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BigGhost_AJT Blog

A Quick Word

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Just read today that Mass Effect 4 is in the works. So I guess that means that I have to sit through the rest of ME3? Urgh. Truth be told I am not enjoying it much. But I didn't come here to rant. I'll save that for another time.

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has played The Witcher 2. Thinking about getting my hands on that. Also considering Lego Lord of the Rings because I feel the need for something not so dark. Thoughts are welcome.

Where Is Everybody

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OK so I know I left for a few months. Well actually...I never left I've been checking in the whole time. I just have not contributing. I know what you're thinking. What's the difference. Still. I come back and it seems like everyone has stopped contributing. Did I miss something?

Level: 27. Sheng Long baby!

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Hi All,


Wow good to be back. Haven't been posting much recently. My weekends seem to take on a life of their own come Friday night.. Not complaining though. More time out socializing is definitely good for a single guy in Manhattan. All that aside, and now that I have time, I wanna blow my own horn a bit to the tune of "I FINALLY reached level 27".

Seems like I was stuck on 26 for a dog's age. And for someone whose been a member of this site for almost 8 years (and visiting longer than that)? That's a bit embarrassing. No time to wallow in that though. 28 awaits!

Also how about a little love for the greatest April Fool's Day prank I've certainly ever seen. Sheng Long! I was thoroughly taken in by this one. That was back when we had no internet. Our link to the gaming community was the arcade. If you wanted to know news or hear the latest rumors, that was the place to be. Aside from that it was wait for the next issue of EGM, Gamepro or whatever was your gaming mag fancy. Good times.

That's all for now. Thanks as always for reading.

Thoughts on Final Fantasy 13 Dash 2

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I'd like the input of anyone planning on buying Final Fantasy XIII-2. The GS review is up (ahead of schedule whttaya know!) but I want to hear it directly from folks here. Specifically, your thoughts on XIII and what excites you for the sequel.

I used to be a huge mark for Final Fantasy. Just check my icon. Final Fantasy III (VI) was one of my favorite games of all time. X one of my favorites of last generation. I thought both games got exactly right what an RPG should be. They toed the fine line between drama and melo-drama and provided a sense of scope and importance to the missions. They had great heroes (Lulu!) villains and abilities that let the player become ridiculously over-powered provided they put in the time. I had a great time with both. However, since X I have fallen out of love with the formula.

I bought X-2 but it was way too Charlie's Angels for me. Also I didn't much appreciate the whole garment system. XII was better but at 20+ hours in found myself completely lost in all the political kerfuffle. I never finished either. I ignored XIII because upon hearing that the game gets good 20 hours in I was totally turned off. The negative reviews combined with my own dread for the series' direction made it a lose-lose.

I guess my big issues are three-fold.

First,is the fact that I am flat exhausted with the over-dramatized Japanese brand of story-telling and characterization. Years of watching (not even that much) anime have killed it for me.

Exhibit A. Or as I like to call it: "Stop staring wistfully and SHOOT someone".

Second,the storylines tend to be too convoluted for their own good. I've had easier times in philosophy [courses].

Third, the over-the-top cutscenes that serve to take me totally out of the action. It's like why can't I do all that cool stuff? I'm supposed to be the one playing here.

Suffice to say I would like to return to the series but cannot find a proper jumping-on point. I feel like Square has fallen victim to the siren's song of technology and a shiny coat of gloss replaces what used to be heartfelt story-telling. But you can say this for a lot of developers.

So, I do apologize if this has turned into a rant. I'm certainly not looking to get under the skin of any FF fans. I honestly would like your opinions on not only XIII-2 and the series at large. Have I not given XIII a fair shake?

Halo: Reach

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Fast on the heels of my "what do I play next" post, I bring news that I have once again vanquished the Covenant....well not really. I beat Halo: Reach yesterday...in three sittings. As anyone familiar with the Halo-verse can attest, the story is not one of great victory. That aside, it took me 11 hours. And this is exactly why I no longer invest in shooters.

There's no denying that the meat of shooters these days lies in the multi-player. I don't multi-play so I feel like I paid $65 for half a game. However, this isn't a rant about the state of the single-player campaign in FPS-ses. Developers endeavor to make games people want to buy. And if the game-buying populace has shown anything to developers is that they like killing with others. Such is life. It may stink for people who would prefer longer, more varied campaigns but you go in with your eyes open.

I chose to buy Reach for its campaign knowing the state of shooters. So no one's fault but my own if I come away unfulfilled. But its not just the length of the game that bothered me. The thing with Reach is that it was tiresome. It was a grind-it-out affair and when I beat it I exhaled HARD. I was more exhausted than triumphant. And after trial-and-erroring my way through Reach, it occurs that the ol Halo magic (for me) has finally run its course.

Nothing derails a game faster than the F-word. Frustration. And this game is rife with it. Nothing new here because Halo games have always been controller-toss inducing in their difficulty. However, in Reach the system is no longer new and no longer fresh enough to allow you to see past the frustration. I started having this feeling in Halo 3 and it's grown to maturity here. Maybe this is to underscore the stakes at hand in the Battle of Reach? I don't know. Suffice to say it seriously handicapped my ability to enjoy the game and I was glad to get it over with.

OK...exhale.

I'm burying this game and that isn't totally fair. I gave it a 7.5 because it is a good game. But the formula has been around for a while and the few new tweaks aren't enough to bring that breath of fresh air. It just smacks of been-there-done-that.

At this rate I have to wonder what Bungie [Correction: 343 Studios. Thx Johnsteed] will do in Halo 4...or even what they CAN do. Or even if they feel the need to change anything. At this rate, despite my possible man-crush on Master Chief, Halo 4 is not looking like an automatic first-day buy.

