Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thrawn vs. Xylo: March 2011

Another month gone, and time for another update in the score war. And hey, I actually scored some points this month. Here's how things looked at my last update, on March 1st:

Raw Gamerscore:
Thrawn: 149,254
Xylo: 146,349
Lead: Thrawn by 2,905

TA Totals:
Thrawn: 208,427
Xylo: 215,190
Lead: Xylo by 6,763

And now, for your March 31st standings, as of 5:18pm

Xylo: 148,704
Lead: Thrawn by 3,646.
Change: Thrawn +741

Really, considering I broke out Backyard Football '10 for a cheap 1,000 points, I have to call Xylo the winner for the month for keeping his lost progress under 1,000 points.

TrueAchievement Numbers:
Thrawn: 212,961 (off 151,960 score)
Xylo: 219,637 (148,704) <-- Xylo's is still accurate
Lead: Xylo by 6,676
Change: Xylo -87

Xylo did lose a little ground in the TA war, but not much. Sad day that I only ate 87 points out of that lead, but oh well. I'm sitting at 940 in Mafia 2, with just 3 achievements left to get until I have the original 1000, and then I'll download and complete one DLC pack at a time to finish the game. It was an interesting month!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


It feels SO nice to have a day off. Since Saturday, I've worked 47 hours, and I have just today and tomorrow off before I return for another 36 over three days. Not trolling for sympathy here, just stating a fact.

When I have off, I've heaped too many projects upon myself. I'm attempting (not very well) to make a gaming website, I want to launch a podcast, I've resumed working on my novel (which is currently in the planning stages), and two other projects I'm not going to discuss over the internet. I've put too much on myself, and made my back catalogue ever-larger over the last few months.

It's time to refocus.

My novel and the podcast are going to take priority over the site, and I'll fit work into that in when I can. There's only so many hours in a day, unfortunately. Story writing has been my passion since grade school, and I'm determined to get my novel done to prove to myself I can. Right now, I'm using three programs to make it happen: PersonalBrain for universe building and mind-mapping, SplashNotes for plot outlining and structuring, and yWriter5 for the actual composition. I recommend writers check out each of those programs. Together, they've been a big help so far.

One the gaming front, I'm going to attempt something that goes against the grain of my famous game ADD. I'm going to try to buckle down and plow through one or two games at a time until they're maxed out, then continue on. As always, my unfinished back catalogue is frighteningly large, and I want to try to put a dent in that. It's good for my wallet and my completion percentage. I'm playing some Assassin's Creed II now because I rented it, but after that, the first two targets of this focus are going to be Homefront and Mafia II.

With Mafia, the struggle is going to get through how terrible Chapter 14 is. SPOILER ALERT: They make you earn a shit-ton of money to pay off a debt, and there's no fun way to do this. Either rob stores or steal a ton of cars. Both options get boring quickly. Thankfully, Within Temptation released a new album this week, and I plan on using the custom soundtrack feature to listen to it while I grind through this ill-concieved slog.

If you've never heard of Within Temptation, that's too bad for you. Their music is EPIC. Here's a few YouTube links to go educate yourself with, which showcase two of the first three tracks off their new album, The Unforgiving. =) If nothing else, I think my bro will like them, though Within Temptation is MAINSTREAM compared to the stuff he listens to these days. I mean, I purchased my copy from WALMART, who don't have a reputation for the obscure.

Shot In The Dark

Monday, March 14, 2011


I'll admit that I'm one of those people who sometimes wants to be the first to complete a game. Most of the time I don't care, but every once in a while I'll get it in my head to chase being the first to complete a game. Now, being listed first on x360a does not necessarily mean I was the first to do so, simply that I was the first to do so and post to the completion club that I had. So, I was the first person who cared enough to finish and be listed in the completion club. For laughs and giggles, I thought I'd showcase my few completion club highlights:

1st to 200 Battle: LA on XBLA
I'll admit, I wanted this 1st, once I saw how easy the achievements were. Completed everything but the last 1/3 of the game on normal. Went to see the movie. Came back and finished the game. Posted for credit.

1st to 1000 Darkest of Days
Aided by a free review copy and the fact nobody cares about this game. I even had to play through twice because I was stupid and still was the first to do it, when others figured out you only needed to play through once, and be smart with saves.

1st to 1000 Jurassic: The Hunted
I love me my dinosaurs, what can I say. My Family Video had this game on release day (to my surprise) and I quickly beasted it out. Again, not a game many people care about.

1 of only 4 to finish Deadly Premonition
I wasn't first or 2nd, but only 4 people have come forward to claim completion in the clubs. Probably because of the suffering involved in completing this wonderfully quirky but mechanically shitty game.

2nd to 1000 Rogue Warrior
Review copy + lack of public interest. See a pattern here? Horrible game. Glad to have the 1k over with.

2nd (of only 7) to 1000 Warriors Orochi 2
Longtime readers may remember my ranting and raving about how much grinding is needed for this 1k. There's a reason only 7 people on x360a have done it.

2nd for the Original 200 in The Maw, and the River Redirect DLC for it
Downloaded the game early on release day morning and plowed through. I think Hayden beat me because I was also writing the achievement guide while I played =)

So, I have 3 x360a firsts under my belt, and 3 seconds. I'm pretty satisfied with that. I don't know when (or if) there will ever be another. I don't look at a game in advance and say "I will be the first to complete it," rather it's just a sudden impulse with some games to see how fast I can chow down on the points. I usually only care about firsts on obscure games or games I don't like. I'd never chase first on a game like Deus Ex when that comes out, as those games I want to take my time with and enjoy the hell out of 'em.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gaming Overload. Again.

I've enjoyed the first two of my three days off playing a good amount of video games. In fact, I so over-indulged the last few days that today is the day I now have to get all that "responsible adult" stuff knocked out of the way, unfortunately. On the bright side, it's given me plenty of material for a long-overdue update.

Work has progressed on my gaming site, While it's not a beauty to look at yet, the site is fully functional and has some content on it, at least. If you haven't already seen the review for Battle: Los Angeles, check it out. I also got the forum set up, at No site gets large (or even medium-sized) overnight, but these moves are steps in the right direction. Bishop has posting access, so future content will be coming from him, as well. Besides cranking out reviews for the games I play, and periodic new pieces, my next major project is to get the Podcast up and running. On the content front, I can't promise new content daily yet, as it's still 99.5% a one-man operation right now.

I've acquired so many games post-tax return, that I could forgo any further purchases for quite a while and still be entertained. For the PS3 I have Killzone 3, Demons's Souls, Cross Edge, Ratchet and Clank, and Resistance. I've recently picked up Mafia II, Torchlight, and Beyond Good and Evil for the 360. Add to this I'm still working Divinity II towards my first RPG completion of 2011, and Bulletstorm, and I have plenty of options to choose from, without dipping into the back-catalouge,which is as large as ever.

Progress is great in Divinity II, but I have to advise anyone playing the game to SAVE OFTEN. I lost 40 minutes of progress yesterday when I got over-confident and then the game surprised me with a tough confrontation. I've logged close to 20 hours in the game thus far, and I earned the "You're Going to Die, Charlie" achievement that's worth a whopping 1 point. It's nice to have a gamerscore that ends in a "normal" 5 or 0 again, so I plan to enjoy it while it lasts. Once I complete the game, my numbers will be broken again. I blame Infinite Undiscovery...

Divinity II's character system is pretty nice. You can pick any ability you want from four different trees (priest, mage, ranger, and warrior), with the only requirement being that you have to meet the base level requirement for an ability to pick it up. My character is primarily a ranger, relying on bow and arrow to take out enemies. I have an explosive arrow ability that can significantly damage or kill whole groups of enemies. From the Warrior tree, I have Reflect, and ability that at is current level reflects back 44% of damage dealt to me back at the enemy, too. From the Mage line I took a powerful fireball spell, and the ability to charm enemies I got from the priest line. I love being able to mix elements from each class archetype.

After breezing through Battle: LA in one afternoon, the supreme easy of that 200 gamerscore awakened in me a need to bust out some easy points. I found a used copy of Backyard Football '10. I completed it in 40 minutes, which I hear is pretty slow on my part. Now I plan to return the game later today. I realize I just "wasted" an acheivement gem for score contests, but I'm pretty retired from that scene. I play the game I want to play now, and go for all the points I can, except for my periodic dips into "easy score land." With those two completions done, I stand at a whopping 2 points thus far in my annual completion challenge. Hardly impressive, but at least they're points on the board.

With all the stuff I have to do today, I probably won't get to working on my overdue Bulletstorm review, so that's likely a project for Thursday. Reviews are also plannet for Torchlight, Beyond Good and Evil, Killzone 3, and Homefront, so content is coming... I just need to sit down and write it all. Can't announce what Bishop's working on yet... mostly cause I don't know. Bishop, join the forum, and I can give you access to the staff board so we can talk shop =)

Okay, enough rambling for one day. Going to watch Netflix for a bit, then dive into the day's work. I really shouldn't save it all for my last day off...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Anarchy Master Made Easy

Has that achievement for getting 50,000 points in one wave of Anarchy got you down? Well, my brother, Bionik Kommando, and I have discovered an easy way for a 2-person team to reach the gamerscore promised land. And no, it won't have you reviving each other over and over again.

Set up your match for the Grand Central Station map. In the middle of this map is an electrified fountain that awards the "Make a Wish" skill shot. If one player kicks/slides/leashes an enemy into the air, and the other player uses their leash to pull the enemy into the fountain, both players will get the Team Shocker, Team Yoink, and Team Make a Wish skillshots, for a grand total of 425 points PER KILL, times the two of you = 950 points per kill. While this is less than the amount advertised in this guide, this method requires no guns to be purchased, and you don't have to worry about ammo. It's important, of course, to stay on opposite sides of the well, so you can pull enemies across and into the water. Upgrading your leash reuse ability as fast as possible will make this even easier. Combine Whiplashed and Bossed together for a regular 600 points per miniboss. With these two tactics together, and completing the team challenges as they arise, it's quite easy to get 50,000 points on Wave 20.

This may also be the best way to grind experience, as by the end of our run (in which we never failed a wave), Bionik Kommando and I both gained over 200,000 experience. This is a more fun and easy way to get Anarchy Master than relying on the 50 points per revive, so I recommend giving it a shot.

Oh, and give us a shot when the ease of it blows your mind =)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thrawn vs. Xylo: March 2011

As I started last month, I shall continue the monthly trend of examining the status of the only fun and currently competitive achievement rivalry I have, that with Xylofreak03. Here were February's numbers:

ThrawnOmega: 147764
Xylofreak03: 144164

Lead: Thrawn by 3,600

Now, let's take a look at the standings for March 1st (8:45am Central):

Thrawn: 149,254
Xylo: 146,349

Lead: Thrawn by 2,905

It was a good month for Xylo, as he shaved nearly 700 points off of my lead. I've decided to also take a look at our comparative True Achievement scores, and that result is more depressing (for me).

TA Totals:
Thrawn: 208,427
Xylo: 215,190
Lead: Xylo by 6,763

So, despite leading by about 3k "real" score, Xylo has almost 7k on me in TA score. While raw score is the official metric I'm using for our rivalry, I'll continue to report the TA score as well, because I know a lot of achievement junkies out there (myself too) find it an interesting statistic. So yes, Xylo, your score has more "nerd cred" lol.

Battle plan for March:
I'm working on finishing Divinity II before the remastered version, with the expansion, comes out. I'm looking at 50+ hours for my remaining 760 or so points, which is hardly lucrative from a score or TA standpoint, but plays into my goal to complete several RPGs this year. Most of my other points will come from Bulletstorm, the PC version of RE5, or Test Drive Unlimited 2, once the patch goes Live (should fix the notorious corrupt save issue). TDU2 is a good game to play to narrow the TA gap, as it's currently worth over 8,000 TA points! I'm planning to get Beyond Good and Evil HD, so there's a possible 200 points there too.