Week 8

4/20 to 4/26

Relevant games this week: Shank, Mass Effect 3, Origin , Saints Row: The Third, Misc. games

Other Business: Post #8, that means I have been doing this for two months consistently!

I started playing Shank last week and sat down earlier this week to finish the last two levels. The game is still ultra violent and gory and crazy, so it was all good fun in that regard. These later levels are also where the game starts to come apart at the seams however. The combat was always pretty sweet, with some caveats namely that enemies with guns are potentially life ending at any point they are on screen. There is only one instance that I had previously found where gun wielding enemies were situated on high points that can’t be jumped to. This means that you have to use your guns to shoot them, use your guns that can only be fire at 45 degree angles upward, to shoot enemies on high platforms on small maps. The last few levels of Shank play out this situation a good three or four more times culminating in a foyer fight with two balconies on opposite sides of the screen with baddies toting assault rifles. That was one part of the game that had me swearing and snarling at my monitor. Granted its not super difficult, its just horribly designed and frustrating because of how it brings the entire game fast pace to a stop. In the end, the final boss fight was kind of cool and it was satisfying to finish the game. I cannot speak to replayable for Shank, but there are a bunch of outfits I didn’t get and another difficulty that sounds quite punishing. I think I am done with Shank for now, I am going to keep it on the harddrive for a bit, but I can’t say whether I will return to it or just uninstall it.

Origin/Amazon Digital:
So Amazon had Mass Effect 3 on sale for 50% off and with a 30 dollar price tag I decided that was low enough to warrant finally breaking down and installing Origin. But first, I have to deal with Amazon’s own online download services. So I begin by downloading Amazon’s Mass Effect 3 downloader file. They are kind enough to include large pictured instructions on how to allow that file to download and then how to start that little downloader doing its thing. Amazon’s downloader kicks in and tells me it will take 5 to 15 hours to download the compressed 2.5 gb file. Once it starts downloading it tells me that it will take about an hour and a half. When its done downloading the file after some period of time, I wasn’t really paying attention to how long it actually took, the Amazon Downloader begins periodically raping my system to extract the data. Whatever it was doing would bring everything I was doing to a shuttering crawl, including Google image searches. Anyways, that took another half hour to decompress the 2.5 gb to its 10 gb actual size.
With that finished, Amazon’s thingie sits there waiting for me to hit the little Install button. Knowing that it will mean actually installing Origin, I hit the Go button and then Origin downloads, installs, and updates all pretty painlessly. They were even kind enough to show me all the handy, “nobody will ever see my profile, ever” settings right in the install wizard. The program asks for a product key which I copy and past from the .html Amazon included in its Mass Effect 3 folder. Origin finishes and pops up with my Game Library, that includes my recent purchase of Mass Effect 3 and also informs me that it knows I own a copy of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit by offering to have me download it from their platform too. No thanks, I will stick to Steam unless absolutely necessary. I tell Origin to install Mass Effect. Origin instead begins downloading the game. I stop the process, back out and go back in through the Amazon Downloader and its Install button. Origin recognizes this… and starts to download the 10 gb file. I stop the download again and move the Mass Effect 3 folder, that Amazon so caringly installed on my desktop without bothering to check if I like to put large files there or not, into the Origin Games folder that now sits in my C drive. I start and stop the “install” a few more times until it stops saying “Ready to Download” and starts saying “Ready to Install”. Sweet, I say, I have made headway whist bashing my head against the best that EA’s people can come up with. Clicking the button that now says “Ready to Install” brings up the launcher for Mass Effect 3 with an install button that when clicked bring Origin back into focus. I follow this circle around for awhile to amuse myself and also to convince myself this is really happening. Out of curiosity and desperation, I hit the Origin forums to see what excellent fixes users and experts have found for stuff like this. I immediately find a post regarding my issue which basically says to check on the integrity of the file that is currently zipped up. Also, Origin is aware of this and they are working on it. I try unzipping the file, which freaks out Winrar and doesn’t work. Cool, I say, Now I get to download it again; tomorrow, this is a tomorrow issue now.

Mass Effect 3
I have had a chance to play some of Mass Effect 3 after my previous issues with Origin and Amazon. At this point I have spent more time with the multiplayer than I have the single player campaign. Previously I had played through the first part of the PS3 demo to the game, which includes the games introduction and another level somewhere in the game. I finished the introduction of the demo when I played it then, this time around I did not make it that far. I have played about 15 minutes according to the game clock and I am already unhappy with the decisions that importing my ME2 character has left me with from the first game. I don’t give a damn about Kaiden in the least and Wrex was one of my favorite characters, and yet Kaiden is alive and Wrex is dead. At this point, the only thing really stopping me from just starting fresh is that I like having a few of my decisions from ME2 carry over. The Drell guy also died during my suicide mission, which while I liked the concept of him, as a character I was unimpressed. Plus, with his back story I thought it was pretty awesome that he died protecting someone (Tali, I think) in the fight. Also, my femshep’s face seems pretty dead, so I am thinking I would prefer their default femshep with a few changes. I think I have a few options in this matter: start over with a default shepard and just roll with whatever they pick for decisions, play through the 60 something hours of ME 1 and 2 to get a character with the decisions I want (something I plan to do anyway), or to use the save builder thing and create my character however I want.
After a break for food I came back to the game and booted up the multiplayer. I have to say after only about an hour in-game with it, that mode is just as fun as friends have said. Basically, its a horde mode to had to the growing list of horde modes that exist in the world. While playing it however, it occurred to me that I might not have ever actually played a horde mode other than the Last Stand mode in Dawn of War II, which isnt a third person shooter. So, I don’t have the same horde mode exhaustion that people who have been staying up-to-date with games seem to be experiencing. The game moves fast with lots of enemies that come at you with what seems like a pretty good assortment of weapons and tactics so far. I definitely need to play more to start to get a good sense of what is happening throughout. So far I can keep up with the flow of the waves and how the sessions start and stop, but a bunch of the stuff in the middle catches me off guard. With my low quality gear and level I struggle to coupe with the sudden appearance of massive enemies or some of the timed objectives. speaking of gear, there appears to be a lot of it in this game and they want you to know you can pay for it with real cash. What you are actually buying are packs that give you a bunch of single-use items and the chance at some good weapons or upgrades, you will at the least get SOME upgrades and weapons, they might not just be good. Thankfully, you can use in-game earned credits to buy these packs in addition to the real cash. The other thing I noticed is that I seem to be getting tons of experience and credits from each map I do. I typically level up at least two or three times and get something like 15,000 credits per completion of one map. That sure sounds like a lot and my character is leveling like crazy, but maybe the curve past level 15 or whatever I am now is much steeper and leveling up will slow down. I want to keep playing more of the game and look forward to playing with friends as well.

Saints Row: The Third – Multiplayer:
I have played more Saints Row with a friend of mine and it continues to be awesome. I jumped out of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer to join up with my same friend from my previous revisit to the streets of Stilwater. We have decided that playing this game with two people practically creates screenshots on their own. We played two sessions this week and I ended up with about six different shots, mostly from the first session since the second one was shorter and we spent more time in the plastic surgery and clothing store menus than running around causing chaos. Speaking of chaos, we did that…a lot of that. I will include more pictures of some of our mayhem. In summary though, it was basically running around shooting and blowing stuff up, taking missions to shoot and blow stuff up, or doing those same things but in some sort of vehicle. Aside from saying it was just more Saints Row co-op, the other highlight would be that we finally broke down and admitted that my character was too creepy to bear any longer and I remade him. While screwing around in the plastic surgery character creator I found metallic blue skin which inspired me to attempt to create Cortana from the Halo series. What I made might be similar for a fan to recognize but I think she looks more like a female, blue version of the Silver Surfer with some tight, almost the same color blue clothes on. Whatever, you know? My goal of creating an avatar that does not make me flinch away from the screen any time they do a close-up of its face has been accomplished. Now I can return to chaos and mayhem with reckless abandon!

"Cortana" Character

Invisible Car

The Garage Ate my Bus!

Bathrobe Mini-gun

Stuck in door animation while my buddy was driving


Golfcart Drive by

Misc Gaming:
I also played Shogun 2 and Just Cause 2 for a couple hours each this week. I don’t have much to say other than Just Cause is still crazy and great for a little bit here and there. And Shogun 2 is still that, although I started over because I had overextended myself in my first game and it was going to make things very difficult and or impossible to make any progress. Happy gaming!


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