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Topics - Paranoia

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Gaming / Ace Combat: Infinity
« on: July 19, 2013, 05:54:43 AM »
Brand new game from Project Aces, Ace Combat: Infinity. Not much out about it yet, but the website launched with a teaser trailer:

Lots of roomers going around, but who knows what to believe. Some are saying there's a possibility that it's a F2P console MMO, which sounds pretty alright to me, but nothing for sure. It's confirmed for PS3 for now, but it might go multiplat somewhere in development, especially with the release of the new systems soon. Not only that, but judging by the video, it once again takes place in the real world instead of Strangereal.

After Assault Horizon, I just don't know what to expect.

Gaming / Games With Gold - Free Stuff
« on: June 11, 2013, 07:07:13 AM »
So it seems that Microsoft is taking after Playstation+ in that they're giving away two free games every month to gold subscribers. First one starting today is Fable 3 and The Walking Dead Episode 1, for the low price of FREE (Even though they mention that it's plus tax, despite there being no actual tax.) Whether you like the game, have played it already, or whatever you may think, it's free stuff, and there's more of it to come.

It's not an error on their part, or some exploit, just do the following:
1. Sign into
2. Search "Fable 3" "The Walking Dead" in the search bar on the right to get to the game
3. Where it normally says "Buy Game", it should say "Free" next to it. Just click that.
4. Select to pay with Microsoft Points, which will be 0. Trying to pay with paypal or a credit card gives an error code.
5. Should see them in your active downloads when you get back to the console, or if it says they're tied to another console just select to download them on your current one.

Boom, free games. Enjoy.

EDIT: The next ones coming up, in July, are Assassins Creed 2 and Halo 3.

Gaming / E3 2013
« on: June 10, 2013, 04:19:11 PM »
Here it is again, the most hilariously bad few days of the year. Kicking things off with a laugh was Microsoft, and although I came in a bit late, there was still quite a bit to see.

As far as the console goes, no more microsoft points, Xbox Live Gold can now be shared across accounts, and it's FOUR HUNDRED AND NINETY NINE US DOLLARS (Or $660 if you're unlucky enough to live in Europe).

Most of the games shown are either multiplat or just plain bad. Metal gear Solid 5 and Dark Souls 2 look good, but like I said, multiplats.

Ryse: Son of Rome - QTEs, QTEs everywhere.
Killer Instinct - Remake/Reboot/whatever, might be cool.
Sunset Overdrive - Not sure how I feel about this one. The parkour might be cool if it's fast paced enough, couldn't care less about the rest of it.
Forza 5 - New driving AI, lighting is great, colors are great, generally good graphics. Forza makes me rock hard, I'll be looking forward to this.
Minecraft - Being ported over before they're even likely to get the Xbox version up to PC standards as it is.
Quantum Break - No gameplay, don't care.
D4 - Cashing in on the same style of game as TWD and the other episode adventures, don't care.
Project Spark - Multiplat, looks interesting. Don't know if I'm all too up for it though, I'll wait and see more.
Crimson Dragon - Rail shooter with dragons, definitely no Phantom Dust 2.
Dead Rising 3 - Guns, guns, and more guns. Hopefully they do something to fix that terribly low FPS, or else the game is a no-go for me. Changes customization a bit, and has some more interactivity with the environment.
Witcher 3 - Multiplat, good ol' Witcher. Looking forward to it.

Now Battlefield 4, this one was something else. Claiming that all the footage is running real time on Xbox One. Of course, they attempt to start the demo and it doesn't work. Sound is out, won't start, etc. Then they finally do get it started, and what's that up in the corner? Icon for a backspace key to return to Battlelog. GG Dice, GG.

Halo 5 - No gameplay, teaser looked cool though.
TitanFall - Multiplat. Probably what I'm looking forward to most. Appears to be a mix of Planetside, Brink, Dust 514, and HAWKEN/MechWarrior.

Gaming / Xbox Live accounts compromised - Hundreds of dollars lost
« on: October 24, 2011, 09:12:54 PM »
Just goes to show that all that bullshit the Xbox users were spewing during the PSN fiasco about how Xbox live is perfectly safe and it's impossible to lose your information, was wrong.

I, along with many others, have all had our credit cards and Gamertags used to buy up to 10,000 MS Points, which was then immediately spent on a huge amount of DLC for FIFA 12. I lost $125 from my bank account because of this, for a game that I've never owned, never played, and when I don't even have an Xbox to play it on.

Gaming / All Things Racing
« on: October 23, 2011, 11:07:06 PM »
I don't know if superthreads or "Generals" are allowed, but I figure I would try to start one up.

Racing games of all kinds can go ahead and be posted here. From Gran Turismo to Forza, Project Gotham to Grid, Daytona Speedway to Need for Speed and Midnight Club. If you're a fan of racing games, don't be afraid to show it.

