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2011 Wrap Ups: My Games of 2011 Part 2

2011 was a decent year for new pick ups as I managed a total of 39 in 2011. In the second post of the 2011 Wrap-Ups special, I will tell you about the remaining 24 games that I bought this year, so enjoy.

JULY 2011
Game 16: Bastion (XBLA, 2011)
Purchased: July 20, 2011
I forgot to add this one in the previous July Entry before part 1 got posted. I didn't like Bastion at first and for two reasons. First I thought it was going to be more Action RPG than it really is, leveling is a really minor thing and two I got stuck on the stupid OPTIONAL challenges. Once I ignored those two things I really had a lot of fun and enjoyed the game play and story for what they were worth. I even took the time to play through New Game + to see the other ending.

August 2011
NO GAMES IN AUGUST

September 2011
Game 17: Super Paper Mario (WII, 2007)
Purchased: September 5, 2011
I had been waiting to play this game for a long time, back before it was even a Wii game. I finally picked it up when Nintendo finally lowered the price to $20 as part of its Selects line. As for the game: it's an enjoyable diversion from the more RPG based games in the series, while keeping the neat art, great writing and sense of humor from those games.

Game 18: Dead Island (X360, 2011)
Purchased: September 6, 2011
I really want to love Dead Island, it's a cool concept, a zombie role playing game with color coded loot drops and everything! Problem is that it is a game designed around co-op and a single player will be overwhelmed by the amount of enemies. It also has weapon degradation to the EXTREME as most weapons break after 20 plus swings forcing you to carry a billion weapons so you don't have to pay a work-bench as much to fix your weapons. Seriously, who am I paying? There is no repairman standing at the bench... so I assume you pay the actual bench dollars to repair and upgrade your weapons. A prime example of "Videogame logic".

Game 19: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (X360, 2010)
Purchased: September 6, 2011
I was a little concerned about Enslaved as it looked to be one long escort mission, but each area is more like a puzzle to be solved than an action segment. The battles are troubled by a wonky camera that loves to spaz out, but overall a surprisingly enjoyable game.

Game 20: Vanquish (X360, 2010)
Purchased: September 6, 2011
I had heard good things about this game and it delivered on all counts. Stylish gun play, high action, cool sc-fi setting and fast controls that respond perfectly to the action. Only a few cheap insta-kills here and there were annoying; everything else is amazing and must play!

Game 21: NHL 12 (X360, 2011)
Purchased: September 13, 2011
I am just about sick of EA and their "representation" of hockey. The AI is so stupid, the game plays the same as it did in NHL 09, it's boring now. Without 2K Sports to even annoy them as competition, the NHL series is turning in to Madden. Unless EA improves NHL 13 tremendously, there is no way I am going to buy NHL 09 ver 3.0, sorry EA... you are again reminding me why I started playing NHL 2K in the first place.

Game 22: Resident Evil 4 (Now in HD) (X360, 2011)
Purchased: September 20, 2011
This is a version of Resident Evil 4 that plays in HD on the 360... that's all... don't expect anything more and you'll be fine. As for the game itself, I really don't need to say anything about this great game. Challenging gameplay and intense action redefined the Resident Evil series. PLAY A VERSION OF RE4 NOW!

October 2011
Game 23: Dark Souls (X360, 2011)
Purchased: October 4, 2011
Dark Souls is an awesome game... it's just not for me. I don't like really difficult games, not because I don't have the skills, but because I get frustrated easily. I got about 15-20 hours in and then got owned by the first "big" boss that I encountered and after having to slog through the fodder enemies over and over just for another try I got tired of it. I will have to get back to it one day... sorry Dark Souls.

Game 24: Batman: Arkham City (X360, 2011)
Purchased: October 18, 2011
I AM BATMAN! Seriously... ahem, at least that is how this game made me feel. It's not quite as well structured as Arkham Asylum, but it still delivers over 10 hours of fun thug beating gameplay and cool Batman gadgets.

November 2011
Game 25: Sonic Generations (X360, 2011)
Purchased: November 1, 2011
The best Sonic game in years... sure that statement doesn't pull that much weight these days, but Sonic Generations is a really good game that has a nice mix of c.lassic Sonic side scrolling and 3D Sonic's high speed roller-coasters. It still has a few issues left over from the older 3D games but they are not as frequent.

Game 26: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (X360, 2011)
Purchased: November 8, 2011
Another Call of Duty game... do I need to say more... I will say this though: starting to get old.

