Dec 31, 2011

Coming up:

Figure as I'm already back to writing here I might as well hit the ground running. In additions to the reviews posted tonight you can expect the following over the next few days:

Reviews for Dungeons of Dredmor, Defense Grid: The Awakening, Jamestown, Limbo, Trackmania 2:Canyon and more, in no particular order.

Review: The Binding of Isaac

The Binding of Isaac is a PC and Mac indie game available on Steam for around €5. Despite being written in Flash, this is a surprisingly deep game that has a lot of content.

How can you quit when this is the exit prompt?


In it, you control Isaac who lives a secluded but happy life with his mother in a house on a hill. He minds his own and she minds hers while watching christian TV. That is, all is well until mother hears the voice of God, telling her to kill her son to prove her faith.  Overhearing this, Isaac panics a bit in his room, but just before mother enters his room, knife in hand to finish the deed he finds a trap door in his room and escapes into the basement, where.. well, things just get worse to be honest.

Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum

Oh boy, this one has been so long overdue I don't even know where to begin apologizing.  Do note, this is not a review for Arkham City, this is Arkham Asylum. Yep. I got this game in one of the Game of the Year discounts on Steam, which was a pretty good while ago too.

To get the tech stuff done with, this review is based on gameplay on PC through Steam and Games for Windows Live on an average spec PC. Don't mind the not-maxed graphic settings and lack of extra anti aliasing on my screenshots please, I know this game is still a beauty to behold on the right specs and won't critizise looks.

Oh, snap!

Review: Age of Empires III

Sometimes, when you're as old as I, some classics stick out. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing based on how well they age. Many, many games older than say 5 years from release will simply refuse to play since they rely on outdated drivers and other programs that are no longer supported. Others may run, but seeing the game running again will probably completely ruin whatever childhood worships you once had on such games.  And don't even get me started on the games that are non-compatible on current systems, and most likely never will be enjoyed to their fullest rights.. Unless of course someone 5-10 years down the road from now decides to write a retro review, such as this one I'll admit, and prove me wrong.

Home boys in Amsterdam busy sending me stuff

Jul 24, 2011

Review: Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues DLC

Could it be that I'm posting a review on a current release for a change? Indeed I am, for SCIENCE!

Introducing Old World Blues, the courier picks up a signal from a crashed satellite at the Mojave Drive-In. Investigating it doesn't reveal much, until the clock strikes midnight and this suddenly happens:

Midnight Science Show

Jul 23, 2011

In support of everyone affected by the attacks on Oslo and Utøya

My thoughts are with everyone affected by this senseless tragedy. This refers to the bomb attack in Oslo that killed at least 7, and the unimaginable attacks by a gunman at a youth camp on Utøya which as of yet has more than 80 confirmed children and youths killed, reported by the police as of Sat 23rd at 4 AM CET.

A truly black day for Norway, which has not seen an attack of this kind on our own land since WW2. Again, I wish everyone affected by this tragedy be it injured or casualties, the strength to get through this.

SSFIV:AE SFCCL Season 3 call to arms for PS3

This is just to help getting SSFIV:AE players informed about the several years running PS3 league for Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. Third season is just starting, check out SFCCL website for more info. 2 Separate divisions of US and EU.


Jul 21, 2011

Review: Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts DLC

Wear Sunscreen!


Scanning frequencies on his radio, the courier suddenly picks up an unfamiliar signal on his Pip-Boy, which turns out to be a contract offer as caravan escort on a mission from the Mojave into Utah, to establish trade with a friendly tribe.  Surely enough as the Courier is used to unforeseen hindrances, shortly upon arrival, things go terribly wrong. The escort mission quickly turns into sandbox adventure of its own in a habitat quite different than what our courier is accustomed to.

And with that its time to welcome adventurers and curious souls to Fallout: New Vegas - Honest Hearts. I will try not to spoil too much besides what we were teased with in the trailers.

Starting off, the courier gets to meet the Burning Man aka Joshua Graham, aka former second in command supervillain of Caesar's Legion. While I'm sure some lorebuffs would already be sold at this point, there's a bit more to this expedition. The primary mission of the courier gone terribly wrong, he is instead forced into dealing with a conflict between foreign tribes of the Utah natives, just to be able to make his way home.

This all said, its time for my own thoughts on the DLC:

First off, Honest Hearts has a much more open mission structure than that of Dead Money. While not comparable in size to the New Vegas area, Honest Hearts still offers a much more exploration friendly experience. The Utah world, while fairly small, is also a completely different experience to explore which is a very welcome addition to players who have gone through the original story in New Vegas a couple times. Instead of endless desert wasteland, the player is instead introduced to the big canyons including its tourist traps and other features.

Scenic view from Honest Hearts


As mentioned, the mission structure is also a bit more open and while there is still an overlying objective from the beginning, the Courier is welcome to make any number of detours along the way.  I personally found the exploration and discoveries very satisfying, and while I won't spoil anything further I suspect any Fallout lore buff will enjoy all the little discoveries there are to be made immensely.

While there are dozens of locations to discover and pillage, I still found this DLC fairly short, made even more clear after I just finished another run through both Dead Money and Honest Hearts. Having been through them both before, this time I focused only on completing any quests and significant rewards, and just getting through the whole thing. I spent about 4 hours on Dead Money, while Honest Hearts was finished in just under 2 hours. While I appreciate the open enviroment of Honest Hearts, I am still a bit disappointed in the low amount of missions and gameplay time it offers. I felt the same way after my first play through it, and it actually took me several months to consider heading back to Honest Hearts after I had been through it once. For me, that is a long time, I am a total New Vegas junkie and find myself starting new characters and trying out new mods on a weekly basis.

From a gameplay perspective, I have to say I enjoy Honest Hearts over Dead Money or even the original game. In that regard the DLC impresses, and there are of course the advantages of another 5 levels added to your level cap, but also some new perks and quite a few more crafting options. The focus on crafting in particular appealed to me, and feels like it picked up on a few things that should have been in from the Vanilla release already. Of course, there are mods which expand on such already, but I feel I can't weigh that into my opinion of a DLC as I feel it should be weighed against the developer releases.

So, the crafting is expanded a bit, but so is the combat. There are a multitude of enemies of different types. There's tribals, new types of mutated insects, the return of a feared adversary in Fallout 3, and some other goodies. To make that whole experience complete are of course a slew of new weapons, mostly focused on Guns, Melee and Unarmed weapon types this time around. However, the combat doesn't usually challenge the Courier a lot. This will of course vary depending on your character's specialization. On my last play through I had a level 22 Courier with Speech, Science, Repair and Guns maxed, and Energy Weapons, Melee and Unarmed at 25. Playing on Very Hard and mostly rushing through the content I can't say I felt much resistance from my foes. I suspect the "And Stay Back" perk contributed a lot to my success though, talk about overpowered perks.. :)

Firefighters Utah Dpt. post-nuclear war


In conclusion, I think that the Honest Hearts DLC does a decent job at expanding the original game. It should have had a few more mandatory missions I feel, but then again exploring can be its own reward, and is this time around. This DLC is also much more open than Dead Money which is very welcome, not to mention the lack of lame gameplay gimmicks which annoyed me to no end in Dead Money, and still do. So, as a DLC I would have to say Honest Hearts is a better experience than Dead Money. It's worth picking up, even if you, as I, wasn't blown away by the first DLC. I do wish it was a bit longer though.

