Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Blogger IDiivil Blows the Lid Off Gears 3 Multiplayer

Standing in line for the midnight release of Gears of War 3, I couldn't help but ask those around me what mode they were first going to be playing. Would they be unable to help themselves and jump directly into campaign, in desperate need to find out what happens to the war-torn world of Sera and the remains of the COG, or would they shun it entirely for all the new and updated features of Horde, Beast, and multiplayer madness?

In spite of the game being the last of its series, it seemed everyone was pretty excited about schooling some noobs over following any story, and when I loaded up multiplayer for the first time, I could see why.

The final installment in the Gears of War series brings several changes, and with it, some neat little tricks to help kick some player behind. Epic not only introduced Team Deathmatch - a multiplayer mode similar to Warzone, only with 15 lives for the team rather than one each - but also added in some unique cover mechanics. You can now vault over whatever you are hiding behind and kick away enemies hunkering down before you, giving you a few extra seconds while your opponent recovers to blow him away with your trusty shotgun.

Weapon changes have made your shotgun a little less trusty than before, though. While a gnasher or a sawed off is indispensable in close quarters combat, the lancer, retro lancer, and hammerburst have been given a few upgrades to make anyone with a hand for it a considerable foe. Snapping off a few shots of the lancer at a charging target, for example, now offers a push-back feature, so good luck to all you shotty players out there in getting close if your enemy catches you first!

If player versus player isn't your thing, there are also the Beast and Horde modes. The latter is similar to the previous Gears Hordes, but now includes a sort of tower defense mechanic. Unlike before, you now select a base before beginning the game and use the money made throughout in killing enemies to fortify yourself from the very same. Because Epic has since limited ammo and special weapons, no longer giving you an unlimited supply to heft up and kill with, you'll want those defenses!

 Beast mode, on the other hand, is entirely new. It is similar to Horde with its COGs and its defenses, but as the name suggests, you are no longer a human being, but one of the Locust. You have twelve waves with about a minute timer each to destroy the humans, and with every person downed or fortification destroyed, a few precious extra seconds are awarded. As you progress farther into the waves and earn more cash and kills, more locusts unlock, all the way to the bottom tier where you can choose to be a mighty berserker (oh, and how mighty she is). The humans are backed up by heroes, though, such as Jace, Dizzy, and Marcus Fenix, and the game has acknowledged their power by only allowing executions to fully kill them. This isn't too problematic in the easier difficulties, but once you start choosing hardcore and insane, getting to heroes to properly finish them becomes very trying.

With all these new modes, it's hard to keep track of one's kill/death ratio or how much butt you really are kicking, so Epic decided to make it a little easier for players who love to know just how good they are. By adding an updated Stats & Awards page, players can see their statistics in every mode of the game, and the medals and ribbons pages show one's progress and boasts of any difficult tricks one has managed to pull off.

Of course, that just means I get to stare at my less than remarkable score and wonder why I'm so freakin' awful.

Overall, a ten out of ten from the IDiivil. Gears of War 3, in this gal's opinion, is certainly the most polished and thought out game of the series.

Now, I'm going to pick up my controller and go back to filling someone with bullets.

This week's esteemed guest blogger, IDiivil

IDiivil is a gamerchick model who spends her free time chasing herself some Auburok tail. With a penchant for achievement hunting and laughing manically while dominating some poor player, it's otherwise rare to ever find IDiivil away from a television screen and her ever loved Xbox 360.

You can find IDiivil on Facebook here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guest Blogger Auburok Drops Some Serious Gears 3 Campaign Knowledge

It’s done, if you’ve been without the Internet for a few months; Epic’s Gears Trilogy has come to a close. Marcus Fenix can finally hang his gun on the wall.

But it was glorious.

The campaign and it’s story have evolved since the first Gears of War waded on the 360. No longer are you forced to pick just one lucky pal to play with, or watch story characters die avoidable, almost Darwin-Award-winning deaths. For those of you picking up Gears of War 3 before the other two, the stage the plot is in at this point will inevitably disorient you: “Who are these guys? We’re where? What the hell are those things? She wears what shade of lipstick while fighting those things?” While I might recommend working your way up from the beginning, Gears of War 3 has you covered in the form of a recap special. You will need the background to understand anything going on at this point- trust me

