Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Ridiculous, But Fun

     I started playing Metal Gear Rising: Redonk-u-litis last night.  This game is all about looking good and flexing absurdly large cybernetic muscles in a heavily anime influenced manner.  I can only describe it as Metal Gear Manga.  All the cinematics are brightly colored and super dynamic.  Everything is over-the-top to an almost silly degree. 
     Honestly, this is a beautiful game, and an absolute blast to play, but somehow it doesn't retain the feel of a Metal Gear title.  It feels like more akin to Dynasty Warriors on Zan-Datsu derived steroids.  And you know what, I have no real complaints.  It's all in good fun.
     I love that we finally get Raiden and his sword fighting.  I mean we've been waiting for it since Metal Gear Solid 2 way back in 2001, and it was definitely worth the wait.  This game is unmatched with the sword fighting- the new "Sword Mode" slow motion mechanic is a wonder to use.  I found myself searching for random items in the environment to practice my technique on just for fun.  Trees, fences, and some guy's couch all fell into sliver sized pieces while I laughed maniacally.  Absolutely NO complaints here. 
     As I mentioned earlier- this doesn't feel like a Metal Gear game.  It is completely different style, but in a good way and I would recommend people give it a try if they are a fan of action oriented games like Platinum Games' previous release- Bayonetta.  
     I do wonder what may have come of this if Hideo Kojima kept the game with "Gray Fox" Frank Jaeger as the main protagonist as he originally intended?  He is a great character and could be used to great effect.  Granted, the story would be limited in time periods to earlier Metal Gear lore.  Deaths put quite a hindrance on when things can occur in storytelling.  I also kind of wish that when using the Gray Fox suit in game, we weren't the overly bulky Raiden re-skinned.  I want a slim and swift ninja, not a thick body builder.  If most of the cyborgs are built with robotic components, they don't have to be "muscle" looking.  It would make more sense to be slender and strong, robotic parts don't require bulk.
     Perhaps the sword mechanic may be ported into a future Metal Gear game and we can actually play as Jaeger in all his glory... I would love to see Metal Gear Solid 1, updated with the modern graphics, and have a cloaked Jaeger as a stealthy, sword swinging playable character. 

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag is Coming

    Looky what Ubisoft posted over on Facebook-
     What looks to be an official release, with maybe a trailer or gameplay perhaps (although it may be just screenshots or game information), to be shown next Monday- I wonder if it'll be released for on the PS3 or if they're holding out for the Holiday season later in the year for PS4 to boost the initial system sales.  There looks to be a pirate themed adventure in our future.


Borderlands 2: News- Level Cap Raise

     Here's another piece of news on the raise in level cap for Borderlands 2.  Mr Randy Pitchford tweets again!!!
     It's not much, but it IS something.  So he mentions something is actually being WORKED ON, not just planned.  Predictably, we'll probably be paying for it- as it is "in addition" to the  campaign's current season pass.  Let's hope there is a 2nd season pass, and plenty more DLCs- Gearbox has to make up for the horrible Aliens: Colonial Marines fiasco, and I will be getting whatever DLC is put out for this game as it comes even though my interest is waining.   
     There are plenty of fans still awaiting what is to come for the Borderlands saga.

     PS: After beating Aliens Colonial Marines I have to say that Gearbox should be funneling a decent amount of funds into fixing that game.  It's playable, at least in single player, but it needs TONS of work.  The multiplayer is just awful- stuttering gameplay, players randomly disappearing, completely random deaths without cause.  It is just horrendous.  Please fix this Gearbox.  I would love to enjoy it, but the game itself is fighting against me.

UPDATE: A fellow over on the Gearbox forums has summed up some of my thoughts on this "announcement" quite well-
"i've been saying it for months now the first season pass was grossly misrepresentation of what the actual end product was. 4 DLC's the same size and quality of Knoxx, yet we got none of the things most gamers wanted, and instead those things will be included in additional content that we'll have to buy.

i'm sure if we were told up front no level cap increase, no additional bank spaces, short DLC's, nobody would have bought the season pass. Oh except the people who think if they dare say something bad it'll hurt someone's feelings. Well personally I'm offended by the fact that the DLC's I was promised were short changed on me.

No mention the DLC's were being outsourced, no mention the DLC's weren't going to include level and or inventory increases, no mention that one of the DLC's would barely pass the 2 hour mark in terms of total completion.

i'm sure this message will get marked because god forbid you mention being disappointed about paying for something beforehand. Also before people say it, I have zero issues paying for the content, which is why I purchased the Season pass in the first place. I do have a problem with being promised Diamonds and getting cubic zirconia."  -Orge Lambart
     This is VERY true. Gearbox made a bunch of highly exaggerated claims about the DLCs, and none of the claims lives up to those promises. The only way they could please the gamers that are desperately hoping Gearbox redeems themselves is if the 4th DLC is absolutely massive. It would have to implement all the things we've been promised and then add an extra 10% of unexpected, but awesome, additions as well.  We need to be wowed after all these mediocre releases.  (Granted I have enjoyed them (Hammerlock's Hunt and Mr. Torgue's at least.  Torgue's has been the best so far), but they were super short.  And Scarlett's was just -Meh.)
     In my experience, the continued dashed hopes leaves my interest lagging.  I'm sick of hearing we're going to be getting these GRAND ADD-ONS, and fail to receive them. 

     PPS: So if Gearbox barely did anything on Aliens: Colonial Marines, and the Borderlands 2 DLCs were farmed out, shouldn't the one DLC they ARE working on be mind blowing?  And shouldn't they have had the foresight to fix the potential problems of "game breaking" level cap additions... oh... I don't know... when they made the Trophy/Achievement for being "Capped Out... for now"!?!


