Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bought Some New Games (Absolute Filler)

Thought I might throw it out there that i bought a bunch of new titles that may or may not be up for review.

PS2-Marvel VS Capcom 2 (Played a little, just for the Street Fighter characters)
PS2-Radiata Stories (unplayed)
PS2-Shadow of the Colossus (unplayed)
PS2-Silent Hill: Origins (Expect a first impressions entry for this abysmal piece of shit)
PS2-Silent Hill 4: The Room (unplayed)
Wii- Onechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers (I uh, don't own a Wii. I just loved the name so I bought it)
PC- Minecraft (A week of my life, gone)

And I still have several titles I've yet to play through but have been sitting on my shelf such as:

PS2-Shin Megami Tensei: Digital Devil Saga 1&2
PS2-Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

Hopefully I'll update a bit more frequently now that minecraft's addiction is letting up.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Comcast is the worst ISP in existence

I have fucking had it with my service provider. As a techie who has utilized Comcast for at the very least, 6 years, I think it's about time I shared my experiences with them.
Before I begin, I just want to note that I don't use Comcast willingly. There is no local alternative where I live, so I'm shit out of luck when it comes to a different service. So please keep that in mind before you tear me apart in my own comment section.

Anyway, on to Comcast. As I mentioned before, I've used it for about 6 years, at least that's how long I've used their internet service. Comcast is a provider that offers supposedly amazing customer service, quality assurance, and high speed internet that is always getting faster. None of this is true, not a single word of it. On the whole, I feel their customer service representatives and technicians alike, are entirely incompetent and incapable of doing their jobs, let alone providing customer service. I've dealt with these useless bastards regularly since I started using the service. Why? It never fucking works, Ever. Intermittency is what I have been getting all these years. The internet service only wants to work when it feels like it, and that is very rare. I have gone through at least 3 modems in the last 6 years. Not because of new models, or mandatory upgrades, but because all of them seem to suck and die. I find this interesting, because whenever you accuse the hardware of being the problem with your connection, the representatives automatically assume it is your own fault and the first thing they EVER want to do is reset it, and then send out a technician if it doesn't come on. Even if these methods get the connection working again, they do not grasp the obvious.

!Intermittency by definition means that said occurrence does not manifest continuously!

Comcast doesn't give a damn whether or not your service is intermittent. I have on countless occasions told them that Intermittency is my main problem. That, if they fixed it, or got it working I am sure it will start doing so again. (I have never been wrong in this regard, and my case history is littered with this statement)

If you tell comcast that you are having intermittency issues but you can currently connect, even slowly, this is what they will tell you. "All we can do is send a technician out to check on your connection and see if the modem is working properly". Now here are the issues with that:
-They are blaming your end, it is NEVER their fault.
-If they find something wrong with the connection such as a bad splitter, that they have installed or not. They will charge you for the visit.
-If the modem is at fault, and they can somehow pin the malfunction on you, you will be charged for the visit.
-You will be charged for the visit no matter what your case is
Regardless of what the technician does, whether it is switch out out all my cables, or my modem, or standing around with his thumb up his ass, the issue is never resolved. Also, I have been charged every single visit, even when it has been confirmed as their fault. Now at this point you could probably say "Well it has to be you then right? Nobody else has those problems".

Wrong. Nobody I've ever spoken to, locally or otherwise, has had a good experience with Comcast or their hardware. Their modems, are jokes. I ended up using a store bought one and that for the most part improved performance.  Oh yeah, performance, you'll love this.

Comcast advertises their speeds as lightning fast. Now, I don't pay for "Xfinity" or their fastest speeds, but I do have one of their faster services. But here's the thing, I'm sure it wouldn't matter if I were paying for a 12 meg connection, a 54, the one I am now, or a 1000 meg speed. Because what my speeds are now are:

That is pushing it I think. Because when I download something from say, Steam, an entirely legitimate source. I seem to be capped at around 130 kb/s. I've heard it's the same for everyone around here, so I'm not sure if it's just the local service trying to screw us over or not. But a couple years back, I got it on good authority that speeds in a central US state have the same issue. Comcast seems to think it's okay to limit connection speeds, despite what their customers pay for. They choke the hell out of all peer to peer connections, and do their best to make any form of heavy traffic physically hurt you. Now I'm not using some silly USB dongle (even though a grand majority of them are great), I'm using a linksys internal wireless card.  With, a top of the line linksys router, which I have tested connection speeds on and it is phenomenal. Nothing about my network cards are slow, I've let acquaintances leech directly from my modem and receive the speeds shown above. This is simply the quality of the service, Comcast provides you with.

