Welcome to another edition of Blog Between Blogs, in which I babble on about random nonsense because people like me donít need structured blog formats, themes, motifs, or datelines; we blog what we want, how we want, when we want, and thatís exactly what Iím going to do. Word to your mother.
Today is my birthday. Not much else to say about that. Iím 19 now, so I guess its 2 more years till true adult hood. 19 is such an odd number. I donít know how to get excited for it. I guess I would be more excited if like at the age of 19 you get your own pet kimono dragon or something, but thatís not the case in America. I will change that if I become President of the United States. You can quote me on that.
Anyways, 2011 was last year, and now itís 2012. As such, Iím sure most of you have hammered out your best of 2011 lists, game of the years, and other such wordage, and are damn tired of seeing people reminisce about last year. So to save you (read: me) the trouble of a long, thought out discussion on why Batman: Arkham City and Bastion tie for my Game of The Year 2011, Iíll just tell you that Batman: Arkham City and Bastion tie for my Game of The Year 2011. Short, sweet, and simple.
With that, we can move on to whatís big in 2012. Obviously, SSX is going to be pre-ordered sometime in the near future because itís SSX and Amon Tobin has exclusive music on the soundtrack and Singing in the Rain by Mint Royal in in there too. Iím also looking forward to Mass Effect 3 and itís ďfinally get to see what Earth is likeĒ finality, DmC because it generally looks more fun than any other Devil May Cry game Iíve played, Torchlight II because itís better than Diablo-anything, and a bunch of other stiff thatís not coming to me right now.
Add to that list Asuraís Wrath. I played the demo, and my god; I never played anything so damn intense before in my life, and by intense, I mean minute to minute extreme levels on intense, not the slow build up that games like Uncharted and the like have. The game feels like a literal translation of what a Gurren Lagaan video game would be like. I know a lot of people are going to knock it for the obsessive use of quick time events, but I feel theyíre done right in Asuraís Wrath. Itís all in the presentation; all the needless anger, unnecessary fury, and righteous testosterone just makes the quick time events feel like incredibly important and intense moments of gameplay, despite them not being anything more than a flick of the stick or mashing a button. All in all, Iím really looking forward to Asuraís Wrath, as that game has hit with the force of ten billion million bricks, each the mass, weight, and density of a super massive black hole, in the demo alone.
But enough about the future, letís talk about the current. I got The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and so far itís been a good experience. The gameís ran without many hitches, and with some mods Iíve gotten it to look visually better. I will comment that I do like the UI design method, but I found the lack of options to sort disappointing, which was quickly fixed with a mod. That, and the character creator; I didnít feel like I was given many options, but the options given to me where enough to give me a good looking character, so Iíll call fair ball for now. I really wish Bethesda would have let me edit more options however.
As such with Skyrim, Iíve decided to wrok on a little project: I call it Postcards from Skyrim, in which (written in the voice of a female Dovakhiin) I write letters to a fictional family back "home". Iíve always wanted to do something similar with Fallout: New Vegas, but never really had the time or the drive. But now I've got a bit more time, and a lot more drive to do so, so Iím doing it. No certain schedule as to when Iím going to update the blog with postcards, but Iíll try to have it down to at least once a week. Feedback on how Iím doing so far would be nice, as well as information on how to make Skyrim look even better without being so taxing on the hardware.
Other games I've aquired include Saintís Row: The Third; that game, like Asuraís Wrath, is also nasty batshit bonkers, and I love it. Sonic Generations is currently the best Sonic game Iíve ever played; everything flows nicely, the speed is great, and I donít even hate the Classic Sonic sections, and I despise Classic Sonic. Iíd tell you a bit about Uncharted 3, but you already know what Iím going to say about that, and I also picked up Dreamfall: The Longest Journey and Splinter Cell: Conviction from the Christmas Steam Sale. Iíve never played Dreamfall, so that should be interesting, and Splinter Cell is Splinter Cell so Iíll probably be splinting cells and such.
Did I mention to you guys that Iím in college? Yeah, Iím officially a freshman at the Rochester Institute of Technology as of a few months ago, and itís been a great few months. Met a lot of cool new people, and have received a lot of cool stuff (including a free copy of Skyrim!). Doing Game Design and Development, and right now weíre going though C# with Visual Studio, which is the neatest thing Iíve ever coded in. I love Visual Studio. It helps me do things.
I also need money to get into GDC. Hire me. I write eloquently.
