Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews: Portal 2

There are spoilers here.

There have been tons of negative reviews about Portal 2. When it was first released, there was the controversy over the add-ons Valve made available for purchase. This content was nothing more then hats, gestures, and the like. It's nothing that makes the game better. There was also problems with how long the game was. I've beaten it three times now and I can tell you it's certainly not just two or three hours long.

Having said that, there are even more reviews of Portal 2 that complain about everything from "it's a puzzle game" (duh..) to the test chambers. Here's one review  that talks about the price, among other things.

First they call it "witty" and "comical." Yep, I agree. But then they say they would have given it five stars, not two if it was $20.00 on Steam. Apparently because there are games like Call of Duty, Killzone 3, and Dragon Age 2 out there, Portal 2 should be cheaper.  CoD is known for its short single player campaign. There's multiplayer too, but the single player only lasts about five hours.  Besides, it's a FPS about war, how is it similar to Portal?  Dragon Age is an RPG. They can last forever. I'm fairly certain there's no Portal gun or companion cubes in Dragon Age. It's useless to compare Portal to games that are the same price but in completely different genres. 

Looking at the other points of the review:
The part about the environments not changing is untrue. If you look at the three main sections of the game (waking up GLaDOS, old Aperture, and Wheatley's Aperture) they are vastly different. In the first game, the environments didn't change much. That can not be said for Portal 2.

And of course, the story has no twists and turns... I mean I always thought that GLaDOS was going to turn into potato one of these days. Or that Wheatley was going to be a "bad guy." Or that you could make portals on the moon.......

But  if you're a fan of Valve, none of this matters cause we're mindless fanatics. Hooray for insulting people who liked the game too. Good job.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crazy Main Quest Moments in the Legend of Zelda Series

I wrote a post about difficult LoZ side quests, so I figured I better tackle the annoying parts of the main quests. You can always skip some pain in the ass side quest. Maybe altogether or just until you calm down enough to try again. But when the main quest is making you nuts, you really can't progress in the game. So lets look at quests in the Legend of Zelda Series that drove me crazy.

My number one pick has to be that damn Temple of the Ocean King in Phantom Hourglass. Seriously, how many times to we have to go there? And with a time limit? Don't forget the sneaking around...ugh...

Speaking of sneaking around, it's just not my style. But there are plenty of parts in the Zelda games that make you sneak into the castle or out of the castle. There's sneaking around while hiding in barrels in the Wind Waker. There's sneaking while dealing with  Princess Zelda in Spirit Tracks. Perhaps Link should carry a silenced pistol in times like these.

Of course, Link sometimes has to deal with companions in the main quests. I fondly remember getting mad at Medli in Wind Waker and throwing her into the walls of the Earth Temple. She would crash and get dizzy. I can't help it, she drove me nuts.  I'd just rather have it as me and Link against the evil of the land and not have to worry about someone else getting lost or frightened. *sigh*

There are other quests in LoZ that are pretty annoying. I won't even mention the Water Temple in Ocarina of Time. That one should just be a given, for me at least.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews: Fallout 3 and Expectations

Since I'm doing GBE2 and I want to continue with Strange Video Game Reviews, I figured I would combine the two this week. It's Fallout 3 review time. I got to admit when I first got the game, I stumbled around for a minute or so. But if you just pay attention, you quickly get the feeling of the game.

Expectations is the word of the week. So what happens when you buy a video game and it's not what you expect? Well, I guess you could do a few things. One would be realizing that it's not what you wanted and trade it in or give it to a friend. Another thing to do (which makes you look a bit silly) is write a review.  If you don't take the time to read the booklet, explore the game, or pay attention, what do you expect?

In this review the player claims to have 20 hours invested in Fallout 3.  And they still don't know what to do. I find that hard to believe. The beginning of Fallout 3 after you leave the Vault, it's a fairly straight shot to Megaton, (where you're suppose to go) not to mention there's signs pointing the way.

They also complain about lack of ammo. I never experienced that problem so badly. But here's a tip: if you don't have ammo walk around and find some or find some money. The game is huge and there are plenty of places to explore. If you run into fights when you're ammo is low and you don't take the time to find more what do you expect? And guess what you can always just run away from enemies or holster your weapon. It says right in the booklet some enemies will stop fighting if you do.

The reviewer admits they expected the game to be like Mercenaries 2 or Far Cry 2. It's not, oh well. Just because you think something should be a certain way, it doesn't mean that it the game deserves 2 stars and is boring.

