Hardline Beta impressions

battlefield-hardline

 If you’ve ever played a Battlefield game before then you know what to expect from the multiplayer aspect; four separate classes each with different weapons available to them, giant set pieces that change with level triggers and as always people making made dashes for the helicopters with no idea on how to fly them. Yes it seems like the formula is intact and well with all but a few changes. The bullet torn maps of warzones in train depots and rundown desert cities have been replaced with a sprawling metropolitan cityscape and factions of soldiers are re skinned as Cops and robbers.

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The main attraction of the beta is the Heist Mode, a capture the flag style battle where the main objective is to, if you’re on the criminal side, to blow up a vault truck, steal the money within and escape and as you may have guessed, the opposite if you’re on the side of the police. If you manage to blow the truck and grab all the money, you win. Standard Battlefield style game play follows in the massive city map. The gigantic level triggers that bring forth massive destructive change seem a bit out of place when you consider the only thing on the line is money. There wasn’t anything wrong with beta that I could see and I did have fun while playing it, but I didn’t find myself being excited for the release at all or wanting to play it beyond the point that I did. With no new innovations I could easily see myself playing BF3 or 4 if I wanted the experience of it. I can’t help but wonder if the Battlefield series is struggling in an effort to keep up with the serialization of the Call of Duty series and if Hardline is just a cleaner, hopefully less glitch ridden, version of 4.

 

Have you played it? What do you think? Let us know

 

Later Gamers,

Nick

Fatherhood and Gaming

Awhile ago I first received the news that I was going to be a father. This wasn’t a shock as I’m married and even more so we were actively trying, so I knew deep down that it was only a matter of time before i got the inevitable text message with a picture attached informing of the news. Up until that point we had a good routine going, my wife worked nights a few days out of the week leaving me plenty of time to get home from work, do some chores, get some food and sit on the couch and be absorbed by a game for a few solid hours at a time, then on her nights off we’d be free to spend time together. I was spending time with both my loves and was really content with my routine. I was beaming about the news, the prospect of being a Dad was something I was excited about and had wanted for awhile, so admittedly when emotions of the day settled down I felt a sudden urgency. Not for the ever impending list of things I had to do to get the house ready but for the list of games I had stacked that I had yet to start, finish or even buy. A large part of my identity was/is about gaming, gaming is something that I have loved doing almost my entire life and always seemed to have time for it no matter what so the fact that it was going to be diminished or even gone completely knocked me back a bit.First world problems, I know.

The weeks flew by; I was spending most of my time at home, not a lot at this point, in what was going to be the nursery. My routine became work, dinner, work and spend some time talking to the life in my wife’s balloon of a stomach, trying to bond. I went from beating a game a week to now getting a few hours in. The nursery was just about finished when work really started to get busy and I was put on 80 hours a week with three months to go before the little one arrived. My routine would change once again. I would get home from work around 7 at night eat dinner and if I was lucky see my wife before she went upstairs to pass out, growing a kid is tiring I hear. I would turn on the console, sit down, play 15 minutes or so and doze off, I tried this routine for a few weeks but soon couldn’t even turn the thing on. The due date coincided with big releases like Bioshock, Assassins Creed, Borderlands 2 and I just didn’t think I would have any time or energy for any of it. This didn’t stop me from preordering mind you, because if anything I’m stubborn.

The big day came and was incredible and as expected we didn’t get much sleep that night or any night in the following month or so. I hadn’t played so much of an hour of any game within a month leading up to the birth or a month after. I would be home and be engulfed with my new routine, a routine that was all based around my daughter. I would get home talk to her, try to play with her(newborns don’t do much) and be as quiet as possible cooking dinner while my wife tried to get her to sleep. This was a new routine but it was a good one and one I was happy with. Then one day after the month mark and after 30 minutes of trying to get the kid to nap. I sat on the couch and put in Bioshock Infinite, which I had bought out of habit on the release day with no real expectations on when I could actually play it. The play time didn’t last long as I didn’t realize how light a sleeper we had or in fact how loud the TV was. It was a good and welcomed break and a way to unwind despite how short it was. Nap times soon became about rest for the whole family, my wife and daughter would nap and I would fall back into my favorite passtime. I soon learned small tricks to ensure I wasn’t the one waking her up. I would put the captions on and the tv volume almost down to zero, sitting a foot away from the TV just like I had done when I was younger, but the greatest discovery was a pair of Turtle Beach headphones that would allow me to actually hear my games.We still were trying to find a night time routine that worked, my daughter had bad reflux and would be up almost every 2 hours so as a trial my wife and kid would be going to bed at 7 each night, leaving me to do some chores and an extra hour or two each night to do whatever I wanted and what I wanted, was to game. There was still some hiccups in this new schedule and I often had to leave my co-op partner to fend for himself while I ran upstairs to help change a diaper or re read Goodnight Moon. In retrospect I could have probably used some extra sleep, but hindsight is 20/20.

Life balanced out and settled down. We found routines that work and tried our best to stick to schedules.We started making weekly schedules so we could make sure that we not only had enough time for each other but for ourselves too. In this Games became way more than just a fun way to pass some time, but a welcomed ritual to unwind and shut my brain off, I look forward to the time versus just knowing that was something I was going to do.  I’m more choosey of what I play now, wanting my precious breaks to mean more than just playing whatever came out that week. I have a weekly play date to co-op, 4 hours worth of naps on the weekends ,most of the time, and I have at least one night to myself to play what I wanna play after the kid goes down for the evening. I’m sure as time goes on I can involve her in my pass time as well and I can’t wait to put a controller in my kids hands and share my love of games with her and have her look forward to it as much as I do. At the end of the day I’d rather be a father than a gamer, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t room to be both. So if one day you find yourself in the same boat, don’t worry, everything settles back into a routine at some point. Just get a good set of headphones, stock up on coffee and ride out the tough times till they turn into fun times…

Later Gamers…

Nick

 

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Don’t Try This In Real Life: The Dolphin Dive

 

OK, now don’t get me wrong. I love first person shooters. Running and gunning is probably my favorite style of gaming. But Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 has introduced this ridiculous tactic which I have properly dubbed, “The Dolphin Dive”. We’ve all seen it. You’ll be aiming down the sites, clearing corners, when all of a sudden a runnin’ and gunnin’ SOB dives 3 story’s out of a window, lands perfectly prone, and kills you via headshot. To which we all say aloud; “are you kidding me?!”. 

Let me start out by saying that I am an Army combat vet. I wasn’t an office sitting, admin typing POG. I know what it feels like to wear full battle rattle (gear) and have to run around with it on. It’s exhausting. In real life you can’t just click L3 and be sprinting. There’s no perk for running faster. Now there have been times where I’ve had to get in the prone position quickly wearing all that gear. First, let me tell you, laying down on top of ceramic plates, fully loaded mags, a first aid kit, and night vision goggles is EXTREMELY uncomfortable, especially if you have to maintain a shooting stance quickly. I remember there was a handful of instances where I had to “dive” onto the ground with the gear. It hurts. It knocks the wind out of you, and if I had to immediately start shooting afterwards, it would be anything but accurate. 

The Call of Duty franchise likes to pride themselves on how accurate and life-like their games are. Now I’ll be the first to say, they do a great job at this. The weapons, dialogue, and maps are extremely realistic. That being said, they need to seriously re-think their take on diving to a prone position after sprinting 20 yards, because trust me, if someone in real life dove head first out of two-story window flat on their stomach while aiming down the sights of an assault weapon in full kit, they’d be missing teeth, have an optic sight half embedded in their eyeball, shattered elbows, and quite possibly some internal bleeding. 

So next time you dolphin dive out of a window and kill someone then hear that person screaming obscenities, just know what you did defies physics and modern medical understanding of what the human body can endure. That person deserves the right to kill you in an equally ridiculous way. Like throwing a 10 pound satchel charge of C4 at your feet then detonating it with them 30 feet away, but that’s a story for another day. 

Boom…Vent out…..What’s in your console? 

Mortal Kobat X is coming, be excited

If one thing has ever been true, it’s that I’m a giant fan of fighting games. You wanna get hadoukened? Fine. Wanna lose fast in Bushido Blade (deep cut)? Cool. Want a bo staff beat down from Kilik, then come at me bro. Marvel v Capcom, Power Stone, Playstation All Stars, hell, I’ll even curb stomp you in some Def jam, but none of these hold a fire breathing skull lit candle to Mortal Kombat. With trailers and new info about Mortal Kombat X getting released I can feel my excitement to nut punch dudes and rip some spines out growing.

