Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sometimes random is good

This time I'm going to talk about the replay value of diablo 3. Each play through is slightly different due to the random nautre of enemies and dungeons. However this still gets monotonous after a while.
But sometimes you get random events or missions which at least make you stop from the constant clicking for a minute.
I feel these are very important to keep a players interest alive during endgame farming and adds a bit of novelty for normal playthroughs as well. I especially Enjoy the quest when Tashun the miner asks you for help, or exploring the watch tower, or the ever so popular jar of souls. Act II also has a few with the necromancer asking for help and some random mines where soldiers just get slaughtered. The only one i can think of in Act II is when the blacksmith asks you to protect him while he makes weapons. I enjoyed the developers hell level in Act I where all the zombies were the production team behind D3 and the final boss was Jay Wilson. Its these little little things that can help revive interest once the campaign has been completed.

These random events are great and provided a good break for the regular run kill farm sessions but they are too few in number. Given their random nature it would be stupid to expect them in every playthrough, but a greater variety would go a long way in helping with the lack luster endgame of Diablo III.
Another thing i have often wondered about is side quests. Non story quests that can be Act specific or may span across one or more acts, these can be NPC related or just random treasure hunting quests that can be triggered by a random map piece or something. There are a lot of ways D3 can be made interesting even after completing the campaign, the devs just need to look beyond the pvp and give it a try.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Patch is a Lie.

Diablo III, the most anticipated and pre ordered pc game of all time. Probably also the biggest let down of all town. An end game which was so sought after fell flat on its face just weeks after its release as it lacked any sort of depth or incentive. Players attempting a flawed item hunt pitted against indomitable odds just had no reason to continue playing. How bad could it be i thought?(before i reached inferno of course), but soon realized that it was impossible to get anywhere in the game without spending MILLIONS of in game currency or shelling out a few dollars. Even then success was not guaranteed because more often than not you came across a pack of champions that literally could not be defeated, even diablo on inferno seemed puny when compared to a pack of invulerable horde arcane molten elites who recovered there HP in 10 seconds flat. and lets not forget that damn rage timer, kill them within a certain time frame or run for your life.

Then came patch 1.04, the light at the end of the tunnel. Nerfed enemies, buffed character classes, revamped items and drop rates. What more could you want? well lets just throw in a prestige system anyway. The paragon system now allows you to gain special paragon levels after reaching level 60 to boost your base stats and Magic Find and Gold find to help end game farming. Awesome right? NO.
While the frequency of magic items has increased, the rarity of good/usable items seems to have gone down. The improvement is only an illusion as it throws rubbish rare items at you left right and center; unlike before where you got one rare item every now and then which was probably rubbish anyways. While the items stats have generally improved, you will still find most lvl 63 are absolute rubbish, and are still hard to come by as most of the time you get lvl 58-61 items.
I must admit the ease of farming makes it less painful to sift through all the trash and for the items to be worth something you must put in some effort to acquire them, but seriously dropping one decent items after 3 hours of gameplay is asking for a little too much.

I think 1.04 is still a work in progress, just the first step in fine tuning a formula that was flawed from the beginning. It is a step in the right direction but is cannot be the final destination (at least i hope not). Hopefully they will fine tune it and make more changes as we get closer to the much awaited PvP update which will put a lot more emphasis on items. Till then cross your fingers, find an OP player and keep farming.

Friday, 10 August 2012

My Shiny new Xbox

nice and new! :D
So After 3 years and hundreds of hours of gaming my Xbox finally decided to kick it and passed away last week. So i called up Microsoft Xbox Support and the nice fellow there sent me a brand new replacement console as a gesture of good faith :)
Now i know people are going to go on about how your PS3 never dies, well i don't care. Microsoft Customer support is just awesome :D

Now to get back to my Seriously 3.0 and the Xbox Live Summer of Arcade.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Dayz of our lives : Episode 3 'Is there a Doctor in the house?'

'Is there a Doctor in the house?'

Day 2
0400 hours

As we made our way across street I could hear zombie grunts around us. Around the corner, Behind a bush or just lying in the middle of the road. It seemed as though they were everywhere. We carefully made our way along the building, staying away from the roads as much as possible. Neo seemed like he knew what he was doing, after all he had survived on his own this long. The building he had pointed out from the fire station didnt seem too far from up there, it was only a few blocks away. But my leg wasn't doing too well. I could see the blood coming through the dressing Neo had applied. "Wait up" I whispered, "My legs bleeding again" . Neo checked the corner and rushed back. "Man up will you! Its just a little cut" he said. He made me sit down on a porch just before the cathedral i was hauled up in earlier. "I'm putting on a fresh layer" said Neo as he took out some new bandages from his backpack. As he was wrapping the leg i felt this shooting pain in my calf. Neo accidentally jabbed the wound, I gave out a low grunt and looked at him. He smiled and said, "that should keep you awake for a while now". "grow up!" I replied. He picked up his gun, checked his ammo and started walking away. "where are you going?" i asked. "someone's gonna have to scout the area, and somehow i don't think its going to be you" he said as he turned the corner.

It had been over 15 minutes since Neo left, my leg was still throbbing from his jab but at least it kept me awake. Neo had been gone too long, the cover of darkness was disappearing fast, my best guess was that sunrise was less than two hours away. I was getting anxious, I wanted to find Neo but what if he came back and I wasn't where he left me. For some reason he didn't want us using the radio, he said we would need them later.
I heard some footsteps, they were coming from the direction Neo had run towards. Thank god I thought to myself. "About time" I said out loud, I saw a shadowy figure turn the corner and walk towards. He was limping "Why are you limping, are you hurt?" I asked. He only grunted. I didn't realize until it was much closer that he wasn't Neo at all. It was a ZOMBIE!

