Saturday, December 26, 2009

Game of the year

Uncharted  2: Among Thieves is awesome (Spoilers ahead). It does everything right. Perfect gameplay, gorgeous graphics, amazing sound. This is an experience that should be had by anyone even remotely interested in gaming. It only thus makes sense to make this the killer title for the PS3.

I did play Uncharted: Drake's Fortune but for some reason I wasn't quite immersed into the story aspect of it. Also maybe the reason I quit halfway thru, was looking at greenery thru low end resolution. But once I picked up Uncharted 2, I sat thru it for a nonstop 13 hours until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore and had to get some sleep. Now that I have finished the game am thinking of going back and doing a playthrough of it again, just to experience the awesomeness one more time.

Graphically this game is so gorgeous that you won't realise when a cinematic cutscene gets over and you get back control. Also this game has some of the best water and snow effects I have seen. Yes, AC2 (Assassins Creed 2)  did have a lot of water effects (Venice) but this game tops it.
In the Audio dept, amazing large over the top orchestra pieces are arranged to pull you right in (For those who have played Crimson Skies you will get my drift here). Also the voice acting is just superb. Excellent lip sync.
Gameplay wise this game does everything right, you get to do parkour like AC2, ass-kicking like Batman:AA, puzzle solving like PoP and also cover based third person shooting.

The overall experience is just extremely detailed and photo realistic. Like there are some sequences which are set in Nepal and Tibet. These are just perfect, you will even be able to make out the Indian influence over here by looking at signboards and hoardings along the streets. This is what you would expect if you actually went to Kathmandu and Daramshala. ( I have personally traveled as far as Gangtok, Sikkim and the Indo-China border and can see the similarities.)

Hitting all the right notes is a very difficult task to do in video games because more often than not particular sections start to get boring and tedious. Like goto point A, press button/ move crank B, goto point C and repeat previous steps again. Also it helps that Uncharted 2 doesn't have levels but rather chapters (like Halflife) and thus the story seems all the more seamless.

I generally don't do game reviews but this is breakthrough stuff. If you do not have a PS3 yet, Uncharted 2 would be the reason to get one. For those who have a PS3 but haven't played this game yet, sell it :P

Btw I haven't played the multiplayer aspect of this yet.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Everywhere at work there is something known as the 'Holiday Mood', ppl seem happier even on Monday mornings than usual. Shopping is everyone's priority now. So stores are packed with shoppers going berserk especially around the female shoes sections.

After getting the TV I decided to make some hardcore use of it since from next month I mostly will be back to my uber work schedule. So have decided to stay in my apt from 24-27th. Gaming n watching BluRays/DVD's is my plan.

AFA movies are concerned am doing a zombie movie marathon now; Dawn of the dead, hail George Romero; also the Resident Evil Series.
Gaming also has a zombie influence with Resident Evil 5 but also Uncharted 2, Killzone 2, Resistance 2 are in line as well.

Also am thinking about looking next at ebook readers, maybe the Kindle or the Nook. But thats sometime away probably more like when I start using more public transit and stop driving so much.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dark Ages

I personally don't care much for the raves, rants of the MNS, Sainiks et al. There are much more practical things to occupy my life currently than these. The entire marathi speaking thing, mumbai for marathi natives etc. however is an extremely hopeless cause for ppl who have nothing better to do than occupy their minds with this nonsense.

Am a Bong, born n brought up in Mumbai. Yes, I do know marathi (I studied this till the 10th grade) and quite comfortable with conversing in that medium and also when the occasion demands letting choice expletives fly in it. I care more about things that am concerned about like the economy improvement, my car insurance/gas rates, the prices I pay for eating out, trying to select my new crossover/suv from the vast lineup available, getting the best deals from best buy etc. you get the drift.

But if even educated ppl fall for this kind of nonsense then its just sad that even after coming this far in terms of evolution it doesn't take a lot for the human mind to go back to the dark ages.

I wrote this up after going thru this.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tv Purchase contd.

Today I noticed that Samsung was doing a combo deal which included a free Blu Ray(BR) player alongwith the TV that I had purchased on Saturday. Now I do not need a Blu Ray player since the PS3 does BluRay for me. This free player from Samsung originally retails from BB at 200$, and was marked down to 150$ for Holiday sales.

So my intentions were to get the free player and then post an ad on craigslist/other classifieds and make some $ from this. When I got to BB this evening I went and picked up the BR player and went straight to customer service to check it out. In front of me was a dude who had bought a Panasonic plasma tv but since Panasonic was not offering any combo deals so he was looking to get a BR player. As soon as the customer service rep got me thru I went ahead and sold my BR player to the dude for 100$ cash.

Win-Win situation for all. The dude wins as he got a brand new BR player for 100$ instead of 150$, BB wins because they managed to ship another combo out, I win as I recovered some costs. Only Samsung has lost out over here since they didn't make any money on the guy who bought my BR player.

Moving on, thus in this calender year I ended up making 2500$+ purchases from BB (Nikon D90+Samsung TV). This entitles me to Silver Elite status on the rewards card. One of the perks of this being a 45 day return policy instead of the usual 30 day. Thus the way I look at this is since the Super Bowl will probably end up falling within this 45 day window if the price of the TV falls further after the Bowl I will be going back to BB to get my price-match guarantee.

I Love Best Buy.

TV purchase

I recently bought a new 46" Samsung LCD HDTV. Here's my experience.

Last Tuesday I went and bought my TV (Model 1) for x$(lets say) from Best Buy (BB). This was a deal that I had seen online and so went ahead. On Wednesday I was playing Assasins' Creed 2 when I noticed a solid black line right across the center. Now obviously since I was in the 30 day return policy period so on Thursday evening I went back to BB and asked them if they could hold one of those TV's for me since I didn't want them to get sold out. BB costumer service rep said "Sure, we'll hold it for you which you can come and pick up on Saturday morning when you bring your existing TV in".

On Saturday morning I went back to BB with the TV now to exchange it and get the one which they said they would hold for me. Now I go upto the Geek Squad desk and they verify that there indeed is a solid black line thru the center of the screen. So I get the go ahead from Geek Squad to pick up the one which I wanted. Now when I get to the TV section the sales rep tells me that those particular TV's (Model 1) are sold out. So I try to see if they are there in the other BB in the area and it seems this TV is sold out over there as well.
So now am quite pissed since a TV was promised to me and TV I shall have.

So I go ahead and take the next higher end TV (Model 2) for (x+80)$ thinking that "abhi, 80$ ke liye kaun kitkit karega". So I go home with Model 2 now. I set it up and it looks gorgeous and no black line. The next morning when am browsing thru the BB online store I notice that the price on Model 2 has fallen by 80$ and the price on Model 1 has been hiked up by 120$. So now in the evening I go back to BB and ask them to refund me back the 80$ that they had charged me the previous day since I am well within my rights to return that and buy it again for a cheaper price. And BB goes ahead and refunds me the money. (Totally the refund was 116$, tv+protection plan+sales tax refund)

Now it seems to me the software BB is using to determine these markups has a very weird loophole in it which allowed me to get the Model 2 at the same price as Model 1.

Special Mention: Alok and the Cougar for helping me cart this beast around.