Tag Archives: xbox live

The Bulletstorm demo is for dick tits and dick tits only

I’ve talked about my prowess before when it comes to run-and-gun first-person shooters; in short, I’m usually no good. Can’t target quick enough, can’t figure out how to snipe and stay on the move; can’t really work with a team. I like to play much slower than that, planning everything all out, meticulous inch after inch. Still, I had heard some interesting things about Bulletstorm, a new FPS from the makers of the Gears of War series, which I’ve never touched, and a demo recently hit Xbox Live for GOLD members. Gave it a download, and then I gave it a play. Here’s an account of pretty much how it went.

You’re given access to only one Echo. Not sure what an Echo is, but there’s more than one of ’em. Anyways, before you can kill with skill, you’re treated to a cutscene of sorts that plays as a tutorial and introduction to Bulletstorm. It’s self-aware, voiced by space pirate Grayson Hunt, who I can only describe as a generic meathead, and totally full of itself. Tara’s response the minute it was over? “Laaaaaaame.” You heard it here first, dear readers. Lame-a-rama. Actually, it’s also offensive and crass, as well as perfect for serial killers in training.

Your character is partnered with two computer-controlled players, and you basically explore different sections of a collapsed building, shooting brainless enemies and racking up points. Points are the point. The whole “kill with skill” is a strong concept except you’re not really rewarded for being clever. Rather, so long as you have a high cruel streak, you’ll begin earning points for kicking an enemy and then blowing his head off or throwing them into a spiky ceiling or even sending a train right through an entire line of ’em. These are called skillshots, and each has its own point value. Evidently, you can also shoot right up their asshole, but I was unable to achieve this. The guns are very ho-hum, but Grayson does have a neat electric leash that can toss enemies your way, prime for the kicking or shooting. That leash kind of made the demo worth it. Kind of.

There are 45 skillshots available in the demo, and over 130 in the final build of the game. Some that I earned include Voodoo Doll, Boned, and Flyswatter. Fun names for devasting actions.

And that’s the demo. Ten minutes or so of shooting, moving forward, shooting some more. I think I got like around 3,000 points or so. Yup, total n00b fail! But I really worry for the game because I can see the demo being the entire game with a hapdash of a “story” tossed in for no one’s sake. I can only imagine that Bulletstorm goes like so: cutscene, shoot up a section of dudes, cutscene, shoot up a section of dudes, cutscene, and so on. The variety is in how you kill enemies, but that’s probably all you will do. Kill enemies with weapons. For hours on end. Maybe to some that’s enjoyable, but repetitive gameplay, by nature, gets stale fast.

Bulletstorm is irrefutably juvenile, and the demo is all I probably needed to experience…ever. And for fun’s sake, here’s some phrases used affectionately during the demo to hit home their target audience: pasty, bean bag, butt hole, and, the new cult favorite, dick tits.

Hide in hay, sit on bench, get stabbed in the back

…rinse and repeat!

That’s how my three sessions with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood’s multiplayer went last night, with me striking down the occasional foe and running across rooftops to freedom (and points for escaping!). I guess I did somewhat decent as I managed to progress from a weak level 1 Templar to a…still weak level 2 Templar. Only now I unlocked an ability called “disguise,” which I haven’t gotten to try out just yet. I’m assuming I get to change outfits at whim or something to that effect. Could help me on my latest quest: To Not Get Stabbed in the Back Anymore.

All the complaints about Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood‘s matchmaking prowess ring true. It takes a long time to get enough players to join up, and even when it does look like you’ve got 8/8 ready to play, you still have to wait. However, once you’re in a match, it’s pretty clear it’s worth it. This sort of multiplayer experience doesn’t come along a lot, and I absolutely love the idea of hiding in plain sight. Pretending to be part of a crowd, chatting with a merchant, taking a break on a bench–these are actual strategies to surviving. Running up a ladder is a sure-fire way to get noticed, get killed. I’m still not good at figuring out who my targets are, and the assassinate button likes to, uh, sometimes not work. Or maybe I’m not supposed to stab other Templars when they are stabbing their targets. Don’t really know. But yeah, it’s a fun time once you get a good group of people that like to click “rematch” right away.

