I've gone "Casual"

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What's up Gamespot? :D

Very long time since I've really done anything on this site. Is anyone still following me? :P What can I say, life has been interesting this past year or so, though I use "interesting" loosely. We had hurricane Sandy, I got through another year in college, learned the hard way that everything in life costs a ton, and am living somewhere new. whew.

But hey, I have an apartment, an awesome job, even if it's considered "temporary" status, and am doing well, all things considered. I'm working as a software engineer at a company that specializes in Artifical Intelligence, and it's just perfect. Hopefully when my temp time is up, they'll take me on full time, but who knows. Either way, it's great work, and good for money, and the resume. :)

However, with all this happening, I've realized that my life simply didn't have enough time in the day to support my past gaming habits. So, I made some changes...

1.) I sold my PS3 and games: It was a choice I don't regret in the slightest, PS3 was great, but it's time was coming to an end, and it just isn't easy to pick up and play for short periods of time. Plus, the games are expensive. So I traded it all in for store credit.

2.) I bought a new computer. Work was demanding something a little more than a 7 year old machine, so I bought a whole new computer. :) It's got enough power to stay strong as a gaming machine for years, and run all of the work applications as well, all very smoothly. The new computer is doubling as a Gaming Machine, although I don't have the same size library to work with like the PS3. All things considered though, that's for the best. I can game a little when I feel like it, without spending entire paychecks on gaming stuff.

3.) I bought a 3DS XL:

3DS

A red one, to be specific. :P Why, do you ask? Well, the last nintendo handheld I personally owned was a Gameboy Color. It was fantastic, and I realized that I truly do miss the charm of handheld gaming. It's still an area where they worry less about how the game looks, and more on the content, like the console games used to do back on the PS1. I'd looked a lot into the Vita as well, but to be honest, while Nintendo may not have the best grasp of the console market, when they do handheld systems, they do them right.

The 3DS XL is perfectly sized to fit my large hands, especially when I compared it to the original 3DS. It also has the charming titles from nintendo that I've been missing out on for so long. I got two games to start with, which should be plenty, considering I really only use it for an hour or two after work. But the good thing is, I can pick up and play games on the 3DS in short bursts easily, and with no regrets. I purchased:

Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time

For the massive nostalgia trip of the N64, and also because it was my all time favorite game when it originally came out. I can still remember the golden cartridge, and opening it up at christmas. :) When I saw that they remastered it for the 3DS, it was an instant buy.

Pokemon Black Version 2:

Black Version 2

*coughs* Ahem... yeah, this one I'm almost a bit embarassed about. I'm a grown man, and I bought a pokemon game. WTF is wrong with me? :P But seriously, these games are lighthearted, and rich with story and addictive gameplay elements, and more importantly, they take a long time to complete. Anyone who has ever played a pokemon game can testify that they hold a unique charm. So, I hold my head high, and I play this with only a slight sense of shame. :lol:

But really, after work, I don't want to be playing heavy, deep games, I want to pick up and play something that's fun, and maybe even a little childish. Because being an adult was never all it was cracked up to be haha. :P

So, I now beleive I fit into the category of a "Casual" Gamer. However I have no regrets, and I'm actually enjoying games more now that I'm not struggling through a backlog of games, or compulsively buying things. Goodbye PS4/Xbox One, I finally won't have to deal with your console wars anymore!

Hope everyone is doing well, I'll try to catch back up on over a years worth of inactiveness as soon as I can! :)

Later!

So what have I been up to you ask?

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Answer:

Minecraft... a lot, lot, lot of minecraft to be exact. :P

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I'm sorry guys, I have a nasty habit of just up and dissapearing from this site whenever I get addicted to a game... but I have a feeling I'm not the only one like that here. ;)

I've been playing so much minecraft, that I'm pretty sure my WASD keys on my keyboard are burnt out lol.

Not to mention, my left mouse button actually broke on my USB mouse, but I have a feeling that was due to age rather than a video game, although minecraft probably didn't help much. :P

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Anyhow, who wants to see what I've been working on? I think it's impressive, hopefully you guys will like it to. :)

My imgur account spiked from 200 views to over 20,000 views after I posted my images lol. XD I think that's more views than I've had on, well, anything ever.

Here they are! :) (There's about 10 pics, so I'll put them in spoiler tags so I don't kill someones computer...)

[spoiler]

The city at night

Windmills

the town lower level

town upper level

ship

the mine

the mine inside

the mines inside 2

going down :P

bedrock level

[/spoiler]

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I have many, many more pictures, but I'd prefer not to use up all my imgur bandwidth in one go, so those ones are the best.

