Jay's Internet Log

Tag: Gaming

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 – Forza Motorsport 4 and Wireless Speed Wheel

by on Oct.12, 2011, under Gaming, General

To begin with, I’ll put it out there that I tried the Forza 3 demo two years ago and absolutely hated it. The setting was boring, the handling felt weird, and there was no nitro boost. You see, to me, the best racing game ever created is Mario Kart, which is vastly disimilar to the ultra-realistic and almost RPG-like game that Turn10 has created. I played the demo for about ten minutes and knew that the game was not for me.

On the day before Forza 4’s release, I downloaded the demo on a whim to see if the game had been improved with two years development. Boy was I surprised! I ended up spending about 45 minutes with it, completing all six races and wanting more. I read about it online and watched some video reviews. I read about the Speed Wheel and how it wasn’t a complete joke like the Wii Wheel. I also read about the super rare Limited Collector’s Edition that was going for over $200 on Amazon, much higher than it’s asking price. All in all, I was excited, and about a game that I abhored the previous time I played it. It was a strange feeling.

I decided to try arriving at Best Buy at opening and see if they had a Limited Collector’s Edition there. I wasn’t expecting them to, but upon getting there, they had about 10 of them. I instantly felt sorry for all the people who spent a lot of money on them. I also was able to demo the Speed Wheel and was impressed at how well it worked. I was told that with Kinect, it is even more precise. I ended up picking one up as well.

Forza 4 jumps you right into the racing, even before I was able to get the Speed Wheel set up. The campaign progression works as seasons, with each season having faster cars and more races. The types of races are varied well, and after every few of them, you level up and get a new car to try. As you race cars from the same manufacturer, you level up your affinity with them, giving you cheaper and eventually free upgrades. I haven’t really gone into the upgrades yet as the game will automatically upgrade for you when needed, and that’s as deep as I’ve gone. It also has a very deep tuning section that I briefly saw. It was like walking into a room you shouldn’t be in and instanly running away scared. That’s how I felt when I saw what types of things you could do in the tuning section.

The game integrates with Kinect and on paper, it sounds pretty awesome. When you turn your head in real life, the camera turns a bit to look at your mirrors. All I’ve been able to make it do is look to the right, even though I’m trying to look forward or even to the left. It hasn’t worked yet but I’ll try it again, but I think you have to be closer or standing to make it work, neither of which I want to do. When you crash in the game, you can press a button to initiate the “Sands of Time” in essence to go back a few seconds. This is great and all, but the way I have my controller set up, whenever I start up again, it quickly looks behind me and is just annoying. Other than these little issues, this game is rock solid. There are many modes, and I was able to lose two online races successfully without lag, but people online are jerks and crash into you a lot.

Now I picked up this wireless Speed Wheel as well, and I like it a lot. It is shaped like a “U” and I think it has a gyroscope in it. The tops of it glow green at times and I think the Kinect sees it. In any event, it works very well and the movements mimic the hands on the steering wheel in the game. The only problem that I’ve come across with this wheel so far is that it doesn’t have the XBOX bumper buttons on it anywhere. There’s plenty of room for them, even on the middle section. This is problematic when navigating the menus in Forza 4, which released alongside this device. In order to change my title in the game, and probably tune my car, I have to switch out to a regular controller, though this causes other problems when trying to sync back up with the Speed Wheel. It’s funny how third party controller manufactures are not allowed to make wireless controllers for the Xbox, but Microsoft can’t even remember to put the required buttons on them. I’d love to hear their reasoning behind this.

All in all, I am having a blast with Forza 4 and the Speed Wheel as well. This is definitely the best automobile simulator that I’ve ever played, and I’ve just scratched the surface!

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Initial Impressions – Dead Space HD for iPad

by on Feb.09, 2011, under Gaming, General

Disclaimer – I’ve never played a Dead Space game

This past Christmas, an iPad arrived at our house, and over the past month I’ve been buying games for it here and there.  Two days ago I purchased Dead Space 2 from Amazon and it should be arriving today, so look for my impressions on it tomorrow hopefully.  From doing some research, I learned that Dead Space on iPad would unlock something in Dead Space 2, and the reviews of this game in iTunes were mostly very excellent, so I decided to pick it up.  It’s $10, which is on the more expensive end of the price spectrum for iPad games, and so far, I can say that it’s worth this price.

