23

11/12

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

2:46 pm by admin. Filed under: Uncategorized

Earlier last week, the Games Convention capped with a sweet, sweet preview of the much anticipated (possibly the most anticipated) game of the year – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It’s vacillated between near completion to utter cancellation – yes, we we’re referring to that release on the Windows platform.

The previews are in and the entire gaming world is shaken in utter ruins or pure excitement. But is the game any good?

In this post, we’ll look at the game’s salient features, how it steps up in the grandeur that has become of Hideo Kojima’s brainchild and the possible release dates for console game addicts the world over.

 

The Gun and the Blade

We wish this could well have been a simple reference to the eponymous weapon of another fond childhood myth, but it isn’t. It’s the direction that Konami, alongside game developer Platinum Games are taking the latest iteration of what has possibly become the most sophisticated game series of the last twenty years.

Initially billeted as Metal Gear 5, where we follow the exploits and bravado of The Boss and her allies, instead, in Revengeance, we play as Raiden. Fans of the series will remember him best as the white cyborg who’d slain a Metal Gear Ray using nothing but his blade.

In this game, he’s been badly dinged up by an army of similar cyborgs. Snatched from the jaws of certain death, he’s now shrouded in black armor that (annoyingly) needs constant charging in order to unleash his inner demons.

Hideo Kojima narrated that this game is set a few years after Guns of the Patriot and nearly a decade after Solid 2. From there, Raiden picks up the pace as the shadow that he was, the briefly playable ninja a few games ago.

 

Classic is the New Sexy

            What caught us by surprise was the game’s rather strong departure from its roots. Admittedly, the series forced us to think outside the box in terms of balancing speed, accuracy and secrecy; the game publishers are adamant that the same elements are there. It’s just the flavor that’s changed.

While the rest of the series was a careful study in stealth and agility, this one elevates (or denigrates) stealth into hunting. Raiden uses his speed and stealth to close in on his enemies and attempts to disable them long before he’s been detected.

After each mission, there’s still the same S ranking but the entire physics of the game have changed, according to Platinum Games. Everything; and they do mean everything can be cut down (except of course, pillars and entire walls).

New features also include bullet time (Max Payne much?) and the ability to parry and counter in a blink of an eye. These will hopefully set the game apart from similar hack and slash titles (like Devil May Cry).

 

As the Crow Flies

            If we’re honest – we like MGS so much – that all the seemingly niggling doubts and quibbles become just that: little flaws we can easily embrace and forgive. When the botched co-op mode from Peace Walker made it to the shelves, the sheer intensity of the game was its saving grace.

With this hack and slash stealth game – slated to be released by Christmas for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 – we don’t get it. We see no point in the departure; we see no reason for the game’s so-called revolution.

Platinum maintains that this game is aimed for the younger, newer generations of console gamers. If the rest of us MGS fans are consigned into history books or left to rot in the dust bins – there’s always the Hugh Jackman and Metal Gear movie waiting for us.

20

11/12

On Freud, Steroids and Red Bull: Borderlands 2 Reviewed

12:11 pm by admin. Filed under: Uncategorized

While we sit in anguish and wait for (possibly the last) iteration of the Call of Duty franchise on the console (at least for this generation’s models), we find what is arguably the most intelligent, most compelling first-person-shooter on the console today.

Yes, dear reader. Everyone’s favorite first-person-shooter role-playing game returns once again; in all its cell-shaded blood and gore is back. But is it any good? We find out.

 

One More Run at Pandora

            Borderlands 2, one of the season’s most anticipated games comes back to the PS3 and the X-box 360. The game is set about five years from the events of the last game. We wake up to find our slew of Vault Hunters surviving a massive train crash, elegantly orchestrated by Handsome Jack.

From there, the story moves on to the consequent destruction of the rest of Pandora and the eminent rise of the archetypal rebel force called the Crimson Raiders. While the graphics has retained the graphic novel look, the storyline and the characterization (the two weakest links of the 2009 cult classic) have been much improved. There’s an actual story here and the sarcastic catch-phrases (even from the Bandits) are worth more than the price of admission.

In this game, we still play as any of the four Vault Hunters (with a fifth one available only through exclusive downloads). The, uh, handsome brute that was once Brick is replaced by the steroid-pumping, Freudian-cliché berserker, called Salvador who has the ability to wield any two guns in a haze of bloodlust and drugs.

Roland assumes command of the Crimson Raiders and is replaced by Axton, somewhat a cross between Metal Gear’s Solid Snake and that midget from Metal Slug. Another siren, Maya is still up for grabs. Mordecai, the elite sniper from the original now appears as a non-playable character. In his place stands Zer0, billeted as “The Number” whose action skill causes massive imbalance on the battlefield.

 

Gunslingers’ Galore

            The game still uses an intelligent system to constantly spawn a wide number of guns taken from any number of possible combinations of attributes such as weapons damage, reload speed and recoil. Gearbox even had to invent a whole new number to describe the number of shotguns, rifles, pistols and SMGs available from the six gun-running companies (from our early testing, we find anywhere between 17 to 35 million possible guns).

