Saturday, March 31, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Weekend Update 11

It's been a while since I've had a weekend update, I've been writing individual articles. Let's kick off the next ten.


1) http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/03/29/call-of-duty-black-ops-2-rumoured-multiplayer-and-release-date-details-hit-official-forums/ . Game: New New Subtitle 2 is slated for a November release. Hold on to your butts, ladies and gentlemen. But it seriously feels like I'm reading a set of Patch Notes for the next WoW patch rather then the features of the next triple A game. Hopefully, consumers will wise up and NOT buy thirteen billion copies on the first day, considering that there has not been an engine or graphics update since Modern Warfare. The only bright side I can see is the removal of Aim Assist with sniper rifles, meaning no more 360-420-quickscope montages on Machinima.








2) Castle in the Sky is my least favorite Studio Ghibli movie as of two nights ago when I saw it. Sure, it was pretty cool, but it wasn't as good as Spirited Away or Batman's Moving Batcave.


3) I started doing a lot of Gameboy emulation on computer, and some games don't port well to PC at allllll. Super Mario Bros 3 suckkkks on PC, the sliding around Mario does when moving is just terrible to work with when using a mouse and keyboard. Games that do transfer well are the more strategy oriented games such as Yu Gi Oh: The Sacred Cards, any given Pokemon game, Final Fantasy V, or Fire Emblem. I also picked up Summon Night, but damn does it get extremely and unfairly hard later in the game, to the point where it's unplayable. I'll suffer. I'm actually really into Yu Gi Oh GX: Duel Academy right now, I have to tear myself away from complaining about how unbalanced Jaden's deck is to play the final hour of Mass Effect 3. Speaking of....


4) I beat Mass Effect 3, finally. Took twenty-two hours, and since it's mostly devoid of side-quests, it's the longest main story out of the three Mass Effect games. It's largely my favorite too, due to combining what was great about its predecessors into one great experience. I was a Paragon for my entire fifty-four hour playtime (since Mass Effect 1-3 are best played in conjunction, I count them all as one giant game that changes combat drastically after the first eleven hours), except for some moments I just couldn't see myself passing up. I shot Udina in the chest (that felt SOOOOOO fucking good, I hated that guy), I punched Admiral Gerrell in the balls for trying to sacrifice his civilians (even though I exterminated the entire Quarian race anyway), I broke Kai Leng's sword before getting retribution for Thane, and I shot the Illusive Man. Totally worth the Renegade score. I also went with the Red ending, which was to destroy all synthetic life in the galaxy, because that's what Anderson would have wanted. What pissed me off the most about the end was not that my choices meant shit in the end, but that Liara and Garrus, my ground team that was supposedly incinerated in Harbinger's blast, were on the ship with Joker on the jungle planet in the end. THEY DIED. WHAT THE SHIT? GHOST SPACE WAIFU?
        Yes, I romanced Liara. I have an extreme weakness for nerdy space scientists. Garrus and I were bros until the end, he's probably my favorite sidekick of all time. Vega was pretty cool too, but no one tops Garrus. I plan on wooing Garrus on my second playthrough as a Femshep Adept. No homo, it's just he greatest bromance in video game history, and I feel like I could be the greatest wingman Garrus could have by directing my alternate universe female version of myself at him.


6) Now that I have Mass Effect under my belt, it's time to start finishing the rest of my backlog. My second Deus Ex: Human Revolutions playthrough, Dark SoulsBioshock, a lot of stuff. I thought about playing through DX3  a third time, but on a pacifist run, but I decided not to, since I'll probably flip out and kill Song again for things I won't say because I don't like spoiling this masterpiece. Although I left a HUUUGE spoiler in my top ten villains article, I left a disclaimer, so that was okay.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The SteamWorks: The Hunger Games and Racist Trash

Hey Gang,

So recently there's been a huge dispute in the media about the Hunger Games that's been driving me crazy. When dumb racist people are handed a dangerous tool like the internet (both racists white and black ... yes, those exist), shit goes down. Dumb shit. Like the type of shit that makes you want to drop a bomb on the entire multiverse to make sure you've rid it of idiots and morons.

So let's start off with white racists, since obviously they're given more attention by the media. These cretins make every white normal person look more ridiculous than a surfing moose. When the casting list for the movie was released, which included the rolls of Rue, Cinna, and Thresh these red-necks took it and ran like The Flash. Among many other offensive tweets, I've managed to record some of the following (btw, these were taken from Yahoo! News, just posting my opinion about them):

~ "why does rue have to be black gonna lie kinda ruined the movie."

This was one that was actually made into a particularly funny scenario. Reasonable people who actually accept all races and varieties of people started making counter tweets particularly circling this comment. It's almost turned into a meme. Basically, the formula is: "Why does ______ have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined ______". Some examples were "Why does Frederick Douglass have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined abolition" and "Why does the Harlem Renaissance have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the New Negro Movement". It's fun coming up with those; if you come up with some creative ones, sound off in the comments below. Anyway, back to people being obnoxious:

~ "Awkward moment when Rue is some black girl and not the little blonde innocent girl you picture."

