Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Still Alive

FYI: I'm aware that the changes to the blog's formatting look terrible. I'm working on changing around the whole layout, and it's a Work In Progress. Should have the final changes tomorrow to go with that day's post.

If I had the time and creative energy, I'd write you a version of the "Still Alive" song from portal with Retail job appropriate lyrics. Due to the demands of getting everything finalized for our grand re-opening after the end of a remodel, I've worked 58 hours in the last 5 days, including 16 hours across two of my "days off." Such is the nature of the beast. Don't really want to say more on it than that, just that I've been really, incredibly busy.

Tomorrow will be a total crash and relax day, as it's my only true day off before I work 3 more 12 hour days. I'm thinking of trying to watch Saw III (I'm trying to work my way through all of the Saw movies before VI comes out), and play some Batman and Banjo-Tooie. If I can get the people together, I'd like to play some Firefight is ODST.

Due to peer pressure, I purchased Crash Course for L4D, and I'm rather wishing I hadn't. The last piece of DLC I saw that was in such a poor state on release for The Pitt for Fallout 3, and they were smart enough to pull that off the marketplace. Crash Course is littered with graphical glitches, which are consistent throughout. My brother and I kept seeing them in the same spots. Even worse, Valve's servers seem to be having tantrums. Every time we tried to play online, we got disconnected, and that never, ever, ever happens for the two of us. Gotta blame Valve on this one. If you haven't purchased the DLC yet, wait on it. This current version is unacceptable. Others can love on Valve all they want, but their star is starting to dim in my eyes, but that's a tangent for another day.

Today, I had the opportunity to watch Saw and Saw II, gained one Firefight achievement with my brother and Bishop (normal isn't hard at all; don't be a pussy and play on easy... I'm NEVER doing that again LOL... once was enough), and completed the campaign in Magic: The Gathering. I'll take the 50 as a welcome back to the joys of gaming.

I'm going to attempt to get back into completing (or at least pushing above the 75% mark) two games before adding a new one to my card. Of course, my failure rate for gaming goals is pretty close to 100%, so we'll just see how THAT goes lol.

The current Four are (since I myself had forgotten):

1. Batman
2. Halo 3 ODST (need 3-4 people for almost everything left at this point)
3. Lost Odyssey (temporarily shelved until I'm more relaxed and have time)
4. Banjo-Tooie

Side Projects:

1. Magic: The Gathering (48 wins for 100% unlocked, 2-3 more ranked wins)
2. EDF 2017 armor grinding
3. Section 8, because I should probably enjoy the MP as much as I can while people are still playing it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Yes, I Just Spent 1200 Microsoft Points on a Movie Rental

No, I don't regret it. You see, for a few rare titles Microsoft has had this deal where you can pay a king's ranson to download a "rental" of a movie before it hits theatres. It's 800 points for standard def, 1200 for HD. Yes, I'm aware I could have bought a new DVD with that money.

What movie could get me so riled up I'd be willing to fork over $15 to watch it in HD RIGHT NOW? Ong Bak 2: The Beginning, the sequel to my favorite action movie of all time, starring none other than Tony Jaa. If you've never seen Onk Bak: The Thai Warrior or heard of Tony Jaa, shame on you. Tony Jaa makes Jason Statham look like a total pussy. Tony Jaa does stunts in his sleep that would make Jet Li curl up into a ball and cry at the thought of. If you're an action fan, and you haven't discovered Thai action movies yet, you need to. Unlike American action movies which rely on jerky camera action and stunt doubles, Thai action movies are much more straigh-up brutal. Watch Ong Bak and Born to FIght and you'll know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

I've been drooling over the thought of this sequel since it was announced over 2 years ago, and it's really here. Still waiting for it to download enough to watch, but I'm planning on watching it two nights in a row, to get the most of my money. Sorry SUnday Night Football, you've just been 1-upped.

Here's a trailer to show you what I'm freakin' talking about (embedding has been disabled on it, click for the official HD trailer):

And here's a really well done fan video that shows you what you can expect from a Tony Jaa movie. If you seriously haven't seen Tony Jaa, I forgive you. I'm big on educating the masses here at ThrawnOmega's Blog on the Gaming Life.

For you more budget-conscious movie fans out there, mark you calenders: October 23rd.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Paging any Firefighters... Um... Hi?

