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ReaperXxxx Blog

Games, Rental Services, and Paperwork

Wow, its been a while since I posted a blog on this site. Gaming wise I've been fairly boring. Gears of War is, by far, the game that I play the most. I am totally addicted to Gears on XBL. There is a tournament on April 9th that I registered for but have yet to hear anything more about. I'm usually the highest or the second highest scoring player in the games that I play so who knows, maybe I actually have a chance. With Gears, you're pretty much going to be a good player if you communicate and work with your teammates. There is only a certain amount of freelancing that you can get away with, which is nice since one player cannot really make a difference unless they play nice with the remainder of the team. In other gaming news I just picked up MLB 2K7 for the 360. I was a little worried after the flaming pile of dog poop that was MLB 2K6, but 2K7 appears to be the real deal. The character models are better, the presentation and graphics are waaaay better, and so far it seems that most of the fielding and base running bugs from last year have been worked out. I've only played it a few times and will be writing a few review after I put a couple more hours into it. I joined a service called Gamez N Flix a few months back. They had a promotion for a 2 game or movie (out at a time) plan for $9/mo so I jumped on it. What necessitated the membership was the addition of the HD-DVD player for the 360, which is a fantastic addition. The player itself performs admirably with the only real limitation being the availability of movies. Unfortunately this service didn't help much. They are great if all you want is games and standard DVDs but they have almost no selection of HD-DVDs. I have has 12 of them on my queue since January and have received only 1 movie on HD-DVD. They keep sending games or standard DVDs in my queue. I have written to them about this service issue with their HD-DVDs on a few occasions and they have made it perfectly clear that they don't care. Another thing that has been eating up my time recently is the absurd amount of paperwork and just work in general required to buy a house. Good. Freaking. Lord. As if looking for a house and negotiating the price wasn't enough work, actually getting the mortgage finalized, the home inspection, radon inspection, termite inspection, chimney inspection, homeowners policy, association agreement, title, and settlement all set you'll have signed more papers than you ever have in your entire life. I'm sure settlement will be even more of a paper signing fest than the rest of it. Its all worth it though. The house is nicer than I had expected at this point in my life and I'm doing some rather extensive renovations over the next month. Well, thats it for now. If you see me on XBL give a holler, I'll be happy to whoop your ass in whatever I happen to be playing at the time :o)

What I've been playing recently...

So we're in the "summer game drought" right now kinda lingering in that dead time between the E3 show and the holiday season releases. The 360 has Prey coming out soon, which looks like it could be interesting. I downloaded the demo last night but got too into Quake 4 and forgot to give it a rip. Speaking of Quake 4, I had heard that it really wasn't worth it but downloaded the demo one day out of curiosity (and possibly boredom) and was hooked almost instantly. Other than some occasional frame rate issues I can't really find fault with the game. The online mode could be a little smoother, but that could just be that it's a very fast paced game online, much like Unreal Tournament, and I'm used to Halo 2 (although lack of head shot is a little frustrating in Q4.) I've only played a few times online, again the fault of Halo 2, but when I do manage a few games I tend to kick ass. The campaign is pretty entertaining. Great graphics, a lot of well animated gore, good use of lighting, the weapon feel is excellent, if the frame rate didn't drop when things get intense, this game wouldn't have any major flaws. It is exactly what I wanted; a Doom-type game on the 360. Now if they'll only add Half-Life 2 to the backwards compatibility list... I've also been playing a lot of Fight Night: Round 3 in career mode. The Total Punch controls took a little while to get used to, but I think I finally have the hang of it. I had been cruising along and all the sudden have gotten smoked in my last 3 bouts. I do have 21 wins, however, all by knockout...all before the 4th round. I have played online a few times but got knocked around pretty good. I'll venture online a little more now that I have all of the controls down. I think the game that has impressed me the most as of late is MLB 06: The Show for the PSP. It is, without a doubt, the best baseball game I have ever played. The graphics are VERY close to PS2 graphics, the gameplay is solid, and the feature set is deep for a console game, ridiculously so for a portable. The only games that I am addicted to like I am with this one are Halo 2 for the Xbox/X360 and Madden 06 for the PS2. I am playing mostly in career mode, which starts you out in the class AA minor leagues at your chosen position. You can choose to play each and every inning and pitch or only when your player is in the game. Being a player, you do not have managerial control which is kindof cool but can be frustrating when you are taken out of the game. I am a pitcher so I sim all games but my own. Depending on time constraints I will often play only my starts and at bats, but will sometimes play the entire game. So far I have struggled a little along the way, but have made it to the Phillies bullpen about 3/4 way through my 2nd season after pitching a perfect game at the AA and AAA levels. The other game I will play occasionally is Battalion Wars for the GameCube. If you have a GC, get this game. It's a real time strategy game with a bit of a cartoony feel. The gameplay is outstanding and it has a low learning curve. If I played games more than a few hours per week I'd play this one a lot more but real life dictates otherwise. That's it for now, back to work for me. I'm going to be posting a few game reviews in the upcoming weeks; Quake 4, Prey, G.R.A.W., and possibly Chromehounds. Stay tuned...

