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Battlefield 3 at E3 (EA conference)

So EA just finished their live show, to be honest I’m not a huge fan, I don’t like sports game, and because of that I feel a bit “meh” most of the time, going through so many different sports games.

Anyway.

A thing I want to mention before going into Battlefield 3 and how that will kick the ass out of MW3 (my opinion) let’s talk about some shit talk from EA. They start by saying that they will keep it simple, their show will be all about the games and game developers, unlike certain other companies that bring celebrities on to the stage. Being a hint towards Microsoft for bringing out ICE-T during the showing of Gears of War 3. And after a while… there they go bringing in American football all-stars on to the stage. When that happened… well let’s just say my jaw dropped.

BATTLEFIELD 3
This is the shit right here! The demo EA just showed for the game was stunning, looked great, and made you feel like this is an actual FPS trying to stimulate a somewhat more realistic warzone. It made me drool and long for this game so bad.

If Modern warfare 3 is the arcade game of war.
Battlefield 3 is the war simulator.

IMPORTANT DATES AND INFO ON BF3
They also announced a few other important things. To begin with: RELEASE DATE OCTOBER 25. This if I remember correctly a date not earlier revealed.
OPEN BETA in September. Online stats and community will be free! They mentioned to send a message to MW3, we do the same thing for our players, but free. Let’s see how they will react to this fact, will the new MW3 Elite online thingy also become free within time to fight against BF3?

Alice: Madness Returns – Thoughts on Madness

How can you not love it! I’ve always been a huge fan of the subject madness and insanity, when it comes to games or any kind of entertainment like books or movies. Not only because of the weird things that can happen or take place, but also because of how they portrait the human mind. The latest call of duty even touched on the subject of brainwashing and how this showed up to the main character as visions and planted memories.

Silent Hill 2 is also game that intrigues me. “Everything” in that world was based on the main character James, memories, thoughts, feelings and even his own subconscious. It’s one of the games that I still return to forums from time to time to see what kinds of discussions are going on, or just read up on old ones. How the nuns is about his sexuality, pyramidhead being a creature he summons upon himself to punish him for what he done. IT IS AWESOME.

Alice: Madness Returns seems to have a lot of these hidden meanings as well, or at the very least I hope so. I hope they will let the community find small bits and pieces in the game that explains Alice and her state of mind without revealing it all in the story. It may be that, or it will just be a insane world where Alice uses her knife (and other weapons) to pass through obstacles. Either will be fine, in a way, I guess..

So why did I post all this? Becuase I’ve just seen the latest trailer ofcourse! Enjoy!

BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Review (xbox 360)


If you don’t understand it by now, I love this game. BlazBlue is what I always wanted in a fighting game. It got a great and vast story, good character design (visually and unique when it comes to abilities and basic attack), 2D and well pretty much everything.
I was one to miss out on what guilty gear was, mostly cause I was never really in to Beat Em’ Up games back in the day and once I tried it, BlazBlue was also there and caught my eye and attention a lot more. My love for BlazBlue started when me and a couple of friends had an all out gaming night, of course a lot of Vs. was being played and this was one of them. I’ve never been great at these kinds of games but seeing the colorful design work and the fact that it’s 2D really dragged me in. At the time the game hadn’t been released in Europe yet and as soon as I found it was coming, I pre-ordered.

Okay enough of my short but very (not so) interesting story, and let’s get to the game itself.

THE STORY
What really drags me in to the BlazBlue universe is how they created a great story and a story mode to play it out. Every character got a storyline that adds up to a great big picture that will be revealed piece by piece. You can even decide to go different paths throughout the story and it will change the outcome of it, and every character got one “real” ending that you’re supposed to find. Finding every possible path and dialog in the story will also reward you in the end.

It doesn’t end there though, every character have about 110 different dialog pieces each, that is used within battles, this is huge, and it changes depending on who they fight, so it’s always interesting to see what they will say, and it’s most often connected to the story and the characters relation within it.

For people that enjoy the more classis type of game play (arcade) where you battle your way through different opponents, that’s always available, and even here you will be given short story related talks between characters. They are not as detailed and deep, but it will give you a basic understanding of the story (if you play it through with all characters).

Why I decided to talk so much about the story and depth around it, is because it is something that is lacking in so many other games like it. When I play this game I don’t understand why other game creators don’t work as much on the story and character design around it, it’s something that should be done more often, cause it’s not only more of the game, but it’s also very rewarding for players that sit down with a beat em up just to play it for fun. I can honestly say I’ve never spent as much time in front of a fighting game that I have with BlazBlue.

