Archive for the ‘Gritskrieg’ Category

EA Thanks Loyal ME Fans’ Patience with Launch DLC… But You’ll Have to Pay for It.

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

EA Money Grubbing Jerks

"Well, if anyone previously doubted my motivations, this should clear things right up..."

I don’t think it should come as any surprise that I’d only break “radio silence” on the site to bitch…

But yeah, that’s what’s about to happen. Call it Fanboi rage or something.

Last night, my long wait for Mass Effect 3 finally came to an end. I’ve spent the last month or so playing and re-playing the ME3 demo and wrangled three friends into getting online and playing the multiplayer portion of the demo with me. I went back and played ME and ME2 just to try to get in a fix while I waited.

I’m not against waiting. I actually like when the anticipation builds to a fever pitch and most of the best things in life are worth waiting for. Maybe not all of them but most of them.

What does set my Rage Level to 11, however, is arriving to pick up my game, which, I might note, has been paid for in full since the first day the game was available for pre-order, and discovering there is already DLC being sold the night of the launch.

I have no idea what Electronic Arts was thinking. We’re not talking about some Day One patch that has to be downloaded before I can play but a DLC package that requires me to pay extra to have all of the content on the night of its launch. PAID DLC ON DAY ONE. Let that sink in for a second.

This is like going to the movies and shelling out the cash for your tickets, sitting through a movie you’ve been waiting to see, only to have the lights come on before the climatic ending, and being told that to see the end of the movie, it will be an extra five bucks.

Dirty pool, EA.

It gets better. A little research and Crutchboy discovers that the DLC we’re shelling out an extra $10 for is actually the extra content available with the Collector’s Edition. So now you’ve not just slapped the general gaming populace in the face by providing paid DLC on launch but you’ve also pretty much invalidated the extra content the Collector’s Edition folks were looking forward to enjoying while the rest of us waited for the day when the DLC was made available.

Sure, those who shelled out the extra cash for the CE probably get some physical goodies. Though based on my own lackluster experience with the CE of SWTOR, I can’t say the extra 20 bucks was worth an ME coffee mug or whatever EA packaged into the game since you’ve gone and made the extra content, the actual meat of what you were pitching to those interested in the Collector’s Edition, available to any poor schmuck who feels obligated to give you an extra ten bucks on launch day to make sure they’re not missing out on anything.

This is the end of “us”, EA. I’ve shelled out money for your titles and I’ve been a loyal fan of some of your games for years. You disappointed me when I found my last purchase of Madden to be the version I got the year before with an updated roster and a new coat of paint. You disappointed me when you started tying all of your in-game content to pre-orders of titles I had no interest in or on playing demos of games I really didn’t care to play.

You’ve made some good decisions in the past few years, namely the purchase of BioWare and all of the intellectual property that entailed, but you’ve made some glaring mistakes that I’m finding harder and harder to ignore. Offering me paid DLC on the night of the launch of one of the most anticipated titles on my very short list is the final straw.

You’re not getting any more money from me. Oh, I’ll continue to play the titles I’ve already purchased but I won’t be purchasing any new games or any further DLC from you. I won’t be pre-ordering any more games, giving you the excuse to artificially inflate your sales numbers by counting pre-orders as full sales in the present fiscal quarter.

More importantly to me, though I doubt you’ll notice, will be my silence in regards to any of your new titles. I won’t talk about them, write about them, or recommend them to friends.

And sadly, that means I won’t be purchasing anything else your genius step-child, BioWare, produces in the future because you’ve taken a brilliant product line and applied your ever shadier business model to it.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

QuakeCon, the Reckon Crew, and a Cheerleading Convention

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
QuakeCon 2011

If anything had happened at the Hilton, the world's IT departments may have never recovered...

It seems odd to think that being based in Texas, the Reckon Crew has never been out to QuakeCon. I know, I know, we’re horrible people. Fortunately, the newest addition to the Reckon Crew, photog extraordinaire Jim Brown, made it his personal mission to get us there.

Now we’re kind of sorry he did.

Not because it wasn’t awesome. Seriously, with the computing power in the BYOC, we probably could have opened a portal through time and space and wireless streamed games… from the future.

