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  1. After spending what feels like an eternity away from the forums i have managed to get back on after a whole lot of never ending disruptions that occurred in my life. From being right on track to being totally derailed and wheeled away for a post mortem. I can't even begin to understand why things went to pot so fast and just who was pitching the curve ball that life threw at me. n a search for the answers to my question which all start with why i came to one conclusive constant. It seemed it was all my fault. I was caught up in trying to be something that i aspire to be but was not actually me. Let me elaborate.

    I have always aspired to be the kind of person who needs little but gives a lot. My life is very simple and doesn't stretch out of the bounds of writing and doing schoolwork which for me was the norm. In the process of forcing myself into a personality that i wanted to portray so much i lost track of all the important things in my life and am left with naught. I have botched my entire semester because of it and sabotaged a great deal of relationships with other people in the process.

    After figuring out that I was pretending to be something else, it was all too late and the damage was done already but i began to wonder exactly who i was. This was not the first time i had spent an extended period of time trying to adjust the way i am but the aftermath of all of it has left me in a precarious situation and as always i will probably immerse myself in my current writing as the coming holiday is long and i'll have alot of time to think it over.

    On a more positive note, it's good to be back here.
  2. (Taking a break between play throughs so excuse the brevity:))

    Ever since it was first announced i have been waiting for this game with a most euphoric anticipation. After playing the first Mass Effect (ME:p) i was totally psyched about this game and what direction Shepard's story would take. This space opera takes everything that made the first game awesome and added alot of new stuff, but more on that later.

    Story
    The story begins not long after the events of Mass Effect take place. While on patrol the Normandy, and its commanding officer, Commander Shepard, comes under attack by an unknown assailant. The ship is destroyed in the assault and Shepard's lifeless body floats on through space.

    Commander Shepard's body is located and retrieved by Cerberus who implement what they call the "lazarus" project bringing the once dead commander back to life and active duty. The process has taken two years and a new threat has emerged in the galaxy. The Collectors are attacking human colonies and harvesting the colonists for what ever reason and it is up to you as the protagonist to find out what they are up to.

    [N.B. for spoiler reasons and the fact that the experience is subtly unique for each individual i will not elaborate on this:cool:]

    Gameplay
    Mass Effect has recieved a gameplay overhaul in this installment. Since this is an RPG your character will level up after attaining enough skill points. Each level you attain gives you more health, improved shields and access to new and more efficient weapons (Special mention for the the new M-920 Cain:D It's awesome). A big part of leveling up is the use of your skill points which you use to upgrade your character's particular skill and add new abilities to the already existing ones. While this is all standard fair in RPGs, Bioware has stripped away the cluttered inventory system used in the first game, opting for a more streamlined approach which is easy to access and never clutters. Your ammunition and powers are all available for use at the touch of a button whilst in battle and removes the previous cumbersome duty of opening the inventory screen to adapt yopur weapons and ammo. Hardcore RPG fans may feel a little disappointed by the amount of items removed from the skills and leveling up portions.

    Battles in ME2 are a joy to play and can sometimes turn into brutal firefights. Shooting in ME2 is notably more exhilarating than before and squad commands are given on the fly for immediate tactical changes and precision. A cover system has been implemented into the game as well as rebounding health and you no longer have limitless amounts of ammunition which is now strewn across battle set pieces for you to pick up and utilize. Aside from that a few new powers have been added to the game which will make some people squirm with glee as they pummel their enemies into oblivion. The onscreen HUD is notably less distracting with only essential information such as your squad and quick slots for abilities showing their faces here.

    The conversation system is pretty much the same with only one new feature to talk about. The interrupt. This enables you to interrupt someone who is speaking, not speaking, in action, about to do an action etc. with interesting results. It is especially useful for prying information out of reluctant witnesses:D. The system works with both the paragon and renegade values enabling good and bad interrupts.

    Exploration in ME2 has changed too. No more will you rove around worlds in the physics challenged Mako, instead you will spend a great deal of time scanning planets for resources to implement upgrades. It must be noted though that this task is excessively boring and time consuming, slowing down the pace of the game considerably. It is a necessary evil because no resources=no upgrades.

    A few other things; for those that played the first ME you can import your character's saves and start off with a bonus in a number of areas as well as enjoying the reactions of your decisions of the first game. Character creation is pretty much the same with few new changes that will stun you. Load screens have become much faster with some segments even showing you where you're going and how long before you re-enter the game.

