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Sean Dimagiba

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About Sean Dimagiba

  • Rank
    Contributing Writer
  • Birthday 05/23/1994

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    shrimpy_xd
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    srd_301@yahoo.com

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  • Backloggery
    arccaster301
  • PSN
    headhunter23
  • Location
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Video Games, Writing, Video Editing, Playing Music
  1. Dead Space has always been a marquee example of the definite single-player survival-horror experience. That being said, it would seem that an addition of any kind of co-op would hamper the traditional experience. And of course, with impeccable timing, the recent showing of Dead Space 3 revealed some new things such as a new environment, movement upgrades, and also an added cooperative mode. No longer is Isaac Clarke alone in his latest adventure, but now he has a new best friend. Games like Resident Evil 5 and F.3.A.R. have added co-op options in the past in an attempt to enhance the experience and give players another way to play. Whether or not it was the co-op or simply the way the game was designed, these titles became considerably less scary than their predecessors. Is Dead Space 3 doomed to follow this same unfortunate fate? It“s important to note that co-op is only an option. According to developer Visceral Games, the game can be enjoyed in both single-player and co-op. In fact, depending on which way you choose to play, some lines of dialogue, cutscenes, and scripted events are changed around. For example, in one of the gameplay videos, one part shows Isaac approaching a building and at the top you can see Carver, the new playable character, fighting off necromorphs and calling to Isaac to meet him up there with him. The footage then shows the same sequence except in co-op mode, and since Carver is with Isaac at that moment, instead of the aforementioned cutscene there exists instead lines of dialogue that wouldn“t have been heard otherwise. It“s neat additions like these that will add more replay value to the game because players will want to see the different changes between the single-player and co-op. Isaac and Carver will have to watch each other's backs. Frontal assaults like this one won't be abundant. As far as how Dead Space plays now, it“s more of the same, if anything. You still get all of the same over-the-shoulder third-person shooting that you“re used to. The only difference here is that you“ve got an extra pair of eyes watching your back. Carver seems to be a decent partner; he usually dispatches enemies that you“re not concerned with, provides support against the big bosses, and assists you in puzzles in ample time. He also seems to be the comic relief to Isaac“s more serious side, which is a nice touch considering all of the severed tentacles flying around. It“s nice to hear a lighter side of things, but some fans may not appreciate his banter so we“ll have to wait and see how that pans out. While Visceral managed to carry over the classic Dead Space feel, the action seems to be more fast-paced than before. Enemies move at considerably faster speeds than their necromorph brethren. And with the added roll and crouch functions, not to mention human opponents that can shoot back, the action definitely has a more amped feel to it. This has been the trap of many survival-horror games. Developers feel as though they need to “get with the times” and they compare their games with bigger titles. They think that by adding more action over horror, they can gain more fans and widen their scope. While this may be true, it doesn“t change the fact that these titles originated in horror, and more often than not, it was the scares and thrills that brought in the majority of fans. Now that these games that have been made famous (thanks to their roots in horror) become more generic shoot“em ups, they also become more mainstream, companies make more money, but at the same time fans become disappointed with the final result. Can we expect the same fate to befall Dead Space 3? "Not sure if Carver is for deep gameplay experience... or EA sell-out." From the limited video clips shown at E3, Dead Space 3 seems to be running at a much faster pace. One of the bosses, which wasn“t even a necromorph, was a huge spinning drill that was rapidly flailing around as running necromorphs began to swarm Isaac. I“m not sure if this is to compensate for the extra player, but most likely this is the kind of fast-paced action we“ll see for the remainder of the game. Not that there won“t be tense moments, of course. Early in the footage, Isaac is shown walking through a blizzard, his path completely impossible to see. All of a sudden, a necromorph jumps in front of him and Isaac frantically decimates the foe. It“s moments like that which will preserve the classic experience we“ve come to know and love. We“ll see how Dead Space 3 shapes up in the following months, but until then, keep your fingers crossed.
  2. Your typical movie-goer tends to walk into the theater hoping for a spectacle of explosions, gunfire, and maybe a few lines of dialogue for the sake of those sick one-liners that would probably make its way into a ten minute compilation of similar sayings. If this is what people expect from cinema, how high can their expectations be for video games? Looking at your mainstream flow of gaming, they usually consist of your typical, run-of-the-mill shooter-fests in which you find a good spot to take aim, mow down some baddies, and move on to the next area where you repeat the process. Of course, I don“t mean to generalize; most gamers have higher expectations and want to see variety when it comes to the basic formula, whether it is a shooter, RPG, or platformer title. Still, many other great titles such as Splinter Cell, Resident Evil, and Final Fantasy have fallen into this pattern in which developers feel as though they are compelled to put more action into their titles. Games that are known for their original qualities such as horror, strategy, or stealth have been reduced into keeping half of their original concept, with the other half being straight-up action. While it works in some cases, some fans feel as though these games lose its main purpose. That being said, it can be fair to say that the “Interactive Story” genre of gaming wouldn“t seem like a popular, or more importantly - profitable - proposal at a publisher“s next meeting. However, in the past years, the interactive story has been making its return in the primetime spotlight of gaming, and depending on the crowd, it can deliver some of the most exciting moments and provoke the deepest emotions. A Storybook With Choices In point-and-click games like this, the player usually has to find clues and items in order to continue with the story The closest thing I can compare an interactive story to are the point-and-click games that were made popular back in the 90s. Their idea was simple: the player moved a cursor around the screen and by clicking on items or places in the environment the player can move the main avatar or make him/her perform specific actions. The great thing about these games and what separated them from other games during their time was that they made you truly think about what to do. Most of the time you can“t blast through the door or jump over that broken ledge, but instead you“ll be forced to find and combine items, talk to people, or solve puzzles. This is basically what interactive stories are made of. Thanks to advances in technology, the player now usually has the ability to move the character freely around a set environment, and from there the player will have to find items, talk to people, or, you guessed it, solve puzzles. While it doesn“t sound all too enthralling, within the right hands, the interactive story can keep you intrigued and even have your heart racing, depending on the situation. Pieces Of A Plot Trust me, while it may seem like nothing more than a romantic gesture, this decision in Heavy Rain will impact the story's conclusion One of the most basic features of an interactive story is that it“s a story that you should have some degree of control over. Take Heavy Rain, for example. Depending on your choices, some characters may be affected by the impending circumstances or even die, which then affects other parts of the story later on in the game. Or perhaps handling a situation one way or another affects how the plot plays out by the end. Heavy Rain can potentially have dozens of different endings. While the game ends in the same place, the variables involved can be completely different from one player“s file to the next. This is what helps create the intrigue in an interactive story, in that the player can essentially try to create the best outcome, see what happens when things go bad, or choose what they want to see happen. Interactive stories have no mandatory goals other than tell the player a tale of their own. Dealing With Dialogue Be mindful of who you take sides with in The Walking Dead Coming from a writer, one of the aspects I appreciate most from a good video game is good writing. That“s why I usually applaud games like Uncharted or Red Dead Redemption or Mass Effect; not because of its gameplay (which is superb) but because of the writing in its characters. Dialogue is taken to a next level with interactive stories. Most of the time, the player can choose what their controlled character says. In The Walking Dead video game adaptation, the player controls Lee and half the time you have to pick what he says to other characters along his journey. This added depth to interaction really allows the player to get to know this character that he/she essentially gets to form, and also get to know the world around the character. The Walking Dead is a particularly good example of this because when the game starts, you aren“t given any information about Lee other than the fact that he is being driven in a police car. You wonder why he“s being arrested when the game prompts you to say something to the police officer driving the car, and because of the fact that Telltale Games doesn“t give you any background information, Lee is essentially your own character. The choices given to you during the game, which are usually four choices performed with one of the face buttons on your controller, are fairly distinct. There“s even a choice to be silent, something that I hadn“t remembered seeing as a consistent choice in a game like this. This also adds replay value if you“re interested as to what would happen if you said something different. From Start To Finish You'll need quick fingers to survive your encounters with the dinos in Jurassic Park: The Game Some people doubt the entertainment value of interactive stories because of how the player is limited to movement, solving puzzles, and maybe picking dialogue. Some people don“t even consider interactive stories in gaming as video games, and that sparks arguments as to what a game actually is. The general definition for “video game” is a game played by electronically manipulating images produced by a computer program on a television screen or display. That sounds about right. If Call Of Duty is considered “manipulating images,” then interactive stories have a right to be considered video games, too. And exactly how fun can they be? Well, let“s bring up Call Of Duty again. You can take bullets, sprint for miles, and come out of an exploding building without a scratch besides some mysterious red gel on your eyes. In interactive stories, you don“t get to do that. When stuck in a dangerous life-or-death situation, all you can rely on is quick reflexes and timed button presses. Now it may not seem difficult or exciting, but when your character“s life, a character that you“ve been building and following for several hours, relies on a few careful button presses, you“ll be on the edge of your seat making sure you don“t miss. And interactive stories aren“t limited to Heavy Rain or games of a similar caliber. Mass Effect and InFamous are just a few examples of games that take elements of interactive stories by allowing you to pick dialogue or change the course of the game through major decisions which add to the already rich experience. The best part about interactive stories comes around the end, as the plot comes to a resolution and the main characters achieve (or don“t achieve) their goal. It is the moment when the culmination of your choices over the course of several hours comes together into a hopefully satisfying conclusion. The things you said, the people you saved, and the actions you performed flourish into a final result, and you realize that it was all because of your decisions. Even better, you can go back and do it again, continue making new stories, and you just might figure out why interactive stories can be some of the best experiences in gaming.