And it wasn’t that there wasn’t a lot to see. Between the keynote where John Carmack got on stage and demonstrated to us that his brain was considerably larger than our own and getting to get our hands on Rage (only four hours of playtime), there was plenty of firsts for us.

It wasn’t that we didn’t fit in. Honestly, if there were ever a place where the Reckon Crew fit in, it was the liquor drenched halls of the Hilton Anatole where QuakeCon 2011 was held.

Ventrilo ponied up a sweet looking truck (worth a measly $70,000) in a drawing. The entire weekend, people competed in the events id was hosting for a chance to get into the drawing.

QuakeCon 2011 Rage Truck

We didn't want the damn thing anyway! *sniffle*

There was the small glitch in scheduling that had us sharing a floor with cheerleaders from all over the U.S. And not the cool kind of cheerleaders where you can stare for a few minutes and just be normal for checking them out but the young kind (prostitots as one of Jim’s friends advised us they were called) with their creepy little faces done up in makeup and with only the energy that someone that the young can have without being put on medication.

But even that couldn’t mar the satisfaction we felt at finally making it to the premier Texas gaming event.

However, I am fairly certain that small bits of our soul and spleens were left in Dallas after having to come back home.

This is the sort of thing that can make you realize that you aren’t alone out here in the gaming world. It’s a reminder that no matter what you enjoy playing, there is someone out there who would love to throw down in the game with you, with or against, and you can walk away from that experience a better player and with a new friend.

It’s also a good example that Gamettes exist. Not just on our site but out there in the real world. I watched with no small satisfaction as the ladies were able to put a hurt on the boys there that would do any gamer proud. And yes, the boys (including us, we’re not immune) are still prone to staring and forgetting they’re gamers as well as women. It’s always good to have your point of view so soundly proven in that type of atmosphere.

We were loud, we were rambunctious, we drank too much, we stayed up too late. And all the while, we were amid like minded individuals who were doing the exact same thing.

Pedobear and the girls from Charisma+2

Pedobear does exist and he's checking out your girlfriend...

Somehow, during all of the drinking, cavorting, and ingestion of entirely too much caffeine, I was able to make my way to the IGDA Charity Event and play cards for a good cause. I lost early on but I met some interesting people and tried not to make eye contact with Pedobear when he sat down next to me. No, that last part was not an alcohol induced hallucination. Pedobear actually sat down next to me.

The lovely ladies from Charisma+2 were on hand to offset most of the ugly walking around at the Con… okay, so most of the ugly was me walking around the Con but you get the picture.

Somehow we made it home with our livers relatively intact and despite a mishap with my laptop that prevented me from posting this sooner, we managed to make it home with all of our electronic devices as well. No, the thing that made us regret having been at QuakeCon was that it was over and that it would be another whole year before Dallas would see this type of gathering again.

We’ll be there again next year… with more booze.

We might even challenge you to a drinking contest if you’re (un)lucky.

QuakeCon 2011 IGDA Charity Event

Wanna bet how much Gatorade there *wasn't* in that bottle?

Gritskrieg – End of Line

All photos contained in this post were taken by Jim Brown and then nearly lost in a game of Strip Battleship to the Editor of this site so as cool as they are, you’ll have to ask for permission to use them.

Game Review: Brink

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Brink slides in with a Busy Gamer 3

First Glance:
Objective based FPS that incorporates a parkour movement system which should change the way battles play out.

Short Story:
The objective based combat system has been hit or miss in the past and is a gamble on its own but now Bethesda and Splash Damage are throwing in a level based class system and the parkour movement scheme. Battlegrounds are confined to running in a straight line and in multiplayer, the team that doesn’t have a decent mix of classes played by people who understand their skills are going to suffer. A big risk game in a market flooded by CoD and Battlefield clones.

The Score:
A lot of people have come down really hard on this game for a variety of reasons. Chokepoints that are reportedly “insurmountable” and being “forced” to change classes during single player missions in order to get past a level are two of the major ones in regards to gameplay. There are still some lingering issues in regards to online play with friends with lag being a major issue in some games. There’s definitely some polish needed here but what we have at the heart of this game is everything Bethesda promised us.

