GameSpot: A retrospective on myself (pretentious internet history ramblings)

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And this isn't my goodbyes; I assure you I'll tell you when I'm leaving GS, either temporarily or forever.



I don't know how many people read this statement, nor do I expect it to be very many aside from myself. But it's always bugged me. Even though I essentially said "Yeah I'm probably leaving this website," I said this isn't my last blog, even though for three years it was. So I'm coming back after three years, to write one last entry for a mediocre blog I used to write when I was in High School that nobody will probably read.

Oh, GameSpot. GameSpot, GameSpot, GameSpot. Where do I begin? I guess I should begin by starting with the beginning. NSider. NSider was the birth of my internet presence. The website where I learned first-hand all of the different rules of internet posting; what people like in a poster, what people don't like in a poster, etc. I suppose I was more of a "lurker" on that site, for my post count was much lower than it should have been for someone who spent as much time on that website as I did back in the day. On September 17, 2007, NSider was closed.

This date is memorable to me because it's the same as my join date for GameFAQs and, by extension, this website.  Once NSider closed, my plan was to start visiting GameFAQs, as it was already becoming my "backup" site and I had already lurked a couple boards. For those not familiar with GameFAQs, the forum has a layout that's quite different from most other websites. There is a board for every console, a board for every game, and in addition to that there are many other boards for socializing and general interests! I was very overwhelmed, and I hadn't quite found my "home" yet at the time. The only board I found that I really frequented was the sub-board for the Wii board, since the main Wii board was universally considered awful. However, in early 2008 I started finding other websites that I became a part of. I found NSider2 (which I left in less than a year). I found Backloggery (which I am still a member of, and I regularly check other users on there).

And I found this site, GameSpot. I originally went on the forums, but I quickly discovered the blog community; people who would write blogs, and comment on the blogs of others'. I found this intriguing. I added my entire game collection to the site and started following other peoples' blogs. I started writing blogs myself. Looking over them I think most of them were pretty poorly written. I made a lot of.....I wouldn't say friends, but people I was acquainted with and enjoyed talking to. BlueJ33, Cloud551, GeekyDad, and Aberinkulas. All good people. Not sure if they still remember me, but I remember them. In retrospect I'm surprised any of them followed me, because they were all a hell of a lot better at writing about video games than I was.

I left GameSpot because I felt like a lot of people I liked from here were just becoming less active. That's true. So what have I done since then? Well, during the tail end of my time here at GameSpot, I began to frequent a board on GameFAQs called Nonstop Gaming-General. I think this description fits the board well:

"Nonstop Gaming General. The place where trolls go to troll trolls. If youve come here looking for an intelligent discussion about gaming, then welcome to hell. Express your opinion your favorite game, and watch the game get ripped to shreds before your very eyes. High-profile, critically-acclaimed games found in Top 100 of All Time lists are our favorite snack. Your sanity is for dessert. Spend enough time reading our posts, and the line between trolling and honest expression wont blur; it will blow the f*** up. Your favorite game is mediocre at best. Youre playing the gimped version of your favorite game. There is a game ten times better than your favorite game on a console you dont have, or requires a gaming PC more powerful than you can afford. Is your favorite game over 10 years old? Its horribly outdated and you must be wearing nostalgia goggles to enjoy it. A near-perfect game, you say? Well take the slightest flaw and blow out of proportion so the game looks Superman 64 bad. Any 9/10 game is overrated, and 8.9 or below game is a disappointing sub-par flop. Ever want to see over 15 people agree that The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is utter garbage? Welcome aboard.  Once you start, you wont want to stop."

-MeowMeowKitties

But aside from that, it's a fun community. 95% or so of the community is very tongue-in-cheek with their posts. To put it in very frank GameSpot terms, it's like System Wars except it doesn't suck. Over the years I've become addicted. I've made friends. Not just people whose blogs I comment on or posts I respond to every now and then, but people who I IM and PM outside of the board on a somewhat regular basis.  I've actually made a name for myself; whereas on other sites, I've always just been seen a generic poster who almost no one can remember. I have my gimmicks, my posting tendencies, and all that jazz.

I also post a lot on the Current Events board, which is just sort of an off-topic board. I usually go there to pass the time, and I don't like it very much. I just kind of go there out of habit. I also still visit the current incarnation of that sub-Wii board I mentioned earlier. I've known the people there for years, so it's very small and tightly knit at this point.

I'm also currently on suspension for various Terms of Usage-breaking antics that I won't spell out here, which is partially why I'm posting this as I can't view said boards. However I've been frequenting an IRC chat that a lot of members there frequent just to stay into contact with them.

So, yeah, that's where I've been. So what have I been doing, in terms of actual gaming? Hm, well, let's see. I remember I got a PS3 a few weeks after I stopped coming here. I remember I was pretty fanatical about the "Wii60" stuff when I posted here, and that's pretty much gone at this point. To be honest I haven't actually played my PS3 much in the three years I've owned it since for a while I originally just purchased it as a family media center and because I continued buying almost all my multiplatform titles for the 360, but I have enjoyed it as a console. Uh, I've become more focused on handhelds I guess. I already own 20 3DS games after owning one for two years even though it had a slow start. I suppose that's because Japanese devs are focusing more on handhelds, and the vast majority of games I played are developed by Japanese developers. I got a PC a year or two ago that can run games. I have a huge backlog for it and in that time I still haven't played many games for it, since it's just kind of a backburner thing. I'm still a pretty big Nintendo fan. I'm about as big as I was when I was here, though in retrospect I don't think I adequately explained why I liked Nintendo, nor did I ever mention my few qualms with the company, which probably made me look like a bigger fanboy than I actually am. I own a Wii U. I like it as a console but I haven't bought a single game for it since launch.

