Gamer Update #14: The Last of Us (PS3)

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I got The Last of Us on PS3 for Christmas. Well, I just recently beat the game and there‘s one question I have been asking myself – why the heck did I not play this game sooner?

The Last of Us PS3

Man, The Last of Us is one amazing game.  As many of you know out there, this game was developed by Naughty Dog, the developers of the three Uncharted games for Playstation 3. I have played all three of these Uncharted games and I really like them, but I liked The Last of Us way better.

I really love the whole “Fallout 3 meets The Walking Dead” vibe that The Last of Us has. Some parts of the game did remind me of the Uncharted games, such as when you needed boost the other character up to reach a ladder or something. You can also play the game using stealth, which reminded me a lot of Splinter Cell.

The Last of Us has a touching story as well, with very memorable characters. Ashley Johnson did a great job as Ellie. I did think that her constant swearing was kind of gratuitous, but it was funny too.

However, I’m really impressed with Troy Baker, who did the voice of the main protagonist, Joel. I’ve heard his voice work before, when he voiced younger dudes in games like Tales of Vesperia, Final Fantasy XIII, and Catherine. I wasn’t sure if he could pull off voicing an older, more mature character like Joel, but Baker knocked it out of the park! Well done!

As for the combat and shooting in The Last of Us, I do think that it felt somewhat clunky. I wasn’t a huge fan of the combat at the beginning, but as the game went on and I got new weapons and upgraded my character and weapons, I had a bit more appreciation for the combat. I still think combat and shooting feel a little bit clunky, but I think the developers made it like that on purpose.

That’s because I don’t think the developers wanted you to go in “All Guns Blazing!” in The Last of Us. I mean, you could do that, but combat would just be more harder. You are given limited resources and ammo, so ideally, you’re supposed to take down your enemies unseen one by one (or do this as much as possible before shooting up the place).

Therefore this made most of the battles with the enemies more intense and it made more gratifying when you succeed. Man, I remember this one battle where I had very few ammo and items. I had to take it slow and use some good strategy. I had to make sure every shot I took and every weapon I used counted. When it was over and I won the battle without dying, it felt very rewarding.

Of course, on the flip side, if things don’t go your way in combat, it can get annoying and frustrating.

But overall, I love playing The Last of Us. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that if I get a Playstation 4, I just might get The Last of Us Remastered for PS4.

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Just Finished Watching The Knick Season 1 on DVD

The Knick Season 1 DVD

First off, for anyone who hasn’t seen this show and is interested in watching this show, I want to mention this: The Knick contains graphic, realistic looking scenes of human surgery. I consider myself to be someone who is able to watch graphic, mature content in films, TV shows, and videogames, but even I found myself almost unable to stand watching these surgery scenes. I found myself looking away from the TV during these scenes. But eventually I did get use to it.

So if you think you might not be able to watch these graphic surgery scenes, then this show might not be for you.

But if you can handle this content (or you could just use your hands to cover your eyes during those scenes, haha!), then The Knick is a show worth checking out. I found the the show to be highly enjoyable.

Set in the year 1900 (or around that time), The Knick is a TV show about the doctors and staff working at the Knickerbocker Hospital in New York. I thought that the show had great atmosphere and does a good job of recreating of that time period.

Season One of The Knick consists of ten episodes and all ten episodes were directed by Steven Soderbergh, the director of films like Out of Sight, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), and its sequel, Ocean’s Twelve.

There are two storylines in Season One that I really enjoyed. The first one involved Dr. Algernon Edwards (played by Andre Holland). He is the only black doctor working at the Knickerbocker Hospital (he might also be the only black person there). Despite being a very talented doctor, he struggles to gain respect from his peers because of some of their racism and prejudice. I found Dr. Algernon’s storyline to be very compelling.

I also liked the storyline involving nurse Lucy Elkins (played by the lovely Eve Hewson, daughter of U2‘s Bono) and her “love interest.” I was very interested in how storyline evolved throughout the first season.

Can’t wait to watch Season Two!

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Megadeth’s Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction – Two of my favorite heavy metal albums!

Today I wanted to blog a little bit about Megadeth’s Rust in Peace and Countdown To Extinction albums. Megadeth is probably my favorite heavy band and these two CDs are some of my favorite heavy metal albums of all time.

