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An Ode To Unions

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I haven't made a blog in quite a while since I haven't had much to talk about, but as we all know unions are getting axed with the new site and as much as I hate to see the unions go, I figured GameSpot wanted to do this for quite sometime. I've made some great friends on the site and I hate to see them go as they're moving to different sites like Zetaboards or giving up GameSpot all together, and I might do the same.

I don't want to lose contact with my friends on here, so if you have Steam, please add me: Toasty_Warrior

Hope to see you on there and perhaps on other sites from now on too! :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

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It's that time of year again, the end of December where everyone gets together with family and friends celebrating the holiday spirit. Sure, we've kinda lost sight of that thanks to those big department stores always wanting you to buy, but just remember it's not always about the gifts. It's about being together with your family and appreciating what you have. I know I do and I hope everyone else does. Merry Christmas everyone and I hope it's jolly for you! :)

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Hopefully all goes well for everyone! Stay safe and try not to get too drunk! :P

Games Of 2012

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2012 has been one hell of a year, especially for gaming. We've had some great sequels, a few surprises, disappointments, and some major stinkers. I'm gonna take a look back at some of my favorite games from this year and one game in particular that disappointed me to no end.

Biggest disappointment of this year:

Resident Evil 6

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I had high expectations of Resident Evil 6 before it came out and the trailers made it look amazing, but after popping in the game on my PS3, low and behold I was in for a big disappointment. The game allows you to pick between three campaigns, all made up of five chapters for each character, not including Ada's which you have to unlock. I didn't mind Leon's campaign so much and felt it was the highlight of the games, but the quick time events and button presses really got on my nerves especially in the fight against Simmons. That damn rope climbing sequence was a pain! It didn't help that the other campaigns felt lacking especially Jake's. I really thought they could have done better, but the constant button mashing, difficulty spikes, even on normal made me hate this game. Capcom, Resident Evil is officially dead! Leave it alone!

Great games I played this year:

Assassin's Creed III

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Assassin's Creed III was one of those games I also had high expectations for too and unlike Resident Evil 6 it mostly delivered on them albeit there were a few problems with the game. I was wondering who they were gonna do the game after finally letting Ezio rest and the new protagonist Connor didn't seem like a good fit, but he still held my interest. The game was set during the American Revolution and follows Connor as he tries to help the Colonies get their freedom. It was a surprisingly good take on American History and kept with it while craving out it's own identity to help Connor establish his own story. The game took everything that made the other Assassin's Creed games great and expanded upon them, but the only thing that really held back the game was sometimes the tasks you were to accomplish and the game bugs. Thanks to the new engine, the game suffered from numerous bugs that ruined a lot of missions and forced you to restart them. I did not like that one bit, but otherwise Assassin's Creed III was a solid game.

Darksiders II

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Darksiders II was one of those rare games where I actually had no interest in it despite completing the first game. I thought the first game was well done, but had its share of problems and Darksiders II addresses all those problems quite well and turned out to be one of my favorite games of this year. You control Death as he tries to clear War's name for what he did to humanity. The story can be muddled at times, but the fun combat and looting system kept me coming back and let's not forget the numerous side quests you could do. That more than made up for the sometimes easy bosses and surprisingly lackluster ending. I hope maybe we'll get another game in the series tie up some of the loose ends in both games. Overall another solid games and definitely a stand out among the sequels that came this year.

The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead came out of nowhere this year and surprised me very much. It's an adventure game, but it's laced with a few action sequences here and there. The puzzles aren't hard, but they do require a bit of thinking to solve them and once you do, you feel great as you're treated to the next exciting part of the game. I usually don't get that excited for adventure games, but The Walking Dead did things differently by introducing characters and choices that made you feel like you were part of the actual game even if controlled Lee Everett. The decisions you made either helped out in later episodes of the game or came back to bite you on the ass. The game also presented a more emotional bond that some games did because of Clementine and how you had to look after her, but what did it for me was the ending of the game, probably one of the best in gaming and quite emotional too. I'd definitely consider it game of the year if not for another game on my list.

