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Showing posts with label xbox 360. Show all posts
Showing posts with label xbox 360. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Elders React to Grand Theft Auto V (Geek Week)

Here is another interesting video I saw on Youtube yesterday.  Can't you imagine what it would like seeing parents and grandparents playing Grand Theft Auto 5, let alone watching a trailer for the game?  Check out these 2 videos below.  Warning: scenes from Grand Theft Auto 5 in the below videos may be offensive to some.

Video 1 - Elders reacting to trailer for GTA 5

Video 2 - Elders Playing GTA 5

My Commentary about the videos:

First off: seeing the elderly playing Grand Theft Auto 5 is impressive, never thought I would see the day.  I seriously doubt that my parents (especially my mother) would play Grand Theft Auto 5 if it was offered to them (especially considering that my mother doesn't like those games to say the least). Anyways, these 2 videos were definitely inteesting to watch.  In the first video, it looks like a group of eldely were watching a trailer for the game and some random gameplay videos of the game too (seems like it was the Xbox 360 era GTA 5) and in the second video, they actually get to play the game.  Interestingly, some of the participants were actually more enthusiastic about the game than others.   One common question I heard was: what is the objective of GTA 5 and I think at least in the main story mode is to complete the storyline and side missions, which pretty much tell the story of the game.  Other than that the game is a pretty open world with lots of things players can do.

Other interesting tidbits about the videos:
- I like the manic laugh sound effect that appears sometime.
- Apparently one elderly was an ex cop and he definitely has an interesting point that there are no known successful or decent criminals like the protaganists in GTA 5.
- There does seem to be the notion that Grand Theft Auto 5 (and previous entries in the series for that matter) can teach some people bad ideas, and while I am sure there are people that ideas from the game, there are plenty of teachable moments in the game and people (especially kids) should be taught that everything they see is purely fiction and should never be tried in real life.
- I also like watching the participants playing in the game.
- Remember: for your own good, anything you see in Grand Auto 5 and similar games are purely fiction and should never be imitated in real life and doing so can lead to serious consequences, long prison sentences or even death.

Bonus Content: Elderly React to Call of Duty (this video was pretty amusing to watch and I do have to admit that I am still a noob at Call of Duty too).

Well, that is all for now.  What do you think of these videos.  By the way, are any of you elderly or in law enforcement?  What is your take on the series?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Top 20 Favorite Xbox 360 Games I have played part 1 (games 1-5)

Well, the Xbox 360 is officially a thing of the past now (though I may still try finish some of the games I have been playing through, including the 3rd time through on Mass Effect 3, Borderlands, as well as Fall Out New Vegas) and the Xbox One is officially here (and I got my copy of the game system back in December just fyi).  Looking back at the Xbox 360 days, I thought I would share with you my top 10 favorites list.  If you are looking for Xbox 360 games to play or buy I highly recommend the ones below.  Disclaimer: this list is based solely on my opinion and may or may not be the best game for everyone, but I enjoyed them the most.

Game 1- Red Dead Redemption (below is a youtube video showing the first 13 minutes of the game)

Who likes the western genere, such as the old John Wayne movies or Clint Eastwood movies?  There have been several different western themed games for the Xbox 360, including: Gun, Call of Juarez and Red Dead Redemption.  Of the 3, my favorite is probably Red Dead Redemption.  The game is set in the early 1900's (maybe 1910's), but the Wild West was still on, though change was slowly coming with automobiles and trains slowly starting to replace horses as transportation options, feds starting to officially expland its reach to the west, along with all of the other changes that we have seen in the past century leading up to the west in the 21st century  In the game, you assume the role of John Marston who was a former gang member lead by a man named Dutch who abandoned his former lifestyle, and even took on a wife, dog and even a son and lived a seemingly comfortable lifestyle.  One day, corrupt federal agents shows up lead by a guy named, Edgar Ross and he and his friends kidnap John's family and enlists him to basically become a bounty hunter and hunt down members in his former gang.  Like the grand theft auto series, the game has you playing in an open ended world, this time in an wild west style theme and has John traveling around, assisting people along the ways and ultimately hunting down his former gang members.  John Marston's world is full of wild west themes, including outlaws, western downs, animals you can hunt, poker games you can play in the saloons (such as texas hold em poker tournaments), wagon trains, and many other elements.  Lots of interesting characters Marston meets too, including: a snake oil con artist and salesman, grave digger, local sheriffs, mexicans, women in need, and many others.  John even gets involved in a Mexican civil war and he is forced to work with both sides to complete is primary quest. If you don't want to play through the main quest, there are plenty of other things you can do including: hunting (btw watch out for wolves, cougars, and bears which will try to kill John), exploring, going on rampages (much like how you can in GTA 4), help people, and even make choices that determine how people view John (either as a hero or an outlaw).  Red Dead Redemption is definitely a must have if you are into the wild west style genre  My only complaint about the game is that the storyline is pretty much linear and choices you make (be it good or bad) does not really really seem to have a discernable effect on the overall storyline  For example, in the Mexican civil war missions, I kind of wish they had it so that you could choose which side to align with (at first you aligned with the mexican army and later on you are aligned with the rebels).  A villainous John Marston might opt to side with the mexican army while a heroic John Marson might choose to align with the rebels.  Also, the ending is a bit tragic (John dies in the end, betrayed by Edgar Ross and his army).  If I were in his shoes, I might have fled to Mexico if I knew Edgar Ross might betray me .

Also: If you have played through the main game and want more, there is always the Red Dead Redemptiom Nightmare expansion pack you can play through.  In that version of events, John finds himself in a Walking Dead style west, filled with Zombies, sasquatches (yes there is at least one confirmed sasquatch in the game), "7 horses of the apocalypse" that John can find and ride, and many other spooky elements.  Can definitely make a good halloween style game too  Sadly, I gave Red Dead Redemption away to my brother and haven't played that game since, and while I did complete the main game twice (once as a hero and once as an outlaw) I was unable to finish Red Dead Redemption Nightmare, so I don't really know how that version plays out or ends (made it to the mission where you had to hunt a sasquatch but haven't played the game beyond that point)..

Game 2 - Grand Theft Auto 4 (see trailer below)

I've always been a fan of the Grand Theft Auto series myself.  GTA 4 is set in Liberty City, which feels more like real life New York City in many ways where you play as an eastern European immigrant named Nikko who moved to New York to try and escape his past life in Europe.  Of course as with any other Grand Theft Auto 4, Nikko once again gets entangled in the life of crime on the streets of Liberty City and even makes a few new friends along the way.  Lots of missions to play through too.  The game will almost make you feel like you are playing games like Assassins Creed and Hitman since many of the missions in the game involves Nikko becoming an errands boy for various gangsters and criminals as well as missions where Nikko is given a target he has to assinante which often leads to epic chase scenes in the game.  By the way, if you don't feel like driving around Liberty City, there are plenty of other ways to get around too, including taxi (great for fast traveling from one part of the city to the other), boats, subway (yes there is a subway system in Liberty City, much like the one in real life New York City), and even helicopter too.  The only downside to the game is that it is definitely darker than the previous entries in the series, which may be a turn off for some people.