  3. The other day I walked into my local GameStop. Yes, I have their Power-Up Rewards membership and no, I still don“t think they“re a fine company by any means, but sometimes, you have to work with what“s in front of you. Anyways, this isn“t a commentary about GameStop“s services. I approached the gentleman at the front counter, and with a bit of hesitance in my voice, I declared to him, “I would like to cancel a pre-order.” Now, cancelling a pre-order is a fairly awkward experience. It“s essentially saying to the world, “You know, I thought I liked this and I put my hard-earned cash on it just to prove you people wrong, but turns out that I was wrong anyways.” You put your confidence in this product, assuming that it“s going to be good, and then you change your mind, losing a bit of your confidence along with it. The man at the desk complied, and asked which game it was. I told him it was Assassin“s Creed 3. That“s when a very short but sharp silence hit the store. The man helping me gave me a confused look, and he asked me why I would cancel a pre-order on such an anticipated game (if it hadn“t been apparent yet, he was a big fan of the series). Again, another awkward part of the cancelation of a pre-order is the part when the employee asks why. I know they have an obligation to interact with the customer, but I really didn“t feel like giving an explanation as to why, so I just spit some random excuses, quickening my time in the store. So, he cancelled the pre-order, got my money back, oh, and I might become “blacklisted” by my GameStop for cancelling a pre-order. Fantastic. My point here is that Assassin“s Creed 3, at this point, isn“t worth the investment for me. I“ve been a fan of the series for about three years, and I“ve played through all of the console iterations of the series. I plowed through the repetition of Altair“s journey, I spent three games and $180 on Italian playboy-turned-assassin Ezio Auditore, and I“ve mocked Desmond with witty Nathan Drake jokes too many times for me to count. I can say with confidence that I“m a fan of Assassin“s Creed. I enjoy the storyline, even though some people complain about it. Yes, Ubisoft“s promises that all of the answers will be answered in the next game are as fake as the Animus“ projections, and some of the religious references turn people off and quite frankly creep me out sometimes, but I still think that the game“s plot is the biggest motivation for me playing it. I also enjoy the combat system (which was finally refined when Brotherhood came out), and while you don“t really feel like a sneaky assassin a lot of the time, it still does a good job of dropping you into that sense. At this point, all of the elements in Assassin“s Creed feel very familiar. That“s where the problem begins. *Sigh* There was a time when two kills at once in an Assassin's Creed game were the most amazing thing in the world After Assassin“s Creed 2, the following games only added to the core experience. Basically, whatever you“ve seen from the previous title is recycled with a few new little tweaks and toys. I know that Brotherhood and Revelations weren“t meant to be taken as full-fledged sequels, but that doesn“t mean that Ubisoft couldn“t put the same effort and amount of new content that was seen in the jump between Assassin“s Creed and Assassin“s Creed 2. Brotherhood added the guild system and new weapons and more vehicle segments, and Revelations added new weapons, bomb making and Desmond puzzles. Both titles also introduced multiplayer to the series. Sadly, Brotherhood only acted as an enhanced Assassin“s Creed 2, and Revelations acted as a refined Brotherhood. I appreciate all of the new features and fixes, but honestly, they could“ve been achieved through patching or as downloadable content. Now we“re at the “third” installment of Assassin“s Creed. See, after the production of Assassin“s Creed 2, the team at Ubisoft split into two camps. One group went on to create Brotherhood and Revelations, and the other team went straight to work on Assassin“s Creed 3, which means that Assassin“s Creed 3 has been roughly a three to four year project. With all that time and with no direct design connections to Brotherhood or Revelations, then how can Assassin“s Creed 3 fall in the same copy-and-paste trap? It“s easy, really. There are some things I will applaud for Assassin“s Creed 3. The game takes place during the American Revolution, a familiar and exciting time during history, mostly because many North American gamers will likely recognize many of the places and people. The game looks great, and weather effects and free-running animations look very smooth. Combat looks vigorous and fast-paced, and Connor, our latest protagonist, has many neat moves at his disposal. These are all good things, but I can“t help but see more of the same. That“s how every series is; you start with a base concept, and with every game you try to build on it without completely alienating from the first experience. With Assassin“s Creed, however, I feel worn out at this point. From 2009, there has been a new game every year, this being the fourth consecutive year in a row. It“s why I lost interest with Call of Duty. I know - a drastic comparison, but the best I could come up with. I can“t help but feel like I“ve seen it all before, and even with a completely different development cycle, I don“t know if Assassin“s Creed 3 will go far enough to truly differentiate itself from the past two titles. After meeting the cool and silent Altair and then the charismatic leader Ezio, how will Connor stand out? Bringing up multiplayer, I never really could get into it. To me, it was original, but it was also a fancy game of hide-and-seek. When I think Assassin“s Creed and multiplayer, I think intense sword fights, free-running races, or even co-op stealth missions reminiscent of Splinter Cell: Conviction. Instead, Ubisoft thought outside of the box and did what they did, and it still serves as an ample experience but not one that could keep me hooked. And it seems that they continue to do the same with Assassin“s Creed 3. They“ve added some new modes, but it“s all they can do with the route that multiplayer has taken. Going back to single-player, I think that it will feel like a new experience, but like I said before, too familiar. I think that the fact that they decided to release a new game every year has worn some of us out, and even with the potential in Assassin“s Creed 3, it won“t wipe the slate clean. One thing to remember though - I said I cancelled my pre-order; I never said I wasn“t going to buy it. I just feel that my excitement for the series has dwindled, and hopefully Assassin“s Creed 3 will prove me extremely wrong. Until then, I“ll wait for the mark-down sale.
  4. It“s officially summer, and that means it“s time go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Or if you“re like me, then you know it“ll be here for a few more months anyways, so why not just stay home for the hundredth time and play some more video games? Better yet, bring some people over and have a party. Here are a few games that you might consider bringing at your next summer party. Dance Central (Kinect) If you've never seen the moves in Dance Central, you're going to have a fun time figuring them out for the first time... in front of your friends There are a few choices for dancing games. From Just Dance, to Everybody Dances, and even Dance Dance Revolution, you can definitely have a good time with the ones that I just listed. However, I“ve seen that Dance Central for the Kinect usually brings the best crowd and laughs. Thanks to its controller-less set-up, the only assembly required is pushing aside the coffee table and leaving some space for the next dancers. Dance Central also has a very accessible learning curve, so pretty much anyone can get up and do the easier moves, or step up to a harder difficulty as required. The soundtrack consists of popular hits from today and old school classics that even the youngest guests should recognize. And it“s also hilarious to watch your friends butcher “Baby Got Back.” Rock Band/Guitar Hero (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2) Rock Band allows you to change things around for casual gamers or those who are just picky This is always a given. Either title is a fine choice, but I“ll just use Rock Band as an example. You take four players and each one plays either drums, guitar, or vocals (Or the keyboard if you“re playing Rock Band) and you basically jam out to your favorite rock songs. Rock Band is definitely a great choice because anyone of any comfort level can jump in with an instrument, and you“re more outgoing guests can start wailing out Bon Jovi classics. The games also carry a fairly varied set list, so unless your guests are hardcore rap, classical, or country fans, there shouldn“t be a problem finding at least a handful of songs they like. Other features such as No-Fail mode and Band Battles offer more ways for your guests to have fun with it. And as far as which one is the better of the two, I prefer to stick with Rock Band because of the way the in-game interface is set up, it“s recognition among pop culture, and for its more casual play style. Of course, Guitar Hero should do the job just fine. Mario Kart/Modnation Racers (Wii/PS3) Mario Kart, where turtle shells are your worst enemy Mario Kart and Modnation Racers are part of the “kart racing” genre. While they“re not hardcore enough to be considered a racing title, they make it up with wacky visuals and wild weapons. There are some racing games that do feature four-player split-screen action, but they don“t seem as fun or as accessible as these two titles are. Mario Kart is a classic, with roots back during Nintendo“s early days. Players can jump in and have a short race, or try one of the other fun modes such as Balloon Battle or Coin Runners. If you“re itching for a more intense race, Modnation Racers is the way to go. Exclusive on the Playstation 3, Modnation boats an emphasis on creating your own tracks, characters, and karts. From a racing perspective, Modnation Racers doesn“t have any special modes, but it provides a more competitive racing experience with faster speeds and devastating weapons, all while keeping its all-ages theme. Both kart racers are fun and easy to learn. Super Smash Bros. (Wii, GCN, N64) Some newcomers may not like a Smash Ball once they see what it does... Take a few dozen iconic Nintendo figures (And maybe one from Sega or Konami) and toss them into a fight to the death. That“s the basic idea for Super Smash Bros. It“s a brawler at heart, and with up to four players on a single screen, you can see some very intense match-ups, some that I“ve seen go on for more than fifteen or even twenty minutes with sweat-inducing back-and-forth action. But new players shouldn“t feel hesitant to join in. Smash“s control scheme is fairly simple, with your basic attacks locked onto single buttons. So, anyone can jump in and start pulling off a few simple leaps and attacks and even hold their own against others. Just make sure the veterans don“t discourage the newbies. Halo/Call of Duty/Other Popular Games Remember kids, no screen cheating! Chances are not everyone at your party will be a gamer or barely know what a video game is. To be safe, it wouldn“t hurt to have some of the more popular titles on hand such as Call of Duty. You can assume that most people have at least tried or seen Call of Duty, and due to its popularity you can expect at least some people to play it. Halo and Gears of War also seem to be very recognizable so they should also do just fine. Make sure that whatever game you decide to use has the option to put multiple players in at once, four if you can. And also be sure to make certain that turns will be taken, and that those turns don“t last longer than 5 to 10 minutes so that way everyone gets a chance to play. Also be sure that the game is easy or easily accessible with a humble learning curve; you want to make sure your guests are having fun with the game and not spending the whole time flipping through a manual. Lastly, remember that video games should just be one of the few things to do at your party, and shouldn“t be used as a primary source of good times. Unless, of course, things just end up that way. I mean, it“s a party after all.
  5. Sean Dimagiba

    What have you seen recently and what did you think?

    I just saw Chernobyl Diaries, and it, well, tried to say the least. I'd say just to pass it up
  6. Did anyone else get a cardboard cutout of Juliet Starling in the mail today? o_o

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Jared

      Jared

      Apparently quite a few of us got one. It was a hassle to set up, but I ain't complaining. A thanks to the company that sent it out to us.

    3. Sean Dimagiba

      Sean Dimagiba

      Yeah no kidding, I felt like such a dope until I figured out how fairly easy it was to put it together.

    4. Leah

      Leah

      Yeah, the instructions were pretty stupid :(

  7. Everyone deserves a father or father figure in his or her life. Someone to tell them that things are going to be okay. Someone to show them how to ride a bike or fire a BB gun. Someone to be there when things aren“t going well. Father figures have positive effects on children and even adults in the real world, so here are some father figures from gaming that are sure to melt your heart. Dad (Fallout 3) "If you harm my son, I'm going to find you, and I will kill you." Dad, was, well, your dad in Fallout 3. He saved you from the clutches of the apocalyptic wasteland and cared for you in Vault 101, and while he seemed like a jerk by leaving you behind one night, he had good intentions. Dad wanted to clean the water in D.C., create a living world once again, and was willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good of mankind in the face of tyranny. He was a fighter until the end, and Fallout 3 was one of the few games where I felt worried about a character“s father because Dad felt like my dad. And to top it all off, Dad was voiced by Liam Neeson. I mean, you can never go wrong with Liam Neeson. Dad was a pretty cool dad. Victor Sullivan (Uncharted series) I swear, those island shirts are like the only things that Sully ever wears Victor “God Damn!” Sullivan is his name, and gunning down foes with a big revolver is his game. Victor has been with Nathan Drake since the start. He saved Drake from the rough streets and together, Victor and Drake have been plundering treasure and discovering mythical lands over the course of years of climbing, running, and shooting. And who taught Nathan Drake all of the moves? Victor Sullivan, of course. And he does it with a big fat cigar in his mouth too. Sully has been with Drake in nearly every adventure and always has wise words or helpful advice to say to him. The bond they have built over the series is one not by blood, but by true comradery. Ethan Mars (Heavy Rain) Ethan tends to look sad all the time, but to be fair, if my city rained like it did in Heavy Rain, I'd be pretty depressed too If fatherhood was a test, then that would be represented by Heavy Rain. While Heavy Rain featured four main characters, Ethan Mars took most of the spotlight, at least for me. Ethan had lost one son after trying to save his life from a car accident, so he wasn“t so feeble when his other son was kidnapped by the origami killer. Throughout Heavy Rain, Ethan is forced to complete several tasks for the Oragami Killer in order to literally prove his love for his son and see how far he would go. Each challenge tested a different part of Ethan, mentally and/or physically, and his journey truly showed how much he loved his son. Some sections of the game were even hard for me to play, considering how realistic and terrifying they would be in a real-life situation. Giovanni Auditore Da Firenze (Assassin“s Creed II) Fun Fact: The actor who played Giovanni in the short film Assassin's Creed: Lineage also lent the same voice and face for the character model in Assassin's Creed 2 How many people could say that their father was an assassin? Ezio Auditore could“ve. Giovanni was born into the brotherhood and trained to become a master assassin like his ancestors before him. To add to that, he became a successful banker and gave birth to four kids! Talk about getting business done! But seriously, Giovanni lived the ultimate double life as he provided for his family while at the same time killing men of evil intentions - the Templars. Only a good father could raise a son like he did. Ezio was the example of the “every-man” during his time and he practiced ideals of control, accuracy, and he was friendly to the ladies. He could“ve only been raised by such a good father, and that man was Giovanni Auditore. John Marston (Red Dead Redemption) Daniel Craig has nothing on Marston This list really wouldn“t be complete without Mr. Marston. John grew up in a gang, separated by his own father, and lived his childhood in murder and theft. Even with his past always right behind him, John managed to find a good woman, birth a son, and try to start their own farm. That is, until the government decide that it“s time for John to pay for his crimes and force him to hunt down his old gang if he wants to see his family safe again. Even after completing this, as John tries to settle in after his wild journey, the government remains relentless and John makes the ultimate sacrifice to save his family of his life-long burden that would haunt them if he hadn“t done something about it. John Marston, like the other characters on the list, showed affection for someone else, and projected that into selfless acts of courage and seemingly impossible feats. It goes to show how amazing father figures are, not only as real people, but as shining examples as well.
  8. Graduating high school today :D

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Jared

      Jared

      You get a swat for each year you attended, then a pinch to get into college... I think.