THE FIGHTING
When it comes to the fighting, I’m honestly going to admit that I’m not the best fitting person to review it. I’m not very skilled (working on it though), and I can only tell you how it is from a more casual view, which isn’t bad in itself I guess.

The characters all have different play styles, and as a new player you will quickly realize which of them needs a bit more combo work and which of them which simply needs button mashing (Noel being a great example). Even the characters that are considered beginner heroes have a lot of combos and abilities that can be worked with for more experienced players.

It’s a real joy to learn about each character in the game and trying to master them is not only rewarding but fun! For more on the battle system, I’m going to give IGN some credit for a quick and easy review on it:

ONLINE
The network mode that’s put into this game is great. The ranked matchmaking sadly won’t match you against players your own level (not what I’ve noticed anyway), but you can easily host game rooms where up to six people can join in the fun. The room can have several different settings such as number or rounds, round time, rotation set up etc. The way it works is that two players fight each other while the whole room can still chat with each other discussing the action. After the current battle new players will be picked to battle depending on the room set up.
You as a player can also level up, by winning games and completing different requirements like not being damaged and such.

GOOD
+ Great Story
+ Character Design
+ Much to find and unlock
+ 2D

BAD
– Few playable characters
– 2D

/Nurgle
@Start And Select
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Final Fantasy XIII – Review


Welcome to Final Fantasy XIII, the game that has been out for a short while now, and most people that have wanted to play through it, already done so, and the rest still struggles with the first part of the game and it’s very straightforward story.

Final Fantasy XIII, brings us to the modern age consoles, PS3 and Xbox360, this really shows when you start the game for the first time. The graphics of the game are stunning, you will literally drop your jaw in awe for some of the great cut scenes and in game graphics. The character design is stunning and they all have their own little perks and wit about them, shortly followed by the buildings and vehicles, and plants, and animals. The real question is if this will carry the game through it, or if it’s also filled with great story telling, battle systems and controls. Let’s take a look…

BATTLE SYSTEM

The battle system in the game is still nothing like the older Final Fantasy games, it’s now more of a classic RPG battle system, mixed with some of elements from Real Time ones. You’re character have a Time Bar (as I like to call it), that fills up and lets you use different actions, the bar empties for every action you do and you will have to wait for it to load up again, between this you can also use items and some abilities that let you see monsters weaknesses and such.

Every character that joins with you also has different classes, Command, Ravager and Medic and so on. In the battle you can switch your teams set up or Paradigms, so that you can get the most of them in different situation. Maybe you want to heal up and switch to a paradigm that has more medics and so on. To call the system Real Time is an overstatement, I would really prefer a more classis style of battle. But why isn’t this used? Well I think I know the answer.

THE FIRST HALF OF THE GAME

This is the answer to the more “action” like battle play. For if it wasen’t for more movement and sparkling things in the battles, the game would have been at an incredibly slow pace. The game really starts of extremely linear, you have no options when it comes to left or right, it’s only the straight road ahead. This really becomes the weakness of the game. Dungeon crawling in dungeons without any puzzles or options makes for a less than interesting game. At moments I even prefer to get a long cut scene than walking straightforward to see the next one.

The story in the game is great, and you feel very connected with the characters and what’s happening to them. They’re lovable and mixed with some great voice work.

GAMEPLAY

Gameplay is always something that’s very important with a game, a game like final fantasy and other RPG’s often lack any advance controls, since most of things you do is walking around and clicking your way forward in menus and interactions. Final Fantasy XIII isn’t any different, except when it comes to combat. There are indeed some actions you can do in there to change the way battle works out, and it works well, I’ve never had a problem with it and it flows on great. Even if I’m not a big fan of it, it does what it supposed to do, keep you straying forward to more advanced battles. And it’s really in the later parts of the game (past the first half of it) when the battles feels more fun to play, other than just clicking the auto attack button (really all you need for the first half).

To buy items in the game you use save points to get on to online stores and buy what you need, it works, but I still miss the whole thing of walking around a town and going to different stores and such. The save point is something that should also be talked about, they are everywhere, after every ten steps or cut scene there will be a save point. There are even some points of the game were you defeat a boss, saves, walk a bit to a short cut scene, save, long cut scene, save again. It’s silly at times.

