Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Blogger Is Out: Mass Effect 2

Yesterday I spent every waking second playing Mass Effect 2 and I have plans for the same - today and tomorrow. I have nothing else to say on the matter so I will talk to you on the other side.

My Best,
Nate Kowal

P.S. - Still not playing Mass Effect 2? I hope this Friday, when payday comes, that will change.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mass Effect 2 Launch Hub

This is for those who want to watch the same trailers over and over again, read reviews that they have already read, and mostly this is for those who have not yet let themselves get excited. After all, this is the second coming of the greatest game ever. Please be aware that I, myself, have not watched all of these trailers for fear that it will reveal too much of the game before I even get the chance to play it. Do not say that I did not warn you. I do not have any plans to post every video that Bioware had blessed us with so if you do feel so inclined to let me know - don't.

First the launch trailer:

Then the teaser that, just last February, started it all:

I remember being very excited after watching this trailer knowing, of course, that Commander Shepard was not dead. It was later revealed that one of the potential endings for Mass Effect 2 was the death of Shepard. Knowing that, this teaser makes a lot more sense in retrospect.

This is the cinematic trailer that was released just a few weeks ago:

This trailer is powerful. I would like to think that even if I never played Mass Effect I would want to after seeing this trailer. I would also like to take this moment to mention something that will make any fan of Mass Effect happy. I happened to be in Best Buy a few days ago - I decided to purchase the game there since GameStop, once again, does not want my money - just looking around and I noticed that every copy of Mass Effect was sold out. It made me happy to know that newer adopters of the 360 console were interested in playing ME1 before picking up the sequel. Lastly, if you are one of those people and it is taking some willpower to get through the slow beginning of the game, push through, the reward is worth it.

This was the second trailer after the 'Shepard: KIA' teaser:

Here is where we found out that Shepard was not dead - yet.

We know that at least one character from the first game will be able to come with you on your suicide mission and that ladies and gentlemen is Tali:

I wish we were able to see that shot of the flotilla for a bit longer but it does put the taste in your mouth. I just started a playthrough with Tali in my party and in this trailer she looks infinitely more interesting than she did in the first game.

This is the character I am most excited for mainly because she was in that little game, Mass Effect Galaxy:

Nothing really to say except that I think this is [one of] Shepard's new love interest[s].
If you do not remember Mass Effect Galaxy or never heard of it, here is the review.

If you recognize Miranda's voice from one of Chuck's characters here is why:

I love Bioware's ability, like many other developers, to get celebrities on board.

The next three videos showcase my next three favorite characters:

If you are not excited after all off this than you did not watch anything that I have attempted to show you or you are just ignorant and should die in a fire. Okay, kidding, but seriously, what is wrong with you?

I am picking the game up myself in just short of seven hours at the 24 hours Best Buy in Union Square, NYC. Where will you be when Mass Effect 2 releases?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Nate's Best of 2009 - Game of the Year - GOTY

Whenever it comes to writing a Game of the Year post (and trust me that is why this is late) I always put it off because I almost feel guilty about stacking all of my games up against each other and fighting for one that I can call the best. What it comes down to is that some genres and games do not compare well when it comes to listing out features -you should just end up choosing based on what you felt like was the best experience that you had all year. This is at the least, the ideal situation. I am sure that there are some sites that will just go by review score or some other merits that do not make any sense to this blogger but that is not the case here. Here you will find my honest heartfelt opinions on games that took me by storm this year or failed to impress me on any level.

First lets get the games that I missed this year, for some reason or another, out of the way:

  • Assassin's Creed II (X360/PS3) - I am heartbroken that I had to miss this game this year as I enjoyed the original so much (and I am one of the few I know). I avoided all of the media on the game so that I would go into it fresh but alas when release week came around I could not swing the sixty dollar asking price. I'll play it soon as it is on many outlets GOTY lists and I will not be without this experience come April of this year.
  • The Beatles: Rock Band (X360/PS3) - Another game that I did not get to this year because of the price. I honestly wanted to pick up a version of the game with instruments because my Rock Band 1 instruments are crappy.
  • Demon Souls (PS3) - I heard good things but had no time or money.
  • Dragon Age: Origins (X360/PC) - Same as Demon Souls.
  • InFamous (PS3) - I had an interest in the game and played the demo when I picked up my PS3 but I am not sure that I want to play it anymore. Perhaps when there is a game drought and I have NOTHING to play...
  • The Maw (XBLA) - I played the demo and loved it but never brought myself to spending the money.
  • 'Splosion Man (XBLA) - The same here as with The Maw but I do plan to go back and play both of these games.
  • Resident Evil 5 (X360/PS3) - I played the demo and wanted to give my first Resident Evil game a shot but I just never got around to it... I am not all that disappointed.
  • WET (X360/PS3) - I may be the only person that had a soft spot for Elisha Dushku but it is why I initially wanted to play this game. I then heard decent things about the game and wanted to play it even more. I just have not gotten around to it yet.
There were also a few games that I did not get to finish and they are:
  • Scribblenauts (DS) - In a game that had one of the most promising gameplay innovations I did not even fathom that I would never finish the game. It is not that I could not finish it but more like I HAVE NO DESIRE TO PLAY IT WHATSOEVER. Honestly, it is boring and probably my biggest disappointment this year.
  • The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai (XBLA) - I was so excited for this game, started playing it, got distracted and never got back to it. I plan to finish it and I have loved it so far.
  • BrĂ¼tal Legend (X360/PS3) - This was probably the game I was most excited for this year because Psychonauts was my favorite game of the last console generation. It was fun and funny while I was playing it both it otherwise felt a little flat to me. Perhaps I did not give it a fair shake but I have plans to complete it sooner or later.
The one Honorable Mention:

  • Halo 3: ODST (X360) - I do not believe that anyone, at any point, felt like ODST was going to be a full retail title but when Bungie added Firefight, Microsoft felt like it was worth the $60 asking price. I had no problem paying for the game but I quickly realized that any game could distract me from ODST and as a result I only played Firefight a little and I did not go through the campaign a second time as I usually do with Halo titles.
Here it is! THE TOP TEN:
  • 10. Halo Wars (X360) - Halo Wars had me playing an RTS on a console so in that respect the good folks at, the now defunct, Ensemble accomplished what they set out to do. I greatly enjoyed the co-op campaign experience and although the game was not without its faults it still merits being played by any Halo fan or any fan of the RTS genre.
  • 09. Left 4 Dead 2 (X360/PC) - This game deserves to be in any top ten based solely on the merits of the Gnome Chomski achievement. The experience on any difficulty level is a great time mostly because you must finish the campaign in order to get it. There is no giving up, there is only the Gnome. The game is great fun otherwise and while I was initially skeptical on picking it up, it became one of the better gaming experiences I had had this year.
  • 08. Ghostbusters: The Video Game (X360/PS3) - The formula generally says that a video game based on one of your favorite licenses in existence yields a bad game. This is not the case with Ghostbusters: The Video Game as I learned this past summer. Bustin' ghosts was great fun and if the game did anything wrong it was that it played it too safe and did not delve further into a great property.
  • 07. Modern Warfare 2 (X360/PS3) - I am always a fan of the next great shooter and MW2 was definitely something to be excited about. I played the game in one form or another for roughly a month straight but never achieved my goal of reaching level 70 in multiplayer. I am sure I will go back here and there but for now I am all MW2'ed out. This is not the game you are playing for innovation anymore, instead it is the game you are playing for a good time because everyone you know is playing it.
  • 06. Flower (PSN) - This game charmed the pants off me so much that I had to get as much out of it as possible. As a result I unlocked all of the trophies and I am eagerly awaiting the release of thatgamecompany's next title.
  • 05. Shadow Complex (XBLA) - This was such a fantastic game and for myself, it was really an unexpected purchase. I was intrigued by its announcement last year at E3 but I did not look into it until the game was close to release. I was rabid by the time it released and I had only been looking into for a week or two; imagine if I had known more about it since E3. Anyway I loved the game and it is an absolutely must-have experience if you own an Xbox 360.
  • 04. Borderlands (X360/PS3) - I cannot say enough good things about this game despite its absolutely awful storyline. It was an awesome co-op experience and an awesome single player experience. I found myself playing the game two different ways depending on if I was playing with someone or not. Highly recommended for those who love shooters and RPGs.
  • 03. Battlefield 1943 (XBLA/PSN) - I remember not wanting to download this game for the first few weeks of its release because it had planes in it and it seemed to be a prominent part of the game. Then this was the only game I was hearing about on any podcast that I was listening to. I became quickly enamored as I had with BFBC and I even started playing BF1943 and BFBC in tandem. That was about a month that I literally could not get enough Battlefield gaming in.
  • 02. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) - I can officially call this the prettiest game in existence as of this writing. It is so perfectly designed and plays so well that some would be hard pressed to actually call it a game. I cannot say much else that I have not already mentioned in my review so check that out here.
  • 01. Batman: Arkham Asylum (X360/PS3) - In the month following the release of this game I struggled to write a review that the game deserved - it still stands unpublished. Everything about this game felt perfect: the combat, the basic story, the graphics, the sound, the voice-acting, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. In my memory and among many sites GOTY choices this game stands tall as the best experience that the year had to offer. I do not remember a game being this much of an experience since 2007's Bioshock.