Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cold Hearted Consumers

According to this article, the Playstation NetNotwork being down is costing Capcom millions of dollars in revenue. Many, of course, couldn't care less, and this is a problem I feel needs addressing. After all, Capcom are pioneers in the gaming industry, bringing us classics such as the Street Fighter series, the Megaman series, the Devil May Cry series, the Resident Evil series and many more. Yet so many are speaking out with cruel tongue and saying that Capcom deserves their loss, that Capcom needs to learn a lesson, and perhaps they wouldn't be losing money if they actually sold complete games on disc!

How cruel and cold hearted we can be as educated consumers...

A company that has given it's fanbase so much has earned the right to sell half a game on disc, and withhold the rest as DLC! A company that has pioneered so much has earned the right to sell hundreds of dollars worth of disc locked content! Don't you people understand this?! Depriving such a company of it's rightful nickel and dimed content is criminal! Just think... some poor Capcom executive's child, right now... would be in tears as his parent returns home to break the sad, sordid news; He will only receive one solid gold jewel encrusted iPhone this year as opposed to the two he was promised. Yet elsewhere, another poor Capcom executive would be sitting around the dinner table in their immense, palatial mansion on some private luxury island somewhere, breaking the horrible news to his family; Their annual million dollar end of year trip to the Moon has just been cancelled as they can no longer afford it, and instead they must make do with a common location such as Las Vegas, or the Bahamas.

Just think... Families could be ruined! Childhoods destroyed! Imagine the families being forced to wear the same clothes for more than a day! The humanity... the sheer humanity of it... And yes, all this can come about because us cruel, callous, uncaring, unfeeling consumers have the gall, the nerve to refuse to purchase disc locked content.

Indeed, how DARE we, as dirty, filthy, common peasant consumers, demand that the likes of Capcom, an entity so large and majestic they should be worshipped as the Gods themselves... sell us COMPLETE GAMES on disc?! HOW DARE WE?! Furthermore... how dare we REFUSE to pay for the annual rehash of the same product from last year that could, and should, have been released as a proper DLC addon to a title, such as Super Street Fighter IV to vanilla Street Fighter IV... How dare we REFUSE to pay for it as if it were a new and original title?!

Our crimes as the cold and unfeeling consumers we are run deep, my friends... We have also rejected, and refused to believe that DLC content such as Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath in Marvel vs Capcom 3 is actually real unfinished DLC at the time of launch, and that it wasn't disc locked content. In the face of our God, our Creator... we have shown the most blase and base mistrust. Such a crime alone is enough to damn us for life... Yet our crimes continue! They continue!


So please, have a heart, and open your wallet to Capcom. The next time you see that costume pack on sale for 30% off. Refuse the temptation, and INSIST that you buy it at FULL price, lest you deny some poor executive's child somewhere their rightful, silver-spooned childhood. We must remember that our place as dirty, filthy peasant consumers is simply to accept, with gratefulness and thanks, what Capcom deign fit to serve us. Remember, 40% of a game on disc is a PRIVILEGE, not a right!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama's Dead

So! Osama Bin Laden is dead.  All I can really say to that is after all these years of hiding, whoda thunk he'd have used his real info on PSN?

Not that it matters, they probably rolled a new Osama by now. Though one does wonder if they rolled Alliance this time. 10 years of playing Horde has got to suck after a while.

Oh, and this time, don't pick a server with permadeath. That shit just isn't cool.

PS: Just had a thought... whatever happened to using 7 proxies too?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Things just keep getting better for Sony as of late. Now that a lot of talk on just how insecure the innards of the Playstation Network really was is making the rounds, Sony are copping it from all sides. Naturally, talk is just talk, and we don't really know if the information available to us is actually true or not. However, going by old hacker talk on various 'scene' sites when the PS3 was first jailbroken, I would be inclined to believe that at least SOME of the horrendous failure would actually be true.

Sony, if anything, most likely put all their eggs in one basket and never expected the PS3 to get compromised in the way that it was. Indeed, the Cell Broadband Engine architecture, on paper AND in practice, is arguably one of the most secure CPU designs to date. Pretty much any traditional attack vector commonly used to hack systems is blocked by the fact that none of the master root keys for decryption are in any form of software, but in hardware instead. This, if anything, made the PS3 near unhackable for the longest period of time. Even when GeoHot originally claimed he had hacked the PS3, what he really got was two shades of jack fuck all. He had managed to secure control to the hypervisor, and had the ability to execute unsigned code on the Cell's main PPC core. However... the PPC core, if you read IBM's document on how the Cell BE really works, is of little to no real value. Unless he could somehow capture the root key of secrecy that was embedded on the CPU die itself, the CPU cannot be snooped.

Sony believed in this security, and more than likely had one extra layer of protection: The layer of 'people are generally too lazy to give a fuck' when things get too difficult. Numerous people had tried and failed, and the general mentality is that if you cannot even compromise the outer workings of the console itself, you will be unable to obtain details on how the console talks to the network. Of course this isn't true, as anyone with half a mind who wanted to put a packet snooper on their network could have easily traced the comms going to and from the PS3. But, the illusion of an impregnable fortress wall was there. The illusion of 'well if the console itself is this hard to hack, then the network has to be secure too'.

Then there was most likely one other final bit of 'security' in place: Sony had not given anyone a reason to attack them. Indeed, out of the 3 main platforms available this generation, the PS3 is the most open of the lot. It was the only region free console for gaming, thus importers were happy... it had a facility for installig a 3rd party OS (OtherOS) which kept the homebrew people happy. Sony basically did the right thing by most everybody and gave ENOUGH to take away enough reasons for anyone to start poking at their walls.

So where did this all go wrong? Well, removing the OtherOS install option would be the first big mistake. After GeoHot had 'hacked the PS3', Sony's response was to remove a feature in the name of security. If anyone had any brains at all up at Sony HQ, they would have simply let it be. GeoHot got practically nothing, and it did not warrant a response at all. But, in the name of 'security', they go and remove a feature... Everyone knows that you just do not take features away, especially not when it was an ADVERTISED FEATURE of the product, which would have driven a large number of enthusiasts to buy the product in the first place. Not to mention the fucking US Air Force is one of such users.

