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10:31 AM on 08.20.2014

Video Games No Longer Help Me

Struggling to write.

This is what I came up with.


My best memories are from video games,
The purest form of laughter and merriment,
Playing GoldenEye and Perfect Dark,
For hours on end with a select few pals.

The realization that Final Fantasy 7,
Would continue past that last stretch of highway,
The story of a troubled youth finding his path,
Redemption achieved in the light of disc number 4.

World of WarCraft was cloud nine,
In the midst of increasing personal strife,
Raiding with partners from all walks of life,
Finding the right people felt divine.

No more happiness to be found,
Even my most intimate memories have thorns,
It's all mixed up with adventures in escapism,
Mind is strained to no bound.

Video games no longer provide any joy
As my life continues to spiral down.
Mistakes were made while I gamed away,
So when a title boots up now,

The only friends that greet me are,


Hiding from the world,
Waiting for it to come crashing into me.


10:19 AM on 06.02.2014

Game Industry: Trailer Failure, Part 2 (Final)

Part 1 can be read here.

To Rift or Not To Rift

There's only one way to prevent a rift from occurring in the people who enjoy video games in the coming years: companies need to present their product as distinctive. It's no longer a game of whose object is shinier. Showing off a cool robot spider that smashes up cop cars as your playable character goes on a cybertrip is not enough. It's about explaining why a person needs to buy the game. Why this game is a Pandoraís box of necessity and invention. Products and concepts survive only if they're presented as essential or meteor sized snowflakes with a fiery stream of uniqueness behind it. Did you know the vast majority of people didnít give a flying fuck on a penny farthing about brushing teeth until some asshole starting assertively marketing toothpaste?

And did you know how toothpaste was marketed? As something that was necessary to maintain a greater sense of being; as something unique to use in your daily grooming regimen. They hammered that point home until the masses accepted a new reality. Right now, trailers are all about dangling a key in front of your face and cooing, "Isn't it shiny? Isn't it shiny? Immersive detail! Countless options! Feature packed! It's an experience! It won all these worthless awards!" An experience isn't a necessity. An experience isnít unique. What's necessary is explaining how this product will enhance your life. How it will make it better. How without it, you're less of a human being and more akin to a wandering brute still trying to figure out how to work these strange new opposable thumbs.

†If marketing departments kick it into high gear, they'll up the ante by giving you a trailer that not only showcases explosions alongside quotes about how mind-blowing something is, but they'll give you a reason for needing that explosion. Theyíll add the substance that necessitated something blowing up. As an added bonus, unlike movies and music, which are only capable of relying on such things due to a lack of interactivity, video games can break free of that convention and evolve their message. It's already started, but in a mewling, pathetic way.

Kinect utilizing the broken concept that your body can be the controller in an era when it's simply too expensive or technologically infeasible to use it in a way the developer envisions. Hype videos detailing ease of life concepts regarding more polished UI, the way we quest in an RPG, or the way we traverse the playground we've paid for. In the future, these companies need to pay greater attention to such details in order to distinguish themselves. They need to clamber to the highest peak and shout why their product is superior, because even the flashiest trailer no longer interests certain gamers.

Every single thing they release needs substance behind it to truly catch the eyes of the populous. Iím looking at you, Far Cry 4. Iím not in the mood to pre-order some fucking box art. Thus, a rift is formed. People who have been gaming for decades with an attention span greater than a goldfish have seen it all by now. Guns, sex, and pass the controller dear developer, thanks. A universe needs to be saved. Insurmountable odds need to be surpassed. A broken heart must be mended on the road to revenge. Tragedy strikes as fireworks dazzle the eye. Fast edits. Pounding music. Audio enthusiasm pumped in to the visual rollercoaster.

Well, rollercoasters get old if you're on them all the time. Now, a rift won't be terrible. Video games are at heart, something for the young to enjoy, and as the current generations of gamers age, they may find themselves left behind and forgotten, on the other side of the fissure, yawning at the latest trailer and thinking back with a content sigh at the products they relished yesteryear. However, if publishers pay more attention to the ease of life side of gaming, if they focus on the things that really get the mind thinking about whether or not it needs something, that's when you can get everyone on board while continuing to mature your brand. So whatís the Holy Grail to introduce new life to the tired old concept of a video game trailer?

Lies, Lies, Lies

Itís simple. Marketing departments need to create a lie. Now, it canít be something hideous and apt to garner controversy, like the disastrous Aliens: Colonial Marines vertical slice trailers, or Steel Battalionís Kinect controls. Currently, the go-to method to wrap a video game up in gleaming gloss is the venerable bullshot, a gussied up version of a regular screenshot not unlike airbrushing or presenting a Big Mac as something other than a deflated and bastardized version of its desired image. However, trailers and the concepts behind the product need to be exploited in such a fashion more often. When properly done, a company can make it appear as though Dead Island or Gears of War has hidden depth and emotional story arcs.†

No one will ever remember how deceitful those trailers were because the final product was polished and competently created, or at the very least offered much amusement. Hereís another example: preview videos for Bioshock Infinite made it seem that using Elizabethís powers would harm her and change the way the ending played out. That concept was so resonant with me that I used her power only when absolutely necessary, only finding out after I had beaten the game that I had made everything harder for myself. In addition, they released a trailer showcasing an event that never happens in any portion of the game.

However, as long as the time spent playing the product is enjoyable enough, indiscretions can be forgiven. Hereís one last go-to: the Deus Ex HR trailer. Sure the narration and dialogue is on the nose, but the action they zip through is stylized and just inaccurate enough to add that extra zest of enticement. At around the halfway point through that game, one is certain to realize that theyíll never fight all those bosses together during a massive riot in Detroit. Itís water under the bridge as long as the product meets its majority of expectations.

Look forward to more trailers lying to the consumer-base. Those publishers that walk the tightrope and make it to the other side will be remembered fondly. Those that drop will find no safety net for themselves.

Whitewash and Carpet Sweeps

It's no surprise major developers and the strongest armed publishers are getting better at denying horrible mistakes and utilizing a political methodology to their wording in order to make the worst possible scenario seem trite and forgettable. They're throwing around excuses and offering little peace trinkets to placate any anger, but as the video game industry grows, you can expect more aggressive tactics such as outright denial, stonewalling, and blame games to create distance from unsavory creations.

There's some examples of that floating around, like with Aliens: Colonial Marines, a game which apparently had its funding shifted around, developers swapping materials, vertical slices being outright fabricated, and the product still managing to continue deceiving wherever it was allowed in order to maximize profit. You will see more of this in the coming years, so be prepared. Remember, the industry is still growing. There's going to be a hideous mishmash of this, and it'll be tasty for those who make their living off of criticizing. A profit oriented, veteran company with a competent staff will try to fix whatever issue they're having only if it doesn't cut into the bottom line too much. If it does, they'll sweep it under the rug and whistle as they walk away.

A while ago, it was revealed that Batman Arkham Origins would not have its existing bugs fixed. You know what? Lots of people played through that game with minimal issues. The percentage of people that can't get through it can go fuck themselves, because it's not profitable to help them, and veteran companies with a competent staff can survive little jolts like that. This is the way the game is played. If a corporation gets too hot to trot, you can also expect them to occasionally blame the customer. Think different. Think Apple. Think about the time they blamed the customer for their faulty iPhone 4 antennas. Think about how NBA Live 14 was a calamity and the remedy for that was showing people how to use the product via twitch streams and instructional blogs. You'll see more of this.

Brace yourselves.

