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Bayonetta Review

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This will be the final of 3 reviews I post today.

BAYONETTA REVIEW

946346_20090312_790screen002.jpgBayonetta is what I like to refer to as a Gamers game. The story doesnt make any sense, the action is absurd, and there are plenty of boss battles. Its a throwback to the early days of gaming.

This a game for gamers who enjoy a challenge, and like to see crazy stuff on screen.

LOVED

Lady Ninja Gaiden: Fast paced, over the top action that rewards practice. That is what defines Bayonetta, and her Ninja Gaiden lineage. The game can be a sight to behold if youre able to master her skillset.

Its Japanese: Bayonetta is unapologetically Japanese. From how Bayonetta herself is designed, to the bosses she fights, to the nonsensical story, this game is just outright crazy. Just roll with it because the gameplay is indeed fun and challenging.

Its a Video Game: Platinum Games doesnt try to pretend Bayonetta is anything other than a video game. Characters with guns on their feet, characters walking on walls, tons of gore, and theres even bosses with upside down baby faces. Its a video game, alright, and theres no shame in it.

HATED

Its Japanese: Its no surprise why Bayonetta wasnt a commercial success in the Western markets. Bayonetta herself is over-the-top sexy, and some of her moves are nearly cringe inducing. The enemy designs are outlandish and sometimes its hard to make out what a boss is (upside down baby face, really?).

It's a Video Game: Repeating boss battles, difficulty spikes, the story is hard to follow, and the voice acting is downright terrible. It's a good thing the game doesn't take itself seriously.

CONCLUSION

Bayonetta harkens back to the days when games didnt take themselves too seriously, and were all about crazy, over-the-top fun. If you can handle a heavy dose of Japanese aesthetics, then theres plenty of fun to be had. Just make sure to equip the sword once you obtain it.

SCORE: 8.0 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: About 12hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 440 / 1000

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GAMING UPDATE

Well, that's all for now. I'll post my reviews of Mario Galaxy 1 (finally finished it!!!) and Bastion later. I'm currently playing through Dead Space 2, and hope to have it done before Halo 4 drops. :)

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!

Mass Effect 3 Review

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I've had this review typed out for a little while, just never got around to posting it. Need to do it now before I forget about the game:

MASS EFFECT 3995452_20120126_640screen003.jpg

NOTE: This is a review includes the free Extended Cut DLC for the ending.

Mass Effect 3 concludes one of the most ambitious gaming endeavors yet. The premise was that your decisions/actions in ME1 would carry over to ME2, and again from ME2 over to ME3. While this is all true to an extent, this vision was not fully realized.

Still, ME3 is an enjoyable experience, made even better if you played both ME1 and ME2. Story/companion arcs, inter-species conflicts, and even romantic relationships come to a head in this game. ME3 is the payoff for all the work youve done in the previous 2 games.

BioWare even introduced a new co-op mode in Galaxy at War, which is fantastic if youre a co-op fan. A group of 4 players take on 10 waves of enemies. Theres a good selection of character classes, weapons, and biotic powers to choose from. Matches dont take long (about 30 minutes at max), and this mode is a good training ground for the campaign.

LOVED

The Shepard Chronicles: Space Jesus returns for one final outing. If youre invested in your Shepard, then ME3 gives you the closure youve been looking for, but you need to download the Extended Cut DLC first (shame it had to be that way). I was disappointed with some decisions the writer(s) made, but ultimately, I was satisfied with the ending. It was, however, awesome to see how your decisions in ME1 & ME2 affected the outcome of ME3. I hope more devs do this next gen.

War, Everywhere: The new Galaxy at War co-op mode is just a blast. Being a huge co-op fan, I put in over 30hrs into GaW before even starting the campaign. The mode is a great way to experiment with the various character classes you may not have otherwise.

Its Unreal: Like EPIC Games and Gears 3, this is the third round BioWare has had with UE3 and Mass Effect, and its a noticeable improvement. The game looks and performs better than ever. This is also evident by how fluid the combat is compared to the prequel. ME3 does not shy away from being an Action RPG.

HATED

Wheres My Crew?: In ME2, you spent nearly the entire game gathering a loyal crew if you wanted the best ending (I did). All of that is thrown away at the beginning of ME3. Your loyal crew is now scattered across the galaxy, doing their own thing. I really like the crew in ME2, and was disappointed BioWare went this route.