Non academics related, I saw Anamanaguchi this past weekend. It was honestly the most extreme thing Iíve ever seen and participated in. Everyone was pumped, Anamanaguchi was pumped, Revengineers was pumped, Extreme Animals wasÖ.Extreme Animals. Best concert Iíve ever been to, and the greatest entertainment decision Iíve ever made in my entire life. Would see again, 30/10.
Only thing better could be Donald GloverÖoh wait, Iím seeing him too.
College fucking rules.
So yeah, here ends the paragraph section of this blog. Now follows the bullet points:
ē Iím definitely getting a Playstation Vita, just later when cheaper things start happening for it. Like with the Nintendo 3DS, which Iím definitely getting sometime in the near future hopefully.
ē I still need to play Bayonetta.
ē I also need to play Dragon Age Origins.
ē I really, really, really hope to get into the Guild Wars 2 beta. Iíll be all over that shit like shingles.
ē I hope DICE has more maps in the pipeline for Battlefield 3. I need more locals. Preferably in the snow.
ē Syndicate is going to be one to watch. Iím looking forward to the co-op in that.
ē Sound Shapes is going to be amazing.
ē The new Hitman is looking to be my instant jam. The more I hear about it, the more I want it inside my eyeballs.
ē Give me SSX now damnit.
And boom goes the nuclear reactor. Thatís all I wrote and Iíll stick to it as long as you pay me obsessive amounts of money. But in all honesty, thanks so much for reading, and Iíll damn near try my hardest to update this blog more. Because I love you all.
It used to be that I almost never chose the female option for an avatar.
Now, thatís not to say I hate women or anything like that, but it just never occurred to me to do such a thing as to try the other side. Part of it is because I when I went through my Huey phase, I could never make a black female avatar I could stand to look at for the next X amount of hours, and part of it might be because I was really freaking lazy and just pressed the ďXĒ button until I got to the part where I got my sword and shit got real.
Only recently have I discovered the female avatar, and only very recently I discovered why I might like to play female avatars more.
I must admit, I have to attribute BioWare for showing me the light in female avatars. If it werenít for Female Shepard, Iíd still be blasting around with a phallus between my virtual legs. Even then, it did take awhile; at first the female avatar options were less than desirable for me, but all the hustle and bustle about FemShep convinced me to bite down and really work with the character creation tool. Eventually, I found a concoction that didnít make me vomit blood and tears, and I christened her Marcy Shepard.
I then proceeded to play Mass Effect 2. As I went forward in my quest to save humanity, I found myself thinking; ďyou know, would this be something Female Shepard would say, or Male Shepard would say?Ē, even though technically, they would both say the same thing regardless. I also found that, unlike in Mass Effect in which I went with default MaleShep (because the character creator, no matter what you did in that game, created butt ugly results), that I didnít peruse any romantic interests what so ever. Before hand, I had it down that I was going to do everything in my power to get into Garrusí pants, but as I played the game, we stayed just friends who liked to blow shit up sick nasty style. I became sort of a loving mother towards Grunt, and I had to smack Mordin across the head so heís shut up every now and then.
Notice that you canít really do any of those things in Mass Effect 2, but I still felt that way.
I came to realize that this was because of how I perceived interacting with my companions; I had gone though a bit of Mass Effect 2 as MaleShep, and in the conversations, I could only find myself growing an attachment towards Garrus because we weíre bros who liked to blow stuff up sick nasty style. Everyone else was kinda dull; but when I played as Marcy, I grew a bit more attached to the others. My love for Tali was rekindled something special, I put Jack in my ďKill These Motherfuckers AlwaysĒ file (which also houses Ashley), and I even grew a sort of buddy cop dynamic with Garrus as mentioned before.
I didnít do anything fundamentally different though; I didnít choose different dialogue options, I didnít make different choices; what it was however, was the voice work of Jennifer Hale. Her voice allowed me to actually distance myself from my character so I could get to know my companions better. With MaleShep, I only had first impression thoughts of my characters; the fact that I sort of superimposed my voice upon MaleShep didnít allow me to really see the characters deeper than face value. I interacted with them, but in dialogue only. With FemShep, I couldnít put my voice in her body, so I actually spent more time listening to the characters than I did picturing myself talking to the characters, which in turn allowed to me interact with them on a deeper level.
If that was all really rambled and confusing, heres a simplified version I just thought up; I ignore what characters have to say when Iím playing a male avatar opposed to a female avatar, because I focus too much on being the male character.
