Category Archives: Reviews

Arma 2 DayZ Mod: Why We Die

Arma 2 DayZ Mod: Why We Die

Contrary to popular belief the common death in DayZ is not suffered to the dreaded brandit or zombie. Oh no. It is true; you will die often. Just not from circumstances which can be called “legitimate”. I can guarantee you that without a slither of a doubt that you will die nearly entirely to bugs, what might appear to be a hacker (or could be) and unfortunate other Real Virtuality 3 game engine issues.

In the past week of playing I’ve died zero times to what I would call a “fair death situation”. When it comes to a PvP death I’ve gotten the drop on the “enemy player” all but once. The one exception was when a player exploited the ability to disconnect and spawn back in to sneak in a kill. I’m very good at stalking players and getting the first shot but I’ve only successfully killed a player once.

I’m not going to thoroughly explain every situation that I’ve encountered but to be brief with one: I recently hid in a tent in Stary Sobor at night and waited for a player to either enter my tent or the one across from me while waiting prone. The player entered the tent across from me and I placed a head shot with the revolver. The bullet did not land because of a bug in Arma 2 which causes prone fired rounds to collide with ground terrain instead. This alerted the player to my presence bringing about my death. This is a very common occurrence which makes firing “around a corner” impossible in Arma 2 even though the feature exists: it does not work. Prone fire is a risky tactic.

Issues like these bring about an interesting point. The battle to survive in DayZ is very little about not being eaten alive or killed by bandits. It’s about learning the nuances of the issues in Arma 2 and DayZ and figuring out how to work around those issues. While I am a nerd and I get a certain kick out of such things; it defeats the purpose of the entire mod.

You will quickly realize that attempting to outrun a zombie is literally and metaphorically an “uphill battle”. Whether or not you survive attracting the attention of a zombie will depend on whether or not you can find a barn to run into and whether or not clunky controls (or lag due to the extremely horrible netcode in Arma 2) resulting in accidentally getting hit resulting in bleeding out profusely in the middle of nowhere trying to find a barn to run into: while also attracting 15 more zombies.

The ultimate goal in DayZ for most is not to survive. No one survives this mod. As of right now the average survival time is about 31 minutes. It’s to find the best gear that you can before you do die. For some it’s make as many players’ virtual lives hell as possible. What’s incredibly frustrating is that like clockwork you find a very useful item such as matches and then die to a bug or lag that results in a broken leg. That’s game over.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve picked up morphine and then broken my leg leaving the room. Recently I picked up a FN FAL with 120 rounds (a powerful weapon) while literally out in the middle of nowhere and was killed within 20 minutes while moving through an open field. Like I said: like clockwork.

You never have morphine when you need it. Blood is basically a hit points system that is impossible to renew without finding matches plus an axe (or wood) plus an animal to kill for meat. Unless you’re lucky enough to find a blood pack (good luck) and a friend to transfuse it for you (good luck).

To be fair: yes Dayz is an alpha mod. But let’s be realistic here rather than extremely illogical. The issues that really break the mod are Arma 2 issues. Not DayZ issues. I just do not see Rocket (the developer) fixing these issues without some very hefty fixes to Arma 2. So don’t get your hopes up. Arma 3 is around the corner and I don’t see any productive fixes on the horizon. To be honest: I don’t have much hope for Arma 3 either. I want to love this game and I do for a lot of reasons but the issues far outweigh the fun.

To conclude my thoughts: DayZ is fun but equally as aggravating and at times infuriating. You will lose your gear. You will lose your head. Now go kill some zombies.

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Thoughts on: Max Payne 3

Thoughts on: Max Payne 3

Max Payne 1 and 2 were great games. I loved the story, the characters and the gameplay. The characters were fun and comedic at times. The only thing about MP1 and MP2 that I didn’t like was the annoying drunk/drugged scenes which made me want to put a bullet in my old CRT. Max is an old fart now and damn bro if you’re going to shave your head shave that nappy ass beard too.

The only really bad thing about Mp3 is that you’re forced to sit through cinematics which make up about seventy five percent of the game. Several times you sit through a cutscene only to walk 30 feet and then you’re right back in another. What the hell is the point? Any weapons that you have equipped prior to a cutscene more often than not either disappear (pissing you off that you just lost that assault rifle) or are replaced with a pistol that you weren’t using in the first place because you were out of ammo for that particular weapon. There’s about as much actual gameplay in Max Payne 3 as there is non-voice over dialogue in The Wonder Years. Click the link to understand the reference.

