Monthly Archives: September 2010

That’s Fallout 3 karma for ya

As evil aligned Samantha creeps closer to Level 30 in Fallout 3, I’m contemplating cheating. Only, when you sit back and look at it, it’s really not cheating at all. In fact, Bethesda seems to be encouraging me to do this. This being saving my game just before leveling up, reloading, and then changing my karma from evil to neutral before I hit Level 30 to unlock an Achievement for both karma cutoffs. It’s that or I play the entire game for a third time, something that is not looking like fun for me as I’m currently, well, very busy. And going insane. Y’know how it is.

Anyways, there’s a couple of perks that automatically switch one’s karma level around so that I don’t have to go find a Wasteland bum I’ve not yet killed and give him a hundred bottles of purified water. Even though the game itself is providing me with ways to switch my karma status right before I level up, it still feels wrong. Part of me is screaming, “Cheater! Achievement whore!” And yet another is nudging me gently, as if to say, “You know, you’re getting married soon. And Fallout: New Vegas is almost here. Time really is of the essence. Do it, and then you’d only have to play through the game as a neutral karma dude until you hit Level 20. Do it. For all of us.”

Cheat, don’t cheat. It’s cheating. it’s not cheating. Ughhhh….

So yeah, I’m battling with myself. I really would love to have everything completed in Fallout 3 before I dive head-first into Fallout: New Vegas, as the completionist in me sees that it is possible, and so it must be done. I will say that I’m extremely thankful not to see karma-tied Achievements in the next game, but the ones for dealing X amount of damage with specific weapon types will be my new bane. If you don’t remember, I’m not a big fan of BIG GUNS. Yup. So, we’ll see how this goes. There’s also the possibility that I might just forget to even save at a convenient time and screw myself out of this opportunity.

Sly Cooper 4…

…where, oh where, art thou?

Please hurry up and come into existence. It’s been way too long since I’ve played a really fun, stealthy platformer. I know there’s a new HD/3D package getting worked up for the PlayStation 3, but that doesn’t cut it for me. I want a new adventure; I want to get the gang back together; I want to tip-toe across city roofs in a gorgeous, expansive open world à la Grand Theft Auto IV or The Saboteur. I know it can be done. Especially with the cel-shading. I’m just waiting, waiting, waiting, and I’d like to think I’m not the only one here. Let’s go, guys at Sucker Punch Productions. Don’t make me get The Murray to come over and rough y’all up…

More like The Clash at DEADhead, right?

With Tara’s help, Scott Pilgrim and Kim Pine took down The Clash at Demonhead in Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game, a pretty tough level just for the amount of enemy goons it throws at you. I can’t believe I even tried going at it solo; only got as far as the one-against-two fight of Scott versus Envy Adams and that drummer with the robotic arm. Immediately after that, it’s an extremely tough fight as extreme vegan Todd Ingram tosses us around in a back alley like ragdolls. Not even the Vegan Police could stop him…though they tried.

We lost all our lives in this level, and we definitely landed the final blow as we were down to a tiny bit of health. That sort of felt frakkin’ fantastic, that did. The co-op in this game is actually quite great; you can reanimate fallen allies, you can perform co-op attacks, and you can even pick each other up Simpsons arcade style and use as a weapon. It’s bizarre and funny, but sometimes you might just need a Kim to throw, so there you go. Afterwards, we went shopping, and then tried to take on the next level, which was full of NINJAS. Needless to say, we got our butts whipped, but we’re jonesing to try again. Just gotta get Scott and Kim some awesome food to go.

I think Tara’s first experience so far with Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game was good. She said she kept getting distracted by all the people in the background, but she learned many of Kim’s moves fast and got good at knowing how to attack and when to reanimate. I tried explaining to her the RPG elements here, but even I didn’t fully understand it. “Uh, you buy food, and that’s how you gain XP. But you don’t know what each food item does until after you buy it. And even then, it’s hard to tell what kind of difference it makes.” Yeah…something like that. She did remark that she loved how it both looked and felt like an old-school game.

Maybe we’ll play some more tonight? I hope so. Roxie needs to go DOWN!

