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It's been a long time!

Hello Gamespot friends and community! It's been a long, long time since I've been here! A sudden family emergency in the middle of 2010 took me away from my home and Gamespot for that time. Fortunately everything is back on track and I thought I'd get back to the Gamespot community!

Many things have happened with Gamespot and gaming in general during my absence, but I'm back now, hopefully to contribute to Gamespot and, again hopefully, regain my status as a moderator, a responsibility that I was proud to carry, soon.

Anyway, just wanted to let those of you who I was close to know that I am still alive, and that I'm back regularly!

Hope all is well with you all.

- Daniel, nyc05

My thoughts: Nintendo E3 '10 press conference.

Following Microsoft (my thoughts, here), Nintendo is here to show what they've got in store. How was it? Continue reading to find out.

Before I continue, I'm going to say it now so I don't have to later: this is all my opinion. I say that because I don't want to have to say "IMO" after everything I say.

I'm also not going to bring up multiplatform games, timed exclusive content, or anything else that is/will be available elsewhere. Each of my 3 blogs that cover each event (MS, Nintendo, Sony) is going to cover exclusive, only-on type of stuff.

First off; What I liked:

Zelda: Skyward Sword - It's Zelda. That's enough to get me excited. Yeah, ok, Nintendo themselves couldn't even get the game to work properly, which was funny, but obviously there was a problem beyond the game itself because no way Nintendo would've put that game on the stage if it was the game itself. As for the game, the idea of controlling your shield, as well as slicing in all directions with the sword, could be really neat (like having to slash the plant monster thing vertically instead of any which way). Also, when the beetle took flight and revealed some more of the scenery, I really liked what I saw. Beyond that, a whip, and a few cool ways to throw the bombs, we didn't see a whole lot. Nintendo doesn't have to reinvent the whole of Zelda, but I do hope they have a few more changes/additions/tweaks to show us. But, even if they don't, it's Zelda, and that's enough for me to buy it on day one when it ships in '11.

Nintendo 3DS - Sadly, we didn't get to see any of the 3D effects, but I have a good enough idea of what it will be like to know I'm going to buy this thing. Not just because of the 3D, but because we know that Nintendo kicks ass with their handhelds, so this thing is a safe buy. I mean, just look at the games that were already announced - MGS, Assassin's Creed, Resident Evil, Saints Row, et al. I would've loved to know when it's coming and for how much, so I'm really surprised and saddened that we didn't hear something. This tells me that the 3DS could be a little ways off. Whenever it is available, count me in.

Goldeneye - I was one of the many who loved this game back on the N64. At that time, this was the game to play. This new one has a lot to live up to, but here's hoping they can pull it off.

Metroid: Other M - This looks like the perfect blend of old school Metroid with some new thrown in, which is what I wanted all along. I'm definitely buying this one.

Next; Intrigued, and not so intrigued about:

Kid Icarus Uprising - I'm as happy as anyone to have a new Kid Icarus, but I wasn't blown away by what I saw. First off, the voice of Pitt was just appalling; I really hated it. Yeah, that doesn't really matter, I just had to say it. As for the game, I'll reserve judgment 'til I can see it in all its 3D glory. Intrigued, to be sure, but I'm not sold just yet.

Donkey Kong Country Revisited - I loved the DKC games on the SNES, but I wasn't as pumped as the crowd seemed to be when they showed this. I'm interested because of the past DKC games, but I feel that it should've evolved a bit more for a new console adventure. Nothing radical, but something a tad more than the standard 2D platformer would've been nice. If it was a DS game, it would be more understandable, but for a console, I expect a little more. I'm definitely keeping my eye on it, but I'm just not sure yet.

Disney: Epic Mickey - I think this game sounds pretty interesting. I'd like to hear/see more of it before saying I'm going to buy it, but what I saw was promising enough that I'll keep my eye on it.

Golden Sun DS, Dragon Quest DS, and Kirby Epic Yarn - Eh, I can't say I was too impressed. Maybe my excitement for the 3DS caused the two DS games to be overshadowed, but I really couldn't get excited for these. I'll check them out, but I'm nowhere near sold on them. I won't put them in my "dislike" category, but they're only hanging on by a thread, especially Kirby Epic Yaw..., sorry, I won't got there. Yarn.

Finally; What I didn't like:

Wii Party, Just Dance 2, and Mario Sports Mix - I don't have much to say. They just aren't my thing.

Overall:

I thought Nintendo had a great conference. It feels like Nintendo has a new focus on real games, and not party/casual games. Not that those are all bad, but Nintendo had been focused on them for too long. The Nintendo 3DS also sounds very promising, with its strong lineup of games and neat features. The future games for the Wii look great, and the 3DS should be fantastic. After this conference, more so than in the last few years, I'm excited with what Nintendo is doing. Great show, Nintendo. By far your best in a few years.

I'll be back later today or tomorrow with Sony.

My thoughts: Microsoft E3 '10 press conference.

Finally E3 '10 is here! I don't know about you guys, but I get very excited this time of year. As a gamer, there is no event that gets me this excited. I always expect big things, and this year is no different.

Kicking off the "Big 3" press conferences is Microsoft. Did they deliver?

Before I continue, I'm going to say it now so I don't have to later: this is all my opinion. I say that because I don't want to have to say "IMO" after everything I say.

I'm also not going to bring up multiplatform games, timed exclusive content, or anything else that is/will be available elsewhere. Each of my 3 blogs that cover each event (MS, Nintendo, Sony) is going to cover exclusive, only-on type of stuff.

First off; what I liked:

  • Gears of War 3 made its debut, and, as expected, it looked awesome. Gears has always provided a fun, action-packed experience, and Gears 3 doesn't change that. This is definitely a game that I will buy.
  • The hardware redesign. It looks good, and I definitely love the piano black. I would have liked a smaller HDD that also reduced the price, but it's really no biggie.