    Graphics
    ME2 immediately feels better and the looking part is up to the standard. One can immediately see the darker colour palette used for this game and understand that this is a darker storyline where alot of bad things could happen. Texture popping is a rarity and there has been massive improvements for character models with the somewhat incomplete removal of the putty textures all humans seem to have. A big revelation is the actual animations and how smoothly they seem to come about. Your character will experience an array of emotions throughout the game which are adequately and sometimes shockingly portrayed with lovely realism. Overall the game looks and plays much better than it's predecessor.

    Bioware have delivered a game that is no doubt entertaining and worth the $60 and the 20-35 hours invested in each play through. You will be surprised, shocked, angered and sadned by the impact your Shepard will make in this game. The varied endings will have you on your seat till the last moment of triumph or in the case of ME2, Commander Shepard's death which would be reflected in the following installment. If you get the chance to buy this game i highly recommend it.

    Souji's Score: 9.5\10
  3. I have spent an awful lot of my time at college playing this amazing soccer game and am an immovable fanboy for the franchise. While it doesn't even begin to compare to its far superior console counterparts it's still fun. So like i do every year i went and bought the latest version for my PC, believing that i would be getting more of the same goodness. Boy was i wrong.

    After paying the full retail price of RM200 (USD$60):mad: for this i got home to discover that it was the 2009 version with an updated interface and a few new motion capture movements. I was seriously cheesed off by this and decided to give it some time, maybe play with a friend or two. I got my pals together and we sat for 1 hour. It was mind boggling how bad this game was:confused:. They put no effort into it at all, in fact the 2009 version which we had decided was below par seems all the better now. I am beginning to wish that i never ever bought this game. And its also disheartening to realize that something which you felt was forsaken has sunk even lower. It's like they don't even give a....This is game is bad news and this is my biggest disappointment in a long time. Come on EA Sports, you guys claim that if you were to switch to next-gen almost all PC users won’t be able to play it. That is utter bull and nonsense. Look at PES 2010, next-gen and a lot of people are able to play it. That statement was simply an excuse to not work a port or anything. They just want to do squad updates year after year, saying the same old thing that most PC users will not be able to run next-gen gameplay. Think about it, they have the ability to create an option for people to select between the graphics. Whether their computer can support next-gen or not won’t be a matter no more if they were able to choose between the different graphical settings no? Don't buy this game it sucks. If you don't believe me buy it...That'll teach you:p

    Glad i got that out of my system:redface:
  4. A lot of people have waited quite a while fo this game and i am no exception. I don't need to tell anyone who plays videogames what Modern Warfare is, it's pretty self explainatory. There was a massive hype about this game leading up to its release and lots of controversy surrounding the "No Russian" mission and the complete lack of dedicated servers for the PC. I am glad to report that i do not regret buying this game.

    Story
    The story in Modern Warfare 2 occurs five years later and is a direct continuation from the first Modern Warfare. Ulatranationalists seize control of Russia and the antagonist from the last game is declared a hero. The new 'bad-guy' is Vlad Makarov and he seems to be continuing where Zakaev left off. Due to the nature of video games he must be stopped.

    Similar to previous installments of Call of Duty, the player assumes the role of various characters (a total of five) during the single-player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the progression of the story. The main story revolves around three soldiers, Private James Ramirez, a member of 1st Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment stationed in the United States, Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson, a member of an elite, multinational commando unit known as Task Force 141 and "Soap" MacTavish returns as a non-playable character for most of the game, but once again becomes the played character in the final three missions of the game.

    Gameplay
    Campaign
    The campaign for MW2 is somewhat the same as the first game in terms of length but it offers a whole lot more. Tasks vary in their requirements, having the player arrive at a particular checkpoint, eliminate enemies in a specified location, defend an objective, or plant explosive charges on an enemy installation. All of this is done in what can only be decscribed as a frantic warzone. Every level is wrought with danger and the game is satisfyingly difficult on Veteran. This mode is short and sweet in the most entertaining of ways and has a lot of intruiging plot points that will excite fans of the first game.

    The variety of modern weapons provided in this campaign is enormous and the game does a good job of letting you sample as many of them as possible. I found it personally thrilling to hit an enemy vehicle as with a predator missile as the occupants were getting out:D.

    Special Ops
    Special Ops is the unique cooperative multiplayer mode thathas missions which are similar to those from the campaign but are uniquely designed and are directly unrelated to the story in the campaign. It includes scenarios such as a snowmobile race between you and a buddy, one player providing air support from an AC-130 gunship with the other conducting operations on the ground, capturing enemy compounds, and eliminating 40 or more enemies at a time. Depending on the difficulty selected each mission unlocks stars which are used to unlock more missions, all of which can be played solo but then its always more fun with a friend.

