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Blu-ray calibration:

The Blu-ray/DVD player was a Sony Playstation 3, model CECH-2101A with the following Video Settings:

BD/DVD Cinema Conversion - Automatic
BD/DVD Upscaler - Normal
BD/DVD Video Output Format (HDMI) - Y Pb/Cb Pr/Cr
1080p 24hz Output (HDMI) - On

I have the PS3 connected to a Sony STR-DG720 AV Receiver via an HDMI cable, then I use an HDMI output to my television.  I use a 5.1 speaker set, Insignia NS-HT51.  I tried plugging the PS3 directly into my television, then using a digital optical cable from the PS3 to my receiver, and I also tried using the digital optical cable from my TV to my receiver with a similar result - t
he severe degradation of quality in my music files as played on my PS3 forced me to revert to the above configuration.  Two points for the run-on sentence.

I used Battlestar Galactica Season 3 Disc 5 episode The Son Also Rises to calibrate.  I used Galactica because the DP for that series intentionally made much of the imagery grainy, so it was somewhat difficult to make the picture look good.  In fact, the first episode I watched looked like total crap, and I was wondering if I was going to be able to adjust my television to provide an acceptable picture for this TV series.  The goal was to see a picture that popped off of the screen as if I were right there in front of the people.

Picture Mode - Movie
Backlight - 20
Contrast - 100
Brightness - 45
Sharpness - 20
Color - 45
Tint - G50 R50

Picture Options:
Color Tone - Standard
Digital Noise Filter - Auto
MPEG Noise Filter - Auto
Auto Motion Plus - Custom:
     Blur Reduction - 10
     Judder Reduction - 7

Advanced Settings:
Black Tone - Darker
Dynamic Contrast - Off
Shadow Detail - 0
Gamma - 3
10p White Balance - Off
Flesh Tone - 0
Edge Enhancement - On
Motion Lighting - Off
xvYCC - On
LED Motion Plus - On


This collection of settings also works very well with regular DVDs - I tested it with The Good Wife Season 2 Disc 6 episode Closing Arguments

With the Galactica Blu-ray in, the people popped off of the screen nicely, but it came at a price.  Objects moving quickly across the screen get blocky or blurry, and I managed to track down the setting that was responsible for this.  If I set Judder Reduction to 2, the visual distortion disappears, but the people no longer pop off of the screen to me.  It looks like a dead two-dimensional image to me that way.  For now, I'm going to leave the setting as seen in the calibration list. 

I just got this TV a few days ago, so I may figure out how to improve the picture even further.  I did find a calibration online, which included 10p White Balance RGB settings for all ten intervals. 
This calibration that I had found turned my new TV into a steaming pile of dog$#!+, so I immediately returned the settings to the listing shown above.  I tried adding just the 10p White Balance settings, but it did absolutely nothing for the blurriness issue.  It also had no effect on the  'pop'  of the picture either, so that is why I left it out of my calibration.    I will investigate further so that I can understand how this setting works, and if I can use it.





This game is unreal.  It's probably three or four times as big as Demon's Souls, and definitely more challenging.  The normal enemies are similar, but some of the Dark Souls bosses make this game more difficult - you could cheaply beat more than half of the bosses in Demon's Souls.  These are the fights that gave me a real feeling of accomplishment after I beat them solo:

Quelaag - A nasty fight, especially when you don't get Maneater Mildred to help you out.  You can stun her if you hit her human body, but she usually rubs her spider's head as she approaches you, which makes it spew lava to kill you.  I ended up using Tranquil Walk of Peace whenever I had a few seconds, then circling around to her side or rear to pound on her with my Black Knight Greataxe +5.  The only time you can safely cast TWoP or heal up is when you've run far away, and the spider is in the middle of spewing some lava out.

The Four Kings - There's a trick to this fight, but it can go badly even if you know how to pull it off.  You need to be touching the King you're fighting at all times.  His sword attacks are ridiculously weak at this distance, but even being one or two feet away will get you killed.  I would get two or three sword swings in, then get hit with a sword attack, a magic knockback attack, or get picked up and have my HP drained.  After any of these attacks, it is imperative that you get back to touching the King before you do anything - the last thing you want to do is heal up while you're five feet away.  The Kings' sword attacks are devastating at this range.  The other thing you need to do is be aware of a second King popping - you need to circle around your current King and get the second King positioned behind the current King.  These guys are not messing around, and can quickly end your game.

