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UMK3 Get's It's Own E. Honda - D.I.C.E Awards

Hello Everyone,

I will begin today's blog with a little bit of a rant, so I will say my apologies now!! :D

Over the last few days I have been playing a fair bit of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on the Xbox360, over Xbox Live.

Had a few games and all was well and good. Am a pretty good player but not exceptional nor would I consider myself a pro, but I can handle myself in a fairly tricky situation.

BUT, that was all about to change. It turns out that just as Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting was plagued by hordes of online players simply using E.Honda's handslap to, dare I say, "Cheat" their way to easy online victories! I would say over half the people playing the game choose Smoke and try and do the same combination of moves continously. Trust me, after about the 15th game against Smoke and the same button press, it gets a little tedious. Now some may argue that if you can pull off the combo then your entitled to use it, which is fair game, I would agree, but doing it over and over again, wheres the fun in that.

I will just add, that I can do this same combo myself and as I said before I am not a great player of the game (I never played this until I purchased it off Xbox Live), therefore being able to do it....DOES NOT MAKE YOU A GOOD PLAYER!!

As half the people say they are over the voice chat!!


Moving on, just a quick note on the D.I.C.E Awards, which took place this past week.

It was great to see Gears of War walk away with the credit and accolades it deserves. Cliffy B and his team did a fantastic job with that game and even if your not a fan of this particular type of game, surely you must still be able to appreciate the amount of hard work and creativity that went into making it.

Well done guys, and hears hoping GoW2 is able to continue the high standards set by the original.

Gamerscore Breaks the 4500 Barrier - Dead Rising

The good news this week, is that my Gamerscore has broken the 4500 mark!

Current score stands at 4515 I believe.

The root source of this point haul is Dead Rising. I got a couple of the earlier achievements, but as all achievements are worth 20 points in that game, it didn't take me long to rack up the 80 points I've currently unlocked in the game.

I have probably played around 2.5 hours of Dead Rising and first impressions are very good. The game has a great B movie feel to it, strong lashing of black humour without being overly silly.

So far I'm enjoying it a lot. Hats off to Capcom for making great use of achievement points also. For a game that's designed for multiple play-thru's, the achievements just fit this mould perfectly.

Final thing of note is my GameSpot profile, which has surpassed the 70% mark for Level 20. I predicted in an earlier post sometime ago, that I thought I would reach Level 21 by the end of March and with 6 weeks remaining, I feel I'm well on course to meeting that target. We shall see!!

Saint's Row Single Player = 100% - Achievement Points

It's all good news today. Over the weekend I finally managed to 100% complete the single player portion of Saint's Row.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the game. The story whilst not too original was still entertaining and did keep me interested until the end (Yes, for anyone who has finished the story missions, THAT ENDING).

A quick thing I want to note here is the way in which Achievements Points have added to the longevity of this game for me. I purchased this game when I bought my console a few months back and the game cost me £50.

Having completed this game I would say that had it not been for the Achievement Points I probably would have finished playing this game around the 85% mark. However, knowing that if I invest a little more time to the game, many notable achievements were well within my grasp, and due to this I probably got another 10 hours out of the game.

This same process comes into affect with the multiplayer portion of the game. As having played a few games over Xbox Live, I know with a little more investment of my time, even more achievements points will be gained.

So whilst this may not be the case with all games, I think in these circumstances the inclusion of Achievement Points (and more importantly, good use of Achievement Points) have added to the value for money factor I feel I have got from this title.

Well done THQ and Volition! :D

Gamerscore - Breaking the Habit (Kind of) - Hypocrite

Hello everyone and welcome to another blog post.

Begin as usual with a Gamerscore update. As predicted in my last post, I have broken the 4000 points mark, no mean feat considering I ain't actually aiming for just the easier points (apart from Fight Night Round 3, but all the points in that game are easy, so that don't count :P ).

Achievement points actually take me onto my next point. My habit of buying more games than I have time to play.

