Monday, July 9, 2012

10 Amazing Minecraft Creations

None of these creations are mine but are truly amazing and worth checking out!

1. Earth



2. The Death Star


3. Redstone Computer


4. Battleship Fleet



5. Space Shuttle



6. An Epic Castle




7. Cruise Ship



8. Pumpkin Maze



9. Spaceship



10. Giant Self Playing Piano


Is It Worth Your Money? (I Am Alive Review)


If you are reading this, then you may be in the same position I was in a few months back. After reading the ever so notorious review that gave, I Am Alive a bad name, I was left unsure whether the game would be worth my money or not. After reading and watching several other reviews it quickly became clear that this game was getting a lot of  mixed reviews, but the over all theme of the game and some of its interesting mechanics kept me interested. Eventually I took that leap of faith and purchased I Am Alive from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

I Am Alive is the age old tale of man meets apocalypse. This time around zombies are not included (unfortunately?) but the threat remains a very serious one. Mankind. You will encounter people scattered throughout the ruined city you venture through. Sometimes these people will need your help and you will have to wrestle with your heart deciding whether you can spare supplies that are so scarcely stumbled upon, or continue on your way improving your chances of survival. And sometimes these people want to chop you up into little pieces and take all the goods you've collected. When the latter situation arises you will have to be very careful and think out combat before you jump right in. In I Am Alive, it doesn't take a whole lot to end up dead. A couple of stabs or a bullet or two and that's all she wrote. Ammunition for your pistol is extremely rare ( I don't think I ever had more than 5 bullets at a time, if that.) and must be used sparingly and in a situation where you are being assaulted by a mob of angry passerby's one wrong move could be the end of you. This is where some very interesting game mechanics come into play. Though your pistol may be empty the enemy doesn't necessarily know this. You can actually point your gun at an opponent and attempt to bluff them, tell them to back away before you kick them off a ledge. Or maybe you choose to start combat by speaking soothing words to your enemy, talking them down before you close in for a quick slit of the throat with your machete. In some situations taking out a mobs leader will cause the weaker members of the group to surrender. The idea here is to take what precious time you have to evaluate the situation and find a method that is going to work best for the situation you are in. Executing this in the proper manner can be extremely rewarding and I would love to see more games take such an innovative approach to combat. This is no run and gun experience and even for someone like me who loves to Rambo on in, guns blazing, it can be a very refreshing adventure. Though it is not advised to sprint headlong into combat, once you have gotten yourself into the fight, the pace quickly makes the change to fast and chaotic. The combat its self is short lived and feels very natural and realistic.

If the game has guns, I'm usually doing this...

Contrary to what I've read from an another source, the controls in I Am Alive are very solid. The layout will take a little getting used to but it wasn't long until I was playing as if I had been for days. It's quite hard to imagine the layout being any different and I find the controls to be both intuitive and graceful allowing the gameplay to feel very fluid with few hiccups. This is very good considering a lot of the game is spent doing some Tomb Raider like climbing. The city has taken a massive hit from the occurrence known only as "the event" and travel has been made very difficult due to collapsed roads and fallen buildings and huge dust clouds which is harmful to your stamina, and in turn is hazardous to your health. You will have to scale buildings and wreckage (which also drains your stamina) in order to find alternate routes to your destination. I typically do not enjoy a lot of climbing puzzles in games, but in the case of I Am Alive, I thoroughly enjoyed these sections. Figuring out how to make it to a rooftop before your stamina drains causing you to fall to your death can be extremely exhilarating and I never found it to be overly challenging. The games sense of direction can be a bit poor at times, offering only an indication on your map as to where your destination is. Finding the way to that destination is up to you, in this case a lack of direction is more than understandable and I embraced it without question. 


I Am Alive certainly doesn't hold all the visual glamour that you will see in games like Crysis, but it's atmosphere is near unrivaled. A lot of post-apocalyptic games have been released in recent years, and though I Am Alive is filled with grey, dusty looking surroundings, you will find yourself in an environment that is all too real, leaving little to envy about the protagonists situation. Textures can be a bit bland, and aliasing is  slightly noticeable (a personal pet peeve of mine) but the lighting in I Am Alive is superb for an arcade title and you will find your surroundings to be very immersive. When considering the price of I Am Alive, the visuals are certainly nothing to complain about. Unfortunately the story does not share the same caliber as the games atmosphere. Not all the voice acting is particularly bad, but the dialogue can be about as inspiring as cardboard. Characters feel bland and strangers you run into rarely have anything interesting to say. The presentation of the story is particularly poor, being told in short snippets of cut scenes that seem lifeless making it difficult to sympathize with the main character and the situation he has been thrown into. I Am Alive is also a very short title, I personally finished it within 5-6 hours and the game currently doesn't have any multiplayer support and it is likely that it never will. The only replay value here is a stat screen that gives you a percentage on how much of the games tasks you have completed. Whether or not going back for another round to get a 100% on your play through is worth it, is up to you, I have not as of yet and its likely that I never will.


Whether I would suggest the game to others or not is a tough call. I did really enjoy my time playing I Am Alive and do not regret purchasing it at all. I would also be thrilled if a sequel to I Am Alive was released. All in all, if you are short on cash and are looking for a lengthy experience, or are the type of person that is only driven by a powerful story, I Am Alive is not for you. If you are looking for an innovative and refreshing experience and you have some cash to spare, I Am Alive is a great title and will provide you with what you are looking for.

PROS:

- Refreshing Gameplay

- Stunning Atmosphere

- Innovative Game Mechanics

- Exciting Action

- Solid Controls

CONS:

- Poor Story and Presentation

- Little Replay Value

- Too Short

SCORE:
7.9 / 10

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mods Are The Future (Discussion)



As I play through Dungeon Defenders I can't help but notice the abundance of players that have found a way to modify their items. I'm not surprised that players are discovering such flaws in the system, but what I am surprised at is how many of these people genuinely love playing the game with these items. As a person that enjoys the accomplishment of overcoming the challenges that a game has to offer, it's hard for me to see how someone could look at an imminent win as the superior play style to playing a game the way it was meant to be played. Even at a young age I had no interest in cheats, hacks or finding ways to exploit a game, I have always preferred the grind, and lovingly embrace it over an instant, cheap win. A few of my friends make the argument that once they have beaten a game they go to cheats to seek out some replay value, and to me this is fine. Hell, even if you absolutely insist on breaking a game to get through that single player campaign, it's no skin off my back. But, I am greatly bothered when I am playing a game for its co-op experience and many of the players that join assume that I would rather cut corners, and even go as far as to help me do so. A prime example of this is when I was sitting in the tavern in Dungeon Defenders and I decided to walk away from the TV for a moment. I returned to a player dumping mana on the ground (Dungeon Defenders currency) around my character. I of course was unwillingly picking up all this mana until I realized what was going on and swiftly kicked him from the match. No big deal right? Right. I want to play legitimately, so I drop some mana, take care not to let it happen again, and I'm on my merry little way. It simply becomes a matter of weeding out the people that mod and only playing with other players like myself who enjoy a challenge. But why do I have to put in so much work to play the game the way it was meant to be played? Somethings a little backwards here... I suppose you could say the developer is to blame, by the time I got around to playing Boarderlands a good 90% of the people still playing chose to do so with modified weapons. A problem that the developers never seemed to care to address. It was literally so hard to find another player that wanted to play legitimately that in the end I gave up and continued to play the rest of the game solo. Fortunately, the cheating in Dungeon Defenders hasn't come even close to what it is in Boarderlands, but that day may merely be just around the corner, and I can't help but feel a bit concerned about the outcome of co-op in Boarderlands 2.   Whether you blame the developer or the player, this is a problem that seems to be getting worse as time goes on, and as the problem increases I tend to feel more and more alienated from the world of multiplayer gaming. 