Max Payne 3

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What can I say about Max Payne 3? It was one of the biggest surprises of this year to me and it's definitely my game of the year pick not only for it's story, but improved game play and smoother controls. Rockstar proved that despite not having Remedy help them, they could create an amazing experience involving anti-hero Max who's still fighting his inner demons and coping with the last of loved ones. It's story telling at its finest and the cast do an amazing job of bring each character to life. The ending definitely sends a message that Max has moved on and if Rockstar is smart, they'll let Max have his peace and not make another game. It's another home run for Rockstar games and one of the best, if not, greatest game I played this year.

Achievement I Thought I'd Never Reach

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In all my years on GameSpot I never thought I'd reach this achievement let alone remain on the site for eight years, but after that length of time depending on how much you post, you usually accumulate quite a number of posts, and last week I achieved something only ten other people on GameSpot have achieved, reaching 100,000 posts. I quite frankly never thought I'd get this many posts, but I suppose it was only a manner of time, and if you don't believe me here's my status to prove it:

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Now I wonder if I'll stick around long enough to reach 200,000 posts? I doubt that will happen as I'll probably move on from this site before that happens, but you never know. ;)

Summer Of Gaming

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Hey everyone! I know it's been a while since my last blog, but I haven't really felt like writing anything as of late since most things are pretty much the same with me. I've noticed in most of my blogs they've always been about personal things or something completely off the wall, so why not for once I talk about what I've been doing with my gaming since it is summer and all?

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode II

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You guys know me... I can never go a blog without mentioning my favorite blue hedgehog and his latest outing, Sonic 4 Episode II is a mixed bag. On one hand it's a step up from Episode I since Tails is here and Sonic's momentum has been improved as well as some more original bosses, but there's also disappointment because the music is sorely lacking compared to other Sonic games and the fact that the ending pretty much means no Episode III. Overall though I enjoyed Episode II and thought it was much better than Episode I because of the improvements, but curse that seventh special stage, it's a pain in the ass!

The Walking Dead

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To be honest I didn't expect The Walking Dead video game to be any good because it's hard to emulate what Robert Kirkman has done with The Walking Dead, but since I am a fan of The Walking Dead I decided to give the game a try and actually liked the demo. So I bought the first episode and beat it in a few hours, but within those few hours I instantly dropped my opinion of saying that a game based on the comic couldn't work and yet it does. The characters and story are top notch and it's very much like the comics based on what decisions you've made. I enjoyed episode one so much that I bought the season pass so I can get all five episodes. I've already completed episode two as well and it was so much more gripping. I just wonder how episode three will be when it comes out in August?

Max Payne 3

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I gave my thoughts on Max Payne 3 back in May when the game was first released and it's now July. I've beaten the game already and got a few of the other achievements for it, but the reason Max Payne 3 is still here is because the multiplayer is awesome and sometimes it's quite addicting. I really wish I had the money to afford the Local Justice Map Pack, but it's not necessary as of right now since I'm doing just fine with what I have. I'd definitely say Max Payne 3 is worth the money since the story and everything is quite engrossing, but then again what do you expect from Rockstar?

Bioshock

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I picked up Bioshock a few weeks ago since I've always heard how amazing the game is and I gotta say everyone was right about it being amazing. It maybe an FPS, but it's got enough going for it to identify its away from most other FPS. The characters are engaging and Andrew Ryan is perhaps one of the best villains in a game I've seen in years. The atmosphere is also amazing and despite it being on the PS3, it controls quite well. I still feel ashamed that I never played this game when it came out, but I suppose it's as good as anytime to start playing.

Darksiders II

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Although Darksiders II doesn't come out until August I was a fan of the first game and thought it was pretty good. So when they announced their would be a sequel and the fact that you control Death this time around is awesome. I already put down some money on the game and hope it turns out to be one of the best surprises of summer. It's too bad the game isn't receiving more hype though.

Well, that's pretty much all for this blog and I'll try to make another blog before July is out since I kinda feel bad for not making one in almost two months, until next blog! :D

Max Payne 3 First Impressions

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It's been almost nine years since we last saw Max Payne and in those nine years the shooting genre has evolved, and Max would probably need something up his sleeve just to compete with all the other action shooters out, but our favorite hard boiled former NYPD detective has pulled out all the stops in this sequel, and it's definitely worthy of the name Max Payne 3.

