When it comes to video games I am obsessive-compulsive about beating them. If I start a game I must finish it. No matter how bad, or how hard it is I will not rest until the ending credits have rolled across the screen. Like Bruce Hornsby says ... that's just the way it is!
Games Beaten Recently (in chronological order): - The Swapper
- Need for Speed: Rivals
- The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
- Killzone: Shadow Fall
- Hotline Miami
- Grand Theft Auto 5
- Super Mario 3D Land
- Saints Row IV
- Rogue Legacy
- Saints Row: The Third
- The Last of Us
- God of War: Ascension
- Aliens: Infestation
- Tomb Raider
- The Room
- Bioshock Infinite
- Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm
- Far Cry 3
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
- Assassin's Creed 3
- Mark of the Ninja
- The Walking Dead: Episode 5
- Spec Ops: The Line
- Halo 4
- The Walking Dead: Episode 4
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted
- The Walking Dead: Episode 3
- Borderlands 2
- The Walking Dead: Episode 2
- Darksiders 2
- Dust: An Elysian Tale
- Resistance 3
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
- The Walking Dead: Episode 1
- From Dust
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations
- Diablo 3
- Mass Effect 3
- Batman: Arkham City
- Gears of War 3
- Rayman Origins
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
- Dead Space 2
- Portal 2
- Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
- Donkey Kong Country Returns
- Back to the Future: Episode 1
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
- Enslaved: Pigsy's Perfect 10
- Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
- Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2
- Halo: Reach
- Metroid: Other M
- Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty
- Super Mario Galaxy 2
- Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
- Final Fantasy 13
- God of War 3
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2
- Bioshock 2
- Blaster Master Overdrive
- Mass Effect 2
- Dark Void
- Assassin's Creed II
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time
- Modern Warfare 2
- LEGO Rock Band
- God of War: Chains of Olympus
- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
- Dead Space: Extraction
- Halo 3: ODST
- Darkest of Days
- The Beatles: Rock Band
- Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
- Shadow Complex
- Resistance 2
- Bionic Commando
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Gears of War 2
- Beyond Good and Evil
- Dead Space
- Prince of Persia & Epilogue DLC
- Ratchet and Clank Future: Search for Booty
- Killzone 2
- Shadow of the Colossus
- Fallout 3
- LEGO Star Wars: TCS
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- Mirror's Edge
- Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
- Mega Man 9
- Mario Galaxy
- God of War 2
- Gears of War
- Metal Gear Solid 4
- Grand Theft Auto 4
- Assassin's Creed
- Halo 3
- Forza Motorsport 2
- Mass Effect
- Heavenly Sword
- Ratchet and Clank Future: TOD
- Resistance: FOM
- Metal Gear Solid 3
- God of War
- Metroid Prime 2
Backlog (Games I own but haven't played): - Skyrim
- Forza 4
- Supreme Commander 2
- The Last Remnant
- Quantum Conundrum
- Hitman: Blood Money
- Sleeping Dogs
- Civilization V
- The Binding of Isaac
- Far Cry 2
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Brutal Legend
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Resident Evil 5
- The Longest Journey
- Just Cause
- Just Cause 2
- Half Life 2
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher's Bay
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
- Red Faction Guerilla
- Metroid Prime 3
- Dragon Age 2
When it was decided that I would be the writer at Gamer Limit.com who was reviewing Borderlands, I immediately opted for the PC version. While I typically play most FPSs on consoles, this was a game I really wanted to experience on the PC, especially since the developer stated this version would be the best one. Unfortunately it got pushed back a week from the console version, so all I could do was bide my time and wait.
While I waited, I got to see all these great reviews pour in for the Xbox 360 and PS3, so it got me even more excited. The game finally arrived, and that very first night I didnít play a single second of it. Itís not because I didnít have time, or because my PC wasnít good enough to run it. I couldnít play the game the first night it came out because a couple of my buddies and myself couldnít figure out how to get the damn game to connect online to play co-op.
