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Fable 2

November 2nd, 2010 No comments

Fable 2 has a HUGE amount of content in it, but a lacking for how much of that is required for the storyline. When I say “lacking,” I mean you could commit hours and hours and hours to this game, but never get more than half-way through the storyline because you simply don’t feel like triggering the next instance. What happens when you don’t continue the story? NOTHING! There is zero encouragement to continue the story at the half-way point in the game.

But what about the game itself? It is pretty close to the first in the series, with the exception of changing both the spell engine and the introduction of firearms. That’s right, they added firearms and modified the ranged targeting system so that you aren’t just standing back and trying to snipe off the enemies’ heads with a bow and arrow. I think that the bow and arrow removal did nothing for the gameplay itself though. It does allow you to build your ranged attacks the way you want to (more DPS with a pistol, big damage with rifles, or somewhere in between with crossbows), but to me that didn’t really change the feel of things, especially with the ability to get a level in one of the skill abilities that allows you to tap “Y” at the right time after firing to immediately fire again. Suddenly the rifle turned into a DPS’ing cannon!

What about the spell changes? They honestly didn’t do a whole lot. Yes, you can now charge-up to the higher levels of a skill, but there is no reason to charge up the majority of the skills in the game because there is no mana bar. Yup, they removed the mana bar and in return made it so you would likely have to sacrifice HP to charge up to a higher level of a skill. Since I like to spam the “time control” skill so that I can fly past enemies and then strike them from behind, there was no reason to ever charge up a skill other than to either slow down time with the “time control”s AOE version or to farm gold in one of the later quests with the “raise dead” spell level 5.

So then what did you actually like about the game? The volume of content outside of the storyline itself. There really aren’t that many quests outside of the main storyline, but it is essentially a free-world. You can buy ANY property in the game essentially and either move-in or rent it out. You can marry (though I didn’t try to find out if polygamy was possible in the game) and eventually have kids in the game (grow a family, nurture them, etc.). I spent most of my game time (about a month and a half ago now) becoming a real estate mogul in the game (owned a blacksmith, couple bars, a bunch of houses, and I don’t even remember what else now).

There was a large change that made a big difference in gameplay from the first one, and that was the introduction of a companion. Think Navi from Zelda, but your dog can actually fight if trained enough, and helps you find those hidden dig spots and treasures in the game. It went from a game of guessing where to dig or find treasure to running around and waiting for your dog to let you know where to get the next bit of treasure or quest item.

But what of the storyline itself? Was it at least intriguing? Not really. They seemed to take the story from the first one and recast it for a different time in the same world. I did like how they continually tried to connect the first game and the second, but found the story incredibly short (as stated before). If I had actively tried, I likely could have beaten the main story in about 3 hours of playing. That’s right, a single sitting if I had followed all the in game cues to go through the story. The final boss fight was even disappointing. The hardest fights in the game are against the “trolls,” and they just require standing back and dodging their attacks while you shoot the targets on it as they appear and then take your final shot when the health bar of the troll is low enough. Pretty disappointing from a challenge perspective, of course, that’s not why I played the game through in the first place.

Then why did I play it through? Because of the side-story content. Buying up all the property in the game was a fun goal for a while, but I eventually did get bored. The dog was a fun addition, and its existence greatly affected my end-game “big decision.” But it simply bugged me to no end that the majority of the unique weapons in the game were all in the downloadable content. I’m sorry Microsoft, I’m not going to pay for Xbox Live just so that I can download an extra island of content in the game. Overall, the game was pretty disappointing, but entertained me for a brief period of time.

This Semester’s Classes

January 15th, 2010 No comments

So, I said in a previous post that I was going to be reviewing Evernote as a note taking a productivity tool this semester. Unfortunately that is much harder now that I have attended my first few classes. 2 of my classes discourage or just flat out forbid the use of laptops during class (the one that doesn’t forbid it only allows them on certain days that we are doing in class activities). For the third class, I’m not going to use a laptop anyways because that is algorithms and you just can’t easily type out those symbols most of the time required by the random proofs and equations that we will be using in that class. The remaining course is Ethics, so I will be using my laptop in that class, and hence will still be able to review the program, just not on the same scale as I would have liked.

The two classes that I cannot use my laptop in is Accounting 1 and Marketing. Overall, the classes seem like they will go well this semester, with the very structured accounting course making it much easier to deal with how much I don’t like the teaching antics of the professor, and marketing seems like it will be nice since the teacher does it very much on a discussion basis (I like). Similarly, Ethics will also be nice because it will focus on us working in small groups in class and then discussing our findings afterward. Algorithms is going to be tough, but as long as I keep up with the assignments and the reading of the textbook before class, I’ll be good.

This weekend is going to be a long weekend, which should be very nice and mean I’ll actually be productive (maybe). I have a new book that I want to read, so it may not be AS productive as I would like. Also, my friend is working on putting together a new project to be discussed further once we have the ball rolling with it. First steps first, we have to really hammer out the goals of the new site and such. Look for further posts about that in the future.

