Friday, March 30, 2012

From Software Says Another Souls Game May Not Happen!


In an interview with Edge, creative director Hidetaka Miyazaki apologizes for the many quirks and bugs found in From Software's latest title, Dark Souls. 

"Yes, there were technical difficulties," he said. "I don't believe that it's okay to have them, but realistically speaking, it was quite a large-scale game--even in terms of budget and expectations. So we're very sorry for the trouble we've caused by our processing errors and bugs from Japan."

Edge followed up with an inquiry of a future Souls title, in which the director responded... 


"We don't even know if we'll have another chance," he said. "We have the confidence that we can improve from our mistakes this time and create an even better Dark world, but we don't know if the users will forgive us for the mistakes, so I cannot give an exact answer." 

It is certainly unfair that the subtle faults in a low budget title such as Dark Souls could be a means to the end of the series when for many best selling titles such as Skyrim and Fallout 3 it's merely looked at as a bump in the road. Dark Souls is one of the most innovative and refreshing titles of  this generation and I am a huge supporter of From Software's outside the box approach to game development. I have played much of Dark Souls, the majority of the time was spent playing the game unpatched and by no means what so ever have I felt this game suffers from major design flaws. Dark Souls, in my book, sports gameplay that is far more solid than most of the garbage that gets released today. If you are a hardcore gamer such as myself, and enjoyed any of the Souls titles as much as I enjoy Dark Souls, I would encourage you to speak out and support From Software. I am greatly looking forward to reviewing this title once I am finished with it and am even more excited to start a second play through now that I have unraveled much of the games mystery and have a firmer understanding of its inner workings. To me, a third Souls title would be nothing short of a blessing. I hope many of you agree! 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dark Souls Compels Me (Dark Souls Discussion)


Dark Souls has been both the most rewarding and frustrating experience I have have ever endured in my life of gaming. I recently got Xbox Live back and decided to patch Dark Souls and give it another go. Before I was playing the unpatched version and being stuck at a particularly difficult encounter I have had to refrain from throwing my Xbox out the window on numerous occasions. While patching I had prayed that my trek through the nerve racking experience that is Dark Souls would be a lot easier this time around, and to some degree my efforts seem to get me a bit further. All in all, I'm not sure the help that the patch offers is substantial. This game is still unbearably brutal, and it has been a long, long, long time since I have not been able to finish a game due to it's difficulty. The amount of hours I have put into Dark Souls is beyond embarrassing, especially considering how much ground I still have to cover, and there are many times I tell myself that I will never put myself through the abuse Dark Souls has to offer ever again. Sure I could start over again, a new character with a new approach. Many have suggested this, as many more have informed me that beating this game without any of the patches is near impossible. The truth is I have invested far too much time into this character to turn back now and my pride forbids me from doing so, even though the character I have built may very well be too inefficient to continue further. Yet here I am, once more I throw myself at Smough and Ornstein time and time again, only to be mercilessly crushed over and over until I am so frustrated that all I see is red. In all this I have to wonder, what drives me to keep picking this game up? At first glance you would think From Software is nothing more than a bunch of morons for making a game that must turn a countless number of players away from the experience they offer only to never return. But further elaboration makes me wonder if in reality the idea here is genius. For anyone who has played this game, it is more than obvious that with this great difficulty comes an even greater reward. When you finally beat that boss you have been working on for days on end, you experience a high unlike anything I have ever felt before. You find yourself in the mindset of a 12 year old once more, screaming at the television screen, taunting and dancing. For every time Dark Souls beats me down I understand that the sense of relief that will accompany my uncertain success will be that much greater. And so here I am, ready for round 156 of getting beat down by this agonizing boss fight, knowing that the reality of the situation is, I very well may never beat this game.  
My hate for these assholes is undying... unlike my character.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In Space, No One Can See You Cringe (Alien VS Predator Review)

It does not look this good... I promise...

Aliens is something I am a HUGE fan of. I can remember watching Alien at my grandparents house when everyone else was asleep... and I was scared shitless. I am pretty sure that night was a sleepless one. I'm sure a lot of people can relate, after all the series certainly has a huge cult following. To specify this review is for the 2010 release, not to be confused with the old PC releases which were very enjoyable games. I have in fact already finished this game but at the time I had not started Geeks On Games, and recently decided to give the game a go for no other reason than my love for stomping xenomorph.