Gears of War 3 campaign picks up two years after Gears of War 2: Jacinto is still gone, the COG is now a fringe organization, and the world is becoming a more dangerous place. Marcus and the rest of Delta return, along with several newcomers, and a return of just about every character still alive in in the Gears of War universe. Gears of War hasn’t really been lauded for it’s story in comparison to games by the likes of Mass Effect, but players following the story to this point will be satisfied: this is the best, unforced writing Gears of War has produced in a game to date. For once, players are shown how people other than Marcus are coping with the war. Rest assured, this isn’t the "WHERE'S MY WIIIIFE" diatribe from the second game. Gears of War 3 runs five acts, and a total of thirty chapters, and is by no means a short game, especially on harder difficulties. Despite this, the story is well paced, and the gameplay sections are broken up from time to time with very enjoyable boss battles and mechanized/vehicular combat.

This time around, the game features four player cooperative play for campaign mode, doubling the amount of people that aren’t controlled with “Hey, I’ll help you back off the ground once I finish killing these guys and looting the ammo you wanted” bot AI (which can still be a problem, from time to time, on harder difficulties). The mechanics are the tightest they’ve ever hoped to be all around, from basic movement, to weapon balancing despite new additions like the controversial sawed-off shotgun. There’s even new options to switch weapons and trade ammo with party members, and to mark enemies and weapons for other players to see. The overall experience, even in the old school tight corridors skirmishes, has a lot more teamwork to actually participate in, rather than raising friends and killing the same enemies. In addition to all of this, there’s literally a plethora of new enemies, so many that I’d have to make a list (and inevitably forget one or two) to cover the new lambant and Locust enemies. Many of the new enemies force the players to use different tactics, or work together as a team to bring something down; a welcome addition to the game.

One new twist to the single player/campaign experience is arcade mode. Similar to the “Campaign Scoring” mode in the Halo series, players now compete for points. However, as they compete, they must work together to not get downed or hit, as it reduces a multiplier that is earned from killing enemies. This multiplier effects every player and all actions that receive a score. In addition to scoring, game modifiers, dubbed “mutators” can be unlocked by particular actions in the game. Some are fun, some make the game easier, and some make the game harder. Those that effect difficulty, reduce or increase experience. If you want a live studio audience laughing to your mayhem, or enemies that bleed flowers, mutators are what you’re looking for. This mode is arguably a more streamlined experience, as a player’s death doesn’t automatically lead to the team’s defeat; a modest thirty second respawn, along with the multiplier reduction, is the alternate punishment to halting the entire team’s fun. The team is still able to fail, though, if everyone sucks enough to die at the same time.

Gears of War 3 is definitely a defining affair on the Xbox 360, even before really cracking in to the alternate multiplayer modes. With promises of campaign downloadable content in the months to come, this is possibly the best singleplayer/cooperative campaign 3rd Person Shooter experience available.

Our distinguished guest blogger: Auburok

Auburok is an ex-writer for, an ex-intern for G4 and an ex-quality assurance drone for 2K Games. When he’s not stomping heads or chasing the achievement dragon with his girlfriend IDiivil, he’s probably writing about games.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ezio and The Flea Market

Mega64 has some pretty edgy videos. And lucky us, most of them are about video games. Here is their real life interpretation of Assassin's Creed. Dig it. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kirby Kills with Kuteness

Hmm...Alliteration gets risky when you start with a K...

As I mentioned in the last few blogs I've posted, my love affair with the Wii is going stronger than ever.  Today I'll regale you with tales of my new-found love: Kirby's Epic Yarn.
This is another Wii title that I wanted to play from when I first heard of it, but it's taken me this long to actually get around to buying and playing it.  Quite frankly, I have been missing out.

My very first impression of this game was that if Paper Mario and Little Sack Boy (as a girl, obviously) could have a baby, this game would be it.  The graphics are on par with LittleBigPlanet, meaning that everything is very textural.  All of the environments look like they are stitched together out of a variety of cloth.  Kirby & Prince Fluff, along with all of your enemies in the game, are all created out of pieces of yarn, and move over the backgrounds in a way very similar to Paper Mario.  They're basically 3D looking, and interact in the background in very simple 3D ways, but have a 2D appeal.

The game is a right to left platformer, with hidden elements above and below the straight path from beginning to end.  In each level you collect beads which act as the game's currency.  There are also three hidden items, two stickers for decorating apartments for game characters, and one music CD which apparently changes the song on the level after you find it.  At the end of the level you are awarded a medal based on how many beads you collected, and you can go back and replay the levels as you want to find all of the hidden items and collect enough beads for the gold medal.

