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We're at it Again! E3 and More!

Well it's that time of year again, time for E3 to take over my whole life for a week. Tickets are booked, press pass recieved and in a few days I get to head on out there into the fray once again. Last year I was super excited to go to E3 but there were no games that I was frothing at the mouth to see. The only game I was really interested in was Silent Hill Shattered Memories and that turned out to be wholly underwhelming when I finally got the chance to play it. However this year there's a whole bunch of stuff that's got me all excited. Warhammer 40k Space Marine and W40k MMO are both super exciting for me andthen there's Red Faction Armageddon. Rock Band 3 will be there, Fallout New Vegas, I'm sure Atlus will be showing stuff I love long time and The Force Unleashed 2... oh yeah, I'll be busy.

In addition to all of that, a few awesome little tidbits:

I've been published. My first strategy guide was put to market by Doublejump a bit ago for a lesser known, mediocre game called Last Rebellion. It's pretty cool, even if it is for a non blockbuster. I did a guide for Persona PSP's re-release but all sorts of issues prevented it from being published. So I've got parts of a really cool looking PDF guide sitting on my computer, heh.

Over on the regular freelancing side I've completed guides for Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction - a Deniable Ops Multiplayer guide and an Alan Wake Collectibles guide over on GamesRadar. Forget the pay, those were just awesome to write.

On the non-paying IGN side of the fence I also finished a Red Dead Redemption FAQ. That took for-freaking-ever.

For reviews I totally managed to piss off the guys at EA by giving Army of Two: The 40th Day a fairly low review. Their... disagreement actually caused the site to re-do the way we handle reviews, removing individual scores for categories like graphics because they're just not accurate enough. It produces weird things like games having high scores in graphics, replay, sound, etc. but then having a pretty low score since storyline or fun factor aren't so easily scored. I'd have hated to see how they would have reacted if I reviewed Dante's Inferno or Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, two more bad EA games.

Lastly have any of the three of you who actually read these been having difficulty with the GameSpot messaging system? I just got the reminder for the May 26th, RDR game night today. Kind of annoying since I don't check that every day but I do check my inbox and I totally missed that game night. Bah.

Edit: Cool new screenshot and music video for Alan Wake (screen is for the first DLC) if you're into that sort of stuff. Because I am. Totally.

E3 Write-Up

So this year was my first time going to E3 and I have to say there hasn't been an experience like this in my life. Ever. Normally I follow it on GameSpot but going there makes watching news coverage of it seem like a waste of time. This was an opportunity to meet some people, see some booth babes and maybe get some hands on time with some upcoming releases. Amusingly enough this was the first time I'd allowed pics to be taken of myself in awhile and I had a blast with it. You can see those on my Facebook page if you happen to know where that is, muwahaha!

I was actually at E3 as part of the staff of GamingExcellence. It was great meeting the team that I've been working with for over a year for the first time... silly Canadian publications. This meant that E3 was as much work as it was play. I had appointments and such, some behind closed door stuff that needed to be done between me doing sightseeing and taking pictures.


Anyways, on to E3!

Pre-E3: After getting our media passes I figured it might be a good idea to do some shopping before the show started. Picked up a bunch of shirts and stuff. Nothing too interesting here. However I did get to go to the Ubisoft press conference. While most of the stuff they showed there wasn't that interesting Splinter Cell Conviction looks absolutely fantastic and I WILL be purchasing this title ASAP. After that I got to head on over to the Microsoft Canada Media Reception for drinks, free food and meet some of the other Canadian media outlet people. That was a lot of fun. Apparently I was an honorary Canadian since the site I write for is all Maple Leafy.

Day One: Since I had some appointments right from the get go I headed right on over to the Atlus booth. While there me and Nicholas, one of the other GE guys, got to see and try out Demon's Souls and Trine with one of the Atlus PR guys. Trine took my interest there; something like Lost Vikings with crazy physics sums it up pretty well. Look it up if you haven't heard about it. After this I chatted up the Atlus editor on the floor and got some hands on with Devil Survivor and the redone SMT: Persona title for the PSP both looking really promising although Devil Survivor is a bit odd. I've got a preview of it up on GE for those who are interested.