Well if anyone actually checks my Gamer Profile they will see that 60 of my points have come from a certain game called Dead Rising.

I said in my last post that I wouldn't buy this game until I had finished with Saint's Row. WELL, my Gamercard does not lie. I have purchased and played Dead Rising and I am still trying to finish Saint's Row. :( I know, I failed.

BUT, the only reason I bought the game is because it was on offer at my local HMV. £25 = Bargain.

I did only play it for 1 hour before going back to other games. So whilst I don't think I've kicked the habit entirely, I think I have made some small steps on the road to recovery. :D

Now onto a more serious matter.

Another idiot on GameSpot.

Earlier in the week, Sony did an interview with The Guardian newspaper over here in the UK. Were they tried to convince people that it wasn't their fault that UK customers have to pay far more than the rest of the world to get their hands on the console.

I made a comment on the news story about how I was disappointed that we had to pay more and that I thought it was a little unfair.

I checked back on the comments sometime later, only to find that some guy had replied to my comment, accusing me of being an Xbox fanboy and that was the real reason behind my less than belated comment.]

I duly replied to his reply informing him that I wasn't an Xbox/Microsoft fanboy and if he had even bothered to ask me, he would have found out that I have owned every Sony console thus far and still own my PSP (which I continue to use on a regular basis).

The guy gathered his so called argument from the fact that I have an Xbox360 icon for my profile on GameSpot. Well anyone who has been keeping a tab on my profile for sometime, might remember that I used to have a PSP as my picture and used to be a very active member of the PSP Union.

Further more, this guy had a PS2 icon for his (but I won't make the same mistake he did and blatantly accuse him of being a fanboy).

I did however ask the question of whether or not he accused me of being a Microsoft fanboy and having a go at Sony because actually, he was a little defensive himself??

Some people just can't be saved from themselves. I really don't understand this whole fanboy thing. Surely competition between the various companies is good for us, the people who actually play the games?

My opinion is simply this:

Go Microsoft, Go Sony, Go Nintendo!

Gamerscore - PS3 Launch Prices - Silverstone

SO, here we are again, another blog post.

I would like to begin by talking about my Gamerscore, which will (hopefully) be breaking the 4000 points mark sometime in the not too distant future.

Currently my time is being split between Gears of War (obviously), Saint's Row and Rockstar Presents Table Tennis.

As I reported in a previous post, I'm trying to kick the habit of buying more games than I know deep down I will never have the time to play. There are a few games on my wish list that am really eager to get my hands on, so I'm trying to finish titles such as Saint's Row and Table Tennis (Gears of War is exempt from this, as I can see myself playing that game for sometime to come yet, maybe until the second in the series is released).

The games in question are:

Dead Rising
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Test Drive Unlimited

I am determined to finish Saint's Row before purchasing Dead Rising and I need to complete Project Gotham Racing 3 before I purchase Test Drive.

Next on the Agenda is the news regarding the European Launch of the PS3. Now I must admit before I say anything that I do forsee myself getting one sometime in the future and I never had any intention whatsoever of buying one around launch, but even so, I was shocked to discover that us PAL region gamers have not only had to wait 5 months longer than everyone else, but we also have to pay MORE aswell.

Talk about a kick in the NUTS!!

But all being said, if i'm honest I would never have got one at launch unless they were giving them away.

Me living in the UK means I would have to pay around $839US to get my hands on one (this is an estimate, please don't shout :D ).

Finally, I booked my tickets for the next British Grand Prix. Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while, will probably remember that I went last summer, as a present for my 21st, and loved it. Thus, me and the girlfriend are making it an annual trip!! I can't wait.

Best and Worst 2006 Readers Choice Awards - Level 20 Progress Update

Hello everyone and welcome to my latest blog!!

I would like to open by talking about the current Readers Poll for the Gamespot 2006 Best and Worst Awards.

I have detailed below my choices for the various categories and would very much welcome everyones opinions on my choices and maybe even let me know who they voted for.

