SPYDER0416 / Member

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SPYDER0416 Blog

My gaming "to complete" list

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Just a list of titles I'm trying to finish since I own them and all and would like to keep track of, its a pretty insane backlog so hopefully my free time this summer should allow me to cross some of these great games off. Unfortunately the Steam Summer Sale isn't helping, so here's what I have to finish:

- Back to the Future: The Game

- Bastion

- Borderlands

- Braid

- Call of Juarez

- Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

- Condemned: Criminal Origins

- Crysis

- Crysis: Warhead

- Deus Ex

- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (I guess it might take a while to finish this one, but I plan on finishing every last quest I can)

- Far Cry

- Fallout: New Vegas Ultimate Edition

- Fallout (I never really finished it)

- Fallout 2 (same story here, though I am close on my most recent playthrough)

- Fallout: Tactics

- God of War 2 (part of the God of War Collection)

- God of War 3

- God of War Portable Collection (I really need to play these more, but its too easy to get stuck on a dumb, poorly thought out puzzle or platforming section)

- Half-Life: Blue Shift

- Hitman 2: Silent Assassin

- L.A Noire

- Limbo

- Lone Survivor

- Mafia

- On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness (parts 1, 2 and 3)

- Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

- Psychonauts

- Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad Campaign

- Saints Row: The Third

- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

- Super Meat Boy

- Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery EP

- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction

- The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings Enhanced Edition

Unfortunately with this amazing sale and with an occasional dirt cheap PS3 or Xbox title coming my way on occasion, I might end up adding to this list just as much as I check it off. Of course that's the fun in games, and if its REALLY good then I usually take time from finishing other games to replay that one.

MORE GAMES TO BEAT:

- Dark Souls (forgot this one)

- Penumbra Collection

- Binding of Isaac

- Half-Life: Blue Shift

Plus I'll be enjoying Tribes and replaying the HL games I got in the collection.

My personal E3 "best of" list

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So with the E3 Game Critic Awards out of the way, I thought I?d go ahead and list my own games of show from E3 2012. I know I?m a bit late, but I wanted to wait until we?ve had time to sink in the events of the show, and I guess now?s a good time to say my thoughts:

Best of Show

The Last of Us

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Best Original Game

The Last of Us

Best Sequel

Assassin?s Creed III

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Best PS3 Game

The Last of Us

Best Xbox 360 Game

Halo 4

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Best Vita game

Assassin?s Creed III: Liberation

Best WiiU Game

ZombieU

Best 3DS Game

Luigi?s Mansion 2

Best PC Game

Planetside 2

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Best Action Game

Assassin?s Creed III

Best Sandbox

Far Cry 3

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Best First Person Shooter

Far Cry 3

Best Third Person Shooter

Gears of War: Judgment

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Best Action/Adventure Game

The Last of Us

Best Role Playing Game

South Park: The Stick of Truth

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Best Fighting Game

Injustice: Gods Among Us

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Best Survival/Horror Game

Resident Evil 6

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Best Racing Game

Need for Speed Most Wanted

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Best MMO

Planetside 2

Best Sports Game

FIFA Soccer 13

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Best Strategy Game

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

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Best Competitive Multiplayer

Halo 4

Best Co-operative Multiplayer

Borderlands 2

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Best Downloadable Game

Unfinished Swan

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Best DLC

Battlefield 3: Armored Kill

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Best Graphics

Watch Dogs

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Best Conference

Ubisoft

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Other notable titles: God of War: Ascension, Dishonored, Star Wars 1313, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Resident Evil 6, Dead Space 3, Crysis 3, Beyond: Two Souls, Dead or Alive 5

What do you guys think?

Changes I'd like to see in the next Max Payne

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Max Payne 3 is out of the gate after 9 years since the last game in the series, and though it is an incredible experience with fantastic gunplay, it's not a perfect title with minor flaws that could easily be fixed for the sequel. I've been playing it a lot recently, so I thought I'd write about it. Its certainly my favorite game thus far this year, but I wanted to see how I could improve on a sequel or fix its issues, so here's what I would do, personally:

- Less cutscenes, more control: In Max Payne 3, the game cleverly used cutscenes to mask load times and often switched so quickly and seamlessly that it had you scrambling to fire some shots or take cover. Unfortunately, they had a tendency to appear much too often. Though not as long as the cutscenes in the Metal Gear Solid series, the game missed an opportunity to have certain moments be playable and had a few go on for a few minutes too long, some even happening mid game or one shootout immediately after the last one.