I panicked and tried to get up, but as i did the pain in my leg just shot up and i fell. The walker was moving towards me faster now, I was helpless on the ground. All my efforts at crawling away were in vain as the Zombie drew closer. I kicked at him to buy myself more time, but it barely slowed him. As the Zombie pounced on me I closed my eyes and prayed for a quick death. A few seconds after his body fell on me i realized it wasn't moving. I found the courage to open my eyes and saw a small hatchet sticking out of the zombies head and Neo standing over me. " Is this how its going to be now? Me saving your ass 5 times a day. If that's the case i think I'm better off alone " He said with a smile on his face. "Ha Ha, Now get this sack of shit off me" I gasped as I struggled to breathe with the lifeless body of the zombie weighing down on me. Neo dragged the body aside and helped me up, "thanks... again" I said. " Don't get all sentimental now, get your gear and lets move" he replied. "The route to the hospital is clear but we need move fast". He yanked the hatchet out of the zombies head and spun it around before tucking it away in his belt, "we need to find you one as well" he said. "they're really useful for taking care of business without attracting more trouble". It was like watching a child play with his toy, I think Neo enjoyed bashing in zombie heads. Not surprising really, he always had a knack for violence; whether it was spending endless hours at the shooting range or kick boxing at the gym.
We got our stuff together and made our way up the road towards the hospital building, we had to move carefully to avoid further run ins with zombies. As we got close to the hospital I saw an increasing number of decapitated zombies lying in the middle of the road, at first i thought we weren't the only survivors here but then i remembered Neo had a hatchet and he was pretty good with it. "you really went to town in these guys didn't you? " I asked in a hushed tone. "what can I say, they were in the way" Neo replied. As we approached the hospital entrance Neo put his fist in the air, signaling me to stop. I took cover near a mail box and kept a lookout while Neo surveyed the hospital entrance. He came back looking disappointed, "The Doors are locked and the windows are intact" he said. "Doesn't seem like the place has been hit but we need to find a way around"
I laughed and replied "I have a key" . "what?" Neo said sounding confused. I grabbed my shotgun by the barrel and ran at the hospital door. "NOO!!" Neo shouted behind me, but it was too late; I swung at the door with all my might. The sound of glass shattering echoed in the air, I turned and saw the fury on Neo's face as he ran towards me, I knew I was in trouble. "You moron, every survivor and zombie in the neighborhood would have heard that!!" he said angrily. "hurry up and get inside".
We quickly ran in and made our way straight to the dispensary, and boy was it loaded. Painkillers, bandages, morphine, antibiotics; you name it was there. We grabbed whatever was in sight and stuffed it into our bags. I took some morphine and applied the antibiotics to my wounded leg along with a new dressing of bandages. Neo just popped some pain pills to keep the edge off. "Take whatever you need, I'll go check the front entrance to see how many uninvited guests we have" said Neo, as he reached the door we heard some grunts and the door suddenly burst open.
Three Zombies stumbled into the room.

Before the zombies even noticed us Neo took aim with his M16 and pulled the trigger. Three loud shots echoed in the small dispensary as the three zombies fell to the floor. "We need to move NOW" he shouted as he made his way outside. I popped some pain pills, strapped my pack firmly and ran for the door with my shotgun ready. I heard a few more shots "Hurry the f*ck up" Neo shouted from outside. As I reached the reception area of the hospital is saw about half a dozen dead zombies at the entrance with more making their way towards Neo who was now standing in the middle of the street picking them off one by one. I ran out to help him, i covered his back side however a double barrel shotgun had its limitations. I fired at two zombies that were approaching Neo from an alley and reloaded as fast as I could. One of them was still charging at us, I dropped the shotgun and took Neo's hatchet from his wasit belt and ran at the zombie. One swift swing of the hatchet followed by a stream a blood and a rolling head. I could see why Neo liked that hatchet. "I'm running low on ammo" Neo shouted from behind, "we need to move NOW" I replied. Neo took a few more shots at the zombies closest to him as he turned to me and started running . "Follow me!" he said as he sprinted past me shooting at anything that moved ahead. I didn't have time to go back for my shotgun, but at least I had my hatchet. I swung at one of the zombies trying to grab me and ran after Neo. "Wait for me!!" I gasped as I tried to catch up. Neo stopped at the corner and provided covering fire, though some of his shots were to close for comfort. When I reached him he pointed north and said "that road leads out of town towards the mountain". I nodded and the both of us took off in that direction. We ran for almost half an hour, stopping every few minutes to thin out the horde of zombies chasing us. As we left town we could see the sun creeping up behind the mountains in the East, visibility was much better now. Only a few zombies were still chasing us, Neo stopped slung his M16 on his shoulders and grabbed the hatchet from my hand. "Come on you sacks of shit!" He shouted at them as he charged at them. It was like watching Mel Gibson in Braveheart. The three zombies that were running towards him had no idea what they were in for, a few swings and it was all over. Covered in zombie blood you could see the anger in Neo as he hacked those zombies to bits long after they were dead. "I think they're dead now" he said after turning them into mince meat. We took a few minutes to catch our breath before setting out again, being out in the open was not the smartest idea especially after our little adventure last night probably woke the entire town. Neo and I made our way north and settled down behind some rocks to get some rest before setting out again. We had some old beans and a flat can of coke and felt like warriors enjoying a victory feast. But inside we knew last night could have gone horribly wrong, but for now we just wanted to catch some sleep. We decided to take shifts sleeping and standing guard. Who knew what lay ahead of us.
But for now, we were safe.

Episode 4 coming soon

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

DayZ of our lives : Episode 2

Episode 2

Day 1

18:00 hrs

I woke up with a fever, running through the rain at night had taken its toll on my body. There was a big gash on my leg, the bleeding had stopped but the damage was done. The bandages I had would not be enough to cover the wound. As I got up to take a look around i felt woozy, I had lost more blood than I had imagined. The beans and coke were gone by lunch time, I had no idea when my next meal would be. No food, No weapons, Sick and injured; it seemed my luck had all but run out.

I picked myself and made my way to the boarded up window. I could see the light fading, shadowy figures of zombies around the neighboring buildings. I looked around the cathedral and the only way out was through the front door. I thought it would be best to wait for nightfall and escape under the cover of darkness. The zombies couldn't see to well at night, that was my only chance to make it out of there alive. I figured it was best to evaluate my surroundings before I went out, so I went from window to window making a mental note of every passage, alley or door i saw. At this point my head was throbbing, my body was getting weaker. That's when I saw it. I was looking out of the west window of the cathedral, at first I didn't believe my eyes but then later it hit me. There was a red glow emanating from a small tower on top of a large building. Another survivor, I though to myself. 

