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  • Who buys this crap?

    Posted on May 3rd, 2010 Finster No comments

    AvP_10A few months ago, I got a press release about some new Playstation Home “outfits” available from SEGA. Apparently, for €3 you can get one of these costumes and prance around Playstation Home dressed up as a colonial marine or a predator.

    I want to know who buys this crap. Seriously. Who is it? Obviously, they are the same people who are buying Winnie the Pooh t-shirts for their Xbox Live Avatars.

    The whole concept of Xbox Live Avatars isn’t completely terrible, I guess, but the fact that they are charging real money so I can put some kind of stupid shirt on my avatar… is just bizarre. It almost proves the insane ideal that anything will be bought by someone at some point in time just because there is a price attached.

    If this crap were free would anyone download it? Aye, there’s the rub. This is something I like to think of as “the pet rock phenomenon”. Take something that is pretty much worthless, attach an arbitrarily low price to it, and suddenly it has worth. I guess that sums up this whole Playstation Home business model. It isn’t pure evil (don’t touch it!) or anything, but what happens when the PS3 and Xbox 360 go away? Never gonna happen, you say? Au contraire, mon frere.

    The part of all this that is the most infuriating to me, is that Sony and Microsoft wouldn’t be selling this garbage unless there were enough people buying it to make it profitable. That’s the worst part of this whole thing. This whole stupid, inane, pointless endeavor is actually working. I’ll admit, though, the face that Xbox Live is full of people who buy this crap makes me reconsider even subscribing to the service. Auto-renew: off!

    Maybe that’s me being elitist, but here I am… still subscribed to Xbox Live. So, who buys this crap? Apparently… I do.

  • Personal Achievement Unlocked: 20k Gamerscore

    Posted on April 10th, 2009 Finster No comments

    xbox360-achievement-bushshoeAt the end of March I broke the 20k barrier for gamerscore. I know that’s not an impressive feat these days, but personally, I feel like it’s kind of an accomplishment. I’ve had my 360 for about 3 years now!


  • I gave up hope on Star Ocean: The Last Hope

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 Finster No comments

    star_ocean_the_last_hope__13_I tried out Star Ocean: The Last Hope a few days and was kind of underwhelmed. I only spent about 30 minutes before getting royally ticked off at the combat system.

    The first combat experience they give you with Star Ocean combat in this iteration of the venerable Squeenix franchise is a battle tutorial that teaches you the various moves that you’ll be able to use throughout the game. The problem is that this combat is NOT indicative of the combat once you actually get into the game.

    I didn’t find this out until I had decided that this combat “isn’t FOR ME” and had pretty much moved onto other things. Later, a friend of mine informed me that the combat is much different than the what the tutorial area would lead me to believe. After watching him play a few combats it was obvious combat wasn’t as horrible as I was expecting.

    In the interest of full disclosure I should let you know that I generally prefer turn-based combat to real-time, at least in the scope of Japanese-style RPG’s. Unfortunately for gamers like me, there really hasn’t been a lot of compelling turn-based games in recent history aside from Lost Odyssey.

    So, after seeing how combat REALLY plays out in Star Ocean: TLH, I’ve gotten back into it and actually started playing the story a bit. Based on the demo my friend had given me, which was at about the 10 hour mark, the story does seem truly compelling. We’ll see.

  • 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.

  • Call of Duty: World at War beta impressions

    Posted on October 14th, 2008 Finster No comments

    Attack Dogs are the new Martyrdom.

    That is all.

  • Patch Whiners: An Epidemic

    Posted on January 9th, 2007 Finster 1 comment

    whiner.jpgIt’s nothing new. It’s been happening as long as I can remember. If you’ve used the internet at all you’ve noticed. Perhaps, you’ve even been part of the problem.

    Patch whining. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Ultimate Xbox 360 Library

    Posted on December 7th, 2006 Finster No comments

    The Xbox 360 has been out for a year now, and I’ve played a lot of games at this point. I thought I’d lay out some of the titles I think are the must-own games for this platform. These are the games that you’ll want to buy if you’re thinking about picking one up for Christmas.

