Left 4 Dead 2 and Halo Waypoint Have Avatar Awards, Nerds Rejoice

haloavatar
As the self-explanatory title above states, both Left 4 Dead 2 and the upcoming Halo Waypoint, your X-Box hub for all things Halo, are going to feature Avatar Awards, little pieces of clothing and other accouterments that your creepy cartoon doppelganger can sport.

Avatar Awards are earned by completing specific achievements in the corresponding game; i.e. getting the “Dark Times” achievement in Halo 3: ODST will unlock an ODST hoodie. Tougher achievements will earn you some cooler pieces like a Drop Trooper helmet or the body armor.

This strikes me as a better endeavour than the current model of paying for Avatar items. Sure, a lot of people don’t really care about their Avatars, but I’m glad to finally be getting something back for putting in all that time to getting those achievements, or “cheevos”, as the kids are calling them now.

What do you guys think? Are Avatar awards a good way to start giving back to the gamers, or would something else intrigue you? What kind of games would like to see star giving awards? I’d like a Brotherhood of Steel power armor suit for my Avatar personally.

Source: Kotaku

Phantasy Star Game Blog Part IX: ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???

dezorisHaving finished off the ice planet of Dezoris, I head back to Palma, buy some Diamond Armor and make sure everyone is ready to go. I buy lots of Burgers for healing, as well. Maybe I should have stopped at White Castle and gotten a suitcase. My party heads to the Gate of Baya Malay, which is the worst and least scary name of a dungeon ever. It actually sounds like one of those resorts that you always hear about but have no idea where it is. Like the Lesser Antilles or something. Sidenote: the Lesser Antilles makes me think of Wedge Antilles having a younger brother who parks spaceships for a living. But that isn’t possible, because Wedge only had a sister and she was older than him before his parents were killed in a tragic fuel depot accident. Yes, I am the biggest Star Wars nerd ever.

So I enter the Gate and all that build up for a long ass maze with no enemies. Which normally would be a relief but now just fills me with a great sense of foreboding. Then again, it might be that Burger King I had for dinner. Oh, there is a Robot Cop who stops me and demands to see my passport, which I show him, but he attacks me anyway. Robot Cop, dead or alive, you are coming with me! Actually, just dead and I left his smoking, sparking carcass behind. I exit and enter another cave and then a tower. Could this be it? Alas, no, at the top is a guy who asks me some questions and then gives me a Crystal which allows me to open any sealed doors without using my magic OPEN spell. This is a great thing, as it will save me MP in the end. I warp back to town, heal up and start again.

I use the Crystal to enter the tower, which is 25 stories! And from what I understand, it’s not a straight climb, but a maze of going up and then back down and all kinds of hell. Once again, thanks to my readers for picking this game. There is a special hell reserved for you. After many enemies (the random encounter rate is off the charts here. Once again: Special Hell.) and many false turns, I make it to the 24th floor when BAM! A trap sends me back to the very beginning. But what’s that? I am a hardcore, dyed in the wool RPG veteran and this ain’t my first rodeo so I saved when I got to that floor? Instant reset and reload and we are back on track. I would like to thank me for being awesome. No power in the ‘verse can stop me!

myau3I make it to the top and I use the AERO Prism, which makes the sky change colors and a floating castle appear in the clouds. I picked a hell of day to quit sniffing glue! My party tells me to feed that Laerma Nut to Myua. So give my magic nut to the pussy cat. That’s hot. Myau becomes enveloped in flames and emits a blinding light. I wonder if Dr. Mad still wants a piece of this pussy cat now? Myau grows wings! Awesome, this better equal more damage or something in battle. Myau flies us to the floating castle thingy, but we are attacked in mid-air by a Gold Dragon. That’s a color I don’t have on my notched belt of dead dragons, so we quickly whip his gold ass into a stupor and land on the castle. We enter and it’s a new dungeon. Oh, joy. Wait, Lassic is waiting inside for me! We quickly killed him, but it was just a Fake Lassic, a Shadow. Boo! We continue on and there he is, the real deal.