As in the original, the genius of the game lies on the sheer number of possible character builds. Gearbox also introduced various elemental weapons that can help even the worst blokes make short work of the tougher boss battles.

 

Plan a Weekend

            Borderlands 2 is a solid contender for game of the year in our books (and a lot of gaming sites seem to agree on this one). Plan an entire weekend of play just for this title as a few quick bursts of play are never nearly enough for the addictive story missions. Call over your mates; break out the Red Bull and start shooting.

While you’re at it, try not to tug on your controllers or spill a few drinks on your PS3. Overheating game consoles can be a real bummer, you know.

If you grew up humming Billy Joel or Queen; if Clint Eastwood’s movies speak to you (in a way you’d be too embarrassed to admit now); if rock and roll ever meant a thing to you – then Borderlands 2 is the perfect game for you.

 

10

09/12

Wire Hangers and Peanut Butter – Quick Fixes You Can Try on Your Game Consoles

2:14 pm by admin. Filed under: Uncategorized

We’re serial gamers too and while some of us may even count in hundreds of hours from titles as far back as the original Pong and Galaga, we still think that there’s no bigger bummer than having your game console crash, freeze or act up right smack in the middle of finally finishing first in Le Mans.

We understand where you’re coming from and just for today, we’re going to share some quick fixes for when you game consoles start acting up. Try these at your own risks. They work for us when a couple of resets and reconnecting the cables won’t do.

 

For when your game console overheats, here’s a quick fix.

Overheating’s a fairly common issue because if we’re honest, game consoles aren’t really built to last over a hundred hours of continuous play. When we want to push our X-box beyond the pain barrier, we find that they crash or freeze every half an hour or so.

Here’s what you can do: get a piece of string and suspend your power supply unit in the air. This way, it’ll dissipate heat much more efficiently and you can squeeze in a few more hours before your next freeze, crash or hang-up.

Alternatively, you can prop up your PSU on a corner of an empty cardboard box. There’s still a bit more contact on it but it’s definitely a lot less when it’s on a shelf or cabinet. If you want a bit more stability, get a clothes hanger and bend it into a nifty little cradle. This can even double up as a heat sink.

 

For when your joystick is broken, take it apart.

What you can try to is to take your controller apart. They’re not as scary as they look. Simply screw them open and loosen the unit apart with your nails or an old credit card. This fix will also work when you’re joystick’s bent at an awkward angle or comes completely off after a bad drop.

Again, be careful. This might void your warranty. If you’re too cheap to get a new one and you aren’t sure what you’re doing, send it over to the pros. Some repair shops can even complete the repair in less than a day.

 

Spread the love and spread the peanut butter.

            Game discs are expensive and when they fail, we’re almost always driven to madness. Sometimes we loan them over to a few mates only to find them quite badly dinged up.

What do you do with a scratched disc that your PS3 won’t read? Simply take a spoonful of peanut butter and slowly spread it over the disc. Use a piece of tissue and rub it in with small circular strokes. We know it’s really awkward and messy (but it’s still a lot cheaper than getting a new copy).

Rinse it completely with cold water and get everything off. Now you wouldn’t want your game console smelling like peanut butter. The deeper scratches would still be visible but hopefully, your game will still play.

To sum things up, here are a few things you need to remember when you’re trying these quick fixes for your game console:

  1. Repairing and disassembling your game console will almost always void the warranty. This rule may also apply in cases when a repair shop gives a warranty.
  2. Always turn your game console off and unplug it completely. We know this is very, very basic but we’ve had our fair share of horror stories.
  3. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing – don’t be cheapskate and send over your game console to a reputable shop. These places often count on years of experience and they stand by their results.

What other quick fixes have you tried on your game consoles? Share your stories in the comments below.

01

08/12

On Love, Numbers and Cooling Fans: What You Need to Know When Buying a Game Console

10:16 am by admin. Filed under: Uncategorized

If you’re ten or twenty (or even thirty) and you think that a game console’s the next best alternative to having a wife or girlfriend, then you’re not far from the truth. They’re there when you need them after a bad day at school (or a shouting match with your boss) and when you’re done; you can ditch them just like that. No offense to the nice ladies in the audience (but if you’re a nagger and an earful, then yes offense).

That’s why choosing a game console isn’t unlike falling in love and getting into the outright mess we call relationships. You’d be smart to dip your toes first (or just cannonball, if that’s your thing) because you’ll be stuck with a game console for quite a while. Here are some of the things you need to know before buying a game console.

 

Yes, We Know It’s For Gaming…

            Today’s consoles do so much more than just entertain you beyond recognition at 3am in the morning and there’s not a soul in the city to give you a fist bump or a high five for finally scorching Dmitri. If you think they’re just boxes for games then you could be no farther from the truth.

Think about how you’ll use your console – will you be using it for the casual Cup Run on Fifa12 or are you also going to use it to stream your movies on a (hypothetical) date night?

Corollary to this, if you plan on running game discs all the way, then you’re better off choosing the basic packages but if you’re looking at digital downloads, it stands to reason you’d need one with more oomph.

 

Pay for the Features and NOT the Titles.

