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  • Microsoft: The New EA?

    Posted on December 29th, 2008 Finster 1 comment

    knowsyousuckWith EA being a bit less of a stinker in recent months, despite a few DRM black eyes, there has to be a new (old?) evil empire, and lately Microsoft has really been cheesing me off.

    New Xbox Experience Sucks

    I went quite a while without having an avatar. Eventually, I got tricked into selecting one as I tried (and failed) to get an online game of Castle Crashers going. Bottom line is, that according to OXM, they’re closing the “loophole” that was allowing me to back out of the Avatar process. I honestly don’t see what the point of having an avatar is. It’s a rip off of the Mii. The idea of selling clothes makes me want to eat Microsoft points cards until I retch. Better that than spend them on idiotic clothing.

    The themes are also quite stupid. Take away the one part of the Xbox Live interface that wasn’t completely retarded (the friends’ list) and replace it with this godawful swooshy merry-go-round effect where it’s not even apparent what the hell people are doing because there’s so much extra noise from the avatar and themes. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even bother with the default Xbox interface anymore. All I do is hit the middle button and pop up the Guide. You know, where you can find all the actually useful menus (including the old-style friends’ list).

    I know this is reactionary, but I honestly am considering NOT renewing my Xbox Live subscription. I’m not saying OMG BOYCOTT, but I am just so… sick… of these stupid avatars.

    Microsoft, not Developers, Determines Prices

    There has been a never ending tale of tears and misery when it comes to Xbox Live DLC pricing. Horse Armor, Godfather codes, Lumines, just to name a few of the controversies. Many times, throughout these debacles, Microsoft has stated that it’s the developer that makes these choices. Blame them!

    Enter Doug Lombardi, VP of Marketing over at Valve Software. Shacknews¬†reported him saying that while the updates for Left 4 Dead would be free for PC, Microsoft was forcing them to charge for the same DLC on the Xbox 360. Naturally, this begs the question: What about the free Gears of War maps and the free Halo 3 content? I guess if it’s a Microsoft published game, you don’t HAVE to charge for DLC, after all.

    Left 4 Dead is one title that is sorely in need of free content. Sixty dollars is far too much for far too little. The $50 Left 4 Dead package on Steam looks downright delicious, comparatively. $50 + lots of free updates vs. $60 + $10 for a DLC pack. Fail.

    Microsoft trying to beat EA to see who can kill off more game developers

    Halo Wars, created by the late Ensemble Studios will apparently include this achievement:

    Ready for the Sequel – 100% completing – 75G

    Fascinating. You include an achievement promising a sequel, but then destroy the people that would be best equipped to create it.

    Everytime Microsoft kills a studio that I used to love, I’m going to butcher a kitten and feed it to my Corgi. With the destruction of FASA Interactive and Ensemble, she now has a voracious appetite for kitty.

    Only Microsoft can end the suffering.

  • A whole bunch of mini-reviews

    Posted on November 22nd, 2008 Finster No comments

    Between bouts of trying to level my WoW characters, I’ve actually played through a number of titles. Here are some of my random thoughts.

    Fallout 3

    I think this might be my top game of 2008. Before I had even realized what happened, I had finished the game after about 50 hours play time. There have been some complaints online that the main storyline was too short. I did a pretty good job of staying focused on the main quests… only did a few side quests here and there… and I finished the game in FIFTY HOURS. That’s a lot of gameplay in my opinion. And I still need to go back and play the evil and neutral paths.

    Fable II

    As far as RPG’s go, this seems like a very deep, very involved RPG. I need to spend more time with it. It’s a lot of fun. However, there are so many other titles to play right now… this will probably be a major title for me after the initial holiday glut of titles is past and I start getting tired of WoW again. (More on that in a minute.)

    Force Unleashed

    I wanted to like this game. It started out really well, but it punishes you SO MUCH when you make a wrong move. And sometimes, there is no obvious indication that you are making a wrong move. OH YAY I KILLED THAT BOSS! Okay, now I all I have to do is jump across this area… oh crap I died. WHAT THE HELL WHY IS THE CHECKPOINT BEFORE THE BOSS AND NOT AFTER I HAVE TO FIGHT HIM AGAIN BLARGGRLRGRLGRLLRRG!!!! Another notch in my “I Hate Lucasarts” belt.

    Dead Space

    I played this for a few hours. It definitely seems like it could be fun if I play through the whole thing. Feels like a 1-play-through kind of game, though. I don’t see myself playing through it multiple times, but who knows.

    Mega Man 9

    OH MAN! Not only has this game managed to completely, flawlessly capture every iota of nostalgia I had for the old NES titles, but it is a great platformer in its own right. It’s definitely challenging, but instead of driving me away, it just pulled me in deeper. Plus, it gives me an excuse to turn on my Wii! (That’s what she said.)

    Gears of War 2

    I played the single player campaign and it was pretty awesome. It added metric tons of story and plot. Can’t wait for the 3rd game. Multiplayer has been kind of fun, but hasn’t really been able to pull me away from…

    World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

    The Death Knight is the single greatest class I have played in any MMO, ever. It just feels really powerful. It’s kind of everything that I used to love about my warrior. High survivability AND high DPS. LOVE IT! The starting area has got to be one of the best sets of MMO content, anywhere. Blizzard’s new “phasing” concept is fantastic!

    Left 4 Dead

    I just recently picked this up and it’s been the only 360 game lately that has pulled me away from WoW in a significant way. I’ve been playing a couple different modes. I hope that the multiplayer for this game stays active for a long time, because this is easily the best multiplayer gameplay of 2008.