Next; what I was indifferent on:

  • Fable 3: Fable is always a game that I should love, but don't. Sadly, I've never been able to put my finger on why, exactly, but I don't much care for it. I'm not going to say that I don't like some of it, or some of its ideas, but both the whole of Fable 1 and 2 really didn't do it for me. I know I'll buy Fable 3, just because I should like it, but I'm just not excited, nor terribly optimistic.
  • Halo Reach: I've never loved Halo, nor hated it. I always thought it was solid, and that's all. I came away feeling the same about Reach; solid, but not exciting. I'll buy it when the price matches my interest.

Finally; what I didn't like:

  • Where are the new IPs? Where are the new games that you can only, and I mean ONLY play on XBOX 360? Sequels are great, but where's the new? Outside of Kinect games, I didn't see anything.
  • Kinect: I'm not referring to the technology of it. Obviously it's a nice piece of tech., but what I hate is the fact that they showed nothing for it that would appeal to me, and by that I mean "hardcore games". No day-one support for any existing "hardcore games". No day-one "hardcore games". Ok, sure, they had the new Star Wars game, but come on. MS' vision for Kinect is my problem, and until they show me something that will appeal to me, I'm not buying this thing, this thing that, strangely, MS didn't announce a price for...

Overall:

I can't say I was happy. I expected a heavy emphasis on Kinect, but I also expected some actual "meat and potatoes" games for Kinect. I knew there'd be lots of family and casual games, but I really thought they'd do something, anything, for those of us who crave more than a pick-up-and-play experience. I get MS' want to get into the homes of families, but come on, MS; there's a ton of us "hardcores" out there, too.

I also expected MS to have a new IP or two, ones that they themselves would be putting out. No, I don't mean funding, but creating themselves, as in owning it; not simply publishing it. This is the part that disappointed me the most. Sequels are great, but where's the next big game from Microsoft?

All in all, MS really disappointed me. With a huge emphasis on casual and family friendly, and a lack of new IPs from them, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. I want something to get me back into XBOX 360 gaming for the first time in a long time, and there was nothing there that convinced me. Outside of the new hardware, and a Gears sequel, I'm sorry, MS, but, for me, your E3 '10 was not a good showing.

I'll be back tomorrow with a blog about Nintendo, then Sony.

I'm both humbled and honored to...

As of 6/4/10, I have begun my initiate mod (imod) phase; a phase that all mods-to-be must go through. To be able to serve our great community; I am most proud and humbled. I vow to do my very best to uphold GameSpot's standards, and help in continuing to make GameSpot the place for us gamers to come to.

Welcome back to my blog, friends. It's been a very long time --not far off from two years-- since my last blog. I'm glad to say that, finally, I'm going post blogs again! I can't promise how often, but I'm really going to try to get something out there on a reasonably consistent basis from now on.

So, how've ya'll been doin'? How's life; work; love; and everything else been treating you? Great, I hope.

And a little gaming news. I'm currently playing Red Dead Redemption on the PS3, as well as Super Mario Galaxy 2 on the...you guessed it; Wii! I'm having a great time with both games thus far. I'm maybe 15ish hours into RDR, and about, hell, I don't know, 38 stars into SMG2. Both have been well worth my $$.

This is a bit late, but I've just got to put it out there: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves...wow; it dropped my jaw. From the opening to the end credits, the game was absolutely perfect to me. I can't think of a way to improve upon it in any meaningful way. U2:AT was not only my 2009 GoTY, but my favorite game of all time. Yes. I said it. All time. That's 25 or so years of history that I've gamed through, and I take that history very seriously, but U2:AT absolutely sits atop my list of all time faves.

That's all I've got for you today. Not much, I know, but it's something, right?:P

Hope all is great with you guys.

Talk to you soon.

- Daniel; nyc05

PS: E3 is almost here!!!:o

Built myself a gaming PC.

For years I've contemplated giving PC gaming a go. The one thing I didn't want to do was spend a fortune on a pre-built machine. In fact, one of my main interests in having a gaming PC was the satisfaction of actually researching, purchasing, assembling, wiring and setting-up the computer myself. Well, my friends, that's exactly what I did.

Over the long Labor Day weekend, I decided to forgo the usual drinking and eating (ok I did some of that too) and spend some serious time getting this project off the ground. Being a complete and total newbie to PC gaming, I knew extensive research would be required. That ended up being an understatement. Without getting too detailed, believe me, there's a ton to consider.

After lots of research, decisions and rethinking of those decisions, I finalized my parts list and placed an order:

Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 Wolfdale CPU @ 3.33ghz
Motherboard - ASUS Rampage Formula X48 Mobo
Graphics Card - VisionTek Radeon HD 4870x2
RAM - 4gb Corsair Dominator 1066 DDR2 RAM (2x2gb)
Power Supply - Corsair HX 1000w Modular PSU
Hard Drive - Western Digital 500gb HDD
Optical Drive - LiteOn 20x DVD+/-RW
Case - Thermaltake Armor+ VH6000BWS case (black)
Operating System - Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit
Fans - 3x Thermaltake fans
Monitor - Acer 24" 1920x1200 2ms display
Keyboard - Saitek Eclipse backlit keyboard (blue backlight)
Mouse - Microsoft Habu gaming mouse with blue LED accents (2000dpi)
Mouse Pad - Razer Destructor professional gaming mat
Games - Crysis Special Edition, The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Collector's Edition, Mass Effect, BioShock, Two Worlds Collector's Edition, Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl (free with Mobo)

Approximate total for all of that - Just shy of $3,000

After an agonizing week and a half of shipping time, I was finally ready to assemble this bad boy. I'll admit that I was a bit intimidated to assemble and wire all of this up. After calming my nerves and notoriously shaky hands (there goes my career as a surgeon) , I began. Flash forward roughly two days, and I finally had my new PC assembled and wired.