Sadly, I’ll probably never get any of the multiplayer Achievements. Or, if I do, it’ll be just one. Like killing a target while hiding in a pile of hay. That’s probably the easiest of the bunch. The rest? Very specific, very skill-heavy. Oh well. Sometimes it’s not always about Achievements. Guess I will just do my best to unlock everything in the single player mode, which, by the way, is going good. I am, however, feeling extremely overwhelmed; the map is getting more and more littered with icons and things to see, and Etzio (i.e., me) just kind of wants to run around, climb buildings, and fill his secret hideout with awesome, authentic paintings. Mmm artwork…

Games Completed in 2011, #1 – Dead Rising 2: Case Zero

Developers: Capcom, Blue Castle Games
Publisher: Capcom
Platform: Xbox 360 exclusive
Genres: Action adventure, zombie slaying, survival horror
Modes: Single-player
Hours clocked: Roughly four to five

A five dollar videogame doesn’t sound like a good thing. I mean, I’m imagining getting something like this or this or even this for such a low price. I did not, in all honesty, expect to get something good, something fun–a game I’d replay three times without blinking an eye. And that’s Dead Rising 2: Case Zero for you, a bite-size Dead Rising 2 experience that does a great job of fleshing (puns intended!) out the gameplay mechanics of its bigger brother, as well as supplying its own unique story, location, and set of characters.

The hero of Dead Rising 2: Case Zero is Chuck Greene, a former motocross champion, and every hero has its loser counterpart, and we’ll call her Katey. That’s his daughter, and she’s sick from a motherly zombie bite, forcing him to scrounge for Zombrex to keep her human and alive long enough until he can figure out a more final solution to his daughter’s problems. The game takes place three years before the events of Dead Rising 2 in a town called Still Creek, which is brimming with the undead. Unfortunately, Chuck and Katey get stranded there, and his mission is to fix a broken motorcycle, keep Katey alive, save the town’s citizens, kill some zombies via inhumane weapons, and get out safe and sound with his daughter. This has to all happen within the time limit of one day, or else the military will arrive and take his daughter away to be, and I’m assuming here, beheaded and burned like the little zombie kids all are.

Bad news for Katey as this time limit took me by surprise, and I was unable to do the needful before the military came to steal her away. This earned me Ending D. What’s really nice is that when you “beat” the game, as I clearly did the first time around, you can replay it with all earned money, stats, combo cards, and Chuck’s PP saved. New game+ is always a good thing. Anyways, this helped greatly with my second playthrough, earning me Ending A. I then romped around Still Creek for a third time to mop up some Achievements, and this third playthrough was unique in that I actually got to experience saving the town’s citizens. Also, all PP is transferable for those moving on to Dead Rising 2.

However, most likely, I won’t be moving on to Dead Rising 2. Or the original Dead Rising. Or even Dead Rising 2: Case West. This “paid demo” experience was more than enough for me, and I had a lot of fun whacking zombies with spiked bats/throwing casino poker chips in their faces, but overall the gameplay would most likely get stale for me. I mean, there’s only so many ways to skin a cat  kill a zombie, and between that and the frustrating time limit/save system, I just don’t think a full zombie release is my cup of tea.

But yeah, for five bucks…or 400 Microsoft Points if you like to speak the language of global corporation domination. It’s worth it. So, instead of buying a sandwich from Quick Chek/WaWa/wherever today, I heartedly recommend downloading Dead Rising 2: Case Zero, and that’s saying a lot because I absolutely love sandwichs.

No service for you!

EA is shutting down online servers for its older and less popular games, such as The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II, Sims Carnival, and a great number of sports titles for various systems. The full list and killswitch dates can be found over at Giant Bomb.

I don’t own or play any of these games; this all-consuming shutdown does not affect me.

And yet it does.

I’ve always been a single-player game kind of fella. Online gaming is something that I never thought I’d get into, and so I didn’t. A few times during college, after working out a lot of firewall kinks, I would play some Command & Conquer: Red Alert late at night with my best friend a few states away, but other than that…didn’t ever see the point. I also never had a gaming PC so-to-say or any consoles that thrived on online gaming, such as an Xbox at that time. Just a PlayStation 2, and I think you needed a special degree to get that hooked up to the Interwebz. There were, of course, a few games I would’ve loved to try playing online, namely Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal and Diablo II, but the stars were not meant to align.

So, how does server shutdowns for games I don’t even play affect me? It only makes me more bitter and cautious towards online gaming. I want games to last forever, and nowadays there’s a heavy focus on social gaming (hello, Facebook!)–and without actual people, there’s nothing to play. That kind of perspective is dangerous and insulting, especially for hardened RPG fanatics that have spent countless hours alone grinding characters to perfection. In fact, some games’ multiplayer trumps single-player campaigns in terms of length and content and love. Boo to that. I’ve dabbled in GTA IV‘s online activity and found it bland and annoying; so far, the only current online experience I’ve had that was pretty successful was in Borderlands. I purposely steer clear of online, multiplayer-heavy games, and with the constant threat of server shutdown, it seems, to me, a pointless thing to invest in.

Goodbye, EA Sports FIFA Manager 10. I hardly knew ya.

Don’t judge Doritos Crash Course by the Doritos part

The holidays are almost here, and even the Xbox LIVE Marketplace is celebrating with gifts by giving gamers TWO free games to download: Doritos Crash Course and Harm’s Way. I’ll talk about the latter in another post as I’d like to focus most of my time today on Doritos Crash Course, a game that is sure to surprise just about everyone.

Doritos Crash Course is a bouncy mix of Wipeout, American Gladiators, and ‘Splosion Man. Yes, all of those. Lumped together. With bonus Michael Jackson dance moves added in. Basically, you have to get your Xbox LIVE avatar from one side of the screen to the other by jumping over ledges, swinging from ropes, dodging hammers, and bouncing on trampolines, as well as avoiding a bunch of other typical platformer perils, the most nefarious being water balloons. Oh, how I loathe ’em.

Unlike Harm’s Way, which more or less hands you Achievements on a silver Achievement platter, the 12 in Doritos Crash Course do require commitment. As of this post, I’ve gotten three:

That’s Gotta Hurt (10G): Got smashed by 3 hammers in a row

Roadrunner (10G): Run at top speed when you’re about to wipe out

American Hero (20G): Finished the USA Levels

Hero of the Americas is right! Hope to get some more Achievements tonight. A few require your avatar to do some silly in-game tasks; these are easy things like swinging back and forth on a rope X number of times, but they definitely slow you down and then your chances at the gold medal disappear. So I will save ’em for later.

Played a round online against some Xboxers, as well as raced against Tara’s avatar via local multiplayer. It’s a surprisingly well done game, with the constant threat of failure on every jump, swing, float, and bounce always overhead, and the controls are really tight. One doesn’t need supreme platforming skills, but if you really struggled with ‘Splosion Man then this might not be for you. But you should still get it anyways. Why? The game is FREE, packed with Achievements, too. So, yeah. Download it and have fun watching yourself getting smacked into the TV’s screen or doing a little dance–the avatar animations are the best use of avatars so far.

On a more personal note, I don’t really like Doritos chips. Not since that day way back in 2008 that I got violently ill after having some ranch-flavored ones with my lunch. I’ve vowed to never eat ’em again ever since…so when I say this is the most fun I’ve had with Doritos in a long time, I really do mean it!

Back online, back in the know-how

I had to unplug my Xbox 360 from the Internet many weeks ago. It was sad, as if I was cutting off the very vein that pumped blood into my videogame baby’s heart. How would I know what games my friends were playing? How would my Achievements get tracked? How would I know what new demos and patches were available to make my gaming time that much better?

The short answer: I wouldn’t know anything.

That’s changed though as Tara and I recently got Internet set up in the Leaky Cauldron. However, we didn’t pick up a wireless Internet router yet–though we most certainly will soon–thus forcing me to constantly switch wires in and out from laptops and such to give the ol’ Xbox 360 online access. And so yesterday I took the time and patience to get online, and I’m glad I did because there’s been a small backlog of things I wanted to get done. You want a list? You like lists? Well then…here, have a teeny list.

New dashboard, ew dashboard: Before I could do anything, I was prompted with a notification that a new system update was available. I downloaded it and was treated to a very Wii-like tutorial on how to go through menus and push buttons; I quickly quit out as I’m not that big of an idiot. The style of the dashboard is very much in line with that of the new Xbox.com, meaning I don’t really love it. A lot of…white space. Oh well. Flipping between menus seems quicker though.

Fallout: New Vegas patch 1 of 4,506: Popped in the game’s disc and was quickly alerted that an update was available. Downloaded it rather quickly, and I’m not sure what exactly it fixed (or unfixed), but the game’s been playing about the same for me since I got it. Though last night my gun went invisible again on me. Grr.

Bonus content code confusion: So, I bought Fallout: New Vegas brand new a week or so after it was released at GameStop. I did not pre-order it. However, when I opened up the case, there was a postcard in there with a download code for the Classic Pack, which includes the following:

  • Armored Vault 13 Suit – Extensively patched up and dotted with piecemeal armor, this outfit is an homage to the classic ending of the original Fallout.
  • Vault 13 Canteen – This handy device is useful for staving off dehydration and providing a small amount of healing in the Mojave Wasteland.
  • Weathered 10mm Pistol – A well-worn 10mm pistol that packs an extra punch despite its modest size.
  • 5 Stimpaks – Food and water are good for long-term healing, but when the fighting is fierce, Stimpaks help keep Wastelanders upright.

So, yeah. Uh, I got a pre-order bonus buying the game brand new a week later. Good job, GameStop? Either way, the code worked fine, and the canteen is cool even though I’m not playing Hardcore mode just yet.

Expanding Borderlands’ lands: Had to also get the latest patch for Borderlands which gives players a brand new–and free–level cap, as well as rebalancing some of the enemies and fixing glitches with the last piece of DLC. Since I have the Secret Armory DLC, my new level cap is a crazy sexy 69. Sad, I’m still a mid-50ish Soldier, but I’m working on it. Nice to just have it though in case I can get back online and play some rounds with the First Hourers. What’s interesting is that I figured I should play a bit too and not just get the free patch, but I died horribly right away to some brutes because I was trying to play Borderlands using the control scheme from Fallout: New Vegas. Oi!

And that’s kinda it. Oh, and my Achievements finally updated so that I could correct my counts here on Grinding Down. Yes, very important. I know, I know. Pulled the Internet plug on the Xbox 360 again last night, but it felt good to be back, if only for a little bit. Got a lot done, too. This has not been a very exciting post, but I’m not gonna apologize for it; you either love my craziness or you go eat something harmful.

I hate the new Xbox.com

You know how the saying goes: nobody likes change.

But the revamping of Xbox.com, a website I would frequent often to scan my list of earned and unearned Achievements, catch up on what my online friends were doing, and play around a bit in the forums, has not merely been changed. It’s been made, more or less, unnavigable.

It took me a good number of clicks to find the forums, and even more to scan my list of games played as well as their progress towards 100%. What’s more annoying is that even when under my section of games played, clicking the game’s name or cover art box no longer brings me to my Achievement list; instead I am rerouted to the game’s hub page so I can hand over hard-earned money for DLC and Avatar items. Er, no thanks. No…see, I was supposed to click the “view Achievements” button off to the side. I don’t know. It’s probably a small thing to some people, but I used to think that all the covers and game names were connected to me and my progress. It is also harder to see what Achievements have been earned versus not earned; they used to be grayed out, but are now tagged the same style except they have “- -” next to the Gamerscore icon.

New features include the ability to edit avatars via the website, a combined view for messages, friend requests, and game invites, improved account notification; family reports so you can keep tabs on your household, and the ability to play web games with friends via the website or Windows Phone 7. Nothing to really jump around over. Couldn’t figure out how to play a web game with a friend via the site either.

Also, the fact that the new site incorporates so much white space gives it a vapid, unprofessional feel to it.

In short, ughhhhh. And I’ll probably end up using the site a whole lot less. Good job, Microsoft!

Knives Chau DLC announced for Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game

I’ve still not gotten past Roxie in Scott Pilgrim VS. The World: The Game, but the makers of said title care very little for my insufficient gaming skills as new DLC has just been announced for the game. For about $1.99, the new DLC will give us a new character to play as–Knives Chau, 17 years old, Chinese–and two new modes to experience: Dodge Ball and Battle Royale. The former is more or less what you think it is, and the latter is more akin to a Super Smash Bros style gameplay. This DLC should supposedly coincide with the film’s November 2010 release on DVD, which I’m totally buying Day One.

More Scott Pilgrim goodness for a measly two bucks? Count me in.

Also, there’s going to be a patch released soon to help fix the difficulty level of “Average Joe” as well as knock out some annoying bugs found throughout. The first time SPVTWTG froze on me I thought it was the devs having a laugh at how old games like that would crash all the time. The third and fourth time it froze, I was no longer smiling. So this is a must-need-now sort of thingy. I really like bitesize DLC and free patches, all in all.

Want some early screenshots? Click below…

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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…

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.