 

I'm interested in all of the next-gen platforms though. As of now I'm only a Wii U/3DS owner, but I plan to own a Vita, PS4, and an Xbox One by the end of 2014. I'm still not convinced that the Vita is very viable from a financial standpoint, but I think that whatever happens to it, it'll end up having its place in the gaming spectrum. Whether that is that it ends up being the next Sega Saturn/DreamCast-like platform, that faces an early death but has a cult following, or if it ends up continuing a longer lifecycle as a viable platform for Indie games and obscure RPGs is to be seen. The PS4 seems to be more appealing than the Xbox One, with its cheaper price point and superior hardware that will likely run multiplatform titles better. And even though I was vehemently anti-Xbox One from the day it was announced, I have since reconciled and warmed up to the console now that Microsoft has done a complete 180 on their policies. Even though I'll probably get most of my multiplatform titles on the PS4, Crimson Dragon, Killer Instinct, and the new Halo are all more intriguing to me than any of the PS4 exclusive titles (since Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3 aren't actually exclusives). However,i I am still very skeptical about Microsoft's DRM and used game policies, and the Xbox One still the least interesting of all of the platforms overall to me (aside from maybe Vita).  The Wii U and 3DS both have awesome looking lineups as well. While the Wii U's first year was disappointing, it looks to have plenty of good games on the horizon, with Super Smash Bros. 4 and X being my most anticipated ones. And the 3DS is beasting in a manor so impressive that I can't even list all of the titles I want for it. I may even have to buy a third system from Japan so I can play all of the import-only titles I want for it!

 

 

Marvel, Ace Attorney Investigations, Klonoa, and farewell?

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Well, I'm pretty much done with Marvel: Ultimate Allience 2. And I have to say, I enjoyed it quite a bit. However, I haven't played it for quite a while now, and I posted most of my feelings on it in my last blog. Like I said, it was enjoyable, but it felt inferior to the original. The fusion system worked somewhat well, and I liked the Dialouge bonuses, but the combat was overall a lot less fun than the original and the bosses required a lot less fun stratagies. It was still fun but if you haven't played the first game yet then I'd suggest you'd play it first.

Also, I recently got Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this game; on one hand, it took two years to make; for a niche point-and-click style of game, that's a pretty long wait. But in addition, it's also a spin-off of sorts. It felt like I was waiting a long time for a game that, in the end, will only fill in the gap for the next Ace Attorney game. For those who don't know, the Ace Attorney games require you to use logic to reach the end of a murder. Usually you play as a Defense Attorney, but this time you play as the franchise's main prosecuter. However, in this game he's not an actual prosecuter; he's just investigating a series of murders. The gameplay is rather similar, but the court system is taken out of this one for similar systems. So far, it's pretty darn enjoyable. As far as the series goes it's about middle-of-the road; it's better than JFA and Apollo Justice but not as good as the original and also probably not as good as T&T. One thing I like, though, is that it's probably the longest game in the series since the original (or so it feels), and in a series like this where there's basically no replay value, that's a great thing. The characters are all likeable for the most part, and the murders are well thought out. It's pretty easy to predict who committed the murder in this game, though, because it feels like the game just presents all of the possibilities to you, where in previous games you had to guess some of the crazy, possible situations. This probably makes it the easiest in the seires. I don't necessarily like the new gameplay mechanics, but I have to say that if this game was handled like a traditional game, then it might actually be my favorite in the series. Of course, all of the Ace Attorney games are fantastic games and I really enjoy this one.

I've also been playing the Klonoa remake for the Wii recently. It's an odd game, in that it feels really well-made and polished; the developers definitly put a lot of effort into this one. However, what feels so odd is that, despite the fact that it feels well-made, the level design usually feels pretty generic. There's really nothing special about this game; Klonoa himself feels like a rather forgettable character. His special move is about as boring as they come. All it does it carry enemies. While holding an enemy, Klonoa can throw the enemy into another enemy, or throw an enemy down on the ground while doing a special high tripl jump. It's sort of hard to explain, but Klonoa's about as generic as they come in terms of level and character design. If this game came out during the SNES days it would have been labeled a Mario/Sonic rip-off, but it feels like more people payed attention to it now that 2-D platformers are becomming more rare. Now, that's not to say Klonoa's a bad game, because it isn't; it's actually a rather enjoyable game, just not because of its level/character design. Like I said before, the game feels really polished. The presentation is absolutely fantastic; the graphics feel great and the art style is simply beautiful. The developers put in a lot of control and custimization options, which was one of my biggest problems with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Also, it feels like the level design will probably get better later on. I recently played level 4-2, and it was a lot better than any other level in the game. The thing is, other than the level/character design,nothing else is wrong with the game, really.So, overall, Klonoa's an enjoyable little platformer, but it just feels really generic.

