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brickdoctor Blog

2012 in Reflection

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Hello again, old friends. It appears to have been over a year since I posted a blog, and probably over half a year since I was seriously involved with the community or my old unions, so I'm unsure how many people will be reading this or how many remember me, but with a new year coming, I figured it's time to get back into the swing of things around here.

So the real question is, how did 2012 work out for everybody? Was it great? Horrible? The same old? I'm not sure about you (though I'd like to hear) but mine was great, possibly the greatest year I've ever had. So great, that I'm bragging about it to a bunch of people I've never met and who probably don't care too much. :P It has been a year of many things for me, some good, some bad. But overall, it's been a cracking experience. I've met who feels like the love of my life (and she's a beau,) tried new things that I should've done a long time ago, and some I shouldn't. I made some great friends, went to a party where I woke up in Ohio (note: I live 300 miles north of Ohio) and accidently blew up my basement (and no, I don't cook meth down there.) I adopted new lifestyles, discovered what I want to do in life, and some hardships aside, had a blast. The future has never looked brighter, and I hope it's the same for you.

And of course, a blog on a gaming website wouldn't be complete without the mention of games. Sadly, I don't have much to say on this topic. I've grown a bit detatched from gaming and the community, partly due to lack of time, and have only played three new games this year: Mass Effect 3, Spec Ops: The Line, and Borderlands 2. One of which was bought for me, and another one was rented. So while I don't have much to say overall seeing as the debates over Mass Effect's ending is long past, there is one particular thing I wish to talk about, and that would be Spec Ops. It's far from perfect, and objectively, the worst of the three games I've probably played this year. The shooting is ho hum and run of the mill, a lot of the setpieces are unoriginal, and it's crushingly short. However, it was by far my favorite of the games I played. Why? I think it shows that games have the potential as another medium to tell a story, and that they can do so in ways other games can't. ME3's entire story felt cheap to me. It set up a number of moments I felt were supposed to be emotional, but even though I sort of grew an attatchment to many of the characters, these moments never pulled on any heart strings. I felt Bioware tried to hard. The piano music and epic last stands just didn't do it for me. But it wasn't just Spec Ops making me feel bad or showing me horrors of war that did it for me. It was how they did. Without spoiling anything, one of the more memorable moments of the game ends by making you feel like **** And although the game made you do it to proceed, it tricks you by using old tropes and things standard in most shooters to make you forget that there are people on the other end of your sights, not just targets (well, they're not actually real people, but you can use your imagination :P) and it ends up hitting hard. The game forces you to look at your actions, or lack of, and accept them. And for a change, it does so in a way that only a game can. And while the industry is still overall far behind in the story department compared to novels and movies like Of Mice and Men or Apocalypse Now, I really thing this game proves we're getting closer, and can bring something new to the table. There's so much to talk about the game, I really do think it's a sleeper masterpiece. So I guess if I had to choose out of the three games I've played, Spec Ops is my game of the year.

And that's about all that's on my mind at the moment, but I'd like to hear about yours. What was your GOTY? How'd the year go for you? Or do you havy any resolutions for 2013?

Soundtrack of the Year

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I've always believe that the impact a good soundtrack can have on a game is on par with that of visual design and sound effects, and I've been a fan listening to movie and game soundtracks for quite some time. I don't know if I'll have enough time to do any more GOTY awards so I wished to do one on soundtracks first because they really mean something to me. Before I begin, I'd like to point out that some games simply don't stand a chance of getting an award from me. Some great looking games like To the Moon, Bastion, and Saints Row the Third, sadly, I didn't get to play yet. :( Obviously other games like Battlefield 3 most likely won't be getting an award simply because I don't find them deserving, but that's a differents story. Also, games that are new to a system this year but came out a different year like Cryis and Mass Effect 2 on the PS3, I've decided not to count, if anything, just to stop Mass Effect 2 from stealing anymore awards from me. But out of the games I've played this year, these are the four I've found to have the most powerful, catchy, or just well done OSTs.

4. Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception Image

Suprisingly, this may be the only category Uncharted 3 should be nominated for in my opinion. It's a good game, don't get me wrong, but just good in my opinion. But when it comes to soundtracks, Naughty Dog did a pretty good job this time around for the most part. Some parts of the soundtrack like the beginning of Badlandsand The Empty Quarter really reminds me of action adventure films like Indiana Jones, which brings up the discussion of whether Uncharted 3 is a tribute to Steven Spielberg series or just a shameless rip off. Anyways, it does a great job at amplifying the excitement and deserves a mention.

3. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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Just like talking about the rest of Skyrim, it's hard to figure out were to begin with its soundtrack. In a game were you may go from a climatic and epic battle to the death with a dragon one minute, and be chopping wood at a mill or talking with the citizens of a countryside hamlet the next, the soundtrack needs to be appropriate for a variety of tones and situations. And thankfully, it delivers on all fronts. Obviously there's the now very well known, and very well done, main theme of the game that certainly fits the description of epic, Skyrim is also packed full of more mellow and relaxing tones like this one.

2. Crysis 2

Crysis 2 Image

I must say that out of all the soundtracks this year, Crysis 2's took me by suprise the most. The Crysis games are great shooters, but they've never exactly been know for their soul or personality.But the soundtrack was the first thing I noticed going into the game. It's outstanding. The problem with writing about soundtracks is that it's hard to describe them. You just need to listen. As much as I like it, I know extremely little about music, and know even less when it comes to describing it, which means that this blog will probably seem rather unproffesional and uninteresting to some of you "upper ****" bloggers. So just listen to this, this, and this.Oh, and my favorite of the bunch, which happens to bethis.

1. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Image

It's hard to explain without actually playing the game, but somehow the soundtrack just captures the theme and mood of the game perfectly. It's deep, evocative, cool, and just downright amazing. Like I said, it's hard to explain. When playing Human Revolution, you really feelthe atmosphere. Even with all the game's technical drawbacks, the soundtrack, combined with the equally impressive art design really suck you into the game and convey the mood incredibly well. Here's a couple of songs here, here, here, and here.

Battlefield 3 Review

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I ask that you please don't like my review just because I'm on your friend's list. If you don't like it, constructive crtiticism is not frowned upon so if you feel that it can be better in any way please say so. If you do like it, feel free to thumbs up though. Please ignore any spelling error. Spell check and grammar check are both messing up on me for some reason. Feel free to skim. I can be long winded at times. EDIT: Gamespot seems to be offended by the word c l a s s. Every time you see ****, that's Gamespot censoring the word out.

The Good:

  • Fantastic team based multiplayer.
  • Superb audiovisual presentation that actually effects the gameplay.
  • Entertaining, albeit short, cooperative missions.

The Bad:

  • Unremarkable campaign that is extremely linear and has no ideas of its own.
  • Dissapointing story with a laughable ending.
  • The entire package has no personality whatsoever.
  • Dry, uninspired art design that doesn't match technical prowness of the visuals.
  • You've likely played something just like it before.
  • Short campaign and only six co-op missions means you must rely on online to get money's worth.

The Battlefield series has always been known for its award winning multiplayer and ****based gameplay. DICE has plenty of experience in this category and once again delivers at it. However, Battlefield 3 suffers from a number of problems that hold the game back from being all that it can be. The multiplayer action is as in depth and rewarding as you'd expect from a Battlefield game. However a disappointing campaign combined with an underwhelming lack of personality, less than engaging storyline, borderline ridiculous linearity, and dry art design makes you feel like the game could have done more. Battlefield 3 is still a good game, boasting a fantastic audio design and visuals that are so technically impressive that an uninspired art design doesn't hold you back from wowing.

Set in the year 2014, a majority of Battlefield takes place in modern day Iraq and Iran. You play as Sergeant Blackburn, who is currently being interrogated and tells the game's story through a series of flashback. If this sounds awfully similar to last year's Call of Duty: Black Ops, you're definitely not the first person to think so. In fact, an uncountable number of moments from Battlefield 3 are ripped strait from the past four Call of Duty games to come out this generation. That wouldn't be so bad, but BF3 manages to make many of these moments that were either exciting or potentially exciting into something boring and unremarkable. Instead of being strapped to an electric and being ruthlessly interrogated by unknown captors in a distorted voice, you're simply in custody of homeland security, being questioned by a completely uninteresting agent. Moments like this make the campaign seem worse than it should be not only because you've seen it all before, but because you've seen it all done better before. When not trying to play exactly like a Call of Duty game, Battlefield 3 will usually resort to just another war cliche.

