Psycho Time Killer: New Borderlands 2 Playable Character AND a Raised Level Cap

Here’s how this is going to go. You have your character tease:

and then boom! you have four minutes of axe swinging, dynamite throwing, psycho exploding new-playable-character-class action:

Wait, the level cap was raised?  Yes, yes it was. Now you can level your bevy of Vault Hunters from their current 50 up to a breath taking and most likely trophy inducing 61.  A new game mode and the return of incredibly rare pearlescent weapons as well? Man, Gearbox is just killing it these days, what with all the free DLC extending the life of their…wait, what? Not free?  How much? Five bucks? FIVE BUCKS? Awww man.

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If you want to check out the new characters skill tree, hit the jump. Continue reading

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Far Cry 3 Review

Forget Online Play, Achievements and DLC… while some may believe that those are the most notable contributions that the current generation of consoles have given to gaming, I would argue that there is another, far more prominent and influential facet that future gaming historians will attribute to this era: Hunting.

Seriously, there must have been a memo that was distributed to game developers sometime around 2008 that stated that every single AAA video game to be released from then on must have a mini-game that involves shooting, stabbing or exploding helpless wildlife, standing over their corpses and pressing X to harvest their organs and hides that can then be spent on upgrades for your character. It made sense in RDR. I suppose I got it in Skyrim. But I’m beginning to feel like every single game I’ve played since has featured this mechanic, and it’s starting to feel like déjà vu. Dead animals are the new Coins, and I’m over it.

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Speaking of déjà vu, I will now make an impressive segue into stating my opinion on Far Cry 3, and that is: much like its hunting mechanic, there’s nothing here I haven’t done before.

Several friends whose opinions I trust hold the previous installment, Far Cry 2, in extreme high regard. I never got around to playing it; the game held a perpetual spot on my extensive backlog, but once I heard that a sequel was announced and that it was supposed to simultaneously fix all of the issues of FC2 and usher in some kind of open-world gaming nirvana, while introducing an instant-classic villain in the process, I moved it to the tippity-top of my must play list.

And I have to admit, the game starts off with all cylinders firing. You’re introduced to an opening cutscene of your idiot white-bread frat-boy character (full disclosure: it was like looking into a mirror from about ten years ago) and his douchebag Extreme X-Games Code Red Mountain Dew Crew of skydivers ( …not so much) as they and M.I.A. jump out of a plane over the creepy Pacific island from Lost ­– only to be immediately kidnapped, tortured and held for ransom by a group of scary pirates in a juxtoposition straight out of The Deer Hunter. Your ex-Marine older brother helps you escape, teaches you a few combat survival techniques before getting himself killed like a good mentor should (he had one day until retirement!), leaving you to join up with a ragtag group of native rebels, find your friends and extract your bloody revenge.

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Despite the Last Samurai levels of “White Man Joins a Group of Ethnic Warriors and Becomes the Best of Them” mild racism, the intro is done well and is pretty compelling. It’s the rest of the game that is not.

Now, let me clarify, it’s not that the game is made poorly. Quite the contrary, the graphics are beautiful and the first-person exploring and shooting gameplay is smooth and very playable. It’s the sandbox into which you are dropped that is samey and boring. The island you are given to explore is quite large in square footage, but feels small because of the lack of variety in environments – its all jungle, roads and ramshackle little towns that house quest-givers, who all ask you to go to another ramshackle town down the jungle road and kill some generic bad guy or evil dog.

There are a few temples and caves, but they are all disappointingly limited to one or two small rooms, and hold shitty loot like broken necklaces or crumpled packs of cigarettes that are automatically sorted into your Quick Sell stash.

Why would anyone go out of their way to find that kind of useless stuff? Even the weapons are limited. There are two or three types of each of the usual fare – pistol, shotgun, machine gun, sniper rifle – whose customization levels are limited to a scope or extended mag. Yes, you can craft items – from about four different kinds of colored leaves. Compare that to the hundred or so crafting elements in Skyrim.

And then, of course, is the Hunting. Much has been made of the Wild Animals that roam the island, who attack you and your enemies with equal ferocity. Admittedly, it is pretty cool – the first time a crocodile jumped me from a riverbank where I was gathering and sorting plants like a sissy, I laughed in delight. The twentieth time, I yawned and blasted it with a shotgun. It gets old.

Once I realized how limited the scope of exploration and looting really was, especially compared to other recent open-world looting gems like Borderlands 2, I lost a lot of interest real fast. I tried sitting down to it ten or twelve times in an attempt to gather enough gameplay experience for this review, but each time, I got bored after about forty minutes and turned it off. And then I realized… that is my review. If I can’t even make myself play through enough of a game in an attempt to force myself to like it, then that’s saying plenty.