Do I smell bad? I shouldn't; I showered this morning. Thing is, I can't find a soul to play some Serious Firefight in ODST with. Everyone's playing it with someone else, already has the achievements and isn't interested, or doesn't feel like playing. Kinda makes me feel left out, doubly so since this is clearly the best part of the ODST package. (And the only reason I'd keep it after 1k) Since Bungie in their infinite wisdom deigned to NOT include any matchmaking for this, I'm at the mercy of having friends around who want to play.

Bishop has tried more than anyone else, but his connection has been pretty bad lately, lagging the game to a crawl, and disconnecting him. Not really his fault, but annoying nonetheless. (Hopefully that gets fixed soon buddy =P) And that brings me to Bungie's second Firefight failure... If one person leaves, the game ends. How is that fair to the remaining players? It sucks to suddenly have the plug pulled on a long battle. Players should be able to continue playing a man down if they so choose. If the host quits, change hosts... you do that already in the multiplayer... so why not here?

Firefight is the best part of ODST, and I have yet to have much fun in it. I'm almost foaming at the mouth to get a good 4-person team together and work on some of those map achievements. So, if you want to play some Firefight, send me a message. I want in on some of that action. Badly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Thank you, Penny Arcade. (Click the image to enlarge it if you're having trouble reading all 3 panels.)

My review for Darkest of Days has been posted on x360a, and is linked on the right. As you will see, I really wasn't a fan. In my tenure with the review team, only Onechanbara has recieved a lower score from me...

Day 2 of my current 3 day off stretch was a mostly effective scoring day. I say mostly because of L4D... but I'll get to that.

In ODST, I'm to the point where almost everything I have left to do is Firefight related, and I haven't been able to scrape a full 4 person team for it yet. Hopefully tomorrow. Instead, I managed to get enough people together for a major Halo 3 boosting session. Where we lacked people, we added guest accounts. At one point, my guitar hero controller was a character, though that thankfully didn't last long. The idea was to build a group equal to a play list's max, so it would be just us and no randoms. Using our complete veto power, we were able to rip through and get all the online achievements with a high degree of efficiency. It really helped that EVERY ACHIEVEMENT FOR A LEGENDARY MAP CAN BE UNLOCKED ON MYTHIC MAPS. If you didn't know that, you now do. A major time saver, that was. I'm now up to 1740/1750, with only 5 achievements left. I really don't want to go for the vidmasters, and getting a ranked overkill may take a century, but I'll probably suck it up and chase them eventually for the sake of completion.

With jackanape, Bishop, and Omega Deez, I went after some of the Expert campaigns in L4D, succeeding in only 1. The trick is to play on easy until the finale, then return to the lobby and switch to expert. After winning the finale, you'll get Expert credit. We had a cheap way to get on top of the plane for Dead Air, and a rock exploit for Death Toll. Problem is, I still died on Death toll, so I never got credit for it. I'll take the 30 points for 1 expert complete, since I really never expected to get that achievement anyway, but finishing Death Toll would have nice too. Oh well. I truly think I'll never max out L4D, so I'm not too broken up about it.

SInce I managed to find the strategy guide for Banjo Tooie, I loaded up my save on that and picked up a few jiggies. Eventually I'll get the 200 in that arcade title.

My days off have been extremely kind to my gamerscore, but I feel like I'm playing to damn much. My other hobbies need some love too, so I'm going to try to scale back the gaming tomorrow to get make some progress on a few other projects I have going on.

Silva, Bishop, Buck, Bionik... It was a pleasure boosting with you all as always.

By the way, I've noticed this for a couple days now, but you see that hit counter on the right? IT'S OVER 9000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But seriously, thanks for the support and positive feedback everyone has provided since this blog started. It's been a blast to write, and I'm glad you've found some small measure of entertainment from it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Surrendered to Temptation

I wasn't planning on it, but I broke down and bought ODST on day one. I figured, despite my brother's reticence to spend the cash, he'd be picking it up too, since he's 100x the Halo fan I am. Hopefully Firefight, which I have yet to try, lives up to the positive word-of-mouth surrounding it. I cooped the campaign on Legendary with my bro and some of his friends last night, and wasn't long, nor was it that challenging. I think the 4 of us cleared it in around 4.5 hours.

This morning, I went back and picked up all the audiofiles, so I have the collectables achievements. I also suffered through the Vidmaster: Classic achievement, which isn't as easy as everyone says it is. That first section sucks, but once you get beyond the first two Wraith tanks, it's managable. As I type this, I'm being a good samaritan and helping xRogue 5x get the 0 pointers in brothers in arms, while I basically sit here and type. No real effort from me, since I have everything.

