Category Archives: video

Game of Thrones: The Game has got me worried

I am not a trusted scholar and saucebox of all things A Song of Ice and Fire. Sure, I love the books immensely, am a big fan of HBO’s take on blood and dragons and heraldy and fine-ass beards, and am a dude that’s attempting to draw just about every character ever named by George R.R. Martin–but I don’t know everything. However, I do know that there’s no place called Riverspring in Westeros. Except, thanks to the forthcoming Game of Thrones: The Game (ugh, what a name), now there is. Here’s how the developers describe it:

Bordering the Riverlands, the interests of this town and surrounding countryside are held in the name of Sarwyck as bannermen to the Lannisters. From their family keep, they have presided over their people for generations, but now unrest begins to grow in wake of the death of the reigning Lord Raynard Sarwyck.

All right. That’s believable enough, given just how many houses, big and small, there are, and the Lannisters do have a lot of support. And Sarwyck is a fine, Martin-esque name, but I got problems with Riverspring. Here’s why. In Fallout: New Vegas, upon emerging from a premature shallow grave, you discover the town of Goodsprings. In Rage, the first true city you come to call home is Wellspring. EverQuest fans might remember a halfling city called Rivervale. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, after stepping out of a cave, so long as you follow the path, the first settlement you unearth is called Riverwood. And in…y’know, I’m just going to list all of these forgettable names in bullet format to really drive home the point:

  • Goodsprings
  • Wellspring
  • Rivervale
  • Riverwood
  • Riverspring

The videogames market is currently inundated with spring places, and yes, pun freakin’ intended. Also, don’t forget about Riverrun, the ancestral stronghold of House Tully. The place that actually matters. But yeah, I get that the devs wanted to A) create a new location to do with whatever they wanted and B) keep it in line with Martin’s naming schematics, but seven hells, they picked the most generic thing ever. I think if I ever make a robust RPG set in a typical fantasy land, the first town I name will be called Good Riverwater Springs. You heard it here first, people.

Okay, fine. I have problems with Riverspring and just how little it adds to a world brimming with detail and construction. Moving on, thanks to Greg Noe, a new trailer has hit the Interwebz:

Wow. Look, no one–and I do mean no one–is playing Game of Thrones: The Game for its story. You just can’t outdo or even come close to the story-telling power of GRRM, so don’t bother trying. Instead, give us the goods on the videogaming side. Make it fun to play, fun to swing a sword or dabble in seedy politics or create some kind of unique dialogue tree system, but don’t pretend to be all high and mighty. This trailer tries to sound exciting, but even the narrator sounds bored–and rightly so. I’d rather see how the game will play, whether it will be more like Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age II, as that difference is vital. Certainly it won’t be anything original, but if it is closer to DA:O then I’m in. If it’s DAII…well, I’m probably still in as I am a huge fanboy of the source material, but man, it’s just going to be one letdown after the other. Granted, there still seems to be a second storyline to follow based around the Wall and the Night’s Watch. Maybe that tale will be more inspiring.

A release date of May 2012 is being tossed around. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more details before I take the black. Ugh. Between this, that RTS flop from Cyanide Studio, and an upcoming MMORPG, it just doesn’t seem like A Song of Ice and Fire can get the videogame treatment it truly deserves. At this point, I’d be down for something like this.

Latest Nintendo 3DS firmware update adds Accomplishments, new Mii hats, and more

Last night, Xbox Live got an update, and this morning, my Nintendo 3DS got an update. Of the two, I’m loving the latter way more. Let me show you what it brings to the table.

After simultaneously recharging my dying battery and downloading the update, the first thing I noticed on my 3DS was a new app called the Nintendo Zone, which promises special content when connecting with certain free wi-fi hotspots. There’s none near Grimmauld Place, and I have no idea where any nearby would be. The 3DS Camera app now has a toggle for either taking video or stills; hopefully you can record video for a decent amount of length, and not a mere 30 seconds or something. Otherwise, that’d be a waste, but I’ll have to wait until later to give it a try. Early reports mention up to ten minutes of recording, with time-lapse being an optional setting. Cool.

