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Thingol4 Blog


Nothing important to say, this is pretty much spam at best really but this is a quick post to say I am clearing out my tracking list. For those whose blogs I really ought to be spending more time in I will actually be able to see updates as and when you make a new post so I can have a little more presence instead of seeing people's blogs I never post in! So basically I suppose I am just going to end up with a RPG Temple blog list!

I'm so damn blinkered in my approach to this site!

Edit: Why the hell does GS keep deleting the spaces between my words! :evil:

New Car (New Blog Post...finally)

Because I am sick to death of seeing my Blog post from over a year ago I have decided it is high time I did another quick entry. This one is literally to say that as a big birthday present to myself I have invested in a new car and here she is, drumroll please...

I know I could have gone for a sexy European hatchback Ron like we discussed but I have fancied a Civic Sport for ages now so I just had to treat myself to it. If all goes well and the wind is blowing in the right direction I should be able to pick it up Wednesday *crosses fingers*

Another new addition to the family

So I got home from work yesterday and I was greeted by the pitter patter of yet more little feet, only this time is was four instead of two. That's right my Mum and sister had been out to buy a dog and she is an adorable little thing, we've called her Poppy and tomorrow she will be aten week old collie/labrador crossbreed:

She is already great with Darcie and as soon as she has had the neessary injections she'll be out and about so she can get used to other dogs. Now all that is needed is for me to lecture her in the ways of righteousness, that and how to poop in other people's shoes and not mine.

2007 and the winds of change

I know it's incredibly original to be doing this but I figured since I haven't blogged in a while, a recap of 2007 is a decent enough way to kick of the '08 blogging season.

Well this is Gamespot so I am going to have to mention games at some point, but seeing as we're looking back over 2007 I'll kick off with things that have happened outside of our pixellated worlds.

When a child is born...

The biggest event of my life this year has to be the birth of my niece Darcie last May.

Taken about a month ago but she hasn't changed much

She might only be my niece but she has had a massive effect on my life, and I suspect the same will be said of my wallet when she gets old enough to try and tap me up for money! Well she enjoyed her first Christmas recently and I have never seen so many toys, not that she'll get the chance to play them with me hogging them all the time! The piano toys are excellent by the way, I recommend them for adults everywhere.

Wheels, wheels, wheels...

After about a year of having lessons once I week I finally passed my driving test in September. More recently though I have bought my own little set of wheels.

Not mine but it is the same model - I forgot to take a picture

For a first car it isn't too bad, but the only problem is that I have had to get the clutch done recently and that cost me a casual 3 figures to get sorted out. The freedom is great, or at least it would be if the only reason I drove it wasn't to get too and from work, which leads me to my next point...

I was looking for a job and then I found a job...

I might have started 2007 as an unemployed bum but I have at least ended it in a better fashion! It's only on a temporary contract but I need the money and I work with some pretty sound people. Nobody wants to talk about work so I think I'll stop, here.


If it aint broke, don't fix, wait...

I'll start on an annoyed note because I joined the clan of people who have got through at least one 360, and of course it conveniently broke after the 1 year warranty had expired. Luckily...or not so luckily really, it was the rings of death so I got free shippingbut stillm how can you justify charging £300+ for a console can't take a years worth of use before packing up. Despite having tunred slightly yellow in it's old age my SNES is still in perfect working order despite being well over 10 years old, they just don't make 'em like they used to.

My Games of the Year

Mass Effect

One of the main reasons to own a 360

Not only is this my favourite game to be released in 2007, it has to be one of the best games I have ever played. I admit that I am slightly blinkered about the game but I do accept there are some fundamental flaws like the menu system, annoying loading times on the Citadel and the erractic friendly AI, however, these simply cannot detract too muchfrom such a fantastic title. The story, character development and visuals are all top notch. I have beat this game twice fully and I am currently on my third playthrough trying to approach the game differently each time. I can wholeheartedly recommend this game to any RPG fan here, though I suspect most of them will have already played it.

Oh, and after spending about 20 minutes attempting to make myself an avatar for Mass Effect; allow me to introduce you to Commander Andy Shepard:

Not the best likeness in the world but decent nonetheless

Digital Devil Saga II

Cult cla.ssic and deservedly so

Now it is a shame that Mass Effect came along to overshadow this title because after playing thetwo games I can easily place Shin Megami Tensei Digital Devil Saga in my top-five RPG series. The visuals are good for the PS2, the battle system is simple but strategic but the real strength here is the story and character development. After playing through both DDS 1 and 2 it is hard to not empathise with the struggle of the main characters and become attached to them as they pass from trial to tribulation in an unforgiving world.

Call of Duty 4

Best shooter on the 360?

