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  • Prototype (for Xbox 360) Status Update

    Posted on October 5th, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    You may have read my earlier trail of Prototype posts, so I figured it’s time for a status update. My affair with Protoype began on July 9 when Amazon listed the game for PS3 and 360 at only $39.98 as the “Video Game Deal of the Day”.  For a newly released game that normally sells for $60 and receiving decent reviews, I couldn’t pass it up.  That’s when I took a break from the plastic drums on Rock Band 2, and became hooked on Prototype.  My 2nd post came on August 21, when I raved about “Loving Prototype on Xbox 360“.

    I have been told by gamers, that my review on this 3rd person shooter/slasher type of game is refreshing and different.  Why are my reviews different than others? Possibly because I have never played Halo…Not Halo 1, 2, 3, or ODST.  I’ve never seen any Halo gameplay, or watched someone else play Halo.  I did download the Halo Wars demo and played for about 5 minutes before jumping back to Rock Band 2.  So, my take on a game like Prototype is definitely different from the average gamer.

    With that, if you read my post from August 21, you know that I definitely got my $40 worth of gaming with Prototype.  It has been my game of choice for the entire summer.  Now that the summer is over, I’m nearing completion of the story (and I won’t give too many spoilers here), but still enjoying it…to an extent.

    Achievement Status:

    As of this morning, I’ve only unlocked 40% of the achievements, and have 16 of the total 40.  That translates into 240 of 1,000 available gamerscore points. There’s still a lot to collect.  This week, I’m going to shoot for achieving the following, which should be easy and I should have done them a while ago.

    Cleanup Kill 15 characters with a single Whipfist attack.

    Misconception Destroy 25 Infected Water Towers before they hatch.

    Speed Bumps Run over 500 characters in a single tank.

    In The Web Consume 50 Web Targets.

    Unnatural Selection Acquire all available upgrades.

    Game Progress:

    I just finished off Elizabeth Greene (if you haven’t gotten to that stage, OMG), which took me several attempts and had to look up on the internet for some tips. Once you get to fight Greene, make sure you block off about 30-45 minutes to take her down. I won’t spoil how to take her down or what weaponry you need. Now, I’m off to destroy the blood pump facility. I think there are only 2 or 3 more missions left to complete the story.

    What I Still Love:

    The fun factor still exists, the intensity continues to grow, the weapon and skill upgrades continue to allow the character (Alex Mercer) to evolve.  All those elements continue the fun factor.  I’m currently loving using armor and the fully upgraded blade to slash enemies to pieces, plus using my fully upgraded devastators to wreak havoc on everything nearby.

    What I’m Not Loving As Much:

    Although, there are still some corners of NYC that I haven’t completely explored, I’d love the ability to cross the Brooklyn Bridge or swim across the Hudson River to get to some other land.  The good and bad of the game is the entire island of Manhattan is available from the beginning of the game.  The good, Manhattan is huge and takes a long time to fully explore.  The bad, you never leave Manhattan.  There is no completing this map and moving to another map.

    I’m still OK with this, since Manhattan is so large, but I am getting a little tired of Times Square.

    What’s Needed:

    The game is a complete package, with a good character, great weapons, great enemies, good (but not incredible) graphics, and very good sound.  What’s missing is two things.

    Some type of multiplayer.  My wife hates me playing Prototype, because she can’t join in via couch co-op.  Every time one of my 100 Xbox Live friends log in, I can’t play with them (which I am so used to with Rock Band and other music games).  I miss playing with the community, and stuck in a single player mode.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE single player games, but would love the ability to invite a friend in to play.

    The other thing missing is downloadable content.  This game is ready for some add-ons.  Basically, it needs a new map with some added story line.  Even just outside Manhattan to another borough, or to some other far-off land where maybe there is the “prequel” map.  If Manhattan is getting old to me, the casual gamer, I have to imagine that hard-core gamers are hating the game after a few months of the same map.

