jalexbrown

Joined: Sep 17, 2009 | Last Seen: Feb 26, 2015 |

About me

What can I say? I'm an old-school, new-school, all-school, gaming ass Jimmy. I play a little bit of everything, but I tend towards JRPG and FPS games. Add me on PSN, XBL, or Steam: jalexbrown

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jalexbrown

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Recent comments by jalexbrown

177 total comments in 130 stories.

  • "Young Laura, big titties...hopefully"I love you, FnJimmy. Jun 2, 2012
  • Grats Arth. I'll be putting in some work in June trying to get Jimmy of the Mon... May 31, 2012
  • I don't really want a bunch of people running around as the same set of characte... May 31, 2012
  • I don't really too much care for these big-ass, over-the-top collector's edition... May 19, 2012
  • By the way, what's your Battle.net name so I can add you? May 19, 2012
  • You'd think with the fact that they're most certainly developing a console versi... May 19, 2012
  • Honestly with the new beta weekend going on right now, I'm starting to lose some... May 19, 2012
  • They're starting to try and make professional gaming more profitable. Can't bla... May 12, 2012
  • I've never been a fan of bullet-hell games, so I'd have to pass on this one. St... May 12, 2012
  • As long as I can kick some ass with Yoshimitsu, King, and Paul again I'll be hap... May 12, 2012
 
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jalexbrown

Jalexbrown's E3 2012 Wishlist

By: jalexbrown May 19, 2012 | 1 Comments

What I'd like to see at E3 in 2012.

E3 is around the corner, Jimmy.  Did you know that?  Of course you did.  You're not some idiotic nuab; you're on the #1 gaming site on the Web, so I know you're smarter than that.  So with that in mind, why don't I tell you just a few games I want to see at E3 this year.


1. Persona 5

It's a Jimmy-ass logo, but then again there's nothing official to use instead.  What the $*#@ Atlus?  Anyway...if you read my Game of the Year article for 2011 (don't be a Jimmy...go peep it if you didn't), you know I said Persona 4 was the best game I played last year.  It's like playing one of the craziest animes you'll ever watch.  I also really liked the Persona 2: Innocent Sin PSP release.  If this doesn't happen, I might...well, I'm sane enough that I'll probably do nothing at all, but who knows?

2. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment PSP

This was just released in Japan a couple days ago, so it might be a cop-out, but I really want to hear that this is getting a US localization.  I will be very unhappy if Atlus forces me to sit here with only half of the Persona 2 collection on PSP.  And if neither one nor two is present at E3 2012...I won't be very happy with Atlus.

3. Titan

Another unofficial logo; hopefully whoever owns this logo doesn't sue me.  Anyway, I'm a bit of an MMO junkie (more on that a little later in the list), and while I consider World of Warcraft to be kind of lukewarm, I really want to know if Blizzard is producing a true next-generation MMO or just a rehashed version of World of Warcraft that's been rebranded.

4. Final Fantasy Versus XIII

After the poor reception towards both Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIII-2, I'm growing more and more curious rather or not Square-Enix is downright abandoning this project.  Or are they actually taking their time and making this the best game possible?  Or maybe they've just spent all this time trolling us.  In any case, hopefully they'll at least tell us this year.

5. Jade Empire 2

With Mass Effect (hopefully) done and Dragon Age safely trapped in the land of lulz, maybe Bioware will finally remember that they still have at least one more franchise ripe with options for screwing up.  Except maybe they won't screw up, and maybe they'll actually make a good sequel for Jade Empire. 

6. The Dark Tower Game

Even long-time Gouki readers probably don't know that I'm a huge fan of Stephen King's.  I've been entranced in everything the man conjures up for as long as I can remember.  I only bought Alan Wake when I heard it described as "like a Stephen king video game".  The Dark Tower is the magnum opus of Stephen King's career.  The series as a whole stands right up there with Lord of the Rings as one of the most epic epics every to be written.  With a movie adaptation slated to be released sometime in 2013, it seems like it could be altogether possible that we'll see a video game adaptation as well.

7. Anything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

This sort of goes along with The Dark Tower.  I love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I have for as long as I can remember.  There's a new cartoon slated to launch this year and a new movie slated to be released next year.  They're going to build a hype train for this series as big as possible, and what could be bigger than an awesome video game announcement at E3?  Two more wishes relating to this one, if you don't mind: Please don't make another fighting game, and please oh please don't use this ugly-ass logo.

8. Batman: Arkham City Follow-up

I'm not sure how they plan on following up on Arkham City, but I've got a pretty strong hunch that for better or worse they will.  Hopefully they don't just continue upping the scale, because Arkham City was plenty big enough for me.  In fact I'd be fine without the sandbox elements of Arkham City.  I just want to feel like a complete badass playing Batman some more.

9. Diablo 3 Expansion

I know Diablo 3 was just released less than a full week ago (four days ago for those of you keeping count), but I'm already itching to know what Blizzard plans on doing next.  How about adding necromancers and/or druids?  How about a talent tree system?  And don't forget that you still owe us some PVP (although I hope they won't be making that a feature of the expansion pack).  Lord knows I don't want to encourage Blizzard to start milking Diablo 3 like they did with World of Warcraft, but there's definitely some room for Blizzard to create an expansion pack that isn't just milking the cash cow.

10. Ultima Online 2

While this can be filed pretty solely in the "no way, no how" folder of my mind, this is a wishlist so I might as well include a wish.  Ultima Online is an amazing MMO, and I think it might be one of the reasons why I love the genre so much.  This was an era when MMOs were more than raid-grinding.  Ultima Online was a true social experience.  You could never fight a single monster and still get ample enjoyment out of fishing, gathering, crafting, housing, and other non-combat activities.  You were a free-form character that could be anything you wanted; you weren't restricted to class choices, and no decision you made was ever permanent.  If you didn't like your swordsmanship-mage, you could dump your skills and turn your existing character into a archer-tamer one skill at a time.  If every aspect of this could be translated into a 3D MMO without becoming a mindless raid-grind, I'd never need to buy or play another MMO.

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jalexbrown

The Secret World Beta Impressions

By: jalexbrown May 13, 2012 | 3 Comments | Updated: May 13, 2012

Is The Secret World so great when it isn't secret anymore?

I just got done playing The Secret World (if the title of this article didn't give that away).  If you're not aware, it's a modern-day MMO about conspiracy theories and...that's really about all I know.  Basically every conspiracy theory you've ever heard is true.  There are three secret organizations of people - the Illuminati, the Templars, and the Dragons - that are in a constant state of contest.  It's actually an interesting idea for an MMO.  And to be honest, it doesn't completely fall apart in translation.

That said, once the veil of mystique is pulled some aspects of The Secret World starts to feel less impressive.  Combat isn't too terribly different from what you've seen in other MMOs.  Other than the fact that you can - and should - move while fighting (and casting), you're still basically building and spamming a rotation of abilities until the enemy or enemies drop dead.  There's no real sense of impact in the combat; there aren't even real animations of the enemy responding to the hit, so the only way to even know you've landed a blow is to watch the numbers and text over the enemy's head.  It's a forgettable combat system that, when book-ended by Tera and Guild Wars 2, feels more than a bit archaic.

Character development is one of the game's strongest points.  There are no classes in The Secret World; instead, you'll spend your time acquiring and spending AP (ability points) and SP (skill points) to develop your character.  In order to spend your AP, you have an ability wheel.  The wheel is broken into melee, ranged, and magic.  Melee is further broken down to blades, hammers, and fists; ranged is further broken into shotguns, pistols, and machine guns; magic is further broken into elemental magic, blood magic, and chaos magic.  Within each of these categories you have nodes, and each node contains a list of abilities (both active and passive) that increase in cost, each node ending with an elite ability.  The skill points are broken up in similar fashion but not in a wheel format.  It all sounds very confusing (and it is at first), but you'll quickly pick up on how it works and have no problems making the build you want.  And, in theory, you can grind to max AP and SP so you can have every single ability and skill maxed.  Of course you wont have to do so in order to be able to engage in the game's end-game content, but it's good to know your development isn't really capped.

Once you acquire the abilities, there's still a caveat: You can only have seven active and seven passive abilities available to you at one time.  Picking and choosing the right combination of active and passive abilities becomes something akin to a trading card game and can be incredibly addicting.  The developers have also offered some handy pre-designed templates (called decks) that you can use assuming you have all the necessary skills available to you.

The story and atmosphere are, to me, the game's best points though.  The first and only zone available during this beta weekend (Kingsmouth) is overrun with a zombie plague.  The small New England town has a realistic feel and vibe to it.  Just walking around in the thick fog with cars crashed and flaming or bellowing smoke, you actually feel like you're in a horror movie.  At times I actually found myself so caught up in the atmosphere that I jumped a little when something started attacking me.

The questing helps with keeping you immersed in the world.  There are very few of your traditional MMO-style quests where you go kill a certain number of something to loot a certain item.  Some quests are a twist on the common quests of fantasy MMOs, but they always have a little flavor that feels logical and consistent with the modern-day setting.  One quest, for instance, had me going around town grabbing security cameras from businesses so that I could place them in areas around town for the police sheriff.  The fact that there was a real logic to what I was doing and why I was doing it made the quest so much more enjoyable.

Instead of using a traditional gear system, The Secret World uses a talisman system for stat-modifying items.  You have seven specific talisman slots to equip, and these work like gear in other MMOs except that they're not visible on your character.  Your outfit is separate altogether and strictly cosmetic in nature.  Not only does this fit the flavor of the setting, but it allows every player to create their own style without being bound to a particular look based on their class or build.

Overall I had a lot of fun with the Secret World beta, although it's important to remember that it is a beta.  Things can and will go wrong.  There are bugs that need fixed.  There are design issues that should be addressed.  Much of what we saw animation-wise (if Funcom is to be believed) was placeholder art.  But from what I've seen so far, most of the gameplay is engaging and immersive and interesting.  So while I don't expect the final product to be a radically different game (and wouldn't honestly want it to be one), I do expect to see many more improvements made in the coming month leading up to the game's release on June 19th.

If you want to check out The Secret World for yourself, you can pre-order it from Funcom's site, Amazon, or your local Gamestop and enjoy the beta weekends that will occur every weekend until the game's launch.

Community Blog

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Tera Beta Impressions

By: jalexbrown Apr 25, 2012 | 1 Comments

I've been playing Tera through the open beta and the last couple closed beta tests. Read my impressions and find out if I regret my pre-order.

Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Tera.  The Secret World.  Guild Wars 2.  Right now is thee best time to be an MMO player, with 2012 (and late, late 2011 thanks to Bioware) being the best year since...ever, really, for the genre.  But this isn't about MMOs; it's about Tera in particular, which I was playing pretty religiously every time I was given the chance.  So what do I think about Tera?  Frankly I'd rather play with dog poo on a hot summer day than endure too much more of Tera.

Let me start recording my impressions where I started playing the game: character creation.  The races aren't your standard fantasy variety, but they manage to feel just as uninteresting - but really, I could care less about that.  It was the class selection that first bothered me.  Tera has eight classes, and of the eight classes a whopping four of them are entirely melee-based; of those four, three are melee DPS (damage-per-second for those of you not in the know) and one is a tank.  Of the remaining four classes two are healers and two are ranged DPS (one caster, one archer).  Tera's class selection is skewed very heavily in favor of those that want to play melee DPS, which made me feel kind of alienated since I prefer to play caster classes.  Okay, whatever...maybe melee is really fun and I won't mind.  So I roll my melee DPS character and get going.

The basic idea behind Tera seems to be to take everything you'd expect from an MMO and wrap it up in a farly decent graphics engine (Unreal 3) and throw in some "action" combat.  If you play MMOs and hate tab-targetting and spamming a rotation, Tera might sound like a refreshing change of pace.  And it is...for a while.  I spent my first 10 hours or so really enjoying Tera.  I was engaged in the combat, the questing was fairly quick and painless, and I'd found a pretty nice guild to chat with.  The game was living up to my expectations.  And then something happened.

I don't know what happened, really; I can't pinpoint it.  At some point a simple fact just dawned on me: I was bored out of my mind.  I was no longer having any sort of fun at all.  The whole game, at least from my perception, had come to a grinding halt.  The combat, which was inititally intriguing and enjoying, was monotonous and (perhaps even more damning) void of any real challenge.  The questing was uninspired and quite painfully repetitive.  Gear progression was boring since everything looked very similar and none of it looked very cool.  Grouping was annoying since I was spending more time looking for groups than playing with them.  I was quite literally at the end of my rope with the game.  I wasn't having fun anymore.

I felt like I'd given the game as much of a fair shake as I could, and it fell flat.  I played to level 25, I ran the first available dungeon a few times, ganked a few player-killers and got ganked by a few player-kills (I was on a PVP server).  There was nothing left to keep me playing, and I was less than halfway to what will be the release date level cap (60).  When I exited the game there was still over 24 hours left in the open beta, and I didn't touch it again before it ended.

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jalexbrown

Jalexbrown's Game of the Year Awards

By: jalexbrown Dec 13, 2011 | 3 Comments

Jalexbrown gives his picks for the best games that he played in 2011.

(Author's Note: My "Game of the Year" awards are different than most.  Instead of evaluating all games that came out in the current calendar year, I evaluate all games that I played this year.  Other than my PS2 category and the Game of the Year category - which can consist of any game that I've played in 2011 - all categories are restricted to current-gen games only.  That just makes sense.  I wanted to get that out of the way before the inevitable "That game wasn't released in 2011!!!!" comments.  It's worth noting that I can't give out awards for genres or systems I didn't play any of or enough of for there to be any real competition - that's why no sports games or Wii games, for instance.)

ACTION-ADVENTURE

Nominees: Battlefield 3, Batman: Arkham City, Resident Evil 5, Uncharted 2

And the winner is...

Batman: Arkham City

While all of these games are good in their own way, Batman: Arkham City just stands above the competition.  The story is intriguing, the combat is amazingly fluid, it feels like an improved sequel, and the feeling of actually being Batman is just something that no other game can match.

MULTIPLAYER SHOOTER

Nominees: Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Crysis 2, Uncharted 2

And the winner is...

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 is an example of a game that just plain rises head-and-shoulders above its competition.  Sure all of these games can be a lot of fun to play, but Battlefield 3 is just so freaking polished that it's hard to go back to any of these other games after playing it.  Perhaps the most note-worthy aspect of the game's mutliplayer is that teamwork actually matters; running around like a vigilante rogue won't get much accomplished.  The vehicles should also be mentioned, because they're awesome and a whole lot of fun to use.  A shining example of multiplayer goodness?  I think so.

ROLE-PLAYING GAME

Nominees: 3D Dot Game Heroes, Demon's Souls, Fallout: New Vegas, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

And the winner is...

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

This is one of my favorite game series of all time, and Strange Journey is definitely deserving of the title.  The story is a bit weak compared to other Shin Megami Tensei games, but Strange Journey more than makes up for it with awesome gameplay.  Combat is a lot of fun, and the negotiations - while a staple of the series - never fails to feel extremely cool to me.  If you like RPGs, you should definitely consider this game.

RE-RELEASE

Nominees: Chrono Trigger, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Metal Slug 2, Persona 2 PSP

And the winner is...

Chrono Trigger

While Chrono Trigger definitely isn't the most changed from its original entity (in fact none of them are groundbreakingly different), I think Chrono Trigger was the best in the first place.  The story is amazing, the soundtrack is gold, and the gameplay is a great example of why the 16-bit era was hailed as the generation with some of the best Japanese RPGs ever.

GAME THAT WASN'T RELEASED

Nominees: Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Guild Wars 2, Max Payne 3, Torchlight 2

And the winner is...

Guild Wars 2

I would've loved to have seen all these games released in 2011; hell, I would've loved to have seen any of these games released in 2011.  But none of them have me itching for a release more than Guild Wars 2.  Now, I wasn't honestly a fan of the first Guild Wars, but I'm definitely buying into the hype that ArenaNet is selling for Guild Wars 2.  The Old Republic is the cinematic and story evolution of the genre, and I believe Guild Wars 2 will end up being the gameplay evolution of the genre.  Now if only it would get released...

HANDHELD GAME

Nominees: Chrono Trigger, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, Persona 2 PSP, Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

And the winner is...

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey

Not only was it my favorite role-playing game of 2011, but it was also my favorite handheld game of 2011.  There's not much I can say here without rehashing, so I'll just congratulate the game and move on.

PLAYSTATION 2 GAME

Nominees: Final Fantasy XII, Indigo Prophecy, Okami, Persona 4

And the winner is...

Persona 4

This game rocked my life when I started playing it.  I played Persona 3 to death and knew it was awesome, but after playing Persona 4, I realized that a game just has no right being this great.  I don't mean to sound like I'm writing a love letter to this game, but I can't help it.  Story, soundtrack, gameplay...it's all here, and the game rarely seems to faulter at all.  This game will be the reason I keep my Playstation 2 hooked up for a long, long time to come.

PLAYSTATION 3 GAME

Nominees: Battlefield 3, Demon's Souls, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Uncharted 2

And the winner is...

Battlefield 3

This was a tough one, because in truth Battlefield 3 might not be the most well-rounded of the nominees; the single-player campaign is pretty average in my opinion.  But I can't help it...this game shines for me.  To be fair all these games are great and every one of them could be argued as deserving of the award, but when I turn on my Playstation 3, I keep going back to Battlefield 3.

XBOX 360 GAME

Nominees: Alan Wake, Batman: Arkham City, Eternal Sonata, Resident Evil 5

And the winner is...

Batman: Arkham City

Much like with the Playstation 3 nominees, arguments could be made for all of these games.  But Batman: Arkham city definitely feels like the most polished and complete game of the bunch.  Rocksteady games was on spot with Arkham City, creating a follow-up to Arkham Asylum that definitely deserves its namesake.  Now...Arkham State?  Arkham World?  Arkham Universe?  I don't care, Rocksteady; just make it happen.  But there will always be a spot in my Xbox 360 for Arkham City.

GAME OF THE YEAR

Nominees: Batman: Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Chrono Trigger, Persona 4

And the winner is...


Persona 4

This was the hardest choice of the bunch; it's supposed to be by definition, I suppose.  And to be perfectly fair, every nominee is, in its own way, the best of the best.  These are the games that give us a reason to be gamers.  And if any one game that I've played this year gave me that spark, that exhilerating feeling that made me say This is why I'm a gamer...it had to be Persona 4.  Everything about this game reeks of excellence.  The amount of time that you can spend playing this game will make you laugh at even the most exciting multiplayer game.  If I could've only picked up one game all year, rest assured it would be Persona 4.

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jalexbrown

THQ and Obsidian Entertainment to Develop South Park Game

By: jalexbrown Dec 9, 2011 | 4 Comments

THQ announces that, in conjunction with Obsidian Entertainment, they'll be bringing South Park to video game format in the back half of 2012.

So be honest; when you think of properties that absolutely don't need games, a few come to mind, right?  And I'm guessing South Park is pretty high on that list.  There were a few amazingly bad South Park games during the PS1/N64 days, and if you didn't have the misfortune of playing them then just believe me when I say that they were terrible.  So who, you must ask yourself, came up with the idea of making another South Park game?

THQ announced that they're going to be publishing the Obsidian Entertainment-developed South Park: The Game, which is going to be a role-playing game of all things.  You'll take control of the new kid in South Park, whose goal will be to make friends with all the kids of South Park and, no doubt, fight some really bizarre things along the way.

(Something I never thought I'd see on a Game Informer cover.)

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the show's creators and the two guys that still make the show so freaking funny, are going to be involved in the game.  That alone should mean that even if the game ends up being terrible, at least it'll be super-funny-terrible.  And for that, I'll buy it regardless of anything else.

South Park: The Game will be released on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in the latter half of 2012.

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