Even in single player, this game is a bit of a time investment. Online matches can be quick and to the point in some cases but drag on and on depending on the mission objectives in others. Escort missions can be especially time consuming in the right circumstances. That being said, if you’re looking for a new FPS that doesn’t follow the “run for 30 seconds, get shot in the face with a pistol, respawn, repeat” philosophy, you might just be interested in this one.

Due to the potential for drawn out matches even in single player and an iffy matchmaking system in multiplayer, Brink slides in with a Busy Gamer 3.

Body of Review:
The Reckon Crew has been waiting for Brink since we saw it at PAX ’09. We’ve watched the videos wondering if the game would live up to its promise and our admittedly high expectations. As other gaming sites began reporting in on the issues they were having, we started to despair.

Then we played it.

I’m not saying this game doesn’t have its issues. It has some and they can be doozies. But all of the reports coming in saying Bethesda shipped a “broken” game are badly exaggerated.

When the Heavy hits the door, you'd be smart to duck

Character creation is a major part of any game for the Reckon Crew. As Crutchboy stated in his article about Daggerdale, we’ll spend hours tweaking the way our character looks until we have it just right. While there are some limitations on how much customization you control in regards to your character (notably color combinations), there’s a fairly good likelihood that you’ll be able to tweak your character to look different from everyone else if the mood strikes you.

One of the complaints that I haven’t been able to agree with in this game has where the gun sounds are concerned. I’m suitably impressed when I hear the whir of the gatling gun spinning up or the thump of the grenade launcher firing. When I run around with a submachine gun, I don’t expect it to sound like a cannon when it fires. Even with a silencer, many of the guns sounded impressive to me when they fired. Perhaps it’s the surround sound system giving the effects some oomph.

I would have liked to have seen some more customization with the weapons in regards to the cosmetics but there’s enough that I’m satisfied when I’m building a load out for my character.

The three body types (heavy, medium, and light) will modify how you play. Personally, I prefer the light body type on my Soldier. While most of the world likely wants to use the heavy weapons as the workhorse of the Brink classes, I like being able to move quickly, getting into spots the other classes can’t. Being able to scale a wall quickly at a point where resistance is light can change the outcome of a battle quickly.

The Heavy body type is particularly suited for my Medic in Brink’s gameplay. Slow and plodding but with substantially more health, I hang back with my heavy weaponry and help support my teammates with a hail of lead and move up to heal as I am needed.

The engineer is particularly deadly in this game. Where the class is often portrayed as a support class in many other games, a frontline Engineer in Brink can be very successful, particularly since there are machine gun nests that require an Engineer to build them before they can be used. With the turrets they have available, as well as the landmines, an Engineer can help quickly advance the offense in any type of match.

Last but not least, the Operative introduces a bit of chaos into the matches. Able to disguise himself, the Operative is able to often slip behind enemy lines as he doesn’t trigger enemy landmines or turrets unless another operative marks him as an imposter. Combined with the sticky, caltrop, and EMP grenades, as well as the ability to hack enemy turrets, Operatives can overcome a stalemate rather quickly when played by an experienced player.

Sadly, the single player campaign isn’t nearly as fun as playing with friends. The AI on your team seems intent on performing as poorly as possible until the last moment, causing matches to drag out for as long as possible. Even the enemy AI seems less polished even with the difficulty cranked up.

Rule #1 of Brink: Keep Moving. Stationary targets are dead targets.

There have been some serious lag issues since the launch of the game. They seem to get better with every patch and the Reckon Crew saw very little lag in matches where we played cooperatively against the AI in matches where there were four people on each team.

The story isn’t going to win any awards but the concept is just enough to keep my interest. I would have liked to have seen more of the Ark’s Council ordering around Security or Chen interacting with the Resistance rather than having them as bodiless voices present only through the comm system as I performed my mission tasks.

The AI is a little chatty for my taste but it does make the battles seem more intense with the comm chatter that goes on during firefights. Hearing someone yell across my comm that they’re wounded adds an element of intensity when I am playing my medic and I’m pinned down behind cover.

