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            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

PokéParty Update 03 – Smugleaf Edition

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I’m on a roll today. Enough content in one day from one person as we usually crank out in a week. And I’ve been working all day. FUCK laziness. I haven’t even had time to eat lunch today.

Sandile lvl 24 – I just added this into my party, hence the lower level. Yes it’s sad, but I had to ditch Liepard. It was a badass, and strong enough, but I can’t deal with single types. And by only evolving once, that makes it a little weaker in the long run.

Sandile is not only a dual-type, but I cheated a little to confirm that it evolves twice. I don’t know what the final evolution looks like, but I’ve seen its first evolution in game, so I’m not worried. But what I am worried about is…

Palpitoad lvl 28 – Look at this ugly-ass mother fucker. Not only did I not expect this dude to be so hideous, but I didn’t even notice that he’s a dual Water/Ground-type until I already switched out Liepard for Sandile. Ugh.

So the point is that I don’t care that it evolves again, I’m getting another Water-type as soon as I can. I don’t care if this abomination is strong or has a powerful dual-type.

Conkeldurr lvl 28 – Yup, I skipped a step. While remaining relatively spoiler-free, I do get paranoid about how the new Pokémon evolve. So while I don’t look at pictures or names, I try sneak a peak on Bulbapedia from time to time to see if my team evolves by level, stone, trading, or other means.

That turned out to be very helpful in this case because the moment Tumburr evolved into whateverthefuck its evolution is, I traded it to Abe80 to make it evolve into this beast and traded it right back. Just a solid fighting type who gets the job done.

Also, his name is Conkeldurr. CONKELDURR.

Zebstrika lvl 28 – I was right. Look at this warrior. I know I just mentioned that a single-evolution Pokémon wasn’t as strong, but I’m willing to make an exception with Zebstrika.

Beautiful, bold, powerful, badass. While I like to make my party as efficient as possible with dual-types, Electric-types are usually an exception. Water and flying are just too common, and Electric is just too powerful. That fighting beast I just drooled over a second ago is more at risk than Zebstrika is, to be honest.

Tranquill lvl 28 – Not much more to say here.

I mean, like Abe80 pointed out, we should all be a little uncomfortable with the pose its making with its wing in this photo…

…I’m still holding out hope that its final evolution will somehow be pretty. But I’m a little scarred after that Water/Ground nightmare above.

I just…I won’t know what to do if I don’t have my Flying/Normal-type in my Elite Four party…

Smugleaf lvl 27 – Smugleaf will rip open your chest and suck out your arteries. Smugleaf will enjoy your brain as noodle soup in front of your family. Smugleaf will steal your girlfriend and make her forget you so fast that she won’t recognize you ever again. Not if you re-introduce yourself. Not if she ends up being your boss and sees you every day. You are GONE from her brain.

Don’t fuck with Smugleaf.

The final form of Smugleaf is coming…

…Be prepared.

Also

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Read this.
I brought this up a while ago on Riddlethos, and I’m with the author 100%. There is deep rooted sexism everywhere, even with the best of intentions.
#TheLastGuardian #GenderEquality #TeamICO

Ethos’ Hype List: Arkham City

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

More fake badass boxart

There actually isn’t too much I have to say about Arkham City.

I haven’t been eating up the details, I haven’t been jumping in my seat over screen shots. I haven’t been thinking about it or talking about it unless someone else brings it up.

But that’s the way it was for Arkham Asylum as well. I don’t give two shits about Batman as a character or superhero, and so I didn’t follow that game in the slightest.

Yet it was an extremely pleasant gaming experience for me. So it’s nice to have a title coming up that I’m not going to spoil for myself, not going to be tempted to spoil for myself, yet know that I’ll enjoy playing quite a bit.

And this time I won’t be stupid enough to buy it for XBox.

Anticipation Level: 17/27

Ethos’ Hype List: Skyward Sword

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Argh, it’s Wednesday and I missed my PokéParty Update yesterday, and Dragon Age 2 is out and awesome, and I still want to finish this hype list and Wednesdays are my busiest days at work. WHY CAN’T I JUST BECOME GOD AND DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE?!

Oh right, because there is no God.

CONTROVERSIAL.

Also fake boxart.

Skyward Sword is going to be so awesome and so dumb.

