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by Ethos

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!

Scatter Storming. Issue #045

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

We’re here, we’re creepin’ up on the ol’ 50 mark. How will Scatter Storming handle such an honour? We all know it will be disappointing, but in WHICH WAY will it be disappointing? That is the question. Anyhoo this is Issue 45, not 50, so I have the Ocarina of Time challenge that I talked about earlier today to get to.

Soooo, let’s get to it!

The Great Ocarina of Time Fail-Through

Earlier today, I randomly posted that I was going to attempt a one-sitting playthrough of Ocarina of Time.

Let me give a little bit of backstory first. First of all, it wasn’t quite as off-the-cuff as I made it seem. My roommate and I had been talking of a full playthrough for a while. He wasn’t as familiar with the game and I was craving to dive into Hyrule again.

I decided to play some piano and in the middle of the Kokiri Forest theme, my roommate says “Oh yeah! You want to play through Ocarina today?” So I got up, wrote that brief post you may see below, and booted up a new game.

Now, instead of relaying what actually happened, let me direct your attention to the prophetic comments that appeared on my post announcing my intentions. 7thCircle said:

Can we gamble on this? Can I bet that you don’t finish? Can we bet on when you give up? Deku Tree? Water Temple? The opening credits?

Cow said:

I too bet that you won’t beat it in one sit. You’ll get as far as the Water Temple like 7thCircle suggested. Then you will be like FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!11 And throw a baby against a wall in protest.

Screw you guys! I made it to the Fire Temple. NEITHER of you predicted that one, suckers. And I didn’t stop because I was out of stamina. I could easily beat the whole thing with the right willpower. But not only did my roommate – understandably – lose a bit of interest watching, and not only would the TV be occupied in a few hours for the Oscars, but I had some thoughts that were also foretold. 7thCircle said:

OoT might be a liiiiiittle long, though, and you’d be cutting out the meandering exploration that’s one of the game’s strengths. I don’t think sprinting through the temples like a spiritless machine will be much fun.

This is a screenshot of Ocarina of Time

I had these exact thoughts while blasting through it. While I was enjoying things like the incredible mood of the Forest Temple, and story points like the infamous bridge scene with Saria when Link leaves the forest, or Princess Ruto’s proud façade, I spent more time wishing that I could just dick around and waste time in Hyrule Castle Town or Kakariko Village.

I realized that too often I just rush and I was finally feeling the need to take my time and explore the game again. Re-find places and moments that I had forgotten. Which brings me to the final prophetic comment from Cow:

But… But why? Why would you do this NOW?! OoT 3DS is coming soon and it will be less impactful if you do this now!

Good point. Playthrough closed down. Resume later this year when I’m sure we’ll have an Ocarina of Time Week proper. And I’ve been waiting two years to have that Theme Week here at Riddlethos. And speaking here at Riddlethos…

Where the Crap is Lameish?

Seriously, I’ve even had people on twitter ask about the next iteration of Call Me Lameish. Sure, Riddles and I have been neglectful too, and Lameish has a band and is apparently leaving the continent very soon. Okay, so maybe he has some excuses, but Ethos however…

Where the Crap are the Remaining Awards, Ethos?

Yes yes. The Best Theme Weeks and Best of Lord Riddles awards still haven’t been awarded. They will be, shockingly, but obviously very late.

I had assumed that I would have easier access to a decent video camera given where I work and the type of friends I have, but apparently not.

Oh right, I plan to make these video features to make up for the tardiness. Also a video Spam Comment Roundup is planned. I would tell you to get excited, but I need a camera first. So let’s take the focus off my failures and put them onto Riddles…

Where the Crap are Riddles’ BttF Impressions?

The fool requested we extend the week because he still wanted to talk about the game. Well? It’s Sunday! WHERE ARE YOUR OPINIONS?! Stuck up there with my late awards and your late Dead Space 2 Review?

…Wow, why do people still read this site?

