Friday, July 26, 2013

The Heat Beat Me

Actually, it beat my PS3.  Yes, my PS3 is in the shop because of the wonderful YLOD (Yellow Light of Death).  I'm hoping it can be fixed so I don't lose my data. 

Now, beforeit went into the shop, I went under the hood to put new thermal paste on the heatsink.  And boy was I in for a surprise.  This is why there's an "if" over the head of my PS3.

You see, I bought my PS3 used.  However, I was not aware that it was actually refurbished.  I actually don't have a problem with refurbished, because it generally means that problems existed and were fixed.  Cool. 

What I have problem with is finding out what I bought was refurbished after the fact and before I need repairs, because suddenly I get an-in-your face version of: "Your device has repair history!  SURPRISE!!!"

Being that this is not my political blog, I'll refrain from colourful language, but I can assure you, I'm bloody tempted.

Am I saying "buyer beware"?  Not necessarily.  What I am saying for sure is, "Buyer ask questions!", because you never know when your game system has far too much Arctic Silver schmeered all over a heat sink.

Anyway, the good news is, bring your PS3 into someone who repairs them costs less than half of Sony's "knee-pad special".  Yes, you get a refurb, but you also lose all of your save data.  Yes, I could always back it up, but seriously?  That's a royal pain in the tuches.  I'd rather just migrate my drive.

I suppose with an XBox, MS may as well do that - they don't, at least not the last time I had to send my unit in.  But I did have to redownload ALL of my DLC.  Rock Band is not forgiving in that respect.

That said, maybe your license should be based on your online account?  I mean, you have to have one to use all of the features of these systems, why not base drive encryption, for instance on something that would allow you to transfer your data to another system. 

After all, the sensitive data is kept online.  Although I suppose with Sony and recently Microsoft (again!), that may not be such a good thing?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

And this is why I don't let others speak for me:

I was trolling the Dynasty Warriors 8 forums because I heard that there were a few issues with the 360 version (seriously, Koei?  First the install option is hidden away in the game menus on the PS3 and now the 360 version has framerate problems?), and I came across this post from a genius by the name of charlesgibson88:

I always liked in the old DW games how the game felt more real, even though it was a little outlandish. But now everything just feels ridiculous and fake; I just roll my eyes every time when they have Zhang Jiao floating in videos with magic like it is real, or when Zhao Yun flings himself 600 feet in the air in a cut scene. I think they should reboot the series in a grittier and realistic series that focuses on the individual stories of characters. Like what happened to individualized Musou modes and people having unique weapons. I feel like I speak for everyone when I say it feels lousy when you can use Xu Zhu with a sword. A giant mace. That is his weapon. Stop trying to make everything "awesome." I think that Koei needs to take away the magical looking boosty stuff and make it feel real. I don't want my character to glow with power when I get speed up for exactly 30 seconds, and I certainly don't want to shoot electricity everywhere at the end of my combo. I want to pick up a power up and not know how long it will last and how powerfully it will affect me like a real herbal remedy. I want to not know how many hits will kill me. I want to feel like I could get fatally wounded at any moment. I mean all of this can only be taken so far: we still need meat buns to get health, but it should still feel like I am on a battle field in ancient China. I want to pull arrows out of my arm and have to bandage my leaking wounds before I bleed out. I want my character to get focused with rage in scenarios and get exhausted when they are about to die. I also think that you should be able to hold a trigger and enter a focused fighting mode where you can mix up your combos, where you can create more varied combos by making 6 or 7 buttons available to attack. That way you can feel skilled with individual characters and it feels fresh when you are playing with them. Maybe have events where you train the characters skill sets. What do you all think?

Yeah, I know, wall of illegible text due to poor white-spacing.  Basically, the guy is pissed with the game not being gritty and realistic enough, and then has the chutzpah to say that he speaks for the fanbase.

A little advice to you who frequent forums:  One, that's either blatant trolling, or blatant stupidity - or both. 

Yes, charlesgibson88 on Gamespot, I'm calling you out as a fool.  Actually, an example of one.  You're a sort of "this is what to avoid" lesson for people who actually want to discuss games in general.

Gamers do not like being told that you represent them when you neither ask nor are asked to do so, especially when you do not represent the fan base very well.

So, to avoid the social faux-pas of being an ass after playing a game, find out why the fans like it before you claim you represent them.

It's like saying you represent Nintendo fans but then say Mario should be rail-skinny, have a goatee, wear leathers and dual-wield .50 handguns.