That took many many hours of painstaking crafting and mining, and got a little bump with creative mode for the lighthouse and the boat sails, but only because I got tired of shearing sheep. :P

This game is crazy addicting, if you haven't played it, I urge you to keep it that way, or risk winding up like I did these past few weeks. XD

Nah, actually, although it's addicting, it's a lot of fun, and fairly easy to moderate your playing with some willpower. :P

If you've never played minecraft, try it, it is hands down the best PC game I've played, and currently the only one I still have installed on my system.

I'm using the Sphax PureDBcraft Texturepack btw, in case anyone was wondering.

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Anyhow, on a different note, I go back to the University tommorow, wish me luck! I'll be on gamespot when possible, but don't look for me too hard, I generally tend to just lurk during school.

Later people! :)

New Anime purchase: "Pandora Hearts"

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Hey all! :)

Thought Id update you all on my relatively recent Anime purchase. I swear, Anime is like crack, once you start watching a show, you just cant stop. :P So, what can I say, I went out and bought one of my favorite series so I could watch it again.

The show in question is called Pandora Hearts, and I love it to death. Its just as good the second time around. I just wish theyd hurry up and come out with season 2, because season 1 was incredible.

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Pandora Hearts

For those of you that havent watched the series, Ill fill you in on some of the background stuff.

Pandora Hearts follows the story of Oz, who at his coming of age ceremony, is attacked by hooded men. During the attack, he is cast into the Abyss, a dark, evil void, that is inhabited by chains, bloodthirsty creatures that are out to form contracts with humans so that they can escape the Abyss themselves. There is a catch however, when a contract is made, a seal is placed on the contractee. When the seal makes one complete revolution, the contractee is sucked back into the Abyss forever. The only way to stop this is to die.

In his stay in the Abyss, Oz is attacked by a chain, but the attack is halted by a girl named Alice, who also happens to be called B.Rabbit, the most powerful chain in the Abyss. The attacking chain swallows Alice, who is unable to use her powers because she has never made a contract. Oz dives into the creatures mouth, and forms a contract with B.Rabbit, freeing them both from the Abyss.

When Oz and B.Rabbit return to the human world, Oz finds that 10 years have passed since he was sucked into the Abyss, and that Alice has lost her memories. From that point on, Oz works towards finding out the truth behind why he was attacked and thrown into the Abyss, and also to find Alices memories that were scattered through the human world.

This is a fantastic series with an absolutely fantastic soundtrack. The soundtrack is made by Yuki Kajiura, and it is wonderful to listen to, especially the opening theme. Actually everything, now that I think on it. :)

Heres a sample of two songs from the Anime soundtrack:

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This first one should send chills down anyones spine thats seen this show:

The B.Rabbit Theme!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdYkB-DaQ7E

This Second one is the main theme so to speak:

The Contractors Theme!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7XPR0aJEjU&feature=relmfu

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Pandora Hearts Cast

This Anime seriously gets a 9/10 for me. If they ever come out with season 2, Im bumping it up to a 10/10, its that good. :)

If anyones looking for a good show to watch, thisd be it. Im not sure where to find the complete show online, but Im sure its out there, just not on youtube, since they pull it down every time someone posts it.

Anyhow, that's all for now, just wanted to share my thoughts on this show. :)

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Special thanks to my dog, who always sits faithfully next to me watching these shows. Who knows, maybe he likes them too? :P

Later Folks!

What's up gamespot! :) Long time no see...

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Hey folks, whats up? It's been a long, long while since I've been here, hopefully you'll all forgive me! :)

So what have I been up to that has been occupying so much of my time?

The simple answer is, School. I just finished up with a summer class that I needed to stay on top of my major, and passed with flying colors, so no worries anymore :)

I feel so happy to be done with that, it's refreshing, actually not having to study every night on top of work. That being said, I still did spend all day today running a Roller and tractors, but so is the life of living on a farm I guess. :P

Hope you'll all also forgive me if I don't go back and try to re-read all the blogs I've missed, with all I've got going on, it's easier to just pick back up commenting on the ones in my feed currently. :)

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Part two deals with the two games I picked up to celebrate getting done with my class.

I picked up:

-Sniper Elite V2 ($20)

-Mirror's Edge ($12)

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Some quick thoughts on both:

To start, Sniper elite V2 is fun in breif bursts. It's a bit too poorly designed to be fun for any time longer than your first few kill shots. But that being said, its a good game to just blow off some steam or kill time before bed. Just don't be expecting it to be awesome.

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Next though is on Mirror's Edge for PS3:

heights!

To start with, I suffer from a crippling fear of heights. Like severe, crushing fear of anything not having my feet planted firmly on the ground. I can't even climb a ladder lol. I've been like that since I was a kid.