I could attribute the same to why I like Dragon Age II so much. Besides not being a complete clunky waste of time (coughcoughTheWitchercoughcough), being Female Hawke allowed me to really sit back and enjoy characters. I probably wouldnít have thought of Varric as much as a badass charmer as he is, or Merrill as fucking cute as she is. I have an unhealthy obsession with Merrill. Sheís way too cute for her own good, and the female on female interaction allowed me to see that.
So Iíve taken a liking to choosing a female avatar, but not for the female empowerment or ďlol dat assĒ factor; itís for the vocal aspect. Iím already planning to continue on with my saves in both Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age 3 when the time comes. Iím looking out for games that have female counterparts to their male characters and seeing what the voices sound like. I even tried Fallout: New Vegas with a female character, although due to the fact of "Merrill the Courier" not being able to speak vocally, she turned into a deranged human being who would sleep with you, tell you itís good, and the choke you to death, but the female dialogue options allowed for that, so it counts a bit!
I honestly never thought a feminine voice would have such an impact in certain video games for me, but Iím glad I found out; otherwise, Merrill wouldnít be my new waifu. I mean, look at her;
Welcome to another wonderful edition of Blogs Between Blogs; you know, that thing Daxelman does when he canít think to write up a blog on a singular topic. Iíve got nothing more demeaning to talk about, so yeah, letís get to it.
College Update! Iíve been accepted to the three colleges Iíve applied too; Southern Methodist University, Drexel University, and Rochester Institute of Technology. This makes me incredibly happy and also serves as a major boost of confidence for myself. Looking at all the other students in AP/IB/GT programs, I always felt that I was the one kid who got stuck in these programs because I would just do my work when told to, and I wasnít really that smart or creative at all. Itís nice to know some colleges would take me, and it doesnít make me feel all that mediocre anymore.
Now the big challenge is figuring out which one to commit to. SMU is a good choice because itís close to family and friends, but Iíve been in Texas all but 5 years of my life, so yeah, I think itís time to expand my horizons a bit. Rochester is my dream college; the campus is beautiful, the college is subtly nerdified (they have an eatery called Ctrl-Alt-Deli), and itís in New York, which means itís one train ticket away from the Nintendo World Store in New York City. Drexel is one Iím not so sure about; Itís in Philadelphia, and Iíve never been there, but itís within driving distance of PAX, it's Independence City 101, and fuck yeah real Philly Cheese Steaks.
I guess Iíll just look at financial aid packages and figure out who I can scrounge up the money for. Did I mention college is expensive? Damn, college is expensive.
Like everyone else who has a DS/3DS, I got Pokťmon Black, and Iíve been enjoying it so far. Itís amazing how the littlest of changes can make the biggest difference in a game. Stuff like having the Pokťmon Center and the Poke-Mart in the same place, or giving you a free counter for your starters type weakness, or even letting loose the requirement for having a badge to use HM moves; itís all made the game that much more fun.
Iím progressing at a rather slow pace though, but thatís do to me actually taking time to play Pokťmon the way Iíve always wanted to play it; actually thinking like a smart trainer and leveling up all of my Pokťmon and not just my starter. Every gym I encounter, I first capture a few type counters, then I train the up, and then I train up the rest of my Pokťmon for backup. At this rate, I still have a few Pokťmon that are in their teens, such as Patrat and Lillipup, but thatís because I found Drilbur (and later, Excadrill) and heís fucking amazing. I mean, heís a mole, with scissors for claws! How baller is that?
You wanna know what else is totally baller? The animations and how they bring real character to the Pokťmon. Emboar is like ďI am so fucking huge, you donít even know!Ē and Scraggy is like ďBitch, when I pull my skin back up, Iímma fucking waste you, Wu-Tang style.Ē All of the subtle animations actually make the Pokťmon speak in my mind. Itís also neat to notice a few small animation quirks, like when Blitzle uses and electric attack, heíll glow yellow, or Pikachu waving at you you.
All in all, Pokemon Black/White has been the definitive Pokťmon experience for me. Now that Iíve got my Wi-Fi working again, Iíll be making a new team to try out on the global battling circuts when the servers come back up. Japan can take itís time though; I donít think Iíll be getting past the Elite 4 for awhile. Iím still freaking out about that bridge section. Did you guys see that? THERE ARE TRUCKS IN THE POKEMON UNIVERSE!
Also, if anyone has a Shiny Drilbur, I will give you all I have for it. All I have.
There are a lot of games coming out that I really wanna play, but the thing thatís been nagging at my mind now is this SMT: Persona craze the rest of you have all been on. Iíve been hankering to try out at least one of the titles for awhile now, because I need more turn based RPGís with cool art direction. Persona seems to fulfill both of those requisites, but I feel as if Iíd rather play the portable versions on the PSP rather than use my old PS2, partially because it would be easier to find the PSP versions, and that I donít want to hook up more cables to the back of my TV.