Moving, the game of heavy boxes and staircases

No, this post is not about the PlayStation Move, but it is about moving. Cause that’s the reason I didn’t play any videogames yesterday. That’s right. Not a single one. Didn’t even end up busting out the Nintendo DS before the Sandman came to take me away. Oh wait…I did play the game of not having a heart attack after repeatedly climbing two sets of stairs with heavy boxes as Tara and I moved into our first apartment. I totally beat that game. Cause…I’m typing this post, see?

Anyways, we only brought over miscellaneous stuff at the moment. It’s going to be a piece-by-piece sort of move, as I still have my own studio and she’s still living at home with her folks until we get married. Which, amazingly, is happening one month from today. One…month. ONE MONTH. Trying not to freak out here. Deep breaths.

Want to see some more shots of our new, mostly empty pad? Check out Tara’s Flickr account then.

I’ll get back to videogame-related blathering soon, I promise. Visiting my folks for the weekend, which means packing up the Xbox 360. Tara hasn’t gotten to play Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game yet, and I now need help beating The Clash at Demonhead level. I’m even gonna be nice and let her play as Kim, as Scott’s move list has actually grown on me. I had to grind with him for a bit just to get past Lucas Lee on “Average Joe” difficulty. Tis a hard game. But if I can beat the no heart attack game, I can conquer this one for sure.

Meet your helpful companions from Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas creeps a bit closer to its release date, and more information about the game is being revealed. A lot, actually. This is a good thing. I just want to devour it all, and I can’t believe it’s coming out during my honeymoon. Tara is gonna get so sick of my “Fallout this, Fallout out” mumbling as we traipse about Disney World and Hogwarts. Good thing she loves me, right? Plus, the game will still be there when I get back. I already have the money for it put aside.

Moving on, just like Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas plays home to companions to help aid the main character during his/her quest. Some humanoid, some not. You can check out them all by clicking this very sentence. Click it! CLICK IT.

To be honest, I never used a companion in Fallout 3 unless the mission demanded it; I’ve played through the game twice now, and have yet to even search out Dogmeat. I’m just a solo adventuring kind of dude, I guess. Plus, I’m a big fan of stealth, and having a noisy friend with me only makes that problematic. However, the companions in Fallout: New Vegas come with their own special perks, many of which are cool enough to get me to change my mind about how I feel on this aspect. Here’s my top pick:

  • Full Name: Lillian Marie Bowen
  • Sex: Super Mutant
  • Race: Nightkin Super Mutant
  • Age: 203
  • Ethnicity: African
  • Profession: Farmer, Jacobstown
  • Perk: Stealth Girl – While Lily is a companion, the duration of Stealth Boys is increased by 200% and all Sneak Attack Critical Hits do an additional 10% damage.
  • Description: Though she now lives a peaceful life tending to Bighorners in the community of Jacobstown, Lily was once a Nightkin in The Master’s army. Before that, she was an elderly grandmother enjoying a simple life in Vault 17. Heavily medicated, Lily struggles with her dangerous schizophrenia and distant memories of her old life.
  • Hellooooo, Lily.

    There’s one or two others that interest me, particularly the Eyebot. I really want to try to play outside of my normal style for Fallout: New Vegas, but I know that’s just gonna be hard to do. Hopefully some of these companions–and weapon-specific Achievements–will help break my mold.

    Halo: Reach, the final piece to a series I’ve never played

    Well, it’s the day many gamers have been waiting for–Halo: Reach, the final entry in Bungie’s acclaimed and much loved Halo series, descends upon the galaxy! Many gamers, that is, but me. See, I’ve never played a Halo game before. Not extensively. I tried two maps in multiplayer at a friend’s house years back, and that ended very badly as I found myself constantly getting sniped and then falling off ledges and such. The other time I “played” Halo was when I watched another friend play the first few levels of Halo: Combat Evolved, offering him tips and ideas on where to go to next. And that’s it. And both of those moments took place at least six or seven years ago. So yeah. Since then, I’ve watched Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo ODST, and that RTS Halo game come and go without much interest; that also now applies to Bungie’s final footprint in their series.

