Friday, July 30, 2010

UG - Madden 11 (Demo)

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here ... just the other week ... saying I would be back ... screw it. Like my previous post said, I was going to compare the demo of Madden to NCAA to decide which one I would want to buy. I have now had the chance to play both and must say that NCAA has proven to once again be the red-headed stepchild.  Even with NCAA receiving improvements, Madden still just feels like it is further ahead in mechanics, graphics, attention to detail, and on and on.

The first thing that scared me was I found out that Chris Collinsworth is one of the announcers and my first thought was holy schnikes, I hate that guy. After playing many games, I came to the realization that I might have been too quick to judge and I changed my mind about him...I despise him. However, the other announcer (some new guy) spoke the most often and he wasn't that bad so I will call this an improvement over previous years; however, I will still mute them.

The graphics are improved again with better use of lighting and shadowing to give a more realistic feel, but if you read my previous post you will know how I feel about graphical improvements (hint: those are supposed to happen). However, there were some issues with the graphics still. For example, when your players are in the huddle and they have their hands on their knees, they look like they have Parkinson's disease with their hands being all jumpy and vibrating.

pg - Google Talk Follows You!

Here's a fun fact about Google Talk. It follows you! ... Just like a creepy stalker!

Seriously, though, try this out. Sign in to Google Talk on your Android phone and start chatting with someone. Then sign in to Google Talk from your computer and continue talking with them. You'll notice that Google will stop sending responses to your phone and send them only to your most recent Google Talk session. Kind of cool. It definitely saves you from receiving tons of notification alerts on your phone.

p0w BitchZ I'm out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

UG - 3D jumps the shark

I admit I am not the biggest fan of 3D. I find it to be more of a fad and that media creators are already over using it (except maybe the porn industry who is under-utilizing it so far). I refuse to sit in my house wearing dorky glasses, hell I am already dorky enough and sure don't need any assistance. It also doesn't help that I tend to get headaches whenever I watch 3D. However, I have to say when "Step Up 3D" tells you to come see 3D like never before, then I think 3D has already officially jumped the shark. This could mark the end of 3D. Well, that might be extreme, maybe just the end of civilization as we know it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

UG - NCAA 11 (Demo)

Now mind you, this is just a review of the demo. Yes, I know the full game is out and this demo was released awhile ago so you might be thinking it is retarded of me to review this demo, well I'm going to do it anyways so shut up. See I am cheap and I only want to buy either this game or Madden and the Madden demo isn't released until next week. So I thought I would check out this demo and then that demo and then choose.

The graphics looked pretty good in the game and the new lighting effects do help make the characters look more real. Overall, every aspect of the game feels improved from last year; however, that is what I expect. If it wasn't improved, why the hell would you release a new game. The tackling felt much better and the running game is improved. I think they give too much credit to quarterbacks though and rushing the quarterback is a little too easy. In some of the games I played, I was able to get to the quarterback about 75 percent of the time, but only ended up with a few sacks and even when I crushed the QB as he was throwing it, his throws were still excellent. This got a little tiresome after awhile. And just because it is improved, I don't think that should instantly give the game a higher ranking than the same game last year or make you think you have to buy it to replace last year's version if you are happy with it. These are the sort of improvements that always makes me think of the Chris Rock skit where he talks about the father that brags about taking care of his kids and Rock yells, you're supposed to take care of your kids, what do you want, a cookie. And that is my sentiment on this as well, I don't see bragging rights in making minor improvements during the one year of coding time.

Friday, July 16, 2010

UG - Apple's press conference about iPhone 4 antenna UPDATE: More whining

Apple held a press conference today to discuss the recent news reports that they have a bad antenna design. My guess is that the Consumer Reports article really made this happen since that is a publication that is read by millions, including non-geeks. I think if it had stayed to the tech blogs where really only geeks visit and not your regular user, they never would have held it.

Wow, Apple started off their press conference by trying to drag other phone makers down with them. Instead of just getting to it, they are like wait, we have to show some other crap about our competitors, go yell at them too. I have an HTC Evo and I wasn't able to make my bars change depending on where my hand was. The most I saw was one bar go up or down, but that is all. I tried holding it every which way. I felt like Mr. Jobs put me back in elementary school when I would use the excuse that Jimmie was also doing it when I got busted shooting spitballs.

pg - Handcent SMS for Android

If you're looking for an alternative to the standard Android SMS application then this is it. Handcent SMS has customizable vibrate patterns, notification icons, themes, etc down to a per-contact level. Want lame iPhone looking bubble chat? Done. Want normal looking chat? Done. Want a widget that looks like an icon on your home screen that shows how many unread messages you have? Done.

With all its awesomeness-glory, Handcent SMS isn't without its flaws. Don't want advertisements? Sorry. They're in there, but at least they aren't in-your-face. Also, if you happen to be a Samsung Moment user then you "might" experience intermittent reboots whenever you recieve a new SMS message. The fix is to launch Handcent SMS as SOON as it boots back up and mark those messages as "read" or you'll be stuck in a reboot/loop nightmare. This problem seems to be fixed and re-appear with every other application update. Oh well. For now, I'm back to Google Voice SMS chat. Which, coincidentally crashes occasionally, too, but it doesn't take my entire phone down with it...

(9/10) [ when I have a version that doesn't cause reboots ]
(2/10) [ when I have a version that causes reboots ]

Thursday, July 15, 2010

UG - Hoping stories of Droid X aren't true UPDATE: Droid X rooted

This is just a quick tirade. The blog sites and forums are buzzing with rumors that the new Motorola Droid X will be shipping with eFUSE that will protect the phone from any customization that messes with the guts of the phone (aka you installing a custom ROM would brick your phone). Now there is no evidence of anything happening yet and eFUSE has shipped with other phones, but it sounds like it wasn't enabled. No matter how this turns out, I hope other hardware manufacturers don't look to follow suit. Even having the option there sucks. I hope the geek buyers out there will watch this sort of thing and avoid those phones to send a message to manufacturers; however, the masses aren't geeks and they won't care what they buy so it probably won't matter anyways. I had an original Motorola Droid (that had e-FUSE, but wasn't put into use) and loved it. Mine had good build quality and I loved vanilla Android (I am not a fan of other UIs including Sense). I would love to buy another Motorola phone in future, but with this sort of shenanigans, I will be staying away from Motorola for now.

UG - Space Physics for Android

Space Physics by Camel Games for Android is a great puzzle game. I used to be a big fan of The Incredible Machine and had been looking for something similar on Android and this is the closest I have found. The premise of the game is to get the ball to hit the star. You do this by drawing lines, wheels, swirly crap that was your attempt at a wheel, some sort of bike that works by drawing two wheels and a connecting line, pivot points, joints, etc. It is sort of like finger painting with a purpose. I love this game and find myself playing a level or two whenever I get a chance. It is a great bathroom time killer, just make sure your fingers are clean.

Monday, July 12, 2010

pg - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

Let me get this out in the open first. I SUCK at first person shooters. There have been a variety of PS3 FPS's that I've become acquainted with. I deeply enjoyed Resistance 2's campaign and co-op play, but disliked the team deathmatch. I found Killzone 2's campaign to be fun but un-memorable and hated the online multiplayer aspect.

MW2's campaign is fun, high energy, diverse, and definitely a challenge for me so far. The co-op special ops play mode is a hell of a lot of fun but would be SO much better if it wasn't limited to two people. I wish MW2 took some of the ideas from R2 co-op play like allowing more than 2 people to participate. No matter how hard the special ops mode gets ANYONE can beat the missions. Why? They're predictable. You can play them over and over again and they're nearly exactly the same. Don't get me wrong... so let me re-iterate; special ops mode is FUN!

Two words. Team Deathmatch. This is where MW2 excels. It's freaking awesome! The controls work seamlessly, the maps are diverse, and you can get awards for dieing more often than anyone else (that's me)! Now that I'm familiar with MW2's game play; I definitely have to say this is where it's at. Leave your ego at the door and no matter how bad you suck and how often you die this multiplayer game is still freaking awesome.

"But what if he shot you in the face?" - Dumb and Dumber


Friday, July 9, 2010

UG - PlayStation Plus

I want to take a look at the new Plus offering from the PlayStation Network. For years I have heard Sony fan boys rip on Xbox gamers for having to pay for Microsoft's online service. In the next gen console race, I owned an Xbox first (I am on my third one due to RRoD) and didn't get my PS3 until later. At first, I wasn't a big fan of the annual fee I had to pay, but once I got my PS3 and I saw how much better the online Xbox experience was, I was glad to pay it. If PlayStation wants to start charging for a service, then they should really make that service better. Here are a couple of examples of the features on Xbox that Sony should focus on first before charging me for access to betas.

pg - Assassin's Creed II

Ever feel like stabbing someone in the face? Ever want to be a medieval version of Rico Suave? Want to play an action game that feels like it's becoming an RPG? Want to cut off your ring finger? No? Well, in Assasin's Creed II you can do all these things AND keep your ring fingers!