Service... Customer service is what Comcast absolutely seems to press most. In their ads, in every media, that's what they are all about. Their 'excellent' and unmatched 24/7 customer service. First off, good luck getting hold of one of these assholes. When calling their number, you first have to deal with an automated system. This dreadful thing loves to repeat itself, and tell you to try their website chat for support when your internet is down. 
~fun fact: The system used to 'force' a remote reset of your modem if you said you were having internet issues. This modem is the same device that controlled your phone, see the problem? They eventually caught on and it is now an optional step.
If you somehow manage to get through the automated system, and the wait times, you have a 10% chance of getting a non-Indian representative. Please don't take that the wrong way, I have nothing against those from India, I just can't understand a word they say over the phone. But regardless of the accent, every representative is the same. Cold, heartless, and unhelpful. They will ignore any blatant knowledge you have and openly display when discussing your matter, and blame everything on you. They will defend their service to the end, and not even after going through an hour of troubleshooting will they admit that there may be an issue on their end. There is no such thing as rushed technician support either, a family member recently called them about having no connection and she was told that they would not send someone out until the next day. She explained that she was a retail manager, and a great portion of her job requires her internet to work. They in turn, informed her that she was SOL. So here is a summary. Comcast will not give you the service you are paying for, if you call and bring this up, they will not care, if you mention that your job relies on the service you are paying for but not receiving, this makes no difference. Isn't their customer service amazing?

If it wasn't already obvious from my rushed wording, bad grammar, sentence structure, and paragraph sizes, I wrote this as a spontaneous little vent. So please forgive the change in quality. But moreso, please consider all that is contained in this entry before considering Comcast as a service provider. Above all else, you should be fully aware of what you will get if you do so.

~as a sidenote, I'd like to thank whatever website hosted the picture I used as the header to this entry. I found it on google images, but didn't take the time to see from where.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things have been, "busy" lately. Here is some filler.

Since you all seemed to enjoy the JoshuaMorseMusic videos I shared last time, here is a sampler video he uploaded of his latest ventures.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Steel Lancer Arena International - A Brief SV-Mechanic's Guide

Picking your SV is an important decision that will greatly impact your success in Rumbling. The SV brand you choose can be the difference between constantly having 0 credits, and a full bank account with a nice set of medals. But where do you begin when choosing your make? Well, let's just take a look at what's available to you.

The Hartman Model~
Always a crowd favorite! Hartmans are the Heaviest SVs you can build. Excelling in armor, Firepower, and weapon versatility. Put one of these big boys on a crawler leg module, and you can pack some heavy ordinance ranging from multi-missile pods, to the Versatile Heavy machine gun, to the unique and powerful partical cannon. Aside from the prices of Hartman modules, many rumblers rely on this model as their victory machine.

The ZWERG Model~
Blocky, Robotic, Ugly, but carries a strange balance in firepower and speed. The ZWERG is oriented for mid to close range combat, with simple missile pods, and unique melee weapons capable of high damage, and EMP effects. The downside to these machines are their speed, they simply creep along with most weapon combinations but lack the armor to make up for it. A couple of toolkits and a reliable Optical Camofluage unit are a must to make these machines tough enough for high rank battles.

The Carro Model~
A classic and reliable SV. The Carro has no real strengths or weaknesses, and can be easily adapted via the available modules for it. Many rumblers rely on its Heavy machine gun arm module for swift damage. This model has a somewhat unruly melee weapon and it is not recommended to try and make use of it unless you are targeting slower SVs directly in front of you.

The KHT Model~
A marvelously balanced SV. If the Carro doesn't have what you are looking for in mobility, the KHT has you covered. One of these machines combined with a sturdy leg module such as a 4-Leg can carry up to 3 High output missile pods as well as a 4th weapon for versatility. The Chainsaw module for the KHT has a good horizontal swing to it making it easy to use, but difficult to hit shorter targets without more precise aiming.

The Proton Model~
The ultra-lite for the speed freak in all of us. What the proton lacks in armor, it makes up for in its outstanding mobility. It isn't uncommon to see these SVs stacked with OC units and short range weapons for stealthy and quick take downs. Another popular build for this model, is the combined power of Sub, Heavy, and Shot gun modules for high accuracy fast-damage. It takes considerable reflexes and strategy to make use of a Proton, but mastery over it can lead to victories at even the highest ranks.

-Now on to shoulder/arm modules. What good is an SV over a car if you don't have some firepower?

Sub Machine Guns - average to high powered burst shot weapon. Strong against units outside of OC.