A Proper Ending: While the Extended Cut DLC was sorely needed, its a damn shame BioWare had to do it in the first place. The whole scenario just screams laziness. But to be fair, the DLC really does give the game a proper ending with the more detailed explanations.

Whos That?: While the issue was correct later with a patch, if you played ME3 at/near launch, then you had to recreate your Shepard if you had a custom guy/gal. For a series that trumpeted importing your save files from each game, this issue was inexcusable.

CONCLUSION

The Mass Effect trilogy began with so much promise that it was a bit heartbreaking to find out how much of a mess the campaign was at launch. Upon boot-up, you couldnt import your custom Shepard, your loyal crew from ME2 was nowhere to be found, and the ending reeked of laziness with how open-ended it was. Thankfully, BioWare corrected these issue, but for some, it was too little, too late.

The best surprise for me was the new Galaxy at War co-op mode. I got to play with character classed I wouldve never tried if not for this mode. The matches dont take long, and BioWare supported this mode with free DLC for a while.

ME3 was a bit difficult for me to score. I was (very) disappointed is some decisions BioWare made, but in the end I still played the game for over 50hrs, and Ill probably do the DLC later on.

SCORE: 9.0 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: Over 50hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 850 / 1250

GAMING UPDATE

I'll have my Bayonetta reveiw up soon...

Gears of War 3 + DLC Review

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Good morning, GameSpot! :D It's been a while, huh?

Well, I've been doing my thing, got a new job back in December, and still working on my gaming backlog. I'll be posting a few reviews today. Short, but sweet

GEARS OF WAR 3 + DLC REVIEW

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Gears 3 is the culmination of a series that, in some ways, defines this generation of consoles; The (still great) graphics, the over-the-top gore, the cover mechanic, the emphasis on co-op (Horde and Beast modes), and a satisfying competitive multiplayer mode. The console gaming market would probably be different today if Gears 1 didnt become such a massive success back in 2006.

Gears of War 3 concludes the trilogy begun 5yrs before, and may just be EPIC Games best title yet. The game is one of the most feature-rich titles out there, with 4 player campaign co-op (that includes an Arcade mode where you can enable fun mutators), Horde and Beast modes, and the standard competitive multiplayer flare (with the Party System!). While Gears 3 may not sway those who didnt like prequels, there is much to love here for fans of the series.

LOVED

4 Player Bangin: Im a huge fan of co-op, and was very happy when EPIC announced Gears 3 would (finally) have 4 player co-op, since there were almost always 4 characters in the squad in Gears 1 & 2. Everything works as expected, and its great fun when you have a group of 4 together.

Let Them Come!: First introduced in Gears 2, the Horde Mode has been expanded with tower defense mechanics, and even mutators to increase the craziness. (Insane difficulty is now doable with mutators) Many hours can be spent on Horde mode alone, and much fun can be had. In my view, Horde mode is the co-op experience of this generation.

Focused Development: Gears 3 is a prime example of what can be achieved when a developer focuses on a single platform (ie, 1st Party) over the span of 3 games. EPIC delivered a game that looks, runs, and sounds as good as any game on X360/PS3, is feature-rich, and even has dedicated servers for multiplayer. Microsoft needs to secure more 3rd party deals like this if they dont plan to beef up their 1st part portfolio.

Dedication: EPIC learned from their Gears 2 launch blunder, and brought it for Gears 3. The netcode is improved, but best of all are the dedicated servers for MP. You dont always play on dedi servers, though. But overall, Gears 3 is a smooth experience online.

RAAM It: The first (and only?) campaign DLC is a step back in time when Gears 1s villain, General RAAM, is in his prime, ready to mess some humans up. You split time playing as RAAM tearing through humans and new (and some old) COG soldiers in what turns out to be an entertaining romp that gives a glimpse of what direction the Gears franchise may head in the future.

Stoppin & Poppin: Love or hate it, the Gears series has its own distinct gameplay style. And EPIC refined & polished this formula to a nice shine for Gears 3. Your characters arent as sticky when he/she comes near a wall. The result is a more fluid sense of gameplay.

HATED

S.O.S.: At launch and for a few months after, the sawed-off shotgun was overpowered, leading to abuse in multiplayer. The blast radius was simply too wide. This wasnt game-breaking, but very disappointing considering Gears 3 had a public beta that shouldve caught this problem. To EPICs credit, they nerfed the SOS in an update, bringing weapon balance back to the game.

