25 Things I Want for Christmas in 2011 – Part 1

Seeing all the Christmas wishlists floating around, I thought it would be fun to do up one of mine too. It won’t be just game after game though. I’ll list 5 from various categories: Games (still gotta have ’em), Hardware, Accessories, Gaming-related and Non-gaming related.

Games

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Collector's Edition)

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Collector’s Edition)
US$147.87 at Amazon; US$172.69 at Play-Asia

This probably won’t be on the list of many gamers, due to the fact that they’ve already been playing it since its release. Unfortunately I’m not one of them though, and if I’m putting it in a wishlist, might as well wish for the Collector’s Edition. It comes with a huge (12″) statue, which makes carrying the box a pain on public transport, an art book and a making-of DVD. Not much to say about the game itself besides awesome. Although personally, I haven’t been playing RPGs much recently (my last completed RPG was Final Fantasy XIII, and possibly Eternal Sonata before that) due to lack of time, but Skyrim is definitely on my radar. The PC versions seem to have been sold out (although they are available via 3rd party retailers on Amazon for almost $200), so if you wanted that you could get the console version and sell the game itself.

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Weekly Roundup December 12 – December 18

Seems like I might be keeping this up again, after all. And since it’s almost Christmas, I’m coming up with a wishlist, although it’s been in the making for almost a week. :/

Opening Movie – Final Fantasy XIII-2 Gameplay Video (360, PS3)

The first twenty minutes of Final Fantasy XIII-2, which includes some in-game battles so it’s not like there’ll be 20 minutes of CG from the start. Unfortunately. It shows what happened to Lightning, which is something you probably already know if you’ve been keeping up with the game, so I wouldn’t call this particularly spoilerific. That and showing the first 10-20 minutes of a game probably doesn’t constitute as a spoiler anyway. And, also because there’s already an official trailer (English version; CG cutscene only):

It’s followed by the Chapter 1 Fights, Exploring New Bodhum and Time Demon Boss Fight videos, which is the actual starting part of the game where you play as Serah, eventually joining up with Noel. Again, not much stuff that you might not have heard of already, but if you don’t want to find out anything about the story then you probably shouldn’t watch any of the videos (with the exception of Exploring New Bodhum, which is mostly gameplay). There’s also a Guided Tour Trailer which showcases the new (and old) features of the game.

It’s all in Japanese (voice and subtitles), which shows the difference in quality between the original Japanese track and English dubs. Sure, Final Fantasy XIII had pretty decent English dubs compared to other JRPGs (or by itself), but it’s not the top-notch stuff you’d expect from a big-name game (and compared to Western-developed games like Mass Effect or Grand Theft Auto). The Final Fantasy wiki has a summary of the plot. It describes the events from the opening movie to what follows shortly after as shown in the Chapter 1 Fights video, and earlier demos featuring the Atlas boss fight, again, nothing really new.

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Weekly Roundup December 5 – December 11

Well, here’s a first roundup post in about 5 months, not counting the MW3 one. Not sure if I’ll be posting this again next week, but for now…

BioWare story invades Command & Conquer (PC)

Although the game is being developed by BioWare and Victory Games, and not just BioWare, still… Adding BioWare’s name to a RTS? Really?

Video Game Awards Game Trailers

There’s a whole bunch of trailers from VGA, namely Metal Gear Rising, Fortnite, Diablo III Intro Cinematic, BioShock Infinite, Mass Effect 3, The Last of Us, Rainbow Six: Patriots, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, Alan Wake: American Nightmare, Command & Conquer Generals 2, Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD, The Amazing Spider-Man, Hitman: Absolution, and Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

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Xbox 360 Dashboard Update

The latest 360 dashboard update was out some time yesterday, bringing with it the Metro interface that has been on Windows Phone 7. Personally I quite like the look, and it’s one of the reasons why my next phone will be a WP7 (the other reason being achievements on the go, yay!). Most of the new features are home entertainment-related, but there’s also the new cloud saving feature, which will be useful if you play at a friend’s house often. More details at X360A.

