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Another quick question

I know, shame on me for being unaware of a lot of things as far as gaming goes, but I had some questions about external hard-drives.

My PS3 has been running really low on memory, so I've been in the market for a new hard-drive. I want it to be about 1TB's worth of memory, and something that is close to 100 dollars. However, I've been looking through the selection of external hard-drives on Amazon, and I'm not sure what would be compatible with a PS3.

Do you guys have a certain external hard-drive that you could recommend for my 120 GB Slim PS3? Links would be appreciated.

-Cal Burkhart

Why do you blog on this site?

Pretty simple question, right? Like any good poster, I'll go first:

I post blogs on this site just for the sake of writing something that might be informative or entertaining. I like to write in general, especially when I have no limits or constraints on what I'm writing. I'll admit that I've found it pointless lately, seeing as how I feel like I can't be an honest person on this site, ever. I just feel like whenever I'm going to be honest, I feel like I'm going to be an a**-hole in the process. Never the less, I still find that I some-what enjoy writing on this site.

How about you?

Why I Love What I Love

Let it be known that my taste in games is a bit bizarre. No matter where I go, I never really seem to get into games that the general consensus finds "masterful", and I tend to take a fresh dump on a lot of games that people love and would defend with their lives and virginity (see my Skyrim review as an example). I have my reasons for not liking certain games, but I also appreciate a lot of games too. But what do I look for in my games? I seem to jump around a lot with my reviews, critique wise, but I haven't laid down any ground rules with the way that I look at things. All of us look at certain aspects of a game before anything, and it will be different for just about everyone. Here is how I'm different.

1. Am I walking in a straight line?

Portal 2 Image

I'm one of those crazy people that likes going the linear route as opposed to something that is usually open world. I have no idea where I get this likeage from (although older Megaman games from my kid-hood seem to come to mind), but I always love seeing what type of stuff developers can put into an adventure. That doesn't mean I love typical FPS campaigns from the likes of Battlefield 3 and Homefront though, as the developers of those games seemed more intent on jamming their game with needless filler, a la explosions that seem totally disproportionate to the actual thing that is exploding. It's simply not using what you have to your advantage, and I've already talked about this in depth, so I won't go any further in that.

Portal 2, as I've rated it a 9.5, is one of my favorite games of this generation. While I failed to mention how short this game is (I did, but not as much as I should have), I still feel that this is one of the most respectable games of this generation, all because of it's center focus of having a reving difficulty in a linear game. I've also taken a liking to games like Dead Space 2 and Resistance 3 for such game practices. What might throw people off is the fact that I loathe Killzone 3 for practicing this too, and I hate it so much because it completely backhanded what made Killzone 2 an awesome linear game: by making everything a straight line with no challenge, no thought, and over-reliance on a fancy engine that doesn't even look that spectacular. But now I'm repeating myself again.

2. Does it look sharp?

Lost Planet 2 Image

I know this makes me a horrible person, actually caring about the graphics in the game I'm playing, but this is actually really important to me. I always find that a big turn-off with a lot of games I hate is that they usually aren't defined or athstetically pleasing on the eyes. This might contradict my views on Killzone 3, but it's not wrong for a person to find one aspect that's good but hate just about everything else. When a game has a sharp appearence that seems to just leap off the screen, I usually find myself really enjoying what I'm playing, regardless of what it is.

This is kind of a childish way to judge a game, but it's something that I never really hold against a game if it doesn't have it. Portal 2 doesn't look like anything special, and is actually kind of messy in a lot of aspects, but to flip around what I said before, just because you don't like a certain aspect of something doesn't mean that you can't appreciate everything else. I think that main reason I stuck with the Lost Planet series through all of it's hate was the constant stream of eye grabbing visuals that on the MT Framework engine seems capable of. Resident Evil 5 used this engine too, and while I know I'm supposed to hate this game for obvious reasons, I can't help but enjoy it while I'm playing just because of how good it looks.

