My name is Josh. I'm 20 years old and live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I enjoy playing all sorts of games. My favorite genres are RPG's and Shooters. I prefer to play a game through first without going for achievements as I find it's a better experience to go into a game blind. However I often break my on rule because I have no self control. I own and play both an Xbox 360 and PS3. I'm also proud owner of a broken psp and a fully functional DS lite. A while ago I decided to review every game I play so most of my posts will be reviews, although I will have the occasional rants and likely be to lazy to follow through. I like to play games on easy as I have a short temper so take that as you will. I'm currently only working part time so I'm using the internet way to much and play games more than a normal person should. That's about it for now, so hopefully you enjoy the blog.
Games I'm currently playing Persona 4 Arena(360)
League of Legends(PC)
On my instant queue Naruto:Shippuden
Game of Thrones
Books I'm reading Not Taco-Bell Material
Various Strategy Guides
Podcasts I follow Giant Bombcast
Epic Battle Cry
The Axe Factor
The Comedy Button
Mike Omeara Show
Never Not Funny
Adam Carolla Show
Various this year collections
Songs I'm currently obsessing over Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt.1
Portions For Foxes
Life Is Beautiful
A Jagged Gorgeous Winter
Greatest Videogame Music(album)
First of The Year (Equinox)
Don't Let Me Down(Slowly)
Diet Mtn Dew
Kinda Outta Luck
Persona 3 Soundtrack
Some of my favorite games (in no particular order) Final Fantasy 10
Metal Gear Solid 2:Sons of Liberty
Gears of War
Xenosaga Ep. 1:Der Wille Zer Macht
Dragon Ball Z:Budokai 3
Resident Evil 4
Mass Effect 2
Now available for the Apple II, Commodore 64, and Amiga!
Spring is soon coming to a close, and summer is nigh upon us. Summer is traditionally a bad time for the videogame industry. Most game companies seem to avoid the summer like the plague, instead opting to crowd the autumn season with the yearís hottest titles. There are, however, a few games that decide to brave the molten heat of summer to keep those disc drives spinning. Without further ado, here are my games of the summer.
Lollipop Chainsaw (06/12)
Coming in just before the official start of summer, Lollipop Chainsaw is a game about a chainsaw wielding teenage cheerleader who slices zombies into rainbows. The fact that this is an accurate description of the game makes me incredibly excited. After tons of serious games about the zombie apocalypse, a proper parody has been created at the hands of gaming mastermind Suda 51. All signs point to a hit in the humor compartment, but not much is really known about the gameplay. Regardless I will pick this up day one along with all the other people who love the idea of a hot chick hacking and slashing zombies.
Spec Ops: The Line (06/26)
Now hereís a game with a troubled history. Announced way back in December 2009, Spec Ops has seemingly gone through a complete redesign. Having been in the closed beta that started in late July 2010, I can personally say the game was horrible. Not long after said beta, the publisher went silent about the game, and nothing was shown about the game for almost a whole year. It seemed like it would go the way of the dodo and never see the light of day. Now the game is only about a month away, and has a demo out on the 360 marketplace. After my horrible beta experience, I wasnít too hot on the game, but then developer interviews started coming out that really piqued my interest. They described an Apocalypse Now-esque experience that showed the dark brutality of war. They expressed that they wanted the subtitle of ďThe Line,Ē to mean something to players. Curious, I decided to take a look at the demo to sate said curiosity. While the demo didnít blow me away, it showed the game to be a solid shooter with a focus on the characters that comprise your squad. I can now safely say that this game is on my list for this summer.
Persona 4 Arena (08/07)
I have a weird relationship with fighting games. I tend to get very hyped up when I see the next big title on the horizon, and then when I play them I usually give up after a few days of hardcore gaming. The problem is I donít quite have the patience to deal with the many hours of practice and losses it takes to get reasonably good at most fighting games. All my friends kick my ass repeatedly and I end up just taking the voyeurism route and watching tournament streams. The only fighting game I ever really got into and became good enough to win against my friends consistently was DBZ: Budokai 3, and that was almost 6 years ago. Iíve tried SSF4, UMvC3, MK9, and Tekken 6, and gave up on all of them not long after I picked them up. Now is the time to repeat that cycle with Persona 4: Arena. Iím hoping that my love of the Persona series might keep me playing long enough to become a competent player. That and Chie is a playable character.
Borderlands 2 (09/18)
Sneaking in just before cut-off date for summer comes the juggernaut of the bunch. Borderlands 2 is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Following up the surprise hit of the original, number 2 is ramping up to be a much bigger and much more streamlined game. I canít help but get excited about finding more guns and killing more skags. Iím definitely going to pick the Siren to keep up with my tradition of playing female characters if possible, and level the shit out of her. I already have a group of friends ready to take the fight back to Pandora. LOOT!
The Best of the Rest
There are quite a few games not on this list that I think deserve mentioning. The reason they arenít on the main list is because theyíre not quite day one purchases for me, but I still plan on playing them down the line.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 (6/26)
Anarchy Reigns (07/03)
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy (07/03)
The Last Story (07/10)
Darksiders 2 (08/14)
Sleeping Dogs (08/14)
Far Cry 3 (09/04)
With summer rapidly approaching and temperatures rapidly rising, spring will soon come to an end. To mark the occasion Iíve decided to write a little wrap up of my spring as it relates to gaming. Tomorrow I will (hopefully) have up a companion blog talking about the games of the summer. For now, though, I would like to delve into my recent past and astound you with the games I played this spring.
Mass Effect 3
Weíll start with a game that wasnít technically released in spring, but was certainly relevant come March 20th. I played this game non-stop the week of release. By the time I came out on the other side of the tunnel I immediately went to the internet to see how the rest of the populace felt about the game, in particular the ending. I wrote a blog around that time expressing my abject hatred and borderline rage about where Bioware decided to take the franchise, so in terms of this blog Iíll leave my feelings about that particular subject on the on the cutting room floor. In other news, the rest of the game was incredibly rewarding. The shooting was tight and the choices made throughout the game left me contemplating my choices long after I put the controller down. I canít think of a better way to kick off spring.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Hot off the heels of Mass Effect 3 came what many fans feel was a huge disappointment for the Resident Evil franchise. Raccoon City, for me, wasnít the failure many people labeled it as. I got more than a few hours of enjoyment playing through the campaign and a small amount of multiplayer with 3 of my closest friends. The only slight disappointment for me was the lack of interaction with legacy characters from the previous games, that, and the obviously cut content that Capcom later sold as DLC. At least this time it wasnít on the disc!
Tales of Graces f
At this point in time, I was ready to get my JRPG on. Tales games are always on my radar, and this was the first new game to come to the west since Vesperia. When I first started the game I was very lukewarm on the whole thing, but it soon stuck itís talons in me. I was obsessed with this game throughout the month of April, and 140 hours later I had obtained my first platinum trophy.
I had heard of this game a long time ago, but never even thought about it since. Then one day I was at GameStop and saw a used copy of this game for only $8.99, and it was well worth it. Even though there is virtually no chance that I will finish this game, I have gotten more than enough entertainment out of it. Itís a WW2 strategy game that has werewolves fighting Nazi vampires and skeletons. If thatís not enough to get you interested, just look at the image above. Itís a werewolf punching Hitler!
I know Iím late to this party, but Iím glad I finally picked this game up. Battlefield 3 is a game of extreme highs and lows. One minute you might be taking down a helicopter by ramming it with a jet, the next you might get spawn killed by an enemy sniper from across the map. I rage a lot when Iím playing multiplayer games, but this game just shakes me to the core sometimes. Iíll probably still be playing this game throughout the summer, at least until I snap the disc in half in a fit of Hulk-like rage.
Left 4 Dead 2
One of my best friends recently gave me this game as a gift, and I always enjoy free shit. This isnít my first experience with the game, but itís definitely my most lengthy. I must have played the game for 4 hours just trying to beat Dark Carnival on Expert with my friend who bought me the game. Even though we died multiple times and never actually got past the last chapter, I enjoyed my time with the game immensely. Also did you know thereís new DLC coming on the 360? I must say thatís pretty impressive for a 3 year old game.
Last but not least for the retail roundup is a little gem known as Prototype 2. I just started this game yesterday and I must say Iím surprised at how good this game turned out to be. The controls are a little loose and the game is incredibly easy, but it is some of the most visceral fun Iíve had in a game. Iím not too far and Iíve already torn up hundreds of Blackwatch troopers and got my tentacles into multiple helicopters and their pilots. Iím not sure how well the game sold, but I hope it turns out to be a success.
The best of the rest
In terms of downloadable games, two stood out to me among the pack. The first game up is Telltaleís The Walking Dead. This game came out of nowhere and blew me away. As my first Telltale game, Iím not sure how representative the game is of their other works, but I can say I really want to play Back to the Future now. The choices you make in the game are truly compelling, and the whole scene at the motel was great. Pick this up if youíre in any way interested.
The other game is one that became a phenomenon for the second time; Minecraft. Not being much of a PC gamer the XBLA version is my first experience with the game. I was instantly sucked in when I first started playing the game, mining my ass off for just a little more iron ore. Then about 10 hours later I lost the my initial drive and ended up just going for achievements, then once that was done I stopped playing altogether. From what Iíve seen and heard the PC version is vastly superior, but I doubt Iíll ever play it.
I just finished my first playthrough of Mass Effect 3 and boy does it raise some questions. The ending here especially interests me. For the last hour I've been searching forums for opinions about the ending(s). I was personally super disappointed by the ending sequence that starts after sheperd is hit by the Reaper Laser.
The whole last sequence seems to completely change everything the series established. Every ending destroys all the mass relays around the galaxy. This action in itself makes the ending unbelievable. Considering the Relays are the only way to feasibly travel between systems the whole fleet you bring to earth is stranded for eternity. Many planets wouldn't survive without off world support and trade, and even if they somehow built a relay they couldn't use it without a matching relay. On top of that in Arrival for Mass Effect 2 it's shown that destroying a relay is catastrophic and would result in the destruction of nearby planets, like earth. Plus the citadel explodes over earth and would presumably be big enough do destroy most of earth when it fell.
Also it's not explained how Anderson gets to the Citadel in the first place as he is not ahead of you during the run to the beam. Plus there is literally only one path to the platform in the end so it's literally impossible that he could be on a different path as you are. Then when you confront The Illusive Man you kill him in a single shot, which doesn't seem feasible considering he's reaper controlled. Saren could take a shot to the forehead and live, plus you would think he would have some kind of barrier of shield.
Then comes the child reaper god. This makes zero sense. If the Reaper leader was part of the Citadel the whole time then why would the Reapers even need Sovereign to activate the Citadel Relay. Plus the face that he appears to be the same child that died on earth in the beginning of the game. You could make a case for the Reaper appearing as something significant to Sheperd, but it's still a little unreal.
Lastly there is a theory floating around that the ending is actually an hallucination. That sheperd is actually knocked out by the Reaper Laser and is imagining the events of the endgame. In this theory, the choices at the end of the game are actually Sheperd fighting indoctrination. The child is the Reaper inside of him and gives him alternatives but is really trying to trick Sheperd into embracing the Reapers. Here's a link that explains it better than I can and rallied me to believe the theory is correct.
Like disemboweling fish with fucking tentacles in a barrel
Played to completion twice on both Thug (Easy) and Don (Very Hard) difficulties (Xbox 360)
In the nearly 5 years since the original Darkness came out, it has held up surprisingly well. Although I only played an hour or so of it myself, fans continue to praise its virtues to this day. Now the long awaited sequel has appeared, done by a different studio and with a radically different look. Can it live up to the first games cult appeal?
The game opens on a high note, with a last stand sequence in where youíre dragged through a burning restaurant shooting frantically to survive. In the end though, youíre forced to embrace The Darkness to save your own life. From there you gain full control of the games protagonist, Jackie Estacado. Jackie starts the game as your typical mob boss, having restrained The Darkness for the past 2 years. Brief load screens covered by monologues fill in his backstory and set up plot points throughout the game.
The game is probably the most brutal game that has ever been created. Using his Darkness powers Jackie has the ability to tear up a battlefield and leave only gallons of blood and buckets of gore in his wake. The gameplay makes use of a system pointedly dubbed ďquad wielding.Ē Jackie can duel wield single handed weapons such as pistols and submachine guns, the quad part comes into play using the darkness tentacles. While the guns make use of your standard shooter controls, you also have access to 2 tentacle arms mapped to the left and right bumpers. Each tentacle has a specific ability, the left tentacle can grab and throw, whereas the right tentacle can slash directionally by holding the button and directing it with the right stick. Running through enemies slashing enemies in half while pumping lead through dual wielded submachine guns is one of the most visceral and satisfying experiences Iíve ever had in a shooter. Complementing this is the execution system, which enables you to kill enemies in the most graphic way possible. Itís easy to execute enemies; all you have to do is stun an enemy either by shooting them or slashing them, then grabbing them with your left tentacle. From here you have the option to execute the enemy to gain health, ammo, a shield, or darkness energy. Every single option has multiple executions ranging from the Butcher, where you cut someone in half then in half again, to an execution where you pull their spinal cord and skull right out of their body a la Sub Zero. On top of that you have a skill tree that over time will give you access to more abilities including a black hole that will suck up enemies in a certain range and turn them into red mist.
The start of one of the various executions, this is going to get bloody
All this killing is complemented by an excellent plot revolving around Jackieís control over The Darkness. Constantly throughout the game you are pulled into a mental asylum, manned by the characters from Jackieís life. Here you are put through scenes that lead you to question Jackieís mental health and how far the Darkness has taken over his mind. Jackieís deceased girlfriend Jenny makes multiple flashback appearances throughout the game, leading to melancholy scenes that show what Jackie had before his life became twisted by The Darkness. The story is far more important to the game then I thought it would be from pre-release media, and strings you along gracefully through the gore soaked gameplay.
The look of The Darkness 2 is a kind of variation of cel-shading that really gives the game a unique look among a sea of grey games. This look makes the game less brutal then it would be with realistic graphics, and really attaches the game to its comic book roots. The soundtrack is a great mix of background noise and some choice licensed songs that might bring a smile to your face. One thing to watch out for though is the lack of facial emoting on characters; it can really draw you out of the game amid the rest of the excellent presentation.
Quad wielding at it's finest
Alongside the single player campaign, thereís a co-op campaign called vendettas, which feature 4 darkness wielding characters running missions for Jackie alongside the main campaign. Each character has one of Jackieís abilities from the game and a darkness infused weapon with which to wreak havoc. While the co-op campaign can be fun with friends, it gets old quickly when you only have 1 unique ability and only about 2 hoursí worth of missions.
The Darkness 2 is one of the most fun and unique shooters to come by in the past few years. Itís both a breath of fresh air and a familiar friend. Itís solid throughout, but throughout isnít very long. With a 6 hour campaign and a low replayability co-op mode, the value proposition isnít very strong. Itís an excellent rental and a great buy when it hits the sub 20 dollar range. Despite that advice, I really hope the game sells well, because the ending sets up for an extremely interesting sequel that I sincerely hope happens somewhere down the line.
So I was lucky enough to visit CES on the first day for few hours courtesy of Samsung. I was hired to do surveys that were far to long for anybody to sit through on a show floor. Needless to say it was a disaster, but I came out with a few miscellaneous photos that are mainly from the halls and a few in the samsung booth. Let it be known that most of these photos aren't very interesting and are of the quality you can get from an iPod touch.
Now lets start that wall of photos!
Here we have the Galaxy Note lounge under construction
Even still there was a longgggg wait
Just inside the front entrance of the convention center
Badges!! Badges HERE!
Walking through the halls
This is a HUGE 3D display that I passed by. Unfortunately I didn't catch the manufacturer
Inside the Samsung booth (east side)
Parking was 10 dollars but luckily only a few minutes walk from the convention center
Entrance to North Hall which I unfortunately couldn't see
Another pic of the WALL SIZE 3D DISPLAY!
Here's the main entrance to Samsung's booth (C4)
Going under the CES arch
Believe me they have no problem yelling about keeping your badge facing forward
Little farther back from the arch and a little blurry (sorry!)
Ahhh CNET, you're still the king!?!?!?
Some of the crowd from the Samsung booth
Just a miscellaneous sign *sigh*
Yet another arch picture *sigh*
Ready for 2013!!!
Walking the GIANT hall from the entrance
Make. Believe staying strong
More walking the long hall
Just out of frame on the right is a Nathan's. Oh how I crave thee
Here's a little peak at the Engadget booth
Something a little more exciting is a pic of the giant TV cubes hanging from the ceiling of Samsung
Finally a pic of my badge. I'm not actually from Ridgefield Park, but Samsung for some reason put that on all their employee's badges. I'm actually a local to Vegas. HHMMMMMMMMM!!!!!
Although Summer still has about a month left, winter is looming on the horizon. For gamers this means an absolute onslaught of new realeases. The gaming winter typically kicks off with the realease af the new edition of Madden. For me it personally kicks off with one of my most of anticipated games of the year, Deus Ex. I decided it would fun to write a sort of wrap up blog to my summer, mostly in terms of gaming but with an occasional real life aside. Now onto the blog!
Summer for me kicked off with Rockstar's blockbuster title L.A. Noire. I picked it up about 2 months after release and ended up blazing through it in about a week. I thought it was great, but this game wasn't without it's detractors. In hindsight I can see where a lot of people had their problems with the game. The interrigation sequences are amazing on first glance, but you can soon see the failings of the system. Evidence that seems like it should work in context often fails, Doubt often doesn't mean what it should, and even though someone is telling the truth, it turns out that you were supposed to doubt them because you know something they don't. It can get really confusing and pretty absymal in some cases. Despite that the setting and style of the game gripped me from beginning to end, I hope this game gets a sequel down the line because the potential here is staggering.
Shadows of The Damned
Next up is the soon to be cult hit known that I like to refer to as just Shadows. A surprise highlight of my summer, Shadows had me laughing all the whole weekend I played through it. This was my first Suda51 game, but definitely won't be my last. The whole game just has a certain feel to it, a mix between campy horror and dick jokes that really meshes well with my personality. Although the game was only about 8 hours long, it constantly keeps things fresh with new weapon upgrades and the occasional easy puzzle. The only thing that makes me hesitate to replay it is the horrible turret sections and 2d sections of the 4th act.
Unsurprisingly, Portal 2 turned out to be one of my favorite games of the year. I sat down to play Portal 2 on a Friday night and ended up playing nearly all night long. Once I awoke around noon on Saturday I proceeded to finish the game in under 24 hours. Every minute of the game was engaging and funny. The difficulty curve in the puzzles was damn near perfect, and I only had to look up a puzzle solution mayble 3 times during the single player campaign. I just recently got a chance to play through the co-op which only made me love the game even more. All in all, I saved science!
Real life aside
It was between Shadows and Portal 2 that I graduated from high school. I took the long the way around, but on the 21st of July (also my birthday) I finally picked up my degree and finished what I started nearly 5 years ago.
Alice: Madness Returns
I picked up Alice to fill out a buy 2 get 1 sale at Best Buy, and I can firmly say I made a good choice. Madness Returns is probably one of the only platformers I've truly enjoyed this generation. The game starts out strong with an amazing artstyle that immediately draws you into the world of Alice's wonderland. The game then finds a sort of mediocre grove of fairly easy platforming and a surprisingly good fighting system. Then you hit the peak of the game, The Red Queens lands. The opening of the level is one of the most visually stunning in the game, featuring a road of cards that come up to meet you as you walk along towards a castle made of cards. If you enjoy unique visuals I can't recommend this game enough, as it's art direction is something to behold.
Dead to Rights: Retribution
I bought this on a whim for around 8 dollars on amazon and ended up liking it more than I thought I would. This game is just balls to the wall action. Every second is a flurry of melee and gunfire. The main problem with the game is that it's all action, and it gets fairly repetitive. The only thing to really break up the arcadey action are the occasional stealth sequences in which you play as your dog Shadow. Although these sequences are cool, even they get fairly repetitive after you see the same kill animation for the tenth time. If you can find it for cheap and hace a few days to spare, I'd say it's worth checking out.
Dead Rising 2
The final game of my summer that will lead me up to Deus Ex is Dead Rising 2. Always the bargain hunter, I picked up the zombrex edition for about 25 bucks on amazon about 2 weeks ago and started playing it last Friday. I decided I'd give this game a chance after hating the original and I'm glad I did. Playing through the game co-op is incredibly fun. The combo weapons keep things fresh, and the time limits are much less strict then the first. I actually finished it with an S rank on Sunday, and I turned around and started the campaign again. This game has so many secrets and little interaction that keep me wanting to play over and over, and I plan on doing just that all the way up to the release of Deus Ex.
Real life aside 2
Over the summer I got a job at a greeting card store part time. I'm not making much, but It's enough to keep my gaming habits going while I live under my parents roof. Soon, I will be picking up a second holiday job selling Calenders which will potentially double my income. Despite this I'm trying to cut down on my gaming in order to save a little money for the future. Why is this important to this blog? I have no idea.
The other stuff
A lot of my summer was also spent with DLC and downloadable games. Fallout: New Vegas' DLC Old World Blues was a highlight that kept me playing for a weekend. Call of Duty Classic was played sporadically throughout the summer, and I finished it a month ago. Black Ops has kept a consistent spot in my gaming life, with a ton of hours dropped on the downloadable zombie maps. I also played a bit of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, but I really don't feel compelled to play more of it. Borderlands DLC's kept me up for days in the month of June, and I'm both excited and worried about Borderlands 2. Lastly I spent a few days with Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection replaying some of my first games. E-Swat is still fucking awesome.
The world of tomorrow!
The games of Holiday 2011 have already become overwhelming. Having drooled over the realease schedule for weeks, I've decided on the games I really want to play over the holiday. That doesn't mean I don't want to play a game if I don't include it, but I most likely won't get to it until the start of the new year. Also note that I'm only listing games that are coming ouat calender 2011.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
My second most anticipated game of the year, Deus Ex looks to be a GOTY contender. Every trailer and preview around the game has consistently impressed. Here's to hoping it holds up to the hype!
Gears of War 3
By far my most anticipated game this year. Gears of War has become my favorite franchise this generation. I've already paid off my Epic Edition and just today picked up the limited edition controller. I'm eagerly awaitng the 20th.
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
A recent edition to my holiday list, My infatuation with Dead Rising 2 has lead me to start eagerly anticipating Off the Record. The recent reveal of the achievements has me excited to give this game a shot.
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
I love Metal Gear Solid. Every game in the franchise has a place in my heart for all time. Despite owning these games on the PS2, I will assuredly play them again come November. On top of that the inclusion of Peace Walker which has online co-op should keep me playing for a while.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Although I'm not a big fan of Oblivion, Skyrim looks amazing. The footage coming out around this game is nothing less than astounding, here's to hoping for a bug free bethesda game! (not likely)
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3
I played Marvel vs. Capcom 3 when it came out at my friends house and that was the extent of my experience with it. However I've recently got into fighting games and just purchased a terrible Tekken 6 arcade stick on the cheap. Plus Strider is back!
Thus ends my Summer wrap-up and my future gaming plans. I realize it's fairly long but hey, it's almost a half a year of gaming. I know there are quite a few games that most people are anticipating that I didn't include. Among them being MW3, Battlefield 3, Assassins Creed: Revelations, Uncharted 3, Saints Row 3, and other's that I can't think of at the moment. I want to play all these games eventually, but money and time become factors in this case. Well that's my plan for the winter, how about you?