Game 27: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (X360, 2011)
Purchased: November 11, 2011
Skyrim. I have spent over 100 hours on my character as of this writing and I am still not sure that I actually like the game or not. Sure that's over 100 hours doing the bare minimum of the main quest, but the quests don't feel very special you just follow a quest marker from place to place... Though those places are spectacular to look at.

Game 28: Saints Row: The Third (X360, 2011)
Purchased: November 15, 2011
I have a question: How do you take an extra year to make the third sequel in a series and actually reduce it to an over simplified mess that lacks many of the features of the previous games? Answer: Saints Row 3. On its own: a funny and enjoyable game that takes the phrase "doesn't take itself too seriously" to a whole new level. As the third game in a really fun series: a piece of crap the disappoints on too many levels... and killed off Johnny Gat, which is inexcusable!!!!!!!!!!

December 2011
Game 29: Bejeweled 3 (XBLA, 2011)
Purchased: December 10, 2011
I like Bejeweled... but I don't. It's the most fun, addicting and at the same time most boring game that I have ever played. I enjoyed many of the new modes they added to this 3rd game, but because of the random element of the game they tend to get rendered frustrating and require more luck than skill to actually do well in.

Game 30: Alone in the Dark (X360, 2008)
Purchased: December 18, 2011
As of this writing I have not yet played this game but I grabbed it for cheap and we will see how it will go probably when NLID returns.

Game 31: Need for Speed: Undercover (X360, 2008)
Purchased: December 18, 2011
I grabbed this out of the bargain bin with Alone in the Dark in a buy one get one half off thing. This game sucks... crappy graphics, crappy story and crappy gameplay with ****ing annoying rubber-banded AIs. Also I have never see and open world city this pointless... its just roads to drive on... there are no collectables, no shops... nothing. Everything needs to selected from a menu.

Game 32: Alpha Protocol (X360, 2010)
Gift: December 25, 2011
I have yet to play this game, but look for it to appear on Now Loading In-Depth in the near future.

Game 33: Darksiders (X360, 2010)
Gift: December 25, 2011
I have yet to play this game, but look for it to appear on Now Loading In-Depth in the near future.

Game 34: Dead to Rights: Retribution (X360, 2010)
Gift: December 25, 2011
I have yet to play this game, but look for it to appear on Now Loading In-Depth in the near future.

Game 35: The Saboteur (X360, 2009)
Gift: December 25, 2011
I have yet to play this game, but look for it to appear on Now Loading In-Depth in the near future.

Game 36: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii, 2011)
Gift: December 25, 2011
I have completed the first dungeon and while I want to like this, I cannot stand by the sluggish and tiring motion controls for swinging the sword. You can't play a long game like Zelda while swinging that remote around... Disappointing.

Game 37: Alan Wake (X360, 2010)
Purchased: December 27, 2011
I have yet to play this game, but look for it to appear on Now Loading In-Depth in the near future.

Game 38: Back to the Future: The Game (Wii, 2011)
Purchased: December 27, 2011
An on disc version of all 5 episodes of Back to the Future: The Game. First off, I didn't know it existed until I saw it in a bargain bin. Second, this is the only way to play it on the Wii. Lastly, while it's full of BTTF fan service, I really don't think an adventure game such as Telltale makes really suffices for telling the story. I'll probably have finished article after the wrap ups to talk more about it.

Game 39: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (X360, 2011)
Purchased: December 31, 2011
I grabbed this as my traditional New Year's Eve game, something I have been doing since 2001, which means I haven't had much time to play it. I finished the first real mission of the game and will try to complete it by next week to see if it is in the running for any 2011 awards.

That's it, that covers all the games that I got in 2011. Come back on January 5th for the Finished Article Revisit for Mass Effect 2. Loading Complete!

2011 Wrap Ups: My Games of 2011 Part 1

2011 was a decent year for new pick ups as I managed a total of 38 in 2011. In the first post of the 2011 Wrap-Ups special, I will tell you about the first 15 games that I bought this year enjoy.

January 2011
Game 01: Civilization Revolution (DS, 2008)
Purchased: January 2, 2011
After enjoying the Xbox 360 version of this game, I decided to pick up the portable version. It feels enough the same that strategies would carry across games when you wanted to play on the road.

Game 02: Dragon Quest Monsters: Joker (DS, 2007)
Purchased: January 2, 2011
I did really get to far in to this game. It seems like it could be really neat, but it would take a lot of effort to see it all.

