Sunday, February 25, 2007

Lower Bay Station

Starting this weekend the TTC has begun some construction at Bay Station, which has it closed all weekend long. To prevent service from stopping, they've diverted Bloor Line trains to pass through Lower Bay Station and connect with Museum Station on the University Line.

Basically, this is one of the lost TTC stations on the Subway, and the first lost station that I've actually gotten to see, which was brief but cool.

The whole station is rather gritty and not in the best repair. There are metal poles helping to support the roof from the floor, station lettering incomplete, old ads that were never taken down, exits and stairs sealed up, etc. A lot of lights were burnt out too, and the whole ruined look actually made me think that it'd fit in perfectly with Gears of War, even the colour scheme (same as Bay Station) fit perfectly.

Generally, this station is used for filming purposes, and has been featured in features, TV, and music videos. The Matrix: Revolutions used it, for example. Interesting that the TTC is able to profit off of what was otherwise a poor design flaw.

Jade Empire: Special Edition (PC) Available Feb. 27th

On Feb. 27th, BioWare's epic Xbox action RPG, Jade Empire, will be released to the PC in a Special Edition form. Now all you PC fan boys who still think consoles are "the suxorz" and would never dare to pick up a Controller can finally experience the cutting edge of 2 years ago, but at least you'll have shinier graphics, a few extra fighting styles, and new enemies that probably won't change the core gameplay much at all.

You can buy it at your local retailer, or you can order and download it online from BioWare's site here, or sadly from Steam here. Interesting to note that it's $5.00 USD cheaper on Steam than BioWare's own site.

Or you could just go get an Xbox 360, buy the Jade Empire: Limited Collector's Edition (that's still available after 2 years), and also be able to enjoy Gears of War, and the upcoming Mass Effect, Halo 3, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. You could do that, or you could keep playing with your Sims.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Mass Effect Prequal Novel Announced

BioWare has announced that a novelized prequal to their upcoming RPG, Mass Effect, will be released this May. It's entitled Mass Effect: Revelation, and you can read the details in the press release here.

Cover screenshot taken from TeamXbox.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rickard's Red

On Friday at Beer O'Clock I decided to set aside my good friend Sleeman and finally get around to trying a Rickard's Red. First impression: not bad.

It certainly went down alright and tasted sweet enough that it was an enjoyable brew. After the first I immediately opened a second, however the more I drank of it, the less I liked it. So perhaps the moral of the story is that one Rickard's will do, then it's time to move onto something else.

Granted though it didn't mix well with the Heiny and Domino's I had a bit later.


Doom 3 (PC): Great Engine, Poor Pacing

Earlier in the week I got around to finishing Doom 3 (PC) for the second time, and while the Doom 3 Engine is beginning to show its age, it still features the best lighting I've ever seen in a game engine.

The problem with the PC version is just the bloody pacing. My God does it drag. There's too much back and forth, too much with the same cheesy monster closet over and over. While it starts off well enough, it really lacks any intensity through the bulk of the game. Great sound mix though.

Basically, the Xbox version got it right, actioning up what needed extra action and cutting out so much filler that just bogged things down.

I doubt I'll be going through the PC version a third time unless I get really bored.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I Smell Like Toilet Water

My folks came back from the Canadian International Autoshow today, and one of the items in my father's goody bag was a small sample bottle of a new cologne for men. The bottle's labeled Daytona 500, so I figured what the hell, and gave it a spritz.

I then read on the side the following: "Eau de Toilette Spray." So, basically, I smell like toilet water.

I had to do it all chick-like to and spray it on my neck, and now I smell it all the time, even while typing this. It's making me feel sick and I have a headache...

Stupid Elizabeth Arden wussy beauty product stuff.

Asoka PlugLink 9650

Today I went out and snagged the PlugLink 9650, which let me split my DSL connection through my house's electrical outlets. While I can only have one item online at any one time, this now means that my Xbox 360 is an online console.

So far the unit seems real good and the connection speed is solid, no drop outs or complications, and it was as easy as plugging things into a wall outlet.

From now on, you can check my Xbox Live Profile and see a whole lot of "Juxtapose13 was last seen playing Xbox Dashboard..."