It's nothing too important, and it's kind of a personal deal maker for me. I don't think I'll ever hate a game that has that certain visual edge that was obtained with games like Lost Planet 2, or Shadows of the Damned for a more recent example.

3. Is it the complete super-awesome-Super Bowl package?

Rage Image

What comes as a more of a personal opinion to me, I like it when games seem to be complete, right from the box. There are very few games this generation that seem hell-bent on being as far from complete as humanly possible for the soul-purpose of selling me more of the game bit-by-bit for more money. I'd draw such examples as Dark Souls, or Rage, which offer me just enough content to the point where I'm satisfied, but not bored by the end. It's a balance that's very hard to strike with a lot of developers, and it doesn't help when they're trying to nickel and dime their ways to this balance. When a game somehow gets it right from the start, then it's definitely going to be a special game, at least in my eyes.

This quality is becoming more and more scarce as we go on through this generation, but with games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, my faith in more developers getting this aspect right is still there, and still hopeful that one day every single developer out their will stop messing around and actually make quality games like their jobs say they're entitled to. Who knows when this day will come, but until it does come, I'll hold this trait high, as something of a seal of quality.

4. Is it attempting to be dark/epic?

Resident Evil 5 Image

(From the get-go, who would've honestly thought this was a concept art for Resident Evil 5?)

Back to visual athstetics. I love it when games have a grim tone to their overall package. Again, very few developers attempt to do this, and I don't mean with just survival horror games, I mean with just about everything. Games like Alice: Return to Madness have shown that games can be artistically pleasing in a dark sense, just as much as a game with a lighter tone. Don't get me wrong, I do like the lighter, colorful appearence of games like Super Mario Galaxy and El Shaddai, but what usually reaches my mind faster in terms of personal preference are darkly lit coridors, creepy atmosphere, awesome/scary looking monsters and demons, and just about everything else that might raise a game to my all-time high standards.

I'm not one to scare easily. In fact, I thought games like Dead Space 2 and Silent Hill: Downpour pretty much lacked what makes games REALLY scary. I found other games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent to be lacking in this category too, surprisingly. I guess I'm usually too busy thinking about the other three things on this list so much that I'm not even paying attention to what is supposed to be scaring me. But I do appreciate the effort that developers go through to create these darker games, and while they might not scare me like they should, I do like the creativity that goes into making sure that easily frightened people end up foaming at the mouth after an hours worth of play.


These are all heavily factored into my reviewing criteria, but when it comes to just enjoying my games, I turn off all of my critical senses. Except for these 4 traits, and a few others that I didn't mention. What it comes down to is a bit of a phsycological preference; what mind-set I like to stick with when I sleep through my days. It may seem like I'm a rather dark, straight-forward person, but I'm actually the total opposite of the traits that these four qualities represent.

How about you guys? What certain trait do you usually admire when you're playing a video-game? And for that matter, what trait of life do you just love seeing when you get the chance to see it?

-Cal Burkhart

Last Exile - 1/26

Episode 1: First Move

Summary:The lone battleship Silvanalocates a Disith fleet crossing the Grand Stream and destroys several ships in a surprise attack. After the remaining Disith ships escape, the Silvanawithdraws from the Grand Stream. In the frontier town of Norkia, 15-year-old pilot Claus Valcaand navigator Lavie Headprepare their vanship for the Norkia Cup race. On their next job call as sky couriers, Claus and Lavie accept a mission to deliver two letters to Duke DavidMad-Thanefrom his family. Mad-thane, an officer in the Anatoray navy, is leading a battle against a Disith fleet at Minagith under the supervision of the Guild. After a victory in the opening engagement using musketeers, Mad-thane's fleet continues to battle the Disith in artillery combat. However, the Anatoray fleet meets a surprise attack from a new Disith fleet as Claus and Lavie arrive on the flagship Claimh Solaisto deliver the letters.


