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10:43 AM on 11.15.2008

Let me drown your toad (or My Little Big Planet level is published)



I recently posted a blog explaining how awesome the Little Big Planet level creator is. I also wrote about how crappy the level search system is. It's impossible to get people to play a level without shameless promotion, so here we are.

If you are lucky enough to have Little Big Planet, i request you give my level a shot. Its called "bless the creator" my psn id is "IUMogg". I just tried to make a level that fun, its not too tough and not too long. Plus you can win a few items. Please check it out and let me know what you think. I don't have the capacity to take video or pictures of my level or i would add them. (or if i do have the capacity I don't know how to do it)

If you comment on this blog on on Little Big Planet, I'll check out your levels too. enjoy


not my level   read


7:14 PM on 11.12.2008

I used to drown toads in my sandbox (or why I love LittleBigPlanet)


"don't drown me"


I grew up in the midwest in a quasi-rural area. Not far from my house where cornfields, lakes, and woods. Part of the benefit of living there was the ability to make the wild my toys. Me and my friends used to go to the lake and catch turtles or go the the window wells around my house and catch toads.




a window well toad village.



After you catch the toads there were only a few things to do with them: scare the neighborhood girls with the toads (which was often worse for us because after you hold a toad for a few mins they pee on you), put the toads in a box like a pet, or, my favorite, build a maze/obstacle course for the toads in the sandbox. Usually the toads weren't really into it, so the they wouldn't try to get through the maze. I would get bored and flood the maze with the garden hose.

I wouldn't really drown the toads. Even though they don't live in water, toads can swim. So i would have had to hold the toad underwater to drown it and I'm not a psycho, so that never happened. They were always returned to their window wells.

Littlebigplanet touches me in my toad maze building place. The creator for this game is incredible. I have been messing around with it since the game was released putting dozens of hours into it and I'm still constantly discover new tricks and ways to use the tools. I haven't even published a level yet.




Publishing a level though is not as attractive as it should be. LittleBigPlanet has a HORRIBLE search system. It really depresses me. I spend some time (often at work) on various video game message boards. The Little Big Planet boards are usually full of people trying to promote their levels because there is no other way to get others to find and play your levels besides sharing them with people on your friends list. The search system is so bad, that I will search for levels based on the actual level name or the level creator's playstation ID and sometimes I still can't find them.

I find this so sad. It takes along time to make even a decent level. Like many many hours. People create these levels and want to share them so they publish them and get like 5 people that actual try it. So If you play Little Big Planet I ask that you support these people and try their levels. If we want to encourage people to make levels we need them to feel like its worth it. They won't feel its worthwhile if they spend hours making a level that no one will play them. Also, if we give them feedback it can improve their creator skills which will only make them better creators.

[This blogger does not condone animal abuse --Ed.]   read


9:06 AM on 10.24.2008

Fable 2 does it Moggystyle (early impressions)




As someone who didn’t play much of the first Fable on the original Xbox I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Fable 2. I didn’t really follow the development of Fable 2 much (besides reading or listening to interviews with the game’s creator Peter Molyneux, which are always entertaining). However, after the delay of LittleBigPlanet, I had $60 burning up my pocket and no game to spend it on. I decided to give Fable 2 a try after reading some positive preliminary reviews and I’m glad I did.

So I fire up the game with few expectations, a rare experience for me. The only things I knew were that teh game was set in a fantasy world, that the lead character had a dog companion, and that part of the core game play is based on the player’s actions influencing the game world. The first thing I notice is the beautiful art style and that my character is a child. The game’s world feels like a mix of The Legend of Zelda and a Tim Burton movie. It’s charming and colorful, but at the same time a little bit creepy. At the start of the game the player chooses to be a male or female and then is off to live the life of a homeless child. I choose a boy then I’m out on the streets living the hard knock life with my older sister.

At the start of of the game a traveling salesman comes to town and among his wares is an alleged magical music box. Suddenly a random gypsy woman in a robe tells me and my sister that we must buy the music box which costs five gold. So I get my first quest, earn five gold. Gold is earned by doing odd jobs around the town. This is also the first time the player is given some choices.

The choices are clear cut early on. For example one of my quests was to collect 5 arrest warrants that the sheriff had lost. After I collect all of them and am on the way to deliver them to the sheriff, a criminal stops me and offers me gold to give them to him instead. He only offered the same amount of gold as the sheriff, but he would save me the walk, so I turn them over. Little did I know I was dooming the town to gangster rule.

