DarkElf2112 / Member

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DarkElf2112 Blog

Sometimes it's just easier to blow it all up than fix it...

I've been gone for a while now but found myself wandering back to see how the good 'ol MGU was doing. I noticed that Ms Cortana had mysteriously gone away much like I did. Gone, as in totally gone. Gamespot, XBox Live, even that 360 achievement tracking thing. A surprise indeed considering how much she loved her gaming. Not so much a surprise to me, however. I can understand simply having to drop something you loved to do and people you loved doing it with over one or two things that change everything. I truly hope Angela's reasons were not more serious than my own rather petty ones looking back in retrospect. She has alot on her plate as we all know and I always thought gaming was her refuge. I would like to say in this, my final words on Gamespot, a belated goodbye and thank you to all the fine folks at Mature Gamers Unite. Taomaster, Amo, Kratos, Cycle, X, Walking P, Rabies, Cave, Cortana, and any that I neglected to mention. Gaming with you all was great fun and I miss it dearly. As I am sure Ms Cortana does. Good health and good times to you all.

Hey Valve, I paid for the game too ya know!

Just a quick rant here. I see yet another patch for Team Fortress 2 is coming for the PC to fix issues involving all of the additional content happy PC users of the game received. This got me thinking, how ironic, probably a quarter of TF2 PC players pirated the game yet Valve (via Steam) still gives them 5 star support. While if your an XBox 360 user you still have squat. None of the goodies Steam members enjoy, although you paid perfectly good money for The Orange Box. Many blame Microsoft for blocking the way but I don't buy it. Valve can't fall on the "We don't want to charge for content" sword because I'm sure the soon to come Left 4 Dead DLC will be a nice round 800-1200 Micro$oft points. Criterion was permitted to offer free content for Burnout Paradise so I can't imagine Valve would have been blocked for doing the same. It's a shame because TF2 is a lot of fun and deserves to be played as much as other more popular online games but lobbies in the game are like ghost towns. It seems to me Valve is not as virtuous as thier reputation seems to indicate. More than likely it was a simple matter of not being able to agree on thier cut that has kept Team Fortress 2 a tired, old game.

Losing my competitive edge in my old age.

I've had an epiphany recently. It's clear that I don't enjoy online multiplayer gaming. This has been pointed out to me as I was playing Call of Duty: World at War. As I sat there respawning waiting for that idiot who got to the tank first to continue spamming kills at my expense, I said to myself "This is no fun. Why am I doing this? This is a waste of time and electricity." Now in fairness, I've never been the best shooter in the lobby and I have made peace with my self given nickname Point Five. As in my kill/death ratio in games like Halo, Gears, and COD is 0.5. But as my fast-twitch muscle reflexes have deteriorated so has my interested in competing against strangers that live and breathe ranked team deathmatch in {insert favorite FPS here}.

I'm not knocking those folks but it looks like I've found a new love. Co-op! The same COD: WaW game that is a miserable multiplayer game is a blast to play in co-op. Especially the competitive co-op mode that borrows a little from Halo 3's meta-game and COD 4's ranking style. It's the same thing with Left 4 Dead. I can't explain it but the versus mode in Left 4 Dead is more fun online than multi-player shooters even though it's still head to head competition. And don't get me started on Gears 2 co-op. The difference in experience between Gears co-op and Gears multiplayer is day and night in terms of enjoyment. I still love going through COD on Veteran (raining grenades and all), or Gears on Insane or Halo on Legendary but that's it for me grinding for rank online. If the next big FPS doesn't have a quality co-op component I'm going to pass on it.

From this point forward, I am a proud Halo 3 Gunnery Sargent with a skill 15. And forever I shall remain! 8)

Completely In The Belly Of The Beast.

Well, here we are. The storm of mega-games is well under way and the jolly old Dark Elf is absolutely soaked! I almost forgot what it is like to have a single-player game utterly dominate your time. However, I have run into two such games back-to-back. I loved Dead Space and really got into it but I did manage to sprinkle in a little Saints Row 2 (which is a trip!) while running around the Ishimura. Then came Fallout 3... This game is basically on par with a $1,200 a week drug habit. It is ridiculous! Bethesda delivered a huge, intricate, immersive world that I can't stay out of. Fortunately, Gears 2 is arriving in time for me to actually connect with others over XBox Live and come up for air. To think that we are only about halfway through this gaming blitz and the spectacular Left 4 Dead is still on it's way! Yikes!!! :o

Getting Banned and Making Tough Game Choices. Two Rants.

