Thursday, May 26, 2011

Public Service Announcement: Playstation Network Outage


So Playstation Network hmm what do you think of when you say that? Free? That's generally the biggest selling point for it, but now STOLEN CREDIT CARDS!!!

Thats what most people think, with the most recent security breach, many brows were raised, fists were clenched and gods were cursed. For those who don't have access to any news or internet, I have no idea how youd be reading this but......, Sony's servers were hacked and blah blah tech babble blah blah a large amount of customer information was put at risk.

At first Sony claimed that they only had acccess to Playstation ID, email and password, not a huge deal irritating but not a huge deal. Then as the outage continued more questions were raised and more information was added to the list of things that could have been stolen, credit card number, birth date, soul oh wait PS3 owners dont have souls, haha just kidding but seriously. This was very worrisome for many Playstation 3 owners, in my little section of the world there were at least a half dozen customers that were thinking about converting to Xbox. I am sure in larger areas this actually happened and it was many more.

The overall servers are back online so cursing 8 year olds, rednecks who just want to shoot shit, and the few the proud people who actually play online because they enjoy competition and miss the days of sportsmanship can play Call of Duty again, but you can't buy anything from the Playstation Store, still down.

On the upside customers who have been effected by the outage are receiving some nice free games for both PS3 and PSP owners along with 48, last number I saw, days of free Playstation Plus. Nice perks for fans but does this really fix the overall issue? Their reputation.

Ok so opinion part. I am an Xbox guy and play only Sony exclusives on the PS3, but I do recognize PSN has come a long way and it is comparable to Xbox Live, but this type of issue could ruin their potential future buyers especially if it happens again or they still cannot get things back 100%. Gaming now is so online focused unlike me, I really play almost nothing online, and this outage and threat of stolen credit cards could ruin future Sony-ites. I am worried for Sony's sake that this situation could be their Red Ring of Death , yes they are offering free stuff and Microsoft instated the three year RRoD warranty. They both tried to make nice with consumers and Microsoft was not 100% successful and satisfying everyone, can Sony please everyone? Somehow I doubt it but no one can ever please everyone.

So overall people are too damn pissy and will hold a grudge until Sony bends over and pulls an exorbitant amount of money out of their dookie drains for every person effected, is this fair? Hell no, mistakes happen people screw up life goes on. In my opinion Sony needs to reimburse those who lost money in this situation, including Playstation Plus members, apologize and move on. Everyone thinks they are owed something just because some genius hacked their servers, give me a break. Some will continue to bleed purple, some will keep their systems warily and some will dump them for an Xbox. As long as the latter doesn't outweigh the previous Sony will be fine. HUZZAH!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Mafia II

     Sometimes you play a game because you hear how great it's gonna be, sometimes you take a chance on a series that isn't great, and sometimes it turns out to be a great game. Mafia II is not one of these, the first in the series was not necessarily well received. Mafia II was supposed to rival Grand Theft Auto and create an atmosphere that would rival any game.

     The opining hour or so of the game sets up the story very well, driving into Empire City (New York) in the middle of winter with snow pelting down and some dramatic music in the background was very atmospheric and added a lot to the game, but as the story goes on it begins to lose its atmosphere and personality. It becomes a generic sandbox game with a mafia theme, oh wait did I say sandbox, I lied, ill get to that in a minute. It was very difficult to connect with Vito given that there is never a romantic interest, there is rarely any mention of his family, and the only person he is constantly in contact with is his dumb friend Joe. Oh yea, and not to mention every three chapters there is a catastrophe and you have to start over with no money, because we all know we want to play a mafia game where we have no cumulative money. 

     I mentioned sandbox, and in any review of Mafia II that word should only appear after the phrase "this game is not a" or in all caps after the word "SHITTY", because we all know when we are outraged we use caps and lose the ability to make full sentences and we resort to profanity and sentence fragments. The game does have a free roam element but is there anything to do, NO! there isn't. The side missions are non-existent robbing and selling cars to two different people are it.

      The twist at the end involves your best friend Joe holding a gun to your head as you run in to kill the Boss. This is not an original but it was fine with me until Vito said, "Trust me on this," and Joe simply replies, "let's shoot this cock-sucker on the count of three." When Vito asks Joe why he did it he says the Boss made him an offer. Would a mobster really turn on a mob boss just because his best friend, who just shot up an entire observatory to kill YOUR boss, says trust me, COME ON no way.

     One more thing real quick, the checkpoints were few and far between making a 15 minute shootout that is already frustratingly cheap, frustratingly long, because every death starts you over.

