Writer - Gamer - Vlogger - Bearded.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Halo Reach October update details

Hey Twiddlers!

Courtesy of www.zombiegamer.co.za, here is the list of updates you Reach fans can expect to see in October.

Playlist Changes

* SWAT Playlist added (SWAT removed from Big Team Battle and Team Slayer)
* Campaign Matchmaking (live on 10/15 – You will be required to have earned the Grade “Corporal” to enter this Playlist)
* Team Slayer rebalanced to highlight default Slayer game variants and include new offerings
* Classic Slayer removed
* Removed “Pro” game variants from the Arena Playlist
* Removed Boardwalk from Arena Team Doubles Playlist
* Added “Return to Battlefield” volume to Space on Zealot in the Arena Playlist

Game Variants Additions

* King of the Hill (multiple Playlists, including Arena)
* Rocket Race
* Juggernaut (Rumble Pit Playlist)
* King of the Hill not included in Arena

General Housekeeping

* Sudden Death will be added to all Assault game variants, including Invasion
* Team Objective will now feature the map Powerhouse
* Replacing Drop Shield with Evade for King of the Hill, Territories, and Oddball
* Replacing Hologram with Evade in Oddball, Capture the Flag, Assault, and Stockpile
* Replacing the Scorpion on Hemorrhage with Wraiths (Hemorrhage Heavies variant, TBD)

I'm pretty stoked to see SWAT get a playlist as I love playing SWAT but I know a lot of BTB and TS gamers get frustrated if they get stuck in a lobby with a load of headshot lovers.

How do you guys feel about the update?

Saturday, 25 September 2010

'Chuck Greene: Carrying bitches and kicking zombies since 2010' - A 'Dead Rising 2' Initial Impression

So I have just started Dead Rising 2.

I managed to score a copy of GAME's exclusive 'Outbreak Edition' by pure luck on the morning of it's release and what you get for the £60 price tag is pretty good.

I've bought Special/Limited/Collector Editions of titles before and have been massively disappointed with what I have received (I'm looking at you Fallout: New Vegas Collectors Edition with no exclusive DLC) but the initial shock alone of how massive the box containing all these goodies is makes you feel like you've gotten your moneys worth.

The 'Outbreak Edition' of Dead Rising 2 gives you a copy of the game; a 'Sports Fan Theme Pack' DLC code; a 'Tape It Or Die' booklet featuring combo weapon ideas; a bonus DVD featuring a 'Making Of' documentary & Zombrex 'Dead Rising Sun' film and the crowning jewel, a 12" articulated zombie figurine with servboat head and traffice cone.

I've named mine Duane and he's now chilling out with R2-D2 next to my TV.

I also managed to snag the 'Ninja Theme Pack' GAME pre-order bonus courtesy of the store manager, which I am yet to try out.

Following the advice of my lovely Twitter followers, I downloaded and played the XBLA prologue 'Case Zero' before getting knee deep in zombie guts in Dead Rising 2.
Despite a fair amount of reviews calling 'Case Zero' a glorified demo, I thought it worked well as a standalone title and at 400MSP you can't really argue.
Yes, it would have worked as the first level in Dead Rising 2 but it was a nice treat for fans to get an early taste of the game for a small price and was great promotion and hype for the release.

After two run throughs, saving all the survivors and getting Chuck to level 5 ('Case Zero's level cap) I decided that amateur hour was over and it was time to go pro.

So far I have racked up about 3 hours of play time and I can already start to see the positives and negatives of Dead Rising 2.

The AI seems to have finally developed a survival instinct and you no longer find yourself having to rescue them from an overwhelming horde of 3 zombies.
In fact, every survivor I have acquired on my travels will actively go out of their way to lay the smackdown on any nearby brain munchers and have gotten me out of a tough spot more than once.
Survivors have become a help more than a hindrance. Just make sure that you arm any that aren't already wielding one of the many weapons/objects made available to you.
My favourites so far have to Shewanda, armed with a crowbar and cussing out her cowering husband as she cracks another zombie around the head and Chad, armed with a shotgun, blasting his way through crowds of hungry shufflers looking for his trigger happy other half.

The combo weapons are the best thing about this game.
I was quite disappointed that after playing 'Case Zero', I wouldn't have the opportunity to 'tape it or die' until about 30 minutes into it's big brother but once the option became available, I was wielding baseball bats with nails in and 'laser swords' at every opportunity.
Using combo weapons give you a 'PP' bonus for each kill which makes levelling a lot quicker and easier (I am already level 7) and zombie slaying is much more fluid than wielding their uncombined components. I have even opted to use combo weapons over firearms which is a bit confusing at times as logic would permit that a gun is more powerful than a bat with nails in it.
My favourite combo weapon? Well I don't want to give anything away but..

