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Fallout New Vegas Impressions

After playing 20 hours of Fallout New Vegas, I figured it was time for an impressions blog!

I know for many people, Fallout New Vegas is a kind of questionable title. Will Obsidian deliver us yet another bug-riddled game? Will the game feel new enough to warrant a purchase? New enough or not, is the game just an expansion pack? The short answers to these questions are: yes, yes and no. The long answers? Read on and find out.

Bugs, Glitches and Crashes

Firstly, there are a whole heap of bugs. If you want a game with no bugs in it then look elsewhere. The bugs that I've encountered however are not really that big of a deal. Some reviews I've read out there on the Interweb say that the game is so buggy that despite all the good points, you'll give up because of them. This is not true. I am playing the unpatched 360 version, and I've yet to come across any bug that has made me want to quit... except the Cazador (har har har). The bugs I have encountered aren't anything new anyway. These bugs were already in Fallout 3. If you played Fallout 3 and the bugs didn't bother you, then chances are the bugs in this won't bother you either. I've encountered a few system lockups, and while annoying, they aren't really game breaking. As long as your autosave is working and you save manually after big fights, level ups, quests, etc, then the lockups probably won't bother you either.

To those of you that can't look past the bugs - Bethesda and Obsidian are fixing it! They've already released a PC patch that fixes over 200 bugs and glitches (none of which have been named) and a 360+PS3 patch is on the way. No doubt we'll be seeing many more patches in the coming months.

New Content

I came into Fallout New Vegas thinking that it would be pretty much the same as Fallout 3, just with a new setting, new characters, a few new weapons and items, and a few new game mechanics that wouldn't really make much of a difference. Boy was I wrong. I'm not going to say that everything is different, because it's clearly not, but I'd say the different things outweigh the recycled things.There are new sound effects - not just music and stuff for new enemies, but stuff like the jumping sounds and sounds for kicking a bucket or empty bottle on the floor. Most, if not all existing weapons have been given new sound effects for firing and reloading, and they are great! There are new ambient sounds too, which make the world feel more alive.

There are also new particle effects, stuff like dust storms and smoke. They are a small part of the game, but they are a pretty noticeable addition, especially if you manage to find Hidden Valley. Fire has also been given a makeover to make it seem more realistic. I could go on and on about the changes, but I can't be bothered... not to mention it would be boring to read. The easiest way to discover them is to play the game yourself.

An Expansion? Hell No!

Even with the amount of DLC, I would have been happy with an expansion to Fallout 3. This is so much more than that. It's almost overwhelming, even to a veteran Fallout 3 player like myself. I played the absolute crap out of Fallout 3, and I was a bit worried that I'd get New Vegas, play it through once and then move on. After an hour of playing the game, I knew this wouldn't be the case. Almost everything felt new to me, and that which wasn't new felt like the return of an old friend I hadn't seen in a while. Lame metaphor, but that's how it was.

So, should you buy it? You only have to answer one question. Did you like Fallout 3? If yes, then you'll like this. If no, then you probably won't.

Reach Out

So, Halo Reach is out! My verdict: Pretty awesome. I finished the campaign last night, and I gotta say, it was great. Better than Halo 3? At the moment I'm not too sure. Both were great in their own way. My favourite mission is the one where you have to fly the Sabre. Not just the flying and shooting part, but the run up the beach towards the Sabre facility is epic too.

Firefight though is another story. I don't know about anybody else, but it seems like it's not all that fun, by yourself anyway. Also the sets go on too long. I was going for 20 minutes and I only finished one round! I just ended up quitting out of it.

So yeah, there are my impressions of the game... sorry it's not much but I'm not really in a writing mood right now. Maybe I'll do something more in-depth later.

125 volumes of manga! + Updates

Some explanation of the above image is probably required. This is my manga archive, the spreadsheet I use to keep track of all my manga. I'm trying to keep it simple, so the columns should explain themselves, but there are 2 that might not be so straightforward. Firstly the "Last Volume" column is there so I can see what the last volume I own of each series is. The "In Between" column is in case I skip a volume - either accidentally or because the store doesn't have that particular volume. It's pretty clean right now, and I'm actually proud of that, though those 5 volumes that I've missed are digging at me! Also the rows in red are the series I intend to get in the future, despite having plenty of ongoing series in the list already.

