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michaelP4 Blog

Dead Island review - 7/10 - fair enough

Just read the review for Dead Island. 7/10 is a fair score, and I can't really disagree with any of the points made by Jane Douglas, especially these ones: The Good - Melee combat is grisly fun - Good zombie voice acting The Bad - Weak characters - Poor human voice acting Just about every zombie game I've played is the same really (apart from Resident Evil, which for the most part, has a decent story, characters and voice acting). The zombies do a better job of acting than the humans! And seeing as how the entire concept of zombies and what is usually associated with them isn't entirely new, it's hardly surprising that those points above were made. I wasn't impressed with Dead Rising or Dead Rising 2's story, characters and voice acting for instance, but the gameplay was really fun and cool! I'm expecting the same with Dead Island really. That's all I want from the game. Believe me, as a zombie fan, I've seen it all. I can no longer be surprised by anything to do with zombies. 8) So I'll be getting Dead Island this Friday. Then after that, in October, Dead Rising 2: Off the Record will be coming out too. Looks like it's Zombie season for me. ;)

How to get a union to be successful (for leaders, officers and recruits)

I've been working on this guide for months now, and I finally finished it tonight! I wrote the guide in hopes that it'll lead to improving the unions community and as a useful resource for users involved in unions. It contains information on the following: - Advice for starting a new union, ideas etc - What leaders, officers and recruits can do to maintain their unions and keep them fresh (activity etc) - Useful compiled union info that a lot of users probably wouldn't know about it (since it's a bit scattered across boards) - such as info on what to do if a union leader is inactive and info on what board games are allowed, and which ones are not etc. - Answers those interesting questions, such as whether having a Co-leader is a good idea, merging unions etc And so much more! That's just what came to mind. I also decorated it with cool emblems, since I know everyone loves the emblem pictures, and to keep with the GS theme. All users, even experienced users, I think, could learn something from it (I certainly did while I was writing the guide and researching). I hope users enjoy the guide and I'm always interested in any feedback on it. Thanks. :D

Remarkable member, level increase and spotlighted!

Recently, I posted in JodyR's blog, about users voicing their feedback to GameSpot. Little did I know, because of the feedback I gave (which was nothing more than a pat on the back really, recognising Jody's arduous attempts at trying to keep the community happy) I was featured in GameSpot's Community Blog: Daily Report: Manic Monday.
 (I quite like the group photograph! Just wish I had a different avatar - Shang Tsung never smiles!)
I also got this very cool emblem:
 Remarkable Member GameSpot stamped me as remarkable! GameSpot members who frequently update their profiles with blogs, images, videos and reviews are remarkable! Those featured in the member spotlight are hand picked for having an informative about me page and interesting blog. Hats off to borninvincible for creating the emblem. (Not that I need to be told that I'm remarkable of course! 8))
And last, but not least, I got a % boost towards my level! Level 56 (0%) ^41% Level 56 (41%) Anyone that knows me will not be able to recall the last time I posted a blog about levels and emblems... as I can't! But this time definitely calls for it. Not only have I been bombarded with gifts (those girls can be so sweet :oops: ), but this is a very clear sign that the GS Administration makes a conscious effort of keeping up with their community. I'm incredibly happy that this has only reinforced all those times I say to people, when they lose faith, "Believe me, they do read your feedback - they just don't always respond!" This is a very vivid example of just that - and they respond when you least expect it! I'll remember this, and I will refer to it if needed. Thanks GS! :D

Now the leader of HCU and looking for new officers

I'm now the leader of the HeadCrab Union, after the previous leader, Sentinelrv decided to move on from GameSpot. He was a brilliant GS member, that will be remembered for his distinguished contributions to GS's unions community and towards HCU. As the new leader of HCU, my first priority is to build a support base. I demoted the current officers due to inactivity, and will be looking for 4 new officers to help me run the union. If you're interested in applying, please see this thread here. You don't already have to be a member to stand a chance (I'm particularly looking to introduce fresh blood into the union), as I'll be putting all users on a level playing field - everyone will stand the same chance to become an officer, initially. Where your chances will increase will depend on the quality of what you provide when applying, so I'll be looking for people to impress me, and to totally convince me that they're the best person for the job. I look forward to reading any applications I get. :)

Considering leaving...

