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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Crysis 3 Xbox 360 Review - 9.75/10

As you may or may not know (or care at all), I've been going to school recently. As you may know school costs a lot of money which I am fronting myself. So when my paycheck rolls around, I have to choose very carefully what to buy. Good thing is today I made the right decision in this game. I'd like to say I have not played the first game but I have played the second.

The Good:
Of course the graphics are amazing, however, playing it on the console version is a noticeable drop graphically. Whether it's simple shadings or texture drops it's noticeable first off but gets better as you play. By the third level, I had completely forgotten.
The enemies are extremely smart, even on the lowest difficulty... perhaps too smart. Whenever you get near one of them, usually they always run off in a different direction, causing your cloak to be negated or simply forcing you to trail after them. Another unusual thing is that enemies won't see you if you're cloaked and a certain ways away (which is realistic) but if you are uncloaked and behind them, they can notice you instantly. I'm chocking this up to sounds as they do play a vital role in stealth gameplay.
The weapons feel amazing. There's always some sort of kick to one of them, even the bow slightly. Getting hit while firing or aiming also causes your aim to divert slightly, forcing you to adjust to situations accordingly. Speaking of which, the learning experience in this is fantastic. Using your telescopic sight is not needed but is incredibly smart if you want to survive longer. You can mark enemies for hunting or just to know where they are at all times.
I also like how you can mark things other than enemies such as upgrades, ammo caches and even weapons themselves. I know people complain about how you can find collectibles on the map but if you don't want that they don't use it then.
The skybox is amazing. I know that technically goes with graphics but still it deserves to be in it's own category. Never static and always lively, colorful and interesting. Changing with each arena and never being the same.
What I love about the Crysis games is that they're an FPS and yet they have these massive arenas to dick around in. Plus, no times limit. Even when it's doomsday and there's a "Hey do this or else!" I can still take my sweet time.
The multiplayer is by far the most fun I've ever had with any multiplayer. There are so many modes I can choose from and each one of them is unique in their own way. Somehow everything is balanced, whereas in games like Battlefield, getting to high or low in levels can become hell for you or other players. This may be because of the game being only like a week old but I just bought the game today and I've been on the highs and lows with people on upwards of level 20.
The voice acting (in the campaign) is really good. Hitting all their lines just perfectly only adding to a great video gaming experience.

The Bad:
In such a large game there's bound to be a lot of bugs, right? Well not this one. There's practically none. Why is this in the bad section? Well I said practically. In about the second level there were a few bugs but none too bad or a big eyesore. There is a problem with one of the Ceph that every so often when they attack they turn into their character models by standing still in the air with their arms to the sides. It's a minor bad thing but still, bad.
The main problem I have with these games is the less replay-ability. It's not a bad thing but there's always that thought running through my mind of me not having anymore fun with this game after a while.

The Meh:
It is a common fact that by now all FPSs have at least a tad bit of cliche in it, and this game is no exception. Whether it is for the player gameplay wise or for the story, yes a slight bit of cliche runs through here, but it's not a bad thing. At least it's not on the levels of a military shooter in which a line is so over used or blown out of proportion that you have to mention it specifically. I understand it's a bit difficult to bypass all of the little familiarities so I won't knock it for that.
I said before that you have an objective but they say it (with words) and you won't really see it again in most cases. In military shooters, you'll constantly be barked your orders which is irritating and aggravating but has given us as gamers a crutch from which we can't come back from. They give you your orders and it's up to you for the rest with little handholding. This became slightly a problem in the second mission when I was being attacked by Ceph and told to fix my HUD. I had no idea where it was and after about twenty minutes I finally figured where I was supposed to go. Again not bad because of the freedom but others with feel a tad bit aggravated when they have no idea what to do other than a "Go here" rather than a step by step on how to do it. Both are bad in their own ways but Crysis did it better because I'd rather fail and not know and be able to do it once more, than fail and have in constantly in my face.
I said before I played Crysis 2. The problem I have with this is the story makes no sense at all. The main character is Prophet. Wait... what happened to Alcatraz? You know from the last game? And... didn't Prophet commit suicide? Well... yes. In fact they keep showing you flashes of his death. Where it ventures from being bad into tolerable is my own questions like, "Who is actually in the suit?" "Did Prophet really die?" However, this goes back to being slightly bad at the end credits when they basically make sure you're not confused... while confusing you. It's not bad because I like the thoughts I had. It kept me guessing to the end and personally, the end wasn't bad but I liked my final thoughts a bit better. It's an evolving narrative and it works decently well.


All in all this is a very solid game. There was a bit I didn't mention but that was because it didn't really stand out to me. Buy it if you love shooters and don't buy it if you have taste.

eBay Updates the User Agreement

I received a message from eBay, sometime this morning, about changes to their "user agreement". These are important to follow a read for many obvious reasons. Changes to the agreement usually mean trouble for you as a user unless a new law went into effect which may give you a slight advantage than previously.

Regardless, it is important to follow up and review these to know your rights as a user and member of any of these online services.

Below is a full copy and paste of the e-mail minus all of the extra stuff that talks about eBay as a business. The X's after "dear" are where my name was but has been removed to keep my anonymity.

Updates to the eBay User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Buyer Protection Policy 
Dear XXXXX,
We are writing to let you know about updates to the eBay User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Buyer Protection Policy. The updated User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Buyer Protection Policy were posted on www.ebay.com on February 4, 2013. The updated User Agreement and Privacy Policy are effective immediately for new members and on March 26, 2013 for current members. The updated Buyer Protection Policy is effective on April 9, 2013.
eBay User Agreement
Key updates to the eBay User Agreement:
  • Provisions regarding use of eBay's mobile applications. To cover the growing popularity and use of eBay's mobile applications and to provide for possible new ways we may display the terms and conditions applicable to them in the future, we added references to these applications throughout.