Thus ends my foray into what I consider some of the inner workings of the game industry in its current form. This was the blog I had promised you all a few weeks ago, and I hope you enjoyed. Until next time.   read

12:44 PM on 05.31.2014

Game Industry: Trailer Failure, Part 1

Gaming publishers need a basic lesson in proper promotion. Let's get one thing straight: the current model for selling copies of an overblown money-laden video game is downright barbaric. The industry is still using fire to warm their caves and rather than bludgeon their prey (the consumer) over the head like a true venture company viking would, they showcase shiny trinkets and ask, "Isn't this pretty?" Well fuck that, there's plenty of pretty things in this world and the market is over-saturated with bullshit advertisements explaining to me how wonderful merchandise is. How unique this artistic little snowflake in the blue marble we live in is. Let's all step back and take a deep breath so you'll be able to take this journey with me properly.

Breathe in. Art is a product.

Breathe out. Products are meant to be sold.

That's the reality of the situation. It doesn't matter whether something is creative, full of passion and soul, whether it's something only a few people are meant to enjoy, the bottom line is: it's for consumption. That is all human beings do to fill their time on this earth. They consume. Creation is the byproduct of the need to consume. And if the game industry wishes to survive the inevitable asteroid of drudgery that will hit every miserable techdino within a universal radius, they need to change their tone, their messaging, and their salvo.

Now I'm not here to tell you to embrace the future, I'm simply going to give you some background and a possible scenario we may all have to deal with in the event marketing executives get their heads out of their asses and do some proper work. This is how the sputtering, liver spotted marketing behemoth of the gaming industry currently works.

Our Product is An Experience

Trailers, press releases, and information gaming websites make their livelihood from are presented like any other form of media, in that it's an experience you can purchase to take your mind off things. However, as humanity continues to advance, we have an incredible multitude of media to appreciate. Shit, there's sects of people all over the world that prefer to watch someone play an entire video game on YouTube rather than play it, so what the fuck do they care how transcendent experiencing something is if they can get a close approximation and be done with it? There's a reason you have spots on the shelf for fake caviar and imitation crab, because some people are satisfied enough with "close enough" and no amount of horsey sauce multiplayer features will help retain a large following if the game isn't presented appropriately.

You know what? Shiny trailers and special features are starting to factor into these products less and less as technology inexorably marches on. This generation especially has very little to show for itself, with nothing more than parlor trick particle enhancements and resolution so "immersive" you could see the warts on an ant's ass and then think to yourself whether or not you needed to, before eventually settling on the concept that it was always necessary to stare at those warts in full detail, because fuck the savages that lived a few decades before us.

Industry is Religion, Criticism is the Cross, Games are Nailed

This is a no win situation. There's a clear need for a hive mind to echo off a general idea of what an artistic product is so everyone has a chance of steering clear or enjoying it on whatever level they determine is necessary for pleasure. However, it's a fucking madhouse. I'm tired of journalists moaning about a problem they helped germinate throughout society. Right now the popular go to rope to tug on is how the video game industry isn't taking as many risks as it used to. That's because it takes time to cultivate an art form, and unfortunately criticism doesn't give a single shit about the concept of patience because that doesn't get eyes on the sentences that have been written and that means there's no food on the plate.

So in the case of a product taking a risk and not being able to deliver, rather than the same people getting a second chance, they're thrown to the wolves to be torn apart, and innovation becomes a mythical tale about legendary warriors fighting a terrifying beast inside a dark cave, only for one many years later to finally return, victorious. Of course, now that victor has to replicate the success or the bards will stop singing the high praise it deserves. Our brave warrior was taught to fish, needs to keep reeling them in, or he'll starve. Funny thing about that proverb.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Bullshit. Ponds dry up and ecosystems suffer from decay, that man will be fucking lucky if he feeds himself for a few decades. You grokking this, Mike? Companies live on the edge, and a lot of them end up tripping into the abyss, regardless of success, and that's because the masses must continue to consume this hot new meal we all like to call video games. So now we've got whatever developers and publishers are left playing it safe, doing all the greatest hits over and over again, because a few years ago when they struck it big, the critics were on their side, and now they're pumping out the same jams because it helps keep the bills paid.

This in turn fuels more criticism and everyone can have themselves a regular old jamboree. It's not going to change. After reading this though, you'd better smirk the next time someone bitches about games going in a certain direction, because that's the way we like it guys 'n gals. Chaotic and short-lived, just like the fleshy vessel we call home for a couple dozen years. If any industry had its shit together it would cease to exist. Without drama, there's fuck all. Remember, Industry is Religion, Criticism is the Cross, Games are Nailed. We have a few messiahs wandering the deserts of our minds, but biblical figures are rare.

In a way, Randy Pitchford hit the nail a few inches short of the head when he said that some people prefer having a greasy cheeseburger instead of a fine meal when he tried to justify the existence of the industry's first ever resuscitated abortion. The truth is this: the industry is an immeasurable amount of greasy cheeseburgers and we'd all love to chow down on some filet mignon, but we have to settle for those god damn cheeseburgers whether we like it or not because the only other option with regards to this speck of media is a fantasy sandwich with crocodile wish salad.

Hype Train Burning in the Mainstream

The video game industry is becoming mainstream in order to survive. I'm sure you've noticed that. You read articles on gaming sites. You read blogs. You put two and two together and rub those sexy brain cells together. You're an educated purveyor. This is a sign of maturity in a capitalistic society. You're not seeing major companies piggybacking on another media empire and asking it to run up the hill where Sisyphus is counting all that gold every CEO can share with each other while circle jerking so they can finally free a landlocked yacht and sail off into the sunset. This is the childishness that sank the original incarnation of the games industry.

ET was a pretty big movie in the 80's. So Atari decided they could just pump out any kind of garbage they wanted and stamp a big 'ol ET logo on it, and then head to the printing presses to get all that fresh green. They put all their Rolex watches in one basket and the fucker cratered into a New Mexico landfill. Sure, you'll still see shovelware products like this propped up on shelves and digital playgrounds near you, but the budget for these titles is deflated and kept to a minimum now. Mainstream titles are loud, stupid, pumped with enough cash to stay afloat, and marketed aggressively in that movie tailored "this is shiny and/or artistic" foghorn that everyone has come to appreciate like a domesticated animal.

Of course, with the advent of video games hitting the mainstream, the indie crowd arose from the leftover piles of money and ambition, much like what the film and music industries enjoy today. In the coming years, you'll see more and more indie companies taking full advantage of marketing opportunities to present their product in that friendly, passive manner that indie movies are thriving in. Right now the ďcarefree hand waving in the windĒ for the games industry is retro graphics and straight-shooting, to the point trailers that ape the big boys without breaking the bank. Welcome to the norm. This is the game industry stretching its legs and settling down in a comfy chair.

End of part 1. Part 2 coming soon.   read

4:23 PM on 05.17.2014

Another Day Hath Ended, My Gaming Friends...

So I spent the majority of my time writing today. This blog isn't a fruit of that labor because it ended up being a 2,500 word provocative piece that needs to be read over, edited, and conveyed in a presentable manner. It's very passionate and fiery. Now I'm running short on time. I really wanted to post it today, but I'm unable to. Therefore, I decided to write this blog, in order to show you what I could have been doing today instead. In proper self-serving fashion, I'm also mentioning the upcoming feature to motivate myself into continuing my work later.

Maybe you'll never read it because I don't post it. Maybe Y4k will hit the internet with such a fierce resolustorm that every computer explodes. Anyway, this is supposed to be a quick blog so here's every game I mention crammed into one picture. Fuck it.