Many reviewers felt the weapon damage was insufficient but in conjunction with the parkour system, it means that a moving target is harder to put down. You might do some damage as someone slides behind cover but there’s definitely a feel of fierce combat when you are facing off against the enemy in Brink.

There are some things that need polish here. The multiplayer is still a bit underwhelming at times but when you land in a lag free match, Brink begins to shine. I’ve always enjoyed objective based FPS games and Brink did a lot of things right in this regard. I’m hoping the early DLC we see come from Bethesda will expound on the objectives currently in the game, building beyond “capture this point” and “escort this guy over there”.

My most sincere hope, however, is that Splash Damage and Bethesda don’t give up on this title. For a first outing into multiplayer territory, Brink is a good example of what can be done when you stray from the tried and true formulas of a genre. I don’t want to see this game degenerate into a Deathmatch downward spiral but rather stay true to the ideal set forth in its launch, building on team based combat and the parkour inspired movement I’ve begun to enjoy so much.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Dallas Comic Con, the Reckon Crew, and a Stun Gun

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

DCC 2011 - Photos by Jim Brown.

There were several firsts at this particular Dallas Comic Con.

 

It was the first gathering in the spanking new Irving Convention Center. The new building is an impressive sight from the outside and even more so on the inside. The fans were out in force, even with the threat of the impending Rapture hanging over their heads. Fortunately, the Rapture was pushed back to October 21st so we can all stop worrying about that for now.

The other first was the Reckon Crew finally getting to meet Carrie Fisher. Call us fan boys if you must but we’ve been looking forward to this day for a very long time. I was there for Crutchboy when he nearly fainted when Carrie told him he was too short to be a Stormtrooper. I would have even forgiven him if he would have squealed and done that thing with his hands like an excited school girl. But he maintained his cool.

I met another one of my heroes, Leonard Nimoy, at the convention. I’d been unfortunate enough to miss him at some previous events so I made it my mission to meet him this time and get his autograph. My plans to tell him his face was “illogical” fell through, however, so there will be another meeting… Next time, Nimoy, next time.

Gamette Lhars Steck and cosplayers! Photo by Jim Brown.

We stopped by the booth of our two favorite Dallas artists, Terry Parr and Halo Seraphim. Terry and Halo have stepped up their game with their new project ShoNuff Studios. Their art gets better every time I see them and the “cleavage buttons” they’re offering are sure to be a hit with the gents.

Taffeta Darling was in fine form, braving the crowd to hang out with the Reckon Crew. She was a hit with the fans and dressed as Zantanna, I was able to forgive the crowds as they tried to get their picture taken with her. I was even able to forgive them for not knowing who I was.

Stan Lee was in attendance and in high demand. It was good to see him at another convention and I applaud the Dallas Comic Con team for landing him for this gig.

All in all, I continue to be amazed with how quickly this event has grown. The prior events were by no means deficient but my hat is definitely off to the gents at C2 Ventures. If they continue in their current direction, the next event should be spectacular.

As for the stun gun incident, well, here’s a little sneak peek…

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Hot Chicks, Nerds, and Some Nonsense About Pandering

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Katrina Hill by Jim Brown

Katrina Hill, aka Action Flick Chick, is a good example of the existence of the Hot Girl/Nerd

I’m going to be addressing an issue near and dear to my heart but before I do, I suppose I should link the reason behind my “rant”. The issue at hand was addressed at theflickcast.com and I’d invite you to take a look at the article because it is actually pertinent to what I’m going to be talking about.

Back already? Okay, here we go…

I sincerely and honestly believe there is a word for the nerds and geeks who can’t accept the fact that the line has been blurred between what was once socially acceptable among the “beautiful” people and what we have long held to be sacred in our little geek hearts. I think we refer to them as “hipsters”.

Yeah, now I have your attention.

The fact is, the line between what’s Popular and what is Geeky isn’t only blurred, it’s nearly gone. It was bound to happen and we, as Geeks, should be applauding the fact that the line is so near to being erased forever.

It wasn’t so long ago that video games were the purview of the Nerd, the Geek, the Dweeb. Roleplaying games were spoke of in hushed tones less the Jocks overhear us and determine it was long past time for the Atomic Wedgie to be visited upon the glass wearing masses. The computer, so long our domain and our solace, was embraced by the masses due to necessity in the workplace rather than a love of the devices.