Some cool things you can do in Grand Theft Auto 4:
- Go bowling either alone or with a friend
- Friends system is expanded.  Do you remember how in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, it is possible to hang out with girlfriends?  GTA 4 expands on this mechanism where in addition to at least 2 girlfriends Nikko can take on, he can also befriend other people in Liberty City (such as Roman, Packie McNeary, Brucie, etc) and hang out with them too, such as throwing darts, going bowling, getting food, or even going drinking at a nearby (watch out for cops when driving back to the safehouse though since Nikko will be drunk and like cops in real life, they are always on the look out for drunk drivers and will try to bust Nikko if driving drunk).
- Watch shows.  There are 2 comedy club theaters Nikko can visit in Liberty City where he can watch shows being performed.
- Visit happiness island (which is pretty much GTA 4's version of the Statue of Liberty).
- Ride the subway system
- Hitch a ride in a taxi (like real life New York City, taxi driving is a thriving business in Liberty City and if you don't feel like driving, why not hail a nearby taxi). Can be a good way to take in the sights of the city while riding around in the city.  It is also useful for "fast travel" too (which is especially useful when going from one island to the other).
- Visit the beach.  Lots of beaches you can hang out at.
- Helicopter tours.  Feel like taking to the skies?  Why not check out the helicopter tours too.  By the way, you can also steal helicopters if you want as well.

Game 3 - Mega Man 10 (below is a gameplay video of the game featuring the 1st Wily Castle stage of the game)

 The original blue bomber is back after a long hiatus since when the Playstation 1 was popular (besides Mega Man X8 for the PS2) and returns to its 8-bit roots, unlike Mega Man 7 (which takes on 16 bit graphics) and later Mega Man 8 (which takes on 32 bit graphics).  There was also Mega Man 9 for the Xbox 360, but my favorite of the two was definitely Mega Man 10.  This game also marks possibly the first time in the mainline series where you can actually play as Protoman (I don't remember being a playable character in Mega Man 9 unless if he was a downloadable character).  The game is set after the events of Mega Man 9 and Doctor Wily (the series antagonist) is back to his evil tricks and creates a virus that causes robots to turn maverick and try to take over the world (much like what the Sigma Virus does in the Mega Man X series).  It is up to Mega Man and Protoman (Bass too if you get the DLC expansion pack) to save the day.  This game also marks one of the few mega man games where the boss music changes several times (changes between the regular boss battles, wily castle boss battles, Dr Wily's first form, and later Dr Wily's second form), normally the boss music doesn't change till you get to the final confrontation with Dr Wily.  It also marks the first game since Mega Man 5 where you have to fight Dr Wily on 2 stages instead of one, with the first encounter being in the teleporter room level (where you have to fight the 8 robot masters again), and the latter being in the following level.

Notes about Mega Mans 9 and 10:
- Marks the first "next generation" mega man game since Mega Man ZX Advent? to be presented in classic nes style 8 bit format.  This is definitely far cry in my opinion, especially when compare it to games like Mega Man X8, Mega Man Zero, etc).  It also the first original era mega man game to be 8 bit since Mega Man 8 (that one was 32 bit and Mega Man 7 was SNES style 16 bit graphics).  By the way, there does seem to be some speculation that the next Mega Man x game is supposed to be 16 bit game, though it is not clear if or when that is going be happen.  In my opinion a series finale game would be nice if Capcom is running out of ideas for Mega Man X games (same for original era mega man games) considering that both series still seem to be ongoing and haven't had a definitive conclusion yet.
- I like how you can play as Proto Man in Mega Man 10.  Offers a change in pace and offers more reason to play through the game more than once.  You can also play as Bass in Mega Man 10, but I think you have to buy the expansion pack on Xbox live  Not sure if Protoman is playable on Mega Man 9 (at least without DLC content).  Interestingly, Protoman can slide, charge his mega man b

- Classic mega man seems to have returned to hiatus status since Mega Man 10  It is not clear if or when Mega Man 11 or beyond will be released.  I have heard about Mighty No 9, but I don't think it is the same as a mega man game (different storyline and all).
- Mega Man 10 marks the first mega man game in a while where the boss music changes several times (1 for robot master battles, 1 for the dr wily stages battles, 1 for Wily's first form, and one for wily's 2nd form)
- This game also marks the first time since Mega Man 5 where Dr Wily battles occur on 2 seperate stages instead of one (much like how it is in Mega Mans 2-5 where you fight wily's first form in one level and then fight him again in his final form on another level.  

Game 4- Fall Out New Vegas

Have you ever wondered what Las Vegas might look like in a post apocalyptic world?  Fall Out New Vegas explores that concept.  The game is set in the future in the aftermath of a fictional nuclear war where you play as a person who survived the war and must survive in a devestated Las Vegas.  Lots of things to do in the game, including associating with several groups, avenge the people who try to kill your character at the beginning of the game, and even get involved in a civil war between the NCR (government troops) and Caesars Legion (which basically wants to establish a revived Roman Empire in the United States), help people in need, and even explore the world while watching out for bandits, animals and other creatures that may want to sent you character into an early retirement.  Sadly, I since upgraded to Xbox One and haven't been able to finish this game yet.  Maybe someday, but I found that the Xbox 360 doesn't work too well when the Xbox one is also set up on the same tv, so I don't really know ho the game ends yet.

Food for thought: Fall Out New Vegas envisions a world sometime in the future in the aftermath of a nuclear war (World War 3?) and what life might look like in such an event.  We do live in a world where something like that could happen (not to say that it will) considering that many nations now have nuclear arsenals around the world and ways such a war could happen.  For example, North Korea seems to have nuclear weapons and have threatened war against our nation on various occasions and I am sure that a war against them could turn nuclear, though the question is, what dicator there is crazy enough is crazy enough to attack us?  Kim Jong Un definitely seems crazier than Kim Jong Il in my opinion based on what I have read about him in the news.  I would also hate to think what could happen if terrorist groups (especially groups like al qaida and isis) were to get their hands on them too considering that they could easily hold entire nations or even the entire world hostage without giving it extra thought should something like that happen (they could even attack Israel or even the US with it without giving it second thought too should that happen).  Even Russia could become a major threat should relations with them get too icy considering they are already a nuclear nation as well.

Let's pray that nuclear war that never happens in our lifetime of course.

Game 5 - Mass Effect 2

 This is the second installment in the Mass Effect Series.  The game is set about 2 years after the events of Mass Effect 1.  Saren is dead, the geth problem had been dealt with (at least for now), sovereign has been defeated and everything seemed peaceful.  However, the evil and genocidal alien race: the reapers make their presence known once again and recruit a race of bounty hunters known as "The Collectors" to do their dirty work by abducting humans on various colonies across the galaxy and harvest their dna for use by the reapers.  Commander Shepard (can be a man or woman, depending on the player's choice) seemingly dies at the beginning of the game, only to be resurrected by Cerberus, which is basically a human supremacist group that sets aside their villanous ways to help save the human race from annhilation by the collectors.  Shepard must recruit crew members, gain their loyaltes and lead the charge on an epic suicide mission (though very survivable) going up against the collector race before they can wipe out the entire human race.  The Mass Effect 2 is unique in that choices from Mass Effect 1 do seem to have a direct impact on how things start out in Mass Effect 2.  For example, if Shepard saves the council in ME 1, they will return, otherwise they will be replaced by a new one.  Kaiden or Ashlely (only one of them will have survived the events of ME 1 depending on who you save in that game) will make a return as a NPC character Shepard will encounter.  Wrex will have either survived on Virmire from the previous game or have died and be replaced by his brother, Wreav.  This game assumes you have played through ME 1 and the games are best played in order in my opinon for you.  You do not have to import a Mass Effect 1 save in ME 2, but choices in the previous game will be made for you whether you like them or not.