Seem a little boring? Here's the whole collection in photograph format!

Enough of that for now though. This is the first blog in a while, mainly because I haven't really had anything to blog about. I can assure you though that there will be more blogs coming... eventually. My schedule is pretty blank until Halo: Reach comes out - I'll be pre-ordering the Special Edition for that, and I'll probably do an impressions or review blog for that. After that comes the biggest release of the year for me: Fallout New Vegas! It's going to be quite epic, and I've already decided what my first play style will be (tank/heavy weapons). Besides those two, I have basically nothing going on until November. How boring.

Lego Batman Review

The Lego games have been some of my favourites for a long time. As a child I loved Lego the most out of all my different toys, and even now there are a few kits I'd love to buy and collect, though I'd never actually play with them like I did as a kid. The Lego series of games keep the fun that makes Lego so unique. I picked this up for a mere $6.95 at EB.

The premise of the Lego games is, and always has been, pretty simple. Levels are linear, and you'll usually know exactly what to do to get to the next area. You take control of at least 2 characters, and each usually has their own talents, like jumping high or super strength. You'll need to use these talents to solve relatively simple puzzles and move on.

Lego Batman is no different to the rest of the Lego games. The setting and characters have changed, but it's still the same game underneath. This is by no means a bad thing. In this installment you take control of Batman and Robin in one mode, as well as many of the series' super villains in another mode. The stories of these modes remains the same, just in one you are trying to stop the villains and in another you are the villains trying to achieve your goals. Though the stories are the same between modes, the levels are not, so each story feels different from the other. The story is told though humorous cutscenes, and it's incredibly easy to follow, even though there is no spoken dialogue, as is a trademark of the Lego series.

During the levels you'll find yourself collecting things that will be familiar if you've played any of the other Lego games - there are 10 mini-kit parts per level, one red brick used to unlock cheats, and of course thousands of little studs. These studs, as always, are the currency in the game, and can be used to unlock new characters and cheats. The purchasable characters in this game aren't as interesting as they were in other games, due to the dual story; you unlock any characters you play as, meaning you'll unlock most of the villains as you progress. This is a slight annoyance to those like myself who usually take a break between levels to see what is new, but overall it doesn't affect the game too much.

So as you can probably tell, the old and often mentioned saying, 'If it ain't broke don't fix it', is pretty fitting for the Lego games. They're all ridiculously fun, even more so if you are playing with a friend, and have very little flaws. However... the flaws are there. They always have been there, right from the first Lego Star Wars game, and it's quite a shame that the developers, Traveller's Tales, are taking the saying too literally.

For instance, there are many ares with respawning enemies. This is a big no-no in game design, and yet it's in every Lego game I have played! Sure the enemies are easy to kill, but how are you meant to concentrate on the puzzles when new enemies appear from nowhere every 10 seconds? In fact, almost every flaw the game has is related to the enemies. Often they'll head straight for whatever character you're playing as, leaving your partner alone. Many times I've seen them run right by Robin and head directly for me playing as Batman, and Robin will just stand there doing nothing! And when your partner does fight, they may as well be whacking the enemies with a newspaper. I don't think I've ever seen my partner take down an enemy without me taking control.

Finally, the partner AI is pretty stupid. They'll follow you everywhere, but they won't really do anything other than that. There are usually doors that need opening by both characters standing on a switch at the same time, or pulling a lever at the same time, and the AI will do those pretty easily, but that's about as helpful as they get. Even that is sometimes painful. At one point I needed to get Batman and Robin onto a dual-person switch on top of a platform. Every time I got on the platform as Batman, I fell off and had to do it again, but Robin would make it on. Then, as I'd go back up, Robin would jump off and follow me! Surely it's not hard for him to stand there and wait for me...

That said, it's still an excellent game. Graphics are okay, nothing special, but they don't really need to be. The sound is great, with excellent background music and sound effects. Best of all is, and always has been in Lego games, the gameplay. As always there is lots of replayability here - my tip is to finish all of the stories, unlock all the characters and then go back and do each level again in free play, because you won't be able to get everything unless you've unlocked certain characters.