That got your attention, didn't it? Hehe, don't worry, I'm not going anywhere, and I have no plans on leaving. But I cannot honestly, without a doubt, say that I haven't considered leaving before. I think all users do, if they were to be honest about it. It's only natural to doubt yourself sometimes. What inspired me to make this blog is that my fellow OT contributer, GabuEx, wrote this blog recently, expressing his alienation from GS, and that it's time to move on. Although he says he'll still be around, it won't be the same Gabu that distinctly, eloquently and intelligently expressed himself on OT, on a variety of subjects, particularly on the controversial religious and politics topics that OT is known for. I personally will miss Gabu. I loved reading his posts, and he will be remembered. Every time I read blogs like Gabu's, it makes me solemnly think why I still remain on GS, and what I have to show for it. I've been around here, and on GameFAQs for so long now, and I've seen both sites go through the highs and the lows. I've seen three site redesigns, both on GF and GS. I've seen the numerous complaints (which I've come to expect after every redesign now), some of which are from experienced users like myself, voicing concern that the site is "losing its spirit". I've often thought it's bit of an exaggeration, but I can understand why they think like that. Take nocoolnamejim's topic on the Site Enhancements board, for instance. He, and rightly so, believes that the soapbox feature and its community has been relegated by the relegated by the GS site design. As a result of this, less and less people will use the soapbox, and I would even go as far as saying the soapbox will be reserved for a select few users that will be preaching to the same ol' crowd. Isn't this situation comparable to the union situation? Well, yes, it is. And it's a serious issue. Why? Participation rates matter on GS. We need new users to spontaneously step up to the plate and participate in the GS community, and its several (well, that could be questioned now) features. If this doesn't happen, it's a failure of the system, and it's already showing with the decay of unions and the soapbox for examples, as I mentioned. So, why is it I still visit GS? I don't play or buy games nearly as much as I used to. I do still play them though, and I still love gaming, when I have the time for it. Over the summer I've spent quite a bit of my free time actually locking myself in my room, sitting on the bed, with my PS3 controller, gaming, just like the old days. It's quite refreshing, and I do like to do it when I can, to keep up with my gaming. But I still visit GS, not because of games actually, but because of its community. There's some users here I just love talking to. I love contributing to the community, and I'm very proud to be a GS Ranger, helping out on the various support boards. I also love GS's OT community, as well as the various other communities and unions I post in. That's why I'm still here, and that's why I will still remain here. Although I can still understand why users leave GS. They feel alienated. They feel neglected. I sometimes feel like that. I often wonder if I'm even noticed anymore. I truly don't know. It's not like you could go around asking people that question. Regardless, times change. People change. I recognise that reality, and I try my best to keep up with it. I'm here now. I'm staying. And I will make the most of my time on GS while I can, as I always do, and will continue to do. I have hope, and even faith in GS. I'm fully confident in the GS admins and the moderation team, who do an excellent job. Before I end this blog, I would just like to point out the community blog. Don't know what that is? If so, that's exactly why I'm mentioning it. Jody and Synthia do an excellent job writing each edition (which informs the GS community of the community happenings on GS), and I feel it's often forgotten about. I really do wonder why there isn't some sort of a subscribing feature, where you can subscribe to it and get a PM with each update. Maybe there'll be one in the future, but I'd just like to give it a deserving mention. Thanks to those who fully read this blog by the way, it was a long one. I just felt like expressing myself on this issue. I'd like to think I'm not alone in thinking it.

Could it be the end of Koei's Warriors series?