Once this wraps up, I'm going to return to ODST and try to wrap up the 5 point achievements that litter the campaign, so the only thing left to do is Firefight and the Vidmasters. I'd also like to try to get a 6-person party together some time to try to boost as much as possible of the Halo 3 MP achievements in Ranked Lone-Wolves. Unless Firefight blows me away, I'll probably be pushing for all the achievements and selling ODST for as much a return as I can. Firefight may make me retract my words, but ODST just doesn't feel like a $60 value right now.

Can't complain too much about an easy 825 gamerscore so far, I suppose.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gamestop is Great... when they take my Junk

SO, I finished the full 1000 in Darkest of Days (my 51st completion according to my dashboard), and will be working on the review draft tomorrow. Unfortunately, I had to "enjoy" that game almost 2 full times to get all the points. Not too tough a 1k, but aggrivating.

I was incredibly eager to pitch this thing, since its trade value is as high as it'll ever be. Called Gamestop, they said they'd give me $15. I'm thinking, "I'll pass, I can do better on EBAY." But the guy wasn't done yet. They had this deal going where if you trade in for games, you get another $20. Games have to be worth just $2 to qualify. Well, I've got a lot of old GSL crap that probably won't fetch $2 anywhere, even EBAY, so this was a chance to snag some extra money for dumping my trash. Yes, I had to have an Edge card, but I actually think Game Informer is worth the $15 a year, so what the hell. Ended up getting $48 credit after that cost, so I'd say I did pretty good for loosing a lot of utter crap games.

With that credit, I got Night at the Museum for $10... I'll take the 1000 points, thank you. As for the quality section of my purchase, I was debating between Halo Wars, which would have cost me nothing, Mini Ninjas, or Batman. My love of Batman won out, so I picked that one up for just $20 cost to me. I thought it was a good deal for my trash. Of course, they also tried a million times to get me to preorder stuff, which was kind of hilarious. I have a Wal-Mart Associate discount card. I can get new games day one for at least $6 off the regular price, so why would I want to preorder? Can't complain too much though... Gamestop is notorious in my books for poor customer service, but this guy was actually pretty good. The only times I go into Gamestops are when I can take advantage of deals like this.

As much as I'm dying to pop in Batman, I'm currently working on boosting more RE5 with my bro. We both popped "Bring the Pain" tonight, and are hopefully closing in on 30 Slayer wins each, so we can move on to Survivors. We'll need 2 more for the team versions, but that's a problem for another day.

@JJB; all I can say is never try to select all and copy in blogger... everything goes to hell, and it then has to autosave right after, so you're screwed. Jurassic Parks posts were never deleted, that was a corrupted file, which amounts to about the same, I'll admit. I have those largely done, I've just been too lazy to finish them. Next time I hit my 3-off cycle, I'll look into finishing off some old projects.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I'm a Server

So, today is 9/17, the day to log into brothers in arms for a free 50 points... I've also been working on getting the last of the flipping 0 point MP garbage... I picked up this game on the cheap to complete it, so I have a bit of an obsession with getting it done. Well, I had the opportunity to team up with Deez Apples and none other than Stallion83 to try to knock some of them out, and was able to get "The Draft." For whatever reason, a few of the achievements bugged out on them, so I couldn't help them get a few that should have worked for them.

When we realized it really is only the host who seems to get credit for completing games, the lost interest and we parted ways. I WILL FINISH THIS B**ch. So, I made a game as host, and eventually got enough to get it started. Now, I've reached critical mass, where I have a regular 10 or so players, even if people quit. Problem is, the everyone is playing, nobody is into boosting, so I'm getting 20 games the really slow way. The achievement for 5 DID unlock after 5 hosted games, so I'm hoping 20 will as well. I'm currently at 8 matches. I just play hard enough to convince people I'm trying, then I get killed and find something else to do until the next round starts.

This isn't how I wanted to spend my afternoon, but people are actually playing this today. Tomorrow, the may all vanish, leavig me up a creek to get this stupid achievement. I still have Darkest of Days to suffer through for the review, and I may be boosting some of Section 8 tonight. So, it's going to be a long night of gaming ahead for me.

FYI to silva and Tim. I worked on the Banner Winner bost for an hour earlier today, then blogger deleted it, so I have to start all over. It'll be a few more days, sadly.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

REMINDER! 9/17 Brothers in Arms Boosting

This is a reminder that Brothers in Arms boosting will be on 9/17, starting at 8pm central time. You need to log in on this day for the 50 point dated achievement, so I figured since people will be popping it in, let's try to get some people for the 0-point MP achievements, to knock those out for the sake of true completion. (100% completion means every ACHIEVEMENT, not all the points. There is a major difference).