... Did this person read the right book? Rue was described as having "dark skin" and "brown hair". This in no way says blond white girl. And why can't little black girls be innocent? I don't understand..?

~ "Kk call me racist but when I found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad. #ihatemyself."

... You should hate yourself! How does a person's skin tone change the emotionality of one's death?! To even say this is completely absurd, and to act like this is appropriate to tweet in public is completely beyond socially unacceptable. The color of Rue's skin didn't change a thing for me. Her death was still a sad one, as was Thresh's and even Cato's. These are children forced to kill other children, and as much as I joke around saying that there should be a real life Hunger Games, at the end of the day, it's still wrong. As a species, humans are supposed to look out for each other, and pitting our youth against each other has a certain negative effect to our natural purpose, which is to successfully reproduce. Anyway, ... I digress.

As for Cinna? Well, I'll admit; I didn't picture him with dark skin. This was my Cinna:



I don't know this actor's name, but if you've ever seen Wizards of Waverly Place back when it was fairly new, he's from the episode "Credit Check", where Alex gets an internship with a fashion magazine. Anyway, obviously my Cinna was nowhere close to the one in the movie. But the awesome thing is Lenny Kravitz (actor who portrayed Cinna) totally had me sold on the movie's interpretation. As I said in my review of the movie, the actors were phenomenal. It's all about seeing things from a different prospective...

Now I'm going to move on to a ... softer(?) topic; the racists who are black. These are the people who cry fowl on every single production, project, art, etc. that a white man or woman makes. They originated the infamous "It's because I'm black" phrase. The interesting thing about this group, though, is that I feel like they don't get recognition from the media as "racist", even though they can be. Now, I'm white, and to be honest, my father and sister are racist, however I'm not. When I say racist blacks, I have to be very careful where I tread, because I myself talking about this topic can be like walking blindfolded into a minefield, especially since I'm not black. I'm not saying people who want equal rights for black people are racist or wrong, because truthfully everyone should have the same rights as their peers. Racist blacks are the ones who get upset at every single minute detail and try to make the producer seem racist from it. For example:

The winner of the 74th Hunger Games is obviously Katniss Everdeen (Sorry if I just spoiled anything for you, but seriously, how hard was that to figure out? There are two sequels, so she's obviously going to live, or at least to the end of the last book. I digress...). There are a group of people saying "Thresh and Rue didn't win cause they're black" and even statements as incorrect as "Of course the black tributes die first." Thresh and Rue were not the first to die, for your information; Thresh made it into the last four, and Rue was pretty darn close herself. So the latter statement is completely inaccurate. Regarding a black winner to a year of The Hunger Games, there's actually video proof of such an event occurring. In the reaping scene, when the government is showing their Hunger Games video, a District 11 victor is seen on the screen, thus a black victor of the Games. Statement disproved.

Segueing from that evidence, I'd like to point out the last issue on my list of idiotic allegations brought to us by the internet trolls. There are a huge amount of people accusing Collins (the author of the trilogy) of being racist because District 11 is primarily black. I'd like to point out the flaws in this thesis since it's obviously false. In the books, we know that District 11 is located in the South. It is geographically correct to say that more African Americans live down south than anywhere else in the country for obvious reasons; it's a proven fact. This is a clear, simple, and straight-forward answer of the ethnicity of District 11. Another fantastic point; who's to say the Capitol isn't racist? Who's to say that the Capitol, when Panem was first being formed, didn't racially segregate the Districts? Who's to say what happened in America before the apocalypse? What if there was extreme racial tension and more African Americans migrated to the South, or Caucasians moved out of the South? Collins has not yet come up front and said this herself, however she has not yet invalidated this argument, therefore it wouldn't be incorrect to assume such events occured.

Anyway, I'm sorry I had to give the idiots the spotlight once again. It's just been festering in my mind for so long and I had to get it off my chest. The lesson here is to not be racist and to have an open imagination when it comes to analyzing anything. Hope you have a great weekend!

Peter, The SteamWorks

Shatterblog!: Mass Effect 2 Review


Obviously, I reviewed the original Mass Effect, and now I've finished the second. Rather than review it and basically reiterate the things I already said in the first review, I'm just going to highlight the differences I found most noticable.
First, combat is largely improved. The controls got shimmied around, to a much more comfortable configuration, in my opionion. Q and E allowed to you select positions for your companions to take, R got changed to reload, grenade was removed, and shift got switched to menu, with space as sprint. Good stuff. The sprint is somewhat slower and longer, which can be super convenient. Weapons have shared ammo pickups, but each has unique ammo, no overheat system. It's much better.
The whole equipmesnt system is hugely better. The loot system in Mass Effect feels a little forced-RPG compared to 2. I like all the different guns, with actual different styles. I hated the M4 Machine Pistol SMG. The second one was my very favorite gun. It's name was Veera.