So, I wasn't sure what to expect from this game, or if I could handle it lol. Just looking at the above image makes me start to sweat.

However, I was pleasantly surprised with this game. It is truly unique, and I've loved every minute of it so far. Every time I have to look over a ledge, or make a leap from staggering heights, my heart jumps into my throat, but thats what this game is about. And I love it, despite myself.

The games enviroment is a starkly contrasting blend of Whites, reds, orange, green, and blue, and it fits perfectly for this game. The game is special to me because it constantly pits you against the lesser of two evils type of decisions. When you're being actively hunted by armed police, running for your life, and you come to the edge of a roof, you either make a leap of faith, or die.

jump!

Needless to say, you jump. And every time, it's gut wrenching, and you hope to god your character manages to grasp that ledge with his fingertips and hang on, or somehow manage to land safetly on that landing pad a staggering distance below you. And every time you miss a jump, or slip from a ledge, you have those fleeting seconds of falling before the sickening crunch.

And if you are unfortunate enought to fall facefirst, yes, you watch the ground flying up to meet you, your last vision being your silhouette when you're inches away from the pavement. Those misses are very, very painful.

But this game is amazing, how it captures the panic that comes with being chased, and also the freedom that comes with entire rooftops being your playground. When a SWAT team comes out of an elevator that you were approaching, and you have to slide, scramble to turn around and run for your life through a building as they actively chase you, its incredible. There's legitimate panic that sets in, when you realize you've hit a dead end or missed an exit, and you realize that you'll be surrounded in seconds. In this game, enemies are more powerful than you, so you run, run or die. These are the moments that make me love mirrors edge. This is without a doubt, the best $12 purchase I've ever made.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got another building to jump off ;)

Later folks!

Dark Souls PvP Build: Templar, and some PvP advice

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Hey all!

If you know me, then you know I'm an avid Dark Souls player!

I've gone through over 14 total playthroughs of the game, and over 8 new characters and builds, and during that time I've had a few epic characters, and also quite a few utter "failures" in terms of PvP.

So, to save some of you the pain and humiliation of figuring out that your character cannot drive off invaders, I thought I'd share what didn't work for me, and also share one that works really really well.

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For starters, what doesn't work well:
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Weapons that you should NOT base a PvP build around (like me :P ):

-Server: This weapon sounds fantastic on paper, a weapon that with each hit drains health from the enemy. However, in practice, in the PvP world, where you often have hundreds, if not thousands of Hit Points, a weapon that takes a measly 2 HP away from your opponent and puts it on you just doesn't cut it. Especially when most weapons will be dealing around 500 damage a hit at minimum to you!

-Smoughs Hammer: This weapon looks awesome, especially since its a boss weapon, but to weild it you need 58!! strength. I stupidly powered up to 58 strenth, and found that it you are going to keep your character at or under Soul Level 125 (the ideal PvP level), the points were gouging into areas that needed more buffing, like health and stamina. Also, I'd like to point out that it makes you move so slow, you'll just be backstab practice for everyone.

-Greatsword of Astoria: This weapon has a lot of requirements for a weapon that royally sucks. Really, its bad. The attack animation on this weapon takes so long to do, you may as well be shouting to the other player "Hey, I'm going to attack you now! Run away!". I have never, ever landed a hit with this weapon. In my eyes, it is a pathetic waste of one of those precious Boss Souls. You are much better off making the greatshield.

-Dragon King Greataxe: This is another one of those ridiculous strength required weapons. There are a number of things that make this a bad choice, I'll just run through them all. First, its a dragon weapon. This means it has to be upgraded through precious precious dragon scales, and only up to +5. Second, it has no stat scaling, meaning all that high strength is wasted. Third, it's SO SLOW!!! If you want to use a Great Axe, which are somewhat good in PvP, use the regular Great Axe and upgrade it to +15! It will be so much better of a weapon!

Those 4 cover the main mistakes I've made in the past. I repeat, these are NOT good PvP weapons!!

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Now onto the good PvP Build!
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Now I'll move onto a build that I've been working on that is quite good! I started it as a build mainly based off looks, and then realized just how viable of a build it was.