I donít have a PSP though, so Iíll work on that first. In the mean time, I can take relief in the fact that SMT: Devil Survivor 2 will be coming out on the DS (hopefully in America), which also has an art style I really like. I'll try to get the first one, but at least I donít need to run out and buy a 3DS tomorrow. Not like I would have been able to (now matter how much I want too), but hell, Iíll do anything for anything that reminds me of Durararah!! (Is that too many raís?)
And now for some bullet points, because hell yeah:
ē Iím going to buy the fuck out of Dragon Age 2 after Portal 2, and Iím going to shag the fuck out of Isabella, with a female Hawke. Crude? Maybe. Giving a fuck? Nope.
ē While weíre on Dragon Age 2, Iím probably the only person who thinks the console version is better than the PC version (along with thinking the game is good at all).
ē Crysis 2 seems to be something I should pick up. I mean, Iíve got this new graphics card, might as well use it.
ē Fuck Shogun 2. And itís optimized for Intel 2nd Gen Chips
ē When is Torchlight 2 coming out?
ē I almost forgot about Brink, but yeah, thatís happing in May. I wish it was May and I had 60 extra dollars.
ē Should I go about completing FarCry 2? I played about five minutes after I bought it from a Steam Sale, and havenít touched it since. Am I doing a disservice?
ē Wholly shit thatís a lot of 2ís, letís throw some threeís up in this bitch.
ē DiRT 3 is something Iím still excited for. I hope my PC can run it, but if not, Iíll get it for my PS3 and enjoy the hell out of it. DiRT2 was amazing, and I canít wait to try out the new racing modes in DiRT 3.
ē Would any of you be up for a Saturday Morning FNF Aftermath Podcast? Weíd join the FNF crews together for a morning/Afternoon of hangover talking and recalling the past nights events. Weíd argue about whoís the better Sagat player, how are favorite multiplayer games are handling, what are current single player addictions, Demon Souls. Stuff like that.
Well, that was my last clip. Join me next time as I do another one of these because I like doing them because theyíre easier to do than singular ideas, although I should have a fleshed out singular idea soon. Who knows? You will, if you stay tuned. -dramatic backdrop lighting and music-
So, weíre in 2011, arenít we? Big things are going to happen this year; Iíll be graduating highschool, hopefully off to the college of my choice, grabbing life by the horns as I fend for myself for the first time in the cruel, cold world and Iíll be able to enter contests legally, but most of all, itíll be a big year in gaming; new motion stuff on the HD consoles, 3D gaming, new handhelds, and all the mobile, 99 cent stuff; gaming is going to be huge in 2011, so I have to get organized. Allegedly, best way to do that is in blog from, right?
Hey, at least itís not one of those nasty looking Blog-Between-Blog things I do, so that makes this blog 10 times better.
In any case, Iíve decided to compile a list of games I need to play or complete, along with some peripherals I want to experience, and generally badassery that I need to be a part of, because everything is better when you have it all organized nice and neat in an online blog.
Letís do this.
Games Daxelman NEEDS to Complete :
Mass Effect 2
I bought this motherfucker in March of last year. Since then Iíve logged about 25 hours spread across two playthroughs. The first one fell to the digital abyss because Iím fucking lazy, and the second one is going to fall to the same abyss because Iím lazy. Hell, my second one has a female Shepard, and everyone LOVES female Shepard. In any case, this game is high priority on my list, because Mass Effect 3 is dropping in November, and I donít want to be late for that.
This is a game I put some significant time into, but then dropped for absolutely no reason what so ever. Maybe itís because the voice chat in game is completely broken. Maybe itís because I could never find anyone who wanted to do story missions without throwing down duals in the middle of boss fights. Maybe itís because I could never find a gun better than my lvl 25 SMG that spits fire, and Iím a level 32 Hunter, but whatever the case, I did have fun rolling around Pandora, and I should give the game the finish it deserves. Maybe when I finish it, Iíll jump on some of the DLC.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Iíve bought this game twice; once on sale on the PC and another on sale on Amazon for the PS3 (which was the Lock Box Bundle, which came with a steel box and an art book for 14 bucks). There is no reason why I canít finish the game. Setting wise, I actually feel like this is a nice departure from the usual ďlolĒ that Grand Theft Auto is known for. Soundtrack wise, GTAIV has the best theme song of the last decade. Iíll finish this one, and then get on to The Ballad of Gay Tony, because IM GETTING ARAB MONEY!
Tales of Monkey Island
This one is kind of a conundrum; I finished Chapter I and started Chapter II, but I just never got across to finishing the rest. The game sports all that Tell Tale is known for; generally funny dialogue, clever but not mind breaking puzzles, and really funny-ass moments. I havenít laughed so hard at a PC game in years the way I laughed at the beginning of Chapter I, and I really needed that chuckle when it came in my life. The least I could do for Tell Tale from bringing me back up is to finish the rest of whatís sure to be an excellent adventure game.
I played Diablo back in 2001, and I donít even remember what I thought of the game, but since then, I havenít really touched a game like it until 2009, when I picked up Torchlight in the Holiday Steam Sale. Since then, I played it in burst mode for about a week, enjoying the hell of the game, but I havenít really sat down and proceeded to complete it yet. Iíll do my best to rectify that this year. You know, until Torchlight 2 comes out; then itís co-op all the way man.
Honorable Mentions (Shit that needs to be completed or recompleted)
Bit.Trip: BEAT, Strong Badís Cool Game for Attractive People, Uncharted II: Among Thieves, Mirrorís Edge, Shank, Puzzle Agent, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Machinarium, and many more on my Steam Games list.
Games Daxelman Should Get Back Into:
Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Iím a huge advocate of teamwork based gameplay. It makes me feel as if I donít suck as much. I do not always have to focus on killing people; healing, spotting, fixing tanks, I can do it all. A game that reminds me a lot of Team Fortress 2 in terms of not feeling like a useless piece of junk all the time, Bad Company 2 is a game I really need to get accompanied with again. I did try the multiplayer for awhile, but the lack of vocalism on the PC turned me off. Maybe with the introduction of the new Vietnam multiplayer pack, I might drop some money on a PS3 copy and play with you guys.
This game single handedly brought me into fighting games, seriously. Itís a game that I actually saw myself getting better and better at over time. A game that I sat and played with the PS3 FNF crew and grew to love to death each and every one of you sick bastards. A game I thought about making my own fightstick for. Yeah, BlazBlue added a new favorite genre to my ranks, and hell, it caused me to buy Super Street Fighter IV. I havenít played it in a while. I need to dust of my rusty-ness and get back in the nitty-gritty.
Also, Noel is my Waifu!
This is the racing game of the generation; Not Gran Turismo 5, not Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, not Forza 3; Burnout Paradise reigns king of all racing games in my book. No other racing game have I dropped more than 100+ hours into. No other racing game have I ever stuck with so much to the point of it being the only thing I did for weeks. Itís my apex of racing titles, whoís only challenger might be DiRT 2 or DiRT 3, and even then, nothing beats riding around at 120+ miles per hour in a van, in oncoming traffic.
Itís sad that I have to put this here. Back when I could connect to the Nintendo Wifi connection, I logged close to 450 hours in Pokemon Diamond. I was wheeliní and dealiní and batteliní and losiní. But when we upgraded our router, it seemed as if WEP, the DSís only security encryption, was impossible, and so were my chances of going online. As a side effect, I dropped off of the Pokemon bandwagon, instead choosing to help others with their games. I got back into it for a little when Heart Gold/Soul Silver came out, but as I didnít have compatible Wifi, the game quickly stopped receiving attention. Times are changing though, with the advent of the 3DS, and most likely a price drop on the other DS models, itís about time I jumped on a used DSi so I can access the WiFi Connection when I get Pokemon Black, hopefully. Or maybe Iíll get a phone that allows for WiFi tethering, who knows.
Honorable Mentions (Shit that needs to played at least one more time)
Pixel Junk Eden, Wipeout HD, Marvel Vs Capcom 2, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Audiosurf Beat Hazard, Garryís Mod, DEFCON, Half Life 2/Episode 1/Episode 2
New Games Daxelman Wants to Play But (Possiblly) Wonít Because Heís Strapped for Cash:
If you havenít read my impressions, go ahead and give it a read. It pretty much explains why Iím looking forward to this FPS. Teamwork is the name of the game here, and what I lack in killing ability, I make up for in healing, fixing, and being a general nuisance for the other team. It feels so nice to feel useful.
Portals? Check. Glados? Check. Robots? Check. Co-Op? SOLD! Itís Portal, itís longer than the original, it lookís packed with content, and itís got cute-as-fuck robot co-op! The only thing that would make this deal sweeter is if it was free. Well, it kinda is now. Kinda. Sorta. Iím so buying this game.