I guess it’s the watching-a-train-wreck-phenomenon

This is one of the great commentators for Pro StarCraft II matches in Korea

Starcraft II Update

Watching the GSL pro-gamers is still awesome.

I’m still awful, but slightly better than before. More to come.

OH RIGHT!

I started Warrior Within HD. It’s definitely a better port than Sands of Time, but so far it’s definitely not a better game. I truly can’t take it seriously. Women with massive breasts wearing barely anything but their weapons, horrible one-liners, melodramatic story without the sense of charm from the original. The platforming is more challenging, and I suppose the combat is a bit more interesting, but I’m not hooked yet. Especially not after remembering how much I loved Sands of Time by recently beating it.

That’s all for now, fuckers. I’m getting ready for Pokémon Week, and you should be too. Daily PokéParty Updates, and rabid fanboy impressions. I tried to get an early copy, but I didn’t show up to their event, so I felt like it’d be a dick move to press the matter.

Oh, and I was going to take a picture of me with my Bieber My Balls shirt for the cover, but I ran out of batteries for Oliver’s camera.

Oh, and obviously I didn’t watch the Oscars. I learned my lesson about award shows years ago. I’ll tune in if anybody I know personally is nominated.

BYE FOR REALZ

Hey! Look! Listen!

Friday, April 9th, 2010

HeyLookListenLogo1

OLIVER MOTOK IS WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING, ALWAYS.

Didn’t we just agree on the last award? Yes. Yes we did. I just wanted to start this off the same way he did. So Riddles and I are thinking about starting to officially split this feature. What do you guys think? Don’t worry, he’ll never get control of Scatter Storming again.

Anyhoo, a decent splooge of news on this fine Friday, and I’m pretty busy, so let’s get to it.

Heavy Rain Sells Over a Million

Woo.

I don’t really care, to be honest. I know Riddles and a bunch of people loved this game, but that “gameplay” really didn’t do it for me. Cool, intense, well-directed stuff, but I’m lukewarm on the – probably soon to be – series. Quantic Dream seemed surprised at the numbers, though. Founder David Cage admitted that he expected the Playstation exclusive to sell closer to 300 000 units at best, so all those Quantic Dream people are probably having a bunch o’ parties right about now.
(IGN)

Portal 2 on the PS3?

Now here’s some surprise PS3 news I can sink my teeth into.

It’s a surprise, of course, because Valve isn’t really known for giving the consoles – and Sony in particular – much love. The Orange Box was the worst on the PS3 and Valve didn’t really seem to care. But more importantly, when Portal 2 was announced in early March, only Xbox 360 and PC versions were mentioned. Now, this is still just a rumour because Valve still hasn’t commented, but UK Playstation gaming magazine, PSM3 has a cover story that reads “36 Must-Play PS3 Game” and as you can see below, Portal 2 is listed. This would be fantastic news as Portal – short as it may be – is easily one of my favourite games this generation, and Valve hasn’t been secretive in mentioning that they are loving the way the sequel is shaping up.
portal2
(IGN)

Pokémon Generation V Named. RACIST?!?!

Bah-ha ha ha.
Obviously not racist, but the newest games have been revealed to be titled “Black” and “White”, so I thought I’d try to stir up some controversy. No other details out yet, but the official site says that the wait won’t be long. Until April 15th to be exact.

I’m not sure if Nintendo was running out of ridiculous ways to name their games, or if Black and White are trying to indicate some sort of “back to the basics” mentality. Which wouldn’t make any sense because other than expected upgrades alongside handheld progression, the games haven’t changed at all. Oh well, we’ll see.
(IGN)

Gears of War 3 Announced. Oops.

Good ol’ 360 Dashboard. I don’t think this is the first time details about a major game have shown up there before they were supposed to. Anyway, while it’s down now, there was an announcement up for a time on the 360 Dashboard revealing an April 2011 release for Gears of War 3.

Now, I’m a mild fan of these games, but the timing of that date in conjunction with Natal’s holiday release, and the weird comments about RPG elements entering the gameplay that have drifted from Microsoft have turned me off a bit since polishing off Gears 2. Also, the match-making really sucked. So much for Gold subscription costs going to a unified, stable, and reliable online service. Anyway, now that the cover is blown, I’m sure we’ll hear more about this game very soon.
(IGN)

Hells yes

Hells yes

Because I Can – Green Day: Rock Band Track Listing Revealed.

I fucking love Green Day. Another one of those rare things that unifies Riddles and I is our shared love for this band that seems to split audiences into being a rabid fan or an extreme hater.

Whatever the case, I like the direction they’re taking with Green Day: Rock Band by including (almost) three full albums right off the bat. I say almost because all of Dookie and American Idiot will be available right from the get-go, whereas a third of 21st Century Breakdown will be day one DLC. Which actually makes a bit of sense because most of those tracks are already available for download, and knowing the way Rock Band works, you’ll likely be able to carry those tracks over to play with the new disc seamlessly if you already own them.

There’s more DLC planned, and a few other tracks from other albums so head over to IGN if you’re interested in perusing the entire track listing. I’m excited, I haven’t played music games in ages, and I kinda miss them.

Well! There you go! Do I do the job well enough? I have a billion other things to do today, so there won’t be much of an outro.

Out!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Friday, December 11th, 2009

HLLfinal

Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the 31st editon of Hey! Look! Listen!

Man, can you believe we’ve put out 31 of these things? I can’t. I say “we” because, shamefully, Ethos has been forced to step in at a few different times in the past. Regardless, it’s a fairly impressive feat. Let’s see if we can’t keep it up.

Introductions! My name is Oliver “Riddles” Motok, and I just got done eating some delicious Chinese food at Chef Wang’s. Silly name aside, that place is standalone proof that there is some culture in Murfreesboro. Or decent Chinese food, at least.

But I tarry. Let us proceed to the odds and ends I’ve assembled today.

New Final Fantasy XIII TV Spot

I figured I’d start today off with something exciting. This TV spot is short, uninformative, and in Japanese. However, it’s also quite pretty, and is composed of almost entirely new footage.

Shitty pop song is… shitty.

ffxiiiFinal Fantasy XIII Is Not Perfect, According to Famitsu

Given how rarely they USED to award perfect scores, Famitsu’s gone a little overboard with the 40/40 rankings in the last few years, at least in my opinion. I think they know it too; and perhaps it’s just my suspicious little mind at work, but I almost feel like that’s the ONLY reason they awarded Final Fantasy XIII the just-short-of-perfect score of 39/40.

Three reviewers gave it a perfect 10, while one fucker just had to go against the tide and give it a 9. Here’s some of what he had to say:

“Unquestionably the highest echelon of event and movie scenes. Moreover, changing Optimas on a dime, the varied abilities and being able to use multiple magics at once bring real exhilaration to the battles. That high quality is unfortunately offset by a story that stays linear until the midway point. The lack of gimmicks during the middle of the game also worried me.”

Maybe we can chalk it up to a poor translation, but his complaint over a “lack of gimmicks” makes no sense. Neither does his comment on the “linear” storyline. Last I checked, FFXIII was a Square Enix RPG. Not sure what he was expecting.

I know it sounds like I’m angry that FFXIII wasn’t given the “prestigious” 40/40. I actually could care less, I’m just a little confused by the above paragraph. Also, I really do get the feeling that a 40/40 was purposefully avoided, for one reason or another. (Final Fantasy XIII.net).

gameinformer - CopyDead Space 2 Details Emerge from Game Informer

My life, people. My stupid subscription expires the month before the only cover story I’ve cared about all year is published. “Sigh” doesn’t even begin to describe it. But while I may not have a copy of the mag, IGN does, and they were nice enough to sum up the more relevant points of the article.

The biggest change, reportedly, will be the location. Instead of a cramped spaceship, Isaac will be navigating a massive space-station, aptly named Sprawl. A change in location is absolutely necessary; I just hope Visceral manages to create the same sense of unease that came with the Ishimura’s darkened hallways.

In other news, Isaac will, in fact, have a voice in Dead Space 2. Like, a voice that speaks lines of dialogue.  ”He’s a little bit more of a veteran, and he’s going to have a voice,” executive producer Steve Papoutsis told Game Informer. “He’s going to relate through dialogue and story, and have more of a take-charge attitude this time around.”

Hm. I tentatively approve of this decision, I just hope Isaac doesn’t spend too much time talking to himself. It could work against the game’s atmosphere.

According to IGN’s paraphrasing, Visceral will be adjusting the pacing of the sequel so that players don’t feel “vulnerable throughout the entire game.” In fact, at times players will feel “superior.”

Maybe, hopefully, something was lost in translation, but that information right there is not entirely welcome to me. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a sense of hopelessness and vulnerability all but defines the survival-horror genre. When I play Dead Space, I don’t want to feel like I can take on anything; I want to feel like surefire death is around every corner. I recognize it’s a little early to get up-in-arms now, though. I’ll wait until I see more from the game.

Finally, the combat in Dead Space 2 will remain largely the same, utilizing the same system of strategic dismemberment. And as rumored, there will be an online component to the game. No details were offered, though, other than the expected – you’ll be able to strategically dismember your friends. And hey, that could be fun. (IGN).

ps3slimPlayStation 3 Hardware Sales Still Unprofitable

We all know that Sony’s doing a lot better in the console race these days than they have in the past, but the question of whether or not they’re turning a profit has remained untouched until now.  And sadly, the answer is still “no.”

iSupply, an electronic market research and consulting firm, recently came out with a report on Sony, their PS3, and all costs involved. And to be sure, what they have to say is largely positive. First, manufacturing costs for the PS3 have been cut down to roughly $336.27 per console, which amounts to a loss of USD $31.27 for each system sold. Now, compare those to numbers from October of 2008, when the PS3 cost $100 more, and Sony was losing $49.72 on each system sold.

“In light of these factors, the PlayStation 3 probably is already at or near the tipping point for profitability,” said Andrew Rassweiler, director and principal analyst for iSuppli. So yeah, Sony’s still losing money on the PS3. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and they’re shooting for it. (iSupply, IGN).

Arkham Asylum PS3 Sales Surpass 360 Sales

On that note, let’s have some more positive PlayStation tidings! According to the ever-watchful NPD group, the PS3 version of the AWESOME Batman: Arkham Asylum has sold about 10,000 more units than the 360 version has. Apparently the PS3 versions free DLC , which allows you to play as the Joker in challenge rooms, made all the difference. Makes sense, I suppose. I bought the PS3 version, but I never even looked at the DLC. I don’t really count, though, because I buy almost all multiplatform games for the PS3. (IGN).

Dante’s Inferno Gets Special Souped-Up PS3 Edition

Jeeze, the PlayStation 3 is just on a roll in my column today. EA has recently announced that PS3 owners will be receiving a “Divine Edition” of their upcoming action game based on the classic writings of Dante. The Divine Edition will come with developer commentaries, a Wayne Barlowe digital art book, the soundtrack to the game, and a digital copy of the complete Longfellow translation of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno. And best of all, it keeps it’s $59.99 price tag intact. Yes, 360 owners, EA just told you to go fuck yourselves in the most graceful of ways. Be enraged. Oh, wait… I probably don’t have to tell you that. Anyway. Check out the FREAKIN’ SWEET boxart below. (IGN).

dantesinferno

Seriously, this boxart makes me more excited for the game than anything else has.

Let’s End This on a Hilarious Note…

I’m guessing this video was from the late 90s, because if my memory serves me, that’s when every single parental figure in my life was trying to tell me that Pokemon was a craft of Satan himself. Lucky for them, I never really gave a shit about it anyway, but I still found their desperate attempts to make me despise it humorous. ALMOST as humorous as this video. Enjoy! (Everything is Terrible).

That’s all for now, Ladies and Gents. I enjoyed writing, as always, and I can only hope you enjoyed reading. ‘Till next time!