Monday, November 06, 2006

Gears of Commerce

Greetings friends and neighbors and welcome to the first November post. This November is shaping up to be the cruelest month, in terms of cash outlay. In fact, this week alone has a barrage of retail offerings like none I have seen in recent memory. Between Gears of War, Tony Hawk's Project 8, Call of Duty 3, FEAR, Guitar Hero 2 and Elite Beat Agents, you're looking at a cash outlay of three hundred and twenty five American dollars. Granted, three of those games are niche games for those who long to skate, rock out and beat elitely, but even if you just like straight up shooting shenanigans you're looking at 180 bucks. More if you can't resist the super collector's editions with their art books and their shiny tins.

Next week brings the PS3 with it's $500 minimum price tag. The weekend after that is the Wii at $250 for the console and upwards of $180 to allow others to play with you. With the Wii, you could get away with just purchasing the console as long as you're content to bowl and play other sports until you can save up enough to buy some other games, but with the PS3, unless you're lucky enough to score a Blu-Ray copy of Talledega Nights in the box, you may want to purchase some games for your newfangled video game player.

By my estimation, the only way you could play everything that will be available by the end of this month would be to have the gift of foresight and seen these times in a vision, so that you started squirreling money away several years ago. For those of us who are not prophets, well, renting games is always an option, as is selling bodily fluids.

As for me, I'll most likely be picking up Gears of War. Guitar Hero 2 will have to wait until the 360 version is available, or until my steely resolve crumbles in the face of the game's barrage of rock. Call of Duty 3 and FEAR won't be gracing my disc tray any time soon but are viable Christmas options. My Wii is half paid off and Zelda is fully purchased, so have no fear on that account, however extra remotes are in no way definite purchases.

Speaking of Zelda, that sound you heard over the weekend was the sound of millions of gamers breathing a collective sigh of relief. Various gaming journalists were allowed an appreciable amount of time with the game last week in Redmond and they all came back with tales of gaming excellence and, most importantly, a control scheme that did not suck. This was my biggest fear, that the Wiimote control scheme would feel tacked on and well, silly. It would appear my fears were ungrounded. Halleluja. Hopefully other games are similarly well controlled as I don't think I can justify a $250 purchase for just Zelda, as much as it pains me to say it, and with a play time of roughly 70 hours, I can't purchase the console, play the game and then return the hardware. Tough decisions lay ahead should every game but Zelda suck the big one.

I have been spending an astonishing amount of time with Marvel Ultimate Alliance and I have some tips for you. First of all, make sure you want to play as all of the heroes in your team. Here's why. As you progress you'll be able to use Xtreme powers, which can only be triggered once you've built up enough momentum. You build up momentum by using non-special powered attacks. The AI is pretty durn smart about using special powers, so if left to their own devices, your teammates will always use special powers and never build up enough momentum to use their Xtreme powers. So, in order to use everyone's super special powers, you'll need to take control of each person on the team and beat the snot out of things. The added bonus to having everyone all supercharged is that if one person's powers trigger, all of the powers will trigger, causing a play of destruction in 4 acts.

My other tip to you is to not use any of the cheat codes save for the codes to unlock Daredevil or the Silver Surfer that you got when preordering. Allow me to tell you my tale of woe. As you progress through the game you can unlock various costumes for the heroes. These costumes can be upgraded by purchasing points. Unlike skill points for your powers, once you purchase these points, they can not be reassigned, so you need to make sure that the outfit you're powering up is the one you're going to stay with. Me being the idiot that I am, I put in the code to unlock all of the outfits so that I could make sure that the outfits my heroes were wearing were the ones I wanted to start upgrading. Little did I know, this bout of curiosity would cost me all of my future achievements should I continue down the path of whupping up on supervillains. Yes, that's right folks, using cheat codes disables achievements. Whoopsie.

Now, I can understand this, to a point, as some of the cheat codes allow you to make money at the drop of a hat or unlock all powers or be invincible or have the Touch of Death. Clearly, enabling these cheats would not make you worthy of the various achievements as you could simply cheat your way to victory. In my case, getting the new costumes don't actually do anything for you other than make the heroes look cool, so this cheat doesn't make the game any easier for me, just considerably more stylish. I guess if you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound, so all cheats have an amazing achievement disabling power. Oh well. I tried to go back and find a save game prior to my indiscretion, but alas, none existed. Had I just spent 30 seconds with Google I could have found screenshots of the alternate costumes and never used the code in the first place. Ironically enough, I didn't even use any of the costumes I unlocked. Yes, I am in fact an idiot. Let this be a lesson to you my gaming friends, that cheaters never prosper. And, if you have a friend who is playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance and their list of achievements for the game stops halfway through the list, they're either a quitter or a dirty cheat. Continue your association with this scoundrel at your own risk.

Finally, tomorrow is election day, so please be sure to get out and vote, several times if you have to. I don't care if you vote for the same party that I do, but I do care that you vote as it is the singularly most important thing you can do as a member of this glorious nation. For the record, I'll be voting mostly for the Democrats, however I think I'm leaning towards keeping our Republican governor, Sonny Perdue in office. I haven't been particularly impressed with his Democratic opponent, Mark Taylor, and I'm not unpleased with the way the state is being run. My main problem with the Taylor is that he seems to be running on a platform of not being Perdue and that's just not enough for me. I mean, if Perdue was running this state into the ground, then sure, I'd be happy to pick someone other than him, but from where I'm standing that isn't the case. I'm voting for the Democrat candidate for Lieutenant Governor, partly to balance things out, and partly because the Republican candidate's attack ad called the Democrat "alarmingly liberal". Here's a little secret for you, I'm a liberal. So, if I see that someone is alarmingly liberal, that's like saying something is alarmingly cheesy, which is to say, delightfully appealing. Also, the things that this guy did to be so damn liberal, banning prayer in school for example, I happen to be behind 1o0%. What a coincidence. I'll probably vote for Democrats for state legislative candidates too in the interest of keeping things balanced.

There are several constitutional amendments on the ballot, all of which I'll be voting against. I tend to hold constitutions in pretty high regard and am not a fan of fucking with them, especially for something like keeping alive the tradition of hunting. Surely there must be some other way to ensure that squirrels continue to fall to the canny hunters of the great state of Georgia without writing a fucking amendment. I'll leave it up to the newly elected state legislators to figure that one out, as it will be, you know, their job.

So there you go, that's how I'll be voting. Please take the time on Tuesday to go out and make your voice heard, even if it won't be tracked correctly by whatever voting machine your state has chosen to implement. Ain't democracy a beautiful thing!


k o w said...

I just can't bring myself to get a Wii on launch day.

Greg said...

Just voted this morning.

And I've got to compliment you Brandon, for not voting strictly along party lines. That's what America needs - free thinkers, not blind allegiances. :-)

Best candidate, no matter the party.

I still think 360 games are overpriced. I'm still way into my PS2 games right now.

Booster MPS said...

I can't bring myself to Wii either.......or is that something totally different?

Spot on, this Nov is gonna kill me if I get everything that I want. I think there are enough games on the market that the ave. gamer is gonna have trouble justifying a new console much less a PS3 at that price.