Monday, July 28, 2014

Guild Wars 2 Review - A Look at the Gameplay, Classes, PVE Scaling, and Improvements From GW 1

Guild Wars has always been one of the most popular MMORPGs, second to only World of Warcraft. Its gorgeous graphics, characterization, and fantasy setting have made it a very appealing game to millions of online gamers. Due to the success of the first game, there was a lot of hype behind Guild Wars 2. So far, it's lived up to its expectations.

The great thing about the GW games is that there is no monthly subscription involved. After buying the GW 2 game itself, you can play as much as you want for free.

There is enough content to satisfy every type of player: those interested in PVE (player versus environment), those who enjoy the challenges of PVP (player versus player), the solo player, and so forth.

The setting takes place in the fantasy world of Tyria. The graphics are superior to those of any other computer game. You can go out and explore places like Shiverpeak Mountains, the kingdom of Ascalon, the Crystal Desert, and sinking civilizations.

Since Guild Wars 2 is a role playing game, players get the option to adventure as a ranger, warrior, elementalist, monk, assassin, etc. The character customization process is highly detailed. You can play a male or female of any class. You get to choose the facial features, hair style, etc.

The costume designs are rather neat and appealing. You can expect much more than the generic armor and robes offered by other games in the genre. The type of armor and weapons you use will depend on the class you play. If you play as a magic caster, then you will wear cloth. Warriors get plate armor and heavy blunt weapons.

There races you can play as include humans, asura, charr, norn, and sylvari. The level cap has been upgraded to 80. One of the issues some people had with GW 1 was that the level cap of 20 was too low. In the new game, even after you level up to 80, there is still a lot more to do. There is content for every player of every level.

The PVE content features a scaling system that lowers the character's level and stats to match the levels of the nearby monsters. This concept means that there is a global level of difficulty. It's a unique concept that some players appreciate and others dislike.
If you played GW 1, then you definitely need to give GW 2 a chance. Everything from the world to the leveling has been expanded. If you're new to MMORPGs, then Guild Wars 2 is a great game to start with.

Get yourself a new copy at GameStop and save money in the process. You'll want to make sure that it's a new copy that you buy since the key code that comes with it can only be redeemed once. GameStop is the game store you can trust. If it's Guild Wars 2 discounts you're looking for, this is the store you'll find them at.
To find out more about GameStop coupons, discounts, and special offers, visit George's website -

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Is DMC: Devil May Cry the Worst or Best Entry in the Series?

The latest Devil May Cry game, DMC: Devil May Cry has been one of the most controversial games in the series so far. Many have found the story and portrayal of Dante as juvenile, adolescent, immature and poor writing. I find some aspects of the game to be some of the best and innovate so far. It has been in development for five years and some aspects of the game could have been vastly improved.

The story I don't take much of an issue with since it is Dante's early years and before the start of the game he was basically tortured his whole life. Dante is shown swearing several times and although he tries to come off edgy, or cool he sometimes comes across awkward or mean spirited. The story of the game is influenced heavily by current events, especially anonymous (4chan) activities and various activists currently participating around the world. It does offer some social commentary of how the media is biased and can manipulate the truth. The second Devil May Cry is the only other game to portray Dante in a more serious manner. In the second Devil May Cry he was shown as more serious and down to earth.

The storyline does explore the how and why Vergil becomes evil and is more influenced by his demonic side. The problem I did have with Vergil is his downloadable content with a hard to follow storyline. Cutscenes are shown in a motion comic/manga way and a lot is left open to speculation. For instance his sword Yamato can make portals to limbo, which is where he went after fighting Dante but doesn't explain the apparations he sees of Dante, Kat and his mother. Whether they are hallucinations or spectres created by demons inhabiting limbo is never fully explained.
I found most of Vergil's moves and combinations fun and cool to pull off. Getting around isn't the same with Vergil though and I fail to grasp why they didn't give Vergil a double jump just like they did Dante in the game.

The gameplay and combo system is one of the best of the game series so far, with Devil May Cry 3 and 4 being tied for second. I found the combos easy and fun to pull off, and easily switching between demonic, angelic and Dante's weapons. I liked the addition of angelic abilities and their use in traversal as well. In this game demonic weapons can be used pull objects or enemies closer and angelic weapons can be used to bring you closer to objects or enemies. By using angelic and demonic abilities makes for some very interesting platforming sections of the game.
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Bard's Tale

When I read IGN's review of the Bard's Tale in which they said that it is the funniest game they have ever played, I did not believe it at first. But, of course, within the first ten minutes, I realized that they were right. The Bard's Tale is an RPG, with talented humor and it is so addictive! Also, according to the creators, it is one of the biggest games ever to come out for the Android. It is interesting that the game's version for Tegra chipsets takes up 3.4 GB of space!

In this game, you are no longer playing the hero who will save the world, but the only thing that matters to the "hero" is money and having a good time. We take on the role of a Bard, a wandering warrior and occasional monster hunter with a good sense of humor (when the hero talks back to the narrator it is especially hilarious)! He has just arrived in the town of Houton, with only a lute and empty pockets. The story begins with a rat problem, and before you know it, you are involved in a grand adventure across the whole of the region of Houton. This is how you start hunting monsters and other similar enemies. The game has over 50 different characters, not including bosses. So, as you win battles and finish a mission, you gain levels and the game gets harder.

Through the aid of music, the Bard learns to rely on the help of some creatures. At first, the Bard only knows one song that allows him to summon the aid of... a mouse. As the game progresses, he can ultimately summon four creatures at the same time, from a total of 16 that will accompany him on his travels.

As in all RPG games, the Bard's stats improve during his adventures. Meanwhile, the Bard learns new abilities that allow him to make different types of attacks, such as combo attacks, attacks with two weapons and many others. Finally, along with new skills, the Bard finds new musical instruments, like an electric guitar, which allows him to replenish his magic energy more quickly.
As opposed to the classic D&D systems which use group parties, in this game, we only have the Bard. Beyond that, the choice of player characters who will be invoked through the music, is entirely dependent on the player. This creates very interesting combinations. For example, at some points, we can have in our company a creature that has the character of a 'Cleric' or a 'Thief'. Continuous changes in the characters keep the game fresh and allow the player to try many combinations.

The game is large by today's standards as it takes close to 20 hours to complete. Also, it is impossible for players to see everything the first time they play the game. The game play always moves on and never stays dull, resulting in the player having no need to return to regions which they have already visited. Some of my favorite scenes include when the Bard is called for help, as is almost expected, it makes things worse. The missions are always original and full of humor.

This game has fantastic graphics for an Android Game. All things are beautifully crafted, and they have a cartoonish style. All characters have personality, and the voice acting is professional, especially the Narrator. As this is a Bard's Tale game, music is its second name. All the game mechanics are surrounded by music. It is the element that makes it special, besides the above. Throughout the game, you will encounter a lot of characters that the only thing they do, is sing. You can listen the songs and sing along in karaoke style. You can also see the infamous yellow ball point to you, what word to sing. You will find numerous times yourself, just wandering and sing the songs. The songs are so well written. Listen to the beginning the Beer song and you will know.
Armed with its vitriolic humor and its excellent graphics, witty dialogues, quick loading times, manages by not taking itself seriously, to create one of the most significant RPGs optimized for Android. Additionally this game comes with the three old Bard Tale titles from PC era. It is 4 games in one, and if you like big adventures and funny moments, you will just love it.
Best Android RPG Games

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Friday, July 25, 2014

XCOM: Enemy Unknown Offers High Tension and Difficulty

Often times in a review I'll refer back to another game for various reasons. In this case, I'm referring to the wonderful Demon and Dark Souls. Why? Because when looking to compare the PS3 game release of XCOM and its inherent difficulty, those are two of the most difficult games I've played. XCOM can be a brutally difficult game when it wants to be. What's so difficult? Basically, you need to keep aliens at bay, while making as many countries happy, as you possibly can. If you don't, they will leave the Council (that's who you need to be happy for the game to continue, because "they will be watching.") Too many countries leave the Council, it's game over. So, with limited funds, you're expected to do a lot!