I myself own many racing games. Need For Speed Underground 1 and 2, Most Wanted, and Carbon; Gran Turismo 1-4, IHRA Drag Racing, Forza 2 (And soon to be 4), World Rally Championship, Supertruck Racing, and plenty more that I can't even remember at the moment.

While waiting for my new Xbox to get to me in November, I've been playing a lot of Gran Turismo 3 on the PS2, and I absolutely love it. I finally got a racing wheel from a friend of mine, and it completely changes how you play the game. Everything is so much smoother and more engaging, I can't even describe it.

I plan on picking up Forza 4, Dirt 2 (Or 3?), and possibly GRiD once I get my Xbox. If anyone has some comments on these games, feel free to let me know. I've heard plenty of mixed opinions on whether Dirt 3 is better than 2 or not, and I really have no idea what to choose. I've played 2 and loved it, but haven't gotten around to trying the third.

I know for a fact that a couple people here at least like the F1 games, which I have also looked in to getting.

Feel free to share your gamertags and what games you play, and who knows, maybe we'll all end up at the Red Dead Grand Prix.

Gaming / Oh look, someone else reviewing games
« on: September 24, 2011, 12:45:00 AM »
Welp, I've recently sat down and typed up a few reviews for games that I've posted on places like Gamespot/Gamefaqs, and I'm just wondering what you guys think of them. I try to go for a more professional style, rather than the two or three paragraph reviews that seem to be the majority on those websites. Get ready for possible too long; didn't read.

Fallout 3
Show content for Hiden:
I won't bother comparing to the original isometric PC games, because the differences are so obvious that it really wouldn't add much. This review is also strictly based on the vanilla game, and does not include comments on any of the DLC.

After two full playthroughs on both Normal and Very Hard difficulties, all I can say is that I had no idea a console RPG could be this massive. For the record, I didn't play Morrowind or Oblivion until after I had tried Fallout 3.

Fallout 3 is the long awaited sequel to Fallout 1 and 2 on the PC. The story of the Fallout universe takes place in an alternate timeline where it's as if the world never diverted from the futuristic view that we held during the 1950s. Wile taking place well after our current day, the game is full of 50s style, music, and themes that make you feel like those glory days had never been left behind.

Fallout 3 in particular though takes place in the year 2277, 200 years after the global nuclear war that left most of the surface in ruins. You play the role of the Lone Wanderer, born and raised in Vault 101. The premise of the story is that, despite the point of Vault 101 to never be opened, your father escapes and leaves the vault to venture out into the wasteland. You, being his son, are then hunted down and forced to leave the vault yourself for fear of being murdered in the case that you have some sort of connection with your father's escape. Once outside, you make your way around the wasteland in search of your father, encountering a huge amount of NPCs, both friends and enemies, as well as coming across many memorable locations in the game world. After my two playthroughs, I can say that there are still a number of places that I have yet to discover, proving just how much there is to see in this game.

At its core, Fallout 3 is more than just your average Action RPG. The FPS gameplay may not be the most polished, but the game definitely relies more on stats and character building than other games in the genre. You start off by picking stats for seven main attributes; Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility, and Luck (S.P.E.C.I.A.L). How you divide these stat points creates a base for how you will develop your character throughout the rest of the game. From there, you have a multitude of lesser skills that you can dump stat points in to so you can shape your character to your liking. These include things like repairing weapons, doing more damage with energy weapons, being better at lockpicking, and making it easier to sneak around unnoticed. Very early in the game, you're given the choice to "tag" four skills to give those four skills a small boost above the others every time you level up.

Beyond this, there are a large number of "perks" to choose from each time you level up. You get one perk per level, and they all add a different bonus to your skills, or they change certain aspects of your character. For example, one perk may allow you to put an extra point into one of you S.P.E.C.I.A.L skills, while another will make it so that you can feast on dead bodies to regain health. While some may seem much less useful than others, you'll need to choose wisely, as you will not be able to get every perk within the 20 level limit of the vanilla game.

Not only do you have the ability to decide your stats and perks, but you are also able to customize your character's appearance. While this doesn't go much further than facial features and hair, it is still a decent attempt at character creation. Armor and clothing also change your character's appearance, but this is limited to if you want to look good, or if you want to have powerful armor.

Going into the options menu gives you the ability to change the color of the HUD and the color of your Pip-Boy's screen as well, but it's hardly worth mentioning.

The game features over 90 different weapons, divided up between melee, small arms, energy, heavy weapons, and explosives. Featuring assault Rifles, Pistols, Energy Rifles, Missile Launchers, Mini-Nuke Launchers, multiple types of Grenades, rolling pins, swords, knives, spiked knuckles, and much more.

