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Communism is the very definition of failure!

By Joshie on June 30th, 2009 under RPG, X360, PS3,

Like a goldfish looking through the glass at the cat patiently waiting to eat it when the owner isn't looking, I couldn't help but feel slightly afraid of Madam Panada, the shop keeper in Fallout 3: Point Lookout. Maybe this video will explain the nightmares I have about this woman better than any written word could.

Without a doubt this is my favorite expansion to Fallout 3 yet and if you don't wish to splash the cash on them all, I highly recommend picking this up over the rest. Not only does Point Lookout have it's own (short) narrative set of quests, but there are many side missions to explore, all set in a new open landscape that includes a run down amusement park and board walk, a vast swamp, Victorian mansions, military base and a highly suspicious light house. Unlike the previous, more linear downloadable content, Point Lookout feels and plays much closer to the original game, providing a whole new location to explore should you grow tired of the capital wastes. With many memorable characters, religious cults and treasures awaiting, Point Lookout is without question a must buy.

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Duffman gives the people what they want!

By Joshie on June 6th, 2009 under X360, PS3, Wii, PSP,

As the week comes to a close we shut the door on Electronic Three 2009 (or E3 as the kids like to call it). The last year and a recession (you mean the ďeconomic downturnĒ right?) has certainly taken its toll on the industry, and while we returned to all the glamour, glitz and big breasted booth babes, the sour undertone of the show is a feeling that gamers didnít vote with their wallets to support new IPs like Mirrors Edge and Dead Space. Instead this yearís announcements and reveals were a conga line of less risky sequels that tread well-known grounds.

I say this because I know we are all part of the problem. I thought the two Metal Gear games, two Halo games and three Mario games looked great and will almost certainly buy them all. Thatís not to say I donít wish for more innovation in gaming, but as long as sequels are well produced and provide something new, Iím more than happy to hand over my (cough) hard earned cash.

In my opinion Sony had their best E3 conferences in years, showing of some hard hitters like God of War 3, Uncharted 2, White Knight Chronicles, Heavy Rain and The Last Guardian. I was equally impressed by their large lineup of PSP titles such as Dissidia, echochrono, PixelJunk Monsters, Peace Walker, MotorStorm and Fat Princess, which along with the announcement that they would finally sort their shit out and release decent PSone games for download (Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid included!) has me hyped for PSP for the first time in years. While Iím certainly not going to buy their atrociously priced ďPSP GoĒ for $250 (you can buy an Xbox for less than that), it did make me buy a larger memory stick from Amazon (those things are pretty cheap now ya know?) to enjoy the new digital era.

Project NatalWhat has me less excited is everyoneís desire to jump on the motion control bandwagon, driving with no hands as they barrel down the street. Microsoftís ďProject NatalĒ may have blown away some, but except for ďMr FablesíĒ Milo which is almost certainly a pedophiles wet dream, most of what they showed was a lot of shiny marketing talk with no true real world application. You all laughed when Nintendo announced the WiiWheel a few years ago? Why does anyone think holding your hands and pretending to drive with an invisible wheel is going to be an improvement? Equally, everyone is going to find controlling the dashboard in classic Minority Report fashion entertaining for five seconds before they realize the controller is just far easier. I would even consider Sonyís disastrous tech demo presentation involving coloured wands and N64 animations a better proof of concept than Microsoftís, as at least they showed us some real application for the control input which looked much closer to what people wanted the Wii to be when it was first announced.

The issue with both these projects however is with neither the concept nor the implementation; itís convincing people to buy an add on that doesnít come with the system. Microsoft will no doubt be pissing off everyone who brought a Vision camera in good faith, while Sony will have to sell people both an overpriced EyeToy and a Wiimote knockoff.

Fortunately its more than possible to ignore these announcements and dribble open mouthed at the spiffy graphics in Modern Warfare II, Crackdown II, Halo 3: ODST and Alan Wake. Yes, Iím the problem. But if the future is having to make small talk with my Xbox during the loading screens, then Iím more than happy to stay it.