Only romance option for me. Miranda is obnoxious, Jack is out of her mind, and Morinth... just no.
I actually got pretty close to my companions this time around. I talked to everyone, and romanced Tali. I did every companion loyalty mission (they're fantastic by the way, I don't know if I missed them in ME or if they didn't exist) although I did fail stupid Thane's mission.

The removal of the stupid Mako sections was spectacular. I did no resource gathering in ME1, and every time I got in that tank I sighed a little. I did the Cerberus Network DLC, which included Project Firewalker. THAT is what the Mako sections should have been in ME1.
The resource gathering in ME2 was pretty cool, although I hate how necessary it was. My brother told me (fortunately), that if I didn't gather resources and upgrade the Normandy, my companions would die. What should be a fun optional minigame to upgrade powers and weapons becomes the difference between having your buddies back in ME3 and being sad and lonely.

The story might've been a tad better than the first. My brother and I disagree on this. Each story I think was compelling and well written etc. Each had one moment where my jaw literally dropped. I think that moment was bigger and better in ME2.
Overall, I think it improved on ME1 very well. All areas felt a little improved. 9.75/10.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Cupcakes

        Wanna know something eight times funnier than this? Send them another chocolate cupcake locked in an iron box with a padlock, and offer to send them the key for ten dollars. When Bioware says "You sent us the cupcake with the others, why not just let us have it?", have some douchebag at IGN accuse them of being entitled babies. And when they break the lock with bolt cutters, accuse them of piracy.
         I actually completely understand the message that's being sent with this. Not only is it a metaphor towards how horrific the ending to Mass Effect 3 is, it also gets across the message that it's time to be civilized about it, and to stop spitting acid at Bioware. We've been blind fanboys about this since the game came out, and although I don't support Bioware changing the ending now matter how bad it is, I think it's right to be passive aggressive and not openly rioting in the streets about it if you support the change.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Best Villains Evar

Well, seeing Chazz's list of the Bestest Villains to evar exist, I decided to make my own list to counter his, and also to show how effing different we are when it comes to these things. Hold on to your trousers.
[WARNING: THERE IS A SERIOUS SPOILER TO DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTIONS ON TOP OF THIS LIST, DO NOT READ IT TO THE END IF YOU DON'T WANT ME TO RUIN THE GAME FOR YOU.]
10- Daedalus
The tortured, twisted creature brought on by Dr. Malikov's experiments became head of the Chimeran hordes after the Angels are defeated in R:FOM. The polar opposite of what Nathan Hale had gained due to Malikov's testing, he represents what Nathan can, and does, become.
9- The Beholder
Not exactly the main antagonist of the game, or a late game boss, but the Beholder in Dark Alliance was what sparked the continuing teamwork between Alex and I when we play vidya together. Although he's a terrible person to play Portal 2 with.
8- Dr. Breen
The first, but not only, doctor on this list is a bastard. He orders kidnappings, works with the Combine to secure the city under the evil Civil Protection service, worked with Gordon at Black Mesa, and provides Half Life 2 with the excellent villain to skyrocket the game into the hall of fame.
7- Dr. Eggman
This dude was the first real villain I had ever encountered, playing Sonic the Hedgehog on Sega Genesis (or Megadrive for you foreign readers), and he'll always have a special place in my heart because of it.
6- Origami Killer
This guy... just blew my mind. Heavy Rain was just was visual novel with QTEs(Press X to JASON), but damn if it wasn't fine. And the villain reveal? Blew me away. The villain himself is dastardly beyond his shocking reveal, his actions and motives are truly psychopathic. 
5- Andrew Ryan
I believe in Andrew Ryan's vision, a self sustained utopia for artists and scientists to explore their vision without the stigmas and interference of society, but the ways this man took things too far makes him a bastard rather then a visionary.
4- Saren
Seriously, this guy is awesome. Designated badass, the only cooler Turian is Garrus Vakarian. But what makes him great is that his ultimate motives were to save the galaxy by uniting with their destruction, but he was blinded by indoctrination. His boss fight is pretty damn hard, as well.
3- John Henry Eden
John Henry Eden, president of the Enclave, and current race purity cheerleader of Fallout 3. And voiced by Malcolm McDowell. His forces constantly dog you, his base is impenetrable, and his one and only method to purify the Capital Wasteland is brutal beyond belief. Only the truly wicked need apply to this man, I would destroy this machine even if I was playing an Evil playthrough of FO3.
2- Captain Qwark
Another one of my childhood villains, except Captain Qwark is a thousand times worse than Eggman. The classic example of a fallen hero trying to redeem himself, his situation worsens only by his extreme stupidity and selfish nature. From working for the Blarg to furthering his selfish need for redemption by unleashing the Mutant Proto Pet, he finally gains the acclaim he deserves when, in a heart warming scene, he flies to Ratchet's aid to stop his age old nemesis Dr. Nefarious. 
1- Hugh Darrow
Hugh Darrow. The visionary who developed augmentation technology, who jumpstarted the third scientific revolution with his limb technology, who worked with David Sarif to provide the technology to all, is the man who wants to bring his creations into a crashing spiral of destruction. "The world isn't ready yet," he says, and he appears to be right, although his methods of telling the world this could not be more off. All the twists and turns of Deus Ex: Human Revolutions finally lead us to him, and damn it if it isn't a fantastic way to end the game of the year 2011. Oh, and he's also voiced by Malcolm McDowell.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The SteamWorks: The Hunger Games [Movie] Review