The frequency of the cut scenes and loading screens have a tendency to break up the action.
In an ideal world, I would like to be able to cross into different 'sections' of the mall with my broom/machete combo still swinging without having to wait 10 seconds for it to load in.
More than once I have been unexpectedly attacked by a cutscene, some of which are, in my opinion, fairly pointless and could easily have been replaced by one of the in game pop up notices.
On some occasions there have been cutscenes into loading screens into another cutscene. It gets very frustrating.

The time frame Chuck is allocated to carry out the main storyline along with side missions is fairly unreasonable.
When the game hits you with your first task in the main storyline, you are instantly sent several side missions, each with similar time periods and at completely opposite ends of the map.
Now this may only be a problem for the completionists, which I am one of, but I even found completing the first chapter of the main storyline within the time allowance to be a challenge.
It feels as if the game wants you to only use these fantastic weapons to take out the few zombo's that stand directly in the way of your objective and you should just try and ignore the huge crowds just begging to be cut down by a lawnmower.

It's also pretty irritating that you always have to be back at the safe house between 7am-8am to administer Katey her 'Zombrex' when Chuck could easily give it to the several people looking after her to administer.
I say let the kid turn! If 'Shaun Of The Dead' has taught us anything, it's that having a pet zombie is awesome as you always have someone to play co-op with but I imagine a zombie child is twice as annoying as a live one.
'Katey got sent home from school today for swearing at the teacher' becomes 'Katey got sent home from school today for eating several of the other pupils'.
From a game point of view, I get what Capcom are wanting to do but logically it's infuriating.
Apparently decent parenting is still applicable in the occurrence of a zombie epidemic.

So far, Dead Rising 2 overall is a great improvement on its predecessor and despite a few flaws, is really great fun to play and I really can't wait to try the multiplayer and co-op features, which are a new addition to Dead Rising.
Rescuing survivors in Dead Rising felt like a chore but I would encourage you to gather as many as possible in Dead Rising 2 as they are a huge asset and sometimes even life saving.
I'm hoping that a 'Free Roam' will unlock upon completion where you can have the option to just wander around the mall enjoying your zombie lolacaust without having to worry about getting Hilda to her husband Brian at 'Casual Gal' before the time runs out and he disappears.

I'll be sure to let you know how Chuck and I get on.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Halo Reach Blue Carpet Event

So here we are.

Thursday 9th September 2010.

Victoria House, London.

In 4 days, one of the biggest titles to ever grace a console will be releasing its latest title.
Of course, I am talking about Halo: Reach.

Tonight however, press (and a lucky select few) are here at the Blue Carpet launch event to see Bungie and Microsofts team of ‘celebrities’, headed by competiion winner Lewis Chapman, take on a rag tag team of Halo’s finest players, the ones who entered the competition anyway.

Upon entry to the venue, we are immediately greeted by a foray of press snapping some of the celebrity invites, to name a few Joe Calzaghe, Pixie Lott and ‘Big Brothers’ Sam Pepper.

Attendees seem to be much more interested in the two rather large (I was informed 7’5”) Spartans, kitted out on full battle armour and wielding a battle rifle and sniper respectively.

Right now there is apparently no time for photo ops with these two giants and we are led to the right where a row of waiters and waitresses hold trays of blue drinks, dubbed ‘Blue Spartan’, which one of the waiters informs me is a cocktail of rum and blue raspberry.

After taking a sip I’m pretty sure it was actually petrol and Grunt blood.

Most people seemed to concur judging by the vast amount of these ‘Dead Smurf’ drinks left half full (or half empty pending on your outlook on life) on the various surfaces around the venue and the universal question of the night becomes ‘Got any beer mate?’.

They did. By the truckload. I saw the trucks!

After a few twists and turns and a flight of stairs, which become more and more challenging as the nights free bar takes its toll, we arrive at a seating area littered with small chairs and sofas.
The latest Halo: Reach trailer is being projected onto a nearby wall and a few people stop to admire it but the mighty majority soldier forth, the rumour of an open bar ringing in their ears.

It is here I spot Sentuamessage’s notoriously handsome Andy Farrant and after an awkward Twitter moment when I receive a reply from Andy to my tweet about spotting him, I head over to say hello.

We chat about the Halo: Reach event, the impending release date and his thoughts on the latest Halo title until he mentioned that he’d come to the event just having been playing Dead Rising 2.

Me being me, I begin to grill him on his thoughts and start trying to prise any info I could from him.
The most I got were a few of his favourite weapon combinations, which were the vacuum and saw blades and the torch and gems, the latter of which equated to a probable lawsuit from a certain lover of Ewoks.

If there is one word I could use to describe the main room it would be ‘hot’.

I get hot fairly easily but it's like hanging out in the circles of Hell, which some will say we were being attendees of a Microsoft event.

The free bar quickly becomes my best friend, and one guys worst enemy as he left a nice trail of vomit from the bar to the gents later on in the evening.