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I apologize to my Far Cry enthusiast friends who may want to feed me to a river croc for saying this, but FC3 is, well, kind of a slog. It’s like Skyrim without the scope and Borderlands without the wit. It’s not terrible, but it’s been done better elsewhere.

Once More Unto the Collector’s Edition Breach, Dear Friends, Once More

DI: Riptide

Having missed out on Dead Island the first time around, I am definitely excited for Dead Island: Riptide a.k.a  Fallout with zombies. Sounds just about perfect; too bad the awesome concept came with a heaping pile of bugs and issues. By the time all of the issues were solved and the game was actually playable, I was consumed (ed. note: ha ha) by a number of other games .  Come April, DI: Riptide and GTA V will most certainly be battling it to see to whom my PS3 gives the most lovn’.  As an avid opponent of most Collectors Editions, the  DI: Riptide Rigor Mortis Edition does not actually seem all that bad.  The fact that it was voted by the fans means we can weed out the usual garbage in most Collectors Editions. (see Borderlands 2) Even better, it’s actually reasonably priced at $79.99, which is a nice change from the usual $100 or so that most CE’s run. Will I get it? Probably no, as I still live with parents and there’s enough tchotchkes around the house.  I don’t think a zombie hand bottle opener will fit in with the decor of the Colonial Williamsburg look around my house.  But will I get the game? Most certainly.

Yay 2012: Thumbs Up!

The myriad forms that excellence took in 2012:

How is it already 2013?

How is it already 2013?

Borderlands 2 – My pick for game of the year. While maybe not the most technically daring or graphically beautiful, it’s the game I had the most fun playing this year. Handsome Jack may be a Hall of Fame villain. I sure hope Butt Stallion is ok.

LA Noire – Yeah it’s old, but I just got around to playing it this year during the Summer Gaming Drought of ’12. This game indirectly contributed to my subsequent non-playing of Sleeping Dogs.

Black Ops 2 Multiplayer – the Pick 10 system was a welcome change to multiplayer this year, allowing for greater class flexibility.  Also nice: Prestige’ing doesn’t reset all of your progress!

Portal 2 – (see LA Noire)

The Walking Dead – both the game from Telltale Games game & AMC’s third season. TTG did a masterful job with it’s Walking Dead game; cannot wait for season 2, whenever that’s slated to hit.  Every chapter had at least one holy shit moment (and I’m only on chapter 3!). Season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead was surprisingly strong as well, as I’d all but given up on the series after the Sophia/Farm heavy second season.  When in the HELL does Rick get his trusty hatchet?

The Avengers – best superhero movie of the year. Spider-what? Dark Who? I want to see a buddy movie with Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner & RD Jr’s Tony Stark. But only if it has at least once scene where the Hulk throws a bear

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Marvel NOW –  I stll have no idea what the deal is with Marvel Now. A reboot? A renumbering? A sales trick? What I DO know is that Marvel’s ratcheted up its game (possibly due to the New 52) and is churning out very, very strong series especially Thor God of Thunder, Indestructible Hulk, The Avengers, Uncanny Avengers & All New X-Men.  Leading me to…

Hawkeye – comic of the year? Perhaps. Fraction/Aja/Hollingsworth’s take on the character make him a compelling everyman that bounces between outwitting Marvel’s arch criminals to defending his NYC apartment building from a horde of Russian bros. Doesn’t sound like your bag? Trust me, it is. Check it out.

Ski Safari – I have a bad habit of bying mobile games, playing them for a day or so and then moving on. So far, Ski Safari has not only kept my attention but actively looking forward to the commute to/from work so I can play it. I hate skiing but I love doing monster backflips on a yeti. If you feel the same, pick it up.

Rawrs Shirts – the first & third best thing I bought at New York Comic Con this year. Cool designs on shirts that fit great.

Comic Con 2012’s poster orgy – The second & fourth best things I bought were from Mondo. Plus a totally sweet Thanos/War of the Gems poster from Capcom. Plus this:

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Saturday Night in Atlantic City – bachelor party shenanigans & a solid 6 hour of poker.

Finally getting rid of my shit iPhone4 – you suck bro and I’m glad you’re gone.  

Very Near Mint & Double Barrel – Not going to lie: I’m not an indie comics guy.  I’m just not. But I took a chance on VNM at NYCC ’12 and on Double Barrel on the advice of the CEO of comiXology and I’m glad I did.  I actually went back to NYCC to pick up additional copies of VNM.  Both are worth at least taking a look at.  And since the first few issues of DB are like $.99 on comiXology, definitely worth the expense. Just buy them already.