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dungeon Defenders (XBLA Review)


I have not posted in quite a bit and for good reason. A lot of stuff has been coming up and I have been far too busy to indulge in any lengthy games, let alone write about them. So in recent days I have been downloading a few Xbox Live Arcade titles here and there. Arcade titles are cheap, but with that easily affordable price tag usually comes a pretty mediocre experience. But once in a while you stumble across a diamond in the rough, one of those titles that has you scratching your head and wondering how you purchased such a dazzling gem at such a great price. Games like Gotham City Impostors and Minecraft (Which I have been planning on writing about, if only I could find out WHAT exactly I am going to write about.). But on today's agenda is writing a review about a fascinating little title I have recently stumbled across, a game that goes by the name "Dungeon Defenders". Cheesy name, no doubt, and the cover photo that goes with it is even more cheesy, so needless to say I didn't really expect much when downloading Dungeon Defenders off the the Xbox Marketplace. Fortunately, I was wrong... very wrong. Not only do I thoroughly enjoy Dungeon Defenders, but I have so far found it to be one of the best Co-op RPG experiences since the release of Castle Crashers. Dungeon Defenders is as entertaining as it is innovative, and stands out as one of the most original RPG experiences I have had the pleasure to be utterly addicted to in quite a long time.

Dungeon Defenders is ruled by a unique combination of two magnificently conjoined elements. On hand you have something similar to Gears Of War's horde mode mated with your basic tower defense game. Wave after wave of relentless enemies will pour into a well thought out arena while you and up to three other players will place traps and defense mechanisms to prevent your enemies from reaching and destroying a crystal. If and when this crystal is destroyed you will have lost the match and will need to start over and try once again. On the other hand you have some serious RPG elements, making Dungeon Defenders feel similar  to something like Torchlight. This gives the players the ability to run around and hack and slash or blast at enemies along side your defenses all while leveling up and searching for that epic piece of gear that will help give your character the upper hand in upcoming matches.

Though a lot of tower defense influence is prominent in Dungeon Defenders, this game feels much closer to your everyday third person, hack and slash RPG. Loot grinding adds much to the replay value of the game and keeping your character level as you switch from level to level allows the player to feel some extra sense of progression as they push forward. The campaign holds thirteen or so arena's, all of which include multiple waves which you will have to fight off in order to progress. In between levels the players can return to a hub area which is referred to as the tavern. In the tavern, you will be able to sort through items you have picked up, sell, equip, or upgrade them. You can also choose to level up your hero, or trade with a shop keeper, all before continuing to go about your business. In addition to all the levels that you can complete, Dungeon Defenders also sports a whole separate section of challenges and even a PVP arena to test your skills against other players in a good ol' fashion arena brawl.

Dungeon Defenders fully supports a single player experience, but I would highly recommend playing with friends or even complete strangers as the game sports a ridiculous amount of onscreen enemies, and in later levels you will be required to protect more than one crystal at a time, this can be rather difficult when you are going it solo but still can be accomplished at higher levels. The amount of onscreen enemies that you encounter truly is amazing and in later stages this game can get very intense. Playing with other players will really add to the experience, all classes were designed to compliment one another and seeing the strategies of other players can be a great way to pick up on hints and tends to spark the creativity within. When you do find the perfect group of people, Dungeon Defenders really starts to shine. Fortunately this is not all that uncommon. Dungeon Defenders has four classes to choose from, all of which sport their own placeable defenses. Each class is fairly unique and you are able to switch among classes freely, though the classes do not share experience. Throughout the levels you will occasionally be confronted with a boss in addition to a wave you are fighting which is great for a change of pace and adds some great flavor to the mix. Dungeon Defenders is powered by the Unreal 3 engine and looks very nice but also holds a sort of cartoonish, light hearted fantasy style, similar to that of Torchlight. There is some story thrown into the mix but as with most action RPG's it is near irrelevant, with Dungeon Defenders the experience is all game, and the gameplay here is about as solid as it gets. The controls feel smooth and responsive. The soundtrack is nothing to rage about, but melds harmoniously with the games feel and atmosphere.

I haven't found a whole lot of things to dislike about this game. At times there is some lag and at least on the Xbox version there are some players that mod weapons to make themselves ridiculously powerful, but if this bothers you like it does myself, you can always kick the player from your match with the press of a few buttons. Something that does tend to bother me is the fact that every level has a set amount of defenses that can be placed, now this in itself is a reasonable thing of course, unfortunately that number is also shared by all the other players in the map. This means if one player decides to place a bunch of defenses, you may find that there are no longer enough points for you to place anything down. In addition other players are given the ability to sell your structures at will. Surprisingly, this is not a frequent problem, but it can be frustrating on rare occasions. The positive side to this is that you are really forced to work as a team and make compromises. My final problem with the game is the semi auto targeting system in the game, at least as a melee character you will occasionally find yourself being pulled in a direction you did not want to go as you happen to target a monster that you did not intend to. If there is an option to turn this off on the 360 version, I have yet to find it.

Dungeon Defenders gracefully combines action RPG with the strategy of tower defense and is truly a must play for fans of either genre. With rich, exciting gameplay and near endless replay value, Dungeon Defenders stands as one of the greatest pleasant surprises I have stumbled across so far this year in the world of gaming. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some crystals to defend.


PROS

- Innovative

- Replay Value

- Great Co-Op Experience

- Highly Addictive



CONS

- Annoying Auto Target

- Lacks a Substantial Story

SCORE:


8.8 / 10

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GDI Strategy & Tips (Command & Conquer 3)

Command & Conquer 3 can be a challenging and rewarding experience. If you are unprepared, playing the game on harder difficulties can be extremely painful. Odds are, if you are reading this than you are in need of a little help, and fear not, below I have compiled hints and strategies to help you overcome those challenging encounters.This article is great for those who are new to the RTS genre and people who want to improve their strategies for C&C. Keep in mind that this is merely a place to begin and that everyone has their own tactics that work well for them. Use this guide and keep an open mind as to how you may elaborate on the tips mentioned below. You may want to experiment a little to find what works best for you.  

