Current Games: Monster Hunter Tri
Rock Band 2
My Setup Specs: Vizio 37" 120hz 1080p Flat Panel LCD (SV370XVT)
Sony Pro Logic Surround Sound System
Microsoft Xbox [120gb] (Elite, 0 RRoD w/ HDMI @ 1080p)
Sony Playstation 3 [80gb With Software BC] w/ HDMI @ 1080p
Nintendo Wii (Launch) w/ Component @ 480p (DD PLII)
Sony Playstation 2 w/ Component @ 480p
Main Computer Setup Specs Custom w/ Windows XP Black and Blue (SP2)
3.4ghz Pentium 4 Extreme w/ HyperThreading
3GB of RAM
320GB Western Digital Blue 7200 RPM Hard Drive
500GB External [re]drive
NVIDIA 6800 Ultra (256MB of DDR3 VRAM)
21" 1680 x 1050 LCD Flat Panel
Laptop Setup: Toshiba Satellite w/ Windows 7 Professional 32 bit
2.0ghz Centrino Core Duo (2 processors @ 2.0ghz)
3GB of RAM
120gb 5400 RPM Hard Drive
Intel Mobile 945 Series Graphics (up to 256mb)
15.4" 1280 x 800 LCD w/ Web Cam & Microphone built in
I live in the sunshine state. I enjoy most FPS's, rhythm games (other than RB > GH), and RPG's. Zelda is my favorite series of all time, forever. I soooo rock at LittleBigPlanet.
When I first heard about Borderlands, I was excited to say the least. In my ignorance I believed it to be Fallout 3 with multiplayer at first, before it was revealed to me that this was truly going to be a unique experience. The claims of non-stop killing, unlimited amounts of loot, and a well done art style all proved to me that this game is going to keep me busy for a while. To a large extent I was correct. I have played through until level 20 on several characters, level 25 on one, and my top character is coming up on level 40. Needless to say, I have spent countless hours on this game since it came out. Playing it every day for weeks when I found time, and even when I didn't, I quickly racked up at least 120+ hours on this game.
It seems that every time I play I am left both satisfied and dissatisfied; content yet wanting more. Nevertheless, I invite some friends over, break out the controllers, and I explore the wastes. I repeat incessant missions over again on my coming-of-age Siren, and collect Zombie Brains on my overlord Soldier.
Love: From the moment the opening cinematic started until an undefined point in time that I began to really think about Borderlands, I was in love. The great music choice along with the humorous direction of the short opening segment simply put a smile on my face. Also, when I saw the cutscene that explained the characters in detail, and how ever since they were small children they had heard about the Vault and wanted to search for it, I was sure that this was going to be a story driven game. "Fallout 3 with multiplayer," my mind scoffed, "this is going to have a better story and better gameplay." I guess that statement proved to be partially correct.
The first-person shooting mechanics offer no contest to Fallout 3, beating it in what must be every aspect imaginable. Turning acceleration, auto-aim, precision, and even the crosshairs in Borderlands are better. Along with that, the graphics are a refreshing change from the run of the mill try at realism that everyone attempts.
The variety of guns is unmatched, but it is easy to see the similarities between what we were told to be "completely unique" firearms. To add to the good, Borderlands offers vehicles with mounted weapons and good controls, many Challenges that could keep you busy for ages, stat-boosting class mods, grenade altering mods, and regenerative shields with interesting effects. How then I could I hate a game that I love so much?
Hate/Heartbreak: To elaborate on 'that point in time where I began to think about Borderlands,' it was really just the point that I realized that the game had no story. Save for the small cutscene before the last boss in the entire game, the biggest cinematic punch Borderlands packed were the four second introductions of some of the earlier characters and a few of the more important bosses. Talk to the person who gives quests, accept quests, complete quests, and as the game so eloquently puts it, TURN IN! Of course, these quests I speak of involve no more than killing a certain amount of enemies and collecting trinkets that they drop specifically for the quest, collecting glowing green items for some convoluted purpose, or talking to a useless character that happens to have a nifty text box that dispenses XP and prizes.
