Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fallout: New Vegas - Dead Money Review

The first DLC for Fallout New Vegas, Dead Money, is out now for Xbox 360 (and I assume it will be out on PC and PS3 eventually), costing you 800ms points and for once, more than just a quick sit-down to go through and complete it. In Dead Money, you are lured by a radio signal and captured, forced into cooperating with 3 other individuals to pull off a heist at the Sierra Madre casino. Sounds easy enough, but the only problem is, there's an explosive collar around your neck ready to pop your head into bloody bits if you so much as think about disobeying your given heist plans. Sounds fun, eh? Like most of the DLC from Fallout 3, this one has its pros and cons, but it was honestly a lot better than I thought it would be this time around. And hey, it actually wasn't buggy either. Breakdown time!

The Awesomesauce:

This one's a game-changer, so to speak. You have to conduct yourself in this DLC differently than you would in the Mohave desert, because you go in stripped of your weapons, food, stimpacks, the works. This provides challenge. I appreciated that Dead Money wasn't just a walk-in-the-park add-on that most could easily breeze through in a single sitting. I no longer felt invincible, storming through the area with my high-powered weapons and armor - I was weak again - and that was a good thing. The new environment added an element of creepiness, and you actually had to pay more attention to what you're doing. There's traps everywhere, and you need to scavenge what you can to stay alive. There's a few new weapons and equips you can find and keep after you've completed the content, adding a little variety. You get your choice (well, it's not a choice, really, since you're forced to work with them or your head will explode) of 3 new companions to help you break into the Sierra Madre casino, and each of your newfound "friends" are pretty damned interesting. Should you think about running away, you die. If your companion dies, you die - you're all linked by your explosive collars to keep you in check for the story... and it's awesome. When you're finally in the casino, you can gamble and get some chips to help you buy much-needed supplies as well. The environment is cruel, and it feels that way when playing Dead Money. Overall, it was just a lot of fun - more fun than I expected to get out of the first batch of downloadable content for New Vegas.

The Buzzkills:

If Dead Money gets anything wrong, it's in the way the environment and enemies grow stale over time. You spend a lot of time in the Villa area before actually getting into the Sierra Madre casino for the rest of the DLC, and the layout is somewhat like a very same-looking maze. I usually like to explore new areas, but when it all started to look the same, I got kind of worried. I found myself taking wrong turns or going to places I shouldn't be yet just because of the way it was laid out. I had a sigh of relief when I finally got into the casino and the layout changed for the better. As also mentioned, the enemies grow old too. Aside from the occasional hologram that you just avoid (kind of like a walking security camera), all you really fight throughout the entirety of the content are these "Ghost" villagers. There are a few minor variations between them, such as one attacks you unarmed while another throws spears at you, but for the most part, they don't change and it feels like they're just there to have something to fight. I would've liked to kill more than one enemy. Finally, the only thing I can think of that actually bothered me beyond the 2 points previously mentioned was the lack of music. There was none. This is just a personal preference, however, since I prefer the music to whatever ambient noises are in the background.

You'll see lots of these guys... because they're pretty much all you fight
Final Thoughts:  For a DLC, this is pretty good, and I gotta hand it a deserved 4/5, if I were to give it a numerical rating according to my opinion. If you've liked everything that Fallout has thrown at you, and you're still hungry for more, you could definitely do worse. Pick this up when you get the chance. It's challenging but not overwhelmingly so, changes the pace a bit, and actually takes a bit of time to complete. If you're an achievement whore like me, you'll get some extra points while going through an interesting break-away from the main story of New Vegas. And I don't think you'll leave disappointed - it even has its own slideshow ending, similar to that of the story ending, before throwing you back in the Mohave. Just don't attempt this DLC until you're at least level 20, or the "ghost" villagers will very clearly define prison rape for you.

PS. Try to find all the little clues hinting at another upcoming DLC
/* Save often on this one, or you'll regret having to retrace your steps a lot */

Sunday, December 12, 2010

VGA 2010 Thoughts (and ME3)

Let's get right down to it...
All the clues and little teases that Bioware was dropping for us were all for Mass Effect 3. Now don't get me wrong - I'm extremely excited about this, but I'm a little disappointed because everyone already knew ME3 was coming. Why tease with little clues about London, and the atomic mass of iron and all that shit? It was building up for potentially something different, but lo-and-behold, it was really just what everyone wanted.  That said, the official teaser trailer was awesome and got me amped to hop back into the role of Shepard. In the trailer, the Reapers have decimated (I always liked that word) London, and once again, Shepard has to step up. Look for yourself:

SO, now that you've cleaned yourself up after watching that trailer, there are another few key things to note about the 2010 VGAs. I'm kind of disappointed there wasn't an official Spike webstream of the event, as there was the past few years, so any live stream got shut down within minutes. :(

I cannot tell you how excited I am that Bethesda is working on Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Hopefully they use a different game engine though, because the one they've been working on is getting kind of dated. It's good for environment, but not so good for character models. A lot of their games look similar, so I'm hoping they break that mold with Skyrim. And hey, if they don't, it's still gonna be ES5. Awesome! I can't wait til next holiday.  (UPDATE: Skyrim will in-fact be using a new game engine, confirmed by Bethesda)

I'm so thrilled that for once, Halo didn't win all the damn awards. Maybe people have realized that it's not the godsend of an amazing game that everyone thinks it is. Or maybe the fact that it only won "Best Multiplayer" says something. I'm happy that Bioware won "Studio of the Year", Limbo won "Best Indie", ME2 won "Best RPG", and most of all... I'm happy that Red Dead Redemption won "Game of the Year". It deserved it for its amazing story, characters, and just damn good environments and gameplay. If you want to see who all won what awards, go HERE.

/* I'm going to go stash money for next year's game releases... I'll need it */

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Change of addy

To anyone that actually bothers to read this,

I'm changing the URL for this blog a bit. Instead of "qismidnight.blogspot...."  it will now be "theqspot.blogspot.com".

It's just easier this way, and goes better with the actual title.

- Q

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Spike VGAs & Bioware Fanboyism

The video game awards are this Saturday, and while I've never really watched them (because I don't have Spike TV), I'll be paying attention to this current one.

Why? One word... Bioware.

They've been putting out some quality games that I've thoroughly enjoyed lately. Dragon Age and Mass Effect are now personal favorites in my game library. Bioware has been dropping hints about a big announcement they're making at the VGAs. A lot of people think it's gonna be Mass Effect 3, but there's no confirmation of any of the clues. Here's what they are:

- The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth at the Vostok Station in Antarctica
- The atomic mass of iron
- British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6)
- "The Singles" album from The Clash
- A picture of a fish (red herring)

There's also this picture.. which doesn't look like anyone from Mass Effect that I can think of.

What does it all mean?!?! Vostok is a system in the Mass Effect universe, but what does the rest of it have to do with anything Bioware could be making? I don't want to wait til Saturday

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Things That Make Q Rage #4

Literal Bible Creationists

Rarely do I observe statements that truly make me question human gullibility and the future of society. Upon reading Pharygula (a science blog from PZ Myers), I've been seeing a lot of posts about Ken Ham, who is with the AiG (Answers in Genesis) in building a giant creationist Ark park in Kentucky, with $37 million in tax incentive help from the state government. It's pretty much going to be a government invested theme park for people that literally believe every word in Genesis to be completely, undoubtedly true.

This isn't the only thing that frightens me...
It's all the people that are with Ken Ham 100%... The people that make me rage so hard, that I can't take anything these people *ever* say seriously, ever again. I was looking up who Mr. Ham is, what he talks about, who supports him, and all the comments he receives. Below is a list of just a few of the incredibly stupid comments lacking any logic, reason, or common sense whatsoever. SPOILER: You're gonna rage: 

"Evolutionists say Crocodiles have been around longer than Dinosaurs! And, they live today--with humans. So how can evolutionists mock at creationists for believing dinosaurs lived with humans--when according to them, Crocs lived before and with Dinosaurs--and live today!"

The description of the behemoth in Job 40 proves that dinosaurs existed at the same time as humans."

I'm trying to teach my two year old whenever he hears 'millions of years ago' he should say, 'No, that's a lie.'" 

"Creation - the only plausable explanation!"

Those were just a few I picked out in a matter of minutes. There's hundreds more. I've lost "faith" in the world  I live in today... seriously.