What a waste of my time!

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I was going to make a come back but the new blog editor is garbage so I will have to find somewhere else to post in the future... sorry.

Now Loading's Best + Worst Awards 2012: WINNERS

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PLEASE READ FIRST: Now Loading's Best + Worst of 2012 is based on ONLY titles that I have played extensively for systems that I own. That is why there is no PS3 category / Games in these nominees. I have also removed the best Xbox 360 category due to redundancy with the main Game of the Year. Thanks for understanding and enjoy the Winners!

I've gathered up 13 categories for all the games I've played in 2012 to compete in; from the "highly coveted" 2012 Game of the Year, to best character(s), to best game mechanic, to terrible load/wait times, to most disappointing, they are all here. Today I will be revealing the winners.

2012 WORST AWARDS WINNERS INTRO
These games are given the descriptor of worst, with that said, please keep in mind not all these games are bad, in fact, some of these games might be really great. Sometimes there are just things that don't work out like bad design choices, bad product placement, underwhelming features or just flat out horrible games. Also some of these games have received these awards due to my negligence or just because I didn't end up liking them. Also take note that some of these categories / nominees are more "for fun" than others.

Word of Mouth Award
This award is given to the game which has received good review scores and/or good word of mouth, but when I ended up buying it, I found out it wasn't for me or I simply just didn't like what I played. This award is open to all games purchased in 2012.

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WINNER: The Witcher 2 - (Xbox 360, 2012)
If you like The Witcher 2, that's really good for you. The game did not click for me and I did not get into playing it. That's simply the reason it gets the award... everyone says it's great, I play it and it's not for me.

Runners Up:
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012), Spelunky (X360, 2012)



Worst Splurge Buy
There are times when you have money burning a hole in your pocket and you just have to spend it. It could be on a bad game, a game that isn't right for you or even a game you don't really need, but that money has to go before your pants catch fire. These are the games that I bought in 2012 that wished I hadn't seen during that particular day, if you know what I mean.

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WINNER: R.A.W. Realms of Ancient War - (XBLA, 2012)
There is no worse a splurge buy than to go and buy a bad game. Really, there isn't much to say about RAW, it's just a bland action RPG and you shouldn't waste your time or your money on it.

Runners Up: Final Fantasy XIII-2 (X360, 2012),Burnout Crash! (XBLA, 2010)



Play or Not to Play?
These nominees have the dubious distinction of being titles that I bought in 2012 but never got into, never even played or played for only a really short time. This seems to happen far too often for me.

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WINNER: Final Fantasy XIII-2 - (X360, 2012)
Final Fantasy XIII, 20 hours of hallways and tedious fights where you have to switch paradigms every five seconds if you hope to win the harder fights... Final Fantasy XIII-2 thankfully less hallways, but an even sillier story and the same tedious battles kept me from playing this for more than 5 hours.

Runners Up: Spelunky (XBLA, 2012), RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)



Patience Is a Virtua (Longest Game Wait Time Award)
Loading times... Wait times... Ever since games began to use optical disc technology this has be a common fact of gaming. There might also be a few game mechanics that make you wait. These are the worst culprits of this from titles released in 2012.

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WINNER: Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Criterion) (X360, 2012)
It takes around 30 seconds to load into your single player world and then add another 20+ seconds if you decide to play multiplayer. 50 seconds is enough to get this award.

Runners Up: Borderlands 2 (X360, 2012), FarCry 3 (X360, 2012)



Worst Game Mechanic
You need good ideas to make a good game and while some ideas sound good on paper, these particular ideas should have stayed on the paper, then got tossed into the fire. What I am saying is that these mechanics actually made their respective games less enjoyable. These are the worst game mechanics of the 2012 released titles.

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WINNER: SSX (2012) - Deadly Courses
SSX (2012) was SO close to being the best in the series. It had a fun and lenient trick-system that made it fun to go big without the risk of wiping out on every jump because you held your trick too long... but unfortunately the game's later tracks are full of pits and crevasses making it a chore to keep your combo or racing line going AT ALL.

Runners Up: Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2012) - Autolog, Far Cry 3 - Short Fall Distance



Most Disappointing Downloadable Game of 2012
Inexpensive but getting closer every day to running with full retail releases, Downloadble games still tripped on a few bumps in the road. These are the most disappointing downloadable games (XBLA, etc) released in 2012.

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WINNER: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (XBLA, 2012)
I could have given this one to RAW and that truly is a bad game, but I was super pumped for THPS HD and while I can't say it disappointed me completely it was enough for me give it this award. The controls aren't as responsive, the techniques don't feel the same and the glitches that randomly wipe you out are just too much.

Runners Up: Spelunky (XBLA, 2012), RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)



Most Disappointing of 2012
Since I don't intentionally play really bad games this award goes to the game that just didn't meet whatever expectations that I had for it. Whether if that was because of poor gameplay, because it was a rehash or just because I couldn't get in to it like I hoped I would. This is award is only open to games published in 2012.

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WINNER: SSX (X360, 2012)
I became a huge SSX fan when SSX 3 hit a homerun back in 2003 with a perfect blend of open world mountain exploring and high-flying arcade action... 2006's SSX On Tour was a let down compared to the masterpiece that was SSX 3 and the series died off. So in 2012 when EA finally brings the series back for the current generation I am excited. While the mountain exploring is gone the trick system is better than ever with a unique animation cancel that allows to hold tricks to very last second... Just as soon as I am busting 15+ million point combos and believing SSX is back... the later courses are terrible, filled with pits that ruin the point scoring and racing fun.

Runners Up: Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012), The Witcher 2 (X360, 2012)



2012 BEST AWARDS WINNERS INTRO
These games are given the title of best in their cIass, there is nothing better than these games or aspects of these games. You can't go wrong with any of them; in fact you should play them all. What makes them great you ask? All you have to is just play them; it should be readily apparent right away.

