Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page

Malik (8/6/12)

I've been absent for over a week. I was mainly just doing things that were far from the world of anything least as far as this web site would be concerned. I mean I don't remember this site ever being about celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, or about the thrills and excitement of gardening. After two weeks out, I'm back with some things actually relevant.

First off, it was only about a week and a half ago that Bethesda released word that there were no plans in place for Dawn Guard to hit the PC or PS3. While the PS3 part hasn't changed, that I know of, the PC plans must have been some amazing plans for the expansion to come out, literally, the week after there were no plans in place. Wow! Talk about some great plans! Actually, talk about another PR misstep from Bethesda over the entire Skyrim package. First they cannot make the PS3 version work in a way that any gamer would want to experience, then they do limited time 360 exclusivity on the expansion. They cap it all off with releasing Dawn Guard like it was some sort of joke on the PC.

Anyway, I did pick up the PC version of Dawn Guard and played my fair share this weekend. Even though I'm pretty much over with Skyrim at this point, I am finding myself addicted, once again. Good job, at least on the content, Bethesda. Between the two diverging plot lines and the numerous side quests, Dawn Guard is great. When you add a dozen new locations, including an entirely new plain of existence, it gets better. However, when you also toss in new weapons and armors, new potions, and the new dragonbone weapons, I am in paradise. I haven't tried to forge any dragonbone weapons yet, but then again, when you have as broken of weapons as I have, anything more is just busy work.

I decided, playing in character, that my dude was pissed off after saving the world and ending a civil war and receiving next to no recognition (only the guards seem to care with one off lines about my heroics). Being pissed off led me to the vampire side in Dawn Guard. I'm enjoying the plot presented to me, and I have kept a save right before the two quests diverge in case I want to experience being part of a poor and dilapidated vampire hunting squad.

My only complaint with the vampire side is the same one I had with being a werewolf before I cured myself; the third person camera of the vampire lord form is annoying to use in an otherwise first person game, and my powers suck compared to my normal dagger/bow (sneak attack) with uber-light armor style of playing. I can lay waste to all of Whiterun in my normal gear, and the vampire lord form leads to me killing maybe four guards before I'm taken down.

I also must say, since giving up Skyrim, I did my major PC overhaul. I am now playing with the high resolution texture packs in place and all visual settings at max, and Skyrim is really damned beautiful. I cannot believe this is the same game that was set mainly to low/medium settings (and no high res textures) on my old GeForce 8800 GTS.

Anyway, to summarize, for now; despite the PR stupidity of Bethesda, and despite me feeling done with Skyrim in December, Dawn Guard is well worth the price. If you got enough fun from the original Skyrim to feel it was addictive and justified in cost, then Dawn Guard is a must get expansion. Definitely a lot more enjoyable and integrated than Shimmering Isles was for Oblivion.


Malik (8/7/12)

For now, enough with Dawn Guard. I mean I can go on and on about the expansion to Skyrim, but I have more than one fire currently going in my gaming world.

I downloaded Final Fantasy III for the Android. Yes, I feel like a tool, since I already own this game on the DS and it cost another $15.99 (plus taxes) to buy another almost identical version of the same damned game. However, this game holds a special place in my heart. I remember being amazed when I played, a couple decades ago (well, about 16 years ago), the Engrish patched ROM on an emulator. The game had me hooked since this was my first RPG with a well balanced job system. When the DS version came along, it gave a whole new life to this childhood favorite. Well, the Android version, which is the same as the iOS version, is not much different...not much.

The game does feel like it runs a little smoother on my HTC Amaze 4G than it did on the DS. It also has better sound and better visuals with some more refined textures. The Android version is like a nice dose of polish being thrown on the previously amazing DS version.

The game also corrects one major flaw on the iOS and Android versions; no more forced Mog-Net communication with friends if you want the secret Onion Knight class. Now you just have to enjoy the one way communication of the Mog-Net (you get letters from NPCs) and the class will eventually come.

The only downside to this version is that some functionality is limited due to touch only input. I don't know if I'm missing something, but I cannot rearrange my inventory (only sort according to item, weapon, or armor groupings). This is only a minor gripe since the game is entirely turn based, so you don't exactly have to find an item in a hurry in combat for fear of the enemy attacking while you look through a jumble of random crap in your bag.

Ok...there is one more minor problem with this version; it eats my battery like the world is ending. I can play for only about three hours before I really start to think that my phone will need to go on a charger if it's to make it through the rest of the day. This, by the way, is with an aftermarket double capacity battery, not the stock HTC battery.

Overall, this is a sweet port of a game I've known and loved to a long time. $15.99 is a bit steep for a game that has been done almost the same way before, but if you're a fan then this is not too bad of a price to play. Plus, if you missed out on the DS version, then $15.99 is a perfectly fine price to play.


Malik (8/9/12)

Not much to say that isn't obvious. It's pretty simple. Seattle was screwed from the start of the US Open tourney. It was not in the interest of the USSF to have Seattle win a fourth time in a row since it would make this little watched tourney (hey, I'm a loyal fan, but I can admit that in a country with low soccer appeal, the US Open Cup is not something many people have interest or even knowledge in) seem less interesting. It's like in WWE wrestling; if you have one person forever remain the champion, then the fans start to get bored knowing the situation is static.

Anyway, the game last night was nothing short of a lost cause from the minute Ricardo Salazar came on the pitch to ref. Salazar, as Sigi Schmid said, was making "ridiculous calls" and was just inconsistent from the first second of play. When both teams are playing a physical game, both teams are making equal numbers of fouls, how does Seattle get 5 yellows and SKC gets 0? The game was decided by Salazar, and I can buy into the conspiracy theory that it was also decided by the USSF.

Unfortunately, since the game was on GolTV (a channel I didn't know existed until a week ago), I had a very bad view of the game. I mean I was resorting to a choppy internet stream in order to watch the game since GolTV is not something I'd want to add to my Comcast bill (at ~$15/month). This meant I had less than ideal vision of a few of the fouls. So, I'll reserve judgment on the handball call that many have claimed online to be dubious. However, I can say that both keepers were consistently the same distance off their line in the penalty kicks and it's only Gspurning who got called for it, resulting in SKC getting 6 penalty kicks instead of five at the end of the match. I can also say some of the yellows that came down on Seattle looked less rough than some of the non-calls or non-cards that SKC was committing.

The game was a farce, and the only goal that came on entirely clean play was from Seattle's Zach Scott on a brilliant play near the end of the 90. While SKC did look about equal in quality to the Sounders last night, with both teams playing with a fierce determination to win, only Seattle could convert on an opportunity.

It's just sad that when it came to penalty kicks, which shouldn't have happened if the claims of the handball being dubious are true (I'd love a clear youtube clip of this call...), Seattle was destined to fail. Evans is the most reliable PKer on the squad. However, with Ianni being ejected due to two yellows (for things that earned non-card calls for SKC), one solid PKer was lost. With Flaco now in Chicago, another solid PKer was gone. With Montero being subbed off earlier, there went the final potential sure thing in the PKs. I can't blame Alonso and Johnson for missing when they just played 120+ minutes in the Missouri heat, after both had already played two games in the previous six days. Seattle was stretched thin, from exhaustion, before the game began and losing some quality form at the end of 120 minutes is something I can easily accept.

While he might not have been the best MLS player, I wish Roger Levesque had retired after last night and not several weeks earlier. Pirate Face was amazing in US Open play and it would have been great to see him seal the deal.

Anyway, until the USSF can become transparent by showing the full results of any bidding process and by having coin flips in front of team representatives, I find them dubious at best. As long as Salazar can remain a ref in Sounders matches, I will remain skeptical of any integrity. Until the USSF games can be played on a channel that is accessible, I will find them hard to watch and hard to enjoy. Until this is treated with the dignity that a 99 year old tourney should earn, I just cannot be a least until the Sounders are on the pitch. Bad tourney, bad refs, and bad viewing will never be enough for me to lose my love of the rave green and super cyan.


For Those Who Don't Have Flash Plug-Ins...

Rested XP    News    Reviews    Videos    Features    Forums    Archives    Search This Site    Links    Contact Us    Disclaimer

Non-Flash Links At Bottom Of Page