New Halo 3 Art and Controller Layout

In their Weekly Update yesterday, Bungie has released some new Halo 3 artwork that's going to kick off the game's proper ad campaign, which you can view on the left.

Of even greater interest is the latest internal build's controller layout, which goes as follows:

Left and right sticks: Movement and look. Just like H2.

Click left and right sticks: Crouch and zoom – just like H2, although there is a “toggle crouch” option, so that you can stay crouched until you click the stick again.

A: Jump

B: Melee attack. Note: B may also be used to activate a subtle, but nifty context-sensitive feature.

Y: Switch to next weapon.

X: Activate mysterious new feature which on the cool scale falls somewhere between “crouch” and “activate Fantanas on speed dial.”

LT: Toss grenade.

RT: Shoot weapon.

LB: Cycle grenade type (you have at least three types of grenade now, so they must be cycled rather than switched).

RB: Pick up weapon/activate stuff/reload/use turrets and so on.

Note: If you hold LB while standing over a dual wieldable weapon, you’ll pick it up in your left hand – a huge improvement over the “Y” button in Halo 2. This doesn’t affect grenade cycling, because you can still tap LB to cycle grenades, but you can’t toss ‘em while dual wielding anyway. So it’s moot. After about ten minutes of play, it feels incredibly natural, with the lone downside that you have trouble adjusting when you go back to Halo 2. But more vitally, LB reloads the weapon in your left hand, individually when you’re dual-wielding.

BACK: Calls up the Multiplayer “player menu” – where you can mute jerks, see gamer data and so on. The back button is useful, but tough to press in really hectic action, since it’s so close to the Guide button.

START: Pause menu (which is translucent so you can adjust controls without losing track of what’s on screen) and one or two other significant goodies we haven’t revealed yet. From here you can also end or quit a game, naturally.

D-PAD: Used for sweet circular fighting game moves. No wait, my bad - it is currently used to activate team chat, but that’s very provisional. This is being given a lot of care and attention and is tied to other matters, such as your default settings and how team chat and proximity voice work. You’d be amazed how much testing and thought goes into this stuff.

So here's my thought on the "X" button's super secret function: Not once did Bungie mention the Flashlight, did they? That's right. So the "X" button is clearly the Master Chief's new, super secret disco ball Flashlight, that when activated entrances Grunts to start dancing and singing "Burn baby

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

LucasArts Announces Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

Today, LucasArts announced their next upcoming Star Wars game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Not sure exactly what the genre is, but it'll be on the next-gen consoles this coming November. My guess is a third person action.

Story wise, its set between trilogies and you take on the role of Darth Vader's secret apprentice, helping him to hunt down rebel Jedi. Not only will you have the chance to alter Star Wars continuity, but the game is being developed with the consultation of the Master Idea Ruiner himself, George Lucas.

What looks fuckin' assume is the new tech this game brings to the table. Go here to watch some tech demo videos of their AI and destructible objects.

Hell, you get to watch R2 get thrown at a bunch of ply wood, and that alone is worth the price of admission.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a game to watch.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two Screenshots

TeamXbox has posted a bunch of new screenshots for Half-Life 2: Episode Two, except they're all from the trailers released last fall and therefore aren't really that new.

If that suits your fancy you can view them here, but really I'd like to see something oh, I don't know, recent from the game. You'd think since it's only a 5 hour episode we could get a new pretty pic once in a while.

There are some new shots of Portal as well, however it really looks like an extremely puzzle based Prey knock off.

Mass Effect Interview Part 2

The second part of TeamXbox's Mass Effect interview is now up, which you can read right here.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Another year, another Valentine's, another shameless excuse to by your girlfriend, finance, or wife an overpriced gift in the hope for sex.

I swear, the older I get, the less difference I see between prostitution and legit relationships, save that prostitutes are cheaper and actually look after a man's need without all the baggage... we'll, except for herpes.

Occupational hazard.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Xbox 360) Purchased

I gave into nostalgia earlier today and purchased Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (Xbox 360) from the Xbox Live Marketplace. It's been about 12 years since I played this at the arcade, and I was getting out of fighting games around the time of its release, so I didn't play it too much (Mastered Mortal Kombat 3 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, though).