    What’s Next For Me:

    I’m trying to finish the story.  I just killed off Elizabeth Greene two nights ago.  I believe I have completed 37/40 missions, so it’s almost over.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the story ends.  That’s the big piece for me.

    I’m also going to try to knock out the achievements I listed above.  They should be fairly easy to get.  I’m not so interested in getting all the achievements, though.

    After I knock out Prototype, I don’t plan on buying any other 1st person or 3rd person games.  I will probably try the free Fable II Episode 1 that came out last week for Xbox Live Gold members.  I may also try to complete the Grand Theft Auto IV story. (That’s the only other non-music game I own).

  • Loving Prototype on Xbox 360

    Posted on August 21st, 2009 Shawn No comments

    In my pseudo Rock Band hiatus, what’s a gaming addict to do? Look for a deal on a new and very different game (that’s getting good reviews of course), and play the hell out of it. That’s exactly what I have been doing with Prototype on Xbox 360.

    I will give my take on this game, but it will be a non-conventional review, since Prototype is unlike any game I typically play.

    1. It uses every button on the controller
    One main reason I don’t buy into this current generation of games is due to all the freakin’ buttons required to play a game. I come from the era of NES and SNES. I miss the days of 2 or 3 buttons.

    Prototype is no exception to the excessive button rule.  All 11 buttons, 2 analog sticks each with button, and the D-pad are used throughout the game.  Multiple button combos are used to execute different moves, attacks, etc. As you progress through the game, the character learns new abilities which translates into different uses for the buttons and new combos.  There is a set of buttons used when walking, when in a vehicle, when flying, and when in a helicopter (which I just got access to last night). The basics were easy enough to learn, since button mashing will kill most opponents fairly easily. To start, X and/or Y do all the attacks, A jumps, and RT runs. Oh and Left Analog directs the character, Alex Mercer. Learning those four feels OK, and running the game on “Normal” difficulty allows a reasonable start to the uncoordinated (me).  As the game progresses, you quickly learn B+Y combos plays a big role, LT aims at enemies and clicking the Analog Sticks brings up inventory menus.  So in short, expect to use every piece of your controller.  That’s just how it is.  I’m now about 10% 60% through the game and action scenes are picking up pace, enemies are becoming more aggressive and difficult to defeat.  The need to know button layout is crucial.  Fortunately, there are usually safe places where I can go to practice the button layout.   I could see that taking a break from this game for a few months would require a lot of relearning to get back into it.

    2. Graphics good. Cut scenes are decent, but mouths look bizarre
    I’m a fan of stories in games and good cut scenes.  With Prototype, there’s a decent story, and you get tidbits along the way by consuming (yes, basically eating) specific opponents. Those cut scenes are primarily audio with still pictures, but gets you detail on the games background.  The real cut scenes come at the beginning/end of missions.  Those have good audio, and quite good graphics.  Though, the mouths and teeth all look bizarre.  Almost looks like people are drooling, or have rotten teeth, when they certainly do not.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    The graphics in game are very good.  Very detailed, and lot’s of 3D going on.  Think of it a lot like the look of GTA IV, and others state Crackdown too.  There is so much going on and there is no lag on screen.  There is the occasional camera looking the wrong way issue, but your character is pretty resourceful, and a few seconds of bad camera angle usually won’t get him killed. Also, if you look in the far distance, some objects miraculously appear as you get closer, as if the game is protecting itself from performance lags. It’s not annoying to me, though something you will notice occasionally.  It doesn’t affect game play though.

    3. Open NYC world is fun, and stuff can be ruined
    The reason I bought the game (aside from it being the Deal of the Day from Amazon at $40), was the open-world concept where everything can be destroyed. All people, all vehicles, chairs, fire escapes, fences, streetlights, and more can be destroyed. I like that.  I’ve found only specific buildings can be leveled though.  As I have progressed through the game, I can take out hives and and military buildings, but I have not yet been able to destroy a random apartment building (which I want to).