Hey Gang,


That's right; I went to The Hunger Games Premier last night (or this morning, if you're one of those technical d-bags). This was my second premier, and after the experience I was trying to decide if the experience was better than the Harry Potter 7 Part 2 Premier, The answer was yes and no; see, at the Harry Potter Premier, I only went with my sister and a friend, and it wasn't exactly the most riveting group of people at the movies. Last night, I went with 7 or so friends, and waiting was  a lot more fun than the other premier; we took some funny photos, threw popcorn at people, and had in-depth discussions about the movie. However, at this premier, the fans sucked; no one cheered during the entire movie. See, I like when the fans are crazy, and at the Harry Potter movie, people were so much more ... excited? Now, Harry Potter's had some time to collect a huge fan base, so I can understand the difference, and honestly I could have just had a boring group of people in my theater.

So let's get to the actual movie; I'm going to try to be as honest, balanced, and neutral as a can. Honestly, the movie in its entirety wasn't bad at all, and I very much enjoyed it. Yet the movie somehow ruined the books for me, because not much was really accurate. Keep in mind, I am one those really picky people that wants the details from the book to be translated exactly how it's described when it goes into the movie. Ok, so I understand you didn't have time to fit every scene from the book into the movie; I get that. But would it really be that much of a game-changer to make this person's hair color correlate to what it is in the books?

I'm going to use one of my familiar methods of reviewing media; bullet points of what I didn't like and why:

~ Effie's hair wasn't the colors it was supposed to be at the different times. Now obviously, this isn't going to matter to someone who's never read the books. Just something that made me hate.

~ The Cornucopia looked ugly and nothing like it was supposed to. It was gold in the books, and in the movie it was some awful military-like color and shaped nothing like a Cornucopia at all.

~ They took out an important character, Madge, who gives her the Mockingjay Pin. Instead, she buys it from some hag in the Hob.

~ During the feast in the arena, Katniss is supposed to put Peeta asleep with medicine before she goes. In the movie he just falls asleep.

~ The sponsored gifts had messages in them, which wasn't allowed to happen in the book; the mentors are supposed speak through the gifts they send. However since Katniss wasn't narrating the story, it would have been difficult for the Average Joe to interpret what the gifts meant, so while it's not canon I let this slide.

~ When Katniss is sneaking out of the District 12 fence to hunt, they stressed that the fence was charged with electricity, however she just slips right in. I feel like it wouldn't have been too much to have her listen to the fence like she does in the book to see if it was on, which it normally isn't.

~ The Tracker Jacker hallucinations were done almost completely wrong.

~ They put little to no emphasis on the werewolf mutations that chased Katniss and Peeta; they were supposed to look like each of the tributes, and later on it effects Katniss's mental state. In the movie they were just huge random wolves.

I saved this one for last simply because it was the worst possible thing they did to the whole movie

***SPOILER ALERT, I TALK ABOUT THE ENDING, SO IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOKS OR SEEN THE MOVIE PLEASE DON'T READ!!!!!!***

When Katniss and Peeta climb onto the Cornucopia, they face Cato, as is canon, and when they're climbing onto the Cornucopia, Peeta is supposed to get a really bad leg wound due to the dogs biting him, which pretty much makes him useless in the fight against Cato. This is where it all went badly in the movie; yes, he does get attacked by the dogs, but no leg injury is acquired. Cato was also mauled and shot outside of the Cornucopia, which is insignificant but had me a bit irked, because he's supposed to be inside. When they climb off, Claudius makes the dramatic announcement of the previous new rule being revoked. At this point, Katniss is supposed to raise her loaded bow to his chest, and he drops this weapon, making this an important character-building moment. Oh, and by the way, Peeta should be laying down by the lake and Katniss should be kneeling next to him, and in the movie they're both standing. Instead, she half-asses it, and has her bow loaded but not exactly pointed at Peeta ... and then she's supposed to feel like a bitch. Another small thing that had irked was when they're about to eat the Nightlock berries, and Claudius tells them to stop; they're supposed ask whether each other ate any berries, which didn't happen. The whole scene where they're picked up is different because Peeta isn't missing a leg, and he's supposed to have to have it removed, but that doesn't happen either.

The biggest part that made me rage was at the very end because it's going to mess up the sequel. On their way back to District 12, Katniss is supposed to talk to Peeta about how she really doesn't love him and how she basically used him to survive in the games, which obviously upsets him because he's really in love. I cannot stress the importance of this moment because it sets up a huge love scandal for the rest of the trilogy. The director, however, decided butt-rapping the ending was a better idea, and the conversation never takes place. I was so angry because it took away from the suspense of the books; that was something that was supposed to make you want to continue so you could see what happens. And they simply just removed it like it was no big deal.

