Friday, 30 December 2011

Skyrim - barely scratching the surface?

So I finally caved and bought Skyrim.  With it being on sale on steam, and no boxing day sale on console versions, I went ahead and purchased it. 

At first I was hesitant, mostly because to me, it looked and sounded like Fallout 3, but in a different setting.  I couldn't get into Fallout 3 as to me, it felt too big, and too open.  After playing Skyrim for a few hours, It felt kind of the same, but at least I got to raid a dungeon, and killed a dragon.  So it was somewhat interesting enough to keep me intrigued.  So I will keep working at it to give the game a fair chance. 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Assassin's Creed Revalations - *spoiler alert*

Initial Impressions:

The story picks up right after the previous game, Brotherhood.  Some new gameplay elements have been added, such as bomb crafting, and a mini tower defense game.  But the basic gameplay is pretty much more of the same, which is quite alright given how good the story is in this series.  You pick up Ezio's story as he ends up in Constantinople, tracking down a bunch of keys that unlock a secret assassin library.  This is supposed to be the end of Ezio's story, which spanned three titles now.  This time around, we have a much older character, and you can see some details in the character animations and sound that show the wear and tear of being an assassin.  You also get a glimpse into the story of the other two characters, which have yet to be expanded on in previous titles. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Saints Row The Third - complete review

So I just finished the game on Xmas day, and spent time to actually do all the activities to get 100% control of the city.  At first, the game feels just like the previous games, but a nice and relatively big new setting.  But I also got the sense that the game is definitely taking itself even less serious this time around, at least from what I remember from the previous two games in the series.  The first Saints Row was one of the first games I got for my Xbox360.  Having been a huge fan of the GTA series, it was my only next gen option for a sandbox game.  The graphics were ok for the time, but there was a lot more focus on the 'fun' factor of sandbox games.  Controls were not as tight as GTA, but the fun factor really made you forget about it, and once again, it does the job here in Saints Row the Third.

Friday, 2 December 2011

MW3 Multiplayer Review - the day has come

So its been almost 3 weeks since I've been playing MW3.  So here's my take on the game so far.  I've only been able to play multiplayer as I have a good group of friends to play with (Elite Clan Clubsi).   In the single player campaign I have only made it to the submarine, which is the second mission in the game.  Anyways, I'll review that part seperately one day when I actually play it.

Having pushed through the levels fairly quickly with double XP time and remembering the old challenge system of MW2, I have devised a system that cycles through as many assault rifles I can to maximize time/XP.  So I'd use a gun to about 500 ish kills, which usually by then I would have reached level 30 on the gun, then move on to the next.  So far the grind hasn't felt that bad, but I suspect it will be harder as I go further up in prestiges.  So even though there are 80 levels to go through, with all the various ways to get XP, its hasn't felt that much of a grind. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Battlefield 3 - different strokes for different folks

So its been quite a long time since I've played a Battlefield game.  The last one was Battlefield Vietnam (not the DLC expansion of the bad company series).  I was hesitant at first at buying the game, but watching some amazing videos, and getting some playtime with the beta, I decided that this was worth the purchase.  The easy choice was picking the platform.  I have a relatively high-end rig (Dual EVGA GTX480 SC+'s), so Battlefield 3 will reside on my PC.  This game has always been a PC oriented game, and it shows.  Having a few friends who don't have gaming PC's, they had valid complaints with the console version.  The changes made to make the game work on consoles complete change the essence of Battlefield.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

MW3 progress update

So I've used up all my dew/doritos double XP time, and I'm at first prestige, lvl 60.  Hope to reach second prestige by this weekend. 

Finally recieved my free copy from XP2011.  Entered my code for the 1-year of premium subscription and magically, the elite website started to work more reliably.  Although some of it is still in german for some odd reason.

Anyways, been playing a lot of Kill Confirm and Domination.  Tried Team defender the other day, DO NOT WANT.. LOL.  Maybe later when I know the maps a bit better.  I used prestige four tokens (three from previous COD games, and 1 from first prestige - guess I never prestiged in W@W)  for two extra custom class slots, and made the ACR and Assassin Perk unlocked all the time now. 