Dead Space iPad drops you onto a mining station in the middle of space.  At the beginning, you are tasked with having to find a weapon, so you walk around using the iPad touch controls.  With your left finger, you move forward, back, and side to side, and with your right finger, you look.  It works just as if you had a controller, and it works VERY well, though takes some getting used to.  Once you attain your weapon, you tap the screen with your right finger to bring the weapon up, then tap again to shoot it.  You can tap various glowing areas on your back to use secondary attacks, and reload your weapon.

I’ve made it through Chapter 4, and I believe that there are a few more chapters.  So far, one of them has given me problems, but I got through it.  I’ve upgraded one of my weapons and my suit a few times, and from playing in pitch black with headphones turned all the way up, I’ve screamed out “ARGH!” more than twice.  It really is creepy, and all I can think of is how crazy Dead Space 2 will be on the big TV with the system cranked tonight.  If you have an iPad, check this one out.
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Initial Impressions – Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood

by on Nov.22, 2010, under Gaming, General

I haven’t played much of the ACB single player story, which is the reason I bought the game in the first place.  I’m probably about an hour into the story, and so far, what I’ve seen has been very fun and cool.  I have however played a few hours of the multiplayer, so this writeup will focus more on that side of things.  When Ubisoft announced that ACB would have online competitive multiplayer, I thought “Great, here’s another tacked-on multiplayer experience that doesn’t need to be there and just took resources away from polishing the single player story”.  I still can’t say if the previous statement is true, but what I can say is that the multiplayer in this game is vastly different than any I’ve played before, so for that, Ubisoft wins.  I’ll try to explain it here, but I wasn’t able to understand it until I played it for myself.

Like other multiplayer games, you rank up as you earn XP.  XP is earned by making assassinations, but more is earned for doing so with style.  Each time you rank up, you earn new abilities and custom classes, and these new abilities really help you get an edge over your foes.  An example of an ability is to be able to change your character skin to another one, so when you are being pursued, you can round a corner, throw on a disguise, and be incognito for a few seconds.  Another one is a smoke bomb, which can get you out of a difficult situation more quickly.

I’ve played two game types so far, and I think there are four total.  Both of the gametypes I played were very similar, the only difference being one is free-for-all, and the other team-based.  Here’s my best description of how the games play, though as I said earlier, it’s tough to describe in words.  8 human players start a match and choose what character skin they want, be it male or female, a nicely dressed Captain or a long-nosed Doctor, it doesn’t matter.  They all play the same.  The map is then populated with AI robots in these same skins and you’re set loose in it.  You are given a single person to assassinate, and another human is given you to assassinate.  You follow a compass of sorts around the map, looking for your target while trying to stay incognito in order to hide your location.  Incognito is the important word here.  You should be trying to blend in with the AI robots, especially those that resemble your character skin.  The AI robots tend to just walk around, so if you see somebody climbing onto rooftops or sprinting around, you can tell that they are a human player, so that’s what you’re looking for.  It’s very slow-paced, but when you get a kill and the target has no idea beforehand, it’s very satisfying.  You get bonus points for staying hidden whilst killing, so running around to your target is generally not suggested.  Once you kill someone, a new target is given.  You can have up to four people vying for the same target or following you as a target, and it can get pretty crazy.  The pacing is extremely slow as you’re trying to blend in with a crowd while looking all around for someone who’s not walking in the same pattern as everyone else.  It’s a lot of fun and I hope to level up all the way, though I’m not sure how difficult that will be.

The multiplayer is by no means perfect.  It would be nice to be able to customize your classes after ranking up without having to drop the whole party and go back to a menu.  This effect is a double-edged sword.  Not only is it aggravating to me, but when dropping me back to the menu, it breaks up the party which requires them to find another player.  The fact that higher ranked people are effectively stronger than lower ranked people is a balancing issue that seems like it was an oversight in the design phase.  I have little chance as a level 7 player to compete with a level 30 player, and this was proven a few times yesterday.  An ability that you unlock at level 14, which allows you to morph NPCs around you into your character skin is extremely powerful, and I look forward to using that when given the chance.