1. AnxietyCraft

This mortal coil isn't kind to anything that belongs to said coil. It's bad enough that an organism has to die, but frequent disease helps remind people that everything sucks and it gets worse as one gets closer to the spectre of death. I received a wonderful pat on the back from a cold and then it throttled my tonsils so hard that I couldn't swallow without my nerves stabbing me in the fucking neck. I get it. They're swollen. Thank you pain. My attention span is very short, so I'm glad you're constant. Long story short, I hadn't been able to play any video games for a while. Which is fine. I'm getting older, and ever more apathetic. Sometimes I just stare at my collection, sigh, and just transfer my gaze to a YouTube video trying not to drool.

There's also a lot of anxiety in dealing with competitive games. So there's that hurdle I'm becoming too tired to jump over as time goes on. Despite that, I decided to play a few games of StarCraft II a couple of days ago. For those of you who remember, I wrote a blog about how my goal in that game was to reach the gold league in 1vs1. To my shock and horror, I reached that league with my first battle in weeks after having settled into a silver league routine. I have an APM averaging below 60. This is not a tenable situation. I closed the game after that solitary match. If I hadn't written all day, I may have poked my head into multiplayer again to try my luck with my new placement. I'm not sure how I'll do against this pool of opponents, but I've got to bite the bullet eventually.

2. It's GEH-RALT!

I'm looking at you IGN and Gametrailers. The Witcher is not a series of games about "Jehralt". I get it. You read shit off a teleprompter or script. Playing the game or learning a little about it would offend your sensibilities because RPG's aren't in your personal wheelhouse. It's just a shame whoever actually played the game didn't mention the fucking dwarf who always greets you by shouting out the main character's name. Or the countless NPC's bumbling around town going, "Ooo, GEH-RALT of Rivia!" Or the character himself saying, "Hey, I'm GEH-RALT of Rivia, I lost my memory, but I still fucking know how to pronounce my name." Ahem. At any rate, I've been playing through the Witcher series in anticipation of the Witcher 3. I've played these games before but I thought I'd freshen up. I could have continued my slog through the swamps of chapter II in the first chronicle, but I guess GEH-RALT will have to wait.

3. Screaming Simulator

I still have Company of Heroes 2 installed in my library. There's an expansion coming, and if I can swing the cash for that, I'll probably continue playing with renewed vigor, especially if my war buddy continues to back me up. However, I haven't touched much of it in the past few weeks, and I suppose I could have popped in for a match or two today. I have to admit though; I'm getting tired of hearing Russians and Germans screaming at the top of their lungs. Maybe a good old American accent will be more refreshing. Remember the original Company of Heroes? The engineers had a good, take no shit, Brooklyn style of talking.

4. Jackboots are made for Wallrunning

I could have played some Titanfall instead. I haven't really touched this game much in recent weeks either. As fun as the game can be, it gets long in the tooth after a while. There just isn't enough to keep me invested aside from the entertainment factor. I feel like Titanfall is the video game equivalent to a fireworks show. Maybe I'll let a few more rockets fizz off into the sky later.

Have a good one.   read

3:03 PM on 04.27.2014

Metal Gear Solid: Secrets Unearthed!

Hello there! I know I don't write often enough to be remembered, but don't worry my dear reader. I've got your back when it comes to video games. After exploring the jungles of Cambodia and the scuzziest lower east-side dive bars, I ran into none other than Hideo Kojima, who not only confirmed that he's an imaginary creature powered by our thoughts, but also handed me a copy of his most sacred document: The Metal Gear Creation Papers.

These pages contain all the information the grandmaster himself has used to make countless Metal Gear Solid games, and I thought I'd share some of it with all of you. MGS V has yet to release, and this has left a gaping hole in all our hearts, a ghostly ache that only this document can provide relief from. Indulge yourselves and feel free to share your results.


1. We're sorry we had to bring you out of:

a. Retirement.

b. Vacation.

c. Aging gracefully.

d. The investor meeting you were having with shareholders of Konami.

2. Your mission is to:

a. Infiltrate a secret base.

b. Rescue the President.

c. Infiltrate a secret facility hidden inside a secret base.

d. Botch every rescue attempt we've assigned you and uncover a massive conspiracy.

e. Create your own elite fighting force of bored and eclectic mercenaries who are perfectly alright joining an insane plan that has a tenuous grip on reality at best.

f. Infiltrate a flagrantly placed base while procuring all weapons, food, clothing, and living expenses on sight. We're counting on you, because this organization is bankrupt.

3. For this mission, we've decided your codename is:

a. Solid Snake

b. Snake

c. Big Boss

d. Boss

e. Solid Boss

f. Snake Boss

g. Cake Boss

4. "[Main Character], I'm afraid I've got some bad news. It's...Metal Gearô"

a. ...Metal Gearô?

b. Metal Gear©...!

c. Metal Gearģ?!

d. What the fuck did you just say to me?

Supporting Cast

1. Your commanding officer is:

a. A mysterious high ranking military archetype that goes by the instruction manual.

b. A military colonel who ends up becoming a villain, downright insane, or a windows vista program.

c. The same colonel as previously mentioned but he's totally okay again because he had time to think about what'd he'd done.

d. Another colonel with the exact same name but he grew a mustache.

2. Your intelligence gatherer is:

a. Someone who always pisses themselves every time you call.

b. Someone who is emotionally unstable and constantly asks your opinion regarding life, love, and happiness while men are hunting you down with automatic assault rifles.

c. Someone who has no idea what a codec is and never responds to your calls.

d. Someone who will tell you to press x to open a door and then never say anything else the entire game.

3. Your save file manager is:

a. A woman who wants to delete everything you've ever saved.

b. A woman who tells you that everything you've ever done was horrible and you should be ashamed.

c. A man wearing sunglasses who at the end of the game removes the sunglasses to reveal that he was the man saving your game all along. Then he puts the sunglasses back on.

4: Your sidekick is:

a. A slender young man with flowing blonde hair who is constantly crouching down to ask his superiors how to climb ladders, aim a gun, run through hallways, hide upon being detected, what his weapons do, and how to remove pigeon shit from a multimillion dollar stealth suit.

b. A slender young man who also happens to be a quadruple amputee.

c. A slender young man who gets cybernetic implants and really wishes the torture would stop.

d. A slender young man who didn't ask for this.

e. Nanomachines in the vague shape of a man.

Supporting Protagonists

1. Your codec additions include, but are not limited to:

a. A man giving you the worst possible combat advice and becoming audibly irritated the longer you survive.

b. A man who sacrifices himself for the greater good that was in his own head, because his sacrifice was pointless.

c. An annoying little girl who is really good at computers and later falls down a flight of stairs.

d. Someone who is adept at being vague and moody.

e. A circus bear with advanced knowledge of interrogation and CQC tactics.

f. A pack of floating cigarettes smoking a cigarette.

g. A disapproving pacifist.

2. The female protagonist: How naked should she be?

a. Very naked.

b. Partially naked.

c. Mostly naked.

d. Completely naked.

3. What theme should her backstory contain?

a. Tragedy

b. Wretchedness

c. Loneliness

d. Systematic abuse

e. All of the above.


1. Revolver Ocelot does the following:

a. Double-crosses the main character.

b. Triple-crosses the main character.

c. Triple-crosses the organization he was working for.

d. Loses an appendage.

e. Learns how to be proficient with firearms.

f. Learns all about gun safety from the main character.

2. Revolver Ocelot's final words to the main character are:

a. "You're pretty adequate."

b. "The only way you can defeat me is if you press the corresponding key prompts that flash on your screen."

c. "I'm really glad that ninja didn't cut anything below the waistline."