Sometimes things in this hobby exasperate me. Things happen that make you wonder if the video game industry even wants your support. I'll start with Micro$oft. Yes the same Micro$oft that gave you the Red Ring of Death and a $50 annual fee for something Sony gives you for free. Yesterday, while I'm minding my own business playing Rainbow Six: Vegas I get disconnected from Live. OK. No big deal, I pause and sign back in. Well surprise, surprise. I get a notice that my account has been suspended for 24 hours. OK... I check around and find an email from Micro$oft claiming that someone reported that my profile contained something offensive which breached the Code of Conduct. Of course this is absurd. The bio of my profile read as follows:

"I am a mature, married gamer with kids, so obviously my 360 time is precious and I don't like to waste it. I have no time for racists, foul-mouthed brats, or D-bags in general. Other than that, HI!"

Hmmm. Let me get this straight. You ban the guy against racism but keep the idiot in the Halo lobby dropping the "N" word left and right. Micro$oft has no problem with the 13 year old kid that swears more than Tony Soprano and insults everything from your mother to your sexuality but a guy that speaks out against such behavior must go. Or could it be the D-bag reference? Surely you must be joking Micro$oft. I have seen far more blatantly offensive things on other profiles, including the "D" in question fully spelled out. Ahh Micro$oft, you get a little more ridiculous every day and the PS3 looks a little better every day.

My second rant goes out to game developers. Gentlemen and Ladies, I have news for you. WE ALL AIN'T RICH!!! There are no less than 6 mandatory, gotta have 'em games coming out within the next month. At a rate of at least one a week! Dead Space (10/14), Fable 2 (10/21), Fallout 3 (10/28 ), Gears Of War 2 (11/7), Mirror's Edge (11/11), and Left 4 Dead (11/17). $360 worth of games coming out in one month! My car payment isn't even $360 a month, and never mind that there simply isn't enough hours in the day to play this glut of games! Obviously somebody's triple A game isn't going to get bought. Not to mention other good games that I would probably buy are getting lost in the shuffle. Saints Row 2, End War, COD: World At War, and Fracture have no chance of me picking them up new. All are Gamestop used buys sometime next year. Radical idea here: Why not spread the release dates out? If everybody tries to cram thier game into the pre-holiday window it hurts everyone. OK, that's it. Rants over.

Too many games, too little time. And re-reviewing my reviews.

It's been a while since my last post but I have not been idle during this time. I finished 2nd in Ms. Cortana's Gamerscore Competition and tacked about 7,300 points on to my total. Not too shabby. I don't see me doing that again though. It really demands alot of time and effort on games that are not very high quality. Furthermore I have quite a few incomplete games that I need to get back to.

The problem is this is the time of year where I have trouble getting gaming time in. For most people the summertime is thier slow time but I'm pretty much the opposite. In the fall, weekdays are for work during the day and either homework or whatever other school-related thing the kids have going on in the evening. And of course the weekend is now cut in half. I may get some good XBox time in on Saturdays but Sundays belong to the NFL. It's safe to say that I got more gamerscore in the last month than I'll get in the next 9 months. This is made worse by the fact that major, cannot miss, games are coming out and coming very soon. Fable 2, Fallout 3, Gears 2, GTA 4 DLC, and now Halo 3's big update are all mandatory to play. And that's just in the next few months!

Gaming is certainly a time consuming hobby. Fable 2 and Fallout 3 wiill especially prove that. I still need to complete Dark Sector, Castle Crashers, and GRAW 2 plus I've recently been introduced to Shadowrun, which I would really like to get into more. And of course Geometry Wars 2 is always drawing me back in for a few games here and there. Aaaaarrrrggghhh! I need about a 40 hour day!