My verdict - Buy it! Don't make the common mistake of overlooking it because it's Lego. It may be aimed at children, but it's so much fun that you won't care.

E3 - Nintendo Press Conference Thoughts

Okay, time for the Big N to show us why they are king! Or... something like that.

- New Zelda game... I'm actually over Zelda. This doesn't excite me as much as it should.
- Okay, so now they're showing us how it controls.
- It's basically what Twilight Princess was meant to be, but wasn't. Bit late Nintendo...
- This looks terrible to control. Half the time he's swinging and nothing is happening.
- Haha, it took him 5 swings of the Wii remote to throw one bomb.
- Miyamoto is claiming that they are having some difficulties, and that it usually runs smoothly. Riiiight.
- LOZ: Skyward Sword won't be out until next year.
- Apparently characters look real on the Wii. Well that's a blatant lie.
- New Mario sports game is called Mario Sports Mix. Coming next year, games include hockey and basketball.
- Now comes the bragging about how Nintendo is the best. Seriously Reggie, get over it.
- "We have sold 20 billion copies of everything we've ever made!"
- Wii Party - sounds like a fetish porno.
- Haha, Nintendo is trying to top Harmonix's Dance Central with Just Dance 2. Good luck...
- Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is up now. Looks boring to me, don't see why it's so anticipated.
- A new Goldeneye game is coming out. Exclusive for Wii. Prediction: It will be disappointing.
- It'll also be out this year.
- Hahahaha. New Disney game is titled Disney Epic Mickey. Whoever named that should be shot.
- The main selling point of this is a painting mechanic that lets you paint things into the world, or erase them.
- A new Kirby game is coming for the Wii... I think. The stream is crappy, I have no video at all, just audio.
- It's called Kirby's Epic Yarn. Yo Nintendo - Adding 'epic' to your game titles won't make them better.
- Dragon Quest IX - coming in 26 days to the US (So like 5 months for us)
- Metroid: Other M is up now. I can't see it but I can tell by the music and sound effects.
- Still trying to find a better stream. Trying and failing.
- Okay, got video back up.
- I feel a new Metriod title coming on.
- Oh no, it's Donkey Kong! I assume this is for Wii, where's the DS love? :(
- It's called Donkey Kong Country Returns.
- The 3DS is now being talked about.
- Won't need 3D glasses. That's a plus.
- Looks like you'll be able to turn the 3D off if you want, or make the effect stronger.
- It also includes heaps of other additions, like a slide pad for analog control and accelerometer.
- You'll be able to watch 3D movies on it. Yay, let's all strain our eyes! It was bad enough on the PSP...
- A new game with that angel dude I don't care about has been announced.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising.
- Don't know if this is for the 3DS or Wii... can't tell.
- It's 3DS.
- I can't understand half of the things this guy is saying...
- So the 3DS connects to wifi points all the time, even when it's off.
- Yay, Nintendogs and Cats!
- Now he's quickly going through some 3rd party games that will be made for 3DS.
- Big cheers for Metal Gear, Resident Evil and Kingdom Hearts.
- Laughter for Saints Row.
- Now some industry people are talking about how cool 3DS is. I wonder how much they got paid.
- Oh, apparently the 3DS has a 3D camera too.
- You heard it here first - Nintendo 3DS is the ONLY thing worth seeing at E3!
- 3DS will make fluffy dogs come out of the screen and into your arms.
- Nintendo is giving the people in the crowd a 3DS to trial... the 3DS is chained to a lady!
- Microsoft's free Xbox 360s was a much better sign-off.
- No Nintendo, you haven't raised the bar. You've just jumped on the 3D bandwagon.

So that's it for Nintendo! I miss Cammie and the crazy drum guy. Not too bad though, because they really brought it with the hardcore titles. There was hardly anything exclusively casual!

Now I'm going to bed, because there's no way I'm staying up past 4am!

E3 - Microsoft Press Conference Thoughts

Alright, it's 1:30am and I'm waiting for the MS press conference to start. I plan on leaving my thoughts for all 3 of the main conferences, so time to get started on this one!