A word of warning though, I don't want to hear things like:

"Dude that game sux!"

"Your choices are lame!"

I don't mind people disagreeing with my choices, that's half the reason why am telling people what my choices were, but I only want constructive criticsm. If you don't like a choice of mine, then back it up with a good point....you never know, you might just convince me that my choice was a poor one. Am looking forward to any feedback from you guys/gals.

So without any further ado, heres the list:

Special Achievement Awards

Best Original Music
Gears of War

Most Surprisingly Good Game
The Godfather

Best Licensed Music
Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure

Best Story
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Best Sound Effects
Dead Rising

Best Graphics, Technical
Gears of War

Best Voice Acting
Saint's Row

Best Graphics, Artistic
Viva Pinata

Best Use of a Creative License
LEGO Start Wars II: The Original Trilogy

Best New Character(s)
Delta Squad from Gears of War

Funniest Game
Elite Beat Agents

Biggest News
The Wii Revolution

Best Multiplayer Game
Gears of War

Best Expansion Pack
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade

Best Original Game Mechanic
Free-Motion Controls in Madden NFL 07

Best Downloadable Console Game

Best Classic Compilation
Gradius Collection

Best Use of Xbox 360 Achievement Points
Dead Rising

Most Improved Sequel
Tomb Raider: Legend

Dubious Honors Awards

Most Despicable Use of In-Game Advertising
Fight Night Round 3

Worst Use of Celebrity Voices
The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning

Most Long-Winded Game Title
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner - Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army

Most Disappointing Game
Red Steel

Flat-Out Worst Game
Bomberman: Act Zero

Worst Game Everyone Played
Red Steel

Best Game No One Played
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

Genre Awards

Best Action Adventure Game
Dead Rising

Best Shooter
Gears of War

Best Fighting Game
Tekken: Dark Resurrection

Best Platformer

Best Driving Game
Test Drive Unlimited

Best Puzzle Game
Trauma Center: Second Opinion

Best Rhythm/Music Game
Elite Beat Agents

Best Role-playing Game
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Best Traditional Sports Game
Fight Night Round 3

Best Strategy Game
Company of Heroes

Platform Awards

Best Game Boy Advance Game
Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation

Best Nintendo DS Game
Elite Beat Agents

Best PSP Game
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops

Best GameCube Game
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Best PlayStation 2 Game
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence

Best Xbox Game
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

Best Xbox 360 Game
Gears of War

Best PlayStation 3 Game
Resistance: Fall of Man

Best Wii Game
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Best PC Game
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Game of the Year
Gears of War

After all that, I would like to sign off by commenting, that I have now reached and surpassed the 50% mark of Level 20.

My current prediction is March for getting to Level 21. Place your bets now people. :D

Rocky 6 - Gamerscore is 3000+ - Happy New Year Everyone

I will begin by saying HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!

Yes, I myself can't quite believe what happened to 2006, it just went so quickly, but it can definately be said that it was a fantastic year for games (maybe that's why it seems to have passed in no time at all). Hmmm...

Secondly I must sincerely thank one Mr. Sylvester Stallone.

I watched the new Rocky movie yesterday which is the "Fifth" in the series (I don't count the last one :P ) for finishing the franchise on such a high note. I genuinely enjoyed the film from start to finish and would strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the original Rocky film. This was not "Movie making by the numbers" as some critics had predicted it might be and has brought a great amount of credibility back to the series after the terrible mess which was Rocky V.

AND on another topic of good news, my Xbox Gamerscore has surpassed the 3000 milestone. It took me a little longer than I expected because of the achievements I chose to aim for, but as of around 2 hours before writing this, the milestone had been reached.