After I finished getting the gold, the story develops a little more with some spoilerish events and then the plot jumps ahead ten or so years. I’m now a man and it’s just me and my dog off to be a hero (or villain). There are some more tutorial types quests to get me used to the combat then I’m off to the town. When I arrive I discover that turning the warrants over to the criminal got the sheriff fired (since losing them didn’t) and the criminals took over part of the town. It was like a scene out of Back to the Future 2 when Marty returns to the present only to discover an alternate reality where the world is a crime ridden cesspool. It was my first taste of my actions effecting the world around me.

Early on I also got my first taste of the combat. The combat uses one button for different types of attacks. One button performs a melee attack, another performs a long range attack with a gun or crossbow, and a third uses magic. It’s simplistic, but a lot of fun and well executed. I believe that after you gain more skills it will become more dynamic, but even early on it was enjoyable. One particular aspect I liked was the absence of a traditional “magic meter”. The player does not have magic points that are expended when they use magic. You can use all the magic you want and the only thing holding you back is the time it takes to cast a spell.

After combat my character absorbed some experience orbs ala Devil May Cry, which could then be used to upgrade one of the three combat types; Magic, Melee, and Range. I was only able to scratch the surface and unlock a blocking move and a lightning spell, but I was enticed by the lengthy list of potential upgrades.
fable 2 3



Another way that Fable 2 ditches the traditional formula is the lack of dying. After your enemies drain you of energy you are just knocked out for a second. You resurrect with a scar and some lost experience and that’s it. It reminded me of the death system in Bioshock. It reduces the challenge but keeps the player immersed in the world.

As I explore the world, my dog starts barking and running around. I follow and he leads me to treasure. It appears my dog has a nose for gold. The dog will sniff out treasure chests and spots where i can dig to find goodies. This treasure sniffing ability can also be upgraded by finding training books. I can also interact with my dog by giving him praise or scolding him. These interactions are the same as how I interact with citizens.

This is the weakest part of the game so far. The player isn’t able to talk. Instead I interact with NPC’s by doing non-verbal actions such as dancing or farting. These interactions are split into different categories like “social” or “flirt”. The whole system feels like a poor imitation of The Sims.



Overall, Fable 2 has been a blast to play. I've become quite evil. I've wiped out entire villages. I've murdered many police men (and only got community service!). I've offered my wife up to be a human sacrifice. I've taken assassination missions. What scares me is that I never made the conscious choice to take the evil path. It just kind of happened.

the combat has developed well and is still a blast to play. In fact its my favorite part of the game. Its simple yet i still feel like I haven't mastered it. There is some depth.

Anyway, I recommend this game so far.



If you get a chance check out my other blog. you can read this article and a bunch of others.

.http://www.pushingplay.com/   read


8:26 PM on 10.17.2008

Moggystyle review: World of Goo



Before it’s release World of Goo wasn’t even on my radar. For the most part I keep myself informed of happenings in the video game industry and I know when all the new releases are scheduled to come out. Off the top of my head, I could probably tell you the release dates for most of the AAA title coming out this fall. Yet some how this indie title, available on the PC or through Wii Ware, never caught my attention. I almost missed it and that would have been a shame.

The World of Goo is the brain child of a few guys at 2D Boy, an independent game developer, and in the first hour of play it oozed charm and charisma on top of an additively simple yet satisfying gameplay mechanic. World of Goo is best described as a puzzle game. The format is standard; each level has a goal that must be completed to move on. The goal usually centers around using your goo balls to reach a pipe so the other goo balls can escape through it.

Using the goo provided effectively is where the challenge comes in. The game eased me in and within a few minutes I felt completely comfortable with the game’s simple gameplay mechanics. In a level you have a certain number of Goo balls which can be connected to other goo balls to assemble structures. Take a look at this visual as it will help you understand my explanation.



In the picture the goo ball on the top with the white lines connecting to it is the one the player is holding. All you do is click on a goo ball and move it near the existing structure. The white lines show where the connections will form once you unclick the goo ball. So all you do is move it into place, let go, and it connects.