Smough and Ornstein - This fight can be very easy or difficult, depending on which one you kill first.  If you kill Ornstein first, mega Smough is still very slow and predictable, making for an easy win.  I had to do it the hard way too, in order to get Ornstein's soul, and the trophy that you get by making a unique weapon with it.  Ornstein absorbs Smough's lifeforce and becomes a juggernaut.  Most of his attacks can be avoided by either rolling directly underneath him, including the devastating skewer attack.  When you're underneath him, it's the perfect time to land a few attacks, or heal up.  The one time you need to move away ASAP is when he uses Smough's jump/buttslam attack.  This move results in a lightning attack that does huge damage in a large AoE  (area of effect).  I mostly only had time to roll away twice, so I did take damage, but afterwards I would immediately run underneath him and heal up.  I must have attempted this fight twenty times or so before I beat him.

Lord Gwyn - This guy was a pushover my first time - I used Great Magic Barrier and swung my Black Knight Greataxe +5 mercilessly, which staggered him occasionally and left him open for more attacks.  The second time I faced him  (NG+), GMB was completely useless, as were all of my other weapon/armor/spell combinations and strategies.  I was beginning to think that I would not be able to get past him, as Solaire's storyline had somehow been broken somewhere during this playthrough.  Solaire would have made this fight much easier, just by creating a distraction and allowing me to attack/stagger Gwyn without having his undivided attention.  It's also unlikely that you'll see any soul signs down here, so I was on my own.  I ended up using Mask of the Father (equip weight +15%), the Gold-Hemmed set, my trusty Black Knight Greataxe +5, Artoras' Greatshield +5, Havel's Ring, and the Ring of Favor and Protection.  This setup allowed me to do some very good damage when I had the chance to attack, block most of the damage from his normal attacks, and roll around or run quickly when I needed to.  I found a stalagmite that was very effective at keeping some distance between us, and I only attacked after he attempted to grab me and lifedrain with his left hand.  That was also my only safe time to heal up, as Gwyn attacks you relentlessly throughout the fight.

After I beat Gwyn to end my second playthrough, it was a fairly easy road to the platinum trophy.  I started by making my way to the Undead Parish, then went to the Darkroot Garden via the passage near the blacksmith.  I went straight to Sif and killed him, which gave me his soul for the third time.  You need three, because there are three different unique weapons that you can make with that soul.  I then rang the two bells, zipped through Sen's Fortress, and got through all of Anor Londo.  I went to the giant blacksmith in this area, and made the weapon I needed from Sif's soul, and a crappy unique sword out of Gwyn's soul - I believe I learned a miracle with the first Gwyn soul that I had gotten.

I spent about 250 hours playing this game in a month, and it was one of the greatest gaming experiences I have ever had.  I have Uncharted 3, and The Elder Scrolls V:  Skyrim is coming out in a few days, but I cannot play either one at the moment.  Completing Dark Souls has left me completely burned out, and I need to take a break from gaming.  Long Live FromSoftware!  I've played four other games from them since 1996 - King's Field II, King's Field, King's Field:  The Ancient City, and Eternal Ring.

 



I got this trophy 3/27/2009.  Although this is not a true Resident Evil game, it is a great action-adventure game.  This was my first, and easiest (compared to the others) Platinum trophy.  It took me only two weeks, but Professional difficulty was challenging.

Ndesu, Chapter 2-3.  This fight is what keeps many people from going platinum with this game.  You have many QTE events with Ndesu himself that you have to execute perfectly, and you also have Majini on the sides to deal with.  Chris is armed with a chain gun that will overheat if you fire it non-stop.  You have to shoot Ndesu in the neck when he raises his arms to pound Chris and Sheva, and you have to shoot those things that pop out of his body.  There's  a lot going on in this battle, and you cannot make too many mistakes in Professional difficulty.