Unfortunately I was in for a bad surprise. Upon powering up my PC, everything came on for about 1 second before shutting off! Long story short, after lots of trial and error troubleshooting (keep in mind I'm a newb), I found out the problem - my HDD was DOA (this was a SeaGate HDD), causing the whole system to shut down.

After a huge sigh of relief and wiping of my sweaty brow, I hauled my ass down to Circuit City and purchased a new one. Relieved to have solved this issue, I carried the very heavy case into my computer room, hooked it up, and inserted my OS disc. Much to my shock and horror, I had one last hurdle to climb - Windows Vista failed to install!

"****!", I thought, and not to myself, but aloud. Very aloud.

Without getting too technical, I'll spare the details and say that I finally resolved the issue and got Vista running.

I'll tell you, hearing your first self-built PC power up and running makes you feel good. Seeing all of the pretty blue lights emitting out of the clear side panel, hearing the hum of the fans, knowing the power inside, filled me with excitement, and most importantly, the feeling of satisfaction that came from building it from scratch.

So, how is it, you ask? Freakin' A, it's awesome. I'll admit that being a console player for over 20 years did not prepare me for the task of gaming on a PC. Switching from a controller to a keyboard and mouse was a difficult task. Not so much the mouse, but the keyboard has proven difficult. After a few days, though, I've shown remarkable improvement. I still fumble a bit with my keyboard hand in situations that require quick movements, but I'm getting there. As for the mouse, I love the precision of it. I had no clue just how much analog sticks hold you back.

I just wanted to say a few words about Crysis. I hear a lot of bashing of this game, and now that I've had the chance to spend some quality time with it, I cannot for the life of me understand why. Crysis is, in my opinion, an amazing shooter. When one devotes the time to learning the way the game is meant to be played, it's an incredible experience. You can really play how you want to play, and damn is it satisfying.

I've personally adopted the predator styIe. I lie in wait in the lush foliage, watching each and every movement of my enemies. I scour the vast amount of land in all directions looking for the best origin of attack. I usually like to lure a few enemies to me by causing some noise. As they approach, I apply the cloaking power to my suit. It's quite a joy to be standing right in front of my enemies unseen, watching as they desperately try to locate me. When they get close enough, it's equally satisfying to apply the maximum strength power to my suit, grab them, and throw their soon-to-be lifeless bodies right back where they came from, causing quite a stir back at their camp.

Oh what a game.

In other words, aside from the absolutely mind-blowing graphics, which are so far and above anything you've ever seen in a game, Crysis is also one hell of a game.

As for my PS3, 360, and Wii, I'm in no way abandoning them. However, the addition of a very powerful gaming PC has changed things around a bit. Originally, Fall standouts Fallout 3 and Far Cry 2, were destined for my PS3, but have since turned into PC pre-orders. Not only will the PC iterations look and play better, but they'll be cheaper, too. Funny how that works out. The premier version is the cheapest.

I'm not complaining.

In addition to the changing status of upcoming games, so too does the status of some of my currently played console games. Oblivion, specifically, will no longer be touched on my consoles. Oblivion on the PC is so, so much better, and with the game-changing mods available on the PC version, there's no turning back.

Before closing, I wanted to thank GameSpot user Elann2008, who provided me with invaluable tips and information that really helped make this possible. Thanks buddy. Much respect. 8)

That about raps this blog up, my first one in nearly half a year. Yeah, I've neglected my blogging duties for some time, but hopefully that is a thing of the past. Perhaps I'll put up a proper BUI soon, detailing what I'm currently playing and the game purchases I've made in the last half year.

Hope you all are doing well, and I look forward to your comments and blogs.

- Daniel

Blogging Under The Influence - 4/4 edition.


A very expensive start to April thus far. As you'll see in just a bit, I went on a small buying spree. See, with Grand Theft Auto IV's release looming, I needed some new games to help take my mind off of the most epic of games to come out this year. Not that any one, or any combination of games could take my mind off of Rockstar's latest, but I had to try.

This blog will mainly be about my latest purchases, and although I didn't get much play time in with the extreme amount of work and stress that April brings me (not to mention going out several times this week), I gave everything a quick spin, and I'm glad to say that every purchase was worth my cash.

Purchases:

DS3 GH3/Battery Viking, Jericho, TimeShift PSP GoW, CC, TDU Legend

Playstation 3:
- Dual Shock 3 controller - $55 (Gamestop.com)
- Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock Bundle - $90 (Gamestop)
- Rechargeable battery for Guitar Hero guitar - $20 (Gamestop)
- Viking: Battle for Asgard - $60 (Walmart)
- Clive Barker's Jericho - $23 (Amazon.com)
- TimeShift - $35 (Gamestop)
- Pre-order for Metal Gear Solid 4 - $5 (Gamestop)

PSP:
- Piano Black PSP Slim - $170 (Gamestop)
- God of War Chains of Olympus - $40 (Gamestop)
- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - $40 (Amazon.com)
- Test Drive Unlimited - $29 (Half.com)
- 4gb Memory Stick Pro Duo - $42 (Amazon.com)

Movies:
- I am Legend on Blu-ray - $19 (Amazon.com)

I'll talk about each buy, in order, just a little bit:

Dual Shock 3 - Wow is the word that comes to mind. I'll admit that rumble doesn't excite me the way it seems to for some, but I can admit that some games benefit greatly from rumble. Of my 28 PS3 games, Condemned 2, and especially Motorstorm, feel much better with rumble. Condemned for it's wicked melee combat that is already so full of impact, is only amplified with the rumble. Motorstorm's rough and bumpy terrain is infinitely more enjoyable with the pad rumbling in your hands, making you really feel the road.

