Category: Xbox 360

I Play Mass Effect Wrong

So I’ve spent the past week and a half furiously making my way through Mass Effect 2, wondering why the hell it took me so long to get into it. I love the game; in fact, I’d be so bold as to claim it’s one of the finest I’ve ever played. So why am I desperately trying to finish it with less than two weeks until the sequel drops?

The same thing happened to me with the first Mass Effect, actually. I picked it up simply because of the BioWare name due to my profound love for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I worked for GameStop at the time and was enrolled in a SUPER SEKRIT program Microsoft had for retail employees where you could take online quizzes on their products to earn points which could be redeemed for free games. I had the points, I heard the game was good, so I ordered it.

I played it for a couple of hours before being bored and giving up. I think I just wanted it to be KotOR, which it wasn’t. So it sat on my shelf while I went and did other things. Fast forward a couple of years and Mass Effect 2 is on the horizion, hype train barreling forward full speed ahead. I decide to dust off the first game and give it another shot.

I immediately fall in love and kick myself for not playing through it earlier.

So Mass Effect 2 drops and I snatch it up. My original save clocked in at around 8 hours or so before I stopped. I don’t remember why; I think it was around the same time I was playing Final Fantasy XIII (another game I abandoned) so I think juggling two RPGs just got to be too much and I moved on to other things. I tried again a few months later, this time getting about 25 hours in before stopping for some unknown reason. I had loved the game since the start so I honestly have no clue why I keep dropping it.

So here I am again, twelve days out from Mass Effect 3, kicking myself for not playing Mass Effect 2 sooner. For a series that’s so fantastic I’m sure making it hard for myself to get the most out of it.

In Defense of My Gamerscore, Part 2

This is part two in the series of me trying to justify games on my Xbox 360 achievement list. As you guys know, I’m a reviewer for KINECTaku now. As such, companies have been sending me games to review. What this means is I’m playing a lot more games and getting more achievements.

I have some people on my friends list (who will remain nameless) that clearly only play games for achievements, and it’s REALLY obvious. All kinds of Disney games, movie games and stuff like that. What I always liked about my Gamerscore was that it was all from games that I actually wanted to play; there was nothing on there that I played JUST for achievements. Well, except for those free Doritos games, but they were free so they don’t count.

If you’re my friend on Xbox Live, you’ve probably seen me playing things things like Cabela’s Big Game Hunter: Hunting Party and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked and wondered “WTF Joe”, but let me explain!

Broken Links and Skrimming the Rim

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what I do for my day job, I work in the administration department of a natural and organic grocery store chain. My job entails counting cash and working with store financial reports, so as a result I have an office that has no windows and requires a key code to get into. My job is one that must literally be done every day, and as such I have a backup who works on weekends while I’m doing cool things like saving the world and winning NBA championships.

A while back Christina and I were at our local Newbury Comics and they had some of the American Legend of Zelda gashapon figures. They were less than $5 so we bought a few. We got a Darknut, Tetra and two Links. I took the spare Link to work, where I set him up on my computer so he could protect me from Keese and Stalfos.

Last week, I came into work on Monday after a weekend of bench pressing Buicks and tempering swords to find my Link figure broken. The figure ITSELF wasn’t broken, but the peg that connected him to his base had snapped. There was no note and no email. There aren’t a lot of people who have access to my office, so I figured it was either my backup or my store team leader. No big deal. I’d just take him home, glue him back together and set him back up.

That’s What Xiba Said

I finally found a new main in Soulcalibur V! I wasn’t sure who would become my main character after Namco Bandai decided to kill off my Greek goddess Sophitia, but with today’s character announcement by Famitsu there is no choice but Xiba (or Sheba, or Sheva depending on which Romanization you’re looking at. I’m going with “Xiba” because technically it’s correct when translating from Chinese to Japanese).