Reap What You Sow: Regardless of whether is EPICs or Microsofts fault (or both), Gears 3 is a prime example of anti-consumer practices being adopted across the industry. Retailer-exclusive preorder bonuses, paid weapon-skin DLC, and (for some) Season Pass. Its unfortunate.

CONCLUSION

Gears 3 in many ways encapsulates the current generation of console gaming with its feature-rich offering; 4 player online co-op, Players vs AI Horde and Beast co-op modes, the always-appreciated Party System, and 10 player multiplayer. The game does not shy away from its over-the-top action & gore heritage, either. EPICs Unreal Engine 3 has been refined to near-perfection, and the game looks and performs exceptional. This game is a showcase of the X360s potential.

On the other hand, Gears 3 also highlights the negative trends the gaming industry is heading towards with retailer-exclusive DLC and weapon & character skins paid DLC. But at least those were cosmetic DLC.

SCORE: 9.5 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: Over 50hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 1150 / 1250

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GAMING UPDATE

I'll be posting at least 2 more reviews today; 1 for Mass Effect 3 and 1 for Bayonetta.

Right now, my backlog stands at: Red Dead Redemption, Ass Creed 2 and Dead Space 2

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG! :)

Uncharted 3 Review & Gaming Update

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I have to catch up on my reviews:

UNCHARTED 3 REVIEW
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I think it's safe to say that Naughty Dog established itself as one of the premier development studios with the Uncharted series this gen. Uncharted 2 was the realization of the PS3's potential, and the game rightfully won many accolades to complement the platinum-level sales. I scored the game a perfect 10.0 / 10.0 and couldn't wait for the next series entry.

So, did U3 live up to my hype?....

LOVED

The Drake Chronicles: Any chance to step back into the world of Nathan Drake is a good thing. U3 continues the Drake's treasure hunting escapades, and even delves into his background. A solid effort on the narrative front.

More Like Naughty God, amiright?: There may no better showcase of the PS3's potential than Uncharted 3. The graphics are superb, the framerate is steady, the animations are top notch, and the DTS audio demands a home theater system. Studios like ND are why 1st party games are important to the industry, as they can realize a console's full potential.

A Full Plate: As with U2, the sequel offers a great multiplayer component to jump into once you've finished the campaign. ND even expanded the co-op feature, making it more enjoyable.

Party On, Dude: I've said it before, and I'll say it again; Every MP game should have a Party System. ND wisely included the feature in U2 and again in U3. There's nothing better than getting a group of friends, and jumping from game to game together.

Nolan North & Friends: Once again the voice acting is superb in U3. Nolan North has said Drake is his favorite character, and it shows. The rest of the cast puts in another admirable performance. Superb voice acting combined with impressive mo-cap makes for a movie-like experience.

HATED

A Knife to a Gun Fight: The melee combat is serviceable, but not all that enjoyable. This wouldn't be a problem if there wasn't so much of it.

Forever-Alone.jpg: Part of the narrative appeal in Uncharted 2 was the love triangle Drake got himself into. Yet, that was all but abandoned in U3, mainly because of the lifesty1e Drake lives. A disappointment for me.

Drake, The Mass Murderer: You kill a ton of dudes in U3. Not that this is any different from U2, but it take a bit of a disconnect knowing that Drake is supposed to be an "everyday" regular dude, yet he's able to kill off a ton of skilled soldiers.

CoD-ized: The MP now features perks, as first seen in the CoD series. I'm not opposed to the Perk System, but I liked the non-perk MP structure of U2 more. It's unfortunate ND decided to go this route.

CONCLUSION

Uncharted 3 is fantastic showcase of the PS3 hardware. The game looks superb, the voice acting is good enough to be in movie, the audio design will make you happy to own a home theater system, and there's a solid MP offering to keep you busy for months after you've finished the campaign. U3 is the complete package.


My complaints are more nitpicky than anything. The narrative is still solid, yet takes a step back in regards to Drake's personal life. The MP is refined, yet now features the Perk System popularized by CoD. (Whether that's a plus or minus is up to you.)

SCORE: 9.0 / 10.0
TIME PLAYED: About 15hrs
TROPHY DETAIL: 44% Collected


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Gaming Update

I'm almost finished with Mario Galaxy 1! I have 117 stars, and I'm hoping to get the rest tonight. Great game.

