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Malik (3/5/12)

I took last week off from posting. I just didn't have much to talk about, unless you counted my playing of Alphadia on Android. This week is a bit different since I've finished Alphadia and since this is the week when Mass Effect 3 finally comes in.

Well, ME3 will come in for many people. I'm expecting it quite late in the week or sometime next week since I ordered with Amazon using free super saver shipping. If I'm lucky, I'll see ME3 this week, but I'm personally expecting a Monday or Tuesday arrival at my house...that would be next Monday or Tuesday.

Quickly, I have to say the one aspect of ME3 that I really want to see beyond anything else, is how all past decisions are tied in to the final game. In particular, I saved the Rachnii in ME1, and I really want to see if the payout is awesome for a decision so long ago (two games). I want to see that keeping my saved game over an entire console generation was worth it.

The delay works out nicely since I am still wanting to try the ME3 demo before playing the real game since I'm expecting some bonus swag in my game for having played it. I mean the demo of Kingdoms of Amalur contained ME3 and KoA bonus items. So, while these items are probably more cosmetic than anything, I still want the choice of bonus stuff just so I can say I have it.

I also need some time to still play Infamous 2. After finishing Infamous, I started some playing of Infamous 2 but had a problem with the game. The first game was still too fresh in my mind, and the changes in the sequel were more annoying than impressive when the changes are somewhat substantial to the feel of the world. I mean the entire change of voice for Cole was enough to break the fourth wall. Having some time away from the original should make the sequel feel less disconnected from the original plot line when I cannot remember what the original sounded like as well.

To shift gears some, I played through Alphadia on Android (also on iOS) and concluded the game yesterday. I am impressed with how a small (file size) RPG with a small cost ($3-$4) can pack such a huge punch. Having only recently entered the world of smartphone apps, this is a real game changer to me. On one hand, Alphadia is an awesome SNES style RPG. It looks slightly better than a SNES game and packs the same length. True, Alphadia is a bit easy (auto battle is something you can use almost every fight without fear of death), but it did pack a great story and nearly 30 hours of questing (not counting post game and new game+ stuff). It also contained a plot unlike any I've seen before. I mean it started as a standard RPG plot (evil empire must be stopped and you happen to get the emperor's daughter as a party member), but it ended with an ending beyond anything I expected.

I'm now starting Symphony of Eternity (another Android RPG from Kemco) and these two games, as well as World of Goo and Edge (two parts of the recent Humble Bundle for iOS and Android), have taught me that I was wrong in the past. I always thought the idea of a smartphone being compared to a portable game system (3DS, DS, PSP, Vita) was a stupid idea. I mean you cannot get for $5 on a download something as epic as a $40 3DS or Vita game, right? Wrong. After spending nearly a month in the world of Android, I just cannot see the 3DS or Vita as something vastly superior. In fact, when you consider the cost of games, I cannot help but see iOS and Android as the superior gaming systems. Yes, a Vita game will look nicer than an Android app...but is it really $35 nicer? I don't see it. Also, when you have an app marketplace with thousands of games, can you compare it to a handheld game system with a library than will be lucky to ever reach 1000 total titles in a five year lifespan? Once again, I give the edge to the apps over the games.

I can see action games having more of a place in the world of dedicated game machines, but that may be the only exception...and that may only be due to me not having tried any action titles on Android...yet.


Malik (3/7/12)

On Monday I finally tried out the Mass Effect 3 demo...which is no officially old news since the game is out there. Of course, having not learned my lessons in the past, I'm now feeling a little anxious about having pre-ordered from Amazon, since they still have not shipped the game. I mean I did select slow shipping, but I'd like to see it take forever in shipping rather than take forever to reach the stage of being shipped. Of course, Amazon does offer some good pre-order bonuses (a every retailer seems to give, and a $10 gift certificate for a future Amazon purchas), so I cannot complain too much.

Anyway, after playing the demo I couldn't help but feel like ME3 is less than ME2. I mean the original Mass Effect was a bad game. I didn't want to continue to ME2, but since I bought it for $10 (a Black Friday sale in 2010), I did eventually play it last summer/fall. ME2 was amazing. Having touched the ME3 demo, I just don't feel like Bioware continued with upgrading the game and instead took a small step backwards. When you go from something like ME2, the next game should feel more refined, or at least equally refined in the demo, and the demo for ME3 felt confusing.

