Friday, October 2, 2009

My Plans for Acquiring a PS3

Ladies and gentleman my days of owning just one console are numbered. While many of you know that I have had plans to purchase a PS3 it has only now become a viable option (price drop and job promotion - it is a gift from my wife). I am excited but I am also a bit taken aback and the reason for that is because I already have enough on my plate to play. Nevertheless this is what I am looking at in terms of games:

  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (If I like the first one, which knowing recommendations and other various factors, I will)
  • Flow and Flower
  • The PixelJunk series
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • InFamous
  • MLB: The Show
...and that is all I can think of right now. I am looking for other recommendations but for now I think that I have a good base. Also, if anyone was wondering, I do not plan to purchase anything other than Playstation exclusives on the PS3; I love getting Gamerscore too much and I do not see there being a lot in Trophies for me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Road To Recon: I Came Up With This Name Before It Was on (pt3)

My goal was to attain the Lightswitch Vidmaster before Halo 3 ODST came out and we all know how that turned out (but in case you did not know I'll talk more about it later in the post). Instead after ODST shipped I popped in the 'Complete Multiplayer Experience' disk and decided to hunt down the last three skulls so that I could have the Brainpan Vidmaster (Collect all of the Mythic Skulls from the maps: Heretic, Longshore, Citadel, Assembly, Sandbox, Orbital) and that is exactly what I did. This is also an easy 100 Gamerscore for those not hunting down the Recon armor. If you cannot find them all YouTube is your best friend and you should also be able to find a map on that will help you easily nab the Sandbox skull.

On Wednesday I finally earned the Lightswitch Vidmaster which is awarded for attaining the rank of Lieutenant (50 EXP) in the new EXP system. It took long enough but my constant poking and prodding of the Rumble Pit playlist finally paid off. In my last run to gain the final three experience points I happened to get lucky enough that it took me twelve matches to gain the final three experience points and out of eight players in each match I only had to be in the top four. Somewhere in my head I knew what I needed and something unconsciously was going on to prevent me from getting there - that is my only excuse.

Lastly we have a for all intents and purposes an easy Vidmaster Achievement: Classic. All I had to do was boot up Uplift Reserve and drive the Warthog through the entire map without firing a shot (no Warthog horn either) or throwing a grenade. It did not matter that someone was in the gunner seat so if you are trying for this do not worry about it.

Today I may go for the Deja Vu Vidmaster but my primary goal today is to finish ODST on Legendary.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WAIP: September 30, 2009 - Firefighting Edition

This past week I had the distinct pleasure of playing through the ODST campaign and getting in a few rounds of Firefight.

What I really want to talk about is Firefight because it reminded me of a time when multiplayer gaming was the only thing that mattered to me.

A few afternoons ago I got together with my brother-in-law and a couple of other people on his friends list and we had a session that lasted just over an hour and a half. It was glorious. I was the point man, most of the time, trying to keep everyone on their game so that we could make it through the whole thing but alas my coaching was not good enough and in the end our lives ran down quickly and it was over before anyone knew what hit them.

The mistake made here is that enough of the folks that I was playing with did not care enough to kill the engineers first and because of that the enemies became increasingly impossible to kill. If someone asks you to kill the engineer and you find yourself closest whip out that overcharged plasma pistol and send a few shots right into their electrically charged, round, bodies - please.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PC Gaming: From Physical to Digital

The last 5+ years or so have been difficult on PC gaming. Console gaming has been around for 30+ years, but it's safe to say that it started to reach it's true pinnacle of popularity with the creation and release of the Xbox 360. Since that point console gaming has become a staple in almost every American household whether you own a 360, Wii or PS3. Console gaming has a level of accessibility that PC gaming has never had. In order to be a console gamer all you need is a TV and that is it, the console does the rest. There's no need to make sure you have the most up to date hardware to run the most current games. There's no frustration involved in building your own rig every 5 years to update your system as technology grows. It's even significantly less expensive. Most high end gaming PCs will run anywhere from $1000 to $3000. Now, I'm of the belief you don't need a $3,000 rig to enjoy games, but that's just me. Regardless, a console will cost you less than $500 while a PC will cost much more. It's just not convenient for most Americans, so they go for the easier and quicker option that is the console.

PC gaming has yet to die during this console uprising, however, and I would say that it's still thriving. Yes, a lot of people have jumped the PC gaming boat for consoles, but PC gamers tend to be true to what they love and what they love is PCs. Not only has PC gaming had increased competition with consoles, but PC game creators have to battle an environment that is much more susceptible to piracy. It's not easy to pirate games for your console, but all anyone needs to pirate games for their PC is an internet connection and a half decent torrent website. This has caused problems for the PC gaming world and has encouraged many PC game manufacturers to abandon their PC past and go strictly console due to the fact that they do not want to lose money. So how exactly to you combat this? What do you do as a company to overcome this adversity? Digital distribution...

Digital distribution has been around since the content delivery program Steam was introduced in late 2003 (digital distribution may have been around prior to that, but that is my first early knowledge of such systems). Steam had the idea of distributing gaming content digitally instead of physically, or distribute digital copies along with standard physical copies in retailers. Now, a lot of content has gone digital over the past 5+ years; music, movies, TV, video games, etc. Personally, I have been against digital distribution this entire time. I like physical copies. I like knowing I can hold the thing I paid $50 for. I like knowing if something happens to my computer, I still have my physical copy to hold onto. I enjoy having and seeing box art and I figure if I'm going to pay $50 for a game I want something physical. In the past month or two, however, companies have been slowly winning me over with digital distribution. There's one factor that is causing my views to change and that is simply cost.

I have a very difficult time justifying spending $50 on a digital copy of a game when I can get the physical copy for the same price. If I'm receiving less in my purchase (meaning no physical version of the game itself, no manufacturing of boxes, DVDs, etc) I would expect the price to be lower. I'm not particular sure what the cost of producing physical aspects to a game release are, however, I would expect the price for a digital copy to be at least $10 cheaper then the physical copy. Is that really so much to ask? If you're going to win me over with digital distribution, lower the price because I feel like I'm getting ripped off to a certain extent. This is one issue that has caused me to hesitate in converting to digital only content. One factor in cost, however, that is winning me over are sales. Steam typically runs sales on their games on a weekly basis. Other digital distributors such as Impulse (Stardock) and Direct 2 Drive have had their marketing departments hard at work lately and have been getting more ads out there to showcase their sales. Most recently, I purchased World of Goo from Impulse for a mere $10, 50% off it's normal price of $20. I've also purchased, in the last couple of weeks, Assassin's Creed and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City from D2D (Direct 2 Drive) for $5 each. Both of those titles are a tid bit old, but honestly, who can pass up the $5 price tag? Even as I type this out I'm contemplating buying another $5 game from D2D, Defense Grid. This is a game that I barely know anything about, but have heard a few PC gaming podcasters talk about from time to time. Once again, $5? Who can't afford that?

I think digital distribution companies have something going here. They have been winning over PC gaming fans for a little while, but I feel like they haven't reached the tipping point yet. By providing content in this manner through various sales it not only wins PC gamers over for digital distribution, it also makes lesser known titles and companies more well known. The chances of me purchasing Assassin's Creed prior to the D2D sale were slim to none, same with Defense Grid. Not only am I buying games on sale, but in doing so I've started to contemplate switching to digital only content for my PC. It's quick, it's easy. It doesn't involve me having to search for a game at a retailer and it also does not force me to figure out what to do with all my empty boxes. These digital distributors as well as PC gaming companies really have something going here and I feel if they keep offering great titles for great prices they will reach their tipping point and we will reach and entirely new era in PC gaming.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Adventures in Babeland - Weekly Gaming Girl Diary: September 29, 2009

For the past month or so the only games that have really dominated my gaming time have been ones I've been playing on my laptop and one game above all has been taking up all my time. That game is Plants vs. Zombies. Now, I'm sure I've discussed this before, but as I grow older my memory starts to fail and I am far too lazy to go back and read my previous posts, so pardon me for any repetitiveness.

The big accomplishment in gaming this weekend is that I finally beat Plants vs. Zombies adventure mode. Now, one would think after being done with such a feat you would be done with the game entirely, but no. Pop Cap has this amazing ability with their games to create so much more content even past the main mode for the game. I feel like after completely adventure mode I've really only scratched the surface of what this game contains. In the process of beating adventure mode, I unlocked three other modes; mini games, puzzle and survival. Each of the other modes as at least 24 more games to play. That estimate might be off a bit as I'm pulling that number from screen shots in my own head. Needless to say I have hours upon hours left of Plants vs. Zombies playtime.

The best part (or maybe the worst) is the fact that I'm finally accumulating enough money in the game to buy sweet stuff. See, Plants vs. Zombies starts out relatively simple with about 6 slots to place your desired plants in. You use these plants to combat incoming zombies of various different forms. As expected with most games, the zombies you fight start out relatively simple and then get progressively harder as you move along. You also accumulate money throughout the course of the game as it is dropped by random dying zombies. I'm not really sure if it was because I suck or what, but it took quite a while for me to accumulate enough cash to really have a positive effect on my game play. In fact, I didn't really start collecting that amount of cash until I had beat adventure mode. I suppose this is one beef I have with the game. They give you all these sweet prizes and extras to purchase, but you never have enough cash to buy them until you've moved onto the other modes. I would have loved to have more slots for plants when I was fighting the end boss in adventure mode, but alas, I did not have the $10,000 needed. Later on in the game you're even given a "Zen Garden" in which you can grow plants that also give you money. To me, it always feels like an adventure mode is the main component in a game such as this, but after beating it, it feels like it's just the beginning. I suppose I view that entire situation in a sort of neutral way. It's nice to have so much more left to play, but at the same time I would have liked a few extras earlier on.

All in all, I absolutely loved the game. As I stated in previous posts I wasn't sold right away and it took a bit of play time to get me hooked, but once I was hooked that was it. Not only did I get hooked, but I even got my girlfriend interested in it, which is a task in itself considering she does not play video games at all. I would highly, highly, highly suggest anyone and everyone to purchase this game. It brings loads and loads of casual gaming fun.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brutal Legend Demo Impressions

Before I booted up the Brutal Legend Demo, I was worried that I might not like the game as much as I liked Psychonauts (or as much as I wanted to). I was worried that it could not be as funny (but let's be honest here Jack Black misses the mark about half of the time) as Psychonauts and that I would be ultimately disappointed.

I am here to let you know that this is not the case. The demo (and likely game) is more witty and clever than I had originally anticipated and having had a taste I officially do not want to wait any longer.

Not only is the dialogue funny but the game's design (classic Tim Schafer) is funny from the get go when the game's design subverts what is going on and asks you if you would like to hear curses or bleeps or if you want to see blood or not (and of course I will not spoil for you how it asks you this (or which ones I chose)).

My only concern is that I noticed that the game throws a lot of weapons and combos at you from the very beginning. It gives you one weapon, and then another, and then a combo - and another. If the same pace continues throughout the games entirety the control system is likely to become convoluted (granted this is only a small sample). I would not even be sure if I was completing the game in the correct fashion. Too much to think about when playing might take away from where the game really shines.

At the end of the day we all knew that I was going to pick up this game regardless so my opinion might not hold much weight for the general skeptic. 

On Rocktober 13th you know where to find me.