- First up is COD: Black Ops. Looks good, but the game's not really on my radar.
- MGS: Rising now. I was thinking that this wouldn't be a big deal, but the sword mechanic looks awesome. Can't wait to kill some watermelon!
- The sexy beast of gaming, Cliffy B, is up!
- Live Gears 3 footage! Awesome! Loving it so far! The new Lambent enemies, especially that badass with the mouth lasers! Also female Gears - unnecessary, but I can see why they did it.
- Peter Molyneux is on stage. Yawn... so over him now.
- Fable III will be totally unlike the other Fable games! Yeah, heard that before >_>
- Okay, so we get a trailer for Fable III. Looks... like Fable really. It's a shame the trailer is made like a shitty movie trailer.
- New gladiator-style Crytek game looks promising. Can't wait to cave some skulls.
- Halo Reach = awesome. Specifics that I'm loving: Assault rifle sounds like a REAL WEAPON NOW! :O! Takedown move on Elite looks awesome. And was that space battle gameplay footage?! Awesome!
- Okay, boring stuff now. Kinect (Natal) seems to be the big talking point.
- The song they want you to play on Zune? Justin Bieber. /wrists
- Some more boring stuff, I wasn't paying attention.
- ESPN partnering with Xbox. Yawn.
- "Oh hai, I'm an ESPN dude, I makes sports jokes so you know I'm cool *thumbs up*"
- The guy talking about Kinect looks like a hobo...
- There's now a small child on stage playing with a tiger called "Skittles" via Kinect. She's creeping me out.
- The tiger is cute though.
- This game looks like some random fun, but as a Kinect exclusive, I doubt I'll ever get it.
- Now: Kinect Sports, a game where your 360 avatar plays some sports! Sound familiar? I wonder if this will be free with Kinect...
- Hurdles? Seriously? Yeah, cause I always want to run on the spot and jump like an idiot...
- Wow, racing with Kinect looks worse than it does on the Wii...
- The woman playing the game is annoying me with her terrible self-commentary.
- Now a game where you jump around to collect tokens... Kinect is just looking like Eye Toy now.
- And now some soccer moms are playing a rafting game. MS are obviously whoring themselves out to casuals just like Nintendo. Hopefully when they fail they turn back to the hardcore games.
- A fitness game is next. Very original Ubisoft.
- Ubi must have paid MS quite a bit, they're spending much more time showing this than pretty much every other game shown at this conference.
- I'll admit, the punching part of this demo looks fun. The rest of the game however... boring.
- "No other exercise option gives you what we do!" Yeah, except, you know, going outside and actually doing it.
- Oh damn, Harmonix is bringing a dancing game out for Kinect. Looks like I'll probably be forced to buy it by my DDR-loving girlfriend...
- Kinect release date: November 4th in the US
- New Star Wars game exclusive for Kinect. Looks pretty cool, but we didn't get to see what the person playing was doing.
- Now some guy from Turn 10 is talking about how Forza 3 works with Kinect.
- Okay, so apparently they couldn't do a PGR-style, walk-around garage without Kinect...
- You can also sit in the car. Cool I guess, but you can still do that with a controller.
- 360 Slim announced, predictable. Awesome looking, built in Wi-Fi and 250GB hard drive! And apparently it will be the same price as the old one (don't know what model).
- Being shipped in US today, in stores by the end of the week!
- Everybody in the audience gets a free one. Lucky bastards.

That's it for the MS press conference! The announcement of the new 360 was worth waiting for! I shall be back tomorrow night for the Microsoft and Sony conferences!

Red Dead Review

Set in 1911, Red Dead Redemption is one of only a few games in the western genre. Why aren't there more games in this genre, I don't know. Frankly, I don't care, because this is the only one that matters. It's just that good.

You play as John Marston, a man who has lived his life in the classic outlaw fashion. He's robbed banks, shot Indians and ridden horses all his life. But his gang members betrayed him. Left him for dead. So he decided to turn his life around. Start a family. Go straight. Unfortunately, it wasn't so easy. His past has caught up with him. The government is holding his family hostage, and he won't see them again unless he hunts down and kills his old gang buddies. This is where Red Dead Redemption starts.

The storyline is engaging. It's full of memorable characters, standard western cliches and emotion. For me, the last one is what matters most. Rockstar have built this story out of emotion, and they expect you to care about the characters, your actions and the overall outcome. They succeeded in this. I won't spoil anything for those who haven't played the game, but it does get pretty emotional at certain times. The ending is especially unique. It's unlike anything I've experienced in a game before, and it will stay with me for a long time. Everything comes together for something truly memorable.

But the story is not the only thing that is memorable. The overall atmosphere is the best I have ever seen. No exceptions. As you ride up to an abandoned house, you really get the feeling that it was once somebodies home. As you're riding across the plains you'll spot birds in the distance, the setting sun making them all the more visible and easy to spot. The sky darkens and rain starts to fall. You want to get out of the rain, even though it has no effect on anything. The thunder rumbling in the distance makes you want to snuggle down somewhere and sleep through the storm.

The first thing that makes up this atmosphere is the game world itself. First of all, the map is huge. Even after over 50 hours of play time, there were interesting places I was stumbling across for the first time. The world also contains varied environments: plains, deserts, swamps, woods and mountains. And in each of these environments live animals. These animals you can hunt, and sell their skins and meat for money. They aren't just there as a source of income through. They are there to make the world feel more real. This is an alive world, and the animals reinforce that. The only other Rockstar game with this kind of scope was GTA San Andreas. It was filled with open space, but it all felt empty. There is none of that here. You could be walking through a featureless desert and it would not feel empty, because you can see the hawks flying overhead, hear the coyotes barking and chasing each other.

Not only that, but the world is full of interesting places to visit. Classical western towns like Armadillo, Mexican villages like Chuparosa and the beginnings of a modern city: Blackwater. These places are filled with life. Dogs barking and running around, chickens pecking at the ground, raccoons sneaking around at night trying to find something to steal. But of course, there are the people too. The sheriff, putting up wanted posters outside the prison. Prostitutes selling themselves to anybody who will listen. Drunks staggering around the street. The people are just as important as the animals in making up this world.

The next part the atmosphere is the graphics. They are, simply put, amazing. I have it on 360, but I know the graphics are nowhere near as good on the PS3 (my brother has it on PS3. He has a much better TV than I do, and the 360 version is still better on mine) Usually I would say that the graphical difference doesn't matter, but it really does. This is the first game where I would say that graphics are as important to me as gameplay. Because they pull you into the world, and they keep you there. At the time of writing there are a few graphical glitches, but they are so minor that it's hardly worth mentioning.

The final part of the excellent atmosphere is the sounds. Hawks screeching from above, a train chugging past, wolves howling. These all serve to immerse you further into the world. And the music! The music is authentic western music, usually not worth mentioning, but the way it is used is just so perfect. Not to mention the typical saloon music you'll here as you pass a saloon in town. I thought I would miss the radio from the GTA games while riding across the plains, but I don't.

The gameplay is typical of a Rockstar game: varied and excellent. Dueling is fun, though I only really got the hang of it once I looked it up online. I probably should have read the tutorial more carefully. Everything else, from shootouts to riding your horse, feels polished and smooth. The only criticism I have on this part is that changing weapons in a hurry takes a bit of getting used to. The animations and physics have been stepped up a notch from GTA IV, and the difference is noticeable. While taking cover, John will flinch and duck as bullets come flying towards him. It really makes it feel more real.

Red Dead Redemption is a game that I hope I never forget. It's the best game I have played all year, and quite possible the best I have ever played. It really deserves all the praise it gets. And from me, it gets a 10.

Updates (14/05/10)

Alrighty, here's what I've been up to!

Finished Assassin's Creed 2. One word: Awesome. Three words: Give me more! Having finished the 2nd one 100% (Including all achievements!) I can now say that Assassin's Creed is one of my top game series, in the top 10 at least. The story is so compelling and the gameplay is a delight too. The repetition that many, including myself, complained about in the first one is totally gone. Sure, there are repetitive things in the second one too, such as courier missions and races, but the best part is that these are completely optional (bar a few essential ones at the very start of the game). The whole money system works surprisingly well; after reading reviews saying that the villa was pointless I didn't expect to enjoy it so much! Sure it's not very hard to get money, but I loved upgrading the town and collecting all the paintings for the villa. I just wish the town was bigger and that you could upgrade the actual villa itself (beyond the paintings). I hope it makes a return in the inevitable third installment. One of the best parts about the game was the glyphs! They are non-essential, but provide so much backstory, and some great puzzles too. In all it was a brilliant game, and I can't wait for the next one!