Strategy becomes imperative to overcome the games physics based puzzles. The goo ball towers and chains the player builds aren’t completely solid. The connections have a rubbery feel to them. They aren’t flimsy, but as you build your structure up or sideways it will start to bend and sway from the pressure. Push it too far and it will break or tip over. Also, unused goo balls crawl around on the structure. Their position and weight as they crawl around the structure can cause problems when they change the structures center of gravity.

The levels center around using the goo balls to create a structure that allows the unused goo balls crawling around on the structure to reach an exit pipe. There is a goal of a certain number or type of goo balls you have to get to the pipe to pass the level. This means you often have to be efficient with how you use the goo balls. Goo balls that are part of the structure can’t exit through the pipe. You will want to reinforce your structure in every way you can, but to do so will leave you with not enough goo balls left to get to the exit pipe. It creates an brilliant tension of dangling on the edge of a cliff while trying to get your goo to the edge without falling over.

There are also puzzle elements beside just dealing with the perils of gravity. Often the levels will have obstacles and traps that you must work around. There are different types of goo balls with different properties.

The presentation in World of Goo is fantastic. The graphics aren’t cutting edge and high-resolution, but they always managed to appear polished and stylish. Within minutes of firing up the game I was charmed and knew the creators of this game had a vision that stayed consistent throughout the entire development process.

This game is brilliant. Each new level offered new challenges while building on what I had experienced previously. It never felt repetitive. Also the levels are fairly short. Most can probably be completed in 5-10 minutes. This is a game I could see myself killing a half hour with when I have a little but of spare time, but more likely I will put aside large chunks of time to spend with it. Each level also has a challenge, on top of the regular goals of the level. I can see this adding a lot of replay value. The challenge is usually to beat the level in a certain number of turns or with-in a certain time. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m the type who would find them maddeningly addictive. In the end, it scares me that I could have missed this game. It’s too good to miss.

9 out of 10

you can also read the review here

http://www.pushingplay.com/   read


7:39 PM on 10.07.2008

Will LittleBigPlanet be the next Spore?




I was really looking forward to Spore. It had so much promise and appeared to ready to revolutionize pc games. Then it was released. I played through it once and haven't it touch it since.

Spore definitely has its bright points. The two most important are the creation tools and the way others' creations are imported into the game. They are unprecedented. However the most important aspect failed, the gameplay. The game wasn't fun to play. It was simplistic and shallow.

I fear LittleBigPlanet will do the same thing. I'm sure LittleBigPlanet will be a media darling, just like Spore. The journalist circle jerk has already begun weeks before its release. It appears to have amazing creative tools and being able to import others' level are a key aspect of the game. However I don't know if the gameplay will hold up.


So far I've seen many videos of the gameplay and it seems to be standard platform fare. How long will jumping, dodging, and pulling things remain interesting? I hope that the gameplay will be deeper that it appears, but if it is not LittleBigPlanet join Spore gathering dust on my shelf a week after its release.


  read


4:35 PM on 09.21.2008

First Impressions: Warhammer Online, the 1st 10 levels



I'm not an MMO player. Well at least I wasn't. I played WoW and Star Wars Galaxies for a few months. That is the extent of my MMO experience. I wanted to get into an MMO and thought it would be cool to get in at the ground floor so I picked up Warhammer online. After leveling my Warrior Priest to level 10, these are my first impressions.


A WARRIOR PRIEST


Warhammer is great so far because there is so much to do. On my way to level ten, I would guess that less than a quarter of my XP is from quests. Or at lest traditional quests where you get an objective from an NPC, complete it and return to the NPC for XP. In Warhammer those types of quests have been interesting distractions. Instead i've been engaging in the Public Quests, Scenarios, and contested areas.


First the Public Quests. Each area has a War Story with chapters. In the opening area for the Empire, I started near Chapter one. (makes sense) Each area is split up into about 3 Chapters. With-in each chapter area there are public quests. Public quests are recurring scripted events that anyone can participate in. They usually have a story that goes along. The Public quests also have three parts. The first part will be killing a large amount of lower level enemies, the second fewer tougher enemies, and the third part a boss type enemy. Often each part has a time limit, so if you don't meet the objective then the quest will start over. This all takes place with-in a contained area.

One Public quest i participated in was set on a farm. The farmers had become possessed by tainted crops. The first part of the quest was to kill a certain amount of possessed farmers. the second part was to burn wagons full of the crops (while fighting off tougher enemies) and the last was to kill the warlock that possessed them. The public quests are difficult without a larger group. Depending on the quest and the levels you usually need at least 5 to 10 players.