Other than the horrible non-canon ending, the movie was really good; for the average movie goer who's never read the books, this movie will be a hit. However I think it went terribly wrong for fans of the books; personally, I was expecting something a lot more accurate. The actors, however, were phenomenal and portrayed their parts with mastery and accuracy. Even if the ending is the worst, you should go see it, whether you read the books or not. It's going to be a huge movie series and I can't wait for the movies to gain more momentum and fans; maybe boat-loads of money will convince the director to film the correctly.

7.5/10

Peter, The SteamWorks

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Mass Effect 3 Endings

HAHAHAHHHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHAHAH

BIOWARE CONFIRMED FOR BEING A BUNCH OF BABIES WHO HAVE NO INTEGRITY IN THEIR ORIGINAL PRODUCT.

I have nothing to say about the endings to Mass Effect 3. But I do believe Bioware is selling out to their fan's demands, and that's a giant load of bullshit on their part. They have no faith in their original plan, and proved to the jeering onlookers that they are, indeed, bending to the needs of angry fanboys and fangirls alike.

Granted, I'm no fan of the endings to Mass Effect 3 either. The DLC ending might as well just change the color to yellow or something (Question: what ending do colorblind people pick?). I much rather would have had a New Vegas style ending, where you're told what happens after the battle at Hoover Dam in slide show format. At least that provides some closure, and your in-game decisions actually impacted it. What in-game decisions mattered at ALL in Mass Effect 3 if at the end it's all thrown away anyway? 

Those shitty endings of the original product aren't canon anyway. Shepard Indoctrination theorists have the right idea. Link if you don't know what I'm talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ythY_GkEBck .

So yeah, I'm never giving Bioware any of my money ever again. Well, at least until after the Baldur's Gate re-releases. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Elder Scrolls MMO

Since The Elder Scrolls are my favorite series of games of all time, I just wanted to speak my piece about Zenimax Online's upcoming announcement at E3 2012. An Elder Scrolls MMO. That sounds....


... good, but only if played right.


The Elder Scrolls is my favorite series due to its freedom. I can do anything and be anything, and I hope the MMO lives up to this. I'm also hoping that it plays like an Elder Scrolls game, namely a third or first person action game. Writing this, I realized that due to the size of a game map needed for an MMO (see Asheron's Call clocking in at five hundred square miles, or the Nightfall expansion to Guild Wars clocking in at fifteen-thousand square miles), this MMO might span all of the Nirn, Akavir included. That's pretty awesome. Or, it could have the countries of the traditional Elder Scrolls games (Hammerfell, Black Marsh, Elsweyr, Morrowind) but release Akavir as an expansion. Personally, hoping Akavir is included in the vanilla game. 


I would absolutely shit myself if the game included constantly replayable mini-dungeons in Elder Scrolls style (Dwemer ruins, caves, Ayleid ruins) alongside more epic dungeons in WoW fashion (Mehrune's Razor, Blackreach, etc). As I wrote this, I thought that end-game raids might include Daedric Planes of existence (Hircine's Hunting Grounds, Sheogorath's Shivering Isles, Mehrunes Dagon's Planes of Torment). Damn, so much speculation can be done with a lore or history as large as The Elder Scrolls has. I mean, how cool would it be to go toe to toe with Malacath with four other friends? Or nine other friends? Just damn awesome. 


I really can't get my hopes up as much as I'm getting them. All I can really hope for without overshooting this is F2P. But a man can dream, right?


EDIT: I found out from some more research that the MMO will take place in the Second Era. Somethin' interesting.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shatterblog!: Top 10 Greatest Villains in Gaming


Hey guys, I was talking to my brother about the villain of FF13-2 and how he measured up to Sephiroth in coolness. That made me think about the greatest gaming villains I've encountered. Honorable mention goes to pretty much every OC in the Kingdom Hearts series (Organization XIII, Ansem, Xehanort, Vanitas, etc)

10) Arthas (World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King)
9) Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough (Dark Souls)
 
8) Dragon God (Demon's Souls)

7) Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

6) Shadow Link (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

5) Gwyn, Lord of Cinders (Dark Souls)

4) Gravemind (Halo 3)

3) The Arbiter (Halo 2)

2) Darth Malgus (Star Wars: The Old Republic)

1) GLaDOS (Portal & Portal 2)



The SteamWorks: Customer Service is Dumb

Hey Gang,

So it's obviously been a while since I lasted posted, but do I really need to apologize? I hate when people do that; apologize for not posting, that is. Especially when it happens all the time. Also, I promise my Alan Wake review WILL be out eventually. It's been so long since I've played it that I have to go back and work on it. Anyway, here's my newsletter on what's been going on with my life. I promise I'll get a real media post up soon!

