Monthly Archives: August 2010

Achievements for Fallout: New Vegas lack glitz and glam

With a month or so to go until its release, the Achievements list for Fallout: New Vegas was bound to be spoiled early. And now it has. Everyone toss your poker chips into the air and give a shout of joy! Well…mild joy. Alas, the Achievements are rather uninspired. They follow the same format, more or less, as Fallout 3, with a chunk given for completing quests, another for reaching specific levels (though this time without karma), and others for doing X a number of times. The toughest-looking Achievement is probably Hardcore, which demands you play the game from start to finish on hardcore difficulty. Everything else should just come naturally with time and persistence. I’m guessing snowglobes are the new bobbleheads. And sadly, there’s no random Achievements like Fallout 3‘s Pyschotic Prankster (10G; Placed a grenade or mine while pickpocketing). It’s all plain Jane.

I guess that’s okay. I mean, truthfully, I don’t play games just for Achievements…but I kind of expected a little more flair here given the Vegas setting and all. The names are pretty solid, but the actions to earn them are yawn-worthy. I half-expected some for maybe beating the game without killing anyone or another for strippers.

Fallout: New Vegas is set to release on October 19, 2010, for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360, and I’ll be honeymooning in Florida, spending my time storming Hogwarts and riding all the non-scary rides. Oh well. The game will have to wait for my grand return.

So…ready to see ’em? Click the linky below to see the full list of Achievements for Fallout: New Vegas.

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Xbox Live prices set to increase real soon

Well, it was bound to happen. Subscription rates for Gold members of Xbox Live are increasing a wee bit, but even a wee bit in this day and age is enough to either make or break someone. Here’s a good table breakdown of what is what (snipped from Press the Buttons):

Like I said, tis only a wee bit of an increase. An extra $0.83 a month if you really add it up. However, as of late, I’ve been paying for my Gold membership on a month-to-month basis, and I don’t even think I used it at all in August so far. Haven’t found any time for online co-op in Borderlands so the only benefits of a Gold ‘ship at this point has been early demos and not using their Facebook/Twitter applications. Yippee? Nopers.

Considering I’m getting married in October and moving apartments in a few weeks, I’m most likely going to axe my Gold ‘ship for the time being. Hey, I might not even have the Internet for a bit. I meant…it’s not worth the money. I haven’t even turned on my Xbox 360 in five days, and the games I most often end up playing lack any kind of online characteristics.

But there’s always pre-bed rounds of UNO. Hmm…

This be a Munchkinly post if there ever was one

I’ve played–and still play–a lot of card games. Magic: The Gathering, Lord of the Rings CCG, Magi-Nation, Star Wars CCG, and others. I have boxes and boxes of cards that I’m going to have to move real soon. Woo? Er, woo. Through and through, my absolute favorite is Munchkin, a card game that started out as just a parody of Dungeons & Dragons, but eventually became its own unique experience thanks to themed sets and multiple expansions. Of these sets, I’ve collected a good number. Still missing Munchkin-Fu, the Western one, Munchkin Impossible, and the newest trend of booster expansion packs (Munchkin Fairy Dust and Munchkin Waiting for Santa), but it’s mostly because no local shop seems to carry these booster packs. Insert baby crying sound here.

The last new core set for the game was Munchkin Booty, a pirate-themed adventure that is pretty much the favorite of my gaming group. It’s an easy one to learn, a lot of fun with the ye and arr a-plenty, and you gotta love sharks. However, it’s now been way too long since a new core set has come out so when news broke over the weekend about Munchkin Zombies…well, I got a little excited. Personally, I think Munchkin Braaaains would’ve made for a better, more inspired title, but that’s just me. And then snooped around the Steve Jackson Games website and was surprised to discover a bunch of new Munchkin products forthcoming. I wish they promoted these better as I had not heard anything about them at all until now. All are of the booster expansion pack style, which bums me out, but hey…more Munchkin never hurt nobody!

First up, we have another Christmas-themed pack to go along with Munchkin Waiting for Santa and the original core set. It’s called Munchkin Santa’s Revenge and here’s three cards to get you bouncing around like a kid on Christmas morning:

Hubba-hubba for the Christmas Wrapping!