2. Each villain must have a unique characteristic:

a. No pants.

b. Too many pants.

c. Ineffectual aim.

d. On their last leg, both physically and mentally. Also they have one leg.

e. Easily telegraphed attacks that were taught to them by the world's worst special ops trainer.

f. The inability to stop shouting and/or whispering.

3. Choose a memorable villain quote:

a. "Is it true? I can hear you now...this blood I see must be mine, for I finally feel the weight of a thousand sins lifting off into the heavens as my weary soul enters the respite I so richly deserve. I'm coming home. Please heat up the leftovers."

b. "My penis burns with the vengeance of passionate hatred!"

c. "Hi, my name's Randy Pitchford, and I'm the CEO of Gearbox."

d. "[Main character]! You need to be gentle with me! With each action I take my bones break! I must seek sanctuary! WITH YOUR DEA--OOWW! NO, STOP! I'M SORRY, I'M SORRY!"

4. One villain must engage the player with a strange, innovative feature:

a. Throw your controller into the Kinect.

b. Place the Xbox One vertically.

c. Lick the PS4 controller until it changes colors.

d. Touch the PS4 and then maybe get a finger or two in a USB port for good measure.

e. Log on to and vote on how you should win this fight!

5. Metal Gear is destroyed by:

a. A stinger missile.

b. Several miscellaneous missiles.

c. A few bursts from a P90.

d. A deep realization that it is a machination of hubris.

e. It trips into a ravine.


1. Revolver Ocelot says this after the end credits:

a. "Everything is going according to plan...Mr. President."

b. "Of course he doesnít know anythingÖ[Main Character] helped us beyond any doubt.Ē

c. "I'd like five large pizzas...with pepperoni."

2. The ending lesson is:

a. Maybe nuclear weapons ARE the answer.

b. Building Metal Gears is a terrible business decision during an economy in a downturn.

c. Konami needs to keep making money.

d. With the power of Youtube and patience, a lot of people could have saved $30.

3. This is Hideo Kojima's:

a. Most highly rated production yet.

b. Last game.

c. Final cry for help.

Congratulations! You've just finished the plot to an MGS game!   read

2:19 PM on 03.04.2014

StarCraft II: It's tearing me apart, Lisa!

Alright fellas and felines, I gotta be Spongebob Square with you. I really wanted to write this amazing blog that explained in detail what I thought of StarCraft II, which I recently acquired after Amazon betrayed Blizzardís profit masters and allowed it to go on sale for 20 bucks per campaign and I just couldnít do it. I wanted to start off by calling all of you voracious velociraptors. I wanted to go into detail and end with some truly ghastly jokes that would have you waking up in the middle of the night screaming as you look down at your palms and realize youíve been eating giant globs of Laffy Taffy and your hands have become riddled with cryptic jokes with no solution.

Why did the rodent bite off its own tail? Why did the Blistering Banshee swoon when she saw Christís Wounds? Who did the Crane Operator steal in the night? Are these really printed on Laffy Taffy wrappers? What have you done? Do you realize how many people might have been hurt while you were blissfully unaware of your sleep eating rampage? What if itís already on YouTube?

Instead of writing such a detailed blog, Iím just going to go all over the place with little aim, lazy writing capability that a mongoose with a human thumb mutation could hammer out, and only a vague idea of when I want it to end, with the subject being loosely based on (cough, Warhammer 40k, ahem) StarCraft II. I know Iím incredibly late on the zergling train to terran sticker yum yum town, but I had been deeply embroiled in the sweet siren song of MMOís and the rocky crags of other, more distant and mysterious games when Wings of Liberty landed in the industryís mineral line, ready to be harvested by consumer units.

Letís be honest with each other, StarCraft II is about as different from the original as a middle-aged suburban wife who decided to get a tit job: itís the same chassis with greater emphasis in an area that people tend to look at most. So I decided to hold off on it until now. The graphics have improved, there are a few new units, and (cough, Commander Shepard, cough) Jim Raynor is on the (hhrmm, Normandy, ech) Hyperion sulking around and asking people about upgrades while he stares into oblivion and punishes his liver for living in his body.


Iím not really a StarCraft veteran since the last time I played the game was over a decade ago and I probably stepped on the ladder once, shrugged, and put it away so I could play on more custom maps and over a 56K connection with my friend. To those of you who donít know, the 56K modem was an electrisitcal device that bled out your phone line until you ripped it out of the jack, where it would begin screaming in awful, prehistoric tones because you interrupted its feasting. Sometimes it was too difficult to remove the 56k modem from its grip on the phone line, and entire companies went bankrupt as data was sucked up by the megabytes. You also had to move. That was the 56k modemís house now.

So despite not really having played StarCraft like a hardcore gamehound who just took an APM increasing vigor, I still decided to play the WoL campaign on hard. I have already watched a lionís share worth of streams and I can wall in and do the creep spread all the way to expansionville, so I thought I had a handle on the game. For the most part I was right, and the sections aboard the Hyperion were entertaining and helped expand the universe in a positive direction. However, I wasnít prepared for half of the missions being on a timer, so I began to stress out as the game progressed.

For instance, thereís one part where a solar systemís sun decides to supernova and itís up to Raynorís Raiders to capture a fragment of (brrpp, the Scion, cough) a Protoss artifact as a giant wall of flame begins to burn up the planet. Iím sure if you would look at a pie chart of the writing regarding this particular chunk of WoL, the largest wedge would be fiction and the person eating the science portion would starve, but hey; video games. Another has you escorting Metal Gear Odin around a gauntlet of enemy bases in a ďready or not, here I comeĒ style scenario. So naturally, combining stuff like this with a ramped up difficulty means a lot of swearing and disbelief in game design choices.

Iím an adult now, and Iím not going to spend an entire weekend doing one mission and counting my progress by microseconds and sweat gland inflammation. I could be getting angry at a veritable mťlange of video games these days, so Iím not ashamed to admit that out of the 25 WoL missions I did, I must have looked at Youtube 3-5 times.† I just started the Heart of the Swarm petri dish of delight and while itís engrossing enough, I canít help but notice Blizzardís continued fascination with cannibalism, as one of the earlier missions has you fighting a WoW style raid encounter. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed my experience with the single-player, and I donít regret spending time and money on it.

Multiplayeóyou have been defeated

When I was still awaiting the shipment of StarCraft II, I thought about what league I might get placed in. I decided that my goal would be to make it to Gold, and that I wouldnít be able to go any higher. I thought Iíd be able to eventually escape Bronze and languish a little in Silver before everything came to its conclusion. However, as I continued to watch streams, I realized that there was a lot to keep track of. I started reading up on the game. For instance, did you know that if you have an APM of 50, you might as well take up a position ringing the bells at Notre Dame? With one mission in WoL to go, I decided to do my first 5 placement matches to get into a ranked position. I had also done a few challenges and did my placement with AI opponents, so I thought I was ready.

The matchmaking then proceeded to put so many boots in my ass that by the time I was done, my chair had a perfect imprint of South Korea on it. I managed to lose 10 games in a row, and I had become so amused and forlorn at my poor performance that on my 11th game I managed to scramble together a win. You should see me in action. This is literally my first legitimate win. I canít undo this.

Iím currently 3-10 in the top 50 of my division in Bronze League. I am amongst the cadre of people who have been lied to. Chances are we will never end up winning 50% of our games like Blizzard stated. Chances are weíll never be able to pull off a multi-pronged attack while simultaneously expanding and eating lunch. Iíll keep you all updated if it bears mentioning.

