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Bearded Gent's blog

2:54 PM on 11.06.2012

Halo 4, early perspective from a Halo noob

There's something so epic about this picture.

So, I'll begin by saying that when it comes to Halo I'm actually quite inexperienced. I played the first one, and the second. I enjoyed them immensely for their story-telling and fun campaign. Since that time, I haven't touched the series nor kept up with the lore. When I decided to jump back into the fray with Halo 4, I brushed up on my lore thanks to the magic of the internet but still did not find the time to play through the rest of the series. The kindly, actually he was rather hateful looking, FedEx man dropped off my brand new copy of 4 about two hours ago and I eagerly began playing.

See the amount of ammo in the rifle and the reserves? I have a bad feeling that this will be a common number through the whole game.

Right from the start, I'm glad I caught up on my lore and I'm glad I've been watching the Forward Onto Dawn web series. Had I not, I would have no freaking idea what was going on. The first "mission" of the game is action packed and sets up what appears to be an excellent story. It was within this first re-introduction that I realized, I am really bad at FPS games. Titles like Borderlands 2 have spoiled me. They're too easy. This was a shocking revelation that came when I died a good seven times in a row during the first big fire-fight. It was from not paying close enough attention to my shields and enemy location. This is sad, I thought, because I'm playing on Normal and I'm getting my ass handed to me on the first level. Well, punishment is a cruel but effective teacher as I now know to watch my ass and keep my head low when that damn shield warning is blaring in my ears.

One thing I'm not happy with so far is the total lack of ammunition. I've been constantly having to pick up discarded Covenant weapons. Since I can only carry any two firearms at a time and the ammo for those seems to be very low. This is magnified by the fact that I'm a poor shot, another sad fact that I'm quickly having to teach myself not to be. I do hope it won't be so bad in later levels. It's not that I mind having to scavenge for weapons after my current ammo is spent but having to hold "X" to do so in the middle of being shot at is quite annoying.

I'm a fan of how much expression they've given to Cortana.

Despite that little gripe, the game is quite stellar. Perhaps I am really just a baddie that needs to improve my game. Something that I'm sure will happen with practice. Stepping into multiplayer, which I plan to do after I've beaten the single player portion will be interesting to say the least. For those of you who picked up Halo 4, what are your thoughts on it so far? Do you share my ammo woes?   read

4:01 PM on 11.01.2012

Yo Ho Me Hearties! AC III Gave Me Sea Legs

There is something to be said about Assassin's Creed 3's naval gameplay. It is incredibly fun. So fun, in fact, that I believe there could be a full fledged game in here if it's done right.

For those of you that have yet to play AC III or for you out there that don't plan to for whatever reasons, at some point you will acquire your very own ship. Navigating is done from from behind the Captain (you) with a wide angled view of your ship's front half. The bob of the ship as it cuts through the waves, the sound of gulls overhead, and the movement of your crew as your order them about. All of these things and quite a bit more, are presented so well that you can't help but order her to full sail just so you can see what she's made of. The whole process of controlling the ship, which is quite nimble at half-sail but a bit touchy at full-sail, is a great feeling as there's just the right amount of feedback from your controller to the actions of your mighty vessel on screen.

Battles against other ships are thrilling events as you both jockey for an advantageous position, one that lines your enemy up to face the full force of a cannon volley. Hearing Connor yell orders to his crew to "HOLD" then "FIRE!" might just make you nerdgasm all over yourself when you see what a perfectly placed round of cannon balls to do to an opposing ship. Pieces fly through the air, they are knocked a bit off course, and even crew members can go flying into the drink. Your crew cheers as they begin to sink and you turn her hard around to align yourself in order to fire another volley at a ship approaching your opposite side. Even being fired upon is a spectacle as you order your men to brace themselves and everyone grabs onto something while cannon balls smash into your flank.

There is a game here, the mechanics are there to make one hell of a naval based title. It might be just me, but I'm thinking pirates! So far, the sea going parts of AC III have easily been my favorites. How do you feel about the inclusion of naval gameplay, for those of you that are playing AC III?

Edit: Added this funny because it's true comic from PA. Just because.

