I know what you're thinking: DarkLink? You... you're posting a blog?
Yes, I am.
And having not posted in a long-ass time, I thought I'd do something simple. So I'mma talk about 2012 in terms of quite a few things.
So let's get started. I mean, everyone loves games, right? So I'll just go down the line with what I've played, and we'll see what happens.
A little music to set the mood
In case you didn't know, Champ and I made a bet. It was about Halo 4, and it went a little something like this:
I, DarkLink (Hermit) bet that I will not play Halo 4 before jg4xchamp does. In return, he bets that he will not play Halo 4 before I do.
If I play Halo 4 before Champ does, I will:
- Wear a sig that says Poorman's Champ made by AdobeArtist.
- On Steam, gufuyourself, and a host of others, change my screen-name to Poorman's Champ.
- Agree with TexasGoldRush on everything. EVERYTHING.
- Create a thread on a topic of Champ's choosing, and state what he damn will pleases.
- Praise any game/developer of his choosing at any point that game/developer is mentioned.
If Champ plays Halo 4 before I do, he will:
- Wear a sig that says DarkLink's B!tch made by AdobeArtist.
- On Steam, gufuyourself, TDH, and a host of others, change his screen-name to DarkLink's b!tch.
- Agree with MasterShake on everything he says. EVERYTHING. In every thread he makes.
- Create a thread, on a topic of DarkLink's choosing, stating what I choose.
- Praise any game/developer of my choosing at any point that game/developer is mentioned.
Said punishments will last for a month.
We also both agree to abide by the honor system, and not create alternate Xbox LIVE profiles for Halo 4, play the game offline, at a friend's house, in a bar, in a car, under a bridge with a hobo, etc.
All it requires is your signature, Champ.
And I'm wondering... Should we put a time limit on this? Because otherwise it will be be borderline impossible to enforce. Say until Halo 5 releases. which I'm assuming will be 3 years from now?
As for everyone else... feel free to bet on who will cave first.
Seems like a match for the ages, don't it? I mean, you'd think that. But then Champ goes and caves on launch day, surprising no one.
Oh, I love it when I win.
That said, I need someone to make the sig we agreed upon. Because Champ was all, "Can I at least have Legend do it?" And I was all, "Sure."
And that fool has done nothing to get that sig from Legend. So I need someone with some Photoshop skillz to rectify this. Nothing complex, you know. Maybe something like "Always bet on DarkLink" with a picture of Duke Nukem holding Dean Winchester's severed head.
I mean, everyone loves games, right? And when we're talking about Halo 4, it seemed like a good transition. So I'll just go down the line with what I've played, and we'll see what happens.
Soul Calibur V
Yeah. First game I bought all year, and pretty disappointing.
Let me clarify that: The actual combat is very, very good. This is the best the series has been since Soul Calibur II. It also has a mode called Quick Battle which lets you battle 300 characters that play like real people. It's great practice for the online modes, an and it will make you better at the game. It should be noted that online, the game runs very, very smoothly.
The problem is, it's an incredibly unbalanced game, which makes the online no fun for someone who doesn't wan to play the tier-list game, and there's basically no single-player modes to speak of, which is odd because Soul Calibur has always done single-player really well. Here, all you get is the story mode (which is like 2 hours long and pretty dull), Arcade, and Quick Battle. There's no Tale of Souls, no Tower of Lost Souls, no nothing. It's crazy.
Not only that, but SCV just jetisons most of the series old character. Taki? Gone. Setsuka? Gone. Talim? Gone. Zasalamel? Gone.
And the list goes on. Now someone of this could be chalked up to Namco moving the series forward 17 years, and the excuse that some of these character are too old. Okay, fine. But Talim in 17 in IV, Zasalamel is a freakin' immortal, and Setsuka was in her late twenties. Worse still, there's no replacements for a lot of these characters. Kilik and Taki get replacements, but a lot of these characters had unique and interesting movesets that just don't exist anymore.
And honestly, the new characters suck. The designs just aren't interesting, and if you're going to give me Kilik or Taki's moveset, why not just give me Kilik and Taki? I mean, for real. No one cares about the story in Soul Calibur. We just want to play with outr favorite characters and have a good time.
So yeah, huge disappointment. But it sold well enough to warrant a sequel (but not as well as IV did in a similar timeframe), and I'm hoping the fan backlash means that the old characters will come back in some way or another.
WoW already has talking dogs and cows. Pandas actually ain't that farfetched.
You know, Pandaland caught a lot of flack before it released. "Pandas are too kiddy!" people said. "WHy would they put this sh!t into WoW," they said. "It'll be casual trash," the said.
And, surprisingly, it's not any of those things .
In fact, I'd go as far as saying that Pandaland is the best WoW has been since The Burning Crusade. The artwork is gorgeous, the character models for the Pandarens are amazing, the raid and dungeon content is fun, and there's a ton of cool things to do.
It's a really, really great game. When I have more time, I plan to write a review for GameSpot. But yeah. I was shocked that I spent so much time playing with the pandas and am still managing to enjoy it.