Best Downloadable Game (XBLA)
This award is given out to the best downloadable game game that I played this year. Open to ONLY 2012 released Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) titles.

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WINNER: Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition (XBLA, 2012)
I too was hooked by the phenomenon that is Minecraft. The XBLA port is a bit behind its PC counter-part but is being updated pretty frequently. Digging, building, exploring, enchanting, farming and even potion making, Minecraft does it all.

Runners Up: RockBand Blitz (XBLA, 2012), The Walking Dead (XBLA, 2012)



Best Character in 2012
This award goes to my personal favorite hero/heroine or main character(s) from any game I played in the year of 2011.

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WINNER: Vaas Montenegro(Far Cry 3, 2012)
This guy makes the most of his screen time by messing with the head of the main character Jason Brody. His crazed speeches are haunting and disturbing... he's a great character and the fact that he, not Jason, graces the game's cover says alot.

Runners Up: Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2, 2012), Lee Everett and Clementine (The Walking Dead, 2012)



Best Surprise in 2012
This award is given to a game played in 2012 (any year published) that surprised me that it was so good or turned out that was even better than I thought it was going to be.

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WINNER: Far Cry 3 (X360, 2012)
When Far Cry 3 was announced I was skeptical... my experience with my 2008 Most Disappointing Game, Far Cry 2 was etched in to my brain... jamming weapons, bullet sponge enemies, respawning guard posts, massive map with nothing to explore, terrible save system and on and on. Far Cry 3 fixes all those problems and even has some great new ideas like marking and amazing stealth kills. The islands is enjoyable to explore and is much better implemented in to the game. My skepticism turned to happiness as I dealt with my island insanity.

Runners Up: Dragon's Dogma (X360, 20102), Resident Evil 6 (X360, 2010)



Best Game Mechanic
Awarded to those game design ideas that REALLY worked out. These ideas worked to perfection and added just that much more to their respective games. This category is open to ONLY 2012 releases.

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WINNER: Far Cry 3 - Stealth Mechanics
Mark your enemies so you can track their every move even through buildings and through thick foliage. A detection meter lets you know your being "detected" and from which direction so you can break line of sight. Finally when you are ready to some damage you have tons of skills to take your enemies out without being heard or seen. From chaining backstabs to stealing victims guns, knives and grenades to use against enemies at longer ranges, or just launch some death from below or above. Those Pirates will never know what hit 'em!

Runners Up: Multi-CIasses - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Badass Rank - Borderlands 2



Best Not 2012 Game Played In 2012
You can only play one game at a time and often you fall behind the release curve. This Award goes to the best game not from 2012 game that I played during the calendar year of 2012.

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WINNER: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (X360, 2011)
174 hours with same character, haven't done the main quest, haven't reached level 80, haven't barely started the latest DLC. Point is Skyrim has so much to see and do if it weren't for the slight burnout and new releases that time played total would be well in to the 200's by now.

Runners Up: Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas (X360, 2008/2010), The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii, 2011)



Game of the Year 2012
This is the big one, the Game of the Year. Of course it goes to my PERSONAL FAVORITE game that I played that was published in the calendar year of 2012, not necessarily the best overall.

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WINNER: Borderlands 2 (X360)
I played over 100 hours in a week! There are only 168 hours total in one week. The much improved storyline, better use of characters, even more cool weapons and more pop-culture references than you can even imagine. A few flaws (quirky loot system, wibbly enemies) made this a tougher choice than it needed to be but, congratulations to Borderlands 2 Now Loading's 2012 Game of the Year!.

Runners Up: Far Cry 3 (X360), Forza Horizon (X360)

Those are the winners for my 2012 Best + Worst Awards! Thanks for joining me... In a few days I'll have a blog status update. Talk to you then! Loading Complete!

Now Loading's 2012 Best + Worst Awards: Nominees

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PLEASE READ FIRST: Now Loading's Best + Worst of 2012 is based on ONLY titles that I have played extensively for systems that I own. That is why there is no PS3 category / Games in these nominees. I have also removed the best Xbox 360 category due to redundancy with the main Game of the Year. Thanks for understanding and enjoy the Nominees!

I've gathered up 13 categories for all the games I've played in 2012 to compete in; from the "highly coveted" 2012 Game of the Year, to best character(s), to best game mechanic, to terrible load/wait times, to most disappointing, they are all here. Today I will be revealing the nominees and explaining all the categories. Obviously the games come in 2 flavors: Best and Worst, first we'll take a look at the worst categories and then of course the best ones. Each category requires at least three nominees, one of which one will come away with the award.

2012 WORST AWARDS NOMINEES INTRO
These games are given the descriptor of worst, with that said, please keep in mind not all these games are bad, in fact, some of these games might be really great. Sometimes there are just things that don't work out like bad design choices, bad product placement, underwhelming features or just flat out horrible games. Also some of these games have received these awards due to my negligence or just because I didn't end up liking them. Also take note that some of these categories / nominees are more "for fun" than others.

Word of Mouth Award
This award is given to the game which has received good review scores and/or good word of mouth, but when I ended up buying it, I found out it wasn't for me or I simply just didn't like what I played. This award is open to all games purchased in 2012.

Now the Nominees:
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012)
Need For Speed: Most Wanted was to be the next Burnout Paradise... so they said. They were WRONG. Really wrong, truly wrong. Teaches me to listen to them.

Spelunky (X360, 2012)
Spelunky gets a lot of praise for being a rouge-like platformer. Meaning if you die, it's back to the start of the randomly generated levels. There is a lot of strategy to a successful run, but the randomness just kills it.

The Witcher 2(X360, 2012)
The Witcher 2 is sooo great, it has great graphics, it has neat characters, a good story and challenging combat. Wow, you may be saying. The combat never clicked, so it was just roll away stab, roll away stab... I don't get the praise for this game.