Overall, I’m really liking ACB.  I think that I’ll need sessions of a few hours with the single player in order to experience and enjoy it fully, and the multiplayer is nice if I’ve only got 20 minutes to invest.  It isn’t perfect, but for a first shot at multiplayer with this franchise, I think that Ubisoft did a wonderful job with it.  Overall, the game appears to be top-notch.

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Initial Impressions – Kinect, Kinect Adventures, Dance Central

by on Nov.05, 2010, under Gaming, General

I’m lumping these three together because they all arrived together (along with my sweet new 27″ monitor, but that’s not really pertinent here) and go together.  Kinect is Microsoft’s answer to the question “Why is Nintendo making so much money?” and it’s quite impressive.  There are two reasons that I preordered it; first is that the technology to use yourself as a controller in a 3 dimensional space intrigued me, and secondly, Heather wanted the dancing game.  Kinect uses I believe two cameras, an RGB one as well as an IR one to find you in the room.  It also uses four microphones for voice commands and aural placement recognition.  You place this little sensor near your TV as you would the Wii sensor, but this thing is much more advanced.  It has a small motor in it to track up and down, and one of the cameras contains a hexogonal red light array which, when you look right at it, resembles a Terminator’s eye looking back at you, and that’s very cool.

It took about 30 minutes to set up the sensor, then push my whole living room back a few feet.  Upon starting up the xbox, it recognized the kinect and updated the dashboard.  It then walked me through a tutorial which was basically useless.  A problem I had was when I walked out of view and kinect forgot about me, which was annoying, but after learning the ropes, I started up Kinect Adventures.  

This game is just a set of minigames, just like Wii Sports is.  I played a few of them and Heather jumped in and played co-op with me.  It’s cool that somebody can just walk into the area you’re in and start playing along with you.  The game takes pictures of you at certain intervals and you can then upload them to a Microsoft website to view.  It’s really cool and I wish more games would have websites associated with them like this.  After about an hour of this game, it was time for a break, so we had dinner.

After dinner we booted up Dance Central, a dancing game created by Harmonix, and let me tell you, it’s not easy, even on Easy difficulty!  Heather and I switched back and forth between songs, dancing to them, and learning the moves in them.  The best we could do on Day 1 was to get 3 out of 5 stars on 4 of the songs.  Even here, the game could tell us apart and switched the dancers from male to female when we switched up.  The game has 32 songs and the four we played were difficult, so this game looks to be both tough and a good workout!

All in all, kinect is very cool, though currently reminds me of when I bought my first Nintendo DS when they launched.  It’s a cool piece of technology that hasn’t really come into its prime yet as far as software support.  Everything seems like a tech demo, but I have faith in Microsoft to create new, fun games for it, and maybe even non-gaming applications.  I would also like to see it able to be used in conjunction with controller-based games, but the problem there is that you have to be standing as well as far away from the TV, so it may be difficult to pull off.  Rock Band with kinect support however is an idea that I’ve had in my head since seeing this thing in action the first time so many months ago and I hope that someday we’ll see an entry in the series use this device.

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Initial Impressions – Rock Band 3

by on Oct.27, 2010, under Gaming, General

A few days ago I read a review saying that Rock Band 3 is the best rhythm game that’s ever been created.  After spending just about an hour with the game, I’m agreeing so far.  Sure, this basically looks a lot like the other games in the series, but Harmonix has tweaked many aspects of it, all for the better.  The only thing that’s gotten me upset is that I earned a 4 point achievement, and when I earn achievements that don’t end in 0 or 5, I get Incredible-Hulk-Angry.

Anyways, last night I installed three cymbals onto my Rock Band drums and booted the game up.  I tried for a little while to import all of my other Rock Band songs, but couldn’t get it to work, so I’m still puzzled as to how to do that.  I went into a freeform drum room to make sure that the cymbals worked and was pleasantly surprised when not only did they work, but now it seems like I’ve got a fairly full drumset here.  

The 4 original pads and kick pedal all play different drum sounds, and each of the cymbals plays a different sound as well.  It’s quite impressive.  I played through the first setlist consisting of 6 songs, then Llama once, all on Pro mode Medium.  When playing Pro mode, in addition to hitting the notes as they come down the course, you have to hit the correct cymbals as well, which has made Medium level drums fun again for me.  It really takes a lot more attention to play this way and with the exception of Llama, I played all real easy songs.