The apartments you decorate increase the type of gameplay options, by opening up characters which want to play mini-games with you in levels you've beaten.  For example, one character wants you to get through a level and collect X amount of beads in X amount of time.  Another wants you to find him and 4 of his friends hidden throughout the level in X amount of time.  They are fun, quick games that add a lot of variety to the typical platformer game play.  Gameplay is also shaken up in levels when Kirby and Prince Fluff become some kind of vehicle to complete a level.  I've played as a UFO, a train, a car, a giant yarn-bomb shooting tank... Every single one has been fun and creative.

Overall I have to say I really like this game.  It's a blast to play, and it's visually interesting.  If you've been a fan of Kirby in the past, or if you just like platformers, or if you just like things that will make you say, "Seriously how cute is this game?" then Kirby's Epic Yarn is for you.  And don't worry, it's not too cute for you manly men out there.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Here at Achievos, we love a good prank.  So when we first saw this super jerk-style friend change his buddies WoW password, we had to share.  Brace youself for some strong language.  Sit back and enjoy the slow simmer to boil as this dedicated WoW-er blows his lid.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I Don't Want To Be Social, I Just Want To Socialize

Here's the thing, I don't feel bad about saying "no".  I am constantly receiving text messages and phone calls.  Or better yet, the request is being made that I fulfill my girlfriend duties to accompany my man somewhere.  All to often, these go completely ignored.  I say no so I can stay home and play Xbox.

I have developed this very weird habit over time of talking to people online but not in real life.  I would much rather sit in party and chat about useless nonsense than spend almost any amount of time talking to people.  I used to ignore my phone calls and text messages.  Now I don't even keep my phone with me.  I intentionally leave it in the bedroom while I'm in my gaming space elsewhere in the apartment.  Linz and I both have phones, but I can't remember the last time we talked on them.  Same with my sisters.  We just send text messages saying when we will be online.

The boyfriend constantly asks me to go places.  Its hard for me to determine if I don't want to go because I want to stay home and play online or if its because I don't want to go no matter what.  The answer is frequently the latter.  But I still wonder about the few times I'm unwilling to pull myself away from a game or the people I'm playing with.  If I had my way, the two of us would stay home all day long and play video games with our online friends.

This happens year round, and the urge to ignore the outside world is particularly strong right now.  If I hate going out now, imagine how impossible it will be in the next month or two when its cold outside and I have half a dozen new games to play.  If you want to hang out, you better plan on coming over or getting on Xbox.  I'm hunkered down for the winter.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Video Games Saving the World

Recently, it was well publicized that a group of gamers had made some major scientific advances in AIDS research.  The blog site Foldit uses the public domain and the collective creativity of gamers to solve scientific problems.

In this particular case, gamers were give the opportunity to predict a model of a molecular structure that would match existing information collected.  The idea is really simple and seemingly obvious.  If someone walked up to any moderate to serious gamers and said "Hey, we have the ultimate puzzle game for you", most would clamor at the chance to be the first to solve it.  The puzzle just happens to be a real life virus.

As a person of science, I think this kind of "science by committee" is long overdue.  As a gamer, I think its great that the long hours might be going towards something universally positive.  The website offers up other virus, DNA model, and molecular puzzles.  You can find the site here.  Go check out positive gaming in action.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting My Kong On

So about a month ago I had a coupon for Gamestop to buy 2 used get 1 free.  I tried to use it time and time again to pick up some Kinect titles but failed out since people apparently aren't returning them used yet.  Lame!  In a "before this coupon expires" panic, I picked up Halo: Reach (about time!!), Kirby's Epic Yarn (review forthcoming) and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
First off, I have to say that this is NOT the remake of Donkey Kong Country 2, with Diddy and Dee Dee Kong.  I obviously could've known this if I had, say, looked at the cover.  Or paid any attention to detail at all...but I didn't.  And the funny thing is that I have been looking forward to playing this game ever since I heard of its release: thinking it was Donkey Kong Country 2.  So when I plugged it in I was like, "This looks different... Where's the little girl monkey?"  And then the *facepalm* set in.

So I can not compare this to the original, because I didn't play the original.  I played a helluva lot of Donkey Kong Country 2 though, and I can tell you how much fun that game would be remade.  But I'm here to tell you that with the minor history in Donkey Kong that I do have, this game is an awful lot of fun.