Mass Effect 3
*Inset StarChild mocking here*
I'll admit, I haven't played this as much as I wanted to because all my saves on the harddrives of my XBox got deleted, ironically right after I'd bought the MP pass (I got the game for free, but the code had been used). I managed to play some MP and it's surprisingly a good take on horde mode.
That said, at this point, I've pretty much seen the entire game (all my friends are ME fanboys and I've seen them played pieces parts of it) and my thoughts are this: it looks really good, but.... dat ending. Dat ending is so bad. What's worse is that BioWare broke under fan pressure and released the Extended Cut, which has the "Where are they now?" photos. And that's lame. And knowing how bad the ending it kind of kills me wanting to replay the series just to see ME3. That, and I haven't found myself having that much fun in single-player games lately (or games in general, but mostly single player games). Which is depressing, because I bought both Xenoblade and The LAst Story at launch and haven't touched either one, either.
Welcome back, Chief. I like the new armor. Your Spartan IV friends are fun to shoot. Everything else... yeah.
Ah, yes. The elephant in the room.
I'm not going to beat around the bush here: I don't like Halo 4's campaign. The story is full of plot holes, some, actually let's be honest, a lot of the narrative beats (dialogue, cutscenes, plot progression) are stupid, the plot demonstarates fanfiction levels of overwriting and stupidity (not surprising as it is fanfiction) and is poorly explained to boot, the Didact's visual design can best be described as a cross between Dracula and a baboon's ass, and the size and scope of the levels are clearly constricted by 343's graphical ambitions.
That said, it still sh!ts all over Halo 2's campaign. And the Chief/Cortana relationship is pretty well done (one major moment of the writer just straight up forgetting an important part of Halo lore aside) up until the ending, which I can safely compare to that one scene in Gears of War 2 where, after all that b!tching and moaning and talking about his feelings, Dom actually finds his wife.
Meaning that I was torn between laughing at it and just staring in disbelief that a bunch of writers, who probably consider themselves reasonable people, thought this was a good idea.
And that said, I still don't have much desire to play it again. At all. Ever. Even in co-op with friends, which is tradition. But as a group of levels where you shoot things, it ain't bad. As a fan of the Halo lore, it's awful.
Spartan Ops is also lame and pretty much the worst replacement for Firefight that was human possible to create. It takes all the fun out of it, recycles levels like it respects Dragon Age II and fears that sort of thing is going out of style, and there's no replay value whatsoever for individual missions.
And despite all of that, I can't say it's a bad game. Because I love Halo multiplayer. And while I hate some of the changes they've made (power weapons falling from the sky onto random points of the map is stupid no matter how you spin it), it's overall good.
Now if only it had some maps that actually got me excited. >.>
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Yeah, it's pretty good.
So a Pro Football Player Bought Me Dinner...
Yeah, Bruce Miller bought me dinner. No joke.
So let me tell you a story. It's a Thursday night, April or May, I forget which, and me and my buddy Nick are out at a little pizza place called Broadway Pizza across from UCF. We're in a booth, off to the right side of the room, drinking our beers and waiting on our food.
There's a bunch of really big guys at the table that is diagonally behind where I'm sitting, but they can see Nick just fine. And they keep trying to get his attention. At first, Nick just blows 'em off. You know, they're loud, drunk, whatever.
And one of 'em keeps saying, "Yo, he wants you!"
Nick, of course, raises his eyebrows at them suggestively and we go back to our conversation.
Finally, one of the dudes slams his fist down on the table and says, "Yo, we're not being assholes, he wants you!" And points a finger.
And of course, he's pointing at me. So I turn around, and before I know it, Bruce has walked over to our table and sits down. Turns out, my roommate, Blake Miller, a weed dealer, the kind of guy who plays Madden until 6 AM, that kind of guy that is unapologetically trying to be black when he's whiter than an Irish dude on the beach, a guy I blatantly hated... is his brother.
So he came over, sat down, and we talked for a bit. A couple of his buddies joined us, and pretty soon our little booth was filled with NFL guys.
Now Bruce was a cool guy, and I actually enjoyed talking to him. He talked about the NFL, UCF's nightlife, his brother, and so on.
And then he asked us if we played video games.
Yeah, we said. You know. Some.
And he was like, "Y'all play Call of Duty?"
And we were like, "We're more Halo guys, to be honest."
And he said, "Halo? Man I can't remember the last time anynody played Halo."
And we laughed a little, and then he started talking about how hard the off-season was, and said, I sh!t you not, "Man, all I wanna do is play football, get drunk, and play Call of Duty."
"Sounds like the life," I said.
"It is, man," he said. "It is."
So we talked a little more. We were both finishing up our second or third drinks, and our waitress brough our bills. We put out cards in the little folders, and got ready for her to take them.
Bruce looked at both of us, pulled our cards out, but his on top of both the bills, and tossed ours back to us. "You guys are probably gonna need those," he said.
After they brought his card back, he told me to give his brother the finger for him, shook both our hands, said it was a pleasure, and left.
And you know what?
It was pretty f*ckin' cool.