Also, I'm really considering leaving GS now. As I said a couple blogs back, I'm really becomming disinterested in GS. A lot of my favorite friends from here have left, and a lot of the community just feels stale. While I do feel somewhat attached to a few of the users here, I think I may leave. I dunno. I definitly still want to blog, I'm just not sure if this is the site I want to do it at. I'm thinking about checking out sites like NoobFeed, Giant Bomb,and IGN for my blogging needs. If they don't impress me then I'll probably just continue here. And this isn't my goodbyes; I assure you I'll tell you when I'm leaving GS, either temporarily or forever.

Marvel: Ultimate Allience 2, Star Ocean and more

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So, I'm basically done with Star Ocean: the Last Hope. It was a great game for what it was. The battle system ripped off Tales of Symphonia a lot. But everything it added to it was pretty cool. The blindside system was fun, and your character's diffrent abillities was also cool. I perfered ToS's more fast-paced system, but this battle system was also pretty darn fun. The game hits about every JRPG cliche you can possibly hit; annoying characters, lots of story filler, andoverly dramatic cut scenes. To add even more oddness to the story, the game's story rips off Phantasy Star Online's story a bit. The story ends up being about as boring as possible. About every other part of the game is good, though. The overworld is giant. The characters (battle system wise) are diverse, and there are a lot of cool things the game did. It's definitly not one of my favorite JRPGs, but it was still an enjoyable game.

I also played a bit more Bleach: Dark Souls. I think I said just about everything I needed to in my previous blog posts about that game. For a 2-D anime fighting game, I surprisingly enjoyed it quite a bit. It wasn't overly complex and the difficulty felt right. My biggest problem was that the story mode had too many parts where you weren't fighting, and just doing random goals. This was quite a bit less fun than the fighting engine, which was fun and fast-paced. In addition, the characters were rather unbalanced, although I don't think Treasure set out to make a balanced fighting game really. Overall it was surprisingly really fun.

But lately, I've been playing a lot of Marvel: Ultimate Allience 2. For those who don't know, it's basically a traditional beat-em-upwith RPG elements that takes place in the Marvel universe. It's pretty fun but I think I liked the first game more. The game gets the button mashing down perfectly; the game requires a bit of stratagy but not too much. However, the game also moves back quite a few steps. First of all, the story is a lot less interesting than in the first game. The concept of making a game based primarily on the Civil War story in the Marvel Universe and having you choose between the diffrent sides was a cool concept, but in practice, I didn't think it worked all that well. This is primarily because this story arc only covers the middle, meat of the game. Why is this bad? Let me explain it to you like this: say you spend the beginning of the game leveling up charactes that are primarily anti-registration characters. Then, you choose pro-regestration. Then you have to start using new characters instead of your already leveled up character. About half of the characters in my original party were anti-registration characters, which made the game harder than it probably should have been. Also, the game's camera was a lot worse then in the first game. The game also focuses a lot on Fusion powers, which is a cool concept, but just isn't as fun as button mashing. The game does add quite a few cool concepts, though; you have more stat control over your characters and the character cast is huge. And overall, I quite enjoyed the game. Just not as much as the first.

New blog!

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So, I haven't written a new blog in a while. I've been meaning to do this for two weeks. But I never got around to it. Why? Well, part of it is school. I've been studying a lot for finals and doing a lot of homework. I guess that's what happens when it's the end of the semester. Another part of it is that, overall, I feel like I'm beginning to lose interest in this site. And no, I'm not going to leave. I do have a few people that I enjoy reading the blogs of here. But when people like BlueJ33 and Cloud551 start becoming inactive, then, well, I start to lose interest (no offense to people who aren't those people). I'm also getting more into the communities over at Gamefaqs and Backloggery. For some reason I'm enjoying myself at some of the terrible boards (well, as well as the awesome ones). Some of the boards on GFAQs are terrible but they're still addicting. And, well, the awesome boards are awesome. And then I also enjoy the Backloggery. Just sort of lurking everyone's pages there is fun, and I never miss the live streams held by the site's adims, Drumble and Try4ce. So yeah, I might be very inactive here for a while until I somehow gain interest in this site again.

Now, onto games. I'm basically done with Banjo-Kazooie. I found it to be decent. Really, it had a lot of problems, though. The controls too realistic for a cartoon-like game like this. The challenges were rather mundane, and overall I was disatisfied with the game's creation system. It just felt too limiting. Every time I had an awesome idea it just didn't work when I tried it out. This begs to ask the question: what's the point if the game's supposed to test your imagination, and it doesn't do that, has the game sucseeded? That's not to say it's a bad game, because it's not. The game obviously had lot of care and work put into it. The environments are well-designed and creative. I love all of the games diffrent worls and crusing around in them. And there are certain missions that are fun; I enjoyed flying to a point. But overall, I can tell why a lot of people were disapointed with this game.

