Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Torchlight 2 Mods

I'm sure many people out there playing Torchlight 2 have been searching for good mods, especially since the original Torchlight had such great support from the community. Torchlight 2 mods have been hard to come by thus far and since I've been searching around myself I thought I would link some sites I have found. As I find more links they will be added below.

There is a bunch to be found here:

Misc Mods:

Some Diablo 2 Texture Mods:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Tomb Raider Scores a 9.1 on IGN!

The new Tomb Raider reboot (out on March 5th) scores a 9.1 on IGN! Excuse me a moment while my inner geek indulges in tears of joy. The review can be found below.

IGN Tomb Raider Review

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Detailed Look at the Firefall Closed Beta

For months I had to listen to my friend and co-worker rave and rant about a game he was waiting to get in on, and though it did in fact sound interesting I wasn't too sure of what an MMOFPS in closed beta would have to offer. Once I had pieced together my PC I was once again ready to venture into the dark and life consuming world of the MMO. I had applied for The Elder Scrolls Online Beta pretty much the moment my PC registered the fact that I was in fact connected to the internet. But let's be real people, my odds of getting into TESO anytime soon are slim to none. Being a person that is quite fond of both the FPS and the MMO genre a friend had suggested that I give Planet Side 2 a go. Planet Side 2 was indeed an interesting enough experience, but it was missing something... I needed more. After a short period of looking around, I decided to look into the very game my co-worker was harping on... and that game is Firefall.

The MMOFPS genre has proven to be a tough one to tap into, and though the Firefall beta is a far cry away from perfection. It's vision is spot on, and gives us an idea of not just what the the game itself can become but also some insight on how the genre could evolve in a way that could hold much more of a lasting appeal  to the MMO and FPS community. Firefall shy's away form MMO tradition with some fresh idea's that set it apart from it's competitors. Instead of using the age old leveling system, Firefall features a unique tier system. Killing enemies, taking part in battle grounds and completing missions and objectives will all earn you experience. Instead of experience building up tword new levels of power, players spend earned experience on weapons, abilities, and upgrades to their suit, making their way across a tree until a new tier is obtained.  The game currently only goes to tier 2 but there are plans to implement up to 5 tiers to the game, the interesting thing is that when a player reaches a new tier they are able to pick one of two class types, allowing the player to pick a class type that better suits their play style.  But my favorite thing about this system is how well everything seems to be balanced. Enemies never change in level and the world is open at any point to explore. Firefall does a great job of making you feel like your character is getting more powerful all while keeping pulls at the same difficulty and still providing the player with a challenge. Because of this, Firefall is a fantastic co-op experience. Someone who has just joined could play with a player who has maxed out every tree in the game and still feel like they are making an impact in combat. The tier tree's themselves are fairly large and offer enough to keep you satisfied but I personally would like to see a much wider variety of weaponry, the few weapons that are offered are not nearly enough to suit everyone's play style. This is especially the case with people like me who have played quite a bit of shooters in their time. It is also well worth mentioning that though there are options to pay cash for in game bonuses, Firefall is not a "pay to win" title by any means. This of course is great news for those who are not looking to shell out a ridiculous amount of cash on an MMO and honestly makes me want to support Red 5 even more.

A look at an assualt tier 2 tree.
Though the game is still very much in beta there is still quite a bit to do and according to Red 5 studios timeline there are far more options waiting to be implemented. As mentioned above the game offers instanced battlegrounds with 3 game modes and at least 6 maps. The good news for those who greatly favor PVP is though slightly more experience can be had exploring the games PVE content, battlegrounds is actually a sufficient means for leveling in Firefall. As for the PVE content, there are some quests to be completed, though not quite as much as I would like, but there are plenty of little events always going on. The world it's self is quite massive and open with no load screens to endure, and exploring this beautiful environment is quite a thrilling experience. In the beginning I found myself thoroughly enjoying just trekking along, seeing the sites and taking part in whatever I stumbled across.  As you make your way you may come across a massive tornado, spewing out vicious enemies. These battles are very chaotic and exciting, and because of the massive experience that can be gained from engaging in these battles, there are usually a great many of other players assisting each other in the cause. You will also frequently come across a watch tower that has been taken over by enemy forces and you can help to reclaim it, which is a good fight to partake in since these towers serve as respawn points for players. Another popular PVE option is a little something called thumping. Thumping is actually quite a big part of the game, players can craft items called "thumpers". These are call down items which will suck minerals from the ground while you and hopefully some friends will fend off waves of monsters allowing the thumper to do its thing. Though there is all this stuff, and I am even discovering more as I keep playing, there are certainly times when the game feels a bit empty. It doesn't really hold your hand and you really need to be active and out looking for things to do. This being said, it's important to understand that the game is still in beta and the timeline is a nice reminder that in the near future there will be even more fun to be had.