BackBlog: What Next?

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Suggestions anyone? Harley?...No?

Greetings friends on a snowy day here in New York. Good day for gaming.

Coming fresh off my completion of Arkham City I'm wondering what will be next. I beat the game last week and have been cleaning up side missions since. I really don't want to move on though. I want to remain immersed in Arkham but there's just not that much left to do. The streets, while still lined with re-spawning thugs, just don't hold the same allure without story elements driving you forward. I could start the story over but afraid it won't hold the same WOW factor the next time around.

So...moving on I'm looking at these options

  • Replaying Red Dead Redemption
  • Cleaning up Fallout 3 (no chance there's a ridiculous amount of content still)
  • Completing all of Fable III, DLC included (most likely option)
  • Assassin's Creed II
  • Bastion
  • L.A. Noire
  • Halo: Reach
  • Dragon Age (which I started but never went back to)
  • Buy Skyrim (I'm afraid...)
  • Replaying God of War III (PS3 mention!)

All this with the 800-lb gorilla that is Mass Effect 3 just on the horizon. And I'm still wanting to go back and play ME2 to see if I can keep my Mordin Soulis alive. Golly. Can someone just please pay me to play and write about games already? It's clearly all I want to do.

Thanks for reading.

RRoD 2: The Rage

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So apparently my 360 read the post about my plans to sell my PS3. The result? A case of the stage frights. While I was playing through (the fantastic) Arkham City last night it spazzed out. Red Ring of (almost) Death. It literally could not handle the thought of being my one and only console!

Fortunately when it came back on it seemed none the worse for wear. I played another couple of hours and a few more today. But this is an ominous portent. This has happened to me before. It works for a while and then *kaput*

I'll tell you this. If I have to send this thing back for repairs again, Microsoft is comping me a console. Simple as that. As great as this platform is, its reliability is abhorrent. Two times in four years. And prior to the 360 my XBox 1 crapped out within three years. Really Microsoft? Say what you want about Nintendo but I've never bought a system of theirs that didn't last at least five years. And even when they did die, that was during childhood and more a product of my carelessness than anything.

At this rate there is no way I'm buying any new XBoxes right off the line. Apparently it's not even safe to wait two years and buy those! Not a good look Microsoft, not at all. :evil:


PS3: Might Be Time To Say Goodbye

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Since buying my PS3 approximately 2 years ago, the list of PS exclusives for which I have been excited has been painfully short. The list of exclusives I've played to completion even shorter than that. It goes God of War 3 and Uncharted 2. I also played iNFAMOUS for a good while and liked it a lot. At this point the well has run dry. And there really isn't much stopping me from selling my $300 blu-ray player and (part time) video game console.

All of the games for which I am excited in 2012 are either cross-platform or XBox exclusives. And my cross platformers always are played on the 360. For me, the PS Network just does not come close to my experience with XBox Live. So, what's left? Anyone have insight? Here's what might make me keep the thing around:

  1. God of War 4 reveal
  2. A really awesome iNFAMOUS 3 reveal
  3. The fact that I haven't yet played Heavy Rain
  4. The Last Guardian...I suppose. I really wasn't a big fan of Ico and this appears along those lines


And that's it. Sad really because I loved the PS2 so much. It had so many great exclusives. Okami, Devil May Cry and Katamari Damacy come to mind. Unless something else comes out of left field in the form of an exclusive, I'm looking at putting some money back into my pocket.

Thoughts of the PS3 owners out there? Any exclusives you're looking forward to?

50th post! Woot. Only took 7 years.

Sports Blog: Jones/Griffin III

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Sports blog time! I want to take time to acknowledge the two athletes who caught my attention in the past 24 hours:

Jon "Bones" Jones, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

Bones was successful in his UFC title defense last night. The champ defeated contender Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida by second round submission by administering a standing chokehold.

To me, everything about this guy screams "winner". He is a champ who, in addition to being the charming and well-mannered son of a preacher, wins fights in most thrilling fashion. To the UFC that means dollars. He is a great attraction and a pretty darn good person. Take for instance the fact that in March of this year, Jones was on his way to his fight and heard the screams of an elderly person who had just been mugged. Jones chased down and restrained the mugger. There's nothing here not to like. The title of "MJ of MMA" may not be too far off the mark.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

Griffin captured college football's most notarized individual award, the Heisman trophy on Saturday night. It is the school's first.

Living in NY, I haven't seen much of this young man outside of highlights. But one thing that always jumped out me (from looking at his statlines) was his high completion percentage (72% for the season). To me, those numbers spoke of a QB with the ability to run but with the skills of a pure passer. That alone was refreshing. Then I heard him speak and I was even more impressed. Here I see a young man who is as thoughtful and humble as he is talented. ESPN interviewed him after and every question about his achievement was met with praise for not only his teammates but his university as a whole. Well done sir.

Rush to Judgement?

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Seems I owe Fable III a retraction. I've spent more time with it and, I must admit, this game is good. It is much better than I thought. The action starts to come together once abilities are powered up and combined. Even the money-making activities are fun. Fable-esque issues persist so it is not perfect. It still feels rather shallow and easy. But in the face of its issues may just lay the polished gem of the Fable franchise. Review forthcoming.

Also the new 360 dashboard dropped today. It seems cool. I like the groupings but I miss the up-and-down navigation of the predecessor. Somehow, horizontal navigation just doesn't work as well for me. That said I have reason to be excited. My avatar's new toy. Yes my life is this sad. It is...




That's right the Black Lion! To which my lady affectionately referred as "the Transformer cat". The uninitiated should check here. Yes I am this big of a geek. I am amped for this. Even more so for the Voltron pilot space suits...guaranteed must purchase...