Assault Rifle - Low to average constant damage. Good for sweeping at OC'd enemies to reveal them. One of the best weapons for dealing with wild SVs such as Dusters and Sweepers.

Heavy Machine Gun - Average to high powered constant damage. Not good at sweeping, but make excellent combination damage for taking down enemies quickly.

Melee - Melee modules are high damage weapons that take a good deal of accuracy and low distance to be made effective. All are recommended, but the ZWERG modules are easily the superior of them all with the ability to disable chip functions.

Armor - Armor Modules are not recommended, but can be useful if you want an extra bit of safety on light SVs such as the Proton or the KHT.

Missile - If you have a good targeting chip, missile pods can end an enemy fast. Their downside is their capability to miss even when locked, and their firing speed makes them somewhat difficult to utlize when cornered or being assaulted by faster SVs such as the proton.

Launcher - For those who don't approve of aiming. The Grenade launcher cause medium explosions capable of area damage but is poor in close combat or as a primary weapon.

Sniper Rifle - Got distance between you and your enemy? Hit them hard with the sniper rifle. This is obviously a poor close combat weapon, and has a low firing rate.

Wire Charge - The strategists weapon. Capable of damaging long stretches of land with both explosive and EMP damage. Difficult to aim, but a good weapon to master for both crowd control and chip disabling.

Partical Cannon - Fires a short beam at a low firing rate. Does whopping damage, but can become undercharged if used too frequently. These moments of disuse can make you a sitting duck, so this is not recommended as a primary weapon.

-What about option mods? You didn't think we'd leave them out did you?

OC Unit - Mandatory for survival and missile dodging. Turn yourself (mostly) invisible! A medium is generally the way to go, if you desire more OC stack a light or two on as well to save sockets.

Tool Set - Increases your armor at the price of weight.

Processor - Improves chip performance

Chips/Gems - Effect the usefulness of various systems and your OC length

Insurance - Winners never buy this item

Novelty toys - Up your weight

Stock Certificate - Vary in value day by day. Buy low, sell high! (No need to equip these items)

Paints and Decals aren't necessary, but you can look damn good at only a small price if you choose to use them. Keep an eye out for unique paint styles, and daily server decals.

Those are the basics! Now go forth with your new knowledge, and rise to Rank #1

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sorry for the wait, have some Rick

Been sort of busy over the past couple days, and I'm halfway through a couple of reviews. The next one is most likely going to be for the movie Cashback, so check back soon and in the meantime enjoy this video.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Afterthoughts on my own damn review.

After waking up today rejuvenated and thinking freely, I decided to read the Silent Hill review I posted up last night. Having done so I want to apologize for the obvious lack of quality in it. Clearly, it was unwise to write such a long artice in the pre-sunrise hours of early morning. Much of my wording was repetitive, I left out a great deal about what the psych profile system actually does, and I just feel it was an all around sub par piece of work.

I have since, redone some aspects of the review to make it something I have less problems with. I hope I've remedied most of the mistakes I made, and if you see anything in it, a typo, grammatical error, or even feel like it's missing some information you'd like to know more about, please, by all means comment and let me know.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories - Review

Before I begin, I just want to say that I have always been a fan of the Silent Hill series. When I first heard that they were remaking #1, I was admittedly skeptical. I was sure it would be nice to actually see well outside thanks to our current ability to render realistic fog, but would they ruin memorable aspects of the original game? Would this new game, feel foreign and bank only on nostalgic value to carry it through the modern market? Luckily, any skepticism I originally had, was shot dead shortly after more information was released online. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories was not to replace the game so dear to us, it was a retelling, a revisit to a scenario reflecting old characters, old places, and that familiar town we've all come to fear. Only this time, we have a new story, a new way to play, and a genuinely new title to add to the series.

For those of you who don't know the story of Silent Hill, I highly suggest taking a trip to The Silent Hill Wiki for a full grasp of what you missed out on. I will not at any point in this review, spoil important plot details for the original, nor this remake. It is entirely up to you to study up on them if that's what you please. A brief breakdown however, for those of you with little time, is this. You play as a father, Harry Mason, who has been involved in a car crash with his little girl Cheryl on board. When he wakes from the resulting knockout, he finds that his daughter is nowhere to be found. Obviously, he must now go to look for her, off the road, into the town, and through the hell inside it.

The game's mechanics are far different than you would expect from a Silent Hill retelling, let along a Silent Hill game at all. The biggest change I could note, was that combat has been entirely removed from gameplay. When encountering enemies, your options are simple. You must run, or be dragged to the ground by your pursuers, and forced to repeat from the beginning of that section of the game. While you cannot directly attack, or ever kill enemies, you have the ability to knock down debris behind you, or if you are lucky, find an emergency flare which gives you around 30 seconds of precious immunity. There are no game over screens, or trips to the title menu in Shattered Memories. I actually found there was a surprising lack penalty for the disregard of your safety in this game, and on reflection I can honestly say it was the easiest in the series. Other new features would include Harry's phone. It is a modern looking phone with a large bright screen, useful for taking pictures, receiving cryptic messages, displaying a map and making/receiving calls from other characters. All of these uses play their parts in the game, and I found myself dishing out memory card data just so I could keep pictures of things I thought might come in handy, which sometimes they actually did. The puzzles in this game were a bit simple, some didn't as much seem like puzzles as much as it did the game handing you the ability to continue down one linear path.

Something I should comment on alone, is the presence of monsters and "nightmare" sequences in this title. The trademark 'dark world' doesn't really exist in this title. When Harry is in danger, the world around him freezes over, making certain paths impossible to take, and generally creating a maze with only one possible exit. In these sequences, are the only times you must worry about hostile creatures. Only one monster exists in this addition to the series, and it in a way is simply you. The creatures you encounter are all of the same kind, a humanoid flesh colored species called Raw Shocks. Depending on how you play the game, their appearances will slowly start to reflect what ending you are going to get, and what kind of personality you are displaying. These can range from bloated disgusting creatures, to clearly feminine ones. In Nightmare sequences you goal is simple, reach the end, and solve a puzzle or two. These puzzles are usually exceedingly simple, and the only trouble I ever found myself getting into was being chased about in big circles. This, definitely added some dislike on my end. I felt having to stop in the 'Ice world' to pull out my phone and check my GPS was far too risky, and ended up making it through every nightmare on pure dumb luck. Overall, I felt these sequences were poorly done. Sometimes I found them more annoying than interesting or difficult, as if they were trying to waste my time rather than keep me entertained.

What it lacks for in difficulty however, it makes up for in it's new gimmick, the psych profile system. The bulk of it comes from your visits to the office of Dr. Michael Kaufmann, who in this game has a very different personality, the profession of shrink, and I dare say the owner of one of the most entrancing male voices I've ever heard. In your visits to Kaufmann's office, you will be given choices to make, or tasks to perform. The first, is a simple and very basic personality quiz. Others include the ability to sit down and color in a picture, or examine ink blots. Depending on how you behave in these visits, or even play the game, it will adapt to you and your playstyle. Simple behavior like messing about with toys, calling phone numbers spraypainted on walls or even simple dilly dallying will go to an invisible counter that slowly changes your game. A great deal is effected by this system, not only is the ending effected by your behavior, but the way characters look, act, their dialogue, and even your paths all change according to your own unique brand of gameplay. This was a great feature, one I haven't seen before. I suppose if you wanted to play dishonestly, the replay value in this simply to experience every version, would be nearly endless. I for one, have the exciting chance to play again, based more on my actual personality rather then my playstyle, which I think may have ruined some features for me. I got marked down for constant fiddling and time wasting, something I do habitually in survival horror and or puzzle games. The game even mentioned at the end, that it would be wise to go back knowing what you do after finishing, to try and really immerse yourself. Something I plan to do, right after this review.

As usual, the story, music, and setting of Silent Hill, is outstanding. A great deal of any bit of scare-factor is taken from this particular title, as is the ability to run about in large areas freely. Most of your paths are very linear, and what paths are not, usually exist in nightmare sequences where the areas can loop about in a long maze. The music is very mellow, and when it is not, it has that old Silent Hill feel to it, I definitely consider it well done. The characters, or at least, what characters I got to interact with in my playthrough, were very believable. I don't often get to say this, but everyone in the game seemed very real, which led me to several disoriented little jumps when interactions ended. As mentioned, the game is extremely easy, and unlike past titles, the controls were extremely smooth, making avoiding danger very simple. Aside from the very rare shock noises, or the chases, this is also a very non-scary game. Meaning those of you who dislike playing creepy titles like these simply because you don't like being frightened, may find this to be an excellent chance to finally experience Silent Hill. Overall, the game felt solid, despite being extremely short. Because I bought around 4 other games at the same time as this title, I was constantly taking breaks from it, and had I not, I'm fairly certain it could be completed in a single sit down.  It is however a great retelling, despite what few flaws it has, and to sum things up, I'd rate it with the following:

Story 10/10
Gameplay 7.5/10 (I like my games a bit tougher than this, you can call this an 8 if you forgive how easy it is)
Audio 10/10
Immersion 9/10
Graphics 10/10