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!


I guess some introductions are in order...

Meet the Team:

(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


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 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.

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.

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.


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 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!


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/