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Benny_is_here Blog

Oh hey there

Yo!

YOOOOOO

This website! OH MAN. I was here all the time a few years ago (around the time Mass Effect 1 was out judging by my user icon). Posting on forums, being in unions, making sigs and banners (sweet Aston Martin, younger self! and I still think Adriana Lima is the prettiest lady on Earth!) and user icons (that Mass Effect gif is the best gif I have ever made... I remember I shot it with my camcorder before editing it in ImageReady. ImageReady! THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE) and bladebla... but then I fell out of love with the site and used it less and less. Then the firing of Jeff Gerstmann happened, and there was going to be a new site with all of my favorite guys from GameSpot. So I left you guys! I just pulled the plug!

I don't regret it at all. I am not saying GameSpot is bad, but my views on participating in gaming communities have changed. I still love games, but discussing them to death and dealing with people who don't understand that games are subjective and supposed to make you happy got tiring. So I used GiantBomb for their awesome video content and only occasionally browsed the forums on that site. And now that GiantBomb moved into the same offices as GameSpot and are offering free Total Access membership upgrades for their premium users who also have GameSpot accounts (i.e. me), I am back! Will I participate in forums and unions like I did earlier? No, I don't want that at all. But I will try to check out the video content on GameSpot and check my inbox (WHICH HAD 175 NEW MESSAGES - I deleted all of them) or any comments I receive on this here blog post.

Oh what's that? You really like me and want to see what I do in Internet land? Glad you asked!

  • Twitter - I post random things. Sometimes it's about games. Sometimes it's about how Time Enough for Love is my favorite book.
  • Tumblr - I use this site the most. My "blog" is a random assortment of reblogs of things I like, so not a lot of original content or ranting. Expect a lot of cats and DailyGrace.
  • Facebook - Yes, my real name is Mikael. Benny is a pseudonym I took in 2004 after the movie "Kopps" came out, starring the lovable cop Benny. And no, I don't value my privacy!
  • YouTube - This is actually about games. I occasionally record stuff with my Hauppauge (not CoD commentaries, mind you) and put it on there.
  • Steam - I play PC games sometimes.
  • Xbox Live - I still play Xbox too much.

*Looks at watchless wrist* Oh, time for me to go!

EDIT: This upgrade thing doesn't seem to be working right, but apparently it only removes ads? Is that really all Total Access does?

New Games: Ballad of **** Tony & Wallace and Gromit #2

Been spending my Microsoft spacebucks lately. I bought The Ballad of Gay Tony for GTA IV when it came out and have completed it since. It's pretty good. I love the new cars, the crazy dancing and the new missions. If you liked The Lost and Damned, you'll probably like this as well. The achievements are a bit more painful this time though, I think I'll struggle to get 100% in every mission, but since it adds replayability I won't complain.

I also bought the second episode of Wallace & Gromit Episodes today. Didn't have points for the third and fourth episodes, but I will eventually. I usually don't play these kinds of point and click games, but I find Wallace and Gromit to be extremely charming. Cheese!

New Game: Forza Motorsport 3 LCE

Forza 3 is here at last, and I picked up the limited collector's edition that I preordered. Which is funny, since GameStop doesn't really allow preorders on LCEs (at least here in Norway), which the clerk pointed out. Either way I got it. When I came home I had codes for GameStop cars, limited edition content and the standard free DLC!

Anyway, I've played around 10 races or so and am digging this game. It's great for car enthusiasts, especially when you're a VIP member and get the cars like Ferrari 430 Scuderia and Aston Martin DBS that "regular mortals" don't get. Graphics are awesome, not completely photo-realistic, but still mountains better than Forza 2. The community stuff is sweet, supporting screenshots and videos and uploads for both. Only thing is the servers seemed broken for a while, I had to do five tries for my video to upload and the official site gave error messages a lot, but finally it worked. Haven't tried the 720p setting yet, but 360p was decent. Maybe I'll make a montage! But I won't review it, so suffice to say I can see why it has a Metacritic score of 92/100.

The LCE is pretty pimp, for a lack of a better word. You get a 2GB USB memory stick, which I love since I didn't have any already, and a keychain with a fancy Forza 3 metal piece. Odd thing is that the keychain is too thick for the USB memory stick to fit...

In conclusion, the game is great, the LCE is pimp and look forward to screenshots (like the one above) and videos!

New Game: FIFA 10

So I bought FIFA 10 yesterday. Oh boy... Now I remember how much I played FIFA 08. FIFA games don't stop, and with the new Be a Pro and Manager features I'll be playing this game a lot.

I decided to skip FIFA 09 since I thought it would be better to "save it", and I'm glad I did. FIFA 10 is so much more awesome than FIFA 08. More streamlined gameplay, more stuff to do... And the achievements are much better this time around, which of course is important to me. 50 000 gamerscore soon, by the way.

All the EA site stuff from FIFA 08 has apparently carried over, so you can check out my profile here. I have some FIFA 08 and FIFA 10 videos uploaded. Still trying to get a gameface, but apparently the GameFace creator is extremely overloaded from the 1.7 million people who bought FIFA 10 last week and won't let me. I named my Be a Pro character Benny and he's playing as an ST for Real Madrid. Quite a nice start of your career, I would say. I'm playing with Real Madrid in Manager Mode and upgrading my character by doing "accomplishments", which is a form of in-game achievements that grant stat upgrades and some traits. I really love that, and you start as a half-decent character (70). Benny is a bit slow, so having him in the front of crazy fast people like C. Ronaldo is kinda weird, but it's getting there.

Funny thing is, I really don't pay attention to football in real life...

New Game: Halo 3 ODST

Picked up my preorder of Halo ODST last Thursday and have been playing it since. I played through the campaign in a couple of days. It's fairly short, but with the achievements there are a lot of replayability. There's a lot of counter achievements ala Gears of War 2 where you need to do something in a single level or specific level enough times. I haven't gotten all achievements in Halo 3, but in ODST it seems more likely, even though there are some challenging Vidmaster achievements.

Overall, since I am a fan of Halo 3, I like this game. I played it on Heroic and I definitely felt weaker than Master Chief, but there is still the same recharge shield mechanic. Ammo is a lot more sparse and you'll find yourself scrounging for the Carbine and so on. I won't turn this into a review, so to sum it up I'll say that I am very happy with my purchase, but the singleplayer was not as epic as I wanted. I did not care for the other characters. The dialogue between characters, the love romance between Buck and Dare, is stupid. I'm the last to complain about story, because I rarely care, but having played every FPS Halo game so far, I'm so used to shooting Brutes, Jackals and Grunts. A better story and more enemies (though it might not fit the Halo canon) would have helped it, especially with the campaign being rather short. Then again, playing the game again to find audio files and get achievements on a lower difficulty made it a lot more fun for me, so maybe you shouldn't play it on Heroic first as I did. Then again it's fun because you're more like Master Chief, and maybe that's what I really want.

Firefight is great, giving you a typical Horde-ish mode, but with the gameplay elements of Halo that makes it fast-paced and focused on multikills. I'm also a fan of Halo 3's multiplayer, so it's great that the game comes with a disc with the Halo 3 multiplayer and all maps. Not only do I get three new maps, but I also get to delete the old maps from my HDD and play them from the disc instead. My only problem is that the two discs aren't treated as two discs should be. The second disc is just placed right on top of the other, and being very OCD with scratches I really don't like that...

I guess this kind of turned into a review, but hey. Reading is fun.

New Games; DiRT 2 and Guitar Hero 5

Oh that's right, I bought new games last friday. Kind of been busy playing those games, so I forgot to make one of these blog posts....

DiRT 2

I loved the first DiRT game. Just something about going 100 through a zigzaggy forest without crashing is a lot of fun to me. And the interior view added loads of immersion on top of it. The second iteration focuses on X-Games a bit more, which I don't necessarily like, but it still maintains those traditional rally aspects. And the game looks so gorgeus! They improved on multiplayer as well, but I only played one match online so far and won pretty easily since everybody else wrecked... I like how you wait for the other racers to go first like in a proper event. I've played this many hours already and there is still stuff to do. I'm used to sim racing and arcade racing, but rally racing is probably what I enjoy the most.