We spent two hours trying to get Borderlands to work online before we finally gave up and called it quits. I was so angry by that point that I didnít even want to try single player. I just said screw it and went to bed. The next day we figured out that to host a game online we had to go into our router and forward a bunch of specific ports. Are you fucking kidding me? This is 2009. Why do I have to do something as archaic as forwarding ports at this point in the life of the PC. Itís fucking pathetic.
So this brings me to the whole point of this blog, which is that I have discovered my review score for the PC version of Borderlands is the lowest on Metacritic. Itís the lowest because I found lots of problems associated specifically with the PC version which really brought the score down for me. Iím not sure why these donít bother any other reviewers, because some of them are pretty serious. Now if you want to read my full impressions of the game, I recommend you go check out my actual review over at Gamer Limit. Iím only here to talk about the negative things that really bugged me about the PC version.
Iíve already mentioned that to host an online game you need to forward ports, but thatís not the only problem with this game. A major issue that exists is that the game is obviously a poorly done direct port of the console version. I mean Gearbox said that they needed the extra week to get the PC version ready, but Iím not sure what they were doing during that week. It feels like they got some intern to simply port the code from the console version over and call it ready to ship. I'm sure this is not the case, but it's obvious that the developers put no extra time into making the PC differentiate itself from the console version in any way.
The first sign that this is a poor console port is that the menu screen is freaking huge, with large fonts that make reading very painful to the eyes. Now I understand that when you play consoles you sit 15 feet from your TV, so you need large font. You only sit about 2 feet from your computer monitor, so you donít need the excessively large font.
You also donít need the menus to be the size of the entire screen. Have those guys over at Gearbox even played other RPGs on the PC? If they had they would know that plenty of other games use small menu screens that allow you to play and look at the menu at the same time. This would really come in handy when you are trying to decide if you want to pick up a gun that just dropped and you want to compare it to other weapons in your inventory.
The menu screens are also pretty difficult to navigate on the PC. I mean it isnít that hard, but you can tell the menu navigation was optimized for the console and not the PC. How hard would it have been to modify them just a little so that itís easier to navigate using just a mouse. I canít tell you how many times I tried to click on something on the menu with my mouse and discovered I needed to use my keyboard instead. I should never have to use a damn keyboard to navigate a menu screen.
Another huge problem with the PC version is that the in-game voice chat is horrendous. Not only is the volume to low, but there is no menu option to adjust the volume and there is no option to turn it off. Itís just on all the damn time. In order to turn it off you have to actually go into the code and switch a variable. In order to chat with friends Iíve had to jump on a Ventrillo server or use Skype. How do you launch an online cooperative game in 2009 without a working voice chat feature? How? Someone tell me how! Please!
There are other little nagging problems, such as the large amount of lag that can appear from time to time. There are also a bunch of typical menu options missing, which you would normally find in other FPSs, such as disabling mouse sync. You can modify a ton of options if you are willing to look up how to modify the code, but Iím not a damn programmer. I donít want to do that. I simply want to click on the options menu and change things the easy way. The way every other FPS lets me change things.
So I gave the PC version of Borderlands the lowest score on Metacritic. Do I care? Not really. Itís not like I set out to do that. I didnít even realize it until after my review was posted on the site. What shocks me is why none of these horrible problems bothered anyone else. Did these people not play the PC version, and just use their console version score as the PC review score, or were they just able to look past the problems because the game is so kick-ass? Maybe they were, but I wasnít going to be so nice. Gearbox needs to learn how to properly port a game over from the console. Maybe theyíll read my review and it will have an impact. I can only hope.
If you had asked me a couple years ago if any game deserved a perfect review score of 10/10, I would have said no. Every single game that I'd played had some type of flaw that warranted the deduction of some amount of points. Therefore in my mind, a perfect score of 10 was always something to strive toward, but never something that was possible to achieve.
The last few years though the quality of games released has gone through the roof. Thanks to titles like GTA 4, Bioshock, and Metal Gear Solid 4 I've started to reevaluate my position on the subject of perfect review scores. This all came to a head recently when I was given the opportunity to write the official Gamer Limit review for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
After discussing it over with some of the staff members at the site, I decided to give the game a perfect 10/10. Feel free to read to my actual review if you like, as it will provide a lot more details about my reasoning then I'm about to go into here. Simply put, in my opinion Uncharted 2 is the best game released on the PS3 to date. Naughty Dog has created such a memorable masterpiece that it represents the pinnacle of game development for this current generation of consoles. How could I not give the game a 10?