Hello. My name is Alis Something-or-other. You killed my brother. Prepare to die. In a new twist, Lassic can use his magic to attack my entire party at one time, which causes all manner of havoc for me. One by one, the party falls, leaving only Alis left, which is poetic justice because she delivers the deathblow! Holy crap! I did it! A message appears telling me that Nero, Alis’ brother, is satisfied in heaven. Which is kind of interesting that we are getting telegrams from the afterlife, but whatever, I mean, the cat grew wings! The party says we should hurry to the Governor of Motavia. Soun—What?? Oh. Oooohhh. Oh. Here’s a hint: when you beat what you think is the final boss, but the game tells you to travel somewhere else, that means it wasn’t the final boss. I can totally tell that Square Enix loved this game when they first played it.

So we head back to the esteemed home of the Motavians, but first, I stop to restock and heal up. Like I said, this isn’t my first time doing this. After arriving, the Governor is not there and I fall through a trap! After traveling down a loooong tunnel, he is waiting for me. But he is not the Governor, he is Dark Falz. Seriously? Dark Falz? Who is Dark Falz, you ask? Well, he is the embodiment of all evil and also the very first Super Secret Bad Guy You Didn’t Know Existed But Was Really Behind The Whole Thing From The Start. Or, his shorter name, SSBGYDKEBWRBTHTFTS. His name is totally pronounceable, but it does require a lot of saliva.

darkf1In an evil turn of events, there is no HP counter for Dark Falz, which means I have no idea how my attacks are doing, so I just use the strongest stuff I have that has been working the whole game. And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. Alis attacks and heals when needed, Myau does the same, Noah just attacks with his Wind spell and Odin just attacks. Oh, and Noah also dies. Not good. After several turns of this my team is getting weak, but BOOM! Odin kills Dark Falz! I BEAT IT! The real Governor appears, telling me I saved the Universe. All in a day’s work, my friend. In a shocking bit exposition, we learn that Alis’ father was once king and Alis now becomes Queen! How utterly trite. The sky clears and peace is returned. Pictures of the cast are shown and I am told that though the evil has faded, our names will live forever.

So that’s it. It’s over. Honestly, I really liked this game. In 1988, it must have been amazing to play, but it’s still pretty awesome even today. To summarize it succinctly: Game beat. Asses kicked. Names taken. Time for a beer and a much deserved rest. If you guys liked this, I will do another one sometime, but only after a brief hiatus. Thanks for reading!

Bioshock 2 Story Interview

Even though I appreciated Bioshock’s quality in terms of its immersiveness and story, I just didn’t go quite as crazy about it as everyone else did. I didn’t dislike the game, it just didn’t hook me the way it seemed to for hundreds of thousands of other gamers out there. I keep thinking I want to pick it up and finish it one day, but the sequel so far hasn’t gotten me all that excited either.

However, I do have to say that it seems that they’re really putting a lot of thought into the game’s universe and how it ticks, which is starting to perk my interest a little. The newest developer interview sheds some more light on what the game’s about and who some of its new characters are. I’d suggest giving it a watch. What about you guys? What do you think about Bioshock 2?

GamerSushi Asks: Scariest Games?

silent-hill-2In honor of Halloween, I figured it was time for at least a fright-filled question. Something to get the ball moving in between the costumes, candy and partying like rock stars.

One thing that people close to me know is that I’m a wuss when it comes to anything remotely scary. I don’t do well with horror movies in the slightest. Seriously. I scream like a girl and often times close my eyes or cover my ears when I sense that something scary is coming up in a movie I’m watching. Yes, the 6 foot tall latino dude is frightened and I’m sure it looks funny as hell.

Anyway, the same thing applies to scary games as well. I don’t handle them with any semblance of dignity. I think the scariest game I can ever remember playing is Silent Hill 2. My brother and I played it one weekend with the lights off, and I was barely even able to handle it.

So what about you guys? What’s the scariest game you’ve ever played? Or a particular moment that really freaked you out? Go!

Brink Developers Splash Damage Go Trolling

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The future of PC gaming is something that comes up a lot among the enthusiasts, the media, and even developers. Is it dying, is it going to experience a resurgence, what’s going to happen to the PC? While there are some companies that seem to earn a living just fine by making high-quality PC titles (Valve and Blizzard come to mind), there are other companies that have moved over into console development to supplement their income.

