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Hello everyone. I'm guessing a proper introduction would be in order. I've been haning around Destructoid now for quite some time, and during that time I've met some pretty cool people. In case you're wondering, I don't turn down any friend invites. I've been gaming from the age of three years old, since my little nubby fingers could press the buttons. I'm an easy going person with a great sense of humor and I live in the Chattanooga, TN area. As far as gaming is concerned, I'll play just about everything but sports games. I do have my favorites though. Action, Adventure, Platforming, 3PS (Third Person Shooters), and arcade style racers.
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Klipsched
8:31 AM on 08.21.2010

You may have noticed that the review for the Turtle Beach X11 headset has vanished. This is because I have taken a writing position on Planet Xbox 360 and they have decided to use the review on their site. So, as a result, I've taken it down from here and it will go up over there. Now, much like the writing I did at Examiner, I will make sure that I don't just come here and say "Hey, go over here and look at this." I'll make sure there's a blog of some sort and if I have something new at Planet Xbox, I'll provide you with the link and make mention of it, probably at the end of whatever blog I've put together.

I am going to try, notice that I say "try", to do some type of Podcast next Friday. My plan is to take note of some of the top heading news articles during the week and talk about my opinions on them. I don't have an idea on how long the cast will run but my overall goal is to keep it fairly short and sweet. I don't desire to bore any of you.

So, I finished off Bioshock 2. All it did was make me want Bioshock: Infinite to hurry up and hit the shelves. Now I'm messing around with Castle Crashers and Death Spank. The later is Diablo with a weird sense of humor, I like it. Mafia 2 comes out in three days. I'm going to give it a rent from Gamefly, which means I won't see it until the 27th or 28th. I never played the first one, but the demo for 2 was pretty good. Plus, I'm beginning to be a fan of just about anything 2K puts out. How long it'll hold my attention for, I don't know because Other M hits at the end of the month. This holiday season is going to be insane.








As I previously stated, I recently got my hands on Bioshock 2 after not having the chance to delve into it upon its release. Now, I don't play very many FPS titles at all. As a matter of fact, the first Bioshock was the first FPS I had beaten since the first Call of Duty. So, I started up a game on the Normal setting. I expected a challenge and that was fine but after getting my big metal ass handed to me a few times in a row I decided to drop it down to Easy. When I did, I get a warning about how lowering the difficulty would affect Achievements.

Why are developers still doing this at all? I could actually care less about achievements all together and it's my least favorite thing about todays consoles but to punish players for playing on Easy is just wrong. Just out of curiosity, I looked up the Bioshock 2 achievements and discovered that the only one I can't get is the one for beating the game on the highest difficult which I wasn't going to do anyway. That isn't so bad, but I have seen some titles lock out nearly everything just because you lower the difficulty. It's an absurd practice that needs to be put to rest.

Do you know what I discovered though? I enjoy the game far more on the Easy setting. I play games to have fun. Part of that fun in Bioshock 2 is being a Big Daddy and playing the game on the lower difficulty gives me the feeling of being pretty bad ass. Shouldn't playing as a Big Daddy feel like that? I'm sure those of you who have more skill at FPS titles get the same feeling from playing on Normal or higher but for me, I'm quite happy having fun on Easy and I intend to stay that way from now on regardless of the title I'm playing or what it does or doesn't do to earning achievements.

On a side note, screw you Mega Man series. I know there are a great many of you Mega Man fans out there and that's great for you but I learned something yesterday after downloading Mega Man 10 that I have suspected since the first Mega Man. I hate the Mega Man games. Want to know why? Because he's this advanced robot but he can't shoot straight up?! Really? Dr. Light couldn't give him rotating shoulder joints but he can give him a freaking arm cannon and make him able to absorb other robot's abilities? There are many other reasons I dislike the series other than that, of course, like the names of the enemy robots. Sheep Man? Come on! I don't have much experience with the X series, maybe it's much better, but the traditional Mega Man series frustrates the hell out of me. Sorry Mega Man fans, I wish I could share your love for the Blue Bomber, I just can't.
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I am not the type of gamer that sits on my rump for more than an hour at a time playing a game. I haven't done so since I was but a Wii (did you see what I did there?) little tyke. But last night, I downloaded Kirby's Adventure on the Virtual Console and spent three freaking hours on the couch just playing that game. I've got Bioshock 2 in my 360, I never had the chance to get into it, and I'm playing an 8-bit title from 1993. Not only am I playing it but I'm having a damned ball doing it.