The Sheen of Development

I would like to say that the polish on the game is incredible. Yes, the graphics arenít anything to write to Nvidia about, but Blizzard has always been more interested in making sure their games are accessible to the widest range of PCís available. Plus, thereís enough color and vibrancy to the art direction that itís easy to see past the first layer and plunge into the other details. Since an entire country has added this series into its mainstream culture, Blizzard took care to make StarCraft II into a font of improvement over the years. There are a lot of features to discuss, and Iím not going to. I still have bad jokes to share with you.

Iíll just mention my favorite one: all that wonderful information. They keep track of everything, even over the length of an entire season. I enjoy seeing whether or not Iíve improved in my APM or workers constructed, and the replay tool is fantastic as always. Iíve trusted Blizzard in that arena ever since I saw the constant updates to WarCraft IIIís replay utility. So all in all, Iím glad I finally got to experience StarCraft II. Now the question remains: how long will it hold my interest?

StarCraft II Joke Addendum

Why did the Ultralisk learn to love Marines? Because they helped remove a Thor from its side.

What do you call a thirsty zerg? A Dehydralisk.

Why did the Catholic Church excommunicate all the zerg? Because they believed in evolution.

Why did Jim Raynor gasp when he saw Sarah Kerrigan? Because he thought he saw a ghost.

What do you call a zealot who rips the wings off a probe? A psicopath.

Why did the marine cross the road? To try and get out of his chickenshit outfit.

Why do Stalkers lose staring contests? They always Blink first.

Who is the best Protoss singer? Billy Void Ray Cyrus.

Why did the drone leave its Hatchery? It wanted to Expand its horizons.


1:55 PM on 02.06.2014

World of WarCraft releases New Charity Pet

IRVINE, CA Ė Blizzard Entertainment has made a new minipet available for sale in the MMO World of WarCraft today, sources report. The company has a history of creating virtual companions for the purpose of raising funding for charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation or providing assistance in relief efforts during tragedies like Hurricane Sandy. Chief Creative Officer Rob Pardo says this new pet is not an exception. ďOur playerbase has always clamored to our pet store to show their support for current events while using WoW as an incentive, so I'm proud to introduce the Cash Cow, a lovable pet that can be yours for $14.99 in the Blizzard Store.Ē

While previous purchases in the store only offered partial proceeds to the charities of the company's choosing, Rob Pardo allayed any fears of that happening this time. ďOne hundred percent of the Cash Cow's proceeds will go straight to Blizzard Entertainment so we can continue to release anemic, half-assed updates every four to six months.Ē

More details have emerged as to the reason for this decision. Tom Chilton, Lead Game Director, stated, ďWe never thought World of WarCraft would be this successful. However, to all good things must come an end. Our subscription numbers are down and to maintain our lavish profits we need to milk the remaining players for all the money we can possibly get our hands on.Ē

Over the past several months, Blizzard has introduced more virtual goods in the WoW store, such as an ever increasing cavalcade of premium mounts, account-bound cosmetic helmets that don't fit with any existing gear and various boosters that increase experience gain or chances at rare loot that will become outdated in the next patch. ďClearly this wasn't enough.Ē Tom Chilton continues, ďWe really think the Cash Cow will fix all of that. It's a really great item. I'm hoping everyone buys it!Ē

The Cash Cow appears as a bloated bovine creature that bleats weakly and has a particle effect of dollar signs shooting out of its massive, caved in anus. Sources confirm that it will assist in creating the revenue needed to keep the MMO's archaic, coal fed servers running. Despite a recent upgrade to better infrastructure, it was recently revealed that the new machines enabling WoW to function were imported from an abandoned warehouse in Chechnya.

An anonymous employee added, ďTricking people into thinking this isn't a sinking ship is really difficult. Instead of shutting down inactive servers, we've lumped them into a convoluted system where you share space with other low population realms which creates the illusion that everything is okay. It gets to be very expensive.Ē As a sign of continuing the trend, Rob Pardo added that this was just the beginning. ďWe're planning on further pets that continue to provide people with a lazy, cheap version of selflessness in the near future.Ē

Rumors have revealed that the next promotion may end up giving half of the proceeds to allow aid in the form of free WoW time to the war-ravaged population of Syria. Increased violence is expected as a direct result, due to the many Rift players currently fighting in the rebel forces embedded there.   read

12:39 PM on 02.01.2014

Blog Or: How I Stopped Writing and Learned to Hate Myself

Hello, my dear, good-looking and sultry readers. I know itís been a while since Iíve written anything and thatís because Iíve been on a self-imposed hiatus. My creativity said it would return after it picked up some smokes, but I havenít heard quip nor snark from that mysterious source for over an eon. (For the purposes of that last sentence, an eon means approximately one month.) Hereís the problem: Iím really lazy and unmotivated.

If my ambition could materialize as a worldly object, it would be an old galosh with a fat platypus inside, languidly rubbing itself and rolling its eyes as the clouds hover with despondence. As I previously mentioned, Destructoidís blogging community is amazing with a nitrous-oxide fuel mix, but I have about as much endurance as Lance Armstrong without the pharmaceutical enhancements. I know, I know. Iíve just kicked a man whoís already been down for so long that any reference including him has grown moss.

This blog entry is designed to get you up to speed with my exciting lifestyle and the mind-blowing adventures Iíve had since weíve last seen each other. Itís also a disclaimer that while I may intend to update this line of work on a regular basis, that pie is so high in the sky itís already synced its orbit with the International Space Station. Those astronauts havenít been able to get any work done due to its pleasant aroma and flaky crust. I do have some irons in the fire though, so youíll see more of me in the future...just more sporadically than I had anticipated. So, what have I been up to instead of writing?

Company of Snow-Techô 2

When I played the original Company of Heroes, I was enamored with a Dawn of War style RTS combined with a WWII setting. I loved the cinematic quality of the action so much that I began playing multiplayer for the sole purpose of obtaining a ton of epic replays that I could sit back and gaze upon from all sorts of different angles and viewpoints. Of course, they had to be matches that I had been victorious in, because Iím made up of silky swatches of splendiferous vanity. I donít feel bad about it, for what is this age of Instagram and Youtube, if not the ad-filled mirror that Narcissus fell in love with?

As a result of my replay admiration, when I heard about Company of Heroes 2, I was excited to get my hands on it. It is one of the few games Iíve pre-ordered, so sure was I that this would be an absolute delight. Alas, I share the fate of many Shakespearean characters, for Relic had descended in quality so hard that it blew past Icarus on their way to crater into the Earth.

When the open beta started, I was on board and raring to go. The multiplayer aspect was working very well and the demo single-player mission was interesting enough that I was pleased with the direction the series had gone. In fact, this very website gave Company of Heroes 2 a glowing trophy with the number 10 etched upon its golden base. The sequel lacked innovation, but it made up for this in mechanic polish, allowing troops to vault over fences and short walls, creating dangerous situations if a player decided to mix armored vehicles, explosives and ice, and even introducing blizzards, creating freezing hazards for your infantry.

Unfortunately, during the beta SLI wasnít available. Nvidia had yet to release a game-ready driver for the game. At the time, my rig relied on having two GPUís handling a new game in order to play it on medium-high settings. I thought, ďItís no big deal. This is just the beta. Theyíll have SLI up before release.Ē I was wrong, dear reader. So very wrong.

Company of Heroes 2 never received SLI or Crossfire support. It never received an official Nvidia driver to optimize it. Benchmarks were so scathing, not even the mighty Thor of graphics cards, the GTX Titan, could run the game on maximum settings at 60 FPS. It had to struggle with around 45. When a blizzard hit during a match, it would melt the CPU and scorch whatever GPU was unlucky enough to render this fresh new visual hell.