Wesker and Jill versus Chris and a retarded Sheva.  You don't have to damage either one of them to get past this fight; you just have to keep your two people alive for about seven minutes.  You cannot stay in the starting area, or your people will get one-shotted.  There is an area off to the side where you can basically run around in circles to avoid damage, but you have to deal with Sheva's stupidity.  During the battle, she constantly wants to run out to Jill and get herself killed.  The time I managed to get past the first part of this encounter, I had to call Sheva to my side about a hundred times to keep her alive.  Once Wesker leaves, the second part is fairly easy.  You just avoid Jill's attacks, and stun her with a melee attack when you can.  Sheva then grabs her from behind, and you button-mash to try to get that device off of her chest.

Capcom has lost their way with the RE franchise, and I am not optimistic about RE6 returning the series to its former greatness.  The last true RE game was Code Veronica, which I feel is the best of the series.  RE4 was a disaster, without a doubt.  Making that game fully 3D was a mistake, the areas sucked, the enemies sucked, the boss fights sucked, the cutscenes with the main antagonist sucked, the inventory system sucked, and the Britney Spears damsel-in-distress sucked. 

If RE6 returned to pre-rendered backgrounds, they could make the game truly photo-realistic, and make the characters with a zillion polygons each.  They would never do this, because game developers have all gone 3D-crazy.  RE6 will be a good to great game, but it will not be a Resident Evil game.  The only good news I've heard about the RE universe is the HD re-release of Code Veronica.  I hope the game supports trophies, as this will be a definite platinum for me.  Getting the rocket launcher was fairly difficult in this game, as you are not allowed to use ink ribbons to save your game.  This leaves you only one opportunity to save - right after you beat the Tyrant on the airplane.  It took me many attempts, and about a week to get this weapon.  It's probably asking too much to have Steve's voice actor replaced by someone less... annoying.




My first playthrough was on Hard difficulty, and at the time, I felt there was no way I was ever going to be able to beat this game on Crushing.  It turned out to be easier than I thought - beating Mass Effect 2 on Insanity must have toughened me up a bit.  Memorable battles on Crushing:

The Trainyard - enemies coming at you from three directions, and there is no place to hide!  I started by taking out the first wave in front by shooting some propane tanks, and mopping up the rest with gunfire.  There are snipers on the right and left, as well as guys rushing you from the front.  There's really no easy way (for me) to beat this fight - I probably died ten times before I came up with a great performance. 

The train boss - this guy was very difficult for me on my first playthrough, but I beat him the first time on Crushing.  I headshotted him repeatedly to knock off his helmet, then hit him with the QTE (quick time event) melee attacks to finish him off easily.

Chapter 24 - fairly difficult fight on Crushing, as there are lots of enemies, and no superior cover to be found.  Once you kill one Guardian, you can pick up his crossbow and one-shot his buddies.  It probably took me ten attempts, which would make it MUCH easier than my first playthrough on Hard.

Chapter 25 - another fight that was very difficult for me the first time, but not that hard this time.  It was very similar to the chapter 24 fight as far as difficulty goes.  This is a great battle to get the trophy for 250 Gau kills, as there is an infinite amount of humans coming from the left side if you don't move up.

Chapter 26 - Lazarevic.  On my first playthrough, I hung off the edges of that small square pillar near the chasm.  From here, his shotgun blasts weren't lethal (mostly), and I just shot the resin whenever it reappeared.  This strategy does not work on Crushing difficulty, as his overpowered shotgun will do enough damage to kill Drake every time.  I tried kiting him around a huge tree trunk near the central pool, and managed to shoot the resin eight times.  Something would always go wrong, and I would take a fatal shotgun blast to the back.  I hit the GameFaqs forum, and found out about a very cheap way to beat him, even on Crushing.  From the starting point, I ran down a bit, took cover behind a tree, and shot the nearby resin to damage Laz.  I then ran right up to him, and waited for him to recover from the blast.  When you stand right next to him, he will not shoot you - he'll pick Drake up by his throat, and you have to mash Square as quickly as you can.  If you do it right, he will not throw you long distance - he will simply put you down on your feet.  It only takes one second for you to fully recover your health, so you can just stand there and wait for him to pick you up again.  You need to shoot the resin each time it respawns, and be positioned far enough away from the resin to ensure that you won't take damage from the explosion, but Laz will.  When you use this method, you only need to damage him about six times to end the fight, as opposed to 9+ times using the pillar method, or the 'run around the whole area like a headless chicken' method.

