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Borderlands 2 improved on the original in many areas: story, graphics, depth of skill trees to name a few. But overall it doesn't have that super fun looting hook that the original had. Here's 10 things we hate about the sequel.

Borderlands 2 improved on the original in many areas: story, graphics, depth of skill trees to name a few. But overall it doesn't have that super fun looting hook that the original had. Here's 10 things we hate about the sequel. 

10. Follow Randy Pitchford on Twitter if you want gold keys, no way to earn them in-game.

There's a big gold treasure chest in Sanctuary (the main city) that can only be opened with a golden key. It's guaranteed to have purple rarity items in it every time you open it. Quest reward? Nah... just follow Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford's twitter and you'll have more keys than you know what to do with. There's no other way to get them. Kinda lame.

9. DLC that doesn't give you any rewards for your maxed out characters.

In the original Borderlands, the DLC would give you bonus backpack space, additional skill points, and a giant bank. BL2's DLC doesn't give you any of this. Once you hit the max level and have used all your eridum upgrades for ammo/backpack space, there's nothing for your character to get in the DLC save for some unique weapons. Most of those suck too (see point 3).

8. Umpteen currencies

Borderlands 1 had money... the economy was way off though as you'd often be displayed at $9999999 and not be able to see how much money you actually had. Many guns showed this price too. Instead of just fixing this in the sequel Gearbox added Eridium as a secondary currency to buy ammo and backpack upgrades. Then, in the DLC, they introduced Seraph Crystals and Torgue Tokens. This plus the golden keys, gave us 5 numbers to track that only worked in certain areas.

7. Anemic backpack space

Before DLC, the original BL maxed out at 42 backpack slots. BL2 maxed out at 27. Wait, what? The bank introduced in Borderlands' second DLC (Moxxi) also stored up to 42 items while the BL2 bank (included in the main game) only stored 16, it has since been upped to 20, while the backpack has gone to 33. Meanwhile, in the original, you could get up to a 60 item backpack if you got all the DLC and lucked out in some of the second quests.

6. Ammo collection mini-game

Do you like opening ammo crates and picking up ammo? Well if you do, you'll love BL2. Due to many guns firing more than one bullet per trigger pull, lowered ammo capacities, and the lack of guns/mods that regen ammo, you'll be scrounging for ammo constantly. God help you if you use a rocket launcher. In a game about guns, I don't know why Gearbox felt it necessary to make the ammo feel so limited.

5. Slag

Borderlands 2 introduced Slag, a debuff element that makes enemies take more damage when you switch to another element type. It's pretty useless in normal mode, but kinda useful in the second playthrough. In the later released 3rd playthrough (UVHM) slag is absolutely necessary. You can't win without it as you'll just burn through all your ammo trying to kill anything that's not slagged. This reduces the types of play styles that you can use and obviously requires you dedicate some of your gear to slag. Bye bye diversity... everyone's the same now.

4. Rabid stalkers

Have you fought these? Ugh... the move faster than you, can down you in two hits, can turn invisible and strike out of nowhere, have a ton of health and don't get distracted by anything. Most annoying ememy in both games and DLC. Runner up is the Rabid skags. They seem completely unbalanced and fighting multiple badasses is easier than dealing with one of these baddies.

3. Terrible guns

For a game about having bazillion-er guns there certainly don't seem to be that many. In fact, it feels like there's less than the first game. If you only count guns that are actually useful, then the number drops even further, eliminating whole manufacturerers of guns. With one or two exceptions (dat kerblaster!) the orange guns in BL2 don't seem as fun to me as the original either. I miss my Maliwan shotties!

2. Orange weapons useless 2 levels later (gets worse the higher the level)

I feel more powerful at level 69 in the original Borderlands while carrying a level 53 gun, than I do at (current max) level 61 in BL2 carrying a level 60 orange weapon. Every level you go higher, the difference one level makes gets bigger too. You need at level gear at all times, and to get some good ones you'll use a golden key that you can only get out of game on twitter. 

1. No rewards (drops are awful, chests are worse, vendors LOL)

In Borderlands, a bandit would be shooting you with an epic weapon and upon his death he would drop that weapon. That doesn't happen in BL2, they just drop shit. The chests are full of shit, and the vendors are just laughably filled with white shit. You can play for hours and hours and never see an orange weapon. You probably won't even get an at-level purple unless you have a golden key either. It just feels like you don't get rewarded for playing this game the way you did in the first Borderlands. The only thing that drops anything good are the legendary loot midgets that randomly pop out of ammo crates in the third playthrough (UVHM) and they most often will drop a relic.