Finally, after I was kicked off the TV by the Mrs., I trotted over to the 360. But instead of booting up Bioshock 2 I load up Castle Crashers, get online, and spend another hour and a half playing that! I would have played until the Wii (I'm like a Britney Spears song, doing it again and all...) hours of the morning but I was thwarted in my efforts by "The Boss".


Come to think of it, I have spent more time playing titles off Live Arcade then I have playing actual retail titles. Given, I have just recently gotten another 360 but I have had access to getting whatever latest and greatest is out there I just haven't wanted to. I had so much fun playing Kirby's Adventure that I'm going to buy more older titles like it. I may even buy titles I've played before considering how many years ago it was, I probably don't remember anything about it.


Does anyone else out there have the same thing going on? Where you'd rather play fun titles from Live Arcade or retro classics instead of the big releases?
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Hello everyone. OK, I've basically decided to give podcasting a go but it won't be for awhile yet. First I have to figure out how to get a quiet area in my home to actually record something without the various sounds of life going on around me and being too distracting. I also need time to get familiar with the software.

I am going to see Scott Pilgrim today with the Mrs. We're hitting up the early show to avoid the rush of teens that is sure to flow like water from a freshly liberated beaver damn later today. It looks like a fun time so I'm hoping it won't suck. I'm not getting any popcorn though. No, screw the movie theater, I'm not paying more for a snack then I paid for my freaking ticket!

All right, so I haven't had a 360 in awhile. I've recently purchased a 4GB Slim model and so far, I'm enjoying it. I feel like I missed out though as I'm going back and playing things like Portal: Still Alive and Braid. Both of which are fantastic. I just finished LIMBO although I haven't found all the little hidden bubbles yet. I thought it was brilliant. I have a feeling I'll be working on Braid for quite some time, as some of those puzzles are devious. Feel free to send me a friend invite, if you'd like.

I have a 2TB external hard drive that I'm thinking I may try using as a storage device for the 360. Does anyone know if that will work? Shouldn't it just read it as a USB storage device without trouble? I'm asking because I've got crap on that hard drive and if it won't work then I don't want to format it and lose all my junk for nothing. Anyone?








Alright, so before I start talking about the title topic I wanted to say that I'll no longer be writing for Examiner.com. Why? Several reasons, some of them being that I don't feel it is the sort of outlet for journalism that i want to be associated with. It also doesn't pay enough for the work you have to do, nor will I have time in the near future as I have plans to go back to school. Speaking of which, there are two programs in my area that I'm considering taking and wanted to ask your opinion. One is an Associates in Media Technology and the other is a BS in Communications. Both would help me to pursue my wish to become a legitimately paid games journalist. It's more a matter of money than anything else.

So, Blockbuster has entered the games by mail ring going up against companies like Gamefly. Now, I've been using Gamefly for years and I've never had any trouble with their service. In fact, I've enjoyed it so much that it's a rare occasion that I buy a game. In order to get on my shelf, a game has to offer continually changing gameplay. Games like LittleBigPlanet, for example. I'm also a user of Netflix instead of Blockbuster's rental service. What does that say about me? That I'm the anti-Blockbuster? Probably not. It's an issue of cost vs. product availability. For games, I've never been able to find a new release that I want a Blockbuster nor have I wanted to pay the outrageous fee they ask. Same deal with movies. But now, they're offering movies and games on the same plan for one cost. I've checked it out a few times and the more I look at it, the more I know that they're stretching the service too thin. Movies and games on the same plan will just take up space for one or the other. Maybe I'm wrong and the service will take off. If it does, they're going to have to seriously step up the availability of their new game releases.

I've begun to toy with the idea of making a weekly Podcast. What do you think? Don't know how nice (or horrible) of a broadcasting voice I have so you may not want to hear me.







Klipsched
8:59 AM on 11.06.2009


Player(s): 1-4 (online)
Developer(s): Gearbox Software
Publisher(s): 2K Games
Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3 (reviewed), Windows

Addictive, that's what Borderlands is. It's a first person shooting loot-a-thon with RPG skill trees thrown in for depth. Sure you can play through it alone but you're much better off if you tackle the game with three of your friends. It's the multiplayer component combined with tons of guns that makes this such an addictive game. Welcome to Pandora, Vault hunter, you'll be spending hours here without realizing it.

