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About
NAME: Steve
AGE: 27
GENDER: Male
LOCATION: Southern Ontario, Canada
OCCUPATION: Maple syrup producer
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ONLINE IDs:
PSN (PS3/Vita): CelicaCrazed
Steam: CelicaCrazed
Wii U: CelicaCrazed

CURRENTLY PLAYING:
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Spelunky (Vita)
NHL 14 (PS3)



BLOG ARCHIVE

GAMEtoid:
-LOVE/HATE Session: NHL 12
-Getting PSYCHED for Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
-The Value in Researching: A Story of Annelid Economics (Worms 2: Armageddon)
-PS3 Updated Photo Gallery & PSN FaceBook App
-PlayStation Home Just Got Relevant Again!! (Warhawk-related)
-From the Desk of Paradise City's Mayor
-XBox 360: I apparently now have one.
-Left 4 Dead to Rise Like a Zombie on the PS3??
-NHL 09

WORDtoid:
-An Open Market: PSN Restrictions Removed
-Predictions, Anticipations, Resolutions: The 2012 Ed.
-10 Reasons Why I'm a Disgrace to Gamers Everywhere
-HELP! I am a PSN Card Junkie!!: The Blessing and Curse of Digital Distribution

(PLAYSTATION) HOME FOR THE WEEKENDtoid:
-Something About E3 (Front Paged)
-WH, R2, PJ, R&C and EA
-Introduction

COMMUNItoid:
-I <3 Destructoid
-Nike+ and the Destructoid Running Club are GO!!

BETAtoid:
-Battlefield: Bad Company 2
-Fat Princess


WALL OF LOVE:

Why FatherChesz is AWESOME!


B-Ball Kirby by Beyamor


Evolution of My Avatar:

The Classic


Christmas Special


World Cup Aspirations


Maple-Flavoured


Brain-Muncher


Cross-Marketing
Player Profile
PSN ID:CelicaCrazed
Wii U code:CelicaCrazed
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Twitter:@CelicaCrazed
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Let’s get it out of the way quick: Mario Kart 8 is great.

I bought a Wii U just for the game and never suffered any buyer’s remorse like I have with many new consoles. That’s not to say the game is perfect but it does a lot right. So in honour of the soon-to-be-released second DLC pack and 200cc mode, I thought I’d take a look back and share my detailed thoughts on the game.

LOVE pretty graphics

The first thing you notice playing Mario Kart 8 is that it’s pretty. Super pretty. The colours are bright and pop, the locales are highly detailed and the motion is buttery smooth. It is such a gorgeous-looking game and I’m still in awe all these months after its release. It is also amazing seeing tracks like Donut Plains 3 (SNES) not only in 3D but high definition. Feels familiar but completely new.

One of my favourite touches is just how animated and expressive the drivers are. Their heads are on swivels, always surveying the track. They show excitement and disappointment as they pass or get passed. Drifting, tricking, boosting, hitting…..just about everything draws an emotion out of the characters which adds life to the game.

HATE missing features

There are a few features that seem to be missing from Mario Kart 8 that don’t really make sense. The biggest omission to me is the lack of race timer. Unless you’re doing time trials, the game doesn’t display your lap times or final time. It bothers me that I don’t get to see how close photo finishes are. I like numbers!

I had thought the onscreen map was still missing but it turns out you need to hit the (–) button to display it. Took me long enough to figure that out! They probably could have explained stuff like that a little more clearly because I know I’m not the only one who had beaten multiple cups before realizing you can display your vehicle’s stats on the selection screen.

I’m not sure if the last couple Mario Karts have had it but I really liked the Mission Mode on the DS version. It gave single-player a bit more life. Would have also liked a bit more control over custom matches (I’m thinking Smash Bros level of control) since they’re kind of barebones.

LOVE mechanics

Pretty graphics only gets you so far. Fortunately even all these months later, Mario Kart 8 feels incredible! The controls are responsive for a tight driving experience and fluid drifting. It almost feels more like you’re flowing along with a rushing river than driving at times.  This might be my favourite Mario Kart for the feel alone. The sense of speed is also great with the game never feeling too sluggish. 200cc may be terrifying! Between mushrooms, tricking, drifting, drafting, and boost pads, you’re constantly moving forward quickly.

The control scheme is as simple as ever. Gas, drift/hop, item/horn. Only three buttons you need to remember. There’s also a brake if you’re planning on losing the race. I’m not a fan of motion-controlled steering but it is there if you want it. The Pro controller is perfect for the game and there’s nothing wrong with the Wiimote + nunchuk combo. Pretty comfortable actually. The gamepad feels a tad bulky but I really only use it if I’m playing splitscreen and need a controller or playing offscreen while watching TV in the background.

I was annoyed when I heard Mario Kart 7 would have “gliders”. Even more so when I read about the “anti-gravity sections” in Mario Kart 8. Why mess with what works!? Fortunately both mesh incredibly well with the core gameplay, including the underwater sections. Gliding gave the track designers more freedom with their track layouts, connecting to distant spots or acting as a giant pitfall for unlucky racers. The anti-gravity portions work even better in my opinion. It allows for tracks to invert or go along at odd angle, often with spectacular views. A cool mechanic along these sections is that bumping opponents causes both racers to get a speed boost. This can also backfire as an unexpected collision can cause you to rocket off the track if you weren’t prepared. Speaking of which, Lakitu quickly retrieves you when you fall off the course, getting you back into the action faster than past Mario Kart games which is much welcomed.

HATE battle mode

If you’ve ever read a Mario Kart article on the front page over the past year, chances are you’ve seen me complaining about battle mode. So honestly, what the fuck Nintendo!? Whether it was playing 1 vs 1 on the SNES, battling for YEARS on the N64, teaming up in 2 vs 2 on the GC or mixing it up with bots & human game-sharers for maximum chaos on the DS, battle mode has always been a staple of the series. It was a lock to provide some of the most fun and best gaming memories every console generation. Oh right, the problems….

First of all, there’s no battle arenas. Crazy, right? Instead you battle it out on the regular race tracks. The problem with this is that many of the tracks are massive and you can go significant time without seeing another player. Or you see them, miss with a shell, and they’re gone leaving you to search out someone again. Nintendo tried to pull the “Please understand” and “Give it a chance” bullshit but no. It is an embarrassment they pulled this off.

