Thursday, December 27, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC, PSP) March - I'm a huge fan of the GRAW series. I love the game play, really enjoy the control I have of the squad, and the game presentation is top notch. The multiplayer was a blast too. GRAW 2 also came out pretty quick after its very successful predecessor, always nice.
The Darkness (Xbox 360, PS3) June - This game is just flat out weird and I mean that in the best way possible. Kooky storyline, weird superpowers, gun play, Nazi's...this game had it all in one bizarre package. Its great game that was completely overlooked.
Call of Juarez (Xbox 360, PC) June - I love videogames set in the old west. This started with the Konami arcade classic Sunset Riders which I used to play with a bunch of frat brothers in college. Today the western market remains pretty much untapped so when a game like Call of Juarez comes along I'm pretty stoked. An interesting two-character storyline, nice graphics, corny-to-the-point-of-funny dialogue and some sweet shooting mechanics make this title worth your time.
Crackdown (Xbox 360) February - Crackdown sold big, mostly because it was the last chance people had to participate in the Halo 3 beta (doesn't that seem like 2 years ago?), but beneath the H3 beta sticker on the cover was a great game on its own. Playing a cop with super powers in a corrupt city was like playing GTA on steroids. I played this title a ton the first half of the year. In fact, according to my Xbox 360's blog on www.360voice.com, its my second most played game this year, right after Halo 3. Mmm...I traded this game in months ago. I'm feeling a little nostalgic, I think I need to call Fritz at GameCrazy and see if he has any used copies.
Monday, December 17, 2007
The holiday season is when companies flood the market with their best titles and this year the choices are better then ever. But how do you decide which games are worth your hard earned dollar this Christmas? That’s easy, check out the handy dandy gift guide below for the must haves for every noteworthy platform. Games are categorized by system, age level and ESRB ratings for your convenience.
Mass Effect (M) - If you have a television, you probably couldn’t help but notice that a little game called Halo 3 came out in September. It was sold everywhere (even at 7-Eleven’s!) and had almost as much hype surrounding it as The Bee Movie. Halo 3 is certainly a must have, but don’t ignore Mass Effect, the incredible role playing game that’s an Xbox 360 exclusive. Gamers create their own human character and explore the universe as a soldier commanding the crew of the SSV Normandy. An engrossing plot, beautiful graphics, deep game play, an open-ended environment, and the chance to make critical choices that affect the story arc make Mass Effect a sci-fi, choose-your-own-adventure classic. You need this game, you want this game, and your life will be shallow and meaningless without it.
For Kids: Viva Piñata: Party Animals (E) – This is a great game for kids to play together, with a wide variety of mini-games and races.
For Family: Rock Band (T) – If you ever wanted to start your own version of the Partridge Family with plastic musical instruments, this is your chance. The full edition comes with a drum kit, guitar and a mic.
For Adults: Halo 3 (M) – There’s plenty of other quality candidates on the 360 for adults (Bioshock, Call of Duty 4, The Orange Box, Assassin’s Creed) but if you own a 360, you absolutely have to have Halo 3. Kind of like how everyone in America was issued Frampton Comes Alive in the 1970’s.
Super Mario Galaxy (E) – One of the most recognizable and beloved characters in videogame history is Mario, the plumber with the embarrassingly clichéd Italian accent. Even a beauty pageant contest would recognize him. Mario has carried Nintendo for ages and does it again this year with Super Mario Galaxy. Mario is in a 3-D space universe, chasing Bowser down in order to save his dear Princess Peach. Stunning environments, cool new power ups, and a fun two player co-op, join the always guaranteed to be addictive game play.
For Kids: Mario Party 8 (E) – Nobody does games for kids like Nintendo and this party game (with Mario of course) can be enjoyed by up to four people.
For Family: Smarty Pants (E) – A fun trivia game with 20,000 questions the whole family can take part in.
For Adults: Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles (M) – The great survival horror franchise has a different look on the cute, little Wii but its just as creepy.
Uncharted Drake’s Fortune (T) – The PS3 has taken even more of a public beating than Britney Spears and both deserve it. It has few console exclusives (of the games below only Ratchet and Clank is PS3 only), its online service pales in comparison to the Xbox 360’s despite being free, and just like Britney it isn’t kid friendly. Despite all of that, the PS3 just needs a few games to call its own and its back in business. Uncharted Drake’s Fortune is a step in the right direction. This stunning title where gamers control Nathan Drake, a descendant of Sir Francis Drake, plays like an up to date version of Tomb Raider minus the busty brunette.
For Kids: Ratchet and Clank Tools of Destruction (E 10+) – This humorous game is the fifth in the franchise and is still going strong.
For Family: The Simpsons Game (T) – Funniest. Game. Ever.
For Adults: Assassin’s Creed (M) – A refreshingly different take on a common gaming theme – killing people.
Still haven’t chosen a side in the console war? No problem, there are still some sweet options for you too. If you’re a PC, PS2, DS or PSP owner the industry still cares about you. Everybody else? You’re screwed.
PC: Crysis (M) – There are plenty of great options for PC gamers (Tabula Rasa, World in Conflict) but this alien invasion game set in 2020 is the best.