It's always interesting to play a game that is a remake of an old title.  You have all those great glory memories of plugging the originals into your SNES or N64 (or PS1, I'm not splitting hairs), and then you put in the new one and, sometimes, it is just as awesome.  Donkey Kong comes through in that way.  The graphics look sensational - just like I remember them looking on the SNES.  Which is hilarious, because obviously the SNES graphics would be pretty bad compared to what we have now with the 720s and the 1080s and the HDs.  The game manages to make the whole world interactive - with events happening and affecting your gameplay from the background into the foreground.

During this segment, you will drive that cart off the track and both die.
And it will cost you 2 lives. And you will be eternally frustrated.
The one thing that has stood out?  This game is brutal.  I forgot how incredibly FRUSTRATING it is to play a game where you have two health, and when you die, you die.  That's that.  Yes, the levels have checkpoints, but sometimes it's darn near impossible to get to them without having to replay the first parts of the level time and time again.  I asked my husband how gaming ever got popular when old-school gaming was so difficult that I can't play for more than half an hour without wanting t  o chuck my Wii-mote through the wall.  The situation gets even worse when you're playing with someone else, because your pool of lives is only 3-4 (until you gain more on your own) and when you have 2 players going, you're using the same pool.  So if you both die, that's 2 lives down the drain.  Let's just say when you're playing with a 4-yr-old, those lives go fast.

Donkey Kong has all the fun of platformers of our youth.  You have X amount of items to find in each level, including tiles that spell K-O-N-G and a  number of puzzle pieces, usually ranging from 5-7.  Having items hidden throughout the levels gives the game a nice amount of replayability.  Not to mention these platformer style games where a level will take just a few minutes of your day to complete always seem easier to go back and replay for kicks when you need to kill time.  All in all, I would say that Donkey Kong Country Returns is definitely a good buy if you're nostalgic for the gaming of yore, or just looking for a good Wii title.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

KevinWK Unboxes Gears and Our Hearts

Recent guest blogger Kevin WK has garnered quite the YouTube following.  His unboxing videos have riled up nerds and massively trolled the interwebs.  You can see his latest blog about Dead Island here.  But if you are more of a visual learner, check out his video featuring "Eduardo the gardener" and the latest Gears release.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back: Check. Vengence: Check.

Hi faithful followers, new readers, adoring stalkers...  I'm back.  Not that you've had a chance to miss me with all the awesome coverage Debbie has offered.  I had some family events happen that kept me offline for the last 3 weeks, and while I can't say I missed things like Facebook all that much, I have definitely missed gaming and blogging.  (Admittedly I've instantly fallen back into the "check Facebook constantly" habit.  Ugh.)

So now that I'm back you should know this: I'm having an intense love affair with the Wii right now.  Right before Real Life got in the way I had picked up Donkey Kong Country Returns and Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii, and hadn't had a chance to play them at all.  We've been cracking away at DK today and it is a blast.  Prepare yourself for a full review in the very near future.  Also the 3-yr-old in our house calls it "Konkey Dong."  Oh, from the mouths of babes.

Other than that I fully intend on getting back to a good schedule of Xboxing it up as well.  We should all schedule a get together online sometime.  Halo: Reach anyone?  I suppose you could also play CoD, but you'll have to talk to Debbie about that.  Share your GamerTag in the comments if you'd like to hook it up with the Achievos online.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

You're No SSX

I recently acquired a free copy of Shaun White Snowboarding (thank you again, Stone).  While I did enjoy being back on the virtual board, it just doesn't compare to SSX.  I think others might like it where I did not.

My deep love for SSX comes from the land of the ridiculous.  The outrageous stunts, the impossible amounts of air, and extra tricky tricks.  Shaun White doesn't have any of those.  This game focuses on being more true to real life.  Now not all aspects of the riding are uber realistic, but far more so than EA's titles. 

Don't let my not-so-loving words totally scare you away.  There are numerous positive attributes to this game.  The graphics really add to the feel of riding, like the rush of scenery as you tear down the mountain.  And the feeling of jumping from high to low or crossing a huge gap reminds me of that great falling feeling that came with jumping off view points in Assassin's Creed 2.  For many people, the boards and clothes are all a huge part of the game.  I don't really care that much as long as I can upgrade to a fast board or one better for grinding.  But for those who love the customization, this game does not disappoint.

