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Furious Tuscadero's blog

6:40 PM on 06.08.2009

Red Faction: Guerrilla is flippiní AWESOME!

I wanted emphasize some of the finer points of this extremely enjoyable game to help spread the word as much as I can. I never played the first two Red Faction games, so I didnít have any baggage coming in. I enjoyed the single player demo, but I felt it was too short. Then I really enjoyed the multiplayer demo, and thatís when I started to get excited for full game. Iím still pretty early in, but itís been a long time since I have had so much fun with a title.

A lot of reviews make mention of similarities with GTA and with Halo, and the comparisons are indeed apt: Red Faction: Guerrilla is like the open world of GTA combined with the feel and combat of Halo, peppered with a little bit of Gears of War. On Mars. And you can blow up a whole lotta shit.

I have also noticed that many reviews complain about the lack of story, but I have to say that it hasnít bothered me up to this point. Itís simple: there are fascist bad dudes called the EDF who control the planet and [uh SPOILER] they killed your brother. Your mission is to take them out. No extra frills needed here. I often have trouble keeping up with a complex story while playing a 10-20 hour video game over the course of a couple of weeks anyway.

The persistent world of RF:G is a huge plus. Think back to GTA 4 when you are driving across the bridge and you have to go through the whole hassle of stopping at the toll booth and paying to get through or else the cops will be up your ass in an instant. In RF:G, there are numerous guard posts / checkpoints that you have to drive through. If you arenít careful, you may accidentally bump one of the guards and they will open up on you. The beauty of the game is you can just say ďYou know what, fuck these guys,Ē and blow the whole guard station to hell. This will definitely bring heat down on you, but getting away is usually not too difficult. After that, no more guard station to annoy you. When you take it out it stays taken out. Plus, you reduce EDF control of the area by just a little bit every time you destroy one of their structures.

One small gripe - this game gets hard, fast. The timed missions are brutal, you have to be damn near perfect to beat the clock. I had to actually bump the difficulty down to ďCasualĒ after failing a Collateral Damage mission multiple times. In those missions, you hook up with a dude who rides a motorcycle with a big old gun on the back, and the two of you go around blowing up EDF structures for lulz. You have to cause a specific amount of monetary damage during the run to pass the mission. The problem is, the dude drives like a complete spastic, so itís hard to get a bead on anything for more than a quick second and the rocket launcher takes a few beats to reload. Thankfully, you donít have to beat every mission in a given area to eventually free it.

You learn quickly that you canít rush to the front of a firefight and take these fools head on, there are just too many of them. You have to stick and move, often taking advantage of whatever turrets you come across in abandoned vehicles. Hence the ďGuerrillaĒ in the title. Ammo goes quick, so you have to periodically be able to get to the bodies you just created to replenish your rounds. The enemy A.I. is humorously over the top at times, as evidenced by the first time you hit a dead end while being chased and like six EDF assault vehicles come smashing into you at full speed, often flying right over the top of your own vehicle.

Another small touch that is rather charming: when you ďjackĒ a civilian vehicle the driver hops on out and says something along the lines of ďGo ahead and take it. Iím just glad to do my part.Ē Thatís right, on Mars you are a goddam rock star.

Multiplayer is also a blast, though I have been so busy with the single player that I fear I am lagging way behind in my online skills and XP. The matches go fast, and I tend to die A LOT. You get nice bonuses for completing tasks in objective based game types, so much so that if you are a diligent little worker, you often come out ahead on points over someone who has a higher kill count. The backpacks are a stroke of genius, I wish upon wish that I could have a jetpack in the single player campaign.

I am really looking forward to continuing my piece-by-piece dismantling of the EDF control over Mars. This is the type of game you start thinking about when you are at work and get all amped up to play as soon as you get home. Life is wonderful without real world responsibilities. Except for the job part, of course. Which is needed to continue financing the video game addiction. The circle is complete.

So check out Red Faction: Guerrilla if you get the chance. Tell Ďem Large Marge sent you. This probably wonít do anything but cause confusion, but you never know.   read

7:03 AM on 04.15.2009

Wasteland Diary, Part 4

Part 1 here:

Part 2 here:

Part 3 here:

May 5, 2277

The next time I saw BALLS in action was definitely one Iíll remember for the rest of my days. I was heading home through what used to be a forest after checking out some abandoned satellite recon station I heard about in Ratchet City. Damn place was already picked over; obviously thatís why word of it was now getting around. My irritation made me rush, and I almost carelessly stumbled right into a huge yao guai. Luckily, the yao guai was too busy digging after something in the hill to notice me. After nearly shitting my pants, I slowly eased myself back and crouched behind a rock, praying that the wind didnít change against my favor.

