Nick's Gaming Blog

Nick’s Gaming Newz (The “z” is ironic, right?)

1.  “Dead Space 2 is the  Scariest Xbox 360 game,” says scientists that likely never played the original–I don’t know about you, but I enjoy every “pseudo scientific” gaming study as the next chump, so when Gamasutra decided that they were going to get biometric feedback on gamers as they urinated in their trousers playing scary games, I couldn’t resist reading the article.  That is, until I discovered that they thought Dead Space 2 was the scariest game.  “Well Nick,” you might say, “Do you have any method of substantiating your theory that this study was flawed?”

I'm sorry, but every time I saw that tattoo on the top of Jack's head, I wondered to myself what would happen if I scanned it in the self-checkout at Meijer

Surprisingly, yes.  They didn’t include one of my favorite games with a dismembered limb featured prominently on the front cover, Dead Space.  They’d considered it, but didn’t include it in the study!!!  Want to hear something even more mind-boggling?  Mass Effect 2 was actually considered as a title for the study before it was eliminated at the same time that Dead Space was.  I mean, sure, the uncertainty over whether Jack was going to take off her clothes and/or yoink out my spinal cord posed more questions about women than it answered and yeah, watching my secretary get gelatinized at the hands of the Collectors didn’t exactly make for the “best Summer vacation ever,” but the only time I truly felt afraid was when the Collectors were chasing a hobbling Joker (Seth Green) around the Normandy.

Also.  For the last time.  The last fuckin’ time.

Resident Evil 5?

NOT SCARY.

2. Gamestop Finds New Methods of Ripping You Off (Surprise, Surprise)–I’m going to read your mind here, if you don’t mind.  It’s likely that you were just pondering to yourself whether or not there was a faint chance that Gamestop would take more of your “useless crap” (exacerbated, no doubt by your predilection of “disposable culture”).  And…for those who like their news free of SAT vocabulary; perhaps you were wondering if Gamestop would hand you a dollar or two for items you likely paid 100x more for.

Good news.  They will.

...and this would be why I rarely trade stuff in to Gamestop.

On that note, if you were hoping to unload whatever Apple product Stevie Jobs had touted as the “best and brightest” (not to mention the most “overpriced and overrated”) several years back, Gamestop’s now your venue.  And how much are they offering?  Well, Gamestop being the reticent bastards that they are, they won’t post these figures, or offer up a database with such information.  I can tell you however, based on highly-scientific data I gleaned from Yahoo Answers that someone was recently offered $60 for a first generation 16GB iPod Touch.  Make of that what you will.  It’s probably also worth pointing out that as Gamestop recently began these practices, the trade-in values won’t get better than this.

Unless, like, you have that super rare U2 red ipod.

3. Max Payne 3: Nothing To Do With The Other Two Actually Has a Release Date –For all of you that have been frothing at the mouth in anticipation of the follow-up to Remedy’s splendid neo-noire series…this might not sate that.  However, if you’re willing to literally buy anything with the moniker of Max Payne, even if the protagonist more closely resembles Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force than his leather-jacketed previous incarnation, then this will do nicely.

That’s right, those of you that saw the game delayed three times in less than a year have something to look forward to, and by “something” I mean an obese Bruce Willis character that’s doing bodyguard work in Brazil.  It’s been a while since I played the other two, but that’s basically what went on, right?  Okay good…you had me worried there for a second.

“Why so much  negativity, Nick?” you might ask.  I wouldn’t say that, I’d say I’m “tepidly hesitant” in my anticipation.  I get that Remedy Entertainment has been “tied up” the last several years with Alan Wake.  I get that.  I also understand that Rockstar owns the rights to the Max Payne franchise, and hasn’t done anything (to date) to whore out/abuse said franchise.  Finally, it’s not like Rockstar Vancouver is a rubbish studio, after all,they developed Bully, gosh-darnit!  All I’m worried about is that the noire style of storytelling and setting are being swapped out in favor of the ubiquitous cover-based combat title.