    You have all of Manhattan to explore, which is fun.  I’ve covered most of it, at least quickly running, and flying.  Though, there are still a few corners I haven’t seen in detail.  I tried crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, and that’s where the world just ends. Your character goes no more, so a little realism is lost there, but I guess the world has to end at some point. Since you have only Manhattan (don’t get me wrong, it is huge), a time will come when you are sick of seeing Times Square, Central Park, and the Empire State Building.

    4. Additional Game Play
    If you are wondering, I’m now on day 10 of 18, in the game.  Past the halfway mark.  I started by playing lots of side missions (there are a ton), and exploring the open world (i.e. destroying, collecting things, gaining random achievements) which isn’t part of the main mission. Now, I’m just on a quest to complete the story mode, and later will come back to try the additional side missions.

    I’ll post some more thoughts as I get further.  Let me know if there is something specific you’d like to hear about.

  • Prototype on Xbox 360 and PS3 for only $39.98

    Posted on July 9th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Prototype is a new single-player open-world game, full of action and destruction. I hear it’s similar to Hulk, Spiderman, Crackdown, and similar games and allows full destruction of the entire world. It’s 33% off today at Amazon as the Deal of the Day. Should I get it? Do you have it?

    I’ve never played it before, but wondering if this great price is worth opening my wallet and picking it up. I’ve heard the reviews on Joystiq and 2old2play. The games sounds like it would be fun. I’m not typically a first or third person shooter type of gamer, but a little destruction sounds great.

    Pick it up here.

    UPDATE: Thanks to @ssayer and Penny-Arcade.com, I have my answer. Purchase is now made.

    Click the cartoon for the answer. WARNING: full image, not safe for work.

    Courtesy of http://penny-arcade.com

    Courtesy of http://penny-arcade.com

  • A PAX East Low-Def Photo History

    Posted on April 5th, 2012 Shawn No comments

    2010

    Gamers Gaming - Expo Floor

    Gamers Gaming - Expo Floor

    Mr. Pope - Rock Band Lounge

    Mr. Pope - Rock Band Lounge

    Rock Band Lounge

    Rock Band Lounge

    Open Chord Rhythm Game Prototype - Expo Floor

    Open Chord Rhythm Game Prototype - Expo Floor

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • BlackBerry Slider Coming in April?

    Posted on March 20th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    According to some reports, a BlackBerry slider device (looking a bit like a Palm Pre) is coming. Not only that, but its coming to Sprint and its possibly to be released in April.

    It will have touch screen, without the clicky SurePress of the Storm. It will have a slide out portrait QWERTY keyboard. From prototype photos, it looks like a Bold 9700 with some Palm Pre sliding.

    Looks interesting. I’m typing this on WordPress for BlackBerry, so will post some photos when I get to a computer.

    The people at PC World and Engadget seem to have a scoop on it.

    The Canadian company RIM famous for BlackBerry smartphones is releasing a new model next month. Known as the ‘T,’ The new model is an ambitious product aimed at competing against iPhone’s storm of success. Rim will present it (‘T’) as its flagship model to compete in global markets such as the U.S. and Europe.

  • BlackBerry Magnum, Bold with Touchscreen

    Posted on January 29th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    From zdnet.com

    To the gadget readers, I’m sorry for the lack of postings on gadgets. I’ve been slacking in this area for a while, as I generally have been using Twitter for quick thoughts.

    Well, I have a reason to write up a post now. My history comes from Palm Treo’s, you know the original smartphone with both a real QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen. I love that setup. But, due to rules and regs at my employer, I was required to move over to BlackBerry. My first go round was with the Storm 9530 on Verizon. That’s the BlackBerry that was complete touchscreen with the clicky screen. It was supposed to be Verizon’s answer to the iPhone. Due to the click screen and software bugs (to keep this short), the device was a failure, in my hands-on opinion. My use of the Storm lasted a whopping 3 months. Then I moved to AT&T and got the Bold 9000. That was known as the Cadillac of BlackBerry’s, with a large keyboard, hi-res display, WiFi, GPS, and everything you’d expect in a top notch smartphone. Though, it didn’t have touchscreen.