Like I said before, for being an FPS game, it's a bit lacking compared to most others. While being primarily RPG oriented isn't exactly a bad thing, you would figure that Bethesda would have taken the time to make the combat system less clunky. Instead, the V.A.T.S system somewhat overtakes most of the actual FPS combat. V.A.T.S is the Vault-Tec Assisted Targeting System, and it pauses time so that you can easily and accurately select specific areas of an enemy to focus your attacks on. Depending on distance, the accuracy of your weapon, and specific perks, each body part has a certain percentage showing the chance that you have to actually hit what you're aiming at. Although this can make the game much easier, as well as lead to some spectacular looking kills, it isn't exactly needed. You could go through the game without using it, and although it might be frustrating sometimes, you probably won't have much trouble.

Also included in the many useable items are meds, booze, and skill books. Meds like Psycho, Mentats, and Buffout give you temporary stat increases, and does booze like Beer, Wine, and Whiskey. The temporary buffs may help, but if you abuse these too much, your character will become addicted and will eventually begin to go into withdrawal if you don't have a steady supply of whatever it is you may be addicted to. The only meds that you can't get addicted to are Stimpaks, which simply replenish health for each one you use.

Speaking of replenishing health, there are a few ways you can do this. There are plenty of different types of food that you'll come across in the wasteland, including everything from Iguana-On-A-Stick to a nice box of cereal. Most of it being irradiated from years of being on the surface, you should be careful not to eat too much of it. Other than this, there is also plenty of water sources that you can choose to drink from, again, most likely giving you large doses of radiation for doing so. Stimpaks are your best bet when it comes to replenish your health while out in the wasteland, as they give no radiation, and they are by far the most effective. Stimpaks are also the only meds or foods that allow you to heal specific limbs if they've been damaged. The only other way to do this is to literally sleep it off, or go visit one of the very few doctors and pay them to heal you.

The limb-based damage system adds a little something extra to the game. Instead of just losing overall health by getting attacked, getting hit in certain parts of the body can damage those limbs and have negative effects on your performance. Fall off a building and damage your legs? Enjoy limping around at a snail's pace until you can heal yourself. Get your head smacked around a bit too much? Well, get ready to experience a pretty bad concussion with blurred vision, loss of hearing, and nearly passing out at random intervals.

While combat is an important part of the game, everything going on outside it is just as important. Here is where I find a bit of a flaw with Fallout 3. The morality system is just completely lacking any sort of depth at all. Your actions either make you a god among the people of the wasteland, or they make you the anti-christ himself. Walking the path of neutrality reaps little to no benefit at all compared to the two extremes, and is for the most part pointless.

At many points throughout the game, you'll have the option to attempt speech challenges to try to convince NPCs to see things your way. This is mainly affected by your Charisma and Speech skills, but certain perks will also open up new speech options, most of which are rarely useful. The speech checks are easily exploited by simply saving the game before attempting, and then re-loading if you happen to fail it. A lot of the time these speech checks will simply convince the NPC to give you a few extra caps for completing a sidequest than they normally would, but there are a couple that have possible game-changing consequences. A less important example of this is while doing a quest line for a character named Moira. At one point, you're able to try to convince her to just give up on her dreams of writing a Wasteland Survival Guide, and if you succeed, then the quest ends then and there. Instead of getting the monetary rewards that you normally would have fopr completely the quests normally, instead you get a bonus perk called "Dream Crusher" which reduces an enemy's chance to critically hit you by 50%, as well as giving you discounts for buying things from Moira's store.

While the game only has eleven main quests, it would be in your best interest to NOT just blow through them. You could easily do so in a day or two, and you'll be left feeling very disappointed. Where the game really shines is in its 53 marked and unmarked sidequests that you'll encounter over the course of the main story. Many of these quests have multiple sections and objectives, most of which will send you to locations that you likely never would have come across simply by going through the main quests. Exploration is a large part of the appeal to this game, and by doing so, you won't be disappointed.

Finally, we have the visuals. Do you like colorful games? Well that's too bad. Enjoy staring at nothing but puke-green, sickly-yellow, and crap-brown. You would think that after 200 years, there would be at least a bit more variety in the color of the landscape, but no. The character animations are absolutely terrible, just like the rest of Bethesda's games. All the weapons have a weird shine to them, and it makes them look like plastic more often than not.

The sound effects aren't much better either. A lot of the guns sound like toys, and most melee weapons all share the exact two sound effects for the entire selection.

The voice acting is dull and lifeless. There are a total of 37 credited voice actors, but there's a select few that do nearly all the voice work for the NPCs. About the only redeeming quality here is your character's father, who is voiced by Liam Neeson. Ron Perlman also does the intro and ending narration, which is a plus I guess.

If you're not a big graphics lover, then this might just be one of the best console WRPGs this generation. If at all possible, be sure to get the PC version, as it is a big improvement over consoles and the addition of mods makes the replay value nearly unlimited. Fallout: New Vegas may or may not be an improvement, but as of now, I've yet to play it.

