Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

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Playstation Home Beta Impressions

December 2, 2008

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In the days, weeks and months since the announcement of Sony’s Xbox Live killer, Home, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve gone from hotly anticipating this feature to almost completely uninterested after numerous delays. I began to think that this was one of many things that looks and sounds great on paper but ultimately fails in execution. And who could blame me for feeling this way? What was supposed to launch to all Playstation Network users as early as September 2007 is still only in the beta stages well over a year later.

Oh how quickly things change when you press the right buttons…

Yesterday afternoon, I opened my email account to see that I’d received a long awaited invitation to the pubic beta for Playstation Home. Naturally, I quickly rushed over to my Playstation 3 to turn it on, input my beta access code and start playing around with it. So, how do I feel about it? Well, in a word…conflicted.

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Saints Row 2 Review

November 20, 2008

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The story picks up five years after the events of the first Saints Row. The player character has been in a trauma induced coma (players who finished the first game should know why) for the past five years, in which time the titular 3rd Street Saints have fallen apart and three new gangs have risen to power in their place. It is here that you’re introduced to the incredibly deep character creation system, which allows you to choose your gender, (the character was unchangeably male in the original) voice tone (he was mostly mute too), fighting style, appearance, and even their positive and negative taunts. Once the player and a new accomplice have staged a daring escape from the prison island where they are held, it’s once again up to you to bring the Saints back to their former prominence as the unofficial rulers of Stilwater.

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New Article Spamvertisement

November 18, 2008

Yep, it’s that time of the week where I spam–er…advertise my recently published articles. So, without any further delay, let’s get down to business.

Far Cry 2 Review

The following is an excerpt of my review of Far Cry 2

“Instead of developing the direct sequel to the landmark 2004 shooter Far Cry, Crytek moved on to bigger and better things with their recent PC-exclusive Crysis. To fill the void left in Crytek’s wake, Ubisoft took the reins of the Far Cry franchise and the challenge of developing the true sequel. As is common when a new developer takes over an existing franchise, skeptical gamers have wondered how it well it could fare. With an entirely new setting and more down to earth direction, Far Cry 2 has taken the series to new places, while still retaining much of what made the original so great.”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review

The Problem with Xbox Live DLC

Wow, I really seem to be bashing the hell out of the Xbox 360 with my recent editorials. This is an issue I’ve had problems with for a very long while. Microtransactions have become one of my most hated new trends in gaming today and not for the reasons everyone may think.

Check out the full article here or the N4G listing here.

Thanks everyone for checking out my latest Articles and let me know what you think!

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Far Cry 2 Impressions

November 14, 2008

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If any of you have been on Xbox Live recently and seen me online, you’ve probably been seeing me play Far Cry 2 almost non stop for the past week or so. Well, as I noted in my last blog post, this is the next title on my to-review list. I just finished spending some last minute reviewing time with it a few minutes ago and I think I’m finally ready to finish the review.

But first, some impressions…

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Portal: Still Alive Review

October 27, 2008

My review of the Xbox Live Arcade’s latest, Portal: Still Alive, has been posted on Talk Xbox. Below, as always, you’ll find a short excerpt of the review as well as links to the full review.

“Last year, gamers were treated to a bit of a surprise hit in the form of Portal, one of the five games bundled in the Orange Box. It won many awards and mountains of praise for its relatively simplistic but amazingly deep puzzle gameplay and pitch black humor. It was challenging, addictive, repeatedly hilarious and most of all, incredibly fun. Well, Xbox 360 owning Portal fans have much to rejoice about now that Portal: Still Alive has made its way to the Xbox Live Arcade. Including everything that made the stellar original shine and more is always a good way to go when it comes to re-releases, but for those who have already experienced Portal when it was part of the Orange Box, is it worth 1200 Microsoft points? Well, there’s only one way to find out…”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review

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Mega Man 9 Review Up

October 16, 2008

What you’ll see below is a short excerpt of my review of Mega Man 9, one of the best next generation revivals of a classic series seen to date.