PlayStation 2: Guitar Hero 3 (T) – If you don’t have a next-gen console don’t worry, you can still play this great game on the PS2.
Nintendo DS: The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass (E) – Grab your tights and play the first Zelda game on the DS.
PlayStation Portable: Manhunt 2 (M) – If you’re looking for a handheld game where you can kick guys in the groin (and who isn’t) this controversial title is for you.
- Eli gave me some direction with the PC section, thanks bro. I would have loved to have recommended more DS games (Mario Party, Contra 4, CoD4) but...you know the drill by now.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The show does nothing but perpetuate the myth that all gamers are teenage virgins with no social skills, which I found strange because gamings biggest demographic are men in the 25-40 year old age group. So what exactly do the Video Game Awards bring to the table? A show loaded with celebs who probably have no clue how to turn a console on (except for those 2 guys from Chuck) but are on the show just for the sake of making the fanboys in the front row scream and make a futile attempt to draw ratings? Check. A ton of women in little to no clothes to once again reinforce the lamest joke in the gaming book that gamers are nerds who can't get laid? Check. A stream of lame gaming jokes that only a non-gamer might find even slightly amusing (have you heard about the Red Ring of Death)? Check. Award categories of a questionable nature (say hello to the Most Addictive Game Fueled by Dew winner!)? Check. What a joke!
Now don't get me wrong, I'm for anything that helps to bring gaming some well deserved attention. Its certainly lacking in the respect department when compared to movies, music and TV despite being just as big a business and in many ways, way more entertaining. I hate to sound like Rodney Dangerfield, but gaming just doesn't get enough respect. Most people who aren't familiar with the industry still treat gaming like toys and overlook its importance. I'm also very much for the video game industry having its own award show, and because of that I have to give Spike TV some props for having the stones to take it on. My problem is how they go about it...with no respect for the industry. It seems like whoever puts together this show isn't a gamer, but just slams a bunch of things together that they think gamers would enjoy seeing.
Gamers are funny people with a great sense of humor and the ability to be self-deprecating, so that has to be a part of any kind of program catered around gaming. But when it reaches down to the lowest common denominator for a joke or as a pathetic attempt to bring in an audience, it goes away from what the heart of what gaming is - pure fun. If we want to present ourselves as a viable form of entertainment and not as a novelty, we have to let the best sides of gaming come to the forefront, not the worst. The creative geniuses who make and develop games (while shy as hell) should be the ones at the forefront getting the attention and being lauded upon. Not Tila Tequila. Steven Speilberg, Martin Scorcese, James Cameron, George Lucas, Joss Whedon, and JJ Abrams are just a few of the people behind some of the greatest TV shows and films, gamings versions of those guys should be heralded as well.
Until we start treating our own industry with the respect it deserves, no one else will either.
Other random stuff on a snowy Tuesday - Three new maps (Foundry, Rats Nest, Standoff) hit Xbox Live today for download on Halo 3. They sell for a hefty 800 MS points, but if you're not a diehard you might decide to wait until Spring you can download them for free...Yesterday 2K announced that spring will see the release of Don King Presents: Prizefighter on the Wii, DS and 360. King's gift for self promotion was evident in the press release.
"In all my years working in professional boxing, I have never seen anything come as close to recreating the thrill, the intensity, the courage and the spectacle of the sport," said legendary boxing promoter Don King. "Don King Presents: Prizefighter is more than a game -- it is a glimpse at what life is like in and out of the ring for these incredible athletes."
Here's hoping the game offers some Lucious Sweet type moments where you can bribe punching bags to take falls and bribe judges.
Friday, December 07, 2007
The past couple of weeks I've been in gaming heaven with the three headed monster of Rock Band, Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed taking up almost all of my time. Sure I played a little NCAA 2K8 (for the points) and some Tiger Woods '08 (for a downloadable content review for OXM) but nothing has been more fun then rotating the big three through my 360.
The great thing about this unusual menage a trios is they all offer something completely different. If I feel like being social, Rock Band is there. If I feel like playing a sci-fi choose your own adventure with some hot human-on-alien action, Mass Effect is ready. And when I'm having a stressful day and I want to stab someone in their virtual groin, Assassin's Creed is where I go. When I get tired of one, I move on to another and with no big releases on the horizon I'm glad I have more than one game to keep me busy.
To be perfectly honest, I have to admit that of the three I'm enjoying Assassin's Creed the most and I'm surprised. When I saw it at E3 it was a big disappointment. The story didn't sound interesting and the game play felt unfinished, but now I can't get enough of it. The twist on the storyline was completely unexpected, the controls are unique to the genre and require skill but its done in such a way that it feels like a natural build up, and the game is absolutely stunning. Best of all, Creed is just a different type of game, you can't compare it to anything else out there. The 360 is littered with endless shooters and sports titles and this game doesn't fit either, not in its game play or its one of a kind setting. Sadly with Halo 3, CoD4, Mass Effect and Rock Band getting so much love, Assassin's Creed will fly under the radar just like the equally good BioShock. Don't let that happen, this game deserves your time.