Remember that the earlier Fallout games still exist, and are most definitely worth playing. Don't be one of those people that see Fallout 3 and then completely ignores the previous games in the series without even playing them.

Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
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First off, I'd like to say that as of now I've only had the chance to play Ace Combat 4, 5, and 6. Next up on my list is to play Zero, so I wont really be able to compare it with that one.

Originally, I blew through this game on normal mode in about three days or so, before accidentally deleting my file on the 26th mission (Seriously, why did they put a "Save" option on the main menu?), and I enjoyed the game so much that I was actually happy to start over and play through it a second time to reach the final mission.

While graphics and visuals aren't all that important, I figure i'll start off with them. For a PS2 game, Ace Combat 5 looks great. The planes are especially detailed, and the cockpit view looks amazing. The explosions are pretty detailed, and you're able to see the burning wreckage of the plane fall through the air, as well as a few pieces of debris slowly floating down with it. During high speed turns, you can see the air stream over the wings and the trails left behind on the wing tips, which really adds to the look of the 3rd person view.

You can play in a 3rd person view, which sets the camera behind your plane and allows you to rotate the camera around it. This is nice if you like looking at your plane, but it disables most of the HUD while really only leaving the air speed, altimeter, and the crosshairs. Other than that, there are two different types of 1st person views. The first one simply puts the camera on the nose of the jet, and shows nothing but the HUD on screen (Plane angle, altimeter, speed, roll, etc.) which includes more than the 3rd person view does. This allows you to rotate the camera freely in all directions, and have a completely unobstructed view of your surroundings.

Finally, there is the cockpit view which puts the camera in the eyes of the pilot, alloying you to see the complete HUD, as well as the inside of the plane's cockpit. While this will please those looking for a more realistic view, it also limits you in how much you're able to see. You can only look behind you at about a 75 degree angle, meaning that you can't see anything directly behind you. While each plane has a different cockpit, sometimes certain planes will limit your version more than others. For example, the F22 has a completely unobstructed view, and the canopy is clear in every direction you look. On the other hand, something like the MiG31 greatly obstructs your view, and can make it hard to get a visual on anything that isn't directly in front of you, or on one side. It adds an extra sense of challenge and realism to those that want it, and this is my favorite view to use while playing.

Next off, the soundtrack. Almost all the music in this game comes from its original soundtrack, as well as featuring the song "Blurry" by Puddle of Mudd as the game's main theme of sorts. While Ace Combat games are known for their great music, I found a lot of the tracks in this one to be quite enjoyable. Most of them fit the scene perfectly, and really add to the atmosphere of the game.

As far as plane selection goes, this game features roughly 17 different planes, with a total of over 50 different variants which can be unlocked by filling up your plane's "Kill Meter". For people that don't have a problem with the typical "grind" of some games, then this shouldn't be a problem. Each plane, and each variant of that plane, have a bar that must be filled up by getting a specific number of kills using that plane. This will normally take you multiple playthroughs in "Free Mission' mode before you've unlocked all the different variants, but if you're a completionist, then it's well worth it.

One thing missing from this game that was in both AC4 and 6, is the ability to buy and change the special weapons for each plane. This has been somewhat replaced by the other variants for each plane, but it really limits the customization, and usually pushes you towards different planes for different situations rather than being able to change your special weapon to meet your needs. A lot of standard planes come with special weapons that honestly don't fit their role all to well, and those planes will be outclassed very quickly if you don't bother using them to fill the kill meter and unlock their more powerful variants.

Other than that, about the only customization available is the ability to change the paint scheme of your plane. You start off with the standard "Osean" paint scheme, and unlock a second "Razgriz" scheme later on in the story to fit with your Squadron's new objective. This new scheme is primarily black with red tips on the wings and tail, and is unlocked on mission 20.

There are also "Yuktobanian" schemes for specific planes which are unlocked on a case by case basis by shooting down a Yuktobanian plane of the same model in the Campaign or Free Mission mode. There is a "Belkan" scheme as well, which is unlocked the same way as the Yuktobanian scheme.

A select few planes have a "Special" theme which can be unlocked be meeting specific conditions in a mission, which mostly involve shooting down an enemy Ace or named pilot that will appear after special conditions are met.

On to the actual gameplay. There are multiple difficulty levels, which are Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard, Expert, and Ace. The higher level of difficulty you choose, the more planes appear, the higher their damage threshold is, and the harder it is to shoot them down due to improved AI. The higher difficulty also lowers the damage threshold of your own plane, and on Expert and Ace difficulties, even one well placed missile can end the mission right then and there.

Honestly, if you've played Ace Combat before, then there isn't much you haven't already seen. Most of it involves locking on to your target, and either shooting them down with your special weapons from afar, firing your main missiles at them in medium range, or going in close to take them out with your plane's machine guns. While this may not sound all that fun, trust me, it is. When you get in a large dogfight with multiple enemies, things can get quite hectic, especially on higher difficulties and later in the game.