Now something I found very interesting about Uncharted 2, which I point out in my review, is that it doesn't do anything that hasn't been done before. The cover and shoot gameplay mechanic isn't anything new, the tomb raiding puzzle/adventure gameplay style has been done to death, and the multiplayer combines elements from many other games already existing on the market. If this game takes lots of ideas from so many other titles out there, how is it that it could possible deserve a perfect score?
While it is true that Uncharted 2 doesn't do anything new, it does do a lot of different things, all of which have been polished to a level of quality that is extremely rare these days. The single player story is better then most of the action movies released so far this year, the multiplayer is addictive and extremely diverse, the colorful cast of characters are accompanied by some of the best voice acting heard in years, and the replayability is through the roof.
How often do you find a sequel that manages to keep everything good from the previous game, while solving all of the problems that nagged the original? Not only that, but add in a multiplayer mode that rivals, if not beats the pants off of other games who have been doing multiplayer for years like Gears of War 2. Everyone was worried that Naughty Dog might stumble and trip over themselves by attempting too much, but instead they managed to hit a home run and show why they are on e of the best developers in the business.
I think that if a game manages to do a multitude of different things extremely well, and doesn't half ass a single part of the entire package, it deserves a perfect score. Uncharted 2 does this, so in my mind it should get a perfect 10.
Not everyone agrees with this line of thinking, as is evident with the recent GameTrailers Uncharted 2 score fiasco. A great deal of commotion erupted when the site decided to give the game a 9.3. As you watch the entire review it appears that the score it going to be in the high 9's to possibly a 10, but then in the end the review score of 9.3 is shown and a lot of people were shocked.
In a later episode of Invisible Walls, the reasoning behind the lower score was explained. According to the reviewers, while the game was extremely good and did a lot of things right, it did not attempt to do anything new and hence does not deserve the acclaim of getting anything higher then a 9.5.
When I read this I was very disappointed in the site. If you take a look back at many of the games that actually try to innovate, you'll notice a pattern of shitty games. Mirror's Edge and Assassin's Creed are two recent examples of this. They both tried to innovate and create something new and unique, and they both had major issues that really brought the gameplay experience down.
A majority of the best games ever made are not ones that try to innovate. They are the ones that take already existing gameplay formulas and mechanics and try to perfect and polish them into something that's actually fun and entertaining to play. COD 4: Modern Warfare and Bioshock are two great examples. Neither of these games did anything new, but they both took a lot of elements tried in previous games and perfectly melded them together to create an excellent experience.
My point is, games like Uncharted 2 shouldn't be punished because they don't attempt to innovate or try something new. They should be celebrated for getting so many things right that other games could not. Perfect review scores like 10 should be rare, but they shouldn't be impossible to get. There is no such thing as a perfect game, and there never will be, but games can come extremely close to perfect. Uncharted 2 is one of these games, which is why I think it deserves a perfect 10/10.
Many of you know me as a long time Dtoid community member, but what most of you donít know is that Iíve recently become a senior writer over at Gamer Limit (gamerlimit.com). Iíve only been writing for them a couple of months now, but Iíve tried reviewing as many games as I can, hoping to get more experience so I can get better at it. Lucky for me, most of my reviews so far have all been for really good games like Shadow Complex and The Beatles: Rock Band. That all changed recently when I volunteered to play and review a new Xbox 360 game titled Darkest of Days.
When I first volunteered to review this game, I knew that it wasnít getting good reviews. I hesitated at first because of this fact, but eventually I decided that I shouldnít let other peopleís opinions of a game effect my own judgment. After all, there are plenty of games other people have hated which I loved. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed immediately comes to mind. I also knew that I liked the general premise of Darkest of Days, and that Iíd been interested in it for a while, so I decided to volunteer to review it after all.