When Max released the gameplay suffered due to various issues with mouse acceleration and sensitivity. The 1.0.22 update fixed these issues and I was able to actually enjoy the game. Developers tend to fuck these things up a lot for some reason. I’m still waiting on a Field of View slider due to the incorrect setting used currently. Yet another side effect of developers getting used to making shitty console ports.

The story isn’t amazing by any means but the only real reason they suffer in my opinion is because I expected it to be as good as the other two games. But seriously if some asshole is going to talk then let him talk to me: while I’m playing. We don’t need a cutscene every 30 seconds. It wasn’t long before I was getting kind of pissed off at the number of cutscenes. Things pick up about a dozen chapters in though. Cutscenes get a bit shorter and less numerous. Once you get actually play the game it starts to feel a lot more like a Max Payne title. And that can only mean: awesome.

The question always is: is the Payne experience worth the price tag? In this case I would have to say: not yet. Wait till the price drops to at least about 39 dollars.


Review: Diablo 3. Tool tips are serious business.

Diablo 3 Review: Tool Tips Are Serious Business

Diablo 2 released on June 29 2000. Needless to say we’ve all been waiting a long time for Diablo 3. Does it live up to over a decade of anticipation? Diablo 3 sold 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours and last I heard was at about 7 million.

I was pretty hesitant about buying Diablo 3. It has a hefty price tag at about 60 bucks. Online-only is a negative that makes such a hefty price tag less than enticing. I participated in the Beta and wanted to see more past the level 13 progress limit. I just wasn’t really pulled in and got bored after a few hours of playing the beta. There really hasn’t been much out lately to excite me so I just couldn’t help myself and picked up D3. I did enjoy the original games and games like Titan Quest so I am a fan of the genre.

Skeptics hit the nail on the head when they stressed online-only as a rather large negative. Down-time has been a common occurrence in Diablo 3. Scheduled maintenance is expected but Blizzard does like to take the server down in the middle of the day with nothing but a fifteen minute warning and then call it scheduled. They did this today and the reason was: we’re fixing tool tips. Yes, tool fucking tips bro.

Checkpoints are another issue. Meaning automatic save points which you can return to. You run through 5 hours of difficult hell or inferno content and leave the game thinking you can return to the last checkpoint. Oh silly you. Damn you Blizzard. Damn you to… inferno!

Joining a public game doesn’t put you with other players on the quest you select. Nope. You get shoved back at the beginning of the act and are forced to play through hours of content you already completed. You can however open your game to the public and start where you left off. It’s too much to ask for this to make sense.

Once you’ve completed normal and nightmare modes which can be plowed through in a few days your next difficulty mode is hell and then inferno. I love a hard core game like everyone else and trust me; my complaint is not the difficulty. My complaint is the mechanics. There are none. Mobs are given several more abilities in hell and inferno. And these spells range from creating walls, invulnerability shields, molten lava fireballs of death and so forth. This would give the illusion of a mechanic but don’t make me laugh. Har har mechanics. What’s that!?

Mobs just randomly choose targets and rape glass cannons and tanks alike with no rhyme or reason. IF you had a monk or barbarian (these classes received 20% damage reduction) in your group then they’re about as useless as a wet toilet paper square in a house fire without any real taunt abilities to curtail the chaos. You have no control. Not a damn sliver. Get used to it.

The story is a joke. But this is a loot game. And loot is awesome! When you get it and when the stats aren’t fucking atrocious. Which is 99.9% of the time.

I actually like Act 1. Act 2 is alright. But Act 3 and 4 all but prove that Blizzard got bored making this game and said “Fuck it”. Apparently hell is made up of nothing but platform after platform and heaven looks like an elven city built in the clouds. Angels are just push overs that get wiped out by demons that shove them onto pikes. Probably anally.

Titan Quest rocked this game hard. TQ is the longest game I’ve ever played in 29 years and that isn’t counting the expansion. It was a Diablo clone and a damn good one. Looting was fun. Areas were well designed. The story was more interesting. Just an all around good game. Diablo’s development team just said “fuck it these stupid assholes will enjoy anything Blizzard shits out”.

There are few redeeming factors for Diablo 3. I can’t think of what they are though. There’s something. I swear. Maybe. Ok for some reason it is somewhat addictive. I just can’t figure out why. But really I would have taken a Titan Quest 2 over this steaming… @&&#(SERVER SHUT DOWN IN 15 MINUTES.

God Damnit.


Review: Torchlight 2 Beta and Diablo 3

Review: Torchlight 2 Beta and Diablo 3

This weekend I participated in the Torchlight 2 beta. I am inclined to say, “Hot damn pick this bad boy up”. Torchlight 2 is only twenty bucks! Diablo 3 released on May 15th. Runic expects a June or July release for T2 if I remember correctly and the beta is closing for everyone on May 22nd further indicating an impending release.

