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TheCarl Blog

Battlefield 3, I Am Awful

I've been playing Battlefield 3 (for the PS3) for the past day (not a whole day, just a few hours) and I am not good at that game. I'm talking singleplayer & multiplayer. I haven't played a military shooter since MW2 (2009) and my skills are beyond rusty. I have a difficulty spotting enemies, I react way to slowly to incoming fire and the controller just doesn't feel like a natural extension of my body while playing.

That aside, I am detemrined to reach the level 45 trophy (I'm level 1 currently). I played the heck out of Bad Company the first and reached the level cap in that game so I know I can eke some enjoyment out of this but I am going to have to practice A LOT to get there.

I've been scouring the interwebs for tips and vids and found a useful couple of videos by a guy that goes by the name WoodysGamertag on Here is the link. Check it out if you need some help getting your rear end off the dist in BF3.

See you online!

The Wii Successor Inspires

Released in November 19th, 2006 in North America (shortly thereafter in the other major markets), the Wii went on to sell 86+ million units worldwide (source: Wikipedia)on its way to claiming the top sales position for this console generation. The system has had its detractors since launch. The critics panned the online strategy, lack of graphical horsepower and the poor quality of the majority of the third party games. While all valid complaints, the Wii must be held up as an innovator in home console systems and for the great games that did appear on the system.

With news of the new Nintendo console launching in 2012 and with E3 coming in the next few weeks, I have been inspired to pay homage to this system that revitalized the Nintendo brand.

Each year, Gamespot selects a handful of titles for each platform that compete for the console's best game that year. What better way to see a system out then to experience all the great gaming the system has to offer? Here are the nominees (winner denoted in BOLD) for the Wii console game of the year 2006-2010.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Trauma Center: Second Opinion
Rayman Raving Rabbids
Madden NFL 07

Super Mario Galaxy*
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Super Paper Mario
Warioware: Smooth Moves
Zak and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure

Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Mario Kart Wii
Mega Man 9
World of Goo
No More Heroes

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
Dead Space Extraction
House of the Dead: Overkill
The Beatles Rock Band

Super Mario Galaxy 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Golden Eye 007

* Overall Game of the Year winner

The first step in this trek will be paring down the list, removing the titles that I have already played. I have "finished" the following titles: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,Trauma Center: Second Opinion, Super Mario Galaxy, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, Super Paper Mario, Zak and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, World of Goo, No More Heroes and Dead Space Extraction. That leaves the following titles:

Rayman Raving Rabbids
Madden NFL 07
Warioware: Smooth Moves
Mario Kart Wii
Mega Man 9
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
House of the Dead: Overkill
The Beatles Rock Band
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Call of Duty: Black Ops
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Kirby's Epic Yarn
Golden Eye 007

The new console is rumored to be releasing in 2012, its safe to say that it will launch in the September-November area as the last three Nintendo consoles (Wii, Gamecube and N64). That leaves ~16 months to enjoy all of these titles!

I will start with the "low hanging fruit", the games that I currently own on the system and the downloadable games:

New Super Mario Bros. Wii
House of the Dead: Overkill
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Mega Man 9

I'll then move on to the other games on the list until I have played all of the best titles for the Wii! I will report back when I have crossed a few games of the list and share my thoughts on these games with you, Gamespot users.

Pulled In So Many Directions

I'm not sure if you noticed but up until today, my "Now Playing" list was 8 games long. I was having some issues with having that many games running concurently, among them was keeping the their respective stories fresh in my mind and keeping my attention focused on that game with so many others waiting to be played. Today, I decided to pair down that "Now Playing" list and focus on a few games instead of 8.

I choose Mass Effect 2 as the main game I am working on because I have yet to finish it and it is a stellar video game. I am currently working on building my team and gaining their loyalty before I head off to face the Collectors.

I am also playing MLB The Show 10. This playtime is more like in the background when I have an hour to kill and I don't want to get into a complicated space opera subplot in ME2. Also, working toward the three trophies associated with winning the World Seriesin my season is going to take a large time commitment so I can't afford to put the game down as I will fall to far behind (my goal is to finish my World Series before the finish of the real World Series). I am playing as the Red Sox and unfortunately, my alternate reality team seems to be the only way the Red Sox are going to make the playoffs this year.

Before the great game purge, I also finished MGS: Peacewalker for the PSP. While not as good as MGS 3 & 4, it was a worthy addition to the series and couldhave been MGS 5 as it filled in a huge gap of missing information in the MGS canon. **SPOILERS** The events take place between the end of MGS 3 and the original NES games. You see what drove Big Boss to create Outer Heaven after the repeated betrayals and the MO of the "Militaires SansFrontiers."

I am looking forward to the release of Halo: Reach next week and have the game lined up in my Gameflyqueue. That game sure has a lot of hype associated with it. Let's see if it can live up to that. I am interested only in the single player campaign and experiencing that coop with a buddy of mine.

Have you guys ever been overwhelmed by having to many open games at once?

PAX East 2010 - Part Two, Off-Main Gaming and Events

In honor of PAX Prime which is coming up in a little less than a month in Seattle, WA, I'd like to continue to share my experiences at PAX East. This part is going to feature all the events and gaming that took place outside of the main exhibition halls.

There were all kinds of games represented at PAX East! Tabletop games, dice, games, card games, pen & paper games, board games and that is just a few types available to purchase, demo or play with. For me, the majority of the morning,early afternoon of Friday and Saturday were spent wandering the exhibit halls and trying the yet unreleased games on hand. The halls shut their doors at 7 so that meant it was time for organized events!

Friday night, I took part in a Magic the Gathering sealed deck tournament. I forget what set it was, I am completely removed from the MTG scene but wanted to give it a try for old times sake. I lost in the first round to a really nice guy who works for Turbine Inc., developers of Dungeons & Dragons Online and LOTR Online. I'm glad I played but I am sure I am not going to be playing Magic again anytime soon.

The three rares I pulled. Sold them and paid for Saturday's lunch.

On Saturday, I was joined by my buddies for most of the day as we toured the halls some more (yes, there was that much to see). A few of them broke off around dinner time to the local pub while myself and one other attended the Wizard's of the Coast first public unveiling of the Dark Sun campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. We were able to play a 4 hours session, introducing us to the subtle and not to subtle differences between the worlds of Eberron and Athas. I used a pregen shaman (inspiration for my current LFR Minotaur Shaman) and had a pretty good time.

The gladiator arena we started our adventure in.

There's me, PC #6 as well as my spirit companion (a giant mantis) as we take down a murderous hafling cannibal.

The party versus a solo sand monstrosity.

On Sunday, the third day of PAX East, I had signed up for the Dungeons & Dragons Encounters, Season 1 encounters 1 & 2 to be played back-to-back. After finding a table, we started on our merry way exploring the UnderMountain.

The alleyway, our first encounter.

Encounter 2: The "civilized" part of the UnderMountain.

Made short work of those fools.

Our great DM, Sam.

The full Wizard's D&D schedule.

In between all of these gaming session, there were tons of other things to explore including freeplay rooms, old school gaming rooms and specialty gaming rooms.

Triple monitor setup for Forza in the freeplay area.

Intense MechAssault action. There were at least 20 of these setups in a small side room.

Pinball in the apply named "****c Machine" area.

SF4 pickup play in the freeplay room.

Me trying out Demon's Souls in the freeplay area.

The handheld lounge. Yes, all those people are playing DS (or sleeping).

An amazing CUSTOM table for an Axis & Allies like game.

Sumo beanbags. They are REALLY comfortable!

Well, I hope you enjoyed part two of my PAX East experience!

Stay tuned for Part Three, Cosplay!!

Anxiously Awaiting

I am on the lookout here at GameSpot for the review for Dragon Quest IX for the DS. Dragon Quest, along with Final Fantasy, were some of the first video games I ever played. To give you an idea of how young I was than, I had to have my Dad pretty much play the game because I couldn't comprehend it all, I just knew it looked cool!

In other news, I unlocked a new GameSpot Achievement, Ballot Stuffer! I'm sure we all got it for voting in the E3 2010 Reader's Choice polls but hey, its an Achievement.

Fast Forward

Wow, is it really July 4th??? After a long absence, I think I'm back to a regular routine of blogging and site participation.

During my hiatus, I managed to get promoted at work, plan a wedding, get married and go to Hawai'i for my honeymoon! Needless to say, I've been busy this summer!

The Wife and I enjoying a beautiful sunset in Hawai'i (Maui).

My wedding was on June 20th so I missed most of E3 while I was running around, wrapping up all the final wedding details but everything that came out of the Nintendo camp made me smile, the other two, not so much.

I'll catch up with you all in the coming days. Take care!

PAX East 2010 - Part One, The Exhibition Halls

This past weekend (Friday March 26th through Sunday March 28th) PAX East 2010 was held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts. PAX East is an extension of PAX (Penny arcade Expo) which has been held on the West Coast of the USA since 2004. Since PAX East was practically landing in my backyard, I had to buy a three day pass and experience all everything that people out Vegas and LA/San Fran get almost quarterly!

PAX East 2010 would be my first expo centric on video game and tabletop gaming and it was quite a way to start. Armed with my pass and a expo schedule, I headed out to the convention center.

After entering the convention center, all attendees were directed towards the lower level hall which acted as a entrance queue and swag pickup station. I wasn't quite sure what to expect as far as attendance would go but I certainly wasn't ready for the mass of people waiting to enter the show halls.

Prior to entering the queue, we passed by several sets of long tables and giant cardboard boxes containing out PAX East guide, lanyard for our pass as well as various promotional materials and coupons.

Inside of the guide was the expo floor map as well as a "World Map" detailing the location of the various vendors/exhibitors as well as the many smaller rooms hosting dedicated tournaments and gaming spaces.

Take a minute and look over those last two pictures as well as the directory of exhibitors located on the first part of the expo floor map. The floor had an amazing mix of high-profile as well as indie developers and accessory companies. Some of the highlights: EA had a very cool Dante's Inferno booth as well as a Skate 3 booth with one of the largest none-projection screens I've ever seen!

A side note, EA was having a contest at the Skate 3 booth; beat a certain score in their Hall of Meat and win a skate deck. This was broadcast on the giagantic flatscreen, more on this later.

Another company with a large booth and presence was Turbine Games, a Boston-local company behind Dungeons & Dragons Online and LotR Online.

Microsoft (of course) had a great showing at PAX East with their own cordoned off area with a playable version of the yet-unreleased chaotic/good time known as Crackdown 2. Also in the MS area were multiple PC and 360 stations allowing hands on time with various Games for Windows and XBLA games to come (XBLA game Limbo shown below).

Other great showings included Disney with a playable Split/Second, Ubisoft with Prince of Persia, Red Steel 2 and Splinter Cell Conviction, all playable.

Thanks for the above image!!

Many smaller gaming companies also had great, entertaining booths showing future projects as well as showcasing playable versions of soon-to-be-released games. A darling close to my heart, Puzzle Quest 2 was in playable form and I literally stumbled upon D3 Publishers booth.

The Behemoth (makers of Castle Crashers) had the follow up to their PSN and XBLA beat 'em up in playable form tentitivly titled (I hope) Game 3.

Representing the PC market, AMD, Intel, Alienware and NVidia had some great booths showcasing graphical powerhouses pushing graphics to triple-screen setups with and without 3-D effects. Very cool.

Thanks for the above image!!

Thanks for the above image!!

Being the astute readers you are, I'm sure you are all wondering why no info on the RockStar booth? Well, as the expression goes, I saved the best for last. RockStar had THE prime location on the expo floor, it was the first thing any expo goer saw when they entered the hall on Friday. Here is what they were met with:

Thats right ladies and gents, RockStar came to PAX East with one game and one game only, Red Dead Redemption. Breaking with company policy dating back to GTA 3, they graciously allowed PAX East attendees a chance to play a near-finished version of the hugely anticipated title and I can tell you first hand, it does not disappoint! Red Dead Redemption has been on my radar since its announcement and each gameplay trailer released just gets me more fired up to play the game! This was definitely one of the highlights of PAX East!!

My journey getting into the booth was EPIC for sure. The above picture was Friday at 2:15 and by 3 they had shut off the entry with curtains and placed security outside due to the huge surge of bodies interested in playing RDR. What follows are pictures taken while standing in line for an hour and a half to play the game.

They asked us at the door to stow all camera and cell phones but they didn't say I couldn't talk about it so here it goes! They had a single quest available for play the 8 or 10 stations. In it, you had to meet up with your insane "friend" Seth and subsequently clear a mansion and get the treasure. In the demo, I was able to experience the open terrain of the US/Mexico border, the horse riding mechanics as well as plenty of shooting including revolver and rifle action. We were encouraged to use the Deadeye system and since the demo had it maxed out all the time, kneecaps, hands, shoulders and heads of our various enemies had no chance at all. The only missing element was the audio due to the crazy amount of sounds going on inside and outside of the booth. Hopefully RockStar will continue their high level of voice acting in Red Dead Redemption.

Phew! That ends the formal exhibition hall portion of PAX East 2010, I hope you enjoyed. Please feel free to leave thoughts and feeback in the comments section below.

Stay tuned for Part Two, Off-Main Gaming and Events!!

The Game that Never Ends!!

Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for the DS is the game that never ends! Like its predecessor, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks builds to a point late in the game when you think its the final showdown with the end boss and then pulls a fast one on you and makes you go through not one but two more dungeons (so far)!

Don't get me wrong, the game is pretty good with excellent graphics and the same great controls as The Phantom Hourglass and the inclusion of the teamwork with Zelda is great but like its Wii (and older Nintendo console) Zelda iterations, the formula needs to be mixed up for the next installment.

Until my next blog, enjoy your games!

Racing Spectrum

On my PS3, I have two demos that run the complete spectrum of the racing genre. I downloaded the GT5 Academy last night and I have a code to try the ModNation Cart Racing demo.

GT5 Acedemy is tough! I'm all over the place, even in the tuned version of the Z! A true racing SIM (Forza is an arcade racer compared to this!)

I'll check back in with my impressions of ModNation.