Friday, June 22, 2012

Rabid Squirrel

Original thought isn't why people come to my site.  So in keeping with that philosophy I'm going to do a Friday Play List.  I'll try and list what I've been playing so far this week with any updates to anything else game related that I feel the need to thrust upon you, the reader.


Spent a little time this week leveling up and getting through the Klingon episodes.  For a Free 2 Play game it has a crap ton of free content.  Sure if you want to get more space here and there or be able to use more than one character or ship, it will cost you a few dollars but for now its a lot of content for free.  The best part is the episodes and Duty Officers, stuff they added after I stopped subbing a year or so back.

Basically an episode is a group of missions that connect together, something like a season on the actual TV shows.  The Klingon episodes were especially fun because I got to do some interaction with areas from actual episodes of the Original Star Trek.  Got to take out the Doomsday Machine again, this time we didn't have to shove a star ship down its gullet.  Also got a chance, twice to go back in time, once by sling shooting around a sun and the other by traveling through the Guardian.  Course, if you've never seen the original show, you probably will have no idea what I'm talking about, but let me say, for those who are full of nostalgia it was fan-tastic.


After putting off playing with my PS3, I finally booted it back up and managed to finish the first Uncharted game.  It was gorgeous, lots of fun and even though some of the action was hard, it didn't put me off by dying a lot.  Not once did I find the need to throw the controller down and give up when enemies would just show up and start shooting and I'd die over and over.  The platforming puzzles were pretty easy and eventually I'll want to go back so I can get all the hidden treasures, I currently have 20 of 60 so there is a lot left to explore.  This is actually my third game that I have completed.  The first game was story line of Beatles Rock Band.  Yes, that game does have a story mode, such as it is and I finished it all the way to the credits.  Next I finished Gears of War and now Uncharted. 

Immediately after finished the first Uncharted I put Uncharted 2 in and managed to get all the way to chapter 2 before calling it.  I don't want to overload on Uncharted.  I will say that 2 is even better looking than the original but the controls seem a bit off to me.  Might be a little too floaty as some would say.  Either way, I'll eventually finish it so I can get to Uncharted 3 which I hear is still even better, visually and story wise.

Deux Ex Human Revolution

Picked this up on Steam around the first of the year.  It was on sale for a very low price which was strange since I didn't think the game had been out a year and it was already getting discounted.  I figured it was because the game wasn't that good, but I liked the first one enough and the price was right, so I figured I would put caution to the wind.

I'm not that far into the game, but its a lot of fun.  I very quickly decided based on the way the game story opens up that I wasn't going to spend a lot of time sneaking and knocking people out, I was going to be deadly force all the way.  No kid gloves.  I'm not talking about going in guns blazing the entire time, but when the opportunity presented itself, lethal vs non lethal, I was going to be a killer.  So far thats been working out pretty good.  I'm not that far into the game, maybe an hour or so, but I'm really looking forward to adding this to my finished game list.  I never finished the first one.  Part of that was because I wasted a lot of ammo and ended up in a bad spot that I just couldn't get out.  I didn't have enough saved games to go back and start the mission over so I pretty much just gave up.  This time around, I save my bullets and I save a lot.

The game looks great, plays really well with keyboard and mouse, something I've not done with a first person shooter in a very long time.  If its on sale, I would recommend it for sure.

Infamous 2

If you follow me on Twitter or Google+ no doubt you've heard about my successful attempt at updating my PS3 with a new internal hard drive.  I won't really bore you with those details, but the main reason I decided to do it is because I became a PSN Plus member.  When you sign up for a years membership, there are a few free full length games that are available for download.  So I selected Infamous 2, quickly discovered I had no space on my hard drive and those began my adventure.  Once the adventure was complete, I actually got a chance to try out Infamous 2.  

I do own the first one on disc.  I never finished it and I'm not even sure I got half way through it to be honest.  Either way, I decided to try out the sequel.  To start with it looks pretty great.  The cut scenes are on par with Uncharted as far as graphically pleasing.  Some of the use of story board images in cut scenes is pretty annoying but I can live with it.  It has a pretty steep learning curve.  Earlier I mentioned that I played Uncharted.  It had bee some time since I had played it before I actually jumped into the game, however, with Uncharted I didn't have any difficulty picking up the game right where I left off.  The control scheme worked, aiming was easy, there wasn't a large learning curve.  However, when I played Infamous 2, it wasn't very intuitive.  The game was more difficult than it really needed to be and it took me a while to get into the swing of things, at that was too long.  I was getting very frustrated.  The joy of most games is being able to jump right in and start playing without any real penalty for not knowing what to do, this game, not so much.  There isn't much of a tutorial, you have to learn it as you go.  The game also assumes you played the first one because it doesn't do a good job of explaining some of the powers you start off with like the first one did.  It just throws you in and hopes you can swim.