One thing that I super loved in Shaun White Snowboarding was the open world environment.  Players can take a helicopter to the top of the mountain and pick up challenges or races on the way down if they want.  I frequently found myself just exploring the mountains and taking the different routes and tricks all the way to the bottom.

There are varying landscapes, but none of them are quite as outrageous as SSX.  It made me miss the days of trying to jump onto the subway rails in Metro City.  I also miss the music.  The music of Shaun White was the sort of bland mix of Sublime and Blink-182 and music very similar to it.  I know that the genre of snowboarding has a very distinct culture and therefore a distinct brand of music.  But changing it up or having more radio stations with a wider variety would've been nice. 

Shaun White Snowboarding is definitely a game worth checking out.  Its an older title so buying it cheap and used should be easy.  And as much as it doesn't compare to SSX, you can still spend an entire weekend playing this game without regret.  Give a shot.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So Much Guilt

Today, I hacked my own game for the very first time.  In the game I'm currently playing, I heard there was a way to get a ton of currency and a super cool weapon that was hidden by developers.  For some reason or another, it was decided by the powers that be that this should no longer be available so they sent out a giant patch for it.

After looking up numerous ways to access the weapon of my dreams, I found it.  But did it take too much?  I cleared the cache and deleted some title updates.  With all that maneuvering, I'm starting to feel really bad.  I imagine developers had some pretty good reasons for taking it out of the game.  This is probably as close as I've ever come to actually cheating.  Its a single player game, so no one else will deal with the effects.  But I still feel like a big ol' cheat.  Now I have to find a way to make it right before this horrible gaming karma comes back to get me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

KevinWK Hearts Dead Island

Have you ever had a bad day?  Do you have unchecked aggression?  Want something to take it out on?  You should try the living dead!  Dead Island has already shipped 2 million copies, which is no small feat for Polish developer Techland, who is better known for the Call of Juarez series.  This game is full of surprises both good and bad.  But there is one thing that is constant, this game’s world will infect you and keep you coming back for more.

I have been playing Dead Island for about a week now, and I have no plans on stopping.  I started off as the character Sam B., the one hit wonder rapper from New Orleans.  Sam is performing his song, “Who do you Voodoo, Bitch” when he is bitten by one of the undead.  Sam then discovers he is immune to the infection.  I picked him because of his melee skills.  He is pretty much a tank for punishment which I always find useful for online play.

The weapons in Dead Island vary from location to location.  Since it takes place on a resort island, you aren’t going to find shotguns and AKs everywhere.  You are more likely to find blades, boat oars, and tire irons from vehicles.  Melee weapons are plentiful, but can wear down and break over time.  Carrying multiple weapons is vital so you always have something to fight with.  You can repair these weapons at workbenches, as well as modify them ala Dead Rising 2 style.  I just made a machete with a shock attribute that slices and electrocutes the zombies.  I want to marry it.

The voices in the game are a mixed bag.  The zombies are terrifying, but some of the NPCs and main characters will make you lower the volume of your game.  Sam has so many accents, I don't think he always knows which ones to use.  The undead should start a chorus group because I can only describe their moans and growls as pure evil.  As a true horror fan, this is beautiful to me.  Some of the other characters though, live up to whatever stereotype they are trying to portray.

Give him the shocker !!!
The game is meant to be played online with friends as you will forcefully find this out when you get to the city portion of the game.  Once there, you will have to avoid many battles because you are way outnumbered by the living dead.  I usually prefer to play alone, but this game had me calling people to play with just to get through certain parts.  There really isn’t much of a death penalty, they just take money from you.  But it still gets frustrating when you are dealing with 3 infected, 1 walker, and a thug, which knocks you down with every hit.  This game is about survival and you will need your friends to last!

Dead Island is very reminiscent of Borderlands.  Skill trees, quests, maps and everything were definitely inspired by Gearbox’s masterpiece, but taken to another level.  It may not have the same weapon engine, but there is enough here to keep you bashing in zombie heads for a long time.  You can load up on the quests and take them on at your leisure, enabling you to take a fun tour of everything the island has to offer.

I am having a blast playing this game, and you will too if you enjoy first person, action RPGs, or if you just want to beat the bloody hell out of the undead.

Today's Guest Writer, Kevin WK

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chicago Gears Party !