Splash Damage head honcho Paul Wedgewood has a few words to say about PC exclusive development and how it’s no longer financially viable. He maintains that the budget is not there for triple-A quality PC titles which makes it hard to get high-end bonuses like a full orchestra and a rich voice cast. Considering that his studio originally started as a mod house which made “hardcore” multi-player maps for Quake and Wolfenstein, perhaps Mr. Wedgewood is in a better position to judge the future of PC-only development than most people.
Continue reading Brink Developers Splash Damage Go Trolling

Review: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

uncharted2-among-thievesUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you know that Uncharted 2 is the Playstation 3’s big great piece of hype, lying in wait to strike at just the right moment this holiday season. You also might know that the game is the object of a ridiculous amount of affection as gamers and reviewers alike swoon over its pixelated action. So, how does the game actually stack up? Let’s find out.
Continue reading Review: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

GamerSushi Asks: Suggested Reviews?

Hello fellow gamers. Got a question for you dudes.

Recently, someone brought up on a review that we only tend to review blockbuster titles that almost always get the same kind of scores. While it must be noted that we are just some regular guys that aren’t going to waste our time with games that will get lower scores, we do feel that this was a solid issue worth discussing at a later time.

To be honest, we don’t always think about all of our options available to us for reviews. So we wanted to ask you guys and get some opinions- what other games do you want to see reviewed, besides some of the bigger titles like Uncharted 2, Forza 3, etc? Feel free to suggest anything that you’ve been wanting to know more about. We can’t promise that we’ll get to all of them, but we’ll definitely broaden our horizons and try to hit on some upcoming games that you guys are curious about. Fire away!

Rumor: Modern Warfare 2 With a Third-Person Perspective?

Okay, I am thoroughly confused by this one. I’m a big supporter of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” game design method, so I’m a little puzzled as to why Infinity Ward thought that their upcoming blockbuster needed a third-person multi-player mode. The following video was taken off a live stream of someone in France (the big source for all leaks, apparently) showing off the supposed alternate view point for Modern Warfare 2. It certainly looks legit, but I’d wait until an official comment comes from Infinity Ward before going too crazy. I mean, those poor guys have enough problems as it is.

The video is of questionable quality, which is a natural consequence of recording off a live stream. It shows the action well enough, and it does look like MW2. The third-person modes in question appear to be Team Death Match and Cage Match, so I wouldn’t expect to see this camera option appear in the campaign or SpecOps. What do you guys think? True or fake, and is this a weird move for the series?

Edit: So, it looks like this is true. Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling confirmed the existence of a couple third-person playlists, citing it as “another way to play”.

Source: Destructoid

G-Man Sings Body to Body, Oozes Sex Appeal

Put this one under the “weird but hilarious” category. This is a machinima music video by WAM Studios in which G-Man sings Body to Body by Jay-J. It was created with Half Life 2, lots of Faceposer and GMod.

The song is pretty much horrid, but the video rules because they re-created the original music video by Jay-J almost perfectly, only with G-Man and Alyx in the leading roles. Seeing G-Man act suave and sexy is worth the price of admission on this one. Be warned it has a few images that are more than likely NSFW, especially the original, which I recommend suffering at least a few seconds of in order to fully appreciate what was done here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1OMBJ9MZBc[/youtube]

Putting the Controller Down

uncharted2-ps3Woah. So Uncharted 2 is one incredible game. If you have been on the fence about getting a Playstation 3 (or a PS triple, as some would say), you no longer have any excuses. Go out and get this game right now. I’m being serious. There will be punches if you ignore me on this.

Now that that’s out of the way, on to what I was really trying to say. This morning I finally finished this fantastic game, and I found myself sad to see it over. Most of the time when I beat a game, I usually find myself excited about my accomplishment, being able to move on to something else. It’s only with movies and books that I get sad during an ending. Which really says a lot to me about the quality of Uncharted 2’s storytelling. In fact, I was so engrossed throughout the whole game that it was often hard to put the controller down. On nights that I needed to go to bed earlier, I would purposely avoid the game because I knew once it was one, it was go time.