I went to yet another midnight launch for Max Payne 3 even though it's been a while since I've been to one, and I was surprised by the turnout, although most everyone there was there for Diablo III. Anyway, I stood in line and talked to a few other people that had per-ordered Max Payne 3 and they were like me, a little afraid of what has happened to Max. As you know Max Payne famed itself on being a noir type of storytelling, and this time around it seems to have dropped that in favor of a Man On Fire type of plot or so it seemed.

I got home last night, and popped in the game waiting for it to install the patch and install data onto my PS3, after that I was treated to a nice little introduction scene in which Max gets settled into living in Sao Paulo. It's amazing how that scene alone was enough to get me back into the game, and hearing James McCaffery as Max again was nice. The story so far is nothing like Man On Fire, I mean it does borrow some elements from the film, but in its own right Max Payne 3 is an amazing story that gives a bit more insight into Max's troubled past and his inner demons all while trying to deal with the street gangs in Sao Paulo and a conspiracy against those he works for. I'm not even halfway through the game so far, and it's definitely the best written story for a game this year. Then again never bet against Rockstar as storytelling was always their strong point.

In the past Max Payne on the consoles weren't always the best because the control scheme was a little confusing and felt chunky, but thankfully Rockstar took what made the controls of Red Dead Redemption great, and fine polished them in Max Payne 3. The control scheme is fast and fluid, and it's easy enough to hit your targets without a problem. My only complaint about the control scheme so far is the shoot dodge. In the past you could pull off a shoot dodge and it was usually pretty effective for getting rid of a few enemies, but in Max Payne 3 the shoot dodge suffers a bit because after pulling one off as Max will remain prone on the ground leaving you open to enemy attacks, and these guys are pretty smart. They'll use cover effectively and try to flank you out of cover, so using the shoot dodge is a last resort in ways. Thank goodness bullet time helps to defeat those more pesky enemies that refuse to die.

Overall I was quite impressed with what Rockstar did with Max Payne 3. Even without Remedy Entertainment helping out, Rockstar showed they could craft a game worthy of the Max Payne name, and it's definitely worthy of belonging in anyone's library. Bravo Rockstar!

The Elder Scrolls VI: Spicerim

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In all my years of searching on the Internet, I've stumbled upon some very interesting things, but this find has to put everything else to shame. I was just on the web searching around a few sites when I stumbled upon a website that had top secret information on a new Elder Scrolls game, and apparently Bethesda has been hard at work on this new Elder Scrolls game for quite sometime, and this is what the website said about the project so far:

"Apparently Todd Howard isn't saying much about this new Elder Scrolls game, but from what we could get out of him, this new Elder Scrolls game is suppose to take place hundred and fifty years after Skyrim. The problem this time around is one of the Daderic Princes has let his bad body odor run afoul, and he's poisoning Tamerial with it. Now a new champion needs to arise, and this time the Nine have selected a new hero, Spiceborn to combat the Daderic Prince's foul odor, and much like Skyrim's dragon shout system, Spiceborn will have access to shouts that not only clean up the air, but make sure it's safe for the folks of Tamerial to live again. It's unknown at this point where the game will take place, so stay tuned as we reveal this info to you..."

And here's a beta screen from the in-development progress of the game:

Spiceborn unleashes the word of spice on one of many people corrupted by the Daderic Prince's foul odor.

And it seems as though they were about to get their hands on some beta game play:

GOT YA! :P


A Much Needed Blog

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I know what you're all thinking right now. Why haven't I made a blog within the last month right? Well, it's because I've been generally disinterested in posting one, and really haven't had much to talk about either, but I feel as though an update is required to let all of my GameSpot friends know I'm still alive and well.

Life In General

Not much has really happened to me since I made my purchases blog in February, and right now life is going quite slow for me. I was suppose to attend one more semester of college for spring, but unfortunately funding to go to college, and afford books has been really tight this year, and I was forced to skip out on spring semester for college. I'm using this downtime I have right now until summer semester to look for a job, and do some studying for what major I'm doing. So far things are looking up in the job prospect, but it looks as though it may force me to leave California just to find a job which I'm okay with since I'm not tied down to anything. It might be a good thing if I get a change of scenery away from the desert. :)

I also noticed that I reached the 90,000 post mark on GameSpot back in February, and wanted to say something about it, but I felt as though a short blog pertaining that would be foolish, and if you don't believe me, here's a screen shot of my status for GameSpot:

I still go a while to go before I make it to 100,000 posts which is a goal of mine, and if I keep at the pace I'm going I might be able to make it there by the summer time.