Do you live in the greater Chicagoland area?  Are you melting with anticipation for Gears of War 3 ?  That rascally gang over at will be throwing a party in the parking lot of the EB Games at 2603 N. Elston.  I know what you're thinking, "The hipsters will overrun me in Bucktown".  While midnight is the witching hour of many hipsters, the bright lights and easily recognized advertising for popular American goods should keep them away.  If you are still concerned, bring some Natural American Spirit cigarettes or copies of the latest Bon Iver album to bait them away. 

Back to the point, enjoy a 2v2 tournament for Gears of War 2 complete with prizes.  Enter the raffle for a Gears Retro Lancer replica.  Meet the Sugar Gamers and those Pixels and Popcorn scoundrels.  The party gets underway September 19th at 9pm and runs right up until midnight and the release of the most anticipated game of the year.  Intense !!!!

Click here to get all the juicy details.  Check out their site.  You might learn a thing or two.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Are You Ready ?

In less than a week, the flood gates will open and games will pour forth one right after the other. Some will play Gears of War 3 until the early morning hours while others will use an entire day off work to run through the lush landscapes of Skyrim. No matter what game is you favorite, here are a few tips to make sure you're ready.

If you don't have rechargeable batteries, you're about to go broke. There are numerous third party distributors that make replacement battery packs for the PS3. They are usually fairly inexpensive and could save you the cost and anguish of having to replace your favorite controller. Xbox also has the rechargeable battery packs or "play and charge" packs that keep your controller juiced. And don't forget all those AAA batteries that your high-end headset sucks down. Rechargeable AAA and AA batteries are inexpensive and can last for years. A charger and full set of both battery types will set you back about $30 on Amazon. Pretty cheap for always being ready to play and saving the environment from excess waste.
Seriously.  Amazon.  $30.
Get yourself a strategy guide. Some of the games are hella tough. I am not at all above looking up a strategy online. But when a game is brand new, the walkthroughs aren't always available yet and the forums are really just getting started. Plus, some publishers have gone the extra mile to make their strategy guides look like collector pieces. We proudly include Fallout strategy guides on our bookshelves right between Harry Potter and Odysseus.

For the love of all things holy, don't forget the snacks ! Seriously, when you are about to stand in line for an hour or more to get you video game at midnight, bring a giant box of Goldfish or some Capri Suns. Those late night sessions at home are perfect for munching chips and knocking back an energy drink. Whatever you chose, your hands and controllers are bound to get gross and spills happen. Have paper towels, a regular towel, or even hand wipes around to keep your controller from getting nasty throughout the night. And do your shopping for all these items a day or two before your planned all-nighter. Stockpiled goodies means less interruptions during game time. 

I don't have to tell you what these are.  If you game, you know.  The food of the gods.

Lastly, make sure you warn your loved ones.  When you stop calling your family or emailing back your friends, they will wonder what happened.  I know that when I'm playing, I rarely answer the phone.  So those all-day sessions on a Saturday or Sunday mean I am basically unreachable unless the person trying to find me happens to have Xbox LIVE (which they should).  And as much as you love your new game, don't call in sick to work.  You will have some serious explaining to do when videos of amazing trick shots from MW3 start showing up online when you were supposedly dying in bed.  Games are awesome, but so is paying bills on time. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sweet Two for One

I recently did a review of the game Gunstringer which you can find here.  The game comes out today for the Xbox Kinect.  The price point is a reasonable $40 and it ships with Fruit Ninja which has a $10 value on its own.  With two popular games at this low price, its a total "Buy".  Do it !!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thanks for Ruining My Sleep

Whenever Linz and I are playing a game, it tends to be the focus of our blogs. Since this is my third blog about Fallout: New Vegas, guess what I'm playing. Even though I'm done with the main story, I'm still trudging through the most jacked DLC I've played in awhile.

The Dead Money add-on is creepy as hell!  I can't remember the last time I was so tripped out by a game. Not even Bioshock freaked me out this much. The combination of eerie sound effects and troubling music (or sometimes no music at all) makes the gameplay super intense.

The enemies are creatures in ragged black suits and gas masks. They aren't creepy to look at until they move. They have a jarring, stumbled walk and erratically jump from side to side before putting their heads down and charging for attack. Add in the very dark environment and you have a pretty frightful fight. These enemies are the ones that generate the Bioshock reference because they move like Splicers.

