Jay's Internet Log

Tag: Call of Duty

1000/1000 Club

by on Dec.14, 2015, under Gaming, General

[UPDATE] – I seem to consistently update this post, so I will place the newest update in red from now on.  Carry on.

People on the GameFAQS boards constantly tell everyone else when they’ve completed the board’s game 100% with the maximum 1000 gamerpoints per game.  I thought I’d start my own little section here for this since, well, this is my site and I can do whatever I want really.  So here goes!

Call of Duty 4 – 1000/1000 on 1-21-2008

This game, as some of you know, has become one of my favorite alltime games, not for the single player but for the multiplayer.  At this writing, I’ve amassed over 500 hours on online play.  Achievements however were only awarded for the single player campaign, and some of the harder ones were REALLY hard.  I would have to say that beating “One Shot One Kill” and “No Fighting in the War Room” on Veteran dificulty caused me the most mental anguish.  The last level, “Mile High Club”, though fun on Normal difficulty, became a nightmare on Veteran, though it felt SO good to complete it, knowing that all that was left to do in order to 100% the game was find a few tapes and destory a lot of televisions 🙂

Fallout 3 – 1000/1000 on 12-15-2008

If you’ve read anything on this site about Fallout 3, you know that I’ve really enjoyed it.  From being a game that I told myself I would never get to being one that I will probably never forget, Fallout 3 is a complete masterpiece, and I’m sad that the story is over.  It took me about 75 hours to 100% it and the entire time was like a wild rollercoaster ride.  I won’t spoil the ending here, but it was pretty sweet.  Bethesda is releasing some DLC for this game which I will most definitely pick up, as it is one of the most engaging games I’ve ever played.
[UPDATE – 1-29-2009 – 1100/1100 now after Operation Anchorage DLC]
[UPDATE – 3-27-2009 – 1200/1200 now after The Pitt DLC]
[UPDATE – 5-20-2009 – 1350/1350 now after Broken Steel DLC]
[UPDATE – 7-6-2009 – 1450/1450 now after Point Lookout DLC]
[UPDATE – 8-11-2009 – 1550/1550 now after Mothership Zeta DLC]
Since Bethesda has not announced any further DLC for this masterpiece, I am taking this as the end for me. If they do decide to release more, I will pick it up, but if they don’t, then the ride was a great one and I will look forward to the next game in this series. Fallout 3 is easily one of the best experiences in gaming that I’ve ever had, took up 1497 save files, and lasted me well over 120 hours.

Tales of Vesperia – 1000/1000 on 12-28-2008

This has been months in the making and I can finally say that I have completed this masterpiece.  The “Tales of” series is huge in Japan and I have played two of the games in the series: Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube, and now Tales of Vesperia on the 360.  These games are traditional Japanese Role Playing Games, meaning the style is very anime and the characters have a lot of personality.  They also implement a crazy live action battle system, which make them a complete joy to play.  Anyways, I played through Tales of Vesperia from launch day until I beat the game about a month later, totaling about 95 hours.  I then immediately started over again, and played through it again to tie up all loose ends and basically get everything in the game, which took another 50-60 hours.  The last two achievements would require a third playthrough, one for finishing the first chapter at a very low level, and another for finishing the game within 15 hours.  All in all, I finished this playthrough in 9:37:31, ranked 791 on the leaderboards for time, and the entire playtime for me is about 173 hours.  I have done everything there is to do in this game, probably a few times, and all I can say is that it is by far the best JRPG I’ve ever played and I’m really looking forward to Namco’s next installment of this great series.  Tales of Vesperia is an epic, long journey that is worth playing for anyone who either likes the series or the genre in the slightest bit.

Fable II – 1100/1100 on 1-25-2009

I consider this to actually be 1300/1300 as I have fully completed the Fable II Pub Games as well. Fable II was a game that I have owned for many months, but stopped playing almost immediately as it was horribly bugged and people were complaining that their games glitched out and got wrecked. This scared me, so I played Fallout 3 instead. A few weeks back, Fable II was patched so I started playing it again. It is a blast to play and is very relaxing. Albion has a very medieval feel to it and you can basically do whatever you want, whenever you want. As far as achievements go, this game has them brilliantly placed. There are only a handful of story-based achievements, and Fable II focuses more on craziness when it comes to them. There’s one for kicking a chicken. There’s one for killing a rabbit. There’s one for shooting the weapons out of an enemy and then hitting him with a headshot. There are so many weird achievements. Some of them require you meeting people online and trading items with them. This can be tedious, but I met some nice people that way. I bought the Knothole Island expansion pack, which honestly only takes about an hour or two to complete, so $10 might be a bit high for it, but I really enjoyed it and the new weapons that it adds. It also adds another 100 to the score, so that’s why this one is more than 1000. I’m not really “done” with this game as there are other things that need to be done in it, but for some reason, there aren’t any achievements for them. I think it would have been cool to have an achievement for opening all of the demon doors for example. Overall, this is an excellent game if you don’t run into a crazy bug along the way!
[UPDATE – 6-4-2009 – 1350/1350 now after See the Future DLC]

Resident Evil 5 – 1000/1000 on 4-1-2009

I had been looking forward to Resident Evil 5 for a few years now, and told myself that I would be taking the release day off of work when it was announced last summer. More on that can be read here but this update is to discuss the game after full completion. That is to say the story mode of the game. Resident Evil titles seem to consistently change with each incarnation, and fans seem to always have some sort of problem with that. I’ve learned to take it as Capcom gives it and enjoy what they’ve created. Resident Evil 5 is without a doubt my favorite in the series, seconded only to the genre-changing Resident Evil 4. The addition of co-op to 5 worried me as so many game publishers are just trying to slap on the words “co-op” as marketing strategies, but when realized, they don’t add anything or are completely one-sided towards the host. I don’t think that Capcom could have done any better with their implementation of co-op, and in this game playing with someone else over XBL trumps the single player in every single way. Finishing this title to 100% took just over 43 hours, making it one of the shorter games I’ve played to get every achievement in. It is truly a masterpiece and I am now going to tackle The Mercenaries, an arcade-like minigame of sorts that is packaged with Resident Evil titles. In a few weeks, Capcom will be releasing an online versus mode based on The Mercenaries, so it’s time to train!

Lost: Via Domus – 1000/1000 on 6-28-2009
Lost: Via Domus I’ve been trying to think about how to put this back when I was still playing the game and knowing that I’d be writing a little blurb about it eventually for all of probably 3 people to see, but this is easily one of the worst games I’ve ever played. For anyone who knows me well enough, you know that I adore the show Lost. It’s my favorite television show that is on television now, and may be of all time. I’m thinking about The A-Team here, but I kind of put them in two totally different categories, so we’ll just ignore that. When Lost: Via Domus was announced and released, it got pretty bad reviews, and I passed over it thinking that it probably wasn’t worth $60….and it isn’t. I found this game a few months back for $10 at Best Buy and figured that I couldn’t really go wrong. I think I got a so-so deal on it. Anyways, when you boot up the game, you first see a Ubisoft logo. If I had read the box and saw that it was a Ubisoft game, I might have just left it be, as I am terribly upset with them and what they did to the Prince of Persia a few years back. But I didn’t see that logo and bought the game anyways. You play the game as a guy who was on Oceanic 815 and crashed with everyone else, but you don’t have any memory. You look almost exactly like Jacob’s nemesis from the Season 5 finale, which I find very strange, and I look forward to seeing if others feel the same way about this. It’s just uncanny how similar you look to him. As you “play” this game which consists of you walking around the beach talking to horribly created versions of the cast, being chased around the jungle by the smoke monster, doing stupid fuse puzzles that make no sense whatsoever, and recovering your memory via looping scenarios where you need to take pictures of things, I realized that I might have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t a Lost fan. I’m kind of on the fence about this one. If I wasn’t a Lost fan, I wouldn’t be so critical about the modeling or voice acting, though John Locke repeating “I’m over in the Banyan Trees” and “Hey, Look at me in the Banyan Trees” over and over again was actually funny, but the funny part was when he said “Banyan Trees”. I don’t know. I’m weird. Hurley, believe it or not, it even fatter in this game. The controls are very loose, and your actions seem to make you float around. You can trade fruit and stuff that you pick up for lanterns and guns, etc, but you only need to really shoot 1 or 2 people, so you never ever need a clip, though they seem to have lots to trade. What sucks even more is that in the end, all your stuff is taken from you, so it’s all pretty useless. They should have just given you what you need when you need it, but then this game would have been even shorter probably. It only took me about 2-4 hours to complete in its entirety, but it seemed like a chore. Would I rather deal with this mess or play CoD4? I had to force myself to finish this game so that I could delete it from my hard drive. One thing that I can say positively about this game is that I didn’t run into any game breaking bugs. That’s a nice thing, but there are some annoyances. One level starts out with you having to run away from the smoke monster, jumping over trees and running across wooden planks, but if you trip up then the smoke monster gets you. That’s not the bad part though. The bad part is that the game is set up episodically, so when you die, which you will a few times, you have to go through the whole 30 second long “Previously on Lost” crap. Argh! Anyways, Lost: Via Domus can’t be recommended by me. If you like Lost, and can get it for cheap (or borrow it from me), then check it out, but don’t expect much.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – 1000/1000 on 12-13-2009

Well, it took me much less time than I thought it would to get 1000 gamerscore points in Modern Warfare 2.  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that this game is easier and less annoying/time consuming as its predecessor, and I had a great partner in Glenn for all of the co-op missions.  Glenn and I had a really fun time playing through the Spec-Ops missions, and we’re looking forward to more of them via DLC.  The story in this game is not as emotional or as good as it was in Call of Duty 4, and it definitely does not wrap up with a satisfying conclusion, but I believe that this is done on purpose, so that in a few years, we’ll see Modern Warfare 3.  It is also very difficult to follow.  Being a self-proclaimed expert in this series’ storyline (I played through the CoD4 story four or five times and know it by heart), I was confused most of the way through this game.  The writers don’t really like setting the story up beforehand, but rather just drop you into the middle of it, and your squad mates seem to tell the story around you.  The problem with this is that while they are talking, you’re being barraged by bullets and explosions, so your mind isn’t really paying attention to what they are trying to say.  It’s a small gripe about an otherwise excellent piece of work.  All in all, Infinity Ward made another masterpiece with this game, and now all that’s left is multiplayer!!