Then to make things worse, despite the class action lawsuits levelled against them and the fact that you simply do not REMOVE AN ADVERTISED FEATURE, they begin to show their arrogance and god complex attitude and demand that the lawsuits be dismissed. Naturally, when you take things away that people used to have, things that a specific crowd bought the console for in the first place, they start to try to take back what they used to have. One would like to believe that if Sony had simply relented and given OtherOS back at this point, everything would be just fine today and their gaping security holes in the Playstation Network would have never come to light.

But, nope, just like any other god complexed multi-billion dollar company... They may disagree with your opinion, and they will defend to the death your right to have an opinion. Nevermind the fact that it is the people, the paying customers, that made them big. Apparently biting the hand that feeds is a case for good business practice and customer service. Sony doesn't return the OtherOS feature, and start playing dirty in court by dragging out the proceedings and using every last option they can to defend to the death the right to remove a feature that people previously paid for.

So what did they honestly think people were going to do? Roll over and take it? Now they had finally given people a reason to start poking at their security, even if just to take back what we previously had. From here, the rest really is academic... When you break into someone's house, you tend to find a lot more than just what you previously had... and basic human greed shines through and you tend to take a lot more than what you were entitled to, while generally throwing excuses to justify the crime. Indeed, there is enough blame on the hacker side as well in blowing open Sony's Epic Fail. I guess the new definition for random number is '4', right Sony?

But, regardless... things just go from bad to worse. Hackers finally compromise the PS3 using an unpatchable hole in Sony's PS3 operating system, and with the cat well and truly out of the bag, Sony would be left with only one realistic option to take. Which would be join Microsoft and Nintendo in accepting their console has been hacked, and join them in playing the cat and mouse game that has existed since time immemorial.

Or so we'd like to think anyway. But no, Sony is Sony... Sony is God, how dare you suggest otherwise?! Sony are infallible!... and pick up that can!

Instead of taking the realistic option, they go and try to put the cat back in the bag and start suing everyone left right and center. What did they honestly think this was going to do? I can understand the logic and reasoning behind trying to make an example out of someone. But there is a limit to fearmongering. You especially do not blatantly show the world that because you are big, huge and richer than God, that you are invincible and the legal system exists for your benefit, not for the little man. Us little people have known for a very long time that there is no JUSTICE system in the world. There is a LEGAL system, and that system is tempered by cold hard cash. But the last thing we need is to have that blatantly shoved in our faces.

So yeah, well done Sony *golfclap*... You have now given everyone, the people in general, a true reason to hate you. You have shown yourself as the typical stereotypical archetype of the 'big dirty evil corporation' that deserves to be taken down and you are giving a five-star performance on acting out that role. Now that you have finally given many people a reason to start punching back, don't be too surprised that your glass jaw starts shattering before too long.

All in all, you have failed beyond epic fail, and have only compounded that fail with more fail. Indeed, if I could submit a new definition for the word 'fail' to the Oxford dictionary, I would simply redirect it to 'Sony'. While many dislike the inconvenience of the Playstation Network being down, many, like me, are sitting back and enjoying watching the 'big dirty evil corporation' get what's coming to them. I don't give you my money on the PSN because I worship you Sony, I give you money for providing a service, and security. You have failed in providing both at this point. But I don't mind too much... I'm willing to give up that service, if it means I get to see the big dirty evil corporation get taken down a few notches.

That in itself, my friends, is priceless. Grab the popcorn and enjoy the fail while it lasts, as I'm sure for many, this will be the last Sony product and/or service that they will ever buy or subscribe to. I will not be buying the Playstation 4, or whatever your next gen console is going to be called in 2014. I'm sure many feel the same way.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to spot an addict. PSN edition.

Mentioned pretty much everywhere including this blog is the downtime of Playstation Network. Even if you don't use the service you'd have had to be living a rock not to at least heard about it by now. I as well use PSN's service, and frankly have been amazed at the
immaturity of some of my fellow user base over this.

There has been many many threads of "discussion" over the downtime, to which I use the term loosely, as finger pointing, name calling, and general temper tantrums hardly constitute discussion. In all its looking very much like several of these people flipping out show the signs of withdrawal, much like an addiction.

People are having to come to grips with the fact their their second life they've built on this service is not immortal and now separated from it have been thrown back into cold dark reality, leaving them confused or frightened.
As said before on this blog, people put too much worth into something that's as fragile as glass and as worthless in the real world as a bag of shit. Many people are flipping out cause they are disconnected from their social clique (as they lack one in the real world) and they no longer can see their shiny achievement badges that make them feel special.

As I stated in the beginning of this post I am a PSN user, and stated before in the blog I am a trophy collector. How have I been fairing you likely wonder? I've been playing other games and/or going out and hanging out with my friends, cause while I enjoy collecting trophies its just a time waster, I feel no worth from them, yet so many have their whole lives wrapped up in these services which boggles my mind.

I share Shirakani's view of Sony deserved an attack on their systems. The attack may not have had the purest of intentions itself but it was well needed. So I'm happy to wait and do other things with my life while they fix their shit, and maybe (but unlikely) they may return with a degree of humility. This is what any level headed user is doing as well.

If PSN had this level of freak outs and withdrawal shakes. I say Facebook or Twitter needs to be next. I'd like to open the next day's news paper to a few thousand suicides. Lord knows we need the population decrease.

MUSINGS: The PSN Debacle

Going on a full week now, and there's nobody out there who doesn't know that the Playstation Network is down. Today, Sony have finally come clean about the hack and that user data may have very well been compromised. What gets me however isn't the fact I'm unable to play COLLODOOTY or whatever other piece of shit current-gen game with 4 hours of real content and shoddy tacked on multiplayer in the name of gameplay... I don't buy those games, it's called being an educated consumer. What does get to me is the fact that quite a while ago when the PS3's security was cracked and fail0verflow released all the nice details... a number of people pointed out, after digging a bit further, that credit card data is sent unencrypted over the PSN.

Now one would think that after news like this gets out, Sony would either take steps to secure their network further, or if indeed it was a fallacy, step up and debunk the rumor and thus assuage any user fears over the security of their data. Right?