As for other games, it's nice to have, but I won't say it does a whole lot for me. What I will say is that the Dual Shock 3 is the most comfortable controller I've ever held in my life. In 20+ years of playing games, never has a controller felt so right in my hands. The extra heft of the DS3 compared to the SixAxis is immediately noticeable, and the controller just feels so much better, and so much more durable. A triumph in design, indeed.

I've seen a few people ask if the Dual Shock 3 retains the SixAxis motion sensing, and to answer your question, yes, it does. So combining the motion control with the new rumble, and the amazing feel of the controller, this is $55 well spent. All things considered, the is an amazing controller, and in my humble opinion, it is the best controller ever designed. Bravo Sony.

Guitar Hero III - I loved Guitar Hero when I had it on the 360, but since my guitar died and it was out of warranty, I sold it. I bought it again, this time for the PS3. I've already played it a ton, and although I can't play like my buddy Casper (Quadrifoglio), I enjoy trying. In case you're wondering why the switch in systems, other then my usual reasons, being able to share DLC with friends is huge, not to mention cost effective. As for the battery, there's no need for a new category. It's a rechargeable guitar battery. The guitar needs batteries to work. Simple enough? :P

Viking - Ah, impulse buys FTW! Some don't turn out so great, but fortunately, I love Viking. It's a pretty simple game, really. There isn't much depth to it, but honestly, that's fine by me. I have plenty of games that require me to learn loads of commands with lots of button presses, but Viking simplifies things a bit. It's gory as all hell, it has a humongous open world to explore, the battles become quite epic, there's lots of quests and things to find, and it looks pretty darn good. I'm extremely happy with this purchase. It may be a bit shallow or mindless to some, but that's ok. I love it, so much so that it's battling Condemned 2 for my 2nd favorite game so far his year.

Jericho - Ok, admittedly the demo wasn't so hot. Not horrible, but not hot either. Knowing this, I bought it anyway. Why? Because it was on super sale at Amazon.com for $23, brand new, and I always had interest in this game for it's dark, scary atmosphere. At least $20 worth of interest, anyway. Thankfully I found it for my target price, and thus far, I'm pleased. For $23, it plays decent enough, looks decent enough, and is interesting enough. Not a game I would have paid $60 for, but brand new for $23? I'm happy.

TimeShift
- A game I enjoyed the demo for, as well as when I played a friend's copy. I always wanted to buy it, but like Jericho, I had to wait for a more suitable price. Today while pre-ordering MGS4, I saw it at Gamestop for $35, so I bought it. It's nothing amazing, but for the price I paid I'm more then satisfied. A good (enough) shooter that will tide me over until the next big FPS, probably Haze.

MGS4 pre-order - Doesn't need much explaining, does it? I put my pre-order down for it today, and in doing so, hoped I would also receive the pre-order bonus DVD with MGSO beta entry. Sadly, yet not unexpected, my Gamestop knew nothing about this. They had no clue what I was talking about, despite the fact that I told them, in detail, about it, as well as inform them that several friends of mine were successful in their attempts at getting their bonuses. Oh well, I'll check back over the weekend.

Piano Black PSP Slim - Did I need a new PSP? No. Did I want one? Hell yeah! While it's true my fatty PSP was running great, what you didn't know is that it's an import. Yup, I couldn't contain my excitement for the PSP when it was released in Japan, and since gaming on the PSP is region free (not UMD movies, though) I bought it. I bought it several months before it ever went on sale here in the US, and it's served me well for years now.

However, in light of my recent PSP game buying spree, I decided a newer, sleeker, lighter, more feature-rich PSP was in order. I bought the piano black core package for $170 instead of the "better" deal at $200 (Silver Slim, Daxter game, Family Guy movie, 1gb stick). Yup, I love the piano black finish of the PSP so much, and even though I think the ice silver looks nice, my PSP had to be piano black. Aside from that, I don't like Family Guy, I can find Daxter for less then $10, and I have no need for a 1gb stick when I have a 4gb stick.

I'm loving this thing so far. I won't get in-depth, as I'll provide comparisons between my fatty and my slim at a later date, but it's great. An excellent pick-up indeed.

God of War, Crisis Core, Test Drive - I'm lumping them all up into one group to save some space. I love the God of War series, anything to do with FFVII is worth checking out, and I loved Test Drive on the 360. All three games are excellent games, and all three were worth every single penny I spent. It's amazing that these three games look, play, and run the way they do on the PSP. All three are tremendous examples of what can be done on the PSP, and I can only hope that other developers follow the examples set by these developers.

4gb memory card - Not much to say, here. I needed space, and for the price I paid, I couldn't pass this up. I was working off of a 512mb card that I bought years ago, and I was sorely in need of space. Enter the 4gb memory card. Now I can carry my favorite UFC fights, South Park episodes, music, photos, and downloadable games with me where ever I go.

I am Legend
- I never saw it in theaters, but I always thought it looked good. I got it for a great price, so I bought it. I haven't watched it yet so I can't say if it was worth it, but a new release Blu-ray movie for under $20 is a great value, nonetheless.

Now playing:

Playstation 3 - Guitar Hero III, Rock Band, Viking, TimeShift, Jericho, Dark Sector

Sony PSP - God of War, Crisis Core, Test Drive

Nintendo Wii - Wii Sports

Xbox 360
- Nothing

Progress report:

Rock Band - None, I sill suck at anything above medium, and even on medium, I'm sill not very good.

Guitar Hero III - See above.

Wii Sports (bowling) - For some reason, I've been awful for about 2 weeks now. Damn motion sensing...

That's all, folks:

I really didn't plan on making so many purchases, but I wanted to buy some items that I had been looking at for a while, and get some time in on them before GTA comes out and causes everything else to get all dusty. I truly do not plan to buy anything else before GTA, save for my pre-ordered copy of Gran Turismo Prologue. The only other item would be Metal Gear Solid Essentials, so I can brush up on the MGS story, but even that is in question.

So, to end this 13+ hour work day, I'm going to go out to dinner with some friends, drink some beer, and get ready to work again tomorrow, because, yup, I work weekends, too. It's all good though. All of this work puts a lot of money in the bank, and allows me to set aside some good cash for gaming.

So, friends, I'm off. If you have any questions about any of these games, or whatever else, leave your questions and/or comments, and I'll get back to you. I'll be looking at all of your blogs sometime this weekend.:)

Peace.

- Daniel

Blogging Under The Influence - 3/28 edition.

Since this blog is going to be long, I'm going to skip the usual opening paragraphs, and get right to it.

Purchases:

Dark Sector

Playstation 3: Dark Sector - $65 (I only paid $55 on pick-up, as $10 was put down for reserve)

Now playing:

Playstation 3: Dark Sector, Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Condemned 2, Rock Band

Nintendo Wii: Wii Sports

Xbox 360: Project Gotham Racing 4

Sony PSP: GTA: Vice City Stories

Impressions:

For the sake of saving space, I won't go into any of these games' back story. I'll just give some detail, say what I think about each game, and whether or not I recommend buying said game. Also, even though all of these impressions are fairly long, believe it or not, I shortened them in the interest in keeping this blog semi-readable. :P

Rainbow Six Vegas 2: Some have called it a sequel, and some have called it a glorified expansion, either way, Vegas 2 is the premiere tactical shooter on the market. You simply cannot find a better game of this type. Lets explore the changes/additions to Vegas 2:

The graphics, while not amazing by any stretch, have received a nice cleansing, and by that I mean the game looks cleaner, smoother, a little more colorful, and it just looks more polished. The frame rate issues that some reviewers have said exist in the PS3 version have yet to be seen by my eyes. Perhaps this is another unjust knock against the PS3, or I just haven't witnessed it, but whatever the case may be, I haven't noticed it. An occasional hitch when several grenades are going off is present, rarely, but other then that, it runs great. Overall, Vegas 2 may not be a graphical showcase, but it's more then adequate.

Vegas 2 didn't just receive a slight, though much needed makeover, but the persistent elite creation found in the original game's multiplayer has thankfully made it's way over to the single player. Before you set off into a war against the terrorists, you're tasked with creating your character's look, as well as outfitting him/her with armor, clothes, accessories, and weaponry. If you have the PSeye (or Vision Cam on the 360) you can use it to take a picture of your face for use in the game. This is great, though I chose not to use it after finding out that you cannot customize your character as thoroughly while using your own face as you can without. Still, it's a cool feature, and you will chuckle every now and then when you see yourself in the game.

One of Vegas 2's best new features is the ability to sprint. I can't tell you how useful this has been in quickly getting from cover to cover, getting out of the way of grenades, charging the enemy, etc. The ability to sprint really changes things up, and speeds up a somewhat slow-paced game. No longer do you have to walk at the blazing speed of a snail, even as your life hangs in the balance. I'll tell you, as much as I love the original Vegas, it's hard to play it after Vegas 2 allows you to run.

A much welcome addition to the single player is that you earn experience points by racking up kills, giving you points for headshots, kills through cover, having your team score kills, long range kills, close range kills, kills with grenades, and more, and it adds a tremendous sense of accomplishment as you rack up the points. You'll see yourself going about missions in different ways just to score points and rank up in level, which unlocks new weapons, armor, and accessories. Really, this is a great add, and it really adds to the replay value. Also, if you have a save from the original Vegas, the game will recognize your progress and award you points based on your Vegas 1 save.

Also, in regards to the single player, I did marathon it and beat it, and I have to say that I found it far more enjoyable then the first. The level layouts were great, taking great advantage of the new sprint ability, and I felt Vegas 2's levels allowed for better teamwork. There's some twists and turns in the story, some great battles, and all in all, it was highly enjoyable, and I can't wait to bump the difficulty up to 'realistic' and give it another go.

Aside from all of the above, Vegas 2 doesn't stop there. It adds a few more very useful abilities, such as the ability to thermal scan an area from overhead to reveal enemies, order a teammate to throw a grenade or smoke grenade, and the ability to shoot enemies hidden by cover if the cover is thin.

I don't know how people can look at all of these additions and tweaks, and act like this game isn't a true sequel. To me, it very much is, and what they've added and changed has benefited this game greatly. Besides, what could they have done without drastically changing the tried and true Vegas formula? The game already played great, and with these additions and changes, the already great Vegas formula inches even closer to perfection.

Do I recommend this? If you're a fan of this type of game, then hell freakin' yeah! You get an incredibly solid game with a great single player, online co-op, online terrorist hunt, lots of online modes to play, and weapons, armor and accessories to unlock. There is a tremendous amount of content here, and if you're into this styIe of game, this is $60 very well spent. I'm still playing the original Vegas which was released in November 2006 (Vegas 1 on 360), and given the fact that the sequel is even better, this game has extremely long legs.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot - Let me warn you - if you're someone who gets freaked out easily, you should probably pass this game up. Condemned 2 makes you feel uneasy, it heightens your senses, and makes you feel jittery when turning every corner. It's pretty unnerving to be walking in the dark, alone, and hear a coked-up freak running on the floor above you. You can hear his footsteps get louder and quieter as he gets closer or further, and you can hear him laughing like the psychopath that he is.

That's one of Condemned 2's best traits - it's audio. Sounds are very sharp, clear, and distinct. The audio does a tremendous amount of the leg work in regards to the atmosphere. It really pulls you in, and encourages you to crank the volume to hear the laughing, footsteps, blood splattering, melee weapon impact, gun fire, etc.

The graphics in Condemned may not be stunning, but the use of the graphics make them excellent. What I mean is that the shadows, the lighting and particle effects, and the overall look of the game does a hell of a good job at conveying it's world to you. This world is dark, gritty, creepy, and moody, and when you combine the game's excellent effects and atmosphere with the superb sound work, you will be very engrossed in this game's world.

The combat is fantastic in this game. Each trigger controls an arm, and while you might be freaked out enough to furiously hit the buttons, don't. See, this game isn't about button mashing, no, it takes more finesse and timing to really cause damage. You will have to learn the timing of your swings, as well as the timing of blocking if you wish to survive. If you don't, you will die. Simple as that. The combat might seem difficult for a little while, but stick with it. It's worth it. It's so brutal, so satisfying, and so....impactfull, and I honestly can't think of a game that captures melee combat so well.

It's not just about scares and brutality in Condemned 2, you actually have to use your brain in this game. There is a good bit of detective work that needs done. Example: you'll come across a body later in the game, and it's up to you to figure out who this person is, and how they died. You'll have to choose the correct tools to solve the mystery, and you'll really have to scout the area using these tools to find out what happened. Believe me, this is really fun, and it's a nice change of pace from the combat. It's really interesting to use your tools and your brain to figure it out. The game will grade you, so you'll really want to do your best.

I could go on, but I don't want to give anything else away. Suffice to say that this game is creepy as hell, and very brutal, but it's also interesting because of it's story and detective work.

Do I recommend this game? Depends. The first thing you must ask yourself is how much scare can you take? If you're in the mood for a good scare, then you're on your way. Next, does the idea of using your brain to solve a few mysteries sound intriguing? Good, now how about bashing the **** out of some drug addict's face for getting in your face?

All in all it's an excellent game, and if you're looking for a good single player game that will scare you, challenge you, and make you think a bit, then go for it. It's not terribly long, and the online play is decent at best. If you have the cash lying around and you're in need of a good single player game, go for it. Don't buy it if you're looking for the next big thing in multiplayer, but for single player gaming, it's among the best of it's type in a long while.

Dark Sector - Ok, you all know I was big-time excited for this game, and I'm glad to say that Dark Sector not only matched my expectations, but far exceeded them. In an attempt to not spoil anything, I'm not going to go too deep into the game's story or characters. Stuff like this should be discovered on your own.

As for how it plays, it plays awesome. To give you an idea, it's plays very similar to Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Gears of War, in that it's played from a third person perspective, the aim view is over your shoulder, you take cover, and pop-in and out to shoot. Taking cover and shooting is great, but Dark Sector adds a whole other element to it, and that's the oh so awesome Glaive.

You'll throw this Glaive for various reasons, such as breaking locks on doors, smashing crates, picking up loose items around the world, but more importantly (and fun) is throwing it at an enemy. Throwing it at an enemy yields very satisfying results as you watch a head, an arm, a leg, and even torsos fly through the game world. It's extremely satisfying, especially when you begin to power up the Glaive. See, initially the Glaive is strong, but you won't be shredding foes up immediately, but don't worry. It doesn't take long to start the massacre.

The graphics are very, very good in Dark Sector. While there are a few low-res textures to be found (what game doesn't have this?) the whole of Dark Sector is extremely attractive. Very sharp textures, amazing rain effects, excellent lighting and shadows, character models, fire and electricity effects, great gore....it all looks awesome.

Dark Sector also features excellent sound and music. Music fits the mood, the drops of rain sound great, explosions are good, and enemies scream so convincingly that you just know that you caused them endless pain. Watching them run from me screaming in agony, and then get cut in half by my Glaive just seconds before they reach salvation behind cover gives me a great feeling inside. :twisted:

Also, if you stun an enemy, charge him and you can deliver an awesome finishing maneuver. These range from simple snapping of necks, to stabbing a foe in the chest with the Glaive, or even slicing someone vertically from the waist up with the Glaive. Very nice.

All in all, Dark Sector does a great job at making you feel powerful, while still putting you in tough battles, which could lead to your death. The game has an interesting story, brutal combat, amazing graphics, great atmosphere, and everything else to make this a more then worthy buy for me. I haven't beat the game yet, though I'm very close, and while it may not be the longest game in history I know I'll be coming back again. And again, and definitely again.

Do I recommend it? Depends. If you have $60 and you're looking for a great single player game with great gameplay, and you don't mind games not being overly long, go for it. Especially if you are someone who enjoys playing games a couple of times over. The online isn't the best, so if you're looking for a great online game, you should probably look elsewhere, say Vegas 2?

Dark Sector is fantastic, and to be honest, is my favorite game of Q1. Believe me that's saying something, seeing as '08 has been stacked with quality games such as Burnout Paradise, Devil May Cry 4, Condemned 2, Army of Two, and Vegas 2. It's very satisfying to play, and seeing as I'm a fan of brutal combat, blood and gore, and replaying my games several times, Dark Sector is worth every penny to me.

Now excuse me. I'm gonna wear my Dark Sector hat, and go cut some limbs off. :twisted:

Phewwww....

Ok, my finger tips are getting blisters, so I'm done. I wasn't even sure I was going to be able to blog this week, but I snagged a tiny bit of time to get it up. I must admit that I'm not terribly happy with how my impressions on these games came out, as I don't feel they lived up to my usual standards, but given the work I'm doing, and how long this blog is, that's all you're gonna get. :P

I was thinking about breaking this up into smaller blogs during the week, but I really don't have the time to do that. So, if those impressions didn't do it for you, or you have some questions about each game, leave me a question and I'll answer it.:)

Also, I know I missed some blogs this week, and again, I apologize. The end of March is nearing, which means April -the worst month of the year for me- is days away, and I'll probably miss a few more blogs for the next few weeks. I'll try and catch up, believe me.:)

Take care, thanks for reading, and, oh, by the way, only a month left until GTAIV....! :o

*dies*

- Daniel

Blogging Under The Influence - 3/21 edition

In light of how hard I've been working, I decided to take a bit of time off this week to buy some new clothes for the hot weather, catch up on some gaming, and also to buy a few games. Sure, I should have got more work done then I did, but some much needed time off did wonders for me. I feel recharged, and ready to kick some ass this week!