On an unrelated note, I've been looking at alot of the game review scores by some of the good folks here at Gamespot. The difference of opinion on games I find pretty interesting. It made me take a second look at some of my own past reviews. As it turns out I actually changed my opinion of a few games that I reviewed either too harshly or gave too much credit. For example, I consider Superman Returns to be the worst game I ever played. I gave it a 2.5. As bad as it is (and it's miserable) I still played it through so it could not have been a 1. This made me look at other games in my collection. Take N+ from XBLA for example. I had given it a 7.5 initially but had not gone all the way through the game or even very far at all into it. I booted it up again to see why this was the case. I found that N+ is guilty of two things I absolutely hate. Loose, imprecise controls and frustrating gameplay. It's a different and interesting game but if I didn't enjoy it enough to keep playing it, how can I call it "very good"? So I dropped it a point. On the other hand I gave the Simpson's Game an extra half point. As horrible and broken as the camera in the Simpsons is, after playing Superman Returns I can't consider it to be in the same class as such a terrible game. I think everyone should take a second look at what they thought of certain games after being away from them for a while. You may be surprised at how you see those games today.

Garbage Games and Eagles Training Camp

I've never been a guy that worried too much about his gamerscore. Although mine is starting to get up there. I do enjoy trying to get every achievement possible in a game I like but picking up a game I would otherwise ignore just to get it's points never crossed my mind. That was until I joined Ms. C's MGU Challenge Extravaganza. This is a competition to see who can get the most gamerscore points in 30 days brought to us by the 1st Lady of the Mature Gamers Unite Union, Ms. Cortana.

I joined the competition just to fill out the roster as a favor. Ms. C needed as many warm bodies as possible to get it going. It wasn't necessary really, she drew a good crowd anyway. As it got closer to starting I decided "Well, I don't want to embarrass myself by finishing last (that's what Halo 3's for LOL)" . The next thing I knew I'm standing in Gamestop buying King Kong and a few other very un-DarkElflike titles. I think I was less embarrassed buying condoms when I was a teenager. The look from the kid at the counter was about the same as the pharmicist's was back in the day. "Eeewwww, what are you gonna do with those?" But I found that I like completing borderline to crappy games too. Furthermore, these games that are looked down on are often not that bad. TMNT and King Kong are very easy and not in anyway compariable to a triple-A title but I found that when your expectations are very low, mediocre looks pretty good! There are exceptions. Superman Returns is every bit as bad as advertised but I will try to complete it.

With football season coming up, the family and I got up to Lehigh to check out Eagle's training camp. It's always a lot of fun and the kids can pretty much run wild while I check out the squad. It's also, without fail, 95 degrees and humid every year. Even though you're up in the mountains there is no break. I don't know how the players do it. Report: McNabb, Westbrook, and the rest of the offense should be very good. Could still use a receiver though. Defense? :? Looks like no pass rush again this year. They go out and get a premium cornerback in Assante Samuel but give him no help up front! Any NFL QB will shred any secondary if you give him all day to throw. *Long, agonized moan here* Between the Eagles and my kids I already have no hair left. I'm running out of things to fall out or, God forbid, off... :lol:

Impressions: E3 and a really bad Demo.

Pretty interesting couple of weeks in the gaming world for me. Just played through Stranglehold and it wasn't bad. Glitchy and a little rough but it's heart is in the right place. It's a total shooter-fest! A perfect rental game. I also caught a ton of E3 coverage, particularly the Big Three news conferences. At the risk of being called a 360 fanboy (which I am) I give the win to Microsoft. They definitely had the bigger annoucements even though much of it had been leaked earlier. I'm not a big fan of the avatars but I'll reserve judgement until the Fall update. I like the Netflix move too. I don't see myself using it much but I like seeing Microsoft continue to press thier advantage in the online arena. Of course, Gears 2 looks great as you would expect.

Sony was just Meh... I have been very close to taking my Government Stimulus money to Best Buy and grabbing a PS3 but I still need to see more games before dropping $400 and getting the evil eye from the wife. :P MGS4 is huge, Uncharted looks real good, and there is talk of Bioshock having extra PS3 exclusive content. Still, Sony featured mostly Resistance 2 which does nothing for me. The 360 has plenty of shooters I can play so I don't need to get a whole new console for that. If the God Of War 3 trailer had any substance whatsoever that might have clinched it. Sadly, all I got was Kratos angry on top of a mountain. Sorry boys, I think I'll keep my money in my pocket a little longer.