  • Updates relating to eBay's contacts with members. We updated provisions of the User Agreement to provide further clarity regarding the purposes for and circumstances under which eBay or its service providers may contact members using autodialed or prerecorded voice message calls and/or text messages and the circumstances under which eBay may share members' contact information with members of the eBay corporate family or other parties.

  • Updates to the Disclaimer of Warranties, Limitation of Liability and Listing Conditions provisions. We updated the Disclaimer of Warranties and Limitation of Liability provisions to recognize additional circumstances or occurrences where eBay's liability is limited, including for decisions by eBay to end or remove listings, and disclaim warranties with any pricing, shipping or other guidance eBay provides in its sites, services, applications, or tools. The Listing Conditions provision has also been updated to specifically recognize eBay's right to end listings.

  • Updates to the provisions governing how disputes between eBay and users are resolved. The updated User Agreement includes updates to the Legal Disputes provision, mostly to the Agreement to Arbitrate, including updates pertaining to the scope of these provisions and who has authority to resolve disputes relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability or formation of the User Agreement or the Agreement to Arbitrate, among others. Also, we added a link to a printable form new members may use to opt-out of the Agreement to Arbitrate provision.

  • Updates to the Buyer Protection provision. We updated the provision to reflect our ability to remove funds from a seller's PayPal account in a currency other than the currency of the transaction at issue where the seller does not have sufficient funds available in the transaction currency.

  • Updates to the terms related to international selling. To simplify and improve readability of these terms, we updated them into an International Selling Policy without changing their substance.
eBay Privacy Policy
Key updates to the eBay Privacy Policy:
  • Update to the provisions relating to international users. We updated provisions regarding international users of our sites, application, services and tools to clarify data controller and contracting entity relationships.

  • Provisions regarding mobile privacy. We updated language regarding mobile use and access to our sites, applications, services, and tools.

  • Provisions relating to children's privacy. To reflect that our sites, applications, services, and tools are not directed at nor do we knowingly collect information regarding children under the age of 13, we updated these provisions.

  • Updates relating to the description of our collection and use of personal information. We included updates relating to our collection and use of personal information.

  • Provisions relating to our disclosure of your personal information. We updated language regarding information sharing within our eBay's corporate family and with corporate affiliates in order to operate joint services and service offerings, such as Bill Me Later.
eBay Buyer Protection Policy
Key updates to the eBay Buyer Protection Policy:
  • Communications between buyers and sellers. We are making changes to allow buyers and sellers to communicate more efficiently about transaction issues. A buyer must first contact a seller via the Resolution Center and wait a reasonable amount of time as specified in the Resolution Center before asking eBay to review and resolve the issue. Communications from buyers for item not received and significantly not as described transactions will be centralized and presented in the Resolution Center to help facilitate an efficient resolution.

  • Updates relating to seller's performance ratings. Opened cases will no longer count against a seller's performance rating. Only unresolved eligible cases that are escalated to eBay for a decision may count against a seller's performance rating.

  • Provisions relating to PayPal accounts. We have updated the Policy to reflect our ability to remove funds from a seller's PayPal account in a currency other than the currency of the transaction at issue where the seller does not have sufficient funds available in the transaction currency.

As with previous updates, other changes have been made to keep the User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Buyer Protection Policy up-to-date with our product and service offerings.We encourage you to review the updated User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Buyer Protection Policy to familiarize yourself with the updates.
You don't need to take any further action to accept the updated eBay User Agreement,Privacy Policy, and Buyer Protection Policy. If you choose not to accept the new terms, visit this help page for further direction.
Thank you for being a part of the eBay Community.
Sincerely,
The eBay Team
It's always a good idea to review these to make sure you're still going to have all of your rights as a consumer. It is these websites' legal duty to notify you of these changes so do take advantage of this opportunity whenever it arises.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Slowly Stepping onto the Cloud

When Cloud services began to be popular, I knew that I wouldn't join them immediately but join later and I've been slowly doing it.

I hated the idea of the Cloud at first and still do resent it in some ways. The main reason why I hate the idea of the Cloud is that it will eventually take over local storage.

Before I go any farther, let me explain what the Cloud is. The Cloud is not just one thing, it refers to many different services. Apple has made it famous with their iCloud, Google has Google Drive, Microsoft has SkyDrive, and other companies are coming along too. I was talking to someone, who owns an iPhone, about the Cloud and she was wondering how I had access to the Cloud on my non-Apple device. I tried to explain it to her that it's not just Apple that has a Cloud service. Actually, there have been companies before Apple that have been doing Cloud for a while. All the Cloud is, is simply storing files on a server via the internet. There are two reasons why it wasn't popular until recently.

As time goes on, we've expanded memory by a whole lot. It wasn't uncommon for people in the early 2000's to have a computer with less than 10 GB while now, it's odd if a computer doesn't have more than 150 GB of internal storage. At that time, it was also uncommon to have internet access in just about every part of the world, now, the internet is accessible from just about anywhere at high speeds. The speeds were another difference. Back then, dial-up was common and DSL was just coming in. Now we have fiberoptic cables and cable speeds which can help computers access the web more quickly.

When you access a website, your computer is contacting a server which is usually a really big computer or CPU. The website you are viewing is stored here in file form. That is the internet in a nutshell, connecting computers to each other.

Now, thanks to high speeds, bigger storage, and internet available just about anywhere on earth, the Cloud is now possible.

This is the next step in the evolution in the internet and will revolutionize how we use devices. While devices will be easier to carry, you won't be able to access 100% of your content all of the time or at the highest speeds. Imagine contacting a server located in China versus contacting a piece of hardware sitting right there in your hands. It's a much faster speed. I don't like the idea of the Cloud taking over everything because this will make it harder to hack operating systems as OSes will be used via a Cloud and also I won't be able to use my OS if I'm underground or anywhere else the internet is hard to contact.