Verdict:
+Lots of exploration to do
+Lore fills in some blanks in New Vegas story
+- More varied combat than Dead Money, but poorly balanced (Too easy!)
-Short
-Low replay value

For number lovers, I'd give Fallout: New Vegas - Honest Hearts a strong 6 out of 10, which is more than I would give in my Dead Money review here, except I didn't give it points.

Jul 18, 2011

Wondering how well SSFIV:AE plays on your PC?

Find out for yourself with the SF4 benchmark tool that was released for along with SF4 a while back. SSF4 should be running the exact same engine, so while this benchmark demo is rather old, it should still be very accurate to determine how well your computer will run it.



Also for online play, please make sure you tweak your graphics settings so you can maintain 60 fps at least average, preferably a bit higher to avoid dipping below which can cause annoying and input wrecking slowdowns on both parts!



The benchmark program can be downloaded here, or you can just google for it and find a download location better for you.

Jul 17, 2011

The big SSFIV update post

Hey!

A lot has happened in the Street Fighter scene over the last couple months, that I haven't updated on at all.

Starting off with the most obvious bits, Super Street Fighter Arcade Edition is out for a while now on consoles, but is also finally available for PC which is the first update since original Street Fighter IV was released ways back. I haven't looked up prices everywhere but it goes for around €40 on Steam. A bit pricey but still a mandatory upgrade for existing PC players, and a highly recommended buy for newcomers. From what I've seen the PC version plays great after a quick patch that adressed some controller issues. Unfortunately if you own a PS3 Madcatz stick and your PC uses a Nvidia chipset (Or was it Intel processor? Look it up yourselves if this affects you!), you will still need to purchase an adapter to use it on the PC.

On the community side of things, my old online community Streetfighter4forums has finally had a mass exodus of users after a long line of site problems and downtime caused by DDOS attacks. Sad times, but the new community at 2dfighters.net is shaping up real well in the short time it has been up and comes highly recommended for any fighter fans. Its main focus is still Street Fighter since most of the current user base have come over from our old site, but it aims to cover a broad assortment of fighter games.

Shortly after the PC release of SSFIV:AE, ex-wow, SC2 and various game caster Totalbiscuit surprisingly did a couple videos on the game, one of himself noobing it up with Dan in an online game, and another video where he attempted some casting for replays. I found them both good to watch, and hope it is something he will expand on. For anyone interested the videos can be seen here and here, do thumb it up and/or leave some encouraging words if you'd like to see more.

Last bit of news, to get the ball rolling after the launch of 2Dfighters.net there is one large tournament which is already underway for XBOX and PS3, and another one still in planning. The first tournament is the World Warrior Tournament (PS3, XBOX), matches are already being played and results from our matches are being uploaded here for PS3, will update again when its up for XBOX as well.

Ending the update with the first match uploaded from the tournament matches I've had so far where I got a thorough stomping by Subes88. I've played one more which was slightly more even against KanyeWestAddict which isn't uploaded yet.

Match replay here, Blogger.com is being stupid and won't let me embed it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exG5budJwbc&feature=player_embedded

Till next time!



Jun 24, 2011

Team Fortress 2 goes Free to Play!



The strictly online class based FPS shooter Team Fortress 2 has been a quite popular game in the four years that have passed since its release, and today, surprisingly it was announced that it is now completely free! This news comes with the "Über Update" for the game which (also free of course) features a number of new items, a new map and other tidbits which I have shamefully not updated myself completely on.

What I will say though is that Team Fortress 2 is one heck of a game and it is almost sad to see it join the Free to Play market as many of its brethren are of questionable quality. Perhaps TF2 will change that view?

For anyone who hasn't played Team Fortress 2, here's a quick rundown. Playing as either a Scout, Soldier, Pyro, Demoman, Heavy Weapons Guy, Medic, Spy, Sniper or Engineer, help your team beat the opposition in online objective based battles. The objectives are typically based around capturing or defending key locations or Intel (CTF), or having one or both teams trying to escort a bomb cart to their locations.

All classes play wildly different and also have a wealth of options for loadouts that slowly unlock as you play. Or if you are not the patient type you can buy whatever you want from the TF2 store through microtransactions. In all but a very few cases though, the different loadouts are not straight upgrades as they come with sometimes drastic changes to damage done or taken, or plainly change the way the class plays completely. As an example I would use the Demoman who can swap out his grenade launcher for a claymore sword and a targe shield, which lets him charge enemies and return health while increasing his damage for each decapitation. As opposed to lobbing grenades all over the place as he would normally do. Or you could have your medic use a healing gun that when fully charged gives your target guaranteed crits instead of invulnerability, the difference there should be obvious. Or you could give your Heavy Weapons Guy a Sandvich to eat instead of his secondary Shotgun.. The amount of customization should be apparent by now and adds greatly to the already varied and (amazingly) fairly balanced gameplay.

There are just way too many weapons and things to say about the game's classes and weapons, so I'll just say...

Its free, be good to yourself and get Team Fortress 2 right away!

OH YEAH:


I guess some introductions are in order...

Meet the Team:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiV_X15OWYM
(Copyrights wont let me embed the video. Clicky, go 720p and enjoy 10 minutes of glory)


... and  the medic:

 and the spy:

Edit: Just a quick update on the update. You can indeed get the game for free now and it servers are bustling with new and returning players, almost enough to make an old Heavy teary eyed *sniffs* However, there are currently some problems with the master server list, meaning many will not be able to get fresh server lists for the time being. The quick play and regular server lists are thus broken for now (fix incoming) but your favourites tab still works (not that this helps a completely new player or anyone with an empty favourites list).


Edit on the edit of the update on the update!


Seems the server list is working again so should be go for all! Merry gibbings o/

Jun 19, 2011

Review: Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition

Foreword:

The review for this title is to be considered a DLC review as it will cover the updated content only. Readers not familiar with Super Street Fighter IV are advised to search up some reviews of the full game first.

Released June 7, and available as standalone purchase for Xbox 360 and PS3 June 24th in America, and June 28th in Europe, with a PC release in sometimes in July, Super Street Figher IV Arcade Edition is the most recent, and according to Capcom the last update to the Street Fighter IV series.