THE VERDICT

The game is great when it comes to graphics, storytelling and overall feel, the game is great, and it really carries this game a long way. But the fact that you sometimes just long for the next cut scene and it’s basically a very straight game, it lowers the game a lot. It’s sad to see but with some towns or places to visit in between “dungeons” this game could have gone further; even it if only would have added a small portion of freedom.

GOOD
+ Great graphics and overall design
+ Great storytelling
+ A game you will finish because of the mix of all game components

BAD
– Linear
– Awkward moments between cut scenes
– “Do you wish to save?”

/Nurgle
@Start And Select
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Dawn Of War 2 Chaos Rising – Review


Finally we get the expansion for this great strategy game! It seems as though they picked a rough month to release it though, together with Final Fantasy XIII, Command & Conquer 4 and several other good titles. Never the less I’ve completed the game one and half times and played a little multiplayer and feel ready to review the strategy beast. Be aware that this review is for single player only!

Let’s start with what’s been added, that we really don’t have to discuss that much, the lvl cap of your units is now 30, and several new items and types of items have been added. Compared to before when selling items would only give you XP, it now also give you better stats and new weapons and such to use, a sweet little addition to make the item handling more important. Some of the new items include different kind of ammunition, psychic power for the new added Librarian and of course more of the good old weapons, armor and equipment.

Another new feature is “Corruption”, in the main story of the game you will fight the ultimate Warhammer 40k antagonist: the Chaos Space Marines. These are marines possessed by evil, and they fight alongside daemons and heretics. In the campaign you will have the option to different actions that will either remove corruption or add corruption. At a first glance there seems to be nothing but a positive thing to be possessed, you get to use great equipment, new universal abilities during missions (example: reviving all units with full strength). There are also items that will give or remove corruption if you send your units to mission equipped with them.

So what does it change other than giving your units awesome abilities? This will be for you to find out yourselves. It’s not mind-blowing, but why spoil the game?

Then we have the new added unit, or hero if you so wish; The Librarian. For all players enjoying abilities and using boosts and special attack to get through the levels, this will be very fun for you. The Librarian uses different equipment to give him different powers, and even his weapons and armor do the same thing, reminding a lot of what a Final Stand hero would be like. Not even the Commander or “yourself” have the same kind of options, which is a bit sad in my opinion. Being able to switch your character with the Librarian would have been sweet, of course he would need somewhat of a boost to be a standalone hero.

The story was much better than I expected it to be. With more comments from your fellow soldiers in-between missions and even comments during the briefing, make it feel less straight (even though it is). You can also ask questions before the missions’ starts, sadly there are no multiple options so it doesn’t add much more than some interaction.

The units and missions still work the same way they did before, and even though the missions have become much better when it comes to story and difference between them, there seems to be several bugs in the unit handling. They don’t react properly to the enemy at times, and will not follow orders correctly. Depending on the stance you give them (Close combat or range combat), they can turn from killing machines to scarecrows. If too far away and in close combat stance, they won’t even move towards the enemy, if to close and in the range combat stance, they will sometimes try to runaway to create a distance so they can shoot. Another thing that I’ve noticed is the sound of the game, it really twitchy in the voice work, some lines seems a lot louder than others and it will make you tweak the sound a few times. This is only between missions though, in the actual missions its not really clear or at least not as annoying.

With the bugs aside, the missions are still solid and with several new ideas like a tank mission it feels fresh. Several of the bosses are better designed when it comes to what’s going on. Yet my biggest complaint is the few bosses that reminds us to much of the stock bosses in the first game, you basically just have to wait them out, removing the self healing ability from the bosses with more health could have been a good idea.

I should really talk about the new additions to the multiplayer and the new two Final Stand heroes, but I feel I will have to cover them in another review or article all together.

GOOD
+ A great new campaign
+ A new race for multiplayer and two new heroes for Last Stand
+ New features and unit in the single player

BAD
– Control and sound bugs really bring some of the moments down
– A bit short, but not surprising for an RTS expansion

/Nurgle
@Start And Select
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Top 5 Heroes – Heroes Of Newerth

IMPORTANT: This is my personal top 5 like always, what I prefer to play and how I play them. You may consider it wrong, you may think its stupid how I do and that’s okay! Please leave a comment why and what not as well. ^^ Always interesting to read.
Here goes. My top 5, taking the first spot…

Number 5 – Mr Panda

Name: Pandamonium
Type: Strength

I love the panda for a few reasons. One, he is the only “true” tank character I can properly play early game, two his abilities mix so well with each other all helping to stun, slow and stop your opponents heroes completely, and three, he is a panda!

It’s been awhile since I played as the cuddly tank, but when you do well… you usually arm him as a tank. High attack and boost his HP/defense. Use him to fling back your opponents heroes for an easier kill, jump in to them to stun them, use your ulti to immobilize and punch them hard. The panda can be very useful in the right team set up, mix him with another stunner like Magmus and you have a team that can easily disrupt early in bigger fights.

Use his first abilitiy to push lanes and get the last out of heroes HP, it will often get you the last hit if used correctly.

Number 4 – The annoying one

Name: Succubus
Type: Intelligence

Some may laugh at this choice but there is a good reason for me to love this character. No it’s not her boobs. Me and friend played a lot of 2 v 2 games back when we started playing HoN, me being Succubus, and the way she worked out in those games was sick. Being able to stun (mesmerize) one opponent and using succubus hold on the other was insane on 2v2 matchups. And I would not be surprised if many other people use her in that as well.

In bigger games I don’t pick her that often, her abilities are great and again mixed with the right heroes and players she can be a game turner. If you’re going to use her, remember that she is there to support your team, not to make you run around ganking (even if that’s something you could do if you find someone roaming around alone).

Number 3 – The Tower Pusher

Name: Defiler
Type: Intelligence

She is sick, her ulti is sick. If you ever played her and didn’t use your ulti while pushing a tower, you’ve been doing it wrong, unless you’re lvl 4 or something like that. It’s so easy to do and when having Defiler on your team, pushing a tower often ends with your team getting some extra gold and the opponents losing a tower.

But that’s not all of it, she can silence a LARGE area, in a crucial moment this can turn the tide of a battle and together with her ulti and first spell (that I sadly don’t remember the name of). She can deal a lot of damage together with the rest of your team.

That’s it. Not so complicated?

Number 2 – Mana Shield Dude

Name: Electrician
Type: Strength

Okay people, he is a “tank”, but it doesn’t mean he is a heavy hitter, if anything he is there to support your team. His grip is great early game and his together with his ulti late game you can hunt down most heroes. I love electrician for that grip, but his shield is what wins the game in the end. Being able to absorb so much damage with Black Helm and mana regen items, it’s just insane. Send him in there, use your “discharge” ability as I usually call it and take the pain.

Your team should have enough time (if you have a good item set up), to kill the opposing team, and if they don’t go for you, grip the most dangerous hero going for your nuker or other important part of your team.

So play him as a support character that can take a lot of damage, not as a hero that goes in for the kill. Assists (you will have a lot of em) before kills.

Number 1 – Forsaken Archer

Name: Forsaken Archer
Type: Agility

Why archer you ask. Well why not archer I will ask you. Something I always do with archer (and everyone should in my opinion), is to go with her skeleton ability, they are so good early game that it’s not even funny. You get a skeleton from killing the enemy creeps, and from denying your own creeps. They also have a poisoning effect on the enemy, if you go mid as archer and get 3-4 skeletons. Try to stop your opponent with your volley, if you hit them, you’re always almost guaranteed a kill if you’ve been harassing somewhat earlier. This is always a better strategy then trying to get a kill with your ulti, even if that can help you. Volley and skeletons <3.

The skeletons help a lot! Early game you should always try to help gank in lanes where it’s needed, and as soon as both teams reach higher levels, stay in the back using volley and your ulti to assist your team. Even though you have a high damage output (or should have), you’re still an easy kill if the enemy team decides to go for you. Be aware.

Thanks for reading or at least going through my top 5 Heroes Of Newerth heroes!

/Nurgleprobe
@Start And Select
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Star Ocean: The Last Hope

So what can I say, Star Ocean: The Second Story is my favorite game of all time. When I first read the news about the release of a new Star Ocean game, I was thrilled, excited and was looking forward to it like no other game at the time. Then it came, and still I didn’t buy it on the release date, I was not first in line (even though I doubt there was one), and instead I waited for some reviews of the game.

The game prior to The Last Hope, was released on Playstation 2 with the title: Till The End Of Time. I liked the game per say, but it was lacking so much from earlier games. Sadly becoming a game shortly after being completed wasn’t revisited, like the other Star Ocean games (not to brag but I completed the second one up to 6 or 7 times).

So with this behind me, I did not buy the newest Star Ocean game on the release. Shortly after reviews followed… and that didn’t really help me situation. I read how they thought the game was lacking in emotion, how the Japanese inspired RPGs’ were dead. Now after my foolish decision to wait for a price drop. I finally got it for Christmas, seeing how the special edition version of the game was on sale I added to my very short list of things I wanted for Christmas. There it was, wrapped in paper and my name on it.

I opened it, I played it and WOW! I just felt like kicking some of the people badmouthing this game. Okay okay, I didn’t want to do that (a punch would do). The fighting in the game had been greatly improved with new ways of dodging attacks, jumping around and the visuals are stunning! So after awhile… to be exact, after four hours of playing, I was happy, satisfied and can’t wait to see what will happen with my new virtual friends.

For everyone that loves the Star Ocean saga, The Last Hope won’t be disappointing, it’s a lovely game that really brought me back to the series. So remember, whatever a review might say, as long as YOU like the game, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks in the end. The good thing about waiting before you buy a game:

1. The price goes down.
2. You may end up getting as a gift!
3. Well the above two just makes it feel so worth it! 😀

/Nurgleprobe
@Start And Select
https://startandselect.wordpress.com

PS. A proper review of the game will be up as soon as I… either finish it or feel ready to do so.

Shellshock 2 – Big NO.

My brother just bought this game. We got it cheap and we wanted a new shooter to try out. Simply to have something new to play. What can I say. This game, has been a horrible experience.

When you see ingame photage from the game you think: It looks descent it seems to have a good feel to it. Tho… once you get your hands on the controller and you start to move around and shoot thoese damn enemies. You realize… this is a mistake.

It’s a slow control and it seems as tho nomatter how good you think you can aim it just seems to slip to the side (its much like the aim mood for sniperrifles in other games, but constantly active). It get you pissed and anoyed when you’ve just lined up a headshot.

All guns in the game seem to use the same ammo (wtf?), except ofcourse for all the pistols have their own ammo. So pretty much two types of ammo’s in the game for several different weapons. You also have a machette ofcourse, but it seems to make less damage then just punching the enemies in the face with your fists, how is that? Did you enter a megaman game and you’re now able to shoot out your fists at incredible speed to fight the zombies in vietnaw?

Yes the game takes place in Nam’. During the war. And you fight zombies, or alot of people having a really bad flu and they’re all pissed at you for some reason… maybe becuase your brother was the start of the infection. Dont worry, its not much of a spoiler… and there is not much to spoil.

The last thing that I can think of at the moment that just annoyed the hell out of me: The grenades. You can have six of them, and at certain times, picking up one, means that you just picked up one. At other times one grenade on the ground means two. And sometimes one grenade will give you the lucky number six! It’s like a RPG where you open boxes and keep hoping for the best item… sadly the best item is not grenades in this game.

If you ever thought of getting this game just to have something to play. Get Halo 3… get Modern Warfare… get Gear Of War 2. Hell you may as well even get Katamari!

/Alex
@Start And Select
https://startandselect.wordpress.com

E3 – So far

What I think that is. I cant really see how Nintendo and Sony will break Microsoft now. It was an incredible showing they had earlier. The new Project Natal and the incredible AI milo. The whole update with Twitter, Facebook and Last Fm.

It sure was a great show they put up.

Also breaking the news about Metal Gear Solid: Rising. A completle new Metal Gear Solid game for xbox360. I guess the PSP release wasent the big deal (thank goodness).

Im guessing that we will know more about this in about… now its 2 hours. Thats when the kojima countdown reacher zero. Lets hope for more detailed news about this release.

/Alex
@Start And Select
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New PSP GO – My thoughts.

So it’s here, the new PSP that is supposed to… im not sure yet. Well, it seems as tho they’ve been thinking about the future. Downloaded content, easy use (?), easy on the go, will have focus on games but will have videos and such as well. A portable media unit with focus on games.

But they also talk alout about: We’re gonna have games that are easy on the go, that will take 5-15 minutes to play and then you can put it down. That is good when you’re on the go and everything, but people usaly use there mobilephones for this very reason? They have games, gadgets, msn and whatnot that they use for short traveling.

Gamers, will be more for the long games which will give you a new experience, usaly they dont need all the extra things and whatnots. Gadget freaks (excuse me for that) will be in love with this little gadget here for all that it can do, but I also them still sticking with the newest mobile.

I dont believe that the PSP GO will fail in anyway, it may have its place in the gam…gadget history.

Heres a little something for you all:

Sorry for all the confusing comments and such. Im just not sure what to think of this yet and what to make of it.

/Alex
@Start and select
https://startandselect.wordpress.com