But slowly and surly, I am making the move because a hybrid system is okay. As long as I can continue to have devices with huge amounts of memory, I don't mind using Cloud services.

Over the past few years of being with Android, I've moved to Google Music which is really great. I can carry my entire 32+ GB music library wherever I go and still have room for everything else. And if I want, I can have the option to download the songs that I listen to most. With Sprint's upgrades to their network, I have been seeing faster speeds so my content is easier to reach than before from my mobile device.

As of today, I have signed up with Google Drive to now have a Cloud for online storage. Mostly for back-ups than anything else. Many of Android's apps are utilizing the Cloud storage themselves such as Titanium Back-up which, I believe, will store back-ups to your Cloud. This has been a concern of mine as Android still hasn't been fixed as it will sometimes delete EVERYTHING from my device and external memory card which can be frustrating. All of my photos, videos, back-ups, and more just gone in a flash. With Google Drive, it'll be harder to lose this information as they will be secure on one of Google's servers.

However, the security is still a concern as mentioned years ago. Depending on which service you choose, your items may not be safe. Some websites have in their terms and agreements that they can access your information and use it however they like. Imagine storing documents with all of your personal information including social security information or storing projects for a new invention you're coming up with and people looking through these very personal files. So be careful if you do join and be sure to be smart and read their legal agreements to be sure you're safe. Also, remember that once it is uploaded to the internet, it's very hard to get rid of it. Some programs can actually recover previously deleted files which someone could easily do on a server. So be very careful.

I hope that we do not go solely to Cloud but continue to keep a hybrid system. This is much nicer. If something ever goes wrong with a server or the internet or your connection to it, you could be in big trouble. Having a system where we use the Cloud just for back-up or allowing more space on our devices is best. And for the average consumer who probably doesn't do too much like I would, maybe a thinner device with less storage would be okay for them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What the hell, Apple? (a look at Apple products)

I know this is out of my bounds seeing as I mostly do games. If you really feel I should tie this into gaming, check out http://www.metroidmetal.com/. After hours of frustratingly trying to find cool metal remixes to my favorite Metroid songs, there's one site which allowed me to find some of the coolest remixes I've heard, and it's mainly the biggest reason I downloaded iTunes today. I have had iTunes before, so I'm not a total weirdo in that regard. At first this was just going to be about iTunes but I found a lot more to talk about.

Let's get this clear: I'm a PC guy. Whether it's games, movies, songs, tv shows etc, I have been a PC since I was a child and that's my main reasons why I don't conform to Apple (we'll get to the 'conform' side of things later). I can say Apple's products are sleek and mostly well designed, I can help but feel a massive feeling of indifference. Sure their computers are sleeker and more 'futuristic' design of what people in the twenties would have thought of a sleek, small personal computation device as wide as my chest. Back to the indifference, why should I buy your crap? I say crap in an endearing term because I'm childish and in a few years it will be crap. Right now I'm on a PC built in with 6 gigs of RAM and can play Skyrim + mods with little to no lag time. Though it isn't Crysis worthy, it's a decent gaming PC/laptop. The going price for a nice ol' beauty like this would put me back around a thousand bucks, eight hundred if I'm active on sales and lucky. All in all, it does it's job. So why is it so wrong that I don't use your fancy Mac?... other than the reasons I've already listed.

I think everyone feels like the original Apple commercial: sticking it to the man and being a non-conformist. Apple is no doubt one of the most revolutionary companies out there and it was sad to see Steve Jobs pass. Even before his unfortunate passing, I never cared for Apple. It's always been the fancy equivalent (and more expensive) to most other things. What have I been using instead of iTunes? Zune. Quit your laughing and let me explain. For the entire time I had Zune it has updated once. Take not I have only downloaded it two times and the only time it did an update was in the 2 plus years I've had it. Apart from that, the menu design being amazingly simple, I can see my album art in plain view (what a concept!) and switch from albums and songs on the fly as well as being able to see what the album is via small blocks. Apart from that I can change the size of the windows for songs, artists and albums to suit my style of viewing. Movies, tv shows and music downloads are a breeze to find as well. "But iTunes has that as well." Yes it does, astute reader. But what it doesn't have is ease. You see, if you have the same Apple account on more than two computers, one computer will have to have their access deleted. So if you sold a computer with that on their you are screwed royally. On top of that, the menus are a bitch to navigate and sometimes things are vastly over priced. Also what the hell is with all the updates. The only reason I have iTunes is so I can put more songs onto my iPod. Yes I have an iPod but I didn't buy it, I would have much preferred the Zune for the reasons I mentioned above as well as the sleek design it had. I don't get why people felt it was so inferior. Apple had been dominating the market of mp3 players (ie. the iPod) and there were so many needless variations. Is a little change so bad? The only reason I keep my iPod is because well... I'm cheap and this thing has yet to break.

Back to computers, the cost of all Mac products are extremely high to their PC counterparts and the first question is why? I realize there are some things PCs don't have like Garage Band but even then, is that worth the extra hundreds you spent on it? The only thing I can think of in Apple is innovation. Not good innovation mind you. Like how you didn't get the iPhone 5 and instead got the iPhone 4S? Or how about how they are just now putting SOME games on Mac? The Mac is so stupidly designed it's baffling. Take the keyboard. Okay so we got all the numbers and all the letters, very good. Wait what is that and eject button? Not needed but I can see how it would come in handy. Wait, what the fuck is that? It looks like a symbol for a cult. Is Apple a cult? What do I even call that symbol? It's like a square then four circles around it. I'm sure Apple has come up with some "brilliant" name for that symbol of 'fuck-all'. Now Apple has done some good things, like they're the only company I know to have made a laptop thinner than a small text book. That way when I get pissed off about the new iTunes update, I can crack that sucker over my knee and be done with it.

I mentioned 'The Cult of Apple' above jokingly but it's not that idiotic. When I was in highschool, not too long ago, I never owned an Apple product nor cared. The first time I ever felt any negative feelings when it came to Apple was when people acted like elitists when they owned every single Apple accessory. I literally heard kids talk about how their Apple Earbuds were superior to other earbuds. I told them how I didn't care about Apple and immediately I was ostracized. The only two people that ever treated me halfway decent despite being big Apple supporters were my English teacher and a guy who was my friend. They both gave decent answers to why they were Apple users and most of those reasons were for job purposes. When I finally got an iPod for Christmas I was ecstatic. "Now no one can belittle me for not owning an Apple product," I said. I got to school and showed everyone to which they gave me at least a nod of approval. A few weeks later, I was listening to it in class and someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Hey what are you doing?" "Oh just listening to some music." "Not that, that's the old model. There's a completely new one out now." "What's different?" "It's bigger, sleeker and holds more songs. You need to get one."
Then it came back, Apple keeps putting out new things and if you're not in style, you might as well be a hermit. Truth is, Apple is an elitist club and not so much of a cult. It's members treat others badly and say how their's is the pinnacle of innovation, yet they can't even tell me a good reason to buy one. Truth is, Apple has strayed so far left from their original commercial of 'non-conformity' that they themselves have become a vessel for conforming. Me, I just want to listen to music. You can do what you like.

Monday, February 18, 2013

FedEx E-mail Scam

Check out the screenshot below.


This is one of the latest in e-mail scams that I received in the last week. Coming from a private e-mail address no less which made it funny and obviously a scam first-off. Check out who the sender is. If it was FedEx, it would have been from one of their e-mails, not some random person's personal e-mail account.

As always, the bleeped out pieces include my personal e-mail address as well as other victims in the pathetic attempt.

Be careful out there. My e-mail provider was smart enough to know this was spam and sent it to the spam folder immediately. But if you happen to come across one of these, make sure to:
-not contact the people even to harass them
-contact the REAL FedEx or whatever business is being spoofed about this, perhaps even forwarding the e-mail
-delete the e-mail unless asked otherwise by the business and mark as spam if you can

Friday, February 15, 2013

TERA - PC Review 7.5/10

Oh man this is painful. I don't mean the actual review I mean how I felt after playing this game. As you may know, I don't have a lot of money. So whenever a deal or something free rolls around I jump right on it. TERA came out sometime ago. It was (I believe) a Korean made MMORPG that made it's way state-side and was given decent to good reviews. The only two reasons why I'm playing this is A) it went free to play and B) The Old Republic is currently updating (again) and I have to wait till it's done. I have some time to kill before I have to go to school so I thought why not?

The Good:
Wow this game is beautiful. That's not much to really say now a days seeing as most games can be visually inspiring while still being crap and most games have take the opposite approach, seeming to forego great graphics in favor of storyline, combat etc, etc.
The character models... well they pretty much fit into the about category as well. Very nice and detailed and see further below of what I thought of them.
The combat is... decent. Though I may have not gotten to feel the blunt of it, a quick taste was all I really needed. This particular MMO offers what it calls "Real Combat", suffice it to say in most MMOs if you click you either attack or miss and same goes for enemies. In others, the deciding factor is to see who has the better equipment and stats. It's a fresh sight to see that being almost completely thrown to the side in favor of skills. Case in point, last night I was playing the Old Republic, the game was lagging to the point that all the enemies were immortal and they could kill me as I helplessly watched my health deplete. "I totally could have dodged that!" or "That so hit you!" are words that frequently come from my mouth when playing MMOs. This definitely has changed things in terms of how people perceive games. Being a simple counting game is frustrating, while focusing on a more intelligence + intuitiveness + stats + gear + hand-to-eye coordination is obviously a better, more intelligent system.
The world is... ya the first choice again.
The enemies are well laid out and differing from the others very nicely. I find too often that people take the route of making things look exactly the same as another creature.
Equipment? Gorgeous and extremely detailed, let's move on.
I like how I can use a controller or the keyboard. What pushed me off from most PC games was the whole keyboard thing. It works but it feels foreign to me. Nice addition.

The Bad:
Wow this made me physically sick. Not because I hated it but because of the choppy frame rate coupled with my inability to change most settings. I am just barely writing this now trying to keep my eyes focused.
The character customization is lacking to say the least. While it's not as bad as other MMOs it's not as good as RPGs, which is what they were clearly going for with this game. When playing as an elf, I can choose from an effeminate pretty boy to a slightly more gruff pretty boy with scars and maybe different colored hair. Give me some more choices will you? Of course there are those little sliders to which you can change minute details about your effeminate elf boy-girl but then again it's more for the person who wants exactly what they want and knows what they're doing. I'm really just randomly sliding things saying, "Does this make me look better or worse?" Then I try my best to get it back to normal once I do cross that line.
I don't have a bad computer, let's get that out of the way. It's not amazing but I can run Skyrim with little problems and that's good enough for me. While it will probably never be awesome enough to run Crysis 2, it can run. Why is there choppy frame rate? High traffic. This is my number one problem with MMOs and why I don't play them more often: people. "But isn't that the whole point of an MMO, to have other people play with you?" No it's not. The main point is to form guilds, help out on quests and share the loot. I have yet to find an MMO that does servers competently. I think Dark Souls would be the perfect example of this (minus assholes who come into your world simply to kill you regardless of your level!!!!!). You may have the internet on, but the extent of that is seeing little messages that people left behind, not affecting your game at all. True you can have people come into your world as I mentioned before (*random curses*) but that's an option. Forcing me into a server with a thousand different people all playing at different connection speeds isn't awesome, it's annoying. Another example is online shooters. Ever had someone with a bad connection who ruined it for everyone else? Ya we've all been there and it sucks.
This may or may not be coupled with the fact above but when I played, quests didn't fully appear and sometimes I couldn't attack enemies. I would click on a quest giver and nothing. After a minute of waiting, I walked away and finally they wanted to talk. I was fighting a group of enemies and suddenly my character put away his weapons. Why did that happen? I have no clue!
Why the hell can't I change the graphics options? The extent was that I could change the window size and that was about it. Running at the highest settings causes you to have problems, probably the answer for most of my problems. The bad thing is, I couldn't change this. The beginning of the game had horrible detailing issues which made characters look like they were in their prototype stage, looking like a clay-ish gray with no defining details. Shit like that is unacceptable. "You should just get a better computer." No, you should just allow me to change the settings. Not everyone has a PC touched by the finger of God and in a few years, no one will because you'll have to upgrade again to get the "touched by God" thing.

The Meh:
I feel reaaaally uncomfortable about having a young girl as a race option. Why? Because as the females get higher and higher in levels, they show more skin. I am not a pedo nor do I want to have the option to be one. Why is this is in the meh? Because that's an option and I can ignore it, which I did. It creeps me out, but that wasn't my call in the game and I don't have to see it.
Speaking of which, the objectification of women. I honestly don't see much of a problem with the armor. Granted it is... impractically skimpy. I mean, can we have full fledged armor and slutty armor? It's not a bad thing but it is worth mentioning. Personally both would be a nice touch, and most MMOs do that, plus it makes sense. Back to the elf thing, yes those guys also have skimpy armor and it's unsettling as well. Then again, that's not my thing and I can choose to ignore it once again.
Class restrictions? I don't know I hear a lot of people harping about this but it is a valid point. In Skyrim I can wield any weapon, doesn't mean I'm good with that weapon though. The same is true for Dark Souls but to a greater extent as my character physically preforms worse unless I get him to be better. I played as a fighter class which wields two swords. The only problem is those "swords" were together as one weapon. Can I wield two single swords? I don't know, maybe I just didn't play through long enough.
I have to keep the launcher open? Granted this is a bit of a personal issue but then again during my first playthrough, the game crashed halfway through and said I needed it open. You were fine a few minutes ago, why do you do this now?
The loading times I can do without but then again it's a really beautiful world that needs time to load up so it's a bother but an understandable bother.


This game really pushes towards the console and PC compatible market like Skyrim and Dark Souls. My question is why not do that? Maybe even have the same way as Dark Souls with the optional multiplayer. My game would run a lot smoother and I would have had a lot more fun.

A Little Personal Update

Hey everyone. I'd just like to say thanks for reading my blogs and hoped you've enjoyed them. I haven't been able to do some of the things I've wanted and I'd like to explain so you don't feel left out. I've been starting school recently and as you know school costs a lot of money so unfortunately I won't be able to do any more reviews of new games for at least a few weeks till I can get the cash flow rolling in again. Also I won't be able to do Gaming News as often as I'd like because that takes a lot of time for me to do and I have to study.

Again thanks for reading and I hope to get this under control soon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why The Next Gen Consoles Won't Ban Used Games

So I've been talking about Sony's PS4 and their thought to ban used games. I've been harping about it but here's my thoughts on why that won't happen. As much as I used to like Sony and currently my good feelings about them have been waning, I understand that they probably won't ban used games on their new console slated for a reveal on the 20th of this month. This applies to Microsoft as well but less so as they aren't too keen on making radical decisions like Sony are famous for. This is mostly due to the fact I keep hearing people saying they'll ban the new systems, some of them my own family and friends, so this is a reassurance that there are valid reasons this can't be a possibility.

What sparked all this? Well personally I believe in fairness. If I punched someone in the face for something, sense dictates they have as much equal right to punch me back in retaliation. If you haven't known, it's been rumored that the new PS4 will ban used games through a familiar system but much more stringent. How many people like those online codes forcing you to buy a new game or a little code to play online? No one, right? Well the companies maybe. You see used games cut a big chunk of what game companies (devs and those who put out consoles) can make. The only two seeming to benefit from this are us the gamers and the game retailers who sell the game to us. In fact, the retailers are at more of a risk than benefit as their stores can be stocked with horrible games or they are forced to buy your game regardless of the current market price for said game. I like to do a thing called "Game Inflation" and here's the gist of it. I walk into GameStop, see all current games, memorize their prices and walk out. After that I see when those games came out. Through a simple equation in my brain, if a game is severely marked down and it came out recently, usually the game sucks. This is only the opposite with games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution who got a nice price cut from Square Enix (the dev of the game) to show fans how much they care. On the opposite, if a game came out recently and is still fairly priced, the game is decent or has a decent enough fan base to buy the game or the game didn't cost that much to promote/make. Apart from being a sound thought process, this is a great way for me to exercise my brain and convince my parents that video games have some merit in their eyes.
But what does this have to do with used games? Well, buying a new product is much more riskier for me the consumer. If a new game sucks, the best I can do is take it back if the packaging hasn't been tampered with and the game is in case. Apart from that, like a normal person, I played the game and didn't like it. I can now only sell it to a game company or a shifty person on Craigslist who may or may not give me what I actually asked for. So the best choice, and safest, is the game company who will give me and extremely reduced rate back for my game. You ever wondered why there's those preorder specials? If you don't know already, preoder specials are little tiny bits of content only available if you preorder the game and get it on launch day or within a decent period of time. The reason for this is games are very costly and risky to make. Just because you made a good game doesn't mean people will buy it. An example would be Psychonauts. Praised for it's design, humor and gameplay, this game was found nowhere on shelves because A) game companies felt the game wouldn't sell very well so didn't stock enough copies and B) whenever a copy surfaced it would be immediately be picked up. Those preorder things are an incentive to get a bit more money and to see how many people gave a chance to the game wondering if they should warrant a sequel or not. In the sense of used games, it's a lot better. I praise GameStop for their decision in this department. If I get a game I don't like that was used, considering I still have the original receipt, I can trade it back in for cash or store credit within seven days. When I get store credit, I also get a small bonus from the store. The only draw back to used games is that sometimes a game doesn't work at all. Even still, I have thirty days to return it for another copy. Apart from that, it's very difficult to sell a broken game as they look at the disk for scratches before purchasing it. Used game sales only go toward the retailer and not the dev so you can see how they would view used games.
To get to why used games won't be banned all together, here's a pretty simple hypothetical. Say Xbox instead of PS4 decides to go for the game ban. What happens? Naturally gamers will flock to PS4 instead of Xbox, the reverse is the same as well. I said before that Sony is famous for it's bold decisions like the Move or the Vita. It costs a lot of money to make those decisions a reality and for the actual gusto (honestly I couldn't think of another word) makes me have optimism that at the very least they tried. The idea to ban used games altogether is bold, but obviously stupid. Let's look on Sony's games. The majority of these titles are exclusives. Exclusives are Sony's biggest point with LittleBig Planet, God of War, Killzone (etc.), this is how the blunt of their money is made from their console. I don't think it's a secret that the PS3 has had less graphical greatness in comparison to Microsoft or the PC. I don't know if it's the hardware or third party games don't seem to run well on them. For a great example, see The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The game came out and was almost completely unplayable. With game breaking bugs vast and varied, the graphics were sub par and even when everyone else got three DLCs they were still working on their first. True the game has been made more playable only just now but when you think about it the game came out 11/11/11 (not too hard to forget that), almost three years ago. That's kind of bad. Nevertheless, their exclusive titles do run well and have amazing graphical capabilities. Why does this factor into used games? Well you see a lot of their games are hit and miss for some. Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, which came out not too long ago, is very much a niche game playing to RPG, strategy and anime fans with little to divert from. It's like a Final Fantasy game in which if someone asked me to find a very foreign game (foreign as in where it was made) it would be a prime example due to the cultures and mannerisms show within the game. Since this is true, dropping 60 bucks on a game you may or may not like is kind of a long shot. My brother has been playing Killzone 3 for much of 2012 and still hasn't beaten it. For me, I would like to get a Vita if only for Persona 4: Golden. Whereas Sony isn't always thriving currently, their fans do love to play their older games. Not all of their titles are in their store so playing used games varying over two console generations isn't a strange thing. How will they do with playing their previous titles on their new system? Better I hope. And just to show you I'm not a Microsoft band wagon guy, the 360's line of previous games is atrocious if not more so. Case in point, I bought a game on LIVE, wanted to play it again only to find they took it off for no reason and didn't give me a refund.
To the final reason I have this to say. When it all comes down to it, the strange and questionable choices our game companies make, the two things they are concerned with is profit and the consumer. If I don't like a game, I don't play it/buy it and you've lost my money. If you block me from something good, you loose my business. Fact is, if they don't make any money they will go bankrupt and they know that. Constantly they will try to make more money via you or outside companies but in all reality, my 360 is nothing more than an expensive DVD player that just so happens to play some t.v. shows I can buy online and on occasion I can check into my social networking site with. Sure they got the initial 300+ dollars from me for buying the machine but if I don't constantly keep buying things from them, they can't pay the bills. To be honest, the only thing I use it now is for every now and again reviews and a constant check up on Netflix. After that, yes there's the initial fee for LIVE but even then that's a drop in the bucket even for my part-time job's paycheck. I could pay that three times over and give little interest.

To be honest, I'd much rather prefer the console war to this new argument (at least I can always win with my fool proof Nintendo side). Look this isn't going to happen. As much as I berate them, video game companies aren't stupid, sometimes they just get blindsided with their own fame they loose track of what made them famous.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gaming News 2/9/13

Oh hey, guess what? A new Call of Duty game is coming this year... Oh boy. If I have a lack of joy it's because well just about every year there's another one. Good for you if you like the series and more badass commercials for those of us who don't.

Like Assassin's Creed games? It doesn't matter if you were disappointed with this last installment, apparently, there will be another one. The game will be different from all the others with a different protagonist, different setting, different story line and might even be by a different team. No new details other than rumors but here's crossing my fingers for an edo period of Japan complete with samurais and ninjas. It's been a long time since I've played a good ninja/samurai game. Seeing how it's by a new dev and a completely new just about everything, it may be on next gen.

Liked Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic? Want a new title? Well you may get your wish. Obsidian has pitched that they want to make a Star Wars RPG. You may know their work from the recent Fallout: New Vegas. The game is supposed to be taking place in between Episodes III and IV. What that translates into is that Order 66 has been executed and all across the galaxy jedi are being hunted down and killed. You may also know that The Force Unleashed games took place during this time as well (I did because I'm a huge nerd). It's not known whether or not it will have anything to do with those games but anything's possible. The game's idea was pitched before the buyout by Disney, however, Obsidian's CEO Feargus Urquhart sees this as a bad idea as The Old Republic (the Star Wars MMO) didn't do well as they had hoped. However, Urquhart has planed to continue to push the idea to Disney solely for potential purposes most likely. I say It's a good idea but only time will tell if we get another Star Wars RPG.

Fan of Rayman? Bad luck... or good luck depending on what system you own. The game is now coming to all consoles instead of just the Wii U. Bad for Wii U owners because the game will be delayed even longer. One person who (as I hear it is a dev) was updating the Spanish blog for info-ing the fans on the game said he was really pissed because the game was already finished almost 6 months ago. The delay is completely useless and the only thing it has accomplished is keeping the people working on the game away from their families.

Haven't bought a Wii U yet? Well maybe this will convince you. There's a new bundle available for you Mature players. The bundle will include the game ZombiU along with a premium black Wii U console + game pad. As an added bonus it also comes with a free digital copy of Nintendo Land all for 390 American. How much are you saving? The console is 350, ZombiU is still 60 just as Nintendo Land is. All together that's 470 American so you'll be saving a pretty 80 bucks. Not bad, Nintendo.

This wouldn't be a proper news day without some unusual news and this is as unusual as it can get. There's going to be a... Farmville cartoon. I'm not going to even go further into that because I have no idea of anyone who wants this or anyone who actually still plays that. But at least you know that is out there, so... ya.

RAGE fans? Well if you have the game on Steam you now have access to their Tool Kit. What this means is you can create your own content just like the devs. Well not just like them but you get my point. The download itself is... THIRTY FIVE GIGS. Sorry there was no way I could just glaze over that. Yes 35+ gigs to download this. Visit Bethblog.com for more details including some documents you can read about it.
Some quicker news, Dragonborn is now available on Steam if you're interested. I've played it and it's pretty solid.
Like Bethesda's in game music? Ya well get in line, it's all good. Regardless, you can now buy a bunch of soundtracks on iTunes around ten bucks each the most expensive being Skyrim's for around 16.
Oh hey PlayStation Skyrim-ers, you've got some release dates! Dragonborn comes out on the 12th, Hearthfire on the 20th and Dawnguard on the 26th. As an added bonus, if you buy them once they come out, you'll get those DLCs for an extremely reduced price.

Second Twitter Phishing Scam

I cannot stress it enough, be careful of what links you are sent to from anywhere on the net including trusted friends on Twitter.

One of my fellow Twitter friends "sent" me a message asking me about some picture he and I were in. I immediately knew it was fake because I have never met nor talked to this person in real life. Here's where "his" bit link sent me to.


Newbies who look at this screenshot will immediately not see any problems and may be tricked into thinking this is the legitimate Twitter website asking you to log in again.

Check the screenshot again, most notably the URL address where it says "twitter.com" at the top. Now do you see anything wrong with it? It says "tivtter.com".

This is another phishing scam website. It is called phishing because the scammers are "fishing" for information. Basically, this is the bait that the fisherman has set out as a trap. When you, the fish, sees the bait, you come in closer and nibble because you think it's real.

When you enter in your real account information, the scammer has your information and can now freely log into your account. There is really no technical things that go on with most phishing, it's just someone who gave their information without realizing what they did.

After you enter your information, a screen will pop up telling you that an error occurred. To check if this is the right Twitter, check the Twitter address, even double check it, type in a fake e-mail login and password and see what it tells you. If it tries again, close out and log into Twitter by manually typing out Twitter into the bar yourself. Contact Twitter with any suspicious links like the one you probably just received.

If your Twitter account has been hacked (this also works for hacked Facebook accounts too) change your password. To make it even more secure, change your e-mail address linked to your account. These "hackers" "hack" into your account just by  logging into your account with your information. If that information changes, they no longer have access to it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

3DS or a Vita? Easy Choice

I'm going to put this out as a clear point of observation. While I don't own a Vita, someone close to me does and by our exchanges, I'm going to say which is better.
Seem a bit unfair? Well not really. You see a game is best gone on word of mouth. What that basically means is what someone says is going to be close if not exact to your overall opinion of something. If someone universally praises something, either they're a fan boy or it's actually good. Same goes for the opposite. The same is true of music, movies and most forms of media.

My Vita Experience:
I'm going to say this off the bat: I have no love for Sony. True they have good games but those are exclusive games that could have been ported to other systems. It seems like Sony is the kid at school who likes hogging everything, kind of like what happened to Kevin Butler. The guy is an actor if you didn't know and sort of a spokesman for Sony as their faux VP in their commercials. He's funny and makes Sony commercials a thousand times more enjoyable. He appeared in a Bridgestone commercial (which I heard he's apart of the company or something) and there just happened to be a Nintendo console in the commercial. Sony got pissy and filed a suit against him. To which I have to say he is an actor, you haven't put him in anything recently so let him feed himself by doing his job. Apart from that minor tid-bit, Sony seems vastly unapologetic. This is the second time one of their systems has been vastly over priced and yet they still believe people will buy their system, regardless that we know it will be marked down within the year. You may make the argument that Nintendo's 3DS was overpriced as well but they at least marked it down, apologized and then gave the people who bought it at the initial price deals in the store after the fact. You could also make the point that Sony did the same thing with the PSN hack but then again people's vital information was stolen, what else could they have done.
But enough of that, let's look at the Vita. First off, the design sucks. The PSP was a broken design to begin with due to the fact it was too spaced out and you either had to bend your hands in an awkward fashion or just deal with the pain from playing it. They also 'one-uped' Nintendo again with touch screens. Yes touch screens are something that is out there and prevalent to most forms of electronic devices, but when your biggest competitor comes out with touch screen on their system and time and time again you've copied their designs (see Wii's controller versus the Move), we can't help but get a bit suspicious. "But it has dual touch screens!" That only further proves my point. What does 'DS' stand for? Dual Screens. Also a touch screen on the back? A touch screen is meant for you to be able to see while you touch, not to be blind to your own actions. The messed up thing is the entire screen is a touch screen. Why does that suck? Mostly because if you break the touch screen, you're pretty much screwed as every single game I've seen uses it. You ever broken a touch screen phone? It's practically useless without a fix and that aint cheap.
Going in line with copying Nintendo once more is their game cartridge design. Seriously? Nintendo's been doing cartridges since... well I can't think of when they did first do cartridges. On top of it, the thing can fit inside my thumb so good luck if you drop it. Also the damn thing is wafer thin so it's easy to snap in half. I really think I could store one of these inside my phone's memory card slot.
The software for this thing is beyond astounding. On launch day there were no games for it, now there are no good games for it and you know what's going to come out on it? Nothing good or notable. Ratchet and Clank? Sly Cooper? Ya those are all coming out on PS3 so get the non broken console versions instead. And if they aren't and I've gotten my information wrong, you can play it on the PS3 so it's no big deal.
Here's the one thing Sony has the advantage over for this: able to connect to their main system and play. Sure it was ripped off of the Gamecube to Gameboy Advance's design but if you're going to copy something, copy the good stuff. Sometimes playing on a little device cramps my hands and it's nice to use a controller every now and again. However, that function is again trumped by the lack of a cord. Wifi and wireless connections don't always work. Give us the option to manually connect.