Dead Space 3: More Facebook Haikus

     Just two crappy things I posted on their Facebook Haiku "challenge"-

Stopping the markers
A soldier and engineer
Necromorphs should fear

Weapons are running empty
Time to run like hell

God of War: Ascension- More like Redundancy.

     It's true- I believe this game should be called God of War: Redundancy.  Where could they go after Kratos "died" with an image of a Phoenix in the third game?  He pretty much left anything remotely Greek as a trail of corpses and the land a wake of massive collateral damages across the country.  Really, what's left? 
     So instead of having Kratos rise above the havoc he has spread, or having to deal with the ramifications his actions have caused, we end up with a prequel.  A time before he became a "god," but after the slaying of his family.  In the 5 games that have been released, we know what we're in for, more wholesale slaughter fueled by a rage that will lay waste to most of the Mediterranean world.
     Come on Sony Santa Monica, where's our progression?  The innovation?  Why not have Kratos travel to a distant land- Egypt, Norway, or Japan- they all have a wealth of mythological things to draw upon.  Have Kratos deal with what he's done.  He should have to fill the void left by an empty Olympus, maybe find stand-in gods.  We should be looking at a potential new phase- this is a HUGE opportunity.  A wonderful chance to carve a new path for our most recent God of War.
     Or- why not have someone else on a quest for vengeance aimed at Kratos?  From either side.  Kratos or the quest taker.  Maybe even a split game- half as one, half as the other.  Seriously- someone, somewhere has to have enough hate and maybe the blessing of a foreign god to help salvage what's left of Greece.  Kratos cannot be the only one with a heart full of revenge.  The subtext of the foreign god is they could be using the person as a pawn to gain a footing in the now open country.  A sort of deity sized political take over. 

     So after all these years we've gained a new beautiful looking version of the game, but it's the same-old rehash.  Granted, the multiplayer may be interesting, but I'll give the game a go, if out of nothing other than it's a decent entertainment even if we know where Kratos has been and where he'll be going after this.  It's VERY familiar territory.
     In essence I believe that they've squeezed the fruit of this game's juices out- and they are now trying to squeeze a bit of blood from the compressed stone it's become.  Only I'm decently certain the blood is from the hand squeezing, and not the stone.

     PS: I noticed this is a time before he learned to lift the chest lids.  He just smashes the tops instead. 

Playstation 4: The PS4 revealed... kind of...

     Was anyone else disturbed by the lack of the Playstation 4 reveal at the said Playstaion 4 debut show?  Maybe I was right and the PS4 is just a massive system upgrade for the PS3.  Maybe they haven't finalized the console design? 
     Something about this was very over hyped.  We've gotten a bunch of seemingly useless info.  None of the games are interesting yet, and the Diablo 3 port should've gone to PS3 a year ago.  Way to be late Blizzard.  I played enough on PC and will not be revisiting it on PS4 any time soon.
     Well, I do like the new controller, it looks a bit blocky, I would like a sleeker curved design like a few of the 3rd party controllers I prefer, but this is a start. 
     I think my biggest like is the recording and sharing the system is looking towards.  I made it no secret about how horrible the PS3 game recording is.  A week of struggling with the Hauppauge HD PVR was enough.  Now that Sony seems to have built one in- well, that's just foresight, and I thank them for it.  Social media is big, and will probably have much more appeal once I start using it on the console itself.

      Not backwards comptable? Not PSN linked for all my previous buys? If hackers can make an emulator to play games on a completely different system, then Sony should be able to port their own games(with all the same controls) from PS3 to PS4.
      It isn't absurd to think it should be a given. Don't make another mistake like the Vita. If it's reasonably priced and games are easily ACCESSABLE people will go with it. I will NOT rebuy games, considering that I've already purchased some games (such as Ico and Shadow of the Colossus) multiple times.
      Sony, you are eliminating plenty of potential early buyers with this. I personally will not buy the PS4 now until I am able to get a bunch of games I want. Made that mistake with the Vita and will not repeat it for the PS4. It is a remarkably amazing piece of equipment, but there just isn't enough material to be played on it yet. Should I even mention how the cost is hurting it? Take a hint from SCE Japan and lower that cost. More buyers will present more companies opportunities to make games, which in turn, present more money making chances for Sony as a whole. It is simple.
     You want to sell me on the PS4?  Make it compatable with things I've already bought.  It's disappointing to FEEL like we'll have to re pay for games in a struggling economic market.
     *UPDATE*  Just read this- a small bit of potential good news.  Make this happen Sony.

     I am, however, pretty excited for the talk of  Vita being a major "Remote Player" for the PS4.  Hopefully it'll be able to be fully used when I'm out of the house and far away from home.  No use using remote play if it only extends into the next room. 
     If the Vita had a larger selection of great games, the sales could be boosted.  As a lucky individual that had enough spare dollars to purchase one, I am greatful, because this system is just astounding.  (Yes, I have multiple Nintendo DS systems- they just can't compare to Vita's games like Uncharted or Gravity Rush)  The Vita needs this boost of usable capabilities.


Dark Souls 2: Some Thoughts

     The announcement of Dark Souls 2 a while back had me super giddy.  The game is an utter pain to slog through, but the rewards for completing it's notoriously difficult landscape are hard to equal.  The Capra Demon plagued me for days, but once I beat him the first time, mostly sheer luck in the small corridor of a battleground, I had to pause to enjoy that moment.  What a relief. 
     There were plenty of times I was so tense from playing that I had to pause the game and compose myself because it got to be so intense knowing that even the most piddly of enemies can cause a swift death if you aren't careful.
     My first question about this sequel is why "Dark Souls 2" and not Darker Souls or Lost Souls?  Regardless- I am super stoked to return to this world, even if it's supposedly on another continent.