This game was incredible - even better than the first.  The graphics, characters, level design, and the major battles were all top notch.  I will definitely be playing this game several times in the future, but I'll probably take it easy on myself.  I'm thinking Normal difficulty, Infinite Ammo, the Dragon Sniper Rifle, and Eddy's Golden Gun.  With that setup, my only deaths may be from platforming mistakes.
 




I had done the work for this trophy a few years ago, but I was 56K at the time, so I couldn't sign in to PSN and collect any trophies.  Memorable battles during Crushing difficulty:

Chapter 4, in the area where Drake finds the plane wreckage.  The first time I did this on Crushing, it took roughly 50 tries and about 5-6 hours.  I have no idea what motivated me to get through this battle at the time.  This time, I died about three times and moved on.  The first thing you do in a major battle is to find cover.  Another key to success is to prioritize the different types of enemies.  Guys with shotguns getting close to you move straight to the top of your priority list. 

Chapter 11 - 'Trapped'.  This was another tough battle for me the first time, but I beat it on my first attempt this time.  I jumped over the right part of the starting platform, right where the Dragon Sniper rifle is.  There's good cover here, and you can start thinning out the crowd without sticking your neck out too far.  I took out the guys on the right side of this room first, while keeping an eye out for people rushing to my position.  I used the sniper rifle for the guy at the gun turret, and the other guy upstairs on the far side of the room.  After that, I targeted the guys on the left side and middle parts of the room, until I have a clear path to the gun turret.  I used that turret to mop up the rest, and went to the next area.

Outside the church, and in the church - these are some pretty fierce battles, as there isn't a great spot to find cover.  You have to deal with sniper rifles and grenade launchers, and there are a lot of enemies to take down.  There are two battles outside the church - once with Elena, and another with Sully.  I like to climb one of the staircases in this area, and take cover behind the pillars at the top of the stairs.  It's not easy, but it is doable.  Inside the church, there are also two battles - one solo, and one with Sully.  During the second battle with Sully, you can run outside and down the stairs a bit for some decent cover.  It's a bit easier than using the pillar where the sniper rifle is.  Once you make it to the altar area, there is another wave of enemies coming from the church entrance, but that was fairly easy to beat.

This game was one of the very few top tier games available early on in the life of the PS3; the others being Metal Gear Solid 4, the Elder Scrolls IV:  Oblivion, and Valkyria Chronicles.   I'm really looking forward to Uncharted 3 this November.










In order to get this trophy, I had to complete the game on Insanity difficulty.  There are three difficulties above normal:  Veteran, Hardcore, and Insanity.  Completing this playthrough is undoubtedly my most difficult accomplishment in a videogame.  The other three Platinums that I have - Resident Evil 5, Demon's Souls, and Final Fantasy XIII - were a joke compared to this.  The only game that comes close is Uncharted:  Drake's Fortune on Crushing difficulty.  Since I was 56K at the time  (yikes!), I didn't get the credit for it. 

Getting back to ME2, every single frakking enemy in Insanity (not counting the introduction where Shepard is resurrected) has either Armor, a Barrier, or a Shield.  Some bosses even have two of the three methods of protection, and sometimes they regenerate to full strength several times during the battle.  You have to take these things down with biotic/tech powers or the correct type of gunfire before you can start damaging their life bar.

I probably made things difficult for myself by importing my level 27 Shepard (Soldier) from my first playthough on Normal difficulty.  I soon capped out my level at 30, and this meant that every enemy from that point on was level 35.  Playing as a Soldier probably wasn't the best idea either - I've read that other job classes are much easier on Insanity.  I depended heavily upon Adrenaline Rush, a skill that slows time down - this is an ability unique to the Soldier class that enabled me to pound enemies at times.  For my bonus skill, I chose Heavy Barrier - there is just no way I would have been able to complete this playthrough without that (the Geth Shield Boost or whatever does the same exact thing).