Let’s face it, for all the deserved shit that Nintendo gets for all their shitty shit, their prized franchises are always top-notch.

People, including me, complain that Twilight Princess was just a vapid Ocarina with better dungeons and a worse mood and overworld. But all I’m drooling over in this hype list is sequels and more-of-the-sames. But with Zelda, there’s so much time in between.

So why are we so much harder on that franchise for delivering more awesome game when we’re cool with Nathan Drake shooting dudes in the face and swooping Elena off her feet every two years?

Well, Zelda’s been around for 25 years. There’s that. Ocarina of Time was so critically acclaimed that every game after is going to have more critical eyes than usual.

Oh, and Nintendo doesn’t really have new IPs to offset it, so just churning out more Mario and Zelda garners some more scrutiny than other publishers.

But this is turning into more of a Sunday Soapbox. The real questions are: Am I hyped for Skyward Sword? To what extent? Why or why not?

I’m definitely wary of the heavy focus on motion control. Granted, I haven’t had too much experience with WiiMotionPlus, and the experiences I did have proved that the overpriced fix does work.

Ugh, I don’t know. The dungeons in Twilight Princess really were the shit. And I really do dig the art style. And Nintendo did create a masterpiece with Super Mario Galaxy 2, so they’re capable of making a good hardcore game; even one with some legitimate challenge.

Skyward Sword will be easy I imagine, unlike some of the later challenges in Galaxy 2, but I’m far more concerned with this being Nintendo furiously beating a dead horse. And the horse surprisingly isn’t the Zelda formula. It’s that motion gaming is the way to go.

But when Sony’s Move functions better and can be used with GAMES THAT CAN BE DISPLAYED IN HD, I find it difficult to get excited about Link engaging in more realistic swordplay.

Which is truly too bad. I think the concept is actually intriguing at the base.

So basically I agree and disagree with EVERYTHING I just said and I’ve arrived at no conclusion. You’re fucking welcome for letting me waste your precious time.

Anticipation Level: I honestly have no fucking idea/27

Ethos’ Hype List: The Last Guardian

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

I'm fairly certain this is NOT official box art

If you remember, this game was actually in my “games with hesitations” list at the beginning of the week.

But unlike my hesitations for Infamous 2 and Uncharted 3, this time I’m only trying to protect myself. Shadow of the Colossus is probably the last game I remember that not only lived up to my incredible hype, but exceeded that hype. I know already that my expectations are too high for this game.

I suppose I’m also slightly thrown off by the more enclosed spaces and the presence of more enemies in comparison to SotC. Although I’m glad that it’s trying to be its own game.

I’m less nervous about the cat/griffin/bird thing (known as Trico) needing constant care now. I was initially worried that I’d have to maintain it like some well-animated Tamagotchi, but that’s not the way it’s being described now. It feels more like building a relationship. Kinda like in Dragon Age, but instead of dialogue choices, Trico will respond to everything you do.

Or maybe it’ll be annoying as shit, but who knows.

In fact, I expect to be frustrated at times, but will that be defendable within the context of the game? We all get annoyed at the ones we’re closest to, and there are always hurdles in a new relationship.

That being said, I think that point can only be argued if the other sides of the relationship are equally rewarding, or even more so. And if the frustrations come from Trico’s personality and not poor game mechanics.

Hell, writing this article is making me excited. Back to Dragon Age for me. It’s awesome, by the way.

Anticipation Level: 25/27

Ethos’ Hype List: Uncharted 3

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Cool guys don't look back at explosions

I really want to get through Uncharted 3, The Last Guardian, and Skyward Sword, so I’m going to add them all to my hype list by the end of the day and then change the banner/theme week.

A little ironically, I actually worked 6 days last week, and am also working more than usual this week, so the “Riddles works a lot more than I do” sentiment – while usually true – isn’t as true this month.

ANYWAY, Uncharted 3. Yeah, it’ll be good. Nathan Drake will be witty, get himself into tricky situations, kill lots of people, perform acrobatic moves, and be an all around badass mother fucker.

I don’t know, I’m just not feeling it yet. I suppose I have a strange relationship with the Uncharted series. I’ve actually never bought one, I’ve only had a total of three sit-down sessions playing the series, and yet I feel like I need this to be the last one.

