Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pre-FFXIII Gaming Assault

This weekend was the one weekend in six where I get the full Friday through Sunday off, and I made to most of it by heading to Saint Paul to spend the weekend with a few friends. We had a game night (card/party games), played some video games, went ice skating, and watched the Gold medal Olympic hockey game, among other things. It's definitely nice to get out and have some fun, and I've got another friend coming over this coming Friday and Saturday. Why is it for me that my social life alternates between periods of feast and famine?

In between work and enjoying my social life, I have a lot to try to get done gaming-wise in the next 9 days. I completed my first playthrough of Bioshock 2 tonight, but now I need to go back and play through on easy for Brass Balls and get all research and weapon upgrades (I missed these the first time). After that, all that's left is rank 30 and 40 in multiplayer. In Borderlands, I'm working toward the last 5 achievements for the full 1500, and I'm aiming to have reviews written for both the General Knoxx and Mad Moxxi DLC packs. I'd like to get through Deadly Premonition, which I'm also aiming to review, and get the Trading Cards and Side Quests guides completed. Last, but not least, the MAG+ event in Phantasy Star Universe ends March 11th, and I need to power level while the XP is as good as it gets. Failing to do so will doom me to spending a lot more time in PSU for that last achievement (I'm already on the hook for another $9.99 monthly fee).

Considering I work 6 of the next 9 days, and will be spending 2 of my 3 days off hanging out with my super-best friend (practically second brother), does it seem likely I'm going to get all of that done? Oh hell no. So, I have to prioritize. What's important?

1. Borderlands DLC: It has the shortest window for how long people will care to look at reviews, since I'd wager most people who will buy it buy it around release. I want to get this up ASAP.

2. Deadly Premonition Review: I need to finish the story so I can get the review done. The guides I'm updating daily with submitted information, but it'll be a little while before I have the time to go back and really flesh out the descriptions for every quest to the level of quality I'd like to see.

3. PSU: It's pretty clear what the deadline on this one is, so I have to make it happen, even if it means leaving FFXIII in the shrinkwrap for a few days. I don't need to kill Dark Falz pre-se, but I must hit lvl 90 at least.

4. Bioshock: The game ain't going anywhere. Multiplayer DLC is coming in the next month anyway. Why hurry to complete a game that'll make me go to level 50 next? There's no rush on this one.

Frankly, even getting through #1 and #2 of this list prior to March 9 is insanely ambitious. I may pass on reviewing Deadly Premonition (or at least delay another week), since I paid for it and I'm under no obligation to (plus it's a pretty niche, non-major release). Three word review: Don't Play It.

What's probably going to happen is I'll get through Knoxx, if I'm lucky, by the end of Thursday. After that I'm going to Kamikaze PSU the rest of the way to lvl 90, then divide my attention between FFXIII (the good) and Deadly Premonition (the ugly). Once things settle down a bit, it'll be a juggle between FFXIII, Deadly Premonition, Bioshock 2, and Borderlands as I go for completion in each.

Oh holy shit... did the Rule of Four just make a comeback? LOLZ

Friday, February 26, 2010

Switching Goals. Surprised?

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a week knows how horrible I am about making a goal, sticking at it for a week, then chucking it for something else. I've have so many goals... Operation Jedi (abandoned), J-Quest (onging but on the backburner), the Rule of Four (couldn't make it work, but I may try again), Hit List 2010... So many goals, none completed. Now for another one so vague, some progress is going to be made on it whether I like it or not LOL.

Hit List 2010 is going bye-bye, replaced by a different goal with a similar medal-based progress system. Instead of going for specific completions, I'm aiming for a set number of completions is general. The medal system is based on an average of one completion a month for the first two ranks, then varies after that.

Bronze: 12 completions in 2010
Silver: 24 completions
Gold: 32 completions
Platinum: 40
GODLIKE: 50 completions

So far I'm at 3. The platinum and GODLIKE levels are rather insane, but it's something so strive for, right? I'll be tracking this goal on the right side of the blog. For a completion to count, it has to be a true 100%, DLC included. If new DLC comes out to cause a game to become incomplete, I remove it from the list until I polish it off again. I'm an all-or-nothing type about completions =)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost in Nightmares

If you haven't seen the main page of x360a lately, my DLC review for Resident Evil 5's "Lost in Nightmares" is now up. You'll see it HERE I won't say more about it, as that review pretty well sums it up.

The other nightmare I've been lost in goes by the name Deadly Premonition. The more I play it, the less I like it. The story is interesting, but the game's many flaws grow more glaring with time, and my patience is growing shorter. Add in collectables and difficulties that do not stack, and maxing this game out is going to be a major pain in the ass. I hope everyone appreciates the guides I've been writing LOL. There will be a review coming, but it's on hold as I download and get cranking on the DLC review for General Knoxx in Borderlands, which is a more important game. That download is a whopping 1.66GB (hopefully all of it EPIC.) I'm also going to be working up a draft for Mad Moxxi, which time constraints kept me from doing when it first came out. Both DLC reviews should drop at the same time.