Dark Souls PvP Build: Templar (75% killing power, 25% looks ;) )

This is the PvP build I'm currently using, the Templar:

Templar

Equipment:

Elite knight helm
Elite knight Armor
Elite Knight leggings
Elite knight gauntlets
(all upgraded of course)

L Hand: Crest Shield +15 (for stablility)
R Hand: Divine Claymore +10
R Hand 2: Canvas Talisman (Best magic adjustment at 50 faith)

Ring 1: Ring of Favor And Protection
Ring 2: Wolf Ring, or Havels Ring

Stats:
Starting Class: Bandit

Vit: 50 (50 vit, + the ring of favor = 1800 hp)
Att: 19 (for 5 slots)
End: 46 (required to be speedy with all gear equipped, 40 is the maximum stamina bar)
Str: 16 (just enough to wield the claymore)
Dex: 10 (to wield Claymore, no more than that)
Int: 8 (bah, don't need any)
Res: 11 (base of course)
Faith: 50 (gives incredible miracle damage and the ability for high level miracles. also helps divine weapons)

Final SL: 128 (Still within prime PvP range)


Miracles:

Great Heal
Wrath of Gods (cheap yes, but effective)
Tranquil Walk of Peace
Vow of Silence (for those pesky mages)
or:
Karmic Justice and a miracle of your choosing, if not using vow of silence.

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creator notes:
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Strengths:
This build is extremely punishing to Backstabbers, and Crystal Homing Soulmass spammers. You can cast Tranquil Walk of Peace to shift the advantage towards yourself in the event of encountering a Backstabber, and if you catch them in the field, spam Wrath of God to crush them.

If you happen to encounter a straight mage build, it will be a guarenteed victory. The miracle Vow of Silence, when cast, prevents any and all spellcasting in a large area around you, for a large amount of time. This kills any method of attack a mage may have, making it an easy win.

If you encounter the cookie-cutter Giants/Havels armor mashup, with a large strength based weapon, this is where your mobility will come into play. You have under 25% equip load, which allows high speed movement, but you also have your claymore, a weapon with incredible range and variety of movement. Use, and abuse these two facts, and you should win easily. If you need an edge, cast Wrath of God to shave off some health.

Weaknesses: No build is without weaknesses, and this builds weakness happens to be other clerics, and parry-happy people. Enemy clerics, with miracles of their own, can make or break you. It's a toss up at that point whether you have better miracles equipped than your opponent, and also if you can use them first. If he/she casts Vow of Silence, then it is simply decided by who has better skill/ less lag with a sword.

Beware people with a parrying dagger, or a light shield. Since the claymore is a greatsword, it is easy to parry for people that rely on it, meaning that you have to pick your strikes carefully. Spamming attack will often wind up with a sword in your gut. Just as in Demon Souls, people that know how to parry are a very dangerous enemy.

Miscellaneous: The shield I have picked is not a great shield, it is simply the one I have chosen based off of looks. This build works with any medium shield of your choosing, although I recommend upgrading it for stability.

The Divine Claymore does extra damage to skeletons, and does over 500 damage to invaders and hosts alike. It is truly an invaluable weapon, and makes the Tomb of Giants a much easier area in the long run, as an added bonus. :)

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Closing
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If you decide to try my build, I hope it works as well for you as it worked for me! Feel free to leave comments, questions, improvements if you find them! :)

On a final note, thanks very much to JodyR and Gamespot as a whole for giving me a Battlefield 3 "The Controller" T-shirt! It just arrived today, and it looks very nice! :D I feel bad that postage cost so much, it didn't need to be sent priority, I would have been just fine recieving it a week later, but thanks! :)

EDIT:
I apologize, it seems I copied the earlier version of my build, and there were a few errors. The correct one is now shown!

Also, if you would like to know how I planned this out, I can point you to this handy dandy character creation engine. It is quite godly! :D

http://mugenmonkey.com/darksouls/?c=160830823

My recent (Anime) buys :)

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Hey all,

It's been a long time since I've been active on here, but in a few more weeks, after my final exams for the semester are over, I should have considerable more time. So expect me on here more in a few days. :P (run for your lives!)

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Considering this, I made a few purchases over this weekend that I am delighted with. I didn't want to go for video games this time, because they are starting to bore me, and I think a small break from gaming is in order.

So, I bought a few anime's that I had really been meaning to purchase a long time ago, but never got around to till now. I thought I'd share them and give a quick review. :D

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1.) Soul Eater, the meister collection (DVD)

the meister collection

-For starters, I loved this anime from the very first time I watched it online (which by the way has an entire site devoted just to it ), and it's one of the few I've watched that really stuck in my head, so I finally went out and bought it, so I could watch it again, with or without online! The basic premise is that the main character Maka is a student at the DWMA (Deaths Weapon Meister Academy). In the academy they train with their weapon (maka's is a scythe) with the hopes to eventually make it a "Death Scythe", by having their weapon eat 99 tainted souls, and then finally 1 witch soul, which turns it into a "Death Scythe". The weapons themselves are actually people as well, that can tranform into a weapon form to help their Meisters. The series is quite enjoyable, with half of it being legitmate fights, and the other half humor, which makes it a welcome watch after a hard day. The characters ae like-able, (or hateable, in a good way), and really top off this fantastic anime. This set contains half of the entire anime, the other half is in another set.