Ground War is still somewhat broken in terms of lag and the long wait times for a lobby to fill up.  Hopefully that will improve when there are less people on.  Full review will hopefully be done soon.. When I find time to play the campaign.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Last Two Games I'm Buying This Year...

The "golden quarter" of gaming is about to end, and I'm fully entrenched within Call of Duty MW3.  But there's two other titles I've pre-ordered which are out today.  Assassin's Creed Revelations, and Saints Row 3.  Both of which I  would not have pre-ordered if it wasn't for the gamestop promotion (as well as me getting a free copy of MW3, which I finally recieved - more on that in another blog).

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Grand Theft Auto V - Back to San Andreas!

No release date/window provided in the trailer though.. but definitely looking forward to this!  and a cameo by Niko in the trailer.

A bit surprised they skipped to this instead of doing Vice City, hopefully that's still in the cards for the future.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Dark Souls - 10 hours, and lost count of the number of deaths

So 10 hours in, I pretty much own the Undead Burg and Undead Parish areas.  Feeling pretty good, I figure its time to move onto the next area.  As most guides suggest, I head to the darkroot garden area, and right on cue, the game kicks me in the nuts with enemies that I can't beat as easily with my winged spear anymore.  I did however make it to the soul farming area within the garden.  This area is far more efficient than me running through and killing everything in the Undead Burg and Parish to collect souls.  I really lucked out back at the Parish by having the dragon glitch off the map and thus commit suicide, rewarding me with 10k in souls.  Given that I had 6k already banked, it was the perfect time to save up 20k and purchase the seal to open up a door within the darkroot garden.  Within 90 minutes of baiting ghosts and humans, as well as falling off the map several times myself, I went from level 22 to level 32. 

Feeling good about my stats, I proceed revert myself back to human, and make a break for the boss in the area.  I read about summoning an NPC would make the boss fight a lot easier.  So I quickly try to make it to the summon spot, running past the stone giants, and as I summon the NPC in, I get hit from behind by the stone giant, and it casts the binding spell on me, making my character move significantly slower.. and thus vulnerable to the lastest death I experienced.  The game was turned off immediately and I needed to take a deep breathe.... *slight rage moment*.

Now I must go back, and get 5k in souls to buy humanity, so I can try again...

Friday, 28 October 2011

Visiting Arkham City

After I finished Arkham Asylum two years ago, I was left wanting more.  I went in and played all the various stealth missions, I couldn't really string together a huge combo while fighting, so those challenges didn't appeal to me.  Even after all that, the overall experience felt a bit short, but in a good way, not the 6 hour campaign sort of way.  It really was like everyone said though, it is the best comic book game ever made.

Gears of War 3 - end of the road for delta squad..?

Gears of War was one of the first games I played on my XBOX 360.  That game got me back into shooters, and eventually back into FPS games.  The cover system was new back then, and it was an interesting element to the game.  Fast forward to 2011, and we are at the third game of the trilogy.  I enjoyed the story in the first two games, so the third one was a must buy.  I knew that I wouldn't be getting into the competitive multiplayer side since its so dominated by the shotguns, which sadly still is the case today.  But I knew I'd still play the campaign at least twice, and do a lot of horde mode. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

COD: Black Ops - 10 months, 3000 wins later....

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Multiplayer Preview - Part 2

In part two of my preview, I'm going to take a look at the perks system in MW3.  Lots of interesting changes have been made to the perks, some new stuff, some old stuff coming back.. and some shuffling.  Lets take a look.

Here's the list taken from another site, my input is in brackets. "+" is the Pro version and its effect.  My comments are in brackets.


Blind Eye - Undetectable by air support and sentries. (formerly cold blooded - but note you are not invisible to UAVs)
+ Launchers lock-on quicker. Extra bullet damage versus air support and sentries. (its nice for the support player, but other than that, the good stuff is in already given.)

Scavenger - Resupply from dead enemies. (standard stuff we're used to)
+ Start with increased ammo supply.

Extreme Conditioning - Sprint for longer distances. (formerly marathon - no longer unlimited sprint though)
+ Climb obstacles faster. (that is a nice addition, especially climbing boxes, low walls etc)

Recon - Explosive damage paints the target on the mini-map. (new perk, very interesting, definitely a team player's perk - not sure how long they enemies stays painted though)
+ Bullet damage paints the target on the mini-map.

Sleight of Hand - Faster reloading. (This is standard for COD, but interesting that its now a teir 1 perk)
+ Swap weapons faster.  (This used to be scout pro in Black Ops, and SOH Pro used to be faster ADS instead - definitely a balance mod here)


Overkill - Carry two primary weapons. (classic COD4:MW perk making a comeback - used to love running sniper rifle and an AR)
+ Supposedly two attachments for secondary. (but what if you aren't running that profficiency? maybe its not just attachments, but you get to use a profficiency with secondary?)

Assassin - Undetectable by UAV, portable radar, thermal, and heartbeat sensors. (the other key part of cold blooded makes an appearance here)

+ Immune to CUAV and EMP. No red crosshair or name when targeted. (Very.. Very useful, lots of people running counter UAV during the event given the general lack of map knowledge.  Plus I hate not knowing whats going on in the mini-map such as positions of other teammates.)

Blast Shield - Increased explosive resistance. (this used to be a peice of equipment back in MW2, I did not use this too much since you had to enable it back then, but flalk jacket perk in BlackOps was quite useful)
+ Resistance to flash and stun.

Quickdraw - Faster aiming. (The other part to the old sleight of hand perk)
+ Recover from equipment and grenade usage quicker. (Very useful!, so many times I've been caught throwing something in these games.)

Hardline - Killstreaks require 1 less kill. (standard stuff)
+ Every two assists count as a kill towards your killstreak. Deathstreaks require one less death. (interesting additon, definitely makes this perk more useful in Pro form.)


Steady Aim - Increased hip fire accuracy.  (standard stuff - interesting move to 3rd perk level though)
+ Weapon is ready faster after sprinting.

Dead Silence - Move quietly. Reduce the effects of Recon. (formerly ninja perk)
+ Supposedly no fall damage. (interesting, formerlly part of the commando pro perk)

Marksman - Identify enemy targets at longer range. (so there's a limit to how far names will show up on screen?)
+ Longer hold breath. (aka iron lungs or scout)

Stalker - Move faster while aiming. (this is new, good for people who like to ADS a lot, more tactical like I presume.)
+ Delay enemy Claymore explosions. (used to be bomb squad / sit rep iirc)

SitRep - Detect enemy explosives and tactical insertions. (unchanged from before)
+ Louder enemy footsteps. (interesting move of this effect to this particular perk, used to be ninja pro, or dead silence pro).

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Dark Souls - First couple hours...

First thing I noticed when I started up the game, the graphics were not as good as Demon's Souls on PS3.  Perhaps its the limitation of the game engine on the Xbox360 platform.  So far, gameplay feels exactly the same.  I've died almost 10 times, and have played through the first section a few times.  Had to abandon my first character because I accidently used humanity away from the bon fire.  I was trying to use it at the first bon fire, but appearantly you have to wait to reach the next one.  Second time, the game didn't save properly before I switched to play another game.  So by the third time, I was able to make it past the Asylum Demon without dying.

I am slightly disapointed with the visuals though, seems like a step back from what I remember.  I'll pop Demon's souls in my PS3 tomorrow to compare.  Also, somewhat disapointed with the digital downloads I got with my collectors edition.  The site is probably bombarded right now, so I am unable to download the content properly.  I was only able to get the map.  I will keep trying later on, hopefully it will work in a day or two.

More on the game as I get further into it.

Mentally Preparing for Dark Souls - Remembering Demon's Souls

The day has finally come, the follow up to what I consider one of the hardest, most intense gaming experiences I have ever had. 

About two years ago, I was told about this game Demon's Souls, and how awesome it is.  I watched videos and read reviews on it, all stating that "you will die.. a lot".  This really peaked my interest (in a "challenge" accepted" sort of way).  So I went out and bought it.  This game was only available on the PS3, so it was a rare oppertunity for my PS3 to be used.

Most reviews, if not all, talks about how you'll end up playing the first area of the game over and over again to level up your character, which I did.  I must have played about 10 hours on the first level alone, just grinding away, collecting souls to trade in at the nexus to level up.  Once I was powerful enough, I was able to progress through the game and the rest of the world. 

There were a lot of parts of the game where I died, the frequency of my in-game deaths would slowly go down as the game progressed.  As I got used to the controls, and timing of my character, the only real danger was plain lapse in concentration, which would normally lead me to fall to my death.  There are so many paths and ridges to walk on, with nothing to stop you from falling to your death.  Narrow passages meant I had to be extra careful, a simple task of walking around required my full attention.  I had to be mindful of which direction I rolled away from an enemy attack, or how far I could lunge forward with my sword. 

But conquering each individual enemy, level and boss was a huge triumph in itself, thus driving me to push myself further.  On the surface, the game seems fairly straight forward, kill enemies, collect loot and souls, level up.  However, after reading up online for help in the later stages, I realized there was a whole different side to the game.  How you played the game would also change things in the level, opening up hidden areas with special enemies/bosses.  I unfortunately never got the time to fully explore that side of the game, but it was quite fascinating, especially given the amount of effort needed to activate these changes.

In the end, I was about 40-50 hours into the game, made it to the final boss of my first playthrough, but then Modern Warefare 2 came out and that was the end of that.  Hopefully with the new game, and the "off-season" time I have now between BlackOps and MW3, I can get deep into Dark Souls. 

Battlefield 3 Beta - Initial Impressions

So one of the most popular PC shooters is back, trying to win back those who have migrated over to other series/platforms.  For those who are pondering which platform to buy Battlefield 3 on, my answer would be PC.  Don't have a powerful enough rig to run it?  Build one, Build one NOW. 

This game started on PC, and has been built with the PC in mind.  I've played the beta on PC and on the XBOX360, and the PC experience is way better than on the console.  Graphics are a lot better, and thus makes the overall experience that much better.  Given the slow pace of the game, you have time to admire the eye candy.  The graphics on the XBOX are definitely scaled down... A LOT.  Its probably the same as "Low" settings on the PC or something.  I hope this is only a flaw of the beta, and things will look better in the final release, but if not.. I feel sorry for those who don't play it on PC, they are really missing out.

 The last battlefield game I ever played was battlefield vietnam.  The last PC shooter game I played was Crysis 1, back about 3 years ago.  So there was (and still is) and adjustment period for me to switch back to using the keyboard and mouse.  On the Xbox360, the controller felt more comfortable for me, and I was able to react better while doing some running and gunning.  But that does not really last long.  I will however try to get my logitech G13 gamepad  setup properly to accomidate my transition... *crosses fingers*

Battlefield 3 is much slower paced than what I was used to in the Call of Duty series.  One can't just run around and mow down people without someone picking you off from across the map.  The maps are way too big and open for this style, and the level design will always favour the more strategic method of playing.  Pick a spot, and pick off people.  This game mode available is Rush, I missed out on the Caspian border map which was only available for a day or so.  This game mode really shows how team work can really be unstoppable.  When I party up with Tekedout, I usually run the support class and back him up as he goes and kills everyone.  I end up cleaning things up or kill the odd one he misses.  But being a support class, I can deploy an ammo crate to keep us from running out of bullets, thus we can hold a position for quite a long time. 

The web interface for the beta actually works fairly well and intuitive, the voice and party system works really well.  My only gripes with the beta (which I hope is taken care of by release date) are the matchmaking system, and how I can't squad with people that I've partied up with prior to joining the game.  Also another annoyance right now is the inability to leave a match unless you are alive, and you can't adjust settings or access the menus unless you are alive.

There;'s approximately a week left in the beta, so hopefully I will be fully convinced to buy by then. 

Origin/battlelog name: phoenixrageZERO

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 - Multiplayer Preview - Part 1

The "New" Stuff

So taking part in the COD XP 2011 tournament, and doing a few gauntlet runs in the event has given me a decent amount of time in multiplayer for MW3.  So here's my take on it.  All the accounts were capped at level 30 at the event, and looks like there will be 80 levels total in multiplayer, thus a lot of weapons weren't available for use.

The biggest thing with MW3 multiplayer is the new strike packages.  Strike packages is something that is class specific, and each package determines what type of killstreaks you'll be earning while using that class.  There are three strike packages to choose from; Assault, Support and Specialist.

Assault Strike Package

The Assault strike package is what we've all grown acustom to since the introduction of killstreaks in the series.  Kill X amount of players without dying, earn Y streak.  Die, the streak resets.  Most of the offensive killstreaks appear in this package.  I did not get to try out this strike package too much as I was the support player in all my matches, so I am unable to confirm if the killstreaks stack or not like it did in MW2, or if they are solely based on kills by the non killstreak rewards manners like in Black Ops.  Word around the web is that they do stack though.

Support Strike Package

The Support strike package is the new twist on killstreaks.  Now instead of being kills based, you get the streaks through points streaks.  Points could be gathered from kills, or capturing/defending/doing objectives.  Most of the rewards in this strike package are exactly what its named for, Support.  This is for the team player who is defending objectives, or always shooting down enemy air support.  Thus, to futher help this player, they made it so the kill/pointstreak does not reset when you die.  It will keep going to the next killstreak in your stack, and will cycle back once you've reached the third killstreak reward.  This is interesting because if you select larger killstreaks, it will be a while before you are able to call in another lower killstreak after your first.  So on a team, you'll probably want one support player with lower killstreaks, and the second with the one bigger one, since intel is everything in this game. 

Specialist Strike Package

The last strike package is the Specialist package, this one is the most interesting one.  This strike package contains no killstreak rewards at all, instead, the more you kill without dying, the more perks you get.  You start off with the regular three perks in your class slot, and (based on screen shots and trailers) you unlock your fourth perk after 2 kills, a fifth perk on 4 kills, and a sixth perk on 6 kills.  Also, I am pretty sure I heard in the keynote that after 8 kills, you get all the perks.  These all go away once you die.  This is really geared for the lone-wolf type player.  I would start off with "blind eye", "assassin", and "stalker" (more on perks later in Part 2 of this blog), set first perk to activate as scavenger, next would be quickdraw, and last would be extreme conditioning.  But there's so many other combinations that would work depending on the map, and your own playstyle.  Definitely an interesting twist on how the game would be played.

A New Game Type: Kill Confirmed

Also annoucned at the event was the new game mode, kill confirmed.  It was one of the game types played in the tournaments and in the gauntlet setups.  To win in this mode, you have to pick up enemy dog tags that are dropped when you kill them, and you have to make sure you pick up more than the other team.  The catch is, the enemy can pick up their teams dog tags to deny you the kill and points.  At the event, we played this mode 4v4, and I don't see this going beyond the 6v6 playlist.  Once the details were explained to us, I already knew that this will be a highly strategic game mode, given the importance of picking up the dog tags.  Kills confirmed or not, still count towards killstreak rewards, but as a team, you need the dog tags to win.

My first go at this game mode would be right in the tournament, and we got picked apart by the other team and couldn't recover.  Our initial game plan was to pair up, but in later attempts in this game mode in the gauntlet, we found that keeping all four team members close together worked better.  I'm sure if its 6v6, you can probably split up in two teams of three, but 4v4, the box formation seemed to work better.  At least for the map we were playing on.  We had one person designated as the dog tag pick up, and one as secondary.  You also can't just run after a dog tag without clearing the area since baiting with a dog tag is a useful tactic.  I think things like tactical insertion would be very useful as well, being able to respawn back near the hotzone instead of somewhere across the map.

.... to be continued.

Monday, 19 September 2011

COD XP 2011


So a little while ago, Activision annoucned a special event for Call of Duty Fans.  Called COD XP, it would happen in LA over the labour day long weekend.  I didn't really think much of it, since I wouldn't be able to afford the flight and hotel to LA for the event.  So I just went on playing Black Ops with my group of friends...

Fast forward to july 29th 2011, I get my beta invite to COD Elite.  Which by itself was pretty cool, since I was looking forward to seeing out some of the new features being offered.  One such feature is the compete section of the site, which has a series of contests played via Call of Duty Black Ops, and winners of such events would get prizes.  Prizes range from emblems/medals on the elite site, to free cameras, ipods and ipads.  In mid-august, there were a series of events labeled as COD XP qualifier events.  The prize would be a free trip for the winner and three other players to LA, airfare and hotel paid for, free entry into the COD XP event, and a spot in the million dollar tournament.

XP 2011

I'll do a seperate blog about how I won my event.  So fast forward to Sept 2nd 2011.....

We get bus'd from the hotel to the event, after some aggressive driving by our bus driver, we make it through the traffic, and drive past the huge line up of people waiting to get in.  We get brought around to the back for our own entrance.  Everyone attending was to wear a wristband which had an RFID tag on it.  It could be linked to your facebook account and certain events would make posts each time you checked in. 


We get in, and get seated as the opening keynote was about to start.  This keynote is mostly about the mulitplayer reveal trailer(s).  As well as the CEO of Activision talking about various things about the franchise.  The keynote starts with a montage of gameplay footage from all previous Call of Duty games.  Oh the memories...

Fun Fact about COD... more bullets have been fired on online multiplayer than there are stars in the milkyway..

After the greeting from the CEO, he goes on to talk about the fan made video "Find Makarov", which was made after the previous game, Modern Warfare 2.  He goes on about how he got in contact with the makers, not to tell them to stop, but to actually talk about working together on another video... this video gets premiered at XP2011.. Operation Kingfish.  Funny thing is, I was on a flight with the people who made this, now I wish I had gone up to them to talk to them when I was waiting at the gate... anyhow, here's the video.  Very well done..

Afterwards, the time finally came for the multiplayer reveal.. lots of details and my view on things will be done in a future blog.


 Lots of goodies to be seen.  Keynote then moves onto more details of Modern Warfare 3, as well as Elite.  Pricing of Elite was finally released.  At 49.99 per year, its actually not a bad deal given the amount of DLC comes out and all the added features for having a premium membership.  Also, as members, DLC would be rolled out more often.  Considering I paid for all 4 Black Ops DLC (@approx $15 each), the $50 fee is quite a deal on that point alone.  Not only that, but online contests/events can only be won by premium members.  No other details were revealed in the keynote about the other features of elite (that has yet to be released in the beta).

After all that, we get a second trailer to end the keynote.

The Tournmanet

So for as part of our prize from COD Elite, we are entered into a 32 team tournament, to be played in MW3.  We'd only get 15-20 minutes to warm up, setup classes and such, and then we're thrown into the fire.  My team lost first round, which was somewhat expected.  With zero tournament experience, we didn't really stand a chance, even if we made it past the first round.  But I did learn quite a bit after watching some of the teams played and talking to some other teams at the tournament.  Congrats to those who made it into the money, and to the winners of the event. 

On the bright side...

One good thing about being knocked out early in the tournament is it freed up time so we can enjoy the rest of the venue.  I got in a decent amount of controller time within MW3 multiplayer thanks to the gauntlet setups they had, and got a taste for the revamp'd Spec Ops.  More about that later....

All in all, the event was pretty good, although the walkways between the main hall and where the keynote was could've been wider.  The people running the various booths were very good and efficient, line ups to play were approx 45mins to an hour long.  There were a few bad things about the event.  First the shop was very disorganized, not all the product for sale was on display, which made the long line ups move even slower because people were asking questions at the counter.  I already knew exactly what I wanted, and only had to go back the second day to get one t-shirt in a proper size.  The other bad thing about the event was the cost of eating at it.  We learned our lesson and hit up a subway to stock up before boarding the bus for day 2.  But hey, the trip for me was free, a free copy of the game (hardened edition - includes 1 year of elite premium service), and I finally got to meet a bunch of good friends for the first time in person.  Hope to make it to XP2012!