At the time of this post, I’ve been playing a whole lot of Insurgency. Though there are a lot of boosters for the new Day of Infamy mod from the community, I’m staying close to the base game for the fact I spent over 800 hours to get to this very moment. The very moment: “Bodycount X (Co-op) – Kill 100, 000 enemies.”

In many games now, there are accolades for accumulated kills. Like many games, they award in increments. In Insurgency as the X suggests, it’s the tenth one in the line of Bodycount  achievements. As much as I dislike games with an achievement grind, this one I cannot ignore. I want to have it because I’ve spent so much time invested into the game to not complete all the co-op achieves.

I can’t help relating to my predicament to reality. Achievements in life, especially recognized by others, are the hardest to receive. Hardest are for those who seek them rather than doing what they’re doing. When I first starting playing Insurgency, I thought I would give up around hour 250. I’m now coming close to 850 hours and the last couple years feel like nothing. I would say it’s a blur since I’ve been playing the same maps and the same game modes repetitively. I’ve been more or less racking in about an hour or two a day and only recently I’ve been pushing it to gain more kills. Much to my surprise in the past week, I’ve inched closer and closer. Start of 2016, I needed about 20k kills; I’m now almost halfway with a an estimate of a month to finish. After that, I’m not sure if I would play PvP to complete all the achievements.

Much in life, you have to keep doing what you love and your will be rewarded with something meaningful.


Going Through the Motions

The past week felt like a breath of fresh air. Ever since the start of Autumn, I have been really busy with a lot of developments in my personal life. For the most part, I’m sorting out the finer details of adulthood and finally feel committed to improve myself. Still have I not found a place I want to be just yet, but I hope the shotgun of requests will find a way to get me somewhere.

This year with more games on my Steam account, I’m starting to get a lot of game updates around autumn. Though I am more than happy to play through these games. I worry I might be losing steam (Pardon the pun) when it comes to recording new  gameplay for my YouTube channel. Regardless, I will not give up on my channel just yet. For now as more new content, I would like to get into multiplayer co-op matches if I find them. Beyond recording, I’m playing through the new content from Interstellar Marines update 14, though it’s limited. I’m still hooked on playing Star Trek Online and it’s Delta Rising content has left me playing an hour a day exploring the new end game. On the Insurgency front, the new Nightfall DLC looks interesting; at the moment of this post, I’ve taken a peak of it on release. I feel like I could record more if I could somehow get my hands on new games. For the moment, I’ll settle with what I can buy and download. Gaming on a budget has it’s downfalls.

With YouTube and the new stuff, I have lacked in exercise. I promised I would keep exercising but I want to do more then just push ups while I wait for videos to render. I want more than just the usual. I would join gym but at the moment, my finances does not accommodate a gym membership at the moment. Maybe having a running buddy would be even beneficial, if I had a friend who enjoyed exercise. I’ll keep trying to stay fit while the weather gets more forbidding.

For now the new things in my life has to take precedence over the stuff I’ve created the past 10 months. Though the old and new my clash, both from my point of view have a part into my future. The only question is how much and would it be good for me.

Change of Heart

Probably every gamer has experience that moment when they aren’t focused on playing from their favoured franchise. Recently I’ve come to that position again where I want to play something different. The “something” that doesn’t have to new features, but just a change in scenery like taking for a walk after being inside for the longest time. Putting aside wanting Grand Theft Auto V on PC or other overly sensationalized product requiring an internet connection, I started to look into places I rarely go but so familiar.

For most of the week, I’ve been looking into the Greenlight projects from Steam as well as browsing IndieDB, ModDB’s sister site, for game that are not looking for a spotlight on the popular PC service. At the moment, I’ve played one and waiting on two.

Last night, I spent a few hours in “On Guards and Thieves”. A small isometric shooter and stealth deathmatch game where players must defend or steal objects randomly generated on the map. I found the gameplay not heavily repetitive, it does become annoying since most of the community I was playing with was from foreign countries. If the adage “lag kills” is true, then you can easily assume correctly I was slaughtered regardless if I was a thief or a guard. Though both sides has advantages, it felt really one sided especially when one team possesses firearms while the other has nothing more than the weakest firearm in the game or a knife. “Never bring a knife to a gunfight”, well at least they were kind to let you choose. Though it seems they have a lot of planned features, the second game mode is survivor vs zombies; now this is the most unbalanced thing I’ve seen yet. I understand it’s still being developed, but the zombie horde is essentially the thieves with a knife-only rule while survivors are guards. Aside from multiple items, zombies hunt down one objective. No extra health for zombies so going toe-to-toe with a man and his machine gun makes it really difficult even when you have to turn off lights and stay hidden. definitely a revisit from me when they have made some additions and rebalances.

