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!


Avast! You haven’t failed me…yet

My previous post cover a snippet of my distrust in Symantec and it’s pursuit for a powerful method of mitigating viruses. Though I do have faith they can do just that, however in terms of protecting my computer  a change in preference would be a good change of pace. After a good four your run with many reformats and blunders updates and service problems, I kicked the good old anti-viral friend to the curb.

Enter stage left, Avast! After spending much time looking around for a free alternative and non-pirated version with the aspects of what Symantec use to make me pay for, I landed on this little gem. At the time, it wasn’t so special since it was like any other AV I’ve been trying around. Given, some columnists fear the ill-protected freeware would never overshadow it’s paid brothers and sister. I think Avast can officially prove them wrong. Even from the start, I was hesitant at first considering I was a skeptical young lad. I took a leap of faith into CNET’s repository of system utilities bring back some knowledge I still hold high as a gamer and an avid computer user.

From what I can remember, Symantec was just a small company. One program with a few utilities here and there. Largest of them was their anti-virus product. Back in the day, they guaranteed unlimited updates until your product expires a year later. Until the day, you would receive program updates along with your virus definition files which update almost every week. Wasn’t so bad after the whole worm scare jumped across the evening news. However this Symant-uphoria wouldn’t last long. After my program expired, everything just went haywire. First started with the consistent update reminder, “Please, buy my newer brother version 2009!” Every hour went by it kept nagging me, “Come on, buy version 2009… I can’t protect you without a new look!” Soon, it just gave up and said “Well, fine…virus be damn, opening the flood gates!” And there was the moment, the definition files started to not really protect me at all. Surely, it would do an much as it could. The viruses keep coming out of the woodwork that by the time I decided for a full system wipe, most of my desktop was under quarantine. All the work I had on it, saved as much as I could before I let CCleaner do it’s thing and end this misery. Even that, I had to rewrite the whole drive to ensure everything is gone. Once I reinstalled XP with the little icons I have on my computer; I realized, “here we go again.”

Symantec did do it’s job until it went mafia boss on my computer. Providing a means of boot scanning and speedy computer scans at my whim. But the new contender which stepped up had an added bonus, passive scanning. Huzzah, no need to initial a full system scan when I’m suspicious. Though with minor drawbacks I can live with such as a slow thorough scan, it covers most of my needs before I had a chance to really find out. Prominent features from Avast I really like having around is it’s “shields”. Most particularly it’s P2P, Web and File System shields considering I use all three all the time. Compared to Symantec at the time, would just offer a file system protection service which would always scan files and have the option to ramp up or down the sensitivity of the scan. For the price of nada, Avast can do most of the user required tasks that Symantec use to do such as detecting and executing quarantine instructions. Comes in handy if you’re shouting over TeamSpeak when your computer suddenly alerts you. Speaking of alerts; unlike nostalgic Symantec, Avast allows you to control all auditory alerts with a Game Mode to pretty much shut up everything unless your computer’s going to die from a virus. Symantec had the same rudimentary functions to learn and keep quiet, but that was way to simple to use. As a numbers type of person, it’s comforting to know what my programs are up to especially one which my save my desktop from a computer cataclysm. And not to forget the “cloud” updates which (from my comprehension)updates virus definition files when other users submit virus samples. In a not-so-creepy and helpful way, a lot of anonymous Avastees (Awesome, we’re a clique of people now!) have protected me for all these years compared to the many analysts in an office pumping out updates when paid to do so. Now as one of the world’s best, I can safe to say as an Avast hipster…I used it before it was cool.

Of course many people had different experiences with it. Don’t take my word for it, go ahead and try it. It’s pretty much sold anywhere; from Best Buy to Wal-mart, you’ll find it like a large yellow piece of candy. I’m not necessarily pro-Avast, however I do support free utilities over the paid competitors. With years just downloading all the free software that I need, I never had to really spend a dime.

Back to Yonge-Dundas Square on a later Saturday afternoon. When the employee asked “so, do you use Symantec?”, I gave him the “are you mad?!” look (in emoticons, the closest would be this: o.O). With that very moment, flooded bad memories using Symantec and looking back all this time flip-flopping on AV programs. I simply and proudly answered “No” and a “thanks for the lanyard and free stuff though.”

Thanks Symantec for the free stuff I found!