Finished Fracture. This was pretty fun. Unlike Assassin's Creed 2 it was neither long or all that interesting story-wise, but the terraforming aspect is a new and welcome change. The gameplay was solid, if a little bland. Story was uninspired. But the music was great! Orchestral quality. It really reminded me that I was playing a Lucasarts game, because you can tell that they had a hand in it. It's Star Wars scale music. Overall I'm glad I didn't pay full price when it came out, but it's a good addition to my game library.

New games. I picked up Lost Planet on the day after my previous blog, and just yesterday I grabbed the XBLA Unplugged Volume 1 collection for just 4 bucks at EB. I used to laugh at those collections, but it's actually pretty good value. I only wanted one game in the collection, Bejeweled 2, which would have set me back 400 MSP. Considering 500 MSP is about $8.25, I consider that a bargain. Best of all, the disk is in near mint condition. I don't think the previous owners knew how to use it...

Manga. I got all 12 volumes of manga I had ordered from Borders. I have only read 1 so far, but I plan to start on the rest tonight. This brings my total manga volumes to 106! If anybody wants to know what they all are, leave a comment and I'll do a blog about it, maybe with pictures too!

The boring stuff. Tafe is going well for me, though I'm not very motivated about most of the classes, the exception being Flash where we have moved on to making simple Flash games. I am making one where you gotta kill demon sheep, while sparing the regular ones. I might put it online once it's done. A word of warning though: It will be really basic, it will be really easy, and my artwork will be crap.

That's all for now, hope you are all well!

A spending spree!

On Monday, my brother surprised me by asking to buy my old PC that I don't use anymore since I've got my much better laptop. He asked how much I wanted for it, so I said $500. He was happy with that, I was happy with that, and today I got that money. And almost immediately I spent it all. My bad. Here's a list of my swag:

- 6 volumes (3-8) of Suzuka
- Red Dead Redemption pre-order
- Assassin's Creed 2
- Just Cause 2
- Mirror's Edge
- Fracture
- Turok
- Bionic Commando

Now I know those last 3 are a bit on the average side, but I've been wanted to play them for a while, and Gametraders had a buy 2 get 1 free deal going on, so I decided to take them up on it. On top of that, I also got a present for my better half, though that will remain a secret until she gets it!

I'm also super excited about my manga purchases. Though, due to the whole volcano barf thing going on in Europe, they won't ship for a while. It's annoying, but also more exciting, since I already bought 6 volumes last week. This shipping delay means that I'll be getting 12 volumes all at once! Exciting!!!

But now comes the hard part... what to play first?!

Into Oblivion

So, on Friday I finally picked up Oblivion on the 360. Sadly it wasn't the GOTY edition, but when I saw it for $25 in EB I couldn't resist. I've been playing it pretty much non-stop, and wow... What can I say about it that hasn't been said before? It's awesome. It combines everything I loved about Fallout 3 with an engaging fantasy environment. Love it. I think I'm somewhere near the end of the main storyline, though I've still got tons of sidequests left to do. I should probably take it slowly, since it will be the last new game I get until Red Dead Redemption. After that's done I'll probably start on the Oblivion DLC, which will cost me a bundle. 2400 MS points for Shivering Isles alone! I'm told it's worth it though, and I'm inclined to believe that!

Pokemon Heart Gold Impressions


So, Pokemon Heart Gold arrived on Wednesday, and yes, I have been playing it pretty much non-stop. I have the first 8 badges, and I'm up to the lead up to the Elite 4.

So, what can I say? Wow. It's a near-perfect remake. Everything is here. The same old towns, Pokemon and characters that you remember from the originals. Just better. Better graphics, better sound, better items. That's not to say it's ALL good.