The decision by Infinity Ward to shift the Call of Duty series from World War 2 to the modern era might have been controversial amongst stalwart fans of the series but what a decision it turned out to be. Never have I played a shooter with such a gripping story giving me that 'just one more level' attitude. Now I will freely admit that I haven't played a great many shooters but I very much doubt there are many that can compare with Call of Duty 4 both off and online.

New TV

Having got a regular wage now I decided to treat myself to a HDTV, something I have wanted for quite a while. After a lengthy PM session with Ron (SavoyPrime) I decided/was persuaded to buy a Toshiba to I settled on this beauty:

The Toshiba 37X3030

It does 1080p and for £650 from Comet I am very much impressed with it. Now if only my 360 had a HDMI input...*sigh*

Well 2007 has been pretty good to me, as I hope it has been for those of you out there who have taken the time to read this blog. Here's to a better 2008 *raises glass*


PES 2008 - Is it wrong to like a game straight away?

Well I succumbed to tempation earlier and bought the new Pro Evo, PES 2008, partly because I am a sucker for Evo but more importantly because I have bought everyone of them on release day before and I didn't want to break with tradition. Now normally at this stage I would be tearing the game new one because of all the changes that have been made and how I don't agree with them. However, this time I find myself liking it and that is disturbing.

The main thing that I can't seem to get my head around is how similar this game feels to the last one and I don't quote know what to make of it.Are the changes so subtle than you simply can't see them or is it simply that there aren't manyimprovementsbarring the visuals and commentary?I would like to say it is the former but to be honest I am starting to think this isn't much more advanced than the previous instalment in the series.

Sure there are changes andsome of them are for the better. Gone are the days when Peter Brackleyand Terry Butcher would infuriate me by telling meI am making a defensive substitution by bringing on a centre forwardto be replaced withimproved commentary from Jon Champion and Mark Lawrenson. The visuals look much better and I am sure it would look special on a HDTV, but even on my SD set the changes are noticeable but that seems to be where everything comes to a standstill.

The dribbling, whilst seemingly slower, is not much different to thatfeatured inPro Evo 6. Now this isn't a bad thing because I liked that feature of the previous game but a little morerefinement, other than a slowdown,would have been nicer. In fact the same can be said for most of the gameplay, it's all so similar to Pro Evo 6 that PES 2008 seems to lack its own identity.

However, it isn't all doom and gloom because like I said I do actually like the game and the ability to save replaysimproved editingfeatures this time aroundare most welcome on the 360.Whilst I would like to thank Konami for including them, in the same breath I must find myself asking why the 360 got such a dumbed down version of Pro Evo last time around?

But after the marginal praise comes the grumble and considering I am playing this game on the 360 I shouldn't have to contend with slowdown but that is a problem that hounds this game especially in replays and when there is a lot happening on-screen. I could understand if this game was challenging the hardware capacity of the 360 but we're talkinga sports game with goodvisuals here, not Oblivion. Now I tried to investigate this further and upon taking control of replays with the right analog stick I tried to slow the game down to a frame by frame replay and I had a problem because it seemed like there were frames missing which made the action jut rather than flow. However, I am not saying that means the developers have chopped frames in order to make the action easier to handle in replays I am simply saying that to an untrained eye such as mine it looked like frames were missing. What this means I'll let others look into but try it for your next action packed replay.

My final early gripe is a big one for me and that is in-game advertising. I hate it in any games but I have tolerated it for sports titles like this because if you go to a football game or watch it on the TV you can see advertisements on the boards around the pitch. I have accepted that but that is where the adverts should stay. I was playing the Master League earlier and noticed an advert for staring me in the face. Now for the Master League all I want to see is league table and upcoming fixtures not adverts. Not content with invading every physical space in our lives advertisers have infiltrated our virtual worlds too and personally think it stinks.

So after all thatis it worth going out and buying PES 2008 if you already have Pro Evo 6? Well in my opinion yes, but it's not as much of a leap as Pro Evo 5 to 6, in fact this time itseems more like a babystep.

Damn! It's cold in England!

So I have been back from holiday for a couple of days but I didn't want to blog anything before I could get hold of a few of the pictures we took when we were out in Puerto Rico.

As you can imagine it was one hell of a temperature shock when I first landed back at Manchester Airport, after being used to it being about 30 degrees in the shade or whatnot, to get off the plane wearing a t-shirt at only 5 degrees, well, perhaps the term 'brass monkeys' will mean something to you! To others I'll simply say it felt Baltic! *shivers*

Seeing as I have a few pictures that I have now uploaded I'll go through a little of the holiday with you. But before that I will start by recommending staying in Puerto Rico, quiet enough for those who want to relax but an easy taxi ride (2-3 Euros) to get to bars and the like :wink: I say a taxi ride because unless you're a hiker you won't want to be walking everywhere, it's hilly to say the least.