The most difficult missions for me:

Freedom's Progress - the very first mission in the game.  I got beat down hard about five times before I figured out a strategy that enabled me to get past it.  At this point, I knew I was in for a rough ride, and was not sure that I'd be able to finish the game.  The toughest battles became a struggle to figure out who to put in my squad, the best places to seek cover, what weapons or powers to use, and the best order in which to take out the groups of enemies.

Certain weapons seem to make the AI squad members just stand straight up and shoot non-stop, even if their bodies look like swiss cheese.  I lost count of the amount of times that I instructed Miranda to take cover behind a barrier about 5-8 feet away from me, and she just got ants in her pants, hopped right over that barrier to soak up a frakload of bullets from three different directions.  And then she's like, "I need assistance!"  Umm, yeah... just hold still while I stuff your kidneys back in there - duct tape FTW!

Horizon - The second to last battle with the Collectors and Harbinger was a challenge, because my squad buddies kept getting themselves killed.  I finally said frak it, I let them die, then I kited Harbinger around a building while taking pot shots at the Collectors while trying to dodge projectiles and particle beams coming from every direction.  The last battle with the horde of Husks, a couple of Scions, AND a Praetorian probably ends many players' Insanity runs.  I took down the Husks' Armor with pistols, the Mattock, and Miranda's biotics, then mopped the floor with them with gunfire or Grunt's Concussive Shot - all while dodging the Scions' Shockwave attacks as best as I could manage.  Then came the Praetorian.  This oversized crab spits out a Collector particle beam that can send you to the game over screen in about three seconds.  I got some good advice from Gamefaqs and placed Miranda and Grunt at the steps by the entrance, and kited the demon around two flatbed trucks nearby.  The Praetorian had a Barrier on top of his armor, but he was completely focused on me.  I had the other two use a Geth Plasma Shotgun/submachine gun for the Barrier, then a Mattock/pistol combination for the Armor.  Once they had done a certain amount of damage to the Armor, the Barrier went back up.  I repeated this about five times before I was able to take the Armor out and destroy this boss.  Fortunately, this bastard does not have a life bar - as soon as his Armor was gone, it was cutscene time.

The Collector Ship - OMFG - this was probably the most difficult mission in the game.  The first few waves of battles on the platforms were extremely difficult for me.  You have Collectors, all with Barriers, and then the motherfrakking Harbinger.  He had a Barrier on top of Armor (no life bar), and some devastating attacks that were hitting me right through the walls I was crouched behind.  If you try to stand up and run from these attacks, the Collectors are more than happy to mail you a flurry of bullets, or cook your flesh with their Collector particle beams.  I attempted this about twenty times, and sometimes it was ten minutes before I got killed.  You have to try to take out all of the Collectors before you destroy Harbinger, or he'll just possess one of the remaining Collectors and be back at full strength.  This is when I was really thinking that I wasn't going to be able to complete the game.  I have no idea how I got through that first section.  The horde of Husks and Collectors with their Praetorian friend was not nearly as challenging.  I took out the Husks/Collectors before the big boy got close, then I kited him around the staircase to keep me relatively safe.  Miranda and Grunt did most of the damage to its Barrier and Armor, and I got in a few shots with the Geth Plasma shotgun and The Widow sniper rifle when it was somewhat safe to attempt.  The multiple Harbinger encounters on the way out were a breeze, because I had plenty of room to move around or seek cover, and he never rushed me.  When I was making the mad dash for the ship, I turned a corner and saw about a dozen Husks standing around and chilling.  My heart sank (lol), but I just sprinted past them and got the exit cutscene.  I couldn't believe that I made it out of that hellhole in one piece.  The rest of the game was a breeze - recruit and loyalty missions - until...