“Nostalgia is a funny thing. In this day and age, numerous games receive bonus points because of that very phenomenon. The mere feeling of nostalgia is enough for many gamers to justify a purchase promising classic gameplay of games past. Enter Mega Man 9, a next generation revival of a classic series that gained both a legion of loyal fans and notoriety on the NES for its incredibly tough but entertaining gameplay. With this new title, composed of an entirely new set of levels, bosses and modes, the side scrolling shooter/2D platformer gameplay has remained largely the same.”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review

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Biting the Bullet – The Tale of my Second Broken Xbox 360

October 6, 2008

As I posted on my blog on my GameSpot profile, my Xbox 360 has once again taken a one way trip to the afterlife. I knew the end was near once I saw a mosaic of green dots covering the screen during games, as seen in the quick video I captured below.

Here’s a small portion of what I had to say on my GameSpot blog.

As you can see, my Xbox 360 has decided to die once again. Great. This time, a fried graphics card seems to be the culprit and when I tried to turn the system on yesterday, I got an error message, message E 74 to be exact, inviting me to contact Xbox Customer Support.

I called Customer Support only to find out that Microsoft seems intent on screwing me over. Since this is not a “three red lights” issue (only one was blinking on my system) it’s not covered by the three year warranty. To make matters worse, my Xbox 360 is just outside of the one year warranty extension I received from them when my 360 broke down before (I swear they’re planning it like this) so it’s going to cost me $100 to get it fixed. Well, that’s just peachy.

The rest of this post can be viewed here.

Earlier today, after mulling it over for hours, I went up to GameStop and traded in my Xbox 360 for $110 in store credit which I used to buy a new Arcade system, much like the one you see above. This was a very tough decision to make but I’m happy with the choice I’ve made. Somehow forcing the three red lights of death would have allowed me to get my Xbox 360 repaired for free but there were four main reasons why I decided not to do this.

First, as I mentioned before, there’s the risk of Microsoft sending me another defective system. I’ve heard of numerous cases of this happening and I didn’t want to take that risk.

Second, I wanted a system with one of the newer, Jasper motherboards, which runs much cooler than previous models due to the 65nm CPU and GPU. Although Jasper shipments haven’t yet been confirmed, there are many sites that are reporting that Jasper systems have indeed shipped so I’m confident that I have one.

In addition, I was an early adopter and, as you possibly already know, the HDMI port was added retroactively to all Xbox 360 models a little over a year ago so this was something that I wanted, considering my upcoming HDTV purchase.

Third, well, I’m impatient. Time is money and I’ve already committed to doing a few reviews for Talk Xbox which require me to having a working Xbox 360. I tried playing a bit of Mega Man 9 earlier today, but when I turned off the system to go have lunch and came back, the system was once again outputting those telltale dots that blanketed the screen in a sickening green hue (sickening, despite the fact that green is my favorite color). My editors are expecting a fast turnaround and I aim not to disappoint.

Fourth, I don’t want to have to go through this decision process again so, I decided to also buy a one year Product Replacement Plan through GameStop for $20. Given my work experience, I know that when a customer brings back a system with a PRP, there are no questions asked. I plan to use this to my advantage to switch out my system for a new one a year from now, regardless of whether or not it has a problem. Hopefully, Microsoft will have found out what causes Xbox 360’s to break down and fixed the problem once and for all.

So, considering all of these things and that the Arcade system has everything I need, this was a no-brainer. Sure, it does leave a $100 dent in my wallet but I’ll eventually get over it. I purchased Duke Nukem 3D earlier and I’ve been playing that for a few hours since I got home. Being able to relive one of the classics I loved playing on my dad’s computer all those years ago was almost worth the $100 in itself. Almost.

Well, here’s hoping I don’t have any problems out of Xbox 360 #3…at least until October 5, 2009 that is.