Saturday, August 29, 2009

Champions Online Beta Impressions

So, the beta for Champions Online has been over for a couple days now, and I had been playing quite a bit of it while it was going on. Champions Online is a game published by Atari and created by Cryptic Studios, the same studio that made City of Heroes and City of Villains. Now, I've played City of Heroes before, and thought it was fairly fun. Champions Online retains a lot of what made City of Heroes so great, and takes the whole thing a few steps further.

First, let's talk about the character creator. In comparison to character creators in other MMOs, Champions Online pretty much beats them all. In WoW, you can basically choose from a few different hairstyles and face styles, and that's it. and in other MMOs, it's usually similar. However, Champions Online is closer to something like the character creator from The Sims 3. It might not be quite as in-depth as that, but you have a lot of various options, and there's a hell of a lot of sliders to adjust. Not only that but since the art style in the game is so cool and has a nice comic-book style to it, you usually end up making something that looks cool every time. During my time with the game, I made three characters, all very different looking, and they all turned out awesome.

But, let's talk more about the actual gameplay. The game starts you in Millennium City, and the whole city is being attacked by aliens. This part is mostly a tutorial mode, you learn all about different leveling concepts, and about the controls. Eventually you save the city and then you have a choice. Depending on which NPC you get a quest from, you can either go to the Disaster in The Desert, or the Crisis in Canada. It doesn't really matter which one you choose, because you can always go back to the other one later, but I chose Canada.

In Canada, this is pretty much the ice zone of the game, and the crisis I mentioned before is a bunch of zombies attacking. This leads me onto the next part of the game, which I found to be rather interesting. After completing a bunch of quests, me, and the team I was with at this point, got a quest where we had to fight the boss of the area. We ended up traveling through this portal, and when we beat the boss and traveled back, everything was all good, no more zombies. Not only that, but there were more locations to visit on the map. At first I was confused, and thought that maybe since the change was so dramatic that we were the only ones to have completed the mission at that point. Then it occurred to me, that we were actually in a whole new area! The game works on a pretty ingenious system of "area servers." For example, the Millennium City tutorial zone has about 10 dedicated servers just for that zone, and the Crisis in Canada zone has maybe another 10 servers, only for that zone, and now this new zone, the Canadian Wilderness zone, had another 10 servers. This is a pretty ingenious way to spice up the gameplay, and change the surroundings for players who have completed area-changing quests, however, without a highly populated userbase, some areas might be a little deserted.

So, eventually, after doing some more quests in the Canadian Wilderness, I ended up going back to Millennium City. Now, the city was much different from when we left it. The tutorial zone was the noob zone, pretty much, and now this new Millennium City seemed to be the main location that you're going to spend the game. I was only able to do a couple quests here and there in this part of town, but the whole area seems huge, and it's really useful to have some flying ability.

Speaking of abilities, let's talk about some of the ones you can get. There's fire, ice, electricity, earth, telekinesis, strength, munitions (guns and stuff), gadgets (necromancer, pretty much), magic, demon, mechanical, bladed weapons, science, and pretty much any other type of hero archetype you could think of. Basically, selecting one of these would determine what your character's focus was. You could always get powers from different archetypes after leveling, but this would determine your character's starting powers and stats. I ended up choosing Telekinesis for my main character, Psycho Drake, and I also messed around a bit with Strength, and Dual Blades. Overall, whichever archetype you choose, there's a lot of satisfying powers to use against your enemies.

Speaking of enemies, let me get into the combat system a little. If you've played an MMO before, this sort of combat may seem familiar, but it has a few nice touches to it. You still add powers to your quickbar, you're still pressing 1-7 to activate said powers, however, there's a heavy focus on moving your character around. You take less damage when you dodge an attack, and if you hit a number key without anybody selected, it will automatically attack the closest person to you. This makes the whole thing feel a lot more like Diablo or some sort of Action RPG instead of an MMO, and I personally think it's a welcome change on the market.

Now, what would an MMO be without any social aspects? Kinda boring, I tell you. Well, let me talk about some of that. The majority of the userbase, at least during the beta, was pretty friendly, and many people don't mind just starting up a random team, which is good if you don't know anybody who plays the game. the emotes might be a little lacking in variety, but the ones they do have are really good. they have a few different dancing emotes, including a break-dancing emote, a quick Micheal Jackson style twirl, and of course... since it's a superhero game, and you've gotta "superman dat' hoe" they have the Soulja Boy dance in here. Yes... they really do, in fact somebody has already made a WoW style music video using it and posted it on youtube. Some of the other emotes range from an evil laugh to a "charge" emote complete with bugle horns.