The Suicide Mission - the difficulty here was pretty steep, but easier than the Collector ship.  Multiple Harbinger encounters with groups of Collectors, and I had to take them out quickly or Tali was going to die.  She never did die during any of my many attempts, because Harbinger was a highly efficient killing machine.  The next part with more hordes of Husks, accompanied by a Scion, was painful.  Adepts can use Singularity to hold a group of Husks in place, but I was a Soldier.  I was getting my ass whooped by the Scion's Shockwave, or the Husks' melee attacks over and over again.  I used the Mattock on the Husks, the Widow on the Scion, and was able to get past this section.  The final battle seemed like a joke, as I was able to sever the four links after just two waves of Collectors.  The Reaper came back though, and brought lots of Collectors that were willing to give up control of their bodies to Harbinger.  I had Miranda and Grunt take care of the Collectors/Harbinger while I tried to hit the Reaper's eyes with the Widow while slowing down time.  After those thirteen rounds were gone  (several missed shots), I equipped the Mattock and really went for it, because Harbinger was sending me to the Game Over screen way too many times.  This motherfrakker didn't even STFU after I beat the Reaper - he was yappin' about this not being the end, just a delay or something.  Bring it on, frakface - because the next time I put you down, it will be final.  There will be no Mass Effect 4.

This is a top tier game for me - as good as any game I have ever played in my life.  Half of the Normandy crew died, because I did Legion's Loyalty Mission after the Normandy crew had been killed or abducted by the Collectors.  All of the playable characters survived, because of these loyalty missions, good choices for team leaders during the Suicide Mission, and a maxed out Paragon bar.  I told the Illusive Man to go piss up a rope at the end, so this will be an excellent game save to carry over to Mass Effect 3 - everyone survived, and I always did the right thing throughout this playthrough.  I don't care if I have to play as Soldier in ME3, as I became somewhat of an expert at manipulating Miranda's/Grunt's abilities to hit specific enemies, while directing them where to take cover, and switching their weapons - while I was struggling to keep myself alive AND shoot enemies with Shepard to cut down on the amount of metal flying around.  It's almost like juggling three balls while you're rolling down a hill.  lol

Miranda and Grunt for the win!






This was one of the last things I wanted for my new character, besides a healthy Soul Level.  I brought World 4 into Pure Black World Tendency, then started at the Old Hero Archstone and ran back towards the Adjudicator Archstone.  I kill the Reaper, then sneak up behind the Black Phantom Dual Katana Skeleton, and use Soulsucker on him.  For this two minute run, I get 79,897 souls, and a chance at a Pure Bladestone.  It probably took one hundred kills to get the first one, but the second one dropped after an additional twenty kills.  YES! 

I made a Sharp Kilij +5, and a Sharp War Scythe +5.  I haven't tried either one out yet, because I'm having too much fun with my Dragon Mirdan Hammer +5 / Morion Blade / Clever Rat's Ring / Dull Rat's Ring setup using hyper mode  (less than 30% HP).  With this setup, I waited at the beginning of 1-3, and got an invader.  He was chewing his grass, getting beat up by my hammer, and we were both slivered.  I rolled into some fire and died.  Argh.  He invaded again, I got hit a few times, then promptly ran right into the same fire.  FRAK!  He came again, hit me once while I rolled right, then I poked him four times with the Mirdan Hammer.  Game over for him, even though he was using Second Chance.  He did not invade again.  

Pure Bladestones have about a 0.5 percent chance of dropping  (possibly triple that figure with PBWT), and you see people crying on the forums constantly about not getting one in two or three hundred kills.  This is proof that they do actually drop - I've gotten two on this character, and two on my original chick.  Perhaps the Lords of Kobol were watching over me today.


She looks so cute with that helmet on!  Whatever you do, don't make her mad.  You wouldn't like her when she's mad.