Batman Arkham City Review & Gaming Update

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It's been a while, huh? I hope all is well with whomever still reads my blog. :D Well, I mainly post at NeoGAF now. So that's where I'm at if I'm talking games online.

Let's get to it....

Batman: Arkham City Review

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I really don't know why I waited until 2011 to play Batman Arkham Asylum because not only did the game receive a ton of praise in 2009 when it was released, but I'm also a fan of Batman. But damn, AA blew me away when I finally did play it. It was a nearly flawless game in my eyes.

Thus, my hype for the sequel was pretty high. But did Arkham City live up to my expectations?

LOVED

The Goddamn Batman: Rocksteady nailed probably the most important aspect in working with a comic book license; Making you feel like the Batman. Whether it's taking on a group of thugs, using your gadgets, or zipping around Arkham City, you feel like The Goddamn Batman.

That Joker Voice: Once again, a superb voice acting job done by the Batman TAS team, and special honors to Nolan North's edition of the Penguin. Every voice just "feels" right with the character. Might be nostalgia talking a bit there.

Take Your Best Shot: Rocksteady refined and expanded on the already excellent melee combat from AA. I really enjoyed divebombing a group, quickly chaining up a combo, and then taking them all down with a fury of bats. Highly enjoyable combat.

Fan Service: Like with AA, it's easy to tell Arkham City was developed by Batman fans for Batman fans. Even with just a passing knowledge of Batman lore, I still appreciated all the winks & nods to the fanbase.

But Wait, There's More: Again, like with AA, there are numerous challenges to tackle once you finish the main campaign. Some are easy, others with leave you with white knuckles. A great way to extend the life of this game. And you can use any of the alternate Batman costumes you may own.

Treats for the Eyes & Ears: AC is a damn fine looking game, and the audio design is no slouch either. Perfect game to show off to friends & family.


HATED

Grand Theft Batman: Moving from the closed environment of Arkham Asylum to the open world of Arkham City was for the worse. I found it difficult to focus on a mission when my attention was being grabbed by people getting mugged, or The Joker calling to annoy me, or any of the various side-boss missions to take on. I felt this took away from the central narrative Rocksteady had in mind.

Bad Kitty: For all the fuss made about Catwoman's missions being locked behind an Online Pass, I found her missions and story arc to be completely forgettable, and not worth the fuss. It was an interesting side mission, but not fleshed out enough to care about.

Online Pass / Retail Exclusives: Unfortunately, gamers have to jump through hoops to experience everything Batman AC has to offer.

Riddler Did What?: Over 400 Riddler trophies to collect? That's a crazy amount. Seems to me that Rocksteady just went overboard with this idea. I'd be very interested to know the percentage of gamers who collected even half of them.


CONCLUSION

Batman AC is a weird case for me. On one hand, I can recognize AC as a better, more refined product than AA. On the other hand, AC just didn't have that "wow" factor that AA had on me. The (excellent) melee combat is better, the main story arc is pretty good, and there's plenty of things to do that you could easily spend 40hrs on the game. Unfortunately, while the move to a more open environment in Arkham City is great in concept, the execution felt like a disjointed mess compared to the more-focused approach of Arkham Asylum.

In the end, Arkham City is another great game from Rocksteady. It should be played by anyone who enjoyed AA. It's always great to see superheroes get the love & attention they need in the gaming industry.

SCORE: 8.5 / 10.0
TIME PLAYED: About 15hrs
ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 345 / 1000

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GAMING UPDATE

I've been slacking on my reviews. Over the past few months I've finished Batman AC, Uncharted 3 and Gears 3 (plus DLC).And...AND I'm nearly finished with Mario Galaxy 1!! :D

So I'll be posting my other reviews in the upcoming weeks.

Until I blog again, here's the games I'll be playing:

- Mario Galaxy 1: Almost finished with it...only 15 stars to go.

- Gears of War 3 multiplayer

- The Simpsons Arcade

- Mass Effect 3 Demo multiplayer

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG! :D

Mass Effect 2 + DLC Review and Gaming Updates

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Howdy, GameSpot! :D

Another game has been cleared from THE BACKLOG! It was a long time coming and I'm so glad to have played Mass Effect 2. Sad part is, I bought the game on launch day in 2010 from my EA-employee friend, but for some reason I never got around to playing the game until now. :(

For some backstory; I played Mass Effect 1 on X360 in 2007 and thought it was a good, not great, game. I remember the narrative being pretty good, the inventory system being a mess, and the combat being solid. There were definite areas to improve on, but overall, ME1 was a good start to a trilogy.