And where do I begin...


In Alien VS Predator you'll have the opportunity to play as either a marine, alien, or predator. As any of these you will wonder around bland environments killing a lot of the other species in a quest to do whatever it is you are required to do. If you're anything like me, that's yawning a lot and following a quest marker. The uninspiring environments you will stumble through are almost always uncomfortably dark, and I don't mean this in a good way. Fortunately the lack of light does a decent job of masking the terrible textures and "blocky" look of just about everything in the game. As you travel through these lifeless areas you will be accompanied by some less than poor music which usually consists of some noise and a loose bass drum that loops over and over again and some legitimately laughable voice acting which will spout off cheesy line after cheesy line. These cheesy lines will usually include something cliche that you have heard in every Alien game you have ever played... ever. Most of the gun sound effects you will hear are very accurate to the series AVP is trying to portray but as we all know, this is nothing groundbreaking. 


The game play is quite possibly even worse than what has been mentioned above. The controls are clunky and awkward and you will spend most of your time running from point A to point B with very little room to breathe and explore. Some of the action can get a bit intense but I felt the xenomorph in particular took too many shots to kill and were in too few of numbers. When I think Aliens I want to be overwhelmed by waves of semi squishy bug like beasts as I struggle to keep up with their movements and sheer numbers. The weapons the game offers are not terrible but not great either. The sniper rifle was kinda neat and felt like it packed a punch along with the pistol, but I feel like there is something very wrong when the iconic pulse rifle doesn't feel as powerful as the pistol when firing. The option to throw a flare is one that has been used before but was very poorly implemented in this installment. When you have a flashlight that barley pierces the darkness which you are forever surrounded by it would be nice to have a flare that didn't burn out after a measly 5 seconds once it hits the ground, and of course Rebellion was not even intelligent enough to understand that I might want more than 1 flare out at a time. This can be extremely frustrating to the point of not wanting to even use the flare, when guns are blazing and I am frantically strafing, I don't want to have to keep up with throwing a short lived flare out every 5 seconds.
Every event in AVP seems painfully predictable, you will always know what is about to happen, before it happens which makes the game seem even more monotonous then it already is. Every event that seems like it should count down before another event is triggered is actually triggered once you clear the room of a certain amount of enemies. Enemies which will keep pouring in about 2 to 4 at a time, just about every time. Checkpoints will constantly leave you in tight situations do to previous efforts which can often be extra frustrating in combination with the games clunky controls and lack of flow.


Of all the campaigns I definitely found the alien campaign to be the strongest of the 3, the predator campaign being the least interesting. It is very satisfying to zip around terrain and and surrounding walls, getting the pounce on squishy humans and ripping them apart. Unfortunately the alien campaign has a painfully boring beginning and suffers the same flaws as all the other campaigns.

Possibly the worst aspect of this game is the multiplayer experience it offers (if you can even find someone still playing this glorified hunk of toilet paper). The game offers a decent amount of game modes but the species are greatly unbalanced and worse yet there is an unforgivable glitch that was never fixed that will cause you to unmercifully get your ass stomped by those who know how to expose it. There's always survival mode, but unfortunately they somehow even managed to mess that up with horribly confined maps that are as dark and boring as the rest of the game.      
This might be softer...


With the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines on its way later this year, I cant consciously recommend that you should sit through this boring, yawn inspiring experience. There is a bit of fear over the fact that SEGA has their hands on this project, but with Gearbox in the picture perhaps there is hope after all. If you are a big predator fan and perhaps an alien fanboy that doesn't want to wait til quarter 3 this year than I suppose you can brave this unsavory title only to be greatly disappointed, but there are much better titles out there that are well worth your hard earned cash. My advice is to skip it and leave it to collect dust. It makes a decent beer coaster as well. 