The building was a few hundred meters to the west, there was a few zombies in between but that was the least of my concerns. What if there was indeed a survivor? What if he wasn't friendly? What if he had been killed by zombies? My head hurt more than ever. But i didn't really have a choice, I wasn't going to make it alone. I mustered up all the strength I had left, picked up my empty pack and made my way to the door. I opened it slowly and peered out of the crack. I could barely make out the figures of zombies down the street. One was slowly dragging himself across the street; I crawled out of the half open doorway and slowly made my way to the other side of the road.
The light source was a few hundred meters to the west, thankfully there were barely any zombies between me and my destination. As I got closer i noticed the building compound was much larger than i anticipated, It had a wire fence all around, big garage doors and a huge tower. It was a fire station.
Jackpot I thought to myself, a fire station was bound to have some supplies and medicine. As I made my way through the front door I noticed corpses on the floor. They weren't survivors, rather dead zombies. Someone was definitely hauled up in that tower. I slowly crept inside the main building and saw a light on the other side of the room; that must be the entrance to the tower I figured. As i got closer to the door i heard a low grunting noise, I turned and saw a zombie walking towards me. I tried to make a run for the light but caught my leg on a table and fell. My head was throbbing and I could see a blurry figure charging at me. There was a flash and a loud noise, then I passed out. When I regained consciousness my body was sore, and my headache was killing me. There was a red glow on the walls, at first I thought I was dead. Then it hit me, I was in the Tower!
Whoever was in there had saved me. My leg was strapped up and there were some painkillers next to me. But no one was in the room; there was food, water and ammo scattered across the tiny room. There was a small staircase leading down andIi could see the window through which I first saw the red glow. Suddenly I heard footsteps and a man walked up the stairs. I couldn't make out his face.
"'re awake" said the man, "what took you so long? I was beginning to think you were dead or something".
"Neo? is that you?" I said. "Who else is going to get you out of trouble? " said the man as he stepped out of the shadow. It was Neo indeed. But he looked different. He was missing his trademark thick locks, replaced with a short military cut and his beard was thicker than ever. He stepped up to me and offered me some food. " Eat, you are weak". He walked over to the window and took out his binoculars. "I saw you come from the cathedral you know" He said
"Why didn't you lay out the red carpet in that case?"
" Had no idea it was you, I was planning to blow your head off" he said with a smirk.
"Well i guess its good you didn't" I replied. "Thanks .. for saving me there."
"Don't mention it."
Neo went downstairs again, he didn't come back from quite some time.

"We need to move soon, the town is crawling with survivors and zombies" There was a sense of urgency in his voice. "You've been out for a few hours, but we cant stay here much longer. This is a logical stop for any survivor looking for supplies".
"sorry about that, tends to happen when you're tired, starving and bleeding." I replied.
"jokes aside, we need to move out soon. I've fixed up your leg for now, but you need medicine" Neo replied. Neo went back downstairs and emerged a few minutes later with a shotgun and an M16. Looks like Christmas had come early. "Hope you can handle a double barrel, there'es some shells in the corner there" he said and pointed to the far corner of the room. I popped some pain pills and made my way to the other side of the room. There was a whole box of shells. I loaded up my shotgun, put the remaining shells in my jacket and trousers. Neo called me over to the window and pointed to the cathedral. "There's a hospital a few blocks east of that place you were hauled up in" he said. "I scouted around while you were taking a nap, doesn't look like anyone's been there yet. Its bound to be loaded."
"Then what are we waiting for?" I replied hastily.
"You; moron. Put on your boots and pack the extra stuff, we have a couple of hours before dawn. That should be enough to make it to the hospital and then northwards out of town" he said.

Things were finally starting to look up, Neo had really stocked up on supplies in the time I took to reach him. We had enough food and drinks to last at least a few days. The guns and ammo were a huge bonus. He also had a spare Walkie so we could stay in contact even if we split up.
I quickly gathered all the extra supplies and stuffed them into my pack. It was a lot heavier now, especially with my injured leg.
I hobbled down the stairs."We're all set to go"  I said.
"Good to have you back cap" Neo responded with a smile on his face.

Click Here for episode 3

Saturday, 21 July 2012

DayZ of our lives : Episode 1

Episode 1

Day 1

01:15 hrs

The sky was black as death, you could barely see 2 feet ahead. The rain was pouring without any sign of stopping. Soviet Russia was as desolate as ever. After the Zombie outbreak a few months ago there wasn't much left. Scattered resources, broken houses and an endless horde of zombies. The few that managed to survive weren't too friendly either, fear of death does that to a man, Survival was the only thing anyone cared about, no one thought twice before puling the trigger on another human. People running around killing each other over scraps of food and ammunition, as if the Zombies weren't enough of a problem. 

When I regained consciousness, I was washed up on the shore. My head hurt and I had no idea where I was. It was hard to move around in the dark, the rain made every step seem harder. I knew I had to find shelter fast, or the cold would kill me. Add to that dozens of Zombies just roaming around, waiting to catch my scent. To the west I could see the Dock cranes of Chernogorsk, one of the largest port cities or at least what was left it. My first thought was to get to town and find shelter. But town's were filled with bandits and many zombies, it would've been suicide to try and go there alone. I had been in touch with my friend Neo over the radio, we were planning on meeting up at Elektrozavodosk. 
We were in contact a few days ago and were planning to make our way inland, we thought it would be safer there because new survivors kept arriving on the coast and we didn't want any trouble. Not if we could help it. The plan was to go via Elektrozavodosk to pick up some supplies before making our way north. I was miles from Elektrozavodosk and had no idea how long I had been out cold. Would Neo still be there? I hoped he would. It was not like I had other options, Elektrozavodosk was where I needed to go. Armed with an empty Backpack, a bandaid and some painkillers I set out Eastwards towards Elektrozavodosk.