Worst Splurge Buy
There are times when you have money burning a hole in your pocket and you just have to spend it. It could be on a bad game, a game that isn't right for you or even a game you don't really need, but that money has to go before your pants catch fire. These are the games that I bought in 2012 that wished I hadn't seen during that particular day, if you know what I mean.

Now the Nominees:
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (X360, 2012)
Final Fantasy XIII-2... The ONLY reason I bought this to see if I could inspire myself to play the original through to the end. While I might say the overworld game is a little better, the tedious Paradigm Shifting battle system did it in.

Burnout Crash! (XBLA, 2010)
Burnout Crash! is frustrating as hell. It's a high score chasing game that could have been really fun except for all the rules that cause you to lose outright.

RAW (Realms of Acient War) (XBLA, 2012)
I spent money on this mediocre action RPG that I played for about 2 hours. Enough said.

Play or Not to Play?
These nominees have the dubious distinction of being titles that I bought in 2012 but never got into, never even played or played for only a really short time. This seems to happen far too often for me.

Now The Nominees:
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (X360, 2012)
I got about 5 hours in to FF13-2 when I realized I don't like the constant Pardigm Shifting that is required to win the games battles.

Spelunky (XBLA, 2012)
I spent a few hours on this game before I realized that the random level design really made the game more difficult than it should be.

RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)
I played this for less than 2 hours before I realized that RAW was not going to be a good game.

Patience Is a Virtua (Longest Game Wait Time Award)
Loading times... Wait times... Ever since games began to use optical disc technology this has be a common fact of gaming. There might also be a few game mechanics that make you wait. These are the worst culprits of this from titles released in 2012.

Now the Nominees
Borderlands 2 (X360, 2012)
While the new areas in Borderlands 2 are much bigger so the loading times are fewer, the loading times of 15-20 seconds between instances are pretty long.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted (Criterion) (X360, 2012)
The initial loading time between starting Need For Speed: Most Wanted and playing are at least 25 seconds and there are 20 seconds more if you want to start a multiplayer game.

FarCry 3 (X360, 2012)
30+ seconds to start your island insanity... did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? Long-ass loading times!

Worst Game Mechanic
You need good ideas to make a good game and while some ideas sound good on paper, these particular ideas should have stayed on the paper, then got tossed into the fire. What I am saying is that these mechanics actually made their respective games less enjoyable. These are the worst game mechanics of the 2012 released titles.

Now the Nominees:
SSX (2012) - Bottomless Pit Courses
SSX (2012) was SO close to being the best in the series. It had a fun and lenient trick-system that made it fun to go big without the risk of wiping out on every jump because you held your trick too long... but unfortunately the game's tracks are full of pits and crevasses making it a chore to keep your combo going AT ALL.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted (2012) - Autolog
This is a strange one... Autolog is a neat idea, but it is NOT a replacement for actual game modes and features. What happens if your friends are too good, or don't play the game, or what if don't/can't play online? Getting long jumps on billboards or beating your friends race times is POINTLESS and you've just lost a bunch of things to do.

Far Cry 3 - Short Fall Distance
As Jason Brody you can chain stab 6 enemies in a row, then pull the sixth dude's knife and kill a seventh... pretty badass... what isn't badass is the fact he takes fall damage from 3 foot falls causing you to potentially waste a health pack.

Most Disappointing Downloadable Game of 2012
Inexpensive but getting closer every day to running with full retail releases, Downloadble games still tripped on a few bumps in the road. These are the most disappointing downloadable games (XBLA, etc) released in 2012.

Now the Nominees:
Spelunky (XBLA, 2012)
I really wanted to like Spelunky, it's one of those games that you get better at as you play it. It's too bad that the randomly generated levels make it more about getting the right set of obstacles than using you skills.

RAW (Realms of Ancient War) (XBLA, 2012)
This seemed like it might be a decent little Action-RPG but the gameplay is bland and the while the graphics look pretty good the characters animate poorly.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD (XBLA, 2012)
I loved the old Tony Hawk games, with THPS 2 and THUG 2 being my favorites so when they announce a remake of the series with favorite THPS 1 and 2 levels and music... I am there. Unfortunately this remake is glitchy and has a different feel ruining the experience of playing the classic levels in HD.

Most Disappointing of 2012
Since I don't intentionally play really bad games this award goes to the game that just didn't meet whatever expectations that I had for it. Whether if that was because of poor gameplay, because it was a rehash or just because I couldn't get in to it like I hoped I would. This is award is only open to games published in 2012.

Now the Nominees:
Need For Speed: Most Wanted (X360, 2012)
What happened to Criterion? They used to make games with tons of evenst, tons of event types and lots of things to do. NFS: MW is barely a shell, a repetitive and short single player mode with only 3 event types (race, escape the cops and highest average speed)... you'll spend most of your time grinding for speedpoints. The multiplayer fairs no better because the only competition is in speedlists and those events are very limited. I got two days of gameplay out of this and I really have no urge to go back to it...

SSX (X360, 2012)
Sigh, this one is tough because I really really liked SSX but the tracks filled with combo ending pits means more than 75% of the game is not suited for tricking... hell 75% of the game isn't suitable for racing either.

The Witcher 2 (X360, 2012)
The way people talk about The Witcher 2 I was expecting an amazing experience. In the 10 hours or so I played I got boring combat, where I'd roll in attack and then roll away, found the story uninteresting and most of the characters unappealing. Blame it on a console port all you want I don't believe it'd be any better on PC.

2011 BEST AWARDS NOMINEES INTRO
These games are given the title of best in their cIass, there is nothing better than these games or aspects of these games. You can't go wrong with any of them; in fact you should play them all. What makes them great you ask? All you have to is just play them; it should be readily apparent right away.

Best Downloadable Game (XBLA)
This award is given out to the best downloadable game game that I played this year. Open to ONLY 2012 released Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) titles.

Now the Nominees:
Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition (XBLA, 2012)
I too was hooked by the phenomenon that is Minecraft. The XBLA port is a bit beind its PC counter-part but is being updated pretty frequently. Digging, building, exploring, enchanting, farming and even potion making, Minecraft does it all.

RockBand Blitz (XBLA, 2012)
This is great little game where you try to get high scores on the 15 songs included with the game. Hey, that'd probably be great on its own but when you consider that it is compatible with pretty much every Rock Band song out there it's a great reason to "dust" off your RB music collection.

The Walking Dead (XBLA, 2012)
I'm a gameplay first kind of guy, I'll take challenging and engaging gameplay over story any day. The puts The Walking Dead in a tough spot... it's a fantastic interactive story with a really interesting choice mechanic that'll have you second guessing yourself constantly. Also Zombies are merely a backdrop this is story about human's dealing with the end of the world.

Best Character in 2012
This award goes to my personal favorite hero/heroine or main character(s) from any game I played in the year of 2011.

Now the Nominees
Vaas Montenegro (Far Cry 3, 2012)
This guy makes the most of his screen time by messing with the head of the main character Jason Brody. His crazed speeches are haunting and disturbing... he's a great character and the fact that he, not Jason, graces the game's cover says alot.

Handsome Jack (Borderlands 2, 2012)
The ultimate d-bag. He's always one step a head of the vault hunters and by the end of the game you'll hate him for all the things that he's said and done.

Lee Everett and Clementine (The Walking Dead, 2012)
If Lee (aka You) we're alone, the choices you have to make would be a lot easier... but you will make choices to protect Clementine... even if it means the death of you.

Best Surprise in 2012
This award is given to a game played in 2012 (any year published) that surprised me that it was so good or turned out that was even better than I thought it was going to be.

Now the Nominees
Far Cry 3 (X360, 2012)
All I really need to say is: I gave my 2008 most disappointing game award to Far Cry 2. Far Cry 3 fixes most of the problems of 2 and even adds some cool new features.

Dragon's Dogma (X360, 20102)
Dragon's Dogma is surprising in the most cIassic sense. I had no idea what it was until it was basically released. It has a few issues that a sequel can fix but it's a cool game.

Resident Evil 6 (X360, 2010)
4.5 said GameSpot, this game sucks, kill the RE franchise... blah, blah, blah... this is a pretty fun game that is worth playing, make sure you actually play a game before you judge it.

Best Game Mechanic
Awarded to those game design ideas that REALLY worked out. These ideas worked to perfection and added just that much more to their respective games. This category is open to ONLY 2012 releases.

Now the Nominees:
Multi-CIasses - Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
I was actually able to play through the game with a ice-battlemage, enchanted ice-sword in one hand, magical ice staff in the other, while casting powerful ice spells for crowd control... not a lot of games allow you to do multi-cIasses, they are always too weak across all skills to be effective but KoA: Reckoning pulled it off.

Badass Rank - Borderlands 2
Small cumulative stat boost across all your characters, it's a brilliant idea that makes it so your alternate characters are still helping your main. Main character completed all the challenges? If you meet the criteria you can reset your challenges and gain even more Badassness.

Far Cry 3 - Stealth Mechanics
Tired of losing track of enemies in the foliage or behind buildings? Mark them and know their every move then sneak up behind them, drop death from above, then chain your backstabs and steal the guy's knife and to throw it in the face of the last man standing... outpost liberated!

Best Not 2012 Game Played In 2012
You can only play one game at a time and often you fall behind the release curve. This Award goes to the best game not from 2012 game that I played during the calendar year of 2012.

Now the Nominees:
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (X360, 2011)
I played and enjoyed over 174 hours of Skyrim in 2012 and the game had two massive DLC packs released as well.

Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas (X360, 2008/2010)
I played over 120 hours of Fallout 3 and Fallout New vegas combined and I even took on some of the New Vegas DLC I had never played. Still have to finish New Vegas's story. Fallout 4 please.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii, 2011)
I hated Skyward Sword when I first played it back in 2011, stupid Wii-waggle getting in the way... and it still does, but when it's not you'll find a very enjoyable Zelda title.

Game of the Year 2012
This is the big one, the Game of the Year. Of course it goes to my PERSONAL FAVORITE game that I played that was published in the calendar year of 2012, not necessarily the best overall.

Now the Nominees:
Borderlands 2 (X360)
I played over 100 hours in a week! There are only 168 hour total in one week. The much improved storyline, better use of characters, even more cool weapons and more pop-culture references than you can even imagine. A Great Game.

Far Cry 3 (X360)
Far Cry 3 takes the potential of Far Cry 2 and capitalizes on it. Fun stealth mechanics, a massive island to explore and some crazy characters round out the island insanity.

Forza Horizon (X360)
Take the great realistic physics of Forza Motorsport, tune them slightly to the arcade side and give the player a massive open world to drive around in with tons of events to take part and you've got a great open world racing game.

Those are the nominees for my 2012 Best + Worst Awards and on January 15th, 2013 I will reveal the winners. Some of the categories may seem pretty obvious, but I think you may be surprised at a few of the winners once they are revealed to you. Be sure to come back tomorrow, January 15h, to see the Winners of my 2012 Best + Worst Awards! Loading Complete!

Now Loading Update (10.29.2012) - Finished Article Minis

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I'm back. I decided to take some time out from gaming to write some stuff down. For this update I have three finished article minis: Borderlands 2, Resident Evil 6 and Forza Horizon. Let's get started talking about games!

Borderlands 2
This should say it all... I loved Borderlands 1 and spent over 200 hours with it over the last three years... I've played over 200 hours in the first month of Borderlands 2's release. The story is better, the guns are better, it's filled to the brim with pop-culture references, the world is more diverse and it is just a much more defined game overall... with two issues keeping me from, say, just dropping it immediately into my Top 10 favorite games of all time. The first is a minor issue and may just be personal preference, but fighting the enemies in BL2 is more often than not annoying. Many of them roll, skitter, dodge, jump, cloak and move very fast... small issue with that, BL2's guns use projectile type hit detection and these "bullets" don't move particularly fast. Don't get me wrong it's nice the enemies don't just stand around to get killed but let's face it: they are cannon fodder and simply XP. As I said you may end up feeling different but some times I wish the enemies would just die all ready.

MAJOR ISSUE: Gearbox busted the fantastic loot system from the first game. Enemies no longer drop the gun they were carrying, treasure boxes are no longer that exciting to open and the vending machines are loaded to the brim with White and Green rarity loot that isn't worth your time unless you are desperate. In the first game you could play the game pretty naturally making your way through the progression of missions and getting cool guns and stuff along the way. In Borderlands 2 unless you are very lucky, you find yourself a boss enemy that drops a ton of loot and you farm that bugger by saving, quitting and then reloading that instance over and over. Welcome to MMOLands 2... I HATE this change, it's clear they tried to balance the game to the white and green loot to make the blue, purple and oranges that much more special. The problem with that I think is clearly represented by this example: the first boss you face Knuckle Dragger drops a Legendary (Orange) gun, this drop is unique to him (with a miniscule chance of a chest find, I have opened nearly 1000 chests and have never seen a legendary drop from anything other than a boss) and he is a LEVEL 1 which means the gun that drops is a LEVEL 2... so unless he drops that the first time you kill him that legendary is rendered useless. It DOES NOT scale until you complete Playthrough 2 (True Vault Hunter Mode). The reason I got in to Borderlands 1 was because of the loot and the fact I didn't have to grind for it, I could just find the stuff as I played... not to mention if you found something good it could probably last upwards of 10 levels, in fact I had a level 20 Masher (shoots 7 projectiles like a shot gun) Revolver that I used until level 40, that gun becomes a favorite. Whereas in Borderlands 2 you'll be lucky if a gun last 5 levels before you are forced to drop that special gun for some common or uncommon. If they could just tweak it a little bit so chest are a little more giving, things would be great as of now it gets a bit hard to see another chest and just know it is full of 4 green pistols.

Overall though I have been enjoying the game and will probably continue to play new characters and the DLC as it is released. Oh right, the Pirate DLC is pretty good, it has some production problems, like bad frame-rates and slap-dash object placement (some structures just look badly placed in the world) as it was made by Tryptic Games (ex-3D Realms dudes) and not Gearbox. If you liked the first game you'll enjoy BL2!

Resident Evil 6
I promise this one won't be as long as the last one. Kevin Van Ord must of been having a bad week because RE6 is not a 4.5.. not even close. Sure the camera can get screwy at times and there are some issues with cheap insta-deaths and surprise QTEs but even so the game actually does what everyone seems to want... it changes Resident Evil. You'll never be able to play RE4 or 5 with their slow controls after dodging, rolling and meleeing the crap out of all kinds of zombies and monsters in RE6. The game play is really fun and as I said these are the most limber RE characters ever. It just depends what you think "Resident Evil" is... that clunky old game with tank controls (1, 2 and 3), an intense 3rd person shooter with limited controls that increase that intensity (RE4), a minor addition to that (RE5) or a really fun action game with some fun movement controls (RE6). It's not perfect as I said the closeness of the camera to the player takes a bit of getting used to and the game likes to interrupt the gameplay with cut-scenes, but none of these things can really take anything away from a really good game.

Forza Horizon
I have been enjoying Forza Horizon. It takes the realism and handling I enjoyed from Forza Motorsport 2 and 3 and the open worlds that were fun in Criterion's Paradise and Hot Pursuit and mashes them together. Sim based racing games like Forza and Gran Turismo tend to lack personality: they are just a bunch of menus and races strung together. What sets Horizon apart is that while it uses Forza's legendary physics it let's you have fun with them in the open world by reducing the effects of crashes and damage. I only have one big issue with the game... the CPU drivers. They cheat... There are two types of races in Horizon, circuit and point-to-point and for the first lap or the first 30% of each race the CPU blasts off to an early lead. Then around a certain point they slow down and let you catch up then it's a matter of you staying in 1st until the end. I hate this rubber band ****. It makes your wins feel pointless... you just keep up until they LET you win... BARF. Final small issue, you cannot see the list of entrants before a race making it impossible to know how much to upgrade your car, so you end up having to max it to the top of the c.lass it allows. Otherwise Forza Horizon is an amazing game, we will have to see how it stacks up to Criterion's Need For Speed: Most Wanted tomorrow.

That about covers it. I will try to get that bosses list posted up here soon... I have been debating posting it because it uses YouTube videos to show off the fights and GameSpot STILL doesn't allow embedding videos. Also special announcement: I want to bring back NLID in 2013. Once the new games stop coming, which will be with Halo 4 next week and I have had a chance to play them NLID will return. This means most likely in January 2013. It should be fun as I really liked playing a mix of older and retro stuff with that series. Also I am not sure what format it'll be in, I might try vlogging specially for NLID. I will post soon. Loading Complete!

My 10 Favorite Games of the Generation So Far (X360, PS3, Wii)

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This is a list of my 10 favorite games of this console generation (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) though it includes all X360 games as that is my system of choice this gen. This list is also accurate as of October 7, 2012 and is subject to change at a later date. PLEASE NOTE: This is my personal list, if you don't like it or the games on it... make your own list.

Honorable Mentions include: Mass Effect Trilogy, Vanquish, Minecraft X360, NHL 2K10, Burnout Paradise, Left 4 Dead 2 and Rock Band 3.

1. Fallout 3
Fallout 3 is another Bethesda masterpiece with a really enjoyable world to explore. You can get lost in the game for 100's of hours and with the excellent DLC add-ons you get even more to discover.

2. Borderlands
LOOT is Awesome, but, it is even more awesome when it is GUNS! I can find a never before seen gun every single new game and with 4 player co-op you really can't go wrong. I also love the game's art style and the fact it doesn't take itself too seriously. Fun DLC (except Mad Moxxie) help change up the scenery. Oh, also, Clap-Trap. Nearly 300 hours of gameplay time over multiple characters and fairly frequent play for 3 years round out this choice.

3. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
The sad thing is I'll probably never play this again because I am basically done with the Call of Duty series but this game got me hooked on FPS games and FPS multiplayer. I spent over 384 HOURS playing this. Unfortunately the series was never able to capture me like this title did back in late 2007 when I gave it my Game of the Year in the 11th hour.

4. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I've played only 2 characters in Skyrim one has over 130 hours on it and the other has nearly 200 alone... But get this, I have never completed the main quest with either of them. Amazing graphics and another fun to explore Bethesda world means I stay hooked for 100's of hours.

5. Battlefield 3
Epic battles. Good Teamwork. MINIMAL LAG. Battlefield 3 is fun to play because it has such a different feel from the LONE WOLF mentality of the Call of Duty games. As a bonus the game's dedicated servers make for excellent and EVENLY MATCHED gun battles which mitigates a major issue of online multiplayer.

6. Saints Row 2
WHA? Not GTA IV? Nope, I enjoy the Saints Row games and the second game is bigger, better and the most feature packed of them all. There are easily 60+ hours of gameplay here if you want to challenge yourself to do it all. It's a perfect feature packed sequel, unlike the streamlined as hell Saints Row: The Third.

7. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Oblivion has some problems that border on serious, for example the leveling system actually works against you... but I still enjoyed it through multiple characters for probably over 400 hours and that says a lot when a game can overcome its problems and still be enjoyable for that long.

8. Portal 2
It's replayability factor is a little low because of the puzzle like nature of the levels which puts it lower on this list, but Portal 2 is a great can't miss experience. From the mind bending puzzles to the laugh out loud humor everything is done excellently. It's also like you are getting 2 games in one with the separate Single Player and Co-Op levels.

9. Forza Motorsport 2
I'm just going to put it this way... I hadn't been this into a sim-racing game since Gran Turismo 2 way back in 1999. I 100% completed the career mode, which took over 50 hours alone and played tons of online races. The sequels were never able to capture the same magic... in fact I haven't even played Forza 4.

10. Prince of Persia
This is the surprise of the bunch I am sure. If it wasn't for the fact that Fallout 3 also came out in 2008 I think it would have likely been my game of the year. I loved the simplistic and relaxing gameplay in which you couldn't "die", the combo based fighting and I loved the way the Prince and Elika interacted during the course of the game. To the chagrin of some, I kind of wish the PoP series kept going in this direction.

So there you have it 10 of my favorite games from this console generation so far. I'll probably come back to this list whenever the new systems come out and make it more definitive but for now I think it gives you a good idea of the games that I have enjoyed in the last 6 or 7 years. I'll be back in a few days or so with 10 Cool Boss Fights I Could Remember (yes, that is the title). So look forward to that. Loading Complete!

Now Loading Update (10.01.2012) - Oops, I Did It Again

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What is up... so much for that great come back, huh? Before we begin, I have been doing some thinking about the blog. Every time I attempt to make a comeback I plan to comeback with tons of content... I clearly fail at doing that. Instead of a big glorious comeback with NLID, frequent updates and all that I think this time around this thing is going to be a part-time thing. I did have ideas of making this thing bigger and tried to write it as if it was some kind of serious blog and I may still try live-streaming or video content in the future, but for now Now Loading has to get back to its roots: being the personal blog of Tom Aitken, aka alpha99.

I don't really have too much to say for this update. I just wanted to let you know that I plan to update when ever I have something to say. I'm not going to bother with schedules or with special weekly features any more. In other news expect to see my usual end of year content like my best / worst awards some time in January 2013. I know this is pretty hypocritical after what I just said but I do have a few things planned: first, I am going to post My 10 Favorite Games of the Generation (So Far) in a couple of days. Anyone who still reads this can look forward to that. Then I have 10 Cool Boss Fights That I Could Think Of and I kind of want to write a finished article for Borderlands 2.

I am not quite ready to give this up just yet... Loading Complete!

Now Loading Update (08.23.2012) - Catchin' Up With Ya

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My brain is exploding trying to think of all the things that I have done since I "retired" back in May. Hell, I haven't even really updated you technically since sometime in April. I am probably just going to separate these in to small paragraphs just to keep this from becoming insanely long. I'm going to try to recall what I did month by month so let's get started.

APRIL
In April I was still around but I was focused on bringing you NLID (Now Loading In-Depth) coverage of Phantasy Star 2 and didn't talk about the games that I had been playing much. The first was Fez and fun little puzzle platformer with some amazing secrets locked away by a cryptic code for players to decipher. Then I picked up the Witcher 2, other than the amazing graphics and interesting characters, I never found any enjoyment from the clunky combat. Lastly it was MLB 2K12 / NBA 2K12... I kind of wanted to play a baseball videogame and for $10 more I could get NBA 2K12, so I figured what the hell and tried them both out. Turns out the hitting in MLB 2K12 is just about as frustratingly difficult as it is in real-life and I don't have a clue about basketball so when the game was yelling at me for bad "transitional defense" I had no clue what that meant so I gave on both games.

MAY
May was a pretty crazy month for games and which was what partly inspired me to stop blogging. First was Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition which my friends and I proceeded to play for play for 10 hours a day for nearly a week. I have still been playing it quite a bit and it's now updated to 1.7.3 and it looks like the next update will get to be a least on par with the PC version. I picked up 7 games from the bargain bin for about $20 bucks each but I have only played 3 of them. Duke Nukem Forever is a pretty messed up game but it has some fun old school game play that I enjoyed to a certain point, gotta finish this one soon. Next was RAGE, more old school FPS action and I enjoyed the game up all the to ending, no epic final boss, no closure... the game sort of just stops... there aren't even any credits. I then played Metro 2033, this game has great atmosphere, but the feel of the weaponry just did click with me. There was something weird with the aiming and I it sucked a lot of the fun out of the game. The last game of the month was Dragon's Dogma, there is a lot to like about this game and a lot to dislike as well. Fighting epic monsters by climbing and grabbing on to the them is amazing, the pawn system is cool, but has flaws and the repetitive placement of the monsters gets pretty old... I'll have to get back in to this one and finish it off.