After this I went on over to the upstairs meeting room for Dreamcatcher / JoWood. While here I got shown around, getting to see the new Hardy Boys game for the Wii (not as bad as it sounds), a DS Agatha Christie game that looks pretty good and the new Gothic title, Arcania. The only one that really stood out strongly to me was Arcania so I took some time to start working on a preview for it in the press room while relaxing. I did hear a great story about how one of the guys from JoWood got... questioned about bringing a DS capture unit into the states since it looks like a bomb. The games were pretty good and the people were really friendly. Good times.

With a break of about an hour here I took the time to trawl the floor and get some camera shots, booth babe shots and pick up swag. Then it was on over to the Paradox Interactive on-floor room where we got to see East India Company, Hearts of Iron 3 and Majesty 2. The people here were really awesome as well but I lost the notebook page with my Hearts of Iron 3 info on it so I couldn't write a preview. That game is immense though... deep enough to scare me thoroughly.

Finishing up there I got to have a whole lot of fun by going on over to the Vogster booth. Meeting a friend of my boss there I was shown the tower defense game Robocalypse - Beaver Defense. If you haven't heard about it look it up; it's a pretty simple game but it definitely looks like a lot of fun. I wrote a preview for it but it hasn't made its way up onto the GE site just yet. After this I had about thirty minutes or so to kill so I made my way on over to the THQ booth and got into a screening of the new Warhammer 40,000 game, Space Marine. Got a preview of that bad boy up and I'm dying for more info.

With this done it was time to retreat back to the hotel rooms to rest and recuperate for the next day.

Day Two: I was supposed to have a whole lot of free time today but I agreed to take some time from Isabel so that she would have more time on the show floor to look around. With that decision I got to go in to see Sega's games first thing in the morning. First things first were Obsidian games showing off Alpha Protocol. Not only was the game so good that I just had to write a preview for it immediately (I want that title, like yesterday) but I also got to meet Matthew Rorie.

If that name doesn't mean anything to you... you're a philistine. He was the old game guides' writer for GameSpot and he wrote some of the best guides I've seen. It was actually his work that got me writing FAQs and guides which are what, in the end, got me started in trying to get a job in the games industry. When I heard he was moving on from GS I was alternately upset and hopeful to try for that job position, heh. But meeting him was really awesome and put me in a good mood for the day.

As a favor to the other guy I was with, Nick, I took a hit for the team and did a write up for Mario vs. Sonic at the Olympic Winter games. Not bad but not the best either. More swag hunting and picture taking followed before I got to go into the Bethesda booth to see Brink. It's not my sort of game so I didn't do a write-up for it, a friend from the site is doing that I believe. I did meet an interesting girl from Mygamer which is funny because I applied to work on that site before GamingExcellence.

After another break I was supposed to go to the Square-Enix booth to see some stuff but apparently they're too good for that. Seems that they blew off several Canadian media outlets again this year, likely for not being big enough sites. Whatever, I'm no fan of their games anymore so not writing previews for them causes me no grief. Also, to the Squeenix guy who wouldn't leave me alone so I could do a write-up for Final Fantasy IV: The After Years thanks for saving me the writing.

I didn't get to go to my Sony appointment since I was trying to deal with Square but it worked out fine since they didn't show anything anyways. Probably the high point of this day was the Konami booth where I got to play Saw a tiny and Silent Hill Shattered Memories. Saw is more of a puzzle game but there's some combat to it, nothing to write home about but the puzzles look awesome. Silent Hill is bizarre since it's more like a Clock Tower title than a Silent Hill game with its absolute aversion to combat. I also got to play the Silent Hill game for the iPod Touch, The Escape. It's weird to control but it was fun nonetheless.


After hours I got to go to a Riot Games party in the Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley. League of Legends was on display here and it was a pretty solid game. I think I liked it a fair bit more than Demigod which I reviewed not too long ago. Even better than the games was the free liquor and I drank a fair bit there but had to stop myself since I didn't want to take the train too blitzed. Good times!

Unfortunately we had to stay up pretty late trying to figure out our "Best of E3" award nominations from the show. This meant that, in the end, we only got about four to five hours of sleep this night which really began to drag us downfor the last day. Especially when we finally realized we had the show, after hours dinner, packing and previews to dothe next day.

Day Three: For this day I was with Isabel doing behind closed doors stuff with EA. Not only did I get to see the Dragon Ages Origins trailer twice (different each time) but I got some hands on time with the 360 version of the game. When it shows up on GE you will be able to hear me extolling the virtues of the title. Then getting to see Mass Effect 2 which they revealed some spoilers for that made me squeal like a little girl. Lastly was Dante's Inferno which, oddly enough, I'm more interested in than God of War 3. Don't ask how that happened when DI is so clearly cribbing off of GoW.

Since I had a lot of free time today, but I knew there was stuff to do after this last day, I went to the media room to do a lot of typing. Figured to get a bunch of work out of the way early which ended up working out pretty well. Then me and Alan got to go to Lucasarts to see the new Clone Wars game (pretty good looking actually), the Secret of Monkey Island remake, the new Lego Indiana Jones game and a new Star Wars Battlefront.

All of these were pretty good but Secret of Monkey Island and Battlefront: Elite Squadrons stole the room for me. Both of these were stellar looking titles from series that I have an affinity for and both of them are incredibly promising. I can't wait to get my hands on them when they finally release. They kept the Loom guy for chrissakes! With all that excitement, and photos with Jedi and Stormtroopers, I unwinded with some Left 4 Dead 2 gameplay which was pretty awesome. I was mauled by that walking Witch repeatedly thank you!

When E3 was over we got to go to a group dinner with the entire GamingExcellence crew, some friends of my boss and two of the guys from the Vogster booth. One of them, Ted, does some work for CDV and agreed to my offer of writing a guide for Sacred 2 (main quests mostly with some side-quests thrown in). Doing a guide for a game company? Yes please! That's gonna give me something to do for the next week or so.

It sucks that I missed the E3 emblems from GS but I'd say the tradeoff was worth it. As rough as the whole thing was on my sleep and poor feet I have to sayI'm eager to see you next year E3! Although let's just hope that the plane rides are a bit easier on me this time, eh? Last thing I need is another weird old guy so on top of me you'd swear he was trying to spoon with me. Apparently I'm the little spoon.

E3 Begins!!

So far things have been really awesome here at E3 and the show hasn't even started. Got to go to the Ubisoft Press Conference as well as a Microsoft Canada Media Reception (the site I write for is Canadian). Free liquor? Yes please. Had this drink that was really awesome - had whiskey, canadian maple syrup, lemon lime and a lemon peel. So damn good, I had like three in an hour and a half or so. I could have drank those all night. The view from the penthouse pool was great as well.

If you're interested in what our E3 coverage has been like so far you can find it HERE.

Also if you're interested in the pictures that I've taken then you can find that HERE on my Facebook photos.

Man I'm already tired from walking around and the show hasn't even begun. Oh well, onward and upwards!... or something to that effect.

inFamous Preview

So I was supposed to participate in the Killzone 2 Community Game Night yesterday. I rented the game and everything so that I could do so. Imagine my surprise when my PS3 refused to connect to the internet! I dunno what was going on but I spent a good hour trying to get my stupid thing working. I had planned to join in around 7:30 - 8or so but that was derailed. First my girlfriend finds a stray kitten that she wants to bring to a shelter, but they're closed so she was trying to find something to do with it (can't really afford to keep it). Then my router doesn't want to work with my PS3. Wonderful.

Anyways I wrote a preview for the upcoming PS3 exclusive inFamous that can be found here!Long story short of it; it seems like a whole lot of fun but the quests and dying seem like they might get a bit repititious. I still plan on buying it.

Lastly Devil Summoner 2 comes out tomorrow. Those SoBs at GameStop had best have my Raiho plushie dammit.

Killzone 2 Community Game Night

This Tuesday, that is tomorrow since I'm so slow in posting this, is GameSpot Community Game Night: Killzone 2 edition. I've never played this before - heck I've only played the game a good hour or so - but I have high hopes for the game night. It looks like there might be at least 20 or so players but if any of you guys want to get in on the fun just check out the thread.

It can be found here!

E3 I'm a comin!

So it's that time again. E3 is just around the corner and with a return to the format of old we can probably expect some pretty crazy things to come out of it. Well at least more interesting than the power point presentationthat is Nintendo. I'm holding out hope for some really big things to happen this year... especially since, for the first time in my life, I'm actually going to be able to attend E3.