How did ME2 stack up? Do I think the game is worthy of all the praise & sales?

MASS EFFECT 2 + DLC REVIEW

ME

Mass Effect 2 is the second, and darker, part of the Mass Effect trilogy. Very similar to Empire Strikes Back in the original Star Wars trilogy. Commander Shepard is now aware of the Reaper threat and has to form an elite team to save the Galaxy.

DISCLAIMER: This a 2011 review of a 2010 game. Meaning that my version of ME2 had all of the updates/patches that may have annoyed gamers at the launch of the game. Plus, I got to play the DLC right away.

LOVED

The Shepard Chronicles: BioWare pitched Mass Effect as a trilogy where your decisions stay with you across each installment. I imported my save file from ME1 and it was cool to have my Shepard look the same, but it was even cooler to see how my decisions in ME1 helped shape the world of ME2. You really do feel like your decisions matter in the ME universe. I'm super excited to find out how this feature plays out in ME3.

Lemme Tell Ya Something: RPGs live & die by the strength of their narratives, and Bioware crafted an excellent story for ME2. Although it's evident ME2's story is just a set-up for ME3, the bulk of ME2's narrative is spent assembling yoursquad. Finding out whatmotivates them, and how their history shaped who they are gives you an attachment to each squadmate. I found this very entertaining and I was happy to keep them all alive. One of the better narratives in gaming today.

Blastin' Fools!: Make no mistake,Mass Effectis an Action RPG series, and ME2 has a ton of action. Bioware refined the combat system from ME1 and the result is one of the better Third Person Shooter mechanics in gaming. I played as a Vanguard, so I had a mix of biotic powers and the ability to use guns like the shotgun and assault rifle. I found the combat extremely satisfying.

End Game: The last hour, or two, of ME2 was so engrossing to me. I cheered out loud for most of it. I was glued to my seat and my knuckles were white from all the excitement. Extremely well done finale by Bioware. Excellent pay off for all the time invested earlier.

Lair of the Shadow Broker: An awesome DLC episode considered by Giantbomb as the #1 DLC of 2010. You help a former squadmate from ME1 (Liara) take down her nemesis, the Shadow Broker. A solid narrative topped off by an actual Boss fight. Simply a must-play for ME2 owners.

Speak Up!: The voice acting is top-notch in ME2, which is crucial considering how much talking is done in the game. While Shepard's voice actor is merely OK, characters like Mordin, Jack, Miranda and Thane come to life because of the voice acting.

New Game Plus: While I haven't used the it yet, this feature should be standard across all games of this narture. Being rewarded for multiple playthroughs is always a great idea.

Refined Engine: As is typically the case with sequels because developers have more experience with a console, the game engine in ME2 runs noticeably better than before. The result is a smoother experience with less load times.

Achievement Hunter: All of the Achievements/Trophies are straightforward as fairly easy to get. I like that. :)

HATED

Minerals, Shminerals...: In order to do any upgrades in ME2, you have scan planets and mine them for their resources.Resources thatare thenused for upgrades. So what happens is that you spend hours on a boring sidegame just to upgrade your squad. To be fair, Bioware released a patch to speed up this process. But I still probably spent over 3hrs doing this, even worse is that I had way more minerals than I needed. ugh....

This is my Rifle, There are many like it: It's a shame you can't customize your weapons in ME2. In fact, the weapon selection in ME2 is lacking, overall.

Empire Strikes Back Syndrome: Like I mentioned earlier, ME2 mainly just sets up for ME3. The main story arc of taking on the Reapers is barely advanced in ME2. In fact, it could be argued that Shepard is left in the same place (squad is ready to fight, Shepard has his own ship, there's a love interest, etc) he was at the end of ME1.

CONCLUSION

Mass Effect 2 is the Empire Strikes Back of the Mass Effect trilogy, which is a good thing. While the narrative goes ina different direction that what you might expect, assembling your squad to fight the Reapers (in ME3) is still a fantastic experience. As you recruit each squadmate, you discover who they are and why they want to help you, which creates attachment to each character. You'll want to keep them alive, as their loyalty to you greatly aides to your success in ME2.

Bioware refined their game engine and combat system to deliver a smoother, more action-heavy experience in ME2. The clunky inventory system from ME1 is gone, as are the notorious load times disguisedelevator rides. What you experience is amore streamlined game than before, where the emphasis is on combat and dialogue.