The Metro interface, now on the 360

Also, iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch users rejoice, for Microsoft has finally released an official Xbox Live app for the iOS. It isn’t as fully featured as the Xbox Companion app for WP7, but it works fine enough. There’s a spotlight home page which showcases new releases, similar to what you get on the 360. You can also customize your avatar, edit your basic profile information and send messages to your friends. Of course, you can also view and compare achievements.

You can never get sick of looking at your achievements... I think.

Screenshot by Major Nelson (click for more).

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The Anti-Social Gamer – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Review

Here’s the first “review” for the The Anti-Social Gamer column, and it’s for Modern Warfare 3, which is the latest game I’ve played since my semester started. Unlike a regular review I’ll just cut to the chase (somewhat) and list out the game’s strong and weak points when it comes to anti-social gaming.

Single Player

Short. In terms of anti-social-ness, that’s about the best adjective for the campaign. On Normal difficulty you can finish the game within 5-6 hours, which can literally be done in one sitting. Even if you took your time to get all the mission-specific achievements along the way, you could still complete it in that timeframe. Veteran might take you 1-2 hours more depending on your skill, but it probably won’t go beyond 10 hours.

MW3 has you going around the world in under 6 hours.

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Presenting: The Anti-Social Gamer

I thought of creating a separate blog for this column of sorts, but I figured since videogameholic is about, well, video games too, I might as well just post it here (but with a different account). That and also because I haven’t been updating the site lately (and it doesn’t seem like I’ll be updating it much as well) so having this here gives me something to post.

The The Anti-Social Gamer column will be as its name implies. But before I go any further, disclaimer: I’ll first say that I’m not stereotyping gamers as being anti-social (studies have also shown otherwise [/random site quote]). This is merely a naming convention — The Lonely Gamer or The Single-Player, Bot-Loving Gamer just do not sound nearly as nice. What this column will do is review (or just talk about, really) games based on their so-called “anti-social” factor:

  1. Single Player: How short is it? Although “how awesome is it?” is somewhat important too, both directly (you might not be playing it otherwise) and indirectly (you might want to play it more than once; see point #3). The longer the better for the anti-social gamer who wants to indulge in a great solo adventure.
  2. Multiplayer: Bots, yes or no? Yes = Good, No = Not so good. Highly co-operative/team-based or lone wolf? Can I play without caring about my teammates and still have fun?
  3. Replayability: How many times you might decide to play a game over and over again. Replayability for single player depends on the campaign’s quality, multiple endings etc. whereas for multiplayer it simply depends on the fun level.
  4. Extras: Unlockables etc. Achievements might help extend a game’s longevity too but that’ll be another column (maybe). This won’t usually be included unless the game has really great extras.

Basically I’ll rate games on the amount of fun to be had when playing alone. By alone I simply mean playing without friends, so playing with random strangers online doesn’t count.

So if you like:

  • Lengthy single player campaigns
  • Playing with bots over humans
  • Playing multiplayer games where you can just do your own stuff and still win (since nobody likes to lose after all)

Then this column is written for people like you (myself included, somewhat).

Image from be-extreme.com

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iOS 5/iPhone 4S Battery Problems – And Solutions

Edit// Well, looks like I posted this a few hours too late. Apple has released iOS 5.0.1 which fixes the battery issues, amongst other things.

2011.11.21 update: It’s been about 10 days since iOS 5.0.1 was released. I haven’t gotten the exact statistics (although it’s kinda late to find out the pre-iOS 5 stats anyway) but even with the update, the battery still seems to run out faster than it used to. On occasion the phone will shut itself down at ~10% too, so I guess there are still problems with either the OS or the apps. Well, if the apps aren’t optimized for iOS 5 by now it’ll probably take a long time, if ever.

2011.12.03 update: Another update. Even with 5.0.1 the battery definitely drains faster than it used to. In the past my battery could last 1.5 to 2 days before requiring a charge, but now I have to charge it every day (assuming I only use it for messaging, if at all). As mentioned, it still shuts down by itself on occasion, even though the battery is still at 10-15%. I made sure there weren’t apps running in the background too, so it doesn’t seem to be an app-related problem. I suppose with the 200+ new features the battery life naturally takes a hit. So if you haven’t updated to iOS 5 for some reason or other, you might want to consider giving it a miss if you can live without the new features.