    Now, let me fast forward to sometime in late 2010 or 2011 (ooh, this is some Back To The Future kind of thing).

    There have been FCC reportings of a new BlackBerry that has both a QWERTY keyboard and touchscreen, code named Magnum. Now, a video has surfaced of a working prototype. And, I have to say…I see my next BlackBerry. This device, or as the prototype shows, is exactly the same size and layout as the Bold 9000 (interesting that it’s not the same size and layout as the newer Bold 9700). Possibly, the Magnum prototype was built before the 9700, and we may eventually see a newer prototype that looks more like the 9700.  Though, I prefer the 9000 size and layout.

    This new phone has a couple changes over the Bold 9000, like a micro-USB input, instead of the mini-USB. Plus there is no trackball or trackpad. That means all navigation takes place on-screen, like the Storm.

    Other than those features, there is the obvious touchscreen, which looks to have the clicky screen of the Storm. Touch = good. Clicky = less than good, but better than nothing.

    I’ll embed the video below. But, as far as things go, I’ve been using the Bold 9000 for just under 1 year, and I’d expect the Magnum to make it onto shelves by Christmas 2010 (or maybe Spring 2011). This will likely be my next phone soon after release.

  • My Top Obsessions of 2009

    Posted on January 6th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Wow, we are already a week into 2010 and I have yet to post My Top Obsessions of 2009. Shame on me, and sorry for the delay. You may remember what my top 7 obsessions from 2008 were.

    As we wind up 2010, let me recap on the obsessions that have kept me coming back to the blog. In looking over the past 12 months, I’ll highlight the top ten obsessions that have swallowed up all my free time this past year. I’ll also take a look at what obsessions might be cropping up for 2010.

    Here are the obsessions in order of importance to me.

    Picture the ball dropping, and countdown on…
    10. Rock Band Network.
    You may be wondering, why is this at #10 and not higher on the list.  For me, I looked at RBN as a way to get my old bands music (and possible new bands music) into Rock Band. It’s kind of a dream of mine. Then when I got into the RBN beta, I realized (1) I don’t have the free time to do this, (2) I don’t want to free up time to do this. So, RBN, as exciting as it seems to me…has been a pipe dream to me, and my exploration of the tools has been short lived. In 2010, I do expect to take advantage of the grabbing songs from the RBN store, and possibly getting back in the development ring…but, neither is happening yet.

    9. New Site Name.
    This isn’t exactly a highlight, but it is something that took up part of early 2009.I moved my web site to a new host, and changed the URL. It once was at http://blog.javadevelop.com, which was just a spinoff blog of another site. As this site was growing in popularity, I decided to rename it to http://www.MyGGGo.com, short for My Gadget, Game & Gizmo Obsession. It looks to have been a poor decision, since the site statistics showed my daily visitors went form about 300 to about 30. Ouch, that hurt!  Well, you live and you learn.  I’ve decided to stick with the new name and rebuild. Some of you have stuck around, and I greatly appreciate it. I hope to get the site (now going on its 4th year) back up in readership and commenters throughout 2010.

    8. BlackBerry Bold.
    It’s funny to see that last year, the BlackBerry Storm made it to my #3 spot, and truly should continue into 2009. Though, in the wee months of 2009 (Fabruary to be exact) the Storm was replaced by the BlackBerry Bold 9000. It wasn’t replaced because I didn’t like it. It was due to the fact that my company was willing to supply me with a BlackBerry and the Storm wasn’t on the “accepted devices” list. With that, I jumped from the Verizon ship onto AT&T and picked up the Bold. It’s really a great phone, though I wish it had a larger touchscreen. It’s got high-resolution, good call quality, and decent email (funny that BlackBerry does not have the best email client of all). It’s even a good media device, which has allowed me to continue my life of mobile convergence (cell phone, calendar, email, music player, GPS, and web all-in-one). The Bold remains my current device, and I am eyeing an upgrade to the Bold 9700 in the coming months. Although, this blog was founded on gadget obsessions,  formerly known as “My Treo Obsession”, I didn’t spend as much time on BlackBerry posts throughout the year.  An interesting statistic, my readership has suffered for that too.  Looks like I need to get back to my gadget roots here.

