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Malik (1/30/12)

I am now fully indulging in Infamous. I'm a bit sad that I had this game since the PSN restoration last year and never played it. I'm even more disappointed in myself when I think of how old this game is and how I never played it.

Ok...Infamous is not the best open world sandbox style game to ever come along (I think Saints Row The Third gets that title for now), but it is definitely in the top 10. I have a few minor issues, such as how the aiming in the game can be a bitch since the PS3 controller is one of the least desirable options out there for aiming in a third person shooter. I also hate how the R3 button loves to click in with the PS3 controller and this changes what hand you're aiming with (which also slightly moves your aim) and this causes problems when you use the right analogue stick to do your aiming. Still, once this is eliminated (usually by remembering to feather touch the stick when aiming), the ability to select what hand you aim with is pretty awesome for using cover and trying to avoid injury while sniping.

Another problem I have is the same universal problem in every game I've ever played with a morality system. Why do games have to give you two options that always come down to "I'm not just going to be a jerk" or "I'm a douche-bag!"? A lot of people are starving and you can either let people take food from a food supply drop, or you can keep enough food for a city for yourself. Another time a police station is rigged to a bomb and you can either disarm it at no risk to yourself (in fact there's a benefit or recharging your energy reserves), or you can just watch it explode. At least some options do make some sense in the morality game, but too many feel forced into a black or white world when they are really a choice of being a lazy jerk or just playing the damned game.

To be fair, some choices are actually pretty cool from the morality standpoint. I mean you can choose to either save people from poisoned water at a few places, or you can just say screw it, and it makes sense. If you save the people, then you get hit with the poison and this will limit your power reserves for a good 15 minutes of game time. Limited power reserves can become pretty damned tough to deal with when you have potentially four or five of these poison tanks to eliminate in a single mission and you're left without many of your best abilities due to not having enough power reserves to face the enemies who guard these poison tanks.

I'm also happy to see the method of how good and evil play out. The usual NPC interactions come up, of course. Either the NPCs of the city love you or hate you. However, you also get a nice branch in your abilities that seem to come down to two logical paths. With good you have a nicely controller power set. With evil, you have a wide ranging area of less powerful chaos...but innocent people will be obvious casualties when you have major splash damage. It's like the choice of being a hero due to your powers, or being a villain. It fits the theme of the game in more ways than something like KOTOR did (you heal or you have lightning...why does an offensive ability have to equal evil when you have a light saber that can mow down anything that breathes?). Infamous is more natural in feel for what morality leads to since it's acknowledging you have to hurt people in this world, but you can choose to do it in a heroic way or light an out of control juggernaut.

I am definitely enjoying this game despite a few minor flaws. I just wish Infamous could have come to the PC so I could use either my 360 controller or a keyboard/mouse setup. Aiming would be so much better without the PS3 analogue stick.


Malik (2/3/12)

Another week draws to a close without much to say. I think being in what I think of as the "sports limbo" time of the year doesn't help me all that much. I am without football or football. I mean when the Seahawks season ended, I'm left with a few months of nothing (until the draft) and I couldn't care less about the Super Bowl. I'm not a fan of what is essentially a rematch. I mean Eli Manning and Tom Brady already faced off not long ago, and that time saw the Giants as a massive underdog who somehow faced the AFC dominating Patriots. Well, that sounds a lot like what is happening this year, except the Giants are not a wild card team (only because someone had to win the NFC East). Quite frankly, I'd be happy if both teams could somehow lose...but maybe with a good defensive showing from the Giants since I still love seeing Rocky Bernard who was of course on the Seattle Super Bowl team.

Other than football of the NFL variety, I am still waiting for March for the Sounders FC to come back for some CONCACAF play and the start of the MLS season. Especially, I want to see how Gsperning (sp?) does taking over the keeper position from Kasey Keller, and how Keller does in his new job in the announcing booth as the color commentator.

I am now trying to play through Infamous as quickly as possible, which turns out to not be that quickly. I mean I have only just restored the first power supply in the second island...which means I have almost 2/3 of the game remaining. Still, I want to hurry since gaming will possibly soon get crowded with Mass Effect 3 only about a month away, Infamous 2 in my hands wanting to be played, and...

Well, I am very interested in what I've heard about Kingdoms of Amalour (sp?). KoA is coming out very soon and has been described as both a rival to The Elder Scrolls and as a better Fable. I love the TES franchise and actually am a fan of Fable, so this sounds like an ideal match for my gaming tastes. I'm hoping it takes more of the Fable idea of game length than what Oblivion or Skyrim did, since I don't think I can invest another 140 hours in a game like Skyrim took from me. I mean just getting 140 for Skyrim is something beyond what I thought would be possible for my schedule, especially when very little of that time was during any form of vacation.

Of course, if I don't get around to KoA immediately, I know it will probably have a crazy Steam sale price at some point. So, maybe it is a good thing that Infamous 1 and 2 are both going to probably drain away a few more weeks of my life.

On a final note, I've seen some crazy bets for the Super Bowl. You know, the usual stuff that's all on the side. I wanted to just say my thoughts, and what I'd do if I was a man with enough money to be a betting man. How long will the national anthem be? (Over; I think the line is around 1:48) Will Kelly Clarkson sing the lyrics 100% correctly? (No) Will we see any sign of Andrew Luck on the TV? (Hell yes) Will we see Peyton Manning more than 3 times? (At least 5; it is in Indy, and his brother is playing)


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