Mass Effect 2 is where we begin to see Bioware making good on their vision for the franchise. Your decisions carry weight from one game to the next. And I couldn't be any more excited to see what's in store fore Mass Effect 3.

SCORE: 9.5 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: About 40hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 1240 / 1355

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GAMING UPDATE

SO glad to have ME2 done! So glad! :D

Not only was ME2 a fantastic experience, but this means there's only one game left in THE BACKLOG! :o One game left...that being Mario Galaxy 1...from 2007. :lol:

But with Gears 3 coming out next week, I won't be playing Mario Galaxy just yet. I probably won't start playing it until late October, actually.

So until I blog again, these will be the games I'm playing:

- Gears of War 3

- NCAA Football 12 (X360)

- Outland (XBLA)

- Halo Reach

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG! :D

GTA IV: Episodes from Liberty City Review & Gaming Update

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What's up, GameSpot. Another game cleared from THE BACKLOG! :D

I don't have much time today, so let's do this...

GTA IV: EPISODES FROM LIBERTY CITY REVIEW

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As you may recall (or not), I very much enjoyed GTA IV. So much that I rated the game a 10 / 10 (not that I thought the game was perfect though). The score was the highest recommendation I could give. GTA IV blew me away.

So, it was a foregone conclusion I would buy the DLC episodes that MS announced at E3. How did the DLC compare to my hype?:

LOVED

More GTA IV: Any chance to go back to the world of GTA IV is a good thing. Rockstar created a wonderful sandbox named Liberty City, and it's great to have more content to play in it.

Tighter Experience: Being episodic content in nature, Rockstar was able to create a tighter, more focused experience compared to the main GTA IV story arc. The narratives are well written, well (voice) acted, and easy to follow. There are less missions (as to be expected), but there is a good amount of variety. It's a joy to experience what Rockstar can do when they already have an engine/template to work with.

Brother Johnny: I really liked theTLAD's main protagonist Johnny Klebitz. The Rockstar writers definitely have the knack of crafting likeable characters. I thought I would like TBOGT's Luis more, but it was the biker gang dude I liked the most. Johnny is a cool mofo. :)

Friends with Benefits: Very early on in each DLC episode you have access to friends with cheap guns and vehicles. No need to woo them into helping you out. This meant that for every mission, I had a bulletproof vest and plenty of ammo. A wise decision by Rockstar.

I heart Liberty City: As I stated in my main GTA IV review, the sandbox deserves it's own praise. It's a technical marvel to me. Liberty City is the most "alive" digital city I've experienced.

HATED

What the HELLicopter?!: Absolutely atrocious helicopter controls. Very frustrating, and it's even worse when you consider how well all the other vehicles in GTA IV control.

On Easy Street: Episodes from Liberty City is almost too easy. But maybe I'm just better at the game, and/or I was better prepared (bulletproof vest, plenty of ammo) for the missions. I dunno, but I expected a little more challenge.

CONCLUSION

As with the mainGTA IV story arc, Episodes from Liberty City is a fantastic experience that should be experienced by all. Rockstar flexed its creative muscles in crafting 2 very entertaining narratives set in their wonderful sandbox of Liberty City. The voice acting is once again top notch and the action is varied in what is a more-focused experience than what is found in mainline GTA IV.

The only setbacks I could find were the atrocious helicopter controls and the easy difficulty. Otherwise, this game is a great excuse to experience the technical marvel that is Liberty City again.

SCORE: 9.0 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: About 20hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 325 / 500

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GAMING UPDATE

So, so glad to have this game done! :D And dammit, I wish I waited until I was really ready to play these DLCs because they are cheaper now. :lol: Oh well.

Anyway, with Fable 2 and GTA IV cleared from THE BACKLOG, I can focus on NCAA Football 12 with no regrets. In fact, I'm going to focus on a few multiplayer games for a little while before working on some more backlog games.

Unitl I blog again, these wil be the games I'm playing:

- NCAA Football 12 (X360)

- Halo Reach

- SSFIV Arcade Edition (X360)

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG! :D

Fable 2 Review & Gaming Update

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Another game cleared from THE BACKLOG! And when I say backlog, I mean backlog. Fable 2 came out 3 years ago, and the sequel is already out. :lol:

The first Fable was a solid game on Xbox1. Nothing great, but I had a good time with it....good enough for me to want to play Fable 2.