Several other things you might like about Mass Effect 2 as well as interesting tidbits
- More planets to explore
- Lots of side missions in addition the regular main line missions.  Extends the gameplay considerably
- Choices in Mass Effect 2 do have effects on how Mass Effect 3 plays out (for example, some relationships in Mass Effect 3 must have started in ME 2, such as Tali or Miranda).
- Marks the only game in the series where Cerberus are portrayed as the good guys as well as Shepard being aligned with the (much to the dismay of the Alliance, which opposes Cerberus).  They become villians once again in Mass Effect 3, probably as a result of the Illusive Man getting indoctrinated by the reapers.
- This game seems to have the most DLC content if you don't mind spending the extra money.  Some notewothy DLC expansion packs includes: the shadow broker quest (where Shepard teams up with Liara in her quest to take out a corrupt shadow broker), going on a heist mission with Kalani (makes here a crew member too), as well as "the arrival" mission, which aims to bridge the gap between Mass Effect 2 and 3 and helps explain why Shepard was temporarily relieved of duty and in detention at the beginning of Mass Effect 3, at least before the reapers attack.
- Most crew members in this game are brand new.  Only a few from the first game return as crew members, such as Garrus (aka the Arcangel) and Tali.  Other former crew members return in lesser roles though, such as the encounter with Kaiden/Ashley during the Horizon mission (he/she is hesitant to join Shepard's crew due to his alliance with Cerberus at the time, which he/she doesn't support), Wrex being the leader on the Krogan Homeworld (assumes he survives ME 1), and Liara is a business woman on Illium.
- The game's final storyline missions has many possible outcomes and it is possible (however unlikely) for Shepard and his entire crew to die during the course of the mission.  People who survive do return in Mass Effect 3.  Note that Shepard's death at the collector base is not cannon and he must survive the events of ME 2 in order to be importable into Mass Effect.    
- Legion and Grunt: after acquiring them during the course of the game, they become optional crew members, which means you have to active them in order to use them.  In my game, I activated both of them and make very good assets to the crew during the game's final mission.
- Collector base: to destroy or keep, it is up to you.  It doesn't really seem to a discernible effect in Mass Effect 3, even after Cerberus turns rogue during the course of that game.

Quick tip:
Choices you make in Mass Effect 2 do have some impacts on what happens in Mass Effect 3.  Players who die in the suicide mission do not come back in Mass Effect 3 (and some of which can be very useful if you are going for the best possible ending in Mass Effect 3).  Also, some romance options are only available in Mass Effect 3 (such as Miranda or Tali) if they are started in Mass Effect 2.  Also, if you are daiting 2 people in the games (such as Ashley in Mass Effect 1 and say Miranda in Mass Effect 3), be prepared to have a love triangle to deal with in Mass Effect 3.  Even choices in the first game can have some impacts on the 3rd game too (such as whether Ashley or Kaiden is still alive, with only one of them guaranteed to be alive in ME 3), saving the Rachni Queen or destroying her, as well as whether Wrex or Weav is leading the Krogans (Weav is the default choice if Wrex is dead or you start a new game either in Mass Effect 2 or 3).

Bonus Content:  Mass Effect 2 final mission, everyone dies:

Those are all of the games for now.  Will share more in a later post.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Top 10 Video Game Romances and couples part 1

Ah, Valentines day is here.  I don't have a girlfriend, but I do have friends who are in relationships.  Anyways, in this post I will talk about several romances and romantic moments in video games.

#1 Super Mario and Princess Peach (aka Princess Toadstool) - super mario bros series

Video of Mario rescuing Princess Peach once again in New Super Mario Bros Wii.  Mario and Peach (aka Princess Toadstool) goes along ways ever since the 1980s.  In case if you are not familiar with Super Mario Bros, it is a generally a series of video games (usually side scoller and platformer) where you play as either Mario or Luigi, where they set out on quests to defeat Bowser and his minions usually over a series of 8 different worlds and rescue the princess.  Of course, in the sequel, the princess (somehow) always manages to kidnapped once again by Bowser (perhaps Bowser has a crush on Peach too) only to be rescued by Mario and / or Luigi once again.  Both plumbers seem to like the princess so they often compete for her heart.  Perhaps the most amusing Super Mario quest was the one in New Super Mario Bros wii where up to 4 players can team up and work together to get through the many levels in the game, which can get amusing to watch too as players tend to die alot, much to the frustrations of other gamers.

#2 Sonic the Hedgehog and Amy Roses (Sonic the Hedgehog series)

(video or pic will be added later)
Amy Rose and Sonic goes all the way back to Sonic CD era of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, where Sonic rescues Amy from the clutches of (then) Doctor Robotnik's Mecha Sonic and saves the world from certain destruction.  Since then, Amy gets a much bigger roll in Sonic Adventure era Sonic games.  Perhaps my favorite was Amy Rose in Sonic Adventure.  She hasn't seen Sonic in many years and is more than happy to see him once again in the adventure.  Of course in Sonic Adventure, she is constantly pursued by another one of Dr Eggman's robots who wants to kidnap her and the bird she was watching over (it had been carrying a chaos emerald that Eggman wanted to feed to the monster he was trying to create in the game).  She even had her own storyline you could play through too where she was wielding a special hammer that she could use to whack enemies and ultimately defeat the evil robot that was pursuing her in the game.  In subsequent games, she often functions as a support character and assists Sonic when needed (like in Sonic 2006 when she stood up for him when Silver the Hedghog was trying to defeat Sonic after being tricked by the evil Methalees into thinking that Sonic was evil).  In the most recent incarnation of the series (Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric), Sonic and his friends (Tails, Knucles, and a new character with boomerangs) set out on a quest to rescue her from the evil Lyric (he replaces Dr Eggman as being the primary antagonist) who kidnapps her at the beginning of the game.  Amy definitely has a huge crush on Sonic and will stop at nothing to win his heart.  Sonic tends to brush her off though, so it is not really clear if they are an item or not, but they definitely make a cute couple in the games.

#3 John Marston and Abigal (Red Dead Redemption)

Set in the early 1900's (though still has a wild west style feel), you assume the role of John Marston in a grand theft auto style adventure in this western action RPG.  In the game, John Marston was a former gang member that abandoned his old ways and was "recruited" by corrupt government agents, to hunt down his former comrades and even get involved with a Mexican civil war after they take his wife, Abigail and his son Jack Martson (along with their family dog).  Throughout the game, Marston remains loyal to Abigail in the midst of all challenges that would test his loyalty, such as getting close with a lady named Bonnie, resisting flirty saloon girls who vie for his attenting, and even does Edgar Ross's dirty work (such as hunting down a gangster named, Dutch) to ensure his wife's survival.  At the end of the game, Ross decides to betray John Marston by setting up an ambush against the Marstons house and John was willing to sacrifice his own life to save his wife and kid so that they may live.  If you play as Jack after the storyline ends, he gets a chance to avenge his father's death by engaging Edgar Ross in a gunfight in the game's epilogue.  Interesting tidbit: did you know that in Grand Theft Auto 5 online it is possible to create a character under John Marston's lineage?  I created a character like that in the Xbox One version which I dubbed, Uncle Steve (I don't have a picture of him yet, but I will post it later).

#4) Carl Johnson (aka CJ) and Denise in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

GTA San Andreas officially became the first game in the GTA series, where the game's protaganist can have a girlfriend.  CJ saves Denise from the Ballas gang (a rival gang to the grove street gang, which CJ is a member of) and like any game or movie where a hero saves a woman (like Sonic and Amy or Mario and Peach), she automatically becomes a romance option for CJ at the end of the mission.  She pretty much lives down the block from CJ (in the next street over if I remember correctly) and is probably the easiest girl to please in the game.  CJ can win her heart by taking her to the local club, going out for fast food with her, drive her around the block, and even let her do some gangsta style drive by shooting.  She will call CJ or a heart will appear at her house when she wants to date CJ.