Sad thing is, General Knoxx is taking soooooo long to download, I may not get to play it tonight. I work tomorrow. Work will be busy as shit. Fudging my bedtime is NOT a option tonight =(

Anyone else excited about the upcoming Bioshock Multiplayer DLC? I really enjoy the MP when playing with friends. While I'm still a long way from 40, I have no problems with shooting for 50. Hell, I even hope they make than an achievement. That's right, I said it. How about a nice, 250 point expansion?

Enough ramblings for one night. Netflix calls me while the Borderlands download slogs along...

Sunday, February 21, 2010


SHAME. ON. ME. It has been far too long between posts. Probably the longest gap in this blog's history. What have I been doing?

Well, I'm been making slow progress in Turning point, which is a pretty trash shooter. I've also been making progress in PSU, where my character in now in the lvl 70s. I really need to step that up though if I'm going to hit 90 before MAG+ ends. I played through the Lost in Nightmares mission for RE5, and have the review of that completed for release tomorrow. There has been fun times in Bioshock's multiplayer. Since I'm still under 40k adam, I'll be at that for quite a while yet. Good thing I enjoy it, right?

The main thing that has had my focus these last few days is the game Deadly Premonition. It's a survival horror game that came out this week, costing just $20 new, which is unheard of in the age of $60 releases. The game certainly has issues, but still the game is really interesting. Slow paced, but open world survival horror action. Mmmmmmm... Progress has been slow since I'm on working on writing the side quest guide and assisting on the collectables guides. I'll be reviewing the game, so you'll hear all about it when that's done.

This concludes the post to let everyone know I'm still alive. I'll try not to go so long without posting again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Quit Completion Percentage. Forever.

My thinking has been trending in this direction for a while, despite making a TrueAchievements goal to hit 75%. Today Bioshock 2 came out, and I knew I needed to pick up Turning Point to boost with the Scooby Gang this month. That would mean adding two new games to my card, while I've been pushing along completing PSU and Borderlands. I have 4 games unopen on my shelf because I said I wouldn't play them until I completed a few other games, and I have Prototype form Gamefly which I likewise haven't touched. I actually felt I shouldn't get Bioshock because I hadn't "earned the right" by finishing other games yet.

It seems pretty stupid to deny myself from having fun with games I own or want to play because I haven't finished others yet. With my ADD additute towards games, paying too much attention to my completion percentage turns gaming into a chore, when it's supposed to be about having fun. Some people can focus on one game until it's done. If a game takes more than 20 hours, I probably can't. I'm done limiting myself with arbitrary ideas of what I need to accomplish before I add a new game to my tag. I'm impressed by high completion ratios, but that just isn't for me, and I'm going to stop pretending I'm that kind of gamer.

That said, I haven't given up on going after completions themselves. If I like a game and want to max it out, I will do my best to do so, though I'm going to stop thinking I need to do that for every game. My pogosticking method DOES work for me in terms of getting more completions, as I can take breaks from games and return to them when my interest rekindles. Of course, it's hell for completion percentage, but I'm not obsessing over that any more. I'll continue to chase the completions I want, and be happy for each one I'm able to add to the tally, which currently stands at 60.

I'll be playing the games I want, racking up all the points I can, and moving on, with the emphasis on fun, not completion. Really, that's what gaming is all about anyway, right?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowed In

One look out the window was all it took to see the weatherman were correct. Hutchinson got every bit as hammered as predicted. Not sure what the final total is, but it was at least 6-8 inches overnight. It's nothing but white out the window. Schools are closed for the day. Thankfully, I don't have to work.

There's no way I'm going anywhere today and putting up with the roads in their current condition, so it's a day to stay in and get some serious gaming, Netflixing, and reading (just 200 pages left of King's 'Under the Dome').

Priority number one is to keep working on PSU, to try to complete that in under a month and not have to pay another $10. I only need one more achievement in PSU (for Dark Falz 2 on S2 difficulty) I may also spend some time on Borderlands to get the two achievements I need, and continue Mass Effect 2 toward 1015.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

2 Goals: 1 Possible, 1 Probably Not

If you haven't noticed by now, I truly suffer from game-ADD. I have a hell of a time sticking with one game all the way to completion, and thus try to improve my odds by pogo-sticking between several titles at once. It has helped, but even that doesn't always work. Every completion is something I saver (except Avatar) as an accomplishment, even the easy ones. To have collected 60 completions (DLC always counts, I'm an all-or-nothing type) so far is great, but my completion percentage is a sham at 63%. Simply keeping it stable around that is a trick, as I add games to my card faster than I complete them, and often leave myself some huge holes (currently under 100gs in Dragon Age, for example).

Getting my completion percentage to 90% like what jackanape's striving for is unrealistic for me. I'd go insane to hold back on new releases enough to make it a reality. 75% remains my elusive target. To that end, I made a goal using the TrueAchievements goal feature (which I just discovered today... I don't visit that site much) to track the goal of hitting 75% by the end of 2011. Yes, I gave myself a ton of time. (And I still won't do it)

The other, more achieveable goal is to reach 200k before "the world ends" on 12/21/2012. That's my response to anyone who asks when I'm going to hit 200k; "Just before the world ends." For the record, I see nothing more dramatic happening that day than a lot of people getting drunk, and maybe a suicide cult or two. To meet this goal, I need 70,841 points in 1050 days, which is an average of 68 points a day. SOunds doable to me, though Hit List 2010 and making any effort for that first goal will make it more challenging. I can always GSL-style come easy junk if it ever looks like it will be close.

The weather outside today is crap, so this'll probably be a day of gaming and Netflix. I'll most likely bounce between PSU and Mass Effect 2 or Borderlands (to 1250 that before the new DLC lands). For netflix, I've been watching episodes of The Legend of the Seeker, which is a pretty cheesy fantasy show, but I like it anyway. I've also been working through season one of the newer Dr. Who, and season 4 of Stargate Atlantis. Now you know a little more about the kind of TV I watch lol.

By the way folks, the AVP multiplayer demo came out today. I'm downloading that baby right now. It will be very influential in my decision to purchase the game or wait for a price cut.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mass Effect 2 Review is Live

Well, after much blood, sweat, and tears, the Mass Effect 2 review is live. If you haven't already seen it, HERE IS A LINK. Mass Effect 2 was a very hard game to review, and I'm not sure why. My normal way of going about reviews just didn't work. I had some notes, but much less than usual. After playing 12 hours a day for 3 straight days, I had to start writing the draft during my work days. Trying to write a review after working for 12 hours does not work so well, so my initial cut was really bad. I sent Webb a message telling him I couldn't put my name on it. It was that bad.

Well, Tuesday rolled around, and now I'm off work and free to focus 100% of my efforts on writing something decent. So, over the course of the day, I hammered out the rest of the review, then went back and did some substantial rewriting of most of what I'd written during my three working days (and may whatever celestial being exists bless Webb for smoothing over some of the ugly lines I missed). I'm pretty proud of how it turned out, though the one bad result of my altered method this time around is that more typos snuck through. I'm embarrassed to have missed so many. No, I won't tell you how many there are LOL.

Today I spent a good amount of time playing Phantasy Star Universe (when not writing, of course). With the event going on, I've been pretty successful at piggybacking into groups on people running the low-level instance of the event dungeon, and have been able to powerlevel as these higher lever characters speed-run the area. By this method, I've made it to almost level 20, and got the Dark Falz achievement without even knowing what I was doing. When I couldn't find a group to piggyback off of, I've been playing through the online singleplayer story, which serves as a continuation of the events in the singleplayer PSU (where most of you got your 1000 and called it a day). It's been reasonably fun so far, and I think I can enjoy PSU long enough to get my 250, but I can't see this being a game I'd pay $10 a month for over any serious stretch of time.

I will go back and play through Mass Effect more, but right now I need a break from it after overindulging last week.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Massively Multiplayer Achievement Time

Yes, I'm really going to be going for achievement points in an MMO. No, I haven't lost my sanity and added FFXI to my tag (won't happen JJB, don't even joke ^-^). With the final achievement for Phantasy Star Universe officially obtainable, and an event going on that gives 300% experience, I decided if I want to chase down this rare and obscure completion (1250, not just the core 1000), then now is the time.

Of course, the achievements to cost ration isn't good. I had to rebuy the game for $20 (never should have traded it in). The expansion cost $10. A subscription is $10 a month. I will probably need 2 months to do it, if not more. So, I'm looking at $40-60 invested for 250 achievement points, plus the hours involved in actually playing the game.

Why do it? I'm an absolute sucker for rare/obscure completions. They mean infinitely more to me than completion percentage, overall gamerscore, and common completions COMBINED. If it's a game few people complete, and I think I can do it, I'm all over that.

Does anyone know an easy way to see roughly how many people in the world have completed a certain game?

(BTW I should say that obscure and tough are not the same. I also love tough/long completions, but obscure completions can be quite easy. The thing is that relatively few people have that completion)

Here are some of my proud obscure completions, and the current number of people in their x360a completed club:

Darkest of Days (my thinking being this game is so horrible even most achievement whores won't touch it. By the way I was first on x360a to complete it).
14 people did it.

Jurassic: The Hunted (also first on x360a, also a game nobody has played). 9 people did it.

Rogue Warrior: (same logic again, 2nd on x360a) 5 people did it.

MagnaCarta 2: 7 people did it.

Warriors Orochi 2: 2nd on x360a, 5 people have done it.

Eventually, I want to add PSU to the list, as well as Spectral Force 3, and more. Any suggestions on some obscure completions I could chase?

Well, I'm off to watch some Netflix on my PC while AOTI for PSU downloads. It's taking forever.