    3. Rex705

      Rex705

      Congrats you have graduated from school welcome to slavery.

    4. Marcus Estrada

      Marcus Estrada

      Yay! You made it! Now onto level 2 of life :o.

  9. Prom Night! Woo!!!

    1. Show previous comments  2 more
    2. Sailor Liztress

      Sailor Liztress

      My prom wasn't too bad. Then again it was like 10 years ago...

    3. Marshall Henderson

      Marshall Henderson

      Proms are boring! I hope you pre-gamed!

    4. bink

      bink

      Hope you had a good and safe time.

  10. Happy b-day, Sean! :)

    1. Sean Dimagiba

      Sean Dimagiba

      Thanks a lot, Marcus!

  11. Happy birthday to you....!

  12. No matter how little publicity or faith Capcom has in its own product, Dragon“s Dogma is definitely the game to look out for in a few days. After getting some hands on time with the demo, I can safely say that Dragon“s Dogma will be one of the best RPGs this year, assuming all things go well. Even though some of the game“s features are slightly rough around the edges, there are some key points to the title that borrow from some games but tweak just enough to call it its own. The Pawn System It ain't no Fellowship of the Ring, but it'll do Dragon“s Dogma doesn“t feature an online mode like Dark Souls, which may seem lacking for some gamers. However, it does utilize an online mode in a different way: the Pawn system. In Dragon“s Dogma, you create your own character along with a permanent follower known as your “Pawn.” Just as their title suggests, your Pawn will follow you around on your adventures, fight off enemies, and even give you advice along the way. The great thing about Pawns is that they“re completely customizable, so you can change its voice, name, appearance, and equipment, just as you would with your own character. This degree of customization really adds to the experience and allows the player to create the side-kick they“ve always wanted. Where does the online part kick in, you ask? Well, in this place called The Rift, you can put your Pawn up for rental and other players can pay a certain amount of Rift points to borrow your Pawn. While your Pawn is out adventuring, it gains experience and comes back stronger than before. You can also borrow other people“s Pawns, up to two in fact, and you can have up to three NPCs following you at all times consisting of your own Pawn and two borrowed ones. In Dragon“s Dogma, the difficulty will require you to bring support with you into battle so borrowing other Pawns may end up being your only option, and this further encourages the online sharing among other players. Climbing on your Foes "Excuse me, ma'am, this was not the designated drop-off point we agreed on!" Similar to Shadow of the Colossus, Dragon“s Dogma gives you the ability to grab onto larger enemies and actively climb them. Once you“re on, you can climb on their backs, along their legs, or onto their heads for extra damage. The system is incredible, especially when you“re in the heat of battle and you latch onto a trolls arm and it begins to violently swing around in an attempt to get you off of it. I was also impressed to see that you could latch onto the enemy at different limbs, and you weren“t limited to that specific limb; at one point in the demo, I grabbed the Gryphon“s tail and climbed all the way up to its head and started attacking from there. Character Customization You can create any type of person, really Any good RPG has a character creation system that allows you to form the face and build of your hero (or villain). Dragon“s Dogma is no different. Once you pick out sex, a name, and a basic body build, you can go into extreme depth with your character. You can change your character“s hair style, skin tone, and facial features, but then you can go deeper from there. You can swap out different muscles for arms and legs, adjust the way your character stands, and even pick out a custom voice out of six choices, a feature that I always applaud in any game. Your character could be an elderly miser or even a small child. Dragon Dogma“s creator gives you that kind of freedom. Explosive Combat The most potent method of dealing with Hobgoblins is definitely a helping of BURN! No, I don“t mean bombs and guns and stuff. Staff members at Capcom behind Dragon“s Dogma also helped to craft Devil May Cry, the over-the-top hack-and-slash game known for its flashy combat. Dragon“s Dogma takes a little bit of the flash, and adds some Dark Souls depth to it to create a beautiful mix of the two. In the demo, one of the levels puts you in the shoes of a sword and shield warrior type, and the action doesn“t hesitate to explode in a frenzy of color and special effects. You“ll use special sword skills, each face button combined with the trigger button resulting into a completely different move, and even the shield has its own special moves that I found came in handy depending on the situation. Combat is fast and raw, requiring you to keep your wits above you and constantly keep moving. As for ranged combat, pulling out your bow is literally one button press away. Just like the sword and shield, the bow comes with its own set of special moves, each one different and valuable to its own situation. There wasn“t an opportunity to use magic in the demo, but magic will also play an important role in Dragon“s Dogma. Not to mention that Pawns will help a lot in some of the crazier fights. Combat in the gameis vicious and thrilling, and is definitely action-packed. The Prospects of Exploration With all this darkness, I won't be surprised if there's a "Hold Hand" button Dragon“s Dogma is an open-world adventure game too. It reminded me of Skyrim with the way you can choose to take the beaten path, or explore through the wilderness to find new ones. Each village or city has shops, living people, and inns to stay at. Dragon“s Dogma, however, adds difficulty into the mix. Nearly any path you choose to take towards your destination will most likely lead to an enemy or two; no path is really considered “easy.” If that wasn“t enough, night time plays a role in gameplay. The darkness just doesn“t get a little harder to see and has the music change. Nighttime in Dragon“s Dogma makes things nearly pitch black, the only form of vision being the short area lit by your lamp. Oh, and there are zombies too (and everyone loves a good zombie).
  13. InFamous 2“s ending left Cole“s fate hanging; no matter which ending you get, it seems that our super hero/villain still has fight left in him. Sadly, from a lack of announcements and a low sales number, it seems that InFamous 3 is treading on a faulty power cord. Of course, we should never lose hope in Sucker Punch, who have not only brought us InFamous but also the legendary Sly Cooper series. And if you have played the Sly Cooper games, then you“ll know that Sucker Punch is notorius for leaving the player wondering, even after curtain call. So what could happen to Cole and his world after the epilogue? Here are two quick theories, and obviously, there are some spoilers for those who haven“t played or completed InFamous games. So, SPOILER WARNING! The Good Ending: Cole“s Return Cole has survived by the skin of his teeth before, but how often can he do so? So, at the end of the good karma ending of InFamous 2, Cole activates the Ray Field Inhibitor. Doing so destroys the Beast and the plague inflicting normal humans, but kills all of the Conduits on Earth in the process. Sadly, this included Cole, so he and Kuo and Nix all died in the blast. In the final moments, Zeke is on a boat with Cole“s dead body in a coffin. As the boat sails away, the screen goes dark until a bolt of lightning shoots down on the boat. If you look closely, you“ll see that the lightning bolt is in the shape of a question mark, and we can only assume that the bolt hit Cole if his dead body can still conduct electricity. What I“m seeing right now is that Cole comes back to life, supposing that his “good karma” has come back around to reward his endeavors. While I love Cole“s character and want to see more InFamous games, reviving Cole wouldn“t be a wise decision from Sucker Punch for several reasons. 1. Besides Cole, every Conduit that ever existed is dead, assuming the Ray Field Inhibitor did its job. Of course, if the inhibitor did, then Cole wouldn“t come back to life. Anyways, if all of the conduits are dead, what“s left in the world? Normal human beings. If Cole were to come back, what would the gameplay be like then? Would it be to just fight armed guards and some mechs? I saw conduits as a dynamic part of the story-line so to continue without them would result in a less interesting experience. 2. Since conduits are dead, there may not be a lot of content to work with as far as a new conflict is concerned. Perhaps someone in the First Sons may try to create a new Ray Sphere or the east coast is trying to deal with the post-destruction. The problem here is that there really isn“t a solid conflict after this ending because everything seems to be fine or at least not at the same scale as InFamous 2“s conflict. 3. Bringing back Cole in general is kind of a silly idea. I know resurrections have been done in games before but to do so in InFamous 2“s good ending would defeat the purpose. Cole became strong enough and good enough of a person to overcome the Beast, the point of which was to destroy the Beast“s immense power. Technically, Cole“s defeat of the Beast would mean that Cole is stronger than the Beast, and Kessler“s hope (who is otherwise a Cole from a different universe) was to make sure a being with immense power doesn“t take advantage and destroy the world. I doubt that Kessler would want such a powerful being running around, especially when he is the only one with powers. And even if Cole is good-hearted in the end, Kessler probably wouldn“t take that chance. The Bad Ending: A New Revolution Sometimes the thing we hate most is what we become... I don't know who said that; it just sounds cool. In the bad karma ending for InFamous 2, Cole kills Nix and his best friend Zeke. Afterwards he destroys the Ray Field Inhibitor and absorbs John White“s powers, who at that point is revealed to be the Beast. The resulting blast kills most of humanity, but the Conduits of the world remain. Cole continues to search for these conduits and teach them how to use their powers, and Cole uses his power to rule over mankind with an iron fist. It“s pretty dark, I know. But this is the most likely way for a good InFamous sequel to happen. Considering that Cole is now the Beast, there are thousands of new Conduits in the world, and humanity is in its last moments, this makes way for a lot of new conflicts and possibilities. 1. The game can still stay on Cole this way. Perhaps the game will be about his exploits of fighting back the worst of the human opposition, or maybe new conduit factions will start up and Cole will have to deal with rebellious conduits. Maybe Sucker Punch can even throw in some strategy aspects in the game, like controlling different parts of the world. This will also open up some fresh new locals for the series. 2. The game can feature a brand new conduit. With a little bit of effort, perhaps this new conduit can be completely customized by the player, allowing the player to choose different features, powers, and clothing. Then they can take this new conduit two ways; support the evolution of conduits, or fight back for mankind“s freedom. This option is definitely one that I hope is utilized because this allows for a lot of open-ended content for the game. 3. The game can feature gameplay for both humans and conduits. It can resemble Aliens vs Predators in a way. The war between the two factions will be viewed through both view-points, and the game can feature classic InFamous-style power gameplay, and maybe some third-person shooter gameplay as well. This can also adapt to multiplayer. There can be human vs conduits game modes, and even co-op modes. These are only a few possibilities that could happen in InFamous 3, if there is going to be one. The InFamous series has a lot of potential, and I think that potential can be fully realized with some new ambitious advances for the game, you know, besides giving your bald protagonist hair.
  14. The year 2009; I remember that year well only because of the fact that I finally bought my Playstation 3 on December 9th, and the first game I bought for it was none other than Grand Theft Auto IV. The $299 price tag was a huge detriment to my funds, so I had to compensate by picking up an older game. I“d heard many good things about GTA IV, and it was only $20 at the time so that's what I ended up choosing. If it was anything like previous sandbox games I“d played before (I had never played Grand Theft Auto before then), then GTA IV would be an excellent choice to start my current-gen game collection. And so I traversed Liberty City as Niko Bellic, shooting up the neighborhood and causally car-jacking the locals. It was an enlightening experience by the game“s end, not to mention the multiplayer, which also blew my mind being my first Playstation Network experience. So GTA IV and I definitely had special connection, and I definitely still regret selling it to this day. I generally didn“t have any problems with the game, though some issues with checkpoints and notoriety glitches were bothersome at times, but overall it was a lot of fun to play. That is, until you bring up the one problem I had with GTA IV. It was a feature that I was shocked to not find in a game so much more advanced than other games at the time. It was a feature that could“ve easily been implemented as DLC or, heck, maybe even a patch. It was in Saint“s Row, a game that I played recently after GTA IV, and it surprised me how Rockstar Games was able to put so much attention to detail in the game, but overlook something so simple: a garage system. "As you can see, no man's suit is complete without a car sandwich and a pump-action shotgun." For those who have played GTA IV, you“ll understand this situation. After completing a difficult mission full of cop chases, apartment shootings, and strenuous running, you decide to keep that shiny old-school American muscle car coated in a smoky black paint job that you picked up in the middle of the mission. Scratched up by side-swipes and full of bullet holes, this thing has seen some serious damage. But say you decide that you want to keep the car, for its speed or looks or whatever reason. So, you drop off the new ride at your safe house parking spot, and when a new mission pops up, you decide to take the car out again. Unfortunately, the mission includes abandoning the car. When the mission is all done and over, you realize that you left the car in front of a subway station, or some other makeshift parking zone. So, you trot back to where you last saw your car, and find that it“s no longer there. Then, you try to check your safe house where you originally parked the car, but alas, that spiffy muscle car is still gone. And it will be gone, assuming that you won“t find another of the same model and jack it off someone. The game“s tutorial advertises a “car save” system to the player in which can park a car in a designated yellow square, usually in front of a safe house, and the car will remain there, available for use anytime. I first figured that this was the game“s version of a garage. Sadly, it doesn“t work as well as you might think. See, this yellow parking spot acts kind of like generic-brand glue. What I mean is, the cars that you decide to park there will remain there, but they aren“t permanently or even temporarily logged into some kind of car history or anything. If the car isn“t left in the square and you leave it somewhere else, chances are you“ll never find it again. The car just disappears if it is out of the player“s area of play or the game is started up again. It isn“t like other games where you put the car in the spot and you can retrieve it anytime you want, regardless of where the designated garage menu was located. I suppose this was part of the realism that Rockstar wanted to push with this GTA, but that one missing feature just left the experience a little incomplete. I made thousands of dollars, I got all the weapons, and I bought all of the properties on the island. What better way to top off my kingly status than a garage full of sports cars? Maybe I prefer to whip out a hulking SUV instead of some random beater I hot-wired. Or maybe I want to chase down my target with that shiny exotic I“ve been saving for ages, fearful of taking it out because I might scratch it. Oh, and by the way, if I happened to end up scratching that car, it would just come back to my garage again, ready to drop off to the repair store, so there. The best way to comeback from a failed parallel park is to blow it off, act like nothing happened, and stay on that sidewalk Even with the lack of real gameplay footage at the moment, GTA V can only be an improvement to its predecessor considering Rockstar“s reputation for high-quality video games. One thing I notice with Rockstar games is that the games are so good and nearly-perfect that I, and other people I know, tend to easily notice the problems with the games. In other games, there is a certain balance of pros and cons so it“s hard to distinguish the problems sometimes. But in games like Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto, it“s so easy to knitpick at the small things, and this is only to Rockstar Games“ advantage. These small problems that become identified will be fixed in the following game, and Rockstar“s roster of games will only continue to grow stronger. So, let“s hope that garage makes it in those developer notes somewhere, because I know I“ll be looking forward to it.
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