So what are you playing right now? Let me know.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
The playoffs will feature the top CGS teams from around the world as they compete in PC and console based games. Valve’s Counter-Strike: Source and EA’s FIFA 2007 are the official PC games for CGS while Tecmo’s Dead or Alive 4 (DOA4) and Project Gotham Racing 3 (PGR3) from Microsoft Game Studios will be played on Xbox 360. Each round of the World Final is single elimination and the last team standing will receive the coveted Dew Trophy as well as $500,000 in prize money.
December 6: CGS World Final press conference December 6: First round day 1 December 7: First round day 2 December 10: Quarterfinals day 1 December 11: Quarterfinals day 2 December 13: Semifinals & Itagaki Challenge December 14: Final
- Sonic Boom: Hurls creatures and objects back with a blast of force
- EVE saver: Enables Plasmids to use less EVE
- Vending Expert: Reduces prices in the vending machines
- Machine Buster: Increases the amount of damage players deal to cameras, bots and turrets
Achievements (exclusive to Xbox 360):
Gain 100 points for “Brass Balls,” by beating BioShock on the “hard” difficulty setting without dying
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Frickin' Sweet - The official cover art for GTA IV was unveiled on Rockstar's website today and I'm (in a Deter voice) happy as a little girl. Motorcycles, helicopters, tootsie pops, sniper rifles, car chases, cell phone conversations? Sign me up! I'm most excited about the gondala ride. I wonder how much it costs.
Rockstar will be dropping a third trailer for GTA IV on December 4th and I can't wait. If all the love I've been giving the Halo series makes you cringe, just wait until you see the tongue bath I give GTA IV when it comes out. The Grand Theft Auto franchise is my personal all-time fav.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
1. Medal of Honor - Complete 1 Mass Effect Playthrough on any setting. 100 points
2. Medal of Heroism - Complete Feros. 25 points
3. Distinguished Service Medal - Complete Eden Prime. 25 points
4. Council Legion of Merit - Complete Virmire. 25 points
5. Honorarium of Corporate Service - Complete Noveria. 25 points
6. Long Service Medal - Complete 2 Mass Effect Playthroughs on any setting. 25 points
7. Distinguished Combat Medal - Complete 1 Mass Effect playthrough on the Hardcore difficulty setting. Do not change the setting.. 25 points
8. Medal of Valor - Complete 1 Mass Effect playthrough on the Insanity difficulty setting. Do not change the setting..50 points
9. Pistol Expert - Register 150 Pistol Kills. 10 points
10. Shotgun Expert - Register 150 Shotgun Kills. 15 points
11. Assault Rifle Expert - Register 150 Assault Rifle Kills. 15 points
12. Sniper Expert - Register 150 Sniper Rifle Kills. 15 points
13. Lift Mastery - Use biotic Lift 75 times. 15 points
14. Throw Mastery - Use biotic Throw 75 times. 15 points
15. Warp Mastery - Use biotic Warp 75 times. 15 points
16. Singularity Mastery - Use biotic Singularity 75 times. 15 points
17. Barrier Mastery - Use biotic Barrier 75 times. 15 points
18. Stasis Mastery - Use biotic Stasis 75 times. 15 points
19. Damping Specialist - Use Damping Field 75 times. 15 points
20. AI Hacking SpecialistUse AI Hacking 75 times. 15 points
21. Overload Specialist - Use Shield Overload 75 times. 15 points
22. Sabotage Specialist - Use Sabotage 75 times. 15 points
23. First Aid Specialist - Use medi-gel 150 times. 15 points
24. Neural Shock Specialist - Use Neural Shock 75 times. 15 points
25. Scholar - Find all primary Alien: Council Races, Extinct Races and Non-Council Races codex entries. 25 points
26. Completionist - Complete the majority of the game. 25 points
27. Tactician - Complete playthrough with shield damage greater than health damage. 25 points
28. Medal of Exploration - Land on an uncharted world. 50 points
29. RichExceed 1,000,000 Credits . 25 points
30. Dog of War - Register 150 organic enemy kills. 25 points
31. Geth Hunter - Register 250 synthetic enemy kills. 25 points
32. Soldier Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the Alliance soldier squad member. 20 points
33. Sentinel Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the Alliance sentinel squad member. 20 points
34. Krogan Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the krogan squad member. 20 points
35. Turian Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the turian squad member. 20 points
36. Quarian Ally - Complete the majority of the game with the quarian squad member. 20 points
37. Asari AllyComplete the majority of the game with the asari squad member. 20 points
38. Power Gamer - Reach 50th level with one character. 20 points
39. Extreme Power Gamer - Reach 60th level with one character. 50 points
40. Renegade - Accumulate 75% of total Renegade points. 15 points
41. Paragon - Accumulate 75% of total Paragon points. 15 points
42. Paramour - Complete any romance subplot. 10 points
43. Spectre Inductee - Become a Spectre. 15 points
44. Charismatic - Use Charm or Intimidate to resolve an impossible situation. 10 points
45. Search and Rescue - Locate Dr. T'soni in the Artemis Tau cluster. 10 points
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
A Quick Post Before I Take a Thanksgiving Hiatus - As a gamer, how can you not be thankful for the bounty we've received this fall. Best. Gaming. Year. Ever. Bioshock, Uncharted Drake's Fortune, Super Mario Galaxy, Crysis, Tabula Rasa, World in Conflict, Madden, Guitar Hero III, Call of Duty 4, Rock Band, Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed (fastest selling new IP in 5 years) and Halo 3 are just a few of the great titles that have all come out in the past few months to give gamers an embarrassing array of choices.
If that's not enough for you, I have even more good news. Today IGN broke the news today that Ubisoft Montreal is working on Rainbow Six Vegas 2, set to be released in March 2008. Sweet! But wait there's more! Halo 3 fans will get to download three new multiplayer maps on December 11 as part of the Heroic Map Pack for 800 Microsoft Points. If that's a little rich for you, save your money and wait until Spring when its free because thats when the next map pack will be released. Oh yeah, and in an interview posted on this site, Crytek boss Cevat Yerli confirmed PC standout Crysis will be a trilogy. Cool! Its a great time to be a gamer.
Quick Thoughts on Kane and Lynch: Dead Men - I wrapped up Kane and Lynch yesterday and I trade it in with mixed feelings. The game was thoroughly enjoyable and I had some fun with it (only 6 days but who's counting) but it left me a little disappointed. After getting used to the slightly off game controls, it was easy to get into the bad guy role of Kane. He's not a lovable villian, in fact he's a giant douche, but sometimes its fun to be an ass and Eidos did a great job of making a self-centered jerk fun to play with. The unique multi-player, the wide variety of environments, sidekick Lynch's lack of anything resembling mental stability and the chance to do some crazy missions straight out of the movies was great. However, the wonky controls (taking cover happended randomly, no way to switch camera perspective, horrible weapon targeting) and the Forest Gump IQ of the AI made the game feel too loose and way too easy. Kane and Lynch is certainly worthy of your time and I'd normally recommend a game this fun as a decent buy, but with so many other better choices out there its not worth it. This game screams Rent Me!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
What's the deal with all of these Achievement posts? - Glad you asked. I've been dragging my feet a bit so I could spend as much time with Call of Duty 4 before I give my take. And to be honest, I've also been zipping my way through The Simpsons Game so I can beat it and be done with it (the longer I played it, the worse it got, the game play is just atrocious). Look for a post on CoD4 in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here are the AP's for a game I can't wait to get my hands on. The multiplayer for it sounds very intriguing (players work together on a job against cop AI, if you die you become a cop...its kind of complicated). Kane and Lynch comes out tomorrow, as does Assassins Creed.
1. Sun Tzu - Let your crew do the dirty work. 20 points
2. Fragile Alliance - Complete the first level in co-op. 10 points
3. No Going Back Now - Go to the point of no return in co-op. 30 points
4. End of the Road - Complete the game in co-op. 50 points
5. Impact - Escape from death row. 20 points
6. Damned if you do - Let them burn. 20 points
7. Damned if you don't - No rest for the wicked. 30 points
8. Iron Flower - Complete the game on hard. 50 points
9. Crowd Control - Surgical precision in the nightclub. 30 points
10. Have Gun, Will Travel Part I - Travel into the Rising Sun. 20 points
11. Have Gun, Will Travel Part II - Counter-revolution. 20 points
12. Have Gun, Will Travel Part III - The Beginning of the End. 20 points
13. Behemoth - Stop the roaring beast. 10 points
14. Pushblade Symphony - Points for getting up close and personal. 20 points
15. Frag Out - 5 with one fragmentation grenade. 20 points
16. Headmaster - 47 headshots. 10 points
17. By the Grace of.. - Lynch puts them out of their misery. 10 points
18. Boomstick - Shotgun messiah. 20 points
19. Return to Sender - Throw back enemy grenades. 10 points
20. Teflon - Avoid damage on a level. 20 points
21. Bulletproof - Avoid using adrenaline on a level. 10 points
22. Revenge Part I - Silencing the silent one. 20 points
23. Revenge Part IV - Shouldn't have gotten personal. 20 points
24. Revenge Part V - Glad it got personal. 30 points
25. Hindsight - Get that bird out of the sky. 10 points
26. Berserkopath - Make the most of Lynch's condition. 30 points
27. Bullseye - Lynch reacts fast at the Exchange. 20 points
28. Family Member - Complete a Fragile Alliance session. 5 points
29. Some - Escape with $50,000 from a Fragile Alliance heist. 5 points
30. A Lot - Escape with $1,500,000 from a Fragile Alliance heist. 15 points
31. Sweet Revenge - Get personal revenge in Fragile Alliance. 5 points
32. Crime Buster - Kill 10 traitors in Fragile Alliance. 10 points
33. Double Trouble - Kill 2 traitors in a Fragile Alliance round. 25 points
34. Never Give Up - Get 3 personal revenge kills in a Fragile Alliance session. 30 points
35. The Cleaner - Get 30 personal revenge kills in Fragile Alliance. 30 points
36. Mr. PopularityKill 100 traitors in Fragile Alliance. 35 points
37. Cash Addict - Help to get all the money out in a Fragile Alliance round. 25 points
38. Most Wanted - Escape with $150,000,000 from Fragile Alliance heists. 50 points
39. Mercenary - Complete one session in each Fragile Alliance scenario. 15 points
40. Mr. Play-It-Straight - Win 50 rounds of Fragile Alliance as a merc. 50 points
41. 50 to Won - Win 50 rounds of Fragile Alliance. 25 points
42. Veteran - Complete 200 Fragile Alliance sessions. 35 points
43. Rush Hour - Escape in all rounds of a Fragile Alliance session. 15 points
44. Perfect Split- All players split the money equally from a Fragile Alliance heist. 25 points
45. Celebrity - Play as Lynch in Fragile Alliance. 0 points
46. True Elite - Play as Kane in Fragile Alliance. 0 points
47. Revenge Part II & III - Who's the old timer now?. 20 points
Friday, November 09, 2007
2. Hot Artist - Unlock a Theater in Solo Tour on Easy, Medium, Hard or Expert. 10 points
3. Top Artist - Unlock an Arena in Solo Tour on Medium, Hard or Expert. 10 points
4. String Shredder - Finish Guitar Solo Tour on Easy. 20 points
5. Fret RipperFinish - Guitar Solo Tour on Medium. 30 points
6. Axe AssassinFinish - Guitar Solo Tour on Hard. 40 points
7. Lord of the Strings - Finish Guitar Solo Tour on Expert. 50 points
8. Rhythm Rocker - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Easy. 20 points
9. Groove Technician - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Medium. 30 points
10. Heavy Hitter - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Hard. 40 points
11. AN-I-MAL!!! - Finish Drum Solo Tour on Expert. 50 points
12. Howler - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Easy. 20 points
13. Screamer - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Medium. 30 points
14. Crooner - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Hard. 40 points
15. Virtuoso - Finish Vocal Solo Tour on Expert. 50 points
16. Got Wheels - Unlock the Van in Band World Tour. 20 points
17. Open Road - Unlock the Bus in Band World Tour. 20 points
18. Jet Setter - Unlock the Jet in Band World Tour. 20 points
19. One Million - FansReach 1 million fans in Band World Tour. 10 points
20. Hall of Fame - InducteeFinish the Hall of Fame Induction in Band World Tour. 100 points
21. Vinyl Artist - Finish the Endless Setlist in Band World Tour on Medium. 10 points
22. Gold Artist - Finish the Endless Setlist in Band World Tour on Hard. 20 points
23. Platinum Artist - Finish the Endless Setlist in Band World Tour on Expert. 25 points
24. Big In London - Finish the last remaining gig in London (Band World Tour). 10 points
25. Big In Paris - Finish the last remaining gig in Paris (Band World Tour). 10 points
26. Big In Amsterdam - Finish the last remaining gig in Amsterdam (Band World Tour). 10 points
27. Big In Berlin - Finish the last remaining gig in Berlin (Band World Tour). 10 points
28. Big In Stockholm - Finish the last remaining gig in Stockholm (Band World Tour). 10 points
29. Big In Rome - Finish the last remaining gig in Rome (Band World Tour). 10 points
30. Big In Boston - Finish the last remaining gig in Boston (Band World Tour). 10 points
31. Big In NYC - Finish the last remaining gig in New York (Band World Tour). 10 points
32. Big In Chicago - Finish the last remaining gig in Chicago (Band World Tour). 10 points
33. Big In LA - Finish the last remaining gig in Los Angeles (Band World Tour). 10 points
34. Big In Seattle - Finish the last remaining gig in Seattle (Band World Tour). 10 points
35. Big In San Francisco - Finish the last remaining gig in San Francisco (Band World Tour). 10 points
36. Big In Japan - Finish the last remaining gig in Tokyo (Band World Tour). 10 points
37. Big In Sydney - Finish the last remaining gig in Sydney (Band World Tour). 10 points
38. Big In Reykjavik - Finish the last remaining gig in Reykjavik (Band World Tour). 10 points
39. Big In Rio de Janeiro - Finish the last remaining gig in Rio de Janeiro (Band World Tour). 10 points
40. Big In Moscow - Finish the last remaining gig in Moscow (Band World Tour). 10 points
41. Tug of War Champ - Win 20 Tug of War ranked matches. 30 points
42. Tug of War Streak - Win 5 Tug of War ranked matches in a row. 20 points
43. Score Duel Champ - Win 20 Score Duel ranked matches. 30 points
44. Score Duel Streak - Win 5 Score Duel ranked matches in a row. 20 points
45. Killer Performance - Five Star a song on Easy, Medium, Hard or Expert. 10 points
46. Flawless Groove - Score 100% notes hit as bassist, up-strums only, on Expert. 10 points
47. Flawless Drumming - Score 100% notes hit as a drummer on Expert. 10 points
48. Flawless Fretwork - Score 100% notes hit as a guitarist on Expert. 10 points
49. Flawless Singing - Score a 100% rating as a vocalist on Expert. 10 points
50. Riding on Coattails - Play with a "Platinum Artist". 5 points
Monday, November 05, 2007
Wait a minute! Did the Wiimote and a 360 controller have baby? - No, but I understand your confusion. My 7-year old daughter said the same thing. This is the controller for SceneIt? Lights, Camera, Action on the Xbox 360. I took a picture of it with a Schrutebuck so you would have a frame of reference for its size. I saw Angelina Jolie do something similar in The Bone Collector. For the uninitiated, SceneIt is a popular boardgame that combines trivia from films or specific franchises (Harry Potter, Disney, Lord of the Rings, etc.) into trivia questions and is played on a board and with a DVD. Think of it as a modern, pop culture version of Trivial Pursuit. I got an early copy of it on Saturday and used my kids and wife as guinea pigs over the weekend to see if it was family friendly. Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking.
'A casual game on the 360? Give me a break! If I want casual gaming I'll turn on my Wii. This is the 360! I need to shoot something!'
Don't worry, the 360's not going soft. There are still plenty of tangos, aliens and terrorists to shoot in other titles but lets be honest; the 360 is seriously lacking in the casual games department which helps attract women and kids - a big reason why the Wii has been so successful. At Casa de Terrones, whenever I play its usually me alone, or sometimes with my brother and occassionally my son. My wife enjoys the newly released Tetris Splash and that's it. My daughter? She's forced to go upstairs and play with her Hess trucks.
Saturday the gang and I got together for three games. I played a two-person game with my daughter and (in a Borat voice) crushed her. Seven-year olds know nothing about cinema these days. Then I played two games with the whole clan and proceeded to wipe the floor with them as well. My knowledge of pop culture and useless information finally came in handy.
During our game time we came across most of the 21 different puzzle types but rarely had a chance to use the Buzzer, the big botton on the top of the controller. This is where the person who hits the button first gets to answer first, Jeopardy-style. That was disappointing but having a wide variety of question types was nice. Most of the questions were independently timed, meaning everyone got to answer, and the faster we answered the more points we earned. Its very similar to the trivia games played in bars like Bennigans, except once you choose your answer you can't change it. The game boasts 1800 questions never used before in a SceneIt game but despite that we still came across some repeats. Overall, I was pretty pleased with the title but the rest of my family had other opinions.
The 13-year old boy - I liked it. I didn't know a lot of the answers because it was mostly for adults. It was fun but definetely an adult thing.
The 7-year old girl - It was okay. It was supposed to be for adults so I didn't know any of the answers. The questions were from movies me and Connor had never heard of but adults have.
The wife - The questions were difficult and for $60 they should offer a lot more features, its really basic. They should let you change your answers and let you hide your answers (once an answer was chosen by a player it was shown onscreen and the cheating was so rampant, my wife put tin foil over the answers). They should have different levels of difficulty, give you clues to the answers as the timer runs and make it more kid friendly.
Me - Couldn't have said it better myself. We have the regular SceneIt boardgame, the Disney version, that was only about $25 and the family enjoys it a lot more. That doesn't mean this game is a bust however, it still has potential. The new controller is pretty cool and very ergonomic for casual gamers like my wife and daughter. I'd like to see it used in other casual games. Also, its not like this game wouldn't have been much more fun if I was playing with my wife and another couple or if I had some adult family members over. As its currently packaged, its for adults only but could still be fun (especially after a few beers). I could easily see myself playing this game with my pop culture addicted siblings. When the downloadable content comes out, I'm sure this game will reach a wider audience - but that's the sticking point. Microsoft is going to have to give the downloads away for this to be a success because there's no way they can get families to pay $5 - $10 on top of the $60 pricetag like it does for some other games, nobody will go for it.
So is this game worth your time and money? Not if you plan on playing it with kids, at least not right now. But if you're the type of person who has friends or family over frequently who like to play board or card games, this might be a nice change of pace.
Friday, November 02, 2007
The bad news? The game play...(sad sigh)...stinks. That's right, the fatal weakness of every Simpsons title ever made strikes this game as well. D'oh! Keep in mind this is a first impression after only completing the first 2 levels since getting the game yesterday, but damn if those usual flaws weren't glaring. All the great things I mentioned above are certainly there and will probably hold off Simpsons die-hards, but even those of us with encyclopedic knowledge of the show will get tired of the repetitive gameplay, unimaginative levels and storyline that lacks any resemblance of brilliance of a typical episode. Even the Bart and Homer Butterfinger commercials have more depth.
Don't get me wrong, this game will sell like hotcakes because there are so many fans who love the show and the game does have a few redeemable qualities. There is a lot of original, funny dialogue all done by the cast. The game is easily the best looking Simpsons game ever and despite its flaws, its still the best Simpsons game ever. But does any of that really matter? No, not when the gameplay is so weak. Channeling my inner Comic Book Guy I have to say The Simpsons game is...Rental. Title. Only.
Iron helps us play - Anybody interested in Mutant Storm Empire on Xbox Live Arcade? Tell me who Lisa's favorite substitute teacher was and I'll email you the code for this game.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Pre-game - My brother-in-law Dan and two buddies flew in Saturday from the East Coast for Game 5. We agreed to get together in LoDo before hand, mostly so I could rub it in that he'd flown out here for nothing. We hooked up at a bar just south of Coors called the Public House or Pubic Hose or something like that to have a couple of beers and grab a bite to eat. Once in town we found a place to park (only $30, I was shocked it was so low) and headed toward the bar. Right away I was struck by how many Sox fans there were. I knew Red Sox Nation traveled well but it seemed like every 4th person was wearing Sox gear. That's when my wife reminded me that hardly anybody that lives in Colorado is actually from Colorado. It was also my first of many reminders that this is really a football town, not a baseball town. When I go to Broncos games I see fans with visiting jerseys but not in these numbers.
We meet up with Dan and his crew and they seemed to have picked the right spot. The Pats game is on a huge TV and there are Sox fans all over the place. This is a great opportunity for me to catch up on my fantasy football team (I have Tom Brady in both of my leagues, its nice to be me right now) and give Dan a hard time. Let me tell you a little bit about Dannyboy. I already mentioned the Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby voice but to top it off, he looks just like Ron Livingston from Office Space. Not only that but he went to an all boys Catholic school from Kindergarten to high school. He is a smart asses dream but today I feel sorry for him. He's much more of a diehard fan than I am and he knows tonight is the last game. Do I think about giving him my ticket? For about 5 seconds and then I remember what a selfish guy I am. He leaves Tuesday so him and the guys had talked about going to the Broncos/Packers game. Might as well see some sporting event while he's in town.
We tearfully leave Dan and make our way to Coors. I had picked up my tickets from a guy on craigslist, only paying $250 a ticket (trying getting into the Super Bowl for that) but every time I buy a ticket from a person and not the corporate machine TicketMaster I get a little worried. When I bought them, I looked them over and they sure looked real but with technology the way it is, you never know. Thankfully they actually were real and we started our long walk up to the third deck in right field.
Ahhh! My legs are burning! Who knew that when you're fat and out of shape that exercising would be painful. I think I need a beer and some nachos to ease my pain. We get to our seats early because the wife and I are so excited. The view is great and the weather is fantastic, its almost hot and now I feel the urge to tease the wife about bringing gloves, a hat, two sweaters, warm socks and a potbellied stove. Naturally I carried all of this in a backpack like a sherpa while she carried her small purse. Who said chivalry was dead?
The pre-game activities have started. There was about 5 "first pitches", the National Anthem sung by Tricia Yearwood and the chance to see the world's biggest Amercian flag but the highlight was Alex Rodriguez. The league was giving out its annual Hank Aaron award given to each league's best hitter. Hammerin' Hank received a standing O from the crowd and was on hand to present it to Prince Fielder and A-Fraud. Prince was cheered but A-Fraud, who for some lame reason wasn't there, was soundly booed. Even Rockies fans know what an ass he is, which he would prove again later by having his agent announce during the World Series that he would file for free agency.
1st inning - The Sox are off to a great start. Ellsbury doubles, Pedroia grounds out but Papi drives him home, 1-0 Sox. As a fan in enemy territory, I'm looking around for other Red Sox fans. My brother (a Rockies fan) had me convinced that I shouldn't dress in Sox gear because I would catch hell. Evidently when he when to game 3 of the Rocks/Phillies series, him and his buddies were riding visiting fans mercilessly. Big difference tonight as the Rockies are on the verge of elimination, there are a ton of Sox fans here and I'm not in my early 20's. Most drunk 20 year olds pick on other drunk 20 year olds, not old guys like me, and even if they did, I've seen enough Jean Claude Van Damme movies that I can handle myself in a fight.
Innings 2-4 - Both pitchers have settled in and we're in a pretty boring stretch. So boring in fact that I'm noticing little things about Coors Field that drive me absolutely nuts. While their sound system is great and the music is enjoyable (its like being in a giant techno club), they treat their fans like morons. First by passing out those ridiculous hankeys/faceclothes/I-surrender-towels as you walk through the gate. I've seen these at other stadiums but didn't expect to ever see them in Colorado. Aren't we smarter fans than that? Isn't clapping and cheering enough? To make matters worse, the scoreboard guy doesn't think fans can think for themselves so he has to tell everyone when to "Wave Those Towels". Its embarrassing. There is also never a quiet moment. I know baseball can be kind of dull, but do we need music blaring between every pitching change, inning break, every at-bat, and sometimes even between pitches? Its an insult to a fans intelligence that they feel the need to fill every waking second of non-playing time.
Innings 5 thru top of the 8th - Everytime the Rockies seem to get close, the Sox seem to have an answer. The Sox score in the 5th and 7th, Hawpe hits a HR in the bottom of the 7th then Kielty hits a pinch hit homer to make it 4-1 Sox. The air has been sucked right out of the crowd.
As the Sox pull away I notice a few more annoying things, most notably the female Rockies fan behind me. Not only does she have a voice only Fran Drescher could appreciate but she gives every single Rockies player an annoying nickname. Hawpe was Hoppy, Holliday was Matty, Spilborghs was Spilly. The worst nicknames were Tulo for Tulowitzki (appropriate for how he was hitting) and pitcher Aaron Cook who she called Cookie. Cookie? Are you serious? If you're going to be nicknamed after a food, it should be something manly like hambone or t-bone or something, not something soft and sweet like a cookie. By the way, "Spilly's" at-bat music is atrocious, its "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani. That's right, Spilly has a chick song to pump him up before every at-bat. Check these masculine, inspiring lyrics.
"I must apologize for acting stank and treating you this wayCause I've been acting like sour milk all on the floor. It's your fault you didn't shut the refrigeratorMaybe that's the reason I've been acting so cold"
"If I could escapeAnd re-create a place that's my own world. And I could be your favorite girl. Forever, perfectly togetherAnd tell me boy, now wouldn't that be sweet
Why not just play, "Why can't we be friends?" by War? On the plus side, its great to watch a game without the annoying drone of Joe Buck or the moronic Tim McCarver. Every baseball fans collective IQ drops 10 points when those guys are announcing. Jon Miller and Joe Morgan should be calling every game on TV.
Bottom of the 8th thru top of the 9th - Damn! Okajima gives up a two run homer to Atkins, but I can't say I'm surprised. He was looking a little worn yesterday and his fastball, which is normally in the mid-90's, is in the upper 80's tonight. His homer has made it 4-3 and for the first time during this series I'm just a wee bit concerned. Papelbon is coming out but he's been getting a lot of work as well. If the Rockies win tonight, they'll have a big mental boost not just from winning a close game but from beating our stud closer. That and who would close the game after Beckett gets tired in game 5? Definitely not the overworked Okajima or Paps and if Eric Gagne came out, the game would be a certain loss. I don't want this series to go back to Boston.
Thankfully this isn't an issue as Paps comes in and gets the final two outs. The Mrs and I pack up our potbellied stove and head down to the first level, we want to be as close as we can when the game ends.
.Bottom of the 9th through Postgame - We miss the entire top of the 9th as the three Sox batters are all dispatched fairly quickly and it takes us forever to get to the opposite side of the stadium. Its been awhile since I've been at Coors and compared to Fenway, this place is the size of a football stadium. Once we get to the lower level behind home plate, we find a ton of Sox fans. Strangely enough I don't spot Ben Affleck but I do see Mike "Boogie" Malin from Big Brother 2 and Big Brother: All-Stars. He's the mooner on the pic above. Sadly this first class citizen was wearing a Red Sox jersey. My wife is baffled that I would recognize a reality show celeb from a program I don't even watch, so I remind her that one of my gifts is knowing more useless information than anyone on the planet.
The crowd makes it really tough to see. We're not only behind a bunch of Sox fans but we're behind a gaggle of photographers with cameras that have lenses so big they could count the hairs in Paps nose. First Rockie up grounds out, I'm feeling pretty good. Second guy scares the crap out of me with a long shot that I initially thought was out of the park, but Ellsbury catches at the warning track. The need for a defibrillator has passed. With two outs, the final batter strikes out and the surrounding crowd goes nuts! Everybody is jumping up and down and we all breathe a sigh of relief.
After the Rockies fans have cleared out, the Red Sox fans work their way down and there are plenty of us. Looking around, there had to be close to 10,000 Sox fans cheering and standing on seats along the first and third base lines. The players are holed up in the locker room as the press and the players family and friends wait for them to emerge. After about 15 minutes the players start to come out. Mike Lowell, Scorsese power brows and all, comes out first hoisting the MVP trophy and makes his way over to his two hybrid cars. The crowd starts chanting "Re-Sign Lowell!" and "Don't Sign A-Rod!". Other players start coming out with the biggest cheers going out to Schilling ("One More Year!"), who was chugging a beer and waving to the crowd, and David Ortiz. Game 4 winner Jon Lester comes out with the trophy over his head and the crowd roars. I tried in vain to take pictures with my crappy disposable camera but people keep getting in the way.
Other random stuff I saw - Matsuzaka came out and was immediately pounced on by about 50 members of the Japanese press corps, sucks to be him. GM Theo Epstein is hugging everybody and looks ridiculously young, great to be him. Soon-to-be-traded Coco Crisp has the craziest hat hair I've ever seen. Josh Beckett was walking around with some babe, another country singer perhaps? Dustin Pedroia, only 24, has a bald spot and is the spitting image of Giovanni Ribisi.
We stay for about 45 minutes but its getting late and the crowd is starting to thin. I really wanted to see Papelbon do a World Series version of his Riverdance impression but its time to go. Its been an amazing night and the Mrs and I head to our car in awe of the whole experience. We've seen and done a lot of great things together but getting to see the final game of a Red Sox World Series win takes the cake.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
2. Tangaroa Island Complete - Find all collectibles, find all secrets, and defeat all bosses in this location. 125 points
3. Egypt Complete - Find all collectibles, find all secrets, and defeat all bosses in this location. 125 points
4. Transylvania Complete - Find all collectibles, find all secrets, and defeat all bosses in this location. 125 points
5. Nepal Complete - Find all collectibles, find all secrets, and defeat all bosses in this location. 125 points
6. Lightning Strikes - Obtain a Hit Chain higher than 15. 25 points
7. Combo Meter Master - Fill the Combo Meter all the way to Level 4. 25 points
8. Our Powers Combined - Initiate a Hero Strike Power-Up. 25 points
9. Web Slinger - Fully upgrade Web Line with all available Modifications. 75 points
10. Arachnid Artillery - Fully upgrade Web Shoot with all available Abilities and Mods. 75 points
11. All Tied Up - Fully upgrade Web Stun with all available Abilities and Mods. 75 points
12. Fury's Fourteen - All characters are fully upgraded with all Attacks and Attributes. 75 points