Seems like the most new additions are found within the Mii Street Plaza. Fine by me! First, we have Achievements. Well, Nintendo is calling them Accomplishments, which is way better than Accolades, but whatever–they work all the same. Do this, and earn a shiny red exclamation point. The nicest thing is that upon simply loading up the Plaza, I unlocked 15+, meaning they are retroactive. I got one for having over 50 Miis in my plaza and another for having Miis from two different regions (United States and Canada, snatch). Speaking of that, there’s a geographical map to show you exactly where all your Miis come from; I’ve got a lot of East Coast staters, with some strangely from California, too. And you can now get Miis from using SpotPass. A music player lets to kick back and hear some battle tunes. There is a sequel to Find Mii, offering new hats, but only if you’ve found all the ones from the previous game, which I’ve not yet done–I’m one hat away. And new puzzles for Puzzle Swap. Oh man, looks like I’m going to be walking around with my 3DS in sleep mode a lot more than usual.

This firmware update now also allows content to be moved between 3DS systems, and the eShop has also been updated to support demos and downloads when the system is in sleep mode.

Whew.

Next on the list before 2011 runs out is us 3DS Ambassadors getting 10 free GBA games. This little handheld of mine is going to be bursting with So Much Stuff. Not a bad thing. Not at all.

Games Completed in 2011, #34 – The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures Anniversary Edition

This year marked the momentous 25th anniversary for The Legend of Zelda franchise. Nintendo celebrated with elaborate symphonies, commercials purporting that Robin Williams and his pixie-haired daughter Zelda Williams gamed together, and a free copy of The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures for those rocking a Nintendo 3DS. Hey, I’m one of those! A 3DS owner, that is. Not Robin or Zelda Williams. Snartleblast, I know.

Some history first. Four Swords Adventures was originally for the Nintendo GameCube and, while containing a lot of familiar faces and gameplay aspects, was a little different than Link’s previously traditional treks to save the princess. This time, it was all about multiplayer chaos, with multiple Links having to work together to solve puzzles and at the same time trying to one-up each other in terms of collecting the most rupees. If you had friends and a lot of systems/cables, you had a solid Friday night. I never got to play it way back when, but it sounds like a fantastic party game, with plenty of room for hijinks and backstabbing.

The 3DS version–well, it’s actually available as a piece of DSiWare, meaning gamers with either/or system can play–was redesigned slightly to include a single-player mode, as well as new enemies, maps, and puzzles. Thank goodness for this. I’m sure many of us went into the freebie with high hopes of playing with friends over WiFi, but the 3DS is still not a great system for online play. I have one person on my 3DS friends list that I know also downloaded the game, but for us to communicate and set up a gaming time session would probably be more hassle than fun. So yeah, more like The Legend of Zelda: One Sword Adventures. Eh…Two Swords, really.

If you don’t have anyone to play with and you’re going the single-player route, the game tosses in a second controllable Link. If you’re familiar with using the Phantom Knight from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for solving puzzles then you’ll pick up the pace pretty fast here. A lot of switching and throwing each other at levers. Strangely, at the end of each level, the game still tallies how much your Link earned rupees-wise versus how much the second Link did. Either way…um, you’re a winner. Unless you picked up too many rupoors.

So, there’s three main worlds to traverse across, split up into different levels. I’d say that each averages around 15 minutes to complete. End bosses have a pattern to discover, and there’s also a main end boss who is not named Ganon. Sure, it’s weird, but it is what it is. After completing the game, a new world opens up, the Realm of Memories, letting Link hop into theme-based worlds of Zelda yore. The one based around A Link to the Past is simply fantastic, mainly from a visual standpoint. I am now just daydreaming about getting a 3D version of it down the line. It’s okay, Nintendo. You can charge e-money for it; I’ll pay. Oh, I’ll pay.

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures was a free download, and I had a good time playing it. Alas, I’m not getting the mileage from it that Nintendo probably hoped for, but it’s a great experience nonetheless. Get it before it stops being free.

The early life and times of an Imperial Dragonborn with an obsession for cheese wheels

My Grinding Down post…uh, post playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the very first time did not turn out like I originally planned. I was hoping to do more of a summary of the times, the handful of hours spent, about the things Lohgahn did or did not do since stumbling into freedom, as well as my usual colorful commentary on all things broken with Bethesda’s supposedly brand new engine. In the end, I babbled on about the quest The House of Horrors and how surprised and conflicted I was by it. So here we are again, for Skyrim post numero two.

If you’ve ever read any of my posts on Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, or Deus Ex: Human Revolution, then you know how I like to roleplay. At least initially. Sneak, steal, and get by with skin still on my bones. Sell everything not sealed down. And so that’s how it began, with Lohgahn getting his greedy Imperial hands on a bow and quiver of arrows as soon as possible. He snuck through caves, snuck up to villages, snuck through the forest, and so long as he was able to hit an enemy first without being detected, they were usually dead with one shot. If not, they generally didn’t reach him by the time he had reloaded his bow. However, I did have a backup strategy for when things got up-close and personal, and that was a combo of fire magic and an enchanted axe that also contained fire magic. Yeah, fire’s cool. Also now have a fire-based Shout, so watch out frost-based critters.