I hold Deadly Alliance to be the absolute pinnacle of Mortal Kombat games. It was the first time they had multiple fighting styles and weapons for each character, giving skillful players the chance to string a barrage of hits together fluidly spanning all three styles then spearing a giant ice sword (In Sub Zeros case) into your opponents belly, gradually letting them bleed out. You could gradually learn these combos through the Konquest mode, a tutorial/story campaign available for each character earning Koins and knowledge for each play though. Earned Koins could then be spent in the Krypt on collectables, forcing the digital hoarder in me to keep playing. Deception was released a year afterwards and while the beefed up the Konquest mode and added chess and puzzle modes were kool (see what I did there) the tweaks made to the general combat threw me off a bit and the fact that I ate nothing but ramen for a week so I could buy it didn’t help either. For a while anytime we had any sort of gathering at my apartment, Mortal Kombat was sure to make an appearance, sometimes having 10 to 15 people wait patiently around the TV sipping beers, looking for their next chance to dethrone the current champ.

With “X” NetherRealm seems to be returning to the form they cultivated in Deadly Alliance and perfected with the recent game Injustice. In the trailer we saw old rivals Scorpion and Sub Zero flaunt various fighting styles, new special attacks, a killer ice sword, and the ability to use the environment to your advantage. Three new characters were introduced at E3 last week along with the returning favorites Sub Zero and Scorpion. There is a Master/Blaster esque combo named Ferra and Torr, a woman who can control insects named D’Vorah and the expectantly nut crushing, kiss blowing offspring of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade, Cassie Cage. The info was scarce as there was no mention of modes to be included or what type of finishers will be back, but I imagine in the coming months we will slowly learn more and more to get excited about.

So who would you like to see make a comeback(Smoke), what modes(Chess), finishers(friendship)?

 

Stay Toasty

-Nick

 

 

First Launch: Lego The Hobbit

What’s up Gamers!! So last night after watching USA take down Ghana in epic fashion Vent and I went and popped in Lego: The Hobbit.  I have played (and 100%) most Lego games including Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings so I am very familiar with these games. 

We played through the first few levels and had a blast doing.  Loving some of the new features with placing the correct brick in the build mode to make it a bit more interactive and also the buddy up system for different attacks and special moves.  It does keep the same radonk humor that the Lego games are famous for as well as the stud, brick, and character collecting features.

The Lego games stories are not difficult…not even a little bit.  Acquiring some of the bricks can be a bit challenging, but after a little thought and ingenuity it can be figured out.  I remember when Vent had trouble getting orcs to fight him in Lego LOTR all because he was player 2, but that’s for a different time.

I use these games as a fun and simple break from the usual highly specialized killing games that we are all used to.  I highly recommend checking at least one out if you never have and I have very high hopes for this one in particular.

Boom…Game on Gamers…

-Jimmy

Destiny Alpha Impressions

A few sessions in on the Destiny Alpha and I can say that this game is epic. Part Borderlands, part Halo, part World of Warcraft, Destiny seems to take the best of these games and combine them for an almost flawless experience. It starts the same way most games with a RPG base start; with character creation. At this time there are three classes and three races. I’ve spent most of my time so far playing with the hunter class which excels with longer range weapons and a trusty knife. The hunter’s special ability reminds me slightly of the golden gun out of Goldeneye on N64. The mage uses a dark magical “grenade” and has a special ability that resembles a bolt of dark energy. The race you pick does not seem to significantly affect your character stats, as far as I could tell, aside from aesthetics when your helmet is removed or the social aspects of the game.

You’re thrust into an extremely detailed world long passed its prime, free to explore at your own risk. The beta starts you off in a desolate Russia armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and a trusty AI voiced by Tyrion himself, Peter Dinklage (calm yourself). The assault rifle has a satisfying kick to it and your steady aim is often rewarded with a tiny blue explosion of soul when you take down enemies with a headshot. The starting shotgun may as well be a melee weapon as you need to get in almost that close for it be effective. You finish the mission with a large but not unmanageable amount of enemies to take down. From there you are transported to an exterior view of your ship. It is there that you decide if you want to take on more of the campaign, compete in PVP matches in “The Crucible” or go to the Tower. The Tower is the main social hub of the game. It is the last standing city on Earth and it is where you can go to interact with other players, purchase new weapons and armor (you can find these in game as well), take on bounties for the crucible, receive messages and upgrade your ship.

 

The beta only served to make me more excited for Bungie’s newest and boldest endeavor. If I can fault anything so far, it’s that there was a lack of explanation on how you level up your skills, customize your armors and what purpose buying other ships serves. I would be a little disappointed if the race selection is again nothing more than a preference for such a small portion of the game, race attributes are somewhat of a RPG staple by now. Again I don’t know if these issues are because it’s just a beta or oversights that will be in the final game. Either way July can’t come fast enough for the open beta and September for the release. I can’t wait to see further into the world of Destiny.

 -Later

Nick