Nope. Sony, being Sony, did the only thing that could be expected of them: Ignore it and instead, continue suing a 21 year old kid and trying to put the cat back in the bag. Because, after all, they are Sony! They are thus infallible and perfect. Daring to suggest otherwise will get you sued! Oh and... pick up that can!

I guess nobody at Sony ever heard of not throwing punches if you have a glass jaw.

When they finally discovered the security breach, three whole days after it actually happened, then they go and take the PSN down. Three days though... Too little too fucking late? HOURS is enough for compromised data to be put to use, but three days, geez. One would also like to think if they'd dropped the god complex and actually LISTENED to the people like GeoHot who were offering to actually help them FIX their security holes rather than sue them instead to try and put the cat back in the bag, that they wouldn't be in this situation.

But no, they are Sony, they are infallable and god! How dare you suggest otherwise?! Want to be sued?!... Pick up that can!

But, as we all are generally quite aware. Multi-billion dollar corporations like to believe they are too big and untouchable, and too invincible, and also are above the law and have the right to create their own rules and expect them to be legally enforceable in court. Anyone who owns a PS3 now knows about the whole Sony vs GeoHot debacle and how Sony pretty much had the courts in their pocket the entire time.

Which... of course, leads me to my current train of thought, however wrong it may well be. I'll just go off and state for the record that I am most likely going to be wrong in what I am about to say, hence the title of this entry as mere musings. If you are unable to accept this fact, then stop reading now.

My current train of thought is simple: First, Sony very obviously used their financial might to twist the courts so heavily in their favor, that the only reason GeoHot got off with a settlement is the fact they really, really have absolutely no case, and the fact that the cat really, really isn't going back in the bag no matter what they do to him. They had to have known that (I hope...).

But, in the process of buying out the courts, they made it very, very clear to anybody that trying to fight this battle LEGALLY, ie "the right way" wasn't going to work. It was about as fair as a Zimbabwean presidential election. So naturally, what happens when proper due process fails? The shit hits the fan and the fight turns dirty. Sony succeed in pissing off Anonymous, the hive mind of the internet. It's no open secret that even many LEGIT USERS of PS3/PSN were taken aback at how dirty Sony were playing.

So naturally, when the established legal process fails, and the little man finally realizes that the only way they are going to stand any form of chance is to play DIRTIER than the dirty corporation... Then you have a really, really nasty situation just waiting to blow up. First it began with the usual DDOS crap, which worked to knock PSN offline for all of... probably two hours at best. Of course, it didn't last nor did it matter a damn.

But, resistance is resistance, right? The anonymous many have taken a stand against Sony, the big evil corporate giant, etc. Here's the thing too that many are incapable of understanding: Anonymous is NOT a unified conglomerate, nor is it any semblance of an ORGANIZATION. It's literally mindboggling how the media nowadays refers to it as one would an actual NAMED ENTITY. It is anything BUT! You have sites like this appearing to be a 'front' for Anonymous, but this only serves to drive the misconception further down the wrong path.

Anonymous is NOT an organization, get that through your heads you moronic FauxFox News thinkalikes.

Now, anonymous has gone and publicly denied any involvement. Yeah, right, how do they even know that? The DDOS attempt has failed, and of course, not everyone would have been happy with the idealistic 'war with no casualties' that the initial group of faggots proposed. The reason the first attack was stopped was that they didn't want to inconvenience legit gamers.

Ok, that's very noble of you to think that... but you find me anywhere, a war fought without blood being spilt, I'll show you a Nintendo first party game. *trollface.jpg*. Like I said before, Anonymous is NOT a unified conglomerate, and while many will be bored enough to go along with any 'planned' attack, there are many who have their own agendas. I believe the current PSN attack was carried out by those who have their own agenda.

If I were to think about anyone who would have enough real hate for Sony... See, "hate" is a very strong word. Everyone casually tosses it out there all the time, but it doesn't come close to TRUE hate. If someone truly, from the bottom of their heart, hates a person, or an entity... hates enough to kill, hates enough to destroy... hates enough to sacrifice their own life for the destruction of said entity... It can be one hell of a driving force. The only thing I could think of is this guy. He's been /r/aided twice by Sony now, and twice have they taken his shit. If anyone were to have enough of a motive to hit back really, really hard, it would be him... Or people who support him.

Now of course, I'm not saying that he did it because, obviously, I don't know whether he did or he didn't, and once again these are just musings. But the timing of the overall attack on Sony was a little bit too convenient, and I doubt everyone was going to let Sony get away with their dirty tactics unscathed. Just because you're a huge multinational organization doesn't mean you're invincible. They're learning that reality the hard way now.

Either way, while I am also a PSN user, and someone who's details most likely have been compromised... I also believe the attack needed to happen. Yeah, I said it, hate mail stops at the door. Sony, up until now, have bullied people in the courts, perverted the normal course of justice with money, and their current EULA for the PSN is something that would make Hitler go "shit I wish I thought of that...". They were long, long overdue for a real serving of reality, that when you start throwing punches and you have a glass jaw, someone ultimately will punch back. Give anyone a reason to SERIOUSLY punch back and you have the current situation as it stands.

We still don't know when the PSN is coming back, Sony's stock price took a dive when they were finally forced to come clean about what was or wasn't compromised, and hey, for all we know, they have probably lost a lot of money on this. Of course, this isn't going to really change anything... We most likely aren't going to get OtherOS back as a result of this. All it really is is a huge black eye to the all-powerful oh-so-mighty evil corporation that believed it was invincible and god. A strike from mortals, as it were, as a sign that we do indeed exist, and that we won't take shit lying down. Of course I could be totally wrong about all this, and chances are I probably am totally off base. Whoever attacked Sony may well be a profiteer out for self-gain just exploiting a huge hole in their defenses, without a care in the world for anything else. That's a rather likely scenario too.

Who knows really, I don't, you don't... the only ones who do know are the ones who carried out the deed. You and I know they won't be talking anytime soon. Those with true power are the ones you never hear from, all you see are the results of their actions. It's those with big mouths like GeoHot that you hear from and never see anything worthwhile at all.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The (Vidya) Wasteland Survival Guide - Part 1

Its the year 2011.... The golden age of Genesis and Snes has long past, a new oppressive industry has come to power in the land of GameIndustri.  If you wish to survive, you will need help. Don't forget your guide.