     Overall this game makes me want to find everyone who was involved in making this game and make them all a set of cement shoes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Fable III

     So... Fable III, what all can I say about this game. There are many things that come to mind, frustratingly glitchy, underwhelming, lack of choice and short. Those were the negatives, obviously, but some positives: game play mechanics, visuals, and improved co-op.
     Let's start with the bad news, GLITCHES! I encountered several of these and I had the privilege of seeing all of girlfriends glitches.
-Glitch 1: Entering the tailor in Bowerstone Market and every item of clothing, when selected, says stealing is a crime. Yes thank you Peter Molyneux stealing IS a crime, but i do not want to steal i want to buy.
-Glitch 2: Becoming a forced pacifist, at one point I was not able unsheathe any weapon. I could run into balverines, bandits, and even wolves and they got the pleasure of Mr. TTB's tender backside.
-Glitch 3: I know I am awesome, but floating. My character animations for walking apparently disappeared and I only slid across the ground no moved from below the waist. I must have equipped my special Fable III Wheelies.
-Glitch 4: While playing with girlfriend her husband left her, no doubt because of the fine exhibit of a digital man that I am, putting their child in the orphanage. Well once she arrived there to adopt her own child, she could not even interact with her let alone adopt her, poor thing.

     Underwhelming, just like all of Molyneux games it did not live up to all of the promises that were made. This is no surprise. So I'll just move on.

     Lack of choice was a big complaint that I personally had. I could murder everyone in the village and still win their hearts by completing their quests. Not to mention that the physical effects of your murder or sainthood were pretty much non existent. The only real decisions one has was to keep or break your promises and several decisions as a king or queen mostly involving money. For a game centered around choice it sure was lacking in that department.

     The game was short and the ending was a blah, very similar to Fable II. When I say short I mean 10-15 hours most gamers will say wow that's a long game. For an rpg/action game that has a name like Peter Molyneux attached to it, that's not enough. That is actual game time not  the time I had to leave my system on to make money since I decided to be a good guy, I'm enough of a douche in real life, and millions of dollars are hard to come by.

     The game play mechanics were tight and well put together, switching between magic, ranged and melee was surprisingly fluid and felt great. Fighting large groups of enemies is fun in this game and not at all tedious like in Fable II. The new simplified magic system and the magic weaving system worked surprisingly well and Molyneux did actually deliver on that front.

     The darker and more realistic graphics were a nice change from previous entries in the series. Each area looked real and felt like it had its own personality.

     Co-op was improved in Fable III but it still has a long way to go, maybe Lionhead should talk to Blizzard and get some tips.

     Overall I enjoyed the game, but I will probably never play through it again unless there is some awesome DLC that would merit another round.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

7 Games This Year

So for the rest of this year I am screwed, I am going to have a geek attack. Here are some of the games that I am looking forward to so much I think I may die from anticipation.

1.Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 10/5
I have never really been a fan of Castlevania, but I have also never given it a chance and this series is generally associated with some of the biggest fanboys ever, just an opinion of course. After seeing some game play this game looks like similar to a God of War game set in the Castlevania universe, this makes Mr. TTB very happy.

2.Kirby Epic Yarn 10/17
I loved Kirby 64 and played it tons. I enjoy the classic feel that the Kirby series has brought to the table. I got to play Epic Yarn and the changes they made added a whole new aspect to the game hidden areas, ripping yarn enemies to pieces, a secret fantasy of mine, made the childish look of the game fade and all I wanted to do was find all the damn buttons I could and shove them into Kirby's non-existent pink pockets.

3.Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 10/26
I absolutely loved the first in this series, except for the achievement glitch that I encountered, and the game play that I saw made certain parts of my pants tighten. With a new targeting system and a beefed up physics engine this game will bring hours of force harnessing murder to my home.

4.Fable III 10/26
FABLE MAKES ME HAPPY! ( I am a little concerned about the subtracting of RPG elements)

5.Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 11/16
I already posted about the game play and the reasons that I am looking forward to this game so suffice it to say, the game ran wonderfully.

6.Assassin's Creed Brotherhood 11/16
This series has done nothing but improve and this one looks to improve even more and that makes me happy. I have been an Ubisoft since Prince of Persia and in my opinion Assassin's Creed is the modern day Prince of Persia. I enjoy stealth killing and even the occasional large group of guards that must be dispatched by my blade.

7.Donkey Kong Country Returns 11/21
My dad and I played all of the Donkey Kong games and with the exception of 3 they were all great and again getting my hands on this one and actually playing co-op with a co-worker made me severely anticipate this game. My girlfriend and I will definitely have hours of fun with the offline co-op that is slowly dissipating in this world of gaming.

These are just a handful of the titles that I am looking forward to the most there are many more that are on my radar, but these are the ones that made The List.
(My lists will all be in sevens... Don't ask.)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

First Impression: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit

I had the opportunity to play the upcoming installment of the Need for Speed series. I have been a fan of the NFS series since the original Hot Pursuit, but it was Underground and Underground 2 that won my heart. Most Wanted wasn't horrible but it was not an Underground. So when I had the opportunity to get my hands on the new Hot Pursuit I was very excited as I'm sure you can understand.