I don't like scary games. My mental tolerance level is super low for anything scary and insanely suspenseful. So I'm a little irked that this kind of gameplay is suddenly thrust into my game. Fallout has it's occasional intense moments, but nothing of this magnitude. If I wanted to play something so scary I would play Dead Space or Dead Island. My character actually runs around with a bomb collar on. This isn't Saw 3. I feel like I'm stuck playing through to the end. I want the achievements and now I'm invested in the story. I can't just quit or I won't get to see how it ends. 

So all I can do is grind through and hope that the next three pieces of DLC for this game will stop ruining my sleep.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Here's Your FPS

If you've ever played any multiplayer shooter, this is for you.  Heads up for strong language and violent fits of laughter.  This video is truth.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Claptrap, You Scoundrel

I love video games (obviously), but I'm also a sucker for romance.  There are a lot of great video game proposals and this is one of my favorites.  I'm sure you have all seen it before, but why not watch it again?  For mushy content, its pretty hilarious.  Enjoy !

Friday, September 9, 2011

Information Overload

There is always a huge push in marketing and publicity right before a game comes out.  Artwork, weapons, developers, voice actors, and more are sent across the internet to get you to buy the latest title.  But these giant shovels-full of information have started hitting me in the face earlier and earlier.  I think its time to throw the brakes on the media blitz.

Right now, I'm totally overdosed on Borderlands 2.  I was really excited when I first heard this game was coming out.  And I had a deeply rooted love/hate relationship with the first Borderlands game.  But ever since the official announcement of the sequel, the game has been everywhere.  Doesn't sound so bad, except that the game doesn't even have a release date.  Gearbox has announced that the game will come out sometime "during Take-Two's fiscal year 2013 beginning on April 1, 2012".  That means the absolute earliest it would come out is April which is more than six months away.  Pre-order sales are set up for September 1, 2013, just shy of a year away, but even that date is subject to change.  So aren't they jumping the gun a little ?

So far, there have been numerous interviews with developers.  Sizable chunks of gameplay were displayed at PAX Prime and subsequently put online.  Game artwork has been discussed and peddled at all the major gaming shows, magazines, and blogs.  This game is everywhere and it doesn't even have a release date. 

My first problem is the general over-saturation.  I already feel like I'm tired of reading about it and ready to play, but I still have months and months before that's possible.  Second, I like keeping a little mystery.  I remember walking into new areas in games and being amazed at the design and execution.  Everyone remembers the first time they found an awesome, hidden weapon that they didn't know about.  Then the excitement that comes with blasting through enemies better than you ever thought you could.  Or just the adventure of meeting new characters and hearing their stories.  Releasing small bits of information isn't bad, except that they are doing it from now until the game comes out.  All those nuggets of info are going to end up giving away a lot of the fun.

Let me clarify by saying that I love reading an article or two about a game before I buy it.  And I super love playing demos.  Otherwise, how else would you know if its worth your hard earned money?  But winding up the hype machine so early in the game's development makes me mentally exhausted.  I am incredibly psyched to play Borderlands 2.  I just hope they don't make me sick of it before I even open the case. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If I Can't Have Them All, I Don't Want Any

There are a lot of highly anticipated games coming out in the very near future.  Many players have probably reserved their copy in advance.  Doing so can provide bonuses in the form of in-game content or even tangible items.  But are the deals really worth it ?  More importantly, does it matter ?

First, I'll start with an example.  Gears of War 3 is coming out September 20th.  Many of the diehard fans have reserved their copies and will attend midnight launch events around the country to procure their disc for immediate gratification.  But where they get their copies effects what perks they bring home.  Reserving at GameStop gives players the Commando Dom dlc.  Best Buy will give out the Mechanic Baird dlc.  WalMart offers up Savage Grenadier Elite while Amazon is peddling Savage Kantus.  Numerous games have the same type of spread across vendors so we will stick with Gears for the sake of a consistent example.  But please know that they are not alone.

I have always wondered whether or not people really decide where to reserve their games based on what the extras are.  I have been a GameStop girl since the one is Sioux City was still called EB.  I might be one of the few screaming fan girls for a retailer, but it is safe to say that most people have a preferred place to buy their games.  That in mind, it would be interesting to see how many people look at the lineup of preorder bonuses and change their reservations from one retailer to another.  Maybe someone already had their money down for a copy at Best Buy and then saw the glory that is Savage Kantus.  Are they really going to cancel their reservation and put the money down on Amazon?