So how does Fable 2 hold up in 2011?

FABLE II REVIEW

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Fable 2 brought gamers back to the world of Albion after their first trip in 2004. As before, gamers will affect the world around them with their good or evil choices in Fable 2, and Lion Head Studios added a canine companion to join you on the journey.

The power of the Xbox 360 enabled more of Peter Molyneaux's vision to be realized. The world of Ablion is more alive than before, and the player's actions/decisions have are more profound effect on the world.

LOVED

Western RPG: Fable 2 is unapologetically a Western RPG. From the freedom to choose your own path to the real-time combat, Lion Head crafted a game suited for Western tastes. Fable 2 has some great ideas, even if they aren't all implemented well.

Thy Be British: The voice acting, which there is a good amount of, is all done by people with British accents. I loved it.

On Guard!: The combat is in real-time and flows pretty fast. Battle last only a few minutes and the action can get hectic. Fable 2 is an action RPG at heart.

Man's Best Friend: I almost didn't list the pup, but I played the Knothe Island DLC's first mission without the dog and I missed him. I don't know exactly why I missed the dog, but I did and I resurrected him at first chance. Otherwise, he was mainly a distraction that found treasure for me.

HATED

That's It?!?: Let's face it, the story is crucial for any RPG and Fable 2's narrative isn't anything special. Now the story isn't bad, but it's not something you'll remember years later either.

Too Much Power: The player is given a variety of magic powers, but only 5 can be used at one time and only at different levels of strength. Plus, if you want the magic to be effective, then you have to focus on about 3 magic spells for most of your game. I mainly stuck with Time Control, Raise the Dead, and Shock for 80% of the game.

Makin' That Money: To put it simply, I don'tenjoy games like EA'sThe Sims. So Fable 2's economic system being built around buying/managing real estate and working tedious jobs didn't appeal to me, at all. I didn't buy any property, but I did work a job for money.

CONCLUSION

Fable 2 is a solid Western RPG that just misses the mark of greatness. The narrative is a bit of a letdown, but the realtime combat is quite enjoyable. One of the most hyped features of the game was your dog, but I found him to be a distraction most of the time.

The world of Albion does have its charm, however. Your actions/decisions will affect Albion in profound ways. While I only played the Good side, there's enough content to make 2 trips through Albion to see how the Evil side plays out.

SCORE: 8.0 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: About 20hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 685 / 1350

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GAMING / BACKLOGUPDATE

Making progress! :D With Fable 2 out of the way, I just need to finish The Ballad of Gay Tony DLC before July 12th when NCAA Football 12 drops. That's a little more than 2 weeks away. I think I can do it.

Oh, and I've been doing good on my work-outs and diet. I've lost about 7 lbs so far. :D

Until I blog again, these will be the games I'm playing:

- Halo Reach

- GTA IV: Ballad of Gay Tony

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG!

LIMBO Review & Gaming Update

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I don't buy many XBLA games, but I try to get the ones everyone talks about. LIMBO came out in July 2010 and the gaming world took notice. Some websites, like Giantbomb, even considered it in the running for X360 GotY.

So I waited until LIMBO went on sale and jumped on it. Did the game live up to the hype?

LIMBO REVIEW

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LIMBO came out last year to almost universal appraise from critics & gamers alike. From the simple gameplay to the minimalist visuals, the game easily stood out. The gaming press talked about LIMBO a good amount last year, so I definitely wanted toplay it. But being the quasi-frugal person that I am, I waited until LIMBO went on sale for $7.50 to buy it.

Here what I thought:

LOVED

Brooding Atmosphere: The world of LIMBO is a tough place for the little boy. Death awaits him at nearly every corner. Failure often means death for him. Even the locals are out to kill him. But the absolute worst thing has to be the GIGANTIC SPIDER the boy has to avoid. Simply a fantastic, and memorable setting for the game.

Quite theLooker: LIMBO's minimalist visuals will leave an impression on you. A wise decision by PlayDead Studios as the graphics perfectly compliment the game's atmosphere. I really liked how you have to use your imagination to picture all that goes on in the game.

I Got This!: I know I'm not the smartest person in the world, but I'm not the dumbest either. So I appreciated how I could solve every puzzle without having to look at a guide.