Elektrozavodosk was about 15 km South East of Chernogorsk, a fairly easy walk along the coastline.  But just to be safe I hiked up Mt Pik Kozlova, it was best to avoid roads. I followed the road from behind the tree line, the rain was starting to ease up allowing me to see a little further into the distance. After walking for what seemed like forever I finally saw tall buildings and chimneys in the distance. It had to be Elektrozavodosk. I left the trees to follow the train tracks into the city. The stench of rotten corpses defiled the air around the city.  As i reached the outskirts i had this eerie sensation, as if death was right round the corner. That's when i heard it. The sound that struck fear into the hearts of every survivor. It was like a broom stick scrapping against the wooden floor. I quickly ducked behind the first bush i saw. When i mustered enough courage to look up i didn't see much, but when i took a second look i could make out over a dozen shadowy figures around me. My heart was pounding but i had to keep my cool. One slip up and they would be on faster than ants on food at a picnic. Thankfully the rain muffled my footsteps, but i still had to be careful. I didn't have any weapon and couldn't afford an encounter. I slowly crawled along the track till i was inside the town. I had reached Elektrozavodosk, but now i had no idea where to go. I could see the sun coming up in the distance. I was cold, and hungry. Without and food and shelter I wasn't going to survive long. Now that the sun was about to come up i needed to get out of sight, there was a cathedral of sorts behind a few buildings. It seemed like my best option, so I made my way towards it. However i wasn't prepared for what happened next. 
As i turned the corner I found myself 5 feet away from a walker. I froze in position, at first it didn't realize i was there but a few seconds later it turned towards me and went into a frenzy. I didn't realize what was happening, Instinct took over and I charged past the zombie towards the Cathedral. I didn't stop for even a second. I Looped around the back of the cathedral in hopes of losing the walker. As I came to the front I saw more zombies across the road. They had hear me running. I made a dash for the front door, thankfully the walkers were slow to react. It gave me just enough time to shut the doors and lock it from inside. I huddled up in a corner and closed my eyes really tight. I woke up a few hours later and the pounding and groans were gone.
My stomach was rumbling and my body was cold so i looked around for supplies. Luckily there was a pile of things near the altar. After some sorting i found a can of coke, canned beans, band aids and some shotgun shells. It was god sent. The sun was finally up outside, the Zombies were all over the roads outside. But I was safe.

For now.

Episode 2

You can find the complete map Here

Click to Enlarge

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Summer Sales are here!!

It's that time of the year again; while your consoles and pc's suffer the heat Publishers throws you a bone and you throw away ALL your money!! trust me when i say the 45c temperature is the least of your worries. The Steam Summer Sale is back and with it tons of games on discount. Some of the Biggest titles around are available at throw away prices. From individual sales to publisher packs, its great value for money so i hope you've been saving up. The steam summer sale is second only to the steam Holiday sale where you literally get games from free.(I got left 4 dead 2 last year, awesome right?).
But steam isn't the only one celebrating the summer, XBLA summer of Arcade is just round the corner with another star studded lineup. With a long standing record of releasing a new XBLA title every week since its inception, the Xbox Live Marketplace will be the center of attention starting next week. Xbox Live Summer of Arcade kicks of with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, though I'm still confused as to how such a mainstream title made it onto a list that usually celebrates great indie titles.
The one's I'm interested in only come out in August; Deadlight a sidescrolling horror survival game, Hybrid a third person shooter and Dust: An Elysian Tail, a sidescrolling RPG.
There have been some wicked XBLSA's in the past but this one promises to be up there with the best.
Now i just need to find that damn credit card

Steam Sales List

You can find the steam page link Here
  • Square Enix Hit Collection
  • Ubisoft Collection
  • Activision Hits Collection
  • THQ Collection
  • 2K Collection
  • Bethesda Collection
  • Star Wars Collection
  • TellTale Collection
  • Rockstar Hit Collection
  • Super id Software Pack
  • Valve Complete Pack
  • Sega Hit Collection
  • PopCap Complete Pack
  • 1C Collection
  • Mumbo Jumbo Collection
  • Kalypso Collection
  • Strategy First Collection

Xbox Live Summer of Arcade Schedule

  • July 18Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, 1200 MS Points ($15)
  • July 25Wreckateer, 800 MS Points ($10)
  • August 1Deadlight, 1200 MS Points ($15)
  • August 8Hybrid, 1200 MS Points ($15)
  • August 15Dust: An Elysian Tail, 1200 MS Points ($15)
  • Friday, 29 June 2012

    D3: Dumbing Down Diablo

    Diablo II may not be perfect, but it was a great Adventure RPG
    Diablo II is arguably one of the best Adventure RPG's of all time. In fact people still play it because it is just that good. The fact that Blizzard took almost 10 whole years to make Diablo III should make it a masterpiece right? Not quite. Diablo III is a great game, but it is far from perfect. Its fun to play, but it seems to be losing that adventure charm Diablo II had.
    While Diablo III is a good game, it has been stripped down to make it a stroll in the park for anyone. With each update the game seems to be getting easier and easier, but maybe that's just my perception. Lets talk about the main thing that went wrong; Auction House.
    Diablo II was a struggle(at least for those of us that didn't use the item creation hack). Wandering into the Stony field or the Valley of Snakes, making your way through The Halls of the Dead or Canyon of the Magi. These weren't just places you went through, but adventures. Every time you ran into a rare enemy it was a fight for survival and in the end you were rewarded with an item which could very well make or break your day. The loot in Diablo II was hard earned, every item was valuable to the mighty adventurer. Having to weigh the pro's and con's of every item, having to decided between attack speed and damage and so on. Each item had some worth, you might need one at one point and the other 5 minutes later. Diablo III just put a price tag on everything. There is no adventure, no struggle, no sense of achievement. Everything in the game leads back to one place; So deeply integrated into the game that its almost impossible to ignore. The Auction House.

    The one stop solution to all your problems
    Completing Diablo II on nightmare and hell was an achievement because it was actually hard. You had to look around for items, sometimes even pray a little and with some luck you would find something useful. But now every time you think your item is doing just a little less damage than you like, BOOM Auction House. Did the last enemy hurt you too much? BOOM Auction House. Want to be OP? BOOM Auction House. Everything revolves around it.While Diablo III is a good game, its lost the sense of adventure and achievement playing Diablo II gave. Its more like playing a salesman rather than an Adventurer.