As for impressions on my new games, that's going to have to wait. Sega's inability to get Condemned 2 into stores in any sort of an organized fashion caused me to not get Condemned 2 until late last night (Thursday night), rather then the normal Wednesday morning, and thus my impressions will have to wait because I only got about an hour of play time in on it. However, it's dark, moody, and brutal as all hell, and if you're looking for a new single player game, Condemned 2 will serve you nicely.

Another section of today's blog was going to be devoted to another new game I purchased (see 'Purchases') but I only picked it up today (Friday) so I haven't got to play it yet.

So, now that I don't have a Condemned 2 section in this blog today, nor my other new game, this blog is going to be short, and rather void of content. I planned on taking a large chunk of blog and devoting it to impressions, but I'm just not ready yet.

Before I get any further, lets get the usual stuff out of the way.

Purchases:

C2:BS R6V2 Hat

Playstation 3:

Condemned 2: Bloodshot - $65 (paid-off my pre-order last week)

Rainbow Six Vegas 2 - $65

Dark Sector hat - free for pre-ordering the game

Pre-order for Gran Turismo 5 Prologue - $5

Now playing:

Playstation 3: Condemned 2, Eye of Judgment, Army of Two, Rainbow Six Vegas 1 & 2, Motorstorm, Burnout Paradise

Nintendo Wii: Wii Sports

Xbox 360: Project Gotham Racing 4

Sony PSP: GTA: Vice City Stories

I told you it was going to be short:

As you can see, not having my impressions leaves a big hole in this week's blog. So, here's what I plan to do. Next week is going to be a big blog, and if all goes according to plan, I'm going to have Condemned 2 impressions, Rainbow Six Vegas 2 impressions, and Dark Sector impressions all in next week's blog.:o

Dark Sector comes out next week, and assuming it makes it's release date, I'll have it the minute it's available. This game is going to be sick, and I'm not going to miss it for the world. I plan to put some serious time into it on Wednesday, and by Friday I hope to be far enough along to give my impressions on it. If you don't know much about this game, I urge you to check up on it.

If you're interested, here's the official launch trailer for the game. It's the HD video, so make sure to let it load before you play it, otherwise you may get some lag. Also, here's IGN's Dark Sector launch page, where you can watch some great vids of the game, as well as study up on it. I'm extremely confident that this game will, as the forum kids say, pwn.:oops:

I plan to play the crap out of Condemned 2 and Rainbow Six Vegas 2 this weekend, and up until Dark Sector's release. So, if all goes according to plan, look for a rather long, impressions oriented blog next week.

Oh, and as for the drink of choice for this blog, sadly, it's too early to be drinking yet. Besides, I'm still working on my abnormally large Coke from Carls Jr.;)

Anyway all, I'm going to go try on my new clothes, play some games, and rest my fingers for all of the impressions I need to type up next week.:D

Later all.

- Daniel

Blogging Under The Influence - 3/14 edition.

Ah, mid-March. A great time, but a head-spinning time as well. It's great because money is rolling in from the previous months of work, and the end of the hell period is nearing. As great as all of that is, it also happens to be the busiest period. From now to the end of April, the work to be done makes the last two or so months look tame.

What's perfect is that the final week of hell will be the last week of April, and for those of you keeping track, my most anticipated game of 2008 - Grand Theft Auto IV - will release on April 29th. It's almost like the gaming gods are smiling upon me, releasing the grandest game of 'em all at the exact time I need it. It's lovely how that worked out because I'll need that game to overcome the stress of the hell period, and it comes at the absolute perfect time.

I'm counting the days to that day, for I will have the game I most yearn for, and the work that's been running my life since early this new year will be done. It will be great to pour myself a "you done kicked some ass" drink, rip apart the packaging of my special edition copy of GTAIV, and get to playing.

I can't wait.

Lets move on....

Purchases:

Playstation 3:

- Eye of Judgment - $46.92

- Pay-off of Condemned 2: Bloodshot pre-order - $50

- Limited edition multiplayer book for Condemned 2 - free as a bonus for pre-ordering

I paid-off my pre-order for Condemned 2 this week, but sadly, Sega pushed the PS3 release back one week. Sucks, as this past week would have been great for me to play it as my week was a bit light on work (compared to the norm), but oh well. I'll be crackin' heads next week. At least I get to thumb through the free limited edition muliplayer book in the meantime. It has quite a bit of info and tips on the muliplayer portion of the game, further fueling my thirst for this game.

The real find of the week, though, is the Eye of Judgment for the PS3. Normally priced at $69.99, I managed to snag it at Amazon.com for $46.92 with no sales tax and free shipping! I've been looking to get this for sometime now, and while I found the original asking price to be more then fair, for some reason I passed, but my curiosity combined with this amazing deal sent me over the edge.

If you're interested in this deal, follow this link. I have no clue when the sale ends, so if you follow the link and the price has reverted back to the original price, my apologies. The sale is even better then when I bought it as it's a couple of dollars cheaper, sweetening an already sweet deal.

Impressions on the actual Eye of Judgment game will follow later in this blog, though my impressions on the Playstation Eye itself will come at a later time. I want some time to fool around with the free Eye Create software, as well as the Eye's microphone abilities before I talk much about it. Look for my impressions on the actual Playstation Eye in the coming weeks where I'll talk about it's performance, quality, build, and compare it to the Xbox Live Vision Cam.

