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3:54 PM on 11.28.2011

Tales from Skyrim: A Step Ahead

Now, as a disclaimer, this story centers around the final mission of the Dark Brotherhood questline. I will be as vague as possible, but I really recommend you play through the questline. So, with that out of the way, this story is going to be short. I can't believe this happened, and it's truly just insane.

So, for your final mission for the Dark Brotherhood, you are sent to murder a person of interest who is surrounded by heavy security, in the middle of the sea. My character, being the Assassin type he is, is fit for the job. So, I take my steed and ride off to [CENSORED], make my way to the coast on foot, and swim out to the boat. I find the anchor and pull myself on board. Simple Enough.

Once aboard, the security is tight. I stick to the shadows, and use my x30 damage from daggers to my make quick work of all the enemies I come across. Dragging their bodies into the shadows for kicks. Killing people mid-conversation, with the stereotypical, "MUST'VE BEEN THE WIND!" reaction from the guards. Smooth sailing.

Multiple guards later, I make my way outside of my quarry's chambers. He shall embrace The Void soon enough... So, I enter the room, hoping for a memorable kill. As per usual, I speak to the victim before they die. In this case, it's a forced conversation anyways. But, wait... Something's off...

"I see you've come. I've been expecti-"


That was the sound of two bandits, murdering my prey. In front of me. Somehow, two bandits made it onto the ship, infiltrated really, and made it to the quarters of this person before I did. And they murdered them in front of me. Somehow. Somehow these morons made it here.

Next, there was screaming. Blood. The clang of weaponry. Not my weaponry mind you, it was the bandits again. They were killing each other... For no reason. I don't have Illusion magic! What's going on! I'm supposing it was some sort of suicide pact. Something. I really need to rationalize what happened.

And so, my name goes on into the annals of Tamriel's history, the man who was able to kill [CENSORED]. Though the distinction truly belongs to these nameless, homicidal, suicidal bandits who were, somehow, a step ahead of me.

Tl;Dr: Bethesda, why u put random events in my important quests?   read

10:08 PM on 06.28.2011

Game Progression: Why RE Mercs is Troubling

It seems that a lot of people are arguing over whether or not Capcom's plan to make the single save file in RE: The Mercenaries matters or not. From one point of view, you can see that it would affect the game for used game buyers, and that people who like to delete their saves to extend game life can no longer do that. On the other side, you can say that it's silly to be upset over having everything already unlocked and have high scores already there, and that deleting save files is something people are making up to make this non-problem a problem. Those who fall into the latter camp, I must say, are pretty much inviting the death of used gaming. Or at least having fun from buying a used game. Seriously. What I'm going to say is probably obvious to a lot of people, has probably been said a lot (a lot), and may be pointless, but hey, it gives me something to do.

This is your game brand new.

Those familiar with the Mercenaries mini-game from the Resident Evil series know that it's a moderately fun and interesting bonus in the game. You unlock characters, gain ranks, try to get high scores, and generally fight hordes of zombies (or people infected with parasites or something) while trying to get time extensions. It can be pretty tough and it's pretty neat to play with characters you don't get to play as in the story mode. Playing as Krauser and Wesker in RE4's Mercenary mode was pretty badass. The fun isn't really in the gameplay per se as it is in the points and unlocking. It's an arcade game at heart. Take the high scores and unlockables away, and you have a game with zero replay value. Who would've played Galaga or Pac-Man if they aimlessly played with no sense of achievement, with no scoring system, for being unable to put ASS in the High Score list?

Game progression, be it through unlocking of game items, or going through a story, or rising through the high score lists or leader boards is pretty much the sole reason we play games. We play games because we are rewarded throughout and have a sense of progress and achievement. That's why achievements and trophies are so popular! The sense of doing something and working through something is why we game. This can probably be debated, but in the deepest sense this is what makes games popular. Getting from one end to the other in an epic story, or crafting an epic of massive proportions by bringing your pitiful level 1 character to level 85.

Those who buy RE: The Mercenaries 3DS will experience all of this, and that's the fun. My pictures that I chose for this blog are the start screens for the game. In every iteration of Mercs (maybe not, I've not played all of the Merc equipped RE games), as you unlock characters, they appear on the start screen. You get different backgrounds, if I remember correctly, in the RE4 version as well. This is satisfying. There's no point to the game without the unlockables. the characters you can get keep you playing the same levels over and over until you finally get a high enough ranking and unlock the bastard that it took you so long to get (damn you Waterworld!).

This is your game on meth. I mean used. The point is that everything is unlocked already, okay?