One I’ve been eyeing since I heard of it, Pulsar: The Lost Colony is likely something I might actually get when it’s on Steam. Simply put, Pulsar is if Star Trek: Bridge Commander and Star Trek: Elite Force combined; from the dev logs I’ve seen, it’s third person ship view and first person ground but there are stations around the ship to control. The game is slated to a 5 player co-op with classes to suit certain mechanics in the game. On top of this with your crew, you are responsible for a ship which will take you across the galaxy to meet, trade, and explore. With the recent developer diary, there is a likely chance for ship customization and additional graphical changes. However it’s probably a tough sell up against Stonehearth.

Stonehealth a a bit of city management and RTS. From what I’ve seen from their official YouTube channel, you can create your own buildings and train units specifically for certain classes. From what I’ve seen, there is less focus on combat; though it could be a secret on what certain creatures you encounter in this Cubeworld-like game. A strong contender for me for the fact it involves building something and I have yet found a good city management game for myself. Post script; must be free or cheap on Steam. But either of these are the top games I want; they both appeal to me for either a co-op or city management while likely being no so costly in the pockets and light on the hard drive. Okay, maybe Pulsar might be a bit heavier due to graphics; but I still want to play it.

Until next time, my wish list is going to grow…and grow…and grow.

Inside the Lost Sector

Most of the time when I try and find a new game, recently I use websites from to find something new, different or a spin on some other games. Awhile back on Steam I found Frontline Tactics; a turn based strategy where you are in command a squad of soldiers to quell a terrorist group in an arid region. Aside from the the tile hybrid mechanics of moving to a square and the modern art style, there is nothing really to set it apart from any strategy game.

This week I found one called Lost Sector or Lost Sector Online. It’s in the alpha stage with a English translation which is fairly understandable. The game is a turn based strategy focused on PVP and PVE combat. The premise revolves around a civil war after another war through the city of Broxton into chaos; you as a citizen of this city is primarily to just kill people. The storyline isn’t flushed out for the game but I assume they kept it open ended for people to roleplay their own stories.

Aspects of the gameplay are highly similar to other MMORPG’s; you level up and unlock new weapons to buy. On top of this, the idea of looting and upgrading weapons is spectacularly the same; you need special items to improve your weapons and items, which costs time or money – this case, money. When you start out the tutorial is fairly short, spanning one mission which lasts a few minutes to let you get familiar to camera controls, movement and combat mechanics. After moving to the exit zone of the tutorial, it takes you to a city map which displays PvP zones and enemy encounters you can have as well as their level requirements to enter these instance; for the most part, this screen seems to facilitate in finding safe zones to heal in and find certain instances. Here’s where the MMORPG component comes in play. Within the safe zones, you can interact with other players. There is not trading facility so trading is dealt peer to peer within safe zones. In the first safe zone you encounter, you are treated to a very large map that the game calls The Factory which contains the basic necessities to play through the low levels PvE encounters. NPC’s in this zone are placed distant from each other so it does require a fair amount of in-map travelling which is moderately slow considering the time to traverse the map would be about 30-50 seconds. These safe zones serve as a lobby essentially with the ability to browse the local shops for medical supplies, hire mercenaries and armaments.

In the first 5 levels, I noticed a few things about the combat which seem to be troublesome. When you jump into a PVE instance, you see the basic interface you would see in most FPS adapted to the RPG genre. You have your active weapon, ammo, radar and the active aid items you have assigned to your character. As a turn begins, you have about 3 minutes to use your action points. Actions points (AP) resupply every turn and are used for movement and actions like switching weapons and opening loot bags. At any time you walk into sight range to an enemy, movement is interrupted which allows you to take alternate action if you want to take it. It seems the sight range for these encounters are line of sight where your character can see them directly. When attacking there seems to be an interesting mechanic to it. You get a few options when attacking which can be switched with the Q and E keys; these actions are mostly either a high damage and high AP costing attacks, moderate damage with moderate AP use and a melee which is the lowest amount of AP with a very low damage output. When you have a action selected, you see the cone of fire, accuracy and AP cost for the attack. At a certain range either too close or too far, the accuracy and damage is reduces respectively. You pretty much rinse and repeat until you finish the instance. I’ve tried quitting an instance but it seems at the moment in alpha, there is no way to exit combat – not even if you quit the game since you start from where you left off. Also in combat the only winning factors is who fires first and who does the most damage which get troublesome when you get to level 3 when you are forced to play against the AI in a 3 on 6 or in some cases 3 on 7 with a powerful mob that can tank 3 sniper rounds attacks.