One new mechanic that they've added is the ability to control your squadmates during a sortie, and it isn't half bad really. You can set them to "attack" which has them lock on to enemies within your line of sight, you can set them to "cover" which makes them follow you from behind and attack anyone that ends up getting a missile lock on you, and you can also set them to "disperse" which makes them break off and fly to different areas to work on their own. Not only this, but you can also combine each order with the order to use their Special Weapons or not.

While the Squadmate AI isn't the greatest, they'll end up helping you every now and again. I checked my flight data, and by the time I had gotten 300 kills, the combined score of all my squadmates was around 40 kills. I don't know if your squadmates are able to be shot down during combat or not, but I can say that I've never had it happen to me so far. So in the long run, you can set them to do whatever you want, but you'll still be doing most all of the work.

The game has a total of some 30 missions or so, with two points in the game where the paths branch off for one or two missions. You pretty much choose which path you want based on how you answer a question asked by one of your squadmates. The question usually has to do with a song called "Face of the Coin", and whether you answer Yes or No to it will change the outcome of the coin toss given by your commanding officer to choose the mission path that you'll be sent on. Both paths always meet at the same mission, so no matter which you choose, it wont have any effect on the outcome of the story.

Not only can you answer that specific question, but there are plenty of times where you'll be able to give a "Yes" or "No" answer during gameplay in response to other characters. It doesn't change anything other than bits of dialogue, so don't be too worried about what answers you give. It does add to the replay-ability a bit, and sometimes the responses you'll get for one answer compared to the other can be funny.

No matter which choices you make though, a single playthrough of the campaign is about 28 missions, which means that each time you play through, there will be 4 missions that you missed out on depending on which paths you chose. These missions can then be played in "Free Mission Mode" after completing the main campaign.

The missions themselves can vary, from straight up aerial engagements, to bombing enemy armor and supply depots, or even dropping neutralizing agents on a city to contain an enemy chemical attack.

Other than the main campaign, there is also an Arcade mode called "Operation Katina". This mode features shorter; more action packed missions (all of which are timed, but you can gain extra time by shooting down enemies) and continues the story of Mobius 1 after the end of Ace Combat 4. The story is very basic, and doesn't really give many details at all, seeing as this mode is more about going for a high score than sitting back and going through a nice cinematic experience. There are a number of missions and paths to take, and most of them are for different levels of difficulty. Taking the highest path for example will lead to easier missions, and therefore a lower final score, than if you were to take the bottom path and go through the harder missions.

The first time you play this mode, you'll be force to use the F/A-22 fighter, but once you've beaten it, you'll unlock all the other planes to use instead. I should note that Arcade Mode has a separate save file from the main campaign, so make sure that your memory card has room for both.

While not wanting to spoil the main story of the game, I can say that I greatly enjoyed it, and it really has its moments. Unlike, say, Ace Combat 6, the story is centered around your fighter squadron based out of the Sand Island airforce base off the coast of the nation of Osea. In a surprise attack by the Yuktobanians, Osea's former allies, your squadron is the first line of defense against their invasion force. As the story progresses, you learn more about the reasons for the sudden unprovoked attack which may surprise you.

I should also let you know that, unlike previous games, there is no multiplayer whatsoever in Ace Combat 5. Due to time limitations, the developers did not have time to add in either online multiplayer, or split screen. It didn't bother me much, but I'm sure there are at least a few of you out there that enjoy playing these games with your friends.

There aren't many noticeable flaws with this game, and that's why I believe it to be one of the best Ace Combat games I've played so far. It may not look as nice as Ace Combat 6, and it may not have any form of multiplayer, but I believe that it makes up for it in story, plane selection, and atmosphere.

I picked up my copy from Gamestop for roughly $10, so it shouldn't put that big a dent in your pocket. I got a good 30 hours or so from my first two playthrough, and I haven't unlocked anywhere close to every plane or paint scheme. If you're a fan of the series, or if you're just looking for a great flying game on the PS2, you won't be disappointed with Ace Combat 5.

The Saloon (Off Topic) / Well then
« on: June 18, 2011, 10:43:34 AM »
My girlfriend just broke up with me after I got home from a vacation.

I don't feel bad. I'm not sad, I'm not angry. I'm kind of... numb right now. Maybe it just hasn't hit me yet.

She let me off easy, saying that the past few months she's just been feeling smothered and that the love hasn't been as strong as it once was. We were together for nearly 18 months, and we both loved every second of it.

inb4whore, slut, she was cheating on you, go stick it in her pooper, etc.

I loved her, and she loved me. I know that for a fact. We would fantasize about our futures together, just playfully, nothing serious. That's how it was for me anyway. However, for her it got to the point where she felt as if we were planning out the rest of our lives, and she didn't really like that I guess.

God she was amazing though. One of the smartest girls I've ever met, and I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. I can honestly say that I still love here, even if she doesn't feel the same anymore.

Our relationship had all those silly cliches, but we liked it. We had our song, we would stay up all through the night talking until the next morning, we'd cuddle for hours and never wanting to leave each others arms. All that good stuff.

I can't really blame her though. I mean, even I can say that I haven't felt the same spark that I once did, but I guess it was worse for her than it was for me. I'm going to miss her though. Being with her, at least. We still want to be friends (I mean really, we were best friends before we got together, and we have an insane amount of things in common. That, and, we both can't imagine just not talking to each other. Yeah, I know how often you see that not working out, but I know it'll be different.

She had been acting distant for a few weeks before all this happened, and I knew something was going to happen. I just knew it. I even had a dream this week where I got back and she said that she wasn't interested in me anymore. Fucking crazy how you sometimes already know what'll happen subconsciously.

It was one of the greatest times of my life being with her, and she feels the same about it. I regret nothing, and only wish that it didn't have to end. I'll get over it though, I'd be crazy not to. Whether there's a chance of getting back together or not, who knows.

I just needed to talk to someone, or even just write this all down. If you took the time to read all this, then thank you.

Red Dead DLC / Getting Into Fort Mercer - Front Door?
« on: April 27, 2011, 11:02:16 PM »
So, besides the cutscene when they first let you in to Fort Mercer, is it ever possible to go in/out through the front door again? It's a real pain having to climb up the ladder on the side and leave my horse behind each time (Obviously It'll stay there, but still). Sorry if this doesn't really seem to warrant an entire thread, but it was something that really bugged me.

Gaming / Xbox E74 Error; What's wrong exactly?
« on: March 17, 2011, 06:18:08 PM »
I turned on my Xbox this afternoon and it showed a single red ring and gave me an E74 error. After a bit of searching, it turns out this can be anywhere from faulty AV cables to a complete hardware failure, so what the hell am I supposed to do? Obviously I could send it to Microsoft for a repair or replacement, but my Warranty has been up for years and I'd rather not pay the fees if there's an easy way to find out what's wrong, and if I can fix it. Any tips? Has anyone gone through this before and found a relatively simple way to get things fixed?

The California Supreme Court weighed in Monday on the politically charged immigration fray when it ruled that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same tuition breaks offered to in-state high school students to attend public colleges and universities.

This means that any illegal immigrant currently in the state of California is able to sign up and attend a California university for the same price of tuition as someone who is a legal citizen of California (While out of state citizens have to pay nearly double in tuition to attend Universities here.)

What are all of your opinions on this? Frankly, I don't see why they should be allowed to attend Universities here at all, let alone at the discounted price that a Californian would get. If they want to get an education here, they should be forced to become a U.S. citizen before being able to apply to any Universities.

Gaming / All Things Wrong With Metal Gear Solid
« on: October 16, 2010, 07:55:06 PM »
Not my words, don't bark at me if you don't like what they say.

Metal Gear Solid.

Most fans are competent enough to realize that the story in their favorite games are second rate. It’s the natural conclusion of the quality of any narrative being told through an inherently conflicting medium as gaming is to storytelling. MGS fans however, truly believe that their series is an ingenious masterpiece representing the pinnacle of story writing within and outside the medium of gaming, when in fact, it is anything but.

Many reviewers and fans alike will state that the strongpoint of MGS games is not in their gameplay but in the story. What’s astonishing however, is that not only does MGS have one of if not THE worst storyline of any major game franchise, but it is probably the most unoriginal license in the game industry. Nearly every element that composes the series is stolen from someone else’s work. The entire foundation of the series is a movie called Escape from New York, which ironically Hideo Kojima no longer openly acknowledges as an inspiration for the games, despite the obvious fact Snake’s name and appearance come from the main character of this movie.

Imagine if a new game director decided to start a series about sorcery and named the main character “Harrie Potter” and gave him black hair, glasses, and lightning shaped scar on his forehead. What if he was also “inspired” by Eragon and wanted to have him ride a flying dragon, but instead of a blue one he made it green? And then he added a talking Lion who tells Harrie that he was destined to save the world of Narniac from an evil Snow Witch in some half-thought plot twist? Now, what if half-way through development the creator got full of himself and decided his games were too good to be an homage/parody and presented them as his own original masterpieces?

That’s what MGS is. An unoriginal compilation of various plagiarisms from other works that somehow managed to gain a large following of Sony fans over Konami‘s other more original licenses. For some reason, these fans seem to be completely oblivious to anything inherently flawed about a series that blatantly steals ideas from other sources to use as its own. Perhaps there’s a certain demographic of people MGS appeals to? Maybe there’s a gap between those who are able to distinguish a well-written coherent narrative from a pretentious over-the-top wish-fulfillment Mary Sue action flick? Or maybe it just boils down to sheer console fanboyism. This might explain a lot. Particularly the amount of hatred in the fanbase towards other popular franchises. When browsing forums and other places on the net, more often than not, you will find the people who associate themselves with something from MGS, will bear a vehement bias against series such as Zelda or companies like Nintendo and Microsoft in general, for having games that often overshadow the releases of their precious MGS games. But perhaps the most overwhelming amount of wrath comes when one of the games is released on a non-Sony console. As every MGS fan knows, this happened last generation with Twin Snake’s release on the GameCube.

Never has there been a fanbase that so vehemently denies the worth of a remake or new installment into their favorite series like the MGS fanbase and its ignorance of TS. Not only was it a remake of the original MGS, but it is almost unanimously accepted as the better game by reviewers and everyone outside of the MGS community. Yet MGS fans continue to deny its existence and have gone as far as to proclaim it as noncanon despite the fact that Kojima himself directed it and has called it the true version, closest to what he imagined the original to be. This attitude is almost contradictory to the blind amount of respect they show for his other games. Perhaps this is a sign that MGS fans know the series isn’t well-written or worthy of the hype it receives and thus factor that as a loophole to overstep and impose their own interpretation on what the series is, thereby subjugating its content and quality to what they WANT it to be instead of what it actually is? Why don’t other video game fans do this? Metal Gear Solid is less an actual series of its own, and more a collection of fan-fiction organized by the creator and its fan base which seem to have a parasitic-symbiotic relation with each other.

Now, before any uppity High School student who just got out of English class says something incredibly stupid about MGS being "deep", screw your pseudo-philosophy. Wow, it has symbolism and themes! Wow, so does almost every other story ever written! The only difference is how tangible the ties between the narrative and the message is. Unfortunately, the unskilled seem to believe that the simple act of using more abstract symbols somehow makes the story better and more artistic. Untrue, the quality of the work comes from the quality of the plot and message it conveys. MGS2 is a great example of one with quality of neither (complete lack of focus, ridiculous mount number of plot threads and twists making caring for the story impossible, only a basic "You can do what you want" moral and a jab at American culture for meaning, etc.). In other words, for the plot and everything else, Kojima basically tries to cram everything he can find on Wikipedia into the game with no sense of coherency. Hey we don't have anything about government conspiracies or genetics programs, let's throw that into the story somewhere too! Same thing he does with characters. Renamed X-men characters with guns and whatever else he felt like doing on a whim. “Let's add some robots, and ninjas, and vampires! Ooh ooh, and a guy that uses revolvers and has this "old west" honor thing going on!” BRILLIANT!

Ok then, with the pseudo intellectualism of the 16 year olds out of the way, we can move onto why the series sucks. Let us start at the beginning, Metal Gear Solid. Now, this is a game that actually did a lot for the industry. It proved to the world that a non-RPG console game could have a heavy emphasis on story. Unfortunately, this being a relatively new thing, no one really knew how to do this correctly, least of all Kojima. So what we ended up with was a game with a huge disconnect between gameplay and story, working as almost two separate products, and a simplistic plot that was built around the concept of throwing as many twists and characters and humanly possible, trying desperately to hide its inadequacies beneath redundant lines of dialogue and irrelevant sub-plots. It was a game that needed to be, but was mediocre at best.

MGS2. This is a train wreck of a game, characters are awful (and I mean awful), the disconnect between gameplay and plot is far from remedied, and holy moly the padding. It was as if Kojima was in some sort of psychotic competition to see who could make a plot with as much irrelevant crap and useless, awkward dialogue as possible. "Oh hey, here's about an hour of dialogue about a character, done so in such a round about way that they have been fleshed out enough to be a cardboard cut-out! Now they’re dead! Now again!" Not to mention one of the most illogical and incoherent plots imaginable. A travesty of a "game".

MGS3. This one was actually good, fixed much of the gameplay-story disconnect, decent plot, good, fleshed out characters, and so on. Still had the old trappings of too much irrelevant crap going on, but still good enough to play once.

GS4 is almost as awful as 2. Not there entirely, but almost. After 3 this really surprised me at how bad it was, though I can't help but feel that this was the inevitable aftershock of 2, being forced to finish the irrelevant subplots, this game never stood a chance. Now if only it had even succeeded at doing that, then its long ass cut scenes might have been slightly forgivable. But no. MGS4 story has retconned the series to the point where it makes no sense. All the buildup about Ocelot’s father being able to communicate with the dead? Retconned, not even mentioned. What I find really annoying is that the supernatural stuff in MGS2 had a vaguely semi-realistic feel behind it, but in MGS3 they went full steam ahead into the super natural KAWUBARA KAWUBARA crap leading one to think that there would be a decent explanation backing it up. Then along comes MGS4 and all the supernatural stuff has been replaced with nanomachines and LOL BIG BOSS. Despite this, MGS4 was a somewhat commendable effort on Kojima’s part to fix his screwed up series, even if he only made it worse in the end. On the other hand, that in no way excuses some of the worst dialogue ever written.