Before I get started, I'll need to stress this once more, this review is for Arcade Edition only, not Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition as shortly available in stores. I will only cover updates from SSFIV to SSFIV:AE as updated by the online upgrades available on 360 and PS3.

New Characters:

Starting off with what everyone will care about and of course the main selling point of AE, the characters. There are four new combatants, but Arcade Edition has also thrown in a huge list of minor and major balance change to existing characters

Introducing the new characters:

Evil Ryu:
What if Ryu shook Akuma's hand and embraced the fullest potential of his dark energies? He gets a much improved zoning game (as if it was bad before !?) with fireballs on almost instant recovery, some of Akuma's combo options, his Demon Super, and a couple new tricks of his own, is what happens. The only things that prevent E Ryu from being a straight upgrade to Ryu 2.0 is his lower stamina and stun resistance in line with Akuma, and slightly weaker pokes. Evil Ryu can also teleport like Akuma, but it is slightly weaker and more prone to punishment lowering its utility use.

Oni:
Oni is a new character created for AE, a demon of pure evil. His fighting style resembles that of Akuma, but he also brings a few tricks of his own that make him a very offensive fighter. Most noteworthy are his air specials, with his air dashes that with some skill lets him control zoning, a demon super that can be used both on ground and in air making for some potentially nasty surprises, and finally his ultra fireball attack which is the only fireball ultra that can be executed in air. Add to the mix very damaging and fairly easily executed melee combos, a ground based special that can cross up (and be comboed into both ultras with the EX version), and you have Oni. To balance him, Oni has slightly lower stamina and stun than average, a surprisingly weak fireball game and a pretty poor focus attack.

Yun:
Returning from the Street Fighter III alongside his twin brother Yang, Yun is an extremely offensive fighter. Yun is all about speed, offense and juggles. He has a number of mostly safe specials to use for building meter quickly, and his super further enhances his offensive play, letting him perform seemingly endless juggles. In line with his offensive nature Yun has very good normals, with strong pokes and useful target combos. His weakness is when he gets countered, Yun does not handle defence well on wakeup and when pressured. He also has fairly low stamina and stun resistance.

Yang:
Yun's twin, Yang paces himself a bit more in combat and as such has better reversals and defense, and while he puts on pressure when given the breathing space, his main strength is his agility coupled with crossups, resets and mindgames with the opponent. His mantis slash move which behaves like Fei Long's Rekka allows him to close on the opponent safely, and he uses a crossup throw and easy combos into either ultras to deliver damage. Yang is not perfect either however and has a poor dash, below average stamina and stun and a bad focus attack with limited range.

I was initially sceptical to all four new characters, I have to admit and I still believe there were some much better options for new characters to bring into SFIV than the ones we got. That said, the ones we did get do bring some varied combat styles to the roster and they are despite what many would cry, well balanced. No, Yun&Yang are not horribly overpowered, they have glaring weaknesses that give them a lot of trouble, but just like in SSFIV there are matchup differences where certain characters will have an advantage over certain others, this is nothing new. And this comes from someone who has NOT changed mains to Yun! ;)

The rest:

Other than the new characters there is nothing too impressive going on. There are a few multiplayer and replay updates that are very minor and do not in anyway justify a price tag, such as the ability to put a room name on your endless lobby (only endless, not ranked/tournament etc) These are basic functions that should have just been patched in, in fact I'm annoyed thinking about how Capcom has held this back probably for a very long time just to make Arcade Edition look beefier.

With the release of AE there are now two sets of ranks, one for SSFIV and one for the Arcade Edition. Swapping from AE to regular takes but a second, but much like you would expect from DLC's and expansions by now, you can not with AE play with someone without it without swapping back, so players without AE will not be able to combat any of the new characters.

One thing I was downright disappointed in is that nothing at all was done to improve network and online play. NAT 1 and 2 users will still experience problems hosting and sometimes joining online games, sadly.

Verdict:

Arcade Edition's four new characters are all fairly interesting and for the most part play well with the rest of the SSFIV roster. This alone makes the upgrade worthwhile for its fairly reasonable pricing, although the rest of the Arcade edition features should have been included as patches (long ago I might add).

One thing that deserves special mention is that the release of Arcade Edition marks the introduction of SSFIV to PC, finally! I personally can't wait to see if the game becomes as competitive on PC as it currently is and has been for some time on the consoles.

Final verdict for the Arcade Edition DLC:


4/10

+ 4 new characters
+ (not included in the score) Now on PC!
-Not compatible backwards with SSFIV without switching versions, current players are almost forced to buy AE to continue competing.
-Other than the new characters, the other selling points for Arcade Edition just look like a ripoff to make you pay for a patch.
- Yun and Yang are good additions, but I can't help but feel there were better choices for new or imported characters than Evil Ryu and Oni
- While new characters have intro and ending cinematics, none of the new characters have any dialogue in their rival battles, very half assed.



Edit:  I feel the need to point out, my rating does not reflect my view on the complete product  "SSFIV:AE", merely the extra content delivered through the DLC, which leaves a lot to be desired. SSFIV:AE as a product is despite some problems still one of the best fighter game options on the market currently.

Jun 2, 2011

Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm official updates!

There's a landslide of new info and goodies on the official SC2 site! Various tidbits about the story for the second campaign, art pieces, new videos and whatnot. Looks veeery delicious so far!

http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/game/heart-of-the-swarm-preview/

Play CoD Black Ops multiplayer for free this weekend

Hey ya,

Just saw on Steam news that we will get a free weekend of Call of Duty: Black Ops (multiplayer only) this weekend. Great chance for anyone who hasn't checked it out yet to have a good look at it. Can also start pre-loading the game today to have it ready to go for the weekend!

I've played a lot of Modern Warfare 2, so I gave Black Ops a pass as it seemed bit too similar, but I'm definitely going to take advantage of the free weekend to see what the fuss is all about. o/

May 29, 2011

Short Review: Fallout: New Vegas Dead Money DLC

Dead Money - Fallout:New Vegas DLC. Letting go is the hardest part...


Dead Money has been out a while, but since I'm doing a review for Honest Hearts I feel I should start here with the first official DLC for Fallout: New Vegas.

Released Dec 21 2010 for Xbox 360 and Feb 22 for PS3 and PC, Dead Money is the first DLC released for Fallout: New Vegas. As usual I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

After installing Dead Money,  the Courier picks up a radio signal inviting him to the grand opening of the Sierra Madre Casino. The level cap is also raised by 5, and there are some new crafts available right from the get go, even if the player decides against starting the DLC content. Many of the crafts require parts only accessible in the area Dead Money plays out in, of course.