This might not all be so bad if it was backed up by good action, but Battlefield 3's campaign only delivers a handful of times. The game is extremely linear, but it tries to hide it with seemingly open environments while in actuality you're limited to a corridor. Set one foot out of line and a danger symbol will immediately start to flash warning you that you have five seconds to get back to the battlefield. When not resorting to this normally there will be either a ledge just a little to high to grab or a wall that can't be destroyed. There's even moments where you need to sneak up on an enemy and if you're fifteen feet behind him and hit the melee but to swing your knife, the mission fails even though no one hears you. Apparently getting your knife ready is too out of line with their pacing.

Another thing haunting the game is an overabundance of quick-time events. They appear multiple times throughout the campaign and will start to get old really quick. Usually, and long drawn out animation will follow and involve multiple punches and moves, but consist of merely one or maybe two button prompts which makes the quick time events even less engaging than they already are. And half the time the button prompt doesn't even make sense. When X means jump for the whole game, you'd think that a QTE to jump a gap or climb a wall would be X instead of O or R1. One level where you are "flying" a jet is nothing but cleverly disguised QTEs. Being the so called gunner, your only objective is to look at a plane and press R1 to let your auto-lock missles to do all the work, and occasionally hit L1 to deploy flares, but only when told to. This seems even more unnecessary once you hop online and realize that there's a perfectly fine control scheme for flying a plane.

Image 19

There are cutscenes more engaging than this level.

Despite everything said, Battlefield 3's campaign isn't entirely bad. There's a handful of entertaining moments, and the game does have multiple moments where it gets to show off its incredible audio design or impressive graphics. The before mentioned jet mission in particular looks stunning. And a firefight in a Paris parking complex sounds absolutely superb, where the sounds of gunshots are drowned out by the roaring fires of burning vehicles, car alarms going off in every direction, and the sound of water from sprinkles splashing onto the pavement.

While the campaign isn't top notch, the multiplayer thankfully most certainly is. Unlike the shallow campaign, it is incredibly in depth, able to provide hundreds of hours of fantastic online action. Despite the short campaign, any online first person shooter fan will, more likely than not, get plenty of bang for your buck.

There are nine well designed maps and five game modes. The two big ones are Rush and the Battlefield ****c, Conquest. There's also a throwaway Team Deathmatch mode for attracting player of less objective based online games, and two squad sizes modes. Rush and Conquest are easily the best, offering large scale objective based battles on huge maps. Conquest is a capture the flag variant with 3-5 bases scattered around the map serving as spawn ponts that need to captured and held. At each point vehicles and reinforcements spawn, and they're usually fortified with defenses such as sandbags, barricades, and anti tank launchers. Each time a player respawns a ticket is taken from a bar that represents the entire team. When the ticket bar runs out, a team loses. The more bases owned, the quicker the enemy's bar goes down.

The other major mode, Rush, is more focused leading to more intense encounters where both teams are funneled towards a general area, There are two M-COM stations that need to have explosives planted on them and detonated. The attacking team needs to punch through the defenses of the other team and set the charges before they run out of a set number of lives, that reset every time a base is taken. Defenders obviously have the advantage with unlimited lives and the fact that they're on the defensive. To win, the attacking team needs to form an organized rush on each station or slip a small team behind to plant the charges. When both charges and detonated, the defenders fall back to a new position and the process repeats. It's incredibly fun and addictive.

The two smaller modes, Squad Rush and Squad Deathmatch also have a charm of their own because having only four people per team requires extra teamwork and communication to win. Squad Deathmatch is especially fun because it's divided into four teams of four and only have three allies to face off against twelve other humans makes sticking together and watching each other's backs an absolute must. Each map is obviously scaled accordingly, and takes place in small chunks of a map.

Like the previous Battlefield games, BF3 is ****based. The medic from Bad Company 2 has been ditched, and the ****s have been rearranged in some ways. The Assault ****is for frontline soldiers. Their powerful mid range assault rifles makes them the best choice for heading an attack on a position, and their medical equipment is what helps keep the front lines strong.