    Blizzard's attempt at keeping the adventure of the game alive by keeping the hardcore mode is pretty much at odds with the addition of the auction house. For those of you that dont know, if you die in hardcore mode your character remains dead, its game over. But its not as hard as it sounds. Play through the game and farm with a regular character and then hit the AH to equip your hardcore character. In theory your only concern in hardcore should be your internet, that's one thing the Auction House can't fix. So despite having different difficulty levels, Diablo III isn't very hard. The auction house is your one stop solution for anything the game throws at you. Blizzard tried to make the game more challenging by scaling repair costs in a recent update; while it does make it annoying for players starting out it really doesn't bother you much in the long run. The other day I made over half a million gold selling just 2 items and my repair costs for that 5 hour session were just about 50k. Doesn't really burn a whole in your pocket.

    After reaching Inferno with my Shopaholic Hunter I realized the game wasn't fun anymore, there was nothing challenging despite having scaled up in difficulty; only minor speed bumps which were fixed by a quick trip to the auction house. So I sat down with a bunch of friends and made a pact, we're not going to use the auction house anymore, at least not for the my other 9 characters(the first one is going to be my PVP character, and lets face it I'll get whooped without the AH). Took me just under 3 hours to finish act I on normal with a friend without using the auction house at all. I never did at that level anyways, but it feels good knowing the loot I'm picking up isn't just some useless trash that ill salvage later. We're constantly comparing and trading items to make sure we can get the best out of what we have and its a whole lot more fun than saying brb I'm going to the auction house. It's almost like playing Diablo II again, minus the potion and teleport spamming. You should try it, It's much more enjoyable and a lot less monotonous.

    If you really want an adventure, try playing the game without the Auction House

    Thursday, 14 June 2012

    The end is nigh.

    Blizzard's games are addictive, this is a fact. Starcraft is pretty much an accepted profession in some parts of the world, World of Warcraft parties will soon replace actual physical geek parties and now we have Diablo III. A game that took ten years in the making and will probably take up the next ten years of your life. Why you ask? well its called auction house.

    World of Warcraft items are so coveted that people end up selling them for real money on ebay or whatever. Poor old Blizzard get nothing, here's a quick fix- Lets add a real money auction house to Diablo III. Probably the smartest move ever, while other developers are out there wh*ring their IP's with a game every year, Blizzard gives players a reason to play their game forever. This coupled with the Unique randomized loot system really does add a lot of value to in game items for players that are serious about completing inferno or the upcoming PVP update. A win win for everyone right? Not really. If you use Paypal to get your 'hard' earned cash you will only get about 60% of it after Blizzard and Paypal take their cut(all depends on what type of Paypal account you have). That's not all that bad considering you're still making money playing a game.

    Here's when your life ends and Blizzard wins. Not everyone has a Paypal account, so Blizzard also lets you redeem the money on your account at the Blizzard store. So all the cash you earn can only be spent buying their games, subscriptions and special items and whatnot. Basically all the money ends up with Blizzard. Its not all that bad you get to buy Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft, The older Blizzard games. A fair trade in return for your time, effort, Job, Girlfriend, family ; pretty much your whole life will be on hold because you will have all these lovely games to play without spending a dime.

    Now I have a few friends who already have Starcraft 2 in their sights or have downloaded the WoW client after claiming to never play such a game, this won't end well for anyone(who says no to anything FREE). So before you decide to jump in to the real money auction house, think long and hard whether you really want to do this. If you do then get a PayPal account because getting money on the Blizzard store is like digging your own grave.

    Sunday, 3 June 2012

    E3 Ahoy!!!

    Arguably the most exciting week of the year for a gamer. The few days before E3 are just as mad as the conference itself, with small teases and trailers being released left right and center. The perfect way to get EVERYONE twice as excited about E3. 

    This year's E3 promises to be as exciting as ever, with last year's Halo 4 Bombshell hopefully fans can now get some solid information and maybe even some gameplay footage. Halo 4 is probably the one game I'm most excited about, i mean come on THE CHIEF IS BACK!!! OORAH!!! The forerunner trilogy has been leaking information all year round, with only 6 months till release i hope there's some campaign footage and of course the beta info.
    There was also the teaser for the new gears; Gears of war Judgment. All we know for now is that its a prequel to the current Gears trilogy and will follow Kilo Squad - Cole, Baird, Garron and Sofia who are all being charged with treason. Personally i feel Cole and Baird lack the depth to be protagonists, But we'll know more come monday. Halo 4 and the Gears of War Judgement(seriously 4.0 here i come!!) seem to be the only thing on Microsoft's agenda as of now. I cant help but feel there will be more Kinect related releases and projects that they will talk about (yawn). However i am excited about Dragonball Z Kinect. I've always wanted to do a real Kamehameha, i just hope it doesn't turn out to be a disaster like my life long dream of always playing a game with an actual Lightsaber. Lets be Honest, Kinect Star Wars was a bit of a travesty.
    hubba hubba
    Other than that the past few days have been riddled with trailers and teasers. The most intriguing being Hitman Absolution. Sexed up Nun Assassins , a whole bunch of them that is. Now there's something i didn't expect the original Assassin t be involved with. Color me interested. Another recent announcement was regarding the new NFS game; Need for Speed : Most Wanted which is being developed by Criteron. A good moving judging by the success of Hot Pursuit and the poor reception of NFS The Run. It's time the NFS franchise took a new direction.

    Despite getting Pushed to a 2013 release there is also the mind blowing trailer for the Tomb Raider reboot. The game takes us back to when Lara Croft was a relatively ordinary woman and her transformation into one of the legendary treasure hunters of all time. The game is shaping up to be a Gritty adventure riddled with set pieces, chase scenes, stealth missions and loads of moans and groans. Probably the only Tomb Raider game i have ever looked forward too, March 2013 is way way too far for my liking.

    Throughout the year we've been getting Sim City updates and game mechanics video's and boy does it look great. I think its time they showed us something concrete . A little about the new features and  Abilities we'll have. Can't wait to get back to the graetest city building sim EVER.

    Now we come to the part where i get sad. Last of Us, a PS3 exclusive post apocalyptic survival game. My favourite type of game on the other console sigh, i guess ill have to dish out the cash for a PS3 . Back to the game, it looks like a HUGE world but i think its going to be an uncharted type game in a world full of zombies and cold blooded survivors. Heck the protagonist even looks like Nathan Drake. Either way it looks awesome and i cant wait to hear more.