By the way, given the twisted nature of the Grand Theft Auto series, Denise is not the only romance option for CJ, as there are several other girls that CJ can date as well, such as Helena in Blueberry, Millie in Las Venturas (she automatically becomes a romance option during the Las Venturas missions), a retired police officer named Barbara (which is an ironic relationship considering that CJ is a common criminal just like other members of his gang just as any other protaganist is in the series), a nurse named Katie (you meet her in San Fierro) as well as a driving instructor named Michelle, who likes to take CJ for a ride sometimes in the city of San Fierro).  It is also possible for CJ to "cheat" on Denise by dating multiple girls, especially if you manage to obtain all of the hidden oysters (hidden under water) in the game, which pretty much gives CJ unlimited sex appeal and automatically makes him attractive to the other girls even if he doesn't meet their standards in appearances (normally, with the exception of Denise and Millie, you have to meet certain appearance requirements if you want to date Katie, Michelle or Helena).  Apparently, there are versions of GTA San Andreas where a jealous Denise can chase after CJ in a car when dating the other girls, but that event doesn't seem to happen in the Xbox version of San Andreas (I tried it), though I have noticed that she can die suddenly if you take her to a rival girl's city (such as driving her to San Fierro if you are dating Katie or Michelle).  Also, like real life relationships, Denise and CJ can break up (if your relationship level with her is low enough) and she can also be killed off too. Waring about Denise: be careful not to kill or break up with Denise unless if you don't care for her, or at least do not save the game should something like that happen since it is pretty much impossible for her to respawn or get her back should she die or break up with CJ  (apparently some of the other girls respawn after a while if they break up or are killed off, but Denise and Millie do not respawn as far as I can tell if they die or break up).  

By the way, GTA 4 has relationship options as well, but they are not quite the same as the ones in San Andreas. In Grand Theft Auto 4, for example, there is Michelle (Nikko dates her early on in the game) and later Katie McReary (who later replaces Michelle as Nikko's love interest), but both relationships are short lived.  Michelle turns out to be an under cover FIB agent that is sent to spy on Nikko and Roman (which is understandable considering that Nikko often works for the crimnal element in Liberty City and even assasinates various targets too).  Kate eventually replaces Michelle as Nikko's love interest, but you lose her during the course of the game's final missions (one scenario has her breaking up with Nikko and the other scenario has her getting killed off by Jimmy Pegorino, another kingpin who is in league with Demetri (the primary antagonist in the game) who Nikko gets entangled with during a drug deal gone wrong mission that Jimmy tries to force Nikko to do do.  By the way, it is also possible to get a girlfriend via the internet in GTA 4, but I never tried it, so I don't know how that works or how they compare with Michelle and Katie.

In GTA 5, the girlfriend system gets done away with, Michael De Santa starts out as a married man in the game (married to Amanda) and has 2 kids (a son and a daughter), though he and Amanda temporarily seperate around the mid point in the game after a series of event, such as the jewelery store heist mission, FIB agents resurfacing in his life, parenting issues (like the mission where Michael forces his daughter off a party boat and gets pursued by her "friends", as well as the crazy Trevor Philips showing up at his doorstep not long after the Jewelery Store heist mission (happens shortly after the "Friends Reunited" mission (if you play as Trevor or Michael).  As for Trevor, he doesn't really have a girlfriend or wife, though he does attraction for a lady that he and Michael kidnaps during one of the missions (though eventually he returns her to his husband), and later he becomes the owner at Vanilla Unicorn and can develop with some of the ladies he works with there, especially if you are going for the "booty call" achievement (towards the 100% completion).  As for Franklin, technically had a girlfriend, named Tanisha at the beginning of the game (you never see her in person till the "Lamar Down mission", but she automatically breaks up with him early on in the game via a Dear John letter  (via email), which is basically a "dreaded" (depending on how you look at it) letter or email that a boyfriend or girlfriend may send you that pretty much states that they want to break up and "just be friends" (much like what happens between Tommy Oliver and Kimberly Hart early on in the Power Rangers Zero series, where she sends him a "Dear John" letter during one of the episodes, effectively ending their relationship permanently ).

#5 Romance options in Mass Effect series

Above is a video where Shepard gets a picture of Tali "unmasked", which is only unlockable if you romance her in Mass Effects 2 and 3.  BTW, I originally wanted to show the romance video between Shepard and Ashely, but I figured it might be too much for some people, but if you want to see it, you can find it on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1DtASoSShA.

Science fiction style romance anyone (such as Padme and Anakin or Han and Leia in Star Wars)?  In the Mass Effect series players assume the role of, Commander Shepard (which can be a male or female captain depending on your preferences) and make various choices that can affect the main storyline in all 3 games, and Shepard can also take on a wide variety of romance interests.  If you are a male shepard, Ashley (assuming she survives the events of Mass Effect 1, meaning you save her over Kaiden during the Virmire Missions) and later Miranda (from Mass Effect 2) are very tempting options for Shepard (probably the best looking female characters in my opinion).  Of course, Shepard can also opt to date other crew members if he chooses, including Liara (an alien Asari), Tali (the masked alien lady) or even Jack (she is a "firey" lady that you can rescue from a prison ship in Mass Effect 2).  He can also romance Samara's "sister" Morinth assuming he saves Morinth over Samara, but she literally kills him if Shepard decides to romance her (kissing her leads to the game over scene) as a result of a condition she has where people trying to romance her get killed in the process.  Female Shepards can also date people like Kaiden (assuming he survives the events Mass Effect 1), Garrus, Jacob, Thane, and others.  Same sex relationships are also possible too (such as female shepard and Diana or female shepard and Liara) if you want to make Shepard "gay" (not sure how else to put it. It is also possible to date more than one person at a time during the series (such as Ashely and Miranda considering that Ashely has much lesser role in ME 2 compared to the other 2 installments in the series), leading to love triangles that Shepard must resolve during the course of the game.  In my playthrough, I actually killed off Ashely during Mass Effect one and ended up dating Tali.  As female shepard, I thought it would be funny to have her date Diane, so she did.  What romance option you go for is up to you.

Notes about romance options:

- Miranda, Jack and Tali: these relationships must be started in Mass Effect 2 in order to work in Mass Effect 3.  In addition, they must be loyal (by completing their loyalty missions successfully as well as siding with them when getting feuds with other crew members, such as Jack vs Miranda or Tali vs Legion) and they must survive the game's climatic suicide mission at the end of the game too (which is very doale in my opinon).
- Ashley: relationship can be started in Mass Effect 1 or 3.  A relationship with her assumes she assumes the events of Mass Effect 1 (either she or Kaiden will have been killed off during the course of the first game).  In addition, Shepard must regain Ashely's trust too, which is inevitably shaken during the events of Mass Effect 2, where Shepard finds himself working for Cerberus while trying to defeat a diabolical alien race known as the collectors that want to kidnap humans and want to harvest their dna for the reapers, and later during the Mars mission on Mass Effect 3 when the Illusive Man and Cerberus start to show their true colors and attack the base, even almost killing Ashley in the process..

- Tali.  A relationship must being with her in Mass Effect 2 and requires you to complete her loyalty mission successfully (the one where she is falsely accused of treason by her fellow aliens).  Interestingly, she has a mask during most of the series and you can't really see what is behind the mask, so she is a mysterious woman.  I like to think that Tali is a beautiful woman behind the mask, but her face is not revealed tills Mass Effect 3 and assumes you are in a relationship with her.  Note: she must survive the events of Mass Effect 2 with her loyalty in tact for a relationship to work.  Warning about Tali: she commits suicide in Mass Effect 3 should you save the geth over the Quarians during that leg of the game (Legion tries to upload a program that would cause the geth to turn on the Quarians, but Shepard can stop him and either bring peace to the 2 races or let one race destroy the other).  If you want her in Mass Effect 3, you will have to stop Legion from uploading the program or bring a truce between the 2 races.

Other notes:
- Jack is definitely an interesting character and is often suspicious of Shepard and Cerberus.  Interestingly, she seems to have a guy's name too (unless if her name is short for Jacky).  She is also a fiery type too that has a short temper too.  Date with caution.  dating her requires you to do her loyalty mission in ME 2 as well as siding with her during a dispute she has with Miranda).
- Liara.  She is a classic alien type that Shepard can date.  If you are in to alien types, she is right up Shepard's ally.  She also becomes the shadow broker after the events of Mass Effect 2 (there is a DLC mission that if you are willing to spend the extra money where Shepard can take part in the mission where he can help her take down the existing shadow broker on Illium).  She can date either a male or female shepard.
- Diana and Samantha Traynor - if you are into lesbian style relationships, it is possible for fem Shepard to romance those 2.
- Some relationships can prove to be dead end relationships (which automatically ends), as is the case of Jacob in Mass Effect 3 or Ashley / Kaiden during the course of Mass Effect 2 since they don't take kindly to Shepard working for Cerberus during the events of Mass Effect 2 (not that the player really has a choice in the matter since Shepard's tenure with Cerberus is pretty much scripted during the course of that game and can't be chanced as far as I can  tell), though those relationships can be rekindled in ME3.

For more information about romance options in Mass Effect 3, you can read the article on romance options at Wikipedia: http://masseffect.wikia.com/wiki/Romance.

That is all for now.  Stay tuned for part 2.

Other ones includes:
- Scott and Ramona in Scott Pilgrim vs the World (btw I have finally seen the movie recently)
- Princesses you can rescue in Castle Crashers
- Fable relationships
- and mroe


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Grand Theft Auto 5 for the Xbox 360 Review

On Friday, I traded in the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto 5 and got the Xbox One version in its' place.  Will post my experiences on the Xbox One version on a later post.

I remember almost a year ago, I purchased the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto 5 and beat the game back in November 2014 (even got the 100% completion rating).  This game was definitely a fun thrill ride for me.

Overview of GTA 5:

This game is the official sequel to Grand Theft Auto 4 and takes place in San Andreas / Los Santos.  Just as GTA 4 makes you feel like you are in a virtual version of New York City, GTA 5 will make you feel like you are in Los Angeles and Southern California.  The map is pretty big stretching all of the way from the city of Los Santos in the South and of the island to the smaller coastal city of Paleto Bay at the north end.  Lots of terrain changes too, as you have city, coastlands, mountains, farm lands, and even a good sized desert to trek through in the game.  Like GTA San Andreas, airplanes and helicopters are back too (besides helicopters in Grand Theft Auto 4, planes were largely absent in that game).  Unique to the Grand Theft Auto 5, you will be playing as 3 protaganists that you can switch off using the d-pad on the controller: 1. Michael Santos - family man with a criminal past that seems to be living a seemingly normal life, at leas till the events of Grand Theft Auto 5.  2. Franklin - he is an African American man who lives in the heart of Los Santos and was a former grove street gang member and repo man looking to move off the streets and live am more fulfilling lifestyle.  3. Trevor Phillips - a psychopathic kind of guy with a short temper..  The game follows the trio as they live out their lives, get back into the life of crime (what is a GTA game without crime after all?), and eventually go up against corrupt government officials.  Several unique features GTA 5 offers includes:

- Single Player mode and online mode
- Heist missions.  Heists are fun and yet challenging too.  Throughout the course of the game, the players have to peform various heists and they usually come with their own unique planning, set up, challenges, difficulties and rewards.  Besides the bank robbery mission that takes place in the game's prologue, the game's first real heist takes place relatively early on in the game.
- Working with 3 protaganists instead of 1.  This seems to be the first time since 2D era gta games where you control more than one protaganists.  By the way, one of the 3 can be killed off at the end of the game, depending on what you do for the final mission of the game
- 3 possible endings.
- Some choose your own adventure elements (such as choosing how to perform heists, how the game ends, how some side missions end, etc).
- Open world adventure, aside from storyline missions, side missions, etc, you are on a huge island Los Santos on the South End, Paleto Bay on the north end.  In addition, there are many roads and highways to explore, my favorite is probably the Great Coast highway that goes up the west coast, much like highways 1 and later highway 101 (North of the Eureka area, onwards to Oregon and Washington) do in real life.  Like GTA Andreas, the island also features a vast country site, farm land, mountains (with the biggest one being Mount Chillad), and even a large desert area to explore too.  Lots of collectable items to collect too, including hidden packages, UFO spaceship parts, letter scraps (there is a murder mystery you can solve in the game by getting all of the letter scrap), along with stunt jumps, under the bridge locations (there are achievements you can get by going under under bridges) as well as knife flight locations.
- There is a military base you can check out too (at your own risk, since going onto the base will increase your guy's wanted level), called Fort Zancudo
- There are several paranormal elements in the game too, including UFOs (though most won't appear till you have gotten 100% completion and you have to know where and how to find them), at least one sasquatch roaming the woods and even a real ghost you can find when exploring Mount Gordo on the north east side of the island
- GTA Online mode: if you thought that story mode was too short, that only covers 1/2 of the game.  You can also access GTA Online (assuming you have an Xbox Live account) and do more missions, competitions, and it even has its own storyline you are following.

Here is what I liked about GTA 5:
- Tons of things you can do.  Besides the missions and all, you can explore the land, play golf, rob gas stations, go on rampages, participate in races (including a triatholon events), play online, browse the net, do activities with fellow NPC's, go on a Vinewood tour (basically GTA 5's version of Hollywood), watch movies, play tennis, visit a movie studio, spot a ghost (yes there is at least one confirmed scary ghost in the game that you may come across if you know where to look or when to look, see http://rjvideogamer.blogspot.com/2014/10/halloweenish-moments-in-grand-theft.html for more info), drive on freeways, swim in the ocean and much more.  Plus by being able to switch between characters, there is much more you can do if you get bored playing as the same character every time (for example, if you get tired playing as Fraklin, you can always switch to either Michael or Trevor assuming they are available).
- Stunning graphics.  You definitely feel like you are in Southern California.
- More variety in missions.  I remember in Grand Theft Auto 4, Nikko was often an errands boy and doing other peoples' dirty work (like the many assassinations you have to do in GTA 4 where you have to chase a target down and shoot him/her).  Sure you might get a few errands boy style missions (especially some of the "Strangers and Freaks" missions), but you also get other kinds of missions too, including: performing heists, being a repo man (as Franklin at the beginning of the game), going on races, running an arms business as Trevor (where you drive a dune buggy or fly a stunt plane delivering weapons to customers for cash as well as taking out competition), and many others.  My favorite was as Michael where you can join a cult (the Epsilon Program) and take part in the missions they give you and possibly earn $2,000,000 in the end (depending on how you play the final epsilon mission).  There are so many different kinds of missions you can do, so it would be difficult to list them all, but I won't spoil the game for you.
- Some characters from previous GTA games make appearances too.  Perhaps the most notable one is Packie McReary from GTA 5 and he does prove to be extremely valuable for heist missions.  Even Nikko makes a cameo appearance on a Life Invader page (GTA's version of myspace).
- I also like how you can switch between 3 different players.  Besides the bank heist in the game's prologue, you start with one character (Franklin) and as you play through the storyline missions, you can also unlock Michael (he appears rather early in the game, about 4 missions in) and later Trevor (he appears after the jewlery store heist).  You can switch off between the 3 characters, have the characters hang out, and some missions do require the trio working together too.  It can be amusing when switching between characters too as you never really know what the other character is doing when you switch.  Michael can be hanging out with his family (being a family man himself), stuck in traffic on one of the several freeways in the game, or even going on a stroll in Los Santos.  Franklin can be hanging out at his safehouse (moreso after he unlocks his second safehouse which comes available as the game progresses), hanging out at the vanilla unicorn strip club, going on a drive somewhere, or even interacting with Chop (his rottwieller dog).  Perhaps the most random is Trevor.  When switching to Trevor, you never really know what he is up to as he could be hanging out at one of the airfields he owns (like the one he uses for the 2 arms delivery side missions you can do), hanging out at his trailer in Sandy Shores, get into fights with random NPCs (like scenes where he seems to throw someone off a bridge), or rarely getting pursued by cops (when that happens, you will have a 2 star wanted rating to evade).
- Long an interesting storyline too
- Online mode extends the gameply significantly too since story mode can get dull after a while (especially after beating the story mode portion of the game) and run out of things to do.
- I also like the new structure the game offers when it comes to failed missions.  In GTA 4, if you fail a mission, you usually have to start over from the beginning, buy more armor and ammo if needed,  and if you get busted during a mission, you lose the weapons you have which means you have to buy more.  In GTA 5, whenever you fail a mission (such as getting killed or busted), the screen will say mission failed and you automatically get options to retry a mission, restart a mission, quit a mission (which means that you will have to start over and if you were killed, end up at a nearby hospital, or if you were arrested: lose all of the ammo you have), or sometimes (though not always), skip a mission (can be useful if you are struggling on a particular mission).  Obviously hard core gamers will probably not like the new structure (though they can opt to start missions over if they want as well as resist the temptation to skip a mission), but I do like the new structure (especially when it comes to the harder and more frustrating missions).
- You can also win medals from missions from completing extra requirements (by completing missions you automatically get a bronze medal, but you can also go for silver and gold medals too by meeting extra requirements, such as completing a mission within a certain time frame, not getting scratches on your car, doing head shots, etc).  By the way, you can replay missions if you want a better score.
- If you get busted by cops, they don't confiscate your weapons like they do in previous games.  Instead, they confiscate the ammo you have.  While you still have to buy ammo, you don't have to rebuy the weapons.

Drawbacks of GTA 5
- Obviously being at typical Grand Theft Auto game, Grand Theft Auto 5 will likely be offensive to some.  I am a 32 year adult, and I can handle it, but I am sure that the same cannot be said for everyone.  The game does have some dark elements to it too.  Some examples includes: Franklin performing home invasion robberies (like the one he does at Michael's house early in the game where he has to "steal" a car in the garage), Michael's family issues (as well as dark past), issues with Trevor and is he is probably the most violent out of the bunch and does not hesitate to commit murder, (especially when he is in a rage mode, which does happen on more than one occasion during the course of the game) get into fights, and commit other crimes.  Plenty of other potientialy offensive stuff too, including being able to use alcohol (players can get drunk or even pass out), use drugs (such as smoking a bong in a safehouse, going on acid trips, and even huffing gas and blacking out), kidnap hitch hikers and deliver them to a cannibalistic cult (aka Trevor taking passengers to the Altruist cult near Mount Chillad), racial slurs, getting mauled by cougars, getting attacked by sharks and many others.  Definitely the type of game that mothers will hate (from personal experience) and may make you look over your shoulder sometimes.  Even in the online mode, people don't always play nice, they can troll, accuse you of being a "bad sport", and rarely, try to kick you from the game, even if you have done nothing to me wrong (almost happened to me once when I first started playing on the online mode, I guess somebody didn't like newbies).
- Replay value is kind of limited.  There are some missions and side missions where you will probably want to do again and see how they might end differently (for example: in the merrywetther heist mission where you can choose between using a submarine for the mission or infiltrating a freighter ship at port).  Also, there are 3 possible endings for the game too.  However, eventually you probably will run out of things to do (moreso after 100% completion) and then the game can get real dull,  Luckily the online mode can extend the gameplay significantly.
- Getting wasted (killed) in the game can be painful moneywise.  Unless if you are an expert at not dying in games like GTA 5, you probably will get wasted (i.e., falling of buildings, getting shot, getting attacked by animals like cougars, dogs and sharks, car accidents, etc) on various occasions and when that happens, you will respawn at a nearby hospital or clinic (like the one at Sandy Shores) and they love to charge you lots of ingame money each time.  At first they don't charge you very much, but as your money accumulates in the game (especially $100,000 or more), the fee goes up significantly, capping at $5000 each time you get wasted.  Obviously if you die alot in the game, that can get real expensive fast.   Saving the game often can be useful here (especially if you are in a situation where death can come very easily, like attempting the "under the bridge" side mission).  Also, when you fail a mission, I always try to resist the temptation to "quit" the mission, especially if my guy gets wasted or busted during a mission.  Also, if you decide to go on a rampage in the game, you will probably want to save first and reload later to avoid losing too much money or getting your weapon ammo conficated if you get busted.
- When playing online, watch out for trolls.  Some people online can be jerks and sometimes will try to kill your player, talks smack, etc.  There are also occasions where people will try to kick you from the game even if you have done nothing wrong (and I have seen stories online about people getting kicked for no reason).  I have only encountered a kicking attempt once (ironically, I was just starting out on the online mode when it happened, not sure why other than the fact I was a typical newbie at the time), but it seems to have tapered off (possibly because people are migrating over to the Xbox One and PS4 versions of GTA 5).  Also, people can place bounties on your characters too.
- Switching off between characters will definitely take getting used to for some.
Well, that is all for now.  Despite the set backs, GTA 5 for Xbox 360 definitely makes a very good final installment for the Xbox 360 era GTA series.  By the way, Rockstar has already released GTA 5 for both Xbox One and PS4, so you may want to opt for that version instead.

Official grade for the game: A

Want to get your own copy of GTA 5?  You can buy them on Amazon.com by clicking on the links below

Important disclaimer about Grand Theft Auto 5: this game is rated M for mature and is not advised for people under 17 or people that are easily offended by violent video games (considering that this game will likely be offensive to some).  Also, for your own good, anything you see on Grand Theft Auto 5 (and any other game in the series for that matter) should never be recreated in real life.  Like all GTA games, grand theft auto 5 does seem to glorify crime in many ways (even in comical ways too), such as rampages, heist missions, stealing cars, drugs, and just about any other thing you can't normally get away with in real life. Obviously getting ideas and recreating things you see in GTA 5 may lead to serious consequences, including trouble with the law, lengthy prison sentences, or even death.  Never try anything you see in Grand Theft Auto 5 at home.  Being a fellow gamer, I take no responsibility for making poor choices as a result of playing GTA 5 (i.e., stealing cars, committing other crimes, murder, etc).

Similar Games:

- Grand Theft Auto San Andreas (also features Los Santos, regular Xbox era)
- Grand Theft Auto 4 (in that game, you play in Liberty City, which is basically a virtual version of New York CIty).  By the way, GTA 5 assumes you have played through Grand Theft Auto 4, so if you haven't played through that game, feel free to check it out.
- Red Dead Redemption (wild west style game that has some GTA style elements).  By the way, there is an easter egg in GTA Online that lets you make a character that has John Marston as one of his/her parents.

Gamer to Gamer tips:
1. Money.  If you are a typical newbie looking for ideas on how to earn money in the game, there are several ways you can do so, including:
- Killing pedestrians (often times they do drop cash when killed), though killing people is risky since it will cause your wanted level to go up and cops will try to arrest or (more likely kill you) when that happens.
- Robbing stores: you can hold up stores in the game and earn cash that way, though like killing people, it will almost always cause your wanted level to go up and so you have to deal with cops as a result
- Buying properties.  As you progress throughout the game, you will be able to buy various properties (such as the Mckenzie air field, scrap yard, downtown cab company, etc) and they do generate income for your characters during the course of the game. As Trevor, you will be able to acquire this airstrip near Grapeseed where you can do side missions where you can deliver weapons via buggy or plane as well as taking out rivals and get paid that way too.  Some properties earn you more than others
- Driving a taxi cab.  Like in other GTA games, you can opt to drive a taxi cab and pick people up and drop them off at various locations for easy cash.
- Heists.  If you do heists properly, you can score lots of extra money (especially the final heist in the game, which can yield up to $30,000,000 for each character).  Poorly setting up for heists (such as choosing helpers that are not qualified for the job) can cause you to lose money though.
-  Buying the scrap yard.  This property can also yield good money as you get $150 per ingame week for every car you destroy in the game (or $1500 for every 10 cars you destroy).
- Diving in the ocean and finding hidden packages.  These often yield money.  Warning: sharks do lurk in the ocean (you will know when one is nearby because they will appear as red dots on your in game map and radar) and will try to eat you.  What happens is: if you dive in the ocean, and a shark is closeby, it will swim around you for a little while back and fourth like a typical fish, but after a while, a cut scene will occur showing the shark eating your character (much like Jaws) with one hit kills.

2. Dealing with cops
- Hiding can be useful for getting away from cops, but not always (sometimes they can find you and you and try to shoot you or arrest you when they do).
- Between getting killed or busted by a cop in the game, I'd rather get wasted by them.  I they bust you, they will confiscate your ammo and you will have to go to the nearest ammunation to buy more ammo.  If you get wasted, you keep your weapons and ammo, though it will cost you money each time though.
-  The higher your wanted rating is, the more aggresssive cops become.  Also, shooting officers will automatically result in a 3 star wanted rating.
- Restricted areas (like Fort Zancudo): enter them at your own risk.  Usually trespassing at restricted areas will result in your wanted level going up and will probably inevitably end with your character getting wasted (or busted).  At Fort Zancudo, for example, trespassing on base will result in a 4 star wanted level and tanks and military personnel going after you.  If you really want to explore restricted areas, you might want to consider activating invincibility cheats.
3. Skipping and retrying missions:
- Only use skip as a last resort.  If you find a mission too difficult, you can usually skip after several tries (though not every mission has a skip option).  Some missions will probably take several tries.
- I don't recommend quitting a mission unless if you have to since then you will have to start the mission over.  If you die during a mission and quit, you will be taken to the nearest hospital by he way.  Get busted and quit, you will be taken to the nearest police station and stripped of ammo.

4. 100% perks:
- when you have beaten the main storyline missions, the game is not yet over.  I recommend getting 100% at least once.  Plenty of perks for 100% completion too.  By the way, if you want to see the hidden UFOs in the game, most won't appear till after you have gotten 100% completion.

(more tips will be added over time).

That is all for now?  How was your experience with Grand Theft Auto 5?  Do you have a different take on the game?  Feel free to leave your comments below.

Note: I got the Xbox One version of GTA 5 recently, so I will share my thoughts on that version on a later post.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Just got Grand Theft Auto 5 just a few days ago

Hey everyone, it's been a while since I have posted last, in part due to the job I was going for at Microsoft where I would have been working as a Bing HRS judge.  Despite my best efforts to pass the qualification tests, I fell short and so it looks like I won't be getting that job afterall (by the way, it was definitely tougher than it looks too since you have to be spot on your judgegments at least 80% of the time which can be easier said than done for most as you never really know if you got a judgment right till after you submitted a judgement).  Anyways, I do have some good news: I got Grand Theft Auto 5 (even beat GTA 4 a few weeks ago) which I purchased at Fred Meyer. By the way, here is a trailer for the game in case if you are curious.

Grand Theft Auto 5 (story mode) first impressions

I have been able to play the game several  times since I got it and here are my first impressions of the game.  Note that this is not my official review of the game (I will do that at another time probably when I am about to beat the game, whenever that is).  The game has 2 different modes of gameplay: story mode and online mode (aka GTA 5 Online) each with their own unique story lines and feels.  The game starts off in some foreign country (Russia?) where your character (Trevor?) is a part of a bank heist mission where your character is a part of a bank robbery scheme and he has to help secure hostages, take money and evade police.  I won't spoil  the whole prologue, but that is basically how it works in a nutshell.  Eventually the prologue ends and shifts over to Los Santos where you assume the role of an African American named Franklin and the real story begins.  I've done several missions already, including:
- A mission where you have to scope out a neighborhood (presumably for drugs) only to be attacked by a street gang and a shootout takes place and eventually leads to a scene where you have to chase a biker in a van (similar to many of the missions in GTA 4 where Niko has to chase down his targets in order to take them out).  Interestingly you can choose to skip the mission if you are struggling (which is nice as you don't have to keep repeating the mission if you are having trouble beating the mission).
- There was also a side mission where you have to help a random woman tow (which is definitely a first in  thee series as I haven't seen similar missions involving a Tow truck in earlier installments of the GTA franchise) a car from the street to an impound lot.
-  There is also a mission where you have to chase down a target with the help of a rottweiler (yes there are dogs in the game unlike the previous entries) at a train yard facility. Btw the dog can run off and get frisky with other dogs (which was kind of funny and yet twisted in my opinion).

Outside of missions, there is definitely a huge world to explore and plenty of things to do in Los Santos and San Andreas.  BTW this game will definitely remind you of GTA San Andreas in many ways which is definitely a change after hanging out in Liberty City throughout the GTA 4 era games.  Also just as Liberty City is alot like New York City in GTA 4, Los Santos is definitely alot like the Los Angeles area in California and will definitely make you feel like you are in Southern California.  By the way, interestingly your guy can smoke and drink alcohol too, which is kind of funny (btw, if you drink too much your guy passes out).  And if he smokes often he starts getting voices in his head.

Things I like so far:
+ Huge world
+ Great acting and clip scenes (much like how it is in GTA 4)
+ New mission varieties (especially the tow truck mission as the one involving the rottwiler)
+ Definitely a change of pace from GTA 4
+ During many missions, there do seem to be checkpoints where if you fail or die you can go back to the checkpoint as opposed to having to start all over in the mission.  This is definitely nice since I know in earlier installments in the series, you didn't really have this feature and if you failed at any point in the mission you had to start over from the beginning of the mission in most cases.  Also some missions do seem to have an option where you can skip them if you fail too many times (which can take out the frustration you might have on some of the tougher missions).  I am not sure if you can skip every mission that way but at least some of the missions do
+ At least 3 or 4 playable characters (though you start off with one at the beginning).  Not sure when the other ones open up

- Not sure if you can use taxis like you could in GTA 4.  Having cars is nice, but I liked the fast travel feature (especially if you are lazy or want to hurry and get to another part of the map).
- Your character (at least Fanklin) has a girlfriend at the start of the game so I am not sure if you can get girlfriends in the game like you can in GTA 4 or San Andreas, though you do get an email early in the game that implies that Franklin's initial girlfriend wants to break up with him (he gets one of those "dear John" letters where his initial girlfriend claims that she just wants to be friends and is not interested in continuing her relationship with him)., so he might be able to get girlfriends in the game.  Note: I haven't unlocked the

Online mode at a first glance:

Here is what I like so far:
1) Huge world to explore and do
2) The online mode does seem to have its own storyline that you can follow.  When I started out I created a character named after John Waynum (the screen name me and my brothers share on Xbox live).  I wanted to make John Martson his father (there is an easter egg in some versions where you can do that), though the version of the game I have doesn't seem to have  that feature.
3) Lots of things to do online.  You can do races, earn money do bounty hunter missions, fly jets (at least I saw a youtube video of someone flying a jet last night on GTA Online).

Cons so far:

1. Good Sport and Bad sport system.  There seems to be a new system on GTA Online where our actions can determine whether you are a good sport or bad sport.  I guess if you are a good sport, you reap the benefits of being a good sport.  Not sure what can make you a bad sport though apparently shooting other peoples' cars and failing jobs can land you in that category.