Honestly, I can’t really remember the last time that a game struck me with that same sense of “holy crap I can’t put this down”. For a single player game, it’s certainly been awhile. What about you guys? When was the last time you suffered from “can’t put the controller down” syndrome?

GameCop Vs LameCop Vs PsychoCop

In the past, GameCop vs. LameCop has been a feature where Anthony and I argue about video game issues, playing the role of either the GameCop or the LameCop as we do so. However, with the addition of a new GamerSushi team member, we’ve added another more absurd character to the bunch: Psycho Cop.

If you’re unfamiliar with this feature, we discuss gaming issues and we switch roles each time. The GameCop has your best interests as gamers at heart, while the LameCop is just what he sounds like: kind of a lamewad. Meanwhile, PsychoCop is a crazed, rabid forum troll that rants like a complete lunatic.

In this week’s edition, we not-so-calmly debate Day 1 DLC and Modern Warfare 2’s erasure of dedicated servers.

Continue reading GameCop Vs LameCop Vs PsychoCop

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is: Borderlands

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OK, I’ll be the first to admit that we’re probably getting pretty close to the Borderlands saturation point around here, but this story was too good to pass up. Three weeks ago, Borderland’s Creative Director Mikey Neumann promised that he would play the post-apocalyptic Role-Playing-Shooter with you and drop some rare loot if you could provide a picture of yourself pre-ordering the game via Twitter. It turns out that this little boast kind of back-fired on him as over 200 people took him up on the offer.

Since Borderlands released last Tuesday, Mikey has been ploughing through his list trying to get through as many of the lucky players as he can. The game hasn’t even come out on PC yet (it lands on Monday), so I bet that he’s got a ways to go.

This strikes me as admirable, considering the few weeks after a major game launches is when most of the studio’s development team takes their vacations. Essentially, Mikey is giving up the beach to play some Borderlands with the fans, so kudos to you good sir.

Borderlands itself is doing quite well; it’s topping the Steam sales chart, beating even Left 4 Dead 2. Every retail store I’ve visited has been sold out, too, but this is due more to a shortage in shipped products (so the clerk at EB told me, anyways) than overwhelming demand.

I’m waiting for the PC version personally, but are any of you playing it on the 360 or PS3, and what do you think?

Source: Kotaku

Leaked Left 4 Dead 2 Trailer Hits the Internet

Valve has bad luck with leaked videos, don’t they? First Meet the Spy got leaked, and now the opening cinematic for Left 4 Dead 2 has been snuck onto the internet via some digital skulduggery. Like the original opening movie for Left 4 Dead, it introduces the player to a whole bunch of game mechanics (what the new infected do, melee weapons, that type of stuff), while wrapping it all in an entertainingly gruesome package. Take a gander:

Not looking so much like a simple expansion now, am I right? I’m greatly anticipating ripping into some zombies with a chainsaw myself, but what about you guys?

Fighting Gaming Addictions

everquestEven though I joke about being addicted to video games, I don’t think I can ever honestly say that I’ve had a real actual addiction to them at any point in my life. Thankfully, games have been an area where the fun stays fun, and I can walk away if something is sucking away too much of my life, though Counter-Strike came close to reversing that.

A really interesting article went up a couple of days ago on Kotaku called I Kept Playing – The Cost of My Gaming Addiction. I highly recommend reading it for any of you who have ever had a problem with MMOs (or any game for that matter), or if you’ve had friends affected by the kinds of addiction described within. He describes losing two jobs and the love of his life, all for Everquest. While I’ve had my share of difficulties in one area or another over the years, I’ve never experienced need for something to that level. It really is frightening to think that something could come along and uproot everything that people work for. And a videogame, of all things.

A few years back, my brother went through a pretty rough time where Everquest was all he did. It took him awhile to come out of the funk, and he doesn’t like to think back on it. He’s all better now, thankfully, and living a normal life, but those years were a little nuts. What about you guys? Have you ever known anybody who’s had a gaming addiction like this?