It is recommended to be around level 20 when heading to investigate the radio signal that starts the DLC. Upon starting, it should come as no surprise that the Sierra Madre was actually a pre-war casino. Its grand opening never happened because of the atomic war that laid waste to the world, still the radio signal is broadcasted, luring scavengers to it, like our Courier.

The Dead Money DLC features a long quest chain in an closed off area around the Sierra Madre with some exploration options in the urban areas it plays out in. There are three possible unique companions that will work with or against you while there, none of them available in the regular game afterwards, but after completion one of the recruitable companions will have some new dialogue and depending on your choices, a significant bonus to performance. It also features a few new weapons and armors making the trip there quite worthwhile.

Now for my thoughts on the new quests and the gameplay of the DLC itself. First off, let me say that Dead Money fits so perfectly into the Fallout: New Vegas experience, I'm almost suspecting it was done pre-launch and deliberately released later as DLC. I loved learning about the Sierra Madre, its inhabitants and the history around it, and apart from the Courier being stuck inside there until its completed, the DLC fits into the main game perfectly.

Game play wise, and trying not to spoil it too much, I have to say that there are certain elements in Dead Money that annoy me a great deal, to such an extent it took me months to get back inside the Madre on a new character in Fallout: New Vegas after I had been through it the first time. Some of the elements really don't fit in, and feels like they were just thrown in after the story was done to add some gameplay difficulty to get through it. I've now played through it twice, taking some different routes and I can safely say I will not go back into Sierra Madre, ever.

In favour of the DLC is the great setting it puts you in, lore buffs will love finding out the history of Madre and some of the characters you meet, and the characters themselves are really well done. It is a real shame the Courier can't bring any of the new companions back after you are done at the Madre. Also, once you've installed the DLC the level cap is automatically increased by 5, so there is no need to go through it with each character created, which is nice. Not that this is a selling point, it is very easy to install mods for the game that lets you xp up to level 50 or above should you want to. There is also a new type of enemies that may require some different tactics to dispose of. The downside is, with two exceptions, this new enemy type makes out the majority of the combat in the DLC, and makes no appearances outside it.

So, in conclusion:
+ Great additions to the Fallout lore and meshes with the regular game lore quite well
+ Entertaining NPCs and companions
- The forced gameplay changes in the DLC areas that I really don't like (Spoiler alert: Radios!)
- Combat gets boring, just one type of enemy the whole way through (yes, there is varieties of it, but its still the same enemy type and tactic required)

DLC Trailer (possible spoilers)

May 20, 2011

World of Warcraft: Premium Real ID cross realm LFD service

Before saying anything else, if you haven't already seen it, go here and see the extra charge premium feature we got coming.

I'll just say it right away, I really can not recognize the old Blizzard Entertainment that put customers first anymore.

I got a million things to say but can't really put it into any rational structure at the moment so I will just say this. I pay a monthly subscription fee to play your game, I am by definition a premium member. In the MMO market you can not charge a subscription fee and expect people to pay money on top of that to get access to your game's features!


God! I want to say so much more on this, I will perhaps when I can put it together in a more or less intellectual wall of text that can make sense.

May 17, 2011

Short Review: Civilization V Denmark DLC

Goddag! This will be a very short one. I bought the Denmark civilization DLC for Civilization V, just wanted to drop a few thoughts on it.



Denmark in Civ V is a Viking based civ, with two unique units, the berserker that comes with the amphibious promotion, and second is the Norwegian ski infantry that gets bonuses on snow terrain and hills. Danes' trait lets them move faster while embarked, and don't lose all their movement points when making landfall which can make for some nasty surprise attacks. The DLC also includes a scenario in which you fight for control of Northern Europe. In it, research, happiness and culture are all locked, letting you focus on massing an army to take England, and to win it you need to conquer English towns to build a number of shire courts before you can construct the "Domestate Book" in London (After conquering it of course).

Now then. I'm happy to see a scandinavian Civ make its entry on Civ V, naturally a Viking based one. The Civ itself is decently balanced, with strong invasion bonuses but nothing else, no unique buildings or traits that improve simming. I've played a number of games with the DLC enabled, and it makes for some fun play especially when you control Denmark in archipelago and continents maps. However, when you encounter Danes controlled by the AI, they are very puny. There doesn't seem to be any AI scripts for Denmark to play the Civ as its designed. Even on an archipelago map I just played on, when I encountered Denmark they were tiny, had barely expanded to nearby islands at all, made no incentive to expand onto enemy islands and just bent over to take it when I declared war. I had high hopes for Denmark to be the "Inca of Civ 4 at sea", but that is simply not the case. If you play Denmark yourself you can do some very agressive play on sea based maps, but unfortunately whenever you encounter AI Danes you can sit back and rest assured they will be effortless to conquer should you want to.

When buying the Denmark DLC you have the option of buying a bundle with a few extra map types, which I didn't opt into. I can swallow paying for extra civs with proper diplomacy menues and such, but I won't pay for maps when there's already an abundance of maps for free download from the Civ V mods section. I would recommend you do the same, don't pay for single maps when similar or better maps are very easily available already.

To sum up, I felt a bit scammed after paying for the Denmark DLC. It lacks AI scripts that lets the computer do anything meaningful with the Civ, making this a very low value purchase compared to modded civs that play better, sans the animated diplomacy screens.

May 15, 2011

Replay test from Team Fortress 2

Hey again, just posting to show you my first attempt at replay recording/editing/youtubing with the new features on Team Fortress 2. Not many games have this kind of feature, seems pretty cool to play around with.

Edit: Click the youtube link for the vid if you decide to watch it and go 720p! It took fricken ages to upload the thing :D


Apr 29, 2011

Modding guide for Fallout:New Vegas PC

Bison Steve by end of time (Nevada Skies)


Update: Adding link to "Modding Fallout NV Tutorial" written by Gopher who himself has a few slick mods under his belt. So far three parts written which cover how to properly install mods and avoid conflicts, I'd consider these a must read for anyone not 100% sure what they're doing when tinkering with mods, such as myself! Much more detailed than my newbish how-to posted below and also includes very useful youtube step by step directions.

Hi folks, time for another post and this time I want to talk about the use of mods to enhance your experience while playing the open ended RPG Fallout:New Vegas (FNV from now) on the PC. What I will do is first talk about basic modding how-to's and getting the tools needed, and then I will simply list some of my preffered mods, what they do and how to install them. Bear in mind there are literally hundreds more mods out there primarily found at www.newvegasnexus.com , but I will for starters focus on mods that are easy to get going and not likely to conflict with other mods and cause nasty game crashes.

