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Malik (10/27/08)

Yesterday was an amazing day, in terms of how the Seahawks did. On one hand, every other team in the NFC West lost. It isn't too much of a surprise that the Rams failed, but the 49ers had a very weak opponent, and the Cards are doing pretty well (in relative terms to the 'Hawks). Of course, that weak opponent that the 49ers faced would be the Seahawks.

While I think much of the defeat of the 49ers falls on that team just looking and playing like crap (interceptions and fumbles coming out of every pore of the team), the Seahawks actually looked pretty good for the first time all season. Actually, it was a couple of Seahawks looking good. Kerney returned a fumble a good 50+ yards on one turnover, and Seattle even had a defensive touchdown.

Most of all, two players were looking very good. Seneca Wallace looked shaky for the first few minutes, but then he found a rhythm and started to play like the QB he should and could become. More than that, Leonard Weaver was playing like a man who was not a fullback. Weaver is a big man with a good level of power in protecting the run. However, when he is running, he looks like a big man that had been sped up on the video while the rest of the game ran at normal speed. This led to him having two receptions that averaged more than 50 yards each with a big ass TD at the end of the reception. Yes, the number one receiver, and definitive MVP of the game, was a fullback.

This win puts the Seahawks in a three way tie for second place (or last, depending on how your feel about Seahawks and optimism). With the 49ers being the target of this surge of ability, it also leaves the Seahawks with a 2-1 division record. Sadly, those two wins are the only two Seattle has had all season. However, it also puts Arizona only two games ahead of Seattle, leaving the weakest division in the NFL open to anyone...even the one-time Super Bowl pick for the NFC.

Some nasty games are still in the schedule, including the Eagles next week (thankfully at home), and a week from hell for Thanksgiving (when the Seahawks have only four days to prepare to face Dallas on Thanksgiving). There's also two games to be faced against the Cards (first one being in about four weeks and the last one should be an interesting game 16 for the season). Still, with some ability being shown off yesterday, I may have finally re-found my desire to watch the NFL this season. I was one loss away from just shit-canning the season in my eyes.


Malik (10/29/08)

After spending all of yesterday in the ER, I feel like I need to post (since I obviously couldn't do so yesterday). Unfortunately, I have not much to post about so I'll probably be pretty brief today.

I didn't get a chance to try the new RB DLC for this week, but I only see myself getting two of the songs (Pretty in Pink for nostalgia reasons and Dammit for obvious reasons). So, I'll try to formulate some thoughts on those tomorrow.

The only other thing in the realm of geek going on for me right now is Fable 2. I only can say one thing. After discussing with one of my friends last night, I think there's a small consensus that this is not a 10 hour game. Whoever thinks that Fable 2 can be beaten in ten hours is cheating themselves out of a quality experience.

The main quest, which could, in theory, be completed in ten hours, is not even really that short. It only is if you skip all dialogue. I can't bring myself to do that with a fairly well rounded story like Fable 2 has. Yes, it's not something deep like Dickens, Hemmingway, Dante, or whatever other literature writer you want to name, but it is still a plot with some emotion behind it. If you skip the dialogue, you are only cheating yourself out of a potentially interesting game.

Plus, if you add in the side quests (not even counting jobs here), there's a dozen other others to the minimum. In reality, this game is more than the sum of the quests and jobs. It's a world that does offer a lot of choices and far more areas to explore than a casual glance would reveal. So, to call this a ten hour game is a sad joke on the behalf of those who just want to rush through something of real quality.

Anyway, I'm around the half way point (according to my friend who beat the game on Monday) and I have easily racked up around 3-5 hours each night since the game first launched over a week ago. Maybe I'll finish in a week or so at this rate. However, I'm definitely in no hurry.


Malik (10/30/08)

According to rumors, of sorts (it is the Wall Street Journal), The Beatles are possibly heading towards a deal with Harmonix. Well, it's Apple (not the computer/iPod maker) who is working on this deal. It could very well be an exclusivity deal, or just another random deal to license Beatles tracks to Rock Band.

While WSJ is not the most trusted source, for me, for game rumors, they do know the business side of things. So, I wouldn't dismiss this and more information will be coming later today (if the rumors are right). The only part of this article I don't like is how WSJ characterizes both RB and Beatles fans. On one hand, saying that RB is played with miniature plastic instruments makes it sound a lot less fun and a lot more childish to enjoy the game. On the other hand, to characterize Beatles fans as in their 50's and 60's is a huge disservice to fighting blatant stereotyping. I am in my late 20's and love their music. I have a few in-laws in their teens who love their music. I am willing to bet more age ranges can be filled in quite easily as fans of this of the most influential and prolific bands of all rock history. We're not talking about something more niche, like thrash metal or parody music. We are talking about classic rock that spans from original rock-n-roll to some truly insane psychedelic classic rock.