When my PS3 died a few weeks ago, I lost my Demon's Souls character.  She was at soul level 240, and had just about every nice piece of gear in the game.  I just started a new character to get all of my good gear back, and she is so cute.  She is in pretty good shape for SL 45.  Dragon Bone Smasher +1, Purple Flame Shield +5, Binded armor set, Sticky Long Compound Bow +2 - and she can roll around.  At SL 12, I was fighting the 1-1 Red Eye Knight straight up to get souls.  At SL 25, I went and did 4-1, killing all three Dual Katana Skeletons straight up.  I then did all of world 2, then 1-2 to bring me to SL 45.  I'm waiting patiently in the beginning of 1-3 for an invader, but my SL may be too low.  At SL 45, it must be a fearsome sight to see your opponent with a DBS and a PFS rolling around like a silver skeleton.  If I kill three or four invaders, I'll have pure white character tendency, and be able to pick up the Friend's Ring.  With this, I'll be doing more damage when I join someone else's game to help out as a Blue Phantom.  I need a bit more Faith to be able to equip the Meat Cleaver, but the DBS is probably better at lower levels.





You can barely read it, because my stupid phone decided to change the capture resolution to 320x240 all by itself.  It says, 'You have earned a trophy - Ultimate Hero.'   If I got sent to Shawshank, and they told me I could bring my PS3 with only one game, I think this would be the one.  Memorable missions:

51 - Attacus - I kept Deprotect, Deshell, and Slow up on him at all times.  I Cold Blooded the frak out of him with Sazh as RAV, Fang as COM to do damage and stabilize the stagger bar, and Snow as SEN.  Once I got the damage multiplier up to about 300%, I went COM COM SEN and finished him off.  I didn't have to heal Snow even once, and he held hate like a god.

54 - Gigantuar - This motherfrakker is yet another reason why I would like to push the senior staff at Square Enix into a vat of boiling water.  I hit the GameFAQs forum, and found out that Sazh's Blitz attack, with Haste, Bravery and Enfire, could waste the boss very quickly.  I was lucky enough to get off four full turns  (three Blitzes each time)  without getting hit by 10,000 Needles and the Daze that almost always lands with that attack.  I finished at 51 seconds to 5-star it - the target time  (3-star time)  was 1:29 with my equipment.  For frak's sake, SE - go eat a dead dog's ass.

62 - Raktavija - One of the most difficult fights in the game, unless you load up on magic defense accessories.  I made sure I had Faith up when I was staggering with RAV RAV RAV, then I used Sazh's Blitz with a COM COM COM paradigm to get that damage multiplier up.  It's a much easier fight when the first one goes down, and you're only getting hit by the second.  For some reason, I have to stagger the first one twice, but the second one goes down after one stagger.  Maybe they use the buddy system, and get a defense bonus when they're both alive.

64 - Vercingetorix - As this was the last mission I needed to 5-star to get the platinum trophy, I didn't care how it was accomplished.  Once again, I got a good cheap way to kill him from the GameFAQs forum.  I used Vanille, Fang, and Hope - tier 1 weapons, and no accessories except for the Gold Watch.  All I did for the whole fight was land Poison, switch over to SEN SEN SEN to Mediguard until V went invincible.  Healed up, then buffed up - with Faithra being a priority.  You have to land Poison every time he comes out of invincibility mode.  I really should have used Snow instead of Hope, but I thought that Hope's 1337 MED skillz would make a bigger difference than Snow's SEN prowess.  I was wrong, but I won with my B squad!





I got the platinum trophy on my ninth playthrough, otherwise known as NG++++++++ - the enemy strength caps out at this point.  The enemies are believed to be 91-106% stronger as far as defense, attack power, and HP.  The player's strength does not go up this much, as any increases to attributes beyond level 40 barely affect the linked statistics.  In the later playthroughs, you must increasingly rely on your skill, decision-making, and strategies for each and every enemy.  Even the weakest enemy can kill you if you try to hack and slash your way through.

I earned this trophy without cheating hard, the way that 90% of the people who got the trophy did.  I never went to a forum and asked to hold someone's upgraded weapon or shield, unique weapon or shield, or ring.  I upgraded or found a piece of gear, killed an enemy, or helped an NPC to get all of my equipment, and I still have it all.

This is one of the best, and most fun games I have ever played - especially the co-op part.  Being able to play the frak out of the game with Aemon is something that I will never forget.  Aemon and I never got to play much Final Fantasy XI together, as we were in different linkshells.  I'm hoping that Resident Evil 5 will be as much fun to co-op with him as Demon's Souls has been.

