Sunday, June 27, 2010

Impressions: Red Dead Redemption Multiplayer

Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption has been a huge success thus far, I for one believe it to be the second best game released this year. There is no doubt in my mind that RDR is a strong single-player game, but what about the multiplayer aspect, can it be just as satisfying?

To answer that question I decided to take a break from the single-player and see just what RDR has to offer those looking for some multiplayer action.

There are two ways to get online in RDR; from the main menu when you start the game or from the pause menu while in a game. The main menu option will automatically thrust players into a public match with other players. But what some may not realize is that you can create a private match where players can invite their friends, this can be done from the pause menu while in a single of multiplayer game. I would highly recommend that all new players start a private match first so that you can edit your avatar and check out the world hassle free from other players.

The best part about RDR's online play is the Free Roam mode. Free Roam brings the open-world that players have experienced in the single-player to the multiplayer. In Free Roam you can join a posse with other players, tackle gang hideouts or try some of the competitive modes that are scattered through out the map. In my little play time online, it seems that gang hideouts the popular choice with players.

Multiplayer also features challenges like in the single-player; there are the personal hunter, survivalist and sharpshooter challenges, along with some multiplayer specific challenges as well. The reason players would want to do the various challenges, clear out gang hideouts or participate in some competitive modes is to gain experience. It's very similar to what you would see in Modern Warfare 2 or in Battlefield; as players increase in levels, they gain access to new weapons, avatars, titles and even mounts.

Oh, did I forget to mention that online is open PvP, every man for himself just like the wild west? Well it is, and for me that's where the fun really is to be had. Now that I've gotten the details out of the way, let me tell you a tale of a man who has come to New Austin in search of fame and fortune - or how I stayed up way past my bed time having the most fun online in a long while.

Here's how the story begins; I loaded into the public match in the city of Blackwater. So naturally I begin shooting up the town, killing everything that moves. You have to understand, in the single-player story I am trying to be as good a guy as I can, so I need to let my inner cowboy out.

So after doing that for awhile, I decide maybe it's time to see what other players are doing. At this time there was just one other player, and he was out trying to clear a gang hideout. Being the curious type that I am, I go and ride out to the gang hideout to see what is going on. It's easy to spot another player when they are close because they will have this big colored circle with their name next to it above their heads.

So this guy is up on the ridge looking down at me, I know he's there but he must be using cover so I can't see him. Next thing I know this guys starts taking shots at me. So like a good cowboy I run my ass off to get out of there. At that point I have one thing on my mind, IT'S ON!!

I decided do the noble thing and wait till he's engaged in combat with some npc's before I make my rush on  him. Things go back and forth for a short time; I take him out, he snipes me with his better weapons. Eventually I decide that I might try something else and ride out to McFarland's Ranch. It's a short ride away, but once there I open my map to see what there is to do and I notice his teal circle moving. A few seconds later I realize that this guy is coming after me!

Realizing that my slow moving donkey mount is not going to get me away fast enough, I decide to hijack a real horse from some poor fool and ride as fast as humanly possible out of there. At this point I can't tell where this guy is, how fast he's going and if I am even going to get away. I was litterally on the edge of my chair sweating with my heart pounding when I realize that I am not going to be able to get away and decide to make my way to Armadillo to make my last stand.

I was familiar with the town because of playing the single-player and figured that my best chance was to run and hide in the saloon. I make my way up the stairs, using the railing as cover so that I have a good view of the upstairs and down stair entrances. At this point it's a waiting game, I know he's coming just by checking the map. My heart is pounding, I'm sweating way more than I should be, I'm on the edge of my seat just waiting with a smile on my face.

BLAME!!! Not realizing that I was right upstairs he came running through the front door, one headshot later he knows exactly where I am now. What happened for the next 20 minutes was a gigglefest of me blasting him everytime he tries to come inside the saloon. Eventually in frustration I imagine he tosses a stick of dynamite at the building and it kills me. Pretty cheesy, but it worked.

For the next couple of hours I had this guy chasing me all over New Austin and Mexico. Occasionally I would stop and ambush him then ride away while I had the chance, but eventually he did corner me in a small town in Mexico. Just to be clear, this guy owned me most of the night. Yes I had some success in Armadillo and with a few ambushes, but this guy was higher level with a better mount and weapons, and he wasn't afraid to use them.

Once I realized how late it was I made my way out of dodge and he went on with his gang hideout busting ways. But for that three and a half hour span I haven't had such a heart racing, pulse pounding, palm sweating gigglefest of a good time like that in a long quite awhile.

I have yet to try out the new coop DLC that was released, but what I have played so far has been a real blast. The online gameplay is a nice compliment to the already strong single-player, and I think thats what makes RDR such a great game.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The incredible shrinking wallet!

Ok, I am a sucker for a good sale, specially a sale on Steam! That noise you hear in the background? Well it could be one of two things; either my wife wanting me to explain why I need another game, or it's my wallet shrinking from all the games I have or will purchase on Steam during this sale.

So the damages so far include:

Buccaneer: The Pursuit of InfamySplinter Cell Double AgentTropico 3Making History: The Calm & the StormResident Evil 5 when it was on uber sale and finally Birth of America.

This doesn't include the two games I might pick up today because they are on uber sale, Left 4 Dead 2 and HOI3: Semper Fi expansion. We might as well include the four games I bought the past week when they were on sale as well; Elder Scrolls III Morrowind and Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion and the Deus Ex Collection.

Yes my friends, that's a lot of games, and chances are I may play very little of some of those games. BUT THEY WERE ON SALE!! Some of those games I have already owned and played, but having a digital copy at such a low price seemed worth it to me. Chances are I would not have bought most of these games if it weren't for the sale.

Might as well add a game I bought on sale from GamersGate too, Warhammer 40k Dawn of War Soulstorm, a game I have wanted but did not like the price, till now!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh June, where have you gone?

It's been a long month thus far. At the end of May a coworker went out on disability and I was to work a six day work week for what was suppose to be only a couple of weeks. But as it turns out she ended up getting herself terminated on her fourth day back to work, and so the six day weeks continue.

If that wasn't tiring enough, me and the family decided it was time to move out of our claustrophobic one bedroom third floor apartment to something with at least one more room, and not on the east side of San Jose. We are in our new place now, but there is still more work to be done, put away and cleaned. I really hate moving.

The gaming did suffer some, like when my Xbox decided it didn't like sitting next to my PS3 and committed suicided and when I was without the internet and doing no gaming at home for a few days because of the move. Lucky for me I have a computer at work so I stepped up my slacking off, I mean gaming there to compensate.

I was able to finish Red Dead Redemption just before the move, and I just want everyone to know that it's the second best game to be released this year, it's that good. Sure it has some issues, but the story and the gameplay are great. Pretty much all I have been playing for the past couple of weeks has been Empire: Total War. It's only taken me over a year to finally spend some time with a game that is pretty darn fun.

The month of June has been crazy for me with the move and the work, but hopefully here in a few weeks at most things will settle down and get back to normal.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You Have To Be Crazy Yo Pass This Up.

I interrupt your regular scheduled programming to bring you this public service announcement:

Batman Arkham Asylum the Game of the Year edition is on sale through Steam. That's right, Steam has slashed the price from $39.99 down to $19.99. But you must act now cause this sale is only for a limited time.

Take it from me, you don't want to pass this up. I have played Batman Arkham Asylum on the Playstation 3, then the Xbox 360, and then finally on the PC and have finished the game on all three platforms. I can honestly say that it's one of the best games I have ever played, and the PC version is by far the most superior version of the three.

So do yourself a favor, go buy Batman Arkham Asylum, you won't regret it! I now return you back to your regular scheduled programming....

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A One Console Owner or How I Became a Sony Fanboy After My Xbox Died!

That's right, my Xbox died on me almost two weeks ago. And of course the warranty is up so I would have to pay Microsoft a hundred bucks to fix my unit. Now if I had the three red rings of death then I would have been covered, but noooooo I had to get the one red ring of death, the E73 error.

What's the E73 error you ask, darn good question. It apparently has something to do with my ethernet port on the Xbox. Either way I have decided for the time being to give up on the Xbox and just stick with my Playstation 3. This is my second Xbox, it was in a good place with great air flow, basically it was in an ideal condition for longevity, at least I thought so.

So I went ahead and traded all my Xbox games in at Gamestop and came away with a new copy of Red Dead Redemption and a new Dual Shock 3 Controller, along with a pre-order for NHL 11 and Fallout New Vegas. Believe me, it took me nearly a week to decided whether or not to fix the Xbox and if I was going to trade in all my games, cause I had quite a few. In the end I came to the conclusion that the only reason to own two consoles are for the exclusive titles, and very few of which I really want.

I guess the only bright side to the story is that now I can show my PS3 some love!