It would no doubt have been achieved much sooner if i'd realised a few months ago on my first play through EA Sports Fight Night Round 3 Career Mode, that if you don't win the necessary fight the first time, you do not get another chance. What I had done was played through the career mode, lost the final achievement fight (The Everlast Sponsored Fight) and therefore had to start another career from scratch to have another chance at claiming the achievement points. Alas, some 15 hours into my second career I got my second chance (it has been one lesson well learned).

Well I will sign this post off now, back to work tommorrow after having a week off for Christmas and am hoping to finally watch the new Superman movie tomorrow evening. Until next time....

Not Posted In An Age - Apology and Explanation + My Recent Trip

Hello everyone, once again I must open with “Long Time, No See”.

 This is my first post in weeks and firstly I must apologise, but please take solace in the knowledge that this was for good reasons!! :D

I would like to begin by talking a little about my recent trip which I took through the end of November and beginning of December. For anyone who hasn’t read my previous post, I travelled to the Caribbean to do some activities, but also plenty of relaxing after what has been a very eventful year for me.

Thankfully the holiday was amazing and I managed to see some beautiful places, it was just what I needed. I have attached some pictures I took below, so be sure to check it out.

I will finish all talk regarding the trip momentarily as I could write a thousand posts about the place and the kind of experiences I had, so I will simply say “Once In A Lifetime”!!!!

This was one of the reasons I was talking about before, regarding the lack of updates to this blog. I had no Internet access and thus could not have posted during that time, but the other major reason (unfortunately) has been work.

O yes, that thing!! Boy did I know when I was back home. I landed at Manchester Airport at 4.40am in the morning, was home by around 6.00am and was in work by 7.00am and to top it all off, my car wouldn’t start the morning I got home (I had left the alarm on whilst I was away and this had drained the battery). By 10.00am that morning the Caribbean beach I had been on no fewer than 24 hours earlier seemed like a lifetime ago!

All complaints aside, going away so close to Christmas also meant that in true bloke-like fashion I had left all my preparations for Christmas until the last minute, therefore the last few weeks have been a mish-mash of work, Christmas shopping and playing Gears of War. O yeah, I forgot to mention that Gears of War came out whilst I was away, so I bought it the first day I got home. :D

I hope this summary of the last few weeks will help people shed forgiveness upon my lack of posting action as it has taken a Boxing Day holiday to allow me the time to post (and I am even rushing this, as I have a party to go to).

So anyways, I wish everyone a Happy Holiday and enjoy your time with your families and games.

Details of My Forthcoming Trip + A quick note on the Gaming Industry + Good Bye

Unfortunately this will be my last post for a few weeks. I have a flight tomorrow to the Dominican Republic were I will be spending the next few weeks scuba diving in the Caribbean Sea.

I'm really looking forward to the trip as I have been scuba diving many times before but only in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters. This being tropical waters will be an absolutely amazing experience, which I'm totally psyched about.

When I return, I will hopefully have some great pix I can throw up here on my blog for peeps 2 check out.

Back to gaming matters, I was pleased to see (as a fan of all games, not one particular console/platform) that Resistance: Fall of Man turned out to be a good yet unoriginal title. I don't own a PS3 or intend to buy one for some time, but I'm gonna try hard to get around to that title at some point in the future. I have also found myself strangley intrigued by many of the Wii titles. It was a shame to see that Red Steel turned out to be a poor package, but Link's latest adventure unsuprisingly turned out to be great and is now positioned in my Wish List. Other titles of note are Medievil: Total War II and of course lets not forget Gears of War.

It appears that no matter which of the platforms you own you shouldn't be short of a good gaming experience this Xmas!!

I think all of the above mentioned titles (and probably a few others I've failed to mention) is pretty conclusive evidence that the gaming industry as a whole is in great shape at the moment...and long may it continue.

I shall sign off now, with a quick good bye to everyone, and i'll be back on GameSpot when I return from my trip!!



Xbox360, Pro Evolution Soccer 6 and an example of the uneducated

OK, again I haven't updated my blog for a while, but alots been happening, thus time has been short!! :D

First things first, Pro Evolution Soccer 6.