Did I even provide you with a date yet?  I didn’t?  Well here you are, March of 2012.  Also, it’s worth noting that they at least got James McCaffrey back, the guy who voiced Payne in previous installments.  On that note, maybe we really don’t have that much to worry about. *Looks back at the new character design of Max Payne* Or…maybe we do.

4.  Skyward Sword May or May Not Require Several Lifetimes to Complete–Now, let’s be clear here, I’m not declaring that Legend of Zelda titles of the past have been titles of a paltry length that finds its gameplay hours struggling into the double digits.  Anyone that’s completed/failed to complete such a title can attest to this.  However, I don’t think they’ve ever clocked in around the 50 TO 100 HOURS mark, as Miyamoto has said is the case for Skyward Sword.  Of course, this was stated at Nintendo’s latest press conference…you know, the sort of venue just ripe for hyperbolic speech and exaggerated/unsubstantiated statistics and/or figures.

"Now I finally have enough time to finish Nintendo's latest foray into franchise-whoring...and also do all that vile Nazi shit."

Personally, I can’t help but wonder just what ratcheted that number up from previous installments.  The campaigns have always been a reasonable length for an action/adventure title, but the replay value has generally been limited to collecting all the heart containers or locating that one hidden/secret weapon.  In fact, I’m sort of befuddled as to how an action/adventure title can post “total gameplay hours” akin to that of a JRPG.  Is Link actually going to be able to “level up” in one fashion or another?  Are there going to be side quests?  Is the story going to be dynamic to some extent, perhaps with multiple endings?

5. Bethesda Gives up Possibility to Work on “Greatest Game Ever” in Order to Make “Greatest Game Ever”–Hey Kids, do you like Skyrim?  Yeah?  Do you like Game of Thrones too? You do?  Well, guess what?  The line has been drawn in the proverbial sand and now you have to CHOOSE.  Why?  It turns out that Bethesda was faced with that exact same dilemma a while back when they considered adapting George R.R. Martin’s masterpiece of dragons, incest, beheadings, and pourings of super-heated molten gold upon one’s head.  How could they say, “No,” you ask?  Well, they could because they were more interested in creating/building upon their own universe, Skyrim.  To be honest, it’s kind of hard to believe that Bethesda would seriously abandon the Elder Scrolls series in favor of someone else’s work, no matter how popular/chock-full of nudity it is…but that’s just my opinion.

6. Saints Row 3 Continues to Be Unapologetically Awesome–Okay, so this might not be “news” to some people, but I feel that I’m contractually obligated as an aficionado of “dark horse” titles to provide a hearty “plug” here or there.  Yes, I know, Volition isn’t exactly an “indie developer” who will sink or swim pending the success/panning of SR3.  But for the past couple years they’ve frequently been written off as the creators of the ADHD-riddled unfocused little brother of Grand Theft Auto; filled with acts more juvenile than criminal and an eye for the zany rather than the gritty.  Yet it’s exactly for that focus on shenanigans and felonious tomfoolery (ie donning a hot dog suit and introducing people to the “business end” of your Louisville Slugger) that has enabled the Saints Row franchise to carve its own niche for “sandbox sadists.”

Sure, there's not much else out there for the game outside of this logo and a short teaser trailer...but I guess that'll have to do for now.

However, this third installment looks jaw-gapingly insane: cannons that shoot people, free-falling gun combat thousands of feet off the ground, and now: a foray into what is undeniably a successful emulation of the Tron universe to root out a geeky threat to the Saints.  On the whole, it’s good news for Volition to have at least one of their franchises being showered in anticipatory praise, especially after their other flagship franchise, Red Faction, won’t be putting out another game anytime soon.  Of course, depending on how long it is before they actually work on Guillermo del Toro’s inSANE (provided the project even stays afloat) a lot rests on the Saints Row franchise.

Oh, and as a final note, for those looking to get their feet wet before Saints Row 3 has them running down pedestrians with ice cream trucks before they mop up the survivors with a katana would do well to pick up the Saints Row double pack: the first and second installments for roughly twenty dollars.  The first really isn’t that terrific, but even if you only throw in “numero dos”  you’ll understand why it’s a hidden gem.