How to improve: Try to space out the time between cutscenes, with some moments being presented within gameplay instead of cutting away for a better shot (like when listening in on some baddies or taking a walk through a police station). Some of the mid-level cutscenes could be more optional so players could skip them or not have to watch them on a second or third playthrough unless they wanted to. For example, when performing certain side actions like finding an Easter egg or talking to an NPC, which the game did on occasion and which the earlier titles did to trigger a hidden comic panel.

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- Improved check point system/return quick saving: In Max Payne 3, the old manual save system was replaced by a new checkpoint system that let you focus on the game while it saved your progress automatically. The problem is that in older titles it was a bit more necessary due to the risk of running low on health or ammo in a bad area, and while this game does a better job of that (and still allows you to revert to a previous checkpoint if you spent too many painkillers in one battle), the checkpoints had a tendency to be spread too far apart and sometimes force you to rewatch a cutscene. Several levels in particular would send you back 10 or 15 minutes if you died before reaching the next checkpoint.

How to improve: While a return to a manual save is a good thing, it would mean the player having to remember when to save, and could cheapen the difficulty curve if a player often reverts to save when losing even a tiny bit of health. The pacing is done well enough with ammo and health that an improved checkpoint system would be all I ask for, or perhaps a dual system (like in Mass Effect 3) which has checkpoints in combat, but allows you to manually save in between combat segments if you don't trust the checkpoint they give you, which I think would be the best solution.

- Overly linear progression through levels: In the original Max Payne titles, you weren't exactly given a sandbox to roam around and it was still very scripted in some areas, but it offered a lot of exploration. While Max Payne 3 has some exploration to offer (with golden guns, pain killers, hidden weapons and clues strewn throughout a level and its side paths), more often than not I feel like I'm being led in one direction and punished for going in another. The game has Max monologue about the direction you should be going, and some levels even fail you if you take too long to get somewhere (which would be fine for one level, but several is a bit much).

How to improve: Lower the urgency in some levels to allow room for more stress free exploration, offer more hidden areas and places with hidden clues and weaponry, as well as side paths or rooms that can still lead to the same area. Maybe offer branching segments like in Gears of War. They could also offer an improved difficulty curving like the first two games offered, subtly changing things and taking a cue from Left 4 Dead's The Director to change scenarios while also keeping the difficulty curve from ramping up too much or getting too easy. Opening up combat options is also a fantastic way to do improve on the linearity, by offering certain actions (like dangling off a chain or using a human hostage) as actions you can do more periodically on your own, instead of them happening only when the game makes you.

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- Story has some filler levels, some characters and twists aren't that compelling: The story in Max Payne 3 is amazing, don't get me wrong, and I think it's an improvement on the hammy overdone noir styling of the previous two games, but it's not a perfect story. The overlong and frequent cutscenes exist because the story is a bit too ambitious, but too many levels feel like uneventful filler just to add to the length that could be cut out and still not affect the tale. Some of the characters (like Marcelo and Passos) reveal a hidden complexity to them, but too many of the other characters like Fabiana or Da Silva not getting enough time to reveal more interesting qualities to themselves that are only hinted at. Max himself is a great character, but he comes off as too depressing, both in his internal monologue and dialogue, which makes him come off as more one note then his great backstory and character should allow.

How to improve: Though cutting down on cutscenes might seem counter to attempting to make this work, by simply streamlining the story and making each level matter I think we'd be able to reveal more on the tale and characters without having an uneventful level that doesn't feel like a necessary part of the tale. The length wouldn?t have to be reduced, but the characters could shine more and the tale would make more sense and be easier to follow while still being as impressive. Max should also show some more traits or more focus on the future, since his character deserves more layers and more in common with the less depressing Max Payne from the first game, to show some hope in the midst of all the hopelessness, especially given the adversity he overcomes that should make him come off feeling a little less sorry for himself. I'm not asking that he turn into a cocky and happy action hero, but his constant moaning could be a little more varied in tone with more emphatic reactions to certain events, even if it's just more small hints that he is a better person then he comes off as (such as when he contemplated executing a man in the intro, or shows care for the people he is trying to protect).