Get off! (Very Voracious Vermin)


But before we do that, we need NVSE and FOMM installed:

Go to your FNV folder. It is in the steam folder found in either \program files or \program files (x86) on your default hard drive if you use Steam, otherwise I hope you know where you installed it.  Once you're in the FNV folder, create a new folder called 'mods' or something else you'll remember, this is where we will save our mods for FNV initially. No mods will be working from this folder alone, but it is handy to have a common place to store them and copy from, in case of reinstallation needs. Also, if you happen to mess up your installation of FNV completely to the point you have to reinstall the entire game to get it going again, you can keep the \mods folder as is to save yourself some time redownloading and do fresh reinstalls from it.

Get the NVSE (New Vegas Script Extender) program. What this does is open up code a lot of mods rely on, and I really couldn't explain it better even if I wanted to, but suffice to say without NVSE, most mods you try to install simply wont work. Extract that file to the \mods folder, and once that is done, navigate to the \mods folder and the folder that should be created inside it now called NVSE_beta1_10 or similar, then copy the entire content of that folder to your FNV folder, which will be the same folder you have the FalloutNV.exe. and the fallout launcher in. If you see those, you're in the right place. If you've done it right you will see a new file called nvse_loader.exe and a SRC folder in your main FNV folder. To make sure you've done it right, you  should launch the nvse_loader.exe file and if everything is well you should be running FNV (with extra mod power, wooh, not that you'll notice that right away).

Now, get Fallout Mod Manager (FOMM from now). Some will say you don't have to use it, I say fuck off, you have to use it. Save it to your FNV\Mods folder. From now, you play FNV using the Fomm.exe file you just installed, not from steam or using the FNV launcher. Setting it up should be very troublefree, at least for now seeing as we didn't install any addons yet. Take a moment to run the Fomm.exe, check the menu, check that launching FNV from it works.

New bounty hunter quest chain? Don't mind if I do. (New Vegas Bounties)
If you got this far, you're ready for enjoying mod powered FNV! Get someone to pat you on the back, and read on if you wish for my suggestions of good starter mods for FNV, or if you feel confident so far, head to Newvegasnexus.com and go crazy.

Here are my picks of addons to get started with. I personally use a few more, but I'll start off listing the ones that cause the least amount of trouble with mod conflicts. Once you get your feet wet you can expand your list of mods, but take care when installing and read the comments and instructions, there are a lot of mods that will not play nice with eachother. For your own sake, remember to save all mods downloaded to beforementioned FNV\Mods folder for installation and future use. Onto my list then!

Badsprings more like it (Monster Mod)


Adds much needed atmosphere to the game through beautiful, unpredictable and sometimes dangerous weather changes. Also makes nights look like actual nights.

As this is the first mod mentioned I will do step by step instructions for installation. First off, head to the mod page, and the files tab on it. For all mods you will want to read any instructions, but for this one, we will need to download the files called Nskies 0-6-3-ESP (or more current similar file), and Nskies 0-6 Data. Once downloaded extract both files to your FNV\Mods folder. That done, right click and copy the file called Nevada Skies.esp to the folder called "fallout new vega\data". If you don't have a \data folder in your main new vegas game folder, create it. Next, go back to the \mods folder and copy the meshes, sound and textures  to your fallout new vegas\data folder as well.

If you've done all that, the mod should be installed and ready to play. Launch the Fallout Mod Manager we installed earlier, and you should see Nevada Skies.esp in the mod list. Make sure it is checked and click "Launch NVSE". You can either start a new game or continue an existing save, this mod only changes weather effects. If it all works you should see a pop up box shortly after the game has started welcoming you to Nevada Skies. The mod also gives you an item you can use from your Appearances tab in your Pip-Boy to adjust weather settings as you like and enable special mood settings. If you find nights are too dark, use the thermograph cheat menu to add Friend of the night perk.  If everything is working out so far, then congratulations, you've installed your first Fallout New Vegas mod. :)

Adds a fully voice acted and fairly long action oriented bounty hunter quest chain to the game. I like this mod a lot, it blends in perfectly with the regular game and just adds more fun stuff to do and some unexpected plot twists. To install, download and follow instructions similar to mentioned above but as always when installing mods, make sure to read over the author's notes for installation, launch FNV using FOMM as usual and make sure New Vegas Bounties is enabled, launch and enjoy.

Adds a lot of nasty enemies to the game and enables outdoor respawns, so don't feel too safe crossing the Mojave where you've gone safely before. Adds a lot of variety and challenge to enemy encounters throughout the game.

Adds a quest chain that meshes in well with the FNV quests to restore the Bison Steve to its former glory after liberating Primm. End rewards promises partnership in the restored casino.

So much pain (A World of Pain)


Freaking massive mod that adds close to 100 new areas to explore and loot (if you survive that long). New areas, new monsters, new weapons and a few quests as well. Note, some areas may bring lower specced PCs to their knees.

For the non-cutting edge gaming computers, this mod significantly increases frame rates by editing out doodads the game loads but isn't using. It's sorta strange this stuff is even needed, but it does help, at no cost. The game doesn't actually use the items this mod removes, so there's nothing lost except memory used.

Improves frame rates by removing blur effects when the player gets hit, light effects (not muzzle effects) on gunfire and removing junk items loaded outside the strip, to improve framerates while inside it.

That's just a few of the more popular mods. Again, these were picked mainly for the ease of installation and how much they bring to the game. There are a ton more mods out there that I'd like to touch on such as cosmetics and weapon and crafting mods, but that will be for another update if I still feel like it.

Enjoy. :)

Apr 3, 2011

Bad bad Google.

So! Last thursday Microsoft filed a "formal complaint with the European Commision" "as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation into whether Google has violated European competition law".  Apparently the underdog Microsoft feels squeezed out of the online search tools market, and are taking steps to get Google's influence reduced to make room for other search engines.


Hello ?


Is this Microsoft the same as the one that was fined €497,000,000 in 2004 for abusing its power in the PC market? The same Microsoft that refused to pay up and in 2007 was sentented to play not only that amount but an additional ~€250,000,000 in fines? The same Microsoft that has had complete control of the PC software platform since.. MS-DOS ?


They fought for three years to dispute the fact they have have nearly complete monopoly on the PC software platform, and now they say Google has too much of the online search index market? Poor, poor Microsoft! I so feel your pain, being pushed to the side like that, really, it must be awful...

Mar 30, 2011

Review: Trackmania Nations

Trackmania Nations Forever, released by Nadeo in 2006 for PC


Hey again, this is a special treat for you all. You see, this game is free :) If this stuff sounds even a little bit fun, you're not losing much by heading over to www.trackmania.com to grab it, or if you have Steam installed, just click here to install it directly.

Trackmania Nations was released for free in 2006. Trackmania is a hugely customizable racing game that mixes stunt car racing with stuff like loops and trick jumps in sometimes wild tracks with very competitite online time trials, which has kept this game of interest even until today.



Trackmania Nations delivers the thrill of perfecting your lap times and those track records down to the millisecond. The driving is completely arcadelike with you controlling a F1 car (more cars if you upgrade to Trackmania Nations Forever, for a price), and its just you against the clock. In singleplayer and multiplayer both there are other drivers, but while you see them on the track as you drive, there is no collision detection at all.

The game offers single player trials that have you fighting the clock to overcome increasingly tricky tracks will test your abilities to even make it through a round, once you get a bit further into it. There's nothing special to this game mode at all, its just you, the track,and the clock. The fun lies in the complexity of the tracks and that unforgiving timer that just forces you to try again until you can beat the tracks in time for the Gold.

Multiplayer is where the game shines, even in the free Trackmania Nations version. As soon as you hop online you are introduced to tracks each crazier than the last, thanks to an already established game community who have taken the track designs to heights you wouldn't believe (literally). Depending on what servers you join you may find the tracks too hard to navigate even, but most servers tend to rotate tracks that are more or less understandeable.

Keeping the whole online thing going is an online ranking mode and those with a strong competitive mindset will get a kick out of perfecting the tracks and trying to crush the track records.

Presentation wise the interface is fairly clean, although navigating leaderboards and servers can be a little confusing at first. Graphically there is nothing too fancy schmancy going on, this is after all a 5 year old game. Still, despite not looking awfully advanced it hasn't aged badly either, and for a game like this that requires millisecond precision I'd rather prefer 60+ frames per second than eyecandy.

Overall this game while old now is still going strong with very alive competitive online play. I have not tried the upgraded Trackmania United Forever version myself but it adds a number of new cars but more importantly several new track designer enviroments other than the "stadium" set included in Nations. For a free game, its definitely something I'd recommend checking out.

Final verdict: 7 / 10

+ Thrilling competitive play online
- Single player while okay for practicing loses interest fairly quickly
- Slightly aged graphics and presentation

Official trailer:

Mar 28, 2011

Review: Gran Turismo 5

Gran Turismo 5 by Polyphony Digital, released late november 2010 for PS3 only
This title was rather hard to write the review for. After numerous delays during development and massive hype for the game, portraying it as the ultimate racing game ever my expectations were sky high. Even after getting the game for myself to check it out I have waited a bit before doing the review, to allow for a more objective look. For me it has been a has been a mixed experience. Objectively speaking though ? Darn good game. Me, I was truthfully expecting a bit more.

The game is based around earning credits and levels for winning all kinds of races, events and cups and spending these to expand your car park and upgrade your rides. This game features over 1000 cars! Its quite ridiculous really how may there are, but the drawback to this is that about 800 of these cars are not that well modeled, so called standard cars. They lack interior view also. The rest of them are called premium cars and look absolutely gorgeous, all of them, the attention to detail on them is very impressive. You'll notice right away though that the difference between the two types of car models are rather big, and I had expected the standard cars to be better made. The premium cars are great, but the rest look like they are mostly directly copy-pasted from GT1-4. There is also a very noticeable difference in graphic quality when it comes to the tracks you race on themselves. It would seem the developers went for giving the most famous tracks all their attention making for some rather impressive visuals indeed, but at the cost of all the others which are merely okay. One particular thing I noticed though is how poorly shaders and shadows are handled. Often especially the shadows around the cars can look plain bad, I had expected this to be top notch.

The audio is also a mixed experience. The engine sounds are amazing, almost all the cars have distinct engine sounds you also very clearly hear the extra kick in the rev after installing car engine upgrades or turbochargers and such. It really is a joy to listen to. In stark contrast to this is the sound you'll hear the first, second and every time your car makes contact with anything, be it crashing full speed into a wall, other cars or trading paint with them. All these things have just one sound, a loud BONK. Imagine a guy hitting a large plastic bottle. Its an awful sound, I really wonder what the heck went wrong, its such a joke. It doesnt even sound like anything remotely similar to any sound a car would make coming into contact with anything, its simply amazing they put this into the game.  Regarding the game music, most of it didn't do much for me. It is a mix of  classic themes used largely when navigating the menues that work well enough, and the race music is what I'd call a mix of light pop music, very uninspiring. It didn't matter that much to me though, I soon turned the music down anyway to hear the engines better. If I could just turn off the damn BONK sound....

Back to the game play itself then. There are a wide variety of modes to play in, and first and foremost is the A-Spec which is your career mode, with single races and cups spread across different levels of skill and car requirements. I found this game mode the most fun compared to the rest, but the difficulty varies wildly. Most races you can just take any car that meets the requirements, tune it up a bit and leave all opposition in the dust off the starting grid. Other races require you to use certain cars that can be damned hard to get hold of. In many of the classic car races especially this becomes a problem, but the cars that fit specific races can also vary wildly in performance, making it sometimes very hard to get not only the required car class, but also one that will actually do well. On the whole though, I could appreciate the wide variety of races for anything from classic cars of various types and pickups up to supercars.

Following this mode is B-Spec which offers the same, except you act as manager instead. Here the AI drives your car, but the player instead directs the driver on how agressive pace he should keep. An interesting idea, but all you really do is tell your driver to increase pace or slow down, based on how "hot" he is getting. When your driver has other cars near and there is overtaking going on, it makes him lose his temper more easily which leads to him making more mistakes, so really the only thing you're doing is watching how agitated he is getting and adjust him accordingly. I like that B-Spec is in the game, its not a bad idea, but I think they should have done a lot more with it as it really isn't that involving for the player, and bottom line it gets rather boring, pretty fast.

There are other races and game modes as well. There are online races of course, and time specific seasonal events, some with online leaderboards which is a very good idea. There is also a very extensive Licences system where you learn the finer details of driving well in races like proper braking, cornering, drifting etcetc. Passing these licences are relatively easy, but getting gold medals in all of them is nightmarishly difficult and require perfect understanding and timing when handling your car. This is all excellent stuff in my book. Finally there are special events which feature things like special races on the Top Gear track, NASCAR driving school and some rather awesome rally events, and more.

In short, game play wise there is a staggering amount of content to enjoy in Gran Turismo 5, easily the most full featured racing game I've played. If you want to get everything out of this game you are in for a long and mostly very enjoyable ride.

There is one more thing I need to bring up that for me is another drawback of the game, and that is the presentation itself of the game through the menu system and some other quirks. I wish the interface would have more functions to help you find the cars you need for the events you want to take part in on the car market. As it is now, unless you have a very good memory you will need to write down specific models of cars allowed in some races before heading to the car dealerships to search. The dealerships could also use more options for sorting and searching cars. Its an inconvenience, admittedly not a huge one but I at least got rather annoyed with how cumbersome it could be to find the right cars needed.  Next is the menues themselves, they are a mess to navigate with buttons all over the place in glorious chaos. I get that they GT mode menu was designed to look fresh and colourful but it should have been a lot cleaner laid out. Also, the load screens... There is loading screens for just about any single menu item you enter, sometimes rather long ones, and then when done ? Just as long load screens to get back to the previous pages. Annoying, this should have been done so much better! The load screens before races are long as well, but that I can live with as I understand there is a huge amount of data to load for them, but the menues?? This may seem like a minor gripe, and perhaps it is, but when I'm playing the game it throws me off a bit with how much time it takes to do everything thats not actually in the races.

So, I think thats about me summed up for my review of Gran Turismo 5. I had as admitted huge expectations. The game itself was a king size mixed bag. It does almost everything right when it comes to the actual racing action, its darn fun to play. It is also extremely full featured, there is so much content here I don't think I will ever truly finish it, and that's totally awesome. But it also has its number of flaws. Some odd design choices, poorly implemented B-Spec mode, very variable quality on the cars, tracks and audio all drag my rating down a bit.

Verdict:
As objectively as possible then, from me this game recieves a 9 / 10, just barely. What you get with this game is so much, and the love for racing shines through in every aspect of the game from the developers. If all of those minor gripes I've touched on in this review were improved on before the game shipped, this would have been a 10. This may seem a high score considering my negative points of the review, but really, some of it is just nitpicking, the game is great, and if you haven't already got it, and want a feature rich, deep and fun to play car racing/"simulator" (still won't call this game a full fledged simulator), then go pick up Gran Turismo 5!

As always, I would love to hear comments about my reviews! It doesn't matter if it was a great read or if it made your face red with rage, I'd love to hear about it. Feel free to reply with any comments or questions you might have.


Official launch trailer:

Mar 25, 2011

What's up next, and thoughts on game security measures.

Just a quickie post about the upcoming reviews. I got Gran Turismo V a while ago but haven't had the time to get into it much until now so there's a review coming soon on that. Also, I bought Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year edition on wednesday from steam at 75% discount, so thats next as well. Only got a few hours on Batman so far but I can easily see why it recieved such praise from the press, apart from the ridiculous Securom and Games for Windows Live stuff required to play the damn thing on the PC..

While on that train of thought, I was getting rather pissed off installing Batman and getting past the security to be able to actually play the game, I am curious what others think about these barriers of security even for strictly single player games?

My own take on it is that games that require you to be online, should actually have some online content in them. It is completely unacceptable that a 100% single player game requires continuous online connection to Steam/Games for Windows/Ubisoft etc. I can tolerate a one time authentication of your game version online, but that's it.  Also, as long as these security measures fail completely in the sense there are always stuff like cracked versions, no-cd executables and windows live disablers, these barriers against piracy are only really hurting the legitimate customers who has to cope with getting past them, sometimes getting faulty errors even in the process hindering them from enjoying the games they've bought.

From what I read on Steam forums, a lot of people who bought Arkham Asylum on wednesday recieved securom codes that didn't work. Supposedly fixed now, though and fortunately I didn't have this problem myself.

I did however have so much trouble getting Games for Windows Live set up for Arkham Asylum I felt royally screwed over, all the while I know there are very simple to use cracks that disable Games for Windows Live completely on some games (I used this for Fallout 3 myself just to get rid of the useless thing that actually made the game perform worse). When these systems serve only as intrusions and obstacles to overcome for paying customers, and all of these systems are so easily bypassed just doing a quick google search, why do we have them ? Because it feels like they are just here to make their customers miserable!

Mar 20, 2011

Review: Darksiders

Darksiders: Released 2009 for Xbox and Playstation 3, Released Sept. 2010 for PC


I picked up the PC version of Darksiders from Steam this weekend at 75% discount. If my review sounds like something you might enjoy then I strongly recommend hurrying over to Steam to get this title while the discount lasts, it currently goes for $10. This review is also somewhat hastily written as I wanted to get it posted while the title is still offered at a discount.

My first encounter with this game was the demo released for the consoles a good while ago, and I admit I dismissed the game very quickly as just another God of War clone. This weekend though, it was on sale at 75% discount on Steam, and the combination of a pretty sweet price and the fact this was something as rare as a God of War'ish game on the PC triggered a buy for me. I should also point out again that this review is based on the PC version of the game. Without more delay then, on to the review!

Introduction:


In Darksiders, you take the role of War, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. The horsemen are part of  a neutral force called the Council in the eternal battle between heaven and hell, and they step in when needed to make sure neither side gain too much ground. The war between heaven and hell has raged for ever, but a truce was signed when the race of Man emerged. While a puny race, they also seemed cunning and could have a major role to play in the war. And so, both forces agreed to stay their assaults while the race of Man developed until they were prepared to play their part, the uneasy truce bound by seven sigils that when broken would signal the beginning of the final war.

As the game begins, the battle has seemingly begun again with the forces of heaven and hell duking it out on a modern time Earth, and War enters the fray to oversee, and make adjustments here and there where needed. However it becomes soon becomes evident that the sigils are still intact, and War is thus placed on trial before the Council for misconduct. By misconduct we mean triggering events that led to extinction of mankind. War is victim in a divine conspiracy plot, and has to make things right again on an Earth ravaged by the forces of Hell where mankind no longer exists, or accept death in failure as his punishment for his crime.

Bad Steam screenshot, 1280*720 with weird scaling by Steam uploader. But I least I got a scythe!


Gameplay:

Darksiders is a pure hack and slash action game with some light puzzle elements, very similar in style of gameplay to the God of War series and all its clones. To be fair, I feel the game is closer to Dante's Inferno than God of War, in parts both for the somewhat simpler combat than God of War, and more focus on story and lore.

There are some differences though. Where in God of War and Dante's Inferno you have light and heavy attacks, your main attack and secondary attacks in Darksiders use different weapons, leading to some fairly interesting combination options. War also has powers and spells he can use, such as different kinds of attacks and abilities to heal himself or briefly become resistant to damage.

The main focus of the game is battles which are fast paced and typically involve any number of fairly weak enemies, 2-3 medium strength ones or a strong enemy. There are also of course a good variety of boss battles, and some light puzzle elements. You are also rewarded for exploring the enviroment as expected of games like these, with a number of secret areas or places that require pixel perfect timing or positioning to reach.

I have to admit, a large part of the reason I went and bought this game was a firm disbelief that this kind of game could work well on the PC at all. To put it to the ultimate test I also played it with keyboard and mouse controls instead of a gamepad. And boy was I mistaken! I really couldn't believe it, but Darksiders has showed me that action games like God of War CAN actually work on a PC. With my keyboard and mouse setup, the mouse constrols the camera from a 3rd person view behind the character like any typical action game of its ilk, and left and right mouse buttons are used for primary and secondary attacks. In addition the middle mouse button triggers item use, and Caps Lock+numbers 1-4 is used for spells and abilites. Shift is used for locking on enemies and modifier for certain attacks, Alt is used for block, dash and also attack modifier. E uses stuff in the enviroment, and space jumps. And it works, really, really well. It would be better to have a gamepad still, as the capslock abilities in particular can be somewhat uncomfortable to use as quickly as you need to, but still, I was very surprised with how well it works!