Guitar Hero 5

Look, I played Guitar Hero World Tour to death. I got it in January and have gotten to rank 41 by then. Now this new one comes along, and I don't want to play World Tour again, ever. Guitar Hero 5 improves on World Tour in so many ways, and since you can import both DLC and a portion of the disc songs from World Tour, there is even less incentive for me to go back. It's so much more streamlined, both in the multiplayer and the regular career. I love the new design and the improved graphics, I love the ridiculously varied soundtrack (Public Enemy feat Zakk Wylde, you say?). The only reasons I'm not playing this game, is a) because I have stuff to do and b) because I destroy my fingers. Having played GH so long, my fingers can take a lot of abuse, but seeing how I've played maybe 300 songs since Friday I am pushing my limits and then some. It's fun, though.

Xbox Live Update Preview Program Impressions

I got accepted into the preview program for the update to Xbox Live coming August 11th. In other words, I have the update and these are my impressions;

Now this isn't as big of an update as NXE, naturally, but I am still glad to see how things have changed. First thing I noticed was the welcome screen being re-activated, which I immediately deactivated again using the settings. I then checked my profile, which has a nice golden logo with the number 3 on it, signifying that I have been a Gold member for 3 years. Achievement lists have also changed, so now the achievements are listed like they are in your game library (grids with 8 achievements per line). There's a help section next to the system settings for people who are clueless. You can rate all your games in your game library and content on the Marketplace on a five-star scale. All of these are welcomed changes, but aren't that extreme.

The avatar editor has been changed a lot, and includes an avatar marketplace and a Props section for your avatar. You enter the marketplace and can buy items based on games and even brands. The pricing is a bit steep... Each T-shirt seems to be 80 points, which is alright I guess, but the Halo 3 RC Warthog prop is 320 points, which is pretty steep. I didn't find anything awesome enough to warrant a purchase, but there is definitely the possibilities of a plethora of cool props and items that will make your avatar stand out much more than earlier. There are also Awards, which are awarded to the player by games. I hear Splosion Man is the first to do this, but I have no idea how since the game never mentions it, but from what I hear the main purpose of awards is to award the player avatar items for achievements and whatnot. Very interesting for a completionist like me who loves achievements and pimping avatars.

You can also sort your friends list. You could for example sort by name instead of activity, but there really isn't anything that replaces the default sorting as the most practical one. I would prefer it if they had a Top Friends feature where some friends always appear first, but that's not in here.

This is all great, but what I love the most is the improved speed. A lot of people have had issues with slow marketplaces, and I'm one of those. I would wait minutes for the list of items to appear (if I were to buy two items from one game, I would wait a minute for the items for that game to appear, then another minute because it reloads the items after downloading before I can download the second item), but now it is much faster. Great!

The update is cool and improves on an already kicking Xbox Live experience, but it's still in its grassroots stage, and I am excited to see how they will flesh it out with avatar items and awards. You can still sign up using the link above, so give it a try while you can or just wait for the 11th.

Back in Business

I've been away from my 360 since the 1st of July. I don't consider myself a gaming addict, but after a couple days without it I began to miss it a bit too much... Luckily that awful time is over, and I am rejoined with my trusty companion.

I had of course added the trials of the arcade games to my Xbox.com download queue, so eventually I tried out all the different games. A lot of crap, like Madballs, but Battlefield 1943 is excellent.

At first the sniping was a bit weird to me, but now I am really feeling it and I'm getting the same vibes as in Far Cry 2. I'd say 1943 is actually better than Far Cry 2 (multiplayer sniping-wise), so it's definitely bang for your buck. You don't have the overpowered .50 caliber AS50 sniper in 1943 that you do in Far Cry 2, but after getting used to the bolt-action snipers in 1943 I find it just as exhilarating to do some kill assists from across the map and getting extremely lucky and hitting moving targets (which you have to lead if you have enough distance) in the head. And all the other stuff, like getting flags and using vehicles is also fun. I also love the demolition charges the sniper gets. Not only can I take out tanks, but I can also be clever and place charges by flags and wait for people to try and capture them.