I tried uploading a video but was getting an error, so I’ll try again tonight.  That’s all I really have to say about the game right now since I’ve only put about an hour into it and half that time was creating Sir Awesome again.  It would be nice if Harmonix allowed you to bring over avatars from their previous games so I don’t have to do it each time, but it’s not a huge deal.  I look forward to putting a few hours into it tonight, and eventually with friends, as this game is full of win.

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Initial Impressions – Fallout: New Vegas

by on Oct.20, 2010, under Gaming, General

Fallout 3 was a game that originally I was not ever planning to play, but in the end I put over 120 hours into it and fully enjoyed pretty much 100% of the game and all five of its DLC releases.  The next installment in the series is something that I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced.  Between last night and this morning, I’ve logged about 4.5 hours into the game, and these are my impressions.

In New Vegas your character is a courier who was transporting a large platinum poker chip somewhere when you got shot in the head, survived, and wake up in a doctor’s office.  When my character woke up, I modeled and named her after my wife, then spent a good hour figuring out what initial statistics to give her.  I then started my adventure.

I immediately noticed a few issues with the game that I need to point out.  The x-axis sensitivity is slower than the y-axis sensitivity when they are set equally.  I’ve noticed constant stuttering in movement, possibly because the graphics have been upped to 1080p from Fallout 3’s native 720p resolution.  The very first mission is a tutorial of sorts where you have to go and shoot a few geckos.  I shot two of them but was being attacked by a third, completely invisible one.  It had never rendered.  A dog who was with us ended up killing that gecko.  I kept wandering around this early town and got a mission where I had to get 3 people to join a cause, but my skills are all too low to convince any of these people, so I left that quest for later.  I headed off on the main mission line and came to an old town called Primm, where I got my butt kicked over and over again.  I kept reloading my save and walked around the outside of this town to find out I could not enter that way.  When returning to the front gate area, two enemies were stuck half in walls, but it made it easy to shoot them.  I then was able to make my way into town slowly.  I’ve got to say though, that so far, this has been a difficult game.  Another glitch I found was when I walked into a casino in Primm, a character could only be seen from the waist down, stuck in a ceiling.  I walked in the room, looked up at his feet, and was able to talk to him.  I think this game needs a patch, but I’ve also read of other people having no issues at all, so I’m at a loss as to what’s going on.  Even with these issues, I can’t put the game down.  Just like Fallout 3, it’s sucking me in.

I’m playing the game in hardcore mode.  In this mode, health items don’t heal immediately, but over time.  Ammo has weight to it.  Also, you need to carefully monitor sleep deprivation, hunger, and thirst.  I haven’t had too much problem with any of this so far, and it seems just a bit more tedious than non-hardcore mode, and I like it.  I really need to find a safehouse though in order to drop some of my load there as I’ve become overloaded with stuff already.  I also need to find out how to make more powerful ammo, as I have a lot of ammo but am very weak.  There is a card game called Caravan, that I’m completely horrible at and need to figure out how to play well.

Overall, I think this will be a great game.  It’s a bit on the dark side, but most games seem to be when I first start them.  I’m not sure that the story is going to be as extraordinary as Fallout 3 was, as in that game, you start out by being born, and it doesn’t get much cooler than that.  Right now I’m just trying to find out who shot me, not search for my missing father who disappeared and holds a big secret.  I’m looking forward to putting many more hours into this, and hope that the game smooths out a bit.  Even with all the little glitches and annoyances that I’ve come across, before I knew it last night, it was past my bedtime and I didn’t want to stop.  I then woke up at 5AM and put in another hour this morning!
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Initial Impressions – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

by on Oct.06, 2010, under Gaming, General

Everywhere I go to read about this game I see a mixed bag of opinions.  On one hand, the game is too difficult to figure out or is a clone of another style of game.  On the other hand it’s a beautiful piece of art, feels like classic Castlevania using today’s technology, and sucks you in to the point where you don’t want to put it down.  Luckily, I fit into the latter group after playing for about three hours last night, though I can definitely see what people are saying who are in the former…somewhat.

I say somewhat because I’ve never played the game that people are comparing this to (God of War).  In terms of gameplay, The most similar game that I’ve played is Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.  Also, as a side, if we’re comparing games, shouldn’t we all be comparing all platforming games to Pitfall and Super Mario Bros.?  Games are going to continually take ideas from other successful games.  Activision pays a certain developer to basically copy another developer’s ideas every few years and it makes them a LOT of money, though it goes almost unnoticed among reviewers and many fans.  It’s part of the industry and it isn’t going to stop.  When I read about people knocking this Castlevania game because it’s too similar to God of War, I just stop reading because they should be reviewing this game in a sterile environment and for what it is.  Okay, on to the game at hand.

To begin with, my Castlevania experience began when I was 12 years old and my neighbor showed me his new Nintendo Entertainment System.  We played the original Castlevania on it and eventually beat it; a task that I doubt I’d be able to easily accomplish today.  Since then, I’ve played all but about 4 titles in the series on most every platform, my favorites being the Nintendo DS titles.  I did play Castlevania 64 until I got to a part that I couldn’t get past in a clocktower of sorts.  The jumping mechanic in that game was atrocious.

I played the demo for Lords of Shadow Monday evening and was very impressed with the presentation set forth, the voice acting (though at times it definitely feels read and can be a tad long), the graphics, as well as the gameplay.  The demo consists of the first two levels of the first chapter of the game, and admittedly, I had some problems with getting the combat down.  I died a few times but when Gabriel, the main character, flew over a bridge that wasn’t really there at the end of the demo, I took a deep breath and knew that this was going to be a great ride.

Last night when I arrived home from work, the Limited Edition of Lords of Shadow was waiting for me.  I opened up the box and started installing the discs one after the other.  I always suggest that you do this with every current title that you play.  Not only does it make the game run more efficiently, it reduces heat and prolongs the life of your 360.  I took a quick glance at the art book and CD, but these won’t really be looked at more until the game has been completed once.  The packaging is nice, but I would have preferred a metal tin case.  I love those metal tin cases!

Upon starting the game and realizing that I had just played these levels the night before, I fared much better and got through the entire demo section unscathed.  I bought a few new attack moves, and really started to understand the attack methodology.  When done correctly, the battle mechanic is extremely satisfying.  I decided to stop buying new moves to see how far I could get with just a few basic ones, and I got about 6 levels further before stopping for the night.  Now I’ve got a lot of credits to spend on some moves tonight.

Graphically I believe this to be the nicest looking game I’ve seen on the 360 and I don’t really foresee better graphics coming to this platform without serious performance degradation.  The only clipping or stuttering I saw was at the head end of a few cutscenes, and even then, only for about a half second.  During gameplay I saw no slowdown whatsoever.

The game is divided up into 12 chapters made up out of about 50 levels.  Chapter 1 had 5 levels, and Chapter 2 appears to have more like 10 levels.  When starting the game, you can replay any level you want from a menu and choose difficulty.  This is similar to how Resident Evil 5 was set up, and I wholeheartedly approve.  This will make it easier to play through harder difficulties with all of my upgraded weaponry and moves.  Also, each level upon completion grants you a challenge in order to add re-playability and counts towards achieving 100% in the game.

One particular boss fight actually required me to grapple onto and climb his enormous body.  The game doesn’t really tell you what to do at first, and I died a few times figuring it out.  You have to destroy 4 orbs on his body, but after you destroy the second one, the game saves so you don’t have to repeat the first two again when you inevitably die.  At the end of the fight, I was climbing this thing very efficiently and eventually downing it felt really good.

Here are a few negative aspects that I’ve encountered with this game, because even though I think it’s very well made, it isn’t perfect.  It may be just because I’m still early in the game, but it sure does seem to pause an awful lot to instruct you on what to do when new items are available, but like I mentioned above, when a new, huge boss is introduced, the game decides to let you guess what to do while he punches the ice repeatedly (That’s a hint to this boss!). I’ve gotten lost a few times.  Sometimes the path will fork and you won’t know where to go.  Luckily, each time I’ve come across this, the paths merge together to a common goal.  The levels are all very short in length, possibly due to the high amount of graphics that need to be loaded.  When a new level starts, Captain Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart will always be Captain Picard to me) talks for about a minute while the level loads.  This is a nice touch but it tends to drag on at times.  I’m still engulfed in it because I’m trying to figure out this story.  At the end of each level, it always tells me that new moves are available, even when they aren’t.  When you grab an enemy, a large circle closes in on a smaller one, and when it gets inside, you’re supposed to hit a button.  Many times I’m hitting it too early, but that’s not the game’s fault.  Maybe on harder difficulties these circles are a bit faster, which is where I think they should be.  The last little bit of frustration that I’ve had is that sometimes the game will want you to jump to a ledge, but I jump almost to it and drop to my death.  This isn’t so bad though since the game autosaves frequently and I just start over again right from that ledge.  Even when you fall in battle and have to go through it again, the credits that you earn are saved so you essentially are earning them again on top of what you already earned.