Now playing:

Playstation 3: Eye of Judgment, Army of Two, Motorstorm, Warhawk, Rainbow Six Vegas

Nintendo Wii: Wii Sports, Mario Galaxy

Xbox 360: Nothing

Sony PSP: GTA Vice City Stories

Impressions: Eye of Judgment

Here's a list of what all comes in the Eye of Judgment bundle:

- Playstation Eye pic

- Eye of Judgment game pic

- Stand for Playstation Eye pic

- Battle Mat pic

- Starter deck (30 cards)

- Booster Pack (8 cards)

Here are some other pictures: Packaging, Everything together, PSeye in stand, Up close card shot.

I'm going to give some detail on the game, pulling some information from the instruction manual, as well as my own experiences. Mind you I'm very new to this type of game, and I don't understand it well enough to talk like an expert and inform you all exactly what this game offers. I'll do my best at explaining things, and if any of you know about this game and I screw up, please, let me know.

The objective of battle is to occupy 5 fields to win. You have battle cards at your disposal, and each card is either a creature summon card, spell card, or function card. Each field on the mat (1 field = 1 square for a total of 9 fields on the mat) has a core element to it: Fire, Water, Earth, Wood or Biolith. Spawning a creature on the proper element will boost it's HP level. Likewise, spawning a creature on the incorrect element (ie, Fire creature on Water element field) will negatively impact it's health, and possibly even kill it.

Placing any of these cards is simple. You simply lay the card down on the field of your choice, and the Playstation Eye will scan the bar code on the card, and spawn the appropriate creature accordingly. This results in a short but sweet event of creature spawning that happens right before your eyes.

When placing the card, you'll want to take note of the positioning of the card. Facing your card North, South, East, or West will see your creature facing that direction. If the creature you want to attack with your newly spawned creature is on your right, it will do you no good to spawn your creature facing left.

When there are two creatures (or more, of course) on the field, and pending they are in attack range, the game will quickly shift to a short battle scene which sees your creature take a shot at the enemy creature, and vice-versa. There are tons of spell cards and function cards to play with which can drastically alter the tide of battle and your positioning on the board.

Make sure to thoroughly read the card you wish to place, as the card gives details on the creature you wish to summon, such as the direction it can attack, the mana cost to summon, any sort of bonuses that can be earned, etc. There is much more information on each card, but I'm not quite informed yet on what exactly all of it means, so I can't go into more detail.

I'm going to stop there, largely because this is getting long, and I'm not terribly experienced yet. I wish I could explain more, and I wish I could get more in-depth, but I'm still coming to grips with the way this game plays, and I don't feel comfortable going on yet.

Just let me say that this game has been such a refreshing experience. There is so much to this game, far more then reading what I think or write, and far more then you can find out on a forum could ever tell you. I never in my life played card games like this before, and to be honest, I never really had much interest in doing so. That is until the Eye of Judgment, and I can safely say this has been one of the most refreshing, rich, and engrossing experiences I've had this generation.

For months I've looked for something deep to get into, while still being able to put my feet up and relax, and until now, I've found nothing. I'm on shooter/racing/platforming overload, and the Eye of Judgment couldn't have come at a better time. I truly think this will be a game I spend dozens, if not hundreds of hours with.

Even when the cards that come with the game get old or too familiar, there's a huge number of cards that can be purchased in stores, giving you new creatures and spells to experiment with. Not only are there loads of cards readily available now, but a huge amount is being released very shortly. A lot of the fun of this game, as well as other card based games, is not only actually playing the game, but collecting the cards, learning what they do, and mixing and matching old and new cards to form the perfect deck for you to play with.

It's really been a joy to get into this game, and I think I'm going to be spending a lot of money on Booster Packs and Theme Decks, as well as loads of hours mastering how to play. The Eye of Judgments boasts player VS CPU play, CPU VS CPU play, player VS player play, and online play, so you're covered if you want to gain experience by playing the computer, or if you have a friend to play with, and even if you want to take your custom deck online and try it out.

If you have any interest in strategy, creatures, spells, and interactive experience, you should look into this game. For $70 you get a lot of quality items, ones that will provide you with tons of enjoyment. This deal was even sweeter because I snagged this $70 bundle for $47 with an Amazon sale, and with no sales tax and free shipping....WOW!

In closing, the Eye of Judgment has been the biggest surprise purchase I've made in a long while, and one of the best, too. Finally a game that does something different has come out, and completely balanced the over abundance of common-genre games in my library. This is the perfect game for me at the perfect time, and I strongly urge you to buy it if you've ever been slightly interested in it. Just be warned that there is a steep learning curve, but thus far it's been one of the best experiences I've had with my PS3, and this entire generation.

Outta here:

Less categories, but lots to say on this week's blog. It was a pretty good week, and while I'm bummed I'm not playing Condemned 2 right now, the Eye of Judgment blew me away. I wish I had the time necessary to really marathon this game because there is a shocking amount of gameplay, as well as strategy involved, and it will take some time to really come to grips with it all.

Finally I'll pick-up my pre-order for Condemned 2 this week, and I'm hoping I'll get to play it enough in the days leading up to next week's blog to bring you my impressions. I plan on setting some time aside to play it, so hopefully next week's blog will have my thoughts.

This weekend will hopefully be filled with tons of Eye of Judgment play, as well as Motorstorm, which has come off my shelf and back into my PS3. Damn this game is hard on level 4 tickets, but as hard as it is, it's equally rewarding. Motorstorm is easily my favorite racer this generation, and I look forward to playing it this weekend.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about the Eye of Judgment, or anything else, feel free to ask. Questions and comments are always appreciated.:D

- Daniel

Blogging Under The Influence - 3/7 edition.

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:

Purchases:

4

Playstation 3:

- Army of Two - $60 (picture 1)

- Pre-order for Dark Sector - $5

Nintendo Wii:

- 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)

Xbox 360:

- Project Gotham Racing 4 - $20 (picture 3)

PSP:

- 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.

Recently played:

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

Quick impressions:

**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?

None.

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.:)

- Daniel