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Assassin's Creed II disappoints and my Big Red Potion appearance

Assassin's Creed 2 Screenshot

In spite of my dismay, I held out hope that Ubisoft would take the copious amounts of player feedback and apply it towards the sequel, finally crafting a title that lived up to the promise. The early word was good, and practically everyone I spoke to said that the developers had seen the error of their ways and had delivered a game that "kept all the good stuff and got rid of all the bad". I wanted to believe. Oh, how I wanted to believe.

I actually like Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum Screenshot

Getting closer to the end of my "must-plays" of 2009, I just wrapped up Batman: Arkham Asylum on the PS3 a few minutes ago. I've got to say, this is one of those extremely rare times when I felt that all of the praise and accolades given to the game were well and truly deserved.

The Wizard of Oz, Shiren the Wanderer and three great games left to play

Shiren the Wanderer Screenshot

News has started to trickle out about the upcoming Shiren the Wanderer for the Wii. Set to release on February 9, this is absolutely one of my most anticipated games for the foreseeable future. In case you missed it, I picked up a copy of Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer on DS a while ago and blogged about it obsessively for a few days.

I knew very little about it except for the fact that it was a Rogue-like, but it didn't take me long to fall in love. More than anything, I admired the unyielding discipline of the developers and the way they implemented the rules of the game consistently and fairly from start to finish. It was certainly difficult to be sure, but it was one of those rare games that never felt unfair or cheap.

Interview with Jason Crawford, Founder of SwitchGames.com

Interview with Jason Crawford, Founder of SwitchGames.com

A while ago, a friend on Twitter recommended I check out SwitchGames, an online trading service for folks who want to get rid of the old in exchange for the new. Rather than messing around with tokens, credit, or trade points (I get enough of that nonstandard currency crap paying for DLC already, thanks) SwitchGames offers a 1-to-1 trading system—basically, a straight-across swap service that matches people up according to their wants.

Interview with Signal Studios' Max Wagner

Interview with Signal Studios' Max Wagner - Toy Soldiers Screenshot

Always one to support smaller development houses and those exploring the downloadable space, I was fortunate enough to get the chance to have a brief exchange with Max Wagner, one of the co-founders of brand-spanking (sort-of) new Signal Studios. The studio's first game, Toy Soldiers, was just revealed at the most recent Tokyo Game Show and will be leading the assault on Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade service in the very near future.

The ethics of same-day DLC

The ethics of same-day Dragon Age DLC

As is somewhat apparent, I've been spending some time (a lot of time, actually) with BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins. Although it's got a few issues, it's a great Adventure-RPG if you like the style as much as I do, and it's had no trouble keeping my interest. However, there has been something that's been bothering me about it—the character Shale.

For those that don't know, Shale is an extra character that can be recruited into the player's party. A powerful wrecking-ball of a golem with a witty personality, he's a very attractive prospect. The issue? He's only available via DLC.

Dragon Age: Origins impressions

Dragon Age: Origins impressions

So, now that it's here I've been able to log some hours with it and at this point all I'll say is that despite some of the big talk BioWare was putting out, Dragon Age = KOTOR/Jade Empire/Mass Effect in a Medieval-ish/Lord of the Rings skin. Frankly, it's the same game they've put out a couple times now, so everyone's mileage may vary. In my case, this is one of my favorite game types and BioWare does them best, so I'm digging it. However, I'm under no illusions that the game pushes any boundaries or explores new territory. This is firmly-established boilerplate.

Marvel not so Ultimate Alliance 2, Trine and missing out on Dragon Age

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Trine and missing out on Dragon Age

Playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 with the wife right now, doing co-op throughout the entire campaign. I didn't expect much more than a complete rehash of the first game, but I have to admit I'm a little surprised at how lackluster it feels. It's basically there, but needs more polish to really make it pop. We've stumbled across more than a handful of bugs and glitches which always detracts from the experience, and parts of the game just don't feel very well-thought-out. The boss fight with Yellowjacket was a complete mess, and it really drives me up the wall the way the game is so capricious with the team you’ve selected.

Modern Warfare 2 controversy, Demon's Souls Halloween goodness and Half-Minute Hero

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Screenshot

So the word is basically out, and the level that has been causing all the commotion has been revealed to be used as a scene-setting device—basically establishing some context for the player's actions in the rest of the game. That was pretty much what I expected, but… it was also relayed that wherever this scene appears in the final retail version, it will be preceded by a warning about "graphic content" and the option to simply skip it and jump right into the part where the player goes back to being a "good guy".

Thoughts on leaked Modern Warfare 2 footage (Spoiler Alert!)

Spoiler Alert for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 fans!!

This morning on Twitter, I saw a link come in mentioning Modern Warfare 2. I don't really give a rip about it and I've been skipping over most of the masturbatory OMG-look-at-this-new-feature news on it, but this particular tweet was from one of my recent follows who I perceive as being a pretty sharp dude, and his basic reaction to this piece of news was essentially "holy s**t." That in itself isn't usually enough to get me to click a link, but like I said, this guy has had some interesting things to say, so I checked it out.

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