On a whim, while searching for new stuff to watch, I stumbled upon the channel of Funimation on Youtube. I actually like a lot of what they put out, but I could definitely go beyond finger count of how much stupid **** I see on their channel. I really don't need to see anymore episodes of Full Metal Panic!, I feel like I'm dumb enough as is by simply going through the Mass Effect series just to get to a third game that'll disappoint me for all reasons beyond just having a bad ending. But with that series, there were good parts (the first game), and that good part on Funimations channel has seem to taken the form of a few really serious, and really griping stories.

One of the series that I'm talking about is "Last Exile", a series that was shown in the midst of 2003, featuring a ton of 3-D environments, blended in with some nice looking 2-D animation. And it's not like the movie Skyblue, where the transitions are kind of messy, but they meld together quite well. For something that came out as early as Last Exile, I was quite surprised when I found out that this didn't come out as soon as I thought (around 2008), but once the idea of 2003 being a label on this show arises, you'll begin to notice the overall lack of color, which is a common staple of post-apocalyptic worlds, but when done right with color (like Rage, for example), it can prove to be a pretty nice looking setting, regardless of being grim or not.

These colors are prevalent through out the entire first episode, even when the characters are in the sky. This brings me to the intro of the first episode, where we see a bunch of action happening on screen, all in the air. I'm still really fuzzy on why the main characters were doing this, but I bet it had something to do with the assorted jobs that them and an entire colony of post-apocalyptic junkies pick up for teh moniez. Speaking of main-characters, are you ready for the big reveal...?

They're teenagers!

As with the common trend of having the main characters being pre-pubescent teenagers, we have two 15 year olds going by the names of Claus (right), and Lavie (left). As far as any early character development goes, we really don't get much. Most of it goes to Claus, as we find out that he is a pretty good pilot of air-ships for someone who shouldn't even be highschool yet. It comes from his father, another character which seems without explanation, other than the fact that most shows like this have to have a father to the main character as a key influence. Claus and Lavie do give off a bit of their character: Lavie is an angry pseudo-ginger, and Claus is a shy, wavy-haired teenager (aren't they all).

As I've mentioned, they are apart of this job-system that entails various goals. The higher the risk (according to this star system), the more moniez they make. They take a 3 star job (how daring!), and are given a task by some king and his daughter to deliver some messages to giant airships who seem to be at civil war, and I mean civil war. Fleets in this series seem to have taken a liking to older means of battle: they use muskeets, line up in rows, and fire when given the order, instead of having, like, cover in the form of sand-bags anywhere. To me, this is kind of dumb, but they really haven't explained anything yet.

Through out this first episode, they rarely explain any of the lore in this world. Which comes at as a disappointment to me, because this is a cool looking world. It seems as though there's a ton of stuff that they aren't telling me, with subtle little hints along the way. Like how Claus and Lavie are surprised at fresh water, and actually stop to admire it. Or how when they're flying, they come across birds in the sky, and act surprised when they see them flying with them. When you look in the sky, you usually see birds (that's us), when these two see birds, they feel the need to point it out as if it were water in a post-apocalyptic wor- HEY WAIT A MINUTE.

The episode ends with these two delivering the letter I mentioned earlier, as they find they are on a ship that was at the wrong place at the right time. An ariel attack threatens the lives of everyone on the fleet, as they end the episode on a cliff-hanger as to what will happen next. So far, it's convoluted, and it's entertaining enough. Hope this blog wasn't too boring, I hope to do this with all of the episodes of this 26 episode series :P It's promising so far, I just hope they explain a little bit more about this interesting premise.

-Cal Burkhart

Learning Curve: Yay or Nay?

With the release of Armored Core 5, I've begun to look more deeply into what might be considered a "niche". By definition, a niche is "A shallow recess, esp. one in a wall to display a statue or other ornament". Translating this to game talk, it's something that has a small, hardcore audience of it's own. Armored Core has always been considered a niche in the gaming world, and the mech world. The reason that it hasn't gotten that much attention from either professional reviewers or the general public is because of something called a "learning curve".