I also recently started playing Bleach: Dark Souls. It's a really good game, but I can definitly tell you its issues. First of all, the battling, at its core, is top notch. I enjoyed this far more than something like Street Fighter. There are a decent amount of combos is decent but nothing overly confusing. And overall, the battles themselves seem pretty fast-paced and such. So what issues are there with the game? First of all, the characters are ridiculously unbalanced. Obviously, the game was not designed with balance in mind. In fact, it seems like the developers purposely made characters much weaker than others so that they could provide a difficulty curve for story mode. But the characters are definitly unbalanced. My other complaint is that a lot of the story mode isn't actually centered around 1-1fighting. A lot of times, you have to beat "X amount of enemies in Y amount of time", where the enemies die in one hit. And some other parts just center around healing, landing a certain amount of hits on your enemy, ect. While this is still fun, I would much perfer actual fighting stages. But ultimately I really enjoy the game.

I've also started to play Star Ocean: the Last Hope. I'm about 18 hours in and I'm not even close to finishing..the game is just so long D:! Anyways, it's a pretty good game. Like I said before, the battle system basically feels like Tales of Symphonia but worse and slightly more gimmicky. But that doesn't mean it's bad, because ToS had an excellent battle system. I think that, in the end, I really enjoy the battle system of the game. Most of the other parts of the game aren't quite as amazing, though. The story feels rather generic and the voice acting's terrible. The overworld is ok, but there's a fair amount of backtracking. However, the amount of custimization is ok and I'm really enjoying the battle system, as much of a rip-off of the ToS battle system is.

Christmas!

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So, what I got for Christmas:

Games: (and opinions, judging from the first 30-90 minutes of the game)

Star Ocean: the Last Hope: Hmmm, this is pretty good.Sort of like a combination of Tales of Symphonia and Phantasy Star Online. The battle systemseems almost exactly like that of ToS, with a few extra gimmicks added (which is odd, because it's made by a completely diffrent developer). It might be slightly more challenging, I dunno. But the story and world of the game overall feel very similar to thatof PSO. There seem to be a lot more story elements so far, but the overall feel of the world is pretty similar.But the battle system still feels pretty fun so far.

Marvel: Ultimate Allience 2: Pretty solid game so far. Very similar to the first. Basically what I expected when I first heardthere would be a sequel based upon the Marvel WWII storyline.I don'tquite understand why people say it's inferior, though; the game doesn't really do anything worse than the first so far.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts: I've actually been playing this one a lot lately. And I don't know why, because it's ok at best and medicore at worst. The controls feel too realistic (something that shouldn't be in a game like this), the missions are repetitve and either way too easy or hard (and if they're hard, it's usually because of the controls). And sure, the game lets you create a lot of things, but more often than not, if what you try to build is too crazy, it just doesn't work. The game does have its moments, though. It's definitly a game that's not afraid to poke fun at itself, and the overworld is pretty fun to mess around in. But overall, too many of the missions feel like a watered-down version of a street racer. It's still a decent game with some moments, but I wouldn't get it unless you're a big Rare or B&K fan.

Dragon Quest V:Just imagine my disapointment whenI put this game in my DS after opening it on Christmas morning, and I got an error message. And this game was a new copy. What the heck? Packaging fail from Square Enix :|. Anyways, my mom picked meup a new copy today, and I played it some. Very similar to Dragon Quest IV, that is to say it's verygood. Story seems a little bit more in-depththis time.

Bleach:Dark Souls:I went into this expecting it to be diffrent than most 2-D fighting games for some reason. The main reason I asked for it was because it's produced by Treasure.I'm not a fan of the anime either. So when I started to play, I was surprised that it playedlike a traditional fighting game. But what I waseven more surprised at was the fact that I didn't seem to mind. Seriously, it's a traditional 2-D fighting game, but it's a really fun one. The combo system is really deepwithout being too deep, andtheway thestory progresses in a nonlinear way is cool as well. it has some problems, butoverall it seemed pretty funfrom what I played.

I got a 1600MS pointscard which has beenspent on:

Rez HD: Been playing some lately. Wow, the demoseemed pretty misleading. This game just isn't that great, IMO.The difficulty is ridiculous. The actual levels are really, really easy,and then whenyou get to the bosses, the difficulty just jumps way up. Or at least in the first level, because I cannot make it further. Maybe if it were 400 points it would have been a good deal, but at 800 points it just isn't a very great game.

Mutant Storm Empire: Also been playing a bit lately. This is actually pretty good. A pretty short game, but pretty good. It's very similar to Geometry Wars, butinstead with a short storyline mode instead. While I think I perfer Geo Wars, the game is still fun, which all ofthefun mechanics of Geo Wars. But man, this game ispretty hard. The easiest difficulty feels likethe standard difficulty :|. Still really fun, though.

I also got 2000 Wii points that I haven't spent and I don't plan on spending any time soon. I know what I'm going to spend it on, though; I'm just sort of overwhelmed with games at the moment. I plan on spending it on Pokemon Rumble and one of the Bit.Trip games (probably Core).

Other things:

870$ in total whengift cards and money are all added up. Already spent 65$ on Rock Band 2 DLC and preorders.

Subscriptions to Nintendo Power, Offical Xbox Magizine, and Game Informer.

6 DVDs.Too lazy to go and look at which ones right now.

Lots of candy.

Clothes

A few video game collectables.

Other useful daily items (wallet,headphones, ect.).