I'd forgotten just how much fun and also how cheap Single Player Mortal Kombat is. I haven't been able to win a tournament even on the Novice difficulty yet, though I did make it all the way to Motaro, the second last boss. I've mainly been playing as Scorpion, who, along with Sub-Zero and Reptile, was always my favourite of the series; he's just so tragic and vengeful, a nice anti-hero.

I'd forgotten how after several rounds, the computer gets extremely cheap with its throws and seems to magically know just when to dodge, block, or counter anything you do. Somewhat frustrating, but for its cost and cheap entertainment it's still fun. I've already managed to rack up 5 Achievements with the game. I have had an issue with getting certain special moves to work, however. I find it very difficult to pull of Scorpion's Teleport Punch, for example, and it's simply Down, Back, High Punch, but he often will not do it. Things like that have actually cost me matches, though perhaps I'm just not doing them right. I have yet to complete a single Finishing move though...

Anyway, now all I need is a second Controller so I can unlock Classic Sub-Zero and Ermac, two characters I really want to play as. As you can guess, I have a thing for the universe's ninja characters. It's their sexy masks, I just can't help myself.

Prey: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox 360) Review

As many of you know, I ordered the PC version of Prey and for all intents and purposes, I got it except they gave me the Xbox 360 disc inside the tin. I decided to keep the Xbox 360 version and play through it, since overall the trade-off is in my favour. Thus, I'll review the Xbox 360 version since the main differences between it's Collector's Edition and the PC's is simply the manuals and sleeve that goes over the Collector's tin.

Now, I first played Prey with it's PC demo back last summer and I liked it a lot, though I heard a lot about it being short, and I didn't want to pay full retail price for something that's over too quickly. Now that I only paid $20.00 for it though, Prey is a hell of a good time.

It features some very good graphics, innovative level design, an actual story that's actually presented like a story (how about that), and some damn good voice acting. Before I get on with all that, however I need to make one thing very clear: Deathwalking. Whoever came up with that idea should get a medal. Fuck, I'm a heterosexual male and I'd kiss the bastard for it. Why? Because Deathwalking has single handedly solved one of the greatest gaming frustrations in history: The dreaded load screen.

In Prey, when you die, instead of loading a save game or a Checkpoint, you're tossed into a mini game where you're in the spirit world separate from your body. While there you shoot the wraiths of the dishonoured dead to restore your body's Health and Spirit and once your body finishes floating through a hole in the centre of the map, you're returned to where you died. Many FPS purists, especially of the PC variety, might call this heresy and that it takes away challenge, I say it keeps the momentum going and never lets up.

Look at it this way: You're playing misc. shooter X, you try something or you get careless and BAM, bullet in the brain pan. Next thing you know, you're loading up your last Quick Save or Checkpoint and staring at some pretty load screen. And still staring at that load screen. And still staring at that load screen a whole lot more when all you want to do is jump back in there and kill things. You were on a pretty good run and now it's all come to a halt. Not with Prey.

In Prey, you die, you go into the Deathwalk mini game and keep on shooting shit, and after about 20 to 30 seconds, you're back into the regular game without missing a beat. This has to be the single most consistent shooter I've ever played that keeps such a steady pace of action, puzzles, and fun. You hear that, Gears of War? It keeps up its fast pace! Someone please tell Epic to look at Prey to see how to do a save system.

Now that that's out of the way, here's the gist of the game. Prey sees you take on the role of Tommy, a native American, a Cherokee to be exact, who's trying to get off his reservation and take his girlfriend with him. He's not too proud of his heritage despite his grandfather's love and advice, and he feels that its all holding him back. That is until aliens come and abduct him, his girlfriend Jen, and his grandfather Enisi, and that's when everything gets fucked up. Ultimately he'll need to learn to embrace the heritage of his people if he has any hope of surviving and rescuing Jen.

Shortly into the game, Tommy will learn to Spirit Walk, which allows him to leave his body (which will be vulnerable) but he can then move around in Spirit form unnoticed until he attacks with his Spirit Bow. Many of the games interesting puzzles revolve around this concept, and it's a great twist to the FPS genre. How Tommy gains this ability is rather cheesy, but it's done in classic, tried and true Star Wars fashion (remember, Obi Wan simply told Luke to "feel the Force" and he magically did somehow). You'll also get a spirit Hawk, Talon, as a sidekick who can point out objects of interest and translate alien text and speech for you. Talon actually comes in quite handy.

