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Wednesday February 21, 2024
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Apparently, it's spring (Blog)

Seasonal cleaning is overrated

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I really couldn't tell just how quickly the cold harsh Canadian winter has left. Now, according to the calendars (and thankfully, the weather in my city) it's spring. The wonderful, warm and bright season - at least compared to the previous one - that really puts me in a good mood for the summer months to come. Sorry, I think I just spent the first paragraph boring everyone to death with weather talk. If you are still reading - or you simply skim text until you see the word "game" or similar to it - then fret no more.
On to the important stuff! The games. The beginning months of 2010 have been rather busy, as I think I mentioned in my previous blog. With a whole pile of developers deciding that 2009 was too crowded, we have experienced one of the busiest first halfs of a year that I can remember. An avalanche of not only must-play AAA titles, but also late-comers and surprise announcements, are now at our feet. And they all want to be played.

Since my last blog, I have been doing alot of just that - enjoying some excellent titles that have arrived early and often. I got through BioShock 2, which was a fun trip but felt somewhat less engaging than the original. The setting was no longer strange and spooky to me, but at least I did not mind playing as the Big Daddy. What I didn't like, however, was the over-blown notion of "fatherhood" and what it means to us not only as gamers but also as normal, everyday people. (Not that gamers aren't normal. It's just a good comparison to make. Hehe.) I honestly did not feel very much connection to the character you played, or to his struggles to rescue his daughter from the mad main villain. Regardless, the story felt a bit less memorable and the gunplay was improved. Still, it made me wonder if sequels to truly excellent and original games are warranted. And I mean that from a purely creative point of view - the financial desire for a successful sequel is rather obvious. But I don't have too many complaints - after all, the apple did not fall far from the tree and BioShock 2 was still a good game on its own merits.

Heavy Rain: A new era in dramatic & dynamic storytelling?
At the end of February, came the day. The day I have waited for a very long time. A game has arrived that I have been anticipating for years, and cannot recall the last title I was this excited to play. Heavy Rain was one of the reasons I even got a PlayStation 3 all those months ago. Of course, I had my worries - the spotty voice acting from the previews, the reported glitches and issues in the demo - were all mood hampering. But I stayed the course. While playing through Heavy Rain, I truly felt that this could be a front runner for my Game of the Year. No, it is not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but what it set out to do - it does it to perfection. It creates an atmospheric and emotionally distraught world where the player is so attached and involved with the characters that every action undertaken felt like a real decision. I could go on for a very long time about Heavy Rain, and how much it blew me away - but to be fair and to save time, I suggest you simply read my review of the game. I had to be critical of course, that's my job, and the game has issues. But trust me when I say that playing Heavy Rain is like watching Saving Private Ryan, but with some broken sets and a few dialogue/plot issues. By the end, you really would not care for these problems because your experience would be fully centered around the story, characters and atmosphere rather than the technical stuff. If you own a PS3, I personally cannot recommend this title enough. At least rent it.
On to the current month of March, I got a chance to play around with 2k Sports' MLB 2k10. While I am not exactly a huge fan of baseball, the game did a very good job at being user-friendly. I certainly enjoyed my time with the title, and it was a fresh experience for me as a gamer and as a sports fan. I've reviewed it as well - and as you can expect, the PC version is the one you should own. I've also got Assassin's Creed 2 (for a very nice price), and while I am not exactly thrilled with the DRM, that was not my biggest technical problem with the game. For a while, the game would always crash after a random period of time - and the solution turned out to be rather odd. I had to force the game to only use 2 out of my 4 CPU cores. The issue does not seem widespread, but you'd think at this point in PC Gaming development, companies would be able to flesh out issues like this at the testing stage. 
It's not the high fall he should have been worried about
Lastly, I have finished my God of War 3 playthrough the other day. The game was very fun and had many moments (both good and bad) that I was not anticipating. The presentation is absolutely stellar, as the game runs in 1080i and looks great even by PC visual standards. Look for my review in the coming days. March does have one more release I will be getting, and that is Just Cause 2. From playing the demo, the game looks great and seems to be vastly improved over its predecessor. Of course, this might not mean much given that the original was barely above average, but it still leaves hope for the full version to come.
Only just over a month remains until I am graduating school. This time may be stressful for many young souls out there, but I always had a knack for not worrying about this. I approach most events in life calmly (unless it's a great new game, of course), so more than anything I'm excited to see what kind of jobs are out there, and what I can do to start a career. It has been a very long and bumpy road, but I am finally graduating with a Post Secondary diploma and looking forward to the challenges life decides to reveal. Of course, NGN remains a big part of my daily routine and I will continue to oversee this website as it grows and evolves. Of course, I'd like to thank my co-founder Nutcrackr and all of our great dedicated writers who produce all of the content you see on the website. As long as there is a dream and a goal, we shall strive to achieve it.
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#5 Mar 25, 2010 08:27:03 (Mar 25, 2010 08:27)

I'm thinking about getting Heaby Rain or at the very least renting it.
Also you get to look forward to the impending doom of the real world after uni...hit me like a salmon in the face
#4 Mar 24, 2010 10:44:14 (Mar 24, 2010 10:44)

Congrats on your impending graduation! I could be graduating at the end of this semester but decided to tack on a Journalism major which is going to keep me at it for a while.
#3 Mar 23, 2010 15:00:34 (Mar 23, 2010 15:00)

 Hey i'm thinking of majoring in climatology or meteorology, i could go on about weather for a lot longer than one paragraph! 
Heavy Rain looks really interesting, but i don't have a PS3. I'm going to get Assassins Creed 2 once i finish some other games, and will probably get Just Cause 2 when i upgrade my computer this summer. Congrats on graduating, i still have 3 years left
#2 Mar 23, 2010 14:16:43 (Mar 23, 2010 14:16)

It's a most definite recommendation from me as well to play through the originals first. I wouldn't call it a huge investment - they are all under 10 hours in length. Quiet summer (or winter for you) months are coming, should pick it up then!
#1 Mar 23, 2010 07:51:54 (Mar 23, 2010 07:51)

well its getting closer to winter here, but we don't have snow
Heavy Rain was pretty impressive but certainly not without flaws. Interestingly I played through Assassin's Creed 2 with a quad core and didn't have any crashes, pure luck I guess.
God of War 3 I may get when it is on sale but I have heard that I should play the previous games from a few people which actually puts me off playing any due to the time investment required. Who knows maybe I will later in the year.
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