What I soon discovered was that it was not only a horrible game, but one of the worst games Iíve ever played. If you want to read my review of Darkest of Days you should head on over the Gamer Limit and look it up, but Iím not going to link it hear because Yojimbo will give me lots of shit for pimping my articles through the Cblogs. What I will tell you is that there were many occasions I seriously considered not finishing the game because of how horrible it was. It only took me 10 hours total to beat it, but it was 10 of the most excruciatingly painful gaming hours of my life.
When I had finally concluded the game and put it back in its box, vowing to never play it again, I discovered that I had created a list of negative notes that were multiple pages in length. I knew it was finally time to begin my review, but I honestly wasnít sure what to do. I knew I wanted to give it a bad score, but I wasnít sure how bad that would be. I decided to turn to my fellow writers over at Gamer Limit and ask for advice. They all told me to give it whatever score I wanted, and to not worry about what anyone else thought.
You know, we bash games all the time here in the Cblogs, and we never really think twice about it. After all, it can be fun to take a game and completely rip it apart, finding every little problem with it and driving a game into the ground because of them. Developers of those games donít typically come to the Dtoid cblogs and read what we have to say though.
Things are quite different at Gamer Limit. When I write a review, we actually mail that review directly to the publisher so they can read it themselves. In this case the developer, 8monkey Labs, gave us a free copy of Darkest of Days, so they were expecting a review from us in a short period of time. When the review you write is going to be sent to and read by the actual people who made it, it makes you stop and think about exactly what you want to say.
These people spent years of their life creating this game, and even though the final product might have ended up bad, you can tell that they put a lot of hard work into it. When someone has spent so much time on something and put so much of themselves into it, it can extremely hard to crush their spirits by telling them how bad of a job they did. Itís happened to me before and I can tell you it sucks! Unfortunately for them they just didnít make a good game, and I couldnít allow my feelings to interfere in the matter.
The other problem I had writing a bad review was I didnít know how it would affect Gamer Limitís relationship with the developer and publisher. This is another reason I asked my fellow writers what I should do. My editor-in-chief specifically told me to not worry about the publisher and to just write exactly what I thought of the game, not letting anything else influence me. He let me know he would take care of the relationship, since that kind of stuff is his job after all.
I decided that the best thing to do was the give them a really bad score, but to make sure I backed up all my reasoning without being childish or immature. I can honestly say that I didnít enjoy writing this review. When I was done, someone I know asked me if I enjoyed tearing down the game. My response to that was an immediate ďnoĒ. I simply could not take pleasure in destroying what someone else had created.
The thing I regret the most was that I spent so much space writing about the negative aspects of the game, I ran out of room to write anything really positive. There actually were some good things about Darkest of Days, but if you read my review you wouldnít know it. Thatís mainly because the positive things are extremely overpowered by all the negative things. I felt like if I was writing such a bad review, I needed to make sure I included as many negative points as possible. This was just one of those hard decisions I discovered I had to make. It sucks, but it is what it is.
As you can see, my first experience writing a bad game review for Gamer Limit was not a very pleasant one. I thought it would be easy, but ended up discovering it was not only hard, but painful as well. Itís just not easy to tell someone that all their hard work didnít pay off, and that they created what essentially is a horrible game. I made it through though, and now that Iíve done one Iíll be more comfortable writing another bad review when the next piece of trash comes along. Thatís not to say that Iíll ever enjoy it though.
Today I decided to sit down and figure out exactly how much money I'm going to be spending on all the games I was planning on buying this Fall. In order to exercise some level of "control", I decided to only include games that I was 100% sure I wanted to play. What I quickly discovered was that my list was much much much larger then I thought.
Below is the complete list of titles I came up with, along with release dates and prices. As you can see, if you add all those dollar amounts up you get $780. Add in the 7% North Carolina sales tax and it brings the total up to $835. I don't know about you, but that is a whole hell of a lot of money.
I'm honestly starting to think that I need to reconsider whether I really want some of these games. Not only is $835 a lot of money to spend, but there are just too many games on this list to physically attempt to play in the alloted time. Just check out October 20th. There are three games coming out on that same day I want to play, and all of them are probably 40+ hour games. What the hell was I thinking when I made this list?