The motivation to participate in the Public quests is Influence points. Each Chapter area has an influence meter with three levels. As you participate in the quests you get regular XP and influence points. At each influence level in each chapter you get a prize. the first level is usually some kind of buffing or healing potion, while the 2nd and third are armor, weapons, or accessories. Most of it is useful stuff. Also at the end of each Public Quest is a loot drop. Only part of the group that participate gets loot. There is a dice roll and depending on how much you contributed you get a bonus for your dice roll. Usually the top 4 or 5 get a loot bag. If you get a loot bag you will get the choice of one of six or so items out of the bag.


The Public Quests are a blast and a brilliant addition to the Game and mmo's. The best part is you don't have to worry about finding people and getting into a group to do and instance. You just show up and everyone is working together and making progress.



Warhammer is about a struggle between good and evil, called Order and Chaos. the areas are built around this. There are contested areas that border the lands of the two factions. In the contested areas are specific landmarks each faction tries to control. If you enter a contested area you are automatically flagged for pvp (on a normal server). If your side captures a landmark, the other side can't attempt to capture it for 15 mins. There is a meter on the top of the screen that indicates which faction in control on the most areas. If your faction gets an advantage, it provides minor advantages to all members of that faction (like extra %5 influence points gained, etc).

There are also scenarios, which are pvp. These are individual battles that are separate from the main world. To enter one you click a button and you enter a queue. soon after, you enter this separate battleground. The ones I played are set up with three control areas. Your team gets points the more areas they control. The first team to 500 points wins. After wards you just appear in the main world wherever you were when you entered.

Whenever you participate in any pvp you earn Renown points. These are special type of experience that can only be gained from pvp. you have two levels, your normal level, and your renown level. they are independent. Renown leveling provides separate bonuses from the normal xp. so far most of the renown levels have allowed me to increase stats of my choosing.



Overall I've had a blast with this game. There are so many ways to advance it keeps things interesting. I would warn those who are going to try the game. I found the first few levels to be a little slow, but after that the game really took off.

also, I obviously have only experienced a tiny amount of the content and only with one class. Keep that in mind. But with that qualifier, So I far I highly recommend you join the WAR.   read


7:57 AM on 09.17.2008

We gamers should appreciate our Golden Shower of videogames (a quasi-response to Nintendoll)

There has been some discussion around here about the over all state of the video game industry. Specifically the quality of the current videogame scene. Nintendoll posted an excellent piece explaining her view on why it would be a mistake to call the current era the golden age. Her piece was a reaction to an article by Sean Sands posted on the escapist website. (steve sands is a co-founder of http://www.gamerswithjobs.com/, I highly recommend their weekly podcast) While I agree with Sands that we are in a golden age of gaming, I agree with Nintendoll that his piece wasn't very persuasive. I thought he missed a lot of major points, so i'll try to add them.

CHOICES

No matter what your favorite type of game or preferred genre you will be able to find games that meet your needs. I'm the type of gamer who enjoys a wide range of game types so its overwhelming keeping up with all the choices and play all the great releases. Just this week there are 4 excellent games released I want to play, Rock Band 2, Crysis Warhead, Dragon Quest IV, and Star Wars TFU. All different types of games and all appear to be quality experiences (maybe not SW:TFU, but I'll save judgment until I play it). This isn't a rare thing. Nearly every week there are more choices of great games.

This influx of great games doesn't even take into account the other ways a gamer can get to the games they want to play. If you aren't interested in the new big AAA titles, you can get online and find a game to meet your needs. You can download new and old games from Steam. You can find a wide range of titles on XBLA or PSN. If you thought games peaked with the NES or SNES, you can download dozens of those games from the virtual console. If you are cheap you can find hours of great gaming online for free with websites like instantaction.com.

If you are a gamer and you can't find a game to meet your needs you obviously aren't looking.

GAMEPLAY

What good are choices if you are choosing from a bunch of mediocre titles. Luckily the games we get to play have taken great strides in the area of gameplay and how we interact with the game.

Some improvements have just been perfecting traditional gameplay. The actual gameplay of FPS's isn't all that different from FPS of the past, but its better. Now we can interact with the environment which creates a new level of immersion. The AI is much smarter. No longer are we faced with just waves of enemies and monster closets, the AI can start to react to the environment and use tactics. As the devs continue to improve these details it creates a deeper and more realistic experience.

