Welcome to the first ever midnight posting (PST) of BUI!
I'm up so late in large part because I was too sick last week to keep up with my work, so it piled up this week. Oh well, I'm feeling pretty good right now, so it's no bother to be up so late. I prefer staying up late, actually, so it's no big deal.
I'm finally over my debilitating cold, but sadly, work is still overwhelming, so not much time has been devoted to anything but work. I didn't get a chance to come on here and respond to any comments on my last blog, and I apologize. If any of you asked me any questions, feel free to leave them here, and I'll be sure to answer.:)
Soon this absurd amount of work will be over with, and I can resume normal duties here at Gamespot, catch up on my gaming -as well as sleep- and get back to a normal routine. Two or so months to go, and I'll be back!
Drink of choice for this blog:
Coffee with Baileys Irish Cream
I'm writing this blog very late at night, but I have work to get finished before morning, so I'm up really late. Coffee with Baileys is quite tasty, is rather sweet, and will help keep me awake long enough to finish working. Don't worry about me drinking while working. Baileys isn't too strong, plus I just put in a dash...or three.:shock:
- Army of Two - $60 (picture 1)
- Pre-order for Dark Sector - $5
- CIassic Controller - $20 (picture 2)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - Virtual Console game from the N64 era - $10, (1000 Wii Points)
- Super Castlevania IV - Virtual Console game from the SNES era - $8, (800 Wii Points)
- Project Gotham Racing 4 - $20 (picture 3)
- Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories - $20 (picture 4)
While not the most expensive week, every system got some love which makes this week particularly nice. I intended to come home with some Wii games, but the store was sold out of every game I wanted.:?
I was also looking to add another Xbox 360 game to that list (Call of Juarez), but the only copy in stock was used, missing the box and instruction manual, and worse, it was scratched all to hell, and yet GameStop thought it fair to try and take $30 from me for this mess. No way, jose. I'll search it out in other stores, or wait until they have a buyable copy in stock.
A bit of history with PGR4. I had PGR4 when it came out last year, but with my continued problems with Microsoft, I sold this game, as well as the few others I had. I've missed it since, and I was looking for sales on this game when I found it on sale at Radio Shack -of all places- for $20. It sells for $40-$60 every where else, so for $20 I had to jump on this one. I arrived just in time to buy the last copy in stock.
Playstation 3 - Army of Two
Nintendo Wii - Super Mario Galaxy, Wii Sports, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Super Castlevania IV
Xbox 360 - Project Gotham Racing 4
PSP - Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories
**editor's note: I'm only giving impressions for games that are new. Games listed in 'recently played' that aren't listed here are games I talked about last week, or are too old for me to bother talking about**
Army of Two: EA's latest game, Army of Two, is a third person shooter based around the idea of co-op. Whether playing online, or by yourself, you'll always have a team mate. Of course, having a friend be that team mate ups the fun-factor big-time, but the AI partner still holds his own really well.
An aggro system rewards aggressive play (my specialty), ie continuous firing, grenade throwing, chaos causing, etc. What happens is, when your aggro meter fills, you'll glow red, causing the enemy to go after you, mercilessly, allowing your partner to sneak around and flank foes. Likewise, if you sit idly by and command your partner to be aggressive, he'll get 'aggro', freeing you up to be sneaky and flank. A tremendously useful, almost necessary, tool.
Co-op play is extremely important, especially when in trouble. This is no more apparent then when you're in danger of dying. When you get beaten down too much, you'll fall to the floor, unable to move, though still being able to shoot. Your partner is then charged with dragging you to safety so he can resuscitate you. This adds quite a bit of intensity, as the partner is left with a choice: run into open fire to save you, effectively risking both your lives, or does he clear the area before he comes to your rescue. A great addition.
Combining the great aggro system with the co-op play is great, but Army of Two also features a great story, colorful characters, lots of weapons to buy and upgrade, armor to unlock, and masks to purchase. The graphics are quite good, and the colorful banter between the characters mid-battle, while corny, is entertaining.
While not amazing, I'm very pleased with this game, which admittedly was an impulse buy, but one I'm glad I made, nonetheless. A solid buy for anyone interested in third person shooters, especially one with co-op. It took me about an hour or so to really get into it, but when I did, I really fell for this game. Bravo EA, bravo.
Project Gotham Racing 4: Since PGR has been around for a while, I won't spend much time talking about it. There is a demo for it on the XBL Marketplace for all who are interested.
In short, PGR4 continues PGR's long standing tradition of excellence, fine-tuning it's stylish handing which blends sim and arcade, and bringing with it the best weather effects yet seen in a game. Rain, fog, snow...it all adds to the game, big-time, and it looks beautiful to boot. With excellent graphics, sound, handling, and cars, PGR4 is a fantastic game, and one I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys racing.
GTA Vice City Stories: I don't think I need to explain GTA to anyone. It's just as the previous GTAs before it. It's set in Vice City, it has a new story, and it's GTA. 'Nuff said. It amazes me how well a 3D GTA can be done on the PSP, with it's lack of buttons, but Rockstar delivered a console-quality GTA on the PSP. Simply an amazing game that any fan of GTA would love. For $20, buy it.
Weekly Rock Band and Wii Sports update:
Rock Band - I didn't play Rock Band this week, and thus there is nothing to report.
Wii Sports - A new high score in Wii Bowling was attained - 266! A nice score, and a 20 or so point increase from last week. I love this game, and I suspect I'll play it every week for a very long time to come.
I also played Wii Tennis, drunk, for a couple of hours straight one night. I was yelling and cursing -in a light hearted, friendly, buzzed manner- at the game, as I wasn't doing too well, but I was having a blast anyway.:oops:
Why bother pre-ordering?
I've been asked this question a lot this week. Some people actually had a problem with the fact that I pre-order games I really want. It makes no sense why it would actually ruffle one's feathers, but I suppose some people need drama in their life.
As for why, it's simple. Some games sell out. Now, this is most common at places like GameStop, but this is also where I do 99.9% of my game buying. It's literally 3 minutes of driving time from my house, and with my busy schedule, this is where I like to shop. I could hit up WalMart, Target, Circuity City, or Best Buy, but they are much further away. GameStop is very convenient for me, so if there's a game coming that I want, what's the harm in pre-ordering?
Some people argued that games don't sell out, even at GameStop, but in my area, that would be a very incorrect statement. If I don't get a new release early on day one of it's release, I can count on waiting, something I'm not good at. History proves this. Some people are also under the impression that it costs extra money to pre-order, when in fact, it does not.
$5 secures your copy, and when you pick-up your reserve, that $5, or whatever amount you put down, goes towards the purchase price. Doing this guarantees that I'm not left without 'insert game here' on day one. When looking at the benefits and taking into account the convenience of shopping mere minutes from my house, the question now becomes, why not pre-order?
Food for thought.;)
Until next time:
Well, it's been nice bloggin' for you all, but it's now time to finish working.
I'm aware that I neglected my comments section last week, and again, I'm sorry, but I'll be watching this one. Again, this nasty amount of work will only last through next month or so, then it's time to begin a new, highly opinionated reign of terror.:twisted:
One last thing. Since I'm posting this half a day or so earlier then usual, if I happen to find my way back to GameStop, or if something happens I wish to throw in for good measure, I'll update the title of the blog.
Enjoy your weekend, everybody, and take care.:)