Even after the particle effects quality was reduced, the blistering snow was still powerful enough to humble everything from an average gaming PC to the greatest PC NASA can currently afford on its withering budget. Maybe Iím being overly sensitive, but I could swear Iíve seen framerate drops during official trailers showcasing new Theatre of War DLC.

As a result of all this, I was forced to play Company of Heroes 2 on the muddiest possible settings. Speaking of settings, the options menu is only marginally better than a standard PC port, which is strange, considering weíre talking about a PC exclusive game. For instance, one setting controls shadow, terrain, and particle quality, perhaps even more. I donít actually know, since the tooltip describes the setting along the lines of ďenables advanced features such as shadows to make the game look better.Ē

The tooltips in CoH 2 arenít even properly optimized. It couldnít give less of a fuck if it became self-aware and wrote itself. Oh, this setting has shadow quality in it. Awesome. I guess I can figure out the rest because itís fun. Also, FXAA is considered a ďlowĒ anti-aliasing option, making you feel like Halfling for choosing it. There are some methods of further tweaking using the .ini files, but theyíre set in such a cryptic fashion, youíll need to endure several trials in error before you cry out in frustration because youíre not TotalBiscuit and you have to use affordable PC hardware.

On the technical side of things, itís best to describe Company of Heroes 2 as a ritzy bar. Youíve just had your second martini. Thereís a lady in a red dress and sheís winking at you, succulently licking her lips and twirling her hair. She beckons you toward her. Flush with excitement you walk towards this sexy dame. Closer still you approach and as you sit down next to her and get a good look at her face, you realize sheís an albatross in a dress. The bar youíre in is a condemned mannequin factory. The bartender is wearing a GAP polo.

Yet, despite all the vitriol Iíve spilled over this game, and this is the damndest thing, I just canít stop playing it. Mechanically speaking, the game is still well done. Close matches can bring chaos and excitement as the map becomes gradually more destroyed. Buildings collapse, craters dot the landscape and tank carcasses line the front as a progress bar on just how explosive things have become.

It certainly helps that Iíve got a war partner that Iíve been playing with for several months. In fact, like I told him, I probably wouldnít be playing this game anymore if he was done with it. Thereís just something really fun about jumping into Skype, strategizing on the fly, and enduring the highs and lows of an RNG system that dictates whether a full squad of infantry survives a mortar shell or becomes a Whitmanís sampler of assorted limbs and body parts.

Streamers In the Shadows

The game is also more tolerable because Iíve upgraded my PC. I still went with an SLI system because I feel that most developers donít want to commit themselves to hara-kiri design philosophies. Hereís the punch line though: I still canít play CoH 2 on everything maxed out. Sometimes I dip below 60 FPS if I like having my ďimage qualityĒ at high. †Yet, the additional horsepower has allowed me to enjoy watching replays again. Itís allowed me to look at those fantastic battles with enough fidelity that I feel entertained.

Of course, when Iím playing the game in real-time itís always a mixture of stress and dread, but Iím pretty sure the only people who donít feel that playing an RTS are currently employing 250 APM on a sponsored keyboard. Nonetheless, Iíve even started streaming CoH 2 (and a smattering of other games) because I play it so often. The community for Company of Heroes is small, but extremely dedicated. Their primary fan site is so steadfast, it actually released ladder rankings for people to examine before the developer did. I guess some of that enthusiasm piqued my interest enough to participate.

I wonít advertise my twitch channel here, donít worry. Itís not much to look at. Though this brings me to the second aspect of why I havenít been writing much, and this one is 100% positive: Nvidiaís Shadowplay. Man, am I enamored with this software. Twitch streaming is just a click and a log-in away, and you can record 20 minute gameplay clips that are supposedly very easy to upload onto Youtube. (Iíve only been using the twitch feature since you can highlight/upload your streams, so I havenít personally tried this.)

Yes, I know. I havenít gotten with the times. Prior to Shadowplay, I had a lot of difficulty doing stuff that other people manage with lackadaisical ease. So for me, Nvidia hit it out of the park. Of course, there was also the Steam holiday sale. Iíve added that as an afterthought because this article has already reached critical mass. (Iím sorry.)

So yes, these are the main activities that have occupied my time since writing my previous blog in late December. Company of Heroes 2 and Twitch streaming.


Iím sad.   read

11:44 AM on 12.24.2013

A Message to the Destructoid Community

Hello everyone. Today I'm writing something a little different. Itís Christmas Eve, so you have more important things to do than read the ramblings of a madman; I promise I'll make this short and sweet. When I became a member of Destructoid not too long ago, I came in guns blazing without giving a formal introduction or reason for hopping on board. Despite this, the community welcomed me with open arms, and I appreciate that.

In the coming months, I hope to expand my blog with further articles that will either amuse or confound you. Perhaps you'll experience a frustrating mix of both, causing you to do a spit take on your monitor. In your anger you'll glance down at a strange object, glinting as beams of sunlight hit the floor. Gasping, you realize you've found the last piece of the Scion. Ms. Natla will be pleased. With this entry in particular, I will take the opportunity to show my gratitude.

To the staff:

Whether you're a contributor pumping out content or a moderator ensuring no discussion becomes a verbo-nuclear war, you are the front line in creating a warm atmosphere where a community can thrive. Thank you for working hard and continuing to inform us throughout the many years. Destructoid is one of the few gaming websites I visit on a regular basis. It is also the only site I've ever seen that used an image of Sonic and Zelda having sex as a header for an article. Your dedication for irreverence is wonderful.

To the bloggers:

Destructoid is a cosmic petri dish of thoughtful, provocative articles, rants, reviews, and memories. There are new blogs popping up every single day, and these individuals take care to create something worth reading and appreciating. I salute all the people who take time out of their busy day to accentuate their opinions and share their personal feelings on the issues we enjoy disseminating.

Destructoid's front page promotions allow the best blogs to enter the stratosphere of official articles, which is a motivator that breeds a future lineage of writers who put energy and love into their work. The cherry on top is the Cblog feature. These individuals recap the blogs of the day and their passion is immensely valued. This ensures that no blog is ever cast aside by the tide of time.

To the commenters:

Commenters add life and depth to the community. Without their input, even the best article would be a lonely and desolate place. Commenters are the most active part of Destructoid's ecosystem, and they provide additional information, witty one-liners we can all enjoy, and the variety that spices this place up.

To the silent readers:

The Gordon Freeman of the Destructoid cadre of protagonists. I used to be a part of this group for years. They never speak, they never create an account, yet they're always reading. Watching. Waiting. The infinitesimal matter of the Destructoid universe, the reader deserves the same acclaim as anyone else, for without them, what good is any of this?

Once again, thank you for the kind reception. Destructoid is an awesome website with an amazing community of people. Merry Christmas. Let's all make 2014 a great year.

See you then.   read

11:13 AM on 12.21.2013

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Review

As none of you will know, I possess a time machine I use to frequent the future for the singular purpose of playing brand new products before they release in the primary timeline. As a result, I have immense knowledge of future gaming industry events and I've decided to share with you a review of Witcher 3.



Geralt's journey ends with the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but the final hurrah is CD Projekt Red's most ambitious endeavor to date. While the previous Witcher games have had their fair share of criticisms and issues, I can safely proclaim that everything they've ever done has coalesced into the greatest open world RPG you will ever get your hands on. Geralt will ride off into the sunset with treatment deserving of a famous monster slayer. While not everyone will be on board for the whole experience, you'll be doing yourself a disservice by not imbibing in this sweet alchemic mix.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (PC)
Developer: CD Projekt Red
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: June 14, 2014
MSRP: $60
Rig: †Intel i7-5370k 4.66 GHz, 16GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 840 GPU (SLI)

The game starts off with an incredible set piece where Geralt is fighting the riders of the Wild Hunt, and from the very beginning the player understands just how dangerous these otherworldly elven masters of war can be. Contrary to previous entries of the Witcher series, Geralt has his full gamut of abilities at his disposal and the risky caveat of this benefit is that as the game progresses, he slowly loses his fighting ability. The Wild Hunt general, Darvanish Tornfold, curses Geralt with powerful magic that not even his most stalwart companions can do anything about. What this creates is an RPG experience unlike anything that's been seen since Zelda: Majora's Mask.