Megadeth Rust In Peace Countdown To Extinction CDs

Let’s start with the Rust in Peace album. The song Hanger 18 is a classic metal masterpiece. I also really like songs like Lucretia, Holy Wars… The Punishment Is Due, Tornado of Souls, and Rust in Peace… Polaris. These are songs that I can listen to over and over.

In fact, there was a point last winter where I went through a “Rust in Peace” phase. I listened to this album almost everyday for 4 or 5 weeks!

Countdown To Extinction is another album with lots of great songs. I actually go way back with this album. I bought the cassette version of Countdown To Extinction back in 1993 (this album was released in 1992).

I remember going home from the store after buying it and popping the cassette tape into my stereo. I remember listening to the first track on the tape, Skin o’ My Teeth, and that song rocked hard. That was awesome! And then Symphony of Destruction played and that song has awesome guitar riffs.

My favorite song from Countdown To Extinction is Architecture of Aggression. Other songs I love listening to are Captive Honor, Psychotron, and Ashes In Your Mouth. I also like High Speed Dirt, This Was My Life, and Foreclosure of a Dream.

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Videogames I got for Christmas 2015 (The Last of Us, Dragon Age Inquisition, Ratchet & Clank, Transformers)

Okay, here’s the videogame stuff I got for Christmas this year. I got other stuff too but who wants to see that crazy sweater I got from my relatives (haha!)

The videogames I got are The Last of Us, Ratchet and Clank: Into The Nexus, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, and Dragon Age Inquisition. All four of these games are for the PS3.

The Last of Us Ratchet and Clank Transformers Dragon Age Inquistion PS3

The Last of Us, a highly critically acclaimed game, was the last PS3 game developed by Naughty Dog, who also developed the three Uncharted games for the PS3. I have played all three PS3 Uncharted games and really enjoyed playing them. So I’m super hyped to play The Last of Us.

I have enjoyed playing the Ratchet & Clank games in the past. I don’t know if I mentioned it before but, back in the PS2 days, I always liked the Ratchet & Clank games more than the Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter games. I have heard good things about Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus so I’m sure I’ll have fun playing it.

I’ve always been a Transformer fan. I loved the 80s cartoon, and I have enjoyed playing a few Transformers videogames, including Transformers: War For Cybertron and the PS2 Transformers game based on the Transformers Armada cartoon. Hopefully Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark will be an enjoyable game also.

And finally we have Dragon Age Inquisition. Bioware has made some RPGs that I absolutely love playing, especially the Mass Effect series. The PS4 and Xbox One versions of Dragon Age Inquisition have gotten a lot of praise and good reviews. However, I have heard that the PS3 (and Xbox 360) versions don’t run so well and are extremely buggy. But then I’ve also heard that they patched up (hopefully) most of the problems. So, I’m hoping that this PS3 version runs well now and that I will have an enjoyable experience playing this game.

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Movies I Watched Recently #22: Elf

With Christmas just a few days away, I decided to watch another Christmas film. This time I watched Elf, a movie I just bought on DVD a few days ago. This is only the second time I watched this film. The first time that I watched it was 12 years ago when it opened in theaters back in 2003 (I saw it either the opening weekend or the next week).

Elf DVD

Since it has been over a decade since I last watched this film, there were a few things that I didn’t remember. Like I didn’t remember that Jon Favreau directed this movie. So it was a nice surprise to see his name as the director in the opening credits. Yes, the Jon Favreau who directed Elf is also the same one who directed the first two Iron Man movies starring Robert Downey Jr.

One thing that I never forgot is Zooey Deschanel’s scene where she sings in the bathroom of the department store. But what I didn’t remember is that she was a blonde in this movie! She’s been a brunette for the longest time that it was a bit of a surprise to see her as a blonde but she does look good as a blonde. In fact, she looked super cute. I believe this is the first movie (or TV show) that I saw her in and she made a great first impression.

Anyway, I loved this movie the first time I saw it back in 2003 and I don’t know why I haven’t seen this film more. Perhaps, there were just other Christmas movies that I was more concerned with watching…?

But after watching this film a second time, I definitely wished I had seen this film more times throughout the years.

Watching it now, I’m reminded that Elf is an absolutely hilarious movie. Will Ferrell movies can be kind of hit or miss with me in terms of whether I find them to be funny or not, but he is definitely funny here as the title character. James Caan is also great here as well.

I love seeing Faizon Love in this film (he plays the department store manager).. He was very funny. I remember watching him on a TV sitcom in the 90s. I looked it up and I think the show is The Parent’ Hood.

Overall, this film is a definite Christmas classic to me. Yeah, the film can be cheesy at times, but it is funny and has a lot of heart. I can see myself watching this film around Christmas time many times in the future.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Videogames I bought the week after Thanksgiving/Black Friday (Skyrim Legendary Edition, Watch Dogs, Resident Evil 6, Dark Souls II, Lego Batman 2)

Unlike previous years, I did not go out shopping on Black Friday this year (and that includes both Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday). There wasn’t really anything that interested me. Sure, my friends and relatives wanted to drag me out there shopping, but this time I was able to resist them.

However, the next week my brother (who was still in town) and I stopped by a Target store. At this Target I saw a bunch of games on clearance for (mostly) $10 a piece. I couldn’t resist. I bought six games. For the Xbox 360, I got Watch Dogs, Dark Souls II, Resident Evil 6, and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. All four games were $10 each.

I also bought The Elder Scrolls Skyrim Legendary Edition and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City for PS3. Skyrim was $15, while GTA: Episodes from LC was almost $7.50

Watch Dogs Resident Evil 6 Dark Souls II Lego Batman II Skyrim Legendary Edition GTA Episodes from LC

Watch Dogs is a game that I remember being really hyped up for when it was announced, so I can’t wait to check it out. The game is set in modern day (or maybe near future?) Chicago, and I don’t think I’ve played a game set in Chicago before, so I’m eager to explore the city in this game.

Recently I’ve been trying to get into the Demon Souls/Dark Souls/Bloodborne games. I know they’re hard games but I keep hearing how rewarding it is to play and beat these games. So when I saw Dark Souls II for $10 I had to get it.

I already have Resident Evil 6 and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, so these two games will be Christmas gifts.

I also already have a copy of Skyrim, but it is the standard version without any DLC. This Legendary Edition comes with the three DLC expansions Dawnguard, Heartfire, and Dragonborn. The DLC is on disc as well. So for $15, I couldn’t resist buying it. I don’t think I’ll ever find a brand new copy of the Legendary Edition for less than that price.

And finally we have Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City. This collection has the two DLC expansions from Grand Theft Auto IV. I have played GTA IV and I liked it. However, I wasn’t sure when (or if) I was ever going to get any of the DLC. Now, for $7.50, I have the chance to play the two expansions. By the way, in case anyone is wondering, you can buy and play Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City without owning a copy of GTA IV.

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Movies I Watched Recently #21: Fred Claus

We’ve been having a lot of mild winter weather lately, so to get myself into the “holiday mood,” the other night I sat down and I watched Fred Claus on DVD.

Vince Vaughn stars as the title character, Fred Claus, who is the brother of Santa Claus, played by Paul Giamatti. Kevin Spacey, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Kathy Bates, and Miranda Richardson are also in the film.

Fred Claus DVD

While there are a few really funny moments, unfortunately the film is not as consistently funny as I would have like. But despite this, I did enjoy watching the film and I can see it becoming a guilty pleasure of mine.

The movie does have some good things going for it. There are some good messages in the film, such as every kid deserves a present on Christmas. It doesn’t matter if they’re “naughty or nice”. I also like the way they handled the “villain” in the movie. Normally you would see the villain “get beaten” and then get punished somehow, but not here.

I also have to mention this: Elizabeth Banks looks super hot in this movie! She wears an outfit that shows off some great cleavage. Wow!

Like I state above, I enjoyed watching this movie, but I’m not sure if I can recommend this film to anyone.  I can’t help but think that if this movie had a better script and some more funnier lines/gags, then it would be a classic Christmas movie for me. But as is, it just might be a guilty pleasure.

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The Hunt for Playstation Vita Games, Part 4 (Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth, Ys Memories of Celceta, Ragnarok Odyssey ACE, God of War Collection, The Walking Dead)

Some time ago, I picked up a few Playstation Vita games. I got God of War Collection, The Walking Dead Season Two, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1, Ys: Memories of Celceta, and Ragnarok Odyssey ACE (Launch Edition).

God of War The Walking Dead Season 2 PS Vita

Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth 1 and Ys Memories of Celceta

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace Launch Edtion

When God of War Collection was first released, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get it. However, when I found this on sale at Walmart for $15, I decided to buy it for that price. This God of War Collection has God of War 1 and 2, which were originally released for the Playstation 2. I have played both games on the PS2 and loved them.