My 3DS Experience:
You know that cool game you bought for this company's previous system and now that you have the new system it sucks you can't play it on here. Well that's not the case with the 3DS. Ever single DS game can be played with ease on the 3DS. Let me emphasize that. EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. Non of this PS2 to PS3 bs or even the complete lack of UMDs (PSP's system) to tiny stick Vita. What a concept. So you mean I bought this game and can still use it without any extra purchase guaranteed? Some people may say that you can hook up your account to the Vita and download previously purchased titles but then again, I don't use the online stores as often so that kind of makes the point moot. I have a 3DS and I don't have any 3DS games. It's not that I don't like them, I just don't like the 3D function and never have used it so I could go either way on the 3DS games.
Speaking of games, have you seen the DS's library? It can't be counted! I may be exaggerating slightly, but there are thousands of DS games out there. Sure not all of them are good but there's always that one gem that you may like. If not, choose from the massive amount of others out there. Lack of mature games? It's a handheld system, if I want a mature game it's going to be on my PC or console. Even then, there are a few M rated games on here.
The online store is actually pretty good for a handheld. Granted it's not as good as PSN or LIVE but it's not bad. I can choose prices, make certain conditions for a game and find exactly what I'm into. There's also a bunch of classic games and not just last generation, I mean NES classic aka back in the 80's.
What I really like about Nintendo is their commitment to fan service. Can you think of a main title of theirs that wasn't at least halfway decent? Because I can't. I know I said there were thousands of DS games and some of them not great but even then there are great games in there. Let's say I have some darts. Vita will have ten darts and the 3DS has 100. Statistically speaking, the 3DS has a better chance of hitting that bull's eye and maybe even hit it multiple times.


Why am I so harsh on Sony? Because I know they can do better. They've helped make some awesome things and now they're just dumbed down, not even to make themselves user friendly just to... actually I have no idea what has happened with them. After PlayStation All Stars, the Move, PS3 mess ups, they made the PSP. Granted it wasn't perfect but it had some great things about it. Hell, I still have mine. And then they go and mess up the formula with the Vita. Honestly I had high hopes for the Vita but you have sorely disappointed me. Make some good things again! Maybe put some time into crafting some awesome games for the Vita. I've been seeing some low scores for these games and it troubles me. Also, don't count Persona 4: Golden because that is just a port with some added things from an older game. Stop with the version exclusives and start focusing on your games and hardware. Maybe then I wouldn't have a reason to bitch so much about your stuff.

Dungeons of Dredmor Review 8.75/10

Ever wanted an indie game like Diablo? Well this is as close as I could find. Dungeons of Dredmor is a game available on Steam for a couple of bucks and it's made by some guys up in Canada apparently. Coupled with the game is a bunch of Modded content you can download as well as unusual enemies and skills to enjoy.

The Good:
The first thing that attracted me to this game was the price. I like hunting for cheap games and cheap games that are good are even better.
There's a distinct look to this. Very cartoony looking while not diverting from any actual gameplay or feel. It's weird to think and indie game can give me more enjoyment than most of the AAA games out right now.
The skill sets are definitely weird and some of them are a change from most RPGs or Adventure games. Apart from the normal Necromancer status, you can also summon golems. Now that's at least worth a look, right?
There is a distinct and yet subtle humor about this. There is a main enemy called "Wiggles" and for some reason I just find that really funny. It's subtle because sometimes you won't even notice it at first but you may notice it again later.
A good dungeon crawler wouldn't be complete without enemies and there are a lot of them. I really wish I could list them all but their names escape me and it would take at least two pages to list the ones I've seen.

The Bad:
Unlike dungeon crawlers, when you equip something, you can see it in all of it's awesomeness. Here, your character looks exactly the same. I'm not saying that's a deal breaker, but it's one of those touches that I really miss.
There's not really much of a story here. Again not a deal breaker but still troubling. Sure there's this tiny little opening in text saying what's what but I kind of want a bit of story, even if it's just like the original Final Fantasy for the Gameboy Advance's little snippits of faux cut scenes.
The weapons really have no distinct feel. Swinging a mace or a hammer is just as rewarding (or not) a sword. Even then, the attack animation doesn't change at all. It still looks like I'm swinging a sword.

The Meh:
This game is a bit of a hit or miss for me. Granted it's fun but I could be with or without it. You probably won't see it win any awards but that doesn't take away from it that it's a pretty solid game. Apart from that, I feel the same way about the devs as I do of the game. They made a good game but either way for them is fine for me, not make another game or do.


All in all, if you want something a bit less mainstream (deny that hipster comment), this is a decent buy. And since it's cheap there's not much backlash if you don't enjoy it.
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