Friday, October 28, 2011

Cards Win Game 6, Down to Last Strike Twice

One of the classic World Series games of all time was played last night. With the St. Louis Cardinals trailing by 2 headed into the bottom of the ninth, and the Texas Rangers one strike away from their first championship in franchise history, the Cards got a 2 run triple to tie the game and send it into extra innings. Not to be outdone, the Rangers immediately responded with a 2 run home run to take a 9-7 lead.

The crowd was silent in St Louis, as coming back from 2 runs down in the last frame is at best a 10-1 shot, and they had already captured lightning in a bottle once in the 9th inning. But destiny smiled upon the Cards, who would not fold, and once again down to their last strike in the bottom of the 10th, with Texas one pitch away from winning it all, managed to come off the mat and tie the game AGAIN. They held Texas at 9-9 for the next half inning, and when they took the field again, won the game with a majestic, epic walk off home run to dead center field to clinch a game 7 appearance.

The only comparison I can make is to the Mets in the 1999 NLCS, who just would not die, and this years Tampa Bay Rays. Tomorrow surely cant live up to what we saw tonight - but one thing is certain, we will finally see a champion emerge from a 7 game World Series for the ages.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

GT Battlefield 3 Review

Is this is best multiplayer FPS game ever made? Only one way to find out...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection - Gameplay

The 1080p 60FPS upgrade of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2), Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (PS2), and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP) is right around the corner, coming out on November 8th. I forgot to mention this collection as one of the titles I will definitely be purchasing this year. Its coming out on the Xbox 360 as well as PS3, and at this point Im not 100% which console I will be purchasing it for, but I will probably get the limited edition which comes with a nice 250 page art book. The game is epic like that.

Metal Gear is the defining franchise of the stealth action genre, with all due regards to Sam Fischer and Splinter Cell, because the singular artistic vision of Hideo Kojima has never been compromised in the history of the game's production. Say what you will about the convoluted plot and cutscenes which approached the length of short films by release of MGS4, the stealth gameplay in MGS remains unmatched. Im not sure how the series will fair with the future release of MGS: Rising sometime next year, what with the central character being Raiden and the gameplay focused around sword fighting, but as long as Kojima-san is at the helm, Im sure the title will be be a true Metal Gear game.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic: Beta Impressions

This is not footage I took, or even of the same class I was playing, but it should give you a basic idea of what the early part of Bioware's $100M MMO should be like. Now I know what you are thinking, $100M gets me this? Shouldnt it be, you know, a bit more impressive? Well I have to agree, it doesnt look like something that couldnt have been made 10 years ago in terms of the gameplay and overall presentation/design of the game. But unfortunately ALL MMOs are like this, they cant deviate too much from the baseline without alienating the base of players who pay to play them.

In terms of the graphical fidelity and performance, I think the game looks good but its not even remotely close to being stunning, in fact, its fairly dated looking. The walking and combat animations are passable, but weaker than The Force Unleashed. I actually like the anime Clone Wars stylized art design of TOR, and the game runs pretty smoothly on a decent dual core machine with a year old 512MB videocard, and the CGI cutscenes, of which there are plenty, are truly awesome - so those are the positives.

The negatives are many, starting with the bugs and glitches, which are abundant. I was able to totally break the game within a few hours, rendering a character unplayable by glitching into the geometry behind a building and ending up in an underwater soup, stuck in a swimming animation where I was unable to use my teleport ability. The quests seemed to work fairly well compared to the prehistoric game physics, but in general they were pretty boring and basic - just far too conventional - go fetch this, scan that, kill X number of these. I was just soloing most of the time and got up to around level 8. My main complaint is that the combat is pretty MMO-like and clunky (click mouse button, hit hotkey, repeat) and not in any way an improvement over KOTOR - but not any worse either.

That being said, its still addictive - I played till 6am and was entertained most of the time, even thought the whole thing was a bit bland feeling, it gives you that RPG itch where you want to see just one more ability, one more item, one more level. Also, the community aspect of it is great - I got stuck on one quest and almost quit when I realized there were 4-5 people in my area doing the same quest, so I just hit "Enter" and typed in "HOW DO YOU SCAN THE DROIDS?" and quickly got a response. Also, a guy randomly healed me a few times when I was down, and a couple times players would see me battling with a group of monsters way bigger and tougher than myself, and jump in to help once I got down to 20% health and started to flee.

Im going to buy the game, because every few years I try to get into a big new MMO and give the genre another shot, and furthermore, I did enjoy KOTOR 1 and 2 and Im a fan of the films, if not as much of a fan as I used to be. But I wont be paying for a year up front. The beta is good in that it has you rate the quality and "fun" of each quest and allows you to submit bug reports with screenshots from an in game menu, so I think they will improve the experience a bit in the 10 weeks they have before the game releases (its only a one weekend beta). But for $100M, they need to impress me a lot more if they want my $15 every month - Im talking space combat, awesome ground vehicles, balanced PvP, huge PvE siege raids, big bosses, and epic storytelling. Right now, Im not sure the game will deliver on any of those things. Only buying the finished product and getting up to a high level will tell. See you all on there December 20th.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bing Blang Blaow


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dark Souls - Digital S&M

I played a bit of Demons Souls and watched ubercrunch play through it on his PS3. It was one of the more painful experiences Ive ever had watching someone else play a game, and playing it myself wasnt exactly what I would call fun. The game didnt just kill you. It kicked you in the balls, spat on your face, and mocked you while wept. Apparently, the sequel Dark Souls, not only mocks you while you are weeping, it vivisects you with a rusty screwdriver, lets the vultures finish off your entrails, then rapes your corpse repeatedly and films it for your family to watch.

Its not just the difficulty, but the way the entire game is presented. It is sadistic by design. It is designed to break you mentally. The official IGN review refers FROM Software's unnatural desire to unleash the player into "harrowing spirals of despondency and self-pity." One hit kills. Permanent item loss. Curse effects which stack repeatedly - enough to ruin a gamesave. To say the least, the game isnt for everyone.

Apparently, its also a masterpiece for those who are brave enough to spend the requisite 60-100 hours of grinding and thousands of deaths necessary to reach the finish. As you might have guessed, I wont be one of those players. To those who will attempt the journey, I salute you.

You sick, sick masochistic fuckers.