Like every other **** the Assault relies on support from the rest of the team. When the vehicles come rolling it, it's the Engineer ****you want to call. Each engineer carries a powerful rocket launcher perfect or anti-armor and bunker busting. There's launchers that lock on to ground vehicles, air vehicles, and ones that free fire, and they're the only ****that stands a chance going toe to toe with a vehicle, meaning all the other ****s revolve around keeping them alive in vehicle heavy matches. They also carry a repair tool to keep friendly equipment running that can be swapped with a remote controlled EOD bot that can defuse mines and set charges on objectives.

The Support ****does exactly what you'd expect and helps out the rest of the troops in any way he can. Without his ammo kits teams will run dry on ammo after extended firefights, and he is key to moving since his light machine gun is perfect for the game's suppressive fire mechanic. Mortar tubes also provide indirect fire provided he has someone to spot for him, and C4 charges work great for taking down structures that can cover an enemies advance.

The Recon ****s powerful sniper rifles making running out in the open suicide, and pick off any stragglers who don't hug cover closely enough. They're also the only ****that's effective at taking on other recon players making them necessary to keep the other team in check. The long range scopes they use are also vital for spotting players and when used in tandem with a mortar wielding support soldier, can create devastating effects.

The way each ****relies on each other is impressive and it's satisfying how you can come in first place with very few kills by being a good team mate doing good at helping other people. The gunplay is no slouch either though. DICE has obviously put a lot of consideration into the shooting and it shows. Too offbalance the ability to go prone players using long range sights can give off a lens glare and the game's impressive lighting comes into play with gun mounted flashlights capable of blinding players or lighting up dark corridors. The laser can also be used to impair vision but it also gives away your position. Points can be earned for shooting around a player or his cover. This suppressive fire impairs vision and accuracy as well as blocks regenerative health. Bipods that increase accuracy can be deployed on surfaces, effectively turning that player into a portable turret. Vehicles can be disable so the turrets and guns still work, giving the vehicle a chance to defend itself before being destroyed. Each of the numerous guns feels and sounds just right, and are all well balanced so nothing feels too overpowers.

The vehicles are also just as fantastic and varies. Light vehicles like motorboats and jeeps are weak but can zoom around the battlefield at high speeds, effective for flanking enemies or closing the distance between objectives. IFVs and APCs are a bit more armored and have increased fire power. Their guns can rip infantry to shreds, but they need a squad supporting them to act as eyes and make sure that a crafty engineer or C4 wielding soldier doesn't get too close. Tanks own the land, able to rip any smaller vehicle apart with the main gun, and the mounted heavy machine gun on top keeps any pesky ground troops out of its breathing space.

Image 49

Just another day at work.

Land and sea is only one part of the battlefield though. In many maps the battle also takes to the sky. Helicopters are divided into fast ones that can get around the battlefield quickly, and beefier attack helicopters armed with rocket pods and miniguns. Like light ground vehicles, the smaller helicopters are perfect for getting to objectives before the enemies even knows what hit them. The attack helicopters in general are designed for making the life of anything on the ground miserable. Being able to take on heavy tanks with little risk and stop any fleeing soldier in his tracks, their only real threats are anti air missles, portable AA, and other helicopters. Jets also make an appearance, although they seem to stick to themselves more, They move too fast to effectively take on any moving ground targets without anti-tank missiles, but are great at killing anything in the air.

Vehicles even level up just like ****s now, unlocking knew weapons, gadgets, and specialties. This adds even more depth to an already deep online experience. Certain acts on the battlefield, like repairing a number of vehicles, destroying an objective, using suppressive fire effectively, or even getting spawned on enough earns you ribbons to show for your efforts. Weapons unlock new attatchments, which there are plenty of, as you use them. Earning ribbons can unlock you new customizable dog tags to create (similar to creating an emblem in Black Ops but less in depth) that is displayed on a deceased player's screen every time you kill him. A player can also melee kill you and take them, collecting them as a prize for his collection. Earning points in co-op mode unlocks even more weapons to use for multiplayer. For any active multplayer enthusiast, there's enough here to keep you busy for months. You need to work to unlock stuff and it isn't spooned out to you the the truckload like in many other online games, but it makes earning them all the more satisfying and ensures that you will be kept busy.