Video Games

I haven't been doing much for games lately since most of the games I bought last year are still keeping me busy, but I did acquire two new games to my library, and those were Bayonetta, and Grand Theft Auto IV. So far both games are great, and believe it or not, but I've already beat Bayonetta. It's a bit short, but loads of fun with its action, and hilarious dialogue between the characters. Grand Theft Auto IV is a game I'm still playing, and I've barely even scratched the surface of the game. Top that off with the two expansions, The Lost and The Damned, and The Ballad Of Gay Tony, and you have a game that should last anyone a good while.

It's already 2012, and I've got two games already per-ordered, well three if you counted the other, but I'll get into why I decided to cancel my per-order on that. The first game is one I've been looking forward to for a while:

I've been looking forward to Max Payne 3 for a while now, and at first I was hesitant to per-order the game since it didn't look like the other Max Paynes, but after seeing a couple of videos, and how the game plays out I put my doubts aside, and per-ordered the game. I'll find out on May 15 if it's worth the money, but I have a feeling it will be. Another game I was originally going to get was Resident Evil 6, but after what Capcom's been pulling. I decided to cancel my per-order of Resident Evil 6, and instead put my money down on Assassin's Creed III. It was also quite a new surprise at what I got with my per-order of Assassin's Creed III:

A steel book case for when the game comes out. I gotta admit it looks awesome, and the artwork done by Alex Ross looks amazing. Too bad there's no demo with the case. I suppose we'll just have to wait this one out until it comes out October 30.

Television

I haven't been watching much stuff on television, and with The Walking Dead now concluding its second season there isn't much else to watch on television, but lucky I've got some anime to watch courtesy of my sister who thinks I should watch more anime. :P

Usually I'm not one for watching romance, but I gotta admit Suzuka is actually an expectation to this rule. I've watched about seven episodes of the anime so far, and I'm enjoying it. It's what you'd expect of a typical high school romance anime, but the characters are likable, and the humor is quite good. I really do need to sit down, and watch the rest of the series since I've been kinda delaying the series by watching other things. :P

Another anime I've been watching, well finished up now was an anime called Boogiepop Phantom. I've gotta say out of all the anime I've watched Boogiepop Phantom was the most engrossing. Each episode was unique because it plays out like an episode of CSI, but in a much more mature way, and there's some episodes that are downright nasty. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, but let's just say anyone who enjoys murder mystery will dig this series, and you'll probably finish it up in no time since it's only twelve episodes.

I don't know why, but I've been on a spree of watching Batman Beyond once again since my interest was spiked after watching Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker with a friend. I really don't need to say anything about Batman Beyond since it was on my favorite animated series countdown.

I think that should about do it for this blog. It felt good blogging once again, and I'll make sure to write another blog with a few weeks, and not a month again. See ya later everyone! :D

Recent Purchases: Of Hedgehogs and Zombies

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This is an outrage right? I mean I haven't posted a proper blog in almost a month once again, but that's because I've been lazy, and haven't really had anything to talk about. Then I remembered I've bought a few things over the last few weeks, and I really want to share with you what I got, so let's get right into it!

Sonic The Hedgehog #231 & #232

If there's one non manga related comic that I keep up on it's the Sonic The Hedgehog series of comics, and I picked up my copies of issues #231 and #232, and I've got to say, things are getting really interesting in the comics. I really hope they can keep up the momentum with the comics. I'd explain things, but it's kinda hard, you'll just have to guess yourself from the covers. :P

Sonic Generations Original Soundtrack: Blue Blur

I'm usually never one for getting imports because they either cost too much, or sometimes you're sold fake copies, but thanks to determination and stubbornness, I was about to get my hands on the soundtrack to Sonic Generations without breaking the bank, and with 3 discs, and 90 tracks, I think it was well worth the thirty-five dollars I paid for it.

Super Sonic Wall Scroll

Now I admit I've never owned that many wall scrolls since most of them either went missing, or got lost thanks to not paying attention, but since I finally got out of my living room, and into my new room, I thought it was about time to get a little something else for my room, and got this off of Amazon for fifteen dollars, not bad I must say for an awesome wall scroll.

John Carpenter's The Thing: Collector's Edition

I recommended this film back in October on my camp horror list, and although I did mention it, I never actually owned a copy of the film, and after talking to a few of my friends, I decided to get the collector's edition since it came with some outstanding bonus features, and it was worth the ten dollars. I've watched the film again, but haven't even watched all the special features of the film.

The Walking Dead: Season One Special Edition

I love zombies, and the films they star in, but in the last few years, zombies started to get stale because most of the time each movie would present a group of survivors, and how they get away from the undead. It got boring because you could easily guess what was going to happen next, but along comes The Walking Dead, and I've got to say despite being another zombie based series, it actually does something different, and focus on how the survivors cope with undead threat, and the hardships they face. It's definitely one of the best series on television right now, and I'm glad I got the first season on DVD. It's worth it for any fans of zombie films, and drama alike.

The Walking Dead, Vol 1: Days Gone Bye

Like a lot of people I started off by watching the TV series of The Walking Dead before I actually started reading the comic version. So I thought what better way to get into the comic by buying the first volume of the series, and just like with the TV series, it's definitely one of the better zombie stories out there, and although it's different from the TV series, they both are amazing in their own right.

That pretty much concludes yet another purchases blog. I'd love to add more, but even I've got to save my money for other things. I'll see you on the boards, and in the unions like usual! :D :P

My Top Five Games Of 2011

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I must say 2011 was an awesome year in gaming, we saw the release of a lot of great titles, and while some of them were sequels, there was a lot of original titles too that captured our attention, but just what titles really stood out from the release of last year? Well, these five games stood out in my mind as some of the most enjoyable gaming I had in 2011, and probably into 2012 as well, so let's get this list started shall we?

#5 Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

After the success of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, a lot of people thought Naughty Dog couldn't top themselves with Uncharted 3, but they provided those naysayers wrong by delivering one of the most enjoyable action adventure games of 2011. Uncharted 3 may not be as memorable as Uncharted 2, but it does have its share of memorable moments that had me on the edge of my seat, and you really can't hate on the excellent writing and voice cast that do an amazing job of bringing each character to life.

#4 Mortal Kombat

Here's a game I thought would never make my list, and I'll be honest, I had my doubts about Mortal Kombat since the previous games started slipping, and adding unnecessary crap, but thankfully I can put those to rest as the newest Mortal Kombat forgoes all that fighting stance system bull**** and goes back to the roots of the original games. It really does the game justice, and top that with one of the best story modes in a fighting game, and you've got a stand out fighter that does better than most of the competition.

#3 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

One of the most anticipated games of last year, and with good reason. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim proves that Bethesda knows how to make one of the most engrossing RPGs out there with multiple quests, and a main storyline that's much as epic as all the other Elder Scrolls games. The combat system was overhauled, and feels more natural while the leveling up system took a few ques from the Fallout games, it still works within the game, but the only thing holding the game back from making it further up the list is the amount of numerous bugs and glitches that always seem to plague most Bethesda games.

#2 Sonic Generations

Now here's something I'm sure everyone didn't see coming, but a Sonic game was able to make itself onto my list? How is that possible? :P As you all know I've always been a big fan of the blue blur, but his last few games haven't exactly been the greatest, and he got the short end of the stick for a while, but after spending a good amount of time with Sonic Generations, I can say that my faith in future Sonic games has been restored thanks to Generations. You could say it's like a swan song, but I just prefer to say it's Sega learning from their past mistakes and finally giving us Sonic fans the game we've deserved for a while. :)

So after seeing four other strong contenders what could possibly be better than all of them? Simple, it's a game that has to do with a long running comic book, and for a while he got the short end of the stick on crappy games, but after British studio Rocksteady took the helm, they were able to craft one of the best Batman games around, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and many people including myself though it couldn't be topped, but I was wrong and Rocksteady once again delivered a home run with the sequel to Arkham Asylum:

#1 Batman: Arkham City

As I mentioned earlier last year in my first impressions with Arkham City, this game is amazing. Everything from the characters, the voice work, and production values make you wish for more games like this, and prove you don't always need to add multiplayer to a game to make it work. Congrats to Rocksteady Studios for once again making one of the best Batman games around, and my pick for game of the year of 2011! :D