FUCK YEAH This game looks awesome from top to bottom. From the arcade points based gameplay, to the co-op modes, to Steven Blum, this is everything I want in a game, and more. It helps that the demo comes out on my birthday. Yeah, that helps a lot.
Another FPS? Deal with it.
To be completely honest, I wasnít really excited for Homefront when I first heard about it. Interesting premise, yes, but otherwise, I had bigger FPSís on my list. But then I read this interview, and I become instantly more enamored with the title. It seems as if the developers really want to create an enthralling single player experience, and using Half Life 2 as a back drop should prove to help out their cause. I hope they can deliver, because if they do, Homefront might have one of the best well told and presented stories in 2011.
Oh look, a DS Game!
Iíve been looking at this game since I first saw it on Amazon last year, deciding whether or not I should drop the money for a preorder. It seems as I should have a long time ago, as first run copies come with piano renditions of the games beautiful soundtrack. Couple that with a nifty time travel mechanic and an interesting battle system and Iíd say this would be an RPG to get for my DS. Lord knows I need more RPGís in general.
Look at that badass up there.
Anyways, Iíve already got Black on preorder, but thereís a multitude of stuff in White thatís not in Black that I eventually want to check out. Plus, I canít be politically correct unless I have both versions. Otherwise, just fill this with the usual ďItís Pokemon, itís bound to be great!Ē and youíll get the picture.
Honorable Mentions (more shit that has me hot for 2011 that would make this blog unbearably long):
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, DOTA 2, BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II, DiRT 3, Need For Speed Shift 2: Unleashed, Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3, Guild Wars 2, Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, Torchlight II, Duke Nukem Forever, The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and more stuff I canít remember but you can help in the comments!
Holy mother of all that is sacred; that is a lot of video games.
Add to that list that I want to try and hit PAX this year, I want to be a part of the BYOC festivities at QuakeCon, I need to buy some sort of new DS, be it a 3DS or a DSi, and I want to get a PSP so I can play some Persona, and hopefully Iíll be going to college, itís going to take the GNP of a small country to satisfy myself this year. I probably wonít get to every game I want to on this list, but I wrote it down so I could look at it and have some sort of goal to work towards this year. And thatís what New Yearís Resolutions are about, right?
So if youíve stuck through all of this rambling and listing off of games, I congratulate you. This is a lot of writing for a list of what I want to play, but Iím glad you decided to take the time out to read it all, and I hope itís given you some sort of goal to work toward to in 2011 as well. So, now that weíve established all of this, whoís ready to start a global crime syndicate with me so I can earn enough money to support all of this gaming I want to do?
There are a few things to do while at QuakeCon. One can, if they brought their own PC, play a multitude of game with other fellow gamers, including betas given out at the convention. One can also take pictures with cars to be given away in tournaments. One can learn to play Quake Live like a Pro, while one can have PC fans thrown at them so they can take them home. Me? I walked around the BYOC area, saw some sweet case mods. Then I walked around the show floor, and watched QuakeLive TV give a shout out to Destructoid. Then I waited in what seemed like a short line (only about 7 people long) for a hour to play Brink.
And Brink is, so far, good.
The story of Brink somewhat kisses the ass of Al Gore; thereís the Arc, an island of paradise only for the richest of the rich, out in the middle of the ocean. Worst comes to past, the icebergs melt, seas reclaim the entire earth, and thereís a bunch of displaced refugees who need a place to live, and naturally, they happen upon the Arc. A paradise fit for 5000 now houses 50,000, and people are getting a little touchy, what with the lack of resources and all. Enter the Resistance, the fighters for the refugees, trying to distribute vital supplies to the rest of the inhabitants of the Arc, by any means necessary. Then thereís the Security, those who try to keep the peace on the Arc, usually by trying to stop the Resistance from causing complete chaos. Itís a polarizing battlefield, but you probably already know most of this from all the dev diaries and stuff.
Letís start with the actually demo then. First, we were allowed to customize our own character, and I was surprised at how deep the customization feature is. Youíre given a basic body type template that you can work off of, like ďThe ChinĒ which is a brutal looking black guyÖwith a huge chin. From there, we could change the skin tone of our character, then work on clothing options and various other accessories. From bandages to clown based face paint to balaclavas to bouncer shirts, thereís a lot you can do when youíre first creating your character. Thereís also some gun customization, though it was severely limited to make sure everyone was on a level playing field, but it showed promise of being incredibly expansive. Demo helper guys informed me that this was just the basic of the customization, and there would be tons more you can buy and unlock as you get credits for completing objectives in game. They also told me that whether you are doing single player, co-op, or multiplayer, your specialized character is persistent across all of those modes.
After tweaking my Rastafarian around for a bit, I was dropped into what seemed like the shipyard/crate city level shown off in the dev diaries. This is where I found out that working together is the only way youíll beat this game. The demo for Brink is special, in that the more objectives you complete, the more time you get. So before hand, I had stood and watched a guy play out a 40-50 minuet demo. Teamwork was prevalent in that game, the guy stood buy with his friends and helped him complete some objectives before reaching a choke point and watching their time dwindle to zero. Come my turn? We couldnít even get out of the shipyard. Luckily, my combined time watching the guy before me, and my time spent actually fucking around with Brink, gave me sufficient information on the game itself.
When dropped into the game, youíre given a certain number of objectives that you can do based on whatís happening overall in the level, with the most important objective (or the one thatís most suited to you) being highlighted right out of the gate. At any time, whether you feel youíre current ojective isnít going the way you want, or that youíre bored of what youíre doing, you can press and hold up on the dpad to access a radial menu that showís off all the different objectives you can switch to, as well as your current objective.
The objectives are also tailored to which ever class you have. There are 4 classes; Soldier, Engineer, Medic, and Operative. The Soldier is the shoot Ďem up guy, who can also place explosives when certain objectives call for them, and dispense ammo to himself and his fellow teammates. The Engineer fixes things, gives damage buffs to fellow teammates, and of course, places sentries. The Medic buffs health and revives downed players, and the Operative is the Spy, or in other words, ďa two timing scumbagĒ. He can take the identity of dead teammates and cause chaos behind enemy lines. At any time you are near a command post, you can switch classes, without having to respawn or anything. Itís also good to note that just in case you forget what class you are, the color of your gloves gives off what class you are playing as.
So, rounds go according to this archetype; one faction (In this case, the Resistance) will be taking a defensive strategy, while the other faction (in this case, the Security) will be taking an offensive one. The main mission of the Security was to guide a mini-tank like robot through the Crate City towards a specific area. Security forces could be doing a multitude of things, from ďpushing the cartĒ to clearing up alternate route for your teammates to use, to clearing out choke points, while the Resistance was there to make sure they got nothing done and failed miserably. At least, thatís what happened to me.
In my ten minutes though, I decided to mess around with the highlight of Brink; the S.M.A.R.T. button. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Smooth Movement Around Random Terrain, and when you press the left bumper, thatís pretty much what you get. Instead of having to press buttons to jump or grapple or slide or other parkor things, just press and hold the right bumper, and point to where you eventually want to end up. Your character will sprint, jump, wall run, grapple, and slide to your destination. There were a few moments when it didnít work quite as well or quite as smooth as I wanted it too, but those instances where few and far between, and S.M.A.R.T. felt really fluid and helped me get back into the thick of things quickly and most importantly, easily. Of course, there are buttons for sliding and jumping on their own, for tactical maneuvers/looking like a badass mostly, but traveling in Brink does seem to be made much smarter by S.M.A.R.T.
All the random terrain youíll be traversing looks really good too. The stylized look of the NPCs and youíre character match the environments. Everything is slightly exaggerated, and in various colors, sometimes bright, and other times muddy. The Crate City is well built, with multiple pathways that can be used so that both factions can get to the action relatively quickly, as well as get around to behind enemy lines. With all the options though, some routes can feel very cramped, and if youíre caught using the same route as an enemy, you better be first to pull the trigger.
Overall, Brink has a lot going for it. The customization, in game options, and the added flow brought about by the S.M.A.R.T. button make this a really good looking FPS. My partner was an 8 year old child who was able to pick up on the mechanics of the game fairly quickly, so this should be an FPS that newcomers or those who find themselves crappy at FPSs should feel fairly comfortable with. It is controller enabled on the PC, which is the version I got to play, but of course itíll have good olí mouse and keyboard support. I was really excited to get my hands on Brink when I saw it during E3, and now that Iíve had a chance, I can honestly say Iím really looking forward to rolling around the Arc as a badass Rastafarian Security Operative.
Just the fact the game lets me do that, already solidifies a purchase.
So, lots of things are happening in the world of video game movies, weíve had Prince of Persia, Tekken, Max Payne, Doom and, Street Fighter: The (horrible) Legend Of Chun Li, and there are talks of big screen renditions of Mass Effect, Mortal Kombat, and hell, Jamie Foxx is Lynch in the Kane & Lynch film. This got me thinking about what games could lend themselves to be really good movies, and how we could put these titles in the right hands and treat them so that they would become good movies.
After thinking about possible changes to the plot that would have to be made to make them more movie palatable, special effects, and whether or not it should be a live action movie, I came to road block: who the hell would play some of these characters? I decided to see if I could find the perfect (or not so perfect) IRL matches for some of our most beloved (or not) characters. Thus began ďIn-Movie-LifeĒ, or IML the poorly thought out, paragraph long reasons for why which real life actor should play whoever fictionalized video game character. It's going to be fun.
And I think Iíll start with the jolly old folks in Bad Company.
Letís kick it off with Private Preston Marlowe, and his IML counterpart, Jake Gyllenhaal. Seriously, if you didnít see Jake every time you saw Marlowe, didnít hear Jake every time Marlowe spoke, you must have not played Bad Company or Bad Company 2. I donít even really need to explain why Gyllenhaal is the perfect match for Marlowe, they look alike, talk alike, and hell, if you saw Jarhead, they even act and (attempt to) snipe enemies alike. There's pretty much no one better suited to play the role of Marlowe than Jake, and if you can find someone, Iíd like to slap you in the face for lying to me, and all the good people who may or may not read this blog.
No second choices because Jake wins. End of story. Don't argue with my authority.
This brings us to our next man, Private Terrence Sweetwater. Sweets wasnít as easy as Marlowe, but I plowed though army movies and photos of actors to make sure I got a good match. And then I remembered good olí Colin Farrell. Save for the chin, they look alike, and heís done some ďshooty shooty bang bangĒ films (S.W.A.T.), but the catchy thing here is he looks smart, and thatís really all you need him to do. Sweetwater is the nerd of the group, and with proper script writing and acting from Colin, you can turn Mr. Farrell into one of usÖuh, the group of us who pride themselves in military tech, at least.
Second choices include Colin Hanks, James McAvoy, David Schwimmer, and Matthew Leitch. And yes, I did just look at the Band of Brothers cast list and pick names. Truthfully, any one of these actors can portray Sweetwater well given the right treatment to writing Sweetsí lines, but Farrell gets first dibs because heís Irish, and they donít get any praise from me.
Now for Private George Haggard Jr. Ah, Haggard, I knew what I needed as soon as I saw him in Bad Company. I needed a Texan, but not just any Texan; I needed an actor that exemplified what it meant to truly be Texan. That meant I couldnít use Martial Arts Master and God Slayer Chuck ďWalker Texas RangerĒ Norris, which made my quest of the perfect match for the badass-ness that is the Dallas Cowboys loving demolitions expert much harder. Then, I saw Zombieland. When I saw Woody Harrelson acting all badass, killing zombies and what not, I thought to myself, ďGive that man a 870MCS Shotgun, some C4, a darker beard and a beanie, and youíve got the man who single handedly invaded a neutral countryĒ.
Other suggestions include Stone Cold Steve Austin, because heís Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Chuck Norris, because I fear the day I take Chuck Norris out of a competition for anything. I need to look up more Texan like actors.
And last, but not least, is Sergeant Samuel D. Redford, also known as ďIím Never Getting My RetirementĒ. You donít know how badly I wanted to cast Samuel L Jackson for the role. I really wanted to; like, really wanted to. But I couldnít, because I knew that in the end, they just donít act alike enough to justify the casting. So I went searching, and after looking at the cast listing for a lot of films featuring prominent black actors, I settled on Forest Whitaker. Heís definitely got the build of Redford, if I do say so myself, and I think he could get the strict, no-nonsense Sergeant feel that balances out the rest of the group. Plus, I loved Ghost Dog, so yeah, bias.
Other suggestions include the always ready and willing Denzel Washington, because Denzel needs to do some funny movies, Jaime Foxx, because heís better at playing black people than playing white people and singing...sometimes, and Dennis Haysbert. Just watch his work in CBS series The Unit.
And there it is. Thatís the starting cast of the upcoming (not really) Bad Company motion picture. Itís sure to be a blockbuster hit with this acting talent, right? I mean, you can use Michael Chiklis for the obligatory Russian Bad Guy, and I think Brent Spiner (The Excited Scientist from Independence Day) would make a good Flynn if they decided to add him in. And who knows, they might be able to get Stephen Lang to be the ďIM GUNNA YELL AT YOU TO MAKE YOU AFRAID OF MEĒ colonel/commander or something.
Ah, who am I kidding? I'm just doing this so I can sleep at night. Better I get them out know so I'll just be disappointed when my picks don't actually make it, then have to scramble around IMBD and Wikipedia and Google Images looking for actors that can't even be considered then.