Another problem using tracks is there’s no verticality. You can’t drop down on someone from above and you’re basically moving in one of two directions. While there are some open areas or wider tracks, most are fairly narrow and slow you down too much trying to escape by going off-road.

The pop-up map would be much more useful if it was placed in the middle of the screen while playing splitscreen. As it is each person gets a super mini map and it’s difficult to quickly glance at it and make any sense of it. Having it in the middle wouldn’t eat too much real-estate from everyone’s screen and would allow it to be bigger.

Battle mode is also severely lacking in modes. There’s a balloon-type mode….and that’s it. No shine-thief, shine-runner, coin-runner or Bob-omb blast. While I’ve never had any problem with just balloon-popping, in a game already lacking battle content it makes it feel even more like an after-thought than anything.

Nintendo, I will pay money, more money into something I already bought, for at least ONE(!) true battle course. Please, I’m begging at this point.

LOVE balanced gameplay

As far as I can tell, Mario Kart 8 is fairly balanced. It continues the tradition from the past few games of allowing you to customize your kart along with stats, but nothing feels too dominate. I never played Mario Kart Wii but I heard that the motorbikes were over-powered and weapon-spamming was a problem. While they’re generally still faster than karts, there’s no more wheelie-boosts and it’s much harder to generate drift-boosts with them.

Snaking that ruined Mario Kart DS’ online mode is also still gone. No more need to wiggle the stick to generate sparks. Just hold the drift button and lean into the corner. The sharper the drift, the faster the stronger boost is reached.

Weapon-spamming also seems to be gone (was it ever really that bad?). One of the things that took me aback the first time I played was that priming/holding your weapon no longer allows you to pick up a second item. I felt a little exposed. I quickly appreciated this though as it means races are determined more by your actual driving skills than luck. In past games being in first was almost like a death kiss, you were going to get messed up and it was going to cost you dearly. In Mario Kart 8 though, it might just be the safest position. Positions 2 to 4 aren’t getting anything much more dangerous than green shells and no one is launching anything back from in front of you. Can’t worry about the odd blue shell since it’ll take out anyone behind you and catch anyone unlucky enough to be in the blast radius. Plus there’s a shockwave weapon that you can even use to repel it. The poor racers in the middle and back of the pack are in thunderdome though. They all get heavy fire power and they’re mostly using it on each other, shooting it both forwards and backwards. Get up and in front as quickly as you can and laugh all the way to the finish line.

HATE missing characters

Incoming #FirstWorldProblem: while Mario Kart 8 has the largest roster of characters in the series so far, I’m disappointed with some of the inclusions and replacements. I like the Koopa Kids. They all feel like their own characters and fit in nicely. I’m not that crazy about all the baby characters but I get that this is a family game and kids might like to play as them. Adults too I guess. Now there’s something called a Pink Gold Peach? Sure, okay. What I don’t understand is why characters like Bowser Jr, Diddy, Boo, Birdo and Petey were axed. Those seem like weird omissions.

There were some weapons that I was sad to see go too. The fake weapon box is the big one. It was always such an asshole-item but that’s what made it awesome. The rage it produced was palatable. The lack of the Boo item is also unfortunate. No more turning invisible and stealing an item from someone else. I’m not a fan of the boomerang but Crazy 8 at least lives up to its name.

LOVE dlc

One of the biggest surprises about Mario Kart 8 was the fact that there would be DLC. It just seemed like something Nintendo would never do for one of their main franchises. Even more surprising was that it added a ton of content at a fair price. We gamers aren’t used to not getting gouged these days. The first pack that dropped brought three new characters, new vehicles & parts, and two new cups (8 tracks in total). That will double with the second pack, along with the new Yoshi & Shy Guy colours if you preordered both packs.

The Mercedes karts are a little jarring. Seeing realistic-looking vehicles in a cartoony game feels a little out of place but at least it was free. Can’t complain about that!

It’s almost a given that when you buy a Nintendo product, you’re getting a ton of heart and soul poured into it (battle mode aside). That wasn’t more evident than with the addition of Link to the cast alongside his motorbike inspired by Epona. The Hyrule course is impressive for how faithfully they kept to the Zelda universe, from collecting rupees instead of coins to the classic chest-opening jingle when collecting items. Same thing with the Mute City track from F-Zero.

On the immediate horizon is the second DLC pack that will add Animal Crossing characters and tracks. It looks to be keeping faith to both it and the Mario Kart series. Along with it will be the free upgrade with the fastest Mario Kart mode ever: 200cc. Buckle up kids!

LOVE online racing

Sometimes I forget I’m playing actual people online.

It is incredibly simple to play online. You log on, join a race and you’re in a match. Very easy to play a handful of races or go all afternoon. The weirdest thing is that since there’s only minimal communication that is performed via Miis, it makes each online experience feel cheerful and supportive. It’s the antithesis of local multiplayer. I know a lot of people complain about Nintendo’s lack of voice chat in their games but I’m starting to think they’re on to something here. It’s nice hoping on for a quick race and not having to mentally prepare for verbal abuse. Makes me less worried about a game like Splatoon. If you create a custom game you can use voice chat with friends though. It wasn’t completely banished.

Also nice is that it’s one of the few online games that runs relatively smoothly for me. Living way out in a rural area using satellite internet, lag is such a common issue that I’ve more or less stopped online gaming. It’s probably been years since I’ve consistently participated in Friday Night Fights! Somehow though, Mario Kart 8 doesn’t give me that many problems. There’s the occasional race where I finish in front of someone only to be pushed back a spot or two (why I mostly want the race timer) but it’s never enough to ruin my night.

While I haven’t taken part in many tournaments, the cool thing about them is that it many races can be held at once with the points being compared against everyone. You can even set it so that every couple of races the matchups will be shuffled to make it fairer.

HATE online options

Ok, maybe the main online portion can be a little too simple.

One problem is that once you select a character and kart, you can’t change without exiting the server you’re in. So in a way, this kind of prevents you from experimenting with a combination of karts and parts since you’ll stick with what works for you. Not a big deal.

More of an issue is that you can’t access your home screen while online. Even worse, there’s no system or menu in place that lets you see if any of your friends have launched the game either. From the other end, if you go online and see someone is racing, you can easily join their match. They won’t know you’ve joined unless they recognize your Mii so I’ve chased a few friends from match to match trying to get a few matches in against them. This. Is. Annoying!

LOVE replays

One of the coolest features in the game is the replay, mostly because it’s incredibly simple to use. You can save an entire match or just snippets (30/45/60seconds) and make it focus on certain aspects like hits, drifting or everything. You can also follow up to 4 players to get a varied look. Not only does it give you a chance to admire your awesome driving skills, it lets you see stuff you would have normally overlooked during a race. Also the camera does a great job of making the action look epic. You can also upload your replays to YouTube or the Miiverse with a click of the share button.

The Wii U will store the replays of your last handful of races so you don’t need to be on top of them all the time if there’s something you want to save. Hitting the – button after a race will allow you to quickly save the current one though.

Mario Kart TV is the portal that lets you view the videos of other racers. For the most part I don’t care what the general public posts but hidden towards the back, there’s a folder for your friends’ videos. Those are the ones I want! There’s also another folder for videos from tournaments you’ve joined.

FUTURE

What is exciting about this entry in the racing franchise is that Nintendo has shown they’re willing to expand on the base product. The new characters, karts and courses were all greatly appreciated. 200cc was completely unexpected. So maybe, hopefully, Nintendo will have more surprises in store for Mario Kart 8 throughout the year. E3 is still months away but it’s never too early to start coming up with a wish list.

Battle Arenas

This is a must. They have to. There is literally no issue in gaming bigger to me than correcting this hellish mistake. Maybe they needed the game out ASAP to help sell Wii Us. Maybe they thought people didn’t care. Now is the time to fix it! I would be more than happy with the four courses from Mario Kart 64 and nothing else. Throw in another mode or two and I’d be over the moon. Just do something, Nintendo. Anything! Please!

Double Dash Mode

When Nintendo revealed that Smash Bros would have an 8-player mode, my mind could only think of one thing: DOUBLE DASH!! Mario Kart Double Dash was an underplayed but far from underappreciated game on the GameCube. It may not have been what we wanted from a new Mario Kart when it was released but man was it good! It was a bold experiment that they actually pulled off successfully. As the name vaguely suggests, the game involves racing karts piloted by two characters. One person drives, the other throws weapons and helps to drift. The coolest thing was that if you had a LAN adapter for your GC, you could theoretically play with up to 16 players. Eight teams of two. While I’ve never experienced this true vision of the game, I can only imagine how fun it would be. I weep for my ignorance.

The biggest hurdle for this idea is that 1) Nintendo would have to actually make the GameCube controller adapter for Wii U available to more than just scalpers, and 2) would have to set aside resources to actually make the game. It just might be too much work for DLC. Framing it as an expansion or companion game might make more sense, similar to Super Luigi U.

And I mean, c’mon! Mario Kart 8….8-player mode…it speaks for itself! Having 4 teams of 2 could easily be pulled off on the Wii U. This will be the biggest missed opportunity of the generation if it doesn’t happen. I’ll complain about it for years!

Party Features

In a different spectrum of extreme multiplayer ideas, something I recently realized the game really needs is a true “Party Mode”. I had family over for Easter and of course Mario Kart was played since everyone can play it (not that everyone does). There were about ten of us huddled around the TV and we play the two winners go on, the two losers swap out. The first problem is that people like playing as different characters with different karts and playing styles. Another problem is keeping track of whose turn it is (we’re all adults but we’re still the assholes we were a decade or two ago). Having a mode where you pick your Mii then select your character and kart, letting the game decides who races who (maybe only one person gets swapped out, maybe everyone does, maybe the two people who stayed on have to switch screens/controllers) would help to keep things moving. This way a scoring system could also be constructed to include everyone instead of just having it be mostly ignored. Sort of similar to the online tournaments I guess. Even more extreme, having this party mode include both racing and battle mode (once it’s fixed) for a multi-event competition.

Sit down and listen to this. The most extreme of the extreme is taking that idea, combining it with the double dash mode along with constantly swapping partners, and living with the fact that the absolute perfect party game has now been made. Imagine the money, Nintendo. Imagine it all!

Wrapping Up

Alright, thanks for reading my thoughts! It’s been a few years since I’ve done this whole blogging thing. If anyone still has yet to add me on the Wii U, my NNID is CelicaCrazed.

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The other day Elsa made a blog post about the PS3 shooter Dust 514 and explained why we should be excited. The gist of the game is that it is a class-based, first-person shooter based on the EVE Online universe with some interconnectivity with people playing the real-time strategy game on their computers. More importantly, itís free-to-play. No ifs, ands or buts. Thereís no subscription fee, no activation cost or unfair advantages to paying. How is this even feasible? Well it turns out CCP worked with Sony to remove PSN restrictions in regards to updating games. The key point was that it wasnít ďrelaxedĒ but ďremovedĒ. They no longer have to pay or be approved by Sony to apply patches. This turns out to be a pretty big deal.

In a recent interview with Hook Shot Inc., Tim Schafer revealed that his Kickstarter game wonít be found on the PS3 or 360. Part of this reason is because the price to update games costs developers $40,000 on these networks. For indie and small developers, thatís a huge financial burden if a game requires several patches and especially so if theyíre trying to push the game out for $5 or less. Now some gamers may say that games shouldnít be released until theyíre finished and thoroughly checked like ďin the good old daysĒ but business is conducted differently now, for better or worse. The $40,000 required is likely why many developers only intermittently update their games, and why developers such as LightBox and Naughty Dog have to go out of their way to create an infrastructure that allows them to apply a hotfix to their game and bypass Sonyís quality assurance.

From the interview with Eurogamer, we learn that this deal isnít exclusively for Dust 514 either and other developers will be able to take advantage of these new policies. This couldnít come at a more opportune time. Recently we found out that Valve was dropping PC-vs-PS3 cross-platform support on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive because of the hurdles preventing them from updating the game as often and fast as they wanted. Instead of pushing updates through for the PC and PS3 at the same time, Iím assuming updates on the PS3 would have had to gone through Sonyís QA first, which takes up both time and money. Now Iím not sure if this news has changed Valveís decision but it will definitely be enticing for other developers. Is it too late for me to ask for a legitimate version of Team Fortress 2 on the console? Hats for all??

In another Eurogamer interview, we learn that these new policies also stretch across the PlayStation brand, covering the PS3, Vita and PS Suite. Sony is attempting to attract developers away from the more open networks of Steam and mobile markets. Theyíre taking a more hands-off approach with developers allowing them to have greater control over their games. We have already seen how horribly PS Minis have failed so these new policies should help to make the Vita in particular even more competitive. This may be speculation on my part but we could see developers selling games at the prices they want, instead of the tiered system Sony seems to use, and decide when they want their game to go on sale. This could also be another strong push to get developers to start thinking about bringing their next ideas to the eventual PlayStation 4.

Now Iím sure it wonít all be clear sailing. If developers are free to update their games as much as they want, Iím sure we can expect more than a few patches that cause gameplay to become unbalanced or even completely broken. On the other hand, it also lifts any excuses that developers may have such as Zipper when it comes to balancing their goddamn MAG maps in a reasonable amount of time or EA fixing voice-chat in most of their new releases. Thereís more pressure, but also more opportunity, for developers to provide us with the best possible game. Hell this may be a naive thought but we may even start to see the occasional added content for free again. Hello Burnout motorbikes!!

These new policies should provide us with some exciting news come E3. Can we expect some more MMOs on the PS3 now that thereís an environment that should allow them to succeed? Will indie developers see the Vita as a legitimate platform for their brainchild? Is it too late for Sony to challenge Apple in the tablet market? The lead-up to the conference should definitely be eventful.
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It wouldnít be the start of a new year without baseless speculation, hopeless dreaming and unattainable goals. With 2011 all but forgotten already, itís time to look forward towards the next 12 months and decide RIGHT NOW whether 2012 will be awesome or not. Since I canít keep up with the ďBloggers WantedĒ topics, Iím here to provide my own better hybrid. PREDICTIONS! ANTICIPATED GAMES! RESOLUTIONS!!


Iím an no fortune-teller. Hell, I have enough trouble deciding what Iíll be doing in the next five-minutes let alone knowing what will happen in five months!! Still, that doesnít stop me from entering a hypno-toad trance and becoming one with the cosmos where I DEFINITELY can see the future. If I can make drunk girls believe that theyíll end up sleeping with me on that night, how hard can it be to convince gamers to believe Iím psychic? Letís find out!! Oh and um...can you guys take a few shots before you start reading?? Thanks!

- Every single one of my resolutions, both of the personal and gamer variety, will fail

- Wii-U will be a hard sell for Nintendo; ďhardĒ in that this is the last generation we buy physical games.

- Xbox Live and PlayStation Network will break down at the same time; there becomes so much impotent rage on the internet that fanboys literally start hunting each other down to stab each other in the face.

- The 3DS will be redesigned; 2 slider pads will be included, also in 4D.

- A Microsoft handheld!? Nope.

- OnLive will provide legitimate competition for Steam; LOLOLOLOLOrigin.

- Nintendo finally releases the timeline for Super Mario Brothers

- No new Legend of Zelda: Four Swords game will be announced; Iíll take this terrible oversight way too personally.

- Pikmin 4 will be announced, still no mention of Pikmin 3.

- The PlayStation 3 finally gets a game.

- Call of Duty and Battlefield will get drunk at a party and then totally make out together; they spend the rest of the year pretending theyíre not gay for each other.

- Final Fantasy-branded (re)hash browns revitalize the Japanese breakfast industry

- The PlayStation Vita will get a Pokemon-like game in which you must collect all the kills by battling with weapons like guns, knives and grenades. Itíll be an FPS and actually nothing like Pokemon.

- Sega will be fire-bombed if they donít release another Jet Grind Radio. More of a threat than a prediction.

- Shigeru MiyamotoĎs new game turns out to be horribly racist; despite the feelings of the Irish, people still consider it less offensive than Wii Music.

- Sonic the Hedgehog arrested on prostitution charges; his pimp, ďSonic TeamĒ, is still at large

- After nearly a decade of speculation, the Phantom finally releases; now just an exclusive fart app on Android.

- I will run out of predictions

- HOLY SHIT THE LAST ONE WAS RIGHT!! :O


No matter how much I donít want to accept it, weíre heading towards the end of this generation. With the Wii-U set to hit shelves later this year and the successor to both the 360 and PS3 expected to be revealed at some point over the next 12 months, developers are winding down development on the consoles we come to love over the last six years. Scary! Itís not over yet though and we still have many games to be excited for. Here are some of my most anticipated games for 2012:


With the innovative ďBuild & BattleĒ system that allows you to call down structures from the sky, this third person shooter-turned-tower defence game has long been on my radar. A spiritual successor to the reason I bought my PlayStation 3 in the first place, Warhawk, the game seamlessly combines troop warfare, vehicular combat and aerial dogfighting to create an action-packed experience. While thereís still much work needed, the beta for Starhawk assured me that this may be the only multiplayer shooter I need in 2012. Grab a jetpack and see why I love them.


The original Borderlands was one of those rare games which was much more addictive than it had any right being. It was almost as addictive as the drugs it seems to frequently reference (read this awesome cblog by nekobun for just how frequent). Iíve put in a couple hundred hours between the PC and PS3 versions, and Iím once again trying to convince my roommates to do another round of it. Borderlands had a ton of room for improvement but itís synergistic quality just makes me salivate for the sequel. I cannot wait to play it!


Back in the day, vehicular combat games were my favourite type of games. While I didnít play much from the Twisted Metal series since I never owned a PlayStation or PS2, Iíve sunk countless hours into games like San Fransisco Rush 2049, Vigilante 8, Toy Commander and Mario Kart. This generation has been severely lacking in the genre so the new Twisted Metal is high on my anticipation list. So far the game sounds like it may be a bit complicated but the gameplay itself should be solid. Much of the old Incognito Entertainment team has moved on to Eat Sleep Play and I enjoyed enough of Warhawk to give them the benefit of the doubt. With vehicles, mechs, helicopters, destructible environments and 4 player splitscreen, I hope this game findings a footing in online communities.


I can blame all of YOU for having this game on my list. Mass Effect is a series with critical acclaim...that I have yet to play yet. Wait, Iím not done!! Peopleís excitement for ME3 has rubbed off on me and has given me the desire to play through the first two games. So basically Iím anticipating playing this series. That counts, right? Actually the same could be said for Bioshock and Dead Space which I hope to play through at some time this year. Now I just need to decide if I should start this series before getting to Dark Souls.


Life is the ultimate RPG and we should always try to max out our stats. While Iím happy with who I am, thereís always room for improvement in various areas of my character. Pushing yourself outside your boundaries allows you to gain experience points in aspects that may be underdeveloped or rarely used, helping to flesh out your persona. Anyways, here are some ways I would like to grow as a gamer:

- Play more games!
I know I technically should be cutting back on my gaming time but I donít play enough games for the amount of time I play. Too often I say Iíll be getting a game and then never do. I just need to start opening my wallet a bit and expand my library. I should probably try and get multiplayer games around the time they release too instead of waiting until everyoneís moved on already.

- Use voice chat!
You may have picked up on it already but Iím a pretty boring guy. Iím socially awkward at all times. Itís probably the main reason I never use a headset. Well when Iím back home itís difficult to use chat since I tend to play at night when everyone goes to bed and blah blah blah blah blah. I say it all the time but Iíll try and use my headset more often. Iíll try and be less self-conscious and more outgoing, stepping outside my comfort zone. I guess It is also dependent on whether my roommates are playing or watching.

- Force myself to play single player games!
I know I should only play games I enjoy, or thatís what I say all the time anyways, but too often I give up on a game because I rather be playing in a multiplayer match. I can already feel it happening between Deadly Premonition and Reach. That adrenaline rush you get while competing against other people is like a drug to me. I donít really get the same satisfaction beating up on bots, though itíll be a good skill to have whenever the robot uprising happens. Even still, I want to play single player games from time to time. Mass Effect is probably the game I want to play most right now, and I still want to get into the Metal Gear Solid, Dead Space and Bioshock series. I havenít forgotten about you either, Dark Souls!!

- Host some game nights!
This is another thing I say pretty often but I really do want to host more gaming nights. Friday nights are usually an inconvenient time for me to game, something Iím sure other Dtoiders feel the same way about. Iím not sure what games would attract a crowd but I think hosting it early on a weekday night/late evening could accommodate both East & West coasters. Unless everyone is going to be playing Team Fortress 2 on the Dtoid server because Iíd be totally fine with that too!!

- Blog more!
While Iíve never been much of a blogger on here, or more importantly interesting, I feel like I should be contributing some sort of amusement for those who want something to read. I only published one blog all of last year which was just sad. Iím just saying it now though, Iím not paying for your psychiatrist bills when I eventually say too much and scar you mentally O__O

Have a great year, Ďtoiders!!
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*blows dust off blog*

*coughs*

*cracks knuckles*

Give me a second here while I remember how to do this olí bloggy-thingy....alright....chairís comfy....glass is filled....candles are litÖ.aaaaaaand GO!!



If youíve ever had the misfortune of reading my thoughts either here on Destructoid or out in the Twitterverse, you may have at one time come across the fact that I have a slight appreciation for the sport of hockey. Save the gasps for later, please. Being both a gamer and a hockey fan means that I am cursed with a terrible affliction where I give Electronic Arts $59.99 plus tax every year in exchange for an NHL game I basically bought the previous year. It is number 10 on my ďTop 10 Disgraces as a GamerĒ list. Iím not here to talk to you about my inadequacies at this time (Iíll save that for my ex-girlfriends HEY-O!...oh wait no), Iím here to tell you about how one of my most anticipated games this year and every year, NHL 12, has caused a bit of a conundrum for me.

The biggest gripe that most gamers have with sports games is that they see them as nothing more than ďroster updatesĒ, bringing minimal changes that wouldnít require the full-priced purchase every year. Maybe theyíre right in a sense, but over the last half-decade I feel that this would be particularly untrue of EAís NHL franchise. Just like with the actual sport of hockey, some minor changes wonít be very noticeable but they may make a world of difference. NHL 12 is brimming with these small upgrades. So in lieu of an actual review (I did one for NHL 09, what the H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS do you want more from me!?) I am going to break down what I liked from the game and what I found to be annoying. Since Iím a gamer and a sports fan, this is going to be nauseatingly overdramatic. Get ready for a LOVE/HATE Session!!



The first time you fire up NHL 12, you are dropped into a tutorial. While I found it hilarious that fighting is the first thing the game teaches you after you learn how to shoot (this HAD to be done on purpose to screw with mainstream hockey writers), the new faceoff mechanics you get taught dropped my jaw. Forehand and backhand grips, stick lifts, tie ups and draw dekes, this is a fully fleshed out faceoff system. Just like how the Leafs are discovering this year with David ďStar DestroyerĒ Steckel, faceoffs are now more than just squaring up in the circle and whacking at the puck. It feels like skill and timing play a more important role. Itís not a huge deal but it does help to immerse you into the game and get the puck where or to who you want.



Speaking of immersion, the physics for the checking system in NHL 12 knocks you out of the moment worse than a stanchion to the face. EA upgraded the hitting mechanics and seemed to have left a few kinks in it. Players fall in the wrong direction, go down with injures from non-contact andÖ.huh, whatís that? Yes this happens to more than just the Vancouver Canucks! It is game wide and not because the virtual players are trying to draw Shanabans! It doesnít ruin the game, but it is pretty wonky and you will notice it. Same goes with the puck physics, where itíll occasionally jump into hyper-drive across the rink. The game also suffers from the occasional freeze, and Iím not talking about the playing surface here. Itís most noticeable for me in Be A GM mode, where the game will get held up on the loading screen or stop in the middle of a match. Also, itíll sometimes revert back to the default music even after I set the game to play a custom playlist. This is probably the first time in a long time that I donít care for an EA soundtrack. Itís about as disappointing as the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs.



Sometimes youíll play a game and see something so unexpected, something so realistic, that it just amazes you with what they can do in video games these days (LEAFS IN THE PLAYOFFS!?!?). NHL 12 is chalk full of these moments. In the first game I was playing, I skated up into the offensive zone and took a wrister that was blocked by the defenderís stick which exploded on contact, leaving me with a smirk on my face as I prepared to abuse this helpless player. Except that this did not happen! Before I could reach the loose puck, the defender dropped to a knee and batted the puck out of the zone with his hand. I didnít even know they could do that!! I then paused the game and went to explain to my father the awesome display that I had just witnessed. He was not as excited as I was. In another game, I had been checked hard in the offensive zone. Not as bad as Stephane De Costa was hit by Neon Dion I might add. In the impact of the hit, I had dropped my stick and was racing to backcheck the opposing player empty-handed. Thatís when I notice something poking out from my teamís bench. They were holding out a spare stick for me to use back on defense!! There seem to be countless amounts of these small details that just amaze me, stuff that makes me squeal with glee like Kyle Wellwood at an all-you-can-eat buffet.



NHL 12 is the ďJason AllisonĒ of video games. What I mean by that is that yes, the game is very good, but it is just so goddamn slow!! Do you want to play a game? Gotta wait to load the match. Do you want to play Be A Pro Mode? Gotta wait to load your save. Do you want to edit your character?? Gotta wait to load the data. Do you want to play your next game?? Gotta wait to simulate to the date. Do you want to play a different mode?? Gotta wait to save. Iím not sure if itís just the PlayStation 3 that itís like this but the game is just so freaking slow and it gets to be pretty annoying after a while.



Some gamers dislike sports games because theyíre ďtoo realĒ, that thereís not enough fantasy or imagination to them. It should come to a shock to these people then that NHL 12 is actually a pretty deep role-playing game. SAY WHAT!? Thatís right, youíre reality has been shattered like a Leafs fanís hope for the playoffs in early November. Whether it is creating yourself in the game to play as, gaining experience to upgrade your character, unlocking new equipment or stat boosts via side tasks/missions, NHL 12 could best be described as what Iíll coin an RPS, a Role-Playing Sport game. You can even play as a past legend such as Stevie Yzerman, Borje Salming & Patrick Roy (yes, I thoroughly enjoyed researching this part). Then there is the EASHL24/7, a mode where you build your own team using hockey cards, earning pucks/currency from games. You can buy or trade cards, juggle lines for best chemistry, enter different tournaments, and play against either a live opponent or just go up against the CPU-controlled team. Then there is the team I created for Be A GM mode, using the now-defunct Thrashers jersey to recreate my schoolís hockey team in the game (WLU Golden Hawks). The bright gold and purple can be a little obnoxious but I like it. I can even set custom music, either by song, artist or playlists, for specific events for my team such as for the intro and goals. And only in NHL 12 can the Ottawa Senators think that they are an actual NHL team. ROLE PLAYING, BITCHES!!



EASHL24/7 is one of the more interesting modes in NHL 12. The problem is that it needs to be connected to the EA Sports servers at ALL TIMES! Even if youíre just playing against a CPU-controlled team, whether itís another userís team or one of the opponents included in the game, you have to be online. The problem is that if you lose that connection for even just a split second, the game will boot you and youíll be given a loss. Kind of like Montreal Canadiens fans and reality this year, a loss is always a given. This isnít seen in the other modes, like online Be A Pro mode, just EASHL24/7 for some reason. I could be up 7-0 at the start of the 2nd period and end up with a loss. Itís pretty annoying and a mode I wonít play anymore until I get better internet (thatís the Toronto FC fan in me speaking up). Iím not going to turn this into a rant about Rogers or Bell (yeahÖ.I had to delete a few paragraphs here), but satellite internet is killing me! Plus if someone uses the wireless phone in the house then we get kicked off the internet because apparently we have dial-up again. It is just one of the many reasons why Iíve been missing out on Friday Night Fights lately. So my team, the Inuvik Deltas, shall be temporarily under suspended operations for the time being.



One of the less talked about, but pretty awesome, selling points for the game is that you can create women in NHL 12. The story goes that a 14 year old girl named Lexi Peters wrote a letter to EA asking for female players to be included in the game but she was told it wasnít possible. Then EA thought about it and realized they would be able to do it for Be A Pro mode, though why they canít at least include womenís national teams is beyond me. While it shouldnít be that celebrated since NHL Hitz allowed you to do this a decade ago, and the Sedin twins have been in the league for years, it is smart that EA is improving the game to be more accommodating to more people. Being able to put yourself into a game really helps to immerse you into it so it must suck not being able to do that. Your move, first-person shooters!



Yeah, you know how I just mentioned that you can create female skaters?? Well it comes as a huge disappointment then that you can only use two models, a brunette (made after Lexi) or a blonde (modeled after a girl who looks like the one from Radio Free Roscoe but with braids). Outside of height and weight, the only real customization you have is the eye colour. Iím sure there are non-white women that would like to play hockey. Hell, EA even neglected to include red heads!! Those bastards!! I really donít know what their development team was thinking. As a whole, the entire character customization could use a bit of an improvement, even for men. That old feature where you could upload pictures of yourself to use in game never really took off after the start of this generation. In the end I was able to create Amanda Kessel, younger sister to the NHL leading scorer Phil ďThe ThrillĒ Kessel, so she is my new sniper. If only she could have been made a red headÖ..



If you havenít noticed from me talking yet, NHL 12 is filled to the brim with different modes with each one being different enough that youíll one to invest time into them. EASHL24/7 would probably be my favourite mode if I could play it since it ties online play with team-building. Be A Pro mode is pretty fun and intense online, where you can either be the hero or the goat for your team. Since the easiest way to level up is by winning, you really have to swallow your pride and do whatís best for the team such as making the pass instead of trying to score all on your own. Also, just back out if you have a player-controlled goalie on your team. Chances are youíll be playing with Vesa Toskala and heís just as bad in video games as he is in real life. Then there is Be A GM mode where you build your team and perform task while trying to ensure both your NHL and AHL-affiliate win. Completing one week within this mode instantly makes you more qualified for an actual NHL GM job than John Ferguson Jr. I remember in past years when this was entirely a simulation mode so itís nice that you can actually play as your team now.



As much as I love all of these modes, the time required to invest into them is huge! The biggest problem is that I havenít found a way to shorten the season other than by just simulating games or playing as the Columbus Bluejackets. Each season is 82 games long, on top of a few preseason games, and playoff games if you make it. Playoffs are a best of 7 series, four rounds long (*insert your own Leafs joke here*). Many of the requirements to unlock new stat boosts are to play upwards of 3 seasons with a Be A Pro character, some of which must be done as a specific player type (sniper, power forward, playmaker, defensive defenseman, two way defenseman, etc.). NHL 12 is a game designed for people like my cousin, a person who enjoys the occasional video game but lives and breathes hockey. Iím pretty good at video games but Iíve only managed to beat him THREE TIMES at NHL over the last four years! Iím actually pretty decent despite what my record says about me, something Iím sure Jonas Gustavsson would relate with. Itís a fun game, donít get me wrong, but I also like to play other games on top of actually watching the sport. So yes, I am hating on the game because it is too awesome.



Itís hockey ^__^
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Today is a release of a very special game. ďSpecialĒ in the sense that Iím actually willing to pay full price for it and buy it at launch. This game I speak of is not Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood, though I am interested in the multiplayer. It is none other than Electronic Artsí Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. I am very excited for this game. Actually ďexcitedĒ probably doesnít do justice for what I feel. Drawing inspiration from mrandydixon, I have at least five boners for this game. At once. Anyways what better way to celebrate the release of Hot Pursuit than share why I am psyched for this game.



1) It is made by Criterion Games.



There is an exclusive club of developers that literally can do no wrong in the eyes of their fans. One of the developers that falls in this category so happens to be Criterion and they are fully deserving of this honour. Makers of the critically-acclaimed Burnnout franchise, EA gave them the task of rebuilding their flagship racer back to its former glory. So far so good as the game has amassed a 90% rating on Metacritic for the PS3 version. Our very own Nick ďwait this isnít Rock BandĒ Chester gave the game 9.5 out of 10, Editorís Choice Award. Of course the review felt a little off due to the lack of serious butthurt in the comments section but we can excuse Nick this time.


1.5) I really, really liked Criterionís last game, Burnout Paradise.



Sure it may look terrible, partly due to being unfinished and partly due to the crappiness of glue sticks, but it was something I needed to put up on my wall. The boxart for Burnout Paradise is one of my favourites of all time. I always wanted a poster of it but could never find one anywhere so I just made my own. I often use the bike version, with inverted colours to give a midnight look, as my laptopís background. This is a game that I love dearly. Whether it was the competitive racing or cooperative Free Burning, this was a game where you could go from relaxed to hell-possessed on the turn of a dime. It was beautiful, it was fun and it kept you busy for hours. On top of that, Criterion was doing what was unheard of at the time and releasing post-release content for free! New free burn and timed challenges, day and night cycles, crotch-rockets, trophies (remember when that was an issue??), new features....all for free! Eventually they did start providing paid content, though while a little pricey, was definitely worth the cost of admission for fans. Big Surf Island is still one of the best pieces of DLC on the market. This was a developer who knew how to do things right.


2) Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit has gone back to its roots.



Need For Speed hit it big with the Underground series. These were the games that really brought the racing franchise to the mainstream. While I had fallen out of the loop long ago, it seemed as if the games were becoming bland, though Shift was another step in the right direction. Now itís looking like there will be a second step as well. For me, Need For Speed was remembered for Hot Pursuit and High Stakes back on the computer long ago. Already the updated game sounds like it does the name proud.



Bringing back Racers and Coppers, one team races while the other cops. You know what I mean. As a racer, you most compete with other drivers to post the fastest time. As a cop, it is your job to make sure that those ďstreet-punksĒ are shutdown and thrown in the slammer. Further pushing the game into the much-adored realm of ďarcade racerĒ is the use of items by both sides. The cops can employ such weapons as spike strips, road blocks, EMPs and helicopters. The racers get an assortment of offensive and defensive weapons like the radar jammer, turbo, spike strips and EMPs.


3) Hot Pursuit is doing everything it can to one-up Burnout Paradise.



Well this could go without saying. It would be expected that Criterion would want to make their new game better than what they previously developed so it really isnít that big of a surprise. But letís humour me so we can move on in this article. Seacrest County, the location that all this street racing occurs, is massive. Paradise City was a pretty big metropolis so it is both amazing and intimidating to hear that Seacrest County is at least 4x bigger. While it doesnít have the density of city roads, the locations in Hot Pursuit appear to be much more varied. There is the Mediterranean coast, the outback desert, evergreen forest and whitecapped mountains. Each area looks distinct enough from one another.

Also unlike Burnout is the presence of real-life cars. No more empty stares from people as you forget that a Hummer is not called Hunter Olympus. These are exotic-brand vehicles that you will be driving and crashing. Lamborghini, Porsche, BMW, Austin Martin, Maserati....many of the vehicles I get boners thinking about. While I am more than a little disappointed with the lack of a Toyota Celica in the mix, I think I can live with using cars several leagues out of my tax bracket.

If that wasnít enough for Criterion to top its older games, in comes Autolog to wreck everything I loved about Road Rules.


4) Road Rules + Facebook = Autolog



If you have me as a friend on the PS3 and own Burnout Paradise, chances are you have called me a dick on more than one occasion. Switch over to the bikes and the insults get dramatically nastier. Earlier this year I completed my goal of becoming ďThe Mayor of Paradise CityĒ. By that I mean I turned every street sign gold on the bikes and owned the majority with the cars, all with a friends list over 60 at the time. This is Road Rules, a seamless leaderboard system that compared times of all your online friends. Owning one record on a road gave you a silver sign. Own them both and you get the highly coveted gold sign. Criterion seems to have fleshed out this idea to another level.



Autolog is the new leaderboard system used in Hot Pursuit. It seems to be a bit of a mash-up between Road Rules and Facebook, meaning that there is increased competition with more social capabilities. Whereas on Burnout you could on see who owned the Road Rule and had to dig a bit deeper to find out who was also faster than you, here in Hot Pursuit it is laid out in plain view when you are NOT in first. It looks to give you motivation to not just get 1st Place but to also beat the person directly above you with a faster time. You can view it online on your PC as well at the Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit website.



I consider it a Facebook-hybrid because of the presence of a wall. As you can see, not only are race times posted but you can also leave messages for people. In this case, I am giving my trash-talking muscle some warm up.



The game also recommends times for you to beat and your time for others to beat. What this does is put a big bulls-eye on your back, essentially calling out the manhood of everybody and their mothers who canít beat their time. Up above is an example from linuxguy whose time Iím being challenged with.

5) As a pretty competitive person, sometimes people just give me a reason to get pumped up.



Isnít that right, Talia?? Also, I used New Dtoid. Suck it haters! :P


If what I wrote at all got you excited for the game, great!! I really do need more people to beat! Daxelman, I know you're a BP fanatic! If Criterion showed us anything with Burnout Paradise it is that they will continue to show their game some love long after its released. The game is lacking the coop-friendly Free Burn from Paradise City and it is something I would love to see transferred over to Seacrest County. Also bikes! OH GAWD DO I NEED BIKES!! I wouldnít be surprised to see vehicles in paid DLC for sure.

And now, I must head to the store and pick up a copy.....

*checks school schedule for next two weeks*



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*sigh* Just a little stressed. Iíll live. Probably.
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I am a very frugal person.

It is not often that I just spend my cash all willy-nilly. With a hobby such as video games, this means that I may miss out on some games. Uncharted 2, Bioshock, God of War 3, Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty, Bad Company 2, Grand Theft Auto IV....all examples of games I want to play but just havenít separated myself from my cash yet. Itís so bad that the last PlayStation 3 game I purchased was MAG back in March. And the PS3 is my main gaming console!! And yes, I am still a gamer. I can wait for games to come down in price before I buy them though usually by that point Iím no longer in a hurry to play them. Except for NHL, EA gets all my money.

Now that September has rolled along I am back at school, again (*sigh*), with a crapload of time. Itís what happens when you switch from biochemistry to geography I guess. Like last year, I have once again brought up my PS3 with me. The problem that my three roommates and I have run into is that with only two controllers, there is very few games that we can all play together at once. Over the weekend, the demo of Worms seemed to be the answer to our problems.


If your landlord leaves you an HDTV like this, you're basically required by law to hook up a PS3 to it.

Now Iíve had the demo for a while. I downloaded it last school year at sometime but we didnít really stick with it. But we got hooked on it over the weekend for some reason. Well, the reason being "fun" I guess. Even our new non-gamer roommate was having a blast. So on Monday night I decided to go out and buy a PSN Card to get the full version. We desperately needed the ability to play with 4 players.

Something wasnít sitting right with me though. While I wanted to buy Worms, there was a voice in the back of my head telling me to wait. I had a sneaking suspicion that maybe Worms would be featured on PlayStation Plus and that I should subscribe to the service. So I hit up the internet in search of what Tuesdayís update would bring. Unfortunately I couldnít find anything. Then I thought to myself, ďHmm, isnít there a new Worms game coming out sometime this year?? Naw probably not.Ē So I head upstairs, add funds to my virtual wallet and get downloading the $12.99 plus tax Worms.


Just a little vanilla.

The more we played the game, the more disappointed we became. We knew there was only 23 weapons but we figured it wouldnít matter too much. My one roommate and I are both veterans of the Worms franchise so we kept pointing out missing things. ďWhere are the longer girders??Ē ďNo custom maps??Ē ďIf only I had a parachute!Ē ďOh we canít set the number of worms per team??Ē While we were nitpicking, we were still having a blast, literally, and enjoying ourselves. Staying up till 3am on the first night of school when we had morning classes the next day was not a responsible start to the school year.

The next day we were getting pretty pumped for some more carnage. The lead up to our night-time death match was filled with bouts of smack-talk and ideas for new game types. As I sat down to eat dinner, I remembered that with it being Tuesday the PlayStation Blog would have a list of the weekís PSN update. Oh how angry I would become....


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Worms 2: Armageddon!?!? What!? Not even 24 hours after I bought Worms, the sequel was released. At $14.99, it was like some sick, twisted joke being played on me. Perfect Wormsí humour actually. Being caught completely off-guard, I go in search of answers. Did it deserve my money?? Just looking at the reviews for the 360 version, which was released months earlier, showed that it was everything I wanted Worms to be and more. While I was planning on spending my remaining funds on Castle Crashers, 4-player hot-seat play took priority. Plus I mean itís Worms. Címon!!


Definitely has much more visual pop to it than its prequel.

After finishing the download, and being laughed at by my roommates, we booted the game up and continued on with our grudge match. Instantly we saw in improvement with almost every one of our gripes. While the entirety of Worms felt like a demo, Worms 2 feels like the definitive version. Everything from the presentation, to the weapons arsenal to just the personality, it felt like the Worms I know and love. The game made me laugh and not just in the situations we created for ourselves. Between the wormsí silly costumes, their accents and trash talk, and especially their high pitched screams after you drop a stick of dynamite on their heads, this game never ceases to put a smile on your face.

Of course, I havenít owned the game for 24 hours but I can already tell that there is a ton more to do in the game. There are more modes to play, more single-player missions and many things to unlock. The online mode even has full voice-chat support though I havenít tested it yet. Worms 2: Armageddon also has a Platinum Trophy, which not many PSN games have, though it wonít come easy.


Anti-air defence at its finest.

So should you be buying Worms 2: Armageddon?? If you are a fan of Worms, strategy games, 4-player couch play, or just general fun, then yes you should purchase this game. This is my favourite version of Worms since Worms Armageddon on my Dreamcast. While I resent the fact that I wasted almost $15 on a game I probably wonít ever touch again, Worms 2 more than makes up for it. This will definitely be in heavy rotation over the coming months. The only way I could be disappointed with this game is if they were to release Worms 3: Armageddon next Tuesday.

Sony and Team 17, for the sake of my sanity and my wallet, please PLEASE donít.
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