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Malik (11/16/09)

If you're a football fan in Seattle, you're best off quitting for now. The season is not just over, but it cannot become much more painful than watching yesterdays game. Seattle was up 14-0 against the Cards at one point early on. When half time rolled around, Seattle looked like a force that was ready to dominate anything that came their way. Of course, Seattle is good at playing one way for the first half and then changing around for the end of the game. Against the Lions, Seattle started down 17-0 and then used the second half to destroy the Lions. That was how the Cardinals handled Seattle.

The most obvious facts of yesterdays game was that Seattle still has no offensive line. None. Even when Seattle was dominating, Hasselbeck was constantly under pressure and getting sacked. However, the defense was amazing in the first half (forcing Warner to not find a 3rd down conversion for most of the half), and the running game actually started to look good. However, without an offensive line, it just doesn't matter one way or the other. Hasselbeck is not a good QB when under pressure, and he sure doesn't have the constitution to keep taking hits.

I think the brightest moment of the game, for Seattle, was when Julius Jones was injured. I like Jones. He's a good guy and he's a solid rusher (assuming you give him some blocking), but he's not the best on the team. The best rusher is, without a doubt, Forsett. However, for some illogical reason, Jim Mora will only let Forsett on in punt returns and third down situations. Maybe this injury to Jones will allow Mora to see that Forsett needs to be in charge of the running game.

Anyway, the game was a joke and the season is now about as done as it could ever be. 3-5 is a bad place to be. 3-6 is almost impossible to climb out of. The only chance Seattle has is if they win every last game of the season...and that's just not going to happen when there are solid teams (any team not called The Rams or The Lions) on the schedule.

Of course, I'll keep watching the Seahawks flounder. I'm just a glutton for punishment.


Malik (11/17/09)

I'm still caught up in my Ratchet and Clank marathon of gaming greatness. I never played a R&C title until I bought Tools of Destruction (the first PS3 R&C game) a couple weeks ago (ironically, on the day A Crack In Time, the sequel, was released). I then moved on to Quest For Booty (the download only mini-sequel that bridges ToD and ACiT). Finally, I had to get A Crack In Time to round out the R&C Future story arc. After finishing A Crack In Time, I then decided to move backwards to where R&C all began.

Over the weekend, I finished the original R&C. It was a bit hard to do. On one hand, it's a more difficult game than any of the PS3 titles have been. Then there's the visuals and some archaic control and camera issues. I mean the PS3 R&C titles had a lot of opportunities to fine tune various issues and become the awesome gems that they are. There is also the pain, for me, of playing the PS2 after being with the PS3 and 360 for so long. I mean I have to play with a short controller cord (on a 52" TV, this can be a bit hard on the old eyes) and using SD visuals. Still, it was a not-quite-nostalgic journey worth taking.

Currently I am playing R&C: Going Commando. That would be R&C2 in some countries, or R&C: Locked and Loaded in others. I guess the double meaning of "Going Commando" doesn't fly too much in some European countries (and maybe Australia). This game definitely starts the path of fine tuning that made the PS3 R&C games so damned good. Weapons upgrade, you can obtain armor, and you start to get some major mini-games. The only thing that will be a better leap in quality for me is when I finish R&C2 and move on to Up Your Arsenal (the third game in the original PS2 series). UYA is when you get multiple levels to your weapons, as they upgrade, and have some of the other familiar changes that are definitely R&C staples.

It's also fun going through these games in order since you get bonuses for having saves from the previous game(s) on your memory card. In R&C2 you get some free (weak) weapons from the previous game. In R&C3 (or "UYA") you get discounts on weapons prices and some free weapons. It's like how in R&CF (the PS3 series) games you get some discounts and bonus costumes in A Crack In Time if you've played and beaten the previous two games.

I do have to say, however, that I'll probably end with UYA. I may try to move on to the PS2 port of Size Matters (originally a PSP title), but that's not a guarantee. However, after being a part of the beta test for Deadlocked (sometimes known as R&C4), I will not play that one. Let's just say, if not for the Deadlocked beta test, I may have started playing R&C games far earlier in my gaming life.

One thing I do have to say that I hate about R&C games is that there are just too long of titles and too many confusing abbreviations for writing about the whole franchise (or most of it...not much to say on the PSP titles since I ditched my PSP long ago) in a single post. It's like I'm trying to talk some weird alternate language. Plus, typing the entire name for something like "Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time" would just be too damned annoying to do more than necessary.

On a different note...sort of...I've been trying to think of what I should play once I finish Up Your Arsenal. While it's the craziest time of the year for new games, I've not felt the usual interest. I'm not a FPS fan, so a major title like CoD:MW2 is not my thing. Although I do enjoy watching some of the game being played, so I get a few fixes for crazy violence watching my friend Bastich play. I'm also not much for the current crop of Wii games (I haven't even touched my Wii, except for Final Fantasy IV: The After Years since Smash Brawl...and that didn't last long). In fact, there is only one game that's new to the market that's interesting me any.

That would be Dragon Age Origins. However, I'm stuck with a few issues with the thought of play DAO. The main one being the fact that Bioware has not done me any favors lately.

