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Cole Phelps and Me.

24 May

Chief among the laundry list of things L.A. Noire does exceptionally well is the character of Cole Phelps. I suppose one could argue that he’s one-dimensional, but the characters surrounding Cole certainly make up for what he lacks in certain areas. For the first time in recent memory I saw a little bit of myself in a video game character, and that’s a huge step in the right direction.

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Splinter Cell: Conviction; or, How Not to Write a Story.

5 May

Yet another old blog post, this one from May 2010.

I didn’t read too much information about Splinter Cell: Conviction before playing it. I also didn’t watch a lot of videos. The bit I knew really intrigued me: Sam learned his daughter’s death might not have been an accident, and he heard some names floating around. The interrogation bit in the demo certainly led me to believe he was on a personal mission of vengeance. Right or wrong, he was going to get the information he needed, the way he needed to get it. The premise was instantly thought-provoking. With a story like that, there are multiple ways to go about exploring themes, such as moral ambiguity, blind rage and the consequences of it, and learning to let go and move on with your life. As you can probably guess by the title of this post, the kind folks at Ubisoft decided to shit all over themselves.

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Sad Reflections.

5 May

This was a post from the tail end of 2009 on the old blog. I’m still going through the entries that didn’t import well, and I’m posting one or two of them a day just to have them up. I should mention that I’ve been debating getting back into Call of Duty since I still do have the occasional hankering to dole out some ass kicking. I should, and most likely will, just pick Left 4 Dead 2 (or Left 5 Dead, as my girlfriend calls it) back up again. That series is amazing, and I should be playing it more often. Anyways, with that caveat out of the way, enjoy.

It’s 5am, and as I sit here, fresh off a couple of hours attempting to subjugate my people in Tropico 3, I happened to come across this post by Michael Abbott over at Brainy Gamer. It’s worth a read. But, sadly, it made me think about what the Call of Duty franchise has ultimately become: a five-second thrill rehashed ad-nauseum. My first confession should be that I’m not nearly as big a multiplayer competitor as I used to be. Turn back the clock just a couple of years and you’d be likely to find me playing a lot more Halo 3. But nowadays, I simply can’t do it. The experience of standard multiplayer has become so stale and uninteresting to me that the thought of entering a match doesn’t usually cross my mind at all. I need something more out of games at this point, and a game like Modern Warfare 2 just doesn’t cut it.

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To Portal or Not to Portal; No One Really Asked You.

26 Apr

Awesome Concept Art

Because Portal 2 is so funny, I didn’t realize how scary a premise it contains. My girlfriend even had to point it out to me. Looking through Chell’s perspective, she’s trapped miles underground god knows where, and has been there for god knows how long. It’s reasonable to assume it’s been at least hundreds of years. She doesn’t know if there is a single human being left in the world, but she still has GlaDOS to keep her company. Oh, yea, well, a moronic robot accidentally re-activated her during an escape attempt, so now she’s making Chell test again. Her acidic barbs are even more venomous in some ways this time around, probably because she was, you know, murdered and left to rot.

That’s how the game starts.

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I’ve Simply No More Room for All Your Dead Space.

26 Apr

I was really stoked for Dead Space 2. So stoked, in fact, that I played it through two-and-a-half times. But in doing so I unearthed most of the game’s flaws, and they’re such that I don’t think I’ll ever play the game again. I guess it’s unfortunate, but at the same time, a game with the kind of flaws I noticed doesn’t really deserve to sit on my shelf. Sorry.

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My First Few Hours with Mafia II.

22 Feb

I’ve only played about 30 minutes of the original Mafia, so I can’t really compare it to the sequel. Among my friends, however, there seems to be some fondness for the title. I started it on my laptop, but I downloaded a patch that bricked the game. Oh, well. I did, however, play the beginning of Mafia II over the last few days, and God, I hate it. With a mini passion, even.

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The "Airport Level" and Other Musings in Modern Warfare 2 or, What’s the Big Deal?

25 Nov

So a friend spontaneously brought over his copy of Modern Warfare 2 tonight, and I played it for a couple of hours or so. I must say, my initial impression of the game doesn’t do it any favors. You can say I’m just hating all you want, but I honestly haven’t found the experience rewarding enough to warrant a purchase up to this point. For clarity’s sake, I just finished the “Wolverines” mission, and I’m playing on Veteran difficulty (which I do for all CoD games).

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Life Will Find a Way.

14 Nov

Well, I just finished Jurassic: The Hunted. It’s a short game; it couldn’t have taken me much more than 4 hours to complete. Despite its length, I left satisfied with the experience, and what I’d like to see now is a similar game with a little more time and money thrown behind it. And if that ever happens, it will need a LOT more marketing than this game got.

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Well Then, Thriftweed….

13 Nov

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re with a group of friends and they’re all talking about a specific, awesome thing, and the only sentence you can contribute to the conversation is along the lines of “I never did that.” Well, take out the group of friends and an actual conversation, and you end up with my situation. I feel like I’ve missed out on something amazing for the last 15 or so years. I never gamed on my family computer when I was young, and man, did I ever miss out. Playing The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition on Xbox 360 is like discovering a lost world where humor was genuine and characters were interesting. The complexity of the world isn’t the most important thing; so far, in the first 7% of the game, pretty much everything has been instantly memorable. I can’t say that for the first 7% of a lot of more modern games. I wish those very same, graphically intense modern games instilled this sense of awe and curiosity in me. I love you, Tim Shafer (yes, I know other people worked on it as well).

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Oldies but Goodies – Dreamfall: The Longest Journey

20 May
First off, I know I haven’t written anything in a month. So to the two of you, I apologize.I just finished Dreamfall: The Longest Journey today, and I have to admit that it ended with more questions than answers. Having never played the original The Longest Journey, there were things that happened in the sequel that tied into the original, but the full extent I won’t know until I play it (I’m planning to start it within the next few days if my laptop isn’t totally screwed). Having said that, Dreamfallis straight up, old fashioned good storytelling. The world is believable, the characters are beautifully written and articulated, and the experience really does feel like a long journey that spans across two worlds. The cutscenes are great as well, thanks to a uniformly pitch-perfect voice cast and writing to match. As a game that hinges on all those things mixing well, there’s really no greater praise I could give it. Continue reading