Armored Core V Image

Pulling this definition from my mind, a learning curve is something that makes you think on past lessons brought to you by a game. You might think that you have everything down, and that you have nothing to worry about, but then the game throws something completely unexpected your ways for you to solve. Usually this thing is something that you have no knowledge about, and you have to figure out the best possible solution to figuring it out. In Armored Core V's case, it's figuring out how to customize your AC to cope with the current conflict. This has always been a huge tradition of the Armored Core series, and AC5 is even more into this notion because of the many new elements that it has seemed to gain from games like Dark Souls (which was also a From Software game).

What's the benefit of having this learning curve? Well, when talking about a game like Dark Souls, or Armored Core V, usually the word "difficult" is thrown around a lot. With that word comes talk of "satisfaction"; the feeling of completing something that just makes you feel like you should brag about it to your friends who haven't even heard of Dark Souls or Armored Core V. Figuring out how to deal with problems in these games feels like an achievement in itself, and you don't need a trophy or *be-dop!" to tell you that. Your mind tells you that you won, and you should feel good about yourself. At this point, the other side of the satisfaction-spectrum is pretty obvious if you've read to this point, but I'll pick one game that doesn't have a learning curve that I've given so much hate to.

Killzone 3 Image

While I'm not to fond of Killzone 3, I can see why a lot of people would like this game. The absense of a learning curve in most FPS's is pretty noticible, seeing as how all of what you do is just focusing your screen on something you want dead and pressing a button. This is true with pretty much 99% of FPS's or TPS's that don't involve puzzles. It means that getting to what you want in the game is entirely simple, and requires little thought. I wanted to bring Killzone 3 up in this case because that's pretty much what first came to mind when I thought "shallow games with no thought process involved at all". Don't get me wrong, I don't think this is a bad game, but all of the fancy set-pieces and mech sequences in this game all revolve around the same process "Shoot, then don't think".

Picking a game that isn't shooter-oriented that has no curve at all is a difficult task, but there are rare occasions like El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron that have this lack of any thought process. There's a hint of strategy in it, like Dynasty Warriors, but like those games, all that is required of the player is the goal of walking up to something and just mashing buttons on your controller, and you'd come out with favorable results most of the time.

Compare games like these to something like Chrome Hounds.

Just by looking at this, you could probably tell that there's a lot to worry about in this game. Oddly enough, this is also a From Software game. It's like they have a monopoly on just constantly being briliant in a "do it yourself" kind of way. It's hard to not find a game from From Software that actually has a ton of thought put into it. Even games like Enchanted Arms have quite a bit of depth in them, with problems that you need to constantly figure out. A learning curve, if you will.

It once again depends on preference as to whether or not you like games like Dark Souls and Deus Ex: Human Revolution over games like Killzone 3, or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. You can probably tell by my reviews of Skyrim and Killzone 3 that I'm not too much into games with simple objectives. Games like Dark Souls are special to me because they bring something that can only be brought with sheer genius. I find that the funnest games are ones that make you feel like an adult, constantly solving the worlds problems. I'm 16 years old right now, and there's nothing quite like getting past a hard part in a game that you've been trying at for days, and being rewarded mentally for doing so.

It's completely understandable if your more into the simple crowd though. Gaming is a hobby, and hobbies were made with the intention of letting people have fun through portals of oppurtunity brought on in the hobby. In gaming's case, it's being able to just sit down with a game that you've been wanting and just have a good time. Games like Call of Duty, Killzone 3, and Skyrim can easily provide this to you, and you'd rarely ever look back.

What do you think?