Assassin’s Creed II – 1000/1000 on 1-18-2010

I was very skeptical about Assassin’s Creed II.  I wrote up about that in my Initial Impressions, and now that I’ve completed the game in its entirety (for now) I have to say that I have much more faith in Ubisoft.  I’m still a bit uneasy about the Prince of Persia series, but now that I’ve completed Assassin’s Creed II, I might give that series another try when it releases a new entry this summer.  Assassin’s Creed II did so many things right.  The graphics are amazing, the story is deep though a bit confusing at times, and the sound is simple extraordinary.  This was a game that I played both with and without the A40’s, and when playing without them, I lost out on some subtle details such as birds chirping in the background.  These things make up the feeling that is Assassin’s Creed II.  I absolutely love how you’re given a walled-in city that is in terrible disarray, and asked to upgrade it by donating your money.  Over time, you see new structures going up and more people flocking towards this city, earning you more money to build it up more.  It has a very medieval feel to it and I just loved it.  After completing the story, I went hunting for feathers; a remedial task in most games, but it is something that I really enjoy.  I have so much fun doing this and the world that the designers created is nothing short of fantastic.  There is only a single missable achievement (Flyswatter) in this game, but I’ve read that in upcoming DLC it will again become attainable.  Overall the achievements were on the easy side, and I almost wish that some of them were integrated better.  Finishing ALL of the races would have been more of an achievement than just finishing a single, easy one.  As I said in my previous segment about this game, I was mostly interested in the Venetian portions of the game, and they really did not disappoint.  Venice isn’t just created to look like you’re in Venice.  It’s created in the same layout as the islands, with the main Grand Canal bridges intact, St. Mark’s Square is nearly identical to the real thing, and even the market is in the correct location on the eastern side of the Rialto Bridge.  One of the funniest moments in the game for me was when I overheard a public speaker informing the public not to eat fish that came out of the canals.  The only thing that made me cringe about playing a game set in Venice is when I would accidentally jump in the wrong direction and dive into a canal.  When I lived in Venice, I worked on a project to drastically change the way the Venetian sewerage system works, so that may help you understand why I have reservations on jumping into the canals.  🙂

 

Bulletstorm – 1000/1000 on 3-6-2011

Today, Bulletstorm joins my list of fully completed games.  This is a game that exceeded all of my expectations, many of which were set very high.  The story is fun adn hysterical, the time trial mode (Echoes) is challenging and great to compare scores against friends, and the co-op multiplayer mode (Anarchy) is a blast to play with friends.  As far as achievements go, only a few require other people, and most are easily doable.  Red Barrels was difficult for me to get, and a few chapters on Very Hard difficulty were a pain (I’m looking at you 7-1), but overall it wasn’t terribly hard to fully complete.  This is a spectacular game for adults, and I whole-heartedly recommend it.

 

Portal 2 – 1000/1000 on 4-28-2011

When I first heard that Valve was creating Portal 2, one of the first thoughts in my head was “What kind of crazy achievements will this game have?”.  I was also worried about the length of the game.  Portal 1 took all of 2 hours to fully complete the story, so could Valve create a game that people would and should pay a full $60 for?  The story portion of Portal 2 took just over 9 hours to complete, without a single moment of boredom.  The co-op portion took about half that to complete, but I’ve since played it through two to three times.  The achievements range from smashing 11 TV’s in a single play session to simply hugging your friends.  This game is perfectly executed in every way, and one not to miss out on.

 

Brink – 1000/1000 on 5-15-2011

Brink is an interesting game. It was marketed very well, but is missing some key aspects that could make it great. The concept of gaining experience whether you play against robotic AI or humans is a breath of fresh air. The same can be said for being able to fully map the controller layout. Every game should have this feature. One thing this game is lacking, and I can not being to contemplate why, is a multiplayer lobby. Brink promotes playing with friends, but there is no easy way to group friends together and then play against other humans. It’s a mess, and I have no idea how this decision was made. Anyways, overall I’d say that Brink is a good game. It throws gamerscore at you like nothing else, and within five days, I’ve completed every achievement. The only one that I could see giving trouble would be “Tough as nails” which requires you to finish the storyline in Hard mode or online. The latter is extremely annoying because of what I mentioned earlier, and the fact that every time a person joins or leaves a team when online, the server comes to a halt for a few seconds. I played through the campaign with friends, and that made it easier, but it wasn’t a walk in the park. The reason this is difficult is because as you rank up, the enemy AI ranks up as well, and while your team’s AI still waits until the last 2 minutes to help out in any fashion, the enemy team’s AI just gets more brutal. Other than this achievement, which is mildly annoying, the rest are extremely easy. I hope the development team adds more achievements with DLC in the future.

 

L.A. Noire – 1000/1200 on 5-23-2011

This game shiped with two pieces of DLC that are preorder specific. I didn’t get these, but that’s why there are 1200 points total. Instead, I got a sweet light blue outfit called The Broderick. Yippee. Anyways… I didn’t know what to expect from L.A. Noire before release. I’m glad to say that this is not Grand Theft Auto in the 1940’s Los Angeles. I’m a big fan of GTA, but not really of this time period. L.A. Noire is more of a puzzle game than a shooting one, and the story that Team Bondi has created is spectacular. I figured out some of the story from bits and pieces, but was thrown off by others. It’s also nice to play a game without a multiplayer component. You can tell that a lot of work was focused on this single player element. I look forward to playing future games using this engine. Real actors can now successfully play roles in video games, and L.A. Noire is the first game that I believe can show off their talent well. This year is looking great for gaming, and it’s only May!

Deus Ex – Human Revolution – 1000/1000 on 9-5-2011

I never wrote up my impressions of this game when it first came out. This is because of two separate reasons that melded together and caused me to first write up about this game after fully completing it. First off, after playing this game for a few hours, I didn’t really care for it, and I was having trouble figuring out how to write that down. I was upset that the control layout was so radically different than most other games, and there is no way to change it with exception to inverting axes and sensitivity. That right there angered me, along with the fact that I couldn’t aim well and couldn’t hack into anything successfully. It was just somewhat of a mess, and after a few hours, I decided to give it a rest and come back the next day. This is where the second reason comes in. I picked the game back up after a night’s rest, and somehow the controls made sense to me. I started leveling up my character and weapons, making them easier to aim, and making hacking much easier. Most of my problems were almost instantly solved. The only problem now, is that I was somewhat hooked; hence my second reason. The depth that this game goes in each of its aspects is amazing, be it first person shooter, third person spy, even the hacking minigame is probably the best hacking minigame in any game that I’ve ever played. It’s smart, and took me a while to master. The best thing Deus Ex has to offer though is that you can tackle objectives in just about any way you want. You can get there by sneaking by, or by knocking guards out and hiding their bodies. You can also just run in and kill everyone. It’s up to you and in every single situation in the ~25 hour long campaign, it worked flawlessly. This is easily the best game that’s come out this year so far, and possibly even last year as well. As far as achievements go, all but three were completed rather easily on my first runthrough of the game. A second playthrough was completed in order to 1. finish on the hardest difficulty, 2. without killing anybody, and 3. without setting off any alarms. Playing through a second time like this wasn’t as difficult as it may sound because I knew every nook and cranny of the game already, and it was a blast to play through again.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – 1000/1000 on 3-23-2012

I don’t quite know where to begin with this one. I’ve never played any of the previous games in this series, but was in complete awe when I played Fallout 3, another amazing Bethesda piece of art. If you scroll up in this post a bit, you’ll see that I completed that game as well. Skyrim plays very similar to Fallout 3 at its core, but the world and characters here are vastly different. I started this game and played for about 40 hours as a pure mage before starting all over again as a stealth Khajiit assassin, and never looked back. When all was said and done, I’ve got over 1500 save files and 130 hours into this character. Skyrim also now sits atop my list of greatest games ever played. It is masterfully made and a pure joy to play. You can lose yourself in this world, and whoever designed the city of Whiterun is a complete genius. None of the achievements seem really difficult to get; the hardest if probably Oblivion Walker which requires you to find 15 of the 16 special Daedric weapons scattered in numerous dungeons in the land. I’m still not done with the game, but I’m done with the achievements until DLC is inevitably released. Some minor bugs aside, this one is a complete winner.

SSX – 1000/1000 on 4-14-2012

SSX is the first sports game that I’ve ever completed fully. This game’s achievements are a mix between easy completion awards and tough, time consuming challenges. Some require grinding, but not too much. They are generally very easy to attain. Some of them do happen to require many people playing online, so the older this game gets, the tougher it will be to max out its achievements. In general, SSX is loads of fun, and I plan on continuing to play it as the online challenges are very well made. A maxed out character in this game can do some wildy amazing moves. I made a video of a race recently that can be found here. It doesn’t show off the magnitude of the tricks that can be performed, but it shows some of the more treacherous terrain that the game sometimes throws at you. I had an absolute blast playing this game for achievements, and look forward to setting some sweet scores now!

Far Cry 3 – 1000/1000 on 1-2-2013

Far Cry 3 released at a good time for me. I had been playing Borderlands 2 for a good two months, had completed Black Ops 2 for as much as I could handle, and had just played Assassin’s Creed 3, which for me, was a letdown. When I heard that Far Cry 3 was basically Assassin’s Creed with guns, it sparked some interest. I really like the AC series, but the latest installment left me with somewhat of a stale taste in my mouth. Right from the beginning of Far Cry 3, I could see that this was an entertaining and well-made game, even if it copied its core structure from another game. I spent about 15 hours with this game, and was able to complete the achievements in just a single playthrough. The multiplayer co-op isn’t anything special, but the single player portion is really great. I enjoyed the stealth aspects when trying to liberate the outposts the most. None of the achievements were really hard. Overall, I think they were well balanced and spaced out. I’d say that some of the most annoying achievements were just the ones for completing multiplayer, as I never really wanted to go through it.

Borderlands 2 – 1125/1125 on 10-20-2012
I haven’t made many updates to my site in a while. The only game I’ve been playing is Borderlands 2, and though I’ve wanted to write up my impressions, I just haven’t had any time to do so. I guess I can use this space for a few of them. Borderlands 1 is one of my all-time favorite games, and I was really excited for its sequel. I’m glad that Gearbox took their time with this game, because they improved almost every aspect of it. They made an incredible game even better, which seems to be a difficult task now that publishers are trying to milk some franchises dry. Anyways, Borderlands 2 starts you off with no real good items for the first ~10 hours or so, and then starts dropping better ones in a seemingly exponential fashion. By the time you’re at max level, you’ve played through the game twice, and can then focus on farming bosses for better loot. I did this for a few days before starting up a different character. If Gearbox is going to raise the level cap like they did with Borderlands 1, then there isn’t much of a point to collect a lot of maxed out weapons now, or even use my maxxed out character. They’ve already released one DLC pack, which is why my score is 1125 instead of 1000. They’ve also released a DLC character, which I have at level 32 currently. As far as achievements go, the character-specific achievements aren’t as easy as they were in the first game. One character has to get to level 31 in order to earn his achievement, and another to level 25. In the first game, they could all be gotten in the first ~10 levels. Other than these, the rest kind of fell into place. Borderlands 2 is not a game that I play for the achievements. I play it for the amazing world that Gearbox has created, and I will play it until the next entry in the series releases.

1125/1125 on 10-20-2012- Captain Scarlett and her Pirate’s Booty – This was a surprise, releasing within 30 days of the actual game. It lasts about 5 hours, and is quite fun to play. I’ve gone through it with my level 50 Siren and level 32 Mechromancer. It adds a new type of crystal called Seraph, that only drops by the DLC’s two raid bosses. These bosses are not easy, and they only drop a few crystals each time. It appears as though the special items that you receive cost around 100 crystals, and they aren’t really that great, so I’m not putting a whole lot of time in here once finished. It is a really nice place for your character to level up, and it is quite comical and fun, so I recommend it for characters going through the story each time.

1250/1250 on 11-23-2012 – Mr. Torgue and his Campaign of Carnage – The humor in this piece of DLC is off the charts. I enjoyed this one as I did with the first, but still question why we haven’t been given a level cap increase to expand our characters some more. The achievements in this DLC were pretty straightforward, with one requiring a bit of luck. Every so often, an enemy will drop a photo of Moxxi, and you need to collect 10 of these. This was the last achievement acquired, and took a bit of farming.

1375/1375 on 5-1-2013 – Sir Hammerlock’s Big Game Hunt – So far,  this is my least favorite piece of Borderlands 2 DLC.  For one, if focused only on main story quests, this takes 2 hours maximum.  I don’t usually play without doing the sidequests, but it isn’t as deep as the previous Torgue DLC, which is quite good.  There is one treasure room that can be looted just once per playthrough.  There are two raid bosses, one of which is insanely difficult (Voracidous), and another that requires you to travel around, lighting furnaces with Eridium in order to spawn (Dexiduous).  This one has the chance to drop The Chopper, which is a throwback weapon to Borderlands 1.  This isn’t a bad piece of DLC, but it isn’t as deep as the others.  I think it would be better off if it had given a skill point upon completion, like the Mad Moxxi DLC did in the first game.  By far, the hardest achievement was to complete all sidequests, but sidequest to defeat Voracidous took me a very long time.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (360) – 1000/1000 on 12-8-2013
Call of Duty: Ghosts (One) – 1000/1000 on 2-3-2014

The addition of the Extinction game mode is the highlight of this entry. It was released just before the Xbox One came out so it was split between two consoles. This means twice the amount of achievement points! The game definitley lookes better on the One, but just a fraction of my friends moved over, so it quickly fizzled out in terms of multiplayer. Since the release of Titanfall, it hasn’t gotten much attention except for when new DLC is released.

South Park: The Stick of Truth – 1000/1000 on 3-16-2014

This game caught me off-guard. I’ve been a longtime fan of South Park and was excited for this to come out. I was also a bit nervous, as many South Park games have been attempted in the past, and most of them are horrid. I always did like the first person N64 South Park game though, where you could upgrade your snowballs to yellow snowballs. That was a blast. The Stick of Truth is set up as a side scrolling turn-based RPG, and it’s made very well. I ended up playing through the game twice to get all of the achievements, and I laughed the entire time. This is easily the funniest game I’ve ever played.

Titanfall (One) – 1000/1000 on 5-11-2014

Well, I never thought this would happen. Titanfall has been my most anticipated game since Respawn was born. As a long time fan of the old Infinity Ward who made some of the previous titles in this list, hearing that this team was going to create a new IP made me very excited. As an achievement hunter, this game scared me a whole lot. There is one achievement that I never wanted to even attempt (Pull Harder) where you have to get an airborne kill with a very precise weapon. I only went after this one after unlocking an achievement that takes mostly luck to attain (I Killed Them All). For this one, you have to kill all escaping enemies single-handedly, which can be tough when the whole team is going after them. This one unlocked for me in a slightly cheesy way because all but two of the enemy team backed out of the room, so upon killing just two enemies, I got the achievement. Respawn hasn’t announced any more achievements for Titanfall, but if they do, I’ll be going after them… this game is phenomenal.

 

Fallout 4 – 1000/1000 on 12-13-2015
Yesterday I attained 1000/1000 in Fallout 4. It’s been a very long time since I’ve updated this log with a gaming post. Earlier in this same post, I saw that Fallout 3 was completed on 12-15, and Fallout 4 on 12-13. Fallout 3 was released about two weeks earlier in the year however, so my 33 day completion is pretty good. I’m far from done with this one though. It’s really been seven years since Fallout 3, and since then, I had always hoped that they would bring the wasteland to

Massachusetts. The season pass was purchased alongside the game, so I’m ready for whatever Bethesda has lined up next for this one! I think it’s funny that I spent a total of 120 hours in Fallout 3 and all of its DLC, and I’ve already put in over 160 in Fallout for in just over a month. The most time-consuming achievement was definitely Benevolent Leader, which requires you to bring the happiness of one of your settlements all the way up to 100%. It took a few hours to get it the last 10% or so.

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Initial Impressions – Crysis 2

by on Mar.24, 2011, under Gaming, General

Have you ever had a nightmare, then woken up just to fall back asleep and have a great dream? This is what it feels like to play Crysis 2 just a week after the atrocity that is the multiplayer portion of Homefront. Seriously, Homefront feels like you went out to dinner, ordered a roast duckling, but instead was served a boiled pigeon. I may sound harsh on Homefront, but I am very disappointed in a game that feels more like a beta build than a finished product. I’ll give it another try once KAOS patches what they think is wrong with it. I doubt it’ll be anywhere near to what I think but I’ll give them another chance.  Crytek knows how to make a solid game, and they do so without trying to one-up the big shooter names. Sure, Crysis 2 could be classified as a mix between Halo and Call of Duty, but it doesn’t feel like it’s aiming to take down either one. It plays wonderfully and is a lot of fun.

I originally purchased Crysis 2 on PC, and let me tell you that it looks absolutely amazing on that platform. The next day I picked it up on 360 because of a few things. First off, on PC the game requires you to input a code every single time you want to play. It’s a bug and there has since been an update to fix this, so hopefully it will work the next time I try. The real problem I have with the PC version though is that I can’t figure out how to use the mouse and keyboard for controls successfully. I have a Razer Onza hopefully arriving sometime today, so that should fix this for me, but I’m just not good with this type of control mechanism. It’s a personal problem, not one that Crytek has anything to do with. They’ve done a great job.

I’ve played the first few chapters in the single player campaign on both PC and 360, and about 4 hours of multiplayer on the 360. It’s a solid, beautiful-looking (on both platforms) game that has a lot of depth. Upgrades are well thought-out, and the sound is engineered masterfully. The designers really seem to know what FPS gamers want. The melee system works well and isn’t too over or under powered, I can have my tactical button layout, and there seems to be little to no lag whatsoever, even though signal strengths vary. It’s all just really well-made, and I’m glad to play a game that feels this way. Crysis 2 is the first game of 2011 that I feel has a “Game of the Year” feel to it, and I’m not even a quarter of the way through its campaign. The multiplayer is customizeable like most FPS games that release these days, but it doesn’t overdo it in suplerfuous customizeable options such as how I want my face to be painted up. If you like the taste of first person shooters, do yourself a favor and eat this duckling up.

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Impressions – First Strike

by on Nov.08, 2010, under Gaming, General

[Note]  This was written up between October 11-18 2010, but held private
Day 1/2
This past Saturday, around 2PM, I finished the story for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.  That’s an amazing game, but instead of starting to go back through it again, I picked up Borderlands and started playing that for about thirty minutes until I got an invite to play Modern Warfare 2 (MW2).  As soon as the match started, I got a message on XBL with a code saying not to share any videos or photos.  I backed out of MW2 and downloaded “First Strike”, which I found out to be the Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer beta, developed by Treyarch.  The only Treyarch games that I’ve played were the 007 one, which I enjoyed a lot, and the Call of Duty: World at War (WaW) beta, which after playing made me decide to skip that game.  The reason being that I didn’t like the large amount of single fire weapons, especially after playing Call of Duty 4 for so long.  I heard that WaW was a pretty good game though from those who have played it.  Anyways, these are my impressions after playing for about 20 hours over the span of a week, mostly in Team Deathmatch (TDM).  Comparisons, when not noted, will be to CoD4 and MW2 which I have a combined playtime of about 75 days.

First Strike consists of a non-level-capped beta version of what we’ll get to play on November 9th in the form of Black Ops.  It consists of four maps that are named Cracked,Radiation, Launch, and Summit, my personal favorite.  They all vary in size and amount of cover, and they are all artistically well-done.  There don’t appear to be any tanks laying around ready for you to jump in, and I approve of this.  That was another thing that turned me away from WaW.  I want to run around and shoot other people, and that’s what I’ve been doing in this game.  The scoring is identical to MW2 where TDM matches run up to 7500 points.

Okay, so what’s new?  There is a new move so to say, and I’m not sure if WaW had this as well or if it’s new for Black Ops.  If you are sprinting, and immediately hold crouch, you’ll dive into the prone position ready to shoot.  I haven’t had much luck with this and would probably prefer just immediately being set into a prone position, but it is probably more realistic, and honestly, it’s really funny to watch people do this.  The character almost leaps out and lunges forward into a prone position.  Gameplay seems identical to the Call of Duty games that I know, though hit detection seemed a bit off.  This may be because at most there were about 100 people playing worldwide, most probably not near me out in Massachusetts, and lag was definitely an issue at times.  I did play around with the regional settings and had a much better experience when playing on the “Local Only” setting.  This only worked however when many people were playing.  When only around 30 people were playing, I never found a match.  I have high hopes for this functionality when the game releases.

This game features a theater.  Every match you play can be viewed from any aspect of it.  I’ve saved a few matches locally, but this morning I went looking for a match from last night where I threw a grenade and had no idea where it went, but it killed someone, so I wanted to look at it, and I noticed that I had 87 matches saved, which I assume are all of them.  I’m sure there will be a cutoff, but just know that if you forget to save a match to the theater immediately, you can go back and grab it at a later time.  One match Saturday night was on Launch, and someone on my team let the dogs out, either via care package or killstreak reward.  At the 4:30 mark on the countdown of game time, a huge rocket lifts off, and it’s quite amazing.  I heard a dog yelp as this happened and mentioned something about the rocket killing a dog.  Yesterday I was perusing the theater and found that I could search anybody’s videos in which I was in the match during, which is a REALLY cool feature.  I found one by Mattks, a Treyarch employee, called “The life and death of Dog #4” or something like that.  I watched it and it was awesome.  He had taken multiple clips of the dogs running around, killing enemies over and over again, and then finishing with the rocket killing the dog.  I laughed really hard.  I’m not sure if he realized that the dog got killed or if he heard me mention that I heard the dog’s last whelp or not, but either way, he made a really funny video out of that match!

Something that Infinity Ward (IW) took out of MW2 and I wish they hadn’t, was the coloring scheme used to identify people on your team.  There are little messages on the bottom left of the screen that tells you who kills who as it happens.  This is a great way to quickly tell how your team is doing.  In CoD4 (and I assume WaW), your team is always silver in color and the enemy team gold.  In MW2, IW changed it so that the color of your team was the color of these names, and it is extremely confusing this way.  Sometimes your team names would be black, or red, or silver, or gold, and it changed each game depending on what team you were on.  I liked the silver/gold color scheme of old, where I knew who was doing what on the battle field.  I’m glad to see that Black Ops has this in place like I believe it should be.

The way you unlock and upgrade weapons is different, and maybe this should go into its own section to talk about customization.  In this game, you gain XP by killing people on the other team, winning, and completing challenges.  You also earn CoD points, and I’m honestly not sure how the scaling works.  It seems like you get 1000 points every time you gain rank, but other than that, you just get some each game, or if you complete a contract, but I’ll talk about those below.  Now what you do with these CoD points is anything from upgrading and customizing your weapons to creating your customized emblem.  The range of emblem customization is enormous.  I made a triangle out of three pieces of bacon, as well as an adult situation between a horse and a bunny rabbit.  Nothing seems to be blocked in terms of customization.  For some reason though, I couldn’t name my Assault Rifle class “Assault” because it was a banned term.  I’ve only used two scopes in the game; a red dot scope and the “Reflex” scope, which gives it a small amount of zoom but keeps the scope tiny.  It’s definitely my favorite so far.  As you earn levels, you unlock new weapons, but still have to spend your CoD points on them, so it kind of detracts from trying out new ones.  I liked having to use a weapon to unlock its attachments, but in Black Ops, you can fully deck out a weapon how you like upon unlocking it.  This is good and bad really.  It can be good for those who know the weapons, but it seems to take away a bit of the fun in using the weapons to unlock attachments and camo colors.  For instance, instead of having to kill 25 enemies to unlock the red dot scope, you just buy it outright with your CoD points.  The same goes for camo.  All but one camo color are unlocked immediately upon being able to customize it, so having red camo on your gun doesn’t show that you’ve earned  a lot of headshots with said weapon, something I always notice about other players.  You can change up the crosshairs in the scope, and there are a lot of different options to play with.  I tried a few and chose one that looks like a plus sign, so when I hit somebody, the X that pops up works well with the plus sign and makes an asterisk of sorts.  I also made it green in color with a blue lens.  I’m not sure why I want to change the lens color, but I guess it’s cool.  You can also spend your CoD points to add your clan tag and emblem to your weapons.  The emblem is cool to add to most guns, but the clan tag is barely visible as it’s kind of scratched into the gun.  I am one level away from unlocking face paint, but I assume it will work just like everything else, where I just choose one, buy it, and it’s done.

Black Ops introduces Contracts into the game.  This is a way to spend a few CoD points in order to possibly earn many back.  These are timed challenges and if you don’t meet the requirements before the time runs out, then you lose your initial investment.  I’ve completed 9 of these so far and haven’t let one expire.  You can choose how difficult you want to make it for yourself, and the harder ones do return more in the end.  I’ve done one that requires you to simply win 2 TDM games.  I spent 50 CoD points and earned 250 out of it I think.  I’ve also completed a few that require you to get 14 Assault Rifle kills in a single match, and get 5 Assault Rifle kills without dying.

Warlord will be the next Stopping Power.  I’m just saying this now.

I’ve played a total of three Wager Matches.  I don’t think that there is any XP involved in these matches, but I could be wrong.  Everyone puts down 10 CoD points and the top three players take all the points.  I played one called “Gun Game” where everyone starts with the same weapon, and upon killing someone, the weapon changes.  After you go through 20 weapons, the game ends and whoever is in the top 3 is “in the money” and gets some CoD points.  The other game was called “One in the Chamber” and everyone starts with a single bullet with low health.  If you kill someone, you get an additional bullet and keep going.  If you miss, then you have to make a melee kill or just die and respawn.  I see this as a fun way to play with friends, but not much else really.  Overall this is shaping up to be a great game, and one that I’m glad to say, after playing the beta, that I will be keeping my preorder and am looking forward to the release.  I don’t know what it’s like to play Zombies, and wouldn’t be buying it for this mode anyways, but as far as multiplayer is concerned, it looks like a winner.

Day 3
I had a lot of fun last night, mostly in the Theater.  After seeing the dog video that Mattks made over the weekend, I decided to try my hand at the video editor.  Every match you play gets saved to be viewed later, and it saves a lot of matches.  You can then choose a match to bring into your file share, of which I’ve currently got 6 slots.  There are a total of 18 slots but most of them are locked and I’m not sure how to unlock them.  I assume it’ll be locked until the main game ships.  Anyways, when you view one of these videos, you can toggle between first person, third person, and free roam cameras.  You can also choose who to focus on, slow down (difficult to control), and speed up the action.  You can record up to 10 segments to place together into a montage (Montage!).  I chose a match from the previous night to play around with.  In this match I got a
random grenade kill from underneath Radiation, up through the closeable doors, and I wanted to see what actually happened.  I made a few clips of the grenade from my perspective as well as a few free roaming ones of the enemy dying.  I think it came out pretty good for my first time.  Now after you’ve created a few segments, you can rearrange them and choose between a fade or cut transition.  More transitions would be nice, but this works.  I then uploaded my video to share with others.  The video editor is nice, but you won’t be making professional videos with just it.  For example, you can only have up to 10 segments, and as far as I can tell, you can only take segments from a single match, so you can’t mix and match between different games.  When you are searching for user videos to watch, you can filter the game type or map, but the best filter I’ve seen so far is the one where you can choose to see videos that you were actually a part of, and I think that’s really cool.

I made a few new classes last night.  In MW2, my favorite weapon is the SPAS-12, and this game has one too, albeit a much different weapon.  This SPAS-12 reminds me of the automatic shotgun in the 007 game that Treyarch developed, and it even has a silencer attachment, though I haven’t unlocked it yet.  It has 8 rounds that fire and reload very similar to the Striker in MW2.  I’ve been running with Lightweight, Steady Aim, and Marathon with it and it’s rather beastly.  I killed two guys with one shot last night and of course made a little movie of it.  In the same match I got two tomahawk kills, one for the final killcam, so this match made a pretty sweet little movie.  This is where I learned that I could only have 10 segments per movie!  I’d like to say this here:  Tomahawk >>>> Throwing Knife.  I say this because the throwing knife’s learning curve is extremely steep, and even though I’ve gotten proficient with it, the Tomahawk feels easy to start with.  The reticule it larger, and it lights up red when you’ll hit something.  I really do like it better.  After a few more matches I unlocked the Crossbow and decided to try it out.  My first crossbow shot has been my best.  It was on Cracked at the start of the round.  On Cracked, pretty much everyone rushes the middle and lobs grenades over.  I entered the round about 3 seconds after everyone else and saw a guy up high sniping.  I sneaked up and missed him with a Tomahawk, ran away, then realized I had the Crossbow.  I sneaked back over and hit him smack in the middle of his head.  He ran away and then the arrow exploded.  It was awesome, and also made for my best video yet.  From one angle you can see me sneaking over the rubble and shooting the arrow.  From another you can see it land in his head, and in yet another, you see him blowing up.  It was really awesome.  I hit another guy with the Crossbow but he didn’t die, so I finished him off with the Tomahawk.  Overall, I’m really starting to get the feel for this game.  I have all the maps pretty much memorized now and you can tell that the others playing also know them pretty well, so the competition is heating up.  I’m still finding bugs here and there, but don’t know who to talk to about them, so I’ll just keep writing this to release whenever it seems like a good time.

Day 4
I only put a few hours into the game last night.  I reached level 37 and played around more with the crossbow.  I’m finding it very easy to get some really impressive kills with the crossbow and tomahawk in this game.  I like how the crossbow sticks into the enemy and then about a second later it detonates.  I tried out a new shotgun, the H21 I think it’s called.  The only attachment for this weapon is to dual wield it, so I have been running with this, the crossbow, tomahawk, concussion (stun) grenades, and motion sensor (LOVE the motion sensor) with Lightweight, Steady Aim, and Marathon.  It’s not as much fun as unlimited sprint in MW2, but it’s better than I had originally thought, and I’ve been going very positive with this setup.  Another thing I like about this game is that when you hit the back button to look at the current game stats, it calculates out
KDR for you on the screen so you can always quickly tell who’s doing well, etc.  The people who are testing this game are all very nice, which is a change from the imminent slums that will appear when the game releases.

Day 5
Last night I spent some time in the theater with another player and we watched each other’s videos.  It was really cool and I look forward to creating and sharing videos when the game releases.  I was going to create an Infinity Ward emblem last night but decided against it.  I’m seeing more and more adult wacky emblems and they all make me smile.  I’m sticking with my “Rabbit on Shield” emblem for the time-being.  After looking through the theater, we started playing and actually played with a full team of people who were calling out enemy locations, and it felt good.  As far as weapons go, I used the MPL to get 75 kills in 40 minutes, a feat that I failed the previous night at 74 kills before the timer ran out.  I then failed a few other contracts because I set them up to contradict each other.  I’m learning that you shouldn’t just pick 3 trials to go after.  You should complement them with each other so you can work them down together.  For instance, set up a contract that states to win 2 TDM matches along with one that states to get 14 kills with an Assault Rifle in a single TDM match.  These two work well together.  Killing 5 people with the M72 LAW and 75 people with the MPL however, don’t work well together.  It’s doable, but could be difficult.

Day 6
The servers were only running Team Tactical last night, and honestly, I’m not convinced that games other than Team Deathmatch are properly balanced yet.  Summit has spawning problems throughout, and I believe that it will be very easy for a competent team to spawn trap on this map.  When you bring Capture the Flag (CTF) into play, things get a
little strange.  Spawning of both teams starts happening in the middle of the map and it starts to become a mess.  CTF scores differently than MW2.  Both rounds go to 3 captures and end.  The first team to get 3 captures wins, or if the time runs out, the team with the most captures.  When I played, we lost the first round 2-0, then won the second round 3-0, so we went to Overtime.  In MW2, overtime consisted of just getting a player to the opposite flag, but I believe that someone on our team actually captured a single flag.  I’m not positive about that, but it seemed a bit better than how MW2 handles it.  There will be many more tied games after 2 rounds though as your total number of captures doesn’t come into play.  I played a few rounds of Domination and Demolition, and a single round of Search and Destroy.  Before jumping on, I set up a few TDM-related
contracts which were all but useless when playing other game types.  I didn’t spend a whole lot of time on last night, and think I’m sitting at level 41.  I’d like to get to 50 by the end of Sunday, but I’m not sure how plausible that is.

END
Other than playing a beta build for a game that hasn’t been released yet, one of the best aspects of this experience has been playing with people who built the game or work closely with them, as well as sans annoying children who screen into the microphones whenever they feel it necessary.  This all ended on Day 7 when I noticed an influx of annoying people, but didn’t really know what was going on until later.  Supposedly, someone with the beta lent their profile to a hacker who then spread it out around the Internet.  I got into a match where people had unlimited ammo and it was quite annoying.  I left said match and searched again and got into a room with a few Treyarch developers as well as Community Manager Josh Olin.  I explained what I had just seen and Josh and I watched my video footage of the previous match, though the hackers with unlimited ammo were not present in it.  This was strange, and I really had wished that I could have proven to Josh of what I had just seen.  He took my name down and asked me a few questions as to where I got the code for the game, and then left.  He sounded stressed and I can see why.  I really hope that this will be a game with less hackers and cheaters than I’m used to with MW2, but I somewhat doubt that this will be possible until Microsoft updates the 360 itself.  The next morning I tried logging into the beta and was denied, and that’s where this story ends.  The World at War open beta two years ago dissuaded me from purchasing that game, but this Black Ops closed beta proved to me that Treyarch has created a quality piece of work that appears more balanced in terms of multiplayer than any other FPS game that I’ve ever played.  It looks like it will be a great game, though I doubt it will have the same impact on me as CoD4 did three years ago.

Bugs:

1.  When a care package lands over a fence but right next to a path, it is unreachable.  I landed one on the back side of Summit near where the gondolas come up, behind the middle building with all the computer equipment, and I stood there trying to grab it (it was RIGHT next to me) but couldn’t because it was on the other side of a 2 foot tall fence.  This may be by design, but I wanted to point it out.  In MW2, if a package fell on a roof, you could jump and lock in the grabbing process, and it was really cool.
2.  There is a spelling error in the word “Minimum” in the Clean House challenge.  It is spelled “Minimun”.
3.  Hit detection seems a bit off, but that may be due to lag.  I’m finding that many bullets don’t hit when I’m aimed right in, but sometimes they do when tracking somebody and it looks like I never hit them.  It’s different each game I play, so I blame lag for this.
4.  Audio during Final Killcam doesn’t seem to slow down along with the video.  You’ll see a slow motion final killcam, but the bullets sound like they are in normal speed.
[EDIT] – I only see this some of the time…sometimes it does seem to slow down with the video.
5.  This may have been a fluke, but I could have sworn that I saw the contents of a care package change while it was sitting on the ground.  It’s also possible that somebody dropped two of them and I saw it change when one of them was picked up. [EDIT] – I read in OXM that Hardline Pro allows you to do this.
6.  In the regional settings, there is a setting for “Local” and one for “Locale Only”.  I think that both of these should line up with each other, with or without the trailing “e”.  For Us-based games, the trailing “e” should not be present.
7.  Red, explosive barrels that get a few bullets into them and light on fire will never explode on their own.  They will just stay lit until another bullet blows them up.
8.  I think I saw a Level 50 person (employee probably) underneath Summit on the second floor of the main building opposite the side with the gondolas.  I’m assuming this is a known bug and he was replicating it.
9.  Classified Face Paint can be purchased without unlocking earlier Face Paints.
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PAX East 2010

by on Mar.31, 2010, under Gaming, General

PAX East was this past weekend in Boston.  Living near Boston and being both a Penny Arcade and gaming fan, I was there.  Back in 2007, Matt Goetz (twitter @3rr0r) and I travelled out to Seattle to experience the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX).  It was a strange time for me as far as gaming is concerned.  I had recently been talked into buying an Xbox 360, and being a lifelong Nintendo fanboy, it felt a bit weird.  Going to PAX that year showed me that other people liked this platform as well.  Two and a half years has passed since then and this past weekend, Matt and I went all the way into Boston for the inaugural PAX East held at the Hynes Convention Center.  I checked into our hotel in the afternoon.   I had packed up my 360 in case I ran into some situation where I needed it, but wasn’t planning on even unpacking it…until I got to the room and saw a 32″ LCD TV with an open HDMI port.  So of course the first thing I did was hook up the 360 and test it out.  It worked wonderfully, which surprised me to be honest as hotels don’t generally want you hooking anything up to their televisions.  I then walked over the sky bridge to the Prudential Center Mall which is what was between our hotel and the convention center.  I walked around this mall for a few hours, met up with Cheeko (twitter @cheek0), and we had some pizza.  We met up with Curt (twitter @JhnnyCrwsh) and a few friends that Matt and I originally met in 2007 who flew up from VA.  We walked over to the Fenway area where Rockstar Games was having a party for their upcoming game Red Dead Redemption, which is like Grand Theft Auto but set in old western times.  On the way we stopped at Boston Beer Works, had a few beers, then at the party we had vodka and more beers.  The party was cool.   I didn’t get any handouts there but a few of the guys got some hats and keychains.  They were playing a video loop from the game on big screens, sourced from a PS3 that was zippy-tied on the ceiling.  It was amusing to see.  We then grabbed a train to head back to our hotel area, which is a bit foggy for me.  Luckily, I took pictures.  We had some more beer and then Matt and I went back to our room and played some drunken Burnout Paradise.  The next morning was difficult to handle, but I powered through it.  We all met up outside the convention center and stood in the snow for an hour before being let inside to stand there for another 5 hours.  As soon as we were allowed inside, we headed straight for the main theater to wait yet again for the Wil Wheaton keynote speech.  We were in the fifth row center and had great seats.  I had to get up to use the restroom, and on the way back I noticed that the main doors were closed.  A bouncer wouldn’t let me back in because the fire marshal cut things off.  I wasn’t too pleased, but after a few minutes and other people coming back in the same situation as I, he let us all back in.  The rest of the day consisted of walking the show floor and then attending the twitter panel that Robert Bowling was a part of.  One of my goals for PAX East was to give Rob my statistics-in-progress for Modern Warfare 2, and after the panel I darted up and gave them to him.  He gave me a button with his name on it, which in turn gave me a free map pack for MW2.  Awesome.  Matt and I walked around the concert area and then did some more exploring.  We found a room that was filled with old classic arcade machines, including pinball!  Another goal of mine was to find pinball, and here it was.  We also met up with a bunch of our other college buddies and played old-school games.  On Saturday, I got up early and headed over to the convention center, which was still closed.   I stood in line at Au Bon Pain and bought a croissant.  A few seconds later I checked my twitter feed and saw that Joystiq was having a Saturday morning blueberry muffin thing inside the convention center and I had to find “a guy in a red hoodie at the bottom of the escalator”….easy enough.  I walked over to the main escalators and saw a guy hunched over wearing a red hoodie.  After asking him if he was the guy who was giving out wristbands, he said “yeah” and hooked me up.  So now I’m in an hour early!  The room that they were having the get-together had about 150 people in it already and they were handing out workout armbands, muffin cereal, and milk.  Also, there was a big Rock Band stage and TV’s in the corners where you could play the upcoming racing game Split/Second.   It looks really fun from what I saw.  When the main floor opened, I darted to the Red Dead Redemption line and waited there.  I had to leave the line to go place last in the MW2 tournament (I played poorly) and when I got back, I was second to get in.  Red Dead Redemption looks and plays great, and unless I’m inundated with games in mid May, it will be a no brainer to buy on release day.  I got a tweet that Major Nelson was shooting some film outside the convention center, and the last thing I wanted to get out of PAX was to meet him, which happened out on the street shortly thereafter.  He is a really nice and genuine guy.  Matt and I saw custom card tables and even cooler, a custom Axis & Allies table.  I sat in on Major Nelson’s podcast which was a lot of fun.  Matt and I got hungry and ate at P.F. Chang’s and had a few beers, then went to the concerts at night after taking some Chang Sauce back for our fridge (a story for another post perhaps).   Before the concerts, Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade came on stage and the finalists in the Omegathon (PAX tournament of sorts) came up on stage to play Rock Band in front of about 500 screaming people.  It was easily the best Rock Band stage setup I’ve ever seen.  I missed the last concert because I got tired and went back to the room and played Bioshock 2 for an hour.  Sunday morning consisted of us packing our stuff up and heading to the convention center for a few hours.  I sat in on the Xbox Enforcement panel, and then met up with Matt. We walked the floor again and then headed to the car.  Upon getting into the car, Matt tried to start it but alas, he had left an interior light on a few days prior, so the battery was toast.   I pushed it in reverse while Matt tried to kick start it all while cars were driving up the ramp past us.  It was comical.  We got to the bottom of the ramp and the car wasn’t started, so we talked to a maintenance guy who came over, hooked a battery up, and got us on our way.  We had a blast at PAX East.  I was a bit annoyed at how big the crowd was, but I guess next year they will have it at the huge convention center over on the wharf, and I’m already planning on being there.
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My Modern Warfare 2 Quick EXPeriment

by on Mar.19, 2010, under Gaming, General

Disclaimer – I know the video quality is bad.  This is the first time I’ve tried something like this, so this is hopefully the worst it will ever be.  All I did was use my Canon G10 on a tripod to hopefully catch a quick level up.  It became a little more complicated than that.  Also, I’m somewhat of a statistics nerd.

I’ve had an idea in my head for a few months now and was just recently able to set everything up to run an experiment.  In Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) multiplayer, you earn experience (XP) as you play the game.   You start at level 1 and can go as high as level 70.  You can then prestige and start all over again.  At low levels, you don’t need much XP to level up as compared to high levels where you need much more.  For example, to get from level 1 to level 2, you only need 500 XP, but to get from level 69 to level 70, you need 79,800 XP.  The game contains challenges that for the most part reset each time you prestige, but there are a few that do not.  Each gun has a Veteran (kills) and Master (headshots) challenge that does not reset between prestiges.  Some of the higher levels of these challenges are worth 10,000 XP, which at level 1 should boost you instantly to level 6.  I wanted to try this out and see what happens.  During my sixth prestige, I carefully set up my FAMAS Veteran challenge to 999 kills, meaning that just a single kill with the first unlocked gun in the game would give me 10,000 XP.  Let’s see if this actually works:


Nope!  Now while filming this, I really thought that I actually pushed the FAMAS Veteran challenge over to 1000 kills, but since Challenges were not yet unlocked (they unlock at level 5), I just didn’t get the points and thought I had lost them forever.  I didn’t really know though, so I kept playing.  The video below just shows me getting to level 5.  I really need to figure out a better way to grab video, but don’t currently have anything, so this is what I get to work with.  I have fun with this however so a capture card/new PC may be in my future.


So now I realize that I’m at level 5, have gotten multiple FAMAS kills, and still haven’t gotten my experience.  After the match I realize that challenges don’t just unlock when you reach level 5, but when you are both above level 5 and back in the lobby.  Checking the FAMAS challenges I see that I am now 1 kill away from my 10,000 XP.  Let’s jump into another game:


And now, with a single kill from the FAMAS, I jump from level 5 to level 8.  I was hoping to be able to jump from 1 to 6, but that just isn’t the way the game is coded.  After this match, I unlocked a few items as can be shown in this last video:


I guess my idea for this experiment was a little more impressive than the actual outcome of it.  I did learn a few things about how MW2 was coded and operates:

1.  Challenges are not unlocked as soon as you hit level 5, but instead unlocked after you hit level 5 and are taken back to a lobby.
2.  Before unlocking challenges at level 5, no kill with any gun counts towards their Prestige Challenges.

This throws the gun kill count off a bit when it comes to the statistics of the game, but not by much.  I had previously thought that the Prestige Challenges were always live after first being unlocked.  I proved myself wrong.  Now I need to figure out what to try next.
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Initial Impressions – Blur Multiplayer Beta

by on Mar.09, 2010, under Gaming, General

Chances are, if you see me on Xbox Live on any given weeknight, I’ll be playing Modern Warfare 2; well not last night!  I receieved a beta code for an upcoming racing game called Blur from the developers Bizarre Creations yesterday just prior to leaving my office.  After a nice dinner and a horrible movie (Jennifer’s Body – seriously, do yourself a favor and never watch this atrocity), I decided to give the beta a “try” for 30-60 minutes before jumping onto MW2.  That 30-60 minutes became 3 hours before I had to stop and go to bed, a half hour later than normal because I didn’t want to stop playing this game.  For those who don’t know what Blur is, it is a racing game that has an arcade-like feel to it and each track contains a plethora of respawning weapons and powerups ala Mario Kart; a game that I’ve loved for many years.  These powerups can be anything from a speed boost to heat seaking missiles and bombs, or even health restoration.  The races can hold anywhere from 2 to 20 players and last about 3 or 4 minutes each.  When you decide to join a friend’s game, you don’t just jump into their race but instead wait in the lobby and after the race, they pop back in there with you.  It’s a strange feeling at first but once I knew the mechanics of the lobby system a bit more, I realized that it works very well.  The menu and unlock system is fairly well done with my only gripe being that you don’t have much time between races to customize your cars and mods.  Speaking of mods, as you race more and especially do well, you earn fans which are equivelent to experience that allows you to level up.  Once you get to specific levels (the beta goes to 10 so far and I’m hoping for a level cap increase) you unlock new cars and new mods, which act like the perks in Call of Duty.  They give you an advantage such as stronger ramming power or a free powerup at the start of the race.  You can customize three of them and the beta gives you 7 to choose from, though none of them really seem to give you a huge advantage over others at such a low level.  The game shows many more mods available that are currently locked in the beta.  The cars are based off of real-world automobiles and are fun to drive, though the e-brake always messes me up, so I stopped using it altogether.  After the 3 hours of playing, I maxed my rank, set up twitter integration (though had no idea how to actually get the game to tweet), and had a lot of fun.  One thing that kind of annoys me is that when in a race, there’s really no easy way to tell who your friends are compared to everyone else in the game.  I have a big 50″ TV, but the game just puts my friend’s gamertags above their cars just like everyone elses, and you have to be very close to tell who it is, and at the high speeds of this game, it’s difficult to do so.  It would be nice if friend’s gamertags were a different color or something.  I’m not sure what date the game is being released; the menu says sometime in the spring, but this one is looking like a day 1 purchase for me at the moment.  You can tell that a lot of work has been put into this project and it wasn’t just thrown together.  I hope the developers can take pride in this piece of work, as just a few hours with it proved to me that it’s going to be a great end product.  As far as racing games go, this is the most fun I’ve had since Mario Kart DS, which I still think is the best kart racing game ever created, and I look forward to playng more of the beta.

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Initial Impressions – Borderlands

by on Dec.28, 2009, under Gaming, General

I held off on Borderlands when it was released for just a single reason; Modern Warfare 2 was coming out in two weeks. I wanted to get Borderlands but knew that it was a big game and I’d never finish it by the time MW2 released. Instead I purchased DJ Hero as it wasn’t such a time sinker. My wife asked me to write a list of some things she could get me for Christmas, so I put this game on the list. Her being awesome, got it for me. Borderlands is a FPS/RPG sort of game that takes place in a cool, animated world. I’ve only put about 2, maybe 3 hours into it, and I’m enjoying it thus far. The game can be played by yourself or with up to three friends, though I haven’t attempted to play with anybody else yet. People tell me that it’s much better with other people, and that you want to be all around the same level. I’m at level 7 now. I’ve been wandering around the first and second areas of the game, doing odd quests for a few people, and I can see how this game can get boring playing by yourself. There’s a lot of distance to travel between objectives, and it would just be cool to have others there talking and killing alongside you. The controls are good, though I wish there was a tactical setup like CoD has because that’s what I’m used to, so I’m accidentally knifing all the time. They also seem a bit loose, but that may be due to my low level weaponry being inaccurate. So far though, I really like this game and can see where its popularity has come from. I definitely want to put more time into it, hopefully with some friends.

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Initial Impressions – Modern Warfare 2

by on Nov.12, 2009, under Gaming, General

How do you improve on the best game ever created?  You make a new one and slap a “2” on the end of it.  Here are my initial impressions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  Anybody reading this knows that I’ve been a tiny bit excited for this game to come out, and I’ve hoped that it would be better than CoD4.  I can’t say that it’s better in every way because it isn’t, and I’ll explain why, but it’s pretty darn good.
As far as initial impressions go, this game comes in very similar to how I felt about Resident Evil 5 when I was first writing up those impressions where I wrote “the game is just so freaking good that I didn’t want to take any time out over the past weekend to write up my impressions, but instead throw all my free time into such a masterpiece”.  I took the last two days off work, so I’ve had about the same amount of time with the game.  I have completed the story on Normal difficulty, tried some Spec-Ops missions out, and have put just over 13 hours into multiplayer.  I think I’m ready to do a little writeup on it now.
When I got home from the midnight launch, I immediately installed the game to the hard drive of the 360, waited for a few minutes, and jumped into some multiplayer with friends who were also playing around 12:30.  It was cool to see everyone at low levels, and none of us knew the maps, so that was also interesting.  We’re coming off of CoD4 where we all know every inch of every map, and now we’re completely lost.  After about 2 hours of playing, I forced myself to bed, though couldn’t get to sleep for another few hours as my mind was racing.  I awoke the next morning and played about 25% of the single player campaign before getting pulled back into multiplayer.  This back and forth continued until I finished the campaign yesterday.
The single player campaign is where this game doesn’t really stack up to its predecessor.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s excellent, but CoD4 was epic.  If you never played the CoD4 campaign, you’re going to be completely lost in MW2, and even then, I was pretty lost as the storytelling kind of goes everywhere.  It’s definitely one that will require multiple playthroughs to understand completely.  That’s all I’ll really say about it.  It’s great, but not CoD4-great in my opinion.
I played through a few of the Spec-Ops missions with Glenn.  They are incredible.  You need to play them with someone who is both good at the game and has good communication.  Communication is key in Spec-Ops, especially on the Veteran difficulty as things get pretty crazy very quickly.  We did play the Overwatch mission where one person is on the ground, running through the CoD4 map “Downpour” while the other is in an AC-130 firing down on enemies that are running towards you from every direction.  It’s a lot of fun, but we couldn’t finish it on Veteran in the short time that we played.  We will though.
Multiplayer is going to be where I end up spending most of my time in this game, and I’m glad to say that it feels like CoD4 but better in every way.  The new killstreaks are very awesome, though I think I’ve overdone myself a bit with them so early on in the game, so I’m not getting many of them!  I need to rethink a few things in the setup.  By far my favorite killstreak now is the Chopper Gunner, where you call in a helicopter, but you actually fire the guns.  You just find enemies and shoot them up for a massive amount of kills.  It’s very entertaining.  I am also particular to the amount of unlocks there are and how you can use them.  I have one class that consists of an AR with RDS and silencer as a primary, auto shotgun with silencer and grip as a secondary, so it’s good for most every range.  The ACOG scopes are much improved and work very well in this game.  I haven’t done much sniping as I’m horrible at it at first, so I’m sticking with more traditional setups.  I’m enjoying the silenced RPD a lot so far.  After 13 hours I’m at level 33.  I could talk for a long time about multiplayer, but just know that IT IS EXCELLENT.
So what do I think about Modern Warfare 2?  It’s defintiely what I’ve been waiting for, and I look forward to sinking a lot of time into it.  I plan on finishing the campaign a few more times on varying difficulties, completing Spec-Ops, and playing a lot of multiplayer.  The only thing that I think could have been done better storytelling, but that’s a small gripe in an otherwise excellent game.

How do you improve on the best game ever created?  You make a new one and slap a “2” on the end of it.  Here are my initial impressions of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  Anybody reading this knows that I’ve been a tiny bit excited for this game to come out, and I’ve hoped that it would be better than CoD4.  I can’t say that it’s better in every way because it isn’t, and I’ll explain why, but it’s pretty darn good.

As far as initial impressions go, this game comes in very similar to how I felt about Resident Evil 5.   I wrote “the game is just so freaking good that I didn’t want to take any time out over the past weekend to write up my impressions, but instead throw all my free time into such a masterpiece”.  I took the last two days off work, so I’ve had about the same amount of time with this game.  I have completed the story on Normal difficulty, tried some Spec-Ops missions out, and have put just over 13 hours into multiplayer.  I think I’m ready to do a little writeup on it now.

When I got home from the midnight launch, I immediately installed the game to the hard drive of the 360, waited for a few minutes, and jumped into some multiplayer with friends who were also playing around 12:30.  It was cool to see everyone at low levels, and none of us knew the maps, so that was also interesting.  We’re coming off of CoD4 where we all know every inch of every map, and now we’re completely lost.  After about 2 hours of playing, I forced myself to bed, though couldn’t get to sleep for another few hours as my mind was racing.  I awoke the next morning and played about 25% of the single player campaign before getting pulled back into multiplayer.  This back and forth continued until I finished the campaign yesterday.

The single player campaign is where this game doesn’t really stack up to its predecessor.  Don’t get me wrong; it’s excellent, but CoD4 was epic.  If you never played the CoD4 campaign, you’re going to be completely lost in MW2, and even then, I was pretty lost as the storytelling kind of goes everywhere.  It’s definitely one that will require multiple playthroughs to understand completely.  That’s all I’ll really say about it.  It’s great, but not CoD4-great in my opinion.

I played through a few of the Spec-Ops missions with Glenn.  They are incredible.  You need to play them with someone who is both good at the game and has good communication.  Communication is key in Spec-Ops, especially on the Veteran difficulty as things get pretty crazy very quickly.  We did play the Overwatch mission where one person is on the ground, running through the CoD4 map “Downpour” while the other is in an AC-130 firing down on enemies that are running towards you from every direction.  It’s a lot of fun, but we couldn’t finish it on Veteran in the short time that we played.  We will though.

Multiplayer is going to be where I end up spending most of my time in this game, and I’m glad to say that it feels like CoD4 but better in every way.  The new killstreaks are very awesome, though I think I’ve overdone myself a bit with them so early on in the game, so I’m not getting many of them!  I need to rethink a few things in the setup.  By far my favorite killstreak now is the Chopper Gunner, where you call in a helicopter, but you actually fire the guns.  You just find enemies and shoot them up for a massive amount of kills.  It’s very entertaining.  I am also particular to the amount of unlocks there are and how you can use them.  I have one class that consists of an assault rifle with RDS and silencer as a primary, auto shotgun with silencer and grip as a secondary, so it’s good for most every range.  The ACOG scopes are much improved and work very well in this game.  I haven’t done much sniping as I’m horrible at it at first, so I’m sticking with more traditional setups.  I’m enjoying the silenced RPD a lot so far.  The only problem so far that I’ve encountered is random dropping of friends when trying to get into some rooms.  This is something that should be easily fixed, so only time will tell if this will get a patch.  After 13 hours I’m at level 33.  I could talk for a long time about multiplayer, but just know that IT IS EXCELLENT.

So what do I think about Modern Warfare 2?  It’s defintiely what I’ve been waiting for, and I look forward to sinking a lot of time into it.  I plan on finishing the campaign a few more times on varying difficulties, completing Spec-Ops, and playing a lot of multiplayer.  The only thing that I think could have been done better storytelling, but that’s a small gripe in an otherwise excellent game.

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Thank you Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

by on Nov.09, 2009, under Gaming, General

Fifty thousand people used to live here.  Now it’s a ghost town.

As some of you know, today has been a day that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time.  That time being about 11 months ago on December 5th, 2008 when the sequel to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (CoD4) was announced (at least that’s when I first heard of it).  However, this post is not about Modern Warfare 2 (MW2).  It is about CoD4.  Look for my initial impressions of MW2 most likely on Thursday, after I’ve had a few days to dig into it a bit.  I have been working on this note since mid-October as I’ve had lots of thoughts about CoD4 and not sure what to do with them all, so I decided that I’d write something up in honor of the game.  It may sound strange that I’m honoring a video game, but this is the way I feel about this piece of work.

I could start this by going all the way back to Christmas of 1987 when I was given a Nintendo Entertainment System, but let’s just go back to the Summer of 2007 instead.  I had just gotten married, and worked with some wonderful people at Auspice, Inc in Waltham, MA.  I was a Nintendo gamer, proudly and solely.  I have never been a fan of the Sony Playstation controllers, and worked at Sun Microsystems for a few years, so I was somewhat anti-Microsoft.  This last little bit changed when a few people at Auspice (Bill, Bates, Wes) coerced me into picking up an Xbox 360.  Halo was all the rage at the time, so I decided to pick up a 360 before Halo 3 was released in late September.  In August, my wife and I went to Best Buy and bought a new 50″ Panasonic Plasma, a 360, and a bunch of other things that don’t matter.  When I hooked up the 360, I immediately realized that I was holding the best gaming controller I’ve ever held.  The online component, though not free, was absolutely amazing.  I never thought that I’d come across such an incredible gaming system.  I went away the following weekend to the Penny Arcade Expo out in Seattle and was amazed at how many people played the Xbox 360.  I felt like part of a new club, and was very excited.

In the first few weeks of owning the console, I played mostly Bioshock on Easy difficulty as I was trying to grasp the control of a first-person shooter at a much faster rate of speed than I was used to.  In early September, which for some reason that I forget right now, I got a code for something called the “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Beta”.  I had no idea what it really was, but as soon as I got it, I fired off the following email to my friend Glenn:

Glenn,
I got a beta code for Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare…I’m gonna try it out…..first CoD game that isn’t WWII, so we’ll see how it is…jlj

Glenn replied:
what war is this CoD?

I replied back:
not sure…it is modern though….so probably the middle east
i’m sure to get pwned in multiplayer.

And finally Glenn replied back with this, which ended the conversation:
I want a Wii.

That evening, I input the code that I was emailed and fired it up.  The multiplayer beta consisted of three maps: Crash, Overgrown, and Vacant, which are still some of my favorites.  I still remember my first game like it was yesterday.  I was placed into Overgrown, near Grandma’s house, and instantly had to change my control scheme because I am one of those people who have to play FPS’s with an inverted Y-axis.  When I came back, two of my co-workers were there with me.  This is the first real time in my life when I had been able to play a game with other people, over the internet, with such fluidity.  I died many more times than I killed, but I had a blast doing so.  Over the next few days I was able to rank up to the maximum rank of 16 before Halo 3 came out, which took my focus away, but the whole time I played Halo 3, I was looking forward to the November 5th release of CoD4.  My favorite aspect of this game was how Infinity Ward (IW) allowed you to customize your character by being able to make your bullets stronger or become invisible to radar, etc.  This wasn’t something that I (or the world as far as I know) had ever really seen before.  These “perks” were something special.  In Halo, you always start matches with the same gun.  In CoD4, you could have up to five customizable classes, that you set up, the way YOU want!

On release day, I had to work, but my wife is awesome and went to Circuit City two hours before the truck got there to pick me up a copy.  She was the first in line, and she told me afterwards that the amount of testosterone that formed in that line was something else (I can only imagine how tonight’s midnight release will be!).  When I got home from work, I started up the single player portion of the game, which just completely blew me away.  After a short tutorial, you’re thrown onto a ship in a storm for the first mission.  I didn’t know what was going on, and completely freaked out when the ship started sinking and I had to run from inside of this thing, along catwalks while water poured in, up to the top deck and then jump into a helicopter as it takes off.  I then let my breath out.  On the screen, it said Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and I knew I was in for a wild ride!

The story that IW created for this game is like nothing else I’ve ever seen.  They have said before that they wanted to create a game in modern times (versus WWII) because they could write whatever they wanted, and didn’t have to work with historical references.  What they did for CoD4 was simply amazing, from the nuke going off to the throwback ghillie suit stealth mission, it was spectacular.  My favorite part of the whole single player campaign is when I got to shoot out of the AC-130, something I’ll soon be able to do again, though this time in multiplayer!  This brings me to the real meat and potatoes of CoD4: multiplayer.  IW did a fantastic job with it, and the additions that were put in place could be called “Revolutionary”.  This aspect of the game is definitely what put it on the map as one of the best games ever created.  I’ve put a lot of time into multiplayer (as compared to my estimated 30 hours of single player to 1000/1000 the game) and it’s something that I deem worthy of posting my final statistics for.  I say final because today is the eve of the release of the sequel, so I doubt that CoD4 will get much more playing time unless I decide to give it a throwback run in a few months.  We’ll see.  So here are my ending stats for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare:

Leaderboard Statistics

Rank                                    Score                               Time Played

138747                                 956503                              40 days, 12 hours, 50 minutes

Wins

Rank                 Wins                  Losses               Ratio                 Streak

341476              4509                   4119                  1.09                   20

Kills

Rank          Kills           Deaths       Ratio      Streak        Headshots      Assists

55425         84878         69016        1.23        26              8767              9296

Accuracy

Rank                 Accuracy                Hits                     Misses

6913982             12.94                      160199                 1076975

Being ranked 55,000 isn’t usually something to speak highly of, but in this case, it’s out of well over 10 million, so I feel pretty good about it.  I’m definitely not the best at this game, and have never thought that.  What I do know is that I’m not horrible at it, and have progressively gotten better at it with time.  I remember when I tried to get my kill/death ratio up to 1.00.  It was around when I had about 6000 total kills and about 7300 deaths.  Each game where I would have at least 1 more kill than death, I was happy about, and it was a good day when I got to that 1.00 ratio.  Since then it’s been mostly positive and I finished the game with around 15,000 more kills than deaths.  That’s not too bad.

CoD4 has broken about 3 of my Xbox 360 controllers; not because I got mad and threw them, but because the insides of them wore out from use.  I’d realize that while standing completely still and not even holding the controller, my guy would just slowly turn to the left, or clicking to run just stopped working altogether.  Buying a new controller is always fun because it’s rough and new as compared to the smooth, worn-out feel of an old one.  I have a new one sitting at home ready for MW2.

It seems as though as we move along through time, we find something that could be called “Best in Class”, and as technology develops, these items evolve and then all of a sudden, there’s a new “Best in Class”.  Maybe this is why the Academy Awards are given out each year.  For the longest time, my opinion of the best video game ever created was Metroid: Prime which was released on the Nintendo Gamecube on November 17th, 2002.  The music in that game is something that I will probably never forget, and even now, I can hear the opening menu tune (though to be fair, it was my ringtone for a while).  It still holds a very high ranking in my mind, but can’t really compare with the complete package that is CoD4.  In its time, Metroid: Prime opened my eyes to a new type of game, in a universe that I was familiar with but also one that had much exploration to be had.  CoD4 does this in a slightly different way; I play the same maps over and over again, but every single time, even if I plan to go to the same places in the maps, every time it’s different.  The game keeps me coming back for more.  I want to try out new customized setups, and the game drives me to want to play it more.  Even after I finished ranking up and unlocking new items, guns, and attachments, I still look forward to playing it.  CoD4 has taken the place that Metroid: Prime held as my overall, and all-time, favorite game.  It did this a while ago, but I’m only coming to terms with it now.  The Empire Strikes Back is still my favorite movie however.  That’s going to be a tough one to top.  CoD4 is the best game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a lot, but I have a feeling that the torch will be passed on to a new game… in just a few hours.

As some of you know, today has been a day that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some
time.  That time being about 11 months ago on December 8th, 2008 when the sequel to Call of Duty 4:
Modern Warfare (CoD4) was announced.  However, this post is not about Modern Warfare 2 (MW2).  It is
about CoD4.  Look for my initial impressions of MW2 most likely on Thursday, after I’ve had a few
days to dig into it a bit.  I have been working on this note since mid-October as I’ve had lots of
thoughts about CoD4 and not sure what to do with them all, so I decided that I’d write something up
in honor of the game.  It may sound strange that I’m honoring a video game, but this is the way I
feel about this piece of work.  I could start this by going all the way back to Christmas of 1987
when I received a Nintendo Entertainment System, but let’s just go back to the Summer of 2007
instead.  I had just gotten married, and worked with some wonderful people at Auspice, Inc in
Waltham, MA.  I was a Nintendo gamer, proudly and solely.  I have never been a fan of the Sony
Playstation controllers, and worked at Sun Microsystems for a few years, so I was somewhat
anti-Microsoft.  This last little bit changed when a few people at Auspice (Bill, Bates, Wes) coerced
me into picking up an Xbox 360.  Halo was all the rage at the time, so I decided to pick up a 360
before Halo 3 was released in late September.  In August, we went to Best Buy and bought a new 50″
Panasonic Plasma, a 360, and a bunch of other things that don’t matter.  When I hooked up the 360, I
immediately realized that I was holding the best controller I’ve ever held.  The online component,
though not free, was absolutely amazing.  I never thought that I’d come across such an incredible
gaming system.  (?)I’m digressing a bit but it’s just setting things up.(?)  I went away the
following weekend to the Penny Arcade Expo out in Seattle and was amazed at how many people played
the Xbox 360.  I felt like part of a new club, and was very excited.
<insert picture of ‘my gamertag is’ here>
In the first few weeks of owning the console, I played mostly Bioshock on Easy as I was trying to
grasp the control of a first-person shooter at a much faster rate of speed than I was used to. In
early September, which for some reason that I forget right now, I got a code for something called the
“Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Beta”.  I had no idea what it really was, but as soon as I got it, I
fired off the following email to my friend Glenn:
Glenn,
I got a beta code for Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare…I’m gonna try it out…..first CoD game
that isn’t WWII, so we’ll see how it is…jlj
Glenn replied:
what war is this CoD?
I replied back:
not sure…it is modern though….so probably the middle east
i’m sure to get pwned in multiplayer.
And finally Glenn replied back with this, which ended the conversation:
I want a Wii.
That evening, I input the code that I was emailed and fired it up.  The multiplayer beta consisted of
three maps: Crash, Overgrown, and Vacant, which are still some of my favorites.  I still remember my
first game like it was yesterday.  I was placed into Overgrown, near Grandma’s house, and instantly
had to change my control scheme because I am one of those people who have to play FPS’s with inverted
Y-axis.  When I came back, two of my co-workers were there with me.  This is the first real time in
my life when I had been able to play a game with other people, over the internet, with such fluidity.
I died many more times than I killed, but I had a blast doing so.  Over the next few days I was able
to rank up to the maximum of 16 before Halo 3 came out, which took my focus away, but the whole time
I played Halo 3, I was looking forward to the November 5th release of CoD4.  My favorite aspect of
this game was how Infinity Ward (IW) allowed you to customize your character by being able to make
your bullets stronger or become invisible to radar.  This wasn’t something that I (or the world as
far as I know) had ever really seen before.  These “perks” were something special.  In Halo, you
always start matches with the same gun.  In CoD4, you could have up to five customizable classes,
that you set up, the way YOU want!  On release day, I had to work, but my wife is awesome and went to
Circuit City two hours before the truck got there to pick me up a copy.  She was the first in line,
and she told me afterwards that the the amount of testosterone that formed in that line was something
else  (I can only imagine how tonight’s midnight release will be!).  When I got home, I started up
the single player portion of the game, which just completely blew me away.  After a short tutorial,
you’re thrown onto a ship in a storm for the first mission.  I didn’t know what was going on, and
compeltely freaked out when the ship started sinking and I had to run from inside of this thing,
along catwalks while water poured in, up to the top deck and then jump into a helicopter while it
takes off.  I then let my breath out.  On the screen, it said “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” and I
knew I was in for a wild ride!  The story that IW created in this game is like nothing else I’ve ever
seen.  They have said before that they wanted to create a game in modern times (versus WWII) because
they could write whatever they wanted, and didn’t have to work with historical references.  What they
did for CoD4 was simply amazing, from the nuke going off to the throwback ghillie suit stealth
mission, it was spectacular.  My favorite part of the whole single player campaign is when I got to
shoot out of the AC-130, something I’ll soon be able to do again, though this time in multiplayer!
This brings me to the real meat and potatoes of CoD4: multiplayer.  IW did a fantastic job with it,
and the additions that were put in place could be called “Revolutionary”.  This aspect of the game is
definitely what put it on the map as one of the best games ever created.  I’ve put a lot of time into
multiplayer (as compared to my estimated 30 hours of single player to 1000/1000 the game) and it’s
something that I deem worthy of posting my final statistics for.  I say final because today is the
eve of the release of the sequel, so I doubt that CoD4 will get much more playing time unless I
decide to give it a throwback run in a few months.  We’ll see.  So here are my ending stats for Call
of Duty 4: Modern Warfare:
<insert stats here>
Leaderboard Statistics
Rank Score Time Played
146917 927199 39 days, 9 hours, 8 minutes
Wins
Rank Wins Losses Ratio Streak
351912 4362 4063 1.07 20
Kills
Rank Kills Deaths Ratio Streak
59811 82094 67398 1.22 26
Accuracy
Rank Accuracy Hits Misses
6788605 13.01 156998 1049637
Being ranked 60,000 isn’t usually something to speak highly of, but in this case, it’s out of about
10 million, so I feel pretty good about it.  I’m definitely not the best at this game, and have never
thought that.  What I do know is that I’m not horrible at it, and have progressively gotten better at
it with time.  I remember when I tried to get my kill/death ratio up to 1.00.  It was around when I
had about 6000 total kills and about 7300 deaths.  Each game where I would have at least 1 more kill
and death, I was happy about, and it was a good day when I got to that 1.00 ratio.  Since then it’s
been mostly positive and I finished the game with around 15,000 more kills than deaths.  That’s not
too bad.
CoD4 has broken about 3 of my xbox 360 controllers; not because I got mad and threw them, but because
the insides of them wore out from use.  I’d realize that while standing completely still and not even
holding the controller, my guy would just slowly turn to the left, or clicking to run just stopped
working alltogether.  Buying a new controller is always fun because it’s rough and new as compared to
the smooth, worn-out feel of an old one.
It seems as though as we move along through time, we find something that could be called “Best in
Class”, and as technology develops, these items evolve and then all of a sudden, there’s a new “Best
in Class”.  Maybe this is why the Academy Awards are given out each year.  For the longest time, my
opinion of the best video game ever created was Metroid: Prime which was released on the Nintendo
Gamecube on November 17th, 2002.  The music in that game is something that I will probably never
forget, and even now, I can hear the opening menu tune (though to be fair, it was my ringtone for a
while).  It still holds a very high ranking in my mind, but can’t really compare with the complete
package that is CoD4.  In its time, Metroid: Prime opened my eyes to a new type of game, in a
universe that I was familiar with but also one that had much exploration to be had.  CoD4 does this
in a slightly different way; I play the same maps over and over again, but every single time, even if
I plan to go to the same places in the maps, every time it’s different.  The game keeps me coming
back for more.  I want to try out new customized setups, and the game drives me to want to play it
more.  Even after I finished ranking up and unlocking new items, guns, and attachments, I still look
forward to playing it.  CoD4 has taken the place that Metroid: Prime held as my overall, and
all-time, favorite game.  It did this a while ago, but I’m only coming to terms with it now.  The
Empire Strikes Back is still my favorite movie however.  That’s going to be a tough one to top.
CoD4 is the best game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a lot, but I have a feeling that the torch
will be passed on to a new game… in just a few hours.
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Happy Birthday Call of Duty 4

by on Nov.05, 2009, under Gaming, General

Today is the second birthday of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.  This is just a short post mentioning this, and teasing the writeup I have been preparing for Monday a little bit.  Here’s a snippet of that post:

In early September, which for some reason that I forget right now, I got a code for something called the “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Beta”.  I had no idea what it really was, but as soon as I got it, I fired off the following email to my friend Glenn:

Glenn,
I got a beta code for Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare…I’m gonna try it out…..first CoD game that isn’t WWII, so we’ll see how it is…jlj
Glenn replied:
what war is this CoD?
I replied back:
not sure…it is modern though….so probably the middle east
i’m sure to get pwned in multiplayer.

Please check back on Monday for my long-winded salute to the best game of all time.  Happy Birthday Call of Duty 4!  I will miss you dearly in a few days, but am very excited as to what your offspring brings to the table.  -Jay

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