The cake is a lie!

Yeah I know I’m a little late to the party but last night I finished ‘Portal’.

Portal is this amazing game that’s part of the ‘Orange Box’ from Valve. It’s one of 5 games in the game pack, and in my humble opinion the only game in it worth playing.

It’s a 3D puzzle game that puts you as a test subject at the Aperture Science Institute. “We do what we must because we can.”

The portal concept is difficult for some to get. I’ll try to explain it.

There are two portals, one orange, one blue. If you walk in one you come out the other. In early stages you only get to control one, the blue portal.

Imagine that if you walked out your front door. But instead of walking out onto the porch you ended up coming in the back door of your house. Like wise you could turn around and walk out the back and instantly be in your front foyer, as if there was no ‘outside’. That’s what a portal would be like, only you get to shoot them and place them where you need them in most cases.


There’s a 2D flash version on the net that might help explain this [here].

I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t played it.

I played this on the PS3. It’s available for X Box, PS3 and the PC platform. You can buy Portal by itself for $20 from Valve and I’d recommend that if you’re not into the half life series.

On the PS3 the game played fine, though it loaded like a slug.

Call Of Duty (4) aka COD4 is an addiction.


Santa brought us a copy of Call Of Duty 4 Modern Warfare. We’ve played previous call of Duty games and they were all pretty good. Everything you’ve read about this game is pretty accurate.

WWII has been done to death, so Infinity Ward brought Tom Clancy style gaming to the multi-player arena.

Only it’s worse than that.

The graphics are astounding, and the game play is really, really good. I’ve not been a huge fan of platform FPS games mostly because I’ve been platform controller challenged. I’ve just always felt like the controllers were the weak link. I mean come on. Compared to a mouse and keyboard how could you compete? Thank heavens this game isn’t cross-platform multi-player or I’m sure the PC folks would simply crush the platformers.

That being said, this game is addictive enough and the multi-player good enough that it’s pushed me over the edge. I’ve embraced my controller limitations and overcome most of them.

So what’s so addicting? The action. For the most part the games are balanced although you will find yourself in a lopsided battle now and again. If you’re on the winning side it isn’t so bad.

You start out with decent weapons but earn better weapons and mods as you progress through skill challenges. You get a plain Jane MP5 to start, but after a number of kills can add a red-dot sight or silencer. All good things in the scheme of modern warfare.

It’s this apparent never ending quest to have better equipment than the next guy that keeps you going.

There are no vehicles, and I’m OK with that. Get 3 kills in a row without dying and you get to call in or active a UAV, or radar plane that shows your enemies on the map. This is a good thing. Make it to 5 kills and you get to call in an air strike. Done properly, this will kill a few more bad guys and get you to 7 kills and the ability to call in a helicopter for support. Using air strikes and helicopters will get the frags piling up like the pay off of a loose slot machine.

Believe me when I say it’s addictive and I don’t take that lightly. As someone who lost almost 2 years of their off-time playing organized team FPS games, this one could easily put you back in that sored time waste of online gaming.


I admit I’ve probably gone a bit over board in the recent weeks but it’s all in good fun, and it’s a good thing the weather has been completely miserable or I’d really feel bad about the time spent.

It’s just a darn good thing not much else is happening around here.

EA Skate for PS3

At the same time that we purchased Ratchet & Clank for PS3 we also bought EA Skate.


As skating games go this one is pretty good. The reviews of this game coming in around a high 7 to low 8 are pretty spot on.

What differentiates this game from other skating games is the ‘flick-it’ controls. Rather than push a button to start a trick, you ‘flick’ the right analog stick to perform Ollie and Nollie tricks. The tutorials throughout your career are pretty good and get you down the right path. It’ s all about timing and that takes some time to learn.

Throughout the career, I’ve had two times when pulling the appropriate trick was nearly impossible. In some challenges you’ll have to do a Nollie 360 and grind on something. It has to be a “Nollie 360”, not a “Nollie 360 Pop Shuvit”, or anything else that’s very similar. The differences between the two on the Analog stick are very hard to discern and do with consistency, at least for me. Of the two PS3 controllers that we have, one seems easier than the other. Perhaps it’s not as worn out?

What sucks about these types of challenges is that you must do the called for trick in the called for order. It would help if you could do a couple different types of tricks to satisfy the requirement.

The other bad part of this game is there is no walking. You ride everywhere. You have to Ollie up every little curb and step, which can sometimes make getting lined up for a run somewhat tricky. If you could stop, pickup your board, walk to where you want to be, set it down this game would be much more user friendly. I fully expect that will be implemented in the next installment of this game.

The game can get somewhat redundant at times, but forging forward to get the X-Games unlocked brings all kinds of fun.

I currently ‘Own’ my 16 year old son on X-Games Big Air 🙂 He’s getting frustrated and there are still tricks that neither of us can pull with consistency.

Poking around the web you’ll find a number of ‘cheat sheets’ for the tricks. There aren’t any ‘cheats’ that I know of other than unlocking some clothes that you don’t want anyway.

This game takes time to master and certainly isn’t as much fun as saving the day and blowing stuff up, but as a sport game it is quite fun.

I highly recommend it. For me it was a lot more ‘realistic’ and fun than say a Tony Hawk game where you can pull any trick, any time, anywhere, w/o consequences.

I give it two thumbs up.

Assassins Creed for PS3

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This is the game or the type of game that we bought a PS3 for. It’s outstanding. A better Prince of Persia if you will.

The story line is good, albeit a bit odd with the whole ‘memory thing’ with the Animus, but the actual game play portion is outstanding. The Animus and memory stuff will simply provide the lose strings to tie all of the upcoming versions together. I get that but it’s uneccessary.

The visuals are incredible and map is huge.

This game does have some freezing issues, enough to be very annoying especially with it’s slow load and restore time, but even with those issues, it’s still worth it. I understand a patch is forthcoming from Ubisoft. Which given it’s release on or about the 15th, isn’t too bad.

As with other reviews, the game does get somewhat repetitive. After the first 3 assassinations, you’ve pretty much seen it all. You continue to travel back to the same cities and repeat similar assassinations. Each city is unique as are the towns folk and soldiers but they all fight the same. The game does get progressively harder and the soldiers become more aware. To balance that out you’re given more weapons and or expertise with each of the ones that you have.

Collecting flags is optional and don’t benefit you in any way. It would be nice if they did, if they gave you additional weapons or strengths by finding them. After the game is complete it would be nice if they unlocked the flags on the map so that you could actually find them all. Some of them are challenging enough to get once you see them, but finding them is often like looking for a needle in a haystack.

If you do get stuck the walkthroughs on the assassins creed website are great. or directly here: AC Help for PS3

This FAQ has almost everything in it, and will spoil the end of the game if you read it all.

Things I really wish they would change for the next installment. All of the cut scenes should be OPTIONAL after you’ve watched them once. It’s probably the only thing keeping me from going back and re-doing everything I missed. I’d gladly do the quest again if I didn’t have to sit through the cut scenes and speeches. They were OK the first time, perhaps a little long but we shouldn’t be forced to watch them every time we need to move forward.

Any review that rates this an 8.5 or above is spot on.

It could use more variety as the game progresses which I suspect Ubi will tackle the next time around.

I highly recommend this game. It’s much more playable and enjoyable than say ‘Resistance’ to me. It’s not just about killing monsters or mutants, yet it’s not as technical as a splinter cell game. It’s right in the middle and very well done.


Ratchet and Clank Future Tools Of Destruction.

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Well it’s finally here.

The reason to own a Playstation 3

The quest into this 5th installment started last night with the return of our ‘dead’ PS3 from the Sony repair facilities.

After approximately 4 hours of game play here’s my initial reaction.

It’s friggin beautiful! By far the most visually appealing game I’ve played for the PS3.

Game play

  • Is as smooth as butta. It’s a pleasure to play and is just simply visually stunning.
  • Even the parts that use the 6 axis for control, this is by far the best implementation of this technology.
  • It’s not hard. Though no Ratchet and Clank game has been all that ‘hard’, this is somewhat too easy. After 4 hours of play I died only a handful of times, most of those were from jumping off into the abyss by accident and not by the hand of any of the foe’s.
  • Some parts of the game, like piloting the ship and fighting the big bad Pirate ship on the way to a planet are down right dumb. There isn’t any skill involved in this portion of play. Just fly in random circles and shoot. You won’t die, and if you do this long enough, you’ll eventually beat the pirate ship.
    • Note: in this day and age of video games, no games should be so easy a monkey could play it, and that’s not what I bought R&C for.
  • You start out with too much stuff. In prior adventures you’d have to work a bit to find the good gadgets. In Future Tools, you start out with too many.
    • Granted, if this installment was aware of prior quests, and you started out with them because of that, I’d be OK with it. I don’t know yet if I’ll receive any super cool weapons or discounts because of these prior quests as in previous games.

The Weapons

This is what we buy R&C for. To blow stuff up in creative ways w/o any attempt at realism. There’s no blood or gore, it’s just down right fun.

4 hours into it, and with a few weapon upgrades, I’m a little disappointed. But perhaps I just haven’t unlocked the fun stuff yet. I don’t have a Quack-O-Ray, or a Taunter, or anything fun (yet), nor certainly anything as devastating as the Flux Rifle. But time will tell.

The whole game feels as though it was rushed by Insomniac. The storyline/plot is same/same. Game play is great, but it’s missing the ‘hook’. The comedy and wit isn’t nearly as good as in the past. It really feels like I’m playing a previous version that was simply mastered for high def. It’s like watching the Newly mastered Jungle book from the Disney archives. Same story only prettier. Less exciting be case after four hours I haven’t been ‘wowed’ yet by anything other than the artwork.

If Resistance was given a 9 out of 10 stars, then Future Tools will score an 11 just based upon the smooth game play and visuals. It’s still entertaining, dot get me wrong, but it’s lacking something. Something you just know Insomniac would give you.

I’ll report back when I’m finished and hopefully I won’t feel so torn.