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Now Playing:

-Far Cry 2
-Tomb Raider Underworld
-Gears of War 2
-Lumines Live


Can't Wait For:

-FEAR 2
-Resident Evil 5
-Halo 3: Recon
-Animal Crossing: City Folk
-MadWorld
-Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse
-No More Heroes 2
-Killzone 2
-God of War 3
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Being one who has never touched a Far Cry game, I wasn't sure what to expect going into Far Cry 2. I'm really, really enjoying it so far.

The draw of the game is obviously it's huge African environments. You can go around, shoot things, earn safehouses, find diamonds, steal vehicles, scout out areas for supplies, upgrade your weapons with said diamonds, and work for either of the two fighting sides.

I've heard people complain that driving from place to place can get annoying. Sure, it sounds annoying, right? Having to drive for like 5 minutes just to get to a mission and then failing the mission can get a little repetitive, but I think it adds to the experience more than anything. While traversing the wide-open environments, you get a sense of just how huge the game really is. There are bus stations that take you to each corner of the map, but you will have to find a vehicle or someone in a vehicle will find you. So far I haven't found myself in a position where transportation wasn't available.

When you do fuck up on a missions, one of your "buddies" in the game will usually come and save your ass. This is really pretty cool because once they drag you aside they'll cover you while you take a minute to heal and if they get seriously injured you can return the favor so they can help you later on.

It feels sort of like Grand Theft Auto with it's sandbox gameplay. You can really do anything you want, and I find that really addicting.








Okay, okay, so the New Xbox Experience is pretty cool. I know it's only the first day that it's available but it's really quite buggy.

When I try to browse the videos available on the marketplace it takes soooooooo long for something to come up. The old way might have been less attractive than the new cover-flow like way of viewing content but I just wanna see what the fuck is available quickly. I've even gotten some kind of error code a few times today while browsing.

What annoys me the most, though, is that the new way in which you see who's online has frozen my 360 TWICE. If the 360 can't handle a shit-ton of moving avatars and always changing parties, then why the hell should that be the main way to view your friends? I guess I'll just try to avoid it by pressing the guide button until they can get it running smoothly.

Unless, of course all of this is just happening to me...








As I posted in my last blog, I have decided to rent Mirror's Edge. My decision was based mostly off of the reported length of the game, so it came as no surprise to me that I finished it in it's entirety within the first day.



Mirrors Edge is set in a city where all information is closely monitored and it is the goal of the "runners" to deliver data in a confidential manner. You play as Faith, and after your sister gets framed for murder you have to find out who's behind it.

The controls take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of things you'll be going with the "flow" in no time. Or, at least that's what I'd like to believe. I can't even tell you how many times I painted the sidewalks with blood. Since the game is centered around running, I found myself being careless for the sake of momentum. You can go around carefully calculating the route you're going to take, but this more cautious approach just doesn't seem as intense. You'll find yourself screwing up jumps time after time, resulting in a whole lot of frustration. I've even got stuck in a couple of spots where I was left scratching my head, running around aimlessly trying to figure out how the fuck to progress. Once you do manage to get through a level quickly and efficiently, it can be incredibly satisfying.



Now let's talk combat. Aside from a couple of parts, you can simply run away from enemies rather than going toe to toe (or should I say fist to nutsack?). Should you choose to beat people senseless, though, the combat works well enough. The encounters can be handled a number of ways. You can slide kick, drop kick, punch, as well as disarm your foes. To disarm an enemy, you have to get right up in their face. Once they go to smack you with the butt of their rifle there is a brief moment where the gun turns red and you have to quickly mash a button. Failure results in ownage of your face. I found the whole thing quite annoying at times, but if you practice you should be able to pull it off successfully nearly every time. You also have the option of pressing a button to slow down time, making it a lot easier (this can be done outside of combat as well). The system can't be abused, though. Apparently you have to run to make it available (your reticule turns blue when you have the ability, white when you don't). As for gunplay, I didn't shoot a single enemy the entire time so I can't really tell you what I thought about the shooting mechanics.



Once you've made it through the nine-chapter story you have the option of speedrunning each level or shooting for target times in time trial mode. There's also a good array of concept art to look at, which is unlocked by progressing in the story mode. The bonus content doesn't stop there, folks. You can also view all of the games cutscenes and listen to songs from the game's soundtrack. So the game may be short, but you will spend a lot of time with it in the long run.

All in all, it is truly a unique experience. I loved everything about Mirror's Edge. The story was good, the gameplay was fucking exhilarating and there are tons of things to do after the credits roll. While I rented it, it's easily a buy if you'd like to spend time perfecting the art of free-running.