Now there are video games no true Frat Brother would be without. There are applications for our cell phones that are embraced by the Popular People. Computers are in the hands of the Cool Kids. Some of them even have Macs.

And here we are, the OGs (Original Geeks). We made it all happen. We were the outcasts and the societal lepers and now, we are the Supreme of the Alpha Males, the ones who make it all work, the Rock Stars of the tech world. We talk about a new program and how it works and, where they once yawned and their eyes glazed over, people listen intently and act on our words.

Have doubts about that last bit? Look at the top earners in the Forbes 500 and what do you see? An awful lot of guys who are more than likely intimately familiar with what a Swirlie is due to their experiences in high school.

Now to address the particular point of this article. (more…)

Call of the Dead Bringing a Boatload of Awesome

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

There’s not a lot I can say about this. There’s so much awesome in this clip that it says it all itself. Watch it and tell me I’m wrong.

Call of the Dead Brings Quartet of Actors, New Story into Black Ops Zombie Mode

Meet our April Gamette, Lily

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Meet our April Gamette, Lily!

We’re not the type of guys to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. We might make some recommendations about what games to play or what movies you might want to watch but we’d certainly never tell you specifically to do something.

We’re changing that policy right now.

We’re going to say that if you run across a woman who loves to WoW, dress up as a rogue in tight leathers,  has a healthy appetite for “teh sex”, watches sci-fi, and digs you, you latch on like a mynock on a high voltage power cable and you hold on tight. Seriously. If we find out you had a shot at a girl like that and you blew it, we’ll make a special trip to visit you and Crutchboy will punch you in the throat while you sleep.

Fortunately for you, we happen to know such a woman exists. We’ve talked to her and everything. Unfortunately, she’s taken which means her husband won’t be getting throat punched in his sleep by the Reckon Crew. See, he has the girl and he can sleep soundly at night. Take notes.

This is Lily, our April Gamette. Check out her videos on YouTube when you’re done partaking of her awesome pictorial and interview.

Let’s just go ahead and get this one out of the way… We noticed that you called some of your photos “Nelf” shots. We’re certain that was a typo so we went ahead corrected it to “Belf”. You’re okay with that, right? RIGHT?!
Lol. Well, it does seem that the majority of WoW entertainers are Horde. There seems to be very little representation for us Allies. I started out Alliance, and the majority of my toons are Allies, but I wanted to see what Hordies were like and have been playing a Troll Shaman lately. When I pvp on my Ally toons, I hate Hordies, but I assure you that when I am on my troll, I am hating those damn Allies.

Okay, so maybe you’re not okay with that. So why would you break our heart and play Alliance?
I had been going through a really hard time in my life. I was working way too hard, grumpy, and basically kinda hating life when one day “imma Be” came on the radio and I thought of “Imma Tree” for a wow parody. I decided I needed more fun in my life and I wanted to do something crazy and silly. So I decided, “What the Hell, I’m gonna do it”. I had so much fun making that video I just kept on going. I am still learning how to do all the things I want, but it has been one fun trip, lol.

Read the full interview & see the complete pictorial with Lily here!

Homeland Security, Security Warnings, Facebook, and Twitter

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Yeah, there's no potential for misunderstandings here...

One of the stories making its way around the web this morning is that of the Associated Press obtained a draft by the Homeland Security Department for a plan that would reduce the current five color terror alert system and replace it with only two levels of warnings, elevated and imminent.

It would also allow for the use of Facebook and Twitter to relay terror warnings to the public.

Does anyone else see problems with the last bit of this plan?

The document itself is reportedly marked “For Official Use Only” and is dated April 1st. Taking that into consideration, it is possible (in my mind) that someone may have been pulling a fast one within the office. That’s my hope, at least, where the use of Facebook and Twitter are concerned in regards to relaying information or warnings to the public at large.

There’s not only the potential for abuse by prank playing co-workers (as the graphic hints at) but there’s also the fact that many people have a hard time believing anything they may read on Twitter or Facebook as being actual fact. There are those of us who just assume anything related to world news via those mediums is a prank or someone trying to get a rise out of their friends.

Plus, seriously, how do you actually go about getting fans or followers for a Homeland Security account?

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Froyo Killed My Phone

Friday, March 25th, 2011

I can't guarantee my phone will look like this much longer, you know, all in one piece and everything

Ever since I got my Samsung Epic back in November, I’ve had something of a love-hate relationship with it. Up until the day I started using it, I was a hard-core Blackberry fan and I’m fairly sure I always will be. The Epic appealed to the hardcore nerd in me with the glow of its AMOLED screen and the processing power under the hood.

And when Blackberry released the substandard specs for their next phone, well, I couldn’t defend them any more.

I’ve gone through the growing pains of adapting to a touch screen device. The initial switch was eased by the pull out QWERTY keypad but I found myself using it less and less often and began to adapt to the touchscreen keypad and actually found myself typing faster than I had with my Blackberry.

I quickly found and began using apps that made my phone more of a workhorse than it was out of the box. I began to rely on the Epic as much as I had on my Blackberry for appointment reminders, on the go edits of documents, and the various other things I could do without being at my PC.

I’m using the “stock” Android OS that came with the phone. Two attempts to upgrade to an unofficial release of 2.2 ended in abysmal failure and I preferred to have a device that functioned correctly and performed what I needed it to do without issue and so, I simply nodded my head when friends told me I could upgrade without waiting for Samsung to push the software update.

Then, this morning, my phone shut off for no apparent reason. (more…)

My Kindle Dilemma

Friday, March 18th, 2011

It's so purty...

Every time I bring up the subject of wanting a Kindle, someone inevitably mentions, “There’s an app for that.” They’re right, of course. It’s a small download, minimal fuss to get it set up the way I want it on my Android phone, and I could be off and reading.

Therein lies the problem.

Where my phone is concerned, I try (often without success) to define it purely as a communications device. Yes, I have Angry Birds installed, yes, I have Words with Friends installed, yes, there may even be the phone equivalent of an MMO on my phone. The thing is, I want desperately to keep my gaming as completely removed from the device that resides in my pocket throughout the day.

It’s not some stubborn attempt to keep my phone “pure” or a misguided attempt to ignore the fact that mobile gaming has finally become a reality on the device I hold to my ear to speak to my mother.

It’s a simple reason. I’m a gamer and having a device that doubles as an effective gaming platform (and is with me pretty much 24/7) would completely kill my productivity should I ever delve too far into those delicious gaming apps.

I’m also an avid reader. I consume books in their entirety in one sitting if I am left to my own devices. I will use a day off to do the proverbial “curl up with a good book” and look up only to see that, in the case of the really good books, my entire day has been spent flipping pages.

In the case of mobile gaming, I have my Nintendo DS. It resides almost permanently in my backpack that goes with me everywhere and it makes appearances in the open on long trips, lunches where I have to remain in my office, and, sadly, the occasional trip to the bathroom. It suits my needs perfectly but, for whatever reason, when it comes to work, I am able to set it down and enter a productive state.

Now, my phone is a fairly permanent accessory. It sits on my desk so I can readily grab it and respond to text messages from my family, friends, and co-workers. I use it throughout the day to check my various email accounts. It’s a constant presence throughout the day and it can quickly become a distraction without me realizing it.
So, having a reader on my phone is not a question of when it would become a problem in regards to my productivity but how much it would interfere with it.

The ability (thus far) to keep my gaming as separated from my phone as much as possible has been mainly due to the possession of a portable gaming device. I believe this would be the case should I buy a Kindle, a device made purely for the consumption of the written word.

And yes, I could go out and buy an iPad, I know some of you are thinking that right now, but why would I spend that much on a device that would eventually come to serve multiple purposes, the very thing I am trying to avoid.

The convenience of a device that could hold my entire library in a sleek and slim package is also a draw for me. I inevitably carry too many books with me on long trips, which tends to weigh down my luggage. I know I’ve mentioned this aspect of the e-reader’s draw for me before

In effect, the only hesitance I have in this matter is the price tag. It’s not that it’s too high but I find myself thinking that $180 could buy me a lot of paperbacks…

Gritskrieg – End of Line










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