Since this is The Mercenaries though, I can see a lot of people trading the game back in to GameStop or what have you, mainly because it can get a bit tedious after a while. If you're like me, you're going to play something like this until you have everything. S rank on every level, with every character (or as close as you can get). Once you get there, maybe you could delete your save and start again. Lots of people do this so they can get that sense of progression and achievement back. It's like starting a New Game on any story driven game. It's not some out-there crazy idea that only the mentally unstable do. It's an actual thing. At least it is for most games, but not this one. So you max out everything and trade the game in.

The unlucky bloke (or bloke-ette or something) who picks this hypothetical game up now has everything in the game at their disposal. This is the worst possible situation. It would be like picking up Fallout 3 used, but the game has already been beat, every quest has been finished, and every special weapon and armor collected, and you can't restart the game. You're at the end game, wandering aimlessly with nothing to do, and you can't change it. Well, that's complete crap. This is stealing content from used game buyers. Stealing. Part of the experience is in the unlocking and scoring. It's not just the zombie shooting. Take away the point of the zombie shooting and you're left with a husk of a game.

This is an important thing. If Capcom sets a precedent with this, it will kill used gaming. It will kill a lot of people's enjoyment. It will kill replayability. This would be akin to removing the Prestige system from CoD's online multiplayer. It is a MAJOR step back in game design. People LIKE resetting their games, and most of you have probably prestiged in CoD! You can't tell me you haven't done it! Well, maybe you can, but you're probably outnumbered! Capcom needs to realize the power of what they're doing. They have to be very careful, because it's really powerul, especially against living things (I feel no shame). Or the used game market and the sense of progression. One or the other.

This is only my second blog. Be gentle.   read

7:57 PM on 07.02.2010

Alternate Reality: The Red Menace

Despite what non-conspiracy theorists may say (let's call these people 'crazy'), Russia is waiting to attack America whenever we least expect it. The Soviet Union may have collapsed, and Russia may be an 'ally' of the United States of America, but this is just a trap! Obviously they're waiting to spring their Robo-Bearsharks on us and invade. Well, it's obvious if you've been watching any movies or playing any games for the last few decades.

Russia has been the antagonist of many movies and games for the longest time, and they are still the big baddie of a lot of our games to this day. When America needs an enemy for our stories Russia is our Cinderella, fitting the role perfectly. The truth of the matter though is that Russia is not capable of really attacking America anymore. This is the 21st century and you'd think that we'd be past the 'Red Menace' mind frame of the last five centuries. Sure, we've also let Germany take Russia's place at times, but the Germans have a much better deal in this than Russia does.

How many games have you played where you fight a German army that isn't full of Nazis? Probably very few. Now, what games have you played that show Russia attacking us even after the dissolving of the Soviet Union in the 90's? If you've played Modern Warfare 2 then that would be a great answer, or Singularity. I mean, there's Ghost Recon Future Soldier as well and many others.

Doesn't his face just scream "I want to invade your country for vague and silly reasons!"?

Maybe it's the whole 'we've run out of ideas' thing that people always point to for all the unoriginal plots these days, but we need a new enemy. I may be alone here, but generic aliens, Nazis, and Russians are not the most interesting enemies these days. Plus, you'd think that Russians wouldn't take kindly to the fact that they are the world's super villain, right up there next to Hitler and the Nazi's in the video game world. You know something's wrong when you're what people turn to when they're tired of killing Nazis.

Say we take the crazy, mustache twirling, world conquering Russia from video games and put them into the real world. Russia sends giant, mutated bears that shoot rockets from their bellybuttons and attacks Alaska. They take over and force children to drink vodka or something along those lines. Why? Well, what more reason do you need than they're Russia? Wait, did you just say you need more reason than that?

I don't always drink beer, but when I do I don't drink vodka because I'm not a commie.

Well, let's take the plot of Modern Warfare 2 and implement it into reality. A Russian terrorist cell frames a team of Americans as perpetrators of a massacre in a Russian airport. Unlike the game, the reality probably won't include Russia invading America. Most likely, there would be political tension and bickering in the UN that would get nowhere. Doesn't that sound like a fun game? I can see it now, Political Bickering: UN Edition. My point is, Russia isn't really a good enemy anymore and most plots that have Russia as the bad guy require a good amount of suspension of disbelief.

We need a new ultimate evil, a new villain we can milk for years. Russia is just not a good choice anymore. We can't just keep smearing the whole country because we're too lazy to make up a fake country or do something original with our games.

I propose an army of satanic vuvuzelas that terrorize World Cup matches.   read

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