So we stayed at the Altamar Aparthotel in Puerto Rico (Gran Canaria), offering picturesque sea views and it didn't disappoint. We arrived in the early morning so it was pitch black but when we got up about 8am and opened the curtain...well, waking up to this sort of view is something I can live with. Check it out:

After that it was time for breakfast, but no sleep and ridiculously warm weather and being starvingmakes me like this in the morning!

Serioiusly though, it was really hot all the time. I got the most burned on a day when the sun was behind the clouds for the most part. It was my own fault because I figured it wouldn't hurt to be less generous with the sun cream, big mistake, my back hurt like hell for a couple of days!

And this is the beach that caused all the problems, but it was one hell of a beach:

Well, it was a family holiday so I am only going to disappoint you Ron, I don't have any lurid pictures. But to further the rumours about my alcoholism I have these for you:

Confusion is a terrible thing!

It was a great holiday, it is just a shame that it only lasted a week. :(

Well it is good to be back with GS, and I am working on getting through a few of the blogs I have missed, as well as the gazillion posts I have missed in the Temple :)

Legal Driver!

After a day of completely sh!tting myself over my driving test I am happy to report that I managed to pass it first time earlier! Honestly it is a relief to get it over with, I was so nervous when I was going round in the car and having to cope with the unnatural silence of the examiner was unbearable. Turns out I had an ex-traffic cop as an examiner which would explain why he was watching my speed all the time!

So, if you're travelling around the streets of South Yorkshire beware of a car similar to this:

It could be me since I just got insured on the family car! :twisted:

I am justso glad to get it out of the way before I go on holiday.

Xbox back and HOLIDAY!!

Well it's double good news for me since late last week I got my 360 back from Microsoftand I am also going on holiday to Gran Canaria for a week next month :D

We'll forget the 360 for now since Two Worlds is not out yet and that is the game I intend to spend some time on in the future. What's more important is that I am going away for a week in the sun to Puerto Rico for a week, something I am really looking forward to.

Well this is where I am going:

Looks good, the reviews are positive and I can't wait :D

Entering the handheld realm

After sifting through my game collection last week I decided to part with a few games that I simply don't bother with anymore as well as a Gamecube console which has sat gathering dust ever since I left uni. I did get my £40 worth a couple of years ago with 4 way Def Jam and Mario Kart Double Dash, but after that the console has been dying a slow death so I needed to be rid of it.

In it's place I have got this shiny new piece of kit

I decided on the Black DSlite because lets face it, black is cool and I am very pleased with it too :D As you should be able to see in the picture I picked it up with Phoenix Wright: Justice for All and Hotel Dusk, then I bought a preowned Battles of the Prince of Persia to satisfy my strategy needs.

All I need now is some money to get my hands on the first Phoenix Wright and I quite fancy the turn-based Age of Empires for the DS too.

Woe betide those who suffer the curse of the rings of death

Well I was playing Pro Evolution Soccer 6 on my 360 monday when I experienced that which every XBOX owner in all the lands fears, the rings of death...

I pinched this picture from the netseeing as I didn't get a chance with mine before I flew into a rage, switched the thing off and came here to Gamespot to ask friends for advice. I'll take this time to say thanks guys, it was a good idea to get straight in touch with Microsoft because my 360 in now winging it's way to wherever it is they do the repairs here in the UK courtesy of free UPS delivery. Personally I am hoping they have to give me a new one because the DVD drive on mine was the loudest thing I have ever encountered on a gaming console but chances are they'll just do some tinkering that will make it work for about another 6 months before I send it back again :(

What really gets me down is that I'll miss the launch of Two Worlds, a game I have been looking forward to for about 6 months and the demo of Blue Dragon which is meant to be on Xbox Live for a limited time only :cry:

In other news I have only just noticed I have missed my 2 year anniversary here on GS. Now to some of those who have been here forever *looks at Ron :P* it might not seem like much but I think it is something worth celebrating...perhaps I'll perpetuatethe drinking problem everyone in the RPG Temple reckons I have and hit the town tomorrow night and celebrate :D Fancy it JP? :wink: :lol:

Now I know it has been two years but the daft thing is that it seems like it has been so much longer but in a good way, and that's thanks to all the people I have met here on GS. I'll give a special shoutout to Ron (SavoyPrime), Max (AzelKosMos), Jude (Lightfellower),JP (alexisonfire828), Casey (SemiMaster), fellow Shadow Hearts enthusiast Dave (Celtic1962)and everyone else at the RPG Temple who make theunion the best place to be on GSwhose names I was simply too lazy to type :P I'll rob this line from you Ron but if you're on my friend list then I mean it to you guys too.

I know I haven't been posting in the blogs much recently, that is lethargy on my part, something I intend to address in the future. Rest assured everyone will get a comment at some point! Later people :wink: