Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy Hamster!

Who needs Shenmue 3 when we have digital diarrhea for the iPhone?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tuff_Fish Tries SMBF

This video has a bit of a backstory. There is a poker player by the name of Anthony Sandstrom who plays No Limit Holdem cash games on a variety of online sites under the screen name Tuff_Fish. He has recorded himself playing many online sessions and uploaded the videos onto youtube, and they have become popular viral hits on poker forums like 2+2 and PocketFives. The videos are humorous because Tuff_Fish often gets completely tilted by a bad beat and goes on highly entertaining rants about online poker and human psychology. He also often plays horribly, which is amusing to watch in its own right. The video above was originally titled Super Mario Frustration and posted on youtube with totally different audio commentary, and it received over 7,000,000 hits. In this new version, the original commentary has been replaced by snippets of audio from various Tuff_Fish tilt-rants. The resulting video is more hilarious than anything else Ive ever seen in my whole life.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

L4D2: Impressions

The game is simply awesome, its one of Valve's best efforts in years and vastly superior to the first game. Its much longer, with larger levels, tons of new infected and weapons, and the ability to use melee weapons adds an entirely new dimension to the game. Ive only played a bit of the versus mode, but downing a survivor as one of the new special infected like the Charger and the Jockey is too much fun. The game encourages teamwork perhaps more than any other coop game I have ever played. If and when you get separated from the group as a survivor, you will get attacked by a Smoker or Hunter. If you dont revive your teammates and provide them with health and pills, you will all die. The 4 survivors are compelled to work together to complete each chapter of the game, and as a result its one of the best coop games of all time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

No MW2 on XBL For Me

I caved and finally bought a used copy of MW2 for $35 - but for the PC, not the 360 or PS3. Why? Well, a few reasons. For starters, Ive never been really big on the multiplayer aspects of Call of Duty games. CoD4 was a good online game, but I never really put much time or effort into learning it. Also, last night I played MW2 online at a friends house for a couple of hours. It didnt exactly convince me that the game was worth $64 for the online portion alone - as some people have claimed. There were a few maps that stood out like Quarry and Airfield, but I felt some of the others were rather lackluster. The killcam is still awesome, and the perks and killstreak rewards are fun - if you can attain them (good luck with 25 in a row for a nuke).

Furthermore, there are only a handful of people on my friends list that might actually want to play the game with me on XBL. Most of them are really good at CoD, and I dont think I ever broke a 1.0 k/d ratio in CoD4 for the 360. Im much better at FPS games on the PC with a mouse and keys. Also, seeing as though the coop is only 2 people and there is no party chat in several multiplayer modes, I dont see the online being something that I would get a lot of value out of over the long term. The coop spec ops missions look good for a few runthroughs, but this mode isnt something that has legs like Horde, Firefight, Borderlands or L4D2.

I will see how much I like the game on the PC. If it turns out I get into the online play more, a purchase of the 360 version might be forthcoming, once it drops in price and if people are still playing it a month or two from now. Until then, I will be playing Gears 2, L4D2, Borderlands, and GTA IV online, as well as single player games like Assassins Creed 2 and New Super Mario Bros Wii.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brutal Legend Impressions

Does it have the best soundtrack in videogame history? Yes. Is the writing and the voice acting top notch? Yes. Is the overall world design and artwork mindblowing? Yes. Is the game epic? Well kind of. Its gives you that epic feel but it doesnt quite have the length or depth to be considered properly epic. The game isnt that long, which is a problem because the soundtrack is huge and you likely wont hear every song by the time you finish the game, even if you do all the side missions.

Overall I can easily recommend renting this game or buying it used. I played it on the PS3 and while I dont know how it compares to the 360 version, if they do make a version for the PC in the future that will be the one to own because of the higher resolution, framerate, and support for advanced features like antialiasing. The console versions look good technically speaking (the art is phenomenal), but never great. Hopefully the PC version will also support mods - this game world has serious potential for modders.

Brutal Legend is a game that almost fulfills its potential. I think the game just should have been longer and there should have been stuff to do in the world. For those that had concerns about the RTS elements, I didnt find them offensive or overdone at all. Yes they are simplified but they work well and sometimes make for some truly epic moments when you get down into the battlefield to help your troops fight hordes of enemies to the swinging sounds of Racer X.

I like the game world so much, I wish it was actually an MMO. I think I would play it a ton if there were RPG and coop elements to it, and simply more stuff to do in the world. As it is, I finished the game and all the side quests in under 8 hours and then sort of looked around and went, hmmmmmmm. I skipped around the soundtrack for a few hours, went for a couple of random trophies, and then put the game back in its box and sold it to Gamestop. I bought the game for $64 (including tax) and I dont have a single regret - this is Tim Shaeffer we are talking about here. Hopefully more people will buy the game and Double Fine's next project can be even bigger and better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Left 4 Dead 2 IGN Review

My copy is waiting for me at Gamestop. What to trade in?

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Ballad of Gay Tony GT Review

So I have been playing the new GTA IV DLC over the past few days and I have to say its awesome, and everything the first DLC wasnt. The story and the characters fit with Liberty City perfectly. The writing is still top notch. While Im very disappointed that people who download the new DLC dont get the exclusive Vice City radio station that owners of the $40 retail Liberty City Stories do, other than that I have to say its easy to recommend this to anyone who enjoyed GTA IV. The new weapons, vehicles and base jumping modes all add up to a ton of fun, and I havent even checked it out online in freeplay mode yet. Hopefully, I will finish the DLC in the next few days and we can get to the online parachuting and helicopter battles ASAP. Ill see you at the top of the Statue of Liberty!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

3 Card Luigi

Growing up in NYC, I used to see a lot of street hustlers back before Guiliani cleaned up the city, in the early 1990s when David Dinkins was mayor. One of the most popular hustles was 3 Card Monte. This is essentially the same game, but its played with Luigi instead of cards or shells. Can you follow the fast and furious action?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Torchlight GT Review

This $20 downloadable PC exclusive action RPG was developed by Runic Games, a studio founded by the original creators of Diablo. Their idea when they started the studio was to make an MMO, but they decided getting a finished game under their belt first was a good idea and Torchlight is the result. Melding classic Diablo style gameplay with great graphics, high quality original music and full mod support, Torchlight looks like its going to be a winner. It doesnt have the depth of something like Dragon Age, but for $20 it doesnt have to. The reviews have been very good so far with the one common complaint being that its strictly a single player experience. I cant fault Runic for that though - they are making another game set in the Torchlight universe strictly for the purpose of online multiplayer. By making this game first, their MMORPG will be that much better.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Excitebike World Rally Gameplay

So, the game that everyone has been talking about finally came out this week! Excitebike World Rally! Wait what? You say you've never heard of this game and that you dont even have a Wii? Oh well. At least Im excited to play 2.5D Excitebike online and start building some crazy tracks with the editor. It even has replays! Sweet.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gman's Gmod: A Few Good Men

Fan created machinima using Garry's Source Engine Mod (Gmod).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New York Yankees Win 27th Championship

For a man as typically stoic as Hideki Matsui, the display was something more emblematic of his caricature, Godzilla. Matsui, clapping his hands together, listened to the emcee boom out his name and walked to the front of the stage. He removed his cap and doffed it to the crowd. He then raised two clenched fists into the air. International superstar of baseball, Hideki Matsui was now MVP of the World Series after driving in a jaw dropping 6 runs in the championship clinching game.

"I guess you could say this is the best moment of my life right now."

On a night in early November in the Bronx, Hideki Matsui transcended being human, and for a moment, became Superman. He single handedly won Game 6 of the World Series by driving in 6 of the total 7 runs the Yankees would score. Of all the great World Series performances we have seen this year, from CC Sabathia to Chase Utley to Mariano Rivera, this was surely the finest.

9 Years between championships isnt a lot for most teams, but for the New York Yankees it is an eternity. Founded in 1901 in Baltimore Maryland, the team moved to New York City in 1903, becoming known as the New York Highlanders before being officially renamed the "Yankees" in 1913. In those 108 years, the club has won the championship 27 times. This high percentage of championship winning teams is a record in professional sports, and a birthright for fans in New York.

2009 was a vindication for many players and fans who watched the team falter from 2001-2008, reaching the playoffs 7 times and the World Series twice, but failing to convert, including a devastating loss in 2004 to the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS. With this championship, all those nightmares, all those demons have been slayed. 2009 represents the birth of a new Yankee legacy, as well as the passing of an old one. For vintage players such as Jeter, Rivera, and Andy Pettite, who won 4 straight championships with the Yankees from 1996-2000, this latest victory tastes even sweeter. To everyone in baseball who said these legendary players were too old, too worn down, and too beat up to compete anymore, Ill just say this: You arent the ones hoisting a trophy right now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Uncharted 2: Impressions

Nothing can prepare a gamer for playing Uncharted 2 for the first time. Even having played the original Uncharted: Drake's Fortune through twice, and closely following the development and release of Uncharted 2, I had no idea that the game was going to not only completely change my perception of the PS3, but also videogaming in general. Uncharted 2 isnt just a great game or the game of the Game of The Year for 2009 - its in the conversation for the best game of all time.

Obviously, thats a strong statement, and while its true everyone has their own favorite game of all time, I think that for many people who play it Uncharted 2 will challenge their time honored favorites for greatest ever. I can never decide what my favorite game ever is, there are so many great ones, but Im quite sure that Uncharted 2 is right up there among the best. Is the game perfect? In some respects, mostly technical, yes. From a gameplay and story perspective, your mileage may vary. If you fancy a blend of Hollywood style Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider flavored story telling, huge action set pieces, 3rd person shooting mechanics, Prince of Persia like platforming and adventure game style puzzles, this will suit you like a glove. Add in a mix of lag-free multiplayer and coop modes over the free Playstation Network, and you have a serious contender.

There are no new gameplay elements to speak of in Uncharted 2. Everything you do in this game, you have done in other games before. But what Uncharted 2 does that makes it unique is that it mixes all these elements together with a level of polish and production quality that has never been seen before in a videogame. From the camera work to the animation to the particle effects in the explosions, this is the most consistently impressive presentation the gaming industry has come up with to date.

The graphics are simply stunning, definitely the best I have ever seen in any game on any platform. Marcus Fenix is rendered by about 15,000 polygons in Gears of War 2 for the Xbox 360. In Uncharted 2, Nathan Drake is pushing 80,000 polygons. The level of detail in the game is insane. Uncharted 2 uses the power of Cell processor in synergy with the Blu Ray drive (the game takes up 25GB of space), the Hard Drive, and the Nvidia GPU like no game before it to create unbelievably high image quality. But beyond the graphics and presentation, the feel of how Drake controls and interacts with the world is simply superb, and the pacing of the game is pitch perfect. The unique sound design for each area and cutscene, the musical score, and weapon sounds, are all outstanding. Naughty Dog has raised the bar for every developer; this is the new standard of quality for videogame production. Ive simply run out of superlatives, so Ill stop right here.