Nintendo didn't even bother to try. They rule the gaming world. You know it and they know it. So why waste time touting anything, soccer moms everywhere will buy whatever they release anyway. I have never had the slightest interest in the Wii and I couldn't be further from caring about it now. Like the rest of the world though, I'll be buying my kids many DS games this year so it looks like Nintendo got me anyway! :D

A lot of very nice games got shown off. Fallout 3, Left For Dead, Dead Space, and Mirror's Edge blew my mind! These are instant day 1 buys for me. Throw Fable 2 in there as well. When you add in Gears 2 and the GTA 4 DLC I will have to quit my job to get all this gaming done!

One game that I won't be buying is Too Human. Played the demo and was very disappointed. Repetitive gamplay and game environments. How many of the same creatures in the same dark hall can one guy kill? I really wanted to like this one. The developer, Dennis Dyack, struck me as a sincere guy who had a great idea and really believed in his game. I like how he has taken his critics head-on but in the end Too Human looks like just a simple weekend rental. Nothing more. :(

So...Fable 2 out yet?

Well I've hit the wall in Halo 3. Never been very good with the wall. Some games you can just tell have your number. I'm blown away at my spectacular lack of ability to improve in multi-player in this game. Life's too short and I did pick up Stranglehold cheap from Gamestop, thanks for the coupon Stuartcee! ;) I'm not a quitter by nature. I hung in there for all 500 Orbs in Crackdown, replayed Mile High Club in COD4 literally a hundred times before I got it, and during the great XBox Live post holiday blackout found every flag and dealt with all the Templars for Assassin's Creed. A game I didn't even really like! But it looks like that's about it with Halo 3. Much like Gears multi-player, there's a point where I ask "Why am I spending valuable time banging my head against the wall?" Hell, I can't even get the first meta game achievement. Arbiter, stop stealing my good kills! So that's that, I'll put it back in once and a while but no 1000/1000 gamerscore on this one I'm afraid. Wish I didn't already buy the Legendary maps though...

So, as I said I grabbed Stranglehold. Got it for $12.99. Yes, $12.99! I tried the demo way back and I remember it being OK. The game really doesn't look that great. After playing Halo 3, which looks terrific, it's a step or two down. I was surprised to see it has DLC (10 additional maps and 250 extra achievement points!) Two problems though, a) 1,200 MS points, which is more than I paid for the disk and b) the online is D.O.A. I went on multi-player just to check it out and literally nobody was on! I hung around for about 5 minutes but couldn't find a game. Maybe $12.99 isn't such a great deal after all. The autumn games rush can't get here soon enough!

My formal apology to Halo.

The Halo franchise to me has always been Sarah Jessica Parker, or Muse, or the Mini Cooper. Things that everyone says are great and look at you like you're nuts if you think otherwise. My previous Halo experience was when I first bought my 360 and tried Halo 2 out between playing Gears and Dead Rising. It lasted about 20 minutes. The verdict? Overrated sci-fi shooter. Dismissed. It wasn't fair to put Halo 2, an old XBox game, against two of the very best games the 360 ever had but there it is. Since, I have watched the hype of Halo with detached amusement. All this drama over something that is not only not all that but one could argue isn't even very good. So what do my eyes see yesterday but Radio Shack (yes, your dad's Radio Shack) selling all triple A 360 titles for $39.99. So during this lull in my gaming I bit the bullet and grabbed Halo 3...

I did not realise that Bungie and I were making out like 16 year olds until I completed the first chapter. I have no idea what the back story is but the vibe around Master Chief is alot like that of Gordon Freeman in Half-life. "Apparently I'm a badass and it's all up to me!" It's alot of fun. There I said it. I don't know if it's the greatest game franchise of all time (or the best on the 360 even), I'll still take my GTA series anyday, but the game's legend is clear just by playing a small portion of it's third installment. And there is still it's famous multi-player ahead! So I'm sorry OK! I can admit being wrong. I still don't think Sarah Jessica Parker is attractive though!

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