Another interesting thing is that Tommy is an FPS character who can talk. Yup, that's right, an FPS lead that can actually hold a conversation. I'm not even talking about the few sentences that you'll hear from the Master Chief with Cortana in that other shooter series, I'm talking about real conversations with Jen, Enisi, and other characters, as well as general comments throughout the whole game. And Tommy can certainly get angry. Needless to say, the dialogue can get explicit and this game is not for the kiddies.

And you know what? Tommy's personality is one of the reasons that Prey is such a lovable game. You honest to God get a feeling that stuff's at stake, that this character has ties to the people in the game world and that he's simply trying to help out those he loves, and then get the hell out of there. It's a level of drama and immersion that games like Half-Life 2 would have you believe are only possible with mute leads, but I say the exact opposite.

Now Prey mainly takes place on the alien world ship called the Sphere, and once set loose, Tommy sets off to rescue Jen and Enisi with only his wrench, but soon finds a bunch of interesting alien weapons. Most of the weapons are standard fare, you have your submachine gun and shotgun for example, they're simply presented in alien form. Also gotta love the Crawler grenades; sort of remind me of Snarks. Prey, however, is not just some run and gun corridor shooter.

Gravity can flip all over the place, portholes open that can take you to and from different rooms just like doorways, as well as let enemies into rooms you thought were secure. You can also walk along ceilings and walls and do a whole lot of funky shit. In fact, a lot of the game's puzzles will challenge you to think creatively, but they're not so hard you'll get stuck. You'll actually feel challenged and then satisfied when you solve most of the game's puzzles, unlike Half-Life 2's simple pick-up-brick-and-drop-it-in-basket puzzle that's repeated to death.

Thankfully, Prey is powered by an enhanced version of the Doom 3 engine, allowing it to handle all the portal and gravity effects nicely. The game isn't overly dark like Doom 3 is (though there is one really dark section in which Tommy makes fun of Doom 3) , and focuses more on action combat than horror. There are a few "jump" moments, but nothing serious.

Having played the PC Demo, I noted that the overall texture quality is a bit higher in the PC version, but it's nothing so drastic that you'll regret having the Xbox 360 version over it. The game's character models, though, seem a step back from Quake 4's in terms of overall detail and quality, but they're certainly quite nice.

The game's musical score is simply beautiful, and it's actually featured as a bonus download with the Limited Collector's Edition. Unfortunately, my version is one of the copies that was missing the download voucher, but there is a redemption policy that's detailed on the main site, which I'm now waiting on. The sound track is very emotional, and underscores the dramatic tension that Tommy goes through nicely. I especially like the tracks featured near the end of the game.

So in the end, is Prey worth it? Well, it's an excellent, story drive, fast paced shooter with a constant pace, cleaver puzzles, great graphics and character moments. The only real problem is it's length. If you actually sit there and play the game quickly, you can probably win it in about 8 hours, and there's only two difficulty settings. With that being the case, I would suggest you wait for it to drop from it's $40.00 price tag. For $30.00 though, this game is spot on, but why not try the free demo available on Xbox Live Marketplace? It actually features just short of a quarter of the retail Single Player game, and will give you a good taste of what Prey's all about.

If you really enjoy it, pick it up or wait for a price drop, however I strongly suggest you go through Prey. To date, its Single Player game is the best Single Player title I've played on my Xbox 360, which is great praise indeed.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Trying to Sell Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Xbox 360)

I really wish Microsoft and Ubisoft would have included a case for Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter in their Xbox 360 Holiday Bundle, as it's really a pain in the ass to sell the game without one.

Most retail stores are hesitant and think it's an illegitimate copy, so they won't purchase it. I finally found a store that will though, EB Games, however they'll only provide me with store credit.

Basically, if you want to buy my copy of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, let me know. You'd get the game disc (obviously) and the English and French manuals. I'd also throw in my homemade case if you want. Going cost is $20.00, half of the retail cost.