3:08 PM on 10.29.2012

Choke Hold Simulator 2012: Dishonored

I have a confession. I do not like Dishonored. It's not that I didn't want to love it, I really did. On the surface, it's a new IP set in an interesting world. Full of otherworldly beings (well, at least one), political back-stabbing, and revenge. No, I wanted to love you Dishonored, but you wouldn't let me.

My problem isn't with the visuals, the sounds, story, controls. Oh, nay nay. My problem is with design choices the developers made. You're an assassin. You're out for revenge and you're given these amazing supernatural abilities to help you accomplish your goal. Yet, you're punished for it. For those of you not aware of it; the more people you kill the more guards, rats (the source of the plague, terrorizing the general population), and Weepers (Zombies, ok? They're zombies caused by the plague.) you'll encounter on the next mission you do. Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm all for upping the challenge by throwing more obstacles in my way. Obviously if I'm slaughtering all the guards and/or thugs in my path on one level, by all means increase them on the next. More lambs for the slaughter, and you have many fun ways of slaughtering them all.

Oh, that's going to have a negative impact on your storyline my friend.

My issue is that the story becomes negatively impacted by killing. Now, I could understand this if you go about killing innocent people. But guards and thugs? Really? At no point during the game, no matter how many guards you've spared do they even remotely act as though your previous mercy matters. They will still do their best to kill you. Not once does a single guard turn his back and be like "Oh, yeah, it's you. Well, since you haven't killed any of us in the past four missions, I'll just turn my back and pretend I didn't see you. Carry on. I hope you get your revenge and all that". No. They WILL kill you. So, in order to get the "good" ending, you can't kill anyone. Well, how do you go about that should things not go your way and you're facing down three or four guards ready to take your head? You run away. Yeah. The developers never once thought that perhaps they should have given you a non-lethal melee option for dealing with these people? Seems a little odd since you're so easily captured by an elbow to the face within the first ten minutes of the game.

So, Dishonored gives players the illusion of choice. You're free to go through the game as non-violently as possible or kill everyone. But, for those of us out there they actually like getting the good ending, we're limited to putting people in choke holds for the entire game with the exception of your primary target. High ranking movers and shakers. No, it's totally moral to kill them but not the guys in uniform trying to shoot your face off.

Sure, shoot at me all you want. I'll just run away and hide until you somehow forget I was there and stop looking for me.

What I found humorous was the uselessness of one of the powers you're able to get. Turning bodies into ash. Now, the first level of this power turns anyone you kill without being detected into ash. The second level turns anyone at all into ash regardless of if they saw you or not. The idea behind the rats and thus the plague spreading due to your killing is because you're leaving bodies behind for the rats to spread the plague further. Even if you have the second upgrade to the instant ash body disposal system, you still see an increase in the number of rats, plague, and Weepers. There's no body. It went "poof" the minute I stuck my sword through that guy's neck! How does that work, exactly?

I recognize that Dishonored is a good game. It really is, but Dishonored's false level of "freedom" ruined the experience for me in such a way that I couldn't bring myself to even get close to finishing the game.   read

11:48 AM on 10.28.2012

I'm Microsoft's Cow

This is what we are.

Allow me to talk a bit about milking the consumer. This will be focused on the Xbox 360, as it's the current console that I own but the others are just as guilty of it in their own ways. What is milking the consumer? Well, quite simply, it is designing your product in such a way that the consumer is paying more for your products than they should.

As I stated. I recently received my new 360 as a gift. For it, I am grateful. I received the 4GB version and as I already knew, I would need a hard drive as soon as possible because 4GB isn't even close to enough storage space. I also have my console set up on a 22 inch 1080p monitor with HDMI and I use a headset for my sound. So, I also knew up front that I would need the adapter. My question is, why? Why do I need a $20 adapter in order to run my video through HDMI yet my sound through a headset? Why is the 320GB HDD $130 when other drives with the same storage space are half that price? The answer is, because they can.

There is no good reason for this to be over $100.