1. Launch satellites over countries to deter alien invasion (expensive!)
2. Repair satellites that are shot down by alien invaders, while that particular country is whining about it (double expensive, since that country will probably leave the Council anyway.)
3. Excavate land, build workshops, labs, research cells, alien containments, build an aerial fleet to protect your satellites (all EXPENSIVE!)

Now, money is just part of the problem. Let me introduce you to perma-death. Yes... unlike kind re-spawn points in other games, you lose a soldier in this game, they're done for good. This hurts, too; because, you name and create these guys (or gals) from scratch. So, when you've battle-tested them (and leveled them up to a war machine), then they get blasted by an alien bad guy... well, frustrating is a kind way to put it. Now, you could weasel your way out of such a situation by reloading the battle, but that take away one of the true selling points of XCOM. That constant pressure that you're one step away from a fatal mistake.

However, with one of XCOM's greatest strengths comes it's main weakness (in my opinion.) The cheap death. I'm not a big fan of how the aliens are basically invisible until you enter a particular area of the battle grid. For example, you could send your highest level commander to cover behind a tree (which seems safe); but when he gets to the tree, low and behold, an alien pops up waiting for you with a bazooka. I applaud XCOM as a phenomenal strategy game. However, no amount of strategy will save you from one of these cheap shots. Another "cheap shot" you can expect to endure in the game is the pseudo cover system. When you put one of your soldiers behind something that offers a cover bonus, you should be pretty darn safe. Well, don't count on it. Even when you think you strategically placed your soldier out of harms way... there gonna get hit anyway. Don't argue it; it just is.

Another struggle I had with the game is the lack of firepower until late in the game. As stated, this is not an easy game, and the aliens are way ahead of you (i.e. weapon technology, etc.) from the get go. Nothing against a challenge, but when you're fighting aliens with telekinetic powers, and you're still stuck with a standard issue assault rifle... normally, you're going to lose the battle. However, I'm not ashamed to admit looking up a few cheats. Come to find out that if you name your soldiers a few "well-known" names (i.e. Ken Levine from Bioshock fame), you'll receive one heck of an upgrade, complete with top weapons and mind control abilities. The game is still plenty tough, but at least it seems more fair.

In the end, I really did enjoy the PS3 game XCOM-Enemy Unknown. Yes, there were plenty of issues that annoyed me, but I always was engaged in pulling off the impossible, in battle. When the impossible is accomplished, just as in Demon and Dark Souls... man, it feels sweet.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Far Cry 3 Game Review: It's a Jungle Out There!

Welcome to the Jungle baby! The PS3 game, Far Cry 3 is a tropical paradise and nightmare all beautifully blended into one heck of an engaging game. Whether fighting militia, dodging Komodo Dragons and tigers (who will definitely ruin your day), diving into the ocean only to be attacked by a shark, Far Cry 3 is an open-world sandbox beckoning for discovery.

On your journey, as main protagonist Jason Brody, your main objective is to rescue your other rich friends from a psychotic pirate named Vaas. Vaas, by the way, is one of the most engrossing antagonists I've come across in a game. He pretty much steals the show, just as the Joker has done in the Batman Arkham games. In time, this journey turns into much, much more; and almost spiritual path of reckoning. Upon investigating portions of the island, Jason comes across the Rakyat tribe, who offer Jason guidance. Through various trials and accomplishments, you can level up on your journey by acquiring tattoos... thereby becoming a true hunter.

In essence, the meat of Far Cry 3 is liberating enemy outposts. By defeating all enemies in these areas, they are turned into safe zones allowing you to upgrade, fill up on ammo, acquire side missions, etc. Outposts can begin fairly easy... see bad guy and shoot. Later, however, stealth can be key. It is imperative to locate an outposts alarm system and deactivate it; otherwise, the enemies will sound the alarm calling in for reinforcements and ruining your day. Or, you could shoot a tiger cage, thereby releasing the animal to attack the enemies while you go in and shut down the alarm. Just be aware that the tiger or any other animal has no problem attacking you in the process. Another key component is to locate, climb, and activate radio towers (18 in all). By doing so, more of the world's map opens up to Jason, allowing for further clues of his missions and areas he needs to go.
Early on, many compared Far Cry 3 as a Skyrim with guns. While the game doesn't necessarily go into the 100 hour arena; it can take upwards of 30 hours to complete most portions of the game. When you add in hunting animals, side missions, discovering various plant life to make medicinal syringes, playing poker (a fun sidetrack by the way), time goes by quickly.

As an open-world game, Far Cry 3 does just about everything right. There are very few glitches to speak of; combat is tight and exploration is fascinating. It provides just the correct amount of challenge when needed, allows for stealth, or for guns blazing when the time is right. It is surely a unique cross between FPS action with a hint of RPG formula. This is one not to be missed!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bleed Review for PC


Attention all you gamers of a "certain age", if you long for the days when you spent countless hours, pounding away on an ancient console or arcade game controllers playing now-classic 8 or 16-bit platformers, then Bleed from Bootdisk Revolution may have the cure for what ails you. In Bleed, you control Wryn, a magenta-headed, smiley-faced, gun toting girl with a deadly sense of self and a hero complex. The story goes that she has decided one day that she wants to make a name for herself by hunting down and eliminating the six greatest heroes of all time - now "fallen" and evil - with extreme prejudice. Wryn must defeat all six to get her own name in the Hall of Heroes. Every level has you fighting your way through their lair before the ensuing boss battle with the "fallen" hero themselves to complete the level. Wryn earns money at the completion of each level based on the difficulty setting, how much damage was dealt, how long you went without being hit, etc. The loot can then be spent to expand your arsenal or purchase power-ups designed to help you progress through the increasingly difficult levels, adding just a scant RPG element to the shooting fun.

Movement is basic but very fluid - I recommend a controller for the PC version (the version I tested for this review). At any one time, you may equip two weapons (you can have numerous available to you but only two equipped) and freely switch between them. Wryn can aim in a 360 degree arc around her - controlled by the right analog stick - while movement is controlled with the left stick. That combination works well. I did have some difficulty adjusting to the fact that jump is mapped to the right trigger and not the A button as one would expect. After playing for awhile, it became obvious that this choice was deliberate because of the close relationship between jumping and the Matrix'esque bullet time skill you eventually pickup which is mapped to the left trigger. Both jumping and bullet time combine to create another cool and very powerful skill - the jump-dash. Eventually it became second nature to pull the left trigger and start my limited bullet time and then quickly pull the right trigger to execute a jump dash where you quickly dive through the air while the rest of the baddies are in slo-mo. Jump-dash can quickly level the playing field when you're faced with near impossible numbers of bad guys, bullets, obstacles, etc... As I mentioned before, jump-dash is time limited (regenerates over time), as is the amount of times you may jump dash in a row (3) which forces you to make the most of the slow motion time you have with the weapons you have equipped. Boss battles will have you sweating every last nanosecond of your bullet time.

The game is a bit on the short side but it is fun to try and collect all the upgrades and goodies you can along the way - some may find doing that is totally necessary to complete the game on the most difficult setting. Speaking of that, completing the game on certain difficulty levels will unlock additional playable characters with their own distinctive play styles helping with replayability. You can also unlock additional play modes like a Challenge mode where you get to fight up to three of the "fallen" heroes at once and an Arcade mode where you attempt to run through the game with only one life.

There is no multiplayer. Too bad since it would be FANTASTIC to run side-by-side with a buddy through the Arcade mode!


The game has an over-the-top silly 80's arcade feel, thanks in no small part to the pixel style graphics and 8-bit style music. The retro graphics are colorful and add to the overall silliness and fun of the game. Nothing seemed too hard to see, overly detailed, under-detailed, or glitchy. Just solid, good looking pixel-style graphics. Younger gamers may be put off by the lack of all the latest graphical bits and bobs like volumetric lighting, detailed shaders, etc... but Bleed is a retro-styled 2D action platformer and the graphics are one piece of the puzzle that makes that happen.


The other piece of the aforementioned puzzle is the audio. The background music is suitably campy and 8-bit'esque and should bring almost any 30+ gamer back to their roots and make them all teary eyed and nostalgic for consoles and arcade games of old. Sound effects are all done well and are very fitting with the overall arcade/old console feel of the game. Funky retro music and campy sound effects might spoil any other, more modern game but in Bleed they do justice to video gaming's past.
Craig Bickford - Editor-In-Chief

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Operation Flashpoint: Red River Review

Operation Flashpoint Red River is the sequel to Operation Flashpoint Dragon Rising, and has improved greatly on the formula of the previous game, in terms of AI, interface, and using the command wheel more effectively. You are part of Outlaw 2 Bravo, a United States Marine Fireteam operating in a country called Tajikistan in 2013, battling terrorist groups and even some old foes along the way.

Game Play

This is a tactical First Person Shooter, involving more realistic game play than what Call of Duty or other shooters like that offers, being more in tune to the Arma series of games. You are the leader of Bravo squad, and you have complete command of your AI team mates, and you can also play the campaign cooperatively with up the 4 players, as well as separate cooperative engagements, and does not feature any competitive multiplayer elements.

You have access to 4 classes, rifleman, grenadier, scout, and auto-rifleman. These 4 classes have their own abilities to bring to the squad, such as the auto-rifleman suppressing the enemy with his light machine guns, the scout picking off enemies and having better visual range and identification of enemies, the rifleman being an all-rounder class and can heal team mates better and excel with the assault rifles, and the grenadier is a great close quarters unit and explosives unit. You can change your AI teammates classes and their setups and perks, as well as your own class and setups. As you play the game you will level up your classes and progresses, which you can add permanent skill points which affect all classes.

During game play you can offer commands to your AI squad, or individual members. You can tell your men to suppress the enemy, move commands, flanking commands, engaging enemies, and even securing and defending buildings. You can do so using your first person view-point, or you can bring up a map and give more detail commands that way as well, if you wish. The AI will generally follow your commands to the letter, but sometimes they will goof up and get confused, depending on the terrain mostly.

There is 10 missions in the campaign, and each mission can last up to an hour or longer, offering a great deal of game play and engagements in each mission. All missions in the campaign can be played with up to 3 other players cooperatively as well, and there is several other separate engagements you can do as well.

Visually, the game looks great and when bullets hit the ground close to you, sometimes dirt will fly up onto your screen, or if you are hit your character will give in pain and the viewpoint will move accordingly, or if blood splashes towards you it will splash onto your screen as well. You can die to a single hit as well if it hits a vital point, and the game also featured bullet drop too, adding a more realistic experience at longer distance gun fights. As far as Audio goes, the fire fights are very intense with the sounds of war, with realistic sounding gun shots and explosive ordnance going off.

Overall, if you love tactical shooters like Arma and Operation Flash point, and looking for a game that offers strategy and shooting, then you will enjoy this game, despite the AI's sometimes quirky nature. I do highly recommend this game over Dragon Rising, and they have improved upon it, especially removing a lot of the strict time-restraints of Dragon Rising.

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Halo 4 War Games, Simple Tips for Improving in Multiplayer (Part 2)

Tips and Strategies


- If you are playing particularly badly one day, try playing a few games of Spartan Ops. This way, you can warm up against easier opponents and return to War Games once you are up to speed.
- If possible, try playing War Games with a large group of friends. Even if your friends are not great, you can communicate and execute group strategies, giving you an edge against teams of individual players. This is especially useful when playing objective based games.
- In general, I do not suggest that you use the Plasma Pistol/Headshot tactic in War Games, as most players can easily dodge the Plasma Pistol blast. Rather, you should reserve the Plasma pistol for stunning vehicles or for using against players at near point blank range, where they will be unable to dodge it.
- On larger maps, you will find a large assortment of vehicles. If you are on foot, I suggest that you stay out of the large open areas so that enemy vehicles will leave you alone. However, if you see a lone enemy vehicle with no other enemies nearby, you can use your Plasma Pistol to stun the vehicle and either jack it (for Ghosts and Banshees) or plant a grenade in it (for Wraiths, Scorpions, or Mantises). Never try to stun and jack/destroy a Warthog with a gunner, as the gunner will still be able to shoot while the vehicle is stunned. After you jack a vehicle, be sure to boost away immediately so that the driver cannot re-jack you.
- If you are a weaker player, do not try rushing towards the tier 3 (power weapon) Map Ordinance Drops at the beginning of a game. In general, many players will rush towards this point at once, and you will most likely be killed before you can reach the drop.
- If you ever see a red laser pointing at you, this means that a player is aiming at you with either a Spartan Laser or a Binary Rifle. Both of these weapons can kill you with a single shot, so it is vital that you run for cover immediately. Jump around sporadically as you run to make yourself a harder target to hit.
- Always avoid walking into large open areas. You will be very exposed to enemies wielding long range weapons, and you will be unable to take cover quickly

Loadout Weapons (Headshot Rifles):

- When using headshot weapons other than the Light Rifle, try to avoid using the scope unless the enemy is very far away. Using the scope does not increase weapon accuracy, and it will block a large amount of your peripheral vision. This will make it easier for other players to sneak up on you.
- When using the Light Rifle, zoom in whenever possible. The Light Rifle deals more damage when you are zoomed in.
- When sniping with any headshot weapon, do not always engage an enemy as soon as you see them. Rather, wait until they run out into the open and away from any cover. As soon as you start shooting them, they will begin sprinting for cover, so it is vital that you can both remove their shields and kill them with a headshot before they can reach safety.
- When using a headshot weapon or a fully automatic weapon at close range, try jumping and moving sporadically to make yourself a harder target to hit. However, only do this if you can still hit your target consistently.
- When you first see an enemy up close, it may be your first reaction to throw a grenade at them. However, in the time it takes for you to throw the grenade, you can deal more damage by simply shooting the enemy. Therefore, your first reaction when you see an enemy should be to shoot them, and only use grenades to bounce around corners when you do not have a direct shot at them.
- At very close range, headshot weapons deal a lower damage per second than fully automatic assault weapons. Therefore, you will usually lose if you encounter an enemy with an assault weapon at close range. Always try to pick off the enemy before he can get close.
- If you have been hit by an enemy multiple times with a headshot weapon and they are still full health, do not try to engage them with your headshot weapon. Unless you get very lucky, you will undoubtedly lose. Rather, run for cover and engage them once your shields regenerate.


- If you already have good weapons when you receive a Personal Ordinance Drop, consider choosing a power up. Power ups are even more effective when combined with powerful weapons. In particular, Damage Boost will make you nearly unstoppable when combined with a powerful weapon.
- Do not try to call in Ordinance when enemies are nearby and can see you. They may try to kill you and steal your Ordinance before you can grab it.
- Call in your Personal Ordinance Drops as soon as you can find a safe place to do so. If you wait to call in Ordinance, any points you score will not be counted towards your next drop.
- Consider using Speed Boost in combination with short ranged weapons like the Saw, Shotgun, or Scattershot. This will allow you to come within range of the enemy faster, so they will have less of a chance to pick you off from a distance.
- Both Damage Boost and Over Shields last for a very short period of time. Therefore, to benefit most from these power ups, play much more aggressively when you are using them. Try rushing into the enemy base or into the center of the action; although you may die, you should get quite a few kills before doing so.


- You can melee much faster than usual when you have a pistol drawn.
- If you choose to melee the enemy, be sure to time your attack carefully. Wait until they have roughly 30% of their shields remaining, at which point you can kill them with a single attack.
- When you are in a close-quarters indoor area, you can use a Plasma Pistol and melee combination to quickly take down a single enemy. When you know that an enemy is approaching your position, begin charging your Plasma Pistol and wait behind a doorway or corner. As soon as the enemy steps through the doorway or corner, shoot him at point blank range with the Plasma Pistol and follow with a single melee attack. This tactic is especially effective because you melee faster with the Plasma Pistol drawn.
- You can perform a tactic similar to the one explained above with the Magnum as well. Wait behind a doorway or corner as an enemy approaches and melee them as soon as they step in front of you. This will fully remove their shields, allowing you to finish them off with a quick headshot. Once again, this is especially effective because you melee faster with the Magnum drawn.
- You can throw grenades much faster when you have a pistol drawn.
- Promethean Vision is especially useful when bouncing grenades, as it allows you to see where enemies are hiding behind cover and around corners.
- You may consider creating a grenadier class, in which you choose the perks that give you extra grenades and make your grenades deal more damage. You can then use this class in close quarters indoor maps, where grenades are the most useful. Be sure to use Promethean Vision with this loadout.
- Do not throw grenades when you have a clear shot at an enemy; this wastes precious time that you should spend shooting them. Rather, use Frag grenades to bounce around corners or cover if the enemy tries to take cover or run away.
- With a little practice, you will find that it is very easy to bounce frag grenades around obstructions. To do this, simply think of the frag as a bouncy ball, and throw it at the angle at which you would throw a bounce ball to reflect around a corner. Keep in mind that the grenade will roll slightly after landing.
- Frag grenades are the most effective in tight hallways, as they will not roll away from their target before detonating.
- Many player's first instinct is to run around a corner and hide when they are injured. However, if you can properly bounce a grenade around the corner, you can kill the player before their shields regenerate. If possible, make the grenade roll slightly past the player so that they will instinctively run back around the corner towards you, where you can then finish them with your weapon.

Ordinance Weapons:

- When using the Sniper Rifle or Beam Rifle, consider engaging enemies at medium or close range without zooming in. This way, using the weapon feels a lot like using a headshot weapon, and in my opinion, makes it a lot easier to use. Kill the enemy with either a headshot or two quick body shots. It is easier to do this with the Beam Rifle, as it retains near perfect accuracy when fired without zooming in (while the Sniper Rifle does not). You will get 20 points instead of 10 for every kill, even if you don't get a headshot.
- The Binary Rifle is one of the most powerful weapons in War Games, as it allows you to kill infantry with a single body shot. The Binary Rifle is very inaccurate when not zoomed in, so I suggest that you always zoom in. I also suggest that you only engage enemies from a distance, as it will be easier to hit them and they will have a harder time shooting you back. Notice that the Binary Rifle emits a red targeting laser at all times, so enemies will know when you are aiming at them. Therefore, you need to act fast and shoot them before they can run to cover.
- When using a rocket launcher (such as a Fuel Rod, Rocket Launcher, or Incinerator Cannon) against infantry, always shoot at the enemy's foot. All three of these weapons will deal enough collateral damage to kill a full-health player with an indirect hit. This way, they will not be able to dodge the missile, while if you fire directly at them, they may be able to dodge it. Furthermore, I suggest that you jump just before shooting to give the rocket a more downward angle towards the enemy's feet. This will make you less likely to miss.
- Although it is only a tier-2 weapon, the Rail Gun is an extremely effective weapon in War Games as it can kill an enemy in only one hit. As you charge it up, make sure that you are aiming at the enemy, as it will allow you to achieve a lock-on. That way, the projectile will home onto the enemy as you fire, making it nearly impossible to miss. When charging the Rail Gun, realize that it has a much shorter charge time than the Spartan Laser.
- Because the Spartan laser has very limited ammunition and takes a long time to charge, I suggest that you save it for destroying vehicles. The Spartan Laser emits a targeting laser as you charge it up, so your enemy will have plenty of warning before you fire. This makes it very difficult to use against infantry. On the other hand, due to its immense damage output, the Spartan Laser is great against vehicles, and can kill most in a single shot.
- When using short ranged weapons such as a Shotgun, Energy Sword, or Scatter Shot, take cover behind doorways and corners and wait to attack the enemies until the cross the doorway/corner. When combined with Promethean Vision or Active Camouflage, this technique can be even more effective.
- When using the Saw, notice that it has incredibly short range, and should be used similarly to a shotgun or melee weapon. Get as close as possible for maximum damage, and stay in close-quarters areas to avoid being picked off from a distance. The Saw is especially useful when combating multiple enemies at once surrounding an objective.

Do you want more Halo 4 strategies and walkthroughs? Visit my website at where you will find a detailed walkthrough of each mission including text, pictures, and videos, a guide to Spartan Ops, and instructions on how to unlock all Halo 4 achievements.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Halo 4 War Games, Simple Tips for Improving in Multiplayer (Part 1)

War Games refer to a collection of game types in Halo 4 in which you play competitively against other human players. These battles are training simulations performed by Spartan IVs onboard the infinity, which they use to improve their abilities for Spartan Ops. There are no computer controlled enemies in War Games; every single ally and enemy is a real human player.

War Games offers an interesting dynamic to Halo 4 quite different from either the Campaign or Spartan Ops. Because you are playing against real players, you get an opportunity to fight enemies much more intelligent than those in the Campaign or Spartan Ops. Therefore, some of the strategies that I provide for the Campaign do not work nearly as well in War Games. There is no single "best" strategy, so experiment with many different tactics and choose one that best fits your strengths and play style.

Leveling System

In War Games and Spartan Ops, you receive experience after completing each game. This experience is used to level up your Spartan IV character. As you level up, you unlock new equipment (such as weapons, armor abilities, and perks) and new armor. Each level requires more experience to unlock, so you will level up quickly at first and slowly later on. After you reach level 20, you will have unlocked all equipment, and any levels past that will have little effect on your gameplay.
There are 3 ways to gain experience. The primary way is to complete games in either War Games or Spartan Ops. After each game, you will be rewarded a fixed completion bonus and a much smaller bonus based on your success during that game. In general, you will receive around 2500 experience from shorter games (slayer, oddball, etc.) and 3000 experience from longer games (Spartan Ops, Big Team Battle, CTF). The second way to gain experience is by completing challenges. There are an assortment of War Games, Campaign, and Spartan Ops challenges that you can complete to gain extra experience, with rewards ranging from 1000 to 20,000 experience depending on the difficulty of the challenge. Challenges come in many variations, such as killing a certain number of enemies in a certain way, winning a certain number of games, or completing a certain campaign mission on a certain difficulty. New Challenges are added periodically. Finally, you can gain experience by completing commendations. Commendations are similar to challenges, but they have no time limit and new ones are never added. There is a large assortment of over 100 commendations, each with between 5 to 7 stages of completion. Every time you complete a new stage of a commendation, you receive a certain amount of experience. You can also gain new armor and weapon skins by completing the highest stage of certain commendations.

After you reach level 50, you can choose from 8 different Spartan specializations. Each specialization requires 10 levels to complete, and you unlock new armor with each level. After completing the final level of a specialization, you unlock a new perk. While these new perks only have a minor effect on gameplay, they do offer useful bonuses such as more experience per game, faster assassinations, or longer overheat times on vehicles. Once you complete all 8 specializations and reach level 130, you have completed the leveling progression and will no longer level up.
Throughout the leveling process, you will unlock numerous pieces of armor, all of which can be accessed from the "back" menu. This allows you to customize the way your Spartan IV looks in both Spartan Ops and War Games, but has absolutely no effect on gameplay. You unlock new armor by reaching new levels, completing commendations, and completing armor-specific challenges.


Unlike in the previous Halo games, you can create your own loadout in Halo 4. Each loadout consists of a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, an armor ability, a grenade type, and two perks. You can have 5 different loadouts at one time, allowing you to develop different combinations for each situation. These 5 loadouts are used in both Spartan Ops and War Games, so I suggest that set allocate 2 loadouts for Spartan Ops and 3 for War Games.

Below, I discuss which equipment to use in your War Games loadouts. However, these are only my opinions; you should develop a loadout that fits your play style the best.

Primary Weapon: I highly suggest that you use a headshot weapon as your primary weapon, as headshot weapons have a much longer range and kill enemies faster than any of the assault weapons. I suggest that you use either the DMR, Battle Rifle, or Light Rifle. Of these Options, the DMR is the most accurate, the Battle Rifle deals the most damage when not zoomed in, and the Light Rifle deals the most damage when zoomed in.

Secondary Weapon: You should always use the Plasma Pistol as your secondary weapon, no matter the situation. Although the Plasma Pistol and headshot trick does not work very well against human players, you can still use the Plasma Pistol to stun and jack vehicles and to remove peoples shields and melee them. The Magnum is inferior in damage and accuracy to the headshot rifles, and the bolt shot does not deal enough damage to be worthwhile.

Grenade Type: I suggest that you use the Frag grenade as your grenade type. You can bounce Frag grenades around corners or up gravity lifts, allowing you to kill players that are out of your line of sight. When used in combination with Promethean Vision, this can be a very effective tactic. However, if you are very good at sticking your opponents, you may wish to use the Plasma grenade.
Armor Ability: In my opinion, Active Camouflage and Promethean Vision are the two best armor abilities for War Games. Promethean Vision allows you to see your opponents before they see you, allowing you to get the first shot and the element of surprise. It also allows you to easily see players using Active Camouflage. Active Camouflage allows you to stay hidden while snipping or sneak up on enemies, which is especially useful when using shotguns.
Perks: There are a large assortment of perks that provide minor bonuses. You should choose whichever perks complementing your play style the best. Some of my personal favorites include extra ammo, more frequent ordinance drops, and faster armor ability regeneration.

Ordinance Drops

In order to obtain non-loadout weapons in War Games, you will need to rely on Ordinance Drops. Ordinance Drops are a new game mechanic implemented in Halo 4, replacing the previous system of weapon spawns. Weapon crates are dropped onto the battlefield from above, and can contain either a weapon, a power-up, or two grenades. There are two types of Ordinance Drops, and they are as follows:

Map Ordinance Drops appear throughout the map at the start of the game, and redeploy after a certain amount of time. These drops usually contain a tier 2 (Shotgun, Saw, etc.) or a tier 3 (Rocket Launcher, Binary Rifle, etc.) weapon, though they can also contain grenades or power ups. Any player can access a Map Ordinance Drop simply by walking up to the weapons crate and pressing x, just like swapping with a weapon on the ground. When you are near Ordinance, it will show up as an icon on your HUD. This icon displays your distance from the drop and what equipment is in the drop, so it is a useful tool for judging if it is worth taking the Ordinance. Drops of higher value take longer to redeploy.

Personal Ordinance Drops are rewards given to players after they score a certain number of points in a game. These drops are somewhat similar to "Kill Streaks" in the Call of Duty games. After you score a certain number of points (from kills, assists, objective completions, etc.), an option to call in Ordinance will appear at the top of your HUD. You will always have 3 options, which you can choose by pressing the corresponding direction on the D-pad. The middle option will offer a power up, the left option will offer a grenade or weapon, and the right option will offer a weapon. On larger maps, you are more likely to receive tier 3 or "power" weapon options. After you call in your Personal Ordinance, you will begin working towards your next one, though each subsequent drop requires more points. There is no limit to the number of drops you can receive in a single game, though realistically, you will usually receive between 1 - 3 drops in a typical game. After you call in a Personal Ordinance Drop, you can obtain your equipment by walking up to the weapons crate and pressing x. If you ever try to "steal" an enemy's Personal Ordinance, you will need to hold down x for approximately 3 seconds.

Ordinance Drops also introduce power ups to War Games. Each power up provides you with some type of advantage for a set period of time or until you die. The Speed Boost power up allows you to move, throw grenades, reload, and punch twice as fast. It lasts for a long time and is very useful for carrying the flag in CTF or reaching objectives in other objective-driven game types. Damage Boost doubles all forms of damage that you deal (weapon, grenade, and melee) for a short period of time. This means that you can easily kill an enemy with a single melee, or kill them with two body shots and a headshot with a headshot weapon. When combined with more powerful weapons like the Saw, Beam Rifle, or Fuel Rod, you will become nearly unstoppable. Over Shields provides you with triple shield capacity, displayed as a second green bar covering your blue shield bar. This extra level of shields will not regenerate, and it will drain slowly over time.

Do you want more Halo 4 strategies and walkthroughs? Visit my website at where you will find a detailed walkthrough of each mission including text, pictures, and videos, a guide to Spartan Ops, and instructions on how to unlock all Halo 4 achievements.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Journey Through the Seventh Generation Video Game Consoles

I've been playing video games my whole life. It all started with a Commodore 64 when I was just 3 years old, when my parents saw my love for games and fed my ambitions. So here we are in the new year (2014) and the Eighth Generation consoles are out: Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita. They are exciting. They are sleek. They are impressive. But are they worth getting as soon as they come out?

I'm not going to argue with those who want to get them on Launch Day, but the recent launches of the PS4 and Xbox One made me start to believe it might be best to wait until the NEXT next gen consoles come out before purchasing THESE next gen consoles. Reasons? I've got a few.

The first one is obvious: the price tag. While it's not going to cost you an arm & a leg to get one, the price isn't exactly on the cheap side. I remember paying $500 (minus tax) for one of the first PS3's. They were big and bulky but that meant they had super power! It was fun and cool to have one, but it didn't feel more than a year later they were thinner and cheaper. If I could of waited a year, I could of had one for $200 cheaper. Now it's not a big deal to some people, but upon retrospect, I could done some things with that $200. Most likely I would of lost it betting on long shots at the track but still, I missed out on adding another memory to my life! It may not sound like a big deal, but quickly these reasons start to snow ball.

Like the next reason: options for games. When you buy a next gen console on or close to launch day, you don't have many titles to select from. And I certainly can't think of any breakthrough games that came out specifically for that system on launch day. Take the Wii for example. When it came out, you got to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess right off the bat. But the difference between the game on the GameCube and the Wii? You got to swing & point your remote on the Wii and the maps were completely opposite. That's it. The graphics were the same, the enemies were the same, Link yelling when swinging his sword was the same. The reason? The game was originally made for the GameCube. When the Wii was coming out, they just added two weak features and that was that. You could make the argument that it was still cool, but when Skyward Sword came out, you could see the capabilities of the Wii come out in full force. Twilight Princess looked like child's play in terms of maximizing the Wii's controls (the game itself actually kicks ass and rivals Ocarina of Time & A Link to the Past in terms of best Zelda games ever in my opinion).

Okay, back to the topic. This is just one of many examples of the types of games coming out on launch day. They mostly are games that are ports from the last generation of systems or games that haven't maximized the new system capabilities. And you don't have that many to choose from. And as you know, video games can sometimes be a dime a dozen and finding gems can take time. You generally have to wait months for a good selection of games to come out and wait even longer to have a good collection of top notch games to choose from.

Going back to when the Wii came out, I was excited about Metroid Prime 3, but after that, what were my choices? Not much. After awhile I just stopped looking and focused only on names I recognized (Super Mario, Donkey Kong, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Zelda, etc.) About 2 weeks ago I went through the titles just for the Wii system and couldn't believe the bevy of games I missed out on! Now it's my fault I didn't pay more attention, but it goes to show how much first impressions can make.

Now let me ask you, are you better at playing games the first time through or the second time? How about the third time? I already know the answer, the more you play, the better you get. This applies to almost everything in life. So why do we expect so much flawlessness on launch day? There were lots of reports of PS4's and Xbox One's not working right out of the box. In terms of percentages it's low you are going to have problems. But what if you do have a problem? Ask all the people who got PS4's on launch day and they didn't work. They had to call Sony, be put on hold because many others are calling on launch day with "issues" such as not being technologically savvy to sync their controller to their console. Then they had to spend an hour going through every possible way to get the PS4 to work. When it doesn't work, they then had to wait for Sony to ship them a box to get it fixed or get a new one, which could take weeks. It was a hassle. So while the odds are you're going to have a good system, this is still a possibility. To me, it feels like it's better to wait it out as the console makers figure out how to perfect getting the console from the factory to your hands with as little issues as possible.

Last but not least, as technology improves, so does the console. But now you have to pay extra, rather than getting it in updated bundles. PlayStation 3 came out with Move. Xbox 360 came out with Kinect. The Wii came out with Motion Plus Controllers. The Nintendo DS came out with a larger screen, 2 cameras and an Online Store. The PSP came out with bigger storage and a microphone. Some things could be added on, some you had to buy a brand new system. The point is, if I would of waited, I wouldn't of had to spend all that money to get all the cool features. Instead, I've just donated tons of money to Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony while I'm salivating and crying at all the new features I can't have unless I want to spend more money.

The bottom line is this: to me, it's better to wait than to buy right away. If I wait for a generation to run it's course, I'll have a ton of great games to play, I can get consoles with all the best features, I can get games and consoles at great prices, to me it's win-win-win. I'm not going to argue with those who want to be on the cutting edge, but for me that time has passed. I've spent too much money being on the cutting edge only to see today's technology get passed by tomorrow's in the blink of the eye. I'm okay with letting new technology get perfected over time, at which point I can enjoy at a cheaper cost.

In the meantime, let's enjoy the great games I, and possibly you, missed out on during the Seventh Generation of consoles! Feel free to come along for the ride!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Grand Theft Auto V

Well, it's happened. We finally get another Grand Theft Auto after almost six years of waiting. There's a lot to go wrong with a game this big but Rockstar has somehow managed to develop a game that's nearly perfect. That being said, there are some little problems with the overall product that leaves it very close to being one of the best video games of all time.

To call Grand Theft Auto V an ambitious game would be utterly underselling it. This is the first game that actually feels like a living, breathing world. It also implements mechanics that makes games like Call of Duty and even The Sims work so beautifully. Grand Theft Auto V is like the Rome of video games; it melts down the best features of other games and puts them into a bow-tied delicate gameplay package.

One of the big features with Grand Theft Auto V is the new concept of playing as three main characters. This caused some confusion as gamers were worried that the writing wouldn't be as sharp or the game just wouldn't mesh well as a whole. Luckily, all this is completely taken care of and the way you switch between the main characters is both innovative technically and also from a gameplay perspective.

With the three main characters in Grand Theft Auto V, you're getting different experiences. Franklin is the youngest one who focuses on his driving ability and Michael is sort of like a washed up mobster who now lives the family life. Then there's Trevor. Trevor is basically a ticking time bomb whose leash has been completely removed and almost fits into Grand Theft Auto V too well. Think of him as the Joker with a drinking problem, only even more murderous.

The storyline was very eventful and at times it was downright one of the best mission structures I've ever seen in a game before. Not to spoil anything, but you'll be flying helicopters, stealing bulldozers and occasionally flying through windows. With games these days only lasting about 8-10 hours it was great to play a game that was a marathon in length. There were so many character specific missions to partake in other than the actual story- needless to say, this game will keep you busy.

In my opinion there are actually four main characters; the fourth is Los Santos, the city where all of this takes place. Los Santos is based on Los Angeles and tries to replicate the craziest aspects of that area. You'll have beaches to run around in, military bases to infiltrate, upscale mansions to invade and even wildlife to shoot at. The best part of this world is that it will keep going with or without you. For example, I saw a high speed chase and eventually the perpetrator stopped and got out of his car and there was a massive shootout between him and the police. The game is just downright fun.

With a game so large, it would be hard to imagine them focusing on visuals, right? Rockstar is pushing the aging PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 to their limits. While you're playing, just fly over the ocean and marvel at how gorgeous it is and how the waves come in. It's not all rainbows, though- the graphics do come at a price. There were plenty of times when the framerate would dip down pretty significantly, especially when you're in a highly populated spot full of NPC characters. The worst seemed to be when you were driving in the middle of Michael's upscale neighborhood.

With so many things to do and experience it truly feels like this game doesn't end. Even after beating the game and all the major side quests, I'm still busy with other tasks. For example, I'm trying to run a bar with Michael and even playing the stock market with all my characters. And nothing is more fun than jumping out of your burning airplane and opening up your parachute to enjoy the view. Heck, you can even customize your vehicles and weapons.

It seems the best is still yet to come with Grand Theft Auto V. In October, Rockstar will be launching the online portion of the game titled (of course) Grand Theft Auto Online. This will almost entirely be its own experience and the game is vastly ambitious. If they can pull off all the things they say are possible, we won't ever leave our televisions.

Grand Theft Auto V is the game to get; it's an incredible value for what you're paying for. It's hard to justify spending sixty dollars on anything else after this game. This could even be ported over to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, so fingers crossed that Rockstar could implement a way to transfer your save information over to the new consoles. Even with its faults such as framerate drop, and sometimes the character switching not living up to its full potential, GTA Vis absolutely one of the best games this generation. You will truly be missing out if you don't at least play this, but you should probably just come in and buy it at your local Slackers today.

Visit for more great reviews!

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Moral Choices in Video Games: The Problem of Problem Solving

In Star Trek: The Next Generation - "Thine Own Self," ship counselor Deanna Troi decides to take the test for becoming a higher-ranking officer of the starship Enterprise. She is required to solve a simulated disaster that would destroy the entire ship and its hundreds of civilian inhabitants.
The problem is a leak in the warp-plasma shaft, which leads to a devastating explosion when left unfixed. The shaft is flooded with radiation, however; any person who directly patches the leak will have no chance of survival afterwards.

So Deanna assumes there must be some logistical way to bypass the leak. She tries everything she can think of: switching to auxiliary control, modifying the EM power inverter, ejecting antimatter storage containers - each solution leading to the complete destruction of the Enterprise without fail.
Convinced that she is missing something, Deanna studies the ship's manuals for hours, and takes the test three more times. She traps herself in her problem-solving mindset, too afraid to notice that one possibility that nags at her subconscious - sending a crewmate into the shaft.

In Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link, player-controlled Adam Jensen finds himself in a facility being flooded with toxic gas. There are two main sections: one contains cells full of oppressed prisoners, while the other contains a small population of scientists - scientists who could provide evidence that would crush an evil corporation.

Jensen climbs down a ladder that leads to a control room, but he can only use it to redirect the gas into one part of the facility - he can save the scientists or the prisoners. So the player finds himself faced with a clear moral choice - he will have to consider which option is best for society, which respects individual life more, which serves the most justice.

But if the player stops this train of thought and climbs back up the ladder, he will notice a network of pipes running throughout the facility. And if he follows the pipes, behind walls and through vents, he will find an obscured entrance. Behind it lies a valve that regulates the flow of the toxic gas - destroying it stops the flow entirely, saving both the prisoners and the scientists.

This is what Deanna is afraid of in "Thine Own Self". Behind the veil of logistics and technical solutions lies a philosophical, moral dilemma - can she kill one person to save hundreds? But what if she starts worrying about that problem too soon? What if during the few minutes that she spends deliberating morality, she misses the one unnoticed factor, hiding away behind a corner - the one piece that could solve the problem and save everyone?

It is a scary reality of making moral decisions - that you could start too early, and miss the solution hiding in front of you. That maybe you should keep problem solving until the very end, even if a moral choice leads to the better outcome.

And it would be nice if more games tapped into this fear. When presenting a moral choice to the player, many games do not leave any flexibility, any way to check untied loose ends. In most cases, the player is pulled from the world entirely - the action pauses, and the two choices get mapped to their respective shoulder buttons.

Even when players are left in control, they rarely get any chance to believe that they missed something, that they need to work with the game's mechanics for just a bit longer before making their choice. Take the infamous Mass Effect 3, where three empty branching paths represent the game's ending decision. The only possible, "non-moral" stone left unturned is spinning Commander Shepard around in circles, or making him shoot at the sky.

Mass Effect 3′s ending and other choices like it are missing the vital hints that make fear of morality real - the freedom to explore unexplored areas on a map, the ability to search for those few missing audio logs, curious leads in the environment, small story issues that were never quite resolved.
"Thine Own Self" shows us why unresolved loose ends and looming, untested possibilities are so important to making moral choices realistic. Because making a moral choice is not only about noticing a moral dilemma, or having one presented to you; it is about having the volition to leave the technical world and accept the decision - to give up on trying to save everyone. As Troi's superior tells her after she passes the test: "you considered all of your options, you tried every alternative, and then you made the hard choice."
Alex Rinaldi is a writer for Think-Entertainment, a website devoted to a thought-driven approach to popular media.

You can read similar pieces about storytelling in films, video games, television, and writing - and its cultural impact - at

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Montages Are About to Hit the Fan - So Here's Some Tips to Get Yours Noticed

With the Ps4 and Xbox One hitting the markets with gusto it's easy to lose sight of a few things that will have a profound impact on the gaming community. What am I talking about? Montages, Frag Videos, those awesome five minutes of watching skilled players rip apart the gaming community with sick headshots and other kills to music that we love.

Now I'm not saying every video that gets out there is rockstar quality. In actual fact, there's a lot of failures out there. But everyone needs a starting point, and the field is about to be leveled... well in a few updates at least.

When montages first started hitting YouTube they made jaws drop, eyes got crossed and made gamers drool for days on end. But what was the main issue? Capture Cards for the PC were like 200$, and external PVR devices were near double that. Over the years prices have gone down. Hell if you go to Amazon right now you could pick up a Used Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition for around $110 (That includes shipping) where the new out of the box ones at retail stores are between $130-200. That is if you can find a HD PVR at the retail store that works with a PS3 or XboX 360, most stores will direct you to the Bell/Rogers or whatever else cable company you have in your area HD PVR having NO CLUE about what you're looking for.

With the new systems, that won't be needed anymore. Sony and Microsoft have both put the PVR ability into the console. Now, I won't say this is flawless (Sony has already stated that the PVR ability needs a patch that will be released at a later date to function. Xbox One is stating "limited PVR capabilities" which basically means they don't want to comment on what it lacks) but this is all technicalities to anyone who sees the forest for the trees. Gamers are not slow indaviduals, you can bet that there will be a work around of some sort, or something along those lines to get you your desired result.

Now, I said back up there that "there's a lot of failures out there." Well, that's mainly because of a lack of knowledge. You can't simply chop your video, add some music, and call it a day. Well... You could do that, but then you'll end up wasting your time on a video that will barely blip on YouTube... and we all know you want the world to see how awesome your skills are.

What I recommend is watching a boat load of Montages. Find the ones with the most views study it. Then, adfter your eyes and ears have had so many joygasims you can barely contain yourself start recording yourself.

Hey, Johnny Hotshot, 2 hours of recording is not gonna cut it. I mean seriously, in 2 hours of gameplay you might have three or four really awesome games where you can get a couple of seconds of video. Yeah, I said it, a couple of seconds. You're going to want a day or two of gameplay, just remember the maps you did awesome on and skimming through the footage won't be a problem.
Awesome, you got your clips, and your music, but what should you use to make the video? For first timers... Windows Movie Maker... seriously, but don't expect AMAZING results. This will get you familiar with what goes into making a montage. "But Swoop, I want an Epic Montage!" well then, Sony Vegas Pro is your answer. But that's NOT cheap, it could cost you anywhere from $200-$600. A step down would be Corel's VideoStudio or Sony Movie Studio (They tend to be around $50-$100 depending on which one you buy) after you get that, spend some time learning it, go on YouTube, find some tutorials, play around with it.

After all this is said and done, your montage is ready to go, the world will see how awesome you are!
I'm giving you an example of one of my first videos I created. The quality suffered, but that was because of the method I used to capture the game clips. Some of you might remember that you could upload a clip from Black Ops to YouTube, limited to about 30 seconds however. So, I did just that, uploaded to YouTube, downloaded from YouTube. The quality took a hit big time, but these were my first steps, and I'll admit I'm still working on my skills editing, but you have to start somewhere right?
So now it's all a question of when, and will you sit back and simply watch the movies? Or will you be the start of one of your own?

Swoopster out.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

How to Use Giants Effectively in Clash of Clans

In my opinion, Giants are currently the best troops in Clash of Clans for many reasons. One reason is because Giants can fill the tank role better than Barbarians because they have a lot more health and thus they are less vulnerable to splash attack from Mortars and Wizard Towers. They are also effective on the map because they prioritize targeting a defensive building which means by using Giants you can focus on neutralizing the enemy's defensive power as fast as possible. Moreover, Giants are also well-known for their excellent uses to distract and soak up hits for their comrades.
One effective raiding strategy can be utilized using a combination of few Giants and lots of Archers. First, deploy Giants to distract all the defensive buildings attack focus and then quickly drop Archers near the attacking tower to destroy them. This strategy, when used correctly, can easily wipe out an entire base and ended up rewarding you with a 3-star victory.

Giants had been proven to be very useful when combined with Wall breakers and Goblins. This strategy works great when used on a heavily fortified base with lots of resources available. First, just like the previous tactic, deploy Giants to distract all the defensive buildings and then drop the Wall breakers right near the column of walls you want to breach. You just need to make sure that any defensive towers in the vicinity had their focus on the Giants because Wall breakers are so fragile. Once the walls have been breached, quickly release all the offensive units like Barbarians or Archers to destroy the defensive towers and Goblins to steal the resources.

There is also another famous raiding strategy using a combination of lots of Giants and 2 healers. This strategy will work in almost all types of bases. Basically, you just need to spam all the Giants you have on the map, preferably close to each other, and then when the Giants start to get focus fired by the adjacent defensive building, you deploy the 2 healers about 5 tiles behind the group of Giants. This strategy works because most of the time the 2 healers, will heal back all the damage that has been done to the group of Giants in front of them. Given enough time, those Giants could wipe out a well-fortified enemy base with only few casualties. However, you have to be careful when employing this strategy because an Air Defense can 2-shotted your healer unit from afar and also be wary of the spring traps that could kill your Giants in an instant.

Hi there, If you want more useful tips and tricks for Clash of Clans, then visit my website at It's full of strategy and tactics you need to know to get the winning edge for playing Clash of Clans. I will try to update the site daily, so make sure you visit it regularly. Thanks and have fun reading!

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Friday, May 2, 2014

Which Tier-1 Troops I Should Upgrade First in Clash of Clans?

Many of you Clash of Clans players may get confused on which troops to upgrade first when you had finished the construction of your laboratory. My answer is simple, archers upgrade should be your first priority when doing upgrades. Why? Because archers are more valuable in the long run especially if you are a very active Clash of Clans players who likes to raid and make someone else's base turn to rubble. There are 3 reasons why archer is your highest priority troops to upgrade.

First, archer has the best attacking power compared to barbarians or goblins. You might wondering why because not only archer has the lowest health but it also has the lowest damage per second (dps) attack power compared to barbs or goblins. That's because archer has one attack ability that the others don't, and it's called ranged attack ability. This means that archers have a better opportunity to hit those defensive buildings such as cannons or towers regardless of wall protections. Try to compare that with barbarians which need to breakthrough the wall first before they can get to anything.

Second, archer doesn't pick targets. Unlike goblins which prioritize the resource buildings when attacking, the archers hit anything on their sight (including walls unfortunately). This gives archers a better chance to wipe out a base compared to goblins that is picky because resource storages often placed deep within the base and fully protected. Don't get me wrong here, goblins are the best troop if your only concern is to steal resources. However, you cannot deploy goblins without the assistance of other troops such as barbs or giants because they will get crushed easily. On the other hand, an army consists of 100% archers will definitely able to take out any base with decent protections and even sometimes reward you with 3 stars!

Third, archers are an excellent Clan Castle troops. The most popular requested troops for Clan Castle at the moment is archer for obvious reasons. Archers ability to hit from afar is already dangerous and now try to put archers inside a dozen of strong, protective walls. The result is you will get a group of army that can attack an enemy without having to fear of getting hit back. It's a deadly combination!
A note to consider is that it may be very effective to deploy a full army of archers for a low level Town Hall base (1 to 5). However, once you hit a level 6 to above Town Hall level base you might want to combine archers with other troops such as giants or wallbreakers.

Hi there,
If you want more useful tips and tricks for playing Clash of Clans, then visit my website at It's full of strategy and tactics you need to know to get the winning edge in Clash of Clans. I will try to update the site daily, so make sure you visit it regularly.
Thanks and have fun reading!

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Still Waiting For Valkyrie Profile 3

How long has it been since we heard "Nibuleng Valesti"? A lot of us are still waiting for a new installment for the series, yes there was Covenant of the Plume for the Nintendo DS but most of us were waiting for a new title on the new generation consoles. The story of Lenneth and Silmeria have been told and the most valid character that would be next is Hrist. Though the ending of Valkyrie Profile 2 was left in shambles, we still want to know what kind of life Hrist had, how she became ruthless and heartless towards humans.

The story line of the series made us play at the edge of our seats as the events grew more and more intense, so intense that you could almost feel Lenneth's sadness in Valkyrie Profile. The ending of the first game left a lot of holes so that a second game would be necessary to fill in those holes likewise the ending of the sequel also had a lot of mysteries and cliffhangers that a lot of people would want to know and see. Who knew that a game which was solely based on Norse mythology can be so interesting and fun to have.

If we were to have a new game in the series namely Valkyrie Profile 3, we would all be happy as long as it remained true to itself like it's predecessors. Imagine playing this in glorious high-definition with the current gaming consoles we have now is such a nice thought to have join this with in-depth gaming customization and battle phase, then you my friend have a high quality game at your hand. If the third game would be created and developed, it would quench the thirst of the fans of the series around the world.

The waiting is still on as we hang on to what the game series has given us. All those emotions we shared with them, all the anguish and despair, up to now we still could feel it. We still hope for the best that Square-Enix and Tri-Ace would still keep the series alive and running and still sticking to its roots. As of now, we are all ready to take control of the last Goddess who govern fate, Hrist Valkyrie, on how her story unfolds. Nevertheless, we could all say that the next installment of the game is still worth the wait.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

The Nintendo DS and Its Storage Devices

In today's world, gaming consoles are one of the best-selling gadgets. During 1972, with the introduction of the foremost console, the world changed forever! Nintendo, which has been in business since 1977, is one of the leading manufacturers of gaming consoles worldwide. The initial editions of such consoles lacked the portability feature. But with the changing times, portable gaming consoles were introduced. An excellent example of such console is the Nintendo DS, introduced in 2004.

To afford portability, the DS was designed to have a far less weight than the normal consoles. Therefor, it couldn't have any inbuilt storage device. As a result, external storage devices, called flashcards, need to be inserted into the device to save the content. The device comes with slots for these cards.

There are different kinds of storage cards, each with her respective features.
Different cards need to be used for diverse models of DS device. Of those, R4 is the most frequently used card. It enjoys a wide popularity among the users of Nintendo DS. The R4 cards come in different editions, depending on the edition of the Nintendo DS device. These are the original DS model, the DS Lite model, the DSi XL model, the DSi model plus the most recent Nintendo 3DS.
The original R4 DS cards can only be used on the original DS and DS Lite models. These are not compatible with other models of Nintendo DS that include the Dsi XL, Dsi, and 3DS. Though these would work with the DS Lite and DS models, it's not desirable to do so. The R4 3DS card is meant for the most modern Nintendo console, the 3DS model. This card too may be used for rest of the models, but one should refrain from such a use.

The availability of so many cards probably makes you wonder which one you should use! All these models have nearly the same look, but they don't work with all the consoles. It is important to point out here that none of these cards works on its own. Each R4 card requires an appropriate micro SD memory card which stores the operational files for its functioning. None of the R4 cards would work in the absence of a memory card. The bigger is the storage capacity of a memory card, the more data it can store without the necessity to delete some of the already stored data. For regular users, a 2GB memory card offers a fairly adequate amount of storage, but professional users will find 4GB or 8GB micro SD cards more fitting.

In case you prefer having a preconfigured R4 card that already contains the latest software on its memory card, you'll need to buy an R4 card having a memory card, because otherwise you won't be able to include the needed software, meaning that you'll have to download and get the newest software for that card.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The World Of Resident Evil On The PlayStation 1

Once the game starts, you are thrown into a world full of horror, suspense and puzzle solving. Naturally you start off with a standard handgun and a combat knife to defend yourself from the zombie horde. There are a lot of zombies in the game, you need not kill all of them for your purpose is to survive. Ammunition is scarce and you need to search every nook and cranny of the room if there are any hidden ammo available, corpses sometimes carry valuable ammo also.

The inventory system lets you carry only a handful of items so bring only the necessary items you need, though there are trunks scattered around the map where you can put the items you find along the way, this also means that you have to backtrack to some of the locations and have to encounter more zombies again. Backtracking is essential in the first 3 installations of the game because of the puzzle system they have and meeting more zombies is just inevitable. Herbs and First aid sprays are scattered at various places so keep an eye on them for they are the only means for you to heal your wounds.

In the first game you were given the choice which character scenario you want to pick whether it was Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield. The story starts off where your team was chased by zombie dogs inside the deep wilderness of the forest and somehow end up inside the mansion, this is where the horror truly starts. We all remember clearly the fear we felt when the very first zombie of the series turned his head with mouth smudged in flesh and blood towards the protagonist of the game. The controls of the game were at first hard to handle, the movement, the aiming, all of it was part of the game's survival system.

After the events that took place in the first game, the sequel namely Resident Evil 2, Let's you take control of either one of the two protagonists, each one having also a different scenario than the other. You were given the option of choosing between Leon Scott Kennedy, a rookie cop that starts his first day of job battling zombies or Claire Redfield, sister of Chris Redfield from the first game. Resident Evil 2 was the same as the original one but the graphics were better and the ambiance was darker and much more scarier. This game introduced various new monsters such as the Licker. Don't worry about the new monsters here because a wide array of weapons are introduced to battle them to level the playing fields.

When Resident Evil 2 was released, a lot of people were already expecting a third installation and they weren't disappointed because a couple of years after the second game, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis came out. This third game in the series made a lot of changes such as the return of Jill Valentine, inclusion of the 180 degree turn, the timed dodge, bullet creation and a Bio Organic Weapon (B.O.W.) named Nemesis that is seemingly always chasing you around. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was a masterpiece blending old and new traits of the series and after this, a lot more installation in the series was made for the new generation consoles showing just how massively popular the series is. Even as we speak right now, a new game in the series might just already be in development.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brave Frontier Elements and Arena Guide

In the game Brave Frontier there are essentially six elements, including Fire, Earth, Thunder, Water, Dark and Light. The elements are programmed in such a way that each one has a certain strength and weakness against one other element. This means that a particular element can inflict more damage to another element but also takes more damage from some other element. This way a sort of equilibrium is maintained so that all elements remain equally powerful and no one takes undue advantage.

When you begin your game, you are required to choose a unit from one of the four main elements, that is Water, Fire, Thunder and Earth. These elements can be later fused and evolved into their bigger forms which are more powerful. Here is a quick list about the elements:
Water - Strong against Fire
Fire - strong against Earth
Earth - strong against Thunder
Thunder - strong against Water
Light - strong against Dark
Dark - strong against Light

There is a unique relationship among the light and the dark element, as both are powerful against each other as well as weak, which means light inflicts greater damage to dark but also takes greater damage from it.


The Arena in Brave Frontier is a place where you can battle other players and prove your mettle. You can get 3 entries into the Arena since you're given 3 orbs and each entry costs one orb. However these recharge with time and regenerate once every hour.
Also if you aren't comfortable facing any player, due to whichever reason, you can choose to skip the fight by going back using the "back" option in the menu.
There are also certain rules to the arena, which are:
1. Attacks are made by all units automatically
2. The team that is able to knock out the opponent is declared the winner
3. If a knockout doesn't happen, winner is decided based on greater number of surviving units, greater HP and greater damage inflicted on the opponent.
Upon winning battles in the arena, you are granted Arena Battle points or ABP. Each win gets you more ABP, leading to increasing your level with time whereas each loss takes away ABP from you.
Also, you lose more battle points if you lose to players that are ranked below you while you gain more ABP if you defeat players ranked above you. So you have to be wise in choosing the right strategy.
For more information on the game, visit Brave Frontier Guide website.

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