 

Sony Computer Entertainment today announced that it entered into a definitive agreement on June 30, 2012 (Japan Time) to acquire Gaikai Inc., the world's leading interactive cloud-based gaming company, what will this mean for the PS4?

I'm not sold on network powered gaming yet. Having the processing power in the cloud means you don't have to buy hardware, and it means the operating company can upgrade the hardware at any time without bothering you, but the input and display lag has to kill certain genres of games. Would you play an FPS or a fighting game with noticeable lag, for instance? For a single-player cinematic experience, this system would be tough to beat (like Uncharted's campaign) though I think even some action games would need to be tweaked to be a bit more forgiving of timing based actions.

Sure, the internet is getting faster all the time, but that's just download and upload speed... bandwidth. The real issue is latency, which is how long it takes your signal to go from your computer (or device) to the servers and for information (in this case a screen image) to come back again. This is limited by how far away you are from the servers and the speed of light. There's not much Gaikai can do about the later, so they solve this problem by co-locating servers closer to population areas... having East coast and West coast datacenters is common as is having European and Asian area datacenters. That said, I wouldn't expect there to be datacenters all over the U.S.A. If you live in the middle of nowhere, you're probably out of luck as far as latency goes. Your only option is to move to New York or San Francisco (or somewhere closer to them).

Anyway, what does all this have to do with the PS4? Well, for starters, you may already have the hardware in your house now:

"By combining Gaikai's resources including its technological strength and engineering talent with SCE's extensive game platform knowledge and experience, SCE will provide users with unparalleled cloud entertainment experiences," said Andrew House, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. "SCE will deliver a world-class cloud-streaming service that allows users to instantly enjoy a broad array of content ranging from immersive core games with rich graphics to casual content anytime, anywhere on a variety of internet-connected devices." - Source: Sony Press Release

Hey, you know what's an "internet-connected device"? The PS3! What else? Most Sony TV's sold today. Sony could easily put a Gaikai app on the PS3 dashboard... they probably will do this whether or not they release an actual hardware PS4. Not having to release new system hardware would save the company a ton of money. More than enough to cover the $380 million (USD) they spent on Gaikai. It's hard to say why Sonly would have purchased Gaikai if they didn't plan to integrate it into the Playstation brand, though I guess stranger things have happened.

What do you think? Is cloud gaming in your future or will they have to pry physical hardware from your cold, dead hands?

After teasing us with Catwoman gameplay trailers and demos at E3, did Rocksteady and WB deliver on the hype?

Given that this is a rant, you can probably guess my answer to that question is "no". First of all you only get 4 Catwoman missions that take place during the campaign. You aren't allowed to switch out dynamically like they showed us at the E3 demo until after the main story is complete and you're in "free roam" mode to finish up any remaining side-quests. That was a huge disappointment to me.

Catwoman gameplay trailer

I'm not even going to complain about the fact that you don't even get the Catwoman missions on the disc, they are instead a DLC code included in the retail package to make some money off of used game sales. That has been covered by numerous other Jimmies already. That and the game works just fine without it.

Actually that's one of my biggest problems with the Catwoman pack, its optional nature makes it feel really tacked-on when you're thrown into a Catwoman mission. Batman is in a precarious position and the game just switches over to Catwoman for a little while doing something completely unrelated (like fighting through Poison Ivy's hideout). There is one interesting point, at the end of the third Catwoman mission, where you're given the option to go out one door to help Batman or the other to leave him on his own. You should check out what happens if you leave the Bat on his own if you have the cat-pack, but it's not worth buying because of it.

Another issue, is you are given the option to upgrade Catwoman's abilities in addition to Batman's. I shouldn't have to tell you what a waste of XP that is given there are only 4 missions. Pro Tip: Upgrade Batman first, only spend upgrades on Catwoman after Batman is maxed. The first two Catwoman missions take place very early in the game (the first, in fact, before you even see Batman) and the last two take place very late in the game (the last after the main story is complete) so there is a very long time in the middle where you will not hear from Catwoman. Save those upgrades!

The Riddler's puzzles for Catwoman are also a bit of a joke. Most of the trophies are simply acquired by using her "cling to the mesh ceiling" ability to collect a trophy that is in plain sight, but seemingly out of reach. Half of those you'd have to walk over anyway to progress through the room. Then there are the ones behind locked doors, these are simply picked up after Batman has unlocked the door earlier in the story. Huge sad face.

I'm playing through the "new game plus" mode right now, and I can't say I'm looking forward to any of the Catwoman scenes, which is disappointing to say the least. You can also use her in the challenge rooms, but they are the exact same rooms as Batman, do you really care to beat-em-up with the Cat instead of the Bat? I don't.

I still love this game, and give it a Buy rating, in fact it is probably my GOTY so far... but don't be afraid to buy it used or borrow from a friend, you won't be missing anything important in the Catwoman DLC. That, at least, you can flush.

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Are epic comeback factors in fighting games a good thing?

By: iorilamia May 24, 2011 | 11 Comments

Some of the top fighting games have gone into a trend of having crazy comeback mechanics. This goes beyond your regular super move. Ultras, Red-Mode,Critical Counter and the controversial X-Factor have been relatively new. Are they good to have?

Fighting games takes lots of skill, dexterity and focus. Always generating lots of hype, fighting games are one of the most competitive genre of gaming. But what creates even more excitement are comebacks. Being almost dead and doing a epic combo or seemingly reading what your opponent will do and block/ counter attack to victory displays lots of skill or possibly luck. Comeback mechanics have been in fighting games forever but in the recent years with SF4, MvC3, Tekken 6 and KOF12 we have been exposed to some very interesting comeback factors that do require skill (some more than others) and have changed the outcome on many tournaments and casual play unexpectedly. Some of these mechanics seem reasonable, but a few may need to be altered a little. Here is what I think of them:

The Ultra in the SF4 series is first on our list. A bar builds up depending on how much damage you take. The more you get beat up, the better chance you have of making a comeback. Now people have lost to "random" ultras before but many of them have creative ways to combo-into, making it a skill to see which ways you can open up your opponent. Now I started the sf series in super, and when I was a scrub Ultras were depressing. Having half health when opponent is basically done, then getting hit by Ultra combo and dying was a bit rough at first. The beauty with SF4 is that once you learn or get a feel for other characters combos and setups, the ultra isn't that scary. You just have to know what to look for, and what you should and shouldn't not be doing to not get caught. In the end the Ultra system seems fine. every character has their own to choose from and advantages/ disadvantages. Not al Ultras are safe and using them wrong can still get you killed. I've grown to respect and like this mechanic a lot, it adds much depth into gameplay.

Tekken 6 brings in a new system called Rage Mode, a.k.a "Red -Mode" When you are near death, (about 10% life or so), a red aura surrounds you (like in Bob's shoryuken above). This aura is continuous until you die. This increases the damage of every move you do and reduces damage scaling as well. I am new to Tekken (as in button mashed when I was 10, trying to play it seriously now) and Red Mode doesn't seem too bad. Tekken has lots of 40-60% combos, and after that ground hits and so on. That being said, when someone has about 30-40% life left, they may not even get to use Rage Mode because that combo will kill them. I haven't experienced or seen many comebacks with this but it surely is possible. As I mentioned, the combos are extremely damaging, meaning the person in Red Mode can make a comeback in one or two solid combos. Red-Mode doesn't change combos or what you can do or cannot do like comeback factors in other games, but it does bring fear into the opponent if they guess wrong. I don't think this needs any changing, it seems to fit Tekken 6 well.

The Critical Counter in KOF12 is something  I had many mixed feelings about. As you fight in KOF12 a green meter near your health bear is built from attacking and receiving attacks (like the super bar, but doesn't build as easily). Once the bar is maxed you are able to perform a Critical Counter. Basically if you ever counter someone with a strong punch/ kick while the bar is full, a huge circle appears and the game crazily zooms in ; like the picture above. For those of you familiar with CVS, you basically go into A-groove until the green bar runs out. You get to string together many moves and combos that were not possible before and insane corner juggles. Now these big combos for the most part do require skill, but that isn't my problem. The problem is that this is activated merely by countering someone's punch with yours. Of course there are tactics behind it, but for the most part this Critical Counter mode happens on accident way too easily. Changing the tides of battle with insane custom- combos is cool and the system provides much flashy-ness, but the accidental part is a bit lame. Also if you do a super during Critical Counter, there are crazy flashy effects and it does bonus damage. Using them together in a combo kind of reminds me of characters who can Super into Ultra in the SF4 series. Unfortunately due to this game sucking it didn't get much attention from the professional fighting game community, but even in casual these Critical Counters brought much excitement.

The X-Factor in MvC3 has sparked lots of controversy. Many people hate it and want it removed, some just want it tuned down and others want it to stay. X-Factor boosts your damage and for most characters , your speed and allows you to not take block damage. At first it doesn't sound too bad, sounds like a basic comeback factor. Well in MvC3 without X-factor you can already easily do 50-100% combos a  long with infinites. The x-factor boost makes damage completely overkill, and fast characters insane. Because of the speed boosts, many characters who don't have an infinite, have one in X-factor (like X-23 and Deadpool). X-factor does have layers to it. The less characters you have left alive, the stronger it gets. This of has created some of the largest upsets and insane comebacks. Personally I like X-factor. It makes the already intense and fast paced game even more so. I don't think X-factor itself needs to be tuned down, but certain characters in it. Because not every ones damage and speed are effected the same and some characters damage output goes way beyond others. In the end that doesn't matter so much because regardless, you should be able to kill anyone with X-Factor. what I do wish is that they had a function to turn off X-Factor, that would be a bit fun from time to time. Also What I don't fully agree with in X-factor is the chip damage. So many occasions where even I have won, or an opponent because one had X-factor, and a beam super could take out quarter health people with a few super bars (even with Advancing Guard). At times that feels a bit cheap, certain HIGH damage supers in x-factor should be tuned down a tiny bit upon block. Especially when a a low health character comes in, and someone supers before they hit the ground, not letting them activate x-factor and forcing chip damage ;)

 

Well that is my personal opinion on some of these comeback tools in recent big fighting games. At first many of them feel a bit sketchy but overtime it is understandable why the developers made it the way it is while others...are not so good. I would love to hear what you guys think about some of these. Agree or disagree? What would you alter or completely take out? Leave a comment with your opinions.

 

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Replay Value of Upcoming Games: Are they Worth The Money?

By: iorilamia May 19, 2011 | 7 Comments

Handful of games coming up in the next couple of months and I've been thinking about which will truly be worth my money.

Video games are expensive now a days and the cool swag you get from special editions costs even more. Also basically every game that comes out markets pre-order bonuses, coursing you to spend that $60+ first day even more. I am not a fan of renting because I take my time with games. Also I hate returning them for a lower price than I paid for, sometimes feel like I might as well keep it and try to make the best out of it. So what has always been the biggest importance to me was Replay Value. The ability to play a game more than once and enjoy it, to want to play through it again and the options to experience new things (besides mere achievement hunting ; boring) is what I enjoy. The lack of that in many games has driven me to play only games with multi payer features the last few years. 

Here is what I think of the four games I have been keeping my eye out on coming out in the next couple of months, and how my feelings have changed for them overtime leading to how I ultimately think / what I'm waiting to see.

1. inFAMOUS 2 - Jun 7 2011

I only played a little of the first game but I did definitely enjoy it. Luckily the video and previews on this sequel have been very informative. The single player (like the first) has 2 paths to go through, good side fighting bad guys and saving/ protecting the public and bad side, where you destroy the shit out of everything. Alright, that is already 2 play throughs, but what makes the game worth it? The fighting is absolutely epic. The main character Cole of course has many creative electrical super-powers (and even more with pre-orders / special edition). Besides flying around and making cool explosions, he has a melee weapon that involves very brutal combat. Besides playing through the story twice with wicked ass-kickings, what makes the game really shine is the Mission Editor. This time around you can create your own missions, or play other persons missions online! The possibilities are endless from what ive seen, turning the game into a shooter, plat former or basically whatever you can think of.

Now the pre-order bonus isn't necessary, but since i am already sold on the game i might as well. Gold Melee weapon from Amazon, Bad guy skin from BestBuy, Lightning Hook (basically the Bulletstorm Leash, go fuck yourself gimmick game) from Gamestop, which is where I'm getting it and Electric Grenade from Wallmart. The $100 Hero edition adds in a bag, belt and a comic ; lame. Also they all get Uncharted 3 Beta. Long Story short, this game 2-sided play through mixed with epic combat and a flexible mission editor will keep it far from boring.

All of your inFAMOUS2 info in one place http://gouki.com/Catalog/Details/infamous-2

2. Alice: Madness Returns-  Jun 14

Alice Madness Returns is another sequel game. The original was a PC mind-fuck action adventure horror game that not many people played. What brings a lot of hype to this sequel is the amazing story behind it and the feel/ style. This single player game is filled with bloody combat as Alice fights twisted figures in her once again Demented Wonderland. The downside is that it looks extremely repetitive. I was very excited following this game until they simply just wasn't showing enough, but then it seemed like the game didn't have much at all. The slicing, dicing and shooting with ridiculous amounts of blood spurting around is cool, but how long does that last? Ok, there are some plat forming elements, that look really pretty and Wonderland-ish, involving invisible things and fairy-tale esque powers Alice has.

A great sale point is when you buy the game, you also get the original as DLC! But that still doesn't convince me to drop $60+. Also the pre-order bonus is weak-sauce. Cd's are cool, but it isn't even real, it's a digital download Cd. Upside is that the music is pretty sweet in this game. In the end, cool visuals and a creepy-sick story is awesome, but that just makes it a rental :P The gameplay has some eerie effects but is basic for the most part. I still keep my eye on this game but at the moment, it has been taken off of my "Buy" list. I wish they would show us a reason to play it more than once besides enjoying the story and increased difficulty.

Get in on the madness here http://gouki.com/Catalog/Details/alice-madness-returns

3. SSF4 AE- Jun 28

Well this is a given. I'm a big fan of SSF4. Playing AE at the mall has given me the incentive to buy the AE dlc (I was going to regardless ;p) This newer version of SF4 personally is awesome for two amazing reasons. My characters got buffed overall (the nerfs were minor) and the top tier charge characters that dominated got nerfed pretty hard (except Bison). There isn't much to say here. Unless you don't own SSF4 and you are wondering "what cool stuff do I get for pre-ordering?" you get a lame Oni Bobble Head Doll thing, might even just be a plush. SF4 series has done a great job being one of the most simple / technical fighting games with great fundamentals that lead into many advanced techniques. The AE versions brings 4 new characters and all the old characters have been changed in some way, either buffs, nerfs or both, a definite must buy for fighting game fans.

SSF4 Arcade Edition News and Details http://gouki.com/Catalog/Details/super-street-fighter-iv-arcade-edition

4. Catherine -July 26

Catherine is a adult mystery plat forming rpg. Interesting genre mix isn't it? I've been following this game since the Japan release and have been extremely back and fourth whether to buy it. The story obviously is the main feature. You play as Vincent, a dude who has bros and a girlfriend, then he wakes up with another chick, starts having crazy dreams and people start dying in the real world with relationship problems. the action part of the game is the dream world where Vincent frantically climbs blocks, it isn't as boring as you think. The game is rather difficult and makes you use your head. He gets points and power ups a long the way as well. What makes the game playable multiple times is that there are several endings. The game is supposed to take around 20 hours to complete the first time around and the higher difficulties are absolutely insane (in the original JP version they had to send out a patch because the game was too hard on the first setting, this will be the default in our version). Besides trying to escape  gnarly monsters eating you in the dream world, you also interact in the real world. How you answer texts or not answering them at all, talk to your friends and comunciate with others around you shapes the story to one of its many endings to keep you interested there is a little multiplayer as well. Basically a head to head tower climbing mode to see who reaches the top first or survives the longest.

The Pre-order bonus to Catherine is more than enough. You get a saucey Artbook (meh) and a real Cd. The music to this game is simply amazing and worth it. For $20 more you get the "Love is Over Edition" which consists of a Pizza box from in-game, Vincent's Boxers, a pillow case with Catherine on it and a Empty Hearts shirt (which is what I really want). In the end, with a long and intriguing single player with several possibilities and some fun multiplayer stuff to toy around with, I will be picking up Catherine.

Everything you need to know about Catherine here http://gouki.com/catalog/details/catherine

 

Any of these games on your radars jimmies, which ones seem worth buying to you? Maybe some of the pre-order bonuses got you sold or Bonus $pecial editions.  Leave a comment on what you think.

 

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