-I'd also like to note that for this series, the English Dubbing is absolutely fantastic. Seriously, it's top notch. It's one of the few shows I can watch dubbed, most I just have subbed.

2.) Soul Eater, the weapon collection:

weapon collection

-As I said, you can't buy Soul Eater without both collections, half the series is no fun. :P This set contains the last half of the story arc, and is also absolutley fantastic all around. It has some truly amazing moments, and the entire series really just remains on an uphill climb of awesomeness, right up to the end. :) Maybe thats what I liked most about this show, it doesn't just start good and then fall flat, it just keeps getting better. A very satisfying show, and a good buy.

3.) Black Butler Season 1 (Part 1)

black butler 1

- You know it! XD If I didn't buy this I would never forgive myself. I found it at a bargain too! This anime is... delicious. Simply the best way to put it. It's an incredibly dark, yet incredibly wonderful anime, all at the same time. Basically, Ceil, a boy who's parents were murdered and is now the lone are to the Phantomhive estate (tell me that isn't the best last name ever), makes a contract with a demon, under the conditions that the demon will serve the boy and his every wish, acting as his butler, until the point where Ceil has avenged his parents deaths. After this conditon is met, the Demon, named Sebastion, will devour the boys soul. It's simply one of the most unique, most captivating anime's I've ever seen, ever. Ever My roommate recommended it to me one night, I watched the first episode, and then I was hooked 100%. It also has a very unique cast and setting. It takes place in London, in the old days (think horse and carraige) The cast is also almost entirely male, another odd thing for a lot of Anime.

-And the song, oh the song! The opening song has been stuck on repeat in my head for days. It's great, especially with the opening visuals. Case in point, if I had to rate this anime, it would be on the top of my list. Nothing even comes close to it at this point. Watch this on youtube now! (and if you like it, keep watching, and watching, and watching...) :P

4.) Black Butler Season 1 (Part 2)

black butler 2

-Of course, If I bought part 1, part 2 was a no brainer! :P It brings new characters, new story, and more of Sebastion!! I'm not sure what to say that I haven't already said above, except for the fact that this ties off season 1 in the best way possible, by staying true to it's story all along. The series may be funny at times, but the ending is delightfully dark, and gruesome. It's the icing on the cake to this original, and twisted series. I would have been dissapointed had it ended any other way. :) There's just something... exciting, in a dark way, about watching the conclusion of a contract with a demon butler.

-I will say that the english dubbing of this series in NO WAY compares to the original japanese voice actors, and certain humorous bits are completly lost in translation, for instance, a character named Grell likes reffering to Sebstian as Sebas-chan, a bit of humor that never gets carried over in the english dub. Not to mention the fake british accents of the side characters are so thick it's choking! Stick with japanese and subs, you won't regret it!

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To end, if I were to recommened one over the other, it would be Black Butler. Although the series is short, it is an wonderful ride through a dark story and the life of a boy and his Demon. It will be a very long time before I find something of its caliber again. :)

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Cookie to anyone who can complete this phrase from Black Butler:

Sebastion: "I'm simply ___ ____ __ _ Butler." ;)

Games you're looking forward to?

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Any games you're particularly excited about in the upcoming months? For me, it would have to be the new Hitman game, Absolution. :)

Hitman Absolution

If anyone has been keeping tabs on it, it looks absolutly phenomenal! They've released the first 17 minutes of gameplay footage, and after watching it, I immediately decided that this was one of the very few games I would pre-order when I could. I may be a bit biased towards the Hitman series, given that I love them to death, but the game looks incredible.

It takes a bit of a Batman Arkham Asylum feel, and mashes it with the elements of Blood Money and Splinter Cell, but I love the direction it's headed. While the gameplay of Blood Money was top notch at the time, it had a few glaring errors with cover and gunfights, and this game fixes that, while keeping the stealth feel, at least from the looks of it so far.

Hitman Absolution 2

Below, is the first 17 minutes of gameplay:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njMOarAzvc8&feature=relmfu

It looks delicious! This is still taken from Alpha gameplay to boot!

Below is a link with the same video with the added Developers commentary if you want to hear there opinions. It's worth watching, if just to hear there take on it, I enjoyed listening. Subtitles are in German, spoken language English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjVW8mJoznw&feature=relmfu

I would link them, but gamespot is being a *****...

Mass Effect 3 (zero spoilers!)