O Where O Where are the PSP Games???

As good as SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo is, I'm tired of playing it. I'm also getting a little tired of Twisted Metal: Head On. The reason that I am wearing these games out is because there is a serious lack of good PSP games with true online play. I'm not sure why there seems to be a reluctance to add infrastructure mode to many of these games, but it is very frustrating. I was very excited to see Star Wars Battlefront II coming to the PSP, only to find out that they completely neutered the game by inexplicably not having online multiplayer. The same thing can be said for the Monster Hunters game about to be released; a great looking and very interesting game that I will never buy because the a**clowns developing it forgot to add an online multiplayer mode. I'm a pretty easy gamer to please. I like to blow things up and I like to play sports games. The only good sports game thus far that I have seen is MLB:The Show, which I will be getting shortly. Madden 06 couldn't have been a bigger disappointment. The load times and glitches made the game unplayable. I bought it, played it for a week, made a list of every bug and flaw I found, and then took it back with the list for a full refund. The MVP Baseball game released last year was similarly flawed (well, no load times before EVERY PLAY like with Madden) and unplayable. I really hope EA gets their stuff in order for this year's Madden 07. And speaking of blowing things up, where are the First Person Shooters (FPS) for the PSP? And don't give me any crap about the control layout not being conducive for an FPS. If a Third Person Shooter (TPS) can work, so can an FPS. The control scheme of Coded Arms isn't terrible, the levels suck and there is again, a lack of online multiplayer, which makes the game pretty bad overall, but the controls work. The SOCOM controls could also work for an FPS. I'll take a target lock feature to make up for the controls. Any whiners can just play SOCOM and then try to tell me that the lock-on ruins the multiplayer online, because it clearly doesn't. Killzone would have been the ultimate FPS and could have been a killer app for the PSP, but no. They went and made it a TPS like every other shooter on the PSP. I'll rent it first to see if it's any good, but so far all of the other TPS games have paled in comparison to SOCOM, so I left them on the shelves. The new Coded Arms game looks promising and it BETTER include online multiplayer mode or there will be a lot of incredibly pissed off PSP owners out there. I've had the PSP for a year and so far it's been an enormous disappointment. The game variety is terrible, there needs to be more online multiplayer games, more quality sports games, and for god's sake will someone make an FPS will an online mode?

MLB 2K6 for Xbox 360

I alternately love and hate this game. Now that 2K Sports has finally gotten around to releasing their hit or miss game patch, at least I can reliably play franchise games. Every now and then it will still freeze up online, but it's a lot better than it was. I really like the features that are built into this game. The franchise mode is deep, the Inside Edge scouting system is a great addition, and the batting/pitching controls are some of the best to-date. The graphics are very sharp although I wouldn't call them true `next gen` graphics. I expect 2K7 will have vastly improved graphics after playing games like GRAW (best visuals I have ever seen in any video game, seriously, get it if you have a 360) and Fight Night Round 3 (ridiculous levels of detail in the character modeling) and realizing the potential of the 360. I do hate that 2K Sports didn't properly bug test this game as it is one of the buggiest console games I have ever seen. The fielding and base running controls are simply atrocious. Base runners will just randomly take off to the next base after having slid safely, fielders will run into the wall if you get anywhere close to it, then will take their sweet time getting back up. There are many other bugs, mostly related to fielding and base running, but not entirely. I have made many, many slider adjustments in my franchise and it does help to make the game more realistic (like controlling the unrealistic cannon arms that most outfielders seem to possess.) I truly enjoy the online play of MLB 2K6 when it doesn't freeze up. They eliminated all of the cut-scene fluff when online that can unnecessarily waste time. The game play is fast with no lagging and the action keeps moving. If you ever want to play me I play as the Phillies; feel free to send a message or a game invite. Later on.