With all of the new games coming out, I thought I'd start a series of blogs where I pick a few games and decide whether I'm going to rent or buy each of them. My decisions are obviously based off of collective reviews, and this is kind of a quick way to pass on this knowledge. Of the "rentals" I will list, I also plan to do a follow up blog for each one.

RENT:

Mirror's Edge



It's fresh, innovative games such as Mirrors Edge that make me happy to be a gamer. The market is so crowded with gunplay that the idea of avoiding combat as much as possible seems like a great breath of fresh air to me. I first got a taste of Mirrorís Edge when the demo was released on 360 and PS3, and I have to say that I am eager to experience all this game has to offer. From what Iíve read, Mirrorís Edge isnít a terribly long game, so Iíll probably be able to plow through it in about a week.

Far Cry 2



Iíve heard that Far Cry 2 is a great game, but there are also some serious annoyances such as weapon degradation, constantly having to heal yourself because youíve become infected with malaria, and long trips in vehicles that have to be repeated if you die. Sounds like a kind of game that I wouldnít want to play over and over again, so Iím sure a rental will do just fine.

BUY:

Call of Duty: World at War



Following up one of the greatest console first-person shooters of all time is World at War. Itís not too different from CoD4 besides the fact that itís set in World War 2, but thatís not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all. CoD4 veterans may want to rent it for the co-op campaign and never touch it again, but for the people who want to go online take the time to level up and customize to their heartís content, itís definitely a buy.

Objections? Let your voice be heard in the comment section.








I'm about halfway through Fable 2, so I thought I'd share some of my impressions. Here we go!

Environments:


From Dusk...


Til Dawn

Fable 2 looks gorgeous. Not in a photo-realistic sense but rather the art direction that went into it. They've really gone above and beyond to make you feel like you're in your own little world. Albion definitely has a pulse.

Combat:

I was a little unsure of how well this whole "one-button combat" stuff would work. I remember hearing that Molyneux wanted to make the combat non-gamer friendly but with enough depth for even the most hardcore player. From what I've experienced so far, he's done exactly that.



Today I went through a certain challenge that requires you to take on multiple waves of enemies in various arena-like environments. There is no way a non-gamer is gonna get past that part alive. But good ol' Peter came up with a solution for less experienced players. Instead of dying and restarting at a checkpoint like in most games, you just kinda pass out and you're magically resurrected with an XP penalty (I'm pretty sure it's just whatever orbs are uncollected when you die). I'm not sure if you can die like 20 times in a row because, frankly, I don't suck that much. I imagine you can, though. You might think this would cheapen the whole experience for the hardcore players who want checkpoints, but I didn't really mind. Just try to survive for the experience orbs!

The combination of swords, guns, and magic all works very fluently-- even when surrounded by large groups of enemies. It's simple yet at the same time intricate. For example, you can go around and use nothing but your sword if you want or you can mix it up and use all 3 abilities. The depth doesn't stop here, folks. There's a spell that allows you to summon the dead to fight for you. There's gonna be weak enemies and there's gonna be strong ones in each encounter you face. So what you can do is take out the biggest, baddest motherfuckers first, then cast the spell and use them to your advantage! I can't say if there's any other strategies as cool as this one, but it's all up to you and how you play the game.

Overall:



I'm diggin' Fable 2 so far. I'm diggin' it a lot. The moral choices, the epic story, the combat, the environments and more all stack up to make this game freakin' awesome.

Not so awesome, though, is the cooperative play. The camera is a downright annoyance, and upon joining a friends game I found that you can't use your own appearance (which sucks, because I totally customized my character to my liking with tattoos and expensive clothes and even a spiffy haircut).

The game isn't without it's flaws. There are some minor annoyances. For instance, I was going around trying to pick up chicks with the expressions you can use. After I found a wife, bought a house, and had a baby I was pretty much done being the town flirt. Apparently my character is just too damned attractive because I'm constantly getting unwanted visitors in my house with glazed over eyes and a giant heart above their head talking of marriage. Half of them are dudes. Seriously. Am I missing the 'toggle gayness' option somewhere? So then you have to do stuff to get them out of your fucking hair and I was going for the good guy image so I had to resort to running away half the time. The other option would be to dress your character as fugly as possible but I don't want to do that because, like I said, I liked the way I customized my character. Oh well.

The game as a whole is superb, and the minor annoyances are most certainly overshadowed by the sheer awesomeness that is Fable 2.










In this weeks Circuit City ad, I noticed that you get a free $15 iTunes gift card when you buy Fable 2. Out of all the weekly ads I went through, this is probably the best. Hell, some places don't give you a damned thing.



However, FAIL for listing the wrong collectors edition at the right price.