Anyway, if this holds to be true, and it actually is for an exclusive deal with only Harmonix, this could be one hell of a weapon in the GH/RB battle. It might not make or break the decision for everyone torn between the two franchises...but it might help make up the minds of a good number of these individuals. Now if Harmonix could also score an exclusive deal with Led Zeppelin, then the battle would be over and Rock Band would be the hands down winner.

Speaking of RB...I only bought Dammit and Pretty in Pink this week. For Pretty in Pink, it's all about nostalgia. If you know this song, or you're a fan of early 80's new wave, then this is a must buy. If you are a fan of difficulty, then walk away now. We're talking about a very easy song all across the board.

With Dammit, the song just rocks. However, if you're an expert drummer needing challenge, then the devil faces are a good sign for you. Also, guitar is deceptively challenging with a lot of fast strumming and chord changes. I find it too slow to be comfortable with alternate strumming, but too fast to go with just down strums while not thinking your arm is about to lose all life. Personally, I could not hold a combo for more than 60 notes on my one attempt at expert guitar. Not a hard song to beat, but it could give you a challenge if you aim to do really well on it.

As I typed this, the announcement came out. The Beatles are exclusive to Rock Band. Best of all, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney (and even Yoko Ono Lennon) are all in on it. This is the real mother f$#@ing deal! Too bad details are not really there...but just knowing it's in the works makes it feel that much better to this RB fan.   Of course, no solid information is really included, like if songs are exportable to RB, the full song list, or anything else.  All we know is a supposed release of about a year from now.  Based on that, I hold all judgments and opinions for the time being.


Malik (10/31/08)

I'm still not done with Fable 2. I just wanted to get that out there. After playing nearly every day since it came out a week and a half back, I am still somewhere around what I think is 50% through the main quest. I say this for two reasons. I just want to state why I'm still talking about this game when it seems that it's becoming lost in the "not new" classification as games like Fallout 3 come along to dethrone it as the next big thing. Also, I just want to say that I am not going overly slow or rushing, and this game really is more than the fast and "not worth the $60" titles it keeps receiving.

I think, without a doubt, I'd have to put Fable 2 up there as my second favorite game of the far. I still give the nod to Rock Band 2 as the best of the current year, but just barely. If I wasn't allowed to use RB1 songs and RB1 DLC, then Fable 2 would take the prize in an instant. Ever Tales of Vesperia (which is an awesome RPG in it's own right) is just not that good when compared to Fable 2 being played by someone (like myself) who is not just playing to rush through the main quest. There are just too many things you can do to just dismiss the game based on a shorter main quest.

Plus, unlike a game like Mass Effect (which had a truly short main quest), the side quests are not just the same thing over and over again. In ME, the side quests were always the same thing with almost a total lack of plot involved and no real sense of urgency in taking them on. Worst of all, all the environments of the main quest were recycled for the side quests. Fable 2, on the other hand, offers a wide variety of side quests that range from epic (like choosing sides in a battle of good and evil), to frantic (choosing sides in all out melee style brawls), to silly (trying to help a drag queen reclaim his/her home). There are also the other things you can do, like become a real estate czar, raise a family, perform laborious jobs, fight in an arena of eight rounds of combat, and explore to find hidden items (keys and gargoyles). There is just too much to do.

On a final note for today, the Rock Band DLC for next week is looking pretty good...and pretty bad. I don't think we need any Hinder or anymore Fallout Boy ($1 each). However, the rumored three pack of Presidents is awesome to be seeing in a reality based form (instead of band promoted rumors). This pack, at $2 per track or $5.50 for the pack, is well worth the price. This is one of those rare packs I'd drop even more money for. Ladybug is great, and Dune Buggy is almost beyond words...but for me Feather Pluckn is one of those songs I never thought I'd see in Rock Band but is one I would dream of being able to rock out to.

Of course, there's also the 20 free songs this Tuesday. I've already commented on them (in particular, I want to delete individual tracks), so I'll just stop there. My last thought on them is this; if they were meant to always be in the game, but didn't make it due to time issues with the RB2 release, then there should be BWT sets involving them. Of course, they would also be, in that theory, a range of awesome songs that fit in with the RB2 track list and not some crap that feels like filler. Anyway, there will not be some hidden unlocked sets on BWT that use these songs (not counting random and create sets), but that's how it would play out if Harmonix really meant they were always meant to be included...and weren't just a stunt to pull some attention to Rock Band after Guitar Hero: World Tour came out.


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