Pros

- Some Challenging Encounters

- Ripping Human Enemies Apart Can Be Enjoyable

- Makes A Good Beer Coaster




Cons

- Horrible Voice Acting And Music

- Clunky Controls

- Too Dark

- Dated Visuals

- Linear 

- Poor Multiplayer

- Insubstantial Story

- Predictable Events

- Frustrating Checkpoints

- It Actually Costs Money



SCORE:


4.6 / 10

Glory to Gaming Reviews

Alien: Isolation

Alien VS Predator

Bioshock: Infinite
  
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Crysis 2

The Darkness 2

Deadlight

Dead Island

Dead Space 2

Dead Space 3

DmC

Doom 3: BFG Edition

Dragon Age 2

Dungeon Defenders

Fable 3

Fallout: New Vegas

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

Fear 3

Gotham City Impostors

I Am Alive

Killing Floor

Max Payne 3

Metro 2033

Metro: Last Light

Red Dead Redemption

Skyrim

Sleeping Dogs

Tomb Raider 2013

The Witcher: Enhanced Edition

Heroic Head Explosion (Gotham City Impostors Review)


First things first, it's important to state that I am by no means a Batman fan. The Dark Knight was an interesting film and all but I think when it comes down to it I was much more interested in Heath Ledger's roll as the joker. An insane crime fighter that dresses up as a bat and beats gun toting villains with his fists seems a bit absurd to me and the idea of  a Batman shooter that actually has nothing to do with Batman seems even more absurd.


And it is!!!!!!!


After seeing some game play footage of the semi recent release, Gotham City Impostors, I was certainly intrigued enough to make the purchase, and for $15, how much was there to lose in the first place?

Once firing up the game it's apparent the game looks very nice for an arcade title, there are some inconsistencies with textures, you'll especially notice great detail in some surrounding areas while others seem to lack a significant amount of attention. The character models on the other hand all look the part and can definitely be considered easy on the eye's, an honorable mention goes to the female models, an area where the developers certainly held no shame in offering generous proportions.
"sooo... do you dress like this for all your dates?"
The overall atmosphere GCI brings to the table is a force to be reckoned with and is one of the many areas where this game shines brightly. As mentioned before this game really has nothing to do with Batman. Instead you are given the roll of a member of 2 opposing gangs that dress up like bats and clowns and duke it out on the streets of Gotham to prove their superiority and gain the upper hand in their obviously insane plot for domination. Gotham City Impostors deals with many familiar mechanics that you see often in modern shooters but adds quirky and utterly bizarre twists to mix up the formula. Roller skates can be used for faster movement but hinder some aspects of your mobility, or maybe you prefer to use a grappling hook to zip around, allowing quick access to rooftops and aiding you in getting the drop on your foes. These are just a fraction of the many, many, many great customization options the game offers and you will find yourself very frequently switching it up and seeing how other options may cater more to your play style. The guns in the game are oddly enough more conservative and feel great, I was was very happy with this decision as I don't care much for cow launchers in my shooters. The variety in weaponry is not nearly as vast as other shooters such as Call of Duty or Battlefield, but the weaponry feels well balanced and there is more than enough to keep the player content. 
 Gotham City Impostors is very newb friendly, all the starting gear is debatably on par with the gear you can unlock later, and instead of adding level restrictions to weapons, you acquire weapon unlocks as you level and can choose to unlock your weapons in any order you please. Completing matches will of course give you experience tword leveling as well as costume coins. Costume coins can be spent on cosmetic outfitting and there are a lot of fun and zany things to choose from here.


There is no campaign in GCI, nor is there much of a story. Instead the player is merely given a concept, one which really works. Only 5 maps are provided with the free DLC included and the only game modes GCI sports is your every day team death match, domination and capture the flag matches. But what is really important here is the maps... and they deliver. Though the game only features 5 maps, each one feels refined and carefully planned out. Maps make all the difference to me and not once have I found myself voting to skip one, which is huge because this is something I frequently find myself doing in many other shooters. Snipers have their rooftops to scout the landscape from, but front line players also have narrow pathways, buildings and more to utilize as cover. Everything here feels balanced and seems to cater to all play styles, which is something I am very fond of. This game is very fast paced and the maps do a great job of complimenting this.  
Something I really wish they had included in this game is a feature to easily mute players that abuse their mics, and as with most shooters there are a fair amount of these tool bags. In fact, as far as I can tell, there isn't even a way to tell who is talking, for me this can be a serious bummer depending on who I am playing with and what kind of mood I am in. The  match making system can also be lacking at times, making odd match choices ending in very unbalanced team, but this was not something that greatly bothered me as the teams are readjusted after ever match and it's very easy to back out before the match starts and find another. The music suits the game well enough though non of it has been amazing enough to really grab my attention, though a lot of the taunts you hear after killing an enemy or being killed by one can be very amusing.


