All About dapman418
And again, with the blink of an eye, summer's gone. Or at least, today is my last day of summer. Whereas last years was excellent, this summer was not at much, especially the middle of it. Thats not to say I didnt do some awesome, occasionally productive things; it's just that I had a lot to do that seemed to shorten vacation by about 4 or 5 weeks. So first I'll just note the cool stuff I did this summer (most of which you can find in my last blog):
- was on some podcast thing
- completed Metal Gear Solid 4
- read Catch-22
- watched Fight Club
- completed Max Payne 2
- played almost 100 hours of Skyrim (blog for that soon, maybe?)
- jet skied multiple times (it's rrrrraaaaadddd)
- platinumed Drakes Fortune
- played a bunch of The Binding of Isaac (that game is touggghhhh)
- purchased but havent played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Dark Souls
And here's some of the stuff I sadly didn't get to do this summer that was originally planned:
- FINISH Skyrim
- play Dark Souls
- write more than one review and write some editorials
- replay Journey, inFAMOUS 2, and Mass Effect 2
- read The Great Gatsby (read one chapter last week)
My schoolwork could have been handled better if I started it before July because what I dealt with for AP English and AP Chemistry were mostly nightmares. The three books I read for English (This I Believe, The Elements of Style, and On Writing Well) were relatively satisfying to read, but I disliked writing about them because I just wanted to get the work over with. Chemistry was even worse with 7 packets and over 50 textbook problems, some of which being impossible. I think I know which class will give me the most grief this year.
When I wrote my last blog, I was just about to leave for Summer Camp, which was probably my last. It was fine, but not nearly as awesome as last year since fewer older kids went. I did spend the week jet skiing though, which was super fun. I also completed an Eagle Scout project, which was refurbishing a wall in the rectory building of my church. That was an amazing experience in which I had a bunch of help doing something I would have otherwise known nothing about (stuff like drywall, spackling, painting, etc.) though now I have to compile a report of the project which is on the backburner now because I wanted to enjoy some parts of summer and now because school is about to start. And last week I was on the beach! It was pretty fun, I bought a Pink Floyd shirt.
Most of my summer, though, was spent discovering some of the awesome content on GameSpot. Gameplay podcast, Quoted for Truth, The What If Machine, Community Service, and some of the staff's personal livestreams; I kept up with them all! Something I sadly won't be able to do as well with school coming around. Though perhaps its for the best; I did spend quite a lot of time reading and watching features I previously couldn't, and as entertaining and enlightening as that all was, it is time to get back to school.
Though that doesnt I'm that excited for this busy year of AP classes, learning to drive, getting a job, taking SATs, and gorramit, I'm already overwhelmed! Hopefully thatll all get sorted out soon enough, and I'll get to take a study hall next year.
If you're going back or have already started another year of school, college, or university, I hope you have a great one, and if you're beyond those days, I hope the real world's treating you well!
Thanks for reading,
Oh, and a new episode of Critical Path podcast will be recorded soon! I may not be on it, but be on the lookout!
Hello, all! I just wanted to share with you what I've been up to so far this summer and what's to come in terms of both gaming and, well, non-gaming.
Critical Path Podcast
First of all, I'd like to talk about the up and coming Critical Path gaming podcast. I've been on the show a good number of times, and it's grown to have its own website, be on iTunes, and has an email that I forget right now (perhaps firstname.lastname@example.org). So please check that out and give us feedback, and please notify us (PM me, stephenage, or eiji1 until I'm certain of the Critical Path email ) if you'd like to be on the show! However, we're not certain of the podcast's near future due to some of us being away and not having access to a computer and whatnot, but stay tuned!
Metal Gear Solid 4
I completed Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots a few weeks ago, and it's a new favorite of mine! Some people prefer MGS4's story to its gameplay, some prefer the gameplay to the story, and others love both equally. I fall into the first camp, as I think that MGS4 has the best story of any game, but its gameplay is at most times amazing as well. The story succeeds because its storytelling, characters, and politically charged themes come together in an absolutely mind-blowing way. While some details of the plot that allude to previous Metal Gear games can easily go over your head (especially for a newcomer of the series like me), the events of Guns of the Patriots itself are easy enough to follow. Many people complain about the series' frequent and lengthy cutscenes, but I find it strange for one to do that, seeing as those cutscenes are incredible and are often interactive in one way or another. There are some dumb attempts at humor within the story, but it's better to focus on the extremely tense and emotional moments of the plot and a few awe-inspiring action scenes. The gameplay in MGS4 is unlike anything I've experienced before, and there's so much going on with it, that I was a bit overwhelmed in the beginning trying to get the hang of the controls while a bunch of different (and really cool) mechanics were being thrown at me. I just love how open-ended the gameplay is, letting you approach an area of enemies is so many ways. For instance, you could go guns-a-blazing and murder everyone in sight, sneak by in a barrel, place Playboy magazines to distract guards, use a remote controlled robot to stun enemies, etc. I tried playing most of the game stealthily, knocking out enemies with a tranquilizer more than killing them. Most of the games mechanics work excellently, but certain techniques such as close-quarters combat aren't effective because the controls for that style just don't seem to register sometimes. There's a good amount of variety in gameplay and settings, but there were some areas I got frustrated with either because I was just playing stupidly or the very few times when I was forced to play a certain way. Overall though, MGS4 is a phenomenal game you should all play.
As MGS4 is a new favorite game, Catch-22 is a new favorite book, which I read just after MGS4. It's a hilarious satire of bureaucracy in war in which I loved the characters and each of the unique staples of their personalities, the brilliant circular dialogue and oxymoronic writing, and the book's ability to simultaneously laugh at and ponder about its themes. Go read this book!
Platinum Trophy for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
After Catch-22, I completed Drake's Fortune on Crushing difficulty to get the platinum trophy (which is also my fifth)! I had to adjust my play style because on Crushing you die in 4 shots or less, meaning I had to stay in cover but use it dynamically so enemies don't flank me. There were some really tough bits in open areas, but I found it surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Anyway, it was really nice to replay a game I love and to get its plat!
Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut
So I was one of the people who downloaded the 1.8 gig Extended Cut for ME3 and replayed the ending level of that game (on the shockingly easy Narrative mode ) and watched the rest of the endings on Youtube. The Extended Cut definitely made the endings better, giving some much needed context before and after the final choice as well as filling up some (but not all) plot holes, but I think it's just too little too late. We got this ending 3 months after the fact, so it's just not as impactful as it would have been on a first playthrough. However, those who plan to play ME3 and have miraculously avoided knowing the endings will definitely benefit from this.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
Good friend stephenage gifted this to me on Steam, and I finally got to play it this week! This just happened to be my first PC shooter, so the controls were entirely alien to me at first (still kinda are ), and some of you may know about my embarrassing blunders in the beginning of the game. Eventually I got the hang of the controls and learned that Max Payne 2 has rather excellent shooting! Shootdodging and bullet time just never get old because they make for such stylish and satisfying takedowns. The storytelling is also fantastic from Max's narration to the comic-book style cutscenes to the many humorous conversations you can have with NPCs or eavesdrop on and to the amazing TV shows Max can watch from time to time. I also loved the different ways you can handle a situation both in and out of combat. You can choose to kill, ignore, or interact with innocent NPCs and interact with objects (I made turning on sinks and showers the trademark sign that Max Payne paid a visit ), and there's some really entertaining dialogue for some of the different ways you handle things. The quicksave and quickload were very, very helpful in these situations. In combat, you can choose shootdodging, bullet time, explosives, and many different weapons to take out your foes, and the physics and some dramatic slow-motion camera angles for finishing attacks are extremely satisfying. Max Payne 2 is an excellently paced game with plenty of gameplay and storytelling surprises to keep you invested from start to finish, and for a 2003 game, it holds up superbly in every single way.
Last night I watched Fight Club. As you might know, I don't watch many films (that should change with the Cinematic Studies course I'm taking next year)! So this was an experience. Anyway, Fight Club is an awesome film that's really been stuck in my mind all day.
What's to Come
So tomorrow I'm going away for a week to Boy Scout Summer Camp as I have for the past 5 years. This'll be the last year I go most likely, so hopefully I'll have a good time. I got a boating license two weeks ago by taking an online course, so I'd be able to jet ski at camp, which I'm looking forward to! But lately I've been kind of dreading going because a lot of my friends aren't going this year and because it's a whole week being taken out of my summer. This is disconcerting to me because I still haven't started any of my summer assignments, which include 3 books to read, 4 essays, 7 chemistry worksheets and about 30 textbook problems (some of which I probably won't know how to do). I'd normally be somewhat ok with this, but the next two games I want to buy are Skyrim and Dark Souls. I really don't want awful schoolwork to get in the way of playing such massive and absorbing games. I'd also much rather review some more and perhaps do some editorials on games than do tons of AP work... Ah well, hopefully that'll get all sorted out when I get back (maybe I'll just brute force the work in a week or two).
See you guys next week, and as always, thanks for reading!
Hello, summer! Wednesday was officially my last day of school, and I have already been enjoying the liberties of my time off this week. This school year was much better than my last, but of course I'm glad for the summer. I'm going to try to enjoy as much of it as possible and play and review as many games as I can. In the midst of LOADS of AP assignments to prepare for next year I plan to play Metal Gear Solid 4 (which I'm playing now and is fantastic), Max Payne 2, Skyrim, Dark Souls, and some others (I have a good idea what). Hopefully I'll get some movies and books in there as well. I'll definitely start Catch-22 over since I didn't get very far when I started it in the middle of the homework season. I also have to read 3 non-fiction books for school: On Writing Well: The Classical Guide to Writing Non-fiction, Elements of Style, and This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, so hopefully those will be interesting and the two former help me with reviewing. Also, I'll definitely watch Fight Club sometime this summer.
First order of business is catching up on E3 thoughts. Instead of writing impressions like last year, just check out this very awesome podcast. You guys should keep up with this podcast, listen to the old ones, and keep an eye out for new episodes. One was recorded tonight, so that should be up soon.
Next up is my latest review! I haven't done one of these in ages (sadly, I say that just about every time I write one...). It's on El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, and you can find it here.
Now it's time to briefly catch up on the games I completed since my last blog: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Assassin's Creed. (It's late and I'm tired, so I won't include pictures or emblems. Or maybe I'll edit some in later.)
The Force Unleashed is a great Star Wars game with an excellent story (light years better than anything in the prequel trilogy). The combat can certainly be fun in TFU, but the lightsaber does not feel like an elegant weapon. The force targeting system can also be a pain. Despite some gameplay problems, I love TFU for its amazing story, visuals, and physics.
Assassin's Creed is another game with an amazing story that makes up for some other issues. This time it's repetitiveness. The same missions that crop up in a cycle that occurs 9 times are a bit of a bummer, but the game's astoundingly lively world and fantastic assassination missions make the game well worth playing.
As always, thanks for reading!
Now I will leave you with this creepy sun:
My Recent Reviews
May 17, 2013 1:39 am GMTdapman418 gave Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty HD Edition a score of 9.5
Apr 27, 2013 6:28 pm GMTdapman418 gave Ratchet & Clank Collection a score of 8.5
Apr 20, 2013 5:33 am GMTdapman418 gave Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando a score of 9.0
Apr 6, 2013 4:26 am GMTdapman418 gave Ratchet & Clank a score of 8.0
Mar 30, 2013 4:40 am GMTdapman418 gave Super Mario 3D Land a score of 8.5
Mar 3, 2013 4:25 am GMTdapman418 gave Paper Mario: Sticker Star a score of 7.5