Thanks to all of the time and work I have put into the gaming review site GamingExcellencethe staff have invited me along to E3 with them. This will also be the first time in around, oh I don't know, 10 years since I've been anywhere out of the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut). Those don't really count since I only ever went to New Jersey for Six Flags and Connecticut to visit the significant other who was living there. So it's really exciting to begoing on an actual trip like this. Not so exciting is the idea of flying. But I'm not looking forward to spending several days on a train either so plane it is!

All that said though I'm really excited to see what sort of stuff I can get into or who I can meet. I'm not the sort of person who gets starstruck or anything so I don't imagine it'll be that big of a deal in that respect. To be honest I'm probably more excited at the idea of meeting others in the game reviewing part of the industry than the developers - mostly because everyone I know who has met any of them who aren't Gabe Newell never have really nice things to say about them. Regardless of that I'm stoked to see where this can lead. I'm really interested in writing for one of the bigger gaming sites so here's hoping this is a foot in the door for at least freelance work. Fingers crossed!

Left 4 Dead Community Game Night EDITED w/ Video!

That was a whole lot of fun. It didn't go exactly as planned but I definitely managed to make the best out of it anyways.

I was hoping to get into some Versus mode games with my friend on split-screen but what instead happened was a whole lot better. The first game I got into was a co-op game with Chris Wattersand Soulreavercross. It wasa little hectic at times since we weren't always the most coordinated but it was a whole lot of fun. Let me just say one thing for Chris, he might be a grizzled old war veteran but he is ridiculously accurate. Even while leading most of the charges with an auto-shotty he still managed to get more kills than me.

But the finale to this campaign was freaking epic, even for Normal difficulty. First Louis gets dragged off the top of the safe room leading me to rush into the zombies to kill the smoker holding him. Once he was free I retreated a bit only to hear him get pounced so I quickly made my way over, killed the Hunter and then beat off the zombies before reviving him. Almost immediately after getting him up ANOTHER Hunter took him right off a ladder and incapacitated him while Bill was boomer biled. Shortly after defeating this horde we were attacked by a Tank and ANOTHER FREAKING Hunter. Of course the Hunter made a beeline for Louis but the Tank pimp smacked the Hunter off and started to kill Louis. We all pitched in to save him and retreated to fight off the final wave of the fight. Heck we even got the Tank stuck in a window for an easy kill. However the real trick was the very final part as we waited for the choppa.

While we were standing there pipe bombs were thrown to distract the horde and Louis threw down a molotov to keep the rest at bay. However a Boomer snuck up behind us and, when he died, knocked me off the helipad. It took a quick dash past zombies, both on fire and not, through some flames and back onto the pad all while covered in Boomer bile to escape the level alive. Desperately ignoring the Tank I could hear just behind me might I add. Really good times.

The second game with Chris and CodingGenius this time went a lot better. Death Toll is a much easier level than No Mercy I'm beginning to notice once you get past the wide open areas. That and the sewer level can be a bit rough. But we handled it well. Except for the fact that every single Hunter we came across, especially later on, wanted to eat my face. I was an early warning system for them since they all pounced on me as soon as they saw us.

I had a heck of a time and am definitely looking to participate in more of these. Go GameSpot go!

Edit: I added a video of Chris Watters' Greatest Hits! Posted it to the blog.

[video=I3Nnw2Cs5bIIszHe]

Community Game Night Returns!

Well it's been awhile in the coming but Community Game Night is finally making a come back thanks to the diligent efforts of JodyR. It's going to be on April 7th, 4-6 PM PST and it will feature Left 4 Dead on both the PC and Xbox 360. So if you've got either of these games keep your eyes open for it. Link to the Union post is here:

http://www.gamespot.com/pages/unions/read_article.php?topic_id=26831857&union_id=12032

Come on and join us!

Street Fighter 4, TR: Underworld Reviews & FEAR 2 Guide

So I've done a bunch of stuff lately and I'm not sure what I've posted so I figured I'd share a whole bunch of stuff. If you're interested in any of it take a look and tell me what you think. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

FEAR 2: Project Origin Guide

Street Fighter 4 Review

Tomb Raider Underworld

There's more to it including reviews for Legendary, Kingdom for Keflings, LotR: Conquest and a Far Cry 2 review all waiting to be posted but that's then not now. This is just a quickie blog, more later on with me complaining about something else interesting. Yay!