I found another awesomely weird review about Fallout 3, but I'll save that for next time. :)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Video Games That Shouldn't Be Turned into Movies

Maybe I'm a gaming snob, but please leave these games alone. I don't like Hollywood's track record when it comes to video game based movies. Look at  the Super Mario movie or what they did to House of the Dead or the Resident Evil movies. For shame. Well, I think this trend should die. These are some titles that are near and dear to me that I never want to see on the big screen.

Legend of Zelda- Do I even need to say more? This is my favorite video game series and I have no faith that it can be turned into a good movie. I can just image that Hollywood would take bits and pieces from all the Zelda games and mash them together to make a pile of crap.

BioShock- There's been rumors about a BioShock movie. *sigh* Unless the filmmakers are 100% in love with the games and want to keep the adult themes, then hands-off.

Left 4 Dead- Yes, I realize L4D is  set-up like a movie with your gamertag proclaiming that you are Zoey or Bill. The loading screen looks like a movie poster. But there's really no in game story. Seriously, it is don't die and shot lots of zombies. And that's awesome. But I can see Hollywood making any old zombie movie and calling in L4D. And that's not awesome.

There are many other games  that also shouldn't be made into movies. Since the movie industry seems to be running out of ideas, I'm thinking no game is safe and that's bad for gamers who don't want their favorite titles turning into terrible movies.

more details on video games that shouldn't be made into movies

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Strange Video Game Reviews

I am thinking of turning "Stange Video Game Reviews" into a weekly feature. Why? Because there are some really weird customer reviews out there. Maybe they misunderstood the game, maybe they just couldn't get the hang of the gameplay or something else. What I hope to do is showcase reviews that are just wrong.   Well, here's an example from an Amazon customer reviewing Half-Life 2  for the Xbox.

As you can see the reviewer has no idea what they're talking about. First, the "we don't go to Ravenclaw chapter."  Technically, the reviewer is right. Gordon Freeman does not go to Ravenclaw. He does not go to Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, or Slytherin either. But we can pretend Black Mesa and Aperture are Hogwarts House rivals... or maybe not. The correct name of the town is Ravenholm, as other reviewers point out.

But the weirdness doesn't stop there. The reviewer calls Half-Life 2 "sick" because of this chapter. Ravenholm is an abandon town filled with zombies and Headcrabs. The reviewer calls the zombies "mentally handicapped."  Really? No, they are zombies. It's very obvious in the game that what you are fighting in Ravenholm isn't human anymore. And, of course, they are trying to kill you. Headcrabs are trying to latch on to you.

So this is the type of review I want to share. You can call Half-Life 2 the crappiest game ever if you don't like the story or the gameplay or the graphics. That's fine. That's your opinion.  (I love the game, btw.) But don't give it 2 stars because you don't pay attention to what's going on in the game. Don't call it evil or sick.

When you write a review, at least get the facts straight. That's what we should learn from this.

One last thing: I would like to thank my brother who got me into reading misinformed customer reviews. He would play a game, then go see what the 1 and 2 star reviews were about. It's pretty entertaining.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The PSN is Back!

It was almost a month of no service, but the PSN is finally showing signs of life. Last night, a PlayStation Blog post informed us that a firmware update was available. This update is mandatory for using the PSN. Now that it's back, when we go to sign in, we must change our passwords. It seems like everything but the PlayStation Store is up and running.

This has been a very tense month for Sony and gamers. Some gamers threatened to leave the PSN and buy Xbox 360s. That's their decision, although I think it was a bit of an overreaction. While Sony could have been more forthcoming with updates, I never doubted that they would set things right. The PSN went down at the worst time with Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, and SOCOM  just released a day before. Yes, it's been hard to be patient, but the worst is over and hopefully the PSN will be better then ever. (and cross game chat would be nice, btw)

If you had a credit card tied to the PSN and you're wary about doing so in the future, the answer is simple: use PSN cards. They are available everywhere and can be purchased for $20 and up.

And don't forget, we should receive more info on the Welcome Back packages in the next few days.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How I Save Money On Video Games

When consoles cost up to $350.00 and new games are $60.00, it's easy to think gaming is a very expensive form of entertainment. But you can save a few bucks here and there with some planning and patience.

Xbox Live Rewards is fairly new. Since it started in December, I've earned hundreds of Microsoft Points for doing  practically nothing. All I do is buy what I would get anyway from the Marketplace, renew XBL subscriptions, and take quick surveys. They frequently change up specials and extra rewards. It's free and easy to sign up. Once the points are in your account, you can spend them just like regular MS points.  There's also a Beta rewards program on the PS3. It was suppose to release to the public in spring, but there's a delay and it might not be available any time soon.

Another way is Gamefly. One you become a member, you start getting bonuses like $5.00 every three months to use on game purchases. Once you have a game at home, you might be able to keep it for cheap. After being a member for a year, you get 10% off used game purchases.

Lately, I've noticed new games go on sale only a week or so after release. I saw Portal 2 for $40.00 a few days ago. So it pays to look around and be patient. Ebay also offers some pretty good deals if you look hard enough.

More info on getting video games for less

Saturday, May 7, 2011

PSN Fiasco and Other Problems Gamers Had to Deal With

Yes, it's the weekend and yes the PSN is still down. Sony went from May 3or 4 to not giving a set date. But that's okay with me. I want it back, but I also want it fixed properly. So in the time being, why not reminisce about other problems of the seventh generation of consoles?

Remember that weird Leap Year bug of last year? It's was only if you had a fat PS3 and I had one at the time. I remember hearing that we shouldn't even turn the thing on all day. It wasn't so bad and it only lasted a day or so. It was more strange then anything, really.

Then there was the great "Wii remote breaks everything" situation in 2006 and 2007.  Wii remotes were slipping out of sweaty gamers' hands at an alarming rate. It took Nintendo a year to start shipping silicone gloves for the remotes.

The worst, I think, is the Xbox 360's RROD. I'm not exaggerating when I say everyone I know had to ship a console back for the Red Ring at on time or another.

I guess this is the price we pay for the latest console tech. Every system has its flaws and failures, but I'm still happy to call myself  an owner of each one.

Other console problems and more details

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Art of Video Games Exhibit at the Smithsonian Winners Announced

This post may as well be called "My Beloved Zelda Wins Everything and I Helped!"

Back in February, gamers were invited to vote on what video games should be included in next year's Smithsonian American Art Museum Art of Video Games Exhibit. I jumped at the chance. Well, voting ended on April 17 and today the winners were announced. 80 games were picked from 240. The categories spanned every generation.  Most notable wins for me are:

The Legend of Zelda series winning in every category it was in. In fact, in the Adventure genre of the N64 category Ocarina of Time was up against Majora's Mask. Ocarina won.

Super Mario Bros won big. The first Super Mario, Super Mario 3, Super Mario World, Mario 64, and Galaxy 2 won. I'm only counting Action/platformers. Paper Mario was beaten twice by Zelda in the Adventure genre.

BioShock in Action for the Xbox 360 It beat out Halo 3 and Gears of War 2. I almost had a nervous breakdown picking between BioShock and Gears, but BioShock got my vote.

Portal in Modern Windows Portal beat out Half-Life 2. I voted Portal, even though I really love Half-Life 2.

Fallout 3 in Modern Windows Fallout 3 was pitted against Knights of the Old Republic. Again, I almost lost it trying to pick between them. Fallout won for me, though. The original  Fallout for DOS/Windows also won.

Halo 2 also was picked in the Xbox Action category.

There are plenty of other games, I'm happy to see made it like Donkey Kong, Earthworm Jim, Star Fox, Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2 (even though I voted for Oblivion) and Final Fantasy VII.

For the complete list go here

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Hello There

I have spent a good part of my day screwing around at my brand new Blogger home. I got to say it's pretty neat. I figure I'm almost done with the design except the header, which is being worked on.  So what's new? Well, the PSN is still down, but Sony promised us good little gamers goodies when it comes back. What are we getting? A free month of Plus and some games to download. They're vague about what games or if it's more then one. But it's something game related. Honestly, as a free user of the PSN, I wasn't expecting anything. But I'll gladly take what's given. I've been meaning to check out the Plus, so I'm excited about that. For the latest PSN updates check out Sony's PlayStation Blog. Hopefully, it will be back in a few days.

In other news, I'm checking out the new Black OPs DLC today. More zombies, yay! Seriously, I never get tired of shooting  zombies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Reflections on the A to Z Challenge Mega Post

I signed up for this challenge without really thinking about it. Then it hit me, I would have to post just about everyday. Yikes. Before the challenge, I was sort of reluctant about blogging. I had this blog, but I didn't post often. That's going to change. I can't it stress enough; I had so much fun doing this challenge. It was awesome reading blogs and thinking about what to post about. I was sort of nervous at first. How in the world would I come up with a topic for every letter of the alphabet? Especially just about video games. But I did it and for the most part, it was easy.

I couldn't image having 3 or 4 blogs to contend with! So kudos to everyone who entered and finished with more then one. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read my babble, especially those who aren't gamers and probably don't know what I'm talking about most of the time. lol I got to know some really great people through this challenge and I hope to continue reading their posts. I'm so glad I signed up and saw it through. Congrats to everyone who did too!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with Gordon Freeman.....