Tagged! (again)

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Well, Bart247....you've tagged me...again. Anyways, ten facts:

1. This is my first time going on this site for a few days. I was occupied with other things before now, and I wasn't completely able to go to the computer for a few days until yesterday.

2. My video game TV was moved to my room yesterday so that we can have room for everyone in the living room/video game room on Christmas Eve.

3. I changed my avatar before making this blog.

4. I have a cold right now. As I'm typing this I'm caughing.

5. My Xbox Live Gamertag is "Gam3rJM", as can be seen in my profile.

6. I choose "Gam3rJM" because "GamerJM" was already taken.

7. I want to go download Super Smash Bros. for the virtual console right now, but my mom's sleeping atm so I can't ask her for her credit card number (and then pay her back in regular cash, of course).

8. This is the second time I've been tagged, and it's by Bart247 both times.

9. I'm really not in the mood to write this right now.

10. There are a bunch of Chritstmas commericals going on in the backround as I type this.

And even more new games...

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So, I basically finished Mario and Sonic: at the Winter Olympic games. And really, I pretty much said everything about that one I need to last blog. The minigames are hit-or-miss, but for a minigame collection, it's surprisingly deep. And while the controls aren't always accurate, they're definitly fun. And the music and graphics are great. It might not be the best DS game out there, but it's still a nice little diversion.

And I finished Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky. Fun game. Like I said before, it's basically just an expansion pack to the last games in the series, so only hardcore fans really need it. That being said, the original games were pretty great, so if you didn't play them, now's the time to play. It's definitly a fun little stratagy game with a lot of extra content. Seriously, there's a lot of content in here. The original game was pretty big, and this one has extra episodes, which add another chunk of gameplay to the game, even if they don't have much replay value. So yeah, if you didn't like PMD before, you won't like it now.

And I finished New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Like I said before, it's definitly a good game, but I just don't think it's great. The controls aren't quite as annoying later on in the game, but they're still annoying. And another issue I found was inconsistant difficulty; at times, one level seems ridiculously hard, then the next feels like it should have been a level from much earlier in the game, and then the game goes back to being hard. What the heck? Shouldn't it just get harder the more you play? Unfourtantly, this was also one of my few issues with Super Mario Galaxy, but it's more apparent in this game because it's more linear. But my biggest complaint is how little new it brings to the series. Most everything in this game feels like it's been done before by another Mario game. However, with all of those complaints out of the way, it's still a great game. The level design is wonderful; classic Mario. As uncreative as this game can be by copying other aspects of Mario games, occasionally there will be a level that feels downright original. And the game is still very fun, with all of the core pieces that make a Mario game great intact. It's just not as good as it could have been

Moving on, I also got Guitar Hero 5. Pretty good game, I must say. For those who don't know, it's Guitar Hero. You rock out according to the notes on screen. Pretty simple, and no big changes this time around either. However, I have to say that the song list is by far the worst of an main-series (as in not band-based) GH or RB game since the original GH. GHWT had an odd but interesting mix of niche songs and legendary rock songs. Almost everything in here is something that most people would either have never heard of. And apparently, according to some of the forums, a lot of the niche bands in the game aren't even liked that much amongst the fans of niche rock music. That being said, there are a couple handfuls of fun songs in here, and the game is fun as always. The note charts, while still not as good as RB, are good. They feel somewhat more realistic this time around. However, because my GHWT drum set isn't working properly right now, I've been having to use my Rock Band 2 one (which I actually perfer, but the game was meant to be played with a GHWT kit, so that would have made more sense for playing through all the songs at the least). And I must say, Neversoft really didn't put much time into converting the charts from GHWT kit to RB2 kit. Some of the charts make not much sense when played with the RB2 kit. However, all of the extra features are really great. The music studio is much, much improved over GHWT's, and the abillity to move in and out of a song whenever in mutiplayer is pretty awesome. All of the other little touches a good as well. However, they also made it nearly impossible to see the Star Power Meter unless you squint. So some changes are good, some are bad. But ultimately, this is probably my least favorite GH/RB game so far, but it's still good.

I also recently bought some DSiware games. The first one I bought is Domo's Rock-N-Roll Adventure. Despite the incredibly cheesy title and the fact that the game is based upon some sort of mascot for a Japeneese TV Station that has plushies in America (but not the actually TV station 0_o), it's actually really good. For a two dollar game, that is. The game is a rhythym game with two difficulty levels, and it's pretty hard. It's basically standard rhythym game fair; touch the notes when the game tells you to, they go along with the song, but for two dollars, it's a really good deal. You get five songs, two difficulties, plus the game is pretty darn hard so it'll take you a while to beat. I also downloaded some of the Electroplankton games on the DSiware. They're...pretty much a mixed bag. Some of them are incredibly shallow, while some of them are incredibly deep. Luminarrow in particular is awesome; in just a minute you can make some cool sounding Christmas-like music, it's diffrent every time, and it's really fun. Others, like Luminloop, are pretty darn pointless; after playing around with it for 30-60 minutes you'll be inredibly bored with it. Now, granted, each downloadable game is just two dollars so it's not a big deal, but still. I also downloaded Dragon Quest Wars. And I must say, the game's quite inferior to Fire Emblem. The game basically plays out like a game of chess, except it's not as fun and it's easier to exploit. The game only gives you the tutorial levels, and then basically the free play mode and the online mode. The core game is incredibly shallow, and the AI in the tutorial levels is incredibly easy, but then once you get to free play they go incredibly hard :?. Still, it's an interesting concept, and it can still be fun, especially since it's only five dollars, but I'd expect a lot better from a collaberation between the makers of Fire Emblem and the markers of Dragon Quest. I also downloaded Pop + Solo. It's a lot better than the Wiiware game. Basically, you pop bubbles, increasing your combo, increasing your points. The more bubbles you pop, the more your time limit increases. If you run out of time, you get a game over. The game is much more meatier then its Wiiware brother, and the controls are more suited to the DSi. There are now bosses and a longer story mode. It's a little expensive for a DSiware game, but it's still a great game.