At the moment the game isn’t fully translated and has a lot to improve upon. The community is also very Russian so you would hardly encounter English speaking players. The server is apparently in located in Russia and coming from an indie developer, the server lags during prime time around 2-7 PM EST. Definitely kind of a fun game to pick up and play casually. If you do and you find a “Shooter90”, feel free to add me!

Until next time, keep on fragging!

Frontline Tactics–Modern warfare at one turn at a time.

Steam’s free-to-play category is filling up every so slowly with new game titles. Looking through it and finding games to play, I decided to playing Frontline Tactics. It’s a recent addition to the store, but a fun and challenging one. With single player, multiplayer and co-op elements; the game does require strategic thinking and planning which makes every move and important one. 

If you’re playing on PC, the 1.03 version is way below the 300mb size when installed onto your computer making this very lightweight in terms of storage. Textures in-game are low quality but are detailed to illustrate the environment around your units and the units themselves are detailed to recognize some of the stats they represent. Installed and ready to go, you have the opportunity to register an account in game to use the game server for co-op and multiplayer.

In single player, you can build up your units through missions. Gaining credits in missions, for every win you also become one win closer to unlocking something. That something is four things; credits, single player maps, game modes, and more units. Under single player mode, you get 4 random missions to choose to play. The maps at the beginning are very small map. After 5 wins or completed missions, you are offered and unlock which you can choose out of 2 tiers which can be unlocked in any order you choose them from. As you progress, the missions will randomly generate based on what game modes you have unlocked and enemies will generate based on units you own. For example, if you have a unit with A weapon and another unit with B weapon; the AI will be equipped with weapons A and B. So when your units get decked out with all the highest level items, the enemy units will spawn a variety of weapons that you have at your disposal. The units you make in single player can be carried over in multiplayer and co-op so the rifleman you’ve been building can used in co-op. To get more weapons and abilities, you have to unlock them by spending credits and credits are gain through the co-op and single player modes by completing missions which sounds simple, but after awhile the cost of everything goes up and it starts to be more of a money farm. Of course, the game shop sells credits for real life currency.

In the multiplayer; there are only two modes, co-op and VS mode. VS mode is straight on an elimination match between x amount of units from player 1 and x amount of units from player 2. From the looks of it, not much in terms of balancing at of version 1.03 so you can potentially find yourself at a loss when you enter one of these games. Upside to this game mode is currently there are no rewards given for these matches. It’s kind of like a practice PvP kind of deal, only thing you get out of it is the pride of winning against someone. Cooperative mode is a mix up with single player and multiplayer. You have a randomly chosen game mode and map, under public co-op you are also partnered with a random player as well. The deal breaker is even on larger maps, each player is restricted to 3 units while single player allows up to 9 units (so far).

Overall, the game is pretty fast pace for a turn based strategy especially when it comes down to playing with people who are actually online and not just checking in for moves and such. The game on Steam seems very new so there is potential for additional content if the developers want to make more. Also the price of zero dollars and zero cents makes it a nice little addition to your list of games on your Steam account which is also free. If you’re into the whole modern warfare thing and turn based strategy, I would recommend trying this game.

See you all in-game!

Ding dong, you’re dead!

Start of the week is pretty incredible considering I received on Steam Ghost Recon: Future Soldier from Ubisoft. Well it wasn’t a gift from Ubisoft, but was a gift from someone I know not relating to games and stuff of that nature. Anyways, got home on Monday after eating turkey and pie to get down to killing stuff.

So I downloaded it, which took about an hour or two to finish. Not surprising now games are about 6GB and onward (either we’re going to need free internet or smaller games), so a popped that install button and just let her run until I was done. After that, I had to go through the whole process of getting a Ubisoft account. Which I was not amused and not at all surprised, this stupid thing about client-ception has to stop. Sorry Ubisoft, went with this on EA and I’m not at all enthusiastic with the whole “we haz own social thingy” concept. To me, it’s a company self-esteem issue. But back to topic, I got the game, got an account and started it up.