Next we have a Space Ships pack for Star Munchkin, which is adding Ships, first made popular in Munchkin Booty:

Lastly, and this might be the expansion pack that gets me to order online, we have a new entry for Munchkin Booty called Fish and Ships:

Oh yes! I truly do love these expansion booster pack ideas. I only wish there was a shop to pick them up at; the local Borders and Barnes and Noble carry a good number of the core sets, but never any of the expansions. Oh well…there’s always Christmas!

Scott, if your life had a face, I’d punch it and gain XP

Yesterday, after work, Tara and I went looking for apartments. Cause, more than likely, we’re gonna need a place to live after we get married. The one we saw is decent; it’s old and old-like, and it has these slanted ceilings to it because it’s basically the third floor, and these slanted ceilings are going to do battle with me and my head. Tara will be fine; she’s a short thing. But yeah, the timing of things to come and the constant worry of money and/or lack of money…well, it hit us hard with The Stress. Thankfully, I knew that once I got back to my pad that there’d be a light of happiness and distraction. See, Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game hit Xbox Live just yesterday. Sure, those Playstationheads have already got to enjoy it now for a week, but I’ve had to bide my time accordingly. Not like I have things to do or anything. ::ahem::

So, this game…it’s hard. And it sounds beautiful. And the animations are top-notch. And I died a lot as Kim, and I could only beat Ramona’s first evil ex as a level 4 Scott. And I spent almost all of my money on sushi. And I love the references to all things O’Malley like the Kupek graffiti or seeing Lost at Sea in the bookstore. It’s Scott Pilgrim the Game, through and through.

One thing I don’t like though is how it controls, but the majority of that blame falls upon the Xbox 360’s controller. The left analog stick does not allow for quick side-stepping and yet the d-pad below it is not in the best place for this kind of button-mashing game. My thumb’s natural instinct is to go to the analog stick, and this leads to many faulty moves. And I don’t think I ever hit the block button once, but maybe I should rethink that considering how beat up Kim got.

Managed to snag three Achievements though:

Dirty Trick (10G): Defeated an enemy by throwing an object at him while he was already down.

Shopaholic (20G): Bought all the items of a shop during the same visit.

New Challenger (10G): Defeated Matthew Patel without losing a life.

That last one had me nervous. Patel wiped the floor with Kim thanks to his hipster demon girls, but Scott has a great kick-uppercut combo that slowly whittled him down into coins. After that, the world map opened to two areas, one that I’ve already gone to (the shopping district). Didn’t have any more time to play as the pillows were calling out my name. Might try more tonight, but every review says that the game gets extremely challenging for solo players. Gotta wait for Tara to join me in cold, snowy, pixelated Toronto. However, I’m not totally convinced on the RPG elements within, as the leveling up system is…decidedly odd. Will have to (pun-intended) experience it more.

Half-hour review of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars

Wow, that was a boring subject line. Maybe the picture caption will make up for it? Hmm?

Popping up in here real quick to link y’all to my half-hour review of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars over at The First Hour. Go check it out as I think it’s a fun review to read…then again, I wrote it, and there’s my ego shining for a fraction of a second. However, sadly, due to The Busy and The Stress, I’ve not gotten to play more of the game after deciding that, yes, I want to know what is up with the creepy mime. Hopefully soon though.

LEGO Harry Potter’s final boss fight is like an Unforgivable Curse


Well, that’s another game beat for 2010.

Over the weekend, Tara and I finished up the last book section of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, completing the full game with a lowly completion percentage of about 35%. Yeah, there’s a lot more to collect, as well as Hogwarts to explore and open more Metroid-style. We’ll get there…in time. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. You see, I’m disappointed…greatly. The boss battles here are three steps back from the wonderfully imaginative ones in LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues. Instead of creative and challenging, they were lame and over way too quickly. The Mountain Troll required you to lift its club over its head three times and let it drop; Aragog and his spider kiddies required some trial and error, but it was ultimately easy once you knew what to do; the fight against the Dementors was over fast once you realized you only had to target each one with the Expecto Patronum spell. And now we get to the final boss battle, the big one, the face-to-face duel between Harry and You-Know-Who. In the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, this fight was epic; it came out of nowhere; it gave us the readers our very first tug of emotional death; and it become memorable the moment it was done.