Game 03: Bangai-O Spirits (DS, 2008)
Purchased: January 5, 2011
Bangai-O Spirits in 5 seconds... start level, missiles everywhere, dead... a better tutorial would have greatly helped new players understand the concepts of this game.

Game 04: Donkey Kong Country Returns (WII, 2010)
Purchased: January 11, 2011
I was pretty harsh on this game, but only because the original DKC is one of my favorites. Fun levels are tarnished a bit by the game trying too hard, too be difficult. Also Super Guide can suck it.

Game 05: Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (X360, 2010)
Purchased: January 15, 2011
Another fun platforming experience from the Ubisoft Price of Persia games... another terrible combat system from the Ubisoft Prince of Persia games... press down on D-Pad = WIN!.

Game 06: Splinter Cell: Conviction (X360, 2010)
Purchased: January 15, 2011
Here's a disappointing one. It looked like Splinter Cell might finally be letting go of its trial and error stealth for more action. While there is less stealth, run and gun really isn't an option even on Easy.

February 2011
Game 07: Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation (DS, 2011)
Purchased: February 15, 2011
This is the first time a version of this game has ever been released in North America... unfortunately I only got 10 hours in before it got too hardcore for me to deal with on a portable.

March 2011
Game 08: Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (XBLA, 2011)
Purchased: March 1, 2011
This is the best version of Pac-Man ever made. I don't give a crap if that is sacrilegious or not... it's really fun and fast paced.

Game 09: Torchlight (XBLA, 2011)
Purchased: March 9, 2011
A fun and simple dungeon loot fest from some of the original Diablo team. The original XBLA release had horrible frame-rate problems, but since where patched.

Game 10: Okamiden (DS, 2011)
Purchased: March 16, 2011
I don't know what to think about Okamiden. Part of me wants to love it because Chibi-Amaterasu is so cute, the other part wants to kill Capcom for screwing with me. You just can't play this game with a control pad and has a lot of gimmicky boss fights... oh and one of my gaming pet peeves AI controlled partners.

Game 11: (Need for Speed) Shift 2: Unleashed (X360, 2011)
Purchased: March 28, 2011
Shift 2 is in the running for most disappointing game released in 2011... I really wanted a "SIM" racing game to pass the time until Forza 4, but this game has sketchy and touchy steering controls where keeping your car on the track even on a straight section is difficult. You just can't ever get a feel for your car when it reacts differently on every single lap, hell, every single corner.

April 2011
Game 12: Portal 2 (X360, 2011)
Purchased: April 19, 2011
Not quite as surprising as the first game, but still full of wonderful humor, great characters and mind-bending puzzles. The new co-op puzzles are a great new addition.

MAY 2011
Game 13: L.A. Noire (X360, 2011)
Purchased: May 17, 2011
Another one on the short list for most disappointing of the year. This is a game where you play a troubled detective who picks up every piece of trash until he gets "intuition" read: the game TELLS you its a real clue, then you the player has to play a multiple choice quiz, umm, I mean interrogation, at the end of every lame clue hunt to make sure you where paying attention, which you weren't because you where bored out of your mind picking up cigarette butts. Add in lame easy gun fights, constant car and on foot chases and a game that gives you a choice to give up the only semblance of gameplay if you screw up an action scene more than 3 times. Oh, and its the first game to get back-to-back Gamer's Rants.

Game 14: Crackdown 2 (X360, 2010)
Purchased: May 18, 2011
The first Crackdown was a pretty fun game that had its spotlight stolen by being a conduit to the Halo 3 Beta. Crackdown 2 is the exact same game, same weapons, characters, same lack of story, same orb collecting, same city map, but with zombies... I mean infected... I mean Freaks, yeah, Freaks... They're ZOMBIES.

JUNE
NO GAMES IN JUNE

JULY 2011
Game 15: Two Worlds II (X360, 2011)
Purchased: July 15, 2011
After playing the heck out of all my other large open world RPGS such as Oblivion and Fallout 3 I wanted a game in the same vein. Two Worlds II is a pretty good game that suffers from low production values and repetitive quests.

That's it for this part of the list, on January 3rd you will get to read my thoughts on the remaining 23 games that I picked up in 2011. Stay logged to Now Loading for more 2011 Wrap Ups! Loading Complete!

2011 Wrap Ups: Schedule of Events

It's back, the annual feature on Now Loading! The 2011 Wrap Ups feature, will take place over the next 14 days with 7 posts and will feature all kinds of articles that will help close out 2011 and begin 2012 in Now Loading s.tyle. This year will feature many of the same articles as last year, but with newly produced 2011 content, so check out the schedule and the line up for the 2011 Wrap Ups feature.