[Some spoilers may follow]
The cutscenes that I expected throughout Borderlands until I finally destroyed the last boss, they never happened. The unthinkable loot I expected to pillage from the Vault after there was nothing left to stop me, it never happened. The only thing I got was the same whining message on the right of my screen, urging me to TURN IN! and collect my prize. I practically had the spot in my inventory warmed up when I got to Tannis, and as I was greeted with the same repetitive and uninspired text box, I realized that I had only earned one million dollars.
I came to Pandora, fought my way up from Fyrestone, and rose up to conquer mystical extra-terrestrials, ravaging beasts of all sizes, and of course the psychopathic-schizophrenic humans that roam the planet. I even collected the vault pieces that no one could dream of, and outran all of the companies awaiting my death confirmation. After all of the hype, and the talk that I am greeted with about the Vault being real or fake, I am only given money. I get no godly Eridian weaponry and no unmistakably ridiculous gun.
I proved the unachievable could be done, and found the Vault that was not supposed to exist, but I don't even know what was in it. In fact, the game could have been done without the Vault, without the faked story, and without the fašade of being deeper than it is. It is a mindless shooter in which to collect loot, and that is okay with me. Drop the nonsensical backstory provided to me when I am asked to go kill twenty of a certain monster. Forget the Steele Corporation wanting to hunt me down, because honestly, I never knew the difference of being hunted and not being hunted, as there were always people ready to be shot in the face.
The bosses were also unnecessary in a way, because they were simply normal enemies with more health. "Oh no, Skagzilla! What is the secret to killing him?" More bullets. "Rakk Hive!!! O NOEZ!!11!!!1 How will I ever end this terrible beast's life?" Even more bullets. "Oh but the final boss, he must have a secret! It's got to be like Zelda, where you have to use special stuff on him, right?" Well, not really---use lots of bullets and put some in his arms.
I hope I got my point across as I intended. In short, I love Borderlands, but I can't stand the casual and brainless attitude it has, such as the do-all vending machines and the we are not even going to try to explain how or why this works in any way, shape, or form Catch-A-Ride stations. Borderlands does not take itself seriously. To add to that gripe, it tries to act like it has a deep story while providing just about the weakest narrative ever created. The gameplay is top notch and the graphics... well, let's just say they work pretty well.
I guess that past all of the explanations, what I am trying to say is that Borderlands is a game I hate to love, but more importantly, love to hate.
Lastly, there is a reason why I never mentioned Claptrap. You would not even want me to get started on his atomically small-sized importance to Borderlands.
In the first five minutes of the game, I had stolen a coffin from the sea, killed a dozen pirates that I may or may not have been able to reason with, and left a young woman all alone and in a strange place. What if I wanted to take a more peaceful approach in my game playing?
Well, as we all know, that is not possible.
The game forces us to commit horrible tasks, murder countless fathers, brothers, and sons, all the while seeking a grandiose treasure for the sole purpose of stealing it. I felt like I should have had to say yes to an End User License Agreement, just like you have to before that new game or program will install.
"Kill countless human beings, lie to save your own skin, and steal until your heart is content." I accept.
Nathan Drake: charming, funny, smart, and good with a gun. But is he as innocent as we would like to think? After all, what is your quest throughout the entire game? It may be arguable to spill some blood if your ultimate goal from the start was to save the princess, but when you are out for riches alone it takes a darker tone. Nathan must have known that there would be pirates after him, why else would he have taken guns with him? He embarked on his hunt for gold with the intention to end lives. Nothing, and no one could stop him from completing his journey, and it didn't matter what that might entail.
So what makes Nathan the "good guy" and everyone else bad? He is the invader, trying to steal property. What gives him the right to slaughter so many men so that he can be happy? Is it the fact that he is rescuing his ancestor's treasure from the hands of bad people, and therefore he is granted immunity from any sort of moral behavior?
Is he any better than the pirates and thieves he kills constantly through the game? The goal of Nathan and these men is to steal, and kill anyone who doesn't allow them to. So why then is he made out to be a good guy, a supposed protagonist. Are we not simply put into the shoes of a modern day pirate from the suburbs?
Naughty Dog made a fine game, but it is a game in which we must go against what our mothers told us, forget what we learned in preschool, and disregard all senses of good and bad. Because no matter how you choose to play the game, you must do the wrong thing.
