In yet another OC-unremarkable week, not much was achieved; Marble Blast Ultra received some DLC on Wednesday, luring me into playing it online for all of two matches to net the one new Achievement on offer… on The List and off again in the same day. Another look at Wii Fit ruptured any credibility in the product, as it awarded my creaking lardy body “Yoga Trainer” status on multiple mini-games. And something lured me back to Gears Of War: perhaps a curious mind that was wondering whether the online multiplayer was really that unpalatable. A whole bunch of matches for all of three kills with a bitchily uncommunicative crowd reminded me that yes, there are better things to be doing with my gaming time… and yet, those multiplayer Achievements still gnaw away at me, goading me with their “Locked” status.

Luckily, the week in gaming was saved by a chum wanting to play a bit of Mercenaries 2 co-op. Not being an Achievement Whore (nor afflicted by OCD), he was unphased by the prospect of killing HVTs (and hence missing out on the “Aces High” Achievement)… the resultant joy as the two of us teamed up for helicopter-hopping, tank-trashing, airstrike-addled mayhem was incalculable. It really, truly is a completely new game with a partner by your side – a noticeably easier game, yes, but staggeringly good fun.

Mind you, Mercenaries 2 did show itself to be horribly bug-ridden. Sound glitches galore, mysterious hangs, and instances where my co-op partner’s 360 and mine didn’t really sync, resulting in our view of proceedings being out-of-whack. And the “…And Justice For All” Achievement – effectively a subset of the aforementioned (and previously obtained) “Aces High” Achievement, refused to unlock until I re-completed the game while physically disconnected from Xbox LIVE. Ermmm… quite.

Still, Mercenaries 2 is fiendishly good fun – especially with that co-op player. Even better, an upcoming update is supposed to include models of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama. The idea of getting Obama to trigger a MOAB airstrike in the middle of the Caracas shanty-town has me cross-legged with giggling anticipation.

4 thoughts on “MercenaryMarblesOfWar”

  1. I was both happy and disappointed with Marble Blast’s new content. New map and a new Achievement = happy Nismo. But at the same time once the new Achievement had been obtained (and because it was easy, it happened quickly) there was no reason to keep playing and that was disappointing. I love that game and still think it’s one of the best XBLA titles out there but perhaps I got too excited when I heard the content was coming. Hopefully the supposed two other packs on the way (bringing another two Achievements) will have a little bit more content and therefore more reason to play. If not then I might try and beat all my times again or something, just so I have reason to play it again.

    With regards to Gears, it is a lot easier to play that game’s multiplayer if you have a friend or three to do it with. Gears’ multiplayer doesn’t suck but the community certainly does. I don’t know if you noticed but I played the original until I had ‘Seriously…’ and at times it was an absolute chore purely because the community was such a bad one. Finally getting it though was worth it in the end and I think that reason alone is why I will probably do it again starting at the end of this week… ;)

  2. I know exactly what you mean about Marble Blast – I, too, fired up the new map for precisely two games – one where I joined a nasty lag-fest, and another I hosted where I was alone for three minutes, then let late-comers collect blue gems to their heart’s content. I enjoyed it a lot – online and off – back in the day, and can’t wait for the new content (though I think there’s only one additional paid download planned).

    Gears, though… hmmm. Like most online games, I can see how it would be better with friends, but most of my gaming mates are in the UK, and Gears doesn’t handle that well (as opposed to, say, Halo). And I don’t know how to “game” the ranked matches to allow me to play with known friends :}

    And yes – I did notice your “Seriously…” Achievement; my hat’s off to you for that, and for a bunch of your other Achievements too – that’s a mighty fine GamerCard you’ve got there. Very complete; I approve :D

  3. Ah but like one would probably expect, it could be an even more complete card and until it is, I won’t be happy. ;) As I mentioned to you in those messages I sent you, I am a completionist like you are and I have been for as long as I can remember so of course going for any achievement that I can is something I will do. You may have noticed me playing Eternal Sonata lately despite having already finished it once; Yes, I’m doing that to mop up the rest of the achievements even though the second playthrough is basically just one big grindfest. Aiming to get it (and Skate preferably) done before Friday, where I’ll be buying Gears 2, Fallout 3, Viva Pinata 2 and either Dead Space or Midnight Club LA. I’ve still got Call of Duty 4 to finish on Veteran, Lost Odyssey to start, Fable 2 to continue and The Darkness to play as well… And that’s not including Portal: Still Alive…

    Anyway back to the subject.

    Marble Blast – I too only played two matches, one which was also laggy and the other where I obtained the achievement. It seems sad, when I think about it. That was what, 5 minutes of play? *sigh

    Gears – In the original game there was an ‘Aussie Criteria’ to search for – Warzone Ranked 9 rounds – where most of the Aussies who went for ‘Seriously…’ or whatever. At first it was great because the matches had no lag, you were playing with Aussies and enjoying the game. But then, as the community grew and became more competitive the majority (or so it seemed anyway) of the Aussies turned into not so nice players (really hard to not say what I really want to ;) ) and as a result the community went down the drain and the game/achievement became a chore. I still appreciate that I was able to play in mostly lag-free matches, though and probably wouldn’t have ‘Seriously…’ if it wasn’t for that criteria.

    As for Gears 2, well from what I can gather the game will have a Ranked (and perhaps even Social) system similar to Halo 3 so if that is the case then it will be a lot better. Whether it will be lag-free or not depends on the net code and everyone’s connections, but if it works like Halo’s does then I am looking forward to it. One hesitation I have going into the sequel is that I will probably bump into quite a few of those people who became not so nice players but again, if this system works the way I think it will then hopefully that means that I will come across more randoms rather than the same people match in, match out.

    Oh and if you want a Wingman, just give me a yell.

    (also does bold/italics/whatever work the same as say, forums in this comment section?)

  4. Forgot to say that the ‘Aussie Criteria’ for the original Gears obviously meant that when searching for a match, it would show the 3 blue (or white – can’t remember) bars to indicate a good connection. Then it would simply be a case of finding the map that your friend/s had hosted and hopefully getting in before a random or two did. It was hard and complicated unnecessarily, but it worked. This new system for Gears 2 seems to have a party like Halo (repeating myself much?) so it will be a lot easier to play with friends. Oh and to correct an error in the above comment because I’m pedantic like that;

    “where most of the Aussies who went for ‘Seriously…’ or whatever.”

    Should be: where most of the Aussies who went for ‘Seriously…’ or whatever played.

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