January 1st, 2012 - My Games of 2011 (Part 1)
Part 1 will be coverage of games 1 through 15 of the 37 games that I bought in 2011. Featuring little thoughts about each game; join me as I reminisce about My Games of 2011.

January 3rd, 2012 - My Games of 2011 (Part 2)
Part 2 will be coverage of games 16 through 37 of the 37 games that I bought in 2011. Featuring little thoughts about each game; join me as I reminisce about My Games of 2011.

January 5th, 2012 - Finished Article Revisit: Mass Effect 2
After giving Mass Effect 2 my Game of the Year 2010 I take a long look back at the original game and all the DLC.

January 7th, 2012 - Now Loading In-Depth Season 2 Preview
I give you a sneak peek at what to expect from the return of Now Loading In-Depth (NLID) in 2012. It's going to be huge!

January 9th, 2012 - Now Loading: The Blog in 2011 Retrospective
I will take you month by month, post by post through Now Loading's 2011. This year with more of a real retrospective look back at Now Loading's amazing comeback in 2011.

January 11th, 2012 - Best and Worst 2011 Award Nominees
I will be presenting my Nominees for 16 categories in Now Loading's Game of the Year Awards 2011. To find out who won you will have to come back on January 14th, 2011!

January 14, 2012 - Game of the Year 2011 Award Winners
You will be able to see who won all the awards in my 2011 Game of the Year Awards. A graphical presentation of the winners will be featured on this day.

Now Loading's biggest feature is going to keep you glued to Now Loading for most of January. Check out the blog starting day 1 of 2012 for My Games of 2011 Part 1; enjoy the 2011 Wrap Ups Feature! Loading Complete!

Now Loading Update (12.14.2011) - 2011 Wrap Ups News

Welcome to another Now Loading Update. I have some pretty interesting and important news to share today and not that much else. First off, I know I said this would be the day I announced my schedule for the 2011 Wrap Ups Super Special, but actually the 17th is when I usually do that... but here is the big news.

I have decided to postpone my 2011 Super Special. Since 2005 I have been posting the Wrap Ups from December 19th to January 1st with 7 - 14 pieces of content during that time. There are three major issues that have always been present but never dealt with because it became traditional or routine. 1. I always get new games for Christmas and at least one on New Year's Eve and I begin the Special with "My Games of XXXX" article meaning those games never get covered. 2. I can't expect people to read the articles during the holidays, especially the ones posted on Christmas Eve or on Boxing Day. 3. Game of the Year Awards. I am usually never fully caught up before I have to finalize my categories and nominees for my awards especially ones that are given out to the current year's releases. Last year (2010) was a disaster because of this.

Those are the main reasons that I will be postponing the event. It will now take place from January 1st, 2012 to January 14th, 2012. I am not quite ready to announce the schedule but expect that around December 30th. I hope that this change will help me make the 2011 Wrap Ups the best one ever. I also have some big changes to my 2011 Game of the Year Awards which I will talk about next week probably.

I will try to write an update at least once a week so that you guys know what I have been up to. I will talk to you then, later. Loading Complete!

Finished: Saints Row: The Third

PROS:
- Great sense of humor, doesn't take itself seriously.
- A couple of extraordinary missions.
- Interesting mission ending choice system.
- Weapon Upgrade System.
- Bo-Duke-En car-jacking.
- Even better GPS System.
- More stability / better production values
- Keeps Saints Row gameplay and feel.

CONS:
- Steelport is a lame and bland city.
- Johnny Gat killed off within first 10 minutes.
- Some lame filler missions
- Upgrades system makes game a cakewalk.
- Soundtrack not as good as SR2.
- Activities have no rewards.
- Less of clothes customization.
- Annoying ADD Help Messages.
- Mediocre as a sequel to SR2.

I really enjoy the Saints Row series, it has a great sense of humor and never takes itself too seriously and it does everything that i wanted the GTA series to do like full free third person aiming. Saints Row: The Third (SR3) continues that trend and is a highly enjoyable game, but as a sequel to Saints Row 2 pales in comparison. With almost 3 years to complete SR3 Volition had time to finally polish this game so that it could be the most stable, best looking and least glitchy of all the series. It also gave them extra time to let their strange imaginations go wild and create a couple genius missions (deckers.die and Murderbrawl XXXI) that you will see nowhere else. They also added a simple mission choice system which asks you to pick from two options either one that will get you more fame (reputation) or one that will get you more money. This isn't a moral choice system or anything but it is something unique to open-world games and something that Volition might be able to expand on in future games.