The Walking Dead Season Two is a game my friend got for me. He found several copies of the game on clearance at a store. So he decided to buy a copy of the game for himself and also bought some for his friends, including me. I played the first season of The Walking Dead on my Xbox 360, and I really enjoyed it. But I also ran into a few big technical problems. This time I’m hoping that I don’t run into the same problems with this Playstation Vita version of The Walking Dead Season Two.

If you haven’t read about the technical problems I came across while playing Season One of The Walking Dead on my Xbox 360 and you are interested into reading about them, you can check out my “Halloween Gaming #2” blog post.

I bought the next three games from Amazon. First, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth is a remake of the first Hyperdimension Neptunia game, an RPG that was originally released on the PS3. I can’t wait to play this game. I believe Re;Birth 2 and 3 have also been released, so I’ll be getting those two games soon.

I’m also really excited to play Ys: Memories of Celceta. I’ve heard one of my friends, who owns over 40 Playstation Vita games, say that this game is probably his favorite Vita game. The only Ys game I’ve played is the wii virtual console version of Ys Book I and II, which I really enjoyed. I know there have been a few Ys games released for the PSP, and if I like playing Ys: Memories of Celceta, then I’ll probably go buy some of the PSP Ys games.

The final game is Ragnarok Odyssey ACE. When I bought this from Amazon I only expected to get the standard edition of the game. Instead they sent me this Launch Edition, which comes with a soundtrack CD. This was a really cool surprise. Of course, if I had read the listing properly in the first place, I would have known that they were going to send me this Launch Edition (haha!).

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My Christmas Swag (Bravely Default, Battlefield 4, Bound By Flame, etc…)

I hope everybody had a great Christmas! Today, I’ll be showing the videogame and DVD stuff that I got for Christmas.

Before I get to that, I have a quick Christmas Eve shopping story. A few days ago, on Christmas Eve, I was going over the presents that I had bought for my family and friends. It was then that I realized that I still had to buy two more presents. I was supposed to buy these two presents weeks ago, but I totally forgot.

So on Christmas Eve, I got into my car and drove to a Meijer store, which was a store that I knew would be open on this day. When I got to the store, it was about 6:36 pm. I entered the store and a nice gentleman greeted me at the entrance. He then told me that everyone in the store had to be in line at the cash registers at 6:45 pm. That gave me less than ten minutes to find stuff and get in line.

Luckily I was able to find the stuff I was looking for in a short amount of time and I was able to make it to the line at the cash registers by 6:45 pm. While I was in the line, I heard one of the managers telling the customers (who were still walking around looking for stuff) that all the registers will close at 7:00 pm.

Man, I feel sorry for the people who didn’t make it to the registers in time, but luckily I was able to buy my final two Christmas gifts.

Okay, now onto the stuff I got for Christmas. Again, I’m only showing the videogame and DVD stuff.

First off, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, my brother got me a 16 GB memory card for my Playstation Vita. It’s the second 16 GB card that I have. With this new card, I can finally download Need For Speed: Most Wanted that I got for free. I will probably also download my copy of Final Fantasy X-2 onto this card. I plan on buying Suikoden II from PSN someday, so I’ll download it onto this card as well (and I will also download it to my PS3).

PS Vita 16 GB Memory Card

I have been playing Valhalla Knights (a digital PSP game) on my PS Vita. The game looks good and runs smoothly. I can see myself buying a few more PSP games for my PS Vita, depending on the amount of space I have left on the new memory card.

Next up, I got Bravely Default for the 3DS. This is a game that I specifically asked for. This is an RPG from Square Enix and I have heard mostly positive things about it. I have also heard that the second half of the game isn’t as good as the first half, but we’ll see…

Bravely Default

I also got Bound By Flame and Battlefield 4 for the PS3. These two games are also games I asked for… well, sort of. I basically gave my family members and friends a list of games I wanted to get and they choose these two games from that list.

Bound By Flame PS3 Battlefield 4 PS3

Bound By Flame is an RPG developed by Spiders, who also developed RPGs like Mars: War Logs and Faery: Legends of Avalon. Bound By Flame got mixed reviews but some of my gamer friends who have the game say that they like it.

Battlefield 4 had a lot of major bugs and glitches when it was originally released in October 2013. I really enjoyed playing Battlefield 3 and also the two Bad Company games, so I am looking forward to playing Battlefield 4. Hopefully by now all the bugs have been fixed via patches.

Finally, I used the gift cards that I got at Best Buy and got two DVD sets. I got The Blacklist: The Complete First Season and The Following: The Complete Second Season.

The Blacklist Season 1 DVD, The Following Season 2 DVD

I have watched the first episode of The Blacklist and loved it, so I can’t wait to get into Season 1. I am currently watching Season 1 of the Following on DVD, and am loving it so far.

Alright, to everyone out there, Happy New Year! Hope you have a great 2015!

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The Hunt for Playstation Vita Games, Part 3 (Soul Sacrifice, Tearaway, Rayman Legends, Unit 13, etc…)

A few days ago I talked to my brother and he asked me what I wanted him to get me for Christmas. I told me that I wanted a memory card for my Playstation Vita that was either 16 GB or 32 GB. He said he would get me the 16 GB one.

Currently the 16 GB memory card that I have right now is pretty much filled up. Earlier this month EA gave away some games during one weekend, including Need For Speed: Most Wanted for the PS Vita. I got it (it’s on my download list) but I didn’t have enough space on my current 16 GB memory card to download it.

Well, with this new 16 GB memory card that my brother is getting for me, I can now download Need For Speed: Most Wanted. I can also buy and download some other games, including some PS1 RPGs like Breath of Fire IV, Xenogears, and the newly released Suikoden II.

However, once this new 16 GB memory card fills up, I’m not planning on buying any more downloadable games. I don’t see myself buying another memory card for my PS Vita, unless Sony significantly drops the price of the memory cards.

Anyway, last time I talked about shopping at a Best Buy. Well, this time I headed to yet another Best Buy store. Unlike last time, there was nothing too memorable that happened here, but they had a lot of Xbox One System bundles, stacked on top of each other. They mostly had the Assassin’s Creed Unity/Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag bundles, but they also had a few Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare bundles.

The bundles were $350 each, and at that price, it was quite tempting to get one of these bundles. But ultimately I decided to hold off on buying one of these systems. I’ll just enjoy playing my Playstation Vita (and my other videogame systems) for now…

Speaking of the PS Vita, I was able to find a couple of games for it that I wanted. And I got most of them for cheap prices as well. I ended up buying six Vita games.

Soul Sacrifice, Rayman Legends, Tearaway, Unit 13, Modnation Racers, Wipeout 2048

Out of these six games, Soul Sacrifice is the only one that I paid the full retail price for, which is $30. Soul Sacrifice is another game that I didn’t think I would get this soon, but again, since I was always going to get this game anyway, I decided to get it now. And since I think this game is pretty niche, there’s a good chance that this game will not see a significant price drop before becoming very hard to find.

For $15, I picked up Rayman Legends. This game is also available for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii-U, and I always thought that I would buy this game for my PS3 or Xbox 360 (I don’t have a Wii-U), but one of my friends has been raving this Playstation Vita version, saying that it is just as good as the home console versions. So for $15, I couldn’t resist getting this game for my Vita.

Also for $15 I picked up Tearaway. To be honest, this game is not a game that I thought I would be getting, at least not for its full retail price of $30. I know that this game got universally praised by the critics but from reading reviews of the game it did not sound like this game would be my cup of tea. The game was developed by Media Molecule, who also developed Little Big Planet 1 and 2 for the PS3. While I enjoyed playing both LBP games, I didn’t like them that much. But since Tearaway was only $15, I decided to take a chance on it.

For $9.99, I got Unit 13, which is the last game Zipper Interactive (the makers of the SOCOM games) developed before they got closed down. I have seen some gameplay footage of this game, and it looked like a game that I would really enjoy playing. So when I saw Unit 13 for only $10 I knew I had to get it.

Also for $9.99, I picked up Modnation Racers: Road Trip. I actually didn’t know that there was a Modnation Racers game for the PS Vita. But for only $10, I’ll try it out and hopefully it ends up being fun to play.

Finally, I got Wipeout 2048, which was $9.99 as well. Again, I didn’t know that there was a Wipeout game for the PS Vita. I haven’t played a Wipeout game since playing Wipeout 3 for the original Playstation a long time ago. For the most part, the Wipeout games have been known to be high quality games, so hopefully Wipeout 2048 is no different.

Man, to be honest, I didn’t think that I would be able to get a lot of Vita games for $10 or $15 a piece. Maybe that speaks to the sad state that the Vita is currently in. Oh well, I am glad that I was able to get this games for these cheap prices.

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