DarkLink77 / Member

Forum Posts Following Followers
31697 782 289

DarkLink77 Blog

So I Am Officially a Game Reviewer Now...

by on

Song of the blog:

http://youtu.be/bA7LW6g2ayQ

So, yeah, I'm actually getting paid to do reviews now. Plus I get review copies. Money for doing what I do already + free games = awesome in my book.

Anyway, you can check out my first paid review (and the other ones in the near future) here.

I should have a Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate review up in a few days. Turns out, it's a pretty great fighting game. Who knew?

Also, you should check out our latest reviews on GUFUYourself:

Saints Row IV

Luigi's Mansion

State of Decay

Divekick

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

And of course, our Brocast on Indie Games.

Well, that's it for me. Have a sexy gif. You earned it.

watch-michelle-jenneke-do-a-sexy-dance-b

The Greatest 2D Fighting Game Series of All Time Returns.

by on

Forget Street Fighter, King of Fighters, Marvel vs. Capcom, Darkstalkers, Blazblue, and everything else.

Guilty Gear is the king.

And now, finally, after ten years, it has returned.

Day fukkin' one, locked and loaded, pedal to the metal.

Thank you Arc Sys. 

Get hype.

Of Possible Futures: Bioshock Infinite Review

by on

As always, your likes and comments are appreciated. For an amternate take, check out GUFUYourself's review, written by Champ, which I helped edit. It's a good read.

____________

"Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt. That was the deal. I gambled, and now I owe money to men you don't want to be in debt to. I come here to pay it back."

That's the premise of Bioshock Infinite, summed up by protagonist Booker Dewitt. The deal he refers to is what sets the events of Bioshock Infinite in motion. The details, are by now, well known to you if you've spent any stretch of time following Infinite's protracted development. "The girl" is, of course, Elizabeth and the "here" is Columbia, a floating city founded upon religious principles, white supremacy, and the inherent greatness of America by a man named Zachary Hale Comstock, whom the people of Columbia hail as The Prophet.

It sounds like a deceptively simple request. Unfortunately for Booker, the people of Columbia believe that Elizabeth is the Lamb, Comstock's successor, who will cleanse the Sodom Below (a universal term applied by the people of Columbia to everywhere that is not Columbia, but mostly America itself) of evil. Further complicating matters, Comstock has forseen that a man from the Sodom Below, whom he calls the False Shepherd, will come to take Elizabeth away, and corrupt her in the process. To prevent this from happening, Elizabeth is locked in an ivory tower, and guarded by a mechanical monstrosity called the Songbird, until the time comes for her to fulfill her destiny.

It's a familiar set-up, isn't it? A hero, a girl, a protector, a man, and a city. There's always a man and a city. These are the constants of the Bioshock universe. Throw in some social commentary, and you have the formula for a Bioshock title. It's a formula Infinite revels in, and one the game's opening pays homage to, as Booker is rowed out to a lighthouse by a man and a woman the game does not initially deign to name. But there is one key difference between the two games, and one Infinite reveals to the player as soon as the game begins: something about all of this isn't right.

It's not a particularly subtle suggestion, the way Bioshock's opening moments cleverly hinted at the significance of "Would you kindly?" No, Infinite's is almost impossible to miss, and in hindsight, it's easy to see that the game's opening isn't designed for first-time players. It's designed for the player who is on his second, or third, or fourth play-through. If the kind of opening that tells you that there's something more behind the curtain, but gives you little context as to what that might mean.

And so, you forget about it. Your mind files it away as Booker ascends the lighthouse, and you see warnings plastered on the walls. "This is your last chance, DeWitt," they say. You forget as Booker rings the bells, and sits in a pod that rockets into the clouds, a scene that parallels the original game's reveal of Rapture.

"Hallelujah," a voice cries as Columbia comes into view for the first time, and you get that first, magnificent view of the city above the clouds. "Hallelujah." 