Woops. My bad.


Presentation:

So the control scheme is wildly reworked from the consoles, but what about the rest of the game ? Graphics wise, there are literally no video options. You can set the video resolution, and thats it. No low-medium-high sliders, nothing. But! The game is actually well ported for the PC, believe it or not. I tested this on a rig with a puny Geforce 220 (lowest end of graphics cards really) but still it plays pretty darn well at 1440*900. I had low framerates and a game crash at 1920*1080, but really, I can thank myself for that. At 1440*900 and lower the framerates were very smooth, and pretty good quality as well. On the whole, despite the complete lack of customization I was impressed with the performance of the game. The graphics are through and through good quality, and it doesnt look overly jaggy at lower resolutions. Even going down to 1280*720 everything still looks pretty decent.

The battles are fluid, gory and feel 'meaty'. War has a lot of devastating attacks, combos and finishers that all feel crunchy. I will however point out that the sound work is only decent, nothing out of the ordinary there. I would also sometimes have the audio wildly out of sync with the video on the ingame cutscenes. This could very well be a problem with my system only, though.

The game UI is what you would expect from a game like this, non intrusive and minimalistic. Menues however are actually a bit poor, they can be confusing to navigate and dont respond well to mouse input, I really had to use shift and ctrl+arrows to navigate. This is poor for a PC game but not only that, many console games have far cleaner and easier to understand menues. This is however the only drawback I can point to that shows its console origin.

Verdict:

For a PC game, this title is almost a must have especially if you can get it at a low price like this weekend's Steam discount! I was hugely impressed with how damn well this game actually works, being what it is, and being on the PC, especially when using standard mouse and keys controls. This game is fun, good looking, and pretty long. I havent been through the whole thing yet but can already tell its longer than Dante's Inferno which gave me many hours of entertainment. If you're thinking of getting it for a console instead, you probably wont feel disappointed either, it really is a good game, but there are already other really good games of its kind out there as well, so it would be down to which game you prefer among the myriad of good games out there. On the PC, this is the best action game since Tomb Raider, and thats no small accomplishment. It has way tougher competition on the console market.

I must also mention the story of the game which sucked me in right away once I started playing the retail game, it is pretty much 100% bad ass. Never understood much of what was going on when I played the console demo, I bet I'd have bought this game a lot sooner if I had any idea how interesting the story and concept was.

All in all, I give this game a good 8/10.

If you have thoughts on the review or the game, feel free to leave comments below as I'd love to hear them.

Official trailer:

Feb 20, 2011

SSFIV: YT'ed spars with Rightbackbill

Hello again, I was privileged enough to get a spar session against the fierce Irishman Rightbackbill a few days ago. RBB mains a very technical and agressive Gen but plays other characters as well. We played 10-15 sets of matches and he offered to upload a few of them to the Streetfighter4forum.com youtube channel, which I of course didn't mind at all, despite the savage beatings he gave me. ;) He uploaded four of the matches and very politely added a couple of my wins, but I want to show his badass Gen so here is the first video from the sets. If you want to watch the rest, and more battles uploaded by the forum users at Streetfighter4forum.com, visit the youtube channel linked above. :) If you see this RBB, thanks for the fun matches!

Feb 16, 2011

World first Grammy award for a computer game!



Hey, delicious news for you this time. I'm very happy to report that The "Baba Yetu" main title theme for Civilization IV was not only nominated for a Grammy award this year (Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)), but won it as well! While Civilization IV was released back in 2005, it was included on the fresh release "Calling All Dawns" (Which won an award as well!), and thus qualified for this year's nomination. If I'm not completely mistaken now, this is the first time a music score for a computer game has ever got a Grammy award, how cool is that!

The Baba Yetu is originially a Swahili Christian hymn, more precisely a translation of the Lord's Prayer. I have loved this particular piece of game music since the first time I started Civ IV, and found myself unable to start the actual game, cause I was struck stunned listening to the menu music. The Civ IV interpretation of Baba Yetu has also been a feature of the Video Games Live project concerts for years.

Included are the Video Games Live concert version of the song (cause I think its the best, and its introduced by the composer), and the originial nominated song. :) Change the youtube videos to at least 480 for better audio compression!

 VGL version (dont mind the 15 sec ad at the start):

Nominated official version:

Feb 15, 2011

SSFIV spar session

Heyhey, I had a good spar session with Sunsunmcnasty again this weekend, haven't sparred with him in a very long time now. He gave me a lot of help when I was trying out Gouken as my secondary char, and plays a damned mean one himself. He was kind enough to tape our session and youtube it for me, so here it is. Despite us having a bit more input lag than usual it was real good playing you again, Sunsun! Must do again soon. Oh yeah, I'm the Guile player.

If you are interested in fighting games and looking to get connected with a great community, you should visit Streetfighter4forum.com!

Feb 9, 2011

Comments re-enabled. (again)

So... commenting on the blog once again no longer requires blogger.com etc accounts. I'll try to keep watch on the spam. :) Make some noise! To celebrate, why don't you let me know what you think of the current layout and what I should change?

Feb 6, 2011

Review ratings explained

This is just to explain what lies within the scores I rate games by on a 1-10 scale:

1 - No, don't. Seriously, whatever ideas you might have about this game, don't come back to me crying when you tried this game despite seeing this rating here. You WERE warned.

2-3 - This game fails on so many levels it just can't be forgiven. There might be a good game in there somewhere, if you love the particular genre and want it bad enough. But you will have a very hard time seeing it through all the bad this game will throw at you.

4-6 - The game could do a lot better, for any number of reasons specified. The game MAY offer you something though, if you are a fan of the genre or just happen to like it for.. reasons I can't think of. While there might be a solid game in there, it is well hidden behind poor presentation, mechanics or design choices.

7-8 - Now we're talking. Games rated 7 or 8 do a lot of things well. Any game given these scores or higher will have pretty solid gameplay or otherwise satisfy a buyer. Typical flaws with games given these ratings will be game bugs, annoying weird design desicions from the developers or odd glitches/sometimes poor performance or game crashes.

9 - Games rated 9 are high quality releases in almost every aspect you might look at, and you can be sure to enjoy these titles. These games can easily be recommended to anyone looking to burn a few quid, you will be entertained.

10 - Perfection. Game of the year stuff. I encourage anyone having second thoughts about these games to discuss them with me, as far as I am concerned these are instant classics that will be played for several years to come. These games will be remembered by everyone even remotely interested in games for at least 5-10 years to come.