This is my 441st blog. I couldn't read the 4 comments I got on my 440th so if you left me one, I'm sorry. Instead try this.
(Just in case the link gets Glitchspotted here: http://www.gameinformer.com/members/uesugi/default.aspx )
That is my new blog. Yes, after months in the internet wasteland... after self-imposed isolation on Mount Kotaku, I finally found a home. A real home. A home that is not only everything that our home at Gamespot used to be, it is everything that the redesign should have been.
The best part? We're all there! Pokecharm, Matastig... dozens of Gamespot refugees driven out after the redesign trashed our site, we're all there.
We're waiting for you.
The time has come; it is with heavy heart and great sadness that I pull the plug on my participation in this once-great site, but the sad fact is that CBS didn't want us anymore.
See you on the other side.
Ok, rather unexpectedly I have a new obsession that I didn't see coming... the first one since Black Flag.
I reviewed this long before but now it has seized me. I play obsessively, logging in daily to get my rewards, compete in challenges, and stab other living people in the brain; a pasttime that I am shockingly good at all of the sudden.
I've never been much of a multiplayer/online game. I'm of that old school stock that knew multiplayer as two people, side by side on a couch or at an arcade cabinet, following an unspoken covenant of archaic rules as they either fought to the death or cooperated to bring down goals that seemed impossible alone. When Street Fighter IV first appeared I eagerly logged in to play beat-a-fool but the situation was IMMEDIATELY soured by fireball spammers and other honorless curs who kept calling me a scrub. The problems I had extended on to each and every MP game I tried to play; always there was some kid, 140 levels higher than me, who would spam an attack or call in an airstrike, or some other unbalanced shit that resulted in my experience being "spawn, die, repeat' until it just sickened me. Somehow Sparatacus avoids that.
First I applaud the EXCELLENT match-making. Rarely have I ever fought anyone who was more than 3 levels above me. Sure, some spent real-money to skip ahead an buy advanced equipment but none of that resulted in cheesy kills. Yeah, kids still spam attack buttons but since each style has its own strategy this can be overcome by smart tactics. The result is the BEST competitive MP online I have ever been part of. The next closest thing is the MP from Assbro! I don't win all the time but I can honestly say when I lose I deserve to, on the whole.
Spartacus isn't perfect, graphically it is a boor, and for all Ubisoft's efforts to monetize it they sure haven't done shit with DLC like new styles, more weapons, or new arenas. It has it's share of glitches, occasional connection hiccups, and an UNFORGIVING rule in place for disconnects that punishes EVERYONE. Disconnect too often, even through no fault of your own, and your gladiator is FORFEIT; that is to say deleted! The surprising result is I have yet to see anyone rage-quit. (According to the forums this problem was more prevalent on Xbox.) Yet, despite all these niggling qualms, it manages to be a fun game to play.
I was a HUGE fan of the show, in full discolosure, although I haven't seen all the seasons. This isn't for the squeamish... or the prudish. While the official title of season one was Spartacus: Blood and Sand we all just called it Spartacus: Blood and Horse C**k. It is unforgiving in its portrayal of ancient Rome's savage and carnal pastimes. The game spares you any of the sex and the gore is comically underrepresented by paltry graphics but it still manages to scratch that itch left by the passing of the show.
My new favorite strategy is to buy crap-slaves on the cheap at 420 silver and then match them in life-or-death contests where even death results in 450 silver and success means a payout of over 3000! As a Lanista, losing my fear of losing my gladiators meant that my Ludus is starting to prosper. Sure, I lose a slave here or there (There is an option to resurrect them but at a starting price of 1500 silver for a slave worth only 420 it can become an economic decision very quickly) but the big picture is that I a now raking in the coins, both silver and gold. And that's what makes this a better game than what it used to be...
At launch this game featured only two ways to get gold; 1) buy it for real money (up to 3k gold for 149.99) or 2) raise your level; whereas you'd make the paltry sum of 4 gold. Gold is spent for things like high rated gladiators, early access to advanced equipment, changing perks (available when you actually kill an opponent and they act as a boost to your stats,) or they can be traded in for massive amounts of silver (but never the other way around.) If you frequently resurrect your slaves the price quickly goes from silver to gold as well. Under the old system just getting 4 coins could take HOURS of grinding but now, with daily challenges and rewards, I can make 20-30 gold in just 15 fights! This new setup means that Spartacus has gone from pay-to-play to a true free-to-play game.
How do you measure a real rating for a game? If you're like me, in addition to considerations for graphics, music, controls etc there is the element of Fun. Fun brought my favorite game, Blood Will Tell, from my initial rating of 6.5 to a 10. I initially gave Spartacus a 6.5...
Now I easily give it an 8.
Still no comments registering, still can't use the img function, still can't see what my friends are blogging ; just a mindless feed to every little comment people make on forums....
too much sadness
Just laying flowers at the grave of an old friend.
I miss you gamespot.
Honorable Mention: Bioshock Infinite - Never played a Bioshock game before. Don't like FPS. But the setting intrigued me. If it was only a Myst-style game instead of a dumb shoot-fest.
3: Tomb Raider - What can I say? I'll buy this again when they release the updated version for the PS4.
2: Assassin's Creed: Black Flag - This game was tailor made for me. (I'd prefer it if they left out the whole Assassin part though) It could be improved; make the ocean FAR more vast, make it harder, make it more rare to find loot floating in the water, allow you to take new ships and move to them, oh yeah.... ship-to-ship MULTIPLAYER! Damn.