The game continues at this pace for a while, allowing you to become acclimatized to the way things work in Columbia. It's a nice start, if a linear one, and it allows you to get used to the sights and sounds of the city before everything begins to spin out of control and the search for Elizabeth takes center stage.

And once things start spinning, they don't stop. Luckily, Booker is up to the challenge, and Infinite provides you with the standard Bioshock staples to combat any problems that might arise. Plasmids return as Vigors, and guns are plentiful and varied, though the game does limit you to two weapons at a time and a small amount of reserve ammo per weapon. These restrictions feel arbitrary, especially later in the game when enemies are both powerful and plentiful, and many combat arenas present situations when more options would have greatly benefited the game.

Infinite's combat is, however, superb. Guns feel powerful, shots have impact, and enemies react realistically to damage. And guns aren't the only solution to your problems. Ironically, outside of the two weapon limit, Infinite isn't afraid to give you options. The game supplies you with plenty of different Vigors of varying types, each with multiple effects. One allows you to possess machines, while another allows you to summon a murder of crows to distract enemies, and both Vigors and guns are upgradeable at the various Rapture-esque vending machines that are scattered around Columbia, provided you have the cash. Booker can also make use of the Sky-Hook, a rotating object worn over the hand which functions both as a melee weapon and allows access to Columbia's Sky-Lines, a rail system high in the sky that transports cargo and personnel around Columbia. Sky-Lines add an unprecedented amount of verticality, speed, and mobility to Infinite's combat, allowing you to rain death while zooming around at high (or low) speeds and to move seamlessly in across the battlefield at the press of a button. The Sky-Hook also opens any additional way to explore Columbia, and you'll have to keep that in mind if you want to acquire all of the game's many collectibles. 

Like the original game, Bioshock Infinite features audio diaries recorded called voxophones that significantly expand on the game's plot, and essentially offer a finer understanding of both the story and the characters themselves. New to Infinite however, are infusions, which will allow you to upgrade your health, shield, or salts bar, as well as gear, which can be equipped in up to four slots and allows you to modify everything from weapon properties to the way your abilities function on Sky-Lines.

If all of this sounds like it's a lot to take, that's because it is. Infinite knows this, and the game continues the introduction's slow burn for some time, slowly introducing mechanic after mechanic and building Columbia as a world, until you finally meet the girl. Much has been said about the AI behind Elizabeth, but all the talk of Irrational's programming prowess can't do the character justice. Elizabeth is expertly written and phenomenally acted by Courtney Draper, and she will earn a place in your heart very quickly. Once you meet her, the thought of being parted from her company becomes painful. Elizabeth reacts realistically to events around her. If you're wandering around a crowded area, she might sit on a chair or talk to a nearby vendor. Other times, she'll examine pieces if the environment, pointing out interesting objects as she goes, and in some instances, she'll just lean against a safety railing, and take in the beauty of the city. Elizabeth the heart and soul of Bioshock Infinite, and you'll wonder how the game's admittedly masterful opening sequence ever managed without her. 

However, Elizabeth isn't just a wonderful companion to explore Columbia with, and there is a lot to explore, despite the relative linearity of the game. She also provides new gameplay mechanics. Out of combat, she'll help you find money and items such as lock picks, which you can use to have her open doors and safes, should you have the required amount. But it's in combat that she really shines. Elizabeth has the ability to open "tears," which are essentially windows into other worlds. This ability allows Elizabeth to pull guns, health, mechanical companions, freight hooks for you to hang from with your Sky-Hook, and even cover into the world for you to use. In addition, she'll also supply Booker with salts, which are consumed when you use Vigors, as well as health and ammunition.

It would be easy for Elizabeth to completely steal the show in Infinite, given your reliance on her abilities as a player and how well the team at Irrational constructed the character. Fortunately, they've constructed another who is equally compelling in protagonist Booker DeWitt, voiced by the incredibly talented and increasingly prolific Troy Baker. The former-Pinkerton-turned-Private-Detective-trying-to-escape-his-past is an absolutely fascinating character, and easily one of the best protagonists to ever grace the medium. However, it's the way these characters play off of one another and the world and characters they encounter that elevates them to a whole other level, and watching their relationship evolve over the course of the game is one of Infinite's true joys.

Over the course of their journey together, Booker and Elizabeth begin to unravel the mysteries of Columbia and Elizabeth herself. Who is she, really? Why can she do the things she does? What exactly is she doing? What are the consequences? Bioshock Infinite asks these questions and more as it masterfully spins its yarn, all the while dealing with very real social issues such as racism, class divisions, the extent to which religion should be allowed to influence a government, and the idea of American exceptionalism itself. As the narrative unfolds, Booker and Elizabeth are drawn deeper and deeper into the conflict between Comstock and the Vox Populi, and soon, it becomes clear that events are far more complex than they appear. The amount of environmental storytelling present in Bioshock Infinite means that Columbia is just as much of a character as Booker, Elizabeth, or Comstock, and as the foundations of Columbia unravel around you, the world changes to reflect the growing intensity of the city's ongoing civil war. In the end, events build to an unpredictable and magnificent climax that will haunt your thoughts long after the credits finish rolling, and make you want to revisit the game again just to appreciate how well the game foreshadows and builds to its inevitable conclusion.

For all of these successes, however, Bioshock Infinite is not without its failures. Like the two weapon limit, the inclusion of gear feels arbitrary, and the system restricts you more than it should. Certain sections of the game feel drawn out to maximize gameplay, and a few plot points just feel out of place in the world Infinite creates, while others are only explained sufficiently through voxophones the player may not find. The much promoted Songbird is almost painfully underused, and a noticeable number of the game's major characters feel underdeveloped. For all of Irrational's efforts, and they are considerable, Comstock never escapes from the shadow of Andrew Ryan, and Columbia never comes together as a world the way that Rapture did so many years ago.

In the end, though, Infinite's successes are so great that its failures feel minute in comparison. In many ways, the game is a victim of Irrational's previous successes. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but something this ambitious rarely is. Infinite is, like its predecessor, a game that matters. It's a game that has something to say, about the medium, and about us. It's a game that will be remembered years from now, in the rare way that few games are. It's a game that you'll remember long after you play it, one that sinks its hooks in and never lets go. In many ways, Bioshock Infinite is a lot like Columbia, viewed for the first time in that pod, its magnificent shining towers coming over the horizon, a city we have never been to, yet know intimately. Brilliant, but flawed. Imperfect, but unforgettable. 

Hallelujah. Hallelujah.

Score

Come Walk With Me: Journey Review (And a Couple Other Things)

by on

This review went up on GUFUYourself a while ago (go visit it!), but I decided to post it here as well since Journey was one of my favorite games of last year. In fact, it was probably my second favorite title last year, second only to Spec Ops: The Line. I had a nice blog cooking up on that subject, but GameSpot lost it, unfortunately. However, if you guys want to see it, I'd be more than happy to reconstruct it. Since I've decided to get back into writing game reviews and blogs and such, I thought I'd post it.

With that said, here's the review itself. I'd appreciate your comments and likes:

_______

I remember the first time I saw my co-op partner. I was in a large, circular ravine, trying to rebuild a shattered bridge by collecting pieces of cloth that would span the gaps.

I had just collected one of the pieces of cloth, and turned to see what affect that would have on the status of my bridge. It was coming along nicely; the cloth I'd collected had just repaired the second piece of the bridge, creating a flowing red path to the next section. Then, something caught my eye: another adventurer, clad in a red shawl like mine, flying high on his scarf. Until that point I'd been alone, guiding my red-robed wanderer through the sands, exploring the remnants of a civilization forgotten long before my character shook the dust of his (or her, it's impossible to tell) robe, and began hiking towards the mountain in the distance. But here was another person, who was drawn to the strange mountain in the distance the same way I was. He must have seen me at relatively the same time, because I saw him alter his trajectory in mid-air, and angle himself towards me. We met somewhere in the middle of the sands.


There was so much I wanted to ask my newfound friend. Had he played Journey before, or was it his first time? What did he think of the game? What was his name? But I couldn't ask him any of those questions, because the co-op and communication in Journey is restricted. I didn't ask him to join my game, and he certainly didn't ask to join mine. There's no way to invite your friends, and neither he nor I could see one another's PSN IDs. In the same way, there's no way to talk to your partner, at least in the traditional sense. The only means of communication the game offers you is a small chirp, activated by pressing the circle button. Holding the button down "charges" the chirp, until your character practically jumps for joy, shouting at the top of their lungs, and the sand around you ripples in response. In addition, the chirp also serves to power up your partner's jump, which is the only other mechanic in the game besides your character's ability to walk. 

At first, this may seem like an arbitrary restriction on the part of thatgamecompany, but it fits with the rest of rest of Journey's design. It's a simple and elegant game that polishes the few mechanics it has to perfection, and then invites you to use the mechanics it does have to explore the world it lays before you. Despite the limitations in communication forced upon us, my partner and I got along swimmingly as we stuck our noses into every corner of the game that we could, finding bits of cloth to jump from, little murals revealing bits of the game's backstory, and most importantly, the collectible glyphs that extend your character's scarf, and give you more air time whenever you jump. We even figured out how to communicate on a basic level.

If it seems like I'm spending a lot of time on Journey's co-operative mode, it's because of how essential it is to the game. Journey did something I never thought a video game could do: it made me care about my co-op partner, and not because my success was linked to his. There is no failure state in Journey. You can't die. The game will never get too hard, and it will never stop you from progressing. The only way to "lose" is to stop playing. Instead, the biggest tragedy is losing part of your scarf, and in turn, part of your ability to jump. Losing a piece your scarf is emotionally crushing. After all, it's a visual representation of how far you've come over the course of the game. However, it's far worse to watch it happen to your co-op partner and realize how powerless you are to help them. You can't defend yourself in Journey. You simply try to get through the things the game throws at you while maintaining as much of what you've gained as possible.

As disheartening as losing your scarf is, however, losing contact with your co-op partner is worse. It might mean losing them forever, or having them replaced with another player. In the latter case, you'd never even know it happened. Yet, the idea of losing my co-op partner was incredibly stressful. Every time he disappeared from my view, I would stop what I was doing and try to find him. Strangely enough, he did the same thing. There was no gameplay incentive for us to do this. I could have finished the game by myself. He could have, too. But that wasn't enough for either of us. I wanted to finish the game with the same partner I'd had since the beginning. We'd taken this trip together. We'd watched each other succeed and fail. We'd shared triumphs and defeats. We'd each led the other to hidden secrets within the game. This story belonged to both of us, and seeing it through alone would have defeated the purpose.

Yes, Journey does have a story, and make no mistake, it goes far beyond the game's initial suggestion that you climb that mountain in the distance. It's played out through mostly silent, beautifully directed cutscenes at the end of certain gameplay segments. It's hard to describe what it's about without spoiling anything, so I'll simply say that the beginning is the end is the beginning, and leave it at that. And, of course, every story beat, and every part of the game, for that matter, are supplemented by Austin Wintory's masterful score.

It might be easy to say that Journey succeeds because it is more than the sum of its parts, but it wouldn't be accurate. Journey is the sum of its parts. It can be nothing else. It's a rare kind of game: the kind where every element is crafted to further one singular purpose. It's the kind of game that wants to offer you an experience, one best enjoyed with a stranger. And you will remember those experiences.

One particular moment stands out for me. My partner and I were moving through some ruins. It looked to be a structure of some sort that had fallen over onto its side. The sun was low in the sky, casting a bright orange glow over the world. We came to the end of the structure, and gazed out the opening on the right side. The world sloped down gracefully below us, into a ravine, the sand a sparkling orange under the light of the sun. We'd surfed the sands briefly before, but nothing like this. I gave a quick chirp, which had become code for "Ready?" In response, my partner leaped off. I followed after him, my character moving effortlessly down the shinning mountain of sand, my eyes searching for my companion. I looked and looked, but I couldn't find him. Just as I was about to give up hope, something caught my eye. A robed figure, like mine, further down the mountain. I sped up. He must have been looking for me as well, because he slowed down. We caught up with one another on the edge of the next platform, another twisting river of sand spread out below us. This time, he gave the first chirp, an apology and a question all in one. I gave a quick chirp, then leapt and sped off into the sands, wondering if he'd be able to catch up. Then suddenly, he was past me, and slowed himself. I caught up, and we raced down the sands, through the arches and the ruins, over the remains of a city the world had forgotten. Together.

Journey is adept at creating moments like that. It's a game that provides equal parts tragedy and victory, joy and sorrow. For all its mastery, however, the genius of Journey is that you will not remember it for the moments it builds for you. You will remember it for the moments you and your co-op partner build for yourselves. You will remember how those moments made you feel long after the credits roll, and that is Journey's triumph.

Score

The System Wars Awards 2012

by on

To Get You In The Mood

Against all odds, The System Wars Awards 2012 are live!

I know what you're thinking: But DL, what does that mean?

It means you can go to this thread and vote for your favorite System Wars users in a wide variety of categories.

You can also go to the Lounge and talk about the awards themselves!

Just a few things to remember when voting:

1. Follow the rules. That means no voting for yourself, keep to the format, keep it clean and classy, etc.

2. Copy all of the categories. You don't have to vote in all of them, but this makes it easier for us and for our moderators. And you don't want to piss off the mods, now do you?

3. Please keep all the discussion in the Lounge. Again, this makes it easier on our vote counters, and especially our moderators, who already have more than enough work to to. They don't need to spend extra time going through the awards thread, which is already going to be heavily modded as is.

4. Have fun! Feel free to campaign if you want to win something, but keep your advertising to your blogs and signatures.

Now, get out there and vote!

Happy Birthday, Mr. President, and a Happy New Year!

by on

This is gonna be a quick one, because I'm not gonna spend a lot of time on GS today.

So, yes, it is my birthday. I'm 23. No big plans today, as most of the bros are out of town with either their families or their families to be.

So I plan to enjoy some good company with a small group of close friends/family, eat some good food, and drink some good booze. Nothing special, but it'll suffice. Should be a good way to roll in the New Year. Hopefully, you'll enjoy your New Year's Eve as much as I plan to enjoy mine.

And so, a toast: My your family be a joy, your friends a reprieve, your ambition limitless, your successes plentiful, your failures few, and your glass never empty.

Happy New Year!

This Is The Way The World... Ends?

by on

To Set the Mood

awesomemoon.jpg

Well, the moon didn't grow a face and crash into the planet, the aliens didn't come and turn on a doomsday machine, there haven't been any crazy natural disasters, and no meteors have hit, so I think we're good.

So, I just thought I'd talk about a few things real quick:

God of War

god-of-war_7ddd7b1c.jpg

So I beat the original God of War, and I gotta say, it was a pretty decent game, but not for the reasons I asociate with God of War after having played III first. See, I played III because it had great boss fights, decent combat, and it was an incredible spectacle.

The original really doesn't do any of those things.

The combat is very dated, the graphics are really, really awful (it's really hard to believe this game came out in 2005), even in HD (I have the Collection), and the boss fights just aren't there. In fact, there's only three in the game. While the ones that are there are fun (with the exception of the Ares fight), they aren't on the level that God of War III's are.

This was pretty jarring for me, and I had trouble enjoying the game after the Hydra.

But, at the advice of others, I kept playing, and ultimately finished the game, and had a pretty good time. What I ultimately enjoyed God of War for was the puzzles, surprisingly enough. The Temple of Pandora was fantastic, and that pretty much made the game for me.

I also didn't despise Kratos. Which was pretty shocking, and the story, while fairly basic, wasn't bad. So it's been pretty interesting to see what God of War was vs. what it became.