On another note, weren't a lot of games supposed to be pushed back to 2010. Looking at this list, you wouldn't think any games had been pushed back at all. Damn video game developers and all their stupid creative genius. I wish they would just take a break for a while.
So how much money do the rest of you plan on spending this Fall on games? Anywhere near the insane amount I plan on spending?
Sept. 22 -Halo 3: ODST- $60
Sept. 29 -Dead Space: Extraction- $50
Oct. 13 -Brutal Legend- $60
-Uncharted 2: Among Thieves- $60
I might be a little late to the party, and everyone might be sick of these by now, but damnit I need to tell everyone why I love Destructoid. You see, when I first joined the Dtoid community well over a year ago, I came for two main reasons. The first reason was because I needed a place where I could meet people who were as passionate about video games as I was. I have a lot of friends who play video games, but most of them arenít passionate about them. Yeah they might play some of the big name titles like MGS4, GTA4, and Madden, but thatís about it. They donít play any of the lesser known titles and they donít pay attention to whatís going in the industry.
Because of this, I could never really talk to any of my friends about video games the way I really wanted, and that bothered me. I needed a place where I could meet people just like me, who I would actually be able to have real conversations with about the video game industry and all the crazy games coming out. I realized the best way to do this was to blog, and out of all the websites I looked, Dtoid had the best community blog section. This was the place I needed to be.
The second reason I joined Destructoid was because I was hoping it might be a way to get a job as a video game journalist. At the time I absolutely hated my real life job, and I wanted a change to something I was passionate about. Since I was passionate about playing and talking about games, I thought being a games journalist might be the best fit for me. Unfortunately I had absolutely no experience at all, so no one would even consider hiring me. I of course didnít blame them. I then thought that if I started blogging and writing about games, maybe someone would think I had talent and might hire me. At the time the idea seemed extremely farfetched, but when you have a dream and a goal you have to start somewhere right. If you never even start toward your goal, you wonít get anywhere.
Well itís been 1 year and 3 months since I joined the Dtoid community, and what Iíve gotten out of this site has just exceeded every expectation I ever had. First of all, I found exactly what I was looking for, a place I could fit in perfectly. I have had so many incredible and in-depth discussions about games here that I never thought I would have with anyone. Besides that, I have met tons and tons of incredible people, from every walk of life and every part of the world you can imagine. Iíve even forged some bonds of friendship with certain people which I hold very dear.
As for my hope that joining Destructoid might help land me a job as a video game journalist; for the longest time I tried and tried to write good pieces so that someone would notice me, but no one ever did. After a while I sort of gave up and submitted to the fact it would probably never happen. I never lost all hope, as Iím a very optimistic person, but the dream faded more and more with each passing day. Then one day I got an extremely unexpected email from an unexpected source, offering me a chance to write for a new and upcoming gaming site. After checking out the site I accepted the offer, and Iím now proud to say that Iím an official staff writer for GamerLimit.com. If you get a chance you should check out the site. I write under my actual name: Shawn Evans.
Unfortunately, being a writer at Gamer Limit has reduced the amount of time I can spend writing for the Dtoid cblogs, but I still visit the site as much as I can, and of course I'm still part of the Cblog Recap Team. Most importantly though, my heart still lies in this community. Actually, itís really the community that makes Dtoid so great. There simply is just no other video game centric community like this on the entire internet. There is a reason I visit this site 20+ times a day, and thatís because of all the incredibly awesome people here. Everyone from the staff to the community members make Destructoid a special place. Thank you, to everyone.
So about a month ago Destructoid held a special edition Gears of War 2 Friday Night Fights. Coincidentally, I had just recently started playing the game, so I thought I would tag along to meet some more Dtoid community members, and to blow some of them away. After all, the best way to introduce yourself to a fellow Dtoider is to blow their head off with a shotgun blast. Don't you agree?
One of the perks for attending this FNF, was some Gears of War 2 related prizes that were being given out by the staff. The winners were being chosen using trivia questions, and I just happened to answer one of them right. Well, I've been waiting patiently for the last couple of weeks for my prize to arrive, and finally today I got my wish.