The player has a limited amount of time (72 hours) to stop the Wild Huntsman from achieving their nefarious goals before Geralt succumbs to the spell put under him. Have no fear, because the rumors were true: there is over 140 hours of content overall to quest and slash your way through. Once the main storyline is complete, you can explore the rest of Temeria with all of your powerful signs and impressive swordsmanship back in service.

Newcomers to this series may feel a little out of depth, since the game continues after the previous installments had already established many characters and concepts core to the storyline. Nonetheless, sensing that this may steer people away from the Wild Hunt, CD Projekt Red made sure to ease players into the lore of the game by offering quick comic style cutscenes similar to those in Assassins of Kings and plenty of background journal entries for those that have a penchant for reading. It may be prudent to thumb through some of those entries, since a lot of characters absent from the series since the first Witcher make their second debut to tie off the tale. As for the manner in which Geralt weaves about the people within the world of Temeria, it is nothing short of breathtaking.

When Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings was released, the development team experimented with creating scenarios that would change based on the type of response you select, akin to Mass Effect's paragon/renegade interrupt system. This boiled down to Geralt choosing to intimidate, charm, or Jedi mind trick a target into a favorable outcome. Most of the time, whatever occurred had no real effect, and in rare cases a quest would fail. However, in Witcher 3, the way you utilize your abilities in conversation make such an impact, that the ending with several characters will change drastically based on how you've treated the people Geralt interacts with. The conversation system is deeper than previous installments, so be prepared to experiment with numerous methods in dealing with the NPC's inhabiting this visually stunning world.

Speaking of visuals, this game is drop dead gorgeous. With proper driver support and several high-end graphics options, those of you who have invested in a beastly gaming rig will be opulently rewarded. Even my 800 series GTX was sweating during some of the scenes and vistas you can visit during your stay in Temeria. SLI is a must if you're going to utilize PhysX, which creates the most realistic cloth physics I've ever seen. Let's just say I stalked many a caped individual until they became so distraught, they panicked, and I had to hunt them down, kill them, hide the body, and hope no guards were alerted. During this time, their cape continued to woefully sway in the dying wind. Shh. Don't let anyone know.

As for the combat, it's night and day when compared to Witcher 2. The previous game started with challenging circumstances that gave way to such an easy breeze after a few levels, I wondered if the only attacks every soldier I squared off with amounted to wet farts and overconfident dialogue. With Witcher 3, Geralt is a lean mean slaying machine at the outset, and based on how fast you can get to the ending, the situations become more calamitous.

There is one scene towards the end of the game in particular that strikes a poignant chord with me. Geralt can barely raise his sword. An old man is blocking the door to a burning house he must enter. The combat begins. The old man raises his walking stick and overpowers the Witcher as sad violin music plays against a wistful backdrop of depressed, shit-covered villagers and a pigsmith hammering new hooves on a farm animal. To think that CD Projekt Red was able to create such drama from such a simple scene is nothing short of mind-blowing.

To offset the fact that Geralt begins losing his capabilities throughout the main plotline, a surprising companion sees him through his journey. In a strange twist, Triss Merigold, Zoltan Chivay, and Dandelion take a backseat. Even the oft mentioned Yennefer takes second fiddle to the true sidekick of the famous monster slayer: his horse. Though the initial trailers didn't emphasize the role of your steed, he ends up being your greatest friend and ally. While the talent tree for Geralt is there to try and hold onto some of his waning power, the horse upgrade tree is full of utility, healing, and combat abilities. Never before has a game allowed you to custom tailor your horse this much.

The utility tree allows your steed to carry a shocking number of items, while the healing section teaches your friend the perfect ways in which to wrap a medicated bandage around the most grievous wounds. The combat tree culminates in your horse learning how to hold a knife in its mouth, and it will charge targeted enemies and just straight up stab them like a boss. Alchemy also makes a big comeback in the Wild Hunt; with the player no longer needing the now infamous level of clairvoyance to determine which potions should be consumed when.

Now Geralt has an audible internal monologue where he states helpful information such as "There's a troll under that bridge. I better drink some trollbane so I can rip those stupid wooden planks from his back and beat his ass till its sore." Or, "Nekkers are slinking around here. I better apply whatever oil is effective against Nekkers. I forgot. Fuck! Those goddamn Wild Huntsman have completely screwed me. There's nothing I can do. Maybe I should just...oh wait, itís oils that augment bleeding effects. Phew, that was close Geralt." The only problem with these monologues is that sometimes they're so long and winded, that the Witcher will frequently continue thinking them while fighting. It doesn't happen often though, so it can be overlooked.

Going back to the mount once more, it's important to note that he has amazing AI. Remember Assassinís Creed III? Every mount would follow you around as though you had wrist mounted sugar cube dispensers. They sometimes got in the way of you trying to interact with a quest NPC. In Witcher 3, your horse will always stay out of your way until called. It will peer at you from behind street corners or plop its ass down on a bench and gently neigh. In addition, based on how you play, the horse will react appropriately.

If Geralt has made too many bad decisions, your steed will go around biting small children and spitting on guards. If you make the correct moral choices, the horse will lick women and wink at passerby, exuding the confidence of a true stallion. †Even the monsters you slay are a gray area. In an early quest, Geralt must confront an evil unicorn named Horrihorn. If you decide to slay him, a village will be saved from further attacks, but if you spare him, he'll give you a bitching magic eye patch and then just fuck off. He does create a lot of orphans because you let him go, but hey. Bitching eye patch.

Lastly, while the story is fascinating and immersive, there are some discrepancies that should have been addressed. For instance, while the Wild Huntsman are ravaging every small hamlet and major city in the countryside, no one seems to care. Villagers continue to talk about politics whether their cottage is burning or not. The words on everyone's lips seem to regard the invading army of Nilfgard, instead of the armor clad ethereal elven specters waving blazing swords around. The game does end up addressing it when the Elven Master General stops his villainous speech mid-sentence, slumps his shoulders, and rides off to another township.

All in all, the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt is a must have game. It's a highly polished product and the issues are so few, even the most cynical gamer will find something to love here. It's a hell of a ride. Don't miss it.

(Note: †I have played both the European and American releases of this game. Unfortunately, the American version has censored those hot undersea mermaids that come up during your travels in your horse-piloted boat. No aquatic tit makes an appearance. The American version compensates for this by adding a phallic sword to every mermaidís hand and giving them a frustrated expression. This is the price America must pay for prioritizing violence over sex.)


Reviewed by Zuckerhund   read

9:51 AM on 12.17.2013

Final Fantasy VII HD Remake Announced

Final Fantasy VII HD Remake Announced in Alternate Universe

JAPAN, EARTH 2 Ė EnixSoft CEO Matsuke Yosuda announced at a press conference yesterday that development was nearing completion on a Final Fantasy VII HD remake of 1997's hit JRPG after years of speculation and vocal support from fans. ďI am here to declare that the rumors were indeed true, and that the greatest RPG of all time is finally getting the treatment it deserves. We know this has been a long time coming, but we were always concerned with providing the utmost immersive and satisfying experience. I think you'll all agree that it was worth the wait.Ē A beaming Yosuda said to a room full of erupting cheers and applause.