    To me, they all look and feel exactly the same. You are a dude that shoots aliens, flies spacecraft, and explores colorful locales. I understand that there are many that love this series, and dive deep into its lore, but for me, it just screams generic. Heck, even watching a video review of Halo: Reach recently put me off; I had to double-check it was a review for the latest game and not, say, Halo 3. They both blended together as one single sameness. Not good. I don’t know if there will ever be a time when I will want to play as Master Chief and pew pew pew some alien goons, but it most likely won’t be any time soon. Unless I find one of the games in a bargain bin and feel frisky. Question: if I were to start, where’s the best place to begin? ODST?

    Also, I just can’t believe Bungie had the steel balls to release this in the same week as other heavyhitters like:

    • Cabela’s North American Adventures (Activision) – Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP
    • Fancy Nancy: Tea Party Time! (THQ) – Nintendo DS
    • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment) – Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo DS
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D’s: Duel Transer (Konami) – Wii
    • Horse Life Adventures (Valcon Games) – Wii, Nintendo DS

    Balls of steel, I say.

    Just about finished with The Saboteur

    Well, I had a successful weekend grinding ambient freeplay events into oblivion in The Saboteur. How successful, you ask? Just check out this string of Achievements unlocked over the past two days:

    Tourist (15G): You collected all monument postcards.

    Wrecking Crew (15G): You completed 333 ambient freeplay in Paris Area 1.

    Unnatural Disaster (15G): You completed 212 ambient freeplay in Paris Area 2. 

    Walking WMD (15G): You completed 239 ambient freeplay in Paris Area 3.

    Guerilla Warfare (15G): You completed 425 ambient freeplay in the countryside.

    Whew. The toughest part about this grinding was…not quitting. Especially in Paris Area 1, 2, and 3, because in those areas, the majority of ambient freeplay events are on the roofs of buildings, and if there’s one thing Sean’s not, it’s Assassin’s Creed. Climbing roofs and up tall, bulky buildings is slow and unfun, clunky to put it perfectly, and some buildings seem nearly unclimbable. They are not, but it could take a good ten minutes or so just to find the one ledge that will get things going in the right direction. Frustrating when all one is looking for is a silly little postcard. I definitely had more fun blowing up Nazis in the countryside, using trees for cover and running alongside streams. Plus, y’know, cows. Mooo. Er, right. Anyways, at this point, there’s four Achievements left in the game. Two seem impossible for me, one is a maybe, but would require even more repetitive grinding, and the last is halfway complete, but I just don’t know if I need to play The Saboteur anymore. I’ve seen a lot already, blown up just about everything–in fact, there’s only 10 white dots left on my map. Check out my e-peen! But yeah, with a nearly empty map, there’s only running around and listening to Sean curse. Guess me and him are more or less fini.

    Spent 75,000 contraband in The Saboteur, and all I got was this lousy Achievement

    Yay, I can finally stop fully stocking up on weapons and ammo for guns I don’t even use in The Saboteur because I unlocked the following Achievement last night:

    Saint Honoré (15G): You spent 75,000 contraband.

    That took awhile, and yes, I’m including my own goofiness here from when I played for two nights straight and forgot to save each time. Oof. Basically, my strategy for this was as so: fill up on grenades and dynamite, buy ammo for ALL weapons, grab two, with one of them in particular the rocket launcher, go out and destroy some Nazi white dots until I ran out of ammunition, die, and do it all over again. Simple, but slow. I also was kind of banking on popping some other Achievements along the way–like the ones for clearing X ambient freeplay events in Paris Area 1, Paris Area 2, Paris Area 3, and the surrounding countryside–but that hasn’t happened yet. Phooey. Sure feels like I blew up a ton of Nazi guardtowers.

    Reviewing the Achievements list, I’m a little uncertain about many of them. Solid Gold asks that Sean earned every gold level perk, which is not an easy task. I have four or five to go, but I’m struggling with the ones that say to blow up 10 Nazi soldiers with dynamite in like 10 seconds, as well as the perk specific for Nazi vehicles. I think I missed the boat on the Liberator of France Achievement as that deals with inspiring the people of France, most likely tied to a side mission no longer available, and I am only working off of one save file. The remainder do just involve a lot more grinding (finding postcards, kissing women, rescuing innocent civilians), which I feel like I’m going to get tired of very soon. If I don’t finish everything up here that I want to complete by the time I get Fallout: New Vegas…well, it mostly won’t ever get done then. Oh well. I’m okay with not 1,000 Gamerscoring this one, but it might’ve been nice since it’s very much an underdog release. It’s definitely given me a lot of content to eat up for a minimal price tag of $17.00 used.

    Full Gamerscore magically earned for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4

    It was a bit of a grind, playing the same levels over and over, pestered with some frustration thanks to glitches telling me that there were Gold Bricks where Gold Bricks were not, but another LEGO game has fallen under the power of my mighty gaming fist. Either way, all Achievements have now been unlocked for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4. Sadly, the majority of them were extremely tame, and I feel like Traveller’s Tales really missed a lot of opportunities with this one. Sure, other LEGO games were just as mild when it came to in-game tasks, but LEGO Batman had a couple nifty Achievements that dealt with gliding for a specific distance and backflipping about as Robin, and the groundwork here is so diverse and magical that it is, ultimately, a shame it got wasted. Basically, the bulk of Achievements here are about doing X a Y amount of times.

    Like so:

    • Destroy 50 plants with Lumos Solem spell
    • Collect all House Crests in Years 1, 2, 3, and 4
    • Rescue all students in peril
    • Defeat 10 enemies with a Muggle character
    • Defeat 20 enemies with Fang
    • Scare 20 students using a ghost character
    • Defeat 20 spiders with Ron
    • Fall asleep typing up this lame list

    By and far, the only shining light Achievement-wise is this nod at a certain stealthy dude that might get sorted into Slytherin if the Sorting Hat ever got on his head (I hope some of you get that; hint: ssssssssnakes):

    Solid Snape (15G): Hide in a barrel as Snape

    Yup, that’s it. A funny one, too. The rest are…extremely uninspired.

    Another swing-and-a-miss from TT involves the Mauraders’ Map. In Year 3, Harry and Ron are chasing Peter Pettigrew down a dark Hogwarts hallway. Well, not Pettigrew exactly. More like Scabbers (spoiler!). Anyways, just like in the movie version, fancy script floats in the air showing the location of several characters, moving as they move. It looks awesome; it’s also the only time it happens. I think that, after completing Year 3, Harry should have gotten to keep the map to use around Hogwarts, because that place is a bit big and confusing, and it would’ve really helped with the game’s immersion. Maybe they can remedy this in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7.

    I’ve got other complaints (and praises! I promise I loved a lot, too!) for LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, but I think I’ll save ’em for a full writeup.

    Collecting side quests in Dragon Quest IX is all the rage

    Unfortunately, I got very busy and had to put Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skiesdown for a bit. To progress forward, I had to grind a bunch for money and experience and alchemy ingredients for better gear, and that sort of grinding did not sit well with my schedule. However, if there is one thing I have kept up with week after week of getting the game, it’s been downloading weekly DLC quests…quests I have not yet–and might not ever–played.

    DLC quests #121 through #135, as of today, to be specific. Fourteen! FOURTEEN.

    See, in Stornway, in that main inn with that name I just can’t recall, you’ll meet Sellma. She runs the DQVC, a daily online shop that hosts rare ingredients and equipment. It changes every single day so it’s worth visiting. Then, every Friday, DLC side quests are available. These get dropped into your quest log, but every single one so far is for post-game content only. I have about 15+ quests just sitting there, mocking me. Yet…I have to download them. I like having and knowing that I have this content ready for experiencing. That’d be some major gaming OCD for yah. I mean, I also went to that meetup to get that cool, rare grotto treasure map, and I haven’t even tried tackling it yet. Might not ever. I just like having it, in case, one day, a bolt of lightning strikes me, and I want to go grotto-ing about for loot and big bosses.

    Anyways, over the weekend, I found a pocket of time during a dog-sitting day to immerse myself back into DQIX. And boy did I! I grinded, I completed some main quests, I beat a very catty boss, and I found myself thinking about all the recipes I want to complete and just how hard some will be to obtain all the specific ingredients. Man, this game just gives you so much to do, and I love it for that. Then I think I found myself fighting the “end boss” because I beat it once, and then it took a second form, which is very much an end boss thing to do. That second boss form wiped the floor with me as I had used up all of my resources during the first battle. Will have to grind some more and strengthen up, but I do plan to attack back soon as the list of untouched DLC quests is just getting too big for my brain to handle. FOURTEEN AND COUNTING!