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- Set pieces could take more advantage of bullet time, use more variety: Max Payne 3 has a lot of well-done set pieces, but none of them seem to reach the vast "wow" moments of the Uncharted series or Call of Duty 4. Often they recycle certain set pieces, like having Max falling off something while shooting people in bullet time, or having him dangle off a chain while in bullet time, as well as several turret segments (which to the game's credit, do change things up and feel different from each other). The game just seems to lack any singular moments that stand apart from the others, and some of the cool things tend to happen in cutscenes.

How to improve: Simply make an effort to make the set pieces work better and feel bigger or more unique. To the game's credit there are some moments that are unique from the others, but they are few and far between and tend to be less wowing then the offerings of other games in this department. If they crafted levels around bigger set pieces, while throwing in minor moments that utilize bullet time effectively while not over using ones that are too similar, that would be great. Dangling on a chain while shooting dudes once is great, several times is a bit overdone, while unique moments like the zip line fire fight were too quick and uneventful. Just throw in one or two good moments per level and a few really well thought out, well-crafted and unique moments in the game and it will really set itself apart from other shooters and host memorable water cooler discussions.

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- Some lacking finesse: Max Payne takes its influence from Hong Kong action films, and while the action is stylish is feels a bit like its lacking in some style. It's fantastic to dual wield a couple of guns and mow down baddies in the air, but the lack of control over both weapons and the unsatisfying belly flopping of Max as he lands isn't too graceful. Another less annoying issue is the lack of control over dual weapons, Max must fire them at the same time and reload them at the same time, which takes away some of the tactical element of other titles that allow you to dual wield (such as The Darkness and Modern Warfare), while somehow allowing Max to aim down both sights (with his magic eyeballs I guess).

How to improve: I?m not saying to turn Max into a superhuman, the difficulty and ease with which Max can be killed adds a human element, but it would be nice if he could use the environment to his advantage a bit more. The technology is there, going down a slope or stairs can often result in Max sliding when he falls or dives, so it's a matter of letting certain flat surfaces (like tables) allow you to slide gracefully. Allowing control of both guns is easier, simply don't allow shoulder aim and let both triggers or mouse buttons fire each weapon individually, this would allow more control when using a weapon like a sawn off with a desert eagle, and not letting the game autopilot fire when you have a semi auto in one hand and an automatic in another. It does make sense since Max himself shouldn't be able to accurately aim down two weapons anyways.

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- Certain polish issues, like connection problems and collision detection issues: Sometimes in Max Payne 3 you'll dive flawlessly over a table one time, then a similar dive will get you caught up, the last man standing will fail due to the enemy being behind a wall when he hit you, the weapons will occasionally aim at the ceiling when in cover instead of the enemy, and connection issues in multiplayer are much too present.

How to improve: Simply fix these I suppose I could say, but to go into detail I'd tweak the engine a bit to account for aiming too close to walls, and I'd have the matchmaking improved or simply use dedicated servers (especially on the PC version where matchmaking isn?t that great). With last man standing it would also be good to have Max fall more in the direction of the shooter or allow simple penetration so an enemy can't hide behind a thin wall simply because it's an indestructible in game object, just minor additions to fix up the small issues it has on occasion.

- Miscellaneous additions (co-op, grenades): Max Payne 3 has a fantastic co-op mode and great gameplay, but it does feel like its missing a couple of things from other shooters. Mainly I would point out to the lack of co-op (which is only available in a DLC pack) and grenades (which oddly can be used online and by enemies, but never by Max, even though Max does have access to other explosive weaponry and could use them in previous titles).

How to improve: Simply add co-op, story focused mission packs as your online character would be a good addition, as would a standoff mode allowing you to play as Max and his ally or allies in a Payne Killer type mode, minus the human enemies and with a few more extra features to differentiate it from Payne Killer and similar horde type modes on the shooter market. As for grenades it would be easy to map them to a button for switching and another for throwing, since the game doesn't use too many buttons or keys it could be a simple addition that adds more options to the combat.