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First of all the most important thing in just about any multiplayer and / or tactical game is knowing the lay of the land. Take time to scope out your surroundings. If you need to start over, that's fine, but understanding where tiberium is located can make a huge difference in a match. This is of course advised in a single player skirmish map. When planning out the start of your match it is good to find the best available position for acquiring tiberium. More tiberium means more resources for constructing buildings and training units and this is of course a very good thing. Running out of tiberium at an inopportune moment will almost always end in a loss so do your best to make sure that you have a continues, steady flow of tiberium coming in and survival will remain a possibility. If you are starting a match on a map with patches of tiberium that are close together, as long as it is not very far away, don't be afraid to pack up base and move to a better vantage point, this is usually best at the beginning of the map. Once you have reached the set cap of tiberium you will be told that you need to build silo's. This is not recommended, odds are if you are hearing this a lot than you are doing something wrong. The idea is that you want to be spending tiberium as fast as possible, and as long as you are spending you shouldn't be reaching the cap. Just as it is important to know the map you are fighting on, it is also important to be familiar with the faction you are using. Knowing where everything is and what you need to expand your army is key, the less time it takes for you to figure out how you want to further expand your army the better. If tiberium is getting tight or the enemy is attacking a base that you no longer need. Don't be afraid to sell unwanted buildings for tiberium, doing this has saved me many times.

C&C 3 is a very fast paced RTS. In other games such as Starcraft or Warcraft, there is a certain amount of leisure that allows you to think about your next move, plan out your units and so forth. If you take this sort of laid back approach in C&C you will lose. You must constantly be on your toes and ready to defend as well as attack. If you often find yourself waiting for a building to be constructed or units to be trained, you are setting yourself up for failure. To ensure victory you must make sure that you are never at a standstill. When something is in que, quickly move to the next thing you need, make sure there is always a steady flow of production, because while you are sitting there idle, your enemy is not. Could you use more power plants? How about turrets? Another War Factory is never a bad thing! It is just as important to make sure that you are spending tiberium as it is to make sure you are earning it. 

In some RTS games it's a good idea to build up your defenses before preparing to strike. Though some turrets can help your defenses greatly, in the case of C&C, your offense truly does make the best defense. While you amass your army, strategically place your units so that they are properly defending your base. Mixed unit tactics is a very good idea here, but with the GDI, I tend lean tword ground units. With air units you need to build extra buildings and add some upgrades and though this is not an enormous hassle, that time is better spent on increasing your army, as there is little your air units can do that a massive mob of ground vehicles cannot. Once you have gotten close to reaching the cap for your units, this is a good time to start your assault. Make sure that when you are heading out with your troops to attack the enemy you have a steady flow of units ready to be made. This ensures that once your current mob is dead there will be more units waiting for you. Try and keep a steady driving force in this manner and not only will you be dishing out a lot of damage but it will also be difficult for your enemy to build more units for an offensive assault as they try and fend you off and rebuild their losses. 

Now that I have covered some of the more basic strategies of Command & Conquer, I'll move on to some tips that are more specific to the GDI.  And since you start from scratch I'll discuss some of the base management for the faction first. Once you have found a good position to start things from, the first thing you are going to want to do is build a power plant and two barracks. These are obviously essential and can be constructed quickly. As soon as you have your barracks build some units. Your rifleman are going to help clean up some of the weaker enemies but the big thing here is your missile squad. Missile squads are some of the best foot soldiers you can get as they are great for taking out air strikes and a large group of them can make quick work of any armored units that may attack. From here you want to build a crane, which is vital to your base. Having an extra building que can make a world of a difference. Move onto filling both your que's with refineries (to get a bit more out of my tiberium, once I have constructed two refineries I will then destroy one and build another. This way you will get some of your resources back and will have 3 harvesting units for your 2 refineries.), then factories. At this point you are going to be in a phase of keeping up with resources, building units, and buildings structures so that you can get some of the more powerful units. This is also a good time to start building some turrets to help with your defenses. The machine gun turrets at first are a good option but the sonic defense turrets are where its at. The sonic defense turrets will shred any oncoming ground units and help keep your unit numbers up while preparing to strike. Make sure you at this point you are keeping a steady flow of power plants coming as these turrets soak up a lot of your energy.  As for the air units, let your missile squads take care of them. As you build up your units, make sure that you get the jump on the enemy as soon as you are nearing the unit cap. Getting an early assault in with a full army can give you a huge advantage, completely changing the momentum of the battle. This is the point where you will be using a lot of tiberium, so make sure you are well stocked on refineries and make sure you keep those units coming! Guarding your refineries with turrets is usually a safe bet.

Earlier I spoke of a mixed units tactic and I'll elaborate on that a little to make sure you have your offensive strategies in order. The bulk of your army is going to be made up of missile squads and either mammoth tanks or juggernauts. Which ever of the later works for you is fine but I prefer the mammoth tanks. For defense against infantry keep some APC units on hand and maybe a few rifleman. Throw in some predator tanks as they are cheap and can be made quickly and split up the different type of ground vehicles between your factories. Once you send in your army the idea is you want to target buildings that the enemy really needs. Take out refineries, air bases, factories and buildings that are essential to creating some of the more powerful units. Destroying power plants can also be a big help but these are a bit easier to rebuild and are pretty cheap. Of course there will be some units attacking you and trying to stop you. Instead of focusing your fire on defending units, take out the more powerful defenses and keep hammering on vital structures. Focusing attacks on simple units will only be counter productive and you will take a lot of damage, so get in there and destroy whats important to your enemy while you can. The tanks have a lot of HP so within the time it takes the enemy to fight off your units you should almost have another army ready to continue where the previous one left off. Continue this strategy and you should be able to achieve a fairly swift victory. Near the end of the battle the enemy may start attacking your base in a last ditch effort to take the heat off them. As your army starts to diminish new units will spawn to take their place, don't head back with your attacking force, instead use the units that are already at your base for a little defense and keep on the offensive.

Use some of the tactics I have provided here in combination with what works for you and you should see a huge improvement in how often you are victorious. I hope these tips helped you out, feel free to share what works for you in the comment section below. Within a short time I should have some other strategies up for other factions in C&C.

Is It Just Another Rockstar Title? (Red Dead Redemption Review & Discussion)

I am no die hard fan of Rockstar games, but to be fair I am not adamant about hating them either. The ever popular Grand Theft Auto series has gained massive success over the years and there are some really great idea's brewing in the pot, but at the same time I have always felt that there is still much to be desired. GTA4 was a huge step in the franchise and by far the the installment that I enjoyed the most, so the idea of picking up Red Dead Redemption had been somewhere in the back of my mind for a while now. But after playing the agonizingly boring title, LA Noir, it was extremely difficult to muster up the courage to shell out for this title, especially because when it comes to Rockstar I find a lot of the big reviews for this game to be deceiving to say the least. Well obviously somewhere along the line I buried my fears and rolled the dice. Do I love Red Dead Redemption? Is it ground breaking? Is it better than GTA? Was it worth the money? In reality the answers to these questions are not so simple.