Game developers have also improved how we interact with our games. There are interfaces modifications, like with the Wii and DS. When utilized well, these interfaces improve the gaming experience. Try playing Boom Blox on the wii. A really fun game that couldn't be possible without the Wii interface. But we are also given more input too in customization and story. While I think the one area of games that still is in its infancy is the branching story paths, we are still given freedom with-in the games. An example is Mass Effect. The player gets to choose not only the appearance of their character, but how they interact with others and the how they proceed through the story. It allows the player to tailor the game to their specific preferences.


COMMUNITY

Gamer's are connected like never before to to each other, to information about gamers, and even to the game developers. In the past the best and possibly only way to get info about games was magazines. Now we have numerous websites, podcasts, and tv shows to get info along with the magazines. We have access to information instantly. We can get dozens of reviews of a game before its even released. Soon after a game is released we can find out other gamers' opinion of the game. We have unprecedented levels of info about the games currently released and yet to be released.

We are also able to discuss our opinions and thoughts with other gamers and even the game journalists. The obvious example is this blog here. We are allowed to write about anything we want and a great website like destructoid hosts it and allows others access to it for free. I read blogs here from people all over the world with opinions on every type of game. Plus we can get more instant feedback with message boards and forums. Sure they can be a mixed bag, but its nice to have post a question or comment about a game and have other gamers respond with-in seconds or minutes. Even the game journalists interact with the community. Before this was done in the "letters" section of a magazine. Now they participate in forums and respond to gamers' questions on podcasts.

Gamers are even able to communicate with and influence the people who actually make the games. Good developers listen to their fans and evaluate the feedback. We are actually getting updates to games and new versions of gamers that cater to our desires as a community.

Its also easier to experience actual gaming with others. Every console has extensive online gaming options. People join guilds and spends hours with thousands of other gamers in MMO's. no longer are people forced to game alone.

CONCLUSION

I could write about this non-stop, but I actually want people to read it. I would have also liked to respond directly to some of Nintendoll's points, but that will have to wait.

In the end, I think that this current generation of video games and the video game community is the best yet. If its not the golden age, I can't wait to see what's coming that could be better.   read


4:30 PM on 09.13.2008

Feel the Hatred: Driving Stages in FPS's




I really enjoy a good First Person Shooter. Its fun to run around and shoot people or monsters. I enjoy trying different weapons, fragging dudes, and sneaking around. What I don't like are driving games. I don't play them. Why must FPS developers push them on me?

I hate driving levels in fps's. They are at best unnecessary and usually infuriating. I suppose developers put them in the games as a change of pace, but why do they need to change the pace? If you make a good fps with smart AI, I don't want the pace changed. I bought the game to shoot things, not to fly a helicopter or drive a car.

Plus the driving controls and levels usually feel tacked on and gimmicky. Everyone knows the developers will spend most of their resources on the core gameplay and neglect the driving level. So you are stuck with a level that feels like a chore. Even if they do make the controls work well, I'm still forced to learn a whole new control scheme after I finally feel like I'm starting to master the fps controls. Once I do get a handle on the driving controls, the level is over and I'll never need them again.


There are a few FPS games where the driving isn't completely obtrusive, like Half-life 2, but those are few and far between. Most are like crysis, where I come dangerously close to giving up on the game because of the driving levels. Why the fuck am I wasting my time dog fighting with aliens in a fps?


Developers if you want to change the pace of your games, please don't make me drive. Make a level like "Death From Above" from Call of Duty 4. It was fun and different, but it didn't make the player learn a completely different game. And developers, don't forget, your audience buys fps's to shoot things, not drive things.


KAH-BOOM   read


7:45 AM on 09.09.2008

SPORE: First impressions




When a new big title is on the horizon, I become a hype and media whore. I read all the previews and sift through the message boards reading everything I can about the upcoming game. As Spore approached I began seeing some different criticisms. Usually I ignore this stuff as trolling or bullshit, but I gave this a little more attention. The game had been released over seas before north america and had leaked online, so people had played it. The main criticism that was repeated was a lack of depth in the gameplay (besides the bitching about the DRM). I bought my copy on sunday and have played for the past few days. I only got to the Space stage yesterday and have played about 2 hours into it so these opinions could change.