There's a reason I haven't blogged in a while...

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....It's because I've been busy playing so many new games. Seriously, I have like, a bunch of games I have to write about now.

So first off, I near the end of Resident Evil 5, and I pretty much stand by everything I said about the game in my first impressions. It's basically more RE4. I would have preferred it on the Wii but otherwise it's a great game. The gunplay is excellent, the co-op's intense, and while it may have a few problems here and there, I definitely wouldn't skip out on it if you liked RE4.

Second, I'm pretty much done with Halo 3: ODST. And I have to say, I don't know why everyone's saying it was one of the most disappointing games of the year. First of all, it barely had any hype, and almost everything I saw about the game before its release just basically said "itz a 0v3rpric3'd eXpansi0n pack". Seriously, how is that over hyped? But I actually enjoyed it more than the original Halo 3. Campaign was shorter, sure, but they fixed most of the problems I had with the first game; it felt more liner (which I like), and I think that they took out almost all of the filler and backtracking. Not to mention they also threw in Firelight on the campaign disk, which is incredibly fun, even though I'm pretty terrible at it. It's still addicting and the maps are pretty varied. The fact that you can't actually search for people on Xbox Live on that mode is pretty terrible, though. The multiplayer's pretty much more Halo 3 multiplayer, just with DLC maps (which I never got). Which is to say it's probably one of the funniest multiplayer games of this generation, online and offline. My only other issue with the game is that I still dislike how the vehicle controls, although that's pretty much just me.

I also beat Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up! And well, basically, it's exactly what I said in my first impressions. It's basically a watered-down version of SSBB on all fronts. It does offer decent online, and the health aspect makes it a good alternative. And the fighting engine is still fun. But the modes, characters, and just everything about it makes it pretty much the shallowest fighting game on the market right now. It's still fun, just not the kind of game you'd spend a lot of time with. My friends hated it, though, so I probably won't really be playing multiplayer.

And then there's Pokemon SoulSilver. Honestly, I haven't spent more time with any other game this year; I spent about 44 hours on this one. And really, it's extremely fun. I wrote some pretty detailed first impressions last blog, so if you want a lot of information, just read that, because I pretty much stand by everything I said there. But it's basically a remake of Gold and Silver with aspects from all of the different generations in the series. Pokewalker's one of the stupidest features in a Pokemon game ever, not to mention the fact that it makes the import tax even higher, but everything else about the game's pretty much flawless. And the 16 gym aspect almost makes it feel like two games in one. There's just so much content in this game, you'd be a fool not to get it when it comes out in the US. Definitely one of my favorite games of this year and probably my favorite game next year as well :P.

As for recent purchases, I recently got Mario and Sonic: at the Olympic Winter Games for the DS. While I was originally going to get the Wii version, the DS version got better reviews so I decided to go with that. For those who haven't heard of the game, it's basically a series of winter-themed minigames with Mario and Sonic, but produced by Sega. Despite what a lot of people say about minigame collections, I still enjoy them. This one's pretty good, but it's a lot different from the original game. To start out with, instead of a circuit mode, there's actually a story mode. And when I say story mode, I literally mean some idiot at Sega decided it would be a good idea to somehow put a story into a minigame collection. Seriously, whoever wrote the script for this game must have been smoking something, because it makes no sense. Mario and Sonic (and all of their second cousins and little woodland friends) are, for some unexplained reason, in a completely new winter-themed world together that sort of resembles both of their worlds together. And now, Bowser and Eggman teamed up to take over this world. And to somehow get it back from them, Mario, Sonic, and all of their obscure relatives their henchmen challenge you to equally ridiculously obscure winter supports, just as "rocket ski jumping" "Snow machine battles" and curling "Curling". To top it all off, the Olympics aren't mentioned once in the entire course of the game's story. And I'm not making any of this up. But as for the gameplay, it's surprisingly deep. There's a fair amount of meat in this game compared to the other Mario and Sonic game. Unfourtantly, the minigames are hit-or-miss. Some of them are really fun; the figure skating one, the ski race one, and surprisingly, the snow machine fight minigames are all really fun. However, some are not. Curling, I'm looking at you. And then some are in the middle, like hockey. The stylus controls are somewhat accurate, and the button presses are pretty good. The character roster is also pretty good. Even though the story is completely ridiculous, not all the minigames are that great, there's still a decent amount of depth in this game.