One of my favorite "Battlefield moments" was when I had placed charges on the flag outside the watchtower on Iwo-Jima (in the middle of the map) and was camping out at the top of the watchtower. On the map I saw a tank rolling in and he placed himself by the flag and began lowering it. BOOM! I detonated the charges, then went down the ladder to re-raise the flag, and was treated with the sight of a dude standing in the doorway where I was heading with his back against me for an easy melee kill. The pistol is also very effective. In other words, I love the Scout.

There really are a lot of moments in this game, and especially sniper moments. I have decided to do what I did with Far Cry 2 and make a compilation of all of these by filming the TV, but this time it will be much faster and I won't move the camera in between matches like I did with Far Cry 2...

I'm also playing more Halo 3. I'm doing the Annual achievement soon, which is very easy once you know what to do. I'm also getting into ranked FFA, which I had completely ignored in the past, but I actually quite like it since you only need 3rd place for EXP and my K/D is a bit low in Ranked so there is less pressure.

So yeah, business is back and booming and hopefully we'll see each other online!

New Game: Guitar Hero Metallica (UPDATE)

It finally came out here in Europe, so I've finally gotten my hands on it. I burned through 15 or so of the songs and I quite like it. The Metallica songs are awesome to play because of the motion-capturing, with James talking to the crowd and the guy with the braids spinning around for no reason. It's a lot of fun. Doesn't have as much replayability since it doesn't support World Tour DLC (except for Death Magnetic, but that's like 1440 points), but I'm happy. They made a lot of improvements over World Tour, most importantly the MANLINESS. This game makes me feel really badass!

Any of you got the game?

UPDATE: I have linked my game to my community.guitarhero.com profile, so all my Metallica scores are viewable here! Click Solo or Band and choose the difficulties and instruments. For now there's only scores in Hard Guitar on Solo. I would have linked World Tour as well, but it doesn't work for some reason. I have been sending messages to Support and they asked me about some weird account and if it was one of mine, I take that as a sign that my code has been stolen somehow and another account activated it... Shame as I have loads of awesome scores there :P

New Games; Naruto, Godfather, Skate, Lost Planet

I have school off until Tuesday, so I asked my friend to borrow some games from him. I'm out of things to play until Guitar Hero Metallica comes out here on the 22nd. I went to his house and played some Rock Band 2. I helped him with an achievement for FCing a song on Expert (Hungry Like the Wolf). I'm not sure how I feel about RB2, I hear people think it's better than the Guitar Hero games, but I don't really agree. Maybe it's because I only play the guitar, but I find that the buttons that pour down on the screens aren't as easy to read as on GH, and I did not like a lot of the background videos. Still, Rock Band has inarguably way more DLC than GH World Tour.

He got to borrow Ninja Gaiden II from me (right after I got the achievement for finishing it with the Kusari-Gama), while I got to borrow four games; Skate, The Godfather, Lost Planet and Naruto: Rise of a Ninja. He actually got the three first ones from his step-sister who works for EA, so they all say "Promotional Copy" on them, which is kinda interesting. None of these are games I would buy full price, but I can enjoy them all. Naruto is pretty dumb, but it's easy achievements and I love achievements so it adds up :P The Godfather is a really ugly game since it was made in 2006 and was ugly back then as well, but gameplay-wise it's decent and there is a lot to do. Skate is fun, but I think you know how it plays and I've only scraped the surface. Haven't gotten to Lost Planet yet, but I know what to expect from playing the demo a while back. So much to play!

I'll be picking up GH: Metallica as you might have figured out, but I'm also looking at getting Bionic Commando simultaneously. I'm on the fence about that game; I loved BCR, but the multiplayer demo was unimpressive and it has gotten mixed reviews. I think I'll just (s)wing it and get the game. I have a lot of money right now thanks to my 18th birthday and there's not a lot to buy right now.