Jade Empire was complete crap compared to what was promised. I mean it was a game that failed to go into any depth in the plot, and the fighting system, that was supposed to be beyond epic, was nothing more than a button masher with visual flair (leap behind an enemy and pummel them). The game failed on being an action game, an RPG, or the amazing cinematic marvel that Bioware promised.

Then there was Neverwinter Nights 2. It just didn't do much versus the glory that was the original NWN. It added so little that was good, but instead turned into a glitch and bug filled bastard offspring that just kept demanding more and more from a computer without much to show for it versus NWN.

Lastly, and this will not be something a lot of people want to hear, but Mass Effect was a steaming pile of shit. No...that's wrong. "Steaming" implies there was something hot about it. The game was cold and stale on delivery. You have a combat system that was fun for a FPS/TPS, but too shallow for an RPG that is supposed to be based on amazing character customizations. Team AI was pathetic (which is not cool in a squad based shooter). The game was short and offered way too many obvious plot twists. The only thing that could have helped make the game awesome was the abundance of side quests, but then you were left with the same repeated exploring of the same empty and deserted planets with the same exact bases to explore, just with a different paint job on a few of them. These side quests never added to the plot, never gave amazing bonus equipment (it was all random loot throughout the entire game) except for ONE of them granting prestige classes, and involved way too much driving of the MAKO tank (which had it's steering based on the controls of a shopping cart that's been overly abused at a Target store). While many people would love to praise Mass Effect for what was promised, the game delivered far less compared to the hype than any Peter Molyneaux game ever could.

My other reservation on looking into DAO is the DLC issue. For those who are not aware, the game practically demands DLC to be played to it's full intended value. I mean many games feel less than complete without all of the DLC if the developers came into making the game with DLC in mind. After playing GTA4, and all of Lost and Damned and most of The Ballad of Gay Tony, I feel like GTA4 is not a complete game without the DLC. However, DAO actually has dialogue that tells you to buy DLC to select certain dialogue choices that begin quests. This is like saying, to the player, that the game is not complete and your wallet is being claimed by Bioware. It's almost like Bioware is just trying to insult you and will refuse to stop the insults until you pay them.

So, while I like the thought of having a new RPG to devote my time and affection on, I cannot get over the insult. Horse armor in Oblivion was an insult...but you didn't need to spend too damned much on a useless item unless you chose. If you skipped the horse armor, you could play and never notice it being absent from your game. DAO, however, actually tells you that your game is gimped and will not let you escape the fact unless you cough up a pretty big chunk of cash. Add in how Bioware has let me down too many times with their recent releases, and I just can't give them the benefit of the doubt...or the money in my bank account.


Malik (11/20/09)

Another good week of Rock Band DLC is coming. At least the six songs from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. Even if they are live tracks. I also have no problem with The Go-Gos. Hell, even P!nk isn't bad since I know Velveta will enjoy that. Although, since Lego Rock Band is around, we can expect a lot more of the stuff that falls into the P!nk and Kelly Clarkson genres. After all, Lego Rock Band is based on the whole family friendly and more pop-ish style of music.

Of course, I'm still behind in RB stuff since I didn't get Walk Like An Egyptian this week, nor did I pick up Sgt. Pepper's. Still, I like having some extra options for when I finally break free from the constant flood of Ratchet and Clank goodness that I've been living.

On a different note, this weekend starts what I consider a hell of sorts. My next day off from work (my day job, that is) is not for 13 more days. If I even can manage that. I'm working every weekend day, each week/work day, and even Thanksgiving. Now that is something to, in all sarcasm, be thankful for.

The worst part is that I'm scheduled to work around the start of the Seahawks game on Sunday. I may get home in time for the second half, but I'll be missing out on the Vikings game this week and the Rams game next week. That is torture for a person like me who lives for those awesome 16 weeks of NFL home team glory.

It might be for the better to miss seeing what could be the first half of a very ugly game. I mean Seattle is 3-6 and the Vikings are 8-1. Still, I'd love to see what can happen now that the running game is looking better while Jones is out with some major lung issues from a rib injury last week. I mean Forsett, when he came in to sub for Jones, managed to make more rushing yards in less than one game than Seattle has been averaging in three or four games this season. I just hope that Mora takes the hint and keeps Forsett as our number one running back.

The problem, beyond no blocking from a lack of any skill on the offensive line, is that Jones is a power runner. He needs a hole, since he's not the fastest back in the game. If he doesn't have a hole to use, he'll manage to force a yard or two. On the other hand, Forsett is a speed demon who will take smaller holes without hesitation, but then stop once he's hit. If holes cannot be opened due to a poor O-line, then we need someone who will find the smallest of temporary openings and capitalize. That man is Forsett.

Also, the MLS championship is being played in my own backyard. Seattle is hosting the final game of the post-season this weekend. I would be more excited if the Sounders FC were in the game. I mean, in particular, I cannot get too excited about Salt Lake (who I know too little about), or LA (who I dislike just because of their drama queen known as Beckham). Still, it is cool that Seattle, in it's first MLS season, can become so important in the spotlight by having a post-season making expansion team and hosting the most important MLS game of the year.

If only the Sounders FC could have been in the final game in their home that would have been awesome!


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