2. Kicking system.  On GTA 5 online, you can see other players' names and if you want to you can choose to "kick" or "report" the player.  While it might be a good way to prevent abuse of the system, sadly there are troll types (people who like to make life miserable for others online) that are ever present in GTA online that like to abuse it and sadly even innocent players can find themselves kicked from  the game or (worse flagged).  It seems to happen randomly as you can do a mission, accept jobs, take part in a race, etc and some jerk decides to kick you out of the game.  I remember on my first time playing online, I was just starting out and trying to familiarize myself with the controls and even did 2 missions when I got a message saying that someone voted to kick me.  No explanation why and I know I wasn't doing anything wrong either.  Hopefully kicking doesn't become problem for players (especially newbies), but that did seem to be evident when played the online mode.  If I were Rockstar I would make it harder for people to kick people (such as forcing them to state a reason why they want players kicked and make it easier for people to defend themselves when accused) off the servers (or at least if people want a private server to play on, encourage them to use private servers), otherwise that can be a huge issue that plagues the online mode.

Here is video for example of one of the players doing a mission where he had to get something from a gun store only to get kicked from the game (looks like someone didn't want him to beat the mission):

Other than those 2 things the Online mode seems pretty impressive so far.

Note that this is not my official review of the games as I will probably get a better impression as time goes on, but those are my thoughts so far.

Note that there doesn't seem to be a version of the game for xbox one yet, so you would need a PS3 or Xbox 360 to play it.

Interesting in getting GTA 5?  You can get them through Amazon or similar retailers:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spider Man Shattered Dimensions (Xbox 360) - Definitely an excellent game for Spiderman fans and super hero lovers. Official Review of Spider Man Shattered Dimensions

Hey everyone, who likes super heroes?  I know I do (been watching shows like Spider Man and Power Rangers lately) and today I am going to talk about the game Spider Man, Shattered Dimensions for the Xbox 360.

Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions 2099_06

My Rating: A-

Overview  / Story-

Ah, Spiderman has been around for a long time (at least since the 1960s) and one of my favorite spider man series was probably the one shown on Fox Kids back in the 1990's (I was sad to see it go), and recently I have gotten my hands on Spider Man Shattered Dimensions and did at least one round through already and it reminds me of the 1990's style Spider Man cartoons (at least in a way) with all of the classic voice overs, characters and elements.  In Spider Man Shattered Dimensions, the game starts with Amazing Spider Man confronting the evil Mysterio (the game's main evil genius) who manages to steal a mysterious fragment that can give people supernatural powers and abilities.  To make matters worse, the fragment shatters and is sent across 4 different spider man dimensions and falls into the hands not only of Mysterio, but many other super villians as well and  a lady named Madame web (she watches over Spiderman) literally recruits 4 different Spiderman (from 4 different realities) to track down the shattered pieces of the mysterious fragments and stop the super villians before they can use them and bring about chaos in each reality.  The game is 13 levels long (with a 4 part final confrontation with Mysterio at the end) and is divided into 3 parts (consisting of 4 levels each).  You also control all 4 of the different spider men (one per level) in their own unique dimentsions.  The 4 different realities includes:
1. Ultimate Spider Man (present day and has Peter Parket donning the dark symbiotic suit, though he seems to be able to control it).  In this dimension, Parker is up against the Sandman, Deadpool, and Carnage (who manages to take over a S.H.I.E.L.D base).
2. Noir Spider Man - this is supposedly Spiderman from the 1930s and the levels here take on a black and white feel to them and brings back memories from the 1930's.  Noir is pretty unique in that it feels a bit like Splinter Cell or Perfect Dark Zero, where your character is supposed to sneak around, take out enemies when they are not looking, rescuing people in danger, as well as taking on super villians such as Hammerhead, the Vulture and later a classic version of Norman Osborn (the green goblin).
3. Amazing Spiderman.  Similar to Ultimate Spider man, but somewhat younger and has less abilities than Ultimate.  He is up against the likes of Juggernaut, Kraven the Hunter, and Electro.
4. 2099 Spiderman - takes place in the distant future and is the only spider man not played by Peter Parker (I think his name is Miguel).  This version of spider man has a New World Order (global dictatorship) feel, Miguel is not only up against evil super villians (Hobgoblin, the Scorpion, and a female version of Dr Octopus), but he is also up against a corrupt global government that wants to capture and/or kill spiderman (I guess they don't like super heroes).  One cool thing about this spiderman is the slow motion mode that you can activate if needed (which reminds me a bit of how it is on the Matrix, slow motion and all) and makes it easier to take on villians and corrupt agents alike.

Things I like about Spiderman Shattered Dimensions:

1. Feels almost like some of the Spiderman cartoons and tv shows you see.
2. Great villian line up, just like in the comics.  Almost all of the villians in the game are pretty well known in the spiderman universe (not sure if Deadpool is or not).
3. Great voice acting (almost like the Spiderman in cartoons).
4. Excellent comic book style graphics
5. I liked the variety in the levels.  Better than doing the same old thing over and over again.
6. Lots of cut scenes and videos
7. Epic final boss (Mysterio is huge and almost like a god in the final confrontation.
8. Good length too (not too short, and not too long either).  Each level is pretty long too (usually took me at least 2 hours per level on averages).
9. Challenges too.  Adds replay value (for example finding hidden spiders and emblems will definitely appeal to diehard fans).

Downsides to Spiderman Shattered Dimensions:

1. Some redundancy (the level patterns are somewhat similar)
2. I thought that the controls were a bit choppy.  For example, I remember one level where you were going up against Deadpool and you had to get across several dams (with Deadpool sending deady tidal waves against Spiderman) and it took several tries partly due to the choppy controls (for example the web swing and double jump abilities did not always work properly).
3. Cartooney look - appeals more to younger audiences.  Older crowds might not like this as much.  I liked it though.

Final thoughts:

Personally, I was a fan of this game and I've always been a Spiderman fan myself and this game will definitely appeal to spiderman fans and super hero fans in general alike and makes for a pretty good super hero game. I also liked it more than edge of time (which is another spiderman title I have, though I will save that game for another review).  Now, some people might be turned off by the cartoony feel to the game (especially older crowds), but this will defintely be very appealing to younger audiences (especially people that like Super heroes).  I definitely recommend this game to just about any superhero fan out there. That is all for now.

Have you thought about getting Spider Man Shattered Dimensions (or similar games)?  You can probably pick up a copy for pretty cheap at Amazon.com or Walmart.


Spiderman Shattered Dimen (Xbox 360) - Pre-Owned
Have any of you played Spiderman Shattered Dimensions before and want to add your take to the game?  Please be sure to leave a comment below.  Did you agree with my review?  What did you like about the game or didn't like about the game?  Feel free to share your thoughts below.  By the way, there is also a version of this game on the Playstation 3, but I haven't tried that version yet (though I am assuming they are pretty much the same game).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Playing through Mass Effect

Now that I have beaten Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox 360, I decided to resume my focus on Mass Effect (will also do Mass Effect 2 after beating ME1).  Just did the Virmire planet and will soon do the final missions.  My guy is half paragon and half renegade.  BTW, want to see a youtube video about Mass Effect, check it out here:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Xbox 360 Fan Site In the Works

Here is for those of you who love the Xbox 360: I have decided to create a new Microsoft Xbox 360 fan site. When complete, the site will contain these features:

- exclusive news and articles relating to Xbox 360

- learn about exclusive deals and special offers from related companies

- Get exclusive game reviews from games I've played

- get the scoop and commentaries on upcoming games

- and more

I hope to complete this site before the holiday season this year. You can check out my new site at http://www.xboxfreak.ws/. By the way, once the site is complete, this blog will be my official blog for the Xbox 360 fan site, considering that this blog is already about video games in general.