And sadly, I’ve been using the bow less and less. Now I’m really into summoning a spectral wolf companion or a demon from another plane to help out in battle. I haven’t gotten another stable companion since Lydia died, and I don’t know if I ever will. I do enjoy going at it alone, even if the dragon fights are tough with nobody else to aggro at. Speaking of dragons, I’ve taken down six now. Some perks I’ve picked up are zooming in with the bow, gaining a bonus to armor protection if wearing all pieces of light armor, and more damage with one-handed weapons. It’s weird seeing where Lohgahn started and where he’s at now, a mixed bag of tricks. This could potentially be dangerous down the line, with him decent in multiple styles, but not strong in a single element. We’ll see. I might not ever even complete the main storyline considering how many side quests rock and how many miscellaneous tasks I’ve got in my log.

And now, some more blabbering about a fantastic quest I turned in recently called A Night to Remember. Spoilers follow, people. After a hard day of looting bandits and cooking their food, Lohgahn headed to the tavern in Whiterun for some drink and music. Well, he certainly got one of those two things. A man named Sam Guevenne challenged me to a drinking contest for a magical staff, and I accepted, guzzling back three glasses of whatever we were guzzling. After blacking out, Lohgahn woke up in an entirely different hold, with no memory of what happened. He then has to piece it together, and in the end, after talk of stolen sheep and getting married, it’s more mindgames being played by Daedra princes. I think I’m going to absolutely love every single Daedra quest in Skyrim.

Also, I’ve begun recording some of the glitches in the game. Here’s one where doors in my Whiterun house magically stand up without walls. I’ve got another one to upload that’ll make your head spin.

In summary, after roughly fourteen or fifteen hours, Lohgahn loves cheese wheels, is now level 16, and has only done a smidgen of the main storyline quests. He has, however, been deemed a hero of the people. It’s true. See right here:


Hero of the People (30G): Complete 50 Misc Objectives

He’s thinking about learning more about magic, and yet, at the same time, wondering if he’d fit in with that underground thieves guild. Hmm…

Achievements of the Week – The Blessed Unbound Master Edition

It has arrived. The day is 11/11/11, and it is so much more than a Spinal Tap reference or a day to honor Veterans everywhere–it’s the day dragons awoke, the day I became a bearded man of import. Getting there wasn’t hard; Tara and I went to my local GameStop around 10ish, paid for my copies of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and LEGO Harry Potter, Years 5-7 (which I won’t be able to pick up until early next week) and then hung out on the store’s floor for a bit. We gamed on our DSes for a bit, but eventually had to line up outside in the cold as we drew nearer to midnight. Once the time chimed high, we were sent into the store in groups of six or seven, given our copies, and ushered out. The drive home seemed to take forever.

Got home, made my character–his name is Lohgahn, and he’s rocking some killer Wolverine-esque sideburns–and played until the intro tutorial part was completed. Then I saved my game as I was a truly sleepy bear, but woke up early this morning to continue bounding onwards. Have only taken a break to make/eat lunch and type up this Grinding Down blog post.

I’ve never waited for a midnight release of anything before, and it was a little interesting seeing what type of people came out for this event. Mostly young teenagers or kids just getting into college by the look of ’em. There was a group attempting to sing–to everyone’s horror–Queen. And then listening to them spew words about how dumb Batman ultimately is and what Final Fantasy is the best had me cringing a bit–is that what I sound like, just not out loud? Ugh…

Well, maybe more on that later. For now, here’s a rundown of this week’s Achievements. They all come from a single franchise.

From The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion…

Blah blah blah, who cares now. All hail Skyrim Achievements!

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim…


Unbound (10G): Complete “Unbound”


Blessed (10G): Select a Standing Stone blessing

These are probably the first two Achievements the majority of gamers will unlocked. The first one is basically tied to Skyrim‘s tutorial/intro level, and the second is obtainable by following your companion right down the main path a little ways. Can’t miss it. Unless, upon the game truly opening up for you, you headed left or right with such ferocity that you never found the easiest Standing Stone possible. Bummer to you.