Beer was easily the choice drink of the night and for some reason the bar didn’t seem prepared for this and were continually running out and having to getting more and more delivered by the truckload.
I suppose with people such as 'Big Brothers' Sam Pepper and the cast of Hollyoaks on the guest list they weren’t expecting a rag tag bunch of common gamers…at the launch of one of the biggest video game titles ever.

The main stage is currently vacant with the exception of a few chairs and a large projection of the Xbox 360 logo.
It is here that ‘Team Slayer’ and ‘Noble Team’ will do battle, or in Noble Team’s case, try not to get massacred. A task which they fail miserably.

A couple of hours and quite a few beers later, presenter Reggie Yates, compare for the evening, walks onto stage, mic and cue cards in hand.

Now I’m not quite sure how this happened exactly but for some reason that night, I became Reggie’s bitch.

From what I recall, Reggie was reading some facts about the Halo franchise, quite obviously, from his cue cards and trying to get the crowd riled up by asking who had pre-ordered Reach, who was excited for the match and so forth.

Now when Reggie asked who had pre-ordered Halo 3 I remember raising my hand.

The hand with my beer in.

The hand that I had for some reason moved into some sort of ‘gangsta’ pose.

The hand that I left in the air as I yelled ‘Heeeelll yeah!’ as if I was some sort of chart topping rap star asking if he liked guns, money and bitches.

Our eyes locked.

“Did you see what this guy did?!”

Reggie re-enacts my pose for the crowd. Badly, I might add.

“What’s your name mate?”
“Ben. You are the coolest person here tonight”

And so proclaimeth Reggie, I am the coolest person at this event, which honestly didn’t mean as much as you think it would.
For the rest of his time spent onstage, I was the guy who Reggie went to when his attempts to engage the audience didn’t work.
Each time I obliged willingly.

This is why I shouldn’t drink.

One by one, the celebrity team members are brought onstage, with Manchester United centre back, Rio Ferdinand and ‘Gadget Show’ presenter extraordinaire, Jason Bradbury provoking the biggest reactions from the crowd, unless you count mass confusion and murmurs of ‘who?’ when Mr Hudson was brought on.

It was pretty clear before any of them had even picked up a controller that Jason Bradbury was going to be the only celebrity on ‘Noble Team’ that was going to be of any real danger to the opposing gamers (confirmed later when I found out that he had the highest kill count out of the celebrities) and the only one who looked even remotely comfortable in a room full of gamers.

‘Noble Team’ are to be captained by 17 year-old Nottinghamshire local, Lewis Chapman, who fragged, beat down and teabagged his way to the top of almost 800 other entrants of the ‘Looking For A Leader’ competition and when talking to Reggie during his intro, seemed convinced that he had more of a chance of pulling Pixie Lott than winning these games tonight.

The opposition, ‘Team Slayer’ are brought onto stage, briefly harassed by Reggie and then everyone settled in as the matches begun.

In short, it's an unsurprising total massacre.

Round 1: Team Slayer win 51 – 15
Round 2: Team Slayer win 64 – 10 (9 of the Noble Team kills belonging to Lewis)
Round 3: Team Slayer win 94 – 27

Trophies are handed out to the winning Team Slayer and Noble Team captain Lewis. The captain of Team Slayer swaps his much larger trophy with Lewis smaller one.
True sportsmanship amongst gamers here tonight. We aren't so tough without our headsets.

Reggie rounds up the end of the evenings entertainment by announcing that on the far side of the room, 40 booths are available to us so that attendees can have a go on Reach before it’s official release date.
It's great to see that Firefight has made a triumphant return amongst some new multiplayer match types and to revisit some familiar maps from the beta.

There was some controversy around this time as all the attendees who decided that they didn’t fancy playing Reach and left, or as I call them ‘the freeloading non-gamers’, were the first to get to the goody bags, a fair few of which contained Halo Reach controllers, a hoody and strategy guide whilst the dedicated many got left with just the bags containing a press release print out.

Not even a Noble 6 Avatar code.

Now I’m not going to try and criticise the organisers too much, seeing as they’re picking up the bar tab, but surely it would have been a better idea to have given the bags out upon entry to the event, ensuring that those who cared enough about the event to be at the front of the line got the best of the freebies.

This was the general consensus on Twitter for the next 24hrs.

I catch up with Lewis after the matches to congratulate him on winning the competition and to ask him some questions about the celebrity team training.

Lewis informs me that he had about 30 minutes with the team just before the event and that the matches were the first time that Mr Hudson had even played the game.
He is also pretty annoyed that ‘you can’t teach Rio Ferdinand about spawn kills’ which I instantly want to have printed on a t-shirt with a picture of Rio in Spartan uniform getting assassinated from behind.

The rest of the night was spent doing what gamers do best. Playing video games and cussing each other out.

All in all, the night was a success.
I left feeling even more excited to get my hands on my own pre-order and in desperate need of the loo.

Cheers Microsoft!

I might even get this printed.