Thursday, 14 April 2011

Portal 2 Getting Released Early???

Just a short post to let you guys know that the countless rumors of an early release may be in fact true!

http://www.aperturescience.com/a/b/c/d/g/h/abcdgh/

A countdown timer is leading towards a April 15th release, just in time for the weekend!

We'll see if it's true or is just a very late (and downright cruel) april fools joke XD

Monday, 11 April 2011

Dino D-Day Review

Sorry for the large break between now and my last post, I've been really busy and am now sick, but whatever, I'm back with this review!


This game was originally a mod for the source engine, and it was originally coop players versus ai dinosaurs. But they've stemmed out, it seems, to a much better player vs player scenario--Axis vs Allies. Each side has 6 classes, the Nazis have a rifleman, sniper, medic, velociraptor, desmatosuchus (with a 20mm cannon strapped on its back), and dilophosaurus. For the allies there is a rifleman, sub-machine gunner, sniper, medic, rocket launcher and support (BAR) class.


The maps usually have some hold the point objective although there is also a 'blow up the objective' mode. I find no one really pays attention to the modes and instead everyone just treats the game like a team deathmatch. The blow up objective mode is somewhat flawed, the satchels you throw need time to blow up, and the enemy must defuse them before they blow up, but the placement of these satchels is very iffy, and it's not clear as to where to put them, so usually the Axis (defenders) win this 90% of the time.


Unfortunately there are only American and European servers, and in total not enough servers anyway. You will find plenty of people playing, of course, seeing as it is a new game and steam promotes new games well, but if you're not from America or Europe then the lag might be a turn off. Personally, I don't mind the lag. I'm from Australia, so I get around 190ms to American servers, it's playable, but if I try to play a dinosaur where I need to precisely melee or leap onto someone, it's nigh-on impossible. But hey, us Aussies are used to lag. Just remember, the lag works both ways, a lot of people have complained (read: bitched and moaned) about my high ping and how they can never seem to grab me.


With all that technical stuff aside, let's talk about the fun factor. Even though this game hasn't received a large amount of polish or tweaking, this game is a lot of fun. Personally I've had hours of fun with this game, and for only $20USD it is great value. A lot of my friends refuse to buy the game because of how silly it is, but that's the whole point, it's a silly game! This game has made me laugh more than a few occasions, it's a all-frills type of game that will leave you with a large smile on your face as you get a 3 killstreak and start punching the crap out of dinosaurs to the sound track of 'AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!'


Score: 7.5/10 (it would be 8/10 if there were Australian servers). For $20 you can't go wrong, there's a lot more that you could be spending your money on that is by far worse than this.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Total War Shogun 2 Review


So the sequel to Shogun Total War is out, and boy has it shut the skeptics up. I've played every single Total War, and I'd have to say this is probably the best out of all of them, a gigantic leap from the rock bottom trash that was Empire & Napolean Total War.

One of the big problems with pretty much all other Total Wars is the lack of multiplayer support, sure you can have battles with your friends, but that is only half of what makes Total War great. The Civilization-esque campaign mode where you take turns in controlling your empire's economy, diplomacy defense and expansion is the other half I'm talking about, and now, with cooperative campaign mode, you can join up with a friend and either battle it out or help each other in their goal to become Shogun of Feudal Japan.

 

Coop Campaign is not the only feature they've added, there's also avatar conquest mode, where you create your own general, customizing his armor and weapons, and move your armies across into different zones of Japan, conquering cities and gaining bonus units and such. You can also participate in 'campaign drop-ins' where you take control of an AI opponent fighting against a player in single player. I think this is a great addition, because multiplayer has lacked progression for a long time in the Total War genre.


Enough about multiplayer you say, how's the single player? To put it simply, it's better than it's ever been. Creative Assembly have fine-tuned the campaign map to near perfection, the gorgeous 3D terrain over the 2D inked fog of war is absolutely stunning. Every clan has a unique starting cinematic with different stories, that really lay out what the current situation of whichever clan you just picked, it's a lot better than just plonking you on a map and aimlessly conquering stuff, in fact, the advisors will give you quests with bonuses to conquer a city or wipe out a retainer rebel army, guiding you as you go along.


The atmosphere is overwhelming, the RPG elements of the game are excellent and allow you to customize specialists, generals and agents to do specific jobs, for example you can have a general on the frontline that is feared by all enemies that lowers enemy troop's morale and provides an offense bonus to yours, and you can have a general at home that is peaceful and will help your empire prosper in trading, finances, building, etc.



Although I haven't played much of them, Sea battles are much more refined than the Napolean and Empire counterparts, it's less about having to specifically direct each ship to go in a certain direction in order to fire and more about getting the right positioning and letting the AI do all the tedious stuff. From the last few Sea battles I found the fire-bomb throwers to be a bit ridiculous, though, they can make a ship route in only a few volleys.


The only gripes I have with the game would have to be the less than exemplary AI, along with other Total War games it does lack a bit of common sense, but I think it's a lot better than previous games, and actually quite a bit harder, and I like that.

If you're a fan of strategy games, get this game now!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

[SC2] GSL Code S Finals July vs MC *SPOILERS*




So yesterday was the GSL Code S grand finals, and I think almost everyone predicted the outcome (MC won 4-1). July tried valiantly to defend the mass sentry forcefield abuse that MC threw at him, but he just couldn't hold on.

Forums all over are crying 'TOSS OP, FORCEFIELDS OP' but to be honest I wouldn't call them OP, maybe a bit better than they should be? A lot of people neglect to think that July was coming in as a big underdog, even the Korean forums favored MC (I say this because July is a Starcraft 1 player who has a big fanbase already, MC is considered more of a foreigner because he trains with TeamLiquid).

A lot of time July was caught with his pants down, being backed into a corner and then forcefielded to death. MC is just a beast, and kudos to him for winning, it pains me to see everyone trying to take this victory away from him, when he was clearly the better of the two.

I was routing for July, as I am a Zerg player, so I hope he can come back next season and perhaps the game will have changed by then, but until then, MC is the champion!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Starcraft 2 Woes, Patch Notes, Randomness

I've been playing Starcraft 2 since the beta came out, I've racked up about 500 or so games, which to the average gamer seems like a lot, but it really isn't. Whilst I would rate myself above the average Starcraft 2 gamer, I am also pretty bad myself (1700 Diamond).

My biggest problem is that it is extremely hard for me to control my anger when someone I clearly know is worse than me 4 gates and wins the game so easily. After a few losses I usually just log off and go watch a stream or play a different game, which is extremely counter productive to get better.

I guess I should really set a goal, I'd like to go pro, but it's just so much effort and the competition is fierce. I think my goal at the moment is to get in to Master's League,  which isn't that far away as long as I progress as steadily as I am (I was 1000~ Diamond last week).

It doesn't help that I play the hardest race in the game at the moment (Zerg), and no, it's not arguable, Zerg IS the hardest race, hands down. I dunno how I feel on balance at the moment, I mean there is some fundamental issues like Collosus, Sentries, Mules, Marines, and all the other 'questionable' aspects of the game--but so far this is probably one of the most balanced RTS' I've ever played.

Blizzard seems to be doing a good job at continually trying to fix the game, but I honestly think they should put more resources into it, but alas, it's not profitable to balance the game, only to churn out expansions with new units that break the game even more.

I might as well slot in what I think about the 1.3.0 patch notes here:

GENERAL
Players can no longer hide units by setting them in a close proximity patrol (ex: Viking flower).
(I doubt this will have any effect on competitive play, clumping up is generally a bad idea, especially against mutalisks or psistorms).

PROTOSS
Mothership
Units leaving the Mothership's Vortex are now un-targetable and immune to damage for 1.5 seconds.
(This is really just a bug fix, archon toilet is broken and unstoppable).

High Templar
Khaydarin Amulet upgrade (+25 starting energy) has been removed.

(Many toss are up in arms about this, and even I don't think it should be removed completely, why not just make it +15 energy or something, that way they can't storm as soon as they warp in and the upgrade still has some relevance).

Zealot
Charging Zealots will now hit fleeing targets at least once.
(Whatever, Chargelots will still be horrid).

TERRAN
Battlecruiser
Movement speed increased from 1.406 to 1.875.
(BCs are not that great, and this won't really change that, still, at least maybe Vikings can't kite them forever anymore).

Bunker
Build time increased from 35 to 40 seconds.
(I'm Zerg and I get bunker rushed a lot, but this won't really change a thing, I wish they'd just stick with a value rather than changing it every patch).

Ghost
EMP now drains up to 100 energy instead of all available energy.  The effect on Protoss shields remains unchanged.
(Meh).

Tech Lab
Stimpack upgrade research time increased from 140 to 170 seconds.

(This will help a lot, I'm so sick of getting stimpacked marine timing pushed from terran, but I guess now they will just go blue flame hellion instead which is even more of a pain in the ass lol).

ZERG
Infestor
Health increased from 90 to 110. -- This change has been revoked.
Fungal Growth
Stun duration decreased from 8 to 4 seconds.
Damage increased by +30% vs. armored units.
Now fires a missle instead of being instant cast. -- This change has been revoked.
(All in all this is a buff, and I can see infestors being used a LOT more in ZvZ, it's gonna be a huge damage dealer in the Mass Roach or Roach Hydra battles, not to mention gibbing huge amounts of speedlings and banelings, I think I'll incorporate Infestor in my Mass Roach style for sure. The only problem I think is that the Infestor in ZvP and ZvT is still somewhat useless, in ZvT the only reason to get infestor is to slow the enemy push down and buy you time to build up defense, in ZvP it's pretty much unused because of feedback).

Anyway, that's it. :)