By confusing, I mean the first stage had me using biotic powers like a pro. I ran out of ammo (as the demo has you order to introduce the idea of melee combat) and turned to my throw ability to keep the action going. Then in the second area of the demo (much later in the game and with several levels having been attained), my throw ability was slower to recharge (by about 5-10 times the recharge speed) and I couldn't help but feel that this is just not right. I'm hoping, when I eventually get my ME3 retail disk, that this is eliminated or explained (better be a damned good explanation).

Anyway, until I play the real retail release, I am not laying out any opinion as more than a knee-jerk reaction to an unfinished product.

...and Right before posting this, I decided I'd play ME3 sooner rather than later.  If Amazon is going to take more than a day and a half after launch to ship a product (I don't mind slow shipping...I mind them being slow to ship), I'd cancel my order.  Now, with ME3 in hand, I'll...ummm...probably get around to playing sometime.


Malik (3/8/12)

I didn't get around to playing Mass Effect 3 since I forgot about one important fact; it takes a long time to install a 360 game. Well, the second fact is even more important; it takes even longer to install a 2-disk 360 game. So, after spending the better part of two hours trying to install ME3, I had enough game time used for the night.

I had a Sounders FC (soccer) game I needed to watch since it was the first game of the quarter final round of the CONCACAF tournament. On an aggregate goal series, Seattle is now up 2-1 after a pretty solid game at home. The true test will be if this can continue next Wednesday when Seattle goes down to Mexico (which is always tough ground to win at for team from the US).

Right now the main focus of sports, however, is on Peyton Manning. He is now a free agent for the first time in his career and he seems to be viewed as the solution to so many teams...including my Seahawks. It makes sense that Manning will be viewed so highly. I mean the Colts were crap last season and the only main difference versus their previously amazing decade was the loss of Manning. If he is the force that takes a 2-14 team to the playoffs each year, then he can fix so many broken teams.

Of course, the real question is about Manning's arm. Will he be back to his old QB self or will he just burn out the last year or two of his career in some new city? I would like to see Manning come back to full form, since he is one of the most amazing athletes to ever watch. Not many people can have his level of control and skill year after year.

I also hope to see him come back in full form since I honestly think the Seahawks are one of a few ideal landing spots for Manning. I mean Seattle needs a QB, has a solid team in most other regards (even the O-line got pretty solid at the end of the season), has a great running game to take off the pressure, and could be an easy team for Manning to propel to the playoffs with the only major change being the man pulling the trigger (being Manning). This looks better than the other commonly named suitors, like the Browns (who need more of a rebuilding year next year than just a quick QB change), the Dolphins (who I see going for a cheaper Flynn from Green Bay and then building up the rest of the so-so team with the saved money), Washington (who I see trading up for the #2 draft pick and taking RG3), or Arizona (who will try to salvage Kolb since the GM would look foolish to move on after one year with Kolb that cost the team so much). I also cannot see Manning on the Jets since the media circus of two Mannings in town would just be a bad environment.

If this plays out and Seattle lands Manning, I'd be happy assuming he comes back to form. However, even if Manning is 100% next season, I'd be happier to see Seattle finally draft the QB of the future. Manning is on borrowed time, like any NFL player in their mid-30s. Even if Seattle got 2 solid years from him, then they would be back to where they have been this last season; with a QB sized whole in the roster. Of course, if Seattle lands Manning and picks up a solid 1st round QB (I still like Kellen Moore) to be groomed under a certain Hall of Fame QB, that would be the most ideal solution.

I just really hope to see Manning get a new team before the draft. If Manning is still on the minds of coaches and GMs coming into the draft, it will only make for one hell of a strange and silly draft while teams constantly second guess their every pick.

On a final football thought...Seattle just released Marcus Trufant. Tru's been with the team for 9 seasons and was the longest currently tenured Seahawk. Sadly, with the current batch that Seattle has in the secondary, Tru is now more of a backup than a starter. So, while I still think he has some seasons left in the tank, Trufant has to go if he wants to end his career in the right way (as a player and a master of picks). I would love to see Trufant join Hasselbeck and Babbineux on the Titans (my favorite team to watch on the early game, since Seattle usually is on the late Sunday game).


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