It's our own fault, as consumers, that we allow this sort of money bleeding to happen. But Bearded, you might say, they didn't force you to buy those things. Your 360 was perfectly functional without them. Yes, yes it was. To a point. 4GB of space is nothing. Anyone that has a 360 already knows that. It fills up fast. With Borderlands 2's content, I now have less than a gig left. Not even enough to download a demo. So, no, a hard drive IS needed. I just ordered one, but I didn't buy Microsoft's brand. I ordered mine from Newegg. 320GB for $69.99. Half the price of Microsoft's with the same functionality. The same can be said for that adapter. It's not needed and there are work-arounds but why should we have to jump through hoops for something we should have provided to us to start with?

This streams things like Netflix without paying an extra monthly fee.

Look at Xbox Live. Charging for your online service? Fine, if you're giving me my money's worth. Trying to force people into paying through various underhanded means? Not good. Why do I have to have a Gold account to watch Netflix or Hulu Plus? I'm already paying for them, why do I need to pay again for something I already pay for? It's a very bad practice and it's one that we've let happen.

I shouldn't need this.

How do we stop such things? We stop buying them. If enough consumers stop letting themselves be milked by these means, then it will force a change. As I said, the big three are all guilty of this sort of behavior in their own ways. Even individual game companies do it through micro-transactions. It has to stop.   read

2:13 PM on 10.27.2012

A Re-Introduction

Hello everyone. This particular post will be a re-introduction of sorts for me as I've been a long-time lurker around Destructoid and I have made a few posts in the past which I have now "hidden" in order to start anew. So if you'd like to know a bit more about me and more about what this blog will be about, read on.

This looks like a familiar image from my childhood only I had few buttons to press and no one beside me.

We'll get the about me stuff out of the way. My name is Dallas, I live in the Chattanooga area, I'm 35, and I'm a stay-at-home caregiver for my spouse. As far as my gaming background goes, I have been gaming from the wee age of three years old. I started with the Intellivision because we could not afford an Atari at the advice of my pediatrician in order to help control my hyperactivity and ADD. Of course, back then, it wasn't really called "ADD". But, whatever you want to call it, the doctor's advice worked as I learned to sit still and gaming improved my concentration considerably.

Over the years I have, at one point or another, owned every console and handheld to hit the market. Now, prior to 2010, I had all three current generation consoles and both handhelds. Due to my wife's sudden disability, I sold my consoles in order to get a little extra cash. Recently, I was gifted a new Xbox 360 which I am most grateful for as gaming has always been a big part of my life and it was sorely missed.

Now, onto what you can expect from this blog and from me.

I am not a games journalist. At one point in my life, I wanted to be. I love gaming, reading, and writing so it seemed like a good fit. But, given the state of games journalism today, I would much rather be a gamer that writes about games. That's it. That is all I am and all I have the desire to be. As such, you can expect me to be honest about any topic I post here. If I think something is crap, I will tell you that I think it's crap and why I feel that way. I won't try to persuade you to agree with my opinions, I will just present them. When I review a title, you can be sure that I've played the hell out of it. Perhaps I've "beaten" it, if not then I've at least logged a good amount of time on it. Also, regarding reviews, you will not find scores here. I will tell you about the game, give my impressions of it, and try to do so in a way that conveys my feelings about it. If I had fun with it or not, the problems it might have, or any outstanding features (good or bad) it might have. If you want a score, there are thousands of other places to see one. If you want to read someone's impression of a title you're curious about in hopes of learning if you'd like to experience it for yourself, you'll find that here. At the end of each review I do, I will tell you if I think it's worth a rental or a buy along with why I feel that way. Many of you rent games as they're expensive and not many people can afford to buy every title they want to play. I hope to help that sometimes difficult decision along.

She likes cuddling and murder.

So, this concludes my little re-introduction. I do hope I see a great many of you in the time to come. Currently, my 360's friend list is completely empty since I just received it and started up a new account (I could not recover my old account because I had a moment of jackassness. In which, I mean that I could not remember my old account information). If you would like to game with me, please feel free to send an invite and let me know you're from DToid. I will be more than pleased to game with any of you providing you're not the type to hack or cheat your way through. That said, I have been playing a lot of Borderlands 2 and I just started Pirate's Booty last night. I would welcome more people as I've been playing solo and it's becoming quite bland.   read

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