Other positive changes to the game include the weapon upgrade system which adds enough to each weapon that they are all fun to use. The new Bo-Duke-En car-jacking where you hold the sprint button and press the take car button, which makes your character jump into the car quickly is very useful when you need to get out of there. If you can believe this, they even improved their industry standard GPS system with large green arrows pointing you in the right direction like in the older Burnout or NFS games. After 2 games they also added hit direction indicators, a great improvement considering how hard it was to know you where even getting hit at times in the first two games. Lastly it is worth mentioning that the game still has the same feel and pacing as the first two Saints Row games so series vets will feel right at home.

While the Saints Row fan in me likes all those things above the Saints Row fan in me also has to dislike a bunch of stuff which follows. Right off the bat, Steelport just doesn't seem as interesting as SR2's version of Stillwater, it almost feels like a step back to the original small city from game #1. I won't lie, I am a big fan of Johnny Gat. So when the game goes about killing him off unceremoniously in the first 10 minutes of the game and off screen too boot, I get a bit annoyed. Other than the player character he was the other character that the game focused on. Without him we are left with Pierce and a strange psycho version of Shaundi who return from SR2.

The Game starts off with a ton of filler missions that are previews of activities that you can do at your leisure later. There is no reason to have these as missions the old games never did this and it screams lazy. While you are doing these activities for money and respect you unlock upgrades in the new upgrade system. Every time you reach a new level of reputation (basically XP) you are allowed to use your money to buy character upgrades. Here's the strange thing: these upgrades used to be challenging to get as you had to complete the hardest levels of each activity to earn them. In SR3 you can just buy your "take less damage from bullets" upgrade. In fact when you reach level 50, given you have enough money, you are basically INVINCIBLE. Bullets, explosions, high falls, getting hit by cars, nothing hurts you except melee attacks and if a blown up car husk hits you. You also have infinite ammo in all your weapons... it makes a fairly easy game a joke. Lastly, the game will not stop putting up these giant flashing ADD help messages about the game's features even if you have completed them all or even when you are 30+ hours into the game. There is also no way to turn them off.

This last paragraph has to do with SR 3 as a sequel. It's not really fair, Saints Row 2 is one of the ultimate sequels... take everything from the first game, enhance the good, fix the bad and add tons and tons of new content, features and gameplay modes. It's would have really been hard for SR3 to continue that path, but the thing is it doesn't even match up. It feels like a step back in a lot of cases and the improvements to the gameplay over SR2 could be counted on one hand. Even something as small as clothes customization is a step back, you can't change your characters socks and the options to button, unbutton, half-button shirts and jackets is gone and you can't pick belts or choose to wear your pants normal or low. The soundtrack is disappointing too, SR2 had a great 80's station and there were quite a few recognizable songs in the other playlists as well. Other than a couple of 80's and 90's songs on the mix station, I never found anything I really liked listening to. Honestly, you are better off getting the cheaper SR2 than this half-assed excuse for sequel.

Saints Row: The Third disappointed me too much. It has some hilarious moments and the over-the-top humor is so far over-the-top that it is in outer space, but the game doesn't do many things better than the previous game and even lacks some of the previous features. If you don't have Saints Row 2 already just go pick that game up for cheap, it's not quite as funny or as crazy but there are well over 60 hours of content in that game; SR3 is running low on content just over 30 hours in. If you have SR2, I will still recommend SR3 to you as you will probably have tons of fun. I had a lot of fun too, but I have to be objective here, Saints Row: The Third doesn't do enough as a THIRD game in an established series.

Well, that's that. On the 14th of December I will be announcing the schedule for my end of year special the 2011 Wrap Ups Super Special which will start on December 17th as usual. I will talk to you then. RIP Johnny Gat, 2006 - 2011. Loading Complete!

Month-In-Review: November 2011

This is going to be a pretty quick Month-In-Review because there are only two posts to cover. Due to illness, moving to a new house and more games than one man can play the amount of posts dropped dramatically from the rest of the year.

NOVEMBER 17, 2011
I finally got feeling good enough and had enough time to fill you guys in on where the heck I went. I unfortunately had to announce Now Loading In-Depth going on hiatus. It still looks like it will return in January 2012. I also gave quick impressions of the three games that forced me to do such a thing to NLID: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Saints Row: The Third.

NOVEMBER 24, 2011
I quick wrote a weekly update and talked about the few issues that I had with Saints Row 3. Speaking of that game I plan to write up a finished article for it soon.

There you have it, November 2011 in a nut-shell. I'll have that SR3 finished article as soon as I can and then it is time to think about my year end super special: the 2011 Wrap Ups! I am going to try to have a few more articles this year and I think I am going to change the schedule for my GotY awards this year. I think that about does it I will talk to you soon. Here's to a great December! Loading Complete!

Now Loading Update (11.24.2011) - Did You Know? This Update Has Updates

Hey guys, I promised weekly updates, so here is your weekly update. It'll probably be pretty short but I do have a few things to say about Saints Row: The Third and then I will close out.

A Bit on Saints Row 3
Ah, Saints Row: The Third... you lucky bastard. I was about to relegate you to the short-list of most disappointing games of 2011. But after that final Decker mission and the hilarious atari pixel tank that shoots exploding pixels out of its cannon, you won me back enough that I might not do it... but don't cross me again or it's right back to that list for you. There are four major problems and one leser one that nearly ruin Saints Row 3 for me.

1. Notoriety System. I talked about this last time, it's too extreme for a game where screwing around is half the fun.

2. Noticeable lack of sequel improvements. Other than the Bo-Duke-en quick car jacking move, silly wrestling sprinting melee moves and finally adding damage direction indicators; I really feel there is nothing here you can't do in Saints Row 2 and do better.

3. A Lesser Experience. There are less activities, less clothes customizations, less good music tracks, less diversions and Steelport in general is a lesser experience compared to Saints Row 2's version of Stillwater.

4. The Upgrade System. This makes doing Activities a lesser experience... sure you unlock gang outfit customizations by completing activities, but who cares about dressing up the cannon-fodder? If you wanted "faster health regeneration" you had to earn it by completing activities in the first two games. To me this makes activities, one of the best features of the first two games only useful for getting rep or XP... oh, and most of them are super easy to complete, even the ones marked "Hard".

5. Constant ADD Help Messages. This is a less important thing, but, holy **** you'd think after playing the game for 30+ hours the game would stop reminding me that there are Car Theft and Assassination activities or that I am supposed to be taking over the city. In fact I have only 2 assassinations to go and it's still hounding me. Not everyone is dense or has ADD game, you can give it up.... and give me a freaking option to turn them off!

Otherwise I guess Saints Row 3 is a pretty fun game. It just does not seem to match up to the content filled Saints Row 2 and tries to rely solely on it's over the top humor to get by. Lastly, error correction, you can throw human shields, you just have to press the Y button.

Closing Out
That's about all from me as I mostly spent the week playing Saints Row: The Third. I will be back next week, though, I may do a SR3 finished article if I think I have more to talk about. I still have the remainder of Saints Row 3, nearly all of Skyrim and I want to spend more time with MW3 and Sonic Generations so I have tons to do gaming wise. I will talk to you soon. Loading Complete!

Now Loading Update (11.17.2011) - When Things Go Wrong

Hey guys. It's been awhile hasn't it? Sometimes things just don't go your way or there are things that take precedence over other things. I had a couple of those things happen to me over the last month. First I got sick on October 18th and that lasted basically until Halloween when I finally started to feel better. A couple of days later I got this annoying cough which didn't clear until November 8. On the other side of coin the whole time I was supposed to be packing up to move to a new house... I lost three weeks to that stupid illness and then real-life forced me to stop playing videogames for another week. I am not complaining, you've gotta do what you've gotta do, but I was on such a roll with keeping the blog updated this year, I'm angry that I lost all that time. Anyway I am pretty sure that I'm back to normal now, I am done moving and the cold is completely gone, so I am ready to start updating again. First I have some news, then I want to do some quick impressions of MW3, Skyrim and Saints Row: The Third.

News: NLID Going On Hiatus
It's coming back... let's getting that out of the way right off. I am not going to give up on the feature that pretty much saved the blog. It's just that I currently have MW3 (mutiplayer), Skyrim (100+ hours of gameplay), Saints Row 3 (just got it a few days ago) and Sonic Generations (played it a bit and then got that cough) to playthrough right now. There is just no time for any other games right now and it's not just because I am playing Final Fantasy 13 either, I couldn't even play a game that lasted 5 hours right now. I don't know when it will be back, but it will have to wait until I have fewer games to play. I don't want to really set a date, but, right now it's looking like Now Loading In-Depth (NLID) will not be back until 2012. Sorry if you enjoyed the series, but it really was just something to do when there weren't any new games to talk about on the blog and it did that job admirably. If anything changes I will be sure to let you all know.

Quick Impressions
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:
While it was a pretty typical campaign with the usual get across invisible lines to advance the level. The ending of the game was pretty satisfying. Also 5-6 hours is a good length for the CoD games you wouldn't want them to last longer than that. As for the multiplayer, it has some improvements that I like, such as the weapon XP system and the new strike packages. Noob-tubes are reasonable now, to get a one-shot kill you pretty much have to land the grenade at their feet or hit them directly. Air-Support is also not quite as effective because the maps are crowded with buildings. Speaking of maps, they are pretty hit or miss. All of them are so cramped with objects that getting clear lines of sight is nearly impossible. These are also the most complicated CoD maps ever made so expect to have to play tons of matches before you figure out where to go. The there is the hit detection... say what you will about the explosion happy MW2 when you pointed your gun at someone they, a majority of the time, got hit. In MW3 sometimes your shots just won't register, normally I'd chalk it up to lag or latency issues, but while those still are an issue, I am pretty sure that most of the time the lack of hits is a game flaw. Overall: it's a Call of Duty game you already have your mind up at this point, I don't have to say anything else really.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
I haven't spent as much time with Skyrim as I probably should have but trying to balance two games that you want to play vs a 100 hour game is pretty tough. The other reason I haven't been playing Skyrim is because on Xbox 360 the game has a glitch that causes the game's textures not to load in properly. I am not a graphics hound, but it really takes away from the experience here, because even with the crappy textures you can tell the game is really beautiful and you feel like you are missing out. The combat is better and more visceral, even though most enemies still just topple over when they run out of HP. I have fought two dragons, the first was during the beginning of the main quest and the other time I got attacked in the wild and had to run away... because I wasn't prepared. Once you start activating dragons make sure you have either a long range magic spell or a bunch of arrows because depending on the terrain the dragons may not land. I have only played barely 10 hours so I can't really say much more because I have barely scratched the surface of Skyrim.

Saints Row: The Third
It's a new Saints Row game. Most everything that you loved about the first two games is here but the game has thrown out all the stops and borders on lunacy at times. The game plays a lot like Saints Row 2 except for two big changes. First you can't comically toss away a human shield and second the notoriety system is not lenient like in the first two games. This is the game's worst issue in my eyes; one of the best things about the Saints Row games is that you could screw around and unless a cop witnessed you doing bad things it would take five or more pedestrian kills before you'd even get a 1 star cop level and even then only nearby cops would come after you with their nightsticks. The only thing they changed for Saints Row 2 was the cops didn't like it when you smashed through chain-link fences when they were around. Saints Row 3 F's it all up... all you have to do is kill one or two pedestrians and the you'll have a one shield notoriety with the cops... and the cops in Steelport don't screw around they come out firing and they don't care who they hit. The other issue is what happens at the different levels of notoriety: at level 1 any local cops or gang members will attack on sight, at level 2 both will start sending new people in cars to your location... those two aren't much different than the first two games... level 3 is where things start getting annoying. At level 3, the cops send out the SWAT team which attack with riot shields, they also send in motorbike cops and even a military vehicle with a mounted turret. The gangs start sending out their own special units that take a billion hits and spray grenades and gun-fire... but the biggest annoyance is that they send in a helicopter with a sniper on board and if he hits you takes large chunks of your health away. That's level 3 out of 5... I'd hate to see what levels 4 and 5 are like... they probably just drop a nuke on you or something. I sort of understand wanting to make the higher levels of notoriety more challenging, for example in the first game you could survive easily as long as you wanted at cops level 5 as long as you had ammo to fight. But this seems extreme for a game where screwing around is half the fun. You also have to play through a bunch of story missions before you open up all the different activities. They also got rid of the taxi, ambulance, fire truck and tow truck diversions. I'll have to play more but I am kind of disappointed so far.

That about covers the last few weeks. I will try to post at least one update a week and get out finished articles for any games that I finish. It's good to be back and I will talk to you soon. Loading Complete!

Month-In-Review: October 2011

What a weird month. I made quite a few posts but I don't think that I accomplished that much over the course of it all. I didn't get much done in terms of NLID and the last 2 weeks I have been fighting off a cold so I really couldn't do anything during that time. Stuff did happen though so let's get to recapping that at least.

OCTOBER 4, 2011
(NLID #42) I finally finish Resident Evil 4 for a only a second time in over 6 years. I really enjoyed it, tons of action providing a fair challenge and the game remains intense to this day. If you still haven't played this, you must.

OCTOBER 6, 2011
In the first update of October I discuss the tough time I had choosing the next game for NLID because I picked up Dark Souls, an in-depth and long game. I did actually make a choice and I am still not sure it was the right one.

OCTOBER 8, 2011
(NLID #43) That decision was to play Final Fantasy XIII. Back in 2010, I had only managed about 3 hours before I was completely bored and annoyed with Final Fantasy Corridors. This post was mainly about sharing my previous thoughts about the game so that I could start fresh with a brand new view.

OCTOBER 11, 2011
(NLID #44) I surpassed last year's (2010) post count with just one series with this update on Final Fantasy XIII. I still haven't found anything but Final Fantasy Corridors... though later the weapon upgrade system appeared so I updated on that and I also had to discuss the awful waste of disc space all these silly FMVs take up on the discs.

OCTOBER 14, 2011
I just fire off a quick update on Dark Souls where I couldn't get passed the Bell Gargoyles and I still haven't. That's it, that's all there was in this update.

OCTOBER 18, 2011
(NLID #45) I pretty much spend all of NLID #45 talking about Final Fantasy XIII's battle system as if I perfectly understand it. Still not impressed with Final Fantasy Corridors even after 8 hours of play.

OCTOBER 20, 2011
I give my impressions of Batman Arkham City. It's a really great game with a really crappy add-on posing as an Online Pass. Seriously, the Cat-Woman stuff is not worth worrying about, it's about an hour of gameplay out of a 12 hour game... personally, I would say it's not even worth downloading at all, save 200MB of bandwidth.

OCTOBER 28, 2011
After being sick for over a week I finally feel well enough to update you on my status and what I have been playing. Unfortunately, being sick for that long I lost a lot of time to play videogames and one of those games was Final Fantasy XIII... which I was hoping to finish before the end of October. I mentioned I have to make a decision on what to do with the 17GB behemoth so that when my last three anticipated games come out I will have room on the Hard Drive for them. Also I am not overly excited for MW3 it just happens to be the first of the three games to be released.

That's October 2011 in a nut-shell. As I said it was a busy month where nothing really happened. Now I have a decision to make. I have to decide if I am going to keep playing Final Fantasy XIII... The answer is: I am going to do my best and see what happens. It turns out I am going to be pretty busy this week and next with stuff and I am not sure I will have enough time to really make a dent in FF13... but I will try. For my sake and for the sake of not getting the wrath of NeonNinja. If it extra space is needed for other games then I will just have to play it by ear. So that does it from me for today, November will be a busy time with, MW3, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Saints Row: The Third coming out in the next couple of weeks. I will talk to you soon. Later. Here's to a great November! Loading Complete!

Now Loading Update (10.27.2011) - One Sick Update

Hey everyone. It has now been a week since I last updated and I really have accomplished nothing during that time span. Why? Because I started getting sick (a cold) on the 18th, the day I picked up Batman: Arkham City... surely caused by the gratuitous use of Online Pass... and it hit full force by Friday. The last few days I have been getting better but today is first day I finally feel that it has passed and I have the energy to quickly write an update. Of course this means I have lost over a week of time to this ailment which means my hopes of completing Final Fantasy XII before the end of November have been ruined. In fact I am not sure what I am going to do about that game. It takes up so much space on my 360's hard-drive, around the same amount as 3 separate games that I want to make sure I have enough space when MW3, Skyrim and Saint's Row 3 come out within the span of a week (7 days). The other thing is I am going to want to be spending plenty of time with those three games, especially Skyrim.

I have 3 solutions: 1. I spend the next 10 days playing the crap out of FFXIII in very long sessions (6+ hours) and pick a new game with a less demanding play-length or 2. I play FF13 as much as I can but as soon as MW2 comes out on Nov 8th I put it and Now Loading In-Depth (NLID) on Hiatus until I can find the free time again, which could possibly be as long until January 2012. Lastly, 3rd, I can put FF13 on hiatus and pick a new game with a less demanding play-length that I can more easily play in between these new releases, keeping NLID going. I'm not asking you to decide for me, but if you'd like to make a suggestion I will take them in to consideration. I will make my decision in the next couple of days and I will tell you it at the end of Month-In-Review on the 31st.

I think that about covers everything that I wanted to say. I will talk to you on Monday with Month-In-Review. Later. Loading Complete!