I have been really enjoying Gotham City Impostors which strikes me odd where as I am no fan of Batman. What you have here is some seriously solid game play, some modern day mechanics and a lot of fun thrown into the mix. For the price this game is offered at I would highly recommend this game to any shooter fan, unless the quirky aspects GCI are going to be a 100% turn off. But really at a price like this... what do you have to lose?

Pros

- Fantastic Maps

- Very Amusing Atmosphere 

- Well Balanced Gear Load Outs

- Great Price!

- Fast Paced Action

- A Lot Of Customization

- Pushing Some Great And Refreshing Idea's 


Cons

- Muting Mic Abusers Is Difficult

- Wonky Match Making

- Inconsistent Textures  




SCORE:

8.3  / 10

 


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tips For Being A Left 4 Dead Bad Ass

I have been playing Left 4 Dead since the release of the original and since that day it has stubbornly remained in the top of my list of go-to games. With all this experience I have had a many great options to witness the stupidity of 50% of the people that play this game online. Being a Left 4 Dead champion is not something you are born with folks, and thus I have compiled a list of tips that will help you ascend to the ranks of Left 4 Dead bad ass...



Teamwork is key:
This is by far the most important rule of Left 4 Dead. If  you are not working together as a team, you will not survive very long. Running ahead and not paying attention to where your teammates are is a great way to get yourself killed as well as everyone else on your team. Make it a point to always know where the other members of your team are and no matter how badly you think you know the superior route, travel as a group. Pretend there is a 10 foot rope connecting you and all your team mates and do the best you can to keep your ego in check. In Left 4 Dead, getting the most kills is not important, survival is. Keeping yourself and the ones around you alive should be your biggest priority.

Gun butting is your friend:
This seems to be one of the greatly over looked features of the game, which is greatly upsetting due to the fact that the ability to gun butt is just as important as the ability to fire your weapon, if not more so. Gun butting can be used in multiple situations to gain the upper hand, especially when it comes to special infected. as soon as you see a hunter or jockey leaping after you, instead of firing, start thrashing your weapon around like a mad man, while gun butting they will not be able to connect with you and if you strike at the right moment you will stun your enemy as well as push it back, this is a great opportunity to open fire and execute the kill. Boomers too close for comfort can be butted away for some breathing room, allowing you to back up, avoiding their bile and when being mobbed by a mass of zombies you can use your gun to push them back in the same fashion. Seriously people, gun butting is your friend, use it often.

Tank Killing 101:
If you play L4D this is a situation you know all too well, especially if you play on expert. All is going well and before you know it a massive monster is charging at you and throwing chunks or concrete aiming to render you helpless. Don't Panic! I myself used to get pretty frustrated when the tank would home in for the kill but you if handle them correctly you will find that they are really not all that difficult to dispatch. It is important to realize that when you still have the majority of your health, you run quite a bit faster than the tank. If you have not had a tank attack you yet it is important to have a member of your team equipped with a molotov. If you are playing with a bunch of strangers than take one for the team and carry one yourself. As soon as the tank is in sight lob your molotov at him and run away, that's right... run away. Take note of cover so you can use it to hide behind when the tank decides to throw and take pot shots when you are at a safe distance. The fire from the molotov will eat away at the tanks health at a rapid rate and the occasional cover fire will help this process along. Before you know it the tank will collapse into a flaming pile of flesh and your team will be on its merry way. 

Be smart with your weapons:
Reloading often will help to make sure you don't fall into a sticky situation with an empty clip. Make sure that if you do run out of ammo in a hectic situation you switch to your side arm instead of reloading, this will get you back into the action much quicker. Shotguns are great weapons but they are best used to clear out large mobs of undead and should be only used in these situations due to the fact that they tend to run out of ammunition quite quickly. If you are using a shotgun, use your pistol for the majority of the time and when you find yourself surrounded or find that your path is blocked by an uncomfortable amount of infected, switch to the shotty and unload, this is a great way to dispatch a large group in a quick manner. I would not advise using the shotgun on the tank since it is much more effective at close range. Be sure to conserve your ammunition and use it wisely, being left with only your side arm can be detrimental to your health.

Crouching is a no brainer:
This guys got the right idea...