Source- Kotaku

GameFly Thief Brought to Justice

gameflyI love me some video games, but probably not enough to go to prison. Apparently that’s not the case for some people. Take postal worker Reginald Johnson, a former truck unloader for a Philadelphia area post office. Recently, the office became the center of an investigation after many GameFly packages started to be reported as missing.

It seems that Mr. Johnson loved to lift these GameFly packages and then resell them to a local GameStop. So much, in fact, that he stole over 2,200 packages, amounting to about $86,000 of video game merchandise. How’s that for store credit?

Hilariously enough, the guy crashed his SUV when the cops showed up, and took off on foot, ditching a backpack and duffel bag that had about 160 games total between them. The dude has now been apprehended and faces 12-18 months in prison. It seems to me that if you were going to try and pull this scam, that surely someone would notice after game, I don’t know, 500. To steal a total of 2,200 just wreaks of idiocy. But I will allow it since it ends with my amusement.

Source- 1UP

Mainstream’d! Bringing Borderlands to the Masses

God bless IGN, ya know? For all the flack that they take from the gaming enthusiasts, they can still surprise you sometimes, like with this excellent parody video of Gearbox’s CEO Randy Pitchford explaining Borderlands to some casual game testers. Hilarity ensues.

Keep your pimp hand strong, Randy. Keep it strong. Oh, if you’re watching in a public place, wear some headphones. Just to be safe.

Phantasy Star Game Blog Part VIII: Going, Going, Gorgon

town_drasgowI’m back! Let’s get to it! Using my newfound hovercraft, I can now traverse water. So I do. Millions of people flock to my, thinking me a new, high-tech version of Jesus. Ok, I made that part up. While roaming around, I come across an island, Drasgow. A guy there tells me a whole heap of stuff, like there was a giant rock floating through the sky and there is a magic sword on a forgotten island. Well, it can’t be THAT forgotten, can it?

In the town, I buy a GAS SHIELD, which should come in handy if Myau ever gets worms. Or to get pass that area covered by poison gas back on Motavia. Oh, I can’t wait to see the Motavians! Hey, this place kinda looks like that movie The Mist. You know, the one with the Punisher? In the middle of the mist there is a town, Sopia. The townsfolk are trapped there and they tell me Lassic is the cause of the gas. Maybe he has Irritable Bowel Syndrome. For a small donation (bastard) the town elder tells me of the MIRROR SHIELD, hidden on a small island in the middle of a lake. With this shield, I should be able to beat Medusa! Sweet. Oh and some guy asked me if I enjoy Sega games. *Boom* Fourth wall shattered. Along with the English language.

The shield is found, just where the elder said it would be. Off to Gothic to kick some Gorgon ass! I enter Medusa’s cave and boy is it easy to get lost and dead, what with all the dragons, stalkers and marauders hanging out down here. How do they all survive? Do they live here or is this some sort of job for them? Does Daddy Dragon come home from a hard day of guarding Medusa, Baby Dragon greeting him at the door and Mommy Dragon putting some nice charred dwarf flesh on the table for dinner? Just wondering.

After all this, Medusa turns out to be a pushover. I whipped her behind so hard that Baby Dragon felt it! Sweet! My prize is a Laconian Axe, which I gladly give to Odin. Oh, remember that island everyone forgot about? Turns out it’s about a 5 second trip via hovercraft from Scion, which is the second town you visit in this game! Does this whole universe suffer from Alzheimer’s or something or just really bad eyesight? Do they not have boats? Do they just stare at the water and sigh in a resigned fashion? Anyhoo, on that island is a tower. In that tower is a red dragon. In that red dragon is my foot, which I stuck deep in its fat red ass. My Dragon Hating Vendetta continues! And for my troubles (and lost shoe) I get a Laconian Sword, which Alis promptly equips. One more planet to explore, Dezoris, the ice planet!

dezorisDezeoris has tons of mountains and ice that block most of my attempts to travel around here, which frankly sucks. In the first town, Skure, I find another Laconian Pot! For such a rare thing, these sure are plentiful. Kind of like Beanie Babies. Ooh, this has potential: there is a morgue here where the dead have risen. Zombies! Clearly, Sega was ahead of the trend in gaming. After traversing a series of small caves, I arrive at the morgue where I find a ton of zombies. THIS IS MY BOOM STICK! For some reason that I totally can’t even answer, there is a set of Laconian Armor hidden in a treasure chest in the morgue. Maybe it was in the chest where they place the personal possessions of the dead, but if that were true, why I am not fighting naked zombies?

