Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Dragon Age 2 is the upcoming sequel to Dragon Age Origins and it looks pretty good so far. Unlike the first game you can't change your race, however the character's appearance, gender and class are all fully customizable. Hawke, the main character, is a Lothering refugee who rises to power and becomes the Champion of the Free Marches.
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is an upcoming JRPG. It is a direct sequel to Final Fantasy XIII. The game will once again feature Lightning as the main character and is said to be more item and town-centric, factors which were lacking in the previous game. Square Enix has also been quoted as saying that it will "exceed Final Fantasy XIII in every aspect", including the battle system. I personally liked FFXIII a lot so if they manage to outdo it then I'm sure it'll be an amazing game. I'm hoping that they will allow you to max out the characters a bit more this time around, like in FFX.
Final Fantasy XIII Versus, this is a game I've been looking forward to for years. It is the next installment in the Fabula Nova Crystallis compilation of Final Fantasy games, described as an "action role-playing game", similar to Kingdom Hearts (same development team). Confirmed to have an overworld map and airships that you can pilot, and alleged to be substantially darker and grittier than any of the previous Final Fantasy titles. Besides taking place in the same "universe", it will have absolutely nothing to do with Final Fantasy XIII. “We have no release date information to update," says Kitase. "Unfortunately we can’t say anything about that. We can’t commit ourselves to 2011 either." Looks like I still have a few more years to wait.
Ico And Shadow Of The Colossus. After being rumored for a long time, Sony finally confirmed that both games will be getting an HD makeover (just like God of War I & II), and will also have 3D support. Shadow Of The Colossus focuses on a young man named Wander who must travel across a vast expanse on horseback and defeat sixteen beings, simply known as colossi, to restore the life of a girl. In Ico, the main character is a young boy born with horns who is locked away in an abandoned fortress by warriors from his village. During his explorations of the fortress, Ico encounters Yorda, the daughter of the castle's Queen. Throughout the game, the player controls Ico as he explores the castle, solves puzzles, and assists the less-agile Yorda across obstacles. I was very happy to hear that these games were getting HD makeovers for the ps3, as I never got around to playing the ps2 versions.
Last but not least, Uncharted 3. The next installment in the famed Uncharted series. Uncharted 3 will see protagonist Nathan Drake and mentor Victor Sullivan traveling around the world to such places as the Rub' al Khali desert, in search of the legendary lost city, the Iram of the Pillars. The plot will draw from the archaeology days of T. E. Lawrence. If the first two games are any indication, this should be amazing.
Well, that's it for now. What upcoming games are you most looking forward to? Is there a game worth mentioning that I didn't include in the list? Let me know in the comments section.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Hey guys, I've been using public transportation for about 6 years now and I've learned that there are certain rules, an unspoken code of conduct if you will, that most people don't seem to know about. So today I will be attempting to explain some of these unspoken rules as well as provide a few tips for riding the bus/trolley/subway.
1. The first rule is one people break on a regular basis. It simply states that depending on how long you've been waiting, that is your priority to get on the bus. In other words, if you've been waiting for the bus for half an hour and no one was around when you arrived, then you obviously have the right to get on the bus first. (Of course, keep in mind that the elderly and the disabled always have first priority.) It follows that if you arrive just as the bus is pulling up, then you should be one of the last people to get on. I often see people who have barely arrived in time trying to elbow their way into the front of the line just so they can get a seat and it's sad. If you arrive late, then look forward to standing up until a seat becomes available.
2. This is another important rule. Have your pass/ticket ready as you get on the bus. When you get on only to realize you can't remember where you put your ticket, it holds up the line and you're making everyone behind you wait. If you're buying a ticket from the bus driver, wait until everyone with a pass has gotten on, that way you're not standing in the way as you fish for change.
3. Watch your step. This applies to all forms of public transportation. I've seen a lot of people fall on the bus/trolley and it's not pretty. One time this older gentleman wasn't holding on to anything as the bus pulled forward and fell and cut his head. He had to be taken to the hospital. On top of that everyone was forced off the bus and had to wait for the next one. So paying attention can save you as well as others a lot of grief.
4. Be mindful of yourself and others. Basically try not to step on anyone's toes, literally. One of the things I hate most about using public transportation is that people are always stepping on my shoes. If you step on someone's shoes, the best response you'll get is a dirty look and the worst will be someone kicking your ass. If you step on someone's shoes, be sure to apologize. People who take public transportation don't have a lot of money, so when you scuff their best pair of kicks it's understandable if they get upset. Also, if you are carrying a large handbag/sports bag/etc. be mindful that it doesn't hit other people as you are passing them. This is another easily avoided source of conflict. If you're carrying something large/heavy, hold it in front of you so that it doesn't knock anyone in the face. Be aware of your body and your belongings.
5. Don't stare. If you take anything away from this list, this is probably the most important. I myself have a problem with staring. There are a lot of interesting/unique people using public transportation and sometimes I don't have a book or music to distract me. However nothing good will come of it. I've had everything from people threatening to beat me up to gay guys trying to pick me up, all because I made eye contact. There are plenty of ways to avoid these types of situations. If you don't have some form of entertainment simply look out the window or at your feet. If you are still inclined to stare, wear dark sunglasses or find some indirect way of watching them so that they cannot detect you. When I'm riding the trolley I like to stare at their reflection in the window, that way they have no way of staring back at me and I can still watch their every move.
I'm going to stop at 5 for now but I'm sure there will be more down the line. If you keep these 5 things in mind you shouldn't have any problems using public transportation. If I come up with some more tips or rules I'll either add them to this post or make a new one. Also, if you have some tips about riding public transportation that you'd like to share feel free to leave a comment and I'll include it in my next post.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
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Saturday, February 12, 2011
I was disappointed to hear Isaac's voice. Part of what made the first game so visceral is that you felt as if Isaac was merely an extension of yourself, an avatar if you will, and that anything that happened to him was happening to you. Giving Isaac a voice creates a distinct separation between the player and the protagonist. We are no longer the same entity but now merely an audience guiding Isaac through his journey. With that said, the voice-acting is generally well done, with the exception of the sprinkling of swear words which if anything detract from the atmosphere of the game.
In DS2 the risk of asphyxiation has all but disappeared, as they have discontinued oxygen-replenishing items and instead placed several oxygen tanks within each vacuum, not to mention Isaac's starting oxygen tank giving you plenty of room to "breathe". I was disappointed by this decision as the lack of oxygen greatly enhanced the tension of vacuum sequences in the first game. However it doesn't subtract from the overall experience of the game in any substantial way, and it does free up your inventory from hoarding oxygen cans.
I have mixed feelings about the dementia aspects of the game. I thought the parts where it basically jumps out at you were a bit tacky and more of a cheap scare than anything, whereas other parts which incorporate a quick-time sequence or reference certain parts of the first game were innovative and keep you on the edge of your seat.
I thought the addition of decompression was an intriguing aspect of the game and lent to the character of space itself as a dangerous force that can either be used as a weapon or, if used incorrectly, be the death of the protagonist. I enjoyed the elevator sequence greatly but thought that the experience could have been intensified if lack of oxygen had been a factor.
From what I've read most people feel the trip through the school is one of the most memorable parts of the game, but for me it had to be revisiting the Ishimura. Playing upon my memories from the first game, I felt no greater dread than when I was forced to trek through the very halls that Isaac barely managed to escape the first time around. There is one part where you are walking down a long dark corridor and as you pass a pile of boxes a brute jumps out and lungs at you. And when you've finally managed to defeat it and think that you're safe, another one runs out to take its place. It was these kinds of unexpected encounters that made the first game so great, and lend it to the second one.
Overall, Dead Space 2 isn't nearly as scary as the original. In DS2 I almost always felt in control whereas in the first game I didn't know what was going on half the time. In the first game you were often stuck in a small room forced to battle it out with hordes of necromorphs as you prayed for the decontamination to be completed. These kinds of encounters are few and far between in DS2 and in certain instances it is not even required (or advisable) for you to kill all of your enemies, instead encouraging you to run away. Don't let these small criticisms discourage you, however. Dead Space 2 is without a doubt an excellent game, worth every penny and sweaty hour that you might spend on it.