Battlefield 3 will give you and actual shotgun !! ........... probably not

The opinion held by many is that if the content isn't already in the game, then it isn't that amazing to begin with.  If the character outfits, skins, or weapons were so great, the developers would be excited to put it in the game, not restrict the amount of people with access to it.  Even if the bonuses are mediocre, they frequently turn up further down the road as purchasable dlc.  Even in the case of tangible rewards, the bonus is usually a cheap, novelty item that will eventually be thrown out, given away, or buried with other disposable decorations.  This is not only the reserve bonuses, but also the items that come as a part of collector and specialty editions.  Remember that Black Ops RC car that used a million batteries and sucked them dry after 15 minutes?  Or how about the super flimsy plastic gun that came with Dead Space 2?  I remember and I wish I didn't.  There are some serious collector's items available for games, but they involve hundreds of dollars and are well worth it for the most intense fans.  

Even the English get caught in the advertising machine.
 Reserving a game isn't even necessary anymore.  Stores are super stocked for the triple A titles; they aren't going to run out.  That being said, reserving a copy doesn't cost any more than walking in and buying on release day.  And if you are going to pay the same amount, you might as well get a tiny little something for free.  I just hope that people aren't losing sleep over where to buy their games based on miniscule amounts of content.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pick Your Sides

The debate is on for which version of Commander Shepard is better, the male or the female.  I argue heatedly for the female Shepard.  She is one of the few strong female characters in video games that isn't hyper sexual.  Well, at least not until the end when she turbo-bangs Kaiden Alenko.  I had my female Shepard tag that ass, twice.  I also think that she has amazing voice acting.  But I have started hearing that some people really think that male Shepard is better.  I'm open to the discussion.  Go ahead, internet, give me your best argument. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Decisions, Decisions ...

I finally finished playing Fallout: New Vegas.  I actually completed the game's story about a month ago.  But I have now played all of the multiple endings following the different factions.  Now that its all said and done, I will have to pick which save file to continue on with the dlc.  How am I suppose to chose?  Warning: There are things discussed below that are spoilers.  If you don't want to know, stop reading now.

.... Okay.

This type of decision comes back to a discussion that Linz and I have had several times.  The conversation always revolves around playing as a good guy or a bad guy.  Fighting alongside Caesar's Legion will certainly put you in the negative karma column.  

But the other factions aren't quite so straight forward.  If I fight with Yes Man, New Vegas will essentially remain free and I will have some control.  I think this is great because, hey, I'm an honest courier of the wasteland.  I could do great things.  But my power is limited and that which remains goes to the type of people who would be interested in running a town like Vegas.

I can play alongside the NCR.  Why not?  Being a company man has it's advantages.  They aren't ruthless thugs or commit horrifying crimes.  But who wants to be involved in the slow government take over of everything and everyone?  Definitely not me.  

I could split the line on moral decency and allowed Mr. House to remain in control.  His watchful and aggressive nature keeping things in pleasant order.  Sure, New Vegas would do great, but what about everywhere else?  Am I mentally strong enough to sacrifice the needs of many for the gluttonous pleasures of a few ?  No, I am not.

Even though the game is over, I still have to make a lot of tough decisions.  I now have the luxury of seeing the end results and wishes of each faction.  But once I choose, I will have to live with the consequences.  This is one of those instances where I have to step back from a game and remind myself that its just a game.  No real life decisions are being made and I'm going to be okay no matter what happens.  The only thing that can stress me now is trying to force myself to wait long enough for all the dlc to come out and be bundled/discounted.  I can spring on it like a tiger crouched in the grass observing its prey.

This is a more accurate depiction of my hunting style.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Double XP Weekend !

In honor of the Call of Duty event happening in L.A. this weekend, there will be a little treat the next couple days for those stuck at home.  Enjoy some double XP all weekend long on Xbox360.  Plus, the triumphant return of the oh-so-delicious Nuketown 24/7.  Don't miss out!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Introducing Delicious Fillers with Extra Fluff !

Linz and I can't always find the time to write up full blogs every day.  We have decided to fill the gaps with fun tidbits.  We will post videos that we like, news bites, what we are playing that day, and anything else to keep up the flow.  We are also looking into guest bloggers.  So if you want to write something about topic we haven't covered, shoot us a line and let us know your idea.  

Sometimes, other people do stuff that is amazing and we just have to show you their genius.  With that in mind, I have linked a video below that I'm sure most people have seen.  If you like the game Portal, you are going love this short film interpretation.  Even if you have never played Portal, the clip is still hella cool.