-Cal Burkhart

A Few Quick Qustions

Oh hai thar everyone. Thanks for giving your opinions on my last blog, I really liked reading what all of you had to say. I really hope you guys are more right than I am about the subject, because I just love gaming in general. I wouldn't want it to go away just because of my playing experiences with some people. With that out of the way, I had a few questions about some things. I'm not sure where I should ask them, but right here seems like a pretty good spot, so here are my questions:

If you buy Mass Effect 2 for the 360 right now, would it include the DLC like it did with the first Mass Effect? I noticed that the PS3 version got this deal, but I haven't seen anything saying anything about whether or not the 360 version finally got it's "complete" edition.

Does Dragon Age have trophies on the PS3? This is kind of a silly question, but I'm having a some doubts on some 2009 games. Besides that, which platform would you pick Dragon Age on?

Does Mass Effect 3 blow chuncks like everyone is saying it does? I tend to avoid opinions about games that are barely a week old, but this game has been ransacked just as hard as Dragon Age II was when it was released.

That's about it for that. Thanks in advanced for answering my questions (if you did >.>)

Online Multiplayer: Is It Tearing Gaming Apart?

Hello again everyone. I've been thinking a lot about my online experiences lately, and it's definitely had it's bumps and left turns. We've all had mixed experiences with online gaming, whether it be through Generic Shooter #276, or anything else that requires competetion or cooperation. Through all of this though, we've continued to buy into the whole multiplayer craze and stick with it. We've gone through 6 years of this generation now, and multiplayer has become more and more important when it comes to games, and it's made me think of something. Is all of this multiplayer going to basically ruin gaming for everybody who doesn't like to involve themselves with multiplayer?

What sparked this thought firstly was a guy named Silent Rob. You probably know him if you've searched Youtube enough to know even the most obscure of gaming channels (of which there are many, thank you 12 year olds). Silent Rob is definitely one of the most violent people I've seen in his videos, and while he might not be the smartest or deepest of gamers I've ever seen, his points and the way he makes them make him very interesting to listen to (along with his excessive cursing). Here's the main video that made me start writing this: Excessive Cursing/Vulgarity, viewer discretion advised).

Basically, this is another video that loathes the news of a new Call of Duty game, with Black Ops 2 being the victim this time. When he starts describing the game at around the 2 minute mark, he starts to talk about the multiplayer. He described it in his vivid language, and basically summed up what multiplayer has broke down to over the years. We all don't want to believe it, but multiplayer is slowly degrading to Call of Duty levels, basically wringing every game of any possiblity of there ever being a comprehensive multiplayer experience. He talks about multiplayer a lot in his videos, and it's all essentially true: everything has become "generic" at this point, thanks to Call of Duty.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Image

But that's not the only tired point I'm trying to make here. Going back to what I first said at the beginning of this blog, my online experiences have been less than fun over the years, mostly on Xbox Live. The reason that my online time hasn't exactly been stellar, is because the various audiences that consist of people who are there for the soul purpose of making you have a bad time. Whether they be overly competetive, under-aged, or just down right annoying, there have been gamers who have just made themselves apparent through their repetitive stereotypes. They just ruin everybodies good time, mine included.

Take this article as support to my claims:

According to a survey of about 41,000 people, 1/3 of this crowd perferred not to play online because of other people. Most of the complaints came from the same complaints that I earlier mentioned: overly competetive, under-aged, or just down right annoying. There was one user statement that I felt summed up my point perfectly:

"The one big reason... is the behaviour of other players. The freedom of being somewhat anonymous and physically removed from the competition and teammates seems to bring out the jerk in a significant portion of online players, a freedom to frequently and casually fling homophobic and racist slurs around. It isn't just once in a while; it has happened every single time I've ever played online multiplayer. Every time without exception. I'm not thin-skinned enough to take offense at some stranger's bigotry but, at the same time, it does make it less fun for me – and fun is the reason why I play video games in the first place."

Later on in the article they have the other side of the spectrum; people who are in defense of online gaming. Although, their reasoning is a bit more, um, unorthodox.

"Lets face it. You LOVE multiplayer games. You just suck at them. Hard. You may be one if those rare gamers that doesn't actually play them but in that case you're probably lying."