            No matter how many times you find yourself wiping away snot, tears and drool with your sleeve over a game trailer on YouTube, never get a console for the title. Remember, this is going to be your WAGs for the foreseeable future.

Gaming isn’t all hype; it isn’t an experience, even. Rather, it’s a way of life. Buy a console for the way it handles and the way it plays. We’ve seen dozens of people chuck away a unit to gather dust after the initial dazzle. If a game’s any good, it’ll cross platforms. The best ones almost always do.

 

Don’t Forget About Accessories!

            Between calloused-thumbed gamers and kids playing with bubble wrap, most forums on the Internet talk about cheat codes, game guides and after-market accessories – and for good reason.

If you plan on casual gaming on weeknights (and a bit more on the weekends), then you’re good with the stock fans but if you’re looking at 72-hour gaming tears, then invest on some decent after-market cooling solutions. Forget about water-cooled rigs, they’re pointless, really. Ring up a pro or a repair shop to get the lowdown on the double-neon LED-lit fans you fancy.

 

Crunch the Numbers After the Sale.

            Buying a game console is only half the deal (and no, the endless hours of heart-stopping action with breathtaking graphics isn’t the other half). There’s the untold tale of the cost to own a unit.

If you’re planning on movies and music, subscription fees do add up. Get a decent insurance for when your unit breaks or goes AWOL the morning after a blur of acrid cigarette smoke, pizza boxes and pints of beer.

Getting a broken unit fixed shouldn’t cost an arm and leg (no matter how much you wish you can pay off the shops with your in-game dough).  With the lowered costs to build consoles, parts come by easily. If you find one with the service you like, keep their number. These shops are hard to come by these days. 

11

07/12

On Homebrews and Canned Air: How to Take Care of Your Game Console

8:41 am by admin. Filed under: Uncategorized
NES PowerGlove

NES PowerGlove

Between the genius that was Pong and the god-forsaken NES Power Glove (if you’ve never heard of it, then good for you!), game consoles have come a long, long way to fill in the gap of being ten and stuck indoors, until the time you can legally get a pint, (and perhaps long after) with hundreds of hours of solid gameplay.

You cringe each time Altair takes a Leap of Faith; you’ve swooned over Rinoa Heartlily (or Aeris Gainsborough, if you like them quiet and more ladylike) and you’ve had the silly, pubescent dreams boys will invariably have about bunny ears and cotton tails with the archer-slash-mechanic, Fran from FFXII.

Unless you’ve been saving your lunch money for when your unit dies (which might take a lot of school days), you’ll have to take good care of your game console to keep it up and running for all the new titles and sequels you’ll inevitably scream for. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your gaming rig.

Don’t move it around.

Believe it or not, there was a time when game consoles were built like tanks and you could “accidentally” step on a FamiCom and not hurt it one bit. Although game consoles are a lot more powerful, they’re very fragile.

Avoid moving your PS3 or X-Box 360 especially when it’s running a game. This could jar up its internal components and leave your game disc with a large, deep scratch that may render it potentially unplayable.

Beer, Pizza & Xbox

Beer, Pizza & Xbox

Clean and organize your console.

It’s easy to be a slob around these things, especially when you’re in the middle of a Halo 4 weekend marathon and the beer cans and pizza boxes are piling up. Try not to spill any on your unit.

While good, old-fashioned dusting and a bit of elbow grease is enough to keep your console in tip-top shape, you might find specialized microfiber cloths and canned air can easily bring a battered unit back to life. When in doubt, take it to the shops lest you do more harm than good. 

Invest on the right accessories.

When the Wii first came out, Nintendo was literally inundated with letters, emails and phone calls due to the Wiimote’s straps. The earlier releases were utterly flimsy and it wasn’t unheard of for gamers to fling them across the room, into brand new mammoth HDTVs or flying out the window. Try not to get too carried away with gaming. If you’re angry at the baddies, don’t stomp on your game console. Take out elsewhere.

Heat is also a major console killer. Shell out a few extra pounds for a good fan but don’t train it directly on the vents because this is where the unit’s stock exhaust lets out the warm air. Although there have been a quite a number of water cooling systems, they’re largely a waste of your money.

Wait for your unit to cool down.

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing the Red Rings of Death on your X-Box or the dreaded Yellow Light of Doom on the PS3, smart money says your unit has overheated and powered off a touch too soon. It’s a minor inconvenience and one that can be easily repaired at a surprisingly low cost.

Don’t turn off your unit immediately. Wait for the fans to quiet down and then power off. If you do this, the unit gets a chance to dissipate the internal heat. This way, the motherboard won’t warp.

Clear case for Xbox 360

Clear case for Xbox 360

Leave the mods to the pros.

Yes, you’ve trolled the Internet forums for weeks and you’ve played the YouTube tutorials so many times that you see the video behind your eyelids long after you’ve gone to bed, but hand in heart, overclocking your game console is never, ever worth it.

Manufacturers come with more and more creative ways to lock out gamers from trying homebrews and mods but if you’re hell-bent on pulling off one, consult with a pro. Game consoles are precision pieces of engineering. Try not to ruin them.