It is amazing to see UW
ranked in football for the first time in...I can't even remember how
long it has been. UW, who would once be one of the most amazing of
the PAC-10 teams fell from grace and remained in the basement for
far too long. Now that they have an amazing QB (forget the past talk
of Jake Locker...this is Keith Price's team), still have one of the
best (maybe the best) rusher UW has ever seen in Polk, and a coach
who knows how to lead a team, this is a new age for Huskies fans. Of
course, this will all change next week, since UW will have to face
Stanford. However, even with Stanford and Oregon on the schedule, UW
is going to end this season up from last season, which was up for
many seasons before.
It was also good to see
the final home Sounders FC game of the year end in such a great way.
It was the final match for Kasey Keller to be a regular season MLS
player in front of the Seattle crowd that has so much faith in him.
In fact, Seattle had the largest attendance ever for a home MLS game
that they ever had. More than 60,000 people came out to send Keller
off in the best way. It helps that the Sounders helped in this as
well by pulling out a 2-1 win. The only way the night could have
been better is if Keller could have ended with a clean sheet.
Anyway, I have been
killing time while waiting for Skyrim. My form of killing time is to
finally crack out Mass Effect 2. I got the game last year for $10 at
a Black Friday sale. I have had the game sitting on my shelf since
then. I wanted to play it, but I also feared the game since ME was
such a poor example of trying to fit too many ideas into too complex
of a package. ME, the original, had so many parts that brought the
experience down. You had a cast of characters that showed little
true variety or distinction, a world exploration method that was
flat out boring, and a vehicle combat system that was beyond
impossible to enjoy. ME2 solved all of that. It's like one of my
friends told me; ME2 is like a real game while ME was the beta test
I really am enjoying how
the entire experience was simplified. I'm not a fan of simple RPGs,
but that was the cure for ME2. You can simply scan planets for
resources (and eventually you can skip this when you realize you
have more than enough to get all upgrades through resource farming),
you have nearly no vehicle stuff (as far as I know, only a small
dose remains in one DLC mission; The Shadow Broker), and you have a
team that doesn't appear to be completely stupid with AI issues. Of
course, some AI issues remain (I always have one party member who
decides cover is for wusses and proceeds to certain death...damn
you, Garrus!) and some small room for improvement exists. However,
it is a better experience.
I am surprised to see
that there is actually a fair amount of carry over from my ME save.
I was told how the game didn't incorporate much of your ME choices,
but this is just not true. It's only some major choices that didn't
get carried directly over, but look to be important in ME3. I mean I
have many small side missions or dialogue paths based on my
decisions of ME. The only problem is that I simply don't remember
ever making these decisions until long after the new dialogue. I
mean ME was a long time ago.
I've also been having
fun and motivation to download some of the more expensive DLC. I
bought both the Kasumi and Liara DLC missions. I've played both and
have really enjoyed them. The Shadow Broker DLC (Liara's mission)
adds another playable character (only for that mission), and some
really cool back-story. You also have some amazing combat situations
that really make for a great showing of ME2. The final boss is truly
the most enjoyable boss fight I've had so far.
Kasumi's DLC (Stolen
Memories) is beyond amazing. The loyalty quest for Kasumi is without
a doubt one of the best missions in the entire ME series, so far.
It's a lot like living out a James Bond style story, involving
sneaking into a fancy party and having to find a way to steal an
item from a megalomaniac's vault. You also get to find the best SMG
I've found so far, with it's own cool story ("the gun that killed
two presidents"). Bioware made the DLC well worth it, in both price
I went from hating the
ME universe after the original game to now being excited for the
next chapter to come out in the spring. I actually feel invested in
making sure I get the best ending possible so I can carry over a
great save for the next game.
For the people who loved
to act like idiots and talk of the 3DS failure,
Sony is going to give you more to sound off like a fool about.
Yes, the Vita (is it wrong to just call it the PSP2?) is coming next
February. What does this mean?
It means another
portable game system is coming with a larger than comfortable price
(especially in this economy) incredibly far off from the best
release date of the year. If a system comes in around September
through December, it will sell due to holiday demands ("mommy, I
NEEEEED a for !!!"). If it comes
out in January, then kids will spend their holiday money on it. If
it comes after January, and before September...well, you get another
incident like the 3DS launch...or the Sega Saturn launch...or the
Dreamcast launch...or...well, any console you name that came out off
season has a slow and painful launch, until at least the next
If you think this
will be different because Sony is promising major games at
launch...well, you're sadly mistaken. Yes, an Uncharted title is a
nice way to introduce a system, but not when there is plenty of
Uncharted (or Mod Nation Races, or whatever else) already out there.