When you combine the air, sea, and land battles that take place across huge maps of 24-64 players (depending on the version you get) Battlefield 3 has an epic scope that just isn't in other multiplayer games. When you factor in the outstanding destructive cover introduced with the Bad Company series, the multiplayer matches really do feel like a battlefield.

If you're looking for a bit more structured fun with a friend, there's also six cooperative missions to play through. At fifteen to thirty minutes a piece, they don't extend the game's value by a whole lot, but they are more fun (and challenging) than most of the missions present in the game, and feature a good amount of gameplay variety. One mission has you flying a helicopter with a buddy in a pilot seat, and another involves sneaking in to secure a high value target then escorting him into the green zone through an on rails humvee ride with both you and a partner in gunner seats. The only real bad thing about the co-op is that there isn't enough of it, and while it's a worthwhile distraction, it's not enough to warrant $60 if you're not interested in multiplayer.

As mentioned before, the audiovisual presentation may have you oodling, but that doesn't mean that it is also without fault. The visuals, while amazing on a technical level, are help back by an uninspired and generic art design. Like literally everything else in the game, they simply lack personality. And while the sound effects are some the best in the business, the voice acting isn't doing the game any favors with their cut and paste delivery and dry voice acting.

In a nutshell:

Battlefield 3 offers an amazing multiplayer suite and an amusing co-op, but for anybody looking for something more, you may walk away disappointed. To call the game generic wouldn't cut it, because to be generic you need to copy a personality. Battlefield 3 simply doesn't have a personality, or a soul. While the multiplayer is a step forward, the game as a whole almost feels like a step sideways, or possibly a step backward for the FPS genre as a whole. It foreshadows a possible future for the genre where a pretty face and some good multiplayer is all it takes to sell millions. Is Battlefield 3 a great game? Objectively, yes. If that's all you need to hear go out and buy it right now. The multiplayer surely doesn't disappoint. But does being great mean that it doesn't need to do better? No.

Journey and Uncharted Beta Impressions

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Thanks to Gamespot and the PS+ I've gained access to the Journey Beta and Uncharted 3 Beta for the PS3. Because of the PSN outage, pretty much everybody has Playstation Plus at the moment, and therefore is in the Uncharted 3 beta, but I shall post my impressions of it anyways as well as my Journey "beta" impressions.

Journey

I'll start out with Journey. When I first started playing, I thought it was stupid at first simply because there was no real objective at a game where you simply walk around the desert doesn't seem like it'd be exciting. But as I played, it grew on me and by the time I got to the end I ended up thinking it was really cool and replayed it immediately so I could experience it again. The game starts by showing you a bunch of sand dunes while playing ambient music and eventually you get control of your character and after a brief tutorial on how to work the camera with the sixaxis controller I was off into the desert. You're never given any objective and your only clue on what to do is that there's a large mountain that can be seen off in the distance with a beam of light coming off the top. The first part of the game was more or less a barren desert with a couple of deserted building that are half buried under the sand to explore.

One of the buildings had an opening in it and I went inside to explore. Once inside there was a cutscene of sorts showing something along the lines of movinghieroglyphics where it showed a bunch of characters tipping over and dying. It hinted at the possibility that the world I was exploring was either post apocalyptic or a long forgotten society which explain the abundance of tombsones I encountered earlier on as well as the abandoned buildings. Later on in the first "level" after magically repairing some cloth or fabric of some sorts that appeared to be the same material as the dress/ cloak my character was wearing I was granted the ability to press X and temporarily jump in the air and glide. How many times I could jump appeared to be indicated by how much cloth was on my back. After a strange encounter with a similar looking, tall, luminescent character I was pushed on to the second level where I had to get a across a destroyed bridge by repairing more cloth in the desert, which made larger segments of cloth allowing me to cross the bridge. After solving a "puzzle" there was another cutscene and another meeting with the character from the previous level and she added a decoration of sorts to my robe and an opening appears in the sand waterfall in front of me which allowed me to get to the last level of the demo.