So far, I know Bishop is in. To unlock the achievements, a minimum of 4 people are required. Do I have 2 other takers?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chasing War Hero

While I brought back the Rule of Four, I haven't been playing any of them that much, except for maybe Section 8, because I was reviewing it. These last few days, I've been working through Resident Evil 5 with my brother on Professional, so we can get the War Hero achievement. It's the last of the basic 1000 that I need for that game, then it will be time to boost the lame MP achievements. With both of us rolling with infinite Rocket launchers, magnums, and shotguns, plus the money to purchase all the first aid sprays we could ever need, Professional hasn't been that hard, except for a few checkpoints. You need to roll with the big guns because a single hit can send you from full health to dying, and there's little time for your teammate to come to the rescue. Bosses are a joke thanks to the rockets.

I don't know if this is in the Achievement Guide, but my bro showed me the best way to grind exchange points for characters, infinite ammo, etc. Simply play chapter 5-2 (the one that ends with the giant crab boss) on Professional over and over. Properly equipped, you should be able to S rank that chapter, and get 2500 exchange points, in 3-4 minutes. That'll come in handy since I still need almost 70000 exchange points for the last 2 MP characters I don't have yet.

It feels good to go back to the unfinished games and make some progress in them. For financial goals and my desire to shorten my back catalogue if possible, I'm probably going to be as cheap as possible from now until year's end on buying new games, though not so much that I forsake helping out the x360a review team. I won't be picking up Halo ODST until my brother does, since co-oping it with him is the main reason I'll be buying it anyway. Borderlands is a day 1 purchase, but there's nothing else of the top of my head that can't wait... even Modern Warfare 2 does not have to be purchased day 1 for me. The real killer aps, Bioshock 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Mass Effect 2... they don't come until 2010.

Once Darkest of Days arrives in the mail, all other games get shelved until that review is done. That should probably be here by Wednesday. That will be review # Twenty-something... I've lost count already. On October 3rd, I'll actually go back and count them all... I have that day's post planned already.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Case of the Missing GSL 6 Award

Color me baffled and irritated. I just noticed on my x360a profile today that my GSL 6 Champion award is gone. Not only that, but if you look at the awards listing, you'll see GSL 5 and 7 awards, but the GSL 6 Champ and MVP awards are gone. Why only this GSL's awards? When did they disappear, and why? In the grand scheme of things, it's not life shattering, but when you spend that much time in a competition, it would be nice to have the award you earned, there there was no doubt we won, no cheating. I sent PMs to Webb and jackanape about it, so hopefully they'll be good enough to look into restoring it, though I know they probably have larger priorities.

Silva, Ducky Dan, Derek, Buck, Daywalker, HAK, your awards are gone. We all lost 'em.

I just don't see how something like that happens by accident, but I don't know why anyone would want to delete our award. I just thought I'd put the word out there. The deletion has been noticed.

Let's see what comes of this...

In other news, I'm still working on the Section 8 review, and will be doing Darkest of Days next. It's back-to-back review feature from yours truly!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rule of Four Resurrected

Wolfenstein review posted at last! See the link on the right. In other news...

While no idea I've come up with to hone in on more game completions has ever been 100% effective, the Rule of Four was by far the best of my ideas. With 3 days on, 3 days off scheduling in effect on Saturday, I'll have more time to game and have a social life when I'm not working. As I'm finally settling into some regularity after months of transition, I think its time to give the Rule of Four a second chance. The four selected games will be what I focus most of my attention on, but I'll naturally switch to something else as boosting or co-op opportunities arise, or I'm working on a more long-term side project.

Due to my love of shooters and RPGs, and that I want more completions in both genres, it's highly likely that at least one slot of the four will at all times be taken up by a representative of one of those genres. Here's a look at the current gaming lineup:

1. Lost Odyssey

I've been working on this one for quite a while, and I'm pretty much nearing (or at) the late/end game. I've taken out a couple of the side bosses, and I'm now in the process of grinding up most of the abilities for all the immortals, to get close to the skill achievements, and to make the remaining bosses a heck of a lot easier.

2. Section 8

The newest game I've received for review purposes, I came into this one with low expectations, and have been quite surprised. This is one of my favorite multiplayer games for the 360. Problem is, I'm not sure how well it has sold, and how large the community will be for it in a couple months. If the MP in this one dies off, that would be a real shame, as I've had a blast. (Like UT3, this could be a great game that nobody plays online...) Sadly, some of the achievements have glitched on me... They owe me 3 achievements for 45 points so far. The devs say they are aware of the problem and working on a fix... which will hopefully show up soon. I'll be starting on the draft for this game tomorrow.

3. Prince of Persia

Picked up a new copy for $20, but I have yet to play it since the purchase. I rented it once and got a little over 200 of the points. Will probablhy put this in when I need a break from Section 8 and Lost Odyssey.

4. Sacred 2: Fallen Angel

Mmmmm... hack and slash RPG.

Side projects:

1. Magic the Gathering
2. Gears 2 (really not to 100, methinks)
3. EDF 2017 (armor grinding, want to try to finish this for real in January, but can start prepping for it early)

We'll see how well it holds up when I start getting blitzed with more reviews, and want to start picking up new games. Not sure how long I can hold out on playing Batman... I want it so bad. Then there's Alpha Protocol, Borderlands... I'm going to stop myself now. Best to just focus on what I've got instead of thinking of what's coming down the pipe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Big Post, Boosting Announcements

Rather than spread this across multiple posts to pad my post count, I thought I'd get it all down today, so buckle up. This is a multi-part post.

First, I've received the submissions for the banner contest, and will make the post for the entries on Thursday. I'd do it sooner, but I'm feeling lazy today.

Grind of War

t's another double XP weekend in Gears, and I'm STILL trying to restore the rank I had when everything got reset. I've spent a good amount of time boosting XP by replaying wave 1 of horde on Security on Hardcore. It's 500 XP per wave, then jump into the lasers on wave 2 and start over. With that method, I've gained over 170,000XP that way. I've gone from rank 29 to 38 so far, and I'll be playing some more Gears today. I won't get to 50 this weekend, but I've gotten quite a bit closer. Watching movies on my PC while grinding the XP helps pass the time.

Lost Odyssey Points

Progress towards the elusive completion in LO continues. I've finished all of the story I can before returning to Grand Staff, so I'm now running around completing all the late-game side quests. Persona has gone down, more treasures have been plundered. I've hunted down most of the invisible treasure chests. Not much else to report.

Operation Jedi Impossible?

I've wondered if Operation Jedi is possible while I continue to review for x360a. Of course, I could play review games on my trash tag, but I like getting points for my efforts. I also don't feel like paying another $50 a year for another Gold account I'd rarely use so I could review MP games on that tag. Since new games come at me to review faster than I can complete them, as long as I continue to write reviews, 75% completion may be a pipe dream for me.

Boosting Plans

emember, remember, the 17th of September. That's the day you need to boot up Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway for that dumb annual achievement. Since you have to put the game in that day anyway, why not boost the 0-point achievements for the sake of completion while you're at it? Right now, I'm thinking 9pm Central time on 9/17 as the boosting time. Let me know if you want in.

If anyone wants to boost Resi 5 or Soulcalibur 4 on thursday night (this week) let me know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Banner Deadline and Month in Review

REMINDER! The Banner contest's deadline is FRIDAY AT NOON. Remember, 1600 MSP is up for grabs. Click here for the rules.

So far, I have yet to receive a single entry! Come on you procrastinators! =P I know a few of you out there were planning on submitting something, so don't forget LOL.

August was a month where gaming was very much on the backburner. While finishing job training, starting in my store for real, and moving into my new apartment, I had too much going on to game very much. The only new game added to my card was Wolfenstein, the review for which I should be wrapping up pretty soon. I made some progress in Lost Odyssey, and played a little Gears and Splosion Man, but that's about it. Nothing too earth shattering.

In September, I finally switch to my 3 days on, 3 days off schedule, which will make it easier to both game more and have a social life while still making a living. I'll probably pick up Halo ODST, but I'm not that excited about it. It's more of a "because everyone else will be getting it" purchase. The plan is to spend this weekend playing a ton of Gears once I finally have Live access (double XP), and work on more Wolfenstein and Lost Odyssey.

Reviews Written:
Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta

Special Topics:
none... was too busy.

Completed Games:
Fallout 3 (1550) <--- It's finally complete!

Gamerscore Progression:
August start: 105,264
August end: 106,094
Change: 830... one of my slow months.

TrueAchievements has my completion percentage at 62.78%... still well away from anointing myself an Operation Jedi survivor.