On a side note, the EB guy told me he's got a shitload of PlayStation 3's in stock, but he can't sell them 'cause of it's over-inflated cost and lack of games. So it looks like all those reports are true: Sony = Fuck up.

Mass Effect Interview Part 1

TeamXbox has interviewed BioWare about their upcoming Xbox 360 RPG, Mass Effect. They're posting it in two parts, part 1 is available here, and part 2 will be posted up on Monday.

Some interesting little tid-bits here, however what I really want is an official release date!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Worst Box Art Ever.

That's right kids. You are looking at the actual box art for the upcoming Half-Life 2: Episode Two Orange Box, the only version available on the Xbox 360.

If the actual game features the stunning artistic design of its box, it's a surefire winner and the lengthy development cycle for such a small amount of new content will have been well worth the wait and inflated price.


Seriously, someone needs to get fired over at Valve... like the entire company.

Can't they just port the original Half-Life to the Xbox 360, possibly to the Xbox Live Arcade, since that game was actually pretty fucking amazing and the only great product Valve has ever released...

Box art spotted at TeamXbox here.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two Retail Details, Release Window Pushed

Those monkeys at Valve are at it again. They've pushed the release of Half-Life 2: Episode Two from summer to fall 2007.

Now, call me crazy, but I thought the whole point of this Episodic concept was to deliver content quickly to the public instead of dragging out development time? Not only are people still waiting long per release, but they're waiting for short play experiences and still paying near full retail price.

But that's Valve for you, force feeding swill to the masses and the PC fan boys still eat it up and call it gourmet. I'll certainly check it out to see how the Source Engine's evolved, and if I like it enough perhaps I'll buy it once the price drops to, say $20.00 or $30.00, however there's no way I want to pay full price for a long winded episode when I can rent it.

Besides, Halo 3 will probably hit shelves around the same time, and you know that unlike Valve's games, the next Halo title will be an actual game instead of a glorified tech demo.

In a recent press release I spotted at ActionTrip, they've also revealed the content of the two different versions of the retail release, only one of which will be available on the Xbox 360. You can check out ActionTrip's post here.

Mass Effect Races, Villain, and Screenshots Galore

BioWare has released a lot of new Mass Effect info recently, just to keep us all hanging for more!

- They've revealed a main villain from the game, Saren, who's details can presently be found at GameSpy here.

- They've revealed a whole new alien race who created the Geth, the Quarians, who's details can be found here.

- Finally, they've released half a dozen new screenshots that certainly have me drooling. Move over Gears of War, and check them out over here.

Why oh why must we wait until May for this beauty?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

So What's New and Exciting?

A simple question right? Well, too often the answer is also quite simple: Nothing. Seriously, go ask anyone. Ask them what's new and exciting and I bet you they'll say something to the effect of "nothing." And yet, when you call up your friends and such to go hang out, often they're simply too busy to go and do something simple, like sit down for a drink.

'Cause let's face it, people are very busy these days. Most of my associates are consumed by their jobs, extra activities, partners, etc. So, how can people that are so damn busy have nothing new and exciting going on in their lives? Is everyone's existence that menial?

Sadly, yes.

Got into a good conversation with a friend of mine today, and this very topic was the centre of our discussions. As I've mentioned before, I believe the key motive underlying everything that we humans do is centred around one thing and one thing alone: survival of the self, and sadly in our hardcore capitalist society, a large part of survival is money. So people work, slave, and toil not for personal fulfillment, but so they can make enough to simple get by. Sad, isn't it, what our society is.

Our society is stress, greed, and discontent. Think about it. You work hard and make a good bit of money or get a bonus. Great, now you can go have a good time, but first you gotta round everyone up to go hang with, which is always a feat unto itself. If you're successful, look at how quick most of you burn out from simple fatigue carried over from the work week. Kind of puts a damper on the whole outing.

Or instead, let's say you use that cash to go and buy something new, something you've wanted for a long time. How often have you done this only to realize that whatever item you got is ultimately not as fulfilling as you'd hoped? Its happened to me and I know its happened to you. Why is that? Well, our consumer capitalist society says "buy, buy, buy," even if you don't need it, and even if you do get something you like, you're often still working so much to enjoy it fully.