In this series I will try to help people (that don't "demo" before they buy) save some money with general opinions about things they might be on the fence about. we'll be covering many topics over the course of this series. but today's topic.

DLC - Finding the Gems in the turd ocean

Like it or hate it. These days DLC is god damn everywhere, while most of them are crap there are a few gems out there. The ones covered ahead are to be some of the best "in my opinion" DLC out there to help consumers. Also to put it out there now, Age means nothing in this article, if its this gen and it was good. I am going to try to list it.

The grading scale will look somewhat like this.

(if to goes past here its not really going to be listed, for this part of the DLC article anyway.)

Bioshock 2 - Minerva's Den

Price - $9.99
Overall - Excellent-Average (more on "average" below)
Availability - PS3/360/ "PC" (announced. but seriously don't hold your breath)

Quite simply put, this is what Bioshock 2 should have been, in this decent sized add-on, average of 3 hours if do the "take in the sights" aapproach along with replays on multiple difficulties, you play the role of Subject Sigma another of the first run big daddy series who has been recently liberated from its mind control (and apparently the sister bond, cause none of that bullshit from the main story need apply here).

You are sent to Minerva's Den, the central processing hub of Rapture and home to computers that pre-date the birth of computers on the surface, to find a still working transport sub that has a IFF to bypass Rapture's missile defenses and escape to surface with by Tenenbaum along with recovering the most advanced technology of Minerva's Den: The Thinker, a program algorithm so advanced that it can predict the future.

The Story and Pacing of MD is perfect, it also hosts a new plasmid type, Vortex, which is a blast to use if you pardon the pun. MD is a facinating place to explore, something new from Rapture, and fleshes out the city's lore even more. Lastly the plot throws a beautiful twist that I didn't see coming until only a few steps shy of when it happened, its nice when a twist is done WELL and not lame, its such a rarity these days.

The main game could have taken notes from this DLC in all seriousness, and such the main reason this has a -average rating and not straight excellent is the fact you have to own Bioshock 2 in all its turd glory to play this. Thankfully BS2 is cheap now days so if you can afford the few bucks or are a weird person and actually think BS2 wasn't inferior to BS in almost every way imaginable, grab this DLC or as I like to call it "BS2 - Off the Record"

Resident Evil 5 - Lost in Nightmares

Price - $9.99*
Overall - Exceptional
Availability- PS3/360
*(also pack in with Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition)

Ever wish for the old days of Resident evil? Where atmosphere mattered a lot more? Well while this DLC doesn't completely take you there, it tries its best to. And ends up delivering a better co-op challenge than even the base game, hows that for you?

Plot summery is this takes place before the events of resident evil 5 and are the direct events leading to Jill Valentine's "death" also in turn is a keystone event in the fall of umbrella arc as this is the fall of Oswell E. Spencer.

The game play itself is less "action-y" than RE5 itself. Focusing more on the survival and creepy atmosphere of the Spencer Estate (The estate itself has many nods to manor in RE1 as jokes). Ammo is scarce on higher difficulties, making what few enemies there are a actual threat instead of being a nuisance. The puzzles are pretty much all co-op oriented, and were more thought out than 5's making them more fun to do. The DLC ends on note that's weak (cause its very action oriented) and very cool at the same time cause of how its done. I don't wish to spoil too much. If you are a fan of actual horror RE instead of Dynasty Warriors: Zombies and guns edition. This is for you.

Also I want to give a honorable mention to the other RE5 DLC: Desperate Escape for being truly a challenging DLC on higher difficulties. but its not enough to warrant a whole separate review cause it did nothing special but be "RE5: another story".

Fallout 3 - Point Lookout

Price - $9.99*
Overall - Excellent
Availability- PS3/360
*(also pack in with Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition)

When we first heard the concept of DLC, people thought "expansion packs delivered cheaper for all", overall that hope has been dashed completely, but every once in awhile one delivers expansion pack level content. This is one of those times.

The main storyline for Point Lookout is not the meat of the game (only roughly 2-3 hours, unique gear at the end, standard FO3 fare) the meat is in its side quests and landscape, there are plenty of random things to check out, and plenty of loot for the Wasteland scavenger (I easily blew an additional 8 hours on screwing around in Point Lookouts surroundings) . However be warned! The denizens of Point Lookout are not for the faint of heart and will prove quite the challenge for the low level wanderer.

Challenge? check. Plenty to do? Check. LOOTZ!? double check. For a sandbox exploration rpg, this truly feels like the days of expansion packs again and was the gem that shined above the 3 other DLCs for FO3. I honestly wish I could say more, but being a sandbox game, the fun is what you make of it. So the its very much in the eye of the beholder here.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood - The Da Vinci Dissappearance

Price - $9.99*
Overall - Good
Availability- PS3/360/PC
*(comes pack in free for PC)

Following the Animus events of ACB by two whole years in his respective story. This DLC puts you once again in the shoes of Ezio Auditore Da Firenze in the year 1506. Kidnapped by a group calling themselves the "Enlightened Ones" Leonardo Da Vinci has gone missing. It is up to Ezio to find where he has been taken and rescue him.

The Content of the DLC has good in some places, and lacking in others. It was rather "video game cliche" to have most of the content be fetch quests in the way of  "There are clues to where he might be hidden in 5 paintings he did, find these 5 artifacts paintings", but on the upside the actual quests to retrieve them are fairly entertaining and expose you to a lot of old friends from Ezio's life. The final segment in the DLC, The Temple of the Pythagoreans, was the best part in my opinion. The architecture and designs were beautiful.

My main complaints with this DLC are symbiotic. Universal to ACB, the difficulty is well stupidly easy. even for 100% sync on these missions you really wont break a sweat. Because of its ease it winds up being terribly short, 1 hour to clear maybe 2 hours to 100%. It also "extends" the global story of Desmond past the ending of ACB a bit, but in a cocktease, not really answering anything fashion. In all its not bad, and if you have $10 that you really don't want to keep a hold of for whatever reason, there are worse places to put it.

Borderlands - The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

Price - $9.99*
Overall - Exceptional
Availability- PS3/360/PC
*(also pack in with Borderlands Game of the Year Edition)

Taking place after the events of the main game. The Atlas corporation, not hearing what had happened with the Vault was in the best interests of all, and just generally for being dicks with sticks up their asses. send another crew to the dusty world of Pandora to secure full order of the planet and to bring the players in, dead or alive. The Atlas Corp., much like Fallout's Enclave, has the interests of the common man least dear to their heart yet sugar coat everything that they are fighting the good fight. One of their personal Assassins, Athena, has grown tired of their Bullshit and recruits the players in an effort to liberate Pandora from the hand of Atlas, forever. In return she promises you a share of their armory's loot considering it more than enough payment.

I had had a lot of fun in this DLC, it was by far my favorite of the 4 for this game (however do check out Claptrap's New Revolution and Island of Dr. Ned. as they are good too) my only two complaints was there's a lot of driving from place to place but that is negligible if you play multi player as it becomes fun there. The other complaint being that you can only loot the armory a total of 3 times legitimately, after that is beyond your reach, but if that's not to your taste there are glitches that can bypass this.

Other than that this addon was solid. The dark humor of Pandora bubbles up in General Knoxx, a character I found very enjoyable (fighting him not so much, I had shitty guns at the time) which brings me to another point. this game raises the level cap to 61 (71 with the free level patch from New Revolution) and while can be played straight from a new game, is not intended till post game, as it is hard. This also was the only addon that provided something I used to love from ps1 era games, an optional hard as hell boss. (your mileage may vary, it was mostly "hard" for me cause it requires teamwork and every partner I got lagged to hell and back). In all I highly recommend this one if enjoyed borderlands at all.

Bioshock - Comic Book Challenges

Price - $5.99
Overall - Good
Availability- PS3

Last but not least for this article I'd like to give an honorable mention to this DLC, for cashing in on something I wished the original Bioshock had done more of (and Bioshock 2 failed to try either) What it did is explore the puzzle aspects of the plasmids a lot more, throwing you in scenarios that force you to think more whereas the base game was a lot more action oriented.

There are 3 Scenarios:

Chamber Of Thrills - you must use your powers cleaverly and slay a big daddy without weapons.
Wheel of Terror - The little sister is trapped atop the half broken Fairish Wheel, how will you get her down?
Worlds of hurt - Chamber after chamber. progress how you choose. can you reach the end?

The former two are well thought out. the last one ends up an action fest and ends up no thinking unless you try the "wrench + plasmids only" run, then its hard. the downside really to this DLC is it leaves you wishing for more. Even with the time challenges and rose hunts these are not very long. I would have loved the whole game been like this.

That brings this chapter to a close. I'll update again when I have more content. take care.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Improving On Fail of the Year

Just when we thought the shitstorm over Bioware's failure of a game called Dragon Age 2 was over... It just keeps getting better and better. Due to the obvious lack of quality in any way, shape or form of the game... Bioware resorted to what every major dev/publisher house would do to try and sell a piece of shit. They went and paid off every major critic site they could think of and boughtbribed, blew or otherwise paid for favorable reviews from most major critic sites out there.

However this wasn't enough to save the game from being called out by fans as the unfinished, rushed piece of garbage that it is.

So they did something called astroturfing, also known as grassroots activities. They had their staff go onto Metacritic and post deliberate inflated reviews with overly positive scores for the purpose of bumping the user score which was languishing in it's well-deserved spot of 3.0 or lower. Quite a common practice sadly, and everyone knows that any major McConsumerist Triple A Bollywood title will have a certain amount of bullshit/fake/paid off reviewing to inflate it's scores just so it will sell to the general McIdiot that actually thinks FauxFox News is gospel truth.

A day in the life of any profit driven greedy major dev backed by one of the Big Three Evils(tm) killing gaming today, nothing new. Nothing new at least, until you get caught redhanded in the act.

How did this come about? A discerning user browsing Metacritic decided it was quite odd that from a 3.0 user review average a few days ago, now suddenly the score has raised to an average of 4.0 due to a number of glowing 10/10 reviews from users that, oddly, only have the 3 platform versions of DA2 as their review. So our anonymous user decides to dox one of the reviewers... and well, the result is summed up in the image below. Click on the image to see the full thing, or simply click here.

 Either way, this is fail going from bad to worse. Not only are they banning people from games they paid for, something which, once it hit mainstream media, Bioware immediately went into damage control and called it a glitch. Now they can add astroturfing/grassroots activities to their list of fails, which, mind you, also conveniently includes lying about their DRM that is used in the game. I could also get started about their nonexistent TOTALLY AWESUMS level of customer service where customers with legitimate concerns are fobbed off and their threads locked by Nazi moderators all to happy to enforce the tiniest fine print in the T&C as a way to avoid answering difficult questions they are clearly unable to answer. I must point a finger at the Leader of the Fourth Reich moderator Stanley Woo for his shining examples of how if, you were sexually abused as a child and have no self-esteem, to make oneself feel better by becoming an Internets Forum Moderator(tm).

All in all, everything that Bioware can possibly have done wrong, has been done. Many have known for years that reviews were the result of back room bribery, but it's nice to have it shown at such an obvious level that a large dev/publisher is not above going far far over the line in the name of greed and profit. While it is a sad thing to happen to one of the formerly most loved RPG dev studios, I guess it was just a matter of time.

Congratulations Bioware once again, achievement unlocked.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fail of the Year, All Years

So, recently, Dragon Age 2 came out. My opinion of the first game isn't too bad. It's no Baldur's Gate 2 and will never be, in terms of depth of gameplay, choices and overall content, but it wasn't too bad. Now anyone following the development of DA2 would have known what to expect... Bioware were clearly going to dumb down the game to suit the Call of Duty crowd. But somewhere in the back of our minds we couldn't help but think 'it can't be THAT bad... can it?'.

Well.. unfortunately... it can...

Over the weekend I decided to give this a try. I acquired the game and all of the scam cut content DLC via the usual means... No, that doesn't mean paying for it... Paying for Bioware games is like admitting you watch Twilight and are in the Justin Bieber fanclub. It's just something you don't do. Bioware don't deserve money after all. Turns out that following this little mantra benefited me in the long run.