Some things have taken a step backwards. One for example, is lack of a VS. Seeker. For those who have forgotten or haven't played newer games, the VS. Seeker is an item you can use to see if trainers you have battled before want to fight again. It's an incredibly simple concept, but one with infinite value, since this lets you level your Pokemon up easily. You can choose the area, for example if you want to train a grass Pokemon you can go to the water and use it, and you'll have a type advantage. So you can see why I miss it. You can still have rematches with trainers, but they have to call you up for one, which can be a pain since they might not call for a long time. You can also call specific trainers yourself, but they will only want to battle at certain times.

Which leads me to the next point, the PokeGear. It was in the originals too, but they should have learned from the Poketch and modified it a bit! Instead of the time or other useful information being displayed on the bottom screen, you just have a menu, your running shoes and 2 registered key items. The 2 items thing is good, but only one is set to a button (the other you need to touch the icon). I don't see why, when so many buttons are unused. There are 5 buttons that could be used for registering items, but instead we only get one, and the rest go unused.

That said, it's still an awesome game. It's perfect for anybody, be it those who are just getting into Pokemon, or a hardcore Pokemaniac like myself. Well worth it!

Just an update


So I've been out of blogging action for a while. No specific reason for this... I just haven't had anything to blog about. The next blog I do will be a Pokemon Heart Gold impressions blog though, I pre-ordered that last night from GAME's online store. Gold version was my favourite game for a long time... actually I think it only got beaten when Ruby came out. So yeah, safe to say that I'm super excited for it. I'll do that blog on the first day I get the game, and after I finish most of it I'll do a proper review.

That's all for now, hope you've all been well.

Week 1 wrapup

Okay, so after a long period of unemployment and sitting around at home playing games, last year I decided to do something productive with my time. Not that accumulating gamerscore isn't productive, but something that "normal" people would consider productive. So I enrolled for a Tafe course, Certificate IV in Multimedia.

This week was my first week of said course, and I'm having mixed feelings about it. The course isn't at all what I expected... I thought we would be working with mainly sound/video/graphics editing tools, because last time I looked it up in detail (back in '07) that's more or less what the course was.

The course has changed since then, it's now basically a gaming course. Not programming (whew!) but the art side of it. Now, I didn't really want to do this. Sure I like games, but I never want to work in the industry. That said however, this course does cover things that I would like to learn more about just for my own personal interest, not professionally. I've decided to stick with it - unless I manage to find a job in like... 2-3 weeks, I'm going to keep doing the course (because after that time you can't get a refund on your course fees).

The main things I was looking forward to was Art and Design, where we use Photoshop and stuff like that, 2D Animation, self explanatory, and Game Design, which from what I can tell is more the theory of games rather than the technical and visual aspects. Surprisingly, something that I wasn't really looking forward to that much, 3D Modeling, was one of my favourite classes this week, along with 2D Animation. We also have a Project class, where we are going to build a working game (working with the Diploma Multimedia and Diploma Programming students) so that should be interesting.

At the moment I don't really care too much if I pass or fail the course. Passing would be nice, but that's not my main goal. My main goal is simply to learn, and if I pass the course while learning, that's an extra. Having said that, it's not like I'm going to slack off on assessments or anything like that! No way!


In other, unrelated news, I started a 'cleanup' playthrough of Mass Effect 2 last week, after finishing the game with only 4 achievements left. Finishing this playthrough will leave me with 1 left - the one for completing the game on Insane difficulty. I was planning on doing this playthrough on Insane, but after dying about 7 times on the first group of mechs after the story mode, I decided to give Insane a pass for now, and attempt it after finishing this one.

Now this isn't just for achievements, nope. This playthrough is with a different character, imported from Mass Effect 1, with basically every decision in the original game the opposite of my first playthrough. I wanted to see just how much the story is affected by these choices. Also I wanted to be good instead of evil, see what benefits, if any, it brings.

Mass Effect 2

So for the past few days I've been totally absorbed in Mass Effect 2. It finally arrived from EBs online store... 6 days after it was released! For a pre-order, that's very poor... won't be pre-ordering from there again, I should have just dealt with the crappy salespeople. But whatever, it arrived intact and sealed so I'm not too annoyed.