I also got Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky. It's a pretty good expansion pack, but it's exactly what you'd expect from the series. For those who don't know, PMD's a Pokemon spin-off series. There sort of a rouge-like type game; characters move through randomly-generated dungeons in a turn-based fashion. The actual battling is a slightly tweaked, more fast-paced version of the normal Pokemon battle system. I'd say it's one of the better Pokemon spin-off games. But yeah, it's pretty much just like the other games in the series, so if you didn't like the games before, you won't like them now. But it's still fun. The dungeons, while somewhat generic, have a fair amount of variety to them, and the story's surprisingly good. Instead of playing as a trainer, you play as a Pokemon now (which doesn't seem so groundbreaking now, since this is the third game in the series, and another Pokemon game with a similar concept was recently released on Wiiware). But the an interesting aspect of the game (and I don't really remember this from the first games all that much), is that, like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, you're probably going to end up doing a lot of side missions in between the main story ones. Because of this, the main story arc seems to progress slowly. Not the sort of thing that really affects your enjoyment with the game, but it should be noted that the game progress in a very similar fashion to FFTA, and sort of has a similar charm as well. Of course, the game can get repetitive over time, but it's overall a really fun game.

Also, unsurprisingly, I recently got New Super Mario Bros. Wii. And so far, I have to admit, although I haven't played very much, I have to say it feels somewhat disappointing to be quite honest. It's still a good game; don't get me wrong, but it's probably one of my least favorite Mario platformers. For those who don't know…well, you need to die, because it's freaking Super Mario Bros. And if you don't even know what those games are like, then you probably haven't played very many games. Anyways, the level design's solid, and the game's progression feels great. But my biggest issue is with the game's controls; couldn't Nintendo have added classic controller support?! And the game feels more like Super Mario Bros. 3 than Super Mario World to me, and IMO, World's by far the better game. My other issue with the game is that it does very little original. Almost everything the game does seems to be stolen straight out of Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, or New Super Mario Bros. DS. Heck, even NSMBDS had its own little charm; this game just seems like it took NSMBDS's charm, and mixed it with different aspects from SMB3 and SMW. It really just doesn't do much new. Now, if you're getting the impression that this is a bad game, don't, because it's a pretty good one. And the platforming's pretty fun. The level design is ace, and while I haven't tried out multiplayer, I'm sure it's a blast. But amongst all the positive press the game's getting, I just have to say, I don't think it's one of the better Mario platformers. And this may seem extremely weird, since I, one of the biggest Nintendo fanboys you've probably met on the internet, is saying this. But I don't love Mario. I just like his games. I'm more of a Nintendo fanboy because of Super Smash Bros, Pokemon (no surprise there, if you read the rest of my blog), and Fire Emblem. But I don't love Mario. I really like him, but I don't love his games. And just like NSMB Wii; but I don't love it.

On a slightly different note, I've been playing some of the downloadable episodes for Final Fantasy IV: the After Years. And, well, basically, they're just more of the same. Some of them are quite long for a 4-dollar episode, but then they also have a somewhat unreasonable amount of grinding. Other episodes are shorter, but then they don't have much grinding at all. An interesting trade-off. But yeah, not much I can say about that game that I haven't already said.

So yeah, I really have been playing a lot of games lately :P.

Tagged!

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So, Bart247 has recently tagged me. Oddly enough, I was waiting for this to happen for a while, because everyone on my friends list was tagging each other for quite a while, but I was never tagged :?. So, here we go:

1. If you don't already know, I'm a huge Nintendo fanboy. If you don't know that, then you don't know me very well at all :P.

2. I have near-illegable handwritting, unfourtantly.

3. I've been gaming for 8-13 years now, to give you an estimate.

4. I don't like any mainstream shooters aside from Halo. This includes Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Metal Gear Solid.

5. I play the drums. For a time estimate, I'll say 3-6 years.

6. I'm playing Pokemon SoulSilver right now. In Japeneese. I'm currently backtracking for a bike and a radio since you didn't need them to get through Johto but you need both for diffrent parts in Kanto.

7. My favorite game of all-time is Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

8. The worst game I own is American Gladitors for the SNES. Pure sholveware that game is, I'll tell ya. Apparently the NES version was actually pretty good, though.

9. The 360 is my first non-Nintendo console. And no, I didn't get it because I think "the Wii sucks".

10. Of the three websites I mainly vist, I probably visit this one the least. GameFAQs is probably the first with Backloggery being the second.

I'll PM the people I'll tag because, 1. Most people on my friends list don't actually read my blogs, and 2. I haven't actually decided who I'm going to tag yet :P.

Lots and lots of games recently!

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So, were do I begin?

Well, first, I'm pretty much finished with SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny, and I stand by my statement that it's one of the best games to come out this year. It's basically an expansion pack to SoulCalibur IV for the PSP, which isn't a bad thing at all. The slight changes to the battle system are great. The create-a-soul mode is a lot of fun and improved from SCIV. Quick Play is genuis and needs to be in more handheld games. I could argue that it's better than true online play thanks to lack of cheaters and lag. The extra modes round out the package. The core game is that same wepon-based complex fighting game that some of us have come to known to love.