There were only two cars to select from, I chose the Ferrari. The individual running the demo told me that to get a shirt I had to beat 1:50 on the only race that was available.

I'm sure you are as curious as I was, I asked him if they had any intentions of making a new Underground. His response was simply, "It took 9 years for us to make another Hot Pursuit. You've only been waiting 5 or 6 years for another Underground, so who knows."

Well anyways, back to the demo. The graphics were amazing and the handling was amazing, there was even a more realistic drift mechanic. I also had the use of some power-ups a turbo system, aside from NOS, and the ability to drop a spike strip ahead of you to slow your opponents. I actually finished the demo at 1:42 so lucky me I got a shirt woohoo!

Overall I am looking forward to this game, it is definitely the closest I am getting to another Underground anytime soon. I still stand behind my feeling that there will never be a game better that the original T.I. "24" Lil' Jon "Get Low" blasting Need for Speed Underground.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: Fable II

Yet again I'm reviewing and older game but that's what I want to do so shut up, haha just kidding. Overall I enjoyed the experience of Fable II, but as always I will use my meticulous nature for evil, finding little things worng with the game.

The story was okay, but by no means outstanding, it jumped around and was fairly predictable at every turn. The characters lacked personality and had that generic Molyneux feel along with the always present cheeky humor. Oh, and not to mention the ending was very anti-climatic, I wont ruin it for you but damn, I've never felt less heroic.

I HATE THE DOG MECHANIC!!!! I think that is all I need to say about that.

I would say the biggest thing that held this game back was the little gold line that lead you to the next objective. You know what Molyneux, I understand that you feel Americans are idiots but we don't ALL need a little line telling us where to go, and oh yea some of us even like to explore freely, I know crazy huh. I actually thought of the golden line as a little brother running around in front of you and the second you try to do something else he goes, "Hey this way, are you gonna go this way hey hey hey hey. Let's go please. Can we go this way, I wanna free the slaves. Hey let's go make a general moral choice that has no feel of reality and there is no gray area."

Well that little rant leads me to my next complaint, the Morality System. This system had a "yes" or "no" feeling where there is no other option. No opportunity to make a decision that you may make in real life, you are either holy or evil and in my travels I have seen very few people be either of these extremes. This really takes away from the game, in my opinion, and don't get me wrong its not just this game that does it nearly all games in this generation have a Morality System and they all do the same "yes" or "no".

One more thing that I will complain about is the amount of glitches in the game. They overran the game making some areas super annoying and almost made me put down the controller. Sparrow can fight giant trolls and slay banshees but a little rock or the edge of a flight of stairs will stop him dead in his tracks. Edges stuck out like boulders in this game. Well back to the glitches, I've seen people, enemies, and even my dog disappear. The enemy one was the most obnoxious because I couldn't complete an objective due to an enemy getting stuck in a rock.

Ok, to the good parts, I enjoyed the battle system and at times I did enjoy the story. It kept me playing even though I found multiple things wrong with it and I was genuinely pleased when it was over. I even found myself thinking of playing through another time and being evil. I have a lot easier time telling people what I didn't like than telling them what I did so. I LIKED DA FABLE II GAME IT MAKE ME SMILE!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review: Madden NFL 2011

I am on an EA Sports strike I will not buy any of their games new, mainly because of the whole online registration awesomeness that they think is a good idea, and generally I don't play Madden anyways, always more of an NCAA guy, but I heard that this one was really good so I thought I'd give it a try.

This year's Madden is by far the best that I've ever played, due to the attributes that I will discuss now. Streamed lined running, balance passing, and new play calling system makes this Madden the best for any level of fan.

The sprint button has been removed and more emphasis has been put on the use of the right stick. This gives the player more control and also makes finding holes a necessity. This also creates a new level of realism that was missing in previous Maddens.

The passing game is neither too easy nor too hard. You don't feel that every pass thrown is caught and also don't feel that you are only chance at getting yards is running. I saw very few unrealistic catches and unfair drops. The receivers caught when they should and dropped when they should.

The new play calling system picks plays for you and allows you to listen to your offensive and defensive coaches via headset. If you're not good at defense like I am, this automatic play system balances the game. The offensive play calling can be frustrating at times, but overall the A.I. is decent. If you are one of those people who wants to look at the entire playbook, you can turn this feature off. But for me, it made me feel more like I was the QB or the defensive captain.

In closing, EA Sports stepped up their game in response to natural motion and 505 games attempted competition. They finally listened to the consumer and made necessary changes.

As a side note, they added a physics engine to the tackle engine. These things make the game very good, but it still lost its luster for me after a season or two.