As I sat and waited for the yao guai to move on, something kept flicking in my peripheral vision. After a few seconds of concentrating hard on the spot that kept drawing my attention, I recognized the hazy outline of someone using a Stealth-Boy and slowly crawling toward the beast. I figured whoever it was must be crazy, dumb, or suicidal, because everyone knows those things donít mask scent. The figure stopped about 20 yards from the yao guai and started carefully making a pile out of something small and flat. It took a lot of squinting, but I eventually made out that they were frag mines. After getting a good pile together made up of a hell of a lot of mines, the nut job retreated to what I assumed he thought to be a safe distance. All of a sudden, the Stealth-Boy snaps off and there stands BALLS with a 10mm pistol aimed at the yao guaiís back. He fired one measly shot into its flesh and the beast roared so loud it left my ears ringing. The yao guai whipped around, spotted its attacker, and charged straight toward BALLS at a furious gallop. What happened next has got to be up there near the top of the list of the craziest things I ever saw. The pile of mines started beeping their warnings as soon as the vibrations from the beatís feet began to shake them. Seemingly all at once, and right as the yao guai was soaring over the pile, the mines went off like a goddam battleship cannon. The blast threw the yao guai at least 60 feet into the air, and its heavy body came crashing back down into the rock quarry a hundred years away. Mouth wide, all I could do was look over at BALLS, who still didnít know I was there. He just stood there, nonchalantly watching the remains of the explosion burn itself out, as if he hadnít seen a giant ferocious animal go soaring across the dusk sky. BALLS simply looked at his wrist contraption for a few moments, then wandered off to the east.   read

7:00 AM on 04.13.2009

Wasteland Diary, Part 3

Part 1 here:

Part 2 here:

April 23, 2277

After chatting with the sheriff over a warm brew at the bar in Megaton, I learned that the strangerís name is MYBALLSONURCHIN. Strange name, I thought they spoke English down in those vaults. Anyhoo, sheriff says old ĎBALLS there came out of the vault looking for his father, who was all wrapped up in some big important science project. Something about cleaning the water. Which reminds me, just the other day I saw BALLS taunting that old beggar just outside of town with a bottle of clean water, only to drink the whole thing himself right in front of the poor guy. You can never tell with him, he seems like a saint sometimes when you see him, other times heís a real prick.

This quest for his father seems to have taken him all over the Wasteland and across all sorts of unsavory characters, and heís starting to amass the gear to prove it. One time I saw him wearing some of that mean looking Raider badlands armor and carrying like fifteen assorted pistols and rifles, in addition to his usual giant backpack full of crap. Poor guy could barely walk.

This is not to say that Iíve been impressed by any of the times Iíve actually seen him in combat. The first scuffle I witnessed was in Big Town. I was trying to find a nice new Settlerís outfit because the crotch was beginning to wear out on my old one. I looked up to see BALLS poking around outside the window of the shop, and I got a nervous feeling in my stomach. When I came out, he was having an animated conversation with a lady about some folks that had been taken by super mutants. He announces, all heroic like, that heís going to go fight the super mutants and save the missing town folk. The lady gets all giddy and plants a big one right on his cheek, and I shake my head and start getting my gear ready to head back down south.

BALLS goes marching off into the sunset like a conquering hero, only to come tear-assing back not five minutes later with a pissed off super mutant hot on his heels. Seems the missile launcher that the big brute was carrying was a bit too much firepower for the great BALLS to handle. He gets behind the corner of one of the houses and chucks a couple of frag grenades at the monster but heís way off with his aim and they donít even so much as singe a toe. The super mutant caught him leaning out too far from cover and put a missile right at his feet. I donít know if youíve ever seen a man with three limbs and his head all crippled, but I can assure you, it aint a pretty sight. By this time, the rest of the town had rallied to fight the mutant while BALLS frantically crammed stimpacks into himself from behind the house. Just as the beast was about to fall, a newly healed BALLS got the courage to sneak up behind him and deliver the coup de grace with a full clip from his Chinese assault rifle. Without so much as a thank you nod to the rest of the folks, he grabbed the missile launcher off the dead mutant, hoisted it over his shoulder, and set off once more on his mission. I decided to get the hell out of there before he brought another war back to town with him.   read