     Here's a couple quotes that struck me as interesting from an Edge Magazine article:
"...the story will once again revolve around a character who is cursed and seeking to find the cure for his affliction."
“The concept of time and the existence of time is something that will be key to Dark Souls II,” replies Shibuya. When we press for more detail, he simply rephrases the word ‘time’ with ‘eras’ and leaves it there.
     Hhhmmm...  are we to possibly infer that there will be time constraints in the game?  Perhaps things must be done within certain limitations of chronological order.  Let's say, for instance, you kill something off and are put under the strain of withstanding the repercussions of that choice.  Maybe you have to hide, maybe some things can only be done at certain times.  Could there be characters that are only available for a short window?  Only on specific dates or times?  Could time be used and warped like the game Braid?  Maybe you die, but rewind the clock to get another go at it?
     Good lord, think of the amazing possibilities if you were to be playing a character that had their soul split across the centuries- things you might have to do for your future self.  Carve a path to follow or hiding things in caves to retrieve in a later era.  The potential here is unlimited.
     Or, what if the character's curse is akin to needing to refuel or constantly need to watch specific levels from raising or lowering in their person.  Think of being infected- you would need to maintain a flow of something to keep it from being too potent in the blood.  Or if it works like a symbiosis, you then couldn't have too little either. 

     Well, whatever they have been creating I'm sure I'll thoroughly enjoy it again.  I absolutely love the way the Dark Souls story was given, or rather hinted at.  The basic elements are there, but all the finer points have to be sought after.  With small hints given in weapon descriptions and items, we are free to fill in the blanks- such as the possibility that Solaire may be a son that was stripped of deity like powers.  The story of Dark Souls has all the proper parts, they just  need to be pieced together.  And that is something I feel is just as rewarding as playing the game itself.

     Hopefully I may dust off my beloved Winged Spear and Velka's Rapier to revisit this world and slay my way through the next inhumanely difficult land.

PS:  I actually saw something about a patch for the difficulty level in Dark Souls some time ago.  You know, that wouldn't be a bad idea.  While I fully enjoyed the game, I could've dealt with a bit less stress in game during the time I was searching for just story.  It was a Platinum Trophy that took months to get.  And 10,000 in-game deaths.  So if the challenge came on my 2nd playthrough I wouldn't mind.


Aliens: Colonial Marines: GAME OVER MAN!

     After playing a bunch more, I've come to note that while this is NOT a good game, by any means, it is an enjoyable game, by me- at least.  I find myself at odds- on one hand I want to enjoy it.  I love the Aliens franchise, even Aliens 3, 4 and Prometheus, despite the massive problems found within them.  Then on the other hand all the games downsides make it very difficult to continue liking it.*
Is it "GAME OVER" Gearbox???
       I hope Gearbox comes out and fixes this game. I'll give them a chance.  They need to take care of the fans outside of their money maker Borderlands franchise. It's getting tiring when even Borderlands 2's DLCs are being put out at sub-par levels.   Lackluster add-ons, on top of Duke Nukem Flub-ever, and now this seeming Aliens failure- will this mean GAME OVER MAN for their many of Gearbox's supporters???

     As I said yesterday:
     When it comes down to it, a whole game cannot be patched, and soon we consumers will find out if Gearbox can "patch" their credibility. I'm eagerly waiting to hear what Mr. Randy Pitchford will be saying about this Aliens controversy, as I'm still hopeful something good may come out of it. 

     *So many flaws...  Really, I've had to restart checkpoints far to often due to my character being stuck what appears to be absolutely nothing.  There's been countless times of enemies being lodged in walls and doorways.  A minimum of 5 times I got killed by a xenomorph that was NOWHERE on screen and definitely not on the motion tracker. 
     The Weyland-Yutani soldiers have a tendency to shoot through walls while you're in another area and magically one one shot me from across a room full of path blocking obstacles.  Hell, I've run into an area where the xenomorphs continually spawned until I completely ran out of ammo and subsequently became overwhelmed and died.
     I truly believe with a large patch this game could be a lot more fun.  Make the damage system fairer.  I'm sick of being killed by one swipe from a xeno when I have full health and armor\shields.  The Weyland-Yutani marksmanship needs to be levelled out a bit as well.  Why can they one shot me, but I can empty a shotgun clip into their face and they're still not dead?
     Should I even mention how useless all the other marines are?  Mostly they just get in the way, so I find myself using them for cover and as a short of make-shift shield while in combat by sliding around behind them.  It works occasionally because all the Xenomorphs tend to target ONLY the player and ignore all the other marines.

     Although I must say, once again, I love the pulse thump sound on the motion tracker.  I'll continue playing and attempting to renew my love of Gearbox and what they've done to this beloved franchise.


