoyed it, but haven’t gotten around to playing the full version. I have spent a bit of time with ‘Splosion Man and I’m definitely enjoying it. First thing is first, that game is difficult. Haha, I typically start out any game I play on the “normal” difficulty as easy tends to be too easy and anything higher then normal tends to be too difficult for me. ‘Splosion Man may seem like a very simplistic game as there is really one only thing and one thing only you can do; explode. These explosions allow you to kill enemies and climb walls, but that is all you do. Run and explode, run and explode. Based on that simplistic premise I didn’t really know where they could go with the game, but damn they went places and they went places that are difficult. The game gets progressively more and more fast paced as you move on and had me sitting on the edge of my seat many times and induced the desire for me to throw my controller at the TV screen. I’m pretty sure the face paced action of the game also set my blood pressure into overdrive at some points. I’m not really sure how far into the game I am, I believe I’m at level 1-10 and I don’t know how far the game goes on, but I’m loving it. Definitely a game worth purchasing and definitely a game that has a lot more then it appears.

I’ve also spent a tiny bit of time playing Shadow Complex. I initially downloaded the trial because I heard so many people talking about it and I wanted to know what it was all about. I enjoyed the trial enough that I purchased the full game later that day. I haven’t had enough time to get very far into it, but so far I’m enjoying it. It’s interesting to see and play what is essentially an updated side scroller. Maybe I haven’t been playing console games long enough, but I haven’t seen a lot of updated side scrollers like this one, at least not in the sense of the art style. This game could easily be an FPS and has the generally same graphics as most FPS games, but you only have 4 options for movement; up, down, forward and backward and that’s it. I’ve gotten to, I suppose, what could be the first “boss” in the very beginning of the game. I haven’t gotten around to beating him yet, but I might take another shot at it tonight after work. Definitely enjoying my time spent with the game and would highly recommend.

One of my most recent “boxed” game purchases is Wolfenstein. I never played the original Wolfenstein games…well, I suppose that is incorrect…I played one of the very, very first versions of Wolfenstein on my parent’s old Apple IIe. I’m talking about a game with stick figures played on a black and green screen. I never played Wolfenstein 3D, but towards the end of high school I did start playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein and it quickly became my favorite FPS and most of my evenings after school and soccer practice were spent on an empty hill on a beach, with a sniper rifle clutched in my grasp, picking of Nazi’s. I continued to play the game through college and eventually stopped at some point to start devoting my free time to World of Warcraft. To this day, RtCW is my favorite FPS MP game ever. Forget Halo, forget Counter Strike…for me it’s RtCW. So needless to say, I was elated to hear iD and Raven was releasing a new title to the franchise. I picked it up on release day and have put about 30 minutes to an hour into it. Now, that’s not enough time to write a decent review of the game (which I intend on doing by the end of this week *crosses fingers*), but it was enough time to explore the world a little bit and get used to the game. So far so good, but I haven’t played enough to make a solid opinion of it. As soon as I installed it (I bought it for my PC since it was $10 cheaper, I knew none of my 360 friends would be purchasing it, it came with a $10 gift card…which I lost …and I’m much better at PC based FPS then console) I fired up the MP since the reviews for it have been relatively “meh” and that was the one thing I was most looking forward to. Unfortunately, there was barely anyone online and I didn’t get the chance to jump into a game. Hopefully since the game has been out for about a week, I’ll have better luck in the near future.

Aside from all these new games, there is my good old standby, World of Warcraft. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten too much time to play recently due to the girlfriend moving and life being hectic. I’ve gotten my blood elf pally up to level 67 and with the release of patch 3.2, was able to purchase a new flying mount. Holy cow, having a flying mount is damn near the best thing ever. No more having to find the appropriate path to avoid mobs or having to find the appropriate path through a valley…I can just jump on my flying mount and get the f*** out of there. It’s glorious, truly glorious. If you pay any attention to the WoW universe, you’ll know that Blizzcon happened this past weekend. There are a lot of exciting things happening in the next WoW expansion and I think I might write a feature on it later this week or next. I realize this isn’t a WoW blog and there are a lot of other places out there to get a lot more information on these things, but I’ll probably put together a quick write up of what I’m most excited for. I consider myself to not be an a-typical WoW player (maybe I am?) in the sense that I don’t raid and haven’t really reached any end game content so I think I get more excited about things that people are less excited about. The main thing that makes me squee with joy is the fact that they are REDOING ALL THE OLD WORLD CONTENT, OMG! But I’ll get more into that in my feature.

I think that’s about it for my gaming activities as of late. I really need to sit down and finish Battlefield: Bad Company considering how close I am to beating it. I think I have this disease that prevents me from ever completing games. I always buy them, start them and at some point abandon them. I’m pretty sure Portal, Half Life and Bioshock are the few games that I’ve actually beaten and completed. I didn’t even beat Diablo II or the SP campaign of RtCW. That’s definitely something that needs to change.