To start things off, the visuals are nothing short of stunning. Even with recent releases such as Skyrim, Red Dead Redemption holds its own as one of the best looking games to date. Often I found myself at the edge of a cliff looking out across the landscape and wanting to just savior the moment. The art style is perfect for this western adventure and there is a lot more to see here than just cacti and miles of sand. Red Dead Redemption offers a rich and authentic environment for you to explore and its all too easy to get lost in the games beauty, sometimes just riding around on your horse and enjoying the view can be entertaining enough. When it comes to visuals, its hard to find a game these days that has such an immense amount of detail packed into it, and the land you traverse appears to be alive and thriving, adding to the immersion of the experience. The presentation and story here are great as well. Not perfect, but very enjoyable none the less. The thing that really stands out, is the character depth, especially in the case of protagonist, John Marston who is simply one of the best characters in gaming history. John feels very real and you will grow to love and feel for him as you guide him through this epic tale. Just about every character you will come across in your adventures is memorable and will feel well thought out. All speech is fully voiced and Red Dead Redemption undeniably has some of the best voice acting you will find in a game. The quality of voice acting here is comparable to that which you may find in a lot of animated films and it would be wonderful if this was something we got to see more often in other titles. To go with this great scenery and well defined characters is a Spanish and classic western soundtrack that is amazingly well put together and flawlessly fits the part.
Unfortunately as far as innovation goes I found myself wishing there was a bit more to be had. Red Dead is its own experience yes, but it heavily barrows from the GTA series in a lot of ways. You will travel to town, go through a small and somewhat interesting cut scene which will lay out the upcoming mission for you, you will then ride along with an npc and listen to them babble about some less interesting things before ending up at your destination where you will engage in a short lived but enjoyable gun fight. Rinse and repeat. Though there are some interesting aspects such as hunting, I still find myself wishing that Rockstar would take some more risks and stretch its wings a little. If this is something that has not bothered you in other recent Rockstar titles than this may not be so disappointing to you, but this is something that is really starting to wear on me. One thing I do find to be extremely frustrating in Red Dead Redemption is its lack of a competent auto save feature. The game will often save during missions but to hard save you must build a campfire or be in a house that belongs to you, from these locations you may also fast travel. Unfortunately you cannot build a campfire near a settlement, on flat land or near a road, and you will constantly find yourself unable to build one, only to get on your horse and ride a bit further out to find that you still haven't traveled far enough. This game would have greatly benefited from a more intuitive save mechanic, as well as a more accessible fast travel system.  
Red Dead Redemption feels good but doesn't sport the most solid controls on the market, at times actions will seem fluid and responsive and sometimes not so much, this is especially noticeable when traveling by horseback. You may find yourself wondering why you are creeping along while riding your horse even though you are mashing the button to speed up with a full stamina bar. This doesn't present an enormous problem but can occasionally pull you out of the experience. When a game does some things as well as Red Dead Redemption it is all too easy to crucify some of the smaller short comings you encounter and Red Dead Redemption is a perfect example of this. Like most Rockstar games, combat is always enjoyable but Red Dead Redemption lacks diverse weaponry which can make a lot of the guns feel the same, fortunately though the action can be at times few and far between, it is always fast paced and occasionally challenging. The bullet time like dead eye mechanic can be a lot of fun and adds spice and a breath of fresh air to combat. By far my biggest problem with the game is its flow. To me flow is very important as it affects how much of the game can be digested at once. The flow of Red Dead Redemption is extremely abrupt, even for a Rockstar title and as the game progresses it seemingly gets harder and harder to play for many hours at a time. I would find myself doing a mission and having a great time with it, but by the time the mission came to an end it just seemed a great hassle to travel to my next destination to pick up a new mission. For casual gamers this isn't such a big problem but for hardcore gamers like myself, this can be a huge turn off.
If you are anything like me than a big part of the quality of a game is content and in Red Dead Redemption you will find a lot to do. Random side jobs, catching special horses, hunting and skinning, addictive mini games, completing challenges and finding herbs are just a fraction of what there is to be found in Read Dead Redemption and a lot of this stuff can easily soak up hours of your time. As if all that wasn't enough the multiplayer is a whole new experience of its own. When entering multplayer mode you will be placed in an open world lobby where you can explore the map, gain experience, party up, hunt bandits, duke it out and much, much more. At anytime from this lobby you may open up a menu and join one of a great many different game modes such as death match, capture the flag and poker. There is a lot to do here and all of it is a lot of fun. Multiplayer also has a lot of customization, which can add a lot of fun to free roam and the best part is that free roam can even be accessed from single player. So if you find yourself getting bored with the same ol' same ol' or if the poor flow of the campaign has got you down, getting in the action is only a click and a load screen away.

I can understand how some people could be a little upset over the score I have given Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar fans tend to be very loyal and I'm sure there is a very good reason for this. Keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things this is not a bad score by any means and I'm not saying that Red Dead Redemption is a bad game. Redemption has a lot of really great qualities and the majority of the games qualities are good, unfortunately it is very hard for me to get around some of the games bad qualities and these are areas that just so happen to be very important to me. If poor flow is a deal breaker for you, Red Dead Redemption is not the game you want to be shelling out for, but if you are a fan of recent and similar Rockstar titles, you will probably really enjoy Read Dead Redemption. This is also a great game for casual gamers who may not want to sit in front of a game for more than an hour at a time. 


Pros:

- Amazing visuals 

- Lovable and memorable characters

- A lot of content

- Great audio

Cons:

- Agonizingly bad flow

- Lacks innovation 



Score:

8.4 / 10


Monday, April 30, 2012

What Makes It So Great (Gotham City Impostors Discussion)


A little while back I took a huge gamble in purchasing Gotham City Impostors, by Monolith Productions. I normally won't buy licensed games and for good reason, licensed games usually suck. I am not primarily into anything Batman and I'm unsure of what possessed me to look into this game in the first place, but am I ever glad I did. By far the best thing about GCI is that its fun! I know, I know, a cliche reason that leaves much to be desired, right? But seriously, this is something that seems to be lacking in a lot of FPS these days. People are so fixated on visuals and realism that sometimes they forget about the most important part of playing the game. GCI takes some highly competitive, fast paced action and brings some very unique twists to the table. Gliding along on roller skates and shooting down enemies that get caught in your bear traps may seem a bit silly but you'd be surprised at just how amusing this can really be. A lot of this game is really quirky but this is a huge part of what sets it apart from the rest. And though all this is great for a bunch of laughs and some well lit smiles, Gotham City Impostors offers so much more than seen on the surface. Once you have begun to peel back the layers of this zany package you will find an intricate shooter with a lot of meat on its bones. First off this game is huge on customization. Sure there is your every day weapon load outs with modifications that you see in most modern day shooters but there's also more... a lot more! A big part of GCI is the ability to customize 2 perks and a psych profile which allows you to pick what marbles you're missing upstairs. Your psych profile will give your load out a certain advantage as well as a disadvantage, players that don't like this concept can choose to be in denial which leaves you neutral. Instead of a few grenade types to pick from you are given the choice of choosing from 14 different support items, from pipe bombs to bear traps, body armor to a motion sensor. You are also given another slot for choosing one of 7 gadgets to help give your load out an edge in combat. With a slower load out you may choose the rollerskates to give yourself a little extra speed, or you can use grappling hooks to swiftly get to the top of high places giving you a good vantage point for sniping or giving you the ease of getting to that sniper that's been pinning you down. GCI also allows you to pick from 5 different body types which will effect the speed and health of your character. As if all this wasn't enough you also get to fully customize the look of your character with some 200 different choices in clothing, being able to customize your torso, legs, feet, hands, cape, logo and cowl seperatly using costume coins you earn during gameplay. It is very, very rare to find two people dressed the same in this game which gives a certain refreshing diversity to scenery that is not often seen in games. And all this is great but lets get down to what is really important in a shooter... weaponry. GCI sports your typical 2 weapon slots. Any weapon can be assigned to any slot and there are only around 21 to choose from. But these weapons feel great! Each weapon seems tediously well balanced to the point where even the starter weapons hold a fair chance and more importantly, each weapon feels very unique. My favorite part of the load out is instead of unlocking weapons as you level up (and there are A LOT of levels) reaching certain levels will give you weapon unlocks which you can spend on any weapon. You want the auto shotty at your first unlock? You got it! Further adding balance to the game and giving all players the same advantage. Awesome weapons? Great! What about the maps? Gotham City Impostors has some of the best feeling maps I have ever played. Seriously. These maps have obviously had a lot of work done to them and seem to cater to every load out and play style. There are plenty of sniper points, but also just as many areas to take cover as well as easy access to areas where snipers may be camping. All of the maps in GCI feel just as solid and balanced as the weaponry and this makes for some great action that flows seamlessly. To throw some serious icing on the cake, in the game players are able to purchase XP bonus consumables and some extra clothing, mascots and more with Microsoft points. I know, I know, Booooo right? Wrong! Its because of this that Monolith has given players updates including game modes and maps for free! Instead of paying $15 bucks for a half assed map pack for COD, in GCI you get expansions to the game for free while some other sucker is paying for an XP bonus in a game that doesn't provide much of an advantage when it comes to leveling. In fact I am in such support of this idea I may become one of those suckers myself. So next time you are looking for a new shooter to kill some time with, check out Gotham City Impostors!

Wii U Gameplay Trailer (Rayman Legends)



Here is a new video that supposedly was "accidentally" leaked. This video features gameplay as well as a good look at the new tablet controller for the Wii U. I hate to say it, but I am really disappointed by the visuals. It's understandable that the beginning of the generation is not going to be as visually pleasing but I was expecting a bit more umph! In addition the tablet seems a bit of a clunker. Only time will tell. Enjoy the video! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Geeks On Games Top 20 Shooters (List)

Whether it be first person, role playing, tactical or action, here is the top 20 list for games I most enjoy shooting things in. Keep in mind this list only include games I have played through.

1. Fallout 3
(Fantastic environments and an ass load of weapons for the killing. Fallout 3 remained a go to game for me for years and I enjoyed every hour I spent scouring the wastes.)

2. Counter Strike: Source
(The follow up to one of the most innovative shooters ever made. Source fine tuned the physics of Counter Strike and gave a serious graphic overhaul to some of the best maps ever created. Whenever someone mentions to me that they have never played one of the Counter Strike's I always find myself amazed.) 

3. Left 4 Dead 2
(Left 4 Dead is a brilliant series with an outside the box approach to the FPS world. L4D2 stepped it up with well thought out campaigns and added melee weapons among others to spice up the zombie killing action)

4. Left 4 Dead
(For it's time L4D was the best thing to happen to any zombie lover. With beautiful visuals and an innovative approach, L4D left those with a love for the undead frothing at the mouth.)

5. Resident Evil 4
(Ask any gamer what they think of RE4 and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has something bad to say. With RE4 Capcom took a more mainstream approach with this classic and well loved series, taking away many of the annoying puzzles and packing in a lot of action.)

6. Unreal Tournament 2004
(I hold a soft spot in my heart for fast paced action when it comes to shooters and this is what UT is all about. UT 2004 made up for the half assed release of its predecessor 2003 and gave is easily one of the greatest shooters ever made and in my opinion the greatest installment in this classic series.) 

7. Bioshock
(With stunning visuals and a masterfully crafted story, Bioshock showed the world that an FPS doesn't have to only be about the action.)

8. Counter Strike
(When this stunning mod of Half Life was released it opened up many doors for the world of shooters. Counter Strike has some of the best maps ever created and sports countless great feeling weapons. Many will argue that Counter Strike was the first real online competitive, tactical shooter.)

9. Unreal Tournament
(Unreal Tournament changed the world of shooters forever. This classic is loved by many and even today holds its own.)

10. Resident Evil: Directors Cut
(The king of  survival horror. Directors Cut is an extremely challanging title that spawned countless clones, non of which held the same wild spark that made us all fall in love with the original Resident Evil.)

11. Dead Space 2
(The follow up to Visceral's outstanding survival horror. Dead Space 2 is both a frighting and cinematic experience, playing through this game feels more like watching a movie. Creepy atmospheres and a challenging experience help to make this game a memorable experience.)  

12. Halo: Combat Evolved
(A game loved by a great many, pushing sci-fi to a new extreme and introducing a series that has gained great notoriety over the years. The original Halo has developed a huge a following and since it's release has become a household name and this was the start of it all.)

13. Mass Effect 2
(Improving on many of the faults of it's predecessor, BioWare is now greatly known for Mass Effect and this is where the series really picked up steam. Mass Effect 2 has a fantastic story which is easily rivaled by its in depth character development. Truly an amazing mold of Shooter and RPG.) 

14. STALKER
(Commonly an overlooked game, STALKER is an extremely challenging experience and brought a lot of innovative ideas to the table. A gripping tale with numerous endings, STALKER is a must for any PC gamer.)

15. Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay
(One of those rare licensed gems, the prequel to the famous film, COR: EFBB took you on an epic journey giving you a further understanding of one of the greatest anti-hero's that ever was. COR is filled with entertaining dialogue, and heart pounding action, allowing you to understand the true difficulty it would take to escape from one of the most intimidating prisons in fiction.)

16. Resident Evil 5
(Straying even further from the roots which it thrives from, Resident Evil 5 took a more action oriented approach to the world of horror and broke grounds with an intuitive survival horror co-op experience.) 

17. Call of Duty: World at War
(Returning to the scenario of WWII with the franchises new and improved formula, something I have always felt that made WaW stand apart from the rest is its well thought out and interesting multiplayer maps.) 

18. Call of Duty: MWF 2
(A game that today still dominates most of the FPS industry. MWF2 has made the COD series infinitely more popular than ever before and roped in many casual and hardcore gamers with its extremely addictive game mechanics. If you don't know MWF2 than I think its safe to say you don't play shooters.) 

19. Gears of War
(A gripping tale and a cover system that out does every other before it. Gears of War feels smooth, really smooth and is right up there with Halo as far as 360 exclusives are concerned.)

20.  Halo 3
(Bungie made up for the great many mistakes that had been made in Halo 2 with the third installment in the series. Not only had the online play been greatly improved with the third Halo, but it also features one of the greatest single player campaigns of all time.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dark Souls Boss Guide (Melee)

I have compiled all the guides for the boss fights in Dark Souls into one post. These are originally from the Contra Hard series and are primarily intended for a melee build.


I have been adding videos to go with the written guides. Eventually I will get around to adding all of them.

Taurus Demon:

This is what I consider to be the first "real" boss of the game, and since you encounter it early on it can be a bit tricky. After you pass through the white light and before spawning the boss if you look to your right there will be a ladder that leads up to the top of the tower. On this tower are two skeleton archers that can make this fight more tricky than it needs to be. Carefully climb to the top of the tower and take out both of these enemies before fighting the boss. With this out of the way walk down the path until the demon spawns, it's best not to sprint until he jumps out at you. After the Taurus Demon has appeared sprint quickly back to the ladder on the tower and once again climb to the top. Once you are at the top and the boss is below you, quickly perform a jump attack off the tower which will inflict massive damage on the boss. If you are lucky you can make it to the top of the tower again and repeat, though I personally found it easier at this point to run in avoiding his attacks. Hug his manly bits and hack away with some two hand action until he falls.



Belfrey Gargoyles:

 Once you have passed through the white light the gargoyle will start rushing up to you from the opposite side of the roof. As you may know he will start out flying and will usually slam his pole arm down while he lands for his first attack. Dodge this attack by running around his left side and get an attack in, be careful though its hard to land a second at this time because he will normally jump away. I would once again recommend using two hand attacks, but use what works for you. Make sure you stay on the side of the roof you entered on and run around dodging his attacks until you see an opening. Once you are in close enough hack away with the two hand method and if you are getting enough hits in you will notice the gargoyle stagger. Its best to try to attack from behind the gargoyle as this will allow you to better avoid his massive weapon. Once the gargoyle is at half health a second will appear. It is very important that you try your best to finish off the first one before the second arrives because if the second is left with the option to fight at a distance it will use a fire breathing attack that does MASSIVE damage and has an incredible reach. Once the first one is down try to get in close to the second and roll around to its back to get some attacks in. The second gargoyle starts at half health so it shouldn't take long to drop him. A nice bit of information is if you attack the first gargoyle's tail you can chop it off which will drop a powerful axe. If you die and have looted the axe it will remain in your inventory.


Moonlight Butterfly:
I also found this one to be a fairly easy boss. The boss has 4 different attacks, one he will charge up and shoot light spears everywhere, the second he will charge and shoot 3 slow moving orbs that will inflict heavy damage. Both of these attacks can be avoided with a well placed roll. With the orbs the idea is that you want to be on the ground and about to get up as they pass over your head. The third attack is a beam of light that it will project and move around. Carefully running around and keeping an eye out for area's where you can safely roll out of harms way is the best idea for this attack, though it may take a bit more concentration then the first two to avoid. After the boss has dished out several attacks try and stay close and keep an eye out, it will land on one of the sides of the bridge allowing you to run in for some heavy two hand damage, but beware it's 4th attack is a devastating AOE that will go off directly in front of it. Run away as you see the boss charging up this attack or suffer some serious damage as you are tossed to the ground.

Capra Demon
 At first this fight can seem extremely intimidating. Once you have traversed the white light the Capra Demon will lunge at you full force with his enormous blades that have a frighting range. To make matters worse the boss is also accompanied by a couple of dogs that will jump around trying to gnaw at your man bits (or lady bits). Luckily if you know what you are doing, this can be one of the easiest fights in the game. The first thing you want to do is roll past your enemies and head to the stairs to your left. The stairs can be seen in the picture above though the area this fight takes place in is so small, I doubt you will have trouble finding them. One at the top of the stairs you will see a ledge that you can walk across and it will take you to the opposite wall. Make your way to the wall and face the stairs while blocking. The demon will make his way to the top of the stairs and will attempt to lunge at you, sometimes making contact, sometimes not. Regardless of whether or not the boss actually hits you he will always drop down below. This is a great opportunity to either brave a lunging attack or you can simply jump down and get a couple of good hits in while he recovers from the fall. Repeat this a few times and the Capra Demon is as good as dead.



Gaping Dragon  

This fight is also fairly easy if you know what you are doing. You want to kite the dragon around a bit until you see a good opening to run for its tail. Be very careful because the Gaping Dragon can slam its tail around dishing out a serious amount of damage. Once at its tail, start hacking away and eventually you will sever the tail from the bosses body. This not only makes this fight significantly easier but will also award you with the Dragon King Axe, a weapon with a huge strength requirement but also one that packs a serious punch. From here on out try to stay out of harms way and attack the dragon where the tail was cut off. Sometimes the boss will spew out a large pool of ooze that is not too much of a threat but it is best to avoid.



Chaos Witch Quelaag 

You killed sistos? Aw... You sick bastard!
The Chaos Witch can be a serious pain in the ass, and I would put her up there as one of the more difficult bosses. Once again you want to hug in real close, stay to the left side of her head and when she swings her sword about it should miss a good 95% of the time. The big thing to watch out for is when she touches her body to the head of the spider. This is a sign that she is about to use her AOE attack which is devastatingly powerful, so make sure you keep a bit of stamina so that running away in time is possible. Be weary of the pools of lava she will spread, avoiding them is not very difficult but finding yourself in the middle of one is almost inevitably death. Calling in a summon with this fight can be a big help. I used the summon on my second play through and found it significantly easier.





Iron Golem


The Iron Golem fight may seem a bit intimidating because of his size, but fear not! As long as you have found the bonfire in the area where giants are lobbing flaming balls at you, you will do just fine. Once you have passed through the white light the golem will swing his axe at you shooting a force wave in your direction. The first time he uses this attack it should hit the terrain in front of him dissipating immediately. You want to allow the golem to head to the middle and be careful not to fall off the sides. He will only try a couple of attacks on you, one will involve him grabbing for you in which case he will hold you in the air and toss you to the ground dishing out a good amount of damage. The second is an arcing slash, you can avoid both of these by doing your best to stay behind the golem. Finally the golem will occasionally stomp around with one foot, this will do considerably less damage but is a bit of a pain to avoid. The trick is to hug the golem's right leg and keep a steady flow of 2 hand attacks going. The Iron Golem is considerably easy to stagger and if you land enough consecutive attacks on his leg he will actually fall to the ground allowing you to get some attacks in while he lays there helpless. Stay behind him to the best of your ability (especially when healing is required) and keep at his right leg and victory should be well in sight. 






Dragon Slayer Ornstein & Executioner Smough

This is what I consider to be the most difficult fight in the game. Smough and Ornstein require a lot of preparation and patience, get greedy with your hits here and you'll end up impaled by the business end of Ornstein's spear or an undead pancake stuck to Smough's hammer, or worse... his ass. As mentioned before a huge part of this fight is being prepared for the battle, and since preparation takes place before the action, lets start there.

Once you have defeated the Iron Golem you are whisked away to Anor Londo. A place that gave me nightmares for months on end. At this point its best to just press on, after all, navigating your way back through the death trap that is Sen's Fortress would be much more a headache than its worth. Leveling up before fighting the boss is really key here. Both of these guys dish out some major damage and at first the fight can feel very chaotic considering there is 2 of them trying desperately to murder you at the same time. Use the black smith which can be found up the stairwell near the fog wall that leads to the boss, he will sell Twinkling Titanite along with a bunch of goodies to help you upgrade your gear and prepare for the vicious fight ahead. If you go into this fight and it seems impossibly difficult don't be afraid return to grinding for a bit until you feel you a worthy match for your opponents. 

Once you are ready to face off against these guys its important to know that there is 2 ways you can go about this fight. Once you have killed one of the bosses the other will be fully healed and in addition will gain the power of the one that has been killed off. Smough is especially stupid and can take a lot more hits, therefore I would highly suggest, killing off Ornstein first. Simply use the pillars to give yourself some breathing room and cover for when you need to heal, and dash around. Though you are fighting Ornstein, Smough is the one you really wanna keep an eye out for. While keeping yourself at a distance, Ornstein will occasionally dash in at you, avoid his attack and he will leave himself open. Once you are able to close in on the dragon slayer, get a few hits in but don't get greedy, getting caught between these two is extremely detrimental to your health. Work this strategy and once Ornstein falls be prepared to back away. Smough can do a significant amount of damage now and its best to keep your distance, biding your time to lunge in for the kill. The best way to go about this is to wait for Smough to dash at you. He will swing his hammer in a big arc but it is fairly easy to dodge with a well placed roll. Get in close and out of harms way and get a few hits in. Something you really need to watch out for is when Smough is getting ready to jump in the air. If he does this he will land on his rear executing a powerful lighting aoe, which has a very high chance of killing you, so stay on your toes. As I said, you really want to keep a distance in this fight and wait for your opponent to slip up. Stay calm and patient and you will win this fight. 


Great Grey Wolf Sif

If you've defeated Ornstein and Smough, than this fight should not hold much of a threat, though I do consider this fight to be one of the harder ones. This is simply another fight where the idea is to get as close as possible, ideally underneath him. Sif will hop about and often jump away from you and in this case the best way to get back under him is to wait for him to slash about and after his second slash sprint and roll underneath him. When it comes to healing, if chugging a flask underneath him seems too risky an option, there is a giant grave stone in the center of the area where the fight takes place. Put this grave stone between you and the boss and you should have a moment to breath and regain momentum. Beware, Sif's attacks can occasionally still make it through the grave stone but he will usually just keep pressing up against it stopping his pursuit for a short window of time. Bleed affects will work on Sif and he seems especially vulnerable to lightning and fire attacks. This is actually a great fight to use Quelaag's Furysword. There is a rumor floating about that it is possible to injure Sif and let him limp away from the fight. This rumor is not true, Sif is not an optional boss as the ring he drops is needed to fight the Four Kings.


Stray Demon

When entering this fight you will plummet to the floor taking a significant amount of damage. The best way to start this fight is to run to the opposite wall of where the Stray Demon is standing and heal immediately, especially because this is an especially hard hitting boss. Once again stay close to the boss, I usually try to hug his right side as close as possible and per usual most of his attacks will miss you. At close proximity the boss still has a few ways to hit you, and these attacks will do a massive amount of damage. With one of these attacks the demon will fly into the air for a few seconds and attempt to drop on you. Getting hit by this attack is extremely painful, so as soon as you see him take flight run and roll away ending up behind the boss and when he drops there will be an opening to run up and get a few more hits in. Now, the reason I suggest attacking this boss from the front instead of at his back is because the Stray Demon has an attack where it will "force push" in all directions, also causing a lot of damage. If you are in front of the boss you will be able to see it jam the butt of its staff into the ground. This is a sign that it is about to use the AOE attack and it is extremely important that you run as far away as soon as possible to avoid this deadly attack.

Seath the Scaleless

The first time you encounter Seath, he is invincible and there is no way to defeat him. Allow Seath to kill you with his breath weapon and you will then have to make your way back through the archives and encounter him at a different location. When you first enter through the fog wall you will notice an ice stalagmite in the far back of the area. To be able to harm Seath you must destroy this first. Seath himself is not very tough but he does have an irritating ability to cover the ground with a bed of spikes. Staying in these spikes for too long will cause you to be cursed and if you do not take care of the curse this fight can be very, very difficult so it is advised to bring whatever curse protection you can into the archives with you. Other than the curse spikes Seath only has a few basic attacks which are not all that threatening if you play it smart. Seath has a set up 3 tales which will move around with him. The best thing to do is to run up behind Seath and get in between the tail coming out his back and one of the ones at his side. If  you get in there well enough you will notice that as Seath spins around the tail will actually push you around with him making it very easy to stand ready to attack once your stamina is replenished. The problem with this technique  is that it is very easy to be caught between him and a bed of spikes, you may find yourself standing in the middle of the spikes or maybe as he spins he will push you into them. That being said it is best to not stay too close to his body. If you do find yourself stuck in the middle of a pool of spikes the best course of action for getting to safety is to roll out of harms way. Sometimes Seath will change it up (this may be affected by playthrough) if you find yourself behind Seath and he is almost constantly trashing about his tentacles and dishing out an unsavory amount of damage than change up your strategy as well. Try moving to the front of him and attack the tentacle on his right, try not to stray to close to the front of Seath and you will find a sort of sweet spot where attacks tend to hit you less. Going into this fight with curse protection is advised, the Cursebite Ring should be more than enough with the aid of a little caution. Seath is also significantly vulnerable to lightning attacks.

Crossbreed Priscilla

This is a really easy fight. In fact I believe I have only died once on this one. Crossbreed Priscilla is completely optional but I consider the area she is in to be one of the coolest area's in the game. Once you have passed through the fog wall into her area you have the option of walking past her, or instead choosing to fight. When you enter, if you do not talk to her at all she will just stand there, and this is a great opportunity to get the jump on her. Get behind her and take a few swings. She should turn invisible after a bit, but there is still a way to tell where she is. Look on the ground for foot prints in the snow and this is a sure fire way of locating the boss. Take a few swings at her while she is invisible and she will once again be in plain sight. From here on out its just a matter of staying behind her and hacking away until she is dead!


Pinwheel

Run in, keep your eye's on the real Pinwheel and beat him down... the end.