As I said I would, I went out and purchased the game at the earliest possible time (which tuned out to be the day before the official release date, as HMV and a few other stores put the game on the shelves early, rather than wait for the official release date...more of that please if you will).

The news is good! My view is actually very similar to that of GameSpot. I read their review a few days after purchasing the game and their impressions and opinions I feel hit the nail on the head perfectly.

Now don't get me wrong, this game is fantastically playable and in my opinion, is not only the best Pro Evolution game to date, but also the best football game EVER made. Period.

However, this game did fall a little short of my expectations of the next-generation football simulation.

Now the main reason for this, is without a doubt, because this ISN'T a next-generation football title. Whilst this is a great game, which I would recommend to any football/sports fan, this is nothing much more than what most players would have already seen on Xbox or PS2.

This is because the Xbox360 version is simply a polished up (and not polished all that much) version of the PS2 game (minus a few features).

YES, the graphics are better, although by no means are they next-gen, Gears of War this is not.

Now you may wonder why I would recommend such a game after some of the above comments and that is simple. For many people Pro Evolution Soccer has been a generation beyond FIFA anyway, thus the consoles are only now matching the generation of the software Seabass and his team have been refining for years. The gameplay of the Pro Evolution franchise is realistic yet fun, tactical yet exciting...and this is why Pro Evolution has been able to compete with EA's behemoth all these years, without licenses or official stadiums etc (although this latest installment does contain more official content than any previous installment in the PES franchise).


...it's just a little bit of shame that Konami decided to play it safe and tinker with what they have already got, rather than build from the ground up.

Alot of people regard Pro Evolution Soccer 4 as the best the series has offered, but for many that opinion will change after playing this latest incarnation.

Many felt that the added realism of 5, slowed the game down a little too much and that the referees had a fetish for blowing their whistle. This title manages to catch the fun and exciting experience of playing Pro Evo 4 with a good balance of realism and tactical play from Pro Evo 5, making for an addictive and fundamentally astounding balance. Maybe, that is the biggest achievement of all!!!!

This brings me onto my next point. As I was eagerly awaiting the release of said football simulation, I checked out a news article of the game which was posted on GameSpot. To my suprise their was comment at the end of the story from an American CHILD I presume, who went on to say that us European Gamers are ruining the gaming industry, because we go out every year and buy the same yearly updates of football titles PES and FIFA.
He went on to say that it is our fault that publishers throw out these yearly updates each year and that we are stupid for buying them. Now I don't know if his comments were influenced by the postings of many users, who were clearly excited by the upcoming release, but I mean, come on, this guy can not be serious.

America has more national sports than we do (Basketball, American Football, Baseball, Ice Hockey) each of which get their own yearly updates from not only EA but 2k Sports also. The last time I checked these were not selling all too badly by my reckoning.

Now don't mistake my feelings here as an attack on American gamers, each to their own, I say. But to blatantly blame the actions of publishers on the fact that European gamers look forward to 2 football titles is a little off the mark to the point of completely uneducated. Where do these people come from?

Next on my agenda is the Xbox360 in general. As I have seen alot of Xbox360 owners comment on here about how the Xbox360 has rejuvenated their love of games, I would say that I have to agree.

I think the introduction of Achievements and a GamerScore is a move of Genius on Microsofts part. I wouldn't consider myself to be a "points whore" as some people admit to being, but acquiring the achievements in my games does give me a slight sense of satisfaction.

I find that I am getting more value for my money, as I will continue to play some games longer than I would have done, as I still have something to aim for, if I have completed the main portion of a game but still have some targets to hit.
(An example of this would be Saint's Row, were I have completed the main story elements of the game but am continuing on to do side missions and optional activities).

I also find that I am more tempted to spend some hours on multiplayer, as I get to experience the unadulterated fun of the multiplayer game, yet I'm still reaching certain goals along the way.

All in all, I'm enjoying playing games at the moment. Who's with me?