JUNE
June was when I actually played Rage, but the game I played the most was The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I started a new character and played almost 140 hours with it until I burned out in mid-july. I also played through the Dawnguard expansion and it was pretty good and the new weapons and armor add some fresh new flavor to the game. Other than that not too much happened.

JULY
I finished Metro 2033. The main thing I did was playthrough the entire Saints Row series. Saints Row 1 was a fun start, Saints Row 2 took that great start and made it a champion with tons of new gameplay, music and customization. Then we have Saints Row: The Third, a fun game in its own right, but as a 3rd game in series pales in comparison to the second game. The streamlining kills it, everything is menu driven and even things like clothing customization is simplified. Though on a technical note this is Volition's best game as the graphics and polish level are high. Bottomline: 2nd game is still my favorite. I played the XBLA release of Dungeon Fighter and it is a fun game with too many flaws, plus it is a pain to play multiplayer as you have to invite all your friends back to a party after every dungeon. Last new was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD. I enjoy the fact the game goes back to the basics, but it goes a bit too far leaving out the wonderful revert from THPS 3. Plus it's a bit glitchy. I also got into Tales of Vesperia but got distracted by a game I started playing in the next month.

AUGUST
Well, this isn't the game distracted me, but I bought Deadlight at the beginning of the month and while it has enjoyable parts, it especially makes a good first impression, by the end the frustrations of trial and error sections really dragged the game down for me. The game that distracted me was one of my favorites this generation: Fallout 3, I spent another 70 hours playing a new character through the main game / broken steel and all the DLC's. I then moved on to Fallout: New Vegas, I actually discovered it is cheaper to buy the Ultimate Edition with all the DLC then it is to buy all the DLC off the store. That's right it costs more for the DLC on the marketplace then it does to buy THE GAME AND THE DLC with the Ultimate Edition. I have put over 50 hours in to my new character and have been enjoying myself and the new patches seem to have helped the game tremendously since I last played it in December 2010. Also Old World Blues is awesome.

I think that about covers it what I have been doing the last few months. I'll let this sit here for a few days and then I will post the first of the two Top 10 lists I did while I was away... My 10 favorite games of this generation. Talk to you then, Loading Complete!

Gamer's Rant #16: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (Criterion)

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I'm back!! I know I "officially" retired or whatever but you know what, screw that! I said I wanted to do all that stuff and maybe make a name for myself with fancy video bloggery and video content... here's the thing I am too lazy to do that **** I just want to play videogames and talk about them. So I am back because I have some stuff to talk about... and what a way to make a come back than to drop a Gamer's Rant on you!

Gamer's Rant #16: Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit (Criterion, 2010)
I did a finished article on this game back in January 2011 and some of this rant is going to be a reiteration of that stuff but I think my love of Criterion caused me to give the game too much credit. Bottom Line: NFS: Hot Pursuit is a mediocre game at best. The game lacks personality, there are no rivals, no interesting characters, just the omnipresent Seacrest County Police Department (SCPD) serving and protecting... their ROADS. That's it. Their ****ing roads. There is no major city in Seacrest County and other than a couple of scattered tiny settlements, a few million dollar mountain houses and a couple of major landmarks such as a cost guard base and satellite dish array there are no signs of civilization here. It's just roads... and more roads. Sure that sounds fine, it's a racing game, there has to be roads to drive on but the fact that there is nothing for the police to "serve and protect" (it actually does say that on the police cars) they seem really out of place.

The second major issue is the roads are not that fun to drive on. While I do like them better than Burnout Paradise's open route races the "tracks" which are point to point races here are just not fun to race on. They are full of annoying long sweeping curves and mountain style switch backs and when you are driving some of the fastest cars on earth and have the "need for speed" you just don't get that on a lot of the tracks when you are constantly drifting going 150 when you could be going over 200. Don't get me wrong I ain't against turns any good course needs 'em there are just too many on these tracks and you can't build speed. These curves are also effected by the game's handling engine... the drifting mechanic feels weird. The cars generally handle very stiffly and react slowly to steering commands. In other words you have to hold the stick full right or full left for a second or so before the car start to be effected by the commands. It makes dodging things at the speeds the game travels more difficult then it needs to be. Then the drifting, because of the sluggish reactions of the controls you tend to over-steer your drifts and scrub off more speed than you need too because you felt the car was not responding. I really don't understand why Criterion felt the need to "Need for Speed" the controls so much when the "darty and dodgy" controls of their previous games were near perfect.

Next up: too many ****ing time trials. Criterion's time trials are a point of contention in all their games... from controller spiking burning laps in Burnout 3 / Revenge to some insane Burning Routes in Paradise they have a notorious history. Let me explain; Criterion's time trials are annoying because they fall into two categories: Perfects and Pathetics. In perfects, you have to be pretty much be perfect to get the gold medal and even so you still have to maintain good speed throughout to beat the goal time by a second or two... then there are the "pathetics" these runs are usually a joke you can crash three times and bounce off the walls all over the place and still beat the gold time by 5 - 10 seconds... a little balance would be nice. Here's the catch in NFS: HP, the racer events are like that 100%... the cop events give penalties of 2 seconds (wall hits) and 3 seconds (traffic car hits) on top of the speed or time you lost from screwing up in the first place. It makes you feel tentative and hesitant to drive fast, the thing is you are still racing the clock... it's about as fun as it sounds.