4:33 PM on 04.09.2009

Wasteland Diary, Part 2

April 10, 2277

As it so happens, the next time I saw the mysterious new guy was in Megaton, at the Craterside Supply. While I rummaged through the meager bits of junk in stock and waited for help, I overheard the stranger talking with that borderline-psychotic bimbo Moira about some cockamamie book sheís putting together. It sounded to me like she was sending the poor bastard straight to his grisly death just for the promise of some caps and a few trinkets. It certainly wasnít any of my business, though he did look a bit more armed than the last time I saw him.

After he left, I haggled with Moira over the lawnmower blade that I found embedded in some poor bastardís skull on the way to town. Bitch always low-balls me; I gotta get better at this whole bartering thing. I finally settled on five caps and some light maintenance on the shotgun. Why she can never fix the damn thing all the way is beyond me.

I left in a huff and almost didnít notice the stranger splashing around in the radiated water around that big-ass bomb in the middle of town. At first I thought he had completely lost his mind, but then I remembered I heard Moira say something about Rad-Away, so I guess she was using him as a guinea pig. I noticed a woman standing next to me, staring at him with the same baffled look on her face as I imagine was slapped all over mine. I joked that if he wasnít careful, he was going to set that nuke off and blow us all to hell. And Iíll be damned if the lady didnít tell me that the stranger had come marching in with blessings from the sheriff and disarmed the thing not two days before. People have been scared of that bomb for as long as thereís been a town around it, and here this guy comes waltzing in and just flicks the off switch. Like I said, crazy things going down around here lately.   read

7:20 PM on 04.08.2009

Wasteland Diary, Part 1

April 8, 2277

Iíve seen a lot of crazy stuff in my days walking the Wasteland and never put much thought into writing any of it down before. Lately though, things have been an extra kind of strange, and I figured maybe I should document some of the more peculiar goings on in case someone needs an interesting read and happens to find this journal after Iím gone. Not to assume that any of this would be interesting to anyone else but me, of course. Maybe itís just to help me pass the time.

A couple years ago, I set up shop in a sturdy little shack just outside of Megaton. Close enough to the town to be relatively safe from super mutants, but far enough away to stay out of the goofy Megaton politics. Before the war, I was a janitor in one of the fancy high rises, back when there were such things. Now, I do what I can to get by, mostly through scavenging and trade. These days, things are so picked clean locally that I often end up having to venture out into pretty hairy territory to find anything worthwhile. Thankfully, Iím still in one piece due in no small part to the combat shotgun I picked up off a dead Raider a while back after he fell off a bridge while trying to take a piss over the side.

Anyhow, the aforementioned strangeness that prompted me to start keeping this journal all started a couple months ago when I was relaxing in my shack and listening to the Pappy Paddington Power Hour on Galaxy News Radio. One second, Iím smoking my pipe and chuckling over one of Pappyís famous rants about the ghoul infestation in the subways, and the next, some fella barges in through my door and starts rummaging through my stuff. I feebly tried to tell him that it was my house and that he should kindly vacate, but he didnít pay me a lick of attention. Normally, behavior like this would warrant a shotgun blast to the face, but there was something different about this dude. He didnít look like a scavenger or a Raider; he looked driven, like he had a purpose. I stood there watching, fascinated, while he kicked over my furniture and stole all my silverware. He had about the goofiest haircut you could imagine, and he was wearing one of those old vault jumpsuits. Luckily, he couldnít get into the cabinet where I keep all my good stuff. Guess he wasnít smart enough to figure out the lock. Finally, after looking at some contraption on his wrist for a good two minutes, he walked right back out into the Wasteland without a word, leaving my door open for good measure. Now if this had been my only encounter with the guy, I would have forgotten all about it in a couple days after I picked up some new forks and plates from Megaton. This is the Wasteland, and Iím used to seeing bizarre events on an almost daily basis. For better or for worse, though, this was only the first of many situations involving the stranger that I would find myself unwillingly witnessing. Iíll write more when I find the time.   read

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