I did play Advanced Warfighter 2 a long time ago and I was pretty happy with some if not all the features in the game at the time, but this really takes the cake. I’m all for weapon attachments so it does make me feel good that I can customize my weapons as I play through the single. No spoilers but you do get more stuff as you do the singleplayer, which is great. I haven’t played through the whole campaign, but I can safely say I have attached myself to several attachments and certain weapons for certain times. Once again no spoilers, but safe to say I have 3 favourite attachments plus a few weapons I already like to keep around just of the way the weapon stats are, you can really have a weapon for anything.

For those people who are into the textures, graphics and pretty colours; graphics are pretty great. Especially if you have the latest DirectX drivers, you can really experience some of the most detailed models I’ve seen so far. To put it simply, the colour palette is a mix of Battlefield 3 for weapons and the environment of a Modern Warfare 3 campaign map. You experience darkness and different weather environments as closely replicated, the mix really does provide a sense of mood and speed to the game at certain parts (once again…no spoilers).

Gameplay does keep it to the original Ghost Recon games I’ve seen and tried. The elite soldier with the most high tech gear sent to kill the baddies. Many tried their way of setting that up for you, but this turns it into a bit of a strategy and less of a juggernaut situation like the last level of Modern Warfare 3. Cover is important, stealth is important, speed and creativity is important. Though I’m on easy mode, I’m still getting shot up pretty hard. Likely the fact that I’m more of an up close and personal kind of person when it comes to assaulting positions. One thing I really found hard to really grasp is the whole coordinating with the team and time. Most of the game allows you to be the best modern ninja but you have to really time it right to avoid those few baddies standing about. Though the levels are fairly linear, it does provide a lot of ways to approach objectives which does change up play one way or another. Ever since I played Battlefield 3, I loved the idea of stealth kill animations. In Future Soldier, there is no shortage of times when I would just approach from behind and whisper sweet death with the back of a rifle, a bullet to the head or a quick snap of the neck. Plays like an RTS version of chess, you have to think of your next move before your opportunity passes. And you are always outnumbered on the board about many to 4. Controls are pretty easy to adjust to after you notice there is no jumping, usually some people hate it but I like the fact you can’t dodge bullets like a bunny. However I did find myself in certain situations where I need the interface to be much more precise. Example #1: Stealth kill behind cover. Example #2: Switching gadgets. First off, it’s really hard to do the whole “ding dong, you dead” move while undercover, I’ve tried many times and only a few times I really pulled it off. Most of the time my guy just jumps out like it was a birthday cake to reveal his position to the guy I’m trying to stealth kill. Just makes it worse when I can get killed in a harder difficulty if it was a harder difficult. The controls are great, no denying it makes my hand happy to the fact that I don’t have to extend or contract my hand too far to reach of things I need. However the whole switching between 3 things with a mouse wheel is difficult especially when it’s an asset that makes noise or a very important asset you don’t want to spend too quickly in a stealth shooter. Too many times I’ve threw grenades when I wanted to throw a sensor down. The game should really reinforce the fact you can use the number keys to switch or just make the HUD a bit better in terms of really telling you’re really using. The HUD is a HUD, styled for the game but very minimal. Outputs just tell you weapons, ammo, gadgets and any mission/control info about the weapon. I like that it doesn’t obstructs the view so I don’t have to move around too much to see what I’m up against. The AI is pretty great on both sides, since they do take cover and do their best to avoid getting shot. Though sometimes they do the darnedest things. In the game, you’re given optical camouflage which you can use to move without being detected but at a certain distance, you can be detect (which is about a good 5 metres in front of the baddy). At certain points of the game I’ve seen my allies literally walk right in front of them without being detected. Either that AI was dumb to notice a blurry crouched man or my camo is way more inferior. Good balance overall even in easy mode to make me die or fail a few missions. In real life if there were Ghosts like these, I would be hitting that “Reset to last Checkpoint” at least five times before the mission ended.