Second, I finally picked up Resident Evil 5. I was originally going to wait for a price cut, but I just felt like purchasing it because it probably won't drop price until 2010, and a lot of games have been delayed until 2010, thus I won't have as much time to play it then. Sobecome more of athird-person-shooterwith a heavy focus onatmospherethen anything. Not that it's a bad thing; the games are probably the best third-person shooters on the market right now, and the old games were good horror games watered-down by complex controls. Most people have said that RE5 isn't really as good as RE4, but so far, I don't necessarily agree with that; the games are pretty much the same. And that's probably my biggest issue with the game. It just doesn't do much diffrent. RE4 was innovative for its time, but RE5 feels almost like a reskinning of RE4 some of the time. However, RE5 does quite a lot of things right. I haven't played co-op yet, but I can already tell the game was built around it. You constantly have to heal your partner, and your partner constantly has to heal you. You also have to share ammo throughout the game. I imagine the co-op mode being pretty intense. The gunplay is also really, really good. Everything about it just feels so right; the guns are really balanced, the aiming's perfect, the enemies are great; in terms of core gameplay, it just feels like RE5 does a lot of things right. The controls, however, take some time getting used to. I definitly wish Capcom made this game for the Wii. The Wii version of RE4 had great controls, and the graphics, while good, I would definitly get rid of for Wii controls, because they're nothing very special. There are also some minor flaws. Occasionally, you'll just be walking forward, with no enemies or anything, for a few seconds. It's not very common, but occasionally the odd moment will happen. There's also a big difficulty jump for the bosses; the game seems to get a lot harder than usually at the bosses. But overall, it's a very good game that I'm happy I bought.

I also got Halo 3: ODST on launch day. And, while I haven't had much time playing it due to school work, I definitly think it lives up to the Halo name already. For those who don't know, ODST is a Halo game without much hype (oddly) because of the fact that it's been marketed as an expansion pack since day one. Recently, the developers said that it's more of a full-fledged game than anything, which a lot of people didn't really think would happen, and now a lot of people aren't agreeing with. I'd say it's somewere in between an expansion pack and a full new game. The campiegn seems to be as long as Halo 3's so far. But the mutiplayer mode seems like it's mostly the same as Halo 3's. Of course, I haven't touched Fireflight yet, so I don't really know yet. However, from what I've seen from the campiegn, it's great. I actually perfer playing as an ODST over a Spartan; their new HUD system feels pretty innovative. They have some more traditional FPS-game aspects to them; their health doesn't completley respawn automatically. However, they're still very jumpy, much like the Spartans. Everything else seems to be exactly what you'd expect: more of Halo 3. If that's a good or a bad thing that's mainly your opinion. In my opinion, it's a good opinion.

I also picked up TMNT: Smash Up!. For those who don't know, this is a fighting game with the teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it's by Game Arts (the same people who made Brawl), Team Ninja (the same people who made Dead or Alive), and Ubisoft (people who have made great games like Rayman and Prince of Persia, but also a lot of sholvewere games). I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It could be awesome, because it's by some extremely talanted devs, but it could have also been a bad game because Ubisoft is producing it (and they generally have a bad track record with Wii games sans Rayman), and the TMNT license could have ruined it. What I got was somewere in between those two. It's not a great game by any strech of the imagination, but it's fairly good. The battle system is somewhat good. It can be pretty fun because its built around the SSBB engine, but it's a bit of a button-masher and it's sort of clunky and slow, especially compared to Brawl. It doesn't have quite as many modes as Brawl either. Most of the diffrent modes more resemble DoA's mode selection than anything; just mainly arcade mode with a couple of extra side modes. However, the AI's great, and just the fact that it's another 2-D Brawler is awesome. It's hard to think of many great things about the game, but it still ends up being reletively fun. It controls great, the music's pretty decent, and it does have a certain level of charm and polish to it. Overall, it's good, but don't go in expecting anything amazing.

But most of all, on Thursday, my package came in. That package being Pokemon SoulSilver, straight in its Play-Asia package. I think I've already played my 2010 GOTY, and it's September 2009 :D. So far, it's pretty much what you'd expect. They took the classic G/S/C genneration, and they gave it a massive make-over. The result is AMAZING. It feels completely new in some ways, but in others, it feels just like I remembered. It's classic Pokemon. Probably the best battle system in an RPG ever. Lots of stratagy, never gets old. Well, actually, maybe it does, if just a little. One of my only complaints with the game is that it just feels like a megamix of the series, and I'd rather just have more of a new game. It's the same classic battle system being reused, again. And it just doesn't do much diffrent. While I didn't like FR/LG much compared to the other games in the series, there were some things that it did diffrently, like some cool new sidequests, and it gave us a glimpse at the DS's wireless abillities. HG/SS doesn't really do much like that so far, although I can imagine it doing it later. It's still an amazing game, though. It has that classic Pokemon charm, and even though it's in Japeneese, I'm not having much trouble figuring out were to go, although I can imagine it being a bit of a problem later. Overall, it's an amazing game, and everyone who owns a DS owes it to themselves to get it when it comes out in the US. Also, I think I might represent the fact that I own it on GS with Pokemon Green, since it probably won't let me put it under my collection (and I did the same thing to show that I own two copies of Fire Emblem 7 by putting Fire Emblem 6 on my game list)