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ME3

Hey everyone!

This is my Mass Effect 3 First Impressions/ Review!

To start with, some background information: I had played through ME1 and ME2 over the course of last year again to prepare for this game's release. I had, through much hard work, procured two perfect save files, so all my crew was present for ME3. :) This is just for the people that were wondering what I started out with. I then received my pre-order a whole two days early and proceeded to waste no time getting started. Now that it's officially after release date, I can write my review!

This review has absolutely zero spoilers, for those that might be worried, it was written purposely that way. ;)

First impressions:

Well, my very first impressions of the game (as in, right after I put in the disk and hit play), left a stale taste in my mouth. The PS3 version of the game had some seriously choppy frame rate in the opening cutscene, and the characters walked very jaggedly. After I finally got to play as shepard, I was met with a hyper-sensitive camera combined with motion blur, and again, some very jagged frame-rate issues. Commands were also not registering well. Hell, the demo didn't have problems in the areas that were showing now. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of polish for $60 dumped into this game. Even with the choppy frame rate, and the poor character modeling though, the game does indeed start off with a bang. It thankfully left me wanting to at least see what was ahead, if only for the story. Thank goodness it did though, or I wouldn't be writing this review.

Review:

If you can forgive the game's lackluster opening half hour, the game becomes incredible afterwards. There is the choppy tutorial and then one mission where you are locked into a set path, and then after that, the game opens up to you. It's about at that point that I fell in love with ME3. For some unexplained reason, the game goes from buggy to polished in a split second. You don't really realize it until you realize two hours later that you aren't growling at the TV for wasting your money, and instead you're actually enjoying the game. Everything you loved about the cast is back, depending on your decisions of course, and there are several new members to meet as well, some like-able, some feel like a waste of space. But hey, that's life right?

The game brings some new concepts for its third title, like weapons mods, and they are a very welcome addition! You can now find attachments for individual weapons that can be applied to your gun for a variety of effects. Need ammo? Attach an extra magazine. Need some more oomph? Attach a barrel extender to make bullets do more damage. Weapons can also be upgraded at a console to carry more ammo, do more damage and weigh less. I can now use my beloved Mantis Sniper Rifle through the whole game! Weight now slows down the time your powers recharge, so while toting around 5 different guns may look badass, a more practical application may be to carry 2 or 3 to secure a solid recharge time. Or, you could forgoe the powers option and simply drag along the entire armory with you, your choice. Such is the beauty of mass effect. :)

The powers option is more fluid as well, with the upgrade trees better visualized, and the team powers much more effective to use, thanks to an A.I buff that turns the meat shields next to you from previous mass effect titles into people that I can actually count on as teammates. This being said, there are some times, as with any A.I, that they stutter, such as a teammate not being able to jump through a window for some reason, or inexplicably hiding behind cover in an empty room and shouting about an invisible enemy. :? But these are just minor flukes in an otherwise enjoyable A.I. The same goes for the enemy forces as well, no longer are they braindead bullet sponges, they will now use some tactics and attempt to flank you, or flush you out with grenades. Enemies will also slowly creep up to you behind a shield, and avoid powers like singularity so they don't get sucked in. These were very nice touches to see.

Mass effect 3 also makes steps to improve on its dialog. The options to pick, and the opinions offered by others, are better thought out, and add a new layer of depth to the series. If you make an argument to someone, the counterargument they provide is enough to make you stop and go "hmm…". It's much better than a lot of the lifeless interaction of the second game. I haven't tested thoroughly enough to decide just how much your options effect things in the game, but at least the dialog, when available, doesn't feel so forced at times.

Mass effect 3 made an obvious attempt to fix annoyances of the past, which I'm sure readers will be glad to hear. You no longer have to scan planets for valuable Element Zero and such for upgrades, upgrades are now purchased solely with cold hard cash. Planets now only contain anomalies, and artifacts, which can be found easily enough, without the headache of watching a line graph on the side spike. Scanning is now simply a ping around the ships, which costs no money. Probes also no longer cost money as well, which is most welcome. There is a catch however, scan too much in reaper space, and they will start to notice you, scan more, and you will be forced to retreat until they lose interest in the area, which is generally after completing a mission first. This can be an annoyance as well sometimes, but is much better than scanning planets for hours to find just a trace amount of mineral as in Mass Effect 2!

This game shines when it comes to atmosphere, and the graphics boost it got when compared to its predecessors really comes through. The game simply has some amazing set pieces, whether it be the Citadel, a massive space station, with its artificial sky and its fantastic outer space view, a stormy and violent research facility, or war torn moon shadowed by a burning planet, with a massive space invasion going on just above your heads. Fighting in areas like these is simply breathtaking. I actually stopped going for the objectives at some points, just so I could stop and watch the scenery. The landing and takeoff scenes are just as breathtaking at times, and really add the finishing touch in this fantastic space universe.