Max Payne -a great surprise. This was more of an impulse purchase, as I’d never played the first two. But Rockstar’s been on such a roll lately, I thought it would definitely be worth it  The single player was great, standouts being the first level and any of the levels running around in the Brazillian favelas. What really shocked me though was the multiplayer. If there’s one thing that’s already bothered me about Rockstar games, it’s that their multiplayer efforts seem kind of tacked on and frankly not very good. I didn’t get that from MP3 at all; the level designs were top notch, the game modes were all interesting spins on established multiplayer staples, the weapons seemed balanced, and the customization’s were pretty fun (I love dress up, shut up).

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Borderlands 2’s New Class, The Mechromancer, Available Later Today

Great, and I just started a Gunzerker (“Hephaestus”) character last night.

Man, Gearbox is really just killing it lately.  I mean, yeah, Duke Nukem was a colossal disappointment (to some)/ embarrassment (to everyone else), but hell, they resurrected a long thought dead IP with the best of intentions. They’re releasing a free (again, to some) extra class for a game that’s already incredibly fun & deep, with the promise of way more DLC to come.  It’s nice to see company that is all about the fans and not just in a cursory, lip service way.

Check out Gaige’s Skill tree here

Modern Borefare: What We’re Looking Forward To in October

ImperviousRex
Well, definitely looking forward to New York Comic Con ’12! Speaking of, look what arrived today:
it's mah badge

The best part of the Pro badge is being able to access the show floor on Thursday before a large percentage of NYCC attendees,allowing me to  roll around the floor in a barely controlled frenzy, grabbing everything that isnt nailed down and gawking at everything before it’s been spoiled by the masses on Friday. I’m a Con snob, I’M SORRY.

Two weeks after that I am surrending my singlehood and getting married then jetting off to exotic locales for my post-wedding vacation (honeymoon is a dumb name. Deal with it).
In between, I am definitely looking forward to the end of Marvel’s AvX, the start of Rot World in DC Comic’s Swamp Thing and Animal Man, and Dishonored & Assassin’s Creed 3 on the PS3 while trying to wrap up Borderlands 2. Are you playing Borderlands 2? If not, you should be. We’re going to attempt another Modern Borefare Game Club for Borderlands 2, so grab the game and participate!
Perhaps my iPhone 5 will show up. (UPDATE: It arrives tomorrow! Fuzzah!). Also, I’m fairly excited for Looper, one of the few movies this year that I’ve actually been looking forward to (the others being, Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, The DarkKnight Rises and The Master).
Adam
What am I excited for in October? Oh, nothing much, just EVERYTHING.
As I do every year, I’ll be celebrating the Halloween season by completely ignoring my family and friends in favor of watching 31 scary movies and blogging about every unholy one of them at 31 Flavors of Terror. I’m setting myself up for a letdown but I’m particularly optimistic about SinisterFrankenweenie and maybe even Silent Hill: Revelation. Last year I overextended myself by mixing in three weekly TV shows and a bunch of other random crap. This year I don’t have time for that nonsense because the wife and I recently produced our very own little monster, who I’m excited to see turn 6 months old in October. But, yeah, mostly excited about the movies.
thegreekdog
I’m looking forward to my second child.  Before that happens though I’m literally working day and night in the office (regular work) or at home (getting ready for Baby #2 work).  Definitely looking forward to playing Madden more (yeah right) and the return of the Joker in Batman (the only comic I get monthly).
Vicious Pjurahead:

On the game front I’m pretty solid right now until the end of the month. I’m playing Borderlands 2 and FIFA 13. I don’t know why but I just rented Tekken Tag 2 but I can’t see playing it much as long as my FIFA career is thriving. Towards the end of the month we have Medal of Honor and Assassins Creed 3. Also, sneaking might be the possible PSN download of Jeopardy. Knowing that its connected to the PSN it might have multiplayer and it might also update its questions (or answers in this case) often is appealing. That’s  await and see though.On the music front nothing other than Muses The 2nd Law. As for movies Argo looks solid and hopefully next week I will be checking out The Master and Looper. Anyone wanna come to England with me the end of October for the Skyfall premiere? If you buy the flights, hotels and pay for me to miss school those days I will buy the movie tickets and a small popcorn we can both share.

And finally, my boy ImperviousRex is getting married and I’m a groomsman! Couldn’t be happier for him. Drop him a line and make sure to congratulate him.

Your Desktop, Enhanced with Vault Hunters

I’m a Zero man and gosh darnit, shouldn’t everyone who walks by my desk at work know that? Well, now they can, thanks to Cody Williams deviantArt page. I’m not saying that I’ll give him part of the substantial raise I’ll get when the president of the network walks by, becomes hypnotized by my background and immediately promotes me to CKO. But I’ll definitely tip my hat in his general direction.

(Cody Wiliams via Kotaku)