I’m really not sure what’s causing my hesitation with this game, but I have yet to actually be hyped for it. However, I know it’s very likely that I’ll have another marathon playthrough and love every minute. I also like the look of that villain chick.

But as it stands, it’s down on the list for me.

Anticipation Level: 12/27

3/7/2011

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Well, I feel gypped.

Why? I just paid $6.99 for the recently-released Dead Space 2 add-on, Severed. Two new chapters! Play as a new character! Sounds groovy, right? Wrong. It is not groovy. In fact, it’s a bit of a damn disappointment.

Severed puts you in the shoes of Gabe Well, a Titan security officer who is desperately trying to reach his wife during the Necromorph outbreak. What ensues is two chapters in which you re-tread levels from the Dead Space 2 campaign. No, seriously. You walk backwards through them this time, but that does nothing to hide the fact that they’re the same exact levels from the campaign. It feels a bit cheap. Especially since it’s all extremely straightforward; the gameplay in Severed stays strictly focused on combat. There’s nary even a hacking mini-game, except for one at the end.

However, in its focus on combat, Severed can be entertaining. The super-satisfying limb-blasting combat is still here, and it’s still great. There are some decently challenging and hectic encounters in Severed, I will concede. However, none of it is particularly difficult – on normal difficulty, I only died once or twice.

But yeah. It can be entertaining, but it is not worth seven dollars. No sir. Not at all. I recommend against buying it. You’d honestly be better off just replaying some levels from Dead Space 2.

Ahem. But yeah. Aside from that. Dragon Age 2 comes out tomorrow.

Actually, it comes out in like 33 minutes. I don’t have it reserved, though, so I’ll be waiting until tomorrow morning to get my copy. I don’t work until 5 p.m. so that’ll give me a good chunk of time to play  it.

And in other news… the Crysis 2 demo is fun. Looks to be far more promising than Bulletstorm.

That’s all for now. I’m still alive, well, and occasionally playing games. What more can a man ask for, eh?

~Riddles

PokéParty Update 02 – Smugleaf Edition

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Pokémon Week starts next week, and I’d still like to put a few more titles on my hype list, but here’s your quick Party Update.

Liepard lvl 22 – Well what do you know? That cute little cat did end up looking badass. It was actually a bit of a bitch to train up to this point. But it’s pulling its weight around a little better now.

I’m still hesitant, however. I can’t keep it around just for aesthetics, especially when it’s just a Dark-type with no second type to round out my team. Especially especially when I just caught a Dark/Fighting type. Liepard is really cool, but she’s on the fringe right now.

Timburr lvl 22 – Speaking of Dark/Fighting, this dude is just a Fighting-type. I like efficiency in my team, but I’m attached to the gal. Based on Pokédex logic, it looks likely that she evolves twice as well.

Argh, I forgot how tough a time I had managing my party. It’s especially difficult with new ones of which I’m not sure of the potential. I really, really like this new batch. I’m running into far more awesome designs than duds. Even the Bug-types are cool this generation.

Tympole lvl 22 – Can anybody say Poliwag? But dumber looking? I ditched that stupid monkey thing and when Lillipup evolved (into something less cool than I expected) and when Patrat evolved (into something more awesome than I expected), I ditched them like I said and picked up this likely-to-be triple-evolution as well.

He’s on thin ice, though. I’ll drop and replace based purely on aesthetics if he doesn’t look cool. Yup, I’m that PokéShallow.

Blitzle lvl 22 – This is the badass I was talking about in the last update. This picture doesn’t do her justice. She kicks ass and takes names. She’s a fucking electric zebra for fuck’s sake!

I can just imagine that Blitzle will evolve into the Electric Rapidash. Elegant. Powerful. Beautiful. I will settle for nothing less.

Tranquill lvl 24 – What an ugly bitch Pidove turned out to evolve into! Definitely no chance of him leaving, however. If you’ll notice, he’s the only one to not be level 22. I generally like to keep the levels no more than 1 apart. My OCD flares up otherwise. But Tranquill is definitely powerful, and my current best bet against Bug and Grass-types. Man, I need a Fire-type. I found one, but it’s stupid.

Let’s just hope that this stupid thing doesn’t somehow continue to get uglier.

Smugleaf lvl 22 – Still Smugleaf. Still awesome. Evolved. Gunna beat you up. Gunna make you feel like dirt. Gunna tear out your esophagus without hesitation and laugh while you writhe around in the dirt in complete agony. Smugleaf will defeat you. And Smugleaf knows it. Do not fuck with Smugleaf.

That’s that!

I mean, I could also talk about how Awesome Hat is a much better movie than the trailers would suggest. Especially because they seem to call it “The Adjustment Bureau” for some reason. It’s nothing spectacular, but it’s funny and the lead actors’ chemistry is great.

Scatter Storming. Issue #046

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Well folks, I’m tearing myself away from the INFINITE AWESOME that is Pokémon: Smugleaf Version to give you all a Scatter Storming. I actually have lots to get to, so let’s do it!

Updated Dragon Age 2 Hype

So since its addition to the hype list, I completed the Dragon Age 2 demo and then went back and played a good 5 hours more of Origins. After that experience, I’m a lot less worried about the series getting the Mass Effect 2 treatment.

By that I mean that the battle system hasn’t really changed at all. I mean, the moves are flashier, but you’ll still die if you just mash “attack”, you’ll still do a lot better if you manage your abilities and your party’s abilities, but now being a mage is completely badass.

Not just that, but – unlike Mass Effect 2 – the leveling up actually seems to be MORE complex when compared to its predecessor. A level will still just produce 3 skill points to be distributed how you’d like to your stats, but the skill tree is more interesting now. Or at least it seems to be at first sight. This IS just a demo we’re talking about.

Also, the demo doesn’t allow access to the inventory screen, so I hope that hasn’t been nerfed. Based on the other menu screens, and the loot I was picking up, I’m not too worried about that.

What I’m not too found of is the switch to the Mass Effect style main menu. I never liked it in the Mass Effect series and I don’t like it now. The old menu interface sufficed just fine.

One double-edged change is the new graphical style. Playing the two games so close, I have to say that while there’s not a huge difference in the visuals, Dragon Age 2 is slightly more stylish, and it’s largely the better for it. Environments seem to have the potential to be more interesting, and character models have a bit more flair.

No. I mean, yes, but no.

Although that’s where the other edge comes in. I’m a boob guy, anybody can tell you that, but when every female character has a bust that could have kept the Titanic afloat, I’m taken out of the experience a bit. Stylish is cool, guys, but let’s have a small sense of believability please.

Anyway, the final noticeable change is the dialogue wheel. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the dialogue wheel, and that I prefer that the main character talks now. However, I did like that Dragon Age was different from Mass Effect in the sense that “good” and “evil” wasn’t really the point of your decisions. It had way more to do with how the people around you perceived you and individual relationships.

And while upper choices will still tend to be noble and lower choices will make Hawke (the protagonist) be a prick, each decision had a symbol to accompany it. And there were more than 3 different symbols. This not only implies that there’s more than just “good”, “bad”, and “neutral”, but will hopefully alleviate some confusion if you’re not sure how your choice is going to be perceived.

My dive back into Origins made me really excited for Dragon Age 2, especially after that promising demo. The demo didn’t seem to run too much better than the original – despite Riddles’ claim otherwise – although the framerate definitely didn’t screech to a halt at any point like Origins had a habit of doing. Speaking of Riddles…

I’m cutting him some slack

Yup, it’s true. I know it’s fun to poke fun of him and call him a lazy fuck, but the truth is that he literally works twice the number of hours that I do during the week. It’s nice when he’s able to show his face around here, but it’s understandable that I’m going to be posting a lot more than him when he’s working this much. I love the little guy and don’t want him to break his spirit!

PokéParty Update 01 – Smugleaf Edition

Yup, it might be Pokémon Week next week (don’t worry, Dragon Age is getting its own week after that), but I got the game today and so I’m giving you the first update now, bitches!

Purrloin lvl 13 – Oh man! A dark-type this early in the game? Sign me up, cuz! Maybe it’s a cute little cat, but I’m sure it evolves into some ugly badass dark type. Or if I’m lucky, it’ll still be cool-looking. And don’t let me know! I know I might be spoiling to even have this list, but I’ve been so good at evolution spoilers. I’ve only looked up the starters to make sure that Smugleaf turned into the best one too. It did, of course. By far. Smugleaf for president.

Panpour lvl 13 – I was just given this fucker. Like, I didn’t have to catch it. I didn’t have to battle for it. It was handed to me by an apparently very stupid character. It’s a water-type, so I’ll take it. Not sold on her yet, but we’ll see. I’m sure she’ll stick around until I either warm up to her or find something way more badass.

Smugleaf lvl 12 – Smugleaf now. Smugleaf forever. Smugleaf is the greatest starter Pokémon and will be until the end of time. Nothing could have ever convinced me to go with a Grass-type starter until Smugleaf’s existence. Smugleaf evolves into some certified badasses, but even then, it will still be Smugleaf. Do not fuck with this Pokémon. Smugleaf will take you out and give you a permanent and significant inferiority complex at the same time. Do you hear me? You’ll be concussed and convinced that hobos are better at life than you. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

Lillipup lvl 13 – What a cute li’l guy! Because there are no older Pokémon mixed in with the over 150 new ones during the main quest, there are all-new replacements for the typical Rattata-esque Normal-type dudes you catch at the beginning. There’s no way this guy and his inevitable evolution will stay in my party for long, but it’s my first playthrough. He’s getting his 15 minutes. Plus, I like him a lot better than…

Patrat lvl 13 – This guy is the new Bidoof, but somehow not nearly as ugly. She’s just as strong though, and actually my current go-to powerhouse Pokémon if I want to end a battle quickly. Still, just like Lillipup, Patrat will only be around until it evolves. Especially because I’ve already caught the most badass Pokémon ever, just waiting to join my party after I’m done with my OCD training of these two normal types.

Pidove lvl 13 – I’m assuming this is the new Pidgey/Starly, and I’ll keep him around until the Elite Four after which it will have evolved twice. It’s cute, but I’m doubtful that it will top the Starly trio. Sorry Pidgey. I know you have nostalgia on your side, but Starly kicks your ass. We’ll have to see about Pidove, though. I can’t imagine how this thing will evolve into something that rivals Pidgeot, not to mention Staraptor.

Anyway, unlike a typical second playthrough, my party is maxed out. I’m too excited about the new creatures. I can’t wait until my next update when it will include the badass Pokémon I talked about. Plus ones I have no idea about! Smugleaf forever!

Ethos’ Hype List: Mass Effect 3

Wow, I’ve already written a lot, so I’ll keep this semi-brief.

I really liked Mass Effect 2, and it was my favourite game of last year, but I easily prefer the first entry. Better worlds, better exploration, better near-end game, better RPG mechanics, the Mako dune buggy, and deeper battle system. Especially if you play as an adept, like me.

Still, the second game had incredible writing, a much stronger cast, better pacing, and some jaw-dropping moments.

Make Mass Effect 3 the best of both worlds, plz.

Of course, there’s always the possibility that it’ll just be even more watered down. That would suck.

Anticipation Level: 21/27

Oh man, that’s it for me. I wrote more than I expected, and I think I had more planned. Still, that’s a lot and I was taken out for dinner by a friend half-way through, so I’m pooped. Seriously, he treated to me to a delicious feast. Talk about unexpected and amazing. Goodnight, assholes!

Ethos’ Hype List: Infamous 2

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

This box art makes me nervous.

Well I’m hungover and in the midst some life drama, so let’s try to pump out another one of these, shall we? Sounds like it’s the perfect time for that.

Infamous is the game that convinced me to buy a PS3, and the second retail title for the system that I completed before I owned a PS3 myself.

The game starts off quite weak, to be honest, but the most impressive part of the game was how it continued to be more and more fun the deeper I got instead of the typical opposite.

Cole’s increasingly badass powers made exploration and combat a constant thrill. The production values during storytelling left much to be desired, and the ending stunk, but the gameplay more than made up for it.

When I played the demo back in October, I wasn’t too impressed. And that’s still what holding me back from being over-the-top frothing-at-the-mouth for this game.

While some sequels make leaps and bounds from the original to turn shit into gold (Assassin’s Creed), others forget what made the first one so beloved and turn the series into something vastly different (last gen Prince of Persia).

But Sucker Punch isn’t Ubisoft, and Sly 2 was a sequel that was different but better, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt in this case.

Plus, demos are like movie trailers, they often don’t give you a proper idea whatsoever.

In short, I’m looking forward to this one, but I’m prepared to be disappointed by too many tone and gameplay changes.

Anticipation Level: 17/27