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Overall, I think Max Payne 3 is an incredible game with a well written tale of betrayal and sorrow that uses the fantastic setting to great effect in gameplay, with some of the best combat and addictive shooting mechanics I can think of. There are just things I?d like to see them improve on for the next outing (if a sequel ever happens) and are really just my personal thoughts on what I'd like.

Also, go buy this game if you haven't, its great.

So Game Informer is hiring now

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If only I didn't have 4 more years for my English degree to be done with, and also I had a car and did a little more reviewing and blogging here to strengthen my writing.

Well I guess I should post it if anyone wants to give it a go. So many heavy bloggers here I figure some of you might want to try applying.

Link

Battlefield 3 super montage!

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Another nice montage from a good buddy of mine for Battlefield 3! Don't just ignore this one guys, its actually pretty well done, and has almost every crazy feat you could think of minus a mid air hijacking (which unfortunately he could not fit in the vid, and is saving for a later montage).

Enjoy

Give it a like if you like it, and a favorite if it is your favorite :)

And this is my PC rig

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Alright, I had the money set up for my new rig, but decided to save myself about $1000 and just upgrade my current (and still pretty modern) PC with a new GPU and PSU, and while I was at it I shaved a few hundred dollars just getting a less powerful GPU and PSU because, honestly, I'm not a big stickler for 100% maxing out every possible game, and a 460 does what I want and maxes most games for half the price. Now, I have WAY more money to spend on games, gym, college and other stuff.

Writing this mostly as a thank you to the people who helped me in the PC Hardware forum, and so if anyone asks what my rig is they can just go here. Also, its not all complete, I still plan on upgrading my monitor, keyboard and mouse at some point, but this is all good for now.

Video card: EVGA GTX 460 Superclocked

- CPU: Intel i5 Core 2 Duo

- Motherboard: ASUS P7h55-m

- Case: ASUS CG case

- RAM: 8gb

- Power Supply: 650w

- Keyboard: ASUS gaming keyboard

- Mouse: Mega Gaming Mouse (1600 DPI)

- Monitor: ASUS 21 inch default monitor

For the coming upgrades, I want the following:

- Logitech G500 gaming mouse or any of the other, cooler mice with equally great reviews online

- ASUS 24 inch 2ms HDMI Monitor

- Microsoft Sidewinder X6 or X4

So Battlefield 3 is out...

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And I cannot play it. Don't normally post blogs, but has anyone else had this issue? Apparently EA refuses to use a downloader that works, so when downloading the game gets and error for no reason and completely deletes the download. It doesn't care if you are 1% or 99%, its all gone because EA can't take a page from Steam or even the lowliest pirate website downloader and have a system that works.

I gotta say, I didn't hate Origin before, but this is without a doubt the only game I ever plan on purchasing from their service. I'll stick to Steam thank you.

Check out this BC2 Recon video!

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A video made by a friend of mine. Basically a bunch of sniping killstreaks, no scopes, quickscopes and trick shots in one game. He usually tries to help his team most of the time though, but he got some damn lucky kills here. Thought some people might want to watch it.

Here it is

Give it a like if you like it.

My upcoming PC set up!

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Writing this mostly as a reminder of what I'm getting in September, as well as for future reference if anyone asks what my specs are. Its pretty sweet:

Case: Antec Twelve Hundred V3 Unbeatable Gaming Case

GPU: EVGA GTX 570

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500k Sandy Bridge

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8gb (2 x 4gb)

PSU: Corsair Enthusiast 750w

Motherboard: ASRock P67 EXTREME4 GEN3

HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1tb

DVD: ASUS DVD burner

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit

Monitor: ASUS 24 inch LED backlit monitor

I also plan on getting a Microsoft Sidewinder gaming keyboard, Logitech G500 gaming mouse, a plantronics headset and a dual bay fan controller, but possibly not all at once since I already have a mouse, keyboard, a headset and even a monitor I can use.

It all comes to a total of $1575. Not bad for all the great stuff I'm getting, I may downgrade to an AMD 965 CPU though since I hear its also pretty good.

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