Aliens: Colonial Marines

     Even after reading the horrendous reviews, I kept my preorder with hopes that maybe I would be thoroughly enjoying this game.  It's happened with other games- Warriors: Legends of Troy, Green Lantern, and Thor for example.  They aren't good games, by any means, but I enjoyed them anyway. 
     Gearbox's Aliens is only half meeting that expectation.  I've only made it through a couple levels, but the frustration is already setting in.  I'll continue to play through the whole game, and then try out the multiplayer.  I don't think I'll be as cruel as the reviewers, and have actually found myself enjoying a couple parts.  The sound for instance- the Pulse Rifle firing and the Motion Trackers are SPOT ON and I absolutely love that.
     Within the last few months of Gearbox's Borderlands 2 DLC's being only decent, seriously lacking in length and quality- I've been consistently losing faith in this company.  Sure, the Borderlands stuff is decent- I love Torgue's Campaign of Carnage, but Scarlett's Pirate's Booty and Hammerlock's Hunt are both lacking.  No REALLY new weapons and shields, short quest lines, and all right stories. 
     Really, what's going on with them.  Where's the Borderlands 1 Gearbox team quality gone to???
     Here's a decent link to a Jim Sterling article that may shed a bit of light: http://www.destructoid.com/developer-gearbox-lied-to-sega-2k-over-colonial-marines-245986.phtml

     I'm only moderately liking this game so far.  It's playable, but as ALL the reviewers have noted there are numerous problems with it.  Too linear, bland writing, clunky character movements (both marines and alien NPCs) and blatantly ignoring previously canon story in the "Aliens" franchise.  Really, I can see ignoring Alien 3 and beyond, as well as that beautiful mess of a film Prometheus, but what the EFF Gearbox?!?  There are a bazillion fans that can be put to use as proofreaders.  Hello beta testers...  how much of this game could've been prevented with proper acknowledgement of fans?
     And just as many others have said, I feel lied to.  I feel cheated.  The game is nothing like the demo.  There seems very little about the game we got that is actually like what was advertised.  With Borderlands 2 we were promised a bunch of stuff still hasn't been provided- a worry free bank size, when will we get that?  How about that Armory of General Knoxx sized DLC?  Still nowhere in sight.  For Aliens, we are lacking both the wonderful atmosphere and feel of being in that world. 

     When it comes down to it, a whole game cannot be patched, and soon we consumers will find out if Gearbox can "patch" their credibility.  I'm eagerly waiting to hear what Mr. Randy Pitchford will be saying about this Aliens controversy, as I'm still hopeful something good may come out of it.  Then again, maybe not. 


The Last Guardian: A Possible Update

     Here's some decent news about The Last Guardian being released.  All right, not really news, but at least a tidbit of info.  At least a possible hint.  According to Fumito Ueda's recent blog post- http://www.fumi.to/ - Sony is possibly withholding information on the game's release.  Maybe not purposely to ruin anything, but as a waiting-for-the-right-moment official statement.   Perhaps the with all the crazy problems, I personally would think that Sony brought in another game studio to possibly revamp the already spectacular graphics.  There were also rumors about game breaking problems requiring additional help to fix.  Regardless, a bigger team means a bigger and better game.
"While it’s been a long time coming, THE LAST GUARDIAN remains under my creative supervision and is still in development by an incredibly talented team.

 I should also mention that details regarding THE LAST GUARDIAN's release is solely decided by Sony Computer Entertainment, not myself. Please keep an eye out for their official announcement."
     Mr. Ueda, despite the reduction to a creative consulting director, perhaps it's for the better.  Sometimes people need to be pushed to finish things.  Really I don't know if Fumito Ueda's recent blog post is truly pointing to a hint of Sony releasing a statement in addition to the Orbis/Playstation 4 announcement or not, even though previous statements said it would be on PS3.  But it kind of feels like it. 
     In truth, I would believe that Santa Monica Studio may have brought in to reskin or enhance the graphics and fix bugs to help speed production on The Last Guardian and port it to the PS4.  Did another company update Ico and Shadow of the Colossus from PS2 to PS3???  Team Ico is good, but ultimately a VERY SLOW company, and it would totally make sense to bring in a group to improve/finish a game that has kept people waiting for years.
     Dear Sony, please tell us what's going on.  I eagerly await whatever announcements are coming on the 20th, and can only hope that this will be one of them. 

Playstation 4 (PS4) Unveiling 2 Days (Orbis)

     In just a couple days (February 20th) we'll be hopefully be seeing the full specs and a slew of games announced for the next Sony console.
     After hearing many of the rumors and seeing the potential controller layout, here's a quick bit on how I think the PS4 will land: 

My predictions:

1)  It'll be an implant in the brain, that sends audio and visual output directly into the brain and projects images into your visual cortex.  It appears as whatever your screen settings are and filling your full range of vision, in a vitual reality type of view.  Full player immersion. 

2)  Thought-sensitive controls.  You think it, it happens, that's how it works for controls.

3)  DRM games.  The DRM is set to your DNA only.  A genetic code based lockout.  Good luck lending these to friends or reselling to Gamestop when you get stuck with the next game like Gearbox's Aliens: Colonial Marines pile of crap.

     Ok, in the "long run" this is how gaming may end up way down the line.  Probably not yet though.


Dead Space 3: A Valentine's Sonnet for Facebook

     Dead Space 3 is having some Valentine's poetry stuff over on Facebook, and here's what I'm going to contribute-

How do I kill thee? Let me count the ways.
I kill thee with ripper blade and plasma core
Kinesis can pull, limb from socket tore
For the undead Necromorphs give us chase
I kill thee and revel in every way's
most bloody deed, by gun and laser sight
I kill thee freely, stalkers thrive at night
I kill thee surely, wasters rise from graves
I kill thee- a mission I didn't choose
In old beliefs, Unitology's faith
I kill thee- with double bolas set loose
The Marker's lies, I kill thee with stasis,
circuits, pulse rifle, and planet cracker
I shall kill thee once again after death

     It's been super busy at work so this is all I could do in such a short time, and the I couldn't get stasis to rhyme with death, but - oh well- it's good enough for now.


The Last of Us: Delayed Until June 14th, 2013

     This game looks absolutely breathtaking, and the recent news that Naughty Dog is delaying the release until June 14th, 2013 is a bit saddening.  But their reasoning behind it is commendable- I would rather wait for a more perfect game, than wade through unfinished gaming experiences. 

     Take your time Naughty Dog, I'll wait patiently.  I mean it's only been like half a decade waiting for The Last Guardian.  The only difference is I know Naughty Dog will deliver.

     Here's the announcement: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/02/13/the-last-of-us-is-coming-in-june/


Batman: Arkham City Sequel: This Year!

     The Time Warner Management's Earnings call transcripts have dropped a sweet bit of information for us Batman Arkham (Asylum and City) video game enthusiasts:
"And we also have a strong games release this year, which will include the next release in the Batman Arkham franchise. So all in all, we expect Warners to post another very strong year in 2013. And with a little luck, the year should be as good or maybe even a little bit better than 2012."
     -John K. Martin (Chief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer)
     Here's the full transcript- http://finance.yahoo.com/news/time-warner-management-discusses-q4-191012645.html


Community Season 4 Episode 1

     Sorry this is so late readers- I'm just cranking this out before the new episode tonight.
     The first episode this season aptly deals with the show's meta problem of change.  Quite well I might add.  In their last year of school- Abed struggles with the fear of losing his wonderful study group while Jeff wants to graduate early and goes to some length to beat others in The Hunger Deans games to obtain seats for the study group. 
     Britta and Troy are working on their relationship at the fountain of wishes, and the Dean comments later about it really working.  Annie and Shirley go pranking on the Dean, both of which work.  While Pierce speands the whole episode with jokes about Jeff's "balls" quite literally in his hands.  Chang has returned with Changnesia as a final note at the end of the episode.

     I really enjoyed Abed's Happy Place's Happy Place- an animated Muppet Babies spoof!  His Happy Place is a sitcom with all his friends, and Pierce is played by Fred Willard for some reason- and judging by the previews it looks like we'll see more of him as well.  The commercial banners in the lower part of the screen for fake shows in Abed's mind TV were a nice touch as well.

     All in all- I'd say it's a decent start, by no means is it their best, but well see how the change goes.  I remain optimistic even though this season opener feels the lack of Dan Harmon on writing already.  Really people can come close, but really, the only way to have a Harmon show is with Harmon.  What I don't really get is that the show was doing well.  Continue making it as best as possible, regardless of problems.  Maybe things will get sorted out.  I don't know- just make the best out of this show NBC.  Don't screw this up.
     And I want to point out the fact Jeff makes a joke about everyone moving in together once Pierce dies... foreshadowing???

Ellen DeGeneres and Katy Perry: Pic of the Day

Oh. My. GAWD!!!
     After a long weekend of crappy weather and being super sick- I saw a series of pictures capturing this moment between Ellen DeGeneres and Katy Perry's boobs, and I just can't stop laughing.  This definitely brightened my day.  It's such a wonderful "real life" occurrence- sometimes even celebrities just can't help but stare!
     I cropped the image a bit, but truly, this is life happening in all it's hilarity.


Borderlands 2: Level Cap Delayed

     Yesterday Randy Pitchford answered a bunch of questions including this particular one about the Borderlands 2 level cap being raised.
     I totally understand his responses.  Many people on the forums want everything RIGHT NOW!  That is also understandable as I've got 3 level 50 characters and 2 more almost there (and a slew of them in between 9 and 35) but you know what- Gearbox has a great looking game out in just a few days- Aliens: Colonial Marines.  I'm rushing through Dead Space 3 just to make extra time for Aliens.  That'll keep me occupied while I eagerly await the new Borderlands 2 add-ons and DLC.

     Anyway- back to topic.  Sure we were supposed to be getting the raise in level cap in the first quarter of this year- but complications arise in a game of this size.  Hell, my Gaige's Deathtrap still constantly refills enemies shields when I'm nearly dead and desperately require a second wind.  For my Zer0's- no matter how many points into Innervate and F0ll0wthr0ugh I have, he never seems to get the movement speed boost.  What the heck?  So considering the fact Gearbox/Pitchford mentioned the possibility of adding 3rd playtrough, there are MANY things that would required more time to get the kinks out of.  Personally, I'd rather wait for a better system and a bug-free raise than one that would need months of wait time for a patch.  Think about the problems of characters like Zer0 getting a full Cunning AND full Bloodshed skill tree.  If the Kunai reset with every Many Must Fall kill, he'd be damn near impossible to kill with the right loadouts.  A BFF/Anarchy Gaige, Axton with nuke boosted Gemini turrets, and think of a dual skill tree Maya.  Overpowered is too pitiful a word for that.  It stands to reason they'd need to find a better way of working a level cap in.  That balance will take time.  Hopefully it'll be finished before the new estimated release of "this year."

     Besides we're all waiting for the Massive Expansion due before July.  Level cap or not, many of us will be enjoying the play while we work on getting our Badass Ranks up.  The way things are looking, I'd pose a guess that there will be more DLC on the way after the 4th expansion- including the 6th playable character that's been mentioned.  Rumors abound, and by the looks of it there could be more in store for the patient players.

     PS:  PLEASE Gearbox give us a massive storage vault and bank.  We had one prevously and were promised we needn't worry about storage.  Is there a way to make a "character save" for a bank/vault that would give us the necessary space?  There are plenty of guns or things I find for other characters and just don't have the room for.


Dead Space 3: Initial Thoughts

     Considering this game is getting heavily mixed reviews- I am hesitant to do an actual review.  Besides the fact it's been a hectic week for work and life has been eating up a lot of my gaming time.  So far I've only played for a couple hours and I'm only in Chapter 5.
This is exactly what I'm currently using.
     Some of the things I like already- 1) Universal Ammo clips.  Now I don't get limited in gun selection by necessitating hunting down specific ammo types.  I like certain weapons better than others, and only being able to use my favorite weapons a couple times sucks.
     2) Workbench Upgrading/Crafting System.  This feature is wonderful and I'm only in the early stages of it's use.  I've already upgraded the Evangelizer and Negotiator preorder guns.  They started awesome, and I've added only more awesome to them.
     3) Suit/Rig Universality.  I can, for the most part, now use whatever suit I think looks the coolest, where in the other games I had to choose suits I didn't like for specific features I needed.  It's now mostly located in the RIG itself so I can choose based more on look- which is why I'm using the Witness suit.  I prefer it's look over the other preorder suits and the N7 armor.  Makes me wonder if the Mass Effect armor(or any other suit) has hidden bonuses???  Also- where's the Dragon Age armors?  Mass Effect 2 I got the Blood Dragon armor, which was quite useful for me- so why hasn't it (or something similar) to Dead Space?

     A few things I don't like- 1) How ridiculous enemies are.  I walk into an area- EVERY enemy know exactly where you are, and armed enemies always have immediate sights on you.  The only benefit is you can trace that laser sight back to their location.  In many, MANY cases enemies seem to always be spawning surrounding you.  I wonder what prompted this- because when I slow go and clear everything out quite methodically, they end up both right behind me and another wave directly in front of me- it ends up meaning I'm forced to take damage from at least one side.   
     2) Cover/ducking.  No matter how much I cover, I still get hit with bullets.  Behind solid walls.  Not just short barriers.  I've even encountered multiple enemies gettnig stuck in walls near doors.  They become invisible and can hurt you but no amount of shooting can damage them.
     3) The Story and Dialogue.  Something seems wrong about it.  Like they took all the Scientologi... ooops- I mean the Unitologists and made them all single minded idiots.  Where are all the Unitologists that saw some of this stuff and decided, "Hey, these people are F***ing dumb!  I don't want to be an undead monster." 
     Really- there's got to be at least a small resistance group that was once a set of believers, that are now rebelling.  Or, with all the crazy technology, why aren't there more governmental super weapons out attempting to obliterate some of the Unitology outposts?  Then of course there's what seemed to be a General at the end of the Prologue.  Uhhh... people don't become that high ranked because they give up hope and quit. 
     4)  Ellie.  What the EFF did they do to her!?!?  Seriously- I know it's the future and you needed a new eye, but good lord woman, ease up on the plastic surgery!  I didn't even recognize her at first. 
     I am enjoying the game regardless- I'll be attempting multiplayer sometime in the next couple days to see how that fairs.  Looking forward to seeing Carver's side of the story as well as finishing Isaac's story.  There's also the fact that I need to find a Ripper soon.  Necromorphs don't mow themselves to bits you know.  Dead Space 3 remains an action-horror hybrid I enjoy playing.


New Season of Community... so close...

     As someone that has watched this show from day one, I am super pleased to say that it'll be back tomorrow night!  Lending the seasons out to many people and getting small groups together to watch and share my joy with such an outstanding show it makes me feel good to know that shows like this are still going.  And hopefully receiving better ratings than crap like Honey Boo Boo.  
     NBC struck comedic gold with Community, and I hope they can keep that momentum going through these new episodes.  It's looking good so far with the Epic Hunger Deans commercial:

     I know a lot of people have heard stories and rumors of the friction between Chevy Chase and writer Dan Harmon, but I don't know what's happening for real.  Does Chevy Chase realize that he used to be a huge star, but over time he became irrelevant, and Harmon and Community made him popular again.  Sure- they made him a villain, but he also had moments of genuine compassion and benevolence.  After Harmon was fired, there's been talk that Chase is now going to be gone as well. 
     So- will Community survive the loss of Harmon?  And will they use the loss of Chevy Chase's character Pierce Hawthorne to get across a moving, yet hilarious, episode dealing with a major death?
     As of yet, they haven't failed to be a great show- please NBC, keep it together.  Here's hoping for six seasons and a movie.  #SixSeasonsAndAMovie

     On a bonus super awesome side note- I saw a few snippets of Troy and Abed dressed as Calvin and Hobbes.  Amazing!  I wonder if it'll be handling Abed's take on reality with his Aspergers???  As Calvin and Hobbes is all about perspective and imagination it would be quite fitting to work into an episode. 

Neca Borderlands 2 Figures

     Over on the Gearbox Software Borderlands 2 forums a bunch of us are discussing the action figures made for the game.  Mostly we're stuck on why the hell did this toy company choose Claptrap and a Psycho Bandit for the first wave.

     Honestly- the Psycho is the "face" of the game, but no one gives a crap about them.  They are a no-name character that you kill in droves.  While Claptrap is understandable as a fairly hilarious and annoying support character, the Bandit character is bothersome because he's a crap enemy that no one likes.  I suggested that this first wave of toys being only 2 "meh" figures would be like Star Wars producing a single wave consisting of a Storm Trooper and R2D2.  Sure, the toys would sell, but not nearly as many as ANY of the Vault Hunters would.
     I believe a wave of 8 pieces- 2 of each of the original 4 Vault Hunters (Roland, Lilith, Mordecai, and Brick) would easily outsell the Claptrap and Psycho set.
     Neca would've make a killing on a set like that.
     Neca needs to think about marketing in other ways -maybe charge extra for custom colors on their suits or something.  Make random weapon variants that come in the package.  Or to boost sales have a "loot system" with gun rarity levels on the accessories- kind of like 1 figure in 50 has an "Orange" level gun- which would be similar to the game's drop rates for loot.  Perhaps have an Eridium or Seraph Crystal system, where the toys each come with random amounts of the currency (along the lines of bar codes, QR codes, trading cards for tracking the amounts and to save on packaging/shipping them in with the figures) and collecting so many earns a mail away offer for an "Invincible" figure...
     So many options and possibilities. When it comes to sales- make the figures people want.

     One member said-
     Man I would be all over weapon packs with alternate heads! Zero heads with sniper rifles, Axton heads with with machine gun. Handsome jack with a loot chest. The possibilities are endless....couple that with exclusives (EE exclusive Moxxi with legendary weapon, NECA online exclusive Mechromancer) this line has great characters and strong legs....why NECA went the route they did is puzzling....
     Neca should follow this logic.  Many toy collector's would buy a bunch of $5.00 "Loot Chest" packs if they were worth it.  Separate from the figures themselves, but the figures should come with a slew of accessories on their own as well.  Make them like the fellow above said- a slew of random guns and some extra heads.  Hell they could even make multiple levels of "Loot Chest" packs- the plain silver chests, the rarer Red Chests, Green Dahl and Yellow Hyperion chests.  A tiered system with increased odds of finding rarer items in the rarer chests or...
     ...they could do a Vending Machine system as well.  Each machine- Marcus weapons, Dr. Zed's Meds, or the Ammo dumps- could be a larger pile of loot than the "Loot Chest" packs- say $10, and thus more chance at "rare loot."  The med and loot machines would just be more of the same chest type loot.  GUNS GUNS GUNS!!! (and heads)

     Now I'm all excited about wanting some sweet collectible Borderlands toys I'll probably never see.  How do I get a job with this company.  Make the toys we want and they will be purchased, ignore buyer advice and suffer financial woes.  Please Neca, make us want the figures by giving us the ones we want.

     Anyway- there's been pics of a 2nd series with Salvador, Zero, and...   wait for iiiiiiiiit...
           ...2 more bandits.   Really Neca?  Ugh.  Stop with the psycho bandits.


Dishonored: Pretty Damn Fun

     I believe Dishonored has sort of made Steampunk and Sorcery great, and that's coming from a fellow that generally dislikes most steampunk related stuff.  Dishonored seems to me like a fairly great introduction to a new franchise.  This game takes place in a strange Victorianesque time period where a plague has infected a bunch of people in a place called Dunwall.  The game starts with you, Corvo Attano, returning early from a mission to visit the Empress of Dunwall.  Shortly after you are framed for murdering her and stealing her daughter.
Corvo Attano
     You eventually escape captivity thanks to some "friends" and are granted supernatural abilities to enact either vengeance for your wrongful accusations or to prove your innocence.  Along the way there are plenty of betrayals and helpers met.  The supernatural being known as the Outsider has a cult that you frequently run into after you have personally been marked by the Outsider himself.
Corvo's mask- looks cool, but strange a design for lens efficacy
     Overall I'd say this game is a wonderful combination of Metal Gear stealth and Bioshock's steampunk tech all touched up with some Bethesda flavor.  It's definitely worth a play through both the more difficult stealth route, then the more fun, free-for-all dark assassin route.  With an assortment of deadly tools like a crossbow and dark arts magic like Blink (teleportation) you can do away with all enemies in a many, MANY ways.
     I personally like using "Bend Time" to slow time down and planting a razorwire mine on the target.  When time picks back up the mine detects the person moving then slices them to bits with razorwire.  So many possibilities...
     It bears mentioning that some of the equipment seems cool to look at design-wise but might be tough to pull off in life.  Like Corvo's mask above with it's various gears and lenses to enhance vision distance- could all that fit into a small mask?  Or his trademark sword blade that folds up(usually)/slides out(when another assassin was holding it)- how would that work in real life?  Would it be strong enough for sword fighting the way the blade is anchored to the handle?  I don't know, and suppose it doesn't really matter anyway. 
Corvo's sword, with a blade that magically shrinks into a small handle
     Anyway- the game is not without it's downsides though.  Often, when trying to be stealthy, things go horribly wrong.  One time I was peeking around a corner holding a body over my exposed shoulder 2 feet from a guard looking right at me, and... nothing.  BUT- not more than 10 minutes later I was in a room with NO windows, and closed doors, a guard spotted me.  How the hell!?!?  It seems to be sort of random in that manner.  Seriously, there were plenty of times I was sleep holding soldiers mere feet in front of other people, and got no reaction, while other times I would stealthily eliminate someone and a dude in a building 4 blocks away would hear it and sound an alarm.

     Still despite the small problems this game is worth playing and hopefully with the good sales, the game will spawn some sequels, of course they'd have to take place between the end of the game and the end of the end credits story.  It's nothing life changing, but fun regardless.  They have just enough story to keep you going, but not so much to beat you over the head with it.  I'll be eagerly awaiting what comes next for this game.


Lego Lord of the Rings: A Trilogy of Fun

SARUMAN: Moria. You fear to go into those mines. The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke there in the darkness of Khazad-dûm: Shadow and flame.
A creature of Lego and FIRE!
     As many know already, Traveller's Tales Lego games are pretty much always awesome.  Not perfect, but always fun and entertaining, as video games should be.  Lego Lord of the Rings is still improving on the formula for a typical Lego game. 
     I like the new "Hub world" system.  It's the map of Middle Earth and you can roam all over it, from level to level.  There is also "Map Stones" making fast travel between far points swift and easy. 
     There are now plenty of side missions to do as well.  Instead of just doing full story mode and free play, there are small puzzles and things to accomplish all over the main map hub world. 
     The addition of a "Treasure Trove" box of items in the inventory wheel is nice as well.  It gives access to a plethora of items aquired throughout the game.  I am liking the preorder bonuses in this catagory- particularly the Morgal Blade of the Ring Wraithes and the tiny Eye of Sauron's Tower Hat that causes everyone nearby to cower in fear when you look at them.  The Balrog helmet is nice and the 3 Elvish Rings of Power are nice as well.

     I have just made it to Rohan and freed Theodan of Saruman's influence and sent Grima Wormtongue on his way.  Throughout this play time I must say there are a few annoyances in gameplay mechanics.  ANY time you pick something up, it must be "placed" in your inventory.  Even if it's a single item.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.  This wouldn't normally be an issue, but it gets to be a a huge inconvenience when you're being attacked by a pack of orcs right after you pick up an item.  Seriously, why can't I just grab the object and go- like other Lego games.  Simply make the first item auto carry, then all subsequent pick-ups go to "inventory storage."
     Also- the mechanic for wizards floating items, formerly the Jedi tricks or telekinetic powers from previous Lego games, is still wonky and poses a fair amount of frustration.  Just targeting the proper piece you want can be an ordeal if they're in a pile too close to each other.  Almost a decade of Lego games and this mechanic still has the same issues.
     And my last complaint- the pick up/build/select inventory item button should be separated.  Roughly 60% of the time I want one action it does one of the others- let's say I want to build a pile of Legos, and I'll hold the button, and it opens the inventory, even though I've got the action symbol above my character- specifying the "build function," not the bring up inventory.  It quickly gets bothersome when it happens constantly.  Since there are multiple character selection buttons (on PS3- it's L1/R1 for quick change, and hold triangle for the character wheel) why not have hold L1/R1 bring up the wheel and triangle be the inventory???

     Other than these few small problems this game is still worth buying and playing the crap out of.  Typical Lego awesomeness.  Keep it up TT, I'm already looking forwards to Lego Marvel Universe.  These games may need a small bit of work, but they also continue to provide tons of entertainment value for both young and old players.  In an earlier post about an achievement/trophy in game I said I didn't believe this was they're best Lego game (http://joshuabarsody.blogspot.com/2012/12/lego-lord-of-rings-best-playstation-3.html)- I may retract that statement.  While it does have some issues, this is on par with Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes.  It feels like a better game after I've put more time into it.

     Considering that I was wondering about this game way back in 2008, before they had announced or thought about making it, I must say it was worth the wait: http://joshuabarsody.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-hell-isnt-there-lego-lord-of-rings.html

     Now I wonder will we be getting "To Lego and Back: A Hobbit's Tale?"  Maybe "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Lego."  We'll have to wait and see when the third Hobbit film arrives in a couple years.


A Few Days to Dead Space 3

     Got a text from my gamer buddy Red Baron, telling me to dust off my Plasma Cutter for making limb sandwiches.  Consider it locked, loaded, and fully dusted off- but only if he helps me co-op stomp some necromorph pudding for dessert.

     Looking forward to see how the co-op works and I'm super excited to see what kinds of crazy weapons I can craft up at the newly introduced workbenches.  An electrically charged Ripper will be first up on my slaughtery wish list.

Invincible Issue 100

     As the only comic I am still reading on a monthly basis, I had slightly higher hopes for this milestone issue.  Don't get me wrong- it's still good, but as the 3rd part of a story arc it feels like a small letdown. 

     With the massive stakes set up in the last couple issues, and the global death toll ultra high, I was expecting a bit more than a talk fight.  While it is a sound argument Mark makes to Dinosaurus, and towards himself,- Dinosaurus being an intellectual- it plays out well.  Dinosaurus could've done so much, but realized he'd continue to jeopardize lives on a grand scale to perpetuate life on the whole.  Even if he would try to do good, he would at some point to wrong to accomplish those goals. 
     Dinosaurus' death (being the advertised and hyped cover death) could've been handled much better.  Like shifting back to his weak human state first- a sign of just voluntarily letting himself go.  It felt too much like the Ultimate X-men 41 issue with Wolverine walking out of a cave after killing an unnamed boy who's power manifested and killed anyone within a certain range of himself.(Wolverine's healing factor negated this effect)  Suicide seems out of character for Dinosaurus, and I don't see why he couldn't have been shifted to another planet or universe.
     Which brings me to my favorite moment- Angstrom Levy, a man that always returns, even after death.  I find it super hilarious how he teleports into this realm and he appears underwater- completely taken off guard by the flooding.  Then the absolute disappointment on his face upon finding out that "Invincible is dead" is such a great moment.
     Mark's "death" seems to be a cheap tactic- he was given an amazing opportunity of being "dead" to free him up to do any number of things, but as soon as Dinosaurus is gone, he's back to...
     ...Invincible under the thumb of Cecil Stedman of the Global Defense Agency after realizing, again, that maybe he doesn't know best.  Maybe he should think ahead a bit more, to actually grow the hell up.  It's better than super prison for being part of mass murder.  Perhaps grow a sweet moustache like many of his Viltrumite brethren.
     The whole time Mark was with Dinosaurus the Guardian's of the Globe were cleaning up the mess made by the flooding and getting things back on track. 
     Atom Eve is pregnant.  Again.
     Status quos are returning to what's been done before, and I'll continue to read to see what paths the players will take on this go around.

     Invincible remains the only comic I am still going to be reading on a monthly basis.