I believe this is the current timeline, provided by Firefall's official website.
Crafting is a huge part of Firefall and is something you can expect to be doing quite a bit of if you decide to try your luck at applying for closed beta. Instead of your usual loot drops, Firefall has an assortment of minerals which can be obtained through killing enemies, random supply crate spawns, thumping and even PVP. You will use these minerals through something called "the molecular printer" and will craft anything from consumables to gear. When buying skills, upgrades and weapons through your tier tree you will then unlock options in the printer to create better versions of these things with stats determined by the rarity of the mineral used in the crafting process. This is one of the things that quickly becomes very addictive in Firefall, and the very reason that I find myself thumping most of the time even though there is much more to do. There is a vast amount of consumables the game allows you to craft and you'll notice that some are quite useful. Of course you can expect things such as health packs and ammo packs, but you can also craft things such as ammunition upgrades, which will give you both your equipped weapons an elemental enhancement for a period of time. There is also an option to create glider platforms, so even out in the middle of nowhere you can get where you need to go a lot faster. The glider is truly heaven sent, the world that Firefall drops you into is quite massive and without a fast travel feature it can take quite a bit of time to get where you are going.  Though the glider takes a while to master, once you get it down, you'll be zipping around and getting to your destination in no time.

Some group thumping action.
The gameplay that Firefall features is solid. Especially when it comes to combat. Combat is very fluid and at times can feel extremely fast and darting around at great speeds, jumping and utilizing your jet pack in combat can be very rewarding. Strafing to the left into a jump and jetting while pulling off that perfect shot can most certainly make you feel like a total badass and its these moments that make the game really shine. Only 2 weapons can be equipped at a time and as of now your character can only be armed with 3 skills which I personally feel is a bit limited for my taste, but even with such a small selection of weaponry I couldn't help but notice that the weapons offered are interesting and fun to use. For example, the weapon pictured above is a bit of a take on Unreal Tournament's flak cannon. The primary fire shoots balls of explosive energy that move rather fast and have an exceptional blast radius while the alternate fire resembles a shotgun. This is a great weapon to use in combination with your jet pack, having a nice view from the air and having the ability to rain death on ground units, hitting multiple targets at once and instantly crushing the weaker ones is an exciting experience. The engineers have a gun that shoots a constant stream of electricity and the dreadnought's mini gun has a protective shield that pops up around the gun as it's alternate fire. Firefall also allows players to switch between third and first person at anytime to tailor the experience to your preferable view style. The game's UI can be a bit confusing and hard to navigate and at times seems a bit impractical. I would like to say that this is due to the fact that Red 5 has designed the game to be utilized with a controllers, but unfortunately, though the controller is great for combat, it only seems to add more frustration when it comes to using the game's menus. Now lets not be overly unfair here, though navigating the menu in game with a controller may be wonky, its great that an MMO is working on a controller feature at all, this is especially nice for players with laptops whose only other option is to brave a shooter with a touch pad. It goes without saying that Firefall has a revolving door of bugs, it is in beta after all, and a game in beta should not be crucified for this. The good news is that Red 5 has been quick on the draw to fix any serious bugs and does their best to make sure that the players are enjoying their experience with the game.

Firefall is a beautiful game, and not just for an mmo. Seeing this game in motion on ultra settings never fails to impress. Even after all the time I've spent with this game I still find myself admiring the visuals as I pass a particularly great looking area on the map. Red 5 has done an outstanding job with the game's art style and bringing their vision of this massive world to life. In addition this game will run on pretty high settings even without a top of the line rig and will still look amazing to boot. The game features a day night cycle which certainly adds to immersion and I wouldn't advise it be removed but every time the sun goes down you find yourself waiting for its arrival once again so you get another chance at seeing the world the way it should look. The mob selection in the game is not the best I've seen, though its definitely not the worst. It would be a lot easier to appreciate some of the gorgeous areas if the game had a more diverse selection of enemies to hunt down while you explore it. Though there may not be as many monsters as you would like to fill full of lead (or plasma) the ones that you will encounter in Firefall are detailed and great looking. I especially enjoy the spider creatures which are quite reminiscent of the spiderants you will find in Borderlands. The community that Firefall has is also a real treat. Never have I seen such a nice and accepting group as the guys and gals that populate Firefall. People are so nice you will almost forget you are connected to the internet, and everyone is always willing to lend some advice. This is an intoxicating thing and you will find yourself going out of your way to help others as well, maybe even more than usual.

Overall for a game that is still in the middle of beta, Firefall has impressed and left quite an impression. Though content is not nearly where it needs to be for it to reach its maximum potential, there is still a lot of fun to be had with what Firefall currently offers. If you are able to look past the fact that the game is still in beta this is definitely a worth while treat for those who are fans of both the MMO and FPS genres. Red 5 has found that balance between competitive shooting and and quick action. The game has great flow and can be extremely hard to put down. For those of you that need a game to be very rich in content to hold your attention, waiting for the game to progress a bit might be the best thing for you. But once this game is released for all to enjoy I would recommend everyone give it a try. Oh, and did i mention Firefall will stay free to play?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Geeks on Games is back!

After a dead laptop and a long wait, I have updated to a high end desktop. More tips, guides and reviews are on the way, so stay tuned!