It’s been about a month since iOS5 was out, but I only updated my iPhone in the last few weeks since I was reformatting my computer. It’s been about a month already, but Apple has yet to solve the battery drain problem that some (most/all?) people have been encountering. Since the iPhone 4S comes with iOS5 installed it also has the same problems, but it exists on other platforms too.

Besides the (way) faster drain, I myself had my iPhone 3GS shut itself down at ~16% capacity, whereas in the past it would still work at 2-3%. Haven’t really heard of this happening to other users though, so maybe it’s the platform. Gave me a whole lot of trouble when I was going to my friend’s house and had to find a place to charge it so I could call him to meet me. Supposedly, there’ll be a fix within the next few weeks though. But before that happens, here’s a few tips to reduce the battery drain (it’s improved for me after I took the following steps, but it still seems to be draining faster than it used to).

Details after the jump →

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Special Roundup November 9

Well, I haven’t updated my blog for about 4 months but I thought I would make (at least) one new post with Modern Warfare 3‘s release yesterday. After my previous post I was sick for a while so I barely touched my PC, after that I spent more time actually playing games and the “trend” of not posting just continued. Eventually I got a holiday job for 3 months so I didn’t have as much free time. Originally I thought I would have more free time when my semester started, ironically, since my timetable is really lax. Well, I wasn’t wrong, but I spent more time doing other stuff: reading, surfing the net etc. Recently I started learning Japanese as well, something I’ve wanted to do for about, well, 5 years. Maybe next time I’ll have more features on Japanese games and what not. (End preamble)

It’s been 4 years since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was first released, which marked the series’ (much-needed) departure from the World War II setting. Love it or hate it, Modern Warfare 3 is upon us. Haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet though, waiting for the weekend to arrive…

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (360, PC, PS3) – 8.5/10

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Weekly Roundup July 4 – July 10

9 November 2011: Here’s a draft entry which I never posted, probably because it was only 90% finished, and then later on I hadn’t been updating at all. Really old news, but might as well post it since it’s mostly done (the date changing feature of WordPress also helps). The FFVII stop motion video is worth a look anytime anyway.

Final Fantasy VII Stop Motion Is Eight Minutes of Holy S***

Not quite Advent Children CG quality, but definitely epic. There’s also Mega-Man and Gundam videos with a Halo one coming up next. In related news, there’s also the awesome Dead Fantasy (and Haloid) videos by montyoum which were released a few years back.

Click for the old stuff →

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Weekly Roundup June 27 – July 3

Bargains Roundup

Steam Summer Camp Sale is on, with various games on sale throughout the promotion period (30 June – 10 July) and different, additional deals available each day. Here’s some of today’s deals:

Plants vs. Zombies GOTY Edition and Magicka at $3.39 each, down from $9.99; BioShock, BioShock 2, Darksiders and Aliens vs. Predator at $4.99 each, down from $19.99; Half-Life Complete (basically all Half-Life and Half-Life 2 games with discounts for each if you want to buy them separately) at $9.99, down from $39.99; Super Meat Boy at $7.49, down from $14.99; Battlefield: Bad Company 2 at $7.50, down from $29.99, you can also get that together with Vietnam and a DLC for $9.99.

Some of the App Store sales I mentioned in my previous article are still ongoing, namely:

Pocket Academy at $3.99 and Game Dev Story is on sale at $1.99 (for some reason Hot Springs Story isn’t on sale though). Various Com2uS games on sale at $0.99, including Inotia 2, Inotia 3, Tower Defense: Lost Earth and Third Blade. Check the full list here. It’s been a few days since Street Fighter IV Volt (iPhone/iPod Touch) was out, and the price is now $3.99 (it was $0.99 on Day 1). If you don’t have it yet, you still have a few days before it’ll be fixed at $6.99

News Roundup

Crysis 2 DirectX 11 Update Released (PC)

The new patch adds DirectX 11 support and “Ultra” spec features. If you have a PC powerful enough to support the new stuff (Tessellation! Realistic Shadows with Variable Penumbra! Parallax Occlusion Mapping! Et cetera!) you will obviously want this. Check here for the official FAQ/feature list. You can also check here for various gameplay videos taken with the patch applied.

Click for more gaming news/reviews →

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