So tangible was the indecisiveness that I began to wonder if somehow it was a plot device, if at one point Liquid would reveal his master was using nanomachines to slow the neural processes of the world. I felt like every character was played by Earl's brother from "My Name is Earl", repeating themselves over and over on things that had long since become self-evident. There was one bright spot however. The ending, Snake and Liquid's fight was well done, particularly the last little "salute". Another great point was Otacon explaining to Sunny Snake's death, "Snake had a hard life" being the best line the series, summing up everything that needed to be said on the matter DECISIVELY and subtly. Then WOOOOORDS. Big Boss showing up and spending roughly ten minutes on exposition was one of the worst things I had ever seen in my entire life.

There you have it, one good game and three horrible games. What a series, huh?

Site Suggestions & Bug Reports / Suggestion to Mods
« on: August 22, 2010, 04:50:52 PM »
Lately when I check up on the RDR General Discussion I've seen a lot of people post threads that already have another thread following the same subject, so the mods just lock/close it. Instead of simply closing it, why not just merge it with the previous thread? It saves the OP the trouble of re-posting their thoughts and also reduces clutter.

Gaming / Zombie Apocalypse - Simulation
« on: August 09, 2010, 09:50:02 PM »
Just found this great mod for ArmA2, somewhat open world Zombie Apocalypse style. Even has full motion head tracking for those of you who play on multiple screens.

I'm afraid that I can't find an actual download link for it, so I'm assuming that it might be unfinished as of now. If I find one, i'll be sure to post it if anyone is interested.

Gaming / Greatest moment of GTA4
« on: July 10, 2010, 06:44:46 AM »
It was just another drug run, nothing serious, right? Well shit, I wish it was nothing serious. Down at the old hospital near Algonquin, you know the one. 'Couple of thugs apparantly scammed Elizibeta out of some sweet coke, so of course I was the one to bring it back. I threw on my best suit and hopped in a Blackhawk before making my way over there. Didn't look like it'd be much of a problem, maybe about 15 guys total, no biggie. I stayed low above the hospital, hovering in place before I dropped down through the roof and directly into the room with the coke. I took out both dealers with my Glock before they even knew what happened, and promptly grabbed the bag full of white gold.

Not a moment later, a second helicopter arrived just outside, and a SWAT team quickly repelled down. Once more, not much of a problem. I ran out the back as the remaining thugs fought it out with the SWAT team. Sad to say, there was a whole slew of cops right out back as well. About 4 police cars and a SWAT Van, so i made a break for it. Stopping every few steps to turn around and fire at the cops. Eventually a police car rolled up infront of me, and i killed the cops and hijacked it before there was any trouble. I tore through the streets of Algonquin, helicopter above me, and nearly 8 police cars on my tail. After about 5 minutes of driving, I was able to launch my car off a dock, and land on a garbage barge. I figured this would be able to buy me some time.

For the most part, they weren't able to get to me, so that was good. I was still pinned down behind a couple cargo containers. Eventually a coast guard boat came along side. I quickly disposed of them and hijacked the boat, now taking the chase to the sea. Here is when shit really goes down. There's only one boat behind me, but now a second helicopter appeared above me, and I can see a huge amount of police cars driving along the coast, just waiting for me to stop. I took a hard left and crashed into the beach, luckily so did the other boat. I quickly took care of them, and focused my fire on the helicopters before the other cars arrived.

After a few mags from my M4, I had knocked out the tail rotor of one of the choppers, and sent it spiraling into the ocean. I figured that had evened my odds a bit, so I ran like hell. I blew right by the cars that had now stopped at a sand dune, and was long gone before they were able to turn around and come after me.

This'd be my last stand. I ended up getting myself trapped by running to the end of a pier, with cops behind me. My M4 ran out of ammo, as did my sniper rifle. I was down to just my Glock now. Around 3 police cars had set up a blockade nearly 200 yards infront of me, and I was being shot at from both on, and below the pier. Not to mention the one helicopter that still circled above me. Suddenly, I heard sirens.

A Police SUV came barreling through the blockade, headed straight towards me. I empited an entire magazine into it, hoping to kill the drive. I saw blood splatter and glass break, but it was too late. There was no stopping the 1 ton metal monster now coming at me at at least 90 miles per hour. It swirved gently from lack of a driver, and plowed right into me, sending me flying through the back of the pier, and into the water.

I got out of the hospital about 3 hours later, and got a phone call. "Would you like to try again?"

Introductions / The Paranoia is Rising
« on: July 09, 2010, 08:31:17 AM »
Well hello. I stumbled across this place earlier tonight, and after reading through a few threads I decided I'd join in on the fun. I'm a fan of Red Dead Redemption, my Gamertag is Paranoia Rising. Everything else is irrelevant.


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