Mass Effect 3 draws you in, that much cannot be denied. It's up to you how far you let it. I've played all three game modes (Action, role playing, and story), and I will tell you that it you choose anything but role playing, you will be doing yourself a disservice. Action takes away so much of the story that is loses its "wow" factor, and just becomes a shooter, while story does the exact opposite. While true, it does give you the story, about half way through it I just became bored of sitting there and listening. Role playing mode provides a perfect balance between the two, and is what will draw you into the game the most. You can spend anywhere from 12-40 hours completing this game, dependent on whether or not you are a completionist. I personally spent around 30 hours, half of which was spent just looking at things, or listening to codex entries. While I'm on the subject of the Codex, fans will love it! It's new and improved, and delves much deeper into lore than the others. It also reads the entries out loud for you, so that's a nice touch if you want to sit back and just listen sometimes. :)

If you can put up with its albeit rocky start, Mass Effect 3 will enrapture some, entertain others, and suck you in all the way up to its final (if not a wee bit ridiculous in scale) battle. This game is without a doubt the best of the Mass Effect series, and a game I'm sure will be on most people's lists for a long, long time. By the end of the game I would have strapped on an omni-tool/blade and gone to war on the reapers myself, but the real question is, would you?

My Dark Souls experience part 1

by on

To start out, I don't play many RPG games. I've played skyrim, and D&D with some friends, but that's about it as far as that genre goes.

So my new years resolution was to play more RPG based games. Needless to say, the first game I picked up was Dark Souls, supposedly one of the most challenging RPG's of 2011. Whew. Well then, I put on my boxing gloves and inserted the game.

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POSSIBLE SPOILERS THROUGHOUT
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dark souls

Well, as far a beginnings go, it was standard enough I suppose, doom and gloom and all that. It was a surprise for me to find out that my character was dead from the start. Hmmm. That was a bit different.

Now that I mention it though, the atmosphere is incredible, it feels uniquely terrifying just being in a hallway. I guess the game's reputation has me on edge...

After killing a few enemies with my broken sword hilt (Really, a broken sword? Hmph), I proceeded up a ladder and lit my nice cozy bonfire. :) Which I then realized causes everything to spawn over again. Ah well, price to pay.

I then opened the big double doors and proceeded to get smashed flat by a dinosaur of sorts when I took to long to get away. That would be death number 1 in a very long proceeding. I spawned back at the bonfire, and this time succesfully sprinted by the monster to the big double door on the other side of the hall, only to find it was locked. I looked over to see the actual little door in the wall, just in time to meet the recieving end of the big guys club again. That would be Death number 2. :?

No matter, it happens I guess. I spawned again, a little more humbled, and booked it to the correct door this time. After it shut, I breathed a sigh of relief and proceeded up the hallway to the glowing items, succesfully dodging [most] arrows fired by a guy at the end of the hall. Finally, I had some weapons! Mwaha, I was ready to take on dark souls in earnest!

Dark Souls 2

My elation was a little premature I guess. I had no sooner walked up a flight of stairs then I got rolled over by a boulder, knocked off the stairs and died when I hit the floor. WTF!!!! Death number 3, and it's still the tutorial. Same drill, respawn, kill enemies, and this time avoid the boulder and run up the stairs to kill the little bastard that pushed it on me! Ha! :P

After that, I got my estus flasks, yum, and proceeded with my life. (or death rather I suppose)
I followed the path, walked around a corner, and got a good chunk of my precious health removed by two guys and an arrow. Thankfully, I backed up and took out the two soldiers with enough health to muscle my way into the archers postion. After gulping 2 more estus flasks,3 left (yikes), I walked into the next room, and read the cue about parrying. Maybe I should have payed more attention to it, because a skelator in the corner proceeded to slice and dice me until I finally figured out the timing. Son of a gun, I had to use another 2 estus flasks. 1 left now.

I backed up and went through the door, blew right by the note, and looked down to see the dragon/dinsosaur thing from before. Oh hey! Well, I thought, I have time to breath and go get a drink quick right before I hop down? Wrong! I had just set the controller down when it jumped (for a thing it's size, it can get considerable air), and destroyed the ledge I was on, taking most of my health with it. I barely had the controller back in my hands when a club ended my hero. (Who was off to an arguably shameful start). M%@#*%@$&*#er!!!!!! Death number 4 already.