It wasn't until my character stood atop a sandune in the last level and looked out across the desert that I realized that this was a downrightgorgeous lookinjg game. The sand looks fantastic, with the way how it moves around your feel and blows in the wind. It actually acts like sand, and the impressive way the light reflected off the sides of dunes while the other side was dark was a cool effect. And the ambient, relaxing music and sound effect combine with the graphics made for an extremely atmospheric and calming demo. An even cooler thing was that in the last level while sliding down the sand dunes I found another player. It doesn't tell you his PSN ID and you can't chat with him in any way but just being in another person's presence made the world feel a whole lot less lonely. We didn't have to work together but I stuck with him/her anyways and for some reason it made the whole game just feeldifferent. Toward the end of the level a sandstorm came in and while it sure did look cool I soon realized that I lost the other guy and was on my own again and had to push on to the end on my own. Overall, it was a really cool experience, and I wasn't really interested in the game going into the beta, but definitely am now and will most likely be picking the game up once it comes out.

Uncharted 3

The other beta I've been playing is the Uncharted 3 beta, and thankfully, since everybody has it, the online community at the moment is pretty active. Overall, it's a pretty big improvement over the previous game but it feels like they've taken a step backwards in a few places like the co-op and they changed some things that didn't need to be fixed. In a lot of ways, it feels like UC3 is trying to be more like other mainstream online games like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Kickbacks, for example, are basically Naughty Dog's take on killstreaks, and you can now spawn on people like in Battlefield. It's notnecessarily a bad thing though. As a result, the multiplayer seems more competetive and the experience is deeper than it was in Uncharted 2.

The multiplayer has evolved a lot since the Uncharted 2 days in fact. One of the new additions is the buddy system. At the beginning of each match you're assigned a buddy. When he's not in combat you can spawn on your buddy, and when you assist your buddy at killing somebody you can high five over their corpse to get a medal and extra cash. Also, your buddy is the only person other than yourself that can pick your treasure. Treasures are randomly dropped by people that you kill, and if you collect them in time you get to keep it. When you complete treasure sets you unlock new pieces of clothing for your characters to wear. If you can't get to it, your buddy can grab it for you (it's got a golden treasure symbol above it on your screen, and a green one on theres.) It's kind of an 'I scratch your back, you scratch mine' system.

In addition to treasures dropped by defeated enemies, there's also a treasure chest that spawns randomly on the map and is marked out to everybody, and inside it will be medals, treasures, and/or cash and even boosters occasionally. Obviously, a lot of people are atrracted to it and the area around the chest normally becomes a hotspot so it's up to you to decide whether or not it's worth the risk. New to the game is kickbacks, which are kind of like killstreaks in Call of Duty but instead of getting them based on your kill/death ratio, you get them by collecting a certain amount of medals. You get medals for things like headshots, stealth kills, collecting treasure, getting assists, and even running a certain distance. My favorite of the kickbacks so far is the Smoke Bomb where there is a small cloud of smoke that appears around your body and you're teleported to another spot on the map.

The customization is rather impressive. Similar to games like CoD, you now have four different classes to customize and you can select which one to spawn with before going into battle. Now you can choose what weapon to spawn with, and you can customize them too. You can't change each stock and forgrip in the beta like they showed in the trailer but there are different upgrades like larger magazines and better accuracy. There's two boosters, passive upgrades that effect your character, to use too. They range from being able to taunt over enemies to recieve ammo, to decreased respawn times. Your characters can be greatly customized too with different clothing unlocked by collecting treasure. Another cool feature is the Uncharted TV, which appears in the bottem right hand corner of the screen. Currently, it shows mainly trailers and gameplay clilps of the upcoming game but apparently Naughty Dog says that it'll feature stuff like kills of the week in the full game. It's a neat feature, and it gives you something to do while waiting for a match to start (speaking of which, connecting and finding a match seems much quicker than it did in Uncharted 2.)

My only major complaint is that they changed the co-op arena. Co-op arena was my favorite Uncharted 2 multiplayer mode, but as of right now, they tried making some changes to it that weren't needed. Besides the fact that it's too easy now, they added a timer to it, which wasunnecessary. It's not all bad though. A cool new feature is that the game mode switches every round now. So now each game will have multiple rounds of gold rush, siege, and survival. Another small complaint is that the controls feel a little awkward to me. Your character runs slower now because of the ability to sprint. The rowdy run is pretty similar to Gears of War, and it works alright, but feels uneeded. And the camera seems to be slower and the character seem to turn around slower too. And I can't stick to cover in a few places that clearly look like you should be able to hide behind. The sound effects are improved for the most part, but the noises made by the pistols, snipers, and grenade launchers, are recycle. And for some reason, Naughty Dog decided to change the aiming reticle so each weapon has a different one. It seems kind of pointless when the ones in the old games worked fine.