I Seem to be Slacking

April 13th, 2009 No comments

I seem to be slacking with these blog posts. I will go days without a post, but usually that is a result of not having time or anything interesting to blog. My last blog was a week ago today… interesting how there were some things that happened last week worth noting in this blog. One of them was confirmation that I have definitely switched my Computer Science focus. Another was finding out that my Econ class that I am taking this semester doesn’t count towards my major. A third is that I am starting to plan potentially going to China in the Spring of 2010. I have also begun to seriously use a program I got in the latest MacHeist called The Hit List which so far has been everything I have REALLY needed from a todo program, and especially that iCal didn’t provide. So, first things first:

GT’s Computer Science program is very unique in that it allows us to greatly diversify our major so that no 2 CS majors will be exactly the same. I have known for quite some time that I wanted to learn about information security, and the thread that correlated best with that was Information Internetworks. My other thread choice (since we must pick at least 2) was Media with the thought that I could then work on the graphical side of video games. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that I do not have much in the way of artistic talent which would mean I would probably not enjoy studying the topic of computer graphics. Instead, I have decided to switch to the Platforms thread. Platforms is substantially more down my alley because it will allow me to learn more about the server side of things. So I will start taking Platforms specific courses in the Fall and am looking forward to it!

Unfortunately, when I went in to make the above changes to my Computer Science threads, I found out that the Econ class I have been taking this semester doesn’t count towards my major because it has too much overlap with a previous Econ class I took. Apparently I just misread the Registrar’s website when I was signing up for classes. During my Freshman year I took Econ 2101 and am now taking Econ 2106. According to the registrar, one cannot get credit for Econ 2100 AND Econ 2101, or Econ 2100 AND Econ 2105/2106, or Econ 2101 AND Econ 2105/2106. What is not outright said though is that one CAN get credit for taking Econ 2105 AND Econ 2106. So, I am going to be taking Econ 2105 in the Fall and will finish my Social Science credits accordingly. Unfortunately, it results in me having taken a course this semester that won’t directly affect my major right now, but once I finish 2105 I will be just fine and Econ 2101 will fall under the “wasted time” column.

A little while back I started to entertain the idea of taking a semester abroad in Beijing. Granted this decision was initially solely fueled by my girlfriend’s plans to study in Beijing during that same semester, I am now very interested in it. I am going to have to meet with an advisor in the Office of International Education to discuss the matter at some point VERY soon, but the potential gains from this opportunity are pretty nice. I know that it is not easy to see this at first glance, but I can’t just hole myself up to ONLY being able to service US employers. Being able to interface with employers from another country would be truly invaluable in today’s market. Consider the way the US’s market is going right now, employment here is not guaranteed, even with my plans to create my own Web Security firm.

As for the todo list program that I have started using, I absolutely love The Hit List. It has a lot of versatility which iCal definitely does not have. In iCal, I was only able to set a todo with a due date, some notes, assign it to a calendar, and that was pretty much it. There was no ability to make a recurring todo, there was no way to make it show up only when I wanted to show it instead of just a single long list. The Hit List supplies me with the versatility that I believe I have been lacking and also has provided some features that I didn’t think that I really needed/was lacking. All around, I am so far impressed and it ALONE was worth the cost of the MacHeist 3 bundle that I purchased.

The rest of the week last week was comprised of class, homework, and going home over the weekend for Passover services and my father’s birthday. The only other thing that has been on my mind has been potential business opportunities that I will enumerate once the project is underway. Until then, it shall be a mystery.

New MBP

December 27th, 2008 No comments

So, my impressions of the new Macbook Pro. The noticeable differences include extended battery life, increased processing power, the trackpad’s multi-touch functionality, and the anti-skipping/scratching of the hard drive. Of these changes, the most impressive change is the anti-skipping/scratching of the hard drive in my opinion. Whenever the computer is moved or jolted you can hear the hard drive skip a little bit. It is by far one of the most impressive hard ware changes that I have seen in a laptop.

Other than the hard drive’s ability to keep itself whole and scratch free, the extended battery life is obviously WONDERFUL! There is a down side to the extended battery life which is that it takes extra long to recharge the battery. It can sit in my room unplugged, asleep, gradually losing a little bit of power, but it might take a good 45 minutes to an hour for it to recharge that seemingly 15-30 minutes of battery life. Seems kind of bizarre that it would take so long to recharge such a small amount of battery life, but that might just be a result of the different type of battery. It is nice to have a 3-4.5 hour battery life, I’m definitely not complaining!

The processing power of the new computer is really nice. It may only be .4 GHz faster with the same CPU, but the graphics and 4 GB of RAM make a HUGE difference. I have also noticed a greater amount of hardware optimization with the multiple CPUs and the 2 graphics processors. When you do something that is very CPU process intensive I have watched my CPU monitor and it doesn’t always try to balance the load over all the CPUs and will instead use just one of the CPUs. Pretty nice CPU usage.

The trackpad’s multi-touch functionality is very very nice. Being able to easily access Expos? is very nice. Simple 4 finger flick on the trackpad will show all the open windows and again will take me to the desktop. Pretty much, I really like it!

Basically, I really like the laptop. It is nice to be able to run multiple applications VERY smoothly.

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