    Online Multiplayer
    This is where the real meat of the game is and the reason why a lot of peope buy this game. There are the usual modes like capture the flag, domination and team deathmatch etc but that's not where the real change is. Aside from new weapons, equipment, and perks, 15 different kill streak rewards can be unlocked and selected. Among these is the ability to receive a supply drop after achieving four kills in a row, order a Predator missile strike after five kills, and call in an AC-130 gunship to strike from the sky after 11 kills. The console online multiplayer is excellent and runs as smoothly as anyone could wish but there are problems with the PC. Firstly, there are no more dedicated servers, eliminating the ability for mods or user-created maps to be incorporated. This is also a supreme LAN party killer and the once massive battle fields have been capped at 18players per match, 9vs9. This was in a way quite disappointing as i had already planned to blow my friends to kingdom come locally. Despite this the current steam based system is still awesomely fun to play.

    Graphics
    Modern Warfare 2 looks and runs like a dream. The beautiful lighting and textures on objects in the game is wonderful. Character models look great when they stop moving about and battles and explosions have realistic smoke and fire effects. I believe that the game looks its best during the night missions where its possible to see amazing texture on your weapon and excellent water effects all over the levels. It really is lovely to play and look at.

    All in all this is a solid package of gaming pleasure that's sure to leep you occupied for some time if you're looking to pick up an addiction. The game is superb and is wonderfully supported by an excellent Hans Zimmer score, wonderful voice acting and end credits that remind you how awesome the game was. It has an extreme fun factor and always leaves you wanting more.

    Souji's Score: 8.5\10
  5. When first looking at this game i was intrigued not, by the art style or the crazy action but by the simple fact that enemies spurt out experience points evertime you shoot them. Aside from this comically distracting mechanic how does it rate as a whole.

    Story
    The story in Borderlands is nothing which will change your life forever but enough to spur you on through the game. You start off as always in these types of games as a vault hunter, no powers and no cool guns....yet. You get to choose between four different characters who all have their own special powers and gameplay techniques but the story follows the same plot irregardless of who you choose.
    You are on Pandora, searching for The Vault which is said to have endless riches and advanced alien technology. Obviously you can't go head on straight to it so a number of missions are placed between you and the end of the game.

    Gameplay
    On first impressions i thought Borderlands to be a straight up shooter but i soon realized that it has a strong RPG element in the form of leveling up. Each level you attain gives you more health, improved shields and access to new and more efficient killing peripherals. A big part of leveling up is the use of your skill points which you use to upgrade your character's particular skill and add new abilities to the already existing ones.

    It's traditional RPG elements have you running around talking to people and doing missions for them to find clues about the whereabouts of the vault. There are a myriad of different places and creatures to experience and kill as each mission brings you ever closer to your goal. Your weaponry is one of the game's most impressive aspects in that you have a huge arsenal of guns to chose from ranging from heavy machine guns to revolvers that have one hit kills, shotguns that dispense all their ammo with one squeeze of the trigger and sniper rifles that corrode shields. Despite all this the games seems to level you up quite quickly and you'll soon find that your enemies are no match for you ever increasing power. A second playthrough yeilds tougher enemies and greater rewards but I found that enemies got to their pinnacle level after the third play through.

    The co-op mode of borderlands makes the game more challenging by adding more enemies of your own level to the game. This makes for some frantic fun and is challenging as you and your partners travel through the Borderlands playground. There is an extra versus mode where you can take your character into a Colosseum and duke it out with other players. Whilst the multiplayer is fun it's not the meat of the game. It's also worth noting that the game has a fairly regular day night cycle that will invariably have you fighting in the dark at times but sadly it does not change the experience or the enemies much.

    Graphics
    Borderlands has a quite unique art style that lends itself quite well to the environment you play in. The comic style art lines give it a great visual feel and a uniqueness i haven't experienced in a while. While it's not ground breaking its still a pleasure to look at with distant mountains and ridges coming out quite nicely when the sun sets.

    Overall Borderland is an entertaining game that will keep you occupied for around 20 hours if you're intent on finishing every single mission. The game has a nice fun factor that'll have you hooked for hours at a time. It's a good game and mixes shooting and rpg quite nicely.

    Souji's Score: 8/10