Crouching not only increases your accuracy but also allows people behind you to shoot at the zombies in front of you without hurting you in process. Unless you are in a situation where you need to be moving quickly there is no reason why you shouldn't be crouching.

Sharing is Caring (it can be fun):
I know its difficult to give away what you may need later, but really when it comes to L4D, helping others is helping yourself. It is significantly easier to wipe when you are only one man short. Next time you are at 65 health and are equipped with a health pack as well as a bottle of pills and one of your team members is seriously hurt, help them out. Not only does this keep one extra target in the game but it can be difficult to proceed at a steady pace when you have team members that are limping along at a snails pace.

Listen up!:
This is a big one... it is important to realize that almost every bad event in the game comes with a sound to warn you and your team. Get to know these sounds and you will start to understand that you can hear that hunter coming far before he even gets a chance to lunge in for the kill!  

Know your surroundings:
This is important for any shooter really and L4D is no exception to the rule. Getting familiar with the games campaigns can give you a great advantage. Understanding where solid corners are will help you in a situation where you have been hit with boomer bile or when an overwhelming horde of undead are rushing to rip you to shreds. Knowing the campaigns can also tip you off as to where tanks frequently spawn and where you can expect that extra ammunition to be when you are starting to run low. Knowing what is around you is very important when trying to survive in an efficient manner, so get out there, play and explore!

The Magnum!!!:
 The Magnum is a powerful ally, though it may not provide you with as much ammunition as a regular pistol and doesn't shoot as fast a duel wielding, it does massive damage for a side arm and shoots through zombies hitting oncoming infected behind your target! In combination with a shotgun, the magnum can you help make you a serious threat to the undead.

So there you have it folks! If you were having trouble before this than using these tips will definitely help you on your way to becoming a zombie killing machine. For a little extra help I would advise you check out my weapon stats article, here. Happy hunting!



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Origins VS Dragon Age II (Dragon Age II Review)


When it comes to Dragon Age, there seems to be a bit of a dispute kicking around the web. Few praise Dragon Age II where as the first installment of the series, Dragon Age: Origins, is very much loved by a great many. My experience with the original Dragon Age was a fair, one. I enjoyed it quite a bit actually, there was one night in particular where I stayed up all night intensely drawn into the game to the point where before I knew it I was going out for a smoke and realized the sun was already up and the greater portion of the bottle of Jameson I was hauling off all night had seemed to disappear with only a few shots remaining. 
Have you met my good friend?
 As much as I loved Origins I also had a lot of issues with the game, mainly the intolerable fade sequence which was so horrible it prevented me from finishing the game an additional one to two times. But in addition, though I saw great things in Origins, there was something else I couldn't seem to shake off. To me, Origins felt like an idea yet to be realized, BioWare's exploration into a world they have visited many times before but rarely without the help of the mighty D20 system. They had this great puzzle all planned out but I felt Origins was merely the pieces of that puzzle scattered around, waiting to be properly pieced together. 
Just looking at this picture hurts.
As with Origins, I waited entirely too long to pick up Dragon Age II, but when I finally got around to it and fired it up it was very apparent that a lot was different this time around. The pieces had started to come together to form a much bigger picture and I liked what I was seeing.