It's good to see From Software enjoy a truly successful title - I thought that King's Field II and King's Field - The Ancient City were two of the best games on PlayStation/PS2.  Yep, I was one of the twelve people that
bought those games.  I'm hoping that they will be able to make Demon's Souls 2, and that the co-op feature will be expanded upon, possibly into an MMO, or a semi-MMO  (like Diablo II).

I've got Mass Effect 2 and White Knight Chronicles coming out very soon, and Final Fantasy XIII in March.  My next MMO will be The Elder Scrolls V, which arrives next year.  That game could possibly reverse the polarity of our planet.  Then again, Bethesda has huge problems making a stable one-player game - producing a solid MMO may be beyond their collective ability.




The most sought after item in this game - if you were to check a Demon's Souls forum, you would see many posts written by people who are begging for one of these things, and they'd all probably agree to give up a lung or a kidney to get it.  I was doing the  4-2 hidden passage dual katana skeleton in the outside area leading to the Primeval Demon, and he was nice enough to drop it for me after I taught him some manners.  I could probably get any weapon or shield in the game  (fully upgraded)  for it.  I wonder how many Legendary Hero's souls someone would offer for it.  In case there was any doubt in your mind, I am indeed a geek.




My Dragon Age character Kathryn Janeway.  The fourth picture shows the High Dragon, who killed Kathryn, Leliana, and Alistair VERY quickly.  Morrigan, at level 11, had enough Vitality and HP to survive everything the dragon could dish out.  She brought him down solo from nearly 100 percent.  I like the way the Juggernaut armor set looks on my character - I just wish the helmet would show her face.

During the final battle, I forgot to call in reinforcements, and I didn't even see the ballistas that could be used to damage the dragon.  There are about a hundred enemies to fight, and three of my characters were down fairly quickly.  Alistair was by himself, and I almost gave up to try again.  He had to fight about ten enemies at a time, and they were attacking from all directions.  I took out the first group, and thought that maybe I'd be able to win the battle and advance the story.  I used a LOT of potions, but I did win.  It was undoubtedly my best moment in the game; even better than beating the High Dragon.  After I beat the game, I reloaded this save, and mopped the floor with the bad guys.  With the assistance of the reinforcements, the battle was just too easy - even without the ballistas.









My Demon's Souls character Kathryn Janeway - I think she looks like Tina Fey!  She is one mean chick.  She's about 50/50 on PvP battles - I'm not set up with the Dark Silver Shield to block magic.  I'm never really looking to PvP - I'm usually invaded on the way to a boss fight when it happens.  She's got a Dragon Bone Smasher +5, Meat Cleaver, Northern Regalia, Large Sword of Moonlight +5, Purple Flame Shield +10, Dark Silver Shield, and a White Bow +4.  With the Meat Cleaver on, she can roll around quickly without using the strength ring.  I need to get her endurance up so she doesn't need that ring when using the DBS.  She owns the 1-4 False King - I'm quick enough with her to avoid most of his attacks.  I only get hit when I get a bit greedy, and he's never gotten Soulsucker off on her since I switched to light armor.  The 1-3 Penetrator fight is fun with her rolling around like a madman.





I plan on putting up many screenshots from my Final Fantasy XI days.  I was fortunate enough to be a part of two great linkshells - FateSealers and Driven.  I have screenshots going back to when I was level 50ish, so there are many images to sift through.  I will never forget that game, and many of the people that I played with.  The process of looking through every screenshot I have, and uploading them to this site will undoubtedly bring back a ton of memories...

Recent games I've played include Dissidia, Uncharted 2, and Mass Effect.  I'm really looking forward to Final Fantasy XIII next year, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII  (who knows when).  You can check out trailers for these games at
http://www.gametrailers.com

I have a barebones walkthrough for Final Fantasy VII disc 1 up - it's designed to alert you when you're in an area that you can only visit once, so that you don't miss any important items or skills.  The guide also gives advice on when and where to level up or do a sidequest.  If there is any interest in this guide, I will continue with walkthroughs for discs 2 and 3.