HATED

Standardized Pricing: LIMBO is a quality game, but I don't know if it's worth $15, which is the standard pricing for most XBLA games. The game can be completed in about 4hrs and there's little replay value. I understand why PlayDead Studios went with $15, but I would've felt better with a $10 pricepoint.

CONCLUSION

LIMBO is a fantastic XBLA gamethat featuresmemorable minimalist graphics, a brooding atmosphere, and all different sorts of ways to die. PlayDead Studios has crafted an excellent title all X360 gamers should try. The controls are simple, the puzzles are all do-able even for us normal people, and there's a huge spider after you!

LIMBO is simply a game you won't forget anytime soon. My only complaint would be the standardized $15XBLA price PlayDead Studio decided to go with. I waited for the sale to snag it for $7.50, but I would've probably bought the game for $10 at launch.

SCORE: 9.5 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: About 5hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 190 / 200

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GAMING UPDATE

THE BACKLOG took a backseat this past month as I played the Gears of War 3 Beta. I really enjoyed the beta and I was able to unlock Cole Train and the Gold Retro Lancer in the retail version of the game! :)The game required teamwork and thankfully Iplayed mostly with gamers from NeoGAF. I'm pumped for the game's release in September. :D

Moving onto THE BACKLOG, with GTA4: Lost and Damned out of the way, I'm going way back and finally going to play FABLE 2. I enjoyed the first Fable on Xbox, but I just never got around to playing the sequel. I have the GotY version, which includes the to DLC expansions. I plan to play the Good side first.

My short-term goal is to finish the GTA4 DLCs and FAble 2 (both Good and Evil storylines) before NCAA Football 12 drops in July. I already have The Lost and Damned finished, so there's progress on that goal.

Until I blog again, these will be the games I'm playing:

- Fable 2

- Halo Reach

- GTA IV: Ballad of Gay Tony

THANKS FOR READING MY BLOG! :D

007: Quantum of Solace Review & Backlog Update

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Another game cleared from THE BACKLOG !! :D

I don't have much to say about my experience with QoS, so let's just get to it.I will say that I wished I wouldn't have played this game on the hardest difficulty because doing so probably added 2-4hrs of playtime.

007: QUANTUM OF SOLACE REVIEW

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I'm a Bond fan and Quantum of Solace was a game I was interested in back in 2008, but never got a chance to play it. Heck, I didn't even really like the movie. So I thought I'd never play this game.

But I got Quantum of Solace as a Christmas present. So I had to play the game, ya know?

LOVED

Bond, James Bond: QoS does a good job letting you know this is a 007 game. When you take cover (which is often), you get to see a good rendering of Daniel Craig aka James Bond. Mr. Craig even did the voice acting too. Also, the 007 theme plays often.

Bustin' Caps: The gunplay and cover system work well enough for you to have a decent time playing the game. It just"works" and doesn't feel broken at all.

HATED

Pew, Pew: None of Bond's guns a memorable. Even the Power Weapons (1 per stage) are forgettable. All are just standard FPS stock weapons. Thereweren't even any cool gadgets used in the campaign either.

Wait, What?: A mix-mash of both Casino Royale's and Quantum of Solace's movies, the narrative is a disjointed mess. You never feel an attachment to any character. Heck, it's kinda difficult to keep up with the story.

Where's the Party?: The multiplayer mode has no Party System, which should've been an essential feature from the outset.

CONCLUSION

Quantum of Solace is the very definition of a "Generic Modern Shooter" game. The story is a confusing mess, all of the guns are standard FPS stock and none are particularly fun to use. There's just nothing noteworthy about QoS at all.

But QoS has one thing going for it; There is nothing broken with the game. The engine runs fine, the gunplay & cover system work well, and the charactor modeling of James Bond definitely looks like Daniel Craig.

SCORE: 6.0 / 10.0

TIME PLAYED: About 10hrs

ACHIEVEMENT DETAIL: 540 / 1000

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BACKLOG UPDATE

So, SO glad to be done with Quantum of Solace. I really shouldn't have played it on the hardest difficulty, but at least it's done now.

Damn, making some good backlog progress this year! :D 4 games done in 3 months is pretty good for me. It's nothing but AAA games from here on out.

The next game up is: GTA IV: Episodes from Liberty City

I bought both GTA IV DLCs when they were on sale on XBL a while ago and, sadly, haven't played them..until now. :)

So, until I blog again, these will be the games I'm playing: Halo Reach and GTA IV

THANK YOU FOR READING MY BLOG! :D