Dragon Age II takes us from the violent landscapes of Ferelden and leaves us with Hawke, the main character of DA II as he finds his way in the city of Kirkwall (with a little help from his friends of course). That's right, you can no longer make your own main character, as you can in Origins, but does that have to be such a bad thing? Hawke is fully voiced which adds something huge to DA II, a true connection between the player and the hero. No longer will your hero stand there with a blank look on his or her face as you silently select lines of dialogue. Hawke seems like a real person with real emotions and you are simply a guiding hand directing Hawke through his adventures, for better or worse. The voice acting is fantastic in this game, especially with characters such as Varric, your faithful and sarcastic dwarven companion. This greatly adds to immersion and helps with the characters well defined personalities making Dragon Age II seem very much a relative to Mass Effect, and this is a good thing. In fact it is very easy to relate Dragon Age II to Mass Effect as you would compare an Elder Scrolls title to Fallout 3 and this is especially apparent in the games manner of forcing you to make very difficult decisions in painfully ambiguous situations. I cant stress this enough, DA II throws you into some of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make in gaming, far too often did I have to put the controller down in frustration to go out and smoke a cigarette while I thought about what I would do next, and this is a very good thing. The impact of these decisions seemed to be much greater than the ones you had to make in Origins, and even if I played through the game a second time to find that the outcome was all the same BioWare does an amazing job of masking it. You feel emotionally connected to supporting roles and often find yourself making choices that you wouldn't normally make in order to save or gain the approval of one of your favorite companions.
 Yet another thing that has improved in the world of Dragon Age is the visuals. To me Origins looked down right awful to the point where at first the game was very hard to digest. Though I would not say Dragon Age II is one of the most beautiful games I have played, the difference between the two is incredible and I did find a few things here and there catching my eye, having to stop for a moment to watch the scenery. A lot of the animations are well put together and its notable how very real some of the body language seems, once again pulling your emotions in even deeper. Dragon Age II has greatly upped the game in the combat department, to me Origins did not strike my interest when it comes to combat. I am far too sick of RPGs adopting the auto attack system from MMO's allowing you to keep a steady attack going while you wait for your skills to cool down so that you can unleash another ability on your enemies. In Dragon Age II you will initiate every basic attack as well as your abilities, giving you a bit more freedom and greatly adding to immersion. The combat is smooth this time around, you will often find your self at a bit of a distance from your target and when initiating an attack, Hawke will slide closer to his opponent all while swinging his weapon in a very fluid motion, closing the gap and connecting with his enemy.

Something that Origins does prevail with is it's story. The story in Dragon Age II was by no means terrible, but did not seem to enthrall me the way the story in Origins did. In fact, at times I feel that if it wasn't for Origins amazing story, It would not have had nearly as good of an impact on me. Dragon Age II has a story that surpasses many RPG's but when compared to Origins, the presentation at times seems a bit weak. Thankfully the character development in DA II is so perfectly executed you will find yourself ignoring this fact and pushing through dialogue eagerly awaiting what the characters have to say.
 In Dragon Age II you will find that a lot of the game has been refined, some may say that they took away a lot of the stuff that made the game complicated, but to me it seems like they removed what was unnecessary. While playing Origins I often wondered why I had to distribute my skill points when honestly they did not seem to make much of a difference, After gaining all my tactics slots and maybe some survival or cunning for a rogue I was just putting my points where ever I could, not really worrying about the negative impact it may hold on my characters. In DA II all this was condensed, many of it going to a new attribute layout. The Ability screen looks much more appealing than the boring tree they used in Origins, though I did feel that a lot of the tree's could have been combined with others as i found it almost too easy to max out a tree you were working on, taking from the diversity of character builds.
I often see people complaining that Dragon Age II is seriously lacking in content in comparison to its predecessor, but I fail to see how people could feel this way. The amount of quests this game has to offer is near endless, after doing just about everything I possibly could, I ended up with a list nearing 140 completed quests in the core game alone. I personally felt like the game would never end due to all its content though I did only clock in at around 42 hours. But if you ask me 42 hours of content is more than respectable by today's standards. I can't remember how much time I had spent in Origins but I find it hard to believe it was a whole lot longer than 42 hours, and the new quest log that DA II provides makes questing easy, causing few head aches. 
 This being said, Dragon Age II is certainly notorious for shamelessly reusing area's time and time again and sometimes completely stealing previous tile sets and using them in other dungeons you may come across. This was not a huge issue in my eyes, but it did eventually come to a point where I was really wishing there was a new environment to explore, growing slightly tired of the same ol' same ol'. The flow of the game feels quite abrupt at times and a chugging frame rate during cut scenes can definitely be annoying, but my biggest issue with the game by far is the new system BioWare implemented for equipment. No longer can you customize the equipment of your entire party, instead only Hawke can be fully equipped and the rest of your party is assigned their own armor leaving the player with the ability to only swap out their weapons and accessories, again not something that ruined the game for me, but I cant understand why BioWare would make this call. The customization was a great aspect of Origins and did not need to be taken from players in DA II. I hope this new system is something that BioWare will do away with if they decide to grace us all with a Dragon Age III.