My friend said he read an article that theorized if the entire human race united under one global government and worked together, we would only need about 10% of the population to work to simply survive; to create the necessities of life. And of course because a lot of those 90% would get bored doing nothing, they'd still do some kind of work to achieve something and feel useful. In short, we'd still have a strong global work force but there'd be less stress and more joy.

Now this theory could never happen simply due to human prejudice and greed, but it's interesting to think that if everything wasn't so damn petty and stupid you could actually break free of that desk you're chained to.

So where is my whole rambling rant going? Well, basically I find myself constantly frustrated with the lack of any progress for people to actually live. For my own part, I've resolved to stop living my job, to stop staying and working so late and not only do I have my bosses approval on that, but I've generally been sticking to it and feeling better for it. I'd even answer the "What's new" question honestly, except people are so busy or consumed with their own stresses that they don't want to hear the answer. Funny how that works to.

While individually we can't change capitalism or the global economy, we can always start with a little self improvement. Try to scale yourself back a little at work, and try to use that time to start living your real life. If you can convince your partner or friends to do the same, even just a bit, you might actually have something new and exciting to talk about.

Grace O'Malley's Irish Pub

This past Friday evening, I organized a social outing for the office folk, and the pub that was recommended to me was Grace O'Malley's. From what I understood it was an Irish pub like many of the others, and being close to the office I figured what the hell.

I'm never going there again.

Things started to go wrong when I was booking a reservation. Not only did a staff member hang up on me in the process, but I booked for 30 people and when we arrived they had given us proper seating for 15. We were able to get the seating worked out, but overall the service was not overly impressive.

My food game with the au jus dipping sauce spilled all on the plate, and Telly ordered food not once, by twice and never saw a thing. The staff was also very unwilling to start placing things on a separate bill which meant we mostly did cash and carry.

Finally, the staff of Grace O'Malley's actually politely asked us to get lost around 9:00 pm. After we gave them close to $350.00, they wanted us to scram. Talk about rude.

While over all the food wasn't bad, and they had a talented cover band playing, the establishment left a great deal to be desired in professional courtesy, and I have no intention of supporting them through my patronage or our office's again.

There are plenty of other fine places in this city to drink and also shoot some pool.

Doom (Xbox 360) Review

At the end of September, Nerve Software ported over id Software's classic Doom to Xbox Live Arcade. A few weeks ago I gave in to temptation and purchased it from the Xbox Live Marketplace, and really, what more is there to say.

Doom is, in my opinion, the greatest game ever made. You're certainly welcome to disagree with that statement, but there's no denying the influence the title has had on the gaming industry. See that flashy Gears of War your playing? Or Halo 2? How about Half-Life 2? Fact is they all owe their existence to the success of Doom. While Doom isn't the first FPS ever released, it was the one that popularized the genre and saved PC gaming from becoming a second rate platform to the consoles of the time (and in my opinion we need another Doom since PC gaming is pretty bad right now if you're not into MMO's).

Doom on the Xbox 360 is actually The Ultimate Doom, so you get all four Episodes. They've also increased the resolution and fixed the sky bug that shipped with the version that came with the Doom 3: Limited Collector's Edition (Xbox) and Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox). Nerve Software added in a volume control for the midi music, something younger gamers who don't get nostalgia from it will appreciate, but unfortunately they forgot to add a gamma slider, and as such the game is a bit darker than it needs to be. It also has retained its 4x3 aspect ratio, but overall looks a lot nicer than the versions included with the Xbox Doom 3 titles.

The controls have been remapped slightly from the last Xbox versions. "A" is now the Use button, while up on the D-Pad will bring up the last message. Down on the D-Pad brings up the map, and the Left and Right Bumpers will zoom the map in and out.

Otherwise, its simple, classic Doom at its best. What's a nice addition too is the achievements, and for someone like me who's played through classic Doom so many times since 1996, getting them all (at least the Single Player ones) has been a breeze.

Doom is a great purchase for the Xbox 360, and if you haven't yet experienced it, you owe it to yourself to check out the shooter that started it all. At the very least, go and download the free demo, and here's hoping we see a port of Doom II and many other classic id Software shooters soon.