~ Star Wars: The Old Republic: Of course this is always the biggest segment of my newsletters. Vulka (my Zabrak Sith Marauder) is now (around) level 38 and 1/2, and I'm one quest short of being rid of Taris. The idea of this and actually getting close to level 50 is exciting for me, but I'd much rather have it be my Bounty Hunter or my Imperial Agent. I've kinda grown tired of the lightsaber combat and using a blaster is a nice change of pace. Phobus (my main character, a level 50 human Sith Sorcerer) is slowly getting his gear through raiding and PvPing. I'm also almost finished datacron hunting; I only need the ones on Hoth and the Imperial Fleet, which is really challenging to get, actually. Tavot (my level 15 Chiss Bounty Hunter) is stuck at the very beginning of Balmorra because I'm waiting for a friend to catch up and play. I've kind of abandoned Axton (my level 14 Cyborg Operative) to work on Vulka, but once I get Vulka to 50, I'm definitely planning on getting him to be my next solo charcter. All of my other toons have nothing new to report, but I am working on my Legacy story, and it's really awesome. Axton Dunamos is my main charcter in my story, and he has two children, a son Braxton and a daughter Hemera (my level 11 Human Gunslinger), but when his son was born, the Sith made Axton give up his son into slavery (who was later renamed Phobus when he became Sith). When Hemera was a young child, Imperial Intellegence wanted to recruit her into their forces, but Axton did not want such a wretched life for her, so he was forced to give her to a band of sumgglers that was based in the Mos Eisley Cantina. I have a bunch of aliens though, so I'm slowly putting together different relations, such as Tavot possibly being an adopted brother to Hemera, or Phobos being an adopted brother to Phobus. So that's in the works and is really fun. I'll also be testing out patch 1.2 on the Public Test Server! Woot! I'll let you know how it is. Lastly, I hate BioWare's Customer Service. See I pre-order the game, so I was supposed to recieve an exclusive color crystal, but I never got a code for it. After months of trying to fix the issue with GameStop, they told me to take it up with BioWare. Oh. My. God. Honestly, I've never seen worse. They told me to go onto the fleet and purchase the crystal, when you can't do that because my account isn't registered with a pre-order! Ugh...

~Skyrim: I made a new Wood Elf that I'm going to play so I can make a Mammoth army ... ok, I know it doesn't work like that. But I'd like to command a few Mammoths; could be fun. That's not to say I deleted my other character; just trying something new.

~Minecraft: I've actually been itching to play more Minecraft, but SWTOR keeps taking me away from everything I love. I did, however, unleash a plague of chickens upon my friends' server last night. They were pretty pissed...

~World of Warcraft: Chazz's girlfriend sent me a Scroll of Resurrection (yes, I played Wow...) yesterday, but since my account hasn't been active since 2006 (that's right, I played when Burning Crusade first came out), it's not hooked up to a Battle.net account and so I have to go through Customer Service now. Did I mention I hate Customer Service?

Also, The Hunger Games premier is so close! I can't wait to go see it! It's going to be a blast. I'll be sure to update you with a full movie review right after I see it.

That's it for today. I'll be back with something actually report-like soon!

Peter, The SteamWorks

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Adventure Quest

        So, I opened up Alex's laptop, and opened up my browser. I was playing a survival roguelike, and I decided it was really poorly done so I stopped playing (apparently, drinking three bottles of water a turn is not enough to keep hydrated). And I started thinking about in browser games I could play, since this old thing can barely run Oblivion. And then it hit me.
        I clicked the address bar, typed in "battleon.com" and I was ready for takeoff. 
        For starters, it looks like I missed a lot. There are new people in town, new quests, but it still looks like Adventure Quest. I have to add that my character was an X-Guardian, meaning I have access to the primo stuff. But DAMN was I hit with a wave of nostalgia. My character, Sonarto XS, was still blue-skinned so I could be a blue drake when I went dragon form, I still had the little silver blob by my side, and I still hate how slow the combat is. Although, as a child it was totally forgivable.
        Actually, as I looked around, not much had actually changed. The guardian tower was unchanged, that rip in the sky that appeared about five years ago was still there, and I could still go fight the Frogzards in the swamp. Hell, I think they stopped paying attention to this game years ago and went to work on AQWorlds. Which I decided to start playing, in lieu of anything better to do.
        If there's one thing I miss about Adventure Quest, it's Leroy. We all miss you, buddy. See you in the next life. Actually, if I want nostalgia, I might was well open up Runescape again. Or not.

Shatterblog!: Mass Effect Review

Sorry for the long absence folks, tennis really eats up free time. The results of the poll were clear. You guys want me to review Mass Effect. Well, here it goes.


 I played Mass Effect on PC, and the controls are brilliant. Other than "r" being grenade, every action felt natural. In case you don't know, Mass Effect is a third person sci-fi cover shooter with RPG elements.
BioWare is known for truly spectacular stories, and I must say that Mass Effect delivers. You are free to forge Shepard as a paragon of goodness or a renegade badass. Clearly I played the evil path, or Renegade. There were moments of the story that really hit home. It will come as no surprise to those who have played any BioWare game that your companions may not stay with you through the whole story. Losing someone who has been with you through thick and thin, especially the way I lost mine. I won't include any spoilers, but BioWare did an excellent job in writing the painful moments of losing friends.
The different alien races are pretty cool, and their relationships with each other in the universe. There was nothing like elves in Dragon Age where I really connected with the race and their situation. Krogans really have the short stick of the universe though. That genophage thing is pretty messed up.

The companion story was good, but the overall story was amazing. There was literally a moment that made my jaw drop. I was completely unprepared.
Combat is decent, although very scattered. I would enter a fight and randomly die, retry the same strategy, and win super hard. The class I chose was pretty fun, relying on shotguns and pistols. Grenades feel largely useless at times. I also hate that as a class that can't effectively use Assault Rifles or Sniper Rifles, I still had them permanently equipped, making quickly scrolling between my 2 weapons somewhat frustrating.
There are some segements where you drive a tank, which are a bit painful. YOu blow everything away and are rarely challenged. Fortunately these parts or short, and broken up by excellent on-foot combat and story cinematics.
I didn't do anything with companion affection, and honestly don't even know how it works. In Dragon Age and Star Wars: The Old Republic, companion affection just happens. I didn't even notice my companions caring what I did in Mass Effect, which was disappointing.
The RPG elements felt a bit forced. I could go into a bunch of different abilities and improve them, and my companions as well. I tried setting up the Holy Trinity with myself tanking, Wrex DPSing, and Garrus healing, but there are no threat tables or anything, so it was a crapshoot whether I took a sniper bullet in my extremely well shielded self, or it wrecked poor Garrus. Also "healing" is a joke. But I succeeded somehow.
Overall, story was incredible, combat was good, but some auxilliary elements felt lacking. I suggest you play this gem of a game, if only for the amazing story.
9.25/10

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: My Greatest Gaming Moments

The title explains what I intend to accomplish with this. It's just a list of my greatest moments in my gaming career, some of them of which I'm not proud of. These are in no particular order whatsoever, they're in whatever order I remember them first.

     Saying goodbye to Kairi  (Kingdom Hearts).
     Emerging from the Imperial Prison's sewers and seeing Cyrodil for the first time (The Elder Scrolls IV).
     Beating the game for the seventh time (Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal).
     Winning my first race (Road Rash on the Sega Genesis).
     Hitting level 80 (World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King)
     Defeating the Lich King (technically, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm).
     Jumping off the Empire State Building, only to catch myself at the last second (Spider Man 2).
     Defeating Seto Kaiba in a duel (Yu-Gi-Oh: Forbidden Memories).
     Multiple "It's 5am already?!" moments spread across years, from World of Warcraft to The Elder Scrolls V.
     Moving through the Detroit Police Department without being detected once (Deus Ex: Human Revolutions).
     Killing well over fifty people with a roller coaster aimed at them (Roller Coaster Tycoon 3).
     Dropping into a half pipe off a twelve story building, with Sublime playing in the background (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3).
     Killing the Elite Four (Pokemon: Emerald, but this one is probably on everybody's list).
     The first time someone ever told me to "Get out of here, STALKER!" (STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl).
     Playing as Zero for the first time (Megaman X6).
     Killing Saren (Mass Effect).
     Playing The Elder Scrolls IV for the first time on my new computer. Absolutely stunning.
     Placing a blue portal below me and an orange one above me and endlessly falling (Portal).
     Using a portal gun for the first time (Portal).
     Fighting the final battle with Xemnas with Riku by my side (Kingdom Hearts II).
     Capping the flag at two hundred sanics (Tribes: Ascend).Literally all of Guitar Hero 2, songs that stand out being Trogdor, Beast and the Harlot, War Pigs, Jordan, Sweet Child O' Mine, Freebird, John the Fisherman, and You Really Got Me. Seriously, if my guitar controller was working, I would be playing that all day. Guitar Hero 2 probably doesn't get enough praise from me to say this, but I consider it to be on my Top 10 Games of All Time list. No joke.
     Defeating the Mutant Proto-Pet in seven seconds flat with the RYNO2 (Ratchet and Clank 2: Going Commando).
     Popping in Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction for the first time and feeling my childhood flooding back in a crashing tsunami of nostalgia.
     Getting killed by a Creeper while carting diamonds, obsidian, and all my best gear, and then not being able to find all of it, followed by deleting the world out of rage (Minecraft).
     Summoning a titan for the first time, and the subsequent wave of total destruction that came with it (Age of Mythology: The Titan Expansion Pack).
     Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance co-op with my brother.
     Champions: Return to Arms co-op with my brother and Chazz.
     Getting my Burnout: Elite Class license (Burnout: Paradise).
     Racing down Paradise Avenue as "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne blasts in the background, making me race like I'm goddamn Steve McQueen (Burnout: Paradise).
     "200 Hours? Already?!" (The Elder Scrolls V).
     My jaw hitting the floor as I finished the game (Half Life 2).

     And, lastly, and probably the greatest moment of my career in vidya gaems, would be finally defeating Xaldin after long hours of trying, trying, and trying some more (Kingdom Hearts II). Seriously, why the hell was that boss fight so hard? I probably put more hours in fighting Xaldin than into the endgame.

Thanks for readin'.