I only played a bit of the PvP, and it's your basic stuff. 5v5 arena cage matches with superheroes spawning in their designated rooms. In all of the PvP matches I played, people were leveled up to 10, but I'm not sure if some people were leveled down or not. However, this would not affect your abilites, only your stats. I kinda wish they had more large-scale PvP battles, kind of like Guild Wars, but with superheroes, but since that's all Guild Wars really focuses on, I guess that's asking a bit much.

Now, for the part you've all been waiting for. The end of beta event! So, the end of beta was pretty cool, I'm not too well versed in the champions universe of comics, but what I'm guessing is most likely the main villain, Dr. Destroyer, sent in all of his troops to Millennium City, this included various raids by Destro-Troopers, and a few giant Mega-Destructiods, pictured to the right, that were level 40 and spawned in the middle of some main-hub areas. Luckily, Cryptic set up a quest that would boost anybody who talked to the quest-giver up to level 40. This allowed me to get my hands on a lot of powerful moves, and really see what my class had to offer. Pretty crazy stuff, really. Even at level 40, though... Mega-Destructiod is not an easy enemy to take down. In fact, I ended up not being able to take down a single one. In fact, full groups of five went in and still weren't able to take them down. They seem like an end-game type of enemy, and definitely a challenge that would require somebody to gain just a few more levels. Hopefully they don't cap the level at 40 in the full game.

Overall, the beta was fun, and the game is definitely a satisfying experience, and one I'd recommend to anybody who enjoys any sort of RPG, and even more to those who enjoy the MMO variety. Is this game a WoW killer? Well, maybe it's too early to say, but I definitely think Cryptic has something really good here, and it may just be on par with something like WoW in the near future.

Geeksquisite Question of the Day #51: 8/29/09

This question came to me when thinking about how school is just about to start up again. Woopy

Question #51: Best Back to School memory?

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Flowers For Algernon Review

Flowers for Algernon is one of the most unique books in circulation today. In some schools it is a book everyone reads for English, and it should be. Providing a hopeful rebirth of a man who was mentally slow, Charlie Gordon grows to be a genius in a given time with the help of doctors who augment his chromosomes. I actually was looking for a movie made with this book, but I could never find it. But eventually we found a later made TV movie from 2000, and I have to say I was skeptical. TV movies don't do so great a lot of the time, but I watched it and I gotta say...RENT THIS MOVIE!

Oh my God, this movie follows the book extremely well, perfectly in fact. Yes they cut it down to an hour and a half feature but they kept all the themes, all the moods and captured the books best moments perfectly. I cannot believe a TV movie based on a book I liked would turn out this well. I don't know a single one of these actors, but they all fit their roles very well. This movie is emotional, no it didn't get me to tears but it had me actually caring about these people. Charlie Gordon's actor Matthew Modine goes between the genius and the regular sides of Charlie Gordon so easily. The movie truly captures the mistake and the miracle of giving this man the tools to become a genius, it also does social commentary on the competitive nature of intelligence.

Acting was good, direction was good, the writing was good. I had a hard time finding mistakes or flaws with this movie, I mean its really good. We're talking the perfection Pixar is known for, this movie was perfectly paced albeit a bit fast paced.

This movie tears at your heart, makes you feel for the characters, it inspired me to be open and true to myself. Everyone needs to see this movie, go rent it and immerse yourself in this world Author Daniel Keyes created and that was captured so PERFECTLY.

I give this movie a 5 out of 5

5 movies you have to see

This is a list of 5 movies from my life that I really recommend everyone sees. Some of these are probably in the back of your minds, and if not go see them.

1. Rookie of the Year
Henry Rowengartner (Nicholas), a 12-year-old Little Leaguer, has dreams of playing in the major leagues. One day, Henry breaks his arm trying to catch a fly ball and has to wrap it in a cast. Once the arm is healed the doctor removes the cast and discovers Henry's tendons have healed "a little too tight", thus enabling Henry to cock his arm back and fire it forward with incredible force. In celebration of the cast's removal, Henry's mom presents him and two friends with tickets to the day's Chicago Cubs game. At the game, Henry and his friends catch a home run hit by the visiting team. In keeping with Wrigley Field tradition, they decide to throw the ball back onto the field. Henry takes the ball and, because of the way the tendons healed, launches it from the outfield bleachers all the way to the catcher standing at home plate (which is, as according to the radio announcer played by John Candy, about 435 feet). The crowd, players on the field, and even the members in the owners box stare in astonishment at the throw.

Directed by Daniel Sterns, the guy classically known as Marv the robber from Home Alone, this is one of those movies with so many clever twists. There were a ton of baseball movies in the 90's and this is one of the more under-appreciated films because the cast is nothing big but the light paced humor and the ridiculous baseball moments are things to smile at.

2. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
The story begins at a wedding, after which the family has to leave for San Francisco in California for an important trip. They can't take the animals with them, so they leave them at a ranch belonging to an old friend of the wife's. Shadow becomes worried about Peter, the oldest boy in the family and his best friend, so he decides to go and find him.
Disney has made some stupid live action movies in their log but they have good ones too, the funny thing about this movie is that the original didn't have the animals talk by telepathy. So its a remake with a fresh idea, and it seems to charm more than the new movies with CGI to make the animal's lips move. Plus, when you have a great cast including Don Ameche (last film he made), Michael J Fox, and Sally Field, there is some fun chemistry here.

3. Mr. Deeds goes to Town
In the middle of the Great Depression, Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper), co-owner of a tallow works, part-time greeting card poet and tuba-playing inhabitant of the hamlet of Mandrake Falls, Vermont, inherits the enormous fortune of 20 million dollars from his late uncle, Martin Semple. His uncle's scheming attorney, John Cedar (Douglass Dumbrille), locates Deeds and takes him to New York City.
A Frank Capra film, I saw this movie after seeing the dismal remake Mr. Deeds with Adam Sander. The original is a far superior film in my honest opinion, but the remake was really trying to be close to the original in some ways. Having said that Mr Deeds Goes to Town is a funny, meaningful movie that teaches its viewers about individuality and society. It also has some nods to the Great Depression and how hard working people will always be around and criticize our continued pathetic state of "Redistribution of Wealth" in that the rich don't need the money they have.

4. The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is based on the true story of housewife Evelyn Ryan, who helped support her family by winning entries in jingle-writing contests
A nostalgic film of the 1950's American Family that had issues, unlike today where you can put a mean member in his place, at this time most things were kept secret. When issues got in the way of the Ryan family, the mother supported her children through jingle contests that were popular during the period. Julianne Moore is an actress I appreciate, and her performance is an honest representation of Evelyn Ryan. Watch this movie, appreciate what you have, and learn from her how to keep going strong in uncertain times.

5. Batman: The Movie
When Batman (West) and Robin (Ward) get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp (the final role of actor Reginald Denny) is in danger aboard his yacht, they launch a rescue mission using the Batcopter. After a tangle with an exploding shark, Batman and Robin head back to Commissioner Gordon's office where, through deduction and wisdom, they figure out that the tip was a set-up by four of the most powerful villains ever (Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman), who have united to defeat The Dynamic Duo once and for all.
For those of you like me who constantly watch The Dark Knight, hate the 90's batman movies and are either a fan or not a fan of the 89 film by Tim Burton, see this one as well. This is a completely different batman focused on the campy 1960's batman tv series, its actually pretty entertaining. You may not like it, but its so ridiculous at times and so campy its great. No it's not a bad movie in any sense, but it doesn't try to be as serious as the new ones. It's the real kid's adventure batman that drove him to be an icon in American Culture.

Geeksquisite Question of the Day #50: 8/28/09

This question came to me when talking on the podcast. About superheros because isn't Ash like Batman in that they both have a utility belt. One with ninja stars and the other has pokeballs.

Question #50: Is Ash A superhero?

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Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section, thank you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Geeksquisite Question of the Day #49: 8/27/09

This question came to me when thinking all the new and old tv shows starting up in september. I'm amazed with how good tv shows have gotten over the last 5 or so years.

Question #49: What tv show premiere are you looking forward to most?

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Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section, thank you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Heavy Rain DLC

When it rains DLC it pours

DLC for heavy rain would be cool, the game is already an exciting release for many PS3 owners, and DLC is mostly free on PSN so its a nice perk. Quantam Dream stresses the need for the game to sell well for DLC to be a possibility.

However, since DLC is more of a free perk on PSN, Quantam Dream should guarantee DLC in order to promote the shelf life and replayability of the game. It's also a no brainer that DLC will likely happen for Heavy Rain, they pushed the game back to 2010 to avoid competition. But the 1UP article stipulates that even the pushback is threatened due to all the other games being delayed to 2010. Well, DLC will certainly encourage people who look for value to look to Heavy Rain. Covering all bases is good for Quantam Dream to do.

DLC for heavy rain could cost money, but I imagine if given the space and the incentive it would we well worth every penny.

Geeksquisite Question of the Day #48: 8/26/09

This question came to me when thinking how the summer blockbuster season i now coming to a close. There were some great films and some terrible films this summer.

Question #48: Favorite Summer movie of 2009?

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Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section, thank you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Batman movie in IMAX?


I have to say, I didn't see the difference between the IMAX and the regular scenes in the Dark Knight because I couldn't tell the difference. And with the bloating budgets for some of these big movies, to add a SUPPOSEDLY high quality IMAX camera for the whole film when we can't tell the difference between the scenes seems stupid.

I mean really, I HATE HATE HATE paying 10 bucks for a ticket sometimes, even more for IMAX. If the third batman movie is filmed in IMAX and i'm content with a regular theatre why should I have to pay more. Yeah I understand it's great for others, but a WHOLE MOVIE filmed in IMAX is going to force/tempt Warner Brothers to raise ticket priced to..god I don't know 20 dollars a ticket.

Take another movie praised for its visual beauty, Terminator Salvation, that didn't quite get critical acclaim this year. So by that, visuals aren't everything.

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Expansion Pack

So look, a lot of us here at Geeksquisite really aren't into WoW all that much. Some of us were at some point but that ship has sailed far far away. Regardless I'm sure some of you still love your WoW so I might as well put something up about it. I'm not going to go over everything new since you either already know it, don't care, or will watch the trailer below in find out in about 4 minutes. So just a few things I thought were pretty cool, the new Worgen class for the alliance. They seem essentially like good werewolfs and they just look incredible. The horde have Goblins now which seems like it's something that should have existed a long time ago but whatever. The new look to the world itself seems pretty impressive I must say. The Cataclysm they speak of seems like some super volcano went off or something and has completely changed the landscape of the game. Every trailer Blizzard makes has me itching to play the game but then I turn it on and after about 2 days I get bored out of my mind with no intention of returning. I think I'll wait until Star Wars: The Old Republic myself but if your a WoW player this looks pretty fucking exciting.

Debut Trailer:

Fly over of the new enviroments

This footage was cam filmed so the sound is pretty awful and the video is a bit grainy. But it shows the starting area and gameplay footage of the Worgen so if your interested it is worth the look. I really like the transformation.

Also some pretty bad quality Goblin gameplay. The audio is much more tolerable in this one though.

Really Looking Forward to Borderlands Now

I haven't really been excited about Gearbox's Borderlands because I haven't seen much more then stills of it. They just released a gameplay montage the other day and it totally got me revved up to play it. It looks like everything I wanted out of Fallout but didn't get. The accurate shooting, the co-op, the cool art design, I can't wait to get my hands on this game now. Let us know what you think below.

Geeksquisite Question of the Day #47: 8/25/09

This question came to me when thinking a infamous movie called Troll 2 which I have yet to see. By all accounts though it has been dubbed the worst movie ever made. So bad in fact that a documentary has been made about it and it's cult following. I eagerly wait to watch both.

Question #47: Worst movie you've ever seen?

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Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section, thank you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

20 minutes of Star Wars: The Old Republic in motion

The new footage shows off the Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, and Sith Warrior classes. Also the new VO dialogue that plays out a lot like a evolution of the Mass Effect dialogue system. Bioware certainly seems to be taking everything they know and throwing it into one basket (which is a good thing). The combat from what we've seen so far looks great to me. I'm so tired of fantasy MMO's so I'm very interested to see where this game goes. THe only thing holding me back would be the subscription fee but this game might just get me to make that leap. Let us know your thoughts on the footage below.

Geeksquisite Question of the Day #46: 8/24/09

This question came to me when thinking about how much more expensive the average arcade game has gotten. The quality seems to have also gotten better though.

Question #46: Is there an ideal price for xbl/psn downloadable games?

If you'd like to submit a question just send an e-mail to with the subject line Question of the Day.

Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section, thank you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Perfect Dark coming to XBLA

It's not just a retro listing

Well here is another XBLA Arcade game coming this Winter, Perfect Dark, and from the looks of the pictures it gets a graphical facelift from the N64 version. And when I read that I was thinking wow cool another Turtle in Time Reshelled story, especially considering it will have co op multiplayer. Thats about all Turtles in Time Reshelled had too.

Well there is something to make fans of Perfect Dark happy enough to buy it at the likely 800-1200 Microsoft points it will be, the Face Mapping Technology removed at the last minute before its original release will be put into the game. That should get some of us interested.


Hey now that we are hungover instead of drunk enjoy Day 2 of the feed. More people will be joining later but atm we are playing some Dokapon Kingdom which we are finding incredible.

Watch live video from Geeksquisite on

Geeksquisite Question of the Day #45: 8/23/09

This question came to me when thinking about nothing. It was Aaron's question while we were a tad loopy.

Question #45: What's your funniest moment while being drunk?

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Retrogen Diary: The Beginning

Hey guys, due to my prolonged wait for my Retrogen Handheld I have decided to keep a log on my progress while I wait for it. What is the Retrogen you may ask?
A handheld Sega Nomad remake with three to four times the battery life with all the awesome abilities of the original except for the two player mode. It's smaller and licensed by Sega to the point that it will have new games for it and will be compatible with every game and even region free. Are you drooling yet?

So to start off this wonderful account of waiting for something I really wanted, here is the first log in my Diary:

What, was the writing above not enough for you. Besides, it's good to have fiber in your diet.