Update: What I completely forgot to mention, and shame on me for this, is the crash bug that Doom sadly has. After you download the game, everything will work just fine. However the second or third time you boot up your Xbox 360 console, if you try to get to Doom's main menu from within the game it will freeze your Xbox 360 and you will be forced to do a forced shutdown. I even deleted the game and did a fresh download, and the problem persisted. It seems to be a known issue, and the best work around is that when you're done playing Doom use the Xbox Guide button to return to the Dashboard. If you follow that step, the only time you will have an issue is after completing an Episode, it may freeze on you at the final screen.

While this is certainly annoying, the work around means its not to large an issue and certainly does not mar the fun of Doom, though I do hope an update can be released to address this issue in the future.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why is the World Always North America?

Have you ever noticed how all the major "world" sporting events seem to almost always include an American majority, with maybe a few Canadians or something thrown in? While I certainly don't have an issue with most American leagues or organized events having championship matches, I really don't see how they can call themselves a "world" championship.

A real world championship is something like the FIFA World Cup, where teams from all over the globe have the chance to compete and represent their country, not some sorry red-neck State.

Granted I'm no huge fan of soccer, but at least it's true to it's purpose. Though someone should really tell the Yanks that their beloved NFL Football is not really Football. I've also never understood the American fascination with watching a bunch of men hump each other on the ground for about half a minute, and then spend the next 5 minutes drinking Gatorade and scratching their asses.

Possible Mass Effect Release Date Listed

According to TeamXbox, Xbox Australia is showing a release date for Mass Effect of May 18th. You can read the article and see the screenshot here, however until I hear something official from BioWare I'm not going to hold my breath, the various Xbox web sites have made errors before.

Update: I just went and checked, and the release date is once again TBD. I called it kids.

New BioShock Screenshots

TeamXbox is hosting some new screenshots for the upcoming FPS/RPG BioShock. You can view them here.

Update: These screens are actually from The Cult of Rapture community site, and more specifically a feature about a Screenshot Scenario Contest. Basically a series of screenshots are presented, and used to show the reader a few different ways that they could handle a specific situation in game.

To find out what I mean, check it out here.

Ordering from Best Buy Online is like Opening a Kinder Suprise...

... 'cause you never know what you're going to get! That's right kids, Best Buy's botched up another one of my online orders, which is 2 for 3 in 2007! The last mix up was sending me a French version of the Gears of War: Limited Collector's Edition, while this one is actually to my benefit.

As I mentioned I ordered Prey: Limited Collector's Edition for the PC last weekend. It arrived on Wednesday and all was well. The sleeve had sort of stuck to the metal collector's tin and took a bit of care to get it off without ruining it, but patience persevered there.

Now the tin opens in both the front and the back, so naturally I opened the front first. I was greated to the two collectible pewter figurines, which are a nice nerdy touch. Underneath that is the Art of Prey booklet, which features a lot of nice concept art. Below that is the manual and below that is the French manual.

I couldn't find the game disc, and assumed it must be accessible via the back, which proved correct. I opened the back of the tin to discover the game disc, however I immediately found myself questioning why the PC version of the game would have the Xbox 360 and Xbox Live logos plastered at its top... until it clicked that this actually _is_ the Xbox 360 game disc.

So, I ordered the PC version, received the PC sleeve and manuals, however I got the Xbox 360 game disc. I've confirmed that the actual tin is the same for both the PC and Xbox 360's Collector's Edition, so someone at the packaging facility must have made a simple screw up.

Now, at first I wasn't sure what to think; if this mix up was a good thing or not. I could always take it to Best Buy and exchange it after all, however I decided to weigh the pros and cons of having the Xbox 360 version over what I ordered.

- The game will be in a higher resolution and in wide screen
- I gain Achievements for my Xbox 360 Gamer Profile
- The Xbox 360 version sells for $20.00 more than the PC version I paid for
- No competing with my parents for our home office; I can play whenever I like

- The Xbox 360 version has lesser texture quality
- Less precision aiming with a Controller
- It'll look a bit off in my Xbox game library with its PC version sleeve

In the end, however, I feel the pros outweigh the cons and I'm walking away with a win. Thank you Best Buy!