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Garrison_Ford Blog

Call of Duty: Ghosts Recycling Past Modern Warfare Cut Scene

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A friend directed me towards this video today. It's a side-by-side comparison of the single player campaign for Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. As you can see it seems that the developers just copied and pasted the same scene with just a few changes to the character models and backgrounds. At this point, with this clip as proof, why even have a single player campaign if it's obvious that it's an afterthought? Any thoughts my friends?

New GameSpot: Official Reviews and User Reviews

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Hello fellow Gamespot Friends!

I recently watched the Fireside Chat about the brand new Gamespot.com that is coming out pretty soon.  The entire website is being redone from scratch and they've announced a bunch of features that are going to be added/removed.  I know this is a hot topic of discussion right now (the big one being the removal of Unions) but I wanted to focus on User Reviews.

I've been contributing in writing user reviews to Gamespot since 2007 and it's one of my favorite hobbies on this website.  User reviews, for me, are my way of contributing to the gaming community that I love so dearly.  It's also a way to look back on my gaming career and reminisce about the days of old.

Since user reviews are near and dear to my heart I wanted to share the upcoming changes to this feature based on what was said during the Fireside Chat and share my opinion on the matter.

  1. Ten Point Scale - Reviews are basically going down to whole numbers instead of 0.5 increments.  I think that this perfectly makes sense because, like they said, what really is the difference between a 6.0 and 6.5.  They are both fair and the extra 0.5 doesn't make me want to buy the game any more.  Now the difference between 6.0 and 7.0 (going from fair to good range) does make a difference.
  2. Removal of Review Emblems - The emblems on the side of the reviews (i.e. weak story with that skinny looking dude flexing) are eliminated.  Again, I'm OK with this doodad leaving because it really was just an extra way to point out the good and bad points which are already discussed in the beginning of the review.  Having the extra crazy looking emblems were neat but not really a whole lot of value added in my opinion.
  3. Multiple Gamespot Staff Reviews - What this means is that Gamespot will still have one main reviewer that reviews each game and discusses every aspect, like before, but now there is a chance for other staff reviewers to officially review and give a different take.  This could potentially be a nice new feature.  There are many staff reviewers and now you can hear from your favorites on games that they wouldn't normally review to get there opinion.  This way if you are a fan of Kevin Van Ord (my personal favorite) you get to hear what he has to say about a game that he didn't officially review for the site.  The only setback I see is that these reviewers are going to get inundated with a ton of extra work and with a limited staff already I don't see this feature living to it's full potential.
  4. After the Fact Review - Like they said in the chat, some games change drastically from when they were launched over time and for the most part become better games.  What Gamespot is going to do is focus on writing these reviews to more accurately capture the game to-date.  Now, they said they weren't going to delete reviews but give a living history of how the game has gotten better or worse with multiple reviews side-by-side.  The example they used was League of Legends.  Keeping reviews as accurate as possible is fine with me and does a service to the gaming community as a whole.
  5. Promoting User Reviews on the Site - User Reviews for the most part are buried on this site and I agree.  Every time I write a review I feel like if I don't tell everyone that it is out there, via my blog, that it will never be read.  As a user reviewer, I feel that my reviews are helpful because I take a lot of time to write them with the highest integrity possible.  I'm really excited about user reviews getting much more attention for the masses to see (possibly on the home page).  Users will be able to rate reviews as helpful or not and the ones with more positive feedback will be highlighted more.  It also looks like the staff will be reading the well written reviews and there will be many opportunities to get recognized on the site.  This sounds awesome!
  6. User Reviewers have access to the Same Tools as the Editors - Another big plus to user reviewers is that you'll be able to post reviews like the staff does on this site.  Formatting text, pictures, etc. will all be available and that is great news.  No more unformatted text reviews!

Overall, I'm really excited about reviews as a whole on the new website.  What do you guys think?

All Current Gen Backlog, All the Time

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In an effort to get ready for the next generation in console gaming, I've decided to kick it into high gear and try to finish up my backlog.  I highly doubt that I'll have the time to get through this but here is my undertaking.

- Mirror's Edge

- Assassin's Creed

- Assassin's Creed II

- Assassin's Creed III

- Red Dead Redemption

- Child of Eden

- Batman: Arkham Asylum

- Batman: Arkham City

How are you guys doing with your backlogs?

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In other news, I just finished my first game on the backlog and wrote a review.

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For those that are interested, click here.