    7. New Music Games
    Why do I keep this so general? Well, there were a few music games I picked up this year, and each had something I loved. First, I have to say, I’m disappointed that no Rock Band 3 came out in 2009, but I’m sure it will be stellar when it does. Guitar Hero 5: This is possibly the best party music game of the year. With drop in/drop out play, it’s great for parties. Also, the ability to have 4 players on any instrument is great. Especially at my house right now, where if one person sings, everyone wants to sing; or if one person plays guitar, everyone wants to play guitar. Though the soundtrack didn’t grab me, and all my DLC is on Rock Band, so the game didn’t get much rotation. The Beatles Rock Band: This showed us what Rock Band 3 might be like, with 3 part harmonies. This game is beautiful, we all know enough about it. Guitar Hero Van Halen: This is my favorite music game to play this year. You say. “WHAT?!?!” I love classic Van Halen. Activision, screwed the pooch in it’s implementation of the story and the band, but the songs and charting are fantastic. What’s missing? The same thing as all GH games, DLC. Finally, Lego Rock Band: It’s so much fun to watch the cut scenes, and play Super Easy mode with the little kids. Plus, the import/export of your existing Rock Band library makes this a fun game.  Though, I would have rather seen Rock Band 3 over all of these, it was a decent year of flooded music games.

    6. Slacker Radio.
    The streaming music service available via web browser, stand alone desktop client, iPhone, BlackBerry, and some select Sony TV’s, has been a staple of mine since I learned of the service in late 2007. With the Slacker Radio application for BlackBerry release on February 2009, it truly became my de facto music source for the entire year.  I use it via my web browser at work. I use it in the car via my BlackBerry plugged into my stereo AUX jack, I use it at home via Berry or computer, and when I travel. I’ve made several custom stations including a Rock Band station that I update regularly with all the songs available for the game. 2010 definitely looks to be a year where Slacker continues to be part of my daily obsessions.

    5. Rock Band DLC.
    Rock Band 2 came in at #2 on my 2008 list, and I had anticipated that Rock Band 3 would have come out in 2009.  Well it didn’t but guess what did? Over 370 songs available for download into Rock Band. I didn’t play as much as I would have wanted (due to moving and life), but the abundance of weekly DLC from Harmonix has kept this game (Rock Band 2), although now getting a little long in the tooth, from passing away.

    4. Drumming Stuff.
    This is a continuation from 2008, where drumming made my top list.  This year I successfully built (though not yet completed) a custom electronic drum kit. It’s custom because, I purchased it piece mail via auctions on eBay. A stand here, a pad there, etc. I’ve also used an old “brain” or module (the Yamaha TMX) to connect the kit via MIDI to the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit.  Now, all my video game drumming takes place on a professional electronic drum kit, instead of the cheap’ish plastic kits that are available for the game.  Due to moving for much of the year, I haven’t used the kit since May, but am in the processes of setting it back up in the new place.  In 2010, I plan to buy some more components to round out the complete pro kit, and write some posts (with photos) on how to build the DIY pro kit.

    3. New Music.
    Last year, GNR with the release of Chinese Democracy made my top list.  This year, I could put in a single album in the list, though I will span this to cover the few albums that got me a bit obsessed this year. At the top, is Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown. Sure, it got trashed by the GD purists, but I love it. It’s a great listen, easily digestible, well told story, and similar to their American Idiot album. Next is Dream Theater’s Black Clouds & Silver Linings album. I was hooked pre-release due to my resurgence of interest in the band, thanks to Panic Attack and Constant Motion in Rock Band. The new album is 6 songs, but more than 70 minutes. The songs are extremely long, you do the math.  I mostly appreciate the fact that the album was released with a 3-disc set, containing instrumentals and a bonus disc of covers. We also got 311’s Uplifter this year. It was more of a downer than an uplifting experience, as it was just bland.  But, I did obsess over it, so it makes the list.  Finally, Dave Matthews Band release of The GrooGrux King.  Good old DMB. Nothing exciting, just a good listen. The album came out shortly after the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore.