The very same boss fight in LEGO Harry Potter? Eh, not so much. First off, Cedric Diggory is alive during the fight for co-op purposes. Fine, fine. Not a dealbreaker as it allowed Tara to battle the incoming Deatheaters as I, Harry, played wand versus wand with Lord Voldemort. This meant that, when Voldie cast his spell at me, I had to tap X rapid fire until it pushed the spell back into him. Then I did this a second time. And finally, a third. BOSS FIGHT OVER. Wipe nonexistent sweat off your brow. Roll scene and credits. Oophm.

Tara even commented that she felt something was off there. That the maze level leading up to the boss fight was more challenging and clever than that. Which it was. Ten times the challenge. A shame really. Still, we have plenty more game to play…though I did go and grab some easy Achievements last night, namely these three:

Chilled Out (10G): Freeze 20 characters using Glacius

Boo! (10G): Scare 20 students using a ghost character

Back in Time (10G): Use the Time-Turner

The majority of the remaining Achievements involve a lot of replaying. I’ll have to check with Tara if she wants me to wait and do it with her together or if I can plow ahead and go for the full Gamerscore. It’s gonna take some time, but it will be FAR from a challenge.

Oh well. Maybe things will get a bit tougher in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7. I mean, after all, Umbridge will be in charge for a bit then.

Autosave feature, you do not complete me

I beat The Saboteur some weeks back, but it’s a game I keep on playing. There’s a lot of post-ending grinding to do (mostly for Achievements), and I know it’s not something one completes over the course of a single night. For example, one Achievement asks that Sean spend 75,000 contraband. That’s A LOT. By the game’s end, I had only spent around 45,000, and this Achievement now involves a lot of weapon/ammo buying, and dying to head back to the shop to rinse and repeat. So…slow is the name of the game, but that’s okay with me. I enjoy playing this game in short spurts, killing a couple of Nazi dots and continuing to explore this wonderfully open Paris.

However, I loaded up the game last night to discover that my last save was from early July 2010. Um, no. I had just played the game a few days before…which means all that hard work of blowing up Nazi towers and collecting postcards was all for naught. This also includes the roughly 5,000 contraband I worked on spending to get me closer to the 75,000 mark. And here’s why this happened: I relied on autosave, a function that worked well throughout the main story missions as it saved often and strongly, most often at different mission checkpoints. However, in the post-game world, where there’s no missions left to do, the autosave function does not compute as often as I’d like. I have to wonder if it even does anymore at all. Now there’s only manual saving, something I forgot to do last time. And after seeing all those white dots back on the world map, I will never forget again.

So yeah, I’m a little grumpy over this, and will now most likely take a break from The Saboteur. Just a few days, that’s all. It’s not been my proudest moment. And now I’m reminded of a beautiful little quote from our leading lad Sean Devlin, “Let’s see how proud you are with my f*cking boot up your arse!”

Naturally, ‘Splosion Man ends with a bang

It took tears and sweat and countless piles of uncooked scientist steaks, as well as some mild swearing, but I finally beat ‘Splosion Man:

You’re the Best Around! (25G): Complete the Single Player game.

You bet your exploding ass I’m the best that’s around! Actually, no. I’m not that great. I had to turn off the game several times, and there were many moments where I experienced pure ultimate cruelty and vowed to give this up for good. Like, in my mind, I kept repeating, “It’s not worth it! It’s not worth it!” Alas, it never happened. I soldiered through. It took several nights, but I did it. Feel free to give me some slow golf claps. And that Achievement above proves I did it without using the “Way of the Coward” cheat to skip levels that were much too hard (here’s looking at you, 3-17). Trust me. I wanted to skip. A zillion times…because ‘Splosion Man is a toughie, requiring precise timing and quick hand-eye coordination. Limbo, a puzzle platformer strikingly different in tone and style, also required the same skills, but it never got me this frustrated. Stuck, sure…but I could work through it…or look up the solution online. The thing is, even if you know the puzzle’s answer, you still have to be really good at controlling ‘Splosion Man’s jumps and timing them just perfect. Otherwise, it’s lights out.

But don’t worry. You’ll be rewarded for all your hard work. ‘Splosion Man has one of the most bizarre and memorable endings to date, as well as really scary end credits. I watched them for the music, but I stayed out of pure fascination and fear. It’s the stuff of nightmares. If you don’t want to put in the hours, check it out below then:

Yup. You’re welcome.

I’m sure I have more to say. Maybe a full review later on? Magical eightball says…EXPLOSION!

Half-hour reviews take longer than a half-hour to write

Last night, I found some time, sat down, and finished up a half-hour review of Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars for The First Hour. Will probably go up live sometime next week. One puzzle frustrated me to the point of cheating. Stay tuned for that.

I do find it interesting that writing a half-hour review of a videogame took me over two hours to do. Why’s that? Well, for starters, I use a stopwatch and take notes as a I play. I am constantly stopping time, writing down some quick notes, starting the time again, and then playing some more until another note-taking session demands my soul. That means my half-hour of gametime is never straight through; it’s choppy as the Artic Sea and maybe just as frenetic. Also, there were a couple of phone calls during my play session, which I needed to answer–so everything went on pause then. After a full thirty minutes were played, it was time to review my notes and clean them the frak up. Nobody could read my drivel, but after some copyediting and writing, the minute-by-minute playthrough is much more readable. Hopefully, enjoyable too. Plus, then I have to write beginning copy as a lead-in to the review, and a summary of things that happened over the past half-hour. Sometimes writing comes naturally; other times, it’s like pulling teeth…out of a bulldog.

And now you know my process. As offbeat as it is. Truthfully, it works best for Nintendo DS games than anything else as taking notes while playing a console game (and using a stopwatch to keep track of time) is slightly tougher to do because of my entertainment setup.

I will spoil y’all now and tell you that my answer to the Will you continue playing? question is a yes. In fact, I’m playing it as I write this blog. If anything, these reviews are strengthening my multi-tasking skills.

Here’s some adjectives to describe Super Scribblenauts

Adequate, all right, convenient, fair, fine, good, in order, middling, not bad, okay, passable, so-so, surely, tolerable, ceaseless, constant, continual, dull, insistent, monotonous, repeated, absorbing, affecting, alluring, amusing, arresting, attractive, captivating, charismatic, compelling, curious, delightful, elegant, enchanting, engaging, engrossing, enthralling, entrancing, exceptional, exotic, fascinating, fine, gracious, gripping, impressive, intriguing, inviting, lovely, magnetic, pleasing, pleasurable, prepossessing, provocative, readable, refreshing, riveting, stimulating, stirring, striking, suspicious, thought-provoking, unusual, winning, pathetic, comatose, dallying, dilatory, drowsy, dull, flagging, idle, inattentive, indifferent, indolent, inert, lackadaisical, laggard, lagging, languid, languorous, lethargic, lifeless, loafing, neglectful, out of it, passive, procrastinating, remiss, somnolent, supine, tardy, tired, trifling, unconcerned, unenergetic, unindustrious, and unpersevering

Was that enough adjectives for ya? They’re a mix of interesting and lazy and par for the course. This spurt of words was inspired by a recently released new trailer for the game. Check it out below:

Also, I can’t help but find it funny that the trailer has to highlight the fact that there’s now d-pad controls in Super Scribblenauts. Sure, that was, by and far, the original game’s biggest downfall, causing many unwanted deaths to our leading rooster-hatted lad, and the fact that it’s been upgraded is nice and gets me feeling better about buying, more or less, the same game again…but still. Not many other games make a big deal about their control schemes. It’s not bullet point material, and the only other Nintendo DS game I can think of making a mountain out of a molehill here is most likely with The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass with its touchscreen-only controls.

Either way, I’m interested and always will be in games that use words as a means to get things done, but I think I will wait to hear what reviews have to say about this one. Graphically, not much has changed, so now it needs to be seen in the d-pad switch really makes the experience better, and if the devs added more Fun Stuff throughout. Otherwise, I’ll just have to continue toughing it out with the original. I think the third game should be all about onomatopoeia. Super Scribblenauts Splut, perhaps?