Pretty friggin' ridiculous.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Beat The Heat

Well, the heat wave seems to be over.  For now.  I hope that many of you have taken this opportunity to log some gaming hours.  I know I did.

I've pretty much been alternating between Dynasty Warriors 8 and Defiance, although I did find my old Total Overdose savefile - Providence!  I've also put a little time into Mass Effect 3.

I saw that BioWare was talking about moving the Mass Effect story forward; good for them I guess. Hopefully they won't steal anymore from Alistair Reynolds.  It's pretty bad when it's blatantly obvious.  But, at least they used a writer who probably doesn't have nearly as much popularity in North America as, Dick, Heinlein or Asimov.

That would have been priceless.  And costly.  I'm pretty sure their estates have a lot more money to sue EA and BioWare than Alistair Reynolds does.  Plus I'm pretty sure that when you're dead and have people with PoA running the show, they certainly have more time, too.

On to more positive things, I've given Dynasty Warriors 8's Ambition mode a go, and it doesn't totally suck.  Far better than Dynasty Warriors 7's Conquest Mode, which did. 

I'm also still plugging away at Defiance (and probably will for quite some time).  I just recently got smacked down by a giant robot while trying to cross what's left of the Golden Gate bridge, so I figure I'm going to have to do some more of the campaign to get down there.  We shall see.

I'm going to try to play some more Defiance tonight if I can get away with it, but due to this heat, I haven't had the energy to stay up past midnight, so here's hoping.

Electrolytes to all, and to all a good day!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I Caved

I did it.  I bought Dynasty Warriors 8.  Not sure why, but I got caught up in hype.  Well, sort of.   I didn't watch the videos, didn't read reviews, didn't shtup a cos-player, I just saw an ad and thought "O. M. G!!!"

I hadn't been excited about a Dynasty Warriors game like that since 7, and I was only excited about 7 because of the old new combat system.

And yet, there I was.

So, my buddy J. and I cracked it open, skipped a few cutscenes, and started playing.

And went "whoa!".

I hadn't done that with a Dynasty Warriors game since 4.  Kid you not.  And I actually already knew about the features. 

So, for those of you who have missed my many posts about the Warriors series by Koei, Dynasty Warriors takes place during the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries, called the Three Kingdoms Era.  It's largely based on a (wicked) 15th century novel (or pair of volumes here in the West) called Romance of the Three Kingdoms, although I think Koei is also starting to add in a more historically authentic flair to the games, as it now seems to be favoring Wei instead of Shu.  Romance of the Three Kingdoms favors Shu.

The gameplay is a combination of tactical action and mob-slaughter combat (no gore, though), where you take your chosen combatant and kick the crap our of thousands of peons and jumping from objective to objective to finish the battle.

The battles themselves are based on historic encounters, although Dynasty Warriors 8 has also thrown alternate scenarios into the mix based on how a battle might have gone if certain individuals hadn't died before their time, which certainly adds a nice layer of storytelling depth.

The 77 (yes, 77) characters all progress as well, with a level system that unlocks more attacks in their combo strings as well as special abilities and improved weapon skills.  Each character also has their own weapon which the specialise in (although while you carry two into battle, neither has to be the one your character favours), and the weapons have an affinity that corresponds to an opposing element in a triad; Heaven, Earth and Man. 

If you have a weapon that has an affinity weaker than your enemy's, you can do a special counter attack, and if your weapon affinity is superior, you'll perform a special finisher after x amount of hits.  It's simple, but that's also what creates those "whoa" moments.

The game also has modes up the tuches, so there's lots of replay. I'm certainly looking forward to the Free Mode, so that I can play battles from multiple perspectives.

Koei has done an absolutely stellar job in bringing all of the elements in the series together that people really like, and so far, I have to say, it definitely doesn't suck.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Defying Stuff

Well, I finally ponied up for Defiance (on my PS3).  It was also $30, so that helped.

Anyone who has been following the game knows that it's got a bit of spotty reviewing.  Anyone who's followed the show...well, the show's awesome.  One of the better newer shows - certainly one of the better sci-fi shows.

After all, too much Star Gate and Star Trek (enough of the million and a half series already!) makes one go something something.

My impression of the game so far is pretty positive.  While I have run into the odd glitch here and there, I haven't gotten permanently stuck on any scenery, and I've only had one lag spike so far.

Now, why did I wait so long?  Two reasons.  The first is that once I found out that it was based on another medium, I almost instantly lost confidence.  We all know that there are very few games based on other media (books, movies, TV shows, songs, etc.) that are actually any good.  Other than the DnD games, I can probably count them on both hands and maybe a couple toes.

The other reason is because I'm not an early adopter; only someone with a special level of patience (or complete ignorance of MMO's and their foibles) jumps into an MMO within the first three months after release.  Sorry to all of you early adopters, but it's common knowledge that most MMO's come out the gates as a buggy mess, so you early adopters get to be the guinea pigs.  And I do have better things to do, like finish games I haven't beaten already.

I also seem to have finally gotten Mass Effect 3 to run with some stability on my 360.  I only had to install the game.  I don't really have an issue installing games, but if there are going to be problems, I want to see that recommendation to install the game somewhere.  Mind you, I didn't RTFM, but at least iD was courteous enough to actually post that right on Rage's startup.

BioWare, not so much, but I hear they were pretty discourteous as far as the handling of this game went anyway.

Also, in my travels, I found a neat little stationery shop (I know, paper, pens, printers, where's the relevance, oh you shall see!) in Penetanguishene, Ontario, called Buro.  Great paper prices.  Also, great legacy game prices.

I found Betrayal at Krondor there for $5 (which I didn't get, I thought I'd leave that for another classic hunter), and I picked up Starsiege (it's not exactly easy to find these days, especially  being that Dynamix no longer exists and GOG doesn't have it yet) for $5, and Total Overdose for the XBox for $5, too.  After a couple minutes with Starsiege, I can tell you absolutely wrecks the older Earthsiege games (the series, by the way, is called Metaltech).

Total Overdose is kind of neat, too.  It's like Grand Theft Auto artificially inseminated an egg from an arcade machine and Desperado was the surrogate.  While taking massive hits of acid.  Good times.

Back to Defiance briefly.  I have read a lot of user reviews, and they look pretty broad-spectrum'd, so I'll give it to you straight.  From a single-player perspective with very little time in it (may a couple hours), the game definitely requires investment.  The combat isn't terribly, the weapon mechanics are pretty good, and the networking isn't utter crap either  And while the graphics are sort of on the lower end, the world still looks beautiful, and is very easy to appreciate, which is great for exploring.

However, I would recommend at least a 20+ Mbps internet package with no one crutzing around on another device connected to your signal, and I would do some researching into port forwarding to reduce lag-outs.  Also, wired connections only for this kind of gaming.  Only use Wi-Fi if you're desperate and/or don't have enough A/C plugs and/or funds (the good ones are still over $50) for a powerline adapter.

Stay classy, and if you're playing Defiance on your PS3, look for me, Rabbi Voody.  I'm always willing to help in a pinch.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

(Hopefully) Weekly Update

I am hoping that I will start to have the wherewithal to start updating my blogs (except the cooking one) on a weekly basis, so this will hopefully be a more regular thing.

For those of you looking for something with more swear words, you can check out my political rant blog, Boobeles and Beer.  I always have something to complain about, not sure why I don't update that one more :P

Anyway, on to gaming.  I've been trying to play Mass Effect 3, however I've been having massive performance issues with it.  Maybe it's my XBox.  But seriously, this game is more unstable than a Chucky doll.

Sooo, I've been playing Borderlands 2 instead.  Yes, I finished the most recent and also very short DLC, Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep.

I mean, seriously Gearbox?  It was funny as hell, but it was no Secret Armoury of General Knoxx.  Granted, I haven't done the sidequests, but almost all of the DLC for BL1 was longer, and ultimately cost just as much.

Other than that, I finished Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.  I actually really liked it, other than the final mission because I couldn't switch to my FN P90.  While I haven't played Advanced Warfighter (I lost my taste for the series with GR2, actually), I have to say, I'd say that Future Soldier is a pleasant step in the right direction.

No news on Fable 3, though.  I have to admit, it gets boring pretty quick.  Hopefully if there is a Fable 4, they broaden out the combat system.  A lot.  Because that's what sucks.

In other news, is still running specials all summer.   You guys missed the Eidos one (actually, I think it was all Ion Storm stuff, so Deus Ex, Anachronox, Dai Katana, etc), but there are a few ones up now, and they'll change out every now and then.  Plus, it's always good to see which classic games they've given the Good Old Games treatment to!

Now, from this point on, I'm going to try to get Mass Effect 3 finished; I want to get that one under my belt so that I have almost all of my remaining long games taken care of.  I want to finish Quake 4 before summer is up.  After that, it'll be Demon's Souls and Dark Souls!