Many of this big name games are either getting a fresh installation
this holiday season on the PS3, or are already somewhat fresh on the
PSP. If you want a major selling point in the form of a game for a
console launch, you need something new, but familiar. Not something
overly familiar to the point that it just looks like more of the
same. Or you can go with the best console launching strategy; use a
holiday season as your launch point.
considering how the Vita is being marketed, I'm not even interested.
I have a PS3 for playing those games that are supposed to be of PS3
quality on the Vita, and I have no time in my life for using a
portable system to do anything besides play games. Well, I have
small chunks of time, but that's usually when I am stationed at my
BBQ cooking for ~12 hours...which just requires my 3DS and the
Plus, if I wanted
an all-in-one 3G capable multimedia device that costs a load of cash
upfront, I'd just do like many Americans and get an iPhone.
On a serious
observation; why do companies that know the holiday season mean so
much to them keep finding ways to entirely miss that cash cow?
Anyway, I predict
for the Vita the same thing I predict for the 3DS, but one year
after the 3DS does so; the holiday season will see a major boost in
sales after an incredibly slow start. I also see the 3DS pulling out
better sales numbers just due to the 3DS coming in at a more
gift-giving friendly price point. I cannot help but doubt any crazy
Nintendo style price drop on the Vita in the first 2 years of the
Vita's life. Sony doesn't roll that way, to both it's benefit and to
it's onw doom. Just look back at the PSP, PSX, PS2, and PS3 for
examples of how Sony stands by their prices.
I'm still wrapped
up in Mass Effect 2. I think I'm getting closer to the end, which
means I may have to drop some more money on DLC. After buying Stolen
Memories and The Shadow Broker, I am quite confident with paying
money for ME2 DLC. At least the mission packs. I don't need to pay
for alternate costumes, but more missions are sweet and have both,
so far, been well worth the price of admission. Plus, I'm hoping
some of these will carry over, in terms of choices, for ME3. I mean
The Shadow Broker tied in to my save from ME1 (in terms of Liara's
dialogue), and I believe I've read that Kasumi (from Stolen
Memories) may be in ME3. If this is true, I'll be quite happy to see
where my extravagent spending on DLC leads in the spring when ME3
After becoming addicted
to Mass Effect 2, I have started to read up on ME3. Well, "read up"
means hitting Wikipedia and reading what little information is
currently really available at one easy reference. Of this
information, the one part that struck me is that ME3 continues
more-or-less from a ME2 DLC. Since I'm going crazy with DLC and ME2,
I decided I would just break down and pick up all mission related
ME2 DLC. This only left two that I didn't already have.
The Arrival is the
DLC that bridges ME2 and ME3. It's also one of the most expensive
DLC packs (tied with The Shadow Broker). I already felt like The
Shadow Broker was worth the price of admission, so The Arrival was
almost a no brainer. After playing it last night, I can say it was
well worth the price.
what happens in this DLC (for those who haven't tried it), I have to
say it's pretty damned amazing. You have some fun ways to play the
missions included with some unique twists versus the normal missions
of ME2. For one thing, just because an enemy is on your radar
doesn't mean you always want to shoot first. In fact, there's an
achievement for The Arrival that requires you to break into a
maximum security prison without taking any hostile actions, thus
preventing the guards from noticing you're infiltration. Definitely
not a normal ME2 style of game play, and it is quite fun to try for
the challenge of being the stealthy character you are normally
encouraged against being.
You also see some
other unique events that you barely touch on in the normal game. You
actually play most of the mission solo. This brings about some fun
challenge as you face some powerful waves of foes while not being
able to rely on anything other than your skills, weapons, and how
well you made your character up to this point. Didn't plan to fight
robots alone? You'll have some trouble. Didn't count on fighting
humanoids? You'll have trouble. Didn't count on facing up close or
far off combat? You're in serious trouble. It all comes down to how
smoothly you can work within the confines of your single Sheppard
design. Also, if you're afraid to lose any battle, you'll be in
trouble (spoiler: you do have a single no win fight against a giant
In the end, the
DLC really ties up what you've been seeing in ME2. It also gives an
obvious jumping off point for ME3. It's basically like The Arrival
tells you what will be starting ME3. It also leaves anyone trying to
be a paragon at all times with one hell of a bad conscience.
Anyway, my weekend
will see me trying to conclude ME2. It will also see me watching
what should be one of the best UW football games in the last decade,
or more. UW goes to Stanford this weekend and it will be an amazing
chance for UW to show if they have been lucky to become #25 on the
BCS poll, or if they are the real deal. It will also give Stanford a
chance to show if they are for real or if playing only the worst of
losing teams this year has been why they look so good. One way or
another, a team is going to have to prove who they really are.
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