Right now Diablo 3 is $59.99. Torchlight 2’s pre-order cost is $19.99. You can pick up three copies of Torchlight 2 with a group of friends and get the fourth free. So you can technically pre-order for about $14.99. Steam pre-orders get a free copy of the original Torchlight. I am not aware of any such offer that was or is available for Diablo 3.

Diablo 3 forces you to login and play online. If the servers are down you can’t load up a save offline. If the servers shut down permanently (of course mega juggernaut Blizzard will likely keep them up for a decade or more) then you never get to play again. D3 has DRM and no one likes DRM. There’s no LAN but friends can pop in and out of your games online seamlessly. Torchlight 2 allows you to create an Internet/LAN game for your friends (or anyone) to join. In the T2 beta Internet games were just as fluid and smooth.

T2 also supports the modding community which I’m sure that Diablo 3 does not. We’re always happy about that.

Areas are much larger than in the original Torchlight and are randomly generated (Diablo 3 does not randomly generate maps). Both games are gorgeous but personally I feel that there is less replay value in a game that looks exactly the same compared to one that does not on the next playthrough.

Torchlight 2 has a lot of improvements. I was really happy with one of them. Say you’re using a bow and you’re holding down the button to keep firing. You can easily turn (or adjust aim) while firing by moving the mouse. This works for all classes abilities as far as I know. It might not sound that special but it is when you experience how fluid it is in T2. Especially compared to the alternative and awkward combat in a lot of similar games (like D3). Any break that you can give your poor fingers is welcome.

Things like that make a big difference and I expected Blizzard to revolutionize the genre but they did quite the opposite. Diablo 3 takes several steps back from its predecessors. There’s no real improvement to combat whatsoever. Some of the abilities (especially early game) seem like you’re firing a dud. Others are really fun to use. But to be fair these “duds” are the unupgraded abilities and do get better.

Runic is quite an amazing company. They give gamers what they ask for rather than shoving restrictions down our throats. I thank them for that. Blizzard in the past few years has seemed to go down the toilet with the announcement of World of Warcraft’s Pandaria expansion and the dumbing down of the Diablo franchise. I don’t know what is up their ass but they are in dire need of a rectal exam.

When I played Diablo 3 I just was not wowed whatsoever and got bored in less than two hours. I couldn’t put Torchlight 2 down. Both games share a lot of beauty (great looking maps for example) but T2 just has far too many superior features and personally in my beta experiences. I have not played retail D3 yet.

I am going to give T2 the crown and the “mark of awesomeness”. No contest. So pick it up. You won’t regret it. It’s only twenty bucks.


Open Beta Review: Diablo 3

Open Beta Review: Diablo 3

The original Diablo and Diablo 2 are among the most popular and essential PC titles produced in the past 20 years. Blizzard released Diablo 2 in 2000 and it is still popular today as is Blizzard’s original Starcraft and Warcraft Series. Blizzard has enjoyed quite a perfect success with these titles. Even more so with World of Warcraft which peaked at about 12 million subscribers (now at around 9-10 million).

Needles to say we’re all pretty excited about Diablo 3. It’s been a long while since the release of Diablo 2 and lots of studios stepped up to hold us over. Titan’s Quest released in 2006 and Torchlight in 2009.

With such a perfect success rate you have to wonder when Blizzard will produce a less than savory title. D3 is the first Blizzard title that I don’t have high expectations for after participating in the beta. Be aware that D3 is still currently in beta and just recently opened up a short-term open beta. Any opinion or observation that I’ve made is based on beta alone and may or may not reflect the final product.

Diablo 3 Open Beta

Diablo 3 doesn’t overly impress or re-invent the wheel. I am a fan of the genre but I feel that it’s well past time to improve on it. Unfortunately D3 does not do so. That would be perfectly fine if not for the fact that Diablo 3 un-improves on the genre in some ways. On normal difficulty you will face roll your way through dungeons. It’s too easy. Or at least it is right now and in the first 13 levels.

The only major complaint I have is how strongly the game is tied to and requires Battle.net. You can not log-in to play without access to Battle.net. Much like an MMO it appears that if there is latency between your machine and Battle.net then all factors of your experience (including single player) will suffer. Hopefully Blizzard will decide to put in an offline mode but I don’t see that happening.

Areas are also not randomly generated which hurts re-play value. Torchlight had randomly generated dungeons and Torchlight 2 (releasing 1-2 months after D3) will have randomly generated outdoor areas. I want to enjoy Diablo 3 and I think it’s a decent game. I just think Blizzard held back for some reason.