There are two camps when it comes to cell-shading, those who approve and those who don't. I'm in the former camp as cell-shading doesn't bother me at all. I find that it really helped Borderlands to achieve that Mad Max look, that desolate wasteland full of sand, ruins, and trash. Everything looks like it's been pieced together from various other parts. Town walls look like sheet metal, toilets are left just lying around, and buildings have collapsed. It's a cell-shaded dust ball of a planet and, for the most part, it works. The characters are stylish and full of personality and the visuals really "pop" out well.

Gameplay is pretty simple. You'll pick one of four characters that each represents a different class or, in some cases, more than one class. Each of them, upon reaching level five, has access to a special skill that's set on a timer. Once you liberate the town of Fyrestone, Dr. Zed will begin the main quest line for you to follow. Not long after that the town's Bounty Board will open up, allowing you to complete side quests for additional experience.

Like most RPG titles, gaining enough experience levels you up. From there, you can spend an ability point on one of your character's various skills. These skills are broken down into three different trees and each tree has its own particular focus such as more damage or helping you survive longer. Each one of the four characters feels very unique with their own skills and weaknesses. You'll get enough points during your 50 levels to customize as you see fit by placing priority on whatever focus is more important to you or, if you play with a group of friends on a regular basis, whatever your team needs.

The game stays addictive by throwing tons of loot your way. Enemies drop anything from rare guns to more ammo, chests actually restock themselves after you exit the game, and the game scales the number and level of enemies according to how many people are playing at the same time. Of course, the higher the level of enemy, the better chance you'll have of finding that rare gun, shield, grenade mod, or class mod. Your group will be more than happy to run through an area until every corner is explored for that off chance of finding something really good. Frantic and fast paced gunplay helps out the loot hording as you'll never tire of blowing a psycho midget's head off at point blank range with a shotgun.

I want to get this statement out of the way and make it clear. I had fun with Borderlands. But, it needs to be said that the game is much more fun with more than one player. One of the biggest issues that I had with Borderlands is how repetitive everything is. Even though the visuals "pop" really well, they really begin to grow old quickly as every area looks so close to the last. Enemies are plentiful but there is little difference between them. You'll kill thousands of the same bandits throughout your time on Pandora. Even the music repeats itself as there is almost no variation to speak of in sound effects and music tracks. This repetition makes Borderlands boring very quickly if you're all by yourself.

The other major issue that I had was with the frame rate dropping. I'm not talking about a little dip here and there. I'm talking about a full blown stuttering affair. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it is highly annoying. There is really no excuse for this. It was enough at one point that I thought I was going to have to restart the game but it let it up as I was preparing to do so. Again, there is no reason or excuse for a title to do this anymore on any console.

Unfortunately, there are two more minor issues that need to be brought up. First, the AI is about as intelligent as a box of nails. Enemies don't flush you out of cover, they can't throw a grenade with any sort of accuracy, and sometimes they don't even turn around when you shoot them! You'll also notice that sometimes they'll run at you shooting, but they're doing this weird sideways moonwalk looking thing. Second, there is no sort of storage system other than your upgradeable inventory. In a game with this much loot you're bound to get something you just don't want to sell, but you're basically forced to because there's nowhere to store it!

I don't want you to think that I didn't have a good time with Borderlands because I did, for awhile. At this point, it sits on my desk unfinished. Why? Because I needed a break from how repetitive it became and because I am having issues finding good people to play with. When I do find a great group of people, it's hard to put the game down. With other people, even just one, it becomes a great title. Multiplayer was what Borderlands was designed for, and it shows. There is a great idea here, combining a FPS with a RPG, and with more polish it could've really been something special. Let's hope they improve on this idea should there be a sequel in the works.

What You Should Know:
+ Tons of guns!
+ Multiplayer is fantastic
+ Cell shading works well here, Mad Max would be proud

- It's way too repetitive
- Frame rate issues!
- No storage system
- A rock is more of a threat than the enemies

SCORE: 7.5

Rent or Buy?
If you're going to play Borderlands online, like it's meant to be played, then it's pretty much a must buy. You'll spend way too many hours playing it to justify such a lengthy rental.
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