So, where do I start with this little review? Lets start with the install... I would never have thought that a disc containing only 40% of a game could have taken as long as it did to install. After waiting about 20 minutes, it was finally done. I grabbed a beer, sat back and proceeded to waste 3-4 hours of my life that I will, with overwhelming regret, never get back...

Graphics (4/10)
Ah yes, graphics. What makes up 90% of modern day McConsumerist Triple A Bollywood Games today. One would think, that as a bona fide modern day Triple A Bollywood title, that Dragon Age 2 would not disappoint in this area. How wrong one can be in assuming that. Even with the high definition texture pack installed... which, mind you, Bioware provided as a SEPARATE DOWNLOAD weighing in at roughly a gigabyte... Why this wasn't on the disc I have no idea... The game looks like absolute ass. Bland, uninspired, generic washed out textures that look like they come from a decade ago. Look at the screenshot for comparison. Just pathetic.

Details for characters are also all over the place. Facial shots can be quite well defined for main characters or major NPC's. Look closely enough and you'll see the quality is definitely not consistent. Backgrounds and environments, despite being a literal corridor walking game with absolutely no exploration whatsoever, are sparsely detailed and devoid of life. Totally unacceptable. They didn't even bother to put in a BACKGROUND for the party select screen... unlike the first game. The art design took a turn for the worse... taking a page out of the JRPG book while doing absolutely everything wrong. JRPG's and the anime look and style are always done deliberately to serve a purpose. Not so here. What we have here is a case of westaboo RPG wanting to shit on weeaboo RPG, and failing miserably at even doing that. Armor and weapon design is a spread of cobbled together bits of edgy metal, as opposed to actual decent designs in the first game. But I suppose this is what you get when you take a dev studio that no longer cares about anything but attempting to cash bleed and scam the fast dwindling fanbase. All in all, graphically, the game fails to deliver anything and manages to succeed in looking WORSE than the first game.

Sound (3/10)
Not really much to speak of here. Generic grunts, moans, wails and overly exaggerated clanging noises accompany overly exaggerated attack animations. If there was any music, it is completely forgettable as I cannot remember a single memorable tune. Character voices, especially the main character, are as flat and lifeless as you can get without actually being dead. They tried to go for a bit more 'immersion' by having your characters actually say something... but it's kind of hard to be immersed when choices generally consist of 'yes' 'no' and 'herp derp I wunts 2 be dragon herp herp'. Nevermind the fact that there is practically no plot to speak of anyway. Adding sound to a squishy turd doesn't make it sound any better.

Gameplay (1/10)
Ok here we go... Gameplay... Here's where I talk about how deep and engaging the new 'streamlined' gameplay and combat system is, accompanied by the deep and complex moral choices you are often presented with throughout the course of a decade long adventure that somehow only manages to last 7 years, which the last 3 years probably being cut content DLC. But, even before I can get into talking about gameplay... I have a small problem. Namely...


Calling this game an RPG is an insult to RPG's the world over. The game largely consists of you walking along a linear corridor from checkpoint to checkpoint while waves upon waves of enemies are being thrown at you like a freaking tower defense game. When you get to the end and reach your objective, or maybe midway through there is an NPC you can talk to for a bit of an intermission... You are given a DEEP AND COMPLEX MORAL CHOICE chance to flip a coin and make a herpderp choice that largely doesn't make a difference on whatever you pick as the outcome is scripted anyway. The 'dialog wheel' is honestly the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen in years. Yet the BDF (Bioware Defense Force) also known as Biofags or Bioware Buyfags, continuously laud this feature as the greatest achievement in RPG gaming since pen and paper D&D. See image to the right, sums it up.

Combat, while we're at it, consists of nothing but right clicking a target and occasionally pressing 1, maybe 2 for an alternate skill, and waiting for things to die. Bioware said that they wanted combat to become more engaging, and 'whenever you press a button, something awesome happens'. I don't know if you can call this awesome (you can't) but whenever you press a button, something does happen. Namely, characters move in greatly exaggerated motions making huge ridiculous poorly animated swings, numbers fly, and target drops dead. To quote a passage from this site because I really couldn't have said it any better:

"Dragon Age Origins had excellent combat animations with the standard fighting moves being fancy enough to look actually real and vicious while still keeping a gritty tone to them. THIS GAME FUCKS THAT IN THE ASS. Now you get mages shooting fireballs from between their legs while doing blackflips and Hawke is doing whirlwinds left and right and hitting thousands of enemies at once in ridiculous flashy and stupid looking animations. Yeah, way to keep the serious fucking tone of the game when my rogue is jumping around the game like a fucking monkey stabbing people all around the map. Way to go dipshit."

Lather rinse repeat ad infinitum for about 4 hours. Add another hour if you were stupid enough to buy the cut content DLC, or if you were smart enough to pirate it. The game is nothing but a button mashing offline WoW, and that's putting it mildly. Around the 3rd hour of play I was seriously considering loading up an auto clicker, it probably would have gotten the job done just as well. Monotonous, cookiecutter MMO style 'fetch me five rat tails' style quests do little to ease the pain of playing this game. The entire game also takes place in ONE city. One city, about 5 or 6 dungeons, and like the image on the right shows... 3 dialog choices per character.

On the subject of characters... what the hell happened to the characters? Again quoting this review as I really cannot say it any better:

"The first five minutes of the game you are stuck playing as a Human considering that ALL the origin stories are now gone which added replay and differences to the game and you are stuck with shitty human companions. One of them is your sister who DIES thankfully because her writing was terrible. You get a stupid dwarf who looks like some fat mobster from the 80s wearing a sweat suit with his chest hair flaring out. Yeah, that is great character design. These characters have absolutely NOTHING interesting to offer the game, nothing they say is even remotely interesting, their backgrounds are bland, and beyond that the love story in this game is LAUGHABLE. Beyond that, they replaced the standard text with a dialog wheel FOR RETARDS. Seriously the whole fucking game the only replies you can make are HAPPY, FUNNY, BAD. Oh wow, how INTERESTED, yeah it really sucks me into the game when my stupid replies are the same stupid set of three options everytime. Whoever did the writing for this game needs to have his fucking eyes swatted by a cat because no matter which characters speaks it is just so uninteresting that it makes my testicles hurt."

I could start talking about the usual Bioware scam, the day one DLC and preorder slightly less withheld Signature edition DLC... But I've said the same thing so many times now there's really no point repeating it. You get 40% of a game on disc, with cut content out of the box day one... They claim the game will last 'a decade' of in-game years, and yet the game ends after the 7th year with most likely the last 3 years as further cut content scam DLC. All in all, nothing new for Bioware. Totally expected, and further reasons as to why they do not deserve a cent of anybody's money.

From Bad to Worse
What I CAN get started on is how Bioware are reacting to all the negativity, and they are doing so in one of the most unprecedented, unacceptable ways for a company to react. After the game's release, it got hammered on Metacritic and received numerous poor ratings, justifiably so. Bioware, after having a large peanut butthurt and u jelly sandwich, decided they weren't having any of this, and rang SOVIET RUSSIA for halps. Because we all know, IN SOVIETS RUSSIA, GAME RATES U. They posted on their Russian community forums, a plea for the Bioware Defense Force to rise up against the evil that is North Korea and to fight fire with fire, and skew the ratings on Metacritic in favor of the steaming pile of shit GOTY all years candidate that is Dragon Age 2. Naturally, this didn't go so well and obviously nothing has changed.

Additionally, they have also taken to a draconian, heavy handed, Nazi approach and are deleting threads with any negativity in them whatsoever. Bioware employees are also taking a holier than thou attitude towards any form of criticism such as the example below, with the lead failure writer David Gayder Gaider taking absolute offense to any criticism of his deep and engaging shallow, paper thin plot and script. 

To make matters worse, people are being banned from the Bioware forums for negativity, and then finding out now, suddenly, that being banned also means they are now unable to play the games WHICH THEY HAVE PAID FOR.

This is over the line. If there was ever any reason to pirate Bioware for life, this is it. With Bioware's attitude nicely summed up in the example below, courtesy of lead faggot moderator Stanley Woo clearly stating that Bioware have the right to remove your right to play the game even if you bought it... Why should anybody pay?

However. All this really is a non issue. The game itself is trash, a total waste of time, and I want the 3 hours of my life that I spent playing this trash back. The only good thing gained from playing this, is realizing how low Bioware have fallen from their former greatness. I remember with great fondness, titles such as Baldur's Gate 2 and Jade Empire. I remember back when Bioware was a name to respect, a name to expect greatness from. Today, Bioware is a name to hate, revile, and wish death and bankruptcy upon... Even if only to save what little, miniscule face it may have left.

Normally, here's where a final score for a review would go, but there is no scale in existence that goes low enough to be able to score this game. Giving it a -100% is too nice. Giving it a 0/100 is insulting to the number 0. So regretfully I am unable to give a final score as there isn't a scale in existence that goes low enough.

However I can, and will say an honest heartfelt congratulations to EA and Bioware, for they have finally created an undefeatable, 100% working anti-piracy solution, which is:

"Make a game so ridiculously shit that it's not even worth pirating."
 Congratulations Bioware, achievement unlocked.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Old vs New

Greetings. Been while since I last posted. Between classwork and becoming a streamer at our affiliates Casualbros, I've not been writing much, and I apologize for that. However my streams did bring up a good topic to expand on because of what I had been streaming.

That of which. is old games.

I've been streaming several old games. From my ongoing Silent Hill series, to a heavily modded Oblivion, to even NES games, And it begs the question as well as its been asked once or twice "why not something more recent?"

Why not indeed. Its going to sound extremely "googles" for me to say some of these things but I am going to anyway. Its because these games never feel like a chore to play. These old games. cause they are complete and untainted, its never wearing on my conscious if I should be enjoying them. Modern games I truly feel guilty any time I find any enjoyment in them, cause what they are vessels for, usually the latest scam attempting to become market commonplace. Its a moral conflict as an adult,  "do I just blindly accept these horrible changes and mindlessly enjoy the games like so many do? Or do I try to change things for the better and try to stop these scam vessels from gaining ground?" and it depresses me to think how we got here. Because with games of old I didn't have to make this choice. The games were just "games" as it should be.

So it comes to no surprise that I go back to old games and modding old games to keep them fresh rather than play new. I know this is becoming very tired/blue in the face on this blog, but the thing stopping modern game from being good is the fact is their modern games. Those AAA+ 4star "Brollywood" production budgets that deem the game a failure if it didn't sell over 5 million games, everything wrong with gaming today. I personally long for the day gaming leaves the mainstream eye again, but that will likely never happen, or at least not without some massive changes.

Regardless I sit back in my chair, much like a angry grandfather in his rocker, and reminisce about times of old. However its not all negative, amazingly from my streams I've found many support my views about the direction the market is going, gives me some hope. And if you ever wish to join these discussions first hand. be sure to visit sometimes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random Musings of a Gaming Generation

Happy New Year to all, I hope your holidays were safe, enjoyable and of course, fun. Apologies for the lack of content over the holidays, we need holidays too!

That aside. This is going to come off as a lot of ramble... At this time of year, like in the November/December period, I usually stop to look at upcoming games, or the games coming out for the holidays and such. At this time of year, 2-3 years ago, I sat here and browsed through the upcoming ps2/xbox/GC game lists and would usually see at least 10 or more games on the upcoming lists for the year that I'd have an interest in. Today I sit here looking at the upcoming lists for the year, and see barely a handful, if even that.

It just makes me wonder how did we ever get to this point? Looking back over a decade ago at last few generations of games, there are many games I look at fondly, and am proud to own. Ever since the PS360 generation, there is not a single purchase I can look at proudly... Instead I look at these titles and think of how much cut content DLC or disc locked content is in the game, and how we will never own a complete game.

Steam had an awesome holiday sale, as they usually do. My wallet is on life support because of it. I look at the 30-40 odd games I bought during the sale, and they all had one thing in common: Every single title is at least a generation old, if not older, and contains no Withheld Content/Disc Locked Content. Guess what? Those old games, like Neverwinter Nights 2, are still going to be far superior games to anything comparable in the same generation from the current gen. Why? Simple.