7. Atlus’ Shining Beacon of Masochism Will Continue to Incite “Rage Induced Controller Flingings” Through 2012–There’s probably a couple of you out there  that are somewhat concerned that Dark Souls won’t be as soul-crushingly difficult (no pun intended, really, it’s just a bad joke that wrote itself) as its predecessor.  And, aside from the demented notion that you worry something won’t be as difficult as Demon’s Souls, it’s a legitimate concern. After a game’s success, the general route to take involves a more accessible sequel.

That being said, if this does worry you, allow me to sate your hunger for self-punishment (try putting that phrase into Google and see what sorts of “goodies” come up) by announcing that Demon’s Souls will continue to kill you swiftly and see others loot your corpse long into next year…pending, of course, that none of that 2012 bullshit occurs. I like to think that anything that Roland Emmerich makes into a film actually exempts humankind from actually having to experience it.

That being said, all that note-leaving goodness and “pure white” and “pure black” events (whatever that means, I’ll have to ask my co-worker if these activities are as discriminatory as they sound) will continue “into 2012.”  It’s a nice way of saying, “there’s a good chance we’ll shut this bugger down on the first of the year, but we understand just how scary hardcore gaming communities can be when it comes to giving up a title, and will thusly beat around the bush.” If you don’t believe me, go research the travesty that Halo 2 put Microsoft through when they were shutting down Live support for last-gen games.

Went looking for Halo 2 images, and found this instead. Thus goes my love/hate relationship with Google Images.

Also, it’s worth noting that if you haven’t played Demon’s Souls, and have a primal urge deep within your stomach (or wherever primal urges arise from) to be subjected to possibly the hardest game of this generation, the above-mentioned promise of online support combined with a twenty dollar price tag makes for a worthy budget buy…provided you don’t get frustrated easily.

8. Another Opportunity to Indirectly Fund George Lucas’ “Creatively-Bankrupt” Imagination Arises– Hey Kids!  Do you like violence? Do you wanna see me stick nine-inch nails through each of my eyelids? umm…I mean, do you like “all things Star Wars” and MMORPGS of the “time sink” variety (aren’t they all though?)?  Well, GOOD NEWS THEN!  The Old Republic has a release date of December 20th…just in time to fatally disrupt your Christmas shopping as well as whatever Yuletide festivities you engage in.  If this doesn’t scream “War on Christmas” I don’t know what does.  You hear that, Bill O’Reilly?  I’ve already written your potential screed for this year.  You’re welcome, you cantankerous prick.

Now, some of you have been awaiting the arrival of this game with about as much anticipation as the “second coming,” some of you are already juggling too many MMOs to afford another shoddy replacement to an actual social life, and many of you have no interest in The Old Republic or MMORPGS on the whole. What I’m intoning here is that most of you are buying this unconditionally or aren’t interested at all, thereby rendering all discussion of pricing/payment plans moot.

Regardless, for that 2.395% (I did do the math, people) of gamers that are curious, The Old Republic isn’t exactly “breaking the mold” with costs.  That being said, it’ll cost you 3500 credits  $14.99 monthly, you know, the sort of money one can scrape together in a game or two of Sabacc at Mos Eisley.  Unsurprisingly, there are slightly lower rates if you opt for purchasing three or six months at a time.  I’ve heard rumors that purchasing a lifetime pass allows you to flip the switch when when the collective Star Wars fanbase lowers Lucas into the vapor-filled vat of carbonite…but this has yet to be confirmed.  God willing, they’d fashion a makeshift “Dunk Tank” out of that cage from Temple of Doom and send him plummeting into the volcano’s core, but that might offer him the opportunity to scream a final, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” and I’ve reached my saturation point with “emo Vader.”

1 Comment

    The events surrounding the shutdown of the Halo 2 servers was not a “travesty”. It was awesome.

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