Both betas ended up being really good though and I've been enjoying both the past two days and plan on buying both games when they come out.

And the Golden Brick goes to...

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BEST STORY: MASS EFFECT 2

Mass Effect 2 may not have a story as good as the original, and some may have found Red Dead Redemption or Heavy Rain's story arcs to be better, but what makes Mass Effect 2's story so great isn't just the number of interesting characters and companions, but how the consequences of my actions in the original Mass Effect carry over into the second and how what I do throughout the entire game ends up contributing the overall story and ending of the game in some truly amazing ways which is why I chose it as the best story.

BEST GRAPHICS, TECHNICAL: METRO 2033

If you played this game on the PC you'll know why I chose it as having the best technical graphics. The game looks absolutely stunning. There's a great attention to detail and besides some framerate dips and the occasional bad texture everything in the game looks amazing and also makes you wonder why Fallout 3 could've have made post-apocalyptic environments look this beautiful.

BEST GRAPHICS, ARTISTIC: HEAVY RAIN

Heavy Rain has an amazing atmosphere, and much of that is due to its fantastic visual design. The environments are highly detailed and beautifully lit, the characters look incredible, and the game really does have its own sense of ****

BEST ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK: HEAVY RAIN

As mentioned above, Heavy Rain has an amazing atmosphere, and in my opinion, the music contributes to it even more than the visuals. The soundtrack really brings the set piece sequences and chases to life and it does a great job at portraying the mood of the situation. And every one of the main characters in the game has his/her own music that plays during their parts of the game that helps distinguish them from one and other and also seems very fitting for them in a way.

BEST VOICE ACTING: MASS EFFECT 2

Something more amazing to me than the sheer number of memorable characters in Mass Effect 2 is how each one of them has excellent voice acting. Whether you decide to play as male or female Shepherd your voice will sound great, and each of your companions and the rest of the main characters in the game have equally great dialogue and acting.

BEST MULTIPLAYER: CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS

With the rise of the four hour military shooter there's no shortage of multiplayer games to play, but with so many, a game must truly excel to rise above the rest, and many games this year managed to excel like Bad Company 2, Black Ops, and Halo Reach. And while Halo: Reach may have been my favorite shooter this year, I refuse to be intimidate by Gamespot's massive amounts of COD have and give Black Ops the award for best multiplayer. What I really like about it is how fully featured it is. There's dozens of game modes to play across on plenty of well designed maps, and the theater mode lets you show off your skills when you're not be creamed by glitchers or being sworn at by seven year olds with mics. Even with having one of the worst online communities ever in video games, Black Ops manages to still be fun when you go online. Wager matches add some variety into the mix and combat training lets you get an online experience without having to deal with the community (And really, if you play Black Ops on the PS3, no one uses mics anyways.)

THE GOLDEN BRICK FOR OVERALL BEST GAME OF 2010:

MASS EFFECT 2!

2010 wasn't a fantastic year for games but there still was a good amount of great games to come out like Halo: Reach, Red Dead Redemption, Heavy Rain, and Bad Company 2. But in the end, I believe that Mass Effect 2 triumphs over them all. A genuine masterpiece of the gaming world, Mass Effect 2 had incredible visuals, exciting gameplay, excellent music and sound effects, terrific voice acting and an interesting story where your actions from the previous game have consequences, as well as every action you make in this game. Mass Effect 2 is an incredible game and if you have a 360 or a powerful enough PC and haven't played, go get it now. And if you don't have that opportunity, get it as soon as it comes out for the PS3.

Brickdoctor's 2010 GOTY Nominees

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SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENTS:

Best Story: Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, Red Dead Redemption, Bioshock 2

Best Graphics, Technical: God of War 3, Just Cause 2, Metro 2033, Call of Duty: Black Ops

Best Graphics, Artistic:Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, Red Dead Redemption

Best Original Soundtrack: Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, Halo: Reach

Best Voice Acting: Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption

Best Multiplayer: Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops

GENRE AWARDS:

Best Action/Adventure: God of War 3, Red Dead Redemption, AC: Brotherhood, Laura Croft

Best RPG:Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas

Best Shooter:Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Halo: Reach, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Metro 2033

GAME OF THE YEAR:

Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, Halo Reach, God of War 3, Red Dead Redemption


GLaDOS needs you people!

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Now I could start this relatively short blog off with another cake joke but instead I'll just cut to the chase. We all know about Gamespot's All Time Greatest Villain contest and right now Darth Vader and GLaDOS are against each other, with Vader winning! Now what amazes me isn't the fact that "she" is losing, but that fact that she's losing to Vader. For those of you who haven't voted yet, ask yourself this: Does Vader even deserve to be in this contest? What amazing role has Vader ever played in a video game? While Vader may be one of the most iconic movie villains of all time, most of his appearances in video games have either been cameos or very minor roles. That's all I really have to rant about but feel free to comment on who you want to win the overall contest and whether you'll vote for Vader or GLaDOS if you so desire. And don't worry, I won't troll you if you vote Vader. :P

Good news and bad news for the gaming community.

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Let's start of with the good news, inFAMOUS 2 is announced!!! The bad news, he looks like this!!! :o

inFamous 2

Ugh! :cry: Whose idea was it to make him look like this? Anyways, I'm still excited as I loved the original Breaking News: I really want to get my hands on Deus Ex 3!!! After trying the first one at my friends house and seeing the best prerendered gametrailer ever, needless to say I'm hyped! Since E3 is right around the corner I'd like to know what games you're all hoping for at E3. Same more info on Halo: Reach and an Elder Scrolls V would personally make my year.

Blog about Stuf

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Well, it's been a while since I posted a blog so I guess it's about time. The year is almost half way over already and so far, at least gaming wise, it's been pretty good with stellar games like Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, and God of War 3 and the second half of 2010 looks just as good if you ask me with games like Crysis 2 and New Vegas. We might even get a release date for GT5. :P In non game related events, the world has been doing a little worse with things like the oil spill and such but I'm excited because I get to go camping for the first time this year this week. :D Plus school is almost over for me so I shall now have more time to do everything that I like to do (including games.) Unfortunately, before school ends, I have my exams next week :cry:

I just realized the other day that I haven't seen very many movies this year, which is strange as I love movies. The most recent one I watched was the Edge of Darkness which wasn't half bad but it suddenly came to me after watching it that I haven't seen very many high quality movies this year. I watched Avatar but was massively disappointed in the story and I'm looking for some good movies to see so if you have any recommendations they are much appreciated. :)

I always like to close off my blogs with a list of some sorts but as I cannot think of anything you're outta luck.

- Bricky

I closing out my last day at Gamespot with my top three FPS of all time. Goodbye

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APRIL FOOLZ!!! :P (I know, it was lame, but everybody else is doing it.)

Anyways, here we go:

3. Bioshock

It's hard to explain, but there's more to Bioshock than just the gameplay. I mean, the game just had a certain feel to it that isn't in very many games. Some of you may know what I'm talking about, some may not. The gameplay was, but there's so much more than that. The story grabs you right away and doesn't let you go until the very end. Something very rare in video games, especially "shooters" if that's what you want to call this. And this is by far the most atmoshperic game I've ever played. Rapture is beautiful.

2. Crysis

Crysis is so much more than a pretty face. Yes the graphics are awesome, better than any game ever created, (yes even you Killzone 2 and Arma II) but there's a lot more than that. The gameplay is outstanding. An open world for you to play through however you want (guns blazing, sneaking, or somewhere inbetween) and a kick-ass suit. The game also comes with a fun multiplayer but the campaign is the star of the show. One of the most memorable moments is after I come back from out of the water and the entire tropical oasis I knew and loved, is a frozen winterwonderland. Wow, this game is amazing.

1. Half Life 2 + Episode 1 & 2

You should have seen this coming. I decided to combine all three so my list could actually have some variety. Anyways, you haven't played a shooter until you've played Half Life. Valve has created a masterpiece with an interesting story, great gameplay, and so much more. I highly recommend that if you haven't play this go get them or The Orange Box, right now! This is not a game to be missed. Trust me.