From trailers and previews I’ve seen, the multiplayer is fairly much deathmatch. Kill each other, that’s about it. I really wanted the game for the co-op considering the “Guerrilla Mode” is something that intrigues me. Essentially bottom line it plays like a singleplayer campaign (I think the campaign also has co-op too), but you go through rounds of enemies like any other co-op. Just survive until you have to infiltrate another building and repeat. To me, this is new. Usually you’re given the building and you have to hold it out. With this, you get to do it yourself then to survive more baddies. At a certain point after those baddies are eliminated, you get goodies like sentry guns and stuff (according to the Ubisoft video clips). So far, I want to finish the singleplayer as fast as I can and then move to Guerrilla mode as soon as possible. Which means maybe have a Fun Friday in Ghost Recon, I’m totally okay with that.

So for anyone wanting to get the game, want me to join in on a “let’s play” or want to join in on Fun Friday in Ghost Recon. I’m not sure when I’ll be done the singleplayer. But from the feel of the game, I’m just over halfway. I’m taking names for anyone who are willing to play the co-op campaign or Guerrilla mode. You can find me in-game as “nawkcire”. If you like, leave a comment about the game and/or your screen name below and I’ll get back to you.

Well, back to my diet of cola and games. See you all next week!

America’s Army 3.3–Now with co-op kinda

Recently an update to America’s Army added their largest map yet and the beginning of their co-op mode features. As a long time former player of their old 2.x game and AA3, I gave it a chance (yet again) and play through the new content. To my surprise aside from the account wipe, I enjoy the gameplay despite the servers hosting the same game types repetitively and without bias; hint to things to come.

Before we get gritty with the new stuff, here’s what I know so far for playing this game for about five or so years. You play as a U.S. Army soldier sent to a fictional country with a Soviet-like atmosphere. From what it seems, the country starts to become unstable and the United States is called upon to render aid to the country. A couple old maps return to be part of the whole open-ended story. You go from training to combat in about hour. Honing on fitness, marksmanship and weapons familiarity. Summing the the tutorials to easy pieces to help get the feel for the game. Along with the Basic need to know, you receive additional training which allows the use of some additional equipment like a first aid kit to heal teammates and optics for your weapons. You can play without the training, but you would only be privy to getting the basic gear to get moving.

Now that we have that squared away, lets get into the new stuff; the co-op. So how AA has set it up is a co-op with a competitive mode added after a certain threshold has reached. Meaning you can play through the AI specified levels as one team until the server decides the threshold has reached to split the teams; more meat on that in a bit. A large step with co-op they made a large step by adding Airfield, a long open stretch airfield where the objective is to capture and deliver a target to the extraction zone. Currently, I’ve seen only the carried objective where you carry a briefcase to the area and the escort VIP to the same area. So right down to it; you spawn on one end, fight your way to the middle, grab what you need, fight your way to the other side. Kind of disappointed so I tried the other maps with the same layout; start east, move to middle, grab, move west, win. Now the AI on the other hand makes it more of a challenge than the previous incarnation since they do react and move in a certain way to allow them to survive much longer and aside from shooting at you, they do throw grenades of the smoke and fragmentation variety. Also the AI are given spawns in this map to allow them the opportunity to flank the human team to keep them on their toes. Due to the layout of the map being long and relatively flat; the AR (Automatic Rifle) and their M249 SAW is at a disadvantage. The game currently doesn’t boast a bipod for this beast, so accuracy is only limited to about 100 metres and any kills is fairly pray and spray. The advantageous roles are the others which essentially are riflemen with their M16 and M4 carbines loaded with the optics of your choice. Because it’s semi-automatic, range is fairly admirable especially with the ACOG 2x optics which is unlocked through training; making any rifle a designated marksman rifle. However the DMR (Designated Marksman Rifleman?) has the biggest advantage in the entire map when it comes to range. Equipped with a ACOG 4x, the M16 for this roles is powerful. Which provides a more role dominated gameplay considering CQC is fairly nonexistent and even with room clearing, most of it can be done with semi-automatic on.

Competitive co-op provides a storyline twist and adds a PvP element to the game. Along with the enemy force to fight against represented by the AI, rogue elements represented by players have the same objective as your team. However it’s not the usual death match where you go down, you stay down; with the MEDAVAC system where tapping out will place in you in a queue with 4 others to back up the current forces on the ground. So you keep spawning in until the round is over. Which is a major plus to keep playing, however with a big drawback. To enlist on this queue, you sacrifice losing your current weapon and a chance to receive a different role and weapon. In my opinion, it’s kind of a downer since as you read the M249 machine gun is the weakest in most of the gameplay for Airfield. Other maps however like Ranch and Bridge, the M249 would have more of an edge. Back to the competitive co-op aspect, it’s kind of a trick to get people to play PvP. Have they even considered people want to just have a co-op? Also it’s not necessarily co-op if players are playing against players. Probably just me, but the combination doesn’t mix well. It’s a good concept to look into, but at the moment and bias I don’t really enjoy it.

Overall the new content is great but much to improve especially adding CQB maps and some way to steady the machine gun for longer distances. Also the gameplay is linear so likely seeing many objectives would go far. Like a mix of escort and capture and hold or escort and briefcase/intel gathering, or just have random objectives pop up and once finished to add more time to the round and do the next objective. For now, I will server hop to just play the co-op.

If I ask, would it come? In dire need of a co-op game!

The topic has landed more than once on my blog, but I really wish I could stop saying “oh, it’s like the other game”. Perhaps someone from the game industry could stumble upon this and maybe be inspired to make it happen. Though most games have a teamwork concept and commendable it is; needs more than just zombies, powerful AI and grouping systems.

If I could, I would do just more than provide a mediocre stamped on experience in coop. In fact, I would throw challenges in there as a reminder there’s x amount of players and much overwhelming horde wanting to rip them up. Though I can understand the pointin a casual coop and it’s fun and all, but considering all obstacles and the only change is the NPC; I would want it feel like a multiplayer rather a lean back with people who knows what will come next. Unlikely an indie studio would pick up AI programmers to make them super smart, but ambition breeds possibilities. And rather one ultimate goal and all you would do is shoot your way through, random challenges or game events that slows the players down. Harder wouldn’t mean more fun but it a set up to more ideas like puzzle elements in a shooter and not just any puzzle. Something to give the brainy and brawny players, puzzles that would require thinking or working as a cohesive unit. Having players pushing a blinking button is not really engaging, it’s just a game mechanic to have someone watch your back. However if the button broke and the player had to figure out a bypass to make the button work makes an interesting play. This could expanding to have various puzzles or events linked for a larger grander puzzle. Sounds like I’m leaving the shooting out of this, I am; the combat mechanic is not really affected. Sure making the puzzle to require a set of actions to work, but have the team split to cover the buttons isn’t really teamwork; that’s cannon fodder. If that would be the case, it is better to have it as a singleplayer game.

By designing systems to change up the base would keep players moving and not just remaining stationary unless the game wants them to defend something. There has to be more than that; in terms of combat, zombie games like Dead Frontier has it right. Limitations for players to overcome but it shouldn’t be too overwhelming restriction or advantage. Limiting ammo is one thing, but too little or too much would just turn into a DPS-fest or a shoot or scoot mentality depending on ammo count. It is acceptable, I like the idea but like cooking, needs more salt. Of course, restricting the use of certain ammo over the rest is a start and weight to prevent a Doom scenario (carrying more than you could compared to real life). I was thinking something inspired by America’s Army, weapon jams. They would be random, but it forces to player to find cover to fix it. Far Cry has something similar for weapon deterioration, but only great if you had an MMO with a repair system. Just weapon jams; imagine you firing away taking everyone then…click, weapon jams. While we are at it, the jams would require the use of an unbound key and the key would be difference. Not necessarily a QTE (quick time event) but more a tactical event where the player would have think quick to find cover and then resolve the malfunction. And maybe for a sci-fi game, weapon malfunctions would be different in terms of sounds or handling to notify the player of a malfunction. Of course this is a puzzle, but probably the easiest compared what I listed below.

Since we are on the subject of combat mechanics, low health. I’m talking, you could die even at 100%. A couple good shots in the right place could incapacitate requiring players to be revived by teammates. This is very common, not new; but now the ballsy thing I would like to see, self revive actions. Say everyone is down and no one can revive, game is over. Now the proposal is more than just have an item to self revive, a QTE where the player fights a death timer while rapidly hitting a button rapidly, kind of like getting injured and you bandage yourself. In this case, players would have time against them before having to deal with a failure. However for this to be a challenge, the timer would be extremely short to prevent easy self revives. Most annoying thing in games that I tolerate is debuffs and permanent debuffs until an action is taken. That is not fun, but it provides a workflow challenge where you have to consider healing up or try and fight them off. Simples example and likely common one, poison to drop health. Now permanent debuff is a bit of pain where players would take more damage or slows them down. Maybe idea for FPS’s is hitbox specific debuffs like shot in the arm, or bruised stomach. And these would involve debuffs to either lower overall HP or hinders performance or both. Would make sense to bleed to death than tanking a lot of damage.

Like I promised, here are some ideas I have for puzzles.
-wire cutting, think of old school “red wire/blue wire” but with tools to help determine which to cut
-puzzles where one end must be connect to another
-hidden tools that could be made to do something else though removing it would be a puzzle in itself without injuring your a puzzle within a puzzle
-anything utilizing the player’s environment; build towers of debris to get high places, using a wall panel likea shield, able to connect objects with duct tape to make a long pointy stick etc.

If you have ideas of stuff that would be great in a co-op game, feel free to leave me a comment. What would you want if a game solely on co-op?

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Mass Effect 3 Demo – Review

The recent demo edition to BioWare’s sci-fi adventure, was release on Valentine’s Day. I snagged it to take a quick peak into the Mass Effect universe, to only find the traditional RPG with a twist.

Starting out wary for my system specs, I dove head first into the single player demo. First off the bat, I wasn’t really impressed by the texturing. Seems really flat; of course the developers expressed ridges of clothing and such, likely just hardware or software limitations on how far they can push the engine to render. With everything maxed out, I was just hoping it would be more stunning than it led on. The demo takes you through two parts of the story to exemplify the roleplay dialogue in cutscenes to the contrasting fast pace combat. Scrambling to move cover to cover is somewhat hard when being shot at from all sides; but when it comes moving to cover to cover, there are plenty of it from walls to columns and the occasional desk here and there. Though indestructible, they come very handy in co-op play. Not much to really comment on it, just your usual single-player in third person.

The co-op experience is a nice touch to the game. In simplest terms, it’s one of those zombie wave deals; but with guns. With the two maps on hand, both provide the level of gameplay I think they want to release; a bit of long range and CQC (Close Quarter Combat). Weapon selection at first seems grim, but all the defaults. You got your usual weapons (despite the nomenclature.) Your know? Sniper rifles, assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, shotguns and submachine pistols (would be submachine “gun” but it seems the character stance in using them are similar to pistols;) anything under the rain in “Mass Effect” form. It pains me to say it, the recoil and damage seems to reflect on the advantages the weapons provide; so no automatic pistol sniper grenade rifle. Though I am hopeful this isn’t the “final” release candidate. The shotgun does have a spread, however it seems like it targets one NPC. Certain pistol upgrades change up the sidearm to a handheld sniper rifle and with the right skills, it can be comparatively the same if not better. Aside from bickering the about the arsenal, the cover system needs a bit of a change considering actions and taking cover is the same button (default the space bar…yes, no bunny hopping). Though the art in it is its simplicity since the only buttons you really use is WASD, keyboard numbers for skills and offhands, the obvious R button for reload. To encourage teamplay, the niftiness of seeing through walls where your teammates helps considering no map or compass is provided to navigate. Then again these things would be overkill so the game forces you to run through blind spots to link up with your buddies unless it’s a wide open space and they’re crouching behind the only cover. What’s disappointing though I mentioned about the cover system is there is little to no incentive for cover besides a really quick way to get your shield to regenerate. Of course from what I’ve seem, there is a bit of a weapons accuracy increase though it would have more in terms of intrinsic purposes. Though it would make sense to be exposed to give it some challenges.

Definitely not innovative nor impressive, but it terms of it’s entertainment value; it’s seems rather fun despite the two maps I have to play over and over again. Hopefully the full release will have more than three or four considering on the easiest difficulty setting, it would take under 20 minutes to finish. Maybe a good idea to put the hatred of the Origins content service aside for this one.

Boots on the ground, eyes out…

If you read my last entry, you wouldn’t find it a surprise. Though I will likely drone on about this topic a few times before I stop. I’m just so excited after a few days settling into Battlelog and setting up my account to play co-op and (after co-op) multiplayer. But lets go back around Friday and start our story there.