Yosuda continued, saying ďThe HD remake will be available for both the PC and PS4 platforms in the first quarter of 2015. We're also very pleased to mention that the game features additional content that expands on the original game, fully orchestrated versions of the PS1 soundtrack and top notch Hollywood voice acting from premiere actors such as Samuel L. Jackson and Lindsay Lohan.Ē

Lohan, who reached critical acclaim alongside co-star George Clooney when she masterfully played a stranded astronaut blown off a space station in the blockbuster Gravity, will play the part of Aeris, arguably the game's central heroine and focal point. Samuel L. Jackson will voice the role of Barret, bombastic leader of AVALANCHE. ďNot only have we totally revamped the combat system and exceeded even our greatest expectations, we've ensured that the game will be fully optimized and capable of running at a full 1080p at 60 frames per second.Ē Fan reaction was nearly instantaneous, with one long time gamer, Micheal Vanderguard stating, ďI've waited so long for this to happen, I can't believe that day is finally here! What a perfect time for a remake, this is literally a dream come true.Ē

Another avid player of the original game, Suzy Leften remarked, ďI'm so excited that a whole new generation of gamers will experience what I did when I first played it back in '97. This couldn't have come at a better time.Ē †Gregory DeFanning, a prominent member of Enslavist Magazine, chimed in: ďEnixSoft could have just preyed on the fanbase by re-releasing the original version with no improvements whatsoever, but I knew that they wouldn't let us down like that.Ē

Asked why EnixSoft would remake their flagship RPG when the company is still making plenty of money and has several developers with new intellectual properties to flex, Yosuda responded, ďI think after so much outcry and desire to see this game remade, it would be cold-hearted and callous of us to ignore all this passion from our loyal customers. I mean, imagine if instead of remaking this game we just shocked people with a PS3 tech demo and after raising people's hopes ended up just dashing them on the rocks by a steady stream of silence.Ē

Yosuda continued, ďSome of our staff members suggested just continuing with the Final Fantasy series and enticing people to buy inferior products by shoving nostalgic pre-order incentives like FFVII costumes for completely unrelated characters. Can you believe how much of a cock tease that would be?Ē

After the conference ended, Jim Darling from Constructoid put it best:

ďI can't imagine a universe where Final Fantasy VII wasn't remade. EnixSoft really hit it out of the park.Ē   read

12:40 PM on 12.16.2013

VGX: An In-Depth Analysis (Final Part)

You can read part 3 by clicking here.

End Game

I'll be honest with you dear reader. I'm sick and tired of writing about VGX. I've thrown witticisms at this sexy stripper of an article like so many dollar bills and I'm just about broke. It would be a disservice to everyone if I continued sniping at the many faults of the tectonically challenged awards show. With regards to the Joel McHale and Dorito Savior aspect, I've extensively explained what went wrong and how everyoneís patience and soul was beached on the shores of a once cheerful outlook. Thus, I feel this last blog post shall be the finisher to this epic saga. I thought about continuing the play by play, but this body of work is already 4,000 words long, sure to be 5,000* by the conclusion.

This merits greater effort than the script Joel McHale wiped his well-paid ass with, as the original transcript for VGX was just a series of bloody scribblings and claw marks along with a few malformed pentagrams drawn in. By now, you must have grokked that this is how the event continues. "Imagine a man who had no shoes. Then he met a man who had no legs. Then he met a man who had no arms. Then he met a man who could only speak in riddles. Then they all ganged up on the man with no shoes and stole his wallet, for he was on his way to the market to buy some." Words to live by, friends. Words to live by.

It can be surmised that VGX 2013 was a demonic summoning ritual that only managed to bring forth a spectral middle finger and a half-hearted laugh from a lesser imp. However, some details still need to be addressed. What follows are tidbits of information to better remember that cold 7th of December. Godspeed, pilgrim.

Geoff Keighley and the Sorcerer's Earpiece

During the live broadcast, you'll notice that our host with the most unhealthy sponsorship deals was fiddling around with his earpiece. In the first hour, it's a safe bet that his handlers were telling him to get the conversations back on track, to ignore Joel's adlibbed abstract ruminations, and mitigate the ever encroaching darkness that was settling in on everyone's consciousness. His earpiece readjustments were the most noticeable during the Titanfall interview.

At that point, his producers were gone. The only sounds coming from the other side were the shrieks of banshees and church bells ringing ever louder in his mind, the whispers telling him that the Mountain Dew Mystic had foreseen this day would come, and that no amount of Dew would do. He had to become the toothless hillbilly of ancient times and hide in the Ozarks, until the Dorito Bandito would round up his followers with his legendary flavor lasso, and take them down to crunch town.

Geoff tried his best not to listen, which is why he kept fidgeting. Rumors are when the event was over and he reached in to finally rid himself of that frightful earpiece, it was gone. Was it ever there to begin with? What of the crew? Had they been there? Was it all a dream? All he could tie to that event was a name. Joel M. Who was Joel M.? The phone rang. It was a man named Teddy. He claimed he was an undercover police officer. Would he be able to help?

The Night of the Living Feckless

During the interviews, live demos, and hastily edited videos, Geoff kept mentioning that there would be an awesome concert based off of the music of GTA V. Sounds great, except whoever scraped the bottom of the barrel searching for musical talent must have injured himself, because his replacement found something underneath that barrel and considered it a job well done. The "Loiter Squad" is a gaggle of monsters from the blue lagoon that trick people into thinking they do work that merits laughter. What came out of their mouths I cannot fully articulate. Watching them disables all higher aspects of thought, motor functions, and bladder control.

I determined that whenever they were on-screen, the livestream had somehow been invaded by a broadcast from another universe, in another time. A place where Earth had suffered from a full-scale nuclear war, and the only survivors were awkwardness and disdain. The atmosphere was covered in a thick layer of sarcasm as flakes of comedic winter set in. Not a single titter flourished in this desolate place. Not a single crop of laughter could be raised. All was silent.

One of the Loiter Squad members did jumping jacks while a few of them tried to find words that sounded human. He also screamed "Potato, Potato!" They all chimed in on what they loved doing in GTA V. One liked shooting up cars. Another said he liked killing old people. It was an avant-garde re-imagining of the Dadaist movement of the early 20th century with a splash of nihilistic irreverence.

The concert itself was a continuation of despondency in motion, or lack thereof. Literally no one in the crowd was excited for any of the acts. A few phones went up in the air. The scant hands that were raised were there to ask a question, or for permission to go to the bathroom. If VGX had cardboard cutouts outside, no one would have been able to tell the difference. The reception was so lukewarm that it could curdle fresh milk while breaking the sound barrier. Speaking of breaking the sound barrier, that's what Chain Gang of 1974 did when they sleepwalked through their song. Fun fact: the lead member is fluent in pigeon.

Their hit, which was used in one of the GTA V trailers, was well done in the studio. I loved it. When I heard the live version, I felt betrayed. At one point, even the audio doesn't want to be there, it just cuts out and the lead singer screams silence for a few seconds. If the final band was just a bunch of Japanese tourists that had gotten lost and were looking for a hotel and becoming increasingly horrified how passive the crowd was, I would have been more entertained.

Oh, and here's this little gem. What follows is the A++ effort a man with nearly 18 million YouTube subscribers did for VGX. This is why a computer will destroy mankind and remove the mouths of the last survivors. This is the sole reason why we have a dark future ahead of us.

Below is a compilation video which highlights the life stream of anguish. Good luck out there, reader. See you next time.

*4,758 words.   read

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