Live Stream

Zero Lives @ 9pm CST Sun : The Unwashed Asses @ 9am CST Mon : Friday Night Smite @ 9pm CST Fri

Borderlands: The Secret Armory of General Knoxx

Knoxx is the third piece of delicious DLC for Borderlands.  It picks up after the main game's lackluster ending.  The Crismon Lance has arrived on Pandora in full force.  You've been branded as fugitives and must help a rogue agent take down the army before they destroy Pandora.

Like the Dr. Ned expansion, an entirely new area has been added as well as 44 brand new quests.  The level cap has been raised to 61 along with new gear to compliment your higher levels.  A raid boss has also been added in the form of Crawmerax.  He's a level 64 pain in the ass that drops enough goodies to satisfy even the most loot hungry players.

The story takes everything I loved about Borderlands and fleshes it out that much more.  There is so much to do and interact with that you'll never get bored.  All of my favorite NPCs make a return and bring their unique charm with them.

The only downside is that there are no fast travel stations outside of the main city, T Bone Junction.  This expansion is enormous and the lack of fast travel makes it somewhat of a chore to move around.  Beyond that, I can find no flaws in this expansion. 

For the low and reasonable price of $10, it can be yours too.  If you love the main game and the expansions thus far, General Knoxx is a must.

Help me get dismembered!

I don't ask much of you (except to lavish praise on me constantly) but I recently submitted some work for the Dead Space 2 contest.  What I need you and everyone you know to do is vote for my entry daily on facebook.  Link is here: Dead Space 2 contest

If I win, you'll get to see me die a horrible and painful death in game.  Help me out folks and thanks in advance!

Borderlands: Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot

The second DLC for Borderlands pits players in a coliseum against hordes of enemies with little chance of survival.  The premise is simple enough, survive.  There are five waves to each round and five rounds in the lower levels.  The upper levels boast 20 rounds each.  Clear your schedule for the day if you plan on taking them on.

Waves follow a pattern:
1.  Starter wave
2.  Gun wave
3.  Horde wave (they're coming to eat ya!  om nom nom)
4.  Badass wave
5.  Boss wave

Upon completing the boss wave, you have 10 seconds to grab the weapons spawned under Moxxi's platform.  To date, I have yet to find anything useful.  As you progress through the rounds, random rules are put in place such as lower gravity, enemies have more health, and players losing their shields.  The more rounds that are completed, the more rules are added.

Beyond Underdome, there is a hub where you can browse the vending machines and a newly added bank.  At first, I didn't see a need for the bank, but when I gained access, it quickly filled up.  It's a wonderful way to hold onto items for your other characters or loved ones.  The only other draw to Moxxi are the skill points gained for completing the lower tournaments.  You get one for finishing them on playthroughs one and two respectively.

Beyond the bank and skill points, Moxxi is kind of a waste.  You don't get any kind of experience in the Underdome and you can't level your weapon proficiencies.  It's fun if you have a group of friends and want to blow away endless amounts of enemies, but you can do that in the main game as well and get better rewards and xp for it.  Moxxi is a wonderful character and a welcome addition, but this DLC left me wanting more.

Borderlands: The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned

Dr. Ned was the first piece of dlc released for Borderlands.  It involves the vault hunters traveling to the far off land of Jakob's Cove to survive a zombie apocalypse in order to stop a mad doctor.  The doctor in question is Dr. Ned (who is totally not Dr. Zed from the main game) and he seems to be the only person left alive.

From the moment you load into the island, there is a much needed breath of fresh air from the barren wastes of Pandora.  Everything is covered in a fantastic layer of gloom and the overall ambiance reeks of spooky greatness.  Giant trees loom over everything and the moon is the only source of light as you make your way through the zombie infestation.  There is an air of desolation which is appropriate as the only live npc you'll meet is Dr. Ned.   