Iím sure the irony of announcing a camera where YOU ARE THE CONTROLLER, and demoing a ďvirtualĒ skateboarding game was not lost on Tony Hawk who revealed his rather less-virtual skateboard controller just moments earlier either.

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Everybody's dead, Dave.

By Joshie on May 24th, 2009 under RPG, X360, PS3,

Should not have oversleptA little known fact about me is that I donít complete many games. In fact, I can buy multiple copies of the same game and still not see those pearly white credits roll on by. Itís not that I couldnít fathom how to open the boxes shrink-wrap and itís certainly not for a lack of trying. The problem, as I see it, boils down to a fundamental issue of money vs. attention span. Back in the good old days I didnít have a lot of this currency thing, so I replayed games. A lot. Hell, Iíve beaten Tombi for the PlayStation at least seven times and I donít even consider that a particularly great game. Although now that I look back at it, its depiction of evil magic pigs trying to take over the world has an eerie sense of foreboding prophecy about it when you consider the current swine flu pandemic that will turn us all into pork scratchings before the year is over.

Getting back to the topic at hand, issues with my gaming habit started to arise back at college when people started giving me free money. Obviously this cash could, logically, only be spent on one thing, and it bloody well wasnít going to be a haircut. Itís like giving a thousand pounds to a meth addict. Do you really think they are going to spend a ďreasonableĒ amount of that cash on meth and save the rest for a rainy day? Fuck no. You clearly send word to the little old lady down the street who sells drugs out of her front garage that youíre coming down and you clean her place out. Itís the same with games, but without the questionable legality of buying products from an unlicensed retailer.

For this reason Fallout 3 may just be my game of the year for 2009. Iíve been playing Bethesdaís post-apocalyptic mega RPG on and off since Christmas day last year, which for those of you who failed first grade math class, is five months or one hundred and fifty days ago. During that time Iíve managed to clock a pretty reasonable forty five hours with the game and Iíve yet to be distracted enough by the next shiny thing to give up on it.

Iíve heard people remark that they couldnít get into Fallout like they did Oblivion because of its dreary and depressing atmosphere, however this may just be why I keep going back to it. As wonderful as the mystical fantasy genre is, sometimes its good to take a step back from it and Fallout 3 is truly a rush of fresh air. From the very first time you step out of Vault 101 into the capital wasteland you are simply blown away by the sheer scale and detail of the world around you.

Sure itís barren, itís dead and youíre all alone, but thatís what makes it such a unique title. Iím not saying the games perfect by any means, but the sheer thrill of the adventure you have in this incredible world more than makes up for the little problems it has. Every corner of the wastes has its surprises and every quest has multiple ways to be approached. Just discussing the game with other players can completely take you by surprise, as everyoneís experience will be slightly unique to them, be it from the moral choices they made, to the order they did things or where they went first. I donít claim to be a gaming connoisseur who has tried the best of everything, but Iím sure I canít be wrong in saying there isnít anything quite like this in any other modern generation game.

The game starts with quite a steep learning curve about an hour in where you must quickly get to grips with exactly what items you need to carry and what should be sold or left behind. If there is one thing this game has taught me, its when scavenging a nuclear wasteland, bring a bigger bag.

Also, a single shot in the face makes peoples heads explode. Did I mention this game is hilariously gory for no good reason?

What's so incredible about my time with Fallout 3 is that as I slowly ponder through the ninety plus hour game they provided, they keep making it longer. In the past five months Bethesda has released three downloadable packs which each ads a significant amount of new game play, weapons and skills to the game, the most recent of which even went to the lengths of rewriting the ending. With two more packs due, I can see myself still playing Fallout 3 for a long time to come.

Of course, that wonít stop me buying a third copy of Peggle for no good reason. I gotta spend that drug money on somethingÖ

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