Will I write a review? Maybe. I keep saying I want to review all these games and I never do, but I hope to find the motivation. Ditto for Pandaland and Halo 4.

As it is, I'd recommend it to someone who hasn't played God of War before, and those who have played the later games. Just know what you're getting into.

Halo 4

xl_halo-4-chief-624.jpg

My dislike for Halo 4's story (and honestly, most of its writing), is pretty well known by now. As is my dislike for the rehashed lameness that is Spartan Ops. And some of the multiplayer additions (like ordinance drops, random power weapon spawns, etc).

But for all that, I like the multiplayer. Or at least, I thought I did.

See, I can't be bothered to play it lately.

Maybe it's the lack of bros to play with on a regular basis. Maybe I'm just burned out on Halo. Maybe the changes bother me more than I thought they did, because the idea of playing Reach excites me more than the idea of Halo 4. It's probably a combination of all these things.

Once, the idea of more Halo, forever, pleased me. Now, not so much. And I seriously begin to wonder if I'll be picking up the next one. At this rate? Probably not.

Just some thoughts.

Bastion

Poster_wallpaper1920x1080.jpg

I've been playing Bastion in between bouts of God of War and Pandaland, and it's a game that reminds me of why I love video games. Between the brilliant narration (and great writing), the beautiful art, the wonderful soundtrack, the fun combat, and good level design, Bastion has a little something for everyone, and I'm sorry I put the game on hold for so long.

And, more than anything else, Bastion has made me rethink my stance on indie games in general, which was that, generally, they're not worth my time or money (though this year in general helped with that, too).

So props to Supergiant.

You've Met With a Terrible Fate, Haven't You?

album.png

In case you missed it, there was a website going around the forums for a last few days called terriblefate.com which hosted an image of Majora's Mask, a countdown, today's date, and the the ominous line above.

Needless to say, a lot of people where wondering what the hell was going on.

Well, as it turns out, it was a collaboration by a number of people to remix key parts of Majora's Mask's sountrack. They plan to do the entire thing eventually, but right now they have ten tracks, and they're incredible.

The best part? It's completely free. You can donate if you like, though.

Everyone should go check it out, especially if you're a Zelda fan.

Terrible Fate, Clocktown, Majora's Wrath, and Time's End are standouts, personally. Beautiful stuff.

Happy Apocalypse.

-DL out

Got My BA Today

by on

Yep.

I am now officially in possession of a Bachelor's of Arts in English. I graduated Cum Laude (meaning I was in the top 10% of my class for my last two years, so that includes previous grads) from UCF today.

Yay.

Just thought I'd share.

Thoughts on 2012, A Pro Football Player Bought Me Dinner, and My B!tch, Champ

by on

Sup?

I know what you're thinking: DarkLink? You... you're posting a blog?

Yes.

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

The Bet:

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.

DarkLink77

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.

Fidel-Castro-Cigar-Celebrity.jpg

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.

Games:

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

Soul-Calibur-V-007.jpg

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.

Pandaland

pandaren_monk_in_jade_forest_2.jpg?w=558

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

mass-effect-3-ending2.jpg?w=1024

*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.

Halo 4

m_halo4_launchtrailer.jpg?width=640&heig

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

936full-uncharted-2%3A-among-thieves-scr

>.>

<.<

Yeah, it's pretty good.

So a Pro Football Player Bought Me Dinner...

14083.png&w=350&h=254

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.

-DL out.

My 3DS Friend Code (And Some Other Stuff)

by on

So, lots of people have been requesting my 3DS friend code, and since I just got the system back today, I thought I'd throw it up here, along with some other stuff.

If you think you're a bad enough dude to play games with the Lord of Hate, here's how you do it:

Raptr: DarkLink77

Steam: DarkLink

Xbox LIVE: DarkLink77

Playstation Network: DarkLink72

3DS: 5284-1571-9801

If you shoot me an invite, be sure to tell me who you are on GameSpot.