You have to wonder why Blizzard decided not to offer anything new (other than the Auction House). I can only assume that they expect the tried and true recipe to continue to work and I expect that it will but I know that many of us are hoping to see something more than updated graphics.

People will still buy Diablo 3. Of course. It’s Blizzard and it’s Diablo 3. That’s all that matters. I expect it to receive pretty good reviews but it won’t be played anywhere near as long as the original two.

I will play it and I’ll most likely enjoy it. I just hope to see offline mode added eventually.

Pre-purchase Diablo 3 now.


World of Tanks: Unbalanced, Otherwise a Blast

World of Tanks: Unbalanced, Otherwise a Blast

There are game-breaking issues with World of Tanks: attributed mostly to the excessive balance issues. I’ve been playing since beta early last year though I only have around 1000 total battles since post-beta. In Wot you are forced to suffer through bad balance until you earn top tier tanks.

WoT is a fun game when your battles don’t suffer to outrageous match-ups. These battles match you with tanks that are so much more powerful than you that they can easily (and will) take 20 direct hits from your best gun to the one that it takes to kill you. It’s laughable and defies logic completely.

Battles in a T4 generally either result in being matched against T5, T6 or T7 tanks (and lower tiers). One T5 is the Soviet KV heavy tank which has a strong gun, high armor and medium hit points (560HP) but has a low rate of fire. The low rate of fire should compensate for its strength. It does not. Everything you shoot at the KV bounces off if you’re not in at least a T5 and one round from the KV can take out a T4 like its hull is made of paper.

One example is when playing the Hetzer (a tank destroyer) which often gets matched up against Tier 7s that have easily over a 1000 more hit points (the Hetzer has 270). The PzKpfw VI Tiger (Tier 7) has 1350 hit points. That alone makes you wonder what the hell is up Wargaming.net‘s creative ass.

I have replays of a Tier 3 Sturmpanzer II SPG (artillery) getting at least 6 direct hits on a KV (plus splash damage) and the KV survives but finally takes it on the 7th direct hit. The KV is only a T5. And you only get about 16 rounds (if I remember correctly) in the SII.

Then there is spotting and camouflage. Both need work. I won’t go in-depth but I still see tanks appear 20 feet away, directly in the line of sight out of nowhere. Their are also issues with tanks becoming invisible mid fire-fight while exchanging fire. These takes are able to continue firing unseen.

World of Tanks is enjoyable when matched against tanks that are at least somewhat equal in strength but that is rarely ever the case. You get matched against your own tier about every 1 in 5 matches. One excuse given by many fan boys of WoT when you mention the balance issues are that the tanks you can’t damage are heavies. But regardless; these tanks shouldn’t take over half your rack of shells to achieve a damaging hit.

There are some great things about WoT. Getting in a match is extremely quick (around 10 seconds) and matches are over fast. There are also some nice mods available. Check out the World of Tanks StartPack.


Review: Mass Effect 3

Review: Mass Effect 3

In defense of a what is a great trilogy; the same fate befalls this trilogy as most others. That fate being that the third just doesn’t live up to the first. Mass Effect 1 and 2 were great games and ME1 is likely to be considered by most to be the best. I’m hoping Bioware stops here and moves on to the next great game series.

What is not so great about Mass Effect 3? The cover system. It’s bad. It’s real bad. More often than not you will die not because you didn’t use it correctly. You will die because you end up stuck in the “cover river dance” trying to get into or out of cover and failing. Getting into cover amid a firefight means standing still for a moment then attempting to get into cover. Attempting to press the correct buttons quickly will likely do the opposite of what you expect. It’s annoying.

In Mass Effect 1 and 2 the side quests were at times even more interesting than the main storyline. That just isn’t the case in Mass Effect 3. There’s very little in the story that pulls you in. You seem to be thrown into more and more of the same time after time. From the beginning I was hoping for a surprise turn of events and one never really came.

You can no longer equip armor to members of your party. THAT bugs me. It really does. There is no excuse for removing that option. None whatsoever. What possible reason is there to remove this than “I’m fucking lazy”. All those sweet looking armor sets are wasted in ME3.

Another thing: and this one really pisses me off. ME3 must have a Field of View of 40 degrees. That is unacceptable. Absolutely unacceptable. At least allow us to change the Field of View. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that this is not preference, it’s lack of professionalism. If you don’t understand what FOV is look it up. And I’m talking to you Bioware.

I’m not saying Mass Effect 3 is a BAD game. It’s not. I guess it’s just not great. It lacks the magic of its predecessors. I have to give it a 7 out of 10. Unfortunately many review sites have been removing negative reviews for little good reason other than to inflate ME3’s score. It’s a 7. Move on.