1: The Last of Us - There's no getting around it. I knew this was the game of the year the moment I finished it. The critical success of this game can only be a positive thing for gamers; with TLoU's success we can now expect to see better stories, more realistic characters. Of course the alternative is the Mario tripe that other places have crowned GOTY, we can keep swallowing Miyamoto's Fun-Vomit, if we want, but how does that advance this medium?
It really was. I've blogged on this site for what, almost 6 years? I can't tell because, as I write this, I can no longer see my sign up date. As one of Gamespot's most prolific bloggers and most active site users; i.e. Spotters, I defended this site. I rose up against detractors and tried to keep tensions down. Even @DigitalDame said she thought I was a Ranger and, since I wasn't, that it seemed like an oversight.
The truth is I'm tired. I'm so tired of waiting for people to do right. It's not Synthia's fault, in fact she's maybe the only staffer I've noticed stand up for us. The fact is CBS just doesn't care about the Gamespot Brand as it relates to community. They gutted the social structure of the site and they've not replaced it with anything meaningful. Now I feel like an idiot for standing up for this site when they talked about a redesign. I participated in the beta and I tried my best to calm the fears of the Spotter populace but it turns out I was wrong. I was wrong to defend Lark and the redesign. He was killing the site; killing me softly and I just went along like a good little sheep.
I wish I had an alternative. The truth is I don't. There is NO PLACE like what Gamespot was. I mostly get my news from Kotaku now; the unlikable personalities delivering news here just don't cut it anymore, especially since now they regurgitate what I read elsewhere. I don't check reviews here anymore either: I never cared for KVO's opinions, Carolyn drifts off target too often... against the grain I always respected McShea but, once more, a host of unlikable personalities is not a draw for the site. I don't come here for videos; I find the humor in Feedbackula droll. I came here; I spent 8 hours a day, 5 days a week on this site for one reason...
The community. That tiny population still here reading this tripe right now. Nearly everyone is gone. Those that are left (what soldiers you are!) I cant even find your blogs without developing a migrane. So I'm tired. I'm tired of wasted hope, tired of waiting for a cavalry that is never going to come. I'm sorry Synthia. I feel like I owe you an apology, but I just can't fight anymore. You are the best of them and I truly mean that. CBS got what they wanted, I guess. They stripped out the community and strangled what remained.
I'll check in once in a while, maybe in a month, in the vain hope that CBS will see the error of their ways. The rebel in me encourages those of you who feel like I do to do the same; they choked us out, why not choke them out? This is not goodbye forever, but I'll not continue to give Gamespot traffic every day in reward for f*cking us over.
I miss all of you,
(Note* I can no longer insert cool images in my blogs, as was my custom, due to Bitchspot's general failure of a redesign. The cute little Img button just does NOTHING.)
I'm late to blog. Not to shirk responsibility but I blame the site; not because I tried, mind you, but because Lark killed Gamespot. I just have no desire to bother writing blogs that only 1 or 2 people might catch in their feed. Bland, flavorless blogs devoid of pictures.
I did get my PS4 at launch; NUMBER 4 in line (Sorry, Lark won't let me use the gorram pound sign in my blogs anymore) and I am incredibly impressed. The speed and silence of this beast is immediately awe-inspiring. A 20 GIG install in less than a minute, the ability to download and install multiple games while still playing a game, the ability to suspend at game, like the Vita, and switch to Netflix and then switch back... at will. From a cold start it takes less than 15 seconds for the system to be fully operation where you can start doing something. Oh, and that 300 mb day one patch... less than 2 seconds.
This is my first console bought at launch and I must say; I'm floored by all the PS4 does that I didn't think I needed but now love. And the controller? OMG I could write a whole blog about how I love the controller (but I won't because.. Lark.) The sticks are a MASSIVE improvement, the triggers are finally right, even the touchpad is nice, albiet not terribly useful. With the tiny bit of added weight the controller feels more 'right' than before, the area you grip in your palms is just right as well. The headphone jack works perfectly with the surround earbuds I bought for my Vita so that can hold me over until the update allows my headset to function properly. All in all I just have nothing negative I can say about the system. For now, at least, it's flawless.
Oh and you probably won't hear from me for a while because ASSFLAG! Black Flag was practically tailor made for ME. It couldn't be more perfect for me if Kenway actually sported my first name! The ONLY disappointment in this game for me is that the multiplayer doesn't feature naval battles... that's IT.
Example: I go ashore in a little pirate haven and approach the bar set up on the beach. After trashing a few bozos I belly up and pour a glass of rum, gasping out loud when the group of musicians begin to sing Star of the County Down; a song I myself have sung in pubs. I immediately began to sing right along with it, pressing the O button to drown Kenway in rum until he blacked out and woke up in the bushes some time later! I stumble out and stagger across the beach, visuals still blurred by the rum, only to see 3 sailors sitting around a fire. One leans over and farts and when one of his companions complains he leans over and farts again. I collapse in laughter.
I LOVE Black Flag. No, it doesn't need to be Assassin's Creed. It shouldn't be Assassin's Creed, but the fact that it is doesn't diminish the best gorram pirate game EVER. The shiny visuals and bonus textures of the PS4 plus the ability to stream it to my Vita and go to the bathroom or anywhere else in my house just means that my 400 dollars for a system launch was well spent in my eyes.
Everything is shiny about the PS4 and Black Flag... now if I could just get my Gamespot back.
I tried to paste in a picture... like we used to be able to... but I couldn't... so now this is EXTRA ironic.