Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving, Stargate, Star Wars the Old Republic, and XBLA Deals.

I know it's been a while since I posted and admittedly I have been slacking but well, here's a new blog for your reading enjoyment.   Incoming giant blog!


No this isn't my Thanksgiving Meal.

I'm not really one for tradition or holidays and don't really see much of a point in this one.  I guess I look at things like, why have a designated day to be thankful but instead be stressed with the burdens of cooking an elaborate meal, most of which won't be eaten and eat till you get sick?  Don't get me wrong, I'd love a good meal and have no problem at all cooking a good meal but this is something I gladly do daily and on daily basis I'm thankful for the people, friends and family, I cook for and eat food from.

With that said, I've never been able to eat most of the food on thanksgiving and get really sick if I do.  I can't handle turkey and I've only been able to eat organic food for the past 3 years.  It was nice to see my cousins there though getting a good meal, one of them is struggling financially and lives with roommates who eat all of his food and the other doesn't ever get a good meal at home and is basically skin and bones (needs to eat more protein danget).

On the flip side, thanksgiving is a really big deal for my grandma who's extremely into tradition.  Me, my sister, and my mom all offered to cook but she didn't want us cooking and wanted everything prepared by her which means TONS of salt.  Well my aunt is on this blood type diet and can't eat a lot of things which includes a lot of sodium, my mom is vegan, and I can eat only organic (otherwise I get very sick) but everybody except for me broke their diets and ate.

Needless to say, my grandma and my mom both got sick.  My mom was having stomach problems, heart burn and her carpal tunnel was flaring up and my grandma got light headed, dizzy and was having chest pains.  Needless to say, they took their blood pressure and they were sky high.  So I had them drinking Herbal Teas with ginger and peppermint in them and I had them eating veggies and Greek yogurt.  They're both feeling a lot better since then but also since then my mom had a long talk about her age, health, and nutrition with my grandma and she's been laying off sodium filled and greasy foods and has been eating more plants, grains, oats, and nuts.

 Nothing says I ate too much like a cat.

While it was annoying having to clean up the entire kitchen after not eating hardly anything, I'm just glad to see them both feeling better.  I'm hoping that my grandma doesn't become an extreme vegan but at the same time I'm glad to see her eating better!


The main Atlantis Team by the final season.

It's been a while since I've talked about this but I have been watching it this whole time faithfully just about every night from my Nintendo 3DS (I love that dang system)!  Anyways I have finished up the entire Atlantis series.  My thoughts and opinions?

Much like Stargate SG-1 I didn't know what to expect.  I knew it was a sequel/continuation to SG-1 but only by name.  I literally knew nothing else about this and only know one person who's seen the show (who I haven't talked to much about it).  To my surprise it felt very much like SG-1, except started off at a pretty good quality.  Its characters are a good mix of different walks of life and they go on the same crazy types of missions that Col. Jack Oneill and SG-1 went on for the majority of the SG-1 series.  In the second season, they introduce one of my favorite characters in a show so far, Ronan Dex, who gives the Atlantis team their own Teal'c (though he's quite different).

All in all, I enjoyed seeing this series and will miss the cast, characters, and interesting plots of Atlantis the same way I will miss SG-1.  Its too bad it took me till I was in my 20's to actually give them and scifi shows in general a try.  I've been regrettably missing out on a lot for a while.

SG-1... and a little person.

Speaking of SG-1, I also made sure to watch the movies which right after I seen the Atlantis series, I decided to watch the final (or I believe final) movie of SG-1, Ark of Truth.  It was enjoyable and wrapped up 1 of the story plots (there are more) that needed to be finished.  I hope to see future series's finishing up what both SG-1 and Atlantis started.  There's a lot of lore there that I'd like to see finished.

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Beta Test Weekend

I think I killed that guy a couple times!

I have been salivating over this game for a very very long time (since it was first announced and my art school friend told me he's been working on it).  It's one of the few games that I've been keeping up with constantly reading almost every tid bit of news (though I've been avoiding major spoilers like the black plague) and it's the only major retail game that I'll be getting during this holiday season... which there's a story to that.  This is due to me pre-ordering the game the day pre-orders were allowed, going for the collectors edition (which has a whooole lot in the package but costs $150), and registering the early access code.  I soon was hit by random charges by microsoft, started getting car problems, and got hit with a slew of other financial things which made me want to change my pre-order to a normal edition, which I tried but found out, I couldn't without losing my early access code that was already linked to my account.  So, that was the dilemma... HOWEVER this dilemma seems trivial after playing the beta!

This is how I handle problems in SWTOR.  A flame thrower to the face!

The beta started the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  When I got on, the servers were jam packed with every server at heavy or full status.  This is to be expected, it being a stress test and all.  I made my character which was a Cyborg Bounty Hunter that greatly resembled a certain Dex Ronan character from a certain Gate Star show.  When I got in, the servers had a ton of lag.  There had to of been nearly 300 people all doing the same thing at the same time, it was insane.  Because of this, for the first 4 hours or so, there were glitches and problems like some people getting stuck randomly, some people having armor and hair floating off their characters, bad frame rates issues, and game crashes among other issues.  This was to be expected, as I said, the servers were FLOODED and when I say flooded I mean there were hundreds to thousands of people in each servers waiting queue, with some servers listing wait times of up to 27 hours.  As I said though, this only lasted about 4 hours or so.  Soon after the test started, Bioware opened up 10 or so new servers and it really helped the load.  From there on out, it was much much smoother sailing but it was still crazy crowded.

The Dark Side of the force is strong with this one.

This is coming from a MMO vet who's played TONS of MMO's and is directed at any nay sayers, skeptics, and doubters.  Questing in this game has to be the most enjoyable questing experience I've had in any MMO ever.  The quests are long enough, not too long (looking at you FFXI) and not too short (looking at you Warhammer), the cutscenes aren't awkwardly dragged out (looking at you WoW Cataclysm) and they're not unreasonably short (looking at you Aion), the quests have great direction (unlike FFXI) and progress you nicely without having you constantly run across areas back and forth in a very unorganized fashion (looking at you Age of Conan).  

Furthermore everything's fully voice acted with high quality (or rather Bioware quality) voice acting, story, and writing and the decision system really draws you in (just like Mass Effect and Dragon Age).  Unlike those 2 other Bioware games, this one multi player and gives each person a random role on the decision they pick while doing story in a group ultimately allowing each player to have a role and gets everybody involved in the story.  The more quests you do with others, the more social points you earn.  I'm not sure what they're used for but there's a meter there so it has to be for something.  Note, the cutscenes are not skippable, so if you don't like story, don't play this game but if you do, and want a funner, deeper, and more challenging questing experience from you MMO's, this is the game.  I'd also like to note, there's a lot of group quests and really tough "elite" (or SWTOR term - heroic) mobs that you'll need a solid group to take on.

I also want to note, the first dungeon was a lot of fun and had just as much story as the quests.

Is it a group of players or is one a companion?

Speaking of groups and quests.  Companion characters add a huge element to the game that most other MMO's are severely lacking.  It gives you that extra side kick like character you get from normal RPG's, giving them the like/dislike system seen in other Bioware RPG's and giving you a lot more control over them then most other NPC characters in most other MMO's.  Think of them almost like World of Warcraft's hunter's pet or warlocks demon's except even more versatile with some working as your healer!  This of course adds another lair to questing, making you want to choose things that your companions like while still getting light/dark side points.  Also it makes combat a lot more interesting for all classes, giving you access to an undeniably useful resource that no other MMO I've played has.

A PVP Warzone showing off an epic battle.
Speaking of combat, the combat requires you to constantly press buttons (like DC Universe, Champions Online, and Age of Conan) which imo really keeps you involved and keeps players from slacking off.  To be honest, I don't mind auto attack, but I find auto attack kind of lets people slack off in MMO's and hurts over all gameplay more then helps, where as actually pressing buttons keeps people more involved and keeps raid groups awake and alive.

The Chaos of Player vs Player combat!

I love PVP, it's not the only thing I like but it IS one of the things that draws me to different MMO's and competitive games in general.  While TOR doesn't have the strongest PVP system I've seen a MMO, it is there, and it feels surprisingly polished.  Then again I'm saying this as a lower level who played a Bounty Hunter in only 2 Warzone battles.  From what I can tell, each character has some form of USEFUL CC (crowd control) and a world of warcraft pvp trinket like move (letting them break out of a CC once every 2 minutes).  It really helps out, this is one of my biggest problems with most MMO PVP as it makes things feel very unbalanced.  Deaths aren't as quick as WoW and I wasn't in CC for 20 seconds straight (like fighting rogues and mages in WoW).  It was very fun and thrilling and I can't wait to see what all they do with the PVP aspects of this game in the future.

The crafting system.

Crafting in this game is pretty solid from what I can tell, giving you worthwhile items to craft (unlike Aion) that actual do stuff for your characters at early levels that you won't get anywhere else (unlike World of Warcraft).  Like the gear I could make was much better then what I was getting from quests, really giving me an edge gear wise and making me a solid choice as a tank for dungeons and a hard to kill, face melting, cyborg, iron man in PVP.

Your Companions can craft for you.

That is one of my absolute favorite features.  Along with you companions leveling as you level, your companions can also craft for you, meaning when you get further in the game and get other companions that you're not using, you can actually have them craft for you leveling your skills and making you useful gear/mods/consumables.

The Codex system returns.

One of my favorite things about Warhammer is its one of the few MMO's with a Codex like log system.  Codex's are really awesome if you want to learn more about something quickly without having to leave the game and look it up or deal with what could be (and usually is) internet trolls.  Just like Pokemon's Pokedex and Mass Effects Codex, everything you need to know, from back stories of NPC's you meet, knowledge about places you go, weapons, creatures, and much more, is all in there.  No, I don't believe it's voiced but this is for the lore people who read stuff anyways.

Gotta love them space battles.

The last and final thing I'll talk about with this game is space battles, which by the 3rd day of beta, I finally got to try.  It's not a mind blowing feature, there isn't a lot of customization there and works only as a mini game on the side but the combat was indeed fun.  It's nothing like Star Wars Galaxies fully featured space combat system and it's a lot more like Star Fox on rails dodge and shoot style.  Don't get me wrong, it's a ton of fun in short bursts but don't expect it to be very deep.

Traveling just got a lot easier!

Yes I know I wrote a lot about this game but I'm super excited about it and after playing it, I can honestly say that I'll be putting that collectors edition to good use.  There's a soooo much more I didn't talk about and I could go on and on about but I need to keep an already staggeringly long blog shorter then epicly long.  I will say that come December 20th (hopefully 15th with early access and all), I'm sorry a head of time if you can't reach me, because I'll be in a galaxy far faaar away.

XBLA November deals!

I know I've already typed for a while so I'll try and keep this short (I had pictures planned out but gonna skip them for length reasons).  I got a $50 dollar microsoft points card on my birthday and only bought 1 game with it.  I saved the rest of the points figuring that I'd see some sales later down the road but didn't realize they'd be right around the corner.  Microsoft apparently was doing a Fan Appreciation sale, Black Friday sale, and Cyber Monday sale along with their normal deals of the week and monthly price drops.  Needless to say I cashed in.  Thanks to Major Nelson for being on top of the updates.

  • Crazy Taxi - 400 MSP - 50% Discount (deal of the week)
  • Sega Rally Online Arcade - 400 MSP - 50% Discount (deal of the week)
  • The Fancy Pants Adventures - 400 MSP - 50% Discount (fan appreciation)
  • Super Meat Boy - 400 MSP - 67% Discount (fan appreciation)
  • OutRun Online Arcade - 400 MSP - 50% Discount (fan appreciation)
  • Mortal Kombat Arcade Collection - 400 MSP - 50% Discount (cyber monday)
  • Beyond Good & Evil HD - 240 MSP - 70% Discount (cyber monday)

Needless to say, despite my grandma and mom getting sick and having to clean a huge mess in the kitchen, my thanksgiving weekend was amazing.  I'm very thankful to see my family and to see Bioware, Microsoft, and other companies help pull gaming out of a huge slump.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Major Disappointment and Excitement.

This year has been full of some of gaming's highest high points and gaming's lowest low points but how does this affect the gamer.... Well let me tell you, it's been a total raging to total fanboy gushing experience.  This past few months has been no exception.

The Disappointment

Sony's UMD Solution for Vita  

Basically Sony has come up with a solution for future Vita owners who were also PSP owners and their backwards compatibility needs.  The way they're going about it though is absolutely horrible and is a huge slap in the face to PSP supporters and people who spent a good penny collecting UMD movies and games.  They're adding a system so you can register your UMD discs online but at a cost meaning you have to pay for each game, that you already purchased, in order to use them on your Vita.  While I guess they need to make money for keeping up this service but the fact of the matter is, this is a slap in the face of your own fans and greatly needs to be reconsidered.  This is even worse then NoA's PR BS a few months back about certain Japanese games people have been waiting for.

Invisible Walls

I've been watching IW for a while now and I used to really like the show, its always fun to here people talking about stuff you like and are interested in and dissecting those products and talking about the strong points and weak points of each game however this Past Episode was beyond fanboyish and got to straight hate trolling status.  Of course I'm talking about the Legend of Zelda part.  

Hey, I know, the game is on Wii, the graphics won't be mind blowing and the game will be limited in what it does on a technical stand point, but to say the game hasn't evolved, talk about it as if its unplayable, and to straight diss on it then go on to literally have nothing but good things to say about the newest Call of Duty game, a series that has seen 7 entries in the same generation, has been using the same engine since the 3rd entry in this generation, and for the most part, plays and looks the same as the last 5 games, well.... I have to ask the question if we should be taking this seriously anymore.  Granted, I don't hate CoD or anything (though I do recommend people that only play CoD to try other shooters) however I think if you have such standards and stipulations for 1 game, you should have it for ALL GAMES.

Too Many Releases

I know I've probably talked about this before but there are way waaaayyyy too many releases all back to back especially for multi console owners.  It's frustrating because there's a lot of big titles that I've been looking forward to for a very very long time (Rayman, Skyrim, Skyward Sword, Battlefield 3, King of Fighters, and Mario Kart to name a few) that I won't be able to get any time soon do to limited funds at this time.  Its very frustrating.  Furthermore this summer was one of the driest droughts across all platforms for games (minus downloadables) and nothing was coming out.  If some of these games came out then, I'd would of definitely picked them up but now it will honestly be quite some time before I get a lot of these games...

The Excitement

Nintendo 3DS Update

Look at the top of the picture, what do you see?  Yes that's right, a join game option.  Doesn't sound like much but this is a huge HUGE deal.  It means, in addition to all the stuff that the 3DS will be getting in the update, you'll get this one simple feature that is actually a huge deal.  You'll finally be able to join games with friends which is a huge thing for Samurai Warriors, Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, Tetris, Mario Kart and other games that I don't remember that also have online.  While this doesn't make the 3DS's online on par with the competitors online services, this is a huge step in the right direction.  Finally we'll be able to play games and communicate with friends the way we can with all other devices and this update is right around the corner.  Anybody fancy a match of Super Street Fighter IV 3D?

Heroes of Ruin Walkthrough Trailer

I've been pretty excited about this one since I first read the Nintendolife article about it a while back and since then have only been liking what I hear more and more.  The online features are very strong, as a matter of fact, the online sounds stronger then most the big name games on PS3 and 360.  It's shaping up to be one of the best online coop experiences on any platform and it's a freakin 3DS game.  It just got a release date of 4/3/12 (for NA) and is right around the corner.  I highly recommend checking this one out.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Beta Invite

After being depressed that I won't be able to get most the games I wanted because of real life circumstances, I got a nice little email from EA inviting me to the beta of the game I've been wanting to play the most.  Needless to say I had a nerdgasm and freaked out... had to read the email about 6 times through but I read right.  I'm super SUPER excited about this one.  It made a previously crappy month get really really good.  I also read up on a forum that I can't seem to find, that everybody who preordered it before the Nov 11th will be in the beta which I honestly have no problem with.  It gives me a chance to try it out ahead of time.  Really really looking forward to this, good timing Bioware and EA!

Monday, November 7, 2011

MIA, Birthday, and New Games

Missing In Action

I've been MIA recently or rather I haven't posted a blog in quite sometime so I figured I'd get around to doing it.  Where have I been?  What have I been doing?  Why haven't I posted in quite sometime?  Reading, gaming, and working.  When I have free time I've noticed that I spend more time reading then writing or gaming lately, especially with the plethora of gaming news during this season.  Also last month I went back and started playing World of Warcraft and Minecraft again which sucked up a huge amount of free time... while WoW wasn't worth it (not going to go into the many details as of why) Minecraft was pretty fun to play with friends again.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

I started earlier in October playing Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic on Xbox and streaming it on JTV however due to some serious lag issues, having PC gaming withdraws, and hot room syndrome combined with a nasty texas heat wave (my room heats up literally 15 degrees at night if I have my tv and game system on) I put it and other console games on hold.  Unfortunately I forgot to save footage and they took the footage off of JTV pretty quickly sooo... no vids.

Stomach Virus

Later in the month, towards the end I got a nasty stomach virus which lasted nearly a week.  Didn't get much done work or gaming wise.  Could hardly sit up without feeling dizzy and getting extremely nauseous.  Good news is I got over it..  Bad news is I got it again the day of my Birthday.


I'm not the type of person that really likes seeing a lot of people on their birthday or really get into special occasions or holidays however my birthday kinda sucked because I re got the stomach virus on it.  It didn't last all day, left by day end but when I woke up, I was sick to my stomach and knew most the things I was going to eat just weren't going to happen.  Good news is, I did eat a very veggie riffic fully loaded cali style burrito and had this awesome ginger brew soda for dinner and the combination of the 2 made my stomach feel great.

New Games

Got some new games as well this month, though none of them are the big release titles that everybody is talking about.  I actually spent a while recently thinking about what to get, cause there's a whole lot I want right now however I finally decided on getting some games for my 3DS.  I mean I only have 1 3DS game (Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition) and I wanted to get stuff that doesn't require my PC or TV to be on so my room doesn't get hot, is slower paced then the frantic fighting game mechanics of SSFIV3D, and I know I'll play right away.  You see if I get something on consoles, even if its a huge AAA title, I'm likely to not play it right away because I would want to finish the previous games in the series's as well as if I started playing whatever game and I'm not finished by the time Star Wars: The Old Republic comes out, I'm likely to not finish them (that's the big game I'm most looking forward to).

So I decided on games, 2 on 3DS and 1 on DS.  All Turn Based Strategy (2 of them TBS RPG's).

Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimiore of the Rift - DS


This is a game I've been wanting for a while now, its for the DS, its a sequel to one of my favorite games and its actually becoming pretty rare now.  Online at amazon, the cheapest copy of this game was without a case and for $25.  At gamestop you couldn't purchase this one online and all the normal civilian stores in my area didn't have it, the only one that did was on post which I don't have a military ID so it would require me going with family or friends and it was going for $20.  Good news is a local game store had it in with the case, like new, for $9.99 which of course I jumped on.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked - 3DS

This is a game series that not many people know about but 2 of my friends have been talking about for a while.  Well this game is a remake of a DS game with minor updates to the graphics, full voice over, and quite a bit of new content.  Not enough to purchase the game if you already had it but enough to warrant a purchase for people who may of missed the original (like myself) and/or could be looking for a new title to play on their system (like myself).  It's crazy though, this game came out 2 months ago and is already becoming super rare.  You can't purchase it online anywhere outside of amazon which at amazon the cheapest listing for this game new is 15 bucks above the original price.  I saw it at 2 of the local gamestops (gotta love their online database) and went to the one next to the local grocery just to find out that it wasn't their (for whatever reason it was in their database even when they checked but they didn't have a copy) so I had to go to the one in the mall which luckily had 1 copy left :D  Though it was full priced at $39.99 I felt lucky to get a game that's already rare.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars - 3DS


This was the other 3DS launch title that I wanted but never ended up getting.  It's also a turn based strategy game but a bit less of a RPG and more of an Advanced Wars style game.  It's a western take on the genre (being more Military and modern weapons based) and I've heard nothing but good things about it from friends and those who've purchased it.  Luckily, unlike the other 2, this one isn't going rare so I found it on amazon for less then $15 and picked it up.  Including shipping and tax it's less then $20.

Dungeon Defenders - XBLA

 While I'm extremely open to all sorts of games and play a whole lot of them, not many games come along that instantly catch my eye, however when I first saw the development team for this game doing stage design and showing gameplay for it on JTV, I was instantly sold.  This game blends 3rd person action mechanics from hack n slash (like the Gauntlet series) with Gears of War horde mode style gameplay with the strategy gameplay of tower defense games with strong western RPG elements such as phat loot, talent trees, and customizable characters.  It does all of that and also features strong local and online multiplayer components and delivers 13 stages, 3 bosses, and a crap ton of challenges as well as a bit of PVP thrown in.  Quite frankly, this isn't just one of the best games available for download on PC, PSN, and XBLA, it's easily better then the majority of the games that have come out this generation and it's a smaller scale game available for $15.  Easily a must have, I highly recommend it.  Funnest console game since Borderlands.