Exiting the morgue, I find a city where they sell something called the Ice Digger. I wonder if I can use that to dig through all this ice blocking my way? Answer: hells yes! Using this, I find a cave in the middle of all the ice and a Titan, waiting to do battle with someone stupid enough to wander inside. Well, I happen to be just the right amount of stupid. Defeating the Titan gives me an AERO PRISM KEY. Yay? What the hell is this thing for? Unlocking Rainbow Road or something?

Further exploring leads me to a tower, in which waits a Dezorian. He has a sacred fire and will give me some of it on a torch for the Amber Eye. That seems like a pretty specific request. Did he really just sit there hoping some fool would stumble across his tower and climb all the way to the top with an item that can only be gained from killing a FREAKING DRAGON??? What is wrong with this universe? Anyhoo, he gives me the Eclipse Torch and I use it on solitary tree nearby. Which gives me a Laerma Nut, which apparently can only be stored in a Laconian Pot. Thank Jebus I have one handy. The Laerma Nut, if you will recall, was mentioned earlier as something that can transform a cat. Using it now does nothing on Myau, but I am sure it will come in handy later.

Well, I am ready to finally tackle the last dungeon and beat this sucker. Tune in next time for Part IX: ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???

Today’s WTF: No Dedicated Servers for Modern Warfare 2 on PC?

modernwarfare2All hands on deck! The klaxon is sounding, and that means only one thing: someone has wrung the WTF bell! Here’s what’s got the internet in a tizzy now.

In a bit of breaking news yesterday, Infinity Ward’s Community Manager Robert Bowling confirmed the existence of IWNet, a PC Call of Duty matchmaking service which will change the landscape of multiplayer for Call of Duty fans. The only problem? There’s not going to be any dedicated servers.

Traditionally, PC gaming is handled through servers that are managed by the players, but IWNet is set to change all that. According to Bowling, this service runs concurrently with Steam, but is managed by Infinity Ward themselves. Since IWNet is eliminating dedicated servers, this means that clans, custom map-makers and all those other “hardcore” folks will not be able to enjoy the same range of freedom that they’re used to with private server ownership.
Continue reading Today’s WTF: No Dedicated Servers for Modern Warfare 2 on PC?

Shut Up Already! Gaming’s Most Annoying Sidekicks

Video games are supposed to hold your attention for hours on end, whether that is with engaging characters, superior game-play elements or what have you. Sometimes, though, you have to puzzle at the sheer stupidity of making a sidekick who is the most annoying person (or thing) that has ever grated your patience. Here’s a list of the top five sidekicks that make me want to beat the game designer to death with a rusty spoon:

5. Kreia: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lordskreia   title=

Nothing is more irritating than a character that finds fault with everything that you do, which is why Kreia comes in at number five. Whether you’re a goody two-shoes Jedi or a completely evil baby-stealing innocent-killing Sith, Kreia always has a few words to say about your choices during the game. Despite the fact that she herself is a Sith, any dark side choices you make are wrong from her point of view. Talk about nagging.
Continue reading Shut Up Already! Gaming’s Most Annoying Sidekicks

The Writing’s on the Wall: Splinter Cell in Action

Looks like Sam Fisher’s been taking a few lessons at the Batman School of Stealth, if this new video show-casing the upcoming Splinter Cell: Conviction is any indication. This new Splinter Cell seems a lot more focused on “blitzkrieg” style attacks, relying on brute force exercised with precision and speed rather than a considered approach.

It’s different from the Splinter Cell we know and love, certainly, but that’s not always a bad thing. I’m still looking forward to executing some punks Punisher-style when the game drops in February of next year, but I’m concerned that games like this may be sliding more towards an extended Quick Time Event than any semblance of actual freedom. Maybe I’m just paranoid.

But, as always, we want to know what you think! Does this new Splinter Cell seem like something that you’d want to pick up, or do the differences from past versions make you turn up your nose?