    I'm not much of an Assassin's Creed fan, but that doesn't change the fact that it is easily one of the most anticipated games at E3 this year. The game Follow's Connor a native american who is the voice of justice in a bloody war. The game will go from Elaborate Cities and to vast forests. Did i mention you even get to fight bears! So to sum it up we have American Revolution, Tree Climbing, Tomohawk Wielding, Bear Fighting and everyone's favorite Leap of faith, can't see why i shouldn't be excited.

    However these aren't the only games that are going to be on display at E3, here are some of the other Title worth a mention.

    2K GAMES Borderlands 2 (360, PS3, PC) 

    Call of Duty: Black Ops II (360, PS3, PC) 

    The Elder Scrolls Online (PC) 
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -- Dawnguard (360, PS3, PC) 

    Resident Evil 6 (360, PS3, PC) 

    Crysis 3 (360, PS3, PC) 
    Medal of Honor Warfighter (360, PS3, PC) 
    Need for Speed Most Wanted (TBA) 
    SimCity (PC) 
    Dead Space 3 (TBA) 

    Rock Band Blitz (XBLA, PSN) 

    Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (360, PS3, PC) 

    Halo 4  (360) 
    Gears of War : Judgement (360) 

    Star Trek: The Game (360, PS3, PC) 
    Dragon Ball Z for Kinect (360) 

    The Last of Us (PS3) 
    LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3) 

    Hitman: Absolution (360, PS3, PC) 
    Tomb Raider (360, PS3, PC) 
    Sleeping Dogs (360, PS3, PC) 
    Kingdom Hearts 3D Dream Drop Distance (3DS) 

    Darksiders II (360, PS3, PC, Wii U) 
    Metro Last Light (360, PS3, PC, Wii U) 
    Company of Heroes 2 (PC) 

    Far Cry 3 (PS3, 360, PC) 
    Assassin's Creed III (360, PS3, PC, Wii U) 
    ShootMania Storm (PC) 

    Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (360, PS3, PC) 

    Sunday, 27 May 2012

    Silent Strike

    Now I'm not one for stealthy gameplay; I prefer a more head on ramboesque approach to things. However not all games are made like that, some have the option of a stealthy approach while others demand it. I don't usually like stealthy tactical combat, but some change is good once in a while. Thanks to some friends i found myself in possession of Hitman Sniper Challenge on my Xbox. (Its a pre order bonus) . Personally i really really don't like Hitman. Didn't like the previous game, hated the movie(total garbage). So not my type as i explained, but where there's sniping there's hope and let me tell you Hitman Sniper Challenge is brilliant.

    HSC puts you in the shoes of the infamous Agent 47. Your mission : Kill a VIP and ALL 14 of his bodyguards. Simple enough right? WRONG. He's on a rooftop party and constantly on the move. The game really does provide a good challenge and it will take you a couple of playthroughs to figure it out. You also have a 15 minute time frame within which to complete your mission.(took me 4.5 on my longest playthrough)

    The game does a great job of showing off the final game; Hitman Absolution. The Graphics, the mechanics and gameplay. Its like a demo that keeps you coming back again again. While going about your mission you need to keep in mind who can hear the impact of the shot, Line of sight of the other guards and of course you have to compensate for their movement and the amount of time your bullet will travel. I really liked the sniping mechanics, you have to pull the trigger down gently to slow down time and the scope sway but you only have a second before you get out of breathe(no super human ME3 sniping here). There's also the added aspect of taking out targets in Places where their body will be hidden; ie it falls into the pool, bushes or even off the ledge.

    Despite the fact there is only one level, i find myself going back for more. Trying out the different challenges(There's even one for shooting pigeons), or maybe just picking off the targets in a different order. You can even try Blitzing through; there's a challenge for doing it under 150 seconds (its hard, I've tried)

    While it shows off only one aspect of the game(The only one i am probably interested in), the loading screen is riddled with gameplay videos and cutscenes from the final game, which actually have me quite excited. I feel that this would have been more useful as a demo for enticing people into buying the game, rather than a pre order bonus. However if you are planning to buy the game, I'd recommend pre ordering it because HSC is totally worth it.

    Saturday, 19 May 2012

    Face Off

    The thrill of riddling your enemies with holes, Tea bagging that annoying 12 year old on the other team, calling in an MOAB, or just sniping the sh*t out of the other team. These are just some of the reasons why we all love Call of Duty. Regardless of their unchanged graphics, almost identical gameplay and virtually the same game modes; we all buy the game year after year. But like it or not, it does get stale after a while. I mean come on, just how many times can you play the same game modes over and over again. Well, Gears of War came out with a brilliant solution with their special weekend and midweek playlists. Now it seems that CoD has picked up a thing or two.

    While Elite may be the most useless thing in the world(its pretty much like the Gears 3 season pass with a whole lot of stat tracking), the New DLC content collection #2 might just be the breathe of fresh air the game needs. The part I'm talking about is the new Face Off mode available to everyone for free(two free maps + 2 that must be bought with the DLC). Face Off focuses on fast and tactical 1v1 and 2v2 games. The perfect way to get away from the chaos and confusion of the larger TDM playlists. 

    The Playlists caters to both a fast run n gun style of play and a slower more tactical approach. Personally I love the addition of this playlists because while it was always possible to play 2v2 on all maps, they are too big for that sort of game. The Face off maps are made specifically for 2v2. Theres no running around to get to a fight, its always just round the corner. While a map like Erosion has multiple levels and not too many hiding places,  Aground offers many shadowy corners to snipe from and side passages for sneaking around.

    Face Off  promotes teamwork and coordination , unlike the 'Every man for himself' attitude of regular TDM playlists. The action is fast, intense and much less annoying. However they fail to take into account the annoying kids running around with Akimbo FMG's and whatnot or just camping on corners with shotguns. Can't really fix that, but at least they are taking a step in the right direction by trying something new. Quite frankly its about time they introduced small multiplayer playlists. I've been playing on the two free maps Erosion and Aground and i must say I'm extremely happy with what they've done. Introducing the two maps for free was also a good move, might even entice me into picking up   the DLC pack for the other two maps. 

    Tuesday, 8 May 2012

    Not so fabulous

    My idea of entertaining guests is quite different from the more conventional ways. I'd much rather get a couple of beers, nachos &  enjoy some arcade games on my Xbox instead of just sitting around having tea and staring at each others faces, making small talk. The beauty of console arcade games is that ANYONE can just jump right in, even the non geeks in my life who cant use a controller to save their life.

    So when Major Nelson announced the 'Arcade Next' promotion for the upcoming Xbox Live arcade titles my credit card was out before you could say XBLA. The latest one i picked up was Fable Heroes, an Arcade spin off of the popular fable series. A hack n slash , 4 player adventure game that had all the potential in the world. It was definitely my kind of game, if only i was 10 years younger.

    Inspired by the art and style of the Fable universe, they created a world of puppets, yes puppets. Might i add they bear a striking resemblance to the LBP sackboy. But don't worry the game doesn't look all that bad. Its a fun fantasy world that complements the arcade nature of the game.  Basically you have a party of 4 'puppets', all characters from the fable universe and you travel to Locations from the fable franchise.

    The main gameplay involves your party going from one end of the area to the other while hacking away at Hobbes and Hollow men. While you can play the game solo with 3 AI companions it is much more enjoyable when in 4 player local co-op or over Xbox Live(there is no other reason to play this game). But the combat isn't too great, armed with only a light attack,flurry and area attack it feels a little incomplete (i know its a hack and slash game, but still), Older players will find it dry and boring, but kids will love the easy buttonmash. However the different characters all have different combat styles which sort of does make up for the lack of combos and what not. Towards the end of each level there is a fork in the road; one leads to a tedious boss battle while the other leads to a silly but fun mini game. The core aspect of the game revolves around collecting coins through levels and using them to purchase upgrades for each 'puppet' and unlocking new ones. While this does add considerable depth and replay value, i don't see myself going back just to get that extra damage bonus or range on my flurry attack.

    While most fans will be disappointed, keep in mind this is a game aimed at younger audiences. So if you have kids or a young sibling, 800 Microsoft Points is a decent price for a game that you will definitely enjoy with them.
    But if you are looking for a wicked arcade co-op adventure, id suggest you look elsewhere. Do check out Castle Crashers. An older title, but worth every penny.

    Friday, 4 May 2012

    My Zombie Apocalypse : The Walking Dead episode one

    Before i get started, let me just put it out there that I LOVE ZOMBIES. It is probably the best genre of all time. Zombie video games are my kryptonite; along with pretty women and candy. Whether or not I will get to witness an actual zombie apocalypse, i don't know; but what i do know is that they will keep making video games and i will keep buying them. The latest one on the block is The Walking Dead series by Telltale Games.

    Zombie games usually bank on their ability to let players smash heads, spew guts or just brutally dismember the undead; and quite frankly its AWESOME. It's a winning formula, everyone wants to kill stuff. Left4dead and Left4dead 2 did it brilliantly(i so hope they make a third one). But after hours and hours and hours of killing the undead you kind of wish there was something more, after all its just go from here to there and kill everything in between. I had high hopes for Dead Island, regardless of its shortcomings it was a good zombie experience.

    The Walking Dead aims to go where no zombie game has gone before; an emotional story driven by survival and shaped by the choices you make on the way. It takes the chaos and madness of a zombie apocalypse and weaves in personal drama. There are no yellow Hummers with a bag full of guns(Zombieland movie anyone?), there is no safe house at the end of the road. This is as real a zombie apocalypse experience can get.

    You start off a handcuffed in the back of a squad car; after a short conversation you learn your name is Lee Everett and you are a convicted killer.(not your everyday zombie apocalypse hero eh?). After the inevitable car crash you pass out. Your quest for survival begins with you regaining consciousness and trying to find a way out of the car.

    Rather than following the TV show or Comic book directly, the game runs a parallel story with a different group of survivors with a few familiar faces. I think this was a good move as it really lets you create your 'own' experience rather than just reliving the tv show or comic. Despite the fact that the story is quite linear it offers a lot of choices in terms of what to do, who to save, what to say etc. These decisions you take will shape your story, so think twice even when making a seemingly in-consequent decision. The game does a great job of reflecting your decisions. If you lie about yourself to one person, you end up weaving a web of lies just to protect yourself, or if you help someone they will remember it and their attitude towards you will reflect that.

    The core gameplay revolves around finding useful objects, solving problems, talking to your group. The 'combat' if you can call it that is all in quick time events, which is an interesting choice but it blends seamlessly with the rest of the game. The need for quick thinking and fast reactions make for a real heart pounding experience.
    The game's Art style does a great job of bringing the comic book experience to life and raelly adds to the whole experience.

    Now i didn't think twice twice before buying the walking dead because i love zombies, but YOU shouldnt think twice because its a brilliant game. But let me warn you, make sure you have free time when you play the game because it will suck you in. I found myself glued to the screen for 3 whole hours and now i just want to play it again. If you are skeptical about the game pickup the first episode for 5$.
    The Walking Dead promises to be one of the most memorable zombie games of all time, it sure is off to a great start. 

    Wednesday, 2 May 2012

    Control your game (Xbox)

    A controller. The one thing all consoles have in common; New, old or next gen. Regardless of how advanced Motion sensing may get in the years to come, competitive gaming on consoles will ensure the survival of controllers. Now you may ask yourself ' how does it matter what controller i use', why wouldn't you. After all you probably spent the best part of a year getting used to the regular controller. But that little edge you get is priceless.

    Now i pride Myself at being a competitive gamer, and a good one at that. So it was only natural for me to explore all my options, which is why i now have a pile of controllers in some corner of my room. Most are default controllers in different colors, Special editions and whatnot. But there are two in particular i want to talk about; The Razer Onza Tournament Edition and the Madcatz Cyborb V.5 Rumble Pad. Both officially licensed Xbox controllers, are great options for competitive gamers and casual gamers alike.

    Razer Onza Tournament Edition

    Light, comfortable, with a HUGE cable; everything you could possibly ask for in a good controller. But that's not even the best part. Its an officially Licensed Xbox controller with TWO EXTRA BUTTONS!! How does that work you ask? well its simple. You have two extra buttons right above LB and RB. and through an easy map on the bottom of your controller you can map them to replace ANY function on your controller. i personally use them instead of my stick clicks, works wonders for FPS games. Another feature i love is the rubber coated surface, it makes the controller is easy to hold & doesn't get too sweaty or slipper after long sessions. The last feature i liked, which actually has an upside and a downside is the adjustable analog resistance. Both analogs have a little dial on the shaft which lets you increase or decrease its movement resistance. So if you feel the in-game sensitivity isnt right for you, no problem; Just compensate with the analog resistance. However the downside is that the analogs end up being slightly taller/higher than regular controllers. The Razer Onza also has easy to use buttons that need only be tapped rather than jammed down.
    All in all its a great controller for competitive FPS players. Not having to use my stick clicks has done wonders for my COD & GoW3, who knows this might be the edge you need.

    Madcatz Cyborg v.5 Rumble Pad
    Not all my friends have Xbox's, some made the mistake of buying the other console; but thats not the point. Everyone has that one friend who is always cribbing about the controller "I'm used to the playstation controller yada yada yada...", well their excuse just went out the window. Enter Madcatz . This controller is pretty much solves that problem by giving you the option of switching around the left analog and D pad to make it function like the Playstation controller. Extremely easy to switch around and comfortable to hold, The Rumble Pad is a great buy. Comes with a long cable and a rubber coated surface similar to the Razer Onza. However it does have one flaw. It weighs more than the Onza but other than that its a good controller. I personally use it for all my sports games, the Playstation configuration suites me better on FIFA.

    Hope i was helpful

    Captain Out

    P.S. i have nothing against the PS3, i just prefer my Xbox. ;)

    Sunday, 29 April 2012


    When Gears of War 3 came out i was just as excited as any other fan. But i had no idea how much I'd love the game. A Few weeks of Chainsaws, Gnashers , Boom shots and i just couldn't get enough. That's when i decided to go achievement hunting and i came across the one called Seriously 3.0  . I had heard about it, i remembered the Seriously 2.0 from gears 2 (100,000 kills i never bothered)
    I decided to do a little research; Historians will remember it as the day my social life ended. 65 Onyx medals, 'how hard could it be' i said to myself. But what i saw blew me away. An achievement so hard that it could bring even the most dedicated achievement hunters to their knees. Suddenly I felt this hunger, this desire . One i hadn't felt in a long time. I knew what i had to do, i had to be seriously 3.0 .
    My friends said i was mad, why wouldn't they . Instead of listening to them i bet them i could do it in 12 months. Come October 2012 i will be Seriously 3.0! in case your wondering what its all about have a look at this List

    Execute (10/20/50/100) nemeses.
    Kill (50/200/500/1000) enemies with a captive.

    Play in (5/10/20/30) Gears events.

    Earn (5/25/100/500) MVP ribbons.

    Reach Level (25/50/75/100).

    Play (100/500/2000/4000) matches.

    Win (50/250/1000/3000) matches.

    Get (100/500/2000/4000) headshots.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) heavy weapon kills.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) explosive kills.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) executions.

    Skunk enemy team (25/100/500/2500) times.

    Earn (10/50/150/300) Untouchable ribbons.

    Capture (25/100/250/500) enemy leaders.

    Get (125/500/2000/5000) assists in Versus multiplayer.

    Revive (50/250/600/1200) squadmates.

    Earn (10/50/200/600) Buttoned Up ribbons.(most time in cover)

    (500/2500/10000/25000) perfect active reloads.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) Lancer kills.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) Hammerburst kills.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) Retro Lancer kills.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) Gnasher Shotgun kills.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) Sawed-off Shotgun kills.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) pistol kills.

    Spot (250/1000/5000/12000) enemies.

    Kill (50/300/1000/3000) enemies with fire.

    Destroy (10/50/200/1000) enemy grenades.

    Rescue (50/250/600/1200) leaders in CTL.

    Play (100/300/1000/3000) CTL matches.

    Play (100/300/1000/3000) KOTH matches.

    Play (100/300/1000/3000) Warzone matches.

    Play (100/300/1000/3000) Execution matches.

    Play (100/300/1000/3000) TDM matches.

    Play (100/300/1000/3000) Wingman matches.

    (Bronze/Silver/Gold/Onyx) Medal in all game modes.

    (Bronze/Silver/Gold/Onyx) Medal with all 5 starting weapons.

    (Bronze/Silver/Gold/Onyx) Medal with all 3 starting rifles.

    Earn (100/300/1000/3000) Last Man Out ribbons.

    Earn (100/300/1000/3000) First Blood ribbons.

    Curb stomp (50/250/1000/3000) enemies.

    Play as a female in (25/100/500/1000) matches.

    Win (25/100/250/500) CTL rounds as leader.

    Get (100/500/2000/6000) map-based weapon kills.

    Completed all 50 waves of Horde on (Casual/Normal/Hardcore/Insane).

    Complete (100/500/1000/2000) waves of Horde.

    Earn Founder ribbon (10/50/150/300) times.

    Earn Point Man ribbon (50/150/300/500) times.

    Complete (100/250/500/1000) fortification modifications.

    Earn $(100k/500k/1mil/5mil) cash in Horde.

    Complete (10/20/50/100) challenges in Horde.

    I'M A BEAST!
    Complete Beast without failing on (Casual/Normal/Hardcore/Insane).

    Complete (60/180/360/600) waves of Beast.

    Heal or revive (250/300/750/1500) teammates in Beast.

    Destroy (150/500/1500/3000) fortifications in Beast.

    Kill (125/325/650/1100) humans in Beast.
    Earn $(100k/250k/500k/1mil) cash in Beast.

    Ready for the Heavies ribbon (5/15/35/75) times.

    Earn (1mil/2mil/5mil/7.5mil) total points in Arcade mode.

    NUMBER 1
    Number 1 in Arcade (20/60/120/240) times.

    Complete all Arcade chapters on (Casual/Normal/Hardcore/Insane)
    Maintain max multiplier in (10/30/60/100) chapters of Arcade.

    Complete (20/60/120/240) chapters without dying.

    Play (50/150/300/500) chapters of Arcade.

    Manipulate (200/500/1000/2000) objects in campaign.

    Complete campaign on (Casual/Normal/Hardcore/Insane).

    As of Now i have 2 Onyx Medals, Two Dozen Bronze medals , A dozen Silvers and a few golds. ill get there. slow and steady, trying not to burn out. there's also the small matter of exams :p