Overall I felt Dragon Age II was a much more enjoyable experience than Origins. BioWare did a fantastic job with cleaning up the ideas they had in Origins and really made Dragon Age their own this time around. With the new main character used in DA II a lot of interesting openings have been left for Dragon Age III, I would be thrilled to see all those tough decisions I made have a great impact on the third installment and hope to lead Hawke through great adventures yet again. Though Origins had some great and diverse environments I cannot call it the superior of the two. In my book BioWare released Origins a bit prematurely and Dragon Age II feels more like what Origins should have been. The emotional connection DA II has to offer is hard to match, and its great to see some of those great idea's BioWare had been working on really come to life. If you have played Origins and have not played Dragon Age II yet I would certainly recommend picking it up with these things in mind.


SCORE: 

8.4 / 10

Friday, March 16, 2012

Baldurs Gate Gets A Face Lift (And Baldurs Gate 3?)



I sit here unable to sleep (even though I have to work in the morning) and write this article through a drunken/caffeine induced fog for one reason and one reason alone. A few days back a friend enlightened me with a facebook post that made me so giddy it had me feeling like a 16 year old boy again. Within this post was only a single link... a link that led to www.baldursgate.com. At the time this site only contained a beefed up logo that I had seen time and time again and under this logo was something that got me very VERY excited... a clock counting down. I of course had to wonder, what did this count down mean? I considered the possibility that this count down could merely lead to the launch of as new site, but the seasoned gamer in me knew better.


The logo in question was of course the logo for the ever popular PC release, Baldurs Gate. A game that very successfully sported Dungeons and Dragons second edition mechanics and a game I will forever hold dear to my heart. You see, as much as I hate to admit it I am one of those guys that has a very hard time going back to older titles because of poor visuals and there are only two titles that I always go back to no matter how much time has passed. Those titles are Diablo II and of course Baldurs Gate II.


Since I first stumbled across the site mentioned above (thank you Ben!) a little more information has been released and now most of the worlds die hard BG fan boys know that Overhaul Games is working on a new "enhanced version" of Baldurs Gate the original as well as its even more popular successor, Shadows of Amn. Little is known about the details of these enhanced versions but for many, just knowing that this project is in the works is more than enough. Further more a bigger question on BG fan's minds is, if these enhanced versions are successful does this mean we will be seeing a Baldurs Gate III in the some what near future? If you ask me this is a very real possibility and the anticipation of all this has me close to tears. I will do my best to keep up on this subject and post more information once it is released.


Now if you will excuse me, I just re-installed BG: SoA...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Valve console in the works?

Word has been circulating that Valve is working on a new console that people have dubbed the "Steam Box". Though word on this is not yet official, Valve has supposedly been getting together for secret meetings at CES. This comes as no surprise seeing as Steam has become a power house in the gaming industry in recent years and is probably looking to cash in on console gamers that hold a lack of interest in buying a PC for the use of gaming. The Steam Box is said to include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a graphics card from NVIDIA. It will have its own controller, but also be compatible with a wide variety of USB devices. It is also said that the Steambox will not require licensing fee's which holds potential for a very large library and will hold the ability to play regular PC games. I for one am all for the idea of Valve breaking into the console market and have always been a big supporter of steam, if all these rumors circulating are true we could very well see official reports at E3 later this year.

Sunset House Puzzle and a Million Gold (Fable 3)



In the north of Albion you will find a massive run down building in the day and a ghostly manor at night. This is a quick guide that will help you solve the puzzle of the Sunset House and will even tell you how to get a million gold for free!

It's best to do this after you have settled all problems with your brother Logan, especially if you would like the free million gold (and at this point that free gold is a pretty big help).

After going through the gates of the manor you will see a gazebo to your left. in this gazebo will be 4 statues. During the day these statues seem ordinary but at night they turn spectral and can be interacted with. To find the right pose for all the statues you can come during the day and they will be as you want them, this can easily be achieved by using the demon door to your left just before the gate. If you have already resolved your issues with Logan you will be able to enter the demon door and doing so will change the time from night to day or day to night. Inside this demon door is also a million gold stored in a chest.
If you are too lazy to change the time you can of course just read the information below.

Statue Formation:
Starting from the first male as you enter the gazebo and moving to your right...

Male 1: Holding belly and laughing.

Female 1: Holding arms in air in praise.

Male 2: Pointing and laughing.

Female 2: Fists ready to fight.

Once the statues are in their proper positions it will automatically turn to day time and the manor may be entered. Once you have gone through a short silly little quests Xbox players will also be awarded with the "Knight Jumps Chesty" achievement.