There are 20 new missions to play through and a Clap Trap that can be rescued on each play through, granting the player six more slots in their back pack.  Enemies are brand new and span the range of zombies to were-skaggs and tankensteins.  The map is quite large, but not large enough to warrant quick travel.  The writing is top notch and each recording found left me in stitches.  My personal favorites were the new Clap Trap and the misadventures of the "Misery Machine".

Overall, it may be my favorite piece of dlc for this game just for the setting and terrific writing.  It is an absolute must for any fan of Borderlands.

Borderlands


Sometimes, when I’m all alone at night, I think to myself “What would make a great console game?” A MMO of course! Something where you can group up with friends and explore a massive world as you do quests and get new gear! If only someone could bring the feeling of playing a MMORPG to a console. What’s that? They did that back in October of 2009?

Gearbox took every idea I had and turned it into a reality. Borderlands is a game where you and three of your friends can group up to tackle the quests and monsters of the planet Pandora. Along the way you’ll gain levels and find all kinds of ways to kill your enemies with randomly generated guns.

You start off as one of four characters, with each one representing a different class. Mordecai is the hunter who specializes with sniper rifles and can attack enemies with his hawk like pet. Lilith is your siren who acts as an assassin or buffer/controller. Roland is of the soldier class and surprisingly can act as the healer and support backbone to the team. Brick rounds out the list as the bruiser. He’s the meat shield of the crew. Each class has three different branches in their talent tree. As you level you’ll gain skill points to invest in said tree. Each branch is unique and useful in its own way.

The story takes a back seat to the action, but is prominent enough to hold everything together. There are only a handful of cutscenes in the game, with most of them introducing bosses or main characters. Instead, just like any MMORPG, you’ll be getting most of the story from quest logs you pick up or short transmissions from key NPCs. The plot is that your character is a mercenary who recently came to Pandora is search of a legendary vault. It is rumored to contain vast amounts of wealth, power, advanced weapons and…women. Why the women inside the vault haven’t used these items for their own gain is beyond me, but whatever. If you stick to the main story line and ignore all the side quests, the game can be beaten in a few hours. However, if you have a desire to take on everything and get the most out of your play through, it can take upwards of 30 hours. When you finally get to the vault, it turns out to be one of the worst endings I’ve seen in a game. It was just terrible. The only positive, is that your stats and gear carry over to another play through where the enemies are tougher and the loot is better.

Beyond the action and addictive game play, the real draw is the NPCs themselves. Each one was lovingly created and it shows. Every one of them is filled to the brim with personality. I don’t think a game has made me laugh as hard as I have when playing Borderlands. From Scooter telling you about his momma’s broken “girl parts” to the neurotic breakdown of Tannis, it’s all comedic gold. By far though, the NPC(s) that stands out the most is CL4P-TP, Clap Trap. He’s a quirky little robot that directs you throughout much of the game and provides endless amounts of entertainment.

One great perk to Borderlands is the split screen support. While it is a fantastic game played solo, you’ll get so much more when played with a friend. However, the splitscreen seems to have been applied poorly. The menus are cut off and you must use the right stick to move it around to see the entirety of it. The same is true of scopes, with the top and bottom portions cut off. While it can be played online with three others, you cannot play splitscreen online. I have no idea why it wasn’t implemented, but it was a terrible decision. Player beware though, when playing with other online, it is quite common for quests to become bugged, making them impossible to turn in. My siren seems to have taken the brunt of this as I cannot complete the epilogue on my second playthrough. I have played with other who have this same problem and there has yet to be an explanation for it.

Apart from the lackluster ending, bugged quests, and lack of online splitscreen, Borderlands is still a terrific game. It is aggressively addicting, so much that I have delayed Final Fantasy XIII. Nothing has ever done that. So kudos to Gearbox for making such an incredible game that is a blast to play.

The Rendezvous

The hunt begins

Doom!

My Shanoa

You're welcome.

Never Knows Best

Kirby's Dream Land

Link is a poor house guest

General Knoxx is a pain in the ass.

I keep trying to play through the Secret Armory of General Knoxx, but the game keeps bugging and I can't finish the quests.  It's happened to my siren on both play throughs!  Apparently the only way to finish it now is to join someone's game while they're doing it.  Hopefully this gets patched soon.

Resident Evil 5: Desperate Escape

Capcom released another piece of DLC last week, Desperate Escape.  It covers the story of Jill and Josh after Chris' confrontation with Wesker in the temple.  Josh finds an unconcious Jill Valentine and informs her that he has a chopper waiting to get them out of Dodge.  Before they can leave, Jill has to get a message off to Chris about Wesker. 

This is the new Resident Evil.  It is also Resident Evil at its absolute worst.  Capcom is treading a path that I'm going to stop following soon.  It was originally a survival horror series.  This fifth entry has done away with the horror all together and turned it into a full fledged action game.  Capcom already makes a a few action games, they do not need to turn Resident Evil into another one.  The entire DLC takes little over a half hour to complete and is a non stop gun fight.  It's a frantic run from start to finish with plenty of mini bosses to take out along the way.  It plays like a sloppy Gears of War.  I realized the tank controls no longer work and having enemies that shoot back is absurd in the Resident Evil lore.  Compared to Lost in Nightmares, this is an absolute joke.  If you don't care for the way that Capcom is handling the RE series, do yourself a favor and save the $5 this DLC costs.

Fuddrucker's build your own

Restaurant: Fuddrucker's
Location: Brookfield, WI
Burger: Build your own

Ingredients: Cheddar cheese, tomato slices, diced onions, shredded lettuce

Verdict: Fuddrucker's offers a unique experience in that they only prep your burger and the cheese on top.  The rest is up to you.  I picked the number one and within a few minutes my half pound burger was ready.  Walking over to the toppings station, I was quite inpressed by the variety and the freshness of the items.  I decided to top mine with the ingredients listed above and drizzel it with a honey mustard and ketchup combo.  What I noticed first was how sweet it tasted.  The tomatoes were the epitome of fresh and the diced onions complimented them in every way.  The meat was rich and full of flavor and cooked to near perfection.  It was juicy without being greasy and held the pile of toppings thrown onto it without issue of falling apart.

On the side:  Seasoned potato wedges that were full of flavor and texture.

4 out of 5 stars

Demon Babies

Blappers

The not so great escape

Captain Dildo

Aion releases ver 1.9 patch notes

While these patch notes are for the Korean version of the game and not the NA version, there are plenty of changes that players have been asking for.  I'm particularly excited that now when I run an instance, I'm guaranteed that loot will drop.  I'm happy to see NC Soft communicating more with the player base.  Full list here:

Aion 1.9 patch notes

Achievments in gaming

Until 1999, I was a very causual gamer.  Hell, I wouldn't have even considered myself a gamer.  It was something to do when I was done with homework and there was nothing on TV.  I owned a NES, SNES, and N64, but I didn't own more than 10 games per system.  It wasn't until I saw a commercial for Final Fantasy VIII that I was truly excited for a game.  I purchased everything that had a hint of information.  I sat in awe each time I saw a trailer on TV or at the movies.  When release day finally came around, I went out and purchased it.  It was an overcast day and I had french toast with milk that morning.  I did all of this and I didn't even own a Playstation.  It took bartering and the loss of presents for my birthday and Christmas, but I did get one.  That was when gaming became something more to me.

From that opening cinematic to the finale, I had experienced something profound.  This was the first game I had played that was so story driven.  It was beautiful and perfect in every aspect.  From that day forward, I started reading game magazines regularly.  I broadened my horizons and tried new genres.  The Christmas that I unwrapped my PS2 was another hallmark in my journey of gaming.  The day I bought the last Dreamcast my town ever sold taught me the value of Sega.  These were times when I began to learn about the developers and publishers behind the games I loved so much. 

I finally made my move into this generation with the purchase of my Xbox 360 last April.  A few weeks later I took it online.  This was my first experience that connected gaming and the online world.  It was fascinating.  As I played my new games, I was greeted by the occasional pop up telling me I had done something worthy of note.  I was acheiving things with my gaming.  It felt wonderful, like a way to rate myself as a player.  Soon, I started buying more games and played them obsessively to unlock more of these acheivments.  Then one day, I stopped.  I sat back onto the couch and thought to myself, "Am I playing this for the enjoyment the game brings me?  Or am I playing it to ratchet up a score that ultimately means nothing?"

It was then that I remembered why I played games.  It brought me back to that kid who picked up a copy of FFVIII because he was so enthralled with the story it had to tell.  Every now and then I read about those obsessed with gamerscore or trophies.  They play games until everything is completed.  I have to wonder if they truly enjoy the game at that point or if it is a compulsion that drives them.  Is it a need to conquer or prove one's worth and aptitude to others?  I found myself going down that path, and thankfully I caught myself.  Still I wonder, at what point do you stop playing the game for enjoyment and start playing for the score?

Fair Play

Holy suck Batman!

Single Player Multiplayer

I have noticed a trend in games lately.  Well, I should say it isn't in games lately.  What I'm referring to is the lack of multiplayer.  Sure, most games flaunt the ability to connect and play with millions of users across the globe, but what about the person sitting next to you on the couch? 

It seems that while most games have a multiplayer mode, it is designed for only one player.  What happened to splitscreen play?  I'll use Aliens vs Predator as an example.  I was absolutely positive this game would have a local multiplayer.  A generic 2-4 player deathmatch.  It would be absurd for a game such as this to not include this obvious feature.  Yet, it turned out to be a single player experience through and through.  From the story to the online component, it's a singular experience.  Why?  What reason could there have been for excluding splitscreen play?

I recently purchased Borderlands and was thrilled to see that it included a local splitscreen experience.  Looking on the back of the box, it said four players were supported online.  I called my sister right away so that my gf and I could play with my sister and her husband.  Instead we were treated to another single player multiplayer experience.  While it is still a fantastic game, we were crushed that the four of us could not play together.  Why shouldn't we be able to?  It seems obvious that if a game supports local co op, it should support online four player.  Gearbox has said themselves that if demand was high enough, they would release a patch that allowed for splitscreen online play.  Looking on their forums and other sites, the demand is there but Gearbox hasn't said another word.

The scenario above is exaclty why I find this is such an issue.  I love to play games with my gf.  We occupy the same console.  This is also true for my sister and her husband.  We enjoy playing games together.  The big problem is, we live on opposite ends of the country.  Currently, there are only a few games we have that allow us to play together all at once (Halo 3, Gears of War 2, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Rock Band).  What happened to games where you and a few friends pile around the couch to play TOGETHER?  Instead, I find games moving towards this single player multiplayer.  Will developers realize that all gamers are not social outcasts who play games by themselves?

It seems that we have one of two choices with our consoles.  With the Wii, there are many games that support four player splitscreen and multiplayer.  The problem with the Wii is the lack of user friendly online play and pile of less than quality games.  There are the friend codes and the lack of chat that turn it into hassle.  The Xbox 360 and PS3 deliver what I consider to be a better online experience with chat and ease of joining/creating game sessions.  Where they tend to fall short is splitscreen online multiplayer.

I love my Xbox and the experience that Live provides.  Indeed it is the console that sees the most play in my house.  I just wish I could share it with more people.  I want to say to my gf, "Hey, come play this game with me."  Instead, she is forced to watch me play or we must take turns.  Gaming should be about bringing people together and sharing an experience.  Instead, developers are turning it into a singular experience.

It's True

A Heroic Trap

Epic

Forbidden Pleasures