"The reason people done like online shooters is because they suck at them."

"In the first question, you forgot to add the most common answer to the question "why don't you play shooters online?". "because I suck"."

"ummm grandma... they invinted the internet so we dont need split screening. Back in the day when not every kid had a console it made sense. But when just about every house hold in the western world has a console. the internet makes more sense."

"people who hate online gaming either suck at, are anti social, or have dial up internet really, why would you want split screen? split screen sucks!"

"LOL the author of this article is a baby... You can have your 1P shooters, they stink and you know it."

I've made a few blogs before with complaints about how multiplayer is going to eventually destroy the industry, but before that even happens, most people who play games for entertainment will just die out. I'm not saying that multiplayer can't be a fun time, it can. Unfortunately though, it's rare that you will ever find something like this with online gaming. Gears of War 3, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3, Battlfield 3, and a hell of a lot more have the potential to be awesome games online, with cooperation and competetion being served in steady amounts and with your enjoyment being the upmost task.

It's such a shame that gaming has boiled down to this.

-Cal Burkhart, a person who is adding on to this tomorrow.

Interesting Subject: The Last Rebellion

Um, hi. How's everyone doing? I'm doing pretty fine, saucey actually. So much so that I decided to look around the deepest part of the gaming barrel for something that peaked my interest. There are a lot of titles that I'm really interested in, but there has been this one title that's been bugging me for the past two years. It's a largely unknown game from everybodies favorite group of Japanese people, NIS. I've been wanting to pick this game up for two reasons:

  1. It's box-art. There are two things in particular that I like about. Firstly, that NIS logo is on there, and I've come to learn that these NIS games never usually get unanimous praise amongst critics. Second, the overall simplicity of it. There really isn't much to the box-art, but that's what I like about it. It doesn't tell me anything about the game, but it does through enough color in to perch my interests just enough to want to try it out.
  2. The reception. While I said that NIS games are never really "fantastic" in a concrete sort of way, this game stands out because it's the single worst rated game to come out of this companies folds. It's got a Metacritic average of 44, and Gamespot actually gave it a 3.5 (ouch). There's something about games like this with these kind of ratings that interests me: how could it be that bad?

I'm talking about the game I mentioned in the header of this blog (duh),The Last Rebellion.

Last Rebellion Boxshot

I doubt many of you have even heard of this game, and even fewer have played it. I guess I could count that as another reason to want to play this. So many people have been deluded any information on this interesting title, and the user reviews are so mixed on this site (to an extent, I mean. This game is sitting right on the median of the 10 scale). I haven't played a terrible game since Call of Juarez: The Cartel last year, and this game as my interest up.

What would you do in a situation like this? Would you buy it, or would you just let it slip through the cracks?

Oh, and I just realized that this was my 100th blog! :D

Oh hai thar everyone.

Man, I've been up to a lot. Instead of writing paragraphs about it though, I'll tell you through aBULLET-LIST OF EXCELLENCE.

  • My back-log is slowly deteriorating: since my last blog, I've completed Rage, Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, and Far Cry Instincts Predator (both Instincts and Evolution [in one day!]) Right now I'm working on Far Cry 2, and a couple of PSN games I haven't really bothered with.
  • I've also been writing a bunch of stuff. While what I've gotten to in recent memories is The Darkness 2, I'm also working on reviews for games that I've really dug since 2010, like Fallout New Vegas. Which leads me to two questions I have for you guys.

QUESTION 1:What game should I get next? I'm open for absolutely anything within the 2010 limit, but I'd perfer something with lastabillity.

QUESTION 2:What should my next "Yay or Nay?" be? I've been looking for ideas lately, yet nothing seems to come to mind. I love doing them, but I don't want to pick a subject that could feel like a cop-out.

I'll try to be more active here, I've loved reading a lot of user reviews on here lately (believe it or not). Hope everyone has a super-special-awesome presidents day tomorrow! :D