1) They are complete games.
2) They have no scam DLC
3) They contain LAN play, or options to run a server. Using NWN2 as an example, the game's shining point is multiplayer and custom content/3rd party mods/3rd party created content. All of which *gasp* IS NOT COMPRISED of nickel and dime scam DLC.

Lets look back at the current PS360 generation. Has there been a single complete game released, at all, for the 2009-2010 period? At all? Just one?... I for one am unable to think of a SINGLE MAJOR TITLE that does not contain withheld content/disc locked content DLC. Every single major game released in the last period was prevented from becoming great games by the fact they were loaded with enough cut/scam content to leave a nasty taste in the mouth.

I used to have a saying applicable to MMORPG's, especially free2play free2pay MMORPG's:

"The only thing preventing MMO's from being great games, are the fact they are MMO."

There are a lot of MMO's out there, which, if the core game were made into a single player WITH optional multiplayer game, or a multiplayer game that could be hosted via dedicated 3rd party servers... would be a lot better game than they are in the MMO form. Yes, you do lose the huge fantastic persistent world of most of these games... and you lose the 'crowd' and high population... but if you consider that a large percentage of these games are populated by BR's with terribad english, nothing of value was lost at all.

Now I have to amend that statement somewhat to apply to almost any current, and upcoming gen major title.

"The only thing stopping any modern game from being a great game is the fact it's not a complete game."

The era of DLC potentially had a lot of promise. It was a way for developers to fix bugs discovered post-master. It was a way to deliver ADDITIONAL new content. The potential was there, everyone saw the promise it held. But what it should have been, and what it is are always two different things. So far the DLC era has been an excuse to allow for developers to release unfinished games such as Fallout: New Vegas (day one bugs, anybody?) with more cut/withheld content in the pipeline to come. It's also been nothing but a convenient vessel for developers/publishers such as Bioware to release chopped up bits of games such as Dragon Age and the upcoming Dragon Age 2... Announcing DLC even before the game has shipped? What do you think you are? An MMO?!

We understand that devs and publishers have to earn money. Fine, nobody wants to work for free. But, while you (devs/publishers) may believe that your work is worth $100+ per title... We, the gaming public, believe otherwise. So far you have given us more and more reasons to not buy, or to pirate your games, than to buy your games. Of course you're going to stand up on your soapboxes when you're only able to afford one Ferrari this year instead of two and scream that piracy killed the gaming industry... But, more and more gamers who didn't grow up during the DLC era are looking back at the quality we used to have, and the unfinished crap released as finished games today... and wondering what the hell went wrong.

Where did we go wrong indeed? How did such a promising vessel (DLC) for quality turn into nothing but a vessel for cash scamming/grabbing without a care or pride for the game itself? Even on PHONES now, you have 'in-app' purchases... which is... yep... more scam DLC. More and more games on the iPhone App Store are now coming out as PAID titles WITH a 'premium' cash shop inside. Gamevil and Capcom I'm looking at you here. The fact that the scam DLC era has moved to PHONES is beyond sad.

So, happy new year... I'm sitting here looking at the upcoming release lists for the year and trying to spot complete games being sold. Someone let me know when they see one. It looks like I may finally be able to save money, as all the cash grabbing, DLC scamming companies like Bioware, Capcom, Bandai Namco, EA, Activision and many more... are just so drop dead insistent on pushing away my business by choosing to not sell a complete game.

I don't know whether if all of this cash bleeding is deliberate foolishness or if they just truly, honestly do not get it. Do they honestly think that people have money hidden away somewhere, or a money tree in the backyard and by using the current dlc scams/cash bleeding tactics they are... that they're actually going to somehow magically get access to this hidden stash? I've ranted and hated on the scams they pull many times but often I am also left seriously wondering: Do these companies HONESTLY not get it?

People aren't really hiding or withholding cash the way you companies withhold content... Most gamers have a budget set aside for X number of games a year. They WON'T spend more than that budget allows simply because it's outside the budget. If a gamer had $120 put aside to buy 2 games in the upcoming quarter, and then he realizes both games he wants are unfinished/chopped up games with cut content... Do you honestly think he's going to continue to spend the $120 on both games and then SOMEHOW magically pull out MORE money to buy all the cut content DLC? Sorry, that isn't the case... What the guy is going to do is going to weigh up the two games he wanted, buy the one he wants more, and then buy the cut content... So out of that $120 he was going to spend, he would have spent $60 on one of the two games he wanted, and then maybe an additional $20-30 or maybe even $40 if it's a Sucktivision game on the cut content... and just go without the other until the budget allows or it falls into the budget bin. So out of $120 that he would have spent on two complete games, one company has lost out completely on a sale and the other company has gotten maybe $100... indeed the lion's share of his gaming budget, IN ADDITION to leaving a nasty, scammed, bitter taste in that gamer's mouth which most likely is going to deter him from buying any future titles from that same company.

At the end of it all, the gamer loses out because he had to pay more for less, and got scammed/burnt... The company may have 'won' by getting him to spend $100 on one game instead of $60... But they lose the war in the long run when the gamer decides to stay away from X company due to being burnt by scam content the first time. Rather than keep the gamer happy and constantly coming back for more and more new titles, you bleed them so hard on ONE sale, you'll get your pound of flesh, and then they never come back.

Penny wise, pound foolish. Do these companies honestly not get it?... It boggles the mind sometimes.

I wonder how it will be next year... Or will we be in the age of paying $20 for a title screen and $5 for the ability to Press Start, and then an additional $5 for the ability to begin gameplay... and $10 to save your game. When the PS360 generation dies, is the next generation going to require you to pay $1000 for a console, and then pay $20 to even be allowed to turn it on, and another $20 to create an online account to use the console at all... and then another $20 to be allowed to insert the disc, and from there... another $20 to see the title screen?

I know for a fact I will not be buying into the 'next gen' of gaming. I also know an increasing number of people are starting to feel the same way. I suppose it's a good thing that there were so many quality games released in the last few generations... With this current gen sucking more and more, and the future looking bleaker and bleaker... it's a great time to go back and play the older titles I put aside as a 'I'll get around to this someday'.