The Big 3's Keys to Success at E3 2013

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The wonder that is the Electronic Entertainment Expo, aka E3, kicks into high gear next week.  Since this is a trade show event and not open to the public I'll be watching from my cozy computer chair and tuning into Gamespot for the live coverage.  I've been watching E3 on Gamespot since 2008 and E3 is the pinnacle of gaming news for me every year.  This year is particularly special in that I plan on purchasing one of the next generation consoles this holiday season so I'll be glued to this E3 to help make my purchase.  Because of this, I thought that I would go through and hash out my key expectations for a successful E3 2013 for each of the Big 3 console makers.

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Sony really impressed me with their Playstation 4 press release back in February.  The focus on developing high end, innovating games and making it easy for developers to do so has put Sony's PS4 at rank #1 on my list.  Not to mention that Sony has secured plenty of exclusives which makes them focused on what a gaming console should do, play games!  With this in mind here are my key expectations for Sony to succeed at E3 2013:

  1. Keeping the Console Price Reasonable - Sony will no doubt release pricing information at E3 and in order for them to not shoot themselves in the foot is to apply the lessons learned from the outrageous PS3 starting price.  Since Sony has already talked about the sensitive pricing issue with the last generation, I fully expect Sony to not make this same mistake again.  I'm predicting that this console will run around $400 (USD).
  2. Show us the Console - Sony's conference showed us the power of the PS4 but never showed the physical hardware. This was a great move on Sony's part because now they can reveal the actual hardware and generate an overwhelming buzz at E3.  I think it's pretty safe to say that the console will probably be black in color and similar to the PS3.
  3. Stay on the Offensive - Sony gobbled up many exclusives for the PS4 launch and had a stellar press conference.  This put them in high standing with many gamers (including me) and so far has dominated as the fan favorite.  But the fight is far from over and Sony shouldn't sit back on their lead.  They need to continue what they are doing and keeping the gamers wanting more and I fully expect Sony to do just that.

PS4 Games I'll be looking forward to seeing at E3:

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Microsoft unveiled their next generation console, the Xbox One, just a month ago.  Showing off the hardware was nice but the lack of games made many gamers feel like Microsoft lost their focus.  As an Xbox 360 and Kinect owner, the lack of game announcements and heavy focus on TV manipulation was really concerning, which is why Xbox One is currently ranked #2 on my list.  With this in mind here are my key expectations for Microsoft to succeed at E3 2013:

  1. Talk about Games - This is probably pretty obvious for most people.  Microsoft needs to come out swinging at their press conference and show that they too can lock up exclusives.  Not only that, they need to ensure that their "gaming console" is focused on the number one audience for their product, gamers.  With such a backlash from the gaming community I fully expect Microsoft to go games crazy at E3.
  2. Don't force the Kinect 2.0 - Microsoft needs to offer a console this holiday season that doesn't force gamers to buy the Kinect.  Making core gamers pay for this piece of equipment when they don't want it will surely turn loyal fans over to Sony or Nintendo.  Microsoft could really do something special and offer a Kinect-less console at a cheaper price and it could be a possible game changer.  Unfortunately, I don't expect Microsoft to offer an option like this at E3.
  3. Being friends with benefits with EA - Microsoft has partnered with EA on the Xbox One but there wasn't much talk during the Microsoft press conference.  EA, whether you like them or not, is a huge software powerhouse for the industry.  If Microsoft can secure some big name EA exclusives this could really make the Xbox One a fierce competitor.  Having the possibility of having all EA sports games as exclusives or something to that extent could be huge.  I fully expect Microsoft to announce the benefits it will get from EA but I don't think EA will fully commit to Microsoft just yet.

Xbox One Games I'll be looking forward to seeing at E3:

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Lastly, we have Nintendo and their Wii U.  Abysmal hardware sales have turned many gamers and developers away from this console.  I've had a chance to play my friend's Wii U and it was fun but the lack of sales is the reason I haven't bought the console myself and this is why the Wii U is ranked #3 on my list.  With this in mind here are my key expectations for Nintendo to succeed at E3 2013:

  1. First party big hitters - In order for outside developers and gamers alike to fully commit to the console there needs to be a reason why.  The current list of games for the Wii U, at the moment, is quite lackluster.  Nintendo needs Mario and Link to save the day, literally.  Getting gamers excited about their favorites is a great first step for Nintendo.  I fully expect Nintendo to show off (and some of these games are already confirmed to be at E3) the next Super Smash, 3D Mario, Mario Kart, and Zelda.
  2. Continue to be different - Nintendo opting out of having a press conference was a good move on Nintendo's part.  The press conference buzz is all going to be about Sony and Microsoft and their next generation consoles so why waste the money?  By opting to do a smaller show this year at E3, at the very least, has people talking about it and that's what they need.  I fully expect Nintendo to not only continue to be different but generate a lot of buzz with their move at E3 2013.  Let's just hope Nintendo can bring it.
  3. Survive - The gaming console industry needs Nintendo.  Having 3 big console makers means that there is more competition and this is ultimately good for the gaming industry.  More competition means that console makers and developers need to continue to produce high quality and innovative products.  I fully expect Nintendo to pull out all the stops at this E3 and continue to show why Nintendo is here to stay.