Like I said, it was frustrating.  Eventually after about 2 hours I managed to get the swing of things, but still if I can pick up Uncharted after a year and start playing it with no penalty and I pick this game up and its annoying for the first 2 hours then someone isn't designing a game right.  Not sure I will actually finish this game, but I'm into it enough to play it a bit more and of course it was free so I can't really complain.


I looked at Skylander in Target the other day.  I was looking at the video of the little creatures and how they use their attacks and how the game works.  I was just about hooked on picking it up when something inside me said wait.  Instead I picked up a 50.00 PSN card so I could get PSN Plus, which ended up costing me another 60.00 for a hard drive and I promised not to talk about that.  Well, I'm going to pick it up for my birthday in October.  I have heard there will be Giants in the game by then and that might be up my alley.  I am very much interested in trying that game out and possibly collecting the little creatures.  Not sure how my wife will feel about such a hobby, but maybe I can get her involved.

I'm also considering picking up a Vita by the end of the year.  I keep hearing good things about the system and since I've got a renewed interest in my PS3, being able to remote play might be a nice feature.  Also, I'm a fan of Hot Shots and would be very much interested in getting in a tournament with some of my friends over on Google+ who I know have Vitas.  Still the 3DS XL is due out by the end of the year and that does peak my interest a bit.  I'm not a huge fan of the 3D part but you can also play Skylanders on it, so if I'm already investing in that game I might want to invest a little more, who knows.

I also picked up Diablo 3, but I'm not currently playing it.  The game isn't doing it for me at the moment.  It might be that when I do play Nightmare level I never get any decent drops for the character I'm playing and all my gear is so under powered for that setting that I'm having to go outside the game to the auction house to purchase items so I can keep playing the game and not die every 2 minutes.  I would like it if the game actually dropped items, IN GAME, that I could use to upgrade what I'm wearing.  Having to go outside the game for the items I need so I can play on the Nightmare difficulty takes me out of the experience.  Sure I get Yellow drops but I don't get anything I can use.  I end up having to either vendor, disenchant or sell on the auction house.  I would rather the game provide me with upgrade able gear as I progress so as I move through the levels I am constantly getting new gear that will help me finish off the next boss or specialty creature.  I'm just not seeing a lot of that.  I also spend way to much time vendoring stuff.  Why can't your companion head to town and sell gear and why is the game so freaking hard that you actually HAVE to have a companion to finish a good portion of it.

Again, these are the reasons I've decided to put a hold on the game.  I finished normal with two of my characters, my wizard and barbarian.  I've completed the story line, another problem with the game by the way, but I won't spoil that little bit for those who are going to get the game but are waiting to mortgage their house. since it will never be on sale.. EVER.  Sorry, a little Blizzard dig their.

That is about it.  My, what a huge blog post. Who do I think I am Pumping Irony?

Till next time.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Playstation Love

I decided that I haven't been spending enough energy and time with my PS3.  I saved up a lot of money to own this system 2 years ago and for the last year I've been neglecting it, well, other than watching Blu-Rays, but that isn't or rather wasn't, at the time of purchase, the reason I brought it home.

The beginning of my PS3 revival is pretty simple, I decided to start playing Uncharted 1.  I had already played to chapter 6 a year ago, when I purchased it used and I wanted to finally finish it.  So over the course of two days, I was able to accomplish that seemingly small task.  The game was fantastic by the way.  Loved every minute of it and after finishing it immediately started playing Uncharted 2, but that is for another blog post.  So while playing Uncharted, I would post my love for the game on G+ and Twitter.  Several people on those networks, who I trust when it comes to gaming suggestions, suggested that I pick up the Playstation Plus package.  It features a lot of added value like automatic system upgrades, saving games to the SoE cloud system and most recently the ability to download a full game and play for free.  I thought, what a cool idea.  I can pay 50.00 for a year's service and every month I can choose to download a free game to play and since most games they release will be older games but still be in the 30 - 40 dollar range, I thought it would be a great deal and I could come out ahead in the end, plus you get all kinds of discounts on other items as well so its a win win for Team Oakstout.  So today I finally broke down, logged into PSN and started working on becoming a new PSN Plus member.  Course my connection to the store was pretty janky.  Then thing started getting a little strange.  The system had not problem taking my 50.00 for the Plus upgrade, but anytime I tried to search the store to see what items Plus members had access to, I would lose the server connection.  (I'm already feeling the Sony Love through my backside at this moment.)  This happened about 4 or 5 times, so I decided to give the server a little bit of time. Eventually, I decide to venture back into the store to see what FREE goodies I get for being a Plus Member.

After turning my nose up at a few things, not a fan of Virtual fighter, already own Little Big Planet 2 and I already own Warhammer Space Marine on Xbox already. Finally I decided to go with Infamous 2. I start the download.. or at least I think I start the download but I will come to that.  After spending a little more time in the store, trying to decide if I really need those 2 extra courses for Hotshots, I go out of the store to check my download progress and to my surprise I discover that it hasn't started and when I prompt it to start, it says, you don't have any room on your hard drive poor boy, you'll need to delete a few things. Since the PS3 is a bit more like a computer than the Xbox is, it makes finding out certain information harder, eventually I was able to check and see exactly how much space I had on my hard drive. To be honest, ts been a while and I wasn't really even sure how big the drive was to start with, its been a while.  Come to find out I'm sporting around 75gig with only 10 left and the game I want is 15gig.  YIKES!  Good thing I didn't purchase the game.  But now I'm thinking I just spent a lot of cash on a feature, monthly free games, that I can't really take advantage of because my HDD is way to small.

So, I start deleting stuff and finally get about 21gig free, so the download starts, automatically I must add, sure it starts automatically but it couldn't bother to tell me it was hung up or that it hadn't started.  I think sometimes the PS3 is way more complicated than it needs to be, but that is another post as well.  Anyway, having it start automatically is nice, but when its done I'll still only have about 6gig left to do anything with and that won't really help me take advantage of the free game I get every month with Playstation Plus, especially if I want to keep said games on my system.  I am notoriously lazy when it comes to finishing games, if you haven't heard.  Still I want to take advantage of this free game crap and apparently I'm kind of stuck, well, not exactly.

I start looking online to find out how I can change out my wimpy HDD and get a beefy mainly drive.  This apparently is a huge feature that Sony has to allow users the ability to upgrading their systems hard drive.  I look around and discover that in the long run its fairly simple.  Unscrew this, unhook that, pop this out, pop that in and the next thing you know you have a new drive.  Luckily for me the cost of a new drive isn'tt so bad, I can get a 320gig for around 60.00 at Best Buy.  I could go bigger, but I figure that the 320 gig will let me put around 20 or so 15gig games on my system at one time and if that isn't enough space then I'll just have to get an external drive down the road.  The main issue is restoring everything.

A lot of sites say you only have to install the new drive and the system will format and put the system back on, all you have to do is run a utility backup before and a restore after.  Others say you have to have a thumb drive with the new upgrade system software on it and do a bunch of button mashing on your controller, then restore from back up all your games and saves.  Some sites and videos reference the Slim while others show the Fat PS3.  Its all very confusing so I'm planning to plan for everything by backing it all up on a external and then having the system upgrade software ready if need be.

Hopefully by next week, I'll have a nice big drive to download lots of free PSN Plus games.

Course I could be wrong.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rift Hammers

Played some Rift the other day.  This is my first try at the game since I tried the game 3 months after release with a weekend pass.  I have to say that I do like the environs and the feel of the game.  The only thing that really bothered me and to tell the truth its the same thing that bothered me when I went back to try EQ2 a while back.  Its the way the developers have dumbed down your choices in the game.

Let me explain.  When I first played EQ2, you started as a generic class.. priest, rogue, warrior, mage.. then your progressed and got to choose another path to take and then further on another path.  I always thought that aspect of the game was really cool, but they have dumbed that down.  Basically you can pick what your ending class will be from the start which takes a lot of the mystery out of what your end up being when your all grown up.

Rift has done the same thing.  You get to pick what 3 Souls you want to start off playing and the game hand holds your decision making.  I wanted to be a cleric so I chose a specific kind.  I got 3 souls from the start and after I acquire a point, the game instructs me on how I need to place that point to be the cleric I originally chose.  I'm not hip to that idea.  I don't like hand holding in games and for me, the original experience of having to gather your souls through questing was pretty nice.  It added flavor to the game that now seems rush rush.  Put your point here and lets move on, no need to make a decision till way later in the game.

I don't understand the mentality of developers to release a game and then after a few months start, water it down for those who are lazy.  Do they think that by streamlining those options your going to get an influx of new gamers?  Come on, that's just insane.  If anything it will drive the returning customers nuts that you've dumbed it all down.

Well thats how I feel anyway.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hypocrite! My Guild Wars 2 preview

First off, I am going against my own creed, my own rules, my own zen of blogging.  I never ever review a game before its released.  I also shout down those who do, because my argument has always been that the game is not done until its on the shelves then its fair game.  If its being tested then there is still time to fix the flaws and to right the wrongs.

I am about to break that rule.


Well to be honest, in order for me to participate in the Guild Wars 2 beta or BWE GW2 I had to actually PURCHASE THE GAME!  Therefore, if they already have my hard earned cash, I should be able to talk about their game with honesty and justification.  I say this because by bringing parts of the game to light which are as yet, unfinished or for the most part confusing, I am hoping that the product, which I already paid for, is complete and ready for my enjoyment.

The first thing I have to say is ArenaNet, shame on you for making the decision to be in the beta a financial burden on your fans.  If could go back, I would have chosen not to participate in the beta and thereby saving my hard earned cash for something that would be more productive like a couch dance at the Gold Club with Mindy.  But I'm stuck like a lot of others.  I'm not even sure I can get my money back if I really wanted to get it back, but putting that out there was just crazy and manipulative.  I understand that players of the original Guild Wars are in a gaming desert, thirsting to be in the beta and to them, throwing out cash so they can taste the new flavor of their beloved  much hyped much anticipated sequel is something they don't mind doing.  I still think its taking advantage of your fan base like no other game before it, so shame on ArenaNet.

Now let me talk about the game.

There is no specific questing.  There is your story line and then there are the quests that you pick up in the dynamic event areas or as I call them the public quest areas.  Basically, you walk into an area and you get a message that says, please help Farmer Todd by killing all the monster worms in his corn field.  So you go over, start killing monster worms and you get an update saying "Farmer Todd also needs help putting the fires out started by the monster worms".  So you now have two ways of helping Farmer Todd and therefore achieving faction with him.  After full faction is acquired, basically you can see a solid filled in heart on the map where Farmer Todd is standing, you can then purchase gear upgrades and other items from him with Karma which is earned during the dynamic event.  Each mapped out zone has a few "Dynamic Events" and each is designed for a specific level.  Once you get full faction with the "Quest giver" there really isn't any point in staying around unless your grinding cash, Karma or XP.  Once done with an area, you will most likely move on to the next dynamic event, however the game is designed so that moving from one area to the next can cause you to be under leveled.  I found that if I ran with a group, because all these areas are group driven, I could easy do dynamic events that on the surface were too high for me, but with all the players running around helping I was able to finish and get full faction.  Eventually this made it hard for me to progress to new dynamic areas because there weren't enough players in an area to help advance and I ended up getting stuck and grinding already completed dynamic areas for XP.  To me that seems like a scaling issue.  As a solo player I should be able to complete a dynamic event by myself but in some cases I just can't due to the difficulty of the quest and the mobs themselves being too aggressive.

I did have one character that didn't encounter the wall, but to do this I had to acquire XP by other methods besides just dynamic events like exploring, gathering crafting items, spending time actually crafting items in town, and spend some time working on my character's story line quests.  I think the idea is to do all those so XP is a constant flow and your not suck in an area trying to grind out XP, but who will spend time doing all those things? Not being able to "Quest" is hindering the XP flow and that is an issue in my view.  You can not rely on one aspect of the game to give you enough to advance so that your hitting each level appropriate dynamic area on cue. If you hit that bottleneck and your not spreading your XP gathering out over different areas you end up just grinding out XP on mobs or Dynamic Events that you have already done, which can sour anyone to any MMO game.  They did mention that you can craft your way through all the levels, but that would require you to go out and gather materials or at the very least have enough cash to purchase them on the market.  But there really isn't any risk if you level up that way.  Making a magical boot isn't going to kill you.

Course all that is fixable.

Another thing is they need to do a better job of explaining different aspects of the game, once its released.  I was unaware until the second Beta Weekend that the game incorporated a combo system.  Basically you can augment an attack by combining it with the attack or spell from another class.  So if the Elementalist puts up an ice shield around the monster and you shoot an arrow through it, then the arrow does ice damage.  That is just an example, I'm not even sure you can create an ice barrier, however the basic principle still holds, classes can combine to augment certain attacks.  I actually found this out by ACCIDENT, when I researching about "Condition Damage" another added feature that the game does a poor job of explaining.  If an item has "condition damage" as an ability, if you hover over that, it should at least tell you what "condition damage" means and it does not.  If I hover over intelligence in my character panel, it will tell me what intelligence does, not sure why it can't do the same for "condition damage".  I would tell you what it means but I'm still a bit fuzzy on it myself and to be honest since I had to look it up then you should have to as well.  Combos are just too cool not to put it right out in front as a selling point and yet, I knew nothing about it till late Sunday afternoon during the second Beta Weekend.

My only other complaint is the importance of dodging.  Well, its not my only complaint but it will be my last for this post. For the second Beta Weekend, I decided to try out the Warrior.  One would hope that something as beefy and armored as a warrior would take a hit better than the squishy classes.  Not true.  Sadly I died a lot.  I actually started surviving when I discovered the trick.  The trick is to run away.  At times the game play a lot like Diablo 3 on Nighmare level and that's really not cool when its like that at level 4.  I personally think that levels 1 - 7 or 8 should be the easy levels.  Meaning, that is when your learning how to play, enjoying the cool parts of your new class and just figuring out strategy.  But with GW2 it ramps up pretty fast and if your not surrounded by groups of people when doing a dynamic event you end up dying and spend time waiting for someone kind player to revive you.  The best way to avoid death is to dodge and run and to be honest that isn't very heroic for my character, especially a warrior.  But this issue seems to only be with melee classes.  Ranged classes don't have as much to fear and I've even herd said a few times that
Rangers will probably be one of the more prevalent classes on the servers along with Elementalists since they have ranged attacks.  This really puts a damper on playing a melee class in my book.  Look, I'm not saying make all of it easy, but if I die a lot in the first 6 levels then either I'm retarded and considering I've played a lot of MMO games that's highly unlikely or your game is just too FUCKING HARD on melee.  So fix it.

Besides dying a lot with the warrior, eventually I found a rhythm that helped.  I also got some advice about picking up the Healing Signet in the first couple of levels, which increased my survivability a lot.  But that is just wrong.  If I have to blow my first 3 points on a Healing Signet instead of choosing a different attack or buff then I'm not getting to play the game I want to play.  I'm being backed into a corner and I'm  playing the way the designers want me to play and that is not right.

It sounds like I don't like the game, but I do.  At first I did not.  It seemed strange not to have traditional quest givers and having to constantly change weapons till you found a set of skills that complimented your play style and other unexplained reasons for not falling in love at first sight.  But the more I played and the more I got use to the style of play, I learned that this could be the game for me.  I can see myself playing this a lot with friends and even soloing a good bit.  Its graphically beautiful, the attacks seem very fluid and the ability to switch weapons mid fight to give yourself another set of attacks is pretty nice.  I still think they have a lot of work left to get the game just right for release but for now the game handles and looks fantastic.

I wouldn't advise anyone to run out and buy a copy just to get in the beta.  I for one might end up skipping a few once I get a nice feel for how the game works, just so I don't spoil myself before release.  I will say that they need to get on with finishing the game.  A lot of people have already started wondering what exactly did we pay for so far in advance and was it worth it to get in 10 or so beta weekends or will that experience sour us once the game is released.

These are just my thoughts and they shouldn't sway anyone from purchasing the game once its truly released.  I say all this so I can feel better about my decision to purchase the game.  I want to make sure that I put my complaints on file so if the game doesn't improve I can point my figure and go, this is when you didn't listen to your fan base and that is why you failed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Its ok to have an opinion and as long as we agree to respect each others there is no need for you to say my opinion is wrong!

This goes for games, life, faith and choice of lifestyle as long as its all within the boundaries of the law. You can say your opinion is the right one as long as you don't shout at me saying mine is wrong

Just an opinion!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone