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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