Mac's Blog I just say what comes into my head…


Fable 3… *sigh*

It was that time again where Jode and myself got bored and fancied playing through Fable 3. After playing through all previous Fable games we were a little apprehensive giving this one a go...

Anyway we started playing and all seemed ok... there was a pointless npc who acted like we were best friends for the intro part, and when forced with the choice of killing her or killing other random npcs we felt she was of little or no use to the story so we had to let her go.

After that there is a simple story involving a rebellion and lots of town rulers who tell you how bad they have it, you try to help them out then move onto the next one... I was starting to fall asleep as the story was a bit dull until after about 10 hours. POW a new storyline element seems to come out of nowhere, involving a hidden darkness and it trying to destroy everything... I woke up again and felt this was the part where the REAL story was going to begin... Unfortunately it was short lived and then the game seemed to fast forward giving me random chores to do and to either screw over the people I promised to help, or actually help them, which put me out of pocket and required some leg work.

Anyway long story short, the last boss dies in like 3 hits and is anticlimactic, the following ending then consisted of a black background and a small amount of text saying about 10 words either praising your actions or telling you that you failed.

I haven't bothered to dig into any of the gameplay aspects of the game, as if you have played Fable 1/2 it isn't anything new. Although I did like Mr Ross and Fry's voice acting, provided some much needed amusement during the boredom.

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Kinect vs Move?

So I was half tempted the other day to buy a PS3 Move controller, primarly because I had some money sitting on a Game store card that I hadn't spent and thought I should do something with it.

After reading the reviews it sounds like the Move will have more games on release and more hardcore games coming out for it, however it just feels like an improved Wii remote. So im assuming like the Wii after playing with it for a couple of months and they decide to only release kiddy games for it then I would bin it.

The Kinect on the other hand sounds alot more interesting too me, not to say it will be any good, but it feels like it could do alot more than the Move, mainly because it can track lots more stuff and you dont need a controller.
The latter reason being a double edged sword really as I like controllers and it would feel weird without one, but on the flip side you can prance around the room like an idiot without having to hold a piece of plastic...

Neither seem to have any usages at the moment that make me go WOW, although I want them to release a starwars game where you get to properly hold a lightsaber and bean people and random entities in the face.

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Halo 3 vs Call of Duty 4?? what a load of crap!

My usual lunchtime consists of me dashing out with the 2 Als then having a quick look over Game Revolution and IGN.

I much prefer the reviews in Game Revolution but thats just personal preference, ANYWAY getting back to the rant at hand, i noticed IGN comparing Halo 3 against COD 4...

Have a look here

Most of the points brought up are fairly valid, but in general its one of the biggest sack of shits i've read recently. People know i like to rant, so i thought i would give this article a quick one. :)

Campaign Mode

Now first of all they are evaluating this primarily on its online playability in conjunction with its main Campaign Mode. This is a bit of a rubbish way of comparing them as the single player campaigns seem ALOT better in COD 4 to me than they did in Halo 3. Now before i go any further i've only played the first few levels of CoD 4, i think we got to some russian place to save some guy, whereas in Halo 3 i completed it on day of release doing 4 player coop at a friends house.

4 Player coop is about the only thing that sets Halo ahead of COD imo, which granted is a pretty large thing as i LOVE coop games. However im sure most people will play it once or twice then just stick to death match...

"Again it looks like the Halo franchise is setting a standard for the industry to follow."

I wouldn't really go that far, Halo is essentially an average FPS with a good soundtrack and one or two good moments throught the game that make it worthwhile to keep going.


The matchmaking in Halo 3 is pretty much the same as COD imo, difference is that with Halo 3 you can sign in multiple players under your Live account, which is GREAT and every game should aspire to do that. However thats about it, there is no other real differences, COD seemed alot better for me to find a game i wanted with the stuff i wanted in that game, however maybe i just wasnt looking right when i was trying to play Halo online.

Again my experience with playing Halo 3 online is fairly limited, we tried it a few times a couple of weeks ago when on a Live demo, however we didnt seem to get the games we wanted, and we couldn't figure out how to specify anything without making our own game. Although saying that i've only been playing COD for a few hours this weekend, mainly because Mez was on it for the other parts.

One other key thing that they mention about Halo here is that it makes sure that you face people who are your level, which is great if you dont want too much of a challenge, however compared to CoD its not that much of a big deal because the teams are always mixed so you usually get a mix of good/bad people per side meaning you get a variety of battles. Also combined with the sheer amount of customising you can do to each class it makes each game unique.

The Sweet Sense of Accomplishment

This was the first major part of the article where i felt the writer was just on drugs. He was pretty much making out that both games were fairly comparable with the online achievements and things. I thought this was utter bollocks, Halo has some stat tracking and some data about how you play... Ok thats nice to prove you are awesome but you are not really getting much for your kills, except the badges...

COD 4 shits all over halo in this department, not like a little piddly shit either, like a massive one.. RIGHT ON IT. Not only does COD have ranks in game that you earn as you play, but you also have a plethora of unlockables that you get from doing various challenges. Halo doesn't even come close to those sort of rewards in the game, so i would say you feel a hell of alot more accomplished unlocking stuff and gaining rewards than you would in Halo.

Unique Features

Well Halo has its forge, which i thought was fun for about 5 mins then got boring, if you could share your creations online it may be more fun and bring more diversity into the game. Whereas COD does not have anything like this available, what you see is what you get. Although these are nice additions, they dont really add much to the core gameplay, which is fairly straightforward. Whereas COD gives awesome core gameplay without farting around with other stuff that wont be used by alot of people.

The thing that puts me off here is that they are justifying Halos lack in other places because it has alot of artsy fartsy stuff that is not going to make or break the game for you. Its nice having replay abilities and forge, but it doesn't make the gameplay much different. They should be focusing on what makes the game unique from the gameplay point of view, and in this case both games are pretty much older games with a shinier front. However ive played countless Battlefield style games and i can play them for hours. I usually get bored of Halo after about an hour, maybe thats just because its not a game for me, or maybe its because i see the game as what it is without the fanboy glasses. An AVERAGE game...

Other Stuff

To sum it up they feel like they are always talking down to COD, however they should be talking up to it, as COD feels like alot better game, be it the graphics,sound,gameplay. Im not a Halo fanboy and im not a CoD fanboy, i just dont like the fact that Halo 3 fanboys talk down to all other FPS games calling them inferior and making out like Halo is the benchmark, but its not. It used to be Quake 2, then Unreal Tournament, then it became a bit misty with too many FPS games all doing the same thing with a slightly different set of colours whacked all on it.

Anyway you are all free to make your own minds up on the subject, but its worth a read :)

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Xbox Live

So we went to have an xbox live 48 hour freebie last weekend, in the hope that we could team up on stuff like Gears of War and other split screen games.

However Xbox being the bastards they are required 2 Xbox Live accounts to play online split screen. Only game i know that lets you just play the way you want is Halo. Unfortunatly Halo in my eyes is as much fun as playing UT 2003 on a NES pad. That being said we still had a quick go on Halo 3, although the maps we were given were crap, no vehicles and only some pistols and rifles...

Mez then decided that he was going to get a months free trial on Xbox live. AWESOME we could play GoW online together then, unfortunatly it was fairly dull... I remember playing it with Jode and it was a right laugh, although this time the maps were dull, i couldnt tell who was who and everyone had sniper rifles who could 1 shot me, and i didnt even know where the other weapons were.

After getting bored of that we spent the rest of the day taking turns on Rainbow Six : Vegas, and Battlefield Modern War. We also tried Kane and Lynch, although we couldnt remember what the controls were, and ended up just getting killed constantly.

Although i wasnt overly impressed by the many FPS titles we had to play on Xbox live, i still think its the best online system associated with a console to date. I dislike the fact that even though you shell out £35+ for a game you still have to pay £35+ to play online with your friends, its not an MMO, although to be fair i guess microsoft needs some income to support live even if they do have a field of money trees already.

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Fable and some other Xbox classics

Due to games running as stable as a psychopath on LSD on my laptop, ive been forced to look elsewhere for some decent gaming. Luckily for me Jode has his old Xbox tucked away in the back room with a plethora of games.

I started playing Fable a while back on the Xbox, back when i had just left university and was staying over at Jodes parents place. The game reminded me of a more realistic looking zelda, with the charm of wierd english sounding npcs. My original gripes with the game were the annoying interface for equipping things, as it took me 5 minutes to cycle through all my crap, just to find and equip what i want then sell the other crap. However playing it again now i can forgive it slightly because it is a fairly good game.

For those of you who followed Fable's development and release, it was full of promise and wonder, however when they released it there was only a fraction of that left in the game. If it had a few more things such as coop or even a reason to go good/evil then it would be alot better a game than what they released. Now dont get me wrong its still a good game, but there is room for improvement, which im hoping they will take into account with Fable 2.

I'm also currently playing through GTA:SA with Mez and Jode. Im not a big fan of the GTA games after GTA 1 due to it being a little to open for me, and i get lost easily. I remember spending entire days travelling accross the world in Morrowind just to find out that i was meant to go to a house across the street from where i started.

Taking my awful path finding into account we are doing quite well and considering its a game based around crime and all things bad in the world its entertaining and has a decent storyline with characters that actually come accross as nice guys.

Anyway its kinda fun playing on the Xbox and PS2, as most games these days tend to be a bit bland and boring (looking at you EA). Will update some more soon as im working like mad to finish off all the components for the Php game before end of Q1.

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And it burns, burns, burns…

When i first heard about the red ring of death, i didn't think much of it. The PS2 had chronic laser troubles when it was released, the original Xbox had laser problems and also some people had hard drives that just seemed to die. So you come to expect consoles to just have some problems every now and again...

Saying that ive recently come to learn how crappy the Xbox 360 hardware is when almost all the Xbox 360 owners i know have had major problems or are currently experiencing ballaches with it.

Jode's Xbox 360 tends to give us the ring of death once or twice a week, but to be fair it still seems to play after a few resets, but other people (druidking, isszul, rambo) all have had red rings/critical failures in the hardware over the last week or two. I'm not saying that Microsoft could really have done anything more than they have done for Xbox owners, but this is one MAJOR hardware fault that will hopefully teach them what NOT to do in their future consoles.

For those of you who are unlucky enough to have a broken Xbox 360 but dont have the red ring (Please Insert Disc errors), try to get in touch with microsoft to see if your machine is still in warranty. If it isn[APO]t then maybe you should just keep messing with it until you get the Red Rings and then get them to fix it (as they are doing extended warranties for red ring troubles i believe). Also their whole repair system on their webpage is automated now so you may as well just tell them you have intermittent red rings and just get them to look at it.

To be fair at least they are giving out extended warranties and trying to make repairing your Xbox as hassle free as possible, Sony didn't give a crap about their failing lasers and the original Xbox didn't get that much support.

Lets hope hardware manufacturers decide to give ALOT more testing to their hardware before they release in the future, although you know they wont [BGR]

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Recent Xbox releases…

As alot of people who have ever talked to me about gaming and consoles will know, im not a major fan of Xbox/Xbox 360s. It's not that i dislike the actual console... it has some really shoddy hardware, but so do most consoles (yes im looking at you Ps2 lasers).

Main thing that puts me off is the game selection, you are primarily limited to over bumpmapped FPS games or sports games that have about 5 games in each series and look identical and have 1 new model/level in each version. So given that i dont often find a game that is not in the common Xbox genre that is acctually worth playing these last couple of months have showed me that there is hope for others like me!

Now that ive got the reasons for my lack of love for the Xbox let me talk about the greatness of the last month...

Assassins Creed

To start with i was torn in 2 with this game, I was quite hyped about its release, which is odd considering that i didn't really follow its development too much. Anyway Jode gets it, we load it up... and i find out that.... well... i wont spoil it for those of you who haven't played it yet, but WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?!?!?

After i got over the initial shock of the turd storyline, i realised that it didn't matter. The main storyline could be ignored without any consequence, the actual gameplay more than made up for it.

The way you can just climb up pretty much anything that you could grab onto is one of the best aspects of the game, its like you become spiderman. Once you get the grabbing ability when you are falling you spend more time hanging off things with armies of guards swinging for you than you do mingling with the annoying townsfolk.

If this game didnt have this great method of free running round the town it would be nowhere near as fun to play and explore. It FEELS like you are part of an epic chase when running away from guards, or a 1st ranking assassin when you are stalking the lone archer on the roof.

The setting of the main game also make you feel like its an epic journey rather than some dull area you are forced to explore, which tends to be the case with many of todays games. The towns look great, and paired with the great townsfolk wandering round to get in your way, makes for an excellent setting.

Alot of reviewers have slated the game due to its dull missions. Now dont get me wrong sitting on a bench and listening to someone isnt the best use of time i could think of, however it is fairly quick to do each side mission and they are usually able to give you more information about your main mission, making it a nice little break between the slaughtering. Saving the townsfolk from guards on the offensive is one of the best parts of the game for me, no matter how many times i piss off an army of guards it never gets old.

You run in, assasinate one of the lookout guards, then you have 4+ angry people on you, what do you do??

Well Mez tends to try to throw them to the ground then stab them, Jode varies his techniques but ultimatly goes on the offensive with the short blade. I prefer to play the defensive card and just counter everyone, it turns a simple street brawl into a cinematic feature where you swing from guard to guard mincing them up while making sure you have some more guards nearby to keep the fight going.

I personally see this as a great game, and a perfect example of how assassination games like Tenchu should be these days. Less of the dull lifeless combat and cheap stealth implementations, more of the building climbing and free flowing combat.

Mass Effect

Bioware have earned much love from me as a player and a developer. They consistantly make stable games that are very fun to play and they often tend to grasp you and not let you go until you have spent many hours exploring their intricate lands and involving storylines.

Mass Effect keeps to this rule... It looks amazing, it plays amazing and finally the main story is brilliant.

One MAJOR thing that gets thumbs up from me is the combat system! Usually you make use of your intelligence to kill the enemies in RPG games, playing the combat a bit like chess, planning your move and then executing it. This is where Mass Effect walks a different path, with its exceptional 3rd person combat system.

You dont have time to think about every little thing then make a move, or stop time while you decide what to do. You have to think on your feet and act on whats going on there and then, so when people run at you either pop out from cover and shoot them down or look for nearby environmental objects, like explosive containers that could hurt your enemy.

This keeps the games pace constantly up, so you are not weighed down by slow paced battles and chunks and chunks of text. You get FULL voice acting which is awesome as well as the fast paced combat keeping you going without any down patches.

The way you interact with people is great too, its not a case of dull conversations where you read pages of text, its involving chats where you can be a right ass or a nice guy... or a bit of both if you want. You can put your own personality into your character and he will talk too, none of that silent hero crap. If you think someones an ass your guy will tell them they are (did i mention.. FULL VOICE ACTING). The conversations can get a little dull on the odd occasion that its someone who is just passing by and has nothing to do with what you are currently doing, however they still will have a chat with you and talk about random stuff.

The next section im going to tiptoe over is the space exploration and side quests. The space exploration is great coupled with the ability to drive your own space tank with hover jets, it makes exploring fast and extremely fun when you try to do 360s off massive mountains. However it all tends to be fairly pointless most of the time, except for a few areas where you really need that vehicle.

You tend to find lots of little side quests, but they dont tend to tie into the game too well, they dont influence the main storyline at all and often take you to places you will only visit once and never go to again. Not to say this is entirely bad as its always nice to give people some reason to explore barren areas on random planets, however there doesnt seem to be much reward for doing this. There could be some rewards that i didn't get however i/we did LOADS of side quests before we completed the game.

This is about the only point that i can critisize in the game, and it's not that bad anyway, if you dont fancy side quests dont bother with them...

As a whole this game was one of the best games ive played this year and i was almost tempted to get an Xbox 360 for all of 10 seconds, until i realised Jode would be home with his in a few days time.

Its good to see some other games pushing the Xbox and giving something new or different to the existing dull titles we see on offer at the moment.

Incase you are wondering i also liked Dead Rising, Oblivion (pre crap portal closing) on the Xbox 360 which also pushed the console a bit in the early days. Dead Rising is still a fun game to play when boredom strikes!

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Mexican Jeff Presents…

Well as we haven't bothered posting any of our culonary creations on here in a while i thought it would be a nice time to add our own Firecracker Tacos to the site... Im not entirely sure if they were Tacos or just something alltogether different...

[Images No Longer On Host]

Sorry for the crappy quality i was taking the pictures with my phone, anyway we chowed down on those bad boys and were quite impressed with ourselves for making something that didnt look like vomit... We also had a tragic game of Wii Golf where Jode emerged on top by some bizzare turn of events. Needless to say Mexican Jeff was in tears at losing his hard earned skill points.

We then finished off by playing the classic 1990s Turtles arcade game on the Xbox, i could have sworn that Donatello was the best character, but he was pants... After about 30 mins of playing it 3 player we realised it wasnt worth the £4 or so that we paid for it...

For those of you who still play WoW out there, we all seemed to create Paladin characters a couple of weeks ago for a laugh... i mean who doesnt want wings on their character! I've managed to get mine up to about level 50 now and i must say that they are not too bad with the combat revamp from TBC!

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