CELL STAGE


I can't say I was a huge fan of the cell stage. you just swim around eating stuff. Its there to give you a basic primer on how the creature will progress and how the mission structure works, and its effective for that. It looks cool. The graphics are colorful. The gameplay was kind of boring though. Luckily its short so I quickly progressed.

CREATURE STAGE


This is where the game starts to give you some freedom. You throw some legs and a mouth on your creature and then you leave the primordial ooze and head out on land. Here you only do a few things. You meet new creatures and try and kill them or befriend them. You look for body parts laying around. You upgrade your creature. That's about it.

I was a herbivore so I didn't fight much, except in self- defense. I would progress mainly by impressing and befriending other creatures. You do this with a simon says type game. They do one of 4 actions and then you copy it, until a bar fills up and they are impressed. You can fail if your skill in the actions is too low and the bar doesn't fill up fast enough.
Its pretty stupid.

As you find or earn new parts and dna points you can upgrade or change you creature. You get a lot of freedom. sometimes too much. The way I expected this to work was as you reached milestones you could, modify your character, but some of your previous decisions couldn't be changed. It doesn't work like that. Whenever you want to change your character you choose to mate. Then you can change whatever you want. So I could be a green duck with no arms, and just change to a blue walrus with 4 arms. No restrictions. A strange design choice.


TRIBAL STAGE


Next you progress to the tribal stage. Before you entire the tribal stage, you will have the last opportunity to modify the base look of your creature. Once you move forward you are locked in. This stage is a very simplistic RTS style game. The only resource is food and you interact with other tribes in one of two ways. You can make friends with them through gifts or performances or you can attack them. The only personalization options you have in this stage is to put some clothes and decorations on your creature. Once you destroy or befriend enough other tribes you enter the civ stage.

CIVILIZATION STAGE


If you are the creative type and couldn't get enough of the creature creator, then you will love the civ stage. You get access to a handful of creators all as deep and fun if not more so than the creature creator. You get to design different types of buildings and air, land, and sea vehicles. The stage begins by you creating your city hall. I probably spent more time during this stage in the creators than I did actually playing.

The gameplay here is still real basic. You take over other civs either through economic, religious, or military might. It might sound like there is variety, but there isn't. All three methods work the same. You send your religious/economic/military vehicles to another civ and bombard them with propaganda/trade/bombs, until they are defeated. Its disappointing because I wanted all the time I spent creating my buildings and vehicles to have a purpose, but its just superficial.

SPACE STAGE


I am early on in the space stage. I've play a few hours. So far it seems to have a lot of promise. The tutorial missions took longer than any entire previous stage. It seems much deeper than the previous stages, but still shallow compared to the average pc strategy games. Things seem more varied, but It could just be because I have experienced everything yet.


CONCLUSIONS


Spore is not a particularly good game. I am really enjoying it though. Its a unique feeling to have so much control over the appearance and development (at least superficially) of your creature and the world. You will come up with so much stuff that you never could have imagined. You will then encounter other's people stuff which is so different from yours it amazing you were both using the same tools to create them.

The gameplay elements are Spore weakest points. If you don't have interest in the creative aspects of spore, you will most likely get bored of this game very quickly. Its disappointing and I hoped that the breadth of gameplay would match the creative options. It doesn't.

If you loved the creature creator, then you will likely enjoy spore. You have access to many other creators, all that give you such amazing freedom. Its just a shame that most of that freedom only applies to the appearance and not to how the game actually plays.

I'm hoping the space stage scratches the gamer itch for me, so i could recommend Spore to anyone, but until I get confirmation of that, I would only recommend it people who are interested in ground-breaking creative tools built around a fisher-price strategy game.   read


12:15 PM on 09.03.2008

Feel the Hatred: HATERS




We are in a golden age of gaming. No matter your preference there is a wide selection of games to meet your desires. Games have made amazing advances in story telling, graphics, realistic physics, and game play mechanics while at the same time increasing the breadth of options so there are choices for hardcore gamers, casual gamers, and anyone in between. Despite our cornucopia of spoils it seems that no one is happy.

Gamers seem to hate on everything and anything. Some gamers are just curmudgeon who seem to only get joy out of hating. (See Y0j1mb0's blog HERE) Other gamers seem to have certain aspects of gaming they just find unacceptable. What it all comes down to though are people who feel the need to prove their superiority.

WRATH OF THE HARDCORE



Some gamers find the recent expansion of the casual gaming market to be offensive. This is a topic I have previously addressed here. These haters have an extreme superiority complex. They were into gaming first and they only play the best games so everyone else who doesn't play games like they do is inferior. These people need to let it go. Casual gaming doesn't prevent you from gaming and the only people impressed with your act are other hardcore gaming snobs.

FANBOYS



I never understood why certain gamers feel the need to latch onto a single console or company. They define their gaming self based on the console they prefer, like they are rooting for a sports team. They love one system and therefore every other system sucks. Its like if another system is acknowledged to be have strengths, then its a personal insult to them. These people need to grow up. (This is double for pc game snobs)


TROLLS



Anyone who has ever visited a game message board is familiar with these wastes of space. They only live to trash what others like and to evoke a reaction. They attack the new popular games because only they are smart enough to see the faults in something that others don't. No matter how minuscule the fault, it overrides anything good about the game. My favorite where the trolls who complain that you couldn't see the main character's feet in BioShock. Here is my reaction: STFU

WATCHING THE WATCHERS



These are the idiots who critique every review of a game. If the review doesn't praise the game like they want, the reviewer is an moron. If the review praises a game they don't like, then the reviewer has been bought off. They don't understand the point of reviews, which is to give an opinion. All they want is something that confirms their opinion. They rarely actually read the review and just look at the score. This group also includes the people who thinks every AAA title deserves at least a 9.5 and, on the other end, people who don't think any game should get a perfect score. That last part really pisses me off. What's the point of having a scoring system that goes up to 10 if its impossible for game to get a 10? Reviews are relative. A 10 means its as good as video games get, not that it doesn't have anything that could have been improved.

THE GAMER HATERS



We all know these assholes. The idiots who preys on the fears of the uninformed. They preach that games are evil and are corrupting the youth. Their tactics include blowing things out of proportion, lying about game content, and scapegoating. Instead of nuance dissection of games or really looking for causes of social ills they just turn to an easy answer. These people hate freedom.   read


4:01 PM on 09.02.2008

A Mercenaries 2 Review, Moggystyle




I was a big fan of the first Mercenaries. It was one of the best open world games of the last generation. Since it was based around a military conflict, it had a more open world and bigger weapons than other open world games of its time. If you hoped that Mercenaries would evolve into the next gen like GTA you will be disappointed. If you are looking for a game with the same strengths as the first, but with more destruction, then this is a game you should pick up.


Mercs 2 is set in Venezuela and revolves around a political coup. A man who hired you, uses you to take over the country and then tries to kill you instead of paying. You are set on revenge and work with different factions to smoke out the guy who back stabbed you. There is an oil company looking to protect it profits, a leftist rebel group that is trying to gain control of the country, Rastafarian pirates who smuggle and profit from the black market, and later the Chinese and Americans who intervene in the conflict. The story is thin but it doesn't matter. It's serves its purpose of keeping you moving and giving you reasons for your destruction.


(you play as one of 3 mercs)

Mercenaries 2 has a lot of issues. You will see glitches, bugs, completely unrealistic action, really stupid AI, janky animations, and a lot of pop-in. Motorcycles don't tip over. I drove a motorcycle full speed into an oncoming motorcycle and we just bounced off each other. Neither of us crashed. It is possible to get knocked off a motorcycle, but the motorcycle will always remain standing. Since you are often running around in the country side and through mountains you will encounter foliage and trees. If you are in a car you can tear right through them. If you are on foot they slow you down. Its like trying to run through mud. If you are driving a jeep with a guy standing in the back on a gun, he won't fall off. You can barrel roll down the side of a mountain and when you stop he will still be standing there.


(This bike will never not be standing)


One of the worst glitches is the RPG buildings. Many of your missions will be to secure an outpost. Basically a faction will hire you to clear out an encampment so the faction can take it over. These include buildings full of guys with RPG's. However these guys can't leave the building. They just pop out the windows and shoot at you. The only way to get rid of them is to destroy the building. The animation for these guys is terrible. It looks like they are just morphing out of the side of the building, like a building with a bunch of torsos growing out of it.

I didn't run into any game breaking problems, but there was a few times the game would mess-up and I had to restart to fix it. For example, when you are close to death everything starts moving in slow motion including the sound. Once the sound stuck, so even though I was fine, the sound was still in slow-motion.