Overall, I’m loving this game so far.  Sure it borrows methodology from other games, but very few don’t these days.  Even Batman: Arkham Asylum last year borrowed from games such as Splinter Cell, but for some reason it wasn’t publically knocked for that.  Some reviewers seem to be making up excuses for not liking this game and I’m not sure why.  Most of them say that it’s too similar to other games, but maybe they don’t realize that not everybody has played those games.  They should really be reviewing this game for what it is, and not what it borrows from others.  This game has a great Castlevania feel to it.  Also, when someone says that this game drops in framerate, I have to disagree.  It runs perfectly on my old 360, so it should on yours too.  The game is fun and very well put together, and I applaud Mercury Steam for their effort.  I look forward to finishing this and playing it again!

[EDIT] – I forgot to mention the music.  The music is amazing.

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Initial Impressions – Metroid: Other M

by on Sep.01, 2010, under Gaming, General

I can’t remember the last game I played on Wii.  For at least the last year, the only disc that’s been in the console has been Wii Fit, and that’s just been to weigh myself over time and graph it out.  I’m a longtime fan of the Metroid series, so I decided to give this game a try.  One of my favorite games of all time is Metroid Prime, which was a game that dealt with exploration in first person and developed in Texas.  Other M takes Metroid back to the 2-D realm and was developed in conjunction with two Japanese developers, so it’s easy to assume that the general gameplay will be vastly different, and boy is it ever!  I’ve put about 3 hours into it so far and am probably about a third of the way through the story.  The game largely plays as a two-dimensional sidescroller with depth, meaning that you can move back and forth on the screen, but also into the room and down hallways that lead back and away from you.  You can also aim the Wii remote towards the TV and go into first person mode.

I’ll start off with some of the annoyances I have with the game.    Switching between first and third person isn’t perfect and many times I’ll aim the Wii remote at the TV and not really know where I’m looking at first.  This was incredibly difficult in the first hour of play, but is getting a little easier with experience.  Sometimes, during story moments, you are locked into third person mode, can not fire, jump, or walk fast, and you have to walk around searching for a person.  This is just boring in my opinion, and I’m not sure why this mechanic was brought into the game at all.  Other times you get put into first person mode and can’t leave it until you scan something, but the game never really gives you hints as you to what you’re supposed to be scanning.  I’ll give an example here.  This morning I played for 30 minutes before work.  I killed a boss and then the game put me into first person mode looking at 4 guys who are looking at a downed friend on the ground.  I could scan all four guys, but not the guy on the ground.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  I turned all around looking for what I was supposed to scan, feeling useless because I knew it was probably something stupid.  Sure enough, there was a small patch of green blood on the green grass behind me that I had to scan.  I found that quite annoying.  The last thing that’s thrown me off a bit is that some enemies can only die from a single type of attack.  I found some snake creatures that wouldn’t die even though I pumped them full of missiles, but as soon as I ran over to them and did a melee move, they died instantly.  It’s definitely the game trying to get you to use a powerup that was recently given to you, but it doesn’t make much sense.

Other than the few gripes I have that feel to me that beta testing was done by people who actually knew what to look for, the game is fantastic, and I can’t seem to stop wanting to play it.  The graphics are very good for a Wii title, the puzzles have been challenging so far, and overall the title is very fun.  I am especially loving the need for liberal use of the morph ball as there seem to be many morph ball tracks and routes to take.  The voice acting is for the most part well-done, but it could be better.  The backstory and CGI scenes are excellent, and whenever I see an energy tank of missile expansion, I find myself staring at it trying to figure out how to get it, and sometimes I’ll be able to, but more often I realize that I’ll have to come back later with another powerup.