To sum up the Hot Pursuits events are the best races in the game for both the cops and the racers as it's a great battle to either win and escape or stop those damn street racers from defiling your precious roads with their need for speed. Everything else is pretty boring and generic actually. Autolog is a cool feature but only if you got a bunch of friends to compete against and even so they have to be playing the game at any given time. I really don't think it is enough to replace actual gameplay events with unless as I said you happen to have a bunch of friends and all you do is play Hot Pursuit. It's not Criterion's best effort which is why they are basically remaking Paradise as a NFS game with Most Wanted a game which I am pretty excited for. I think I feel better now... I had to get that out of my system, but hey, it got me to come out retirement.

The Future
I am back and I am ready to cover some stuff. I might have a "what I have been doing summary" in the next few days and I wrote a couple Top 10 lists in the time I was away that I should probably share with you guys. As for NLID... we are on the brink of gaming's busy season with game's like NHL 13 and Borderlands 2 hitting around a month and then you have NFS: Most Wanted, Halo 4, Black Ops II, Resident Evil 6, FarCry 3 and Forza Horizon so I don't think it will be back this year but I will probably continue it as soon as possible once things cool down on the gaming front. That should cover it, check back in a few days and I will have another blog ready to go covering in summary what I was doing during my "retirement". Talk to you then. OH YEEAH! Now Loading is back! Loading Complete!

#719: Loading Complete!

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I feared this day might come, but, I think I am done with blogging for now. I thought about this long and hard and have found many reasons for me to stop blogging at this point in time. For one it has always been a struggle between playing games and writing timely blogs and I have been playing more games than ever in the last month or so. Second, and let me make this VERY CLEAR, I DON'T CARE ABOUT POPULARITY but I think I have seen the last "0 Comments" blog I can take (I know about the new comments system glitch but this happened even before)... It's hard on morale when I spend upwards of TWO HOURS on a blog to see it flop so hard in the comments section. I mean, I don't even get that guy who posts a useless comment just because he can... Out of over 100 trackers I have about 3 people who frequently comment. I would love to discuss games with people, but the discussion never starts unless I say something controversial. Third. GameSpot is a bloody ghost town. Other than a handful of remaining mainstays that still post there is not much of a community. Giant Bomb isn't an option either as it always has been a ****ing joke as a community.

The biggest thing is: I am tired of text blogs. If I were to continue with Now Loading and such it would have to be much more... more than GameSpot could ever handle... we're talking a custom Now Loading website, text blogs, a podcast, live streams and other video content. I have been blogging since 2004 (7 years, 7 months) and I am turning 31 in four months and I feel I need to go big or go home with Now Loading if I am to keep doing it at this point in my life. In other words turn it into more than just a time sucking hobby.... As I said, that is the main reason I have to step away from blogging as it is, so that I can see what the feasibility of doing all that is. It would require a fair bit of cash and serious and proper dedication to be successful at. That's the only future I envision for Now Loading and it may be a ways off or it may never happen but if it ever does I will let you know about it.

With that said my blogging days on GameSpot are over... but if you'd like to keep track of what I have been doing mostly gaming wise PLEASE follow me on twitter: @alpha99. I'm not the best at updating but since the blog is done I will try to post my thoughts on games more often on there.

I am sorry this is good-bye, I was enjoying Now Loading In-Depth for awhile but playing a game to write about it to seemingly zero interest is losing half the point... I mean there has got to be someone out there that is interested in my thoughts on Phantasy Star II and wants to share their personal thoughts on the game with me... but nope... there isn't even anyone to criticize my writing or suggest things that might make me better or more interesting. It's like writing into a black hole. I do appreciate my long time readers (you know who are, likely you'll be the only ones to read this) but I feel like I am back in 2004 where I was basically talking to myself. 7 years, 7 months, 718 blog posts and I have made miniscule progress in the blogging world... not even keeping a frequently updated blog is enough to spur interest. As I said I have no want of popularity or fame, I just want to create a community of discussion on games... and I have failed to do that with Now Loading in its current state.

So long to everyone I have met on GameSpot, hopefully we'll talk on Twitter and you'll join me if my venture to take Now Loading to the next level comes to fruition. It was fun, but it is time to move on to whatever comes next. Later.

Thanks for reading,
Tom Aitken (alpha99)

Now Loading
September 3, 2004 - May 23, 2012
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Now Loading Update (04.24.2012) - Unfocused

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The last couple of weeks I have been playing all kinds of games and enjoying them for the most part but I haven't really been able to focus on anything in particular. This of course does a number on Now Loading In-Depth a gameplay series that requires that I concentrate my efforts on a single game so that I can do write ups on it frequently. There a couple of important things to cover then I think we are good for this update, first is impressions of The Witcher 2 and second is a quick NLID status update.

Impressions: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings: Enhanced Edition (X360)
I am near the end of the first chapter, just a bit after defeating the first boss monster and I still don't really know what to think of the Witcher 2. It has some good dialog, characters and some really nice graphics but so far I have found the combat clunky and unintuitive. Slash, slash, roll, magic, slash, slash, roll... I am sure it opens up but because of the focus on fighting groups of 4+ enemies you can't really lock on to just one enemy and unless you have traps you have to use hit and run tactics to make sure you aren't owned. I appreciate the fact that too many mistakes equals death but I think the combat would have been more enjoyable if you fought fewer enemies at once. The menus are also clunky and it is hard to get important info on an item or weapon at a glance you always have to click the item and inspect it to see the important details such as bonuses or special effects. Finding important characters and side quests is also clunky as most NPCs just say one line so you are forced to talk to everyone in the hopes of finding quests. I'll have more on it soon as I progress.

NLID Update: Phantasy Star II
I don't want to say too much because I want to save most of the info for NLID #61 but I am making good progress and I'd say if I put my mind to it I could probably have Phantasy Star II completed by the next update. I'm not going to make any promises when, because I fail at that, but I will attempt to have it done before this time next week if not sooner.

That about covers it for this update. I really want the blog to be update more frequently but that requires me to play games to update it with... Hopefully things will work out better in the next few weeks. I'll talk to you later. Loading Complete!