    Games that don’t require Xbox Live

    • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (94 on gamerankings) – this is easily the best (and one of the only) single-player RPG’s on the platform. It does have its flaws, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find them without spending hundreds of hours on the game or being a hardcore RPG aficianado. There is plenty to do and many different ways to enjoy this masterpiece.
    • Marvel Ultimate Alliance (84 on gamerankings) – More RPG goodness, this time in a more Diablo-like form. You control a stable of Marvel heroes from the awesome (Iron Man) to the obscure (Moon Knight), including a few of your favorite X-men. The character management and powering up is quite fun, as you can select several different ways of leveling up each character. You can also create and name your own super-team and gather in-game resources to trade-in for special team bonuses. Fun on many levels.
    • Splinter Cell: Double Agent (85 on gamerankings) – It may not be the best in the series, but it’s certainly much better than Pandora Tomorrow. For 3rd-person stealth action, Splinter Cell can’t be beat. The multiplayer is not terribly satisfying in this version, but the single-player is pretty dang fun, with a fairly good degree of replayability.
    • Condemned: Criminal Origins (83 on gamerankings) – This ones probably a little on the violent side, but if that doesn’t bother you, this has a great story and some interesting gameplay mechanics.
    • Viva Piñata (86 on gamerankings) – If you have kids, getting this game is the biggest no-brainer in the history of the world. It’s casual, easy-going gameplay is perfect for children. Also, you can pick up a 2nd controller and control the game in case your kid gets stuck and needs a little help. This way, he won’t have to give up the controller. It’s also good if your wife is playing and you want to annoy the crap out of her. . . . What?

    Games that DO require Xbox Live

    • Gears of War (94 on gamerankings) – The multiplayer on this game is an unstoppable tour de force of chainsaws, grenades, and head stomping. The matchmaking can be somewhat shaky at times, but the gameplay makes it more than worth it. Easily the best looking and best playing game of the next generation, so far.
    • Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (91 on gamerankings) – This was one of the first quality shooters for the 360, and a recent update to the multiplayer lobby system has improved the online elements tremendously. The single-player and co-op missions are also a huge blast and offer pretty good replayability as there are usually several ways of attacking or defending various objectives.
    • Call of Duty 2 (90 on gamerankings) – Another game that has great single-player campaigns. The multiplayer system is great for picking up a game here or there very quickly. Graphics are pretty good. Not the best of the next gen games, but not horrible. Overall this is probably one of the best WWII shooters.
    • Xbox Live Arcade (various) – There are a TON of great titles on the Xbox Live Arcade. You can get your old school fighter games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat or get your REALLY old school on with hits like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga. There are also some great indie titles like Small Arms and Cloning Clyde. Seriously, if you bought no other games for your Xbox 360 and played only Xbox Live Arcade titles, you’d have a lot of fun for quite some time. Just beware of the over-priced turd that is Lumines II.

    On the Horizon, there are still a pretty good mix of titles in the bullpen. Stranglehold, Mass Effect, and of course, Halo 3, all look to continue the trend of great titles.

  • Halo 3 Hype: Meh

    Posted on December 5th, 2006 Finster No comments

    Halo 3 Meh

    When Microsoft released the TV ad for Gears of War, the marketing push (at least just for the commercial itself) felt like a kind of, “We think this ad is kinda good and we hope you like it.” It didn’t feel like it was supposed to be this grand thing, and it kind of took on a life of its own. It was really good.

    But I get a little irked when Bungie says stuff like this:

    We just saw one of Digital Domain’s final submissions before the [1st Halo 3 commercial] gets finished and has Mart-Music added to it, and I have to say, jaws were dropped. I am not going to overpromise to you guys, but the Bungie folks who saw it were very, very impressed. And there are a surprising number of clues and glimpses into the finished game, although it contains not a lick of gameplay in it.

    As far as commercials go for a First-Person Shooter, it might as well have been a Call of Duty ad, or one of those fake gameplay videos for Battlefield umpteen42 that EA craps out of their marketing department every 6 months or so.

    It certainly wasn’t the worst CG ad I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t give a lot of insight into the Halo universe (as Bungie has claimed). And the music might have been great, but honestly, I couldn’t hear it over the rest of the audio. I don’t mind hype if the game is actually going to be that good, like Gears of War. But one has to wonder if Bungie isn’t getting a little antsy after the great reception that Gears of War has received. It’s almost as if Bungie is trying TOO hard to be cool. Like that kid you know that has two clown syndrome. That can be the only explanation as to why Bungie is publishing such inane weekly updates.

    Seriously, TRYING to produce hype about a commercial is just lame. Please stop. Let the ad speak for itself. That’s what a good ad is supposed to do anyway.