Metroid: Other M seems to be a great addition to the franchise, but I doubt it can closely compare to the awesomeness of the Prime series in terms of depth and immersion.  Even in the first few hours, I have died many times to enemy bosses as the game is very challenging, but I haven’t gotten terribly upset when dying, and the only thing that stopped me from playing was that I had to go to bed, and I had to go to work.  I look forward to completing this game, and hopefully trying to 100% it.  If you like Metroid and own a Wii, you should definitely check this title out.
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Initial Impressions – Puzzle Quest 2 (DS)

by on Jun.21, 2010, under Gaming, General

I’ll start this off by saying that the original Puzzle Quest became one of my favorite DS games, and overall one of my favorite puzzle games in general.  I liked the DS version so much that after maxing out two character builds on it, I bought it on XBLA, along with the DLC, and maxed out my character there as well.  When Infinite Interactive created a “sequel” called Galactrix, I was very excited…until I actually played it.  They decided to use a hexagon-based puzzle board instead of the standard square-based board, probably to keep up with the futuristic space theme the game was based upon.  This wasn’t the problem I had with the game however.  

The big issue that I had with it was that in order to move around the map, you had to solve puzzles, which first off didn’t give you any experience or items, but even worse, they reset after a certain amount of time.  This meant that you had to solve these useless puzzles over and over again as you navigated the map…which angered me like nothing else.  I powered my way through that disaster and have never touched it since.

A few months after this, Puzzle Quest 2 was announced.  Everything pointed to this being a direct sequel to my favorite DS puzzle game, and early screenshots showed the same square-based puzzle board.  At PAX East, I was able to see the XBLA version with my own eyes, and it looked really good.  I didn’t get a chance to play it, but just seeing it got me excited for the retail version.  The game is being released tomorrow, June 22nd, but for some reason, Amazon was selling it last week.  My copy arrived Friday evening, and since then, I’ve put about four hours into it.  I’m still in the first area, and have gotten my character up to level 13.  Navigation in PQ2 is different than PQ1 in that your character is more than a tiny sprite in a huge world.  He’s walking around, talking to people and creatures, and able to interact with them on more of a personal level.  It can still be confusing at first, but I think I understand how it works now.  When it comes to the puzzles, the DS hit detection has been vastly improved over PQ1, and you won’t be making any dumb mistakes here and there because the stylus was just a tad outside where it was supposed to be.  Enemy battles are standard player-vs-computer battles, switching up between each turn.  Other types of battles that I’ve come across include those to pick locks, loot items, and unfreeze a block of ice.  I haven’t come across any creature capturing puzzles, and all the spells I currently have were obtained via gaining levels.  I started my character as an Assassin, one of the four playable types.  The Assassin is cool in that the spells are mostly about changing gem colors from red, green, and yellow to purple.  This can be devastating to the enemy when played correctly, and I look forward to continuing with this build.  I’m focusing my stats mostly balanced, which is far differently than I played the original game.

I have a few issues with it so far, but mostly, I’m having a blast with this game.  

First off, the developer decided that instead of creating regular skulls and red glowing skulls, the stronger skulls would just have a 5 on them.  The red skulls are much cooler.  The 5 is pretty lame in my opinion, and I’m not even sure what it’s representing.  It’s a skull that blows up all skulls around it, so red would have been my choice, and it keeps with the Puzzle Quest tradition in a nice way.  Secondly, the game saves too much.  After you battle an enemy, it saves.  That’s okay, but then when you look at your stats, equipment, and spells, it saves.  These are not in one menu, so whenever you want to check out everything you have, the game ends up saving at least three times.  It’s a bit annoying even right from the get-go.  As far as the music is concerned, most of it is based upon the original’s soundtrack, but has been reworked to put the themes more in the background.  I still haven’t heard the iconic Puzzle Quest theme that I can easily get stuck in my head, even today.

I was skeptical about this game after the Galactrix catastrophe, but so far, this game is pulling me in like few DS games can do.  My DS battery died last night, which is something that rarely happens, and it’s only because of Puzzle Quest 2, a game which I look forward to maxing out on both the DS as well as XBLA when it releases later in the week.  I just hope that the game as a whole is as good as the first few hours.

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