Wii U Games I'll be looking forward to seeing at E3:

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E3 2013 is going to be another outstanding event and I'm really looking forward to seeing where the gaming industry is headed.  I shared my keys to success for the Big 3 at E3 2013 but I would like to hear what you guys think on the subject in the comments below.

My Reasons for Voting for GameSpot to Win a 2013 Webby Award

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The Webby Awards have been around since 1996 and award "Excellence on the Internet".  This includes online film, websites, and other media.  For those that don't know, GameSpot has been nominated once again for the prestigious Webby Award in the Games-Related category.  GameSpot has been nominated before and won recently back in 2009 (some of you, like myself, have the emblem for voting).  Instead of just blindly telling you to vote, I figure I would list the reasons why I'm going to vote for GameSpot this year.

1.) The Community

I have made many great friends on this website and this is partly due to the user-friendly interface.  I've seen my fair share of glitches that pop up from time to time but overall I personally like the look and feel of the community.  User blogs and reviews are readily accessible, the new comment features are really nice, and helpful Community Managers (Jody and Synthia) are always bringing some fun activities for us to enjoy.

2.) The Live Events

Another feature that really shines on this website are the coverage of live events.  Whether its E3, Comic-Con, GDC, PAX, etc., GameSpot does an excellent job in bringing all the news, videos, and other information right to our fingertips.  One notable event is E3.  I've been watching E3 via GameSpot since 2007 and every year keeps getting better and better.  Last year not only did we get all the conference and game coverage but we were even getting other inside coverage around the event like the Zombie Apocalypse obstacle course, which the GameSpot staff participated in, located nearby to the convention center.  Every year it just makes me feel like I'm right there too enjoying in on all the fun things E3 has to offer.

3.) The Reviews

Now I know for some people this is a very touchy subject.  For me, GameSpot is the first place I go for gaming reviews.  As a user reviewer on this site I enjoy reading other user reviews but I wanted to talk about the official GameSpot reviews.  In my opinion, most of the GameSpot reviewers do a very good job.  My favorite reviewer has been Kevin VanOrd for quite sometime now.  GameSpot doesn't sugarcoat games and give them lofty scores for nothing, which I see a lot with other critics like Game Informer and IGN.  I know that if a game gets a high score on GameSpot that I know it's going to be a excellent game and vice versa with not so good games.  Now I know that reviews are personal opinion and all that but I just wanted to express my opinion for the reviews on GameSpot.

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Well that's my plug for GameSpot getting my vote for a 2013 Webby Award.  These Webby Awards are a big deal and I encourage those out there to get out and vote.  Hopefully, our very own GameSpot can take home the crown once more!  If you would like to vote in the Webby's click here.

Monthly Gaming Blog: March 2013

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In an effort to blog a little more, I've decided to start (and hopefully keep doing) a monthly update blog.  Well, here it goes.

Games

Bioshock Infinite

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I'm currently playing Bioshock Infinite and I'm really enjoying it so far.  The story is dark and twisted and I've been enjoying the scenery and characters in this unique world.  I'm really digging the whole Steam Punk vibe too.  The shooting mechanics are decent and the Vigors (special powers) are really fun to use.  I'm still very early into the game because I haven't met Elizabeth yet.  I hear that she is a bit mysterious.

Tomb Raider

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I finished Tomb Raider about a week ago (my review is here) and it was such a fun game.  Watching the transition from college graduate to full-on adventurer was awesome.  It's been a while since I've played an action adventure game and this was a wonderful purchase.  Lara Croft is a great heroine and I can't wait for the sequels.

Sports

NCAA March Madness

Did anybody else fill out a bracket for college basketball?  I did and I've been enjoying watching these games.  I'm not a big basketball fan but the NCAA tournament is so much fun to watch.  It's been a while since my Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets have made it back to the tournament but I still like to watch.  This year my final four picks were Gonzaga, Duke, Syracuse, and Kansas.  Unfortunately, I only predicted 1 out of the 4 with a possible 2 if Duke wins tomorrow against Louisville.  For those that have a bracket, how are you doing?

Bowling

For the past couple months I've been playing in a bowling league again with my brother and a couple friends and it's been a blast.  I've been bowling since I was 5 years old and have enjoyed it ever since.  I haven't bowled a 300 yet but today I bowled my new highest game ever.

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Not too shabby.

Funny Video

I watched this YouTube video recently and couldn't stop laughing.  The video editing is so good too.  Enjoy!