Gravelord Nito

Gravelord Nito can be kinda challenging the first time you encounter him. When you first enter, this is another one of those fights where you will drop in taking some damage so make sure you heal up before engaging in combat with the boss. The most important thing to do here is to draw Nito out without getting too close to his initial starting place. The reason for this being that Nito has a bunch of skeleton henchmen that are standing near him and though you will still draw some of these henchmen out, the bigger skeletons will not agro unless you get close to them. Nito will damage his own minions but I believe they will keep re spawning as long as the boss is still alive. Another thing to look out for in this fight is an attack where a huge spike will come out of the ground dealing some serious damage as well as poisoning you. This attack will also hit you no matter where you are so the important thing to look out for is a piercing scream, shortly after Nito screams the spike will follow. You can avoid this attack by frantically rolling once the scream is finished. Aside from the spike and skeletons the only other thing you really need to watch out for is his AOE attack which is extremely powerful. Once you see Nito ball up this is an indication that he is about to use this attack and you should back away blocking to avoid as much damage as possible. Again the best strategy for this boss is to get behind him and wail away with 2 hand attacks. Watch out for the things I mentioned above and you should have Nito down in no time.

Four Kings
I've seen a lot of people complaining about this one and to be honest I'm kinda scratching my head at the thought. This guide is mostly for a melee build so I suppose its possible that the people that are complaining are playing casters. I personally have never had much trouble at this boss, in fact I'm about 95% certain the Four Kings have never managed to kill me. So when it comes to a guide for this boss I am at a bit of a loss. You will need to equip the ring that Sif drops to enter this fight and I guess to play it safe I would make sure that you are properly leveled and have kindled the bonfire you are at to an appropriate level. I believe I had my fire Kindled at 15 Estus. The boss comes in a few waves (I think its safe to assume 4) and when you first drop and and run at the boss he will usually shoot a projectile at you. This projectile is very easy to dodge and I have never been hit by it so just run to your left until it passes. At this point the idea is to stay as close to the bosses back as possible and slash away leaving some stamina for a quick escape when needed. The boss will slash his sword around in exaggerated arcs. I usually find that if you are at its back they will miss you but if you wish to play it safe than use a well timed roll when you see the boss about to swing. There is (per usual) a powerful AOE attack that the boss can use and you will notice a purpleish(?) mist start to build up around its body as the attack charges. Use this opportunity to back off and roll away to escape the damage this attack causes. Rinse and repeat until dead. I have read that as time goes on it is possible for multiple kings to join the fight at once. In my 3 encounters with this boss I have never noticed this but if it holds any truth than the key to this fight would be speed. Four Kings is weak against fire damage but I would suggest a heavy hitting weapon using a 2 hand stance.

Ceaseless Discharge
I've never actually had to fight this boss because there is a really neat trick to beating him without having to really fight him. When you first enter through the gate you will find that you can walk past the boss without him attacking. If you walk to the far end you will find an item to pick up. Be warned once you pick this item up the boss will go agro and attack. Before looting the items make sure you change around your equipment so that you have some good mobility. Pick up the item and run back to the beginning, there is a little path to your left you can take but be warned I have never tried this and don't know if it affects this strategy. Once you are back to where you entered you will see the boss lunge at you and slam his arm onto the ledge. Run up to his hand and start hacking away at it. After a few moments the boss will let go and plummet to a bottomless pit underneath him. The end.  




Demon Firesage
This boss has a near identical attack pattern to the Stray Demon, he is merely a bit beefed up. Despite his name fire attacks are fine in this fight. For more on this fight, refer to the Stray Demon guide in part 3 of the Contra Hard series.

Centipede Demon
At first the boss will stand in the lava and pound its tentacle like arms off the ground attempting to hit you. Roll around a bit dodging his attacks and eventually he will take to land. Now the only real reason as to why this fight can be slightly difficult is because of the small area you are given to fight it in. So the first thing you are going to want to do is chop off the bosses tail. Once severed the boss will drop a ring that GREATLY reduces the damage that you take from lava. This way if you die, you can always equip the ring for the next fight and the battle should be very easy. Other than the centipedes smashing fists the only other real attack to look out for is when it grabs you. After being grabbed by the boss it will toss you in its jaws, chew you up and spit you out, dealing a fair amount of damage. The boss may hop around a bit so keep your eyes on the prize and again do your best to stay behind the boss.

Bed of Chaos
I wouldn't call this the hardest fight in the game but I do consider this one to be by far the most annoying. The most important thing you can do in this fight is make sure your mobility is way up there. Something the dude in this picture is clearly not doing. When you drop in you will notice that to his left and right are balls of dead roots. Run to either side and roll through the branches until you find the glowing center. Take out the center and a little event should play out. Now things are getting a bit more dangerous. You will now want to travel to the other side of the boss and do the same thing again, except this time the floor is going to crumble out from under you and you will find the attacks of the boss to be a bit more aggressive. If you die the side that you destroyed will stay that way but it is very annoying to get back to this boss. As you run to the opposite side you will notice a solid sort of circular path around the boss. Following this is the safest route because the path does not crumble where the ring is. Once you have destroyed the other side you are now going to want to dash to the area directly in front of the boss. Once you reach this area you are going to see the floor in front of the the boss crumble and fall away. Under the floor is a root path that leads inside the boss where you will destroy yet another glowing thing. If you die here and need to run back things get a little difficult. Just make sure that as you slide down the giant slope you hang to the far right, land in a roll and dash as quickly as you can. The root path is more to your right side than the center. A good shield can be the difference between life and death in this fight, when you see the boss start to use its sweeping attack with its arms, raise your shield to avoid some massive damage.

 Gwyn Lord of Cinder
So you're here, the head honcho. A little intimidated? Well maybe you should be... Though Gwyn is the final encounter in the game, this fight is really not all that complex. Gwyn only has a few moves he will use on you, some sword swings, he may pounce at you from a distance and if you get too close he'll grab you and toss you like a rag doll. And though some of these attacks can pack a decent punch, I would not even come close to calling him the most damaging boss in the game. Does this make him easy? No, not really. The problem with Gwyn is the fact that he is the most aggressive boss in the game. Meaning wherever you are, he is right there, on your ass. This almost always makes it near impossible to heal, so though his attacks are not immensely powerful, they are powerful enough considering you are left with little to no breathing room. I have seen strategy's kicking around focusing on provoking Gwyn's grab attack. When he's grabbing for you, you can back step and this small window gives you time to take a chug off the ol' flask. This tactic does work but I find it a bit sporadic seeing as its hard to consistently provoke a grab and even then who's to say you are going to back step in time. For me, I have a much different strategy. In the the back of the area on the left hand side there is a stalagmite protruding up from the earth (as stalagmites do) this one can be easily picked out as there is a very small space between the stalagmite and the rock wall on the left hand side. This one is pretty big and that small area between the stalagmite and the wall can cause some hindrance to Gwyn's mobility as he's chasing you. Do full circles around the stalagmite and watch as he tries to attack you when you are clearly out of harms way. Use these moments to heal or wait for an opportune time to get a few hits in. Keep this up while circling the stalagmite and always keeping your eye on the enemy and this fight should be fairly easy. Despite using fire attacks Gwyn does not seem to be resistant to fire.