As you guys know, I’m a big Dragon Ball fan. What you might not know is that early on, Dragon Ball was loosely based on the Chinese epic novel Journey to the West which featured the great monkey king Sun Wukong as its main protagonist. “Son Gokuu” is the Japanese pronunciation of Sun Wukong, and both characters feature a tail, a staff that can grow in size and ride around on a cloud. Noticing a pattern?

Anyway, as such I’m always a fan of fictional characters based on Sun Wukong. I loved playing as Son-Son in Marvel vs Capcom 2 and I even nicknamed my Infernape “Wukong” in Pokémon Diamond. When I saw Xiba, I immediately knew I had found my new favorite character.

Catching Up

I haven’t written much lately. Looking at this front page, I’ve hardly written anything of substance in the past month! Sorry about that. That’s just like me, saying I’m not going to stop writing and then doing exactly that. In my defense Christina and I have been very busy, she’s been sick and those Blogimations that no one watches are a LOT of work.

Rather than spend another day doing nothing and complaining that I don’t know what to write about, here’s a few quick thoughts on what I’ve been up to.

Dude. Skylanders. Seriously.

Okay guys, it is ALL ABOUT Skylanders now.

I’ve been following the development of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure for a while now, because I thought the idea of collecting toys that would then work with a video game was an awesome idea. I’d been dying to play it, and the other night Christina and I picked up the Xbox 360 starter set along with a couple of extra figures.

Since then, we’ve been back to the store twice to buy more. I’d say it’s working.

An Update Without a Clever Headline

I mentioned it a few days ago on Twitter and Google+, but I’m going to be an honest-to-goodness game reviewer for KINECTaku!

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t even heard of KINECTaku until I saw their call for reviewers pop up in my Twitter feed as a retweet from Nintendo Life. What immediately got my attention is that it’s run by the same team as Nintendo Life, which is one of my favorite gaming sites for a long list of reasons.

One of my favorite things about Nintendo Life is that they review every single Virtual Console, WiiWare, DSiWare and 3DSWare game released. It seems like an odd choice, but the vast majority of these games fly right under the radar of the gaming press; in addition to providing excellent coverage of all news pertaining to Nintendo, they’re the only site you can go to check out any of those games and know that they’ve reviewed it.

They have two other sites, KINECTaku and MOVEmodo, focusing on the motion control efforts of Microsoft and Sony respectively. Again, it’s a small focus, but it really sets them apart. If you’re a Kinect or Move owner who doesn’t buy into all the “casual vs hardcore” garbage and just want to know what games are good, where else can you go?

Review: Kinect Adventures

Long gone are the days of the pack-in game. The act of purchasing a new console and having a new top-tier game right there in the box to show off what your new hardware can do has slowly faded from reality to fable to legend.

With Kinect Adventures, the pack-in title with Kinect for Xbox 360, however, you’re not only getting software that shows you what your magical new piece of hardware can do, you’re also getting an EXTREMELY fun multiplayer title that will have you laughing and smiling so much you’ll think you’re seven years old on Christmas morning again.

Making the Kinect-ion

Last weekend Christina and I finally went out and bought a Kinect. We’ve been meaning to for a while because the games looked like fun and we’ve been looking for a fun way to exercise at home without needing expensive equipment. She just got a new job (yay!) and will be making better money so we decided to go ahead and take the plunge.

Holy crap this thing is awesome.

First of all, the technology behind it is nothing short of wizardry. You can register your face with your gamertag so when the Kinect recognizes you it will sign you in to Xbox Live. When I activate the Kinect sensor, it scans me from across the room and says “Welcome SpaceKappa!” Christina will enter the room and sit next to me and, without ANY prompt from us, she’ll be greeted with “Welcome LadyStarstorm!”

Navigating menus with your hands isn’t as intuitive or quick as using a controller, but it’s way more fun. Moving my hands around to make selections makes me feel like I have telekinesis or something. It’s astounding how well it works, but your first instinct isn’t even to be impressed because it all feels so natural.