I'm sure everyone has heard of Dynasty Warriors, but have you ever heard of Samurai Warriors? Perhaps not. This is why Samurai Warriors 3: Empires will be staying in the Land of the Rising sun.
As a huge fan of Koei's Warriors series (I've played them all, from DW2 to the present day DW7, and all of the SWs... except for SW3, which is exclusive to the Wii, as I only own a PS3), I'm quite disappointed. The games are often criticised as being the same old thing over and over again - and as a fan, I can honestly say: it is! And that's why I love it! But of course, it is this aspect which is killing the series. This same ol' method is starting to get rusty here, and the arcade-like gameplay of the series simply doesn't appeal to mainstream gamers anymore, meaning the hardcore fans of the series (like myself) are all that's left. And we're increasingly getting frustrated with Koei ourselves... just take a look at these scores from GameSpot on the series, as it progresses: DW2: 7.8 DW3: 7.1 DW3: XL: 7.1 DW4: 7.1 DW4: XL: 7.4 DW4: E: 7.6 DW5: 6.8 DW5: XL: 6.3 DW5: E: 7.2 DW6: 6.5 DW6: E: 5.5 DW7: N/A Notice the trend? The scores are getting lower and lower (DW5: Empires is the only one that breaks this spell, but that's only because the engine it used was exceptionally radical of the conservative Koei, and is personally my favourite out of the whole series) with DW7 not even worthy enough of being reviewed by GS. I could go through every single DW game on that list and explain why it got the score it got, but I won't bore you. Instead, I'll talk about DW6. This is perhaps the worst DW of them all - with a DECREASE in the number of characters from previous games, a DECREASE in the number of playable stages, and a DECREASE in the number of playable stories. Why, Koei, why? We understand this was a restart to the series - but this is surely not acceptable in the modern gaming world. I paid good money for the game, and I actually got less content and less quality, compared to the beautifully mastered DW5. DW6: E was even worse, as it had greatly simplified and downgraded the complex engine that DW5: E had. Instead of expanding on the politics and strategy that DW5: E had, the player had the choice of either conquering China through having random mundane battles (Ruler mode), or having little tasks to do to upgrade your character with the odd battle thrown in by your Ruler (Officer mode). That was it. There was no strategy or politics. I felt so strongly about this that I even wrote a review about it here, if anyone cares to read it. Looking back on it, I probably should have given it a 6. A 7 is too generous, but hey, I'm a DW fanboy, I'm allowed to be biased. 8) Let's now have a look at DW7. Was it better? Yes. In what ways? Well, the story mode was properly done this time, and we finally had the long called for faction, Jin, included in the game, with an increase in the number of playable characters and stages (minus a few stages and a character, which I'll reluctantly forgive Koei for). However, don't be fooled. I've been long accustomed to Koei's milking strategy of "let's add more content, and take away some", which ultimately leads to fans like myself wondering if Koei purposely handicaps itself, so that they can add the missing content in the next game. Well, this appears to be so. In DW6 for example, the player was able to evade attacks by rolling, but yet in DW7, this useful manoeuvre was removed, along with other cool mechanics, like being able to use a special attack to summon fireballs, rockslides etc. Also, unexpectedly painful, was the removal of the taken for granted, but essential Free mode, which allows the player to pretty much play any stage with any character they like (otherwise, the player could only play certain story stages with certain characters). This sounds so simple, and even I didn't particularly care too much about its removal when I first heard about it, but in practice, without it, DW7 is quite boring actually...
 The ambitious Lord Cao Cao (left) and right-hand man, Xiahou Dun (right)
Instead of Free mode, Koei thought it would be fun for the player to play Conquest mode, which contains random stages for the player to play in. Sure, this sounds alright, we get to do more of the same: hack and slash. But it's really not. Without the in-game events, story, dialogue etc between characters, which is present in the story mode, it removes all purpose of fighting. I know it's only a game, but I loved fighting for the de facto Wei Emperor Cao Cao (technically he wasn't the Emperor, but he was in practice), as his loyal right-hand man, Xiahou Dun. If Lord Cao Cao wanted something taken care of, Dun would be the one to do it - even if it included mindlessly slaughtering anyone who opposed him, with dissenting peasants not being able to escape Cao Cao's wrathful ambition to conquer China one land at a time. In Conquest mode, this simply isn't there... and this shows that I play DW probably more for the story and characters rather than for the outdated gameplay. Thankfully, Koei's solution to all these problems is DW7: Xtreme Legends, which will include some of the missing mechanics (like the evasive roll I was talking about earlier), stages etc but perhaps more importantly, free mode and the new Hero and Legends modes, which will be basically the player reliving the shining challenging moments of the characters that made them famous in the first place. This sounds good, but why should I have to pay even more money just to simply get what was available in previous games? There's nothing hard about including a free mode, which has been present in every DW, even in the abominable DW6. I could say even more, but I won't, as I think you get the point. DW games need to be modernised, and Koei needs to treat its customers with respect, otherwise, I could truly see DW ending. The spin-off series, Samurai Warriors, looks like it's coming to an end (at least in Europe and America) because of Koei's "let's shoot ourselves in the foot!" strategy. I think most DW fans would agree, that the majority of them own a PS3. What does Koei do with SW3? It makes it Wii exclusive, meaning I, as a PS3 owner, and many other DW fans, cannot even play the final SW game released in Europe/America. Furthermore, the other spin-off series, Warriors Orochi, is now finished in Europe/America too, as its final game, Warriors Orochi Z, is exclusive to Japan, and the other DW-inspired games like Warriors: Legends of Troy, Bladestorm: Hundred Years' War and Gundam Musou don't seem to be having much of an impact either, judging by the review scores (or lack of them, in regards to Legends of Troy). The end could very well be near for the DW series in Europe and America as well. The only reason the DW series has survived for so long is simply because the series is so popular in Japan. If it wasn't for Japanese customers, I couldn't see it surviving in the modern world of gaming, with the questionable decisions made by Koei. Right now, DW fans have DW7: XL to look forward to, and possibly DW7: E next year, which I will of course blindly buy, as I always do (I'm addicted to them, if you haven't noticed). All I hope is they're not my last...

