Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft Game Studios’

Gaming: February 2011’s Games

March 25, 2011 3 comments

I’m still catching up with these, but unless procrastination gets the better of me March’s posts will arrive promptly in April once I’m off work (so probably the 6th onwards). This month the first monthly review post will cover gaming (which was last in January), followed by television, film and ending with the month’s reading.

Double the faces this month.

Image sources: Predator, Grayson, agent, Donkey Kong, Harry, sackbot, Crazy Dave, Recette, vampire Sim and Woody

I’ve still not made any major alterations to my gaming time, still getting in just a couple of hours on non-work days, which meant I played games on sixteen days in February (the four days on, four days off schedule meant I only worked twelve days). I’ve had some thoughts on ways to rearrange my free time but that won’t kick in until March at least, so I won’t cover it here. Without further ado, here’s what I played:

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Gaming: Second Coming – Mass Effect Part III

December 11, 2010 2 comments

This is the final of my three-part series of posts looking at the improvements Bioware have attempted to make between the first two Mass Effect games. You can read the first part here (which covers combat, sidequest integration and sidequest level design) and part two here (covering galaxy exploration and interface, general interface and mingames) or read on for part three:


7) Checkpoints and Autosaves

Image sources: Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2

(I couldn’t really get a suitable picture so I went with Geth instead)

This maybe doesn’t seem like such a big deal compared to some of the subjects so far but when a game gets this wrong it can be incredibly frustrating as you’re forced to replay huge chunks of a game over and over. As I mentioned in my recent post about Mass Effect it really did have poor checkpoints and autosaves, mostly because every area would only have one, right at the start. Land on a sidequest world and the game autosaves, and then you could spend twenty minutes driving around in the Mako to explore the area, enter a building, fight through a couple of rooms, get killed near the end and be put all the way back to when you first landed on the planet. Main story worlds were not much better, forcing you to replay huge chunks if you’d forgotten to save recently, and which happened to me quite often because I’m so used to games  taking care of such things for me nowadays.

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Gaming: Completed Mass Effect

November 18, 2010 1 comment

I did plan to use a new image but it's so much easier to reuse the same one than find a new pic and resize it. Plus the Normandy still looks great.

As expected, the length of the game and my diminished play time meant that my replay of Mass Effect took some time, with almost a month passing between this post and the one I made about starting it. I have completed it now though and my opinion hasn’t really changed. The combat was definitely better this time around having a full biotic Shepard partied with Tali and Ashley, instead of my original soldier-heavy choice of soldier Shepard with Wrex and Garrus, but it’s still not great and fights against biotics (which actually aren’t that common) can leave you ragdolled on the ground unable to move while your health is drained, which is never fun.

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Gaming: Halo: Reach’s Noble campaign

November 1, 2010 1 comment

I’ve not played Halo: Reach online yet so this just covers the campaign mode itself. I also still haven’t upgraded to an Xbox Live Gold account, which stops me from using my own screenshots as I originally intended. I might update it later if I ever convince myself to upgrade.


The game features a new credits system to purchase cosmetic armour pieces. The custom Spartan shows up in the campaign's cutscenes, which is a nice touch for solo gamers who otherwise wouldn't benefit.

Reach’s story was never going to have a happy ending, the planet having long since been established in the series canon as being entirely lost to the alien Covenant. Reach is Halo’s Titanic; no matter what happens, no matter how valiantly the people struggle or how they develop across the story, the ship will always sink and Reach will always fall.

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Gaming: Playing Mass Effect

October 25, 2010 1 comment

This is a genuine attempt to create quick and brief blog posts that up the posting schedule a little. With me currently playing through Mass Effect (which I’ve already played and won’t write a post about) ahead of a playthrough of Mass Effect 2 (which I will post about when it’s done) there aren’t many gaming posts in the pipeline, and considering the length of the Mass Effect games that’s not going to change for a while. I do have a Halo: Reach opinion piece that’s been written but is waiting on screenshots (I want to use my own but need to upgrade to a Gold Live account). So here are a few thoughts on Mass Effect:


The Normandy

I'm a fan of the design of Shepard's ship, The Normandy. The image comes from the Mass Effect wiki (click on it to go to the source).

Having had some hard drive trouble in the past I was a little surprised to discover my original Mass Effect playthrough is still there and waiting to be used in Mass Effect 2. That was a level 50 paragon female soldier, so to refresh my knowledge of the game’s setting, characters and quests (necessary to see just how an existing save affects the sequel) I’ve started a renegade biotic character, again with a female Shepard (who is absolutely the real Shepard, no matter how many more people play as male).

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Gaming: Kinect and me

October 1, 2010 1 comment

I’m actually quite excited about Kinect, even though I know a lot of gamers aren’t. The launch line-up is a predictably basic collection of mini-game collections and dancing or fitness games so I’m not in any hurry to buy the thing, but I think there’s real potential in the second or third wave of titles that should come after the basics have been established. Microsoft have put out a video detailing the optimal way to use Kinect:

The problem with that is that my gaming space does not match the optimal requirements at all, it doesn’t even come close. Breaking it down:

Kinect should be directly at the top or bottom of your TV, in the centre. This is mostly fine. I have the Wii sensor bar on top of my TV and the speaker at the bottom (which is no good), but I could probably figure something out.

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Gaming: Game of the Year 2009

January 15, 2010 15 comments

This post is an attempt to find my personal game of the year from the retail games that released in 2009, a collection that I’m still working through. There’s a little more detail about my process on what will be the hub page.

I don’t think there’s any need to go in reverse order but if you prefer to read them that way then you could always scroll to the bottom and work up. So without further ado, my game of the year for 2009 is currently:

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