    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    2. Prototype.
    This game (for PS3 and Xbox 360) got trashed by just about everyone. Worse, it’s near clone, inFamous (for PS3) made it into many pro game journalists top 10 of the year. For me, Prototype was the most played game (excluding rhythm games) for me in 2009. I bought it in July when Amazon had a one-day sale, for $40. It was during a time where I was “without home” and no place to setup my Rock Band lair, so needed something else to pass the gaming time. This game is a sandbox (New York City), much like GTA IV, where you are basically evil and trash anything and everything in your way.  There’s a ridiculous amount of multi button combos, which does take some getting used to. But for me, this 3rd person game has taken more than 40 hours of my year, and I still haven’t finished it or reached 50% of the achievements. It’s not without its issues. (1) There is no Xbox Live component. Which is ok for me, but now that I have played much of the story and some of my friends have picked up the game, we’d really like to play online together. (2) You can’t leave NYC. If you try to cross a bridge or swim away from the island, God sends in an immediate missile strike and you are killed. Towards the end of the game, there is a hint that you get get to a ship, but I haven’t made it yet. (2) There is no DLC. This is a real drag, since the game could really leverage a new downloadable map, possibly some new combos, or something. I would likely pick up DLC if it were ever released. I stand by my words that this is a fun game to play. Find it in the bargain bins and enjoy.

    1. You, the readers, and authors.
    Thanks for those readers who have stuck around during some transitions of 2009.  Thanks to some of my part-time (and near full-time) authors that write posts.  It’s been another fun year of obsessions, and more to come in 2010. I hope to grow the site in different ways this year. Not yet sure how, since It’s a kinda “fly by the seat of my pants” blog.  I’m happy to see some people taking advantage of the Store offerings we add to various posts (sponsored by Amazon and Google), and just glad to see that people enjoy reading and discussing the same things that I obsess about. Thank you!

    With that, we’ve come to the end…

    Happy New Year!

    Please share your top obsessions in comments below.

  • Lips: Number One Hits gets California Love

    Posted on July 29th, 2009 Shawn No comments
    Courtesy of About.com

    Courtesy of About.com

    Well, the deal has been sealed. I will purchase another game this year. So far, it’s been Cars (for my kids), Lips, and Prototype. I’m already 99% confirmed to be getting The Beatles: Rock Band and Lego Rock Band. DJ Hero is also looking very tempting.

    That said, here comes “Lips: Number One Hits”, which is basically the sequel to the original installment. I only got Lips 1 for the wireless mics (hoping they’d eventually be compatible with Rock Band 2). Then my family found that Lips is fun to play. It’s no Rock Band, but doesn’t involve any button mashing or drumming skills. It’s easy and fun.
    [ad#post-banner-ad]
    Lips 2 (or Lips: Number One Hits) has been announced for a few months. What’s new then? More songs have been announced. The one that’s going to make this game a must have is, California Love by Dr. Dre and 2Pac. It’s possibly my favorite hip-hop track of all time, and a past club favorite.

    Here’s the announced list:
    * “California Love” by 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman
    * “Barbie Girl” by Aqua
    * “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga feat. Colby O’Donis
    * “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears
    * “The Fear” by Lily Allen
    * “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” by Black Eyed Peas
    * “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” by Scissor Sisters
    * “Heartless” by Kanye West
    * “Touch My Body” by Mariah Carey
    * “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s
    * “Always On My Mind” by Pet Shop Boys
    * “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz
    * “Push the Button” by Sugababes

    So, there’s stuff in there for the grown’d ups and the kiddies. Add that to the ability to import all the Lips 1 songs, and I see this as a hit release. If they add a little more game functionality (like “real” online play and better external song import features, like lyric downloads), it will be another great party/time killer game.

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