I took advantage of the new break to geta drink and come back. Take 2 Dino!! I zipped throught the section, ran through the door, and blew by the note again, dropping down to the monsters side, and proceeding to hack away. I got a good 4 hits in before it swiped me off my feet, knocking me down. It then proceeded to hit me again, as I was getting back up, knocking me down again. It juggled me again for an easy 5th Death. Sigh*

Dark Souls 3

At this point, I may as well be spending my time throwing my character off a cliff I figured, for as much success as I was having. But, I digress, so I gave it another try, this time figuring I'd try reading the hint on the ground quickly. I got through the door and read it to find I was supposed to do a falling attack. Well, whatya know, reading helps! :P I pulled it off first try and it took a good half of it's health away like that, so that was a nice early lead. From then on, the battle was actually fairly simple, just roll to its butt and attack its tail like its the end of the world, it went down pretty quick. Whew. Big Pilgrim thing defeated!

I proceeded up the path fairly quickly, and after the cutscene, ended up in the middle of knowhere. This game apparently doesn't like to inform you what to do with your stuff. I had things like humanity and gems that I had never heard of. O_o

Well, as most know, trial and error work pretty well, although the exception to Dark Souls is that trial and error with items proves to be dangerous or downright traumatic. I decided pronto to level up, and gave myself some more health or "vitality" as it's called. I then went up a path and met a fellow that said to keep away.

I figured this must be because I'm undead of course, who wants to talk to a corpse? So, I went back to the bondfire and tried to "Reverse Hollow", and recieved a message that I had no humanity. WTF was it talking about, I had it, right here! I figured out I had to use it first and proceeded to use it on myself, and then reverse hollowfy myself. Hey hey, I'm normal!!! :D

After going back to the guy, he gave me a copper coin, so I figured I had done something right.
(DO NOT reverse hollow, I learned later, you just have to keep badgering him, undead or not)

dungeon

(Pictured above: something similar to that Dino/Dragon thing I fought against)

I then walked down a path to a sinister looked graveyard, because it looked like the only way to go. As I headed down the stairs, two ridiculously powerful skeletons proceeded to reassemble themselves in front of my eyes, and kindly handed my my ass. Death number 6, and I had just lost 600 souls, and mother****er, I was back to being undead again, with no humanity this time. (I think I cried a little bit here :P)

I tried to go this path for almost 4 hours, because I thought it was the way to go. It was the most frustrating thing I've ever experienced. The enemies came two at a time, and the weapons I had did almost nothing to them. Beleive it or not, on the 11 millionth try I actually successfully fought my way to the catacombs with a level 1 weapons, and still had 4 flasks left. Anyone who know what I'm talking about is eitherslightly impressedor thinks I'm lying. :P I then proceeded into the catacombs and fought of the skelobombs, and the skeleton scimitar people. And then was promptly attacked from behind, so I killed this "new" enemy off, and turned around again and started walking. Only to be attacked AGAIN from behind!! So I killed this "new" guy off as well, and hopped down into the pit, where another enemy attacked me from behind. I swear, I fought waves of two enemies off for at least 10 repititions before it dawned on me that I was fighting the same things, over and over and over and over again. They just kept reviving. I had used up the last of my potions, still valiently fighting what I knew to bea losing battle,and Death number 7 came soon after.

Well, almost 5 total hours of fighting and dying on the same stretch is enough to make a grown man almost break down and give up right there. I thought that something seemed off. There was no way, a game could be THIS HARD!! Not on the second area! So I looked around a bit.

*Facepalm* M********ER!!!!!!!! There was a road off to the far right, leading up to a bridge. And hey, what do you know, those enemies are easy! 5 hours of my life wasted on an area that was clearly for a much higher level character. Do you know how that feels? Do you know the agony???

The one good thing that came out of the whole event was that by 5 hours of fighting skeletons that should have taken my head off at first sight, not to mention succesfully taking out a Duo of Giant skeleton warriors at once, I was so good at rolling and parrying/ riposte that I shredded the following enemies without a scratch. And then next one, and the next. Hmph. So I guess my time in frustration was good for combat skills...

I ended my game back at the original bondfire, I was just burnt out after so much frustration and effort, only to find I had been pushing forwards the wrong way. But really, there was no signs, no indication. Thats like forgetting to tell someone which way they move in monopoly!

But so far my experience with dark souls has been an interesting, and challenging one. I've pushed my limits as a gamer, and even though it was all in vain, it's nice to know that I've gone farther theinsaneway, then a lot have the right/easy one, judging by the number of blood spots on the bridge.

I'll play more tommorow, but for now, not only my character needs to rest, I'm simply burnt out.

But so far, first impressions nets this a 10/10, but not for the casual gamer