...it's been just over seven years since I joined the Org (yay!). However, it's been over three years since I last uploaded an AMV to this site, and exactly two years since my last journal entry. Suffice it to say, I haven't been exactly active in the community in recent years. So why am I posting now? To put it simply, I caught the AMV bug again. I have an idea for a video that I want to see through to the end. I will admit, though, the video I'm making will not be as original or complicated to make as some of my past works, but I'm still hoping it will be enjoyable to all of you.
On another note, in my last journal entry, I mentioned that I was editing a new video. Obviously those plans didn't pan out. The truth is my ambition for that video outstripped the time and skill that I had to make it. I've pretty much shelved that video, although I may re-approach that video in a "simpler" fashion in the future.
Anyways, here's hoping that the next time I post in this journal, I'll finally have a new AMV to show all of you.
...it's been a few months since my last entry, and I hope to update this journal a little more frequently than that in the future.
Anyways, on the AMV front, I have finally started editing another video. However, it is taking me a ridiculously long time to finish, due to a lack of free time to edit. Under normal circumstances, I probably would have finished it by now, but all I can say at this point is that I'd like to release it sometime this year.
On the gaming front: yes, of course, I've been playing a lot of video games. I've decided that instead of putting up a big wall of text for my game reviews, I'll just post a link to those who want to read them. Here are some of my latest reviews:
Metro 2033 (PC game review):
Vanquish (PS3 game review):
Amnesia: The Dark Descent (PC quick game review):
Nier (PS3 quick game review):
Dead Space 2 (PS3 game review):
Killzone 3 (PS3 game review):
Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (PS3 game review):
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Xbox 360 quick game review):
Yes. I know I play to many video games.
My AMV plans for 2011:
2010 was not exactly a busy year for me when it came to AMVs. The fact is, I just didn't have that much free time to work on new videos, and what free time I did have was primarily taken up by another hobby (and if you read my journal for the past year, you can probably guess what that hobby is). For 2011, I do intend to make at least one, possibly two videos. However, they are probably going to be fairly simple videos. I do have an idea for a more technically complex video, but until I get more free time, I'm putting that idea on the back-burner. So, bottom line is that I still intend to keep doing AMVs, but most likely not as many for the foreseeable future.
Fable 3 (Xbox 360 quick game review):
Peter Molyneuxís latest entry into the Fable franchise is not what I would call a fantastic game, but it is still a fun action-RPG. Those whoíve play the last game will be in familiar territory, as things such the combat mechanics have stayed pretty much the same. However, one new feature is the Sanctuary room which acts as a hub for equipping weapons and magic, as well as providing a map of the game world. It is very useful as a tool to track of all the property you control, and to fast-travel to locations. But when it came to managing all your equipment and spells, I found it more cumbersome than your standard menu screen.
As for the plot of the game, thereís a really interesting twist that plays out during the last third of the story (spoiler alert). After you overthrow your evil brother and become king of Albion, you have to make several hard choices between keeping your promises to the allies youíve made, or getting the kingdom ready for invasion. Itís a cool twist that helps to add more gravitas to the story. In the end, Fable 3 wonít convert anyone who never liked Fable in the first place, and it doesnít take the series into much new territory, but fans will definitely enjoy it.
I give Fable 3 4/5 stars.
Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood (PS3 game review):
I have to admit: at first my expectations for another Assassinís Creed game only a year after the last one werenít exactly high. When the game was initially announced, the multiplayer feature was really emphasized, which made me feel like the game was an excuse for making consumers pay full price for a multiplayer add-on. Then later it was revealed that the game would have an extensive single player experience comparable to the previous game, and this piqued my interest. After actually sitting down and playing Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood, I can say that anyone who enjoyed playing the previous games will not be disappointed by this one.
The single player story of Brotherhood continues to exploits of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, who is forced to escape to Rome after his base at Monteriggioni is attacked by Cesare Borgia. While in Rome, Ezio has to build up the ranks of the Assassin order to take on the forces of Cesare Borgia as well as the Templars. As noted above, the single campaign is pretty extensive, and Iím glad that the developers put as much time and effort into this campaign, as they did in the last two games.
With Brotherhood, the basic gameplay mechanics have stayed pretty much the same. As in the previous games youíll be having Ezio run, climb, and jump over buildings in order to complete missions and further the story. The game still has issues with making very precise jumps, often leading to a fall that could kill or severely injure you. The combat is also pretty easy due to the fact you can perform streaks of one hit executions, and the fact that groups of enemies never attack you more than one at a time. However, one of the biggest additions to the series is the ability train your own personal army of assassins, which you can call down to help you in a fight. Few things are as cool as watching a group of highly trained killers leap out of the shadows to kill people. These assassins are recruited from citizens you find around Rome, and can be sent on missions which (if completed) will net them experience points to make them stronger in combat, as well as cash for Ezio.
The biggest addition to Brotherhood is the much touted multiplayer mode. The mode that I played the most was ďWantedĒ. In this mode, you are given a target (i.e. another player) to assassinate. However, at the same time you are also the target of another assassin. Radar assists you in finding your target, and actions such as running will make you more visible, which increases the possibility your target will detect you. The goal is to get the most points, and points are given not only for killing your target, but how you kill them (e.g. more points are given if your target does not detect you). My only gripe with the multiplayer is the fact that even if you see the person whoís trying to assassinate you, thereís not much you can do to fight back other than running away. Still, despite my initial scepticism, the multiplayer for this game turned out to be much more fun and engrossing than I anticipated.
Brotherhood is still a decent looking game, but admittedly, the graphics engine is starting to show its age a bit. The environments and structures still look fine, but the character models (which donít appear to have improved much from the first game) seem a bit dated now. The voice acting, however, still remains very strong, and the music perfectly fits the mood and setting of the game.
Overall, Assassinís Creed fans will definitely have a great time with this game. It was a lot better than I anticipated, and is definitely worth the full price of admission. If the developers keep maintaining this level of quality, I may not actually mind seeing a new Assassinís Creed game every year.
I give Assassinís Creed: Brotherhood 4/5 stars.
Fallout: New Vegas (PC game review)
The next entry in the venerable Fallout series has been placed in the hands of Obsidian Entertainment, which include employees who have worked on the original Fallout and Fallout 2 on PC. After the highly lauded Fallout 3 was released, Obsidian had a lot to live up to. However, the end result that is Fallout: New Vegas proved that they were up to the challenge.
The story of New Vegas opens with you, a courier, being shot in the face by a man named Benny while delivering a strange platinum chip to the titular city. You are then rescued by a robot named Victor, and begin your long journey to find the one who shot you, and whatís really going on in the Mojave wasteland. During your travels youíll encounter various factions, the biggest ones being the New California Republic (NCR) and Caesarís Legion, as well as various smaller factions. One of the most interesting features of the game is the consequences of how you interact with them. What you do for each faction (e.g. taking on quests for a faction) will have an impact on the entire game world.
Those familiar with Fallout 3 will feel right at home, as the gameplay has essentially remained the same in New Vegas. For those not familiar, the game is played primarily from a first person perspective (which can also be switched to a third person view). The main way to kill your opponent is through the use of VATS (Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System), which pauses the game and allows you to target individual body parts. However, New Vegas also allows the use of iron sights when shooting without VATS assistance, which helps when youíre out of action points to use VATS.
There are plenty quests to partake in, and as you complete quests (as well as kill things) youíll get experience points to level up, allowing you to improve your skills and choose new perks. Bloody Mess still remains my favourite perk, since not only do you do more damage, but you can watch enemies explode from a simple gun shot. One other thing to note is that New Vegas includes a ďhardcoreĒ mode which tries to make the game more realistic by adding weight to ammo, and requiring to you also sleep, eat and drink every now and then. Admittedly, I never tried this mode out since I like carrying buckets of ammo to shoot things with.
Aside from killing mutated creatures, the other main feature of this game is talking with the various characters in the game. Unlike in Fallout 3, trying to sweet talk your way out of a situation is entirely dependent on how high your speech skills are, and not simple chance (which makes a lot more sense to me). What you say to people can also have repercussions down the road, such as allowing/denying you access to certain quests. The dialogue options are pretty extensive, and theyíre all nicely voiced by actors including Matthew Perry, Ron Perlman, and even Wayne Newton.
Now, since this is a game made by Obsidian, bugs are definitely something one would expect from one of their games (especially upon initial release), and New Vegas is no exception. In the game, youíll encounter some characters that will partner up and follow you throughout the game. However, on many occasions I found that the pathfinding on these characters is pretty sketchy at times. Often they donít follow you when you jump off ledges or go down steep hills, and instead will take the scenic route to try and catch up with you. Also, sometimes I see them run off in random directions for no apparent reason. Oh, and upon launch of the game the quick save would not work properly, which was something I found out the hard way. Patches have been released since then, although, I have not tried the game with the new patches yet.
Graphically, the engine powering New Vegas is starting to show its age. The environmental design of the post-apocalyptic world still looks fine. The character models on the other hand (particularly the human models) move stiffly and lack detail. The funny thing is Iíve seen some great looking user created models for Fallout 3, and because of that, I personally thought that the New Vegas designers might have tried to improve the models. Also, Iím not going to lie: although I enjoyed the story in New Vegas, I felt that it was not as good as the one in Fallout 3, and lacked Fallout 3ís epic feel.
Nitpicks aside, Fallout: New Vegas is still a great RPG, and a worthy addition to the series. With the amount of time I put into the game, it was worth every penny. It will probably be a while until the next Fallout game, but if we get more quality entries to the series such as this one, it will definitely be worth the wait.
I give Fallout: New Vegas 4/5 stars.
Medal of Honor (Xbox 360 game review)
Medal of Honor is EAís direct challenge to Activision and the Call of Duty franchise for the first-person shooter crown. This reboot of the series takes it out of battlefields of World War II, and into the towns and mountains of modern day Afghanistan. Much of the advertising surrounding this game emphasized its gritty realism, and its goal to truly put you in the boots of the soldiers fighting in this war-torn region. In my opinion, while it does not succeed entirely in its goal, it is still an overall decent entry into an increasingly crowded genre.
The plot of Medal of Honor has you playing from the point of view of several different special forces soldiers in their fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. It was interesting to see the war fought from different perspectives, but admittedly it made the story feel a bit disjointed. From a narrative point of view, it may have been better to just stick with one character. Gameplay wise, if youíve had experience with the Modern Warfare series then youíll be able to jump right in. The controls and shooting mechanics are quite similar, and I think in this case, it was probably a good decision not to overhaul what people are used to.
The single player campaign of Medal of Honor is quite short. A good FPS player could probably beat it in around four hours. Even on hard the game wasnít that...hard. Still, the pacing of the game is well done, switching from epic shoot outs to sneaking around an enemy base, as well as sniping enemies from afar. There were, however, some weird glitches I encountered while playing the campaign. For example, in one mission there was a door I had to go through, but I couldnít go through it because the game wanted all my AI teammates assembled there first. Two of them assembled, but after waiting a while, the third one never showed up. After looking around the area, I saw that teammate stuck on a wall. I had to nudge him out of the wall before I could move forward. Also, the target priority of the enemies seems disproportionately aimed at me. On several occasions, even when one of my teammates was right beside an enemy, that enemy would still shoot at me.
For those who donít already know, one of the interesting (or weird) facets about Medal of Honorís development is that the multiplayer was developed separately from the single player campaign. The single player was developed by Danger Close using the Unreal Engine 3, while the multiplayer was developed by DICE (makers of the Battlefield series) using the Frostbite Engine. Iím not going to lie: the multiplayer in Medal of Honor does feel like a stripped down version of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Also, the lack of recoil feels a bit weird and unrealistic. If you aim down your gun sights, you can hold down the trigger and clear a room since the guns are so accurate. In other shooters, you would have to use controlled bursts to hit a target. That being said, the multiplayer is still not bad. There are several modes you can play through, and battles can become quite hectic and fun (particularly when you play an objective based mode).
The graphics in both the single player and multiplayer are well done, with good texture work and environmental design, although I thought the single player campaign looked better than the multiplayer. The voice acting was pretty good, although the dialogue doesn't do much to differentiate itself from other modern combat shooters (not that I was actually expecting anything different). The soundtrack on the other hand was great and really fit with the mood and atmosphere of the game.
As it is, Medal of Honor isn't going to make you forget Bad Company 2 or the Modern Warfare series, but itís still a pretty well done shooter. That being said, if you already own those games, then you may want to wait until the price drops on this game before picking it up. This game is a decent start for the rebirth of a franchise, and hopefully EA will listen to some of the criticisms that have been made about this game in order to make a fantastic product the next time around.
I give Medal of Honor 3.5/5 stars.
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