The SteamWorks: SWTOR Patch 1.2 To be Amazing

Hey Gang,

So I realize it's been a while I've posted. This is because SWTOR, Skyrim, and Tennis have taken over my life. Yes, I said it; I, Peter, am taking up tennis and playing on my school team. The world might end this year. Especially since Chazz has a girlfriend too. But I digress...

Anyway, here's a newletter of my past few weeks before I get to my main topic:

~ SWTOR: Of course this is always my biggest column. My guild ran our first raid a few weeks ago, and it went well. I accidentally bought Phobus the wrong gear though so yeah. Need to fix that. In other news, I finally got my purple lightsaber after three months of trying! YAY! I've been working on my warrior Vulka, and she is now level 33. She's on Taris, and I hate that planet with such a burning passion, it has me too demotivate to play her currently. My friend Beau picked up the game but has yet to actually, play; I'm supposed to be level my Bounty Hunter Tavot with him. But my patience shortly dwindled and I managed to get him to level 16 and off Dromund Kaas. And lastly, I created an Imperial Agent yesterday. I used to hate class for some reason, but after seeing what they can do in PvP, I've realized their actually really cool.

~Skyrim: I decided to get a little motivated and so I logged onto Skyrim and got around 3 hours in, a mere fraction of JD's 200+ hours. I managed to get werewolf powers and I'm an awesome cat-man. I wish I could sound all professional with actual names, but I don't know how to spell the words much less do I know what they are.

~Alan Wake's American Nightmare: I'm really mad at myself for not getting this review up. I've been playing some STD mode (OH MY GOD! Survive Till Dawn = Sexually Transmitted Disease! That's awesome!) and it's amazing.

Ok, now I'd like to talk about patch 1.2 in SWTOR that's coming to us in about a month. Here's an awesome video that BioWare released today:


My reaction: Holy shit...

J.D. really needs to get back into SWTOR...

See ya round!

Peter, The Steam Works

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: 2012 Sounds Actually Kind of Good

I wasn't looking forward to 2012 as a gamer, honestly. It's really hard to come off a year like 2011 was, what with games like Deus Ex, Skyrim, Dark Souls, and huge consumer prey giants like the yearly COD entry, the only release I was really looking forward to was Mass Effect 3. However, after spending three months on the internet, and just actually doing research on the releases in 2012, I'm actually kind of excited.


I'm talking:


1) Assassin's Creed 3Revelations was... a really bad way to follow up the masterpiece of storytelling and gameplay that was Brotherhood, but I have really high hopes for AC3, considering it's been indev for about three years now, setting out to bring the level of innovation to the series that AC2 brought after AC. Set from 1753 to 1783, it will follow Connor (or Ratohnhaketon, if you want to refer to him by his Mohawk name) as he experiences events before and after the Revolutionary war, from childhood to master Assassin (judging by screenshots of him as an adult, he has the hood decal seen on Ezio and older Altair). George Washington will be a close friend to Connor, and so will Benjamin Franklin. But, if you think this will be a generic story about the Templar British trying to take the Assassini Americanos, you're wrong, it plans on playing the Revolution out as a very gray war with Templars on either side, vying for control and to save the world with the conflicted morality of complete order they possess. The events of the game will end in New York, and will coincide with Desmond's location at the end of Revelations. If you want what the community has gathered, take it: http://pastebin.com/caXp5JRE . Also, does anyone find it funny that Britain (allegedly) immediately a ban on the game because of how the British are set to be portrayed? It's No Russian all over again. Although I really doubt Ubisoft gives a shit about who they offend, considering for two games out of four the ultimate goal is to assassinate the Pope.


2) The Amnesia sequel. Amnesia is one of the best PC indie releases to date, with a solid story and solid puzzle gameplay, and the sequel promises to live up to the standards the first game set. Looking forward to dying of fright.


3) I had completely forgotten about Darksiders II at the beginning of the year, and was pleased to be reminded of it. The apocalyptic Zelda successor won my heart over the summer (except for that fuckawful portal dungeon, what a terrible idea), and I was looking forward to a sequel. I was glad to remember I was receiving the new adventure starring War's brother Death, and was pleased to hear all about how much bigger and better this game looks, promising to outdo the sequel in every way. Gear changing your appearance, hub cities, three times as many dungeons, it looks great. Looking forward to pouring time into it in the middle of the year when it hits.


Other releases I'm looking forward to but don't have a lot to say about or have already said things about include Guild Wars 2, Hawken, Borderlands 2, Lollipop Chainsaw (don't deny that this looks effing amazing), Grand Theft Auto 5, and maybe a little excited about Resident Evil 6. The trailers make it look unlike all the other great RE games. Yes, 5 was a tad more of a third person shooter than it was a survival-horror game, and I'm all for series evolving into new things, but maybe too much evolution hurts sometimes. But, Dead Space transitioning from the rather slow, dark, and spooky game it was into the action packed, completely over the top, treasure trove of amazingness that Dead Space 2 was (also looking forward to Dead Space 3 in a billion years when it gets released, the white-out concept is extremely terrifying on paper) gives me hope for how RE6 might turn out, but only if they play it right.