You will experience this close to death mode constantly. When you are severely injured you will be knocked down to 2 health. Its easy to get knock from full health to 2, but difficult to get from 2 to death. Your energy regenerates automatically. Often you will be in a big firefight get knocked down to 2 and then you run behind cover so your health can come back. Even if you jump out of a helicopter hundreds of feet off the ground, when you land (often on your feet) you will just be knocked down to 2 health.


The graphics are uneven. Somethings are impressive other things look last gen. Its a mixed bag, but overall they were acceptable. For every crappy texture there is an awesome explosion. And that is what this game is about. When you start out your access to weapons and airstrikes is limited. This can be frustrating since you have probably seen all the coverage of the destruction. As you move through the game however you will be calling in artillery strikes, a handful of different bombing missions, and a nuke. Its all very impressive. You will level entire city blocks. To prevent you from exploiting the airstikes, many goals wills have Anti-Air defenses. You have to take these out before you can call in an air strike.


(you will see things like this a lot)

Despite all its problems, the game does do a lot right. The combat is satisfying. The world is huge and varied. There are a ton of vehicles use, including boats, tanks, helicopters, jet skis, and jeeps. You can hijack tanks and helicopters. Tanks are hijacked by killing the gunner and then pressing a button to starts a QTE hijack game. To keep this from being repetitive each type of tank requires different buttons to press and has a varied animation. You use your grapple to hijack helicopters. You latch on the helicopter, pull yourself up, and then do the QTE game. It never gets old. In shooters usually helicopters are dreaded. In mercs 2 you will want the enemy to bring in helicopters so you can jack them.


(running up the barrel to hijack it)

Besides the main missions each factions will have side quests for you. They all have 10 High Value Targets (HTV's) for you to capture and 13 buildings they want destroyed. There are also collectibles. Through the game there are fuel, bombs, and money to collect. You need fuel for airstrikes and for supply drops. The bombs will give you free airstikes. You locate these and call in your helicopter pilot to pick them up. These can regenerate. There are also car parts to find. You have a mechanic and as you find more parts she can build you new specialized vehicles, like a motorcycle with rocket launchers.

The game also includes online co-op. In co-op you can complete missions or goals in the host's game or just cause random destruction. Its works well with little to no lag. Another benefit is if one of the players dies, the other will have about a minute to revive them. A couple of the missions are difficult and another merc with you can make all the difference.
In the end, the gameplay of Mercs 2 feels more last gen than next. That said its still a ton a fun


(this is more fun with others)


Mercs 2 feels more like a last gen game than a current gen game, but what it does it does well. If you can accept it for its faults and don't expect the kind of evolution you saw with GTA4, you can have a whole lot of fun with this game. So while this game isn't a Terminator 2 or Predator, its a solid Running man. Its cheesy, unrealistic, and unpolished, but its the best kind of junk food there is.

SCORE: 8.0   read


10:55 AM on 08.28.2008

The Waiting is the Hardest Part



Previously I have posted about my addiction to buying video games. I always am in pursuit of something new. you can read about that here is you like.

http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/Mogg/the-first-step-is-admitting-you-have-a-problem-100121.phtml


Part of that post talks about my anticipation for Mercs 2. I've really been looking forward to this game (for years!). I loved the first and can't wait to raise hell in the second. As I'm surfing the internets looking for reviews, scanning the message boards, I began thinking: Why do I get excited for a new upcoming game?


(is it really finally here?!)

I doesn't make much sense. I have plenty of games to play that are most likely of equal or superior quality to mercs 2. But there is something about a game that is just beyond reach that is so enticing. It's as if I imagine that this new and upcoming game will stimulate my senses and provide a gaming experience I have previously been denied. I don't understand it. Its like video game kavorka.


(also has kavorka, at least with the whites)

I heard that siren's song and it began to mess with my mind.

Maybe a store near you will break the street date, she said.

I thought, no way, that never happens, plus i can wait a few more days.

It could be your lucky day, she said. you live near a few stores, why not stop on your way home.

Well, i would only take a few mins. why not, I thought.

So I stop by Kmart on my way home. I figured that sinking ship is most likely to place the game out early. I walk around the electronics area, looking and hoping. I see nothing. Well, I do see something, Just not Mercs 2.

I am now the proud owner of both Burnout Paradise and Warhawk. I'm sure they will get a lot of play once 8/31 roll around. DAMN IT   read





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