About Me - finally put something in there!

About Me Don't you just hate filling those things out? I know it doesn't look like much, but I spent a good 25 minutes thinking that out. I didn't want to state information that is already there (like my name) and I didn't want to be too detailed. I had a look at other users' About Me sections and they're more or less the same. Just a short paragraph about yourself and that's really it. But at least it's done now. I don't like having it blank. Every time I said to myself "we better get that done sometime", I kept on delaying it and delaying it. Must have delayed it for... over a year? :P Well anyway, what do you think of it? Have you learnt anything new about me? ;)

Did E3 entice you to buy any upcoming games?

For me, it's: New Resident Evil Game Dead Island Dead Rising 2: Off the Record (not sure if this is a new game or DLC) Interesting how they're all zombie games, isn't it? ;) EDIT: I'm probably forgetting more games, but Metal Gear Solid HD comes to mind too. Also, out of curiosity, you should still be able to play it without an HD TV, right? I only have a 14 inch TV... not really up to date, am I? :lol:

My thumb is sore!

I've been playing Mortal Kombat (2011) recently, and having to repeatedly push my thumb in several directions across the D pad is really killing it! It's red, sore and if I keep it up, I'll probably get a blister! :( This has happened to me before when I played Street Fighter. Soul Calibur and Tekken aren't too bad, but ouch, the pain that's involved in beating people up isn't worth the gain! All I get are 'Koins' - used to unlock mostly art concepts... you'd think the devs could have put in something more rewarding... :roll:

Fallout: New Vegas - A gamble to play...

Within just a few hours of playing, I have experienced countless slowdowns and two freezes, and I've only completed a few simple quests, with probably over 100 hours of gameplay left. While the game itself is excellent like its predecessor, it is riddled with obvious bugs that make you wonder how they could be missed. It's not like I'm trying to find glitches, I'm playing the game normally by simply trying to survive in the vast and dangerous wasteland. I haven't bothered too much with the main story, as the side quests are a lot funner (as per usual with these games), but I'm definitely losing the motivation of trying to play the game if it's going to keep up this consistent pattern of glitches. Thankfully, I did not have this experience with the two games I was playing previously: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 and Dead Rising 2. Both games are superb in quality, and I wish I had more time to play them. At this rate though, I may just revert back to playing them if NV's running does not get any better.