AC2 is exactly like AC1 except you can now distract guards with courtesanes(hookers), thieves, and money. Yes, you now have money and you can choose to use it... or not. You can totally deck yourself out with armor and boost your health or you can play through the game without this perk. It really is kind of useless because you can also purchase healing potions(rpg?) but you can look totally bad ass like my character decked to the hilt with armor and some sweet green robes. That's right. I said green robes. You can dye  your clothing. I'm still trying to figure out the benefit of this since it costs money. I thought, maybe, like GTA if you paint your car your warning level goes down that maybe if you dye your robes your alert level would go down. Nope. Purely cosmetic. I think they're trying to appeal to chicks and RPG gamers. I prefer to think of my self as an RPG gamer but by no means a LARPer. I can buy art too. I can buy maps of all the hidden treasure -- doesn't this negate the need for purchasing a guide book? Hit all the vantage view points, buy the treasure maps, and now I fail to see the need to buy a book. Yes, there are still a boatload of vantage view points.

This time around, I find myself skipping all the side quests that I felt like I already played in the first AC. Which, is probably 80% of the game.  My town is totally built out. Yes, you have a town. If this doesn't make sense to you, then I assure you -- it doesn't make sense to me.

You can now swim, and cities now have country-sides you can explore. Either way, the game still feels exactly like AC1. Yet.... I'm still drawn to playing this game. I can't help it. I love jumping and running from rooftop to rooftop and stabbing people. I can't put the damn controller down.

"O'Doyle Rules!" - Billy Madison


Thursday, July 8, 2010

UG - Joe Danger

This game is just good ole fashion family fun. I find it a great way to kill some time; however, I still find the game eating up large chunks of my time because I just keep trying to score more points. I have always enjoyed games with great gameplay that allowed me to play as long or as short as I wanted (someone please bring back Carmageddon) so this works well for that niche (except there isn't any killing in it). Granted the graphics are about as advanced as the Super Nintendo, but it doesn't matter in this game.

UG - Red Dead Redemption

I have to think that everyone else reviewing this game is giving Rockstar a free pass because it is Rockstar. I got this game and was very excited after all the excellent reviews. After playing it for hours, I have to say holy schnikes this game is boring. I got tired of riding the horse back and forth between towns by about the third time. I can't even tell at what aspect this game is hoping to excel. I guess it is most likely more entertaining then more recent western cowboy entertainment options, like Brokeback Mountain. Then again I never saw that movie so who knows.

UG - Assassin's Creed II

What better way to write your first post then to review a game over eight months old.

Ever want to be an assassin?? Ever want to be an assassin who looks like he could be part of new kids on the block?? Did you play AC and enjoy it and think, damn I wish I could play that same game over again, but with a new character? Then this game is for you. Here is my spoiler alert on how the game goes. Track down someone, kill them, cut scene saying that you were wrong or you don't know the truth ... repeat.

Wait I forgot about the other cool missions. One of them involves a city that you try to rebuild. To do this, there is a chest that collects money as the city makes a profit and then you spend that money to rebuild the city. The awesome thing about this chest is that it can only hold a certain amount of money. What a magical chest? I would love to go buy a whole new entertainment system and have the cashier tell me it is free because their cash register is full.

pg - Red Dead Redemption

After a long day of drinking 4 manly beers of differing geographic locations(diverse), I decided to give Red Dead Redemption a rental spin.

Here's my initial take:
  1. There's a lot of desert.
  2. There's a lot of horse riding.
  3. Shooting someone leads to my imminent death.
  4. I like the mini-stories that involve going to a remote location and looking at a spot of blood on the ground.
  5. Shooting the train conductor and jumping off the train and down a cliff is a mortally bad idea.
  6. Riding the horse into the middle of a hanging can lead to your death.
  7. Whenever I try to take cover, I end up taking cover on the side of the boulder instead of behind it. Death ensues.
  8. Inverted camera is the only real way to play.
  9. I'm amazed that this cowboy either has GPS or an amazing sense of direction.
  10. Skinning an animal isn't nearly as violent or cool as other reviews made it out to be. I was expecting something wicked cruel - like something Hannibal Lector might do.
Besides being set in the "Old West", I don't think there's anything new here that GTA IV didn't already offer. Just a different theme. Maybe I should play GTA IV so that I could give a better take on this. Oh well.

I wish I had a chance to play co-op or multi-player, but I didn't. Maybe it's worth it just for that. The concept of a lone vigilante is cool. Westerns have never really been my thing.