After much deliberation, I decided on getting my sister a present. Because of how things have been going for her, it would be a small feat in the whole picture. “What to get her?” I thought. A few red flags popped into my mind considering I’m not too sure about her likes and dislikes. Likely a gift card would be pretty lame. A CD or DVD would be hard to find since I’m not too sure what she would want, same for soap or some hygiene product (I feel awkward walking into a Body Shop or Lush, also it would make me the only dude there which would make it even uncomfortable). So out of options I just began looking around at game stores downtown. First the usual electronic haunts, then I realized she never really owned a video game before. So with that in mind, I wanted to give her something that may interest her. I know she’s pretty fond of FPS games, which saved me tons of time. Long story short, wait for Modern Warfare 3 or get Battlefield 3? So I began looking around and seeing what I would want and what she would want. Of course, there was bias to this decision since I really wanted a Battlefield game than a Call Of Duty game (I can always wait for Call Of Duty, never really had nice freebies anyways…except if you pay over $100 for the Prestige Edition). So BF3 it was; no surprisingly, I went back to Best Buy for their last two copies. Out of stock, really? First my Touchpad and now this? Future Shop the. I looked at the monstrous game shelf by the latest software of 2011/2012, not sure if they’re out of stock or they don’t have it. By now, I’m desperate so I went to EB Games at Eatons. Guess what? Yeah, out of stock. My outlook on this hunt was grim. Luckily the guy knew there was a Gamestop across the street. Yes, a promising lead. For being Yonge Street, it’s got a nice streak of having this game out of stock; bring it to a total of 4 shops with not a single copy in sight. Called a buddy up for suggestions; “…did you try Game Shack?”, “Game Shack?”. He instructed me it was located in the Bay Atrium. How did I not remember this place?! I always pass by it and never really noticed it. Walked in and stood in line while 3 people check out on some movies and some Wii(k…get it, Wii-k?) games. Luckily that insanity of a console wasn’t in everyone’s mind, guy in front of me had a PS3 game released awhile ago; bless his heart. So as almost like an urgent little kid waiting in line at a candy store, “You guys have BF3?!” Oh so calmly, “Limited Edition or BF3?”. I was hysterical since they had both. Quest complete! Bought two copies and got the hell out of there. I went home pretty happy, though it was late. I waited for the right time to really give a copy to my sister. Saturday, lets wait Sunday; until then, lets run the game for the first time…Campaign…Hard difficulty. I did it in 10 hours, according to Origin. Sunday morning, I realized a flaw in my plan. Modern Warfare is out on Tuesday. Damnit, I have to make it an early birthday present just in case my sister plans on getting Modern Warfare by mistake! Called her up to hang out and as we left her place, I whipped it out like a BAMF and said “Happy Birthday!” Her smile was good enough for me.

So now Tuesdays, I’ve been persuading her to get her computer back so she can play. I did promise her that I would play co-op with her only if she finishes the singeplayer at least once (on hard mode, if she wanted. She insisted easy, I am disappoint.) So now I’m just persuading her to get it back so she can get all her Limited Edition perks before it’s too late. For those who don’t know beside the Act Of Valor promo dog tags; you get 2 variants of the M1911 pistol (suppressed and tac light) and 2 Mass Effect dogtags. Not a bad deal, I would’ve went with the preorder. But I think the M249 is satisfactory for me, though I wish they added the P226 pistol in there as well. So what now, Eric? Well, we wait. We all have to wait. Well you can wait until the next blog while I go play singleplayer again for the shear fun. Also made a challenge to do the whole thing without dying. Hard even on easy but it’s possible.

Once I run through co-op with my sibling once, then all you can have a piece of in the multiplayer. Yup, call out all the BF3 players reading this. Lets play some BF3 sometime…in 2 weeks or so. Also, I’ve set a new email address for anyone who wishes to contact me. I don’t like people using my personal address so I’m sending you guys to a specially made one; not because I don’t like you, I like you in a platonic way. And on this momentous occasion, lets be friends and play online sometime in Battlefield.

You guys can contact me here. Just leave you nickname in the space. If you don’t have a email client, just go to with the subject headline “Re:Boots on the ground, eyes out…” I’ll add you guys when I get a chance to. Probably see me on and off online until my sister starts playing; after that, we can go murdering some people on Operation Metro or something. If you are super mega lazy or doesn’t care who adds you, post in the comments.

Also if you got feedback or want to send me ideas or opinions to talk about, feel free to do so at that email address.

Going back to my campaign carnage, until next time!

Update: OH SH*T I have a present from Steam? ❤