First of all, I gotta say it is a brilliant game. All the reviews I've read have said it was a total improvement from the original, and it is. There were a few different things that I had to get used to, but after a couple of hours I didn't even notice those. The story is better, even though it is, at times, painfully linear. The character interactions were a surprise to me. I knew they would be in there, but it just seems like they are a gigantic step up from the first game. The characters themselves are also more interesting than the first game, and the character loyalty missions add more depth to them too.

The weapons system has been simplified... almost too much so. Now you only get 2 of each weapon, except for the few character specific weapons and heavy weapons. Gone are the weapon stats, finding new weapons everywhere and having to compare them to your current ones. I thought that only being able to change your weapons around  once or twice a mission would be a pain, but you never need to change anyway. It's disappointing, but it's only a minor part of the game overall.

As a whole: 10/10!

Borderlands Impressions

So, Borderlands. This is the latest game I've gotten hooked on, having played for over 50 hours on multiple playthroughs since I bought it last Saturday. Most of that has been co-op with my brother, which is a blast. Though it's kind of annoying, since he goes for the loot as soon as he can, and most of the time it's me fighting the enemies and him running for the weapons chests to get first pick. Sometimes I just want to kick him in the head for being so damn greedy. Whats worse is that whenever I do that, to prevent him from taking everything, he has a big sad about it! But whatever, most of the time the loot is crap anyway. But onwards to my impressions.

The game is great. No question about that. However there are a few issues I have with it. Most of them are small though. First up, the biggest, is the story and ending. Now I'm not going to spoil it, but I think both are crap. The story is really weak, and the ending is too. Next is that the game includes a lot of copy and pasting from other games. You buy your guns, ammo and health from vending machines. Bioshock. Not only that but the machines also look and sound like Bioshock's vending machines. The Spiderants, an enemy in the game, are straight from Half Life 2. Not only do they look like it, but one sound they make is the same sound the Antlion Guards (the big ones) make in HL2. The shield and health warning sound is taken from Halo 3. This might all sound like nitpicking, but it's there and it's noticeable. It's just a little disappointing, that's all. And finally - invisible walls. Now that's just cheap. Don't give us interesting looking places to go, then put an invisible wall there so we can't get to it! I guess after all the Fallout 3 I've played, I expect to be able to go places easily.

Besides those 3 small points I have no problems with the game. Sure the creatures drop weapons and ammo, which is totally illogical, but the game explains itself in a loading screen by saying that the creatures of Pandora eat everything. Good excuse. On to the good parts of the game then!

The art style is a refreshing change. It's not "Omg!!!" like I've heard many people say it is. It's just cell shaded. It's been done before, get over it. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't look nice, because it does. The guns are cool looking... I think the whole "No two guns are the same!!!" thing is cool, but not that special. Usually it's just a change in accuracy or power. Umm... besides that I can't really think of any stand out good things. It's one of those games where no one thing really stands out, but all together it adds up to be a great game. Totally recommend, though it doesn't have the replayability as some others.


Okay, now that's done, as you may know I posted a blog on Gamespot recently. No, I am not going back. Basically it's just an advertisement for this blog. Yes, I am sneaky like that. What prompted me to do it was a comment from FlamingR1ft on my last blog. He was one of my buds on Gamespot, but he had no idea that I had moved, thanks the the abrupt nature of my departure. This made me think that there might be people on that site who might want to read this blog too. Now I'm not looking for an influx of readers, I'm not looking for any attention, I just wanted to promote this blog to people that already know me, and might not know of my move here. And on that note, I am out of things to write! See you next time!

Updates (12/01/10)

Oops! I know I said I'd do a blog around the 29th but I totally forgot... But better late than never, eh? The reason I left it so late is because as you probably know Jessica, my girlfriend, came to visit from the Gold Coast. And now she is gone :(. But life goes on, and I am now eagerly awaiting her next visit... sadly it will be in 5-6 months though. However, in that time I have more than a few games to keep me occupied! They are:
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Borderlands
  • Braid
  • Castle Crashers
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
  • Mass Effect 2 (pre-ordered the special edition)
  • Prototype
  • World In Conflict + Soviet Assault expansion
That's not including the few games in my collection that I have yet to finish from a while back (Prince of Persia, Stranglehold, GRAW, Banjo Tooie, etc)

That's it for this blog really... yeah, not very big. See you soon.