The first few hours of my game have gone well, and I certainly didn’t see any crazy horse-on-carts antics, but knowing it’s a Bethesda game means it’s only a matter of time until the glitches start popping up. I did stumble upon one oddity. I was speaking to a woman inside her own home in Whiterun, and she was ready to give me a quest, but said it’d be better to talk to her in her home in case anyone was eavesdropping. We…uh, were in her home. Speaking to her a second time triggered the correct dialogue, but it was still pretty amusing.

And with that, I go back to make Lohgahn a better archer, a better necromancer, and a better thief. To arms!

Videogame genres I just can’t play

Obviously, readers of Grinding Down should know that I have a deep, unquenchable love for RPGs. They are my favorite type of videogame, enough so that adding basic RPG elements to other types of games is enough to get me drooling. But, for all my years of gripping a controller, there are still some types of games that don’t interest me and probably never will. Let’s take a look at them to see maybe why…

Tower/Defense

Set up a bunch of stuff and then sit back, staring at the screen as all the action happens without any more involvement from you, the player. Do this for a lengthy period of time, until waves of enemies stop washing over you. I don’t know. It just always seemed boring, and the majority of tower/defense titles feature top-down perspectives or ones with the camera pulled so far out that nothing can be seen. So there I am, waiting for stuff to happen, and then when it does, I can barely make out my units from the enemy’s. A resounding meh.

That said, I’ve still not yet played Plants VS. Zombies, which is purported to convert any and all haters of this genre.

Sports

Ha! If I don’t play them in real life, there’s certainly no enjoyment to gain from experiencing them digitally. Though I do enjoy a round of golf on my 3DS now and then. Very relaxing. Except when I double-bogey a par three. Then I get the rage sweats.

Realistic First-person Shooters

I believe my distaste for war shooters stems from childhood and my father. He’s a hunter, and raised me to respect guns. In fact, I was the only kid on my street not allowed to get a laser tag toy gun the year everyone was jumping off that bridge, and thus missed out on all the late night bonding with neighbors that is vital to a hermit-in-hiding’s upbringing. We used to go target shooting though, and I remember always holding the gun downwards at the ground, in constant fear of it ever discharging by accident. I only ever wanted to point at empty soda cans or paper plates with targets drawn on them, and even then I didn’t like the sensation. Realistic FPS games demand you aim at people and pull the trigger, and with ragdoll animation it’s all a little too life-like when they go down. The infamous “No Russian” level from Modern Warfare 2 is hard to even watch with no controller in hand. I’d rather take down aliens or monsters or robots with brains than shoot a fellow human being, armed or not, which is why some of my favorite shooters are Borderlands and Fallout 3. Surprisingly, not Halo; I don’t really get that series.

Racing

Most of my week is spent in my car, driving to, driving from. Granted, it’s not a race car doing 150 mph and taking turns like a pro–it’s a 2007 Chevy Cobalt for heaven’s sake–but it’s still driving, a foot on a pedal, pushing forward unemotionally. With realistic racers, you just drive. You go around a track X number of times and try to break a record. I prefer a little more chaos, which is why the only racing games I’ve ever enjoyed are Jak X: Combat Racing or Mario Kart. I can, however, appreciate how detailed these cars actually are in games like Forza Motorsport 4 or Gran Turismo 5; some of those replay might as well be broadcast on TV, as they are extremely hard to differentiate between real and computerized.

Tactical Role-playing Games

What? Wait, didn’t I just confirm my love for RPGs and anything with RPG elements to it at the beginning of this post? Yes, yes I did. Way to read, reader. But there’s an exception to every rule, and when strategy and grids and isometric camera angles are added to a RPG, the game changes dramatically. It’s more about where your party is placed on the playing field than the magic spell they cast or the armor they choose to don. I remember feeling so duped by Vandal Hearts for the PlayStation back in 1997, and have never really given many of games in this genre a chance. Recently, there’s been Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner Overclocked, which I’ve struggled with.

So, what game types can’t you play? Speak up below in the comments section and/or tell me what I’m missing out on by not giving Battlefield 3 a chance.

Cole Phelps is L.A.’s public menace #1

Causing a ruckus in open-world games like Grand Theft Auto III or Red Faction: Guerrilla was always  fun, but short-lived. You can only go so long destroying things and being a jerk before somebody takes notice. Heck, creeping over the speed limit in Mafia/Mafia II is enough to get the sirens singing, and then the law’s on your tail, switching your biggest concern from running down mailboxes and street-lamps to running from the cops. Usually, that scenario ends with a horrific crash and reload, wherein you lose some money and respawn at the local hospital or police station. Ah, the price one pays for spoliation.

Well, since L.A. Noire‘s Cole Phelps is the law, he can do whatever he wants, nice or not, as evident below:


Public Menace (30G): Rack up $47,000 in penalties during a single story case.

The thorn in this Achievement’s side is that there’s no way to openly track how much damage in penalties one is amassing during a case. You only get these statistics at the end of a case, but I assumed that totaling a lot of cars and driving on the sidewalk for long stretches of time would be the best way to racking up fines. After an hour of this mayhem, I went ahead and finished up the case–“The Black Caesar” for the curious, which was a bad choice as it’s a pretty lengthy affair–and waited eagerly for the statistics screen to pop up. I was confident I had done enough damages, and I was right. Way too right. Ended up going overboard: $68,000 in car penalties alone, with another $8,000 or so for messing up the sidewalks so badly.

But man, crashing cars in L.A. Noire is fun…and funny, especially when you hear the things citizens say to Cole’s constant obsession with ramming them head on. “These people!” is probably my favorite of the bunch. Another nice aspect to being reckless in the 1940s is that the cars don’t blow up and Cole doesn’t go flying through the windshield with every crash. Guess that tech hasn’t been invented yet.

Now that Cole and I’ve gotten this out of our system, we can go back to being goody two shoes, in hopes of replaying all the cases and earning five-star ratings. Well, not all of them. I did great on some, but others I totally funked up, accusing the wrong dudes of crimes they didn’t commit. My bad. Also curious about some of the DLC cases; Tara was certainly excited to learn that there were more cases yet to play, but I just don’t know if they are worth the space credits or not. We’ll see how bored I get after finishing up Deus Ex: Human Revolution and waiting for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to land…

Achievements of the Week – The Voyage of the Mind Edition

For awhile there, it was looking like there would be no Achievements of the Week update this week. I only got to play the ol’ Xbox 360 for the first time last night, giving Portal‘s advanced test chambers another swing and then moving forward in my second playthrough of Bastion. Otherwise, the only reason the Xbox 360 was turned on during these last seven days were to watch LOST, The Wonder Years, Frasier, and my favorite episode of Parks and Recreation (“The Fight” if you were curious). Not a terrible reason to hit the on button, but I do wish I could fit in more gaming time; alas, I’m losing my mind and slipping into an even deeper depression, making the things that were once easy and likable a little harder to enjoy…

Right. Achievements. Time to write about ’em.

From Bastion…


Mind Voyager (20G): Complete each trip to Who Knows Where.

Just my two cents, but don’t bother going for this during your first playthrough. Chances are, The Kid won’t be a high enough level to survive, nor will his weapons be fully powered, his distillery fully stocked, and his number of lootable health potions increased. All those things are vital to making it back to the Bastion each time. You basically make three trips to Who Knows Where, and each trip consists of 20 rounds of fighting swarms of monsters; after each round is finished, Bastion‘s narrator will give away another tidbit about the world and its characters, providing pertinent background on stuff like the Ura and Zulf.

I beat all three with the War Machete and Scrap Musket combo, utilizing the Final Warning secret skill a lot; the first two were rather easy, but the final one against the Ura was a dang struggle, as those dudes zoom in fast for the kill, often draining The Kid’s health bar strikingly fast. And potions don’t grow on trees, only getting dropped every other Reflection. Also, make sure you’re a pro at rolling.


Altruist (20G): Complete 100 percent of the Vigils in the Memorial.

This isn’t too hard actually, and thankfully many of the completed ones from the first playthrough carry over on New Game+. There are only a few Vigils–challenges, basically–that can be a bit tough. Namely, The Dynasty (Earn first prize in seven Proving Grounds) and The Faith (Complete a trip to Who Knows Where with at least one God activated). Other than that, everything else comes naturally as you progress. Just make sure you do all of them before moving on to the last stage, as that’s the point of no return.

And that’s it for this week’s AotW. Stay tuned for next week’s edition, which will most certainly feature the remaining two Achievements in Bastion, as I plan on completing this beautiful baby over the weekend. If not, may a new Calamity strike me down.

How’d y’all do this week? Get that Achievement in Rage for horrible texture pop-ins? Slaaaaaaaaaam.

Pushing a button until your fingers fall off is Ayla’s idea of a fun time

Initially, I liked Chrono Trigger‘s Ayla. She’s got one helluva introduction, dropping in all Tarzan-like and beating up a bunch of wicked dinosaurian creatures. And she likes to party. Party hard, that is. Especially when soup is at hand. I mean, I love brontosaurus cock-a-leekie just as much as the next guy, but she really takes the meal to heart. More on that in a moment.

Upon arriving in 65,000,000 BC, you’ll be attacked by the aforementioned beasts. They aren’t too tough, not surprisingly weak to lightning, which is the greatest tip one could heed during their time in the prehistoric days. After Crono and gang get their collective butts saved, Ayla will take them back to Ioka village to speak to the chief and…well, party. Evidently, Ayla knows where this Dreamstone thingy is, but to get that information out of her, Crono must first beat her in a soup-guzzling contest. And that all boils down to doing one action perfectly and repeatedly: pushing a button.

I hate pushing a button repeatedly in rapid succession.

Usually, the first attempt is a failure, as it’s not clear just how fast the button needs to be pressed. To beat Ayla, seems like…pretty fast. That girl can guzzle. I failed my first three attempts to out-guzzle her, and by then, my hands were cramping. One has to remember that I’m playing Chrono Trigger on a Nintendo 3DS, so I’m not just mashing a controller, but an entire system. Had to be careful not to break it. For my fourth try, I rested the 3DS in my lap, turned it sideways, and used my pointer finger to hit the button again and again and again. That did it, but still required a lot of effect, and my hand was already tired at that point. All for soup and a Dreamstone and to wake up the next morning with a soupy hangover to find that all of Crono’s stuff was stolen. Greaaaaat.

Let’s look at some other games that have featured this tormenting gameplay element and their lasting impression on me. Yes, let’s:

Metal Gear Solid

The button-mashing sequence in Metal Gear Solid is one you can fail and continue on with the story. However, there’s a great consequence for failing. Snake gets captured by Liquid Snake and is strapped into a machine that can shock the living skin off him. Ocelet wants some answers, and if Snake doesn’t give them, Meryl will die. But if he speaks and gives in, then all will be fine–so to speak. When being tortured, your options are to press the circle button repeatedly to recover strength or press select to submit to Ocelet’s demands. You will be tortured for a limited period of time, and you must press circle nonstop to survive the torture sequence. You have to live through four intervals, and then you have to take a break to ice your fingers.

Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game

Actually, I didn’t mind the button-mashing in SPVTWTG because it actually felt rightly implemented. Sometimes a group of enemies will suddenly dogpile Scott or Kim (like you’d play as anyone other than them), and to break free you have to mash the attack button with a fury that one sparks when one needs air and just can’t reach it. Same goes for when you want to kick off a super hit combo, mashing X again and again until you are flashing and somewhere in the the high 60s. Still, after a few of these encounters, your thumb does get sore.

God of War

Hydras can only be defeated by button-mashing. It’s true. Look it up. Actually, not even your thumbs are strong enough to pierce their heads on ship-made pikes; I remember having to wedge my PS2 controller against my leg and use a combo of other fingers to get the speed I needed for Kratos to do some killing. There’s also some button-mashing for larger enemies, not just bosses, plus when the going gets rough you’re always rolling around and swinging those chains like a madman. It’s enough to break one’s hand.

There used to be turbo controllers for the PlayStation 1/PlayStation 2 that could help players get around button-mashing sequences–basically cheat–but those days are gone. Or maybe they aren’t. I don’t know. I’m not big on buying more controllers than I ultimately need, and the stock that comes with the version is generally sufficient. I am just waiting for the day when this mechanic goes away or stays where it belongs, in social games like Mario Party 17, where it’s a race to fill up a balloon with air or something, and to do that you gotta be the fastest at pushing a button.

Two couriers to finally meet in Lonesome Road DLC

Are those…reskinned Trogs decorated with Christmas lights? Well, we’ll find out soon enough, as Lonesome Road, the final story-related DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, releases simultaneously on all platforms on September 20, 2011. This one has been building for quite some time now, with references to the original Courier that opted out of the Platinum Chip job appearing in the main game and then getting some more hints in Dead Money. The previous DLC, Old World Blues, also revealed more about Ulysses and was the best package yet, with amazing characters, hilarious dialogue, and a lot of neat weapons…hopefully this last hurrah can be even better.

Some leaked Achievements for Lonesome Road hint at the possibility of letting players–for the first time–bring companions with them, namely ED-E. If so, f*ck yes! If not, f*ck off. Curious to see how that works.

That said, check out the new trailer: