Monday, February 28, 2011

Games Played 02/21/2011 - 02/27/2011

- 02/21/2011 -
Guild Wars - PC
Karaoke Revolution Volume 2 - PlayStation 2
Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 - PlayStation 2
League of Legends - PC
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - NDS

- 02/22/2011 -
Dragon Age II Demo - PC
Guild Wars - PC

- 02/23/2011 -
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - NDS

- 02/24/2011 -
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - NDS

- 02/25/2011 -
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - NDS

- 02/26/2011 -
Divinity II: Ego Draconis Demo - PC
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - NDS

- 02/27/2011 -
Arcania: Gothic 4 Demo - PC
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - NDS

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sneaky Two Worlds II

Most people, including myself, are waiting for the arrival of BioWare's Dragon Age II with much anticipation and loss of sleep but if that means people are not going to check out the least hyped-out releases like Two Worlds II by Reality Pump Game Development Studios, those individuals just don't know what they are missing! After 10+ hours of playing Two Worlds II (and one embarrassing character remake) on my Personal Computer, I am completely in awe of it. The game starts off with you escaping a dungeon - yes, it's so The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion-ish  - and the main goal of the game is to save your sister from the clutches of a powerful villain who captured the both of you in the first place but of course the beauty of an open world role playing game such as this one is that you can lose yourself in the plethora of side quests and exploration outside of the main storyline. The one thing about this game is that it will certainly turn off most people during its first few hours of gameplay because it seems so unresponsive and confusing. The melee attacks don't feel like they connect when you actually hit the enemies and the archery/sorcery require recharge time that make them deceptively ineffective. Persevere through the game's initially awkward gameplay mechanics however and you will discover the game's fun character growth customizations and its highly addictive crafting system.

I love running around the game world just to check out the pretty sights.

The one element of the game that got me through the slow start I mentioned earlier was the graphics. This game is beautiful. I am able to get all the graphical options maxed out at 1920x1080 at a smooth and stable frame rate with my PC setup. The character models may be a little stiff but the fantastic and large open environments are truly out of this world. The lighting effects are particularly noteworthy, especially when you can see beams of light coming through the windows or between the leaves of trees and besides objects that are blocking the brightness of the sun and the moon. The game has a night and day cycle to make everything even more dynamic. All of the interactions between characters are fully voice acted. The quality of the voice acting ranges from mediocre to flat out robotic, which is a bit disappointing especially during clever, offbeat comments that could have been really funny if they were voiced properly.

The crafting system involves breaking down items to empower newer equipments
and it is a great solution that balances out the game's generous amount of loot.

I expected Two Worlds II to be better than the first game but I never expected this game to be this good. Mind you that there are a lot more contents to the game outside of the single player mode. I have created an online character and there is a separate campaign that can be played with others but unfortunately, I was not able to find low level characters to play together with. I would probably spend most of my time with this game playing it offline but I will definitely check out the online mode again in the future for its multiplayer co-op features. There are still so much for me to explore in this game and I keep finding myself going back to it since I got it last week. If you are a fan of the genre, why live in just one when you can live in Two Worlds II?


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Steam Screenshots!

Taking in-game screenshots is something that is second nature when it comes to gaming on the Personal Computer. It mostly involves pressing "Print Screen" on the keyboard and most games would even save the captured images in the appropriate folder. Today, Valve is taking things a step further by introducing a screenshot capture feature for the Steam client. You can now take screenshots of any games that are played via Steam and those pictures can then be posted on your profile page. A generous 1GB worth of online storage is made available to each user. Whenever you take a screenshot in-game, a pop-up notification will show up at the bottom right hand corner of the screen. You can choose to write captions for the pictures and others can visit your page and make comments on them. There is a visibility setting available so that you can choose to make the pictures viewable only to your friends or yourself if you are feeling shy. You can even share the images to other social networking services like Facebook and Twitter with ease. The posted screenshots automatically include the title of the games that they derived from as well as the date and time of when they were captured. This new feature further ensures that Steam is the best place to play games on the PC (and Mac). All PC games should be released here.

Taking in-game screenshots is a lot more fun and convenient now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two Worlds, A Second Chance

My significant other got Two Worlds II for me via Steam today. It is a role playing adventure game by Reality Pump Game Development Studios that had come up during our daily conversation when the subject of video game got mentioned - apparently my significant other got the idea that I am really interested in the game. You have probably noticed that ever since that one huge "bulk" purchase of Steam games last year, the rate of my gaming inductions has decreased tremendously. This is because I really want to take things a little slower and look at the games that I do have in my Game Library currently. I would be lying to you if I were to tell you that I do not want to get more games because I do but I also realize that the amount of games coming my way is definitely higher than the actual time I have going through each of them. It was painful to actually go without a new game in a short period of time but I am used to that idea now. In fact, I may not even have Dragon Age II soon after it hits the stores and instead I would get the "Game of the Year Edition" of the game that we all know would be released later on this year. If I really do have that kind of patience, I would be richly rewarded with having the definite version of the game that comes with all of its post-release add-ons. Something tells me that I will not be able to resist the pull of that game however...

Those bloodthirsty living skeletons are in every other video game it seems like.

Back to Two Worlds II. I didn't enjoy the first game that much. It was glitchy and short but I have high hopes that this sequel will redeem the franchise. One thing for sure is that the graphics in this sequel are a lot better than the original but pretty games can only go so far. It is too bad that I can't capitalize on the DirectX 10 support - I got to make that move to Windows 7 soon. Two Worlds II can be played using the X-Box 360 controller and despite losing four quick slot access, the rather stiff first-person shooter style keyboard/mouse movement configuration translates well onto the controller layout. I have only spent a couple of minutes checking out the game but I am already intrigued by it... Even though the hero that I am controlling looks extremely ugly in the face and no, you can't customize the facial features of your character! Ewww! [Update Note: 02/24/2011 - How could I not see the facial customization options during the character creation screen? I just discovered it while reading the online manual. That's what happens when you don't read the game manual, kids. Now, I must now create a new character!]

Dragon Age II PC Demo

I was wrong about BioWare's Dragon Age II. When I first saw the gameplay footage for the game, I thought that the developer had dumbed down the game and turned it into a mindless button masher that would suit perfectly for both the PlayStation 3 and the X-Box 360 consoles. After playing the Personal Computer version of the demo that was released today, I do not even have any interest now to test out the consoles versions because PC gamers, you should be pleased to know that just like the first game, DAII is meant to be played on the PC because the character abilities are best accessed using the action bar at the bottom of the screen.

In that curious, mystical way, Flemeth is so freaking hot...

Just like what BioWare did to the sequel of Mass Effect, DAII is just a faster, more action-packed version of the original game. You still auto attack the enemy after selecting them, though now, the attack animation has that fast combo look to them thus fooling me into thinking that the game was a button masher as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Your character has access to different abilities that must be activated by clicking them on the action bar. You can still switch to anyone in your party at any time and you can program their behaviors to your liking using the tactic slots available to them. Unlike the first game however, you don't get to select from a variety of background stories for your character but thankfully, the writing is still as powerful and engrossing as before.

...Yes, even hotter than the fireball spell!

Speaking of the game's storyline, it looks like this tale runs concurrent with the first game and I really like that approach. There's even a really fancy framing device with the tale being told by one of your companions who is being interrogated by a mysterious Chantry figure. The voice acting and the character interactions are very solid. You can still influence your companions to like or dislike you through the branching dialogue options. There is now an indicator that marks the behavioral alignments of your choices of dialogues but the effectst of the accumulative impact of that can only be seen in the full game.

Notice the really nasty textures on the clothing and armor.

The only bad thing I can say about the demo experience is that the highest graphical setting is stuck at the "medium" option. I ran the game at native 1920x1080 and even at this mediocre graphics setting, it looks pretty darn good. The character models look a bit better and I hope that in its final form, the blurry textures will be replaced with higher resolution ones like those found in the first game. The game even has DirectX 11 support, so the game will be prettier when I finally make that move to upgrade my PC in the future. I should have known that BioWare will not let us down. If this demo is any indication, DAII will surely be another killer role playing game. The game will be released on March 8th - just a few weeks from now.


Monday, February 21, 2011

X-Box Live: Friend or Faux?

As I am saying my goodbyes to the X-Box Live Gold service - 7 more days to go! - I have been getting strange friend requests on my X-Box 360. How so? Well, over the past several days, I have received a number of friend requests from strangers whom I have never played with before online. I have only shared my gamertag with a select number of individuals but I doubt that this leak came from those trusted group of people. I have shared my interest in garnering new friends on a number of online gaming forums so maybe these requests came from there? But those postings are quite old and none of these people mentioned to me that they were responding to those posts. As a matter of fact, they actually don't say nor do they write much when I asked them for their identity. All I got back in response was a couple of "Hi" and a bunch of "lol". When I get a friend request over X-Box Live, I normally would accept them before I would send a message to the newly acquired acquaintance so when I don't get a definite answer to where these people were coming from, I just deleted them off the list. It is obvious however that someone is coordinating this whole thing but is it done for the purposes of good or evil? I just don't know. Whatever the case may be, it really doesn't bother me at all because the whole thing is just really, uh, stupid. If these random requests did come from people who were interested in fostering a gaming friendship... Well, speak up and no, you don't get an achievement for filling up your friend's list on X-Box Live!

I got this one after that person sent me a party invite and when I joined, he/she didn't say anything!

Games Played 02/14/2011 - 02/20/2011

- 02/14/2011 -
Guild Wars - PC

- 02/15/2011 -
Dungeon Siege II - PC
Sacred 2: Fallen Angels - PC

- 02/16/2011 -
Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes - PlayStation 3
Sacred 2: Fallen Angels - PC

- 02/17/2011 -
The Dark Eye: Drakensang - PC

- 02/18/2011 -
The Dark Eye: Drakensang - PC
Donkey Kong Country Returns - Wii

- 02/19/2011 -
The Dark Eye: Drakensang - PC
Donkey Kong Country Returns - Wii
Karaoke Revolution Volume 2 - PlayStation 2
Karaoke Revolution Volume 3 - PlayStation 2
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure - Wii
WarioWare: Touched! - NDS

- 02/20/2011 -
Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time - NDS
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars - Wii

Friday, February 18, 2011

Randomly Playing Drakensang

So I was able to get myself into a steady groove with Guild Wars before I got hooked on Sacred 2: Fallen Angels and now, I have yet again turned my attention to another game: The Dark Eye: Drakensang. Whenever I do this though, note that I normally transition between games of the same genre... Not that it would matter much if it means that I am going to flat out abandon the other games that I was previously enjoying. If there is one bad habit that I do have it is my inability to stop myself from accessing other games in my Game Library before I get to thoroughly explore the current game in front of me. Then again, limiting myself to what I want to play at a given moment is counter-productive to having access to all of these games. I am sure that there is a way to remedy this situation but I know that at the end of the day, it's all a matter of self control and I am a little bit weak when it comes to video games.

Mr. Woodgiver loves using his two-handed longsword.

Apparently, I inducted this game in July of 2009 and I have hardly ever played it since then. It is a role playing adventure game from German developer Radon Labs. At the offset of the game, you get to select your gender, class, and race and there are quite a variety to choose from. I went for a rugged looking warrior dude and named him Todd Woodgiver. The one thing that is very apparent from the start of this game is that your character has too many attributes and talents that you need to manage upon receiving experience points. It takes a while to get used to all the numbers and I am at a point where I am comfortable with the system.  You can have up to four characters in your party but I only have three of them at the time. There was one quest that provided me with a forth party member whom I do not have to directly control and that was pretty cool - I wish that the other party members are controlled by bots just like how they were in Dragon Age: Origins.

Mr. Woodgiver doesn't like whiny rogues.

Drakensang is a beautiful game with wide open spaces to explore but the character animations do get a little weird sometimes - like when you are collecting herbs, your character would be rummaging a couple of feet away from the actual plant. The game takes place in a typical medieval setting complete with dwarfs, elves, and dragons. Story-wise, my character is supposed to meet an old acquaintance who is in need of help because of some mysterious danger that he is facing. I have been so busy doing the side quests in the starting area so I haven't even met the guy yet. I am enjoying this game a lot and I always prefer slower, more methodical role playing games versus action-oriented ones like Sacred 2. I just have to make sure that I don't look for other games to mess around with because I want to keep playing Drakensang for a while. But I said that about Sacred 2 and Guild Wars too...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Marvel versus Who?

Today is one of those days when people get all super excited about picking up a newly released game. Yes, I am talking about Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds for the PlayStation 3 and the X-Box 360. Though I am a fan of the series, I am in the minority when it comes to this game - that is to say that I am very disappointed over the further simplification of the controls (now three attack buttons versus four in the sequel and six in the original) and the shockingly low amount of characters available compared to the sequel. It is apparent that Capcom is probably going to cash in big time on this game by releasing more characters in the future but I have my doubts that the last number of selectable fighters would not reach the supreme height of 56 found in the previous release. Even with all of these concerns, I do want to play the game however but then something happened. Instead of going to the store, I found myself randomly starting this one game that had been installed on my Personal Computer for a long time... And since I started playing it, I lost track of time and I only stopped when it was time for dinner! So no cheap, unbalanced fighting game here for me... yet! Instead, I got to play around with this:

Beware of the angry Seraphim!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Video Games: Better Than Sex?

It's Valentine's Day so let's talk about video games plus something a little bit naughty: sex. Unless you are brainwashed (or worse, physically altered) to justify that sex is bad by the society or your religion, we all know better that everyone likes sex. As someone who is mighty obsessed with video games, I too believe in the pleasures of the flesh. But I am sure that a lot of you have heard of people comparing video games directly to sex, making proclamations that they are better than having sex. Such a bold claim for sure but is that really true or is it just a desperate statement from someone who never got laid?

The most romantic gift I have ever received and it's not game-related.

Now I am okay with people describing the experience of playing a video game as "orgasmic". As a matter of fact, I often use that term interchangeably as well since it describes the feeling of pleasurable climax akin to experiencing an orgasm. Now I would never say that I had orgasm playing League of Legends but I would not hesitate to say that the game is orgasmic - notice the difference? Now to answer the main question posed in the previous paragraph, I personally have not experienced even a single moment in my entire gaming life thus far when gaming actually got really close to being as good as sex.

The PlayStation Move is something you'd expect to find in an adult store.

So for me, sex is better than video games but video games can still of course be something that is quite "sexy". And of course I am not just referring to the rumble feature of the modern controllers that can double as an effective vibrator when the right game is in session - oh don't tell me you never put them on your lap. I am of course also talking about the many, many characters found inside the video gaming universe. There's always one you can drool over no matter what type you are looking for nor the sexual orientation you are aligned with. You like innocent princesses? Well, there's Princess Peach from the Mario games. S&M rocks your world? Well there's Voldo from the Soul Calibur series (if that's too hardcore you can always downgrade to Ivy). You enjoy lamenting over a dead lover? Aerith from Final Fantasy VII is there for you to grief upon. Looking for the ultimate jock who is not as smart as he seems to be? Look no further than Nathan Drake from the Uncharted games. And the list goes on and on. And you know what? I too have my own collection of video games characters that I don't mind spending some personal time with and yes my significant other found that to be curious, silly, and amusing. The fact of the matter is that video games can only tease you about sex but they can never give you any real sexual gratification - and that includes the rumble feature.

Games Played 02/07/2011 - 02/13/2011

- 02/07/2011 -
Guild Wars - PC
The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion - PSP

- 02/08/2011 -
Guild Wars - PC
The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion - PSP

- 02/09/2011 -
Dead Space: Extraction - PlayStation 3
The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion - PSP

- 02/10/2011 -
The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion - PSP
Tekken: Dark Resurrection - PSP

- 02/11/2011 -
Dynasty Warriors 6 - X-Box 360
Super Street Fighter IV - X-Box 360

- 02/12/2011 -
Bejeweled 2 Deluxe - X-Box 360
Dead Space 2 - PlayStation 3
The Legend of Heroes: A Tear of Vermillion - PSP
Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter - SegaSaturn
X-Men vs. Street Fighter - SegaSaturn

- 02/13/2011 -
Dead Space: Extraction - PlayStation 3
Super Street Fighter IV - X-Box 360

Saturday, February 12, 2011

X-Box Live: Fool's Gold

My X-Box Live Gold subscription for my X-Box 360 is expiring at the end of the month and I am having second thoughts about renewing it. The price is not much of a factor. The problem here is the actual amount of time I spent using the service, especially these days when it seems like my whole entire online gaming time is spent on League of Legends. I have only kept my Gold subscription to unlock the online multiplayer portion of the service and nothing else. If I decided to just use the Silver level membership, that would mean that I would have to get the PlayStation 3 version of games that have online multiplayer feature but that fact in itself already made me weary about taking such a step because there are indeed a lot of games that I have for the 360 that will be rendered a bit useless without having access to Live Gold.  I would also lose access to join a party chat but again, it is just another frivolous feature for me since I hardly ever use it. Perhaps the best thing to do is to see whether or not I would miss having Live Gold after the subscription expired. I could always renew it if I actually felt like I was missing something. This is a tough decision to make because the Live Gold service is what defines the quintessential 360 experience.

I was there since early beta thus making it harder to say goodbye...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Big Day

My significant other and I have been together for a long time and we both know that it's important to protect our commitment to one another. There have been many special days in my life involving me getting a hold of certain high priority video games and I am sure that there are going to be more of those coming in the future but they all will not be as important as June 19th - yeah, that is just four short months from now. We don't plan on taking a honeymoon getaway anytime soon however so things should be proceeding as it normally would on this website - that is I will still be so very preoccupied with video gaming. a non-gamer!

Poster Justice

Remember that one day last year when I unwrapped those special Yu-Gi-Oh! cards bundled alongside their respective PlayStation 2 games? Well, I am now doing the same thing with posters that are packaged in with my video games. I don't know why it took me a while to come into this realization but these game posters are meant to be enjoyed instead of stored where I couldn't see them. The posters that are already on my Game Room wall previously have never been the ones that came along with a retail game. I got them mostly from old gaming magazines.

It's getting crowded in here.

Before now, I have viewed these newly displayed posters as extremely critical parts to the games they are coupled with and that separating them apart would tarnish the completeness of those games. How wrong I was with that presumption. As I mentioned before, I am not a "collector" and I want to really enjoy these video gaming materials I own to the best of my abilities. It would have been very tragic if I died without ever having these beautiful artwork posted up this way because I would be missing out on the radiance of joy and companionship they brought to me in their proper utilization. If a game comes with a poster in the future, I will make sure that the poster gets on my wall immediately. No regrets - that's the kind of  life that I want to live.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

LoL's New Bots: Much Improved!

Today, Riot Games live-streamed a League of Legends match between their fellow staffers and their new artificial intelligence controlled champions. The match was indeed very entertaining. I am definitely impressed by the performance of the bots and I really, really want to be able to play against them soon! But first, I just love how they had a representative of the bots making comments throughout the stream in a really funny robot voice as it coldy mocked the human opponents. It was a really nice touch. I am not going to reveal who won the match - you will be surprised by the result - but if Riot Games decided to post the video up, you may be able to check it out here. So how clever were the bots? Well, they were definitely leagues better compared to the current version and I am going to list the pros and cons of their new programming:

What They Did Well
1) They last hit minions effectively.
2) They changed lanes to both gank as well as support their teammates.
3) They combo-ed their abilities really well and they even used their ultimates together quite efficiently.
4) They knew when to back away.
5) They were very aggressive. 

Their Shortcomings
1) Perhaps a bit too aggressive. Even at early game, they tend to get too close to the opponent's tower.
2) They liked to solo against a full team of opponents though sometimes this shockingly resulted in victory, especially when the other bots actually came and joined in on the fight. So maybe they know how to kite?
3) They didn't farm the jungle though this is hard to confirm because of the fog of war and the camera was just fixed on the visible action.

That Cho'Gath Bot sure knows how to tank.

Riot Games should be congratulated for being able to program smart bots for such a complex game involving team synergy and unpredictability. There are definitely still some things that could be worked on but even with what was shown today, I would be so thrilled to fight against those bots. Unfortunately, there was no announcement to when these bots will finally be available for us to bout against. Please tell me that they will come with the next patch, Riot Games!

LG Dog!

He's cute. He's soft. He's strong. He's into technology. Okay so he likes the 3D with glasses thing - which is of course a major turn off for me - but he looks cool in shades. He wears a cape like a super hero but he ditches the underwear and goes for the all-natural look... He is... He is LG Dog!


Life is good when you are LG Dog!

January 2011 Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.


Total Games Played: 32

It is the same old story again for January 2011 - League of Legends for the Personal Computer took another very dominating first spot for the most played game, missing only two days from being played every single day of the month. I did come close to taking a break from the game during the past couple of weeks however because I have been unfortunate enough to encounter negative players nonstop almost every other match that I played. I am not the type of person who would actually acknowledge rude comments made towards me during the game because I just report in the bad behavior after the game is over but after a while, the negativity can be just a bit too overwhelming. I implement a new method of self-preservation now where as soon as I noticed that a player is acting out of line, I would immediately add the person in my ignore list so that I don't see all the nastiness during the game so that I could focus only on the fun.

Tied for second place are two great role playing games, Resonance of Fate on the X-Box 360 and Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City for the Nintendo DS. RoF is a departure from the conventions with its quest system and futuristic gun battles. The story is a bit weak because it is presented in fragments and since you are only exploring one huge city, sometimes the game feels a bit stagnant. The game feels fresh however because tri-Ace is trying something different here and it is definitely one of the better RPGs of this generation. Etrian Odyssey III is a marvelous way to dungeon crawl and all I can say is this - passive healing abilities are the best! The highlight of this game is definitely the deep character customizations and though I made a slight mistake at the beginning with the make of my party, it was nothing that I couldn't fix with a little bit of level grinding... A couple of hours worth that is.

Then, we have Shadow Hearts and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne for the PlayStation 2 occupying the third place slot. Both are RPGs that involve fighting the supernatural but I like the former better because of its goofy humor. I don't know why but I was really in the mood to play Shadow Hearts again. I never completed the sequels to the game so this could be a good start to build up my interest in playing them again. I played Nocturne for the sole purpose of streaming on to see if it would generate a large audience - people seems to like watching Atlus games for some reason or another. It didn't work all that well however.

Best New Game of the Month:
Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City (Nintendo DS)

Unexpectedly Forgotten New Game of the Month:

I Missed You, I Want You Game of the Month:
Monday Night Combat (Personal Computer)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Guild Wars: Soaring After The Searing

Though I have slowed down playing Guild Wars on the Personal Computer a bit, I still try to put in at least a half an hour on the game daily ever since I made the commitment last week to truly explore its contents. As I have mentioned before, I am starting a new character in the game's first campaign, "Prophecy". The thing about this campaign is that it comes with a big - and I mean huge - tutorial area filled with quests and areas to discover and even though one can skip through all of the lavishes offered in this starting area by just quickly completing the main quest line, I always find myself spending perhaps too much time doing a lot of things here before proceeding to the official start of the adventure.

When the tutorial area looks this pretty, can you really blame me for staying there too long?

Well, I am happy to report that I have finally made it out of the tutorial area and into the real meat of the game. Soon after arriving at the new location, I had already been randomly scouted by a guild and as I have done before while playing this game, I always accept any guild invitation sent my way but I would leave if the guild ended up being inactive. So far, the progress I have made with Guild Wars has been rather slow but things are beginning to pick up: my character's Mesmer/Necromancer damage over time combo is quite intriguing! And I really don't have a problem having access to cast just 8 spells at a time.

The real action begins. Surprise me, Guild Wars... and make me love you.

Games Played 01/31/2011 - 02/06/2011

- 01/31/2011 -
Guild Wars - PC

- 02/01/2011 -
Guild Wars - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 02/02/2011 -
Dead Space: Extraction - PlayStation 3
Guild Wars - PC

- 02/03/2011 -
Guild Wars - PC
Streets of Rage 2 - X-Box 360

- 02/04/2011 -
Dead Space 2 - PlayStation 3
Guild Wars - PC
Streets of Rage 2 - X-Box 360

- 02/05/2011 -
Dead Space 2 - PlayStation 3

- 02/06/2011 -

Saturday, February 5, 2011

LoL: Battle Against the Bots... Live!

Riot Games is so confident that the artificial intelligence that they are currently developing for the Co-Op versus A.I. feature in League of Legends is going to be so good that they are willing to showcase their own staff playing against these mechanical summoners live next week on Wednesday! Click here to get the details for the event. I will definitely will be there to witness it all and I will update this article with my opinion in regards to the A.I.'s performance. My only question is this... So why can't we battle against bots in Heroes of Newerth? It is apparent even right now that it is possible to program average performing bots. It is possible that S2 Games is just being lazy but with their introduction of alternate skins for HoN, it is very possible that they will have to follow suit with their own bot matches very soon because LoL's improvements will only hinder HoN's popularity if S2 Games is not willing to keep up with Riot Games.

You have copied from Riot Games before, so why stop now?

Update Note: 02/09/2011 - It was an epic match. Please click here to view my analysis of the new bots.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Skipping to Dead Space 2

Earlier this evening, I inserted the Dead Space game disc into my X-Box 360 and proceeded to install the game onto the console's hard drive - I only play my retail 360 games after they are installed. As I was about ready to jump back into the game, I stopped myself: I wanted to do something different. As I have mentioned before, I have not completed the original game yet so I feel obligated to get through it first before I start playing Dead Space 2 that I just got for the PlayStation 3. I am mighty curious about the sequel however so I decided to just play it instead of the first game. The only bad thing about this as I have discovered during the first 5 minutes of the game is that you get so see bits and pieces of the original game's ending. Do I regret playing the sequel so quickly? No, not really because I know that when I jump back on that first game, it is still going to scare me to death.

No, I won't play them simultaneously. I'd probably be psychologically damaged beyond repair.

Speaking of being scared to death, DS2 certainly knows how to accomplish that very goal. I was able to survive playing all the way to Chapter 4 until I had to say "That's enough!". I do have to note that this game is slightly less scary than the original however because of the larger environments that you get to explore. The first game takes place in a spaceship while DS2 happens in a massive space city. There's something about being able to look out of a window to view a row of buildings that break that illusion of confinement somewhat. That still didn't stop me from yelling on the top of my lungs whenever I get ambushed by those nasty Necromorphs - to my significant other's amusement - but the first two chapters didn't mess me up so much. I know it's bad when I just can't find myself moving Isaac to investigate the next room and this didn't happen too often during tonight's play session. The venues are getting creepier and creepier however and I sure hope that I will be able to muster up the courage to get to the end of the game. I better be able to do that... If not, perhaps it would be time to admit that I cannot play horror video games anymore... Thanks a lot Fatal Frame II!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Be a Ghost, Play Some Tricks

If you have played any of the Ace Attorney series from Capcom, you know that the developer can conjure up some some very fascinating stories and highly memorable characters from the goofiest of situations. The same is the case here with Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective for the Nintendo DS. The game starts off with you realizing that you are dead in the middle of nowhere and being very oblivious to what actually happened to you. You are then taught how to use "the powers of the dead" to help you discover the truth of the situation before the morning comes when the last remnant of your existence fades. Those powers include your ability to possess inanimate objects that are within your range and then performing "tricks" on them, causing them to perform their normal functions to your advantage. You move from one scenario to the next by manipulating the objects around you to get you closer and closer to the people and the information that you need to accomplish your main goal of self-discovery as well as closure.

His corpse looks so well rested.

Though the entire game does not progress in real time, the scripted events are very well thought of and they provide you with a great sense of chronological continuity. At first, the gameplay seems very simple because all you are doing is transporting to and from the ghost world to possess things but then there is also a time travel element added into the mix. Similar to those very somber sequences in Valkyrie Profile and definitely as effective, you get to witness 4 minutes leading to someone's death but unlike that other game, you get to relive it over and over to try and save that individual's' life. These sequences are not only very affecting and emotional but they also provide an incredible sense of fulfillment when you are able to solve them. Ghost Trick uses 3D models on top of crisp 2D backgrounds and the character animations and designs are truly top notch. This is one game that is hard to put down mainly because of the well-written scenarios. It is safe to say that I am currently possessed by it.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Video Gaming Retirement

Is there really such a thing as a video gaming retirement? When I was young, my siblings always made fun of my rather obsessive video gaming and they said that it was just a phase and that it wouldn't last once I reach adulthood. Well, they are wrong about that for sure. Video gaming is a hobby by characterization and just like any other hobbies out there, it tend to last quite a long time. We still cannot deny the fact however that just like those other hobbies, it is possible for a person to say that it is really time to stop. No, this is not a proclamation by yours truly that he has lost interest in the video gaming world - it was just a thought that came into my head as I was slurping down a very delicious shrimp soup during lunchtime.

Judging from the many years of playing video games, the big library of games, and the passion put forth into words found on this website, video gaming is definitely still in my blood. But I wonder if the day would come when I finally look at what I have accumulated over all these years and say to myself, "Well, I have had enough." Is video gaming like love then, that it grows stronger with the passing of the years and that as I approach the twilight of my life, I would still hold them close to my heart to the very day that I perish from existence? That's going a bit too deep I know. Maybe not getting a new game within the period of a month does something to my thought process. Or it could just be the shrimps.

Thankfully, two new games are inducted into my Game Library today to finally end the long drought. The first is Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective for the Nintendo DS, a puzzle-oriented adventure game with a very interesting premise where you play as a ghost who must discover why you have died during the period of one night. The second game is the Dead Space 2 Limited Edition for the PlayStation 3. I originally wanted to get this for the Personal Computer - yes even though the PS3 version comes with the 720p-upscaled Dead Space: Extraction because I already own that game for the Nintendo Wii. I must say that at least Extraction does control a lot better with the PlayStation Move and the discreet surround separation sounds wicked but what was one of the Wii's best looking games looks quite yucky as a PS3 title. After the news about the lack of downloadable content support for the PC however, I know it's best to support the console release instead. More content is always better than the ability to play the game in native 1080p (the console versions are stuck at native 720p) and since the texture resolutions are not optimized on the PC anyway, I think I can live with this decision. I would have preferred to have this game for the X-Box 360 but just having a single Blu-ray disc to deal with versus 2 DVD discs on the 360 also tipped the scale in favor of the PS3 release. What I will try to finish the first Dead Space in the next couple of weeks even if it means that I will be soiling my pants and falling unconscious whenever the Necromorphs jump out of those darn vents so that I can properly start playing Dead Space 2.

Got to keep myself sane for another extended period of time.

Guild Wars Progress

In an effort to keep myself motivated to keep playing Guild Wars on the Personal Computer, I have decided to write my progress in the game on a semi-regular basis. My previous play sessions had left me a level 10+ Hunter, a level 15 Assassin, and a level 8 Dervish across the game's three campaigns. The game's level cap is 20. I know it is a bad habit but after transferring all of my items and gold into the storage box, I deleted all of these characters to start fresh. I don't know. There's just something about jumping back on these characters that made me feel a bit disconnected. Well, vast pauses between play probably had something to do with it. So I have created one character thus far and I really want to stick with him for now. The game is split into three campaigns and you don't have to play through them consecutively since they hold different contents but I am going to really focus my attention on the first campaign - which is not an easy thing to do because the better features found in the latter campaigns. I believe that you can play your character across all three capaigns but the funny thing here is I have never gotten to that point thus where I am now today with the game. While trying to decide my character class, I realize how new this game feels to me because I have never really looked at all the options available for the character customization before. You see, in this game, each class has different customization features which means that the characters between the classes will look very different though you will always find your doppelganger in the form of players of the same class. I was tickled by some of the crazy hair styles available for these classes and I almost went for a Necromancer character just because of the Emo hair below:

I guess you have to rest that slick of hair around your ear during dinner.

I came to my senses however and went for a Mesmer male character whom I named "The Friendly Facade". The Mesmer is a support class that specializes in crowd control and damage over time spells. I like passive aggressive abilities and something like a spell that does damage to the enemies whenever they perform an attack is just delicious to no end for someone like me. The game allows for dual-classing and I have decided that Necromancy is the best fit for me so that I can have more evil dots as well as some good burst damage - and the rotten corpses I can summon help mitigate some of the damage coming my way. So everything is off to a good start and I am enjoying completing these newbie quests that I have completed many, many times before when I kept trying out new characters to get into the game. The population of this "Prophecy" campaign seems to be dwindling down somewhat because I remember that there used to be a lot more people hanging about in crazy costumes and doing group dancing at the starting area. But I shouldn't really worry about that too much and just enjoy myself the best that I can.

No, not a Riddler-inspired budding super-villain from that super-fail DC Universe Online.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

LoL Co-Op Update

I have written about the upcoming co-op renovation that is in the works for League of Legends on the Personal Computer and it looks like the early result of Riot Games promise for a better versus A.I. experience can be seen on today's patch. When playing a custom game, there are now nine A.I. champions that the players can assign to the teams. I believe it was only limited to six before. This means that when playing alone for a 5 versus 5 match, each team can now have their own unique lineup, if that is something that the player chooses to do. Riot Games stated that this minor roster additions is not final and that we should expect more champions to be added into the list.

Bots are supposed to be annoying. We are not there yet.

Perhaps the more important thing is the A.I. itself. I created a custom game where I played with 4 A.I. teammates versus a full A.I. team on the other side. There have definitely been some tweaks made to the programming of these computer-controlled champions and the one thing that is very noticeable is that they now don't do crazy things anymore like diving across two towers to their deaths. Since one of my fellow A.I. teammates chose to "AFK" by staying at the base throughout the entirety of the match - wow, just like real players! - I observed that the champions who had to solo their lanes were tower-hugging to ensure their safety. This resulted in less unnecessary deaths. The most impressive thing that I saw the A.I. did was that they seemed to coordinate their attacks better when they were fighting side to side with ally champions. The bot that played Shen, the awesome ninja who can use his ultimate ability to transport himself to an allied champion - best used to save a dying ally - did use that ability properly. However, there are still a lot of problems with these bot champions. The one obvious flaw is that when you are chased by enemy champions, all you have to do is run into a bush and they immediately lose interest in pursuing you. They also don't react to "ganking" because I frequently approached them from behind out of the fog of war and they did not move to a more defensive position. The difficulty of the A.I. is marked as "Beginner" and it is the only option available at this time. Overall, this update is definitely a good start and I cannot wait to see if Riot Games will be able to create "Expert" level bots in the future.

Back to the Wars

Back in July of 2010, I had an epiphany in regards to Guild Wars for the Personal Computer. Unfortunately, I didn't pursue that renewed interest and after playing it for several days, I abandoned the game yet again. With the sequel fast approaching, I really need to jump back into the game and explore its massive contents while they are still other people actually playing the game. It is my understanding that the server will not be shut down with the arrival of Guild Wars 2 but you never know when it comes to this kind of thing. The cool thing about GW is that grouping up with other players is purely optional because there are those computer-controlled henchmen ready to follow you around and though they are not very clever, they can be rather effective as long as you choose the proper classes to fill up your party. My one wish is to see NCSoft release a big patch if they decide to close down the server so that at least players can keep playing and enjoying the game offline.

Let's do this again!

As noted on the previous Daily Game Log, I did boot up the game again last Thursday and I am happy to report that this game is still quite populated. I have been bad when it comes to committing to one particular game unless they are just happen to so very good but I am going to do my best to reinvest a lot of time on this game again. I really think that this game is worth the time investment because of the refreshed outlook I have about the gameplay system but I just couldn't find myself playing it for one reason or another. I will toughen it up and explore the depths of what this game could offer and hopefully, I will be able to see a result of all the hard work in the near future.

Because killing ugly monsters is always fun!