That is the prize sent, along with a free digital copy of the game, for winning the Space Invaders Extreme contest. That thing is awesome! The contest page didn't even let on that is was this cool, and personally numbered! I will cherish this print, personally signed by the creator of the original Space Invaders, FOREVAR!
This is another addition to the ongoing saga of my Red Rings of Death. If you haven't done so, please take a few minutes to read Part 1, 2, and 3.
As you have probably gathered from my other posts, my Xbox 360 died a short time ago and I bought a temporary replacement, with no intentions to keep it any longer after I got my repaired/replaced console back in the mail. Well yesterday I received a box from UPS sent from the repair center in Texas to me, and it contained an Xbox 360 console! Only 16 days?! Hot dog! I opened it quickly, and looked at the back sticker. It has a manufacturing date of June 26th, 2008. "Ok," I said, "so they replaced my console with a new one! That means if I look under the A/V port I should find an...! Oh..." As I glanced over, I noticed that it was minus an HDMI port. Alright, well I didn't have it before, don't have it now. It's not that big of a deal.
As I looked back over, I noticed the serial number looked all too familiar. But no way, it can't be the same one. I grabbed my digital camera, with which I had taken a picture of the back of my sent in console before it was boxed up. Sure enough, when I compared the serial numbers, they presented a perfect match! Wait, what?! A console made two months ago with my serial number? How exactly? Ok that's fine I guess, however it is possible. I removed the faceplate to see if the silver tape was under it or not, and as I did, the USB port springy door broke! Later, I super glued it into perfect condition, and the silver tape was M.I.A., replaced by the other little Microsoft branded sticker. Moving on, today I thought I should test to see if it works fine and all. First, I figured it would be best to get Rock Band out of the Arcade bundle I bought a week and a half ago. Sounds like an easy task, right? Well I pressed the power button, and nothing happened. I pressed the eject button, and nothing happened. I tinkered with the power cord endlessly, and even more nothing took place. So now what? I'm out of $60 for this game even if they take the console back? This twist would even make M. Night Shyamalan proud.
I looked under the faceplate and didn't see any obvious signs of a manual disc eject hole, but searched for it on the internet anyway. Thank Google I found a site that told me exactly how to do it, and at last I pried Rock Band away from the clutching death grip of the Arcade model. Talk about jealousy, sheesh. Immediately after, I set up my repaired (???) console and it worked perfectly! After swapping face plates (hehe), I boxed the Arcade console back up with all accessories included. They refunded my $299.52 in cash with no issue. I realize as I finish this last sentence, I am as I was before any of this happened, but it is 16 days later (fast, Microsoft, fast!!) and my console was made much more recently.
[Song lyric credits: "Everlong," by Foo Fighters.]
As the title and picture explains, Tropical Storm (soon to possibly be Hurricane) Fay is headed directly toward where I live. I have taken all necessary preparations, but I still don't enjoy going through 4-billion-gallons-of-rain-and-strong-hater-wind storms. Although we survived Charlie with no precautions taken (we didn't have time), I am still worried about two things with Fay, and neither are the winds the storm itself will produce.
1. Tornadoes. Tornadoes can form easily in the midst of a tropical storm or hurricane. I know we can survive the less than powerful winds Fay will bring, but tornadoes are a different ballgame.
2. Rainfall. Flooding, Dude! Rain can be more devastating than the winds hurricanes bring.
So wish me luck, everyone. I will be playing my DS in my bathtub (just kidding).
As this is part 3 of an ongoing series, please read Part 1 and Part 2 if you desire to.
My Xbox 360 was sent out via UPS on Monday of this week. The first day without it, yesterday, I gave in to my thoughts. I went out and I bought an arcade edition as I just use my original hard drive. My plan is, because I am not overflowing with money, that I will do one of two things. (1), I will take it back within 30 days, say it is defective/not working, and get my two hundred ninety-something dollars back. Or, (2), I will sell it to my cousin at the same price I bought it for, because he rocks with me (#1 drummer) all the time and wants one. But if he can't buy it, does Wally-World ask questions? Would I have trouble taking it back and get trampled on by old Wal-Mart ladies?
And also, if anyone has anything to add about the morality of taking a perfectly fine 360 back to Wal-Mart, go ahead.
Ahh, it's so nice to see those green lights again...
[Song lyric credits: "Picture," by Kid Rock ft. Sheryl Crow.]